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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show[]

MATT: Welcome, everyone, to today's special edition of Critical Role, where a number of us are going to be playing a fantastic game in the realm of Mordor, thanks to our fantastic sponsor for this event, WB Games! We're putting this together in celebration of the release of their upcoming game, Shadow of War, for Xbox and Playstation, which all of us have worked on, actually, for an extended period of time. Let's see. Well, first off, Travis, who'd you play in the game?

TRAVIS: I played Commanding Orc #1, and I scream like this and I will be chasing you as you try and make your way through the lands, and I escalate my ambitions through the war ranks! I just made that up.

MATT: So kill him immediately. Laura, who'd you play in the game?

LAURA: I don't play an orc.

MATT: No. Who do you play?

LAURA: I play Eltariel, also known as the Blade of Galadriel.

TRAVIS: She's super bad.

LAURA: I'm a super cool and I have, like, daggers, and I can kick a lot of butt.

MATT: That's a great little view of the character, there.

LAURA: Thanks.

TRAVIS: Just like a normal elf.

LAURA: That's exactly how I recorded it.

MATT: Perfect. Sam, what'd you do?

SAM: I played a character named Orc 4, who, among other things, hates humans. Enjoys grog. And is dumb.

LAURA: How does he feel about elves?

SAM: Oh, I think he hates them? I think he hates most things.

TRAVIS: Not a very affable–

SAM: No, he just hates. He's a hater. Really, they should spend more of the game talking about his wants and needs, and his ambitions and likes in life, but no.

TRAVIS: Does he hate the player, or does he hate the game?

SAM: He hates both. Just hates a lot of stuff.

MATT: That's perfect. Well, thank you, Sam. Mr. Darin De Paul?

DARIN: Hi, internet friends!

MATT: Hi! What'd you play in the game?

DARIN: I am a massive olog, but he became– one of them became kind of notorious. Az-Laar the Demolisher. There were, like, “RIP Az-Laar.” There were tribute videos to Az-Laar. People played sad music when Az-Laar died. It was amazing. (deep gruff voice) A big dumb thing, but he died from flames! (normal voice) And people were very upset, so they were playing tinkling music and going, “Rest in Peace, Az-Laar! We hardly knew you.”

LAURA: That was in the previous–?

DARIN: No, in this one. I was not in the previous. I wasn't here yet. I had not come to California yet. I was still in New York going, I really hope I get to do stuff like that! It's really fun!

TRAVIS: You hear Darin and you're like, he was definitely an orc forever.

LAURA: Yeah.

DARIN: It's only been, it's a little over four years that I have been among the people that I admire most. It makes my heart so happy.

SAM: Feels like too long.

DARIN: Thank you! And we haven't even started the episode.

MATT: Perfect. But glad you could join us, Darin. I play a professional orc who's going to follow you around everywhere, trying make sure that you're working it out. Where are you going, there? I'm going to cut your throat, bastard! And I also get to play– I'm really excited about this, as a longtime Tolkien fan– the Witch-king of Angmar, head of the Nazgűl. As a person that grew up reading Tolkien fervently and spending two and a half years playing a MUD based on Tolkien, and then, you know, the movies and everything– huge honor to be a part of this, let alone such an iconic character. So, super excited. Super excited for this game, and those of you who haven't played the first game, Shadow of Mordor, what's wrong with you? It's legitimately a really fun game and this one expands even more on how awesome that was, so super excited. Thank you so much to WB Games for making this possible. You guys can check it out, Shadow of War releases October 10th, which is right around the corner when this is airing, which is exciting. You can find it at shadowofwar.com/purchase to go ahead and find out how to buy and pre-order it if you want to. Also, a mobile game should be out by now. Shadow of War has a mobile game for both iOS and Android that you can get as well, so check that out. But yeah, this whole game is a big celebration of the upcoming release of Shadow of War. We're stoked to be in it, and we're stoked to have you here. Without further ado, guys, let's go ahead and dive into the world of Mordor, shall we?

Part I[]

MATT: Actually, before we begin, because we haven't actually established here, do you guys want to talk about who you're playing in this game?

TRAVIS: Oh gosh, I guess we should, being that we don't even know. We're figuring it out as we go. Should I start?

LAURA: Yeah, sure!

TRAVIS: (high squeaky voice) So I'm playing: I am Skak Scar-Artist, and I'm a goblin. A trickster. Very creepy! Yeah. I'm a little goblin that's got a crossbow and a shortsword, and I'm here to run amok and advance, you know, my efforts against the horrible humans and elves of the land of Mordor.

DARIN: This could be my favorite day ever.

MATT: I'm already so invested in everything. Thank you, Travis. Laura?

LAURA: Oh. Hi, my name is Arburuk. I'm the Unbreakable because people have tried but nobody was able to actually break me. I'm olog-hai, so I'm kind of big. But you know, I don't necessarily want to be a fighter, I'm just really good at it, you know? Because I'm unbreakable and all. Yeah.

MATT: Thank you, Laura. Darin?

DARIN: There's two things you have to know about me. My name is Mozuu the Chosen, and that's it!

SAM: Nice.

LAURA: That was two things!

MATT: And Sam, who are you playing?

SAM: (raspy voice) Hello.

DARIN: You all right, mate?

SAM: (rasping) Hello.

DARIN: We got that part.

SAM: My name is Ur-Eden Goodthink, and I'm the olog you want to see if you're hurt. Because me is a sawbones.

LAURA: You're an olog, too?

SAM: I'm an olog, so I'm rather big. But I'm also a sawbones, which means if you have a toothache or something, you come to me, I pull the tooth right out. Probably half of your jaw, too. If you got a broken bone, I pull the arm off. If you got a rash, I pull your skin off. So really, I take care of all your medical needs. Somebody came to me with– they were having some stress dreams. I ripped their head off. Solved the problem right away!

TRAVIS: Great outpatient.

SAM: Yeah. Usually most things can be solved without insurance. But yeah, I'm here to help anyone who gets injured, and also to kill some man-filth.

MATT: Perfect. So. Players and audience, welcome to Mordor. Chosen as the base to Sauron's foothold in the Second Age, these broken, ashen lands to the southeast of Middle-earth lay guarded by towering mountain ranges, ever dark beneath stormclouds and volcanic smoke spewed from within the fiery depths of Orodruin, or Mount Doom. Here in the Third Age, the once-thought-destroyed Dark Lord regains his strength, grows his armies, and prepares for his vengeance on the world of man and elves. You, friends, are soldiers and warriors under this shadowed banner. Whether Uruk- or Olog-hai, you've been raised and trained in the savage pits and fields of these lands, given purpose amongst the ranks of Sauron's great army, taught to slaughter, to devour, to outsmart and destroy all who would oppose his will, or be punished for your insolence. You relish the thought of sinking your blades into elf-flesh, eager for the chance to prove yourself and rise among your fellow uruk to command greater power– and the rewards that come with it, of course. However, such a path is not as easy as the daydream would lead you to believe. Now, you four have spent months stationed on the outskirts of the watch-fortress of Nargaroth, on the eastern edge of the massive Plateau of Gorgoroth, many miles southeast of Mount Doom. As part of the Marauder tribe, you've been sent on a few raids here and there, between here and the Sea of Nurnen, scrounging up what meager spoils are left when the bulk is brought to the feet of your war-chief, Barfta the Blood Pike. While you both dislike and respect his greed, you've seen him carve every challenger to his position to pieces as a show of power. You hope to show him your worth and achieve greatness under his specific banner. At least, that would help you with your limited access to quality meats or being sent out on aimless patrols that try your patience. Maybe one day.

For now, you sit amongst the rowdy riff-raff of the common tables in the fort courtyard, drinking from watered-down grog as you all celebrate a fairly unimpressive crushing of a not-too-far-away ghoul mound. You four have bonded out of a need for allies, for boredom here leads to violence, and it's good to have friends when the brawls begin. The late afternoon sees fading off what specter of sunlight ever finds itself in Mordor, and the smell of burnt meats and blood fills the air. Welcome. You hear the clanking of glasses and partially cracked mugs nearby. The cheers and rowdy screams and yells of various half-drunken uruk in your vicinity, (shouting). You see two guys in the back far corner that are in the middle of a fist-fight with a small crowd gathering, but it's too measly for your attention. You all sit here, staring into your cups, contemplating your existence.

TRAVIS: (high-pitched whining)

LAURA: What's the matter, Skak?

TRAVIS: I'm just bored, that's all.

SAM: Do you want to go with me to kill something? Would that break your boredom?

TRAVIS: Is that an option? We could do that, now?

SAM: Well, those two fellows having the fist fight, we could go kill one of them.

TRAVIS: Ooh!

SAM: I think it's Rarr versus Oog, over there.

TRAVIS: Naw, I think it's Oog, and it's actually Oop-tha.

SAM: You could be right.

TRAVIS: Yeah, you get them easily confused.

LAURA: They look a lot alike.

SAM: Yeah, they do. All the uruks do.

DARIN: Is that what you really want? You just want to fight and bleed for nothing, or do we want gold? Ain't that what we're after?

LAURA: I like gold!

DARIN: Of course you like gold. We all like gold! And I say we find it. While they're fighting and they're dying for nothing, we make our way up and we rule this world, eh?

LAURA: But I thought Barfta ruled this world.

DARIN: There's two things you have to know about Barfta. One, he thinks he rules! And that's it.

TRAVIS: He keeps doing this, with the two things.

DARIN: What?

TRAVIS: Nothing. You're always– I'm a fan of gold as well.

DARIN: Well said, my friend. You see this gold helmet that I stole?

LAURA: Is that gold?

DARIN: Of course it's gold! Don't mind the man-filth head on the pike on the helmet, ha! That's ornamentation. But you know what you aren't? You aren't the head of man-filth on my helmet. You're alive. And while we're alive, we make a difference. Eh?

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's true.

MATT: It's that exact moment that a heavy nudge slaps into the back of Mozuu. You watch a familiar, lanky, nasty-looking uruk with large, broken teeth and a wiry physicality slamming into him, his large cup of thick, brackish grog spilling over and across your shoulder as he spins around to stare down at you, Mozuu. You recognize this as Hoshgrish Bootlick.

SAM: Hoshgrish?

