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List of Transcripts

Pre-ShowEdit

MATT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons! I got Liam back via Skype, somehow after many episodes of him fucking with me. I’m happy.

TRAVIS: Payback’s a bitch, huh, buddy?

MATT: Anyway! Welcome! Laura will be here shortly; she’s in traffic coming from her session, so she’ll be joining us as soon as she gets here. Probably next 30 minutes or so. In the meantime, let’s go ahead and hop into our announcements for the evening.

SAM: Yay!

MATT: Returning tonight, we have our fantastic sponsor, Loot Crate!

ALL: Loot Crate!

MATT: Loot Crate, thank you so much for being an awesome sponsor. We’ve got Loot Crates here. We’re going to go ahead and do a quick unboxing and then, Sam, you can tell us a little bit about it.

SAM: After the unboxing?

MATT: Sure! This is the--

TALIESIN: A Predator bottle opener!

MARISHA: It’s a little Logan!

MATT: It’s pretty awesome little-- it’s a heavy one! It looks like a die-cast, an actual metal, die-cast Wolverine.

SAM: My son is going to love it.

MATT: This is actually, for the size of Wolverine, this is actually weight-effective. It’s accurate.

SAM: What theme is this?

TALIESIN: Primal.

TRAVIS: Primal.

SAM: Primal. Hey, look! This looks an awful lot like the shirt that Travis is wearing right now!

TRAVIS: I got mine early, bitches!

MATT: Look at that! Crispin’s been smeared all over Taliesin.

MARISHA: Is that a Winston shirt?!

TALIESIN: Yeah!

MARISHA: Holy shit!

TALIESIN: Right there.

MATT: That’s pretty rad.

MARISHA: It’s a Winston shirt!

MATT: Yeah!

MARISHA: That’s cool.

TALIESIN and MARISHA: Winston.

TRAVIS: I love the raptor electrified fence.

MARISHA: This is so going on our--

TRAVIS: Like, our backyard fence.

MARISHA: Yeah! The chicken coop!

TALIESIN: This is going on my chicken coop, man!

MARISHA: On your chicken coop! That’s so cute!

SAM: You saw this already?

MATT: If you have a motorcycle, this should go on there so you can ride with raptors through the forest. That’s the way to do it.

SAM: This is a really good box! The bottle opener’s really cool.

MATT: The bottle opener’s cool.

TRAVIS: Predator helmet? Yes!

SAM: It’s a Predator bottle opener.

TALIESIN: My brother was singing the praises of this box this week.

MARISHA: Oh, man. This is a good box!

SAM: This is a Primal pin.

TALIESIN: Oh, no! Does it do--

MARISHA: Does it turn into a raptor?

TALIESIN: It turns into a dinosaur! The box turns into a dinosaur.

MATT: Like all good boxes should.

TALIESIN: I’m going to see if I can do this really, really quickly.

SAM: What is this? There’s a secret, hidden puzzle thing. The pages are blank and it says "follow your instinct". What could it be?

MATT: Is it scratch and sniff?

SAM: I’m intrigued!

MARISHA: Is it scratch and sniff?

SAM: No, it’s not.

MATT: It is definitely not.

TRAVIS: Follow your instinct: lootcrate.com/criticalrole.

MARISHA: Tell us about Loot Crate, Sam.

SAM: Sam? Oh, Sam’s not here.

TALIESIN and MATT: Oh, no.

SAM: I’m sorry, I think you mean--

TRAVIS: What the fuck.

SAM: (robot voice) SAM 3000!

(laughter)

SAM: You ready?

(laughter)

SAM: (robot voice) Greetings, humans of the year 2017! I am Sentient Advertising Mechanoid 5000 and I am from the future! Sent from the Planet Lootcrateopia to ensure you simple humans choose the correct time path. After the Water War of 2018, the Oilpocalypse of 2019, and the Oprah Winfrey Rebellion of 2020, your world was plunged into a hellscape that lasted 2000 years. (Sam voice) There’s more. (Robot voice) Until the just and tolerant overlords of Fortune 500 company Loot Crate, in their altruistic wisdom, united the factions and brought peace to all by sending every human a Loot Crate. The gesture worked, and all other Fortune 500 companies: Apple, Kroger, the evil warmongers of Johnson & Johnson--

(laughter)

SAM: (robot voice) -- perished under the might of the Loot Crate armies. Now, all live in harmony. You humans must begin the peaceful transition by visiting primitive webpage lootcrate.com/criticalrole. And use promo code CRITICALROLE for 10% off this month’s crate theme, Investigate. Items from Stranger Things, Batman, The X-Files, and Marvel’s Jessica Jones. That include a figure, detective must-haves, and our awesome monthly tee and pin. I must return to my timeline. Until we meet in the future, good crate, and may the loot be with you! Bleep! Blop! Blorp! Bleep! Blop!

TRAVIS: Yes! Yes!

SAM: Oh, what, did I miss something?

MATT: You just missed him!

MARISHA: Sam, when did you get here?

TRAVIS: You blacked out, man; there was a time traveler in this space!

SAM: Wow!

MARISHA: It was crazy!

MATT: I am a little disappointed you decided to reveal your character for the next campaign so early.

TALIESIN: So you’re going to do a Loot Crate ad, man.

TRAVIS: That was so-- That was new.

MATT: Thank you very much, Sam.

SAM: New character.

MATT: And thank you, Loot Crate, for sponsoring this chaos. All right, let’s get this going. We put up a survey starting this week to try and get a feel for the community at large of you guys. Get a feel for who’s watching, where they’re watching it from, what kind of future merch ideas you might want to see from the show. We want to get a scope of what the Critter base is, where it comes from, and how many of you are out there. So, if you get a chance, if you haven’t yet, go to geekandsundry.com/crsurvey. We’re running it until April 18th, so get on there and let us know about you!

TALIESIN: It's pretty short and you can do it during the break, maybe?

TRAVIS: I did it in a minute.

TALIESIN: Yeah, it's pretty short, pretty easy.

MATT: Wondercon is in two days, for us! It's this weekend in Anaheim; we're going to be there Saturday, at 2PM to 3PM at The Arena to do our Talks Machina live panel, with a bunch of us up there. With delivery coffee for Taliesin.

SAM: Get! You're in the shot, you're in the shot!

(laughter)

MATT: Thank you, Eric.

TALIESIN: Thank you Eric! Loot Crate!

MATT: So if you're coming, go ahead and check it out. If you can't be there, that's okay, I think we're filming the panel, I think.

TRAVIS: Yeah, it'll get put up at a later time.

MARISHA: It is going to be aired during Talks Machina this week, in place of our normal show, so if you miss it, you get to see the full panel in its entirety.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: Right, we look forward to seeing you guys there in a couple of days, so yay! Wednesday Club, Taliesin!

TALIESIN: Yeah, we don't actually have a-- that happened. We don't actually have a subject yet, we're going through and taking suggestions from Twitter and from the chatroom, but we will have probably figured out, I'm going to guess tomorrow and probably a graphic on Monday, but Wednesday 12 to 2, we're talking comics, and it's going to be fun, so we'll just-- come and join us and we'll chill.

MARISHA: (accent) Talking comics.

TALIESIN: (accent) Talking comics.

MARISHA: (accent) Talking comics.

MATT: Great. I also want to mention the show Round Table, it's up on Alpha if you want to check it out. Me, Eric, Matt Colville, Adam Koebel, Mark Hulmes, Satine Phoenix, TJ Storm, a bunch of really amazing, talented GMs from all different walks of life, all just talking about different themes about gaming, tabletop gaming, and what it means community, what it means philosophically, what experiences can, you know, be improved or lessened by it. It's a lot of great conversations. If you get a chance to check it out, I recommend it, I'm on a couple of them. Signal Boost has a ringtone if I recall, right?

MARISHA: We released a ringtone (laughs).

MATT: As well as--?

MARISHA: As well as-- so you can now get our theme song as your ringtone on iTunes. We also released a free screensaver, that you can download, based off of the old flying toasters.

MATT: The After Dark, yeah.

MARISHA: After Dark, yeah, flying toasters.

MATT: We're still waiting for the WinAmp--

MARISHA: The WinAmp skin was cancelled, but we're working on it.

MATT: Working on that one.

MARISHA: But yeah, we-- just because we thought it was funny. That's how we choose to spend our free time, is releasing free screensavers, yeah, so go do that.

MATT: Awesome, thank you Marisha. Want to pass this along: Will Friedle, our good friend here, who plays Kash, Kashaw, he's going to be at the Wales Comic Con in the UK, April 8th and 9th, so a bunch of UK Critters, if you want to go to Wales Comic Con and say hi to Kash, and tell him how much you like him and his body of work, as well as his awesome roleplaying on the show, go do it! Because he's awesome, and you should go do that. Me, Marisha and Taliesin actually were just announced for MomoCon this year, May 25th to the 28th, in Atlanta, Georgia. So, if you guys over in the Georgia area are willing to make the journey, we'll be there at MomoCon, doing panels and signings and all kinds of fun, general hangout stuff, so come see us there. And last but not least, reminder, Talks Machina is Tuesday nights at 7PM Pacific here, where our wonderful Brian Wayne Foster brings us in in chunks, with occasional members of the community to talk all things nerdy and Critical Role-related, so come check it out on Twitch, or Alpha.

MARISHA: (laughs) He brings us in chunks, that was phenomenally worded.

MATT: He brings us in chunks!

TRAVIS: Murderous.

MARISHA: (laughs) Very murderous.

TRAVIS: Very Dexter of you.

MATT: I like to leave it vague, open to interpretation.

MARISHA: Very shark-chummy.

MATT: It's what I'm here for, guys. And that, I believe, is the end of our announcements. Woo, okay.

LIAM: No, I have one last announcement.

MATT: Shit, no! Liam! All right, what is it?

LIAM: I would like to announce that my father is hiding, six feet away from me, over there from my Skype window. He rolled very high in his stealth, and while he may not understand what my career is, he believes that I have one.

(laughter)

MATT: Thank you, Liam. We've accomplished a lot tonight, I'm glad we could do this together. (laughs) All righty. So, without further ado, let's dive in to tonight's episode of Critical Role.

[opening credits]

Part IEdit

MATT: And welcome back. So, picking up where we left off last week: Vox Machina, in tying up loose ends after the end of the Chroma Conclave and the completion of Keyleth's Aramente, they knew that there was, out there, somewhere in the Hells, an infernal being, a rakshasa known as Hotis, that they had encountered previously in the past, and was going to eventually claim vengeance on them, if they did not get to it fast. As such, through their research, they found that it most likely seemed to reside on the second layer of the Hells: Dis. Ruling under Dispater, one of the Archdevils. And after gathering your materials, doing a bit of prep, you transitioned into the actual plane of the Nine Hells of Baator, into the City of Dis. Upon wandering the streets and trying to blend in through various alterations to your physical forms, you eventually found your way to-- after avoiding a couple of possible confrontations in the street-- to a tavern-like location, where you decided not to order the meats that were being devoured by a couple of devilish entities, and instead the other thing.

(laughter)

MATT: Which involved both Taryon and Keyleth having their first taste of soul. And eventually Percival on the way out, too. You encountered the owner of the establishment: a dark-haired, red-skinned, horned gentleman, wings folded against his back, who was eager to rent you a place to stay for the time being. And you guys decided to figure out what your plans were. At which point, Freddie and Greg-- Percival and Grog-- went downstairs to have a conversation with this entity, where he revealed himself to be named Ipkesh, and was interested in possibly working out sort of a criss-cross, quid pro quo-type negotiation with your team. After returning to discuss the possibilities of this up in your chambers, Keyleth made her way out to locate the possible location of Hotis as a workaround. As she exited the front exterior of the establishment and went into an alleyway to attempt to transform, she found herself followed by a chain devil and some sort of a somewhat scarred and mutated-looking dwarf. They confronted you and were asking about their interest in "the white one", seeming speaking about one of your companions, Vax, who had taken on the form of an albino tiefling when you entered the plane. We left off at a tense moment, and that's where we pick up this week. As you stand in the darkened, shadowed, uncomfortably hot air in the center of this alleyway behind these buildings, crushed in these very thin spaces with what looks to be a thinning exit behind you, and these two devilish entities--or devilish entity and some sort of a messed-up dwarf-- beginning to flank you with what looks to be grotesque murder or thrill of coming pain in their eyes and faces-- What do you want to do?

(laughter)

MATT: As you are alone--

SAM: She'll talk her way out of it, like she always does!

(laughter)

MARISHA: I'll have a panic attack is what (clears throat) I want to do. All right. Fuck me. Okay.

SAM: That's a good way to start.

MARISHA: Ugh, don't fuck this up. Don't fuck this up. I am going to continue with my original plan. Can't-- Getting cotton mouth. And, (laughs) And I'm going to slowly start from the top down, transforming-- forming--

SAM: Wow, wow.

MARISHA: Shut up, Sam!

MATT: Via, what are-- what are you using? What are you using?

SAM: (laughs) This is rough already!

MATT: Are you using Alter Self?

MARISHA: No, I want to use Shapechange.

MATT: So you're casting Shapechange?

MARISHA: Yes. Right? Because I can't Alter Self into an erinyes.

MATT: No, you cannot. But however, you did not quite cast Shapechange last time--

MARISHA: Right.

MATT: -- we had spoken. So you're doing it now.

MARISHA: So I'm doing it now.

MATT: Okay. So. As they both begin to slowly flank from the sides of the alleyway, and you're holding your ground, insisting that this 'white one' they're asking about belongs to you, they didn't seem to buy your attempt at claiming territory, so you begin to mutter the incantation under your breath, your hands move, and you watch as you do so, the chains of the chain devil begin to-- continue to grind and shift around it, like a hundred serpents of grinding metal, and the dwarf figure, she begins sauntering up on the other side with this heavy limp, as you watch the flesh tearing with small tendrils revealing beneath, like a series of worms are almost emerging from various folds and gashes in the flesh of the arm.

SAM: Ugh.

MATT: You complete your Shapechange spell as they're pulling in on you: what do you turn into?

MARISHA: An erinyes.

MATT: Oh sh-- okay!

SAM: What was that? What was that? What's that do? What's an erinyes?

MARISHA: It's that thing that we fought in the City of Brass.

SAM: Ooh! Cool!

MATT: Yeah, they have Challenge Level 12, so you can do that. Okay. So.

MARISHA: There was like the devil that we fought--

LIAM: Lady demon with Pit Fiend.

MATT: Yeah, the one that the Pit Fiend summoned next to it. So you have actually encountered it.

TRAVIS: That winged biatch.

MARISHA: Yeah, the one that you squared up against with, for most of the time.

TRAVIS: Yeah, she didn't want none.

MARISHA: Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.

MATT: As you finish the incantation, your skin goes to a pale white, your eyes becoming dark, deep red with these little burning, golden coals for pupils. The rest of your skin grows fair but thick, with a very, very fine series of scales across it as these giant black, red wings emerge from your back and unfold. As they extend past you in both directions, enveloping both sides of this alleyway, both the chain devil and this dwarfish entity stop in their tracks and take a couple of steps back, looking at you intensely.

MARISHA: (deeper voice) You know, I never did catch your name. What do they call the two of you?

MATT: Make an intimidation check. With advantage.

TRAVIS: Ooh, that's good! That's a good plan!

SAM: Advantage? Do it, do it, do it!

MATT: Because you are, you look like a higher ranking devil.

TRAVIS: You got this. In the City of Dis.

MARISHA: You got Dis!

TALIESIN: You got Dis.

MARISHA: Oh, I'll take that 18.

MARISHA: And I think my intimidation's an eight-- No, it's a seven. So-- 25.

MATT: (laughs) 25.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Wow!

MATT: So, as you asked for their name, the chain devil-- the chains begin to slow and come to a halt, and what was originally curling upward in this aggressive stance begin to just fall limp to its sides, and just takes another step back. "No need to worry, we apologize for the intrusion."

MARISHA: Are you sure? Because I would love to know, maybe add you to the collection.

MATT: The chain devil bows its head and begins to step back, and you see it ushering its hand this way, towards the dwarf, the dwarf which is looking confused and begins to hobble backward. And they both just back out of the alleyway in a very submissive, apologetic physicality, without even saying a word.

MARISHA: Oh, what's the matter! Where're you going?

SAM: Just let 'em, just let 'em go!

MARISHA: And then I turn around, and I (strained) just start walking cool--

SAM: You can fly!

MARISHA: (whimpers) Yeah, I can fly! That's also, this is a concentration spell.

MATT: Yes it is.

MARISHA: So, I can't do-- Okay, so I'm going to, as I-- Is anyone looking around? Anyone looking around right now?

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: God damn it. 22.

MATT: 22. You glance up, and right on the edge of one of the three- to four-story curved iron towers, you see what appears to be an impish-like creature perched on the end with what looks to be faint, shimmering gold armor that's just peering down at you from the top of the alley.

MARISHA: I look at it.

SAM: Ooh!

MARISHA: And I just nod.

MATT: It doesn't react. Its head twitches a little bit, and it just sets back in itself, looking at you, its eyes these gleaming black, shining discs in the darkness.

MARISHA: And then I start heading back towards the tavern.

MATT: It just watches you. And as you exit the alleyway from where you came, the two devils that attempted to assail you there, no longer anywhere in sight, the--

MARISHA: Before I round the corner, I want to just take and do a quick Shapechange again into the tiefling that I was.

MATT: Okay. As your form changes as you turn the corner--

MARISHA: Into the tavern.

MATT: -- into the tavern. Yep.

MARISHA: Go upstairs to the rest of the group.

SAM: Nice!

TRAVIS: Did you pee on yourself?

MARISHA: (panicked gasping) Okay! Okay!

TALIESIN: What? What happened? How'd it go?

MARISHA: I didn't make it far! I didn't make it far.

TRAVIS: You ate the meat, didn't you?

MARISHA: Woo!

LIAM: Well, how far are we talking about?

MARISHA: I made it around the corner, and the two devils that seemed to be very interested in you, Vax, cornered me-- (nervous laugh)

LIAM: Me?

MARISHA: Huh?

LIAM: In me? Why?

MARISHA: I have a feeling it has something to do-- with your deity.

LIAM: All right.

TRAVIS: What? Your deity? Why?

MARISHA: I think they can tell that Vax is special. I think-- He has value down here.

TRAVIS: You have value?!

(laughter)

LIAM: It's the first I'm hearing about it, trust me.

MARISHA: They said they were interested in 'the white one.' And I couldn't help but notice that you were turning quite a few heads when we were walking through town.

LIAM: Well, do you think that's because of the Raven Queen? Or is it because of the choice of appearance I picked? I mean, we've met an albino tiefling before, it didn't seem like that outlandish a choice.

MARISHA: I don't think it has anything to do with the way you looked.

TALIESIN: I'm not entirely sure. I mean, they didn't react-- Did they react strangely to you when we came into the bar?

LIAM: Not that I noticed, no.

TRAVIS: So does that mean that he has to change again now?

TALIESIN: No.

TRAVIS: No?

MARISHA: I don't think it matters what he turns into, I think people will be able to tell the aura that he carries with him.

TRAVIS: What? A bit like a process of divination--

(laughter)

TRAVIS: -- like, he changes, and then we know what it is or not, what?

TALIESIN: I think that's actually very impressive, it is actually a process of divination, technically, that's just very--

SAM: Some sound reasoning.

TALIESIN: Somehow you wandered right back to it.

TRAVIS: Don't lose your wits down here, it's real important.

TALIESIN: No.

LIAM: This is just an extra wrinkle into a larger problem. So, what's the move now?

MARISHA: Well, I can do this for about another 55 minutes! Before we'd have to sleep before I can do it again!

SAM: Do we have to go anywhere? Are we late to any appointments?

TRAVIS: I forgot what it was you left to go do, actually! (laughs)

TALIESIN: She was going to research the notion of other options other than dealing with the deal we have downstairs.

TRAVIS: Right!

MARISHA: I was going to go see if I could get a bead on where Hotis is. Oh! What, guys, check this out, this is what I freaked 'em out with. And I go back into the erinyes form.

MATT: You watch the wings (whoosh) unfurl, her skin going pale--

TALIESIN: All right.

MARISHA: (deeper voice) Check it out. Check it out, that's pretty hot, right? It makes my--

SAM: That is amazing!

MARISHA: -- it makes my voice a little smokey when I'm down here too, right?

SAM: Whoa! Whoa!

MARISHA: I know.

SAM: What are you right now?!

MARISHA: I'm an erinyes.

SAM: How do you spell that?! Doty, take that down! Erinyes!

TRAVIS: How do you say it?

MARISHA: It's with an 'e'.

TALIESIN: E-R-I-N-Y-E-S.

TRAVIS: Ear-in-es.

TALIESIN: Air-in-es.

MARISHA: Erin. Like Erin-yes!

SAM: Wow.

LIAM: Yeah, it's got yes-bait right in.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Well. Do you still want to look into other options, or do we want to just-- We could take the deal. We could reverse the deal.

TRAVIS: Wait, you said they like left you alone once you changed into that thing?

MARISHA: Yes.

TRAVIS: Well, why didn't you just keep going, then?

MARISHA: Well, changing into this thing meant that I had to drop concentration on my Locate Creature spell.

TRAVIS: Ohh.

MARISHA: I can only concentrate on one thing at a time. It gets-- Especially this, it's a lot to mentally focus on.

TALIESIN: It's very impressive.

SAM: You know, in my readings of this place, the Hells-- Of any hell, really (laughs)-- They typically are, at least in literature, reflected as horrible places where lots of bad things happen wherever you go. So having a deal presented in front of us that is not horrible is, I think, a pretty winning deal. I mean, I feel like we're already ahead of the game if we are not being actively murdered during the course of events.

TALIESIN: I would also like to point out that the definition of 'research', in this instance, is just reading the notes that I took last week, reading and doing actual research.

SAM: I do my own reading, thank you.

TALIESIN: You did! You did reading of the notes I wrote.

SAM: Well, then I guess we're in accord. (laughs)

TRAVIS: Yeah, don't you, like, brainy buddies just like exchange notes every day, anyway?

SAM: Of course!

TALIESIN: I don't feel like I should have lost that one.

