MATT: Hello everyone, and welcome to tonight’s episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around, roll dice, and play Dungeons and Dragons. We had quite an interesting episode last week, and leading into more interesting possibilities this week depending on what happens. So, that being the case, let’s go ahead and try and get through these announcements real fast so we can get to the game. First and foremost, this is our second week of our fantastic Loot Crate sponsorship. Those of you who aren’t familiar with Loot Crate, they’re an awesome company that produces monthly themed boxes that contain a bunch of fantastic geek items from licensed gear, apparel, shirts, tchotchkes, statues, all kinds of fun stuff, me and Marisha have been members for years, and it’s actually really, really cool stuff and they’ve been awesome enough to take interest in our show and sponsor us. To the point where, if you’re interested in getting one, you can actually get three dollars off a subscription by going to their website at www.lootcrate.com/criticalrole and put in the code “criticalrole” to get your three dollars off your subscription. It’s legitimately really cool stuff. And you should go check it out. Plus we get to show them the strength of the Critter nation, you guys go ahead and click on the link and say hello.
TRAVIS: Yeah, mobilize.
MATT: You also have until the 19th of this month at 9:00pm to subscribe to receive the next month’s Loot Crate in time, otherwise the cutoff happens, and the next one looks pretty cool. So you guys should definitely try and get into that window if you can. Let me see. There is a– oh! Our first “Dear Vox Machina” article went up last week, answered by our fantastic Scanlan Shorthalt over there.
MARISHA: So funny!
MATT: You can find that on the Geek and Sundry website. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you can check it out on geekandsundry.com. We have a new one coming out tomorrow–
SAM: Featuring? Featuring?
MATT: –featuring, do we know who it’s featuring? Do we know? Vax is helming that one next week, so that’ll be fun. Check it out at geekandsundry.com for Vax’s answering questions sent to him by various people who live all about Tal'Dorei and beyond.
LIAM: Let’s have a heart-to-heart.
MATT: Yeah, what could possibly go wrong?
TRAVIS: He walks away.
MATT: Or hits them in the head with a–
LIAM: I didn’t answer any of them, I just left it and took a walk.
MATT: Perfect. I will be a guest at the end of this month, the last weekend in May, at Momocon in Atlanta, as a reminder for all you southern East-coast folks. Looking forward to coming there and doing some panels and such. And then the weekend after that, the first weekend of June, I will be at Akon in Dallas, Texas. So for all you Texas folk they just finally announced that.
LAURA: Woo, Dallas.
MATT: I’m going to these folks’ old neck of the woods. So if you’re in that area, come say hi at Akon, be a lot of fun. Oh and Travis, you’re going to a convention next weekend.
TRAVIS: Yeah, Laura and I will be at Puerto Rico Comic Con next weekend. The 21st and the 22nd, or the 20th and the 21st, whatever Saturday and Sunday is. We’ll be there! Come squeeze us, we’ll sign your books–
LAURA: Squeeze us?
TRAVIS: Yeah, come squeeze us. Ahh, sushi burp. Here we go, it’ll be hitting you real soon.
MATT: Everything shrivels. And Taliesin, you will be at another convention as well.
TALIESIN: I will, I will be at Amazing Comic Con in Hawaii next weekend. Actually, I will be missing the game because I will be working on my pale, in the moonlit shores of Hawaii.
LAURA: I love how well your shirt and your hoodie match your hair.
MARISHA: I know, it looks so pretty.
MATT: That is pretty slick, actually.
TALIESIN: Thank you. This is as fresh as I can get. Because I’ve been sleeping in the studio.
LAURA: It’s pretty fresh. So fresh and so clean.
MARISHA: You look like a Wicked and Divine character. It’s pretty great.
LIAM: What color will you be next week?
TALIESIN: You know, I think I’m going to stick with the lavender for a while. I think I’m slowly going to move it towards amethyst.
MATT: Hey, I like it.
TALIESIN: Little green, little blue.
MATT: Also, as a note, Taliesin is the new host of Signal Boost. The next run on the show that Marisha is the creator and co-producer on, writer, all that other fun stuff.
MARISHA: Along with Shaun Becker and Eric Campbell. Couldn’t do it without those guys.
MATT: You had a fun promo go up this week as a teaser for it. That was rather fun.
MARISHA: Check it out. It’s very good.
MATT: Indeed. And I want to say, though it’s only been a couple days past, happy birthday to Marisha. Happy birthday this past Tuesday to Marisha.
MARISHA: That was added after I sent out the announcements.
MATT: That was added right now because I’m your boyfriend. But yeah, happy birthday.
MARISHA: Aw, thanks, babe.
ASHLEY: We love our druid!
MARISHA: Aw, thanks, guys.
MATT: Speaking of birthdays, I believe there is a gift to be given?
LIAM: Yeah, I don’t have an announcement, but I have a bit of a surprise. This is a little bit early, because my sister and I share a birthday on the 28th. However!
MARISHA: May birthdays!
LIAM: It’s a big month for birthdays, I’m a little worried about the next episode or two, if we’re going to survive or not, so the gift that I have I want to make sure you have it now, just in case. It’s very timely. Ryan, if you please.
LAURA: What? What is this thing? Is it a baby bear cub? Is it a real bear cub?
MARISHA: Oh, yeah!
TRAVIS: Holy shit.
MATT: That is fantastic.
LAURA: Oh. My. Gosh. Shut your face!
ASHLEY: Lookit! Look at what it says.
LAURA: Happy birthday twinnie, fly high. Thanks brother!
MATT: All the barf. That’s so cute!
LAURA: Oh my god, I want to ride it around right now.
SAM: It’s got a little bend in it for your butt!
LAURA: Does it really fly though, that’s the thing.
LIAM: I don’t know, maybe have some padding or mattresses out the first time you use it.
LAURA: (squeals) Oh, this is so cool!
LIAM: I also thought it would look nice in the house.
LAURA: It’ll look so good in the house! It’s so perfect. It’s going to go on the mantle.
SAM: Hold it up a little higher so the people can see.
LAURA: (sings) That was Ariel, singing Little Mermaid.
LAURA: Keep singing!
LIAM: I’m a big fan of all your decisions, keep making them.
LAURA: Thanks, brother. Thank you so much. I don’t have your gift for you here.
SAM: She dropped it in a portapotty.
LAURA: Make him hold it!
MATT: Make Trinket hold a broom. This is going to go perfectly. It does actually work!
TALIESIN: Yeah, yeah no, that’s rockin’!
MARISHA: That’s perfect!
ASHLEY: I love it so much.
LAURA: Thank you, that’s so wonderful.
LIAM: You’re welcome.
LAURA: Don’t steal it, Trinket! You won’t fit on it.
MATT: Anything else anyone wants to say or shall we jump into it?
MARISHA: I guess we should also say thank you, Hardwick–
MATT: Thank you Chris Hardwick for letting your broom be stolen. “Letting.” He still messages occasionally, “Where’s my broom?!” It’s pretty great. Anyway. That being the case, let’s go ahead and jump into tonight’s chaos for this episode of Critical Role.
MATT: Hello everyone. So, from last week’s episode. Vox Machina, our band of adventurers who have found their way into a struggle against a group called the Chroma Conclave, a collection of ancient chromatic dragons that have torn across the landscape of Tal'Dorei and beyond, setting ruin to a number of major cityscapes and then claiming areas as their own after the fact. In order to combat this, eventually hopefully their leader Thordak the Cinder King, a great and powerful red dragon, they’ve been in search of ways to improve their prowess as heroes in search of these artifacts known as the Vestiges of Divergence, lost from wars long past. After finding information about these, it was also discovered that one of their original homesteads, Westruun, the actual place where Pike and Grog, for a large portion of his life, grew up, after being sieged by the dragons, had been overtaken by the Herd of the Storm, of which Grog previously ran with for most of his life, and was helmed by Kevdak, his uncle, a rather cruel and ruthless leader, after they had absorbed the River Maw years beforehand that had swollen to a great size. Battled the dragon, and amongst their losses came to an accord in which they would leave riches for the dragon and it would let them be for the time being. Upon making their way into the town, thinning some of the ranks of this ravenous herd, Travis as Grog threatened Kevdak to a battle one-on-one for supremacy of the herd, and quickly may have gotten in a little over his head. In the center of the town square, a great battle commenced, where after calling to his side his friends Vox Machina, a bloody fray that nearly felled a few of you, through some ingenuity, some decent planning, and some trickery of magical item use, you managed to survive and have Grog deal the death blow to Kevdak, amongst all of the watching herd. After some barely scraping by diplomacy, managed to bring it all to a ceasefire for the time being, freed Kevdak’s son, your cousin Zanror, who from his bindings seemed to be of a different mentality, emotional mindset than his father was, and is now wishing to– with the two of you, being Vox Machina and the remainder of the Herd– bring this fight to the black dragon itself, pulling themselves from under the thumb of its rule, thus saving Westruun and your own lives in the process. You all have brought to life one child who was lost in this fray, and are currently escorting this boy northward towards the temple district of Westruun, and that was where we left off last time. So. As you guys recovered somewhat, some of your wounds, taken a breather, begin walking through the now slowly unrolling streets of Westruun, some folks are coming out, some are still staying in, because there are still various druids, warriors of a very aggressive nature wandering the streets, though sparser than before, seeing you guys walk through, as many people do recognize you through your previous exploits, building a little sense of security they have not had for the better part of a week. Making your way northward with this little boy, you eventually find your way into the outskirts of the temple district, the very familiar half-toppled stone wall that in a circular way encompasses this portion of the northwestern side of Westruun. What would you like to do?
ASHLEY: Well, I would like to make a proposition, if everybody would like to take a rest, I know I’m pretty rough right now and maybe we could go see if my great-great grandfather is okay.
LAURA: Of course.
MARISHA: We were in the process of–
SAM: Escorting this boy to his home.
MARISHA: It was the three ladies, right?
LAURA: But we’ll bring him home, then we’ll find your grandfather.
LAURA: Or we can take him home and meet you.
ASHLEY: Who– how– where is–
SAM: Little dead boy?
MATT: The little boy is still clutching on to Trinket’s fur, riding him behind you, he’s got a little smile on his face, the dried blood still covering half of his smile.
LAURA: Does any of this look familiar to you, darling?
MATT: “Yeah. Mom should be up that way.” And he points further down the thoroughfare.
ASHLEY: It’s close.
LAURA: Yeah. And your grandfather lives in this area as well.
TALIESIN: Don’t see why we can’t do both.
SAM: Swing by his house, yeah.
MATT: “Giddy-up!” And he kicks the side, and Trinket like, (grunts), lumbers forward.
LAURA: I pat Trinket’s butt. It’s okay.
MATT: Licks your hand begrudgingly and continues forward, plodding on the cobblestone. For a while, eventually the boy, looking for familiar sights, some of the buildings have taken some damage in the initial black dragon onslaught, he does suddenly point his finger forward and goes, “That’s it! That’s it!” And you go past a couple of humble buildings, and then you start getting into the slum section. I say slum, it’s where the poor people in the temple district live when they’re not tending to temples or businesses that are surrounded by this district. You can see it’s a functional, it’s a standing hovel, but it’s mainly a scrap wood roof, bits of thatch to help maintain any protection against rainfall. The wood looks old, some of it may have been rotted, but treated since. It’s functional. But the boy jumps off Trinket.
LAURA: Oh, be careful!
MATT: Doesn’t even pay attention to you, runs up to the door and hits the door and it’s solid. He goes and pulls on it and it seems to be closed, so he goes, “Mommy? Mommy?” He seems genuinely excited, but also trying to get in the front door.
LAURA: I walk up behind.
MARISHA: I whisper to Pike and be like, mm, we didn’t think about this potential outcome, did we?
LAURA: Hello? Is anyone home? It’s relatively safe–er. Than it was.
MATT: Time passes. What are you doing?
ASHLEY: Can I check the door, if it’s locked?
MATT: The door itself doesn’t have a knob per se, it has a small dark iron handle that’s bolted to it, but you pull it and something’s holding it back, like there’s something actually barring it from the other side.
ASHLEY: That’s a good thing.
MATT: A few moments pass. Silence.
MARISHA: Child, how long has it been since you’ve been away from your home?
MATT: “They just pulled me out today.” Then you hear a voice come from the other side of the wooden door, peeking through the space. “Hello?”
LAURA: Knock-knock, we have your son, safe and sound.
LAURA: Special delivery for child’s mum.
MATT: “Theodore?” And the boy goes, “Yes? Mom? Please please please! There’s nice people out here.” And you hear the shifting of wood onto the side, the door opens ever so slightly and on the inside you can see a pale and scared-looking woman, clean, simple clothing, has some sort of half-torn apron on that’s wrapped around a simple peasant blouse. She has her hair up in this small cloth cap and she pushes through. “Theodore!” Opens the door and picks him up and wraps him in her arms and holds him for a second, not even paying attention to any of you, and there’s this moment where you can see the fear that has been stuck in her mind since he was pulled from the inside of their abode slowly abated with the return. Eventually she stops and her eyes come up over his shoulder to the rest of you. “I’m sorry, pardon my manners, I’m Yulia. Thank you.”
LAURA: Of course. Well.
MATT: Puts Theodore down. “Hold on, let me–” She goes and steps inside of her home. Eventually a few moments later she comes back and she has a small handful of coins.
LAURA: No, darling, put that away.
MATT: “I– it’s the least I can do.”
TRAVIS: Is that it?
LAURA: Truly, put that away.
MARISHA: It’s not what we did this for. It’s fine. We’re just glad he’s home safe.
LAURA: And not even slightly dead!
MARISHA: Nope! Not a scratch!
ASHLEY: He’s fine, just nothing even happened.
MARISHA: If he has weird dreams– don’t worry about it. Children, you know.
MATT: Her eyes are partially trained on Grog as she now notices you, she steps further out of the house, she’s like, “Is everything okay now?”
LAURA: Oh yeah, he killed the bad guy.
TRAVIS: We’re under new management now, going to be a lot of changes around here. For the better.
MATT: “Okay. Thank you.” She cups the coins back into her hand, reaches down and rubs Theodore’s hair, looks at the blood that’s still there and looks a little worried for a second.
LAURA: I think it’s paint, I think it might be paint, they were painting.
MATT: “Is he going to be all right?”
MARISHA: Oh yeah, he’s great.
SAM: We had spaghetti for lunch.
LAURA: Quite an adventure.
MATT: “Thank you.”
MARISHA: Give him a little hot cocoa, warm blanket, he’ll be fine.
MATT: “Better go clean you up. Go clean you up.” And he’s like, “Okay!” And he runs in behind her as she turns again and takes the door and pauses for a moment looking out at you and says once again, very quietly under her breath, “Thank you.”
LAURA: Have you– sorry. Have you seen a small elderly– an older gnome?
LAURA: Yes, have you seen him, is he all right?
MATT: “We’ve been staying inside since the incursion came.”
LAURA: All right.
MATT: “The few that I have seen were not under good circumstances. But the fact that I haven’t seen him might be a good thing.”
SAM: Do you know if they were hiding anywhere? If anyone else went anywhere specifically to hide?
MATT: “Not a lot of places to hide. Only certain areas in the sewers are safe, and our homes are the best places, if we knew our way around our own homes. We had a hiding spot, but Theodore got away from us, hearing all the noise, and they managed to take him away.”
TRAVIS: Where did you hide?
MATT: She brings you guys inside and it’s very, very plain in the interior, it’s very cold, you can see there is a small firepit with a cauldron over it that’s used for making simple soups and whatever food they prepare in here. There is a portion of the roof that is open to allow any sort of smoke to pass through, but it does have some runoff to let any sort of water fall off outside the window. She heads back behind where the cold cauldron is, and where the stones are set up to guard the back from catching any of the wood behind it, she goes and pulls on one of the pieces of stone, and as she pulls it back it’s a false front of stone that pulls open. There’s a small cabinet there that you see there used to be a– religion check, for those who are trained in it. Or who are skilled in it.
LAURA: Trained in it.
ASHLEY: You can try.
MATT: Have a proficiency.
MATT: Okay. You see, even a quick glance, there’s a small broken statue that lies to the ground, and you can see the semblance of a destroyed shrine. This back room was a shrine to Melora, and has since been seemingly tossed aside in the hurried state of trying to protect one’s family.
MARISHA: Can I reach down and pick up the statue?
MATT: It’s in three pieces. As you pick it up, she goes, “Oh, I’m so sorry, we–” She goes for your hand and goes, “I didn’t– hopefully she’ll forgive us, I know she will.”
MARISHA: Tell me about this deity.
MATT: And you’ve heard Melora, it’s a whole section of Vasselheim that is based around her sphere of influence, and she is actually where most of the food in Vasselheim is grown in such a cold environment, her blessing is what allows the land there to be fertile for crops from many different places.
MATT: But she tells you, and you can see the symbols too, the symbols that are carved in the side of the stone are these swirls, almost like a slow cascading spiral. She says, “Melora watches over nature, she watches to make sure we have a good harvest, she makes sure we don’t get washed away in the storms, she makes sure that the ships to the far west make their passage across the ocean, she looks out for us smaller folk and brings vengeance upon those who attempt to destroy our life.” As she looks distantly out the open door behind you into the city itself. “But anyway, I’ll repair that.”
MARISHA: I might be able to help. Can I attempt– hang on– can I attempt a Mending spell on it?
MATT: Yes, you can. You take a moment, close your hands around it, close your eyes, and you can see what little bit of dried grass or moss that’s gathered at the edges of the stone all of a sudden spreads and encompasses all the pieces of stone as you’re holding it together. She takes a step back, her eyes full of wonder, as the moss then turns dark brown, like a shell of soft vegetation, and then cracks and falls away, leaving behind the stone statue in one piece.
LAURA: That’s sick!
MARISHA: I hand it over, and I tell her, I’m a druid of the Ashari people and I know several worshippers of Melora, but wasn’t necessarily a believer of her powers.
MATT: “She protects you, too.”
MARISHA: And you’re sure of this?
MATT: She looks over to her child, who’s now sitting on the side, pulled a couple of these wooden toys out from the side and is gathering them in his arms and is grabbing all the things that he missed while he was taken away, and she says, “She brought you to me. She brought you to him.”
MARISHA: Why should I believe?
MATT: “She’ll show you. In her own way.”
MARISHA: Thank you, my lady.
MATT: She takes the statue and, “Well, if there’s anything else I can do for you.”
TRAVIS: Yes, actually. You should leave. I don’t mean that in the way that it sounded, sorry, back up. So, come tomorrow, there might be danger in Westruun. You and your kin should go. In fact, anyone that you see, take them with you, there’s a little encampment not far from here.
SAM: There is?
TRAVIS: Yeah, all the shanty area of people–
SAM: Oh, oh, the refugees.
MATT: They were south of here by Foromir Basin.
SAM: South, north, northwest. South.
TRAVIS: It’s over by Foromir Basin. Head for that if you can.
SAM: Look for no trees.
MATT: She takes a mental note. “No trees. All right. I haven’t been that far south. Should we get the others, should we tell others to come with us? If there is danger here–”
SAM: We’re going to fight here? I thought we were going to do this out of town.
TRAVIS: There’s a fight coming here. You don’t want to be here. Don’t be too obvious about it, on the sly, if you can, but try and make your way out of here before dawn tomorrow.
MATT: “Okay, we will. Theodore? Start gathering your things, we’re taking a little trip.”
LAURA: A fun trip.
MATT: He goes, “A trip! Yay!” And starts gathering more of his things, he gets a pillow case and starts putting stuff into it. “We haven’t done a trip– we haven’t done a trip!” “I know. Thank you.”
TRAVIS: On second thought, should we ask them to leave on the sly, like, through the sewers? Just in case.
MARISHA: I wouldn’t make a show of it.
TRAVIS: So maybe underground if they can.
TALIESIN: I think we’re going to have– are we here? I can’t remember.
MATT: Yeah, you’re all together.
MARISHA: I thought we weren’t either, I thought it was just the girls but then everyone started talking.
LIAM: And then Grog was here. Reality is very malleable.
TALIESIN: I think we’re going to have to have a larger conversation about where everybody ends up in the very near future, and while two people in and out of town is definitely agreeable, I think there’s a larger discussion to be had.
LIAM: I have an odd question for you.
LIAM: Do you know of anyone still in the city who would know their way about the sewers?
MATT: “I mean– usually the guards would go through and make sure that the things that were living down there weren’t living anymore, but– I don’t know anyone in particular that worked down there. Sorry.”
LIAM: It’s fine.
SAM: I know someone.
TALIESIN: You do?
MARISHA: Why don’t we let this woman return to the rest of her day?
TALIESIN: We have more appointments as well. Much to do today.
LAURA: (whispering) One last question, this is it, I swear.
LAURA: Are you familiar with anyone in the farming area just outside of town?
MATT: “I’ve seen some folks come and go.”
LAURA: We’re looking for a woman who was a daughter of one of the gentlemen that worked in the fields, and we really have no idea how to go about finding her.
