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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show Edit

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!

TRAVIS: We play Dungeons & Dragons!

MARISHA: Woof, woof!

SAM: It's Arsenio now?

TRAVIS: Woof, woof, woof. '92 in the house!

MATT: You were three. Anyway, before we get into tonight's session, we do have a few announcements, beginning with our fantastic sponsors of campaign two, and hopefully to infinity, D&D Beyond! Sam?

SAM: D&D Beyond! Everybody, as all of you already know, before I became an actor, I was a professional ventriloquist.

TRAVIS: What is on your arm?

SAM: Today, I thought I'd use the skills developed in my former life to do a little bit of an act that I wrote for D&D Beyond. I'd like you to meet Yondi, the D&D Beyond alpaca! I tried to rehearse this bit, but Liam walked in on me, so I stopped. I've never rehearsed this bit before. Okay. (clears throat) Oh Yondi, D&D Beyond is a great company, isn't it? (high-pitched voice) "They're very charitable!" Shit. This is going to not be good. "They're very charitable; they're nice to the dregs of society." Oh? Why do you say that? "They're nice to you, aren't they?" Ooh.

TRAVIS: Oh, Yondi!

SAM: Well, come on, Yondi, people think I'm very funny! "I think you're a douchebag." You apologize right now! "Okay, I'm sorry you're a douchebag." This gag is already making me sick to my stomach. "Oh yeah? Imagine if you had a hand up your ass!" I've got pages of this stuff, guys! Pages of this stuff!

LAURA: Did you look up ventriloquist jokes online?

SAM: Nope. Maybe, maybe. Let's talk about D&D Beyond, okay, Yondi? "Okay. People say using D&D Beyond makes you a smarter player." Oh yeah, I use it! "Oh, then people must be wrong." Okay. A couple more, a couple more.

TRAVIS: Best of show flashes.

SAM: Yondi, D&D Beyond helps you do math! Check it out, what's six plus two damage? "77." No, that's way too much. "One." That's way too little. "You're hard to please." Oh, Yondi, please. You're not making Travis laugh at all. He doesn't find this amusing at all. "Oh, figures. Tra--" (laughs) Fucking shit!

MARISHA: You're committed! Do it!

TRAVIS: Get it out, get it out!

SAM: "Figures. You know how to make Travis laugh on a Thursday night?" How? "Tell him a joke on Monday!" Because he's dumb!

MARISHA: What?!

SAM: I've had enough. I really just need to tell people where to sign up for D&D; Beyond. "No, what you really need is a breath mint." Oh boy.

TRAVIS: Are you sweating?

SAM: I think I have to go poop.

(laughter)

SAM: All right, guys, sign up today at D&D; Beyond! "And report Sam Riegel to PuppetAbuse.org!" Thank you, Yondi, thank you.

LAURA: That was so bad!

TRAVIS: Wow, Yondi. Never come back. Yondi, never come back.

TALIESIN: There's a lot to un-alpaca there.

TRAVIS: Oh, Taliesin, no!

LIAM: Tune in next week, when Sam Riegel will stick his dick into a woodchipper!

TRAVIS: Man.

MATT: This escalation is getting dangerous.

SAM: I just lost so many votes.

LAURA: You did. You really did.

TRAVIS: Presidency is in jeopardy.

MATT: You got a week to make it up. Thank you, Sam. I'm sorry, D&D Beyond.

TALIESIN: Ventriloquist humor. We went there.

LIAM: Liam O'Brien for change you can believe in.

MATT: Man, I don't know how to follow that.

LIAM: I don't think you do. I think we come back next week.

MATT: I think that's it, yeah.

TALIESIN: That was a lot.

SAM: I skipped several jokes.

MATT: Thank you, you merciful man!

TALIESIN: And you just gained several votes. Well done!

MATT: There you go. We are excited to announce that Critical Role will now be using the official D&D Beyond Twitch extension starting this week. It is now available to view while watching Critical Role live, in a browser only, however. All you have to do is mouse over the screen to see the information from each character. To get a detailed look at how the extension works, please go to critrole.com for information on how to get that all set up. It has live updates from their devices throughout the show, so don't mess it up, guys.

TRAVIS: Don't yell at us if we get stuff wrong.

LIAM: No promises.

TALIESIN: Join us.

SAM: Guys, the inside of that alpaca stinks.

TALIESIN: Why did you smell the inside of the alpaca?

SAM: I can smell my hands!

LAURA: Ew, gross! Go wash your hands!

TRAVIS: What does it taste like? Get your tongue out and taste the tip of your finger! Do it now! Yes!

LIAM: Maybe you can drink out of its ass at the next live show.

MATT: Travis, I believe you have an announcement.

TRAVIS: I'm going to be quitting the show.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Wow. (gibbering) Guys, we are mere days away from our Kickstarter launch of our very first animated special! My god, three days away. We thought it'd be cool to share some information about the special with you right now. Little sneak peek. First, the title. We are calling it The Legend of Vox Machina. It is in canon, and it takes place before our streaming game started. All of our characters will be right around level seven.

LIAM: And alive.

TRAVIS: There will be original storyline, and everybody's going to die. Wait, no, I wasn't supposed to say that part. Our big launch is this Monday, March 4th. We are so incredibly humbled by all of the love that you've shown us so far. Everything we've seen on social media is amazing. You're echoing everything that we've been wanting for the past two and a half years. We can't bring this animated venture, The Legend of Vox Machina, to life without you. Please stay tuned to our social media accounts and our website for more information on the big launch that's coming on Monday!

MARISHA: Monday, Monday, Monday.

TRAVIS: I'm a little excited. I have trouble containing myself when it comes to animation. That's it.

MATT: Thank you, Travis. Need an alpaca to finish up?

TRAVIS: I might, I might. Do you have any other puppet farm animals that you haven't abused yet?

SAM: (high-pitched voice) I don't! (normal voice) Oh, that's Nott's voice.

MATT: On that note, I think we are thankfully done with our announcements tonight. With that, I think it's time for us to jump into tonight's episode of Critical Role.

[water bubbling] [thunder] [explosion] (chanting) Role! Critical! Role! [dramatic Critical Role theme] LAURA: Roll the dice! (singing) The adventure begins, they were always beside you, your nerdy best friends, and the DM to guide you. And they rise from the flames for the battles ahead. Villains beware 'cause you're about to be dead. ASHLEY: (singing) 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! (chanting) Role! Critical! Role! ASHLEY and LAURA: (singing) Can you answer the call? Diggin' deep in your soul as the legend unfolds. Now it's your turn to roll! [fire burning]

Part I Edit

MATT: Welcome back. Last we left off, Mighty Nein had been heading east, absconding from the Empire to pursue the threads that lead towards the kidnapped husband of Nott in her former life. Gathering your materials, following the signs that this burrowing incursion into Felderwin by the Kryn Dynasty had headed beneath the ground and due east, you went through these tunnels, encountered a few challenges, and then emerged in the eastern wastes of Xhorhas. A few conflicts later, almost being hunted down by a roc, you made a friend who was a bugbear. He led you to the City of Beasts, Asarius. There, you took on a few more monstrous forms, visually, and began to note the brewing battlements and army that seems to be preparing itself for future incoming conflict with the Empire against the Ashkeeper Peaks and beyond. You saw a possible means of traversing quicker to the east in the way of the moorbounders. You decided to work out a transaction with Zorth, the goblin purveyor of these, and got a discount by aiding him with some sort of unhappy scenario happening in the breeding caves beneath his establishment. There, you did battle with a number of fiendish entities and completed your quest. Upon inquiring about what more information there could be, or at least making a small name for yourself as taskmasters, you were given towards Lady Zethris Oleos, one of the apparently more official Kryn within Asarius. The investigators extraordinaire over here, Nott and Jester, were given two possible tasks, which they could pursue with monetary compensation or possibly favor with some of the powerful entities, including the Bright Queen, that exist in the capital of Ghor Dranas. We left off with you leaving the city of Asarius to take a break in the wilds in the outskirts of the city. That's where we begin tonight. As you guys prepare to rest for the night, is there anything you want to do or prepare, or anything in particular? Or are we going to take a night's sleep and then pick up in the morning?

TRAVIS: I don't like the way you said that. It was far too casual. What's on the other side of this, Matt? Tell us now.

MATT: As you're sleeping--

TRAVIS: (yelling gibberish)

LAURA: Somebody should keep watch, right?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'll take first watch.

LIAM: I will put up the dome and the silver wire and leave my cat on top of the dome.

MATT: Most of you get a rest. Fjord, you have first watch. Roll a perception check for me.

TRAVIS: Not a problem. 13.

LAURA: That's better than it's been.

TRAVIS: Wow. Why are you bringing up old shit?

MATT: First watch, as you begin paying attention to the surrounding darkness of the sunless wastes, nothing occurs. You arrive nice and safe. You do see the shifting firelight of the dozens of torches being carried through the front lines of this army. You do see some now moving eastward, sections of that massive crew of soldiers and warbeasts. Elements of that seem to be moving east-- or, westward from this position. No other issues during your rest, so you complete your evening's sleep.

TRAVIS: I'll relay it to whoever takes my spot.

MATT: Whoever's taking next watch?

TALIESIN: I'll take next.

MATT: Roll a perception check for me.

TALIESIN: 11.

MATT: Okay. As you keep an eye over the surrounding shadows and the faint elements of softened moonlight that seems to punch through elements of the clouds passing overhead and gently highlight the shapes in the distant horizon across these wastes, nothing seems to catch your attention. Though the rain has somewhat stopped for the evening, and there's a bit of calm and silence, which is comfortable and preferable for you at this juncture.

TALIESIN: Yep.

MATT: Fjord.

TRAVIS: Oh, shit. Fuck!

MARISHA: It's been some time!

SAM: (whispers) Wet dreams!

MATT: Dry, empty plains. Flat, open, featureless. An endless horizon of empty earth. Beneath you, something shifts. You look down, your feet standing above a spring, small and trickling, burbling up from the ground below. The waters spew forth and begin to spread, rapidly drowning this endless expanse around you in shifting waves. The level of the water goes beyond your nose, and you struggle to try to swim with it, but find your feet anchored to the ground beneath you. The surface escapes you upward, leaving you in freezing depths, fathoms below. "Watching." The shadowed shape of an ever-twisting serpent form writhes in cages around you in all directions. "Return." A single, massive, yellow serpent eye appears before you. Then another. Big and small. Your entire periphery becomes dozens and dozens of different-sized yellow eyes, single-slitted, staring directly at you. "Reward." The shaded tendrils of Uk'otoa begin to close in around you, binding you in a cocoon of cold, scaled flesh. "Wonder." The tendrils knot and flex, crushing your body slowly. The pain is immeasurable. Your vision darkens, and your body begins bleeding as you feel everything compress the life from you. "Punish." A final squeeze sends the last breath from your lungs in a muffled scream. You shoot awake, vomiting onto the ground next to you. Caduceus, you see this, as suddenly he shoots up. You look down, eyes blinking, to see foam and briny seawater now slowly soaking into the hard-packed ground.

TALIESIN: Mr. Fjord, are you all right?

TRAVIS: (spitting) Yeah, just another dream.

TALIESIN: Would you characterize this as a positive encouragement, or perhaps a more negative reinforcement?

TRAVIS: I think more the latter. I don't feel like my favor with old Uk'otoa is as choice as it once was.

TALIESIN: Why do you think it's angry with you?

TRAVIS: You remember I told you there were words that were repeated through these visions?

TALIESIN: No, but sure.

TRAVIS: Right. I tell him about the four words. Given that, there were two new words. Three, maybe. I don't know. I'll have to go back and watch it on VOD.

TALIESIN: I think the gods and goddesses of Twitter will remind you of all those words, within minutes.

TRAVIS: If only someone would draw it. It was laced with a threat.

TALIESIN: A threat?

TRAVIS: I'm supposed to be helping it to be released, right? Freed upon the world. I have decided that that's not the best course of action. In my dream, it saw fit to crush me.

TALIESIN: Well, how do you feel, now that you're not dreaming anymore?

TRAVIS: Better.

TALIESIN: Well, that's good.

TRAVIS: Do you ever feel like you're not going to wake up from a dream when you're in it?

TALIESIN: Yeah, but here you are. I'm sure it would put greater strain and stress against you for not following its wishes if it could, but it didn't.

TRAVIS: What if it can?

TALIESIN: Why hasn't it?

TRAVIS: I don't know. One thing I am sure of, though: it feels stronger. It feels more present, closer.

TALIESIN: Well, I'm proud of you for maintaining your sense of self through all this. It's difficult sometimes when one is pulled by things greater than ourselves.

TRAVIS: You said you commune with the Mother.

TALIESIN: I do.

TRAVIS: Is it a two-way thing, or are you just putting yourself out there and seeing what comes back?

TALIESIN: Very much a two-way thing. There's no way-- nature isn't separate. We're part of it. We communicate with the world every day, with every breath. Everything we do is our declaration of our love, adoration, or our denial of it.

TRAVIS: Do you think she cares about the affairs of something like this?

TALIESIN: Very much so. Without a doubt. I mean, I'm here.

TRAVIS: I'm getting the feeling that, maybe, if I do nothing, like any kind of disease, it might get worse. Maybe I should start thinking about a counteragent.

TALIESIN: Is that what you want?

TRAVIS: Maybe. My dreams are one thing, right? I kick some dirt on the vomit and spittle. That shit is--

TALIESIN: It looks uncomfortable.

TRAVIS: It's real. So I don't know.

TALIESIN: I think it's worth thinking about. I think there will come a day where you really will have to make that choice. We'll help you with that choice, whatever it ends up being. I do think you're on a path; and I don't necessarily think it's the path of just being a servant to some creature. I'm very impressed, though.

TRAVIS: Thanks.

TALIESIN: I'll cook something if you need to put that in-- a lot came out of you.

TRAVIS: Yeah. I'll be fine. I'm just going to crash back out, if you don't mind.

TALIESIN: No, no problem. I may have to tell the others in the morning, just for safety's sake.

TRAVIS: Okay.

TALIESIN: Everybody is going to take care of you. It's going to be all right.

TRAVIS: I turn over and try to go back to sleep.

MATT: The rest of the evening is relatively uneventful. A full night's rest is achieved by the party, as restless as you may have been through most of it, Fjord. You all come to consciousness in a colder morning than the ones you had previously endured out here. It seems in the wake of the recent rains, you see a gentle frost that's beginning to coat the nearby horizon in a sprinkle of white shards of ice. As soon as the dome fades, you can see your breath emanate and dissipate into the atmosphere around you with each exhale. You find yourselves bundling up a bit.

TRAVIS: Can I ask, as the morning comes, am I sore? Is there any bruising, or--?

MATT: Checking yourself, there's no physical bruising. There is a bit of soreness, but it seems to be relegated directly to the central abdomen, where the heaving would have come from. Nothing that correlates with the end of your dream.

TRAVIS: That's good.

LIAM: (exhaling) You can see your breath. It's nice to have something familiar.

LAURA: It's funny. Everyone said that Xhorhas was very ugly, but looking out, it kind of looks like a field of diamonds right now.

MARISHA: It's glistening. Just like in that smut book you gave me!

LAURA: Yeah! It all comes back to the smut. Thank you, Caleb.

LIAM: I know that you have an interest in seafaring, so did you learn a lot?

LAURA: So much.

LIAM: Name three parts of a boat.

LAURA: Oh. The port side, the poop deck, and the mast.

LIAM: You are a silly goose.

LAURA: Are you okay, Fjord? You look weird.

TRAVIS: Yeah. I didn't sleep very good. I-- er... Wow, everyone's so attentive this morning. Nobody needs to get ready?

SAM: We're in a bubble.

TRAVIS: There's room!

LIAM: The bubble has faded.

TRAVIS: I had, as I've told Ducey here, another dream.

MARISHA: A wet dream?

TRAVIS: Not wet. There was moisture.

TALIESIN: It was pretty wet, actually. It was an extremely wet dream.

TRAVIS: Okay. The distinction is important.

TALIESIN: There's a big puddle right over there from it. I don't-- I mean, why wouldn't you--

TRAVIS: Yes, I had another wet dream.

LIAM: More of the same, or what?

TRAVIS: Kind of. The previous dreams were more encouraging, like telling me to go forward and help it. This one felt a little more upset.

LAURA: Because you're not in the water?

TRAVIS: I think because we're not trying to let it out.

LAURA: Right.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LIAM: Are you at all nervous what will happen as we proceed towards the Kryn Dynasty?

TRAVIS: Well, it's been a while since my last dream. They're not super fun, so if that's the regularity in which I have to experience them, I guess I'll just deal with it.

LAURA: What do you mean? He seemed unhappy?

TRAVIS: Well, it was the first time that old demi-snake-god killed me at the end.

SAM: I mean, you don't know that that's necessarily-- that could be something else in your life that is troubling you that you manifested in a dream, right?

MARISHA: Sure, stress.

SAM: Are you stressed about anything else?

LIAM: Weaving itself together with this connection you have.

SAM: Usually, work stress can make bad dreams. Are you having any stress at work?

TRAVIS: This is our work, right?

SAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Not particularly. I mean, other than giant rocs and bugbears--

SAM: Sometimes when you get a new supervisor or something, that can affect it. Now that Caleb's in charge, is that affecting your general mood at all?

LIAM: Wait. Hold on a second. Different topic. Why do you keep doing this?

SAM: What?

LIAM: I am not in charge of this group. I don't want to be.

SAM: You should be. No offense, you're clearly the smartest, and possibly the only smart one of us.

LAURA: I'm really smart, okay?

SAM: Sure, sure, sure.

LAURA: Super duper smart.

TRAVIS: Beau is right here, okay? Just saying.

MARISHA: Wait, are you calling me smart, or dumb?

TRAVIS: What do you think?

LIAM: You're hard to read, sometimes.

TRAVIS: I keep eating this pebble.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Oh no, a tusk!

MATT: He spits a couple chunks of tooth out.

LIAM: I am good with numbers, and with puzzles, ja?

SAM: Directions, memories.

LIAM: Decision-making is a little questionable.

SAM: I have seen some excellent, excellent decision-making. The Wall of Fire on the boat was brilliant! It was a stroke of tactical genius.

TRAVIS: Yes, Nott, to answer your question, I think Caleb is a fantastic leader. Also Beau, or Jester, Yasha, Caduceus-- almost anyone in the group except you. (sniffs)

MARISHA: Ooh, shots fired.

LAURA: I think you would make a great leader, Nott.

SAM: Thank you, Jester. I appreciate that, but you're wrong. It's Caleb.

TALIESIN: I don't think we have a leader, really.

LIAM: No, we all have our strengths here. We're all good at certain things. So, you know-- we don't need to keep on that tack. We're working together now.

SAM: I understand, and I will leave it alone for now. Aye aye, commander.

MARISHA: Commander? That feels worse. Do we have to call you commander, now?

LIAM: Do not call me commander. You can call me--

TRAVIS: Admiral Widogast!

LIAM: Caleb Widogast is my name.

SAM: That's actually not your name.

(laughter)

SAM: It's a made-up name. You made it up on the spot.

LIAM: The way that I am smiling and blushing right now is what Caleb does, and he just walks away from the group to take a breath, and not look anyone in the eye.

MARISHA: To be fair, some of the smartest people that I know? Also terrible leaders.

LIAM: Holla!

SAM: What does that mean?

(laughter)

MATT: It's a cultural thing. You wouldn't understand.

TRAVIS: We've got to do that. It might be the new "bidet."

SAM: All right. We have a decision to make, and seeing as how our leader has walked away temporarily, let's put this to a more democratic vote. We have two options in front of us. Sort of two-and-a-half. We can either charge across the plains towards finding my kidnapped husband in Ghor Dranas, find him, rescue him, have a happy reunion, all is good. Lots of unknowns in that scenario. Or, we have a job offer--

LAURA: Mm-hmm, multiple.

SAM: From Lady Zethris, to do some work for her in the city, which would give us, maybe, the financial means that would help us in our journeys ahead.

LAURA: Or a favor.

SAM: Or a favor. Which, fingers crossed, maybe she could just organize the release of my husband, and we don't have to do the second part.

LAURA: But how would we tell her that he needs to be released, and not make it like, "Oh, that's my husband, from the Empire." (gasps) Okay, we're not in the city.

SAM: No. But what would it matter? If we earn a favor, I take her at her word. She would have to give us a favor, regardless of why we're asking for it.

LIAM: Yeah, did she seem to place any conditions on this favor?

