List of Transcripts


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

TRAVIS: (hollering) We play Dungeons & Dragons!

MATT: Before we get into tonight's episode, we have to figure out why Sam is the way he is. One of our two fantastic sponsors tonight, the first of which is our returning friends at D&D Beyond. Sam?

TRAVIS: ♪ D&D Beyond ♪

SAM: Do not use my... (rock music) Oh, thank you. Do not use my common name. Among my coven, I am known as the Web Weaver.

LAURA: Oh god.

SAM: Hail Zariel! And also hail D&D Beyond for sponsoring this hellish episode of Critical Role. Our world is a pit of corruption and false idols. Right, now we take the left-hand path, walking sky-clad amid a cesspool of depravity, and also right now, D&D Beyond is promoting their collaboration with-- (laughter) D&D Beyond is promoting their collaboration with Beedle & Grimm-- (laughter) (wet air sucking) Ah! Stop looking at me. (laughter) with their exclusive platinum edition box set of Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. Oh. My. Goth. I would legit love this demonic box set, but my emotional soul is a desolate landscape of pain. Only the Nine Hells can warm this cold, dead heart. That being said, the box does include full-scale battle maps, items for in-game use, like jewelry and handouts, exclusive encounter cards, and something that even the infernal gol-- gald-- fuck. (laughter) Even the infernal god Baal would covet, a D&D Beyond download code. The wheel turns! The rapture may cleanse humanity at any moment! (laughter) But if it takes a week or two, then go ahead and use code GBeyondHell at D&D-- (spitting) at to get 10% off your order. The meek shall be consecrated! Praise Beelzebub! Praise Mephistopheles! And praise D&D Beyond. Ooh.

TRAVIS: Holy--

SAM: I've never met or talked to a goth person. I don't know how they act or anything--


TRAVIS: You've got one right--

SAM: But he's normal, he's normal, I don't know, like, how a real goth person--


SAM: I mean--

TALIESIN: I mean, after this, I feel normal. Let me tell you, this was a dark mirror to stare into, this was a heavy mirror to stare into and I've got to reevaluate some things now.

SAM: I mean, I've never seen you in your goth persona.

TALIESIN: That's true.

SAM: So I don't know what you're like.

TALIESIN: I've definitely seen whoever this is at a couple clubs that I then immediately left.

LAURA: Why does your goth persona--

TALIESIN: I'm out.

LAURA: Your goth persona sounds like your surfer dude.


SAM: I really only do two voices, Laura. (laughter) I'm not, like-- You guys are all really talented voice actors, and I just do me and slightly younger me.


MATT: Thank you, Sam.

SAM: Sure.


MATT: And thank you, D&D Beyond.

TRAVIS: I'm sorry?

MATT: It's always, perpetually and eternally sorry. (clears throat) Our second sponsor tonight, our friends of the Deck of Many. You've seen them, they've done the official D&D cards previous years. They're now releasing, if you haven't seen, up to this point, their new animated spell collection, which is pretty badass. If you guys haven't seen it yet. They have a bunch of cards that are references up to level four, I think, of various spells in the game, but they have all the information, and they're lenticulars. They animate, yep. (Marisha stuttering) Yeah, they move, they're animated.

LAURA: Let me see one.

MATT: Got Banishment.


SAM: I spent a good hour with these cards and my kids today, and my kids flipped out.

MATT: Yeah, it's freaking cool. Yeah, so you got this is now available, which is awesome, which are the spell cards, and for those who ever want to be really great DMs and ruin their world, there's the Deck of Many Animated Things, which actually has all the Deck of Many Things cards that are also animated.

LIAM: And Travis.

MATT: There's the classic Void card that gave us our one-shot, or two-shot.

SAM: The void is like my heart and soul.

TALIESIN: Oh, that's pretty good.

MATT: Yeah.


SAM: I'm listening to Bauhaus right now.

MATT: There's The Fool. It's a little more of a Sam scenario. Anyway, this shit's really cool. These cards have all the relevant spell information you need to play on each of these, eight frames of animation on each of the cards. They have other reference decks, as I pointed out, which you can find at their store,, and you can use the code CRITICALROLE, one word, to get $5 off your order. So thank you guys for your support, and go check out the cool shit!

MARISHA: That's cool. Have it back.

TRAVIS: Great throw.

MATT: I'll get to that. Well, better than like (imitates impact). So I appreciate the undershot.

TRAVIS: (arrow vibrating)

MATT: Yeah. (laughs) It would be. Awesome, we have some other announcements to get through. In case you guys missed it, our latest episode of Between the Sheets recently aired, hosted by our fantastic Brian W. Foster, featuring our friend for a long time, and one of the people responsible for this whole show and channel, Felicia Day.

TRAVIS: Felicia Day!

MATT: It's now available on our YouTube channel, if you haven't had a chance to see it yet, so you can go ahead and check it out there. Also, a huge thanks to all the Critters that came out to Heroes Comic Con Sweden. I was there this past weekend in Stockholm, and it was amazing, I got to meet so many incredible-- you okay, Laura, you having a rough time?

LAURA: It's okay. I'm getting all the ones out before--

MATT: Oh, I gotcha, I was like bad experience in Sweden?

LAURA: No no no, sorry, I'm testing--

TRAVIS: It has nothing to do with anybody besides herself.

MATT: There you go.


SAM: Jesus!

MATT: Anyway, thank you all for coming out, I had a wonderful time at the convention, got to meet a bunch of fantastic Critters from all over Europe and beyond. But yeah, had a great time and thank you guys. We have an enormous programming schedule update coming next Wednesday, including brand new shows and a whole bunch of new Everything is Content specials, so keep an eye on that next Wednesday to have the announcements revealed before you.

MARISHA: (like Yoda) Content, we have!

MATT: Indeed. (laughter) So yeah, keep an eye on and our social media outlets for that information as it comes. Also, an important housekeeping update, we will not have a regular episode of Critical Role on Thursday, October 3rd, because we have enough people out of town that--

MARISHA: It's New York Comic Con.

MATT: Yeah, New York Comic Con.

MARISHA: Blame New York Comic Con.

MATT: Enough people out of town that we're just not going to be able to really do an episode properly.

TRAVIS: We'll be gone.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: However, that doesn't mean we're not going to do something. We'll do something pretty silly. A one-of-a-kind one-shot will be in place that Thursday, GMed by our very own Sam Riegel.

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: I'm the Web Weaver.


MATT: Fear not, there will be shenanigans here, and then I believe that should be probably the last upheaval to the Mighty Nein's story schedule for a while. I know the past month has been a little shaky. Sorry about that, but we're back in after that. This one-shot should be very interesting. Check out our programming announcement next Wednesday for the additional information on that as well. Laura, there's a quick announcement you have as well?

LAURA: Yes, I do have an announcement. (Matt laughing) Tonight is the final night for our Vex and Percy beautiful rings, yes, those rings, they'll be gone after tonight.

SAM: Wait, this is the last time you can order them period, this is it.

LAURA: This is it.

SAM: Oh shit.

LAURA: End of pre-order, yeah, so.

SAM: I need some more rings, so that would be good.

MATT: So there'll be no way of getting these rings after the fact?

LAURA: I'm going to find out.

MATT: Okay. I'm just curious.

TRAVIS: I don't think there will be, I think this is it.

LAURA: I feel like this is it.

MATT: Okay then, well then get your orders in.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Holy shit.

LAURA: I'll find out and I'll let you guys know before the night is out.

MATT: There you go.

LAURA: But the pre-orders end tonight.

MATT: There you go. Thank you, Laura.

LAURA: Shit, I suck at this.

TRAVIS: Looks good on you, Taliesin, by the way.

TALIESIN: Thank you, I feel good.

MARISHA: It does look great.

LAURA: Yeah, it really does.

MARISHA: Eye-catching.

LIAM: It's a handsome ring.

MATT: Hell yeah. Awesome, I believe that's the last of our announcements, so.

TRAVIS: Can we fork Sam's tongue before the game starts?

SAM: Hmm, does that hurt?

MATT: Not at all. You've got the length of our intro to do it, so, get the pliers. With that, let's go ahead and jump into tonight's episode of Critical Role.

(shouting) (water bubbling) (thunder rumbling) (explosion booming) ♪ Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Mighty Nein, Mighty Nein ♪ ♪ Roll the dice, 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 'cause 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 ♪ ♪ Roll the dice ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ 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 IEdit

MATT: And welcome back. So! Last we left off, get a little bit of music going there. Last we left--

LAURA: Oh wait.

MATT: Oh. Yes?

LAURA: The pre-orders.

SAM: You got information?

LAURA: I already know.

SAM: Well, what is it?

MATT: We'll get to it in a second, yes?

LAURA: They will be gone after pre-order closes. No way to get them after this, so.

MATT: (sighs) Well, then you better get in.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: All right. Last we left off, The Mighty Nein, after making friends with the Bright Queen, after finding their way across the entirety of Xhorhas, seeking some sort of strange demon entity named Obann, losing an ally to some sort of magic, and seeking the information about this Laughing Hand figure, you made your way back to Nicodranas to head northward back into the Empire, where all of this began. You met up and are currently that night spending the evening within some rooms provided by Marion Lavore within the Lavish Chateau in Nicodranas. You scryed on your friend Yasha, and discovered that there is some sort of attack in the midst of happening in some sort of a library. Gathering your thoughts, you rested for the night about as well as you could with the new information, and we begin with the familiar, for some of you, and welcome warm sunrise in the city of Nicodranas on the Menagerie Coast. So Mighty Nein, as you come to consciousness and gather yourselves, what would you like to do?

LIAM: How do you do this again?


LAURA: I'm going to go downstairs and just like, eat all of the pastries, because we haven't had them in a long time, and these ones have cinnamon.

TRAVIS: Take your, you know, magic bag with you, so you can load up.

LAURA: Obviously.

TRAVIS: Oh, right, sorry.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: We spent the night there?

MATT: You did, yes.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: You were given rooms.

SAM: Am I--

MATT: You scryed the next morning.

LAURA: You're with-- yeah.

SAM: I'm with my family.

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: Okay, cool.

LAURA: Did I scry in the morning?

MATT: I'm trying to remember. It's been two weeks.

LAURA: I'll look at my... (clears throat)

MATT: Your character sheet would have the spell spent if it was. Yeah, in another room, you have been reintroduced to Yeza, your husband, as well as Luc. Old Edith is also still there, slowly tripping around there. (laughter) Her sight's a bit rusty, but she is happy to have at least been, you know, taken out of a danger zone of Felderwin at the time, and brought Luc here, and is happy just sitting back and eating some different type of food for breakfast than what she's used to. The usual oatmeal and biscuits that has continuously met her in the morning, for most of her life. What would the rest of you like to do, if anything?

LAURA: Did I already use both of my 5th-levels? I scryed twice this morning?

MATT: You did. One failed and one succeeded, so.


LAURA: Got it, okay.

LIAM: I will go down into the common room to eat as well and wait for everyone to gather, because we need to decide-- good morning.

LAURA: Morning, Caleb.

LIAM: We need to decide what we are going to do after, you know, you spent any time with your mother?

LAURA: No, she wasn't awake when I came downstairs yet.

LIAM: (sighs) Probably should not stay too long.

LAURA: We shouldn't linger. I know. We can go to Zadash, though, and see my dad, which will be cool.

LIAM: That would be cool.

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: Do you want to, are you going to discuss that with your mother? Or is that just for you?

LAURA: I don't know yet. What if, you know, I talk to him and he's like, "Oh yeah, I totally left her, I did it," and I don't want her to know that, so maybe I shouldn't tell her I'm going to see him.

LIAM: I think there is an argument for that, yeah.

LAURA: Right?

LIAM: Yeah, absolutely.

LAURA: Because, I mean, honestly, if she's like, "Oh no, Jester, I don't want you to go see him," that sucks, because I want to see him and I don't want to have to follow that or something. What do you think?

LIAM: Well, I think that's your call to make, it's a very personal choice. I wonder if there is some way to, you know, definitively settle it, with him.

LAURA: Yeah. What do you mean?

SAM: Like kill him?

LAURA: Oh, good morning, Nott.

SAM: Hi, sorry. Veth, it's Veth.

LAURA: Oh, right, good morning, Veth. Like, definitively?

LIAM: Well, your mother thinks it's him.

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: You could draw her a picture of him.

LAURA: Oh, what I was thinking could be really fun, don't tell anyone, I was thinking, when we get to Zadash, when we get to where he lives, I could make myself look like my mum!


LIAM: That would be something, yeah.

MATT: Yeah, yeah, and then I could be like, "Oh my gosh, Babenon, I missed you so much," you know?

LIAM: From maybe like five to 10 feet back, yeah?

LAURA: Well, here's the thing. I just feel like, you know, every time that I talk to him, he's a little bit like, "Hmm, I don't know," because you know, he never met me in person or anything, so he doesn't know for sure that it's me, or that I exist, so he might think no, but if he sees my mama, he will definitely know.

LIAM: Yeah, there will be no mistaking his reaction.

LAURA: Exactly.

LIAM: Just you want to be careful the reaction you're going to get, but there's no way to know unless you know.

LAURA: If he's like, "Ooh, Marion, I really missed you," and he comes in like he's going to do something, I'll just snap myself back and then he'll know it's me and he won't do anything, you know, won't be weird.

MARISHA: Who'll know it's you? Good morning.

LIAM: Morning.

LAURA: Good morning, Beau.


LAURA: Have some pastries, it's cinnamon.

MARISHA: Oh, yeah.

LIAM: I think it could be weird still, but, family--

LAURA: It'll be fine.

TALIESIN: What'll be fine? Ah, good morning.

MARISHA: Hi, Caduceus.

SAM: Morning, Caduceus.

LAURA: But keep it down, because I don't want my mom to find out. We're going to go see my dad.

TALIESIN: Is your mom listening right now?

LAURA: She could be.


MARISHA: Yeah, it is thin walls.

LIAM: Does she do that?


MARISHA: There's no insulation in this place.

LAURA: But I did totally do it.

MATT: You do hear the faint creaking of wood upstairs. There is movement, the shuffling about.

LAURA: She's awake!

MARISHA: Maybe that's Fjord.

TRAVIS: Morning.


LAURA: Nope, wasn't Fjord.


LIAM: Did you used to eavesdrop on people?

LAURA: All the time.

LIAM: How did you do that?

LAURA: What do you mean?

LIAM: I mean, did you go to doorways and put your ears to them?

LAURA: There's all these little spots. You see that little crevice up there? You can see it through the the two slots? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

SAM: Where does that go?

LAURA: Well, just on the other side of it is another hotel room, but if you're in there, you can hear everything that's happening in this room.

SAM: Oh.

LAURA: Oh. Hold on. I get up and run up there.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Is anybody in there?

MATT: In the--

LAURA: In the little crevice I used to hide in--

MATT: There's nobody in there at the moment, no.

LAURA: It's all clear! And I come back down.

MARISHA: Wait, wait, wait, Jester, stay up there.

LAURA: Okay. I run back up.

MARISHA: Can you hear me now?

LAURA: Yeah. (louder) Yeah.

MARISHA: (softer) Can you hear me now? (softer) Can you hear me now? (even softer) Can you hear this?

LAURA: I can hear everything that you're saying because (mumbling) are the best.

MARISHA: (whispering) What about this? Can you hear this?

LAURA: (whispering) I can tell you're-- (loudly) I can tell you're whispering!

MARISHA: Okay, okay.


TRAVIS: Why are you all yelling so much?

MARISHA: Oh, we're just doing a little soundcheck.

TRAVIS: Where's Jester?

MARISHA: She's in the crevice doing the soundcheck.


SAM: Where is she?

MATT: (banging) You see Marion coming down the stairs, robe closed in the front. "Good morning, everyone."

LAURA: I come running out of the crevice.

MATT: Okay. "Ah."

LAURA: Hi Mama.

MATT: "My Little Sapphire."

LAURA: Hello.

MATT: "Good morning!"

LAURA: Good morning!

MATT: "I wasn't expecting, you know, an arrival so late in the evening, but happy to have you. How long will you be staying?"

LAURA: Not very long, unfortunately. In and out.

MATT: "Understood. Well, if there's anything I can do before you leave, let me know. Do you know how long you'll be gone, or will you be coming back anytime soon?"

LAURA: Don't know anything.

MATT: "Okay, well just--"

LAURA: But we'll pass through again, because we have Traveler Con coming up, so.

MATT: "Right."

LAURA: Do you want to come to it? You probably don't, but it would be really fun.

MATT: "Tell me more about it at some point."

LAURA: I'll send you some messages.

MATT: "Yeah, please. I'm curious to hear about it."

TRAVIS: She's very excited, it seems to be like quite the crowd will be gathering for this.

LAURA: Potentially. Mm-hmm.

TRAVIS: A volcano, yes? That's got to be advertised clearly on the pamphlets.

MATT: "A volcano?"

LAURA: Yes, but don't worry, not in the dangerous part of it, just the cool part.

MATT: "Very well. (chuckles)"


MATT: "All right. You have some plans. Well, regardless, before you leave, just let me know so I can say goodbye. I'm going to go..." and she walks over to the kitchen. You can see there's already a plate set aside for her, part of the morning routine, and she takes it and heads back up the stairs with it.

MARISHA: Is she okay, does she seem okay? Am I getting vibes like she's upset or distressed, or a little stressed out?

MATT: Make an insight check, if you want.

MARISHA: Okay, okay, okay, okay.

SAM: First roll.


MATT: 22. She seems at the very least sad that it's such a short meeting.


MATT: You know. It doesn't seem like she's upset by anything more than just the fact that it's, you know, hello and goodbye. But that's all.


TRAVIS: I see you're all in rather good spirits this morning. Certainly the tale that Jester told last night was quite dire.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

TRAVIS: Have we discussed at all how we plan to follow up on what she saw?

LIAM: I think we should not tarry here too long. I don't know if we are going to make that just part of the day or if we can wait another night. I hate to leave your mother so fast, although I worry about your people.

MARISHA: Yeah, I should probably check in on the Soul.

LAURA: Do I know anybody there that we could send a message to?

MARISHA: Zeenoth, maybe. Archivist Zeenoth.

LAURA: I met them? (clattering ice sounds)

MARISHA: You met them--

LAURA: In Zadash?

MARISHA: Zadash early on. He was following me. (clattering ice sounds)

LAURA: What the fuck is going on?

MARISHA: He put crushed ice in there.

TRAVIS: Nott, are you putting sand and gravel in your drinks now?

LAURA: Wig hair all stuck to your damn...


MATT: Just a damn mess.

SAM: I thought crushed ice would be a good idea, but it sounds like a bunch of rocks in there.

TRAVIS: I didn't know you were such a fan of grape nuts.


MATT: It's a Menagerie Coast delicacy.


SAM: Taliesin, I just lost one of your rings. I think it fell in the flask.


TALIESIN: Wouldn't be the first time, that's okay.


SAM: Oh god!



MATT: Off to a great start.

TRAVIS: Only takes in that which makes it stronger.

TALIESIN: There's a pirate ring in the flask.


MATT: He'll find it later. After it chips his front teeth.


LAURA: Oh god.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: Not just Beau's compatriots, but also this is our first lock on where Yasha has been, period, since we saw her and that thing, I mean--

LAURA: I don't know why I thought she would be sticking more to like unpopulated areas.

MARISHA: It seems like whatever they were looking for, they found.

TALIESIN: Well, this could be a good thing.


TRAVIS: It is an incredible journey from where they were to Zadash, yes? We did it, yeah, with teleportation.

SAM: That's right, you said that you saw them disappear at the end of your vision, right?

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

SAM: So they could travel anywhere.

TRAVIS: Is there any way to trace a teleportation after it's been triggered?

MARISHA: That's an excellent question.

SAM: If anyone could do it, it would be Caleb.

LIAM: Have I ever heard of such a thing?

MATT: I mean, not beyond just scrying again on the individuals who teleported. There's nothing to trace directly.

TRAVIS: There's no receipt that prints out, and it's like thank you.

MATT: Not really, unfortunately.

TALIESIN: Email it to you. They were looking for something. If we find out what they were looking for or what they took, then that might be a clue into how to stop what they're doing. It's the first moment we've had for that.

LIAM: We won't get there too quickly either. We have to make our way.

MARISHA: No, it's going to take some time.

TALIESIN: Let's go get some horses.

TRAVIS: So it's a place of knowledge, yes? Record-keeping, history, things like that?


TRAVIS: How many of those are there in Wildemount?

MARISHA: There's, I believe, just one here in Wildemount?

MATT: Nope.

MARISHA: Two... here in Wildemount.

TRAVIS: Roll some fucking dice.

MATT: No, there's an archive in Rexxentrum, and there's one in Zadash.

MARISHA: Okay. Right, in the capital, and then Zadash.

MATT: And there's one in Port Damali.

LIAM: These are Cobalt places?

MATT: Yeah, Cobalt Soul.

SAM: We're close to one.

MARISHA: Uh-huh.

MATT: It's about equidistant.

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm.

SAM: Oh.


MARISHA: Equidistant?


MARISHA: And then--

LAURA: Do you think they hit the other ones before they hit this one?

MARISHA: I mean, yeah.

TRAVIS: Should we check in with Port Damali and see if they have been hit, and maybe that's where they're going next if they haven't?

MARISHA: I don't know if I know anyone in Port Damali.

LAURA: It feels like, though-- It feels like they found what they were looking for, you know?

TRAVIS: It does?

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: But I don't know how many libraries they hit in between.

TALIESIN: Or they may have a teleportation circle to the other library, and if we say that we have information on what happened, maybe?

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: That's true, they may be able to send us.

MARISHA: I'm pretty sure all the libraries have teleportation circles, right?

MATT: For the most part, there is one in each facility that is used to anchor to each one and transition between, but it's not an open passageway. It's one that's utilized only for necessary travel of those that are generally pretty higher up or on specific missions for the archive.

MARISHA: I'm an expositor now. That means I've got access that I didn't have before.

TRAVIS: Hey hey, yeah.

SAM: Are we trying to send some sort of a message to the Port Damali's Cobalt Soul?

MARISHA: I think if we just get to Zadash, they'll already know and we can get word from them if the other reserves have been hit.

TRAVIS: Is there any sense to sending a message to the one in Port Damali and saying if you haven't suffered an attack, at least to increase your security?

LAURA: That would be smart.

TRAVIS: If they don't know of the attack in Zadash.

MARISHA: Do I know of any expositors or archivists in Port Damali Cobalt Soul?

MATT: No, unfortunately most of your studying was specifically within the Empire.

SAM: We know Twiggy.

LAURA: She was in Port Damali. We both would know people in Port Damali.

MATT: Yeah, you would probably pass through some folks that saw your mother, but they were customers. You have some people that you knew back then. But the people that were close to you, you have no idea where they are.

MARISHA: Yeah, our best bet would be reaching out to someone like Twiggy and having her deliver the message.

LAURA: Do you think a message from Twiggy would be very trustworthy?

MARISHA: No, I don't. I think the monks at the Soul would look at her like she was either crazy or they'd laugh and say they already knew.

SAM: Well then, to Zadash we go.

LIAM: We need to start somewhere. We can't there quick as we want, but we will get there, and the trail will probably have gone cold, but you can talk to your folk. Maybe we will see something, if they allow us to look, that they missed, perhaps, and then we talk to your father, and see if he has heard of any rumblings of the beacon.

LAURA: Right. Didn't he have some-- I don't know what's going on with all this locations on that map and stuff. Wasn't there somewhere up north that was creepy that people were at?

SAM: A little more specific.


TALIESIN: Probably.

LAURA: You know!

LIAM: That's called Wildemount.

LAURA: You know when Fjord and Yasha and I were missing, you guys went somewhere that--

SAM: Oh, yes, yes, yes.

LAURA: Then there's something having to do with it.

MARISHA: Shadycreek.

SAM: Shadycreek Run.

LAURA: Did you get it? No, you didn't.


SAM: Yeah, near Shadycreek Run there was something. I don't remember. Oh, that was the family, the rival family.

MARISHA: The Jagentoths.

SAM: The Jagoffs, yeah.

MARISHA: Yes. Well, they're working with the slave trade, and Reani--

SAM: It's all very nebulous. That's not a lead to go on.

