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Pre-ShowEdit

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

ALL: (hollering) We play Dungeons & Dragons!

MATT: That may be the most ridiculous one yet.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

MATT: It's on the possible range.

TRAVIS: We try.

MATT: You do. Anyway, welcome! Before we jump into tonight's session, we have some announcements to get through beginning with the first of our two sponsors tonight, the beginning, the first one, NordVPN. Sam.

(techno beat) (frantic keyboard clicking)

SAM: We're almost in, Cryptonic. Only one more firewall to the Ultra Codex.

LAURA: It's taken 18 straight hours of side channel spoof dashing, but with NordVPN's help, we're going to crash this code. (exhaling)

(laughter)

SAM: A-Teaming the small wonder.

LAURA: Grinding the log stroker.

SAM: Gleaming the cube.

SAM and LAURA: (gasping) Simul-sliced? Again?!

LAURA: But how? We're protected by NordVPN, a personal virtual private network service provider that shields your activity and blocks annoying ads.

SAM: And it's easy to download at NordVPN.com/criticalrole. But if the two 1337est hackzors on the web can't break the Ultra Codex-- Ah, maybe we should just de-res our logins.

MATTHEW: Negatronic!

SAM and LAURA: What?!

TRAVIS: Nani?

(yelling)

MATTHEW: It is I, the Cereal Killer, broadcasting coast to coast to help foil this heinous scheme.

SAM: But wait! I heard after da Vinci, you went dark, you de-booted.

MATTHEW: Sure, I control-alt-deleted from your existence. But from my world, I've been watching you in my virtual mainframe. I haven't seen clu-- (stutters)

(laughter)

MATTHEW: -- cube gleamers like you since the '90s. And I've got news: the Ultra Codex is hackable.

LAURA: Impossible. We've tried everything.

SAM: Yeah.

MATTHEW: Oh, yeah. You've been hacking heavy metal, but have you tried the Mobius device? (grunting) (gasping)

(laughter)

MARISHA: Whoa.

LAURA: You mean the legend is real?

MATTHEW: Zero one one zero zero one one.

SAM: That's binary for yes.

LAURA: I know that's binary for yes.

MATTHEW: Cryptonic Override, BlackWillow73@aol.com, I give you the secret key into the hacknet. With it, you will feel like a god. Now get ready to jack in for justice.

SAM: Okay.

MATTHEW: I can't see, my--

(laughter)

SAM: There's no depth perception.

MATTHEW: No depth perception. On my mark, un-Gary the sys dot Gygax.

(yelling)

SAM: Okay, the modem is buzzing. (frantic keyboard clicking)

MATTHEW: Switch the phantom logic on triad protocol.

LAURA: Alpha channel?

MATTHEW: No, damn it, beta.

LAURA: Positronic, target online.

MATTHEW: Wait, they throw up a DOS blue cipher on the long freak.

SAM: Are they trying to skizzjam our Goof Troop?

MATTHEW: I'm blasting through the portal, force them down the 4chan. Now just enter the password.

SAM, LAURA, and MATTHEW: It's swordfish!

(yelling)

(digital bleeping) (dial up tones)

MATTHEW: Excellent, they fell right into my trap and got fried. Now no one'll stop my Ultra Codex because Black Willow and Cryptonic Override are in the internet. And because I'm protected by NordVPN, they will be in there forever. (evil laugh) Speaking of NordVPN.

(laughter)

MATTHEW: It's their 8th birthday and everyone who gets a three year plan will receive one additional month free. That's incredible! That is a gift! Critters, you have got to log in to NordVPN.com/criticalrole or use the coupon criticalrole at checkout. Matt Mercer, hack to you.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Wow.

MATT: Holy shit.

ASHLEY: Yeah!

TALIESIN: Oh my god.

(laughter)

MATT: Thank you. Thank you, Matt Lillard.

TRAVIS: Fucking Matthew Lillard.

MATT: My--

(cheering)

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

TRAVIS: Oh, shit.

MATT: I think we've gone too far. I think we've finally gone too far.

TALIESIN: Well, I've peaked.

MATT: Yeah, yeah. Shut it all down, guys.

(laughter)

MATT: Thank you, Sam, thank you, Laura, thank you, Matthew Lillard, and--

LAURA: What?

MATT: Thank you, NordVPN, for sponsoring our show and whatever that was.

SAM: No, no.

LAURA: No no no no.

SAM: We're Laura and Sam, Cryptonic Override--

LAURA: Don't know what you're talking about.

ASHLEY: You're not, I'm sorry--

TRAVIS: Do you know what happened just a second ago?

SAM: No, we were in the--

LAURA: We were both--

SAM: Backstage, we were--

LAURA: We had the shits.

SAM: We had the shits.

(laughter)

MATT: Thank you guys for finally showing up, then.

(laughter)

LAURA: Simul-shits?

SAM: We had the simul-shits. What? Again?

LAURA: Again?

(laughter)

MATT: Oh my god.

TRAVIS: Oh my god, my face hurts.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: A single Chekhov play.

MATT: Yeah, yeah. That's what happens when you don't do theater too long. (laughter) You start doing this shit. Thank you, NordVPN. Our second sponsor tonight, our friends at D&D Beyond, who have been with us since the beginning of the campaign. (cheering) Thank you guys so much for supporting our amazing show. If you haven't had a chance to check out or use their tool, their amazing online digital tool for keeping track of your campaigns and your characters and all other facets of your D&D playtime, it's awesome. They, today, updated the most recent revision of the Blood Hunter class, which I created and recently revised as part of a great DMs Guild charity push, bundle push to help for relief for the Australian bush fires. It went really well, the amazing community contributors at DMs Guild put together numerous great packages and I think altogether, between DMs Guild and DriveThruRPG, they raised over $300,000 for charity, which is amazing. Super happy to be a part of that all. The Blood Hunter is now on D&D Beyond for free and you find it at DMs Guild as well for download for free as well.

TRAVIS: That's amazing.

MATT: Let's see, we got a few other announcements here. Laura, you got something to talk about.

LAURA: Super excited to officially announce that we have arrived at Hot Topic.

(cheering)

MATT: My inner 16 year old is going, "What?!"

LAURA: On so many levels, today, just so many levels. Yeah, so a lot of you have already noticed and may have already gone to the stores and seen our four shirts and our hoodie, if you guys want to. Do-do da do-do da doo! Oh wait, there's a hoodie, too.

MARISHA: Oh, wait, wait, eh, eh, ooh.

LAURA: Oh my.

MARISHA: Oh.

LAURA: So yeah, they're online and they're at the stores. You can find them online, hottopic.com/criticalrole. If you can't find them at your local store, just ask the store's associate for help, they can maybe, they can order it, they can ship it to you. I know that some of them are already sold out online, but they're on back order right now and they're getting more. What?

TALIESIN: Or you could turn your local Hot Topic sales associate on to Critical Role.

LAURA: I mean, just spread the gospel. So yeah, you can only get these shirts through Hot Topic, so you can go check it out now. And I should definitely say that the Mighty Nein illustration one.

TALIESIN: That one.

LAURA: Yes, that one is Selina Erika Esperitu.

MARISHA: Ooh.

LAURA: The Mighty Nein doodles, Wendy Sullivan.

TRAVIS: Yes! (applause)

LAURA: Our Mighty Nein logo, which we use in many places, is by Crystal Sharp. So thank you to our fabulous artists as well.

MARISHA: ♪ Critter artists. ♪

MATT: Hell yeah. Thank you, Laura. I don't know, it's weird. Oh. Yeah. Also, a couple other heads up here. Tomorrow night at 7:00pm Pacific, here on our Twitch channel, you get to join us for Valentine's Day, if you're chilling at home, for our fabulous Monsterhearts one-shot.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Which includes our Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, and friends and members of the family now here at Critical Role, Erika Ishii and Ally Beardsley. It's ridiculous, it's fun, it's dark, it's real. It's going to be a lot of fun, so check it out. If you haven't had a chance yet to check out Monsterhearts the game, it's incredible. It's designed by Adria Alder, Avery Alder, there we go. Make sure I get that wrong. It's a great game where we get to be teenagers in high school. Also, secretly, monsters and all sorts of chaos and tension and angst and stuff ensues. So check it out tomorrow night here at 7:00pm and it'll be VOD thereafter and will be on YouTube on Sunday for those who can't check it live, so look forward to that.

MARISHA: And it's sexy.

MATT: We also have our visit coming up to Chicago for C2E2 convention.

TRAVIS: ♪ Chicago! ♪

SAM: The announcements.

MATT: Super excited to meet all you guys who are coming out to be part of the event there. We still have some pre-sale autographs and photo op tickets available for C2E2, so check it out, if you haven't had a chance yet, on their website. As well as their website for pre-purchase pre-sales there. I think that's all I have on that. Travis, you have some things.

TRAVIS: Yes, yes yes yes. So our good friends at OSD announced earlier this week that Xbox is going to match every dollar donated up to $250,000, which doubles the impact of your donation, so please head over to weareosd.org and click the Our Latest Campaign link in the header before March 31st. Thank you, OSD, thank you, Xbox, that's incredible. Show some love.

ASHLEY: Woo!

MARISHA: Yay.

MATT: Awesome.

(applause)

SAM: We clap now, it's a thing on our show. (laughs)

MATT: Yeah, there you go. Ever evolving. I believe that is it. So let's go ahead and jump into tonight's episode of Critical Role.

(roaring) (water bubbling) (booming) (booming) (explosion) ♪ Role, Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ 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 because you're 'bout 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 ♪ ♪ Critical Role (roll the dice) ♪ ♪ Critical Role (roll the dice) ♪ ♪ Critical Role (roll the dice) ♪ ♪ 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

MARISHA: -- ores.

MATT: And welcome back.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Hackzors.

TRAVIS: I don't claim to know her.

MATT: So last we left off, The Mighty Nein had found their way to Kamordah and the mountains northward to try and engage with the old crone, the Prism Sage Isharnai, to break the curse that still holds Nott within her physical form. A deal was struck through the use of memory altering magic via Jester and you escaped without conflict, for the time being, with the creature. You battled some undead in the swamp as you fled into the night and after survival and a safe rest, you made your way back to Rosohna, where you collected yourselves, your intent, and asked Essek if he could help transport you to the Whitedawn Lagoon, where it seemed visions of Caduceus' Wildmother-given journey, and finishing what his family had set out to accomplish, lie. After transporting yourselves to the exterior of the jungle where it seems the Circle of Beasts, the oasis that contains one of these collections, the Stone family in particular, that is the next step of this vision quest. You made a parasol for Essek and sent him on his way (laughter) and you began to traverse the dangerous jungle. A short time into your journey, rest was taken and night was set. In the middle of your evening's watch, Jester was called away from the camp spot by a familiar green cloaked figure. Called by the Traveler to the shadows of the jungle. The Traveler revealed a lot more about his past than you were previously aware, learning that the Traveler may not be entirely a god in the sense that you had anticipated or believed, but had discovered Jester many years ago, as this entity traversed the land, saw chaotic kinship within her, and this worship that Jester gave, this love and trust that was placed into this entity, gave it purpose in a way it wasn't expecting, which led to it seeking other people to join this family of belief and trust and forthright interest in adding more chaos to the world around them. He also revealed himself to be a long, orange-haired fey entity and revealed that he had no idea what he was doing and he desperately needed your help. And that was where we left off.

The Traveler, hood held back, standing above you, tall, lanky, graceful limbs, eyes filled with mysterious age and anxiety looking towards you, continues on. "I am not any less than I have been, for the pretense itself is a bit of trickery and I think that even you can appreciate that, Jester. I am Lord Artagan of the Morncrown and I am the Traveler. You, Jester Lavore, are my protege, and most prized pupil. You hold the purest priorities to see the world turned on its head. I know I can trust you. Would you help me?"

LAURA: Well... Obviously.

MATT: "Good, good. I knew I could believe in you."

LAURA: (laughs) Um. I guess, Artagan?

MATT: "The Traveler is fine."

LAURA: Traveler. Do you want this?

MATT: "I think I--"

LAURA: Do you want to be a god?

TALIESIN: (coughing)

MATT: "I don't know. I'm enjoying aspects of it. I've enjoyed the adoration, I've enjoyed the extensions of my tangled web finding its way to generally twist and tease the mundane idiots that seem to permeate this plane. But I've reached a point where I generally don't know what to do from this point forward. I don't know if I have too many followers. I don't know if I should just cut free and run away."

LAURA: Well, I mean, do you get more power from more people following you?

MATT: "It feels that way to an extent."

LAURA: If they follow you, do you have to answer them?

MATT: "Not always. I mean, I haven't always answered you. Though I wish I could've, trust me, I really wish I could've, but I'm but one entity."

LAURA: Well, I mean, whatever we decide, I mean, are you still going to hang out with me?

MATT: "If you'll have me."

LAURA: Okay, good. I would be really sad if, you know, you didn't want to do that anymore.

MATT: "Oh, if I was to leave, I'd take you with me."

LAURA: Oh, that's fun. Where would we go?

MATT: "All sorts of places. Now that the doorway has been opened for some time, I think we can travel quite easily through many of the planes, maybe other worlds."

LAURA: Really?

MATT: "This is but one of many Prime Materials. I'd be curious to see what else lies out there, hmm?"

LAURA: Me too! I mean, we have to, you know, take care of some stuff here first, but. Do you know what's going on with everyone that, you know, I'm hanging out with?

MATT: "No, not entirely. They seem rather boorish. Though, I do worry that half-orc mama's boy seems to have picked up on my recent sloppiness, if you will."

LAURA: Oh, well he would never judge, you know. He's actually really polite and, I mean, yeah, kind of a mama's boy, but not in that way. I mean, he's really reliable, is really what it comes down to.

MATT: "Your friends, your companions--"

LAURA: Yeah, yeah.

MATT: "What are their thoughts on us?"

LAURA: They all seem pretty supportive of it. You know, some of them are like, "Oh, I don't know, I've not heard of him before," and I've told them all about you, so they know.

MATT: "Well, I mean, it's still kind of a new thing, we're working on."

LAURA: Right, right.

MATT: "The branding aspect is its own challenge."

LAURA: But here's the question: I mean, should I be telling people about you?

MATT: "Well, of course, that was the whole idea."

LAURA: Well, I know, but the more people I tell, the more people that are going to want to rely on you--

MATT: "I know!"

LAURA: And you'll have to answer to them. What do we do?

MATT: "That's why I'm here. I don't know! I like the attention--

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay

MATT: "But--"

LAURA: I have, here's an option.

MATT: "Yes?"

LAURA: What if, you know, at TravelerCon, we establish you as, like, this god that can always hear, but you're more like the other gods, you know, that are like, oh, you know, like, okay. So Caduceus, he worships, like, this Wildmother.

MATT: "I'm familiar."

LAURA: Yeah. So like, when he asks her questions, you know what she does?

MATT: "Nothing?"

LAURA: She blows the wind. Exactly, she does shit. (laughter) So and he's like, "I sensed, you know, I understand what she's saying." She's not doing anything, but he thinks she is.

MATT: "Interesting."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "And he seems, ugh, content?"

LAURA: Yeah, yeah. He's, like, totally into her.

MATT: "(sighs) People are strange."

LAURA: I know. So you could be like that, you know, where people ask you things and you don't do anything and they'll still think you're doing something.

MATT: "But I've already been so involved. Won't they be disappointed if suddenly I'm just not appearing?"

LAURA: Well, we just have to establish it as, like, there's, like, a new way of doing things, you know?

MATT: "Interesting."

LAURA: Like, you've gotten so powerful that you're always-always with us and you hear our thoughts and, you control everything and--

MATT: "So the party is a goodbye, kind of, loosely."

LAURA: But not for me, not for me, just for all those other people that are, like, less important.

MATT: "And now they have friends, they've met, they can--"

LAURA: They can rely on each other.

MATT: "I love that. When anything goes good, it's because of me. If anything goes bad, it's because of them."

LAURA: Right! Or, you know, they'll find greater purpose in the bad things, you know. They'll be like, "Oh, everything happens for a reason."

MATT: "It's ridiculous."

LAURA: I know.

MATT: "But I'm happy for them to be content with that."

LAURA: I know, I know. So.

MATT: "Nothing happens for a reason. It's absolute fucking chaos."

(laughter)

LIAM: This guy.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Help him.

TALIESIN: Oh no.

LAURA: So I mean, one of the things we could do, you know, what if I just had everybody, like all my friends, you know--

MATT: "Yes?"

LAURA: What if we got to TravelerCon and we were all, like, your high priests and high priestesses and stuff? And, like, we helped establish how the religion was going to be, you know? We could show people how to pray to you if they haven't done that before, you know?

MATT: "All right. I'm going to warn you, it's a very eclectic mix."

LAURA: Are any of them as powerful as me?

MATT: "No, not at all."

LAURA: Okay, so we can totally fool them.

MATT: "Yet."

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: "What?"

LAURA: Well, you got to make sure I'm always ahead of them.

MATT: "Well, you're doing great. I'm not, look, just don't worry, just don't get lazy."

LAURA: (exhale) I'm never going to be lazy.

MATT: "I know. Well. So we gather your friends, convince them to help, you act as acolytes."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "We have celebration--"

LAURA: Yeah, what are we going to do there? I mean, what do we just, like, give, like, a concert or, like--

MATT: "No theater. But. (laughter) Music, music perhaps. We can bring some performers in."

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: "Yes, yes. Refreshments."

LAURA: Yeah, obviously.

MATT: "Right, right."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "We could do some displays of power. I mean, it is a volcano, maybe we can make it erupt."

LAURA: Well, just make sure, you know, that, well, I mean it would solve your problems if, like, they all got wiped out at the same time, I suppose.

MATT: "True."

LAURA: Then they wouldn't be relying on you anymore but your power might get less.

MATT: "It's not even about the power at this point, it's just about keeping it interesting."

LAURA: Oh. Well, then, you know, that could be something. But, you know, I'll be there and you love me so much, that would be not so fun, right? Yeah.

MATT: "Yes, no, valid point. No volcano."

LAURA: Yeah, okay.

MATT: "Yet."

LAURA: Wait 'til we leave.

MATT: "Maybe."

LAURA: Oh.

MATT: "So should it be like a ta-ta and I leave into the sky?"

LAURA: I mean, maybe we can make you, can you--

MATT: "Turn to dust, like--"

LAURA: Can you make yourself grow, like, super, super, super big and, like, fill up the whole sky like, you know, like this great big presence? And then you, like, lift up and you disappear and we're like, "(gasps) He ascended."

MATT: "A visual ascension."

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: "And now I am with them at all times, not answering a damn thing."

LAURA: Right, but they'll think you're even bigger than you ever have been. You're answering to so many people, you can't possibly be there with them personally.

MATT: "But they'll have each other. Delightfully foolish, I love it."

LAURA: We'll tell them you can also communicate through the wind.

MATT: "I feel like that's a bit hackneyed territory, to be honest."

LAURA: All right, all right, all right.

MATT: "Melora kind of leans in that space a bit heavy for me."

LAURA: Okay. Well, we're steer clear of that, I guess, but.

MATT: "All right. Well, let's table the miracle for now. I'll put some thought to it. If anything comes inspiration-wise to you--"

LAURA: All right, but we should definitely come up with some sort of ceremony to make you ascend.

MATT: "Right. All right, okay. I'll start assembling some flowers, pillars--"

LAURA: Ooh.

MATT: "An archway."

LAURA: Ooh!

MATT: "I've got some ideas."

LAURA: Ooh, ooh, ooh.

MATT: "Ooh, what?"

LAURA: Can you open up your gateway and, like, bring some stuff in from another plane and that way, like, people are seeing things that they've never seen before and it'll make it, like, even more powerful and special then?

MATT: "I, mm, I can open a gateway. The gateway to my 'home' realm is a bit stationary, but I can still give the essence of it."

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: "I can make it presentory. Grandiose."

LAURA: I like it.

MATT: "Illusory but effective, especially for the layman."

LAURA: Okay. And I will make programs, you know, to pass out to everyone so they'll have, like, something to take home with them and they could get--

MATT: "Keepsakes."

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: "Interesting. Things to shadowbox."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "Good, good."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "No, it's important to have a physical memory of the occasion."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "A reminder. Good. See, this is why I came to you. I'm so bad at planning."

LAURA: You know--

MATT: "I'm more of a in the moment and improvised kind of--"

LAURA: I understand. I mean, obviously we'll leave room for craziness to happen.

MATT: "Oh, there will be craziness, my Jester, don't you worry. Hm, all right. This gives me much to think about."

LAURA: Did you want to come say hi to everyone? I mean, they're going to be your high priests and stuff.

MATT: "They appear to be sleeping."

LAURA: That's true.

MATT: "Do they like being woken up in the middle of the night?"

LAURA: I mean--

MATT: "How about I wait 'til breakfast, after they have eaten?"

LAURA: We'll eat, then you will, like, come in, see if we can fool them and make them think that you're, like, even bigger than you are, right? So like, they will, like, see what we can do for them to make other, it'll be like a test run.

MATT: "Okay, so, mm, all right, so we're trying to trick your friends as well."

LAURA: Yeah, but then we'll let them know.

MATT: "I'll follow your lead."

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: "You'll know when I arrive."

LAURA: Yes, I will.

MATT: "Jester."

LAURA: Well, I just, but does this mean you're not always with me?

MATT: "It means I'll be with you as much as I've always been."

LAURA: (sighing)

MATT: "And if they're not yelling into my ears as much, maybe I can be around more often."

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: "You're still my favorite."

LAURA: And you're always mine.

MATT: "Go, rest." He extends his hand and you watch as all the local bush bends and pulls away.

LAURA: Could you do this the rest of the time, though? Because this would really help our trek through the jungles.

MATT: "Oh, I'm sure it, but I've got a lot to do with the planning and the individuals, you understand. But I'm, I've given you some tools. I'm sure you can find your way."

LAURA: I'll find my way.

MATT: "If you rely on me continuously, how are you going to prove yourself?"

LAURA: How will I be more powerful than everyone else?

MATT: "Exactly."

LAURA: I'm going to find my way back. You don't even need to make this path for me. I'll take it, but you don't need to. And walk really fast away so that he doesn't take it away as I make my way--

MATT: Okay. He does this with his hand and you watch the little flowers go poop, ploop, ploop, ploop, following your foot falls as you make your way through. "It can just be beautiful, it doesn't have to be helpful," and you just run forward and look back and he's gone.

LAURA: My shoulders kind of slump. And I go back to my tent, the dome, and I sit down. Oh man. Can you hear me now? Oh man. And I go to sleep.

MATT: Oh. All right. The watch goes uneventful throughout the evening, thanks to the protectiveness of the dome. The morning comes to. It is warm as the dome vanishes at the ending of its duration. The humidity and the heat immediately comes in sticky. You can hear the insects heavily starting to buzz around you. The air still has that strange earthy sweetness to it like various flowers and heavy jungle plants are giving off aromas to attract insects or larger creatures towards them. Oh my god, Sam.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Fuck--

LAURA: You stupid--

TRAVIS: Out of control.

(laughter)

MATT: (throat clearing) But you all come to consciousness. (birds calling in background)

TRAVIS: Ooh.

MARISHA: Ugh.

TALIESIN: (coughs)

MARISHA: (slap) Ugh, bugs.

LAURA: No, they're not in here, don't worry about it.

TALIESIN: Oh, they're definitely in here.

LIAM: Dome's down.

MARISHA: The dome's done.

LAURA: No!

(groans)

MARISHA: Ugh.

LAURA: It's so much warmer here than I--

MARISHA: Everyone, drink water.

TRAVIS: Why?

MARISHA: Because it's hot and we've been sweating. I'm drenched in-- are you drenched in sweat?

TRAVIS: I'm actually quite cool.

MARISHA: Drink water.

SAM: I go to reach for my flask and it's not there.

