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Pre-Show[]

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

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

LIAM: It's good.

MATT: Damn it, Liam. (laughs) (laughter) Before we get started tonight, we do have some announcements to get through, beginning with the first of our two sponsors tonight. Ravensburger. Sam.

SAM: This episode is sponsored by Ravensburger and their brand new title "Pusheen Purrfect Pick"! An adorable game about--

MATT and MARISHA: Pusheen!

SAM: -- Planning a purrfect weekend with Pusheen and her friends as a special-- Am I saying it wrong?

MARISHA: You're great. Pusheen.

SAM: Pusheen?

MARISHA: Yeah!

SAM: Sorry. And as a special surprise treat even to him, Travis is going to read tonight's ad! Travis, you'll find an envelope at your table with a copy. So rip that bad boy open and read about cats!

TRAVIS: You fucking-- (laughter)

ASHLEY: His favorite!

TRAVIS: There's no cat hair in it, right?

SAM: There's no cat hair in that envelope. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Pusheen. (laughter)

SAM: Just the bolded parts.

TRAVIS: Oh. (laughter) From Ravensburger, a new game for us cat lovers! (laughter) Everyone's favorite tabby, Pusheen, will crawl up your leg, bringing cat-errific moments for your whole feline family. (gags)

SAM: There's more!

TRAVIS: There's more.

SAM: There's several paragraphs!

TRAVIS: The double sided board game-- I can feel it. Lets you play in the park or Pusheen's house. (stammering) How do you say the name?

SAM: Pusheen?

TRAVIS: Move Pusheen around the board to gather items and friends and turn them in for meow-- Meow-gical. Meow-gical? Meow-gical snapshots of weekend fun. Yes, this game makes me feel like I'm picking up a snuggly long-hair and rubbing my nose up and down his fuzzy belly? His thick dander filling my nostrils and heart with nine lives of love. (laughter)

SAM: Good start, Travis, but you're not done yet! There's some special surprises waiting for you in the box under your table! Go ahead and dump it out, Travis!

TRAVIS: No, there's not. (laughter) Is there? Goddamn it! (laughter) Is it this?

SAM: Uh-huh! Let's see what we got for you!

LAURA: There better not be real cat hair in that.

SAM: Maybe!

LAURA: You'll kill him. (laughter)

SAM: Inside, you'll find fuzzy cat toys, and more great things! Hairballs! A bottle!

TRAVIS: Does this say "anal gland secretion"?!

SAM: It does say "anal gland secretion"! And you'll also find a bottle of pure cat saliva in there.

TRAVIS: Oh wow! Everything a kitty kisser like me could possibly want from whiskers to tail! The game is for two to five players, ages eight and up. It includes this pleasantly squishy Pusheen game piece. Is this it?

SAM: I don't know! (laughter)

TRAVIS: Is this it? Is this it? Goddamn it! Is this it?

SAM: I don't know!

TRAVIS: (yells) (laughter)

SAM: But those are actual hairballs.

LAURA: No!

TRAVIS: These are not.

LAURA: Don't really kill my husband.

TRAVIS: Are there?

SAM: Pusheen-- I'll wrap it up for you.

TRAVIS: Okay.

SAM: Pusheen is-- Pusheen is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and local game stores in the US now. And coming soon to Indigo, for you Canadian cats. Check it out at bitly/CRPusheen and visit the Ravensburger Twitter feed for a chance to win a copy of the game. Thanks, Travis. Back to you, Matt.

MATT: Thank you, Sam. (laughs) And thank you, Ravensburger. You okay, Travis?

TRAVIS: Yeah!

LIAM: Boy. I wore the shirt on the right night.

MATT: Yeah, apparently.

SAM: Yeah, you did. Cat-themed night.

ASHLEY: It's the best shirt.

MATT: Yeah. All right, our second sponsor for the night are our friends at D&D Beyond. Since the beginning of this campaign, they've been with us along for the ride. And thank you. Those who haven't had a chance yet, they are the official tool set of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. They make it way easier for you to DM your game, keep track of all your campaign stuff, keep track of your characters, items, the whole deal. Check it out if you get a chance at dndbeyond.link/critters. There we go. Few other announcements. Oh, first we wanted to thank you all for joining us here live with our Twitch chat, as well as on our YouTube live channel. However, our community moderated experience and chat is here at home on Twitch. So come and join us wherever your preference lies.

SAM: Don't spill that, Travis.

MATT: Also, we have another cool announcement. You get to discover the backstory of our very own gentle barbarian, Yasha, in the newly-announced Mighty Nein Origins--Yasha Nydoorin. (cheering) It's our next graphic novel by Dark Horse!

SAM: She doesn't even know her origins! Is this a spoiler to you?

ASHLEY: Could be! (laughter)

MATT: It's fun.

ASHLEY: I am very, very, very, very, very excited.

MATT: Indeed. The graphic novel features writing by the amazing Cecil Castellucci, art by William Kirkby, and lettering by Ariana Maher, as well as the narrative that was created between myself and the wonderful Ashley Johnson.

ASHLEY: Eyy!

MATT: Expect Mighty Nein Origins--Yasha to hit shelves in September. You can pre-order at local comic stores and bookstores right now. And tomorrow marks our six-year anniversary of doing this crazy shit online!

MARISHA: That's right!

ASHLEY: God. Wow.

MATT: We started streaming six years.

MARISHA: Years!

MATT: Six years. You couldn't tell because we've all aged 12 in that time period, but it's been six.

ASHLEY: No, none of us have aged except Marisha.

MATT: That's true.

MARISHA: As people keep telling us.

LIAM: We just let her catch up. (laughter)

LAURA: It gets exponential in just a few years, Marisha. Get ready.

MARISHA: Give it six months. (laughter)

MATT: But it's been an absolutely incredible ride doing this weirdness with all of you. And onto six more.

LAURA: Oh my gosh. (laughs)

MARISHA: Let's make it a baker's dozen!

MATT: Indeed.

ASHLEY: Yeah!

MATT: Thank you all so much for joining us for this craziness and all the wild things we have coming as well. So six years in and it still feels like it's just beginning. Oh god. Anyway, I think that's the end of our announcements. So tonight, let's go ahead and jump into the next episode Critical Role.

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

Part I[]

MATT: And welcome back.

TRAVIS: There was no topping that first one.

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Got to leave that.

MATT: So last we left off: The Mighty Nein, gathering some information and some final supplies and bits of preparation for their journey up north to Eiselcross. You reached out to Astrid in hopes of acquiring some of these cloaking amulets, one of which you've had for the entirety of your run in this campaign. Information was gathered and you were told they resided beneath one of the structures at the Vergesson Sanatorium, where you went to break into it, separating into two troops. It went a little tits up. And with a brief encounter with Master Trent Ikithon realizing that it was you who broke in, a bit confused, you still managed to catch him off guard and escape, but not before he had acquired some information and some very curious interest in what it is you're doing and why you're being so dang secretive about it. You jaunt back to Nicodranas to visit your families, caught up a bit and then begin to realize that you were indeed still being pursued. After Astrid and Eadwulf seem to have come at the behest of Trent, but warned you of his particular coming very soon. You gathered the Ruby of the Sea, Marion, as well as your family, Veth, both Yeza and Luc, and immediately fled from the Lavish Chateau. Having it closed behind you, rushing to Tidepeak Tower where you learned that the mage, Yussa, is currently on his own expedition. Astrally projecting himself into the astral plane in search of information to help you in your endeavors, but as such, he is unreachable. As you begin to look about for some means of escape, you notice that Trent has come to the tower and followed you here. In a rush, you hatched a plan, where some of you took the Folding Halls of Halas, the Happy Fun Ball as you call it, and decided to trek into that sphere with Caleb setting most of the puzzle to completion and then handing it to Fjord to finish, in which Fjord, Yasha, and Beauregard stayed within the radius as it was triggered, and within a flash, they were gone, sealed within The Folding Halls. The rest of you took to a singular scroll that was gifted to Yussa at some point in the past. Reading it you realized it was a Plane Shift scroll, and contained with it one singular rod that was attuned. To where? You're not certain. It was warm to the touch. As the door opened and you began to read the spell to escape, the first person to reach you was Astrid, who did not interfere with the completion of your spell. At which point you, the rest of you, with families in tow, vanished to where this may carry you. So let's begin with Team Happy Fun Ball, shall we?

TRAVIS: But I want to know where they're going!

MARISHA: Me, too!

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: We'll find out.

LIAM: Boy, we're in a pickle. (laughter)

MARISHA: We're in a bit of a pickle.

ASHLEY: Boy, oh boy!

TRAVIS: Inside of an astral dreadnought.

MARISHA: Team Happy Fun Ball has a fun ring to it though.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: So the three of you, Fjord, Beau, Yasha. There's a brief moment where you feel like time itself stretches, your body has suddenly become this immaterial, being funneled through what feels like a tiny hole. It's not painful, just an odd stretch and then return. It's been a while since you've felt that in particular.

LAURA: ♪ It's been a while ♪

MATT: As soon as I said it, I knew it was coming. Gotta strike that phrase from my vernacular.

LIAM: That's kind of impossible.

MATT: I know, I know. And as you take a moment to assess your surroundings, you're all standing in the middle of a circular stone chamber, about 30 feet in diameter, about 15 feet high to the recessed ceiling. Looking around and you can see there are four colored tapestries hanging at different parts of the chamber. This is a familiar room. This is where you had first entered the Happy Fun Ball. Although you did not trek into this chamber, I don't believe.

ASHLEY: I don't think I did.

MATT: So this is all fresh to you. But nevertheless, there is a blue tapestry, there is a black tapestry, a green tapestry, and a red tapestry. And they are all beautifully filigreed and embroidered with gold thread and designs. What would you like to do?

MARISHA: Okay. We know that we got to go to the dragon chamber, right? From here?

TRAVIS: No, not yet. We go to the study.

MARISHA: From here to the study. From the study to the dragon chamber.

TRAVIS: So you know, (laughs) this place is fucked.

ASHLEY: I feel like I was in here for the dreadnought.

TRAVIS: Yes!

MATT: You've been in here, but this particular room you have not.

ASHLEY: This area, yeah.

TRAVIS: Do you remember that--

ASHLEY: I remember it was very weird.

TRAVIS: It's made to attack magic users.

ASHLEY: Well--

TRAVIS: I mean, everything, but specifically wizards.

ASHLEY: Okay. So it's a good thing we're all here then.

TRAVIS: You need some magic to get through, though, which is why I came. If I remember, but first, is there anything about this room from the last time that we were in here that seems different?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LIAM: I love this so much.

TRAVIS: 14-- 17.

MATT: 17. No, it looks-- Well, no, what you do notice is when you first arrived here there were two bodies on the ground. Two other individuals that had passed away by some means you couldn't quite pinpoint, but the corpses are gone.

TRAVIS: Yussa's been through here. He said he came back in, did some more studying. He said he updated his map, but we don't have that. We have the old one. We went through the red--

MARISHA: The red one goes to the study, right?

TRAVIS: Yes, but if I remember correctly, we had to pick a lock on the other side of it.

MARISHA: Okay. There should be a door behind it, right?

TRAVIS: There should be. And then everything lit on fire, which should be fun, because that's so our forte.

MARISHA: Where's Caleb when you need him?

TRAVIS: Not here.

MARISHA: Okay.

ASHLEY: We can do this, we can do this.

TRAVIS: We got this! No problem.

ASHLEY: We just think like Caleb and we can do it.

TRAVIS: Fire, fire, fire.

MARISHA: And just-- oh, go ahead.

ASHLEY: Is there anything on the tapestries? Like designs and things?

MATT: Elaborate embroidery that just seems to be a sequence of unique designs. No specific imagery or iconography, just beautiful shapes, symmetrical. Nothing you recognize.

ASHLEY: Okay.

TRAVIS: Let's look behind the red one. Beginner's luck.

MATT: I need you-- No, I'm kidding. (laughter)

ASHLEY: You die instantly.

MATT: As you peek behind ever so carefully, eyes peeled, intense, ready to leap at whatever may come at you-- like that, ready to jump.

TRAVIS: Did you go all the way down? (laughs) (laughter)

TRAVIS: ♪ Drop it like it's hot ♪ ♪ Drop it like it's hot ♪

MATT: There is indeed a doorway. But it is closed.

ASHLEY: Okay. There's a door. I'll try the door.

MARISHA: Does it look locked? (stammering)

MATT: As you ask this question and she reaches and grabs towards the handle and--

ASHLEY: Probably should have checked it for traps.

TRAVIS: Can you check it for traps?

ASHLEY: Nope!

TRAVIS: Me neither. You?

MARISHA: I mean, I can look at it and try and deduce what I know.

TRAVIS: Yeah, let's show that we've learned from our friends. Let's check it for traps.

ASHLEY: I'm going to check it for traps.

MARISHA: Okay. I'll--

TRAVIS: Assist?

MARISHA: Assist!

TRAVIS: I will be the foreman.

MATT: All right, it's an investigation check. Go ahead and look over to see if you recognize any traps.

MARISHA: Fucking middle management.

ASHLEY: Ooh, that's a natural 19 plus investigation. 25.

LAURA: Six? You have a six for investigation?

ASHLEY: I have a six. Guys, we've been sleeping on my snooping. (laughter)

MATT: All righty. While it is indeed locked as you get close and inspect it and that little slight grapple you put onto this odd looped knob pulley device, as you get close you can just faintly make out in the wood around it, and even the stone setting to the right of it, these ever so smooth parts of the stone where it looks like whatever sort of dust may just be faintly gathering in areas does not settle. And it is patterned, which leads you to believe that there's something magical about this lock.

MARISHA: Last time, Twiggy picked this lock.

TRAVIS: Yup.

MARISHA: I think, and it filled the chamber with fire.

TRAVIS: Yup.

ASHLEY: Oh.

MARISHA: Do we have anything to potentially disarm this? I have thieves' tools, believe it or not.

TRAVIS: She has Dispel Magic.

ASHLEY: I don't.

SAM: Does she?

MARISHA: You traded out Magician's Judge!

ASHLEY: Kima took Magician's Judge instead of Skingorger.

TRAVIS: Fucking nipples on a horse. That is unfortunate.

ASHLEY: Oh, I realized it after the transaction that I probably should have just not given her an option and should have just given her Skingorger. Trust me, I've been thinking about it.

TRAVIS: Cool, cool, cool. We're fine. I have cold stuff in case it gets real hot. Might work. Might not.

MARISHA: Oh yeah, do you still have that ring? Well, it doesn't matter.

TRAVIS: No! Jester has it!

MARISHA: Shit!

ASHLEY: Oh no! (laughter)

TRAVIS: Fuck! The one time!

LIAM: We were just whispering about it! (laughter)

TRAVIS: You! (laughter)

TRAVIS: That's all right, we're about to put two new bodies in this bitch. (laughter)

TRAVIS: (clears throat)

MARISHA: All right.

TRAVIS: Come on, thieves' tools.

MARISHA: We should just do this, right? And just be prepared?

TRAVIS: I'll turn my back to the door.

LAURA: It's been five hours outside already.

MARISHA: I know, right? Okay. I put on my goggles just as safety.

ASHLEY: Inspiration. I can't do Inspiration.

MATT: No.

MARISHA: Oh. I thought it was a fancy Barbarian thing.

MATT: You can be inspirational if you'd like.

ASHLEY: You're amazing. You're so good at this.

MARISHA: Keep talking.

ASHLEY: I can't wait to see you open the door.

MARISHA: Keep going.

MATT: No mechanical benefit, but go ahead and make your roll.

MARISHA: Just straight?

MATT: Now, are you proficient in thieves' tools?

MARISHA: No.

MATT: Then it's just the dexterity modifier bonus. So go ahead and roll a d20.

TRAVIS: Better you than me.

MARISHA: 19 total. Rolled a 14.

MATT: 19 total?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: As you get down carefully with Yasha's words cheering you on, Fjord watching at a distance, you place the tools in. (clicks) It's not going. The tumblers aren't going.

ASHLEY: Okay. What are the little bits on the side again that we saw?

MATT: You just see this very, very faint, difficult to see pattern in both the wood and the stone to the side of it that almost forms a circle around where the door clicks into place.

ASHLEY: What if it's a little code?

TRAVIS: Can you move it?

ASHLEY: Okay. Yeah. Let me try moving. Does it look like I can press in on anything?

MATT: It's just a very, very faint difference in texture from the rest of the surrounding material, which leads you to believe that it's either resistant to dust or just seems to be of a slightly different mock material.

ASHLEY: Maybe I'll try to twist it or something.

MATT: Okay. As you titty twist the portion of the wall there, it doesn't quite react.

ASHLEY: It's not the way to do it. Okay. Guys, what if we're just stuck in here forever?

TRAVIS: You want to try and pick the lock again? I have a piton or some climbing material and some daggers?

MARISHA: I can try. I feel right on the cusp of if I push any further, this thing is going to snap inside the lock or something. I don't know.

TRAVIS: Okay, do you want to use my climbing materials? (laughs)

MARISHA: Let me see what I can do. Can I try again? DC's going to be harder and the 19 didn't make it.

MATT: If you want to take a little bit of time here, you can try it again.

MARISHA: All right.

TRAVIS: Oh boy.

MARISHA: I'm going to fuck this up. I'm going to do great.

TRAVIS: My dex mod is zero, so.

LIAM: I sent you here on purpose.

MATT: (laughs) Caleb's plan is coming to fruition.

MARISHA: It's worse. 17.

MATT: This time as you push to the same point, either it's rusted or there's something about this tumbler, the fourth click in that's just not going. And as you get frustrated and push past it, you watch as those little symbols--

MARISHA: Uh-oh.

MATT: And in a flash of white--

MARISHA: I just try and quickly say: Get down!

MATT: I need all of you to make a dexterity saving throw.

TRAVIS: Cool. 17.

SAM: Wait, Caduceus didn't go with them?

LIAM: No.

MARISHA: Mm-mm.

TRAVIS: No, you took both healers, you selfish fuck.

SAM: Why?

MARISHA: 18.

ASHLEY: 22.

MATT: Great. All successes. That's good for you.

MARISHA: Evasion.

LIAM: So zero for you, right, Beau?

MATT: Indeed. 25 points of fire damage reduced to half for those of you who succeeded, and then none for you.

TRAVIS: So 13 or 12?

MATT: That'd be 12.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: As the room fills with burning fire and as you all recoil from it and it finally fades away for a second, you all are just dwelling in the pain and the flash heat and the searing light that your eyes have to refocus from, you look around and all the tapestries flapped to a calm state, unscathed by the flames. The chamber as it was.

TRAVIS: So take a break for a minute and let a week pass outside. One of these other tapestries goes to a dining hall, and then absolutely the direction we don't want to go on the map, and then there are two other tapestries that are completely uncharted. No idea where those go! So we can always roll the fucking dice and just die.

ASHLEY: Well, now that the-- No, no, no. That doesn't make any sense. I was going to say now that the magic went poof, but that's just what it does if you've tinkered with it.

TRAVIS: Yup.

ASHLEY: It's not like it's gone.

TRAVIS: Yep.

MARISHA: The green tapestry we tried the first time we were in here, and it has poison fog behind it.

TRAVIS: Cool. Cool.

ASHLEY: You're immune to poison, right?

MARISHA: I am--

ASHLEY: It doesn't help us, but.

MATT: Are you trained in arcana?

MARISHA: Resistant. No, I am immune to poison. I am immune to poison.

MATT: Beauregard.

MARISHA: Yeah?

MATT: Are you trained in arcana?

MARISHA: I'm not trained, no.

LIAM: Always kills it though, with arcana.

MARISHA: Because I'm smartses. Can I still roll for it?

MATT: Go ahead and roll arcana for me.

MARISHA: 14. Nope. 15.

MATT: 15.

LIAM: Plus four.

MATT: You don't understand enough about the nature of certain magic entrapments or glyphs, such as the one you just encountered. There's something that's just outside of your peripheral that you can't quite understand.

ASHLEY: I'm going to give it a look-see and see if maybe I can tell.

MARISHA: "Go into the ball," he said. "I need you in there," he said. "Your knowledge of the arcane," he said.

ASHLEY: It's all magical, I think. Everything in here.

MATT: All right. This does take time for both of you to sit here and concentrate in this space and try and pore over it.

ASHLEY: Fuck.

MATT: What's the plan?

