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Pre-Show[]

MATT: Hello everyone, and welcome to tonight's episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons.

ALL: (discordant yelling) We play Dungeons & Dragons!

MATT: Just like that. We do have some announcements to get through before we jump into our game tonight, beginning with our first sponsor, Skillshare. Sam.

SAM: This episode is sponsored by our friends at Skillshare, an online learning community with thousands of inspiring classes for creative and curious people. Skillshare offers classes designed for real life and all the circumstances that come with it, including graphic design, creative writing, and music. With memberships starting as low as $10 a month with an annual subscription, Skillshare is a great way to learn and explore classes and unlock your creativity for social good. As a special offer for our audience, the first 1,000 Critters to join Skillshare by following this link: skl.sh/CriticalRole01211

TRAVIS: Yep, yep.

SAM: Maybe a bit.ly one next time. Will get-- (laughs) Will get a free trial of premium membership. Now I was given a free trial, and I signed up for a class called Caring for Your Houseplants, and I learned a lot. For instance, did you know that your plants will grow healthier and fuller if you talk to them? Here, I'll demonstrate. (clears throat) Oh, hello, Janelle. Your leaves are looking fantastic today, full and green. You know, you really brighten my day.

LAURA: (as Janelle the plant) Oh, why thank you, Sam. That new haircut ain't half bad either, cutie pie.

SAM: Oh. (laughs) Well, you noticed, Janelle?

LAURA: I sit at your desk all day. Now I got something handsome to stare at.

SAM: Oh, well then, if you're open to it, I could spend some more time tilling that soil.

LAURA: Oh, you want to repot me? (laughs) We could pour a glass of worm compost tea and germinate.

TRAVIS: (as Steve the fern) Janelle! What the hell are you doing?

LAURA: Steve! I thought you were still at the office.

TRAVIS: Who is this grass-hole? Is he... (gasps) Is he mulching with you?

SAM: Whoa, whoa, whoa, Janelle, Janelle. What is this fern talking about?

TRAVIS: This fern is her husband, you filthy hoser!

SAM: Dude, I had no idea. Really, I am so sorry. We were just--

TRAVIS: I know what you were doing. And now your salad days are over.

LAURA: Baby, please, he means nothing to me. He's small potatoes. He doesn't even photosynthesize.

TRAVIS: That's it, you bastard. You're going to reap what you sow. I'm going to amend the soil with your dead body. You heard me. Get over here so I can... Wait, what are you doing? Get your green thumb off my skin, you scumbag. Hey!

SAM: (shushing)

TRAVIS: (dying plant mumbling)

SAM: So there. You just talk to plants. And that's, that's how it goes. So go check out Skillshare today, everybody. Yeah, that's it.

LIAM: (as a plant) Sam, who the fuck is that on your desk?

SAM: She means nothing to me. Back to you, Matt!

LIAM: Son of a bitch! (laughter)

MATT: Ooh my! Okay.

ASHLEY: Wow. (laughter)

MATT: Well played.

ASHLEY: That was a bit.

MATT: Yeah, yeah. We've... (laughter) (laughter)

SAM: Ashley. That was so much salt.

MATT: That was, that was--

ASHLEY: I'm just curious how-- Where your brain went to think of that bit for this ad.

SAM: To think of our fine sponsor, Skillshare, and then go A to B with me having a three-way sexual affair with a fern? (laughter) I think it's a pretty natural connection. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Commercial makes sense to me.

ASHLEY: It does, it does, now that you break it down.

TALIESIN: Ow.

MATT: On that note, I want to thank our second sponsor for the night, Elder Scrolls Online. This episode is sponsored by our friends at Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios and their 2021 release, The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood, coming on June 1st for PC, Mac, and Stadia, and June 8th for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, and PS5. So ESO is the largest Elder Scrolls adventure with over 18 million players. They have a year-long adventure coming out that includes multiple DLCs and a main chapter release. And this year's main chapter, Blackwood, uncovers the schemes of the Daedric prince Mehrunes Dagon, one of the inspirations for our bird's name, actually. 800 years before the events of Elder Scrolls 4. The first DLC, Flames of Ambition, is out now. And their freeplay event lasts until April 13th at www.ElderScrollsOnline.com/FreePlay. They also have a ton of great offers going on right now, which you can find all at www.ElderScrollsOnline.com/Buy. We are excited to have a year-long collaboration with ESO and will be sharing more content updates along the way. Super stoked about that, and thank you guys so much for sponsoring.

SAM: That was amazing, Matt. That was amazing.

MATT: Thank you.

SAM: You squished five minutes of copy into, like, 40 seconds. That was good.

MATT: It's no plant fucking, but, you know, I do what I can. (laughter) Trying to make it worth it.

TRAVIS: Plant fucking, though.

MATT: Indeed, Travis, indeed. And finally, a big thank you to our friends and D&D Beyond, our fantastic sponsors--

ALL: ♪ D&D Beyond! ♪

MATT: -- for all of campaign two, D&D Beyond, as you should know by now, and if you don't know, go check it out. It's an online digital tool set to organize your characters and your campaign notes. It's awesome. You can make characters there. You can do custom campaign stuff like I do for this. Books, the whole thing, it's great. Check it out at D&D Beyond's mobile app at dndbeyond.link/mobile. And of course, thank you all for joining us live here on Twitch as well as YouTube. But to join in our live and moderated community chat, please head over to the Twitch channel. But we're happy to have all of you guys. So I believe that's all of the announcements for the evening. So let's go ahead and jump into tonight's episode of Critical Role.

(water bubbling)
(thunder rumbling)
(explosion)
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Roll the dice ♪
♪ The adventure begins ♪
♪ They were always beside you ♪
♪ Your nerdy best friends ♪
♪ And the DM to guide you ♪
♪ And they rise from the flames for the battles ahead ♪
♪ Villains beware because you're about to be dead ♪
♪ They got magic and flair ♪
♪ They got falchions and cunning ♪
♪ They don't see over there ♪
♪ There's a monster incoming ♪
♪ Inspiration is waiting, rise up, don't think twice ♪
♪ Put your fate in your hands, take a chance, ♪
♪ roll the dice ♪
♪ Roll the dice ♪
♪ Critical Role (roll the dice) ♪
♪ Critical Role (roll the dice) ♪
♪ Ooh, ahh ♪
♪ Can you answer the call ♪
♪ Diggin' deep in your soul ♪
♪ As the legend unfolds ♪
♪ Now it's your turn (your turn, your turn) ♪
♪ to roll ♪
(flames whooshing)

Part I[]

MATT: Welcome back. So last we left off: The Mighty Nein, after setting your affairs outside of Eiselcross into a comfortable place, you gathered yourselves to make your way northward once more.

OFF-SCREEN: ♪ Makin' my way! ♪

MATT: With a brief goodbye to the Clays in the Blooming Grove, a vision and proving ground for Yasha in the name of the Storm Lord in which you have fully embraced your mission currently as an extension of his power and have taken the Holy Avenger as your blade. You all transitioned yourselves northward through the risky expanse of teleportation magic to a land that seems iffy when it comes to such transportation incantations and arrived safely at the outpost of the Dynasty, where Essek awaited your arrival. After sharing some information about the current circumstances and the timeline that you are on, you all convince Essek to come with you as you had discussed previously, and make your way in a northwestern direction towards the secret entrance that you expect Lucien and the Tomb Takers are heading towards, that Caduceus had uncovered through a successful use of his Divine Intervention. So as you all have gathered your things, you begin to trek out from the outpost into the cold, snow powder-covered expanse that is Aeor's sunken ruin. You're trekking through the snow, crunching beneath your boots, everything at your side. You have a number of hours of travel. And even just a short distance out into it, Essek looks back, and glancing at the horizon towards the space you're headed. "We are kind of out in the open in a very clear day against the white of the snow. If there is some way we could be a little more... not a beacon for dangerous creatures to find us. I could try and give us a form like the rangers of the outpost, with white cloaks to maybe blend in a bit, unless you have some other things to help you?"

TRAVIS: Alpine look?

LAURA: I mean, I'm already wearing white. But--

MATT: "Fair enough."

LAURA: I understand if you want to make everyone else do the same.

TALIESIN: I'm all right with it.

MATT: "Just wearing a lot of black against the white can be a bit eye-catching."

ASHLEY: Yes, I stand out quite a bit.

TALIESIN: Both of us.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I would take one.

TRAVIS: Winter mode, activate.

TALIESIN: (whooshing)

MARISHA: Shing.

TRAVIS: You're the one activating it, I can't.

TALIESIN: I-- just made sounds, didn't we?

MATT: "You did, all of you."

TRAVIS: And pose, hit a pose.

MATT: "It takes a moment for me to cast the spell."

LAURA: Okay, just say a little--

MATT: And right as you finish that, he finishes casting the spell.

MARISHA: Oh, we aren't-- Ah.

MATT: (laughs) You try and jump into your pose in time. But each of you then take on the attire, while still yourselves, the attire of the outpost rangers of the Kryn. You can see the light gray, leather armor and the white, heavy furred cloaks and hoods over you that drop behind and, for the most part, allow you, visually, an easier way to blend in in the environment as you move forward.

LAURA: Essek, can you make mine look like it has just a little bee, like one teeny, little bee right here?

MATT: "The spell is already spent. I can't make alterations. I am sorry."

LAURA: (distressed noises) Okay.

SAM: Can you burn another spell slot to redo it?

MATT: "I certainly can."

LAURA: No, no, no, no. Don't do that, Essek. I don't want you to waste a spell. Don't do it, just don't.

TRAVIS: Jester, it could be life or death. You don't need to reverse psychology our ally.

MATT: Make a persuasion check. (laughter)

LAURA: It's not very good. 13.

MATT: "No." But he does mark that spell off there. All right.

SAM: Where are we going?

TRAVIS: Oh, we're going to the entrance, yeah?

SAM: The real, the main entrance?

LAURA: The secret entrance, the one that Lucien knows about. Speaking of Lucien...

TRAVIS: Oh, my thing?

LAURA: Yeah!

TRAVIS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I (laughs) forgot about the mark that he put on my chest. Wild, yes. This is my fault. (laughter) I say that now.

ASHLEY: You, Fjord or Travis?

TRAVIS: Both. (laughter) Yes. We fought with Lucien. And when he struck me, there was a blood brand sigil that seared itself onto my chest. And I have a feeling that it allows him to, you know, might be able to see where I am or at least know my location. I should probably try and get it removed. We tried.

LAURA: We tried, Essek.

TRAVIS: But to no avail.

LAURA: But you're so powerful.

TRAVIS: You don't have to burn another spell slot or anything. You don't have to. I don't want you to have to--

MATT: Make a persuasion check. (laughter)

LAURA: Can I give him advantage? (laughs)

MATT: You cannot, not with the last one. (laughs)

TRAVIS: 20.

LAURA: Oh.

MATT: He goes... "I would assume that perhaps these devices that you acquired would be enough, but I do not also understand the ins and outs of strange blood magic like you say that they utilize. Hemocraft is something a bit beyond my realm of expertise. But I can certainly give it a shot."

LAURA: Can we pretend, I mean, if we try to remove our clothes, does it still look like we're... Could I be completely naked and still look like I'm wearing clothes?

TALIESIN: It'd be very cold.

LAURA: With the spell you just gave us?

MATT: "You could."

TRAVIS: Why would you want to?

LAURA: I'm just saying, can you even see... Can we show Essek the brand?

TRAVIS: What, you mean this?

LAURA: Yeah, but it still looks like you're wearing a vest now.

MATT: It does.

TRAVIS: Damn it.

MATT: "I can see vaguely through the illusion, knowing that it is an illusion."

LAURA: Oh, okay, cool.

TRAVIS: So I would not recommend you disrobing.

LAURA: All right. (laughs) I can put my clothes back on. (laughter)

SAM: Don't disrobe, don't. Don't. Don't do it.

MATT: Man, Eiselcross got weird. (laughter) As you're all walking, as this conversation is happening, he drifts over in your direction and, glancing just past the barrier of the illusion, can see ever so faintly that the dull orange glow of the sigil that's burned into your chest. He's going to attempt to Dispel Magic it.

SAM: It's that easy?

TRAVIS: Nope.

LAURA: I can't Guidance him or anything, can I?

MATT: For that, you could.

LAURA: Can I say? Because I was going to say, and then I was like, does that work on this?

MATT: It might.

LAURA: I'm going to try to Guidance you.

MATT: Okay, well the first one failed.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: And he goes, you watch as he waves his hands, and there's a little bit of that soft impact, like a warm wind just taps your chest. And he goes... (frustrated grunt)

LAURA: Guidance.

MATT: Okay, he's going to attempt it again. What'd you add?

LAURA: I mean, it's a d4.

MATT: Mm-hmm. Oh, I'm rolling it. That didn't help.

LAURA: No. Oh no, Essek.

MATT: He goes... (sighs) "I could continue to try."

TRAVIS: No, no, no. You've been most gracious. I'm sure, I'm sure it's no big deal. Besides, we need you at semi-full strength now for anything that may show up. If, for some reason, we encounter no sort of trouble or dangers tonight, perhaps before we all rest, then maybe we can try again.

MATT: "I understand. I am just, if we are certain that this seal of hemocraft is protected by this magic, then there is no need to worry. But if our whole idea is to--"

LAURA: Sneak?

MATT: "To sneak from this individual and not be, well--"

LAURA: What kind of magic are you doing to try to break it?

MATT: "I'm attempting to dispel it. And it is receptive, but I-- Maybe it is indeed my lack of experience in hemocraft. But I could attempt a more powerful--"

LAURA: I could try it again. I'm going to try it again.

SAM: Guide yourself.

LAURA: I can't guide myself.

TALIESIN: I can guide you.

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: Okay, you're attempting to--?

LAURA: Should I try it-- I wish-- Can I ask Essek how powerful his dispel is? What are you trying it at? Were you doing it at 3rd-level?

MATT: "I was doing it at a basic level, I'm certain of it."

LAURA: Okay, I'm going to try it one level up, then.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: See if that works.

MATT: So 4th-level.

LAURA: 4th-level Dispel with Guidance.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: DC plus, okay, all right.

SAM: Roll good.

LAURA: I'm trying!

TRAVIS: It's only my life.

LAURA: It's all of our lives, Fjord.

TRAVIS: Yeah, but mostly mine.

LAURA: But mostly yours. (gasps) N-n-n-nineteen! Plus a d4. That doesn't... Four! 23 plus whatever my modifier is.

MATT: Your modifier would be your wisdom modifier.

LAURA: I mean, wait, plus DC... What am I doing?

MATT: You're rolling d20. You're adding your wisdom modifier--

LAURA: Yes.

MATT: And whatever you rolled on the d4.

LAURA: So plus five. So 24 plus five is 29.

SAM: Whoa. 23 plus five.

MATT: 23 plus five, yeah.

LAURA: 23 plus five is 28.

MATT: There we go. You feel that same impact like you did with Essek, but it's heavier and actually almost briefly winds you as you feel that same burning, searing sensation that you originally felt when it burned into your flesh. You hear, just so faintly around him, this sizzling sound, and you instinctually (gags) feel your breath catch in your mouth. It almost hurts. You're ready to make a pain sound, but it doesn't really hurt. You just sensory recall the experience. Then it fades, and the light is gone. And you can sense whatever anchor that brand held in your body dissipate.

SAM: Mage Hand, slap him in the tit. (laughter)

TRAVIS: It's cold out here.

SAM: Sorry.

TRAVIS: That's even worse.

LAURA: Can you see? Is it gone?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: Are you sure? Can you see your chest? I can't see it.

TRAVIS: Oh.

MATT: "It's gone. You did well."

TRAVIS: Thank you. Resume sneak.

MATT: "Indeed." I would like everybody to make a group stealth check for me, please.

TALIESIN: Are we doing this fancy, or are we--

MATT: Because you all have the white cloaks in this space, everyone gets advantage.

TRAVIS: Ah, good job, Essek.

ASHLEY: Ooh.

SAM: Terrible roll.

MARISHA: Oh, yep.

TALIESIN: Oh, thank god.

LIAM: Real bad.

MATT: All righty, so starting with Fjord.

TRAVIS: (sighs) Four.

MATT: What'd you roll?

TRAVIS: Four.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Four and a two.

LAURA: So you got six. You don't get any plus on stealth?

TRAVIS: Nope.

MATT: What'd you get, Jester?

LAURA: 14.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: 13.

MATT: Okay. With advantage, all righty.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: 25.

MATT: All righty.

ASHLEY: 20 total, not natural.

MATT: Got it.

TALIESIN: 21, who knew?

MATT: Look at that.

MARISHA: 18.

SAM: Hey. So we made up for it in the back end.

LAURA: Sort of. If-- Would we have an idea if we're shittily stealthed? Or would we think we are?

TRAVIS: (laughs) A question as old as time.

MATT: (laughs) You'll find out.

TALIESIN: We're bad at this.

TRAVIS: We had Pike for three and a half years.

LAURA and TRAVIS: Clank, clank, clank, clank!

ASHLEY: (shushing) Clank, clank, clank!

TRAVIS: Clank, clank, clank!

MATT: Hours of trudging across this somewhat shifting, rough and rolling expanse that is the icy plain above the ruins of Aeor, the occasional snow-dusted surface of jagged Aeorian ruins peeking through and jutting outward, some looking like natural, bony fingers of some massive creature that's long-since buried, the towers themselves curved or broken with time. Other parts look like some semblance of a beautiful piece of art or a statue that is just barely part of the head poking through the glacier-like ice that has since built and formed over the broken city beneath. Slowly following, Caduceus, of course, is the one with memory of the direction to keep on this. Essek reminds you along this journey, "We did send a group of rangers as well as this Dagon fellow that you brought to our attention in that direction to keep perimeter. So keep an eye out. We at least, in this guise, will not surprise them.

LIAM: Have you yourself ever been this far out or anywhere near where we're going?

MATT: "I have not been this far. Most of our goings on stick close to the outpost, both for a defensible purpose and, well, trying not to overlap with other, not-as-kind excavation efforts." But as you continue on for an hour, two hours, three hours.

LAURA: Should I scry on Lucien and the team?

SAM: We've talked about this before. Aren't we concerned that they can see back somehow? Or--

LAURA: I don't know. But if... Wouldn't this cancel out them being able to see back?

TALIESIN: I feel like it's poking the hornet's nest. I'm not sure.

LAURA: Yeah, but what if they're not even coming to this location? What if they're not anywhere in the snow right now? What if--

TRAVIS: They're already down there.

LAURA: They're already down there.

LIAM: I think at most they would know that they were being peeked at. I don't think they're going to look back and find us.

TRAVIS: Yeah, same. I don't think it has a huge--

SAM: You want to do it?

LAURA: What you think, yeah?

MARISHA: I'm here for it. I vote yes.

TRAVIS: We can keep moving. You can hop on my back.

LAURA: No, I can't. It's got to be a thing. I've got to take 10 minutes.

TRAVIS: I know, I'll give you a piggy back ride for 10 minutes.

TALIESIN: That's really hard to do that while getting a piggy back ride. It's hard to do that while giving a piggy back ride.

TRAVIS: I've been working out with Beau, okay?

MARISHA: It's true.

TALIESIN: Have you?

TRAVIS: I'm incredibly impressive right now, yes.

TALIESIN: Oh, I hadn't noticed, wow.

TRAVIS: It's baggy clothing.

MARISHA: Snow hiking builds your glutes and your calves. So it counts.

LAURA: That is true.

ASHLEY: That's good.

MARISHA: Yeah, I didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to potentially cross the line. But yeah, I can tell.

LAURA: I suppose I could be like... I think you could carry me, and I could do it. I just won't be aware of what's going on, right?

TRAVIS: I'm going to get super winded. (laughs)

MATT: We can give it a shot.

TALIESIN: Mad Max this.

TRAVIS: Caduceus, help me.

TALIESIN: No.

MATT: Just the wolf from Sword in the Stone. (exaggerated panting)

TALIESIN: I feel like there's a valuable lesson to be learned here.

SAM: Use a spell.

LIAM: It's a crazy idea.

MARISHA: I need to take a 10-minute break.

LAURA: No, don't use a spell.

SAM: I could use a spell and levitate you for 10 minutes, and he can just pull you like a balloon.

LAURA: Oh, like a scrying balloon.

MARISHA: Like Inception?

LIAM: Oh, we could sit down for 10 minutes.

LAURA: There's also that.

TALIESIN: Fuck you.

MATT: You guys tell me what you want to do. I like all these ideas.

LIAM: I like them all, too, but they expend your very valuable resources. And I think maybe we should just sit.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we could sit.

LAURA: Okay, sit.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: I'll make a couple little snow dicks, just to set up the ritual. Draw an eye, woo, to think of Lucien. Okay, and then I'll cast my spell. Hey-oh, Traveler, come help me. Let me know if he sees me before I get over there, though. Okay, thanks.

TALIESIN: Guidance. (laughter)

LIAM: Did you say double dare?

LAURA: I don't know what I said.

LIAM: Help me before I'm on Double Dare. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Oh, man, Jester on Double Dare?

TALIESIN: I'd watch the fuck out of it.

MARISHA: That would be epic.

LIAM: (like Jester) Oh yeah, I hope I win that Toys"R"Us run.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: What an era.

ASHLEY: Okay, sorry.

TALIESIN: Guidance on that.

LAURA: Oh, yeah, oh, that's so smart. I always forget.

TALIESIN: These guns remember that.

MARISHA: "These guns remember"?

MATT: Carving out a pocket in the snow, and as you guys are trudging through, it's like thigh-deep at places. It can go from knee to thigh, so it's a physically taxing experience.

LAURA: Oh, but when you're thigh deep, you can just lean back and sit down, and your legs are--

MATT: That's true.

LAURA: It's really nice.

MATT: So you just sit into it and relax and try to focus. As you close your eyes, you hear the voice in your ears. (as the Traveler) "It is mighty chilly here, isn't it?"

LAURA: It's freezing cold.

MATT: "Well, let's see if hopefully your quarry is someplace warmer."

LAURA: Oh, and mm, like, okay.

MATT: As your will expands outward, you feel the clouds above get dense with snow. And as you try and push through them, you see a flash of red in your mind's eye, and then you're shunted back consciously into your body. And you hear the echoing voice vanishing in your mind of Artagan going, "Well, sorry, I tried, tried, tried."

LAURA: You know what? I really should next time, if we try this again, I should try to focus on something other than Lucien because I think he would know. You know what I mean?

SAM: Oh yeah, like Otis or something.

LAURA: Otis, he seems kind of dumb. Or I can focus on... No, wait, Otis? Which one's the dumb one? Are any of them dumb?

SAM: They're all dumb.

TALIESIN: They're all pretty dumb.

LAURA: They're all jerks. Or I could focus on something they're carrying. I could focus on the bag of holding or something.

SAM: Sure, sure.

MARISHA: Oh, I miss our bag of holding.

SAM: Make a note for next time. (thudding on table)

LAURA: Got it. (laughs)

TRAVIS: Just tell Fjord, we'll remember.

MATT: So you know, it's location and creature.

LAURA: Just kidding.

MATT: Just so you know.

LAURA: Really?

MATT: Yep.

LAURA: How do, okay.

MATT: Because then you have Locate Object and other ways of getting yourself to an object.

LAURA: Solid.

LIAM: Which is short range.

MATT: All right. "Well, I take it, it was not a success?"

LAURA: It was not, Essek, it was not.

MATT: "That is unfortunate. Shall we continue?"

TRAVIS: Yes. Perimeter check.

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: I knock--

TRAVIS: Somebody assist me.

LAURA: I make the eye go away and knock down things.

TRAVIS: You roll with me.

TALIESIN: All righty.

LAURA: (air puffing)

TALIESIN: 21.

TRAVIS: That's going to be better than this. 17.

MATT: Okay. Glancing about around the space, you do see, a little bit to your west, not intersecting with the path you're taking, but what looks to be a dark-furred, larger, lumbering beast (heavy footsteps). Walking opposite, parallel to your direction. But it doesn't seem to notice your presence at the moment.

TALIESIN: Dark-furred, lumbering beast.

TRAVIS: Oh, yeah.

TALIESIN: Walking parallel to us.

TRAVIS and TALIESIN: Doesn't seem to notice our presence.

MATT: (laughs)

ASHLEY: Oh, that's good.

TRAVIS: Should be good.

ASHLEY: Is it just walking parallel to us in a different direction?

LAURA: Yeah, doesn't seem to notice, though.

TRAVIS: Show me your best snowman.

TALIESIN: Hmm?

TRAVIS: Show me your best snowman impression.

TALIESIN: I've only seen a few. I've only seen the ones you made anyway, with--

TRAVIS: It's good. I think we'll be all right.

LAURA: Hey, no, their faces looked better than that.

