The Search for Grog debuted to the public last week, and was performed at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel over a month ago! Now that we can talk about the show, we can finally share the recap we’ve been sitting on since the performance. Obviously, BIG SPOILERS! And keep tuned for the usual Master Post, media references, puns, and monster analyses that we’ll post over the next couple days!
Pike finds Grog just as he collapses on his face, breaking our hearts as she tries to sit him upright. Grog is very definitely alive, but is completely unresponsive. She calls over the group, who all try various things, including slapping him in the face and flicking him in the junk, but are unable to wake him up. There is a lone card sitting next to his body, but the contents are completely blank. Vox Machina decides to visit the leaders of Vasselheim to see what knowledge they can provide.
After briefly checking in on Sun Tree, Keyleth brings the party to the Temple to the Platinum Dragon, where they are let in with ease to the Council, albeit with some surprise. The party tells Highbearer Vord the situation and he is aghast that they left such a powerful, dangerous item in Grog’s possession, of all individuals.
Allura is soon summoned, and is equally surprised by the decision to let Grog have access to the deck. Pike insists that Grog has been very good for well over a year. Allura informs them how the card Grog pulled works, and that it would take ultra-powerful magic to even discover the location of Grog’s soul, magic that is well beyond her ability. Scanlan admits that he is able to cast Wish, much to Allura's shock (both that he can cast it and that the party allows him to do so.)
Convincing Pike to hold onto him, Scanlan casts the spell, discovering the location of the ruby containing Grog’s soul at the top of an tower in Cocytus, in the howling wastes of Pandemonium. However, as a result of the spell, Scanlan's Strength is drained (from 13 to 3). Allura states that while the party will absolutely need help on their journey, Kima would kill her if she went. Vord asks the room for anyone who wishes to accompany the Saviors of Vasselheim.
A gray-haired fox of a human fighter speaks up: Bertrand Bell is rather boisterous in his claims of monsters he has defeated, as well as his many ventures into Pandemonium. He knows all Pandemonium and its “numerous” flora and fauna, and is designated as guide for the adventure. (The party does not believe him, as Keyleth’s insight check confirms.) When he asks if he can receive honorary Vox Machina credit, the party informs him that they do not simply hand those out.
A second individual, a sharp but soft-spoken elven woman with dark brown hair who is adorned in black-feathered armor, also speaks up: Lieve’tel Toluse, one of three High Wardens of the Duskmeadow, offers to aid the saviors of Exandria and the former allies of the Matron of Ravens’ champion in their time of need and loss. Keyleth asks Allura if someone else can come instead, though the room remains uncomfortably quiet. Liev'etel asks if there is a problem, which Keyleth denies. Keyleth does not take consolation from the cleric well, and gathers what composure she can to politely request Lieve’tel does not speak of loss to her. Percy thanks her for beginning to repay the “centuries-long” debt that Vox Machina is owed.
After the party decides what it will take to prepare for their trip into the realms of insanity and Allura educates Bell on the meaning and origins of the word “volunteer,” Vox Machina seeks out Gilmore, who is performing glorious cantrips for the city's victims. After hugs are shared, the party briefly distracts him from their numbers by telling him about their upcoming trip for Grog. The party then tells Gilmore about Vax. Understanding that he is not coming back, Gilmore and Keyleth share a solemn moment of remembrance.
A few days pass before the party disembarks. Allura begins casting an elaborate spell to send the party where they need to go. As they gather, Trinket insists on coming in spite of Scanlan’s protests. Even though he won’t be protected in the necklace because Grog will take up the real estate, Trinket insists on coming and offers to carry Grog around on his back (breaking our hearts in the process).
Allura casts the spell, and Vox Machina and their two companions see themselves rocket past the planes until they land in utter darkness. Deafening winds blast them with sand, and those with darkvision have obscured vision to only 10 feet ahead of them. Welcome to Pandemonium.
Once on the plane, Keyleth attempts to scry their heading based on Scanlan's description, but the winds prove too much. Bertrand marches off in a random direction, out of the party's line of sight. Keyleth uses her proficiency as the Voice of the Tempest to provide a 5-ft barrier in front of her to block the winds, which allows Lieve’tel to scry the proper direction to the tower. Along the way, the party make Wisdom saving throws to withstand the realm; Percy and Pike both take a level of exhaustion.
The party comes across a Githzerai they name Bob, as he appears to have forgotten his own name in his time here. Bob requests presents from everyone, though the party isn't sure what they should offer him, or if they should offer him anything. After a very confusing conversation, Bob wanders off out of view. Vox Machina continue onward, though another required set of Wisdom Saves gives Bertrand a point of exhaustion.