MATT: Hoshgrish Bootlick. He turns around. “What you doing, bumping my drink, lob?”

LAURA: It's Hoshgrish. He's such a bully.

DARIN: Come here. Come closer, Hoshgrish.

MATT: “Oh, I'm doing just fine right here! Will you go ahead and refill my drink!” And he puts his cup right on the table in front of you.

DARIN: Skak! Refill his drink while I have a little word with Hoshgrish.

TRAVIS: Not a problem. Could I have, could you hand me–? It's really high up there, right.

DARIN: You're ruining the moment, Skak!

TRAVIS: Okay! I've got it!

DARIN: What's your problem, mate? We're just sitting here having a little discussion. You wander up drunkenly, you bump into me! At least you didn't get wine on the helmet. And now you're looking for trouble? Is that what you're looking for, Hoshgrish Bootlick?

MATT: As he wipes the bit of spittle from the bottom of his pointed, jagged chin, he looks down at you with a sly grin, his overbite curling back as it exposes with the smile. “Heh heh! You obviously haven't seen the last one who bumped into me when I was drinking! So you want to start a problem? Please, be my guest.” He takes a few steps back and you watch as his hands go down to pull two jagged, black blades from the side. He spins and tosses them in the air and catches them.

LAURA: Hey. You mess with Mozuu, you mess with me.

MATT: “Well look here, I don't have any sort of a problem with you, friend olog, but you understand. I've had my drink disrespected and I'll take a head for that!”

LAURA: Oh. Oh! Oh, well, he was, his drink was disrespected, that's all it is.

MATT: “Thank you.”

DARIN: Skak, you got that drink for him yet?

TRAVIS: Was I supposed to do that?

DARIN: Yes.

TRAVIS: Yeah, hold on one more second.

DARIN: We'll refill your drink, friend, but know, they call me Mozuu the Chosen because Sauron spoke to me. You know what he said? “The strong take what they want.”

MATT: “The Dark Lord spoke to you?”

DARIN: Aye, he did. That's–

MATT: “What a load of serak!” He puts his blades back in, like now disinterested, completely shut off from the conversation. “Give me my drink.”

TRAVIS: Yeah, here you go.

MATT: “Thank you. 'Mozuu the Chosen.'” Turns around and starts walking away.

SAM: Is that true? Did Sauron really talk to you?

DARIN: Of course it's true. Everything I say is true, except the things that ain't, but that is true.

SAM: Because sometimes I hear voices, but then I turn around and it's just an orc talking to me that I didn't see.

LAURA: Sometimes I'm talking to you, sometimes but–

SAM: Yeah, but I didn't see you.

LAURA: Yeah. Sometimes. Because your helmet blocks the view, you know.

SAM: Yeah, that's the problem with these things.

DARIN: We all hear voices when people are talking in our general vicinity, but this was in my head. This was in my head, I heard it.

LAURA: What's he sound like?

DARIN: Well, scary. Large. And he sounds like Sauron. He sounds like a Dark Lord. He sounds like someone who should be obeyed.

SAM: You know what he sounds like to me?

DARIN: What?

SAM: A medical condition. I should probably get my axe, chop up your head, and see what's in there making that noise.

LAURA: Maybe just the top of it.

DARIN: Wait. There's two things you should do with that axe. One, put it away. And that's it.

SAM: All right.

LAURA: He's so good at math.

MATT: As this conversation's taking place, you hear this massive, echoing explosion right over your shoulders as you see a flash of light and heat brighten the courtyard around you. Everyone in the vicinity looks up past. You can see one of the three large towers that sits in the courtyard of this fortress. The tower of Warchief Barfta is currently in flames, his chamber being burned as the thatch and mud that comprises its exterior are beginning to burn. You can see now everyone's mobilizing around you, grabbing weapons as a series of arrows come arcing in from over one of the walls. Three or four nearby uruk go (dying sounds) and fall to the ground, dead immediately.

LAURA: I take a helmet off one and put it in my bag.

MATT: All right, what are you guys doing?

TRAVIS: I take out a crossbow, do I see any intruders?

MATT: Perception check, please.

LAURA: Isn't that where Barfta lives up there?

SAM: Yes.

LAURA: And it's on fire?

TRAVIS: 12!

MATT: 12, okay! You glance around rapidly and you see people running back and forth and you can see guards along the wall, but the guards are firing inward. You see three or four uruk up on the edge of the perimeter wall that are currently loading up their crossbows or shortbows and are ready to fire another volley into the crowd currently drinking.

TRAVIS: I don't understand! Those are uruk! Why are they firing at us?

LAURA: Because they need to die!

SAM: Let's go get them!

TRAVIS: Yeah!

SAM: Let's go! I pick up my quarterstaff and start stomping towards the tower.

LAURA: Ditto with my maul.

MATT: All righty. You follow as well?

DARIN: I follow, behind them.

SAM: That's where good leaders go.

DARIN: Yes!

MATT: So as Mozuu's picking up the rear you can see other goblins and uruk rushing past. You see another volley get loosed towards it. I need all of you to make dexterity saving throws, please.

LAURA: Oh no!

TRAVIS: Oh, shit!

LAURA: What did you get?

TRAVIS: One.

SAM: I also got a one.

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: Off to a great start!

DARIN: Ten!

MATT: Ten, all right!

LAURA: 14.

MATT: All right. Both Mozuu and Arburuk manage to–

LAURA: You can call me Arby.

MATT: Arby. Mozuu and Arby, rushing forward, you manage to get behind Arby as the heavy plates of armor that surround your large, troll-like form, the arrows smash against. You two not so lucky. You both suffer six points of piercing damage as a series of bolts or arrows stick into your chest and shoulders. You flex and tear them off as you rush forward towards the side of the tower before you now, the smoke billowing off the top of the inferno.

LAURA: I step in front of Skak here to try to block him from any more arrows coming. I'm a defender, you know.

SAM: I could have used my Deflect Missiles! I'll do that next time!

TRAVIS: You need to be on your game! Come on!

MATT: All right! So as you guys are rushing forward now, the crowd swarming up behind you, you glance over to the right and you can see pouring out of the back side of this tower, three very brutish-looking uruk with bulging muscles. They have dark helmets on and this faint glow in their eyes as they charge in and start cleaving into nearby allies of yours that were drinking not a moment ago.

TRAVIS: Am I far enough away to pick one off with my crossbow?

MATT: Go for it! Make an attack.

TRAVIS: Okay! Crossbow, 1d8.

LAURA: I know what those are! This is cool, Matt!

TRAVIS: Oh, that's good! That is 11.

MATT: 11.

TRAVIS: No, no, no! 16.

LAURA: That's not close at all!

TRAVIS: I know, it's way off.

MATT: I'll consider that in character.

TRAVIS: Thank you.

MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

TRAVIS: Yes! d8. That's a 15.

MATT: 15 damage?

TRAVIS: Well, 1d8 plus four. So nope, that's wrong. That's a six. Six damage.

MATT: It is currently in a scuffle with somebody, so I'll let you get sneak attack damage if you want to.

LAURA: Whoa, you're a roguey rogue!

TRAVIS: 3d6?

MATT: 3d6, yeah.

TRAVIS: Holy smokes!

LAURA: He gets 3d6?

TRAVIS: Five, six, ten. 11 total. Sneak attack.

MATT: All right, so on top of the six, 17. So you watch as this one orc grunt, rushing forward, takes its battleaxe and jams it right into the clavicle of one of the nearby Uruk. Its weapon falls out of its hand. As it looks up, towards you, with a flash in its eyes, (gurgle), the bolt goes straight into its throat. (gurgle) It begins to bleed out its black dark ichor, before it falls to the ground, not moving.

TRAVIS: Got one!

LAURA: Nice going, Skak! I run forward and try to do the same thing to another one.

MATT: Okay. I will actually ask you three, since he got the jump on him, two other existing ones are now charging towards you, to roll initiative real fast.

SAM: 21.

LAURA: Oh shit. 18.

DARIN: What do I add to my roll? 12.

MATT: All righty. So we have Ur-Eden, we have Arby.

SAM: You can call me Eden.

DARIN: You can call me Mozuu the Chosen.

MATT: There we go.

TRAVIS: There's only two things you need to call me.

DARIN: Mozuu the Chosen, and that's it. Will this be a theme? Yes it will.

MATT: So Ur-Eden, you're up first. There are two of these grunts that are rushing forward, both dual-handing battleaxes, and they're charging in. (guttural shout)

SAM: All right, I'll pick up my quarterstaff with two hands, and I will hit one of them.

MATT: Go for it!

SAM: (laughs) The one on the left. Hiyah! Ooh, not good. 11!

MATT: 11. Nope! You swing, and it ducks low, and it's going to come up with an upward strike. Do you have another attack?

SAM: I have a second attack.

MATT: All right, attack again.

SAM: Ooh, this one is better! 26!

MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

SAM: All right. 1d8 plus four. I don't know how to do this. Okay, that's eight points of damage. But! Let's do other things, too. I'm going to use my Stunning Strike, right?

MATT: All right, so you spend a ki point to stun him.

SAM: I'm going to use a ki point. Yes. 14.

MATT: 14, no, he gets an 11. So he is stunned. Describe the Stunning Strike for me.

SAM: Okay. The Stunning Strike. So when I hit him, I, knowing my medical knowledge that I have so well, I aim for the one place that I know hurts the most: the wang.

DARIN: Would you like to act it out?

SAM: On you.

DARIN: Oh no, wait! I'm wearing a suit.

SAM: So I jab him right between the legs.

MATT: What's the uruk term for that, by the way?

SAM: Oh, right in the gronk.

MATT: There we go.

SAM: Right in the gronk. Sharply hit. Nice and low. Gronk hit!

MATT: It barely manages to maintain grip on the battleaxe, but right now is doubled over, knees knocked inward, in a bad place. Currently not able to sustain any sort of combat motive.

SAM: Take that, you glob!

MATT: (groans) There's no words. That ends your turn?

SAM: I believe so. Oh, wait, a bonus. I don't know how this guy works.

LAURA: Does he stay stunned for a turn?

MATT: You get a free bonus action strike if you want to, with your fist.

SAM: Bonus action strike?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: You can do that?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: All right, great. I will. If I hit a stunned person, does he become unstunned? No.