TALIESIN: I'm trying to--

LAURA: Smile, smile. There you go. (laughter)

TRAVIS: (scared yell) All right, we keep going. (laughter)

MATT: (as Essek) "I'm not going to lie."

MARISHA: You look like me.

MATT: "Traveling with you is not quite what I was expecting."

TALIESIN: We get that a lot.

TRAVIS: We try to keep it light. It can get dark really fast.

SAM: We've been on the road for a long time.

LIAM: Speaking of dumb, we are real dumb.

MATT: "I am appreciating the levity."

SAM: On we go.

MATT: So continuing onward, you do not draw the attention of what you recognize as you begin to make the distance, you can see more of the shape as the rest of the snow bank that was between the two of you begins to no longer separate your vision from the body. It's a mammoth. In fact, a group of mammoths that were heading southward, which you know from-- well, you've taken the form a few times.

LAURA: (roaring)

LIAM: Babies.

LAURA: (giggles)

MATT: And eventually, as we push forward, Caduceus, you see some of the exposed, broken stone structures that are pushing up. You can see a small cliff-like drop-off that begins to reveal itself a little ways ahead from the raised impact outer lip of this giant circular structure. And you start having that sense memory. You begin to recognize some of the terrain and you gather that you're not too far from the location that the Wild Mother showed you not but a week or so beforehand.

TALIESIN: We're very close. This is almost it. Are there tracks on the ground? Anything that's been here before?

MATT: You can make a perception check or survival check.

TALIESIN: I will make, just because I never--

MATT: I'm sorry, perception or investigation.

TALIESIN: I will definitely take perception. My god. (exhales deeply) 15.

MATT: Can't really tell. I mean, there was recent snowfall across a lot of this region, so if there were any, they wouldn't be too recent. Anything that would be more than the previous night would likely have been covered by the fresh snow. So nothing catches your attention.

TALIESIN: Mm, all right. We have any way of contacting the guards to let them know that we're almost here?

MATT: "I can reach out to them, if you'd like?"

SAM: The ones back at home base?

TALIESIN: No, the ones that we're about to run into.

LAURA: Dagon. Dagen.

SAM: Dagen?

LAURA: Dagen.

TALIESIN: (whistles a bird call)

MATT: "Would you like me to reach out to my ranger contact or to Dagen, or shall you?"

LAURA: Oh. I can do it! Oh, mm, you can do it.

MATT: "Very well." And he closes his eyes for a second. You watch as he brings his hands together and seems to pluck from the central place, and as he does, this long thread of slightly waving, black-purple energy comes out into a thin line, and as he holds it there, he says, "My friends, the Mighty Nein and myself are quickly arriving upon the entrance. Please, make yourselves known shortly." And as he speaks, you can see the line wiggling, like it's actually picking up a wave of his voice and transitioning it through his Sending spell. This is how he does it.

ASHLEY: Wow.

MATT: Before he releases the tethers in the sides and they (whooshing) fade away like a spider thread in the wind.

ASHLEY: I watch them. Wow!

LIAM: Ours is like the mud road drifter version. (gruff rural accent) I got a bit of copper wire here. Hey, I got some Natty Lights, I'm headed your way.

TRAVIS: (laughs) Natty Light! (laughter)

TRAVIS: 30 keys!

MATT: Trucker mage is my favorite archetype of D&D character. (laughter)

SAM: That's pretty good.

LAURA: But you were doing Sending.

MATT: Arcane catheter.

LAURA: You weren't doing Message, you were doing Sending?

MATT: That was Sending.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: (laughs) I can't believe I caught that. Oh.

MATT: "Very well. Keep your eyes peeled. There should be a notification." At that moment, you see, Caduceus, Beauregard, and Caleb, what looks to be some sort of projectile (whooshing) fly up into the air in the direction you guys were traveling. It arcs upward and behind it you can see this almost red ribbon that's wiggling behind it. A audio-less, quick visual flare-like cue. You all turn over and look that direction. Essek goes, "Ah, I believe these are our compatriots." You do notice that the arrow was thrown quite a ways past where this cliff face descends downward. As you all creep up to the edge, you can see it's like whatever impacted here to create this valley-like crater that is the ruin of Aeor, as the city crashed in, the stone on the outskirts of it splintered upward and that's where the edge of this cliff drops off. And as you glance towards the edge and see the rugged exterior of it, it's a miniature mountain range created from that impact that comes to an abrupt and scraggly end. Probably about a good 85 to 100 feet to the closest base of it there.

LAURA: Are we going down?

SAM: Do we have to go down to get there?

MATT: "I would assume so. I mean, you are the one who knows where the entrance is."

TALIESIN: Do we have to go down to get there?

MATT: Yes, you do.

TALIESIN: Yeah, we have to go down.

LIAM: And you're saying an 80-ish foot drop from the lip of this cliff face?

MATT: Correct. As you walk to the very edge, it's lifting up, and then you peer over the edge and see the drop-off before it hits some snow and ice.

LIAM: Sheer.

MATT: Yeah. It's mostly sheer, but elements of it do stick out, but there's no other really platform-like places to stop.

TRAVIS: Where are the stairs?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Yep, no, I'm not going to.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Do you think there's stairs?

TRAVIS: No.

LAURA: I'm going to look for stairs.

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: Assist.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: If she can't find stairs, should we come up with a different option?

ASHLEY: We could also look for an elevator.

SAM: (laughs) Sure, sure.

TALIESIN: 16.

SAM: A dumbwaiter.

LAURA: (whispers) Nine.

ASHLEY: A dumbwaiter.

SAM: Sure.

MATT: 16? There are no stairs.

TALIESIN: Yeah, well, that's fair.

LAURA: Mm.

SAM: Should we climb down or Feather Fall down?

LAURA: Or we can just-- (thumping)

MARISHA: (grunts)

MATT: You push Beau off the edge?

SAM: Well, she'll be fine.

LAURA: Slightly, so she can go and see, yeah. (laughs)

TRAVIS: Double guns. Double guns. How many people can we Feather Fall?

LIAM: I got this from years of training!

SAM: Between Caleb and I, we could Feather Fall all of us down. That takes a small spell. Or we could--

LAURA: If it's small. I can only get me and one other. I mean, or we can transform and get a few people down.

TRAVIS: That's a bigger spell, though.

SAM: That's a bigger spell.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "Hold on to that. We have our means of drifting carefully. Or we could try to climb. Well, you could try to climb. I'll be fine."

LIAM: Why don't you educate us?

SAM: Oh, yeah, you can drift.

MATT: "I can."

SAM and TRAVIS: Can you drift us?

MATT: "By the same means you are discussing, yes."

SAM: Oh, the Feather Fall.

MATT: "Yes."

SAM: Yes, yes. Well, we could try to climb and save spells, and then if we fall, then we'll use Feather Fall.

LAURA: Ooh, good call.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LAURA: Okay.

ASHLEY: Let's do that.

TRAVIS: Yeah, it's a good warm-up. Get the blood moving.

LAURA: I go over and start to hang off the side and try to start climbing.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Okay. But--

TALIESIN: Do we want to--

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: Yeah, divvy it up.

SAM: Split into two groups here.

LAURA: I'm already going down.

SAM: Okay. That's one group. But-- so if someone in group one falls, all of group one has to fall.

TRAVIS: Yeah, who's in group one?

ASHLEY: Why?

SAM: So that I can use Feather Fall on all of us. Because otherwise I would just use it on the one who's falling, and then the rest would have to keep climbing. So if someone falls, everybody just drop.

LIAM: Yeah. So, what's the-- the code word is important. What's the word that is yelled if it's let go?

MARISHA: Let go.

LAURA: (screams)

MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I think, scream.

LIAM: That's two different things. Let go or scream?

TALIESIN: (fearful yelling)

SAM: We'll say the word scream.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: Scream, okay.

LIAM: Scream.

ASHLEY: Scream, okay. Won't you know if we're not on the wall anymore?

LAURA: This is really steep, you guys.

TRAVIS: I start climbing down, too.

LIAM: Essek, you're with us. Come. For ease of us, the four of us.

ASHLEY: Okay, I'll go.

SAM: I'm going to climb as well.

LAURA: All of us are going.

MATT: So, are there two groups or is it--

SAM: I guess we're just going to free-ball it.

MATT: (laughs) Okay.

LIAM: No, no, this is a group. This is a group. I am taking care of you three.

ASHLEY: Foolproof plan.

TALIESIN: And you've got us, here we go.

MARISHA: Probably could've dropped a rope to make this easier.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, fuck it.

TALIESIN: Ah, too late for that.

ASHLEY: That would've been a good idea.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: We'll be fine.

LAURA: That way, we would lose the rope. We can't get it from the-- oh, well, you could. Okay, it's fine.

MATT: So, if I could have the three of you make athletics checks for me, please.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: Should go well.

LAURA: (singing heroically)

LAURA: 16!

TRAVIS: Hey, 23.

LIAM: 14.

MATT: The three of you actually manage to find some decent hand and footholds as you continue down. Some areas are a bit slick and the rock tends to crumble a little bit in others, but you still manage to confidently find your way down. Partway in your descent, you have this shadow drift by as Essek just drifts over the edge and just glides down past you, like an elevator, and just looks over at you each as he slowly descends towards the bottom.

TRAVIS: Moral support wouldn't hurt.

LIAM: Not going to lie, that is pretty cool.

LAURA: Essek, can I jump on your back?

MATT: "No."

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: (fading in and out) No. (laughter)

TRAVIS: IndyCar?

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: (race car noise)

MATT: Full Doppler Effect on the way down. (descending in pitch) I'm sorry, that will not work.

SAM: (race car noise) But you guys manage to climb down safely. The rest of you, if you're following thereafter, athletics checks, please.

MARISHA: I'm just going to do my cool dope monk shit and do what I did before, take the back of my gauntlet, slam it in and just glide down the wall. Slow Fall.

MATT: Okay, so you're just taking Slow Fall of it?

TRAVIS: Don't smile at us. Get out of here with that mess. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Look how beautiful she looks when she's falling.

LAURA: (laughs)

ASHLEY: So graceful, such ease.

MARISHA: Right into the feather bed, ah.

TRAVIS: Derelicte. (laughter)

MATT: What would be 28 points of bludgeoning damage, how much do you ignore?

MARISHA: Far more than that.

SAM: Gosh, you don't have to be a dick about it. (laughter)

MARISHA: Five times 14.

MATT: Five times 14?

MARISHA: Five times 14.

MATT: Good to know. (laughter)

SAM: I just have to make a bigger mountain next time.

MATT: Worked last campaign.

TRAVIS: Not much, roughly 45 to 50-foot.

MARISHA: Yeah. I'm good.

MATT: Yeah, you grind down your gauntlet to the side before eventually kicking off and then landing (thumping) into the snow below. The rest of you rolled?

SAM: 15.

ASHLEY: 25.

TALIESIN: 14.

LIAM: This whole character was just to make up for the fish, wasn't it?

MARISHA: 100%. I will jump off every cliff safely, every time I get an opportunity. (laughter)

MATT: Respect that. Okay. You all find yourselves at the base of this cliff.

SAM: Hey! We saved a couple of spells!

LAURA: We did it!

MATT: You did good. And you gather, glancing around, that it's maybe another 10 minute or so walk up along this crestline before you will come to the fold in the ice where the entrance you recall seeing would be. It's about this time that you see a handful of figures begin to poke up over this little, soft ridge. And you see one hand go up and go, (as Dagen) "Hey!" (gasping)

TRAVIS: Eldritch Blast! Oh, just kidding.

SAM: Dagen!

MARISHA: Dagen!

MATT: (impact sound) (laughter)

SAM: Oh, Dagen!

MARISHA: Not another NPC.

LAURA: Yay, yay, yay!

MATT: At this point, the illusion that Essek had placed upon you dissipates amongst the group, revealing your true selves, as you've made the journey past the white, open expanse. And as Essek begins to glide in that direction, the rest of the rangers that are immediately present, which is only four at the moment, begin to emerge to meet you partway. Do you come along with?

LAURA: Yes.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: All right. As you approach, they all begin to gather, you see them all keeping their eyes on the line behind them, and Dagen comes forward. "(laughs) Well, it's real good to see y'all. Everything going all right? No problems?"

LAURA: All of the problems.

SAM: No problems at all.

TALIESIN: I mean--

MATT: "You? I can't imagine. You managed to stay out of trouble and not drag any sort of ire or attention, so well done." (laughter) (coughing)

TRAVIS: Stiff sarcasm weren't so cold.

MATT: "Look, I've only been with you for a few weeks and you're already the most rambunctious pieces of shit I ever traveled with. It's fantastic."

TALIESIN and ASHLEY: Thank you.

MARISHA: Rambunctious?

MATT: "Well, until these ones." And he points to the other guards and they laugh and go, "He's--" and Essek goes, "(shushes) He's a new hire, be respectful."

LIAM: Oh, Dagen--

MATT: Dagen goes, "That's right, I'm a new hire, be respectful."

LIAM: Sorry, I forgot, I brought you these Natty Lights. (laughter)

LIAM: Stupid. (laughter)

TRAVIS: No, canon.

LIAM: Yeah, is now.

MATT: Uncommon magical item. (laughter)

MARISHA: It's the Aeorian mountains on those cans.

SAM: Have you found the entrance? (laughter)

MATT: (as Dagen) "Well--" And you see the head ranger of this troop begins to speak up, "There hasn't been--" and Dagen comes around and says, "There hasn't really been much of a sighting beyond--" and they both stop and look at each other and you can already see, there's a bit of competitive tension between these two figures in the group, before Dagen grumbles and crosses his arms and the first figure gives a nod. "We've kept eyes around the space and have seen nothing out of the ordinary beyond the normal and expected denizens of this Aeorian expanse in Eiselcross. We've looked for the individuals, but nothing as of yet, at least unless they slipped our sight, which I highly doubt."

SAM: And did you venture into the space?

MATT: "No. We would not do that."

TRAVIS: You would not?

SAM: I would have.

LIAM: But seen the entrance?

TALIESIN: Insight check.

MATT: Make an insight check, yeah.

LAURA: Ooh.

TALIESIN: (blowing raspberries)

LAURA: (laughs)

TALIESIN: (Kermit-y voice) 13.

MATT: 13.

TALIESIN: (Kermit-y voice) Yeah.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: The person in charge, knows what he's talking about.

TALIESIN: (Kermit-y voice) He seems like he knows what he's talking about. (laughter)

SAM: That's a good character.

TRAVIS: That character.

MATT: Campaign three.

TALIESIN: (Kermit-y voice) Campaign three, man. (laughter)

TALIESIN: More Kermit.

TRAVIS: (Miss Piggy squeal)

MATT: The ranger addressing that question goes, "Our instructions were to keep a perimeter widely around the entrance that you had mentioned, but to actually traverse them, we are not specialized in such... dangerous arcana." And Dagen goes, "They're a bunch of wusses!"

LAURA: Does that mean you want to come in with us, Dagen?

MATT: "Hell no! I'm not paid enough for that."

TRAVIS: You're just going to keep a lookout while we go inside and scope things out?

MATT: "It's what I'm good at."

TRAVIS: Good.

MATT: "I hunt things, I keep an eye out, and I get paid well for it."

TRAVIS: You've been here a while, do you see, I don't know, ample opportunity for an ambush up here, topside?

MATT: Looks around. "I see an ample opportunity for an ambush anywhere I go."

TRAVIS: I like his optimism.

SAM: Is it a flat area? I mean, other than the cliff that's nearby.

MATT: "Well, I mean, there's the-- What I think is the entrance you were talking about, that's up against the cliff."

SAM: Oh.

MATT: "At the base of it."

SAM: Okay, that's something.

LIAM: You have a keen eye. We are expecting this place to be undiscovered country as of yet. Does what you've seen bear that out?

MATT: The head ranger goes, "We were unaware of its location until it was given to us. So, to that extent, undiscovered, but you have discovered it, so thus, by the nature of its definition, it is now discovered."

SAM: All right.

LAURA: Yeah, well.

TALIESIN: That's technically correct.

TRAVIS: Is this like a star, so if we discover it, we give it a name?

SAM: Yes.

TRAVIS: This entrance?

LIAM: We certainly do, that's how that works.

MATT: "That's right, Dagen's Door."

SAM: (laughs)

LIAM: That's what it is.

MARISHA: I don't hate it.

TALIESIN: I've actually got no problem.

LAURA: It's actually kind of nice.

SAM: Brenatto's Backdoor! Maybe?

LAURA: Ooh, well.

TRAVIS: We'll have to find that one. (laughter)

MARISHA: That's the exit strategy.

TRAVIS: Oh!

ASHLEY: Ayo!

TRAVIS: There we go.

LIAM: That's not our passage to enter.

TALIESIN: Saw it on its way and you just cut me off.

TRAVIS: We should scope out the entrance, because we're just guessing until we see what the lay of the land is like.

LAURA: If we go up there, will you guys be able to-- the guards that stay outside-- will you guys be able to cover our tracks and make it look like we haven't gone inside and nobody's been here?

MATT: The head ranger goes, I think we ca--" and then Dagen goes, "All right, no, we got you."

LAURA: Yeah, okay.

MATT: "No worries."

SAM: And will you be able to make contact with us, should someone arrive? You know, as a lookout does?

MATT: He looks over towards the head ranger who says, "Um, we have a quiet means of doing so. We've already shown that upon your arrival."

LAURA: Well, yeah, but how are you going to send an arrow into the entrance?

TRAVIS: What she means is, if we're underground and you're topside, can you communicate via arcane means to let us know that someone might be coming?

MATT: They look at each other, back and forth. They all look at Essek and Essek goes-- "(sighing)" And he leans over and you watch as he puts his hands out, a small chest-- (flames blazing) apparates on the ground, semi-translucent, like it's made of shimmering glass. And he plucks a finger up and you see it open, and as he pulls inside and pulls two stones from within. (gasping)

MARISHA: He's got the walkie-talkies.

MATT: And hands one over towards the head ranger and goes-- "Take care of this," and hands it to Dagen--

MATT: -- who goes, like--

LAURA: Oh shit.

MATT: "Looks like someone just got promoted."

TRAVIS: Oh boy!

ASHLEY: Oh shit!

TRAVIS: In front of the whole team! Woo!

MARISHA: Oh shit!

TRAVIS: Hot, that's hot.

MATT: The other head ranger just quietly bites his tongue. "We will let you know as soon as anything catches our eye."

SAM: Thank you.

TALIESIN: We appreciate that. And if possible, I wouldn't recommend getting in the eyeline of these guys. They're a lot. They're a lot for anybody.

TRAVIS: Exactly right.

TALIESIN: All of us are going in and we feel underpowered.

TRAVIS: An early warning system will help us, but up here, stay hidden.

TALIESIN: At worst, we may ask you to figure out a way to bury this entrance.

MARISHA: Yeah, I was going to ask about that. We talked about that before, we said to do that.

TALIESIN: Do we have some extra--

TRAVIS: We should look at the entrance.

SAM: Yeah, let's go in and suss it out.

TALIESIN: Flutter Butter or something?

SAM: Fluffernutter. It's patented.

TALIESIN: Fudge a fugger.

LAURA: Fluffernutter.

SAM: Fuddruckers.

LIAM: Fuddruckers, yeah.

TALIESIN: The blow-up stuff.

TRAVIS: I love Fuddruckers.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Yep. Fuddruckers, the blow-up stuff.

TRAVIS: Buns are so good.

LAURA: They're so salty.

TALIESIN: I love Fuddruckers.

MARISHA: I know, right?

MATT: All right.

LAURA: Let's find the entrance.

MATT: So as the rangers begin to scatter and build a perimeter at that point, with the Sending Stone remaining within Essek's control and with Dagen as well, you begin to make your way--

TRAVIS and LAURA: ♪ Making my way ♪

MATT: There it is. You let me down, man.

SAM: (laughs) I'm waiting for the more interesting ones now.

MATT: Oh, he's evolved. (laughter)

TRAVIS: We don't play on easy anymore. We're down here slumming.

SAM: Yep.

MATT: All righty.

SAM: Next time you say the word "shaking," just get ready. Just get ready.

MATT: (sighs) Every group needs a Sam Riegel. Following Caduceus' lead, you head over towards what is, to you, the familiar space. Already around this craggy cliff face to where this entrance is, you can see elements of broken stairs and structures that peek out from under the white powder. Numerous shards of history, essentially, left a crumble and vaguely remind you of something once great that fell in this space. You can see the entire side of this, it looks like an ice mountain with bits of blackened stone and rock jutting out. It is not smooth by any means. It looks like it was punctured with heavy force and then frozen in time. And elements of it fold outward in these awkward angles, like there was a quake to shift any sort of rigid structure and then lock it into place. And as you get closer, you can see, some of these ridges extend like it's a heavily serrated cliff face. Some of them bend around themselves, causing pockets, areas where you can almost step into one of these small ridges in the cliff face and disappear around a corner before it comes to a close and ends.

ASHLEY: Cool.

MATT: And the one that you recognize is one of the heavier ones. And as you watch Caduceus step into this space and you come around the corner, you can see a very faint sliver of it, about two feet wide and about four and a half, five feet tall, that opens into the ice and deeply within where the light cannot touch. You know this to be what the Wild Mother showed you.

TALIESIN: (exhaling deeply) Well, we're here. That's unsettling.

MARISHA: Shall we peek in a little bit? Come back?

TALIESIN: Let's put some light up and-- still feel itchy, like we're being watched. Just can't get it out of my skin.

LIAM: We're about to poke around somewhere that nobody's poked in quite a long time.

TALIESIN: I hope not.

MARISHA: This whole place has bad vibes.

TALIESIN: Bad vibes. Well.

MATT: Speaking of bad vibes.

SAM: Uh-oh.

MATT: Caduceus. As you're looking over the space, you think you hear something... shift behind you all.

TALIESIN: I'm going to pull everybody into the-- just going to quietly grab everyone and move them into the blackness and I'm going to turn around and look out.

MATT: Okay, the dark space, it's quite small.

TALIESIN: Oh.

MATT: You can get in, it's about two feet wide and four and a half feet tall. So you can go in single file, if you'd like.

TALIESIN: I'm just going to quietly turn around and point and see if I can see anything in that shifting, from where that shifting came. Did it come from above or did it come from--

LAURA: Did it come from--

MARISHA: Yeah, where did it come from?

LAURA: Inside or outside?

MARISHA: Outside.

MATT: It came from the outside.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Not from the inside.

LIAM: Behind us, from where we came from.

MATT: Yeah, as you all are stepping into this space, because right now it's just Caduceus in the crevasse and talking to you while you guys are on the outside of it.

MARISHA: Every guard is dead.

MATT: But you hear the sound.

LAURA: Oh my god.

LIAM: (sighing)

MATT: Beauregard, as he gives you that expression and glances over, you and Caleb, you all look at each other. And right as you turn back towards the rest of the group that's right beside you, you see the white snow that fills the space, part of it begins to bow upward.

LAURA: Oh, fucking hell.

MATT: And drift off the edges.

SAM: What?

LIAM: A security system.

MATT: As a massive blue hand (whooshing) darts out of the snow and reaches forward. If you can roll a d6 for me.

LAURA: A massive blue-- how big of a blue hand?

TRAVIS: Five.

MATT: Five.

LAURA: (gasping)

LIAM: Frost giant?

ASHLEY: Like Cabin in the Woods?

MATT: Make an athletics check for me, yes.

ASHLEY: Me? Okay, okay.

TRAVIS: Oh, I rolled to you? I'm sorry.

SAM: ♪ Roll to me ♪

ASHLEY: Oh, that's not good. Okay, okay.

TRAVIS: I only hope this is one thing.

ASHLEY: 12 total.

MATT: 12.

LAURA: Oh.

MARISHA: Mm.

MATT: You, without even noticing this, suddenly hear the sound of the shifting and this heavy-- (stone shifting) heavy movement behind you as you whip around to turn and you feel this impact from behind and suddenly your arms are restrained to your sides and you're lifted off the ground. The rest of you watch, as stepping out of a pocket of the earth here that you all were stepping over coming towards the entrance, what looks to be a massive humanoid, standing upwards around 20 or so feet tall, their flesh blue and white with white fur and armor, but you can see where the face is, the flesh is torn away halfway down, exposing its skull, the jaw itself partially unhinged, with bits of frozen viscera just dangling like red-purple icicles outside of the face. As it lands up-- (squealing) you see-- (stone shifting) as two more begin to rise out of the ground nearby. (panicked yelling) I need you all to roll initiative. (panicked screaming)

TRAVIS: Wait! No, more than one?!

SAM: This combat is brought to you by Dwarven Forge, makers of premium, hand-crafted gaming terrain, hand-sculpted, hand-painted, nearly indestructible-- is that true? Learn more at dwarvenforge.com. No, yes, dwarvenforge.com. P.S., Don't read this aloud, but please tell Sam that we love him and wish he would call more. Hugs, DF.