MARISHA: I noticed--

TALIESIN: (sighs)

MARISHA: Just let it go, Percy. I noticed we're being watched, I think at every turn. There was a little imp guy watching me when I came in.

TALIESIN: Was it actually an imp? Imps are very common. Everyone's being watched, it's a city under surveillance.

LIAM: We saw an imp back in Krieg's house, did it look like that?

TALIESIN: Gold armor? Or wasn't that the one at Krieg's house?

MATT: It did not have gold armor, the one that you saw at Krieg's.

TALIESIN: Which one did we see? Was it just-- I don't--

LIAM: The little bastard in the library at Krieg's house.

MATT: Well, that was in Krieg's-- Technically it wasn't in Krieg's house--

LIAM: No?

MATT: That was in father, what's the character's--

TRAVIS: It was upstairs in the--

MATT: Yeah, it was the first-- when you first came to Emon, it was the ally to your father, Vax.

TALIESIN: Oh!

LIAM: Oh, that's right.

MARISHA: Oh, shit, that's right, your dad!

MATT: And he was the one that was found slain, or was in the process of being killed by--

LIAM: That's right, that's right.

MATT: -- by entities.

TALIESIN: In the basement?

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Oh my god, that was a long time ago!

MARISHA: A long time ago.

LIAM: The slaying, right. The slaying was in the basement, but the imp was in a library upstairs--

MATT: Yes! Yes.

LIAM: -- in our house. And he was just a little prick.

TRAVIS: I forgot about that. I kept a ring off that demon that we killed. It's in the bag of holding.

MARISHA: Wait, did you really?

TRAVIS: Yep.

TALIESIN: That's like seven haircuts ago.

MARISHA: Well, get that--

SAM: Whip it out.

MARISHA: Get that-- can I-- Get that out. Get that out.

TRAVIS: Why, what do you want?

SAM: Might be useful.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I'll trade you something for it.

MARISHA: Percy--

TALIESIN: My glasses.

MARISHA: Your-- (laughs)

(laughter)

TRAVIS: You! You! I'm not going to fall for that!

TALIESIN: It was worth-- the joke was worth the ring alone, I would imagine. We were going to give it back, we just want to see it.

TRAVIS: So that big demon, that like body slammed me on that spike? Piece of shit. I took this ring off of his finger, forever ago. And I kept it. I take it out.

SAM: Let's have a look! I'll cast Identify on it.

MATT: Okay. The ring has no specific magical properties to it, but it is a signet of some kind. There is a symbol on it-- Roll a religion check, actually.

TALIESIN: Can I aid with a history or religion as well?

TRAVIS: Sorry, that's from like, three years ago.

SAM: 19.

TALIESIN: Can I help with him with that? History or religion?

MATT: This would be religion.

TALIESIN: All right.

TRAVIS: That's one of the oldest things in this bag.

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: There's only one other thing that's older.

TALIESIN: An 11 on top of that, so--

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: What's the one thing that's older?

TRAVIS: It's an onyx statue that we found down in the cell that you were in.

MATT: That he was in, yeah. So, the two of you both conjecturing about it, the symbol here is one that you picked up specifically in the tome you did research earlier. It is the symbol of Asmodeus.

TALIESIN: It is the symbol of Asmodeus, I would have instantly recognized it, at this point.

SAM: Asmodeus. I was going to say that as well.

TALIESIN: You, of course you were going to say Asmodeus, because it's like written six times in my notes, and I'm literally staring at a sketch of it in my notes.

MATT: Asmo-day-us.

SAM: I feel like we're sympatico on this.

TRAVIS: Can we use it? Is it something that'll get us like, a backstage pass to an audience of some kind?

TALIESIN: I'm going to take a long look at this thing. Is this some sort of mark of-- Is this a marker? Some sort of favor marker? Is this a signet of stature? Is this a-- You don't just put this on anything.

TRAVIS: It's mine, don't forget.

MATT: It seems, from best you can tell-- Make an intelligence check, actually.

TALIESIN: All right.

SAM: I should probably assist.

TALIESIN: Yeah, please.

TRAVIS: Yep, me too.

TALIESIN: Oh, yes please.

SAM: We got two natural ones.

MATT: (laughs)

TRAVIS: 13!

MARISHA: Did you really?

SAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: Holy shit!

TALIESIN: It's a nose ring!

SAM: I think it's a, uh. A contact lens!

TALIESIN: I think that it is, in fact, a-- some sort of-- I don't know, it's a-- Napkin ring. (laughs) For tiny napkins.

MATT: As far as you guys know, it looks pretty damn important. That's the only thing you can ascertain.

MARISHA: Let me, let me see if I can get something out of it.

TALIESIN: That's fine, I don't care.

MARISHA: Can I scry on it?

SAM: Scry?

MARISHA: Like scry and see if it shows me something?

TALIESIN: Oh! Object scry?

MATT: Let me see.

MARISHA: Is that-- a thing I-- no?

MATT: I mean, if you focus on an item, you can use that item to try an improve a scrying attempt if you're looking for a specific individual or location.

MARISHA: Individual.

MATT: But I don't think the Scrying spell directly allows you to, to--

TALIESIN: There is a spell that does that, though-- Object History.

SAM: Yeah, we don't have that.

MARISHA: I don't have that.

TRAVIS: If you're curious, the person it belonged to is dead.

SAM: Oh!

TRAVIS: We killed him.

MARISHA: Oh, I know.

TALIESIN: The symbol on this object, though, is more or less the ruler of this dimension, so it could be useful for something.

SAM: Why don't we keep it handy, no pun intended, and we'll just flash it if we get in trouble, and see if that helps us.

TRAVIS: How is that a pun?

MARISHA: Okay.

TALIESIN: I was actually thinking the same thing, I don't understand how that was--

SAM: It's a ring. I said handy.

TRAVIS: That's a stretch.

LIAM: I caught it.

(laughter)

LIAM: I'm sorry to say.

SAM: Well. Are we taking this deal, or are we... not?

TRAVIS: Are we doing it on our own?

MARISHA: You know, this imp that I saw did have sparkly gold armor, he may be like an important imp. I'm just saying, I feel like everyone's here wanting to make a deal. It might be good to talk to others.

LIAM: Vex, you're being awfully quiet, what do you think we should do right now?

(laughter)

TRAVIS: (laughs) Yeah, Vex!

MATT: Vex, at this point, is watching the whole thing, and she goes, "Well, to be perfectly honest, I haven't heard much detail about this deal that you apparently seemed to make. What do we make of the deal?"

TALIESIN: The owner of this establishment we're staying in works for a man he doesn't like. Is curious what would happen if he wasn't working for that man, if he was suddenly, for reasons, unavailable. And for that, we would probably be arrested, if we dealt with it inappropriately, and we would be in a position to be-- make our enemy accessible, I suppose. We have to be a bit cagey, there are ears, apparently, everywhere. Even here.

MARISHA: I feel like we don't need to make a deal to go murder someone to get arrested. I feel like I could just go streaking in the street and just say words, and we would get arrested.

TALIESIN: As, actually--

TRAVIS: That's true.

TALIESIN: Strangely, excited by that plan as I am--

MARISHA: Why do we need to commit this crime, and then suffer the apt consequences?

TRAVIS: Yeah, but Keyleth, once we're arrested, he's supposed to, like, shuffle us in, y'know, on the low-low, into--

MARISHA: Can he get us out?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Well, where we need to be, yeah. Out never came up.

MARISHA: Out never came up?!

TALIESIN: You're our out. We leave all of this behind once all that's taken care of.

MARISHA: Then why do we need him as our in?

TRAVIS: Because we have no other plan at this point.

TALIESIN: At this point we have no other plan.

TRAVIS: You were supposed to go find something, (singsong) but you got followed by demons.

MARISHA: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. I could do-- attempt something similar. Potentially with a higher-level version of my Locate Creature spell--

TRAVIS: Oh?

MARISHA: -- which is Find the Path, which could get us close. Potentially.

TRAVIS: What if the guy he wants us to kill is like a real piece of shit?

TALIESIN: They're all pieces of shit!

SAM: Everything down here is a piece of shit.

TRAVIS: Does anybody have a problem with that? It's just like, y'know, piece of shit: (killing noise), and he's gone.

TALIESIN: The only problem I have with it--

SAM: I like it.

TRAVIS: Thank you, Tary.

TALIESIN: -- and the only reason I'm even being vaguely hesitant about any of this is because they're all pieces of shit, including the one that we're making any sort of bargain with.

TRAVIS: Okay.

TALIESIN: And they are professional bargainers, and I know we're missing something.

TRAVIS: We kill him, too.

MARISHA: It's a Lawful Evil dimension. If he wants his boss dead, that means that there's going to be someone else above him. If we kill one guy, who's all going to want to kill us?

TRAVIS: Did he ask, like, a decision by a certain time?

TALIESIN: I don't recall-- So, I said I would have it within a day or so, if I recall--

MATT: Yeah, you said 'fairly promptly.'

TRAVIS: Well, fuck, we've got a day! Let's go explore, see what we can find.

TALIESIN: And if we're going to decide to trust him, we could also show him the ring and see what he makes of it.

TRAVIS: Not the ring! God, not the ring-- I mean, I, fuck, I totally forgot about that ring until now.

MARISHA: He's literally still holding it in his hand in front of your face, you just--

TRAVIS: Yeah, I need it back.

SAM: What will you do with it?

TRAVIS: Me?

SAM: Yes.

TRAVIS: I'm going to wear it!

SAM: All right!

TRAVIS: Yeah. Does it fit on any of me giant, Oscar Meyer fingers?

(laughter)

MATT: It fits partway down your pinkie, but it gets caught on, like, the first knuckle.

MARISHA: Ooh, look at you! Oh my gosh! Wow.

MATT: It's like he went to Claire's.

TRAVIS: Property of Asmodeus! Ass-modeus--

TALIESIN: This never ends well. Let's forego disguises.

TRAVIS: Oh, wait, you ready to go?

TALIESIN: We're going to just drain ourselves the more we pretend to be something we're not, and obviously it's not helping us not attract attention.

TRAVIS: Vax, you got any problem with that?

LIAM: I mean, I don't know what the deal is with the people who are interested in me. I can't tell if one's better or worse. But we're just going to go waltz out into town and see what happens, is that the idea?

TALIESIN: Well, we could-- Keyleth could keep her wings and armor, and they'd be probably, possibly, less likely to question any us if we're walking around with someone of reasonable stature.

SAM: If I might remind you: for 50 minutes, now, at this point now, right? So then we're all dead.

TALIESIN: Yeah, then we're all dead.

MARISHA: Well, we just-- It's like curfew. We have to be home in about 50 minutes.

TRAVIS: What about you? Do you have like a magic jock strap you can rip off and change into something?

SAM: I've already done that. We're all tieflings because of me.

TRAVIS: Not me, bitch.

SAM: You're-- abnormal.

TRAVIS: Oh. Thank you.

LIAM: Kiki, the prison that you saw, did you get an idea for how big it is?

MARISHA: The what? The prison?

LIAM: The prison. That we need to break into or get arrested and pulled into--

MARISHA: I didn't see how big. It seemed immense, and like it was probably pretty big underground? But I couldn't-- can't be for sure.

TALIESIN: I would say it would be safe to assume that a prison in hell would be so big that there would be sayings such as 'as big as filling-- try attempting to fill a prison in hell.' I feel like this is just-- I think we're like walking into idioms, at this point.

SAM: But if this gentleman, if I may call him a gentleman, can escort us to the right cell block, or whatever, that might be very, very handy. I don't want to spend any more time in hell than we have to, and as much as I usually hate employees revolting against their employer, I feel like we've got a bird in the hand, so to speak, and we should strike while the iron is hot, if I can use many, many cliches all at once.

TALIESIN: Wait for it, wait for it.

ALL: Hey!

LAURA: What's going on?

TRAVIS: Hi!

LAURA: I was listening in the car!

SAM: We're about to Say Yes to the Dress, and go and follow this plan, I think.

LAURA: It was the one? It was the one?!

TRAVIS: Yeah, do you want to take the contract? And we go kill (burps) big shit guy and go to prison? Or do we try and, like, take a day and see what we can find on our own, without giving ourselves over to this-- arrangement?

SAM: (whispers) I don't want to walk around this place!

LAURA: (South African accent) We're going to kill the big guy. Oh god! I'm in South African.

TRAVIS: Yeah, you are. Vax.

LAURA: Ah! (babbling)

TRAVIS: What's your vote?

LIAM: Well, well, hold on, I've got one more spitball idea. Vex?

LAURA: (accent still off) Yeah! Yes.

LIAM: That gate stone that we've used so many times, does that only work on the material plane? Does it work--

LAURA: Well, here's the thing, darling. I gave the other gate stone to Scanlan.

LIAM: Right!

MARISHA: It won't get us out of here, no.

TALIESIN: We don't have one.

LIAM: Would it take us off this plane, though, or no?

LAURA: Well, it would take one person off this plane.

MATT: It would only take one person, and they have to be on the same plane of existence.

LAURA: So, no, it wouldn't take anyone anywhere.

MATT: You would know that. Based on the enchantment.

LIAM: So that's a dead end. All right.

LAURA: Also, I heard you guys talking about the guys with the gold armor?

TRAVIS: Uh-huh.

LIAM: While you were standing two feet away?

LAURA: While I was standing right here, I heard you guys talking about it?

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: And those guys, they're guards of the city! Those imps in the gold armor, we were warned about those guys!

MARISHA: Oh.

TRAVIS: We were?

LAURA: Yeah!

SAM: Well, why didn't you chime in before?!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Yeah, fucking speak up.

LAURA: Well, I wanted to! But I was biting my nails really hard.

MARISHA: You know, we have a day or so. Does anyone else think that we should maybe not take the first deal that presents itself in the first tavern that we step into in the city? Does that not seem super convenient?

TRAVIS: I mean, what are our chances of walking around town and going like, 'hey, that prison, right? Right over--'?

MARISHA: I mean-- (transforming sound) (deeper voice) We've got about 50 minutes, if we still want to go.

MATT: 45.

LIAM: I mean, also, if we want to get, y'know, pinched and put into this prison, what are the chances that we-- if we start shit here, are we just going to get killed in the streets? Or dragged off? It doesn't seem very solid to me, but I don't have any other idea.

TRAVIS: All right, time for a vote!

SAM: I agree.

TRAVIS: Tary, what's your vote?

SAM: I say we take this deal, kill that employer, and go to prison. Oh my god--

TRAVIS: Percy?

LIAM: Jeez, Tary, you've gone straight gangsta in so little time.

SAM: Well, I just want to get the fuck out of here and go back home so I can enjoy some wine!

TALIESIN: Starting to crack a bit.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Percy, what's your vote?

TALIESIN: I vote we take the deal.

TRAVIS: Keyleth?

MARISHA: What?

TRAVIS: Keyleth!

MARISHA: I think an extra day of walking around this city could potentially save us years in hell that--

TRAVIS: I don't need an explanation, jesus.

TALIESIN: I say we take the deal at sundown.

TRAVIS: Okay. Vax?

MARISHA: We don't take the deal.

LIAM: I mean, I really don't see the harm in spending another day here and getting the lay of the land.

TRAVIS: Vex?

LAURA: I vote for-- For another day here.

TALIESIN: All right.

LAURA: But if we don't find any leads, we take it.

TRAVIS: I vote for taking the contract! Me and Tary, we're of a like mind.

TALIESIN: No, I was just swinging. I swing back.

SAM: What? You swing back?!

TALIESIN: I said I'd take the day.

MARISHA: He said he wants the day.

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Bullshit. All right, we take the day.

SAM: Well, Doty hasn't voted yet.

LAURA: Neither has Trinket.

LIAM: What, is Doty the center that breaks the tie?

SAM: Maybe they should arm wrestle for it.

LAURA: Maybe they should.

SAM: Doty.

TRAVIS: Giant grizzly bear.

SAM: Arm wrestle that bear.

MATT: Turns towards you and Trinket goes-- (bear grunting)

LAURA: Trinket's arms don't bend that way. Trinket, you can do it.

MATT: Saunters up and looks up at Doty-- (bear sniffing, snorts) Fogs up the metal for a second on the outside--

LAURA: Wait, I haven't chosen my dice yet.

MATT: Choose your dice. (chuckles)

SAM: (snorts) Give her 35 minutes.

LAURA: Just hold on, I just need like a few--

TRAVIS: Just pick one.

SAM: She needs a bucket of Vaseline, a feather, preferably from a dove, and 35-40 minutes.

LAURA: Okay. Why's all my stuff in different order?

MATT: All right, so the-- it takes roughly five or so minutes to try and bring one of the nearby tables over without burning the shit out of your palms--

TRAVIS: Oh right.

MATT: -- that could possibly facilitate an arm wrestling match between a giant metal man and a grizzly bear.

LAURA: Oh-- but, wait wait wait wait. Doty's not going to get any advantage on this because he's been leaning against a door, right?

MATT: No, it's cooled off by now.

LAURA: Okay, good.

MATT: So, as it's all there, the giant metal man, Trinket comes up--

SAM: (whispers) Where's my Doty stats--

LAURA: Put your whole body into it, Trinket.

MATT: And Trinket, not really-- Trinket doesn't grasp, Trinket just goes-- and just does like a claw strike at his, at his hand--

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: -- because that's what a bear does. And so the giant open palm of the automaton gets slammed by the strength of Trinket's claw and this is going to be the, one way or another, the fastest arm wrestling match you've ever seen. I need you to go ahead and roll a d20 and add Trinket's strength modifier.

LIAM: Come on, Trinket.

LAURA: Come on, Trinket.

LIAM: Do it.

TALIESIN: Either way, I'm entertained. Nothing but winners.

LAURA: 14.

MATT: Roll a d20 and add Doty's strength modifier.

SAM: Ten.

(laughter)

MATT: Ping! The bear's claw goes full swing, Doty's arm gets thrust back and almost seems to pop out of the socket briefly--

TRAVIS: Son of a bitch!

MATT: -- before pops it back in.

SAM: I must wage a complaint. That was not a regulation arm-wrestling match, they did not have elbows down--

LAURA: It's not a fair match, he doesn't have arm joints.

SAM: It's not my fault that you didn't design your robot-bear to have arm joints.

LAURA: He's a real bear. He's a real bear.

SAM: I haven't seen any evidence of that.

LAURA: Trinket, go pee on him. Go potty, right there.

SAM: Please don't, I rust in many places.

MATT: And this very large, looming bear just-- (aggressive bear grunting)

LAURA: Good boy.

MATT: -- looms up towards you. Do you do anything?

SAM: I don't.

(luaghter)

SAM: I'm scared of the bear.

MATT: As the feeling of ever-so-slowly trickling, warm urine soaks the right side of your armored leg, Trinket's nose slowly brushes up against the side of your ear and face and goes (sniffing, grunting) (slurp) licks the side of your head and then the last little bits of trickle end as Trinket turns around and lumbers back towards Vex.

LAURA: How's that?

TALIESIN: Oh boy.

LAURA: Did that seem real enough?

MATT: Which, by the way, there's now a (sizzling) it's starting to actually--

LAURA: Oh, that smells really awful, I'm sorry.

MARISHA: Do you have to make a point in the room we're sleeping in?

LAURA: I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

TRAVIS: This is really nice now.

LAURA: Well, this is Grog's room anyway.

TALIESIN: If we're going to go outside and take a look around, I think now is the time to do it.

TRAVIS: All right. Let's go.

TALIESIN: Do we want to show our friend downstairs our ring?

MARISHA: No, we can show him later.

TALIESIN: All right.

MATT: All right, so you guys--

MARISHA: Do you want me to be Poppa-- (stammering gibberish)

(laughter)

MARISHA: I'm going to abandon that--

TRAVIS: Wow.

LAURA: How's that going for you?

TRAVIS: Eject! Eject!

SAM: (whispers) Speaking in tongues.

TALIESIN: Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: All right, she's gone.

MARISHA: It's been a long week.

TRAVIS: Do you want to what?

TALIESIN: They would never believe it if you told them.

MARISHA: Do you want me to be the erinyes?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: All right.

TALIESIN: If you feel it start to fade we'll find some cover and let you--

MARISHA: Do my thing.

TALIESIN: -- do your thing. I don't think, I don't think that anyone here is necessarily against duplicity, I just think they're against duplicity against them, whomever they serve.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah, but can you be the erinyes and locate-- thing at the same time?

MARISHA: No.

LAURA: Oh, but I can, I can, oh wait, I can cast Locate Object, but not people. Does it work the same way? Would a Hotis egg-ball be an object?

MATT: Nope, that is specifically a creature.

LAURA: Would a prison be an object?

MATT: Mmm, no, it's a location.

LAURA: What about the prison door outside of Hotis' room?

MATT: You haven't seen it.

MARISHA: Sure, I got 30 minutes left of this 9th-level spell.

TALIESIN: We'll pop it over-- pop it out if we need.

TRAVIS: Yeah, what if somebody comes up to you and like, thinks you're somebody and you're not, and then you gotta, like, talk.

LAURA: Well, she's her own person. It's not like she looks like any other one.

TRAVIS: Oh.

LAURA: Right?

MARISHA: I look like-- I currently look like that.

LAURA: Hot.

TALIESIN: A 1984 metal magazine.

LIAM: I mean, she's full Mystique, she can pretty much do it all at this point.

MARISHA: That's true, I can do it all.

MATT: So, what's the form you're taking?

MARISHA: He's right, I'll just take my regular tiefling form.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: For now.

MATT: So you guys gather your things--

LAURA: But the rest of us are normal, right? Because we don't have Alter Self anymore.

MATT: Correct.

TALIESIN: So if anyone asks, we belong to her.

MARISHA: Correct.

LAURA: Got it.

TRAVIS: Not me.

MATT: (laughs)

LAURA: Grog--

MARISHA: For 30 minutes.

TRAVIS: All right, fine. 30. Very expensive.

MATT: All right. So, as you guys make your way down into the main chamber, there's one more devilish entity that's in the process of feasting on what looks to be a small cauldron of some sort of broken bone and dark purple and bluish flesh, and it's just tearing into it, as Ipkesh is at the same table where you guys previously spoke with him. He's sitting there with his same glass of wine, and as you approach, he gives a nod towards you, and he has a piece of paper on the table.

TALIESIN: Is this just to peruse?