MATT: Sorry, that's the Flurry of Blows with your Ki point, if you wanted to spend another one.

SAM: Oh, no, I'm good. I'm done.

LAURA: But if you hit a guy that's stunned, does he become unstunned?

MATT: No. But attacks against him have advantage.

LAURA: Tight.

MATT: All right. So next up is Arby. Arby, what are you going to do?

LAURA: I'm going to run up and hit the guy that he hit between the legs with my maul.

MATT: So as he's like (groans).

LAURA: I hit him like a batter.

MATT: The eyes glance up to meet yours, just as you go for the giant golf swing.

LAURA: That's a 15 to hit.

MATT: You have advantage on this strike, don't forget.

LAURA: Because he's stunned.

MATT: Yep.

LAURA: That's a 19 to hit. No, that's wrong, that was a 17 to hit.

MATT: (laughs) That's okay.

LAURA: Does it still hit?

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: Yeah! Okay, let's see.

MATT: Actually, sorry, with the staff, you still can do a bonus action strike if you want to.

SAM: Oh. That's crazy! I already took two hits.

MATT: Two hits, and bonus action you can get a third. Or spend a Ki point and get a fourth as well.

SAM: Can I jab at the guy next to me? All right, sorry, Laura, I'm interfering.

MATT: Damage?

LAURA: 12 on the first hit.

MATT: The guy who's stunned, you knock him a good 15 feet in the air with an arc. (shout) His crumpled body lands on the large wooden spikes of the wall that you see some of the archers are on above and is stuck on there, impaled.

LAURA: That was artistic. Is there another guy?

SAM: Are you the scar artist?

TRAVIS: No, that's me! I'm the Scar-Artist!

LAURA: Do you have something else you have to do?

SAM: I was just jabbing the other guy.

MATT: What did you roll for that?

SAM: I rolled a 23.

MATT: That hits, go ahead and roll damage.

SAM: Another eight points.

MATT: All right. And then you.

LAURA: And there's another guy I can hit?

MATT: Same guy that he's attacking, so there's two more that weren't destroyed.

LAURA: Oh no. That might not. 11.

MATT: Unfortunately, from hitting the first guy, it's already telegraphed your next swing against the other. He sidesteps it, passes by.

LAURA: It's because I wasn't looking at him. I was looking at the beauty on the spike over there.

MATT: Indeed. He's going to rush up to you with his battleaxe and make a strike towards you, who destroyed his friend. That's going to be an 18.

LAURA: That is my armor class.

MATT: So it manages to hit you. You suffer 11 points of slashing damage.

LAURA: Oh no! I'm going to use my reaction to reduce the damage.

MATT: You're using your Troll's Endurance?

LAURA: Yeah, but can I only do that once?

MATT: Once per short rest.

LAURA: Oh, really?

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: You better pick the time you want to use it.

LAURA: Okay, I'm not going to do that just yet.

MATT: Okay, you take 11 points of slashing damage as the battleaxe comes down, slamming between two plates of armor and embedding itself somewhere in your torso. Mozuu, your turn.

DARIN: There's one or two left?

MATT: There's one left, who's been partially wounded.

DARIN: I think I'd like to use Bane and hold him. That will stop him in his tracks, will it?

MATT and DARIN: It may.

SAM: Such a thinker, this one.

DARIN: Because I shouted to him in a very powerful way. I speak for Sauron.

MATT: What's the spell DC?

DARIN: The spell DC: 11.

MATT: Okay, no. Nine minus one, so that's an eight. You can have up to three creatures of your choice, if you want to. The range is 30 feet, though, so it's pretty close. He's the only one you can see. As you stare at him, he looks fearful for a moment and you can see the hand shaking. What's going to happen is you get to subtract 1d4 from any of his rolls.

LAURA: I am going to use Troll's Endurance because if it's once per short rest, then it's okay, right?

MATT: Sure!

LAURA: Yeah! I'm going to do it.

MATT: So roll your d12.

LAURA: Ooh! Eight plus two, so I only take one point of damage!

MATT: One point of slashing damage. You shrug it off. It goes through the plates of the armor, hits the skin and gets a minute in there, and you flex your abs. They're so strong!

LAURA: They're so strong!

TRAVIS: Nice, Arby!

LAURA: Thanks! That's why I'm Unbreakable; this is why!

MATT: Does that end your turn?

DARIN: Yes.

MATT: With that, another volley of crossbow bolts and arrows comes flying over. You can see maybe a dozen flying from the wall. Other Uruk are climbing to try and head these guys off in the distance. I need you all to make another dexterity saving throw.

SAM: 21!

LAURA: Six!

TRAVIS: 22.

MATT: Both of you guys manage to dodge out of the way. However, both of you take five points of piercing damage as a bolt or arrow hits each of you in the shoulder or back.

LAURA: Mine hit the back; yours hit the shoulder.

DARIN: Thanks.

LAURA: Yeah.

DARIN: There's two things you have to know about where that arrow hit.

MATT: You guys are now at the base of the tower. You hear a smaller explosion, muffled. More smoke's billowing out the side. It's a rather large chamber that he lives in and it looks like about half of it is engulfed in flames, the side nearest to the entrance. You guys rush up the stairs to head up the side of the tower? Or do you find another way around?

SAM: Are there any other ways around? Are there ladders?

DARIN: Did we defeat the one that we held?

MATT: No, it's still standing there. What are you going to do; are you going to fight that guy or keep moving?

LAURA: Let's fuck that guy up.

MATT: Then Eden, you're up first.

SAM: Oh. We're going to beat this guy? I'm ignoring this guy; I'm going to charge into the stairwell.

TRAVIS: Go up the tower! Go!

MATT: Attack of opportunity against you. That is a 15. What's your armor class?

SAM: Does he have to roll a negative four?

MATT: He has to minus d4 from him. So go ahead and roll a d4.

DARIN: That is a three.

MATT: That's a 12.

SAM: He does not hit me.

MATT: The axe swings wide and you start darting up the steps. Up next would be Arby.

LAURA: I'm going to try to hit him.

MATT: Go for it.

TRAVIS: What about me? I thought I was at the top of the round, right?

MATT: Oh, that's right!

TRAVIS: You know, because I went first with the sneak attack.

DARIN: It was your height, we overlooked you because you're the smallest of the group apparently. You're a wee thing.

TRAVIS: Can I run up and draw my shortsword, two hands, and try and stick it in?

MATT: Yeah you can, actually. So you toss the crossbow over your shoulder, rush in blade out. Make an attack. With advantage, because he is currently–

TRAVIS: 19.

MATT: All right, roll damage on that with sneak attack.

TRAVIS: Shortsword, 1d6.

LAURA: And I'm standing next to him.

TRAVIS: Sneak attack, five, six, ten–

SAM: Sneak attack?

TRAVIS: Yeah. Because somebody's within melee. 12 points of damage to his gut!

MATT: With that, as he's currently standing there swinging wide, missing Eden as he rushes past, he begins to give chase. At that point his body stiffens up as the blade sinks right into the back of the spine. You drag it down through the shoulder blades, and as it brings his arms forward it kind of opens the wound. He crumples to the ground, not moving.

TRAVIS: A beautiful scar to add to my collection.

DARIN: How many does this make?

TRAVIS: It makes 30.

DARIN: Excellent.

(laughter)

SAM: Come on, you shugs, come with me up the stairs!

DARIN: Wait a minute, who's the leader of this group?

TRAVIS: You are.

LAURA: Barfta.

DARIN: Of this group, of us four!

LAURA: Well, I was thinking I could lead?

TRAVIS: As a collective? Do we vote? Is it democracy?

DARIN: This is a democracy in which I lead. Let's go up the stairs, as he said.

TRAVIS: Okay.

DARIN: Good.

MATT: All right, the rest of you catch up. You're faster than the rest, so you dart up towards the top of the stairs. Partway up the stairway, as you rush around the corner, you see an even more muscular orc standing there right before you. No helmet on, fury and this faint gray glow to the eyes. Swinging wide with a giant, two-handed hammer, goes swinging towards you. And gets two attacks, but the first one, a natural two, misses the first one. And a natural one for the second one. Swings wide once, and then swings a second time and you put your foot out and trip him, and as you do he stumbles forward and the hammer actually slams into the side of the tower. It wedges itself into the stonework as it's cracked and broken inward. And is currently trying to pull its weapon out of the stonework.

SAM: Oh, that looks like a problem. I will solve it! I will attack him with my quarterstaff. Ten plus seven, ooh, 17.

MATT: 17 hits, go ahead and roll damage.

SAM: Yes! So that hit goes for, ooh, 12 points, and you said he looked stronger than the rest?

MATT: Yes.

SAM: I will use my Flurry of Blows.

MATT: Okay, so you get three more attacks on him.

SAM: I would like to flurry! 19 plus seven!

MATT: That hits, roll damage on that.

SAM: That's another nine points of damage. 20, natural 20!

DARIN: Well flurried, friend!

MATT: Go ahead and roll your dice, double it.

SAM: One.

MATT: So two?

SAM: That's two plus four. So that's six. And then one more. Six plus seven is only a 13.

MATT: 13 just barely hits, doesn't have a lot of armor on him.

SAM: Eight plus four, another 12 points of damage!

MATT: So how do you want to do this? You finish this guy off. With these four strikes, as he's currently trying to wrestle his weapon from the side of the tower, how do you finish him?

SAM: Like Zorro.

DARIN: Who?

LAURA: Who's that?

SAM: He was this glob that I killed two towns over. He would always write a Z on his victims. But my name is Eden? So I'm going to try and write an E. (grunts)

MATT: With an exposed muscular torso, it takes a lot of pressure to try and cut someone with a quarterstaff. However, you thankfully as an olog-hai are a very strong creature by nature, and in a horrible display, you break the skin and force an E across his body with your quarterstaff.

SAM: Can I make a lowercase E?

MATT: Sure! With that, he looks down at the E and you just push him off the edge of the stairs and he tumbles. You hear this lower-pitched Wilhelm scream.

SAM: (roaring)

DARIN: Ur-Eden, keep him alive! We need to question him!

SAM: He committed suicide.

DARIN: As they all do when they see your might.

SAM: He said he was so scared of you, Mozuu!

