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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show[]

MATT: Hello everyone, and welcome to Critical Role, and a very special one-shot collaboration tonight with our friends at Bandai Namco and their brand-new, highly anticipated action RPG, Elden Ring. Highly anticipated by the world and myself. It is a new world created by Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R.R. Martin. Elden Ring is a massive, interconnected adventure with countless secrets to uncover and multiple gameplay options from single-player to co-op to PVP. The game is amazingly tailored to your own desires with a ton of customization and crafting elements, and the original system allows for any player to forge their own unique adventure, based on your personal ambitions and choices. We are so thrilled to have the opportunity to explore this amazingly rich world for ourselves, and just know that everything we do tonight is inspired by Elden Ring, not true lore or canon. The system is heavily home-brewed by myself. It's all cobbled together silliness. It'll be fun. But the game is available on all platforms right now, and you can learn a lot more and play it at bit.ly/CREldenRing. Big thanks to Bandai Namco for making this possible. Let's go ahead and meet our players for the night, shall we? We'll start on this end. Marisha.

MARISHA: Oh, hello. I'm Kara Gen, and I am a Warrior, wielding two scimitars, but I also have a dagger, and I also have a bow, just in case. I like to come prepared because you never know what's ahead, and you never know what came before.

MATT: There you go.

BRENNAN: You never know what came before? Like Memento guy?

ALEX: "Memento guy."

MARISHA: Yes.

MATT: It's rough being the Tarnished.

SAM: Johnny Memento. (laughter)

MATT: Awesome. Thank you, Marisha. Alex.

ALEX: Yes, I'm playing Twin-Soul Marcus, who is an Enchanted Knight, and I have a winged spear and all sorts of spells and goodies to throw around.

MATT: Perfect, all righty. Brennan.

BRENNAN: Hey, I'm Brennan and I'm playing-- Nice to meet you. I'm playing Brigidda, who is a Hero. That's all you need to know. She's five-foot one, red hair in braids, and covered in clay and woad and war paint. She's got a band of red across her eyes, wooden shield, battleaxe, and she can breathe fire. Cool to know.

ALEX: I feel like I should've described my character.

MARISHA: Yeah, you didn't say who you were, either, neither did I.

ALEX: Yeah, no one knows who I am.

MARISHA: So this is Alex.

ALEX: And that's Marisha.

MATT: We got it, perfect.

SAM: Well-oiled machine.

MATT: And you know what? When we come into the game, we can begin with you describing your characters, and we'll do the intro through your bits, though. Perfect, thank you, Brennan. Krystina.

KRYSTINA: Hi, my name is Krystina Arielle, and I am playing Prophetess Mariah Van Der Ness.

BRENNAN: The prophet say she's very great. (laughter)

BRENNAN: She is a holy woman; you would do well to remember this.

SAM: Wow, that's intense.

KRYSTINA: Thank you.

MATT: Fantastic, thank you, Krystina.

SAM: I have no one to speak for me. I'm Sam Riegel. I will be playing Nihl. Not Neil, Nihl, who is of the Bloody Wolf class, which is a class that exists. I have some swords and stuff, and we're going to find out what Nihl's deal is. Neil's deal. Nihl's dihl.

BRENNAN: Welcome to Neil's Deal.

SAM: Nihl's dihl.

MATT: It's already off to a great start, I love it.

ALEX: Well, come on down to Nihl's Dihl!

SAM: When we begin, because I was going to do an accent, but Brennan's sort of doing it, so I'm going to change it up. (laughter) I'm going to change it up before we start.

MATT: Beautiful. All righty, all righty. Well, I guess we'll see where this band of odd adventurers begin, when we jump into Elden Ring.

Part I[]

MATT: An entire age has passed since it happened. In the Lands Between, where the once-great realm under Queen Marika was kept prosperous under the Golden Order, the Elden Ring was shattered, the Golden Order sundered, and the runic pieces of the Ring jealously taken and fought over by the queen's demigod offspring. Under the golden light of the Erdtree, the realm was left torn by war, where blood fought against blood, kin against kin. The rule of death was lost with the rune of the same name, calling those who had fallen to walk once more. Even possessing one of the powerful shards, a Great Rune was not enough to gain purchase in this now never-ending struggle. Breaking the land into fragmented shells of the former empire. Within this broken world, a glimmer of hope climbs from the shadows. The Tarnished. You, warriors of ancient blood who were banished from the Lands Between long ago, you now rise to the call of glory. Here, one might reclaim the grace once granted them, now lost. And along that path of redemption, unite the realm once more, and deliver it from the madness of Marika's godlike children. Awaken, O Tarnished, and seek your fate ahead. Immediately, in this dark, subterranean, damp stairwell, this cavern structure rising up towards the distant light, the heavy footfalls of armored, whether it be leather or metallic feet, clambering through this near-lightless space, pushing through as the five of you, just recently awoken to this land, begin pushing through. If you wouldn't mind describing how you rush up to the scene, what do they see?

