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Pre-ShowEdit

MATT: – tonight’s episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons. We are down one Sam, unfortunately, tonight, so Scanlan will be Jaeger-piloted by Keyleth and Percy over there, and Pike is still in New York, but in trade, we do have Rothfuss joining us this week via Skype.

(cheering)

MATT: To continue the journey of Kerrek along with these crazy kids. So thank you for joining us, Patrick.

LIAM: Look at his beautiful office and all his beautiful owlbears.

MARISHA: So many owlbears!

MATT: It’s beautiful. Cool, so before we get into the game tonight, let’s go ahead and do our announcements. First and foremost, we are starting with our first official sponsorship of the year with the return of Lootcrate. Thank you so much for being amazing supporters of the show and we’re excited to get started. Liam, you wanted to talk about this one?

LIAM: Oh my gosh, Sam is not here and I got asked to do something ten minutes ago. This is gonna be so good. In Sam and Lootcrate’s honor, I have written a limerick. I think you’ll all approve. And then I’ll tell you a little bit about Lootcrate, but first, some Irish poetry. Sam’s style is not what you’d call quaint, let’s be honest, my man is no saint, but Lootcrate is happy, his pitch plans are snappy, singing songs about fisting and taint.

(laughter)

LIAM: Okay! So Lootcrate, the January theme is not ‘taint’ or ‘fisting’, it’s 'origins’. The brands are Superman, Marvel, TMNT, Nintendo, I know everyone here’s familiar. The cutoff– you have to order now, the cutoff is 9PM tonight.

MATT: 9PM tonight.

LIAM: So you gotta go get got, and you want to go to lootcrate.com/criticalrole. Not critrole, but lootcrate.com/criticalrole. And the promo code is 'criticalrole’, one word, for 10% off your first month.

MATT: Rockin’.

LIAM: Also taint.

LAURA: Thank you, Lootcrate. We’re glad to have you back.

MATT: We can’t talk about the taint theme. That doesn’t happen until April.

LAURA: So excited about it, though. Just so excited.

LIAM: There are some exclusives.

MATT: There are some inclusives. So anyway. I also wanted to give a shout-out to Blue Mics, Blue Microphones, they have been fantastic and sent us a bunch of new equipment here to start upgrading the audio quality of our fantastic show here and us personally, as voice actors, I myself have used Blues for quite a long time for home auditions and I’m hoping that the one that now sits before me will give you a little bit of a better boost from my usual audio. So thank you guys so much, Blue Mics, for helping support us here. If you’re interested at all in checking out their awesome audio equipment, you can go to them at bluemic.com. That’s B-L-U-E-M-I-C.com. Thank you guys.

TALIESIN: I cannot say enough good stuff.

MATT: Laura, you wanted to talk about stuff?

LAURA: Oh my gosh. Okay, okay, okay, I’ll stop rolling for a second, because we have these new things in the store, and they’re socks.

(gasping)

LAURA: I know, I know, I put 'em in front of everybody. They don’t smell yet, 'cause nobody’s worn them. They should be in the store right now. They say 'how do you want to do this?’ and they’ve got the logo on it, and if they do well, then maybe we’ll think about releasing some Sox Machina in all the different characters. I know, it’s exciting, it’s fun. And also, the dice are still in the works, those should be coming up soon, hopefully by this month, maybe next month, but they will be back in the store. We have pins, we have bracelets, limited stock of those are back in the store, too, so. That’s so exciting. And all the other things that I’ve been announcing every week because, you know, we’re just so on top of it, no big deal.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Can we keep these?

LAURA: Yeah, no, these are for us.

TRAVIS: Yay! These will stink in a week.

MATT: Please bring them back next week and show us.

LAURA: Can I just tell everybody how much I miss having you next to me, boo?

MARISHA: Aww.

LAURA: I’m sad you’re not over here.

TRAVIS: Oh, we’re not in character yet, right? I miss you too.

MATT: Aww. Stop it. Next thing I want to announce is there’s a convention coming up in February called Anime Milwaukee, February 17-19, in which me, Marisha, Travis, and Laura will be in attendance as guests. So come join us for an awesome Critical Role panel, we’ll have signings throughout the weekend, our other panels about voiceover and other elements of chaos. So if you’re in that area, please come and say hi. Bring things for us to sign.

TRAVIS: Yeah, bring a bathing suit, I hear there’s a pool party on Saturdays in the negative-two-degree weather.

LAURA: Oh, god. Is it really that cold?

TRAVIS: I don’t know. It’s Milwaukee.

MARISHA: Yeah, it’s by the lake, too, you got that lake-effect air.

MATT: Dress warm, just in case. Anything else anyone wishes to discuss or mention? Patrick, anything you wanna mention?

PATRICK: You guys are coming to my state? You’re gonna be in Wisconsin? When’s that?

MATT: That is February 17-19.

TRAVIS: But we’re not gonna see you.

(laughter)

PATRICK: You act like you have a choice.

(laughter)

MATT: So yeah. Come see us!

PATRICK: I’ll see, I’ll check my calendar to see, that’ll be a short trip if you’re just down in Milwaukee.

LAURA: Oh my gosh, Patrick dinner.

PATRICK: That would be awesome.

MATT: So look for a bearded fellow with sunglasses and a hoodie at the convention. Well, cool. Thank you guys so much. Now that our announcements are done, let’s go ahead and dive in to tonight’s episode of Critical Role.

[no audio]

[dramatic music]

Part IEdit

MATT: And welcome back. (laughs) Yeah, that was a great countdown. So, to bring us into the story, and get you guys up to speed, the adventuring group of Vox Machina had been battling the Chroma Conclave, a collection of ancient chromatic dragons that had terrorized the Tal'Dorei countryside, ruined a number of the villages and cities, their leader, Thordak the Cinderking, lording over the capital city of Emon for a number of weeks at this point. In order to prepare themselves for this battle, they have traversed the planes and all across the world to acquire Vestiges of Divergence, these powerful artifacts, and upon acquiring them and gathering allies, they made an assault, with the help of these allies, upon the city of Emon, defeated Thordak the Cinderking, and, after making an alliance with one of these Conclave members, Raishan, the Diseased Deceiver, to aid them in this battle, they ended up battling Raishan as well within Thordak’s lair beneath the city. Raishan nearly annihilated the entirety of the group Vox Machina, kept at bay only by them summoning one of their allies, J'mon Sa Ord, the powerful brass dragon and secret leader of the city of Ank'harel. Enough of a threat to push her away, Raishan took the corpse of Thordak, apparently via teleportation, as well as two of the eggs that remained in the lair, and vanished. Upon wrestling your way outside of the lair itself, you came upon a number of allies who had fought their way to the center of the city, as well as Patrick’s character Kerrek, who had brought a number of his ragtag adventurers from the city of Westruun to aid. Kerrek joined you in your return to Whitestone, and has now agreed to aid you in your search for the current whereabouts of Raishan. Through the use of some rather rapid scry magic and the dragon’s spent capability to defend against it at the time, you found the location of Raishan, apparently a distant island to the far south in the Lucidian Ocean, one that once was the lair of Thordak before he was sealed, and before that, apparently belonged to a necromancer named Opash. You then spent the evening in Whitestone– or, I guess, the day, since you slept through the day– in Whitestone, preparing to rest for a coming conflict, giving chase to Raishan in hopes of stopping whatever her plans are before they come to fruition. So. That is when we dive back in. So all of you guys have had a full night’s rest, you’re back up to your full hit points, you regain half of your spent hit dice. Spells are back. I know we had a few characters level. We had Scanlan level, Percy levelled, and Pike levelled.

LAURA: So we’re just gonna choose an eighth-level for Pike, but it won’t stick if she wants to not have that be it, right?

MATT: Yeah. Sure. It’s fine, as a cleric, you have access to all the cleric spells.

LAURA: Oh, so she doesn’t have to choose one like a ranger?

MATT: No, no, no. That’s kind of the benefits of the cleric and the wizard, is they have a larger breadth of spells, druids as well.

LAURA: Oh, that’s great. Well, never mind!

LIAM: We’re gonna pick Power Word Kill Green Dragon.

LAURA: Yeah, Power Word Kill Green Dragon for her eighth-level spell.

MATT: She’s taking Power Word Kill?

LIAM: Green Dragon.

LAURA: Specifically.

MARISHA: Can she do that?

LAURA: No, no.

MARISHA: Okay. I was just like, is that allowed?

LIAM: You don’t know.

MARISHA: All right. All right.

MATT: So. If you guys wanna get your– any attunement changes you want to situate for the coming party company move.

LIAM: Yeah. I would like my boots back, and I’ve been sort of dreading this moment. Can I have my boots back?

LAURA: They look so good on me. Have you noticed?

LIAM: It’s all I’ve noticed for the last 24 hours when we were fighting. I mean, we probably would’ve killed her yesterday, but I was so distracted by how good you looked in the boots, yeah.

LAURA: I know, I know.

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: I mean, like, really good.

LIAM: Strategically, I think I can actually do more, and I think I’m more likely to get a little more bang for my buck out of them.

LAURA: Oh, really? Strategically, you can do more than me?

LIAM: Never mind. I’ll use the sword–

LAURA: No, no, no, I’ll give them to you, I’ll give them to you.

LIAM: That was as painful as I imagined it would be.

TRAVIS: It could’ve been worse.

LIAM: Yes, it could’ve been. Percy, would you like this sword back?

TALIESIN: You know…

LIAM: Or anybody. Yeah, the sword.

LAURA: It’s the Dragonkilling sword.

LIAM: I just, I’m better when I’m maneuverable, and I feel like I’m gonna get one swing and a miss and it go to waste.

LAURA: Oh, jeez. Who needs it? Can anybody take it?

TALIESIN: I will admit, if I get within striking distance, I’m probably–

TRAVIS: Can I see it?

LIAM: Sure you can. Here’s the handle.

MARISHA: Proper handling techniques.

TRAVIS: What, really? (gasps) I’ll have it.

LAURA: Should I do stealth cloak or should I do–

MATT: You guys have also taken some time to inspect the other items that you received from the treasure hoard.

LAURA: Get me out of this bench situation!

MARISHA: Gimme those, gimme those, gimme those boots.

MATT: Boots to Keyleth, and this to whoever, the hammer.

TRAVIS: The hammer. There’s a hammer?

MATT: It’s a warhammer.

TRAVIS: What? Who found a warhammer? I was asleep.

LAURA: Hold on, hold on, I’ll pass it over to you. I’m not even going to read it, Keyleth.

TALIESIN: Chapter one.

LAURA: Okay, wait. The Dwarven Thrower, this is the warhammer. Okay. You gain a +3 attack bonus, bonus to attack and damage rolls. It has a thrown property. Normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet, Grog. When you hit with a ranged attack using this weapon, it deals an extra 1d8 damage or, if the target is Giant, which a dragon is, 2d8 damage.

MATT: Like an actual giant.

LAURA: Oh, 'is a giant’. Never mind. Immediately after the attack, the weapon flies back to your hand.

LIAM: Another one of those secrets she was telling me about.

MATT: Yeah, it’s Thor-hammerish. Does require attunement by a dwarf.

TRAVIS: What if I’ve got a dwarvish beard?

MATT: If you have the Belt of Dwarvenkind attuned, you can attune to the hammer as well. But only under that condition. If you unattune the belt, you have to unattune the hammer.

LIAM: And you have to give Matt $20.

TRAVIS: I’m so happy right now.

MATT: Yes, that as well. I forgot that on the card.

LAURA: Kerrek, are you secretly a dwarf?

PATRICK: I… no, though the similarity is notable.

(laughter)

LIAM: I noticed you haven’t actually given me the boots back, and I just wanted to remind you–

LAURA: Oh my god, let me find the fucking piece of paper. Jeez.

LIAM: It’s very important. I’m also going– oh, you go.

MARISHA: Also, these boots may be good for our wonderful cleric. These are Boots of Elvenkind. While you wear these boots, your steps make no sound, regardless of the surface you are moving across. You also have advantage on dexterity stealth checks that rely on moving silently.

LAURA: Oh my gosh, but I don’t know what else Pike has attuned on her.

MATT: Well, that one I don’t think requires attunement.

LAURA: (gasps) Pass 'em over, Pike will wear them! They don’t need attune? Wow, I’ll write them down on her sheet.

MATT: But she will not have her Boots of Levitation. Or no, she will not have her Sprinter’s Boots. Sprinter’s Boots will be replaced by those.

LIAM: Well, you know, what are the chances that she’s gonna need to bolt? Probably more than sneak around. Probably?

MATT: It’s a choice to make.

LAURA: Okay, here’s a question: can she have the boots on and then right before the battle put on the Sprinter’s Boots?

MATT: Sprinter’s Boots do require attunement.

LAURA: And it’s not like you can attune them and then take them off?

MATT: I’ll have to double-check the card from her. I don’t know if they do.

MARISHA: Sprinter’s Boots are pretty clutch for Pike.

LAURA: Yeah, they’re pretty clutch, especially after the last time.

LIAM: We’re going to brawl.

LAURA: But we’re going stealthy, probably, before–

MATT: It’s up to you. The process of a giant, armored gnome to change out her boots is gonna be– it’s not like a quick, it’s not pressing the 'x’ button in your inventory.

LIAM: It’s like changing from one pair of ski boots into another pair of ski boots.

MATT: Essentially, yeah.

(laughter)

MATT: So be mindful of that.

LIAM: All right. Minor thing, I’m going to attune the Deathwalker’s Ward to necrotic.

MATT: To necrotic. Okay.

MARISHA: Well, then, how’s your stealth, Percy?

TALIESIN: I have spider-boots.

MARISHA: Oh, you have spider-boots. What about you, Grog?

TRAVIS: Huh? What was the question? Sorry, I’m drooling all over this–

LAURA: Do you mind– can I put 'em on for now? Since I gave him back his boots. Is that okay?

MARISHA: Yeah, my stealth is pretty all right.

TALIESIN: He’s got leaping boots.

LIAM: Is that a Thor hammer, is that thing?

TRAVIS: It’s pretty fucking close. Apparently I throw it, it comes right back to my hand. If I had Frenzied Rage and three attacks, would it go (whack whack whack) like a giant yo-yo?

MATT: Technically yes?

TRAVIS: (hyperventilates) I’m taking this one.

TALIESIN: I get it.

LIAM: How far can you throw that thing?

TRAVIS: 60 feet.

MATT: Well, it’s 20 feet and then 60 feet is the second range increment, so if it’s longer than 20 feet, your attacks are at disadvantage.

TRAVIS: Son of a bitch.

MATT: But you can still attack.

TRAVIS: What if I did Reckless Attack?

MATT: Then it would be no more roll, and then everyone gets advantage against you.

TRAVIS: I love you right now. If these two tables weren’t in our way…

MATT: Love the dice that rolled that treasure hoard.

LIAM: Ugh, what’s all over the bottom of the table after the show?

TRAVIS: Mayonnaise.

MATT: Is there anybody else that wanted to–

TRAVIS: I would like to attune to this.

MATT: To the Dwarven Thrower?

TRAVIS: Yes. Not the Blood Axe.

MATT: Okay, so the Blood Axe goes away. Dwarven Thrower’s out.

TALIESIN: Cabal’s, Dragonslayer, Animus.

MATT: So, just so you’re aware, the dice roll on that is a d8 to do damage, as opposed to a d12.

LAURA: Oh. That doesn’t sound as cool.

TRAVIS: I must think.

MARISHA: I’m gonna do my circlet, my antlers, as always, Ring of Protection, Spire of Conflux.

MATT: Okay.

PATRICK: Just to chime in, out of character, I know we picked up the dancing sword, which could act as an autonomous fighting thing, but I don’t know who has that or who has slots available to attune.

MATT: That is– Grog has that, actually.

LAURA: Grog has every weapon ever.

MARISHA: Is it an attunement thing?

MATT: You have to attune to it, yeah.

LIAM: You’re a Fallout character.

MATT: But yes, Grog does have the sword.

MARISHA: Do you have an extra spot, Kerr? To attune?

PATRICK: I’m gonna show my age, here. You know, I have only occasionally done 5th edition, back in the day when I got used to playing, we never attuned our weapons.

MATT: Yeah, you only have two things attuned. You do, you can.

PATRICK: So I’m relatively easy in terms of what magic items. I could have it and set it loose at the beginning of combat, if nobody else can.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: So Grog pulls the sword out from the Bag of Holding, and as he reaches and extends it towards you, you feel this sudden almost like a sudden burst of headache at the back of your mind, and you stop for a second, Grog, and you look at the blade. And there across the metallic sheen of this gorgeous scimitar, you see this image begin to seep through and look at you. It’s this female-like face, very faint, a reflection–

TRAVIS: Female setting!

MATT: But the teeth are fanged, and you see what looks to be almost like a swirl of snakes around the outside. At that moment, you feel that burst of headache in the back of your head grow extremely strong, and you drop the blade out of your hand, and you guys watch as Grog falls to his knees, just clutching the sides of his head. The sword, as it hits the ground, it clacks. The blade almost immediately rusts and turns into a dark, dull metal. The gems crack and turn to dust, and what now lies there is an inert weapon.

LAURA: What the fuck?

LIAM: What did you do?

MARISHA: Grog?

TRAVIS: Ow.

(laughter)

LAURA: Oh no, did it turn you really, really, really stupid?

TRAVIS: That really hurt, and it’s still hurting.

MARISHA: Grog, how many fingers am I holding up?

TRAVIS: Square.

TALIESIN: Well, he’s fine.

LIAM: That magic sword bit me. That really hurt.

TRAVIS: What happened?

LAURA: Is it just because it’s only meant for you?

LIAM: Kerrek, do you still want it?

(laughter)

PATRICK: Do I have any idea, like, was this thing rejecting me or pissed that Grog was abandoning it?

MATT: You get the sense, just 'cause you’ve seen a few things like this, that this was actually an inherent curse within the blade, and it just took a moment to dig itself into Grog.

TRAVIS: Oh no.

MATT: But the source of the curse is expended, and Grog, you are permanently at -2 to all of your saving throws. Correcting my mistake from the card last session.

LAURA: Oh, shit!

MARISHA: This is the Deck of Many Things?

MATT: This was me completely either misreading or mishearing it last time, as the internet let me know that was the card drawn, I want to make sure that we stick to what was drawn.

TRAVIS: I don’t have a problem with that, I do have a problem with the headache. Can we maybe bargain to get the headache removed? 'Cause I’m really–

TALIESIN: I have Tylenol, but it requires attunement.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I need BC Powder.

MATT: I think Grog has a way to get rid of headaches.

LIAM: Can I also say, no one’s gonna ever try to get away with anything here, because we know we’re being watched– people are watching like hawks. Everything’s going to be seen.

MARISHA: So -2 to all of his saving throws?

MATT: Yes.

MARISHA: Permanently?

MATT: Well, until a god takes it away.

LAURA: A god? No, go talk to the Raven Queen or somebody. Sarenrae! (gasps) Maybe she can Greater Restoration, if Pike realizes what it is.

TRAVIS: Stupid sword. Jeez, me and swords. Just really not doing well.

LIAM: Pike, can you take a look at your buddy?

LAURA: Well, I don’t know if I know that anything’s wrong with him. Grog, do you have a headache?

MATT: Grog is clutching the side of his head. Pike just came up to you and asked you a question.

TRAVIS: What’d she say?

LAURA: Do you have a headache?

TRAVIS: I do. Do you have anything to help with it?

LAURA: Well, I can maybe do like a Cure Wounds, or–

TRAVIS: I’m not wounded, it’s just a headache. Do you have Cure Headache?

LAURA: I don’t think so, but I can pray to Sarenrae if it would help?

TRAVIS: I don’t know, it’s out of my league. I mean, maybe, yeah.

LAURA: Can I– is there anything I have?

MATT: What do you want to try?

MARISHA: Pike is just universally cute. She’s like a kigurumi, if you wear it, you’re just automatically cute.

LAURA: Just insta-cute.

MATT: It’s true.

LAURA: Would I know what to do? Would she know what to do to try to help him at all?

MATT: If it’s a curse, I mean, there are a few things that can usually take care of a regular curse, but she doesn’t understand the nature of this curse.

LAURA: Okay. I can try to do a– I don’t know what level Greater Restoration is.

MATT: It’s a 5th-level.

TRAVIS: It’s only a headache. I’ll be fine.

LAURA: Are you sure, Grog?

TRAVIS: Yeah, we all just healed, I’m fine.

LAURA: Okay. Let me know if you need anything, though.

TRAVIS: All right, yeah, I will. Thank you, Pike.

PATRICK: Coming into this fight down two on all saves…

TRAVIS: We’re gonna kick some ass. Oh, down two. That’s…

TALIESIN: Do we have anything sitting around that’s not attuned, though–

LIAM: Pike got that cloak that fucking Hotis glued to my flesh off. That’s I think what she did.

MARISHA: Grog, if you want, also, you can have my Ring of Protection, which is a Ring of Protection +2, and it gives you +2 to AC and to all your saving throws. I was gonna wear it, but I could wear the Cloak of Displacement instead.

TRAVIS: I’m not a real big jewelry fan. Do I have to attune to it?

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Nah, I don’t want it.

MARISHA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Thank you, though, Keyleth, that’s very sweet.

MARISHA: You’re welcome. It’s a little bit of a girly ring, so I understand. Well, you’re full on attunements, right? You’re full up?

LAURA: Pike’s gonna try to do Greater Restoration on Grog.

MATT: Okay. So as you guys are finishing this conversation, Grog and Keyleth, Pike walks up and holds her gauntlet out, her giant, awesome, monster-ogre gauntlet. As it begins to suddenly emit this bright white vibrant glow, she touches the front of your forehead, beckoning you to bend down to try and get rid of the headache. You watch as the healing energy surges through your body from head to toe, and as it passes through you, the light fades, the spell is spent– that’s a 5th-level spell she used– and the headache remains.

(groaning)

TRAVIS: Did it do anything for my gas?

MATT: There is no divine magic that can do anything about that either, Grog.

TRAVIS: Son of a bitch.

LAURA: It was worth a try, though, because that would’ve been helpful.

TALIESIN: I cannot find my card for my Ring of Lightning Resistance. It seems to have vanished.

TRAVIS: I don’t know where it would have gone.

TALIESIN: Do we have anything else equipped that we can–

LAURA: I didn’t say it the last time, but Trinket’s out of the necklace, and he healed overnight, 'cause he’s low too.

PATRICK: Actually, you know, Kerrek is kind of standing around, buffing a little bit of the rust out of his off-the-rack chainmail. He’s trying not to look like that kid who showed up at the rich kids’ party.

(laughter)

PATRICK: Out of character, I will say, if anyone has anything that they’re not using in terms of–

TRAVIS: Yeah, no, we do!

PATRICK: I’m reasonably geared up, I’ll be able to go in and hit.

TALIESIN: Are you wearing armor?

MATT: He has chainmail.

TALIESIN: Okay, so the Bracers of Defense wouldn’t work.

MARISHA: Yeah, would the cloak work with armor, right? It wouldn’t replace his armor, a cloak?

MATT: No, the cloak can go over armor.

MARISHA: Are you okay with that, Vax? Kerr, we have this Cloak of Displacement that’s pretty awesome, if you want to wear it.

LIAM: Yeah, it’s made from the flesh of a flying manta ray-type thing, and it makes you really hard to hit, and this is a loaner–

MATT: It’s actually made from the flesh of a displacer beast.

LIAM: I know that, I know. I also have a very precious ring which I would love to have back from you once we’ve killed this dragon, but you will not be seen if you wear it.

PATRICK: I would put that to good use in the coming fight.

MARISHA: Okay. I take the cloak and I throw it over him. You gonna tweet it to him? Or text it to him? Whatever.

LIAM: And I slap the ring down into his palm.

MARISHA: Do you have a picture of the ring?

LIAM: A picture of the ring?

LAURA: It’s a Ring of Invisibility?

MARISHA: Do you have a thing? No?

LIAM: Yes, I have a thing.

LAURA: Just a legendary ring.

MATT: Just a legendary ring like you do. Just note, with the Ring of Invisibility, you remain invisible until the ring is removed, until you attack or cast a spell, or until you use a bonus action to become visible again.

LIAM: If anyone has anything better to give him, we could do that.

LAURA: No, that’s really good. That’s a badass ring.

LIAM: Hey, Siri, remind me to ask Patrick Rothfuss for my Ring of Invisibility back once the dragon is dead. We’re good.

MATT: All right, there you go. Thank you, Siri.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Assisting D&D games since 2000-something.

MATT: All right. So. What else do you guys want to prepare, if anything, as you wake up, come to consciousness–

LAURA: We should have a Heroes’ Feast.

MARISHA: Yes, we should.

LAURA: Is there anybody that could do a Heroes’ Feast?

MARISHA: Pike, how are you looking on Feasts?

MATT: I mean, if Pike wants to prepare a Heroes’ Feast, Pike can cast it.

MARISHA: Can Gilmore?

LIAM: That was a one-time thing.

MATT: Gilmore had a few items that basically turned into a Heroes’ Feast, but he lost his shop.

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay. Pike can do another– what level is that?

MATT: Heroes’ Feast. It is, I believe, 6th-level, I think. Yes, 6th-level.

TRAVIS: Why’re we having a Feast? Are we going to fight something?

TALIESIN: It’s breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day.

TRAVIS: That’s right. I feel terrible for not realizing that.

LAURA: Okay, so we all have Heroes’ Feast.

MATT: All right, so. Mark your diamond that you recently found in the hoard, marked off, as Pike prepares a long wooden table, summoned through divine magic, that contains a fantastic meal of all the classic Westruun comfort foods, instilled with the power and guidance of Sarenrae. As you spend the additional hour to eat and drink and gain the effect of the spell, you become immune to poison, immune to fear, and you all get an additional 2d10 to your maximum hit points, if you want to roll that, Laura.

LAURA: For Pike?

MATT: Yes. Well, this is for everybody. Everybody gets this amount.

LAURA: Oh, that’s not bad, that’s not bad. That’s a 15 added for everybody.

MATT: So everybody gets 15 additional hit points.

MARISHA: And I’m assuming Trinket is eating and Allura is eating?

MATT: It can feed up to 12 people, so yes. That would be Kerr as well, and Allura, and Kima.

TALIESIN: We get advantage on what saves?

LAURA: Fear and poison.

MATT: Well, you’re immune to fear and immune to poison.

TALIESIN: We don’t get advantage?

LAURA: Advantage on wisdom.

MATT: Wisdom saving throws. All righty.

LAURA: And I attuned– by the way, my Bracers of Archery are attuned again.

MATT: You reattuned to your Bracers of Archery? Cool. All righty. So.

MARISHA: Should I do a Scrying Eye, see if I can still find Raishan?

LAURA: Yeah, but what should you scry on? Can you scry on Thordak’s body or something? 'Cause she would have it right next to her.

MARISHA: Can I?

TALIESIN: We have the ball.

MATT: It’s either a creature or location.

PATRICK: Well, if right now we’re pretty sure that they don’t know we know where they are, do we want to risk that? Losing the surprise?

MARISHA: We don’t. If I scry on her cave, would that tip her off? The cave of Opash?

MATT: Only one way to find out.

MARISHA: Only one way to find out?

TALIESIN: I’m of the opinion that– personally, I think it’s safer to know what we know now and go in, because if things–

MARISHA: I mean, I can always teleport us there and scry there. That way, at least– minutes.

MATT: As far as you know, when you create a sensor at a location, creatures that can see invisibility can see the actual scrying location, the orb itself that you create, the magical orb of which your vision appears through. But that’s the only thing you would have to consider.

MARISHA: That’s a massive thing to consider.

TRAVIS: Unless she’s in, like, perma-bubble-bath world or something.

LIAM: We should just go.

MARISHA: I think we should, too.

LAURA: Oh, jeez! I’m so nervous.

MARISHA: I know.

TRAVIS: I’m not.

TALIESIN: I’m feeling strangely positive.

TRAVIS: -2, playas.

