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Exandria Unlimited: Calamity, Episode 2, “Bitterness and Dread” recap

Corrupted puppets, infernal gods, and dead spouse mysteries, it’s a laugh a minute on Exandria Unlimited: Calamity!

Exandria Unlimited: Calamity, Episode 2 “Bitterness and Dread” aired June 2, 2022

The Heart of Avalir

Exandria Unlimited: Calamity episode 2 isn’t keeping us in suspense. We were wondering what Laerryn was doing in her laboratory. Well in this episode, we find out. She’s built an engine that will transport the entire city of Avalir across planes of existence

It is a blending of technology and magic that’s almost unheard of in D&D. And the test worked! Laerryn– with an assist from Nydas– successfully sent a model across planes (and didn’t set off the Calamity in doing so, like actor Aabria Iyengar feared). 

But something happened when she ran the test. A power surge rushed through the engine room, funneling energy into an ancient machine called the Arboreal Calix. The engine was placed there by the druids centuries ago when the city was originally sundered from the ground. Laerryn knows the power stored there is given back to the druids each replenishment. And she knows that it was created soon after the Matron of Ravens ascended to godhood. 

But Vespin Chloras knows it too. (But more on that to come)

Bodies and parties

Flush with victory, Laerryn and Nydas regroup with the Ring of Brass only to find that things have not been quiet in their absence. Remember the man that Cerrit killed in the side room? (Exandria Unlimited, Calamity, ep. 1) The body has infernal runes scribed across his flesh, and the magic he used to turn invisible was pulled from them. 

But the betrayer gods are sealed. They shouldn’t be able to bestow their powers. But one of them has. The evidence on the dead man’s flesh proves that for the past two weeks he’s been little more than a puppet to an infernal deity. A freed infernal.

The Ring of Brass can only assume that Vespin was somehow successful in summoning a betrayer god. And he has friends. Patia reviews her surveillance records and finds out that the dead man entered the party disguised as one of the puppet-like hodmedod’s (automaton servants) in the company of Magister Cormorant and a necromancer called Lacrytia Hollow. 

With time running short, it’s time to break that first rule of D&D: they’re splitting the party. (It is the Calamity)

At the Herald’s Tome

Cerrit and Loquacious head to the Herald’s Tome to pursue magical b-roll footage of Vespin Chloras, and find a conversation between him, Lacrytia Hollow and Loras. Patia’s friend Loras. (ooohh Marisha’s face was priceless!) Vespin was talking about the Tree of Names, which was gifted to Avalir by the druids, and became the Arboreal Calix. 

Over their magical com link, Zerxus reminds everyone of the tree in his vision (EXU: Calamity, Episode 1). The tree was held in the palm of a betrayer god, and when the leaves fell on Evandrin, he sickened and died. But what does Evandrin’s death have to do with all of this?

The Magisterium

Patia and Laerryn head to the Magisterium to speak with Magister Cormorant. Too bad the conversation goes south before a single word is spoken. The first set battle of the EXU: Calamity sees the two magic users destroy Magister Cormorant in one round. As a reviewer, I’m a bit bummed they didn’t get a chance to talk with the Magister. As a viewer– it was sooo badass.

The Hall of Prophecy

I was a little surprised that Nydas and Zerxus decided to investigate the Hall of Prophecies, but it makes sense when you recall that Loras was the one who ordered the hall to be closed. According to Loras, the oracles just needed a little break. Sure, Loras. Sure.

Nydas talks his way past the guards and into the Hall to meet the only remaining oracle, Sofyra… because all the others went mad. How can you tell if an oracle has gone mad, you ask? Only if they begin speaking false prophecies. Like prophecies about cities falling out of the sky. Because that could never happen. Oh, dear.

When Zerxus goes to speak with the first oracle who went mad, when he is overtaken by a vision of a portal. Naturally he goes through it and finds a grievously wounded, red-skinned man laying on a bed. Asmodeus. It’s an echo of Zerxu’s vision from EXU: Calamity Episode 1. 

Dancing with a devil

Zerxus approaches the bed and casts cure wounds, and what does Asmodeus do? Not explain why he’s here, but tells Zerxus about the Schism– the war that landed Asmodeus in god prison. And while he speaks, he begins to look like Evandrin. (You know, Zerxus’ beloved, dead husband). 

Does anyone else feel like Zerxus is being played like the proverbial fiddle? Because while he tends to the betrayer god, and asks Asmodeus to remember him, he NEVER ASKS HOW ASMODEUS GOT OUT OF PRISON. Or what Vespin Chloras’ grand plan is.

Battle Approaches

It’s now about 1 in the morning and Laerryn gets a call from the helmswoman. All is quiet from the helm, they are in position over Cathmoira, Avalir’s sister city. Landing looks– And then there’s a gurgle. A squelch. And the undeniable sound of a person dying. 

Laerryn sounds the alarm, but as they converge on the helm, someone’s voice echoes through the streets. Lacrytia Hollow is there, and her minions have the Ring of Brass surrounded.

Time to roll initiative. The Calamity has begun.

Watch Critical Role Thursdays at 7pm PST on Twitch and YouTube! Check out last week’s Critical Role recap here, or watch me talk about it here!

Episode Highlights:

  • Okay, what is everyone hiding about Evandrin??? Everyone except Cerrit and Zerxus seem to know some deep dark secret about Evandrin and I am dying to find out what it is!
  • I knew Loras was too good to be true. But is his boss also a bad guy? Time will tell!
  • Patia learned from the Raven Queen? What? I mean, if you’re going to learn magic, I guess learn it from the lady who became a god. 
  • Really worried about all the puppet imagery, from the man turned into a puppet for an infernal deity to the automatons roaming around the city. Is anyone else worried that Vespin corrupted all the automatons to create an army?
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Greta Kelly

Greta Kelly is (probably) not a witch, death or otherwise, but she can still be summoned with the Horn of Gondor or the promise of a ride in the Tardis. She loves all things fantasy and is the author of THE FROZEN CROWN and THE SEVENTH QUEEN, and her third book, THE QUEEN OF DAYS will be out in 2023. Find her on Instagram or Twitter at @gretakkelly to geek out about literally anything.

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