ASHLEY: Whatcha reaching for?

SAM: She said to drink.

MARISHA: Water.

ASHLEY: Water.

MARISHA: Water.

SAM: It's the same thing. There's water in it. They use water to make it.

LIAM: Here, here is my skin.

MARISHA: I toss-- yeah, Caleb beats me.

(laughter)

LIAM: Great minds.

ASHLEY: I open up the flask and I start drinking.

SAM: (scoffs)

(laughter)

MARISHA: Yasha. (snaps)

ASHLEY: Oh, did you want some of this, too?

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: Thank you.

TRAVIS: I don't know if that's the most supportive thing--

TALIESIN: This feels a little harsh.

LAURA: Yeah, that's kind of harsh.

ASHLEY: You throw a person into the deep end. Isn't the way you do it and that's how they--

TALIESIN: If you're trying to drown them, sure, you throw them into the deep end.

ASHLEY: Then you got to figure out how to swim.

MARISHA: I wasn't trying to prove any point, I was just being super selfish.

TRAVIS: I don't think that hydrates you at all, though.

MARISHA: I already drank a bunch of water.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MARISHA: More than one.

LIAM: What are we doing this morning?

LAURA: Oh yeah, where are we going? Do you know where we're going?

LIAM: I can get us out of here if we want to go now.

TRAVIS: Oh, that's right because that was the whole point of sleeping.

LAURA: Wait, go where?

LIAM: Well, we could leave and head back to a city or--

LAURA: No, we're going to--

LIAM: --we are traveling on--

TALIESIN: We're on our way.

LIAM: Yeah. You ready?

TALIESIN: Yeah. Yeah, I'm ready.

LAURA: Wait, before we go, I have to pray to the Traveler...

SAM: Oh.

LAURA: ...to--

SAM: You do that, you pray daily now?

LAURA: Well yeah, I-- it's how I decide-- he helps me figure out what I'm going to do for the day.

TRAVIS: She draws a dick on a tree or something, I mean--

LAURA: Yeah, I'm going to go carve a dick on a tree.

SAM: Oh okay, well you should have just said that.

LAURA: And say: Hey, Traveler, we're going to get going. We had some breakfast and I'm going to carve this dick.

(laughter)

MARISHA: All right, while you carve that, 50 push ups, let's go.

TRAVIS: Fucking ... all right.

MARISHA: Yeah, come on.

MATT: You guys power through your push ups before you begin to hear this dull cracking sound. Right as Jester finishes her carving of the dick on the side of a jungle tree, you hear (cracking) as the outside of the tree begins to splinter and split. From the edges of this carved dick, you see flowers begin to bloom and erupt from it, vines begin to suddenly start shifting out of it at a rapid pace and swirling around, encapsulating a large majority of this clearing you guys have been sleeping in, the fallen rotted log that you had set yourself to rest against being swallowed by these vines as flowers of all colors begin to permeate. The scent of the air immediately begins to change to a very welcoming, bakery-like aroma. You can see glowing fireflies beginning to tangle through and swirl. The wind becomes cool and sends a chill through your back. It's alarming, but you feel comfortable.

LAURA: Praise be!

SAM: What is happening? What is this?

TALIESIN: Well, this is a bit weird.

SAM: Did you do this?

LAURA: The Traveler has made his presence known!

(laughter)

MATT: You watch as the dick suddenly begins to fold into--

LIAM: Oh dear.

MATT: That's the base of--

MARISHA: Oh god.

MATT: To fold into the tree and become a doorway--

MARISHA: Oh jeez.

MATT: A small doorway that grows in size.

LAURA: He travels!

LIAM: The base grows?

(yelling) (laughter)

TRAVIS: It certainly made a dick hole.

LAURA: He travels everywhere. To and fro, he travels great distances--

SAM: Why are you talking like that?

LAURA: --because he is a god.

MATT: A bright teal-ish light begins to emerge from this carved hole in the center that opens up into an arched gateway.

TRAVIS: Okay.

LIAM: Now that is a urethra.

(laughter, groans)

MATT: And stepping from it, you see, to you, and a handful of you in glimpses, a familiar green robed figure. (footsteps) (birds calling in background)

TRAVIS: A few steps back.

LAURA: I get down and kneel and--

SAM: Is this...?

LAURA: This is the Traveler, Nott!

SAM: I know, but--

MATT: The hand reaches out and touches the top of Jester's head. "Thank you, my acolyte."

SAM: Oh.

MATT: "Hello."

LAURA: Everybody say hi to the Traveler.

LIAM: Hi, hello.

TALIESIN: How you doing?

LAURA: He's a god. So he's really cool.

MARISHA: 'Sup?

MATT: "Friends of Jester, you've traveled and kept her safe and for that, I am thankful. We are on the cusp of a grand event, one that Jester may need your aid in."

SAM: Oh.

LAURA: Should we just tell them?

TRAVIS: Understood.

MATT: "Should we just?"

LAURA: Should we just tell them now?

MATT: "If you want--"

LAURA: I mean, you can tell them--

MATT: "Okay."

SAM: What's happening? What is this?

MARISHA: Jes?

LAURA: So there's something really awesome happening that I just found out about. Um, the Traveler is not actually a god-god god.

SAM: I'm sorry?

LAURA: But he's, like, a mostly-god god?

MARISHA: Right. I go up and I touch him. (laughter) I start doing this.

MATT: "Whoa, whoa." He gets pushed back a bit and puts a hand up, just as a reaction, and the vines around, wrap around your arm and hold it in place.

MARISHA: Can I monk parry him?

LAURA: You're going to, he's a god!

MARISHA: I just want to touch him.

MATT: Make a dexterity saving throw.

MARISHA: Okay.

TALIESIN: I believe in you.

MARISHA: Where are all my D20s?

LAURA: I'm jumping up and trying to get between them.

MARISHA: Where are my d20s? (laughter) Okay, dexterity saving throw?

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: Okay. 22.

MATT: 22. The vines, shh, come out towards you and in slow motion, as they're about to wrap around your wrists, you ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch pull your arm out and then, snaps shut and he goes, "Shit."

MARISHA: I turn around. Yeah, not a god.

LAURA: Hey, I said he's a a mostly-god, not a god-god. Okay, so here's the thing, I'm realizing now. Maybe at TravelerCon, you don't appear in the flesh. Like, you just should not appear.

SAM: What the fuck is going on? What are you talking about?

LAURA: You should always be, like, bigger, right? Because I think, like, if you're here as a person--

MATT: You watch as the Traveler's form suddenly swells to about 15 feet tall, the boughs cracking above him. (groans) "I didn't think this through."

TRAVIS: Yes, maybe not, maybe back to normal size for the introduction, maybe.

TALIESIN: Maybe come back down here, friend.

MATT: "(deeper) Is this too much?"

TALIESIN: It's a little much.

TRAVIS: Oh, god, jeez.

MATT: "I am the Tr-- ugh." He pulls the hood back and sits on his knees (laughs) and goes (sighs). Yeah, like huge fucking knees, he's consuming half of this open space now, the vines still around, there's still glittering firebugs, but now he's just this sitting giant with the bright mane of orange hair, the elongated fey ears, the fine pointed features.

LAURA: I go up and pat his calf, that's probably about as--

MATT: He puts a hand down.

LAURA: I climb on his hand.

LIAM: Jester, to what do we owe this visitation after so many months with you?

LAURA: Well, TravelerCon's coming up, right?

LIAM: Ja.

TRAVIS: Sure.

LAURA: And we got to figure out a way to make, you know, all the other people attending TravelerCon not have to talk to him as much. Because it's annoying.

SAM: What does that mean? What do you mean?

TRAVIS: Ah, this is a lot. Okay, so--

SAM: Wait. First of all, who is this guy?

LAURA: Well, this is the Traveler.

SAM: But you said that the Traveler was a god who's been with you forever and whose faith you put, you follow--

LAURA: Yeah, okay, so here's the thing: I was thinking about it a lot last night and I don't remember you ever telling me you actually were a god, so I can't--

MATT: "No."

LAURA: -- totally blame you for this.

MATT: "It was kind of an assumption I wasn't quick to correct."

LAURA: I just--

MATT: "It felt nice."

SAM: No, but you--

ASHLEY: You just told her all of this last night? You thought this whole time--

LAURA: That he--

MATT: "Is this a bad idea? Should I go?"

LAURA: No, stay please.

LIAM: We have heard so much about you.

LAURA: See?

MATT: "I've heard a few things about you."

MARISHA: I saw you in Asarius. Did you see me or was that a mistake? Was I not supposed to see you?

MATT: "I was probably running--"

MARISHA: Were you drunk?

MATT: "Towards the end of my--"

MARISHA: You were drunk.

MATT: "-- end of my threads. I was not drunk, I was tired."

MARISHA: Okay, that checks out.

LIAM: If we may be so bold--

MATT: "Yes?"

LIAM: You're an almost-god, is this what you would refer to yourself as, as an almost-god?

MATT: "Um." He sets Jester down a bit.

LAURA: (giggling)

MATT: "I am an unaffiliated what you would call an archfey."

SAM: What does that mean?

MARISHA: Arch--

SAM: Arch means evil, doesn't it?

MARISHA: Unaffiliated--

SAM: Like an arch-nemesis?

TALIESIN: Sort of half a circle.

LAURA: No, no.

SAM: Arch-rival? It's only used in bad things.

MATT: "It means greater--"

ASHLEY: Like the arch you just made.

LIAM: Great or grand.

SAM: Oh, okay.

LIAM: More than.

MATT: "I can do many things, but I am not a god, and I've been enjoying helping people. I've helped Jester for the better part of two decades now, I think it is, and in doing so, I think I've helped all of you quite a bit."

SAM: But, just to be clear, you're not a god. I thought you were a-- I thought you were a, a holy magician, a holy mage.

LIAM: I think he is more like this. (snaps) Frumpkin appears on the ground.

MATT: "Ah. (chuckles)"

SAM: But not him, her.

MARISHA: Yeah, where do you get your powers from, then?

LAURA: From him.

MATT: "Oh, that's also from me."

MARISHA: But you're not a--

MATT: "Oh, do you think gods are the only entities that can grant their essence and powers to lesser beings? What do you think demonic entities make choices with? I can already sense some dark deals in your half-orc friend here."

TRAVIS: Thank you.

MARISHA: No, I just think it gives a little bit more credit to her, that's all.

MATT: "Oh, all credit goes to her, she's amazing. But just know just because I'm not a god doesn't mean that I'm not trustworthy or important or capable or a friend."

LAURA: He could kill all of us right now if he wanted to.

MATT: "I actually really could, it'd be very easy. But I'm not going to do that because that's not interesting, that's not fun."

LIAM: What are you here to do?

MATT: "Find things that are interesting and have fun."

TALIESIN: Huh.

LAURA: What if, oh my god, ultimate trick?

MATT: "Mm-hmm?"

LAURA: You don't show up to TravelerCon? What if everybody gets there and you don't come?

MATT: "I mean--"

LAURA: That'd be pretty great.

MATT: "It's a pretty good trick. Oh, so many angry people."

LAURA: I know, I know, I know.

MATT: "Are you okay with dealing with that kind of customer support?"

LAURA: Well--

MATT: "Because if so, I'm all about it."

LAURA: (cackles)

TRAVIS: You seem very forthright. To follow up on my friend's question, what is it that you do want? Besides to have fun. Any particular goal?

MATT: "Not really. When you've lived as long as I have, you just, good, bad, it all blends together. It's about keeping things interesting, fluid, weird."

LAURA: If the gods think of it, your, you know, acting like a god, can they get mad at you?

MATT: "Do I care?"

LAURA: I don't know.

MATT: "(hums) I think it depends on the god in particular. I'm not doing anything to bother any of them directly. It's not like they can do much, they're all locked away in their little ethereal closets on the other side of the Gate."

LIAM: Are they aware of you?

MATT: "I'm sure they're aware of me."

LIAM: Frumpkin the little capuchin monkey starts climbing up his ropes and up into his hair and swinging about.

MATT: He doesn't even, he acknowledges with his eyes, but just lets it go.

ASHLEY: Do you have a lot of followers?

LAURA: Oh yeah, how many people are going to meet up?

MATT: "Maybe about two, a little over 200."

LAURA: 200! That's so many more than I thought. I was thinking, like, not that many.

TRAVIS: Jester, that seems like a rather small number, actually. I thought--

MATT: "It's a very curated circle of individuals, thank you."

TALIESIN: I've seen this face before on other people.

LAURA: What are you talking about?

TALIESIN: Oh man, you don't know what you're doing, do you?

MATT: "I like him."

LAURA: He's the one that listens to the wind.

TALIESIN: Yeah. What?

MATT: "I can smell her on you."

TALIESIN: Oh, yeah.

MATT: "She's boorish, but I like her color scheme and style, it's fine."

TALIESIN: Caught half of that.

MARISHA: I thought that was mushrooms.

MATT: "(sniffs) It is mushrooms, very acute."

MARISHA: Thanks?

MATT: "Anyway."

ASHLEY: Feels like if you have this con or whatever, that a volcano is too large of a venue.

TRAVIS: For 200 people.

ASHLEY: Fits a lot of people.

SAM: It doesn't have to take up the whole volcano, right?

LAURA: Well, what is the--

TALIESIN: Depends on the size of the volcano.

LAURA: I mean, it's not like we're going to be, like, in the middle of the volcano, are we? That seems dangerous.

MARISHA: Beach party.

LIAM: And I think they are preaching exclusivity here, is what it sounds like. Yeah?

LAURA: Yeah, yeah. We're the elite. Everyone at the TravelerCon, we can make everybody think that, you know, only they were invited. There's a lot more Traveler followers out there.

MATT: "That is viable."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "The chosen few."

LAURA: Exactly.

LIAM: The goal of TravelerCon, besides being new and exciting, is to perhaps launch your faith to a greater reach?

LAURA: That is a good point.

MATT: "The opposite. It's to disengage a bit. Let them find each other and not bother me as much."

LAURA: Yeah, so the goal is to make everybody believe that, you know, he's too powerful to be, like, as present in their lives. So we have to show them that he's, you know, that's not how you're supposed to pray to him, that he answers miracles in different ways.

MARISHA: How are you going to do that with exclusivity?

LAURA: The--

MARISHA: That feels like a clash.

LAURA: Well then, they can go out and spread the word and let everyone know that this is how the Traveler works.

TRAVIS: You're hosting a dinner party or a mixer, but with no guest of honor.

MARISHA: With very high profile guests.

MATT: "There's a particular word, I think, that deals specifically with this that's been very prevalent through much of mortal history. The word is faith and it means giving everything and expecting, and receiving, honestly, in the realms of religion, very little in return."

MARISHA: Well, it's a cult.

LAURA: Well--

MARISHA: That's a cult.

LAURA: No, no no, that's faith.

LIAM: It's a thin line.

MARISHA: Mm. Wait, wait, okay, hang on, wait. We're doing way too much planning and there are other questions--

SAM: Yeah, there's other questions first.

MARISHA: Hang on.

SAM: You said that you're in this for the lulz a little bit. You just, you just want to make fun and trickery and stuff. What happens if my friend Jessie says no or you grow bored of her? You told us that you could kill us. Is she in danger? Does she have to follow you?

MATT: "She doesn't have to."

LIAM: You want to abandon these--

LAURA: I wouldn't abandon you, I love you.

MATT: "I know you wouldn't."

SAM: Oh, okay. What about us, though? If we don't say yes, are you going to kill us?

MATT: "I'm not going to kill you unless you give me a reason to."

SAM: Well, if we say no to this Traveler--

LAURA: That's not a good reason and he knows I love you all.

LIAM: Well, I think in this instance, we are just concerned for our friend, Jester. The other 199 or what have you, we do not know them. But are you with her for the long haul? Because she has great faith in you, we have heard.

MATT: "And I would never let that faith down."

MARISHA: Insight check.

MATT: Make an insight check.

LIAM and LAURA: Check-ah.

MARISHA: Oh god, it's terrible. Eight, no, nine.

MATT: Nine?

TRAVIS: Big mortal balls.

MARISHA: Horrible, horrible.

MATT: There is such a presence of personality and slick, in spite of your prickly nature--

MARISHA: Fuck, he's good.

MATT: -- a likable quality to him that you have no idea.

MARISHA: Okay, keep going, keep going.

SAM: All right, I guess I feel slightly more relieved that you're not intending to harm any of us. But backing up to the TravelerCon a bit, your plan is to get 200 people together and just trick them with--

LAURA: Well, we, okay, here is the thing: we have to figure it out, okay? It's a lot of pressure.

SAM: Okay, I am not the best one to speak to this. Caduceus, I feel, is. But I feel like if you're going to establish a group that's supposed to support each other or be there for each other, you need to give them something, and I'm not talking about an object or money or anything, like, something to be faithful in, a set of guidelines, presets.

LAURA: Yeah, that's what we got to figure out, right?

SAM: Something to follow, a code, right?

LIAM: Credo or a manifesto--

LAURA: But that's what the whole point of Traveler is to not have that, we just--

TALIESIN: You need a story.

SAM: Thank you, Caduceus.

MATT: "A story."

MARISHA: Yeah, like what do you believe in, man?

MATT: "Heh."

SAM: What do you want the world to be?

TALIESIN: When people talk about you, what do you want them to say?

MARISHA: Yeah, what are your adjectives?

LAURA: This would actually help me a lot because I am very bad at this.

SAM: She has been describing you to people in pamphlets, I'm sure you've seen them, as a really cool guy--

LAURA: Have you seen the pamphlets?

MATT: "I have not seen any of these pamphlets, show me."

LAURA: Oh my gosh, I have to get my bag. Here.

SAM: They say that you're--

MATT: This gargantuan body holding this tiny pamphlet.

SAM: -- a really cool guy who does really cool things.

MARISHA: And you're super powerful.

MATT: "This is ridiculous, I'm sorry." (blows) With that, there's a swirl of greenish-blue and he's back to a regular, though still taller than most of you, form. He's looking at the pamphlet.

LIAM: Frumpkin's sitting on his shoulder.

MATT: "Hm, this is quite good. The artistic--"

LAURA: I know.

MATT: "-- details on this. In the margins as well?"

LAURA: Thank you.

SAM: Yeah, but, I mean, this pamphlet, while amazingly designed and beautiful--

LAURA: Thank you.

SAM: I don't feel it's a, it's not something that your followers would carry around and be like, "Have you read this book?" You know, it's not, it doesn't have that heft to it, right?

MATT: "Here's the thing. You asked me what I want. That's a hard question to ask me, I've wanted many things. I've gained many and grown bored and I've forgotten some and not cared. What matters is what I want right now. And I think what I want right now is to successfully continue to build a religious cult--"

LAURA: (groaning)

(laughter)

MATT: "-- where only-- (laughter) -- where only you and I and the rest of us know the truth because my, what a trick that would be."

LAURA: It's pretty great.

MATT: "It's pretty great."

MARISHA: Oh no.

LIAM: They're inventing Sea Org.

TALIESIN: I am so conflicted.

SAM: Okay. I mean, first off, maybe use club instead, club or organization.

LAURA: Religion.

MATT: "Well, outwardly, yes. I just thought it was a fun term already thrown out."

MARISHA: Super fun.

LIAM: I am also sensing a theme of more of a rejection of norms and structure--

MATT: "Yes."

LIAM: So perhaps the message is throwing off the shackles of--

SAM: Conformity.

LIAM: Of conformity, tradition.

MATT: "Responsibility."

LIAM: Yeah, hedonistic.

MARISHA: Chaos Crew.

TRAVIS: Well.

SAM: Chaos Crew.

LAURA: Chaos Crew.

SAM: No one can see this over here.

MARISHA, SAM, and LAURA: Chaos Crew.

TRAVIS: So your objective is to have fun and not to achieve some sort of tax-exempt status, correct?

SAM: The third one's silent? (laughs)

MATT: "I have no interest in monetary gain, if that's what you're inquiring about."

TRAVIS: I mean, if no one's getting (sighs) hurt.

LAURA: I bought enough fabric so all of us can be high priests at TravelerCon.

MARISHA: Should we sidebar for a minute?

MATT: "People being tricked is fun. Extremely shitty people being tricked is so much more fun and there are so many shitty people just waiting to be tricked."

MARISHA: Yeah, you know--

LAURA: That's true--

ASHLEY: I--

LAURA: What?

TRAVIS: Yeah?

MARISHA: Go, Yasha.

ASHLEY: I think I'm just confused about how I feel like you've been tricking Jester. I'm just, if that's part of your thing, I don't know how I feel about that, you know?

MATT: "Not intentionally. I understand where your concern lies, but have you found yourself trusting and caring for other people and yet keeping things secret to yourself to keep them safe? To make them feel comfortable?"

TRAVIS: He's good.

ASHLEY: Yes. I feel like that's different, but yes.

MATT: "I didn't intend for this to be what it was, but it was this young girl's joy and faith in me that brought me on this path. If anything, she tricked me."

LAURA: (laughs) I mean, you gave me a lot of powers, you know?

MATT: "I like being helpful."

LAURA: He didn't lie about that.

MARISHA: So you want to--

MATT: "They're still scrubbing the paint from that temple, by the way."

TRAVIS: Oh yes.

LAURA: They were so mad.

MATT: "Oh, I can tell."

MARISHA: You don't want to deal with the day-to-day struggles of being a god, you want to retire--

MATT: "Why do you think the gods went behind the Divine Gate? Because it was to preserve the things they created? Because of the damage of the Calamity? No! They got bored of having to do the bidding of every mortal at their feet and they left to take vacation forever and occasionally send a bit of power their way."

LIAM: Well, you know, the lot of us certainly trust Jester completely and we also know a great many shitty people. I wonder if we help create the best TravelerCon that ever was, if maybe we could make it a full circle and you could help us with some of those shitty people.

MATT: "Oh, I already have been."

LIAM: We know, we have seen it.

MATT: "As long as you have her around, you'll have me around."

LIAM: Well, we would have to put on a very good show, then.

MARISHA: Here's the thing, though.

LAURA: No theater.

MARISHA: I'm kind of, I'm kind of--

MATT: "No, absolutely not."

MARISHA: -- with Yasha. Those things have repercussions on a grander scale.

LIAM: Which bits?

MARISHA: Sometimes, if you trick dumb, stupid, idiotic people, it informs the rest of their lives.

LIAM: But I am not talking about dumb, idiotic people. I am talking about the most intelligent, ruthless people in this world.

TALIESIN: I mean, Beau's right. I was a big fan of practical jokes and, I mean--

TRAVIS: You were?

MATT: "You were?"

TALIESIN: Things could get out of hand on occasion. It's been a while.

MATT: "I knew I liked him."

TALIESIN: I mean, if things do get out of hand, it can be a problem. I'm not going to speak more on the subject right now, but.

MATT: "Well, you just don't know how to escape."

LAURA: No, you just, you just have to bamf away.

MATT: "It's only a problem if you remain to be there for it."

LAURA: You turn invisible, you run away, you Dimension Door. There's so many options.

TALIESIN: I'm not really a runner.

LIAM: All I am saying--

MATT: "You don't have to run. It could be just an easy step. I could show you a few tricks."

LIAM: All I am saying is this. And I cast Seeming and everyone is wearing green robes.

LAURA: I didn't even have to buy the stupid fabric!

TALIESIN: (snorting)

MATT: You see a big smile curl across his face.

LIAM: We have done a great many great things together.

LAURA: Make mine have more embroidery.

LIAM: It has more embroidery.

LAURA: Yes!

(laughter)

LIAM: I have no desire to harm innocent people, but we could create something unique in a bit of life, you know, in a hard life. We are in control of ourselves, we do not have to harm anyone unless they are people who deserve to be harmed.

MARISHA: That is a super intense responsibility and kind of requires a certain amount of ego to say that.

LIAM: Hello, my name is Caleb Widogast.