TRAVIS: (whispering) Reginald.
LAURA: Reginald’s daughter, yes.
MATT: “Reginald’s daughter. I’ll ask.”
LAURA: All right. You know where to find us, we’ll be about.
MATT: “All right.”
TALIESIN: I think I know who to have that discussion with as well.
SAM: Good day. Oh?
ASHLEY: I go over to Theodore and– I don’t think I have to bend down.
MATT: No, no, he’s maybe half an inch shorter than you.
ASHLEY: I had a little wooden doll, and so I’m going to pass it to him and say, in case we never see you again, you can always think of us when you play with this. That’s for you. And you can name him whatever you want.
MATT: “What’s your name?”
MATT: “I will name you Pike.” Throws it in the pillowcase. Says, “Thank you!” Gives you a quick little kiss on the forehead.
MATT: Pulling more things in the pillowcase.
LIAM: So much better alive than dead.
LAURA: I know! I mean, good thing he never died.
LIAM: Hey, a rare ray of sunshine from the DM today.
SAM: Let’s continue on.
TRAVIS: Don’t poke him.
MATT: You guys say your goodbyes, she lets you go and she locks the door behind and you gather they’re making their necessary preparations. Where to next?
SAM: To Wilhand’s.
ASHLEY: Follow me, please.
MATT: All right. Not too far away, actually, you come to the red brick homestead where Pike, Grog, and Wilhand live. Mostly intact. The second floor, which you guys are definitely familiar with–
LIAM: Hey, I remember this place! Wow.
MATT: –part of it has fallen in, doesn’t look like it’s been set fire or any serious damage in that regard, some sort of nearby rubble or some sort of impact caused part of the roof to collapse from the outside. You come up to the front door. It’s currently locked.
ASHLEY: That’s a good sign. I think that’s a good sign.
TRAVIS: Do you want to knock?
MATT: No answer.
LAURA: You have a secret knock you maybe used?
TRAVIS: Maybe you should say who’s knocking, just in case. You do knock so strong.
ASHLEY: Pop-Pop Wilhand? It’s Pike!
TALIESIN: Well, I heard that.
LAURA: He might have very soft footfalls.
TALIESIN: He might not be home.
MARISHA: Is he old and hard of hearing?
ASHLEY: A little, he could– a little. Vax? Would you mind? Maybe you’ll get some luck with this door.
MATT: Technically, Pike, you do have the keys to the home.
LIAM: I mean, I can do it if you want to.
ASHLEY: Wait, hold on, I forgot that somewhere in this armor–
TALIESIN: No, he needs this, he needs this, it’s all right, absolutely needs this.
SAM: I’ll explode the door!
ASHLEY: All that clanking is actually this key moving about my armor. All right.
MATT: Unlocks the door.
LIAM: That key has seen a lot of miles.
MARISHA: Been around the world.
MATT: You push and the door hits something.
SAM: Damn it. Doors.
MATT: It like budges maybe a quarter-inch.
LAURA: He’s barricaded the door, that’s a good thing, that’s a really good thing.
ASHLEY: I go to the crack. Pop-Pop Wilhand! It’s Pike!
LAURA: I go and look through the window, is there a window?
MATT: There is a window, there is cloth shuttered around it, you cannot see in the inside.
LIAM: And the hole in the roof. Could I get up it?
MATT: You could probably get up there if you wanted. Go ahead and make a– make an athletics check.
LIAM: All right.
TALIESIN: Bugger all, I say we give it a shove.
LIAM: Eh, 14.
MATT: It takes you a few minutes, but you eventually climb your way up, looking down into the second floor. Part of the roof is fully pushed in, it looks like there’s a piece of wayward stone that was ejected from an impact not too far from here, possibly from one of the nearby temples, that ended up slamming through the roof. It’s partially embedded in the ground, the wood’s splintered up around it, but it didn’t hit the bottom floor, it lodged itself in the floor of the second.
LIAM: Hear anything, see anything inside?
LAURA: What do you see? Oh. Well.
MATT: Are you at the bottom floor? Bottom floor, all, there is some furniture that’s busted, but a lot of the furniture’s all been pushed right to the front door. There’s a giant barricade of mishmashed furniture that is jammed impossibly into this front area.
ASHLEY: He’s very strong.
TALIESIN: We’re going to give a push to the front door.
MATT: More amusing when you consider that there’s a glass window right next to it that is not blocked at all, shuttered so carefully.
LIAM: There’s a window, there’s nothing in front of it, you want to come in the window?
TALIESIN: We give a shove.
MARISHA: We give a big shove.
MATT: Make a strength check, with advantage we’ll say as you– well, him, having advantage you’re helping.
MARISHA: Oh, him having advantage because I’m helping.
TALIESIN: Oh. 18. Is my strength.
MATT: 18. You guys have to slam it a few times, and the impact lodges a few things loose. Come cascading down, causing a bit of a racket, but eventually you manage to get it pushed open enough where you guys can squeeze through.
LIAM: You just broke a chaise lounge, but come in.
LAURA: Pike, after you.
ASHLEY: Okay. I step in and start looking around.
MATT: Looking across the way, you see the fireplace mantle has been ruined where the original small shrine to Sarenrae used to be, looks like it’s been knocked over and then put back together on top haphazardly, like it was shattered and then was put up there and is delicately keeping its form by how it was laid. The rest of the room is cold. It’s quiet other than your footfalls.
ASHLEY: Can I check the bedroom?
MATT: Okay. You go up to the bedroom area. As you go up the stairs, you can see the giant piece of stone that’s smashed in there, where the bed would be in part of the bedroom area.
LAURA: Pike, did he have any hiding places, like that other house?
TRAVIS: I go with her.
TALIESIN: I’m going to look around for personal effects, papers.
MATT: Make an investigation check, both of you guys.
LIAM: Is there a basement here, Pike?
MATT: What were you going to say?
ASHLEY: There are hiding places.
MATT: You guys go through the kitchen area, and as you are looking about, moving stuff, in the pantry area there is a small wooden slat that is partially moved across that leaves a small opening in the floorboards.
LAURA: Percy! Wilhand?
MATT: “Shh! I’m not here!”
TALIESIN: Pike, I’ve got good news, he says he’s not here!
ASHLEY: Okay, I go running down.
MATT: Okay, you run and you push stuff out of the way. There’s the one board that’s slid open, all the rest of the boards are still loose and placed over it. Do you just take the boards and toss ‘em up?
ASHLEY: I just pull them off.
MATT: As you pull the boards off, what little bit of light has made its way from the window on the far end of the kitchen, you can see a bit of glimmer off a set of glasses that immediately recoil in the shadow and go, “Oh!”
ASHLEY: Pop-Pop Wilhand!
MATT: “Pike? Oh my goodness.” And his hand reaches out and grabs yours and you pull him up and he’s covered in dust and dirt and he’s probably been down there– the smell, probably been down there for a few days.
ASHLEY: I give him a big hug.
MATT: You give him a big hug, he has long, ratty, silver hair that’s bald on the top, bowled on the sides, curled up and matted on the edges of his shoulders. His normally nice light blue, sky blue shirt is torn in places and covered in dirt. He has been living under the house for quite a while. There’s a little bit of dried food crusted on the side of his chin. But he’s there with a big ol’ hug. “Pike, I missed you so much.”
ASHLEY: I missed you so much, I’m so glad you’re okay.
MATT: “Look at you, look at you. Where’d you get this scar? Oh.”
ASHLEY: Long story, we’ll get there.
MATT: “I want to hear this story– and it’s Grog!”
TRAVIS: Hello Wilhand!
MATT: Runs up, goes to give you a hug and goes, “Oh! Come down, come down.”
TRAVIS: Oh, no– yes. Take it easy.
MATT: “You big guy.” And his eyes go from really warm to suddenly very cold, and he goes, “They came back for me. They came back for me. I saw ‘em in the street.”
TRAVIS: I know, it’s all right. It’s all right, Wilhand. It’s all been taken care of.
MATT: “They didn’t find me though, they didn’t find me.”
TRAVIS: You hid.
MATT: “I did, and they didn’t find me at all. There was no way they could find me. I know where the secret places are.”
TRAVIS: I see where Pike gets her smarts from.
MATT: “So. It’s been a while! All of you!”
MATT: And he starts going around and giving each of you– you guys got the hugs, he’s giving you the formal like, “Oh, yes.”
TRAVIS: This is Vex, this is Vax.
LAURA: He knows us, Grog.
MATT: “Yes, I remember.”
MARISHA: Keyleth, hello.
MATT: “Been a while.”
TALIESIN: I don’t actually think we’ve met before, hello.
MATT: “No, you’re unfamiliar to me. Nice to see you again.”
SAM: Scanlan, Scanlan.
MATT: “Always nice to see a fellow gnome in these parts. You are?”
TALIESIN: Ah, Percival Frederickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Hello. Hi.
MATT: “Right!” And he pats your shoulder.
TALIESIN: That took some doing, well done. I’ll lean down for that.
MATT: “So. You need to hide too?”
ASHLEY: There was a very big battle. And Grog beat Kevdak.
ASHLEY: Chopped him in half! Straight down the middle. Filleted him.
MATT: “I knew you would! You’ve always been the strong one.”
ASHLEY: So everything’s a little bit more under control, hopefully.
MARISHA: A little.
ASHLEY: Mm. Ish.
MARISHA: Did they want something in particular with you? Why did they want you?
MATT: “Well, they went after me years ago, nearly had me.”
MARISHA: I’ve heard the story, yes.
MATT: “But I escaped.”
MARISHA: I’ve heard.
MATT: “I managed to flee, and took one of their own with me.”
MARISHA: I know.
MATT: “Nursed this one back to health, we did.”
TRAVIS: Thank goodness.
MATT: “And I think I made 'em angry, so they came to Westruun trying to get revenge on old Wilhand, but no, too keen for that, these eyes have seen the world!”
MARISHA: You think the goliaths–
LAURA: Yes, well of course they did!
TRAVIS: Yep, that’s the only reason they came here.
LAURA: Who hasn’t heard the legend of Wilhand?
MATT: “Not many actually, I don’t get out very often.”
TALIESIN: They cry your name across the–
LAURA: The seven seas?
MATT: “No no no no. Don’t give me a big head about it, it’s fine.”
SAM: I’ve written many a song about you, it’s true.
MATT: “Well, if they’re all dead, let’s have a meal!”
TRAVIS: Little misunderstanding, they’re not all dead. We unseated Kevdak.
TRAVIS: He’s dead. And so was the horrible bastard who was pouring poison in his ear. But listen, I gave power up to the Herd, to Zanror, his son.
TRAVIS: So it’s in slightly better hands. Little problem–
TRAVIS: They want to stay and fight the dragon that’s going to come back.
TRAVIS: So we need everyone in here to leave.
LAURA: Perfect in what way, leaving or fighting the dragon?
MATT: “Dragon? What?!”
TRAVIS: Sorry, yes.
MARISHA: You were aware, right?
MATT: (terrified noise)
MARISHA: Okay. Yes. Yes, that one.
MATT: And he starts walking back towards the hole.
ALL: No, no no no!
TRAVIS: I grab the back of his britches and I pull him back. Nope, nope, Wilhand.
ASHLEY: Hey, guess what though? We’ve fought many dragons already. And guess what, I killed one!
MARISHA: Two, three-ish?
ASHLEY: Two or three.
MATT: “That’s my Pike! Then this is nothing! The dragonslayer, Pike Trickfoot, come again to kill another!”
TRAVIS: That’s how she’s known.
MATT: “Great. Wondrous.”
MATT: “Let me know when it’s dead.”
ALL: No, no no no.
ASHLEY: It’s okay right now.
TRAVIS: We’re glad you’re safe. We want to make sure you’re out of here before any real damage comes to town.
MARISHA: We’re also going to need any and all recruits that you may know of, or any favors you can call in. If we are in fact going to fight this dragon?
TRAVIS: We haven’t quite talked about–
LAURA: We really should have a conversation about that.
TRAVIS: But what is known is that there’s going to be a fight tomorrow.
TALIESIN: There’s probably going to be a fight tomorrow.
TRAVIS: And unless you want to throw down, and I know you’re a mighty warrior, not saying you shouldn’t, but if you don’t want to, now might be the time to hop-skip out of here.
TALIESIN: There’s no shame in prudence.
TRAVIS: No, no, not in the hole!
MATT: He swats your hand away and goes, “Heh.” Goes back down into the hole, you can hear him rummaging a little bit, something falls and hatters. (incoherent grumbling) Eventually he comes back out clutching a dark brown glass bottle with a cork in it, and he goes, “I’m going to need some of this. Ugh.”
TRAVIS: Well, don’t be stingy.
MATT: “This is the Trickfoot Special. Been distilling while you were away.”
LIAM: How much you got of that, old man?
MATT: “Ah, about two casks.”
ASHLEY: All right. I drink the whole rest of the bottle.
MATT: It is awful. It is like potato moonshine in its most basic form. It is–
LAURA: Pike’s going to be so fucked up.
MATT: You probably singed your eyebrows just putting the bottle near your face, which you don’t realize, halfway through the bottle as you drink it, you pick up, oh, it burns. This burns.
TRAVIS: Welcome to Ren Faire.
TALIESIN: Original recipe Windex. My favorite.
ASHLEY: It’s a little stronger than I remember it.
LIAM: Hey, Pike’s at disadvantage for the rest of the day.
ASHLEY: Oh no. Would you all– there’s plenty more, would you all like to join me and have a sip?
SAM: I’m okay, I’m okay for now.
TRAVIS: Yeah, hook it up, homie.
TALIESIN: It’s been a day. I will.
MATT: “Let me get the cups.” And he goes and opens the cabinet and there’s shattered glass. “Okay, no cups.”
MARISHA: It’s fine.
MATT: “Bottle it is.”
SAM: Pass the bottle.
MATT: You guys pass the bottle around, finish off the bottle, it’s–
LAURA: Finish the bottle?
MATT: Well, she took most of it.
ASHLEY: I think we should make a meal. He’s a very good cook.
SAM: Is the kitchen even functional here?
LIAM: Is there food?
LAURA: You know what we should do?
MARISHA: Eat food and talk about a plan?
LAURA: Bring him into the mansion.
TALIESIN: We could bring him into the mansion.
SAM: We do need time to rest and plan.
TALIESIN: We still have one more stop before the evening’s done.
LAURA: You can show his people that work at the mansion how to cook, 'cause they are terrible, I can tell you that much.
SAM: They’re great at one dish.
MATT: “You have a mansion?”
SAM: I do! I’m quite successful as gnomes go, in fact, before we–
MATT: “Pike. He has a mansion.”
ASHLEY: He does. He does have a mansion. It’s a magic mansion.
TRAVIS: Is Wilhand drunk right now?
MATT: He looks like he’s coping with the past week’s events.
TRAVIS: Insight check his soberness.
LAURA: He’s been drunk the whole time.
SAM: Should we make the mansion, get Wilhand a room, and then go to our last destination of this night before we turn in?
TRAVIS: Yeah, we could do that.
LIAM: Yeah Grog, how long do you reckon we have before your cousin wants to either talk or get busy?
TRAVIS: I don’t know.
SAM: Are we supposed to meet up with him later tonight?
TRAVIS: He said, at dawn, we– Wait, at dawn we fight, or at dawn we plan?
MARISHA: I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say “at dawn, we plan.” So I’m going to assume–
ASHLEY: At dawn, we plan!
SAM: At dawn, we rise and make a plan!
TALIESIN: At dawn, we quorum!
MARISHA: At dawn, we Microsoft Excel!
MATT: You get the sense he meant at dawn, to make an aggressive action.
TALIESIN: So we have two stops before the evening’s done then.
LAURA: Wait, where are we going?
SAM: There’s a house we’re supposed to plunder.
TALIESIN: There’s a house we’re supposed to plunder, and we should plunder it.
TRAVIS: Aw, really, do we give a shit about it?
TALIESIN: Yes, we do.
TRAVIS: No, you’re right, we do.
LAURA: Oh right, Master Quall.
TALIESIN: Master Quall, and I will admit, I’m vaguely indifferent about whether or not he gets his property back, but I am very keen to find out what that property is, and what else he left if he left that.
TRAVIS: Why don’t we set up the mansion in Wilhand’s house, we’ll go and run our errand, and we’ll come back and he’ll have gotten the kitchen all up to spec.
LIAM: Yeah, seeing as we might be tangling with a black dragon tomorrow, an old one, I think maybe that stuff off you’re talking about–
TALIESIN: –god forbid.
LIAM: No, I don’t think it’s a good idea, but if it should happen– if we get, I wanted to say railroaded into it, but I don’t know what that is. We’ll probably need every bit of edge we can get, so I actually agree with you for the moment, Percival, we should stop by this house.
TALIESIN: This is terrifying and this is proof that we should do it, then.
MARISHA: Can we get an early, 12 Angry Men raise of hands on who if they want to fight the dragon or not? Do we want to do this?
TALIESIN: Who wants to fight the dragon tomorrow?
SAM: Yeah, I’m down. We’ve got 40 goliaths with us, this is the best time to attack. No? I’m alone here?
LAURA: It’s true, it’s true, I mean, it could be one of the best times to attack.
TALIESIN: I would like to do three more days of research and planning–
TRAVIS: So can we make the door? Wilhand’s starting to turn green.
LIAM: I mean, it’s a big conversation that we should have.
SAM: Let’s table it.
LIAM: The where-when-how is pretty huge.
TRAVIS: Wilhand, just give me the bottle, take it easy.
TALIESIN: I feel that that’s not something we do spur of the moment.
SAM: All right. Let’s get this man to safety and then we’ll finish up our errands for the day, yes?
LAURA: Is there anything you want to bring with you?
MATT: “Uh–” He starts walking over to the shrine, and he takes it off with his hand. “That’s all I need.” As the head rolls off.
TRAVIS: Never saw anything.
ASHLEY: We’ll fix it.
MATT: “It’s fine. They took ol’ Davin, too.”
SAM: What, who?
MATT: Davin was your neighbor.
ASHLEY: Davin was my neighbor.
SAM: Is he gone, is he dead?
MARISHA: Didn’t we meet Davin?
MATT: You didn’t meet Davin, no.
MATT: “They dragged a bunch to the iron stocks. I could only hide. Your uncle’s a coward, Pike. I’m sorry. I should’ve helped.” You get the sense now the alcohol’s kicked in and he’s started to go through his emotional process now.
LAURA: He’s your uncle? I thought he was your grandfather.
ASHLEY: He’s my great-grandfather.
SAM: And uncle?
LIAM: He’s drunk.
MATT: Very drunk.
TALIESIN: Come on, no more of that talk.
LIAM: Grandfather. Let me carry that for you, before you drop it. I’ll keep it safe. I’ll keep it safe for you. You don’t want the head to fall off it.
MATT: “No, its head’s fine. Okay.” Passes it over.
LIAM: I subtly pick up the head from the ground.
ASHLEY: So we can put him in the mansion?
SAM: All right, yes, I’ll make the mansion.
ASHLEY: All right. I kiss him on his forehead and say: it’s going to be okay. Go in there, take a nap, and show them how to cook.
MATT: “I will. You come back soon, my dumpling.” And he squeezes your cheek a little bit. (whispers) “He has a mansion.”
ASHLEY: (whispers) What?
MATT: (whispers) “A mansion!”
LAURA: (whispers) And he’s super interested in her.
MATT: “You’re of marrying age, young Pike.”
TRAVIS: Holy shit.
ASHLEY: We’ll talk about it later.
MATT: “I’ll tell you how it is.”
MATT: “Mansion. I’ll tell you how it is.”
ASHLEY: Oh, I’ve been there! You can go stay–
MATT: “You’ve been to his mansion?”
ASHLEY: I have my own room. You can go stay in my room.
MATT: “I don’t know if I want to–”
ASHLEY: Hey Scanlan, how will he know which room is my room?
SAM: Your room is the one covered in rose petals.
MATT: “Show me the mansion.”
SAM: So I will cast the spell, I’ll sit down and start humming. (singing) My house is a very, very, very fine house. With chickens everywhere. It used to be so fair–
MATT: As the shimmering doorway is conjured in the center of the room.
SAM: I take him in, I show him to his room.
MATT: The door opens and he looks inside. “Whoa.” Turns around to you, looking at you through the doorway. “It’s big.”
ASHLEY: It’s very big.
SAM: Here, come with me. I take him upstairs, take him to his room. And before I bid him adieu I say: later tonight we can discuss more, but I would like to ask for your granddaughter’s hand in marriage. But I’ll need your permission first.
MATT: I need you to roll a hell of a persuasion check on this one.
LIAM: Roll for initiative, Sam.
ASHLEY: Roll for initiative.
TRAVIS: Holy shit.
SAM: Well, it’s a 20.
MARISHA: Shut up!
SAM: But that’s low for me.
TALIESIN: No, it is.
MATT: He goes: “I’ll think about it. I’d like to see more of your fine abode.”