LIAM: Would you put that piece of wood down, please?

LAURA: He’s eating wood again.

MARISHA: We need to get him another salt lick.

TRAVIS: I do miss my salt lick rock. Can I keep an eye out as we walk around for another salt lick rock?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Don’t make me do that. Ooh!

TALIESIN: God, the sound those things make.

TRAVIS: 13.

TALIESIN: It’s like your dice have a subwoofer.

MATT: You find a few separate pieces of what look like quartz-like rock that line the sides of the road and the exterior garden of the castle, and upon trying each one, not as salty as you’d hoped. They’re generally just bits of whitestone or rock.

MARISHA: Grog, that’s caca!

TRAVIS: Find your own!

TALIESIN: Let him lick it if he wants it. It’s just gonna make him happy.

TRAVIS: Is it close to salty? Could I confuse it with salt?

MATT: I mean, you get a hint of salt, but it’s gone after the first lick.

TRAVIS: More shiny than the others?

MATT: After licking it a few times, it gets a little shinier, yeah.

TRAVIS: I am a great sorcerer. I will keep this new stone.

MATT: Okay. So go ahead and mark three quartz rocks.

TRAVIS: Palm-sized?

MATT: Roughly. Some are a little bigger. The center one is a little bit like a basketball size.

TRAVIS: Bag of Holding, you’ve got new occupants.

MARISHA: Putting rocks in the Bag of Holding. Just filling it with rocks.

LAURA: Rocks and like dried poo.

MATT: Don’t judge his collection.

MARISHA: Ox, oxen, troll dicks, pet rocks, just a bunch of pet rocks.

MATT: All right. As you guys are preparing, Kima and Allura catch up to you guys. They’ve gathered their materials and they’re prepped for battle. Kima’s fully armored.

MARISHA: Does she look badass? In her full sorceress armor?

MATT: Oh, Allura?

MARISHA: Paint a picture. What’s she look like?

(laughter)

MARISHA: She’s an upper-middle-class girl.

MATT: She’s wearing one of her many ceremonial robes that she does for presentory Tal'Dorei Council work, but you see she has a hood up over her head, her hair braids are tied together behind her neck so they don’t get in the way. You notice that there is some really nice jewelry that’s adorning the side of her neck. The staff she carries with her usually is relatively simple, but you see now that there are a number of runes carved in a spiral along the sides of it. You can see a number of rings that she previously wasn’t wearing that are on, and her face is hardened, and you see that she– where normally she has this air of keeping the room– almost a teacher or parental-type presence in the area, there’s an intensity and darkness to her face that you haven’t really seen before. Not since at least the attack on the city happened.

LIAM: Work!

LAURA: (sings) Allura!

MATT: (sings) And Kima.

TRAVIS: Oh my god!

MATT: All right, guys. So. They’ve arrived, and Allura steps into the room, her staff clicking across the stone floor of the castle. “All right. Have we put all of our affairs in order?”

TRAVIS: Yes.

TALIESIN: Well, I hate when you put it that way.

LAURA: Kima got the Feast, too, right?

MATT: They come in towards the beginning of the casting of the Feast, and they eat as well, yes.

TALIESIN: It’s a buffet. It’s a Heroes’ Buffet.

MATT: “So. How best should we arrive? If you have the ability to bring us through the tree, or I can teleport us there.”

LAURA: Is it the same difference?

MARISHA: What power– how much energy do you use when you teleport?

MATT: “As far as the advancement of spell strength, a Teleport spell in its own right is the seventh sphere of magical incantation.”

MARISHA: Mm. Then let me go with our Transport Via Plants, which is more of a six, you know, level.

MATT: “Sounds like a wondrous idea.”

TALIESIN: Worst-case scenario, we can camp for the night, if are victorious and spent.

TRAVIS: I love camping.

MARISHA: Yeah, it looks like a very pretty island.

TALIESIN: Let’s make sure that one of the Gate Stones is left here in case one of us has to make a mad dash.

MARISHA: Give it to Cassandra?

TALIESIN: Give it, obviously, keep it in Cassandra’s care. If somebody comes back, you know everything’s gone horribly wrong.

MATT: Kima rushes over and takes the stone from your hand and goes, “All right, I’ll give it to her. Be right back.” She jogs off. You hear the (clanging) of the armor as she disappears

TALIESIN: Maybe we should give–

TALIESIN and MARISHA: – her the boots.

MARISHA: That’s not a bad call.

LAURA: That’s true.

MATT: So.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, you know what? When Kima comes back, I’m gonna give her the Elven boots, so she can be quiet.

MATT: She takes them and is like, “Not really my style.”

LAURA: If you don’t want them, I’ll wear them, I mean, I like them a lot. I’m just saying, you’re loud.

MATT: “I’ll take 'em.” And you all wait patiently for the next six minutes as she unbuckles and pulls off the rest of her lower armor and gets the boots on.

TRAVIS: That don’t match at all.

MATT: No. And you can see it gives her a twinge of disappointment.

MARISHA: It’s like different tiered armors in Warcraft. It’s the worst.

LIAM: Slips her Doc Martens over here.

MATT: The expansion just came out, so it’s like all epics and one green that’s better than the rest. Yeah. That’s the worst. (laughs) All right. With you all gathered there, Allura, hood still up, kind of nods. “Keyleth, lead the way. To the Sun Tree, then?”

MARISHA: To the Sun Tree.

MATT: “Very well. (sighs) Let us hope that we return here tomorrow victorious.” She swirls around, her cloak spinning around her base as she follows suit after you, Keyleth, the rest of you make your way, marching down the front of Castle Whitestone to the center of the town, where there you see the faint elements of green bloom now growing across the tree from where once it was bare, the season bringing a sense of spring and summer that have been kept at bay for a while. And for you as well, Percival, this is the first time in a long time you’ve seen the Sun Tree showing that growing life.

TALIESIN: I quietly sneak up and give it a good kiss.

MARISHA: Aw. I see it, and I’m like. You know, I know him. I can put in a good word.

TALIESIN: Really? We talk all the time, he never mentions you.

MARISHA: What? What? I’m gonna let that go.

(laughter)

MARISHA: That could be a discussion. I don’t wanna do that right now. We’ll talk later. Are we ready?

MATT: All right, so what are you focusing on for the receiving end of this?

MARISHA: I’m assuming I found a tree that was close to her cavern that’s big enough?

MATT: With the second scrying that you did with Allura, which was just specifically the Island of Viscan, you did see a number of trees not far from the rocky protrusion, the small mountain that seemed to be the place where this laboratory’s in. So yes, you can choose one of those trees you saw that would be large enough to do it.

MARISHA: Okay.

TALIESIN: Scanlan stops us before we start. For the record, this is a terrible idea and we have no plan. Just putting it out there. I’m with you, this is a terrible plan, and we’re going to die.

LAURA: You seem different.

TALIESIN: I’m fine. I have a cold. I don’t feel well. I’m taking something for it.

TRAVIS: Sing me a song. Sing me a song right now.

TALIESIN: I’m not singing.

MARISHA: I try to stealthily sniff Scanlan. Does he smell like–

MATT: (laughing) Well, first roll a stealth check.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Don’t ever say the word.

MARISHA: Okay. 14.

MATT: 14. The not-stealthy-at-all Keyleth slowly approaches you. You see her. You make eye contact. And yet she still slowly crawls up and begins taking a big whiff on your shoulder.

MARISHA: (sniffs) Ah, so nervous.

TALIESIN: There once was a barbarian named Grog, who had the IQ of a log– I’d keep going, but now you’re excited, and you’ve made me lose my–

TRAVIS: That was amazing.

MARISHA: Does he smell like the incense that I smelled from him before?

MATT: No. He smells of frustration, disappointment, and worry.

MARISHA: You smell like a sad man. All right, let’s go.

MATT: (laughs) All right. So do you go ahead and cast the spell? All right.

MARISHA: I say to the Sun Tree, I say, I like your new haircut. I have a new one too. Okay, let’s go.

LAURA: I cast Pass Without a Trace on all of us before we go through the tree.

MATT: Okay. So as the shadows coalesce around your bodies, your legs, your knees, your feet, you watch as the front of the Sun Tree suddenly splits open to reveal the pathway through across to what looks to be a partially ruined jungle. You all step through the tree quickly before the portal slams shut behind you, and as you guys emerge, looking about, you can see what looks to be a lot of heavy dirt and earth that– there’s spatterings of sand throughout, and surrounding it immediately, you can see there are different trees throughout this kind of– some points are lush green jungle on the outside, and the further in you go, you watch as the trees have all withered black. A little ways over the treeline, you can see maybe a quarter-mile off what looks to be the top of the mountain that a brief instant of your first vision in your Scry spell lent you towards.

MARISHA: Does it look like the blight of the trees is getting more concentrated the closer to the top of the mountain?

MATT: It looks like it’s a radial effect from the actual mountain, yes.

TRAVIS: Does it look like fire damage or something else?

MATT: You want to go ahead and take a look? Make an investigation check.

TRAVIS: Yeah! Stand back. 11 minus two.

MATT: (laughs) You can’t recall the color, really, that they’ve become, but it’s not alive.

TRAVIS: Someone peed on these trees. All of 'em. In a big circle. Like that.

MARISHA: Grog, is this what happens when you pee on trees?

TRAVIS: Is that not normal?

MARISHA: We should talk with Pike when we get home. Make sure you’re okay.

LAURA: Oh, do you need me to cast another Greater Restoration? For your–

MARISHA: No, his bladder infection’s fine.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: It can keep.

MATT: It takes a Wish spell to get rid of that, unfortunately.

LIAM: He’s been in every brothel in Tal'Dorei, it’s to be expected.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Not ashamed.

LAURA: He and Scanlan both.

MARISHA: Did he find anything out? Did you find anything out?

MATT: No, he didn’t find anything.

MARISHA: Can I do a nature check?

MATT: Sure, go for it.

TRAVIS: These trees aren’t alive.

MARISHA: Fancy that. That’s good. 21.

MATT: Okay. As you guys begin to walk through– it’s not a very dense jungle.

LAURA: We want to keep quiet as we do it.

MATT: Okay, so make stealth checks as well.

MARISHA: We have Pass Without a Trace?

MATT: Yes you do, so plus ten to all your stealth.

MARISHA: Natural 20!

MARISHA and LAURA: Pew-pew-pew!

MARISHA: If only it mattered right now. Pew-pew-pew.

MATT: All righty. And a natural 20 for Allura. And, actually– I rolled with disadvantage for Kima, and it was like a 16 and a four, but then she had the boots on, so the first one sticks.

LAURA: 24 for Pike!

MATT: Nice. So, stealthily, you guys– what did you roll?

TALIESIN: I rolled 33 and Scanlan rolled 31.

MATT: Grog?

TRAVIS: 13.

TALIESIN: Plus ten.

TRAVIS: Yep.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: With the plus ten?

TRAVIS: Yep.

TALIESIN: How did you do that?

MATT: Okay, well, Kerr, what did you get?

PATRICK: 14 for me.

LAURA: Plus ten?

PATRICK: Where did that plus ten come from?

LAURA: From Pass Without a Trace!

MATT: A spell that she had cast on all of you.

PATRICK: Then I am at 24.

(cheering)

LAURA: 38.

MARISHA: 37!

MATT: As you guys fan out in this–

(computer chime)

TALIESIN: Now boarding: Star Tours.

MARISHA: Thanks for that, Microsoft Outlook.

MATT: As you begin to weave your way through these trees as quietly as you possibly can, Keyleth, you step behind and run your fingers along some of these withered grey and black fronds and branches. All these trees look like they had the life force pulled from them, almost like a very, very rapid starvation, or thirst took them, but what’s interesting is a lot of these trees are near-petrified and have been this way for a very long time.

MARISHA: That was gonna be my question.

MATT: It’s not a recent occurrence.

MARISHA: So like the petrified forest in Arizona?

MATT: Kind of, yeah. But a sadder version, if that’s possible. They’re all like “ehh, I’m a bad tree.”

TALIESIN: What do I know about Opash and the crimes and what sort of tinkering?

MATT: You don’t know that much. The fact that you knew the name and a little bit of the history was even impressive by the standards of everyone here. What little you do know is that he was sent away specifically because of his inquiries into how far you can reach with necromantic magics, and lost history from the Age of Arcanum.

TALIESIN: Okay, that’s good to know.

MATT: The Age of Arcanum was the epoch before the Divergence, before the Calamity hit, and not a lot of history exists about it, a lot of it was destroyed either during the battle, or people destroyed it thereafter to prevent us from reusing what led to that sort of conflict. But Opash apparently had gathered, or at least was in the process of trying to recover, some of that information.

MARISHA: So these trees have been dead for hundreds of years.

MATT: Hundreds of years, yes.

MARISHA: All right.

TALIESIN: So the scarring does not seem recent.

MARISHA: And there’s no new scarring.

MATT: There does not appear to be any new scarring that you can tell based on what you’ve seen so far.

MARISHA: That’s very good.

LAURA: Do I see any sign of tracks or anything? Dragon tracks?

MATT: Go ahead and make an investigation check.

LAURA: Dragging of giant carcasses or just, y'know, footprints.

TALIESIN: Yellow 'Dragon Crossing’ signs.

LAURA: Advantage, 'cause it’s a dragon.

MATT: If it’s dragon-related.

LAURA: It is dragon-related. Natural 20.

MATT: All righty. There are no dragon tracks.

LAURA: Motherfucker.

TALIESIN: She licks a tree. “No dragon has been here.”

(laughter)

LAURA: I bet there’s other tracks, though, that I totally missed 'cause I was looking for dragons.

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: Can I look for anything other than dragons? There won’t be an advantage.

MATT: Go for it, sure.

LAURA: I really want that 20, but I don’t get it. This one is not as good. Is this an investigation? Perception?

MATT: Yeah, this would be investigation for you, sitting down and getting close and looking throughout the dirt.

LAURA: (whispers) 11.

MATT: 11? You do find tracks, but they’re scattered and they’re small feet. Looks like some indigenous creatures or wildlife that exists on this landscape.

LAURA: Okay. But they were little.

MATT: They were all little, yeah. As you guys push through, Allura looks up toward the boughs of the dead trees. “While you were preparing, I did some research on this island, and it seems that there were an indigenous people that lived here before Opash came. Thousands that made seaward trade routes to the north and the west, and when he made this his home, the indigenous people were never heard from again. It is believed by many who fare the seas that this land is cursed and is to be avoided for that reason. This forest, one of the superstitious points of that reasoning, there are a few that come through hoping to scavenge or find things from his lost whereabouts, or his own hoard or treasures he may have garnished in his time, but few of those return as well.”

TALIESIN: Well, if Raishan came back, then who knows what horrors actually do exist on this island? It’s possible that she found some of his notes and built upon them. There could be anything.

MARISHA: Did you read if the island was trapped or any type of arcane presence on it?

MATT: “Well, if this was the lair of a necromancer, an entity that is both selfish and driven towards the personal power and advancement of their own narcissism, I can imagine that they are very well protected with their secrets. The fact that this abode was taken by Thordak before he made reign upon the southern side of the continent… who knows what happened to Opash?”

MARISHA: Thordak made this his abode?

MATT: “Yes. Up until he began to wander onto the continent of Tal'Dorei.”

TALIESIN: Interesting.

LAURA: Mm-hm.

TALIESIN: I’m just playing some conjecture in my head. You have a powerful necromancer, if there’s any possibility that he could’ve found a semblance of unlife, of Opash wandering around, and bent him towards his will, then we don’t know how that gem got into his chest in the first place. We don’t know how any of this happened, and there’s just too much we don’t know yet. We have to find the cave.

MATT: “The gem we created. Me, Kima, Drake. As far as we know, if any of her stories can be believed, Raishan was responsible for the rituals that embedded it within Thordak’s chest on the Plane of Fire during her time with the Fire Ashari. Once again, as much as we can believe.”

TALIESIN: There’s just a lot we don’t know.

MATT: “Let us be careful. Press on.”

LAURA: Tread carefully. Just keep an eye out. We’re keeping eyes out for anything that looks different than normal jungle-ness.

LIAM: You and I head out 20 feet ahead of everybody and check for traps as we go. Carefully.

MATT: Investigation checks from both you guys, if you don’t mind.

LIAM: Investigation or–

MATT: If you’re looking for traps specifically? Investigation.

LAURA: 26.

LIAM: 18.

MATT: Okay. Pushing forward, you guys–

LAURA: I wasn’t just looking for traps, I’m looking for anything that looks out of place in the forest, 'cause I don’t know what kind of traps necessarily would be set by something like this. You know what I mean?

MATT: Sure. In a very Laura Bailey “how much can I get out of this roll?” I know, I know, I know, I’m just messing with you. So as you guys push forward, you, Vax, notice that the further in you go towards this mountain, the trees, still dead, grey, are even further withered, and many of them have just turned to ash and dust. And the closer you get, the actual treeline grows thinner and lower as it seems like the closer it gets to the mountain, they’re bereft of most of their structure. You do, Vex, catch as your brother is moving forward, he is stepping towards a section of the earth and sand that has slightly different texture, ever-so-slightly from the rest, and he’s but a few feet from stepping into that space.

LAURA: Vax! Stop! There’s some weirdness on the ground. I feel like it’s something.

LIAM: So you think something’s up under the ground there?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: I mean, what do I do at this point?

MATT: What do you want to do? You look down, and you–

LAURA: Don’t you see it?

MATT: It looks almost like–

LIAM: I’m gonna take a closer look, is what I’m gonna do.

MATT: It looks like the difference between sand and slightly damp sand. The coloration is just ever so faintly–

LAURA: Now that you’re looking, now that you’re looking, you can tell, right?

LIAM: Now that I have context. Context is key, as always.

TRAVIS: Can I push him in? No, I’m kidding.

LAURA: Is it quicksand?

LIAM: Do I find a trap if I’m looking closer, now, with her added?

MATT: I mean, it looks different from the rest. There’s no mechanism there, you don’t see a pulley or a–

LAURA: Maybe it’s magic.

LIAM: How much of it looks different?

MATT: It’s avoidable. It’s like a ten-, 15-foot oval area.

LAURA: Hey, everyone. Let’s just not step on this dark patch, how about that?

TRAVIS: Why?

LAURA: 'Cause I think it’s like magic or something, Grog.

TRAVIS: Like good magic?

LAURA: Like bad magic.

TRAVIS: What kind of bad magic?

LAURA: The kind that would kill us all.

MARISHA: Like the kind that gives you a really bad headache.

TRAVIS: I really don’t want another one of those.

LAURA: Similar sort of thing.

LIAM: Continue.

MATT: Now that you’ve identified that, you’ve come across a few more patches, and they seem to grow more dense as the trees grow more withered and gone, until you get to a point where you can now see the base of this mountain.

MARISHA: Can I from a distance maybe do a nature check? Are these almost like siphons, like wells where he was sucking the life force?

MATT: Make a nature check.

TALIESIN: Or maybe quicksand? This could be all the quicksand we were promised as children.

LAURA: I know, right?

MARISHA: Oh my gosh. Always quicksand.

TRAVIS: Seriously. Today’s kids do not appreciate quicksand.

TALIESIN: It was such a big part of my childhood.

MARISHA: Why did I never find quicksand? 22.

MATT: 22. These are less siphons, they’re more what looks to be– it’s a phenomenon known as hollow earth, which is when subterranean caverns go into collapse.

LIAM: Sinkholes.

MATT: It can create a sinkhole-like phenomenon, but hollow earth generally is based on some sort of magical release, an explosion of magical energy beneath the earth that causes– even though there is no space, it erodes the earth from its magic presence, whether it just completely disintegrates or destroys portions of the earth, it leaves this very, very unstable portion of ground.

MARISHA: So it’s like a magical quasar? That blasts out?

MATT: You’re not entirely certain what it’ll do, but it’s not good.

TRAVIS: I take one of my new salt lick rocks and I throw it in one of the little sandy pools.

MATT: Okay. As you take the rock and throw it into the sandy pool, it lands with a little bit of dirt being kicked up around it and sits there for a rest.

TRAVIS: Ooh, magic, huh? Real scary.

LAURA: And then?

TALIESIN: Would the rock tell you if it was having a headache right now? How would it tell you that?

TRAVIS: I have a psychic connection with my rocks.

LIAM: You also weigh a little more–

MATT: The rock then goes– it just falls underneath, and you can see a spot in the ground, perfectly shaped where the rock was, that is now just–

LAURA: Told you it was dangerous.

TRAVIS: I actually did that. It’s magic.

LAURA: Good job, Grog.

TRAVIS: Don’t step there.

MARISHA: You figured it out, Grog, good job.

TALIESIN: Weird point of contention for my imagination. Are the trees wilting, or do they seem like there was a bit of a blast?

MATT: They are not leaning a specific direction.

TALIESIN: Okay, so there’s no pattern to it.

MATT: Yeah, and it isn’t like there are were leaves or anything blown off of them. It just looked like they gradually just died rapidly in place.

LIAM: Seems like the closer we get, the deader it gets.

LAURA: Can we see the mountain that we’re getting towards?

MATT: Yes, you can, and you guys maneuver around these spaces to get to the base of it, and it’s a moderate-sized mountain, nothing impressive on the outside, it’s maybe 600 feet tall at its apex, it’s more of a large, rocky mound. Make a perception check.

LIAM: Natural 20.

MATT: There’s nothing in here. Why do I keep trying to sip?

LAURA: 30 is what I rolled, but that’s not as good as a natural 20.

LIAM: No, it’s not.

LAURA: But 30 is still good.

MATT: But what’s your bonus to perception?

LIAM: Perception, oh yeah, is 12. So 32.

MATT: Okay, so close. You guys being at the front of the party anyway–

LAURA: Whoa, your perception bonus is higher than mine? When did that happen?

TALIESIN: How did you just notice that?

LIAM: Who fucking knows?

MATT: As you guys scoot forward, being ahead of the rest of the party, you glance across the surface of this, and most of the rock follows the familiar pattern of tectonic shift that’s broken and cracked in places, but it’s been, over hundreds and thousands of years, just settled into its natural state. There is one section of rock just maybe 200 feet from where you are landing at the base where it looks like the texture, the natural lines of the rock, is in a different direction. And upon you heading in that direction, you can see, now, what it appears to be is a large rock, very large, maybe 20, 30 feet wide, that is jammed into an entranceway.

LIAM: I perceive a rock.

MARISHA: I got a rock.

MATT: Kind of. There are a number of strange holes peppered over the surface.

LAURA: Like, big holes?

MATT: About the size of a– larger than a gold piece, each hole.

LAURA: Does it look like it could be, like, things could come out of it?

MATT: Possibly?

LIAM: Checking for traps.

MATT: You have to check it.

TRAVIS: You know what Gilmore would do. Put his hand in it.

TALIESIN: How very Flash Gordon.

LIAM: 25 for investigation.

MATT: Investigation, okay.

LAURA: Do I need to roll, since he’s so good?

LIAM: Might as well.

LAURA: What if it’s a one? Ooh. No, 24. Damn.

TRAVIS: Got you a water, Matt.

MATT: Thank you, sir. So. Are the rest of you guys following up behind them?

LIAM: Just wait a moment, wait a moment. No, hang back for a second.

MATT: Okay. Between the two of you glancing, you notice that each one of these holes is actually a pierced intrusion upon the rock, something very quickly jammed itself into the rock to create this hole. And they’re clustered in places. And you, with your experience, these claws are respective to the size of a very, very, very large dragon. And it looks like different– some of them are more weathered than others. This boulder has been placed and pulled back and placed many, many times throughout the years.

LAURA: It’s probably too heavy for us to move, but Grog, do you want to try?

TALIESIN: I don’t know if we should move it.

LAURA: Well, how do we get in if we don’t open the entrance?

PATRICK: If nothing else, rather than moving the whole boulder, is there a way we could just get enough of a crack to get in?

MARISHA: I can Stone Shape it a little bit thinner.

LAURA: Ooh, dig. I like that.

TALIESIN: Just so that if the dragon tries to run, they have to move a giant boulder, it would be really convenient.

LAURA: Oh, good call.

MARISHA: Does it look like there’s– am I there? I’m not there yet.

MATT: You guys are hanging back.

LIAM: Kik.

MARISHA: All right, I’ll go up. Is there a crack that looks like it can kind of just whittle it away, that’s kind of already started with the boulder?

MATT: I mean, the boulder is larger than the entranceway that it’s jammed into, and you’re not entirely certain what the inside of this cavern mouth is, if it’s just a direct intersection point or if it’s a gradual influx. You can just try and push through at one of those points if you’d like.

LAURA: Can you just put a hole in the middle, like right in the center of the boulder, on the ground?

TALIESIN: Or would it be easier just to scrape across the side?

MARISHA: I only have a limited amount of space that I can carve out, so the boulder might be too thick, but if I do it at the seam line, I should be able to do it. I want to do it at the seam.

TRAVIS: Do we want to take the first entrance that we find, I mean, is it really one way in, one way out? What if it’s just, like, a trap?

MARISHA: Does someone want to check for traps?

MATT: They already checked. It did not appear to be trapped, just a very, very heavy rock.

TRAVIS: I mean, like, run a perimeter, do any recon, anything else?

LAURA: We’d have to run around an entire mountain. Does it look like there could be any other entrances?

MATT: I mean, you’d have to go around the entire mountain.

LAURA: How long would it take if I flew around?

MATT: Oh, maybe at full speed, hour and a half, two hours?

TRAVIS: Fuck that, death first, open the door.

LAURA: All right, cool cool cool, let’s just shape the boulder.

MARISHA: Do I want to scry on the inside, or are we just going in? Do I want to scry and see if she’s there?

MATT: This accounts for you flying, stopping, checking, flying, stopping, checking. You can’t just check for traps while going by at 50 feet around.

TALIESIN: Scrying on the inside.

MATT: Are you gonna scry?

MARISHA: Are we just going in?

TRAVIS: Yeah, we’re doing it.

TALIESIN: I think we’ll just go in. I mean, what are we gonna see that’s gonna make us change our mind?

LAURA and MARISHA: Well, if she’s not there.

LAURA: (gasps) Oh, I’m gonna try to detect dragons! What the fuck?

MARISHA: Yeah, that’s better!

LAURA: I sit down and go, hmm.

TRAVIS: Do you have a headache too? Oh my god, we’re all gonna die. I’m patient zero.

PATRICK: If I’m up by the boulder, too, I will do– I don’t have a huge range, but I will do Divine Sense.

MATT: Okay.

PATRICK: I can detect all manner of stuff up to 60 feet.

MATT: Yes, you can. All righty. So, using your Divine Sense, let’s see here. Okay, so you spend your time just focusing, making sure there’s nothing either in or in the immediate vicinity of the rock boulder that could be of celestial, fiend, or undead nature. While you spend a spell slot to do your Primeval Awareness. So yes, you do sense what appear to be three sources of dragon life force within the space. Roughly in the direction of this mountain and below.

LAURA: They’re here, they’re here. Oh, god. (hyperventilates) They’re here, she’s still here, and I think the eggs are okay, 'cause I can still feel like there’s dragons.

MARISHA: Oh, they’re still alive?

LAURA: I think so.

MARISHA: God damn it. God. Okay. All right.

LAURA: I just did it within a mile, so is that okay? Was that within a mile?

MATT: I believe it’s–

LAURA: Or did I need to spend longer?

MATT: For that one, it is for one minute per level of the spell. And it’s within one mile, up to six miles if you’re in your favored terrain.

LAURA: Oh, so I am, because it’s woods, right? Wooded?

MATT: It’s not wooded anymore, so it’s one mile. So you know at least they’re within a mile.

MARISHA: That’s big.

TALIESIN: That’s huge.

MARISHA: All right.

LIAM: So this is happening.

MARISHA: Does anyone need to do anything else before we go in?

LAURA: I have to go take a poo.

MARISHA: I have to pee, too. I have to pee so bad.

(laughter)

MATT: Was that in character?

MARISHA: It’s both?

LAURA: I’m so nervous.