MARISHA: Nice to meet you, Caleb.

TALIESIN: I don't know if I can subscribe to that, but I owe Jester a great deal and it would be unconscionable not to help you with whatever path you're moving towards, either for the delight of crowds or to keep anything from getting out of hand.

SAM: I agree that, I mean, I'm just here for Jester as well and if these people are going to come to the volcano and expect something, I suppose it would be more fulfilling for them to get some sort of a show than to leave disappointed and empty.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: But I still would like to, I'd prefer it if they were set up with some sort of path to success or happiness rather than just being tricked for trickery's sake.

LAURA: Right. We want them to be happy, it-- it feels good to believe.

SAM: Your belief in the Traveler has helped you a great deal, not just because he's bestowed upon you powers, but also, he's given you friendship.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: And it would be nice to give the other people at your con that same potential.

MATT: He walks forward towards you, Jester, seeing the hints of doubt and small, cold trickle of sorrow of the reality that you've been wrestling with since the evening. He just reaches out and touches your chin and goes, "Words are just words. I'm what I've always been and what you've made me. This has not changed."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "If anything, I trusted you with this because of what we have. I'm sorry if you're disappointed."

LAURA: No, I'm not. I guess I was just, you know, I really did think you were always around and now, I feel like maybe that's asking a lot of you.

MATT: "(sighs) I think, if we pull this off, and if we do it right, we could leave 199 or so individuals still content, with new friends, some defined direction, perhaps, in the way they go through their day-to-day as they slowly walk towards the days of dust, and I'll have more time to be around you."

LAURA: I like it.

MATT: "All right, then."

TRAVIS: If Jester has faith the Traveler, that's good enough for me, I suppose.

MARISHA: I agree. I think, to Caduceus' point, you're the story.

LAURA: Huh?

TALIESIN: You're not wrong.

MARISHA: The Traveler needs a story. You're the story.

LIAM: Yeah, you are the poster child.

MARISHA: He helped you first. He changed your life.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: You're his story. Or, more like--

LAURA: I'll be the keynote speaker.

TALIESIN: (snorting)

MARISHA: I think it's more than that, but yeah. Keynote speaker.

SAM: What is the story that you'll tell as the, I mean, are you going to do a demonstration of the gifts he's given you?

LAURA: Ooh! That could be pretty cool.

MATT: Not bad.

SAM: We could--

LAURA: You could make me seem even more powerful than I am. Like, Caleb, you could do some really cool stuff, right?

SAM: Or what if you walked into there just in tattered clothing because you're just a peasant girl with nothing, you're even feeble, your hands don't work or something like that?

LAURA: Yeah. Ooh, I could have no hands!

SAM: No hands. Then, because of the Traveler, you can paint amazingly or something.

MATT: "Are you saying an organized religious event would fake an individual's rise from a low place to a high one for the purpose of convincing the masses that there is a miracle? Such a thing's never been done."

SAM: Did I just invent that?

MARISHA and LIAM: Canon.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I don't think that's what you want.

MARISHA: I agree.

LAURA: Why?

TALIESIN: You want--

MARISHA: Your story's awesome already, don't, you can be a cleric of a trickery god, but don't fool them in faith. Tell them the truth.

TALIESIN: You don't want liars.

LAURA: Then you fuck them a little bit because, I mean, that's just, you got to.

MARISHA: Yeah, you can after, yeah--

TALIESIN: No, you want, you want storytellers, you want, you want showmanship, you want people who will (sighs) create, create events, create art, create things that people will see that will confound them.

MATT: "To take this story and then begin to share their own."

TALIESIN: And you want to show them the truth.

MATT: "Well."

TALIESIN: A certain truth.

LAURA: They go back to their hometown and they set up a temple and they get followers there and then those followers get followers and then those followers get followers. That's how you build a religion.

TALIESIN: They have a word for people who do that already. They're called jesters.

LAURA: What?

TALIESIN: The trickster who shows the truth. I mean, how did you end up with that name in the first place?

LAURA: Well, I thought it sounded cool. I thought jesters were people that made people laugh.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: You thought that, you chose your name?

LAURA: Well, yeah.

TRAVIS: Your mother did not name you?

LAURA: Well, she did, but she told me I get to choose my own name.

SAM: What was your name used to be?

TALIESIN: I don't think tieflings-- do tieflings, there's a thing for--

SAM: Did you have a name before this?

LIAM: What did your mother call you before Jester?

SAM: What was your mother's name?

(laughter)

LIAM and TALIESIN: For you.

SAM: For you.

(laughter)

LAURA: Genevieve.

SAM: Genevieve?

MARISHA: (laughs) Genevieve? (laughs)

SAM: I mean.

TALIESIN: Perfectly reasonable.

SAM: Genny?

MARISHA: Sorry.

TRAVIS: I think that's lovely.

TALIESIN: I do too.

LAURA: I like Jester, okay? Jester, jeez.

MATT: "It's a much better name."

MARISHA: Can I call you Genny?

LAURA: No, you can call me Jester.

SAM: Genevieve Lavore?

TALIESIN: I think the point is that you should be what people aspire to. We shouldn't have to trick people about you, you should be elevated, you should be the success. You are everything a disciple of the Traveler should be. No sense to lie about that.

LIAM: I think you just show who you are on a grand scale, which is pretty grand already.

LAURA: Sheesh, you guys. I feel pretty great right now. (sighs)

TRAVIS: You could still add to your story, though. Maybe an evil wizard tried to kill you when you were a baby and the curse rebounded and left a scar on your forehead and-- no? Okay. Scratch this.

MATT: "No one will buy into that."

TALIESIN: That's ridiculous.

SAM: Maybe we tell Jester's true story, but it sounds like you'll still need something fabricated to make you disappear or fly away or whatever.

MATT: "We have an idea already. We've got a few weeks to workshop it, don't worry."

LAURA: Yeah. We've to figure this out, man.

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: But while you're here and you seem to have quite the range of vision, is there anything we should ask about the Stones and your particular journey, Caduceus?

LAURA: (giggles) They think you're going to answer things for them.

TALIESIN: Well, I wouldn't mind a finger pointed in the right direction as we are about to begin our hike. But as for information, I--

MATT: "I will tell you--"

TALIESIN: Wouldn't be so foolish as to ask you.

MATT: "Tall pink furry man, (chuckling) he who bows to the winds, your answer lies there." He points in the direction of the jungle you were traveling already.

(laughter)

LIAM: Oh, behind me.

TALIESIN: For all that you have done before, I thank you.

MATT: "(chuckles) Nevertheless, sorry to intrude upon your breakfast."

TRAVIS: We get visited by non-gods all the time. (chuckling)

LIAM: Where do you go when you are not here?

MATT: "All over."

LIAM: Where are you going next?

MATT: "I think I'm going to visit an old friend."

LAURA: Who? Who?

MATT: "That's a story for another time. But wherever I'm going, it's definitely ashy. I'll only stay for a bit, it's bad on the skin. Anyway, travel safe, friends." He steps back into the doorway where he originally emerged as the tree begins to--

SAM: Who's on the Tal'Dorei Council?

MATT: You hear a distant scream as another falls dead.

(laughter)

LAURA: Oh no! He said every time we ask, somebody on the Council dies.

SAM: Oh no.

LAURA: Don't do that!

LIAM: Think we can go backwards so--

MATT: There goes Vex'ahlia's epilogue.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: No.

SAM: Vex'ahlia is dead.

TALIESIN: With proper training, you can learn to do that.

MATT: All the vines pull back a bit, but they don't entirely vanish. Instead, they form this beautiful vision of the doorway with all these beautiful flowers around it, this intricately carved-looking art piece where the door once was on the outside of this tree. It seems so out of place amongst the chaotic jungle. And there in the center is a beautiful glass relief in the shape of a carved dick.

LAURA: Yes. (claps)

(laughter)

LAURA: I run up and I grab one of the flowers and I give it to Yasha.

LIAM: Did it spit out my monkey before it solidified?

MATT: Yes, it did. (laughs)

TRAVIS: "Spit out my monkey."

SAM: Jester!

TALIESIN: Well, that was nice.

SAM: Are you okay?

LAURA: Yes?

SAM: Are you okay?

LAURA: It's going to take a little bit of time, I am not going to lie about that. I feel a little confused.

SAM: Of course. He was lying to you your whole life.

LAURA: Well, he didn't, though. He never was like, "Jester, I'm a god." I was like, "Oh my god, you're so powerful, you must be a god." I said it to him.

SAM: He didn't correct you. That's the same as lying.

LAURA: Well, no. That's not the same as lying, that's just not saying--

MARISHA: Well, we call it lying by omission.

LIAM: At the same time, he has helped you complete many miracles, we have seen it.

LAURA: Yeah, I mean--

TALIESIN: I will admit, I don't get the appeal.

LAURA: I mean, I've never seen anyone that wasn't in the service to a god be able to do things that I've done.

MARISHA: Which is why I hope you have a sense of validation right now. There has been this part of me, for a long time, that I was 100% convinced, I talked about it with Fjord at one point. I think I did, or maybe I imagined it--

LIAM: You're losing the thread.

MARISHA: That you created the Traveler. He was a figment of your imagination that you just birthed and then went off and then it's all just you.

LAURA: Whoa, you think I could do that?

MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: You kind of did.

MARISHA: Because you kind of did.

TALIESIN: That's true.

MARISHA: I feel kind of validated as well, so I hope you feel even more validated.

LAURA: He was super powerful the first time I saw him. I mean, like--

LIAM: I don't know how we would verify that, either, that--

LAURA: Well, I mean--

MARISHA: You're super powerful.

LAURA: He was a little kid when I first saw him and then he wasn't. And then he was and then he wasn't. That was pretty powerful stuff.

TALIESIN: I've done that once. So I consider that to be very impressive.

TRAVIS: You've done what once?

TALIESIN: I was a little kid and then I wasn't.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

TALIESIN: Anyone can do that.

ASHLEY: So he, but he wasn't a real little kid when he met you, that's how he befriended you.

TRAVIS: He made himself appear that way.

LAURA: Yeah. Well, yeah.

MARISHA: He told you what you needed to hear.

LAURA: Don't most gods?

SAM: It sounds like you also told him what he needed to hear.

TRAVIS: No.

LAURA: Well.

SAM: I mean, he clearly needs you, too. He's asking for your help at TravelerCon--

LAURA: Sure.

SAM: But more than that, over the past-- how old are you? 14, 15? I have no concept of--

LAURA: 14 or 15?

SAM: Well, I mean, that's how you act, I don't know.

LAURA: Oh, do I really?

SAM: No, you're just so cute. But for all that time, he's been coming back to you for a reason. He needs you, he needs your validation, he needs your support--

LAURA: It's not that he just needs my validation and he needs my support. He likes me, we're friends.

SAM: I know, but that's pretty impressive.

TRAVIS: Jester can I you an important question? He's never asked you to harm anyone, right? All these tricks, they're not at the physical expense of anyone, everyone's going to be safe and have a laugh afterwards, right? It's not ever going to end in someone being hurt?

LAURA: Well, I mean, he definitely gives me the ability to hurt people. I mean, you guys have seen that.

LIAM: Yeah, but only in defense of yourself and us, not for giggles and shits.

MARISHA: Fjord's got a point.

LAURA: I mean, that's not what he's after, you know? You heard him say, it's boring to him. Just going out and killing someone, what's the point, right?

LIAM: He's looking for fun, he's not looking to strangle anyone or something like that.

LAURA: Exactly.

MATT: Been there, done that.

TALIESIN: I can't tell if you walked up to that or not, I really can't.

TRAVIS: I mean, a cult is all well and good. I admit, I don't know a ton about them, but I do feel like, you know, the story on cults is that, I don't know, people normally die or worse.

LAURA: I mean, the only, the only, (sighs) the only experience I have with cults outside of, apparently, my own is, is--

MARISHA: The Angel of Irons.

LAURA: Yeah, and they were real bad.

TRAVIS: Yeah, they're not great.

LAURA: But I don't think that means that we have to be. Are we a cult? Oh man.

TRAVIS: He literally said you were a cult.

LAURA: I know what he said, Fjord!

MARISHA: But I think this, I think TravelerCon could be the deciding factor, it could be the turning point.

TRAVIS: Of what?

MARISHA: Of making it a cult versus a religion.

TRAVIS: No, it's a cult.

MARISHA: It's a cult.

TALIESIN: It's--

SAM: But we could make it a positive cult. We could make it--

LIAM: Yes, this is the thing--

SAM: We could look at this as a, not a problem, but a, a cult-otunity, like an opportunity, to make a--

LAURA: Cult-ortunity.

TALIESIN: Cult-ortunity?

SAM: To be good, to make these people have good lives and, or at least, I don't know, it's a cult.

LIAM: I agree, well, the semantics, cult, religion, what is very obvious is that he trusts in you, as do we, and if he is looking to you for guidance, if you are his number one, perhaps you have the ability to decide what this is in the world.

LAURA: I mean, yeah, that's the thing, I think I do.

MARISHA: You do.

LAURA: I mean, we got to figure this out, I mean, like (sighs)--

TRAVIS: Jester, how do you feel about all this? You thought he was a god before. He's not, it doesn't sound like he's even close. How do you feel about being able to decide what he will become?

LAURA: Well, I don't think he wants to be a god-god. I think, I don't know, I feel like it's a lot of pressure. I feel a little overwhelmed, I'm not going to lie.

ASHLEY: But what does he really want, then? If he doesn't want to be a god?

LAURA: I think he wants the power, he enjoys the people, you know, worshiping him. He likes the compliments.

TALIESIN: I did get a sense of ego.

LAURA: I mean, it's understandable. He's really powerful, he's super cool, and he's very handsome now that I've actually seen his face, it is as handsome as I thought it was going to be--

TRAVIS: The hair's a bit much, but sure.

LAURA: I've never seen eyebrows quite that large. I wonder how he gets them like that.

MARISHA: He should obviously tweeze a little.

LAURA: No! No, no.

MARISHA: I mean, I'm just saying.

TALIESIN: Tweeze?

LIAM: End of the day, it is an awful lot to process for you and for us. Perhaps maybe we, I mean, I feel like we're all picking at you quite a bit. Maybe you need just some time to mull it over.

SAM: I'm going to be doing some meditation soon. Maybe you could join me.

LAURA: We can both meditate.

SAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: I'll lead you in another guided meditation. Everyone fell asleep in the last one.

LAURA: I didn't fall asleep.

TALIESIN: Wow, I fell asleep.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Okay. Regardless, we're here for you and we trust you.

SAM: Yeah, if you want to put on a great show for these people, we'll help you do it.

LAURA: Because it would be helping them, right? I mean, how much of a bummer would it be if they all got out to TravelerCon and then it was like, "Just kidding"?

MARISHA: Cheese sandwiches--

LAURA: With, like, a mattress on the ground or something.

MARISHA: That would be fucked up. LAURA: That would suck.

LIAM: But you are more creative than that. You just need some time to let this sink in.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Hey. Just give Jester a hug.

LAURA: Oh, Beau. Thanks, Beau.

SAM: I'll join the hug.

LAURA: Oh, thanks Nott.

SAM: Chaos hug.

LAURA: Chaos hug.

MARISHA: Yasha.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: All right, well. We were here for a reason. Should we?

SAM: Oh, yeah.

TRAVIS: Should we continue on?

LAURA: Sorry, Caduceus. I didn't mean to--

TALIESIN: Oh, no. This is--

LAURA: -- hijack.

TALIESIN: There's no hijacking, this is all part of the journey. This is good.

LAURA: This doorway is really beautiful, though, isn't it?

TALIESIN: It's very impressive.

ASHLEY: It is very beautiful.

TRAVIS: It's a big dick.

LAURA: It's a little dick in glass.

ASHLEY: Does that look like a big dick to you?

(laughter)

MARISHA: Wait, what do you see?

TALIESIN: Oh, yeah.

TRAVIS: Comparably, yes. (laughter) Huge dick. (laughter) Someone can walk through that dick. Yes, it's--

LAURA: Well, it's just a little dick on the door. The whole door isn't shaped like a dick.

TRAVIS: Oh, I thought it was the whole door.

TALIESIN: I thought it grew, I thought it was a--

LAURA: No, it's a door and there's a little glass relief--

TRAVIS: It's a big glass schlong.

(laughter)

LAURA: I've just going to leave one of my Traveler shrines.

MATT: Okay. You go ahead and set that at the base of the beautiful wooden door frame. You gather your things. Are you guys heading deeper into the jungle in the direction that you were previously traveling?

TALIESIN: Just imagine the grove from Nightmare Before Christmas going down. "What?"

(laughter)

MATT: "Where did?"--

TRAVIS: Pumpkins, clover, mushroom tip.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: ♪ What's this? ♪

MATT, TRAVIS, LIAM, and TALIESIN: ♪ What's this? ♪

(laughter)

LIAM: ♪ There's penis everywhere. ♪

(laughter)

MATT: (imitated slapping)

LIAM: I'm going right in, bing, oh.

MATT: Oh. Anyway. First off, who is, what's the marching order here as you continue into the jungle?

TALIESIN: I'll take the front.

LIAM: In green robes, still. You've got seven and a half more hours of it.

LAURA: Sweet.

LIAM: Camouflage.

MATT: Fjord behind Caduceus.

TALIESIN: I might get some customization if you're going on that.

MATT: And behind Fjord?

TALIESIN: I would like a big mossy green like whatever would be the swamp Keyleth special.

LIAM: Okay so the shoulders topped with grizzle.

MATT: There's enough space through a lot of this jungle to travel in pairs of two, so it doesn't have to be single file right now, so. Does that mean you want to put Fjord up front with Caduceus?

TALIESIN: Sure.

MATT: And then Beauregard's in the back. Who's with Beau?

LIAM: I will go with Beau.

MATT: All right and then it would probably be--

MARISHA: Empire kids.

LAURA: Where's Nott?

MATT: Nott, where do you want to be?

SAM: I'll be next to Yasha.

LAURA: Okay, I'll go in the back.

SAM: Just looking at my flask.

MATT: (laughs) Fair enough. Okay.

LIAM: Right at eye level.

SAM: Yeah, jangling in front of me.

MATT: Continuing on, the gentle, occasionally fading in and out, scents of distant sea ocean air meets with the earthy smell of ferns and plants and the general jungle scents that fill the space, occasionally catching scents of rotting citrus as well as other elements of decay that normally come across carcasses and other creatures that have been hunted or died, seemingly naturally, within the jungle. (birds calling) Caduceus, make a perception check. Actually, you and Fjord both make perception checks, please.

TALIESIN: Natural 20.

TRAVIS: Seven.

TALIESIN: 29.

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: I'm just letting Decompose go everywhere, by the way. I'm just leaving a trail.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I'm in a mood.

MATT: Interesting note, okay.

LIAM: Insult my god, will ya?

TALIESIN: Oh no, I'm fine.

MATT: (chuckles) Continuing forward, you catch, pretty early into the first hour or so of your travel, small patches of dark blue and purple fungus that's set in some of the trees where an oddly-colored mushroom grows out of a strange material that appears strung to or attached to elements of tree trunks and nearby rocks, just little patches of strange fungus.

TALIESIN: You seem odd. Are you odd?

LAURA: Hmm?

TALIESIN: Oh, I'm talking to this guy over here.

LIAM: Fjord?

TRAVIS: Yes?

LIAM: Oh.

SAM: (wheezing laughter)

TALIESIN: Huh.

MATT: Make a nature check, if you'd like.

TALIESIN: That's not useful, but here we go. If I'm going to nature check, I'm going to give myself a d4. I suck at nature checks. Ooh, that's better. I rolled a 14, so 13.

MATT: 13. No idea what this fungus is, unfortunately. It's different and you're uncertain if it's naturalness-based because its coloration and its placement is very splotchy and definitely contrasts with the general themes and coloration of the jungle around you.

TALIESIN: Going to tap it with the tip of my-- I'm going to back up a bit and just tap a bit with the tip of my crystal staff.

MATT: Okay. (tapping) It shifts slightly, doesn't seem to react from the impact.

LIAM: Does it resemble any kind of component or ingredient that I ever worked with at the Academy?

MATT: Make an arcana check.

LIAM: Oh jeez. Trenta, 14, 24.

MATT: 24. No, actually. But not only that you don't recognize it, you're fairly certain in all of your research, this is something that has not-- you've not come across in your time at school, which lets you know that this isn't something that you've used previously or learned about as a material component.

LIAM: I pull out a small knife and just give it a little--

LAURA: (screeching)

LIAM: Anything happen?

MATT: Kind of cuts off a little bit. What you do catch as you're cutting through is the fungus is pretty thick, but as you cut it away, behind it is a waxy-like substance, a beeswax-type material that is coated over the section of the tree where the fungus is growing from.

LIAM: I will take that fungus and I will wrap it in some cloth and put it away.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: I will pull up some flame in my hand with a cantrip and just hold it close to the wax.

MATT: Okay. It slowly begins to melt. You watch it just drip down in these little beads. As it begins to rapidly burn away, due to your pressure and the heat, it begins to give way to bones.

SAM: Ooh.

TALIESIN: We're on the right track.

TRAVIS: We're on the right track?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Because the trees are made of bones? I feel like you're not sharing enough information.

LIAM: Do you mean the tree has bones or there are little bones shoved in there?

MATT: No, the tree isn't bones but the wax substance that is there that the fungus is growing out of, it looks like it's trapping in something that had bones.

LIAM: Oh.

LAURA: Little bones or big bones?

LIAM: Yeah, little tiny ones?

MATT: From the one, from what you're looking at right now, small bones. Make a nature check.

ASHLEY: Wait, so the fungus is growing--

MATT: Sorry, medicine, medicine check for you.

LIAM: Medicine?

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: 18.

MATT: 18, okay.

SAM: Dem bones.

MATT: There is damage to the bones, they are scarred, pockmarked across the surface, and you gather the damage to be acidic in nature.

SAM: Acidic damage killed a thing and then they--

LAURA: Something's going to do acid damage around here, something's going to do acid damage around here.

MARISHA: Anyone got stuff?

LAURA: I start looking around at plants that look like they could shoot out acid.

LIAM: So some sort of living thing is either collecting creatures and sealing them in after they have disposed of them or--

SAM: Like a spider or--

TALIESIN: We're going to be coming into contact with some very unusual creatures.

MARISHA: Like man-eating plants?

TALIESIN: Things that you've never seen before.

TRAVIS: Things that you've never seen before.

TALIESIN: Things that nobody's ever seen before.

TRAVIS: Fair enough, that's worse.

SAM: ROUSes?

TALIESIN: Any stories in your family?

TALIESIN: Just the one.

LIAM: Hm.

TALIESIN: (sighs) "From my altar, you will feed these limbs to the beasts that wander there so that they may hold my mark. Upon this site, you shall build a menagerie whose beasts shall be my gift to the Changebringer to remind her that nature is infinite." We're going to see some interesting things, many of them possibly dangerous.

LAURA: Do we need to write stuff like that down for the Traveler, too? I mean, some really cool--

MARISHA: It's honestly a good idea. It's really good propaganda.

SAM: That's good material.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's not bad.

ASHLEY: Yeah, that was great.

LAURA: Will you help me? Did you write that stuff?

TALIESIN: Of course not. These are the same stories that have been told in my family for generations.

LAURA: See? We really need.

MARISHA: The more highfalutin you are--

LAURA: Should we just say that we've had those for generations and share them with the rest of the people?

SAM: But we need to get them first.

MARISHA: Wait, wait, wait. God, why do we keep doing--

TALIESIN: I'm keeping an eye out for whatever it is we attracted--

MATT: Okay, no worries.

LIAM: As the group gets louder.