TRAVIS: Who said there's a fucking plan! (laughter)

ASHLEY: Okay. Okay.

TRAVIS: What plan?!

MARISHA: It felt like this lock was a little rusted on the inside. I do have a little bit of oil. Maybe I can try and oil down my tools and try it again? I don't know if that is a real fucking thing.

TRAVIS: We were hitting things later on this journey with cold, so I could try and cold the door a little bit.

MARISHA: That feels like it would make it worse.

ASHLEY: I have-- That's not going to help, actually.

LIAM: Fucking doors.

MATT: Always.

TALIESIN: Oh man.

ASHLEY: I know, I was thinking. I can-- We can obviously try to break through the door, but that's probably not going to happen. Give it another go. Put a little oil on there and see if it's slippy.

MARISHA: One more go. If that doesn't work, maybe we can freeze it, see if that negates the fire trap.

TRAVIS: I mean, yeah. This is it, basically.

MARISHA: I'm going to oil my tools a little.

ASHLEY: Are we just going to be hanging out in this little room?

TRAVIS: Yeah, or we can try two other doors that have never been opened before.

MARISHA: Put oil on the lock. Rub it in.

MATT: Make another check.

MARISHA: Son of a bitch. Just give me a natural 20 or something. It's just getting worse. 10 total.

MATT: 10 total. There's a confidence that comes with how easily it makes its way past the previous barriers now that the oil has been applied, and you're like, "All right, this is the one." And you feel it catch on the tumbler that's been a problem and you're like, "Yes, this is it!" And you twist, you hold it with the edge with your other hand and begin to pull up and you feel it give-- (snapping)

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: You can go ahead and delete your thieves' tools. (groaning)

LIAM: Brutal.

MARISHA: Someone else try it. Fuck this door.

TRAVIS: Yeah, sure! I got three daggers and a piton. Is that how you say that? A pi-ton, pitt-on?

MATT: I've said pi-ton and got shit for it, because I don't know how it's pronounced. I think it's pitt-on.

TRAVIS: What's smaller? Let's try a dagger. I'll try a dagger. I have a zero dex modifier, so this will be awesome. What's your dex mod, Ashley?

ASHLEY: Plus three, so I can--

TRAVIS: You want to try with one of these daggers?

ASHLEY: Okay. Yes.

MATT: So you're trying to pick it with a dagger.

LAURA: If you've got a natural 20 right now.

TRAVIS: Nope.

ASHLEY: I was going to say if you did get a natural 20 let's just go with your roll.

TRAVIS: Nope.

MATT: So you're trying to pick with the dagger?

TRAVIS: She is.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: I'm just warming this bitch up. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Wait, advantage on dex against effects that you can--

MATT: That's savings throws against, like, explosions.

ASHLEY: That's saving throw? That's fine. That would be 13 total.

MATT: Yeah. You can only get the blade partially in because the broken tool is jammed in the lock and the lock is currently non-functional.

MARISHA: That's what I was afraid of.

MATT: This door will not be unlocked through normal means.

ASHLEY: I'm going to just start pounding at the door.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and make a strength check. Is this raging or not?

ASHLEY: Raging.

MATT: All right. So you do get advantage on it.

ASHLEY: Okay! Even better. That would be-- 22.

MATT: 22. In that moment of frustration as you all stand there glancing around the space, you hear-- (banging) You glance over and see Yasha is just rage kicking this door once, twice, again, and again, and again. And you think what bad things can happen when rage-kicking a trapped door. And as you begin to go in to try and say something to stop her or prevent the circumstance--

TRAVIS: I wasn't trying to stop her.

MATT: -- her fury and strength still pushing into it, you watch as the wood begins to give. And with one final kick, the door slams open, breaking off of the grip that the handle once had. It opens up and you can see before it the open doorway. So this hallway before you, due to the nature of this broken door, is drifting away from you.

MARISHA: Go! Go, go!

TRAVIS: Run, run, run!

ASHLEY: Run!

MATT: All right, so you all start running in. I need you all to make an athletics check for me to leap as the connection between this chamber, this egress, and the hallway is been severed and it is drifting.

LAURA: What was the name of the ball? It was Mage's Bane or something?

MATT: Mage's Bane.

LAURA: Mage's Bane?

TRAVIS: 20 flat. 14. 20.

MARISHA: 26.

ASHLEY: 15.

MATT: And yours again?

TRAVIS: 20.

MATT: 20? Okay, you all quickly run and leap into this black void space. The in-between where these various pockets of mage-crafted dimensions are tenuously tethered to each other. This tether now broken. In that space as you leap and you see the edge of this hallway beginning to pull away and the stone beginning to break and bend at the edges where it unravels, you feel like you might just fall up or fall down or to the side. Suddenly, there's that moment where gravity and direction doesn't make much sense. Beauregard, you land. Fjord, you land and you feel the bricks give way and you just continue to push forward. Yasha, you catch the lip of it and you feel it give way. It's like stepping on the edge of a water bed, where it just gives underneath your weight and you begin to lose yourself, your balance begins to shift and you reach out and grab the side of the wall and that begins to give as well. You've made the leap, but the actual tunnel is collapsing.

ASHLEY: Okay. I am going to cast Radiant Soul. Bamf out my wings and try to find some-- Just fly through the hallway.

MATT: All right. You guys watch as the Yasha begins to tumble backward into the space and then, the glowing, white-feathered wings erupt from behind her shoulders. And with that, you pick up your momentum to pursue the path that your friends are currently there waiting. And she gains on you. This does enable you to continue through this hallway before it entirely collapses. As you all push past, you come towards the edge of the doorway into the familiar hexagonal chamber. It is at a heavy side angle to the left. Everything is this odd side. It's like coming into a room from the wrong element, but as soon as you come through that space you shift and then gravity rights itself into the orientation of this room. You see in this chamber the familiar study, where the large portrait of Halas would be, but apparently has been taken down. You can see the various book cases are currently emptied and the desk drawers are partially ajar, and themselves also without contents. Indeed, this place has been ransacked.

TRAVIS: Oh, that removes temptation!

MARISHA: Yeah. Yeah, it does.

ASHLEY: Well, we got through, ha-ha.

MATT: Except for a handful of books that remain on the bookshelves. Three in particular scattered amongst the room. And there is the stained glass up above, the heavy right side bookshelves, where you can still see the wide network of the various outer and inner planes, all interwoven and plotted out and the familiar small red gem amongst them.

TRAVIS: I can hear what you're thinking.

MARISHA: I didn't say shit.

TRAVIS: You can go look at the books real fast. Because it's probably been a month already.

MARISHA: Oh, that's not what I was thinking!

ASHLEY: I'll assist.

TRAVIS: What were you thinking?

ASHLEY: You want to give a browsies.

MARISHA: Oh, no, I was just wondering. Going to poke some gems.

TRAVIS: Some other gems?

ASHLEY: Wait, what are the gems? The gems were something?

TRAVIS: So on that stained glass window, if we touch the red one in the middle it'll send us to the next place we need to go immediately. But do you want us to look at the three books or we just go?

ASHLEY: Let's look at the three books.

MARISHA: All right, let's look at the three books.

ASHLEY: We'll do it fast. Let's all pick up a book.

TRAVIS: (yelling) Don't touch a book!

ASHLEY: Okay, okay!

MARISHA: I'll take this one over here.

TRAVIS: Just look, don't touch!

MARISHA: I'm just looking!

MATT: Okay, so there's one closest to you, which is to the right of you as you head towards the upward area to where the stained glass is. There's one that's on the far left side in one of the smaller bookshelves resting to the right underneath where the portrait used to be. And there's one on the very, very far end that you can just barely make--

TRAVIS: Okay. We'll all take a book.

MARISHA: Okay. Okay.

TRAVIS: Fine. We split up. One, one, one.

LIAM: Shit.

MATT: Okay. Who's going to which one?

MARISHA: I'll take the one by the portrait.

TRAVIS: I'll take the one far away.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I'll go far left cubby corner.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Also! Also! Remember, the furniture here can turn into shit. So if it moves, you fuck it up and then you go to the stained glass window immediately and touch the red.

ASHLEY: Touch the red stone.

TRAVIS: Yeah. I point out the red stone in the stained glass window that hasn't changed, right?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Fucking Mercer! (laughter) 19!

MATT: Looks pretty much the same as you recall.

TRAVIS: God.

MARISHA: "Pretty much the same--"

MATT: All right. So who's doing what with which book?

MARISHA: I just want to read the spine.

MATT: You read the spine and there is no title on it. There is a chain wrapped around it, though. A blacked chain that's around the binding.

TRAVIS: Dicks.

MARISHA: It's got a chain?

TRAVIS: You have a chain around yours?

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Don't touch it.

ASHLEY: Do you have a chain around yours?

TRAVIS: Do I?

MATT: Not wrapped around it, but where the-- Not on the spine, but on the inside, you can see there's some sort of a locking mechanism that closes the book that is locked to the back wall. It is fixed to the back of the bookcase.

TRAVIS: Oh, it's locked to the actual thing?

MATT: Mm-hmm.

TRAVIS: Mine's locked. It's stuck to it.

MARISHA: Like a diary?

TRAVIS: What?

MARISHA: Like a diary?

TRAVIS: I don't know. It doesn't have anything on the outside, just got a lock.

MARISHA: Oh.

ASHLEY: Should we just take them and then look at them later?

TRAVIS: Mine's locked!

ASHLEY: Or are they actually connected to the thing?

TRAVIS: What's yours look like?

MARISHA: Does yours have any chains or locks or lockets?

ASHLEY: Mine's ready to go. And what is it? Is it chained? I don't touch it.

MATT: It doesn't appear to be chained.

ASHLEY: I'll check the spine to see if I can see anything.

MATT: What languages do you know?

ASHLEY: Abyssal, Celestial, and Common.

MATT: You do not recognize the text on the spine of this book.

ASHLEY: It says something! It says something, but I can't read it.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I mean, look. If a super powerful wizard like Yussa came in here and took everything except these three, there's a reason.

ASHLEY: Yeah, but what if Caleb could use them?

TRAVIS: I want to give it to Caleb, too, but also I want the three of us to be able to go back to Caleb.

ASHLEY: Fair, fair, fair, fair, fair.

MARISHA: Okay, let's go.

TRAVIS: Okay.

ASHLEY: You're just going to leave them?

TRAVIS: Yep.

ASHLEY: We're not even going to know what they are?

TRAVIS: We just got-- We barely--

ASHLEY: I hate this.

TRAVIS: -- escaped Trent twice. I'm not fucking around with death books.

ASHLEY: Can you at least just look at the spine of this one to see if any of you can read it?

TRAVIS: I read Orcish and Common. I'm pretty sure it's not in Orcish.

MARISHA: I read Deep Speech and Undercommon.

MATT: None of you can recognize the text from the spine of this book.

ASHLEY: Goddamn it. Let's go. Does yours say anything?

MATT: No.

TRAVIS: No. It's just got a lock.

MARISHA: Being a Cobalt Soul Monk who can speak languages, can I deduce what the language might be even though I can't read it?

MATT: You have that monk ability where you can understand languages, but not read them, correct?

MARISHA: Yeah, I can speak them, but I can't read it.

MATT: Yeah, if you don't have this particular language chosen, then you would not unfortunately. You recognize the script looks somewhat Elvish in nature. It looks like an older form of Elvish or Sylvan, but it's not something that you're familiar with.

TRAVIS: To be fair, mine is attached, is yours? Can you pick it up and bring it with you?

MARISHA: I think so.

TRAVIS: Or is it chained to the furniture?

MARISHA: I'm going to reach out and touch it.

MATT: You touch the book.

MARISHA: Can I pull it off the shelf?

MATT: You can. Or you try to. As you pull-- (crunches) It's tethered. There is a chain on the back end. And as you tug it, you hear something else in the chamber. (gently rumbles)

MARISHA: (laughs)

TRAVIS: Gotta go.

ASHLEY: Gotta go.

TRAVIS: Gotta go.

MARISHA: (laughs)

TRAVIS: We run, we run.

MARISHA: What's happening?

TRAVIS: We run.

MATT: One of the bookshelves on the opposite right side, right where you are standing, Ashley, begins to shift into the floor, and behind it, you can see revealed what was hidden behind it, a humanoid shape made of carved brown clay--

MARISHA: Oh, oh god.

MATT: About nine feet tall. And as it slowly descends past, its head goes towards you, and its eyes flash.

MARISHA: Let's go.

ASHLEY: Go, go, go, go, go, go.

TRAVIS: Yeah, got to go, got to go, got to go.

MATT: All right. So you all rush up towards the--

TRAVIS: I'd pick you up and fly, but you can run up walls and shit, and you have wings.

MARISHA: I'm good.

TRAVIS: I'm like-- (yells)

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I'll just-- with what-- I mean--

MATT: The wings would have probably dropped by this point they only last for about a minute.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: But you run pretty quick.

ASHLEY: Yes.

MATT: So as you all dart up to above these bookshelves to get to that stained glass, you begin to hear-- (stomps) This bookshelf, as it's lowering, is lowering too slow for this creature. And you can see the wood splintering. And bits of wood and splinters are scattering across the stone floor. You all get to the top, and the stained glass is there.

TRAVIS: It's right here. Touch it at the same. One, two, three. Boop!

MATT: As you all touch it, suddenly-- (crashes) the stained glass shatters into a thousand pieces, revealing this black space star-filled void in front of you. And with that, this-- (inhaling) This horrendous sucking sound fills your ears as you feel yourself suddenly dragged into it. This force of gravity just plucks and pulls all of you into this black, vacuous void. You have no ability to withstand it, and you just give in as you are plunged into nothing, into space, into void. With that, as the glass around you dissipates, you see it reform behind you, and the stained glass just fades away into nowhere. And then suddenly, you're falling. You're falling. You're falling, and you look down below, and you can see stone rushing towards you as you all, in a flash of light, plummet approximately... 30 feet out of the air onto a stone floor. I need you all to make an acrobatics check for me, please.

MARISHA: Slow Fall as well.

ASHLEY: Ooh! Natural 20.

TRAVIS: Five.

MARISHA: Natural one.

SAM: But don't you have monk shit?

MARISHA: Yeah, it's fine.

MATT: Not for everything.

MARISHA: I have Slow Fall.

MATT: You do have Slow Fall, that's right.

MARISHA: Yeah, I negate fall damage.

MATT: Yeah, well, it would be 13 points of bludgeoning damage. You take half, so that's six points of bludgeoning damage to you.

ASHLEY: Six points?

MATT: Yep. 13 to you, Fjord, and you take, I'm pretty sure, none because I'm wrong, she does have dope monk shit. I totally forgot.

TRAVIS: My sailor's ability to take full damage. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Fuck up your superhero fall and it's like, "Ah!"

MARISHA: Ah, man.

TALIESIN: Yeah, don't look good.

MARISHA: It's not a great three-point landing. Not going to lie.

MATT: But you all look around the space, and you are now getting up in this chamber that is familiar to two of you. It is a Y-shaped chamber with these two wide ridges on this side, and you're in the left-hand side, in the middle area. And on the far, far end, you can see a pedestal of some kind with an orb affixed to it. This was where the dragon was previously encountered. You can see the grooves that run along the ground that splinter off into the two other sides of the chamber.

TRAVIS: Any carcass?

MATT: No carcass.

TRAVIS: They cleaned. This is our way out. That pedestal will form at the end of either of those halls. We have to charge those sigils with cold energy. I have that.

ASHLEY: You do.

TRAVIS: And then it should present us a way out of here.

ASHLEY: Okay.

TRAVIS: Ready to go?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MARISHA: Ready.

TRAVIS: Anything in this room that's different or that catches our eye?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Any locked fucking books? Ooh, 18. These are good perception checks.

MATT: Good. Nothing at the moment.

TRAVIS: I'm going to do this quickly. I will cast Armor of Agathys on myself--

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: At 1st-level for this. And I will run down to either of the two. Let's say left first--

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: At the split and find that--

MATT: So you head to the left side and there, you see this is right there, as you approach and step within its space, the ice energy that's gathered around your torso begins to break off in chunks, and it all begins to form into the sigil. It glows, and you watch as the groove in the ground begins to alight with crackling arcane energy. It hits the center point and then reflects, bending off, heading towards the far end of the chamber. And you both see that sphere on the opposite end begin to faintly glow on top the pedestal.

ASHLEY: Is that-- that's supposed to happen? This is normal?

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

MARISHA: That's normal, that's good.

TRAVIS: I start running back towards the middle, and I'm like, (pants) one more. I head down the other way.

MATT: All right, as you're doing that, you begin to hear, both of you, this distant shattering sound. And this faint tearing noise. As you glance above, you see in the stone ceiling this line tears open into a black starscape.

MARISHA: Mm, go fast.

TRAVIS: I'm going fast.

MATT: All right.

ASHLEY: I take out the Holy Avenger to be ready, just in case.

MATT: Okay. It is unattuned, so it just acts as a standard greatsword, just so you know. All right, you rush to the other side, and there's the secondary crystal there waiting for you with the glyphs around the base of it. What do you do?

TRAVIS: I run up-- (mumbles) and I headbutt it. Yep. Nothing?

MATT: What are you trying to do here?

MARISHA: Armor of Agathys.

TRAVIS: Armor of Agathys.

MATT: You've cast it once, and it's gone.

LAURA: You need to cast it again.

TRAVIS: Armor of Agathys, 1st-level again.

LIAM: But I like that you did headbutt it first.

TRAVIS: Ow! Fuck! (laughing)

MATT: As the singular trickle of blood drips down your forehead-- (laughter)

LIAM: It's pretty stressful.

TRAVIS: It needs blood magic, this one. (yells)

MATT: And you can't cast it at 1st-level. You always cast at max level as a warlock.

TRAVIS: Fuck!

MATT: I mean, it's fine. It doesn't matter.

TRAVIS: That's not true.

MATT: You only get spell slots as it is, yeah.

TRAVIS: I get three 1st-level slots and three five-level slots.

MATT: No, you don't.

TRAVIS: According to D&D Beyond, I do.

MATT: Oh, wait, no, as a paladin, that's right. I'm sorry, I miss-- so yeah, you can cast both ways. You are correct, you can do that. I'm sorry, I forgot that for a moment. It's been a while, that's on me. Travis got a gotcha moment on me. Well done. (buzzing noise)

LIAM: Uh-oh.

LAURA: What is that?

ASHLEY: What is that? A cat toy?

MARISHA: He's coming.

LIAM: The chamber is collapsing.

MARISHA: He's coming!

LAURA: What is it?

TALIESIN: It sounds like a tiny--

SAM: Is it your vibrator?

MATT: That's Travis's personal massager.

TRAVIS: It's on the electric side, I think.

LIAM: Oh, jeez, don't die.

SAM: Is that a live wire?

MARISHA: What was that?

TRAVIS: Something's spinning up over here.

MATT: Interesting.

SAM: Spinning up?

TRAVIS: Is there a motor for your fog machine?

MATT: I don't have a-- I haven't used it in a while.

TRAVIS: It sounds like it's for the fog machine.

MATT: It might have been something that accidentally got enclosed there. Wow, interesting.

MARISHA: Do we need to unplug it?

MATT: No, I think we're okay.

TRAVIS: We should, it's spinning up.

MATT: Is it? Okay.

SAM: It's spinning?

TRAVIS: Yeah, something, whatever's doing it.

MARISHA: Hang on, can we have a TD? Sorry, can we have Jerry?

MATT: I got it, I got it.

TRAVIS: You get it?

MATT: I turned it off up here. It looks like it was plugged to the thing. (laughs)

TRAVIS: Oh, gotcha, nice.

MATT: Welcome to the live experience.

ASHLEY: Just to add to the full stress--

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Woo!

ASHLEY: Of the thing.

TRAVIS: We'll edit that out.

MARISHA: Yeah. (laughter)

MATT: Oops.

TRAVIS: Don't fuck with electrical whirring things.

MATT: So as you cast Armor of Agathys a second time at the next crystal, as the blood trickles down your face, that, too, breaks off and is pulled into the crystal. That glows, and then you watch as the route meets the secondary one. At this point you both, looking up, you can see something float by before it begins to descend rapidly in your direction. What do you do?

MARISHA: Did he follow us, that big golem thing?

TRAVIS: I'm running. I'm running, I'm running to you. We need to get out of here.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay. Come on, come on!

TRAVIS: That sphere, touch it.