MARISHA: Little bit of both.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: So what’s the plan, guys?

LAURA: We’re gonna go in? Let’s go in!

MARISHA: Does anyone need to do a thing?

LAURA: I mean, I don’t know if we’re gonna have to go through. And it only lasts for a minute, so I feel like we’re gonna be in the caves longer than–

MARISHA: Okay, okay, okay.

LAURA: So we’re still stealthing.

TRAVIS: Wait, actually, can I pull Vex aside real quick? Can I talk to you just real fast before we–

LAURA: Me?

TRAVIS: Yeah, like a little further away, like in private?

LAURA: Grog. I’m already seeing someone.

TRAVIS: No, I know. I hate to beat a dead bush. Horse? Cow? I hate to beat a dead cow, but I really did like that little magic thing I found.

LAURA: What little magic thing, darling?

TRAVIS: When we were looting and stuff? And I’ve been really worried about you. I know you like to bargain, right? So I thought I could trade you back for what I found. And I have this little Parapet of Wound Closure, you’ve been dying so much, right? And if you wear this and you die, you immediately stabilize on your next turn. I figured it’d be a good trade.

LAURA: Do I have to attune to that, Grog?

TRAVIS: No.

LAURA: You’re lying.

TRAVIS: It’s a big word. I don’t really know what you’re saying. I really liked it. I mean, it made a magic sword when I touched it.

LAURA: Grog, and then it gave you a headache!

TRAVIS: Yeah, but I can deal with a headache. I won’t– I just, I found it, you know?

LAURA: Grog. (yells) Grog!

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: This is awful. No, it’s so bad for you.

TRAVIS: Look, you won’t die, you won’t die.

LAURA: (laughing) You motherfucker.

TRAVIS: It’s only 'cause I’m looking out for you.

LAURA: Oh my god.

LIAM: It’s the wedding all over again.

LAURA: You see how hard this is when people want their boots back, when people want their decks back…

LIAM: Don’t compare the boots to the deck, are you kidding me?

LAURA: You did find it.

TALIESIN: Technically, it’s somebody else’s.

LIAM: What do you care what he says?

LAURA: Grog. You have to promise me you won’t pull anything from it. All you can do is hold onto it. That’s all you can do. You can’t look at anything, you have to keep it in its little pouch.

TRAVIS: Okay. Yeah, I don’t look at anything, I keep it in its little pouch, I don’t pull anything. I promise.

LAURA: So, you know in Guardians of the Galaxy, when he gives him that little ball at the end?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Can I do that? Can I give him a pouch? Here’s your cards back. But don’t look at them, Grog. They’re really dangerous. All right?

TRAVIS: You want to trade?

LAURA: Yeah, give me the necklace.

TRAVIS: Okay, there. I take the cards.

MATT: Okay. So what are you giving him?

LAURA: A little pouch that’s the shape of the deck of cards.

MATT: How do you make the pouch the shape of cards?

LAURA: It’s maybe not that good of a pouch, but it’s Grog.

MATT: Make a sleight-of-hand check with disadvantage.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: Aw, man.

LIAM: Yeah, everybody saw through it immediately, just so you know.

LAURA: Well, obviously! But it’s Grog. That’s really bad. He’s gonna be able to tell. Nine?

MATT: Go ahead and roll a perception check, Grog.

TRAVIS: Six.

TALIESIN: Yes!

MATT: The trade is complete. She hands you your deck of cards, she takes her Parapet of Wound Closure.

LAURA: Oh my god, I’m in so much trouble!

(laughter)

PATRICK: I like to think that there’s a live kitten in this pouch.

(laughter)

MATT: If you pull the right card, yeah.

LIAM: Well, you saved the party, but your marriage is in jeopardy.

LAURA: I know. He’s so mad at me! He’s so mad. It’s really good that he’s sitting over at the other table right now.

TALIESIN: I’m gonna get the wrath of this.

MARISHA: I know, we have him!

TALIESIN: I can feel the heat emanating right now.

MATT: So, feeling satisfied that your imploring of Vex and a trade you’ve made, your shiny package of happy cards are back in your possession, but you promised, at the moment, at least–

TRAVIS: To not look at them. All right.

MATT: While she’s right there in front of you, yeah.

TRAVIS: Thank you, Vex. That really means the world.

LAURA: Seriously, though, they’re really, really dangerous.

TRAVIS: I know, they’re really special. I won’t look at them or anything. That means a lot. I don’t find a lot of great things. I did find a couple rocks, earlier, if you want them.

LAURA: Oh, they’re yours.

TRAVIS: Okay. Are you sure? You’re not gonna try and steal that shit, too?

LAURA: No, I promise.

TRAVIS: Cool. Let’s go kill a dragon. And I jauntily and cheerily walk back to the group.

(laughter)

LIAM: He looks happy. What was that about?

LAURA: (nervous laughter) Oh, I just gave him back his cards, is all.

TRAVIS: So happy to be reunited.

TALIESIN: I’m so proud of you.

MATT: All right, so. What are the rest of you doing in the meantime?

MARISHA: You’ve got a little bead of sweat on your forehead, Vex. It’s such a humid jungle.

LIAM: We zoom in on the single drop.

MARISHA: I’m waiting to sculpt a hole in the door.

MATT: Okay. So, using Stone Shape, you can– a section of stone no more than five feet in any dimension, and form in any shape that suits your purpose. So. You can make a small passage, as long as it is no more than five feet thick. The wall and the stone are both thicker than five feet. You can begin to make a slight passageway. You can create enough of a crack with your spell, as it completes, which, mark off your 4th-level spell, but as you create it, you do manage to pierce, and you can look into the darkness of the tunnel behind, but through the full use of the spell, you create this kind of tunnel intrusion into the side of this mountain, and you only get that much of opening.

MARISHA: Son of a bitch.

TALIESIN: No, this is an excellent start.

MARISHA: All right. In spelunker-Keyleth mode, I’m looking through the hole with my Darkvision.

MATT: Okay, perception check.

MARISHA: What do I see?

LIAM: Fanart, please.

MATT: Keyleth in The Descent.

MARISHA: Oh, son of a bitch! That’s a one.

LAURA: What do you see, Keyleth?

LIAM: You just got James Franco’d.

MARISHA: It’s so fucking dark, you guys.

LAURA: How about I try– Oh! What if we light an arrow, can I do an Oracle Arrow through the hole?

MARISHA: I shimmy out and say, Vex, go in the hole.

MATT: Okay. All right. So you pull back the arrow, you fire it through. The arrow– go ahead and make an attack roll.

LAURA: I’m getting death looks. Natural 20!

MATT: You fire the Oracle Arrow at just the right angle where it doesn’t hit any of the walls, it just arcs off straight, before it eventually begins to curve. And what you do as you pass along with this arrow, with your Darkvision, you can see, down the tunnel there is no light source. There is a layer of untouched dust all across the ground, and interesting texture the further in you go. And then eventually, about 100 feet or so in, the tunnel begins to curve to the left and descend before the arrow lands and sticks into the rock there, splintering a little bit, and your vision now sits there with the arrow. There doesn’t appear to be any movement. It is silent and pitch-black.

LAURA: Okay. And nothing had walked, it didn’t look like there were any tracks. It was just heavy dust.

MATT: From what you could see from the arrow rushing past it, yeah.

LIAM: And that gap is just this much?

MATT: It’s about that big, yeah.

LIAM: And does it go in like that, like a long tunnel of that, or is it– could I reach my arm through?

MATT: You could reach your arm through. Essentially, it’s like the edge of the wall of this tunnel and the rock were kind of jammed together, and she punched through just enough to push past where the rock and the wall had hit, and it created this slight opening, but there’s still a bunch of stone there.

LIAM: Shit.

TALIESIN: It’s okay, there’s options.

LAURA: I shimmy out. It’s just a tunnel.

TALIESIN: That’s good.

LAURA: Yeah, it’s a long tunnel.

PATRICK: That means we could make a little bit of noise getting in here, maybe.

LAURA: Potentially. Raishan, I think, has rather good hearing. If we make a lot of noise, it might echo down.

PATRICK: Right.

TALIESIN: We have no way of keeping silent, do we? We don’t have any way of–

MARISHA: I could try, like what you said. I can always, worst-case scenario, burn another 4th-level to finish this off.

TRAVIS: For a door?

TALIESIN: We’ve spent more opening a door.

MARISHA: Yes, we have.

TRAVIS: We don’t have to spend anything. I’ll just beat the shit out of it.

TALIESIN: You’re our last resort at this point.

LAURA: But you do have siege gauntlets, though.

TRAVIS: I do, yeah. I actually have those, like, no one’s taken them from me.

(laughter)

LIAM: Why do you say that right now? How is that relevant to the conversation at hand?

TRAVIS: I just mean, like, they’re mine, you know. They work for me, they speak to me. Yeah.

LIAM: I’ve always said as much.

MARISHA: Do you have a relationship with all of your inanimate objects?

TRAVIS: I try to work on it at night.

MARISHA: Sure.

TALIESIN: Wow, I actually do blame myself for this. This is interesting.

MARISHA: Why would you say that, Percy?

TALIESIN: I don’t know.

MARISHA: Man, I feel like there’s a lot of secrets.

LAURA: What do you think? Should we burn another 4th, or should we have Grog punch the little hole a little bit?

MARISHA: Well, let me see. I crawl back in the hole.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: All right.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: You know how, like, a blade of grass can break a block of concrete?

LAURA: What?

MARISHA: I’m doing some monk shit, all right?

(laughter)

MARISHA: Okay. Go with me. Okay. You know how plants can break stone when they grow through? If I do a Druidcraft cantrip and try and grow some plants through this hole, will it maybe help crack open a bigger hole?

TRAVIS: Can you fast-forward 1000 years?

MATT: (creeper hissing)

MARISHA: No, creeper. No creeper. Okay. I shimmy back out and I say, no, apparently that takes like 1000 years.

(laughter)

LAURA: Grog. You wanna go punch some shit?

PATRICK: Hold on for one second. I know you can move this stone, if it allows you to only move certain parts of it, could you use the stone you can shape to effectively carve out a chunk that could be pulled out? Like a very thin, narrow, like just move as much as a finger’s-width around and then we could pull that out instead of just pushing it all the way like clay?

MATT: I mean, it could be, but one spell’s already been spent.

LAURA: So it would just be another spell slot.

MATT: But it would work.

PATRICK: It would be another spell, but that would be just two to get in, as opposed to endlessly throwing spell after spell at this.

LAURA: Well, Grog has siege gauntlets, so he could potentially do some damage to the rock, but it would make noise.

LIAM: One second. Percy. I have a nutball idea that maybe you could turn into a better one.

LAURA: Doors!

LIAM: I pull out the Oil of Etherealness that I’ve been carrying for ages.

MARISHA: The What of Whatness?

LIAM: This, it’s goop, you rub it on yourself and you become ethereal for an hour. But I can’t do it.

LAURA: Why?

LIAM: There’s not enough to cover me. But Scanlan could do it or Pike could do it and could walk through the rock.

LAURA: And then do what?

LIAM: Look around, see if there’s anything to– I don’t know. I prefaced it with saying it was a shitty idea, and I spoke to the brain to see if he could come up with something better.

TRAVIS: We looked for a switch, right?

MARISHA: It’s a giant rock. It’s a boulder.

TALIESIN: With handholds on it. It’s Fortress of Solitude.

TRAVIS: Can I look for a switch?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

TRAVIS: If I solve this… 19. Oh, minus… 17.

MATT: 17. Looking around as they’re having this conversation, there’s no switches, but you do see fingerholds, like big, dragon-sized fingerholds, like something grabbed it and jammed this boulder in there.

PATRICK: I actually want to kind of take a look around, too, because if this is a naturally formed rock, a naturally formed opening, this is not like a cork in a bottle. There has to be some parts that don’t fit really smoothly. Have we found the best place to make our incursion? Is there an opening? Is there any– this can’t fit snugly into this unless it’s been shaped for that purpose.

TALIESIN: We can now get enough of a hold to make a lever and move the boulder out a little bit, get us all in, and then drop it back into place. In theory. We have this hole now that’s big enough for, let’s say, a magical weapon that can’t be destroyed? And we can just apply as much pressure, put a bunch of other people pushing on the other side and see if we can open it up enough to get in and then let it close behind us.

LIAM: How would Bigby be in this situation?

MARISHA: Bigby would be an upper-level spell.

TALIESIN: I don’t want to burn that right now.

MARISHA: Grog. Do you want to try and use some of your basic mechanics of physics? Of leveraging?

TRAVIS: I don’t know what that is, but I will assault this stone with a quickness.

LAURA: Do it! Just get us in.

MARISHA: Don’t assault it. Don’t insul– don’t insult or assault it. If you could just–

TRAVIS: There’s no joy in either of them.

MARISHA: I know. I know. This one isn’t for you.

TALIESIN: Who’s got a magical weapon that’s very long?

TRAVIS: Kima.

MARISHA: If you could take Kima’s sword, pry open a crack, let us slip in–

TRAVIS: You ask Kima for the Holy Avenger, I’m not taking that.

MARISHA: Well, don’t you have the dragon sword?

TRAVIS: You ask Kima for her sword. See how that goes.

TALIESIN: Kima.

MATT: “Yes?”

TALIESIN: We’re thinking about building a giant lever. Could you put your sword in that hole and help us pull very, very hard to see if we can move this boulder?

MATT: “Will it damage the sword?”

TALIESIN: In theory, no.

LAURA: In theory.

TALIESIN: It’s a magical sword. Can you break a magical sword with pressure?

MATT: “You ding it, you pay.”

TALIESIN: That’s fair. So I’m going to try and build this lever. All of us are going to put pressure in the other direction, we’re going to try and have as many of us moving this thing just a couple feet. Not far. Just far enough to make an opening to get as many of us through as possible.

MATT: All right, so who’s doing the leverage?

LIAM: Pike is.

LAURA and MARISHA: Definitely Pike.

MATT: Okay, well, the size of the sword, at most it’s going to be one person assisting the main person. Which would be Pike assisting Grog. All right. So as the rest of you guys get on the other side, Grog, I want you to go ahead and roll a strength check.

MARISHA: Pike and Grog, Pike and Grog.

MATT: With advantage because of Pike’s aid on this.

TRAVIS: Thank god. 23.

MATT: 23, okay. As you guys get on the other side, before you even start getting into position, Grog already begins to pull back on the sword. You watch as Kima keeps glancing over her shoulder like (worried noise). Waiting for it to just snap. But the large rock, the boulder begins to shift ever-so-slightly. You watch as dust and other small pebbles begin to clatter down the outside of the rock. You all get on the other side and, all together as a group, everyone else make strength checks.

PATRICK: We can use the rod of immobility to brace it if we need to.

LAURA: Yeah, that’s a good call, because we have two of them, now.

MARISHA: Oh, that’s such a good idea.

TALIESIN: We have holes drilled in the stone by dragon feet.

MARISHA: We can just wedge it in there. Yeah. That’s a good call, you guys. Wait, we’re all doing a strength check?

LAURA: 12.

MARISHA: Just straight strength?

MATT: Straight strength, so add your strength modifier.

TALIESIN: 17.

MARISHA: 13.

LIAM: 16.

LAURA: Did you want Pike’s?

LIAM: To do what, help prop it up?

TALIESIN: Scanlan rolled a four.

MATT: Okay. Okay. So you manage to get about a foot and a half–

LAURA: Trinket rolled a 19.

MATT: Okay. So Trinket’s also pushing as well. There isn’t a whole lot of surface area here to really aid, it’s mostly on you, Grog, and you manage to get about a foot and a half wide before you pull out the Immovable Rods and Kerrek, and anybody else who wants to help, you manage to jam them into two of the finger-holes, and as soon as they lock in, you can release the weapon and it’s just enough to hold it in place, although it is slowly moving. Each rod can only hold 8,000 pounds. Mind you, it’s not holding it entirely aloft, it seems to be holding okay for now.

LIAM: I immediately throw Whisper through the crack and bamf through.

TALIESIN: I scootch.

LAURA: I scootch.

MATT: You guys all pull through. Kima immediately rushes and grabs the sword. You guys charge into the darkness.

LAURA: Can Trinket get in or do I need to bamf him in the necklace and bamf him out? Okay, that’s what I do.

MATT: You guys all do get inside the tunnel. The boulder does appear to be stationary.

LAURA: Should we leave it open, or should we take the rods? We might need to get out in a hurry.

TALIESIN: What a wonderfully convenient way to close. And it also means that the dragon will not be able to open the door.

MARISHA: Because it’s wedged?

TALIESIN: It’s wedged shut.

MARISHA: She could turn into a person. She can also teleport. Let’s not forget that. Okay, let’s keep going.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: Just, let’s remember to pick those up, if there’s anybody left to get them.

MATT: You guys now stand in the 15-foot-wide, about 12-foot-tall, tunnel entrance to this mountainside. As you saw before, the floor itself has a layer of dust. There’s a heavy smell of ancient rot and stagnant water and wet earth. The rock walls of the pathway are rough, but appear to have been intentionally carved for a purpose more than any sort of presentational element of it. There’s no wind, there’s no movement of air. Everything in here has been, at least in this portion of it, still and untouched for quite some time. As you guys push forward through this tunnel, to where it begins to make its slow descent–

LAURA: Stealth.

MATT: You guys? All right.

LIAM: Checking, checking, checking. 24.

LAURA: Oh, this is investigation.

TALIESIN: I thought you were stealthing.

LAURA: Oh, was that a stealth roll or an investigation roll? That was investigation, right?

MATT: That was investigation. 24?

LAURA: Dogshit. 11.

MATT: Okay. We’ll have to make– we’ll say, make new stealth checks since you guys have come out of stealth and you’re back in. But as you guys are moving down the curvature of the tunnel, Vax, you notice that there are, amongst the dust and pebbles of the floor, small pieces and chunks of other material. Most of them very small, maybe anywhere from a pebble size to the size of this die or a little larger. And they’re different than the rock, they’re a lighter material, and almost porous upon close look, as you take one and look at it.

LIAM: Scanlan and Keyleth, come up here, please. Do you know what that is?

MARISHA: What is it?

MATT: You’ve seen this before, actually, in a subterranean place once before, although it was a large field of it at the time. There are a number of scattered shards of bone, just kind of scattered and cracked and broken across the floor. Not a very thick mat, but just here and there, peppered throughout the walkway.

MARISHA: These are dead things. This is bone. Yeah.

MATT: You also do notice, upon looking at a few of them on the ground, now having the context, a lot of them look blackened, a lot of them look like they’ve been charred, burnt.

LAURA: Hey, Keyleth.

MARISHA: Yeah?

LAURA: When you did the scrying thing, how long did it take to get down in the tunnels? Was it a lot of tunnels before you got to the laboratory?

MARISHA: In terms of my vision?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: You don’t know. It looked like you’re at this point, and then you’re there. So you have no idea.

LAURA: It’s less than a mile down, I know.

MARISHA: It kind of rushes past you really fast, it’s a little disorienting.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: No traps?

MATT: No traps at the moment, no.

LAURA: Should we all stealth?

PATRICK: These are just here so that people step on them and it makes noise?

LIAM: It’s a theory. We already stealthed.

LAURA: I thought we had to reroll stealth.

LIAM: Oh, I did.

MARISHA: Can I do a– this is some CSI shit.

MATT: You guys are going stealth, right? All right, so roll your stealth checks, please.

TRAVIS: Plus ten?

LAURA: 30.

LIAM: 35.

TALIESIN: 34. And then Scanlan…

MARISHA: 30 total.

TRAVIS: 28.

LAURA: 25 for Pike.

TRAVIS: No, sorry. Oh, 30.

TALIESIN: 18 for Scanlan.

PATRICK: 29 for me.

MATT: Great, awesome. All right, so, as you guys continue progressing down this curving tunnel, it goes into a very, very mild descent.

MARISHA: Can I do– I wanna do a quick check. This is some Bones-type shit. Can I see if these bones were charred recently, or once again, if these bones have been there for a long time? I know this is some weird carbon-dating shit.

MATT: Make a nature check on this, actually. This is your understanding at least of how fire against bone, which is–

MARISHA: Ooh, that’s good. 28.

MATT: 28. Yeah, so understanding especially in the Pyrah, and noticing the difference and just your experience of natural animals and creatures that have been cooked to be eaten, and the effect of the fire on the bones that are left behind, this bone charring is not as ancient as, say, the trees that have withered, but they’re aren’t– they’re years old at the very least, if not longer.

MARISHA: Years old, if not longer.

MATT: Yeah, there’s a layer of dust on these bones, as well, that shows that at least they have been untouched for a short time.

MARISHA: Okay. But wait, was Thordak here over a year ago?

TALIESIN: Could have been, yeah.

LAURA: He was here for a long time before– he was here before he got the thing, right?

MATT: Yeah. He made this his lair after avoiding death from J'mon Sa Ord in Ank'harel, and then recuperated here, from what you know, and then made this his domain for a while, and then pressed northward in Tal'Dorei, which is where–

MARISHA: That’s when Allura and her team encountered him.

MATT: Correct. That’s when Thordak battled Raishan and began the beginning of the formulation of the Conclave, that’s when Thordak destroyed Byroden and by proxy, their mother. That’s when all of that went down.

LIAM: While we’re quiet here, in the dark, I pull Pike over to the side. Pike!

LAURA: Yes?

LIAM: I have a bad– will you take care of my sister? You have that one thing that you do, I don’t know what it’s called, but if she falls down, she gets back up again. Do you know what I’m talking about?

LAURA: Is that the Death Ward? It’s a thing. I talk to Sarenrae and then she protects them for a little bit of time.

LIAM: Could you do that to my sister now?

LAURA: Feels a little selfish, but sure.

(laughter)

LIAM: I thought of it.

LAURA: I mean, if you want me to do it.

LIAM: I do, I do.

LAURA: Sure, why not? I walk up to me. I guess Pike will cast Death Ward on Vex.

MATT: Okay. So that’s a 4th-level spell off Pike, and for the next eight hours, Vex is Death Warded.

LIAM: When you’re brought down to zero, you ping up to one, is the math on that.

MARISHA: It’s kind of like buying Starbucks with the company Amex.

LAURA: Feels a little weird, not gonna lie.

LIAM: It’s just strategy, man. Game strategy. Well, it’s done, and my sister is a little safer than she was before, and y'all can go fuck yourselves.

MARISHA: So easy when you have the pin code.

(laughter)

LIAM: This one and this one on me.

LAURA: Yeah, it’s totally cool.

LIAM: Out of character, Matt pooped out this new feature to dying, and she’s on her last fucking string, man. No regrets, move forward.

MATT: To be fair, I’m still toying with it, because it’s one of the things that I’m adjusting as we go.

LIAM: Well, you said it and the spell is cast.

MATT: That’s not true at all.

MARISHA: You freaked everyone out, Matt.

MATT: Oh, I can keep it if you want.

MARISHA: No, don’t worry about it.

TALIESIN: You’re literally wearing a creeper shirt, you have to be careful what you say. God, every time.

MATT: It’s a rule that I’m working with. I may have jumped the gun in releasing it at the time as I’m working on the campaign guide, but one of the resurrection rules, I was deciding the DC, I think five per death is a bit intense, so I might adjust it more to be a two. Just 'cause I was thinking, in a long-term campaign, your character might die a lot more between levels one and 20. And then it gets a little insane. So I’m working on it.

LIAM: Listen, I help my sister, okay?

MATT: Mind you, she’s still closer to death, but yes.

MARISHA: Mind you, she’s still closer to death.

PATRICK: Just to ask a little bit, as we’re going down here, I don’t know how everyone else is geared up, but I’m kind of vanilla human here, and not that equipped to see in the dark.

MATT: Yeah, in fact, currently Percival and Kerrek are blind. Like, pitch-black blind.

LAURA: Wait, light your little dagger up.

MATT: All right–

PATRICK: Actually, you probably just hear Kerrek say, I am sorry, but at this point I can’t see at all.

LIAM: I’m always holding two, and one of them is, I pull out the Flametongue Dagger, and I wave a fly away–

LAURA: This gnat, this fucking gnat.

LIAM: And I hold it so that Kerrek can see, and I say, we might die, so try it one more time with me. Irish wristwatch. Just once more, before we die.

PATRICK: I dreamed about this last night.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: It’s a tough one.

PATRICK: Irish wr– (laughs)

(cheering)

PATRICK: Irish wristwatch.

(cheering)

MATT: There you go. Well done.

LIAM: I feel so much closer to you now. Let’s fucking do this.

MATT: The dagger, which emits flame on it, is the equivalent of a candle. He can see about 15 feet beyond you, and that’s it.

PATRICK: Well, actually, I’ll say, as soon as I say, are we okay with light? Or are we trying to keep it as dark as possible? Because–

LIAM: Too late now.

LAURA: A little bit of light.

LIAM: There’s a candle.

MATT: There is now a flame licking the edge of the blade that’s being held aloft. So light is being shed now in the tunnel. Though not a lot.

TRAVIS: You know, you could put that out and they could just grab onto each one of our arms and move forward.

MARISHA: Yeah, I go and find Percy.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MARISHA: And I link arms.

TRAVIS: Oh, jeez. Hey, Kerr, you wanna cuddle?

PATRICK: Actually, yes.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Hey, Vax. Put that light out.

MATT: All right, so Kerrek, there’s a moment of quiet and stillness in the darkness, as you feel the ground beneath you shift ever-so-slightly. Heavy footfalls approaching you as suddenly a large, muscled, somewhat sweaty arm just curls around the outside of your shoulders and pulls you close to Grog’s torso.

PATRICK: It is one of the most comforting things I have ever experienced.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I love it. I love it!

LIAM: We’re about to die.

LAURA: No, no, no.

MARISHA: Okay, I kinda guide Percy as we go through.

MATT: So you guys are making your way down this slow grade beneath. Yes.

MARISHA: Being stealthy as fuck.

MATT: You make incremental checks as we go. Eventually, as the grade continues downward, you begin to see the hallway open up ever-so-slightly, and what was once just somewhat rough rock walls begin having slight shapes or details to them. It’s still hard to see. Darkvision is– you still need a little light to make out fine details or things at a distance, but it does help you at least make out the basic shapes and things ahead of you. You see what appear to be small shelves or alcoves that are now beginning to show up every 20 or so feet as you progress down. Little bits of rock that jut out that look like they were either bolted in or crafted on top of it, and you see small, little cubbies, almost, little alcoves that are put into the rock as well.

LAURA: Hold your little dagger up to it, I want to see what it is.

LIAM: You’re sure?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. Make a perception check.

LIAM: That’s pretty good. That is 29.

MATT: Okay. You glance in the first one to your immediate right, which is a small shelf outward, and you see what appear to be a number of dust-covered– a cluster of candles that have long burned and melted into dripping wax that pours down the side of this alcove. That’s it on that particular shelf.

LAURA: Careful. Maybe keep it out, just keep an eye out. It’s hard to see down here.

LIAM: I can look at these after.

LAURA: No, I just, I mean for traps. Psh.

MATT: Okay. So you’re searching for traps now?

LIAM: Constantly.

MATT: Go ahead and make another investigation check with disadvantage.

LAURA: 'Cause it’s dark. See? If you’d pulled your dagger out, it wouldn’t be so bad.

LIAM: Good suggestion. Still at disadvantage?

LAURA: If his dagger’s out?

MATT: Let me double-check, here. It’s kind of a frustratingly broken ability in some cases if it just is universally in here.

LAURA: I’m gonna pull out the flying carpet. (laughs) And I’m gonna walk over to–

MATT: So you can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light, so you have about 15 feet you can kind of see out in front of you in straight darkness. If you have your dagger out, you can see pretty decently for 60 feet, is how it works.

LIAM: But if it’s gone, I can see 15 feet ahead?

MATT: Kinda shitty in 15 feet.

LAURA: I’m gonna give the–

LIAM: So regular checks, if the dagger’s out.

MATT: For, at least, 60 feet for you.

LIAM: And this is investigation. 18.