MARISHA: Unless we wanted to check in on them, because like, if I was going to smuggle a dodecahedron thing, then I might--

LAURA: Smuggle is a really funny word.

MARISHA: Smuggle is a funny word. Yeah, it's pretty good.

SAM: To Zadash!


LAURA: How are we going to get through the border?

MARISHA: That's another good question.

SAM: We did it before.

TALIESIN: Well, we did it the other way.

SAM: No, we did it both ways.

LAURA: We did do it both ways.


LAURA: Yeah. Oh, that's right. We forged a letter.

SAM: That's right, do you still have it?

LAURA: Maybe? No, he took it.

SAM: It'll be on your equipment list on D&D Beyond.

LAURA: Yeah, sure it will. Pretty sure they took it.

MATT: You may have to forge new documentation.

LAURA: I'm going to forge a new document, but now that we know, I'm going to do a good one here, so we're not going to be traveling as I'm doing it.

TALIESIN: Does being an expositor help with that too, maybe?

LAURA: Oh, right.

MARISHA: I'll put back on my vestiges when we get closer there.

MATT: Okay. You gather your things. You're buying horses?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: How many horses you buying?

MARISHA: How many rounds of horses have we bought this game?

MATT: You know...

TRAVIS: Keeping the horse trade alive. Alive!

MATT: There's lot of wild horses you've left out in the open, and three moorbounders that are wandering.

MARISHA: We spent so much money on those moorbounders.

MATT: Hey, that's the problem when you teleport around a bunch. When you get there with animals and need to teleport back, you abandon them.

LIAM: Have you watched a western? They don't last. They don't last.

TALIESIN: We want to do five horses, six horses?

SAM: Three horses and a cart?

LAURA: Why do we need a cart?

SAM: I don't want to ride a horse.

LAURA: Nott, we're not going to just get a cart just for you. We can go so much faster without a cart.

MARISHA: You've ridden moorbounders, you don't want to ride a horse?

SAM: On the back of one, it's uncomfortable.

LAURA: You can ride on my shoulders while I ride the horse.

SAM: All right, fine, I'll let this one slide.

TRAVIS: Five horses.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Okay. Five horses at 75 gold a piece.


LAURA: Each of us pay for our own horse?

SAM: I'm riding on the back.

MATT: These are riding horses, so they go pretty quickly, like as far as distance goes.

LAURA: Shit.

TALIESIN: 75 gold.

LAURA: Shit, shit! (groans) I just did something really bad!

SAM: You get rid of all your gold?

LAURA: I got rid of all my gold that I fucking had! Okay, okay, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. Jester's gone, I'm a new character now. (laughter)

TALIESIN: (wind whirling)

TRAVIS: (deep scary voice) I'm a new character now.

SAM: Well, I guess we've left the--

TRAVIS: We acquired. We are buying them, yes.

SAM: We've left the lady, your mom's house?

LAURA: I'm going to go give her a hug goodbye, I'm not just going to ghost.

TALIESIN: Has your laundry been done and folded?

MATT: So yeah, you can go up to the room, and you see Marion's just holding a book by her little dresser where she keeps her jewelry, vanity, that's what I was looking for, the word. Turns towards you and goes, "Hello love."

LAURA: Hi Mama. I'm sorry we couldn't stay longer.

MATT: "That's all right. You and your friends are doing amazing wild things, and I am just happy that you're okay. But be careful."

LAURA: I know. It's really hard.

MATT: "I can imagine."

LAURA: There's bad things going on in the world.

MATT: "There always have been. But it's the good people like you and your friends that make the bad things not everything, right?"

LAURA: We're trying.

MATT: "That's all we can hope for, right?"

LAURA: Yeah. These are really good people that I'm with. It's amazing that we found each other.

MATT: "I've always had a good feeling about them."

LAURA: I got you a present.

MATT: "What, you got a present for me?"

LAURA: Yeah, it's nothing major, but I bought you--

MATT: "What did you get your mama?"

LAURA: Hold on, let me find it.

MATT: "Okay."

LAURA: I got you a jar of fresh honey.

MATT: "Really?"

LAURA: Mm-hmm. It was from-- we went and visited bees, I talked to them. I know, but Caduceus told me how.

MATT: "It's so hard for me to believe you talking to things."

LAURA: All you have to do is say hello.

MATT: "Well, I will try that next time. It's very good."


MATT: "Thank you so much, Jester."

LAURA: You're welcome, Mama. (laughter) I love you.

MATT: "I love you, too." Comes in and gives you a big hug. Holds you a little longer, and then eventually lets go a bit and goes, "Oh, before you leave, I got you a present, too."

LAURA: (gasps) You did?

MATT: "I know you've been traveling quite a bit and you've been bouncing in some dangerous places."


MATT: "I've been saving up for you for some time. Just in case you wanted to go to school, or wanted to open a shop or whatever you wanted to do, and you found a different life than I expected, but if it can help keep you safe," and she reaches beneath the bed and pulls out a small leather satchel that's buckled over, and has a little strap on it and hands it to you. As she hands it to you, you feel already the coins shake inside. "It isn't much, but I hope it's helpful."

LAURA: Thank you, Mama.

MATT: "Of course."

LAURA: This will do some really good things, I think.

MATT: "I think you will do some really good things, I think. That might just keep you more comfortable." (chuckling)

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: "Of course. Keep talking, please."

LAURA: I will, I'll send you so many messages.

MATT: "I look forward to them every time."

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: "I love you."

LAURA: I love you, I miss you already.

MATT: "I miss you already." (laughter) She walks you off with your friends, and she gives everyone a little wave as you're gathering the horses and says, "Take care of her."

TRAVIS: Yes, of course, as always.

MATT: "No, but I mean it, take care of her."

MARISHA: Oh, shit.

TRAVIS: Some fucking eye contact.

TALIESIN: Or else, oh, okay.

TRAVIS: I'm shook.

MATT: She starts laughing. "You're way too easy to spook, each and every one of you. Need to work on that. If I can get to you, imagine what more impressive imposing figures can."

LAURA: You're the most impressive and most imposing in the entire universe.

MATT: "You're right, I forgot, thank you, Jester. You're fine. Travel safe, everyone."

SAM: I'm going to give my little one a hug goodbye.

MATT: Luc comes up. "Okay, Mom, are you killing more things?"

SAM: Yeah, I got to go back to work. But I'll be back in a little while for just another check in.

MATT: "Okay. What else did you shoot while you were--"

SAM: Oh, boy, have we--

MATT: Yeza goes like, "Uh-- (chuckles). Luc, it's okay, your mother--"

SAM: What's the last thing we shot--

MATT: (as Yeza) "You don't have to answer that."

MARISHA: What is the last thing we shot? You shot me in the fucking ass.

SAM: I did, I shot Beauregard.

MARISHA: Oh, sorry, sorry.

MATT: Luc's like, "That's awesome!" (as Yeza) "Like that's--"

TRAVIS: Exaggeration.

MARISHA: Do you want to see it? I still have a wound.

TRAVIS: No, no, no.

MARISHA: I'll show you.

TRAVIS: She will.

LIAM: Keep your butt hole closed.


MATT: "Luc, go inside." (laughter) Sends him back in the Chateau.

SAM: Love you!

MATT: "(sighs)"

SAM: Be back soon.

MATT: "Okay, we'll be here."

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: Take care of Nugget.

MATT: "Don't worry, we will, he's getting very big."

SAM: Don't go near the water, it's a murderer.

LAURA: Don't let him blink away.

MATT: "Okay. All right." (chuckles) and gives up.

MARISHA: He should get swimming lessons. Could save his life one day.

SAM: Or he could die learning, I mean--


SAM: I feel like I read somewhere that 80% of swimming lessons end in death.

MATT: "That is actually grossly incorrect, but--"

MARISHA: I don't know what blogs you've been reading.

SAM: I feel like that's an accurate number.

LAURA: No, that's not the truth. That's not.

SAM: All right.

TRAVIS: And we ride.


MATT: He gives you a big hug and kiss, and sends you off.

SAM: I'll drop my illusion and turn into Nott.

LIAM: Your goth disguise goes away?

SAM: Yes. (laughter) This is my true self.

MATT: I think at this point, when we have our Halloween episode, you're just not dressed. Just to keep a difference to recent designs. All right.

LAURA: How much did my mom give me?

MATT: You go ahead and look inside?

LAURA: Oh yeah.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: As we ride away, I'm not going to do it in front of my mom.

MATT: Yeah. It's 750 gold pieces.

LAURA: Oh my gosh.

MATT: She's been saving up for a while.

LAURA: Oh Mama.

TALIESIN: Well, that covers the horses and then some.

LAURA: We already paid for the horses, though. I got the money after.

MATT: Is there anything else in Nicodranas you want to do before you leave?


MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: I'm good.

SAM: You did your forging? You forged?

LAURA: Yes, I forged.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: I Fjorged.


MATT: Perfect. You guys go ahead and begin your journey nyorthward. (laughter) Wow. My brain.

LIAM: Nyerp, nyerp, nyerp.

MATT: Sleep apparently helps on occasion.

TRAVIS: Oh fuck.

LAURA: You're still tired, Matt.

MATT: I'm fine.

LAURA: Oh (scoffs).

MATT: I'm just a little jetlagged. (chuckles) All right, so, heading northward towards the Wuyun Gorge and back into the Empire. First off, you're going to try and forge some documentation?

LAURA: Yes, I was trying to do it before we got on the road so that it wouldn't be all like ew.

MATT: What is the context of the documentation?

LAURA: Oh, yeah, uh-- It's letter from, give me a name of the Cobalt.

MARISHA: Archivist Zeenoth.

LAURA: It's Archivist Zeenoth.

MARISHA: Giving permission for research for the crew in behalf of the Cobalt Reserve, Cobalt Soul.

LAURA: Research the impacts of the lunar cycles on the waves.

MARISHA: Uh-huh, yeah, we could say that we were working with what's his face.


SAM: Uthodurn.

MARISHA: No, Uthodurn was the town. Umagorn Smelt-- no, no, no.

SAM: Why don't we just leave it with the first name you said and that's enough?

LAURA: Yeah, but it was going to be, yeah, I guess the guards won't know that--

MARISHA: Archivist Demid.

LAURA: Yeah, I'll write all that shit out.

MATT: All righty. On your third draft.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: After having to scratch it out a few times. Go ahead and make, I'll say with this, make a dexterity check with your proficiency modifier.

TALIESIN: And a boop for it.


TRAVIS: Getting in beforehand, all right.

LAURA: What is it? A dexterity or performance check?

TRAVIS: Dexterity with your proficiency.

MATT: This is for, yeah, proficiency bonus and your dexterity bonus.

SAM: Wow.

TALIESIN: With a d4.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Wow.

LAURA: I know, I rolled all the things beforehand and that's not--

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: (uncertain noises) 14?

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Okay, okay.

MATT: You feel like you've done a fair enough job.

LAURA: All right. Sorry, guys. Let's already put this in the jail for the night and then this is going to get filled up.

MATT: It is a lengthy journey. Approximately 13 and a half days to get to Zadash on horseback. But you've made this journey before, and it's familiar territory. Making your way northward, it's going to be about, if I recall, four or so days until you hit the Wuyun Gorge. Is there anything you wish to do during the journey?

SAM: I would like to be tinkering a little bit--

MATT: On horseback?

SAM: -- on the back of my horse.

MATT: Sure.

SAM: Or when we stop to rest.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: I bought a couple of bolas?

LAURA: Yeah, you're like on my shoulders, aren't you? So I don't want you tinkering.


SAM: I'm not playing with any explosives. I bought those two bolas, bola things? I'm going to see if I can fashion, because the Tinkertop Boltblaster can accommodate, you know, a hefty load. I'm going to see if I can rig it so that I can take two bolts and connect them with these bola things, at least the string or whatever, and fashion it in a way where I could shoot it, and it's like a delivery device for a bola.

MATT: You got it.

SAM: It'll wrap around somebody and trip them up.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and make an intelligence check with your proficiency bonus.

LAURA: Can you imagine how much the arrow would be like--

MATT: This is tinkering. Are you proficient with tinkering tools?

SAM: I have tinkering tools.

MATT: But you're not proficient with them?

SAM: How do I tell?

MATT: It would be under your proficiencies.

SAM: Proficiencies. Where's that?

TALIESIN: Bottom left corner.

SAM: Bottom left corner. Proficiencies and languages. Oh, tools. Thieves' tools and alchemist's supplies.

MATT: All right, so go ahead and roll and just add your intelligence modifier.

TRAVIS: You better.

LAURA: Oh, Guidance.

SAM: Too late.

LAURA: Is it?

SAM: 16.

MATT: It's a little late on that one. But that's okay, next time. 16, okay. You spend some time with it on the first night as you're resting around the fire, the horses are off to the side, and you're a couple of false shots, the bolts themselves, it's weird to try and wedge them both in there, and it becomes less of a firing of two bolts simultaneously more than a single bolt becomes the delivery method, that springs and fires them outward as it releases itself, so it's like a crossbow bolt that doesn't have a tip, instead it has both of the bolas tied back and so when it hits the exit point of the crossbow, it releases it and sends it forward.

SAM: Way better than my idea.

MATT: We'll see if it functions when you try it out, but you seem pretty comfortable with the design.

SAM: And I have one or two of those?

MATT: You bought two sets, right?

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: So roll a second time.

LAURA: Guidance!

SAM: Guidance.

MATT: All right, I'll give it to you there.

SAM: What do I do with Guidance?

MATT: Add a d4.

LAURA: Take a d4. Give it a half fucking second so I can--

SAM: 22 on that one.

MATT: 22. You feel real confident about that one. The first time was a run through, it may or may not work, we'll find out. The second one you're pretty sure will be functional.

SAM: Okay, great.

MATT: No worries. Anyone else?

LIAM: I would say on the journey, at least by the time we get to Zadash, I would have put in the time needed to transcribe the two dunamancy spells into my spell book.

MATT: You'd be able to do that. Over the journey to the Wuyun Gorge, yeah.

LIAM: An hour or two every night.

MATT: Yeah, you'd be able to do that. Okay, anyone else?

LAURA: I'm going to give Sprinkle lots of love, because he's having a hard time.

MATT: (panting)

LAURA: Yeah he's--

MATT: He's a little spastic.

LAURA: This is a nice two weeks of nothing crazy where I'm going to give him lots of love and lots of treats and calm him down a little bit if I can.

MATT: Great, perfect.

MARISHA: Fjord, you want to work out? Like do some jogging alongside the horses?

TRAVIS: Absolutely.

MARISHA: All right, we work out.

MATT: All righty. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Fuck yeah.

MATT: Four nights of travel eventually get you to the base of the Wuyun Gorge. As you approach the exterior gates, you can see once again there are a heavy amount of Righteous Brand than what was normally there, you'd say probably 200, 250 or so that are just at and on the actual gate looking about, and a modicum of maybe three or four carts that are in the process of waiting to get through. The gates are partially ajar. They're not opening or closing, looks like a lot of folks are coming back through now, and you can see some traders are making their way past as they watch you as you continue forward.

MARISHA: I would have changed in my vestiges that morning and all that stuff, and gotten all my Cobalt Soul shit out.

MATT: Raiments and everything, you got it, okay.

TRAVIS: Can I use my Mask of Many Faces to make myself look like a Cobalt assistant?

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Then I will be an assistant to Beau.

MATT: Easy enough to do. You've seen their attire well enough. Anybody else?

LAURA: You should just make us all look like Cobalt people. I'm going to do it too, I'm going to make myself look like a Cobalt Soul--

TALIESIN: That's exciting, sure.

LIAM: I cast Seeming and make us look like the most boring, simplistic, nondescript--

LAURA: Forgettable.

MARISHA: Research monks.

LIAM: Yeah, research monkeys.

TRAVIS: I'm still swole.

LIAM: Yes, one big guy.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: But boring looking, a little bit of a cowlick in the back.

MATT: Perfect. All right.

TRAVIS: I did those push-ups, come on.

MATT: You guys slowly approach and you get in line, and every like, 15 minutes or so it shifts forward a bit, one of the carts makes their way in. One cart gets turned around and has to come back and there's like some yelling and some cursing, and you see them go back, and the older woman who's at front of it is frustrated and kind of-- I don't know where that came from.

MARISHA: Who it is.

LIAM: Sarenrae?

TRAVIS: Turn your shit off.

MATT: Taliesin!


MATT: That's okay.

(iPad beeping)

SAM: Oh!


MATT: Goddamn it.

LAURA: Hey Siri?

TALIESIN: Don't you dare.

TRAVIS: Hey Siri, go fuck yourself.

TALIESIN: iPad, nevermind.

MATT: Don't ever talk like that! You've seen Black Mirror.

MARISHA: Oh god! (laughter)

LAURA: She listened?

TRAVIS: She said she didn't know how to respond to that.

MATT: I'm just saying, man!

TRAVIS: I'm sorry.


MATT: I say please and thank you to Alexa all the time, just in case. (laughter) It's true.



LIAM: Are you sure about that, Travis?


MATT: About an hour or so of waiting until eventually, you're second next in line here, and you can see one of the Righteous Brand soldiers comes up with their armored attire, a stack of papers and some charcoal and a quill, and as they walk up, glance over and approach. "All right, what is your business? What are you coming into the Empire for?"

MARISHA: Just a few members of the Cobalt Soul from Zadash doing a research mission. Returning back to report our findings.

MATT: "(sighs)" Starts giving a discerning look over each of you. "And you say you're here returning, or traveling towards too, and this is for a Mr. Zeenoth?"

MARISHA: Yeah, Archivist Zeenoth, one of the heads of the Cobalt Soul, located there in Zadash.

MATT: Technically not lying, so make a persuasion check.

MARISHA: Man, I should've lied.


LAURA: Oh, Guidance, Guidance.

MARISHA: Thank you! Persuasion? 11. 12, no, 11, 11.

MATT: "I regret to inform you that at this time, we are being extremely careful with those that make their way in and out of the southern of western Wynandir and all the Truscan Vale. I apologize that we cannot let you through. If you would like to, you can return to Port Damali and perhaps acquire a second means of referral, but at this time, I cannot approve your transition. My apologies," and he hands the paper back and turns around.

TRAVIS: Two dozen guards?

MATT: About, yeah.

LAURA: That's fine.

MARISHA: Someone want to do a Friends? Someone want to try somin'-somin' here?

LAURA: Oh, that's a good idea.

MARISHA: Someone want to do one more attempt at this?

LAURA: This is a good idea. I'm going to cast--

MATT: The two soldiers begin to approach, start maneuvering the horses to turn off and turn around. What are you doing?

LAURA: I'm going to cast Charm Person.

MATT: Charm Person on?

LAURA: At 4th-level so I can charm any of the guards that are within reach. I can charm four people.

SAM: Charm.

MATT: Yeah, at 4th-level, you would be able to charm four.

MARISHA: Oh shit.

MATT: All right, let's go ahead and roll some wisdom saves. Your spell DC is?

LAURA: 17.

MATT: 17.

MARISHA: Come on, come on, come on.

MATT: All right. The guy you were talking to, one of the two soldiers that was pushing the horses aside to turn them around, and one who was by the gate all turn towards you and go, and the main guard goes, "I apologize, I've just not been eating very well. I don't mean to be as crabby. I did not recognize you. Sincerely, no worries. We'll pass them through, pass them through."

MARISHA: Thank you so much. LAURA: Thank you, thank you.

MATT: The one other guard who's like, "Wait, what?"

LAURA: This is very prominent.

MATT: "Sir, why would you," and he approaches to talk to him, he's like, "We don't want to mess with their official business. They know what they're doing."

MARISHA: That's a good idea.

LAURA: Waves. Moons.

MATT: "(sighs)" They create a space. The horses maneuver back towards the pathway, and you guys eventually are guided back to the gate on the opposite side. You come through the other side, and from there you can see there's another 80 or so Righteous Brand.

ALL: Oh!

MATT: That are waiting carefully, keeping eyes on the high mountain sides as well, in case anyone tries to bypass the gates.

MARISHA: It's an entire fucking battalion.

LAURA: Let's ride on very quickly away from there.

SAM: Knowledge!

MARISHA: Thank you!

LAURA: Smart!

SAM: Knowledge!

MARISHA: Archivists!

SAM: Academia!

LAURA: Learning!


LAURA: Learning!


MATT: As they begin to vanish in the distance from the shouting, you can glance back and you can see some of them going--

LAURA: Drop Seeming and--

MARISHA: Go, go, go!

SAM: Don't drop Seeming, just keep going, keep going.

MARISHA: We didn't do anything wrong.

MATT: So you continue rushing onward.

LIAM: Diplomatic immunity.

SAM: Academic immunity.


MATT: All right. It's another two, two and a half days to Trostenwald, where a lot of this began. Is there anything you wish to do along this journey, or upon arrival?

LIAM: Yeah, I will take the next couple of days to try to get everyone in the group to know the names of the Cerberus Assembly. In fact, I take the time to write down their names and their position, and a little bit about each of them, and I pass those out to the group, which I am going to do right now.


TALIESIN: Handout.

LAURA: What!

LIAM: Hand it down.

TRAVIS: Let's look at the names that I never would have spelled that, nope, that would have been wrong. Yep, not a chance.

SAM: Oh, you sprayed a little perfume on it, that's so nice.


LIAM: That's cloves.


SAM: Yeah, man!

LAURA: Should I try to scry on Yasha one more time and see where they are right now?


LAURA: If I can?

TRAVIS: Absolutely. Are we stopping for the night, then?

LAURA: Yeah, on our first night.

MATT: Your first night heading northward? Okay. You guys head off, you begin to sit up your ritual in the middle of grassy field here. You know, after being in Zadash so long, and then the snowy regions of the Flotket Alps, it's been nice to head northward through the Menagerie Coast, along the grassy fields and the jungles that led you to the Wuyun Gorge, and now back into the familiar, lush fields and plains of the southern area of Wynandir. You prepare your ritual. Focusing your eyes once more down upon the sigil you've drawn out across the dirt, focusing for a moment, and you feel the presence of the Traveler there backing you up, and of channeling the vision through him into you. Your vision begins to shift as you hear the Traveler's voice say, "Ah, I think we have her." Your vision pulls back into the clouds, dark at night, you can see the stars for a second before there's a thrust of movement. You feel yourself get momentarily almost jostled from the movement before you're brought into a meeting of mountain and hills. You can see Yasha, and just beyond the periphery another figure, herself cloaked and hooded, the secondary figure cloaked and hooded, and a large, looming cloaked and hooded figure moving forward, there right at the base of these rocky mountains. It looks like grassless rolling hills. The soil nearby strangely dotted with multicolored minerals and odd scrub bush.

LAURA: Does it look familiar, does it look familiar with any location I've been to or seen?

MATT: Nothing you've been to or seen.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: As I'm watching, they stop for a second, and Yasha pulls her hood back and looks off in the distance. Make a perception check for me.

LAURA: Goddamn it, I told you! Seven.

MATT: Seven, okay. Puts the hood back up, and they continue walking forward. A few moments later you hear a (poofing, splashing), and they all move out of the way and you can see a little bit of spray coming. Changing perspective there, it looks to be a heavy plume of steam rising nearby, and a geyser of hot water suddenly sprays from a pool-like vent not far from them across the ground. They move around slightly. This area has some sort of geothermal activity to it. They're quietly just walking, under cover of night.

LAURA: Can I see Yasha's eyes?

MATT: This would be, yeah, it's the same time of night you guys would be. Or at least it's night where they are, and it's night where you are.

MARISHA: It's not like a different side of the world.

MATT: It doesn't seem to be. It's in the north-south region. Of course, night can fall quite a distance on a continent.


MATT: So same continent, you gather. Unfortunately, with the perception roll you made, you can't see much else, you just can make out the fact that it is Yasha. About 10 minutes of them perusing this journey, your spell fades and the scry loses its anchor.

LAURA: They're on the move. There are geysers.

SAM: Geysers?

LAURA: Do we know of anywhere that has that kind of--

LIAM: Have I read anything about the geography of this continent?

MATT: Make a history check.

LAURA: Rocky mountains, and hills that have no grass on them.