(laughter)

MATT: Continuing on from this point, you don't see them often. Like every five or so minutes, you'll see a few patches in an area. You do come, they look to be relatively small and even the bones that you pulled from that, they look to be probably of a larger rodent, a vole or some sort of a burrowing-type rodent creature. You do, about another hour or so into travel, once again, you're beginning to sweat beneath your armor, it's uncomfortable, but you're still keeping vigilant, just even in your passive perception, you pick out, now that you know what to look for, one larger patch. It looks like a four foot by three foot patch that is actually bulbous on the side of a tree that sits where some rocks are pressed into its base roots off to the side. The fungus is larger. It's the same type of fungus, but it's growing, and whereas previously it was small, little stalks, some of them are three inches in diameter and the actual ends, the caps, are about that big.

TALIESIN: I'm keeping a Resistance buff up as I walk.

ASHLEY: I recognize these things. I'm just kidding.

SAM: Wait, what?

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Did we meet at Coachella? No--

MATT: Actually, make a nature check.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MARISHA: Do I know you from Instagram?

TALIESIN: Great feed.

ASHLEY: 10.

MATT: 10. Sadly, you do not recognize these.

TRAVIS: Press on?

SAM: Off we go, I guess.

TALIESIN: Press on quietly, keep an eye out.

MATT: Caduceus, Fjord, both make perception checks once more for me.

TRAVIS: Fuck you.

TALIESIN: Oh, fuck you.

LAURA: Oh no.

TRAVIS: Six.

TALIESIN: 16.

MATT: 16?

TALIESIN: For me, that's terrible.

MATT: Okay, what you do see, as you continue onward about two more hours, one, there are a number of living creatures in this jungle that you see the shifting through the boughs that you see fleeing as you approach, this heavy footfalls as you crunch through the undergrowth sending them scattering a bit. You're not being quiet. You're not clomping through to make noise, but you're not carefully, steadily going through, unless you want to begin to do so. But you can see the woodland creatures and the various denizens scatter as they go. You begin to notice, beyond just these occasional patches, you begin to see strange piles of freshly turned earth, bright red, vibrant earth, impressive in size. Maybe four or five feet from end to end and about two and a half feet tall. MARISHA: Like an ant hill?

MATT: Like an ant hill type of a thing. You just come upon one, just over cresting an area, you see it about 30, 35 feet ahead of you.

TALIESIN: Going to keep an eye on the ground. Is it shifting?

MATT: It is not shifting.

TRAVIS: What about the canopy of branches above us?

MATT: You look up there, you see another patch of that waxy element that's stopped and there you can see part of it is melted away over time and you can see elements of a long, baboon-like skeletal arm that is mostly dissolved and decayed that's hanging out of it. But the same the fungus growing beyond it and it's slowly eroding.

TRAVIS: Just in case, I'll activate Divine Sense. Within 60 feet, any celestial, fiend, or undead presence.

MATT: Okay. You don't sense anything.

LIAM: I ask, in my mind, Frumpkin to go scurrying up a tree and plant a hand on her shoulder and bamf into Frumpkin and we'll go along for the ride to try to get close to this hill, this pile of dirt. If there is any vines or anything hanging down close to it, I will let him scurry down that. If not, I'll let him chance his way on the ground to get a closer look.

MATT: Okay. There's no vines directly above it. Well, there are a handful that are fallen but none that would lead directly to it. Frumpkin would have to leap down or probably step up towards it.

LIAM: Okay, well, that's what we will do. Frumpkin, at a tree closest to it, goes down to it and begins to slowly creep up and I tell him to look over and inside.

MATT: Perception check on Frumpkin.

MARISHA: Hm.

LIAM: Never good. It is 12.

MATT: Okay. Looking at the pile, it does not appear to be moving, there does not appear to be any sort of, you know, cavernous anthill-like entrances or tunnels. It looks very clean.

LIAM: I tell him to pick up just a random stone, if he can find one, and toss it in.

MATT: (monkey ooh) (blows) Throws it. (stone bouncing) No reaction.

LIAM: I tell him to run into it and go around in a little circle and then scurry out.

MATT: Mmkay. (speedy running) Runs back, nothing.

LIAM: I summon him back.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: I just had a look. I thought that it maybe would swallow him up, but nothing like that happened.

SAM: Good, right?

TALIESIN: I don't think that's their purpose.

LAURA: What do you think that purpose is?

TALIESIN: I think their purpose is to (sighs) either eat or digest what's already dead.

TRAVIS: Those mounds in front of us, they're earth, right? They're not like huge piles of shit?

MATT: It looks like freshly tilled earth, though it's like bits of bright red soil, which is very much contrasting against the jungle floor. But the jungle floor is mostly under brush and decaying vegetation. You haven't probably seen raw, exposed dirt and if you had, it may have had a reddish tint, but it's been a dirty red. This is very fresh, bright, vibrant, clean red.

MARISHA: Can I just crouch down and just dig a little pit next to me and see if it's red underneath?

MATT: Sure. Make a nature check.

MARISHA: Eh. (chuckles) Natural one.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Forget how to dig.

MARISHA: (groaning)

(laughter)

LAURA: Shove your face in it.

MATT: Yeah. (laughs)

SAM: Why are you eating dirt?

MATT: You scoop through and it's loose, it isn't packed tightly, and it just crumbles in your hands. It's fresh earth.

MARISHA: Whoa.

LAURA: How big are the piles?

MATT: It was about five feet from end to end, about two and a half feet tall total, so it's pretty--

LAURA: Can I, can I? Use your staff, I don't want to stick my finger in it. Put your staff in the middle and see if it--

TALIESIN: Why would I do that?

LAURA: What if there's something in there?

TALIESIN: No, I don't want to poke it. I would just leave it alone.

LAURA: Yasha, use your sword.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I wouldn't do that.

TRAVIS: I have one responsibility on this team. I'll summon my sword and I'll poke the hill.

MATT: Okay. (poking)

TRAVIS: No fucking fire ants come pouring out of that shit?

MATT: Nope, not at all.

SAM: Baby spiders.

ASHLEY: Can I pick some of it up and kind of mush-el it?

MATT: Yeah.

ASHLEY: What if it's like a, add some water and it's clay or something? Don't you have something to do with clay?

TALIESIN: Not here.

LAURA: Oh yeah.

MATT: It crumbles, it's very clean earth.

SAM: Don't you pour my booze onto that.

TRAVIS: It's like four or five feet high, like a--

MATT: Just about two and a half feet high.

LAURA: Have we looked up to see what, has it dropped from anywhere? No?

TRAVIS: There's a baboon-like carcass covered in wax up there--

ASHLEY: How many of them are there again?

MATT: You only see one right now.

MARISHA: Just one?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: I wonder if it's old poop from a big elephant or something--

LAURA: Wait, wait, wait.

TRAVIS: Let's keep going.

LAURA: I'm going to dig around the, I'm going to go look at the dirt not in the pile, I'm going to get rid of some of the leaves and foliage on the ground and see what color the ground is.

MATT: Okay, you dig through. The earth beneath is a similar reddish color, but it's all very suffused with dead vegetation and grayish decaying matter and roots that are thick and thin, a network of plant capillaries that are just heavily sifted through. It looks like the same earth, but the earth you see in this pile is clean.

LAURA: What?

SAM: Clean dirt? That's crazy.

LAURA: Why would there be clean dirt here?

MARISHA: It's got to be be ants or something, right?

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Oh, giant ants.

TRAVIS: I'll also cast See Invisibility with the sword out.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Just for the next hour.

MATT: You got it.

TRAVIS: Just in case because jungles are creepy as fuck.

MATT: Mmkay.

MARISHA: Let's just go around it.

SAM: Yeah, of course.

MARISHA: And I'll be on the lookout for others.

MATT: Okay. All right, so you guys continue to move forward--

LAURA: I swish my tail and try to bat some of it away as we walk past it.

MATT: (tail swish) Scatters easily, as--

LAURA: That's weird.

MATT: Loose dirt is wont to do. Continuing on, about another 15 or 20 or so minutes, you immediately see another mound, similar coloration, of clean dirt situated and about 30 feet beyond that, you see a very large mass of this same waxy substance. Probably about 12 foot high and maybe 13 foot end to end that is held between two trees, it's blocking one pathway. It is covered in fungus, heavy, large fungus. Elements of it have spread onto the side to the tree.

SAM: Like a web?

MARISHA: Or like a hive?

MATT: Like a giant cocoon.

LAURA: Oh.

MARISHA: It's, oh, oh. I look around and then, like--

TRAVIS: Anything with See Invisibility or Divine Sense?

MATT: Nothing with See Invisibility, nothing with Divine Sense.

MARISHA: Wasps, flying creatures, flying things, flying--

MATT: Make a perception check.

(groaning)

TRAVIS: Dirt pile is the new chair.

MARISHA: Why am I rolling like ball sacks tonight? Nine.

TALIESIN and TRAVIS: How do ball sacks roll?

SAM: Not very well.

MARISHA: Garbage, clearly. They have no grip.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I mean, they actually do have--

MARISHA: I don't know.

TALIESIN: It's true.

MARISHA: I don't have one. (laughs)

MATT: Depends on how well it's kept.

MARISHA: I can do kegels. (laughter) It's not bad, it's not bad grip. (laughter) Just saying.

TRAVIS: Shit's devolving.

MATT: Anyway.

MARISHA: What is it?

MATT: You don't see anything wasp-like, you don't see any nests or hives or anything in the vicinity, just the standard continuing of, but the fungus, the fungus is growing more dense in some places. You can see smaller patches of this wax and that one large cocoon-type wax structure that you can see between the two trees.

TRAVIS: Somebody light that thing up.

LAURA: Ooh, maybe just like a little bit of fire to see how the wax is when it melts?

TALIESIN: That seems--

LIAM: Well, I could go more precise, but I would have to get right up to it or I could throw a little bit from a distance.

TRAVIS: ♪ From a distance. ♪

LAURA: Well, maybe don't do the middle of it or anything. Just, like, look for a little open patch of wax and see what it does. You know.

SAM: We're just going to burn a bees nest? A cocoon of some sort?

TALIESIN: Seems like a foolish thing to do. Is Decompose touch or is there some distance to it?

LAURA: It's touch.

MATT: If you want to look it up real fast, yeah.

TALIESIN: That's actually a fair point. I'm going to look it up--

SAM: Roll, testicle.

LAURA: Roll.

TALIESIN: Stop it.

(singing)

MATT: Goddammit, you guys.

TALIESIN: It is touch, never mind.

LIAM: Scrote, scrote--

TALIESIN: Um. (laughter) Yeah. There's no movement coming from any of this, there's no shifting?

MATT: Not that you can tell, no. (lip popping)

LAURA: The dirt pile, what if there's, like, are there any holes in the ground that we can see where, like, the dirt would've come from, like it's been displaced?

MATT: Around it? Not necessarily.

LAURA: What if I go over and I move the dirt out of the way? Is there a hole in the ground?

MATT: Jester walks up to the mound and starts shifting large amounts of the dirt out of the way. It does continue below. The soft, clean earth goes a bit deeper beneath just the surface of the jungle.

SAM: Like you.

MATT: Aww.

ASHLEY: I'm going to go over and help her just--

MATT: You push back quite a bit. It takes you a little while to do so, probably about 20 or so minutes to fully remove it from the top because it's--

TALIESIN: Is it all just red or is there any other color?

MATT: It's all red and it's all clean. It is lacking in any sort of the other bits of vegetation and organic matter that you see suffuse the dirt around it in the ground.

LAURA: What does it smell like? Does it smell like regular old dirt?

MATT: It does, it does.

TALIESIN: When I touch it and if I put my hand into it and I cast Decompose, does anything, do I feel any--

MATT: Nothing. It is pure, clean, red earth.

LIAM: I wonder if we're dealing with some sort of oversized earthworm or the like, chewing its way through and cleaning what it leaves behind.

TALIESIN: I don't, hm. Maybe not.

LIAM: Did you see if it goes down a bit? Have you dug in a ways?

ASHLEY: Yeah, I got pretty far. I wonder would happen if you got in it.

LAURA: That far down?

MATT: Far down? You get down about three feet and it's still going.

LAURA: Whoa.

LIAM: We cannot make out what is in this giant gob of wax you have described here?

MATT: Not at this instance, no.

LIAM: No.

TRAVIS: If only we had, like, a capuchin monkey that would dig down into this hole and--

SAM: Want me to go look at this thing?

LIAM: Or we could completely go around it.

TRAVIS: Look at the big waxy cocoon. No one's going to poke the thing?

LAURA: What if it has to do with you, Caduceus? What if the cocoon has to do with you?

TRAVIS: Shoot one of your ol' fucking arrows at it.

SAM: Sure, I'll shoot an arrow--

LAURA: What? At the cocoon?

TALIESIN: I don't know if that's a good idea.

SAM: Why? It's just going to, I mean, there's either something in there or not.

TRAVIS: I totally agree.

MATT: You're shooting a bolt into it?

SAM: Well, I'll wait 'til I have quorum.

TALIESIN: This is a holy site.

MARISHA: What?

TALIESIN: This is a place of death.

MARISHA: Oh okay, well then I'm not going to do it.

MARISHA: How do you know that?

TALIESIN: This is where I'm going.

LAURA: So--

MARISHA: All of this is a holy place?

SAM: This is your place?

TALIESIN: We're not there yet, but--

MARISHA: Well, then it's not a holy place.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: This may be part of it.

LAURA: Well, what are we supposed to do with it? What does your old story say?

TALIESIN: They don't talk about it.

MARISHA: Should we shoot it or not, Caduceus?

LIAM: While everyone is debating, Frumpkin, on two legs, just slowly stumbled up while they debated and it's already there and I'm going to have him just crawl up a bit and go--

TRAVIS: To the waxy cocoon?

LIAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: I love it.

MATT: It taps. It's a hard waxy shell. There's a lot of fungus around.

LAURA: Is it all that same kind of fungus or is it all different kinds?

MATT: It's the same kind of purplish-blue fungus, just much larger. It's in patches, it's not completely covering it, but a lot of it, probably about 60% or 70% of it, is covered by pieces of it.

TALIESIN: I'm going to walk up to a little bit of it and put out my staff and: Do you play well with others? I'm going to invite it into my staff to see if they get along.

MATT: It doesn't seem to respond.

TALIESIN: Interesting.

SAM: Oh well.

LIAM: It doesn't respond to Frumpkin's skittering all over it, knocking on it with his little monkey paws?

MATT: Frumpkin isn't skittering through. Do you want Frumpkin to physically jostle the fungus?

LIAM: He could cover it up and yeah, just give a little.

MATT: Mmkay.

LIAM: See if it does anything.

MATT: Frumpkin gives a heavy jostle to one of the larger mushrooms, the caps there, and it pulls back in a little bit, it recoils slightly.

LIAM: Yeah?

MATT: Then (wheezes) this cloud of spores (dispersing)--

MARISHA: Caduceus.

MATT: Comes out in about a three or four foot range from that cap.

MARISHA: Caduceus!

MATT: Go ahead and roll a constitution saving throw for Frumpkin.

LIAM: I'm sure that'll go well.

LAURA: We're not by these spores, right? We're not close to the spores?

TALIESIN: Don't irritate the fungus.

LAURA: Please don't turn us into--

LIAM: Constitution, you say?

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: 10.

MATT: 10. Frumpkin is poisoned.

SAM: Poisoned?

LAURA: Aww.

LIAM: Does he take any instant damage or is he--

MATT: No damage.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: He's just poisoned.

LIAM: (hacks)

MARISHA: Oh, is he going to poof in six seconds?

LIAM: No, if there's no damage, he's not.

MATT: None yet.

LAURA: Some poison does make you poop in, like, six seconds.

TALIESIN: There is talk of a, of an oasis in a red and gold veined cave.

LAURA: Red and gold.

TALIESIN: Maybe this is what that's from. They're just stories, is the trouble. I've never seen it personally.

LAURA: Don't oasises usually have water?

TALIESIN: They do.

LAURA: Hmm.

MARISHA: But red and gold?

TALIESIN: Red and gold.

LAURA: I don't see any gold, though.

MARISHA: But red like the soil?

TALIESIN: Red like the soil.

LAURA: What if we melt the wax and it turns, like, yellow?

TALIESIN: I don't think that's--

MARISHA: I don't know, she's got a point.

TRAVIS: Isn't it a problem if Frumpkin is poisoned and--

LIAM: Well, he has never been poisoned, I don't know. Are you okay?

MATT: (monkey cooing) (vomiting) (groaning)

TRAVIS: I'll call Frumpkin over and I'll Lay on Hands for Frumpkin and--

LIAM: He leaps onto Caduceus' staff and fireman down and then scurries over to Fjord.

TRAVIS: I will use Lay on Hands for the first time and neutralize a poison.

MATT: All right.

SAM: You can do that?

LAURA: What?

MATT: So you use five points of your-- I think it's five, right? Five hit points of your--

LAURA: Use that many? How many times can you do that a day?

MATT: Twice, technically, I think because it's five per level.

LAURA: You wasted it on Frumpkin. What if one of us gets poisoned?

SAM: He's an animal lover.

TRAVIS: Frumpkin takes chances, I like that.

(laughter)

LAURA: Sprinkle, go check out that pile of waxy stuff.

(laughter)

MATT: (weasel chittering) Sprinkle, who's still poofed up like this furred collar around the back of Jester's head, just recoils deeper into her coat like (weasel hissing).

LAURA: He's not going to do it.

(laughter)

MATT: Do you guys want to keep moving? What do you want to do?

LIAM: Did that cure Frumpkin's poison?

MATT: Yeah, Frumpkin is no longer poisoned.

LIAM: Oh hey, you are with Fjord today. He skitters up the leg all the way up to the top and sits on his shoulder.

LAURA: Caduceus, you tell us. What do you want us to do here? Do you us to leave it alone, do you want us to keep going? Do you want us fuck with this cocoon thing or what?

TALIESIN: My instinct is to leave it alone, but--

SAM: All right, then. Let's keep going.

LAURA: Let's keep going.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: But it's good imagery for your religion.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm writing down all of these things.

SAM: Where the wax drips large.

TRAVIS: You don't want to melt the waxy cocoon to see what's underneath it?

LAURA: I mean, I do.

LIAM: Get some distance from it--

TRAVIS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, back up.

LIAM: Let's get like, yeah, you know, 50 or 60 feet back.

TALIESIN: All right.

LAURA: But what if it has to do with Caduceus' stuff and then we ruin his whole family religion?

LIAM: Well, you are leading this expedition, so really. What do you want to do here?

TALIESIN: If you want to take a look inside from a distance, I will trust your judgment. I've, honestly, I'm not an expert--

TRAVIS: That's very generous of you, we do.

TALIESIN: I'm not an expert here, I just know what I know.

LIAM: Okay, well I will start by just taking 30 seconds to throw three or four Fire Bolts. Bolts.

MATT: Okay. It's a large enough target where you don't need to worry about rolling for it necessarily. You just launch it and (flying Fire Bolts) and they slam into it like this tiny fiery missiles, these (impacts). As it impacts, the first one hits further up and exposes some of the wax, immediately breaks off and melts at the same time and you can see a bit of darker reddish-brown fur exposed, though matted. One of the following ones hits the midsection and as it hits, the wax melts away, leaving a hole, and immediately, (glugging liquid) some liquid begins to just pour out of it.

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: Some kind of mildly greenish, blackish, thick, sludge-like liquid that's spilling out of the hole down the side of the wax, over the mushrooms and go down.

SAM: A pupa of some kind?

MARISHA: Slurpee suicide!

LAURA: Did we kill it? Are we killing something?

SAM: It could be a baby that's growing in there.

TRAVIS: I think it's decomposing.

TALIESIN: I think it's just decomposing.

MATT: Now the smell hits you.

ALL: Ugh.

MATT: An extremely grotesque, strong, putrid decay. As you can see, as the wax melts and the liquid comes to spill out of it, you get the sense that whatever was captured in there, based on the acid damage you saw on the bones earlier, has been slowly dissolving inside this cocoon and what has been dissolving has now been pouring out of the hole that you left in its side.

LIAM: So there was a little bit of fur left at the top but further down, ♪ further down ♪--

MATT: You still don't know quite what this creature is, you've only exposed little elements of it, but the smell is awful.

LAURA: But the creature is really big.

MATT: Most of you guys begin to start just heaving.

TALIESIN: We should head out.

MATT: The creature is big.

LAURA: And whatever it was that did this is even bigger. (gags)

MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: We're going to keep marching.

TRAVIS: Let's go!

LIAM: How was that for a prank?

MATT: You continue on your path and--

MARISHA: While we walk, I keep an eye towards the canopy, just to make sure.

MATT: Okay. I would say Caduceus and Jester, you would begin to hear, as you guys move on about 30, 40, 50 feet from this, trying to get away from the smell, and the smell seems to be chasing you, it's just filling this area of the jungle, you begin to hear like a (clicking).

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: A little ways off in the distance.

TRAVIS: Ah, wildlife.

MARISHA: We're going to get cocooned.

MATT: (chittering and clicking) And you start hearing bushes shifting.

TALIESIN: -- to hide behind trees in the opposite direction to prepare.

LAURA: We should hide? We should hide.

SAM: Okay, I'll hide.

MARISHA: We're hiding?

LAURA: In the trees? Not on the ground. It's probably going to come--

MATT: You hear distant ferns and bushes and leaves and other elements of the forest floor being jostled and moved just outside of your perimeter.

MARISHA: Is it--

MATT: (rustling)

TRAVIS: I'm going to light up the sword.

MATT: The sword lights up. You hear (skittering) a heavy wood sound and you see, just out of the right side of where you are, Caduceus, you see these bladed legs (skittering) climb up the side of a tree and just curve around to look. You see roughly the size of a wolverine or a large badger, but its body is this chitinous insect-like plates, pale white, almost translucent, its legs coming to these arched, dagger-like points as it climbs up the side of the tree. Its tail goes behind it in this long, lobster-like fashion that comes into two pincer-like blades. You cannot see where a face would be, it's just a bald, armored front, and it (insect chitter)--

SAM and LIAM: Ugh.

MATT: (skittering), and then disappears up into the tree. You just hear more and more of the jungle moving around you.

(groaning)

TALIESIN: Everyone back to back.

MATT: Drawn, probably, by the exposed smell--

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: Of a long-simmering meal that's now been left to spill on the jungle floor.

MARISHA: Back to back!

MATT: And that's where we're going to go take a break.

(groaning)

SAM: Wow.

ASHLEY: Oh, they are so ugly.

LIAM: It's making me think of those fuzzy millipedes that you used to find in the bathroom sometimes. You know what I'm talking about?

MARISHA: Oh god.

LIAM: Ah, gross.

MARISHA: You mean the--

TRAVIS: Silverfish?

LAURA: They were just the silverfish?

MATT: Silverfish. Very much the inspiration here.

LAURA: You were really, really, really hoping we would mess with it, weren't you?

MATT: Yeah, I was!

LAURA: It was just sitting there going, "Poke me."

TALIESIN: You're welcome.

MATT: Yeah. Well, that's what I do. I put stuff there and say, "You can poke me." Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. (groaning) You guys almost left it. I was like, "All right, cool. We're going to skip this encounter."

TALIESIN: I'm not going to pretend I didn't know how this was going to end.

MATT: Of course, of course.

TRAVIS: See what's in the corner of that video game--

LIAM: You just need to poke that chair just a little bit longer.

MATT: Sometimes you get information, sometimes you get loot, sometimes you get cool encounters, sometimes you draw a bunch of creatures your way.

LAURA: Oh god.

MATT: We have our Wyrmwood giveaway tonight. The fantastic purpleheart dice vault. Outstanding wood, special, goes to one lucky winner tonight. The keyword tonight is gateway, one word, gateway. Enter it once and once only. More than once will be disqualified. Once again, for people in the US and Canada only, excluding Quebec. We'll come back here shortly with the winner and the rest of tonight's session. See you soon.

TRAVIS: Chicka-chick-ah.