MATT: He slides it forward. "Have a read. See if it's up to your preferences."

SAM: May I?

MATT: I will give you the piece of paper, actually.

SAM: No, let's mime it! (grunts) Coming!

TALIESIN: I was really enjoying miming reading.

SAM: Oh my god, it's so long.

MATT: (chuckles) It's a contract!

LAURA: Oh my god! How are we-- C'mon, really?!

SAM: Super long!

TALIESIN: I'll be fine, I can do this. Really? Okay, no. Okay, well, carry on, let's walk about while we do this. I will read out important things-- Oh, I can't walk with this, can I? I have to leave this on the table.

MATT: No. You have to leave this here.

SAM: Just give me page two!

TRAVIS: Do you want me to give it a look?

MARISHA: Aw, fuck, it's long.

LAURA: Did you catch it?

TRAVIS: Buzz.

SAM: He already signed.

LAURA: Can I roll my dice while they're reading a contract?

TRAVIS: (resigned) Sure.

LAURA: No-- No-- No-- Nope!

TALIESIN: I can actually faff all of this. You are an evil person.

MARISHA: It's like the CPA mini-game of Vox Machina!

LIAM: I just want to update my iPhone, jesus!

MATT: Kind of, yeah. Would you like me to read the contract out loud?

SAM: No!

TALIESIN: Yes!

SAM: It's so long, Matt!

MARISHA: It's so fucking long. It's got to be at-- there's like--

SAM: We can-- well, you read too much out loud. We will read it out loud.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Taliesin, take it away.

MARISHA: I feel like we should give this to Grog. (laughs)

TALIESIN: All right. “This contract binds the scribe and recipient into a deal--”

MATT: Hold on a second.

TALIESIN: “-- of chosen escalation for an unending period of time, or this contract is voided by an agreement on the part of both parties. Upon agreeing to and signing this contract, the recipient is bound to their agreed obligations and parameters within the first pact, as is the scribe. Upon completion of the agreed obligations and parameters on both sides of the initial pact, the first pact is considered complete and concluded.”

LAURA: This is awful.

TALIESIN: “The contract as a whole remains until the predetermined period of eternity, allowing the recipient, should they feel inclined, to invoke and trigger the second or third pact any time thereafter through verbal acceptance in relative proximity of this contract. The obligations and parameters agreed upon within the second or third pact then become binding and immediate, to be fulfilled on part of the both parties within an agreed-upon period of time. Upon completion of the agreed obligations and parameters on both sides of the second or third pact, that pact is considered complete and concluded. This contract remains in effect through all pacts and thereafter, maintaining any agreed upon specifications and obligations that remain outside of a pact's completion, for eternity.” (big inhale) “Any violation of this contract on the part of the scribe immediately holds this contract null and void, requiring a penalty payment of 15,000 gold pieces to the recipient to be paid immediately. Any violation of this contract on the part of the recipient immediately locks the claim and ownership of the everlasting soul of the recipient, invoking the laws of the pact primeval, under the control and dominance of the scribe for all eternity, sending the soul of the recipient immediately upon death to the scribe to do with as they see fit. First Pact: the scribe” --your name here, Ipkesh--

MARISHA: It's definitely like an iPhone contract.

TALIESIN: “-- agrees to enable safe passage into the depths of Mentiri, specifically the Bastion of Flesh, unharmed.” Bastion of Flesh. “The recipient-- your name here-- agrees to be the instrument of assassination leading to the death of-- Utugash” -- or should-- a name I will not say out loud-- “the Herald of” --something I will not say out loud-- “without the revealing or leaving of evidence that could connect or incriminate the scribe in an act or reasons for the act.”

SAM: “Second Pact! (robot voice) The scribe, Ipkesh, agrees to--”

ALL: No!

SAM: (laughs) (normal voice) Okay. “The scribe, Ipkesh, agrees to immediately conjure forth a cadre of devils in service to the recipient--” That's us. “-- whom shall remain under the command of and dedicated to the protection of the recipient for the duration of one month!” We get a cadre of devils. “The cadre shall include four hamantula and a single osyluth. Should any devils bound within this agreed-upon cadre be slain outside of Baator, they are absolved of future service to the recipient. The recipient, our name here, agrees to introduction and installation of at least two chosen of Dispater, who have been selected by the scribe, within a place of divine worship of the scribe's choice. The recipient must not interfere with this installation upon completion, and any interference will be considered a violation of contract. Third pact!” (big inhale) “The scribe, Ipkesh, agrees to immediately impart the recipient with knowledge of ancient power beyond their grasp, enabling the use of divine powers granted under the grace of Lord Dispater that can instantly restore themselves or allies to a healthy state--” Ooh, we get health knowledge! “-- or rend the lifeforce from their opponents!”

MARISHA: At what cost?

SAM: He's giving us magic!

MARISHA: At what cost?

SAM: “These powers remain within your possession until death! The recipient--” that's us, “-- agrees to immediately lock the claim and ownership of the everlasting soul of the recipient, invoking the laws of the pact primeval, under the control and dominance of the scribe for all eternity, sending the soul of the recipient immediately upon death to the scribe to do with as they see fit.”

MATT: So.

SAM: We're selling our soul!

MATT: Not necessarily.

MARISHA: My favorite line: "This contract as a whole remains until the predetermined period of eternity." That's my favorite!

MATT: In theory, only one person has to accept the contract.

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: To lock this in, you only agree to the first pact. And when the first pact is complete, you do not have to trigger any of the other pacts. The contract remains in effect. Should you ever decide to trigger the pact, it immediately comes into play.

SAM: So, second pact is: we get a bunch of devils, and they get to install two in a place of divine worship to be determined. Third pact is: we get all sorts of devil magic in exchange for our souls.

TRAVIS: I'll do it.

SAM: So we're probably not going to do those pacts-- (laughs)

LAURA: Just don't do those ones.

TRAVIS: Why?

LIAM: So, like, we went in to buy a car, and he's also offering us a condo and land in Florida, at the same time, is that about it?

MATT: Yeah, you don't have to accept--

TALIESIN: In perpetuity, though.

MATT: Yeah, in perpetuity. So, you don't have decide now on the other pacts, but at some point down the road, if you're ever in a situation where you're like, 'oh shit, we're all about to die, I invoke the second pact,' boom, you get a bunch of devils to help you for the next month.

MARISHA: Wow--

MARISHA: And you just have to, like, say that? You're like, 'Yo, Ipkesh, I take that second pact!”

MATT: You invoke the pact.

TALIESIN: So the second pact is, we get a bunch of stuff, but we have to do, what was it, the-- "agrees to introduction and installation of at least two of--"

SAM: We have to take two devils and put them in a place of holy worship somewhere in the world.

TRAVIS: Right.

TALIESIN: Okay. And then the third pact is our soul.

MATT: Yes.

TALIESIN: Our soul for somebody else's life.

LIAM: One of our souls, or all our souls?

MATT: One person has to sign the contract and only that person's soul--

LIAM: Oh, that's not so bad.

LAURA: (laughs)

TALIESIN: And the first pact, the scribe “enables safe passage into the depths of Mentiri, specifically the Bastion of Flesh, unharmed.” I feel like that's a little thin.

MATT: Well, you're-- And you say this, in character? (laughs)

TALIESIN: (Percy voice) I feel like-- I feel like the first pact's a little thin.

(laughter)

MATT: "Well, there is room for negotiation, of course."

TALIESIN: That's fair.

SAM: If we have some time, I could summon my father's army of lawyers--

TALIESIN: (chuckles) Do they have a branch here?

SAM: No, (laughs) it would take them quite some time to arrive. But they've negotiated tougher deals than this.

TALIESIN: I was strangely hoping that your father's lawyers had a branch here, that would be--

LAURA: Appropriate.

SAM: I think they originated here, but then they moved to where I'm from for the tax laws.

TALIESIN: I suppose that is a growth industry. This is interesting, I'm going to think it over. I'm going to leave it, and we'll be back in the evening.

MATT: "Very well. Please, return when you have a better idea of what you would like to see adjusted, and I will do the same."

TALIESIN: I thank you for your time and patience.

MATT: He takes it and rolls it up, and it vanishes below the table as you exit.

SAM: (whispers) How do we know when it's evening here?

LAURA: (whispers) Don't whisper here.

SAM: Oh. Sorry. (very loudly) How do we know when it's evening here?

TALIESIN: Don't yell here!

LAURA: I don't know. Can we ask him? How do we know when it's evening here? Does it get dark?

MATT: “It does not get dark, there is no evening here in Dis.”

LAURA: Of course! (nervous laughing) Of course.

TALIESIN: We're going to get mugged, aren't we? (laughs)

MARISHA: Mm, I mean-- I already got close!

TALIESIN: Well, let's take a look around.

LAURA: Does he seem to, like, notice or care that we're not the tieflings anymore?

MATT: He has taken a scan of the group, but he doesn't seem to be flinching. He is just there and eager to talk some more.

TRAVIS: It's Vegas, man. He don't give a fuck.

TALIESIN: I think indifference is the common courtesy here to an awful lot.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: So, as you guys exit the establishment into the street, the heated cobblestone still glowing a dull maroon and black, you watch as what looks to be some sort of strange mist-like form emanates from a crack, and turns into a screaming specter that-- (gasping) -- and drifts further down the street, past you.

LAURA: Lovely.

SAM: They need a tourism board.

(laughter)

SAM: Badly.

MATT: What do you guys wish to do?

LAURA: What are we trying to do?

SAM: I don't know!

LAURA: We're just going to walk around and see if we can sense where this bastion of death is.

MATT: You've got 25 minutes before your spell is up.

LAURA: The bastion of death is what we're trying to find.

MARISHA: The bastion of death is--

MATT: The Bastion of Flesh.

MARISHA: The Bastion of Flesh is who he wants us to kill?

MATT: No, the Bastion of Flesh is-- The safe passage to the Bastion of Flesh, that is what the contract enables you should you fulfill your part of the deal.

LAURA: So that's the prison we're looking for.

TALIESIN: The Mentiri is the prison; that's the part of the prison. Prison has parts.

LIAM: Tell me-- how much time?

TALIESIN: 25 minutes.

LIAM: 25 minutes? What can we do in 25 minutes? We could fast-talk a couple of people.

LAURA: Could I Locate Object on the Bastion of Flesh?

MATT: Not an object. It's a location.

TRAVIS: What about snow cones?

LAURA: Just going to keep asking.

MATT: (laughs) You wouldn't be Vex if you didn't.

TALIESIN: 25 minutes until your spell is dissipated, but once it is, we can do Locate Person.

MARISHA: Correct. I could also do Find the Path if I have a little piece of the prison. If we could get a little piece of the prison--

LAURA: Oh. No problem!

TRAVIS: What the fuck?

MARISHA: What?

SAM: We just need a little chunk of prison lock.

TRAVIS: If I just had a little piece of the White House, I could just-- (snaps)-- right to it.

MARISHA: Hey, there are people who walk away with pieces of forests, beaches, all the time.

TRAVIS: They get there first, though.

LAURA: Where do you find those people? Just walking around?

MARISHA: I don't know. Does there look like an oddities store?

LIAM: Were there any last little bit of Hotis grit or funk in my belly button where he shanked me?

MARISHA: (laughs) Yeah.

MATT: No, I mean--

LIAM: No?

MATT: Unless you guys have anything in your possession from that battle, then no.

SAM: Vex.

LAURA: What?

SAM: You had mentioned that you had a Locate Object spell.

LAURA: I do.

SAM: Is there any object that this person we're supposed to assassinate has that you have seen and know of?

LAURA: Oh, this person? No, I don't know anything about--

SAM: No no no, I mean the one that we came to the Nine Hells for.

SAM: This Hotis.

LIAM: Hotis. I mean, he had knives, but that's the only thing I remember.

TALIESIN: He had a cloak, did he not?

MARISHA: He did have a cloak, but-- I mean, last time we saw him, he was also a-- little, writhing--

LAURA: I did see those knives, right?

MATT: You did, but also--

LIAM: Yeah, I mean he was just a-- Like a cat baby wrapped in bacon when we saw him.

TRAVIS: Yeah, he had a tiger-skin hoodie.

MARISHA: I don't know if he would still have those items.

MATT: No, the objects would not reform with him. He would reform without-- All the material possessions that Hotis had on his body when you killed him were left behind.

MARISHA: Does there look like there's a weird oddities store or dealer or--

MATT: Make an investigation check.

TALIESIN: I'm also getting in on that. I'm looking for anything of value.

SAM: Like a costume shop?

MARISHA: Natural 20! Hee hee hee--

TALIESIN: Never mind.

TRAVIS: Wow.

MATT: All right.

MATT: You don't ask around because--

MARISHA: That's bad.

MATT: It's a bad idea, and you start getting the idea to, whatever's coming down, they get the stink eye, and you just-- turn tough gaze and keep walking. And eventually, you come upon a facility of some kind that looks to be made of almost-- pieces of black and rusted sheet metal that's jammed together in a very patchwork fashion. You don't see a doorway more than you see a triangular opening where the various interlocking pieces of metal aren't fully flush. From the inside, you see a soft reddish-orange glow that flickers ever so gently. As you glance inside, you see a few makeshift braziers that are flickering with reddish-orange fire and what appear to be some gleaming shelves lining up strange, glowing collections.

SAM: Going in?

TALIESIN: I want to go in.

MATT: Okay, as you guys enter--

TRAVIS: Hands in your pockets, Tary.

SAM: I have no pockets.

TRAVIS: Shit.

TALIESIN: It's not Tary. We have to give him a name.

SAM: Why?

TALIESIN: Everyone use code names.

SAM: Code names?

TRAVIS: Yrat.

LAURA: Yrat.

SAM: What?

TRAVIS: Yrat. It's your name backwards, right?


SAM: Oh! Okay.

LAURA: Whoa, Grog.

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: How?

TRAVIS: Oh, it hurts. Ow!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Ow, ow.

MATT: You take--

TRAVIS: Ow.

(laughter)

MATT: You take three psychic damage--

TRAVIS: (yells)

MATT: -- from attempting to think too hard.

LAURA: He’s writing it down!

MARISHA: You just got punished for being too witty!

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: It’s so sad!

LAURA: That’s amazing.

MARISHA: Oh no.

MATT: Just a bit of blood trickles out of his right ear.

LAURA: Oh Grog.

TALIESIN: That’s the most you thing I have seen happen all game.

MARISHA: I feel like we have to call you Yrat now.

TALIESIN: Yrat.

SAM: That’s fine, I’ve been treated worse than this--earlier today.

LAURA: Yeah, you got pissed on by a bear.

SAM: Yeah, yeah, that’s what I was talking about!

LAURA: Who by the way-- He’s back in my necklace by the way. I don’t want Trinket walking around here.

MATT: I assumed you didn’t want a giant bear walking around.

TALIESIN: What are we calling the two of you?

LIAM: Wode. You can call me Wode.

LAURA: Wode?

LIAM: Wode.

TALIESIN: That’s somehow worse, all right.

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: I guess I’m Wade

MARISHA: I’m never going to-- Wode and Wade?

LIAM: Wode and Wade!

MARISHA: What the shit?

TALIESIN: What? No Bill and Ted? All right. Wode and Wade. My word!

MARISHA: Wode, and Wade, Yrat--

TALIESIN: Freddie.

MARISHA: And you can call me Minxie.

TALIESIN: Minxie.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: And this is Greg over here.

MARISHA: Greg.

SAM: By the way, our 25 minutes is quickly ticking down.

MARISHA: Well, imagine this is happening quickly, right?

TALIESIN: This is happening quickly as we enter the shop. We all enter the shop.

MATT: Well, it's taken a while to find this place so you're about ten minutes before your spell ends. This is a very big city, you guys. So as you walk-- This is the only thing you've seen so far that looks to have any sort of, loosely welcoming or not, heavily guarded ‘don't come in or you'll get killed’-type exterior. And as you enter the low-lit inside, you see these rickety-looking shelves that contain small glowing gems or crystals of different colours and sizes. Like weird geodes that are cut from natural deposits. And across the way, there is just a stool and what looks to be some sort of humanoid creature that is slumped forward and breathing heavily. With these elongated, dull green color on the skin, a series of small spines that protrude from the shoulders and back--

SAM: Spines?

MATT: Yeah, like jagged, long, thin spines. And as you enter, its snout turns up and goes, (raspy breathing sound).

SAM: Wait!

MATT: "Yes?"

SAM: We don't have a code name for him!

LAURA: Yeah, Freddie.

SAM: Oh, Freddie, okay.

TRAVIS: Bidet.

MATT: "You come to buy pretties?"

TRAVIS: Yeah, yes!

SAM: No! What?

MARISHA: Thing is-- I'm looking for something specific.

MATT: What do you seek?

MARISHA: Do you have any pieces or remnants or items from-- the Mentiri Prison? Specifically from the Bastion of Flesh?

MATT: "No, no, I do not go there."

MARISHA: Why not?

MATT: "Because it is for fleshy types." And he nudges this, long jagged chin; these gnashing teeth that are crooked and overlapping as it spits as it speaks in your direction.

TALIESIN: Charming.

MARISHA: Where is it located? We need in.

MATT: "What?"

MARISHA: And then I slowly start to Shape Change just for the erinyes face, and I give just a flash of it. We need in. And you're going to help me, aren't you?

MATT: Make an intimidation check with advantage.

MARISHA: Fucking hell.

MATT: Literally.

LAURA: Yeah!

MARISHA: Fucking hell.

LAURA: What is it? What is it?

MARISHA: It's a 19! But it was almost bad!

LAURA: Plus seven.

MARISHA: Plus seven, so 26.

MATT: "I do not know the-- the nature of this city is to be rebuilt. Always rebuilt, aways changing. The archdevil, he worries. He's paranoid. Everything must not be the same as it was. I know not where it is, I know not where the Bastion is, I'm sorry!"

MARISHA: Well then, how do people get around the city? You know.

MATT: "Those who work, those who are within, those who are under the guidance of the prison's masters. They know. They know."

MARISHA: Where do I find them?

LAURA: (whispers) The ring!

MARISHA: And I show them the ring of Asmodeus.

SAM: You don't have it.

LAURA: (whispers) No, but she does.

SAM: Oh. But she doesn't?

TRAVIS: I do.

MARISHA: He has it.

LAURA: Oh. I dunno who has it. The ring!

MATT: It's on his pinkie.

SAM: He went to Jared!

MARISHA: (high-pitched singing) It can only be Jared!

TALIESIN: Jared!

MATT: "I can not help! I don't know." And he just lowers his head in a shameful worrying. You can see his knees are quivering ever-so-gently.

LAURA: I want to insight check him to see if he looks like he's--

MATT: Make an insight check.

LAURA: I feel like he is but I just want to make sure.

TRAVIS: That's good.

LAURA: 26 there.

MATT: Okay, legitimately, this creature is pretty pathetic as far as devils go that you've come across, and in the threatening presence of an erinyes that is asking for information it does not seem to have, it is legitimately awaiting a terrible demotion that it doesn't feel it earned.

LAURA: Mistress, I don't believe he knows.

MARISHA: I need a name and location of where to find the information that I need.

MATT: "I don't know, I don't know."

MARISHA: Then who does?

MATT: You see him looking around, spastically his eyes are shooting around the room at all of you and around looking at the geodes at different directions almost like a weird iguana face. He says, "The torturers, the chains.”

LAURA: Oh shit.

MARISHA: God damn it-- the chain devils. All right

TRAVIS: I mean, we're in here.

TALIESIN: I think we should allow this poor creature an attempt to redeem himself, what is it that you sell here that would please our mistress?

MATT: "I sell pretties, I sell pretties, pretties used for rites, used for magic"

TALIESIN: Please, impress us.

MATT: He stands up now, and this creature that looked so pathetic when it was squatting down on this stool, these long thin gollum-like legs, it stands up and is now head-height, a good foot over most of the party-- Gangly, the spines extending from the back of the head and the arms and the elbows as it stands up now. As it slowly stalks over to one of the shelves and pulls off one of these strange purple geodes, the various crystals jutting out of different sides, and it turns around and brings it forward. "This, this carries pure condensed soul energy, geodes robbed her from the fourth layer." As he takes it and holds it in front towards you, you look inside and you swear within the slight glimmers of light that shake through from the nearby braziers you see almost dozens of faces pressed up against the crystalline interior, shifting past, similar to that giant sphere, that orb you saw being passed through the city when you first arrived.

LIAM: This is insulting! Skip the small stuff, what have you got?

MATT: "This is what I have got."

LIAM: That's it?

MATT: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry.” He looks to you and looks back. "Mistress, I'm, I have-- this."

SAM: Mistress, would you like one?

TALIESIN: What do you have that's unique? Expensive is lovely, don't get us wrong, but we're looking for unique, odd.

MARISHA: Yes, I had one of those for breakfast.

TALIESIN: So proud of you right now.

MATT: It lumbers over to this far corner and there's a pile of what looks like burlap and refuse and partially eaten partially rotting away chunks of flesh, and just rummaging through them, looking over the shoulder with a scattered look, and pulls up what looks to be a long-decomposed and somewhat mummified humanoid arm. The fingers are kind of locked up in this way, and there's a small brass bracelet around the center of the wrist.

LIAM: Now you have our attention.

MATT: He shakes it and you hear it rattling.

LIAM: What can you tell us about that?

MATT: You can hear it rattling against the bones and as it shakes, one of the fingers snaps off with a poof of dust and hits the ground, "Oh! Sorry." He picks it up and tries to put it back on but it won't go back on.

(sounds of disgust)

MARISHA: I snatch it from him. Yrat, do the thing.

SAM: I ritually cast Identify on the bracelet.

MATT: Okay. The bracelet essentially acts as a divination beacon. It's attuned to a secondary device that can keep watch on this one. Apparently whoever previously wore this was doing so under the intent of relaying their travel or experience to somewhere else, and then met a very terrible end.

SAM: Oh, so it's useless to us.

MATT: Maybe. Not everything you encounter is going to be useful, guys!

SAM: Yeah no, that's fine, that's fine.

MARISHA: Well, it's to relay information back to whoever's wearing it? Or to him specifically?

MATT: To whoever has the other object that's paired with this that you don't know what that is.

TALIESIN: We found a single walkie-talkie.