ASHLEY: Just ready to go, just in case.

MARISHA: Backing up towards the pedestal.

MATT: Okay, Fjord begins to approach right as it falls down to the ground and slams down onto its legs, the ground, the stone, seems to crack slightly under its weight. Go ahead and make a general dexterity check for me.

TRAVIS: That's just mean.

SAM: (vocalizing battle music)

TRAVIS: Four.

MATT: It drops and cuts you off from the other two.

TRAVIS: Cool. That's fun.

ASHLEY: I scream out: Hey! Come here!

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

ASHLEY: Oh, minus two for intimidation, okay.

MATT: You can use your strength for it.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay.

MATT: I'll say for purposes of that, it makes sense.

ASHLEY: 13 total.

MATT: 13 total. It stays locked onto Fjord.

TRAVIS: That's okay.

MATT: And I would like you all to roll initiative. We don't have to go into a battlefield for this. Since we only have three players, we're going to play this one more theater of the mind.

MARISHA: Theater of the mind!

TRAVIS: Hey, there's the natural 20.

SAM: This battlefield was not brought to you by Dwarven Forge. They had nothing to do with it.

MATT: (chuckles)

MARISHA: I'm going to use my boots. It's boots time.

MATT: Oh, wow. All right, so 25 to 20.

MARISHA: Sorry, 22.

TRAVIS: 20.

MATT: Ooh, nice.

ASHLEY: 18, sorry.

MATT: Oh, wow, look at this.

MARISHA: Hell yes.

MATT: Okay. So as it now stands up after impacting the ground, rising its form, you can see where its forearms widen to these massive battering ram-like fists made of some sort of a hardened clay. Looking straight towards you, it has a somewhat featureless face other than a bump of a nose and these burning yellow eyes that are looking right towards you as it glances towards you. However, Beauregard, you're up first. What are you doing?

MARISHA: My goodness gracious. Clay pipes ♪ are about to burst. ♪

SAM: Great band: Clay Pipes.

TRAVIS: If this is some anti-magic shit, this could be bad.

MARISHA: I feel like constructs can't be stunned, but I don't know if it is a construct. Okay, you know what? I'm going to run up and pop, pop, I'm going to take my staff out, and I'm going to go for the knees.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Oh.

TRAVIS: Run.

MARISHA: That was really bad. Run? I want to make sure you get by first.

TRAVIS: I have jumping around shit for days. Run!

MARISHA: Did I move? How much movement did I use?

MATT: I'll say five feet, because you guys were waiting for Fjord--

TRAVIS: Just go!

MATT: -- to get there, and it divided between the two of you. So you were backing up a little bit into the hallway. So it'd be about five feet to get back to where you were.

MARISHA: Okay. First hit is-- shit. 18.

MATT: 18 hits.

MARISHA: Stunning Strike.

MATT: Roll damage first.

LAURA: (laughs)

MARISHA: I guess. Okay. My brain. 12.

MATT: 12 points of damage, all righty. Stunning strike. That is an eight.

MARISHA: He is stunned.

MATT: Yes, he is.

MARISHA: And then second damage. Great, nine damage.

MATT: Nine damage, yeah. So as you pummel him twice from behind--

TRAVIS: Okay!

MARISHA: Not too bad. (laughter)

MATT: Your fist actually finds a portion of the hardened clay armor that cracks. As it breaks through, you hit something softer on the inside. And as it does, you watch from its side as it brings its fist back, locks up into place, and it's just holding position, the eyes, the energy flickering as it's not moving.

MARISHA: Right in the sciatic nerve, okay. And I'm going to bolt to the thing.

MATT: All right, as you see it locked up and freezing in place, you hear this slight whine sound, like this echoing (screeching whine) inside of it. You rush back and dart towards the far end of the chamber where the now brightly glowing sphere is. That finishes your go?

MARISHA: Yeah. How far away am I from the sphere now?

MATT: Oh no, you are-- It is a 60 foot tunnel, and you were-- So you're almost there.

MARISHA: Okay.

TRAVIS: I'll hear the whining sound, and it locked up in this position, and I will not do magic stuff and just-- (laughter)

TRAVIS: Walk around it and try and bolt physically, without using magic, past it.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: Nothing to see here.

TRAVIS: Any swipes up my back?

MATT: None.

TRAVIS: Ooh, okay. I will double that and try and move all the way to the--

MARISHA: Hell yes.

TRAVIS: As far as I can for 60 total feet.

MATT: Right, so you don't quite get there. You're about 10 feet away because you had to move around it and then go down the length of the 60-foot run to that point.

MARISHA: But we're pretty close together now?

MATT: Well, it comes to Yasha's turn. Yasha is right about there as well. So what are you doing for your turn?

ASHLEY: I am going to slowly back up. Not slowly, fast rather. (laughter)

ASHLEY: A fast backwards run, which doesn't make any sense. And just keeping my eye on him, and trying to get back to the sphere.

MATT: Okay, cool.

SAM: Is that your gun?

MATT: If you use your action and your movement--

ASHLEY: That's the hilt of my sword. I know, that did look like-- Yeah.

MATT: Stay back!

TRAVIS: It's tiny.

ASHLEY: (laughs)

MATT: So yeah, if you use your action and your movement, you can get there without an issue.

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: So you rush over there, and you can see now this spherical placed-in crystal that matches the other ones, but is a bit larger and has a bunch of runes and signs around it. That's your turn. Is there anything else you want to do, or just wait for them?

ASHLEY: I'mma rage just in case.

MATT: Sure, go in there. Go to a waiting rage.

TRAVIS: Go in there, go in that cave.

ASHLEY: Yes.

MATT: You got it.

MARISHA: Raging in the cave.

TRAVIS: I like where you're at. Stay there.

ASHLEY: Yeah, just in case.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: Learned my lesson.

MATT: The entity is stunned. So it stays there until the end of your next turn. Beauregard?

MARISHA: All right, we ready?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: Let's do the--

ASHLEY: We do the thing? Touch it again?

TRAVIS: Yeah, the big, glowing sphere? Touch it, boof.

MARISHA: Let's do it. I run up.

TRAVIS: Pop the pedestal.

MARISHA: Touch the sphere.

MATT: Beau just (whoosh) Appears to atomize.

ASHLEY: No!

TRAVIS: Yep!

ASHLEY: Go, let's go.

TRAVIS: Me, too. (laughter)

MATT: (whooshing) The three of you vanish. And now we move to the other group.

TRAVIS: Oh jesus, those pauses are killer.

LAURA: How long was that? How long was that?

TRAVIS: It was a while.

LIAM: It felt like 45 minutes.

LAURA: It was almost an hour.

LIAM: Almost an hour.

MATT: We'll find out.

TALIESIN: We're level 15 now, right?

SAM: Yeah. (laughter)

LIAM: I got four more eyes.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

MATT: The rest of you--

LAURA: Oh no.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: -- arrive in a shaded cavern, lit by numerous, nebulous sources of firelight. Glancing about, you see a tall, rocky ceiling that reaches above you, porous and black, as a number of chain lanterns hang to cast some additional light within the inside. The air smells of sulfur and charcoal, and it is uncomfortably hot in here. You immediately break into a sweat. As your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness in here with the bits of pinpoint light, you can see some of that glow in here, some of the source is, instead of just being a small fire or lantern, there is a pouring river of molten rock that is slowly snaking its way through the chamber.

SAM: ♪ Snaking it's way ♪ (laughter)

TRAVIS: (laughs) What an asshole. (laughter)

MATT: I take my 7d6 sneak attack damage. (laughter)

MATT: And as you all take in this quiet surrounding in this space around you, Caleb and Caduceus, and Jester as well, I'd say, you can see elements of furniture not far from you. To your left, you can see some tables and a shelf unit and some scattering of instruments and a chair in the middle of this hellscape of a chamber, but here you are.

LAURA: Does it look like old furniture, or does it look like it's in use?

MATT: You can certainly go check if you'd like.

LIAM: From our current vantage point, are there any tunnels out, doors out, any way out of the chamber that we're in that we can see?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: I'm going to just walk up. I'm not going to touch anything, I'm just going to look at the couch or whatever.

LIAM: (lip pop)

MATT: One?

LIAM: Yep.

MATT: The light in here's a little dark, and there's a lot of odd tricks that it's playing on you with the variations between shadow and bright, burning rock. You probably have to take a little more time to figure that out. As you look into the furniture nearby, there is a faint dusting of soot across it, but it all is fairly made and looks like it's very well-crafted, was probably either made by some great artisan somewhere.

SAM: Not giant size or anything?

MATT: No, normal person size. You do see a cluster of notebooks on the base part of one of the shelves. And the shelves are mostly empty except for a handful of these notebooks piled in there.

LAURA: Hop, hop, hop. Can I look at one of the notebooks?

LIAM: Careful over there.

MATT: Sure. The first thing you notice as you pick it up and look through it, it's not made of normal paper. The pages in this are like a flexible, fireproof, enchanted silk.

LAURA: Wow!

MATT: And they're cold to the touch, unnaturally so versus everything else in this chamber, which has a very warm, almost hot temperature to it. Even as you get up off the ground, the ground almost burns your hands just touching it. And the air is thick and heavy. And even just breathing in here is a little uncomfortable. If you breathe in too much, too quickly, the heat begins to actually scald the inside of your lungs a little bit. What languages do you know?

LAURA: Infernal and Common.

MATT: Okay, what were you saying, Caduceus?

TALIESIN: I was just going to throw a Detect Magic up, just to see if any of this stuff is do-not-touch.

MATT: You don't recognize anything magical in this space here, necessarily.

TALIESIN: Oh, okay.

MATT: Maybe some faint elements of some of the instruments, but you haven't gotten a good look at them. And it's a faint aura on them.

TALIESIN: All right.

LAURA: I assume I don't understand any of the words.

MATT: You do, actually.

LAURA: Oh!

MATT: But we'll get to that in a moment because, right now, the rest of you are taking in the space. Marion is like, "So, where are we?"

LIAM: Well, we don't exactly know. But the plan is, we are just going to check this area, make sure it's safe, and hopefully stay put until the others join us, and then we will leave. I don't know what your daughter is doing. But when she is done, I can throw up sort of a protective barrier for all of us, and we can spend most of our time in there. And it'll be far more comfortable than this is.

LAURA: It's okay, Mama. I'm just looking to see if this says who owns this place.

MATT: "Very well." You hear another voice go, (as Luc) "Whoa, cool."

SAM: It is cool, it is cool. But this is a field trip like when you go to a museum and can't touch anything. So we should just look with our eyes, but not with our hands.

MATT: "Is that lava?"

SAM: It's real lava, yeah. Yeah, don't touch.

MATT: "No."

SAM: No.

MATT: Yeza grabs his shoulders from behind and just pulls him close. (as Yeza) "Honey?"

SAM: Uh-huh?

MATT: "How long are we going to be here?"

SAM: Well, a day, a night? We might have to spend the night here, but that's only so that the magic users can rest up. And then we'll be off to a much safer place. So far, pretty safe, though. Nobody's here, right?

MATT: "Right. If, uh-- If you see anything strange, just let us know. And if you notice the damp parts of my trousers, don't tell anyone."

SAM: You know what, here. Here, take this.

MATT: "It's actually drying off pretty quickly in here."

SAM: Take this.

MATT: "This is beneficial."

SAM: Take this scepter, just hold onto it for me. I don't need it right now.

MATT: "Um?"

SAM: Just hold onto it for a while, and it might-- Just in case, just hold onto it and sort of get a feel for it for about an hour, just in case.

MATT: "Okay. All right."

SAM: Yeah, protects you.

TALIESIN: Is there anything moving on the horizon, anything strange?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: Just rolled the one I can't read well because that's funny. 16.

MATT: 16. There are flickers of firelight dancing across the ceiling, refracting through them, that give variations in visibility in the chamber. There are rocks and boulders and elements that peak at different edges of the walls and some obscure elements of the lava flow in the far corner. And the lanterns themselves have a flickering to them as well. You do see across, either all the way around the southern exterior of where this pool seems to descend beneath the ground or across it directly, you can see an opening that progresses out of this chamber.

TALIESIN: Huh.

LIAM: So we can get out. Things can get in.

TALIESIN: I mean.

LIAM: How big is that passage that he found?

MATT: It's about 10 feet across or so, and maybe about eight feet tall. It's not perfectly carved. It looks naturally formed like a lava tube of some kind, like air over time jettisoned out and created this escape.

TALIESIN: I may have something.

LIAM: I have ideas as well.

MATT: Now while you're discussing that, you're looking through this element. It is written in Infernal. And even at just a quick glance, it talks a lot about connections between planes. It discusses the odd network of locations and overlapping realms, existences. It seems, as opposed to any long-form explanatory book, it is a bunch of notes. So it has a shorthand feel to it. You're having a hard time making sense of it all since it seems to be notes written to the reader for later conjecture. You can take more time and read it, but it'll take time to read it.

LAURA: What are we doing?

LIAM: We are just getting an idea of our safety here. Are you all right over there?

LAURA: I'm okay, I'm just reading about all the different planes. I'm going to put down the Happy Fun Ball. I'm going to pull out my pen and start making additional notes in the notebook.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Just make sure the fun ball doesn't roll away or anything.

LAURA: Yeah, I've got it. I'm standing, and the fun ball's between my feet. You know, when you hold it between your--

SAM: Maybe put a rock or something.

LAURA: I'm just holding it between my feet.

MATT: Teleport out into the lava.

TALIESIN: How big is this hallway opening? Is it standard door size?

LIAM: Or is it tall, cavernous?

MATT: Eight feet tall, about 10 feet wide. It's higher on one side than the other, so it's about seven foot on one and eight and a half on the other. It's lopsided and natural.

TALIESIN: I could burn a lot of magic and seal it shut.

LAURA: If I flip through the stuff, can I find specific planes? Is there a page dedicated to each plane? Or is it like--

MATT: If you want to take-- I mean, flipping through, it's still investigation. If you want to roll an investigation check to see if you're looking for anything specific.

LIAM: The dome's radius is high enough to block, to touch the ceiling.

LAURA: Hey, Traveler, check this out. I'm Guiding.

TALIESIN: So the dome would seal it anyway?

LIAM: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Do we wait for them to bamf out before dome?

LAURA: 23.

MATT: 23, okay.

LAURA: Yeah, we definitely should.

TALIESIN: I'd say put it up, and when they come out, they come out.

LIAM: Dome is-- I just need a little bit of time, but it's a pretty limitless resource if we're safe.

TALIESIN: I will keep an eye in this direction. And if anything moves, I'll-- I don't know what I'll do.

LAURA: Just tell them Halas-- Yussa sent us. Don't mention Halas.

SAM: Should I go look outside the cavern, just to get a sense of where we are and if things are coming towards us or anything?

LIAM: You can while I begin. I will walk over to where Caduceus is and first pat him on the back and say: I'm scared for us, but this was an excellent idea.

TALIESIN: Thank you. It was kind of last minute. I'm already finding some breaks in my logic. But thank you.

LIAM: No, no. Don't sell yourself short. Thank you. And Caleb will sit and begin to-- he pulls out his book and begins to ritual cast the dome where the chamber is. It has a radius of 10 feet. So if the archway of this cavern or passage is seven or eight feet, the dome could act like a cork in a bottle. And even if you take too long-- please don't take too long-- you can still come back in.

TALIESIN: Is anyone hurt, by the way?

SAM: So you're going to do it now?

LIAM: I will begin. It's going to take me 10 or 11 minutes.

SAM: Why don't I just go peek out and get a sense of where we are or if we're in immediate danger or anything?

LIAM: Ja, be careful.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: We're not in immediate danger. Everything's fine, Mama.

MATT: "This certainly feels like immediate danger."

LAURA: No, no, no, no. We're just visiting somebody's house, that's all.

SAM: They left the heat on. It's fine.

TALIESIN: Guidance or Resistance? I'm trying to decide. Do you want to be safe from things, or do you want to be better at things?

SAM: Better.

TALIESIN: Guidance it is.

SAM: Okay. So I'll sneak, sneak and stealth, stealth and sneak.

TALIESIN: I give Veth a little--

LAURA: I would, but I'm in the middle of perception checking--

TALIESIN: Doing things, oh.

LAURA: I wouldn't be--

TALIESIN: Never mind. Carry on.

SAM: I'm going to just go over to the mouth of the cave, Matthew, and just peek out stealthily.

MATT: All right. Well, go ahead and roll stealth check to--

SAM: 30.

MATT: Okay. That's pretty stealthy. As you make your way through the tunnel, it is fairly lightless for about 120 or so feet.

SAM: Oh, that's long.

MATT: It curls, waves back and forth. You're lost in the darkness at this point. You're having to feel your way around.

SAM: So there's no mouth of it?

MATT: Of this tunnel, not yet.

SAM: Oh, it just keeps going.

MATT: It just keeps going for the time being.

LAURA: Oh.

MATT: Do you keep going?

SAM: No, (laughs) no. Once I get about 120 feet, I'll turn back.

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: Oh boy.

MATT: With disadvantage.

SAM: Disadvantage.

MATT: Because you're in pitch black.

TALIESIN: You can add a d4 to it.

SAM: Oh. Pretty good. 19. For me, that's good.

MATT: It's been fairly dark, and that fear is creeping into your mind of, "This could be an endless oubliette of lightless death, and I could just vanish on my own." And right as that thought hits you, you can see just the very faintest bit of light reflecting off the far wall before it curves around the corner, the first change you've seen in this black expanse.

LAURA: Don't trust it. Don't trust it. It's like-- did you ever see The Descent, where it feels like you see a light, but then you're in a cavern, and it's a trick of your eyes, and then you end up trapped down forever?

SAM: You know what?

LIAM: Thanks, little boy.

SAM: I never saw The Descent, so I'll keep going.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: It's so good.

ASHLEY and TALIESIN: It's really good.

MARISHA: You've got to watch it.

SAM: I'll just peek around.

MATT: Original UK version, not the shitty American ending.

MARISHA: Watch the British version.

LIAM: Watch The Descent.

MATT: Yeah. You continue down this tunnel, and the light gets brighter and brighter. And then eventually you see an end, an opening, an orange-ish haze beyond it.

SAM: Like the cave, the tunnel ends in just pure orange? Or it opens out to something?

MATT: It ends, and just at this distance, you see just an orange haze. You'd have to walk to the end to really look out to where it's going.

SAM: Boy, that's dangerous. I have to walk out of the cave to see?

MATT: Or much closer to the entrance.

SAM: How far from me?

MATT: Say 40, 50 feet.

SAM: Oh my god, it's so far. That's so fucking far. (laughs) I'm like 200 feet away from these people now.

TRAVIS: I feel like someone in this campaign stepped out and got instantly squished in one of these scenarios before.

LAURA: Hmm, who was it?

SAM: I don't remember.

MARISHA: I don't know. It happened so quick.

TRAVIS: Smaller character, smaller.

MARISHA: Barely remember his name. Splat? Splurt.

SAM: I will turn around and go back.

MATT: Okay. You trace your way back.

SAM: Yes. Hey, hey. There's an end to this tunnel.

LIAM: Okay, okay.

SAM: It's 200 feet away. I'm not really good in the dark. I think I should use the buddy system. There's no traps or anything. Does someone want to come and just check it out with me one more time?

LAURA: I'll come with you as soon as I get done looking at this journal that I'm busy looking at.

SAM: Oh, okay. Seems weird, but sure. Hey, have you ever seen "The Descent"?

LAURA: Oh my gosh, it's so scary.

SAM: I haven't.

LAURA: Super claustrophobic.

SAM: Anyway, what'd you find?

LAURA: I don't know. I rolled a 23, though.

MATT: You did. And as you're glancing through, there are maps of the cosmic planes meshed with equations half built that you don't really understand, small notes in the margins about people and places within each of these locations, pontification on balance an imbalance between them.

LAURA: Oh, I'm going to write, "This plane made me have to poop."

MATT: There you go.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

MATT: Make a dexterity check for me.

LAURA: (laughs) What?

LIAM: This world was a gift. This is an Airbnb in hell or wherever.

MARISHA: Or a fire plane or something.

LAURA: Nine.

MATT: You're having a hard time matching this handwriting.

LAURA: That's okay.

MATT: But it gets the point across.