DARIN: Oh, yeah, there's two things people do when they're scared of me. Commit suicide, and that's it!

MATT: At which point you guys have now caught up to the back of Ur-Eden, and you guys climb up the rest of the stairs. You can now look over the side of the walls, and you can see a number of the uruk within this fortress have now overtaken a lot of the marauding, arriving traitors that had begun to attack. And it seems like most of the uprising's being quelled, however no one has gotten to the tower as quick as you.

SAM: Do the uprisers, the rebels, look different? Do they have anything different about them in their eyes?

MATT: Other than the occasional flash in the eyes, nothing else seems to catch your attention. However, as you get to the top of the stairs around this tower, you're looking at the entrance. The door's partially broken inward and flames have completely wreathed the entrance to this chamber. It's really hot and you immediately recoil at the blaze before you. How do you wish to proceed?

LAURA: Is Barfta in there?

SAM: That's where he slumbers.

LAURA: And it's on fire?

SAM: We should probably go in.

DARIN: If we rescue him, we're heroes.

MATT: You hear a (muffled yelling) from behind the wall on the inside.

LAURA: Barfta, is that you?

DARIN: Yes, tell us if it's you. If it's you say, “This is Barfta, I'm on fire!” If you're not on fire, say– You know, just say whatever you like.

MATT: There's a brief pause before you hear again (muffled yelling).

LAURA: I don't know if that was Barfta.

DARIN: That was not following my directions. Therefore, I do not know if we should enter–

LAURA: Maybe we should break the door down to see who it is?

DARIN: Break it down.

LAURA: I try to break it down.

MATT: All right, make an attack.

LAURA: 17 plus eight!

MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll damage! With your giant maul, you slam down with this gargantuan hammer into the burning wood.

LAURA: I get to reroll ones! Ten plus five, 15!

MATT: 15 points of damage, crack! Most of the door breaks down. It's still barely holding on to the bottom hinge, but it now gives you a full view of the inside. You do suffer four points of fire damage due to the proximity to the flame, however you have opened an entryway to the chamber. Looking inside, you can see flames have taken the entire western side of the chamber. You can see a lot of the silks that he keeps– For the point here, as the leader of this portion of the marauder tribe, Barfta likes nice things. Even glancing inside you've gotten little glimpses of the inside of his chamber here and there, and you can see gold spoils adorning taken cabinets and boxes and crates left around. There's just a large pile of somewhat loosely comfortable materials that you scoff at the idea of such comfort, but silently in the back of your head, you're like, I bet that's nice.

LAURA: Can we see where Barfta is in here?

MATT: You do actually see the far wall is an open hole, destroyed by one of the earlier detonations. You can see the entry point was the other side of this tower. You see numerous ruined bodies of uruk, like the one that you saw guarding the stairway on the way up, are now littering the floor, near that opening in the window. And there in the center you see Warchief Barfta, muscles swollen in rage. He kneels amidst these bodies, repeatedly slamming his fist into the face of a still-living would-be assassin, who's now on the ground just being clutched by the throat (roars). He's just like gone feral in his face at this point.

LAURA: Does he look like he's in trouble? Does he look hurt?

TRAVIS: Injured? On fire?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: I'm very perceptive. 15.

MATT: Glancing in, you can see he looks wounded on one arm, one arm looks like it has a few gashes, but for the most part seems to be not too worse for wear. As soon as the door bashes in, he's like growling at this one uruk on the ground who's partially broken with one eye swollen shut. Glances over, looks in your direction, “What're you doing? Get in and help!”

LAURA: Okay, I try to break through the rest of the door.

MATT: Okay, so make an athletics check. Since you've already ruined most of its structure, this is more of a just pushing the rest of it out of the way.

LAURA: Oh, no. Oh, I have really good athletics! 12.

TRAVIS: It's nice, isn't it?

LAURA: Yeah, oh my god! I'm so strong!

MATT: You manage to take the rest of your hammer and smash through the remains of the door. You do suffer another two points of fire damage in the process, but you've cleared the entryway and no one else will suffer fire damage passing through the entryway. You all step into the center of the chamber and there the warchief is still clutching his assassin on the ground and he's grinning and going, “You stupid shrak, who sent you? What fool dares raise arms against me?” The assassin (gurgles). Spits in his face. Looks back at the rest of you with this look of rage in his eyes. The Warchief, “You there, make yourself useful and get my information!” He throws the wounded assassin at your feet who tumbles. He starts coughing and trying to get up.

LAURA: Oh, I step on him, but not to kill him, to hold him in place.

MATT: A very big foot right on his chest, he's now like pinned on the ground pushing against the foot, but not able to get any ground. He's looking up at you, eyes wide from the pressure.

(coughing)

LAURA: Can you answer some questions for us, please?

TRAVIS: Why are you being so polite?

LAURA: Oh, no. I scream in his face. Somebody ask him questions.

DARIN: I'll walk over, I'll get real close to him. Hello friend, my name is Mozuu the Chosen. I've heard the voice of Sauron. He told me the strong take what they want. You see all this around here? That could be part of yours if you're strong enough. You tell us why, why you'd do this, and riches await you.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

LAURA: Is that the truth?

DARIN: Shush. Oh, I'm bad at dice. Miss. 15 plus– Where is my thing?

SAM: Persuasion, right?

DARIN: Oh, 18.

MATT: 18. He calms down for a minute and smiles at you. You can see that same weird gray flash in his eyes. “You'll get nothing from me. Death comes for you all.”

DARIN: Death comes for us all, friend, it just depends on when. It doesn't have to come for you today. Riches can be yours.

MATT: “Look, I was sent by Ur-Gram the Face-Eater.”

SAM: Ur-Grandma?

MATT: Ur-Gram the Face-Eater. “See, he survived his duel in the wastes east of here under a new lord. They have many under their banner. We was sent to take this fort, we was, and succeed we would have, and we will again soon. Nargroth is next. Enjoy your heads while you still got them.”

LAURA: I start looking around the room and forget that I'm actually standing on him and I put my full weight down.

MATT: (gargled screaming)

LAURA: Oh, does that hurt?

DARIN: We thank you for your information. Arby, eat his face.

LAURA: I don't actually like the taste of–

DARIN: Okay, that was a good moment and I was like threatening him.

LAURA: I'll just finish stepping on him.

MATT: Heavy stomp. Just this watermelon splatter of Uruk head against the stonework. The flames still burning around. The Warchief seems less frustrated.

DARIN: Your problem was solved, Warchief. We interrogated.

TRAVIS: I'm just carving little scars into the dead body.

MATT: The Warchief has now sat down on the ground, back slumped against the pile of rags and cloth that he sleeps on and pulls a bottle of spoiled wine and uncorks it. Begins to wash the open wounds on the arm, takes a swig.

SAM: Oh, oh yes, do you need medical attention, my lord?

MATT: “Does it look like I need medical attention?”

SAM: Yes.

MATT: “Then fix me!”

SAM: All right, I grab my healer's kit and I will use my really dirty bandages to wrap him up. I don't really have anything to fasten it with so I hock a loogie on one and then fasten it to the other piece and hope that holds.

MATT: Perfect, okay, roll your healing.

SAM: Oh yes, 1d6 plus nine. 12 points.

MATT: All right. So as you bend, take them, and: “Yeah.” He was like, (grunts, then breathes). “Ur-Gram leaves and wants to take my fort, does he? Wants to wallow in my shadow, does he? That sniveling olog's going to taste a hundred blades before he falls, I say. Am I right?”

SAM and TRAVIS: Yeah.

DARIN: Do you have a hundred blades?

MATT: “I've got more than a hundred blades!”

DARIN: How many exactly do we have? Do we ever count? Is there someone in charge to count the blades?

MATT: “Your job now is to count the blades.”

DARIN: We have two blades.

LAURA: You are so good at– oh, counting.

DARIN: Yeah, I am very good at counting. That's why they call me Mozuu the Chosen.

MATT: “Mozuu?”

DARIN: The Chosen.

MATT: “And who chose you?”

DARIN: Sauron.

MATT: (laughs) “Stupid. What's your names, then? Who's your commander?”

SAM: We follow Barfta– oh wait, that's you.

MATT: “That's right. You follow me!”

SAM and LAURA: Yes.

MATT: (shouting) “What's your name?”

DARIN: Mozuu the Chosen.

SAM: My name's Ur-Eden. Ur-Eden Goodthink. You can call me Eden.

LAURA: I'm Arburuk, the Unbreakable. But you can call me Arby.

TRAVIS: Oh, powerful Barfta! I am lowly Skak the Scar-Artist, to serve you.

MATT: “All right. You seem to be an able-bodied lot. You want to show your Warchief what real uruk are made of?”

DARIN: Is this before or after I count the blades?

MATT: “After.”

DARIN: Good.

MATT: “Yeah? Then go!” (gulps)

LAURA: Where are we going again?

MATT: “I'm getting there! Head east. Find where Ur-Gram is hiding, tell me where and I'll reward you. Bring me back his head, I'll shoot you all straight to captains, with your own roots beneath you.”

TRAVIS: Captains!

MATT: “Now hurry! Before the tracks go cold! Go!”

DARIN: Again, you asked me to count blades, and yet now–

MATT: “Count them quickly! I don't care!”

TRAVIS: It's a figure of speech, Mozuu.

DARIN: I'll say there's more than a hundred. We're going. We will bring you glory and we will bring you his head.

MATT: “Good. Hundred swords. Heh.”

TRAVIS: Can I run across the room to the hole that was blown in the other side of the room, check for clues or how they did it, or if there's any trace of who came in?

MATT: Make an investigation check in the vicinity, and then a perception check looking through the hole.

LAURA: While he's doing that, can I walk over to Eden and say, I got burned a little in the door.

SAM: All right. Do you need some healing, then?

LAURA: Don't take my skin off, though.

TRAVIS: 25 on the investigation, and an eight on the perception.

MATT: Okay! Looking through the hole that is blasted into the side of this wall, there is a number of crumpled uruk, you see there are two assassins on the ground, both with ruined forms, seemingly the explosion that they brought here also blew them apart. The style you can appreciate. But you do see they have– somehow through this explosion, three small encased leather-bound orbs that survived the detonation. You take and sniff it, it's a very familiar smell of powder.