LAURA: Well, no. But she also-- she's in charge, and we're not. She could do whatever she wants.

TALIESIN: That's true.

LIAM: That's not a very good favor, though, for endangering our lives for her?

LAURA: Well, no. But if you're like, "I'll give you a favor," and then somebody cashes in and they're like, "Oh, in order to cash in, you have to cut open your hand, and put it on this thing, and maybe do some really horrible blood oath," would you do that as a favor? I mean, no, right?

LIAM: I turn around and walk back to my spot.

TALIESIN: Who are you dealing with? That's a lot.

LAURA: That was a lot.

TALIESIN: People like, bleed into the--

SAM: That was a very specific hypothetical.

LAURA: I'm just saying. Some people, they do weird things.

TRAVIS: Also, you know, the more time we spend here, the more we assimilate a bit. Maybe we'll get some allies. If we rush across, could be a bit hasty. We might jeopardize the whole thing.

MARISHA: It's true.

TALIESIN: We'll probably stick out less if we make a few friends and figure out how this place works.

TRAVIS: Stopping here, we've already got some steeds waiting for us, if we're successful.

SAM: We need to do our practice, right? Bounder practice? Then maybe we could ask about Lady Zethris's reliability, her trustworthiness. If people vouch for her, like, "She always does her "favors," or whatever.

TRAVIS: Does she have a lot of business in Ghor Dranas?

SAM: Yeah, is she connected with the-- I don't know.

TALIESIN: Also, as I have not made food this morning, because we're close enough to a town, we should probably grab some food and otherwise, because I'm trying to stock up for keeping people healthy.

MARISHA: Okay.

LIAM: This sounds like a decent course of action to me. My one concern, not a dealbreaker, but I feel like we should continue to check in with Nott's husband, but I don't know how far exactly we are from him. I think it is a good idea to try to curry favor, and not rush headlong into we-don't-know-what. But what happens if you check in with him, and they are going to take him to the chopping block? I don't know. I mean, what happens then?

SAM: We have to go right away.

LIAM: We are a very long way away.

TALIESIN: Then we let our favor be known before we finish the job.

LAURA: She probably has something like Sending, too. Or like somebody that could send a message like I can send a message. Like I could send a message through her person--

SAM: Maybe she's so powerful she can-- boom-- teleport us there, or something.

LAURA: Oh, right, some people can do that. I forgot.

SAM: I don't know.

MARISHA: Regardless, I feel like we have to gain her trust a little bit first. I don't think we should say anything about your husband until we at least do-- what? It seemed like there was a job, and then a harder job? A kind-of-easier job?

LAURA: Yeah. we should come up with something other than he's your husband.

SAM: Okay. Pitch me. I'm a goblin and he was my--

LAURA: Your servant!

TRAVIS: Murdered your whole family. You own him. You have a blood debt.

SAM: And I need to collect it.

LAURA: Ooh, ooh! He's your goblin husband, that was reincarnated as this stupid halfling, and you hate halflings!

SAM: Oh, boy. This is a stretch!

LAURA: But maybe you could get him back and turn him back into a goblin.

SAM: I mean, that is a compelling storyline. If I had met a character like that, I would fall in love with that character, and want to protect it with my life.

LIAM: What if we are a group of mercenaries who have been sent here to collect this gentleman and bring him back?

SAM: That's simpler. That's much simpler.

TALIESIN: I like that. I mean, it's also not that far from the truth.

MARISHA: We know that the Kryn have been pulling a lot of people for experiments. We could just say, "Not today, Kryn."

TALIESIN: We're only invested in saving one man. We're only invested in looking for this one thing. We're not foreign agents or anything like that; we're not invested in this fight.

LIAM: If I know anything, wars are muddy. They're hazy. People have their credos they stick to, but things go against the grain often enough.

TALIESIN: People have to live their life in the middle of this.

LIAM: For the right amount of coin, or for the right amount of favor, anything can happen, despite a war.

TALIESIN: If we prove to be helpful in this small instance, then perhaps she'll understand that we just have our own needs.

TRAVIS: We haven't used the dodecahedron and the stand together, right? We're assuming that those two things make it even more powerful?

TALIESIN: Wow.

TRAVIS: What if we just gave them the stand, in exchange for him?

LAURA: Wait, what?

SAM: They're talking about giving up the tripod for old Yeza.

TRAVIS: Right; you need them both to be what we are assuming is incredibly world-changing?

SAM: That's a plan C or D, right? We're just going to ask for a favor first.

LIAM: I think so, yeah. That's a back-up plan. Perhaps.

TRAVIS: I'm just forwarding it out.

SAM: Did you just say "I'm just Fjording it out?"

TRAVIS: Just forwarding it out.

SAM: Because please don't use your name as a verb.

TRAVIS: I'll Fjord you later for that.

SAM: You will Nott.

TALIESIN: Ooh.

LIAM: In the meantime, I think that we should acquire these beasts, get the training we need, in case we need to bug out of town as quickly as possible. Do we know what this woman has in mind, or do we need to return?

SAM: Yes, the two missions were as follows. for 5,000 gold pieces, we must root out an Empire spy in the Quadroads-- nope, Four Corners. Wrong campaign. In the Four Corners. Find this Empire spy and throw them to the wolves. Or, for 10,000 gold or one favor, we must find the source of those rifts that we saw, the rift to the fiendish plane. The Abyss? The Abyssal Plane? We must find the source of these rifts and shut it down.

TRAVIS: Option number two.

SAM: Go big or go home.

LIAM: Right, we are talking about the favor, which is not an option for the lower amount?

SAM: It was not an option for the lower amount.

LIAM: Do they have any leads or anything to help, or are we on our own for that?

SAM: The only lead was for the lower amount, the spy. She gave us a location. For the rifts, no leads.

LAURA: She said that's a good thing that we are such good detectives.

SAM: She's right.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: I wouldn't mind doing both jobs. I'm curious as to who this spy is in general.

TRAVIS: I wouldn't either, but what if it tugs on certain party members' heartstrings, right? What if that spy is actually somebody that we're like, "Oh, that's a good person, and we're going to hand you over for your death."

TALIESIN: Well, we've been presented with two opportunities. I'm sure that leads will manifest, and we'll follow whatever leads manifest. That will be what we're supposed to move towards.

TRAVIS: We don't have to declare which one it is. We just show up with results, right?

SAM: That's right.

TRAVIS: Fucking A.

LIAM: If we find the person they are looking for, and it is someone that we do not want to hand over, we do not have to.

TRAVIS: Who does multiple missions at the same time? Only jackasses would go and take both job options at the same time in one outing, right?

SAM: Yep.

MARISHA: Subcontractor life? I don't-- it makes sense to me.

TRAVIS: The Gentleman. We did that before.

MARISHA: Oh yeah, that's right.

TRAVIS: Well, yeah. Let's go get some breakfast.

LIAM: When is the last time you checked in with Yeza?

SAM: Remember last night, just before bed?

LAURA: Oh yeah, that's right.

SAM and LAURA: (warbling)

MATT: I'll allow it.

ALL: Yeah!

(laughter)

LAURA: What should I say?

SAM: I mean, general update. Any sort of markings, or have you been-- where are you? Where the fuck are you?!

LAURA: Oh no, what if-- okay. I didn't mark my long rest, so that's good. I'll see how many spells I have.

LIAM: If there is any chance, one of these times-- even if it is not today-- he is alone and feels that he can speak, maybe ask if he knows what they intend for him.

LAURA: Right, yes. I'm going to do that for sure.

SAM: Do that first.

LAURA: Okay, yes. What do I do? Just go, "Hey, are you alone? Can you speak? Because I need to ask you some questions."

SAM: Assume that he's alone and can speak.

LAURA: Okay, cool. Hi.

LIAM: That was the kickoff.

LAURA: Um...

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Oh, fuck me! Please say "so" next, or "like."

LIAM: So, like, um... Hey, guys.

MARISHA and SAM: I mean.

TRAVIS: Oh Jesus. Saving husbands.

MARISHA: Hey, internet!

LAURA: Are there any prominent markings around you? Do you think you'll be alone anytime? Do you know what they have planned for you?

SAM: Holla!

(laughter)

LAURA: Holla at you!

MATT: Yeza's voice comes through quietly and whispered. "They're keeping me in a dark cell."

LAURA: They're keeping him in a dark cell.

MATT and LAURA: "Underground somewhere. No interrogations yet."

TRAVIS: That's good.

MATT: "I don't know what they have planned."

LAURA: He doesn't know what they have planned.

MATT: "Holla... back?"

LAURA: Oh, what's up! He said holla back!

SAM: Ooh! Did you hear his masculine voice?

LAURA: He's so manly.

SAM: He is. He has the deepest voice in town.

LAURA: Yeah, I could tell.

SAM: Well, that's good! He's alive. Then they haven't roughed him up or anything?

LAURA: They literally just have him there, and they haven't asked him anything. Oh, I should ask if he knows why they took him.

SAM: Tomorrow morning, I suppose.

LAURA: I can send again. I can call him again.

SAM: Well, I did want to turn in soon, but sure. Yeah, go ahead.

LAURA: Okay, one more time. Hey Yeza, do you know why they took you? Nott misses you so much. Keep those spirits up. Have you heard of the Traveler? Hey!

MATT: "I assume it has to do with me helping the Assembly, working with that weird box thing. I don't know who Nott is, but hi."

LAURA: Oh, shit.

MATT: "Are you still coming?"

SAM: Oh no. What'd he say?

LAURA: Number one, he said he thinks it's because he's working with the Assembly; that's why they took him. He's been working with the weird box thing.

SAM: He was before, yes. Wait. Box thing. We only saw the tripod where he was, so he--

LAURA: Well, yeah, I'm assuming they took-- there's probably more than one of what we have. We should really see what that thing does hooked up to the tripod. I wish that we could do it in a pocket dimension or something. Dang, I wish we had the magic fun ball. Um... he said he misses you so much. And he said the Traveler sounds super duper cool. Yeah.

SAM: Good night!

MATT and TRAVIS: (warbling)

MATT: As they relay this information the following morning.

TRAVIS: I'm so hungry.

LAURA: We should probably get going.

MATT: You gather your things. Are you guys taking on the same guises as you did the day before?

LAURA: We should disguise ourselves again.

TRAVIS: I'm going in like myself.

MATT: You're going in straight, Fjord?

TRAVIS: Yeah. Normal Fjord.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: I think I'm going to go crazy, deranged human this time. I don't want to have to keep burning people's spells just to walk around.

LAURA: We'll see if it works.

MARISHA: I flip my cloak inside out on the boring side. Hide the coat. Roll around in the dirt. Mess up my hair.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: I put some makeup on to actually look goth, but my clothes are still boring me.

MARISHA: I take some eyeliner and black out a couple teeth.

MATT: Beau looks significantly crazed.

LAURA: What about Caleb? What are you doing?

LIAM: I repeat yesterday. I look like a male version of Jester, not very goth. I take a bit of tallow and powdered iron, and rub it together, and I smear it down the side of Beauregard's face.

MARISHA: You did what? What is that? What'd you just do?

LIAM: You look good.

LAURA: What did he do? What did you do?

LIAM: I put some shit on her face.

TRAVIS: That's bat droppings.

LIAM: That's not bat droppings. It's just iron and wax. Would you like some bat droppings?

MARISHA: No, I'm-- actually, yeah, yeah.

LIAM: I go into the right pocket. Here. It smells a little bit, but it-- okay.

MATT: Mark in your inventory, bat droppings. Go for it.

LIAM: Not all of my bat droppings, just a significant amount.

TRAVIS: "Not all my bat droppings!"

TALIESIN: Saving that for later.

MATT: Yeah. Guano hoarder up in here. All righty. Preparing your things--

LIAM: Got to find that minotaur.

MATT: You begin your hike back towards Asarius. You do notice that it looks maybe a third of the force that was gathering on the western side of the city has moved on. It looks like the rest are preparing to move some point in the near future. It looks like a lot more supplies are being put upon their various beasts of burden, the war tortoises. The soldiers are beginning to bring all their arms together, sharpening their weapons, preparing their caches of bolts. There's a general air and energy of preparing to leave. You don't know how many of them are leaving, how many of them are staying; you imagine they're going to want to have some for defense. You approach the outer wooden walls, into the gates once more, the same ogres giving a nod. They give a brief stink eye to both Yasha and Beau as they do.

MARISHA: Hello, friend!

LAURA: No, no, no! Don't talk!

MATT: They look at each other, look back at her. (laughing) "Stupid human!"

MARISHA: It's true.

MATT: Make a deception check.

MARISHA: That was almost bad. 17.

MATT: They feel more pity for you than wanting to challenge, and that instinct slowly escapes them and their attention gets drawn elsewhere. You enter the city streets, bustling as you recall, the smell itself strong, especially against the clean morning cold air. That heavy waft of wet animal fur from multiple sources and that long-standing layer of recently-returned-to-mud dung that lines the sides of the mud streets here. You come upon the familiar parts of the city, passing the goblin district, passing by the various other buildings and huts and hovels. Are you heading straight to Zorth's first?

LIAM: I think that we should do that. I think we should get that knocked out of the way in case we need to leave in a hurry.

MATT: You approach. You can see from the outside the familiar pen that is built around it. You hear growling, and two of the goblins are currently holding down the sides of one of the moorbounders, and a third one that's coming up and gingerly trying to feed it. As it brings its hands up, it throws a bunch of chunks of meat on the ground that slam into it and tumble over themselves before they release the creature. It starts drastically eating and throwing chunks everywhere. The goblins immediately scatter to the edge and close and lock the door behind them on the inside. As you guys enter, the slight little bell (jingling) as you push open the door, and you see the familiar older goblin face of Zorth there in the process of gathering harnesses and a few somewhat rough-looking but functional saddles. Turns around and notices you all and goes, "Oh, hello! It's good to see you all! Did you sleep well?"

SAM: We did, we did, Zorth. So well some of us might appear different to you, but it's all of us again.

MATT: "That's a confusing statement, but sure, it's fine, now come on in here and learn how to ride!"

LAURA: Yes, yes, yes!

SAM: Yeah, are these lessons taught by you or--

MATT: "Yeah!"

TRAVIS: Yeah, we're ready. I want to feel the thunder between my legs! Let's do it!

LIAM: Do you not need-- when riding these creatures, do you-- never mind, let's just see this lesson.

SAM: Yes, yes.

MATT: "Yeah." Leads you over to the interior of the pen and there are now five of them inside this pen. Four of them are currently tethered to these heavy, heavy metal stakes that are jammed who knows how deep in the ground by their thickness. You can only imagine probably ten feet or more. As soon as you begin to approach the edge you can see them all tense against the chains and (growling).

TRAVIS: Good, good deal, good deal.

SAM: We want these?

MATT: The one that was previously being fed that now has the two leather leash tethers dangling behind it as it's finishing off digging into the mud and lifting up what remnants of the meal that was tossed toward it still remain before it turns around to the rest of you and goes (growling). You can see now its snubbed snout with the exposed nostrils flaring and expanding as it's taking in the scent of all of you approaching its space. Zorth approaches, he goes: "Hey, hey! Dump, take it down! It's all right, they're friends. Shh." Brings his toe up to the front of his mouth. "Shh." They come up and actually, in a strange display, it seems comparatively demure. It doesn't seem to like the other goblins, but Zorth it seems to come to a trusted position with and sit right next to him. "And down!" It plops down and for the first moment you're like, okay, there is something to this goblin's training. He looks around at you. "So, we've got three of you. Three of you's going to be learning how to ride these things. Could you please tell me who it's going to be?"

LIAM: Ja, I want to be the first.

MATT: "All right, that's one!"

LAURA: Oh, me! And me!

MATT: "Two! And three! All right, so we're going to bind you to your respective creatures, so be ready. Who's up first?"

LIAM: I am the cat person in this group.

MATT: For the three of you that are going to be learning, it's going to be a few hours. This is essentially an individual-- for each of you-- skill challenge that's going to require a series of animal handling checks. If there are any spell preparations you would like, you're free to.

SAM: Anyone want to look into the dodeca?

LAURA: Oh, we should Bless!

MATT: Bless does not affect skill checks.

LAURA: Shit!

SAM: That's the dodeca.

LIAM: I will take the dodeca.

TRAVIS: Who has a low animal handling modifier?

LAURA: I've got a good one.

TALIESIN: I've got a good one, too.

TRAVIS: Okay.

LIAM: Okay, it's okay. I am comfortable with cats.

LAURA: Ah, is there nothing we can do? I mean, Enhance Ability, right?

MATT: That would be a way to do it.

LAURA: But I don't have that prepared.

MATT: Then it's not going to help you. So Caleb, you first. The first aspect of the training is trust exercises, getting the creature comfortable with you, with your scent, and beginning to see you as an equal, or a leader, or a master of whatever your pact with it is. Zorth explains this in a cavalcade of various, somewhat obtuse descriptors, but you get the gist of it.

LIAM: While he's doing that, Frumpkin-- I bring him to my shoulder and I have him start to pee subtly on my shoulders and hang out there.

TRAVIS: Is that familiar urine?

MATT: Famili-urine? It slowly soaks into the shoulder. Zorth kind of, "It's--I would-- you-- anyway!" Continues on. Make your first animal handling check as you begin to first approach and Zorth begins to help you with communion with this creature.

TRAVIS: Clerics on standby, clerics on standby!

SAM: Come on, Caleb! Come on, Caleb!

LAURA: You've got this, Caleb!

LIAM: Good boys all around, hey? Kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty.

SAM: Come on, show that pussy who's boss!

LIAM: That is an 11.

MATT: All right. It takes a bit of time, and there are a few withdrawings of your hands, but then eventually there is a moment where it seems to enable your touch. It begins to smell you, and Zorth begins to take the tether with one foot and pull it over and down so its head is below yours, and telling you to rub the top of its head and make eye contact. There's a whole ritual to this that seems to deal with a dominant position over the creature and a point of trust. In a weird way you gain-- for as crazy as the instruction of Zorth is, there's a renewed level of respect for the process that this goblin seems to have mastered, whether trained or on its own.

LIAM: That's a good boy.

MATT: You do feel that a bond does come with the creature, tenuous as it may be. Now, for the other two, I need you to also go through the same process.

TRAVIS: Can I ask, as Caleb is standing next to these moo--

MATT: Moorbounders.

TRAVIS: Moorbounders. Where do they come up to us, height-wise, from their backs?

MATT: Height-wise, their shoulders, which is the highest point of it, the sloped front all the way to the rear of the creature, the height, which is the shoulder, would be almost a foot taller than you.

SAM: Wait, how tall are you?

TRAVIS: Six and change. These are big.

LAURA: What the shit! I was picturing littles!

TALIESIN: I had Battlecat from He-man in my head. I had the whole--

LAURA: Holy fuck, these are huge!

MATT: Yeah, these are big creatures.

TALIESIN: I'm pretty tall, though.

TRAVIS: New mental pictures for me.

MATT: Some of them are a little smaller, some are a little bigger. You get a sense that there are variations in their age, and from what little information you got from Zorth before, the ones that survive, survive because they weren't eaten by the others. They're big creatures. That's also why they're expensive and utilized as war beasts.

LAURA: Ooh, that's pretty cool. We've got war beasts.

TALIESIN: Skeletor's was the panther one? Panthor, thank you.

LIAM: That's the first thing that popped into my head last week was Panthor.

LAURA: Beau, Beau, Beau!

MARISHA: Yeah?

LAURA: Here, watch Nugget. Nugget, stay here.

MATT: As soon as Nugget is passed over towards Beau, you see the four tethered moorbounders (sniffing, growling).

TALIESIN: Hey, hey, hey. That's not food. They can understand me, by the way.

MATT: They can.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

MATT: Make your animal handling check.

TALIESIN: I'm Doctor Dolittle, motherfucker.

TRAVIS: (laughs) "I'm Doctor Dolittle, motherfucker!"

SAM: Wow.

LAURA: That's so bad, but it's 11, like Caleb.

MATT: 11, okay. Similar process. The bonding takes a little while, but eventually the moorbounder that's brought to you-- a little bit smaller than the one that Caleb had, but still probably about six foot at full shoulder height, it's a thing you have to climb onto-- seems to come to a point of tenuous trust.

LAURA: He loves me!

SAM: Tattoo him!

TALIESIN: I know, so I--

MATT: Strangely, you get the smallest of the three.

TALIESIN: I think we're going to be friends.

LIAM: Like a clown on a tricycle?