MATT: Okay. Nothing seems to catch your attention. As you continue pushing forward, you see one more of these shelves. Are you looking at each one as you go?

LIAM: Yeah, right now I am.

MATT: Okay. As you glance past, another perception check.

LAURA: Hey, Grog. So I have this flying carpet…

LIAM: 22.

MATT: 22. Okay. You can see on the left shelf appears to be a humanoid skull that’s up on top, next to two more candles, one of them more melted than the other, but the wax drips past. There’s a shelf across the way on the opposite side that appears to have a couple of small books that are put off to the side, and what looks like a small wooden box.

LIAM: Is the box trapped?

MATT: Roll an investigation check.

LIAM: That is a 22.

MATT: Box does not appear trapped, from what you can tell.

LIAM: Nah, fuck it.

TALIESIN: Put it in the Bag of Holding.

LIAM: I don’t.

MATT: Okay, continue walking?

LIAM: Mm-hm. Looking for traps.

MATT: Okay. As you continue, keeping an eye out in front of you, the next shelf you come across looks to have some sort of a mummified racoon-type creature that is propped up.

(laughter)

MATT: Not taxidermied, by any means. It just looks like it dried out in a sort of standing position, or at least is leaning against the wall of the platform.

MARISHA: Oh, like some weird Pompeii shit? Like he died that way?

MATT: Kind of. Literally just shriveled.

LAURA: Grog, would you be able to use a flying carpet in battle to get up to a dragon?

TRAVIS: I have no idea.

LAURA: It could be useful.

MATT: Kerrek, do you have something you wanted to say?

PATRICK: Yeah, I’m just gonna– blind as a bat as I am, I’m gonna use Divine Sense to see if I can sense any undead, corrupt, fiend, it’s kind of a long list, but I do know corrupt was mentioned in there.

TALIESIN: Also, Vax, what were the titles of those books? Earpiece, listening to your vague description of things.

LIAM: Thank you for retconning that. Yeah, we’ll ask him. Yeah, but I would’ve read them if I could’ve. I’m not Grog.

TALIESIN: Grog would’ve read them, even if he just made up words.

MATT: You do sense that there is some sort of an undead presence in your vicinity, Kerr, though you do not quite know what its nature is or its direction. There is something undead near you.

MARISHA: Oh, jeez. She didn’t bring Thordak back, did she? We’re gonna have to fight an undead dragon.

PATRICK: Do I get a sense of– is it just, yes, it is present, I don’t get any sense of direction or intensity? I’m assuming this isn’t my first rodeo. Everybody bumps into skeletons early in their career.

MATT: Correct. I would say it does not appear to be any extreme– yeah, it does not appear to be an extremely powerful undead presence. You can’t tell size or direction, by any means, but it’s not like all of a sudden there’s a lich ahead of you or some massive arrival of Orcus. You just sense something around you that is an undead energy.

LAURA: Around us? Like how close around us, can he sense that?

LIAM: I mean, this could be crypt shit on the sides. I’m gonna focus a little more on the ground.

MATT: Okay, do you guys all continue moving forward?

TALIESIN: I did ask about the books, the titles of the books.

LIAM: Yes, he asked me through the earpiece what the books said. Could I read them when I saw them?

MATT: What languages do you know?

LIAM: Common, Elvish, and Abyssal?

MATT: You do not know the title of the books.

LIAM: Tighter Buns in 30 Days is the only title I saw. Looking for traps.

MATT: All right. Roll another investigation check.

LIAM: 25.

MATT: 25, okay. You continue to push forward. There is no trap set. You do look ahead and see what appears to be the pathway is now showing stonework at times, almost like there are slabs, elements of a tunnel that was once better constructed than what exists, but is either eroded away or elements of wall collapse have covered what was once a very, very ancient form of architecture.

LIAM: As a precaution, I’m going to, as much as I can, stay to the stuff that looks natural or fucked-up and not civilized.

PATRICK: Hold on, first, I’m sorry. I just found my specific description. It does say I sense type and location.

MATT: It does say that, I totally missed that.

PATRICK: So long as it’s not behind total cover.

MATT: Got you. Okay. Then you sense there is something. You know it’s from one of the wall areas, but you cannot see, and your one single bit of light source is ahead of you in the tunnel. But you do sense, at one point as you’re walking, it is to the left of you.

PATRICK: Okay. I say, there is an unclean thing here.

TRAVIS: Well, fuck, I’m sorry, it’s just not a priority for me, all right?

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I mean, I put my arm down off his shoulder, I’ll grant him at least that.

PATRICK: It’s not you, Grog, there’s some undead thing here, and I say, it’s off to the left. To my left.

TALIESIN: The left hand of the tunnel.

PATRICK: But I don’t know what’s around here.

LAURA: Can we see anything on the walls that looks like a door or anything?

MATT: Are you stopping? 'Cause you two are moving ahead of everyone else, so you guys are probably a good 15, 20 feet ahead. You want to move back with them?

LAURA: No, no.

TRAVIS: Can I look to the left, just off him saying that, because of the Belt of Dwarvenkind I have Darkvision?

MATT: You do. You glance off to the left. You can see upon that shelf unit there, there are the two candles and the singular skull set on the shelf.

TRAVIS: I start to slowly make my way over to the skull.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Gods damn it.

MATT: Kerrek, you feel Grog slowly step in the direction that you pointed out to him.

TRAVIS: Is this the direction?

PATRICK: Yes.

TRAVIS: Are we getting warmer?

PATRICK: Yes, it’s over there. I’m not bringing my hammer out, but my hammer’s ready.

TRAVIS: What does the skull look like?

MATT: It looks like a human skull.

TRAVIS: Anything shiny about it, or jewelled?

MATT: No, it looks kind of dust-covered. You can see what looks to be– the bone itself appears to have a hint of blackened soot, or some sort of a darker color to it, like it’s been slightly singed.

TRAVIS: Candles look like candles?

MATT: Candles look like mostly melted candles.

TRAVIS: Kerr, I hate to rain on your parade, but I only see two candles and a human skull up here.

PATRICK: Partial undead thing… do I know, again, obviously nothing is trying to eat our faces off here, but can you turn an undead thing into just like a watcher or a trap or a spy or a trigger?

MATT: Make an intelligence check, or make a religion check. Make a religion check.

LAURA: Oh, it could be watching through the skull. You’re brilliant, Kerr! Fuck.

PATRICK: You know, that’s about a 12.

MATT: Okay.

PATRICK: Not my best.

MATT: Best that you can understand is, undead magic can raise dead, it can control dead. You have heard stories of undead or the use of them being more situational, as opposed to just roaming as zombies, but that’s as much as you can call off the top of your head. It’s been a while since you’ve been adventuring, so the specific stories are a little too foggy.

TALIESIN: Yeah, it could be a security camera.

PATRICK: Actually, I say, if there’s– give me the skull. And I’m just reaching out blindly in his direction.

TRAVIS: All right. I grab the skull and hand it to Kerr.

MATT: Okay.

PATRICK: And then I’ll use Divine Sense again. Is it this?

MATT: It is, the skull is the source of the undead energy. It is not currently moving or reacting or having any sort of reaction to being held by you.

PATRICK: I say, anybody mind if I wreck this thing?

TRAVIS: No, I do not mind at all, thank god there’s someone else in this world with my sort of thinking.

LIAM: What are you doing back there?

TRAVIS: Hold on. I grab my earring, and I say, Kerr found a human skull that has some undead vibes vibrating out of it.

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: But it’s not doing anything. Do you mind if we destroy it?

LIAM: He’s already holding it?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LIAM: Well, I mean, if anything was gonna happen, we’re probably fucked already, so I don’t know.

TALIESIN: Actually, where’s Kima?

MATT: That’s a good point. What is your guys’ marching order, by the way? I know the twins are in the front.

TALIESIN: Then I think it’s you and Kerr, and then me and–

MATT: Grog and Kerr, Keyleth and Percy–

TALIESIN: Ash and Scanlan.

MATT: Ash and Scanlan after that. And then we have– do you have Trinket out of the necklace, right? Then probably Kima and Allura back with Trinket in the back. So they’re kind of holding up the rear and keeping an eye out behind as they go.

TALIESIN: I think destroying it will trigger it.

LIAM: I’m kind of for leaving things alone as we go through here, Percival.

TRAVIS: I mean, we can leave it alone.

LAURA: I could do Sacred Flame on it, and it would do radiant damage to it.

MARISHA: What if we turn and just face the skull so it’s looking into the corner.

LAURA: Sure.

MARISHA: So it’s not looking at us.

LIAM: I think dicking with it in the first place might have already ruined us, but yeah, let’s just set it down, turn it around.

TRAVIS: Hey, Kerr, they’re worried we’re gonna kill ourselves. Can you just put it back, but face it towards the wall like it’s in time out?

PATRICK: Sure. If I’ve got a spare sack, I’ll stuff it in the sack and point it towards the wall.

MATT: Okay. So you pull out the extra, kind of a heavy burlap sack, you throw the skull in there, tie it taut, and set it back up on the shelf, facing away from where you’re standing.

TALIESIN: Do not underestimate the power of burlap.

LAURA: We should’ve come down in the tunnel wearing pantyhose on our heads so Raishan wouldn’t have known.

TALIESIN: Just thought it was a college prank?

MARISHA: Oh man, we should totally invest in those little pantyhose eggs.

LIAM: Delta lambda again, sneaking in, aw.

MATT: Every time!

LIAM: I don’t know enough about that to say that correctly, either.

MATT: Continuing onward, into the next length of the tunnel, about another 50 feet or so, there is– the room opens up, and you can see that stonework eventually takes the entire floor, and the chamber opens up into what looks to be almost like a hexagonal-shaped chamber that ends at a large iron door. It fills the entirety of the chamber, and it seals off any progression from that point. Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Vex-agonal shaped.

LAURA: Vex-agonal? Should I make a perception check, too, since I’m near it?

MATT: Sure.

LIAM: 22.

LAURA: Oh god, that was almost a one. But it’s not, it was a 15.

MATT: Okay. So 15 total? Okay. As you glance, you can see at the center of this chamber there looks to be– let’s see here. Okay, yeah. There stands a pillar of dark green marble, about ten feet, 15 feet away from where the iron door is, and what looks to be a roughly forged bowl of iron that is imperfect and is bolted to the top of this pillar.

LIAM: On the top or out the side of the top?

MATT: Resting on top of it, and it’s about maybe five, six feet up, and there is a platform that leads up to it. So maybe if you were standing on the little dais around it, it’d be about chest-height to you.

LIAM: How tall is this chamber?

MATT: The chamber’s whole height would be about 25 feet. You also see, off to the right, what appears to be another shelf that contains a very, very large leather-bound tome and what looks to be a cold iron brazier that is unburnt but has a bunch of dried tinder in it.

LAURA: Oh, god.

LIAM: Oh, come here, come here.

LAURA: What?

LIAM: There’s some shit, there’s some ingredients in that, ready to go.

LAURA: There’s ingredients?

LIAM: Yeah, there’s something in that brazier over there that she hasn’t burned yet.

TALIESIN: Can I get a little light in here, just for a second?

LIAM: I’m holding.

MATT: You have a tiny bit of candlelight. You can see about ten, 15 feet around Vax.

TALIESIN: Okay, so I can’t see the mechanism on the door.

MATT: You do not even know there’s a door there.

TALIESIN: Okay, that’s fair. For the best, it would just scare me.

LAURA: I mean, would it be helpful if everyone could see?

TALIESIN: Take a look around.

MARISHA: No one else is in this room, yeah? Can the half-elves with Darkvision do a little–

MATT: Make perception checks.

LIAM: I’ll do that, and I’m also going to do Divine Sense here.

MARISHA: Don’t fuck me, Gil. Oh, thanks, Gil! That’s not bad! Perception, right? 26.

TRAVIS: 16.

LIAM: 22.

MATT: There does not appear to be anybody else in this chamber with you, and from your Divine Sense, you do not sense any undead within 60 feet of you right now.

LIAM: There’s no undead dragons walking around.

TRAVIS: Can I look for invisible dragons? No, I’m kidding.

TALIESIN: You see seven.

LAURA: So, Light? Should we light it up?

MATT: He doesn’t sense any undead within 60 feet, that’s the range of it.

LIAM: Right. How far from the gate to the far side of the room, is the first question.

MATT: The doorway, you mean?

LIAM: I’m at a gate that blocks us from going in, is that correct?

MATT: No, you’re entering this chamber, then on the opposite side of the room there is a larger door that prevents you from progressing beyond the doorway. In between you and that door, there is that raised platform, the pillar, and the iron bowl, and then to the right and against the wall, there is the brazier and the shelf with the singular tome.

LAURA: Does it look like– when we entered the chamber, does it look like a door would come down or something when it opened up into the chamber?

LIAM: Right, is there a gap, like a crack that something could slide down out of right above where we are?

MATT: Glancing up, based on your perception rolls, you don’t see anything that would dictate any sort of exit or entranceway from the ceiling.

LIAM: And in addition to everything we see, do we see levers, do we see panels, do we see anything on the walls in this room?

MATT: No, there’s standard stone, old stone masonry. You can see chunks that have broken off and just fallen over the years, there’s a couple small cave-in areas where it looks like rocks have just tumbled in as the general shifting of the island has caused some elements to fall loose and tumble in.

MARISHA: Keyleth is gonna go ahead and light up her fire hands.

MATT: Okay. That gives a bigger radius. Comparable torchlight to Keyleth, and now Kerrek and Percival, you guys can both have a much better view of the room. You can see now this iron bowl on top of this pillar in the center. You can just make out the large iron wall or door on the opposite side, and a little bit of the brazier and the tome.

TALIESIN: I’ve built a fire-lock mechanism for a door before. Would I recognize this as being a set a fire in the bowl and that might open the door?

MATT: Make an intelligence check.

TALIESIN: I built one for the Raven Queen temple.

MARISHA: Go Percy, go Percy, go.

TALIESIN: Intelligence check? That’s, with my new intelligence level, that’s a 19.

MATT: 19. Best you can glance here, I mean, it’s possible, but this–

TALIESIN: It’s magic.

MATT: You don’t know. The room itself is ancient, and the construction, there is nothing that appears to be mechanically attached.

TALIESIN: So if it did, it would be magical. If that was–

MATT: Yeah, there’s no chain, pulley system visible at all. Where the door hits the seam of the room, it looks very smooth.

LAURA: Can I go look in the bowl, the bowl in the middle of the room, and just look and see if there’s a residue of anything in it?

MATT: Sure, you can make an investigation check.

PATRICK: Can I just say that when the lights came up, Kerr kind of, he’d been leaning into Grog maybe more than was entirely appropriate. So he kind of stood up a little better on his own to get out of it.

MATT: Right. (clears throat)

LIAM: Luckily, no one saw you, because of that robe.

LAURA: 26.

MATT: As you look down into the bowl, you can make out what looks to be a very, very faint long-dried residue just at the very, very bottom of it. Some sort of a liquid that was once in there that has since dried up entirely and left this very, very faint, just a slight shift in texture other than the hammered iron.

LAURA: No color change or anything on it?

MATT: Not that you can really tell, no. You’re just looking into this dark bowl with a little bit of light source.

LAURA: Well, I don’t actually touch it.

TALIESIN: Do you have something sharp to just scrape some off?

LIAM: While she’s doing that, I’m just going to quietly extend my wings now.

MATT: Your wings.

LAURA: Oh yeah, I get out a lockpick and scrape it to see if I can–

PATRICK: Holy shit!

(laughter)

LIAM: They’re pretty cool, aren’t they.

LAURA: They take up a lot of room, though, so.

LIAM: No, they don’t. They go out and they slam back into my back.

MATT: Yeah, Kerrek, as they’re having this conversation, you’re looking, watching as this small half-elf rogue that you’ve had a few encounters with suddenly just sends this pair of large jet-black raven-like wings that fire from his shoulderblades and slowly fold behind him.

TALIESIN: They don’t work. He just does that to be an asshole.

MARISHA: It’s all a cosplay prop. That’s all it is.

PATRICK: Strikes a bit of a figure, though, doesn’t he?

TALIESIN: No, it’s very attractive.

LIAM: I heard Percival say that.

LAURA: Scratch-scratch, scrape-scrape.

MATT: You’re scraping the–

LAURA: Yeah, just to see what the residue is.

MATT: Okay, it scrapes up, it creates a small, almost like a dried powder-type substance.

LAURA: What color is it?

MATT: It’s like a dark burgundy.

LAURA: This is fucking blood.

TALIESIN: Can I taste it?

MATT: Yeah, taste it, has kind of an iron-like taste.

MARISHA: Oh, it’s so blood. Oh, you’re so right.

LAURA: Maybe we should just bleed into this bowl and the door will open.

TALIESIN: Tempting.

TRAVIS: I can do that.

LAURA: Necromancy?

MARISHA: I think that’s the word, yeah.

TALIESIN: Do we recognize the architecture of the door, and I also want to take a look at that book. What is the book’s language, what does it look like? I’m not picking it up yet, I’m just looking at it on the shelf.

MATT: The leather tome which is currently leaning up against it has no text on the cover and no text on the spine, but it is big. It’s about that big. So it’s like a tome.

TRAVIS: Is it made of skin?

MATT: Grog, do you want to go over and check it out?

TRAVIS: Yes.

MATT: Okay. It appears to be a thick leather. It’s hard to tell in this light if it was made from tanned hide or tanned flesh, but it is old.

LIAM: As we’re watching Grog, I just lean over and say, you know, you are criticizing the size of my wings, you are walking around with a Persian rug, a broom, and a longbow strapped to your back.

LAURA: I tried to give this rug to someone else, but Grog didn’t want to take it.

MARISHA: And then I come up and I say, can I pet your wings? I’ve never pet them before.

LAURA: There’s things going on in this room.

MATT: You can hear this heavy sigh from Allura behind you, she’s like, (sighs). “I’m just, this is my first time actually adventuring with you.”

MARISHA: This is our method.

TALIESIN: We’re going to see if we put the PDA in the bowl, see if that’ll–

MATT: “Oh, don’t get me wrong, it just reminds me of my early days as an adventurer, and I forgot just how ridiculous we were, so.”

TRAVIS: Is there still tinder under the–

MATT: Yeah, there’s the iron brazier and there’s a lot of dried– inside there, yeah.

TALIESIN: Well, we do have samples of blood, in theory, in the Bag of Holding.

LAURA: We’ve got dragon blood. I’m gonna get out a vial of dragon blood.

(feedback sound)

LIAM: Oh, jeez.

TALIESIN: You’ve caused a feedback loop.

LIAM: She’s coming!

MARISHA: We are Spinal Tap!

LAURA: What is it?

MATT: I don’t know.

LAURA: I put the dragon blood away.

LIAM: Are there any holes in the ceiling I can see like there were in the last cave?

MARISHA: I have this ringing in my ear.

MATT: There do not appear to be holes in the ceiling, no.

LAURA: What should I do? Wait, I’ve also got other kinds of blood, let me see what kinds of blood I’ve got.

TALIESIN: Is the book trapped?

LIAM: 24.

MATT: 24? Looking at the book, are you taking it off the shelf or are you–

LIAM: No, I’m looking at it, man.

MATT: Looking at it. It looks like it is just resting against the wall. The shelf unit is not trapped, the book itself does not appear to have any sort of connection to the wall, you can see the pages themselves are weathered, old, stained, but intact.

LIAM: Is anyone near me?

MATT: Currently, Percival’s a step or two behind you.

TALIESIN: I’m holding onto the wing.

LIAM: I push back slowly with my wings. Just get 15, 20 behind me. I’m gonna bring it to you. I’m gonna try to take this fucking book off, okay? If I’m going to go down, I don’t want you to go down as well, all right?

TRAVIS: Are you about to die right now?

MARISHA: Don’t, Ve– Vax.

(laughter)

MARISHA: I love you! I know your name on my good days.

TRAVIS: (chanting) Grab it, grab it, grab it.

LIAM: I get back about ten feet and I take my wing and I scootch it–

LAURA: Oh wait, you know what?

MATT: As you’re saying this, the book (impact) and hits the ground. It scatters open.

LIAM: Oh, it’s open? Percival, come here. And I light it up, just to look at the pages that are there.

MATT: So you take the dagger and you place it over there. You don’t recognize the text. And you try and focus on it, too, and you don’t recognize it, either. It’s like the more you look at the text, the text gets smaller and smaller and smaller until it’s microscopic. It just looks like a mess of symbols and details. It’s weird, it’s almost like as you get closer, the perspective keeps shifting away from you, to where you cannot actually make out or read the text in the book.

TRAVIS: How’s it feel?

TALIESIN: I’m gonna flip gently, with a gloved hand, flip through a couple pages just to see if it’s text, text, text, or if there’s any–

MATT: As of right now, it looks like there’s just text. As you go through, every page seems to have the same sort of reaction, where as your eyes try and focus in the low light, the text just gets smaller and smaller and just avoid comprehension.

TALIESIN: I’m going to flip to the front really quickly and see if there’s a title.

MATT: There is a title, and as you look at it, the title itself seems to be blurred and obscured and begins to shrink as well. It’s like trying to put on a pair of reading glasses that won’t focus.

TALIESIN: I know that feeling.

LIAM: Allura, will you have a look at this?

MATT: She comes over. Kerr, what are you doing?

PATRICK: I’ll actually bring out my hammer and, assuming that I can get close to the book as well, it does the same thing for me?

MATT: As you get close and look, yes, the same thing, your vision doesn’t seem to focus on the text, the pages seem to just hide from–

PATRICK: I was going to say, are we okay with more light?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

PATRICK: Kind of looking around. Okay. Then I’ll effectively, I’ll activate the hammer.

MATT: Okay. As he pulls his warhammer in front of him, you watch as the head of it, the spike in the back–

PATRICK: There is no head, it’s just kind of a bar of iron that he has until he holds it up, and then the head of it comes into being as an artifact of radiant light.

MARISHA: Oh, that’s cool!

MATT: So what would’ve been the back of the hammer, the front of it is, like you said, missing entirely, and it just blazes forth with radiant energy, like a giant, glowing metallic end of a weapon.

PATRICK: I’d also like to think that it makes a noise like a lightsaber, but that’s just–

MATT: (lightsaber sound) as it happens. The room is now much brighter, and you can see the details of the stonework around you. The mustiness seems to almost back away instinctually from the radiant light itself, almost warms the air in its vicinity.

MARISHA: It smells like strawberries!

TALIESIN: That’s me.

MATT: It’s very weird strawberries, probably. As the light hits the pages, the pages go almost blank. The text just shrinks away to the point where it looks like there’s just tiny, tiny dots.

TALIESIN: I think I’ve solved this!

LAURA: What?

TALIESIN: Let’s extinguish all the lights, and someone with low-light vision has to read it.

LAURA: Okay. Grog.

TRAVIS: Yeah?

TALIESIN: No. That’s not funny.

LAURA: I mean, sure, yeah, extinguish all the lights. I wanna go and see if I can read it.

PATRICK: Switch off the hammer.

MATT: Okay. The head of the warhammer flickers out, leaving just the handle behind. You go ahead and look at it, and the text is more legible there on the page, but it’s still blurred to your vision.

LAURA: I think I need glasses. It’s blurry.

TALIESIN: Do we have anybody with perfect nightvision?

MARISHA: Perfect nightvision?

PATRICK: 20-20 nightvision?

TALIESIN: Well, I can’t see a thing.

MARISHA: Nothing, for you?

LAURA: Nah, it’s blurry.

MARISHA: Still blurry? I look over Vex’s shoulder. Maybe, I don’t know, anything? I know Primordial.

LIAM: Might be that we’re too nice.

TRAVIS: Maybe if you put something in the pot and set it on fire, by that light, you’ll–

MARISHA: Scanlan goes up and looks at it.

TALIESIN: Begrudgingly.

MATT: Scanlan glances over. “It’s fine to me. I don’t know what your problem was. No, I have no idea what’s on the pages, I’m just messing with you.”

(groaning)

MATT: “Sorry, guys!”

MARISHA: I thought we figured something out.

LAURA: That’s actually a really good idea, Grog. Maybe we should light the brazier.

TALIESIN: We should light the brazier. That, or raid the cabinets we passed.

MATT: Allura, who’s– oh, so you’re going to light the brazier with your hand?

MARISHA: Oh, I don’t know. I was lighting my hand. I can do it.

TALIESIN: We’re bringing the light back.

MATT: Okay, so the room fills with light once more. Kerrek, you can bring your hammer back if you’d like.

LIAM: We’re basically all running around the room in circles.

MATT: Yeah, you guys are just charging around.

MARISHA: Are we gonna light this brazier? Keyleth goes up and just sticks her flaming hand right down into the middle of the brazier.

MATT: Okay. Your hand hits the top of the kindling, at which point the wood catches, and there’s a slight flash as the extremely explosive materials that were within the brazier detonate, causing Percival, Allura, Vex, and Vax, who were also reading the book nearby, to all have to make a dexterity saving throw. As there’s a sudden (explosion). It explodes with a force.

MARISHA: Do I make a dexterity save as well?

MATT: You don’t make it, you just take the damage, since you were at ground zero.

MARISHA: Yeah, that’s fair.

PATRICK: To be fair, I was right next to the book as well.

MATT: That’s right. So you go ahead and make a dexterity saving throw as well, Kerrek.

TALIESIN: That’ll do.

LAURA: 22.

TALIESIN: 24.

LIAM: 16 and a Luck blown.

MATT: Kerrek, what’d you get?

PATRICK: I got a three.

LAURA: Oh no, Kerr!

MATT: Oh, Allura made it, okay. Everyone but Kerrek made the saving throw. So Kerrek and Keyleth, you both take 32 points of fire damage. The rest of you take 16. You take none because you’re a rogue.

LIAM: Yeah. I start breakdancing, doing the worm underneath the blast. Jeez, all right. The Luck wasn’t blown, because the other roll was a one.

MARISHA: Grog! Did you see that?

TRAVIS: I did, but everything’s really, really bright right now.

MATT: Your ears are ringing from the blast of the impact, the brazier’s just, all the metal’s just bent outward and ruined.

TRAVIS: I’ve just got the lit-up shapes of a bunch of people going like that.

MATT: As Keyleth turns around, you can see just her hair’s blown back a bit. She’s like a cartoon character.

TALIESIN: This has happened to me dozens of times.

MARISHA: That was awesome.

LAURA: If Raishan didn’t hear us before, she potentially heard us now.

TALIESIN: At least now we don’t have to try and stealth anymore.

MARISHA: (shouting) Is the door open? I’m sorry if I’m speaking loudly!

(laughter)

MATT: The door is not open.

MARISHA: (shouting) The door is not open?

LAURA: We need blood.

TALIESIN: The book’s fine, I assume?

MATT: The book has burned entirely. It is destroyed.

TALIESIN: That’s awesome.

TRAVIS: Who cares about books?

MATT: And you see Allura, who made the save but took some damage, is at the back and is kind of chuckling to herself, goes, “Well, I think now we know the purpose of the book.”

MARISHA: What?

LAURA: Oh, that dick book.

TRAVIS: No fucking way.

MATT: “It was well-played, and curse be on the one who thought that up.”

LAURA: (laughs) I know who that is.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Do I recognize the smell of whatever they used to ignite that, or was it more mystical in nature?

MATT: It was a sort of mixture of extremely flammable liquids. It was not black powder.

TALIESIN: Okay, I was just curious. All right. Well. Let’s try and pour some of the dragon blood into the bowl and see if that does it.

TRAVIS: Does what?

LAURA: Opens the door.

TRAVIS: Oh.

TALIESIN: Let’s blow a vial, see what happens.

LAURA: Dragon blood is so expensive.

TRAVIS: Can’t we just knock it down?

LAURA: I have basilisk blood, black dragon blood, and white dragon blood.

TALIESIN: Let’s try basilisk and work our way up.

TRAVIS: They’re worth 7000 gold each.

LAURA: I know, that’s why the basilisk is better. One basilisk vial.