LAURA: Yeah. (laughs)

MATT: The theories on a pattern of change begin to peek through in some of the notes. A slow shift in the structure between the planes, and a possible sudden shift in the cosmic tapestry down the road. And you can see a lot of these notes, there's a combination of worry and excitement gleaned from them. This person is just pontificating about possible cosmic events down the road that could be catastrophic or very exciting and unique, remaking of the cosmos. But they're all theories.

LAURA: Okay. Hey, Caleb?

LIAM: Yes?

LAURA: When you get done-- oh, can you read Infernal? Oh, you can if you give it some time. When you get done with your dome, you should totally look at this book because I think you would really like it. It's about all these different planes and mathematical equations.

LIAM: I'm about to lose my place.

LAURA: No, no, oh. Just keep working, then.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: Don't let me distract you.

LIAM: You're not very distracting.

LAURA: Okay. So it's about astral planes and like different kinds of cosmic lineups, and stuff like that. It's really-- anyway, I'm just going to put it right next to you. I'm going to go sneak down the tunnel with Veth. So if you need anything, we'll just be really close. Okay. (laughter)

MATT: So you finished thumbing through?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: I figured Caleb probably knows better than I do on that stuff.

MATT: Okay. What do you do now?

SAM: Want to come investigate with me?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Okay, but I got a little lost on the way, so I don't know.

LAURA: It's like a straight line.

SAM: Well, it winds a little, it's dark, I can't see in the dark.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: I'm going to hold your hand.

LAURA: Okay, hold my hand, but just know I'm, like, almost completely useless right now.

SAM: You can see in the dark, right?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: That's all I need.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Oh, Caleb! If you find anything about the Fey realm or anything, when you're looking at the different planes, let me know, because I would love to know more about the Fey realm or the astral plane, I think that's a really important one.

LIAM: Fey realm, astral plane, carry the two, radius is 8.5 feet. Do you want my Driftglobe? Shit, I'm starting over. (laughter)

SAM: What's a Driftglobe?

TALIESIN: So you want the Driftglobe.

LIAM: It floats, it's light.

SAM: You have it?

TALIESIN: Yes.

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: It wasn't stolen with all our other stuff?

LIAM: No, I carry it on my person at all times.

SAM: Great, I'll take it.

LIAM: Careful, don't-- You can just do light or you can do daylight. We don't want daylight.

SAM: I don't want daylight.

TALIESIN: You're both healed up, right, you're good?

LAURA: I'm good.

LIAM: I'm okay.

TALIESIN: Are you sure you don't-- want a little kick? Want a little kick?

SAM: I'm okay, probably.

TALIESIN: Okay, one more, one more, one more.

SAM: Thank you.

TALIESIN: There you go.

MATT: Okay. While you guys are going into the tunnel, Caduceus, what're you doing?

TALIESIN: I'm just keeping an eye out while Caleb-- I'm keeping an eye out for anything suspicious. This place is weird.

MATT: Okay. As you're sitting there keeping an eye out, little Luc creeps up next to you, and follows your eye line.

TALIESIN: See anything?

MATT: "Yeah."

TALIESIN: What do you see?

MATT: "I dunno."

TALIESIN: Me neither, it's worrisome.

MATT: "Yeah."

TALIESIN: What do you smell?

MATT: "It smells like farts." (laughter)

TALIESIN: It does.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

MATT: "Is that you?"

TALIESIN: I mean probably, yeah.

MATT: "Cool."

TALIESIN: Yeah. Thank you. (laughter)

MATT: "I like your face."

TALIESIN: Oh, thank you. I like how tall you are. It's nice. What do you hear?

MATT: "Farts." (laughter)

TALIESIN: Try and just listen for one at a time, that's the trick.

LAURA: (laughs) I gently let one go. (laughter)

MATT: He starts laughing. (laughter)

SAM: Uncle Duce-y.

TALIESIN: Don't go far.

ASHLEY: Gently.

TALIESIN: Gently.

TRAVIS: Don't force it. (laughter)

LIAM: Just like--

TALIESIN: Like playing the flute.

LIAM: Barely shivering queef.

TALIESIN: Can't blow too hard. (laughter)

MATT: All righty, now, as the two of you make your way down the tunnel--

LIAM: ♪ Makin' my way ♪

LAURA: We're sneaking.

SAM: We're sneaking.

MATT: Stealth check on both of you, then, please.

LAURA: Okay, and also, I'm going to Guide myself. I'm going to Guide-- oh, wait. Can I Blessing of the Trickster-- you don't need it, you've got advantage anyway.

SAM: I'm okay.

LAURA: I'm going to Guide myself.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: You've got Guidance.

SAM: I do. 32.

LAURA: 19.

MATT: Okay, you quietly make your way towards the edge of this tunnel. You're not using the Driftglobe at the moment, right?

SAM: No.

MATT: Because that would break the stealth.

SAM: That seems foolhardy.

MATT: As you approach the opening, the mouth of this, you begin to... carefully crystallize your vision on what was just this orange haze. As you look out into this... endless badlands of broken, burning land and black rock, distant mountains that are set aflame, the sky horizon that is burning orange and red. You can see distant tornadoes of flame, just tearing through the landscape and jutting bits of glass, like rock that seems to be poking from beneath the ground and causing these beautiful, if dangerous, jagged gardens of melted sand. On the far, far distant horizons, you can see black clouds of ash, and the temperature on the inside of the tunnel is hot. It is even hotter outside. Even just inhaling causes you to cough a little bit from the heat.

LAURA: (coughs)

SAM: Any signs of life out there?

MATT: Not in the sense that you're used to. There's a lot of things moving around, but it all appears to be strangely weather patterns, and fire, and clouds, and dust.

LAURA: This is awful.

SAM: Yeah, this place sucks.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Just so-- along the immediate sort of area of like where someone might walk into the cave, is there any signs of footprints or tracks of any kind?

MATT: Go ahead and make a perception or investigation check.

LAURA: Ooh, can I give you advantage? Because, can I help?

MATT: Sure, definitely.

SAM: Can she just roll?

LAURA: No, no, you do it, you double double.

SAM: Investigation? Natural 20.

MATT: Damn, for a total of--?

SAM: If I use Caduceus' whatever, that's... 35.

TRAVIS: Jesus.

MATT: You do see footprints, you see a number of sets of footprints that are-- that would be faded, leading just outside of the cave, and once they begin to open to the ashy exterior, they are buried, just a bunch of soot and dust has filled it, but you see all manner of humanoid footprints going in and out.

SAM: I can't tell how old they are?

MATT: With that roll? Yeah, you would. Probably a year or more. You gather.

LAURA: Wow. I just kneel down next to Veth, and like look at her and say: You're really good at that.

SAM: The light is just perfect, it's this orange glow. I can see everything right.

LAURA: You should seriously, like, if we save the world and we end up not dying over everything, and Yeza's okay with it, we should seriously think about opening up a detective agency.

SAM: I've thought about that a lot, actually.

LAURA: Right?

SAM: Yes. I have some other ideas, but yes, that sounds-- We could crack some case.

LAURA: I mean, you're a natural.

SAM: Your instincts are second to none.

LAURA: Thank you so much.

SAM: And we're a good team, because you can, when we have to interrogate someone--

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: You can turn on the charm. You can woo them with your wiles.

LAURA: I can make them totally fall in love with me with spells.

SAM: Do you think we would investigate like-- because most sort of private-for-hire sort of detectives investigate like, "Oh, I think she's cheating on me." That sort of, like, boring stuff. Are you interested in that?

LAURA: I mean, I like the high profile cases, you know what I mean?

SAM: I agree.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: I don't want to just be, like, tracking some guy--

LAURA: Murder.

SAM: And catching him fondling some person.

LAURA: Yeah, no, awful, boring.

SAM: I don't care about that.

LAURA: Murder.

SAM: Murder.

LAURA: Espionage.

SAM: Kidnap.

LAURA: Grand theft...

SAM: Carriage.

LAURA: Yeah. (laughter)

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Definitely.

SAM: All right. (laughter)

MATT: (raspy voice) "By what will do you disturb the sanctum?"

SAM: Oh, fucking shit! (laughter)

MATT: At this point, you realize your conversation may have gotten a bit loud, and this voice emerges from the space around you, sounding like a roaring, crackling fire, and a dense wind filled with sand and dust battering the side of a rock-filled valley.

LAURA: What did you say?

MATT: "The sanctum must be cleansed."

LAURA: No, no, no. (stammering) Yussa sent us, Yussa sent us, Yussa sent us.

MATT: Make a perception check. (laughter)

SAM: We are great detectives. (laughter)

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: Hardy Boys.

LAURA: Twenty... 24.

MATT: 24, as you're both on the cusp of this cavern, looking out of this expanse and investigating the walkway out, and having this conversation, you hear the voice and you glance up, and there, standing right above the lip of this, and you now can see behind you this massive, blackened mountain, this volcanic mass of rock in which various long tendrils of glowing, orange lava are pouring down the sides. You see clasped over the side, a massive semi-humanoid, almost feminine figure made of just roiling flame. This entire torso, just burning ember, and bright light, and fire. The head itself, the hair, the swirling mass of spiraling flame, the eyes, these burning cinders. "The sanctum must be cleansed." And it dives, curling over on the inside. This is a large entity that darts into the tunnel like a reverse backdraft.

SAM: Past us?

LAURA: It didn't respond to my "Yussa sent us"?

MATT: At the moment, it did not.

LAURA: Yeah. Oh no. We should take off, yeah, at full sprint.

SAM: Oh, shit.

LAURA: (yelling) We found someone!

MATT: As you guys are rushing past the fall, you can see like the light source of this flaming entity just vanishing. It is much quicker than both of you.

LAURA: (screaming)

SAM: Even at a full, dash-y run, I can't--?

MATT: At a full, dash run, you can go how fast in a turn?

SAM: 30, 30, 30, so 90 if I use my action.

LAURA: I can go 60 on a turn.

MATT: You cannot keep up with this entity.

SAM and LAURA: Oh.

MATT: As it darts around, the rest of you are sitting there waiting and you hear these faint voices, and shouting-- or conversation from the far end, echoing down the hallway, and you hear, sourceless, echoing through the tunnel, the same phrasing, the same, "By what will do you disturb the sanctum?"

LIAM: Oh dear.

SAM: If I've run a whole round, can I cast Message then?

MATT: "The sanctum must be cleansed."

LIAM: Marion, Yeza, Luc, please back up to the end of the cavern, please.

MATT: And they all start beginning to back up, Marion takes Luc and Yeza, and both of them pull them back towards the shelving unit on the far side, and there's a little space behind it, that they begin to shuffle in towards.

LIAM: Yeah, duck down behind that furniture, thank you. Oh, we ready?

MATT: What are you doing?

SAM: I'm just casting Message, as I run, to Caleb saying: Fire creature incoming, get ready, get to safety!

LAURA: I'm going to just be shouting as I'm running down going: We mean no harm, we're just friends, we're just visiting!

LIAM: I'm going to not shove hard, but just scooch Caduceus away from me, so that we split away from the entrance of that cavern, going to the sides.

MATT: Okay. Let me go ahead and arrange-- (shouting)

MARISHA: Oh, shit.

SAM: Oh no.

ASHLEY: Oh shit, this is bad.

LAURA: Oops, that was probably my fault.

LIAM: Jester and Nott were in the in-between space from Beetlejuice, where the sand worms live, going like, "What do you want to do this weekend?"

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: This hellish combat brought to you by Dwarven Forge's exclusive build of the month for March is available now, each build includes a custom encounter. A bonus gift card.

ALL: Oh!

SAM: And of course, Dwarven Forge's hand-sculpted and hand-painted terrain. Delve into the sea cave of secrets at bit.ly/dwarvenforgecr.

TRAVIS: Wow. Holy shit, Matt.

SAM: Whoa.

MATT: Marion.

TRAVIS: What the fuck, man?

MATT: Luc.

LAURA: This is gorgeous.

MATT: And Yeza.

SAM: The lava is so cool.

TRAVIS: Dude, it's cooling in the pool.

MARISHA: Wow, that looks awesome.

MATT: So Caduceus and Caleb, whereabouts are you? If this is the exit you found, and this is the little study area there?

LIAM: Is there a safe way away from the exit into the chamber, or is it all locked off from lava flow?

MATT: It's around here.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: Very thin bridge.

LAURA: Oh my gosh.

LIAM: Well then, since I just said what I said about Caduceus, I'll say that I'm still in harm's way by the exit.

MATT: Over here?

LIAM: Well, I pushed Caduceus out of harm's way in the door, so no. Shoot.

LIAM: I mean, you tell me, but I thought-- This is not going to work at all. I would have been right at the arch. That's where I was casting the dome.

MATT: Correct, yeah. So you would have been--

LIAM: Let's say I'm still there and I pushed Caduceus out of the way to safety.

TALIESIN: So I'm--

MATT: Which way do you push Caduceus?

TALIESIN: Away from the lava.

LIAM: Away, sideways.

MATT: Here?

LIAM: No.

LAURA: Just across the bridge, yeah.

LIAM: Behind Caleb, yeah, yep.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Yeah, that's it.

MATT: I will ask you to make an acrobatics check, Caduceus, as this is a rapid attempt to move past a very thin channel that when you're taking your time is not too difficult, but in a rush?

TALIESIN: No, I don't have time to give myself anything.

MATT: It's not terribly difficult, but--

TALIESIN: Acrobatics check, where's my acrobatics? That's 13.

MATT: 13'll do it. So you manage to push past and put yourself on that end, and the heat is just burning. And it does cool a little bit, once it seems to hit that bottom pool area, but nevertheless, it is dangerous. I would like everyone to roll initiative.

TRAVIS: Oh, boy.

MATT: You haven't seen this creature arrive yet. You're not entirely certain what it looks like, but we will get to that likely shortly.

TALIESIN: Well, that sucks.

MATT: All right. That's okay, it rolls a natural one, so it's going last probably.

TRAVIS: (southern drawl) Last.

MATT: 25 to 20. 20 to 15?

TRAVIS: Come on, guys!

MATT: Hey, if this was the one roll to roll poorly, I guess this is the one. 15 to 10.

TRAVIS: Wow.

MATT: What?!

TRAVIS: Has that ever happened before? Sub-tens only?

MARISHA: Wow.

LAURA: We're losers.

TRAVIS: Really?

MATT: Your NPCs are going before you are!

LIAM: Nine.

MARISHA: No!

LAURA: Nine!

TRAVIS: Your son is going to hit it before you do. (laughter)

MARISHA: Your four-year-old is faster than you.

SAM: I also rolled a natural one.

MATT: Okay, well, all right. So coming around on this, we have nine.

TALIESIN: Four.

MARISHA: (arrow vibrating)

LAURA: Nine.

MATT: Okay, Jester--

TRAVIS: Wow. That's amazing.

LAURA: Oh my god.

SAM: I rolled a one for a total of six, I guess.

MATT: So you're going simultaneously with this creature.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: And your dex is?

SAM: 20.

MATT: Man, go ahead and roll a d20 for me, see who goes first.

SAM: Oh, boy. Just a 12.

MATT: It's going before you do.

SAM: Oh, man.

MATT: All right, then we have-- and Caduceus, you are what?

TALIESIN: Four.

MATT: Four, so you are actually going last.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LAURA: Oh god.

MATT: All right, so. For Marion, Luc, and Yeza's turn, they go ahead and push Luc behind this bookcase. Yeza's going to go ahead and dart behind this one to try and hide as well. And Marion's going to go ahead and go behind with Luc. And they're just trying to stay out of the way while keeping an eyeline on you best they can. That brings us to Caleb. What are you doing?

LIAM: Do I see this threat coming yet? Or do I just hear it?

MATT: I will say, because the tunnel snakes a little bit and all you see is this pitch-black darkness, and suddenly bright light beginning to brighten and come your direction. Once again, it's like a column of fire or a freight train about to come around the corner. It's just this--

LIAM: Do I feel heat coming as well?

MATT: You might soon. But you see the light first.

LIAM: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I am going to check something real quick.

MARISHA: Map looks great.

TALIESIN: Map's gorgeous.

ASHLEY: It is so cool.

MARISHA: Looks great on camera.

ASHLEY: Look at the little waterfall on the left!

MARISHA: Isn't it awesome?

TRAVIS: Your maps suck.

SAM: It'll be the last thing you see.

MATT: Thanks. Keep me humble.

MARISHA: (laughs) Keeping us humble, yeah.

LIAM: Okay, I'm going to raise up Allura's staff and point it down the chamber, and I am going to fire off Cone of Cold.

SAM: Yes!

LIAM: Down that hallway.

MATT: Okay, so you're holding it until you see something?

LIAM: If I see-- well, I feel like something hot is coming. So yeah, I'll say--

MATT: You don't see a target yet is why. If you release it now, it may or may not hit.

LIAM: But the hallway is lit up, right?

MATT: Like, around the corner.

LIAM: I'll wait till I see it. I'll wait till I see it.

MATT: Okay. So you're holding Cone of Cold until it arrives?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: You got it.

TRAVIS: That's a fair bet that'll do well.

MATT: Okay, so as you're holding the staff in front, what little bit of moisture your presence has brought begins to gather and crystallize in this vibrating burst of bluish-white ice energy at the edge of the staff. And you're just holding it, and you can feel it. It's fighting to be released, and you're having to hold the staff. You're still not used to controlling it, and it's a little bit of a tug of war with the power that's being held at the tip of it.

SAM: Easy, Betsy.

MATT: And you're staying put?

TRAVIS: (whinnys)

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Okay, that finishes your go. Jester, you're up.

LIAM: Come on, Allie.

LAURA: Okay. Okay.

TRAVIS: How we doing? How we doing?

LAURA: Well, I got two options here. I can try to play nice or I can try to play mean. And I don't know--

SAM: We're in hell.

LAURA: -- ♪ which way I want to go. ♪

SAM: ♪ Which way ♪

LAURA: Fuck it, I'm going to try it. I'm going to try-- wait, hold on. I'm just going to say-- I'm just going to see if-- because I don't know. I haven't done this one enough to know if they get advantage if you're in combat on Modify Memory.

MATT: You're going to try Modify Memory?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay, yeah, we can totally give it a shot. All right. It's a wisdom saving throw?

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: All righty. 17?

LAURA: 18.

MATT: Okay, what do you do?

LAURA: I'm going to modify this creature's memory to think that... it knew we were coming and that we're friendly. That it received word ahead of time.

MATT: Says, "you must speak to the creature to describe how its memories are affected."

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: It's a full minute of concentration to do it, so. It is charmed by you for the time period.

LAURA: Oh, wait. It's one action casting time. It's a concentration up to a minute of--

MATT: Correct. "While the charm lasts, you can affect the target's memory of an event that it experienced in the last 24 hours."

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: "And lasted no more than 10 minutes. You must speak to the target to describe how its memory is altered. And "if the spell ends before you finish describing the modified memories, the creature's memory isn't altered."

LAURA: Okay. It's a hard thing to use in combat, then.

MATT: Yeah, it's not really a combat spell, generally.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: But situationally, it can be doable.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: So. As you finish casting the spell, and you're pretty confident that it took hold, it slows its traction, but it's-- It's charmed by you. But it's still working towards its goal. So what are you shouting?

LAURA: Don't you remember that you got word three hours ago that we were going to be here? We're the best of friends! We're friends with the people that live here, which could be you. (laughter)

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: That took less than six seconds to say, right?

MATT: Yeah, I'll allow it, sure, sure.

TRAVIS: Totally.

MATT: In a very rapid, Jester rambling kind of way, totally. It makes complete sense.

MARISHA: We got a code when we booked. (laughter)

MARISHA: Do you not see it?

LIAM: Your B-take will be a little faster, it's fine.

MATT: Okay. Oh, and if you are fighting the creature it has advantage in the saving throw.

LAURA: Oh, see, that's why I was asking. I couldn't remember.

MATT: Sorry. I double-checked that. So that is a natural 20.

SAM: Ugh.

MARISHA: No!

MATT: I am so sorry.

LAURA: I wouldn't have done it if it would've had advantage on it. That's okay.

MATT: It's at the top of the spell. I just looked up and saw that, I'm sorry.

LAURA: That's okay.

LIAM: Shit happens.

MATT: Oh, that would have been really interesting, too.

LAURA: No, it's all good.

MATT: Well, you have another 5th-level spell, so. You can always try it again if you-- (laughter) It slows for a moment as you start shouting this, and it seems to nudge its way forward and pick up pace.