TALIESIN: 13.

MATT: It comes up and (sniffs), and head butts your palm.

TALIESIN: Aww, hey.

MATT: The second portion of this is going to involve being able to give commands and being able to have it-- beyond just being a beast that essentially-- what's the word I'm looking for-- endures your presence, it'll actually, actively, possibly take some commands. Beginning with you, Caleb, again, Zorth begins to show you--

MARISHA: Actively, possibly.

MATT: You're still working with beasts here. Shows you, "All right, some of these creatures, you're supposed to make sure that it not only trusts you and respects you but, possibly, given the situations, it can also do things for you? Come on, try it out!" Make another animal handling check.

LIAM: Okay. (singing) I like chicken, I like liver, Meow Mix, Meow Mix, please deliver. 19.

MATT: Over the next period of time, as the other people start getting ready as well, there gets to be a modicum of your voice causing its-- it doesn't even have ears that perk up more than it has these skin flaps that cover the side ear holes behind its bulging eyes. You can see where they twitch and turn and whenever you begin to make the simple commands of "jump." That's about as far as you get. Maybe down the road there could be other ones, but it begins to perk up at the sound of your voice, and you watch as--

LIAM: Halt.

MATT: It sits.

LIAM: Good boy.

MATT: So you can offer the commands "halt" and "jump."

LIAM: Jump?

MATT: Yeah. Those are the two that you have capability of. Mind you, you still have to make an animal handling check to get them to follow it, but you have the opportunity to do that. You two as well, same process.

SAM: You got this, Jessie!

LAURA: Yeah, of course, he loves me, so.

SAM: You're great with animals and people.

LAURA: 19!

MATT: Following Caleb's lead quickly enough, you get yours to also sit next to Caleb's moorbounder. Caduceus?

TALIESIN: I'm going to use Thaumaturgy. I'm going to look him in the eye, and I'm going to alter my eyes to mirror his. Give him a good look over. All right. 11.

MATT: You see it look you over. What do you command it to do?

TALIESIN: Sit.

MATT: (slurps) and it licks up the side of your cheek.

TALIESIN: I mean, that'll do.

MATT: It is a thick saliva that seems to tingle the outside of your skin, but it is not listening to you.

TALIESIN: He's so cute. I don't know.

TRAVIS: Hard to be mad at it.

TALIESIN: I know.

MARISHA: Can't tell you no.

MATT: For the third and final round that's going to refine that process, Caleb, make your final animal handling check.

LIAM: 19.

MATT: 19, all right!

LIAM: I'm a cat person.

MATT: Indeed, and as part of that, whenever you make those commands to it, you get to make the roll with advantage. So keep that in mind.

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

SAM: What were the commands again?

LIAM: Halt und jump.

MATT: Yep, halt and jump.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: Jester?

TRAVIS: Just like Red Dead.

LAURA: Okay, 16.

MATT: You as well manage to succeed in this process. While the two of you are with flying colors, all of a sudden there's a very, very faint beginnings of a bond with these moorbounders, you look over at Caduceus, who's having a little bit of a rough time.

TALIESIN: I'm having fun!

MATT: Of the other two that seem to be a little more hunter, predatory ones, Caduceus got paired with one that seems a little more playful-kitten-like. It's the youngest of all of them, which also makes it a little hard for it to pay attention. Make your final animal handling check.

TRAVIS: Come on, Caduceus, you got this!

TALIESIN: 15.

MATT: That succeeds, so you've earned the ability now to at least give these commands, but you do not gain the advantage as well.

TRAVIS: If we haven't gained the commands, would they have taken off fucking running, never come back?

MATT: It would've meant that they-- you don't know how they act. You could've got them going, but getting them to stop was going to be a very interesting experience.

TALIESIN: I do, to be fair, have the spell Command, so worst-case scenario--

MATT: Worst-case scenario, you have that at your disposal.

TALIESIN: I can actually give a one-word command to mine, and it'd be forced to obey me at least.

TRAVIS: You would never do that to us, right?

LAURA: If we would have rolled really well on the first roll, would we have to even do the checks?

MATT: Yeah. It was a growing DC with each check to see how well you bonded in this first three-hour session with the creature. Completing it, Zorth looks around at all of you. "I'm not going to lie, "I'm really impressed. That was amazing. Obviously, I've been doing this for a very long time, and I haven't seen anyone bond quite that quick. That was incredible. Really blown away. That was incredible. Well, I'll go and get my boys. We'll get these all suited up and ready to go."

SAM: Zorth, what are they called? What are these called? Do they have names, these creatures?

MATT: "That's not my prerogative. They're moorbounders. You get to name your beasts; you bought them. Which, by the way, where's your coin?"

SAM and LIAM: Oh, yes.

MARISHA: How much was it? 500?

SAM: I think it was 400? 300? It was 600.

LAURA: It was 600?

SAM: It was 600 plus a dick.

LAURA: Oh, I thought it was 500.

TALIESIN: That's a good deal.

LAURA: Was it? Or was it--

TRAVIS: 600.

MARISHA: 600 and a dick statue.

TRAVIS: Which he has, I'm sure.

MATT: Yes. You've already given the dick statue, which is sitting on the edge of the table at the front where you saw him handling things. He's very proud of its display. It's central to the arrival process.

TALIESIN: I will admit, I do want an insight check. Did we actually do better than most people, or is he just being very, very nice?

MATT: Make an insight check.

TALIESIN: That's an 18. Okay, okay. I'm into it.

SAM: D&D Beyond. We have the new overlay, guys. I haven't seen it because I can't watch this show, because I'm on it.

MARISHA: It's great. We built our overlay so it doesn't interact with their overlay.

LAURA: That's cool.

TRAVIS: How'd we do?

TALIESIN: All right. (laughs) We did great.

MARISHA: I have 270, so I don't mind tossing in a hundred gold.

LAURA: I could toss in a hundred.

LIAM: I have these two jade stones. They're worth a hundred each. I will contribute them.

TALIESIN: I'm coin-light.

MARISHA: I am coin-light, too.

TRAVIS: I can put in a hundred.

LIAM: What's the total, six?

SAM: I can put in 200 if we need to.

LAURA: We're at 500 now.

SAM: How's Yasha? How's Yasha look on coin?

MARISHA: How does she look on coin?

TRAVIS: I may have been forgetting to put money in her shit. Nope. No, she's got stuff. She can go for 50. We'll both put in 50.

SAM: Maybe Yasha should pay for the whole thing.

TRAVIS: Yasha's good to put down a hundred gold.

MATT: Yasha grips the handle of The Magician's Judge and looks at you.

LIAM: What's the tally here? Two from me.

SAM: Are you okay to part with these jade baubles?

LIAM: Look at this cat.

LAURA: Yeah, but he might only take coin.

LIAM: These are worth at least 150 each, but I will give them to you as part of this deal.

MATT: Reaches the foot out--

LIAM: There's one. Oh, here. Both of them for you.

MATT: Then hops over to the front desk and pulls out a small eyepiece and looks through, and is like, "Hmm. Hmm!"

LIAM: Don't forget, it's his foot.

MATT: "Yeah. I'll take it."

SAM: That's 200 right there? Wait, is it 300 or 200, Zorth?

MATT: You said it was...?

LIAM: 150 each. That's what I said.

MATT: 150 each? Okay, I'll allow it. I thought you said a hundred originally.

LIAM: I know that. I'm lying, Matthew.

MATT: Oh, you--? Then it is 200, yeah? Or are you going for it?

LIAM: I'm lying to this armless goblin. Not to you because you know everything.

MATT: Make a deception check.

LIAM: Okay. That is a 17.

MATT: "These are some pretty nice gems, not going to lie. Pretty nice. Pretty shiny. Nice and pretty little baubles. 100 gold each."

LIAM: Deal. Deal.

SAM: That's 200.

TRAVIS, MARISHA, and SAM: I'll put in a hundred.

LAURA: Hundred. That's everything?

SAM: That's everything.

MATT: "Fantastic! You want them now? I can go and get them ready to go."

LIAM: What do these beasts eat?

MATT: "Pretty much whatever you put in front of them that was once living. Meats, leathers, jerkies, critters."

LAURA: We have to keep them away from the animals, or at least--

LIAM: What about more intelligent fare? Someone like me? People, elves?

MARISHA: Like those of us that didn't go through your seminar. Is it going to eat our faces in the middle of the night?

MATT: "Not as long as you keep them fed. If you're not feeding them, maybe not be sleeping near them, if you know what I mean."

TRAVIS: Well, I see you've made saddles for them. You got any muzzles?

MATT: "What?"

TRAVIS: Yeah, why-- what a dumb question. I don't know what I was thinking.

LAURA: I take my ribbon off of my horn and go and tie it on the collar of mine. Or the saddle, so it's pretty.

MATT: Okay. So, you have your three prepared. Saddles at the ready. You can take them now, if you want to bring them through the city, or--

TRAVIS: Nope, nope.

MATT: They can be held on to, until you wish to take them.

TRAVIS: I think that's better.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: I walk forward, I place my hand on the neck of my largest beast, and say, I will be back for you later, Jannik. Good boy.

MATT: Jannik? All right.

LIAM: Halt.

SAM: What will you say to yours?

LAURA: I will be back for you later, Yarnball.

MARISHA: (laughing) Yarnball?

MATT: Jannik, Yarnball...

TALIESIN: Hmm.

MATT: (huffing)

LIAM: We've got a theme going here, Caduceus.

MARISHA: Yandi's already been taken.

TALIESIN: What's the theme? I don't know.

TRAVIS: We've got Jannik and Yarnball, but you be you. You do you.

MARISHA: Yandi is an alpaca in another dimension.

LIAM: Yuduyu is a good name.

TALIESIN: I'm so confused about the theme.

MATT: (snuffling, snort)

TALIESIN: Yeah, you're a Clarabelle.

(laughter)

MATT: Jannik, Yarnball, and Clarabelle have been decreed.

MARISHA: That's so cute.

TALIESIN: Thank you. That's my sister. She's weird, too.

TRAVIS: You named your moorbounder after your sister?

MARISHA: Wait, does the moorbounder remind you of your sister? Or does your sister remind you of the moorbounder?

TALIESIN: I'm not entirely sure what the difference is?

MARISHA: That's a fair point.

MATT: All right. "So, pick them up when you're ready. We'll keep them until then. But, a couple days later, if you don't show up, I'm going to have to assume you're not picking them up, and they're back on the market."

SAM: Is there a place around here that-- free trade of information-- like a pub or a central hub of--

TALIESIN: Breakfast.

SAM: --breakfast.

MATT: "I mean, your best bet's probably going to the Scowl Square. That's where they've got a lot of purveyors of food, and there's one big old pub there called the Four Corners. That's where Madam Musk's is. That's where Timoch and Ude Make Things. That's where Barron's Meats is, big old butchery."

TALIESIN: Ms. Nott, you also wanted to inquire at some point about the character of our employer?

SAM: Yes. I didn't know if-- Hey.

MATT: "Hey!"

SAM: Zorthy, what's the word on the street about this Lady Zethris Oleos?

MATT: "Oh, she's spooky, that one."

SAM: Spooky, like you can't trust her? Or spooky like you can trust her, and that's a bad thing.

MATT: "No. She's just very-- she's a lot! She's very pretty, and she's surrounded by a lot of people. And very powerful. It's just I don't really go mingle with them political folk so much. So--"

LIAM: Does she come down from her tower much?

MATT: "I don't see it too often. But then again, I'm usually pretty busy with all these (yelling) jackasses!" You see the other goblins around the corner playing a card game and they go (eek). They go back and scramble to go ahead and start feeding the rest of the moorbounders in the pen.

LAURA: Are a lot of people scared of her?

MATT: "I don't-- maybe? I don't know."

LAURA: Okay. Hey man, I have a question!

MATT: "Well, what is the question?"

LAURA: Have you seen a lot of other places that have, like, the rifts like you had in your store? Have you heard of anything? Any other goblins talking about, "Oh man, you should have seen these things that came out of this slit."

TALIESIN: Anything strange going on?

MATT: "No!"

LAURA: Cool.

SAM: We'll be back to collect our beasts.

MATT: "Fantastic! I'll be here. Thank you so much for your patronage! Fine beasts you've acquired. You'll be really happy."

SAM: We are.

MARISHA: Thanks. Yeah.

TRAVIS: That could have gone much worse.

SAM: Whew. Good job.

MARISHA: I'm proud of you all.

LIAM: Now, Jannik is number two cat. You are number one. You are in charge. You just... dress to impress, okay?

TRAVIS: Do you think Jannik has more, you know, constitution than number one cat?

MARISHA: Do you think he puffs into glitter when he's punted? (chuckles)

LIAM: He does not have half the heart as my cat, thank you very much.

MARISHA: No, but half the constitution for sure.

MATT: General notes for moorbounders, just so you have them. This is their stats sheet.

LIAM: (imitating Zorth) Yeah, pass it down!

TALIESIN & SAM: Ooh.

LAURA: I'm going to take a picture.

TALIESIN: I'm going to put it in my little creature notebook.

TRAVIS: I hate to insist, but can we please get some food? I'm fucking starving.

TALIESIN: I am hungry.

TRAVIS: Can we make our way over to the Scowl Square?

MATT: Certainly. Continuing on into the center of the town, you pass by the Aurora Hold tower, where you guys had previously ventured. The guard, well placed. There's a lot of in and out of the facility as different Kryn soldiers or generals are in the process of whatever transition is happening to the western side of the city. Moving on and asking a few questions, you eventually find yourself at the Scowl Square. It's this large cross-point where two of the major roads meet, and a series of small alleys all come to an asterisk-looking center point, a little ways north beyond where the Aurora Hold was. Here in this space, there's a center patch of grass: a dull, dark gray-green grass and a singular tree. Around this, there are small tents and tables set up, with people that have gathered a number of roots or other hardier plant life that you had seen being harvested outside, in baskets and bags to be sold to whoever's passing by, or traded for.

MARISHA: Farmer's market?

MATT: Kind of a farmer's market feel, but on a smaller scale. A very unique variety of people making these sales. You see a black-scaled dragonborn with very broad shoulders and tiny, almost chicken-thin legs, that is in the process of cutting up some very large, but strange-looking fish, apparently filleting them on a shelf. Looking past that, you can see a long piece of laundry string that's wrapped between two poles. Hanging from it are a number of small, squirrel-like creatures that have been hunted and stripped and jerky made of their flesh; as well as bits of fur being put together into a large pelt by a small goblin creature. Looks comparable in age to Zorth, but female; and is, with this giant needle, knitting all these pelts together. Occasionally piercing a finger while not really paying attention, then getting caught halfway through and having to undo it, and unstitch her own finger. You do see a barn, this large L-shaped barn on the northwest side of the square, but it has a sign hanging out front that says "Four Corners". There's a smokestack, a space for a kitchen on the outer left side of the structure, little bit of smoke coming up. The door is part way open, and there's a bustling tavern on the interior. Looking around, you make a perception check for me, if you don't mind. You as well.

TALIESIN: 16. Rolling middle-y today.

MARISHA: Damn it. Fucking piece of shit: eight.

MATT: Okay. And actually, Jester, you as well.

LAURA: Yay! No! I think that's like a 10.

MATT: Okay. This is just a wide variety of salespeople around here, but a lot of it just seems to be general goods, scattered around. You do see there are a few places that have at least names attached to them, some of the huts or nearby buildings, those seem to be more prominent businesses here. It's unique. Having been in a lot of the central Empire cities, this city seems to be trying to build or create a semblance of that same type of civilization, but has a unique roughness to it that is both charmingly rustic and laced with a perpetual sense of danger. You do see there is a craft store that you heard mentioned before called Timoch and Ude Make Things.

TRAVIS: Timoch and Ude?

MATT: Timoch and Ude Make Things.

MARISHA: Sounds like an Etsy store.

SAM: Tim and Eric make a movie?

MATT: There is a heavy, thatched hut that sits on the far eastern side just beyond where the road stops, tucked between a few buildings, and this tiny grove where elements of dry reeds seem to be gathering and almost weaving up into a weird alien ivy that coasts over the outside of this hut.

MATT: You glance over in that direction. You can see a small banner of cloth that is haphazardly painted that says "Madame Musk's."

TALIESIN: Well, you're an interesting ivy. You local?

MARISHA: Are you hitting on the ivy, Caduceus?

TALIESIN: Well, I mean, it's just that this is a surprising plant to find out in the middle of nowhere.

TRAVIS: Still sounds like he's hitting on it.

MARISHA: Yeah, it does.

TRAVIS: "Are you local? Surprising to find you here."

MARISHA: What brought you here?

TRAVIS: Been here long?

MARISHA: Fancy crossing paths.

TRAVIS: Come with anybody?

MARISHA: Like ships in the night.

MATT: There is also the last--

(laughter)

MATT: As you're trying to understand what they're saying to you, you look past and come into focus. You can also see on the western side of the square one building that is a very busy butchery. You can see a number of other nondescript creatures. You're uncertain of the origins, because they've all mainly been torn of skin, and are just hanging sacks of meat carcasses that are up on hooks, hanging in a window display. There is an ogre in a nice, silk shirt with a ruffle across the neck and shoulder area, that is in the process of carving through, and preparing, large slabs of meat.

TALIESIN: Do any of the hanging carcasses look like the things that we killed in the basement recently?

MATT: You probably have to get a closer look to it.

TALIESIN: I'm going to head in that direction. I'm going to just veer right off that comment to the butcher.

MATT: Okay. Right in front of you at this space, you can see there is one large gnoll that is in the process of holding a list and looks like he's running errands for other individuals and is growling as they're trying to make out the handwriting and speaking in gnoll to the ogre who's like, "Just wait your turn." Finishes up cutting a series of slabs for a group of three goblins that have a small cart, and they go and pay off the remainder of the slabs, and pull them down and put them on the cart, and two of them grab the front parts of the cart and one jumps in the back and slaps the right one on the shoulder and then (squeaking) the cart begins to wheel off in the southern side of the square, out of sight. The gnoll goes up and makes its order. As you're keeping an eye out, make a medicine check.

TALIESIN: 28. Natural 20.

MARISHA: Whoa.

TALIESIN: Had to happen eventually.

MATT: Looking at the structure of the various corpses that hang from the front of this establishment, none of them match the creature that you had fought the day before. Most of them seem to be either aurochs that you'd seen kept as beasts of burden in the area; deer--

TALIESIN: Nothing unusual.

MATT: Nothing unusual, and a couple of slabs that look to be almost a young moorbounder. The meat itself is a little darker and looks a lot tougher.

TALIESIN: Makes sense.

TRAVIS: Too early.

MATT: The gnoll's packages are completed and sent off. The ogre sits back and takes his hands and puts it in a basin of water and wipes it and looks over at you. "We-- er." Reaches into a pocket and pulls out a monocle. "I haven't seen someone like you around. What's this about?"

TALIESIN: Oh, my apologies. I'm not local, and I'm just very impressed by your operation and honestly, I was just curious what kind of animals you butcher here. We were on the lookout for some unusual creatures that might have been popping up lately. Things that don't necessarily belong here, or shouldn't be around here.

MATT: "Well... I mean, it's meat."

TRAVIS: (laughing)

TALIESIN: And fabulous meat it is. Where are my manners, by the way, I'm so sorry. What was your name again?

MATT: "My name is Baron Visco."

TALIESIN: Baron Visco.

SAM: It's Baron's Meats.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: A fine establishment you've got here.

MATT: Because of the natural 20 you rolled, you also notice that while the meats up front look very fresh, there's a smell that catches your nose of rotting meat.

TALIESIN: I know the smell of rotting meat.

MATT: And you look past beyond it, and you can see there's a pile of spoiling meat just thrown in the far corner.

SAM: Ugh.

TALIESIN: What's that pile for, back there?

MATT: "I don't know. There's been-- there's been issues."

TALIESIN: Oh, what kind of issues, if you don't mind me asking?

MATT: "Well, in recent weeks all the meat's been spoiling real fast, like."

TALIESIN: That doesn't seem right.

MATT: "Yeah."

TALIESIN: Well, that's odd.

MATT: "Having to raise prices. If you know anyone who is a hunter, we're paying for meat, one gold piece by the pound."

TALIESIN: If you don't mind me asking, you don't happen to know where that spoiled meat came from do you? I mean, maybe there's a problem with the water source or something. I've got some talents of my own. Maybe I can help out a bit?

MATT: "If you want to buy it, it's half price. They're all from different sources."