TRAVIS: Explodey powder? Can I pocket those three?

MATT: You do indeed. Yeah.

LAURA: Oh, that's cool.

MATT: What was your perception check?

TRAVIS: It's an eight.

MATT: An eight. You glance out past the hole, to the dark hills in the distance. Nothing.

TRAVIS: It's real blurry. Of you all, who has really good like, you know, eyeballs?

LAURA: I don't know if they're good or not, but I've got some eyeballs.

TRAVIS: Can you see anything out here?

LAURA: I bring out my patch of eyeballs. Which kind did you need, because I got little eyeballs and bigger eyeballs?

TRAVIS: How long have you been holding those?

SAM: Some of those aren't eyeballs, by the way.

LAURA: Oh, that's a piece of lint, you're right. What–

(yelling and laughing)

LAURA: The eagles! The eagles are coming!

(laughing)

MATT: That was amazing!

TRAVIS: Are you Gandalf? Oh shit.

DARIN: It's the magic of Mordor!

SAM: I think we should follow you now!

LAURA: I'm the chosen one! I'm the chosen!

DARIN: That was Sauron made flesh!

TRAVIS: Amazing.

LAURA: Yeah, so…no?

TRAVIS: Put those away.

LAURA: Ow, but that made my hands hurt worse, please.

SAM: All right, I could heal you right now, or we could use hit dice and take a short rest and that way I would save my ability to heal you later.

LAURA: All right. Oh yeah, and then I get my troll's endurance back!

MATT: “So! Maggots!”

SAM: Oh, you're still here!

ALL: Sorry, sorry!

SAM: If we're going to do this for you by the Dark Lord's name, I feel that our group of four should have some sort of group name.

TRAVIS: Ooh! Like a callsign!

SAM: Yeah, a callsign or something. Is that something you could hook us up with?

MATT: “I mean…”

LAURA: Do you have like fancy pins or something we could wear?

SAM: Or the Orc Four! The Orc Four! The Forcs!

ALL: The Forcs! The Forcs!

MATT: “No. All right, Forcs it is!”

(cheering)

MATT: “You! Are the Barfta Forcs!”

SAM: Can we get little patches that say “Get Forc-ed”?

LAURA: Oh, you should, you should just carve it in because you're a Scar-Artist!

TRAVIS: Yeah, hold on, just one minute!

DARIN: While you do that, I'm going to go count some blades from this window.

MATT: Okay, make a perception check.

DARIN: Okay. 16.

MATT: 16; glancing about over the next five or ten minutes or so, you just count blades in the courtyard, and those that are pulling the bodies of the gathered mutineers and executing them in the middle of the courtyard; you count probably a good solid 73-74 blades by your estimation in immediate visual range. You throw in some, you know, estimations of non-visual range based blades, the size of the fortress, probably something around 125 blades currently available in just this small encampment outside the main fortress.

DARIN: By my count, we have 7,321 blades currently available to us in this fort. We are unbeatable. We find this guy you want, this guy dies.

MATT: “I like you.”

DARIN: Well thank you.

MATT: “But get out.”

DARIN: Oh! Yeah, right.

TRAVIS: Your shoulder is finished, where do you want yours?

LAURA: My shoulder looks really good.

SAM: Across my back.

MATT: As you're glancing out, you look past the eastern mountainscape; you can see what are the Mithram Spur mountains to the east of this encampment. The shadows of night have been claiming this vicinity as the sun's faded. You see a handful of fleeing goblins, just vanishing into the mountains heading eastward and disappearing into the shadows at the base.

DARIN: Fleeing? Well, I couldn't probably tell, the goblins–

MATT: They're running away.

DARIN: In the direction we're headed?

MATT: Yes.

SAM: Let's take on after them.

DARIN: Yeah. Because, well, what goblins are afraid of, no offense to you, we are not afraid of. We're better than goblins, no offense to you.

TRAVIS: Again, no.

DARIN: Yeah. Are we going?

TRAVIS: No wait, you need your tattoo, yours is done, it's on the lower back. Where would you like your Forcs tattoo?

LAURA: You want one on your arm like I got?

DARIN: See this head on my helmet?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

DARIN: Put it up there. Because this will cause true terror in any goblin, again, no offense to you.

TRAVIS: Thank you. We'll get it later, we should probably get after them.

DARIN: Take this helmet and do it as we run! You are a true artiste.

LAURA: But we got to take a short rest though, right, while we were getting our tattoos though. Was that a short rest?

MATT: Okay, so you take a short rest outside of the chambers of Warchief Barfta who has been trying to get you to leave for the past 20– the chamber is just in flames around him, he's just sitting there drinking like “Leave! Me!”

DARIN: We have, technically, we are outside the room, technically we have left. He agrees.

MATT: “Smartass.”

SAM: Do I get ki points back?

MATT: You do.

SAM: All?

MATT: Yep.

SAM: Holy moly, I'm so powerful! Wow!

DARIN: Must we roll to get hit points back?

SAM: Hit dice. It will say right there.

DARIN: Oh! Well, that's nice.

LAURA: What's shrak mean again? Is that a dick?

SAM: No. Shrak is feces.

MATT: Excrement.

LAURA: Okay. A gronk is a dick?

SAM: A gronk is a dick. How will we chase after these bad guys? Are we going to ride on something, or should we just walk? Do we need a cart?

TRAVIS: Do we have any mounts available?

DARIN: Do we see any caragors?

MATT: You do have, in this encampment, three caragors, that are caged, feral. They haven't been broken yet. But they are currently caged in the corner, you could see a few beastmasters that roam about. As you walk up to approach and take a look, you see one of them has a pike with this long, slivering piece of meat that has a little bit of skin on it still, and you think may have belonged to one of the uruks that just got killed in the fray and just throws into the cage. Immediately, this extremely large, hyena dog-like hybrid beast starts tearing it apart, getting gore everywhere.

TRAVIS: See, I'm afraid that would be us, if we tried to ride them.

SAM: Are you scared of a caragor?

TRAVIS: Very much so. Yeah, I mean, look at them.

SAM: I've killed so many caragors.

TRAVIS: I haven't.

SAM: I haven't either.

LAURA: You could ride on my back. I could give you a piggyback ride.

TRAVIS: Not that I need it, but I will accept.

LAURA: Because I think we're too big to ride this scatagorse.

SAM: The scatagorus?

LAURA: Yeah.

DARIN: Yeah, close enough.

SAM: All right. Well then, we will go on foot. Right?

LAURA: I don't know. Are we too big?

MATT: I mean, it's a big beast. You can certainly try.

SAM: Is anyone good with animals?

TRAVIS and DARIN: Nope.

LAURA and SAM: Maybe we should walk.

(laughter)

MATT: As you guys are having this conversation, you see one of the beastmasters is by the cage, looking at you with his head turned to the side, curious as to what you're talking about. And immediately, this claw grabs him and pulls him against the cage, (screaming) as one of the jaws grabs and tears his shoulder off from the back. He goes, (grunting). The other uruks start hitting it with pikes from the side of the cage, to calm it down, but it's already torn the guy apart. You're like, this is bad.

DARIN: We're walking, we are walking.

MATT: Okay. So as you guys exit the outside of the fortress on the outskirts of Nargroth, you begin to make your way eastward towards the mountains, in the direction where you saw these fleeing goblins. Who's helming this journey? Who wants to be tracking eastward?

LAURA: Well, he has the head on his helmet, so he can probably see farther than the rest of us.

DARIN: Yes, but the eyes are missing. If you gave me a couple of your eyes, we could stick them in there.

LAURA: Here's a couple. They don't match, but that's all right.

DARIN: It's just eyes. So I'll take out a couple of the eyes, I take off my helmet, and I put them in. And now, I am known as Mozuu the Chosen, the tracker with the helmet that has the head with the eyes in it currently.

LAURA: Upgrade. I'm going to take Skak and I'm going to sit him on my shoulder.

TRAVIS: (frantic noises)

MATT: As he's slowly carving– well no, if you have the helmet on to track, he can't carve into it as you're moving. So a choice has to be made.

DARIN: Well, the eyes will be able to see as you're carving. You tell me what they see, we go that way.

TRAVIS: I'm to interpret the eyes?

DARIN: Exactly. That what makes us a team! That's what makes us the Forcs, apparently.

ALL: The Forcs!

MATT: So I want you to make a dexterity check.

TRAVIS: (laughs) That was good. Oh, that's a million. 22.

MATT: 22. You, of all the scars you've carved across the group, you saved the best for Mozuu. Even though it's a bumpy ride on the back of an olog, it's a beautiful display on this helmet.

TRAVIS: It's got mosaic work, filigree! It's really nice.

MATT: You're really proud of it, and also roll a perception check, because you're now the person interpreting the eyes.

TRAVIS: Oh good. Minus two. 14.

MATT: 14. Okay. So as you glance about, and you take a little while, heading forward, you begin to find the easiest path up the mountainside. As opposed to having to climb cliff over cliff, you guys eventually hit the base of the Mithram Spur Mountains, and begin to slowly pull your way up the occasional cliffside, but for the most part, you've managed to maintain a fairly easy to climb switchback path that has been walked through this mountain range a number of times. Make a survival check for me, please.

LAURA: You hear those people screaming in the background?

SAM and DARIN: Yes.

TRAVIS: I literally rolled a zero. Two minus two.

MATT: All right. So as you guys begin to curl up and down the edge of this mountain range, you can see the large fortress of Nargroth in the distance, and the outskirts of the one small watch fortress on the outside of it, the three of which dot its exterior. The one furthest to the east that you just came from begins to disappear over the high mountain spires and now, in the dark skies, the black of night, just the faint glow of orange-red in the distance as Mount Doom occasionally flares up into the clouds ahead. It is very dark. Thankfully, I believe most of you have some form of darkvision.

TRAVIS: 60 feet.

LAURA: And torches.

MATT: Yep. Great, so you guys are able to make your way through, following the wonderful direction of Skak on top.

TRAVIS: The eyes speak often. They lead us forth.

SAM: I've noticed that one of those eyes is a wolf's eye, and the other is an acorn. Is that going to…

TRAVIS: No. Shouldn't make any difference. Both the land and the beast speak to me through the eyes.

MATT: Leading you with absolute confidence up the side of this mountain path.