TRAVIS: Priceline?

SAM: Does Expedia exist any more?

MATT: All right, that finishes it. To-- finish your turn? It's now its turn. Since it went before Veth. The creature, the brightness suddenly lights up the interior of the hallway like a rolling fireball. These flaming, curling horns leading it as it darts through just into range as you release the spell. This blast of freezing cold energy immediately flash-freezes the inside of this entire hallway, and blasts into this creature. Is it a constitution saving throw, correct?

LIAM: It is--

MATT: 14. I do not believe it makes it based on the item. The DC of the--

LIAM: That's 30-- The DC-- is the staff different than me? Hold on.

MATT: It may not specify. If it does not specify, then it'd be your spell DC.

LIAM: Well, my DC is--

MATT: I'm pretty sure a 14 doesn't make it. So just go ahead and roll damage.

LIAM: So 38 points.

MATT: 38 points of cold damage. You got it.

LIAM: And I rolled a five, so the staff, which is now out of charges, did not lose all of its great powers.

MATT: Great.

LIAM: Because if it rolls a one, it does.

MATT: You got it, so (explosion). It goes off, immediately the whole wall just flash-freezes and the creature pushes through it. You can see its flames burn brighter for a second. Almost angrily pushing off the freezing cold. And at the same time, all the ice that's gathered on the walls immediately turns to vapor, instantaneously burned away, but it took a hit. With that, it's going to go ahead and continue its movement.

LIAM: And I'm right in the path.

MATT: Yes, you are.

TALIESIN: That is not a humanoid, is it?

LAURA: Nope.

MATT: Nope. It rushes past you.

ASHLEY: Big girl.

TRAVIS: It's a big girl.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Igniting you, so you are now on fire.

SAM: Oh no.

LIAM: Ja.

MATT: We'll go ahead and put that right there. So you are burning.

SAM: What?

MARISHA: That is a really cool fire elemental mini.

TRAVIS: This whole thing is cool.

MARISHA: Yeah, this is so sick.

MATT: Stay right there, since you're the one that's immediately there and just blasted it. Angrily, it whooshes around and is going to go ahead and do two touch attacks against you as it rakes its flaming claws down towards you angrily, saying, "The sanctum must be cleansed."

MATT: Jesus Christ, natural 20.

TALIESIN: Cancel.

MATT: Which you can do.

TRAVIS: Cancel!

MATT: It still hits, though.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: And that'll be a 14 to hit.

LIAM: Does not hit.

LAURA: Which, for Caleb, is like a crit, really.

MATT: Yeah, that's pretty fair. Huh?

LAURA: Any hit.

LIAM: It doesn't hit.

MATT: It doesn't hit, all righty. So the one hit does hit you. It is not a crit. You're close enough for that.

LIAM: What was your roll?

MATT: It was a natural 20.

LIAM: Oh, it's still 20, okay. But I can do Shield for that. So I will.

MATT: You're going to do a Shield for that?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: That'll get me over 20.

MATT: It will, yeah.

LIAM: Will the 20 still hit, though?

MATT: It was a natural 20, so its bonuses go on top of that.

LIAM: Oh, okay.

MATT: So you can do a Shield if you want to, if you feel it.

LIAM: If I understand how the rules work now, then no. (laughter)

TRAVIS: If I play D&D now.

LIAM: Burn me. Nurn me, baby.

MATT: Okay, you got it.

TRAVIS: Make it burn.

MARISHA: If you cancel the crit, it doesn't get to roll double dice. Is that what it is?

TALIESIN: It's just a normal hit, it's not a crit hit.

MARISHA: Cool.

MATT: 22 points of fire damage to you.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: And you are already ignited. So you're okay. As it stands there going (snarling), parts of its body are flickering and swirling, and even the molten rock beneath it, you can see the parts that are starting to darken and cool right below it are starting to brighten and heat up just with its proximity. That's going to end its go. It is now Veth, then Caduceus following up after that.

SAM: I will run to hopefully get it within my sight

MATT: At this point, yeah. With your 30 movement, you can get to about there and see it up against Caleb.

SAM: Is it within five feet of Caleb?

MATT: It is.

SAM: It's engaged with Caleb, all right. And so, when we were robbed, would you think that I would have my Cataclysm Bolts on me?

MATT: Likely you wouldn't have kept them in the--

LIAM: You want to be able to draw them.

SAM: Yeah, I'd probably have them on me.

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: So I still have two of those.

MATT: You do.

SAM: But Caleb is right there. So maybe I don't want to use one of those, because if it's the wrong one, it could really kill him. So I'll just fire a regular shot. I'll fire a regular--

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: -- Boltblaster shot. 15 plus things. So probably 25-- 26 to hit.

MATT: That does hit, yeah.

SAM: Because this creature is engaged, do I get my sneak attack?

MATT: You do.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: I love that we still ask that question at this point.

MATT: Hey, it's always good to check.

LAURA: Six years.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: (laughs)

SAM: 40 points of damage.

MATT: 40 points of damage. Slick! Right, so it's raking into Caleb. Caleb now in flames, which is still within his expertise. You rush around the corner, see that and fire at once. It strikes it in the middle of the torso area. And you see as it impacts, a portion within its flames darkens for a second, the flames go a blue-green angrily, like it's reacting to the impact.

SAM: It looks like it took a hit?

MATT: Took a hit, yeah.

SAM: Okay, okay. How far away am I now from it?

MATT: You are 25 feet from it. You've used your movement and your action.

SAM: It's probably going to like blast through the fucking thing. All right, I'll just fire again. I'll fire again, I got to get this thing down. That's a two, that probably misses.

MATT: Well, a total of?

SAM: 13.

MATT: 13 misses, yeah. So the first shot hits, second one, you get a little excited and fire again and it dodges to the side. That finishes your go. Caduceus, you're up.

TALIESIN: Really, wow, okay.

MATT: NPCs on deck.

TALIESIN: I don't really know what to do. So I'm just going to cast Spirit Guardians because I'm just going to--

MATT: At the top of your turn, by the way, just the proximity of being in its space within a certain range, you take seven points of fire damage.

TALIESIN: Okay, I'm going to-- Okay, seven points of fire damage. How close am I to it right now?

MATT: You're about 10 feet from it.

TALIESIN: Okay, well that's good because that means that. Where'd it go, where's my--? Shit, no, I can't do that, I'm sorry, I lost my place because I'm panic monkey.

MARISHA: Do those tiles light up, or is it just--

MATT: They do when you can get all the electrical connections to work and you aren't rushing to get it done before tonight. So a lot of this was supposed to light up from underneath. But I'm having issues with the electronics of it. So we're making it work.

LIAM: Still looks fucking amazing.

MATT: Making it work.

SAM: Yawn.

TRAVIS: ♪ Making it work ♪ (laughter)

MATT: Yeah, nothing like having it work and then setting up all the tiles and then plugging it in and realizing some of these tiles now aren't working for some reason. I only have 20 minutes before we start filming.

TALIESIN: I'm going to cast Spirit Guardians.

MATT: Spirit Guardians, all right.

TALIESIN: Which gives me 15 feet of coverage of little insects and god only knows what can survive this heat.

MATT: All righty.

SAM: Nice.

TALIESIN: Let's see. And I'm going to back up. I'm going to back up to leave it, so I'm 15-- I want it to just be on the edge of my spirit guardian so that I'm out of that 10-foot range. If I get the feeling that that's the-- back out of the heat a little bit.

MATT: Okay. As you back out of the heat, it does get an attack of opportunity on you.

TALIESIN: Oh, it does? Okay.

MATT: You realize now it has a reach of 10. That is 24 to hit.

TALIESIN: You know, it hits.

MATT: Ooh, that's not good.

TALIESIN: That's not funny.

MATT: Sorry. 36 points of fire damage to you.

TALIESIN: Cool.

MATT: And you are on fire.

LAURA: ♪ Ca-duceus is on fire ♪

MATT: You have begun to just burst into flame, and the flames are swirling up your shoulders and around you, and both you and Caleb are now burning alive.

MARISHA: (laughs) Are burning alive.

TALIESIN: Okay, cool, all right. I'm good.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Yeah, Happy Fun Ball sounds great.

MATT: Was that your concentration check?

TALIESIN: Yeah, yeah.

MATT: You got it. All right, that finishes your go. Top, the NPCs. Luc is going to go ahead and fire his crossbow at the creature.

SAM: Yes!

TRAVIS: Let's go, Luc!

MARISHA: Come on.

TRAVIS: First blood!

MATT: It just goes wide and actually burns partway through the air because it is a wooden dowel. And the heat in the chamber causes it to catch fire. He hides behind and looks to Dad and he goes, (whispering) "That was so cool." Yeza's like, "What are you doing?!" Helping Mom." "Shh." He just holds him, pulls him in. Marion, kind of nervous, looks on the side. You're a bad influence. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: Caleb, you're up. Jester, you're on deck.

ASHLEY: She's probably so scared.

LIAM: For my action, I'm going to use the cantrip Control Flames to put out the flames all over my body.

MATT: Great. Well, at the top of the round you do take--

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: -- eight points of fire damage--

LIAM: Understood.

MATT: -- from being on fire.

LIAM: Ja. So I hope, I think that Control Flames would put me out.

MATT: Control Flames, yes, I would say that would be the same.

LIAM: And then, so that was my action. I will use my Stormrider Boots, which are just part of my movement. They'll fire up and I'm going to fly away from her into the library, and plunk down by where I see Marion is.

MATT: 60 feet, right?

LIAM: Ja. It's 90 feet, actually.

MATT: 90 feet. And, yeah, you can plunk down right over here if you want to.

TALIESIN: Oh, shit.

LIAM: I actually won't do that. I'll go in the middle of the library.

MATT: Like right here?

LIAM: Ja, ja. I don't want to go too far away. And our tall, 50-foot woman would take 2d8 lightning damage as I passed by.

MATT: All right, so as you dart by like a human lightning bolt, cannon-balling across the chamber, behind you, arcing past, you strike the side of its body and torso. And this energy mixes with the fire and causes this weird purple lightning (crackling) through its body. It (pained, raspy gasping) How much damage?

LIAM: 10 points lightning damage.

MATT: 10 points, great. All righty, that finishes your go, Caleb?

LIAM: Ja.

MATT: Jester, you're up.

LAURA: Okay, so nice didn't work. So I'm going to move forward to where I can see her.

MATT: You can get right next to-- a little bit behind Veth, so.

LAURA: Okay, and I'm going to-- This is what I got. Cast Guiding Bolt.

SAM: Sure.

LAURA: At 5th-level.

MATT: At 5th-level, all righty. Go ahead and roll for an attack.

LAURA: Oh my god. 17.

MATT: 17 just hits. (relieved exclaiming)

LAURA: How many is this? 8d6. Ooh! (giggling) This is so good! Oh my gosh! 18. 28. 33. 34!

MARISHA: Looks like you're just shoving your hand through a cake. (laughing)

LAURA: (eating noises) 34 points of radiant damage.

MATT: And the next attack against it has advantage.

LAURA: Has advantage.

SAM: Hey, that's great!

MATT: As it strikes, this burst of radiant energy blasted from the inside and you watch as its form quivers, like a flame that's briefly partially blown out by a strong wind. As it does, you see its body seems to briefly break apart into three separate parts, and then reform into the one whole (low growling), but you see the sparkle is still residing around it and giving even a brighter, more contrasting light against the fire light.

LAURA: Almost like a pink flame? Just, like, a little bit?

MATT: Just a little bit, a little pink flame. You got it. All right, does that finish your turn, Jester?

LAURA: Uh, mm-hmm!

MATT: All righty.

TRAVIS: Just got this colored pine cone she throws.

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: It is now the creature's turn, so is it a wisdom save?

TALIESIN: Spirit Guardians I don't think is-- It's a wisdom save.

MATT: That is an 11.

TALIESIN: Nope. It ain't much, but-- It ain't much, but that's not bad. That's 10 points of radiant damage.

MATT: 10 points radiant damage, all right. It's flickering and starting to dematerialize in some ways before holding itself together. Its movement is halved, right? While it's in the radius?

TALIESIN: While it's in the radius, yeah.

MATT: It's just going to shift a little bit this way. Kind of can only get that far. I'll say about there. Kind of looking around and noticing everyone in the chamber around. You see it go-- It begins to curl down, and as it does its arms clutch inward. The flames begin to darken and you see at the center of its core the light gets brighter and brighter as this spinning core. (explosion) As it releases an inferno in the space around it.

SAM: Oh my god.

LAURA: Oh no!

SAM: It's gonna kill my kid.

LAURA: Is that the babies and Mama?

MATT: It's a 50 foot radius, so we'll see.

SAM: Oh boy.

MATT: It gets both of you.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MARISHA: I mean, yes.

SAM: Oh god.

MARISHA: No!

SAM: Oh man.

MATT: It just misses Marion and it does give some cover to-- No, I'm sorry. It just misses Yeza and it does give cover, but it would still catch them.

SAM: Oh no. Oh god. Matt's out here killing kids.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

TRAVIS: Yeza-- they'll roll to save, right?

SAM: Uh-huh.

TALIESIN: That's a lot of dice.

ASHLEY: Yeah, he's picking up a lot of dice.

TALIESIN: Hope you can pack some healing spells.

LAURA: I've got no spells!

TALIESIN: You're out?

LAURA: That was it! I've got one 1st-level! I don't have anything! You got Revivify.

TALIESIN: Yeah, but I might be toast.

MATT: 39 points of fire damage to everybody. I need everybody to make a dexterity saving throw.

SAM: Us, too, in the hallway?

LAURA: Me and Veth too? We're in the hallway. Did it get us?

MATT: Yeah, it got you guys, too, because you're right within the radius.

ASHLEY: 39 points of damage?

LIAM: 18.

TALIESIN: Dex saving?

ASHLEY: Oh boy.

TALIESIN: Maybe.

LIAM: If I fail, I'm out.

ASHLEY: How many hit points does Luc have?

LAURA: Not that many.

MARISHA: There's no way.

LAURA: Think about when we started what our--

MARISHA: Exactly.

TRAVIS: Say that again, Liam. If you fail, what?

LIAM: If I fail this save, I'm going down. 18?

MARISHA: You start with--

ASHLEY: Nothing.

MARISHA: Like, 10 hit points.

MATT: You need a 19.

LIAM: It's a 19? Caleb's down.

MARISHA: Oh fuck, you guys!

ASHLEY: Wait, you're out?

SAM: This is bad.

MARISHA: Fuck!

ASHLEY: Oh no.

SAM: This is real bad.

LAURA: Genuinely, all of us might--

MATT: Caduceus?

TALIESIN: 16.

LAURA: Was it 49 points?

MATT: 39 points of fire damage.

LAURA: 39 or 49?

SAM: 16.

MATT: 16? 39 points of fire damage, you take half.

SAM: Because of Evasion or whatever?

MATT: Because of Evasion, yes. So that would be 19, I think. And then Jester?

LAURA: 16. I failed.

MATT: 39 points of fire damage.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: Marion rolls it. I'm rolling natural 20s like a fucking-- Marion rolls a natural 20 and she is naturally half resistant. She only takes half of that. So Marion's up. They both have advantage because they're behind the side there. Luc does roll a 20 total because he's got a dexterous mom. So it does not--

TRAVIS: 19.

ASHLEY: Oh boy.

MATT: Not even with that. You hear Marion scream.

SAM: Oh god.

MATT: That brings us to... Veth.

SAM: All right. How far away am I from across the room there?

MATT: You are approximately 90-ish so, 100 feet.

SAM: I will--

MARISHA: Took a gamble. Where to send them.

SAM: I will run as-- Oh boy. Is there a clear shot across the lava? Like, if I hopped on some rocks?

MATT: There's a clear shot, if you roll properly.

SAM: Yeah. I will clear shot across the lava using-- Ah, shit. I've got to get this thing down. It's going to keep attacking us.

LAURA: (whispering) Did you go down?

SAM: I've got to get there. I have a couple rounds.

MATT: My apologies. There is one more facet of this ability.

SAM: Of this ability?

MATT: When it unleashes the inferno, it tears itself apart as part of the explosion.

SAM: And is gone forever?

LAURA: Oh, it's small-- oh.

SAM: Oh!

TRAVIS: It's worse. (laughs)

ASHLEY: My apologies, it's actually worse for you all--

TRAVIS: Oh fuck! (laughs)

ASHLEY: -- than originally thought.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

LAURA: I thought Matt was taking mercy on us for a second and going, "Oh, I forgot, I actually just killed him."

MARISHA: Yah.

LIAM: How do I get out of here?

TRAVIS: Got to stop letting him wear pajama pants.

MATT: So as you rush across the way--

MARISHA: I've tried, I can't.

MATT: -- you start running and you can see out of the corner of your eye it dissipates into these three smaller elementals.

SAM: It's not engaged with anyone right now?

MATT: At the moment, no.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

SAM: I'm trying to get some-- Fuck. Ay-yi-yi. Let me look at these fucking Cataclysm Bolts again. That doesn't do much.

MARISHA: Donald Glover in that Community gif, walking with the pizza and everything's on fire.

SAM: And become restrained. When you're restrained you can still attack though, right?

MATT: Yeah, you just have disadvantage on it.

LAURA: Yeza and Luc are both down, right? Or is it just Luc is down?

MATT: You don't know.

SAM: Caleb's down.

MATT: All you did was hear Marion scream.

MARISHA: (quietly) I mean, yeah. He's down.

SAM: I've got to get over there, but we've got to kill these fucking things!

LAURA: We've got to kill them or else they're just going to kill us more.

SAM: Then I will-- Ah, shit. I've got to kill these fucking things. Okay. And I need Sneak Attack. I'll, um-- I'll take the movement back. I'll bonus action hide I guess at the edge of the--

MATT: Edge of here?

SAM: Yeah. That's a-- Oh, wait, I get advantage on hiding. That's 29 to hide.

MATT: Okay. You may or may not be hidden. You just dart behind a wall, so you're probably going to have to change up your position a bit to come out of hiding, which looks like you can probably climb a little bit of this wall to do so.

SAM: Sure. I'll do that.

MATT: Okay. So you scramble up the side of this rock wall and peer out from the above part.

SAM: And I'll load a Cataclysm Bolt.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: And fire it at the-- They're all within, like, five feet of each other?

MATT: Yes. They just split in the same space.

SAM: I have a one in three chance, so I'll load a Cataclysm Bolt and shoot it right at the lead guy.

MATT: The one closest to you? Okay.

LAURA: Is it advantage on any of them? (laughs)

MATT: Right now they all have advantage on them because of your Guiding Bolt.

SAM: Oh! Then I don't need to hide at all!

LAURA: Because you instantly get--

SAM: Because I would get Sneak Attack. So I'll just dash out there.

LIAM: Because they're lit up from Jester's magic.

MATT: So you dash out to there?

SAM: Yeah. And fire as I go.

LAURA: Come on.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Come on, mama.

SAM: Natural 20. (exclaiming)

TRAVIS: Come on!

ASHLEY: That's a mad mama!

TRAVIS: Come the fuck on!

ASHLEY: "Don't you touch my kid!"

MATT: All right, so that doubles the dice for the--

SAM: The lead.

MATT: Yep.

SAM: So they're not that great, but. Eight. 12. 19. 23. So 23 doubled is 46, plus six is 52 on the lead. Plus I have to roll to see what kind of Cataclysm Bolt this is.

MATT: Indeed.

SAM: And I want it to be a three or a four. Fuck, it's a fucking one!

LAURA: Which is fire damage?

SAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: Oh fuck!

MATT: That's the problem with the chaos of their type.

LAURA: Does that mean they're immune completely?

SAM: This is just extra damage on top.

LAURA: Oh, okay!

SAM: If it had been ice damage, it would have hurt all three of them with-- and restrained them all.

MATT: Yeah, which is unfortunate. However, the one you shot, the sheer fury of what you briefly imagine in your head may have transpired, while you were not there to see, necessarily, the moment of the dodging of it, realization of the blast wave, thinking of the proximity of your family, and then hearing Marion scream, everything just goes quiet for a second. You have that (pulsing heartbeat) moment, and as you were just phasing out of reality at this moment, your eyes go a bit blurry and the body takes over. And without even thinking, you just load the bolt, rush out to the side, fire it. Not even looking at the creature that you shot at as it strikes it and you hear an echo of a scream in your periphery as the impact causes it to dissipate. So that's your--

SAM: And then I'll bonus action continue across.