TRAVIS: Oh.

SAM: Delve into the Seacave of Secrets at bit.ly/dwarvenforgecr.

TRAVIS: Oh shit.

ASHLEY: You know when you have your die and you're like, this isn't going to roll well, and then it does roll shit.

LAURA: It's like you instill it with that negative energy as you think it, so just don't use it. Anytime you feel that, don't do it.

ASHLEY: Don't do it? I know, I know.

SAM: Well.

LAURA: Serious.

MATT: You all were gathered around this space.

LAURA: If you get that vibe, don't use it.

LIAM: That is hogwash. [dramatic trumpets]

ALL: (dramatic trumpets)

LIAM: You're a good actor, you're selling it, but it's not real.

LAURA: It's the truth. Putting it in there.

SAM: Maybe Yasha will be mind controlled

LAURA: Sometimes you'll be like, "Oh my god--" and attack us like normal.

LAURA: "I'm getting really good feels on this one."

ASHLEY: Right from the get-go.

LIAM: I'm really angry at dice, but that's nothing.

SAM: (humming to music)

LIAM: Oh!

TRAVIS: Oh, they are! Yes!

MARISHA: Oh my god!

TRAVIS: I've waited!

MARISHA: Zombies.

TRAVIS: My whole D&D life!

MATT: Yasha, you are currently being held by this fellow here.

TRAVIS: I love Jotunheim.

LIAM: Oh!

SAM: What is Jotunheim?

LIAM: He's on a Thor kick.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: Oh.

LAURA: (laughs)

TRAVIS: Frost or storm giants. Storm giant would be the--

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

LAURA: So this is frost giants?

TRAVIS: They're the apex.

TALIESIN: Zombie frost giants.

ASHLEY: The frost giants are my ancestors.

TRAVIS: Yeah, exactly.

SAM: Ooh, that one's got Skeletor legs!

LAURA: Whoa.

TRAVIS: Wow!

LAURA: That's a full-on skeleton zombie.

TRAVIS: What!

MATT: As they all begin to rise out, you can suddenly feel the wave of necrotic energy just emanate from the space below. Your presence rousing them from some sort of slumber. Uncertain as to what called them up, whether they died here and have risen, or they were installed here as a defense, you are uncertain. All you know is shit's about to go down.

TRAVIS: Oh fuck, in a big way. (laughs) Oh shit.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: 25 to 20.

LAURA: Oh, I haven't even rolled!

MATT: Roll initiative!

SAM: Roll initiative!

TALIESIN: I forgot what I rolled. I literally forgot what I rolled. Okay, just shit.

MATT: 25 to 20, anybody? 20 to 15?

ASHLEY: 17.

TRAVIS: Are you the top? You're the top.

MARISHA: Wow.

SAM: 16.

MARISHA: 15.

TRAVIS: We really could have done better. Really could have done better.

MARISHA: Yep, yep.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay.

MATT: 15 to 10?

TRAVIS: 13.

LAURA: 10.

TRAVIS: Oh man.

LAURA: I didn't even write down the order.

TRAVIS: I got it.

MATT: Caduceus, Caleb?

TALIESIN: Eight.

LIAM: Six.

MATT: All right.

LIAM: Right where I like to be.

MARISHA: Wait, what was that?

LIAM: At the bottom.

MATT: All righty.

MARISHA: Oh, I missed it all.

MATT: Yasha, you are up first.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: You are currently grappled by this creature. You are lifted up off the ground, your blade's not even drawn and your arms are just held to your side. What are you going to do?

ASHLEY: Okay, so I would like to rage.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: All right. Hell yeah.

ASHLEY: Who fucking did it right? I did. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Okay, so. Now what do I do? Okay, so raging, and I'm going to try to break the grapple.

MATT: Okay, well, the first thing I need you to do is go ahead and make a constitution saving throw.

LAURA: Oh no. Oh no.

TRAVIS: Constitution.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay.

TALIESIN: You get a bonus for that?

ASHLEY: I'm feeling this one. Ooh, okay. Natural 19, plus eight, 27.

MARISHA: Oh!

MATT: Okay. Yeah, you sense in the proximity of it, this skin that's touching you is freezing cold and it would be cutting to your bones, except for the fact that you are an awesome bitch. (laughter)

MATT: So what are you doing with the rest of your turn?

ASHLEY: Okay, so let me try to-- I'm going to try to break the grapple.

MATT: Okay, so go ahead and roll an athletics check for me. Athletics or acrobatics, your choice. But I assume it's athletics and you have advantage because you're raging.

TRAVIS: I can't stop looking at the map. I can't even think.

ASHLEY: Okay, great. 26.

MATT: 26. You break free from its grasp, immediately leaping back into the snow. Right there, adjacent to it, off to its side. That is your action to break free, but you are no longer being held by the entity.

ASHLEY: That's my turn.

MATT: You draw your weapon?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: All right.

ASHLEY: (laughs) I draw my weapon. While I'm standing there, I take out the Holy Avenger, because I'm getting ready to use it for the first time!

MATT: You got it, you got it. All right! That finishes your go, Yasha. Veth, you are up. Beauregard, you are on deck.

SAM: I assume that this giant has reached down to get Yasha, right?

MATT: It grabbed her first. A hand came out from underneath, and then it stood up and lifted her up with it. So just now got up mostly onto its feet before she burst out of its hand to the side.

SAM: Is its hand close-ish to her height, to the ground-ish?

MATT: I'd say it's three or four feet from her, yeah.

SAM: Okay, only because this is the only time I'm ever going to get a chance to do this. I'm going to do the move from our animated opening where in the opening it's Nott, but she runs up a giant's arm and shoots a giant in the head as she goes.

MATT: You want to do it? You want to do it?

SAM: I'm just going to do that exact move.

MATT: Let's give it a shot.

ASHLEY: Let's do it.

MATT: Make an acrobatics check for me.

ASHLEY: Come on.

MARISHA: Make it true!

SAM: Two. (laughter) But, but! But I believe I get an automatic 10 on acrobatics.

MATT: You do.

SAM: Plus a plus-10, so my lowest acrobatics roll is 20.

MATT: Which is more than enough. So after Yasha breaks out of its grasp and it stumbles for a second. It begins to pull back. You dart around, leap onto its hand and then, (footsteps) running up its shoulder, jump off of it?

SAM: She shoots him in the head and she goes past its head or something?

MATT: Yeah, so go ahead and make the attack. As you are currently running up its arm and onto its back.

LAURA: Aw, I love when she does this!

SAM: A 19. A 19 plus 11. 30 to hit!

MATT: That definitely hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

SAM: Do I get sneak attack?

MATT: Yes, you do.

SAM: Because it's engaged with Yasha? Yeah. Oh, yeah. Okay, good.

MATT: Now I need you to make a constitution saving throw for me as well.

SAM: Okay. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

TRAVIS: Okay, okay, okay.

SAM: 28 points of damage. Constitution save is a 19, plus two, 21.

MATT: You're fine. So how much damage was that?

LAURA: 28.

SAM: 28 points of damage.

MATT: Nice. So as you run up the side from behind, shoot it in the back of the head and then leap off, landing on the ground. You guys watch the front of it. One side of its face is sloughed off and is hanging. The other one has one bright-white milky eye that's looking while the other one is hanging outward. The one that's currently in there, fine, starts it's glancing around before (impacts).

SAM: Oh!

MATT: It gets struck from behind by a bolt and even that's now dislodged a little bit out that side.

LAURA: Gross!

MATT: (groans) If it was alive, it would be unhappy.

ASHLEY: They're naturally looking rough.

MATT: Yes.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay.

TALIESIN: They're always looking rough.

MATT: But well struck.

SAM: Can I bonus action or is that it?

MATT: You can bonus action.

SAM: I'll bonus action, take one more shot.

ASHLEY: Got it.

MATT: Okay, got for it.

SAM: Natural 20.

MARISHA: Oh!

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

MATT: Which means you get another attack.

SAM: So that's seven points of damage. It fires again for a 26.

MATT: Yeah, so go ahead and roll.

SAM: For another 11 points of damage.

MATT: Nice! Good round.

ASHLEY: Very good round.

TRAVIS: Come on, man.

SAM: I'll take it.

LIAM: Way to play off the animated opening.

MATT: You leap off and land and right as you're holding it behind you, it just goes off twice. You're like, "Oh shit!" Sticks up into the side of its body. Doesn't seem to react. No pain, but it's definitely carving into it. All right, that finishes your go. Beau, you are up.

MARISHA: All right, I'm going to swing round and I'm going to swing wide so that I'm kind of--

MATT: Make a constitution saving throw for me, please.

MARISHA: Make a constitu-- okay.

TRAVIS: Are you touching it?

MARISHA: Okay.

LAURA: Oh, it's anything within--

MARISHA: Within a certain, all right. That's-- Mm, that's not good.

SAM: Uh-oh.

MARISHA: I am going to spend a ki point to re-roll.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: One of 27 ki points.

MARISHA: Yes.

LIAM: Did she ignore that rule?

MARISHA: That is much better. Okay, that is 25 total.

MATT: 25 total? Yes. The cold emanating from this zombified giant does not quite stick to your insides, as you continue your turn. What are you doing?

MARISHA: Okay, I'm going to swing round. I want to get in between these two on this side.

MATT: On this side?

MARISHA: Yeah. I'm going to leap up on that guy's leg that's right there. I'm going to grab onto his belt and I'm going to kidney punch!

MATT: All right, go for it. Roll for attack.

TRAVIS: Do the center.

MARISHA: Yes.

LAURA: The one holding Yasha?

MARISHA: The one that was holding Yasha, yes. Okay. 21?

MATT: 21 hits, yeah.

MARISHA: That is-- Okay, that is 15 points of damage.

MATT: 15 points of damage, nice.

MARISHA: I rolled pretty good. Stunning Strike.

SAM: Ooh.

MATT: That is a 19.

MARISHA: He saves. Again, my second kidney punch. That is really bad. That is a natural one.

MATT: Natural one? You grab, you get one punch in the side and as you pull back, your fist actually punctured into its body and pulls back some of that thick, cold liquid that's frozen to your fist and as you go to punch again, it actually insulates it from the impact, so the second hit has no effect. You have to shatter this purple ice off your fist.

MARISHA: Eww! And I drop down and I'm just going to do two bicycle kicks on the way down, Flurry of Blows.

MATT: Go for it. (laughs) How'd that go again?

MARISHA: A-Flurry of Blows! Pop, pop, pop!

LAURA: (laughs)

MARISHA: Well, that's good. That's good. 20 total.

LIAM: One year into lockdown, folks.

MARISHA: And 30 total. 20 and 30.

MATT: Both hit.

MARISHA: All right. All right. Good, good, good, good. 15 damage again.

MATT: Awesome.

MARISHA: Oh, Stunning Strike.

MATT: 18.

MARISHA: Son of a bitch. So close. And nine damage.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

MARISHA: I'm going to save them.

MATT: You're going to save it?

LAURA: What's the save on a stun?

MARISHA: 17.

LAURA: But is it a wisdom save?

MARISHA: Constitution.

LAURA: Constitution? Okay.

MARISHA: You said they were rolling really well?

LAURA: On constitution.

MARISHA: Stunning Strike, I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it. One more.

MATT: 21.

LIAM: I would think a dead body that can survive the cold--

MATT: It's progressively rolled higher.

LIAM: -- is going to have a high con.

MARISHA: ♪ Higher, higher and higher ♪ Yeah, agreed. But it's my trick.

LIAM: Yeah, you've got to do it.

MARISHA: Got to do it.

MATT: You've got to.

LIAM: Got to play to win.

MARISHA: Extract Aspects.

MATT: All right, so as you bludgeon it on the way down, your feet kicking into it, you can see part of the flesh strip off and hit the ground, landing next to you. The smell is awful. Actually, you open some normally frozen-off interior but gathering that one, it's probably immune to cold, as well as poison, being an undead creature. And it cannot be poisoned.

MARISHA: Cannot be poisoned?

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: But that's it.

MARISHA: But that's it.

MATT: Everything else seems to be open season.

MARISHA: All right, I just shout out: Avoid cold, obviously, and poison.

TALIESIN: Obviously.

MARISHA: It's pretty rank in there. (gags)

MATT: All right. That finishes-

MARISHA: Smells like low tide.

MATT: Kind of, yeah. That finishes your go?

MARISHA: Yes.

MATT: It's now their go.

LAURA: Ugh.

MATT: So as you're saying this, the one that's above you, it glances down after you've just beat into its knee and its side and it's now pushed-out eye with the bolt sticking through it, you see it begins to glow but flicker, the other one that's hanging, dangling slightly begins to glow blue.

LIAM: Oh no.

MATT: Marisha, if you could make a constitution saving throw for me, please.

SAM, LIAM, and LAURA: Oh no.

TALIESIN: It's he center one?

MATT: Center one, yeah.

MARISHA: All right, okay. 22.

MATT: 22? Nice, all right.

MARISHA: I rolled pretty high.

MATT: As it begins to look down towards you, you see it-- and this blast of cold energy streaks down from its face and you just barely manage to drift off to the side and it scoots past you and you brace in for just being in the proximity of that beam, but to no effect.

MARISHA: Its got lasers? They've got cold lasers?

LAURA: They've got cold lasers.

MARISHA: They've got cold lasers! (laughter)

LIAM: Have you been drinking the Natty Lights?

MARISHA: No, but dibs on one.

LIAM: All right.

MATT: The other one on this side--

SAM: They drink real smooth.

LAURA: The skelly one?

MATT: No, no. This one right there.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: This massive blade, this pockmarked, rusted giant cleaver-like blade in its hand. Looks down and it's going to go ahead and look towards you. I need you to make a constitution saving throw for me as well, Jester.

LAURA: No! But do I get resistance because I'm cold resistant?

MATT: We'll find out.

LAURA: Oh, no! I'm the first one! Nine! Oh!

MATT: Oh no.

LAURA: Oh no, oh no Should I get advantage on it, though?

MATT: No, you do not.

LIAM: But I'm so cute. (laughter)

MARISHA: That's a lot of dice.

LAURA: That's a lot of dice!

MATT: You take 38 points of cold damage. You are resistant to,

LAURA: Uh-huh?

MATT: -- so you take half that.

LAURA: Oh good!

MATT: So that's--

LAURA: 16?

MATT: 19?

LAURA: 19.

MATT: 19 points of cold damage.

LIAM: 38, 18.

LAURA: 38, 19.

LIAM: 38, split in half?

LAURA: 19. Nine plus nine is 18.

LIAM: I don't know what's going on. (laughter)

TRAVIS: We're not here for math.

MATT: Yeah, it's fine.

LAURA: Oh no, are you going to freeze me?

MATT: You guys watch as this beam streaks out of its face and as it hits Jester, she locks into place. Ice coalesces around parts of your body.

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: And you are paralyzed.

SAM: Ooh!

MARISHA: I just said watch out for the cold laser!

TRAVIS: Paralyzed?

SAM: Jester, no!

TRAVIS: But because of the ice, she's--

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Is she still trying to get out but the ice is keeping her in place or is she--

MATT: The ice is formed around her and she's locked in place.

LIAM: (groans)

SAM: Hm.

MATT: That finishes that one's turn. This one--

ASHLEY: Skeletor.

LAURA: God! (gasps) Oh no, he's going to hit me now.

MATT: Charges up.

SAM: Is he going to shatter you?

LIAM: Yeah, that's what I was--

MARISHA: No!

MATT: A massive great ax in its hands.

LAURA: I'm going to die, you guys, this is the moment.

MATT: And it's going to take two swings at the now-paralyzed Jester.

LAURA: Does that mean he gets--

MATT: It means he gets advantage on it.

MARISHA: Wait, what can we do?

MATT: And if they hit, they're auto-crits against you.

LAURA: Oh no.

SAM: But you're resistant to cold?

MATT: That is 24 to hit.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: And the second one. Yeah, that's a 20-- no, that's a 28 to hit. So they both hit.

TALIESIN: Do I get to cancel one of the criticals?

MATT: If you're within range.

TALIESIN: I'm within range.

MATT: You are.

SAM: Okay, okay.

MATT: So the first one does not crit.

LAURA: What if I shatter?

SAM: The first one doesn't-- okay.

LIAM: Because of Caduceus' mojo.

MATT: So the first hit, you take--

SAM: This suddenly isn't fun anymore.

MARISHA: No!

MATT: 28 points of slashing damage.

TALIESIN: Oh wow.

MATT: As one carves into her side and sends her into the air. Almost like golf swing, knocks her up in the air. You see this blast of divine grayish energy that seems to sheer it off a bit, not quite going for a kill hit like it wanted and instead knocking her up into the air and as she's frozen and spinning, it winds up from that first strike and (grunts) its mostly-skeletal body goes for a second strike against you.

LAURA: Is this the actual crit?

MATT: This is the actual crit.

MARISHA: Did you do the thing?

LAURA: He did it the first time.

LIAM: For one of them.

LAURA: He can only do it once.

LIAM: Because they're auto-crits. So he uncritted a crit and the other one critted.

MATT: You take 50 points of slashing damage. (groaning)

MATT: From the secondary strike.

SAM: 19 plus 50 plus 28?

LAURA: Yeah, I'm down 100 points from that one.

SAM: But you're still up?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: You're so good.

MATT: And that's going to finish their turn. So, now--

LAURA: Am I paralyzed on the ground now?

MATT: You are, yeah.

LAURA: Oh no, I shouldn't say this about myself.

TALIESIN: Hmm.

LAURA: Did I take damage as I fell?

MATT: No, I'm cinematically flavoring the blow. I'm not going to damage you for my own cinematic flavor.

SAM: Clearly Sprinkle was somewhere else.

MATT: We'll say six damage of that attack was you falling. So you're fine. It's included in it. But you all watch as suddenly these entities just swarm up. One of them is battling the sudden charging and running around of ant-like beings that are the Mighty Nein on it, while the other two go towards Jester at once and strike heavily into her, bringing her nearly down in one round. Fjord, you're up. Jester, you're on deck.

TRAVIS: Right, that totally changes what I was going to do. Appalled by what's happening in front of me, I will run up next to Jester. I will run in front of her and turn my back to the giants. I will place both of my hands on either side of her face.

MATT: Need you to make a constitution saving throw for me, please.

TRAVIS: Sure.

LAURA: Oh no, what if you freeze?

TRAVIS: 21.

MATT: 21. You managed to resist the numbing aura. Continue, please.

TRAVIS: I place my hands on either side of her face and say: Time to go, and I will cast Thunder Step, and if she is willing, I can bring one extra person with me.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

TRAVIS: And it will deal--

LAURA: We've got to fight it.

TRAVIS: -- 5d10 thunder damage to anything-- sorry-- within 10 feet of me, but it'll take us 90 feet in the direction of my choice.

MATT: Which direction do you want to go?

TRAVIS: Straight behind them, straight opposite of-- yeah.

MATT: 90 feet? You want to go full distance?

TRAVIS: Just behind that, more towards Marisha's chair.

MATT: Over here?

TRAVIS: That's great, yeah.

MATT: You got it, okay.

LIAM: Is Essek with us?

MATT: He is.

TRAVIS: Just to be specific about it, let's go right here.

LIAM: Thank god.

MATT: Thank you. I'm so used to putting you guys on the board. That's okay, he rolled low initiative anyway.

TRAVIS: I'll go right here, Matt.

MATT: Over there?

TRAVIS: Right there, yeah.

MATT: Got it. Okay.

LIAM: Oh, that's a cool angle.

TRAVIS: 5d10.

TALIESIN: Oh that's cool.

LIAM: I can't tell the depth anymore, but it looks real great.

TRAVIS: 16. 10. Oh, and one more. 31 points of thunder damage.

MATT: And what's the save?

TRAVIS: 18 constitution.

MATT: All right, so that fellow there succeeds. So he takes nine. That guy does not succeed. So he takes 18. All right, I need Yasha and Caleb to make constitution saving throws.

LIAM: 17.

MATT: 18 points of thunder damage to you.

LIAM: Okay.

ASHLEY: 20.

MATT: You take nine points of thunder damage.

LIAM: I failed that? Man.

MATT: You did.

ASHLEY: Nine, did you say?

MATT: You take nine, yeah.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: You watch as Fjord rushes over, grabs Jester, and then they both vanish and in a brief moment where they were, there's this little pocket, and it emits this explosive concussive energy. Like a lightning strike, it hit, and the thunderous wave blasts out, damaging both of the undead giants, and both of you, unfortunately, because of your proximity.

TRAVIS: Did they only get nine and 18 for a reason? It was 31 points of damage.

MATT: Oh, my brain totally went off on that. I think because I rolled a 19--

TRAVIS: Sorry to give you more.

MATT: Sorry. So it was 31? 31 to you, Caleb.

LIAM: Hold on, hold on.

TRAVIS: I think it was 30 or 31.

LIAM: Let me max myself out first and then lose 31, okay. 31.

MATT: And then it's 15, we'll say, to you, Yasha.

TRAVIS: It might've been 30. I can't remember.

MATT: Take one more point, it's good.

TRAVIS: It's come down to one point before.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: That's true, that's true. Well, we'll deal with it if we come to it. All right, that brings us to--

ASHLEY: I still take half because--

MATT and TRAVIS: Because you made your save.

ASHLEY: That's right, I rolled to--

MATT: Yeah, you rolled good.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay.

MATT: It's okay. Jester, you are still paralyzed, unfortunately. That ends your turn. It is now Essek's go.

LIAM: Now playing for Den Thelyss.

TRAVIS: Actually--

LIAM: Essek, Essek, Essek.

TRAVIS: Could I, because that was not the full part of my turn--

MATT: Sure, because you have more movement--

TRAVIS: More movement and a bonus. Could I use the next 20 feet, let's say? Or 15 feet, to come around this way.

MATT: This way or this way?

TRAVIS: To, yeah, this direction over here.

MATT: Okay, that's 20 feet there.

TRAVIS: Am I within 30 feet of that giant in the center?

MATT: Unfortunately, no. He is about 35, 40 feet from you.

TRAVIS: All right, fair enough. I'll retract that last 10 and just put myself back behind cover and that'll be my turn.

MATT: Okay, no worries.

TRAVIS: Thanks.

MATT: All right, now for Essek's go.

TRAVIS: Every turn counts.

MATT: Essek, seeing this go very poorly very quickly, glancing about and sees you holding out the holy sword, and just goes, (sighs) "I suppose you're the one to light them up?" And he's going to go ahead and bring his hands forward and as he begins to put his hands outward, you see this image of a clock made of ethereal energy and on the face of it you see this almost metallic image of you on it and as he grabs it, he spins it and cranks it like a wheel and as it does, you feel your body suddenly begin to surge with energy. Time begins to almost slow down around you. You are hasted.

SAM: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Cool.

TRAVIS: Oh, he hasted the barbarian.

MARISHA: Yeah. Dope.

TALIESIN: That's how it's done.

TRAVIS: I'll buy a ticket to that show.

MARISHA: Uh-huh.

MATT: With that, he is going to move (chuckles) and he's like, (groans). He does that and looks over and sees that guy and goes, "Well, um." (laughter)

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: Drifts into the corner with his fists up, looking over towards you, Caleb, and Caduceus around the corner, and he's like, "Trust!" (laughs nervously) All right.

LIAM: It's three undead giants and two librarians in the corner.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

MATT: Yep, yep.

TRAVIS: Totally fine. (laughs)

MATT: All right, Caduceus, you are up. Caleb, you're on deck.

LIAM: Ja.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

LAURA: Do it. Do it, Caduceus.

TALIESIN: A lot of options have been taken away from me due to the territory. Who's within 30 feet of me? Let's see, one, two, three.

LIAM: Essek, Caleb, Yasha.

TALIESIN: Is it just Essek, Caleb and Yasha?

MATT: Essek, Caleb and Yasha and Beauregard.

TALIESIN: Okay, so one, two, three, four, five.

MATT: Oh, I'm going to sneeze.

TALIESIN: Just because this is probably going to be a problem for a while, I'm just going to do a Bless blast and I'm going to hit everybody, including myself.

MARISHA and MATT: Bless blast!

TALIESIN: Bless blast. Everyone within 30 feet of me gets a d4 on all saves and attacks.

LIAM: Oh my god, have you tried the new Raspberry Bless Blast?

TALIESIN: Bless Blast!

ASHLEY: d4 to saves and attacks?

TALIESIN: And attacks. So when you attack, you add a d4. When you roll a save, you add a d4.

MATT: You, Yasha, Caleb.

LIAM: It's saves and-- we've done it a billion times. It's saves and what again?

TALIESIN: It's saves and attacks. Attack doesn't help you at all, but the saves do.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: And who else did you say?

TALIESIN: That and I think everyone within 30 feet of me.

MATT: Got you. So that would be there and Beauregard as well.