SAM: I call for five servants, and I instruct them to take him wherever he’d like to go and give him whatever he needs.
LIAM: (Wilhand voice) “Wine cellar!”
MATT: They begin taking him on a tour of the grand estate.
SAM: Don’t be cheap with the chicken! All right, so I scoot out back to rejoin our friends.
TALIESIN: I assume at some point we’re taking a short rest, by the way.
MATT: You guys took a short rest the end of the last session.
TALIESIN: Oh lordy, thank you.
MATT: So if you wanted to use any hit dice to heal yourself at that time.
ASHLEY: I would like to go check my room out and see how it is. See if it’s okay, any damage.
MATT: Your room is intact. It’s a little dirty and some of the crumbled stone and roof part pushed its way into the room across the floor, but for the most part your room is intact. Wilhand’s room, which was the main room on the upper floor, was the one that got destroyed by the fallen rubble.
MATT: All right. What’s the plan?
SAM: Should we split the party and send a few people to pillage this house that we were instructed to pillage?
TALIESIN: We can all do it. Let’s do it together.
MARISHA: Yes, I feel like this would be a group outing.
ASHLEY: I wanted to grab something under the bed. I’m going to take it and I’m going to hide it.
SAM: But there was some talk of needing someone to take us through the sewers, and I can go fetch someone who knows the sewers.
LIAM: I think we need to maybe have a talk about what we’re doing.
TALIESIN: Talk before that happens.
LIAM: Before finding your friend.
MARISHA: Time is of the essence.
LIAM: You’re talking about Mr. D, I know, yeah.
SAM: Well, or someone with him, yes.
LIAM: Right. It’s a good idea, but I think we need to figure out what we’re doing first.
SAM: Sure. What are we doing?
LIAM: I have no fucking clue.
MARISHA: What are we doing, actually?
TALIESIN: First, we’re robbing an old man.
TRAVIS: Can we walk and talk?
LAURA: Yeah, we walk and talk.
SAM: Where’s Master Quall’s–
LAURA: It’s at the fountain crossroads–
SAM: –brick two-story house near the fountain?
MARISHA: Before we walk and talk, do we get the general idea that it’s safe to walk through the city right now without being murdered? Considering we just put on the most epic Avengers-style display.
MATT: Right, and some people are coming to the streets, though moving quickly from destination to destination. Word has gotten around and there’s been a general sense of release throughout the city. You do pass a few of the Herd members, some of which are gathering their supplies, gathering their arms, some of them are dragging the bodies of friends that had died in previous frays or just haven’t been tended to. And all of them keep a very intense eye on you. Nothing aggressive, but not friendly either.
TALIESIN: I think we have to convince Kevdak to abandon this plan to attack the dragon–
LIAM: He’s dead, he’s not going to do it.
TALIESIN: Oh, no, Kevdak, wrong one, I’m sorry. You all look vaguely the same to me, I’m sorry.
LIAM: Except for this one.
TALIESIN: No, he’s got the beard. And the ability to kill me in my sleep.
TRAVIS: I’m a unique little snowflake, I take no offense.
TALIESIN: I find you charming.
TRAVIS: Thank you.
TALIESIN: But no, we have to convince them not to do this tomorrow.
LAURA: Well, honestly, isn’t the dragon going to come pick up its loot in the next couple days? It’s happening tomorrow?
TALIESIN: I think that perhaps if it’s possible to convince them to at least wait one more cycle to heal and prepare for the battle–
TRAVIS: I don’t know if we’ll be alive in the morning. I don’t know if it’s occurred to any of you, but I don’t particularly feel safe. I’m glad we got out of there–
LAURA: I’m glad we have a mansion to hide in.
TRAVIS: I’m glad we have a mansion, I’m glad we have a Vestige because of it, but look, I got abandoned once. Think anything’s changed since then?
LAURA: They’re not good people. They killed a lot of innocents.
TALIESIN: I genuinely don’t understand the place you come from.
TRAVIS: No, neither do I. But I don’t really understand much things.
TALIESIN: I feel much better about any decision to just leave then, although we would have to do something about the city and everyone who’s in it.
LIAM: Yeah, there’s a lot to think about, there are a lot of people still here, and I personally don’t think attacking that dragon in the next few days is a wise decision. But if we do leave, what do we do with these people? They’re going to be run over by these people.
LAURA: It’s possible we can wait for all of the goliaths and other barbarians to attack the dragon, and when they all leave the city, we bar them out, take the city back.
SAM: And hold it against a dragon?
LAURA: Well. The dragon could be content fighting them. We take the time and get everyone else out of the city.
TALIESIN: Are they clever enough to attack the dragon at the point at which the drop is made, or are they going to not make the drop and wait for the dragon to attack the city?
TRAVIS: Look, if it was the day before yesterday I would have said they’re all fools and they’re going to do it the stupid way, but I think I underestimated 'em a bit, so yeah. I think they might be a bit clever.
MARISHA: We also have your cousin Zanror now at the head, which seems a little bit more clever than Kevdak ever was.
TALIESIN: We also have to empty out the prisons if we get that chance of any of the citizens they may be holding.
MARISHA: Well, look, it’s not a bad call, the dragons seem to be interested in the power that they hold over the people. There’s no people, no power.
TALIESIN: Will your cousin understand that we have a bigger battle to fight?
LAURA: On the other hand–
SAM: This is our battle, we’re trying to kill these dragons!
LAURA: –when are we going to have a better opportunity to kill a fucking dragon than with 40 giant strapping–
SAM: Two Vestiges, an army of 40 barbarians.
LIAM: Are we going to have this discussion right here, in the street?
TALIESIN: Well, we’re walking while we’re having it.
LIAM: How are we going to deal with one of the largest dragons we’ve ever seen in the air? What are 40 goliaths going to do with something 500 feet above us, spitting bile from above?
MARISHA: He has to land to get his treasure.
SAM: We’re going to have to make that plan at some point.
TALIESIN: If I had time, if I had a few days–
LIAM: You’ve got a day and a half, maximum.
MARISHA: If we had a little bit of time or if we’re really, really smart, we could theoretically rig the most epic dragon trap ever.
TALIESIN: We could.
LIAM: Do you think your cousin would hold for a couple more days? Could he see the sense of planning that longer?
LAURA: We can’t leave the people in this city under the rule of any more of these monsters.
TALIESIN: Which is why we should get them to flee.
LAURA: We have to get people out.
MARISHA: Right, because even if we somehow by some insane chance defeat the dragon, cool, we’ve defeated the dragon and now the city is still under control by the Herd.
TALIESIN: Well, the Herd will leave, I think.
LAURA: Will they? After they ransack everything again?
LIAM: Well, that’s what Grog pitched to them.
TRAVIS: Here’s my vote, so I can have it said. I would rather get everyone that doesn’t want to die in this town out to that encampment. If we take this meeting with Zanror, we will no longer be able to walk away. There could be a total chance that they all turn on us right then. In the throne room, in the yard, wherever we are. We could leave now.
LAURA: How do we get everyone out?
MARISHA: You and Zanror seemed to have a mutual respect.
TRAVIS: Yeah, because I just saved his life. For a second. I also beat his ass when he was little, and let me tell you a thing about grudges: they don’t go away.
MARISHA: So you don’t think he would hesitate in a second to turn on us?
TRAVIS: No, he’s a little man, and little men have Napoleon complexes. He’s this horrible elf from the West.
SAM: I do have a Napoleon complex.
TALIESIN: I’ve seen it, it’s huge.
ASHLEY: But if everybody is out of the town, and it’s empty, then won’t the dragon know?
TALIESIN: Yes. It’ll be furious.
ASHLEY: And then won’t he leave?
LAURA: And he’ll come find us.
LIAM: Anything we do here, anything we do to that dragon, anything we do in the city is likely to be known by the other wyrms.
TALIESIN: Eventually, yes.
LIAM: So if we kill that dragon, what do the other dragons do in that moment, and are we ready to take on Thordak right now?
SAM: No! We kill it and run.
LAURA: But we can’t kill all of them at the same time. It’s got to be a one-by-one process.
LIAM: Absolutely, but are we going to try to kill the black and then go on a hunt for all these–
MARISHA: There are going to be consequences to this no matter what.
TALIESIN: How big is the black dragon?
MATT: From what you saw? Oh man.
TRAVIS: Bigger than the blue, bigger than the white?
MATT: It was bigger than the blue, about equal size to the white.
LAURA: The white one that we killed, or the white one that we also saw?
MATT: The one that you fought at the Keep–
LAURA: Yeah, that one was real bad.
TRAVIS: Where I rolled a 21 and it missed.
MATT: Yeah, it was, I’d say from height size of standing on its legs, probably, I dunno, 30 to 40 feet tall?
MARISHA: We’ve never fought like a full realized dragon, correct?
MATT: You’ve fought them.
LIAM: We’ve run from them.
TRAVIS: Yeah, remember 21 missed. I can’t believe I’m saying this–
LAURA: Yeah, but all those guys, they were, I mean. They had strong attacks.
TRAVIS: Right, but there might be some that can hit him when he’s in the air, but not all of them.
TALIESIN: If I– if I had time I could build a machine that might be able to trap him on the ground for at least a little while.
TRAVIS: Yeah, if you had time. Why are we being in such a rush about this?
SAM: Because we know where the dragon is, we have an army, we have an opportunity, this is it. We’re never going to have an army.
TALIESIN: I think– I disagree with that, I think we’ll absolutely have opportunities to have an army. And I think that if we call upon the Herd later for something like this, maybe we can get them– I don’t know.
ASHLEY: How much time are you thinking?
TALIESIN: As much time as it takes.
MARISHA: You can’t build a machine like that in under, what, a few weeks?
SAM: And what if the machine fails? We need a plan that doesn’t rely on technology, I’m sorry.
LAURA: What if we put out the loot, let him come down and get it, and then we throw big ropes up and over him or something?
MARISHA: I feel like between Pike and Scanlan and I– Well, look, I feel like between Pike, Scanlan, and I and Percy with his mechanical genius, we can figure something amongst the spells that we know to make a viable trap.
SAM: If we have 40 goliaths throw 40 chains attached to–
TRAVIS: They’re not all goliaths.
SAM: Fine. 30 goliaths would throw 30 chains with 30 spikes on them at this dragon, I bet a few would hit.
ASHLEY: I could throw up a Blade Barrier on top of him.
SAM: Yes, we are super powerful. They’re strong, we’re smart, let’s do this.
LIAM: If we kill it now, we’re going to have to be– if we kill it now, all the others are going to punish the people they’re sitting upon, and we’re not ready to go dragon to dragon to dragon like that.
LAURA: Will they? Dragons are vain, how do you know they won’t just find that dragon weak and think that he’s not worthy of them–
LIAM: They’re going to know that something challenged his power and there are going to be consequences for it, they’ll make a display of their strength.
MARISHA: I have a feeling they were very upset when we killed the blue one.
SAM: So what, we’re never going to kill any of the dragons, then? Because that will happen at some point.
LIAM: We will. We will. It’s–
SAM: And they won’t react then? It’s– this is our mission, to kill these dragons.
MARISHA: Once again, there’s going to be consequences no matter what we do.
MATT: At this point, you guys have, as you hit the end of your sentence, Percy, you all look up and you all see the two-story building with a dark red brick contrasting against Wilhand’s home, it’s a deep-set heavy brick with dark wood siding to it, and it looks like dark marble finishes certain elements of the base of it, it matches the description that was given to you by Quall.
LAURA: Does it look like it’s been ransacked at all?
MATT: It looks like the door is partially ajar.
MARISHA: Partially ajar?
TALIESIN: Why don’t we see how our favor holds? Let’s take a moment.
SAM: All right. If we find something cool, we kill the dragon.
MARISHA: Oh, we’re leaving this up to a coin flip, now?
TRAVIS: 20 or a one, seems to work well for us.
TALIESIN: I’m curious what the fates would say.
MARISHA: (sighs) I don’t give a shit what the fates have to say.
LAURA: I do have a coin with a 20 and a one on it.
MATT: All right. So what’s the plan?
LAURA: Are we going– Silently, quietly walking up to the front door?
TALIESIN: Vax, if you would be so kind?
LAURA: It’s already partially ajar.
ASHLEY: Should we check it for traps first?
TALIESIN: Check for traps.
MATT: All right, if you want to make an investigation check.
LIAM: Investigation, or is it– perception is normally what I’ve done for traps, isn’t it?
MATT: Investigation’s for traps, perception is to notice how to disarm it.
LIAM: All right. 27.
MATT: 27. You approach the front door, doesn’t appear to be trapped, you open partly the door and the interior, fireplace is still going, and you see the crackle in the distance, fine furniture set up. There is the body of a goliath face-down on the ground about five feet from the front door, head splattered across the ground.
LIAM: Oh, he’s dead.
MATT: You also look around the circumstances, and you glance upward to where his head would be, and amongst all these stone tiles in the ceiling, there’s one that’s set slightly lower than the rest, right above where that splatter occurred.
ALL: (whispers) Traps!
TRAVIS: A warm fire! And I run– no.
LIAM: (Grog voice) It’s a little brave, running around.
TALIESIN: Well, this is exactly what I was hoping for.
LIAM: I need a minute, everybody. Everybody hang back, just for a second.
TRAVIS: Yeah, do you want me to hang outside?
LIAM: Yeah, Vex'ahlia, could you come here?
LAURA: Of course, brother.
LIAM: Yeah. This is a death box, this room is a death box. And I have a keen eye, but I wouldn’t mind another set.
LAURA: D'you want me to look around?
LIAM: I’d like us both to look around.
LAURA: From out here?
LIAM: No, I said come inside.
LAURA: I can actually walk in?
LAURA: All right. I stand exactly in front of the door and don’t take any more steps.
LIAM: Come in. Aww, you’re my bestie. All right, I’m going to start looking around for traps.
LAURA: I look for traps visually.
MATT: Both of you guys make investigation checks as you slowly move forward at a slow pace.
SAM: Can I assist you guys?
LIAM: Well, you know, your music does calm and soothe me–
SAM: Not with music, I’ll send an invisible guy in there to start pressing on the floor and walls.
LAURA: Oh, well, give us just a moment. Yeah, but that’s a good idea. 24.
MATT: Okay. The two of you guys scoot forward, and you find there are four different pillars in the ceiling that are arranged in a similar way. They are triggered by a little bit of pressure, and you see there’s a rug that oversets it, you can see the slight variations in the texture of the ground where the actual trigger plates are. You get the sensation that this house was going to be ransacked, and then the troop that came in, one of them went (crushing noise) and they went nooope and backed out of the house.
MATT: You eventually find your way across this area, marking quietly with an arrow or scraping the carpet where each one of these places are, but you make your way across the room to a staircase that leads up, staircase that leads down.
LIAM: Bullshit, bullshit, lotta bullshit. All right, guys, I think it’s safe to come into the first room. So you said, because I was being a jackass and saying bullshit, what was the description you just gave?
LAURA: There’s stairs, we’re at the bottom of the stairs.
MATT: Yeah, there’s the main living area that has the fireplace, and then stairs that go up and stairs that go down.
LAURA: Are there doors in this main– it’s like a foyer?
MATT: It’s like a giant foyer area, there’s an area that passes behind the stairs, something that would go into a kitchen area, like a dining room kitchen.
LIAM: Let’s not split up, let’s do this together.
TALIESIN: He’s rich and paranoid, so if anything is of value it’ll be downstairs, so I say we do upstairs first.
LAURA: All right.
MATT: Does Trinket wait outside, or is Trinket following you?
LAURA: Ohh. Trinket, dear? Come on, come on, d'you want to go in the locket? You do? If you don’t, you can wait out here but it’s probably safer in the locket.
MATT: (disgruntled bear noises) Lumbers forward, gives you a look like–
LAURA: Don’t be sad about it, if you don’t want to, I’m not going to make you.
MATT: Trinket’s pulled into the amulet.
LAURA: Ooh, I love him so much.
MATT: Amulet which you’ve now been in.
LAURA: What was it like, Grog?
TRAVIS: I left a little something in there for him. Time doesn’t pass, right? Does time pass in the locket?
MATT: You don’t know.
TRAVIS: Well, I farted right before I hopped out.
LIAM: Like a nintendo cartridge.
ASHLEY: (fart noise) Raaaah! Goosh.
TRAVIS: I might not live past this. (fart noise)
MATT: Got to leave your mark.
LAURA: Can we check out the stairs and make sure nothing’s wrong with the stairs?
MATT: Yeah. Go ahead and make an investigation check.
LAURA: Oh, I did not see anything.
LIAM: I’m fine. I got a 20.
MATT: Okay. The stairs– As you begin to inspect, you reach out and take the railing and take the first step and your foot passes through the stair.
LIAM: Ooh, that’s not solid. At all. Look, put your foot through that.
LAURA: I’m going to stand here and watch you do it, actually.
LIAM: I’m going to get down on my knees and stick my head through the stairs–
LAURA: Oh, what? Are you fucking kidding me right now?
MATT: You go to try and stop him as he pushes his head through the step.
LAURA: You’re a moron!
LIAM: I know!
MATT: You pass through this illusory staircase, and you look up and you can see the bottom half of the staircase. This area is a slide that descends into darkness. You having your darkvision can see that the slide descends into a now-cold furnace.
LAURA: D'you want to get your whole body in there?
LIAM: But can I see– I pull my head up, what can I see at the top of the stairs, is there a landing?
MATT: No, you look up and if you, from where the illusion is the illusory stairs stop at a ceiling, a stone ceiling that leads down, you can’t look past it, looking up you can see a landing and a secondary floor.
LIAM: Okay. Is there any stray furniture around?
MATT: Yeah, there’s precariously placed–
LIAM: Are there any shitty pillows or anything?
MATT: Yeah, there’s like a couple throw pillows on the couch that are by the–
LAURA: What are shitty pillows?
LIAM: I totally ignore my sister, which is what I’ve done half my entire life, and I stick my head down and I let it go and watch it go down the slide.
LAURA: Was that fun? Was that fu–
MATT: (roar-of-fire sound) You guys watch as a jet of flame jettisons out from the staircase.
MATT: Singes the top of the roof area, where there’s a bunch of wood, but the wood is not burned or charred and the flames die down again.
LIAM: Hey, y'know, it wasn’t fun, but it was educational, shithead. And I walk over and stop at the edge of the stairs going down, you said there were stairs going down?
MARISHA: Who the fuck is this guy?
TALIESIN: I don’t know, I certainly like him.
LIAM: Same thing, I want to see– could you help me over here?
LAURA: I’m looking, I’m checking out those stairs too.
LAURA: I wouldn’t have slid down the fucking slide, I would assume that leads to death. I don’t need to throw a pillow down the slide to know–
LIAM: You are very smart and wise. You know, we could be dead tomorrow, do you want to keep arguing with me like this?
LAURA: No. 21.
LIAM: Yeah, I got higher than that. 26.
TALIESIN: I could watch this all day.
MATT: The staircase descends, solid stairs. Partway down, you do see a slight carving in the stone, a glyph of some kind that is faintly hidden with dust and dirt placed to fill the gap. There is some sort of a symbol ever-so-faintly hidden in the stone halfway down.
LAURA: Can we read it? Do we understand it?
LIAM: D'you know, the last time I saw something like that, the carpet was fucked. Do you think Wilhand would have any idea–?
LAURA: The carpet?
LIAM: Yeah, the– no, the other carpet.
LAURA: Maybe Scanlan has an idea what it is. Scanlan!
LAURA: You know this rune over here?
SAM: This– what? I don’t even see what you’re talking about.
LAURA: This little glowy rune right here. Look closely.
SAM: Oh! I would’ve totally missed that.
SAM: I think that I have not seen anything like this before, but have I?
MATT: Make an arcana check.
MATT: It appears to be magical in nature. The symbols elude you, their construct, the arcane equation that is based around this, you can’t tell if it’s still functional or not, but it is magical in its construction.
SAM: Want to throw a pillow down there?
LIAM: What an interesting idea.
LAURA: I go get a pillow and I throw it at the rune.
MATT: (laughs) Okay.
LAURA: How’d it work, does that, is that how you’re supposed to do it?
MATT: The pillow– (impact) down the stairs.
LIAM: Yeah, you did it wrong, see, nothing happened.
SAM: Well, go get the pillow, try again.
MARISHA: Try a lumbar. Maybe a different result.
LAURA: So wait wait wait, the last time you saw runes like this, you lost the carpet. How did you lose the carpet?
LIAM: Well, so, did we never talk about that? Yeah. A bunch of us were riding it– Ah, it was the dwarf, I swear it was the dwarf. We were on the carpet and there were runes on the walls and as soon as we got near the runes the carpet went (raspberry noise) and fell down.
LAURA: So it might disenchant whatever we have on us.
LIAM: Well, it could do that, it could also– I don’t know anything about magic, but I assume it could burn us.
LAURA: Well, how do we make it not burn us?