Near the base of the tower, the party hears another howl carried in the wind, one that induces fear. This howl is joined by several others as a pack of howlers, fiendish wolf-like creatures who hunt in packs and attempt to instill prey with maximum fear before tearing them to shreds, attack the group. Vox Machina withstands the mind-breaking shrieks of the first wave and collapse the path behind them to avoid subsequent waves. They then retreat inside the tower, where the winds are much reduced and the sands are no longer blinding.
In relative safety, the party gathers for a Heroes’ Feast presented by Pike as Keyleth leads everyone with an inspiring speech. Closer to their target, Lieve'tel casts Find the Path to focus their journey, allowing them to easily bypass a number of hazards within the tower.
Suddenly, BUGBEARS appear out of nowhere, ripping Percy’s arm off before disappearing as quickly as they appeared. Bertrand gives chase while Keyleth begrudgingly Regenerates Percy's arm. Bell defeats the bugbears and returns victorious with the severed arm, which is saved for later. The party marches on, though through another round of Wisdom saves, Bertrand takes his second point of exhaustion, slowing his speed.
In one of the rooms of the tower, the party finds a massive demonic Balor in an extremely uncharacteristic, calm toddler-like state, slothfully finger painting childish doodles on the walls with howler blood and humming to himself. The party quietly sneaks behind him without drawing his attention, though they all take a massive amount of fire damage just being in his presence.
At the top of the tower, a massive corrupted celestial Empyrean with black skin, four giant spider-like limbs sticking out of its back, and red eyes calls out in anguish for “Father.” It tries to stumble away from the top of the tower, but an invisible force seems to trap it within the vicinity of a red gem, much to the entity’s frustration. (The party realizes that this is the son of the god of death the Matron of Ravens usurped, abandoned for millennia with no means to return and corrupted over the ages.)
Before the party is about to engage, they realize that all of their spell components with a monetary cost are missing… including the tuning fork required to cast Plane Shift. They recall that Bob was very close to each of them, and resolve to hunt him down. In the meantime, however, all spells that require certain components to cast are no longer an option for this encounter.
The party (except for Pike) roll very high initiative. Percy casts Hex and positions himself to hit the next round. Bertrand immediately expends his Action Surge, learning through his strikes with his Gambler's Rapier that the Empyrean has an AC of 23. Keyleth Shapeshifts into a Goristro. Lieve'etel summons a Planar Ally with her prayer beads. Vex casts Hunter's Mark and blasts the creature with two arrows. Scanlan forces the entity into an Irresistible River Dance (which shakes the entire tower) before inspiring Keyleth. The Empyrean uses a Legendary action to attack Bertrand, Lieve, and Scanlan for massive amounts of damage with its arcing hammer. Scanlan maintains concentration on the dance, but the tower cannot withstand the stomping and begins to crumble. Pike falls prone due to the tower's collapse.
The entity takes its turn, dealing another massive amount of damage to Lieve’tel, Keyleth, and Scanlan, though Keyleth manages to maintain her balance and not get knocked back. Pike summons a Guiding Bolt (which hits) and a spiritual weapon that mirrors Grog's ax (which misses). The Empyrean uses a Legendary action to strike at Lieve’tel, Keyleth, and Scanlan. Despite Scanlan's cutting words, the attack still knocks Lieve'tel unconscious.
Percy fires Bad News, attempting to disarm the creature, but its +17 Con Save maintains a grip on the weapon. Percy fires again, rolling a Nat20 and emptying Cabal's Ruin into the shot for 156 total damage. Over the course of the round, Vox Machina continues to pepper the entity with damage. It breaks from Scanlan's River Dance and knocks Bertrand unconscious. Lieve'tel takes a hit from the creature and dies of her wounds in a failed saving throw.
In desperation, Vex disengages and sends Trinket, with Grog on his back, to claw his way to the gem. Forcing Grog just in range of the gem causes Grog’s soul to return to his body, awakening the goliath (with Travis ripping off his overshirt to reveal his “Enjoy Grog” shirt). Scanlan sends a Healing Word to bring Bertrand back to consciousness and an inspiring limerick to Grog. The Empyrean strikes Scanlan with an attack of opportunity, then swipes again at Trinket, Grog, and Bertrand. Bertrand is rendered unconscious again. (Trinket is still up.)
Still somewhat in a daze but delighted to have a dream about combat with his bestest pals, Grog enters the fray enlarged and in a rage, rolling two Nat20s (only one with Reckless) and dealing the killing blow on the creature (66 and 86 HDYWTDT).
The party licks their wounds, gathers Lieve’tel’s body, and hunts down Bob. After a very infuriating conversation that the audience is not present for, the party recovers their spell items and returns to the Material Plane. The party ensures that Lieve'tel is resurrected, and Scanlan casts Modify Memory on Grog to make him forget that the Deck of Many Things ever existed.