TRAVIS: There aren't any geysers in Rexxentrum, are there?

MARISHA: (sighs) Damn it.

MATT: Actually, you would have advantage on this, Beauregard.

MARISHA: I would have advantage?

MATT: You would.

LAURA: Guidance.

MARISHA: And Guidance?

TALIESIN: Both of you.

LIAM: Both of us.

MATT: She just has advantage.

LIAM: Okay, I got a 19.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Oh, you had Guidance though, from him.


LIAM: I got that. 20.



MATT: Okay. It makes sense, because one of the regions that you're very familiar with--


MATT: -- is the city of Kamordah.

SAM: Kamordah?

MATT: Near the base of Mount Mentiri, there's something about the mountainous region around it, that has, since it was founded, given rise to a bunch of strange geothermal activity that has altered the landscape to where the vegetation that grow there, the few kinds that do naturally are very alien to the rest of the Empire. That's also why a lot of the vineyards there are so sought after, because only certain types of wines and liquors can be made based on the topography surrounding Kamordah.

TRAVIS: Bromkiln Hills?

MATT: That's one place you know of at which this type of activity is familiar, and you're very familiar with it, because it's where you grew up.

MARISHA: Just...

LAURA: Is it the only place, Beau, that's like that?

MATT: There are other places like that.

MARISHA: No, yeah, I mean, I wouldn't imagine so. Beau just like wipes away tears. I mean, why would they go to Kamordah?

SAM: Is there a Cobalt Soul there?


SAM: Is there anything important for the Empire there?

MARISHA: No, it's a wine town, and it's a little upper class. It's like a suburb of Zadash.

TALIESIN: Maybe they're on their way somewhere.

LAURA: Is it on the way to Zadash, or is it away from Zadash?

LIAM: What about--

MARISHA: Neighboring Zadash, it's a few hours.

SAM: They can teleport anywhere.

TRAVIS: They're moving west--

MARISHA: It's west of Zadash.

TRAVIS: Just so you know, it is roughly the same distance from here to Zadash that it is to Kamordah.

LIAM: These geysers, they're not in town, are they? They're outside of the town you come from?

MARISHA: There's a lot of mineral-rich soil and geothermal activity around there, which is why there's certain grapes that grow really well and make really great wine.

LAURA: Maybe they just got thirsty.

SAM: Lionett wine.

TRAVIS: I don't know why they're moving West.

LAURA: Holy shit! I just realized, Lionett wine. We have that.

MARISHA: Yeah, we do.


SAM: We do, what do you mean we do?

LAURA: I mean, we have that at home.

SAM: Oh, you have that at home, we don't have it with us.

LAURA: Yeah, they sell it at the--

MARISHA: My family's wine.

SAM: Wow.

TRAVIS: Your family is like, a wine family?

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.


LIAM: Well-off?



MARISHA: Dad was a poor bastard, and he got a hint from someone to go and buy property, farm property that was more or less derelict, couldn't get anything to grow on it, and a fortune teller told him to buy the property and grow grapes on it, and that it would make him rich.

LAURA: Does he tell that story all the time?

SAM: Is it printed on the back of the label on the wine? Because it's like--


SAM: It's a cute story and tourists really love it?

MARISHA: He tries to keep it on the down-low.

LIAM: Inside family lore.

MARISHA: Inside family lore.

TRAVIS: They're in Kamordah, and not in the hills that surround it, yes?

MARISHA: Well, the winery is based on the north side of Kamordah, in the hills, yeah.

TALIESIN: Were they trying to be not seen? They were trying to be quiet?

LAURA: They didn't, I mean, they had their hoods up.

MARISHA: Can I think of any reason why they would be in fucking Kamordah? Is there anything there that would make them--

MATT: There's wine families, there's a few competing ones there that you're aware of, there are standard small-scale businesses and guilds for any sort of, you know, town to be maintained and people to live there with the creature comforts that can keep a populous happy. But it's not a political center, there isn't a particular thing that stands out to you as to having relevance to their journey.

TRAVIS: At this map, Deastok is the nearest large city, it's south of there. Is there any sort of Cobalt knowledge hub there?

MARISHA: I don't think so, in Deastok?

MATT: Deastok, mm-mm.

TRAVIS: They're traveling west from Zadash, the only thing further west from Kamordah is the mountains, Pride's Call.

LIAM: Is there anything in known history that pre-dates the farming of the land for wine?

MATT: Based on your history check, I mean, there's a lot of things that pre-date this entire region. As far as there being previously existing societies that were wiped out during the Calamity, most of that information is still being recovered via what ruins are beginning to be discovered and delved into. You know, much of-- much of the society that exists here, the Empire, was based on a long-crashed, Age of Arcanum mobile country, essentially, but nothing seems to really stand out to you as far as specifically that location.

LIAM: Is there any reason you would not want to go there? Just weighing our options. I'm not saying I want to go there.

SAM: I think, if we're going to consider going there, we need a little bit more hard proof that is exactly where they were. I mean, you said there's geysers all over the place, right?

LAURA: Not all over the place.

SAM: We should probably scry again tomorrow?

MARISHA: Do I know of any other place, off the top of my head, that would have geysers?

MATT: In the Empire? Generally, no. The region of Mount Mentiri and that part of the mountain range there, the Cyrios Mountains, is the stranger part of that area because of the way it's changed the landscape. Like north of that, Pride's Call, while it's a different type of geothermal activity, the hills and a lot of the plants that grow there are changed or different, which is how a lot of that culture is based, especially the Pride silk that is farmed from the silk worms that live there.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: But yeah, nothing in the Empire that catches your mind. As far as history goes, there are off-shoot places near strange ocean thermal vents. Those are, you know, you've heard of them, but you don't know any specific locations that you've traveled to.

LAURA: How long of a travel is it to get-- yeah.

TRAVIS: It looks like a little bit longer than Zadash.

MARISHA: It's like--

MATT: Maybe like an extra day, day and a half to get there.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's like a day journey from Zadash to--

TRAVIS: Only because I'm map hunting, and I'm only looking at things that are around the area. Do either of you know about the ruins of Shattengrad?

MARISHA: Do I know about that?

LIAM: Do either of us know about that?


TRAVIS: Just east of Pride's Call, but north of Kamordah, just on the other side of the--

MATT: Both of you make another history check for me, please.

MARISHA: Do I get advantage on this one too?


LIAM: -- doing your thing?

TRAVIS: Guidance boost!

LAURA: Guidance!

TRAVIS: Because ruins are cool.

LIAM: Total balls for me. Five.

LAURA: Did you add the four?

LIAM: Mm-hmm.

TRAVIS: (laughing)


LIAM: No, it was a one.


MATT: Rolled 17?

MARISHA: 17 for me.

LIAM: Five.

MATT: Five, gotcha. Yeah, the ruins of Shattengrad are--

LIAM: Oh, 15, I didn't add the 10.

MATT: Are a recent discovery outside of Pride's Call. The beginnings it seemed to be some sort of a, it would have been a quarry that's being built by Pride's Call, some of the dwarves there, the hill dwarves, and they found some sort of a sinkhole, a like deep pit that went beneath, and in the base there, there were elements of very, very ancient ruin. This is maybe a few decades ago. It's just been slowly being uncovered.

LAURA: Do you guys ever play Skyrim, and then instead of following the storyline, you just go to the interesting places.

TRAVIS: Fuck yes, of course.

LAURA: And you get all your fucking missions out of order? That's what I feel like what we're doing.

MARISHA: Kind of.

MATT: So you know of it, you don't know much more beyond like what is in there, because it never was something that you paid much mind to when you were doing your research. You just heard about it. There were some excavations going on there. It's less of a mysterious, magical thing beneath there and more of historical interest, and archeologists and you know, those type of folks trying to figure out what exactly it was. It seems to be, at least people are gathering that it may be tied to-- what are you trying to do?

TRAVIS: Can I run an insight check on the DM?

MATT: You may not.


LIAM: Well, here is my concern about going off on a goose chase. We're talking about our prey. They could be at a different-- They're more mobile than we are. They could be in a different place in a day, so it's going to take us many days to get there. That trail will be cold as well, and we'll just be guessing at a target. At least if we're going to Zadash, we have some goals there, things we can do.

LAURA: We can find out what they stole, maybe?

MARISHA: Potentially more about these ruins of Shattingrud?

TRAVIS: If their movement continues to be erratic, then we know that they're at least moving with a purpose to throw off our scent.

LIAM: Yeah, while we travel.

LAURA: It's only a day away.

TRAVIS: ♪ It's only a day ♪


LAURA: ♪ Kamordah, Kamordah ♪

MARISHA: Scry on my parents maybe.

SAM: Just to see if they're alive?

MARISHA: Just check in on Kamordah, I guess.


LAURA: I could try to send a message to them.

TRAVIS: You should.

SAM: You'd have to know what they look like or something, right?

LAURA: I have to be sort of familiar with them.

MATT: Yeah, you have no familiarity with her parents at all.

LAURA: You could totally describe them, and I know their name. I don't know their name. I know that it's Lionel, but--

LIAM: Lionel Richie is correct.

LAURA: Lionel Richie is your dad.

SAM: Wait, that means you're--


SAM: What's her name Richie, no, not Christina Ricci. (laughter) The girl with Paris Hilton.

LIAM: Nicole.

MARISHA and SAM: Nicole! Nicole Richie!


MARISHA: That's right, I've been RPing as Nicole Richie this whole time.

LIAM: Deep cover.


TRAVIS: Wednesday Addams.

LAURA: That's hot. That's your Traci persona.

MATT: I really don't want to have to make that canon.


MARISHA: I mean, it's the rich girl vibe, that kind of works. LIAM: I can see the pain on your face.

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: So you can describe, and I can try to send them a message, or I can try to scry on them and see if they're okay.

TRAVIS: You have any ability to sketch?

LIAM: Do it right now. Draw a picture of your parents.

LAURA: Here, no, you describe them to me and I'll try to draw a sketch, like a criminal thing. You describe them and I'll try to draw what I think they look like.

MATT: It's like a police sketch.

LAURA: Like a police sketch.

MARISHA: All right, all right, all right.

SAM: Face shape. Long, wide?

MARISHA: My dad's a little bit shorter, you know, he's got--

MATT: Make a charisma check.

MARISHA: Darker hair, a little pudgy, but you know, like a rounded face, he's got like a widow's peak.

TRAVIS: Charisma check.

MATT: This is how good you are about conveying the details.

MARISHA: He has brown eyes, I got my blue eyes from my mom. Just straight charisma? Natural 20!


SAM: Wow.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: First one.

MATT: Now you go ahead and make a dexterity check.

LAURA: Guide me.

TALIESIN: Yeah, no, you got it. (laughter) You can do it.

LAURA: I'm scared of all of them.

TRAVIS: Just pick it.

LIAM: Wait.

TRAVIS: Let it speak to you. Go.

LIAM: Wait. A small little mote of white light floats out from my hand--


LIAM: -- into you. Fortune's Favor.



LAURA: Okay. Okay. I should just use it right now, just in case? Woo! Plus dexterity?

MATT: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: That's 22, but I'm going to try the advantage.

MARISHA: Okay, okay, okay.

LAURA: Okay, 22.

MATT: Okay. It's not bad. I mean it's, you know-- given the circumstances that you're literally just describing out of thin air and she sketches it, you can look at it and go like: Yeah, there's some things there that have a bit of familiarity to it.

LAURA: Do you want me to-- eyes farther apart, closer together?

MARISHA: He's got like a unibrow that he's let go in his later years.

LAURA: The shape of his lips, is it close to your lips?

MARISHA: Yeah, the lips are, yeah, almondy shaped, yeah.

TRAVIS: Natural frown, yeah.

MARISHA: Yeah, he's cranky like me.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: All right. You have a sketch of her father.

LAURA: And his name is...?

MARISHA: Thoreau, Thoreau Lionett.

SAM: Thoreau-regard?

MARISHA: Thoreau.

(clapping) (laughter)

MARISHA: That's why when you made that joke forever ago I was like: Oh, fuck.

TRAVIS: Wow, you nailed it with the joke.

MARISHA: Thoreau Lionett.

LAURA: Thoreau. Okay, am I scrying or am I sending a message, what am I doing here?

LIAM: What's with you with the names?

SAM: I know, I pulled yours out, too.

LAURA: Send a message to Thoreau.

TALIESIN: That way if nothing's happened yet, you can--

LAURA: He won't know it's me, he's never met me.

LIAM: He won't know-regard.

TRAVIS: Oh, you stop it.

TALIESIN: Are we back there?

LAURA: I don't even have to say I have anything to do with you if you want. I can just be a creepy voice in his head and make sure he's okay. I can make him think he's going crazy, if you want, but--

MARISHA: He would probably relish it. You could always say that you're with the Cobalt Soul checking in, giving a status on Beauregard.

LAURA: Okay. Should I say you're doing like super, super good?


LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: You can tell him I'm an expositor now.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: Top of the class.

SAM: That's a lot of stuff to-- okay.

TRAVIS: You got it.

LAURA: I'm going to send a message to Thoreau-regard.

MARISHA: Make sure you like, ask him if anything has happened in Kamordah.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, okay.

SAM: All of those things.

MATT: All right.



LAURA: (low voice) Hello. It is I, Archivist Zeenoth, letting you know Beauregard is an expositor now. (laughter) Top of her class. How are things there? (laughter) Anything weird happen?

TRAVIS: Anything weird?

LAURA: No, no, anything is one word. (laughter)

SAM: This poor guy. He's doing the crossword.


TRAVIS: On the toilet?

MATT: No, the response is, "Uh, ah-- all right. Th-thank you for the information. Wow. Goo-good, good for her. Nothing-- nothing to report? Things are fine. Is that how this works? Is--" (laughter)

LIAM: Floosh.

LAURA: Number one, he sounded really nervous. Number two, he sounded impressed.

MARISHA: Really?

LAURA: Yeah, he said "good for her."

MARISHA: Good for me?

MATT: Like the grandparent trying to turn off FaceTime. "How do I--?"

LAURA: Number three, he said nothing weird has happened. And then I heard him fart.

MARISHA: Oh! Sounds about right. All right, cool, great, we don't have to go to Kamordah.

SAM: To Zadash!


TRAVIS: To sleep!


MATT: All right, so you guys rest for the evening.

SAM: Mm-hmm.

MATT: Who's keeping watch on this one? All right. Just roll a perception check for me, if you don't mind.

TRAVIS: I'll give him advantage.

LIAM: 17.

MATT: 17, okay.

SAM: Triple advantage.

MATT: Evening goes by without issue. I'll say for the purposes of expediency, since this is a long journey, than having to roll for every single section of your night, I'm just going to go with a general roll for it.

LIAM: There's a dome every night as well.

MATT: Of course. (clears throat) Continuing onward for the next bit of your journey, you make your way to Trostenwald. Do you wish to stop there for any particular reason?

SAM: We've been there before.


MATT: Bryce is Alfield.

MARISHA: Oh, Alfield.

TRAVIS: Which is on the way, but I think we should--

LAURA: Just get like, food for our horses and yeah, keep going fast.

MATT: Okay. If you decide to stay the night for comfortable lodging and not on the road least, you can go ahead and mark off three and a half gold, three gold for all of you, for--

LAURA: Okay, I'll do that.

MATT: For modest--

TRAVIS: Thanks, Jester.

LAURA: You're welcome.

MARISHA: Gustav, is that his name? Leader of the circus?


MARISHA: I wonder how his life is doing. Maybe we can check in.

TALIESIN: He would've already left, though.

MATT: You definitely don't see him in Trostenwald while you're there.

LIAM: It's been a long time in California. This is the inn that we would have met in, right?

MATT: Yep.

LAURA: Oh, wow.



TRAVIS: Oh, for fuck's sake.

SAM: Oh, that's right. (laughter) We sat at that table over there.

LAURA: Oh, we need to have a drink for Molly, and Yasha.

MARISHA: I think I also-- didn't we make dick carvings under the table?

LAURA: (gasps)

MARISHA: We go over and we--

LAURA: Like crawl on hands and knees and look under--

MATT: Make an investigation check, each of you.

MARISHA: Fuck yeah.

LAURA: Guidance!

MARISHA: Mm-hmm. On me or you?

LAURA: I was doing it on myself.

MATT: I don't know if you can-- can you do Guidance on yourself?

LIAM: I think you can. TJ Storm did it like a motherfucker at this table.

MATT: You touch one willing creature. You are a willing creature, yep.

LAURA: I am.

MATT: Just making sure.


LIAM: 26, I'm looking for the dicks as well.

LAURA: 14.

TALIESIN: Just can't use it if you have a concentration spell up.

MATT: You all come to the table at the same time and have the the same exact epiphany as you see the carvings are still there.

LIAM: Dicks!

MARISHA: (gasps) Dicks!

MATT: There's an old farmer guy who's like, "What?! Who are you calling a dick?"

MARISHA: You, old man. Shut up!

MATT: "Oh, piece of shit."

TRAVIS: Just a table inspector. We're just coming through making sure all your furniture is up to code.

MATT: "Learn some manners."

TRAVIS: Congratulations, it is.

LAURA: I'm going to add a Tusktooth to it.

MARISHA: What, he's an asshole.

LAURA: I'm going to add a Tusktooth to it.

TALIESIN: Just accosted a local.

MATT: Okay. (laughter) It's on brand.

LAURA: And we should have a drink.

MARISHA: I agree.

LAURA: For Molly.

SAM: Let's have some Baumbauch Brewery ale.

MARISHA: The fucking Baumbauchs.

TRAVIS: They suck.


LAURA: What did I write? I changed their name. On the sign.

SAM: Buttcock or something?

LAURA: Bumcock, maybe? I can't remember.

TALIESIN: That's pretty funny.

LAURA: Yeah.


MATT: So you go to the bartender. Actually, for this place would be--

MATT: Adelaine Klaus?


MATT: There you go, you got the information still.

LIAM: ♪ Start at the very beginning ♪


MATT: Go through my old notes here on this one.

MARISHA: ♪ To start ♪

SAM: Or Yorda? We're at the Nestled Nook, is that right, Mattie?

MATT: The Nestled Nook, I believe. I believe.

SAM: Klaus.

MATT: Find my old notes here. Oh my god, it's been a while since you've been here.

LAURA: Yorda, barkeep, Adelaine.

SAM: Adelaine, Klaus.

LAURA: Also I wrote "skinky doody" for some-- oh, skinky doody was a password.

MARISHA: Oh, that's right!

SAM: For what?

LAURA: Something I don't remember.

MARISHA: We were like if we're in trouble or something, I don't remember.

LAURA: I think it was how I turned your shitty con, you remember?

SAM: Brilliant con.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: All right, well, upon asking for a-- where is it here. Yep, this is-- there we go, all right, so Yorda and Adelaine are both there. Yorda's like-- sorry, looking for my old notes for the character, like, "Oh right, Baumbauch, if you want to, they're a bit pricey at the moment since they shut down the manufacturing."

MARISHA: Wait, what?

MATT: "For a time."

LAURA: Wait, they shut down, why?

LIAM: Is that all of the breweries? What about von Brandt?

MATT: "No, just the Baumbauchs."

LAURA: (gasping) What happened to them?

MATT: "Apparently they were caught up in some sort of an illegal ring, some sort of--"

SAM: Didn't you--

MARISHA: I stole their fucking letters and shit, they were smuggling drugs.

SAM: And you exposed 'em!

MARISHA: I did, to the Gentleman.

SAM: You shut down their whole--

MARISHA: I shut down the Baumbauchs! (laughter) Cause and effect.


TRAVIS: Or you helped them corner the market.

MARISHA: Huh? Helped who corner the market?

SAM: The other one.

MARISHA: The other one?

MATT: There are two other families there. "So I can definitely get it for you, so you know, it's probably going to be quite pricey."

MARISHA: Do you have any Lionett wine?

MATT: "Yeah, I think we got two bottles in there."

MARISHA: I'll buy 'em both.

LIAM: Let's do that, are you saving up?

MATT: "All right, you're spending the money. Certainly, by all means."

MARISHA: Yeah, I'll spend the money.

MATT: All right, so for the Lionett, they have two bottles of the purple cider red wine, which you're very familiar with, those run 50 gold per bottle. (whistles) So 100 gold for the two bottles they have.


TRAVIS: Whoa, your family rolls in the stanky yankee shit. (laughter) Oh my god!

MARISHA: Made some really good money when I was smuggling it out and selling it for half cost on the black market.


MARISHA: Now you know why. All right, I actually give 100 gold to my family. Oops, oops, oops.

TALIESIN: It's actually not wholesale, so really you're--

TRAVIS: It's just grapes, fermented grapes, yes? There's no, I don't know, spice in the bottle?

LIAM: A large part of the wine industry is perception, you know, you create sort of an oeuvre.


MARISHA: You have to--

LIAM: It's experiential.

MARISHA: It's an art. It's like a storytelling device when you have it done the right way.

MATT: "I'm going to be honest, I don't see it myself, but it sells well. Most folks that really, you know, look deep into it tend to be kind of, I don't know, not right in the head."

TRAVIS: Oh, yes, pricks.

SAM: (laughs)

LAURA: I'll try some.

MARISHA: All right.

LAURA: Since it's your wine.

TALIESIN: I'll try some, too.

MARISHA: Really?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I need to know what a 50 gold bottle of wine tastes like.

TALIESIN: Very special occasion.

LIAM: Caduceus, this is where the rest of us met.


LIAM: Yeah. Yeah, a long time ago now.

TALIESIN: Explains the dick carvings. That's really nice. It's a nice little place.

LIAM: It's nice that we could show it to you.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'm happy to be here.

LIAM: Notch in history of the Mighty Nein.

MARISHA: I pour out some wine for everybody.

SAM: Hmm.

TRAVIS: Does it change colors? Do anything--

MATT: It looks like a nice rich red-purple wine.

TRAVIS: Okay, cool, cool.

SAM: Monkey?

LAURA: No, monk.

SAM: Oh, monk. I'm just looking at her-- the first time she ever wrote notes about our characters in her notebook.


LAURA: Caleb, stinky wizard. Nott, goblin girl. Molly, pretty tiefling guy.


LAURA: Yasha, pale Viking. Beau, monkey. (laughter) Fjord, half-orc cowboy.


MARISHA: Wow, that's right, last time we were here, you were a cowboy.

TRAVIS: I was never a--

LAURA: You were a cowboy. You were a definite cowboy.

LIAM: Why isn't he a cowboy now?

SAM: This is lovely.

MARISHA: It's not bad, right?

SAM: Yes.

MARISHA: I know it's like all bullshit, but it's actually pretty fucking good wine.

SAM: It's fruit-forward.


MARISHA: You get those mineral tastes, yeah.

TRAVIS: I hear if you swirl it in your glass, it helps to-- what are you doing?

SAM: (spits)

MATT: It is surprisingly zesty with like a faint hint of cinnamon to it.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

MATT: Which is where the cider comes from, the title cider.

SAM: It's funny, I'm getting notes of tobacco and jam in it, actually. A little dark cherry.

MARISHA: Well, that's from that volcanic-type soil that's there, from--

LAURA: I taste sulfur.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, from the geysers, mm-hmm.

SAM: To Zadash!


MATT: All right.

MARISHA: This has just been an episode of cutting conversations and going.


MATT: All right, you stay your night there in Trostenwald and continue the next day. It's about two days from there, I believe, to Alfield. Is there anything you wish to do along the journey there, these two days?


MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Travel hard.

LAURA: Just really petting Sprinkle a lot.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Oh, we continue to work out.

MATT: Totally.

TRAVIS: Hanging from branches, doing pull-ups.

MATT: You find the occasional tree and just really--

TRAVIS: Tossing boulders back and forth as we do sit-ups.

MARISHA: High-running.

TRAVIS: Oh, high knees, high knees, drop down, pop back up.

MATT: (laughs) Perfect.

SAM: The equivalent of me tasting wine. (laughter) Just as boring to me to watch you do that. (laughter)

MATT: Eventually making your way to the outside of Alfield. The city has-- and Trostenwald had it, too, a minor Righteous Brand presence, which previously, especially when you grew up here in this area, Righteous Brand stayed mostly to outskirt outposts, like the two garrisons to the east of the Wuyun Gorge, and major cities like Zadash and Rexxentrum, Bladegarden, which is where most of the training there happens, so it's a little strange. When you came through last time on your way to Felderwin after the war began, you remembered seeing more of a presence there, so the presence is still there.