TALIESIN: Really?

MATT: "Yeah."

TALIESIN: Are they all the same kind of animal? Or--

MATT: "No. Different kinds of animal. Usually they last us a good two weeks, the way we prep them and salt them up. Preservatives and all that. Oh, sorry." And he puts the monocle back in.

(laughter)

MATT: "But this is-- this is weird. Don't like it, not at all."

TALIESIN: Well, if I hear anything, I'll let you know.

MATT: "Please do. You buying something?"

TALIESIN: Sadly, not for myself, but I will be back to buy something for a fr--

MATT: "Oh come on, put some meat on your bones. You're looking right skinny." He reaches over and grabs your arm and tugs it a bit. "Heh, heh. You're a tiny one."

TALIESIN: I'm sadly of a monastic tradition that does not allow me to consume the flesh of animals, so...

MATT: "What?"

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I eat plants.

MATT: Pfft. (laughs)

TALIESIN: You're not the first.

MATT: "You're funny. Here." He cuts off a little bit and he tosses it to you. "Right size for your troubles."

TALIESIN: Thank you, kind sir.

MATT: "Eat it quick!"

TALIESIN: See you soon. I've turned around and I'm going to give it to Nott.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: How is it?

SAM: It's meat!

TALIESIN: That's what he said.

MARISHA: That was a good idea, though, trying to track the meat.

TALIESIN: I was hoping for a bit more, but the meat's going bad faster than it should, especially if they are salting it. It shouldn't go that quickly.

TRAVIS: No, it shouldn't.

MARISHA: Do you think it's worth checking in with the fish guy, see if fish have the same problem?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: Is that a thing?

TRAVIS: Let's go over to that black dragonborn over there.

MARISHA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Mosey up to his table.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: So many puns I'm not making. Carry on.

TRAVIS: How do?

MATT: You walk up to the dragonborn, massive shoulders. But you know, skipped leg day every time. He is sitting there throwing another fish over the line, and you can see there are fishing supplies off to the side. Sweating through the scales, the eyes themselves a very piercing sky blue, white iris. Glances over. "Aye, can I help you? You getting fish?"

TRAVIS: Yeah. Just curious what you had, and what the catch of the day was.

MATT: "We got blue fish, we got red fish, we got gray fish. Gray fish are the bigger fish."

TRAVIS: Are the fish red, blue, and gray?

MATT: Yeah. There are elements of the hue in there, where you can see that being the distinction he uses. You gather that this person isn't a fishmonger or master of the fish themselves, and has just probably started a couple of months ago catching fish and trying to sell them and isn't doing a very good job.

MARISHA: While Fjord is keeping him entertained, can I do a scan to see if there is a similar pile of rotted fish back there that he is having to discard?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: Maybe pick me up like, one f--two fish, a red-- the blue fish.

(groans)

MARISHA: 12.

TALIESIN: Got it out of my system. That was painful.

MATT: Not in the vicinity, no.

TRAVIS: The tree that is behind him, does it look unusual? Medium-sized tree? Small tree?

MATT: It looks unusual in the sense that, in about a mile surrounding the city, there are no trees. You do see them occasionally, clusters of them across the fields, but they're pretty sparse. And the ones that you see are, at least for this time of year, leafless. Or are very hardy, swamp-type trees that endure very rough terrain.

LIAM: Is the same true of grass? Is it more of a dead landscape around here, or have we seen grasses here?

MATT: You've seen grasses, but they are usually very thick, hardy, brown-gray grasses, scrub. A lot of scrubland-type plants here. Elements of what you would imagine in a--

LIAM: Scottish moors.

MATT: I would say Scottish moors meets Joshua Tree.

TRAVIS: Okay. Does the tree look uncharacteristically healthy for the climate?

MATT: No; it looks healthier than the others, but it's also in the middle of a place where people probably take care of it more than just having to live on its own in the middle of space.It doesn't catch you as strange.

TALIESIN: The tree's not giving off any bad vibes?

MATT: Make a nature check.

LAURA: The tree is the new chair.

TALIESIN: No.

TRAVIS: What about the tree?

TALIESIN: That was a one minus one.

MATT: You're like, "That tree--" (sniff), and you smell the meat on your fingers and it completely distracts you, and you lose sight of it.

TALIESIN: Salt. Fish.

TRAVIS: I'm so fucking hungry.

LIAM: I want to go to this Timoch and Ude place, but-- Excuse me, do you know, where do these fish come in from? Are they river?

MATT: "Yeah, got them out of the Ifolon, that way, to the west. Ifolon. Ifolon River?"

LIAM: Thank you.

MATT: "Yeah, yeah."

MARISHA: Have any problem with rotting fish? I give him a little crazy eye, to go with my look.

MATT: He looks down at you. He's a good foot taller than you. His snout puckers up a bit.

MARISHA: Just going bad a little too quick?

MATT: "Maybe, I don't know. I sell a lot of them, really quick; I wouldn't know."

MARISHA: Yeah, no, no.

TRAVIS: Let's get the fuck out of here.

MARISHA: Yeah, let's go.

TRAVIS: Good luck with your haul.

MATT: "You going to buy anything?"

TRAVIS: Nope.

MATT: "Well, fuck you too!" You get the sense-- this guy: not a good salesman. Probably not doing too well.

TALIESIN: That guy worked at Brookstone. That'll make you hard.

LAURA: Madam Musk.

SAM: Madam Musk's? Okay, what does she do?

TRAVIS: She makes musks.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: You head to the hut?

LIAM: We're trying it all.

MATT: All right then.

TRAVIS: You build it, we're going.

SAM: We're not going to buy anything. We're just going to go, insult you, and leave.

MATT: That's why I show up every Thursday. As you approach the outside of the hut, you can see that interesting ivy that's climbing over it, creating this unique net-like lattice of very jagged-looking ivy. It's almost like miniature brambles that twist and knot over each other. It's weirdly beautiful, but also a very no-touch scenario. As you approach the front of it, you can see there's a cord hanging across the entryway, and a curtain that is split in the center of what would have been a bright purple at one time, but the color is faded over how long it's been here. Now it's this purplish-gray, tattered at the bottom, soaked in this dark brown mud that's set within the base of it. The smell hits you and it's very strong. Medicinal herbs, ground roots and powders, and as soon as you step to the cloth, the interior is-- and this is actually for you, a welcome sight. There's a lot of things here that can be treated like teas. There are all sorts of bulbs and roots and dried vegetable matter that seems to have been pulled out in strings and then woven together into long braids that are dangling. You can see cages that hang in areas with moss-covered, shelled creatures that are slowly shifting in their spaces. In the center, there is a wicker chair. In that wicker chair you see a cloaked figure with a big hood that completely obscures the face. You see two tiny clawed hands that are a red-brown scale across the top of them, that sits in there with two tiny legs. It's weird. There's a giant head and torso, and these tiny little hands and tiny little legs. It's very creepy. It's almost like an old woman with baby proportions. It's upsetting when you approach.

LAURA: Do you see her face?

MATT: No, the hood is covering the face.

LAURA: Hello, hello, hello!

LIAM: Hello, grandmother.

MATT: "You've come to talk to Madam Musk?"

MARISHA: Oh, fuck this, let's go.

TALIESIN: I'm so in. Yes, we have.

LAURA: Yes, we have. We definitely have.

MATT: "What you looking for?" (creaking) She begins rocking in this wicker chair.

TRAVIS: I'm fucking out. I turn around. Somebody else take over!

LIAM: Grandmother, do you know much of this city?

MATT: "I don't wander it often, but I do know the land."

TRAVIS: I don't like it!

LIAM: Hmm.

SAM: Ooh, boy.

LAURA: You tell fortunes?

MATT: "No. But I make potions."

SAM: What kind of potions do you make?

MATT: "Salves. Balms. Whatever ails you."

SAM: Nothing ails us currently, but that changes frequently.

LAURA: I love her so much!

LIAM: We are very interested in this, of course. What are your wares?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'm standing in the corner with my head in my arm going: Ask her about healing potions!

LIAM: You're in the corner in Blair Witch.

TRAVIS: I want more!

TALIESIN: Raise your hand if you want off the ride.

SAM: We have the ability to heal wounds, but is there any other condition that your potions can restore?

MATT: "I've prepared a few antivenoms."

LAURA: That might be useful.

SAM: Is that important around these parts?

MATT: "Might be. I don't know, I don't travel too far."

LAURA: How long have you been here, Madam Musk?

MARISHA: This is terrible.

MATT: "What was your question?"

LAURA: How long have you been here?

MATT: "As long as the elements around me."

MARISHA: (whispered) What? You said you've recently made antivenom potions?

MATT: One of the hands comes up and points over, and there's a small shelf to the side. The door's locked. "In there, I keep them."

TRAVIS: Kill this woman.

MARISHA: Okay. Did you recently make them due to a--

SAM: Influx of poisonings?

MARISHA: Yes! An influx of venomous things coming to you that you could do that? Is that why they're-- I'm so nervous. She's freaking me out, Fjord. She's freaking me out.

TRAVIS: Yeah. You're point blank.

MARISHA: I take a few steps back and I just, you know--

TRAVIS: Gesture wildly? To accomodate?

MATT: "I just like to be prepared, that's all."

LAURA: I'm ducking down. I really want to try to get a look at her.

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: What do you accept as payment?

MATT: "Gold or trade."

TRAVIS: Not souls, or faces?

MATT: "Are you offering?"

MARISHA: Don't. First off, she's lying.

TRAVIS: Is she?

TALIESIN: Sadly, he has neither.

LAURA: 22!

MATT: 22?

LAURA: Yes! It's going to be an actual baby.

TALIESIN: Oh, man.

SAM: Stay tuned for Monday's Kickstarter launch! The Legend of Vox Machina animated special.

TALIESIN: This is everything I've wanted.

TRAVIS: It's going to be amazing.

TALIESIN: I'm just going to point out it's another chair. I feel they're connected.

SAM: You mean, this woman's chair? The wicker chair?

TALIESIN: We've had wooden chair, this is now the order of the wicked wicker chair.

SAM: What's one step crazier than that?

TALIESIN: That will be the society of the stool.

LIAM: The Legend of Vox Machina: not a single character with tiny hands.

TRAVIS: What, what?

MATT: We cannot guarantee that, Liam. "Are you looking to buy?"

SAM: Is it just the antivenom, or do you have any other wares for sale?

MATT: "I do have another healing potion, but I can't make more, because I'm out of tumor moss."

SAM, MARISHA and LIAM: Tumor moss?

MATT: "Tumor moss."

LIAM: It needs two mimosas?

(laughter)

SAM: A little orange juice, a little champagne.

LIAM: That's the biggest throwback yet.

SAM and MARISHA: Tumor moss?

MATT: "Tumor moss, yes."

LAURA: Tumor moss.

MATT: "I usually have to send a boy out to get it for me, but the local patches have dried up, so--"

SAM: Oh, yes. The farmlands and the livestock have been affected by something.

MATT: "I know a place where there is some, if you want to get it for me, like a nice goblin."

LIAM: This is the weirdest production of The Secret Garden ever.

LAURA: I definitely think we should get some for you.

SAM: Where do you know that there is tumor moss that still grows?

MATT: The hand picks up and points over behind the right shoulder and says, "There's a small cove along the eastern bank of the Ifolon River. Surrounded by seven trees, this grove is. The small bank, there. There you'll find the strongest batch of tumor moss this side of Xhorhas."

TRAVIS: I want sheet music to that.

SAM: (singing) Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive.

(laughter)

LIAM: (Madame Musk voice) If I had a fine white horse, (singing) I'd take you for a ride today.

(laughter)

LAURA: Oh my god. How much for the antivenom stuff that you have made?

MATT: "I have four prepared. 50 gold apiece."

TRAVIS: Yes.

SAM: All?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'll buy all four of them.

LAURA: How do you have that much money after we just spent money on the--

TRAVIS: I'll take it. I just throw 200 gold at her.

(laughter)

MATT: (clanging) "Oh no, you've made a mess."

LAURA: I'll go, and I'll help pick it up, yeah.

SAM: I'll pick it up and put it in her tiny doll hands.

MATT: "I've got it!"

SAM: Oh!

MATT: "But thank you."

LIAM: Grandmother, we have heard rumors about--

MATT: The hood shifts in your direction.

LIAM: My parents told me stories about things like this. Grandmother, we have heard rumors in this city of a strange presence. I understand you're in this home much of the time, but have you heard any rumors about anything otherworldly in a way you are not familiar with here?

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

SAM: You have the dodecahedron if you need it.

LIAM: Didn't help. 14.

MATT: "I've heard rumors of folks dealing with bad dreams. Around the square here, sleepless nights. Old Potis apparently went crazy and murdered his family."

SAM: Old Potis?

LIAM and MARISHA: Portis?

TALIESIN: Where did Old Potis used to live?

MATT: "Used to live four down that side of the square," and points out directly behind you on what would be the western road that leads away from the square. "But he's not there anymore. He was executed but two days ago."

SAM: Did they board up his house, or anything?

MATT: "I don't know. I don't leave this hut."

LIAM: How did they kill him?

MATT: "I don't leave this hut."

LAURA: We should go check out his house.

MARISHA: How do you sustain yourself?

MATT: "I have my ways."

TRAVIS: (muffled hysterics)

LIAM: Fjord, you seem uncomfortable. Would you like to wait outside?

TRAVIS: (yelling) I'd just like to ask what the name-- if I were to look up under equipment, are these four vials of poison resistance called?

MATT: I'll show you at the break.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: "If you bring me tumor moss, I can make you more healing potions."

LAURA: At a massive discount, please?

MATT: The head slowly nods in your direction, twitches a bit.

TALIESIN: Just for fun, I'm going to detect undead, just to see what's up.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Can I do an insight check?

TRAVIS: (whispering) Kill this bitch.

MARISHA: I want to do an insight check when she said she'll trade in fate or whatever. If she was joking.

MATT: Trade in--?

MARISHA: He was like, "Would you trade in fate or give our fortunes?" She was like, "Are you offering?"

MATT: Make an insight check. What were you checking?

TALIESIN: I have 60 feet.

MATT: Right. You concentrate and focus to sense that negative void aura that seems to emanate from creatures that are held together through necromancy. Nothing.

MARISHA: 19 total.

SAM: So many whispers tonight. So many whispers. Each whisper is an opportunity. A whispertunity--

TRAVIS: A whispertunity?

SAM: To tell you about the awesome merch that's in the Critical Role shop.

LAURA: Oh! Hey, we've got some shirts, like the one that Travis Willingham's wearing.

SAM: That's such a good shirt. That's a ladies' small.

LAURA: Hey, guess what? I don't know if it's true. I think it's true? There's a Traveler bumper sticker. It might be in there, but I'm not sure.

SAM: Hey, that is maybe a good plug.

MARISHA: Did you find anything? Yeah? No? Did you get a vibe?

TALIESIN: No, no vibe. Everything is copacetic.

LAURA: Let's go check out that house.

TALIESIN: I think that's a good lead.

LAURA: It's a pretty good lead.

MATT: "Be safe out there."

TRAVIS: Fucking-- let's just kill her. Nobody's going to come in here.

LAURA: We will be safe. Thank you so much.

MATT: "Thank you."

TRAVIS: Can we see her face?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: As we're leaving, I'm going to kneel down and say: You are doing such a good job, like so, so creepy. I'm so impressed with you guys!

TRAVIS: Natural 18 for a 19.

MATT: Okay. You notice-- I'll put this out. You don't get too much detail, but there's something odd about the physicality of this woman. The body seems to move in sections, like it's a person poorly made and about to fall apart. It's off-putting and strange. You get a glance underneath, when Jester's talking to her. The head shoots up towards her and a second and you see a snout of some kind, but it's a small, long snout. For the size of the hood, you see this tiny little snout poke through and then pull back in, and the whole body seems to recoil into the chair a bit and get still.

SAM: What?!

LAURA: Don't worry, I won't tell anyone!

MATT: "Shh, Shh!"

TRAVIS: All right. Go now. Please.

LAURA: We should go.

MATT: You guys exit Madam Musk's tent.

SAM: This is so weird.

TRAVIS: As soon as we exit, I turn around. Is it still there?

MATT: As you turn around... it's still there.

TRAVIS: Can we please eat or go check out the boarded-up house? One or the other, just whatever direction is further away from this fucking place?

SAM: So many mysteries!

MARISHA: I know, we're starving.

TRAVIS: All right, the house, the house.

MARISHA: So it felt like that was several people, right?

LAURA: I don't know what you're talking about. Madam Musk was super creepy and stuff.

LIAM: You said, "You guys are doing a great job."

LAURA: No I didn't. I'm sure of it.

TRAVIS: You guys?

LAURA: They were really cute, though.

TRAVIS: Who?

LAURA: The kobolds!

SAM: There were kobolds?

LAURA: Yeah!

SAM: Wait, there were kobolds under there?

LAURA: Shh! She wants to be creepy, okay? Let her be creepy.

TALIESIN: I don't know what's happening.

TRAVIS: You're saying that was just a bunch of kobolds?

LAURA: Shh!

SAM: And it was an act?

LAURA: Shh!

MARISHA: Those type of creepy people, they're always acts. They're scammers. That's how they make their living.

SAM: That was amazing!

LIAM: She was very eloquent, compared to our past experience with-- okay.

TRAVIS: Didn't fool me. I was totally comfortable in there.

LAURA: You were scared out of your bejeebees.

SAM: Yeah, by just a couple of kobolds in a little cloak. Look at you. Big man--

LAURA: Shh! She's making a whole business off of it. Don't say anything.

SAM: Can't even take three kobolds in a trenchcoat.

TRAVIS: Keep pushing me, Nott. Keep pushing me. See what happens.

SAM: I know how to get you! Go put a blanket over my head and get some sticks. Ooh!

(laughter)

LIAM: So we are going to check out this murderer's--

TRAVIS: Four houses down on the left.

SAM: Old crazy Potis. Portis?

MARISHA: Yeah, we look for the house on the left. The house at the end of the road.

LIAM: The murder house.

MATT: You head west back through the square, passing the Four Corners on the right, and Baron Visco's butchery to the left. Going four houses down to the left, you see a small home, maybe three rooms total. The wood's warped, and the building itself leans a little bit to the right, but it's closed up.

MARISHA: Does it look like there's locks or barricades, or police-line, do-not-cross tape?

MATT: There is not a police line, but it does appear to be locked.

TALIESIN: Does it look lived-in still, or does it look closed?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

TALIESIN: Good, my best thing to roll.

LIAM: Chimneys, holes, gaps, big enough for a cat?

TALIESIN: That's a four.

MATT: You look at the house, and--

TALIESIN: Four walls. Roof.

SAM: I'm just going to pick the lock. I'm going to pick the lock.

MATT: Make a d20 check, with your proficiency modifier and dexterity.

LAURA: Is anybody watching? I want to look and make sure nobody's watching when Nott does that.

SAM: 26.

TRAVIS: Yasha will provide a meat-shield barrier.

MATT: Okay. I mean, there's a lot of people walking through this street, and you're going to the front door to pick it. MARISHA: Is there a back door? I want to do a little scout around.

SAM: Too late!

MARISHA: While Nott's working on it, I want to scout the perimeter.

MATT: There is no back door. It's small enough to the point where there's really only one entrance and exit.

MARISHA: Windows?

MATT: There is one window, in the back, but it's boarded shut.

MARISHA: I pull on the boards a little bit. Do they seem like they're in there?

MATT: They're recently nailed, so they're not weathered and losing their strength. But they're boards. They can be broken or pushed in with enough force.

MARISHA: Okay. How you doing, Nott? I come back around the corner.

SAM: Almost done! 26.

MATT: 26? (lock clicks, creaking) Door opens up.

MARISHA: I do a scan, anyone watching us?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: That's what I was trying to do too.

MATT: You as well?

MARISHA: That's a natural one, so I'm distracted.

LAURA: 24.

TALIESIN: (counting) 25.

MATT: There's a couple of folks that are looking over strangely as Nott picks open the door, and they're like--

SAM: Want to create a diversion or something?

LAURA: It's our house that we left stuff in, so.

MATT: There's this rough-and-tumble looking hobgoblin; red skin, pointed nose, dark hair that tumbles past the ears that point backwards and this big square jaw approaches and goes, "Hey, hey. What's your business?"

SAM: Potis owed us some money. We were going to collect some of his furniture to repay the debt.

MATT: Make a deception check.

SAM: That's a-- deception? Oh, negative three. 15!