TALIESIN: Let's see. One, two, three, four. And Essek, yeah. That's what I got. Is there anything I can do as a fucking bonus action, or is this just like my fucking bullshit?

SAM: You made this character.

TALIESIN: He has nothing good for bonus action. I guess for my bonus action, for the moment, because this not going to be useful later, I'm just going to turn invisible.

SAM: Sure.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: And then get a little cover in that hole.

SAM: ♪ Get a little cover ♪

MATT: You move ever so carefully into the dark space.

TALIESIN: Just getting a little distance from whatever the fuck this is.

MATT: Fair enough. Finishing your go. Caleb, you're up. Yasha, you're on deck.

LIAM: Okay, I will go just five feet diagonally towards the ice wall there so I'm right next to Essek.

MATT: Here?

LIAM: No, other way. Against the wall, please.

MATT: Against the wall, you got it.

LIAM: Pulling a cocoon out of my satchel and I begin to cast, pointing towards the undamaged one there, and I will turn that undead giant, hopefully, into a sloth.

MATT: Into a sloth? Okay. What is the--

LIAM: It's wisdom and it's 18.

TALIESIN: (whistles)

MATT: To this one here?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: That is a failure.

TRAVIS: Yes!

LIAM: Then I will continue. To Essek, really quickly I will say: See you on the other side of the war. And slide along the ice towards this new sloth and get as close as I can. Look at that cute little frog!

ASHLEY: Look at that.

MATT: That's about as close as you can get with your movement.

LIAM: Yeah, that's too close to the giant. Could I stay against the wall, please?

MATT: You can.

LIAM: GM? Thank you.

MATT: That's why I need your guidance. You got it right. So you watch as it (groans, whooshing)

LIAM: Don't. Hit. The sloth! (laughter)

TRAVIS: Important note for a group like ours!

MATT: Yeah, yeah.

TALIESIN: Fluffernutter.

MARISHA: Yep.

TRAVIS: Everybody just stops fighting and turns.

MATT: (laughs)

TALIESIN: Even the giants.

TRAVIS: "Okay?"

MATT: Indeed. All right, that finishes your go, Caleb.

LIAM: Ja.

MATT: Yasha, you're up.

ASHLEY: Okay. Going to use this Holy Avenger for the first time.

TRAVIS: Fucking go!

ASHLEY: So hold it, and I'm going to try to-- I'm going to take my first swing against the Big Blue.

MATT: Right there?

ASHLEY: Yep.

MATT: You got it.

ASHLEY: Okay. (groans)

SAM: Sword breaks.

MATT: Now, looking at this--

TALIESIN: Plus d4-

MATT: -- you are flanked, technically, which I forgot earlier from placement-wise. You are catty corner with Beauregard.

ASHLEY: Oh, yes!

MATT: So you would have advantage on these strikes.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay.

TALIESIN: And a d4.

MARISHA: Yes!

ASHLEY: Oh, goddamn it! Both bad!

MATT: And a d4, because of the blessing.

ASHLEY: It's not going to do-- it's a two.

TALIESIN: Oh, they're both--

ASHLEY: Well, hold on, hold on. (chatters)

SAM and LIAM: (mimic chattering)

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay. So--

LIAM: What's your Haste--?

ASHLEY: 15?

MATT: 15?

ASHLEY: Wait, hold on. Does Haste do anything? No. Okay.

MATT: 15 just hits. (cheering)

MARISHA: Work it, boys!

ASHLEY: Worth it! Okay, okay, okay.

TALIESIN: War class! (grunts)

MATT: So that first strike hits, carves into it! Go ahead and roll damage on that.

ASHLEY: Okay.

TRAVIS: I don't know if you're feeling it or not.

ASHLEY: All right, let's do these three.

TALIESIN: If I hadn't totally blessed you--

LIAM: I made one a sloth, but don't hit it, please. Oh, you are frozen.

MARISHA: That would have been slappable.

ASHLEY: Savage Attacker, that wasn't great. Much better!

TALIESIN: Mighty punch.

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: Holy Punch?

TRAVIS: Holy Punch.

MARISHA: Holy Punches?

SAM: Holy Punch!

ASHLEY: Sorry, math.

MATT: We're sorry, math.

LAURA and TALIESIN: Sorry, math!

MATT: We abuse you so much.

LIAM: Six years in: "Sorry, math."

ASHLEY: Okay, 30.

MARISHA: We owe it that much.

SAM: 30 points of damage?

ASHLEY: 30 points of damage, but if I hit a fiend or an undead with it, that creature takes an extra 2d10 damage.

MATT: Indeed! With the Holy Avenger, it does.

TRAVIS: Let's go, stats!

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay!

TRAVIS: Let's go, barbarian!

ASHLEY: Here we go, here we go!

MARISHA: Stats, stats, stats, stats!

ASHLEY: Boy, I haven't rolled 10s in a minute.

LIAM: I want to see you in a Yasha-colored jersey and face paint.

TRAVIS: Yes! I have a big-ass foam finger.

LAURA: Oh my god.

ASHLEY: 15 additional points.

LAURA: I want to be tall.

SAM: That's 45.

ASHLEY: 45?

MATT: So Ashley--

SAM: You're hasted, don't you get another attack?

LIAM: Yep.

ASHLEY: I do.

MATT: Well, you have two attacks and then you have a bonus action attack if you want it with Haste.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: Well, no. You have a bonus action and an additional attack. That's right, because Haste give you four.

ASHLEY: So three attacks plus a bonus?

MATT: Plus a bonus, yeah.

ASHLEY: Holy mackerel! Okay, so, okay. (laughter) Second, second-- Second hit.

SAM: We're going to be here for a while.

ASHLEY: Natural 20. (cheering)

TRAVIS: Okay, take your time. Add it all up.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay.

MATT: So Brutal Critical.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MARISHA: All the dice.

ASHLEY: So second hit is 2d6.

MATT: Correct.

ASHLEY: So let me-- Come on, roll well because I already did Savage Attacker.

TRAVIS: Like doing your taxes.

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: Don't equate that.

LAURA: (laughs)

ASHLEY: Okay, okay. So you roll the dice rolled? The dice rolled is what you double.

MATT: Correct.

LIAM: Right.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay. So that would be, (laughs) hold on. Okay, 12. So it wasn't crazy.

MATT: Including that extra 2d10.

SAM: Maybe out next theme song should just be instructions for how to roll damage.

TRAVIS: Yep, yeah.

MARISHA: Yeah. Just a "Schoolhouse Rock" song.

LIAM: Yeah, yeah. Like a--

TRAVIS: ♪ Roll your d20 ♪

LIAM: ♪ The leg bone connected to the-- ♪

TRAVIS: ♪ To see if you're hit ♪

SAM: ♪ Then if you do consult your character sheet ♪

LIAM: ♪ Attack roll before the damage roll ♪

ASHLEY: 12, total for the 2d10. So I double both of those?

MATT: Well, you double the dice as well.

ASHLEY: So it's six.

MATT: So 12 plus 12?

LIAM: ♪ That's how we do reverse math ♪

ASHLEY: 12 plus 12, yeah.

MATT: So 24. 48 plus whatever bonuses you got on top of that.

ASHLEY: Jeez louise. 48, okay 48. 55, 58, if raging an extra three? No, no, no, that is the three. No, no, no, that's the melee. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Sorry, sorry, sorry. Figure this out in the moment.

MATT: You got it, you got it.

TRAVIS: I remember this pain.

ASHLEY: Fuck! Oh my god! What number did you say, 48?

MATT: 48.

ASHLEY: Okay, 48.

MATT: Plus three from the sword.

LIAM: Drunk with power.

MATT: Plus four from the rage, plus three from your strength. So it's plus 10 to that, so 58.

TRAVIS: 58.

ASHLEY: 58.

MATT: 58 points of damage, I'm pretty sure. Somewhere in the neighborhood. Regardless, how do you want to do this? (cheering) That was a heavy cleave on him.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay.

TRAVIS: Plus Holy Avenger damage, plus Brutal Critical.

ASHLEY: I'm going to take the Holy Avenger and I'm going to do a big fucking swing at his knee to make him bend the knee. And then, when he's down to my level, I want to (whooshing) clean off, cut off the head.

MATT: Hell yeah. As you cut through the back of the kneecap, its knee explodes and you watch it (groaning) crumble to the ground. It hits on its shoulder and its elbow and as the weight hits it, you see its whole arm dislodges from the shoulder with a sickening snapping sound as it tries to get back up. And as it does, you use the momentum to swing back up. And with that, the head just goes (whooshes, thudding) and you have to almost dodge out to the side. You guys watch as the head rolls backward and Veth, you have to sidestep it as, like a massive bowling ball, (thudding)

TRAVIS: Lasers. (zapping)

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Fuck!

MARISHA: (laughs) Yeah.

SAM: You still have two more attacks.

ASHLEY: One more attack.

TALIESIN: No.

ASHLEY: And a bonus.

TALIESIN: Two more, right?

TALIESIN and ASHLEY: No, one more attack--

MATT: One more attack and a bonus, yeah.

ASHLEY: I just hold the sword and I'm like: Oh, I love this thing!

TRAVIS: It's kind of vibrating.

ASHLEY: Okay, next attack.

MATT: Clean blade, too.

ASHLEY: Skeletor to the left.

TRAVIS: Ooh! Clean blade.

ASHLEY: Oh, that's not good.

LIAM: ♪ -- to the right now ♪

ASHLEY: Oh wait, I can roll a d4.

MARISHA: ♪ Stuck in the middle with you ♪

ASHLEY: Oh, 14!

MATT: 14 does not hit.

ASHLEY: Boo.

MARISHA: With the d4?

ASHLEY: With the d4.

MARISHA: (sighs)

ASHLEY: Yeah, I rolled bad. Okay, so then bonus action. What I'd like to do-- oh, wow! Guys, I think I know how to play D&D now. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Okay, I'm going to let out a--

MARISHA: It just clicked.

ASHLEY: Oh wait, no, that's an action. No, no, no, it's not. Okay, Zealous Presence! I spoke too soon. I'm going to let out a battle cry.

SAM: Ah!

ASHLEY: So everybody within 60 feet has advantage on attack rolls and saving throws.

LAURA: Sick!

ASHLEY: In addition to his d4, so I think we're good.

MATT: All righty.

ASHLEY: And that's my turn.

LAURA: We get it.

MATT: Cool, that finishes Yasha's go.

TRAVIS: I was almost there.

MATT: Veth, you're up.

ASHLEY: That was fun!

MATT: With Beau on deck.

LIAM: That means everybody watched her go ham and scream and everyone went--

MARISHA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: That was fun.

MARISHA: True!

TRAVIS: Yeah, terrible.

SAM: I will-- oh, I didn't think I was going to get to go again. I will just drop to one knee, stabilize my arm, aim true, and fire with advantage, right? So that's that's good for me. Mm, that's not good. 17!

MATT: 17 hits.

SAM: Okay, sneak attack damage.

TRAVIS: Loves these minis. "Minis."

SAM: 10.

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: 20, 28. 34 points of damage.

MATT: Nice!

SAM: And then I'll just shoot again because it seems like we hit these things. That one is a 23 to hit.

MATT: That hits.

SAM: For another 10 points of damage.

MATT: Slick.

SAM: And then I'll use my remainder to run towards Fjord.

TRAVIS: I'm sure it's me you're coming for.

MATT: You don't know where Fjord is. You just watched Fjord vanish.

SAM: Well, I will run. I'm running away.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Backwards. (laughs)

MATT: Now you see Fjord.

SAM: Oh, hey!

TRAVIS: Hey!

MATT: There you go.

SAM: How's Frosty over there?

TRAVIS: Frozen!

SAM: Oh god.

MATT: That finishes your go. Beau, you're up.

MARISHA: Pumped from Yasha's battle rage, I pop-pop!

MATT: Okay, towards the skeleton?

MARISHA: Yes!

TRAVIS: That's my girlfriend!

MATT: There you go, as you rush forward--

MARISHA: Ugh, she's so hot! Oh, wait, advantage, right? Okay.

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: Oh, first one. Oh, that one's cocked and it's cocked on a 20. That was a 19. Oh, that's a natural 20! (laughter)

MARISHA: He did it! He did it!

ASHLEY: Yes!

MARISHA: Oh, that was the Gil dice! Okay, okay, okay! (laughter)

MARISHA: I'm so happy!

MATT: I love it! I love this moment so much!

MARISHA: Wait, do I get a d4? No, okay, okay.

TALIESIN: That's not damage.

SAM: More math.

MARISHA: Just one die, one die right now. I rolled a one on the damage die. (laughter)

MATT: Aww.

SAM: It's doubled.

LAURA: Use your ki points--

SAM: It's doubled.

LAURA: -- to give you more!

MATT: It doesn't.

MARISHA: I can't do that.

TRAVIS: Like an EKG, just (beeping)

MARISHA: No!

LAURA: I thought it did everything!

MARISHA: No. I wish. That's the one thing!

LIAM: You just say it's dope monk shit. That fixes it.

MATT: (laughs)

MARISHA: (sighs) Okay.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

MARISHA: Well, that's eight damage. No, nine damage, because I double the one.

MATT: There you go! Nine damage critical. Whack! First strike on it.

MARISHA: It's just really stung, you know?

MATT: It did, it did.

MARISHA: Okay, okay, next one, next one.

MATT: Smacking into its hefty, thick, bony shin. This crack emerges.

MARISHA: But I think I can-- okay. Okay, 11. So 21, 23.

MATT: That hits, yeah.

MARISHA: All right.

TRAVIS: Okay, you were inspired, but still shook by Yasha's battle cry.

MARISHA: It's true.

ASHLEY: Yes!

SAM: Ashley's still doing the math over there.

MARISHA: 13 damage on that one.

ASHLEY: I actually, legitimately am. I'm like, "Okay, hold on."

MATT: What's that?

MARISHA: 13 damage.

MATT: You got it.

TRAVIS: I made sheets, like--

MARISHA: And I might as well Flurry of Blows.

MATT: Go for it, might as well.

MARISHA: Do this again.

TALIESIN: Keep hitting it til it drops.

MARISHA: Keep hitting it. And I got advantage on these, so.

SAM: Guys, it's time to stand.

MARISHA: Okay.

SAM: Watch said.

LAURA: (laughs) I'm getting the notice. (laughter)

TRAVIS: You just leave your arm hanging down.

MARISHA: 20 total.

MATT: 20 total, all righty.

LAURA: If you move a lot--

MARISHA: 14 damage on that one.

LAURA: If you move a lot while you're playing, It thinks you're walking.

MATT: Nice!

SAM: Okay.

LIAM: Gesticulate.

LAURA: It thinks that you're working out.

SAM: Hold on, I got to breathe for a minute.

MARISHA: Ooh, it's a 19!

TRAVIS: And breathe.

MARISHA: Ooh!

TRAVIS: You can still do it!

MARISHA: 15 damage.

MATT: 15 damage.

LAURA: I always get full activity--

MARISHA: And that's it!

LAURA: -- from the game.

MATT: All right, that finishes your go.

MARISHA: That finishes my go.

LAURA: Yes!

LIAM: Close those runs.

MATT: The angry frost giant now being rapidly sliced and then bludgeoned repeatedly glances down (groans) holding its giant greataxe, still at its chest height. It brings it high and wide before bringing it down, the slow but powerful arc towards you, Beauregard.

MARISHA: Okay.

LAURA: Oh no.

MARISHA: Oh, I can really see it coming!

MATT: That is a 19 to hit?

MARISHA: That misses.

MATT: That does miss.

LAURA: You got more than 19?

ASHLEY: Yes!

MARISHA: My AC is 21, yo!

LIAM: Mid- to high-level monk? Yeah, for sure.

MATT: You get something on a miss?

MARISHA: I do. Preternatural Counter!

MATT: All righty, go ahead and roll an attack.

MARISHA: Oh wait, do I get this for freesies? I get to use this for free once with my--

MATT: Yeah, it's spending--

MARISHA: Ki points for future ones.

TRAVIS: Seems like a thing.

MARISHA: Great, okay. Those are both the same thing, which is 22 total!

MATT: That hits.

MARISHA: 14 damage.

MATT: 14 damage.

TALIESIN: Fucker!

MATT: All right, so he swings down one heavy (crash) impact. He hits the ground and as the dirt and rock and snow sprays upward, Beauregard, at first you think is hit, Yasha, and all of a sudden you glance up and she's 10 feet up in the air, jumped just past it, and then comes down, whack, punching it in the face as she plummets from it landing on the ground!

ASHLEY: That's cool!

MATT: It pulls the axe.

ASHLEY: That's pretty cool!

MATT: Because it's a double-headed greataxe, it pulls upward to try and strike you as you land.

MARISHA: Uh-huh.

MATT: With a natural one. (laughs)

ASHLEY: Yes!

MATT: So that's a miss on the second strike.

MARISHA: I just do one of those sidesteps. Just like, as it just goes back up.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Super chill.

MATT: All right, that finishes its go.

MARISHA: It missed me again though, right?

MATT: It did.

MARISHA: Uh, ki point, right?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Preternatural Counter.

MATT: You can do that. You can buy an extra reaction once per turn.

MATT: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yes!

MARISHA: Oh, those are both 14s, which puts me at a 26. Nope, that's the wrong one, but I'll take that. 26 plus a four. So a 30 total.

MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

MARISHA: And I rolled an eight, so I'll take that 15 points.

MATT: How do you want to do this? (cheering)

MARISHA: (sighs) Oh my god. Well, okay. So I landed and it tries to come up one more time?

MATT: Swing upward, get you with a back swing upward to try and cleave you from sternum to top of head, just (whoosh)

MARISHA: Um, huh, as it lifts up, I'm just going to take my staff and use it right in that rib, armpit, soft spot.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MARISHA: Yeah, I'm going to take my staff and just jam it through him into his innards.

MATT: Okay, as he pulls up and exposes it and as you jam it through, there's a faint bit of blue light on the inside. Some sort of like frozen necrotic energy that's keeping it animated and as you push your staff in-between the ribs, into that centerpiece, you feel some resistance and then there's a clicking impact and, as it does, you all watch as the darkened interior of its ribcage suddenly lights up brightly. Whoosh! And as it does, you see it react. And then, just (boom) clatter into a pile of rotted bones as you withdraw and land next to it, destroyed!

TRAVIS: Nice!

LIAM: Caleb is pulling his coat off and walking up to the sloth and just sort of keeping it from walking away.

TALIESIN: Hey, fuck up that sloth!

TRAVIS: Hey, hey!

LIAM: Not that fast! Don't touch the sloth!

TRAVIS: That's a good animal to choose. It's slow as shit.

ASHLEY: It's really good.

MATT: Especially in heavy snow.

TRAVIS: Yeah. (laughs)

ASHLEY: Should we just like chuck it?

LIAM: No!

TRAVIS: No.

LIAM: No, Essek, can we call in some of your people and have them run it, oh, I don't know, 25 minutes away and leave it at the bottom of another crevice?

MATT: "I think that can be arranged." He pulls into his pocket and pulls out the stone and you hear him mutter underneath it.

LIAM: It's an hour.

LAURA: It's an hour.

MATT: It's Polymorph.

LAURA: Wow, right! I do it all the time.

MATT: Yeah!

LAURA: I would know.

TRAVIS: It's okay, you're frozen.

LAURA: I'm frozen!

LIAM: We flew across--

MATT: Which you are not anymore.

MATT: It's end of their turn. You are now un-paralyzed.

LAURA: Yay!

TRAVIS: Hey!

LAURA: Oh my god!

SAM: Are you okay?

LAURA: What?

SAM: Are you okay?

LAURA: Oh, hi, Fjord.

TRAVIS: Hey.

LAURA: Oh hi, Nott.

MATT: This does effectively--

LAURA: Veth, I'm sorry!

MATT: -- end combat.

SAM: No, it's okay. Fjord saved your life.

LIAM: "Oh, hi Mark."

SAM: He bundled you up and carried you to safety. It was very brave.

LAURA: You did?

TRAVIS: Kiss me. (lips smack) (moans)

MARISHA: (laughs)

SAM: I'm going to Mage Hand and just feel up Fjord while he's doing it.

TRAVIS: (muffled) Jester, what are you doing? (yells) (laughter)

SAM: Making things interesting.

TRAVIS: Was that you?

MATT: So Caleb, while this is happening, Essek is next to you with the sending stone in his hand just going, "All right. Interesting folk." Glancing past the whole this thing happening over there.

LAURA: (laughs)

MATT: "They'll be here shortly." And as you all begin to convene and gather, you can see the rest of the rangers are beginning to come over this way with Dagen and the other ranger leader approaching. Essek points to the sloth and immediately Dagen goes, "What the hell is that doing here?"

LIAM: (stammers) It's hard to explain. If you punch that thing, it's going to turn into an undead giant. So I want you to pick it up and spend 20 to 25 minutes--

MARISHA: Don't punch the sloth!

LIAM: -- hustling it away, and then put it down at the bottom of a ditch or something.

LAURA: Is it a sloth?

LIAM: No, this is a large rat.

LAURA: (gasps)

LIAM: Very--

LAURA: I really love rats!

LIAM: Um, but this one has a bad personality. Will you take this and go please quickly?

MATT: Dagen takes a satchel and wraps it up and holds it and lifts it onto the side of his chair and glances over, "Fucking magic."

TRAVIS: But to be clear, don't let it be hurt in any way.

TALIESIN: Don't drop it or throw it down.

TRAVIS: It will revert to something that will destroy you very quickly.

TALIESIN: Yeah, just drop it and run. Gently. Put it down, yeah.

LIAM: It's on his shoulder going--

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: He glances over and the ranger glances back at him and they both give a knowing nod and they both together smile and Dagen goes, "I think I saw just the ravine for this one."

LAURA: Aww!

SAM: This is a no kill extermination, right? We're good.

TRAVIS: (laughs) "No kill."

MATT: (as Dagen) "If this is an undead giant, it's already dead."

SAM: Okay, okay, good.

MATT: "I'll take care of it." And he goes and starts heading off as it's like fighting its way very slowly in the bag. (slow groans)

LIAM: It's actually a monk, too. It's just really slow. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Give me 10 hours. I'll get it.

LAURA: They do bite! They do bite!

TRAVIS: They do.

MATT: "(understanding groan)," he says as he continues to head off with it. Another one of the rangers accompanies, just to make sure that they have a team heading out that direction.

LAURA: They bite just like you, huh, Sprinkle?

SAM: Oh, Sprinkle's fine!

LAURA: This guy's just fine!

TRAVIS: (as Sprinkle) "I [inaudible] death!"

MARISHA: (laughs)

LIAM: Oh, his jaw fell off.

TRAVIS: (as Sprinkle) "Take me with him!"

MATT: You see Sprinkle currently has a bunch of ice caked in the fur and is sitting there like (shivering).

TRAVIS: "Show me the ravine!" (laughter)

LAURA: You'll go here!

SAM: Put me in the bag, too!

LAURA: I'll put him down my jacket so he's covered up more.

MATT: Okay, curls up to warm inside.

TRAVIS: (as Sprinkle) "Make it end!" (laughter) (as Sprinkle) "I've lived too long!" (laughing)

MATT: The rangers scatter to their respective perimeters and you all are now gathered on the outskirts of the entrance into Aeor itself. What would you like to do?

TRAVIS: We'll probably heal Jester because you've got, like, what? 12 or 14?

LAURA: I've got a few, I've-- I'm a little, I'm a little messed up right now, but I'm fine!

TRAVIS: How many hit points do you have?

LIAM: We've cleared the door, we could-- No one knows this place exists as far as we know, we could just take a moment here, yeah? Catch your breath?

LAURA: I mean--

LIAM: Rather than burn your energy.

SAM: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Sure, take a rest.

TALIESIN: Let's get a few feet inside maybe and--

MARISHA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LIAM: There's always the off-chance that my old friends are going to come up from the rear. So I'm just thinking of, just--

TALIESIN: Actually--

ASHLEY: That's right!

LIAM: Just being ready, just in case.

TALIESIN: Let's--

LIAM: As much as possible.

TALIESIN: That way, actually, if we stop here, we can keep an eye on everything. So yeah, maybe not going inside is the way to go.

SAM: How big is the entrance that we came in?

MATT: The entrance that Caduceus found?

TRAVIS: Two by four.

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: It's it's about two feet wide and about four, four and a half feet tall.

SAM: And that's it?

MATT: Well, that's as far as anyone's gone.

SAM: Oh.

TRAVIS: We do have the benefit of you--

MATT: Yeah, you all were stepping towards it when you were attacked.

SAM: We're still outside?

MATT: You're still-- this is outside.

SAM: Oh!

SAM: I thought this was like inside the cave.

TALIESIN: Oh, no.

SAM: I don't know! I don't listen much. (laughter) Real boring story, Matt.