MATT: Okay, so as you uncork and let it flow, and it’s thick, syrupy, it hits and it pools. A moment passes. Two moments. Nothing.

LAURA: Fuck. I pull out my opal dagger and I just cut my hand and drip it in.

MATT: Okay. The basilisk blood that’s still in there, you bleed into the basilisk blood, and it pools in the center of it. And you watch as the blood that you just dropped gets pulled beneath the surface of the basilisk blood and out of sight.

LAURA: Creepy. Is the door opening?

MATT: From the few drops of blood you put in there, it has not opened.

LAURA: It’s like a kill-something sort of situation.

PATRICK: Kerrek is reaching out, kind of like, don’t-don’t-don’t. There’s a lot of things in the world that shouldn’t have your blood.

LAURA: Oh. Well, shit. (laughs)

PATRICK: Especially something clever enough to lay a trap like that. Might be clever enough to trick a bunch of people into handing over blood.

TRAVIS: How far is it to the door?

MATT: From the pillar? About 15 feet.

TRAVIS: I walk over to the door.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: I’m gonna go with Grog. Yeah.

LAURA: Punch it!

TRAVIS: Can I– would you mind–

TALIESIN: You guys work on your thing. I’m gonna work on another thing. I’m gonna go over to those other shelves, I’m gonna see what the fuck is up there.

MARISHA: I go with Percy. I do that. Inspecting the shelves.

TALIESIN: I’m gonna quick-jog to the other shelves and take a look at those books.

MATT: The door begins to shift. There’s a slight shaking sensation as the bowl itself begins to glow, and the basilisk’s blood begins to sizzle and burn away, almost like it’s being pushed to the outer edges of the bowl with just the singular drops from your blood resting in the center. The room begins to shake a bit, and you watch as dust that had been alongside the ceiling begins to slightly cascade from above you. The metallic door lifts up and reveals the other side.

MARISHA: Completely? It’s open?

MATT: It’s open. You do take a point of damage from the blood that you lost.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: So you guys are just starting to push out of the room. At which point, you begin to hear laughter.

TALIESIN: Oh, fuck.

MATT: Cackling, multiple-sources laughter. (cackling) And you watch as, down in the distance of each side of the hallway from where you came and where you’re going, these little sources of light suddenly spark up and begin drifting towards you.

LAURA: Pike immediately casts–

LIAM: Beacon of Hope?

LAURA: No, no, no, not that. She casts the other thing. Shouldn’t she? It’s undead. Holy Aura on all of us.

MATT: Okay. What does that do?

LAURA: I wrote it all down. Hold on, hold on. It is within a 30-foot radius where everybody is. It sheds a five-foot radius of light on everyone. Everybody gets advantage on saving throws. Enemies who are attacking have disadvantage on everyone. Fiends and undead who do melee attacks have to make a constitution save or be blinded.

MATT: Okay. All right, so yeah, that’s on yourself, and it creates a 30-foot radius around you. As you guys all see these sources of light hovering towards you, the cackling getting louder and louder from a source just out of view, Pike grabs her holy symbol and slams her hand down onto the stonework in the center by where the pillar is. As it hits, there’s a (explosion) sound as the vibrations or impact shift through the ground, and you feel the ground itself grow warm with radiant energy as a giant circle of ancient radiant runes begin to connect and intersect, and within that circle you all kind of rush in, and as you do, you feel the warmth of that protection come over you. As you all gather, with your weapons at the ready, you see now the sources of light, as roughly four floating flame-wreathed skulls come rocketing in, two from each side of the hallway, cackling along the way. And we’re gonna take a break.

(yelling)

TRAVIS: Flaming skulls?

MATT: Flaming skulls.

MARISHA: Flame-wreathed skulls.

MATT: Just floating towards you. You get the sense that one of these may have, at one point, been contained within a bag.

LIAM: Guys, it’s fine, my ten-year-old son destroyed one of these recently. We’re gonna be fine.

TALIESIN: Firecracker outside.

MATT: All right, so. We’ll be back here in a few minutes. We’re going to go ahead and take a restroom break, and we’ll see where this next chapter is.

LAURA: Oh my god.

BreakEdit

[break]

Part IIEdit

MATT: Welcome back, everyone, to Critical Role. We’re back from break. The party just found themselves immediately surrounded by large, floating, flaming skulls in the center of this hallway, going towards the necromancer’s sanctum. I need you all to roll initiative, please.

LIAM: (sings) Get it on.

MARISHA: (laughing) It’s the Kiss army.

MATT: While they’re rolling their initiatives, we had a winner in the chatroom for a Wyrmwood Zebrawood complete dice tower system right here, as well as this awesome leather thing from Wyrmwood, here, they have this nice leather band as well. The winner is heartman_, by the way, congratulations, heartman_.

MARISHA: I think you have Zebrawood.

TALIESIN: Zebrawood is, I believe, the one that I have.

MATT: Delightful. So congratulations, we’ll get this to you ASAP. All righty. So. Getting initiative scores here from people. 25 to 20.

MARISHA: Oh wait, we’re rolling initiative.

MATT: Yes.

TRAVIS: Jesus.

MARISHA: Fuck me. That’s cocked. Natural 20.

MATT: All right, so.

MARISHA: Why can’t I have these when it really makes sense?

TRAVIS: 25 to 20.

MARISHA: 22 total.

LIAM: 21.

TALIESIN: 22 for Scanlan.

MATT: Whoa! Scanlan’s always in the rear.

TALIESIN: He rolled a natural 20.

MARISHA: Me and Scanlan, nat-20 brothers! For Scanlan who’s not here.

MATT: That’s awesome. Vax and Scanlan at the top. All right. 20 to 15.

LAURA: 16 for Vex.

TALIESIN: 17.

MATT: Percy, Vex. 15 to ten?

TRAVIS: Me. 14.

MATT: All righty.

PATRICK: Just out of curiosity, do you allow people to delay their action to act later in the turn?

MATT: You can hold an action, meaning you still take your turn, you still move, but you can hold your action for a trigger. So like, I will hold my action to attack if something comes in range. Or I can hold my action to cast a spell when a certain creature does something. But you still take your turn, you don’t move the turn order.

TRAVIS: What’d Pike roll?

LAURA: Pike rolled a nine.

MATT: Pike at the end. Kerrek, what’d you get?

PATRICK: A one.

MATT: Oh, Kerr.

LIAM: Number one.

MARISHA: Pike?

LAURA: Nine.

MARISHA: Who rolled one?

LAURA: Kerr.

MATT: It’s okay. You and Kima are down there. All right, so.

PATRICK: The term is anchor-man.

LAURA: I like it.

MATT: All righty. So, at the top of the round, as these skulls are beginning to find their way in towards the cavern towards you, as you’ve all circled around Pike in the center of this chamber here, I would like Scanlan and Vax to go first.

LIAM: All right. After you, Scanman.

TALIESIN: I can turn myself invisible? It’s a level three spell?

MATT: You can.

TALIESIN: I’m gonna turn invisible and back up against the northern wall in the corner and see if the skulls notice.

MATT: Okay. So Scanlan is gonna go invisible and back up here.

MARISHA: It’s a 2nd-level spell.

MATT: All righty. 2nd level.

TALIESIN: And I’m going to hold my action until I find out whether or not– oh, invisible is my action.

MATT: Casting the spell is your action.

TALIESIN: All right. I’m gonna back up, and yeah.

MATT: Okay. So you back up against the wall there. Okay. So that’s your turn. Vax.

LIAM: Can you point to where I am in that scrum? I can’t tell. I’m going to move to the opposite wall that Scanlan just went to.

MATT: So over here?

LIAM: Yeah, and I’ll fly ten feet– I’m winged, so I’ll be ten feet in the air as well.

MATT: Okay. I’ll put you up on here.

LIAM: And I’m gonna huck a pair of daggers at– I hope this is the right way– the one on this side that’s closest to you.

MATT: Right here. Okay, go for it.

LIAM: That’s shit. And then the second one–

LAURA: Well, don’t write it off, it was 15, that first one.

LIAM: That’s true, it’s a 15 and then a 23.

MATT: Both hit.

LIAM: Hey! All right, so first one is with Whisper. That is four plus eight is 12, plus psychic damage, which is 19 for the first hit. And from the venom dagger that I’m throwing next, that is four plus six is ten. Ten total.

MATT: So 19 points of damage total. Awesome. That end your turn?

LIAM: That’s the end of my turn.

MATT: All right. That brings us to Keyleth.

MARISHA: Oh dear god, I knew you were gonna say that. Hang on, hang on, I’m looking up the parameters of the spell. Let me see. L-M-N-O–

TRAVIS: What happened when he hit 'em with those daggers?

MATT: As both these daggers slam into the skull, you watch as the flames themselves that are kind of wreathing around them, the skull just ducks out of the way, but the blade still catches and scrapes across the side of the bone, and it has to right itself, but then it gets right back into the place it was. It’s taking damage, and you can see portions of the bone are starting to crack and break, but it’s still, you know, still holding itself aloft.

LAURA: Did its little jawbone go (chattering teeth)?

MATT: Not yet. It’s not its turn yet. It’s an action to chatter. I’ll get you, He-Man! No.

LIAM: You boob!

MATT: (sings) Oh my god do I pray. Anyway. Sorry. Oh, internet. Never change.

MARISHA: (sings) For a revolution.

MATT: So what are you doing for your action, Keyleth?

MARISHA: Huh?

TALIESIN: She’s inspiring.

MARISHA: I got inspired?

MATT: No. What are you doing on your turn.

TRAVIS: Did you stick cotton in your ears during the break?

MARISHA: Sorry, I got distracted. Okay.

MATT: Next to Allura, and you have Kerrek to your other side.

MARISHA: Which direction were we heading?

MATT: You were heading this direction. The giant gate was here, and it lifted up, and then all the skulls swarmed in from that side.

MARISHA: There’s only two right now?

MATT: There’s four, there’s two on this side, two on this side.

MARISHA: Okay. I’m going to cast Moonbeam on… hm. Let me do this one. That guy. That make sense? So it’s 120 foot, it’s a concentration spell up to a minute, and it’s a five-foot radius, 40-foot-high cylinder. It causes searing pain and takes 2d10 radiant damage after a constitution saving throw.

MATT: Okay, so constitution saving throw on each of these guys here?

MARISHA: It’s a five-foot radius.

MATT: Okay, so you can hit one– oh, if you hit there, you can hit 'em both.

MARISHA: Can I? Then I do that.

MATT: All righty. And they– that is a 16.

MARISHA: Fail.

MATT: And a 13. So no, they fail 'em both.

(cheering)

MARISHA: Oh, that’s good. Above average. Six plus seven is 13 points of damage.

MATT: 13 points of damage to both of them.

MARISHA: You know, just a little bit of radiant damage.

MATT: So as the beam bursts out from the sky, you see the white radiant nature energy burst around them, and the flames seem to subside for a moment as the one that’s already been damaged by Vax almost stumbles to the floor, then picks itself back up, its flame flickering more so than the allies around you. That end your turn, Keyleth? You gonna stay where you are or you gonna move?

MARISHA: I’m on the– are we all on the carpet?

MATT: No, no one’s been on the carpet.

MARISHA: We never did that. Then I will back away towards me and towards the southeast corner.

MATT: Over here? Okay.

MARISHA: Yeah. Southeast to you.

MATT: More south?

MARISHA: No, no, that’s right, that’s right. That’s good.

MATT: That ends your turn? All right. It is now the flame skulls’ turn. So. All four of these skulls, you watch as the flames swirl around the head, pour into the skull itself, and for a second, the flame almost goes dark, as all of a sudden the eyes burst into angry fire, the mouth grows extremely bright, and a single red beam streaks forth from the jaw to the center of the room. Four of these beams in different directions here, followed by four simultaneous familiar explosions as four separate Fireballs rock the room.

LIAM: Four. Separate. Fireballs.

TRAVIS: Fuck.

LAURA: We’re gonna die just from fucking–

LIAM: Wow, look at that. Everybody.

MATT: Yeah, you guys clustered right there.

LAURA: Well, we didn’t get a chance to move!

MARISHA: This is the room!

MATT: Well no, you guys said you all were gonna back in around Pike, and you haven’t had your turn yet.

MARISHA: It’s also still the room.

MATT: I know. I know. This happens, guys. Sorry.

TRAVIS: Like, where else were we gonna go? It’s a huge explosion.

MATT: Not knowing or seeing where Sam went, they all focus here, which will affect everybody. So I need everybody to make four dexterity saving throws. Now, mind you–

MARISHA: Everyone except Scanlan? Or still Scanlan?

MATT: Everyone except for Scanlan.

LAURA: And everybody’s got advantage on every single one of those rolls.

MARISHA: Wait, dex throws?

MATT: All saving throws you have advantage on.

TALIESIN: Four saving throws with advantage.

LIAM: You crazy motherfucker.

TRAVIS: God damn it, that’s the same number.

MATT: You’re trying to beat a 13.

MARISHA: How many do we– oh, we have to roll it each time?

MATT: Yeah, for each one.

MARISHA: Natural 20 on my second. We’re trying to beat a 13?

MATT: Trying to beat a 13.

MARISHA: I cleared all of them.

TALIESIN: Cleared all of them.

LIAM: Cleared all of them. Evasion.

LAURA: Wait, I gotta do them for Pike.

MARISHA: No rolls for Scanlan. Okay.

LAURA: Fuck. (sighs) Do I have to roll for Trinket, too? Oh, god.

MATT: Everyone was there.

LAURA: Okay, Pike saves two and fails two. Vex saves all.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: God.

TRAVIS: These little disembodied bastards are tough.

LAURA: Trinket only saves against one.

TRAVIS: What are these called?

PATRICK: Even with advantage?

LAURA: Even with advantage.

TALIESIN: It’s her magic power.

LAURA: Trinket just constantly– I didn’t add anything. Oh, well, he had a plus two.

MATT: Grog.

TRAVIS: I failed the first two, succeeded on the second two. Ten, ten, 21, 21.

MATT: Okay. So you take 76 points of fire damage. Percy.

TALIESIN: Save, save, save, save.

MATT: Okay. So you take– Grog, I said 78, right?

TRAVIS: You said 72.

MATT: Sorry, 72. That is 48 points of fire damage to you, Percy.

MARISHA: You saved from all of 'em? Same. 17, natural 20, 14, 18.

TALIESIN: 42 points of damage? Wait, how much?

MATT: Sorry, this is a lot of Fireballs and a lot of rolls right now. So for Percival, altogether, if you made all the saves, it would be– shit. Okay.

TALIESIN: Some mild asbestos in the coat.

MARISHA: Made of polyester.

MATT: We’ll say, for the sake of this and the ease of the damage here, you take 56 points of fire damage, Percy.

TALIESIN: How much, sorry?

MATT: 56 points of fire damage.

MARISHA: If you saved against all of them, 56?

MATT: Yes.

TRAVIS: Should I have taken more?

MATT: You technically would’ve taken– no, you took 70.

TRAVIS: I failed two.

MATT: That’s right, you failed two. So that would be…

MARISHA: That’s with a nat 20?

MATT: You take 88.

LAURA: Oh my lord.

MARISHA: With a nat 20, you still take half damage?

MATT: Yeah. So how many did you get, Keyleth?

MARISHA: I saved all of them, so I’m at 50 hit points.

MATT: Okay. Kerrek, how many did you save?

PATRICK: I did, I made all of them, thanks to the advantage.

LIAM: Nice, Kerrek.

MATT: So you take 56 points of fire damage.

LIAM: I saved all of them with Evasion. That’s zero, yeah?

MATT: Yeah, so you take zero.

LIAM: Yeah, flat against the ground.

MATT: You just duck out of the way. Vex?

LAURA: I saved against all of them.

MATT: 56 points of fire damage.

LAURA: So I’m at 57 hit points now.

MATT: Okay. Pike failed two?

LAURA: She failed two of them, yeah, so 88.

MATT: 88, but half that, because she has fire resistance, so 44.

LAURA: Oh, thank god. Okay. That’s good, that’s good. And then Trinket only got one, so he’s in my necklace. Already.

LIAM: Luckily, luckily.

MATT: You can bring him out and heal him in a minute, if you want to. That brings Allura, through her Barrier and extra hit points, that brings her to– okay, there we go. And Kima also failed two, so she took… All righty.

PATRICK: If I’m still hugging Grog, can I use him as partial cover?

(laughter)

MATT: Going forward, you can, yes. From the curling flames of the arcane blasts, unfortunately, not that much cover from that. However, they all then go ahead and scoot back towards the wall. The holy radius itself is starting to affect them, so this one is starting to back up in this direction, and these two are going to go ahead and this one’s going to curl around the fallen stonework and land there. That is going to end their turn.

TRAVIS: We’re in a fucking kill box.

TALIESIN: It’s a box of kill.

MATT: Now that brings us to Percival’s turn.

TALIESIN: I’m irritated. So which was the one that you were shooting at?

MARISHA: There’s one that’s almost dead. What’s the one that’s almost dead?

LIAM: Yeah, the one that Matt just touched.

TALIESIN: I’m gonna start with him, and I’m going to, just to be a dick, I’m going to pull some deadeye and a sharpshooter on this one.

LIAM: Get out of the box!

TALIESIN: So I’m going to start with him, taking a shot with Animus.

LAURA: Animus?

TALIESIN: With the Animus gun, which is, with the sharpshooter on, is 26 to hit.

MATT: Yeah, that hits, so roll damage for that.

TALIESIN: That’s– sorry, I’m a little out of it. What do I need? I need one of these. Oh, I’ll use this one, it’s prettier. Just counting the dice. That’s nice! That’s 17, 27 points of damage, plus two points of psychic damage.

MATT: Okay. As you take your first shot, the one skull’s just trying to duck around the partially crumbled wall, you catch it right before it goes behind cover, and as your bullet hits from the side, the skull just explodes and shatters into a burst of flame and broken bone, expelled and extinguished on the battlefield.

MARISHA: Fucking dick.

TALIESIN: Next shot. (laughs)

MARISHA: Do you get a grit point? You get a grit point back.

TALIESIN: I killed it, so grit point back. Actually, and I’m going to spend another grit point for the same shot. So yes. That’s–

TRAVIS: These are not living creatures, though, right?

MATT: They are not.

TALIESIN: I’m gonna just switch to the one– yeah, just gonna switch so that we’re not flanked by the–

TRAVIS: Flaming jungle mob?

TALIESIN: Same sharpshooter, same thing. Same attack. 26.

MATT: Hits.

TALIESIN: That’s not as good, but it’s okay. 22 points of damage, plus six points of psychic damage.

MATT: Okay. All righty. So this shot impacts, and it sends it slamming into the wall, and it rights itself back in its position, but you can see noticeable cracks across the bone cranium of it, and little bits of fire are poking through areas where it’s starting to come apart, but it’s still keeping itself together at the moment.

TALIESIN: I’m going to take another shot at it. Sharpshooter, but not with the deadeye. Pew-pew. Not as good a shot. 16?

MATT: 16 still hits.

TALIESIN: That’ll do.

MARISHA: Kill it! Kill it!

TALIESIN: That’s 20 points of damage, with four points of psychic damage.

MATT: That does it. Another blast echoes through as the gunshot goes off. You watch as the secondary light source from that side of the hallway just is immediately extinguished. That hallway goes dark once more, the two glowing lights untouched on the area you came from still standing.

TALIESIN: I do a quick reload, and I run up the wall to– yeah, that way, but to an angle? Yeah, I’m gonna perch up there.

MARISHA: Grit point back.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah, I get the grit point back. Thank you.

MATT: I like how Keyleth is becoming your paper clip for this battle.

MARISHA: Did you know?

TALIESIN: I’m trying to write.

PATRICK: Sorry, I meant to mention this before. And this might not be relevant because everyone has just made eight saving throws or rolled eight saving throw dice. Everyone close to me, because of my Aura of Divinity, gets a plus three because of my charisma bonus.

MATT: That’s true.

PATRICK: I would not bring it up after the fact if that was not just such an ungodly buttload of damage.

TRAVIS: Doesn’t affect my rolls.

MATT: That would affect your rolls. You would get plus three to any–

TRAVIS: Still didn’t make it, though.

MATT: So it didn’t help Grog. Pike is the only one that’s near you that would’ve gotten the benefit.

LAURA: That would’ve gotten Pike up to one of– she would’ve failed one of them.

MATT: Okay. So take 22 points of fire damage off– or no, it would be half that. 11 points. Take 11 points off.

LIAM: That’s for saves, not on attacks, right?

MATT: Correct, just saves.

LAURA: So add 11 points back.

MARISHA: Yeah, I saved all mine. You saved all yours.

PATRICK: But didn’t Grog roll tens, and he needs a 13?

MATT: So what’d you roll as your final rolls?

TRAVIS: Ten, ten, 21, 21.

MATT: So that would’ve made 13 roll. So yeah, that would’ve.

LAURA: You would’ve saved on everything.

TRAVIS: Hey! So if you saved on all of them, how many points of damage would you take?

MATT: All of them would have been 56.

TRAVIS: Got it, 56.

LAURA: Trinket still would’ve failed three. Just to put that out there, he rolled so poorly.

MATT: Even with the plus three?

LAURA: Even with the plus three, Trinket would not have gotten up to 13 on three of those.

TRAVIS: Thank you, Kerr!

TALIESIN: You know, I’ve been led to believe that bears had more affinity with dealing with forest fires in general. I feel it’s just– this is definitely a problem.

LIAM: Somewhere, Sam is laughing.

LAURA: Oh, poor Trinket. He’s just–

LIAM: He’s good at cuddles.

TALIESIN: Do you have a bald bear?

MARISHA: With a little singed hair?

MATT: All right, Percy, that ends your turn?

TRAVIS: Percy, does that end your turn?

MATT: Vex, you’re up.

LAURA: Oh, I’m up. Okay. I’m going to shoot them. I’m going to shoot the one closer to you.

MATT: Okay, there you go.

LAURA: That definitely hits.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: 16 damage plus three lightning damage.

MATT: Okay, got it.

LAURA: And then, fuck me, I Hunter’s Mark him.

MATT: (laughs) Okay. He has been Hunter’s Marked.

LAURA: I attack him again. Natural 20!

(cheering)

MATT: Well, there you go.

TALIESIN: I was gonna say, somehow a skull is giving you shade, and now he’s not.

LAURA: 20 plus eight lightning damage plus eight Hunter’s Mark. 'Cause you double all your dice, right?

MATT: You double the dice, yeah. So that’s 20 plus eight plus another eight.

LAURA: So 28 plus eight lightning damage.

MATT: Yeah. That secondary arrow happens to just hit right on the suture at the side of the skull, and as it hits, the arrow cuts through and causes the skull to crack in half, and you hear this kind of shriek, and the laughter fades, as it pulls back and the flame just flickers out, and the two pieces of bone just clatter to the ground and break across the stone.

LAURA: I move away from him into the– oh, on the opposite side of Percy.

MATT: Okay, so this way? 30, you can get about there. All right. That ends your turn, Vex. Grog, you’re up.

TRAVIS: (yells) I run at the last remaining skull.

LIAM: Hey you guys!

TRAVIS: In a rage.

MATT: You get right up to it.

TRAVIS: I’d like to play teeball, please.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

TRAVIS: With this new Dwarven Thrower. Should’ve tried throwing it, but too late for that. With reckless, great weapon master, please.

MATT: Go for it.

TRAVIS: 33 minus five is 28?

MATT: That hits. You don’t add the extra d8, since you only get that when you throw it.

TRAVIS: Right. Shit, wait. Yeah. 26.

MATT: 26 damage.

TRAVIS: No, I’m sorry, the second hit was 26 to hit.

MATT: Oh, I see. What was the damage on the first one?

TRAVIS: I didn’t do it yet.

MATT: Oh, okay.

TRAVIS: Now I’ve done it. What the fuck is that?

MATT: Welcome to d8s, motherfucker.

TRAVIS: I know. That’s a six, plus– I’m raging, so 20 points of damage.

MATT: Okay. You slam across the side of the skull. It slams against the side of the wall where you hit it, and as it rights itself, you go with your second attack, which does hit. Roll damage for that one.

MARISHA: What the fuck is that? It’s a number.

TRAVIS: 19.

MATT: 19 hits. Or 19 damage, sorry. Whack! You slam it again. This time it falls to the ground and picks itself back up, the flames brightening once again, the anger as its jaw clacks open, coming towards your face.

MARISHA: It’s still alive? Kill it!

TRAVIS: I don’t have a third attack.

MATT: Yeah, he’s not frenzied.

TRAVIS: With a bonus action, can I attempt to use my Boots of Feral Leaping and leap…

(laughter)

TRAVIS: To the wall towards you. (yelps)

TALIESIN: He senses the all-powerful deity to the outside of it and just leaps towards Matt’s face.

TRAVIS: Damn you, watcher of all things!

MATT: I’ll just grab your mini and slam it into the ground. No saves.

TRAVIS: Flatline. Not like this.

MATT: Not like this.

TRAVIS: I just want to leap towards the wall that way so I’m not in the same line.

MATT: Okay, so go ahead and make your athletics check. Since you are raging, you have advantage on it.

TRAVIS: Oh, cool. I don’t need it, it’s 26.

MATT: Okay, so you– there you go.

TRAVIS: I expected you to die!

MATT: All right, this is Allura’s turn. She sees, currently at the moment, that the heavily damaged flame skull, and there’s nothing else in the immediate vicinity. She glances past, steps over past Kerrek, and says, “Shall you, or shall I?”

PATRICK: Be my guest.

MATT: “You’re too kind.” And with one hand on your shoulder and her staff in the other, she thrusts it forward, and you watch as four what looks like small beads of arcane energy go rocketing out from the top of the staff, and arcing around each other, as they swell with power and force. All slam multiple times into the side, the Magic Missiles dealing five, ten, 15– four fours in a row– 20. Four fours in a row. And that’s not quite enough to finish it.

LAURA: How is this ghost so strong?

MATT: It’s taken 59 points of damage. You watch as–

TRAVIS: I forgot to add ten.

MATT: To each roll? Well.

TRAVIS: I mean, you can add 20.

MATT: So we’ll say, given that circumstance.

TRAVIS: Sorry.

MATT: It’s okay. Given the fact that it literally had one hit point left–

TRAVIS: She got it!

MATT: It had one hit point left! So as the four missiles slam into the side of the skull, the final one hits, and its jaw gets blown off as the rest of the skull just turns to ash against the stonework and slowly rests across the side, the combat coming to an end in that moment.

LAURA: Good times, guys!

TALIESIN: Every week. Every week for two years. We’ve been playing this game for two years.

LIAM: It’s gonna be amazing when we’re level one again, we’ll go, I hit it for three points!

(cheering)

TRAVIS: We came from that way, right?

MATT: You came from this way, yes.

TRAVIS: Can I run that way?

MATT: This way? Yeah.

LIAM: This is a death trap, Grog, what are you doing?

MARISHA: Why are you running backwards?

TRAVIS: We came from the other way.

MATT: You went this way.

TRAVIS: I run the other way.

MATT: Okay, so Grog just goes bolting through, past all of you guys, into the currently unexplored–

LIAM: I start flying with him. Grog, Grog, Grog, we don’t know if everything has been fucked up, will you just wait a second?

LAURA: Check for traps, check for traps!

TRAVIS: (braking noises)

TALIESIN: At the edge of the map?

LIAM: Wow. You’re learning.

MATT: You just caught him as he moved past the partially collapsed part of the wall where the one skull was trying to hide.

MARISHA: Pike. Do we have maybe like a group heal, 'cause I’m half hit points after flaming Night Riders.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: I’m gonna check for traps past where the gate was. 20 or 30 feet.

LAURA: Some sort of healing thing.

TRAVIS: How many of those did you fail?

MARISHA: I passed all of them, one with a nat 20.

TRAVIS: Oh. You’re at half your hit points?

MARISHA: Look, man, we can’t all be Grog the barbarian.

LAURA: Do we wanna– okay, if we all keep charging in, that spell that we just did lasts for a minute. Thought Raishan was around. She was not. So, we’ve got less than a minute left on that level eight there.