BreakEdit

(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 webpage ♪ ♪ 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 got your swords ♪ ♪ And you got your invisible wand ♪ ♪ It's D&D ♪ ♪ D&D ♪ ♪ D&D ♪ ♪ D&D Beyond ♪ (upbeat music) (mellow rock music) ♪ Ooh ooh ahh ♪ ♪ Ooh ooh ahh ♪ ♪ Ooh ooh ahh ♪ ♪ Ooh ooh ahh ♪ ♪ Ooh ooh ahh ♪ ♪ Ooh ooh ahh ♪ ♪ Ooh ooh ahh ♪ ♪ Ooh ooh ahh ♪ ♪ Ooh ooh ooh ♪ ♪ Ooh ooh ooh ahh ♪ (mellow rock music) LIAM: We're talking about ghosts today, ladies and gentlemen. SAM: We are talking about ghosts. SAM: Ghosts. BRIDGET: Ghosts. LIAM: Otherworldly. Ghost. SAM: Ghost. Ghosts. LIAM: Ghost. SAM: Ghost. LIAM: Forget ghosts because this is the real-- LAURA: Ghosts. BRIDGET: There is-- LIAM: Ghosts, like that's my ghosts. SAM: Oh my god. Ghosts. Ghost. Ghosts. BRIDGET: Ghost. SAM: Ghost, Ghost. Ghost. LIAM: Ghost. DAVID: Ghost. SAM: Lionel Richie's pre-ghost. Ghosts? BRIDGET: Yes. LIAM: Ghosts? DAVID: Yes. LAURA: Ghosts. SAM: Ghosts. LAURA: Ghosts. DAVID: That's a ghost, that's a ghost, that's another ghost. There's a ghost, there's a ghost, there's a ghost. BRIDGET: Should I should move or should I stay? LIAM: Ghosts. SAM: Ghosts. Ghosts don't make complete sentences. Ghost. LIAM: Ghost. Ghosts. Ghost. Yum yum. (speaks in a ghostly language) SAM: Ghost cigarette? (yelling) Ghosts, ghosts, ghosts. What do I do? BRIDGET: A ghost. Ghost. LAURA: Ghost. SAM: (yelling) LAURA: Sam! BRIDGET: You ran right through it! SAM: I killed a ghost? BRIDGET: You killed a ghost. OFF-CAMERA: Is he still there? SAM: I killed a ghost. (tubular upbeat music) BRIAN (V.O.): Last time on Talks Machina. BRIAN: Who got-- LAURA: Stupefy. (laughter) BRIAN: It didn't work-- LAURA: Dude-- BRIAN: I'm already stupid. LAURA: We're teaching Ronin how to use The Force. SAM: Oh! BRIAN: The Force? LAURA: Yeah. BRIAN: Oh yeah, he did it on me the other day. LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. BRIAN: Yeah, yeah, he did it on me. SAM: Does he Force push? BRIAN: Yeah, yeah, he pushes. LAURA: He goes (grunts)-- BRIAN: Uh-huh. LAURA: Right now. Yeah. BRIAN: And I will literally fly across the house to make him laugh because-- LAURA: Yeah. BRIAN: That's what uncles are for. You would know if you didn't have the restraining order. SAM: Well, I'm spending too much time with pets that I love. BRIAN: Mm-hmm, sure, yeah. Oh boy. SAM: Back and forth, right? BRIAN: Oh yeah, mm-hmm. SAM: That's how you pet. LAURA: Your hand up, other side. SAM: Ah. BRIAN: No, no no, no no. LAURA: No, no, no. BRIAN: Oh. LAURA: That was creepy, nothing else was. BRIAN: Okay, stand by. ArseQueef, you up? Okay, there we go. Seedy88 wants to know: "How much of Jester's plan "had you worked out prior to speaking to Isharnai? "What parts did you have to change on the fly?" LAURA: I think it during Beau's talk. SAM: I saw you pull it out and I knew something was happening. LAURA: Yeah? SAM: Yeah. Yeah, there was even a moment when fucking Taliesin and I think also Marisha were like, "Well, I'm going to go up and--" and I was like, "Ah, (shushing noises). "She's doing her thing. Fuck off. "She's got something." LAURA: Which is crazy because I feel like Taliesin should've had an idea what I was going to do because I had been leaning over to Tal, whispering, going, "Do you have Bane prepared?" Because if he had Bane prepared, because I forgot I had the dust until and I was trying to figure out a way to get her wisdom down so that I could do the Modify Memory. BRIAN: Mm-hmm. LAURA: But I didn't have a back up. Basically, if it had failed, I probably would have died. BRIAN: Okay. "Did you plan for the Traveler "to be Artagan or was it Matt's idea? "Did you have a guess as to his true identity before this?" I know the answer to this because I asked you. LAURA: I know. Yeah, I did know. But here's the thing: so-- SAM: Was it your idea? LAURA: It was. SAM: (gasps) You're so brilliant! BRIAN: That's what we've been trying to tell you, Sam. LAURA: But, so-- I'm wearing my TravelerCon hoodie. DANI: Ooh. BRIAN: Available now. LAURA: Hey. BRIAN: Shop.critrole.com. LAURA: No, because I have mentioned on this show before that my original plan was to make a warlock and I was going to make a warlock with the fey pact to Artagan and then I was going to have the book-- BRIAN: Artágan's how you pronounce it? LAURA: I know! I thought it was Árt-uh-gan. But no, I heard Matt saying its Artágan. SAM: Artágan. LAURA: I know! BRIAN: I can't believe I've been pronouncing that wrong this whole time-- LAURA: There's a thing called the book pact or something like that and I was like, "What a way to worship him is, like, "a spell book with lewd drawings in it, "that's so perfect." BRIAN: Yeah. TRAVIS: Then Travis was like, "What, warlock? Okay." Then I was like, "Oh shit, I have to be a cleric." So I asked Matt, "Can I still have him as my god?" He's like, "Yeah, we can make it work." However, we started the game and then he just kept being really mysterious about it and then every time I would have an interaction with the Traveler, I kept looking at Matt like, "I know who it is." He would be, like, looking at me like I was an idiot. Like, "No, you don't know." So I thought he'd changed it and he was going to surprise me. So the whole time, I've been like, "It's not him, it's not Artagan. "I guess Matt went a different direction, "that's totally cool." So that was totally genuine when he revealed and I saw the hair and I realized it was still him. I was like, "Aah!" (laughs) BRIAN: "What made you spontaneously decide to hire a housekeeper?" SAM: Well, in-game, Nott was concerned with our home when we are not there. Then Sam Riegel was also remembering when we had the Greyskull Keep in the first campaign we had fucking staff. LAURA: Yeah, I feel like Vox Machina's the type to have staff. Mighty Nein-- DANI: Not so much. LAURA: Less so. SAM: But it makes sense-- BRIAN: Well, a lot of you aren't as trusting. SAM: If we have a house, we should have someone to check in on it. That's just basic home ownership. LAURA: But isn't that, like, they're constantly scrying on the house, I bet, so I'm sure people are looking at the house. SAM: Every homeowner hires someone to watch after their house-- BRIAN: No. SAM: In the world. BRIAN: No. SAM: Right? BRIAN: No. See? He likes it. SAM: He likes it. BRIAN: Wow, good job. DANI: That's a good boy. LAURA: Dogs know if the person's creepy. BRIAN: Pretty normal. LAURA: So that's important that-- BRIAN: That's pretty, he is facing away-- SAM: He won't look me in the eye. BRIAN: I think with that many teeth, he's a little worried about-- LAURA: Look at Henry, he's just looking at the camera like. Like The Office. SAM: I don't normally trust landsharks, but I guess I'll trust this one. BRIAN: Yeah, okay. DANI: What a good boy. BRIAN: Sam, Quinn-Quinn wants to know: "What are Nott's "favorite memories with Travis and Ashley?" These are the names he chose for Nott's parents. Oh no. SAM: What are Nott's favorite memories with Travis and Ashley? (laughter) Oh, well, you know. DANI: Enjoy your hubris. (laughs) SAM: That time that Travis and Ashley took Veth-- BRIAN: Took him to the, took her to the old-- SAM: -- to-- Man, my hand hurts. BRIAN: From petting a dog for 13 seconds? LAURA: Oh my god, you've got so many more callouses now, Sam. All that hard work. BRIAN: Those lily white hands. SAM: Housekeeper! Housekeeper, I need you! DANI: You don't even know the name of your housekeeper! SAM: Mine-- LAURA: Massage your hand. (laughter) SAM: Housekeeper! (gentle electronic tones) MATT: (as Pumat Sol) (grunts) Oh, well! Would you look at that? I think it worked. You were right, Pumat Number Three. All we had to do was invoke that subscription cantrip. Pumat Number Three? Oh boy. Well, hello there! I'm Pumat Prime. It's good to finally join you here in the Prime Dimension. I see this is the Twitch Prime realm, I think, and the, oh, we're on the Critical Role channel, aren't we? Well, would you look at that? You got chat and everything. Respectfully, I was looking for the prime rib realm, but this isn't too bad. You see, if you already have access to the Amazon Prime realm, you can get a free subscription to the channel of your choice in the Twitch Prime realm. The two realms have a pretty good working relationship after that peace treaty the Prime Minister signed a few years back. You just have to remember to renew your Twitch Prime subscription at the top of each month, respectfully. And hey, if you're already a subscriber, you can spread the joy by gifting a subscription using the Gift A Sub button. That is, assuming the Empire hasn't sent a taxman to your shoppe recently. (chuckles) All right, well, I'm off to find that darn elusive prime rib realm. Who knew the Prime Dimension had so many pockets? Good luck. (chuckles) (receding footsteps) Pumat Three! (gentle music) TALIESIN (V.O.): Subscribe. Re-subscribe. Brian Foster is not a cabbage. (dramatic music)

Part IIEdit

MATT: And welcome back. You're getting lazy. (laughter)

TALIESIN: I wanted that one to hang.

MATT: Good.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

MATT: Welcome back. So first, we have our winner of the Wyrmwood giveaway. The winner is 19infectious19.

SAM: 19infectious19.

MATT: 19infectious19. Congratulations, we'll get that sent out to you ASAP.

LIAM: That was a good year.

MATT: It was.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: We just said Beetlejuice's name twice.

MARISHA: Oh my god. (laughs)

MATT: So. (laughter) You guys have gathered back to back, aside from Nott, who, roll stealth for me?

SAM: Oh yeah.

LIAM: Does she have advantage in her Traveler illusory cloak?

MATT: She has advantage because of her cloak anyway.

LIAM: Right, it's because of the cloak.

SAM: It was--

MATT: Yes.

SAM: Oh, why can't I find stealth? Oh, there it is, 24.

MATT: Okay, good to know. Everyone, roll initiative.

LAURA: I'm going to Invoke Duplicity. I was going to do that as we were caught up, but it's fine if I didn't say it.

MATT: I'll say, I'll say, (sighs)

SAM: Say no.

MATT: I'll say roll initiative.

SAM: Are we all rolling initiative?

MATT: You are all rolling initiative.

LIAM: I say, I say.

TRAVIS: ♪ I say! ♪

LIAM: I love being last.

LAURA: You won't be.

TALIESIN: It's okay.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: Healer's got the backpack.

MATT: 25 to 20?

MARISHA: 24. I want a dry erase marker.

MATT: Beau! 20 to 15?

TRAVIS: 17. Am I the highest?

LAURA: No, Beau is the highest.

MATT: All right. 15 to 10?

ASHLEY: Uh, 10.

SAM: Eight.

LAURA: Oof.

TRAVIS: Wow, what the fuck, guys?

MARISHA: Oof.

MATT: All right. Ten to five?

LIAM: Oh, seven. Excuse me.

TALIESIN: Six.

LIAM: You did that?

LAURA: Six.

TALIESIN: Are we both six?

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Shit.

MATT: All right. Who has the higher dexterity?

LAURA: Me.

TALIESIN: Yeah. My dex is 12.

LAURA: What did you roll, Yasha?

ASHLEY: I rolled a 10.

MARISHA: Yes.

MATT: All righty.

MARISHA: 100%.

MATT: So. Beginning at this, you've only seen one of these creatures that climbed up into this tree. Beau, you're up.

MARISHA: Oh boysies, okay. He went up here?

MATT: Up into this tree, right here.

MARISHA: Into that tree? Do I want to go after him? Okay. Yeah, yeah, fuck it. Let's just go for it, let's just go up the tree.

LAURA: What?

MARISHA: Yes. Yeah.

LAURA: Back to back, Beau! Back to--

MARISHA: I want to see what it is!

MATT: Okay, as you rush past and head up in the tree--

TRAVIS: That's one way to peek.

MATT: You do come face to face with one of these creatures.

MARISHA: Hey, oh. What is it? What was it?

SAM: Looks like an albino crab.

MARISHA: Oh, it's straight up like a silverfish. Yeah, okay.

LAURA: Don't fight it.

MATT: You see, you run up the tree (impacts) up into the bough and it's right there. (insect chitter)

MARISHA: Uh, I found it!

MATT: Mmkay.

MARISHA: I grab it and I'm just going to spike it to the floor, right to the group.

MATT: Okay, so you're going to go ahead and we'll say it's a shove attack, so go ahead and make an attack roll.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: Or actually, this would be--

TRAVIS: You're going to throw the thing down there with us?

MARISHA: I want to show you guys what it is.

TRAVIS: Just hold it out.

MARISHA: I'm being very progressive right now.

LAURA: Are you going to spike it to where you're trying to do some damage as it--

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Make an athletics check.

MARISHA: Pop. Okay.

LAURA: It's a bug. Bugs are really--

MARISHA: Straight athletics?

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: Okay. 14.

MATT: Seven.

TRAVIS: 15.

MARISHA: 15, 15.

MATT: You succeed. As soon as it pulls back, brings part of its pointed legs upward, you just grab one and (yells) chuck it out of the tree.

MARISHA: It's gross!

MATT: It falls prone on the ground right there.

LIAM: Ew!

MATT: It would take-- I'd say at that fall there, it's about 20 or so feet-- seven points of bludgeoning damage.

MARISHA: Still alive?

SAM: Look, we're already winning.

MATT: Yeah. It's on the ground (insect chitter) about to get righted or trying to.

MARISHA: Can I still do stuff?

MATT: Yeah. You're up in the tree still.

TRAVIS: Can I still do stuff?

MARISHA: Can I-- how far up am I?

LAURA: 20 feet.

MATT: 20 feet.

MARISHA: Can I--

MATT: But you moved 10 feet to get there, so you've used 10 feet of your movement.

MARISHA: Can I vault off the ropes-- the tree, and back flip and then People's Elbow down into the silverfish?

MATT: I'll allow it, yeah.

LIAM: Ooh yeah.

MATT: So roll an acrobatics check.

MARISHA: Okay.

LIAM: (as Hulk Hogan) Lemme tell you something, brother.

MARISHA: Natural 20.

(cheering)

MATT: So you throw it down, you see it hit the ground, you reach up and grab the branch above and (wind noises) release after one full revolution in the air. You guys watch, jettisoning out from the side of the treeline (rushing wind) this spinning, tumbling Beauregard freight train coming elbow-down. So you will not take any fall damage.

MARISHA: Cool.

SAM: Nice.

MATT: It's a safe fall and everything, you're pretty damn good as a monk. Go ahead and roll your second attack.

LIAM: But Beauregardless.

MARISHA: (groans)

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's what you get, that's what you get.

LAURA: Seriously?

MARISHA: I rolled a one on damage. Super cool when you double it to two.

MATT: That was your acrobatics check, was the critical. You haven't rolled to hit with the second attack.

MARISHA: Oh, cool, cool.

LAURA: Oh good.

MARISHA: Cool, cool, cool, that doesn't count.

LIAM: Cocked.

TALIESIN: It's cocked.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: So roll for an attack.

MARISHA: Okay, 22.

MATT: And because it is prone, attack rolls against it have advantage, so you get--

MARISHA: 22, 22 twice.

MATT: Yeah. So you hit. Go ahead and--

(laughter)

TRAVIS: What the fuck?

MARISHA: A one on the same dice, so, Don't high five that above me! Like that was cool, dope bro shit. Don't you like--

LIAM: The cool part is that we laugh cruelly at you at the same time.

MATT: Friendship.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Your pain is our enjoyment.

MATT: How much damage is done?

MARISHA: Seven.

LIAM: See, we feel better because you feel worse.

MARISHA: Yes, it's schadenfreude, I get it. I get it.

MATT: So, wham, landing and slamming your elbow into the bottom of its exposed carapace underneath, it (screeches) pulls back and its legs curl in. You withdraw and get back to your feet. You still have your bonus action.

MARISHA: Oh, okay. Pop pop, Flurry of Blows.

MATT: Go for it.

LIAM: (sighs)

MARISHA: (laughs) Okay, first one is 26, second one is 12.

MATT: 12 misses.

MARISHA: Okay.

TALIESIN: Good to know.

MARISHA: (laughs) Nine damage.

MATT: Nine damage, all righty. So after you give him the elbow, you bring your leg up and do an ax kick down onto it, crack. It hits him, (insect shrieks) sits there shrieking in its space. You pull your leg up and it pulls away and your second impact ends up hitting the dirt below it, the soft impact against the rotted floor. You do, however, as part of the Extract Aspects, you got a quick glance as, after the second impact, your ki went into it and you're able to read its body essence. It is resistant to acid and necrotic damage and it is immune to being frightened or charmed.

SAM: Okay, okay.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MARISHA: Okay, I communicate that.

MATT: All right. Beau, that finishes your turn. Fjord, you're up.

TRAVIS: It's still prone, correct? (laughter) The white scorpion is--

MATT: It's still prone.

TRAVIS: It's still prone. I will take two swings at it with the Star Razor.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: With advantage, yes?

MATT: Yep. Are you moving over to this space here or are you moving through to this side?

TRAVIS: I'll go over to that other side.

MATT: All right, over here?

TRAVIS: No, I'm sorry, where you were before.

MATT: Okay, gotcha.

TALIESIN: I like the foliage is so thick that it's genuinely hard to see anything. In a good way.

MATT: Yeah, make you work for it, yeah?

TRAVIS: First one is a 26.

MATT: This is with an advantage, too, cause it's prone.

TRAVIS: Yes.

MATT: Yeah. So it hits.

TRAVIS: 26. And the second one is a 24.

MATT: Both hit.

TRAVIS: Great. So we're rolling one d10. That's-- yeah, okay, that's 16 points of slashing damage and (stutters) 15 points.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: So 31 total.

MATT: So you rush past, striking once with a blade. As it swings through, you can see it cuts open its outer shell, exposing a deeper purplish-type musculature underneath the armor. You bring the blade down and, thrusting it down into the weak space and turn the blade and as it does, (shrieks) the arms all curl in and it is dead.

LAURA: Nice.

MARISHA: Yes!

TALIESIN: Well, that was easy.

SAM: Easy encounter.

TRAVIS: One down.

LAURA: Wonderful.

TALIESIN: Take a long rest.

MATT: All right, cool guys. Well, thanks--

LIAM: Back away.

TRAVIS: Does any liquid come out of the creature of any color, viscous, form, anything like that?

MATT: A similar purplish fluid as blood as its interior. But you hear that sound is still sifting all through the jungle around you.

TRAVIS: Cool, cool, cool.

MATT: So is that your turn?

TRAVIS: Yes, that's my turn. No bonus action.

MATT: Okay. Now, you've seen the color of that creature, that eerie, creepy pale white milky texture to its body and shell. You now see more of it, dots of it, moving through the underbrush and you hear them communicating and clicking. (insect chitters)

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: And (rushing sound) they begin to rush forward.

LAURA: Oh god.

(miniatures clattering against each other)

LIAM: (skittering legs)

LAURA: Oh no, oh no!

SAM: Ugh.

LAURA: They're so close already! How did they get here?

TALIESIN: They go on after Fjord's turn, I guess?

MATT: They do. You guys rolled really shitty initiative and they rolled decently--

LAURA: Yes, we did.

MATT: Because they're pretty quick.

SAM: Oh man, there's so many of them.

LAURA: Yup.

SAM: There's--

MATT: All righty. So--

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: These two here are going to use their Wax Tomb ability.

LAURA: Wax Tomb?

SAM: Tomb. Oh noes!

MATT: 15 foot cone, that's--

LAURA: Back to back was a very bad idea.

MATT: Fjord, Caduceus, Beauregard, and Jester, I need you all to make a dexterity saving throw, please.

LIAM: Genevieve?

LAURA: I do like Genevieve, but I thought that was a good--

TALIESIN: Saving throw extra. Ooh.

ASHLEY: Shit.

TRAVIS: 20.

MATT: 20. You take seven points of acid damage and are not restrained. Beauregard.

MARISHA: 12.

MATT: 12. You take 14 points of acid damage and you are restrained. You can see as they vomit outward this thick, steaming viscous liquid as it splatters, it hardens into a wax-like shell. You are currently, like, stapled to the log behind you and the ground and your legs are stuck to the ground and you're having to try and pull and break out of it as its hardening around you, burning you and holding you in place. Jester?

LAURA: Dexterity?

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: 10.

MATT: 10, you also take 17 points of acid damage and you are also restrained, held in place by a waxy substance. Caduceus?

TALIESIN: 16.

MATT: 16, you take seven points and you are not restrained.

TALIESIN: Seven points of acid damage.

LAURA: (quietly) Ow ow ow ow.

MATT: This guy here is going to spray this way.

SAM: Oh boy, they've all got it.

TALIESIN: Dammit.

MATT: I need Yasha, Caleb, Caduceus, Fjord, and Jester to all roll another dexterity saving throw.

SAM: There's a lot of these guys.

LIAM: Natural 20!

TALIESIN: Another dex save?

MATT: You have disadvantage, Jester, so.

TALIESIN: I don't suppose I get to knock one of these, okay.

TRAVIS: 16.

MATT: 16, that is... yeah, another seven points of acid damage and you are not restrained.

LIAM: Natural 20.

MATT: Natural 20. Seven points, not restrained.

LAURA: 15.

MATT: 15? Seven points, you are still restrained.

TALIESIN: Natural 20, 21.

MATT: All right, seven points of acid damage.

ASHLEY: 22.

MATT: Seven points of acid damage. Nice.

SAM: I think there's three more of them.

LAURA: I cannot believe we did this to ourselves right now.

MATT: These two are pincer attacking on Caleb.

LIAM: Oh good.

MATT: And with Pack Tactics, they have advantage on their attacks. A bite and a claw attack against you, Caleb.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: Oof, that is a 14.

LIAM: Does not hit.

MATT: And that is a 21.

LIAM: Hits.

MATT: All right. It tries, you watch that, where you didn't see the face before, it was this solid shell, underneath, these two jaw-like pincers, rear up and it folds open underneath revealing a bladed jaw that's normally hidden and folded inward. It tries to bite towards you and you hold it back with your foot. As you kick it away, one of its slicing claws scrapes the back of your leg and you take... 14 points of slashing damage.

LIAM: Ooh!

MATT: The other one, now, as you back up, there's one right behind you. That's going to be a 25 to hit.

LIAM: That hits.

MATT: And a 18 to hit.

LIAM: Ah, Shield.

MATT: All right. The Shield goes up. It attempts to bite towards you and the secondary one, its jaws open, okay, and that is seven points of piercing damage plus eight points of acid damage.

TRAVIS: Whoa.

LIAM: Mm.

MATT: As its jaws sink into the side of your elbow and arm and you have to rip your arm away from it as it begins to dissolve and eat the inside of your arm. It attempts, now, to claw at you and you put the Shield up. (boof) Ends up knocking it back with a flash of arcane resistance as you (inhales) pull back, clutching your elbow. The last one's going to be attacking you, Beauregard. It has advantage because you are restrained. That is going to be a 14 to hit.

MARISHA: Miss.

MATT: And a 20 to hit.

MARISHA: Hits.