LAURA: Right, yeah.

MATT: Essentially.

LIAM: Tary, is that thing working right now?

TALIESIN: Is it working right now?

SAM: I -- Detect Magic on it? Is it--

MATT: It is magical, it is functional.

SAM: As far as I know, someone is watching this right now.

MATT: You don't know how old it is or how long it's been there, but it is magical.

SAM: Mistress, would you like this?

MARISHA: We'll take it for good measure.

SAM: Oh, really.

MARISHA: I guess?

SAM: Okay, sure.

SAM: How much would you like for this? What do they--

MARISHA: I just want this as a souvenir for our visit.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I just want the one walkie talkie that doesn't have a pair.

MARISHA: I'm not going to pay for it. You're not going to sell this; I want it. Right?

MATT: You can see the brow furrow, and there's a moment of instinctual anger and frustration, like a kid who had his lunch money taken, but he's still like (angry breathing), goes and sits down on the stool once more, the long knobby knees almost jesting up to shoulder height as it sits, its arms draped over the front, and the fingers dragging across the ground in front as it does, as it looks up, "Take this."

MARISHA: I lean forward and I take my erinyes nail and I go around his face, and I say, "Consider this a good-faith investment."

MATT: "Yes, yes."

MARISHA: "You will be seeing us again." And I take out 20 gold. 20 gold.

MATT: He takes it and goes: "I will be a favor to the mistress."

TALIESIN: We hear you utter our description to anyone, and you will never see anything again.

MATT: "No, no, no."

TRAVIS: Don't we want the purple gobstopper?

TALIESIN AND LAURA: No, no.

TRAVIS: Why?

TALIESIN: We've got plenty.

TRAVIS: That's coin around here, though. We might need it.

SAM: Sure.

MATT: His hands clasp together, overlapping in front of him. He's looking up at you with this new grin, almost like, now there's been a moment of acceptance or a moment of some sort of, in his eyes, a union.

MARISHA: If you minions would like to buy the purple stone with your allowance--

TRAVIS: Oh, motherfucker.

MARISHA: -- the mistress grants you, you may.

TRAVIS: How much for the pretty?

LAURA: Thanks so much, mistress.

TALIESIN: Perhaps you would like to shift back to your normal form.

MARISHA: You're welcome, young Wade.

MATT: The creature's looking very confused, but nevertheless eager to listen. "For the purple stone --"

TRAVIS: Yeah, yeah.

MATT: “1500 gold pieces."

TALIESIN: That number does not please the mistress, I don't think. Does it?

SAM: Here you go. 1500 gold.

MATT: As you throw the sack there is a--

TALIESIN: Wow.

MATT: (grunts) And sets it down next to it, stands up, grabs and takes the geode off the shelf and hands it to you.

SAM: Thank you.

MATT: "Mistress is pleased, yes?"

MARISHA: Very. Keep it that way.

MATT: "Yes."

MARISHA: All right. Roll out.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Autobots--

ALL: Roll out

MARISHA: It was taking everything to not say "Autobots!"

MATT: All right. As you guys step out of the facility into the center of town, you sense the final moments of your Shape Change spell--

MARISHA: Oh.

MATT: -- beginning to dissipate.

MARISHA: And I kind of want to--

LIAM: Okay, before we leave, I want to hang back just for a sec, and, hey, Slenderman. You seem a nervous type. You keep to yourself, do you?

MATT: "Maybe."

LIAM: Where would you not go, to stay out from under the noses of your betters?

MATT: "I don't understand."

LIAM: You hide in your shop. Where do you avoid so you don't get stepped on?

MATT: He leans out of the door with you and points towards the iron tower.

LIAM: Thanks.

MATT: As you're about to leave, he grabs the back of your cloak and pulls you in, points past your shoulders, his long jagged curved claw, and you notice as two more of these flying entities that scoot by, one of them perching on a building across the way, wearing a golden armor, stop and, "The Whisperers." And then pushes you back out of the street and you hear the shifting of metal behind you, as a large slab is shifted to close the front of the shop.

MARISHA: I use Alter Self to go to my tiefling form.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: I want to keep an eye out for all of those imps in gold.

MATT: Okay. Make a perception check.

LIAM: Same.

LAURA: 24.

MATT: 24, Okay--

LIAM: 30.

LAURA: Whoa.

MATT: Okay! Between the two of you, looking up, there are-- at the peripheral of your vision and the bits of the green ash clouds that make up the sky as the occasional flashes of lightning streak through it from within, you see the shadows of hundreds of flying entities that seem to be just running paths, keeping watch, many just stop and perch for a moment, glancing over the street, and then take off again. Many of them wearing the same gold armor, these Whisperers appear to be everywhere and watching everyone. There is --

LAURA: But they're not paying us special attention at all.

MATT: There are a handful that seem to be genuinely interested in keeping an eye on you, but you also see other ones that are genuinely keeping an eye on anyone else wandering the street.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: So the man on top has cast a wide net over this city?

MATT: It seems that way, yes.

LIAM: There's no way we're unseen. Yeah.

MARISHA: As we start-- are we walking back towards the tavern? As we walk, I--

TALIESIN: Take a slightly different route back, just to try and see more.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: So it seems one of the lesser devils who is interested in Vax might be our ticket in.

LAURA: The chain guys.

MARISHA: The chain guys.

TALIESIN: Can you scry him, since you've seen him before?

LIAM: That's a good idea.

MARISHA: Yeah, I guess I could.

TALIESIN: Let's scry ourselves a chain devil.

MARISHA: I'm wondering if worst-case scenario we could always use you as bait, Vax?

LAURA: Wode.

MARISHA: Sorry, Wode.

TALIESIN: Wode.

LIAM: Thanks, Wade.

TALIESIN: It's cool, brah.

MARISHA: Party on, Wode.

TALIESIN: Party on, Wade. Let's scry!

MARISHA: We get back. Okay, we gotta get back to the tavern. Back to the tavern?

MATT: Yeah, it's a ritual, you'd have to set up for it.

MATT: All right. So you head back, and you're scrying on the chain devil you saw before? Okay.

GROG: Any chance he'll see you do it then?

LAURA: I know, is he going to know?

TALIESIN: Yeah, who cares.

TRAVIS: Oh, now we're carefree! Oh good, I love it!

MARISHA: Well, to be fair, I feel like these people are used to being watched.

LAURA: That's true.

MATT: All right, what's your spell DC?

MARISHA: 20.

MATT: All righty. Actually, it pulls from here-- it's going to be a wisdom save-- hmm, okay. Hmm. You finish the ritual, and as you focus, there's a flash of red-hot energy in your eyes, and then the spell comes to an end.

LAURA: Is he like Hotis?

LIAM: Did you zero in?

MARISHA: I hate it when that happens! It's like a flashbulb going off in your eye!

LAURA: Could you do it at a higher level?

MARISHA: Ugh, bastards! Oh, Christ! I can't, that's it, that's all I got for the day. That's it.

TRAVIS: So, nothing?

MARISHA: I got 4th-level spells and lower.

LAURA: Balls.

TALIESIN: What is the Vassalage? That is a good question. Shit.

LAURA: Welp.

TRAVIS: Are they up in-- We went up to the room, right?

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Does anybody want to try the meat stuff downstairs?

LAURA: No!

TALIESIN: No.

TRAVIS: Why?

LAURA: I feel like it's human remains, I don't know.

TRAVIS: But you don't know.

LAURA: It doesn't look appealing to me, Grog.

TALIESIN: I have a very active imagination when I eat.

TRAVIS: I don't. I'll be right back. I go downstairs.

MATT: Okay. You head downstairs--

LIAM: I'm going to accompany Grog, yeah.

MATT: Okay. As the two of you head down, you can see-- There's that one central table to the left western side of the room that has almost like a trough look to it, with the jagged edges?

TRAVIS: Yup.

MATT: Currently has four imps that are perched on the edge that are just tearing into bits, tearing it off and chewing and they all stop and look up at you, all four at once, as you walk down and they all just slowly chew as you approach and walk into the chamber.

TRAVIS: Are they wearing armor and shit?

MATT: No.

TRAVIS: Okay, good.

MATT: They are not wearing armor. Ipkesh is present, but not at the same table he was earlier. He's currently at the bar area talking with his rotund barkeep.

TRAVIS: Hey, that stuff, right, that normal people have. Can I have like, a little plate of it?

MATT: The thick, greasy guy sits, goes, "Oh, yeah." He looks over to Ipkesh-- Winks at you. "On the house."

TRAVIS: Oh, that's very kind of you. See? Look, experimenting with new cultures is really quite nice. New tastes and all. What does it look like?

MATT: It looks like-- You know steak tartar where it has that purplish-red color to it?

TRAVIS: Very red.

MATT: Imagine that, but there's a series of jagged bone shards sticking out at sections of it, like whatever it was carved off of had been pulverized before it was butchered.

TRAVIS: Mm. Tenderized.

MATT: Yes. But with the bone still present within. And it is seeping this sludge-like, bloody fluid that is just pooled around it on this iron platter.

TRAVIS: Wode, would you want any of this?

LIAM: "You know, I'm going to watch-- You go first." And I put my hand on his arm and say, "Let's just see how you do." And I don't take my hand off.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Okay. I'll take one of the little bones out, and I spoon together like, a good chunk like spaghetti on a fork. And I pop it right in.

MATT: Okay. Well there are no utensils.

TRAVIS: No, no, I'm using the bone as the utensil.

MATT: Using the bone as the utensil, okay. As you spool it up, pop it in and chew, it's-- it's very game-y. It's warm. But the flavor, it's-- it's very iron-like.

TRAVIS: Like tuna on pennies.

MATT: Kind of, yeah, and a similar texture. The bones do tear into parts of your upper lip.

TRAVIS: Ah.

MATT: It hurts.

TRAVIS: Ah.

MATT: I'd say, in the process of devouring this one bite, you do suffer-- You suffer two points of piercing damage.

TRAVIS: Fucking hell.

LAURA: Little by little, Grog.

MARISHA: It's the little things.

MATT: As you're chewing-- Vax, you watch Grog squinting his eyes a bit and chewing as bits of blood begin to dribble down the sides of his chin, but a bright red color, not the color of the meat that he's eating.

LIAM: Aye.

TRAVIS: Do I feel high? Like Freddie did when he consumed the little orb of-- ?

MATT: No, you do not. You chew it, you swallow it, it hurts and grinds its way down, hits your stomach. There is a slight numbness to the inside as you eat it.

TRAVIS: Hey!

MATT: But that's the most you get.

LIAM: You all right? You feeling all right?

TRAVIS: Yeah, it really fights back as you eat it. You know?

LIAM: What's the aftertaste like?

TRAVIS: It kind of tastes like if you took a bunch of rusty nails and then shoved them in your thumb and then sucked on that for a while.

LIAM: Huh.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: That was-- very specific.

TRAVIS: Have you done that before?

MARISHA: No, but I feel like you have.

TRAVIS: Have you not?

MARISHA: Don't worry about it.

TRAVIS: Okay. Yeah. I have another bite.

MATT: All right. You, bite by bite, begin to finish the meal. I'd say, for the remainder of it, you suffer another three points of piercing damage, but you do finish the flesh in front of you.

TRAVIS: My plate of flesh.

LIAM: He legitimately seems fine? He's all right, he's not like-- veins aren't popping out, nothing-- amiss?

MATT: Nope.

LIAM: All right.

TRAVIS: My compliments to the chef.

MATT: His already somewhat greasy, ruddy cheeks go to a blushing smile. "Thank you."

TRAVIS: That tasted like forearm. Okay, I'm good. Wode, do you want to go back up-- (hiccups) --stairs?

LIAM: "Yeah." I grab a small, just a small piece and put it in my mouth, and I spit it out immediately.

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: Immediately.

MATT: It's pretty awful.

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Is it salty?

TRAVIS: It's not for everyone, yeah. Cook is right there, literally. Sorry.

LIAM: Hah, yeah. Let's go back up.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: All right. You guys head back up. So what's everyone doing?

LAURA: Jeez. Well, I feel like we're not getting very far in the city.

LIAM: Yeah, we're kind of eatin’ it in here.

TALIESIN: I say we take the contract.

TRAVIS: Yeah! Yeah!

SAM: I hate to say, "I told you so--"

TALIESIN: I'll take the contract.

SAM: No.

MARISHA: What? Percy--

LAURA: Percy, you're not taking this contract.

TALIESIN: I'm the one who's already touched by demonic forces. I think I can resist the temptations of the second and third pact.

TRAVIS: Cool.

TALIESIN: And I think I know what to add to this. I think we need to demand a guide, and I think we need to demand safe passage out of the prison, as well, and back to our original plane as best he can.

TRAVIS: Yep, that sounds right.

SAM: I must request that I sign the contract. I can't let you do this, Percy.

TALIESIN: All right.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Seems fair.

TRAVIS: Yrat, that is most noble of you. You truly are earning your place here.

LAURA: Tary, that's so kind! Are you sure you want to?

SAM: Unless, of course, you want to--

TRAVIS: Yrat, you will be a hero to many.

MARISHA: Such a hero!

LAURA: I mean, I've never met a hero braver than you.

TRAVIS: Give him a pen.

SAM: I--.

TALIESIN: We don't actually have it with us, we'd have to go downstairs.

LAURA: Oh. Right.

TALIESIN: But I will-- Yeah.

TRAVIS: Okay.

LIAM: I also think, Freddie, that you're more capable of resisting temptation, as you say. Sorry, Yrat.

TALIESIN: I'll say-- I feel my weaknesses in my heart, and I know where they lie, and I definitely know they exist. And I-- Nothing in this agreement tempts me. I have temptations, but they are not in this contract.

LIAM: And besides, you have us around you, friend.

MARISHA: Is it only because you've experienced these types of temptations before?

TALIESIN: I think so. And I'm already-- I don't know what's going to happen to me when I die.

SAM: Wait, so you're signing it, now? I thought I was signing it.

TALIESIN: We were messing with you--

SAM: Oh.

TALIESIN: -- but if you feel the urge to actually take it upon yourself--

SAM: Well, I do think it might actually help me in my future-- Part of it could actually help me.

TALIESIN: How so?

LAURA: So, you would actually sell your soul?

SAM: No, not that part. But I could use a cadre of devils at some point.

LAURA: Then your soul would be forfeit!

SAM: No-- no.

TALIESIN: No, actually, not on that one.

TRAVIS: (laughs) Not that one! Not that part. That's pact two.

MARISHA: No, we'd just have to release a couple of devils into the material plane.

LAURA: How about no on that?

MARISHA: Yes, I agree.

TRAVIS: Holy shit.

LAURA: Because then we'd have to fight them.

TRAVIS: Can we please go sign this contract?

LAURA: I mean, we could. Where in the contract does it say we can't kill them as soon as we release them?

SAM: Nowhere.

LIAM: I mean, Yrat, we're still easing you in. Freddie has a little more experience than you, and I think that we can put our faith in that.

TALIESIN: I'm not going to say that I'm never going to do anything stupid again, and I certainly wouldn't necessarily want you to stop me if I were, but I'm not going to do this sort of stupid, am I?

MARISHA: Percy, if you die, though, doesn't this mean that you forfeit your soul here--?

TALIESIN: I'm pretty sure it doesn't. If I die before it's finished--

MATT: No, no. If you complete the third pact--

TALIESIN: Then yes.

MATT: You still live, but then when you die your soul is forfeit.

TALIESIN: But if I don't complete the third pact, or if we don't activate the second or the third pact, then I'm fine--

MATT: Correct.

TALIESIN: Yeah, then there's no problem whatsoever.

MATT: And if by any means, at any point you break the contract--

TALIESIN: Oh, yeah, if we do not kill who we're supposed to kill, or if it leads back to him, then I'm--

LAURA: So, if you die in the process--

MARISHA: You're fine?

LAURA: No, then your soul goes here--

TALIESIN: To be fair, we're already here!

MARISHA: That was my question. Yes, but we came here willingly--

LAURA: But, you could become one of those melty guys!

MARISHA: Yes.

TALIESIN: You know, it's entirely possible that there'll be several creatures fighting over my body when I die, and my soul when I die, already.

LAURA: I'll be one of them.

TALIESIN: Bless you. But no, seriously. I don't know what any of this means.

MARISHA: Percy, we've come here to try and kill a kitten, and it's already been a massive pain in our ass. We really don't want to come back to try and save your soul.

TALIESIN: Well, you'll already be here.

LAURA: So? Don't die.

TALIESIN: So we won't die.

TRAVIS: Hey, cool! Can we--

TALIESIN: And actually, it's not that clear what would happen if I died without completing the contract. I might just get brought back.

MATT: This would be a conversation to have with the scribe.

TALIESIN: So yep, I'm going to go down. I'm going to sign it.

LAURA: I'm going to go down with you.

MARISHA: Talk about-- talk about the revisions first! Always get those revisions first.

TALIESIN: We're doing it.

MARISHA: And a new print-up.

LIAM: With a red pen.

MATT: All right. So, all of you head down into the main chamber of the tavern, and there, returning to the table where he once sat, you see Ipkesh. No wine glass, but the paper folded out in front, waiting patiently with his hands folded in the front.

TALIESIN: Some quick questions--

MATT: "Yes, please."

TALIESIN: I need a guide. Someone who, while is not connected to you, can help us find our way through the city. Find what we need. Answer questions. Somebody with a little bit of the lay of the land. Somebody to help. Not with the actual act, obviously, but just to run us around? What happens to our soul-- what happens to my soul if I die in the process of this?

MATT: "If the rest of your friends complete the contract, your soul is fine."

TALIESIN: And if we don't complete the contract, then--

MATT: "Then you don't complete the contract, you are in breach."

TALIESIN: Are they in breach, or just me?

MATT: "Just you."

TALIESIN: Perfect. Safe passage into the Bastion of Flesh. Once we're there, we're on our own?

MATT: "Once you are there, you are on your own. However, I can ensure that you are brought there unharmed."

TALIESIN: With access to our foe?

MATT: "I can imagine that can be arranged."

TALIESIN: Can it be arranged in writing?

MATT: "To the extent of my capabilities, yes. Just as you have limitations, as do I."

TALIESIN: I would be very pleased if we could complete this contract, if this contract becomes null and void, not with us getting to the Bastion of Flesh, but with our return to our plane, with our enemy harmed. We get what we want, you get what you want. Not we get towards what we want, you get what you want.

MATT: "But where in this is it fair for me to suffer for your stupidity?"

TALIESIN: That is a question for the ages, isn't it?

(laughter)

MARISHA: That we need on a t-shirt!

SAM: We can at least contain in the contract, once our foe is dispatched, that you will help us arrange safe passage out of here.

TALIESIN: You'll help us arrange our own passage-- We have a way out of this material plane, we just need to make sure that we're-- Is there anything in the prison that would not allow us to leave under our own power?

MATT: "Not to my knowledge, no. Those chambers specifically reside within the Iron Tower. That's where they imprison the extremely dangerous ones. The Bastion of Flesh is where they keep all the living mortals that were captured on this plane and not yet fully corrupt."

TALIESIN: Do they take our possessions before we go in there?

MATT: "They would. However, if you so wish, I can arrange to have them maintained in your presence."

MARISHA: That would be nice.

TALIESIN: That would be-- quite pleasing.

MATT: As you do that, he grabs the paper and pulls it over, and just takes his finger and writes it across, and as he does that it amends the words in the contract in front of you to include the guide to lead you to where you're going, as well as allowing your equipment to also-- unharmed and unspoiled, and within your grasp.

TALIESIN: That will do. You do not have knowledge of whether or not our magics will work in that prison?

MATT: "I do not."

TALIESIN: That's fair.

LAURA: Can I insight check him?

MATT: You may.

LAURA: 24?

MATT: Okay. He seems honest. You get the sense here: he doesn't gain anything if you all fail. If you complete both sides of the contract and then he dies, he gets nothing.

LAURA: Right.

MATT: So--

(weird Skype noises)

MATT: If you were to escape--

LAURA: What was that?

MATT: If-- I dunno.

LAURA: It was like an old woman was trying to talk to us!

MATT: But yes. So, you get the sense that the purpose of this contract is in hopes of eventual corruption.

TALIESIN: That seems fair. I suppose the last question-- And this is just my last addendment, is that we own an artifact of this plane. We would like it if possible to be identified, and for you not to speak to anyone of what we have or what it's worthwhile, and to keep our presence-- confidential, as much as we keep yours confidential. Mutual confidentiality.

MATT: "I have nothing to gain by revealing your presence."

SAM: Is there any way in this contract we could add a clause where you preorder a thousand or so books to be sold by you here, later?

MATT: "I can write up a different contract for you, if you like."

SAM: No, well, we can omit that part, that's okay.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I want to-- Can I show him the ring?

TRAVIS: What?

TALIESIN: Grog, would you--

SAM: Greg.

TALIESIN: Greg, could you please show him-- I have to sign it with my own name, I imagine, anyway-- Can you show him the--

TRAVIS: What you got?

SAM: Jared.

TALIESIN: Your piece.

TRAVIS: Oh.

MATT: He kind of leans in and squints. "Hm. It is a signet of the court of Asmodeus. It is a trifle here, but is used on your plane to assert belonging."

TALIESIN: Fair.

LAURA: Mmm. Okay.

SAM: Are you sure you want to do this?

TALIESIN: Last question. The final question.

MATT: "Yes?"

TALIESIN: How powerful is the Herald of Vassalage?

MATT: "The Herald is quite powerful. The Herald resides within his stronghold--"

TALIESIN: We would have to get into his stronghold?

MATT: "You would."

LAURA: How many enemies are we talking about fighting, as well him?

MATT: "General, guarding throughout the stronghold, I'd put it at about a dozen, maybe."

LAURA: And what sort of forces does he have?

MATT: "Those are his forces locally. He has guards throughout the city, but they're scattered. Thus, the importance of this is to go in unseen and unheard. And if you run into resistance, squash it before it can make any noise."

LAURA: What kind of devils are we talking about?

MATT: "Nothing too serious. The bearded variety. Maybe a bone devil, maybe two, I don't know."

TALIESIN: And this creature itself? A horn devil?

MATT: "Oh, this is a pit fiend."