MARISHA: That gives us advantage on all saving throws?

MATT: Which, actually, now that I think about it, I need you to roll four concentration checks on that one for Pike. So four constitution saving throws.

LAURA: You know what, they did a good job of keeping us from all dying just then, though.

LIAM: Yes, they did, yes, that was not wasted advantage. Here we go.

LAURA: Natural 20, 18, 19, 11. 11.

PATRICK: Actually, that 11 had plus three.

MATT: Yeah. Okay, so she maintains concentration, but you have roughly 50 seconds, 45 seconds.

LIAM: Let’s go right now, right now.

LAURA: We’re not gonna be able to get to her in a minute, y'all.

LIAM: Is there anything ahead of me as I look with my 19?

MATT: Okay, so as they’re having this conversation, you push past, you don’t notice anything trapped, but about 30 feet from where the iron door was, as you’re scoping, the floor just turns to darkness, and as you peek over, you see now a set of stairs are descending.

LIAM: But no traps?

MATT: No traps.

LIAM: Do we want to keep moving, or do we want to pause?

LAURA: If we take a rest, we can rest up and heal.

PATRICK: I would like to have a short rest right now so we can top off.

LIAM: Okay. Let the spell go, then. Hit dice.

LAURA: Okay, yeah. We use our hit dice, 'cause we all got half of them back.

MARISHA: How long, short rest?

MATT: Short rest is about anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

LAURA: We can scry and see if Raishan totally knows that we’re here.

PATRICK: Unless there’s some sort of big healing mojo, but I am really gimped.

TRAVIS: Yeah, let’s just use our hit dice, save the big heals.

MARISHA: I mean, I could burn a Mass Cure Wounds and heal us.

TRAVIS: We haven’t even fought the dragon yet.

LAURA: Yeah, that’s the thing.

LIAM: For all we know, we fucked ourselves with that skull earlier.

TALIESIN: So it wouldn’t matter. So what’s 40 minutes.

MARISHA: I don’t know, I feel like that was gonna happen.

TALIESIN: Yeah, we’re good. Let’s take a–

MARISHA: She’s a smart woman. The least that we can assume is that she knows.

LIAM: We haven’t outsmarted her yet.

LAURA: She’s probably already bamfed out, y'all.

TALIESIN: You can find out really easily.

LAURA: Oh. Yeah, while we’re resting, I’m gonna detect dragons and see if she’s still around.

MATT: Okay. You sense the same three dragon presences in the vicinity.

LAURA: Same spot? Oh, all right.

MARISHA: That’s something.

LIAM: (whispers) Tell us all your secrets.

TRAVIS: Nine times a day, playa.

MATT: Don’t forget, you guys using your hit dice, you get Scanlan’s Song of Rest.

LAURA: Okay, so what is that?

MATT: It’s an additional d12.

MARISHA: Song of Rest is 1d12 healing points.

TALIESIN: On top of?

MATT: On top of whatever you healed, you then get an additional d12.

TRAVIS: I got a 12 right there, that’s fucking sweet.

MARISHA: Plus 12? Plus 1d8 plus? Sorry. Plus 1d12, right? He adds a 1d12.

TALIESIN: Nine.

MATT: That’s overall, not on each dice, yeah. Just overall.

MARISHA: Hit dice.

TRAVIS: Do we go back up to Heroes’ Feast hit points, or not anymore?

MATT: Yeah. Heroes’ Feast is addition to your maximum hit points.

TRAVIS: I heal 55 hit points with this d12 monster.

LAURA: Oh my god, I rolled so good.

TRAVIS: I’m just one below where I was.

MATT: Which is what?

TRAVIS: 235.

MATT: 235 for Grog. Percy, where are you at?

TALIESIN: I’m still rolling.

LAURA: I went all the way back to my maximum, so 115 is what I’m at now.

MATT: Okay. Vax, you didn’t take any damage. Kerrek, what are you at?

PATRICK: Still rolling.

MATT: Okay, no worries.

TALIESIN: I’m rolling really shittily.

MARISHA: I’m not doing great.

LIAM: Scanlan helped out with that?

MATT: He did, yeah.

LIAM: (sings) When the Blight has come, and the land is dark, and your health is down to 23 HP.

TRAVIS: Oh, you’re doing great! That’s great.

LAURA: That was good.

TRAVIS: We’re missing the high soprano tonal quality.

LIAM: Can’t do it, can’t do it.

TALIESIN: Wow, I’m down a lot.

MARISHA: I’m gonna burn my last few hit dice.

TALIESIN: I’m at 140, I’m not at the top of my peak.

MARISHA: I’m at 95.

MATT: 95, got it.

TALIESIN: Is it possible– god, I have instructions on how to run Scanlan, and I’m debating how to best do that.

LAURA: Oh, I went up to 117, because I forgot I had the extra 15.

MATT: Heroes’ Feast, yeah.

LIAM: Is he going to do a bump or a thing?

MARISHA: Would he do a bump right now? He probably would, wouldn’t he?

TALIESIN: I was going to say, according to the instructions I was given–

MARISHA: Probably.

LAURA: Pike’s back at 115.

TALIESIN: Well, that’s the thing, I want to make sure I can do this in a way so I don’t take anything from him later.

MARISHA: Is he– wait, hang on, wait, I feel like he texted. No, he didn’t.

TALIESIN: He really– yeah, no, I’m gonna try–

TRAVIS: A number, give him a number.

MARISHA: Hang on. How many bumps of suude does he have left?

MATT: One.

TRAVIS: Save it.

MARISHA: Would he do it for after Raishan or before?

TRAVIS: After.

TALIESIN: Before.

LIAM: Before, I think, too.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I was given specific instructions.

MARISHA: I think he would do it before, too.

TALIESIN: He’s gonna push a little forward, up to the stairs, get away from the rest of the group.

MATT: That’ll be going up to where Vax is.

TALIESIN: Oh, then he’s going to push a little far back and just–

MATT: Okay, so Scanlan backs away.

LAURA: Wait, Scanlan gave us an extra nine hit points?

MATT: Extra d12.

TALIESIN: Which is nine hit points.

LAURA: Nine. I’m higher than 117, then I’m one-whatever. 126.

MARISHA: So he has one hit of suude left?

TALIESIN: Yeah, he’s gonna get himself quietly away. I think he’s had it packed already, so there’s not gonna be a big, elaborate– he’s just gonna–

MARISHA: Holy shit, this feels so weird.

MATT: To by-proxy do this? Yeah. Okay.

MARISHA: It feels so dirty.

MATT: Go ahead and roll a constitution saving throw.

TALIESIN: I’m not gonna sully it with my good dice, I’m gonna use one of my crappy dice.

MARISHA: He gave us instructions.

TALIESIN: This is, I guess, the most stoner die I have for this. So okay, constitution saving throw?

MARISHA: Come on. Just straight constitution?

TALIESIN: 19. Oh, saving throw. 19.

MATT: 19, all right, great. As Scanlan takes the flute and takes in the fumes of the char-burned suude, the familiar burn and chemical flavor fills his lungs, and as he exhales, this fine brown smoke emits from his lungs, and his vision clarifies suddenly, and he feels this elevated sense of energy and power in his mind. For the next hour, Scanlan has one sorcery point that he can spend as the sorcerer metamagic class, and has access to the extended spell Metamagic ability.

LIAM: Do you know what that means? I kind of do.

MARISHA: Okay, unextended spell Metamagic? So what does that buy us?

MATT: So he has one point, period, that he can ever spend for the next hour.

MARISHA: He has one sorcery point.

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: Wait, how do you spell sorcery? How do you spell sorcery?

MATT: And basically, he can spend it to double the duration of a spell as he casts it.

MARISHA: He can double–

LIAM: That’s the only thing that’s within reach of one sorcery point, right?

MATT: That’s– the suude gives him access to a specific metamagic based on the color of the suude, and he gets a point. The more you use to get more points, the higher the DC gets, and the closer you get to overdosing.

TALIESIN: Ah, I love it! This is the worst thing ever!

MARISHA: So he could theoretically die by doing this.

LIAM: Hey, man, it’s just another version of Craven Edge.

TALIESIN: No, it’s great, yeah. This is weirdly–

TRAVIS: Yeah, except I had it all under control.

LAURA: Sure.

MARISHA: So wait, he can double the length of one spell.

MATT: Yeah, a single spell that has a duration, he can use that sorcery point to double the duration of that spell.

MARISHA: The duration of one spell.

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: And it could be– wait, question.

MATT: So if it’s one minute concentration, it can be two minutes concentration.

MARISHA: What if it’s one action? Could it be two actions? He could do it back to back?

MATT: No. The duration, not the casting time. Those are different. The duration is once you cast it, how long it lasts before it expires.

LAURA: So like a mansion we could have for two days.

TALIESIN: Two-day mansion!

MATT: Actually, no, it says specifically as part of the metamagic ability that it has a maximum of 24 hours. So if it already has a 24 hour duration, you cannot.

LAURA: Just kidding.

MARISHA: So only if it’s below 24 hours.

TALIESIN: The large print giveth and the small print taketh away.

(laughter)

MATT: That’s a beautiful quote.

TALIESIN: Tom Waits, everybody. Tom Waits, bless him.

LIAM: (Tom Waits voice) What’s Percy building in there?

TRAVIS: Patrick, how much did you heal, brother?

PATRICK: I’m up to 94.

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: I dig this. We got this.

MARISHA: One sorcery, double, okay. All right, all right. Holy shit.

LIAM: I found nothing in the further area, right?

MATT: No traps. You came to the edge of the stairs that lead down for about 20 or so feet, and then progress an even path, and then disappear below what your visual is able to see from above.

MARISHA: Keyleth is going to just, before this short rest, is going to give one Cure Wounds to herself.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

MARISHA: Just to top me off.

LIAM: Kerr, is your hammer still aglow?

PATRICK: If you want light, I can do light.

LIAM: I wanna know if it’s aglow right now. Did you have a chance to pop it out?

PATRICK: It probably is unless somebody told me to turn it off.

LIAM: Okay. So I figured it was probably still on.

MATT: Yeah, it’s still currently being the central source of light in this room.

LIAM: How far down the stairs do I see from where I am?

MATT: From where you are, you can see all the way to the bottom of the 20 feet of stairs, but the roof of the tunnel cuts off the rest of the path, so you have to go out further to look out where it goes.

MARISHA: Keyleth is at 116 hit points.

MATT: Cool, got it.

LIAM: Put that out, please, Kerr?

PATRICK: Okay, I snuff it.

LIAM: I’m gonna go stealth, and I’m gonna go down to the bottom of the steps. And I’ve already checked for traps– oh no, I didn’t, up to this point, so I’m gonna check for traps as I go down the steps.

MATT: Okay, stealth first.

LIAM: Which is 25. Am I still under Pass Without a Trace?

MATT: No, because she cast–

LIAM: 25.

MATT: 25, okay. And then make an investigation check.

LIAM: Natural 20 for that.

MATT: You make your way down the stairs into the next bit of the hallway. No traps. The stonework here now is getting a little more refined the further you go, and as you look out the hallway, you have another 25, 30 feet of this 20-foot-wide, 20-foot-tall hallway before it seems to just end and drop off. And you can see what looks to be the gap in another wall about 25 feet across from that.

LIAM: Okay. So hallway goes a ways, then there’s nothing, and then 20 feet past that–

MATT: And then just a wall on the other side.

LIAM: So a gap and then a wall?

MATT: Yeah, looks like it goes down or up. You’d have to get closer to get more detail.

TALIESIN: I keep meaning to build something for something like this. I just haven’t had the time.

LAURA: Oh, you know what, darling, don’t worry. You can use the carpet.

LIAM: On the earring: team, there’s a passage down ahead of me. There’s no traps, I don’t think.

LAURA: So let’s walk up there.

LIAM: Yeah, catch up with me and then pause, and then either I or my sister and I will move ahead?

TALIESIN: And just let us know which direction you think we should head, Vex.

LAURA: Of course.

LIAM: Did you mean Vax or did you mean Vex? Just want to be really sure. Because people make mistakes a lot.

LAURA: They do, they really do.

TALIESIN: I do, I know I do. That wasn’t a mistake, though.

LIAM: Very similar.

TALIESIN: Love you madly.

LIAM: All right. I know you’re talking to Vax.

TALIESIN: That was for Vex. Vax. Which one?

MATT: Trinket can use his own hit dice to heal, if you wanted to.

LAURA: Okay, then he healed himself while we were rested, but he’s in the necklace so that we can fly if we have to.

MATT: That’s fine. Okay, so yeah, you can go ahead and heal him up. Vax, you move ahead?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Okay, as they start catching up with you, you hear them stepping down the stairs behind you, you come up to the edge, and now what you see is a 25-foot circular almost cylinder. There is a ceiling maybe about five feet above you, and nothing there, but what you do see is about a three-foot-wide spiral staircase that just leads down and down and down. And you cannot see where it ends at the bottom.

LIAM: Is it a staircase where I’m forced to walk, or is it stairs on the walls and empty space down the center of it?

MATT: Empty space down the center of it, and it’s just a two-and-a-half- or three-foot-wide staircase that goes along the edge, and that’s all you have to walk on.

LIAM: Ah. I’m going to float out above it and look for traps down the cylinder.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Why don’t you tie the endless rope to yourself so we can pull you up–

LIAM: I’ve got wings.

LAURA: But they’re only out for an hour, dear.

LIAM: 18.

MATT: 18, okay. As you slowly drift down, keeping your wings, you hover further down, maybe incrementally ten feet at a time, looking around, looking at the stairs. You don’t notice anything trapped. It all seems pretty standard. The stones are old, they’re a little smooth at the edges, what were once kind of very, very rigid and square protrusions from the stone seemingly have a little rubbed off.

LIAM: At or near the bottom, doorway, passage?

MATT: As you get closer to the bottom, and as you get about roughly 100 feet down before you actually reach the bottom, but you begin to see below you, there are, right in the center of the spiral downward, a cluster of four-foot-long kind of deep brown or maroon-colored iron spikes that are all just jutting upward in slightly off-kilter directions, and there is a very, very heavy pile of splintered bones and long-mummified dead corpses that are currently just piled up at the base of these spikes, some still impaled, many of which have slowly rotted and fallen apart.

LIAM: Over the earring, I didn’t see any traps going down, but there’s some bloody spikes down here and some dead things, so Vex, dear, could you load everyone onto the carpet and get on your broom and go down and just float down to the center and leave the stairs alone?

LAURA: Of course. The carpet can fit everybody.

MATT: The carpet can carry 600 pounds. That’s roughly four people, or a Grog. 800 pounds.

LAURA: Grog and one person.

TRAVIS: I’m more than 450, so.

MATT: Grog and maybe two people.

LAURA: So I can get Scanlan–

MATT: You currently have ten people traveling with you.

TALIESIN: So here’s an interesting thing. We don’t have an immovable bar anymore, we left those both outside. All right, that’s fine. Let’s–

LAURA: What’s at the bottom of the stairs? I mean, can we drop people off and go back in?

LIAM: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can come up for Pike, bring her down, we could just take a minute to–

TALIESIN: We could shuttle or use a rope.

LAURA: Let’s shuttle-bus.

LIAM: And what around the spikes, is there a safe portion on the floor?

LAURA: A safe landing?

MATT: There is a very, very– kind of where the outer trim is of the stairway, the stonework travels around it, and then underneath the stairway there is a small opening that leads into a further passageway.

LAURA: Is it safe to walk into the passageway?

TRAVIS: Pretty sure we should just take the stairs.

LAURA: Pretty sure we should just use the brazier and light it.

TALIESIN: I will avoid cardio at all costs.

LIAM: 22 investigating for traps for that passage down behind the spikes.

MATT: Okay. I mean, just glancing around the archway, it’s not a closed doorway, just an archway, and then a dark tunnel beyond that, it does not appear to be trapped.

LIAM: All right. Best I can tell, it’s okay. I’m not 100% sure, but there’s dead people down here, so I just want you guys to float down the middle, let’s get this done.

TALIESIN: Grog first?

LIAM: 'kay.

TRAVIS: I’m game.

LAURA: I’m gonna grab Scanlan on the broom. You grab Pike.

LIAM: I’m shooting up, yeah.

LAURA: Okay, and then we’ll take the gnomes and Grog down and then come back up.

LIAM: I kinda wanna move as fast as we can.

MATT: Okay, so who’s doing what? Okay, you guys just threw a bunch of stuff at me right now.

LIAM: I flew back up.

MATT: You flew back up.

LIAM: We take the gnomes down.

LAURA: Yeah, I’ve got– I want Pike on my broom.

LIAM: I take my little drug-addled buddy, not that I know that, and I float him down, and I plant the gnomes down together.

MATT: Okay, so you have Scanlan, you have Pike. Okay. You guys enter the center area and begin coasting downward. You notice a faint blue glow above you in the ceiling. As you glance up, you watch as a glyph begins to slowly–

TALIESIN: Dispel Magic.

MATT: Dispel Magic from Scanlan right now? Okay, have Scanlan go ahead and roll an ability check.

TALIESIN: Ability check? Okay, I will admit, I have no idea what I’m doing.

MATT: For this, 'cause he can’t cast as a reaction, and this would technically be your reaction, as it’s already been triggered, I wanna have you go ahead and roll an initiative check.

MARISHA: Is this a spell attack bonus?

MATT: Huh?

MARISHA: What? What ability check?

MATT: This would be a charisma, plus six and plus two. It’s plus eight to whatever you roll, but first, I need you to go ahead and roll initiative. Technically you would not be able to do this as it’s not really a reaction.

MARISHA: His charisma plus his proficiency bonus.

MATT: Not for the ability check on Dispel Magic. 19? That’s 17. So yes. Go ahead and roll a d20 and add eight.

MARISHA: Big money, no whammies.

TALIESIN: 21.

MATT: 21, okay. As he streaks upward and releases the spell, you watch as the glyph that was glowing–

TALIESIN: (sings) Rock glyph! You don’t have to turn on the blue light. Rock glyph! You don’t have to give our bodies to the spikes. Love you, Sam. Love you.

TRAVIS: That was good!

MARISHA: That was good, get some Police up in here.

TALIESIN: Brought it all the way back for you.

MATT: So. You guys manage to continue all the way downward, flying, you place both of the gnomes at the base, safely by the spikes.

LIAM: Oh man, I plant him down, I give him a big fat kiss right between the eyes, you fucking beautiful bastard! Whack!

LAURA: What was that? What was that? Sam? Scanlan?

TALIESIN: I have no idea. It just looked dangerous, and I figured that’s better safe than sorry.

LAURA: Do you think it’s broken now? Can we get other people from–

TALIESIN: Sure, they’ll be fine.

LIAM: I fly back up right away. Keep this train moving.

TRAVIS: On the carpet? I’m ready?

LIAM: I bring Kima down.

LAURA: Grog and Allura can fit on the carpet, right?

TRAVIS: Just me, I think.

LIAM: She’s wafer-thin.

TRAVIS: What do you think? Me and Allura, or just me?

MATT: You and one other person could probably get on.

LAURA: Okay, then, oh god. Maybe, could you take, when you fly back up–

TALIESIN: I’ll go with you, 'cause I’m fine. So I have options.

LIAM: Is Kima down?

MATT: You go ahead and begin to carry Kima down without an issue, yeah.

LAURA: Okay, I go back up and get Percy. We have Kerr and Allura and Keyleth left.

LIAM: Allura.

MATT: Okay, so you grab Allura, bring her down below.

LIAM: I hope this is all right.

LAURA: I grab Percy on the broom and come down.

TRAVIS: Who else is left up top?

LAURA: I feel like– wait, I pause before we go down the stairs, 'cause I’m like, there was this blue light that happened before, and Scanlan made it stop.

TALIESIN: Oh no, we saw.

LAURA: How do we not let that happen this time?

TALIESIN: Did we make it down and nothing happened?

MATT: Most of you made it down. Kerrek has not come down–

MARISHA: Who hasn’t made it down? Have I made it down?

MATT: Keyleth hasn’t made it down yet.

LAURA: I thought you already went down on the carpet. No?

MATT: Grog hasn’t made it yet. So you’ve carried everybody but Grog, Kerrek, and Keyleth.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: I mean, whatever the time is needed. Go up, grab Keyleth, bring her down, go up–

MARISHA: What’s going on with the blue light?

MATT: It doesn’t seem to be having an effect right now.

LIAM: I just grabbed up Kerrek.

LAURA: You can carry Kerrek?

MATT: Kerrek’s pretty heavy. I need you to make a strength check.

LIAM: (laughs) Best one ever. 21.

LAURA: You’re so strong! Oh my god! You’ve been lifting, bro!

MATT: It’s a bit of a strain with the weight of his armor and getting up in his years, versus your tiny half-elf frame, but you do manage to bring him down without issue.

LIAM: (strained) The Raven Queen sends her regards.

LAURA: Grog.

PATRICK: I’m getting to hug all the boys in this adventure.

(laughter)

PATRICK: This is Kerrek’s best day ever.

TALIESIN: Somebody’s got a coupon for a back massage. Welcome to Vox Machina. You seem tense.

MARISHA: That’s what we pay you in.

LIAM: I’m sure we just killed ten minutes doing all that shit.

LAURA: Groggy, can you come down?

TRAVIS: Is it just me and Keyleth?

MATT: Yeah, it’s just the two of you up there. No, he brought Keyleth down. So it’s just you.

TRAVIS: Okay. First, I stand on the carpet. I say, lift!

MATT: The carpet takes you off the ground. You have to kinda get your–

TRAVIS: No, I lay down flat. And I grab the edges of the carpet, and I go, okay!

And try to go down.

MATT: Okay. You go into a pseudo-nosedive. It’s thrilling and scary at the same moment, and as you’re going up, Grog just goes past you.

TRAVIS: Stop, stop, stop!

MATT: And it just barely coasts past the spikes and lets you fine on the side.

TALIESIN: It’s about the speed of the children’s rides at Fantasyland at Disneyland, right?

MATT: Yeah, it’s not super fast. Magic carpet can go about as fast as a person, especially this size. The smaller they are, the faster they are. This is a very big one, but not very fast.

LIAM: All right. Vax does a barrel roll, heads back down, lands, and let’s start looking around again. All right, stealth, traps, still vigilant.

MATT: Indeed.

LIAM: For stealth, that’s a 28, and investigating for traps, ooh, that’s a one, and I’m not gonna use my Luck on it.

MATT: All righty.

LIAM: I’m not. Seems clear. We’re good. I am badass.

MATT: So, as you guys have reached the bottom of this cylindrical chamber, you follow suit, one by one, which by the way, just so I know going forward, what’s the marching order right now?

LIAM: Vax in the front.

PATRICK: I’m by Grog.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Yeah, baby!

MATT: Grog, where are you at?

TRAVIS: I’ll be behind the twins.

MARISHA: I’ll be behind Grog. Kerr, with Grog.

MATT: Percy, where are you at?

TALIESIN: I think probably, maybe Scanlan and Pike are in front of me, and then I’m probably hanging back with Kima and Allura, just sort of ready to– I want to be at a distance.

LAURA: And Trinket’s–

MATT: Trinket is out now?

LAURA: Trinket’s still in my necklace. He’s healing in the necklace.

MATT: Okay. So, moving forward, following Vax’s lead–

LAURA: I’m just gonna stay on the broom and just kind of very close to the ground, but not touching the ground.

MATT: Okay. So the hallway’s probably 20 feet wide and 15 feet tall, as you push forward. The walls are chiseled rather roughly, and about 30 feet forward ahead of you, you can see it ends at a cross-section of what looks like a very deep ravine, both above and below. There is an underground chasm here that stretches both to the right and left, though you’d have to get to the very edge to kind of see how far it goes. It’s about 60 feet across to the other side, and you can see what looks to be another entranceway to another hallway, and there is a taut rope bridge bolted to each side leading across.

TRAVIS: We should just use that.

LAURA: Totally.

MARISHA: That looks safe.

LIAM: Jeez, we just blew so much time on that fucking stairwell.

MARISHA: Guys, in Latin, Jehovah starts with an 'i’.

LAURA: It’s a leap of faith!

LIAM: Should’ve sent you to the Marx brothers.

TALIESIN: When he said 'chiseled rather roughly’, he meant Brad Pitt.

LAURA: How long until your wings stop working?

LIAM: I don’t know. Ten or 15, I guess?

LAURA: Zoinks.

LIAM: Zoinks.

MATT: Your wings went out before the battle and you took a long rest, your wings are pretty much done now. 30 minutes to an hour.

LIAM: Yeah, I thought we were cutting it close, like it could be five or ten minutes at this point.

MATT: Between riding everyone up and down, I’m letting you know, right now, Mr. Already Flying Everywhere, your wings are about expended.

LIAM: All right. Should I stand on the ground?

MATT: That’s up to you. Do you want to keep flying until they’re gone, or do you want to sit there?

LIAM: I’m gonna fly to the other side of the bridge right now.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: I’m gonna go with him. On my broom.

MATT: Okay. So. You get about five feet out before the wings go (fsh).

LIAM: Over nothing?

MATT: Looking down, you see darkness, and there’s a few stalagtites that–

LIAM: I throw a dagger at the other side of the chasm, 60 feet, sharpshooter, into the side near the top. Whisper.

LAURA: This is why I went on the broom, I was gonna catch you.

LIAM: As an attack?

MATT: You’re attacking just the wall above, or–

LIAM: There’s a cliff facing me, right? Yeah, just into the rock wall of the cliff. 20.

MATT: 20, okay. The dagger hits the edge, and you appear right at the edge of the cliff. You’re gonna try to reach and grab. Make a dexterity saving throw.

LIAM: 22.

MATT: Okay, so you grab and get up on the other side.

LAURA: Jesus! Small heart attack over here.

MATT: You didn’t even really fall for a moment. Vex, you’re floating across, and it feels strange, going across. There’s no wind, but the broom is acting extremely wobbly, and the way you control it and maneuver around, you feel almost drunk, but you’re not. This is not acting properly.

LAURA: I’m gonna turn around and go back to the–

MATT: Okay, so you head back?

LAURA: That was weird. It doesn’t feel right.

TALIESIN: Okay, I’m going to grab on to the bridge, I’m going to test it, I’m going to step to see if it’s real. I’m checking it.

MATT: Okay. You take your hands there, holding, and you put your foot out onto the wood, and it’s sturdy. It’s strong.

TRAVIS: (laughs) You bastard.

MARISHA: I go up to the edge of the rope bridge that Percy’s now standing on. I lean down and on the dirt I cast Druidcraft. Can I craft some vines to help reinforce the bridge?

MATT: With Druidcraft, you can create some small vines that wrap around it, and it might help in some regard, but not a lot. Druidcraft is a very limited cantrip.

TALIESIN: I’m gonna grab one end of the infinite rope, and I’m gonna hand the other end of the infinite rope to someone who’s staying. I think that I pose a good chance of getting across this safely. I’m going to make a run for it. Well, not a run.

TRAVIS: Are you literally going to run?

TALIESIN: No, I’m going to walk. Gingerly.

TRAVIS: Oh. So you’re gonna make a walk for it.

TALIESIN: I’m tying the rope– That may be one of the smartest things you’ve ever said. I don’t actually have a retort for it on any level.

TRAVIS: I don’t know why– what is 'retort’? Okay.

TALIESIN: It means if I die, you win. I’m going to tie the infinite rope to myself and hand it off to Grog. Oh god. I’m handing it to Grog. And I’m going to start gingerly stepping out onto the bridge, being very careful, and checking with each step that’s it’s real, and looking for weird glyphs or signs or anything out of the ordinary.

LAURA: Percy? Be careful.

MATT: Make a dexterity check.

MARISHA: As this happens, Scanlan sings, hey Percy, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Percy! Hey Percy! Hey Percy, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, with your gun! With your gun! And then he gets a point of inspiration.

MATT: All right, so you get your d12 inspiration die.

TRAVIS: Marisha, that was really nice.