DARIN: Because an acorn is technically a seed. And you can't spell seed without see.

TRAVIS: I don't know if that's right.

DARIN: S-E-E is “see.” S-E-E-E-D-D-D-D-D is “seed.” Therefore, you could, if you wanted to.

TRAVIS: Extrapolate.

MATT: And it's at that moment, (laughs) Arby, as your large foot hits a soft mound of dirt, a large one, one about maybe 25 or so feet across. Your foot hits it. The mountain seems to give way for a moment into a little bit of a plateau, and there looks to be packed ash and dirt that fills this small vicinity. And while you were conversing and listening and following the direction of Skak, your foot hits this soft mound.

LAURA: Hey, something's down here. It's softer. I start stomping on it.

MATT: Okay. I would like all of you to make an intelligence check, please.

DARIN: Five.

SAM: Seven.

LAURA: 14.

TRAVIS: 18. This is new for me, guys!

(laughter)

MATT: So as all of you begin to follow suit with Arby and stomping on the soft dirt, you're like, wait, we've raided some of these before.

TRAVIS: Wait a second. Yeah, we've all got experience with this.

LAURA and SAM: What is it?

MATT: You hear this soft growling sound as you watch these tiny humanoid creatures with long thin arms and legs, hairless gray skin, begin to pull their way out of small holes and tunnels in the sides of this mound. You watch as ghouls began to emerge now from the recent disturbing of their space.

LAURA: I hate ghouls.

SAM: But the Forcs can take them. Forcs! It's dinner time!

MATT: Because you rolled so high on the intelligence check, you do know that they have a hard time with bright light. However, I would like you all to roll initiative because they are immediately lunging towards you. (snarls)

TRAVIS: Remember, they have a hard time with bright light!

SAM: (laughs) Thank you, Lady Guinevere.

(laughter)

LAURA: You had a torch, right, in your hand?

DARIN: We're using darkvision. Some of us.

SAM: Totally black.

DARIN: Yep. Let's go back in time. Did anyone–

LAURA: I did mention torches, but I didn't say I pulled it out.

MATT: You can see four of them have emerged, and it looks like more are making their way out. So. All right, initiative order. What do you have?

DARIN: 11.

SAM: 17.

LAURA: 11.

TRAVIS: 18.

ALL: Ooh.

MATT: All right. Skak, you're up first. As you kept the helmet in your hand, you're like

(hesitating).

TRAVIS: How far away are they?

MATT: There are two of them that are ten feet from you now, rushing in your direction, and a few that are about 25 or 30 feet on the other side of the mound that are now climbing over it and darting towards you. You move first, though, so there's nobody quite in range or no one who's attacking you yet.

TRAVIS: I would like to take out one of my acid vials, and I'm going to throw it from atop your shoulders at the two ghouls coming forward.

MATT: Perfect. Okay, then.

TRAVIS: Using Acid Splash.

MATT: So as you chuck it out, there are two of them that are side by side that are emerging on the opposite side within range, so you could probably hit them both. So I need you to go ahead and roll– actually, no, it's a dexterity saving throw on their point. Okay, so strangely enough, they both succeed. An 18 and a 20. You throw it, and they're so fast as they dart past. They're small and they're wiry and they're lively, and as soon as you throw and lob it, the both just separate and it splashes harmlessly on the ground below them. You see the acid burn up. No effect, unfortunately.

TRAVIS: Can I use my bonus action to nimble escape, and I want to jump off your shoulders and hide.

MATT: Sure, yeah. So we'll say you dart off, and go ahead and roll a stealth check.

TRAVIS: Nice. 20.

MATT: Okay! Good to know. So that's you. You're hidden. That ends Skak's turn. Eden, you're up.

SAM: So there's two close together and two others?

MATT: Well, they've now separated a little bit. There's four now rushing right in the front, and they're somewhat close. You can get in between two of them and hit both.

LAURA: Do we all have darkvision?

MATT: I believe you do, yeah.

SAM: And my flurry of blows, can that be used on multiple targets? All right, so I'll run up to the first and quarterstaff attack.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: Ooh, yeah. 23 to hit.

MATT: 23 hits, yeah. Go ahead and roll damage.

SAM: Seven.

MATT: Seven points? All righty. So as you rush up and– by the way, as an olog-hai, you're a big troll-like entity. The quarterstaff in your hands is like that long. It's like a tiny little baton. You smack it, and you dislocate its shoulder. And it gives a horrible pained sound as it does so. It's hurt pretty bad. These things are not very hardy, there's just a lot of them.

SAM: All right. I will flurry of blows and strike him with my hand.

MATT: All right. Go for it.

SAM: Ew, 11.

MATT: 11 does not hit, unfortunately. You're too confident at this point. As you swing a second time, it ducks below, missing.

SAM: I'll strike again with my hand. (yelps) Oh, that one's better. 19.

MATT: 19. Go ahead and roll damage.

SAM: Six points of damage.

MATT: And with that, you slam down and crumple its head into its shoulder. It makes this gurgle sound as it falls to the ground. And there's one who's now rushing up behind you that you can move into and get your final attack, if you want.

SAM: With my hand, right? My bonus–

MATT: Hand, or your staff.

SAM: All right. Well, then I will quarterstaff him in the gut!

MATT: All right, go for it. So you run up and use that momentum.

SAM: Oh yeah! 18 plus seven. Ooh! 25.

MATT: That hits. Yeah, roll damage.

SAM: One. So five.

MATT: Five points of damage. All right, so it hits him, and he gives this guttural loss of air sound, but it's still standing without an issue.

SAM: Is that a part of the flurry of blows attack, or is that when I bonus attack?

MATT: Well, the flurry of blows becomes your bonus. You do two attacks instead of one with your bonus is what flurry does.

SAM: Okay. So if I hit someone with a flurry of blows, he must succeed on a dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone.

MATT: Oh shit. With an eight, no, he does not. So the one you slam, while it doesn't kill him, it knocks him off his feet, and it falls to the ground. It's clawing to find purchase to get itself back to its feet.

SAM: All right, Forcs. Appetizer course is over. I don't know how far I can take this metaphor!

(laughter)

DARIN: All the way till dessert, is what I think!

SAM: Salad course!

MATT: With that, the remaining five… or the four that aren't currently prone, rush up– the one that was prone gets up with its turn and it's going to go ahead and strike at you. It can't move anywhere, because it's no longer prone. Something's going to strike at you– okay, that's a 23 to hit?

SAM: Yes.

MATT: You take seven points of slashing damage from its bite attack– sorry, it's from the scratch attack as it strikes across you with its claw. It rolled max damage. It's going to attempt to bite at you. That's a nine, which does not hit you. So it strikes you with its claw, then goes to bite you and its jaw hits your armored flesh, your hide, and can't seem to pierce it. Another one rushes to the side to try and gang up on you. It tries to climb onto your back. That is a 16 to hit. What's your armor class?

SAM: 17.

MATT: 17! It jumps onto your back but it can't pierce your hard hide, while another one– a third one is going to rush up behind you as well. That one is going to be a 21 to hit.

SAM: Yes.

MATT: And that one takes– you take three points of slashing damage as it rakes into your back and it gets up onto your shoulders. It's going to attempt to bite down on the top of your head. With a ten. As it bites down once again, it just can't seem to bite through your thick olog hide. Those are the three ghouls that are on you. Two more emerge from the mound and began rushing in. However, they cannot get into combat right now and still attack. The– let's see, there's two more. One of them is going to rush towards you, Mozuu, and one's going to rush around trying to look–

LAURA: (sings)

MATT: Oh, that would've been amazing.

TRAVIS: No more eagles.

MATT: (laughs) Good! That works to your favor. Actually, no, that's going to be two on Mozuu. Because they don't know where you are and they're a little scared of you at the moment. All right, that's going to be a 21?

DARIN: 21 points of damage?

MATT: No, 21 to hit. What's your armor class?

DARIN: Yeah, it hits. Because I'm an 18.

MATT: All right. So you take two points of slashing damage from the scratch, and 18?

DARIN: Yeah.

MATT: You take three points of piercing damage from the bite. The other one that swung up to you, because this one is now currently flanking you with the other one, that is a 23 to hit, which I believe hits. And then 24 to hit. 18 and 19.

SAM: Mozuu! They have chosen you!

TRAVIS: Yeah! (laughs)

DARIN: It's part of my name.

MATT: That's seven points of slashing damage plus an additional 1d4. So you get an additional one, so it's eight points of slashing damage. And second strike is going to be– damage-wise, (counting) ooh, nine points of piercing damage.

TRAVIS: Ding!

LAURA: How are you at? What's your health at?

MATT: They're ganging up on you. You get the sense, individually they are not very dangerous, necessarily. They go down pretty quick. But when they gang up, it's bad, and they're ganging up on Mozuu right now.

TRAVIS: I've heard this before about ghouls.

MATT: So ending that turn. Arby, you're up.

LAURA: I'm going to– you said they're susceptible to bright light?

TRAVIS: Bright light!

LAURA: All right. I'm going to pull out my torch and I'm going to hold it in the same hand with my maul, because I got big hands. And then I'm going to swing it.

MATT: Okay. I'm going to say it takes an action for you to light the torch–

LAURA: Oh, I have to light? No, I didn't light it. As a bonus action, I took it out but I didn't light it.

MATT: Okay, so you're just holding it? Okay.

SAM: Hoping that'll be enough light?

LAURA: Yeah. And then I'm going to try to hit the ones that were attacking Mozuu.

MATT: So you lumber up with an unlit torch, clasped in your hand with your maul, and you're going to attack the ones against Mozuu. All right. Roll for the first attack.

LAURA: (laughs) Okay.

SAM: It must cast some light.

LAURA: Yeah! I mean, that's what torches do.

(laughter)

LAURA: Twenty– I suck at this particular number combination. 21.

MATT: 21 hits. Yeah, go and roll damage.

SAM: It's a 20 and a one.

LAURA: Yeah.

DARIN: Apparently it's forever.

LAURA: Ooh, that's good. That's 15.

MATT: 15 points of damage?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: With one strike, you splatter this ghoul across the mound. You see its arms and legs go flying apart as its torso is crushed and destroyed. It's in pieces.

LAURA: I'm going to attack another one.