MATT: I know.

LIAM: But you're talking like White Rabbit rabbit hole? This thing is shrinking down and in this passage?

TALIESIN: We can't see past the opening.

MATT: Just the dark entrance, the crack in the ice.

LIAM: Oh, understood.

LIAM: It could widen out.

MATT: It could.

LIAM: Could. Okay.

TRAVIS: At least if we go inside, anyone that-- I mean, they're not going to scry on us.

TALIESIN: Let's just-- There's that little pocket where we can hide and somebody can just keep-- I'll keep an eye out.

SAM: Yeah, we'll just keep watch.

TALIESIN: Across the wall to see if anyone's going to come down.

TRAVIS: [Inaudible] go in.

MATT: So are you taking a short rest? And you're taking it on the--

LIAM: We should.

SAM: Yes.

LAURA: Yeah, sure.

LIAM: And I think if anyone's going to surprise us it's because they have eyes, physical eyes, on us now.

TRAVIS: Yep.

LIAM: Anyway.

MATT: So where are you taking your short rest?

LAURA: Up against the crevice.

MATT: All right, so you guys are all clustering into that space there. Okay.

TRAVIS: We're, of course, wiping snow for these--

TALIESIN: I was going to take a second to clear out--

ASHLEY: Should we check them out at all?

SAM: Oh, like--

SAM: I can search the bodies.

ASHLEY: See what the blue thing is?

SAM: Yeah, you search a body, I'll search a body.

ASHLEY: Okay.

SAM: Unless you need to heal.

ASHLEY: Investigate?

TALIESIN: Vibrate the ground a little bit to just get all the snow to even out.

MATT: Over time it will, yeah, if you want to. It's a cantrip, so it's not extremely powerful.

TALIESIN: Sure.

ASHLEY: Oh yeah, you look--

MATT: It's not going to get rid of giant tracks, if that's what you're trying to do.

TALIESIN: Just thinning everything out a bit.

SAM: I'm searching the bodies.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: And I've rolled a 32.

MATT: 32. Um... they're pretty gross. Though some of the grosser bits are at least frozen, which is nice. Not much of worth, actually.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: Their weapons themselves are unusable by any of you. They're too large and a bit rudimentary and damaged by the elements. Yeah, not much of use on them, unfortunately.

SAM: No superior healing potions?

MATT: Weirdly, no.

SAM: Okay, cool.

MATT: It's like they didn't have anything to heal themselves with originally.

SAM: Cool, cool.

MATT: It's a problem.

TALIESIN: You going to be okay? You need any--? Oh, you can just use--

LAURA: I'm just going to use up some of my hit dice.

TALIESIN: I think I need a short rest for some stuff anyway.

MATT: Essek is going to take a short rest as well to regain a spell slot.

LIAM: That frog miniature is too fucking cute.

MARISHA: He's so cute!

MATT: (laughs)

TRAVIS: If there was any large area that was heavily disturbed, I'll use Create Water to create a 30-foot cube of just snow, fresh snow.

MATT: Okay, yeah, there are-- you can see where the giants were resting. There were these mounds that you stepped over as you made your way here and with them having lifted up, moved, and then fallen, they are now large piles of dead giant, re-dead giant, and in the spaces where they were, there's a slight concave space where they previously were. So you can refill that and cover them with one casting for each of them, if you'd like.

TRAVIS: I'll do that.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: And then I'll take the short rest.

MATT: You got it.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: Anything-- We see anything coming our way while--?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: ♪ Makin' my way ♪

TALIESIN: ♪ Makin' my way ♪ 24.

MATT: You spend a good portion of the time for your friends to rest up, heal, catch their breath, prepare themselves for delving into what you assume to be a lightless interior, an endless maze of whatever this city might've been and as you glance out past the edge of the snow, as the ridge begins to slightly ascend into the space where you are, you see a cute little snow bunny, leaping from space to space.

TALIESIN: How far away?

MATT: About 200 feet from you.

TALIESIN: 200 feet. So I can't hit it with Sacred Flame from here.

MATT: No, you'd have to get closer.

TALIESIN: I'm going to keep an eye on that bunny.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I don't trust that damn thing.

MARISHA: I've seen Monty Python.

TALIESIN: Fucking bunny.

MATT: The bunny, eventually, you lose sight of, as it is now within a patch of deep snow and is no longer visible.

TALIESIN: Anyone sees a bunny, just shoot on sight.

LIAM: Where's Percy when you need him?

TALIESIN: Very suspicious. (laughter)

TRAVIS: 35, 35.

TALIESIN: Percy is thinking, "Oh, new hat."

TRAVIS: Before my short rest, I was using--

MARISHA: "Percy is thinking 'New hat'?"

TRAVIS: -- 5th-level Cure Wounds.

LAURA: 5th-level?!

LIAM: Mittens for my wife.

TRAVIS: Short rest, I get everything back.

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: I'm going to use a 5th-level Cure Wounds on Jester. She got 35 points back along with her hit dice.

LAURA: That's great because I just-- yeah. Let me see because maybe I'll take one-- it doesn't-- 13. That'll get me back up to full health. But I used all of my hit dice.

MATT: Okay, there you go. Good to note. All right.

LIAM: You're stomping to get the circulation back in your feet and wriggling your fingers as much as possible.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It really wasn't, like, painful cold, you know what I mean?

LIAM: It looked terrible.

MARISHA: It did.

LIAM: We thought you were dead.

ASHLEY: Yeah, horrifying.

MARISHA: We thought you were going to be diamond dust.

LAURA: I could see through the ice that was freezing me so I could see that the things were attacking me.

MARISHA: What was it like when you were just doing, just ass-over-kettle when you were in the air?

LAURA: I mean, it was just a lot of spinny and then all of a sudden I saw Fjord.

TRAVIS: (snickers)

LIAM: That's what's at the end of the tunnel.

LAURA: (laughs)

TRAVIS: Yeah, the Fjord at the end of the tunnel.

MARISHA: The Fjord at the tunnel. (laughter)

LIAM: Good truck commercial copy.

TRAVIS: Thanks.

MATT: Yeah, yeah. (laughter)

TRAVIS: "The Ford at the end of the tunnel."

SAM: When you die, there's always a Ford there.

TRAVIS: (gags)

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: All right, at the end of your short rest you feel yourselves steeled, hopefully, for what's ahead. One by one, you all begin to stand up, bundle yourselves, and prepare for the next leg of your journey. What's the marching order of entry?

SAM: We need someone who can see in the dark.

TRAVIS: I can.

LAURA: Are you in front?

SAM: Did you say "fuck it"?

TRAVIS: No, I can.

SAM: Oh.

TRAVIS: I really want to go in.

SAM: Go in!

LAURA: Go in the front!

TRAVIS: Wee!

LIAM: I'll go second, actually.

TRAVIS: Yes!

ASHLEY: I'll go third.

TRAVIS: I would prefer that, actually.

TALIESIN: You should probably have someone checking--

MARISHA: Check for traps?

TALIESIN: -- for traps.

SAM: I'll go fifth, sure. No, I'll go up there, sure--

TRAVIS: When we were in the Happy Fun Ball we did great with traps, I'm an old pro.

MARISHA: That's true!

SAM: Yeah, go for it, you're fine!

MARISHA: It was great.

TALIESIN: All right, then I'll go next.

MARISHA: She just kicked a door inward until it... worked.

LIAM: Out to the universe.

MARISHA: Yeah. (laughter)

MARISHA: It was fun!

TRAVIS: Forever changed the universe.

MARISHA: Fabric of reality.

TRAVIS: Oh, who needs that?

MARISHA: Kicked it in.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: Mapped corridor, goodbye.

LAURA: I do think you should go up at the front and look for traps.

MATT: All right, so we have Fjord.

LIAM: That's a good idea.

MATT: Fjord, then Caleb.

LAURA: I think--

MATT: Then Yasha?

LAURA: Veth, second.

SAM: I'm being peer pressured.

LIAM: We are volunteering Veth for us.

MATT: All right, Veth is second in the order. Then Caleb. Yasha.

SAM: I probably need some--

LAURA: Night vision.

SAM: I need some light or else all of my checks will be at disadvantage, I think.

TRAVIS: My sword glows.

SAM: Great!

TALIESIN: I pop my staff to make a little light as well.

MATT: Okay. Essek's going to hang in front of you, behind Yasha and then we have Beau and Jester at the end. Who's going last? Who's caboose?

MARISHA: I'll go last.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: I'll put on my goggles.

TRAVIS: -- be the caboose.

MARISHA: And keep looking over my shoulder as I go.

MATT: You've got it. Okay.

ASHLEY: I'm going to keep my sword out and guide with my--

MATT: It does give you a bit of a glow in the radius.

ASHLEY: Little bit of glow.

MATT: All righty, so.

ASHLEY, TALIESIN, TRAVIS, and LAURA: (light saber noises)

MATT: One by one, you begin to squeeze your way into this lightless interior, pushing into this very tight, rocky, entranceway. (laughter)

ASHLEY: ♪ Making my way! ♪

MARISHA: I was waiting for it.

TRAVIS: Goddamn it!

MARISHA: Waiting for it!

MATT: And with that, we'll take a break, I guess. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Worthless! Horrible!

TALIESIN: Felt it snap!

MATT: Oh boy! (laughs)

SAM: Wow.

LIAM: Pushing into a tight place.

LAURA: Sorry.

MATT: Love you, Laura. All right, we'll be back here in a few minutes to pick up for the second half of today's adventure.

Break[]

(ominous groaning) (chains rattling) (thudding) (thudding) (breathing heavily) (beast growling) (groaning) (breathing heavily) (dramatic orchestral music) (chanting indistinctly) (rumbling) (thudding) (grunting) (metal clanging) (roaring) (growling) (thudding) (growling) (squealing) (arrows twanging) (fire crackling) (roaring) (roaring) (squealing) This is everything you need to know about our terrain in 60 seconds. We hand sculpt our pieces for maximum detail and artistry, infusing passion into every millimeter of our work. Everything is available beautifully hand painted so you can start playing right away, or you can choose unpainted to paint everything yourself. Our pieces are completely modular so you can use the same sets to create a new adventure every time. We create everything out of Dwarvenite, our top secret PVC formula, that's nearly indestructible. We pack our pieces with as many features as possible, such as swap-able LEDs to quickly change the look of your scene. We offer magnetic accessories to add flavor, or increase the danger. A one inch tactical grid is sculpted into our floors. We offer a range of environments including dungeons, cavern, cities, castles, sewers, forests, mountains, streets, burrows, ice, and hellscape. And that's just the beginning. That's everything you need to know about Dwarven Forge in 60 seconds. (thudding) (evil laughter)

LIAM: Sam, could you go down to the lower room where you are? Could you go downstairs right now and get me some blood bags? Yeah go work on the, your audition for rockabilly Guitar Hero. Coming up via elevator. Brian, I want you to keep raking him for his facial hair, but I gotta be honest, I really like it. I kinda like, it's better than just the stash. Just the stash was-- Yeah, not good. We had issues with it. This is great, we all like it. So I think will stay for awhile. I know. And the way it came about was so true. I don't know what's going on right now though. I can stand, I can dance, I can do whatever. Okay. Okay. This is so stupid. Why, are you, why don't you just bring in your Peloton and do the show on that? Oh, that's a great idea! You could've just set the webcam on the-- Yeah, webcam on the screen, sure. If you ever have me back, I'm doing it all on the Peloton. No! 100%, I'm gonna do-- You got Danny shaking no. I'm gonna do the entire episode-- That's a series wrap. While biking, I swear to god.

(suspenseful orchestral music) (typewriter clacking)

LAURA: Hey critters, Laura Bailey here. Let's see what's up in the Critical Roles shop. (playful 80s music) Oh my gosh, it's so amazing. (dice rolling) I mean the traveler always says impulse purchases are a good decision. (pencils clattering) Can you put donuts in this? Only one way to find out. (high five slapping) Roll an investigation if you want, it's basically perfect. (thunder rumbling) This is, this is a lot of stuff, you guys. We have like so many cool things right now. (mouse clicking) So click on over to the Critical Role shop. (laughs) Don't worry, there's a few more minutes in the break, you still got time.

MARISHA: (relaxed jazz music) Hello, everyone. It's me, Marisha Ray, creative director for Critical Role content. And I want to take a moment to speak from the heart about how much we appreciate your support. No frills, no crazy gags, just honesty. Over the past five years, we've made a lot of ridiculous promos in an attempt to earn your subscription here on Twitch. We've leaned on juvenile prop humor, cheap costumes, and putting our loyal employees in slightly embarrassing situations, eagerly hoping that we've captured your attention. Today, I am not resorting to edgelord jokes written by Brian W. Foster, or dressing Sam as a celebrity to recreate an obscure commercial most people haven't seen to remind you that subscribing with a Twitch prime account requires you to resubscribe each month. We don't always need an elaborate green screen gag, or have to put Matt in cosplay to tell you that you can easily give subscriptions to fellow critters if you're feeling generous. I mean, hell, I've consumed entire production days shooting complicated parody promos featuring Taliesin Jaffe as a vintage spooky boy in full monochromatic glory all in the hope that your smile may turn into a sub. But not today. No weird graphics, no puppet murder, no Sam Riegal. It's just me, here to say thank you. Love you all. Good night.

Part II[]

MATT: Welcome back. So, Mighty Nein, one by one, you've squeezed into the small entryway to these ruins.

MARISHA: Ah, that's right.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

MARISHA: (laughs) Sorry.

ASHLEY: (laughs)

MATT: It's okay.

SAM: Plunge into the dark depths.

MATT: Indeed. Within the lightless interior, some of you carrying with you your faint bits of light source to keep visual. You are met with heavily damaged and partially collapsed walls and impacted natural stone, as it opens up about 20 or so feet inward. You can see now, as the ceiling rises about 15, 20 feet above, jagged icicles that drag down from the ceiling. The ceiling itself, uneven and broken, meeting the ground at certain angles where you can see the stone collapse has barely held at bay, and you have to push past these nearly enclosed portions of the hall. Eventually moving on until about 150 or so feet in, there is but a crawl space to continue. Do you take the same order of people?

TALIESIN: Just--

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: Sure?

LIAM: I'll stay close to the front.

SAM: There's a crawl space?

LAURA: How little is the crawl space?

MATT: It's going to be a tough fit for probably Fjord and Yasha.

LAURA: And Caduceus.

TALIESIN: I'm tall, but not wide.

MATT: He's tall, but he's thin. So as long as you get down and crawl, you'll probably make it through without issue, but--

MARISHA: Working out.

TRAVIS: Thanks. Thanks, coach.

MATT: (laughs)

LAURA: Do you want to put on some glasses and sneakle in first, or?

SAM: Sure, or you can cast a bubble of light or something.

TALIESIN: Glasses may be the way to go.

LIAM: Yeah, I think so.

SAM: Oh shit, I dropped--

TALIESIN: Keep it.

SAM: Uh, sure, I'll wear the glasses and I'll go first.

MATT: Okay. As you begin to--

SAM: Searching for traps.

MATT: Go ahead and make an investigation check for me, if you don't mind.

SAM: 19 plus 13, 32.

LIAM: Oh!

MATT: All right. You continue on this narrow, shadowed path. It begins to curve slightly before continuing forward for another 60 or 70 feet. And then it just drops off. It just ends. And you have the darkvision goggles on, right?

SAM: I do.

MATT: What's the radius on those goggles?

SAM: Probably 30 or 60, right?

MARISHA: Seems like 60, yeah, darkvision 60 feet, something like that.

MATT: 60 feet. You can see across this collapse in this region. It looks like there are other elements of stone and previously-laid cavern that have broken in. It is a jam of boulders that are blocking off partway ahead. But right here, the ground just ends and drops into darkness that you can't see. And across the way, it just comes to this broken wall of scattered stone and slate.

SAM: How far away is the other wall?

MATT: Other wall is about 15, 20 feet from you.

SAM: Oh. But there's no clear entrance?

MATT: There's no other viable way to really go, aside from through the rock or down the pit. With your investigation check, what you do find are signs of long-abandoned climbing gear as well as two pitons, as they're called--

SAM: "Pittins."

MATT: -- driven into the stone, long ago. And you can see a single ice-coated rope that angles--

SAM: On our side of?

MATT: On your side, that descends into the darkness below.

SAM: Okay. And you guys are with me, right? You didn't send me by myself, or?

TRAVIS: You're by yourself.

LIAM: You were a little ahead of us, so.

MATT: You turn around to say this and there's nobody there.

SAM: Oh, shit!

TRAVIS: We close the hole. (laughter)

SAM: Ah!

TRAVIS: Fucking finally! Okay, Nicodranas? (laughter)

MARISHA: The most elaborate ruse.

TRAVIS: Jesus, those giants were unexpected. Let's go. (laughter)

SAM: Is it stone? Is it ice? Stone?

MATT: It's a combination of the two. It looks like a lot of this interior, especially the crammed hall you first entered with, looks like rough stone that was pushed up from the impact of when the city crashed. So it's just odd angles of subterranean earth and rock and bedrock that have all been jammed and broken and have come to rest in a very haphazard stillness. And then ice has crept in, either also thrown into the mix from the impact or has since grown over it. So it is--

SAM: Okay.

MATT: Right now you do not see any signs of a city. You're just seeing broken and refrozen earth and rock.

SAM: All right, if there's any loose rock around, not big, just like, you know, size of a silver dollar--

MATT: With your investigation check you can see there are a handful. There's none that are loose--

SAM: Oh.

MATT: -- right now because of most of the frost that's here. There are a couple of small that are wedged into the sides of the small way.

SAM: I'm going try to chip one off or pull one off.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Or just get something loose.

MATT: Make a dexterity check for me.

SAM: Oh boy.

SAM: Three. (laughs)

MATT: It is a skill che-- or an ability check, so you can't roll lower than a 10.

SAM: What do I do? Athletics, acrobatics, or just straight--

SAM: Just straight dexterity modifier.

SAM: Oh, plus five. So 10 plus five?

MATT: Mm-hmm.

SAM: Okay, 15.

MATT: 15, without issue.

SAM: Okay, and I'll pop it over the side.

MATT: You pull it out. Okay. You get the sense that some of these might be, well, it looks small. Who knows what's holding all of this jumble of barely balanced stone together.

SAM: Mm.

MATT: And as you pluck it, it's a brief moment as you pull it and you go, "Oh, that could have been bad."

SAM: Okay, okay, okay.

MATT: But you're good. And you chuck it off the side?

SAM: Uh-huh.

MATT: You don't hear anything.

ASHLEY: Oh.

SAM: Ever?

MATT: Well, make a perception check.

SAM: Oh, boy.

TRAVIS: Last time we--

SAM: Perception, six.

LAURA: Oof.

MATT: You don't hear anything.

SAM: Oh my god, it's endless!

TRAVIS: It's a bunch of black symbiotes at the bottom.

LAURA: Yup. Yup. We've been here. (laughs)

SAM: Okay. I will radio back. Breaker one, breaker one-nine.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

SAM: I'll tell Caleb, you know, you can crawl on through, there's no traps, but it ends. If you want to come or should I come back? You can reply to this message.

LIAM: Yeah, okay, there's nothing dangerous that is going to bite me in there?

SAM: Nothing dangerous.

TRAVIS: Besides you.

LIAM: So I'm going to start to crawl up slowly with two globules lighting my way 'til I reach her.

MATT: Very well. So then I--

SAM: Just you?

LIAM: No, I tell everyone what I'm doing.

LAURA: Is there a standing platform at the end of the little crawl space?

TRAVIS: That's a good question. Is it a Die Hard elevator shaft and the AC joint and then you're just down or can you kind of stand up?

ASHLEY: Good reference.

MATT: No, it's a shaft and then it just drops into darkness.

TRAVIS: And you're in the crawl space?

MATT: And it looks like it opens a little bit, but whatever impact caused this to collapse beneath is what's left there.

TRAVIS: Boy, boy, boy.

MATT: So it's very tight and it's very precarious.

LIAM: Okay, so--

MATT: But there are signs of previous climbing.

SAM: Well, then maybe I should go back and we can talk about this in a bigger space? I don't know, because otherwise it's going to be like--

TRAVIS: He can fly, a flyer would be good.

LIAM: Well, I've just reached up and looked over the side and actually I'm going to make all four globules appear and keep one with us. I mean, we need to figure this out.

SAM: Of course, but--

LIAM: This is the only way forward.

SAM: But this will alert people to our presence. If there are people to be--

LAURA: Look at those little globules.

LIAM: Did you toss anything down?

SAM: I tossed something down, I didn't hear anything.

LAURA: Did you think that tentacles or something?

MARISHA: What the fuck is happening? What now?

MATT: Those are his globules.

SAM: I mean, yeah. Go ahead. Globule it down, there's nobody down there.

LIAM: I'm going to throw a little pebble from my pouch.

LAURA: Keep saying globules.

LIAM: Globule.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Globule.

TRAVIS: Globule.

SAM: You're going to throw another pebble? I did this, I did the pebble trick.

LIAM: I'm going to listen. Do I hear anything?

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: I did it already, you're just--

LIAM: Oh, so bad.

TRAVIS: (gulps) So bad. 16.

MATT: You don't hear anything.

LIAM: Well, there's no point doing globules. But I'm going to do it anyway. I'm going to send three of them sort of spiraling around each other in a circle, a hundred feet down.

MATT: Hundred feet down? Okay.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: So, what's the radius in the light there for each glob?

LIAM: It is... Does it say anywhere?

TRAVIS: 40 feet?

LIAM: A 10-foot radius, each one.

MATT: 10 foot radius, got it.

LIAM: They will go 40 feet away from each other in a wide circle.

MATT: Okay. The pit itself is about 20 to 25 feet across, so they can cover the space without issue. So as the one that stays with you, giving the soft glow to the immediate space, the other three slowly spiral, this trilogy of lights, just slowly descending in a corkscrew below. You watch as they continue downward. There are sections of stone that got caught on the way down. There was a collapse that caused this tunnel to fall in and you can see bits of debris. And you swear you see the edge of what looks like a door that is partially jammed out of the stone and ice. You can see some scroll work on it, but most of it's still buried in the rock and ice in the side of the wall, partway down.

LIAM: Is there any sort of outcrop or ledge where that door is that we could stand on?

MATT: No, it's not a door that's sitting on something, it's a door that is partially pushed out. It's out of place. It shouldn't be there. It's 'Philadelphia Experiment', out of the wall, of a door. Looking down through this, it is not a smooth descent. It is an open space, but it tends to slightly worm its way as they continue downward. And there are bits of jagged rock that jut outward. Falling down here, you can see, would be probably a very painful experience beyond just whatever might be waiting for you at the bottom. But you can see as they descend, the rope itself continues. It doesn't break, or at least, it isn't severed. There is a rope that goes all the way--

LIAM: Door-- goes past the door into the darkness?

MATT: Past-- yeah, past the door, into darkness.

TRAVIS: (shudders)

MATT: Eventually, you see the walls of the pit begin to open up a bit. To the point where almost like you're-- the fall of this shaft opens up into something below but the lights reach the end of their distance from you and all you see is darkness. Darkness and a singular frost coated rope, dangling and vanishing into the abyss below.

TRAVIS: That's fucking terrible. (laughs)

SAM: Just in case, I'm going to cast Mage Hand and on the opposite wall to us just to touch it, to see if it's solid. Not an illusion or something.

MATT: Okay. As Mage Hand pushes, moves across, you can see bits of frost fall and a bit of small pebble.

SAM: Okay, it's not just a fake out.

TRAVIS: "How you doin'."

LIAM: And remind us, how tight is the space where Veth and I are now at the--

MATT: It's about two feet across, to one and a half foot. So you guys are-- about two feet across.

LAURA: You're on each other.

LIAM: We're like this, yeah.

MATT: So you guys are like right up next to each other. We're talking-- this is-- it's a little bit larger than Bishop in 'Aliens' going through that tight tunnel to get to the satellite dish. So there's just enough space for the two of you. You could not fit Veth with probably Yasha or Fjord.

LIAM: I pull out the copper wire and I send a message to Veth going: I think we should get the other people up here. You can reply to this message. (laughter)

SAM: And then Mage Hand will come back and just go--

LIAM: Okay, we are coming back. We have something to report. We are on the verge of being stuck, but--

SAM: We are stuck.

LIAM: You go first.

SAM: Send Vaseline.

LIAM: You can reply to this message. Veth, go.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: Okay. Eventually, Veth, you scoot your way back to the rest of the group and you see, as she emerges from--

MARISHA: ♪ Scootin' my way back ♪ (laughter)

MATT: Emerges from the crawl space.

SAM: That was high level, high level.

ASHLEY: Who was the next in the lineup?

MATT: Next would have been Fjord.

ASHLEY: Okay.