LAURA: Don't you get to fire it again because you got a natural 20?

MATT: You do.

SAM: Oh, it fires again by itself actually. That's a 24?

MATT: Well, you have advantage on the next shot, too, because all three of them are glowing.

SAM: What does that mean? So I roll again?

MATT: Because of your Guiding Bolt and it split, technically that I'd say the magic would--

SAM: Natural 20! (exclaiming and cheering)

TRAVIS: Let's go!

MATT: This is crazy! All right. All right. Go ahead and roll--

SAM: But this is not Sneak Attack?

MATT: You can only Sneak Attack once per round, yeah.

SAM: So it's just 1d6, which is three so that's doubled to six, plus six is 12 damage. And then I will roll another d6 to see if this Cataclysm Bolt--

MARISHA: Come on, ice!

SAM: Two. It's another fucking fire one. (laughing) Goddamn it!

TRAVIS: Two 20s in a row.

LIAM: Pluses and minuses.

LAURA: It's pretty great.

MATT: So as that one sinks another one (gasping growl), It took a little hit, but still standing. And you have your bonus action still.

SAM: Yeah. I could fire again, but I'm out of Cataclysm Bolts. So I will-- Is it more important to try to-- These guys have more than six more hit points, right?

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: I'm going to keep dashing across.

MATT: Okay. Make an acrobatics or athletics check. Your call.

SAM: I will do acrobatics. That's a 17.

MATT: 17. It gets a little dicey. Partway through, as you leap from this rock to the center part and catch yourself at the last minute, almost tumbling in. And the heat at this point, at this proximity is singeing you. You're wincing instinctually as you can feel your skin beginning to cook, and you take that final little bit and then leap off to catch the edge. As you hit it, your foot almost slips, but you manage to stop yourself and land on the other side. No additional issue. But that's the end of your movement there, getting that leap across. That finishes your go, Veth.

MATT: Caduceus, you're up.

TALIESIN: So would I have to make a roll if I just gently wanted to get to the other side back towards the door?

MATT: Around the door that way?

TALIESIN: The way that I came out when I got shoved. I just want to make my way back to the hallway.

MATT: You would have to make another roll, yeah. Because it's still a rapid moving across a really tiny bridge of lava.

TALIESIN: Okay, I'm just going to--

MATT: You do take three points of fire damage because you're still on fire.

TALIESIN: So what I'm going to do-- this is my plan. I can see-- who can I see? I can see-- From my vantage point, I know where everybody is basically.

MATT: Everyone but Jester, but you saw the bolt streak out from the hallway and you're familiar with her Guiding Bolt, so you assume she's right over there.

TALIESIN: So-- With Liam down, is Liam within 30 feet--

LAURA: Who's Liam?

TALIESIN: I know, my brain-- is Caleb--

SAM: Who's Caleb? His name is Ren.

SAM: Yep. Is Ben within-- You're welcome. (laughing)

TALIESIN: There we are.

MATT: Caleb you saw drop across the room quite a distance from you.

TALIESIN: Okay, but is he within 30 feet of everybody where I think everybody else is?

MATT: It's possible.

TALIESIN: Okay. I want to try and get a 30 foot-- They're within 60 feet of me easily.

MATT: Easily?

MATT: Veth is within about 50 or so feet. Caleb's maybe around 65 feet.

TALIESIN: Caleb's about 65? Oh, wouldn't matter because I need to drop-- I'm going to try drop--

MATT: Yes, 65 feet.

TALIESIN: I'm going to try and drop a sphere that gets-- the sphere center can be 60 feet away from me.

MATT: Then yeah, you can do that.

TALIESIN: So I want to try and get everybody that I know that is in that corner of the room, definitely want to get Caleb, but I want to try and make sure that that sphere drops to where I think everybody's hiding.

MATT: Okay. You got it. What are you dropping?

TALIESIN: Mass Cure Wounds at 5th-level. So who's out?

TALIESIN: You get 29 hit points.

LIAM: Whoa.

SAM: You can hit how many?

TALIESIN: I can hit up to six people within that 30 foot sphere, even if I can't see them.

LAURA: So Luc and Yeza?

TALIESIN: If they're dead, they get 29 hit points, or if they're unconscious they get 29 hit points. If they're not unconscious, anyone who's not unconscious, on the other hand, gets-- 14 hit points.

MATT: Marion heals 14 hit points. You got it. All right. And Caleb, you got that much. You are conscious now on the ground.

SAM: So I got healed, too?

TALIESIN: If you're in that--

MATT: Yeah, he would be. Or she would be, sorry.

SAM: 14 hit points?

MATT and TALIESIN: 14 hit points.

SAM: Wow. That was awesome!

TALIESIN: I'm still on fire, but that's fine.

TRAVIS: That's a huge turn.

SAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: That is.

LIAM: Yes, it is.

LAURA: Wow, healers!

TALIESIN: I'm just going to try and stay in the corner.

MATT: Both of them are outside of the radius of your Spirit Guardians, just so you're aware. Make a concentration check for me by the way, because you did take the fire damage.

TALIESIN: I did take the fire damage. That's true, although, I can't imagine it would go that poorly. No. I'm fine.

MATT: Okay. They're both currently outside of the range of your Spirit Guardians in that corner.

TALIESIN: You know, is there any safe way to get them just in the cusp of it?

MATT: Yeah, if you want to jump on that little rock in the middle of the lava.

TALIESIN: Hell no!

MATT: (laughs) You can safely maybe get one of them within the radius. Just barely. If you want to get them both, you're probably going to have to engage with one of them.

TALIESIN: You know, I'm feeling a little iffy, so if they try and get at me, they're going to-- They probably have range, don't they, these little fucks. I'm going to just step so that one-- and I'm going to hug the wall.

MATT: All right, that'll get you about--

TALIESIN: Oh, I'm staying on the wall! No, no, no. Yeah. I'm going to hug the wall to my-- I don't have my laser. Yes, I do. Yeah. Just hug the wall.

MATT: You can get there and get it within the range. That's just barely getting it.

TALIESIN: That will do it. I just want some distance. I want to encourage it to leave.

MATT: Understood. It's a 15 foot distance. You can keep distance, but you have to get close enough.

TALIESIN: Yeah, because if I go down, everything's fucked.

MATT: Fair enough. All right. That finishes your go. Top of the round.

TRAVIS: Kill her.

MATT: Marion just shouts out, "Jester! Somebody!"

SAM: Oh boy.

MATT: Yeza pokes from behind here, looks, and just runs.

MARISHA: (gasps) Uh-oh!

MATT: Caleb. Your go.

LIAM: Okay. So I'll use half of my movement to pull myself to standing. I obviously heard Marion scream. I heard little feet running. I don't hear or see Luc anywhere. Probably. I don't have much left. I will smear molasses along my hands and try to cast Slow on the two...

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: -- creatures. Wisdom save against 18, spell save.

MATT: One of them got a natural 20. I don't know why I'm rolling so many 20s today. That's insane. The other one got a 16. Which I think failed. Yeah.

LIAM: Fails.

MATT: So that one is slowed. That one there, we'll say. Put on its head. A little crown.

LIAM: And I will use my movement to--

MATT: You got 15 more feet.

LIAM: (exhales)

LIAM: I'm going to move away. I'm going to move-- Where am I?

MATT: Right there.

LIAM: Yeah, I'm going to move back towards that bookshelf. Not right to where Marion and Yeza are, but that other bookshelf.

MATT: There?

LIAM: Yeah. We'll say right there. If that's as far aways as I can get.

MATT: That's as far as you can get.

LIAM: Yeah. That's the end of my turn.

MATT: Okay. Got it. Jester, you're up.

LAURA: I'm going to come up to-- through the doorway for the first time, fully take in the room and just shout: It's okay, Mama! It's going to be okay! And I'm going to cast... Guiding Bolt at the one that's within Caduceus' Spirit Guardians.

MATT: Okay. Go for it. Roll for the attack.

SAM: Did they take any Spirit Guardian damage this last time?

TALIESIN: Top of the round, one of them takes Spirit Guardian damage, which is not much.

LAURA: I don't think it hits. 14?

MATT: 14 just hits.

LAURA: (gasps) Oh my gosh!

MATT: Their smaller forms, the ACs are diminished. That's twice, you've barely hit them. That's really [inaudible].

LAURA: That's not as good. 10 points of radiant damage.

MATT: 10 points of radiant damage, and next attack on this one has advantage. That's fine right there.

TALIESIN: I may be fucked.

MATT: We'll do that. That'll go. Okay.

TALIESIN: Not pleased with this.

MATT: You still have 10 more feet of movement or you want to stay where you're put near the arch there?

LAURA: I think I'm going to-- I'm going to stay right there. I don't know what else I can do.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Actually! I'm going to walk up to the edge of that lip right next to the lava, yeah, right about there, and just growl at the creatures to try to get them to come over to me.

MATT: You've got it. All right.

LAURA: Oh, oh! Sure, bonus action. I'm going to pull my stupid hand axe off my side and be like, (yells). First time I'm going to fucking use it in forever.

MATT: So you're just holding your hand axe at the ready?

LAURA: I'm just hold my hand axe, ready to attack fire!

MATT: Hell yeah. You got it.

TALIESIN: How good is your-- what's your--

LAURA: It's just a hand axe plus one.

TALIESIN: Hand axe plus one, okay.

MATT: That is magical. That'll help. All right. Finishing your turn. It's now their turn. The one that's in your sphere, that is an eight so it does not save.

TALIESIN: Nine points.

MARISHA: Kill it!

MATT: Nine points of radiant damage. And it gets struck and you can see it starting to flicker in its own right, but it's held up. The other one is slowed. This one is going to go ahead and close in on you, Caduceus.

TALIESIN: Half speed.

LIAM: Half speed.

MATT: Yep. It doesn't need to worry about that. It has a pretty decent speed even when halved. So it does close in on you. The other one that's slowed is half speed. And it's going to go ahead and move in towards Veth. Because it is slowed it does not get its multi attack. It only gets one attack. So the one that's against you, Caduceus, that is a 21 to hit.

TALIESIN: Fuck.

MATT: Is that a hit?

TALIESIN: Yep.

MATT: Okay. You take seven points of fire damage. And 17, does that hit?

TALIESIN: Ah! That's great. No, that does not, which also means that activates my Shield of Retribution.

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: So that's-- Come on. (groans) 10 points of force damage.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: And it has to make a strength saving throw.

MATT: Which would be an 11.

TALIESIN: So it gets pushed 20 feet away from me, which also means it now takes more damage from leaving-- does it take damage from leaving as well?

MATT: No, I think it's when it enters or when it starts its turn.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: But it does get shoved back, the flash of arcane energy blasting it backward. It hits the wall and curls back into its form. And the one that's going up against you, Veth, natural one.

SAM: Miss.

MATT: The Slow spell causes it to just go towards you and you just easily sidestep, but you're still not even focused on it. You're absentmindedly like Neo when he's parrying at the end of The Matrix. You're just not even focused on it at the moment. Okay. That finishes their go. Veth, you're up.

SAM: Oh, this guy's on me now?

MATT: Yeah. Does not get any reactions because it is slowed.

SAM: Oh, great. Well then, I'll keep going. I'll go to see if my son is still there.

MATT: You come around the corner and you can see Marion is holding Luc, who is currently lying still in her arms, skin badly burned.

SAM: So Caduceus' heal did not affect--?

MATT: Apparently it did not.

TALIESIN: Really?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Why?

LAURA: Because his damage was so great that it knocked him immediately, so the heal didn't do anything.

MARISHA: No.

MATT: If you take damage beyond a certain threshold in a single hit.

TALIESIN: So we're going to need to fix this when this is done.

SAM: So he's unrevivable?

MARISHA: He's dead dead.

LAURA: Well, he's Revivifiable.

SAM: He's unhealable.

TALIESIN: I can do it when it's quiet.

MATT: He is currently not moving, not breathing.

SAM: Oh my god.

MATT: So that's your movement.

SAM: That's not good. I will just rage scream and I will fire at the one that's glowing with radiant damage, I guess.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: With advantage, right?

MATT: Mm-hm.

SAM: So 29.

MATT: That definitely hits, and you get Sneak Attack damage.

SAM: This game sucks.

ASHLEY: That's why Luc ran over to... Marion. Oh boy.

SAM: 37 points of damage?

MATT: 37 points. That one flickers out.

MARISHA: Okay.

SAM: And I will continue to rage scream and shoot my bonus shot at that one closer to me.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: That's a 23 to hit?

MATT: That definitely hits.

SAM: Just one of these. Eight points of damage.

MATT: All right. It takes the hit. The first hit this one's really taken, and just still-- (growling) flickering and angrily its fire swirling in its space and it's still hungry.

SAM: And I'll just, sort of, whatever movement I have left I'll just crouch down and grab my son. Or touch him.

MATT: Caduceus.

TALIESIN: I'm going to-- I'm going to walk towards the one that's still standing.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Get it just in my-- within the range of my bullshit and I'm, again, still trying to stay safe from any floor lava.

MATT: Just about there.

TALIESIN: And I'm just-- I don't have a lot, so I'm just going to do-- I want to keep some shit because this is getting bad. So I'm going to do Sacred Flame.

MATT: Okay. Wisdom save or dex save?

TALIESIN: That's a dex save.

MATT: That is a 12.

TALIESIN: That does not save. So that's-- 12. 17 points of radiant damage.

MATT: All righty. Takes the hit. It's looking a little hurt.

TALIESIN: And as a bonus action I'm going to drink a potion because ow.

MATT: Oh, and you did take two points of fire damage at the top of the round because you're still on fire, and make a concentration check for me.

TALIESIN: (relieved laughing) Good. Thank god for advantage. That would have been bad. I'm going to take a potion with my bonus action, if that's okay.

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: It's not a lot, but I'll take it. I'll take that nine points.

MATT: All right. Caleb.

LIAM: I have nothing that can affect this thing. I'm completely tapped. So I am going to move--

SAM: The staff can't do anything?

LIAM: It's empty. Where is Veth right now?

MATT: Veth is 10 feet to your right.

LIAM: Okay. I'm going to move and stand in front of Veth. I'm going to use a bonus action to take this potion myself, because Luc can't be helped by a potion. And I'm going to take the Dodge as an action, yeah. And I can help if we survive this. Five-- (quietly) Nine, 10, 13, 17. Okay. That's the end of my turn.

MATT: Okay. Jester.

LAURA: I am going to try to engage it in melee, so that if it attacks anything, it attacks me. So I'm going to run over and try to jump over the river and come down with my axe on top of it.

MATT: Acrobatics or athletics check. Your choice to try and leap across the lava.

TALIESIN: Don't fall in, please.

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

LAURA: Nine?

MARISHA: Oh, Jester.

SAM: Oh god.

MARISHA: Oh no.

SAM: Oh god.

MATT: Run, leap, get to that center rock and you just slightly overshot. You try and correct yourself and jump and you land short. Your leg's-- (hissing) into the very edge of it. You scream out instinctively in pain.

TALIESIN: Oh no.

ASHLEY: Oh god, I'm getting--

SAM: Oh boy.

MARISHA: I don't know if I'm hot or cold.

ASHLEY: Me, too.

MARISHA: I'm in a cold sweat.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Lava does a whole lot.

TRAVIS and TALIESIN: Yes.

LAURA: Like, over 100, do you think?

TRAVIS: Like 10d10 or something like that.

MARISHA: Yeah. You've got to get out of it.

TRAVIS: Falling in--

LAURA: That was a jump, so that's not my-- That was my movement. Was that my full movement? That's not my full movement?

ASHLEY: Are you down at all?

LAURA: I'm down some, but I've still got a good amount of hit points. So it depends on how much lava does.

MATT: Here we go.

MARISHA: Gonna be one us. One of us a campaign, got to fall in lava, right?

SAM: Mm-hmm.

TRAVIS: How many is it?

LAURA: 20d10, I'm fucked.

MARISHA: He's picking up so many dice!

TALIESIN: How many diamonds am I going to have to burn if we survive this?

LIAM: I can do one.

MATT: You're not submerged in it.

LAURA: Right, right, right. I'm on the edge of it.

MATT: So it's not the worst it could be. Unless you stay in it.

TRAVIS: What are you rolling?

MATT: 5d10.

TRAVIS: 5d10.

TALIESIN: Oh, okay!

MARISHA: 5d10.

MATT: Because you just fell into it.

LAURA: Okay!

TRAVIS: That's not a great face.

MATT: 41 points of fire damage.

TALIESIN: That's pretty fucking bad.

SAM: That's a good roll.

LIAM: High roll.

LAURA: Cool, cool, cool.

MATT: I rolled really well on that.

LAURA: Yeah, you did. Yeah, you really, really did.

MARISHA: Almost max.

LAURA: Do I have any movement left? Can I get out of the lava with that?

MATT: With that--

LAURA: That was just a jump.

MATT: That was a jump. I'd say, because you just fell in you've managed to get yourself one step out, but that's as far as you can get right there and you are on fire because you fell in the lava.

LAURA: Right, right. Cool. Tight.

TALIESIN: Do I have fucking anything?

LAURA: Cool. Then-- I can't get close enough to do any melee, so I'm just going to use--

MATT: If you wanted to tumble out this direction, because you were going for the melee I could let you stumble out into melee with it because it's either adjacent or to the side. Since that was your intent, I'll let you do that.

LAURA: Okay. Cool. I'll do more damage with my cantrips, so I'm going to stay next to it, but I'm going to do a Sacred Flame up on it.

MATT: Okay. That is going to be a 14.

LAURA: Okay. Okay, okay. A d8. 17 points of radiant damage?

MATT: Nice. It's looking real tough. As you strike it, the flames burn around it. The radiance mingling with the actual elemental fire inside and you could see it having to reform itself and fall and then reform. It's having a difficult time keeping itself corporeal.

LAURA: And I'm just looking at it real angry and I say: Fight me!

MATT: Okay. Finishing your go, it's its turn. Top of the round. It has to make a wisdom save against your Spirit Guardians. That is going to be a seven.

TALIESIN: That does not save. That's a-- That's the wrong die, that would've really sucked. 10-- 15.

MARISHA: Kill it.

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

TRAVIS: Yes!

TALIESIN: I'm having a really bad time. I breathe deep. And I just start stepping towards it and the circle starts-- the insects start plowing into it like in The Mummy and it's just beetles trying to devour it. They're burning up as they go, but they just keep going. The circle is just dissipating into it.

MATT: As you watch the cloud of beetles and insects swarm it, you see them burning and popping, these flashes of light, but the more that pour into it, the darker the flame gets, the more it begins to suffocate the source of its own life fire. As it begins to slightly sigh out this horrible wheezing death cry. (raspy howling) You watch as all the light grows dark, the cloud fully encompassing and smothering it before they eventually dissipate, leaving nothing but a pile of ash and a couple of stones where it once stood. As you all sit in this moment, this moment of quiet, intense realization, we're going to take a break.

SAM and TALIESIN: Ugh.

MATT: Back here in a few minutes to pick up at the end of this battle. Oh boy! See you guys here in a few minutes.

Break[]

(mellow cheerful music) (dramatic music)

Narrator: Dwarvenite. The most precious substance among Dwarven smiths. Able to absorb the very spirit of the craftsman. Thus infused, it becomes nearly indestructible, able to forge heirlooms that will last for generations. (grunting) (metal clinks) Pure Dwarvenite. Now you can get your hands on this legendary substance, with the new Dungeon of Doom. Available now at dwarvenforge.com.

I wasn't lying when I just blue-screened. Oh no. (laughter) Dani, we should be apologizing to you. Let's be honest. The story was so dense, I'm so sorry. That was so bad that it kicked Ashley off our Zoom call? It did! Yeah, apparently. Ashley's gone and she's next. Oh no! (laughter) Should we stop for technical difficulties to get her back? I mean we can probably vamp -- It jettisoned her out of this timeline. I don't know. She doesn't have to witness her own shame. This is her best timeline. I want her to witness her own shame. There's a joy in it. Yeah. (playful music) (mysterious music) (typewriter noises)

LAURA: Hey, Critters, Laura Bailey here. Let's see what's up in the Critical Role shop. Oh my gosh. It's so amazing. I mean, the Traveler always says impulse purchases are a good decision. Go ahead darling, treat yourself. The cuteness! It's overpowering. It's so cute. I can't handle it. So click on over to the Critical Role Shop. Don't worry, there's a few more minutes in the break. You've still got time.