LIAM: Well. (sighs) I mean. Hey, Shorty, you’re our best bet here, I don’t know anything about this shit.
LAURA: Who can undo magical thingies?
SAM: Not me, Pikey! Pike?
Pike, you got any undo magicky things?
MATT: This would be a Dispel Magic spell, for the record.
ASHLEY: Yeah, I have Dispel Magic.
MATT: You have it prepared?
MATT: Then yeah, you could give it a shot.
SAM: You’re my girl!
TALIESIN: I could try my Dispel Magic ability.
LIAM: What’s that one?
TALIESIN: It’s called a bullet. I’ll shoot it until it doesn’t work anymore.
MATT: All righty. So. Pike. So as you step forward, they point out this glyph on the wall. You’re going to cast Dispel Magic on it, I need you to go ahead and roll a d20 and add your spellcasting ability modifier, which–
LAURA: Whoa! Oh, what is it, what was it?
LIAM: It’s a 20 on the floor!
LAURA: If it was bad it doesn’t count, but if it’s good it does.
MATT: That doesn’t count. Roll it intentionally.
LIAM: Good, because it’s not that good.
MATT: So, your wisdom modifier is actually a five, because she forgot to add her level 12 bonus we discovered recently. So it’s now a 20, plus five on the roll. So go ahead and roll a d20, add five.
ASHLEY: All right. 18.
MATT: 18. As you reach up and grab your symbol of Sarenrae, you focus for a second and there is a flash, like a flashbulb. As it flashes, the glyph glows for a second, and then you hear what sounds like a cracking sound. And this glowing energy seems to shatter, almost like glass made of energy. As the energy fades and falls out of the glyph, it hits the ground and it dissipates into a light mist that then vanishes.
LAURA: Good job, Pike!
ASHLEY: I think it’s dispelled?
SAM: I think so.
LIAM: Good job, Pike.
ASHLEY: Thanks, Vax.
MARISHA: We’re going up, right? Up or down?
TALIESIN: There were stairs, there was no up.
LIAM: You don’t want to go up, there’s no up. Up is ouchie.
LAURA: I thought we could skip over that one step and then there was up.
MATT: The stairs from underneath go all the way up to underneath the point, you haven’t attempted to go over if you wanted to, it’s up to you.
LAURA: Yeah! Yeah, we can jump over that little gap.
LIAM: Oh, I thought you said it went to the ceiling.
MATT: I mean, the stair illusion is the entire staircase. But you haven’t– you don’t see what’s on the actual landing.
MARISHA: You’ve got the fancy broom.
LIAM: You got the fancy broom, exactly.
LAURA: Hmm, all right, I get on the broom and I float on up to that landing and I look and see if there’s any traps on the ground. Without setting foot on it!
LIAM: I’ve seen you take other people, can I hang off the bottom of that thing? Can you carry me up?
LAURA: I don’t know, you’re pretty heavy. You might fit–
LIAM: I’m lighter than you!
LAURA: (gasps) It’s nothing to brag about, scrawny.
LIAM: Look at my constitution, it’s very low.
LAURA: Minus two! I am equally scrawny.
TALIESIN: We’re learning so much tonight! God!
LAURA: Dangle well onto the bottom, you can hang off the bottom of it.
MARISHA: You guys were born at the same time, you’re both scrawny.
SAM: If you’re going to do this, I insist that we visually see it with the actual broom.
MARISHA: Yes. I second this.
MATT: So. You get onto the broom, bring yourself to rise up, speaking the keyword, which is–
LAURA: (spitting sound)
MATT: There you go.
MATT: As you begin to drift up, Vax, you go ahead and grab onto it.
LIAM: This is stupid!
MATT: As your weight is lifted by the broom, your feet actually fall through the illusion itself.
LAURA: Don’t. Fucking. Let go.
MATT: So you guys watch as the lower half of his body vanishes against the stairs as he passes through it.
LIAM: (grunts) I’m checking for traps!
MARISHA: Why is Vax holding on?
TALIESIN: They’re working things out, just let it happen.
LIAM: This is a family thing, please keep out!
MATT: You make your way up to the secondary floor. Dark up here, you see there are two rooms. Both doors are open. The one to the right appears to be some sort of a desk, study, bookshelves, but all the books are gone. The desk appears to be cleaned out. Actually, all the drawers are open and there are a couple of haphazard writing utensils that have dropped on the floor, but it looks like Quall was trying to leave in a hurry, grabbed most of what was important to him. Except for one thing, which is what he sent you here to get.
MARISHA: I was going to be like: look for the circlet!
MARISHA: Just a reminder.
LIAM: Thank you.
MATT: The other one appears to be a bedroom, there appears to be a garish canopy bed with like spiral edges, with like little gold-leaf imprints into it–
LAURA: Ooh, Master Quall was a little freaky I think. Can we look under the bed?
LAURA: Traps, traps, under the bed. I want to look under the bed.
LIAM: Under the bed, in the bed, around the bed.
MATT: Okay. This room does not appear to be trapped.
LAURA: Can I look under the bed?
MATT: You look under the bed. Under the bed there is a small chest that is pushed to the very back, you pull it out, shhk.
LAURA: I check for traps on the chest.
LIAM: I take three steps back away from my sister.
TRAVIS: You’ve made her very cautious.
MATT: I, as it tends to. Go ahead and make an investigation check now.
MATT: 26. The chest does not appear to be trapped.
SAM: Ooh, good!
LAURA: I try to open it.
MATT: It is locked.
LAURA: It’s locked, it’s locked, open it. Open it.
LIAM: You’re so good at all my tricks, are you sure?
LAURA: Do you want me to try to pick this lock? Because I am very talented as a rogue.
LIAM: You are extremely talented and you’re going to get better and better every day.
LAURA: Well then fine, I’ll try to unlock it.
LIAM: All right. I take five more steps backward.
MATT: Okay. So you go ahead and take out your lockpick.
LAURA: Is this how you hold it? This is how you hold it, then?
LIAM: Hey man, I don’t want to harsh your mellow.
MATT: Go ahead and roll a d20, add your dex and your proficiency bonus, you’re proficient in the tools.
LAURA: 24. 24. Is that saving throws or regular? Okay, yeah, 24.
MATT: (click) The lock is open.
LAURA: Hey, look at that!
LIAM: Good job, that’s a good job.
LAURA: Thank you. All the gold, all the gold.
MATT: Open it. There’s a handful of copper. Looks like the other thing that was within this chest was also taken by Quall on his way out.
LAURA: Ugh. Why would he take the shit out and then lock it and put it back under the bed? What a douche.
LIAM: And aside from traps, is there any like, paintings with eyeholes cut in it for peeking or little holes in the wall?
TALIESIN: Check the chest.
LIAM: What, Percy?
TALIESIN: Check the chest.
LIAM: Does it have a false bottom? The chest.
MATT: It does.
LIAM: C'mon, don’t leave me hanging, what the hell!
MATT: You move some of the copper out of the way, and you feel for it, as you push on one corner, the floor of the actual chest shifts a little bit. You lift it up and–
LIAM: You’ve always got to check it for a false bottom.
LAURA: I did, I did, I checked!
LIAM: You didn’t say shit!
LAURA: I was saying it, I said I’m checking all around the fucking chest, that’s what I said!
LIAM: Hmmm, I didn’t hear the words 'false bottom’ out loud.
LAURA: Oh my god.
MATT: At the bottom of this you see a key. A single brass-colored key.
LAURA: It’s a key.
LIAM: That’s right, you’re smart.
LAURA: You know what? We’re going to get downstairs and this key is going to unlock the thing that has the circlet, I know it.
LIAM: I think you’re right. You know what else?
LIAM: We don’t need to argue like this.
LAURA: I love you.
LIAM: Why’re you always busting my balls, then?
LAURA: Because it’s fun.
LIAM: I’m sure it is, but y'know, getting hit in the nuts hurts.
TALIESIN: Double-check the bedroom for safes or things behind paintings or maybe some sort of carpet–
LAURA: I’m sorry, who’s talking, who is this?
TALIESIN: It’s the voice of reason, coming from downstairs.
LIAM: Is it, though? Is it really?
TALIESIN: I know, I’m just as depressed that it is as you are.
LAURA: I double-check the room for– What would you like me to look for again?
TALIESIN: Check paintings, behind the paintings, check the bed for any odd slidey bits.
MARISHA: Percy is a paranoid rich person, so he knows things about them.
TALIESIN: Trust paranoid rich people to know.
MATT: Make a general investigation check throughout the room as you search for any nooks and crannies, hidden spaces.
LAURA: I rolled a one.
LIAM: Well, investigation again? 20.
MATT: Okay. You come to the conclusion that there is nothing else to find in this room.
LAURA: Nothing else to find, I found the key, dammit.
MATT: You look behind one of the paintings, and– it’s a wall behind it.
MATT: The room appears to be for the most part cleaned out from your discovery here.
LIAM: There was more than one room though, right? You said–
LAURA: Yeah, we checked all the rooms. We checked the other room already.
MATT: You checked the bedroom, now you looked within the office study with a desk and all the drawers were left open and things have already been taken from the room.
LIAM: Okay, let’s take that key downstairs. As you said.
LAURA: Hop on the broom.
LIAM: I don’t want to sit behind you, I’ll hang from it again. It’s gross.
LAURA: You can sit sidesaddle.
MATT: You glide your way down, back to the main floor. You guys are now at the top of the stairs leading into the basement, what’re you going to do?
SAM: Let’s go down to the basement!
LAURA: Hey, I like this plan.
LIAM: Oh, yeah. I’ll go a little ways ahead.
LAURA: (whispers) Look, Percy, I found a key!
LIAM: Checking for traps. Past– I’ll go up to the sigil.
MATT: So roll a dexterity saving throw.
LIAM: Oh, shite.
LAURA: What did you just do?
LIAM: I don’t know but I will have a high– 23.
MATT: Okay. As you step past the glyph, the wood beneath your foot creaks and you instinctually leap forward, landing on your feet. Nothing happens.
LIAM: I love you, Matt, so much.
LIAM: You just always have to be alert, you never know, sometimes you think you know but you don’t actually know!
SAM: There was nothing there, Vax.
LIAM: Now I know.
MARISHA: The PTSD is really starting to sink in.
LIAM: Three-point landing! Okay, we’re fine!
MARISHA: While they were up there dicking around, we were looking around at the middle floor, anything good?
SAM: No, we were not going anywhere near the pressure points, by the way.
MARISHA: Well, that is without being said.
MATT: I mean, other than the rooms you guys went into, there was the dining room area and the kitchen area.
MARISHA: Anything good that looks–
MATT: Investigation checks from both you guys.
TALIESIN: I hate investigation checks.
MATT: Okay. Are you letting them wander and you’re staying where you are?
SAM: I’m not going with them. No way, there are terrible bombs and stuff there.
MATT: All right. So, Keyleth, you wander through the dining area towards the kitchen–
MARISHA: Being very gentle.
MATT: Percy, you scope around the other side, checking around elements–
TALIESIN: Not touching anything, just looking.
MATT: Right. Nothing catches your attention specifically. You get to the kitchen, the kitchen is cold, layer of dust. Doesn’t appear to be anything of particular interest in there.
TALIESIN: Hm. All right.
TALIESIN: Downstairs it is.
LIAM: You know what, appreciate your rogues is all I’m saying, am I right or am I right?
MATT: So. You guys who wish to head down into the basement–
SAM: I’m going downstairs.
MATT: Grog, you’re still staying outside?
TRAVIS: Yeah, actually, can Trinket and I walk to the other side of the street?
LAURA: Trinket’s in my locket.
TRAVIS: Can I walk to the other side of the street?
LAURA: But do you want Trinket with you?
MATT: Okay, so you walk to the other side of the street on your own.
TRAVIS: Yeah, and I watch the house from across the street.
TRAVIS: Yeah, since this is taking a bit, it’s not a short rest is it, if I’m chilling?
MATT: I mean, if you sit for like up to half an hour or an hour rest, then yeah.
TRAVIS: Nah, I’m just watching.
MATT: Okay. All right, you guys make it down to the basement area. This is a very, very small room, 20 by 20 feet, and there is a door, a big heavy-ass metallic door that has–
LIAM: –a keyhole?
MATT: A very specific keyhole, yes.
LIAM: Wait wait wait wait– Yes, yes we will, but hold on, can I have a look at it? Can you have a look at it? We’ll just take a look. And then you do it.
MARISHA: Aw, look, they’re doing it together.
TALIESIN: It’s adorable, isn’t it?
LIAM: Shut up back there! It’s easy to make mistakes!
MATT: There is some sort of an enchantment on the door, and the keyhole area itself. You can’t ascertain the nature of it, but as you approach you can see that the metallic sheen shimmers without the light changing. There is something about it that is unnatural.
LAURA: (whispers) Hey, Pike. Do you think you can try dispelling magic again? Because there’s some shimmery sort of shit on this door and I don’t trust it.
ASHLEY: Yeah, it’s really pretty, but lemme give it a try.
MARISHA: It’s iridescent!
ASHLEY: Let’s leave it, it’s so pretty!
SAM: Wait wait wait. Before you dispel the magic–
SAM: Maybe it’s good, maybe that’s how the key works? If you dispel the magic, maybe the key won’t work anymore, I don’t know.
ASHLEY: I mean, that key was hidden for a reason.
SAM: Is there magic on the key?
LAURA: If I stick it in and I turn it and it explodes and I die, oh, I don’t know, that’s never happened before–
SAM: Okay, dispel the magic, yeah, no that’s good.
ASHLEY: I might need some extra help because I only got a ten.
SAM: Can I inspire her retroactively?
MATT: Nope. As you mark off your second third-level spell, releasing the Dispel Magic, the shimmer intensifies for a moment on the door and then returns to its natural state.
SAM: I think it worked.
TALIESIN: Do we have anybody who has Telekinesis? Telekinesis of any kind?
MARISHA: Telekinesis? No.
SAM: Wait, I can have, I can have someone–
LAURA: Oh, your invisible servant!
SAM: I can have someone turn the key, if that’s what we’re talking about.
LAURA: Yeah, go do that!
TALIESIN: Make someone expendable, it’s a brilliant idea.
LAURA: Let’s all step back, step way back. Back it up, back it up.
MARISHA: Wait wait wait.
MARISHA: What if it explodes the lock and then we’re not able to get in at all?
SAM: Then waah, we go kill a dragon instead.
LIAM: Well. Sort of, yeah yeah yeah.
TALIESIN: Then at dawn, we talk about things.
SAM: At dawn, we discuss!
MARISHA: We plan!
SAM: At dawn!
TRAVIS: I already had my great moment, all right?
MATT: So what’re you doing, Scanlan?
SAM: Can Unseen Servant carry a key, or is it more Mage Hand-y?
MATT: Yeah, I mean, a key’s not– Mage Hand can even do five pounds on its own.
SAM: I’ll do Unseen Servant, named Mort.
MATT: There’s a slight shift of wind. And while you guys see nothing after the wind fades, you know Mort is with you.
LAURA: I’m holding the key up to Mort. I don’t know where he is.
SAM: He’s right in front of you! Don’t be rude to Mort!
MATT: Nothing happens.
SAM: Oh. Mort. Take the key.
MATT: The key lifts out of your hand.
TALIESIN: That’s very unsettling.
MATT: It’s now in the middle of the air.
TALIESIN: Okay, let’s everyone back up.
SAM: I have to wait six seconds. All right.
MARISHA: I want to throw up a Gust cantrip in front of us to help shield us if anything happens.
MATT: A light breeze shimmers before you. What’re you going to do?
SAM: Mort. Open the door with the key.
MATT: The key drifts over, finds, turns, enters the keyhole. Turns to the side. The metal around the keyhole begins to glow brighter and brighter and brighter for a second. The outer rim of the door itself begins to glow accordingly, like the actual frame of the metal door begins to go from this dull, dull old iron look to this almost red to orange to white-hot vision and then fades to darkness, and the door (creaking).
SAM: Would’ve burned us!
LAURA: Hey, maybe?
LIAM: Not us, not us.
MARISHA: Is your unseen servant okay?
SAM: Ah, he’s fine, yeah? He’s fine.
LAURA: I walk through the gust of wind and get my hair tousled.
MATT: You go through. Your hair gets tousled. You unintentionally shoulder-check Mort.
LAURA: Sorry, Mort.
LIAM: I’m going to see if I can see any traps inside the room.
MATT: Sure. Investigation check.
LIAM: Yeah. Doesn’t matter. 20.
MATT: Stepping into the room, you do see that this is a chamber familiar to you. You actually had a room similar to this in your keep. This is, specifically, an arcane sanctuary. This is used for the construction and the enchantment and the development of various arcane items. Similar to– you’ve seen the chamber before at Gilmore’s, although on smaller scale. This has seen various types of use. There’s an alchemical setup in one corner, untouched.
LIAM: Wait, Scanlan.
LIAM: Would you and your light-footed friend like to join me in here?
SAM: Sure, I’ll come.
SAM: Yes. Mort. Join me.
MATT: Mort has joined you.
LIAM: I don’t want to touch anything in here. I don’t see any traps–
TALIESIN: I want to touch everything in here.
MARISHA: I do too.
LIAM: Have at it. And I back up.
SAM: All right, let’s go pillage! I’ll start looking around and looting.
MATT: Perception check.
TALIESIN: I’m going to gingerly start looking to see if anything is useful, because I have a lot of plans.
MATT: The architecture catches your attention.
SAM: Ahh, it’s beautiful.
MATT: Okay. And what did you say you were going to do?
MARISHA: I wanted to head towards the alchemical stuff to see if there’s–
MATT: Setup, okay, there’s various glass beakers–
MATT: I mean, there are supplies. You can see there are. There is a small rack that has many glass vials that contain ground materials, liquids, various metals, they’re all labeled– what languages do you know?
MARISHA: Primordial, Druidic, Sylvan. Elven.
MATT: Oh, Elven? You’re not able to read the actual label.
TALIESIN: Celestial. Can I read any of it?
MATT: What other languages do you know?
TALIESIN: Common, Celestial, Elven.
MATT: Also can’t read it.
TALIESIN: Would I recognize any of the alchemical symbols?
MATT: From what you can tell, there’s symbols for, you know, mercurial liquid metals. There are many different herbal elements that are in here. There are a few that the design on the label shows toxicity. You see there are iron filings, all these things that are used in various– You have the brew potion ability, correct?
MATT: So you also recognize some of these are used in the process of preparing liquids with an easy-to-accept presentation when you’re enchanting and brewing a potion.
MARISHA: I start clearing out the materials and throw them in my bag.
LAURA: Can I look around for a fucking circlet?
MATT: Go for it.
MARISHA: What were you saying, Scanlan?
SAM: Don’t you have some ability that you can find magical objects?
MATT: 16? You look around the room. You don’t see a circlet, but what you do notice in the far end of the room is a 12-foot-tall humanoid structure built of solid stone that stands there looming across the way. Giant piston-like stone arms, tree trunk-like legs. You’ve encountered something like this before–
LAURA: Yes. That looks very similar.
LIAM: With Grog’s dead dad.
MATT: Well, no, this was in the druid barrows–
LAURA: A golem that was up in the wall. How about we tie its legs up? Just like we did before. Just in case he comes alive, then he can trip and fall.
MARISHA: Well, I’m assuming it’s there in case someone breaks in, like would trigger a trap.
LAURA: I don’t care, I start tying a rope around his legs.
LIAM: Yeah, don’t we have that neverending rope? Let’s do it like 200 times around.
MATT: All right. As you approach the giant stone entity, pulling the rope out, you can see, embedded in the chest, there’s a little slit, a very, very tiny slit in its stone chest. You see a faint blue sparking glow, the very same color of the cortex that you had recovered from the druid barrows when you were originally hired by Drez Vina to recover it. As you see this and you approach, it doesn’t seem to react.
MARISHA: Right. Wait. And Drez sent us out through Quall.
MATT: The Master’s who hired you.
LAURA: Yeah yeah yeah. So we fought this other thing because of Quall.
MARISHA: So why are these things showing up wherever we go for Quall?
LAURA: Well, because that’s what he does.
MATT: Well, the first one you encountered was built for the barrow from whoever was in charge–
LAURA: He wanted the orb to bring this thing to life.
MARISHA: Oh, that’s right, and now he made– now we see the fruits of our labor. I see.
SAM: We made this thing?
MARISHA: We brought back the crystal so he could make this thing.
TALIESIN: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
LAURA: If I take a step forward, does he look like it has any kind of reaction?
MATT: You take a step forward. No reaction.
LAURA: I’m going to keep trying to tie around his legs.
LIAM: I’ll help her out, and we’ll go back and back and all around.
MATT: Okay. You guys bring the rope around and you tie it pretty taut around the legs, which are pretty close together. They’re not like in a wide aggressive stance. It’s standing there inert. You wrap the rope around it multiple times, give it the best knots that you have.
LAURA: All right, well. I feel safer.