MARISHA: Thank you. I feel like I had the same witty repartee as Sam Riegel.

LIAM: Okay, okay, now just smile and make the smile as big as Manhattan.

MATT: Dexterity saving throw.

TALIESIN: That’s not bad. That’s 22.

MATT: That’s really good. All right, so as you start stepping out, you feel this shift in the space, and you grab on to the edges of the–

TALIESIN: I’m also using my boots, and I’m gluing them to whatever the– yeah.

MATT: Right. And as you glue the boots there, that’s really what solidifies you in place, and you’re still there, on the bridge, without a problem.

TALIESIN: Are things just getting weird out here?

MATT: It feels weird. You can’t quite understand what’s transpiring, but it just feels weird.

LAURA: Allura. It felt like almost I was drunk as I was flying across that. Do you know–

MATT: “I don’t think it’s drunk, per se, it’s just that you’re not used to flying in that direction.” And she points out towards the ravine, and you watch as Percy, who’s kind of holding onto the ravine, feet solid, his hair is just up.

LIAM: Gravity is fucked.

TALIESIN: Well, this will be fine. Is gravity flipped?

MATT: As you hear this conversation, it seems that way, yeah.

TALIESIN: I’m going to spider-climb. I’m just going to use my spider-climb boots, and I’m going to make my way, with the rope.

MATT: You do so. Make it across the way. The wood shivers a little bit, shifts beneath your feet, being pulled upward from your weight. You guys watch as the bridge that was once taut is now arcing up and following Percy as he moves across, his weight pulling it upward.

MARISHA: That’s cool.

LAURA: So can I try flying out there, knowing the gravity’s shifted? Does it feel okay to fly out like that?

MATT: As you fly out and spin yourself underneath– yes, you do actually manage to fly, essentially barrel roll across, and manage to make it across to your brother without an issue.

LAURA: Oh, I didn’t want to go all the way across, I just wanted to test it so I could help bring other people across.

TALIESIN: We’ve got now a third rope, we can literally just clip people to the rope, now.

LIAM: It was like pole-dancing, but in space? Upside-down?

TALIESIN: We can use the rope we just made as a clipped rappel rope, can we? That’s a thing that we can do.

LAURA: Potentially?

TALIESIN: If everybody wants to try and cross, we can actually– we now have an unencumbered piece that we can use to get people across.

TRAVIS: I’m gonna jump.

LIAM: No, no, that’s a bad idea, Grog. You are very hefty and the gravity turns upside-down.

TALIESIN: There’s probably spikes up there.

LAURA: Grog, did you see how I barrel-rolled on my broom?

TRAVIS: Yeah, do I twist in the air?

LAURA: Yeah, you should just do the same thing on the carpet.

LIAM: Wait, what if he took the carpet and hung off the bottom of it on the first side and then as he made his way over, he’d be all right. You know what I mean?

LAURA: I don’t know.

MATT: Vex, Vax, and Keyleth, as you guys are having this conversation, something catches the corner of your eye, and you watch something just go (tss), just whizz past from the bottom of the ravine to the top.

LIAM: We saw that. We saw that.

MATT: You saw something quickly just go by.

LAURA: Can I get a better look, can I look and see if I see it again?

MATT: Yeah, the three of you guys make a perception check as you kind of come up to the edge and look.

LIAM: 26.

MARISHA: 14.

LAURA: Is this related to dragons?

MATT: This is not related to dragons.

LAURA: Then that is a 21.

LIAM: 26.

MATT: All right. So you’re seeing little things, just right out of the middle of the light, you can see something shifting above and below you. You guys have a little better view. You still can’t quite see– the length of your Darkvision is too far for you to see what is below you or necessarily what’s above–

MARISHA: Can I, as a quick reaction, grab the rope bridge?

MATT: Yeah. So you’re still off to the side, just holding onto the bridge? Okay. You are beginning to watch what looks to be figures. Humanoid bodies.

TALIESIN: Oh, I have a theory.

MATT: Just tumbling past. One of them hits the edge of the bridge and it keeps spinning off as it disappears into the darkness above.

TALIESIN: I have a weird theory. I’m going to grab– what do I have that I can do this with?

LIAM: But they look like spirits falling upwards?

MATT: You watch a couple more go by, and they are nearly skeletal bodies falling upward. But, as you watch a couple more go by, they’re limp, somewhat, but still moving as they scoot past.

LAURA: Let’s just get across here, shall we?

LIAM: I’m going to use Divine Sense, now. Just to confirm.

MATT: You wait about a minute or so before one comes close enough to hit the sense, but there is an undead energy that passes past, and both you and Kerr have this moment from across the ravine from each other, seeing this.

PATRICK: Gonna throw up the horns.

LIAM: That’s me to you, man.

TALIESIN: Try and clock them, see if it’s the same bodies over and over again. If it’s an infinite loop of falling.

MARISHA: An infinite loop of falling?

LAURA: Okay, so I wanna get a good look at one of them as they go by.

LIAM: Oh, it’s a gif.

MARISHA: Six seconds.

MATT: Three or four more stumble past, and they’re getting more and more rapid. And they’re different sizes, they do not appear to be the same bodies.

LAURA: I pick up Pike and try to barrel roll across.

MATT: Okay. Barrel roll across. As you’re making it across, three more come tumbling up, two of them too far away, but one of them does reach out with its arms as it tumbles past you, and swats out to try and grab you. I need you to make an acrobatics check.

LIAM: You got this. Oh, you got such a bonus. Come on, girl!

TRAVIS: Such a bonus, huh? Such a bonus. Look at Matt’s face. Look at his face.

TALIESIN: Oh, fuck no.

MARISHA: Oh, come on. No, come on.

LIAM: Do they both make that roll?

MATT: She’s the one driving the broom. She’s having to try and maneuver.

TALIESIN: I was about to interject, and I know that I didn’t make that fast enough, but at some point I would already like to be moving to interject in this.

MATT: Right, as you’re watching them start going across, you get a step out onto the bridge–

TALIESIN: I’m not going onto the bridge, I’m pulling out my gun–

LAURA: Oh wait, Pike has a thing that she can help people with their–

TRAVIS: War God’s Blessing?

MATT: That’s an attack roll.

LAURA: Damn it!

MATT: War gods don’t help you survive, they help you kill shit.

TRAVIS: Do what you’re gonna do, Mercer.

TALIESIN: I was gonna start skeet-shooting at some point, so.

MATT: Understood, but before we get to that. So the creature grabs you and essentially grapples you in the moment. As that happens, the momentum of pulling you up causes the broom to shift out of whack, and you begin to careen in a slight circle. I need you and Pike to both make strength saving throws.

PATRICK: How far away is this?

MATT: They’re about 30 feet from you.

MARISHA: What about from Keyleth?

MATT: About the same, so you guys are on the other side of the ravine.

LAURA: She’s got a plus four on strength. Nine for me.

LIAM: 13 for Pike.

MATT: So. Okay. So Pike’s on the broom with you. You get grabbed and yanked off the broom. Pike manages to hold the broom, but currently Pike is not the current driver of it, and so she’s clutching a broom that’s just floating in the gravity. You watch as both Pike and Vex go from careening off to tumbling upward into the darkness above.

MARISHA: Are they both attached to the broom?

MATT: No. Vex is pulled off the broom.

TALIESIN: But she’s still tethered.

MATT: She’s still tethered, yeah.

MARISHA: Does Keyleth have an action?

MATT: Right now, the two of you can both make an action.

TALIESIN: All right, my first action, I was just pulling to try and skeet-shoot and sharpshoot with Bad News to hit the undead that had grappled her, and I assume I have spend a grit to get him to let go. To shove him off.

MATT: Because of the nature of the rapid movement, you are at a disadvantage on this attack.

MARISHA: You still have the inspiration, right?

TALIESIN: I still have that d12 inspiration.

LIAM: Matt? Watching this, I’m going to pull Whisper out and watch to see my sister falling through the air, and if I see her falling, I’m going to throw the dagger at her.

MATT: Okay. She’s falling.

LIAM: Down or up?

MATT: Up.

LIAM: I’m watching him and I’m watching her, and if she goes– how far away is she from me?

MATT: Right now, she’s about 30 feet out from the ravine, and now tumbling upward, she’s about 50 feet from you.

MARISHA: 'Cause he’s on the other side, correct?

TALIESIN: Oh, for fuck’s sake, really?

MATT: Misfire?

TALIESIN: Misfire.

MARISHA: All righty. Keyleth’s gonna go. Seeing Percy misfire, Keyleth is going to grab a Grasping Vine on the side of the wall, and she’s going to go for that broom. 'Cause both Pike and her are still grabbing onto that broom, yeah?

LIAM: And I’m throwing Whisper at Vex. I’m doing it.

MATT: The vine, unfortunately, only has a range of 30 feet.

MARISHA: You said she was 30 feet away.

MATT: She’s 30 feet out from the center of the ravine and is now 15, 20 feet up in the air.

MARISHA: Can she not hit the wall, get a vine off the side of the wall and bring her down?

MATT: The opposite side? Maybe.

MARISHA: I’ve got a 60-foot range to this spell, plus 30 feet from the Grasping Vine, right? Or is it 30 and 30? I thought you were still grabbing onto the–

LAURA: I’m tethered to the broom.

MARISHA: To the broom, and Pike’s still grabbing onto the broom, yeah? I’m going for the broom. Come on, man!

(laughter)

MATT: Look, I’m trying to work out– you guys do a lot of things really fast. I’m trying, I’m working with you, so please bear with me on this.

MARISHA: Grasping Vine! What? What?

LIAM: You’re like a loan officer.

MATT: I wouldn’t recommend doing that or I won’t give you a chance to even do it. Don’t taunt the DM.

LIAM: I want to sell you this house, but there’s some shit we need to go over.

MATT: So. I’m going to ask you, Keyleth, to go ahead and make just a general dexterity check.

MARISHA: Just general dex? What?

MATT: This is how fast you’re able to enchant a spell, which requires an incantation and the release of the spell’s effect, thus summoning the vine and causing it to lash out. This is just a general, base DC, I need you to go ahead and just roll and add your dexterity modifier.

LAURA: You got it, you got it.

MARISHA: I love you.

LAURA: I love you.

MARISHA: That was a natural 19, so that is plus my dex, which is plus two, so 21. Hah!

LAURA: Don’t hah, don’t hah the DM!

MARISHA: I mean, (yells, grunts).

MATT: So, as Bad News misfires, you watch as the front of it just, this burst of black smoke bursts outward, and this look of utter horror on Percy’s face. Keyleth rushes out, and grabbing the edge of the rope bridge to get enough of a reach out there, you watch as her hair lifts up and part of her body begins to just drift upward, but she holds on and reaches out with the staff, and, using the strength of her force of will, the edge of the stone above the ravine cracks open and suddenly you watch where there is no life, a piercing flash of dark green shoots outward, a vine freshly grown from the edge of the stonework reaches out and grabs, wrapping around the broom itself and holding it taut. You watch as the vine and the entire group shifts upward. You’re suddenly pulled, you’re still grappled by this undead zombie-like corpse, and Pike is currently clutching onto the broom as hard as she can as you both impact at the end. With your weight and the creature’s weight, I now get to see if the–

LAURA: Vine holds?

MATT: Well, not the vine. The vine magically holds. It’s the chain that attaches you to the broom. Yeah, okay. So that holds. It goes taut, you’re held there. The creature’s still clutching you right now.

LAURA: Are my arms restrained?

MATT: Your arms are held to, yeah. Actually, 'cause you’re still held there, I want you to go ahead and make another acrobatics check.

LIAM: Holy fuck.

LAURA: Acrobatics. That’s Pike. Acrobatics. 25.

MATT: 25. So it does not progress into restrained. You’re still grappled, it’s still holding on to you, but you manage to swivel out of its grasp, as it’s trying to pull you in, and it’s starting to try and bite into you. As you glance upward, now that you’re drifting, dangling roughly 60 feet up, you look up, and you can see what is the top of the ravine, and it is a writhing mass of hundreds and hundreds of undead corpses that are all reaching out for you, their different-boned claws all extended, going (rasping), trying to just pull you towards them into empty air, as you dangle, looking up into that.

LIAM: This is fine.

LAURA: Oh. My. God.

MARISHA: Everything’s okay.

LAURA: Everything’s fine, you guys.

MATT: At which point, the vine pulls the broom, Pike, you, and the creature up towards the edge of the wall. So you’re still 30 feet up, but you’re slammed into the side of the wall, now, the vine is just holding the broom taut against the edge of the rocks.

MARISHA: Sorry!

LAURA: No, I love you! You’re amazing! Can I just take out– I just have a dagger, can I pull out my dagger and try to jam it up into the zombie’s– under his chin?

MATT: Go for it. It’s going to attempt to bite attack you, by the way. Which it does not do with a two. Just getting your armor, gnawing on the leather.

LAURA: Oh, it’s all zombie drool! I am really bad at regular attacks. What do I add to this?

MATT: You add your dexterity and your proficiency modifier. So it would be plus ten, I think.

LAURA: So 20.

MATT: Okay, yeah, so you jam it with the dagger. Go ahead and roll damage. That’s 1d4 plus your dexterity modifier.

LAURA: Oh, plus my dexterity. I didn’t roll a 20, I rolled–

MATT: It’s a d4 plus five, is what you’re rolling for damage.

LAURA: Eight.

MATT: Okay, so eight damage. You jam the dagger up into its jaw and throat, and it slaps it out of the way. You can see it’s damaged, but it’s still holding on. The creature’s now grabbing onto you and slamming you into the wall best it can.

LAURA: What is Pike doing?

MATT: Pike is just holding onto the broom right now. She’s going to attempt to– actually, what she would do in this moment would be Turn Undead. 'Cause that’s what clerics do.

LAURA: I didn’t even see that spell, where’s that spell?

MATT: It’s not a spell, it’s her Channel Divinity ability.

PATRICK: Yeah, it’s Channel Divinity, but I couldn’t do it from the edge of the pit. It’s 30 feet.

MATT: Yeah, you have to be closer from there. Okay, so it has to make a saving throw, which it does not make. So as you look over and this zombie’s biting at you and you’re trying to jam at it, Pike, who’s holding onto the broom, grabs the symbol of Sarenrae from around her neck and looks up and just closes her eyes for a second, and as they flash open again, there’s no pupils, just white, bright, vibrant, radiant eyes. This small shockwave bursts off her, and you watch as the zombie goes (gasps) just turns into ash and disintegrates, its body just tumbling in chunks and pieces up into the ravine above you.

LAURA: So I would look down at Pike.

MATT: Yes, and then up at where the zombie went. Pike is below you, still holding onto the broom.

LAURA: You’re amazing! That was amazing! This was a mistake. How do we get down?

MATT: “I don’t know. Keyleth?”

MARISHA: I’m holding on, man.

LIAM: Where’s the carpet, where’s the carpet, where’s the carpet?

TALIESIN: The carpet is not what we need.

MATT: A few more corpses start tumbling up.

TALIESIN: The rope that is currently tied at the other end of the ravine, where they’re currently above us, right?

MATT: Yes, they’re about 30 feet above you guys on the opposite side.

TALIESIN: I’m going to try and reverse rappel with the rope, the other end of the endless rope, up to them.

MARISHA: Also, as a bonus action, I can switch the direction of the vine to lash out at the same creature as a bonus action, so can I grasp a vine and hand them off and stair-step them down?

MATT: No, the vine is attached at a base, it’s almost like it grew out of the ground, so what Grasping Vine allows you to do, is you can– wherever it’s based at, it pulls it to it.

MARISHA: Right. It just says, until the spell ends, you can direct the vine to lash out at the same creature on my bonus action. So.

MATT: It doesn’t do damage. What it does is it just grasps and pulls towards it. So what you can do is, each turn you can change the target. If you change the target, it’s gonna release the broom and they’re both gonna tumble up.

MARISHA: Well, I don’t wanna do that. But I can’t change the origin of the vine?

MATT: Not without casting the spell again.

TALIESIN: I’m gonna reverse-Batman this shit.

MATT: All right, so you start reverse-rappelling up the side. What’s everyone else doing?

LIAM: Where’s Grog and the flying carpet?

MATT: Grog, Kerrek, and Keyleth are all still on the other side with Kima and Allura. They’re all on the other side of the ravine.

LIAM: Get off the rug, get off the rug. Get off the rug, now, please.

MARISHA: I’m not on the rug!

LIAM: Isn’t anyone on the rug? That’s why I asked.

MATT: The rug is still with them, it’s on the other side.

LIAM: Back where it was. Shit.

MATT: Nobody’s taken the rug across–

TALIESIN: The rug’s a terrible idea, right now, anyway.

TRAVIS: I can’t get on the rug, so one of you lighter people, will you go get those two, please?

TALIESIN: I’m just, I’m going up super fucking fast.

MATT: Okay, so you rappel up the side. While they’re holding on there, one more corpse tumbles up past. It’s going to attempt to–

LAURA: Can I– no, I can’t do that. I’m like floating, basically. Basically I’m like falling and just held onto a broom that’s being held onto the wall.

MATT: Right now, if you were to try and take a shot, you could try, but you’d be at disadvantage for all your attacks.

LAURA: I want to try to– any zombies or undead that come near us, I want to try to shoot them and at least ricochet.

MATT: Okay, well, one comes tumbling past. What are you doing, Kerr?

PATRICK: If nobody else on this side is getting on this carpet, then I will.

MATT: Okay, so Kerrek hops on the carpet and it begins to lift above the ground.

MARISHA: Can I get on it as well and still maintain the concentration on my Grasping Vine?

TRAVIS: But why would you do that, because you’ve gotta put two people on that carpet?

MARISHA: What?

TRAVIS: We’re trying to put them on the carpet, right?

TALIESIN: It can hold four or five people.

MARISHA: I’m trying to hold the concentration on their Grasping Vine so they don’t get fucked. So I’m going to get on the carpet.

TRAVIS: You know, if you get hit by something that falls.

MARISHA: That’s true. But I have advantage on concentration checks these days.

MATT: Allura–

LAURA: Oh my god.

TALIESIN: Hang on, I’m coming.

LAURA: Yeah, no, that’s the thing. Percy’s on his way to save us, so you guys just try to hold onto that carpet.

TALIESIN: Get across, we need people to pull us back.

MARISHA: Also, Grasping Vine’s not a concentration spell. It’s a bonus action, and– no, no, it’s a concentration spell.

MATT: Allura, watching this happen, grabs Kima and Dimension Doors across to the other side, sets Kima aside, and just stays there, waiting carefully.

MARISHA: Scanlan does have Dimension Door.

LAURA: He does. He could do it for himself.

MATT: And one other person of equal size, which is only Pike. And Kima, technically, but Kima’s already gotten across.

LAURA: That sucks, 'cause Scanlan could’ve taken Kima.

TALIESIN: Scanlan also has a plan, if you guys are about to really fucking die.

MATT: So you’re just waiting. Kerrek and Keyleth are going across. Are you guys going just directly across, or are you going towards Vex and–

PATRICK: Well, if they were to fall, I’m heading wherever below that is, toward them, to offer support if they lose it. I’m also ready to Turn Undead if a big cluster of these things comes towards us.

MARISHA: I’m maintaining concentration while floating next to Kerr on the carpet.

MATT: All right, so you guys, as the carpet heads out, you hearing the carpet as you move forward, Kerrek, you barrel roll the carpet and begin heading upward to float underneath where Pike and Vex will be. As you begin heading upward, it’s funny you mention that. What were singular bodies tumbling upward are now groupings. Four or five, almost chained together, like these small balls of just limbs and bones and gnashing zombified teeth begin just (falling sounds) upward. One of them slams into the bridge and scatters out, sending a number of bodies spinning outward, broken arms and limbs from the impact. The bridge itself cracks a bit, and you watch as the center of it is still being held by a rope, but it is currently not overly walkable without holding the rope to get across.

TALIESIN: You can use the rope just to steady yourself on the carpet.

MATT: One of these clusters starts making its way upwards towards where the carpet is.

PATRICK: If I’m steering the carpet, can I dodge away from this? Because even if I Turn it, they will have velocity.

MATT: Correct. You have not driven a magic carpet before. I would ask you to go ahead and, let’s see, for this? Make an intelligence check.

PATRICK: Jesus is my copilot.

(laughter)

MATT: Go ahead and make an intelligence check, just a straight d20 plus your intelligence modifier.

PATRICK: The first fucking character I make where I lowball intelligence.

(laughter)

PATRICK: Oh. That is a– just straight?

MATT: Well, plus your modifier, whatever that is.

PATRICK: Wait, my proficiency modifier?

MATT: Your intelligence modifier.

PATRICK: Oh, yeah, no. That’s an eight.

MATT: Okay. So, moving this across, you’re basically watching this thing come careening upwards, and you’re trying to shift out of the way to maintain momentum and have this not impact you, but both the nerves of what’s happening, the unfamiliarity with the change in gravity and not running a carpet before, you move out of the way just as it slams into the upper corner, causing the carpet to shift and quake. Oh man.

PATRICK: Can I push Keyleth hard enough to get her to the other side?

MATT: You guys were heading upward, so if you were to kick her off, she would probably still arc upward at this point. You guys are essentially, in theory, you’re below the ravine if this were normal gravity.

MARISHA: How close are we to–

MATT: You guys are about 30 feet across, 'cause the movement speed of the carpet is, if I recall, from what I told you, right, it was 30 feet?

MARISHA: So we’re not close to Pike and Vex.

MATT: Not yet. You’re halfway there.

TALIESIN: Just so you know, the second my feet hit the stone of the upper wall, I’m going to hold on– I no longer have to repose, I’ve got the spider, I’m going to double-dash towards them with the rope.

MATT: So, as they get hit, Percy has just made it up the wall to you and Pike.

TALIESIN: And I’m just tying them to the rope.

MATT: Double-dash got you there.

MARISHA: If Kerr’s kicking me off, I’m reaching for Pike and the broom and still trying to maintain concentration while trying to reach for those guys.

MATT: Okay, well, first and foremost. First and foremost. Oh man, this got really complicated. I love it, it’s great. I– okay. I would like both Kerr and Keyleth to roll strength saving throws to maintain hold on the carpet.

LIAM: How far are they from me?

MATT: They’re about– right now? 35, 40 feet.

PATRICK: You get a plus three, by the way.

MARISHA: I do?

MATT: Yes, you do. From being just near him. He’s so awesome that when you’re near him– Paladins, man.

LIAM: I’m on the very edge. Close as I can get, right?

MARISHA: 14.

MATT: 14? Okay. Kerr?

PATRICK: 23.

MATT: You both maintain your grip on the carpet. I will say, for the sake of this, Keyleth, make a concentration check.

MARISHA: I have my advantage 'cause of Warcaster, yeah?

MATT: Yes, you do.

MARISHA: That one’s cocked.

MATT: You just need to beat a ten.

MARISHA: Okay, yeah, I beat that ten with a 26.

MATT: Okay, so you maintain concentration, you maintain hold of the carpet. The carpet rights itself, the corpses go spinning upward into the abyss above. The carpet has now spent the rest of its turn getting into position to guard you and Pike, just in case it’s necessary. So. You guys are in place. Percy, you’ve tied the rope–

TALIESIN: Tied them, holding onto everybody, and I just have been yelling, pull!

MARISHA: What?

TALIESIN: I’ve got them on the rope, pull the rope down!

LAURA: That’s you.

TALIESIN: Who else is on that side of the–

MATT: Right now, it’s Kima and Allura as well.

TALIESIN: Yeah, as many people as can start running out that way.

MATT: You guys all grab the rope that’s currently affixed to Percy, that hopefully you’ve been holding this whole time. I’m imagining you would’ve.

LIAM: I don’t know, where’s the rope? There’s so much going on.

TALIESIN: I’m going to use my spider-walk ability to actually just maintain everything and just keep an eye out and try and safety-spot everything.

MATT: Okay. So you go ahead and start pulling the rope. Kima and Allura help out. Allura’s not doing much, eight, unfortunately, but Kima is.

PATRICK: And we were technically below them. I’ll just bring the carpet towards them and elevator them up if I can get below.

MATT: Okay, cool. So now we have Kerrek and Keyleth. Keyleth, are you releasing the vine? Because it’s currently what’s holding them against the stone wall.

MARISHA: Are you grabbing onto the carpet?

MATT: They both have ropes they’re grabbing onto from Percy, and they’re being pulled below. Do a strength check.

MARISHA: I let go, and can I switch to a Gust cantrip to try and push us down?

MATT: Gust cantrip is not gonna be strong enough to push anyone of your weight. Cantrips are very simple.

LIAM: I rolled a 19, so 21.

MATT: 21, good, so between you and Kima, you both begin to just hand-over-hand, pulling the rope as it’s taut up against the edge and upward. Vex, Pike, you both begin being pulled upwards, and Kerr, you’re lifting with Keyleth, keeping that. You guys get right to the edge. You look down as you see this one cluster of what looks to be maybe 20 or so bodies comes up, not as a ball, but what looks to be almost a giant skeletal hand made up of smaller corpses is tumbling upward and reaching, its outstretched, large, maybe 15-foot-wide grasp towards this carpet.

LAURA: Oh my god.

PATRICK: I do Channel Divinity on that shit.

MATT: Okay. So what is your save DC for your spell DC?

LAURA: Grog’s still on the other side.

TALIESIN: And Scanlan.

LAURA: Oh, no, this is perfect.

PATRICK: 14.

MATT: 14. Okay. Hold on just a second, real fast. So for your Channel Divinity here, it’s eight plus your proficiency bonus plus your charisma modifier.

PATRICK: So eight plus… that’d be seven plus, yeah, that’s right.

MATT: 15?

PATRICK: 14. Oh, you’re right, you’re right, 15.

MATT: 15, yeah. All right. Cool. So, with that.

LAURA: This is a really cool setup, Matt, though. It’s really fucking badass.

MARISHA: It’s a pain in our ass, but it’s really awesome.

LAURA: The visual of it is amazing.

MATT: I’m enjoying this quite a bit.

MARISHA: Dead bodies falling to the ceiling, reaching up, yeah, no, it’s cool. This is definitely a Brendan Frasier movie.

LAURA: Yeah, for sure.

MATT: Okay, so. As this giant, skeletal hand reaches upwards to basically scoop up the entirety of the cluster of everyone gathered right at the edge of this ravine, the carpet pushing them inward, it’s almost gonna sandwich the party into the palm of this, you watch as Kerrek, clutching the edge of the carpet, reaches up from beneath his armor and grabs his own holy symbol, clutches it firm in his grasp and looks upward, shouting a whispered word that doesn’t reach anybody’s ears but the ones that it’s intended for. And as it does, you watch as a piercing bit of light jettisons in an upward– or downward direction from your perspective– towards this hand. As it reaches out its outstretched zombie fingers, it bursts, and as it does, the hand is scattered outward in a small shockwave. All the bodies, once linked, are now sent into separate, disparate spinning corpses that all reach out helplessly as they all go scattering past upward and disappearing into the ravine above. With that final push, you all get down on the opposite side of the ravine, safe and sound.

LAURA: Oh my god. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.

TALIESIN: I grab you and give you a big kiss. Big, sexy, still-tied-up makeout kiss. Hey, well done not passing out this time. Good for you.

LAURA: Thanks for saving me, darling. You.

MATT: Grog and Scanlan are waving from the other side of the ravine.

TALIESIN: I untie the broom and the–

LAURA: Don’t untie it all, I like being attached to it.

MARISHA: And I go over to Percy and I say, smitten. Smitten.

TALIESIN: I slowly start shoving Keyleth back towards the ravine.

MATT: Just Scanlan’s arms crossed, and his eyes are very wide, and he’s kind of looking around.

TALIESIN: Scanlan’s with Grog.

MATT: I know.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we’re just kind of watching the fucking show.

MATT: “So. What do you think?”

TRAVIS: I think we just leave 'em.

MATT: “Yeah, you’re right, let’s go.” You watch as Scanlan and Grog turn around and start walking back from where you guys came.