LIAM: Martial law.

MATT: Yeah, well, I wouldn't say martial law necessarily, but there's definitely a larger martial presence. Nevertheless, you have access to the city, and you go ahead and find yourself the previous inn where you had stayed.

SAM: In Zadash?

MATT: No, you're in Alfield.

LIAM: (as Nott) To Zadash!

SAM: To Zadash!

MARISHA: (laughing)

MATT: You do ask around for Watchmaster Bryce Feelid. However, they are not there. They have been relocated for the time being to Bladegarden to aid in the current conflict until further notice.

TRAVIS: Way east.

LAURA: Yeah. Oh, Bryce did not want to go there.


TRAVIS: No, they did not.

LIAM: What about the fire damage here? Is that all--?

MATT: Most of it's been-- it's either in a state of repair, some of the smaller buildings, the damage has been completely taken care of. Like the larger buildings, like the Candle something, I can't remember off the top of my head, is still in the process of being constructed, because that was a major point of damage. It looks like the city's recovering and is on the cusp of being completely recovered from that attack by the gnolls back in the day, a few months back. You find yourselves there comfortably. For another evening of sleep, this'll be, we'll put for all of you-- are you all going-- staying in separate rooms? They're a little smaller here. Are you all sharing rooms again here?

SAM: Double up.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: We'll double up.

MATT: Okay, that'll put you at nine silver.

TALIESIN: I got that.

MATT: You got it?


MATT: All righty.

SAM: Ask around, any sign of Shakäste around these parts?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

SAM: Guidance! Six. This is investigation?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: 17.

MATT: 17, all righty. There's been no information of Shakäste currently being there, but apparently a week ago, there was mention, some say of the mysterious figure known as Hush passing through briefly. Asking around some of the common folk and they light up at the mention of the name.

MARISHA: (laughing)

MATT: Every week.

MARISHA: Oh! Oh, right in my coffee!

TRAVIS: Shake it up, shake it up.

MARISHA: It's dead!

MATT: No no, it's--

MARISHA: It's in my coffee!


LIAM: (whispers) Shakäste.


TRAVIS: How are you feeling, friend? (laughter) Only one way out now. That's actually sad.

LAURA: Is it dead? Oh, buzzed. He's really energetic, though.

MATT: Should probably remove that from the table so you don't accidentally drink it.

TRAVIS: Max, come dispose of this beautiful creature.


TALIESIN: Tasteful funeral.


MATT: Anyway.

SAM: So Hush was around at some point?

MATT: At some point in the past week or so, passing through.

MARISHA: At the inn, are there any-- any notices on the post board, anything that looks interesting? Thanks, Max.

MATT: It looks like there are a few pieces of paper that are requesting more hands and volunteers for the war effort against the terrible and dangerous Kryn incursion. It looks like there are some postings looking for mercenary work to help bolster defenses against more riled-up goblin and ogre attacks in bands that seem to be getting more bold as some of the defenses are being pushed further and further east. Other than that, it's a couple of postings for just general farm hands and aid in reconstruction, looking for anybody who's handy with tools for a low weekly pay. Nothing else that catches your attention.


LAURA: Did we already ask if Thadeus' shop had been completely rebuilt? Was this an inn, Thadeus Candleglow?

MATT: Yeah, the Candleglow is not done yet, but it's mostly there, it'll probably be another two weeks or so of construction.

LAURA: Okay. Is he around?

MATT: You can talk to him if you like.

LAURA: Yeah, let me go find Thaddeus.

MATT: Okay. Thadeus in Alfield, going through my notes. Hopping around location to location. All righty. All right, so yeah, you find Thadeus.

SAM: We get a great sense of Matt's accents tonight.


MATT: "Oh, hi there. I remember you. You were one of the folks that came in and helped out with everything that went on down here."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "It's good to see you again. We're not quite up and running, unfortunately. We're not seeing folk in yet, but give us a little bit of time and--"

LAURA: It's very close.

MATT: "--we'll be good to go. We're getting there."

LAURA: I'm going to take 10 gold and give it to him.

MATT: "What, why--?"

LAURA: The Traveler has been looking out for you, you know.

MATT: "Who?"

LAURA: The Traveler. I told you about him before.

MATT: "Right."

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: "Well, you tell this Traveler that his--"

LAURA: I'm going to paint a figure of the Traveler with my special paint, and I'm going to give him a little statue of the Traveler.

MATT: "Okay, okay." (laughs)

LAURA: I would just suggest keeping this on your mantle, you know? As a thank you, since he blessed you so much.

MATT: "Of course, of course, no. I'll take any sort of guidance that any... being might bring to us to have better luck than we've had in the past."

LAURA: That's right. He blesses you daily.

MATT: "Thank you so much."


TRAVIS: Jester's getting creepy with that shit.

MATT: You watch him go over and pocket the gold, set it up on the hearth above the fireplace amongst a couple of pieces of probably wax fruit, and a bone of some kind.

TRAVIS: (laughs) Bag of nails.

LAURA: Awesome.

LIAM: (like Jester) They all float down here, you know? (laughter)

MATT: "Well, it's good to see you, appreciate it."

LAURA: Yes, of course. Blessings upon you, and remember always also be looking out for Traveler Con and stuff.

MATT: "What?"

TALIESIN: "Always also be looking out for Traveler Con and stuff." It's catchy, it's catchy. (laughs)

MATT: All right.

LAURA: To Zadash!

SAM: To Zadash!

MARISHA: To Zadash!

TRAVIS: Maybe.

TALIESIN: Three Zadash.

LAURA: Three Zadash! (laughs like the Count from Sesame Street)

MATT: All right, continuing on. Roughly three, three and a half more days until you get to Zadash, traveling northward. The weather itself is still cool, but it looks like you're moving away from the snowier winters that seem to have been taking the northern part of the continent. You can still see some slush and some dirty ice and snow that's in the process of melting away. Is there anything you wish to do during the multi-day journey to Zadash?

LAURA: Should I see if--

SAM: No!

LAURA: --they're still there?

SAM: Oh, you mean scrying? Sure, sure. Go for it. (laughter)

LAURA: I'm just going to scry on Yasha one more time to see if they're still there and maybe--

MATT: Okay. That's a natural one on that saving throw.

SAM: (whispering) Guide yourself.

LAURA: I can't in those situations 'cause I don't know it's coming. I already asked if I could.

MATT: The Traveler's presence warms the space around you and as you hold your hands in front, you feel his hands clasps yours. The voice goes, "Hmm, let's see what your friend's doing. This way," and his head turns this direction, and your vision suddenly (whooshes), shifts in this rapid pace, zig-zagging through blurring topography, mountains, hills come dodging through. Suddenly, you wince for a second. Your eyes seeing a bright sun, reddish-orange in the sky, partially broken clouds above. You see Yasha, walking through a rough-looking swampy waste in an open plain. This is a Xhorhasian sky.


MATT: You see her walking alongside a similar cloaked and hooded figure. Her cloak she had previously is just off the shoulder, hood down, and the hulking shape of the Laughing Hand also mostly wrapped and obscured by a much heavier cloak than the one that you had first encountered him with, looming across the field. Make a perception check for me.

TRAVIS: Come on. Come on, Guidance and shit!

LAURA: I can't Guidance myself on this stuff! I already asked. God dammit!

SAM: Holy shit.

LAURA: (screaming)

SAM: Threes and twos tonight.

LAURA: Eight!

MATT: Okay. You follow them along.

LAURA: That's what I was talking about, my pre-rolls were all twos and threes!

MATT: You follow them along. They're just walking. You hear, just outside of the periphery, Obann, the voice familiar to you, speaking, seems to be ranting a bit under his breath in the direction of Yasha, but you can't quite make out the details of what he's saying. Can't quite make out the locations of where they're at. You can see there's like some shapes, but the sensor of your scry stays focused around Yasha, most blurs beyond that immediate radius. At least you can make out topography. It does appear to be Xhorhasian in the familiar lighting of the sun and the broken landscape, though you're not certain of the actual location there.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: After about 10 minutes or so of focusing, you lose your tether.

LAURA: They were in like a swamp in Xhorhas.

SAM: They're all over the place.

LAURA: I'm going to send a message without telling Beau.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: I'm going to send a message to Thoreau.

SAM: Oh.

MARISHA: To my dad?

LAURA: (Zeenoth imitation) It's me again, just making sure everything's still okay there. It's Archivist Zeenoth. Doing good? There at your house? Anything strange going on? That's what I'm asking about. Anything weird. (chuckling)

MATT: "No, everything's fine. Have we met?" (laughter) "I don't know if we've met. You're starting to worry me a little. Everything okay? Who is this?"


LAURA: I'll send a message back. I can see you right now.

SAM: Oh Jesus.

LAURA: I'm watching everything you're doing. That's all.

MATT: Make a deception check.

SAM: Of course, of course. (laughter)

LAURA: 24.


LIAM: If it's fuckery, it comes through.

TALIESIN: Is this real genius, okay.

MATT: The only thing you hear in response is, "Oh no." (laughter) And silence. (laughter)

LIAM: Thoreau-regard, this is Jesus. (laughter)

TALIESIN: I want you to stop touching yourself.

TRAVIS: The Lionguards sold their winery and moved down--

MARISHA: Yeah, just overnight.

TRAVIS: To the Menagerie Coast, an unprompted move. (laughter) Thoreau Lionguard said he heard voices while he was pooping. (laughter)

MARISHA: He later murdered his wife.

MATT: Oh my god.

TALIESIN: Religious movement.

LAURA: Everything's okay at your house, though.


LAURA: They didn't do anything at your house.

MARISHA: Yeah, I know, you told me that yesterday.

LAURA: Yeah, but then they left, and I just wanted to make sure they didn't do anything after.

MARISHA: You checked in with my dad again?

LAURA: Well, I just checked to make sure that nothing weird happened.

MARISHA: Oh, okay. What'd he say?

LAURA: He said that nothing weird has happened, and then he kind of sounded creeped out by me a little bit.


MARISHA: Okay. Knowing my dad, he's a little superstitious. He gets a little spooked when it comes to that type of stuff.

LAURA: Then he's going to be nice and spooked.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah. He used to ramble all the time that he thought some witch or woman was going to come back and like collect a piece of his fortune or some shit. I don't know.

TRAVIS: Oh no.

MARISHA: So yeah.


TRAVIS: What have you done?

SAM: That's useful information.

TALIESIN: Oh my god!

SAM: For future communication.

MATT: Someone's probably not sleeping well for a while.


LAURA: That's great.

MARISHA: Yeah, I figured he was just crazy, so I hope he's squirming a little bit. (laughs)

LAURA: I think he will be.


TALIESIN: That's so mean. Oh my god.

SAM: (shrilly) To Zadash!


MATT: All right, for this next leg of the journey as you're traveling along there, I'll have one more person keep the perception check--

LAURA: I will, oh, just one, can I help?

MATT: If you want to help, you can take advantage on that.

LAURA: Advantage.

TALIESIN: I'll take advantage.

LAURA: Guidance.

TALIESIN: Can I do Guidance on this?

LAURA: Yeah, it's a night watch.

TALIESIN: Yeah, all right.

SAM: ♪ Where in the world is Yasha Sandiego ♪



MATT: 21, okay. You do notice in the far distance, to the right-hand side about two days into the three and a half day journey, a very faint bit of long, burned out smoke, like just a faint trail, like a campfire or something.

TALIESIN: How far away?

MATT: I'd say it's about a third of a mile from where you are on the main road.

LAURA: Behind us or in front of us?

SAM: Did you say napalm?

MATT: It's to the eastern side of the road. (mumbling)

TALIESIN: I'm going to wake Fjord up when I see this.


TALIESIN: Fjord, would you take a look, do you see that?

TRAVIS: Do I see it?

MATT: You see there's some patches of trees, and you do see the very faint trail of smoke, yeah.

TALIESIN: That feels suspicious to me.

TRAVIS: It does. It's close enough to be worrisome.

TALIESIN: Should we, I don't know, send Nott to take a look maybe? Wake her up?

TRAVIS: She is so grumpy when you wake her, though.

TALIESIN: Well, that's why I woke you up first.

TRAVIS: Right, right. I am her favorite, after all.

TALIESIN: Are you?


TALIESIN: Oh. Maybe I should've woken Caleb up.

TRAVIS: No, I think he's even grumpier in the morning. We could just, you know, check it out.

TALIESIN: That's what I was thinking, that maybe quietly, I'm not that quiet, obviously, but we could quietly just take a look, see what's over there, who that is, if we've got a problem.

TRAVIS: Yes, why not? Let's go.

TALIESIN: All right.

LAURA: Just you two, the two quietest, most stealthy--

SAM: (pigeon cooing)

TALIESIN: I was going to wake Nott up, just to have a--

TRAVIS: All right.

TALIESIN: Yeah, we should probably let everybody--

TRAVIS: Hold on, let me wake Nott, just so it's gentle, don't want to disturb her too much. I'll come over and I'll very softly put my hand under the back of Nott's head, gently lift it up, and then just drop her.


MATT: Bop!

SAM: (startled noise) I'll disembowel you, where are you! I'm going to fuck you up! (screaming)

TRAVIS: No, don't, it's only me! We saw smoke, perhaps from a campfire, about a third of a mile away.

MATT: The rest of you are awake now.


TRAVIS: We wanted to see if maybe you wanted to check it out and see if we were being followed.

SAM: Sure.

MARISHA: Did you have a nightmare? What's happening?

SAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: Are we killing somebody?

SAM: I don't know what happened. My head hurts.

TALIESIN: We think we might be being followed.


TALIESIN: Well, somebody's got a campfire about a third of a mile away, we're just going to check it out real quick and make sure it's not a problem.


SAM: I'll just go scout ahead and send a message back.


SAM: A third of a mile, that's too far.

MARISHA: It's probably just a campfire. It's fine.

LIAM: I'll send Frumpkin with you, you talk to him.

SAM: Great.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: I'll go invisible.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: You've got a 400.

LAURA: Have a good time.


SAM: I will stealth over to them.

MATT: With advantage, go ahead and roll a stealth check.

SAM: Ooh, terrible.

LAURA: That's, oh.


SAM: Still 19.

MATT: Still not bad, all right. Making your way across the field, looming over the slight raised hill that's between you and the slight little path of smoke, you head over down into this small, miniature valley, and as you approach, you can see what was probably a campfire, like a ring of stone that smoke is emanating from. You see like some scattered bags or refuse around the outside of it from a distance.

LAURA: Scattered bags of poop.

SAM: Or trash?

TRAVIS: Refuse.


SAM: But no one's in the camp.

MATT: You're still approaching.

SAM: Oh.

MATT: So you get all the way up to the camp?

SAM: Yes, please.

LIAM: By the way, did send Frumpkin, and 20 steps in, Nott disappeared.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: So Frumpkin is just going, I have no idea if with her or not, but is also going.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: I'm just assuming Frumpkin's right next to me.

MATT: Frumpkin is way behind you, because he's nowhere near as fast.

SAM: Okay, great.

MATT: You get closer and begin to see that the piles of refuse are not piles of refuse. Some of them look to be scattered bed rolls. Some are bodies.

SAM: Like dead bodies, or?

MATT: They're not moving. You get closer, and you see two horses that are on their side, torn open. (gasping) Getting in closer still, the three bodies that are there are also slashed, bitten, torn apart, robbed of any goods. Looking at the horses, they both look like they had barding on them, or some sort of means of, they were probably attached to a cart or pulling a cart, but there is no cart present.

SAM: Interesting. Okay, I'll turn around and look for Frumpkin.

MATT: Okay, a few moments later you see the cat rush up to catch up.

SAM: Frumpkin, I mean Caleb, if you can see/hear me, there are many dead bodies here, come, I need you all.

LIAM: Did Frumpkin hear? I have no idea if he's right there or not.

MATT: Frumpkin heard.

TRAVIS: A third of a mile is like 400 yards?

MATT: Let me see what the distance is on your ability here.

TRAVIS: How many yards in a mile? 1500?

LIAM: We said, we homebrewed this way back at the beginning of the campaign, it's like once Frumpkin's beyond--

MATT: Yeah, you cannot communicate.

LIAM: I can't communicate, but I can see and hear, is how we played it.

MATT: Correct. Yes, that's what we did with that, yeah.

LIAM: So I can't tell Frumpkin to do anything at this point, but I'm receiving.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: So I'll start muttering this to Beauregard.

MARISHA: Oh, but it's warm inside the dome.

LAURA: It's not cold out there either.

SAM: While I wait for them I'm going to walk around and look for tracks or markings.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

SAM: Oh, fuck you.

TRAVIS: What is going on?

LAURA: Oh no, did I pass it?

SAM: 15, 15.

MATT: 15.

SAM: No, I'm sorry, 13.

LAURA: Am I letting out bad roll fumes?

MATT: Okay. Looking around here, you do see tracks. One, you can see dragged wheels, grooves in the ground, that whatever cart was here was then removed from these dead horses and then taken in a southeastern direction.

SAM: Okay. I'll follow along a little bit.

MATT: Also, looking around at the bodies, some of it is bludgeon damage, like crushed face. Some appears to be small slashes and gash marks. You recognize in particular, just because of your previous experience, some of these are very akin to or similar to the wounds left by goblin attacks.

SAM: (gasps)

MATT: Goblin weaponry.

SAM: Oh shit. Oh shit.

MARISHA: Let's go. I'll grab my coat.

SAM: I'll wait for my friends to arrive.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: (panting)

MATT: They all eventually trudge up, and you can see not Nott, but you see the array of deceased before you and the massacre scene left behind.

TRAVIS: Can anyone tell how long they've been here like this?

LIAM: Let's check the bodies.

LAURA: We can do a medicine check?

MATT: Mm-hmm, medicine.

SAM: Or you could raise the dead.

LAURA: Guidance. Guide me, too.


LAURA: Guide me. Thank you. Damn it!

SAM: Jesus.

LAURA: Shut up.

TALIESIN: I'll do a medicine check. Oh, with Guidance, thank you.

LAURA: But I have good medicine. Well, it's still only 16 for me.


MATT: Fair enough. The bodies have probably been dead for, I'd say about six hours, seven hours or so.

TALIESIN: Does one have a face?

MATT: Two of them have faces that are functional.

TRAVIS: (laughs) A working face.

MATT: Like, you know, lax and cut, bloodied as shit, the third one is just a mashed mess.

TRAVIS: Can't you go for that one so it just goes like, (incoherent gurgling).


ALL: (garbled gurgling)

MARISHA: The one that's a mashed mess, though, does that look like it was goblins rolling with something else bigger?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

LAURA: What were the creatures that got attacked? Are they humans, are they--?

MATT: From what you can tell, the ones that you're still able to make out their features, they appear to be human.

LAURA: Okay.


LIAM: 22.

MATT: There's a heavy impact into the face that crushed it.

LIAM: A stone?

MATT: Appeared to be something hard. A large bludgeon, a heavy hammer, something to that degree. You don't see a boulder nearby that is messy or bloody, but it definitely has that sort of impact feel to it.

TRAVIS: Any sort of identifying armor or clothing?

MATT: No armor. Look to be travelers. All their decent goods or identifying characteristics that would give you those clues appear to have been stripped from them.

TALIESIN: Sitting up the cadaver of my choice, and I'm--

TRAVIS: I'll help. I'll put my knee behind it.

TALIESIN: Casting Speak With Dead.

MATT: All righty.


LIAM: Spoopy!

MATT: You get the younger of the two, looks to be a man probably in his early 20s or so, a bit unshaved, a chin beard starting to come through that's a little scraggly. His eyes are a little dull, ashamed that he went so violently at this age. As you complete the spell and focus on, you see the lungs fill in, and there's a slight horrible groaning moan as it exhales the first time.

LAURA: (sneezes)

MATT: (crackly exhalation)

LAURA: Bless me.

TALIESIN: Hello, friend. What happened to you? What happened to your group here?

MATT: "We were sleeping, and something came upon us, fast and many. Some bigger. Many smaller. I couldn't see much."

TALIESIN: Where were you headed, you and your friends?

MATT: "We were on our way to Zadash from Alfield."

SAM: To Zadash!

MATT: You hear the hype man from the corner.

TRAVIS: The other dead body's like, "Woo!"

TALIESIN: "To Zadash!"

TRAVIS: Sorry, he's like, (burbling).


SAM: No one's making it to Zadash in this episode.


MARISHA: Zadash or bust.

MATT: "Bringing produce to trade. Thought we'd stay off the path for safety." That's the only response you get beyond that.

SAM: Do we want to know more about the big ones? Or--

TALIESIN: The things that attacked you, was it just crushing blows? There was no fire, there was no magic?

MATT: "I saw nothing flashy. Just screams and terrifying chuckles, and the breaking of horses and men."

TALIESIN: How many were in your party?

MATT: Those were your three questions.

TALIESIN: Oh, I have five.

MATT: Oh, you have five on this, sorry. Three is the Commune. You do have five questions. "It was the three of us."

TALIESIN: Just the three of you. Is there anything you would like taken care of? Anything unresolved? No.

MATT: "No." You do gather, as part of the nature of this spell, it's not the personality or the soul speaking through, it's the memory of the flesh.

TALIESIN: I was curious if there was a task at hand that--

MATT: Right, right, right.

TALIESIN: They're gone, to be fair.

MATT: Yeah. The body goes limp, and--

TALIESIN: Farmers, three of them.

MARISHA: I saw a sign when we were in Alfield, the post, that was saying the orcs and trolls and other vermin of the hills were picking up again. I'm assuming with all of the soldiers being moved to the--

MATT: Goblins specifically.

MARISHA: Oh no, goblins and no trolls? No?

MATT: Didn't say trolls, no, just goblins.

TALIESIN: Goblins and something big.

MARISHA: Something big.

LAURA: Did the goblin tribe that you were, did they have big things they traveled around with?

SAM: We usually just had goblins, I mean, you know, in our clan, we just had goblins. They worked with some non-goblins, but they weren't giant creatures. There was a human.

LAURA: What human?

SAM: A woman. The woman who did this to me.

LAURA: Oh, right.

SAM: A mage of some sort. I don't know her, a hooded woman.

TALIESIN: I'm going to Decompose. Hit everything that's still here and just put it in a corner.

LAURA: (scoffs) Tell me about it.

LIAM: With all the, I can't remember, I don't know if Nott looked or not, but with all the wheels and the carnage, can we tell where things have been dragged, in what direction?

SAM: Yes.

MATT: Southeast.

LIAM: When Nott was here before us? Okay.

LAURA: I mean, do we follow the goblins? Or is it like, well, the goblins got some veggies.

SAM: I mean, I really would love to kill some goblins, but I'm not going to hold us up.

TRAVIS: Finish the rest of the night and then we head onto Zadash?


SAM: To Zadash?

LIAM: Is there the remains of a fire here that was seen from the distance? That's what alerted us that something was out here.

MATT: This was found in the morning. This is when you guys were before consciousness, the sun had just begun to rise, and that's when you began to notice the smoke trail. So you've had a night's rest, the day's beginning. Correct, no fire.

TALIESIN: Something to take care of, perhaps, when we pass through again. We are pressed for time right now.

LAURA: Can I look all over the ground just to see and make sure that nothing that was cool got left behind. Any sparklies left on the ground?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

LAURA: Guide! Traveler be with--

MATT: I'd say because you're not rummaging through things, you're looking--

LAURA: I'm looking all over.

MATT: Investigation or perception, your choice.

LAURA: (groans)

SAM: Wow.

LAURA: Okay, that's good.

SAM: The tide is turning. You gave me all your bad luck.

LIAM: The eagles are coming.

LAURA: (counting) 22!

MATT: You find three copper and a silver piece that seem to have not been taken by the attackers of this endeavor, but nothing in particular. Looks like the farmers unfortunately lost their plus three vorpal sword to the goblins.

LAURA: Hmm, too bad. Okay.