MARISHA: (gasps) Where am I? What's-- who? Ah, ho, hoo, okay. I clank over, moving in a forward direction, because I feel like I can't go back, but I can go forward.

MATT: Would you like to describe yourself?

MARISHA: Yes. You see a woman with long, shiny, dark black hair stretching very long and straight. She's got different colored eyes, one blue and one brown. She's got a headband across the top of her head that has two metal bits on the side and a triangle symbol in the center. The rest of her is in mismatched leather armor that looks like she just cobbled it together from many different sources. One's a little moldy. One looks a little fresher. None of it matches.

MATT: Fair enough, all right. So as you go rushing up towards the light, pushing through, weapons at the ready, you bump immediately shoulder to shoulder with this figure. Would you like to describe yourself?

MARISHA: (grunts)

ALEX: Oh, hello, sorry.

MARISHA: Hi.

ALEX: You see a heavily armored individual, full helm and armor covering the legs, head, and right side of the torso and right arm. The left arm is free, a voluminous sleeve covers the left arm in blues and purples, very royal colors. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get into your way.

MARISHA: I'm surprised I didn't see you.

ALEX: I am too, honestly.

MARISHA: You're very bright.

ALEX: I stand out.

MARISHA: You do.

ALEX: This way.

MARISHA: I guess.

ALEX: All right.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: You two begin pushing on, further up this incline towards a distant bit of slowly-brightening light as you get closer and closer before another hall carves into the side of where you're heading, and three other figures emerge from that side also trudging up towards this light. If you would like to describe what they see.

SAM: Yes, you see a tall woman with pale green skin and long, darker green matted hair sticking out from a helm. She's also well armored, with dark black armor all over her body. She carries a distinct shield with some sort of fur all over it. It's a furred shield, and a few blades behind her, and she staggers forward, calling out in her distinct accent. (laughter) Sans Queue, Sans Queue, where are you? Where are you? Oh, hello, hallo, Who are you?

BRENNAN: I'm going to move in front of Mariah, my holy Prophetess whom I follow. Short, fur covered. I think at this point coming out of the dark subterranean, a pretty fragrant Warrior. The pelts got wet and there's a sort of odor. Short, bright red hair, barbarian looking like Russo-- like Hermia from Midsummer Night's Dream, tiny angry woman with a Russo-Celtic barbarian vibe. Who are you? Have you come to destroy the Prophetess?

SAM: No, no, of course not. I'm, my name is Nihl. Who's the prophetess?

BRENNAN: (laughs) She is.

SAM: Are you all right? I, I can, I--

BRENNAN: It's a fungal atmosphere down here.

SAM: I cannot heal.

BRENNAN: Neither can I. You have found this place. I am Brigidda, I am a Warrior and Hero. I have come to protect you.

SAM: You're a hero? That's a bold statement to just--

BRENNAN: No, it's transliteration from my people outside of the Lands Between. I am the protector of the Prophetess, Mariah Van Der Ness.

SAM: All right, Nihl takes a knee and bows in supplication in front of the Prophetess.

ALEX: Are we supposed to do that? Should we?

MARISHA: Hi, oh, we're kneeling now.

ALEX: Yeah, I also kneel.

MARISHA: We kneel.

BRENNAN: Do you want everyone to bow? Is this good for you or bad for you?

SAM: You're kneeling.

KRYSTINA: As they're all kneeling, you look over and you see the Prophetess, who somehow is still fully presenting as regal after--

SAM: I'm also Riegel. (laughter)

SAM: I mean, I'm no hero, but. (laughter)

MARISHA: This is so meta.

KRYSTINA: She's still in long robes, hands inside the sleeves, looking around.

SAM: Oh, this could take a while.

BRENNAN: The holy woman says no eye contact! No direct looking in the eyes!

SAM: Just with her, right? We can look at each other.

MARISHA: Can I look at him?

ALEX: Going to make this rather difficult going forward.

BRENNAN: Sorry, I've been told to tone that down a little bit. (laughter)

BRENNAN: So just, yeah, if you can help it, maybe less eye contact than normal.

KRYSTINA: My children, it is a pleasure to meet all of you. My brave soul here, Brigidda, speaks for me at times, because the weight of doing the things that we have to do to commune with the spirits are draining. But I will speak with you occasionally when I deem it necessary. I don't know why we are here, but I do know that there is a greater purpose and meaning to everything that we do and everything that we do has consequences or rewards.