LIAM: I grab– in my bag I have the charcoal that I once painted half a beard on Grog with, and I use it to draw a little curly mustache on it.
MATT: Okay, so as you climb to the top and you get up there and smear this big ol’ Pringles can-style mustache out of charcoal on the front of this stone golem’s featureless face. Now it has personality.
LAURA: Can you try to look at its chest? It has a little blue glimmer in it. Climb down and look and see if you can–
LIAM: Yeah, I’m more comfortable drawing mustaches on it than I am dickering with its power source.
LAURA: Just look and see what it is.
LIAM: I look at the crystal, admire it, go dink-dink with a knuckle.
MATT: You glance through this little slit and it’s about that wide, like you can barely see the flicker, and the stone is about a good foot and a half, two feet deep before you even see the source of the light. It’s a very, very thin slit to it, and from what little bit you can see, you see the gem is embedded in there with multiple metallic and stone things keeping it suspended there.
LIAM: Can I inspect the chest of this creature like it’s a trap?
MATT: Make an investigation check.
LAURA: Can I see if the golem’s wearing a circlet?
MATT: 20. Ah, well, he was up against its head, there was no circlet on the golem. Looking at it, I mean, there’s no trap per se, it’s part of the construct of this construct.
LIAM: What’s it made of. Is it metal or stone?
LIAM: Is there any way to open it? From the front?
MATT: Not from what you can see, no.
SAM: Should I go upstairs and get Grog, just in case things get ugly?
LIAM: I add a little pointy beard on the bottom of his chin.
LAURA: We should keep looking. Anybody else want to look around the room for the circlet?
TALIESIN: I feel like this is not the only room. This is not enough. I feel like there’s–
MARISHA: Yeah, I start looking around to see if there’s hidden chambers, loose stones in the wall–
SAM: Keyleth, don’t you have something that he gave us?
MARISHA: Oh, that’s true, the Hunk of Quall. I pull out the Hunk of Quall.
MATT: Okay. Pull it out, hold it aloft, it begins to glow a little bit and react. The golem’s chest glows a little bit and reacts. In a far distant corner, underneath the alchemical table, in a pile of some pieces of wood and crumpled stone, there’s a slight dull glow.
MARISHA: I walk over and I start brushing it away.
MATT: Okay, you pull it away. You find an almost full loop of metal.
MARISHA: Would it be a dark iron cobalt band?
MATT: Yeah, it is, actually.
TRAVIS: Thank god for that lump of Quall.
SAM: Oi, did she pick it up already?
SAM: Didn’t kill us?
SAM: Well, that’s good. Did it wake up the beast?
MATT: No, the circlet’s glow has faded. You have it in your hand.
LAURA: Well. We have the thing.
TALIESIN: I’m going to quickly take a look at the papers that were buried in–
MATT: A series of notes scribbled on the paper. You can see a number of sketches of the construct of the actual golem itself, pieces of its body and its form, but some of it’s been torn and crumpled up, tossed aside, failed attempts.
TALIESIN: Failed attempts? Does he write his name anywhere?
MARISHA: I take off my very prized circlet that I love oh so much.
MARISHA: Why’d you make that face?
MATT: No, nothing. What’re you doing?
MARISHA: And I put the serpent circlet on.
MARISHA: And I concentrate to see what it feels like.
MARISHA: And I hand my circlet to– Don’t break it!
SAM: Of course I’m not going to break it!
MARISHA: It’s a family heirloom.
SAM: I’ll have Mort hold it. Mort!
MATT: So the circlet floats in the air, just out of reach. Concentrate, as soon as you place it on your head, it locks to the sides of your head and you feel this cold probing into your mind for a moment.
TALIESIN: It’s installing Windows.
MARISHA: Not Windows 10, not Windows 10, god damn it!
TALIESIN: I’m so sorry.
LIAM: Into the corner. Face the corner for a minute.
MATT: It’s funny because it’s relevant. All right. So, you feel there is a connection trying to be made, but you would need time to attune to this, should you want to take the time to do so. 30 minutes to an hour, depending.
TALIESIN: Let’s take all of this out of the house, maybe.
LAURA: Including the golem?
MARISHA: I want to stay here and see. You guys continue looking around. I’m going to meditate for a second.
MATT: Grog, much time goes by. 20, 30 minutes. Not a peep. Silence.
TRAVIS: Can I, since I’m bored– I look up and down the street. Anything suspicious?
MATT: I mean, a few folks wander by, looking nervous around you. Make a perception check.
TRAVIS: Hey! Minus, no, plus one. No. (laughs) Eightee– wait.
TRAVIS: Zero. 19!
MATT: Okay. You do notice on the far end of the street there does appear to be a pair of individuals that are leaned against a building, looking right at you.
TRAVIS: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.
MATT: They’re about a block and a half down the direction you came.
TRAVIS: I don’t look at them. Can I try to attune with my new bloodaxe while I’m waiting?
MATT: You can. Just the bloodaxe?
MATT: Okay. So you sit down, your hands still inside the gauntlets, and take a moment to find the connection. You feel this rush of adrenaline hit your body as your hands seem to go numb for a moment, and in a flash your eyes see the chaos of the elements, of the creation of planets slamming into flames and earth, this instant vision of the very force of creation, a time before civilization, and you feel that fiery wrath all of a sudden burn through your fingertips. The vision ends and you look down, and as you curl your fingers, strength pulses through your body that you haven’t understood in a while. As you’re coming over that moment, the bloodaxe solidifies in your grip, and you can see where this rush could definitely send Kevdak’s head to get a little big.
TALIESIN: The power of Neil deGrasse Tyson is with you.
LIAM: But you know, let’s go kill the dragon before we get the rest of these things, because that’s a good idea.
TALIESIN: Because that’s going to be great. God.
MATT: So, you take the time and eventually the connection finds its way and there’s a clarity, and you, as it hits you at the end of this restful period in the basement, you open your eyes and you feel– it’s hard to describe, a bit of coldness in your head that’s off to the right side of your head. It’s this slight tickle of cold.
LIAM: That’s no fun.
MARISHA: Slight tickle of cold?
MATT: Right there, almost like inside your skull.
MARISHA: I concentrate on it.
MARISHA: And I see if I can manifest the cold?
MATT: Okay. You look down at your hands and try to manifest the cold. Nothing happens.
MARISHA: I focus on the golem.
MATT: You turn to the golem, and as you turn, the cold shifts to the front, in the direction of the golem.
LAURA: Oh! Yeah yeah yeah.
MARISHA: I look at the golem, and I say, step forward.
MATT: Suddenly, the eyes, which were dark, flare with bright blue light, matching his chest–
LAURA: Oh shit, oh wait, his legs are tied up–
MATT: –and as he does, fwoomp, boom! Face-down onto the ground, the rope coming taut, it slams into the floor. You hear this loud impact beneath the ground.
SAM: We’re okay, we’re okay.
LIAM: I swivel out a dagger and cut right below the knot.
LAURA: He looked like a moron. That was amazing.
MARISHA: And I go, sorry! Sorry!
MATT: No response. It’s still face-down on the ground.
LAURA: I’m on the ground laughing.
MARISHA: And I go, rise.
LIAM: Wait wait, one second, one second! We tied it around a lot of times. Hold on!
MATT: As you’re trying to cut the rope free, it starts standing up. You finally pull away as its foot backs up and almost crushes you. As it rights itself and stands before you.
LIAM: Look at that mustache.
MATT: It has a majestic, black mustache across its face, its glowing arcane-driven eye sockets and its pulsing blue energy source in its chest, stands looking down at you intently.
TALIESIN: I’m going to go diving to see if there’s an instruction manual somewhere in this room. I’m on my hands and knees going through the papers.
MARISHA: I look at the rest of them and I go, holy shit.
ASHLEY: Make him wave!
MARISHA: And I say, your manners. Wave to Pike.
ASHLEY: Keyleth, that’s awesome!
MARISHA: And then I say, and a curtsey for Vex.
SAM: Oh, come on, don’t demean him.
MARISHA: This is the coolest!
LIAM: Can it do a double-bird?
MARISHA: And I say, what do we say to those who we have just vanquished?
MATT: Turns to Vax. Big ol’ stony middle fingers about that wide around.
MARISHA: And I look at him and I say, never forget that.
SAM: He doesn’t have a mind.
MARISHA: He has my mind.
LAURA: 21. What I rolled.
MATT: As you guys are scanning around the floor, no sign of any sort of instruction manual, the way that things have been pulled out of here, and the way the circlet was found, you get the feeling as you look about this place that in the escape, Quall was grabbing and Drez Vina were grabbing everything they could, and didn’t realize until they had left that the circlet had fallen from their grasp and been left behind. Anything else they probably have that is pertaining to this experiment.
SAM: Well, we have a killing machine now.
LAURA: How do we get him out?
MARISHA: That’s what I was just thinking.
SAM: Can only creatures go in your locket thing?
LAURA: I don’t know.
SAM: Well, probably only creatures.
TALIESIN: There’s only one way to find out.
LAURA: Okay, yeah, I pop Trinket out. It says a creature no more than large in size.
MATT: He’s a construct.
LAURA: So no?
MATT: Well, I mean, you’d have to try to find out.
LAURA: I walk up. He’s not going to hit me, is he, Keyleth?
MARISHA: I’ll tell him not to. I tell him, hey! (whispers) What should I? Should I say his name? Does he have a name?
MARISHA: I like it. Spike! Is he spikey at all? He’s bludgeony.
LAURA: I don’t know, I just liked the name.
MARISHA: Okay, I ask him, are you called something?
SAM: He doesn’t have a mind.
LAURA: Can he talk?
MATT: There’s no response.
MARISHA: (laughs) Fassbender? No.
SAM: Too hunky?
LAURA: Can he put his finger down, and I hold the locket up. Hey, Fassbender.
MARISHA: Enter the locket, Fassbender.
MATT: Puts the finger out. Touches the locket.
SAM: Ahh, dammit.
LAURA: Nope. No luck.
MARISHA: Good work, Fassbender. I guess we walk him out of here.
TALIESIN: Or cast a spell.
SAM: Oh, if only I had any.
TALIESIN: If only he had any spells.
MARISHA: What kind of a spell?
TRAVIS: What are you guys doing down there that is so loud?
SAM: Sorry, we met somebody who’s even stronger and awesomer than you. But we still love you and we’ll bring him out to meet you soon.
TALIESIN: Keyleth has a pet giant robot. I don’t know what to make of this.
LIAM: A what?
TALIESIN: It’s a thing I’ve been working on, but apparently someone else has done it first, so never mind.
MARISHA: It’s a thing you’ve been working on?
TALIESIN: Never mind! I’m not working on it anymore!
SAM: You can do a pocket fisherman instead.
TALIESIN: It’s passé and stupid. I don’t want to hear about it.
MATT: So what’s the plan?
MARISHA: I walk him out.
SAM: Wait! Oh no, he’s not a creature. I can’t make him invisible.
MATT: I mean, he is a creature. Just the particular enchantment based on this, you get the sense that as part of the realm of the Raven Queen is the living and the dead, and this is not necessarily a living creature, it’s a construct and the magic does not have an effect on it.
SAM: Oh. Any magic.
MATT: That magic.
SAM: I could try to make him invisible.
LAURA: Oh, that’s good!
SAM: It says creature.
MARISHA: Scanlan, do you have a circlet right now? You had the Ioun stones. Do you have anything on your head?
SAM: I am fully attuned.
MATT: Yeah, this requires attunement to wear.
LIAM: Keyleth, is this something you’re going to want to do in the long term?
MARISHA: Well, my circlet, I’m a bit attached to it and it’s very nice and has a lot of benefits to it.
LIAM: So if we’re going to go to the trouble of taking this thing out of here, one of us has to use it. What about your Pom-pom, or– what did you call him?
ASHLEY: Pop-Pop? Pop-Pop could do it, but I don’t know if he would be very–
MARISHA: I can wield. I can use him. Honestly, Fassbender might be something that we use sometimes and not all the time anyway. Maybe?
TALIESIN: Could we get him into the Bag of Holding?
LIAM: I doubt it.
MATT: Has to fit through the opening.
TALIESIN: Yeah. We don’t have a big enough Bag of Holding.
LIAM: Ooh, I have an invention idea. Could you build a little gnome chair for either Scanlan or Pike or Wilhand on the back of it?
LAURA: But I think he moves rather slow.
TALIESIN: Yes, it would be so Mad Max. It would be beyond Thunderdome.
LIAM: I don’t get that reference, but I think you feel me.
LAURA: How fast can he run?
MARISHA: Well, let’s try it, I guess.
TALIESIN: Perhaps let’s try this somewhere that is not a basement filled with chemicals.
SAM: We can try this in the mansion. If we can get him through the door.
MARISHA: Let’s make him invisible and get him to the mansion.
SAM: I’ll try to turn him invisible. I don’t think it’ll work, though, but–
MATT: You cast the spell for a second, using your bardic flair you wink and reach out and touch the golem, and the golem’s form vanishes.
SAM: Hey, that’s great, all right, let’s get outta here then.
MATT: You tell it to follow?
MARISH: Let’s see how this works. Follow.
LAURA: Well, he’s rather loud.
MATT: As you guys come to the doorway and begin stepping through, you watch as the doorframe goes (breaking metal), and it’s bent outward like something bursting out of a tuna can.
MARISHA: Shit. Hey, Vex? Do you have a Pass Without a Trace handy?
LAURA: Let me see how many spells I have left. I think I do. Yeah, I can do Pass Without a Trace, I have a couple left.
ASHLEY: I couldn’t possibly use my Glove of Storing, could I? To hold his hand?
MATT: You can try. You know from your experience that the Glove of Storing is usually for handheld objects.
ASHLEY: All right.
LAURA: I’m going to cast Pass Without a Trace on all of us, including the golem.
MARISHA: And I’m going to tell the golem to walk quietly and stealth. Or attempt to, as best as he can.
MATT: (stomping) You guys make your way up the stairs. As you make it up towards the top of the stair landing, you hear the crashing of wood behind you as the golem begins making its way up the staircase, destroying it in the process.
MARISHA: (stammering) What? Why is it? No!
SAM: He’s wider than the stairs.
MARISHA: Why is it going up the staircase?
SAM: Because we’re going up the staircase!
MARISHA: Oh, we’re going, oh. I thought we were outside the front door.
MATT: No, this is all down in the basement. You guys make your way up, as it tears through the stairs. There is a stonework incline the stairs are built on, so it just destroys the wood, but it still manages to make its way up into the house itself, breaking through the banister. You don’t even see it, you just see parts of the house (sounds of destruction). It steps forward into the center of the room on one of the plates that you had marked. The thing goes (impact). And stops in the middle of the air, before a couple smoke sparks go (sparks).
LAURA: This thing is awesome.
MATT: Another one. (impacts)
LIAM: I feel like Quall didn’t really think this through.
SAM: Are you still unclear about whether we should kill this dragon or not? We have a killing machine now!
LIAM: Does it fly?
SAM: It doesn’t matter. He can catch it with his hand!
LAURA: That’s true. He actually might be able to hold onto it. At least for a little bit.
MATT: The golem’s about 12 feet tall, ten to 12. The dragon’s like 30 to 40.
SAM: Yeah, yeah!
LAURA: So the dragon could probably like fly away with it.
TALIESIN: The dragon would find him a very uncomfortable horse pill to swallow.
SAM: However, him plus a bunch of other people could probably hold the dragon.
MARISHA: Let’s get back to the mansion.
LAURA: Wait, can he get through the mansion door?
TALIESIN: We will tell him delicately to kneel and crawl.
MARISHA: I mean, it’s a magic door. Scanlan, can you just make the door a little bigger to fit him?
SAM: Why don’t we have him smash through it? Who cares? We don’t live here.
LIAM: We’re talking about your mansion door.
MATT: You guys all look at Grog across the street, sitting, clutching the bloodaxe, almost in a lotus position, looking at it.
LIAM: Hey buddy, whatcha doing over there?
MATT: You guys glance up and see Grog smiling, as suddenly behind them, (crashing), the doorway blows out and wood gets thrown out in the middle of the roadway, splintered ruin. There’s a giant dome shape of the front of the house where brick and wood has been blown out.
TRAVIS: You guys, the door is exploding! Move! This way! I race across the street to them with the bloodaxe in my hands.
MATT: Okay, you get halfway across, pass them before whack! Something hits you really hard in the face, and you can already feel the blood running in the back of your sinuses.
MARISHA: And I say, Grog, meet Fassbender. Fassbender, Grog.
TRAVIS: I don’t understand what you’re telling me right now.
MARISHA: He’s invisible, but he’s a giant stone golem!
TRAVIS: Can I reach out with my hand and try and touch whatever it was that smashed me in the face?
MATT: You reach out and there’s a very solid surface in front of you.
MARISHA: And I say, Fassbender, shake Grog’s hand. Remember, manners!
MATT: You reach up, as you’re feeling out, all of a sudden, a giant form grasps you from behind and shakes your hand. Roll a strength check.
SAM: Your arm gets torn off.
LAURA: Oh god.
LIAM: Also, I lost a hitpoint when he flicked me in the nuts. Nothing? Nothing.
TRAVIS: A new strength check, right? 19.
MATT: 19. As this invisible hand meets, the strength is overwhelming, and then as you focus, you take over the handshake and force it to move your way.
SAM: Ooh, you’re stronger than the thing!
MATT: You are stronger than it.
TRAVIS: What the fuck is grabbing my hand?
MARISHA: Fassbender. Scanlan named him.
TRAVIS: Yeah, you keep saying that word. I don’t know what it means.
LAURA: We’ll show you what he looks like in the mansion. I see you’re wearing the gauntlets, Grog.
TRAVIS: Yeah, I’ve been wearing them.
ASHLEY: You’ve attuned to them.
TRAVIS: I did.
MARISHA: You have a nice glow about you.
SAM: You don’t have hair up there.
MATT: As you guys make your way back towards the classic Trickfoot estate with the somewhat muted (stomping) behind you. The sun is just now starting to hit the sunset period of the day. The sky’s going from a blue to a lighter white to an orange color, dusk is upon you shortly. And with that, we’re going to take a bathroom break.
MARISHA: Bathroom break.
MATT: We’ll be back here shortly, guys, once again I want to say give some love to our Loot Crate sponsors if you can, at the very least go check it out and see what they got, go to www.lootcrate.com/criticalrole. Even if you’re not interested in subscribing right now, go click on the link and let them know that Critters have some eyes and want to show them some love.
MARISHA: That Critters have power.
MATT: But yeah, guys, we’ll see you back here in a few minutes.
MATT: Welcome back, everyone. So! Back from break, Vox Machina made their way back to Wilhand’s estate, the Trickfoots. For the sake of brevity, you did manage to get the Fassbender golem in through the ten-foot-tall door, five-foot-wide that leads into it. So it was able to barely squeeze in if you wanted to leave it there for the time being.
MATT: Okay. There it fits into it.
MARISHA: I want to try some stuff.
MATT: What do you want to try?
MARISHA: Hang on, I’m tweeting out a link for Loot Crate.
TRAVIS: I would like to go down to the training area where I normally sleep. Pike! Would you come with me?
ASHLEY: Yup. I want to train, too. Sit-ups.
MARISHA: How big is the training area, can we all be in the training area practicing our skills?
MATT: Yeah, I mean, it’s as big as he wants it to be.
MARISHA: Yeah? Let’s do that. Let’s go practice. Let’s have a group training session, you guys!
ASHLEY: Are we learning skills? Group workout?
SAM: Wait, wait, before we go.
SAM: I want to go find my daughter. I’ve got to leave. Sorry. Bye. Bye!
MARISHA: You’re just leaving?
SAM: Yeah, I got to go. Sorry.
MARISHA: Just like that? We got to talk.
LAURA: Do you want help?
SAM: Yeah. I do. I’d like Vax to come.
LIAM: Sure, buddy, sure. Sure, yes, yeah. I’ll see you guys later.
TRAVIS: We’ll wait for you here.
SAM: Talk, you can start the talk without me, it’ll be fast.
TRAVIS: Okay, you’ll be right back.
LIAM: I’d like to throw in and say that I don’t want to fight the dragon tomorrow, all right, let’s go.
SAM: I do want to, and bye.
TRAVIS: Copy that.
MARISHA: We’ll train while you guys go!
MATT: So where are you heading?
LIAM: Wait, wait. I run back to the door really quick. Kiki, c'mere c'mere c'mere.
MARISHA: What what what?
LIAM: Can you do that mend-y thing still? This is her, Pom-pom? Pop-Pop, I dunno. Glue the head back on.
MARISHA: Pop-Pop’s? Okay okay okay.
LIAM: Yeah, glue the head back on. And then I chase after Scanlan.
MARISHA: I do the mending on the Sarenrae statue.
MATT: And in doing so, you reaffirm the single-piece form that was the small shrine setup for the Sarenrae shrine in the home.
MARISHA: And I want to try a few tricks with the golem, but throwing that out there. Go ahead.
MATT: We’ll get to that in a moment. Where are you going?