MATT: All right. Its claws come at you for 14 points of slashing damage. You're trying to pull away and it bites at you. You manage to push it just back with one free arm, but it manages to scrape across your forearm with both of its front blades, blood now pouring out of your forearm as you withdraw yourself, trying to break free. That finishes their turn. Yasha, you're up. Nott, you're on deck.

ASHLEY: Okay, so the one nearest to me, I would like to take the Skingorger and try to pierce it through so it's stuck to the ground.

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: This is full rage, or--

ASHLEY: Oh--I would like to rage. Sorry. Okay.

TALIESIN: Sorry.

ASHLEY: Hey no, don't you be sorry. Yeah.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Okay. 19 plus nine, 28.

MATT: 28 hits.

ASHLEY: Okay. First attack.

LAURA: If you're restrained, can you attack?

MATT: You can attack, you just have disadvantage on your attacks.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: But your speed is zero. You cannot move. Attacks against you have advantage.

ASHLEY: 22 for the first hit.

MATT: Ooh, nice.

ASHLEY: Second attack.

MATT: Yeah, go for it.

ASHLEY: Okay. 24?

MATT: Hits.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: (whispering) Fjord. (whispering) Fjord. (whispering) Do you want to get out of here?

TRAVIS: Yes.

ASHLEY: 15 points of damage.

MATT: 15 points of damage. This one, after it sprayed this thick, sticky fluid onto your friends that set them on the ground, the steam rising up as it burns and hardens, you come back and swipe once with the Skingorger, cutting into its body, and the second time, you split it in half (squelching)--

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: And then both sides crawl for a second before going still.

LAURA: Ew.

TRAVIS: (grossed out) Huh huh huh.

ASHLEY: Oh, I hate these things.

MATT: You still have your movement, if you want. And you are not currently engaged with any of them. You killed the one that was next to you.

TRAVIS: There's no way the blood acts as a--

ASHLEY: Okay, I will move a little bit to the other side of the one-- the one closest to me, sorry.

MATT: So over here?

ASHLEY: Yes, yeah.

MATT: All righty. So you go ahead and move to flank--

ASHLEY: Maybe not right by the stinger, but--

MATT: Right there?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: Okay, you got it.

TALIESIN: Still flanking, though.

MATT: Yep, still flanking with Fjord. Finishes Yasha's go. Nott, you're up. Caleb, you're on deck.

SAM: From the cover of the underbrush, I will fire a crossbow bolt at the one next to Caleb.

MATT: Before that happens--

SAM: (screams)

MATT: You're sitting there hiding right next to these mushrooms and as you're getting your bolt ready-- (crossbow loading) the one next to you releases a cloud of spores. Make a constitution saving throw at the start before your turn.

LAURA: Don't go near them. Oh no, Beau, you're by one too.

SAM: Six.

MATT: Six? You are poisoned. You can make your attack. You are hidden, but you are poisoned, which makes it a single roll and it does not have advantage. But what are you attacking?

SAM: I'm attacking the one next to Caleb, but if I'm rolling at disadvantage, it is not a sneak attack.

MATT: Well, it's advantage because it doesn't know it's there-- it doesn't know you're there because you were hidden. So it's just a straight roll. Even so, because it's adjacent to one of your allies it still would be sneak attack damage.

SAM: Do I get a just poisoned condition or do I take damage?

MATT: No damage, just poisoned condition which means your attacks and--

SAM: All right, 25 to hit.

MATT: That hits, yeah. So roll sneak attack.

SAM: Not great, not great.

LAURA: Yeah. 12, 17, 22 plus... Six is 28.

MATT: 28 points of damage.

SAM: I don't think I get Fury of the Small because they are small.

MATT: They are considered medium creatures.

SAM: Ooh.

LAURA: Sweet.

SAM: So I could. Hmm. Nah.

MATT: Okay. As you cough for a second and release the bolt from your crossbow, it sticks in the back of the creature, it curls onto its side and then jumps back in place, skittering to see where it came from. It doesn't quite seem to notice where you are, but it's still alive. You have your bonus action still.

SAM: I will fire again at it.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: (weak coughing) And now, this is at disadvantage.

MATT: Correct, because you are no longer hidden.

SAM: Okay, still 24.

MATT: Still hits.

TALIESIN: Wow.

SAM: Okay. And another 11 points of damage.

MATT: 11 points of damage. You sink this one into where its head would be, though its jaws are no longer exposed, and as it sinks in, it just-- (splatting) onto the ground, no longer moving.

SAM: I will leave that cover place. I don't want to be-- more poisoned? Can you be more poisoned?

MATT: Only one way to find out.

SAM: I will leave.

MATT: Where you going?

SAM: Run over near-- behind Yasha.

MATT: Okay, move over in that space there. All righty, you got it. That finishes your turn?

SAM: Yeah.

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

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: Okay. I stumble back, totally wrecked, from the thing that attacked me, pulling implements out of my bag and iron dust goes through the air and I pull my hands apart and Beauregard doubles in size, hopefully breaking out of whatever she is in.

MATT: I will say that that--

LIAM: She doubles in size.

MATT: Because it makes sense, yeah. Thematically? Yeah.

MARISHA: (victorious humming)

MATT: So you, (thudding) pushing back the rotted log behind you, it rolls-- exposing a bunch of the earth beneath it and you see dozens of insects scatter from underneath the wet, exposed earth that was beneath the log. And there you are.

LIAM: I am going to chance a hit and try to get away from the thing and go up by those mushrooms--

MATT: Here?

LIAM: Up there, yeah.

MATT: All right, so five, 10, 15, 20, over here?

LIAM: Yeah, that's good.

MATT: All righty. It's going to go ahead and take a swipe at you, we'll say with its bite, yes. Is this 'til the end of your next turn or the beginning of your next turn?

LIAM: Oh jeez.

MATT: Double check that.

LIAM: You have never asked me that question before. Until the start of your next turn.

MATT: So you no longer have Shield.

LIAM: Oh, okay.

MATT: That is going to be a 21 to hit.

LIAM: That hits. Scheiße.

MATT: All right. So you take 13 points of piercing damage.

LIAM: Ugh.

MATT: And five points of acid damage.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: As it bites out of you, its head opening once more into the split jaw and the bladed tusks that come forward and sinks into the side of your leg as you try and pull away and you stumble in the direction, getting off to the side of the mushrooms, holding back the pain.

LIAM: Caleb's a bloody mess.

MATT: All right, that's the end of Caleb's turn. Jester, you're up. Caduceus, you're on deck.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: Am I still restrained, by the way?

MATT: You're still restrained. Oh you, no you never became restrained, I don't think.

LAURA: No.

TALIESIN: No. No, I didn't.

MATT: No, you made the saves both times.

TALIESIN: Heh heh-heh.

LAURA: Okay. I'm going to cast, I'm going to cast Spiritual Guardians.

(laughter)

MATT: All righty.

TRAVIS: So certain.

LAURA: I'm going to hold up my hand with the Traveler symbol on the wrist and I'm going to be like: Okay, well, let's do this.

MATT: All righty, that puts it about there. There's Beau. Okay, Spiritual Guardians--

LAURA: So I'm casting that at fourth level.

MATT: At fourth level. Suddenly, this darkened edge of the forest is alight with what I assume to be dozens of extremely swole tiny, angry, pink--

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Unicorns or hamsters, which are you doing this time?

LAURA: Oh, the hamster unicorns.

SAM: Sure, sure.

MATT: All right. They are now just zipping through and coming to pierce any creatures that comes near. That's your action. Are you staying put?

LAURA: Well, I can, can I try to--

MATT: Oh no, you're restrained.

LAURA: Yeah, can I try to--

MATT: It's an action to try and break free. It's an action to cast. So you are remaining.

LAURA: Cool, cool, cool, cool.

MATT: Is that your turn?

LAURA: I mean, I guess so.

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

TALIESIN: I'm going to do an old favorite. Am I-- can I touch Beauregard without triggering an attack from any of these creatures?

TRAVIS: Yeah, you're right next to her, she's just much bigger right now.

TALIESIN: This is going to be funny. Holy Weapon.

MARISHA: Ah! I hope I don't fuck this up.

TALIESIN: I was trying to think of something I haven't done in awhile. I haven't done that in awhile.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: All right. Caduceus is concentration.

TRAVIS: What's she getting?

MATT: Jester is concentration.

TALIESIN: You get an extra 2d8, actually, that's a bonus action, too, which is kind of crazy.

MATT: I'll put this on Beauregard as a reminder of the Holy Weapon.

LAURA: You just can't do any other spells.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I still haven't, I can do a cantrip or a, so I'm going to use my cantrip to do, I can Sacred Flame still since that's an action, that was a bonus action, that's a cantrip, so. That's a cantrip and a spell or no?

MATT: A spell and a cantrip you can do. Sacred Flame is an action, though, not a bonus action?

TALIESIN: It's a bonus action. Oh no, not, Sacred Flame is an action.

MATT: Correct.

TALIESIN: But Holy Weapon's a bonus action.

MATT: Oh, that, then you can definitely do that, hell yeah. What are you Sacred Flame-ing?

TALIESIN: Well, is anything-- who's threatening Caleb?

MATT: Right now, Caleb ran off to the side. He's hurt, but he's run off.

LIAM: Pretty hurt.

TALIESIN: I'll do the one that's in front of me that's not going to get attacked by Yasha and the, yeah, I'm going to do the one that's behind me.

MATT: Right there? You got it.

TALIESIN: I'm just going to give it a little Sacred Flame.

MATT: Dexterity saving throw. Oh man, that rolled shitty. That's an eight.

TALIESIN: Oh, so you take-- oh shit, I do a lot of damage on this thing. Is that right? Man, it's been awhile. 3d8, apparently.

LAURA: Cantrips.

TALIESIN: Ugh.

LAURA: Oh, balls.

TALIESIN: That's terrible, 14 points of radiant damage.

MATT: 14 points of radiant damage. The radiant flame burns around its body, it shrinks back and you can hear the squeaking sound of some of its armored shell squeezing a little bit and--

TALIESIN: Back off, buddy.

MATT: It's still standing there.

TALIESIN: Yeah, and I'm just going to keep where I am.

MATT: All right, you got it. Caduceus' turn is done. At the top of the round, Beau, before you go, the skittering sounds continue to grow. While they're not taking their turn yet--

SAM: Oh, man. More?

LIAM: Shit.

MATT: More begin to appear out of the nearby brush.

SAM: Oh noes. Ohs noes. Oh no! Oh no! Wait, what?

MATT: There we go.

SAM: This could be bad.

MATT: They haven't taken their turn yet. Beau, you're up. Your fists are glowing with radiant, divine, Melora the Wildmother blessed energy. You can feel the vibration between your fingers.

MARISHA: I spin my staff with a flourish like a holy, radiant windmill.

SAM: Sure.

MARISHA: Then I don't use my staff and I start just stomping the silverfish.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: To the one right in front of you there?

MARISHA: Uh-huh, and then the one over there. I'll do these two in front of me.

MATT: Okay, so focusing on the first one. The first two attacks against it, or first attack. What're you doing?

MARISHA: First attack on that one.

LAURA: Should switch your dice, man.

LIAM: It's a one.

MARISHA: I did, I did.

LIAM: It's a one.

MARISHA: I did.

MATT: You bring your foot up (groans) and as you stomp downward, immediately skitters up out of the way and your foot, hits the ground, sending dirt and bits of leaf and vine up in the air around it and as you look down, it's just beyond the reach of your foot.

MARISHA: Fucking dick--

MATT: Second attack.

MARISHA: Hit again. 16.

MATT: 16 just hits.

MARISHA: Okay, that's the magic number. Yeah, cool.

LIAM: Plus plus plus.

MARISHA: Plus, plus, wait, these are all these. Wait, these are all these.

TALIESIN: Is that plus your 2d8?

MARISHA: Uh-huh. Hang on, hang on, hang on. Six plus two, six, seven, eight, plus another eight is 16 plus another two is 18.

MATT: 18 points of damage.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: All righty. So the second time, you do stomp down (grunts) and it ends up pinning it to the ground and you feel its body give a little bit and it cracks and its legs skitter for a bit. It's hurt.

MARISHA: You fuck-- come on, pop pop.

MATT: (laughs) All right.

SAM: Bob bob.

LAURA: Bob bob bob.

MARISHA: The first one towards him, same guy.

MATT: Yep, you're just focusing on the one dude right now--

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah. 26.

MATT: That hits. You can roll damage.

MARISHA: 16 plus another four, which is 20, plus another seven, 27, plus one, 28.

MATT: 28 against that one. All right, before I forget, because I should have remembered this, make a constitution saving throw for me.

MARISHA: Save?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: Oh.

MARISHA: Okay. 19?

MATT: 19. You're fine. The mushroom next to you releases spores around and your large self coughs for a second, but you're--

MARISHA: Resistant to poison, too.

MATT: Resistant to poison. It doesn't have an affect on you.

SAM: Monk shit.

MATT: That's right. Because no, you're immune to poison, so--

MARISHA: Yeah. I'm good.

MATT: You're like-- (coughs) Whatever, you're fine.

MARISHA: I'm like, "Oh, my high school days."

MATT: Right. So as you stomp down--

MARISHA: Thank you.

MATT: That second hit actively splatters that one with the final hit. So you miss it once, you hit it a second time, you pull up for a third hit as the second hit cracks and you pull up your foot one final bit and it's like (squeaks) and you just, (squishing) scatters and splatters against the floor nearby.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Nice.

MARISHA: One more?

MATT: This is the Holy Weapon stuff, right? You still have one more attack.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Yeah. There's one more left right there that's adjacent to you.

MARISHA: Pop pop!

TRAVIS: Cocked.

SAM: Cock cock?

MARISHA: Fucking titties, 18.

MATT: 18 hits.

TRAVIS: Crack-a-doon.

MARISHA: Six plus 10, plus 14, plus another for 28. Or no, 18, 18, 18.

MATT: 18 points of damage on the second hit. This one tries to skitter away and you reach down and stomp onto it, pushing it into the ground. Two of its legs snap off and are left behind as you pull your foot back. It's still holding on. It's really, really hurt.

LAURA: What? It's just one little bug.

LIAM: Cockroaches, man.

MATT: These things are pretty big.

MARISHA: All right.

MATT: That finishes your turn, Beau?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Fjord, you're up.

TRAVIS: I will, (clears throat) (clicks tongue) I will send an Eldritch Blast towards the one that Beau was trying to finish off.

MATT: Go for it. One single blast towards that.

TRAVIS: That is a 20 to hit.

MATT: 20 hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

TRAVIS: That is nine points of force damage.

MATT: Nine points of force damage. As it tries to pull away and climb the tree away from Beauregard, wounded, with its remaining legs, as it skitters up the side, you aim and throw the Eldritch Blast. It slams into it and cracks it open in two sides. It's like (sliding noise) slides down the tree, dead. You have a second blast to throw.

TRAVIS: Sneak a peek. I don't think I can see that one up on the ledge from line of sight.

MATT: Right there?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: There's one in front of you, Fjord.

MATT: You can see these two right here. There's one under here--

TRAVIS: Oh, there's one right in front--

MATT: And one up top there. Yep.

TRAVIS: I can't see it. Can I try and shoot the one that's right in front of me?

MATT: Yeah, go for it. It's right there (boof).

TRAVIS: Natural 20.

ALL: Yeah!

MATT: Oh, there you go.

TRAVIS: Hot dog, bitches. Eight, (hums) 12. Now, do I re-roll? Do I have a savage thingy? (humming) Score a critical hit, one, roll one additional dice an additional time. So that's 12. So 16 points of damage.

MATT: 16 points of damage to this one?

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: This one had, was this one previously hurt, there?

LAURA: I don't think so.

MATT: I don't think that one had yet. So 16 points on that. All right. So as you blast that one with the Eldritch Blast overtop, it impacts, leaving this harsh burn mark on its top side, but it's still standing.

TRAVIS: Okay, that's my turn.

MATT: All right, now it's their turn.

LAURA: ♪ He's still standing, ♪ ♪ and he takes 4d8 of damage. ♪

TALIESIN: Yeah, all the ones within the circle take damage.

MATT: Yeah, let me first see what they do.

TALIESIN: Once they're in the circle, they are half speed.

MATT: Right. So he would only get to there, then. Bad for you, Caduceus.

TALIESIN: Eh.

MATT: I'm just adjusting that properly.

TRAVIS: Hm.

MATT: There we go. This one here's going to skitter up into the range, this one's going to (skittering)--

SAM: Oh boy.

MATT: Move here next to Beauregard. This one here is going to also focus on Beauregard.

LAURA: (groaning)

MATT: You're the big target.

MARISHA: Yeah, I know, it's fine.

MATT: So the one going against Caleb, who Caleb doesn't see yet is kind of blocking behind the mushrooms there.

MARISHA: Are you going to [inaudible], dude?

LIAM: Yep.

MATT: That is a 16 to hit?

LIAM: Shield.

MATT: All right, shield's up a second time. And a 20 to hit.

LIAM: Hits.

MATT: Just hits?

LIAM: Just hits.

MATT: Ugh. All right, so the first one, as you hear it coming up from behind you, you spin around and put the shield up. It tries to bite towards you, it gets pushed off. Spins around and then rakes across with its claws and still manages to impact you. You take 14 points of slashing damage.

LAURA: Are you still up?

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: Oh!

MATT: Oh shit. This one here is going to--

TALIESIN: Take damage first, I would assume.

MATT: Yes, it does. So the wisdom saves on this are-- All three of those. That one does not get hit, though. So roll damage.

SAM: We bought them, but I don't think we ever passed them out.

LAURA: 13.

MATT: 13? All righty. So for that one there. 16?

LAURA: Failed.

SAM: Oh, how did that get over there?

MATT: That one there?

SAM: Oh. No, you had them all and you never passed them out.

MATT: That one there. Rolled low as well. So all three of them take 13 damage. They rush in and just get blasted immediately and pierced by dozens of quick-moving unicorn hamsters going (squeaks).

LAURA: (high pitched whinnying)

MATT: Leaving these puncture marks in their outer armor.

LAURA: What about the one right next to us that started its turn in there?

MATT: Yeah, they all, all of them took the damage, all three of these. This guy did not and that guy did not.

LAURA: That guy's still standing? Shit.

SAM: ♪ He's still standing. ♪

MATT: So the one that just entered this space is going to go ahead and attempt to shoot out its acid fun times. That's going to be-- I need Caduceus, Fjord, and Jester to go ahead and make dexterity saving throws for me, please.

LAURA: Are we at disadvantage because we're restrained?

TALIESIN: I'm not.

LAURA: Am I at disadvantage because I'm restrained?

MATT: You are, yes.

TRAVIS: Four.

MATT: 17 points of acid damage and you are restrained.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: All righty, Jester?

LAURA: Seven.

MATT: 17 points of acid damage and you're restrained. SAM: Oh noes.

TALIESIN: 15.

MATT: 15. You take eight points of acid damage and you are not restrained.

SAM: Are you double restrained right now?

LAURA: I think you're just restrained.

TALIESIN: I have to make a concentration check, correct?

MATT: You do. both of you do.

TALIESIN: Is it concentration? Yeah.

MATT: Concentration checks.

LAURA: At disadvantage or just a concentration--

TALIESIN: Five. No wait, wait. Six.

MATT: Six? Holy Weapon fails.

TALIESIN: Fuck, man.

MATT: Beauregard, your--

TALIESIN: That was terrible.

MATT: -- fists suddenly fade from divine energy as the acid spray breaks Caduceus' concentration.

MARISHA: Fucking fuck--

LIAM: Do I need a concentration check myself? Because I got hit, too, and I've got Enlarge up on Beau.

MATT: That's true.

SAM: Oh no.

MARISHA: No, I like being big.

LIAM: It's all right, I'm pretty good--

SAM: ♪ I like big Beaus and I cannot lie. ♪

LIAM: Advantage for me. That's a 19 and one. 19 plus my proficiency.

MARISHA: Yeah, that's a big--

MATT: You're fine, you're fine.

MARISHA: That's good.

LAURA: Six.

MATT: Six? And the unicorns fade as well. Some bad saves there, guys, I'm sorry.

SAM: You're not sorry.

MATT: No, I'm not. (laughter) All righty.

SAM: How many more are there?

MATT: That fading. You now have one over here that's attacking you, Jester, on the opposite side, it's rushing up.

TRAVIS: Four, five, six.

MATT: Natural one. Oh, but you're restrained so it has advantage.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: Ooh, that's better. 24 to hit.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: The second hit is going to be 20 to hit.

LAURA: Yep.

MATT: All right, so first it bites out towards you, grasping onto your body with its jaws and bites down. You take 12 points of piercing damage and eight points of acid damage, so a total of 20 points of damage. Its claws then swing out towards you and, oh, double ones, seven points of slashing damage. As it's bitten on to you, it begins grinding towards you but your shield's up in front and you push it off. The one on the other side is going to attack you, Fjord. You are restrained so it also has advantage on its attack rolls. The bite towards you is going to be, that's not great either, 14 to hit?

TRAVIS: That does not hit.

MATT: You manage to push it away with your shield. It's going to attempt to go at you with its claws for 14 again.

TRAVIS: Misses.

MATT: With advantage. So both attacks you manage to push it away, kick it back. It can't even get close enough to actually get impact on you. The other two are attacking you, Beauregard.

MARISHA: Uh-huh.

MATT: Actually, because you're big, that one's going to spray you. It's going to be that way, so it's not going to get anybody. I need you to make a dexterity saving throw, please.

MARISHA: Natural 20.

ALL: Yeah.

MATT: All right. So you only take nine points of acid damage and you are not restrained.

MARISHA: Cool.

MATT: The other one's going to attack you twice.

MARISHA: Cool.

MATT: That's going to be 16--

MARISHA: Miss.

MATT: And 18.

MARISHA: Miss.

MATT: Foof! That one leaps at you and you just bat it onto the ground and it swoops up again to strike towards you and you just put your foot out and keep it at bay and kick it back. Their turn's over. Yasha, you're up. Nott, you're on deck.

ASHLEY: Okay, so since I was not attacked, I have to rage again? Right?

MATT: Since you weren't attacked, you do have to.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: You didn't, but you attacked last round.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: It's either attack or be attacked, so you're fine, you're still raging.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: Yeah yeah yeah yeah--

ASHLEY: Okay, so I'm going to attack this one right here with my Skingorger.

MATT: If you need me to move any of these tree tops, I can do that for you, too.

TRAVIS: No, no, it's good, we're mobile Kill it.

ASHLEY: Wait, do I have advantage because of Fjord?

MATT: Technically, against that one, you do have it flanked, so yes, you do--

ASHLEY: Well actually, that might actually--

TALIESIN: Mm-hmm.

ASHLEY: That hits. 16. Let me just see if I can get a 20. No, okay.

MATT: All right, 16 hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

ASHLEY: Okay, I'll keep that. 24.

MATT: 24 points of damage on your first strike. That one, you just give one big golf swing, slice it, and send it flying across the other side of the jungle where you see it vanish behind a rock and then squeak out the last of its life.

ASHLEY: Okay, second attack, can I actually try to pull Jester out of her restrain? Kind of help her out of the wax or whatever is going on?

MATT: Out of the wax? Sure, I'll allow it. It's like a shove attack to try and push her past it.

ASHLEY: Okay. Would that be like a, that's good.

MATT: You move in. Go ahead and make an athletics check.

ASHLEY: 25.

MATT: Sorry, a strength saving throw. My bad.

ASHLEY: Strength--

MATT: Same roll, but just add your strength save to it--

ASHLEY: Okay--

MATT: Which you have advantage on because you're raging, actually.

ASHLEY: 26. Okay, I'll roll again. Yeah, that's better.

TALIESIN: Jesus.

ASHLEY: 28.

MATT: Okay, you do, you push her one space that way, shoving her out of the cocoon of wax that she breaks and stumbles a bit and catches herself, but she's no longer restrained.