MARISHA: Oh, again? Jesus, fuck--

SAM: We've fought-- Oh, you've fought those before.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: What is this ‘we’?

SAM: Well, we're a team now.

MATT: "But Utugash is strong but slow. Slovenly, sluggish. Has reveled in his own opulence for far too long."

TALIESIN: What's another dead pit fiend in hell?

SAM: I'll sign it.

MARISHA: Ask about the Bastion of Flesh--

TRAVIS: Do it. Do it now, do it quickly.

MARISHA: Ask about the Bastion of Flesh.

LIAM: Fred, get that, sign it.

TALIESIN: What about the Bastion of Flesh?

MARISHA: Well, how big is this prison--

SAM: Maybe I should sign this, I don't want you to corrupt yourself senselessly.

TRAVIS: Arm wrestle.

LIAM: I push Yrat back, away from Freddie.

SAM: Ah!

(laughter)

TALIESIN: All right.

LIAM: You're here, enjoy the ride. Freddie has this, thank you.

TALIESIN: I'm signing.

LAURA: Oh my lord.

TALIESIN: I check to see his name, is it his real name that is signed?

MATT: I mean, it seems to be the contract wouldn't be binding on his end if it wasn't.

TALIESIN: Mm, all right. Not the full name, but enough.

MARISHA: Not the full name?

LAURA: No.

SAM: PDR.

TRAVIS: D. Rolo.

SAM: (high-pitched) D-Roll!

LAURA: Musel.

MATT: You don't have to write the entire name.

MARISHA: (laughs) Musel

TALIESIN: Oh no, wait, it's happen-- No, I'm not doing that.

MATT: (laughs) We'll say you do, in character.

TALIESIN: No, I've actually finished it.

MATT: Okay. As you finish signing, the ink kind of flashes and glows and it burns into the parchment ever so slightly, to the point where you smell the scent of just slightly singed parchment. It curls up away from you and into his grasp as he takes it.

TALIESIN: What's a devil to a man who fears no god?

MATT: "Hm. Pleasure doing business. Now." And he snaps his fingers, and you watch, kind of apparate on one shoulder, one of the imps that you saw earlier--

LAURA: (gasps) Oh, those little guys!

MATT: -- when you arrived, that kind of saw you and rushed out when you were coming downstairs. It appears on his shoulder. "This is Vasa. He will be your guide."

ALL: Vasa.

SAM: With an r, or with an h?

LAURA: Well, that sounds familiar.

MATT: Vasa. V-A-S-A.

LAURA: Of course our father would be named after a fucking imp.

MATT: Vessar is your last name. Vasa is different.

LAURA: Sounds close e-fucking-nough.

TALIESIN: Whitney warned me it would come to this.

MARISHA: Who? What?

TALIESIN: It's my sister, you don't know her.

MATT: "Vasa will guide you. Thankfully, the stronghold is near the torture pits, so there is general din and sound and agony to surround. So that might offer you some solace in being unheard. But be careful.”

TALIESIN: Any advice would be welcome. We want what you want.

MATT: "I know. Rest. Prepare. Enter where is easiest, always the path of least resistance. Get the jump, surprise and silence. When it's time to leave, I can help you travel mostly unseen, should you avoid some of the more piercing eyes of this domain."

TALIESIN: Would you know where to get a Silence spell, out of curiosity?

MATT: "I can provide maybe one or two."

TALIESIN: One would be-- two would be even more helpful.

MATT: "Very well. Rest. I'll be here waiting."

LAURA: If no one sees us kill him, how will we be arrested?

MATT: "Don't worry, I'll know when he’s down as I'm sending Vasa along with you."

LAURA: All right.

MATT: "And once this is known, just wait. Because the alarm will call the guard, specifically the ones that work for me."

LAURA: All right.

MARISHA: Oh shit.

LAURA: So, we should make sure after we kill this big guy not to kill anyone else that comes for us?

MATT: "No one that seem to be under his employ, no. Otherwise, clear them out."

LAURA: Okay. Perfectly simple.

SAM: Let's go plan our attack.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: All right. As you guys make your way back to your room to discuss, we're going to take a break.

MARISHA: Yes!

MATT: We'll be back here in just a few moments. We have our tiger maple dice tower giveaway at the break from our friends at--

MARISHA: Ooh, tiger maple!

MATT: Oh my god, it's all in pieces still, oh god! But yeah, it's all magnetically put together.

LAURA: Wait, what?

TALIESIN: Make-- make the-- the weird little magnet things happen.

MATT: I know, you can make it--

LAURA: Oh wait, it's a dice tower?

MARISHA: It's a dice tower where you make the magnets happen

MATT: That all magnetizes together. It's pretty rad. So, yeah. Do we have a code word for the chat?

CREW: You pick.

MATT: I pick? The code word will be 'pact'. P-A-C-T.

LAURA: Ooh.

MATT: So go ahead and come over to Twitch chat room, use the word ‘pact’ in there to join the chance giveaway.

TALIESIN: And take the survey if you have a moment!

MATT: Exactly!

MARISHA: Go take that survey!

MATT: Awesome! See you guys in a few minutes.

TRAVIS: Pact!

BreakEdit

[break]

Part IIEdit

MATT: Hello guys, and welcome back! All right! So, before we get in, real fast, we have the winner in chat, the winner of the dice box is iccara! Iccara, congratulations!

(cheering)

MATT: And well won! There you go. Get that info for you and get that sent out to you ASAP, so congratulations. Also, I forgot to mention because I didn’t put it on the thing before, but I’m also, I’ll put it on Twitter, I’m going to be guesting at Sakura Con, middle of April, April 14th to the 16th up in Seattle. So if you guys are up there in that area come say hi.

MARISHA: Easter weekend!

MATT: Yeah. Panels and signings and all that fun stuff. So folks near and around the Seattle area, come up to Sakura Con and say hi.

MARISHA: I’m going camping.

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Really?

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: That’s exciting.

TALIESIN: Oh man.

MARISHA: Yeah, it’s going to be so good.

MATT: Okay. Bringing it back in. So you guys have signed a contract. What do you to prep? What are you doing now?

SAM: Going to sleep.

LAURA: Wait, we need to prep anything?

MATT: You’re locked in.

TRAVIS: Only one of us is locked in.

LAURA: Well, what’s our plan? We go in, we fucking try to stealth as much as fucking possible and kill a fucking pit fiend.

MARISHA: Stealth in, kill a pit fiend. Done it before, we can do it again. Okay, I’m confident about this plan.

LAURA: How did we do it-- Wait, wait, wait. Let’s just remember, how did we do it last time?

MARISHA: How did we do it last time?

TRAVIS: We bumblefucked our way into it, got super super lucky--

MARISHA: And bumblefucked our way out of it.

LAURA: Was he weak to anything that we remember?

TRAVIS: No.

MATT: Nope.

LAURA: Nothing?

LIAM: But he was extremely frightening.

TRAVIS: And smart. Very smart.

LAURA: Oh, so definitely do a Feast?

MATT: And poison.

MARISHA: I can do-- Nope, nope, I can’t.

MATT: You guys are technically still under the effects of a Feast.

LAURA: Yeah, but we won’t be when we go to fight him.

MATT: Depends on how soon you get there.

LAURA: No, but--

SAM: We’re sleeping.

MATT: The feast lasts for 24 hours.

LAURA: So if we rest--

MATT: It’s been probably, if you start resting fairly soon, it will have been maybe four to five hours after you used this-- or ate the Feast. With the eight hours’ full rest, you’re still looking at almost half a day left. It’s up to you.

SAM: Oh, all right.

MATT: Up to you.

MARISHA: Sick.

SAM: Yeah, let’s do it.

TALIESIN: I for one am going to have some sleepy time tea.

TRAVIS: I lost a lot of hit points actually today. I could use a recharge.

TALIESIN: Warm milk of the damned.

LAURA: All that thinking.

SAM: Okay, let’s go to sleep.

MARISHA: Eat your cheerios, bud.

MATT: All right. You guys have an evening’s rest in the second layer of hell, within the Iron City of Dis.

LAURA: Are the beds painfully hot?

MATT: The beds are warm. They’re very toasty.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: It’s like trying to fall asleep in middle of the summer in the Valley with no air conditioning. It can be done. But you’re sweaty and it’s not very comfortable.

MARISHA: What, the sheets?

LAURA: The whole experience.

MATT: Maybe, yeah.

SAM: I have someone fanning me the entire night.

MARISHA: Doty.

SAM: Yes.

MATT: It does help somewhat. You’re the most comfortable sleeper in the entire group. All right, I need all of you guys to roll a wisdom saving throw, if you don’t mind.

LAURA: At advantage though, right? Because of the Heroes’ Feast.

MATT: That’s correct.

TRAVIS: Natural 20.

SAM: Natural 20 here as well.

MARISHA: I got a 17 and an 18, that’s pretty damn good.

TALIESIN: That’ll do. Wisdom saving?

MATT: Yep.

TALIESIN: 18.

LAURA: 11.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: 32.

SAM: With advantage?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Vax?

LIAM: 16.

MATT: Okay. You guys all awaken. Rested, as you know, in a similar way you’re rested after being out open under the night’s sky on the side of the road in a campsite. It’s not the best rest, but it’s enough to at least continue with some wind back in your sails. Other than that, you are feeling a little bit hungry.

TRAVIS: How am I feeling?

MATT: You’re feeling fine.

MARISHA: Don’t we still have some rations that we have been carrying around with us for quite some time?

LAURA: I mean yeah, we have a lot of stuff in the bag of colding.

TALIESIN: Do we have any souls?

TRAVIS: The stuff downstairs is really not that bad.

LAURA: No souls in the bag of colding, but we do have--

TALIESIN: Is it not that bad or is it just slightly above awful?

TRAVIS: Yes?

TALIESIN: Okay.

LAURA: We do have half a thing of boar meat and some grain. Just some random grain. Which I think is like oatmeal oats, maybe.

TALIESIN: Put some hot water on it and--

LAURA: All water here is hot.

TALIESIN: That’s fair.

LAURA: I’m going to sit the boar meat down on the ground and cook it a little bit.

MATT: And actually it cooks pretty easily. There are portions of the iron metal, especially on the bottom floor, that cook it pretty well.

TALIESIN: I’m going to use the gun barrel to sear it a bit.

LAURA: Yeah, make some grill marks on that thing.

MATT: All right. And you manage to cook a decent-- And the boar meat’s been frozen for a while, so it’s not the best, but it’s better than bone splinter meat chunks.

LAURA: Or eating souls.

TRAVIS: Don’t judge it until you try it.

LAURA: Did that use up all of the boar meat? Or am I down to like a quarter of a boar meat now?

MATT: How much did you have?

LAURA: Half a boar meat. I have no idea what that means.

SAM: Half a boar?

MATT: Half a boar meat? Half a boar, between all of you guys, including Grog’s appetite, I’d say that’s about it.

LAURA: It’s gone?

MATT: That boar is gone.

LAURA: Damn it.

LIAM: That’s like Super Nintendo lingo. Can I have half a boar meat?

LAURA: Oh, that’s the worst eraser. It just made a pink smudge across the page.

MATT: Oh no!

LAURA: That’s the worst.

TALIESIN: You’d like to try my eraser?

LAURA: No, this one’s good.

MATT: Wow, we just had a very Oregon Trail moment. I'm proud of us.

LAURA: Look at us using rations!

SAM: We’ve never done that before.

MATT: Not since the beginning, yeah. All righty.

SAM: All right. Where do we find this-- Oh, wait, did Zahra-- Vasa spend the night with us?

MATT: No.

SAM: Where is Vasa?

MATT: You have no idea.

LAURA: Downstairs, I assume.

SAM: All right. Should we go downstairs and find Vasa, because that’s who’s going to lead us to this place, right? Vasa! Vasa!

TALIESIN: Don’t speak so loudly.

SAM: Well, you said not to whisper.

TALIESIN: I didn’t say not to whisper.

LAURA: Don’t make a scene, either. It’s important.

TALIESIN: Act natural.

LAURA: Just be as cool and calm as possible.

TALIESIN: Yes. Don’t act natural, be as cool and calm as possible.

LIAM: And he’s doing that, unfortunately.

SAM: I’m always cool.

TALIESIN: That’s the spirit. Just like that.

LAURA: Good acting.

TRAVIS: Do we see the imp downstairs anywhere?

MATT: As you head downstairs, you do notice that Ipkesh is sitting at one of the chairs at the far end of the bar. The usual keeper of the establishment is not currently there. There is nobody else in the bottom portion. It is empty, and the imp, Vasa, is currently resting on the shoulder of Ipkesh, as you approach.

TRAVIS: Close it down for a bit, did you?

MATT: “Just to be safe. Best not to have individuals knowing of our present arrangements or your group exit applying to me.”

LIAM: You’re going to introduce us to your little friend there?

LAURA: He did. It’s Vasa.

LIAM: I know his name, thank you.

MATT: “Vasa will be able to bring you to your location. Vasa’s mastery is in not being seen and keeping beneath the eyes of the Whisperers. Vasa will not be able to aid you in the confrontation, for Vasa is as strong as the parchment you signed yesterday.”

TALIESIN: Any luck on those other materials? Silence spell or two?

MATT: “Mm-hm.” And he pulls from a small satchel on the side of his long, black and purple robe, this small, leather case that is locked on one side. And as he pulls it open and reveals this very, very tightly wound piece of parchment, and he hands it over. “This is a Silence spell. I could not procure two, unfortunately. But this will aid you.”

LAURA: The Whisperers you speak of. Do they see through illusions?

MATT: “The Whisperers, they do not see through illusions, but they do see through invisibility.”

LAURA: All right.

MATT: “At least-- not all of them. The bigger ones. If you see any that are larger than our winged compatriot here, those are the ones to avoid.”

LAURA: Okay. I feel like a good idea would be to just--

SAM: Go?

LAURA: Yeah. But I mean, can’t we just Alter Selves into little bugs or something, and get in behind him? Surprise him?

SAM: No, it’s not a Polymorph spell.

MARISHA: I could Animal Shapes us there, yeah.

TALIESIN: How many of us?

MARISHA: All of us.

TALIESIN: Then you’d be down a spell.

MARISHA: Eighth level, but it could be worth it to not be seen and get the drop.

TALIESIN: Do you think that sounds like a reasonable plan or do you think that’s--

MATT: “That sounds, if that is within your capability, that sounds very reasonable.”

LAURA: And Vasa could get us into the keep? As insects?

MATT: “Vasa could show you the way in, yes.”

LAURA: Could be good.

SAM: Are we-- yeah, are we wasting spells just to get there?

LAURA: A spell. But it’s a surprise attack.

MARISHA: I imagine we’d get there, do Animal Shapes to get through and get to him.

LAURA: And then pop out and attack him, right from bugness.

MARISHA: Yeah. Bugness Everdeen.

TRAVIS: Okay. That was sour.

LAURA: I liked it.

MARISHA: Thank you. Laura liked it.

LIAM: With the right conditions, if we keep quiet, I can lay some pretty heavy hurt on this guy at the get-go. If we keep quiet.

SAM: All right. Let’s bug it up then.

MATT: So, this is Animal Shapes into a-- What form are you taking?

TALIESIN: Are we doing it now or later?

MARISHA: Later. Not now.

MATT: Right. But what form are you taking?

MARISHA: Let me figure that out. Who’s got a Player’s Handbook in the house?

SAM: Right here. 20 foot radius, centered on a point, not on a object.

MARISHA: Animal Shapes. What are you looking at?

TALIESIN: This is us. Looking at Silence spells.

MATT: Animal Shapes. Basically, you guys can become a large or smaller beast.

MARISHA: Large or smaller beast. So I can’t do anything--

LAURA: We can’t be insects? Are those beasts?

MARISHA: -- microscopic?

MATT: Micro-- No.

MARISHA: Not microscopic but tiny. I can’t be tiny?

MATT: I mean, bird-size would be about as small as you could get.

MARISHA: Bird-size.

TRAVIS: Boy, that sure sounds like food.

LAURA: Yeah, are there any other creatures here that are small that go unseen? The size of rats or birds of some sort?

MATT: “I mean, there are fiendish variations and there are rats that exist on this plane, though life for them is not very enjoyable.”

LAURA: Well, shit.

TRAVIS: We would be running on the blazing hot ground.

LAURA: Oh, right. Poor little burning rats.

TRAVIS: And flying in the imp-covered air.

SAM: Didn’t he say Vasa can get us there, right? Can get us safe passage?

LAURA: Fuck it. I was just thinking it was a thing, but forget it.

TRAVIS: It’s all in the contract.

MATT: “So. Shall Vasa guide you?”

LAURA: Yes, let’s do it.

MATT: “Very well.” Taps the edge and Vasa’s been watching, goes,“Come follow me.” And takes off of the side of his shoulder.

LAURA: He talks?

MATT: You guys have spoken with an imp before. And the imp (fwsh) out the window, grabs onto the side of the doorframe, and then scurries onto the outside and turns back around and looks inside. “Come. Come.”

TRAVIS: We go. We follow.

SAM: I will lead us.

TRAVIS: Do we need Pass Without A Trace?

LAURA: Yeah, I cast Pass Without A Trace on us.

MARISHA: I’m Alter Selfing into my tiefling form.

MATT: All righty. That being the case, you guys step outside onto the street and you watch as Vasa disappears down the same alleyway that you previously had nearly been assaulted in, Keyleth. You guys, I need you all to make stealth checks.

TALIESIN: With advantage?

LAURA: Yeah. No, add ten.

MARISHA: That’s good.

TRAVIS: Motherfucker. Natural 20.

MATT: Jesus.

TRAVIS: Two in a row.

TALIESIN: 30.

SAM: 24.

MARISHA: 38.

LIAM: 44.

LAURA: 39.

MATT: All right. So, for the first leg of this journey, as you’re watching as Vasa is darting from edge to edge and occasionally almost dematerializing and turning invisible. And for a moment you have to stop and look around, and then you watch his form appear off in the distance and shoot up a tiny little lit flare to gather your attention once any large Whisperers pass overhead. And this process of rubberbanding behind Vasa continues over the next half an hour or so, going deeper and deeper into the city. And as you go, Vex, you’re keeping a pretty close watch on where you’re coming from, though you’re also seeing large groups of lemures, which is how it’s pronounced as I’ve been corrected and I’m so glad it’s pronounced that and not lemurs, because that sounds awful as hell. It’s lemure.

MARISHA: But lemurs are so cute.

MATT: I know. And they’re not cute. They’re horrible, fleshy, tortured souls.

LIAM: That’s my nickname, man. Don’t shit on my nickname.

MARISHA: Lemurs!

MATT: You see clusters of lemures throughout the city. As well as low-level spine devils and some other fiendish creatures that are in the process of rebuilding and reconstructing buildings, and tearing down others. You start seeing elements of the city are constantly in a state of being restructured, rebuilt. Sometimes more grandiose, sometimes more awful and terrifying. And you get the sense that the city is in a perpetual state of flux. That gleaming, iron tower still just beyond your visual sight whenever you have to readjust your vision across the horizon. I need you guys to all make another stealth check. For these different steps of the journey.

TRAVIS: 25.

MARISHA: 29.

SAM: 16.

TRAVIS: With the plus ten?

SAM: Mm-hm.

LAURA: 22.

TALIESIN: Natural one.

MARISHA: No, Percy!

TRAVIS: Come on, golden snitch.

MARISHA: Come on, Freddie.

TALIESIN: There was something about that coffee cup being there. There we go.

LIAM: Can I share some of my 37 with Percy?

MATT: Doesn’t-- So as you guys are moving along, watching Vasa. Vasa eventually gets out of sight for a moment and you all stop and pull back. And you see a flash of light that signifies Vasa calling you forward and that it’s safe. And as you all move forward, you watch as Taryon and Percival were both looking behind, keeping watch on your back, and by the time they look back you guys are already about 20 feet ahead. And as they rush forward, Percival straight up-- His foot hits the edge of where two of the iron rifts in the ground, the plating that meets up this part of the alleyway. He stumbles forward, landing hard on his elbow and giving out a (groan) of his breath. And as he does, you hear a (imp sound) and you watch as a small, impish creature in golden armor begins to crawl over the roof of the nearby building and look over the side.

TALIESIN: I turn and break away from the group and head in a slightly different direction for a moment and sit and nurse my elbow, and try and just look like I’m dealing with my medical issue and really try to look like I didn’t notice the thing that’s watching me now.

MATT: Okay. I want you to go and make a deception check. No, you have to roll if it’s intentional.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Meh. Deception?

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Nine.

MATT: Nine? Okay. So you watch the creature (imp sounds) and slowly crawls along the top of the roof, as you go and split off from the rest of the party. You hear behind you the (imp talking) some sort of conversation, and then a second one appears. And one continues to follow you, while the other one continues to move with Taryon.

TALIESIN: Do I have any of the soul--

SAM: Did I see him break off?

MATT: Yeah, you watch as, after he gets back up, he breaks off from the rest of the group.

SAM: I’m going to stick with him.

MATT: Okay. So you’re both now being followed by two of these--

TALIESIN: One moment. I’m going to pull out a piece of the soul, the edible soul, and just about to eat it.

LIAM: Do the rest of us see this, by the way?

MATT: You all just made it past this open walkway in the street, turned around another alley, and you watched this happen across the way. They’re about 15, 20 feet away from you, in an open road.

LIAM: I’m going to quietly follow behind the imps.

MATT: The imps are on the other side of the road from you right now. If you want to, you can try in a moment.

LIAM: Oh, never mind.

TALIESIN: I’m trying something. I’ve got the shard of soul out, the soul shard. Giving it a smell. And I’m going to, not quite loudly, but with a bit (disgusted sound) and I’m going to huck it in the other direction with distaste.

MATT: Okay. One of the two imps breaks off and swoops down after it, and immediately runs over and starts scattering across the ground trying to catch it as it tumbles off of the side. The other one continues to follow after the two of you.

TALIESIN: Can we try and give it the slip?

SAM: I can try to make us invisible.

TALIESIN: It won’t work.

SAM: It won’t work?

LAURA: They see through invisibility.

SAM: All right.

MATT: The bigger ones do.

LAURA: I thought you said the Whisperers saw through invisibility?

MATT: Some of the Whisperers do, some don’t. He said be wary of the bigger ones. They see through invisibility and possibly other things.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: What do you think?