MATT: With a 15, "All right. Makes sense." Turns around and walks around. It was more like, "What are you doing?" Didn't seem to be too inquisitive; once you said that, it was like, "Oh, I get it," and just walked away.

TALIESIN: That was very impressive. What is wrong with people here?

TRAVIS: Yasha will stay an outside sentry, and we'll all go into the house real fast; take a look.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: All right.

TALIESIN: I'll pop in the house.

MARISHA: I pop in as well.

MATT: You walk inside. It's very lightly furnished, and sets a theme for probably how a lot of this city is. There is a simple table with a couple of chairs. You can see another table that's used for dining mostly, and smaller chairs. This looks like maybe a family lived here? What you do notice is the floor around the dining table to the left, and near the entranceway that goes into what might have been a bedroom, is just puddles of dried blood.

TRAVIS: Ugh.

SAM: Ooh. Any rifts to the Abyss?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: One story, right? Not two stories?

MATT: One story, yeah.

SAM: 12.

MATT: You don't see anything of that kind whatsoever.

TALIESIN: I'm going to head towards the bedroom, where the bloodstain seems to be coming from, take a look around. I'm also looking to see if there's a basement of any kind.

MATT: You're looking for a basement, you said?

TALIESIN: That, too.

MATT: Investigation check.

LIAM: I'll follow him; as someone who has left blood before, I want to Will Graham this room and see if I can ascertain how this happened.

MATT: Investigation check as well.

MARISHA: Can I look for any loose floorboards, papers, places that people might hide scrawlings, hidden compartments?

MATT: Sure, make an investigation check.

LAURA: What does it look like where the blood came from? Where were the bodies?

MATT: That's what an investigation check would allow. You rolled a what? A six? You're (hmph) it's escaping your peripheral.

LIAM: 13.

MATT: 13, not too bad. Looking around the bedroom, you can see where it looks like there was probably one death on the bed itself. It looks like the splatter-patterns across the ground was there was some sort of a struggle. There are two other smaller puddles, where three bodies eventually laid to rest and bled out. So there were three deaths here: one large, on the bed, and then two smaller ones in the dining area.

TALIESIN: Anything in the closet? I'm going to check all the rooms.

MATT: There's no closet. There are drawers and stuff, but the place has already been stripped clean.

LAURA: Does it look like they were killed and put in a place, or does it look like they were killed and just fell?

MATT: It's hard to tell, really.

LIAM: I'm going to sit on the floor and pull out my spellbook and slap it down and take the time to cast Detect Magic as a ritual.

MATT: Okay, and what were you doing?

MARISHA: 23 to look for loose floorboards, places that--

TRAVIS: Shelves.

MARISHA: Hidden shit.

MATT: You look around--

MARISHA: Feeling under desks, doing the Cobalt Soul thing.

MATT: Most of the ground in here is not wooden boards more that it's stones that have been placed in the mud and then gone over with a bit of masonry to seal it, so there's no loose boards. You do feel around-- it was a very good check, but you feel certain that there is no hidden compartment or a basement or anything beyond this. It is a simple abode, so at least you confirm for yourself that there isn't something you're missing, as far as the structure itself.

SAM: All right. Aww, poo.

TRAVIS: Detecting magic?

LIAM: It takes a little bit, he's still casting on the floor.

MATT: You take a little bit, you cast Detect Magic. Nothing. The house seems pretty abandoned, cleaned out, and whatever remnants of these murders took place, this individual, this Old Potis you heard about, apparently did this, and was executed a couple of days ago.

TRAVIS: Can we go eat?

LIAM: I burn another spell slot to return myself to looking like Jester as a boy.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: All right, let's go eat. Maybe we can ask around at the pub or whatever, the tavern.

TRAVIS: Yeah, whatever. Who cares.

LAURA: Maybe they'll know where Potis worked or something; maybe he was exposed to something there.

SAM: It seems like a lot of people have been exposed to this crazy-making miasma.

LAURA: Maybe he woke up from a bad dream and killed everyone.

TRAVIS: Maybe he ate some bad meat.

LAURA: Maybe-- Fjord, Oh my gosh, what if in your bad dream sometime, you're going to wake up and murder all of us when we're in our bubble hut?

TRAVIS: You know when I am going to murder all of you is in five minutes if we don't fucking eat something.

LAURA: We're going there right now! We're walking there, Fjord.

TRAVIS: Walk faster.

LIAM: Ja, he was publicly executed, so we should gossip with the locals to find out why.

SAM: We'll go gossip.

MARISHA: To the barn!

LAURA: To the Four Corners!

MATT: All right, you guys head back out into the main thoroughfare, over to the Four Corners tavern. As you approach, you can already see their-- Sorry, you wanted something?

LIAM: Is Timoch and Ude on the way out?

MATT: No, they would be on the southeastern side.

LIAM: Maybe later.

MATT: As you approach, there are two figures; one is a large, burly orc and another that appears to be a bugbear, are dragging a body out from the front.

MARISHA: What?

TRAVIS: From the front of where?

MATT: From inside of the Four Corners and they're dragging it out onto the street.

MARISHA: Like a dead body, or--?

MATT: It's a limp body, and in a second, you can see it's another orc.

LIAM: Too much to drink, that one?

MATT: You hear a chuckle, and they throw it to the ground; and one of them slaps it in the face. The orc on the ground's face is just hamburger meat. It is bloodied and the lip is split, and one of the eyes is swollen shut. There's spatters of his own blood across the chest. They both sit there and look at him and it's like, "Poor bastard!" kick him in the side, (grunt) "Wake up!" and he goes and takes a tankard that the bugbear was holding in the other hand and pours it over his face. The orc on the ground goes, (gasping, coughing) "Did I win?" They're like, "Piss off, we lost money on you!" and they walk back inside and leave the orc there on the ground, dazed. There's chatter and discussion and conversation and chuckles, guttural voices and high-pitched voices, and whiny laughter, and faint, discordant music, all emanating from the open doorway to the Four Corners as you step within. We're going to go ahead and take a break now.

LIAM: (Mos Eisley Cantina theme)

(laughter)

MATT: We'll return here in a few minutes, guys. We do have our fantastic Wyrmwood giveaway, from our friends at Wyrmwood.

TRAVIS: (singing) Wyrmwood!

MATT: Which, if you haven't seen it yet, there's a video on social media on how they made this DM screen, and--

LIAM: Oh, yeah. Holy moly.

MATT: You see the stuff they make and you're like, "That's really cool." You see the quality of it personally, and you're like, "That's really well-done." You see the actual process, and I'm still blown away by it. Check it out if you can. Tonight is the purpleheart dice tray, made famous by our fantastic Scanlan Shorthalt from the last campaign.

LIAM: Tiefling-colored.

MATT: Yes. One lucky winner gets this when we return. To enter, in the Critical Role chat, enter the term "minotaur," M-I-N-O-T-A-U-R, minotaur, once: more than once and you'll be disqualified. Once again, this is for US, Canada, except for Quebec. We will have a winner when we return here in a few minutes. We'll see you guys in a second.

LIAM: Poor Quebec.

Break Edit

[80's-style drum intro] ♪ You've got the perfect warlock, her weapons and supplies. ♪ ♪ But you need a place to track your stuff 'cause you're so disorganized! ♪ ♪ You click open the web page you heard about on Critical Role, ♪ ♪ and now you're ready to kick some butt in that mine shaft full of gnolls! ♪ ♪ It's D&D;! (D&D;, yeah!) D&D; Beyond. ♪ ♪ Yeah, D&D;! (D&D;, yeah!) D&D; Beyond. ♪ ♪ You've got your stats, you've got your swords, and you've got your invisible wand! ♪ ♪ It's D&D;! (D&D;!) D&D;, D&D; Beyond! ♪ MATT: (grunts) "Oh, would you look at that! I think it worked. You were right, Pumat III, all we had to do was invoke that subscription cantrip. (echoing) 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? Oh, we're on the Critical Role channel, aren't we? Well, would you look at that. You've got chat and everything! (chuckles) 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 tax man to your shop here recently (awkward laugh). All right. Well, off to find that darn elusive prime rib realm. Who knew the prime dimension had so many pockets? Good luck! (distantly) Pumat III!" TALIESIN (VO): Subscribe. Resubscribe. Brian Foster is not a cabbage. TRAVIS (VO): Last time, on Yee-Haw Game Ranch: BRIAN: Maybe since-- TRAVIS: Oh, I'm sorry! BRIAN: Whoa, whoa! What are you doing?! I just got off my horse! What are you-- Dude, did you send Gary running? TRAVIS: (laughing) I punched the horse! BRIAN: Did you punch Gary? TRAVIS: (still laughing) Yeah. BRIAN: Dude! Can I slide down this? TRAVIS: Aww, good, yes-- Don't you die! BRIAN: What's your horse's name, Big Wanger? TRAVIS: Yeah. BRIAN: Henry'll get that. TRAVIS: Yep. BRIAN: If we ride our horses side-by-side, I wonder if we can jump onto each other's-- TRAVIS: I bet so. Look how lathered I am. BRIAN: Why are you soaking wet? TRAVIS: Because I was working hard. BRIAN: At what? That race? TRAVIS: Yeah. BRIAN: You are buttered up and ready for Thursday night action, baby! Okay, dude. TRAVIS: What? BRIAN: That one is going to be so disgusting by the time it makes it into your mouth. TRAVIS: It's not like Henry sleeps in here. (choking) BRIAN: No, but this is raw animal fur. TRAVIS: It hit my uvula. [banjo intro] ♪ Travis Willingham's Yee-Haw Game Ranch! ♪ Yeehaw! TRAVIS (VO): Previously, on Mame Drop: TALIESIN: You, the brave, the chosen, must use your wisdom and strength to save our world. Quiz & Dragons! MATT: This is so ridiculous! TALIESIN: Oh, yeah. Oh, we're doing a dragon, okay. I was really into a wolf. MATT: Went from green dragon in one game to green dragon in the other! TALIESIN: Seven points, we can do this. MATT: So you've make it this far, but if you can't answer my questions, I'll char you to the bone. (yelling) You don't breathe fire! It's pois-- ugh. TALIESIN: "Pot pourri?" (laughing) We'll do potpourri. Dried flowers, sure. MATT: We know so much about it. Which of the following is not featured on the Great Seal of the United States? 13 birds. TALIESIN: Goddamn it. MATT: I totally knew that. TALIESIN: Wow. MATT: What profession was Charles Atlas in? TALIESIN: Bodybuilding. Anybody who went to the Rocky Horror knew-- MATT: That's right, yeah! Oh my god. TALIESIN: That's Rocky Horror shit right there. It's the only reason I know that. MATT: What is the sign of the zodiac is known as-- TALIESIN: Taurus! MATT: I didn't even finish the question! TALIESIN: Okay, are we waiting for you to finish reading from now on? MATT: No, we're not at all. We're not waiting. It's my own fault. How many bricks are in the Empire State Building? TALIESIN: Ten million! (chuckling) I guessed, I didn't really know that. MATT: What is January's birthstone? TALIESIN: I should know this... garnet. My birthday's in January, this is obviously rigged. MATT: I'm just going to sit back. I'm just going to let you-- TALIESIN: Question six! MATT: Chicago's O'Hare airport is the country's busiest. Which is the second busiest? TALIESIN: Dallas/Fort Worth. MATT: No! TALIESIN: (maniacal laughter) MATT: This is revenge for Soul Calibur, isn't it? TALIESIN: Oh man, I'm feeling it. MATT: Where was the first McDonald's hamburger store-- TALIESIN: Pasadena, California! MATT: (frustrated growl) We're playing Street Fighter after this. TALIESIN: Goddamn it. This dragon is apparently my bro. MATT: Apparently. TALIESIN: Because that was so leaning in my direction there. That was hard. (laughter) [chill music] MARISHA: Like that? BABS: (sigh) [music]

Part II Edit

MATT: And welcome back, everybody. Before we jump back in, we do have a winner tonight. The winner is: 3nd720, 3 like number three, nd, 720! Congratulations.

MARISHA: It's a bot.

MATT: It could be. They've chatted twice in our chat room.

TRAVIS: (robotic voice) Thank you for the Wyrmwood.

MATT: I guess second time's the charm, so congratulations. We'll get this sent out to you ASAP. All right, bringing us back in; to Asarius. You guys begin to step into the interior of the Four Corners. Immediately, you can see the arched, barn-roof-type interior, a good 20 or so feet off the ground at its apex, and it is a central apex that runs from the front to the back, with a somewhat-curved, barn-like top. There are rafters pointed across, and there are different boxes and barrels placed up in the edges for storage reasons. To your right, there is a bar being run by a somewhat jovial, grinning bugbear that has mashed some sort of wax into very heavily-grown fur on the face, and pulled it into a tri-pointed moustache/goatee appearance; but it's just a continuation of the fur. He is in mid conversation. There are a good seven or eight tables scattered amongst the room, with candles on them that are burned halfway down with wax splatters across the center. The room is filled with all kinds of unique people. You see gnolls: one in the far corner and one to the far left, sitting there with large tankards, drinking and conversing. Probably a half-dozen goblins or so, scattered around the interior. Some orcs; a few Kryn drow in here as well. As you all step into the interior chamber, the energy comes to a slight standstill as everyone looks over to the brightly-colored and different individuals.

TRAVIS: Beau.

MARISHA: Yeah?

TRAVIS: Punch me. (impact, groan)

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: It was such an invitation, I couldn't--

MATT: Yeah, it was. I'm not going to make you roll martial arts damage, but your dex modifier is...?

MARISHA: Just my dex mod? Plus five.

MATT: You take six points of damage.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: It clocks you.

MARISHA: Sorry, I could have done a little less fervor.

TRAVIS: It's all right.

MARISHA: Sorry.

MATT: As you stop for a second, the whole crowd raises an eyebrow or grumbles to themselves and chuckles, and they all go back to their business. MARISHA: Give them all a little bit of the crazy eye.

MATT: What you do notice also, is to the front left of your entryway, a large portion of the central chamber on the far left corner is a gravel pit. A 35-foot by 35-foot gravel pit that encompasses the center, and there is a chair set at each corner of this pit.

SAM: I'm sure it's for doing foley work, or something.

MATT: Yes.

TALIESIN: Deep joke.

MATT: You do see sections of the gravel seem to be darkly stained.

TRAVIS: Semen.

MATT: Sitting in one of the chairs, you see a really thick, muscular ogre. Most ogres you see are very muscular in general, but also carry a rather hefty amount of thick ogre skin and fat that also makes them a walking powerhouse, or sledgehammer. This is a pretty cut ogre. You can see a lot of muscle definition, and it's currently removing wraps from his hands where there are blood stains across it. You see two other individuals, two gnolls that are currently having fresh drinks poured into their glasses and mugs, as they themselves are beat to shit.

LAURA: In the other chairs?

MATT: What's that?

LAURA: Like, are they in the other chairs?

MATT: They are no longer in the chairs on the other side of the ring. They're over at nearby tables, and they're currently being consoled by their friends and such. The ogre that's there, there's a pile in the center of the gravel pit that is a combination of gold coins, jerky, some sort of a locket, as well as a raw piece of ore. It's just a small pile of loose pocket treasures. As soon as the ogre finishes unwrapping its wrappings on its hands, it walks over and scoops it up, as well as a nice helping of gravel, into a pouch. He goes off and orders a drink.

MARISHA: Did you see that guy?

SAM: Yeah, he's a fighter.

MARISHA: I want to be his friend.

SAM: His friend, I--

MARISHA: I'm going to go up to the bar. I sit down. I'll buy you that drink.

MATT: You say this to ogre?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. The ogre is leaning forward, and you come up to about the waist of this ogre. The guy's almost bending at a 45-degree angle to rest his shoulders on the edge of the bar, and as soon as you say this, the head twitches a little bit to hear you, and then just continues to ignore you, staring ahead at the bartender who is in the process of getting a pretty hefty cask from underneath the bar and bringing it up on top. The bartender, the bugbear, glances over at you and gives you a look, a little wink, and continues to prepare to pop it while the ogre shoves this large, dinged-to-shit tankard, that was previously attached to the side of his belt, forward toward the bartender, and continues to not acknowledge your existence.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm. Not a bad night of work, huh? It's pretty good. Sad I missed the fight.

MATT: "Stick around. There's always more." Doesn't even look at you, just keeps looking forward.

TRAVIS and MARISHA: Stick around, there's always more.

MARISHA: How do you throw your hat in the ring for something like that?

MATT: Now the head turns towards you, and you can see one of the eyes is destroyed. The right eye in the head, it looks like it's taken some heavy damage, and has healed back enough to not become a necrotic problem, but the iris is split and it's not a functional eye; it's ruined. It doesn't move in the socket. The other eye shifts over towards you, and the jaw on this ogre is a series of heavy scars where it's been split in three different places and healed back over. A broken, jagged row of teeth and curved tusks tangle outside of the lower jaw. You see sprigs of attempted chin hair that end up being just a tuft of just seven or eight longer hairs that tangle into this awkward, thin braid or lock that just drifts, and taps the edge of the top of the clavicle as the head shifts and looks towards you, and he says, "If you're looking to enter, just drop your ante." He points back to the gravel pit. "I'd be happy to take it from you."

MARISHA: You going to be fighting next? Is it like a reigning champion type of thing?

MATT: "No. Whoever wants the ante can enter. So if I don't like what you drop, I leave it to the riff-raff."

MARISHA: And everyone else is the riff raff, not you, though.

MATT: (sniffs) "You smell like human."

MARISHA: Wow, you're very astute. That's accurate.

MATT: "It's a terrible smell."

MARISHA: Yeah, I've heard that before. Jesus, okay. Come on, man.

MATT: "Makes me hungry."

MARISHA: Okay. I'm going to ignore that, and I have one more question for you.

MATT: "No more questions," and he turns back and takes the tankard from the bar, now filled, tosses a couple of silver pieces over the bar towards the bartender from the winnings that he pulled out from the center of the gravel pit and just stomps.

MARISHA: I'll fight you for a question.

MATT: Just sits down and keeps drinking.

MARISHA: Fuck. I'll fucking get a drink and get back over.

LAURA: What were you going to ask him?

MARISHA: Wanted to hear if he's been having nightmares.

LAURA: Oh.

SAM: She's a good detective.

LAURA: I thought she was going to ask him out or something. It was weird.

LIAM: You did? Really?

TALIESIN: I wasn't aware that was an option.

MARISHA: He did say I smelled very nice.

LAURA: He said you made him hungry, I heard it.

MARISHA: Yeah. I have that effect on people, sometimes.

SAM: Nicely done. Ooh.

MATT: The bartender sits there waiting. The bugbear goes, "Hey. Hey, you want something?"

MARISHA: Yeah, I'll just get an ale.

MATT: "All right. What's your name?"

MARISHA: What's yours?

MATT: "Resk. Resk the Mad. What's your name?"

MARISHA: Risk the Mad?

MATT: "Resk!"

MARISHA: Resk.

MATT: "Yeah, that's the one."

MARISHA: Okay, Resk. I'm Beau. Beau the Sane... currently.

MATT: "For now. One ale coming up." It turns around and goes and starts pouring.

MARISHA: What made you mad?

MATT: "Ha. Lots of things."

MARISHA: What's the most recent?

MATT: "Lots of questions. Makes me real mad."

MARISHA: Oh, questions make you mad. Okay. Why does everyone here-- it feels like they're hitting on me, but also insulting me at the same time?

LIAM: It is so blatantly obvious that Beauregard is going to start a bar brawl in here. I'm pulling my cloak over to hide my person.

LAURA: I think people here don't like answering questions, Beau.

SAM: Yeah, a City of Beasts thing.

TALIESIN: Maybe ask him why people don't like answering questions. That might shed some illumination on the problem.

MARISHA: It's still a question, though.

TALIESIN: Oh.

TRAVIS: Is there anyone sitting in this whole place that's at a table by themselves, maybe like--

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Yeah. 20-- 21.

MATT: Okay. Most of the tables are fairly busy. There is one table on the far right side, back end. It's a smaller table, and there's only one individual sitting there. It is a drow. It is a female drow, dark, black hair across the light blue-gray skin tone. Hair is pulled back into a very, very tight ponytail that is then multiple-times bound, so it's almost like a series of periodic bindings to where it drags the lower back. Flowing clothes, no Kryn armor necessarily, so you don't get the sense that this is a soldier of the military, and is currently clutching hands around a drink and just staring right at Beau.