SAM: I’m going to where I dropped her off at the sewers. And I’m hoping that he can track or something?
LAURA: Probably should’ve brought a ranger with you, I’m really good at tracking.
SAM: Fuck! I don’t know what you people can do!
MATT: So, now as the sun is disappearing right behind the mountains and nighttime is coming, you lead Vax southward through Westruun, dodging around a few patrolling goliath Herd members, and eventually find your way to the alley where the entrance to the sewer, the protruding entrance existed where you left Dr. Dranzel and Kaylie and a number of survivors that were in the ruined Temple of Arathis.
SAM: Okay, Vax. I know that you are an expert tracker. Right?
LIAM: I’m pretty good, I’ve watched my sister do it.
SAM: Wait, you’re not the one?
LIAM: You know that my name is Vax, right?
SAM: Yeah, I know, aren’t you the tracker guy?
LIAM: Sort of?
SAM: I don’t know, don’t you move in the night and do things?
LIAM: I do have really good eyes, do you want me to have a look?
SAM: Can we go in the sewer and see if we can figure out where they went?
LIAM: Let’s have a look.
SAM: They went down here and they went towards the city wall, that’s all I know.
LIAM: Let’s go.
MATT: All right. Dranzel closed it behind him, you go ahead and grab it. Make a strength check.
SAM: Well, I can’t lift anything.
LIAM: Could we do it together, could I help him, give him advantage?
SAM: Whoop! Natural 20.
MATT: We’ll say between the two of you pulling, Scanlan most of the weight, you manage to
SAM: C'mon, pull your weight, man!
MATT: Pull the grate, it scrapes, and you manage to haul it off to the side. It’s still a difficult process but you do manage enough strength in the two of you to pull it off.
LIAM: Your forearms are like Popeye, motherfucker.
SAM: Yes they are. Years of use.
MATT: The stench of the sewer immediately hits your nose, there is a metal ladder that leads down into the subterranean area.
SAM: All right. Where do we go?
LIAM: I– well, let’s see if she left any– my sister looks for tracks. You really should’ve brought my sister. I’m going to check for tracks.
MATT: Okay, make a survival check.
LIAM: Survival check, okay, well.
MATT: Oh wait no, is this for checking for traps or tracking?
LIAM: Tracks. Footprints.
LAURA: Is that what you said?
LIAM: I said tracks, I’m not looking for traps, we’re in the sewer. Tracks.
MATT: Yes. Survival.
SAM: D'you need an article of her clothing for a scent?
LIAM: 17. I’m concentrating on the mud.
MATT: As you’re down inside the sewer, there is a recess in the center of the floor where most of the various sludge runs through. There are bits of runoff from when the rain does pour through, and it rains fairly often here in this part of Tal'Dorei, where bits of mud and compost that get caught on the sides are. You do manage to find a few spots that appear like footsteps, you don’t know who from, it appears some sort of humanoid’s footsteps, over an area that heads southward.
LIAM: I hold my foot over one, is it smaller than mine or is it about the same size?
MATT: The one you see is about the same size.
SAM: There were some humanoids, humans with us. We were traveling with a bunch of people.
LIAM: Yeah? Okay. Well, I mean, they would’ve washed away if they were old, so probably pretty new. Let’s follow them.
SAM: You are the expert.
LIAM: I clearly am.
LIAM: Let’s go.
LIAM: Yeah, I’ll lead the way.
MATT: Okay. You continue, both of you guys make stealth checks.
LIAM: Yeah, okay.
SAM: Seven. I’m just excited!
TRAVIS: Going to see my daughter!
MATT: Okay. You guys continue finding your way, weaving through the southern area, following the tracks they vanish and you’ll see a couple footprints here, and then you guys will lose the trail. The scent is terrifying and getting worse the further south you progress. You do head into one central chamber and both of you guys make perception checks.
SAM: Huh! 19!
MATT: You both stop in as you immediately see in the center of this room a large bulbous form that is massed in the center. You both stop.
LIAM: Qu-iet. Quiet.
SAM: I’m always quiet!
MATT: It is not moving.
SAM: Oh. Okay.
LAURA: Oh my god, did you send your daughter down to get attacked by a giant bulbous shit?
SAM: Can we go around it?
MARISHA: It’s true, there were like a bunch of slimes and stuff down there.
LIAM: So we’re in a larger chamber and it’s in the middle?
MATT: Yeah, it’s like a four-way, four different platforms or passages merge in the center here, where one of the drains leads down into–
LIAM: And are there any of the footprints left anywhere?
MATT: I mean, you do see bits of sludge around, and there are a number of footprints that are all scattered around, some smeared, some skidding.
LIAM: I reach down and I scoop Scanlan up in football pose again. Which way do you want to go? I can’t tell which way. Your daughter. Reach deep, man.
SAM: Can I sense which direction the wall of city is, like do I have any sort of–
MATT: Make a survival check.
SAM: Survival, I’ve never done this before! 13.
MATT: 13. Keeping track of where you were and the direction, you gather it’s probably that way.
SAM: Oh! I– let’s go that way!
SAM: (whispering) Sorry, let’s go that way.
LIAM: Don’t. Move.
SAM: All right.
MATT: As you carefully move past, you look and you see– you did encounter one of these entities before, when you were tracking down the rakshasa. It’s a terrible swollen creature with tendrils, a mouth, it feeds on refuse and rot. This was a rather swollen and dangerous-looking one. However, as you pass by and look, you see a series of wounds across its body and its lifeblood dripping out. This one has been slain.
LIAM: I’m going to set you down, all right? I think your daughter done killed a– oogedyboogedy.
SAM: What? How do you know that?
LIAM: Sit down. It’s dead.
SAM: Oh. Oh, good!
MATT: Survival check again. You followed the tracks.
TRAVIS: Are there any track marks?
LIAM: 12. I already asked that.
MATT: The tracks vanish, you’re not sure how to follow a direction.
LIAM: Is there any blood or ooze walking away, I mean dripping away from there?
MATT: I mean, it all congeals in this general area, most of the central room, the middle area is very clustered with slime and goop. There’s no natural flow and there hasn’t been a very recent rainfall so there isn’t a fresh flow of water through here either.
LIAM: And where were they going, where did you tell them to go?
SAM: Out of town, get out of town.
LIAM: Do I know where that is, which direction that is down here?
MATT: I mean, based on where you’re going, you guys can follow that path. And we’ll say for the sake of brevity you eventually find your way to a portion of the sewer, dodging a few shady-looking areas to where a final grate leads out into the night. Because it is night at this point in time. It’s a large ten-foot-tall circular grate. If you look, the bars are actually bent open and it leads outward, the liquid from the sewage now spills out into this small ravine in the very southern portion of Westruun. And leads out into–
LIAM: Sort of like this? Or is it?
MATT: No, it’s up like this, it’s vertical.
LIAM: Vertical. And what do we see past the bars?
MATT: You see the open plains south of Westruun.
SAM: No sign of tracks, anyone huddled for safety?
MATT: I mean, looking around you can see a few footprints, scattered footprints, you can make a survival check.
SAM: Pff. Ten.
MATT: Ten? Nothing that specifically catches your attention.
LIAM: I think she got outta here, pal.
LIAM: But she’s not here.
SAM: That’s true.
LIAM: She’s better off.
SAM: All right. All right. Sorry, wild goose chase.
LIAM: No, no, don’t worry about it. You want to talk about it?
SAM: No, no. I just don’t know when I’ll see her again, so. I’ll find her again. That’s all. It’ll be good.
LIAM: I believe that, too.
SAM: Yeah. Oh, and hey. Thank you. Back at the sphinx. Your sister was unconscious, and you dove in to save me. That was very nice.
LIAM: I knew she would be taken care of, and I wasn’t sure about you.
SAM: Because you love me?
LIAM: You’re very entertaining and I would be sad to see you go.
SAM: Well, I owe you one. Forever. And I hate to say it, but I feel terrible about it, but I think I might’ve killed a couple of civilians because I feel like I owe you some, some help.
LIAM: What do you mean?
SAM: Well, I was in the big fight back there, I could’ve hurt you or the civilians, but I decided to hurt the civilians, because I’ve got to protect you, because you protected me.
LIAM: Well– there’s no right or wrong, but next time, I’ll be all right. You help people more in need than me, and I’ll be all right.
SAM: All right. Next time.
LIAM: I don’t know any of your fancy, you know, fluh-duh-duh. But–
SAM: Well, I’m no ranger like you.
LIAM: There is no ranger like me. This is stupid, we should go back.
SAM: Through the sewers again?
LIAM: Yeah. I mean, we don’t have Big Man with us and I don’t want to run into any of his third cousins or whatever, so yeah.
SAM: All right. I’ll lead the way.
LIAM: Might as well.
MATT: Eventually you guys make your way back.
TALIESIN: Not going to make them roll survival to get back?
LAURA: You guys are lost forever in the sewers.
MATT: Little roundabout, but they get there eventually, they return to the mansion–
MARISHA: Status gained: fall into a pile of shit. Never to get out.
MATT: Smelling awful. All right, so. You wanted to go ahead and do some exercises with Fassbender.
MARISHA: I do want to do some exercises with Fassbender.
LAURA: (laughs) Who doesn’t?
MARISHA: Who doesn’t want to do exercises with Fassbender? Abs of stone, that Fassbender.
LIAM: P90X with Fassbender?
MARISHA: Okay, he’s not invisible anymore, right? You dropped that, I’m assuming he dropped– sure.
MATT: That’s faded by now, yeah.
TRAVIS: Ohh. I get it. Makes so much sense. Shit. He is huge. Fuck. Now I get it, all right, he’s with us. Got it.
MARISHA: He is with us, yeah.
MARISHA: Oh, yeah, oh, sorry. Grog, Fassbender. Fassbender, Grog.
TRAVIS: His name is Fassbender?
ASHLEY: I call him Fluffy.
TRAVIS: Fluffy it is!
MARISHA: I’m terrible at naming things, I just go with whatever the first person shouts out.
LAURA: That’s a lie because I said Spike.
MARISHA: Oh, you did say Spike. We overruled it with Fassbender.
TALIESIN: She goes with the second thing that everybody shouts out.
MATT: Too late now. It’s in stone.
LIAM: It’s like an improv show. “Salty McFucknuts!”
MARISHA: Spike, ehhh, not that one.
MATT: It basically is, yeah.
MARISHA: Okay, so first I say, Fassbender, run! And I want to see how fast he can go.
MATT: And he runs about the same speed you do, I mean as far as its bigger steps, but it gets about the same distance.
MARISHA: Okay, and I say, Fassbender, punch Grog! He’s used to this, Grog’s fine with it.
MATT: Do you do anything?
TRAVIS: No, yeah, I totally take it.
MARISHA: This is how we train with Grog. It’s fine.
LAURA: You’re healed, you’re healed up?
MATT: The golem pulls back, whoosh, swings at you with a giant fist. That is a 19.
TRAVIS: Yeah, that– wait. Well, I took off– yeah, I did take off my Bracers of Defense, so that hits.
MATT: All right. Whack. Right square to the side of the face and jaw, you take, from the impact of its giant battering-ram-like arm, 24 points of bludgeoning damage.
MATT: You’re not raging, so it’s not halved.
TRAVIS: Okay. Tit for tat, bitch. And I swing back with the Titanstone Knuckles and punch Fassbender in the face.
MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll for an attack.
LAURA: Do we know if we can heal him once we damage him?
MARISHA: We’ll find out.
MATT: That hits. So you do one plus the plus seven strength damage to it. So eight points of–
TRAVIS: Of the four or the six, because it’s my fist?
MATT: Huh? Well, it’s not a save, your fists for this because you’re not a tavern brawler and we’re saying because you’re not like on even ground with the other guy. You’re doing boom, one point of damage from the punch plus seven for the strength. So eight points of damage from the crack as the fist hits. It does cause like a crack where the impact hits, a little bit.
MARISHA: I say, okay, all right, enough hitting each other, enough of that.
TRAVIS: Well, hold on, we were just getting warmed up, I mean, this is where the game starts, you know, it’s like, P-I-N-G and then you really start playing.
LAURA: Ping? You can–
TRAVIS: It’s a song.
MARISHA: There’s some other questions first, other questions first. I cast Call Lightning.
TALIESIN: I’m going to get in the way of this, just for fun.
SAM: Indoors, by the way.
MARISHA: And I just, it’s fine, I bring down a bolt of lightning on a dummy, and then see if I can also command Fassbender to punch a dummy.
MATT: Okay. Bolt of lightning hits a dummy, the dummy is shattered. As you command Fassbender, Fassbender leaps forward at another dummy, whoosh, giant haymaker and causes the dummy to explode into a bunch of fluff and cloth.
MARISHA: So would we say that would be like a bonus action, what I just did?
MARISHA: No? It was an action for each?
MATT: I mean, you have to focus on it, yeah. I mean, you can give it– you have an action to give it a command, and it’ll continue the command as it goes.
TALIESIN: So once it’s set in that motion, it’ll continue to kill that thing.
MARISHA: Okay. So then theoretically I can have a concentration spell up and be like, kill that thing, and they won’t overlap?
MATT: Hmm, let’s see.
LIAM: Y'know, while he looks that up, let me point out that when I punched Percy in the face, there were zero points of hitpoint damage.
SAM: Hey now. Rangers aren’t very strong.
LIAM: Yes, yes, I did punch him.
TALIESIN: I want to check by the way, Liam, are you imagining the eighties-era X-Men danger room right now too, with like the hoops and the bars.
LIAM: Yeah, metal rods, and Nightcrawler going–
MATT: It takes an action to focus and give it a new command.
MARISHA: A new command.
MATT: Yes. Once it is commanded, it will continue to do it until told otherwise or it completes whatever task it was given.
MARISHA: It’s not a concentration to keep up that command. So, like– keep fighting the dragon until it hits the ground would theoretically be one command that would keep going?
MATT: Based on your experience with it so far, theoretically it should work.
LIAM: (robotic voice) Whatever Keyleth wants, Keyleth gets.
MARISHA: Thank you, Speak and Spell. We found out if it can talk?
TALIESIN: Ask a question.
MARISHA: Fassbender. How many years old are you? Hold up– hold on, how old are you?
MATT: No response.
TALIESIN: All right, this is good, we’re finding out its intelligence level.
MARISHA: Can you gesture to me with your fingers and tell me how many years old you are? (whispers) I don’t think he’s listening.
TALIESIN: It may not be smart enough to know that.
MARISHA: He’s distracted.
MATT: Yeah, there, it’s– no response.
TALIESIN: So it doesn’t know anything, that’s good. Let’s find out if it can, does it have any magical properties beyond punching, can it, tell it to use magic.
MARISHA: Okay. Hey, Fassbender. Cast a spell on Percy.
SAM: Death’s eye.
TALIESIN: And then I die.
LIAM: Disintegrate beam, straight on.
TALIESIN: And then you dye a blue streak in your hair and everything goes fine.
MATT: It turns over, brings its hands up like this– make a wisdom saving throw.
SAM: Oh my god.
MARISHA: Well look, I wanted a live test subject.
TALIESIN: No, no, I’m with you, I’m with you.
TRAVIS: That’s my designation.
TALIESIN: Natural. One.
LAURA: Oh no!
MATT: (laughs) You feel like–
MARISHA: Hey! To Percy!
TALIESIN: No no no, it’s happening.
MATT: You’ve been near explosions before, not like super close but big enough where you feel like the concussive wave from a distance, not enough to harm you, but enough to like, send you off your balance for a moment. You feel that impact, and as you fall onto your back foot, time around you seems to be moving faster that you’d expect, and (slow-mo voice) you find your motion sluggish.
SAM: Oh. That’s Slow.
MATT: (slow-mo voice) And you really have a hard time really moving–
MARISHA: That’s awesome!
TALIESIN: (slow-mo voice) This– put–
ASHLEY: It’s– you’re in slow-mo!
TALIESIN: (slow-mo voice) –the candle–
MARISHA: Percy, you’re in slow-mo! You’re slow-mo, Percy!
TALIESIN: (slow-mo voice) –back.
MARISHA: It’s amazing!
LAURA: How do we fix him?
MARISHA: It’ll wear off.
MATT: Make another wisdom saving throw.
LIAM: How will he do zingers now?
TALIESIN: Wisdom, where are we– 16.
LIAM: (slow-mo voice) We’re slow.
MATT: (slow-mo voice) Not really changing.
LAURA: Oh no.
MARISHA: All right, Fassbender, can you drop this?
LIAM: Bet he can’t.
TALIESIN: You asked him a question as opposed to telling him to do it.
MARISHA: Fassbender, drop the spell.
MATT: (slow-mo voice) No apparent change in Percy. (normal voice) He stands there.
LAURA: Oh no.
MARISHA: It’ll wear off. Okay. Fassbender, do you know any other spells, and if so, cast them at the dummy this time.
MATT: Looks at the dummy, looks back at you.
MARISHA: I go up to Fassbender and I cast Stone Shape on his chest and see if I can repair that crack. Actually, before I do that, can I do a level one Cure Wounds to see if I can heal him first? Okay.
MATT: Go ahead and roll for that.
MARISHA: Do I roll a d20 for it?
SAM: He’s talking to a whale right now somewhere.
MARISHA: Eight points.
TALIESIN: (slow-mo) hate– you–
LIAM: Tell us all about the nature of politics.
LAURA: Just think, the fun thing is, I think you’re aging much slower than the rest of us.
MATT: Okay. This is, this, hmm.
TALIESIN: (laughs) This is the most torturous thing ever.
MATT: So you go ahead and reach out and touch it, and the healing magic seeps up into the crack that Grog left behind, and the crack fuses shut.
LAURA: That’s cool, that’s cool.
MATT: For how much was the total?
MARISHA: Eight points.
MATT: Yeah, fuses shut entirely, it’s like there was no crack.
MARISHA: So he gets healed by a heal–
MATT: About a minute passes, and then you come back to your normal pace.
TALIESIN: No, it’s– no, it’s good.
MARISHA: How was that, how did that feel? Was it frustrating?
MARISHA: Good, good.
TALIESIN: Can it–
MARISHA: Thank you, that’s all I need.
TALIESIN: Can it fly?
MARISHA: Ooh. Fassbender, can you– I don’t think he can fly.
TALIESIN: Just try it.
MARISHA: Fassbender, can you fly?
LIAM: Tell it.
MARISHA: Fly, Fassbender, fly.
TALIESIN: How high did it jump?
MARISHA: How high is it jumping?
MATT: It’s getting six feet off the ground vertically. And then landing with a heavy impact each time, causing these divots to continuously push into the ground.
LAURA: Ooh, I wonder if it can like earthquake.
MARISHA: Okay, I Stone Shape, I take a chunk of the wall and I Stone Shape a boulder. And I hand it to him. And I say, throw it at that target.
MATT: Tiny little boulder.
MATT: It hits the target, the stone shatters across it.
MARISHA: So his aim’s pretty good.
TALIESIN: All right.
MARISHA: And then I go, Fassbender, high-five.
MATT: You take two points of bludgeoning damage.
MATT: Unable to control its force.
MARISHA: Mm. Yeah. You’re my buddy, Fassbender.
TALIESIN: Out of idle curiosity, two last important things that I would recommend.
TALIESIN: Perhaps, Fassbender, go into recharge mode? Or sleep mode? Perhaps? So that maybe it can regain some of its magic ability, which it might burn through? And two, and I’m surprised that I’m the one to mention this, but we should double-check to make sure that that thing isn’t doing anything strange to your head.
MATT: For the record, while this has happened, Mort, who’s been following you guys around because it’s not concentration, the circlet that he was carrying, the one that you previously had, hit the ground. And is lying there on the ground.
TALIESIN: I’m going to pick that up.
MARISHA: Thank you.
TALIESIN: All right. It’s very nice.
MARISHA: Thank you. It’s very old. Okay, Fassbender. Rest.
MATT: The eyes go to a very, very dull glow, its form tends to slightly hunch forward in the position it was at rest when you found it in the basement, seems to have gone into some sort of a rest state.
TALIESIN: Take that off for a bit? Maybe?
MARISHA: But I like it–
LAURA: Try taking it off, Kiki.
MARISHA: It’s my friend.
TALIESIN: It’ll be your friend in the morning.
MARISHA: Okay. I take it off.
MATT: As you reach up, you go to pull it off your head– and it slides off without a problem.
LAURA: I am going to throw something at you!
TRAVIS: That’s like the fifth time today and it’s so good!
ASHLEY: You sneaky-sneaky.
TRAVIS: No, like a good horror movie. Fakeouts.
ASHLEY: As you take it off your head–
SAM: –your eyes start to bleed.
MARISHA: I take it off.
TALIESIN: Seems all right.
MARISHA: Do I look funny?
TALIESIN: More than normal? Oh, no, you don’t look different.
MARISHA: You’re a dick.
TALIESIN: I know. Well, you made a robot cast a spell on me. An automaton, I suppose.