MATT: (grunting) Huh (laughs) would you look at that? I think it worked. You were right, Pumat Number Three. All we had to do was invoke that Subscription Cantrip. Pumat Number Three? Oh boy. Well, hello there! I am Pumat Prime. It's good to finally join you here in the prime dimension. I see this as the Twitch Prime realm, I think? And oh, we're on the Critical Role channel, aren't we! Would you look at that, you got chat and everything. Respectfully, I was looking for the prime rib realm, but eh, this isn't too bad. You see, if you already have access to the Amazon Prime realm, you can get a free subscription to the channel of your choice in the Twitch Prime realm. The two realms have a pretty good working relationship after that peace treaty the prime minister signed a few years back. You just have to remember to renew your Twitch Prime subscription to the top of each month, respectfully. And hey, if you're already a subscriber you can spread the joy by gifting a subscription using the Gift A Sub button, that is assuming the Empire hasn't sent the tax man to your shop here recently. (nervous laughter) All right, well, off to find that darn elusive prime rib realm. Who knew the prime dimension had so many pockets? (smacks lips) Good luck! Pumat Three?

TALIESIN: [Voiceover] Subscribe. Resubscribe. Brian Foster is not a cabbage.

Part II[]

MATT: And welcome back. So, as we left off, the group that currently resides in this odd sanctum, in this realm of flame and ash and blackened cloud accidentally called a guardian of the sanctum and some collateral damage has come to light. So, in that tense moment, what do you do?

SAM: Jester, Caduceus, somebody, I need help now!

TALIESIN: I run over.

LAURA: I try running over and I fall down because my feet are burned to crispies.

SAM: Someone!

TALIESIN: I see what's happening. I'm going to immediately stabilize. And then I'm going to pull out a diamond.

MATT: Stabilize in what way?

TALIESIN: Hold the... Stop the...

MATT: The timer?

TALIESIN: Yeah, stop the timer.

SAM: What's it called?

LAURA: Gentle Repose.

TALIESIN: Gentle Repose. Pull out the diamond.

SAM: Can you do this?

TALIESIN: (shushes)

TALIESIN: I start the spell and just-- the insects pour out and just start to cover. And the molds and the fungus just start to cover and I'm just going to sit.

MATT: How do you call the Wild Mother to aid you in this?

TALIESIN: Wild Mother, it is not yet time for this one. His destiny has not been fulfilled. His time here is not over. I beg you, let him have another breath.

MATT: (rolls die)

LAURA: (gasps)

MATT: As you finish your final moment of prayer in that sentence, the breath that's still in your lungs exhales. As it leaves your mouth, you hope that breath finds its way into this child. The buzz of the insects fades. The moss and fungus begins to gray and crumble. And you just feel. Feel for anything. And you feel his chest rise. And fall. And as the moss and fungus that began to encase his burned skin, causing Yeza to instinctually begin to grow nervous, but then stop as he trusts in the process, as it grays and crumbles away you can see the skin restored. His eyes open. "Mom?"

SAM: (sigh of relief) I just hold him and kiss his eyes and kiss his nose.

TALIESIN: I put Cure Wounds and back up.

SAM: (stammers) You're okay? Are you in pain?

MATT: "Yeah, I heard a loud whooshing sound. I'm not strong like you, Mom."

SAM: What are you talking about? Of course you're strong! Can you move your little fingers? Can you stand up? Are you okay? Just move your legs, move your feet.

TALIESIN: I would keep it very gentle for a while.

SAM: Of course.

MATT: You see him-- he's moving his fingers and legs. There is a stiffness to them, and you see-- The magic of life restoration takes a little bit to get there.

SAM: I'm so sorry. I-- I'm so sorry, Luc. I'm so sorry. I'm just going to keep holding him.

MATT: He's just holds you and goes, "It's okay, Mom. It's okay. You did save me." Marion just pulls you close and, "Can I help you?"

LAURA: Oh, I'm fine, Mama.

MATT: And she gets down and starts going towards your boots and goes through the satchel that she had thrown together and begins taking out some ointments and begins to tend to your feet.

LAURA: Thank you. It's really-- seriously, it's okay. I'll get it fixed. I reach up and grab Caduceus' hand.

TALIESIN: Hey. I'm sitting down.

LAURA: You. You did so good.

TALIESIN: I think a nap would be nice.

MATT: You feel a hand grasp your other hand. You look over to the opposite side of Jester, and looking directly into your eyes, tears now drying against his cheeks in the heated interior of this chamber, Yeza goes, "Thank you. I don't think I can ever express my gratitude."

TALIESIN: It's all in a day's work. It's worth or everything and more. Oh, I'm tired. (coughs)

MATT: He squeezes your hand and nods.

TALIESIN: You've got-- you've-- It's all good.

MATT: Wipes the snot from his nose and goes and joins you, just putting his arms around both you and Luc and just all three of you sit there and hold each other.

SAM: Are you hurt, too?

MATT: "I-- I'm okay."

SAM: That was unexpected.

MATT: "Yeah."

SAM: And horrible. Um. I... Wow, I-I-I don't know what to say other than I'm so happy that you're okay. Both of you.

MATT: "Me, too." And he puts his fingers through Luc's hair. "Whoever these people are that are putting us through this." He looks over at the rest of you and goes, "This is the Assembly again, isn't it?"

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: "They've been a shadow over this family for too long." He reaches out and takes the necklace he's holding. Takes Luc's head and holds it there, and you can see Luc-- the brave face is fading a bit and he's just leaning into the proximity and the comfort as he processes what he's been through. As Yeza clutches the necklace and looks at you and says, "These-- Once we're out of whatever this hellscape is, these will keep us safe from them, right?"

SAM: Yes. Once we get out of here, they can't see us anymore or follow us.

MATT: "Will you make them pay for this?"

SAM: They'll pay.

MATT: "Good. I love you."

SAM: I love you, too. And Luc, as much ice cream as you want as soon as we're free and clear.

MATT: (as Yeza) "Yeah."

SAM: Like, all of it until you throw up and then we'll just get you more.

MATT: You can see Luc, his eyes were closed, head against your sternum and immediately, "Really!"

SAM: Yeah, yeah. Any flavor.

MATT: He looks to Yeza waiting for the father to weigh in and Yeza goes, "Yeah, sure. You've got to not hold yourself back from enjoying the moments."

SAM: Mm-hmm.

MATT: "Right?" And Luc nods. "Right. Did you get them?"

SAM: Oh yeah, we did. Yeah. Whatever that thing was, it's gone.

MATT: "I knew you would." And he just starts crying.

SAM: Me, too.

LIAM: I think during all of those low conversations in this quiet cavern, Caleb would be feeling pretty fucking shameful, particularly after hearing most of that and has already wandered to the entrance to this chamber and sends Frumpkin off about 90 feet down, just to listen for me. And he just goes about putting the dome up in the mouth of the tunnel to make the cork that he started earlier.

MATT: Okay. It seems like you're in a somewhat safe space now that whatever was the guardian of the sanctum is no longer a threat. You can take the time to rest and go about any other business or conversation you'd like while you await your time-stretched allies to return from their venture.

TALIESIN: Who's hurt bad?

LAURA: I'm hurt pretty bad.

SAM: You're not on fire anymore, right?

LAURA: I put my feet out, but a couple of my toes are gone.

TALIESIN: Veth, how are you doing?

SAM: You already healed me pretty well.

TALIESIN: Okay. I'm going to-- One, two, three, four, five, six. Okay, so I'm just going to sit and just start casting Prayer of Healing after Prayer of Healing for the next, I'm just going to meditate and slowly everybody's going to get a little better.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: 20 for the first round. Everyone gets 20 heals, 20 points, including all the NPCs. Except Veth.

LAURA: What's an NPC?

LIAM: What was the total on that?

TALIESIN: Normal people communicating. 20. And then the next round is 13.

LAURA: After Caleb finishes the dome--

TALIESIN: I'll keep doing this for a bit.

LAURA: I'm going to go over to Caleb. You should rest.

LIAM: Oh. Yeah. Before that, would you help me with something?

LAURA: Of course.

LIAM: And he pulls out the collar that he's been working on privately. I have been tinkering with this for quite some time and I'm having trouble with it. It might need more than one set of hands. Every time I try to insert this, I mess it up. If I hold the collar itself, would you try to get it into-- the casing is here and there was a ridge along the edge, but you have to be very careful with that because it could shatter and I only have one. And I need this so that-- Anyway.

LAURA: So that what? This looks like a collar you put around someone's neck.

LIAM: It is.

LAURA: So who do you plan on putting this collar on?

LIAM: My old teacher.

LAURA: Wow. That would be really cool. I don't know if it's really his style, but...

LIAM: It will be soon. I can't let what happened in here be for nothing. It's time for him to be silenced.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: So I will hold it, and if you could try to-- Careful.

LAURA: I guess I will try to put it in.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Can I cast Guidance on myself as I'm trying to do this?

MATT: You can. Go ahead and attempt a dexterity check.

LAURA: (high-pitched scared noises)

LIAM: Wait, wait, wait. Set it down, set it down. Okay. I pull out one of the pearls that I purchased in Rexxentrum and I place it against your forehead and my free hand begins to trace geometric patterns around it. And you see those in your mind. Okay. Now we try.

LAURA: Okay. Which one? (chuckles) That's pretty good. That first one was better. I'm looking for my fours! Dexterity? 23.

MATT: Now, you've worked quite a bit on this device and it's confounded you in certain places, but you've eventually managed to maneuver past some of these challenges.

LAURA: Ooh, and I can use my jeweler's-- I don't have jeweler's tools. (laughs) (laughter)

LIAM: As you were.

LAURA: Cool.

MATT: If you had them, you could've!

LAURA: I could've!

MATT: But the placement is so sensitive in this without breaking it, and there's times you've gotten close, but you've not trusted yourself and you've pulled away. It's been this constant struggle of you've got one shot at this. As you carefully look inside, your painterly touch, the artistic dexterity that you've relied on for most of your life comes in extremely handy as you expertly place this red gem into the gap. As it slides into place, you maneuver it to connect all the various converging lines of arcane channeling. And as it does, the red gem (pulse) begins to glow red. As it does, you watch as these tiny little bits of dull filigree along the outer rim of this claw begin to glow that same red color, and it hums faintly with arcane energy.

LAURA: Is it supposed to do that? Is that good?

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Go, team! (giggling)

LIAM: Thank you.

LAURA: Of course, yeah.

LIAM: I am going to need more time with it.

LAURA: Now you just have to convince him to put it on!

LIAM: It's like the tenth time that I've tried to do that, thank you.

LAURA: You're welcome.

LIAM: Thank you.

LAURA: Don't blame yourself for any of this. I know it's kind of what you're prone to do, Caleb, but this is on all of us. We're a family now. This is what we do. And we're going to make it better.

LIAM: Reaches his hand out and just sort of squeezes the back of her hand on the ground. Yeah, I'll keep trying to remind myself of that.

LAURA: Get some sleep. Your dome only stays up for a few hours. Take advantage of it.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: At this point you hear the footsteps approach of Marion Lavorre, who's been on the periphery, listening to part of this and goes, "I've been around a bit longer than most of you really. And I've met many people. Some good, some very bad. If there's one thing I've come to know, the good people are easy to be misled to think they're at fault for the things that bad people used to victimize them. It's how they stay in power. If they convince us that we are responsible for every terrible thing that comes upon us, they're absolved. Blame's a tricky thing. And sure, we all have our own guilts that we keep. The gods know I have mine. But I've been told enough times in my life that I am responsible for the bad things that befall me. It's taken me this long to know that that's not true."

LIAM: Caleb bites his tongue and doesn't try to explain or reason away or sidestep. and just listens, which is something for him.

MATT: "We're here now together because you all kept us safe. And if you hadn't done this, who knows how much worse it could have been. So don't forget to focus on the good things you do." She puts her hands on your shoulders, Jester, and gives a little squeeze and leans against you. "This is much more comfortable space to be sitting. Do you mind if we all move into this dome?"

LIAM: Yes, please.

MATT: "Of course. (whistles)"

LIAM: It is hot.

MATT: She gives a notification and eventually all of you meander over to the dome. Because for each hour spent in this space there are progressive constitutional roles to be had, but within the dome you don't have to worry about.

SAM: Oh wow!

TALIESIN: 37 more hit points to everyone involved as well.

TRAVIS: Penalty spent in this place, which is the--

MATT: You can roll an arcana check if you'd like to. Anybody can roll and arcana check to see if they can figure out where you are.

TALIESIN: I'll take that bet.

LIAM: I gotchu, boo. 30. (laughs)

LAURA: Not as good as my seven, but I guess it'll do.

TALIESIN: It'll do.

MATT: Between the two of you. Based on the topography that was explained beyond this space, the creatures, and if you thumb through, if you want to thumb through more of the book there's more information in there, but you got that this is probably the Elemental Plane of Fire.

LIAM: He will spend 20 minutes finally returning to that.

MATT: Okay. Roll an investigation check.

LIAM: He'll Comprehend Languages. 10 minutes later. Guidance. And it was what kind of check?

MATT: Investigation.

LIAM: Oh, okay. Well, good thing investigation is high. 20.

MATT: 20. Okay. You fall along the same lines that Jester had uncovered before. Spending more time with it, you do finally find a signature of the writer, and it says Planerider Ryn.

LIAM: Ryn?

LAURA: Planerider? That's so cool!

TRAVIS: Why does it sound familiar, though?

MATT: And a symbol not unlike the emblem that was encased in glass alongside the scroll that sent you here. Like an oblong, pointed oval with an eye in the center of it.

MARISHA: Ryn.

ASHLEY: Ryn?

MATT: Ryn. R-Y-N.

MARISHA: R-Y-N.

LAURA: I got the Y correct.

MARISHA: I spelled it W-R-E-N. Super wrong.

ASHLEY: Well, I spelled it R-I-N, so I think I was way off. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Planerider Ryan? (laughter)

TALIESIN: Sounds like an off-brand Silver Surfer.

MATT: In your reading... It's interesting, the book's scattered, a lot of it's just pontification and has a sense of wonder, a sense of curiosity. This person-- it reads very much like a science nerd really into their trade. And you can't help but get excited along with them to a certain degree.

LIAM: He's theorizing about possible disaster, right? Wasn't that what you went on?

MATT: Possible change that could spell disaster or balance? Who knows?

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: Not unlike the-- For instance, an example theory of the magnetic poles suddenly flipping earth. There's some sort of something strange and you do pick up some of the odd reading that eludes, as they note, "I continue to find an aberration in my data pertaining to Exandria. A cyclical, months long, slow surge in low-level magical interference that then recedes just as slowly. Something that tangles my readings and upsets my analysis. It is too faint to identify the arcane nature at source, but I worry if this pertains to the shifting between the veils. Could be something very interesting. Something very frightening. Very wonderful. More tests are required." But these are just musings of an individual. So you have time to rest within this sanctum.

LAURA: I'm going to make sure the Happy Fun Ball is in a nice safe place so that if they come out of it, they're not going to bamf into lava.

MATT: Good call, good call. All right.

TRAVIS: Hey, we're here-- (screaming) (laughter)

TRAVIS: (quiet screaming)

LIAM: I would summon Frumpkin and send Frumpkin to Luc to purr like crazy and just cuddle up. And then if we are sleeping, if we're resting, then I would curve away from the group with my back towards the side of the dome to "go to sleep", but I would actually tinker with and examine the collar for probably an hour, examining it and trying to get my brain wrapped around it further. And then pass out.

MATT: Okay. You all taking a long rest?

LAURA: I'm going to schnuggle with my mama.

MATT: Okay. She happily accepts. And Luc thoroughly enjoys the cat play.

LAURA: Give me the sleep!

MATT: As everyone's going to bed and going to sleep, Yeza curling up next to you, just Luc is sleeping between the two of you, once it's quiet, just says, "Are you all right?"

SAM: Me? I'm fine. No, I'm not. I mean, this is the worst thing that could've ever happened. And I did it. It's-- You know, I-- These people are wonderful. I feel like they're my family, too, you know? But it also feels like if I try to keep one family safe, I'm endangering the other. I don't know what to do about that.

MATT: "We only talked in kind of vague platitudes because I trust, but what is it that all of you are doing next? What's the big thing that you can do and then stop? You keep talking about stopping and coming home. What's the line?"

SAM: There's a force that's coming. Coming from some other place to... We don't know what it's going to do. It could affect the world. We've been trying to stop it, but, I mean, we've made a lot of enemies as we've gone.

SAM: And some allies too, but there's just no balance. There's no way to protect the Empire, but also make sure that the Dynasty is okay. And there's no way to guard against this oncoming force while still--

MATT: (sighs)

SAM: -- making sure that the people that we love are safe. There's no way to do it all. We can't; we can't do everything.

MATT: "You can't, nobody can. Don't put all that responsibility on your shoulders."

SAM: Right, well, we didn't mean to. We started this whole thing just trying to find our place in the world, you know? Where we fit into it all. All of us were just trying to find a way home, and now we've been dragged into this story that's not ours, but it is.

MATT: "But it is, though. Terrible things have happened to many people, us included, but you still found your way back to us. You went across battlefields and saved me from gods knows what sort of interrogations awaited me and worse, if you hadn't spoken in my favor. We found a new home. I mean, look at you, I can't express how proud of you I am."

SAM: I just killed our son.

MATT: "You did not. That thing did, and you stopped it from killing anybody else. Then your friends saved his life. There are many circumstances that you just said that are beyond your control, and you feel like it's other people's story, yet you take the blame for all the bad things that happen throughout it? That's unfair to you. That's unfair to everybody. Are you trying to do what you think is best?"

SAM: Of course.

MATT: "Then what else is there to do? This force you're talking about, is it a danger to me, to Luc, to us?"

SAM: Yes.

MATT: "Do you think you and your friends can stop it?"

SAM: No.

MATT: "Do you think anybody else can?"

SAM: No. I think someone has to try.

MATT: "Do you think they can do it without you?"

SAM: I can't save-- I can't be in both places at the same time.

MATT: "I know. But if stopping this is protecting us and you might all be the only chance all of us have, then there is no other choice." You just have to make sure you come back when it's over. Maybe then that'll be it."

SAM: Maybe, or maybe I won't come home. Part of me just thinks that maybe I should keep you safe, as safe as I can. And even if it means they have a harder time of it, it's worth it. We don't have to discuss this now, we don't have to decide. Maybe it'll go away. All I know is we made it through this day and as long as we've been-- as long as I've been with these people, it's been our number one goal is just make it through the day. And we did, one more time. So we'll wake up again tomorrow and see what new shit happens, deal with it, and try to go to sleep again tomorrow night. I'm so sorry to drag you into this. I'm so happy that you're alive.

MATT: "Veth, I'm sorry I dragged you into this. You can't carry the weight of being the protagonist but then make the admission that so much of the story is beyond your control. You didn't get involved in a war because you believed in one side or the other, You got involved because I got involved. Because I worked with the Assembly. So if anyone's going to carry that weight, let us share it. Okay?"

SAM: Okay.

MATT: "Whatever you want to do."

SAM: We'll decide together.

MATT: "We decide together. Okay?"

SAM: Okay.

MATT: "Love you."

SAM: I love you.

MATT: Curls up until eventually, him-- Luc's been asleep, a little restless, but eventually finds himself to rest. You all find a night's sleep.

LAURA: A little restless because I am pretty worried about the three that have not returned.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

SAM: Would you ask the ball? See if they can hear you.

LAURA: I'm just going to, oh, I can't, it's got to be somewhere safe. The ball's got to be somewhere safe.

SAM: Just shake it. (laughter)

TRAVIS: (clattering)

MATT: It's been roughly, we'll say through the full night's rest, six to eight hours rest, it's been about nine hours and they haven't returned.

LAURA: So we wake up and they're still not here?

MATT: You wake up and they still haven't returned.

LIAM: Caleb will just throw up another dome as soon as the first one was done. This is our home base.

SAM: We're just waiting here?

LIAM: Yes.

LAURA: We have to.

LIAM: Yeah, we're not going out there, there's probably more--

SAM: Not going out there, but can't you teleport us back?

LIAM: Oh, we can go home. Yes, yes, yes.

SAM: Yes, take the ball, go home.