MATT: All right. You guys continue onward. Two more days of travel. You head towards the Amber Road northward. The familiar space passing by, the offset grave site that had once caught your attention as you made your way northward.

LAURA: Oh yeah.

MATT: Until eventually you can see, heading down into the valley, the familiar triangular outer wall shape at the base of the mountains: the city of Zadash. Bustling and colorful from this view above, it's been a while since you've been here.

ALL: (singing) It's been a while.

TALIESIN: I knew you would.

MATT: Was waiting for it. You make your way down towards the southern gates, the entrance to the main city. There you can see there is about ten crownsguard, buffeted by an additional ten Righteous Brand at this entryway. As you approach, to a smaller degree, but familiar, a procession of people who are making their way into the city after being just looked over. It looks to not be quite as extensive as the Wuyun Gorge entry way, but they are giving glances and allowing folks in one after the next. Any preparations you wish to make as you approach?

MARISHA: Cobalt Soul vestiges.

SAM: Wait, we don't have to be in disguise here, do we? Oh, I do, sort of.

LAURA: But I think--

TALIESIN: They've seen us before.

MARISHA: They've seen us before, they should know who we are. I just want to look a little bit more official, that's all.

LAURA: Do our clothes that we're wearing, do they look very Xhorhasian, or--?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Then yes, I think maybe we should not be in these clothes.

MARISHA: We should change.

MATT: Yeah, you've gotten a few looks. (laughs) Not like, "Oh my god, they're Xhorhasian!" But it's a style that's not very common in the Empire, and while you're passing through Alfield and Trostenwald.

LAURA: I'm going to put on my purple dress that I took from Nicodranas.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I'll just take my coat off for now, not doing anything.

TRAVIS: Back to my original scrubby leathers. Mask of Many Faces.

SAM: I'll myself look like just Veth.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Cobalt Soul gear.

MATT: You got it.

LAURA: Caleb?

LIAM: Yeah, I could take care of myself for the day, but that takes quite a bit out of me. But I will do it.

LAURA: Or you can just put on your old coat.


LIAM: Oh, I got rid of that.

LAURA: Do you want to put on one of my dresses that I brought from Nicodranas? (gasps) Oh! You know what? Wait, hold on, I'm going to look, I stole that fancy cloak.

TRAVIS: We're right outside the walls.

LAURA: Shut up. I stole that fancy cloak from the cabinet. Oh, that was...

SAM: Wasn't it like a kimono sort of?

LAURA: I don't know, it's probably no better than what you're wearing.

LIAM: I cast Seeming.

SAM: Oh. On all of us?

LIAM: I could, but everyone seemed to have a plan. Does anybody want any changes for the next eight hours or so?

TALIESIN: I'm good.

LAURA: No, my dress is really nice, so, I'm okay in it.

LIAM: Caleb looks the way he did the first day you met him.

MATT: All righty.

SAM: I'll take-- You can make my Veth last eight hours instead of one, sure.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. You all make your way to the gates of Zadash. The guards give you glances over.

MARISHA: Do we recognize any of them?


MARISHA: From our time previous?


LIAM: The one who kicked my cat?

MATT: You do not recognize the ones that kicked your cat on this side of this city.

LIAM: I've learned some things since the last time we were here. I've learned a few things.

MATT: They usher you guys past, and you make it through the main gates into the familiar city. Now arriving on the muddy cobblestone streets of Zadash, a familiar sight, though it's been a while since you visited, it's weirdly comforting. Looking around and seeing the standard workers and citizens amongst the peasantry and the occasional well-dressed noble making their way through. You begin to move towards the inner part of the central city of the Empire. What would you guys like to do?

TRAVIS: Fucking Pumat's here.

MARISHA: Pumat's here!

SAM: We got to go to the Cobalt Soul.

MARISHA: Sorry, yeah.

LIAM: First thing, actually, before we can do that, the tower, how is it?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LIAM: Yeah. That's pretty good. That's 21.

MATT: 21? The tower is visible. It's one of the larger spires, one of the three Tri-Spires. It appears to be standing and fine from this distance.

LIAM: So it's no longer (creaking).

MATT: It's no longer at an angle. It is straight up.

SAM: (singing) Straight up now tell me.

MATT: You know, this might actually be a good place to take a break. Because it is 9:00. As you enter the city of Zadash, gathering yourselves, getting your bearings straight, and deciding which path to take as you look upon the horizon, we're going to take a break. We'll be back here in a few minutes, but before we jump in, we do have our giveaway tonight. Nice to be back. Back to where things happened.

TALIESIN: Back to Zadash.

MATT: We do have, from our friends at Wyrmwood, the newly redesigned hero vault featuring art by our friends Devon Rue and Crystal Sully.

TRAVIS: Yeah, look at that.

MATT: Dragon head design right there, this is the Crystal Sully design. This is currently available through Wyrmwood's Kickstarter campaigns, so go ahead and check it out when you get a chance. The keyword for tonight is homeward, H-O-M-E-W-A-R-D, one word. Enter only once, more than once, you'll be disqualified, and once again, for folks in the US and Canada, excluding Quebec. We'll be back here in a few minutes with a winner. We'll see you in just a moment.

SAM: Yay.


(upbeat music) ♪ You got the perfect warlock ♪ ♪ Her weapons and supplies ♪ ♪ But you need a place to track your stuff ♪ ♪ 'Cause you're so disorganized ♪ ♪ You click open the web page ♪ ♪ You heard about on Critical Role ♪ ♪ And now you're ready to kick some butt ♪ ♪ In that mineshaft full of gnolls ♪ ♪ It's D&D;, D&D; ♪ ♪ Yeah, D&D; Beyond ♪ ♪ Yeah D&D;, D&D; ♪ ♪ Yeah, D&D; Beyond ♪ ♪ You got your stats, you've got your sword ♪ ♪ And you got your invisible wand ♪ ♪ It's D&D;, D&D; ♪ ♪ D&D; ♪ ♪ D&D; Beyond ♪ (dignified classical music) TRAVIS (V.O.): Last time on Yee-Haw Game Ranch. BRIAN: Yeah, you know, the mosquitoes are crazy. TRAVIS: Here, let me get that one. BRIAN: Oh, that's so sweet. Well, today, speaking of slapping, we're playing Mortal Kombat 11, and I think this one's probably going to be-- BRITTANY: Ahoy there. State your names and your business here on the island, yarr. TRAVIS: (laughs) I be Travis Willingham. BRIAN: Yarr, and I be Brian Foster. We're here to charge the game soul for the reunification of the gameverse. Who are you? BRITTANY: I be Red Birb the Pirate. TRAVIS: Yep. BRIAN: Okay. BRITTANY: Sultan of the Wagon Wheel Maelstrom, King of the Fractured Seas. TRAVIS: Fractured Seas? BRITTANY: And Prince of Yee-Haw Water Ranch, yarr. BRIAN: Did you say Yee-Haw Water Ranch? What are you doing all the way out here? BRITTANY: I be lookin' for a relic buried deep beneath the Nether Earth. I believe it may be here on the island, yarr. BRIAN: How cool, though, a pirate searching for buried treasure. BRITTANY: Don't patronize me, you thin-bearded joy drain! TRAVIS: (laughs) BRITTANY: I be lookin' for a piece to an ancient weapon. TRAVIS: Oh, now we're talkin'. BRIAN: Holy shit, what an ancient weapon? BRITTANY: Hey, crowbar mouth. I'm talkin' to my matey here. TRAVIS: Crowbar mouth! And you said it's buried beneath the water, the Nether Earth? BRIAN: Yeah, Nether Earth. BRITTANY: Yeah, the Nether Earth. It be the dark world deep below the mud and big blue. The space between the Dye'mor and Har'ah and the six divine makers. You must know this. BRIAN: No, I don't know this! Dye'mor, the six divine makers? TRAVIS: Spell those names. BRITTANY: Well, I can't be wastin' my time talkin' to you. It's time to find this new booty. All right, boys, hop in the dinghies, and head to the shore. TRAVIS: What dinghy? Where's the boat? BRIAN: I don't see any dinghies. TRAVIS: Where'd she go? TRAVIS: Both triggers. BRIAN: I did. TRAVIS: Oh, you must've missed it. BRIAN: Oh, I missed it. TRAVIS: There it is! (exclaiming) TRAVIS: Are you serious?! BRIAN: Oh, that's unnecessary. TRAVIS: Wow! BRIAN: Oh no! TRAVIS: How are you alive?! BRIAN: But do you have a flag? TRAVIS: Now if you're thinking, watching at home, oh, these button mashers are an absolute joke, I could handle them any day of the week, you are right. BRIAN: You're correct. Yeah, we are buttmashers. What did you say? TRAVIS: Whoa. Whoa! Okay, I told you there was a second person. BRIAN: I want to go to the bathroom and smoke some weed! TRAVIS: (laughs) Oh! BRIAN: Whoa. TRAVIS: I don't want that fatal blow action. No! No, no! Oh wow. BRIAN: Yeah, but look at how down my health is, though. TRAVIS: Oh boy. No, that is some pretty Keyleth sunbeam shit. BRIAN: My health is so far down, dude. TRAVIS: Down-four, down-X. Oh! (both shouting) BRIAN: Jesus! TRAVIS: Fatality! Who knew he worked at a deli? BRIAN: That was, yeah dude, eat fresh. TRAVIS: Oh! (both shouting) MAN OFF-CAMERA: Down, down, down, triangle. BRIAN: You dummy! TRAVIS: You said down down! BRIAN: He did say down three times. (both laughing) TRAVIS: Down, down, down, triangle. Down four times, and triangle. BRIAN: Pink. (birds chirping) SAM: I'm a fan of hot air balloon rides above the Venetian countryside. I'm a fan of Momlan. She's always got my back. I'm a fan of wine older than Taliesin. I'm a fan of Twitch subscriptions. I'm a fan of emotes by Arsequeef. They're neat. I'm a fan of a wife so cool, people forget I exit. (eerie music) (birds cawing) (explosions) (beeping) (eerie laughter) (heartbeat pounding) (baby crying) SAM: I'm a fan of wearing your skin as a mask. (dignified classical music) (dramatic music)

Part IIEdit

MATT: Welcome back, everybody. Wow.

MARISHA: I learned some shit.

MATT: That was a lot.

TALIESIN: Thank you. I was very proud of that.

MATT: Give them 10 minutes of rest and they come back swinging. Before we get back into the game, we do have our winner of the fantastic Wyrmwood giveaway. The winner is Spector_VI. Spector_VI, six. Congratulations, we'll get that to you ASAP, and enjoy your kickstarted awesome design. Bringing it back, you guys are heading down the streets, surrounded by the various hustle and bustle of Zadash. The Crownsguard presence here is as you recall, though you do see them mingled with small batches of Righteous Brand that seem to have been also given additional responsibilities watching from the streets. It feels a much more guarded atmosphere than last time you were here, except for when the war first began, so actually the last time you left, it was about the same as where you recall, if not a little bit more bolstered. It looks like more soldiers are outside of the Marrow Keep and are amongst the rest of the folk in the town.

TRAVIS: Apart from the numbers, just the body language, do they look alert, frayed? Maybe like a bloodbath just occurred a few days ago?

MATT: Make an insight check.

TRAVIS: Natural 20.

MARISHA: Oh, oh! Look at that CR logo.

MATT: They do appear alert. It isn't a day-to-day thing. There are some that are, some are just going about business, but there is definitely a readiness to a lot of them. Probably because just the current war with the Dynasty has not been recently going in the Empire's favor, and there was a recent possible attack that may have caught their attention.

TRAVIS: They don't look gaunt, they look well-fed, still prepared?

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Organized, okay.

MARISHA: Is there a town crier shouting news?

LIAM: I was just going to ask.

MATT: Okay, yeah. If you're listening out for that, make a perception check.


MATT: Okay.

LIAM: 19.

MATT: Okay, you do hear in the distance, just a short ways into the city, some shouts off the way. It's just far enough away where you don't pick up the information, but you know the direction to go to meet up with them, and so you push on on horseback, not galloping through the streets, because that's generally frowned upon for the people that do cross the road often, but you pick up your pace a bit to head that direction, and you do hear the town crier going, "Beware, recent incursions, attack on the Cobalt Soul! Still at large, murderers. See folks of strange mind or disposition, report to the Hall."

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm.

MARISHA: Strange mind and disposition?

TRAVIS: Mind or disposition.

MARISHA: Oh, if you see weirdos, okay, okay. Go to the TSA and report.

MATT: Essentially.

TALIESIN: Wow, we are just a walking red flag, aren't we?

MARISHA: Uh-huh, always. All right.

MATT: Also starts shouting, "War effort successfully mounting towards the east!"

TRAVIS: Horse shit.


I say to myself.

MATT: So what would you guys like to do?

TRAVIS: Straight to the Cobalt Soul.

MARISHA: To the Soul!

MATT: All righty. You head your way to the Valley Archive of the Cobalt Soul. Passing by the familiar territory, you eventually come upon the beautiful structure of the Archive, seemingly unscathed. As busy as you would expect, though it does appear like there are triple the number of townsguard placed around the front and side entrances. You approach?


MATT: There is a hitching post, easy enough to put your horses off to the side. You approach, and there is a robed Cobalt researcher outside who glances upon your approach. "Good day. Are you looking to ent--"


MATT: "Beauregard, yes."

MARISHA: I'm back.

MATT: "Things have been a bit..."

MARISHA: Chaotic?

MATT: "Yes."

MARISHA: Yeah, I've heard.

MATT: "You've heard of the attack, then?"


MATT: "Right, right. How can I help you?"

MARISHA: I would like to come in and talk to people.

MATT: "Of course."

MARISHA: We have some shit to report.

MATT: "Yes, this way."

MARISHA: Been gone a long time, you know.

MATT: "Yes. Enter." Leads you inside. You head--

MARISHA: I'm sorry.

MATT: You head to the interior chamber. You see two monks that are along the floor, the marble floor, with brushes, they're scrubbing. It's pretty clean. You don't see a sign of the struggle previously, they've had a number of days to recover from it, but you do definitely confirm with sight and the terminology that this is where the attack seemed to occur, or at least an attack occurred.

TRAVIS: Just a slight reminder that perhaps--

LAURA: I just stare.

TRAVIS: These people might have lost someone close to them. You know, so maybe tone down the brash.

MARISHA: Yeah, I probably lost someone close to me. Maybe.

TRAVIS: Right, yes.

MARISHA: Find out who died. All right.

LIAM: Hey DM, how many days did it take to get here?

MATT: Total, would've been... 13 and a half days from Nicodranas.

TALIESIN: Almost two weeks. Not bad.

TRAVIS: Two weeks.

MARISHA: Geographical oddity.

SAM: Who can we talk to here?

MARISHA: I'm going to look around and see if I can find Zeenoth or, fuck, who's the other guy who taught me?

LIAM: Oh, right. The one you sparred with.


LIAM: He was a halfling, right?

MARISHA: Uh-huh. He stepped in after Dairon left.

MATT:(clears throat) Well, as you're having this conversation or asking around, the figure who helped you in, which looking upon you can see short blond hair, appears to be half-elf. Leaning more on the human than half-elf side a bit. Young and seems a bit shaken visibly by the recent events and is just trying to hold it together. Hears you mention Zeenoth and goes, "Oh, yeah, Zeenoth is recovering. He was gravely wounded in the attack. I could go and check and see if he's up for visitors."

MARISHA: Would you? What's your name?

MATT: "I'm Galesh. I've heard of you."

MARISHA: Really?


MATT: "Yes."

MARISHA: What have you heard?

MATT: "I've just heard, you've been used as an example in conversations."

MARISHA: Oh, god. Okay. Yeah, do me a favor, Ganache. Ganache? Ganesh.

MATT: "Galesh."

MARISHA: Galesh. Do me a favor, Ganache, and go check in.

MATT: "Right."

TALIESIN: Power move there, well done.

MATT: Sets off, and you can see there are a number of various monks and clerics and other people that work within the Archive that are just watching you all. You know, generally part of the business in here is to keep an eye on anybody who is an outsider, even in the presence of Beauregard here, with recent events, there is a general nervousness and a close watch just in case. A short time goes by before Galesh returns and goes, "He can speak with you, if you want to follow."

MARISHA: Yeah. Come on.

TRAVIS: We follow.

TALIESIN: Oh yes, we follow.

MATT: You follow Galesh down the hallway to one of the rooms for the infirmed, which is used for injuries and general recovery for anybody who's been hurt, you know, people fall off ladders and stuff here occasionally, it's a very very high-tier library and things are prone to happen. In one of the beds, you can see there is Zeenoth, who is still bandaged, you know, thanks to magical healing, terrible grievous wounds can be recovered in a short time, and based on where he's still at in the time that it's been, you gather he narrowly escaped with his life.


MATT: Zeenoth leans forward and, "(groans), Beauregard."

MARISHA: Hey, Zeenoth.

MATT: "I wasn't expecting to see you."

MARISHA: Yeah, we peeked in and we saw that things were tits-up, so.

MATT: "Yes, it's been a problematic few weeks."

MARISHA: How many did we lose?

MATT: "We lost nine."

MARISHA: Nine, okay.

MATT: "Others were wounded, myself included. I'm very very thankful to still be here. By the grace of Ioun, I still walk among us."

LAURA: Who was it that attacked you?

MATT: "I'm not certain. Somebody masquerading as one of our own came through. This terrifying, murderous behemoth just began to cut through, and another, seemingly driven by anger and madness. We were caught off-guard, and were forced to try and guide them to a specific chamber, and I resisted and was gutted for it." You can see he tries to sit up, there's these heavily crimson bandages across the midsection. "I'm mostly recovered now. This is a bit macabre at glance, but I'm--"

LAURA: You really should get that changed if you're healed up. I mean, why are you sitting in old blood?

MATT: "It's been a few days of heavy sleep recently. But--"

MARISHA: What chamber, what were they looking for? What did they leave with?

MATT: "Well, the man said he was a representative of the Rexxentrum Archive, on business with the war effort. Something didn't sit right when I first saw him."

LAURA: Was he blond?

MATT: "No, darker hair."


MATT: "I questioned him at the repository door, below, and he whistled loudly, and that's when the footfalls came of the other two. Screams. So many screams. I did not recognize him. I can show you to where he was--"

SAM: (sneezes)

MATT: "Bless you."

SAM: Excuse me.

MATT: "I can show you to where he asked me to take him."


TRAVIS: Can we help you at all?

MATT: "I'm fine, I'm fine."

MARISHA: Yeah, let us help you.

MATT: "(sighs)" He leans on your shoulder a bit. Takes you out to the downward spiral staircase that leads to the subterranean repository. This is where the extremely rare, singular-copy books are kept. Things that have very dangerous information that the Cobalt Soul keeps under very careful lock and key. "I'm not entirely certain directly what he was looking for. He was just asking to be brought here. I've been out for most of this time, perhaps some of the other individuals can help you. They've been doing their investigations about."

TRAVIS: Doing an inventory of anything that might be missing?

MATT: "Yes, if you wish to ask."

MARISHA: Who should I talk to?

MATT: He points to any of the other monks who are in the process of making notes and pointing through the various tomes.

LAURA: Do I recognize the rooms at all that we're in?

MATT: This is the room where you saw Yasha at the doorway of.

LAURA: And him sitting at a table?

MATT: Him standing at the table with a book he's a been thumbing through, yeah.

LAURA: Do I remember what the book looked like?

MATT: You do.

LAURA: Can I describe it to--

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Two of them listen, and they begin to thumb through, and eventually come to a blank spot where the book is missing.

SAM: What was it?

MARISHA: Yeah, I holler to somebody. What was here?

MATT: "This particular tome was specifically talking about the historical significance of and recordkeeping of various terrifying entities that were involved in various deific conflicts. Spoke of celestial entities and angels and twisted, corrupted creatures and beings that were put and bound to the service of Betrayer Gods, as well as some of the Prime Deities themselves. It was cobbled together from various different sources."

LAURA: An Angel in Irons?

MATT: "I don't know if that was this particular tome. We can go and research, if you'd like, or if you'd like to research, you can."

MARISHA: Anything about the Laughing Hand? And yes, we will be doing our research, but I figured you could give me a footnotes version of what you have thus far?

MATT: "I don't recall anything about the Laughing Hand, but my specialty is only this particular section of the room. We can't all know all the information, so we have assigned different regions of the Archive that we look over, specifically."

LIAM: Is there anyone in the library who is specifically acquainted with this tome?

MATT: "That would be me."

LIAM: You, okay.

MARISHA: Was there any spells, any hints of gateways, information where things-- do you remember any of that from this tome?

MATT: "No. I mean, it was mostly vocal. It wasn't any specific studies. It was, you know, word of mouth, bits of information, historical scraps that were passed down. Many of it was just considered myth or story."

TRAVIS: A singular book, right? There wasn't a pair or a series of these, it was just a collection?

MATT: "It was one in particular, and it was thin, it wasn't an extensive tome."

TRAVIS: I know that many were lost here. Do you know how they exited? How they left?

MATT: "No, just without a trace. I assume it was some form of teleportation."

TALIESIN: Did this book cover the King that Crawls?

MATT: "It may have. It covered many things. I don't-- We archive and maintain them; we do not memorize the contents of these tomes. We just know where to find them and when the research is necessary, we go and locate them and then discover it."

TALIESIN: Do the records have anybody else going into this book in the last few years?

MATT: "We've looked into it, it hasn't been specifically looked into for at least 20 to 25. It's sparse knowledge."

SAM: The tall woman with the sword, I assume.

MATT: "Yes?"

SAM: Did she say anything? Did she act of her own volition, or was she commanded?

MATT: "I mean, she said not a word while she was here."

LAURA: She was crying.

MATT: "Anyway, if you wish to look about the books here, we can assign a few aids and help you find what you seek."

LIAM: That would be extremely helpful.

TRAVIS: Anything else was reported missing besides this particular book?

MATT: "We've looked over it quite extensively, and this is the only tome missing."


MARISHA: What's your name?

MATT: "My name is Delan. I've been here for quite some time."

MARISHA: Oh, I think I met him before. No, no.

MATT: I don't think you've met Delan. You didn't spend much time in the repositories, so you wouldn't have encountered him too often. "Yes, if there's any particular topics you'd like to research, we can look into that."

SAM: What do we want to research?

MATT: You have an entire archive at your disposal, so if there's anything you want to try and look up.

MARISHA: All of it.

MATT: I mean, pick some topics.

LAURA: Jesus.

TRAVIS: Swamps in Xhorhas.

TALIESIN: Angel of Irons.

LAURA: Yeah, the angel.

MARISHA: Anything about summoning the Crawling King, anything about the Crawling King, or--

MATT: Okay, which one? You're picking multiple topics here. Which one you want to research first?

LAURA: Gosh, we're treating Matt like he's Google. This is crazy.

SAM: Crawling King.

TALIESIN: I want to find a good Thai restaurant that's at least got four stars. Three miles.

LAURA: I think we should look up if there's anything about the Angel of Irons, because--

TALIESIN: We don't know anything.

LAURA: Yeah. It's like a group, a cult, right? A following.

MARISHA: It sounds like fallen angels, or celestial beings.

TALIESIN: Angel of Irons or I would say the Laughing--

LAURA: The Laughing Hand.


MATT: Okay, so which one are you researching first?

MARISHA: Crawling King, let's do that first.

MATT: All right, and who's researching that?

SAM: Caleb!

LIAM: Hmm.

MARISHA: I'll research that.

LIAM: Yes, yes.

MATT: Okay, make an investigation check for me.

LAURA: Guidance. Oh, oh, oh, wait, hold on. I'm going to cast Enhance Ability.

MARISHA: Ooh yes.

TALIESIN: I'm going to do it to Caleb.

LAURA: I'm going to do it, it's an intelligence check, I'm going to cast Fox's Cunning on you.

MARISHA: Yeah, sweet.

MATT: That's advantage on intelligence checks for you. You doing the same for Caleb? All right.

LAURA: And Guidance.

MARISHA: And Guidance, okay, okay.

LAURA: Wait, let me double-check and make sure Guidance is not--

TALIESIN: It's concentration.

LAURA: Oh, never mind, no Guidance for you.

MARISHA: Okay. Investigation, you said?