SAM: Okay, so what do we do? I guess we were-- this is it, right? There's no other tunnels or anything?

LIAM: We recount all that, right.

SAM: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

LIAM: So there's a doorway some of the way down.

SAM: It's a door, it's not a doorway. It's a door sticking--

TRAVIS: Like an open or is there a-- (clicking)

SAM: No, I think it's just a piece of--

MATT: To clarify.

LIAM: Yes, please.

MATT: What you saw was a solid, rocky, dangerous descent, this pit. And then, in one of the pit walls there was a door just partially jutting out of it. It wasn't a door that opens inward. It's like someone shoved a--

LIAM: Jammed a door in.

MATT: Yeah. Unattached to any doorframe, doorway, or opening to anything.

TRAVIS: It's just a door.

MATT: It's just a door partially sticking out of the wall.

LIAM: Like a shelf.

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: For no reason.

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: That door knows what it did.

LAURA: Yeah. That door is a warning to us.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: Door's got some stories. (laughter)

TRAVIS: All right.

MARISHA: Doors be warned.

TRAVIS: Nicodranas?

SAM: Campaign one.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LAURA: (laughs) Nicodranas, huh? Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool.

LIAM: Vox Machina got fucking fed up.

LAURA: Word of Recall? Let's go.

TRAVIS: And it opens up at the bottom approximately how deep?

LIAM: Uh... I mean, where it widens out from the look of the globule?

MATT: It widens out at about the 85 foot depth.

LIAM: Woo!

MATT: And then 15 feet past, the light ends before you get there.

LIAM: I run out of light at 120 feet with that spell.

LIAM: Can't go further than that.

TALIESIN: This is bringing back some dreams right now.

TRAVIS: It feels vaguely reminiscent of when, the last time we were-- as we descended down into the cavern that had the trees that you didn't like.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

TALIESIN: Yep.

MARISHA: Well--

SAM: We can descend again.

MARISHA: Well, hang on. Are we going to say anything to these rangers out here? We need to give them direction to let them know that they need to let the Tomb Takers go by and not interfere with them.

LAURA: We kind of already did.

MARISHA: But then are they going to blow the door?

LAURA: No.

TALIESIN: Nobody asked.

LAURA: No, they're going to use the walkie-talkies that Essek gave to let us know if somebody is coming.

MARISHA: Right. And then are they going to blow the door after they go in?

TRAVIS: The thing you're hinting at is, we were going to pick an ambush point and this is a decent sized one. This is a really, really acute pinch point. But if they're going to keep going, it might be nicer to have them, I don't know, get hit by an intuit charge as they're climbing down a tunnel that goes into darkness.

MARISHA: Nothing. Or if they can go over--

LIAM: Did we discuss though, I'm talking out of character here, just our memories, that the intuits are psychic damage?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: And the Tomb Takers are-- that's not a big deal for them.

TRAVIS: You're stunned for a minute?

MARISHA: Well, for Lucien.

TALIESIN: It won't.

LIAM: Just Lucien?

MARISHA: Well, we don't know. I can confirm Lucien, but even if we take out the rest of the Tomb Takers--

SAM: I could also put a fluffernutter in this little crawl space tunnel.

TRAVIS: You could.

SAM: And somehow trigger it remotely?

TRAVIS: We would also need another way out.

LAURA: I could also put the symbol, the spell that I have.

TALIESIN: Not today.

SAM: What's the spell?

LAURA: The spell is I can leave a glyph somewhere where they won't see it and it'll trigger when they pass by it or when they touch it.

SAM: And does it blow up?

LAURA: It can do a lot of damage to them. It can make them very scared. It can stun them. It can do all sorts of things. Whatever we want it to do. But it might be smarter to do that close to wherever we plan to attack them. Because if it takes them out for a minute--

TALIESIN: Right.

LAURA: We need to take advantage of that minute.

LIAM: And if you can stun, won't we want to take advantage of that one minute where they can't move, so.

LAURA: Exactly.

TRAVIS: I sure would love to set an intuit charge at the top of the tunnel. It does psychic damage and stuns them, four of them fall and fall past your glyph on the way down.

MARISHA: Man, that would be epic.

TRAVIS: That would be fucking awesome.

TALIESIN: Unless they're all immune to psychic.

TRAVIS: But, we also don't know what's at the bottom of this tunnel. So someone that can fly should go down and at least see what the hell that darkness actually is.

MARISHA: And just, not to keep pushing this, but we-- hang on, speaking as Marisha for a second, we were talking about--

LIAM: Who's that?

MARISHA: -- having-- don't know her, having the rangers potentially blow the tunnel in case Lucien and co got in 20 feet and went, "Something smells fishy. Let's go back the other way."

LIAM: Mm-hmm.

MARISHA: So we were talking about having them collapse the tunnel, so they can't decide, "This feels compromised. We're going to backtrack."

MARISHA: Just throwing that out there, I don't know.

TALIESIN: Yeah, no, I believe they know about that. I think we had a discussion.

LAURA: I mean, we can always tell them.

MATT: I don't know if you directly relayed that.

TALIESIN: No.

TRAVIS: That would have to be one of your things, right? That would have to be a fluffernutter, unless the rangers have--

SAM: Sure, yeah. We can leave one with them. But just throwing this out there, we have the ability to extricate ourselves from a situation without passing through a rock wall. Maybe they can?

TALIESIN: They can, too.

ASHLEY: And do we know for sure they're not down there already?

LIAM: We don't know for sure.

SAM: Well yeah, we could scry--

LIAM: We saw snow, you saw snow when you peeped at them.

LAURA: I didn't see shit.

LIAM: I thought you saw snow.

LAURA: I saw a flash of red. Maybe I saw snow.

LIAM: There was a moment before, though.

SAM: No, he said it was a dark cloud.

TRAVIS: The other thing is--

LAURA: It was foggy and then a flash of red and then I was like, ugh, no, that didn't work.

TRAVIS: The other thing is, would they see your glyph if they saw the dome and if they can see your door?

LAURA: The goal would be to put the glyph on the underside. Like, if we're passing through a doorway or something, I would put it on the opposite side of the door. So they wouldn't see it.

LIAM: Blocked by stone.

LAURA: Exactly.

LIAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: Bucket on the door ledge.

LIAM: And we have total, Matt, four of those intuit charges. 'Cause I had one for a while and then in the bag we ganged from the Tomb Takers that had three or two?

MATT: I have to look at my notes again.

LIAM: Criss cross.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: Yeah, they seem to be collecting them as well.

TRAVIS: That would be--

ASHLEY: They had some of them--

LIAM: Set 'em all off. There's a chance I won't be able to set them all. It's a high Arcana--

TRAVIS: Just to set it.

LIAM: --just to check to set it.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LIAM: So we set as many as we can.

SAM: Well, before we decide where we're ambushing them.

TRAVIS: Yep.

SAM: It feels like we need to explore a bit more.

TALIESIN: Yes, we need to know the terrain.

TRAVIS: Somebody that can walk on walls or can fly, or--?

SAM: I can walk on walls if you want me to?

TRAVIS: For a good amount of time--

TALIESIN: I'd prefer a flyer, just so they don't have to touch--

LIAM: I can fly, but I'm also--

LAURA: But Essek can do it effortlessly.

TRAVIS: Oh, yeah.

LAURA: Right, Essek?

LIAM: He can float, but fly--

LAURA: Yeah, he just floated down an entire cliff side.

SAM: I can Spider Climb for an hour.

LIAM: There you go.

LAURA: Oh, wow.

LIAM: That's what we're talking about.

LAURA: That's great.

TRAVIS: You won't slip or fall or anything?

SAM: No, but I could go with Essek, or with someone else?

MATT: "I can glide down, but I do not have the ability to fly prepared for the day."

TRAVIS: Oh, like you couldn't come back up?

MATT: "Right."

LAURA: I understand. Okay, then Veth.

LIAM: I don't want you to go alone.

ASHLEY: I could go.

SAM: (whimpering)

ASHLEY: I could go.

SAM: Can you fly?

ASHLEY: Well.

SAM: I mean, for a while.

ASHLEY: Yeah, for a minute.

LIAM: I tell you what.

TRAVIS: I can fly for 10 minutes.

ASHLEY: Oh, well, that's probably better.

LIAM: I can Spider Climb, too, if I'm a spider and you can ride.

LAURA: I know. I was thinking the same thing. We could turn into ice spiders.

SAM: Don't we want to save your spells? But yes, that's a great idea.

LIAM: I don't need to burn a slot to do it.

SAM: Oh!

LIAM: Once a day. 'Cause I'm a transmutation genius.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Would you be able to carry us down also, as an ice spider?

LIAM: I mean, I could probably spend half of my time as a spider to do that.

LAURA: You carried me and Fjord before, so. If we had multiple--

SAM: Oh, I mean we could just Feather Fall us down.

TRAVIS: But we don't want to just go down the--

LIAM: The creepy crawly is the way to go. So I can be a large spider for an hour. We spend the first half of that or less, hopefully, taking a look and then if it's okay, then-- (skittering)

TRAVIS: Sure.

LIAM: That's me playing a piano.

TALIESIN: If it's bad, just--

SAM: You want to come?

TALIESIN: We'll probably know, but just make some noise if it's bad.

MARISHA: No.

SAM: Don't you have a climb with your monk shit?

MARISHA: I can-- I can slow fall. I can fall very gracefully and I can wall climb.

SAM: That's all you need.

LIAM: Right, sounds like science.

MARISHA: I don't know if I can necessarily wall climb down. I think it's more of jutting up.

SAM: But you could slow fall down.

TALIESIN: The hop, the hop?

LAURA: But you'd fall, and didn't you say there were--

SAM: And then wall climb up!

LAURA: -- spikes?

MARISHA: Yeah, there's the spikies.

TRAVIS: Maybe not the time.

MARISHA: Yeah, I know I just said I will take advantage to jump off of any cliff--

SAM: You did. You just said that.

MARISHA: Like an hour ago. But this one...

TALIESIN: You got that one pass.

SAM: You met a cliff that's too scary.

MARISHA: It's the spikes.

TRAVIS: All right, you two, go.

LAURA: Go, go, do something.

SAM: Okay.

LIAM: Okay. I could carry you down, as well as Yasha, too, if you like.

MARISHA: As a spider?

LIAM: Ja.

MARISHA: You mean like ride a spider?

LIAM: Ja.

TRAVIS: We're just risking you, don't risk everybody.

SAM and MARISHA: (laugh)

LIAM: Well, I'm bringing Yasha with me, because I'm weak as a spider and as a human.

TALIESIN: Good call.

ASHLEY: I feel like, yeah, in case you get down there and you're not all alone. I mean, I absolutely can go with you.

LIAM: Yes, please.

ASHLEY: Of course. Yeah.

SAM: Okay, bye.

ASHLEY: And if I need to I can get a--

LIAM: (chittering, hissing)

SAM: Ah!

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: That's cute!

ASHLEY: Ooh, look at you! You look so tasty, Caleb.

MATT: Caleb, could you roll a d20 for me, please?

LIAM: Oh yeah, cool!

LAURA: (gasps) Oh yeah.

LIAM: 12.

MATT: 12?

LIAM: 12.

MATT: Okay. You transform into a spider.

LAURA: That's right.

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: You have to roll one or a 20.

SAM: I'm going to cast Spider Climb on myself.

MATT: Okay. Roll a d20 yourself, please.

SAM: Oh.

LAURA: Right? Magic.

SAM: Eight?

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: You die.

SAM: (whimpering)

MATT: Your spell seems to imbue you with the spider climbing.

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: "Seems"?!

TALIESIN: Fucking fuck.

SAM: This first step's gonna be a doozy.

TRAVIS: Ah!

SAM: All right, I'll start walking down the side of the wall.

MATT: All righty. So spider and Spider Climb?

SAM: But in a jaunty way.

LIAM: And I use two of my eight legs like a safety belt for Yasha.

ASHLEY: I act like I take a bite. Om nom nom! Ooh, you're so tasty.

LIAM: (chittering)

ASHLEY: Give him tummy scratches.

LAURA: I'm going to hang off, just looking over the side of the cliff to see.

TRAVIS: You're the only one in the tunnel now.

LAURA: I'll be in the tunnel, that way I can cast heal, if they're within, you know, 60 feet when they fall.

TRAVIS: They won't be.

LIAM: (clicking)

TRAVIS: You'll just watch them die.

LAURA: Yeah, well, I want to see.

TRAVIS and LAURA: (laugh)

MATT: Okay. As you begin to descend, a spider at a rapid speed of what?

LIAM: 'Tis, speed is just 30 for climbing, forever.

MATT: Okay. So the two of you climb at a respective rate making your way down until eventually it broadens out and you are now both standing upon the ceiling of a larger cavern amongst all manner of heavy ice icicles, massive, 12-foot long, pointed icicles.

SAM: So it's widened out and--

MATT: It widens out and then there's a forest of icicles that are all dripping off.

SAM: We still don't see the ground?

LIAM: So it opened into a chamber.

MATT: Correct. You don't have any light sources currently below you.

SAM: Correct.

LIAM: So you are Mission Impossible-ing from the bottom of a large spider, like--

SAM: Even though I've got Spider Climb, if I pick an icicle that drops, I'm still fucked.

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: It'll just stick me to the ice, but the ice could fall.

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: Cool. Cool, cool.

TALIESIN: You have the goggles though, right?

SAM: I have goggles, yeah.

MATT: Yeah, for a range of 60 feet?

LIAM: But it's so fun.

MATT: Okay. You can just barely see the peripheral of your vision as you get down there and you have 60 foot darkvision as well?

ASHLEY: I know I have darkvision, I'm pretty sure, yeah.

LAURA: It's under your saving throws, passive perception. It's in that little box.

ASHLEY: Yes, darkvision, 60 feet.

MATT: Correct. So both of you, as you begin to spread out, you can see small structures, or at least piles of something, right at the edge of that 60 foot, maybe about 50, 55 feet below you. So you get the essence that there is some sort of a floor, at least some something down there. It isn't an infinite pit and you're not that far away. So about 50 feet below you, there is a bottom.

SAM: Okay. Okay. I guess we'll go across the ceiling to see if it ever meets or--

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Or goes down?

LIAM: (chittering)

MATT: Curving over about--

ASHLEY: Fun noise.

LAURA: Scritch scritch.

MATT: 70 or so feet from where the entrance is it begins to curve, and it's not a smooth curve. It's not a water-smoothed stone interior; it is broken and jagged in shelves and you have to climb your way carefully with Spider Climb below. Even with spider size, the proximity of all of these icicles, make it a little dangerous and precarious to find your way over there safely. So it does take a bit of maneuvering. I would like you both to make a athletics check.

LIAM: (chittering)

SAM: Okay.

LIAM: 13.

ASHLEY: Do I--?

SAM: Cocked.

ASHLEY: Do I help at all?

MATT: You don't, you're just dangling.

SAM: Athletics, 15.

LIAM: You're a great adventurer.

MATT: 15, okay. Okay. Both of you just carefully make your way over to the edge--

ASHLEY: Oh, god.

MATT: -- where a big portion of the ceiling drops and then catches at the edge of the interior of this stony chamber. So looking around the base of this pit, you can see what looks to be a small courtyard. Did you bring light with you?

LIAM: I can see as a spider.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Darkvision and blind sense for 10 feet.

MATT: So what you see are tumbled pillars of marble. You see a ruined rooftop across the way that is splayed open at a violent angle from what looks like a toppled tower. You can see a single stone bench rising defiantly amongst piles of broken stone and wood. It's shards of a society long lost, now a frozen graveyard. That's what you see ahead of you.

SAM: Okay.

ASHLEY: Caleb, can you understand me?

LIAM: (chittering)

ASHLEY: I don't know what that means.

SAM: (laughs)

LIAM: I'm seeing a hundred Yashas, broken in all the little eyes.

LAURA: Ooh, cool.

MARISHA: Hot.

SAM: Maybe tell him to shoot out some webbing if he understands you. Just crap some out.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Pull a little webbing out if you understand me.

LIAM: (spitting)

ASHLEY: He understands me.

SAM: It's super gross.

ASHLEY: Yep.

LIAM: (chittering)

ASHLEY: What do we do?

SAM: We should explore.

ASHLEY: Okay.

SAM: So we'll just walk-- How long's it been? It's 10 minutes?

MATT: Maybe five minutes.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: Well, no, with the careful crawling across the ceiling, I'd say closer to 10, probably, just slowly bringing your way.

SAM: So we'll just look around.

MATT: I would like both of you with darkvision to make perception checks, please. All of you, with the spider thing as well.

LIAM: Terrible roll.

SAM: Natural one.

LAURA: Oh my god.

ASHLEY: Natural 19.

SAM: Okay, thank god.

MATT: And there's still the 10.

ASHLEY: Plus five, 24.

LIAM: Six.

SAM: My eyes are on backwards, everything looks small. (laughter) Ah!

MATT: Well, they're having a hard time adjusting. You grew up in darker environments. And in glancing around, you can see the broken space around you. There is, a little ways to your right and against this somewhat ragged wall, what looks to be a still partially standing tower. It looks like a pentagonal building of simpler architecture if heavily damaged that still stands at about two stories tall. But the second story is at a cracked angle. The rock shelf itself of this chamber, pushing into it, near the edge of toppling. But it is still a two-story structure. Open. You can see there is an open doorway towards the bottom of the doors, pushed off the hinges and busted. And that's just where you're standing. The rest is beyond your vision, across the way. You cannot see the distant--

ASHLEY: And we're on the ground at this point?

MATT: You're on the ground at this point, yeah.

ASHLEY: Should we go in there?

SAM: Yeah, if you think so.

ASHLEY: I mean, should we tell everybody to come down?

SAM: How do they get down?

ASHLEY: We'll figure it out.

LIAM: (chittering)

SAM: How long have we travel--

LIAM: I start playing with Veth's hair as a spider.

SAM: Get the fricken-- All right, it's nice, it's nice.

ASHLEY: I'm going to eat you. I'm going to eat you. Okay.

SAM: The total climb from where they are, where our friends are to here, is what? More than 200 feet at this point, right?

LIAM: More than 120.

MATT: I'd say it's about close to 190 feet, considering the angle across the ceiling to the base of the--

SAM: So I can't actually send them a message anymore.

ASHLEY: You can't?

SAM: Nope. I mean, they're too far, so.

ASHLEY: Don't we have the stone?

SAM: Nope. And even if we did, we only have one stone and it can talk to the people outside.

ASHLEY: That is-- makes all of the sense. That's very true.

SAM: But we can deal with that later. I can always just climb back up and tell--

ASHLEY: Well, sometimes, I've realized that, when I talk to somebody, they--

SAM: You can only do that to me.

ASHLEY: Ugh, okay.

SAM: Here, try it now.

ASHLEY: Well, let me walk over here.

SAM: Okay. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I walk 10 feet away.

MARISHA: Yasha has no idea how communication devices work.

ASHLEY: (quietly) Uh, Veth can you hear me?

SAM: (quietly) I can hear you. It works!

ASHLEY: Can you hear me?

SAM: It always worked, yes.

ASHLEY: Oh, this is so cool.

SAM: Yep.

ASHLEY: Okay, I'm coming back over to you in three, two, one.

SAM: And then I make it look like we were farther away.

ASHLEY: Okay. That's really cool. Should we investigate this place, then, or should we wait?

SAM: Yes, yes, let's go in.

ASHLEY: Okay.

SAM: It's the only place of interest around, right?

MATT: That you can see within the proximity of the-- A lot of the chamber ahead of you, you do not see the opposite side of this room. It is still in darkness beyond your darkvision sight. Aside from the single rope that's still in the center of the room that dangles down near where that stone bench was and a lot of the wreckage.

SAM and ASHLEY: Let's go check out this place.

SAM: Okay.

ASHLEY: I mean--

LIAM: Giant spider is actually going to hang back.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: By the base of the wall.

MATT: You got it.

ASHLEY: Well, should Caleb go get everybody?

LIAM: (chittering)

SAM: He could. That's not a bad idea.

ASHLEY: Well, we can't tell them what's going on.

SAM: You're right.

ASHLEY: All of a sudden he's going to come back there, and then the two of us are gone.

SAM: You could stay down here, I could climb halfway up and tell everyone what's going on.

ASHLEY: Okay. 'Cause I don't want them to get worried. I feel like Beau is going to get worried and be like, "Oh, what happened?"

SAM: Beau's not really a worrier.

ASHLEY: She's not.

MARISHA: I'm fine. I don't care.

ASHLEY: Okay, let's check this out.

SAM: Okay. We'll just check this out.

ASHLEY: And then we'll go get them.

SAM: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll just make sure--

SAM: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: This is fine.

SAM: Okay. Is the door open? Is there a door?

MATT: There's a splintered door that is off the hinges and just scattered along the side of an open arch that leads into this room about 25, 30 feet from you.

SAM: Check that door for traps.

ASHLEY: Good call.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: 23.

MATT: Well, on the way--

SAM: Oh, shit.

MATT: I need you to make a constitution saving throw for me, please.

SAM: Sure, sure, that's normal at an empty space.

ASHLEY: Me too, or?

SAM: 17.

MATT: Okay. You--

ASHLEY: Do I make one, too? No?

MATT: Are you moving with him? Then yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I am.

SAM: What?

ASHLEY: Because... That's cocked.

LIAM: (chittering that sounds like "oh no")

TRAVIS: (laughs) Honey, I Shrunk the Kids ant voice.

ASHLEY: 22.

LAURA: This could be a glyph.

MATT: Okay. You both take nine points of cold damage.

SAM: Oh, cause it's cold down there.

ASHLEY: Oh, it's chilly.

MATT: For whatever reason, as you guys take a few steps, the air around you gets extremely freezing, bitingly cold and you feel like the temperature in your body is just suddenly siphoned from you. Your bones seize up, you chatter in your jaw, and you don't understand why.

ASHLEY: It's just freezing down here!

MATT: Your breath is extremely visible.

ASHLEY: (breathes) Did you see that?

SAM: Was it just when we walked towards the building?

MATT: Yeah. You got maybe 10 feet. It's 20 feet from you.

SAM: I'll take another step towards it.

LAURA: Oh, yeah, of course you will.

TALIESIN: Well, all right.

MATT: Okay.

MATT: You take another step?

ASHLEY: Uh, Veth?

SAM: Okay?

MATT: All right.

SAM: Another step?

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Well then, how about I use that Mage Hand to sort of touch the door?

MATT: Okay, it's open, and you touch the door and some of the wood, (crumbling) falls onto the ground.

SAM: Seems okay.

ASHLEY: I think it's fine. I think we should go in.

SAM: Okay, I'll walk towards the door.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: (laughing) You're such assholes.

MATT: You get to the doorway--

LAURA: Why are you doing this?

MATT: -- and you can glance inside.

SAM: Just looking at the door.

LIAM: This is what rogues do.

MATT: This might have been more than a two-story tower at one point, but only two stories currently remain. You glance inside, and where the roof-- or where the floor to the second floor would be is partially fallen in. It is just ruin in here. It is structural boards and beams just fallen to the ground, broken stone and shattered furniture. You can see there's a little bit of a path that can almost climb up to where the second floor was, and a little bit of where the upper platform still remains, if it still is load bearing, but yeah, just a lot of rubble in here.

ASHLEY: Don't you want to go up and look at the second floor? The thing is, I'm very big, so-- and you're small.

SAM: What does that-- what do you mean?

ASHLEY: Well, I just feel like we don't know if it's going to collapse or something with my weight, if you would go up there, or I mean, if I go up there.

SAM: So I should go alone?

TALIESIN: We're going to need such an expensive regeneration, aren't we?

ASHLEY: I don't know, do you want to go up there?

SAM: (laughs)

ASHLEY: I'm volunteering you, but maybe you don't want to go.

SAM: Sure, I don't care, yeah.

ASHLEY: I feel like you, hold on. You have a family to get back to, so we need to--

SAM: This is an empty building.

ASHLEY: Yeah, this is nothing. This is-- there's nothing in here.

SAM: No.

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah, should we both go?

TRAVIS: (laughs) Excellent.

ASHLEY: Oh yeah, let's just go.

TRAVIS: That back and forth.

ASHLEY: Just go.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

MATT: I'm not going to lie, it shouldn't have taken this long for us to really, truly hone in to the Yasha-Veth team up dynamic. This is beautiful.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Is there a stairway leading up, if I sort of peer in there or do we?

MATT: You don't see stairs, but a lot of the fallen rubble of the precarious interior is possibly climbable to get to the--

ASHLEY: There's a whole path for us to climb up there. It's like how the rubble fell simply for us to go up there.

SAM: You don't have to convince me.

ASHLEY: Here I go. (laughter)

MATT: All right, this is a bit of a climbing challenge, so I'd like you both to make an athletics check to find your way up through the broken interior.

SAM: 22.

ASHLEY: Uh, 24.