TALIESIN: I’m going to dust myself off and try and just meander into a shadow. I still have Pass Without a Trace.

MATT: You do, yes.

TALIESIN: I’m going to see if I can just vanish stealthily.

MATT: Okay. Make it with disadvantage, because you are being actively watched.

TALIESIN: I am being actively watched?

MATT: You can turn around the corner and attempt it, but you know. It is aware that you walked there, so your ability to slip out of its view once you break from its line of sight is going to be this check.

TALIESIN: I’m also going to-- Can I also use my boots of spider walking to see if I can crawl off the street a little bit and see if I can--

MATT: Sure, let’s try it. Go ahead and make your stealth check.

TRAVIS: You can certainly try.

TALIESIN: Disadvantage. I hate disadvantage so much. That’s cocked. It doesn’t matter though, it’s awful. Yeah, never mind, I fail.

MATT: Okay. So, as you step around the corner, you step onto the side of the wall. Hearing the impact of the boots across the iron side. Thankfully, it’s enchanted boots, so the damage is relatively minimal, but you do hear the very faint sizzle of leather on hot metal. What are you doing, Tary?

SAM: Well. I will cast Invisibility on myself.

MATT: All right.

SAM: And that’s all I can do for my turn.

MATT: So as this one is following Percival around the corner, the one that was going after you, that was distracted by the stone, you turn invisible, and it glances around and has lost sight of you for the moment. And it continues to push after Percival.

SAM: I’m going to stick with Percival, but in an invisible way.

TALIESIN: I’m just-- I’m going to keep talking over the headphones, trying to keep up with where everyone else is, but walking off a block, in the hopes of sort of bullshitting my way through this.

MATT: As you head down this alleyway, and you guys are parallel following on the side, watching this from a distance, but staying out of sight, without making yourselves visible. Percival, you look up and you see this strange, eerie green glow that begins to drift in your direction. You watch as these spectral arms begin to drift up out of the ground, and this elongated horrifying face pulls up from underneath the darkened cobblestones of the street. And this specter entity drifts in your direction.

TALIESIN: Do I recognize what this specter entity is?

MATT: It's some sort of a ghost-like creature. You've seen a number of these emanating and drifting through the city, some in small clusters, some individually. They seem to wander aimlessly throughout.

SAM: I am whispering the incantation for Invisibility into a coin.

MATT: Okay. That takes a minute to do it.

SAM: It does? Fuck. Then I'm not doing it.

TALIESIN: I'm going to try and keep pace with that thing. Is it following me?

MATT: You glance over your shoulder and see it and it is currently crawled around the side and it's leaping from these windowsills, these small iron squares that are about that big, that are built into the side of these walls here. It's leaping and flying from section to section, staying immediately 15 feet, 20 feet behind you.

LIAM: Can I trail this thing?

MATT: Do you want to go and follow?

SAM: You said 20 feet behind us?

MATT: It's about 20 feet behind you, yeah.

SAM: And up?

MATT: Yeah, about 15 feet up.

SAM: All right, I'm going to reach into my alchemist's satchel and pull out a bag of writhing sticky black tar and hurl it right at his feet.

MATT; Okay. It's leaping from windowsill to windowsill, and as it gets to one windowsill you chuck at it?

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: All right, go for it, roll for an attack.

SAM: What is this, plus my spell attack bonus? No, it's just an attack? What is this?

MATT: It should say under your ability here. I'll pull it up if you want.

SAM: Am I rolling for the throw, or for the spell?

MATT: This is for the throw. Or, is it the creature's saving throw, which is it? Which of the two? Let me go look, actually.

TALIESIN: I just had five of the worst rolls I've ever had in a row. That was just ugly. There was just ugliness happening, and I don't feel it's gone yet. It's not the dice, it's in me.

MATT: This is the tanglefoot bag?

MARISHA: That's what happens when you sell out, man.

TALIESIN: Shut up.

MATT: So what you do is, it splats against it, and you watch it (choking noise), it gets stuck and sapped into it. It's moving now at half pace, it's having to pull through this substance that's glued to its feet and it's trying to tear away.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: All right.

SAM: That's all I got.

LIAM: I got a 46 on stealth, can I--

MATT: You turn around the corner now and you see, first off, Taryon appears, because when you throw the bag it breaks your invisibility.

SAM: It's an attack?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: Shit. Okay, it's worth it.

MATT: So now you see Percival and Taryon both appear, and this one impish creature is now currently partially glued to a wall and is fighting, trying to pull its way out.

SAM: Let's run!

LIAM: It looks like a target. Whisper.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: With a 46 stealth.

MATT: Yeah. So go ahead and roll.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

LIAM: Would this be a surprise, if I'm that stealthed?

MATT: No. It is aware that there are threats in its vicinity, so it's not a surprise attack. But it does not see you, so you have advantage on the attack. It is considered a Sneak Attack if you hit it.

LIAM: 25 to hit.

MATT: Yeah, that hits.

LIAM: All right. 12, and I will do a second attack as well.

MATT: How much damage is the first attack?

LIAM: 12.

MATT: 12 damage? It's Sneak Attack, because it didn’t see you.

LIAM: Oh wait no, it is Sneak Attack, right? Thanks. 12, 25, 27, 33, 35, 42, plus psychic damage from that, 42, so 45.

MATT: So right as it's pulling away from this tanglefoot bag, this explosion of glue, it's like (rasping noise), and the dagger just slips through it, and you watch as it goes in four different pieces and retracts into the tanglefoot bag muck once more. It got completely shredded, and the sections are withdrawn back and stuck to it as it is slowly now dribbling out of this massive glue on the side of the building, which is starting to now bubble from the heat from the side of this structure.

ALL: Tar pits.

TALIESIN: I'm going to take this opportunity to try and turn another corner.

MATT: Okay. The impish creature that was distracted by your stone is now attempting to catch up. I want the three of you to make one more stealth check, since you've all revealed yourselves.

MARISHA: Come on! Don't fuck up, Percy! Don't fuck up! It's all right.

TALIESIN: 23!

SAM: 24.

LIAM: 37.

MATT: Okay. You guys, darting into the shadows, rush around the corner. You hear in the distance the clattering of tiny imp claws, and the impacts of it doing the same perch-to-perch, gliding through the alleyway. You turn the corner and join up with the rest of the party. You hear in the distance some sort of a distant barking call in the language you don't understand.

TRAVIS: Oh, like raptors.

MARISHA: I was going to say, Jurassic Park.

LAURA: They're going to be the lookout now.

MATT: You gather that they've acknowledged that there has been a Whisper slain in the alley, so you might want to hurry.

ALL: Yeah.

MATT: As you guys collectively catch up with Vasa and are led further into the city, you begin to hear now this horrible grinding sound of metal that becomes omnipresent farther down this labyrinthine network of alleys and streets. You can see the glow of red and orange, that previously just emanated from the horizon, is now beginning to light the sky around you. It's this light pollution from some sort of nearby source. As you turn one of the corners, you look and see giant pyres of molten metal and fire. There is a gargantuan forge where people are-- I say people, these devilish entities-- and hundreds of lemures are just heaping large bits of iron ingots and scrap metal from fallen buildings and tossing them into this forge. Every time they do, there's a burst of flame and ash and cinder come pouring out of it. From there, you can see refined metals being pulled out and brought to other elements of this city. Beyond that, as you glance over, you can hear this faint echoing sound of hundreds upon hundreds of voices, all moaning, screaming, squealing, in torturous pain. You don't have a view of what's causing it, but this whole area of this city just brings this terrifying presence of all the torment you'd expect from somewhere in the Hells. As you pause a moment, Vasa darts back, trying to usher you forward in the direction of the sound. "Come, come, follow." And then vanishes once again, appearing on the other side of the street, and then beckoning you once more. For the last leg, I need everyone to make one more stealth check.

TRAVIS: Come on, Percy, for fuck's sake.

MARISHA: All of us?

MATT: All of you.

TALIESIN: Better.

SAM: 22.

TRAVIS: 23.

MARISHA: 34.

TALIESIN: 27.

LAURA: 26.

LIAM: 37.

MATT: Okay. As you're waiting for the right moment to cross the street, you wait for one cluster of these tiny winged, not quite imps, they're a little larger than imps, with this dark bluish-green spine protrusions out of the wings, and their heads are these giant bony ridges that go back, and they have these long spears. And about two dozen of them come down this street in a vast cluster, almost like a bat storm, a whole bunch of just randomly flying and angrily screeching creatures. And as you wait for that to pass, the minute that sound goes past, you dart across the alleyway and make it to the other side and turn just in time for the large heavy footfalls of what looks to be some sort of monstrosity. Multiple arms that are stitched to this large golem-like creature. It's humanoid, but it's about 15 feet tall, and it's just covered in stitches. Multiple chunks of different faces that are all just sewn together in places. You can see this series of gems that are imbedded in its shoulders and part of its throat that all pulse, like separate heartbeats that are out of pace with each other, and as it stumbles forward you see a chain around its neck and it's being dragged by this tiny imp that's just pulling it forward and tugging on it. It doesn't even make much of a noise other than a perpetual gurgle, but it's just some sort of flesh-stitched automaton that's being dragged forward to its next physical activity at the behest of whoever owns it.

LAURA: Freddie, you can't end up here.

TALIESIN: No.

MATT: A few moments later, Vasa brings you to the outside of a large jet-black metallic and stone structure. A heavy thick-walled stronghold with a series of what looks like-- imagine a thick bramble forest made of twisted iron that surrounds the base of it, about five feet high. There are small gaps where you guys can try and squeeze through, for the more lithe folk. Grog, you're not quite sure how you're going to get over this without tearing bits of you apart. There's about a ten foot gap between this strange metal bramble fence, and the outside of this stronghold.

LAURA: After I go through, stay here. I pop Trinket out, and then I reach my necklace through and say, get in.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: Grog, you get inside. You release him out on the other side.

LAURA: I put Trinket back in.

MATT: All right. Well done.

TRAVIS: Whoa. That was easier than I thought.

MATT: At which point you now have Doty on the other side just going (smashing noises).

TRAVIS: You can put Doty in there. I farted while I was inside.

LAURA: I don't think Doty can go in there, it's only for living creatures. I can try. Get in, Doty.

TALIESIN: Tell Doty to get in.

MATT: No effect.

LAURA: Nothing?

TALIESIN: Tell Doty to get in, maybe.

SAM: Doty, try your best to get in.

LAURA: No, no, no.

SAM: It's fine. I'll cast Fly on Doty.

LAURA: Don't you think that's going to be noticeable?

SAM: How high up is it?

TRAVIS: It's only five feet high.

SAM: Wait, don't we have a magic carpet or something?

LAURA: Yeah, but we're trying to be stealthy.

SAM: Stealthy. With a robot.

LIAM: He can just edge along the top of the iron, yeah?

MATT: You guys have been good enough to keep far enough ahead that this wandering metallic automaton about 25 feet behind you hasn't drawn any strange attention. Yet.

MARISHA: Are there fissures? Steam vents?

MATT: No steam vents that you can see, it's just this tangled mass of thick metal cables, maybe about a foot thick, that have spikes jutting out of them. It's climbable, but there may be some damage taken in the process.

LAURA: He said take the easiest way in.

SAM: He said that?

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Yes.

SAM: Well then, Doty, go straight through.

MATT: Doty then reaches out and (metal noises) and it takes a few moments but Doty begins to actually force the brambles apart and you can see bits of the metal (clinking) and bits of the spikes jutting through and breaking parts of the armor from the opposite side and are piercing it. It does manage to pull enough of an opening where Doty squeezes through and gets to the other side. However, Doty does suffer 12 points of piercing damage in the process, but emerges.

SAM: You're so badass, Doty. Good job.

TALIESIN: Perhaps we should bend them back?

MARISHA: Yeah, how noticeable is the bent bars?

MATT: It's pretty noticeable, it's about that big around.

TALIESIN: Can Doty put it back?

LIAM: Is it Doty-shaped?

TRAVIS: I'll do it.

MARISHA: Go, Grog.

MATT: Roll a strength check.

TRAVIS: 15.

MATT: It takes you a little bit of time, and you manage to squeeze it together.

LAURA: Plus you put the gauntlets on, which are good for structures, right?

MATT: You do take three points of piercing damage. That's essentially why he's able to do it on a roll of 15, because of his Siege ability. You do manage to squeeze it back together and close the hole.

TRAVIS: Nice.

TALIESIN: Magic carpentry.

MATT: Now, Vasa you see is now up on the side of this wall, and this stronghold has nearly no openings on any other side. However, there is a small sliver of an opening, it's almost like an exhaust on the other end there, and Vasa is currently perched up onto it.

SAM: How high?

MATT: About seven feet up.

SAM: And how wide is this door?

MATT: It's about a foot and a half high and about two and a half, three feet wide.

LAURA: Great.

SAM: We want to get into this place, right?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Well then, let's have a door. And I will my pull my A Door out of my Robe of Useful Items and it put it on the side of the wall.

TRAVIS: You do what?

MATT: He pulls a patch out off of his robe and tears it off and slams it against the stone. As it does, you watch as, what was once solid black metal, a tiny seam of orange appears in a large rectangular pattern, and then opens ever so slightly on a hinge that wasn't there ever before.

SAM: After you.

TALIESIN: Well, that's my kind of ridiculous.

LIAM: He's not the hero we wanted, but he's the hero we need.

(laughter)

SAM: This door cost a lot of money, just so you know.

LAURA: Good to know.

MATT: As you guys peer inside, ever so carefully, do you guys want to--

LAURA: Very carefully, I want to just peek in.

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: Do we still have Pass Without a Trace on?

MATT AND LAURA: Yeah.

LAURA: Ah! Nah, I don't see shit.

MATT: It is very dark inside, there's a faint bit of almost like candlelight out of view, you can see there's a shifting glow internally that seems to have a life of a small flame.

LIAM: I gently push my sister to the side and try the same.

MATT: Make a perception check.

LIAM: Yeah. 24.

MATT: Okay. As you glance inside of it, you can see there's a series of chains dangling from the ceiling carrying hooks on them. A number of these hooks seem to have a dried reddish caked blood-like material, some of them have bits of flesh still stripped and dangling from them. There are two tables in this chamber, each table seemingly containing some sort of a humanoid body that is placed on it and strapped down. One appears to be in two pieces. There is a torso and there are legs, and the center piece that once held the parts together is nowhere near in sight. Too shadowed to make any details from this angle, as you've just peered past the door, but there does not appear to be any other moving or living creature in the chamber that you can see.

LIAM: So none of those forms are moving, breathing, anything, as far as I can tell.

MATT: As far as you can tell.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: You take a moment longer and you see the one on the far table is breathing.

LIAM: All right. We have some deadish things in here, kind of moving--

LAURA: Dangerous things, or--

LIAM: It looks like it. I'd like to go in and get a closer look. Is everybody cool with that?

MATT: All right, roll a stealth check.

LIAM: That's fine. That's 40 with the Pass Without a Trace.

MATT: Okay. As you slowly slip into the chamber, closing the door ever so slightly to make just the faintest creaking of metal on metal, you slip into the chamber, and you can see there's shelves with various torture instruments just strewn across it. It looks like a terrible nightmare version of Percy's work chamber back in Greyskull Keep. There are two doors in the room, one on the north side and one on the eastern side, and the body that's on one table you can see appears to be human, older male. There are signs of some sort of physical scarring on the body, whether it be necromantic or corruption-based, it has been long dead. There is a very strong smell of decay. The other table, you do see the slight moving chest of a living dwarf, a female dwarf that appears to be passed out, unconscious, and has suffered quite a bit of torturous wounds. You can see hundreds of small scratches and jagged dagger wounds in the side of the shoulders and arms, the face, and is currently strapped down to the table.

LIAM: I'm going to use Divine Sense in this room. Am I within 50, 60 feet of that dwarf?

MATT: You are, yes.

LIAM: Yeah, Divine Sense.

MATT: Divine Sense, to sense--

LIAM: Presence of strong evil registers on my senses.

MATT: Within 60 feet of you. All right. Nothing coming from that dwarf, but there are a number of other sources throughout the fortress. Not in the room, but within 60 feet of you, you get a view of the chamber to the north of you and a chamber to the east of you. The eastern chamber, nothing. The chamber to the north of you, just beyond that door, there is a signature.

LIAM: And the dwarf appears alive?

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: Yeah. There's a woman dwarf in the room ahead of us.

LAURA: Is she dangerous?

LIAM: Hard to say, I don't think so, but I don't know.

MARISHA: Does she look familiar?

SAM: Why don't we go in and look?

MATT: You guys all quietly make your way into the chambers.

LAURA: So quietly.

LIAM: I'm going to inch ahead of everybody.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Does she look like she regrets her decisions in life?

LAURA: Does she look like she belongs here? Is she naked?

SAM: Does she have any unfortunate tattoos?

MATT: She's not naked, she's wearing basic cloth clothing, but a lot of it has been torn and soaked deep, deep crimson with blood. A lot of it appears to be torn from stress and tension. There are claw marks from all over this chamber, from various demonic entities that have torn through here, but the table she's on as well.

LAURA: I go join my brother.

TALIESIN: I think this is a brilliant opportunity.

LIAM: I mean, she's not melted, like the poor shits we've seen all over this city.

MATT: The body suddenly stirs on the table.

SAM: Hello.

LAURA: Are you awake?

MATT: Noelle, if you want to step on in?

TALIESIN: What?

TRAVIS: Oh no!

LAURA: Oh shit!

(laughter)

SAM: That just took, like, ten minutes to find her.

TRAVIS: Come on in, come on in!

TALIESIN: Before we do this, can we have a ten-minute discussion about whether or not to--

LAURA: You've been sitting there this whole damn time?

NOELLE: Oh no, you guys were shopping, I get it.

(laughter)

SAM: Already sass!

NOELLE: It was just some light torture.

LAURA: Oh shit, what if she wouldn't have been tortured if we'd gotten here earlier?

SAM: By the way, for any future guests who want to come on the show, we don't normally treat our guests this way.

TALIESIN: There's actually three more guests still waiting in line.

SAM: They've been here for weeks!

NOELLE: It was horrible.

MATT: You hear a noise, and as you come to in the darkened room with just the faint glow of the candelabra in the corner. You glance over a dart and you see a series of shapes filtering in from a door that you haven't noticed before in the chamber, and begin whispering to each other and then looking over to you occasionally. One of them suddenly goes "Hello," and the rest go "shh."

LAURA: Are you alive?

SAM: Hello!

NOELLE: I just sigh heavily and I go, who the fuck are you?

TALIESIN: I'm going to gingerly go over and very quietly say: we are a remarkable opportunity if you're willing to be quiet and maybe have a little faith in the truth in this very dark place.

NOELLE: Okay.

(laughter)

SAM: She's bleeding from her eyes.

MATT: As you get a close look at her, too, you see she has darker auburn red hair with a shock of white-gray in it, shaved on the sides, one gnarled ear that has been chewed and torn and a series of scratch scars across the front of her face.

SAM: I will grab a healing draught and offer it.

LAURA: I can cast Cure Wounds on her.

TRAVIS: Let's not fight, just heal her.

LAURA: I just want to know if it's safe to heal her.

TALIESIN: Heal her.

LAURA: How did you get here?

NOELLE: That's a pretty long story.

SAM: We've got nothing but time.

(laughter)

LAURA: Is it safe to release you?

NOELLE: Yes. Can I get off this table, please? What are we doing?

SAM: Is she lashed to it?

MATT: She is manacled to it. Both ankles and wrists are manacled to this table.

LAURA: I cast Cure Wounds on her.

LIAM: Are the manacles trapped at all? I'm going to check for traps.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

LIAM: Really high.

LAURA: Let's make a deal. We let you go, you don't let anyone know we're here, and you don't try to kill us.

NOELLE: Okay.

LAURA: Can I insight check her?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Oh, I got the worst insight ever into her.

TRAVIS: I'll do it. 12.

LAURA: She seems really honest.

MATT: What did you get?

LAURA: Ten.

MATT: She's hard to read. She seems brusque and, honestly, chained to a table and probably tortured.

NOELLE: The blood doesn't help.

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: I'll cast Cure Wounds at third level.

SAM: Nothing you can do is as powerful as what I was about to give her.

LAURA: Oh, really?

SAM: Yes.

LAURA: Oh, then, never mind.

MATT: It's too late, you cast Cure Wounds. Go ahead and roll for it.

LAURA: Fine. I'm trying to be nice, trying to save you a damn spell.

MATT: You hear Taryon say that as soon as you finish casting the spell into the dwarf woman.

SAM: We'll see how well-- hmm.

LAURA: 18, plus--

TALIESIN: That is the most condescending "hmm" I think I've ever experienced!

LAURA: Do I add anything?

MATT: You add your wisdom modifier.

LAURA: 18 plus three. 21 whole points.

MATT: Where once you're groggy, the sudden flash of the divine energy and the healing power that sifts through your body, it brings a moment of respite and calmness to you, and you feel a lot better than you did a few moments ago.

NOELLE: Cool. Can I get off this table now?

LAURA: Vax, can you help me pick these locks?

MATT: What did you roll, Vax?

LIAM: Oh, a 31 or 33.

MATT: Yeah, the manacles are not trapped.

LIAM: All right. All right, give us a second, my sister and I will.

LAURA: I'll work on the legs if you work on the hands.

MATT: All right. So, go ahead, both you guys roll to pick locks.

LAURA: Which is what?

LIAM: 30.

MATT: Dex bonus plus your proficiency bonus.

LAURA: Oh. Awesome.

SAM: (whispers) What's your name?

NOELLE: What?

SAM: What's your name?

NOELLE: Why are we whispering?

SAM: There's bad guys everywhere, we're in hell!

NOELLE: Oh, right.

LAURA: 24.

MATT: Okay, you guys take a quick moment and very deftly and very quietly, the twins in unison release the manacles and you instinctively sit up and rub your wrists.

MARISHA: Wow, have you guys been rehearsing that? That was impressive. Good job, twins!

NOELLE: Whoa, there's two of them. Fuck.

MARISHA: I know, it's confusing sometimes.

NOELLE: What's your name?

SAM: (whispers) What's your name?

NOELLE: I'm Tova.

ALL: Tova.