MATT: Correct.


MATT: 16, okay. You do find a number of books that refer to Torog. Torog the Crawling King, the dark god of the endless tunnels and caverns beneath Exandria, Torog is the patron of torturers, slavers, and jailers across the realms. His violent terrors carve the pathways under the world and his realm of imprisonment is a network of deadly caves and manacles from which few return. Creatures that wander the desolation of Carceri often construct prisons in his image.

MARISHA: Carceri?

MATT: Carceri.

SAM: Carceri.

MATT: C-A-R-C-E-R-I. Those who rob others of their freedom offer prayers to him in cellars and other subterranean domains. Many creatures who live in the darkness below worship him and seek his guidance. He is said to have been banished within an unknown sliver of the Far Realm, where he now borders the deepest pits of the Underdark. Where the boundaries between worlds grow thin and birth terrible abominations bent on subjugation.

MARISHA: To a sliver of the Underdark, or a sliver--

MATT: A sliver of the Far Realm that borders the deepest pits of the Underdark.

LIAM: So Underdark to get to--?

TRAVIS: We were just in a part of the Underdark with our big-ass gate, somebody got squished.

LIAM: I don't think we were in the Underdark in this campaign. Underground, but not Underdark.

MATT: There are many tales of battles and wars, including the one where Torog was initially banished by a union of Pelor the Dawnfather and Rae the Everlight.


MATT: That managed to push him beyond the boundaries of Exandria into the Far Realm, where he has supposedly remained to this day.

TRAVIS: Where is the Far Realm?

MARISHA: Yeah, what's the Far Realm?

TRAVIS: What is that? Is that another dimension or a place?

MATT: If you would like to-- for you, I'd say either make a religion or arcana check for you.

LIAM: Are you reading privately or are you like sharing with the group as you go?

MARISHA: I would be yelling shit out.

LAURA: You get advantage on it, by the way.

MARISHA: It's still intelligence.

TALIESIN: And you as well, Liam.

LIAM: Enhance Ability gives what?

TALIESIN: You have advantage on any intelligence-based ability checks.

LIAM: Oh, cool.

TALIESIN: For an hour.

MARISHA: Wait, wait, wait, not investigation but religion. 18.

MATT: Religion is wisdom, I believe, right? Or is it intelligence?

MARISHA: No, that's intelligence.

MATT: Intelligence, all right, never mind, sorry, you're right.


MATT: The Far Realm has been studied as much as it can. It is a space, a plane outside of the general spheres of known existence, that is so alien, that is so strange and dangerous that to peer deep into it is to welcome madness into the mind.

TALIESIN: I want to go there now.


TRAVIS: Let's go there next.

MATT: It is said those who nightmare on its borders sometimes dream things into being. Terrible formless ancient creatures that may have existed before Exandria itself.

MARISHA: That's exactly what they're trying to do, right? Like dream him back, maybe?

MATT: There are such creatures as beholders and aboleths and things are theorized to have been spawned from or originated from the Far Realm.

LAURA: Whoa.

TRAVIS: In people's nightmares?

LAURA: Creepy.

SAM: To the Far Realm!


MATT: Sure, what could possibly go wrong?

MARISHA: Dream things into existence. So wait, it said you have to get there by a way through the Underdark? Or it borders? There's a sliver that borders--

MATT: There is a boundary of it supposedly that is bordering the very subterranean base of the Underdark.

LIAM: There's a crack 20,000 leagues under the sea that touches it.

MARISHA: Does it give any indication of where that crack is?

MATT: None.

TRAVIS: What else are we researching?

MARISHA: Yeah, what else are we researching?

LIAM: I would like to ask: any tomes you have on individuals trying to make use of the demonic or greater things, or trying to, I guess in general history, intrepid individuals trying to harness greater power?

MATT: (chuckling) The monk who's assigned to you goes, "That's many-- that's a lot. That's like, most of the Age of Arcanum. You might want to narrow it a little bit. Be a little a little more specific, that's a lot of reading."

LIAM: How about a book that centers on the worst people?

MATT: "The worst people, that's relative."

LIAM: People who have done the most terrible things, who have tried to summon terrible things from beyond. Illicit acts. Summoning demons.

MATT: "There's many. I could point you to," make an investigation check.

LIAM and LAURA: At advantage.

TRAVIS: The Google search bar: "bad people."

MARISHA: (laughs)

LIAM: Who have tried to abuse this stuff.

LAURA: "Bad people who have abused people."

LIAM: 27.

MATT: So many, so many. History is filled with bad people that have summoned creatures and demons and entities all over. There are cults all over the world who that done this. There are warlocks, and there are mages, who all through history, whether it be for good or for evil, have tried to bind creatures like this to their will, some successfully, some not. Especially when the Betrayer Gods walked the realm as well, there are many cabals that were built to the Betrayer Gods, as well as the demon princes of the Abyss. It's a dizzying amount of information.

LIAM: What about people who have served the Crawling King?

MATT: People who have served the Crawling King? Interesting enough, most of those that have been, their names are stricken from history or haven't been recovered. A lot of individuals, aside from a handful of definitive mages from the Age of Arcanum, they haven't either recovered it. I guess what I'm trying to tell you is it's still a very broad topic. I could sit here and make up shit for 20 minutes and tell it at you.

LIAM: Don't do that. Every time I talk books, I do not want you to monologue for--

TALIESIN: Was hoping to find a Bored Panda link. Ten worst-- yeah.

MATT: Right. You do not discover anything possibly pertinent to the things that you're seeking at the moment, I'll put it that way.

SAM: What about the Abyss? What about, didn't we see an image of Bahamut--

LIAM and SAM: Baphomet?

MARISHA: Baphomet, and the language was in Abyssal that was then scratched out with Celestial overtop of it.

TRAVIS: I would like to know a bit more about Baphomet, actually.

MATT: Sure. Go ahead and roll an investigation check.

TRAVIS: King of Shadows.

MATT: Okay, so an hour has passed for the two pieces of research you guys have done, so you'd have to recast, if you want to.

LAURA: Okay. I'll cast it on, who all is researching stuff?

LIAM: I think you should have me.

TRAVIS: I'll research Baphomet.

TALIESIN: I'll do it at level four and get all three of them.

LAURA: Oh, okay, great.

TALIESIN: You all have one more round.

TRAVIS: Just applied for a library card.

TALIESIN: (whooshing) This is fun, this is new. Tap each of you on the head, you've got an hour of intelligence advantage.

MARISHA: Yes, yes.

LAURA: And now I can Bless you.

TALIESIN: Oh, wow.


TALIESIN: That's crazy.

MATT: So who's researching what? You're doing Baphomet, you said? Roll an investigation check with advantage.

LAURA: Guidance.

TALIESIN: Add a d4.

SAM: It's under B.

TRAVIS: That's really good. And that's a natural 20.

TALIESIN: Add a d4.

SAM: Natural 20, plus d4.

TRAVIS: Natural 19 and a natural 20.


LAURA: Add a d4 anyway. I want to see where this number ends up at.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Wow, that's 30.

LAURA: 30!


LAURA: He rolled a 30.

MATT: Whew. Damn! All righty. Let me go pull up some of this information that you guys are asking about here, hold on a second.

SAM: You know more than Matt does about it now.

MATT: Probably.

LIAM: Start makin' it up.

TRAVIS: Especially about where we're going next.

MATT: Hold on a second, I got to find my information here.

TALIESIN: We have an opportunity to learn about a few things we don't know anything about, though.

MATT: That's true, and you have a lot of things that you picked up throughout your adventures or things that might pertain to what happened here that you can research as well.

MARISHA: Dodecahedron, yeah.

SAM: Should we research that?

MARISHA: We can look it up.

LIAM: There wouldn't be anything in the history books about a temporary or new location of a hidden--

LAURA: No, but it could maybe--

MATT: All right, so you do know, Baphomet is the demon prince of beasts. That's what he's referred to, and he's considered the master of minotaurs and other demonic bestial creatures. He lives on his own plane of the Abyss, often rivaling with Yagnu. Yagnihu? Yeenoghu. Pronunciation's fucked up. Demon names are great. Which you've heard before. That was the demonic gnoll lord, to where the gnoll cultists that you met at Alfield were worshiping.

LAURA: I knew I recognized that name.

MATT: Is essentially this patron entity to many man-beast creatures that put their worship and interest towards more Abyssal powers.

SAM: It's a god?

MATT: It's a demon prince, which is not a god.

TRAVIS: Prince of beasts. Also not a devil.

MARISHA: More Abyssal shit, more Abyssal shit.

TRAVIS: Not hell.

SAM: But someone that they could summon, possibly?

MARISHA: Or that he's working for?

TRAVIS: What else?

TALIESIN: I was going to say, you guys still have two more research tokens, basically.

MARISHA: Well, let's research...

SAM: Luxon? The dodeca?

TALIESIN: I want Angel of Irons, because we just don't know anything.

MARISHA: Angel of Irons, and then I would like to do a geography check on maybe some shit.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I mean, do we need a geography check?

ALL: No.

MATT: You have many things you can research here.

LIAM: I'd like to research the origins of the Kryn Empire, their religion and its origin.

MARISHA: I'll do the Angel of Irons.

MATT: Okay, make an intelligence check.

LAURA: Guidance.

SAM: Bless, Guidance, Guidance, Bless, inspired.

LAURA: Guidance, Guidance.

LIAM: 30.

SAM: Whoa!

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: What is this, investigation you said?

MATT: Yes.

MARISHA: Okay. 22 for me.

MATT: 22 for you, okay. Got it, all right, so. From what you can find that's kept here, it speaks of the beginning of the drow and the creation under Lolth, the Spider Queen during the later stages of the founding and the Age of Arcanum. It is thought that the Kryn, at some point during or at the tail end of the Age of Arcanum, at least the den that began this movement broke away from Lolth's influence and, to some degree, had managed to or began to build this religion around some unknown, unconfirmed light entity. Most of the notes speak of it with dubious interest, debating whether or not it's actually a god, and fearful that such entities that have no historical record could be fronts for other entities. Or it can just be an excuse to bind people together under a single ruler.

LIAM: The point of view of the author is one of skepticism towards whatever--

MATT: Most things here are written from a standpoint of what information they can grasp with a little bit of intellectual footnotes on the side, given, you know, some opinions here and there, but they're not given as fact. The opinions are very much opinions of the author, and are noted as such. There has been some challenge in finding historical record. There has been very little communication or very minor collaboration with the Kryn. Before this conflict ever happened, there have been meetings. It isn't like the Empire and the Kryn never met before, it's just always been like we stay here, you stay here type of thing, and they've had attempted conversations, and no peace talks, there has been no war before, but there has definitely been conflict at the borders, there have been discussions and agreements to basically keep to their side of things for an extended period of time, and some attempts at trading information and goods, but largely a general mistrust from one side or both has prevented those from going too far. They appear to be very guarded about their religion to those they don't trust, but they do speak of the Luxon, they speak of some of the similar ideas of what you've been told before of this light entity that supposedly existed before all gods, and was the one prime entity of which all other deities pale by comparison. It speaks of conversations of dunamancy, but only in the sense of people who've witnessed it, people who have seen the power that it has, and there are newer notes based on recent battles that have happened in fresher ink, and notes placed in some of the latter pages that speak on more examples of the terrifying power that holds, the manipulation of gravity, of space, being able to fracture realities, and people talking about manipulation of time and momentum. As far as the religion goes, you don't learn that much more than what you already know. You probably have a pretty decent firsthand account, based on the experience you had there, and the fact that a lot of information is still being carefully guarded from within the Dynasty.

LIAM: Okay. Good, thank you.

MATT: You. Angel of Irons. There are some notes in here.

MARISHA: Ooh! Notes?

MATT: Speaking about the Angel of Irons, in one book you find that speaks of cults, and specifically cults and strange fringe worship. Speaks of the Angel of Irons as a relatively new obsession of a sparse cult not more than 40 years old.

MARISHA: Oh, shit, okay.

MATT: Very little is known, as even worshipers are kept in the dark about their patron. What is known is that it is something of celestial iconography, an imagery mingled with twisted chains, known to have come to its followers in visions, speaking of being bound in shadow and seeking followers to, and the one quote that's given here is, "release the fanes that hold its shackles."

SAM: Release the what?

MATT: "Release the fanes that hold its shackles."

MARISHA: What are fanes, yeah.

MATT: A fane is a place of power, a location of importance and considered of natural ability and power.

TRAVIS: Like a ley line?

MATT: To a degree.

MARISHA: Or like a person, like a being?

MATT: It can be interpreted in different ways.


LIAM: Source of power.

MATT: While not part of this book, things you begin to pick up in other elements there, the chain motif catches your mind. Whether related or not, the chain motif is also commonly threaded through another entity, one of the Betrayer Gods known as the Chained Oblivion, which is the mad god Tharizdun.

MARISHA: We heard about that before, right?

TRAVIS: Yes we did, yeah. He a big one.

MATT: Described as darkness unending, a malevolent entity unlike any of the other Betrayer Gods, whose terrible dreams bring the endless-- Tharizdun-- whose terrible dreams bring the endless depths of the Abyss into being.


MATT: Ioun actually led the charge against this entity's reemergence long ago, her success leaving her greatly wounded, and a wound that will never heal.

LAURA: Oh, fuck.


SAM: We got some secret cult members out there who are trying to bring all these--

TRAVIS: The library of their arch--

MARISHA: Of their arch-nemesis, yeah, because Ioun is the official god of the Cobalt Soul.

LAURA: Right.

TRAVIS: Tharizdun, huh?

MARISHA: Tharizdun.

LIAM: There's lots of dunes.

TRAVIS: Can we pick up some anti-Tharizdun potions at Pumat's?

MATT: Are there any other things you want to research: people, places, anything?

SAM: While they were doing all this, can I have looked up just general knowledge about magic dealing with rebirth or reincarnation or resurrection sort of magic?

MATT: Sure, make an intelligence check, or an investigation check.

SAM: Natural one.


SAM: But with Guidance, it's a four.


MATT: You feel a bit lost in this library. You weren't a huge reader of tomes, you know. Books and things that came to you in Felderwin was generally a little more common, but these are archaic and read in very archaic ways, and you find yourself unable to really find anything that catches your interest, unfortunately.

LAURA: I'm going to look up anything about the Traveler.

MATT: Sure. Roll an investigation check.

SAM: There's nothing about him because he's not real.

LAURA: Guidance. Natural one!

SAM: Wow!


SAM: This whole time, I'm reading a book about the Traveler and she's reading a book about reincarnation.

MATT: You're just going, "Shit!"

SAM: Not right, oh well.

LAURA: I just can't find shit, huh?

MATT: Unfortunately, you can't find any books that seem to mention him.

LAURA: That's fine. You know what I'm going to do?


LAURA: I'm going to draw some dicks. And I'm going to write, "Have you ever noticed how old books make you have to poop?" In the bottom of one of the books, and then in another one I'm going to put Captain Tusktooth, and then in another one I'm going to draw the fucking Traveler.

MATT: Okay, make a sleight of hand check.

SAM: Being in libraries?

LAURA: Being in libraries.

SAM: Yeah, definitely.

LAURA: They make you have to poop.

SAM: Oh yeah, for sure. If you're in the stacks studying, you got to take a dump.

LAURA: Dude, there's like a condition that if you are at Barnes & Noble or something--

SAM: Barnes & Noble bowel.

LAURA: People have to poop a lot at book stores.


LAURA: Guidance, oh, I didn't guide myself.

TALIESIN: That was a whole--

LAURA: That's okay, it's a 20.

MATT: 20?

TALIESIN: That was a long walk.

MATT: Okay. This was looking up, sorry, remind me again, it was--

TALIESIN: This was drawing dicks.

MATT: Drawing dicks, got you.


MATT: Thank you. My brain is in four different places. Though you are under watch, though there is a member of the Archive watching you carefully, you deftly cough and cause another book to fall off the table nearby and catch their attention. While they go to pick it up again, you quickly doodle on the side there, close it over, set it aside, no one seems to notice.

LAURA: Sweet.

TRAVIS: We've exercised everything here, yes?

LAURA: Should we ask, I don't know, should we ask about like, what I heard Obann say, that he read out loud?

SAM: What did he say?

LAURA: I can't remember.

SAM: Oh, the poem thing? "Let lie the King's instrument," that sort of stuff?

LAURA: The thing that he said out loud?

MATT: From the--

MARISHA: His whole like ritual that he did?

LAURA: Reading something out loud?

MARISHA: When he did the ritual or when you were scrying?

MATT: The ritual or the scry from yesterday?

LAURA: From the scry, when he was reading a book or something when I scryed on him.

MATT: Right. Let me go ahead and pull that up real fast. None of you guys wrote it down, I can go ahead and find that.

LAURA: I feel like I--

SAM: Of course we wrote it down.

LAURA: Yeah, of course we wrote it down. But it was just very fast.

MATT: That's all good, I got it right here.

SAM: He said Kamordah, geysers. That's what I wrote down.

MATT: Nope, that's not it. Here we go. He said, "Jourrael's remains were bisected. The heart buried within the Lotusden and the skull entrusted to the elves within the Veluthil."

LAURA: Yeah, see, that seems important.

MARISHA: That seems very important.

MATT: "It seems that we have questions to ask, my dear Orphan Maker. Come, Hand, let us find you a new friend."

LAURA: Yeah, I'm going to repeat that to the people there and see if that maybe makes sense to them.

MATT: Would you like to research it, then? Who would like to helm this?

MARISHA: The gilded lily thing, that's not what it was.

TALIESIN: You don't want me doing that.

LAURA: Should I cast Enhance Ability?

TRAVIS: My investigation's plus six, so somebody--

SAM: I'll do it.

LAURA: I'm going to cast--

SAM: Wait, I'm just trying to find a book?


TRAVIS: You should look up those locations.

LAURA: I'm going to cast Enhance Ability on Caleb and he should look it up.

MATT: Okay, what you looking up?

LIAM: Jourrael.

MATT: Okay, Jourrael, all right.

LAURA: I'm going to cast it at, what, 4th-level so you all get bonus again.


TALIESIN: And then Guidance.

MATT: You guys can all research a bunch of shit.

MARISHA: What was the other location that was in there?

MATT: Velithul.

MARISHA: Oh, that's the elf shit, right?

MATT: Veluthil, sorry, Veluthil.

TRAVIS: 27 on the Lotusden.

MATT: 27?

LAURA: Are you guys giving yourself Guidance? Guidance, Guidance.

LIAM: Yes, 27 on Jourrael.

MATT: What's that?

LIAM: 27 also on Jourrael.

MATT: Okay. Lotusden is a location to the south of Xhorhas.


LAURA: Is it swampy?

MATT: It's a greenwood. It is surrounded by somewhat swampland. It is a darkened wood that is uncharacteristic of a lot of the more parched regions of northern Xhorhas. Some folks do apparently live in there. There is a culture of folks in what's called Charis. A more natural city. It seems to be more druidic in nature. Often split between the Lotusden halflings, which call the region home, and recent dragonborn that escaped the destruction of Draconia, that have also made it home as well.

TRAVIS: Lotusden Greenwood.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: Right.

MATT: The woods are dark, they are dense, and it has many many myths and tales that speak of regions of it that are cursed, where the woods themselves move without notice and shift, as well as other dangers and creatures that call it home.

TRAVIS: There's some big-ass runes on the Lotusden Greenwood. I know we translated before, I'm just pointing it out.

MARISHA: I know. That's written down somewhere. We translated those runes.

MATT: You were researching Jourrael.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: All right. Jourrael.

SAM: Jourrael.

MATT: The name, J-O-U-R-R-A-E-L. Referred to as the Caedogeist. C-A-E-D-O-G-E-I-S-T.

LIAM: Caedogeist.

MATT: The Caedogeist. Jourrael was a chosen assassin of Lolth, the Spider Queen. Exalted through an arrangement with Asmodeus during a brief era of unified interest.

LIAM: Jesus. I cry out loud in the library.

MATT: Jourrael was a nightmarish specter who walked through wall and mountain like water. Known colloquially as the Inevitable End. Jourrael could not be completely destroyed unless the contract of the agreement between Lolth and Asmodeus was destroyed. In the bloodshed at the end of the Calamity, attempts to suss out this answer failed, so the body of Jourrael was sundered and sealed apart in secret.

LAURA: (gasps) They're waking up that person, too.


TRAVIS: Oh shit, y'all.

LIAM: They're waking up the horsemen of the apocalypse.

TRAVIS: Oh fuck!

MARISHA: Right, and Jourrael, he said his body was bisected and put under two different places, is that what we're--

MATT: That seems to be what Obann was referring to.

SAM: Two places?

MARISHA: Yeah, he said his body was bisected.

LAURA: One of them is in the Lotusden.

MARISHA: And the other is in Veluthil?

SAM: Oh wait, Caduceus, aren't you guarding the body, aren't your family guarding the dead body of a fallen warrior or something?

TALIESIN: I mean, technically, but it was trisected, not bisected.

SAM: So it was definitely not the same, it's just--

TALIESIN: I would find that very--

MATT: This is very different.

TALIESIN: Unlikely.

TRAVIS: Big difference between three body parts and two.

SAM: It's an ancient warrior--

MATT: Also, a Lolthian assassin terror versus the holy warrior that was given rest under the Raven Queen.

TALIESIN: Died during the, yeah.

LAURA: Oh god.

TALIESIN: Whole 'nother thing.

LAURA: Wait. Does that mean they've already got both parts of it, then?

SAM: What was the quote again?

LAURA: God, I don't know.

MATT: The quote was "Jourrael's remains were bisected. The heart buried within the Lotusden, and the skull entrusted to the elves in the Veluthil."

MARISHA: The elves in the Veluthil.

MATT: And you're researching Veluthil, correct?


MATT: What was your roll on it?


LIAM: Get it girl, get it, get it girl.

MATT: Veluthil.

MARISHA: Right, no no no, sorry, that was an old roll. It was a 15.

MATT: 15, okay. Veluthil, not difficult to find. It was the historical name of what is now known as the Savalirwood.

LAURA: Oh, right, we already knew that.

MATT: Yes. It was the name of the forest before the corruption of Molaesmyr and the entire forest itself was rendered under perpetual darkness and rolling disaster, yes.


TALIESIN: Somewhere there, there was an ancient city of elves that have this artifact.

MARISHA: Are the elves still there? They are, right?

MATT: No, it is a ruin, and the city is still considered-- it's like Chernobyl, like after ground zero, but still not habitable at all. Currently, what you do know about it is some Uthodurnian interests do go in and out of the ruins. In fact, Reani had done some expeditions there.


MATT: Also, Shadycreek Run has a lot of interest there, the Trebain family specifically.

LAURA: Oh god!

MARISHA: What has interest there?

MATT: Some of the families in Shadycreek Run. The Trebain family specifically, as they're focused on antiquities and trying to smuggle things out of there. And to a smaller degree, the Jagentoths on occasion. The Trebain family specifically, their main business lies in trying to get in there and smuggle as many goods out as they can from the ruins, and sell them, generally southward. (chuckles) To whatever private interests have the coin.

MARISHA: It's in the Savalirwood, so it's still dark, it's still fucked up.

MATT: Oh yeah.


MATT: And you know this from how long you've lived in the Blooming Grove.


MATT: Even just 10 miles northward of where you grew up is what's considered a no man's land by how you were raised. It is considered far too dangerous to venture towards.

SAM: So Jourrael's heart is at the Lotusden, and the head is at Veluthil.

MARISHA: Yeah. So he's already gotten the heart?

TRAVIS: We don't know that.

LAURA: Probably.

TALIESIN: Looking for the heart, close enough.

MARISHA: Last time we checked he was at the swampland.

LAURA: But who knows? They might have already gone to the wood. It had been a couple days.

TALIESIN: It's a pretty big place.

LAURA: I'm going to scry on them right now.


LAURA: Yasha.

MATT: Yasha, okay.


LAURA: Thank you. Are you enhancing my ability?

TALIESIN: Well, you can't do it-- no, I'm giving you Guidance.

LAURA: If you enhance my ability, I've got perception check.

TALIESIN: All right, that's fair then, I'll burn another.

LAURA: 2nd-level?


LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Pick one of the good d20s.

LAURA: Shut up.

SAM: There are none.

TALIESIN: There's none left. Here.

TRAVIS: That can't be possible with her.

LAURA: No, no, no, I'm having faith in mine.

MATT: All right, you focus here in the center of the Archive, closing your eyes.

LAURA: Just drop down on my knees in the middle of the library.

MATT: A light breeze begins to blow through the space, though the windows are closed. You too pick up this. Interesting. Familiar signs, depending on who is toying with somebody's current interest and focus. You sense the presence of the Traveler come to you and say, "Don't mind the books. They'll write your name in time, alongside mine. For now, let's look elsewhere." Clasps his arms on your shoulder, and you feel your vision drift and push once more out through cloud and sky, suddenly hitting dense foliage, heavy vines, thick root and tree, soft overgrown forest floor, where fallen elements of plant life seems to rot and gather into soft underbrush. There you see, pushing through, Yasha, cutting branches as they get in the way. Obann, cloak and hood down, Laughing Hand taking out full trees at the side as they (creaking) begin to tumble over. You see one of the trees begin to uproot, (creaking) and begin to turn towards them, Obann just looks and snaps his fingers and points. The Laughing Hand turns around and shreds this tree in three wide swipes. The tree seems to give out a low groan as it crumbles backward. Make a perception check.

SAM: Come on, Laura.

LIAM: Come on.

TRAVIS: Let's go, let's go.

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay. 19?

MATT: 19, okay. You gather from the light from the northern end, they've only just recently made it through the edge of the tree line.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: They seem to have only just begun to enter wherever they are.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: You also notice, at the base of Yasha's neck as she slashes some of these branches, a very, very faint orange glow right at the base of the skull. It peeks through some of her hair as it swishes past and out of the way.

SAM: She's jacked in.


MATT: A very faint orange circular ember.

LAURA: Okay. I ask the Traveler: Does this make you nervous at all?

MATT: "Everything about this makes me nervous."

LAURA: Do I see anything else of... interest? Does it look like they're still in the swamp? The Lotusden, or--?

MATT: It looks like they're pushing out of the swamp and into some sort of a wooded space.

LAURA: Okay, okay.

MATT: I mean, it's still sloshing with some feet, like--

LAURA: It feels like they're at the Lotusden still.

MATT: Possibly. It is still damp with each footfall. The marsh is receding into the heavier wood, which is what you notice as the tree line shifting into it. They're still like (squishing), and that weird, wet, sucking sound with footfalls.

LAURA: Does it look like Obann is happy? Does it look like--

TRAVIS: Yeah, does he look frustrated?

LAURA: Yeah, does he look frustrated or does he look like he's accomplishing--

MATT: Make an insight check.

LAURA: Wisdom still, that's good, okay. Okay.

TALIESIN: (whistles)

LAURA: 19 again.

MATT: 19 again. As you glance about, they're all pretty clustered and shoulder to shoulder, you know, prepared as they push forward through this jungle. He looks a little frustrated, if driven. Like looking about, trying to just take in the surroundings, their movement over the next 10 minutes or so seems not wholly driven or focused.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: You get the sense that he is essentially stabbing in the dark in what he thinks to be the right direction.

LAURA: Okay, okay.

MATT: Roll another perception check for me, please.

LAURA: Heebie jeebies. God, how do I keep rolling the same number? 17.

MATT: 17, okay. You do also notice at his side what looks to be a bag that hangs about a foot off his belt and that looks to contain something roughly spherical.

MARISHA: He's got the head.

SAM: Or the heart. No, the head.

LAURA: He's got the head already.

SAM: They just need the heart.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we're going to the fucking Lotusden, y'all.

TALIESIN: We have to get there really fast.

SAM: That's thousands, there's no--

TRAVIS: We're in the Cobalt Soul, man.

LIAM: I have another side question, too. While Jester is doing this, and everyone was focused on her, can Caleb spend all that time just reading the spines of books and seeing if there's anything that triggers his mind about his favorite hobby?

MATT: Define "favorite hobby."

LIAM: You know what I'm talking about.

SAM: Masturbating.

MATT: Okay, okay, sure. Go ahead and make an investigation check.

LIAM: Am I still-- yeah, masturbating. Jaggin' offs. Jagentoths.

LAURA: You're in the wrong library.

TRAVIS: Peter Tingle.

SAM: I spent many nights with Caleb. He's a vigorous master debater.

LIAM: 29.


MATT: Okay. There are two hobbies of yours. I need to know which direction--

LIAM: Masturbating and time.

MATT: There is the one that is the focus of your craft.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: And some of your goals there, or there is the alternative one.

LIAM: The alternative one.

MATT: Okay. Looking about, there are discussions of magic altering the flow of time. There are discussions of many different spells that have been developed that specifically, brief mentions of Slow and Haste, and eventually such powerful spells as Time Stop, you know, those are easily accessible. There are rituals that have been attempted, that have been cobbled together. Arcanists of the highest level. Archmages, when you reach a certain point, begin to question their limits and find new ways to weave the world around them. Sometimes it's a fool's errand, and it doesn't meet their expectations. Sometimes they tap into something they can't control and destroy themselves. There are talks of some mages that have attempted to push the flow of time to the reverse, and those who have attempted it were never seen again.

LIAM: Do any-- last question, because I want to move forward in the story, do any of those books and those instances talk about... places, or where those things were done?

MATT: One of them speaks of tales passed down from-- let me see. There would be... I'm trying to remember the actual name of the location. The name escapes me at the moment, but the... the magocracy that ran the floating land that was the seed for the Empire, one of their top mages had hoped when they were losing their war against the gods-- and you do recall that there were many mortal societies at the time that embraced the power of both the scientific mind and the arcane arts and believed that the gods were a stepping stone, or their creators had now been essentially become old news and were meant to be destroyed and ascended. And there were wars waged from arcane against divine sources of magic. In a brief stint in history, the Prime Deities and the Betrayer Gods did call a truce, because some of these powerful nations began to hunt the gods that supposedly created them, and that led to a swift demise to most of these societies, and that's where the ruined nation, that-- where Zemnian and that whole element comes from, was destroyed. But one of those mages, one of the top, top, top archmages of that society was supposedly researching this specific thing, and had pulled all of his resources and had gathered this large ritual in which he was hoping to go back and find a way to change the fortune of this conflict, and inform himself of the coming strategy of the combined deities, and try and basically give them the edge to win that war, and was never seen again.

TRAVIS: Starring Scott Bakula.


LIAM: Ziggy!

MATT: Oh boy.

LIAM: Yeah, good then, thanks.

SAM: Wait. Caleb. Can you learn other teleportation circles here? Do they have them listed or something? Can you--

LAURA: Is it like calling a phone number?

LIAM: I don't know if it's the Yellow Pages for locational circles.

SAM: Can you ask?

MARISHA: I'll talk to Zeenoth.

SAM: At least the other Cobalt Soul-y places?

LIAM: Here, yeah, here, maybe they have one here.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: Is there anything or anyone else you want to research?


LIAM: No, no, no.

MARISHA: I just need to talk to Zeenoth.

MATT: Okay, no worries, up to you.

LIAM: You ask.

MARISHA: All right. Zeenoth?

TALIESIN: Any luck will help.

MATT: He comes back and finds you in the middle of the Archive. "Yes, you had a question?"

MARISHA: We need access to the teleportation circle.

MATT: "Where do you intend to--?"

TRAVIS: Ruins of Draconia, Dreemoth Ravine, Lotusden Greenwood.

MARISHA: Yeah, and also if you have any-- do we keep a record of other teleportation circles? Can you learn of the sigils of other circles here, or do you have to physically be there?

MATT: "We generally do not, for the worry that it can be abused."

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: "Why do you re-- where are you planning to go?"

MARISHA: We want to follow these people that attacked us here. We have run-ins with them in the past, and information, and we think we're fairly equipped to track them down.

MATT: "Who are these people, if I might ask you? I don't even know the names of our attackers."

MARISHA: The one who seems to be the leader of this particular band is named Obann.

LAURA: He's the dark-haired guy.

MARISHA: He seems to be obsessed with raising these entities from the times of the Calamity.

TRAVIS: A devil.

MATT: He's going to go ahead and try and research that himself, actually.

LAURA: He's a pretty powerful devil.

MATT: Natural 19, okay.

LAURA: We killed him, and he's not dead.

MARISHA: He's raising or seems to be infatuated with these demons, he ended up raising this monster called the Laughing Hand.

MATT: "I'll get to that, hold on."

MARISHA: Okay, thank you.

MATT: He goes and pulls one book out and dusts it off a bit and opens it, and this one has a language on the cover that you don't recognize. Do any of you speak Abyssal? Or know Abyssal?


SAM: Nope. Yasha does.

LIAM: Oh. I will in 10 minutes.

MATT: Well--

LIAM: Reading over his shoulder.

MATT: He's actually going-- you're looking over his shoulder and he begins to pore through, and it looks like he can read it.

LIAM: Oh, okay, he's fine.

MATT: He goes through and he goes, "There is mention of a name Obann here. It speaks of a servant of Graz'zt, the Dark Prince of the Argent Palace, within the Abyssal domain of Azzatar."

MARISHA: Servant of Graz'zt?

MATT: Graz'zt, G-R-A-Z-apostrophe-Z-T.

MARISHA: Have we heard that before?

MATT: He says, "Obann was once called Graz'zt's Master of Wills. It is said here that he was then shamed and destroyed after a terrible failure to his lord, and that's where the end of his footnote is. It's very small."

MARISHA: Chained and destroyed?

MATT: Shamed and destroyed.

MARISHA: Shamed.

MATT: He closes the tome.

MARISHA: Well, he's--

LAURA: He's out.

MARISHA: Yeah. But he's not destroyed, he's back.

MATT: "I'll amend it." He takes out and puts another note in to amend the note.

TALIESIN: The Laughing Hand.

MARISHA: Then, yeah, anything about the Laughing Hand? Man, there's a lot of demons and shit.

MATT: Somebody like to help him research this?

LAURA: Oh, yeah. Guidance.


LAURA: On him, and--

MATT: Are you helming it, or is he helming it?

MARISHA: I'll give him advantage on helming it.

LAURA: I'll give him Guidance.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll for-- yeah, you roll for Guidance.

LAURA: Okay. Two.

MATT: All right. It takes the better part of another hour, hour and a half, but he does manage to pull a small book, this one also pertaining to Torog specifically. It looks like it's an annex to the one that was researched earlier when you first arrived. He pulls out the book and finds a section and goes, "The Laughing Hand was once a warrior named Ganix who sought to strike down Torog with his army. His soldiers were slaughtered and himself captured and tortured. Torog twisted and cursed his body to an endless cycle of servitude, his ever-living heart locked beyond the veil to ensure an eternal pact." He rummages through the rest of the pages and is about to close the book, then he goes to the very back and sees some of the fresher notes and goes, "All right. It says here that rumor has it that his heart was set adrift in extra-planar space to ensure it was never found. Though numerous arcanists were said to have sought it for their own research. So is this the one, the one that did this?" and he points to his stomach.

MARISHA: Yeah, he's the one.

MATT: "If you find him, will you do me the honor of-- what's the phrase the kids say, fucking it up?"

MARISHA: Yeah, I would be-- I would be happy to.

MATT: "I appreciate that."

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: His heart, huh?

MARISHA: C-can I ask who all-- who all perished from the attacks? Anyone that I know?

MATT: He leads you through all the different names, and two of them were students you trained with, and then others were people that you maybe had passing knowledge of, but nobody that's specifically--

MARISHA: Madeer?

MATT: Hmm?

MARISHA: Madeer? That was the other one that trained me.

MATT: Madeer was not on that list.


SAM: Is there a teleportation circle here?

MARISHA: Yeah, teleportation circle, can we learn it?

MATT: Make a persuasion check, with advantage.

LAURA: I'll guide you.

MARISHA: With advantage?

SAM: Just guiding everybody.

LAURA: Fuck yeah, my hands--

LIAM: I'm about to convince you.

TRAVIS: Perma-guide.


LAURA: Hands everywhere.


MATT: 12. Goes like, "(sighs)"

TALIESIN: No one likes us.


MATT: "Just this once, because you're going after these things."

MARISHA: Yeah, just this once, totally.

MATT: "I'm not supposed to offer it out to people who aren't of the Archive, but-- follow me."

MARISHA: Well, you know, I'm an expositor now, so.

MATT: "Are you?"

TALIESIN: I'm just going to ask, can you take a horse through a teleportation circle?

MARISHA: Can we take a horse through it?

MATT: You can.

LAURA: Let's take our horses.

TALIESIN: Can we take our horses?

MARISHA: A horse!

TRAVIS: Maybe we don't push the horses.

TALIESIN: We ride the horses through the--

SAM: Where are we going?

TRAVIS: We're going to bring the horses into the Cobalt Soul?



LIAM: Yes.


MATT: You can see Zeenoth going like, "Uh--"

LAURA: They were 75 gold each.

MATT: "Okay. I'll have to be creative when writing up my paperwork. Get your horses."

LIAM: Hey, wild hair, while the horses are being fetched, can I approach Zeenoth quietly and say, Do you have any writings on the Traveler? A being known as the Traveler?

MATT: "I believe so, yes." He goes and takes the familiar book of recent cults, the one where the Angel of Irons was annotated, and there is another subsection there.

MARISHA: (laughing)

MATT: Hands it to you and says, "There's a small amount."

LIAM: It's very brief.

MATT: "It's more of a recent phenomenon."

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: "Seemingly benevolent at the moment, but sparse and strange. At first, we thought it was a mass hallucination, but apparently there's enough over distances that there's some thread to it, but I worry."

LIAM: D-deity?

MATT: "Something."

LIAM: Something. But you have heard of this individual?

MATT: "Well, I passed through it in my research, but I just knew where to find it. The information is there on the page."

LIAM: Is there any account in the brief amount here of witnessing displays of the power of the Traveler?

MATT: No, all of them are second-hand accounts from people that appear to be proselytizing his power and joy and capability.

LIAM: Interesting, thank you. Where are those horses?

MARISHA: Do you want to go--

LAURA: Where are we going?

TRAVIS: We're going to the Lotusden.

LAURA: Yeah, but we can't just bamf there, we have to bamf to somewhere else with a teleportation circle.

MARISHA: Yeah, what's the closest circle we know?

TRAVIS: I wanted to know what these runes are on the map, do we have those?

LAURA: The closest one we know is Xhorhas.

MARISHA: You wrote that down, right? What the runes mean?

LIAM: What the runes mean? I don't know if I wrote them down.

LAURA: But we did translate them.

MARISHA: We did.

LIAM: Mm-hmm.

MATT: I'll find them for you.

LIAM: Thanks.

SAM: Is that very close to where we're going?

TRAVIS: Lotus Greenwood, the runes are right there, it's this whole wooded area. The ruins of Draconia are over here.

MATT: "Well, the teleportation circle we have here, it's a direct-- we have multiple that go to different locations. We have one that goes to our archive in Rexxentrum and one that goes to our archive in Port Damali, we have one that leads to the Cobalt Reserve in Tal'Dorei, we have one the more recently established ones in Vasselheim. Which one specifically are you--"

SAM: Vasselheim?

MATT: "Yes."

SAM: Oh. I've never heard of that place.

LAURA and MARISHA: Any in Draconia?

MATT: "No, Draconia's been gone for two decades."

MARISHA: Rosohna?

MATT: "No. (chuckles)"


MATT: "Sorry, we have no specific dealings with the Dynasty, especially in these times."

LAURA: Oh yeah.

SAM: Well, you can just take us back to Xhorhas whenever you want.

LIAM: That is correct.

LAURA: We say quietly, we say very quietly.

MARISHA: But we still want to see this one, so we can get back to it, right?

SAM: Let's go check it out.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

SAM: Make sure it'll fit our horses.


LIAM: Rexxentrum, perhaps.

TRAVIS: Go check it out.

MATT: "All right, this way then." He, you know, still helping him along, he leans on your shoulder a bit. He leads you towards another downward staircase, maybe about a two-minute walk away from the one that leads to the repository, the subterranean repository. There he goes into a circular chamber that goes into multiple rooms, and each of these doors, you can see marked as to the locations of these various archives of the Cobalt Soul.

LAURA: So organized.

MATT: Opens the door to the Rexxentrum one. In the center of the room, there is a sigil that you recognize as the base sigil. This is where all the other teleportation circles that probably are part of this network all come back to.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: So you look at it.

LIAM: See it.

MATT: Memorize it, it's in your head. "To Rexxentrum, then?"

LIAM: Oh, that's quick.

SAM: Hey, hey. Hey.

MATT: Which by the way, as you guys came through the library on horseback-- (clopping) (laughter) in this giant marble hall, the open space, the echoing sound of multiple horses coming through, every single person there stopped what they were doing and just watched as you slowly--

TRAVIS: Let's hope those horses didn't shit.

TALIESIN: I explain to the horses--

MATT: A couple of them did.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'll explain to the horses what's about to happen. I think they're agreeable.

MATT: Their stomachs, however.


MATT: When you got to go.

TALIESIN: I didn't say they couldn't poop.

SAM: Of course we want to do stuff here, but if we go to Rexxentrum real quick, you could learn the sigil there, and then we could always get there.

LAURA: That's true.

MARISHA: Then come back to Zadash. SAM: And then we could come right back here.

LAURA: That's a really good idea.

LIAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: Okay, let's do it. Zeenoth?

MATT: "Yes?"

MARISHA: Might be a quick round trip.

TRAVIS: Build the fucking way points.

MARISHA: Just real quick. Just wait here.

SAM: We're right back with horses. (laughing) Actually, only a couple of us need to go-- well, whatever.

TRAVIS: Just Caleb needs to go.

MATT: "All right."

LIAM: No, I think we should all go.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: Okay, we all go.

MATT: "Quickly, please."

LIAM: These horses need to see Rexxentrum.

MATT: "I could get in serious trouble for this, so quickly."

MARISHA: Nah! It'll be fine.

LIAM: (neighs)

MATT: You guys all one by one make your way into this hallway in the Rexxentrum chamber. You can see there's the sigil on the ground, the very very faint pulsating glow of arcane energy carved into its beautifully set runic ornamentation and setting. It's permanent, you guys can step in.

LIAM: All right. Horse apples falling behind.

MATT: Yep. One by one, on horseback, you're all brought through the circle, appearing on a familiar-- a larger chamber, although of similar type of sculpt and design, as all of you and your horses emerge on the opposite end, there you stand in another chamber. There is a door that is closed that leads outside this--

SAM: Is there anything on the floor?

LAURA: Yeah, but this isn't the--

MATT: On the floor in here? No.

SAM: (gasps)

LAURA: No, the teleportation circle will be in another room, the one that leads--

SAM: We got to find it.

MATT: Wait, no, actually no, I'm sorry. This room here-- I misremembered that, sorry. This room you're in right now has multiple doors around you. It's akin to the one that you first got to, so there is a symbol on the ground, and there are other doors that lead to the other ones.

LAURA: So we do, oh-- so that's the one you--

SAM: Go, go. Look at that symbol.

LAURA: Wait a minute. If you open up all the doors, do you get to--

LIAM: They're all here, it's the same location.

MATT: You hear a door open from above and footsteps coming down the stairs now. (thumping)

TRAVIS: Get out, get out, let's go back, let's go back.

MATT: You don't know. You just hear footsteps, multiple-- because suddenly a bunch of clomping horses arrived and began marching around echoing through in a subterranean chamber that is under watch and key.

MARISHA: It takes him like 10 minutes, though, right? Takes you a minute?

LIAM: To do it myself, but we just arrived. It's still here in this room. Is this the exit back to where we came from?

MATT: There are other doors that are marked to Zadash, Port Damali, you know, Vasselheim.

MARISHA: Wait, go through Port Damali, we can get that one, too!

(laughter) (all talking at once)

LIAM: Caleb rides towards the Port Damali one.

MATT: The door isn't open! Who's going to open the door?!

LAURA: I open it, I open it.

MATT: From the top of your horse?


SAM: I'll get down and pick the lock!

MARISHA: Pick the lock, go, go, go!

MATT: Make a lockpicking check.

MARISHA: Get those waypoints!

SAM: Natural one!


MATT: Your lockpick breaks.

SAM: Aw, fuck!

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: You need new thieves' tools.

LAURA: I have some, I have some, here.

MATT: At this point, you can see two figures rushing down--

LAURA: No, that was Vex.

MATT: --wearing familiar robes of the Cobalt Soul, along with two Righteous Brand soldiers.

MARISHA: Ooh! I go up.

MATT: "Hello, who's there? You, stop, stop, who's there?!" What are you doing, what are you doing?

MARISHA: Are you picking the lock? What are you doing? What are you doing?

SAM: I can't. Either deceive them or kill them. I'm working on it!

MARISHA: Okay. It's fine. Hey.

TRAVIS: What's the door made of? What's the door made of? The Port Damali door.

MATT: All of the doors appear to be made of some sort of a light-stained gray wood maybe.

LAURA: I'm going to tap Beau on the back and enhance her ability for charisma checks.

MATT: Okay, you begin casting a spell?

SAM: Oh boy.

LAURA: Oh no. Is it bad?

MATT: Well, as you begin to make the incantation, both of the soldiers go, "She's a caster!" and they immediately take out two crossbows and fire at you.

MARISHA: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Wait, stop, stop, hold.

MATT: They have let loose.

MARISHA: I'm in Cobalt Reserve clothes, come on!

SAM: We just broke into their house--

MATT: You just broke in to the subterranean area on horseback while trying to break through--

LIAM: We would've had to murder our way through the other location.

MATT: Hold on, hold on.

LAURA: But it is really on guard right now.

LIAM: We are obviously insane. No one's arguing that.

MATT: 15 and a 22.

LAURA: 22.

MATT: All right, one crossbow bolt catches you for six points of piercing damage.


MATT: Like right in the lower abdomen, right where the floating rib is, sticks in, and the two other monks are like, whoa whoa whoa, wait, wait, hold on, hold on.

TALIESIN: Not cool.

MARISHA: The fuck!

TALIESIN: Not cool.

LAURA: Ow, my pancreas!


MATT: One of the individuals (laughs) steps forward. You can see a grayish-green half-orc visage. Older, thin, with multiple chins of like skinfold from just age and sagging, older orc steps forward, white hair that goes long down the back. "Excuse me, what is going on here?"

MARISHA: Sorry, Expositor Beauregard from--

MATT: Two guards (clicking) reload the crossbows, and just waiting.

MARISHA: Expositor Beauregard from Zadash, Cobalt Soul. We're here tracking fucking assholes, and we were supposed to be here. There's probably a message waiting for you all somewhere. I know how communication gets lost, but it was a quick turnaround in terms of notification on letting you all know that we were coming.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

MARISHA: Not deception?

MATT: No, 'cause you're telling the truth.

MARISHA: No, we didn't send notice.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Well, no no no.

SAM: But you're an expositor.

LAURA: Advantage.

MARISHA: I was trying to purposefully lie so I could--

MATT: You hid a tiny lie in a lot of information. I'll say either you can roll persuasion or deception with disadvantage, your choice.

MARISHA: I have, hang on, because you gave me--

LAURA: I don't know if I got my full spell out though, before they shot me.

MATT: You can make a concentration check, actually, so roll a constitution saving throw.

LAURA: 11.

MATT: 11, yeah, you maintain, so you would have advantage. The spell does continue.

MARISHA: Okay. (groans) That was so close to being fucking awesome. Nine!

MATT: Nine?


MATT: "(sighs)"

MARISHA: Look, you heard about the attacks, right? That just happened.

MATT: "Yes, of course, and why do you think we have such defense--" and you hear other footsteps coming and other soldiers coming downstairs. "We are on extremely high alert, and if you are who you say you are, you should know not to just appear in here."

LAURA: I need a healer.

SAM: Oh no.

LAURA: I'm in so much pain.

SAM: My older sister is dying.

MATT: Four Righteous Brand soldiers come in.

MARISHA: Aww, jeez, what, why?

MATT: And now they've circled around, crossbows at the ready, four of them have crossbows, two of them blades out, and he goes like, "Hold on, hold on. With no word in advance and with the heightened security we're having to maintain because of these said events, I'm going to have to ask you to wait here and go through processing and approval from the high archivist."