TRAVIS: Your actions have garnered some attention. Ten o'clock, back of the room.

MARISHA: I turn around, look at him. Her?

LIAM: It's a lady.

MARISHA: It's a lady? Sorry.

SAM: Should we go talk to her?

TRAVIS: No.

SAM: What do you mean? Yes! We are here for information.

LAURA: Maybe your smell is making her hungry.

MARISHA: I'm telling you! Everyone is horny over me here.

TALIESIN: It occurs to me that I'm hungry. I'm going to order some food. My god-- I'm going to go to the bar.

SAM: We are here for information.

MATT: (laughs) "Nice to meet you!"

TALIESIN: Nice to meet you.

MATT: "Oh, you are just an interesting one, aren't you?

TALIESIN: Oh, you are the first person to say that!

MATT: "I like the colors, you are very bright."

TALIESIN: Thank you. I try.

MATT: "All right. Okay. You hungry?"

TALIESIN: Yeah, whatever you've got in the kitchen, I think I'd love to feed my friends and have a fine meal. Especially if you have any-- if we can get an assortment of meats and vegetables, would be really great.

MATT: "Like a breakfast spread."

TALIESIN: Like a breakfast spread.

MATT: "All right. Hold on, just a second. Get the breakfast spread! I'm right, on it." You notice as he talks, he shouts an order to himself and then responds from the other side and goes off and starts making food out of the small kitchen shack that's attached to the outside of the barn.

LIAM: He's just talked to himself, you're saying?

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I think there's two people in one right there.

MARISHA: He's the Mad-- Never mind.

TALIESIN: I thought he was just angry at you. I mean, people seem to be, on occasion.

MARISHA: Oh okay, everyone's in a mood. I'm going to go over to the drow.

SAM: I'm going to tag along, a little behind.

TALIESIN: I'm going to wait for breakfast.

LIAM: She's Captain Heat and we are the one who is in the mood.

MARISHA: I'll take that one.

MATT: You sit back at the table.

MARISHA: I sit down. This seat taken?

MATT: "It is now."

MARISHA: Correct answer. It's been cold, I'm not used to this.

MATT: "Where are you from?"

MARISHA: Where are you from?

MATT: She starts drinking.

MARISHA: A little bit further south. Traveling, touring.

MATT: "What is your destination?"

MARISHA: Currently, it's this barn.

MATT: "Well, congratulations, you made it."

MARISHA: I did. Feel pretty good about that, too.

MATT: "You should."

MARISHA: Looking for someone, though.

MATT: "Then I hope you find them."

MARISHA: Seems like a lot of people are missing these days.

MATT: "Dangerous places, these fields."

MARISHA: Mm-hmm. Some--

MATT: Grabs the drinks and stands up and walks away.

MARISHA: (whispering) Fucking shit.

SAM: As they go past, can I just try to brush up against them, and just see if I can-- are they holding anything in their pouches?

MATT: They have some pouches, yeah.

SAM: I'm just going to try to pick a pocket.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

TRAVIS: Goddamn it. That's the beginning of the end.

MARISHA: Do it!

TRAVIS: Fuck.

SAM: Sleight of hand, 29. Just a random pocket, I'm not going for anything in particular.

MATT: Okay, all right. You reach up and not even looking reach. It takes a second for your fingers to find a pouch, but something cylindrical and cold finds your grasp. You pull it outside and dart off, and no one seems to make any note of you.

SAM: When I touched its form it seemed all there? No illusions or anything?

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: Five.

MATT: Five? Seemed all there.

MARISHA: Did I get any type of feeling on what she was looking for when she was staring through my soul?

MATT: Make an insight check.

MARISHA: All right, all right. 18.

MATT: 18? Hard to read the true length and breadth of the intent, but seemed to be genuinely taken aback that you were here, like a human like you. You can't tell if it was an offense or something more sinister, you don't know.

LIAM: Does she leave Beau or the whole establishment?

MATT: Left Beau, just moved over to back wall and is now, after passing by Nott, is just leaning in the back wall with the tankard and is still keeping a side eye towards Beau.

MARISHA: I go back to the group.

LIAM: Did you make her so horny that she had to go relieve herself?

MARISHA: Pretty sure she wants to kill me.

SAM: Not near the group, I will look at what I got.

MATT: It's a greater healing potion.

SAM: Oh, okay!

LAURA: Sweet.

SAM: I'll take that.

LAURA: No, that's mine!

TRAVIS: That's legit.

MATT: Here, pass it over.

LAURA: Sick.

SAM: Do you think we should go talk to her again? First of all, what are we doing here?

TRAVIS: I'll make my way over to where she is standing, too.

SAM: Wait, you're going to go talk to her? Wait! Don't--

LIAM: We are going to corner this one wom-- oh, okay.

SAM: I'm going to go near and just watch.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: As I start making my way over, I have a bit of a (hiccup, slurring) sway in my swagger. I get near her table and I'll trip and fall into the chair. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Hey.

MATT: "Hello."

TRAVIS: What's your name? (hiccup)

MATT: "You want to know my name?"

TRAVIS: I'm sorry. (hiccup) I probably shouldn't ask. Seems like more trouble than it's worth.

MATT: "It always is. If you want to know, throw something in the ring."

TRAVIS: Are you-- (hiccup) are you a fighter?

MATT: "I have been known to throw a fist every now and then."

TRAVIS: I don't need any more of that. Did you see that filthy fucking human punch me right in my goddamn kisser? (snort)

MATT: "I did. Did you deserve it?"

TRAVIS: (softly) I can't remember. (laughs)

MATT: (sigh)

TRAVIS: What is one of them doing in a place like this? Can you believe it? (hiccup)

MATT: Steps over and walks away from you to the other side.

TALIESIN: So proud.

SAM: You guys suck.

TRAVIS: I'll sit down in her chair, look at the group and be like.

SAM: It sounds like if we want to talk to this lady, you're going to have to beat her up.

MARISHA: I have a thought.

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: I think to get any amount of fucking respect in here, we're going to have to beat some fucking ass.

SAM: Yeah, yeah!

MARISHA: I'm willing to do it. I think it's a fisticuffs thing. I think it's a no-armor thing.

LAURA: I think it's four people against each other.

MARISHA: So you join me. But we don't really tell-- you know, we don't project that we're necessarily fighting each other.

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay.

TRAVIS: Yasha just quietly goes (cough).

MATT: Actually, Yasha honestly right now is looking uncomfortable.

TRAVIS: (quietly) Oh, fuck.

MATT: Genuinely is like, "Normally I'd be into this kind of thing, but maybe not here." She's looking around the room nervously.

LAURA: Is everything okay, Yasha?

MATT: "Yeah. Just, you know, I... This is where I'm from, and maybe don't want to make a scene."

MARISHA: Oh fuck, are we embarrassing you? (whispering) Are we those people?

SAM: We are those people, yes.

LAURA: Obviously.

SAM: But it's fine. Your plan was fine. You and Jester fight. You'll win. It'll just be down to you and you. One of you throws the fight, I assume. Maybe you should work that out ahead of time. Then we'll get tons of respect and we'll ask all our questions.

LIAM: Please, you're about to have an embolism. Throw something in there, and start fighting.

TRAVIS: Yeah, let's not think about these things too much. (loudly) Show me what you've got!

MARISHA: Fuck. I take...

LIAM: Here. I pull one of those jade stones and I slap it into Beauregard's hand. Use this.

MATT: How many jade stones do you have?

LIAM: Four.

MATT: Four? There you go.

LIAM: I had four.

MATT: Now you have two.

LIAM: I have two and I gave her one.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: Then I'll take one of my several pouches that I bought, fill it with like... what seems right? What seems good?

LIAM: A jade stone worth 100 gold pieces.

SAM: Yeah, that's plenty.

LAURA: That's so much. That's way too much. Just use the stone.

TRAVIS: You want some bloody manacles?

LAURA: But look, somebody just put a locket in there and he like...

TRAVIS: There's a crossbow.

MARISHA: I'll throw another ten gold, and I take the bloody manacles because that seems hardcore.

MATT: (laughs) Okay.

MARISHA: Bloody manacles, gold, jade piece (clinks).

MATT: So you step out into the open gravel pit. (heavy footsteps)

MARISHA: Fuck. Oh fuck, oh wait. Okay--

LAURA: Oh god, we should team up and then-- (hushed) when it's just us then we... you know.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Who wants to throw? Should we go based on like how it's going?

LAURA: (whispering) I'll throw it to you.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: So you walk out on your own and drop the contents of your hand into the center (thudding and jingling) in the middle of the gravel. At which point about seven different characters in the interior of the Four Corners sit up and look over in the direction.

LAURA: I go take a seat.

MATT: You go take a seat?

LAURA: In the thing.

SAM: In the chair?

LAURA: In one of the chairs.

MATT: Okay. You sit in one of the chairs. You watch as the ogre that you had approached at the bar (laughs, cracks his neck), pushes past two of the orcs and makes his way to the gravel pit. Reaches and grabs the bag of recent winnings and looking at you, throws it on top of your ante in the center and walks over to where you're sitting and goes, "Move out of my chair."

LAURA: Oh. I stand up, and I pull out a sequined glove, and put it in the middle. Then I go sit in another chair.

MATT: (laughs) What is the sequined glove?

LAURA: The single, white, sequined glove was my stupid artifact that I started the campaign with.

TALIESIN: Like Michael Jackson.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Like he said, like a Michael Jackson glove? That's amazing!

MATT: As you drop your sequined glove, you see a few faces of nearby onlookers. Like three goblins on the edge look in and go (eager panting, hmph).

SAM: Maybe put some actual money--

LAURA: It's magic.

SAM: Oh, it's magic?!

LAURA: It's magical.

LIAM: (singing) Looking at the monk in the mirror.

SAM: Oh, it's magical everyone! It's magical!

LIAM: But in like, a decorative sense.

MATT: A green-scaled dragonborn in a breastplate of armor, that looks themself a little bit drunk but is well-armed, sits up and begins walking towards the gravel pit. Right before his foot touches the gravel, there's this blur of motion and the drow female from earlier is now in the pit, cutting him off.

TRAVIS: Oh, shit!

LAURA: Oh god.

SAM: (singing) Everybody wants Beau.

LAURA: Don't let me down, okay?

TALIESIN: What? I'm still waiting for breakfast. I have no idea any of this is happening.

MATT: Food begins to arrive for you.

TALIESIN: Hey guys I got the-- oh.

TRAVIS: (munching)

TALIESIN: You're going to get your asses kicked, you didn't eat.

SAM: As everyone is preparing--

TALIESIN: I bring it back to the table.

SAM: I'm just going to cast Mage Hand. Just have it invisible nearby. Just in case.

MATT: Okay, sure.

TALIESIN: I'll throw-- yeah.

SAM: You're eating breakfast.

TALIESIN: I'm eating breakfast.

MATT: You're already eating breakfast. They're already at the chairs. If you're going to cast anything you have to walk up to them and do it visibly.

TALIESIN: I don't think that's fair though, is it?

MATT: You can certainly try.

TALIESIN: No, that doesn't seem fair.

MARISHA: Take it from me: I've gotten thrown in jail for that before.

TALIESIN: Yeah, no. That sounds like cheating.

MATT: All right. So it is Beauregard, the drow, Jester still stands at the center-- or no, you're over in a chair and the ogre sits. The drow and the ogre are now looking at Jester expectantly.

LAURA: Oh come on. I put a glove in and stuff! Hold on. I only have one thing that's worth anything.

SAM: Do you need some money?

LAURA: I pull out my diamond that I bought with Caduceus.

SAM: Oh.

TALIESIN: That's a lot.

LAURA: It's worth 300.

SAM: Oh!

TALIESIN: That's a lot.

LAURA: I don't have anything else.

MATT: Do you put the diamond in the center?

TRAVIS: Jesus.

LAURA: Is that too much?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

SAM: Too late now.

MATT: What are you doing, Jester?

MARISHA: I'll win it back, just like they say in Vegas.

LAURA: I take my glove back, and put it on.

SAM: Ooh, put it on!

MATT: All right, you have a glove for the battle.

LAURA: Shamone!

MATT: When the diamond hits, everyone in the room goes (gasp) and the ogre looks at you with this big grin and goes, "Heh heh heh." He then reaches back and pulls a shortsword in his hand.

MARISHA: Like, a shortsword?

MATT: Yeah, well you notice at this point that people who have been fighting, since you actually haven't seen a fight yet, it isn't necessarily fisticuffs. At this point you realize the wounds that the others had sustained involved puncture wounds, slash wounds. This is a whatever-weapons-goes-type brawl.

LIAM: Oh, whatever goes, huh?

MATT: Well, whatever goes from their perspective.

MARISHA: So if Jester summons some unicorns, people might get pissy? Is that--?

MATT: Who knows? We'll find out.

TRAVIS: We're going to find out. (yelling) We're going to find out! Bring me the ring! Woo whee!

SAM: I want Matt to bring out a kitty litter box full up with sand right now.

(chanting and table banging)

LAURA: What should we do? Oh no! I am so out my league in this ring!

SAM: D&D; Beyond, everybody. Fine corporation.

MARISHA: I don't know. Maybe we go for the orc first?

LAURA: It's huge!

TRAVIS: Look at that ogre! Oh my god!

SAM: Oh my god. The pit is most of the bar!

LAURA: I am going to throw up.

MARISHA: What have we done?

LAURA: I'm going to lose a diamond.

TRAVIS: Jester--

LAURA: I don't have anything!

LIAM: You got those houses so quick.

TALIESIN: You could have thrown in, like 50 silver would have done it.

LIAM: We saw these together at Colville's joint.

MATT: Were you guys just watching from the side here? Found a separate table?

TALIESIN: I was getting breakfast, man.

TRAVIS: I'm sitting at the drow's table.

MARISHA: I understand why they call it the Four Corners!

LAURA: Oh, cool.

TALIESIN: I want to make sure I have 30 feet of clearance for the whole thing, in case I have to start keeping people from getting beat to death.

MATT: Caleb, where would you like to be?

LIAM: I think I'll stand by the door right here, near where Beauregard is.

MATT: Yasha creeps over to this side, across the other side of the door.

TRAVIS: Are none of us over here?

SAM: Yeah, I'm going to be over there.

LIAM: It's crowded around my corner.

MATT: It is. Caduceus, you're here.

TALIESIN: As long as the whole thing is within 30 feet of me.

MATT: You have to get closer for that, but right now everyone is crowding up to the outside of the gravel pit.

TALIESIN: I'll go join Caleb over there with whatever breakfast I can manage.

MARISHA: I don't think I've ever done a bar fight, really. I don't think so.

SAM: Teamwork makes the dream work here, guys.

LIAM: Until it's just you two, and then: blood.

LAURA: I don't think it's going to get to that.

SAM: Kill her. No mercy.

TRAVIS: Weapons, arms, legs, eyes.

MATT: This goblin's going to move up. An actual Kryn soldier comes up to the edge and starts watching. Hobgoblin steps up on a table over here. They're all now moving in to form this space around. That being the case, I am going to need everyone to roll initiative, please. By everyone, that would be Beauregard and Jester.

MARISHA: Oh my god, Jessie! Come on, Laura.

SAM: Yeah, terrible.

MARISHA: Okay, I'm going to use my boots.

LAURA: Oh, we already used the dodecahedron today.

TRAVIS: It's all right. It's only whoever goes first probably survives.

TALIESIN: I'm not interfering with this fight.

LIAM: I'm making no such promise.

TALIESIN: I'll keep them alive.

MATT: So, 25 to 20?

MARISHA: 21.

LAURA: Ooh, nice.

MATT: 20 to 15?

LAURA: Well, I'll just tell you. It's a nine.

MATT: Okay, good to know.

TRAVIS: Nein! Represent!

LAURA: Lucky number nine.

MATT: As everyone gathers around the edges and the faint music begins to turn to a (drumming). One of the gnolls in the far back has begun to beat a small drum that's kept to the side and the bartender, looking over in the back, pulls out a small drum that he keeps behind the edge and he goes (light drumming), patting the top of this tiny little thing.

MARISHA: Before we get going, I take the bat guano that Caleb gave me and smoosh it in my hands, and smear it across my face.

MATT: That's disgusting.

SAM: That's gross.

LIAM: That's pretty fucking awesome.

LAURA: I do some special sequined glove flourishes. That's all.

MATT: As you're doing that, the drow and the ogre, everyone sizes each other up. There is a moment of a flinch, and you are first, Beau. What are you doing?

MARISHA: I go to the drow, in between the drow and the ogre, butt in, and while running, pull my spear out and spin with a flourish and come around.

MATT: Your--?

MARISHA: Staff.

MATT: Staff, got you. Okay, go for it. Towards the drow.

MARISHA: Natural 19, so that is a--

MATT: That does hit.

MARISHA: Yeah? Okay, that's a 27. That hits. Oh my god, I'm shaking. Eight damage.

MATT: Eight points of damage.

MARISHA: Stunning strike, going right for the temple. Going for a quick knockout.

MATT: That is going to be 14. What's the DC?

MARISHA: 14.

MATT: Crack! The drow looks back at you with an angry expression.

MARISHA: Doing that again, going for the other side. Come on, bitch, that's not great. 15.

MATT: You make a second strike with the staff. This time, the drow seems to notice and ducks out of the way, and using a reaction to slam you right into the face with its fist.

TRAVIS: With its fist.

MATT: Natural 20.

SAM: Is she a monk, too?

LIAM: Yes, she's got no armor on at all.

SAM: Oh shit.

MATT: That's 12 points of bludgeoning damage, and I need you to make a constitution saving throw.

MARISHA: She's totally a fucking monk.

LAURA: Oh my god! This could be so bad!

MARISHA: Constitution saving throw?

TALIESIN: Weird question, is Sentinel at Death's Door visible, or is it something I can do? There's nothing that says verbal, somatic, or otherwise. Is it just my presence within 30 feet that makes something not happen?

MATT: I would say, if you want to keep it low key, because there is an action. It's not a high DC sleight of hand check to try to hide it if you want to.

MARISHA: What are you trying to do?

TALIESIN: Cancel a Natural 20. No, it's too soon, it feels like a cheat.

MATT: What did you roll?

MARISHA: Six.

LAURA and SAM: Oh no.

SAM: You're stunned.

MATT: You feel the fist strike into your head, and-- no, I'm sorry, the other one.

MARISHA and LIAM: No, you can keep that, that's fine.

LIAM: No take backs.

MATT: No, too bad. I'm used to placing this on the enemy. All of a sudden, your entire world freezes in a flash of white and you hear ringing. What little bit of vision you can see the outline of the interior of this tavern is trails in a blur. You're stunned until the end of its next turn.

TRAVIS: That's all right. You're good.

MATT: I believe that's the end of your turn, then.

LAURA: That was just her turn, right? Now they're both--

MARISHA: But she did use her reaction.

MATT: She did. Well, now it's her turn. She gets her reaction back, and she's going around this way.

MARISHA: I have a theory about all of this.

MATT: She's going to make three attacks against you.

SAM: Three attacks?!

LAURA: Against Beau?

MATT: With advantage, because you're stunned.

LAURA: That's a waste of a turn. Go after the ogre first.

SAM: Totally.

LAURA: She's stunned, yeah.

MATT: 27 to hit.

TRAVIS: Hits.

MATT: You take ten points of bludgeoning damage.

TRAVIS: I got you.

MATT: That's going to be 18 to hit.

TRAVIS: Misses.

MATT: In your stunned state you barely manage to just barely budge out of another fist throw. Knowing it's not much of an issue, it's going to move--

LAURA: Why me?!

MATT: Towards Jester. It's going to bonus action attempt to strike you. That's going to be 15 to hit. I don't believe that hits.

LAURA: I put my shield up and my sequined glove comes up behind it.

MATT: Her drow eyes look up and narrow for a Flurry of Blows. Fourth attack. No, that's 13 to hit; it rolled really bad. It throws another punch and you deflect with the shield. For the rest of its movement, it's going to shift over in this direction. That finishes her turn. The ogre is now going to charge up toward both of you. He's going to make a strike against each, making the first attack against the monk. That hits! Yeah, it's a 23. That is 11 points of slashing damage with one shortsword. It's going to attempt to make another strike against you, Jester.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: That is 21 to hit.

LAURA: Yeah, that hits.

MATT: You take 13 points of slashing damage from the shortsword, slashes past from the other hand.

LAURA: Okay, I'm going to use Hellish Rebuke.

MATT: Go for it. Is it a constitution saving throw?