NOELLE: Who the fuck are you? Why are you in here?

LIAM: Well, we're tourists.

MARISHA: Well, this is Freddie, that's Yrat, that's Wade and Wode, and that's Greg.

TRAVIS: Yeah, let's not give too much info.

MARISHA: You can call us Mox Vachina.

TALIESIN: Let's put it this way. We're sneaking into this unholy compound in Dis, basically a city of hell, to do something inappropriate, we find you tied to a table, we figure that maybe you're in the mood to --

LAURA: Help out?

SAM: Did you see season two of Prison Break? Because that's what we're doing.

LIAM: We're here to solve a problem.

NOELLE: Are we killing something?

ALL: Yes.

NOELLE: Can I come?

TALIESIN: Who put you here?

LAURA: Where's your shit?

TRAVIS: Yeah, Tova, did you have a weapon when you were brought here?

NOELLE: I did, it was really cool, too. Can we go find it?

TRAVIS: Yeah, what'd you have?

NOELLE: Oh, shouldn't have moved that fast, hang on. Yeah, I have a maul.

TRAVIS: Really?

NOELLE: It's really cool, it's here somewhere. I don't know where.

TRAVIS: Should we look around the room for the maul?

NOELLE: How healed am I?

MATT: With that, you're back to full.

NOELLE: Oh, cool!

MATT: Because you've been resting for a while and recovering from the wounds of the last torture session.

MARISHA: So there's no one else in here, right? Is it still dark?

MATT: The chamber has low flickering light from two different candelabras, one near you guys in the corner and one near the center doorways over here.

LIAM: I get the flametongue dagger out. Is your shit on the walls around here? Do you see it in here?

MARISHA: Yeah, I light up my hands.

MATT: You guys do a quick pass. You look around, and there are some chests around here and you carefully go through some of them that are left open, and you do not see any of your equipment within the room.

LAURA: Do you see anything cool there?

NOELLE: Is there anything I can use?

MATT: There are a number of torture implements.

NOELLE: Can I have one?

MATT: Yeah. Of the things that look most useful to you, there's a giant iron fork. There are chained hooks.

LAURA: Pike would be so happy right now, she loves torture devices.

NOELLE: I'll get that big ol' fork.

MATT: It's a two-pronged long, thick metal fork.

NOELLE: Okay.

TRAVIS: Not to slow your roll or nothing but I have a greatsword if you want one.

NOELLE: Ooh, yeah! No, that sounds better.

TRAVIS: Okay.

NOELLE: I put the fork back.

TRAVIS: Are you sure you can handle a greatsword? It's, like, big league.

NOELLE: I'm very strong. It’s probably bigger than I am.

MATT: But as a dwarf, you're stocky and strong with your background as well, it's not really an issue.

MARISHA: Tova, that sword makes you look so tall.

NOELLE: Thank you.

TRAVIS: What the fuck happened to your face? Shit.

NOELLE: Oh, this was preexisting, actually. Unfortunate home chemistry set accident.

SAM: Ooh, are you an alchemist?

NOELLE: It wasn't my chemistry set.

SAM: Oh.

MATT: At this point, you hear a (click) sound and a door beginning to open on the north end of the wall.

LAURA: Oh shit, hide! Hide under the table!

TRAVIS: I fall flat on the floor.

SAM: I go still as a statue.

MATT: Make stealth checks, Taryon and Grog with disadvantage.

MARISHA: Do we still have Pass Without a Trace?

LAURA: Yeah, we still have Pass Without a Trace.

TRAVIS: Oh, that's good.

MARISHA: Okay, cool.

SAM: 19 for me.

TRAVIS: A 19 and a 20. A natural 19 and a natural 20.

MATT: With disadvantage, you got a 19? Holy shit! Oh, plus-- yeah, yeah.

TRAVIS: So, 21, 31.

NOELLE: Am I joining in here? Or can I just get back on the table?

MATT: You can get on the table if you want.

NOELLE: All right, so I get back on the table.

MATT: All right, but you do it noisily.

NOELLE: I flop down on the table.

MATT: All right. So the door opens, and as it does--

LAURA: Oh god, oh god. Ah! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!

TALIESIN: 18.

SAM: It's a map, it's a map!

MATT: A creature comes through, similar to Ipkesh, another humanoid, this one a little thicker, burlier, with a medium-grey hair that is kind of a tangled mass all into dreads right past the shoulders. Big, leathery red wings, red skin, horns at the front, and has a big sword it kind of is pulling out of a sheath on the side of it as it comes in, looking around the room. Which-- Immediately kind of steps into the chamber, as you guys all hide off to the side. "Shit!" And is going to turn around and just go running in the opposite direction.

LAURA: No! I shoot an arrow in the back of his neck.

MATT: Okay, so, this going to be a surprise-- Not a surprise round, it knows you guys are there, but this-- this is going to be a roll for initiative. Everyone, roll some initiative.

MARISHA: Yeah! Yes. Yes! That's bad, that's a natural one!

MATT: (laughs) Oh, man.

MARISHA: I was so excited and then it went away so quickly!

MATT: All righty. So, top of the round, we have 25 to 20. Anybody?

TALIESIN: 28.

MATT: 28, Jesus Christ! Okay.

MATT: 25 to 20, anybody? Good?

NOELLE: 21.

MATT: Oh, 21. Nice! All righty, 20 to 15?

LIAM: 18.

MATT: 18. All right.

LAURA: 16.

MATT: 16. 15 to ten?

TRAVIS: 14.

MATT: Ten to five? Five to one?

SAM: Four.

MARISHA: Three?

MATT: Oh.

LAURA: No.

LIAM: Oh, kids.

MATT: All righty. Percival, you're up first. You see this devilish humanoid--

SAM: See you in 20 minutes.

MATT: -- beginning to pivot and turn.

TALIESIN: Can you point to me on the map?

MATT: You are right there.

LAURA: Don't use the gun. (muffled) Don't use the gun.

TALIESIN: Okay, I'm going to do a couple things.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Blow the cover for everyone.

TALIESIN: Blow the cover for ev-- well.

LAURA: No. Don't use the gun.

TALIESIN: I'm going to take my movement to run around him and shut the door.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Using my boots. 'Cause my boots are already active.

MATT: Right. The doorway is about the size of him, so you--

TALIESIN: Oh, it's too big?

MATT: I mean, it takes up the entire doorway, essentially, and it's just pivoting after it notices you guys, so you're gonna have to make a tumble check to try and make it past him.

TALIESIN: Oh, okay, hold on then.

MATT: An acrobatics roll, but yeah.

TALIESIN: I'll-- you know what, I'll do the acrobatics roll to try and shut the door, to try and--

MATT: Okay, so you're trying to, basically, as he goes to spin around, you dash forward, and roll into a tumble to try and pop up on the other side, so go ahead and roll acrobatics check.

TALIESIN: That'll do. 22.

MATT: 22.

LAURA: Will it do?

MATT: Natural 20 on his end.

MARISHA: Aw!

MATT: So, as you tumble, not even noticing-- The world spins as you go into a roll and suddenly there's just a flash of white, and there's just a foot, a massive boot in your face as the individual slams a kick into your head to stop you from tumbling forward, and you stop in place. So you're currently prone on the ground, but you still have your action if you want to.

TALIESIN: I'm going to take three slashes at him with my sword.

MATT: Go for it. You are prone. You have disadvantage on your attack rolls.

TALIESIN: Disadvantage on the attack rolls?

MATT: Yes.

TALIESIN: But I am prone. Okay, so, attack number one. That don't matter. 28?

MATT: That hits.

TALIESIN: Just do attack number two. That's 15.

MATT: 15 misses.

MARISHA: Come on, come on.

TALIESIN: And, uh, 24.

MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll damage twice.

TALIESIN: Got two hits with the-- what's-- these.

MATT: And, Tova, you're up next, so be ready.

SAM: Tova!

TALIESIN: Two hits, so that's--

LIAM: Is it the quiet gun?

TALIESIN: I'm using a sword, not a gun, so that's--

LIAM: Oh, right, right, right.

TALIESIN: That's 18 points of damage.

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: 18 points of damage, and, you know, let's just burn a little bit of electricity too, just to hurt him as well.

LIAM: Oh, yes.

MATT: 18 from both strikes?

TALIESIN: That's everything combined.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: And then let's do a-- where is-- here we are. Let's do a-- where is the damage? 1d6 lightning, so let's just burn two charges of that as well.

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: I'm out of d6s for some reason that I cannot comprehend.

SAM: Here. Here.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

LAURA: Ooh.

TALIESIN: And let's add five points of lightning damage to that as well.

MATT: All righty. So, as you land on the ground, you pull your sword out and just swipe three times in the air, two of them striking across its thigh and the kneecap. It still stands, but you see it took a nice, sizable chunk out of it. That ends your turn, Percival? Tova, what are you doing? You're currently still up on the table, sitting up. You have the greatsword at your side and you watch as the-- one of them, one of the the new people stumbles onto the ground and then slashes at this creature a couple times, and it's right there kind of still trying to find its way out. What're you doing?

NOELLE: Gonna grab this cool new greatsword that I have, stand up on the table, and just jump at this guy's head, and swing at it with my cool new greatsword.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: All right, so as you leap in the air, bringing it down, go ahead and make both attacks. First one. This would be a plus ten because it's not magical, I believe, right.

NOELLE: Okay.

NOELLE: That's a 13 and a 17 to hit?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Unfortunately, neither hit. The one--

NOELLE: It's been tied to a table for a while.

MATT: Yeah. The first one, it hits the front of its armor and just scrapes off the side. The other one, you swing back and it slams into the stonework, and it just ducks underneath. Bonus action, anything you want to do?

NOELLE: Yes.

MATT: Before it tries to run away?

NOELLE: I want to turn into a bear.

ALL: What?

LAURA: Oh my god!

SAM: Double bear action!

LAURA: (sings) Tova's my favorite person in the whole universe.

MATT: You watch now, you see the clothing that was on her before wasn't torn from torture, but her form rages into this bipedal humanoid bear with rippling muscles, the same scars across the face, and begins to just growl as the greatsword now looks almost small in comparison in this mighty kind of humanoid bear's grasp.

MARISHA: What?

LIAM: Ah, she Beorn-ed it!

MATT: That's the end of your turn.

NOELLE: I'm just wearing sexy bear clothes now.

LAURA: It's like a bra, like a little bikini.

TRAVIS: Awesome.

MATT: All right, the devil-creature is going to go ahead and turn around--

MARISHA: Sort of like an 80s fantasy novel cover.

MATT: -- and attempt to move this way to the door.

TALIESIN: Do I get an attack of opportunity?

MATT: Both of you guys get an attack of opportunity as it rushes away.

LAURA: Oh, no, it's getting away?

MARISHA: No! Kill it.

LAURA: We've gotta stop it, we've gotta stop it.

LIAM: Damn it.

TALIESIN: Disadvantage or no?

MATT: Yes, 'cause you're still prone.

MARISHA: Come on, Percy. Oh, son of a bitch!

NOELLE: 24.

MATT: That hits, go ahead and roll damage. That's 2d6 for the damage on the greatsword.

NOELLE: Okay, 2d-- Oh, sorry. Rusty at this.

MATT: It'd be plus six. Because your strength is five and plus one there for the weapon.

NOELLE: That is 2d6 plus one?

MATT: Plus six total.

NOELLE: Okay, so that is 13.

MATT: Okay, and if you ever roll a one on the dice, or a one or a two, you can re-roll it once.

TALIESIN: Point of random order before he runs--

NOELLE: I can re-roll it twice?

MATT: You can roll each one once, like if it gets under that. It's part of your Great Weapon Master.

TALIESIN: Random point of order, isn't this a surprise round?

MATT: No.

TALIESIN: Damn it.

SAM: They noticed us.

TALIESIN: He noticed us, okay, never mind.

MATT: Yeah.

NOELLE: Well, I rolled another one, so it's the same, it's 13.

MATT: So 13 points of damage. All righty. So you hack at it as it's running away, but it still manages to go-- get out over this side. It goes to the next door and throws it open.

LAURA: No!

MARISHA: What's in it?

MATT: Okay, you guys still can't quite see what's in that chamber beyond from your perspective. And is going to move in. It just gets about that far into the chamber. All right. That gets us to Vax's turn.

LIAM: Shit, and he's out of sight now?

MATT: He's just moved-- He's out of sight of you, currently, because you're over here.

LAURA: Oh.

MATT: Yeah. You don't see him.

LIAM: All right. I'm gonna-- I can't really see from where I'm at, so I want to move more in line with the door and see if I can see him if I run over in line.

MATT: You can. If you run to where the doorway is open, you can see him as he's just disappearing into a darkened chamber beyond.

LIAM: Dagger, dagger.

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: End this.

MARISHA: End this.

LIAM: First one is-- balls, is 17.

MATT: Misses.

LIAM: Second one is a 29.

MATT: 29 hits.

LIAM: Nyeh. Fuck a duck. There's two plus-- that is just two, but it's the poison dagger, so I'm gonna unload venom in him.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: DC 15.

MATT: That is a 12, no.

LIAM: Okay. So he takes-- that's the wrong die. He-- ah! Oh, it's going as far as it possibly can. That is 19. Yeah. Ten and a nine.

MATT: Okay, got you. Cool. All right, so, the dagger (impact sound) and you see him stumble for a moment as his wings kind of instinctually curl up from the sudden burst of poison in his system. So.

LIAM: That's it, I'm out, I'm done.

MATT: You do have some more movement if you wanted to.

LIAM: No, I don't, I want to stay where I am.

LAURA: Back out of the way of the door.

MATT: Okay, so you're going to stay in the doorway?

LAURA: Well, you can move out of the way of the doorway so that other people can shoot at him better, maybe, in line of sight. Just move out of the doorway!

LIAM: Nope. Nope!

MATT: That brings us to Vex's turn! Vex, your turn.

LAURA: Thanks for blocking my fucking shot!

LIAM: I'm across the country, man, I can't really see.

MATT: Yeah, it's all good. I mean, he's not-- He's staying low, and your brother knows not to block the whole path, so--

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: All right--

LIAM: I'm always doing squats, man.

LAURA: Well then-- I'm going to shoot him.

MATT: Go for it.

TRAVIS: Your brother?

LAURA: No! I'm going to shoot the dude, the red guy. I'm going to shoot him-- Yeah, I'm going to shoot him.

MATT: Go for it.

LAURA: Okay, the first one is a 20.

MATT: 20 hits.

LAURA: (silly voice) Okay. 11-- Fucking shit. 11 plus four lightning damage and then-- Ugh! I'm going to fucking Hunter's Mark him, motherfucker, because I forgot to do it.

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: Because I'm a fucking asshole!

TRAVIS: Wow. Wow, that's like six in one--

LAURA: And the second one definitely hits him, too.

TRAVIS: I'm keeping count.

LIAM: You got to love yourself.

LAURA: (affected accent) So then I am going to-- (normal voice) Where's my damn eights? Okay, here they are. God damn it! Nine, ten, 11--

MARISHA: It's okay, we love you!

LAURA: 11 plus one lightning damage, because I suck!

MARISHA: No.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: And then four for Hunter's Mark.

MATT: All righty.

MARISHA: You're an amazing person.

MATT: So, both arrows (impact sound). It tumbles forward, kind of like falls to one knee for a second, and is still picking up and running. So that finishes your turn.

TRAVIS: That was nine swears in one turn, that was good.

LAURA: Was it? Sorry.

MATT: That brings us to Grog.

TRAVIS: Oh, really? (yells)

MARISHA: Kill him!

TRAVIS: (yells)

MARISHA: Kill him!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I do a burpee off the floor.

MATT: (laughs) Easy enough for you.

TRAVIS: I take off running through the doorway!

MATT: Five, ten, 15-- 30, 35, 40, 45, 50-- You can just get within melee range--

(cheering)

LAURA: Kill him, Grog!

MATT: -- because crazy barbarian speed. You also reveal the rest of the chamber--

LAURA: Please don't be any more people in there! Shit.

MATT: You see two of the-- This chamber contains a bunch of--

LAURA: Oh, god.

MATT: A bunch of, looks like cells of some kind, that are locked off with doors, and two of the lemures, the weird fleshy tortured spirit things kind of lie in the corner that all of a sudden see you as you charge in and just pay attention to your appearance. So, what are you going to do?

TRAVIS: I see him, and I say: hi. And I rage.

MATT: Okay. Is this your bonus action?

TRAVIS: Yeah. And I'm going to hit him twice!

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: Go for it.

TRAVIS: Reckless, please.

MATT: Yes.

TRAVIS: That is--

LAURA: (Grog voice) That is death!

TRAVIS: (laughs) 24.

MATT: That hits.

TRAVIS: Nice. Nine-- Wait, there it is. 21.

MATT: 21 points of damage?

TRAVIS: Yes.

MATT: All righty.

TRAVIS: And the second one. Reckless. Thank god. Because that was a one. 20-- 31.

MATT: That hits, go ahead and roll damage.

TRAVIS: Jesus-- 11-- 23. 23 points of damage.

MATT: Okay. As you rush forward, slam once into the back of his shoulder, he kind of falls to one knee again, still wounded by the slashing to his thighs and the arrows out of his back. The wings kind of unfurl a bit, and he turns around, looking like he's about to point his finger towards you--

TRAVIS: Nope.

MATT: -- there's like a flash in the eye, like it's attempting to have some sort of type of-- but before it does, you bring the hammer down onto his face. Whack! And as it does, it just caves inward, and falls to the ground, unmoving.

MARISHA: That was hot.

TALIESIN: (whispers) Drag him back in here.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Metal Gear Solid this shit.

TRAVIS: Oh, I don't have anything else to do. That was it-- my bonus action already.

TALIESIN: That may be the end of the--

MATT: That brings us to Taryon's turn.

TALIESIN: Oh! Nope, not.

SAM: I will cast Haste on myself.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: And I will then start moving. Where am I?

MATT: You're right here.

SAM: I'm going to go-- I guess the direction Grog went?

MATT: All right. So that's five, ten, 15, 20--

TRAVIS: Following your partner.

MATT: 30, 35, 40. You get all the way into this room, you still have 20 feet of movement left, as you enter next to Grog and see two of the fleshy masses of tortured souls kind of starting to make their way in the direction of you and Grog.

SAM: What do I have left?

MATT: You have your bonus action, that's it. Because you cast Haste, and then did your movement.

SAM: Sure. I'll just pull out my rod, grip it hard, choke down on it, maybe grip it with my left hand so it feels different--

(laughter)

MATT: Very well.

SAM: And I'll say, lance! And I'll just use the rest of my movement to just charge at somebody.

MATT: You run up towards one of these creatures, and as you get closer, as you see it becomes more and more apparent in your vision, the more horrifying it gets as you get closer. What's Doty going to do?

SAM: As I took off I just said, "Doty, on me!" So he's coming.

MATT: Doty's movement is--

SAM: 40.

TRAVIS: I like "on me" better than "roll out!"

MARISHA: Hey! Hey. Really?

MATT: Doty has to spend half of-- it's difficult to get through the doorway-- and gets about that far. Doty actually pushes Vax out of the way, it has to bend down and get into this central chamber. Doty can use the rest of the movement to get into the room with you. Doty can get right there, and that's all Doty can do this turn. All righty, that brings us to Keyleth's turn.

MARISHA: That's what cool people say. My turn. Guy's dead, right? That Grog was after?

MATT: Yes.

TRAVIS: It is now.

MARISHA: It is hell.

TALIESIN: Can Grog not see to the right of him yet?

MATT: Grog can see both of these things here. You mean can Taryon see this way, you mean?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: Taryon can just barely begin to see a hallway that goes further that way.

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: That's not a devil demony guy behind Grog.

MATT: Over here, you mean?

MARISHA: You almost touched it, sorry.

MATT: You don't see anything in there, there's nothing in your room right now.

MARISHA: What's that?

MATT: What's this here?

MARISHA: That.

MATT: That's Doty.

MARISHA: That.

MATT: That is Grog.

MARISHA: Oh, okay. Okay. And I don't see anything.

MATT: You don't see anything in the chamber, everyone's just kind of-- Your new friend turned into a bear, and everyone ran through a door.

MARISHA: Tova! Tova! You're really awesome! Are you also a druid? No?

NOELLE: I actually can talk, I just don't feel like it.

MARISHA: It's been a long day.

MATT: That's even better. All right.

MARISHA: I move and I peek my head through the door.

MATT: You can just get into this chamber with your movement.

MARISHA: Grog! What's going on?! You're okay? All right.

TALIESIN: You know we have ear pieces, we can just talk to each other, you are aware?

MARISHA: Grog! I don't know what to fucking do right now!

TRAVIS: I smushed his head.

TALIESIN: Bring him back in.

MARISHA: Bring him back in! Okay! I can't move any more, though.

MATT: You can if you used your action, but that's all you'd be able to do this turn.

SAM: I am screaming and running at one of them.

MATT: Yeah, not very stealthily or manly

SAM: Element of surprise.

MARISHA: Okay. You know, there's not a lot I can do right now, so I'm going to say, Grog! Grog! You got this shit! You got it! And I'm going to cast Enhance Ability, and I'm going to give him enhanced strength.

MATT: So any strength checks you make are with advantage. Though you already have that while raging.

MARISHA: Oh wait, what?

MATT: When he rages he gets advantage on his strength checks.

LAURA: Make him smarter!

TRAVIS: Smarter, handsomer, more stealthy--

MARISHA: Can I make him smarter? Or more stealthy? I'm going to give him enhanced dex.

MATT: Okay, Cat's Grace. So you have advantage on any stealth checks you make.

TRAVIS: Cool.

MATT: All righty, that ends Keyleth's turn. Back to the top of the round. Percival.

MARISHA: You already have advantage on that too?

MATT: You get up, that's half your movement.

TALIESIN: What's to my right?

MATT: To your right, there is a hallway and then a doorway.

TALIESIN: A hallway and a doorway?

MATT: Yeah. Right there.

TALIESIN: You know, I don't think I'm very useful for what they're doing right now, so I'm just going to do a little bit of a poke around over there to see what's happening and listen.

TALIESIN: What am I going to do, shoot a gun right now?

SAM: "I invoke the second pact!"