TRAVIS: It's really nice where you guys are. (laughs)

TALIESIN: Where are we going to go?

LAURA: We're going to go to Zadash.

MARISHA: I always wanted to go to the Plane of Fire.

LIAM: Guys, we're in the dome forever.

LAURA: That's where my dad is.

TALIESIN: It's what?

LAURA: It's where my dad is. That's where we've got to leave.

SAM: Zadash, Zadash, Zadash.

TALIESIN: Zadash? Zadash.

SAM: Do you want to steal any books before we go?

TALIESIN: I honestly would say take them.

LIAM: I'm good, I'm full up. Thank you.

TALIESIN: How's your foot?

LAURA: Oh, I've still got only eight toes.

TALIESIN: How bad is it?

SAM: Do tieflings have 10 normally?

MATT: It's fairly healed. The magic helped tremendously, but there will be some lasting damage. Not enough to impact your balance too badly.

LAURA: Yeah, it's fine. They're little nubbins.

TALIESIN: We'll take care of that a little later.

LIAM: Yeah, if we are all alive in a few weeks and have some time to breathe, you and I will go and get some clay and we'll fix your toes right up.

LAURA: You'll make me some new magic toes!

LIAM: Yes, magic toes.

TALIESIN: I can do that if we get a good night's sleep. If nothing happens tomorrow, I can also just make that happen.

SAM: Wait, no, she can paint herself toes.

LAURA: I can't paint living things, so they'd be dead toes on me.

SAM: That would be kind of cool.

TALIESIN: (uncertain noise)

LAURA: It could be neat.

TALIESIN: I don't know.

SAM: Porcelain toes.

LAURA: I can make them fun shapes.

SAM: You can have one really long toe. (laughter) That looks like a dick.

LAURA: Yeah! I don't know if I want a dick on my foot.

LIAM: You could be a Bond villain.

MATT: So what's the plan?

SAM: Pack a toe.

LAURA: We're going to--

LIAM: Get the hell out of here.

LAURA: Go to Zadash?

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: I'm going to grab the Happy Fun Ball and hold on to it. Gee whiz, what if they pop out while we're teleporting? What do you think will happen? The odds are pretty slim. Be an interesting twist.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Ever seen "The Fly"? (laughter)

ASHLEY: Yes.

LAURA: I guess-- well, that's a weird time travel thing. How would that work?

SAM: Only one way to find out.

LAURA: I could try sending them a message. Technically it works across planes. But we've already been with them and they didn't get a message. How does that work, Matthew?

TRAVIS: So if you'd sent the message and it was like, (fast gibberish) (laughter)

LIAM: All you would hear is (squeaks).

TALIESIN: Might be like when your cell phone comes back into service and it's just (pinging).

LAURA: Yeah, that's weird. I would try. I don't have the knowledge that we already saw them. I would try to message Fjord.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

LAURA: Fjord, are you guys okay? Did you make it through that first room and the second room? Are you in the dragon room? What's taking so long? We're here. We almost--

SAM: 25 words.

MATT: As you are standing there with Yasha and Beauregard with the golem looming behind you about to break out of its stun, and your hands, you're all agreeing to go ahead and place your hand down onto the glowing crystal. You hear this at super speed in your head. (fast gibberish)

TRAVIS: Uh-- (clears throat)

ASHLEY: Are you okay? Do you need a tissue?

TRAVIS: We got to go!

MATT: You hear (slowed-down) "We got to go!" (laughter)

TRAVIS: (drawn-out, inaudible words)

MATT: Passion of the scout.

TALIESIN: All these poor people have no idea what's going on right now.

MATT: I know, beautiful.

MARISHA: That's a deep inside joke.

TRAVIS: (drawn-out, inaudible words)

MATT: All right. So you do hear that back and forth.

LAURA: What happened?

MATT: You heard that.

LAURA: That's what I heard? They are being tortured. (laughter)

SAM: Oh no!

LIAM: They're dying, R2! (laughter)

SAM: Oh no!

LAURA: I don't know what to do.

SAM: Should we go in after them?

LAURA: I don't know.

SAM: Caleb?

LIAM: Well, I-- (sighs) I think we should get out of here.

SAM: Yes, yes, yes, yes, let's get out of here first.

LAURA: I'm so afraid because I know where they actually are. What if they bamf out while we're teleporting? I'm so scared.

LIAM: We'll be quicker and leaner without them. A brand new fighting force.

LAURA: Oh no!

MARISHA: Like throwing a Slurpee out a car window, just--

TRAVIS: Oh my god! Holy shit! (laughter)

TRAVIS: (screaming)

LIAM: Eight billion tiny beads of liquid.

TRAVIS: How did you get to that imagery so fast?

MARISHA: I don't know.

TRAVIS: What the fuck is wrong with you? Oh my god!

SAM: It's definitely something she's done. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Oh man. Wow.

MATT: So what's going on?

LAURA: Are we going? Are we staying?

SAM: We have to get out of here. Let's get out of here.

LIAM: Yeah, we should go.

SAM: It'll only take a moment.

LIAM: Is the scroll that we have, was a one-time thing to get here?

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: You're Plane Shifting us.

LAURA: I am?!

LIAM: Yeah, you are.

LAURA: You can't just teleport us?

TRAVIS: (laughs)

LIAM: Teleport does not go across the planes.

SAM: You know how?

LIAM: That's what Dimension--

LAURA: I mean, yeah, I got to prepare it. It's still morning, I would have known that.

LIAM: We're all groggy.

MATT: This would have been probably a conversation before you left, I'll allow it.

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay.

MATT: You did have a rod attuned to Exandria.

LAURA: Yes.

LIAM: Yes.

MATT: Choose a location of preference.

TALIESIN: Does it burn the rod, or does it not burn the rod?

MATT: It does not burn the rod.

LAURA: I choose my dad's room.

SAM: Oh.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Like his bedroom?

LAURA: Yeah, why not?

LIAM: I love that you and I were both waiting for the other one to do it. And we're like, "You going to go? You going to go, you going to go, you going to go?"

LAURA: I thought like, why are we taking so long?

MATT: Weirdest game of magic chicken I've ever seen. Okay.

LAURA: My bad. (laughs)

MATT: Let me just double check. Okay, it can't be quite that specific.

LAURA: Oh, (laughs) okay.

MATT: You can say, like, Zadash or if you said the Evening Nip, maybe?

LAURA: The Evening Nip, maybe.

MATT: Okay, there you go. So as you gather up your troop and begin your incantation, clutching the rod that is attuned to Exandria.

LAURA: Let me just-- can we just double check?

SAM: That you have the rod?

LAURA: No, no, no, no, we have that.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: That's fine, but-- You and eight willing creatures.

MARISHA: Right, so realistically you need to go.

SAM: Oh yeah, no, we're good.

LAURA: No, no, yeah, we're fine.

MATT: As long as nobody comes out of the ball.

LAURA: Yeah, that's right, we've got to go now. (overlapping voices)

MATT: They are--

LAURA: -- about to go. We've got to go now.

LIAM: You broke the door.

SAM: Let's go, let's go, let's go!

TRAVIS: Go!

LAURA: Okay, let's go.

MATT: Okay, so, you doing it?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: Why'd he roll?

TALIESIN: Because we took too long.

TRAVIS: We're going to get left there.

MARISHA: Holy shit.

MATT: (laughs)

MATT: As you focus on your friends, concentrate on the rod, concentrate on Exandria, concentrate on the Evening Nip. Think of your father, think of the Zadash, the streets. There is this sudden gathering of green cloth that encircles you like a curtain. And as it spins around and then unfurls, you here (as Artagan) "Ta da!" (laughter)

MATT: And you are standing in an alleyway on the streets of Zadash in the middle of a rainy morning. Glancing about, you take a moment and then you understand you're a few blocks away from the Evening Nip. Not too-- (metal clanging) a flash of light, a heavy metal sound and then Yasha, Beauregard, and Fjord all arrive.

TALIESIN: Well, that could have gone poorly.

ASHLEY: Oh my god, you guys.

TRAVIS: Shut the ball, shut the ball, shut it! Can you shut it?

SAM: You can turn it off? How do you, what?

TRAVIS: (frantic babbling) Is it shut?

LAURA: Can you shut it?

MARISHA: We don't want it to come after us!

SAM: It? What?

MARISHA: Clay meanie.

TRAVIS: There was a golem, we touched a book in the library and of course a fucking golem came out after it, Beau!

MARISHA: (indignant sputtering) We tried, we tried--

TALIESIN: Do you have the haversack or something?

MARISHA: We all agreed to look at the books!

ASHLEY: We did, we all looked at the books for Caleb.

MATT: You do know the stun has faded at this point?

MARISHA: Huh?

MATT: You do know that the stun has faded at this point?

MARISHA: Yeah, stun will have faded. Yeah.

LAURA: Can we close the ball?

SAM: Can it follow you?

MARISHA: It followed us through the stained glass window, so.

LIAM: Can Happy Fun fit in the haversack or is it too big?

MATT: It's a bit big for that, unfortunately.

SAM: Wait, if it comes out in the haversack it will explode the haversack!

LAURA: Close the ball.

LIAM: (high-pitched beeping sound)

MATT: Okay, make an intelligence check for me.

ASHLEY: (laughs)

TRAVIS: (alarm noises)

LIAM: Viper armed.

LAURA: Guidance. (laughter)

LIAM: You said it before it went down. Intelligence check?

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: 15.

MATT: 15, okay. You just offset one of the slight elements of the outside disc and as it does, you watch as two outer shell portion's rims (whirring). You watch as the surface of it suddenly jumbles itself like a multi-faceted Rubik's cube, it like (whirring) rearranges itself into this odd shape before fitting back into a sphere. Not looking like any of the previous arrangements that you saw on it previously.

TRAVIS: Good. Oh, the rod took you to Rexxentrum, that's nice.

ASHLEY: Boy, we have had a time. My goodness.

SAM: Are you okay?

LIAM: Went pretty smoothly for us.

MARISHA: Really?

TALIESIN: No.

LIAM: No.

TRAVIS: Forgot we didn't have anybody that could pick locks. That was the hardest part.

TALIESIN: Aw, I knew--

LAURA: That's what took you so long.

MARISHA: Yasha ended up beating down a door.

TRAVIS: Beast mode.

TALIESIN: You can do that?

MARISHA: But then that meant that we ejected the pod and then one hallway tore off.

MATT: By the way, you can cross out that connection on the map, by the way, between those two chambers.

SAM: Oh no.

LAURA: It's gone-skies.

TRAVIS: Which one? The one with the tapestry and the study?

MATT: Yep.

LIAM: -- entry room to, yeah.

LAURA: So if you bamf into that entry room now you could be stuck there forever. because you won't be able to get out.

MATT: There's possibly, based on the map, another way.

LAURA: Oh right, other doors.

ASHLEY: My bad.

MATT: It's just many other steps.

TRAVIS: That was all we had left.

MATT: I mean, got you where you needed to go.

TALIESIN: It worked.

MATT: It's at this point, Caduceus, you notice at the end of the hallway, on the edge of the road where it enters the main street. You see like an 11-year-old kid wearing this little hood, scarf element there, who's just standing there holding a basket, going--

TALIESIN: I turn human.

MATT: "(gasps)" And he just runs.

SAM: No witnesses! (laughter)

LIAM: (fire roaring)

LIAM: I'll take my coat off and cover up the Happy Fun Ball. I need a private place so I can put this into the Vault of Amber.

LAURA: How big is it? Would it fit in the haversack?

MATT: It's about that large.

LAURA: So no.

MATT: It's like a large basketball.

MARISHA: Looks like we're-- Zadash?

LAURA: Let's get down to my father's--

TALIESIN: Let's just get inside and take care of it.

LAURA: We're really close to the Nip.

LIAM: All right.

MARISHA: Yeah, probably a good call to not send the families in there, by the way.

SAM: Could have been bad for them?

ASHLEY: Oof!

TRAVIS: Yeah, boy.

ASHLEY: I mean, we just could have gotten lost.

MARISHA: We sort of triggered this clay golem.

TRAVIS: Somebody could have gotten hurt.

MARISHA: It wasn't too bad. We were able to actually--

MATT: (as Luc) "I died."

ASHLEY: Hmm?

MATT: And Yeza goes like, "Shh."

TALIESIN: That happened.

SAM: Sort of a family tradition now.

TRAVIS: Is that an expression in your family?

SAM: No.

LAURA: He died.

SAM: But Caduceus saved him.

TALIESIN: I still have pain, right-- It was a lot. But it was good.

LAURA: I'll just go up and start massaging the back of Caduceus' neck.

TALIESIN: Oh man, I'm going to kneel down for that, okay.

MARISHA: Where did the tuning fork take you?

SAM: To this very fiery place and it was horrible and we barely escaped with our lives. But we're all together again. So it's good.

TRAVIS: Oh.

TALIESIN: We took the notebooks, right?

SAM: No?

LAURA: No, we did.

SAM: One, all, some?

LAURA: Oh wait, no, we didn't.

SAM: No, I don't think we did.

TALIESIN: I thought we had a discussion about taking the notebooks.

LAURA: And he said he left it.

MARISHA: He said he didn't want them.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Ah, all right.

LAURA: Well, we took the one.

TALIESIN: All right.

SAM: Did you take the one?

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Everyone knows, if you see books in a room, you always take them.

ASHLEY: Well, that's what--

TRAVIS: (hesitated babbling)

SAM: To the Nip!

TRAVIS: To the Nip!

LIAM: It's like the old saying, I killed my whole family, I threw them under a bridge.

TRAVIS: Is that the saying?

MARISHA: That's classic. Ooh, it's been a while since I heard that.

TRAVIS: To the Leaky Nip!

MATT: As you guys go walking, Luc comes over and grabs Caduceus' pinky and just walks along side, holding your pinky, and looks up at you, just goes like, "You're really cool."

TALIESIN: You smell like farts. (laughter)

MATT: You swear, you hear a little (high-pitched fart).

MARISHA: A little halfling toot.

LIAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: It's higher pitched.

LIAM: Hummingbird.

ASHLEY: It's like a little bit of air coming out of a balloon.

MATT: You walk for a little bit before you stop and look back and you see back in the alleyway. Marion's (heavy breathing).

LAURA: Mama. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.

SAM: Oh yes, oh.

MATT: "(hesitant stammering)"

ASHLEY: We're the worst.

LAURA: Oh, here. Fjord.

TRAVIS: Yes?

LAURA: Help Mama.

TRAVIS: Yeah, of course, Marion, please come take my hand.

LAURA: I'm going to go off by myself for just a moment.

TRAVIS: Come with me. It'll be fine.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

MARISHA: Come on, Fjord.

TRAVIS: Ooh, 18 plus--

SAM: Natural one.

TRAVIS: -- a lot. Scroll up, you bastard. 23.

MATT: She looks at you. "(breathless) Well, if you insist."

LAURA: Don't flirt with him, Mama.

TRAVIS: Jester, what?

LAURA: Nothing. (laughter)

MATT: She takes a deep breath--

SAM: ♪ Jester's mom-- ♪

MATT: -- and closes her eyes,

SAM: ♪ -- has got it going on. ♪ squeezes your hand and begins to slowly walk along with you and trying to control her breath and slowly you guide her outside of the alleyway into the open cobblestone streets of Zadash. And she's holding her eyes closed tight and just letting you guide her.

LAURA: I'm going to fall back behind them and watch and make sure she's doing okay, but I'm going to send a message to my dad.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Who I never checked with to make sure any of this was okay.

TRAVIS: When do you ever?

LAURA: Yeah, well.

LIAM: We're coming over. Could be there soon.

LAURA: Hey, dad. Crazy stuff happened. So Mama and Veth's family are going to come stay with you for a while. Super important they need to be kept safe. Help.

MATT: There's a pause and eventually you're worried maybe he didn't hear it. Then you get a response. "Oh. Boy. Well-- (sighs)" And that's it. (laughter)

MATT: As you all make your way to the entrance to the Evening Nip, you enter the familiar shaded interior. As you lead Marion to the door, she puts her hand up and touches it and "(breathes deeply)." At which point she turns around and opens her eyes finally to look at the surrounding buildings and the walls and the people in the streets and she just goes, "Wow. I've never been here. Thank you."

TRAVIS: Your daughter's been to some incredible places.

MATT: "(sighs) (sigh of relief) (sigh of wonder)"

LAURA: I'll come up on the other side and hold her hand as we go in. It's going to be quite an adventure.

MATT: And you see her nerves have shifted. At once time, it was a oncoming panic attack has now transitioned into a nervous butterflies meets jumble of emotions as you approach. And you see the familiar head of the-- "(grunts)" Can I help you?"

TRAVIS: Oh yeah, what's the--?

LIAM: Password.

MARISHA: We come bearing gifts.

SAM: Or we come with great gifts or something like that. Many gifts, many gifts.

MATT: "You've got to work on that."

MARISHA: We offer many gifts?

SAM: Yeah, something like that. We've been here, like, six times.

LAURA: Come on.

MATT: "I will cut you." (laughter)

MATT: Turning to the trap door, you descend the stairs where you hear conversation shifting, the familiar (creak) of wood scraping across ground and furniture being shifted. There's a big hustle and bustle. And as you step down, you can see a bunch of people are in the process of cleaning and arranging things. As you see the back of The Gentleman, he turns around and goes-- "(nervous, breathy chuckle)" Trains his eyes immediately on Marion. "Welcome." That's where we'll finish the night's game. (groaning)

MARISHA: Oh my goodness.

TRAVIS: (claps, laughs) No, you didn't! (laughter)

ASHLEY: "Parent Trap"!

MARISHA: "Parent Trap"!

MATT: You totally Parent Trapped them, I can't believe this shit. (laughter)

LIAM: So anyway the world's ending, you got to have her in. Da-da da, da-da da!

MATT: ♪ Complicated weave of things. ♪

MARISHA: Oh my goodness gracious, what an episode.

TALIESIN: That was rough.

ASHLEY: Oh god.

MATT: That was rough. I'm so sorry.

LIAM: God, all the last game, I was like, this game is not letting up. Whew, we made it, let's get to the other side. (impact sound)

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: That was all same day, right?

LIAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: Yes!

SAM: We've been playing this day for three episodes.

MATT: You've had two very long days nearly back to back.

MARISHA: Wow.

LAURA: And you guys didn't get to sleep.

MATT: No, you have not rested.

TRAVIS: Don't need it.

MARISHA: Yeah, still actually doing okay.

TALIESIN: Actually, yeah. I was going to say, because it's still the same day, so they're fine.

MATT: Honestly, if there was a side of the group to not get a full night's rest, you three are probably the best choices.

MARISHA: Still our team, yeah.

TALIESIN: They're actually not going to suffer any consequences for several hours because they didn't--

MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Wow, time travel's weird.

MATT: Yeah, it is. Why did I put that in there?

ASHLEY: That was rough.

TALIESIN: I can't believe that worked.

SAM: Thank you, guys. Thank you three for being silent spectators for two and a half hours tonight.

MATT: Yeah, thank you for being patient.

MARISHA: We had an hour long date, it's fine. It all balances out.

SAM: I think we owe Travis his own solo episode at this point.

TRAVIS: What?

MATT: Want to go shopping for three hours, Travis?

TRAVIS: No.

MATT: (cackles)

TRAVIS: Apparently not any good at that, either. (laughter)

TALIESIN: You're going to get your own cat familiar.

MATT: Well, we've had some great Fjord spotlights, and maybe more for everyone as we go forward. So they're fun.

MARISHA: Quest for Vandran! Regardless.

TRAVIS: We got to go to that dude's place.

LAURA: Yes, yes.

SAM: Oh jesus!

LIAM: That's next, yeah.

MARISHA: You can't say that we're not productive in a day.

TALIESIN: A lot got done.

MARISHA: We get a lot done.

SAM: A side quest on aside quest on a side quest.

TALIESIN: Just stacking.

TRAVIS: We don't make it easy on ourselves.

MATT: No, you do not. (laughter) No, you do not.

TRAVIS: We'll sneak in and (crunch) (explosion) (scared yelling, explosions) (laughter)

MARISHA: It's okay, we just got to bamf out of here. (poofing)

ASHLEY: Oh god.

MATT: Oh boy. But that's why I love this game. All righty, well, have a wonderful night. We love you all very much. Thank you for joining us, and is it Thursday yet? Good night.

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