SAM: Does the torso light the torch?

MATT: Nope. (laughs) It's important to know.

LAURA: 11.

MATT: 11 just hits.

LAURA: Yeah! Oh, I get to reroll that. Yes! 14.

MATT: 14 points of damage. You splatter a second one. You come swinging, and with each hit, the one to the left and the one to the right of Mozuu are both turned to absolute unliving matter.

LAURA: So there's two more of them on Mozuu? There's two more on Mozuu?

MATT: No, the two that are on Mozuu are gone. There's three that are now climbing up on Eden that have been trying to strike through.

LAURA: I'm going to turn. I'm going to use my action surge to hit two more to try to hit them.

MATT: All right. So you use the last bit of your movement. This will be the end of your movement to get to Eden, but you can attack two that are on him.

LAURA: That's 14.

MATT: 14 hits.

LAURA: I've got to keep that eight. Five is… eight plus five is 12– 13? No.

MATT: Eight plus five is 13. That's correct.

LAURA: 13.

MATT: You actually slam the maul into the side of Eden. Eden, you take just a simple three points of bludgeoning damage, but the ghoul that was currently clasped onto your side is smeared against you. There is a spray of dark crimson.

LAURA: I've got one more attack here. Ooh, that's good. That definitely hits. 24.

MATT: Yeah. Roll damage.

LAURA: Ooh! 15!

MATT: 15. And with that, you splattered the one on the other side, the back shoulder portion of Eden, and this time, you don't slam it into Eden, you just swing wide and you baseball-bat slam it, sending it flying 30, 40 feet arcing through the sky. (ghoul screaming) There's still the one of top of his shoulders. You got four in one round!

LAURA: Yeah. You're welcome.

SAM: I don't know what that means.

MATT: While this is happening, Mozuu, it's your turn.

DARIN: There are two in the distance?

MATT: There are two more. There's one that got up on the ground that's in front of Eden, there's one that's rushing in, and there's one that's on top of Eden's shoulders right now.

DARIN: I'll go for the one that's on top of Eden's shoulders. I want to pull him off and bite, and try and rip his throat out?

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Wow. Said so casually! “I would like to bite and–”

MATT: As you rush up to the side to grab it, make a grapple check. Roll an athletics check.

DARIN: Okay. Oh! 12.

MATT: The ghoul rolled a natural one. Without an issue, you peel the ghoul off its back. Do you want to lunge for its throat? All right, roll an attack.

DARIN: 12 plus my strength?

MATT: Plus your strength, yeah.

DARIN: 15.

MATT: 15. Okay. Roll a 1d4 and add your strength modifier and damage to it.

DARIN: That would be 16, my modifier? Three! So six.

MATT: Six points of damage. So as you pull the ghoul off, it's screeching. You grab it by the back of the head, pull it back, sink your teeth into its throat and tear a chunk out. It's not a mortal wound, but now it's missing part of its throat, and its screeching goes from a (screech) to (moan) this horrible sucking sound as part of its trachea is now exposed.

DARIN: I get another attack. It says, “you can make two attacks.”

MATT: Oh, right.

DARIN: When you make an attack action, you can make two attacks. I want to attack his throat again.

MATT: Go for it. He has a bonus action. War cleric.

DARIN: That's a 15. That is an 18.

MATT: That hits. Roll another d4.

DARIN: That's another six.

MATT: As you pull away the first piece of flesh, you spit it to the side. As this horrible sucking screech sound happens, you reach down this time, getting a larger bite into its throat, and as you pull back, you leave nothing but the spine left behind, and the ghoul goes limp in your grasp, as you have the rest of its throat in your maw.

DARIN: Wow. I've finally lived my dreams.

(laughter)

MATT: All right, that ends your turn, Mozuu? That brings it to the top. Skak, you're up.

TRAVIS: I jump out from behind where I'm hiding, and I load my crossbow at the one that's running, and I pull the trigger.

MATT: Go for it. You have advantage because it does not see you.

TRAVIS: Oh! 21.

MATT: 21? All right, roll for damage.

TRAVIS: 12, right? No sneak attack?

MATT: No, sneak attack, because it didn't see you. You were hidden.

TRAVIS: Right. Oh, it is sneak attack? (counting) 21.

LAURA: Holy moly.

MATT: As it's rushing, we're talking 28 Days Later sprinting zombie level. Falls limp, unmoving, onto the mound. The bolt went through its throat and chest area.

TRAVIS: (pants) Forcs!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Forcs!

MATT: You watch as three more begin to emerge from the sides of the mound. This looks to be essentially a hive home to these, and you have no idea how many are inside. Three more emerge. Eden, you're up.

SAM: Maybe we should go? Seems like they keep coming. Maybe we should run?

TRAVIS: Yes, I remember they have a weakness to bright light, and they live in hives. We should go!

LAURA: Don't worry, I have a torch.

TRAVIS: Don't light it! I think it's an unlit torch.

LAURA: Well, you said it was susceptible–

TRAVIS: Don't hurt yourself. It's okay. We should go! Mozuu?

SAM: Mozuu, do we have your blessing to flee?

DARIN: Look, a lot happened just now.

TRAVIS: What's on your face?

DARIN: It's my face. It's called fear, and a leader can't show fear. I'm not leader anymore. You're leader.

SAM: I'm leader. You hear that? Bow before me!

DARIN: I bow before him. You gave me eyes, and yet I didn't see. I didn't see this hive, and I almost died. I'm not leader. I'm not fit to lead the Forcs.

LAURA: All right.

DARIN: You're leader, as well.

LAURA: All right.

DARIN: You're leader, too. I follow all three of you.

TRAVIS: You can't have two leaders.

DARIN: There's two things I know: the Forcs have three leaders and one follower. There's three things I know: that follower is me, and that's it.

MATT: Eden, while this is happening, it's your turn, and you've been bowing to him.

SAM: He's been bowing to me. I'm going to run.

MATT: Okay. You still have one on your shoulders, by the way.

SAM: Oh.

DARIN: A lovely speech.

MATT: As it's trying to claw and bite you.

TRAVIS: Delineating responsibility.

SAM: I'm going to run and hope he falls off, like a big bucking bronco. I'll use my step of the wind to go faster and jump really far.

MATT: Okay, you full run, dash action, and use that to move another movement. You watch as this giant olog-hai, like Wile E. Coyote, leaves behind a cloud in his shape behind. Because you're moving that fast, I will make sure the ghoul has to make a save to stay on. With a natural two for a strength save, no. The ghoul stumbles off, tumbling onto the ground behind you. Gets back up onto its feet. You start bolting in an eastern direction. Ending your turn, it's now the ghouls' turn. They cannot catch up to you. The one that gets up tries to run after you, but it's slowly behind. The other three now begin to emerge, and they're now rushing up towards you, seeing that you smashed so many of them in the past rounds. Three of them. Six attacks on you. They rush in. The first one's going to go for a scratch and bite. 12? And a seven.

TRAVIS: Wow!

MATT: Second one up behind you. That is 18? All right, with that, because they're ganged up on you, they do more damage. That is six points of slashing damage.

SAM: Are we leaving?

DARIN: You're leaving.

SAM: I thought that was the plan!

MATT: It's their turn now, and then they get to go.

DARIN: Bye!

MATT: That's a 21.

DARIN: A leader leaves.

MATT: You take five points of piercing damage as this one claws and bites into you, and then that is a 17? No. And a nine. So they're clawing and jumping onto you. They're scraping at the armor, but it's keeping most of them at bay. They get a few hits, but it's not too bad. That ends their turn. That brings us to you, Arby. What are you going to do?

LAURA: I guess I'm going to try to kill these things that were attacking me.

MATT: Okay. You've got three of them on you right now. They're climbing all over you.

LAURA: Ooh! I thought that was really good, but it wasn't. It's 18.

MATT: 18 still hits. Roll damage.

LAURA: (cackles) 16!

MATT: 16. There's one to the side. You grab it by the head and smash it in your grip and throw it to the ground with a slopping sound. Your next attack?

LAURA: I'm going to look down and try to hit the one that's at my feet. That's a natural one.

MATT: You try to reach for him, but he's just out of reach, so you start spinning to try to get a better reach, but he's attached to you, so he spins, too. You end up going in circles for the rest of your round, chasing your tail.

LAURA: Eden! I thought I was supposed to run, but I can't run!

SAM: Why?

LAURA: There's ghouls!

MATT: Mozuu, you're up.

DARIN: It worked once. I'm going to grab him and try to rip his throat out.

MATT: Okay. Now you have a taste of ghoul in your mouth. You rush over to Arburuk. Make a grapple check.

DARIN: Grapple is plus what?

MATT: It's an athletics check.

DARIN: Oh, great. 20.

MATT: 20? All right. Rolled a 19, actually. 18 plus one for its strength. It's not enough, so you manage to grab and pull it and barely peel it off, and you're going to try to go for its throat again? Roll an attack.

DARIN: 18 plus three. That is a 21.

MATT: That hits. Roll damage. 1d4 plus your strength.

DARIN: Three plus three. That is a six. We are repeating again.

MATT: All right, roll one more time.

DARIN: Seven. So that's ten, so that did not.

MATT: Ten does not, unfortunately. You bite one chunk out of the middle of its clavicle area, and it's scrambling against you and pushing against your face. As you go for the secondary bite, it jams its hand into your mouth, and you gag for a minute and have to pull it out. It manages to stave off the fight for the moment, at least. That ends your turn, Mozuu? Skak, you're up.

TRAVIS: How many are left? Two? Three?

MATT: There are three. There's one that's still stuck to Arby, there's one that's being held by Mozuu, and there's one that fell off the shoulders of Eden as he ran away.

TRAVIS: Are any of them within 15 feet of me?

MATT: From where you were, you're not that far from Arby and Mozuu. You could probably move in pretty close, yeah.

TRAVIS: I want to try and cast Thunderwave.

MATT: Thunderwave? Okay.

TRAVIS: It's going to hit you guys, isn't it? It hits everybody.

MATT: You can aim it in a way that will hit both of them, but you'll hit either one or the other.

TRAVIS: I definitely want to try to hit as many of you as possible.

(laughter)

MATT: You could hit all of them, all four. You won't hit Eden, because he's too far away, but you can hit all four of them.