LAURA: It's a dex saving throw.

MATT: Fails.

LAURA: Yes! Okay, that's 3d10. Ooh, 17.

MATT: As the ogre slashes both of you, chuckling, goes for a second attack and then, suddenly, this burst of ice shards goes blasting into its face. You see bits of it sticking out in the neck and under the jaw.

LAURA: Holla!

MATT: All right, that's going to end the ogre's turn. That brings us to you, Jester.

LAURA: That's me! Okay. Oh, I'm surrounded.

MATT: You're pushed into the corner and surrounded while Beau on the other end is hand against the wall, trying to regain her state of mind.

LAURA: Okay. I'm going to cast--

MATT: End of next turn, you are technically no longer stunned, actually. Since the end of the monk's turn-- as I recall, the stun only lasts until the end of their next turn, and she did stun you after--

LAURA: I'm going to cast Command at 2nd level.

MATT: You're going to cast Command? Okay. Let me see here, just double checking. End of their next turn, yeah, so you are no longer stunned.

SAM: Oh, wow.

MARISHA: Okay. That's actually a good thing to remember: don't stun people on your reaction. Not if you're up next.

MATT: No, but it did halt the rest of your turn.

MARISHA: Yeah, no, it sucked. Empathy: it grows.

MATT: Yeah, so Jester, what was it? Wisdom saving throws?

LAURA: Yes, wisdom saving throws.

SAM: Against who, both?

LAURA: Both of them. I'm casting at 2nd-level.

MATT: The monk rolled a natural 17 plus four, so it succeeds. The ogre-- no, that's a ten.

LAURA: Yes! I say: Grovel at my feet, scum!

MATT: Is it the next turn they do the sentence? They spend their next action doing this?

LAURA: Sorry. "The target must succeed or follow the command on its next turn."

MATT: Correct. So as you shout that, everyone laughs and the ogre goes (laughs, groans) and you can see this confusion, this wave of "what the fuck" enter the ogre's face. That's your action?

LAURA: That's my action. Yeah, that's a spell, so I can't do my other bonus action. I'm going to look over at the drow and be like: (laughs uncomfortably) Good times, huh?

MATT: As you look back and laugh and do that, all you see is the monk going--

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: All right, top of the round. Beau, you're up.

MARISHA: Okay, I shake it off really quick, wink at the guy in front of me, and I turn around and I'm going to use my staff to vault off of the floor, and I'm going to come down for an elbow to the ogre's throat.

MATT: Okay, are you going on this side?

MARISHA: Yeah, behind him. Coming up from behind.

MATT: You could pincer with Jester from there.

MARISHA: Yeah, does that mean I get advantage?

MATT: You do, yeah. You leap in the air and come down.

MARISHA: Wow. 16.

MATT: 16 hits.

MARISHA: Okay! So let me make a little note. My staffy-staff-- six damage. Stunning strike! This guy's constitution is probably something stupid.

MATT: That is 16.

LAURA: Should have gone for the drow, because he's going to do stuff on his next turn because I told him to.

MATT: As the staff slams into him, this ogre is solid muscle. Even though you hit right between where you can see a portion of the exposed nerve clusters would cause a like-size figure to buckle, no effect. This is a tough son of a bitch. That's your first attack.

MARISHA: I still have movement, yeah?

MATT: You do. You have (counting) 20 more feet of movement.

MARISHA: Can I move around here?

MATT: Yeah, you can do that.

MARISHA: Can I get in melee with the girl?

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: Then I have a second attack, so I'm going to go whack, try and hit her in the face. Do I have advantage? Is she flanking?

MATT: No, you are not directly flanking.

MARISHA: That's good. 27.

MATT: That hits! Roll damage.

MARISHA: No, 25.

MATT: All righty.

MARISHA: Okay, okay, okay. Nine.

MATT: Nine points of damage. All right.

MARISHA: Flurry of Blows.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: Fuck. No, wait. Patient Defense.

TRAVIS: Nice call.

MATT: You go into a defensive stance. You now take the dodge action. All right, that finishes your go, Beau.

MARISHA: That's my "go Beau."

MATT: It is the drow's turn. The drow gets hit in the back of the shoulders from Beau, but is currently still focused on Jester, seeing suddenly magic attempting to affect its mind. She knows that's a dangerous scenario. Then goes to attempt to strike towards you.

MARISHA: Sentinel.

MATT: Yes, you may. That's a natural one, so she misses. Goes to swing towards you and, as the fist comes towards you, you put the shield up and Beau, what'd you roll for an attack?

MARISHA: 19.

MATT: That hits. Roll damage. Beau actually clocks her in the base of the skull and you watch as it completely prevents her attack coming near. It actually hurts the knuckles in that hand.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah. 11 damage. She can't move.

MATT: Well, no, because that wasn't a movement-based one. Movement is still in play. Second attack against you. That is a 24 to hit.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: That is eight points of bludgeoning damage. As the fist comes up and clocks you underneath the shield and, using one hand to try and pry the shield away, uppercuts you right in the lower chin. Makes a constitution saving throw for me.

LAURA: Okay. Oh, it was going to be so good and then it screwed me!

SAM: Oh no!

MATT: What did you roll?

LAURA: Five!

MATT: The uppercut causes your head to reel from the impact and, for a split second, all you see are clouds and unicorns the size of hamsters. It's beautiful.

LAURA: Oh wow!

TALIESIN: (bird chirping)

SAM: (singing "Morning Mood" by Edvard Grieg)

MATT: Is going to spin around, and is going to go ahead and, pushing off of Jester's shoulder, jump up and do a kick towards the ogre's head, and then come down with a second kick onto you as a bonus action.

TRAVIS: Oh, hot! Super hot!

MARISHA: That's dope. That's really cool.

MATT: (punching)

TRAVIS: Sploosh.

LIAM: It's Morphin' Time!

MATT: Even with a five naturally, still hits the ogre with all the bonuses intact.

MARISHA: Disadvantage on Beau.

MATT: On Beau, yeah. So, the ogre takes an additional 10 points of bludgeoning damage. Then against you, with disadvantage, 17 to hit? I believe misses you.

MARISHA: Miss.

MATT: So, the other kick, (whoosh). You actually manage to block it with your arm and cause it to slide and hit the gravel next to you, causing bits of stone and rock to spray up in the vicinity.

MARISHA: Give her a nod in the middle of it. That's awesome. Respect.

MATT: There's a moment where she lands and looks up at you and goes-- not quite sure where this is going. That's going to go ahead and finish the monk's turn. That brings us to the ogre's go. The ogre, who just got kicked in the face, goes (grunts in frustration). Slams a knee onto the ground, crosses the blades in front.

LAURA: It says that it falls prone if he's groveling.

MARISHA: Yes! Yas queen!

MATT: Yes. (growls in anger) I'll put him this way, because he's groveling.

TRAVIS: (imitates ogre)

MATT: (grunts in anger)

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: It spends its action doing that, right?

LAURA: Oh, yeah.

MATT: Then goes, (growls in anger), and uses half of its movement to get up from prone.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: Wait, what? He can do that that fast? That seems lame.

MATT: Yeah. But, you spent his action; he can't do anything.

LAURA: That's true, yeah.

MATT: It's a level one spell. It's fine.

TRAVIS: He didn't kill himself.

MATT: That's true.

(laughter)

LAURA: Oh, no, "the target falls prone and then ends its turn."

MATT: Okay, thanks for clarification. So, yeah. (grunts in anger) On the ground, face in the gravel, (growls in anger) angrily.

(laughter)

MATT: Bits of stone get lodged in the back of the mouth. That finishes the ogre's turn. It's your turn, Jester.

LAURA: I'm stunned.

MATT: You're stunned, so you're just (bird tweets).

LAURA: It's so pretty!

MATT: (singing in high tone) "Ha, ha! We love you, Jester! We love you, Jester!" And dancing around you. The colors are beautiful. You hear harp music; it's amazing.

TRAVIS: Tiefling penis.

(laughter)

MATT: That brings us to the top. Beau, you're up.

MARISHA: Go on for the monk.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: Just me and her. So, after I give her the nod, I'm going to go and try a knee to the kidney!

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: She moved. Is she now in between the two of them?

LAURA: Oh, yeah. You can move.

MARISHA: Can I flank with Jester, if I go to the other side? Can I move around?

MATT: If you shift here?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Technically, no, because you're not threatening; you are stunned.

TALIESIN: Oh, nevermind.

MARISHA: Okay. First attack, 16?

MATT: Sixteen misses. You go to swing and the monk, ready for this maneuver, actually grabs your wrist, pulls you in, and uses a reaction to bop you right in the face.

MARISHA: Do I still have patient defense?

MATT: No. That is going to be a 25 to hit.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Damn.

MATT: That is going to be 12 points of bludgeoning damage.

MARISHA: Jesus Christ.

MATT: Is going to go ahead and make another Constitution saving throw.

LIAM: Shit.

MARISHA: Okay. That's totally wrong. Um, 14?

MATT: Fourteen? No, you're stunned.

MARISHA: Fuck!

LAURA: Her save is higher than yours!

MATT: So, with the wrist pulled forward and (crack), right in the jaw, ugh! Your vision tunnels to darkness, and all you can see is gravel before you. And, in your head, you're like, "I'm punching away!" But all you see is Beau going (stammers) in this own little world fighting nothing. The monk just watching that happen, because it closes the rest of your turn.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: That finishes your go. It is now the monk's turn. You're no longer stunned, but she still managed to shut down your turn.

TALIESIN: Is Jester not stunned?

LAURA: I'm not stunned because that was the end of her turn.

MATT: Correct.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: Yay reactions.

LAURA: Yay.

MATT: There you go.

TALIESIN: Oh, man.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: The monk, looking at the scenario, is going to go ahead and spend a ki point to take the, as a bonus action, the disengage maneuver. Then actually vault over the ogre that's on the ground. Flipping in the air, grabs onto one of the ceiling boards and swings over, lands down on the opposite side of the ogre.

MARISHA: Fuck, she's so cool!

MATT: Right there and is going to, coming down, slam with advantage on two strikes against the ogre. That is--

TALIESIN: Advantage, right?

MATT: Yeah, with advantage on it. Yeah, that hits. Seven points of damage. Second strike, that hits! Seven points of damage, and is just going to do one additional attack. That misses! Okay, actually even with advantage, it was three and a four. The ogre is in the process of getting back up off the ground, and rolls out just as the final attack comes down and blasts into the nearby gravel and stone, pulls its fist back and you see there's stones kind of pressed into the skin with a little of blood starting to pour down. The ogre angrily gets up for its turn. It's going to take two strikes at you, Jester. Then action surge and take two strikes on the monk.

LAURA: Me? Little old me? But why?

MATT: First attack against you, that's a 22 to hit.

LAURA: I guess that hits.

MATT: (laughs) You take nine points of slashing damage from the shortsword striking right across your shield. Pushes it into you, and the blade just catches you across the forehead and gashes you from one eyebrow up to the edge of your hairline.

LAURA: I think I've got bangs now, you guys.

(laughter)

MATT: 25 to hit?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: That's going to be 16 points of slashing damage. As you pull back, looking at the blood in your hand from the recoiling, you look up in time just as the other shortsword pierces underneath the shield and catches you in the abdomen. You push away with the shield, preventing it from going as deep as it could've gone, but that's like two inches of blade that just caught you right between where the leather armor protects you.

LAURA: Oh my gosh.

MATT: Action surge, spins around toward the other monk. That is a hit and a miss. So the monk takes 12 points of damage there, and he misses with the other strike. That finishes the ogre's go. Jester, you're up.

LAURA: That's me! Okay. I'm going to-- oh, geez; this all sucks! I'm going to cast (distressed moan) Spirit Guardians on myself. I'm going to say, oh, my sturdy hamster unicorns need to protect me now. I'm going to cast Spirit Guardians at--

MATT: Okay, does Spirit Guardians say creatures that you choose?

LAURA: Well, it says if you're evil, they appear fiendish, if you're--

MATT: Right, but who's affected by it, is what I'm asking.

LAURA: What do you mean?

MATT: Meaning you are in a room that is dense with a lot of people not involved in this fight. If this spell doesn't have a way of differentiating between who you choose to be affected and not, you're about to hit a lot of creatures in this tavern, so just double checking on this.

LAURA: Oh, no, no. Yeah, yeah. "Protect you. They float around you... When you cast this spell, you can designate--"

MATT: "Designate any number of creatures you can see," okay! There you go. So who do you define to be unaffected by it?

LAURA: Everybody but the ogre and the drow.

MATT: Got it. So, as you kind of come to again, and focus, you say a little prayer and everyone watches as all these tiny little bubbles pop in the air around you, and emerging from it are these tiny, cute little hamster-sized unicorns that float (tiny neighing) dancing through the air. All right; that's your action. Do you want to move?

LAURA: I'm scared he's going to hit me if I do it. Do I have Healing Word? Let me check.

MATT: You couldn't cast Healing Word this turn anyway because you already used the regular spell.

LAURA: Right, yes. Okay then, yeah, I guess I'm good right here, then.

MATT: All right, are you going to stay right there? You got it. Okay, that finishes Jester's go.

LAURA: Jester in the corner.

LIAM: At that moment, Frumpkin, seemingly terrified by the unicorns flying in the air, runs screeching out towards the drow and starts dancing around her legs running circles under her feet and using the help action.

MATT: For who?

LIAM: To the drow.

MATT: You are going to help the drow?

LIAM: No, not help, distract. What is it? "You can aid a friendly creature in attacking a creature within five feet of you." The cat.

MATT: Okay, so the next attack is going to be with advantage, got it. All right. Beau, your turn.

LIAM: So it's dancing around the drow's feet. (feline yowling)

MARISHA: Do I see the cat?

MATT: Yeah. The drow is still focused, but looks down at the cat and is like, "Shit!" and is trying to kick it off.

MARISHA: I get down on a knee and I jam the end of my staff right into her ribs.

MATT: So you move over to engage?

MARISHA: Yeah, I come over. I kind of slide and then jam.

MATT: Make the attack with advantage.

MARISHA: Yeah, okay, okay. 21.

MATT: 21 hits.

MARISHA: Wait-- yes, 21.

MATT: 21 hits.

MARISHA: Nine.

MATT: Nine points of damage.

TRAVIS: Nein!

MATT: Crack!

MARISHA: Stunning Strike.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Fuck, I hope this works.

MATT: Natural 13 plus two, 15.

MARISHA: Plus two, plus two.

LAURA: Bane, she needs Bane!

LIAM: 15's the number?

MARISHA: No, 14's the number.

MATT: 14's the DC. So the impact of the staff hits her in the stomach, and impacts in the belly, and the eyes immediately shift to you, angrily, piercing red anger out of the drow's eyes. That's your first attack?

MARISHA: Bitch!

MATT: You have your second attack.

MARISHA: Second attack! I try and bring up the staff from my kneeling position and come up for under her jaw.

MATT: Go for it.

LIAM: Oh my god! That's crazy, just roll another one.

MARISHA: I hate everything. No. Just no. 11.

MATT: 11, no. As you, after slamming the staff in the stomach, swing upwards, and she catches it, and with the momentum pulls you in, and then is going to kick you in the face as you're moving forward. Pop! That is going to be a 22 to hit.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: All right, that is going to be seven points of bludgeoning damage as her foot cracks you in the jaw. Your neck almost snaps. Not breaks, but almost whiplashes you from the impact. Is not going to attempt to stun you with that. You still have the rest of your turn. You have your bonus action.

MARISHA: Patient Defense.

MATT: Okay, Patient Defense. You're under a dodge marker.

SAM: Ever so slowly--

TRAVIS: Don't fuck it up!

SAM: Can the Mage Hand--

TRAVIS: What are you doing?

SAM: --be just slightly dragging the diamond?

(laughter)

MATT: Make a sleight of hand check.

MARISHA: Yes!

SAM: Just really close.

MATT: Make a sleight of hand check.

SAM: Okay. 27.

MATT: Like the mystery of the stones moving during a desert rain--

SAM: I try to time it to every footfall.

MATT: The diamond begins to slowly carve this path through the gravel, but people are too focused on the fight going on on the opposite side of the chamber that, for the time being, it's slowly moving without being noticed.

LIAM: It's like a dollar on a string.

MATT: Yep.

TALIESIN: I definitely did not see that, okay. I was hoping.

MATT: Perfect. That brings us to the monk's turn; it's the end of Beau's go. The monk, angrily, is going to unload on you at first, Beau. With disadvantage, because you took the dodge action. That's going to be 20 to hit, what's your armor class?

MARISHA: 20!

MATT: 20 hits.

SAM: Ducey! Do something!

MATT: That is 11 points of bludgeoning damage. One fist, crack! Coming up with the second blow. Natural 20, and 19.

TRAVIS: Fucking--

MATT: Well, no. Dodge action, so it was disadvantage, so the natural 20 does nothing.

TRAVIS: I know, but the natural 19...

MARISHA: But a 19 definitely hits.

MATT: I thought your armor class was 20.

MARISHA: Oh! Oh, I thought you were saying you rolled a 19 and a 20, so no, miss.

MATT: No, sorry, no. It was a 19 total.

MARISHA: Sorry, I thought you were saying natural 19.

MATT: No, it was a natural nine. Sorry, a natural 10. So it misses you. The second swing just whiffs as you dodge out of the way, prepared for it. Bonus action, Flurry of Blows.

LIAM and TRAVIS: (singing Ballroom Blitz)

MATT: 15, misses. You're now IP Man, just slapping the blows away.

MARISHA: Dial in, I can see the Matrix!

MATT: Disadvantage, that brings it to a 13.

MARISHA: Miss.

MATT: So that first crack hits you and then, all of a sudden, you go into focus mode. Deflecting, and with each strike you parry off to the side, not even making eye contact, just looking straight ahead, remembering all your training.

MARISHA: Well, I'm still a little dazed, so I'm just...

LAURA: Wait, did she start within 15 feet of me? Did she start her turn?

MATT: She would have, yeah.

LAURA: So she's got to make a wisdom saving throw.

MATT: Wisdom save. That is a nine.

LAURA: Yeah!

SAM: Whoa, what does that do?

LAURA: That's 3d8 damage!

TRAVIS: Yeah!

LAURA: Woo! Oh, 16. 17.

SAM: Oh, that wasn't a seven?

LAURA: No, it looked like a seven, but it was a one.

TALIESIN: Speed is halved, also.

MATT: Yes. As this series of blows that Beau is deflecting with each strike, these tiny unicorns are jabbing in and piercing the side of the neck. She's trying to bat them away, but she's currently being ransacked by, to her, a nightmare.

TALIESIN: It is radiant damage, also, I don't know if that--

LAURA: It is radiant damage.

MATT: No additional hurt.

LAURA: If anybody starts--

TALIESIN: Within 15 feet.

MATT: Ogre's turn. Ogre starts the turn, natural one on the save. Go ahead and roll damage for the ogre.

LAURA: That's cocked. 13 points.

MATT: 13 points. The ogre begins spitting at them. No effect, and turns around towards you, as both of them are locked in, as the source of the unicorns, and (roar) does a double strike to try and carve through your torso with both blades. That is a natural 17. Yeah, a 25 to hit.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: That's going to be nine points of slashing damage.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: The next one's going to be 20 to hit. What's your armor class?

LAURA: 18.

MATT: 18, hits you. Ooh, double sixes. That's going to be 17 points of slashing damage.

LAURA: I'm unconscious.

ALL: Oh!

MATT: The unicorns fade as Jester plummets back, the shield that she brought up in time to protect a blow from vitally cutting through her torso. However, it still manages to cleave into the shoulder, and she falls to the ground. You are--

TALIESIN: Spare the Dying, before she even hits the ground.

MATT: Okay, so you're no longer bleeding. You are stabilized, but you are unconscious.

LAURA: Yeah, okay.

MATT: All righty. That ends the ogre's two strikes there. Beau.

LIAM: Would that have been Jester's turn, had she not gone down?

MATT: It would have been, yes.

LIAM: Then the cat continues to jig and dance, unless she does something about it.

MATT: Okay. Beau, you're up.

MARISHA: Does that mean I get another advantage?

MATT: On your first strike, against the drow.

MARISHA: Okay, all right. Try and use that dialled in focus. That one's cocked, everyone witnessed that. 18 plus four-- sorry, four plus 18. 22?

MATT: 22 hits.

MARISHA: Four plus eight? (babbling) Words?

MATT: Yeah. Good thing you did that, because the other roll was a natural one.