MARISHA: Mm, you earned it.
TALIESIN: That’s fair.
MATT: So, while this is happening– you guys.
TRAVIS: Can I turn to Pike and say like, look at what I got!
ASHLEY: These are cool!
TRAVIS: Yeah, right? I don’t even feel it. It’s like nothing.
ASHLEY: You don’t?
ASHLEY: You don’t even feel that?
TRAVIS: No, nothing.
TRAVIS: Well, look. The bloodaxe, right, I’ve known this weapon for many, many years, and I wanted you to be here when I did this. (whispers) Can you hear me?
ASHLEY: Did it say anything to you?
MATT: No response.
TRAVIS: No. Which is cool, right?
ASHLEY: Okay, this is good, this is good, this is an improvement from your last weapon.
TRAVIS: Yep, better. Can you tell if it’s evil?
ASHLEY: Bad? Yeah.
TALIESIN: How awful a person am I?
MARISHA: You’re pretty awful, from what I’m slowly beginning to learn about you, Percy.
MATT: What are you doing? There’s, the level, what spell do you have prepared that’ll help with this, if any? That you have prepared.
ASHLEY: Where’d it go, where’d it go, it was right– Can I–
MATT: There’s a level one spell, Detect Good and Evil, if you have that prepared, that would detect for an evil entity.
LAURA: Do you have Identify?
MATT: Identify is more of an arcane-based.
TRAVIS: What do you think?
MATT: That would be like Scanlan or any other arcane casters you would know.
ASHLEY: Can I perception check it?
LAURA: Do you have Identify?
SAM: I’m not there.
LAURA: I’m asking you, not you.
ASHLEY: Insight check it, can I–
SAM: You’ll have to butter me up first.
MATT: I mean, it’s hard to insight check something that’s not living from what you can tell. There’s no communication, there’s nothing, it just looks like an axe.
ASHLEY: I’ll learn that spell and I’ll check it later.
TRAVIS: Oh, you can’t tell anything?
ASHLEY: I can’t tell anything right now. It looks pretty normal. And it’s a good sign that it’s not talking to you.
TRAVIS: Right. So we’re already in a better place than we were before.
ASHLEY: Yeah. And they look really cool.
TRAVIS: They do. Hey, wait, keep holding it for a second. Can I walk over to the wall? Can I punch the wall?
TRAVIS: I’d like to punch the wall.
LIAM: It’s like our first game ever.
MARISHA: (Grog voice) I’d like to punch the wall.
MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll for an attack.
TRAVIS: Wait– 50.
LAURA: Wait, that’s damage.
MATT: Wait, no, just damage is doubled.
TRAVIS: Oh, just damage. 25. 25.
MATT: That was pretty funny. All right. So. As you rear back, your fist slams into the stonework here of your magnificent mansion, the stonework shatters, eight, up to 16 points of damage from the sheer punch against the wall, the stone sends a crack through that actually pierces to the top of the rather large 25-foot ceiling here in the training area that has been crafted by Scanlan. Stones tumble and hit the ground, a bunch of it, plaster and pieces fall and hit the area around you, causing a small pile of wreckage. Pretty solid punch.
TRAVIS: I remember being little and Kevdak went and punched a boulder and it went like (stone shattering) and split in half.
ASHLEY: Whoa, and you just did it with the hands.
TRAVIS: Yeah, we’re going to be busting balls big time.
ASHLEY: Can I swing the axe?
TRAVIS: Yeah, at me?
ASHLEY: No! At the dummy. I’m going to try it. I’m going to try swinging the axe at the dummy.
MATT: It sticks into it.
TRAVIS: Good swing!
MATT: You’re not as strong as him per se, you’re–
TRAVIS: Vicious, vicious. Oh wait–
MATT: Your strength is 13, right?
ASHLEY: What’s that?
MATT: Your strength is 13, right?
ASHLEY: My strength?
MATT: Strength is 13, right?
MATT: It’s not, because you haven’t put the gauntlets on.
ASHLEY: I didn’t, I don’t think I erased that.
TRAVIS: Well hold on, I had to take the Gauntlets of Ogre Power off, do you want them back? Now, I think you have to give 'em up for the boots, but it’s your pick, it’s a kite– or you can be a monstah!
ASHLEY: I want to be a monstah!
ASHLEY: All right!
MATT: All righty. So your strength is back up to 19 with the Gauntlets of Ogre Power. Beefy Pike is back.
TRAVIS: I also have– wait, is Scanlan back? (sniffs) Do I smell poo?
MATT: As this time has passed, you guys do return to the mansion, yeah.
SAM: Ahh. I’ll go down and check on things downstairs.
LIAM: Just a minor thing, on the walk back in the sewer I would like to slowly, just in case some of these assholes want to fight a dragon tomorrow, I slowly start attuning to acidic damage instead of fire.
MATT: Not a problem. You are currently resistant to acid damage.
TRAVIS: Didn’t I get these Bracers of Defense from you?
SAM: Maybe? I don’t really remember things like that.
TRAVIS: Oh. Do you want 'em back?
SAM: Bracers of Defense, what do they do?
TRAVIS: It gives you a plus two to your AC if you wear no armor and are using no shield.
SAM: I wear armor, so I could trade them for something cool?
TALIESIN: You wear armor?
SAM: I wear Cold Snap Leather Armor.
TRAVIS: Does anybody not wear any armor?
MARISHA: The only one who doesn’t wear armor is you.
TRAVIS: Yeah! Cool. Well, they’re worth like six thousand gold, so I guess–
LAURA: Well, fucking hand 'em over, we’ll sell 'em for stuff.
TRAVIS: I’ll hold onto them, thanks.
LAURA: Grog, I don’t trust your haggling skills, I promise.
LIAM: If we can ever find a store open in a city that’s not destroyed, we can sell this stuff.
MARISHA: Not much of an economy right now.
TRAVIS: For 50! No.
MATT: You’ll have to make your way to another city.
LIAM: Back to the Clasp.
TRAVIS: So it’s night, it’s nighttime.
LAURA: We should probably figure out if we’re going to fight a fucking dragon in the morning.
TRAVIS: We owe Zanror a talk one way or the other.
LAURA: Oh, gods. We’re going to go talk to him tonight? We need to sleep!
TRAVIS: Yeah, we need to heal up, big time.
MARISHA: Yeah, I’m pretty tapped out.
LIAM: Big Man, what are we going to do in the morning when we get up?
SAM: At dawn, we chit-chat!
ASHLEY: At dawn, we plan.
TRAVIS: You guys are the biggest fucking dicks ever. Great conversations have been had at dawn, I’ll have you know. We’re not the only one. Treaties have been signed, and– stuff.
TALIESIN: I’ll also, weren’t we at some point supposed to check the library for clues of the location of the next Vestige?
LAURA: What library? Here, the Cobalt Reserve?
LAURA: Yes, and we still haven’t found Reginald’s daughter.
TALIESIN: That is a thing.
SAM: We’ll send a carefully worded letter. We can’t roam the city for days trying– looking for some dead guy’s daughter, come on.
TALIESIN: Well, we don’t have to, we know where she is. She’s in the prison.
LAURA: Oh, she’s in prison!
SAM: Well then we should go bust her out!
TALIESIN: We may just be able to get them to release her.
TRAVIS: We might be able to do that.
MARISHA: It sounds like there were a lot of people in prison, last we heard.
LIAM: If we can talk to them, but we have to talk to them.
TALIESIN: Grog has to talk to them.
SAM: Should we sleep first? And go at dawn?
MARISHA: I don’t know if this can wait.
SAM: What time is it?
MATT: It’s past dusk at this time, the hours you guys were traveling, I’d say it’s probably close to 9PM. For you guys to get a full rest, you got to sleep soon if you’re trying to get up pre-dawn. It’s up to you.
TRAVIS: How long is a long rest?
MATT: A long rest is six to eight hours.
TRAVIS: Six to eight. So on the short end, we could get up at three and walk over.
SAM: Wake his ass up.
LAURA: Let’s go sleep now, wake up, go let the prisoners free, and then talk to Kev– Zanror.
MARISHA: All right, well, when are we going to talk amongst ourselves?
TRAVIS: We should do that now.
LAURA: Short, short talk.
TALIESIN: I don’t feel comfortable fighting a dragon on 24 hours’ notice after almost getting my arse handed to me.
TRAVIS: All right, that’s Percy’s vote. Keyleth, what do you say?
MARISHA: Can I pass and wait to hear other people’s thoughts?
TRAVIS: Sure, Vax, what do you say?
LIAM: Much to my own chagrin, I’m in perfect agreement with Frederick von Whatsitface de Rolo de Whatsit.
LAURA: I am– I stand by what I said before, I think we should let them go out and fight a dragon, and we try to rescue the city while they are distracted.
TRAVIS: Badass Hand-Smasher the First?
SAM: That’s you, Pike.
ASHLEY: That’s me. I’m having trouble. What are you thinking?
TRAVIS: I wouldn’t care if we left now. I don’t think we’re ready. I think it would be foolish. I learned a lesson yesterday. And I’m anxious to die, don’t get me wrong, but I’d rather win, if we planned a little better, than lose.
LAURA: Are there any big trees in the city?
TALIESIN: That’s not a lot of people. We need to move a lot of people. How many people are in theory still left in the city?
MATT: You have no idea.
LAURA: An entire fucking city.
MARISHA: I think a lot.
MATT: I mean, a lot of people have left and gone to Kymal, a lot have left and gone to the Foramere Basin, which you already saw. And a lot of people are still within the city, and currently being lorded over and run–or were– by the Herd, you don’t know quite how many still remain. You’ve seen many jump between homes, and a few that’ve waited for this whole thing to blow over.
TALIESIN: Based on the size of the city and the number of people I’ve seen, what would be my extrapolation? I’m a reasonable human being. Triple digits, four digits?
MATT: I mean, you’re looking at maybe four digits, low four digits.
TALIESIN: Low four digits, that’ll do.
SAM: Listen, we have this Herd. They will be our allies for exactly one day.
TRAVIS: In theory.
SAM: In theory. So if we do not use them to attack dragons, can we at least use them to do something? Because they will no longer ever be our allies again after today. We could use them to go try to kill the dragon on their own, we could use them to try to kill something or someone else for us, we could use them to try to help clear the city, if we convinced them that it was in their best interest to–
TRAVIS: I’ll amend my proposition to this. I’m not sure what that word means.
TRAVIS: Yes. If we go and speak to Zanror, and we can’t change his mind about fighting this dragon, which I’m not entirely comfortable asking him to do, we at least get the innocents, prisoners, and hostages out of the city. We pretend that we’re going to fight the dragon with him, and when shit goes down, we wait.
MARISHA: That’s actually what I was thinking.
TALIESIN: This is not a bad plan.
MARISHA: We have the means to bail us out very quickly if things go wrong.
TRAVIS: And if I may, in case any of your consciences are in conflict, the Herd is full of murderers and pillagers and rapists and child killers. The worst of the lot. And only when I was younger did I not know the difference between right and wrong. Still working on that definition. But I can tell you, this group ain’t the best lot in the world, and they mean nothing to me compared to the people in this room.
MARISHA: Conversely, you were a part of that lot once. And you came out of it.
TRAVIS: Once. But are we trying to save a herd? Or are we trying to save a town?
MARISHA: I think we’re trying to save the world at this point.
TRAVIS: That’s bigger than a town, right?
LIAM: By a bit.
LAURA: A little.
TALIESIN: Today we can save a town.
SAM: You know, we’re all gathered here together, so I’d like to take this opportunity with Wilhand’s blessing to propose marriage to you, Pike Trickfoot. Will you make me the happiest gnome ever? I’m sorry, I couldn’t contain myself any longer.
ASHLEY: That was so sudden!
SAM: I know, I’m sorry, I’ve been thinking about it all night tonight, I went looking for Kaylie, she wasn’t there, and then– I’m sorry, I blurted it out, it’s just, we’re all together, we’re never all together like this, so.
LIAM: Can I roll stealth and hide right now?
MATT: Go ahead.
ASHLEY: Can I roll stealth and hide right now?
MATT: You can try to if you want to.
LIAM: 28, I’m gone.
TALIESIN: Scanlan, at least this could wait until after the danger’s over.
SAM: I know, I know, but we may die later tonight when we go see Zanror.
TALIESIN: Only if we follow your example.
MARISHA: That was the most impressive segue I’ve ever encountered.
TALIESIN: I was trying really hard here.
ASHLEY: That was a segue if I’ve ever heard one.
SAM: You know what, don’t answer now, don’t answer now. I know that you want to say yes, but please, don’t answer yet. Just think about it and we’ll talk about it some other time.
ASHLEY: I will definitely have to think about it. Because that’s a lot–
TALIESIN: We can work on some sort of concoction if you need help sleeping after that information, at this point. That would keep me up for hours. That’s– yeah.
LIAM: Do we have any alore root?
MARISHA: You ever want a vision quest, just let me know.
ASHLEY: You know what, I will think on it, and I will give you an answer after some dragons are killed and– let me think on it, Scanlan. Let me think on it.
SAM: All right.
LAURA: (whispers) I think that went well.
TRAVIS: Do you mean, like, permanent marriage?
ASHLEY: I think I was really start– yeah.
SAM: No no no, I’m sorry, that didn’t, I didn’t do that the way I had planned it in my head, I’m sorry.
ASHLEY: It’s okay.
SAM: I was overcome with a lot of stress, you know? We’re fighting dragons and bonding with goliaths here and you’re in my house, and it’s a very very stressful night for me, I’m sorry.
MARISHA: That was the weirdest coping mechanism I’ve ever heard of.
SAM: Yeah, yeah. I’m sorry.
ASHLEY: It’s okay, maybe you just feel that way because we could all die, so.
SAM: For sure.
ASHLEY: You feel like you maybe– I don’t know.
SAM: You know what, we’ll table it. We’ll table it.
ASHLEY: We’ll table it.
SAM: We’ll table it.
ASHLEY: Okay. Where is Wilhand?
SAM: I think he’s in the kitchen.
ASHLEY: He’s probably made a delicious meal.
LAURA: We should eat and then sleep.
MATT: You guys make your way to the kitchen?
MARISHA: Well, let’s finish this conversation over food.
MATT: There is a– what did you have in mind?
LIAM: I’m going back to my room, I’m not eating. Yeah.
MARISHA: Wait, we need to finish this conversation.
MATT: He’s already gone, you don’t know where he is. Vax disappeared in the confusion. You head back to the main dining area. There is a full meal prepared of very creative uses of chicken.
ASHLEY: It’s all– if he had more stuff, he could really do well.
TALIESIN: I don’t– I don’t think you’re supposed to eat– that’s creative.
MARISHA: Every chicken dish ever.
TALIESIN: I’ll have the soup.
MATT: Wilhand is slumped in the corner on a stool with a bottle of wine that is mostly empty.
LIAM: (old-man voice) Try the chicken sorbet!
MATT: A bit of drool dribbling down his neck.
TRAVIS: I take the bottle. He pulled it back! I let him have it.
LAURA: I go and whisper to Scanlan, are you all right?
SAM: Yeah, I’m fine. She didn’t say no?
LAURA: She didn’t. I sort of meant about Kaylie as well, though.
SAM: Oh, yes. I just don’t know where she is, so it’s a bit stressful. That’s all. She’s safe though, right? Just say yes.
LAURA: Yes. Of course she is.
SAM: Yeah, I thought so.
TRAVIS: I go and grab a shitload of chicken and start shoving it in my mouth.
MARISHA: Is Wilhand here?
TRAVIS: He’s passed out.
MATT: He’s passed out in a corner with a bottle of white wine that’s half-empty.
ASHLEY: I go get a blanket and cover him.
MARISHA: I walk over and I slide the bottle of ale out of his hand.
MATT: (laughs) Death grip on the bottle.
MARISHA: All right. I leave the bottle of ale and I take the statue of Sarenrae and I put it in his other hand, tuck him up.
MATT: Cuddles it up with the blanket around it, he’s like this little bundle of old gnomish sleeping joy right now.
ASHLEY: Oh, buddy.
TRAVIS: Is Vax here?
TRAVIS: Shit. I wanted to put like shaving cream in his hand and tickle his nose with a feather.
MARISHA: Although I feel like we still need to finish this conversation. Shouldn’t we all be present?
TRAVIS: What’s left to finish?
TALIESIN: Other than take a rest.
SAM: We’re going to try to convince them to delay. If they won’t delay, then we say, all right, let’s go fight, and we send them into battle.
LAURA: And then we don’t really fight.
LAURA: Well, we see how they do, and we try to rescue people.
MARISHA: Maybe it’s time to split up. Maybe some of us help fight the dragons while others help evacuate.
LAURA: No. I’m not separating from you when we go fight a giant fucking dragon.
TALIESIN: I may run to try and quietly by myself grab a few things from the library that we may need for the next Vestiges.
MARISHA: You’re going tonight?
TALIESIN: Ah. Possibly in the morning.
MARISHA: I’ll go with you.
MATT: You do recall based on your previous scrying spell–
MARISHA: It was ruined and most of it had been picked clean.
MATT: –it was ruined, a lot of it picked over, Allura was escaping with a couple of tomes under her arms before escaping via spark.
TALIESIN: Oh, all right then.
MARISHA: I mean, it doesn’t mean that there’s not something still potentially there, but I’m sure Allura got most of the good stuff. She’s not stupid.
TALIESIN: No, that’s fair.
MARISHA: We can still check it out.
MATT: So what’s the plan?
TRAVIS: We go to sleep–
LIAM: I don’t have a plan, but while they’re all dicking about, after about an hour of staring at the wall, I start talking to the air, and say: You know, I’ve never put much stock in faith. And for the life of me, I question so much why my sister took that broom and I can’t figure out another reason for her to have done it, other than fate, for I would not be standing here, nor would anyone else in my family. So. You weren’t my first choice, but I’m over that. And I’m ready. I will come to you as soon as I am able. I don’t know how any of this works. I’m coming. Whatever we need to do. I don’t know what I believe, but I made a promise and I’m sticking to it and I’m coming to you. So just hang on.
MATT: Minutes of silence pass. No response. Nothing.
LIAM: I go to bed.
MATT: Okay. As you get to your bed, you look down and a single black feather is currently set on the pillow before you.
LIAM: I tuck it behind my ear.
MATT: All right. The rest of you going to sleep for the evening?
ASHLEY: As we’re walking to sleep, I grab Scanlan real quick. I grabbed Scanlan real quick once everybody’s–
ASHLEY: So, I have to tell you something.
SAM: You don’t have to answer now.
ASHLEY: It’s not an answer for that.
SAM: No, it’s fine, I was, it was, I was impetuous and silly and I don’t know sometimes, I get hamhanded around you– I’m very smooth with everybody else, I don’t know what it is.
ASHLEY: It’s just that– it’s fine. It’s okay. I have to confess something to you. When you gave me that letter–
ASHLEY: When you told me not to read it until you died–
ASHLEY: I read it immediately after you left. Because curiosity gets the best of me sometimes, I can’t– it’s not–
SAM: But you can’t, you’re like a priest or something, you can’t lie!
ASHLEY: I know, but that– what does that even mean?
SAM: I don’t know, I–
ASHLEY: I go back and forth with it.
SAM: There was personal stuff in there!
ASHLEY: I know, but what– I know, it was very personal, and I just wanted to tell you that everything you said in that letter, I promise to you.
SAM: You do?
ASHLEY: That I give you my word that everything you said in that letter I promise to you I will do.
ASHLEY: If you die.
ASHLEY: Which I am hoping that you never do.
SAM: Well, we’ve almost died a few times very recently.
ASHLEY: I know, and we’ve had so many close calls and I feel like I just needed to tell you so you had some comfort in your person, in your body, that you knew that if–
SAM: My body? What are you t– you sound like me, you’re stammering and babbling like I was!
ASHLEY: I know, you do make me a little nervous and I’m not really sure why, and I need to reconcile these feelings.
SAM: We should just marry then!
ASHLEY: Well, I don’t know!
SAM: I don’t know either! It’s a very strange relationship.
ASHLEY: I’m so confused. Maybe we should just sleep together and see what happens.
SAM: Okay, fine. No, you said it! You said it!
ASHLEY: I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding, it was just a joke.
SAM: You can’t joke about that stuff with me!
ASHLEY: I know. I’m being careless, I think that drink that Wilhand gave me is settling, and it’s– moving about. Making me say things.
SAM: I don’t even know what’s going on right now!
ASHLEY: I’m just kidding. I don’t actually think we should sleep together. I just need to tell you that I–
SAM: Thank you for clarifying?!
ASHLEY: Anyway, Scanlan, I love you.
SAM: This is not how I thought tonight was going to go! I feel betrayed, I feel let down, I feel so horny right now!
ASHLEY: Well, you’ve grown those forearms for a reason, so just go take care of business.
SAM: Oh, come on, Pike!
LIAM: That’s some reincorporation right here.
