‘Exandria Unlimited: Calamity’: Episode Four, “Fire and Ruin” recap

Avalir is lost, but can the Ring of Brass save the world? It’s Armageddon on Exandria Unlimited: Calamity!

Exandria Unlimited: Calamity, “Fire and Ruin” aired June 16, 2022

Avalir is lost, but can the Ring of Brass save the world? Here’s what went down on Exandria Unlimited: Calamity Episode 4! 

The end of an age

The Tree of Names– the world’s last bastion against the hells– is exploding. Patia and Loquacious are at its core. Brennan looks up at Marisha and asks, “[…] is Patia weakest at the elbow or the shoulder?” Marisha swallows hard, before answering. And Patia’s arm is ripped off. It’s the Calamity. We can’t say we weren’t warned.

Within the first second of gameplay, Patia is killed. Loquacious, Nydas and Zerxus are all knocked unconscious and the only member of the party awake to see the Calamity begin, is the woman who started it all: Laerryn. 

Through the ashes

Time stops. Zerxus is restored to consciousness and sees Vespin Chloras coming through the tree. Behind him is the monstrous form of the Lord of the Hells. It’s a face only an infernal could love, but somewhere beneath the horror, Zerxus sees a man in pain. He reaches out and pulls the Lord of the Hells through the portal. 

Zerxus, desperate to believe that the fiend can be saved, casts Atonement on him. It fails, but Zerxus doesn’t know why. The Lord of the Hells seems almost amused. Of course atonement didn’t work. Because I didn’t do anything wrong!  

And he stabs Zerxus through the heart killing him only to bring him back again. Again and again. Killing him a fourth time, the true architect of the Calamity gives Zerxus’ spirit a choice: sell your soul or die a true death.

A bargain struck

Zerxus is trapped in the Astral plane, tallying his options when he sees his lost husband Evandrin. He’s been trapped here for seven years, neither fully living, nor fully dead. He knows the Calamity has begun, knows the choice that Zerxus faces, and begs him not to take the deal.

But if he doesn’t, there will be no one left to warn their son, Elias. It is a fool’s hope. But it’s the only one they have. Zerxus wakes to life a changed man– fiendish horns curl around his head as his soul is rewritten. 

He sees Vespin Chloras preparing Avalir as ordered for the arrival of the Primordial Emperor and Empress. Zerxus reaches out and casts cleansing touch on the mage.

It’s a gamble that pays off. Vespin returns to sanity for the briefest of moments, but it’s enough to help the Ring of Brass. Vespin can’t break the deal between Zerxus and the Lord of the Hells, but he can rewrite it– giving Zerxus two extra hours with his soul. 

The ring of brass united

One of the last miracles of the Calamity happened when Cerrit succeeded in getting his children out of Avalir. He returns to the Arboreal Calix and finds his friends as Zerxus manages to bring back Nydas, Loquacious and Patia. 

The Calamity has begun, and they find out Avalir isn’t the only city under siege. But if they don’t stop the Primordials, mortals will have no hope of survival. They have a choice: try to repair the helm to abort the landing, or modify the Astral Leywright and use it to banish the Primordials for good. 

The choice is obvious. Laerryn built the Astral Leywright. She can rebuild it if she needs to. Even if she only has two hours to do it.

Three rounds to midnight

Time is running out for the Ring of Brass to modify the Astral Leywright and they have to do it while fighting Vespin Chloras and four corrupted automatons. Twelve seconds left, the party is taking huge amounts of damage, while Laerryn frantically works. But she now has a choice to make.

The energy released by banishing the Primordials will level Avalir and the city of Cathmoira. Laerryn could limit that damage, but if she does so, she would run the risk of the modification failing. But if it fails, it won’t just be the sister cities that fall, but the entire world. 

Down with the ship. She throws all the energy she can into the engine. Behind her, Zerxus falls. 

Six seconds left and Vespin aims a Power Word Kill at Laerryn, but Cerrit is there for the sneak attack, killing Vespin with a natural 20 roll that broke my brain to see! 

Nydas falls. Then Patia.

Then an automaton strikes Laerryn. She falls. But Loquacious is there to bring her back up just as the city lands. The Astral Leywright activates and the Primordial Emperor and Empress are launched across planes, banished forever.

But it’s too late for the Ring of Brass. For Avalir and the entire continent Domunas. But not for Cerrit.

The last flight

As his friends lay dying, Cerrit makes one last flight, one mad dash of hope to try and reach his family, wherever they may be. As earthquakes and volcanoes explode over the land below, Cerrit flies through ash and smoke for weeks before he finally finds them. It’s the tiniest spark of hope in an age utterly without it. 

And a bittersweet ending for a truly amazing game of Dungeons & Dragons!

Episode Highlights:

  • Brennan was savage this episode. In the first second of gameplay over 700 points of damage was taken by the Ring of Brass
  • Patia realizing she’s not getting out of this, sends her memory sphere to Cerrit’s daughter in the hopes her knowledge won’t be lost forever… And making me wonder whether Patia inadvertently started the Cobalt Soul library for Marisha’s Campaign 2 character???
  • Nydas shrugging off a stab wound and organizing skyships to evacuate the city was the utter epitome of Boss Move! Lou Wilson, you are perfection!
  • Power Word Kill and a Wish spell in the same round of battle!? Excuse me while I scream forever.

Critical Role Campaign Three returns Thursday, June 30th at 7pm PST on Twitch and YouTube! Check out last week’s Critical Role recap here, or watch me talk highlights here!


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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