MARISHA: Are you, are you a queen? Are you one of the queens of this--

KRYSTINA: I am a Prophet.

MARISHA: That sounds more important--

ALEX: That sounds very important.

MARISHA: -- than a queen.

KRYSTINA: I sense that you have been places, and you've returned from places.

MARISHA: You're-- She's, like, the smartest person. That's so wise.

ALEX: She's technically correct.

MARISHA: I just feel like there's something else where I came from, but I don't know-- Oh wait, I don't want to.

KRYSTINA: You... You were born to parents.

BRENNAN: Do you see good she is?! She just met you!

ALEX: I'm starting to have doubts.

MARISHA: I had parents.

MATT: It's about this moment that you hear the rattling of something, some impact of hearty, light, hollow, stone on stone, or bone on bone, and the scraping of metal. Quite a bit of it from the darkness below, behind you. From the little bit of the light that your eyes have now adjusted to in the space, you can see something shift as a skull pulls its way behind you in the cavern. (teeth clattering) And begins lunging in your direction. What do you do?

MARISHA: We should move.

SAM: Our fates are being decided right now.

ALEX: We should go, right? Yeah.

KRYSTINA: I sense there's danger afoot.

ALEX: Good.

MARISHA: Let's go.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Like how far away?

MATT: That was quite-- about, say, 20 feet behind you. Are you heading towards the light, or are you going towards the--?

SAM: I think towards the light, yes?

BRENNAN and ALEX: Yes.

SAM: We must.

MATT: All right. You all begin to charge towards the light as it gets brighter and closer and brighter and closer, the light beginning to slowly filter out into your eyes. It gets to a point where you're-- It's almost too much for you to focus on. As you emerge from this cavern, immediately this soft wind hits your face. You adjust, and blink, and glancing out in the space in front of you, you see a rolling expense of tall, grass-covered hills, blowing and shifting winds. You can see cliffside rock outcroppings and bridgeways, stone ruins, and structures miles off, partially crumbled through age. You see to the left and beyond, to the western side, shore. Muddy beaches marked with stone and forgotten lands. Crumpled temples left partially submerged in the ocean waters as the shore brushes against the side. Beyond that, you can see a massive castle standing upon the topmost point of this hill, and rising above that, what can only be described as a miles-tall golden tree--

SAM: Oh wow.

MATT: -- of a luminescent white and gold bark. It encompasses the entirety of the horizon and the sky above nearly. Its branches, sprawling, stretching further than your imagination could have prepared yourself for. You can only assume this is the Erdtree.

MARISHA: The Yurttree?

MATT: Erd.

SAM: Erdtree.

ALL: Erdtree.

SAM: It's what decides whether we are good or bad, right? Or worthy?

MATT: It is where once, it is believed, the Golden Order was emanated from, and where the grace of this land was granted, though the Tarnished that you are had this grace taken long ago, and you were exiled, but here you return to the Lands Between in this warring space.

ALEX: Well, this is much nicer than in there. I, I'm sorry. Brighilda?

BRENNAN: Brigidda.

ALEX: Brigidda.

BRENNAN: Bri is shorter, easier for people.

ALEX: Bri, and the prophetess?

MATT: Just as two skeletons arrive and attack you.

SAM: Oh god!

MATT: (laughs)

ALEX: We'll get to this later.

MARISHA: (grunts)

MATT: So at this immediate point in time, two of these skeletons come charging up from behind, grasping spears, (snarling) making some sort of odd, airy sound that should not be made for a lack of a larynx, but you know, magical world.

ALEX: Magical larynx.

MARISHA: Magical larynx.

MATT: Magical larynx. That's your next character.

ALEX: That's my nickname. (laughter)

MATT: One of them immediately rushes forward, and is going to strike towards you, Brigidda, with the spear.

BRENNAN: You are just me with less meat. I'm not afraid of you.

MATT: Well, that is 11 points of physical damage towards you.

BRENNAN: Do I have any stamina to attempt to dodge or block this?

MATT: Indeed, you can spend stamina, if you'd like to.

BRENNAN: I'm going to spend two stamina and I'm going to dodge this, if I can.

MATT: Go for it.

BRENNAN: I can't. That's going to be a nine.

MATT: You're just still inside the cavern enough where you, ha! Roll to the side, right into the rock, which pinches you there, right as the spirit puts in towards you. So you take the full brunt of that damage minus your armor, which is?

BRENNAN: I roll d4, I rolled a one. So I take 10 points of damage.