LIAM: Hand around Kerrek’s neck, pulling him in. Thank you. Thank you. Fucking thank you.

PATRICK: That… that… so this is pretty much just a Tuesday for you guys, right?

TALIESIN: It’s more of a Thursday.

(laughter)

LAURA: I give Kerr a big hug. Thank you. Saved the day.

MATT: A giant impact, as behind you, another sphere of these corpses slams into the bridge, causing it to snap and go limp against the upper portion of the ravine.

TALIESIN: Well, okay, how are we going to get the last– there’s still a rope.

TRAVIS: I had a question. So I take one of my five empty jugs out of the Bag of Holding, and I go to the edge. While they were up there doing all that shit. I look down and I just throw it straight down as hard as I can. Does it immediately go whoop?

MATT: Yep. Upwards.

TALIESIN: Bit of an arc. You want to pee, don’t you?

PATRICK: I see what you’re doing, and I grab just whatever, a rock or something. I try to throw it straight across.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and make a strength check.

PATRICK: Because it should fall at first, but if it’s 50/50, it should fall and then fall the other way, and it’ll go right across.

TRAVIS: Right, so if you did a jump.

LIAM: It’s like Angry Birds. If you get the arc right.

TALIESIN: I’ve got a great idea. You grab the end of the rope that’s still tied, of our endless rope. On the count of three, Scanlan’s going to jump on your back, on the count of three, they’re going to make a running jump, and we’re going to run, all of us holding like a giant game of tug-of-war, and just see if we can pull them across like a kite.

TRAVIS: I will pull you all into the chasm.

MARISHA: I thought everyone was over.

MATT: Scanlan and Grog.

MARISHA: Son of a bitch.

TALIESIN: Well, if you tie yourself to the rope, too, no matter what, we’ll be able to– so you’ll at least be tethered.

TRAVIS: Can’t somebody fly the carpet back over and then– can’t Pike fly it back over, and then she and Scanlan can bamf over, and then I can just try and make it across with the carpet.

LAURA: Well, I could go over on the fucking broom again, dear lord. How about the bodies? Are they still flying?

MATT: They’re still going past, and it’s like little singular ones here and there, but every now and then a cluster.

LAURA: Thing is, I can put Grog in the necklace and bring him over.

MARISHA: Grog, can you backpack Scanlan?

TRAVIS: Yeah. And then what?

MARISHA: And jump really hard?

TALIESIN: Chain of Returning?

MATT: Chain of Returning is– what’s the range on that?

LAURA: 40 feet? Or is it 60 feet?

TRAVIS: It is somewhere.

TALIESIN: I’ve got a crazy idea.

TRAVIS: Doesn’t have a range.

MATT: I want to say we have it set at a 30-foot range. It’s a big weapon.

TRAVIS: Sure, I’m down with that, 30 feet.

MATT: Are you attaching it to your hammer?

TRAVIS: No, I’m not attuned to that. I’ve got the little hammer now. Oh, sorry, the hammer, yes.

MATT: So yeah, that has a furthest range of 60 feet.

TRAVIS: How far across the chasm is the thing?

MATT: 60 feet.

MARISHA: Can you attach the Chain of Returning to the hammer?

TRAVIS: I mean, I can essentially attach it to anything, I think.

LAURA: I feel like I could go back over.

TALIESIN: (laughs) Sorry.

LAURA: I know, I rolled a one, though, you guys. It was real shit.

MARISHA: How much time has it been?

MATT: Has passed? I’d say you’ve probably hit a good minute, little over a minute since the very beginning of this endeavor. Probably a little longer. Given time to look over it since it happened, and converse about what to do.

PATRICK: I say, if we have a rope tied to her, we could bring her back if something bad happened.

LAURA: Totally, totally. All right, cool. Attach a rope to me. I bamf Trinket out so my necklace is empty, and then I take off across the channel.

TALIESIN: But we have two, are we just going to do it twice?

LAURA: Scanlan can get on the broom.

TALIESIN: Oh, and Grog can get in the necklace! That’s very clever.

LAURA: So I want to fly back over.

MATT: All right, so.

LAURA: Heart pounding, this was terrifying. I’m sorry, buddy.

MATT: You jump onto the broom, steel yourself.

TALIESIN: I’m gonna anchor this rope also to Trinket, just so there’s extra weight.

MATT: Trinket happily allows that anchoring to happen.

TALIESIN: All right, you guys feed it, I’m gonna be ready.

MATT: You barrel-roll across. Across the way–

LAURA: I wanna try to time it so I avoid as many as I can.

MATT: There are– there’s a small cluster that comes by, and a couple of minor individual bodies on this side. Make two dexterity saving throws.

LAURA: Okay, cool, cool, cool, tight, tight, tight. Here we go, here we go, here we go. Natural 20!

MARISHA: What’s up?

LAURA: And that one’s totally fine, too. That’s a 29.

MATT: You just whip past, out of the grasp. You hear the clacking of bones–

TALIESIN: I think with a natural 20, you could steal jewelry from one of them as you went by, like, that’s a nice necklace.

MARISHA: Top Gun high-five!

MATT: You make it across to the other side. There, you see Scanlan waiting, arms crossed, foot tapping at an accelerated rate. Grog waiting, finding another vase to throw, and all of a sudden you watch as Vex comes streaming across and eventually rights herself back up to your position, her hair falling normally flat to her side.

LAURA: Oh hey, guys.

MARISHA: And I give her a big high-five!

MATT: You don’t, 'cause you’re on the other side.

MARISHA: What?

LIAM: She made it one way, she’s gotta go back the other way.

MATT: Keyleth high-fives her from across the ravine.

MARISHA: High-five, woo!

LIAM: Wait a minute. Are you saying this story only exists in our imagination?

(laughter)

LAURA: Hey, Grog. Do you trust me?

TRAVIS: No.

LAURA: Do you wanna get in this necklace?

TRAVIS: Sure.

TALIESIN: He knows! Modify Memory.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Back in the Matrix.

LAURA: And then Scanlan.

MATT: So Grog, a familiar sensation. Once you’re back in that chamber I described to you once before.

LAURA: And Scanlan, I want him to affix himself to this broom, like really tie him on here.

MATT: You go to get to the broom, and he just latches onto the side of your leg. “I’m fine here.”

LAURA: I still tie some rope around. I’ve got the Rope of Entanglement, I can at least wrap us up.

MATT: You actually magically restrain him with the Rope of Entanglement, so he’s bound in a spiral fashion to the actual broom as you get on top of it. Begin to cross to the other side? Okay. At this point, you watch as another corpse tumbles past, and looking downward, not a hand, but what looks like a giant face emerging, built of various pieces of zombified corpses and bones, the mouth opening almost to try and swallow you as you zoom over that way. Make two dexterity saving throws. The first is against the singular zombie, lower DC.

LIAM: Is she within 30 feet of me at this point?

MATT: She will be in just a moment. First one she’s not, second one she will be.

MARISHA: It’s her and Pike?

MATT: No, it’s her and Scanlan.

LAURA: The first one is– I add my dexterity?

MATT: Correct. Or whatever your dexterity saving throw is.

LAURA: Okay, that’s a 26.

MATT: First one, you zip past without an issue, and that’s when you look down and notice the giant face coming up. Second.

LIAM: Wait, she’s within 30 feet of me now? I’m Blessing her.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Scanlan is also inspiring her.

LAURA: Okay, that’s good, that’s good, though, this is good. 27.

MATT: 27. The mouth comes up to try and slam shut around you, and as it comes up, you just arc out of the way. You guys watch as the jaw begins to close, and just as these jutting pieces of broken bone, skulls, and shoulderblades that make this weird makeshift mouth of this entity begin to close and slam shut, you watch as the broom just barely catches out of the top of it, arcs downward, and makes it across the way without impact. Just as Vax finishes his Blessing spell on her, you’ve all now made it across safely to the other side of the ravine here.

MARISHA: Now I give her a high-five.

LAURA: I untie Scanlan and pop Grog out.

MATT: Grog, you’re released. Trinket comes up to you and starts licking the side of your face.

TRAVIS: That really seemed very easy. I don’t see what the big deal was.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: You want to try again? I know that you’re considering it reasonably.

MARISHA: Don’t put these ideas in his head.

MATT: So, what are you guys doing?

LAURA: Move forward, I guess.

MATT: All right, so you push forward–

LAURA: Check for traps!

MATT: Check for traps, okay.

LIAM: Thank you. Thank for catching my sister, thank you.

MATT: Investigation check.

LIAM: Checking for traps.

LAURA: Good, I hope you rolled well.

LIAM: I always roll well on this. 18.

LAURA: 'Cause I rolled a one again.

MATT: Wow. Better now than a moment ago. All right, so. As you guys push forward into this dark chamber, now, the humans, I imagine you still have your warhammer out for light, Kerrek?

PATRICK: Yes.

MATT: So you have enough of a radius where you can kind of make out the scenery and such. As you progress forward about 45, 50 feet further down this path, you see what looks to be a small structure built into the ground, almost like a multi-tiered statue of some kind, and you hear what sounds like a very faint bit of trickling, rushing water.

LIAM: Statue of a what, please?

MATT: You’re not quite sure yet. As you approach, you look at it, and it appears to be a fountain, like a small structure that contains what would be a bowl for water, and then a central, smaller tier that opens up into a smaller bowl, and kind of a jagged edge to it. It looks a little sinister. And at the very top looks to be a humanoid face that’s stretched into this ghastly, horrified expression of terror and gasp. From its mouth is pouring a small trickle of water, but it is upward. And it’s just spilling onto the ceiling, where it’s just pooling and separating into cracks. The path continues past it. It’s just in the center of the hallway.

TRAVIS: It’s going up, but we’re not.

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: We’re just not light enough.

TALIESIN: Or not close enough.

PATRICK: Or we’re not in the area of effect, yet.

MARISHA: I reach down and I grab a little pebble and toss it towards the fountain.

MATT: Okay. You toss it towards the fountain, the pebble clinks. And the fountain is empty, it is dry on the inside right now, on each of the lower tiers, because the water that is being poured from this face is trickling upward and hitting the ceiling. It’s this steady, constant stream.

MARISHA: Pebble.

MATT: You throw the pebble into the fountain, it just kinda comes to rest.

TRAVIS: What’s on the ceiling? Just flat?

MATT: It looks to be just a stone ceiling, and the water’s just hitting in one particular spot. If you want to roll a perception check.

TRAVIS: 16.

MATT: Okay, you glance up, and from what little bit you can see with your Darkvision, the water appears to be impacting something that has a different surface than the ceiling stonework. It’s smoother, shinier, it reflects a little bit of light.

MARISHA: How high, roughly, is the ceiling?

MATT: It’s about 15 feet up at this point.

MARISHA: Only 15?

LIAM: Is it a dead end?

MATT: No, the path continues past it. Just straight.

TALIESIN: Oh, god.

TRAVIS: Well, we could pour a bunch of water in the fountain.

TALIESIN: I don’t know if we should touch the water that’s coming out of the fountain. I think it’s coming out of a petrified human that’s been turned into a mystical source of water, is the vibe I’m getting.

TRAVIS: Oh, I just meant pour water out of the alchemy jug.

LAURA: Like, into the fountain?

LIAM: I’d like to move along the edge of the room, checking for traps ahead.

MATT: Okay. So Vax continues forward.

LIAM: 19.

MATT: Okay. So you coast ahead, keeping an eye out. There are no traps, but you do sense that there is some mechanism involved with this fountain.

LIAM: I’m gonna stop where I am, then.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I’m going to walk up the wall towards, very gingerly, doing my best to check for traps or anything unusual, towards whatever it is that the water’s hitting on the ceiling.

MATT: Okay. Make an investigation check.

TALIESIN: That’s a natural 20.

MATT: As you walk up the edge– what’s your actual perception bonus?

TALIESIN: My perception? With my perception, 28.

MATT: Okay. You make it up to the top, and as you glance in, you can see there’s some sort of a green emerald-like gem that is embedded into the ceiling that the water is just trickling onto.

TALIESIN: Do I recognize the green emerald gem? It’s a green gem, or is it residuum?

MATT: No, no, it is not residuum, it is not processed whitestone. It is an emerald-like gem, although it is imperfect. It is not, you know, a jeweler has not cut over it to make it a beautiful gem. It is a little rough.

TALIESIN: And the water is hitting that gem.

MATT: It’s hitting the gem and it’s kind of just pooling around it and sifting into cracks and being drawn.

TALIESIN: I’m feeling the urge to fuck with this. I’m really hoping someone tells me not to.

LAURA: Probably maybe leave it?

LIAM: Wait half a minute, half a minute.

TALIESIN: I’m going to edge towards it gently, and I’m actually– this is going to sound weird– I’m going to spit at it to see at what range my spit decides to move towards it.

MATT: Okay. So you spit at it, and your spit still kinda arcs downward, normal gravity, then it hits the water and just gets caught up in the water.

TALIESIN: Okay, so it’s the water itself that’s being– something maybe in the fountain?

MARISHA: Can I do an investigation? Can I do a closer look at the fountain?

MATT: Yeah, make an investigation check.

MARISHA: Man, I hate investigating.

LIAM: What’s the light like?

MATT: There is no light in this room, other than the source of Kerr’s hammer.

MARISHA: 20 total on the fountain. 20.

MATT: 20 on the fountain, okay. There is, best you can tell, some magical source. This is connected to something. You’re not entirely sure what.

MARISHA: No gems? I don’t see any gems?

MATT: I mean, you see– there’s no gems based inside the actual fountain itself. The only gem that’s–

MARISHA: Something magical about the fountain.

MATT: Yes. There is a magical essence to it.

PATRICK: I will do it if nobody else wants to. Can you catch some of the water in a jar or container?

MATT: Yeah, if you want to.

PATRICK: 'Cause I look around, I don’t want to disrupt anything, but I’ll just catch a little in a bottle. Once it’s in the bottle, does it still pull upward?

MATT: Once you pull it in the bottle, it rests back into regular gravity.

PATRICK: Does it just smell like regular water?

MATT: It smells… it smells very stagnant. Hard water-ish, like Pirates of the Caribbean or It’s a Small World.

LAURA: Gross.

MATT: Yeah, yeah. It’s not the clearest of Arrowhead. It’s cold.

MARISHA: I mean, we could have Scanlan do a Dispel Magic on it.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Dispel the fountain. Or the gem. Or I could carve the gem out of the ceiling.

TALIESIN: I’m standing next to the gem. I can pry it out of the ceiling if we have to.

MARISHA: But that means you have to touch it.

LIAM: What can I see down the way I’m looking?

MATT: You, looking ahead, the tunnel continues and you’re starting to see more and more of the essence of reclaimed stonework. You can see, whereas previously this ravine was an actual semi-natural tunnel that pushed forward, the walls begin to get more brick-like. It’s looking more and more like a really, really old, for lack of a better term, temple or structure where you can see there was care put into its design.

LIAM: Okay. So the statue’s in this semi-natural chamber. And turns into more carved-out, civilized.

TALIESIN: I might run down to Grog. Do you have a spare jar or jug that I can borrow?

TRAVIS: I do. What do you want for it?

TALIESIN: I just want to borrow it for like five minutes, and I’ll give it back.

TRAVIS: What you got for trade?

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I have nothing–

TRAVIS: Is that an ascot you’re wearing?

TALIESIN: Yes, it is.

TRAVIS: I’ll take that.

TALIESIN: It won’t even fit around your neck.

TRAVIS: I don’t care. I want it.

TALIESIN: Do you know how to tie an ascot?

TRAVIS: I want to be dignified.

MARISHA: I can teach you later, Grog.

TALIESIN: Oh, that alone. That’s adorable. I tie a little Dickie’s first day of school Christmas bow. And I take my little pin and I pin it on him.

TRAVIS: Here’s your jug.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: And I go walking back up. I have a theory that maybe if we cover the green gem, that might do a thing, so if we start to cross and everything goes weird, I’m going to cover the green gem.

LIAM: Hey, for science.

TALIESIN: For science. But let’s try and leave this room without doing anything, maybe.

LIAM: Besides what you’re doing?

TALIESIN: I’m not gonna do anything unless something happens.

TRAVIS: How high is the ceiling?

MATT: 15 feet.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MARISHA: Hey, Grog. If it comes to that. Don’t worry about it.

MATT: So what’s the plan?

LIAM: Scootch forward, to the other side, looking for traps, looking for traps.

MATT: Okay, you continue to scootch forward.

MARISHA: I stay with Grog and Percy.

LAURA: I stand in between.

MATT: Okay, so you guys stay back there. Okay, Kima and Allura stay back, waiting for you guys to scout as well. Okay. You guys, make stealth checks again.

LAURA: I’m scared of all my dice right now. Just, all of them.

LIAM: 30.

LAURA: 17.

MATT: Okay. You guys begin to very, very slowly make your way up ahead, and you watch as the path ahead of you begins to– the ceiling begins to grow higher and higher, and the hall begins to widen open a little bit, and begins to split in two directions, like all of a sudden the tunnel breaks into two different paths, with the ceiling rising and growing wider on each of those paths as it presses forward. You’re starting to see portions of it are still the cavern-type feel, but once again, you’re seeing more and more sections where it looks like all these walls at one point were carved stone and had a specific purpose, and then over time, once again, portions of it have fallen to disuse and ruin.

TALIESIN: So nothing– the fountain did nothing?

MATT: Currently not yet, no.

LIAM: Fuck a duck. We’ve got a fork in the road. What do you want to do?

TALIESIN: Let’s bring everyone towards you now. Is it time?

LIAM: Well, there’s nothing immediately dangerous-appearing.

LAURA: I’m gonna try to focus on dragons again and see if I can figure out which direction they are.

MATT: Okay, so you use another spell slot.

TRAVIS: We don’t wanna pour anything into the fountain?

TALIESIN: I don’t–

TRAVIS: We did nothing to this thing that’s right here, magically pouring water out.

TALIESIN: It might just be the equivalent of a big red button.

TRAVIS: I love buttons.

TALIESIN: The world loves buttons.

LAURA: It’s up to you, Grog.

TALIESIN: You have a jar of unending water if you wanted to–

MATT: Vex. The sources are still ahead of you. They’re still present and still in the direction you guys are facing.

LAURA: Do I know which fork they’re down?

MATT: In that direction.

LIAM: I’d also like to use my last instance of Divine Sense here, at this fork in the road.

MATT: 60-foot radius up there… no. There is no sense of anything undead, fiendish, celestial.

MARISHA: Nothing? No sway?

MATT: Not where they currently are, no. What are you guys doing?

TALIESIN: I’m waiting for everyone else to– I’m circling to the other side of the green–

LIAM: Are we all gathering up at this fork in the road?

TALIESIN: Yeah, if everyone’s gonna cross the room.

MATT: Okay. So you just move on? Okay. You guys continue and gather at the edge of this fork. You can see a very, very faint bit of light coming from both sides of the fork, just glancing off a distant opposite cave wall.

MARISHA: Both have light?

MATT: Both have a very, very faint bit of a light source. Two of you guys make, since you were up front first, make perception checks, if you could.

LIAM: Bupkis for me.

LAURA: 24.

MATT: 24? Glancing both ways, for you, it splits off, and they both seem to curve around in almost like a rejoining direction, or at least, they get close to it. The split is less of a split and more that there is just a large column of earth that splits what would be a wide path. The two paths eventually seem to join again on the other side.

LAURA: And there’s a little bit of light coming from the end of it?

MATT: A little bit of light source. Apparently on the other side of whatever this pillar would be, or at the other side of each of these different paths, that it’s just barely reflecting off of the cave walls, enough for it to give you the essence that there is light further.

LIAM: Should we all trot along, or should we send us down?

LAURA: Trap? You wanna look for traps? The dragons are still in there. Just ahead.

LIAM: This could be it, although we thought it could be it twice at least.

MARISHA: Do we wanna split the party, half one way, half the other?

LAURA: No, let’s all stay on one side.

TALIESIN: If the water were running, which direction would the water be running down? Like, if the fountain filled– this is just, I’m trying to conjecture, I feel like the fountain’s gonna irritate me for the rest of the god damn night.

MARISHA: We can Dispel Magic the fountain.

LAURA: It could just be like this could be a water canal that we’re looking at right now.

MARISHA: I could also get rid of that gem. We have options for dealing with that fountain.

TALIESIN: Do it?

LIAM: Well, I mean, if it’s itching.

PATRICK: I will say, a lot of the things that we’ve touched here have been put there to hurt us if we touch them.

TALIESIN: Touche.

PATRICK: But also, the skull that we left behind ambushed us, so it seems to be a horse apiece in terms of a pattern, here.

TALIESIN: I figure, I think, if you’ve made it this far, that you’ve not touched several things at this point, so. This is so obviously a– I know.

MARISHA: I mean, if it’s just a trap then it’s just a trap and we avoided it and we moved on.

LIAM: All right, look, we’ve got two identical passages. Do you want to flip a coin? Or can you see any benefit to either side?

LAURA: It looks like they come back together. This is just a giant separation thing.

LIAM: Flip a coin?

LAURA: Oh, but I have an actual coin.

LIAM: Do you? Pull it out. Come on, treasurer.

MATT: What are you guys doing?

LIAM: We’re picking a passageway.

MATT: What are these guys doing? Are you catching up with them?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I’ll start walking towards them.

MARISHA: I hang back with Grog.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Grog. What do you think, man?

TRAVIS: I just feel like, I don’t know, nothing more sad than an empty fountain.

MARISHA: What do you want to do, you want to fill it with water?

TRAVIS: Well, yeah, I feel like that’s what a fountain does. I mean, like, if you came across an empty fountain, kind of a worthless thing.

MARISHA: Do you think a full fountain would help our case in this instance?

TRAVIS: I dunno.

MARISHA: We can try it. Do you want to fill it with water?

TRAVIS: Yeah, kinda.

MARISHA: All right. I support this endeavor if you want to do it, Grog.

TALIESIN: I hear this over the ears, and I’m gonna slowly crawl, not too close back–

MATT: Allura and Kima are, “Um, are you certain you want to do this?”

LIAM: Do what, now? Do what, now?

TRAVIS: Allura, it’s just an empty fountain, right? It’s gotta have a purpose.

MATT: “Right. Do you know whether the purpose is a good or a bad one?”

TRAVIS: I never really get that far.

MATT: “I know you’ve survived thus far on that mindset. That’s surprising, but do what you will, just–”

TALIESIN: Oh shit, I have a theory, now. Never mind, I don’t want to fuck with it anymore.

TRAVIS: Allura, you’re all smart with magic and stuff. Why is this horribly terrified face giving water upwards on an emerald in the ceiling?

MARISHA: She rolled good.

MATT: She takes a moment, kind of steps forward and looks at it. “Let me see one of your jugs.”

TRAVIS: Yeah, okay. What do you want for it?

TALIESIN: I hand her my jug.

(laughter)

MATT: She takes it, sets the jug right in the stream, and releases it, and the jug sucks up and essentially covers the gem, and the water just kinda spills across the sides.

MARISHA: And then what?

MATT: “Huh. My theory was wrong.”

MARISHA: What? Hang on, what was your theory? Maybe we can do process of elimination.

MATT: “Well, I was trying to–” And you hear in the distance, behind where you guys came from (impact sounds).

TALIESIN: I’m moving right now.

MATT: What sounds like many, many, many things falling, cracking, impacting.

MARISHA: Hey, Allura, good theory. Let’s run. Let’s run.

TRAVIS: We are running towards Vax and Vex.

PATRICK: It just reversed the gravity in the ravine.

MATT: Which, as Kerrek says this and you all look back, you watch as hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of bodies are now tumbling back down into the ravine below from where they came.

LIAM: Turn down for what!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: That was so white. That was amazing.

TALIESIN: We can make it whiter.

TRAVIS: So white.

MATT: Don’t make this any whiter, please.

LIAM: Guilty.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Piano riff!

TALIESIN: I may play Dungeons and Dragons on the internet, but now I’m embarrassed.

MATT: The water’s still going up, and it’s still careening and falling through the cracks. It’s not a very strong stream, it’s just this– like a small faucet turned on, it’s all just trickling upwards, appearing, but that gem being currently blocked seems to have had an effect on the room behind.

TALIESIN: Good to know.

TRAVIS: To the right or the left?

LAURA: To the right!

LIAM: Going to the right, but hold on.

MATT: Same marching order as before?

LIAM: I’m gonna go a little bit ahead, 20 feet ahead, looking for traps. I doubt, but I want to check for traps. Stealth and traps, stealth and traps.

MATT: You’re still on the same stealth roll you had before.

LIAM: Okay, great. So traps, investigation is 18.

MATT: Okay. The floor doesn’t appear to be trapped as you coast forward around the other side.

LAURA: Check the ceiling. I look at the ceiling.

MATT: It looks like a ceiling. It’s about 25, 30 feet in height throughout this chamber.

LIAM: And as we move through this passage, what do we see as we get closer to it?

MATT: As you curve around, you notice that the rocky walls become just stone. You see these grey brick walls that begin to turn as you turn around, you see a faint light source from a series of candleabras that mark the edges of this square-like chamber. There are two distant cages in the far corners that seem to bear some sort of slumped, unmoving bodies inside them. There are two pillars in the center of the room that appear to be just strewn with carvings and glyphs from top to bottom, surrounding them entirely. Two large scaled, crimson eggs lie placed against one side of the wall, seemingly untouched, and on the right-hand side of the chamber, at the base of one of these cages, you see a withered and long-dead corpse of Thordak the Cinderking, folded and sagging. You see a tome propped up against a bookstand on the far end, marked by a singular page, where a series of bookshelves and chains line the walls of this apparent laboratory. You see at the current opened tome across the way, arms crossed, and reading quietly, a tall female with dark green hair and silver, shimmery-like skin facing away from you. And we’ll pick up for that next week.

MARISHA: I knew it.

MATT: 'Cause it is late. Patrick, are you gonna join us for Skype next week?

MARISHA: Or in LA?

PATRICK: Actually, I am coming out to LA. It’s an issue of how quickly I’ll be able to get to PAX afterwards.

MATT: Oh, shit!

PATRICK: 'Cause I’m doing PAX South after my LA trip. Really hoping that I will be in your neck of the woods Thursday night. If not, if you want me around for the finish, I would happily Skype in from San Antonio or wherever that is. Up to you.

LAURA: Ash might be able to Skype in, too.

MATT: Dual Skype, maybe. Well, let us know, please do.

PATRICK: I would be delighted.

TALIESIN: Thank you for handling Skype so well. It is not easy to be on the other side of that camera. It’s so frustrating.

PATRICK: It’s certainly not as nice as being up close and personal with you all, but I’m just glad that I am not experiencing vast technical eras– eras, yes, errors.

LIAM: Well, we’re glad to have you.

MATT: Yeah, thanks so much. All right, well we’ll be–

LAURA: Thanks for saving us, Kerr!

PATRICK: (laughs) There was a delightful amount of mutual saving.

MARISHA: And, as always, don’t forget to tune in for Talks Machina on Tuesday night with Brian Foster. I’m sure he’s going to have at least two of us.

MATT: That will be announced as the week progresses.

MARISHA: Throughout the week, I’m sure, he will announce two of us.

MATT: Also, as a heads-up, guys, once again, big thank you to Loot Crate for being our fantastic sponsor starting in the new year. They were awesome enough to let us tonight be the first to announce their February theme, as their previous theme ended. The theme is 'build’ for this one, and the brands that are included in that include Power Rangers, Batman, Lego, Tetris, things that involve building, construct, that type of a feel, so more information will be coming out with that, but 'build’ is the next theme. Check out lootcrate.com for the full reveal of everything they’re gonna have in there, and don’t forget to use the promo code 'criticalrole’, one word, for the discount when you sign up.

(cheering)

MARISHA: I hope they got those Tetris stickers again that they had a year ago, those Tetris stickers were dope.

MATT: We’ll see what they got. Thank you guys so much, rest well, you guys as well. We’ll see you next week, and is it Thursday yet? Have a good night!

TRAVIS: Nice one!

[no audio]

[end of transcript]

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