SAM: Oh, well.

MATT: You're both finding handholds in large beams of splintered wood, and bits of stone that some breaks off, and falls back, others hold your weight. You pull your way up this destroyed hoarder's interior of a barely holding tower. And eventually climb to the secondary floor, where you can see there is a staircase that would have led to a third, but that is all been pushed off. And you gathered some of the rubble on the immediate outskirts of this structure may have been higher floors that were just laid waste as they tumbled.

ASHLEY: Okay.

SAM: Anything up here?

ASHLEY: Yeah, I'm going to look around, see if we can find any--

MATT: If you want to try and rummage around, you can make an investigation check.

ASHLEY: Yes.

SAM: I will look for traps first.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: Oh, that's a good idea.

SAM: Which is a 25.

MATT: 25, no traps, just the entire place is a trap. It's-- it's a very--

TRAVIS: Yes.

MATT: Yes. (laughs) You're like--

SAM: This is a very dangerous place.

MARISHA: It's condemned, yeah.

SAM: Okay, now I'll look for good things.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: 28.

MATT: 28.

ASHLEY: It's just so much darker in here than I can see, I think, I can't see anything. I couldn't find anything.

SAM: Well, you're tall.

ASHLEY: I'm tall, it's cramped in here.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: "I can't see." "It's because you're tall." (laughter)

ASHLEY: The logic is sound.

TRAVIS: The floor is farther away.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: Are these low ceilings or tall floors? I can't remember. (laughter)

MATT: You do, pushing forward, find what looks to be like a robe, like a very nice, shimmery, almost silk robe, yeah. And you go and find it and pull at it, and as you do, you can see the skeletal remains of who once wore it, though most of their torso and body is currently buried beneath some of the broken stone, and wood of this collapsed floor. Also, I need you both make constitution saving throws again.

SAM: Oh, so this is a timed--

LIAM: Get that shit, get that shit.

SAM: 19 plus two, 21.

ASHLEY: 17 plus eight, so 25.

MATT: Okay, you both take 11 points of cold damage, but your investigation check reveals that around where this robe is in this space, there's a fuzzy texture along it, like along the wall, like a bit of an odd carpet.

SAM: I don't like that.

MATT: Like a darker coloration than a lot of the nearby stone, and as you reached in, and the temperature gets bitingly cold again once more, you swear you see some of it shift, and expand in reaction.

SAM: Okay, we got to get out of here, we got to get out of here.

MATT: Also, as because you were both rummaging, I need you both make a dexterity check in this precarious place.

TRAVIS: Remember that last time we were down here, and there was a thing up in the cavern that we managed not to disturb, but it was kind of fuzzy.

SAM: Dexterity save?

MATT: Just a check.

SAM: 24.

ASHLEY: I rolled a natural 20, so, 24.

MATT: Great, your rummaging through the piles of whatever you could find up here did not knock loose any of the load bearing elements of the tower, so it does not begin to collapse upon you. But you do notice this odd presence.

SAM: We should leave. We should leave here because I think that's alive.

ASHLEY: That thing that's moving, the fur?

SAM: Yeah, the fur that's moving is probably--

ASHLEY: Okay, but here's the thing, though. What if this silk robe on this half-skeleton body is the thing that we need to win?

SAM: This is the clue, this is the clue to Aeor--

ASHLEY: This is the literal clue. What if it is?

TRAVIS: Have this conversation here.

ASHLEY: What if I just move some of the stone for you to get the robe? What if we just try to like-- have you ever seen those things, those people--

SAM: As she's talking, I'm backing away. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Those people, you know, that like-- they, with a tablecloth--

SAM: What do they do?

ASHLEY: They go foop.

SAM: What do they do? They're like magic people? (laughter)

ASHLEY: You know, they pull out-- where'd you go? Are you gone? You left. (laughter)

SAM: I'm already downstairs.

MATT: Okay. (laughter) Yasha, what are you doing? You're now finding yourself alone, freezing in the upper levels of this abandoned, partially collapsed tower.

ASHLEY: I'm going to sniff to see if it's a familiar smell.

MATT: Okay, okay, make a perception check.

LAURA: This is how we lose Yasha.

LIAM: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Well, probably. This is horrible. 10.

MATT: 10.

ASHLEY: 10?

MATT: I mean, it's a little musty. You don't recognize anything, though.

ASHLEY: (sighs) Okay, I'll leave. I'm going to turn around.

LAURA: But the robe! (laughter)

TALIESIN: Stop it.

TRAVIS: Silver robe?

LAURA: Silk, it's silk.

ASHLEY: What if I just do like a quick-- does it look like-- okay, I just have a really quick question.

MATT: Yes.

ASHLEY: Does it-- so does it look like-- does it look like the robe is like really-- like it would be a lot of work to pull it out? (cackling laughter)

MARISHA: Dungeons & Dragons!

MATT: All you see is the arm and shoulder of the skeletal body that it is currently on. Which means, if you pull hard enough, it would probably come free. It's not deeply buried, from what you can tell, but who knows, everything here is pretty tightly packed.

SAM: You're super strong.

MATT: You can try it. If you want to Bill Murray this, you know.

ASHLEY: I'm going to fucking Bill Murray it.

MATT: Okay, roll a strength check for me.

LAURA: Oh my god.

LIAM: Yasha done got into some Natty Light.

ASHLEY: This is so stupid, this is so stupid.

SAM: You're doing it, you're doing it. You're already doing it.

ASHLEY: This is so stupid, what if I roll bad?

MATT: Ashley.

SAM: You're super strong. You're going to be fine!

LIAM: You know you want to do it.

ASHLEY: I do want to do it.

MARISHA: Touch the button.

ASHLEY: Okay, I'm going to touch the button.

TRAVIS: The breathing button.

ASHLEY: Okay. Wait, what am I? I'm adding my strength? Okay, that's not bad, that's not bad, that's not bad. 21.

MATT: 21. You reach out, grab the edge of it. I need you to roll a constitution saving throw.

SAM: But not me downstairs or yes me?

MATT: Nope, but not you downstairs.

LIAM: She's touching cold.

ASHLEY: Fuck, oh no, thank god. Okay, oh no, that's still bad. I thought it was a one, though, but it's a seven, so 15.

SAM: Oh, that's not bad.

ASHLEY: Do I--?

MATT: 15?

ASHLEY: Because I have-- I'm not holding out my sword, okay.

MATT: No, you take eight points of cold damage.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay.

MATT: Once again, this freezing pulse, like part of your life heat is being drawn out of you, and it's weird because it comes in waves. And you're not sure, but your hand is on the robe, and you tug, and whoosh, you pull it free. It comes out, whoosh! (crumbling) Some of the rocks come and settle.

LAURA: (gasps) What?

MATT: (rumbling)

ASHLEY: Okay, I'm going to-- yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ooh.

MATT: Roll a dexterity saving throw as the entire tower begins to rumble, and collapse around you.

MATT: (roaring crash)

ASHLEY: Oh, this fucking robe. Okay.

SAM: Am I dead, am I free, or am I?

ASHLEY: Okay, I have advantage.

MATT: You also have to make a dexterity saving throw, but you have advantage on it, because you are in the lower floor.

ASHLEY: 21.

MATT: 21.

SAM: 24.

MATT: 24. You, grabbing the robe, are running, running down, as you look up, Veth, and you see behind Yasha-- (crashing) You both go charging--

SAM: What did you do?

ASHLEY: I got the robe! (laughter)

SAM: You broke the house!

ASHLEY: I got the robe! I got the robe!

SAM: Get out of here!

MATT: (laughs) You both go charging out of the tower, and leap just as you hear it (crashing) behind you. Boof, all this dust comes billowing out of the collapse, and immediately fills the chamber with this opaque atmosphere around you, as you (coughs) cough and cough.

TRAVIS: Cough, bitches.

ASHLEY and SAM: (cough)

TALIESIN: Thank you.

SAM: Think our friends heard that?

MATT: You guys hear this heavy echo of a collapsing loud boom after boom.

LAURA: (gasps) Oh no!

TALIESIN: Oh no, get the diamonds ready.

LAURA: Should we, should we go down?

TALIESIN: How?

MARISHA: Yeah, you can't--

LAURA: I can turn into a spider!

MARISHA: Eh. (laughter)

SAM: Your friends went down into a pit of despair, and you heard an explosion sound.

LAURA: I'm going to turn into a spider.

SAM: They're fine.

LAURA: We have no idea what's going on.

TRAVIS: I can fly one of us down there.

LAURA: Okay, so I'll turn into a spider and carry Beau, because she's lighter.

MARISHA: All right.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: You want a ride?

TALIESIN: You can carry two in theory, can't you?

LAURA: Sure.

LIAM: I have carried two.

TALIESIN: So.

LAURA: Oh, but yes, Essek can float.

TALIESIN: Oh, all right.

LAURA: But yes, I can also carry a second with me.

TALIESIN: So I'll go with Fjord, then.

MATT: "I think I'll be all right."

LAURA: Oh, okay.

TALIESIN: Let's do this.

LIAM: We all float down here.

TRAVIS: (chuckles) Uh-huh.

LAURA: (chittering) I can do it, I can do it.

MATT: All right, so.

ASHLEY: Do the noises.

MATT: As the spider riders make their way down to-- Essek steps off and begins to glide down, but Essek also puts a hand around the free-hanging rope as just a backup. So he's just keeping it loose, but in case anything gets weird, he's just keeping it nearby.

TALIESIN: Essek's keeping it?

MATT: He is. So while you guys are descending rapidly, what are you doing?

SAM: (laid back accent) What are you doing? (laughter) What just happened in there? What'd you do?

ASHLEY: I grabbed the robe, and then the house collapsed. Or what, the tower, whatever it is.

SAM: Can we at least see the robe? Wait, I'm going to look around. Does anyone-- is anyone looking at us, or is any creatures?

MATT: You see a giant spider.

SAM: (shrieks)

ASHLEY: Ah! It's Caleb.

SAM: Anything else?

ASHLEY: Wait, did you say it was pink? Or am I making that up about the robe?

MATT: No-- well, you don't see color right now, there's no light source. So it's just a shimmering silk robe. And as you pull up and look at it, it is shredded underneath. Like, you managed to pull it through--

ASHLEY: But ruined it.

MATT: But it got ruined in the process.

LAURA: Oh no, it's ruined?

MATT: Hmm?

TRAVIS: What was breathing on the wall just above them?

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah.

LAURA: We don't know.

ASHLEY: It was just someone's house robe.

MATT: It's in a bunch of rubble now.

LAURA: No, it would've totally decayed. It would've been destroyed if it wasn't magic. That thing would be totally--

SAM: Silk can last a long time.

LAURA: It wouldn't last like that. This is magic for sure.

ASHLEY: Okay, well, we have the answer to Aeor. That's for sure. It's this robe.

SAM: We certainly do. We do. It's a half moth-eaten kimono. That is the key to unlocking the mystical origin.

MATT: Okay, so you're flying down.

TRAVIS: Yes, yep.

MATT: Right? All right, so (doosh) sword glowing.

TRAVIS: Sword glowing.

MATT: Emerging, much like Gandalf and the Balrog as they tumble into the expanse, you watch as Fjord, sword glowing, just fires out from the top of the tunnel, this glowing aura, and then quickly behind, you see Essek drifting from the top with his own glowing mystique. One hand at his torso, the other clutching the rope as he lets it just slide through his grip. And a secondary spider emerges and curls underneath, and begins carefully-- If you wouldn't mind making an athletics check for the spider form to climb down.

LAURA: A blue dice because it's a blue spider. Athletics? 14?

MATT: 14, okay, manage to carefully navigate, but do so well. Slowly, but you both, you and Essek emerge first. For the rest of the group, you see the Caleb spider, the dust is now starting to settle a bit. You can see some of the rocks are just beginning to settle, and there is a collapsed structure amongst all the rubble around here. It is a ruined courtyard from a time long forgotten.

TRAVIS: Looking back and seeing the spider making its way with Beau and--

LAURA: Dangling.

TRAVIS: -- Caduceus, yeah.

LAURA: Caduceus is not on me--

TALIESIN: I'm with you.

LAURA: Caduceus was flying with you.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah, no, you're with me, sorry. We'll head down to where the (laughs) others are, amongst the rubble, sword glowing to cast some light on the area. Is there anything creeping up on our friends, or at the periphery of that light?

MATT: You can make a perception check.

LIAM: I high-pitched screech to the other spider. (screeches)

LAURA: (screeches) (laughter)

ASHLEY: There it is.

MARISHA: That's pretty good, though.

ASHLEY: That is pretty good.

TRAVIS: 18.

TALIESIN: 26.

MATT: Well, the thing you notice--

TRAVIS: 46?!

TALIESIN: 26.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: You notice as you arrive and the light expands, what you didn't see with just darkvision is the endless glittering of ice across everything--

TALIESIN: Oh no.

MATT: -- in the rubble here. Like a million diamonds just surrounding the space. As the light from the vestige blade expands into the surrounding area, you can see there are patches of brown dirt beneath some of the ice that gives it a camouflaged look, where the space around you, it mingles from the white in the different colors of the stonework. It gives a swampy aspect to it. And you can see where the fallen tower pieces now create this giant pile of wreckage. How far is the distance in the--?

TRAVIS: 30 feet for light from the sword.

MATT: 30 feet, you'd have to get, you still cannot not see across the other side of the chamber. But Essek has landed, and Essek yells out briefly. He goes, "(groans) There is-- There is something curious here."

LAURA: (gurgles)

MARISHA: What do you mean?

SAM: Yes, there's lots of curious things. We've been feeling a bitter cold sensation since we got down here.

ASHLEY: Bitter cold, yeah, a movement of some fur, and--

SAM: This structure just collapsed on its own when we got down here.

ASHLEY: But we did find this robe.

SAM: It's the key to unlocking the Somnovem.

ASHLEY: Yep.

MARISHA: Oh, let me see it?

TRAVIS: Essek, what were you going to say? (laughter)

MATT: As he's talking, you can see his breath is emerging like a cold cloud. Like this is the coldest of blizzards across Eiselcross. That type of density of cold breath, but in the middle of a chamber that does not seem that cold. And you see him shivering, just floating the air a bit, going, "This is a very odd sensation."

ASHLEY: Are you--

MARISHA: Is there something here we can't see?

MATT: "I-- I don't know."

TALIESIN: Detect Magic. (snaps fingers)

MARISHA: Thank you.

TRAVIS: He snaps.

MARISHA and LAURA: (snap fingers)

MATT: (laughs) That's my favorite somatic component for a spell right there.

TALIESIN: (snaps fingers)

MATT: You do not sense anything magical other than what you've brought with you.

MARISHA: Huh.

TALIESIN: So nothing on the robe, is what you're saying.

MATT: The robe is not magic.

TALIESIN: The robe is not magic.

ASHLEY: Essek, if you are cold, I happen to have a robe on me.

MARISHA: (laughs)

TALIESIN: Is anybody else getting, like, a--?

MATT: Wait, and what'd you roll perception?

TALIESIN: 26.

MATT: 26. As this is happening, you look beneath this, the glittering diamonds, and amongst the rubble of rock and stone, it's hard to see until you really focus, bones, many bones.

TALIESIN: I'm going to light the staff--

MATT: Numerous bones, bent, withered, like boiled leather, frozen beneath this dusting of diamond. And the patches of brown beneath the ice, you can tell in areas have an odd fuzzy texture to them like a mold.

TALIESIN: This is giving me a bad, like, dragon's lair, weird shit vibe. We should get out of here. This is not good.

LAURA: Do we see exits? Any way to get out of this?

SAM: There's a whole half of the chamber we can't see, because it's too dark, so--

MATT: Essek, who is in the middle of the chamber, because he's the only one that descended straight down, while the rest of you went along to the far wall, where you came. He says, "There is an archway on the opposite side this way, but--"

SAM: Let's get out of here.

TRAVIS: True.

LAURA: I feel-- oh, shit.

LIAM: Caleb spider is going to start going over the arch of the ceiling in that direction.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Want to take someone with you, or--?

TRAVIS: Are we wanting to leave this room before we use it?

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: You mean, to put traps here?

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm.

TALIESIN: I think this is a trap.

TRAVIS: It could be one to our advantage.

SAM: Sure.

TRAVIS: Falling that distance.

MARISHA: I still don't hate the idea of putting the intuit charges at the top of the tunnel.

TRAVIS: Her glyph and the intuit charge are both 60 feet, if you put it on the underside of that tunnel as they're coming down, it'll catch them as they're coming. They won't see it, and they will, in essence, fall.

MARISHA: We can almost Rube Goldberg device it is what you're thinking, like, boom, boom? This whole thing does feel like a slow siphoning trap. It's got to be something with the moss, right?

TALIESIN: We need to get out of here soon.

SAM: So why don't we set the glyphs and go? Although we only get one shot at these bombs, right?

TALIESIN: Let's stay against the wall for now, and let's see, what--

MATT: Caduceus, make a nature check.

TALIESIN: Oof, really?

MATT: Yeah.

ASHLEY: (laughs)

TALIESIN: Oh shit, that's an 18. That's almost as high as I can roll.

MATT: Total 18?

MARISHA: You have any bonuses?

TALIESIN: I have an 18.

MATT: That's actually really good.

TALIESIN: I have negative one.

MATT: This is indeed mold. This isn't your normal mold. This you've not seen before, but you've read it in books, and you've come across samples of it contained by herbalists and such. It's referred to as brown mold, and it is an unnatural fungus that is drawn towards heat and consumes it.

MARISHA: Oh shit.

TALIESIN: We should stay away from the mold, and it's going to keep coming towards us. Does anybody else know what brown mold is?

MARISHA: Do I know what brown mold is?

MATT: If anybody else is trained in nature.

MARISHA: No.

LIAM: I'm a spider.

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: I'm a spider!

LIAM: I'm also, probably at this point, into the region that we couldn't see into, because while everyone was talking--

MATT: Correct. Make a perception check.

LAURA: Are you still on my back, Beau, just talking to everyone? Or did you drop?

MARISHA: I think I'm still on your back.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: Is there any part of the room that's far enough away from the mold patches, where we can take some purchase for a little bit?

MATT: I mean, where you are now is pretty safe. Stepping in towards the center of the chamber, and glancing over where Essek is, it's patchwork. There's little five-foot channels between them, five- to 10-foot channels between them, but the patches are throughout this chamber. It's a bit of a hopscotch.

TALIESIN: Essek, the brown stuff is heat-sensing and mildly carnivorous. You probably want to get away from it as soon as possible.

MATT: "Fair enough. Should I come to you, or am I," he glances up at the spider, "following them?"

TALIESIN: Do you guys, do you guys need some help up there? I don't know, make some web if you do.

MATT: Well, are Yasha and Veth up with you, or is just you going?

MATT: No, it was just me, I'm out on my own.

LAURA: I have Beau.

MATT: So the spider does not respond. (laughs)

TALIESIN: Oh. I guess stay with us just in case for now. They'll make noise if they need us.

LAURA: I don't know how to make web.

TALIESIN: Every spider knows how to make--

LAURA: That's what I'm thinking in my head.

MARISHA: (laughs)

TALIESIN: How do you-- okay.

MATT: You did roll an 18.

TALIESIN: Hmm?

MATT: You rolled an 18.

TALIESIN: I rolled a 19.

MATT: Oh, you rolled a 19?

TALIESIN: Yeah, and that's an 18 for me.

MATT: That's pretty high. You don't just recognize it, but you know that it's drawn to heat, and will expand to heat specifically, like bright heat, like fire. So that can cause it to expand and spread, which is bad. Ironically, it's the cold that it leaves behind, in intense ways, can repel it.

TALIESIN: The cold-- wait.

MARISHA: It can repel?

TALIESIN: Like, cold will make it--?

MATT: An extreme, focused, intense lack of heat.

LIAM: Like Cone of Cold or something.

TALIESIN: Like if anybody had--

MATT: Enough to do cold damage would likely repel it.

TALIESIN: So cold damage is something that would actually--

SAM: Chase it away.

TALIESIN: If anybody has an ice spell or some sort of cold spell, that's the best way to get this stuff to back off.

TRAVIS: I do.

TALIESIN: You do?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: Well, are we going into this tunnel?

ASHLEY: So the arch is behind us?

MATT: Yeah. So based on where you were, the tower was on the southern side of this interior chamber. Essek pointed out, and you're starting to see it with your spider vision, on the opposite end, there is a metallic archway, what looked to be a continued hall, or at least an entranceway into a hall of another much larger structure beyond the tower, that this courtyard ends at. But it looks like a heavy rock shelf is pressed into it, and the archway is bent down, leaving almost a triangular entrance, but it continues onward into a wider hall.

LIAM: And you said metallic?

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: That's-- we're crossing into Aeor if we go further.

SAM: Which is good, if we set some traps here, we can hit them, and then we could be maybe just outside. I mean, just beyond that door threshold.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: They'll be running from these traps and the cold mold.

TALIESIN: I'll tell you.

SAM: And then when they go through the metal doors, we just (rapid shooting).

TALIESIN: Psychic hit up there, and then there's something that creates heat right above it.

SAM: Yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: That's what I was thinking.

SAM: Jester's glyph.

MARISHA: I don't think we should get rid of the mold, I think we should encourage it.

SAM: I agree.

TALIESIN: The ice will get us through, but if they land into a big heat spot, that's a big problem for them.

MARISHA: Are we going to set these traps, and try and whittle them down, and ambush them later? Or trap and ambush at the same time?

SAM: It'd have to be at the same time, because we don't want them to be able to heal and regroup.

LIAM: (affirmative gurgle)

MARISHA: So are we going to fight them in this chamber?

TRAVIS: It depends, we don't know how much further we're going. So if we trap this and make it the Alamo, we do that, but we also haven't seen what's beyond this. We could make it pretty damaging along the way, and if they do have to stop and heal, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LIAM: Speaking out of character, this is a secret entrance, though. They don't know about this.

TALIESIN: They do.

LAURA: No, they do, they're the ones that told us about it.

MARISHA: This is their entrance.

LIAM: This is their entrance?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Yes, they've traversed here once before with Vess.

TALIESIN: So they know what to expect.

LIAM: So they're definitely--

MATT: You gather they know what to expect.

TRAVIS: I would put it at the top and let gravity work for us, because it's one of the only places that it will. And then if we decide to make it the Alamo, we can, if we go in further and then nothing is attractive--

MARISHA: And want to backtrack.

TRAVIS: We can sit, or we can keep going, and make it one of a few. But either way, if they are hurt here, and they decide to stop, we could come to this, because the intuit charge will let us know, or we'll hear it, right?

LAURA: My only thing is that if the intuit charge goes off, and it's at the top of the thing, then they'll know that we're here laying a trap for them. So they'll be on the lookout for an ambush later. And we can't set up in this room, because we'll get fucked up in the process of just trying to.

TRAVIS: 300 feet, yeah.

LIAM: What if you reverse the order, or what if you do the glyph? Because they're probably going to take that rope down. Glyph goes off, they fall, land in a circle of intuit charges. And then, from there, they're going to move into this metal passage. And if we-- probably should scope it out, but we could wait further into the passage, ready to hit that little opening that they'd be coming through once they're in.

TRAVIS: Yeah, as long as the intuits stack, which they should. The other part is if one of the glyphs goes off, and they're coming down in single file, the first person will trigger it, not the other ones.

LAURA: It's a 60-foot radius. So yeah, if they're going down one at a time, then it's not going to--

TRAVIS: They'll get one.

LIAM: Put the glyph 70 feet or 80 feet down, so that they're coming down the rope when it triggers, that's when it triggers. Don't put it at the top, put it halfway down, so they're doing this, (explosion), fall into intuit charges, (explosion).

LAURA: What if they come down one at a time on the rope, and only one person gets hit?

TRAVIS: That's what I mean, it's just that bottom person. At least if that intuit is at the bottom, when it triggers, the first person at 60 feet, it's 300 feet up, so it'll catch everybody in that tube, and they'll all either save or fall. And then whoever falls goes by the glyph, (foomphing) they catch it. We could set some more intuits on the bottom, but gravity.

SAM: The intuit charge, what triggers it?

MARISHA and LIAM: Proximity.

TRAVIS: First person within 60 feet.

SAM: Only proximity?

LIAM: No, there's two ways it goes off.

SAM: I think one is you trigger it.

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm. Psychically.

SAM: Yeah.

LIAM: But it's-- "You link your mind to the device, and anytime within the next hour, you may choose to detonate," so that's very limited.

TALIESIN: I'll also remind, I should remind everybody that this won't work on the big bad at all.

MARISHA: No, but if we can pick away the rest of the Tomb Takers.

TALIESIN: Yeah, yeah.

TRAVIS: That's all we're talking about.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: And we're assuming none of them--

LAURA: I mean, the glyph could potentially work on Lucien.