LIAM: (cat screech)

MARISHA: Ten damage.

MATT: She's looking rough. All right.

LAURA and MARISHA: She's looking rough?

LAURA: Yeah, but the ogre is still like...

MATT: The ogre's still up. Ogre's hurt, but hanging in.

LIAM: One target at a tim-- (pigeon cooing)

MARISHA: Second attack at her. 19, which I think hits.

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Nine.

MATT: Nine points of damage, all righty. So whack, crack with the staff. Each time the drow's knocked to each side. You can see blood (splatter) across the gravel pit around her. Comes back up, one eye is a little bit half-closed, that focus coming in, not giving in to the urge to slip into the darkness. She's just focused on you.

MARISHA: Flurry of Blows.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: That's a natural 18-- no, it's a 15, but that still hits. 23.

MATT: Yeah, that hits. Roll damage.

LIAM: Sweep the leg!

MARISHA: That's better than-- I just realized I've been rolling damage dice smaller than I should have been.

MATT: Well, there you go.

MARISHA: I should have been rolling d8s for the staffs.

LIAM: They're much more epic now.

MARISHA: Ten damage. Fuck. That pisses me off.

TRAVIS: It happens. It happens.

MARISHA: Yep.

MARISHA: 17, misses.


MATT: 17 misses. Reaction: after that series of attacks, breathing heavy, on a thread of consciousness. In that moment, that final blow, the eyes go (spark) the shine, the anime spark in the eyes, as you go for that final strike, grabs and then (wham) right to your abdomen. Natural 19.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: That is 9 points of bludgeoning damage.

LAURA: She's rolling the right dice.

MARISHA: She's totally rolling the right fucking dice.

LIAM: Our girl's on the ropes, guys.

LAURA: Oh, she would be dead, yo!

TRAVIS: (heartbeat)

MARISHA: I'm going to move around behind her and--

LIAM: Flank-flank-flank.

MARISHA: She's next, right? She just used her reaction to hit me?

TRAVIS: (heartbeat)

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: I'm going to bounce. I'm going to get right to the corner. I'm going to let her deal with the ogre.

MATT: Okay. This far?

MARISHA: Further, if I can. Yeah.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I'm going to catch my breath in the corner, try not to puke.

MATT: All right. Her turn. She sees you rush away, sees her scenario and how rough it's going, looking at both sides. (heavy sigh) She's going to make two attacks on this ogre.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

TALIESIN: Bring them both down.

MATT: Natural 20.

TALIESIN: Nice.

MATT: Be glad you moved away.

MARISHA: Yeah, don't want that for me.

MATT: That's going to be 14 points of damage to the ogre. Next attack, natural 18.

TRAVIS: Wow.

MATT: After doing this, glancing at both of you, reaches forward. The ogre has both blades out and is chuckling now, licking the blood from under its lip where you can see it's split from one of the previous attacks in the battle, for a fourth time now. This jaw is just wrecked. Getting both blades at the side and is leaning forward, and the drow, still looking at you, just goes (impact), hits him right square in the junk.

ALL: Yeah!

MATT: Right as the ogre (groan) leans forward angrily, grabs him over the head, and just brings his jaw down onto her shoulder.

TRAVIS: Yeah! Tombstone!

MATT: Tombstones him, and you watch the ogre, both blades (metallic clattering) onto the stonework, and then shrugs him off, and he rolls onto the ground, unconscious, to her side. At which point, she uses a ki point, Patient Defense, as a bonus action.

TRAVIS: Making it interesting!

MATT: And then runs along the side, parkours off the side of the tavern, and lands right in front of you.

TRAVIS: Maybe just make out with her.

MARISHA: Yeah!

MATT: It's your turn.

LIAM: Disarming.

MATT: Persuasion check? Nah.

TALIESIN: Disarming tongue.

MARISHA: Disarming tongue!

LIAM: Now or later!

TALIESIN: I'm going to cast Spare the Dying on the ogre.

MARISHA: That'd be so fucking cheap, right? That'd be terrible. I shouldn't do that.

MATT: What are you doing?

LIAM: I send Frumpkin running out that window, past the ogre. She's on her own. (meow)

SAM: Diamond still making slow progress.

MATT: Roll another sleight of hand check for me.

SAM: Okay. Not as good. 17.

MATT: Okay. It continues to move, and everyone else is invested in this fight, and one of the goblins to your right goes, "Huh?"

SAM: Oh no. Okay, good to know.

MATT: That's where it stands. Beau, what're you doing?

MARISHA: I don't have any type of advantage or anything, right? Oh my god.

TRAVIS: Leave it to the dice, man. Leave it to the dice! Come on!

LIAM: Take a chance. Roll the dice.

MARISHA: I exhale.

LAURA: (singing) Roll the dice!

MARISHA: I look for an opening in her defense. I'm dialing into her pupils and I'm looking for every little twitch of her finger or twitch of her head, and pop, pop! I'm going to go for it.

MATT: With disadvantage.

MARISHA: Fucking fuck, disadvantage. Argh! That was a natural 20! But, 16?

MATT: 16 misses. It goes by, reaction. She immediately knocks it out of the side and goes for a knuckle punch right to the center of your face. That's a natural 20.

MARISHA and LAURA: No!

MATT: Come look at it. It's right there.

SAM: I don't believe you. You're the worst DM ever.

MATT: With the CR symbol.

TRAVIS: Oh my god!

LIAM: You got another hit.

MARISHA: She's fucking hitting me first!

TRAVIS: No, that's going to be toast.

LAURA: That's it.

TALIESIN: I'm going to cancel the effect of the 20, but the hit still happens.

MATT: Okay, make a sleight of hand check for me.

LAURA: No!

TALIESIN: Oh, should I not?

SAM: Do whatever you want.

MARISHA: Do it! Whatever you're doing, do it!

TALIESIN: No, I thought about it, nah. Let's let this happen. Such an invaluable lesson to be learned here, the more I think about it.

LIAM: Caleb's been wanting to cheat this whole time.

MATT: Okay, it's ten points of bludgeoning damage to you.

LIAM: Oh, she's down.

MARISHA: I'm out.

TALIESIN: Spare the Dying.

MATT: With that, the final knuckle punch, there's this (echoing impact). The room gets quiet as you hear the breath suddenly fill the lungs of every creature watching in the room, and Beau stumbles back. Grin curls up on the face as one eye closes--

MARISHA: So close.

TRAVIS: I know your pain right now. --and then (impact) face first into the gravel. The room erupts into cheers and laughter and drinks, whatever. The drow looks over and walks over, wobbles for a second. Two hit points.

MARISHA: (frustrated yell)

TRAVIS: No!

LAURA: That is exactly what happened to Grog!

TRAVIS: That's exactly what happened in the crucible!

MATT: It's Kern 2.0!

TRAVIS: Oh my god!

TALIESIN: I'm going to wake the two of them up really quick.

SAM: As people are cheering, I'm going to pull the diamond.

TALIESIN: Nine points for you, nine points for you, you're both--

MATT: Roll a sleight of hand check. This is against the monk's perception.

LIAM: At advantage with everybody going crazy?

MATT: No, not this monk.

SAM: It's 23 and I'm going to fling the diamond towards that goblin who saw it but try to aim into the pocket of the guy standing next to him.

MATT: Interesting. Okay. It darts past. The monk does not notice actually, did not roll a high enough perception. Goes and starts collecting the winnings and putting them into the pouches. The diamond zooms past the goblin's face, goes (noises of surprise), and sees where it went in the guy's pocket and goes, "Hey! What are you doing?!" and reaches into the pocket, and standing next to it is this big orc wearing hide armor across the chest. Series of scars across each arm with some rickety looking tattoos on each forearm. The guy goes like, "What? What you want?" Goblin's like, "Give it back!" Goes and pulls open the belt pouch and a few chunks of dried meat tumble out and the diamond (tumbling noise) on the ground. The orc goes, "Whoa!" and reaches down for it and the goblin's like, "No! This is mine!" The orc just goes, "Pfft." Grabs the goblin's arm and lifts him up off the ground, pries it from his fingers. The goblin's like, "Ah!" (snickering) Throws it down. Turns around and one of the Kryn warriors who's been watching in the corner in full armor and helmet looks right at the orc and goes-- and the orc goes (disappointed sigh) and sheepishly walks over towards the monk as she's collecting her winnings and hands it to her.

LAURA: She didn't even see it!

SAM: Damn guards.

MATT: As the insanity dies down, Caduceus helps you up. The ogre gets up and is like (painful groans) rubbing his crotch area. Seems to be pressing the flesh to try and find out where one of the testicles may have been lodged upward in the body.

TRAVIS: It's in there somewhere.

TALIESIN: It's on a vision quest.

MATT: It's already to Ghor Dranas; it beat you there. Everything calms down a bit and whereas when you enter the room, there was that-- the glares of, "What the fuck is this human doing here?" and your activities as you entered didn't seem to improve that. When the fight is over, these same creatures and most everyone in the room gives you this nod of respect. Even though you didn't win the bout, there seems to be at least an appreciation of what you managed to accomplish.

MARISHA: Fucking-- that's all I wanted.

MATT: What are the rest of you guys doing as Beau and Jester-- Jester, as you walk by to--

MARISHA: I help Jester up (groan).

MATT: The ogre doesn't even approach either of you. He's extremely embarrassed by the display--

MARISHA: Sorry, I have bat guano in my eye. And blood.

SAM: You guys did really good!

LAURA: I fell first, you guys.

SAM: Well, I mean, we all knew that that was going to happen--

LAURA: Sort of a little bit, yeah.

SAM: Beau, you almost won.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: Did you learn anything?

MARISHA: Yeah, I need to get better at beating people's asses.

LIAM: Nuanced, I like it.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: There's the squeak of wood on the stone floor of the establishment as a chair gets pushed up the table, and the drow monk that you had just fought sits down at the table with you.

MARISHA: Yeah. Yes. This is where this is all leading. Yeah.

MATT: "I get the feeling that perhaps there is more than meets the eye amongst you all. You don't smell of this land. I'm--"

MARISHA: Sorry, you go ahead.

MATT: "I'm impressed. What do you want?"

MARISHA: I can see we're cut from the same cloth. Where'd you train?

MATT: "Perhaps this is not the best place to talk. Come walk with me." The monk stands up and leaves the Four Corners.

MARISHA: Wait a minute--

LAURA: Did that talk count as a short rest?

MATT: No.

TRAVIS: Is there one entrance and exit out of the Four Corners? One door?

MATT: There is a back exit, but you watch as the monk leaves through the front.

TRAVIS: I'll head up for the back.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I wait a minute.

LAURA: I'm going to cast Cure Wounds on myself.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Wait for Jester.

LAURA: I'll cast Cure Wounds on you, too.

MARISHA: Oh, thank you.

LAURA: Hold on, at second level.

LIAM: Where are they leaving, over there?

MATT: They're exiting through the front door this way. Fjord, you're going through this exit, you said?

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm. I'll wrap around.

LAURA: 14 points.

MARISHA: Yay, thank you! That is not bad.

MATT: Yasha goes ahead and joins you as well, heads out the back.

TALIESIN: Where's-- oh, okay.

SAM: We're leaving, come on.

TALIESIN: What? I'm going to follow wherever you're going.

TRAVIS: Out the back door.

TALIESIN: What? Yeah, okay.

SAM: I'll go out the back door, too.

MARISHA: I go out the front.

MATT: All right. As both Jester and Beau leave, a few of the patrons raise a glass and (deep chuckle), "Very good!"

LAURA: Thank you.

TRAVIS: (laughing) The most polite Four Corners combatant ever.

MATT: As you follow out the front, the monk is passing on the north road around the corner and-- make a perception check, Fjord.

TRAVIS: Ugh. Eight.

MATT: You back around the backside of the building and you lose everyone. You're like: Uh... where did they go?

TRAVIS: Uh... Yeah, I just pick a direction and start jogging.

TALIESIN: Never again.

MATT: Roll a new character. Most unceremonious end.

SAM: Guys?!

MATT: Rolled perception so low he left the campaign.

TRAVIS: Holy shit.

(laughter)

LIAM: I want to wait just half a second and follow out the front door.

MATT: Okay. So--

MARISHA: I see her go around the corner? To the east, you said?

MATT: You do, actually. As you leave and look out, she is about two blocks up the way and is leaning against the wall looking over the shoulder to see you exit, and as soon as you step out into the road, ducks into an alley.

MARISHA: Okay. Do I get the sense that the alley spills out the other side? Can I go up a block and then block around behind?

MATT: It might. You haven't walked over in that area.

MARISHA: Let's try that.

LAURA: Sure. What if she like, you know, just wants to make out with you or something? Do you think-- am I intruding?

MARISHA: No. I mean, you can watch. Would that make you uncomfortable? Nah, anyway-- it's kind of a joke.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: Yeah. What if she's the spy?

LAURA: I think she might be.

MARISHA: I think she might be.

LAURA: What if she thinks you are?

TRAVIS: Oh shit.

MARISHA: I thought about that too.

LAURA: What if she's actually planning on killing you?

TRAVIS: Collecting the bounty?

MARISHA: Mm, it's possible.

LAURA: We don't have a lot of health right now; we took a beating.

MARISHA: We did.

TRAVIS: You should definitely go by yourselves.

LIAM: She's probably waiting in an alleyway right now.

MARISHA: Literally waiting to murder me.

LAURA: But you know what? She also took a beating.

MARISHA: She did.

LAURA: Now it's two against one and we sort of healed up a little bit, so fuck her and we can do it.

MARISHA: Yeah, I thought about that too, and I'm sure other people are looking for this--

MATT: She looks hurt enough to have been when she exited at two hit points.

MARISHA and LAURA: Let's go.

MATT: All right. Who all's going with Beau? Yasha and you are at the back trying to--

TRAVIS: Lost as fuck.

MATT: Just lost.

TALIESIN: I'm watching them, just like, I don't know what's happening. This is great.

MATT: (laughing) So Caduceus and Fjord and Yasha are tourists--

SAM: I went back with them too.

MATT: All right. Nott catches up--

SAM: Where are we going?

TRAVIS: We're going to catch up with um-- with uh-- we're going to... (whistles). Hey!

TALIESIN: Yeah?

TRAVIS: Fuck.

SAM: I can send a message if I know which direction they are, so I'm going to pick a direction. Caleb, can you hear me?

MATT: No.

SAM: Shit.

TRAVIS: Let's-- we'll head towards the center of the-- yeah.

SAM: The Aurora? The Aurora Hold? The tower. The bar? Shit, we need a leader!

(laughter)

LIAM: I think the ladies probably have it, but I'm going to do a little choo-choo train. I snap Frumpkin here. Frumpkin will follow them by 15 feet and I will follow Frumpkin 15 back.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: The Scowl's Square, sorry. That's what I was looking for in my notes.

LIAM: If we get to the corner and they go in, I'm going to wait at the corner and Frumpkin will go around a little bit.

MATT: Okay. Both of you follow into the alleyway and, about two buildings down to the left, there appears to be a storage shack of some kind, and you see the monk is standing with the door ajar and gives a nod to you, and then enters and closes the door behind.

MARISHA: I turn around and make sure no one's following, no one saw us.

MATT: Perception check.

MARISHA: Don't fuck me. Okay, okay, okay. 22.

MATT: 22. Looking around, you see Caleb. You see Frumpkin. But no one seems to be specifically following you. I mean, you don't even know where the rest of your party is.

MARISHA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Lost as fuck.

MARISHA: I just give a nod to Caleb and then go with Jester to the door.

TALIESIN: This is a-- this way's a circle line so we have to-- we may have--

TRAVIS: Yeah, I feel like we were supposed to be on the red.

TALIESIN: There's no beginning or end to it. It's the red checkered line that we need.

LIAM: I'm going to sprint Frumpkin up and he will climb up Jester's back.

MATT: Okay. Frumpkin comes up and perches around the back of your neck.

LAURA: Sprinkle seems very uncomfortable with this.

MATT: Puffs up and--

LAURA: Nugget also is not too fond of it.

TALIESIN: You're a menagerie right now.

MATT: (laughs) Just a walking petting zoo.

SAM: Where were they during the fight?

LAURA: Sitting off to the side with Fjord, obviously.

MATT: All right. You guys enter-- I mean, it looks like a slightly larger outhouse. As the door opens-- thankfully it's not an outhouse-- the smell that gets to you is like musty grains.

MARISHA: Musty grains.

TALIESIN: Good band.

MATT: But since there aren't a lot of grain fields in the area, you're not sure what the smell's coming from. But there are a few dried sacks and one looks like the bottom is somewhat mildewing from maybe some moisture that may have gotten in from a nearby rain through the roof. But the chamber is about ten foot by eight foot and it's a very, very tight space. But in the back corner, you see the Drow, arms crossed, looking at you expectantly.

LAURA: Did you call us here to give us back the diamond that we gave you because that's very kind of you--

MATT: "Close the door."

LAURA: Okay.

(laughter)

MATT: You close the door. It is dark. You can't see anything, Beau. You put the goggles on. You see the monk reaches into their pouch and tosses the diamond back to you.

SAM: (surprised yelling)

LAURA: Say what?!

SAM: Best fight ever.

MATT: You watch as the image of the monk shifts and fades.

LIAM: Oh shit.

MATT: What you see is a female elf. Dark skin, no hair, pointed ears and the familiar blue and grey outfit of the monks of the Cobalt Soul.

(yelling)

MARISHA: I fucking knew it! It's Dairon! It's Dairon!

TRAVIS: Holy shit!

MATT: She looks at you and goes--

MARISHA: I fucking knew it.

MATT: "The fact that you're this far, it does not bode well. I am extremely curious how you happened to--"

MARISHA: I just go up and I give her a big hug.

MATT: (surprised noise) (clears throat)

SAM: (quietly) Just a hug?

(snickering)

MARISHA: I thought you were dead.

LAURA: She's been looking for you.

MARISHA: You were injured in Blade Garden. Hadn't heard from you.

MATT: "Yeah, that was a-- it was a story to tell everyone--"

LAURA: (gasps) I sent you a message!

MATT: "I know."

LAURA: Do you remember?!

MATT: "I do remember. But the point was to not have you follow me East. But here we are. "So, at the very least, let us go ahead and compare notes."

LAURA: Oh my goodness.

MATT: That's where we're going to go ahead and end tonight's session.

(excited yelling)

TALIESIN: Oh, I was hoping. I was hoping.

LAURA: That is so cool!

TRAVIS: Oh man.

LAURA: You guys, we didn't lose the diamond.

SAM: That's the most important.

MATT: I mean, you're not wrong.

TRAVIS: Once again, years later, damage dice makes all the difference.

LAURA: Aw, yeah. That's what happened in the Grog fight!

MATT: (laughing) Yeah. This was Kern 2.0. Straight up.

MARISHA: I was rolling d8s and then, at some point, I looked down and I had d6s in my hand.

TRAVIS: I watched you roll d6s that whole time.

MARISHA: Like a decent amount of time. Then I realized wait, how long have I been rolling d6s? Like, I think--

TRAVIS: Spotlight. Stunts us all.

MATT: Subconsciously, something in the back of Beau's mind was causing her to draw-- to pull the punches a little bit.

ALL: Ooh.

TRAVIS: Ooh, ooh, ooh, sexy!

MATT: Trying to narratively make it work.

MARISHA: My fists are magical.

MATT: But we'll pick up on this reunion next week and see the scenarios working around it.

TRAVIS: That was a fucking dope fight. But until then, we're going to go ahead and get some rest. Don't forget guys, we just also announced we're going to be at Denver Comic Con. For folks in the Denver area or are looking to travel there for that convention, we'll be there! So come say hi. We've got panels and signings and all kinds of cool stuff. Hopefully see you there.

MARISHA: So excited.

MATT: Other than that, Monday--

LAURA: Oh, yeah.

MATT: Monday, the kickstarter drops for--

TRAVIS: 10 AM Pacific!

MATT: Legends of Vox Machina.

TRAVIS: Tune in!

TALIESIN: You cannot be prepared.

MARISHA: We have a Q and A happening on our channel that night at 7PM.

TALIESIN: Quois? The quois?

MARISHA: With you three. To just-- yeah, do the quois.

MATT: Talk about the project and everything about it. So yeah. Some fun stuff, guys. Some fun stuff!

LAURA: Yay!

MATT: Thank you so much for watching, guys. We love you very much, and is it Thursday yet?

SAM: Yay!

MATT: Good night.

(cheering)

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