SAM: Yay!

ASHLEY: Okay, go do stuff.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: All righty. Finishing Yasha's go. Nott, you're up. Caleb, you're on deck.

SAM: I will retreat to that tree behind me.

MATT: Right here?

SAM: To your right. And bonus action, hide behind it.

MATT: All right, go ahead and make your stealth check.

SAM: Terrible, but I have Reliable Talent, oh wait, I'm poisoned.

MATT: Yes. Disadvantage attack rolls and ability checks. So it'd be just a single roll.

SAM: Okay, well I rolled twice. I'll average them, it came out to a five. (laughter) But I still have Reliable Talent, so it's a 23.

MATT: (laughs) Fucking rogues. All right, you feel pretty stealthed.

SAM: Okay, then I will use my attack to shoot the one behind Caleb, which would be at advantage, but is not.

MATT: Just a single roll.

SAM: Single roll. 15.

MATT: 15 misses.

SAM: Ooh, all that action just to--

MATT: I know. You move behind and fire it. As you do it (blows) whips right over its armor, ricochets off of its outer shell, and shatters against the nearby rock.

SAM: You're on your own, kid.

MATT: All right, Nott's done. Caleb, you're up. Jester, you're on deck.

LIAM: Caleb is gushing blood and barely standing up and he reaches his hand down into his large pack. Hand wraps around his transmuter stone and suddenly, he balloons up, 15 foot tall giant ape, turns round, and wails the shit out of the bug behind him.

MATT: You got it.

LIAM: First one misses, that is a 11.

MATT: It was an action to cast it?

LIAM: Oh, right.

SAM: Yeah.

LIAM: Yeah, so I'm just a giant ape.

MATT: So you're a giant ape.

LIAM: I will just turn around and yell at it.

MATT: All right. (roars) You just shout at the creature. It withdraws a bit, just not noticing the sort of large array of angry actions towards it. Of angry.

SAM: On my turn, I wanted to shout out to Caleb: Caleb, Dwarven Forge is launching their Twitch channel on February 18th.

MATT: Goddamn it.

SAM: Check it out at twitch.tv/DwarvenForgeLive. Okay.

LAURA: Woo!

(laughter)

LIAM: (panting)

MATT: All right, finishing Caleb's go. Jester, you're up. Caduceus, you're on deck.

LIAM: All right, nobody worry about me.

LAURA: Okay. Having watched, I--

TRAVIS: That changed what you were going to do?

LAURA: Yep. (laughs) That altered my plan.

TALIESIN: Yep, mine too.

LAURA: Okay. Fuck me running.

LIAM: That's hard.

LAURA: (sighs) I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. That just changed what I was planning on doing. Fuck it. Okay, I'm going to clap my hands together and go: All right, let's make this fun. And I'm going to Polymorph myself into a giant blue mammoth.

MARISHA: Ooh!

SAM: All right.

TRAVIS: Shit.

SAM: And there is one.

(laughter)

(booming)

LIAM: This just turned into a Godzilla film.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Fjord's right in the butt.

TRAVIS: Peter Jackson over here!

MATT: As you (growls) into the forest space, Yasha, you see the shadow grow over you after Jester shouts out and you turn around and you're looking right at a mammoth asshole. (laughter) Just right there.

TALIESIN: That's a mean thing to say about Jester.

TRAVIS: ♪ Black hole sun. ♪

SAM: ♪ Won't you come? ♪

LIAM: And it's on a pachyderm.

MATT: Yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: Oh. (groans)

MATT: Boom, well done.

All righty, so that--

LAURA: That's my action.

MATT: Action to cast it.

LAURA: Yeah, so as a movement, I'm going to move forward and turn around.

MATT: This way?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: All right. (stomping) and then turn around.

LAURA: Like, I don't want to be next to the mushroom, I want to be a little bit further away from it.

MATT: But you're staying engaged with that guy there?

LAURA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I slap her ass on the way over.

MATT: All righty. (slapping) (trumpets) Heavy sound of a trumpeting in the middle of the jungle.

LIAM: (mouth trumpet)

MATT: All right, that finishes Jester's turn. Caduceus, you're up.

TRAVIS: There it is.

LAURA: That's better than--

TALIESIN: I am restrained.

MATT: You are. Oh no, you are not restrained.

TALIESIN: I'm not restrained anymore.

MATT: Because you made your save.

TALIESIN: Did I make my save?

MATT: I thought you rolled a natural.

TALIESIN: I did make my save. Jesus, I keep forgetting. All right, am I in melee with anybody?

MATT: You are in melee with one of them.

TALIESIN: Okay, I'm going to hit that one with the Sacred Flame.

MATT: All righty. The same, oh this is a different one.

TALIESIN: This is a different one.

MATT: And it's-- ooh, it's a fail.

TALIESIN: Oh yay.

MATT: That's a nine.

TALIESIN: That's nice.

MATT: Go ahead and roll damage on that.

TALIESIN: That's a-- That's better, that's better, okay. That's 20 points of radiant damage.

MATT: 20 points of radiant damage. It flares up, it burns across, and its outer shell is now turned black and elements of it have cracked open from the immediate radiant heat. But it's still standing, though very, very hurt.

TALIESIN: Last chance, all right.

MATT: Finishes your go?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I ain't going nowhere.

MATT: Top of the round. Beauregard, you're up.

MARISHA: (roars) It's a kaiju fight and I'm going to stomp on that one.

LIAM: No, you are small now.

MARISHA: Over there.

LAURA: You're small now.

MARISHA: No, I'm small?

LIAM: Because I'm big.

MARISHA: Aww, poops.

TRAVIS: But you still walk over, like--

MARISHA: (roaring)

MATT: As this is happening, Beauregard stomps over to that one, going (roars) and it's just like, here comes a normal Beauregard. You go to stomp and suddenly, it's much larger than you remember.

(laughter)

MARISHA: My perspective changes.

MATT: So what're you doing?

(laughter)

MARISHA: I'm still going to punt the one that's next to me.

MATT: All righty, go ahead and--

MARISHA: Kicking that one--

ASHLEY: I need a clip of that.

ALL: (roaring)

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Oh, that was too cute.

MARISHA: Okay, punchies, punchies, punting. Yeah, that's good. 26.

MATT: 26 hits.

MARISHA: Yeah, I'll take that. That's fine. 10 damage on that one.

MATT: 10 damage?

MARISHA: Yep. He's still alive?

MATT: Still alive.

MARISHA: Second hit. Yeah, 28.

MATT: That hits.

MARISHA: That's even better, 12.

MATT: 12 points of damage?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: You walk over and kick it and then spin around with your staff to smack it a second time. It falls on its back and gets up back up. It's barely standing, its legs are quivering, but it's still standing.

MARISHA: I just (groans) and then Flurry of Blows. I'm going to take my staff and I just (groans)--

MATT: Just repeatedly bludgeon it. Okay, go ahead and roll.

MARISHA: Goddamn it! Pop pop! Okay, there's a 26 and 13. I don't think the 13 hits.

MATT: 13 does not hit, but the 26--

MARISHA: But the 26! 10 again.

MATT: You just whack, whack, whack, it's no longer moving, and whack, whack, whack and you see now the purple ooze is (squirting) just coming off on the staff and arcing.

TRAVIS: Oh whoa, nice shooting, Tex!

MARISHA: I just keep going as a little tear comes out the corner of my eye.

(laughter)

MATT: All right, Beau, you're done. Fjord, you're up. Unless you want to move, Beau. You can move still.

MARISHA: No.

MATT: Okay, you're staying there, just hitting the corpse. You got it.

MARISHA: Yep.

TRAVIS: I'm restrained, yes?

MATT: You are restrained.

TRAVIS: I will bleh-bleh-ba-bleh-bleh-bleh--

SAM: Turn into a giant dinosaur.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I'll send--

MATT: Sure, why not? Everyone else is doing it.

LIAM: (screeching)

TRAVIS: I'll send one Eldritch Blast right here towards the middle one that's here.

MATT: You got it.

TRAVIS: That one.

MATT: Roll for attack.

TRAVIS: Jesus, that's an 18.

MATT: 18 hits.

TRAVIS: Great. (stutters like reversing audio) 10 points of force damage.

MATT: 10 points of force damage to that one? All righty.

TRAVIS: Is it still up?

MATT: Still up, that one hasn't been touched yet.

TRAVIS: Oh great.

MATT: But you've just blasted it, it's now taken some hit. It's still looking good, but it's hurt.

TRAVIS: I'll send another one that way. (groans) Less good, 13 points.

MATT: 13 misses.

MARISHA: Pooper.

MATT: Now being hit once, it turns towards you and as you release the second blast, it skitters by the mushroom and the ground bursts with dust and dirt where it no longer stands. Then crawls back in the space it once was.

TRAVIS: With my bonus action-- I don't think I can cast Hex after I've done two attacks, right?

MATT: You can because Eldritch Blast is a--

TRAVIS: It's a cantrip.

MATT: It's a cantrip, so you can cast Hex if you want.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'll cast Hex on that guy that ran away that I missed.

MATT: You got it. That guy is Hexed. All right.

TALIESIN: Top of the round already?

MATT: That finishes your turn?

TRAVIS: Yes.

MATT: All right, now it's their turn.

(insect skittering)

SAM: I look to the top of the mammoth where there's a tiny Sprinkle just hanging on.

(laughter)

MATT: This one here, it was going to go for Caduceus, but then a giant mammoth came and it's...

LAURA: It's going to attack the mammoth?

SAM: Boy oh boy. They don't have a lot of good options.

MATT: Nope, that one's going to flee.

TALIESIN: I'm going to take a shot at it as it leaves.

LAURA: It's going to flee!?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Do I also get to take a shot at it as it leaves?

MATT: You do. It's going to go ahead and run past all three of you.

TALIESIN: Does Sacred Flame count as-- since I'm a battle mage, does Sacred Flame count as a--

MATT: If you're a War Caster--

TALIESIN: I'm War Caster.

MATT: I believe that allows you to do cantrip as a--

LAURA: 26.

TALIESIN: I'll do Sacred Flame on him as he runs.

LAURA: Dead.

TALIESIN: Oh, never mind, you go first.

MATT: 26 hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

TRAVIS: 26.

MATT: That hits as well.

ASHLEY: Do we all-- we all get a hit, yeah?

TALIESIN: I'm holding to see where it goes.

MATT: Well, first it's Jester.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LAURA: Hold on, hold on--

TALIESIN: Jester may just fry the thing.

ASHLEY: Get it, get it.

LAURA: Uh. 15 plus 7.

MATT: 15?

LAURA: Plus seven.

MATT: Plus seven. It spins around and begins to skitter away and you just (slam) and before anything gets to the rest of you, it is scattered across the floor of the jungle there. This one here is going to continue to attack the gorilla, which it seems a little less intimidated by. Both attacks against it are a 16 and a 17.

LIAM: To hit the--

MATT: To hit you.

LIAM: Mein affe? Well, they were-- yes, they both hit.

MATT: All right. The first one does five points of piercing damage and six points of acid damage, so 11 total.

LIAM: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: And then the second attack does 14 points of slashing damage.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: All right. That finishes that one's go and there is one attacking Beau and one attacking Fjord that it got Hexed by. The one attacking Beauregard.

MARISHA: Hit me.

MATT: It's going to be a 14.

MARISHA: Miss.

MATT: Second attack is a natural one. You just, (whipping noises) just completely dodge around it. It can't even get near you.

TRAVIS: Dodge the lobster.

MATT: The other one is attacking you twice. You are restrained still, Fjord, so it gets advantage on these strikes.

TRAVIS: It does.

MATT: Oof, that's going to be a 24.

TRAVIS: That hits.

MATT: And a natural 20.

TALIESIN: Countered.

MARISHA: Oh jeez.

MATT: Countered because you can do that.

TRAVIS: Thank you--

MATT: No-- yes you can, because you didn't spend your reaction doing that.

TALIESIN: (New Jersey accent) That's why you don't go. That's why you maintain some discipline.

(laughter)

SAM: (same accent) Maintain some discipline.

LAURA: (same accent) Maintain some discipline.

ASHLEY: (same accent) That's why you maintain some discipline.

MATT: It's important, guys, to have some discipline.

TRAVIS: (New Jersey accent) Don't go outside with wet hair.

MATT: All right, the first bite attack against you, Fjord, that's going to be--

SAM: (New Jersey accent) Always wear your rubbers.

MATT: Six, 13 points of damage total.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: The second attack, oof, is 15 points of slashing damage.

TRAVIS: Wow, okay. (sniffs)

MATT: So I think a total of 31 or something like that.

TRAVIS: Oh, and on both of those because the sword does some shit--

MATT: Yep.

TRAVIS: It is a-- dealing-- wow, really? I got to remember that more often, I think I've been forgetting that.

MARISHA: Oh good!

TRAVIS: Eight. 14 points of radiant damage.

MARISHA: Ooh yeah.

MATT: 14 points of radiant damage?

TRAVIS: Yeah--

MATT: Nice. (shattering sounds) It just, the light sprays from it. It's looking hurt. All righty, that finishes their turn. Yasha, you're up.

ASHLEY: Okay. All right, I'm going to try and make my way to wherever the nearest one is.

MATT: There's one with the gorilla here and then there's the one that's hexed by Fjord, the one that's fighting Beau.

ASHLEY: Okay, let's go to, let's go to the one by Caleb.

MATT: One by Caleb?

ASHLEY: Even though I'm sure the gorilla has got it.

MATT: You push through the bush and rush up, blade in the air. Go ahead and make your attacks.

SAM: Yasha pushes through the bush.

LAURA: (cackles)

ASHLEY: Natural 20.

MATT: Yeah, that'll do.

TRAVIS: Natural 20?

(cheering)

SAM: Counter.

ASHLEY: Okay.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Okay, so, six--

MATT: You can reroll--

ASHLEY: Savage Attacker so I'm going to--

MATT: Yeah, because it looks like two ones--

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: The same!

ASHLEY: I rolled exactly the same.

MATT: The exact same.

ASHLEY: Okay, so--

MARISHA: C'mon, checkers.

ASHLEY: Well, 18.

MATT: 18 plus your brutal critical, which--

TRAVIS: You re-roll all your damage--

MATT: Well, it's not re-roll. This is, you get additional.

LAURA: D12?

MATT: Which, at this level--

ASHLEY: You can roll one additional weapon damage die when determining the extra damage for a critical hit with a melee attack.

MATT: So roll an additional d6 for that.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: So 18 plus?

ASHLEY: Two.

MATT: 20 points of damage to that.

TALIESIN: Do you double that die, too?

TRAVIS: No.

LAURA: No.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: All right, so 20 points on the first strike. You rush up and slam! The blade sticks into it and is jammed in it and you hear it going (insect chitter) trying to pull away, but it's stuck in there. Go ahead and roll your second attack.

ASHLEY: Okay. Ugh, cocked.

SAM: Always.

ASHLEY: Cocked again, sorry.

LAURA: Oh my god.

ASHLEY: Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry! Oh, this is not going to hit. That's 11.

MATT: 11?

ASHLEY: Uh huh.

MATT: No, that's not going to hit.

(laughter)

MATT: Don't forget, you have Reckless Attack, so if you're not worried about being attacked back--

ASHLEY: Oh shit! I always forget about that. Can I do it or should I wait 'til the next time--

MATT: I'll let you do it--

ASHLEY: I'll wait 'til the next time.

MATT: I'll let you do it, I'll let you do it, it's fine.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay.

MATT: But keep that in mind, keep that in mind. That's one of the big tools of the barbarian.

ASHLEY: Fucking shit.

SAM: Cocked.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: There you go.

SAM: This dice.

ASHLEY: I know! I'm sorry, I like it.

TALIESIN: That one die. I know you love that die.

ASHLEY: 24.

MATT: That does hit. Go ahead and roll damage.

ASHLEY: Okay.

(laughter)

SAM: Takes six rolls to get one good one.

TALIESIN: Put a metal plate in there so it falls--

ASHLEY: 12 points of damage.

MATT: 12 points of damage.

SAM: Yay!

MATT: All right, you pull the blade out and the jagged part of the Skingorger tears through its body, scattering some of its core across the rock. It's still standing, but it's hurt real badly.

ASHLEY: Fuck you!

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

SAM: I'm up? I get more turns?

MATT: You do.

SAM: I'm going to-- where's that one that Yasha was just--

TALIESIN: Right there.

SAM: In front of the grape ape?

MATT: Yep.

LIAM: Which tree is Nott in?

SAM: I'm behind, I'm so stealthy you can't see me.

TALIESIN: I love this forest--

LAURA: Oh wow, yeah--

TALIESIN: It's just so hard to see through, it's great.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: It makes me happy.

SAM: I'm going to stealthily try to poach the one that Yasha was just hitting.

TRAVIS: You killed the mammoth! LAURA: No!

TALIESIN: Don't spoil the illusion.

LIAM: (trumpeting)

MATT: I like moving the pieces, sorry.

SAM: Actually, I fired at this one last time from the same position.

MATT: You did.

SAM: Do I have to re-hide?

MATT: If you want to have non-disadvantage--

SAM: I will bonus action, re-hide.

MATT: All right, so you'll have to move. There's enough of a bush here that you could--

LIAM: Do you have to hide if I'm adjacent?

LAURA: That is enough of a bush.

SAM: Because I have a-- yes, I do. Because I'm at disadvantage on these attacks.

MATT: That's right.

LIAM: But you get advantage if your buddy--

SAM: No, you don't get advantage, you get sneak attack damage unless you are rolling at a disadvantage.

MATT: Disadvantage does not give you sneak attack.

SAM: Yeah. So this is a single, straight roll. Oh! Fucking had to roll one.

LAURA: Fucking hell! (laughter)

MATT: So you miss and you damage yourself.

SAM: Oh, that's right!

LAURA: Oh no, Nott!

SAM: That's right. What does the-- what does it do?

LAURA: What did you do?

SAM: What does it do? What does it say?

TALIESIN: Schproing!

SAM: When you roll a one, you suffer one D6 piercing damage.

MATT: Go for it.

LAURA: Oh!

SAM: That's a six.

(laughter)

MATT: You rush, hide, dive through in the bush, turn around and fire and it just goes (impact)--

SAM: (screaming)

MATT: -- back into you. Nott, does that finish your turn?

TRAVIS: You okay there?

SAM: (screaming)

MATT: Caleb, you're up.

LIAM: All right, so begin what I was trying to do before, smash it. That is a 27 to hit.

MATT: 27 hits.

LIAM: Okay. That is a 22.

MATT: 22 points of damage. You squash that thing like the bug it is.

LIAM: For flavor, I'll say he just does it with a palm, goes (slam), and then just takes the body and chucks it into the underbrush and I'm going to--

MATT: It sprays part of you, Yasha, and then as the monkey lifts it, it (raspberries) goes up against the rest of you and you are just coated in purple.

LIAM: So when he chucks it, he just goes--

ASHLEY: I like it--

MATT: It just (blows)--

ASHLEY: Yep.

LIAM: Then he's going to King Kong over towards the group 40 feet, look over their shoulders--

MATT: You have to go around this way. There's not enough room to go--

LIAM: Sure.

MATT: (stomping) Stomping over there, you crush that element there and there is one right next to Beauregard that you can get to.

LIAM: Right. (pants) (ape pounding)

MATT: Go for it.

LIAM: That is a 17 to hit. 17, 17, 24, 30.

MATT: 13?

LIAM: 30.

MATT: 30? 30 hits, yeah, yeah.

LIAM: Oh no, I hit. 30 damage.

MATT: Oh, gotcha.

SAM: Ooh, wow.

TALIESIN: Wow.

MATT: 30 damage. That one had not been damaged yet and as you slam down both your fists, you smash into the ground and its legs go flat for a second. You pull back, thinking it's probably dead, and it slowly (cracking) gets back up.

LIAM: (growling)

MATT: Angry Caleb is angry. Finishing Caleb's go, Jester, you're up. Caduceus, you're on deck.

LAURA: Can I get to it?

MATT: You can push past this tree and try for it.

SAM: Just knock that tree over.

TRAVIS: Fuck that tree.

MATT: Make a strength check for me.

LAURA: Oh, man.

LIAM: (trumpeting)

MATT: Mammoth strength check.

SAM: (lower quality trumpeting)

LAURA: Yeah, 25.

(laughter)

SAM: They had that mammoth toking.

LAURA: Awesome!

(cheering)

MATT: You push over into this space.

LAURA: (roaring)

MATT: Pushing it back.

LIAM: This is a sacred place.

MARISHA: She's fine with it.

MATT: Yep. The tree just slams, sending all sorts of loose leaves and dust up into the air.

LAURA: Does that count because it's weirdly--

MATT: Are you attacking the hexed one or the one that he tried to smash?

LAURA: The one that, oh, is there more than one?

LIAM and MATT: There's two.

LAURA: Oh, shit.

LIAM: The one that I smooshed--

LAURA: Oh, well, I'll do the one-- I'll do the hexed one.

MATT: All right, go for it.

SAM: I'll do the hexed--

MATT: So that attack was?

LAURA: That was 16.

MATT: 16 just hits.

SAM: Ooh, nice.

LAURA: Ooh, close call. Six plus nine is 15 plus four is 19 plus seven is 26.

MATT: 26 to that one? After pushing the tree with your body, as its cracking down, you splat that one that's hexed.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Just turned to mush.

LAURA: Sorry.

MATT: Do you have another attack or just the one?

LAURA: I think it's just the one.

MATT: All righty. You move over towards the other one, just trumpet loudly. You see, in the distance, other movement.

SAM: Oh no.

MARISHA: What the fuck?

MATT: That is scattering further away. (relieved groans) They are not enjoying the presence of a fucking mammoth in the middle of the jungle. So finishing your go, Jester, that brings us to Caduceus.

TALIESIN: There's one left?

MATT: There's one left.

TALIESIN: Sacred Flame. Not even going to move, just--

LAURA: It's almost dead.

MATT: That a dexterity save?

TALIESIN: It's a, yeah, I believe so.

MATT: 17. What's your DC?

TALIESIN: 17.

MATT: It just succeeds, I'm sorry.

TALIESIN: Bugger.

MATT: They got a high dex. All right, that finishes your go? Or are you going to--

TALIESIN: Yeah. I'm going to sit there being irritated.

MATT: Okay, got it. Beau, you're up.

MARISHA: Oh.

MATT: There's a giant gorilla to one side and a wooly mammoth to the other and one heavily damaged bug in between the two of them. It's skittering through their legs, trying to not get smashed and you're just watching this.

MARISHA: Is he the only one?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: The only bug?

MATT: The only bug left.

SAM: Maybe we can befriend it.

LIAM: Is this another bug hunt, sir?

MARISHA: Yeah, I'm just going to dodge the mammoth feet and the gorilla feet and just once again take my staff and just like--

MATT: Just Whac-A-Mole it?

MARISHA: Kind of Whac-A-Mole it.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's fine, pop pop.

LIAM: Shake Weight, Shake Weight.

MARISHA: Shake Weight it. An 18 for a 28 and a natural 20.

MATT: Go ahead and roll damage.

MARISHA: For the 18? Yeah, shit, eight. For the natural 20? That's okay, 16.

MATT: How do you want to do this?

(cheering)

MARISHA: Oh goodness, what do I do with a bug? You know, I'm just going to, I'm just going to, I was churning butter, I'm just going to keep churning that butter, you know, and just going to--

MATT: It's rushing around, it's escaping through the mammoth's legs and the monkey goes and slams towards the ground and it just avoids it--

LAURA: Stop, Beau.

MATT: You rush forward and take the-- yeah, don't, you're--

LIAM: That's okay, that's okay, that's okay.

MATT: Learn from Sam's gif mistakes last campaign.

LAURA: No, stop, stop!