TALIESIN: No.

LAURA: It doesn't necessarily just do mind damage; it can do regular-ass damage.

TALIESIN: Does it?

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: What else does it do?

LAURA: I think, unless, is he-- let's see.

LIAM: This is it, we're just standing in the chamber.

LAURA: I know, we should probably move.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LAURA: Get out of here before we finish this talk.

MARISHA: Being on Jester, am I near the rope still? The dangling rope, Matt?

TRAVIS: We have four into it? Four, five?

LIAM: He didn't answer that question.

MATT: No, you guys would've climbed across the other one. The dangling rope is in the middle of the chamber, which is where Essek is. You're with Jester, with the rest of the group, which is off on the far western side of the chamber, yeah. Which, Essek heard you say about cold. Did you mention that?

TALIESIN: Yes, I did. Out loud.

MATT: Essek goes-- Thankfully, one of the cantrips he has is Ray of Frost.

TALIESIN: Oh, well.

MATT: And he goes-- (whooshing) And you watch as he extends his finger, like a laser beam of bright blue. Just carves across. As it does, you watch as the mold grays and turns to dust where the blade hits.

TALIESIN: Well, that's one way to do it, I suppose.

MARISHA: Don't kill all of it.

TALIESIN: Yeah, let's just make our path and just keep something for them to play with.

MATT: "I'm intending to carve a path."

TRAVIS: Well, the thing about the intuit charge, it's about the size of your palm, but if you lay it on the ground it's going to float up in the air about three feet. It's obvious. If you lay it at least underneath the roof of the cavern, it'll (bloops) look a balloon on the ceiling. So it's a good spot for it.

SAM: It'll still reach everybody all the way up to the top.

MARISHA: I think we do that. I like that plan. And then we can always at least set them, keep moving forward, to Fjord's point. And we can always backtrack if we need to.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

SAM: Will we at least go look through this door to see what's on the other side before we start setting these charges?

LIAM: Because this is our waiting spot.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I can fly for--

MARISHA: Maybe.

SAM: And we could--

MARISHA: Maybe.

SAM: -- with Essek's Ray of Frost--

TRAVIS: She can fly, you can fly.

SAM: With Essek's Ray of Frost, we could fight them in here. If we had an area that was all frosty and not moldy--

MARISHA: In a way.

SAM: That could be our little bunker.

LIAM: Yeah, they've been here, so they're not afraid of this mold, either. They can either take it or they found a way past it.

TRAVIS: And one of the big things we need is distance for the anti-magic cone, distance.

TALIESIN: Lots and lots of distance.

TRAVIS: What's the rough?

MATT: The rough width? All the way across would be about 80 or so feet. 80 to 90 feet.

TRAVIS: Oh, it's not as big as I thought.

MARISHA: And how big is that black light that we have? The magic black light, that poofs--

LIAM: And who has them?

MARISHA: -- into the area?

TALIESIN: I don't remember who has them. What are they called?

MARISHA: I thought you had them, Caduceus, but I could be wrong.

TRAVIS: I'm guessing Allura.

LIAM: Yeah, they were two grenards.

SAM: We have--

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: The arcane field generator, I think.

SAM: The AFG. (laughter)

TRAVIS: I was robbed of my bag of holding. So I don't have it.

MARISHA: Who gave us those?

TALIESIN: I don't see it in my--

SAM: You guys still got that ring of fire protection there?

TRAVIS: No, I don't.

LAURA: I have it.

LIAM: Unattuned.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: It's just a nice ring.

MARISHA: It's real pretty.

LIAM: It's cold here.

TRAVIS: I like to spoil my--

TALIESIN: One of us took it, but I didn't write it into my--

LIAM: I didn't write it down either, but we have them, so--

MARISHA: We do have them.

SAM: All right, let's go explore the next thing and--

TALIESIN: In case this has to spill over, we should see what else is around. We know what we're dealing with. Let's find out a little bit more about what we're dealing with and where they're really going.

MATT: "So my question is, do you need me to carve a path for people?"

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I think we better carve a path.

MATT: "All right."

TALIESIN: We'll follow you.

MATT: From where he's standing, he steps a little bit over to the direction where all of you are standing and just burns about a 20 or so foot wide walkway. Carving it straight through to where you guys are, glides over as he does so. "Follow me." Turns around and just slowly burns it through. You watch as the mold pulls away. The edges of it, graying and turning into this piled silt. You move forward across the rubble, pulling and climbing over where the sections of it are. Eventually, you come to see, with your light, the partially damaged, still holding, metallic archway into the next hall.

SAM: Thank you, Frozone, that was awesome.

LIAM: The spider peels off of the rock wall onto the now-grayed mold and Caleb is standing in human form.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: (whooshing)

MATT: So what's the marching order here?

LAURA: Sorry. Oh, but no, you can still hold on for a piggy, if you want a piggyback ride?

MARISHA: Okay.

LAURA: The one thing that I see on the Symbol spell that could damage Lucien potentially, is pain. So it's not like necrotic damage. It's not fire damage. It's just pain damage. And it would just make them, whoever gets it, would be incapacitated for a minute.

SAM: That's pretty good.

LAURA: In just, pain.

MARISHA: I mean, that's amazing.

TRAVIS: Does it deal any hit points or just incapacitate?

LAURA: It's just incapacitated on them.

LIAM: Just side steps his resistances.

TRAVIS: That doesn't count as a charm or a hold or a?

LAURA: I don't think so because it's--

TRAVIS: A category that we would know from?

LAURA: It's not a charm. It's not a wisdom save or anything. It's a constitution save and it--

SAM: It's just pain.

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: For a minute?

LAURA: For a minute.

TALIESIN: It's a brain freeze.

SAM: That's pretty cool.

ASHLEY: It is pretty cool.

SAM: A minute of attacking without an anti-magic field is pretty good.

LAURA: That'd be nice.

TRAVIS: And they can fall.

TALIESIN: A minute of falling down.

MARISHA: I mean, that's the ambush one, right?

SAM: That's the dream.

LAURA: That's the one we can't set this in a place where we're not going to be able to attack them immediately because it's absolutely worthless for them to bicker amongst themselves or be in pain for a minute if we can't do anything with it.

LIAM: So be right in front of us.

LAURA: Yes. This is where we hide. This is where we do your doorway. This is where we do, you know?

LIAM: How far is it from this metal archway, crushed metal archway, to where the rope lands in the chamber?

MATT: It's roughly-- Actually, a bit more than 80 feet, it'd be close to like-- Close to 90 to a 100 feet across from edge to edge. From where the rope is, it's about 70 feet.

LIAM: I can start dealing damage to the bottom of that rope from this door.

SAM: Cool.

MARISHA: From the door. You know, when we first encountered Gelidon that really good tactic that we had, when you were definitely here.

LIAM: When we were all together, sure.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LIAM: I was probably the most present. You guys, your mind was like--

MARISHA: Yes, we were very distracted with a white dragon.

LIAM: Saved your asses.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm. With your dome. Because you stayed in the dome and pew, pew, pew from--

LIAM: Those domes, the trick of them, you got to get them up.

MARISHA: Uh-huh. But if we're ambushing, could we have a dome in this corridor to where?

LIAM: We sure as hell could.

MARISHA: They can't (bonk).

LAURA: Can't they just dispel--

TALIESIN: They can. They can dispel it instantly.

LAURA: They can just dispel it immediately.

TALIESIN: If they have Detect Magic up, it'll be a big shining beacon.

LIAM: Hold on.

MARISHA: Well, if they're popped by a giant pain trap--

LAURA: Oh well, yeah.

MARISHA: Then.

TALIESIN: Well, then we don't need the dome in the first place.

MARISHA: As long as we can kill them in a minute, I guess.

LIAM: They could. There's a long range on Dispel.

TRAVIS: This doesn't have to be the room where we pick the fight--

TALIESIN: I want to see more, yeah.

TRAVIS: There could be a bigger space. We either just set it here and know that it's meant to take out some of them and not be the final, or we can come back.

LAURA: I just don't know if it's bad to let them know ahead of time that we're already in here. If they're on their guard, then there'll be looking for traps. They might spot whatever we set for them.

TRAVIS: We can come back then.

TALIESIN: Let's keep going, I think.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I feel you.

LIAM: This is-- Let's keep going. This is pretty good.

TALIESIN: It is.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Great.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I'd like to know--

MARISHA: I also don't want to get too far ahead and then miss our opportunity, and they're here, if they're on our asses. I don't know. I wish we knew where the fuck they were.

SAM: We know that they're not upstairs yet because we would've gotten a radio call.

LIAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: That's true.

TRAVIS: Yeah, worst case scenario, we get the radio call, you two, you haul ass, you fly, you set, book it out.

LAURA: Yeah, it takes a minute to set--

TALIESIN: We have to know what we're running into.

TRAVIS: But we should keep going, then, if we're not going to do it now.

LIAM: Matt, I asked earlier, but you got distracted. The sack that we got from the Tomb Takers, did it have two or three?

MATT: I can't find my notes at the moment. I'll go ahead and double check the episode but we can do that.

LIAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: Say two for now.

ASHLEY: Two.

LIAM: Two.

MATT: I feel like it was two because you had one and made it--

ASHLEY: Arcane field generator two--

SAM: Oh, arcane field generator.

ASHLEY: Oh, sorry, sorry, sorry.

MATT: Yeah, two arcane field generators.

ASHLEY: Chest of goodies that I didn't write down because I was distracted by sword.

MATT: Could be two, could be three. I'll double check.

LIAM: I think it is two, but--

SAM: Someone text Dani.

ASHLEY: God, I feel like I would've--

MATT: So are you moving on?

SAM: Let's go into the next room. "Marching order," he said.

MATT: Yes, now this entrance way can offer two people at a time, shoulder to shoulder.

TRAVIS: Ray of Frost, somebody that can see. Essek and--

LIAM: The Ray of Frost, is the mold traveling past cavern into metal corridor or?

MATT: It is a little bit, yeah.

LIAM: A little bit.

MATT: Where you can see.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: I'll go after Essek.

MATT: All right, so Essek will make his way to the front. Who else? Is anyone going to be aside Essek? Or is Essek just going to be holding the line?

LIAM: How about some muscle for our friend?

TRAVIS: I'll go with Essek and I'll have the sword out so there's light at the front.

MATT: All right, you got it. Who's after them?

LAURA: These muscles right here.

TRAVIS: Jester's behind with--

MATT: Right.

LIAM: I'll walk by Jester.

MATT: All right.

ASHLEY: I'll go back there, behind them.

LAURA: Show him these guns.

LIAM: You have more muscles than him. I was talking about you.

SAM: Me and Beau in the rear. You want your goggles back?

MARISHA: Are you still using them or you good?

SAM: I don't know.

MARISHA: Yeah, I'll take them back.

SAM: Maybe we can share like headphones.

MARISHA: Oh yeah, okay. Yeah. This is a good podcast.

TRAVIS: The sword gives off 40 feet, not 30, so 40. So you guys can--

MATT: Good to know. As you were approaching the archway now, you can see where the metal is bent down and you three, notice immediately, as the light from the sword hits it, there is chiseled text into the metal.

LIAM: Can we read it?

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Can you read it?

MATT: You cannot read it.

LIAM: I instantly cast Comprehend Language.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: You can read it. (laughs)

MATT: Now you can read it.

SAM: All dick jokes.

MATT: It reads, "Praesidis Ward, Convocation Grounds, Central Deliberations."

MARISHA: Praesidis.

LIAM: Ward. Ward. Praesidis Ward. One more time, all the way through?

MATT: Convocation Grounds, Central Deliberations.

LAURA: Central Deliberations? Doesn't that sound like it would be like a courtroom or something?

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: It does.

SAM: Or some-- yeah. Aren't they, like, philosophers?

LIAM: Well, the Somnovem in the Cognouza Ward were, but we are in the Praesidis Ward.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: All right, okay.

SAM: Like for proceedings.

TALIESIN: Let's go, lore kids. Where's our lore kids?

LAURA: (laughs)

MATT: Essek continues to clear the path ahead, burning away the bits of brown mold that block your path. You push past the metallic archway and lead into the proceeding hall.

LAURA: Can I just-- I'm sorry.

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Can I just do a perception check? Is it obvious that a path was burned away in this mold or is it?

MARISHA: I know,

LAURA: Like, I don't--

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: Yeah, It's going to look like we're riding a lawnmower.

LAURA: So they're going to know that somebody came through here?

TALIESIN: Does anybody have a little fire that they could throw?

MATT: It certainly looks tampered with. I mean, yeah.

LAURA: Can I use-- I don't know if it is any heat, though. I was going to try Sacred Flame, but that's actually--

TALIESIN: No.

LAURA: That's radiant. What about you? Yeah. Yeah, maybe bring some fire to bring it back to regrow the path.

MARISHA: We can also cross that bridge if we decide to not put the intuit charge--

LAURA: That's true, that's true, that's true. Because we have a little time. Okay, okay, okay, okay.

LIAM: Easy to test when we want to. We've already spoiled the ground, so there's no issue with futzing with it further.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: Okay, so we're in the hallway?

TRAVIS: We're moving.

LAURA: Sorry, you were saying something and I cut you off.

MATT: Oh, it's okay. Entering inside, the same diamonds and dusting of frost clings to every surface within this tunnel. And not unlike where the previous Aeorian ruins you'd come to, this metallic hallway does remind you in some ways of the structure near the laboratory, where you had encountered the giant baby. The materials and the architectural design of it seem similar. And in the same way, panels have fallen and there are other cables and bits of metallic, load-bearing rods that have punctured through. It's like stepping through this once-beautiful and pristine, smooth interior. And now it's just jagged and ruined, but little pockets of its glory as it once was. You can almost visualize various studious individuals in similar robes to the one that you found and varying types of fashion exaggerations beyond that, walking up and down these halls, debating, arguing, discussing. Likely nose in the air, as far as you're concerned, Yasha. Pushing forward, the tunnel begins to come to a T-intersection. It drifts into this intersection left and right and continuing forward. You can see where elements of the floor have broken in a bit and began to fall. There's a large piece of metallic beam that has crossed over in the way. But you can see four paths to traverse.

TRAVIS: Straight ahead, left and right?

MARISHA: Can I do a quick investigation check to see if there's any path that looks like the main walkway? Or if one seems more derelict and collapsed?

LIAM: I'll look, too, for the writing.

MATT: You what? I'm sorry.

LIAM: For further writing, text.

MATT: Okay, so perception check. Would likely to be a perception check for you to kind of make it out. Go for it.

MARISHA: 18 total.

MATT: Okay. A quick glance. I mean, most of this is derelict. It all fell to the same degree. Are you looking for tracks or anything?

MARISHA: I don't know. Just flow. What would feel like, in it's heyday, what would be the main corridor?

MATT: Likely for a design like this, it would continue downward in a straight position. But there is a slight adjusted kink of the hallway. Where it splits in the T-intersection, it offsets a little bit. It's a unique design. Pardon me.

TALIESIN: Yasha, you said you found that robe on a body, right?

ASHLEY: Yeah, it was on a skeleton that was--

TALIESIN: Skeleton got buried, right?

ASHLEY: It was half covered with-- it was in a collapsed building.

TALIESIN: But the building is super collapsed now.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: If you find another body, keep the skull, if you wouldn't mind.

ASHLEY: You got it.

TALIESIN: Thanks. I got an idea.

ASHLEY: Okay.

TALIESIN: Yeah. We need a tour guide.

LAURA: What if this was-- What if there's multiple entrances from the tunnel, right? And this is the one that leads to the Praesidis Ward, but there's another doorway that we didn't see that leads to the Somnovem Ward. Wouldn't that'd be funny?

ASHLEY: Like if it was that dangling door? Like there was-- It went to somewhere secret?

MARISHA: Did we see any other doors in that main-- in the molded chamber?

MATT: No. It looked like an exterior courtyard.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Now mostly buried.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: An exterior--

TALIESIN: I think we're on the right path.

LIAM: Super weird.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: 21 for words.

MATT: Looking around the inside of this chamber, you've maybe traveled a couple hundred feet into this hallway before coming to this intersection. And you do not see any viable texts or anything that catches your eye.

LIAM: And everything is lit by Fjord's sword alone?

MATT: Fjord's sword, yeah.

LIAM: That's spooky.

TALIESIN: Can you ask the Traveler maybe, or?

LAURA: I know, that's what I was thinking. I could spend a few minutes and ask the Traveler.

TALIESIN: Let's take 10 minutes and we can do that.

LAURA: Okay, yeah. I'll just sit down on the ground and try to contact Arty.

LIAM: They're right on top of us, man.

LAURA: If you guys don't mind, can we wait for 10 minutes? I can just ask Arty to go take a look?

TRAVIS: You're asking him to take a look where?

LAURA: In the courtyard, if there was another entrance we missed or anything.

TALIESIN: I was thinking which way to go.

LAURA: Or if he knew which way to go.

TALIESIN: Well, you got three questions, so.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: And maybe if you have an extra question, you can see if Lucien and co. are close-ish?

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can see.

TRAVIS: Sure.

LAURA: I can try. Okay.

LIAM: That's excellent because if we delay 20 or 30 minutes, I can take a short rest and regain a little bit of my--

LAURA: We need an hour for a short rest.

LIAM: Boo-urns.

TALIESIN: Yeah, let's not short rest 'til we absolutely need to at this point--

LAURA: We literally just took one today.

TRAVIS: Sure, 10 minutes.

LAURA: All right. I'll sit down and set up a little Commune ritual.

MATT: All righty. What's everyone else doing during the 10-minute period?

ASHLEY: I'm keeping my sword out.

TALIESIN: I am keeping a very sharp eye on everything.

MARISHA: I'm going to chat with Fjord.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: But we'll get to that.

MATT: Well, it takes you 10 minutes to do it. So in that 10 minute period, what do you say?

MARISHA: I think you're right about the intuit charge back there. Just the more I think about it, the more that seems right. I'm thinking about the dozens of ways that we could blow our cover to Lucien before he even steps in that chamber. First and foremost being, if any of those rangers get spotted. I don't know, I'm just afraid the further down we go, the more we will blow our cover that we are here.

TRAVIS: And just spatially, it's a gift. Line of sight, gravity. I don't know what would compare, but--

MARISHA: I'm sure there's many cons that we're not thinking about, but--

TRAVIS: Also, we might only get half of them or less or none, but at least our chances are compounded by what's there. That's how I see it. But whether we do damage and they heal or whatever. Off their guard, even for a moment and then unsettled, I'm happy with. They were very confident the last time we met.

MARISHA: Yeah. Having some sort of rip cord, though, if things start getting really bad, like last time. It's the only thing that I can't-- That I'm trying to think of now with this situation.

TRAVIS: What do you mean, rip cord?

MARISHA: A "get out of Dodge" for us, if they do start overtaking us and it all backfires.

TRAVIS: Where does that go in your mind? We leave and what?

MARISHA: I don't know.

TRAVIS: I don't think we're leaving.

MARISHA: I guess it's a question of, if Lucien starts chasing us, or if we start chasing Lucien.

TRAVIS: Sure.

MARISHA: I don't know. It's good to continue discovering all the paths ahead of us so we have options.

TRAVIS: We've definitely had the tables turned on us before, but for the moment, we're at least between him and what he wants.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: But we are going to win this thing. We're going to fight until the last second and we're going to win. There is no leaving, maybe for some, but not for me. And I don't think for you.

MARISHA: (sighs) Just thinking about the others.

TRAVIS: I know. They look to you.

MARISHA: Let's not disappoint.

TRAVIS: We won't.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: You're doing your ritual where? Like, in the middle of the hall?

LAURA: Yeah, like up against the wall. I'll have a little half circle of all my little trinkets for the Traveler and my crystals that I've gathered. You know, make it look pretty.

MATT: Okay. What's everyone else doing?

TALIESIN: Keeping an eye, guarding. Looking down both, trying to keep an eye down both tunnels. Trying to keep an eye on, just keeping, somebody's got to keep a watch.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: Yeah, just watching.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Trying on the robe.

MATT: So make a perception check. Are you glancing down the two tunnels to look?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I mean we're there, right?

MATT: You guys are right up at the intersection. You haven't traversed it at all.

TALIESIN: No, just taking a look.

MATT: No one's actually even looked down one hallway or the other.

SAM: We haven't looked down the hall? We should look down the hall.

MATT: Just the one ahead.

SAM: Just look with your eyes.

TALIESIN: Yeah. I'm 12.

MATT: 12?

TALIESIN: I rolled really badly.

MATT: Yeah, you did.

TALIESIN: Wow.

MATT: Glancing ahead with what little bit of light you have, once again the glittering ice dust across the floor catches your attention. Weirdly beautiful in its desolation down here. You can't see much on either side of the hall. You do see similar signs of collapse, but you cannot see where they go beyond a few feet due to the lack of light source.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: You turn around and see Jester working on her ritual and they're having the conversation.

TALIESIN: Back up a bit, then.

MATT: Your passive perception, though, does pick up this shape, along the ceiling. One of the open collapsed holes and broken parts of this metallic hallway, you see something reach out and clamber--

TALIESIN: I'm backing up.

MATT: -- along the ceiling.

TALIESIN: We got a problem. I'm going to hide behind the door. We've got a problem, get ready.

TRAVIS: How long has it been into Jester's ritual?

MATT: It's been maybe six, seven minutes or so.

TRAVIS: I shake her out of it.

MARISHA: Goddamn it.

MATT: As you go to shake her out of it. You go behind, there's no door.

TALIESIN: I mean, so I'm assuming that--

MATT: So this is behind. You've gone up to-- there's the intersection, right? You're all here at the base of it. She's doing the ritual. You walk up and look both ways, turn back, and there's something emerging on the opposite side.

LAURA: Oh, like from the courtyard side?

MATT: From the courtyard side, from the ceiling.

LIAM: From behind where we came.

MATT: It's funny you mentioned Aliens earlier. It climbs out slowly. And it's large. And it's at this moment-- (loud thudding) You all hear the heavy metallic impact of something. Multiple limbs, clanging onto the metallic ground and you hear (guttural breathing).

SAM: Clanging?

MATT: Well, hanging and then landing onto the ground.

TALIESIN: Oh hell.

MATT: Glancing back in turn, you see-- you see a rather massive, lizard-like creature of deep blue cerulean skin. Elements of frost crystals gathered at the edges of its limbs and folds of its body. Multiple legs, as its eyes glance towards you and the light flickers past it like a creature in a flashlight in the shadows. As it opens its mouth, you see drool drip out and immediately freeze onto the metal beneath. And as it exhales, the air gives off a cloud of frost. And that's where we'll pick up next week.

TRAVIS: Oh no!

MARISHA: I knew it!

ASHLEY: Let's just play more.

SAM: No!

MARISHA: (groaning) I don't want to--

ASHLEY: I hate it.

MARISHA: Can we just leave it for them?

SAM: Can we control it? Who can control monsters?

MATT: So here's the thing. Whoever goes first, fights the things.

SAM: Yeah, whoever--

MATT: (laughs)

TALIESIN: I mean, we have options.

TRAVIS: Fights the things?

ASHLEY: Fights whatever's down--

MATT: Anything in the ruins that've taken up residence in the path that you're going.

ASHLEY: Whoever's behind us is going to have an easy time.

SAM: Unless we can somehow charm this creature and tell it to hang out by the glyph.

MATT: If you got the magic for it.

TALIESIN: Turn it into a ferret.

MARISHA: It's kind of cool. It's a cool idea.

ASHLEY: What's a cool idea?

MARISHA: Charming it. Making it our buddy.

ASHLEY: Make it a pal?

MARISHA: Yeah, make it a pal.

TRAVIS: It doesn't last that long.

LIAM: Yeah, it's like a minute.

LAURA: You can't charm monsters the same way.

ASHLEY: Okay, we can't talk about this in front of Matt.

TRAVIS: (high-pitched) Oh! It's an hour!

MATT: Nope, you got to think.

LAURA: So that was a 5th-level spell because I was already in the middle. Oh, no, it's a ritual!

LIAM: They could show up.

MATT: It's a ritual.

LAURA: So it doesn't waste a spell slot.

MATT: You did not waste a spell slot.

ASHLEY: I don't want to stop playing!

MATT: I know, but if we go from here it could end up going pretty late.

ASHLEY: I know, I know.

TALIESIN: You don't get to leave.

MATT: We'll pick up for that next time.

LIAM: But on the flip side, we get to [inaudible].

MATT: That's true. That's true. All right.

MARISHA: ♪ Time to fire up ♪ ♪ the text thread. ♪

TALIESIN: Oh, yeah!

MATT: Indeed. You guys got a lot of irons in the fire right now. I love it.

LIAM: Kill the thing.

MATT: (laughs) All right, we'll pick up there next time. Thank you all so much for joining us. We love you very much and is it Thursday yet? (cheering) Good night.

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