SAM: (shouting) Guys, are you coming or what? Guys?

MATT: Perfect.

TRAVIS: May the dark lord grant me a Thunderwave?

MATT: What you do is reach into your pouch and find one of those explosives that you had earlier, and you throw it and clench backward. I need both Mozuu and Arby to roll a constitution saving throw. I'm going to do the same. What's your spell save DC?

TRAVIS: 14.

MATT: They both fail. You rolled a ten? Fail.

LAURA: 13.

MATT: Fail. All of you take 2d8 thunder damage, and you're pushed ten feet away. Roll, Travis. Roll 2d8.

TRAVIS: 13.

LAURA: You asshole. I mean, you glob!

MATT: Both of you guys take 13 points of thunder damage and are blown ten feet back as this small rolling ball explodes in a concussive blast. Both of the ghouls get scattered into nothing. The sound of the explosion echoes throughout the mountains, and both of you guys get pushed back ten feet, almost landing on the ground.

TRAVIS: Can I bonus action my nimble escape? To hide?

MATT: Make a stealth check.

TRAVIS: 15. No, 23. Stealth is plus ten! I'm used to the other. 23.

MATT: All right, so as the explosion happens and you're standing right where the ball rolled, you're like, “shit!” Move back behind the mound and try to stealth and hide. Okay, that ends your turn. Both of them are detonated, at this point. There is the one across the way that fell off that's trying to catch up to Eden but is too slow. There's none currently out in the open, but you can hear sounds of scratching and little voices.

LAURA: I can't really hear anything after that explosion.

MATT: That's true. The two of you, your bell's a little rung. You hear this, as you're hiding up against the mound right now.

TRAVIS: How many of those explosive orbs did I use? All of them, or just two?

MATT: We'll say, for as many spell slots as you have.

TRAVIS: Fair enough.

MATT: All right, so that brings us to Eden.

SAM: I'm 80 feet away, and my darkvision can't see that far, so all I heard was an explosion in the dark, so I drop to my knee, and I say: As the only surviving member of the Forcs, I will say a word to thank the great dark lord for choosing me to carry on the mantle of this mission. And I will keep running as fast as I can away.

MATT: Okay. You bolt away. This poor little ghoul has no sight of you. As that ends your turn, it is now the ghoul's turn. It's like, (panting). It's lost and doesn't see you. It's going to make a perception check. Nope! It begins scrambling its way back toward the mound.

LAURA: Does it know where home is?

MATT: We'll find out. The rest of this story is the saddest little ghoul.

SAM: It's like Benji.

MATT: Three more ghouls emerge from the inside of the mound.

DARIN: We can take it. Earth ghouls are easy. Thank you! Sorry.

TRAVIS: Some of them are apparently explosive.

DARIN: What?

TRAVIS: Explosive!

MATT: They emerge, but they are not in combat yet. Arby, you're up.

LAURA: I think we should run away! And I start running away.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: As I'm running, do I see the little lost ghoul?

MATT: I'll say yes. I'll say as you're running away, it's coming back towards you.

LAURA: I splat it. I want to try to splat it as I'm running.

TRAVIS: I totally heard law school.

DARIN: I passed the bar.

LAURA: 26!

MATT: 26 hits. Roll damage.

LAURA: 14.

MATT: All right, so this one ghoul who had made his journey back finally sees home and is running up and sees you (heavy footsteps, impact) and full-on whack-a-mole him into the dirt.

LAURA: I keep running.

MATT: You keep running.

LAURA: Can I use– as my bonus action, I'm going to use my second wind.

MATT: Go for it. You get to heal up some damage. All right. Mozuu.

DARIN: Question: I started, hit-point-wise, at 44. I'm now at nine. I can perform Lay on Hands and heal myself. Does that take time?

MATT: It's an action.

DARIN: Yeah. If it's my turn, I'm going to do that.

MATT: Okay. You can use as many points as you want to heal yourself.

DARIN: So if I spend nine hit points to heal as many as I can?

MATT: You have a pool of 25 hit points total, and you choose a number of that 25. You only have 25 for the whole day that you can heal with that, but you can do five or ten or eight.

DARIN: I'd like to try for ten.

MATT: Okay, so you use your action to heal ten hit points. Mark those ten off, and you heal ten.

DARIN: Great. I'm at 19, minus ten, and then I will run.

MATT: Okay. You go running and bolting off. Okay, so as you guys are all charging, you're still hidden against the mound. You see these three emerge from the side, and they're between you and your allies as you're pressed against the mound.

TRAVIS: (screams) I take off running, too.

MATT: You go running past one of them. It does get an attack of opportunity on you as you emerge. That's going to hit. That's a 17 plus five.

TRAVIS: Uncanny dodge!

MATT: Okay, so that's five points of slashing damage, which you take half of, so that's two. But you go running past? Double charge? Okay. As you guys are running, they're pretty quick, and they're keeping pace with you. They can't quite catch up to you, but they're following. As you're rushing, since you're the furthest behind, make a perception check.

TRAVIS: 11.

MATT: Okay. After a while, you eventually hear the sound subside, and it seems like they're returning to their mound. They don't want to get too far away from their home base.

LAURA: They don't want to get lost like some other little ghouls out there.

TRAVIS: (wheezes) I think they left us behind. Why do I sound like this?

DARIN: They get you in the throat, did they?

TRAVIS: Yeah. We're clear!

DARIN: Sorry. Thought you were an imposter.

TRAVIS: Forgot my inhaler.

MATT: As the three of you reconvene, you make your way up the path and see one heavy breathing, exhausted Eden, alone.

SAM: They fought bravely. They were my friends. They took care of me.

DARIN: They're standing behind you.

SAM: Oh! I'm hearing voices again.

LAURA: It's the dark lord.

DARIN: Yeah, the dark lord is speaking to you now.

LAURA: You should probably pick your nose.

SAM: Two voices. Oh god.

TRAVIS: Ur-Eden!

SAM: Three voices. He speaks in mysterious ways. Oh, well. I'll end it all right here.

TRAVIS: Wait!

DARIN: No, it's us! Turn around.

SAM: Oh, hi!

DARIN: Olog-hai, right back at you.

TRAVIS: You're faster than I thought.

SAM: Hi. How'd it go?

LAURA: We killed them. All of them. Every last one of them.

TRAVIS: She killed five of them.

LAURA: I did. Is that how many I killed?

TRAVIS: Yep.

SAM: I'm sorry I left, but when he made me leaver–

DARIN: Leader.

SAM: Leader? Oh. I thought he said “leaver.”

TRAVIS: Made me leaver?

SAM: All right, shall we continue eastward?

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: Which way is that?

TRAVIS: Do I know which way is east?

MATT: Make a nature check, since you guys are a little scattered, at this point.

TRAVIS: Nature check. Natural 20. That doesn't help with directions.

MATT: You do that for a moment and realize that doesn't help. However, you glance over and see the orange glow of the top of Mount Doom, and that does help you realize: Ah! That is east.

TRAVIS: That is east.

MATT: As you begin to move in that direction, I'll let you– since you're leading this charge again, with the helmet, make a perception check with advantage because of the nature check. That 20 gave you a benefit to this.

TRAVIS: Perception with advantage, or nature with advantage?

MATT: Perception with advantage.

TRAVIS: That helps. 18.

MATT: 18. You guys have now crested the highest point of this mountain range and are now making your way down the opposite side of this first ridge. As you climb over the edge, you glance over. Are you still on the shoulders of your olog-hai friend?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I climb back up.

MATT: You glance over the shoulders and look down just past the shelf, and you see this very faint bit of light, tucked in this small outcove in the side of the mountain. You glance past, and you can see six uruk figures, five of which are bundled up in ramshackle rags, small sleeping bag bundles, and one of them has a torch across its shoulder, keeping watch. They look roughly about the size of the goblins that you saw fleeing from the scene.

TRAVIS: (shushing) I see figures ahead. Three of them. Three of them! One on guard with a torch.

LAURA: Do you think we could take them?

TRAVIS: Yeah, slit their throats while they're resting.

LAURA: Wait, but I'm hurt still from the ghouls. Will you help me?

(laughter)

SAM: I'm pretty hurt, too. And you're hurt, as well. Should we take another rest?

LAURA: Can we? Can we rest and watch them while we rest? Let's sit down for 30 minutes, around, and maybe heal a little bit, but then be ready to attack if they get up.

TRAVIS: No, we charge in!

LAURA: No, Skak.

SAM: I can heal us if you want, and we can keep going.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: All right, gather around. I will need to use all of my healing potential for this. What hurts?

LAURA: Well, my elbow's been giving me some problems lately, because I think the maul might be a little too– I may be overextending.

DARIN: I think we're hurt from the fighting that we just did.

LAURA: Oh. Well, a ghoul bit me on my knee, and a ghoul bit my ankle, and another one got up here around the shoulder, but I can't tell if it's from the scar that Skak gave me.

SAM: I cake some mud onto all of her wounds and heal her 13 points.

LAURA: That's good! I was down 15.

SAM: Well, where do you hurt? What ails you?

DARIN: Specifically, everything. I will take whatever you give, O glorious leader. I bow to your healing prowess.

SAM: I will take my hair–

LAURA: You have hair?

SAM: Yes, I have a little bit. I shake off the dandruff, make it into a tea that he drinks, but it's filled with protein.

MATT: Uruk scalp protein?

SAM: Yeah. That heals 11 points.

DARIN: That was the best I've ever had in my life. I may be chosen, but you? You're good.

TRAVIS: Dandruff scalp protein?

LAURA: Gross.

SAM: I keep a little flask of grog. I'll swig that. Can I heal myself a bit?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: Oh yeah. 11 points. Back up in it.

LAURA: Can we run to the restroom?

MATT: I was actually about to say, as you guys are taking this moment to heal yourselves up and prepare yourselves for whatever point of entry to this apparently unaware group of sleeping uruk traitors are, we're going to take a break. We'll rest up here for a minute. We'll be back here for the second half, very soon, of our journey deeper into the dark depths of Mordor.

TRAVIS: The Forcs!

ALL: The Forcs!

MATT: Thank you again WB Games for this. We'll come back here with the second half real soon.

LAURA: This is so much fun!

MATT: You guys are awesome!

[music]

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