(laughter)

MATT: You watch and wait for a moment and you take your staff and just pin it to the ground and it can't move. As it's there, you just lean your weight into it and something snaps. It pushes through the armor and it just goes (squeaks) limp on the ground, no longer moving.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's dead.

TRAVIS: Nice.

(laughter)

MATT: All righty.

SAM: Wow.

TRAVIS: Before I un-restrain myself, I feel like we should pass these out.

SAM: Yes.

TRAVIS: Who wants a healing potion?

MARISHA: I'll take one.

SAM: I'll take one.

TRAVIS: Okay. Who wants the big one?

SAM: Caleb.

TRAVIS: There you go. Ah! I'll hold the monkey's for a minute.

TALIESIN: If everybody likes, I can take 10 minutes and just help everybody out. Or at least a few of us out.

SAM: Yashies?

ASHLEY: I'm okay.

LAURA: Yeah, I'll--

TALIESIN: I'll--

TALIESIN: You take one.

LAURA: I guess I'll drop my Polymorph.

SAM: Beau-y?

LAURA: It lasts for an hour.

SAM: Wait, wait, Caleb comes up to-- Capeleb comes up to the mammoth and just sort of like you're petting a horse only (pants) and then swings up and plants himself up on top.

LAURA: You're pretty big. You're going to ride on top of the mammoth?

MATT: Are you staying a mammoth?

LIAM: (panting)

LAURA: (trumpeting) No, I drop my form.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: Okay, make a dexterity saving throw.

SAM: Insta-death.

TALIESIN: Oh!

LAURA: Ooh.

LIAM: Can I try to plant two feet and not squish?

MATT: If she didn't roll a one, I'd say yes. So as you leap onto the mammoth, it instantly shrinks, like instantly (shrinking) and there's a moment, in a very cartoon physics way, where you're just suspended about 10 feet in the air before (crashing) and you, like, "Shit!" and then (slam). Go ahead and roll 2d6 for me, Caleb.

TRAVIS: Inside the gorilla's erection.

LIAM: Six.

MATT: You take six points of bludgeoning damage and are pinned beneath a giant gorilla.

LIAM: (panting)

LAURA: (groaning)

LIAM: Stands up and grabs her by the ankle.

LAURA: Ow!

(laughter)

MARISHA: Capeleb!

LAURA: Caleb!

SAM: Capeleb.

LAURA: Caleb.

MARISHA: Let her go!

LIAM: (groaning)

LAURA: Oh man.

SAM: I'm going to run over to Yasha and--

LAURA: I got to heal.

SAM: Try to get my flask out of her.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: Going to try to swipe my flask back.

ASHLEY: You're going to try to swipe it, you're not even going to, you're going to try to sneak it?

SAM: I'm going to try to sneak it.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: All right, go ahead and make a sleight of hand check.

SAM: Disadvantage.

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: C'mon, Yash.

ASHLEY: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.

SAM: Disadvantage.

LAURA: Oh, never mind.

MARISHA: Hey! What? What?

TALIESIN: I'm doing everyone but you.

ASHLEY: What'd you roll?

SAM: Technically, it's a 23.

MATT: Yeah, with Reliable Talent.

ASHLEY: I rolled a natural 20.

ALL: Oh!

MATT: What's the total on it?

ASHLEY: What's the total? 23.

MARISHA: (gasping)

MATT: Holy shit, you actually catch Nott! You like, after everyone's taken a moment, and you're like, the blood's on you and you're wiping it a bit and you walk over and you just take, everyone's settling down for a minute and you feel this tug and you glance behind you and Nott is pulling the flask--

ASHLEY: I'm just going to slap her without even looking.

MATT: Tsh.

SAM: Ah!

ASHLEY: What are you doing?!

SAM: (yelling)

TALIESIN: 28.

SAM: I couldn't-- I can't shoot straight without the booze. I wasn't shooting straight.

ASHLEY: What are you talking about? You shot just fine.

SAM: No, I missed twice.

LAURA: It's true, I saw her shoot herself in the eyeball.

SAM: I shot myself in the eyeball.

ASHLEY: You gave me this flask. Do you really want me to keep it or do you want to take it?

SAM: I don't know anymore.

LAURA: Don't take it, Nott.

ASHLEY: I'll hold on to it for, let's-- how about I hold on to it until we get to Caduceus' destination?

SAM: All right.

TRAVIS: Can I try to un-restrain myself, please?

MATT: Yes. After a moment, you manage to pull free of the hardened, wax-like cocoon substance.

TRAVIS: There's so much happening right now.

MARISHA: No, don't help him, don't help him.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Have I done a Prayer of Healing by this point?

MATT: That takes how long to cast?

TALIESIN: 10 minutes.

MATT: 10 minutes? If you guys are taking 10 minutes here, then yeah, you can go ahead and cast it.

TALIESIN: Everybody except for Caleb, because you're still a monkey--

LAURA: Are we going to take a short rest?

TALIESIN: No, just a 10 minute, just to-- You're still a monkey, so I'm not healing you.

MATT: You can take a short rest if you want to.

LAURA: Let's take a short rest.

MARISHA: Yeah, all right.

TALIESIN: Gets 26 points of healing.

MATT: So everyone except for Caleb, unless you want to drop your monkey form. Caleb.

LIAM: I'm deciding that now.

MATT: Because either you can keep it--

LIAM: Because I'm fucked up, Caleb is fucked up, but monkey is not.

TALIESIN: I was going to say. Because if you drop it, then I'll just--

MATT: How long does the monkey last?

LIAM: Just an hour, so I got to drop it.

MATT: So if you're taking a short rest, you might as well.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I might as well.

MATT: All right, so you can take the healing.

SAM: Do we all get healing?

TALIESIN: No, we can only use six, so.

ASHLEY: I don't need it.

SAM: I don't need it.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Who doesn't need it more?

SAM: I don't need it.

TALIESIN: Oh, he doesn't need it at all, so. Sam doesn't need it, so.

SAM: The only damage I took was self-inflicted six points of damage.

MATT: That's true. Short rest.

TALIESIN: Did Nott handle poison--

MATT: You're still poisoned, yeah.

TALIESIN: Oh, I think I can do something about that, too.

MATT: Okay, so you guys can use your hit die to go ahead and heal up naturally during the short rest, if you'd like.

TALIESIN: Oh, then, I already did it--

LAURA: I know.

TALIESIN: I don't care.

MATT: You've already cast the spell, it's fine.

TALIESIN: What fixes poison?

MATT: Lesser Restoration.

TALIESIN: I'm going to give you a quick Lesser Restoration. Anybody else poisoned?

MATT: I don't think so. The only other person who was in danger of it is immune because monks.

TALIESIN: So no more poison.

SAM: Thank you.

TALIESIN: Oh, it's no problem, you're welcome.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: I love this map. Can we build a house here?

MATT: If you want to.

TRAVIS: Just a latticework of bridges. Swiss Family Robinson--

MATT: So the creatures are scattered about. Broken, sliced, pulled apart, the purple ichor scattered across the jungle floor. The large broken tree that's now on its side, the dust settled that was kicked up from its impact.

TALIESIN: Well, that was a valuable lesson.

SAM: What was that lesson?

TALIESIN: Don't poke big things if you don't know what they are.

TRAVIS: I don't know if I've learned that lesson.

TALIESIN: I know.

TRAVIS: Which, in the heyday, what direction were we heading?

TALIESIN: That way. That way.

(laughter)

LIAM: Caleb remembers.

MATT: Yeah, you guys know the direction you were traveling.

TRAVIS: Do we need to rest for a moment? Are we good to--

MATT: You just took a short rest. So about an hour of downtime to--

MARISHA: Nailed it.

TRAVIS: Thank you.

MATT: Gathering your shit. Is there anything you want to do during the short rest?

LAURA: I will carve a little dick into the tree that I knocked over as a mammoth.

MATT: You got it. This one equal, if not better, than the one you left earlier in the jungle. You're getting good at these dicks.

LAURA: You know.

LIAM: Caleb'll use Arcane Recovery.

MATT: Okay, so you get your spell back. All righty. After taking an hour of downtime to rest up and sit and think about whatever the hell you're doing in the middle of this weird expanse and these creatures you stumbled past, what do you guys want to do?

TALIESIN: I'm done meditating, I'm ready to move on.

SAM: We could meditate.

TALIESIN: We just did.

LAURA: We just took, like, an hour, so.

MATT: Can make a meditation part of the short rest that--

MARISHA: Do you want to meditate?

SAM: I'd like to meditate.

LAURA: Oh, that's great.

MARISHA: Yeah, I'll join in a meditation.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Om. Om.

MARISHA: Don't, you don't have to do that.

SAM: Om!

MARISHA: No no no, just listen to the environment.

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: Let it flow through you.

SAM: Oh.

MARISHA: Yes.

SAM: You're joining us?

TRAVIS: Well, yeah.

SAM: All right.

TRAVIS: (deep breathing)

MATT: So here recovering, sore, you all slowly make your way through an impromptu guided meditation for the better part of an hour in the middle of the jungle on the outskirts of the Whitedawn Lagoon.

LAURA: I'm just going to dance around while I'm meditating.

MATT: That is a form of meditation for some. Dance therapy.

LIAM: Frumpkin is picking nits out of Fjord's hair as he meditates.

MATT: You got it.

LIAM: All the nits, so many nits.

MATT: It's a lot of nits. All righty, as the rest is done, you guys continue in the direction.

TALIESIN: Get up and we move.

MATT: Okay, same, same order?

MARISHA: Sure.

MATT: As before?

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: Oy vey.

MATT: Caduceus and Fjord at the front, Beau and was it Caleb?

LAURA: Was that clean dirt insect poop?

MATT: You don't know. You can inspect the insects or inspect the space around it if you wanted to try and figure it out.

TRAVIS: Do you want to look inside one of the opened up pale scorpion things? Simple biology, just take a look.

LAURA: At their poop?

TRAVIS: Yeah, just open up the guts, look in the stomach sac.

TALIESIN: They probably have poison sacs.

LAURA: Ooh! Nott, you should take some of those poison sacs inside of them.

SAM: They do? Okay.

LAURA: Yeah, I'm going to help get those out because I'm good at medicine.

SAM: Oh, all right.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and roll a medicine and a nature check.

LAURA: Both of them?

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: Medicine, 27. Nature, 12.

MATT: Okay. You have no idea if these creatures are indigenous to here or not, they're odd. The one thing that catches your eye is their coloration and physicality doesn't seem to fit this environment. It doesn't make sense for a creature like this to live in a dense part of a jungle. With your medicine check, you do find that there are actually two glands on the inside of its body, separate chemicals, that, when combined, create that caustic, wax-like substance. Separately, they're just--

TALIESIN: Inert.

MATT: Yeah, inert, nasty, viscous, oil-like liquids. One's a deep bluish color, the other one is clear. When they're put together, it becomes like a white foam that then burns and solidifies into this cocoon-like wax.

LAURA: I'm going to get them in vials.

MATT: Okay. You have enough for probably one application.

SAM: It's acute?

MATT: Kind of, yeah, and when I say, it foams up. Both of them combined can probably affect--

LAURA: Acidic wax.

MATT: Acidic wax, you could say, compound, acidic wax compound.

LIAM: That's some good pranking there.

LAURA: Well, I gave it to Nott. But there's plenty of other ones.

MATT: If you want to try it again.

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: All right, go ahead and roll another medicine check.

LAURA: That didn't count, that slipped out of my hand.

LIAM: That's kind of what you do with a die.

LAURA: No, but you know what I mean. It has to be an intentional roll. 20.

MATT: 20?

MARISHA: (laughter)

LAURA: You know what I mean!

MATT: I'll say you just barely manage to pull another set of these glands from one of the other corpses without them accidentally touching and combining and setting off a reaction.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah.

MATT: A lot of these bodies have been damaged heavily from the battle and there's only maybe one or two others that even are viably intact to withdraw from, but you barely succeeded in not hurting yourself in this process.

LAURA: Okay. That's all, I'm done.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: We're off?

TALIESIN: We're off.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Lead the way.

MATT: You push closer to the center of this jungle region for the next couple hours or so. Those patches of wax and discolored fungus begin to fade as you move on, apparently moving past the region that nested these creatures at the moment, but you do occasionally still come across, rarely, another pile of fresh, clean moved earth, vibrant red, standing out against the environment. Eventually, as the sky begin to turn slightly orange as the day begins to progress a little later on, as the hours continue by, you can see just the faint hint of light refracting off of a mirror? Water. And the patches of jungle and the elements of faint fungus that remain begin to give way to a clearing that houses a small lake. An oasis pool, if you will, of extremely clear water that's fostering all manner of fish under the surface. The thin shore is dotted with rocks, scattered brush atop the rich, red earth that is exposed, very much like what you encountered before, but without the heavy roots and jungle undergrowth, it is just a bright red shore along the outside of this lake. Beautiful rock carvings of various animals and creatures align the edges of this lake like a statue garden of all these beautiful beasts and people just, in this decorative sense, surrounding this lake. A menagerie of beautiful art enshrining this space as the Court of Beasts. Jungle deer, bears, other jungle cats, massive lizards, all sorts of creatures, all immortalized in these sculptures.

LAURA: Does it look like they're actually sculptures or do they look like creatures that have been turned to stone?

MATT: You can walk up to one if you want to inspect. Make an investigation check.

LAURA: What a pretty statue. MATT: Natural one? It looks like a pretty well-carved statue, you can't really tell. But you do, as you guys walk toward the edge of the treeline here, you can see along the western bank-- which is not entirely on the opposite side, but a little further away around the northern curvature of the lakeside-- you can see a few odd, broken, heavy rocks that push away from the rest of the smooth edges of the water, like a hillside with red rock that has emerged. You can see scattered slivers of well-carved statues that sit around an entrance of a cave like a cathedral entrance with these statues set to walk through and into. This raised bank is the mouth of a cavern that, just beyond where the water is, in the shadow, descends deep into the earth on that side. What would you guys like to do?

LAURA: What do we do?

SAM: Is this the place?

TALIESIN: I'm going to touch the water, smell it.

MATT: It's very clear, very clean.

TALIESIN: Well, let's go.

TRAVIS: In the water?

TALIESIN: No. No, not yet. We're going to go to the cave.

MARISHA: Not yet?

LAURA: Splash splash splash splash splash splash.

MATT: (laughs) The fish scatter.

LAURA: It's really pretty water, though, hm?

TALIESIN: It's beautiful.

TRAVIS: We could always check the water.

SAM: For traps?

TRAVIS: I could just walk down there and see what's--

TALIESIN: I mean, I'm at the water.

TRAVIS: I actually meant down there.

TALIESIN: I don't think there's anything down there.

MATT: Up to you.

LAURA: Can you see? Can we see the bottom? It's real clear.

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: I'll join you in that.

MATT: The two of you can do that individually.

TALIESIN: 18.

MATT: That's cocked.

TALIESIN: Fair.

LAURA: 17.

MATT: Okay. It is very clear. You can't make out a lot of detail with just the light that's refracting off the surface, but you can see there is a beautiful little forest of lake plants and just little life ecosystems beneath, where all the fish swim through and underneath. There's no structure or designs of anything under there that catches your attention, if that's what you're looking for, just a beautiful, clear lake. Maybe about 150, 200 feet across.

TALIESIN: Welcome to the Court of Beasts. Let's head to the cave.

TRAVIS: All right, sure.

LIAM: I'll say just for the heck of it, while they were doing that inspection, that Caleb hit himself with some Fortune's Favor.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

TRAVIS: As we're walking, these statues of these beasts, do they have a base or platform or do they seem to be perfectly carved animals on the earth?

MATT: I mean, some of them are sunken in a bit to the ground, but they don't have a set base or a solid platform or dais, they're just sculptures set in the earth.

TRAVIS: Give it a look. See if they're actually sculptures.

MARISHA: I think that's a good call.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

MARISHA: You helping me out?

TRAVIS: Yep.

MARISHA: All right.

LAURA: Oh, I already checked it out, they're fine.

MATT: Yeah. I will say because she's already checked independently, this will be independent check as opposed to an aided one. So just roll one.

LIAM: Start over.

MARISHA: 10.

MATT: 10.

MARISHA: Great.

MATT: I mean, they're statues, they're well carved. As you do walk along, though, you do see broken bits of them, you see parts. Some of them are older, apparently, that have been chipped off. You see a broken hand or a head of a creature that's cracked and partially sunken into some of the fresh earth. You begin to see the beast idols intertwined now with carved idols of humanoid people the further you get to the cave. You see some are adorned in travel attire, some in battle attire, some are captured in a moment of heroic struggle, some are visibly worn, many are kept well enough to appear polished and new, it's a variety.

LIAM: One minor question. You said all different kinds of animals that we'd recognize mixed in. Are there any that are strange, out of the ordinary type animals we've never seen before?

MATT: None that are as alien as the ones that you currently encountered or recently encountered. A lot of them are-- a lot of them wouldn't be jungle beasts, necessarily. You see a large elk and you see one across the way that looks like a giant horned oxen that you've never seen in your life. That wouldn't be in a jungle.

MATT: But it is a menagerie.

TRAVIS: Caduceus, as we're walking over to the cave, do you mind if I swim alongside you?

TALIESIN: Be careful not to drink the water.

TRAVIS: Right, sure.

SAM: Why? Do you think--

TALIESIN: Oh. Because it's for the beasts.

TRAVIS: Oh, no, that was entirely too ominous. I don't need to swim, it's okay. (laughter) Never mind.

TALIESIN: Seemed so happy to poke the--

TRAVIS: Do you think that perhaps these animals drank of the water and turned to stone?

TALIESIN: I don't know.

SAM: Do you want to find out?

TALIESIN: I don't think so.

TRAVIS: Not particularly.

SAM: No, I mean, like--

TALIESIN: I don't think so.

SAM: I've got some stuff that I could try to use.

TRAVIS: What do you mean?

SAM: I bought these vials. Willowshade oil.

LAURA: What's it do?

SAM: You can un-petrify someone.

TALIESIN: (chuckling)

SAM: Oh, but maybe not.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: What does the surgeon general's warning label say?

SAM: I forgot. It has to-- it's been petrified for the last minute. It has to be recently petrified.

MATT: It's got to be a rapid application.

SAM: Never mind.

TRAVIS: It's all right.

LAURA: Plus, they're not petrified. These things are just really cool statues.

SAM: You're right.

TALIESIN: There's nothing-- There's no statues poised in fear or anything or--

MATT: There's a couple.

MARISHA: Oh.

MATT: The further you walk, you see a few more. And that ominous sense begins to come over you as you begin to see some of these arrayed in positions of people trying to possibly defend themselves as groups.

MARISHA: Wait, people?

LAURA: Yeah, there are people now.

MATT: A handful of people you've started to find and they're getting more and more numerous the closer to the cave you get.

TRAVIS: I don't know that this would ever come in handy, but I'm going to cast Water Breathing on everyone in the party for 24 hours.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: So you can all breathe underwater just in case you find the need to dive under the waves of the lake.

MARISHA: So we're in the cave.

MATT: You're not in the cave, you're walking towards it along the northern bank to the western side--

TALIESIN: This is getting odd.

SAM: Do you have to go through the water?

LAURA: No.

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: Just in case it's a visual thing and water can help refract, I don't know.

TALIESIN: I want to start inspecting these people.

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: I am going to aid myself because this is giving me the heebie jeebies. Ooh, 29.

MATT: 29.

TALIESIN: Actually, it's--

SAM: 72.

TALIESIN: 30.

MATT: Okay. You begin glancing past and what first you thought were just statues, you begin to look towards some of these people in terms of the faces, the expressions, beautifully captured, these moments of intensity, moments of anger, moments of fear, it's a wide variety of emotions, but they're intricately carved. There's one off towards the shore that you look over, right near the water's edge, you see two taller figures that strike a familiar sight, both firbolg captured in an emotional moment of fear. The pair, female and older, they indeed resemble your mother, Constance, and your aunt, Corrin. About 15 feet from them, another pair of figures captured in stone resemble your sister, Calliope, her face resolute and her body fallen at an odd, stiff angle, while the other resembles your father, Cornelius, seeming to try and pull her from the dirt like a heavy chunk of a tree, he himself captured in stone.

LIAM: Caduceus?

TALIESIN: We have to be very careful. This is, these are my people.

LAURA: Do you, is this, they were petrified?

TALIESIN: Let's back up, let's--

MARISHA: What do you mean?

TALIESIN: I'm going to slowly start pushing everyone back into the treeline.

MATT: Okay. As you take one step back and give everyone the point, you hear from the treeline (heavy footfalls). Heavy sounds, earthy impacts of dirt begin to find your ears. You glance towards the lifted shore where the treeline stands and you see some deranged beast of some kind emerging from the shadowy edge. The massive, swollen bull-like creature begins to pick up speed towards you, its thundering hooves, its body a slightly-pulling tapestry of metallic plates where large spines of darkened metal emerge between them, its eyes glowing angry as between where its limbs meet its body, little plumes of green fume emerge and drift around it as it begins to rush towards you. And that's where we're going to pick up next week.

(groaning)

SAM: Your family?

MARISHA: Oh shit.

TALIESIN: It's not everybody, but it's a lot.

TRAVIS: Does Greater Restoration--

LAURA: Greater Restoration undoes petrification.

MATT: It does.

TRAVIS: To how many people?

MATT and MARISHA: To one.

MARISHA: One at a time.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Cool.

SAM: Oh no.

LAURA: Well, we have to--

TALIESIN: And that burns a big spell.

MARISHA: 5th-level, right?

TRAVIS: And then we have to preserve the statues, right?

TALIESIN: We just have to fight somewhere else than here.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

TALIESIN: How fast can we-- well, we'll find out how--

MARISHA: Is this like a minotaur? What is it?

MATT: It is a massive-looking bull creature, larger than any bull you've ever seen, its body swollen and muscular, metal-plated, in a colossus-type way, but jagged and not meeting properly and these giant spines protruding from it.

LAURA: So the metal plates are not natural on it? I guess we'll find out--

MATT: You don't know.

MARISHA: Is it quadrupedal or bipedal?

MATT: Quadrupedal.

LAURA: Oh my gosh.

MATT: Rushing towards you immediately at about maybe 60 or so feet from you.

LIAM: It has to stand up.

MATT: So we'll pick up from there next week.

LAURA: How far from the shore are we?

MATT: We'll figure that out next week.

LAURA: (yelling)

MATT: You guys are pretty close to the shore and just began to move away when you heard this and turned and saw it, so.

MARISHA: But we can't destroy them. The people.

SAM: Sorry, you okay?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Oh yeah, it'd be real bad to let this thing get near any of these, wouldn't it?

TRAVIS: Navy SEAL that shit.

LIAM: Put them back together.

SAM: Complicated battle ahead.What a reason to tune in!

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Motherfucker.

MATT: There's a reason they hadn't gotten back to you or been home in a while.

LAURA: Buddy. Caduceus.

TALIESIN: I know, I know.

MATT: I'm sorry, buddy.

ASHLEY: You knew something was going on.

TALIESIN: I knew something was going on.

TRAVIS: Okay. (grunts)

MATT: All right! Well, we'll pick this up next Thursday.

ASHLEY: Wowzers.

MATT: In the meantime, have a wonderful week, guys. Stay tuned tomorrow at 7:00pm on our Twitch channel to watch live our Monsterhearts one-shot with these two lovely people with two other very lovely people.

TALIESIN: It was so fun.

MARISHA: So angsty.

MATT: So angsty, so--

MARISHA: So moody.

MATT: So teen awkward, horny--

TALIESIN: We're so awkward--

MATT: It's going to be hilarious.

MARISHA: Get some chocolates, get a pizza. Curl up on the couch. Transport yourself back to the '90s. It'll be great.

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: But, nevertheless, have a wonderful week, we love you very much, and is it Thursday yet? Good night, guys.

(dramatic music)

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