SAM: Listen. Everything I said in that letter I meant. And regardless of whether or not you totally betrayed me by reading it, I’m glad that you at least understood the sentiment, I hope?
ASHLEY: I did.
SAM: And appreciated my honesty and the fact that you are taking that vow? If I die.
ASHLEY: Yes, I am taking that vow.
SAM: Yes, I understand. Well then, that’s fine. That’s all I need.
ASHLEY: Okay. And I was trying to be funny and I didn’t mean to be careless with your feelings.
SAM: No, I know, I didn’t know why I proposed, that’s stupid.
ASHLEY: I do love you so much.
SAM: I love you!
ASHLEY: And a part of my heart does– I do love somebody else very much.
SAM: I’m sorry?
ASHLEY: But my feelings are growing for you a little bit in a weird way and I’m not sure what it is, but we’ll figure it out. I’m confused.
SAM: I think we both are? Anyway. Thank you for telling me the truth after you sort of lied to me, so–
ASHLEY: But I never told you I did not read it!
SAM: –oh, I know, but all right. Anyway. Thank you for this– sort of. I guess I have to go to my room and think about this while I stare at my picture in the mirror above my bed.
ASHLEY: Which is– what’s your picture?
SAM: It’s just a mirror.
SAM: But, listen. I do love you, I will always love you, even in death, and thank you for telling me that and– I hope it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, that makes me feel a little bit better about things.
ASHLEY: Okay. Well, I love you.
SAM: Sleep tight.
ASHLEY: I give him a hug and a kiss on his cheek.
SAM: I kick the dirt a little bit and then I walk away and I click my heels. Little jump-and-click.
MATT: And– anything else, before the evening’s rest comes? All right. Sleep finds you all, some easier than others, until a measured period of time, I believe?
MATT: Grog sprung awake, gathered the folks in the pre-dawn hour of the following morning. You gather your stuff, exit the mansion, and start making your way towards the Margrave’s house.
TRAVIS: Is there anyone on the street?
MATT: Make a perception check.
TRAVIS: 19. Plus zero.
MATT: You guys exit Wilhand’s place and there is a cross-street that Wilhand’s home is nearby, that’s like a building sandwiching it on each side, and the one just south of it is on the corner of that cross street. Across the way as you guys exit the room, or exit the front of the building, you see two figures stand up, arms crossed. The same individuals you saw earlier.
MARISHA: Of Wilhand’s place?
TRAVIS: Same people I saw outside of the house earlier. All right, fuck this shit. I turn and I walk towards those two people.
MATT: Okay. You approach, you recognize them. They’re the same two people that were watching you while you guys were resting directly after the battle with Kevdak in the center of the square, the two that were assigned to keep an eye on you.
TRAVIS: Hello. What’re your two names?
MATT: They look at each other. “Veskin. Mortar. What do you want?”
TRAVIS: Funny, I feel like I’ve seen you about in the last few hours, watching us.
MATT: “Keeping an eye out.”
TRAVIS: Huh. Why?
MATT: “Because you killed our leader. Takes a while to see what strength is a man who’s killed your leader. If he’s a murderer. If he’s an honor-bound man. Or if he’s a piece of shit that you should wipe off your heels.”
MATT: “Takes a bit of watching to get that. Jury’s still out.”
TRAVIS: Don’t you have a new leader now?
MATT: They look at each other. “Maybe.”
TRAVIS: Would you like to walk with us? We’re going for a little morning stroll.
MATT: “Nothing else to do.” And they wipe a little bit of sleep from one of the corner of the eye. “Lead on.”
TRAVIS: And we head to the Margrave’s house.
MARISHA: I put my old-school circlet back on, by the way, but I have the other circlet with me.
MATT: Okay. So you’ve re-attuned to the original circlet. You guys, walking through the town as you do, there is a bit of business, there are, some of the street lanterns have been lit, where previously at this hour they would be greatly diminished, there is movement, you see some of the Herd that are now wandering forth, armoring up, gathering weapons, you know this. This is the morning before a siege. This is the pre-dawn meditation before the Herd takes its next– yeah. Warpaint being applied, breakfasts being enjoyed, people preparing themselves for the frenzy of battle, this is the pre-war ritual of the Herd of Storms. As you make your way southward, across the once-battlefield, returned-town-square outside the Margrave’s home, to the front doors, the door is open and you see there are two individuals sitting at the front. One of which is a goliath keeping watch, to the right of him on the other side is a gruff-looking female human, humanoid, sitting there, arms crossed, watching as you guys approach.
TRAVIS: I make eye contact with both of them. I seek an audience with Zanror.
MATT: “He’s expecting you, get in.”
TRAVIS: We go in.
MATT: So you guys walk into the house, you see the interior of the Margrave’s abode. Across the way there is a haphazard throne that’s been built from lumber and carts and things that were pulled from resources within the town. You can see this is probably where Kevdak sat once they had taken the home, the estate.
TRAVIS: I grab my earpiece and very lightly say, Vax, keep your eyes about you.
MATT: Are you all entering with Grog?
ALL: Yeah, sure.
SAM: Should we leave a couple outside or anything or no?
TRAVIS: Nope, stay together.
MATT: Okay. You guys all enter into the foyer area. The throne is across the way, there’s a long hallway that leads to the back of the estate, and at the very back you can see the throne. There are some low sconces in the walls that give the flicker of light, in the center there is a round table which is currently set. There are some weapons and daggers, a few javelins tossed onto it, looks like some fruit that’s partially eaten, and there on the table you see Zanror, already armored up, arms splayed across the side, looking down at the table, looking down at the weapons before him. Behind him, you see his wife, the lady, the other pregnant goliath that is currently behind rubbing his shoulders and talking to him into his ear. They both look up and see as you approach, at which point Zanror whispers to her for a second.
LAURA: What does he say?
MATT: He says, “We have company.” They both sit back as he goes upright as you approach. “Glad to see you had the sense to take my summons. So. Now’s the day where we prepare.”
TRAVIS: Aye, wouldn’t miss it for the world.
MATT: (sighs) “First and foremost, Grog, take that shit off. It’s really freaking out most of our people.”
TRAVIS: It is pretty sweet, though, isn’t it?
MATT: “It’s confusing, to say the least, aye?”
TRAVIS: We all have our preparations to make before battle. Don’t worry about mine.
MATT: “To each their own, I suppose. Heh. You’ve fallen in some strange paths since we last met.”
TRAVIS: You have no idea.
MATT: “Rest of you, can we expect your attendance in this glorious fight?”
LIAM: Wherever Grog goes, we go as well.
MATT: “Good. Good.”
MARISHA: I suppose we could ask the same of your Herd, Leader Zanror.
MATT: “We’re prepared now. And we’ve met around with the remaining Herd, we’ve spread the tale of Kevdak’s fall. Demanded solidarity under my arms and yours. And our plan to show our strength and independence from his reign by cutting down the black dragon of Gatshadow. Many are easily swayed by words of bloodshed and glory. Others, the hesitation in their eyes worries me. Now Greenbeard had set us down a path of ruin, coming here. We conquer and move as a people. This life without roaming, lording over a broken city, living under the thumb of a drake? This is not our life. Since Greenbeard’s age and selfishness had caught up to him, Kevdak’s lust for the fear of others swayed his judgment into more self-indulgent territory. And while we all quelled rebellion, gathered gold and goods, while I parlayed with that beast, my uncle stayed in here.” Points back at the throne behind him. “Taking his drink and his women, breaking those who could not defend themselves out of idle boredom. I could see it. Regret. He’d listened to the old man and led us into ruin, but the only thing stronger than Kevdak’s might was his pride. So we stayed. He could not admit he was wrong. He abandoned reason and foresight. And I questioned him, our actions here in the city. Our future. He beat me and threw me into chains. So learning from the mistakes, here. When this dragon is done, we leave. We have no place in this city.”
LAURA: You speak of pride, of listening to reason. Might be smart to listen to reason in this instance as well. That dragon is ancient and very large. It’s quite possible he’ll wipe out all of us, the town included. It might be smart to swallow our pride for the day and prepare. Come back when we have preparations made and we can take the dragon down.
MATT: “Please understand, the dragon has claimed quite the tithe from our people. We’ve provided what we can, what we could scavenge, but even then the coffers of this town that we could acquire are growing thin. The reason that we were preparing for this attack even before you arrived is because we were at the end of our rope. Many of the people made away from this town with their goods before we came, and many still have escaped our grasp when we took over. So the paltry sums that we could gather in the time that we did hold reign over Westruun– the dragon is not going to be happy that each package dwindles with each passing couple of days. Either we take this element of surprise and fight it on our own terms, or we wait for it to come to us angry, on its. And if we leave now, the Herd may survive. But I haven’t heard of a dragon that when crossed lets that vengeance fly. And I’ll be honest with you, we leave a trail behind us, as you know.”
TRAVIS: That I do. It is a wide wake, my friend.
MATT: At this point, the door slams open behind you guys. You see a muscular man walks in, skin sun-scarred and calloused, his long, black hair clustered in wild, unkempt clumps. A wild elf, Tress, who accompanied you to the square naught but earlier the day before walks in behind him. “Ivon, your timing is good. We speak on.” At which point this man steps forward to the table, pushing you guys aside and looking directly at Zanror. “We do not recognize you, Zanror. Kevdak was the Thunderlord who conquered the River Maw, and now he’s dead. You take his title unearned and intend to lead us into suicide against a dragon that even Kevdak feared. We will not stand for this. The River Maw are picking up and leaving. Now. We return to our fens, to lead our people. You can all die for your own reasons.” Zanror leans forward, very serious, a grave look on his face. “Are you saying you’re abandoning the Herd?” At which point you can see there’s tension in his muscles, and you can see Tress currently reaching back for a weapon and Ivon, not breaking a sweat, leans into his face, square chiseled jaw going, “Yeah. I guess that’s what I’m saying. Herd of Storms is no more if you’re going to lead us into death. We’d rather live on. Back to the lives we had before you came in and mucked it up.” “Close the doors!” Zanror says, and the door shuts behind.
MATT: Zanror looks to you. “What do you say, Grog Strongjaw, slayer of Kevdak, he who raises might against the dragon?”
TRAVIS: Thunderlord, we back your play.
MATT: “The rest of you, those who travel this world afar, outside of our people, where does your allegiance lie?”
SAM: Well, certainly not with the cowards who’re abandoning you in the face of a tough fight.
MATT: Ivon turns to you now, eyes red with fury. “Who’re you calling a coward, little man?”
TRAVIS: Watch where you turn your gaze. It may be the last movement your head makes attached to your body.
MATT: Make an intimidation check.
TRAVIS: Oh, that’s not good. Ten.
SAM: I’m dead.
MATT: He’s still staring at Scanlan. (spits) Spits right in your face.
SAM: That’s not very nice.
MATT: “No. It’s not. Neither is calling me a coward.”
SAM: Well, I’m just a guest here, so I don’t want to spill anyone’s blood in someone else’s throne room, so I’ll be the bigger man and take a step back.
MATT: As you take a step back, he stands back up, turns to Zanror. “Zanror. Open the door. Let us go live our lives and you can run into whatever fires you want. The last thing we need is a civil war this morning.” What do you say?
LAURA: How many people do you have with you?
MATT: Turns to you. “And you are?”
MATT: “We take 18 with us, west of the Fens. Let us be. It’s not fair to drag them into this chaos.”
ASHLEY: May I say something? I realize you want to go and protect your people, but even if you run, you guys will eventually come across a dragon that will kill all of your people. So what if we fight together? Because there’s strength in numbers.
SAM: Maybe we should just let them leave.
MATT: Make a persuasion check. With disadvantage.
MATT: Because you’re a tiny gnome talking up to a very burly man who’s–
ASHLEY: Yeah, but I have Gnome Cunning– charisma–
MATT: Right. Go ahead and make your roll.
ASHLEY: So I have advantage on charismas.
MATT: On charismas?
ASHLEY: I do! Gnome Cunning– Advantage on all intelligence, wisdom, and charisma.
LAURA: Saving throws.
ASHLEY: Oh yes, I didn’t read the rest of it.
MATT: Yeah. That’s not really going to help with that, unfortunately.
ASHLEY: All right, so persuasion?
MATT: This is persuasion.
ASHLEY: Little persuashe? All right, that’s a 20. Fuck. Nine? Hah, he laughs.
MATT: “It’s interesting, Zanror, I walk into here and suddenly all the tiny people are talking for you. Tress, let’s go.”
LIAM: I’m a head taller. Talk to me.
MATT: “I ain’t got time for this shit anymore.”
LIAM: Make time. Blade out. Those dragons are going to find you and me and everyone in this room, whether we fight them now or later. The only stupid thing we can do is separate ourselves from each other– yeah, keep twitching, twitchy. I don’t want to fight this dragon today either, but stupider than that is splitting this group of powerful motherfuckers apart. I’d rather walk away from here, I’d rather take everyone out of this city and build our strength and come back and hobble this beast, but the stupidest thing you could do right now is separate yourself from the Herd. You make yourself weaker, you don’t have them to protect you while you’re in the fields alone while that dragon belches shit on you from above. You’re strong. These fucking guys are strong. We need to be smart. Your strength is shit compared to that dragon. Shit.
MATT: “And your tiny people are going to do better?”
LAURA: Our tiny people are pretty fucking powerful.
ASHLEY: We’ve already killed dragons.
SAM: I’m getting pretty sick and tired of being called tiny. Listen, I don’t want to–
MATT: “Killed dragons?”
ASHLEY: I pull out my necklace with the tooth on it.
MATT: “Lemme see that.” He pulls it forward and looks it over. “Can buy that in any caravan that passes through.”
LAURA: We killed a white dragon, motherfucker.
ASHLEY: I spit at his feet.
SAM: Oi! Forget it, guys, why are we trying– Why are we trying to convince this asshole to fight with us? Let’s just let him leave, he’s a coward.
MARISHA: Zanror, if he doesn’t have your allegiance in this room, he will not have your allegiance on the battlefield, let them go. Only big men talk big words that only fail on the battlefield. He has nothing to represent any of his claims. Let him go.
LIAM: The only difference between you and us is that we want to actually kill this thing. You want to be a prick.
MARISHA: Zanror– Zanror, it’s not worth losing any of your men before we fight this dragon, just let them go. You’re already losing 18.
MATT: “Open the door.” The door slowly opens behind them. “All right, Ivon, you want to leave? Go. Take your people. But you better go now. Because when we’re done cutting that dragon down we’re going to come after you. Deserters. Or you can come to this fight with us. Yes, these dragon-slayers, he who fell from the sky and cut the uncuttable down– we will gloriously bathe in the blood of that beast, take back the spoils that we fed it. You can do what you please. I have no interest in lording over you.” Looks about the rest of you. “I’ve got your arms at my back for this. Aye?”
TRAVIS, ASHLEY, and LAURA: Aye.
MATT: Tress puts her hand to the side. Ivon looks at her. “We’ll take our chances with the wild.” Turns around and exits the room.
ASHLEY: As Ivon starts going out, I want to trip him. Stick my foot out.
MARISHA: Oh my god.
MATT: All right. Okay.
TRAVIS: Wars have been started over less.
ASHLEY: It’ll probably fail.
MATT: Go ahead and make a strength check. Plus four to your roll, is what it’d be.
MATT: (stumbling) Catches himself. Shoots you a look.
ASHLEY: Sorry, I’m so small. You probably just didn’t see me.
MATT: They both exit out the door.
LIAM: Have fun melting in (trails off) acid– and they’re gone.
MATT: Door closes.
MATT: “Sorry about that. So.”
LAURA: How many do you have left? After they left.
MATT: “18… you’re looking at about 25 strong. We have more wounded, but they’re not going to be of use in this battle.”
MATT: “25 strong people.”
SAM: Does that include your wife?
MATT:: “No, she’s not–” And she turns around and goes, “I will fight in this. You are not going to keep me from glory.” He goes, “She will fight with us.”
TRAVIS: Aye, she will. 25 strong we have. Injured are no good to us. Neither are the prisoners or hostages that were kept by this herd. You said you have made preparations. What sort of preparations do you have in mind?
MATT: “Well, the creature sleeps at the top of Gatshadow. We’ve acquired an ally in this city that seems to know a secret byway to get to the side of that cavern. I figure that way we can go ahead and take the fight to it where it sleeps, when it’s not ready.”
MATT: “Can’t fly if it’s stuck in a cave.”
TRAVIS: Very true. Have you seen this cave?
MATT: “Only from afar, but we have some scouts that are making their way there right now.”
TRAVIS: Might report back with how– the size of the cave.
MATT: “Should know soon.”
MARISHA: If I’m not mistaken, I recall hearing that no scouts that have been sent thus far have returned, is that correct?
MATT: “That is correct.”
MARISHA: And you have faith that these that you sent will?
MATT: “It’s better than not.”
TRAVIS: Do you have any interest in a tactical ambush?
MATT: “I’m all ears. What have you got?”
MARISHA: When’s it due for its next pickup?
MATT: “Tomorrow morning, just after dawn.”
MARISHA: Wait 24 hours, Pike and I can take time, and Scanlan, to heal some of your wounded, gain a couple more to the fight. We set a trap in the morning.
MATT: “What kind of trap?”
LAURA: Something that explodes it?
MARISHA: Something big.
LAURA: Something that traps it?
MARISHA: Something heavy.
TALIESIN: Something, even in theory, that we could convince it to take back to its lair. If we still wanted to go with that, we could load the next parcel with something–
SAM: Or someone.
LIAM: Would three days be better than one, Percival?
TALIESIN: A month would be better than a week–
TRAVIS: Don’t have that. One thing dragons–
TALIESIN: Yes, three days would always be better than one.
TRAVIS: Dragons and Kevdak shared one common trait: arrogance. In your previous dealings with this dragon, did it ever speak down to you?
MATT: “Huh. That’s the only way it knows how to speak. Fucking cold-minded beast.”
MATT: “Can’t wait to sever its head from its neck.”
TRAVIS: Perhaps if we tame your lust for blood for a day, we can control all the variables that we have by setting this trap. If we go to that cave, aye, we will find war sooner, but we know less, and the reason you’re the Thunderlord now is there is a better brain in that skull than there ever was in your father’s. Let’s use that to our advantage.
MATT: Make a persuasion check. Does anyone want to aid?
TRAVIS: Don’t need it.
LAURA: (sings) He doesn’t need it.
SAM: He might need it.
MATT: Takes a moment. “We’ll take your day. Set what you need. We’ll go ahead and call the troops off for the day. Heal our wounded. Let’s make this such a majestic death for this terrible creature.”
MARISHA: Zanror– I think Percy just had an idea, but Vex'ahlia knows a lot about dragons. She might be good to educate the troops. Also, as Grog mentioned, we have people who could be very valuable allies that your people have imprisoned. It would behoove you to release them so that they can join our side. Conversely, any other type of magical enhancements that you can use to arm against acid?
MARISHA: For any and all of your troops, it’s definitely suggested.
MATT: “I’ll talk to our Speakers. They should be able to mount what they can. Acid, you say?”
MATT: “Okay. We’ll do that.”
LAURA: You’ll release the prisoners?
MATT: “Would like one of you to at least go with them, but aye, we can do that. All right. Let’s begin our planning, for tomorrow we kill a dragon.”
LAURA: We totally planned at dawn!
SAM: Episode title!
MATT: And on that note we’re going to end tonight’s episode. Pick this up next week.
TRAVIS: Planned at dawn.
MATT: You totally did!
ASHLEY: At dawn, we plan.
TALIESIN: Have fun you guys, I’ll be on a beach next week, but– it’s okay, I’ll be, I’ll try–
LIAM: Where’re you going, brainiac?
TALIESIN: To Hawaii.
MATT: We can Skype you in.
TALIESIN: I can Skype in. I’ll try and Skype in. I’ll see how much internet I can get on the island.
MATT: Oh. Wait, what?
SAM: Barack is here?
MATT: Is it open? All right guys, the Geek and Sundry open beta is next week!
SAM: What’s that mean?
MATT: We’ll be hosting, oh, Talking Heads, awesome new shows every day, a bunch of new shows we’ll be trying out from up here on the channel.
LAURA: Oh, shit! It’s like pilot season.
MATT: Essentially, yeah. We’ll be throwing a bunch of cool stuff up. Be every day at looks like 5:00 Pacific on twitch.tv/geekandsundry, where you are now most likely? But yeah. Come check out next week, bunch of new content thrown at this channel, come and give it your support, see if it’s your speed, feedback, all the fun stuff. And also once again, thank you, Loot Crate, for being our sponsor.
MATT: It’s been awesome to have an official sponsor for once.
MARISHA: It’s like it’s a real thing now.
MATT: I know, it’s weird. Yeah. So once again, you can go to www.lootcrate.com/criticalrole, put in “criticalrole” to get three dollars off your subscription, it’s awesome, thank you for watching. Back next week and I think interesting things are going to happen.
LAURA: Oh god.
MATT: So. All right, guys. Is it Thursday yet? Good night.