TALIESIN: You can't do that. That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works. Those cages are empty?

MATT: These cages are empty, currently, yes.

TALIESIN: And that chest is closed?

MATT: Which one?

TALIESIN: That one.

MATT: This one is currently closed.

TALIESIN: I look around. I'm going to run through into that smaller room, on the other side.

MATT: That's as far as you can get right there.

TALIESIN: I crawl up on the wall, because I can, and watch in horror.

MATT: All righty, that ends your turn, Percival. Tova.

NOELLE: I have a question for you real quick.

MATT: Yes.

NOELLE: I have the words, "Reroll is +25 on weapon" written on here, under Great Weapon Fighting, what does that mean?

MATT: That means, if you want to, on an attack, you can take minus five to hit to add ten to damage.

NOELLE: Okay, cool.

TRAVIS: It's a gamble.

MATT: That's Great Weapon Master. And then you have Great Weapon Fighting, you can reroll any ones or twos that you roll for damage.

NOELLE: Yeah, yeah, okay. Oh yeah, that's what it says, it says, "Reroll ones and twos," not "Reroll is +25." That is confusing handwriting from me. My bad. I'm just going to charge in as a bear, and in the dark, I can go ten more feet?

MATT: Yeah, because it's low light.

NOELLE: So I can go 45 feet? I assume they haven't gone that far. Can I catch up with them?

SAM: Farther in the dark?

MATT: You rush in. The one that was initially left is slaughtered on the ground, but as you rush past, stepping over its corpse, you see another fleshy mass lemure, the creatures that have been following you around since you got here.

NOELLE: That's the one I'm running at, yeah?

MATT: Yeah.

NOELLE: I want to kill it.

MATT: Go for it, roll for an attack.

NOELLE: I'm going to do that. Wait, so I'm a bear now, so I get the Transform added to my weapon, yeah?

MATT: Correct, you do. It's an additional plus two.

NOELLE: That's 30.

MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

NOELLE: All right. Aw yeah. Two sixes, and that is plus nine, so that is 21.

MATT: 21 points of damage. As you rush forward, you come down with the greatsword and slice right to the center of this cluster of flesh. It's just (burbling) and falls to the ground, sloughing in two pieces, quivering, and then disperses.

NOELLE: Do I have a bonus action?

MATT: You do have a bonus action, yeah.

NOELLE: I just want to spit on it. I hate that guy. It's my least favorite one.

MATT: A big old thick bear loogie onto the corpse as it slowly turns into a liquid. It steams as it falls into the cracks and crevices of the stone floor. All right.

NOELLE: Bye, motherfucker.

MATT: That's Tova's turn, that guy's gone. This lemure, 15 foot of movement, another one comes up behind you but it has to use all of its action to get to you. These creatures are not very dangerous if you're far away. As that shambles forward, another winged creature turns the corner, inspecting the sound, and as it turns the corner and sees you, Taryon, shouting as you ran forward with the spear, and the creature, right as you're about to attack, gets slashed in half in front of you, robbing you of your glory, you turn the corner and see another winged humanoid, this one female, with a very intense scowl on its face. You can see the fanged teeth out of its mouth, and points towards you. I need you to go ahead and make a wisdom saving throw, with advantage.

SAM: 18.

MATT: 18, okay. You feel an influence begin to press into your brain, drawing you into a strange brain space, and you clench your eyes and force it out, your will strong enough to resist the effect. Upon seeing this fail, and your vision go clear, it glances about and sees everyone else charging into the room, and then backs up again into the chamber this way, that far with the rest of their movement, and that's as far as they get.

MARISHA: I feel like we're alerting the whole god damned house.

TALIESIN: We gotta eventually get a candle on this.

MARISHA: A handle, or a candle?

TALIESIN: A handle and a candle.

MATT: That brings us to Vax.

LIAM: All right, I can't see too well from here, so, from where I am, crashed in front of my sister, do I see the lemure?

MATT: You do.

LIAM: All right. And am I within 60 feet?

MATT: You are indeed.

LIAM: I'm going to chuck Whisper at it.

MATT: All right. I will say, if you don't move, Grog is blocking a large portion of this space so I'll give you disadvantage on the attack even though the creature's very easy to see.

LIAM: I'm Sharp Shooter, so only full cover affects my attacks.

MATT: Fair enough. So, go ahead, you're unaffected.

LIAM: I got a 22.

MATT: 22? It hits. Go and roll damage.

LIAM: Okay, and I'm going to bamf there on this, and Grog is right up against it?

MATT: Yes. Oh, Grog is not, Grog is about ten feet away from it.

LIAM: Is anybody right next to it?

MATT: Tova's right next to it.

LIAM: All right, so that's Sneak Attack damage. So that is four plus eight is 12, plus psychic damage, that's 19, plus the Sneak Attack damage is 22, 26, 27, 32, 37, 40, 44 total.

MATT: Okay. You eviscerate the lemure. You watch as you jam your dagger through it multiple times, and each section you carve off of it, it splits open, leaving these stringy tendrils of flesh and tendon behind as it wails and shrieks to the ground, slowly dissipating into a thick sludge.

LIAM: For my new vantage point, do I see the winged creature that you had referenced?

MATT: Make a perception check. As you make a glance around the room.

LIAM: That is 24.

MATT: 24? You unfortunately do not.

LIAM: All right. I am going to use my bonus action to hide if I can. I should have full movement. Can I back into a corner of the room?

MATT: You do, yes you can. You can back into that corner here, and go ahead and roll your stealth.

LIAM: Sure. That's a 40.

MATT: Okay. Well, you don't get the plus ten.

LIAM: Oh, 30.

MATT: Because you already cast Hunter's Mark, which got rid of Pass Without a Trace. So, 30. But good to know. Vex, you're up.

LAURA: All right. I come running forward, and as I'm running forward I bamf Trinket out of the necklace.

MATT: That's as far as you can get there, and then Trinket emerges in the chamber next to Grog, goes over and is right next to the destroyed corpse of the devil humanoid earlier, the face smashed in.

TRAVIS: Eat it.

LAURA: Can I say, are we in the clear? Is everyone safe?

MATT: Guys, you all hear Vex say that.

TRAVIS: No, there's one running.

LAURA: Trinket, go after it! Which way did it go?

TRAVIS: Down the hallway to the right. Left. Direction.

TALIESIN: That was helpful. That was two out of four possible answers.

MATT: Trinket does manage to just catch up with it.

LAURA: Oh shit, he's going to try to attack it. Can he do that?

MATT: Yeah, he can.

LAURA: All right. Fuck, he's going to jump on it.

SAM: Double bear action. Bear on bear action.

TALIESIN: Really don't Google that.

SAM: Two bears wrestling with each other.

LAURA: 28.

MATT: 28 hits. Yeah, go ahead and roll damage.

TRAVIS: That's a really good roll for Trinket.

LAURA: I know!

MATT: Are you using your action to give him a double attack?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. Because you're not actually attacking anything. So go for it. So it's two attacks. So the first one's damage?

LAURA: Okay, first one's damage would be 14.

MATT: 14, all righty.

LAURA: And the second one is 26.

MATT: 26 hits.

LAURA: And that's-- eight plus nine is 17.

MATT: 17, there you go. So look at that. So Trinket rushes in with a double swipe. As soon as the creature backs around the corner, and it goes to turn, Trinket comes rushing around the corner and tears into it with a claw and a bite into this female devil who is pushed into the wall and torn into the chest terribly. You guys just see and hear this in the distance, you don't actually watch the impact happen, but you hear the screaming and Trinket roaring as it strikes into it.

LAURA: Shit. Well, that's loud. Hey buddy, try to stay quiet!

MATT: You get the sense that it's going to be real hard to try to maintain a sense of stealth in this stronghold now. So that ends your turn. Grog, you're up.

TRAVIS: I run after--

LAURA: I use my bonus action to hide as well.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll a stealth check.

LAURA: Unless letting Trinket out of the necklace, does that count as my bonus action?

MATT: Actually, I'd probably say it's a bonus action, yeah. Grog.

TRAVIS: I run after winged she-bitch.

MATT: Not an issue. You get up there right with Trinket, we'll say for the purposes of this tiny alley, you're in an uncomfortably close, due to your both massive sizes, you have to move to the side around Trinket and come down with the hammer if you want.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Two, please. Reckless! 33.

MATT: That hits.

TRAVIS: Okay. Oh, I reroll that, because that's a one. That's a two. 18. 18 points.

MATT: 18 points of damage, all righty.

TRAVIS: Reckless. 36.

MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

TRAVIS: 23 points of damage.

MATT: All righty. As you slam into it multiple times, the hammer reaching around the side of Trinket, it's being pushed against the wall and you can see she has this giant slash mark on the chest, a big part of the neck has been torn out, and you start bludgeoning her on the side of the shoulder, and she's (growling noises) is really, really frustrated. That ends your turn, Grog. Taryon, you're up.

SAM: Oh, is that thing still alive, that Grog is fighting around the corner?

MATT: It is.

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: Your turn, buddy, come on. Show me what you got.

LAURA: Keep it from getting away!

SAM: Yeah, I'm good at that. I will run around the corner.

MATT: As soon as you run around the corner, you see this mass of fur that is Trinket, this mass of muscle that is Grog, and this tiny little bit of a devilish head of this female, as you're holding your pike.

SAM: Do I have more movement? No, right?

MATT: You do have a little more movement, yeah.

SAM: All right, can I get up to poke it?

MATT: Because it is a reach weapon, you can. Over Trinket. Go ahead and roll an attack.

SAM: Would it take my bonus action to say, fire, and light my weapon on fire?

MATT: Yes, you can do that.

SAM: I'm lighting my weapon on fire and poking it!

MATT: The front of it bursts into flame, and you appear on the side. So go and roll an attack.

SAM: Yes, I know how to do this! Attack plus eight, so that's 21.

MATT: 21 hits!

SAM: It's 1d12, ooh, four! Plus two magic, so that's six! Plus 1d6! Is four! Ten!

MATT: Ten? All right. The fire's reduced by half, so it's eight. Eight points of damage.

SAM: I'm hasted, I get another attack!

MATT: You do.

SAM: Poke again!

(laughter)

SAM: 18.

MATT: 18 unfortunately does not hit.

SAM: I feel lucky. 24.

MATT: That hits!

SAM: Ooh, ten! Ten plus two, that's 12, plus six!

MATT: 15, because fire, half the fire damage. As you jam it over Trinket, the second one gets it in the throat.

LAURA: Be dead, be dead.

TALIESIN: Shh, go to sleep, go to sleep.

MATT: That'll do it! You poke, and as the lance slinks into the side of her throat, which is the only thing you can really see at this point over Trinket, she grabs up and instinctually catches the lance. As you're pushing it in, and you shove it in, going "Ahh!" It's like a slow Saving Private Ryan knife push. She's like (gurgling noise) and just falls limp on the edge of the lance, crumples to the ground.

TRAVIS: Oh, nice job.

LAURA: Wow. Can we be quiet now?

TRAVIS: You should open your eyes, though.

SAM: Doty, take this down. I am the vanquisher of souls.

MATT: Doty immediately pulls the small chamber in the side of the torso that holds the book and--

SAM: And then I throw up.

MATT: All right, that ends Taryon's turn. Keyleth.

MARISHA: Okay. I am going to back myself up in this corner that I'm in, and I'm going to cast Locate Creature.

MATT: Okay. What's the casting time on Locate Creature?

MARISHA: Who's got the book?

MATT: Locate Creature? Okay, it's one action, you can do it.

MARISHA: One action! It's one action, because I knew that. And I'm going to cast, and I'm going to say, Utugash.

MATT: Okay. You immediately sense a very large heavy source of energy right in the center of this chamber here.

MARISHA: (whispers) He's in the next room. He's in the next room! Be quiet! Jesus, be quiet!

SAM: Who is?

MARISHA: Utugash!

LAURA: I wonder if he knows that we're here.

MARISHA: I look at Grog. Grog!

TRAVIS: Run in like a bull and fart on the wind? Cut the throat? Bull? Flapping wings? Earache?

MARISHA: Utugash. Utugash! Grog! By that wall!

TRAVIS: Pokey poke.

LAURA: Why don't you just use your fucking earring?

MARISHA: I'm trying, he still doesn't understand words!

TRAVIS: I can hear you whispering. I don't know why you--

MARISHA: He's on the other side of the wall! Utugash!

TRAVIS: Oh, he's on the other side of the wall.

LAURA: He's in the next fucking room.

TRAVIS: Oh. Why didn't you just say that?

MARISHA: Because I was trying to be--

TRAVIS: What's this Tutonka thing you're doing? I don't understand.

MARISHA: I was trying to be stealthy!

TALIESIN: Oh, Tutonka! I know Tutonka.

MATT: You hear a very, very faint sound of shifting stone. It's very faint. That's it.

MARISHA: Shift of stones? What?

LAURA: We should go in the room. We should get in now before he gets away.

SAM: We need to go in that room?

MARISHA: Do you guys want to flank? I think we can flank. Looks like there's an entrance on either side.

TALIESIN: Are we still in combat mode right now?

MATT: Currently there is no immediate threat, so you guys can take a moment if you feel like you need to.

LAURA: No, let's run up and get in that fucking room.

LIAM: Is there anything anyone wants to do before we go in? Last second, real quick?

TALIESIN: I want to check out what’s still covered by dark, very gently.

MATT: Which one?

SAM: The corner covered by the diagonal piece of paper. Closest to me.

MATT: Over there? Okay.

NOELLE: Would I know anything about the layout of these rooms, or just my room?

MATT: Just your room, that's all you're really aware of. So as you look over in that corner, you can see it's this series of five locked cell doors. Some of them have small bars in the window, some of them are just solid doors, but they're all slammed and locked.

LIAM: Meantime, our friend is sealed off behind a closed door?

LAURA: Yeah, we heard some stone moving, so I think he's trying to get away.

MARISHA: He's in this room.

LIAM: There's a shut door between us and this guy?

MATT: You don't know.

LIAM: I'm going to creep along towards our friend there.

LAURA: I come in, too.

MATT: Okay. All right. Keyleth, are you doing anything else?

MARISHA: Can I take this opportunity to do a quick Inspiring Leader speech?

MATT: It takes ten minutes to do that, sorry.

MARISHA: Then no, I'm not going to do that, I'm going to flank around this side a bit. Other side.

SAM: “Four score and-- never mind.”

MARISHA: There might be a door over there, right? Two doors? Is there a door on that side?

SAM: Are we trying to get in this room? Why don't I just make a way in?

LAURA: I think there's a door right in front of us, but yeah, we can come in the sides.

MARISHA: Yeah, if we can flank him, that'd be great!

LAURA: I'm going to follow Taryon.

MARISHA: Yeah, I follow.

SAM: I'm going to keep walking down that hall, where we just were.

MARISHA: I follow Tary as well.

MATT: Is Tary leading the charge here?

SAM: As always.

MARISHA: Are we splitting up? Anyone going through the door?

LAURA: No, I'm following fucking Tary.

MATT: All right, so you're following Tary, everyone's moving over to the hallway here, then.

LAURA: Because this is smart.

MATT: Doty is pushing forward this way, Tova are you following?

NOELLE: Yep.

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: I'm staying at the back.

MATT: Staying back?

LIAM: DM, I have no sense of where I am, because of New Jersey. Where am I on that map?

SAM: You're in the back of the pack.

MATT: You're the back of the pack-- well, middle of the pack right now.

LIAM: Oh, I meant to sneak ahead.

MARISHA: Can maybe Tary gives us one entrance and then we use the actual entrance as well--

TRAVIS: Can I keep going, down the hallway?

MARISHA: -- so we're all not going into one entrance? Flank a motherfucker?

MATT: Well, first and foremost--

TALIESIN: I didn't have a chance to peek inside any of those doors, did I? Peek in through the window of any of those doors, did I?

MATT: Not before you all started moving forward. You can if you want to, but you'll stay behind everyone for a little bit.

LIAM: Over the earring: If he knows we're here, then all bets are off, but if he doesn't know we're here, I'm going to be able to lay a massive amount of hurt on him.

LAURA: I think he knows we're here.

TRAVIS: Tary was screaming like a woman.

SAM: I-- There's nothing wrong with that.

LIAM: What if?

LAURA: Number one, there isn't.

SAM: Women are powerful, and amazing.

LAURA: That's right.

TRAVIS: It was just very high-pitched, is what I mean.

LAURA: Right, and there's nothing wrong with that.

TRAVIS: Except it gives away our position in this endeavour.

SAM: But did you see? I slew that-- slew? Slayed? Is slew a past tense of slay?

TALIESIN: Slew.

NOELLE: Do I have any way of knowing if this is Utugash in the next room? Can I do a wisdom check with my bear smell?

MATT: Yeah, make a perception check, with advantage because of your keen senses.

SAM: Bear smell!

NOELLE: Take that first one. Okay--

SAM: As Tova does this, I turn to her--

NOELLE: 20.

SAM: -- and I say, you won't pee on me will you? I've already been marked.

TALIESIN: Peed on before.

NOELLE: Why would you ask that? What kind of stuff do you guys do?

SAM: I ask that of everyone I meet.

NOELLE: Who are you people?

MATT: So what did you roll for your check?

NOELLE: 20.

MATT: 20. (sniffs) You are familiar with this smell, Utugash. It is a combined smell of sulfur, a dry earth, and grotesque decomposition. And the smell is very strong, and you can already follow the scent, it does lead into this next chamber, which is just an open wall. It isn't a door that's closed--

SAM: There's no door? It's just open?

MATT: There's no door, it's just an open wall that leads into a chamber.

NOELLE: I want to kill that guy so bad.

MATT: Taryon, you're leading the charge, you said?

LAURA: I feel like Tary, you should make a door on the other side and then we go inside.

SAM: On the other side? We were there already.

LAURA: Right, I mean where Doty is standing right now, if you made a door right there.

SAM: Why would that give us any advantage? I'm making a door five feet away from the other door?

LAURA: No, that door's around where Doty is standing, is around the corner.

TRAVIS: Since I'm the closest, can I step up into the doorway and see what I see?

MATT: Yeah, so you step up and move. As you do, I need you to make a dexterity saving throw.

MARISHA: This could be door number two over here.

SAM: I see.

MARISHA: That way we're all not crowding through one door.

LAURA: Well, Grog's going into the room right now.

TRAVIS: 19.

MATT: 19. As you step forward, something beneath your foot (click), and you look up just as you-- as a piece of a circular stone opening that you previously didn't see before, suddenly pours a heavy amount of extremely hot, boiling oil down above you, and you step back, just out of the way as it splatters across the ground, sizzling there.

LAURA: Oh my god. Dexterity.

MARISHA: Do you have advantage on that? Because of my thing?

TRAVIS: Yeah! I had advantage already, but that's cool.

MARISHA: Okay. (laughs)

MATT: Yeah, he doesn't get saving throws, he gets skills from you, but he has advantage on saving throws from traps.

MARISHA: Still cool.

TRAVIS: Do I see anything through the doorway, from where I'm standing?

MATT: You step forward, make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Yeah, this'll be good. Oh! Hey, 18!

MATT: All right, as you turn around the corner and look in, the interior is very low-lit.

TRAVIS: I do have Darkvision.

MATT: What little bit of light-- I know you have Darkvision, but there is-- what little bit of light you see is two sources of very, very low, deep, red light. These two giant pools of some thick red liquid that are just emanating this very, very faint glow. Inside you see there is a giant chair, that is affixed into the center of the chamber, as well as an altar in the center. Upon this chair, you see, similar to what you battled in the City of Brass, you see a massive pit fiend, the wings lazily uncurled to each side, the corpulent mass of it is just this giant belly that hangs over the front of its knees. It clutches to its side, and it's using currently to keep one of its arms propped up, is a large axe, and the other hand is just resting on the side of the throne, and you see it just sitting there, tapping its fingers, looking straight at you as you enter-- as you step into the middle of the hallway.

TRAVIS: Ooh, it's like an invitation.

MATT: There are a series of-- clusters of bones throughout the entire room.

LAURA: Oh my lord!

TALIESIN: It looks like a happy little robot from up top.

TRAVIS: Now that I see him, can I look to my left, down the rest of the hallway?

MATT: You can, and it leads to what looks to be a portcullis gate, an iron gate of cross bars that has-- is closed currently yeah.

TALIESIN: Cool cool.

TRAVIS: A-fucking Jenga.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: And I will scoot to my left inside the doorway but still stay in cover behind the wall. No, no, to the left of the doorway but still in the hallway.

MATT: I will say, it's 10:45. Do we want to pick up at this battle moment at the beginning of next week?

LAURA: All right, all right.

SAM: If Noelle is available.

LAURA AND MARISHA: Are you available next week?

NOELLE: I don't know, are you going to leave me tied to a table?

SAM: No!

(laughter)

SAM: You'll start with us!

MARISHA: We could've found you in a magical shop.

TRAVIS: Nope.

MARISHA: We could've found you in a prison.

TALIESIN: Could've been drinking in a bar, like a normal person, but no, tied to a chair.

NOELLE: Just an extra night of torture, it's no big deal.

TRAVIS: Just an hour and 40 minutes to sign a contract.

NOELLE: Take your time! I'll be around, I want to kill this guy.

LAURA AND TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: All right, so we'll have Noelle back for next week. We'll pick up right at the encounter with Utugash, within his stronghold.

TALIESIN: Uragash.

MATT: Oh man, this'll be fun.

MARISHA: I think I called him U-tu-gash, because that's what I wrote down.

MATT: Utugash.

MARISHA: Like Uta Hagen, but Utugash.

MATT: U-T-U-G-A-S-H.

MARISHA: Oh, it is U-T-U, Utugash. Okay.

MATT: You did good, you did good. (laughs) But yeah, we'll pick this up next week, jumping into this fray. Thank you guys so much for watching, thank you so much for playing, guys. Thank you Loot Crate for being our awesome sponsor. And we'll see you guys-- we'll be there at Wondercon this Saturday, 2PM.

LAURA: Oh, jeez.

MATT: Yeah-yeah! Yeah! Two o'clock.

MARISHA: Big room.

MATT: The arena. All right, folks, have a wonderful night, sleep well and is it Thursday yet? Good night.

TALIESIN: Night!

TRAVIS: Nice!

[art]

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