LIAM: (whistles)


MARISHA: Here's the thing. We're in a really big hurry.

MATT: "Then you shouldn't have just appeared here with six horses in the middle of dangerous a time period for our people."


MARISHA: Right. I get that, and I understand the sentiment, but--

MATT: "Look, I know every expositor on the list here, and I have not heard of an Expositor Beauregard."

LAURA: She was just promoted.

MATT: "Well, word didn't get to us, did it?"

LAURA: Apparently a lot of things don't get to you.

MARISHA: Exactly, maybe that's--

MATT: Two guards like (clicking) crossbows--


LIAM: Waiting a little bit seems fair to me. You are able to communicate with Zadash, correct?

MATT: "We will reach out."

LIAM: Yeah, we will sit tight. Sorry for the inconvenience. This is awkward, but we do have the best of intentions, as hard as that is to believe.

LAURA: We are the good guys.

MATT: "I will need each of your names, please, starting with you."

TRAVIS: Fjord.

MATT: "Just Fjord?"

TRAVIS: Did I offer another name?

MATT: "Fjord. "You are?"

MARISHA: Expositor Beauregard.

MATT: "Just Beauregard."

MARISHA: Yeah, man!

MATT: "(sighs) Why the surname has gone out of fashion, I don't know. Your name?"

LIAM: Hello, my name is Caleb Widogast.

MATT: "Caleb Widogast."

LAURA: Ooh, ooh.

SAM: Nott the Brave.


MATT: "You are?"

LAURA: Jester Lavore.

MATT: "Jester Lavore. And you are?"

TALIESIN: Caduceus Clay.

MATT: "Caduceus Clay. (sighs)"

MARISHA: How long is this going to take?

TALIESIN: Heal this real quick.

LAURA: Don't do it, don't cast any spells. They're trigger happy! Don't cast any spells. I'm just going to sit here and suffer.

LIAM: Just take a breath. Appreciate what this looks like from their point of view. We will work all this out.

MATT: "I'll be back," and turns around, leaves up the stairs, and the guards stay, the other monk awkwardly looks at everyone, and then follows behind. Now you have the six Righteous Brand soldiers here trained on you, just looking over you all like carefully, looking over your faces to remember them.

TRAVIS: Six on six?

LAURA: We could take them.

TALIESIN: I'm going to ask the horses to stare back at them, too.

LAURA: I'm going to stare at the one that shot me.

SAM: To Zadash!


LAURA: I'm going to start crying, just a single tear down my cheek, with the saddest expression I can muster.

MATT: He seems unmoved.

LAURA: Mmm. He hasn't really seen my charm yet.

MATT: 10 minutes pass. 20 minutes pass.

SAM: Oh boy.

MATT: Four more soldiers come down and join them.


LAURA: Oh my gosh.

SAM: They know our names.

TRAVIS: Are we sitting on horseback this whole time?

MATT: Yep, this whole time, in a very small room. You guys all like--

LAURA: This room is filling up with poop.

MATT: Especially Caduceus, you're having to like, lean forward a bit. Eventually the half-orc returns, and, "Word has returned from the Archive of Zadash."

LIAM: We just burned Zeenoth so bad.

MATT: "You have been given temporary rights of passage, but you are also, until further notice, banned from the Rexxentrum Archive."

LAURA: We didn't even mean to come here--

TRAVIS: Sounds fair, thank you.

LAURA: We were trying to get to Port Damali. We came to the wrong thing anyway.

LIAM: So banned from the Archive. Understood, does that include the teleportation?

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

SAM: (laughing)

TRAVIS: Let's go to the Port Damali circle with haste, shall we?

LAURA: We're just going to go back to where we meant to go in the first place.

MATT: The half-orc shuffles over and pulls out a ring of keys and unlocks the door to Port Damali and opens it and steps back and just--

SAM: What was your name again, by the way?


MATT: You're asking the half-orc, which one?

MARISHA: Yeah! What's his name?

MATT: Look through my notes here, because--

SAM: You didn't think we were going to do Rexxentrum

TRAVIS: --outta nowhere.


Just jump around the goddamn globe.

SAM: ♪ Where in the world ♪


TRAVIS: (whooshing)

LIAM: Carmen Sandiego, returning to Netflix, season two, October 1. Catch me there.


MATT: Kathedoc.

Archivist Kathedoc.


LIAM: Archivist Kathedoc.


LAURA: (giggles)


MATT: Just gives you the nod of please get the fuck out of my place, the look.

SAM: Absolutely.

MARISHA: Hey, can you send message to Port Damali that we're coming?

LIAM: Holy shit.

SAM: No, let's just go, let's just go.

MARISHA: As we go through. (whooshing)

MATT: So you go, and the horses (whooshing), now disappearing into the Port Damali circle.

TALIESIN: More apples go down.

MATT: Yep, appear through. Strange when one of the horses, actually it would be probably yours, Nott, relieving itself as you're passing through the portal, loose horse road apples, through the process of teleportation, get kind of-- you remember when physics fucks up in Skyrim and things get weird and crazy? Just like, scatters a bit upon approval.

ALL: (groaning)

SAM: Shit spray?

MATT: Shit spray, man. Just on one side. You all emerge on a similar chamber. These designs are different, but the scheme is generally the same. The doors are made from different materials, and you all land in a chamber that has the same kind of-- this one does not have passage to Vasselheim, but it has the rest. The other doors to Zadash, Rexxentrum, and Tal'Dorei.

SAM: Someone break in. We'll try these doors.

MARISHA: Yeah, let's go, let's go.

MATT: To Westruun, specifically.

TRAVIS: What is the door going to Zadash made of?

MATT: These also appear to be made of wood, but the wood is of a different type.

TRAVIS: Do you want to pick the lock or should I just kick it open with the horse?

SAM: I can't pick it with a broken tool.

TRAVIS: Cool. I'll ride over to the door, back the horse up, and I'm going to smack it on the ass and try and get it to kick.

MATT: All right. Roll a d20 for me.


LAURA: Oh god.

MATT: Crack! The door doesn't give. The loud echo manages to reverberate through the chamber, and you immediately hear (creaking).

TALIESIN: We're making so many friends.

MATT: Several footsteps now rushing down the staircase.

TRAVIS: Can we just Home Alone on this door and get the fuck outta here please?

(all talking at once)

MATT: You do see the Port Damali sigil beneath you, so you have that now.

LIAM: He's busting on the Tal'Dorei door right now?

LAURA: No, he's just trying to get back.

TRAVIS: No, we're trying to go back to Zadash.

MARISHA: To Zadash!

LIAM: You're banging on the Zadash door?


LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: Is it unlocked? Can I just try to-- can I see if it's unlocked?

MATT: You rush up to try and open the door? All right, it is locked.

SAM: Dammit!

TRAVIS: Can we start unloading on it now, please?

SAM: Sure, do you want a bomb, I have a bomb?

LAURA: No, no, no, we'll just ask if we can go back--

LIAM: No, you are being crazy. Let's just walk out into Port Damali and find a place where I can draw on the ground!

MATT: "Excuse me!"


At which point down at the bottom of the staircase you see, in familiar Cobalt Soul robes, a man in probably his early 60s or so, graying hair that's, you know, combed over and slicked to one side to cover a major bald spot, a heavier mustache that curls down to the bottom of the chin, liver spots on his forehead, and two armed zhelezo behind him.

MARISHA and LAURA: Oh my god.

MATT: "What are you doing?"

MARISHA: Oh my god!

TALIESIN: It's a long story. We were just hoping to leave. This is a long story.

MATT: One of the Zhelezo is like sitting there holding a heavy crossbow at the side, pulls out a small horn and goes like-- (imitates horn blowing)

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: What are you doing?

LAURA: This is Archivist Beauregard.

TRAVIS: Somebody do something really nice before I just fucking--

LIAM: I apologize.

LAURA: Oh wait, yeah, I'm going to Enhance Ability on Caleb.

LIAM: Greetings.

MATT: Okay, as you begin to cast the spell--

LAURA: Oh no!


MATT: Both of the Zhelezo, (whooshes), and just fire two heavy crossbows at you.


LAURA: Oh my god, my kidney!

MATT: She's casting!

LIAM: I immediately start shouting, while they shoot, this is a misunderstanding, please, please!

MATT: A 10 and a 24.


TALIESIN: This is a time loop. We're caught in a time loop!

MATT: You suffer--

MARISHA: Skinned differently.

MATT: 11 points of piercing damage as a second bolt is now on the other side of your abdomen.


TALIESIN: This is like spoons that you get at gas stations. You're just collecting crossbow bolts across Exandria!

LIAM: Please, I am so sorry--

MATT: Both of them immediately drop their heavy crossbow for a second and pull out their sword and point it to you and they're like, "Not another move!"

LAURA: I'm sorry, I'm sorry!

MATT: "There's no more casting, no spells!"


LIAM: Apologies, this is Expositor Beauregard Lionett. I am her arcane assistant, I have only just learned to use these circles, and I have brought us to the wrong place, and I am so very sorry. I would like to take us to our intended destination. If you need us to sit here for a while while you call the home office, that is a possibility, but we could also just walk out the door and leave you to your day. You see that she knows your ways, she is one of you. This is on me. I am so sorry. I am the one eating the shit sandwich here. We just want to get out of your hair.

MATT: You hear about three more sets of footsteps making their way down the stairs from above. The older fellow in the middle goes like, looks you both over. Make a persuasion check.

LAURA: Advantage. Wait, I got to--

MATT: You have to make a concentration check.


TALIESIN: Don't you remember from last time?


MATT: So hold off.

LAURA: Okay, okay, oh no, seven. No, I didn't get it.

MATT: You do not have the advantage on this. The spell failed.

LIAM: Pretty good. Pretty good, 19.

MATT: 19?

TALIESIN: Thank god, finally.

MARISHA: Oh my god.

TALIESIN: Isn't broken.


MATT: As he sits there looking you over, and looking over the rest of you, very discerning, the other guards come down, immediately get their heavy crossbows up, the Zhelezo now, there's five of them in the chamber around the one there, he goes, "I apologize, but there has been some very terrible things happened within the Cobalt Soul."

MARISHA: At the Cobalt Soul, at Zadash. That's why we're here.

MATT: "If you would be patient, we have to go check in to confirm your story."

LAURA: Oh god.

LIAM: But of course, but of course. We will all wait here patiently and quietly.

MARISHA: Can I come with you?

MATT: "No."

SAM: No.


MATT: You wait about another 15 or so minutes.

TALIESIN: More poop on the ground.


TALIESIN: Just leaving poop everywhere.

MATT: Before eventually he returns and goes, "I have just finished talking with the Archive in Zadash."


MATT: "We have been told that we are to allow you--"

(laughter continues)

"--passage this one time. However, it has been requested that you are also banned from the Archive in Port Damali until further notice."


MATT: "Also, I have a message to Beauregard from Archivist Zeenoth."


MATT: "He says 'Please, for the love of Ioun, stop.'"


LIAM: Caleb, in his mind, is just envisioning massive libraries decay and melt into the sea.

MATT: (laughs)


MATT: Pulls out his ring of keys, walks over, and opens the door to the Zadash portal. All the other Zhelezo are like, carefully they picked up their crossbows, six heavy crossbows, all cocked and ready and they're all aimed at each of you independently. The horses all (whinnying).

LAURA: Single tear down my cheek.


MATT: As you all one by one make your way towards Zadash.


LIAM: We are really so sorr--

SAM: To Zada--

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: Passing through on the other side of this.

TALIESIN: Oh dear.

MATT: Awaiting in the center of the chamber is Zeenoth, sitting on a stool, head down, sweat on his brow and clutching a cloth that looks to be dampened with whatever he's previously been wiping from his face. Wipes once more, looks up and goes--

MARISHA: Sorry. Sorry.

MATT: "Leave."

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm, yep, we're going. Goodbye.

MARISHA: I'm going to go track down these people, and then check in with you later.

MATT: "Please, just go."

MARISHA: Uh-huh, yeah, yeah.

LAURA: Really sorry about that.

MATT: He gets up, holds his side, unlocks and opens the door to whichever you want to go, or are you just casting something here. What do you need?

LAURA: I'm going to heal myself.

LIAM: You know, we actually have decided just to hang here until--


MATT: He goes...


SAM: Sometimes you have to go on long journey to find out what you really loved was back home.

LIAM: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.


MATT: Oh my god. Okay.

LIAM: So we leave you to your recovery. It's mostly my fault, so please don't be too hard on Beauregard, mostly my fault.

MATT: "Just leave."

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Look, I know I'm a pain in the ass, but I swear, I got good intentions.

MATT: He leads you back up the stairs, back through the middle of the Archive to the front door, at which point, where previously you had turned heads, you can now see a number of the figures are all just in a line, arms crossed, just watching you pass through, until eventually you exit out into the main thoroughfare of Zadash on horseback. The doors (impact) slam behind you.

MARISHA: Well, I consider that a huge success.


SAM: You got banned from every Cobalt Soul library--

LAURA: Until further notice.

SAM: --in the world.

MARISHA: Temporarily.


LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: This isn't the first time they've like, kicked me out. So it's fine.

LAURA: They're going to be so happy with us once we take care of the people that hurt them.

MARISHA: Exactly.

LAURA: This was all for them.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm. They'll learn that in time.

LAURA: They just don't know it yet.

TRAVIS: Well, where to now?

MARISHA: To the Gentleman?

LAURA: I mean--

SAM: Are we trying to get to--

LAURA: I feel like we're in a fucking hurry, is the only thing. I don't know if we want to take the time. And this is hard to say that, because I want to talk to him, but--

SAM: There's no way for us to even get to the Lotusden. What is it called, the Lotusden? There's no way to get there. We can get a thousand miles away.

LAURA: I feel like I should send at least a message to the Bright Queen and let them know that they're over there.

MARISHA: We tried to tell her about this shit, though, and she seemed--

LAURA: Like they had a handle on it. But I don't know, maybe she doesn't know.

LIAM: We may be wearing our welcome out with him, but it is a threat. If you were to contact Essek and tell him what's going on and where we need to go, maybe he would be willing to give us one more spin.

SAM: Watch out, there's a cart coming by.

LIAM: That's our horses.


LIAM: I don't know, I've been trying not to bug the man, but I cannot think of a way to get there faster.

MARISHA: Well, I mean, we've been gone for like, two to three weeks now, so.

LAURA: He probably misses us, if we're going to be honest.

TRAVIS: We can trade, you know, obviously the information we've gathered in exchange for another helping hand.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: It's just evidence of our Cobalt cooperation.

LAURA: Okay. Yeah, I'm going to duck into an alleyway so I can send a message to Essek.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: I'm going to go find my contact lens.

LAURA: This is good. We found out some really dangerous, important things that we need to talk to you about. I know you don't want to, but we could really use your help with transportation. This is life or death for a lot of people. It's on your doorstep.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

LAURA: Oh god, I hate rolling tonight!


TALIESIN: Use-- well--

LAURA: What?

TALIESIN: There's the shiny black one.

LAURA: This one?


LAURA: I'm going to blame you if this is bad.

LIAM: Oh no, not that one.

TALIESIN: That's fair. (sighs) That's fair. I had that coming.

LAURA: You could've given me Guidance, but you didn't, 10. No, 11.

MATT: 11. "Well. If it is indeed this important, then maybe it's something we can discuss. I trust that your interests are forthright. I'll need your help soon anyway."

LAURA: He said he would need our help soon. He seemed like he would do it.

LIAM: Okay, one step at a time.

MARISHA: Wonder what he needs our help with.

LAURA: I don't know.

LIAM: We'll thread that needle when we get to it.

LAURA: Should we go back?

LIAM: Yes.

SAM: Right now?

LIAM: Yes.

LAURA: We just got here.

SAM: We just got to Zadash.

LAURA: God, we worked for two whole weeks to get here, we finally get here, and we're poofing away. But we need to, it's important. [Background village street noise]

SAM: Watch out, there's a cart coming.

TALIESIN: I have a thought.

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: Please.

TALIESIN: Is there such thing as an unofficial teleportation symbol? Like do people who are not-- I mean like, we know sketchy people. Is it possible they might have a way for us to get back into town when we need to?

LAURA: Well, I mean, we can just bamf into the Cobalt Reserve if we need to come back here.

LIAM: Well, that's going to be--

LAURA: To Zadash, without horses it would be better.

MARISHA: We'll let them cool off a little bit, I think.

LIAM: Send them a gift basket.

MARISHA: I mean, once again, the only place I would think to look would be the Gentleman. I mean, there were other portals and teleportation circles that we've seen ruins of that we've destroyed in the past, I'm sure.

LAURA: I feel like the Gentleman has one.

MARISHA: I wouldn't be surprised.

SAM: If we're about to see Essek, he's probably going to ask how goes the search for the thing that we're supposed to be searching for, you know, the dodeca? We have not done anything towards that.

LAURA: We can tell him we're really looking, but in the meantime, this popped up.

TRAVIS: He also said there was no urgency for that.

SAM: Okay.


LIAM: Also we are reestablishing our connections in the Empire, which is all well and good for our arrangement with him, and they care very much about (chuckles) these things crossing over into their Dynasty and our world here. (sighs) Okay. Let's find a good place. Where are we, in an alley right now? I was just changing a contact. I mean, I could do it right here, if we want.

LAURA: Sure, I'll keep an eye out.

MATT: Okay, so a cluster of six horses outside an alleyway. You're blocking the line of sight into the alley, is that what you're doing?

LAURA: Maybe you-- Stupid. (laughs) Is there like a barn we can hide in or something?

LIAM: Yeah, we could find a place, it doesn't have to be right here.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. It takes you the better part of, let's say, half an hour or so, and you find one alley intersection, like a T intersection, where there's enough space to do it, and there isn't a whole lot of foot traffic. You might have to keep guards posted at the edge and try and keep people from going down there while it's being finished, but it's doable. Who's being posted at the three corners?

LAURA: I'll do one.

SAM: I will.

MARISHA: And I'll be at the other.

MATT: Okay, I would like the three of you to roll an intimidation check for me.

MARISHA: Intimidation?

MATT: Correct.

LAURA: Guidance, I'm guiding me. Guide somebody.


MARISHA: Natural 20.


LAURA: Oh, and I'm Guiding myself.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: 10.

SAM: Eight, minus three, five.

MATT: (laughing) All right. As you're working on your circle, about seven, eight minutes go through, and nobody gets near you, Beauregard. You're just sitting there, and anybody that makes eye contact with you, you scowl back and they're just like-- and keep going without an issue. A few people give you some terse looks, they seem untrusting of you. They don't go for the alley, but you've definitely caught some attention.

LIAM: It's just one minute.

MATT: Sorry, one minute, right, for the circle. So yeah, then it would have been right on the cusp of finishing the spell, as you're doing that. I'd say even with your low roll, you draw attention with some of the Righteous Brand and... Crownsguard begin to take notice of this tinier, goblinoid-type creature that seems to be a bit shifty and not quite, you know-- seems to be very plainly placed to try and keep anybody from entering the alley, illegal activity being a problem in this city.

LAURA: But doesn't she look like Veth this whole time? You were Veth for eight hours.

LIAM: Yeah, we're still within eight hours.

SAM: That's true, that's true, yeah, sure.

MATT: You were researching for quite a bit of time. I would say, okay, I'll allow it, I'll allow it. So not a goblin per se, but definitely a shifty-looking figure at the edge of the alley that they begin to walk towards out of curiosity. They're about 40 or 50 feet from you, and you can see three Crownsguard and two Righteous Brand from two different corners begin to like, make eye contact with each other and begin walking towards you.

SAM: Oh boy. (laughs) Oh boy. I got nothing. I got nothing.

TRAVIS: Do we see this happening?

MATT: Nope.

LAURA: Nobody else?

MATT: You guys are all right by where Caleb is in the inside of the alley with the horses at the ready.

SAM: (quietly) Shit. I could go invisible, but I feel like they would see that.

LAURA: Just look like you're going to barf or something.

SAM: I'm a great actor. I will-- (clears throat) I look like Veth. They just see me being shifty and they start walking over?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: Boy oh boy. I'm going to start-- I'm going to start crying. I'll just start crying, fake crying.

MATT: Okay. You can make a performance or deception check, your choice.

SAM: Oh boy. Terrible. Hey! 12. (laughter)

MATT: 12? Okay, the Righteous Brand stop and turn back around. The Crownsguard continue approaching, just slower, and inspecting you over. Two of them stop and watch you cry.


LAURA: That's so sad.

TALIESIN: What the...?

LIAM: It's the Empire, man.

MATT: One of them steps forward and goes, "Are you okay?"

SAM: No, I'm not okay. I lost my dog.

MATT: "What does the dog look like?"

SAM: The dog-- It's like a dog, man! It's like a little brown dog. Cute, has a little collar with a button on it.

MATT: "What was it's name?"


SAM: Avantika.

MARISHA: Did you just pick a name? Holy shit.

MATT: "All right, well, I'll keep an eye out for it. If we see or find--"

SAM: (wailing) It's all I've got!

MATT: "Where should we bring the dog to if we find it?"

SAM: Right to the...


TALIESIN: Oh man. Oh no.

SAM: I don't remember where I'm staying! To Pumat Sol's! He's my friend, the Invulnerable Vagrant.

MATT: "All right."

SAM: Yeah, that place.

MATT: Gives you a look of like, "All right, we'll keep an eye." He turns around and join the other two, occasionally looking over. You can tell, like... they don't buy all of it.

SAM: Oh, boy.

MATT: But they're not aggressively pursuing it at the moment. They may go check in with Pumat Sol.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: (laughing) At some point in the future. You may have just implicated-- no.


SAM: In the dog thief ring?

TRAVIS: Bring me his head(s).

MATT: You finish the spell.

LIAM: Yeah, I'm holding the chalk, there's one line left, and I'm looking at the alleyway at Nott going...


SAM: Are they gone? Out of eyesight, or are they still--

MATT: No, they're like, clocking you from a distance. They're still watching you cry there, like--

SAM: Okay.

MATT: They don't fully believe you.

SAM: I will drop the form of Veth, go like this, and dart over to Caleb.


LIAM: I see it, I see it. I wait till she's like 10 feet away and I go--

SAM: Fuck off, cops!


LIAM: Everybody in the pool!

MATT: All right, you all jump back on your horses, and they all rush over to the alleyway--

LIAM: Just pulling mine through.

MATT: Just in time to see like, two horses go (whooshes) and just vanish into the ether. Last thing you hear is, "What ze--?" That's it.

LAURA: Oh my god.

TALIESIN: That was so ridiculous.

MATT: Where are you taking them?

LIAM: Rosohna. To Essek.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: We have like, 10 stars on GTA V.


We are like, they sent out the choppers, yes.

LAURA: We are so hidden, those stars are going to go away.

MATT: As you guys arrive within the subterranean basement of the Lucid Bastion in the Dynasty city of Rosohna.

LIAM: With our horses.

MATT: We'll go ahead and pick this up next week.

TALIESIN: I cast Guidance-- no.


SAM: Oh my god.

MATT: That spiraled quickly.

TALIESIN: That was such a bad spiral. (laughing)

MATT: You got greedy.


I mean, you got what you wanted, but at what cost?

MARISHA: Oh, it's fine.

LIAM: Just our dignity.

TALIESIN: Banned from our library, as are your children and your children's children, for three months.

MARISHA: Give me back your library card!

LAURA: Oh my god.

SAM: Jesus.

MATT: The missive's going to come in, like, you know, "Hereby bequeath the position of expositor to Beauregard," and like, "Oh, this one?" on the "do not serve this person" photo on the side of the 7-Eleven.


LIAM: It's a Xerox photo of your driver's license.

MATT: Exactly.


MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: Next they're going to go, oh, don't Beauregard that or anything.

MATT: Aww.

LIAM: You just Beau'd yourself.

TALIESIN: It's just Beau'd.


MATT: All righty. Cool, we'll pick up this next week. Thank you guys for watching the chaos.


MATT: Don't forget, we love you very much, and is it Thursday yet? Good night.

(cheering) (dramatic music)

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