MATT: 10 points of physical damage to you out of the gate. The other one is going to go ahead and swing towards, I'll say, you are probably protecting you, so one's going to go towards you, Kara. So that will be an incoming six physical damage.

MARISHA: I shall dodge.

MATT: Go ahead and roll.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm, that's a natural 18 for a 24 total.

MATT: No damage taken as you just roll out of the way. It's now your guys' go. The two skeletons are there. Who wants to take a turn?

ALEX: Please.

SAM: Yes, I draw my bastard sword, wielding it with two hands. I stow my shield, and I will take a two-handed strike against the one that attacked the Prophetess.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: 14 with, 20 to hit.

MATT: That hits, go ahead and roll damage.

SAM: All right, I'm going to arc down and try to hit it right in the forehead with this gigantic sword. Oh, a one plus five is only six points of damage. But because I did two-handed, it's an extra d6 of damage, for extra three, nine points of damage.

MATT: Nice, nine points of damage. The blade smacks down and cracks bone. You can see part of the ribcage cave inward. One of the arms is left, barely functional, but it only needs one to use the spear as well. It still stands. (snarling)

SAM: That takes three stamina down. I'll let someone else go before I do anything else. So I'm recovering from that.

MATT: You got it.

ALEX: Next to Bri, seeing them get hit, I'm going to try and stab with my spear to get them off.

MATT: Go for it, with your spear.

ALEX: So I'll make a spear attack.

MARISHA: Spear v. Spear!

ALEX: Spear v. Spear. That is a 17 to hit.

MATT: That hits, go ahead and roll damage.

ALEX: Okay, six. That's seven points of physical damage.

MATT: Okay, is this the same one that Nihl had attacked?

ALEX: No, the one that attacked Bri.

MATT: Okay, got it, cool. So both now have taken some fairly heavy hits, and both standing, but you can see they're starting to crumble under the weight of the wounds they've already sustained. Who wants to go next?

KRYSTINA: The prophetess sees all of this happening and she decides to go after the same skeleton. She pulls her club from behind her back, and she aims directly for the head.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: So speaking is too difficult for you, but swinging a club is okay? Just go.

KRYSTINA: Sometimes violence is required.

SAM: So wise.

MARISHA: So wise.

KRYSTINA: 18, 19.

SAM: A million points.

KRYSTINA: So that's 21--

MATT: That definitely hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

KRYSTINA: Then that is 1d6. So that's five. So that's eight and plus one, so nine points of damage.

MATT: Nine?

MATT: (whooshes) As the club comes down it completely sunders the skeleton from atop. It breaks into a pile of bones, leaving itself just this period of bone shards jagged on the ground and this odd, glowing slime left behind that seems to be shifting in the space.

ALEX: Ah, an excellent hit.

KRYSTINA: It once existed. It now does not.

SAM: She's so cool.

MARISHA: So cool. I'm going to turn to the other one. Pull out both my scimitars, twirl them around in my hands. (grunts) With dual wielding attack.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: Yeah. 19.

MATT: 19. Good rolls. Go ahead and roll damage.

MARISHA: So 1d6, I make additional attack for free that deals-- Okay. It's okay. So the-- oh god. That was horrible. Four, five, six, seven damage total.

MATT: Seven damage. That's enough. With that, you carve through with one blade, absolving the head from its connection to the clavicle and the rest of the upper torso. The other one cleaves through the center of its spine. It crumbles to the ground, both a secondary glowing slime sits there shifting, amongst the pile of bone that remains.

MARISHA: He's been relieved of his head.

KRYSTINA: I like you.

ALEX: Good, good, good.

SAM: I will kneel down and-- Nihl down and examine the glowing, whatever that was.

MATT: You can roll an investigation or a religion check.

SAM: Okay. I am quite religious. So-- (laughter)

SAM: 18 plus two, 20.

MATT: So the Golden Order of these lands maintained the order of life and the passage into death. When the Death Rune was taken, things that were once dead began to rise. This is the essence of undeath within this skeletal body, and unless this is dealt with, they will rise again.

SAM: Oh.

MATT: Quickly.

SAM: Oh. Does anyone have an idea how we can deal with these--

BRENNAN: The bones come back?

SAM: Yes. The life, the undead life--

BRENNAN: (slams repeatedly) I just start smashing bones apart.

SAM: No, no. I think it's the magic that we need to deal with.

BRENNAN: Well, magic cannot work if there are no bones. So you break the bones down to sand. There's no sand skeleton. You know?

SAM: That's fair point.

ALEX: Possibly you're correct.

SAM: I will try to deal with the magic. (laughter)

ALEX: Dude. Go.

MARISHA: That's amazing.

ALEX: No, I just-- It's surprising ferocity.

MARISHA: Did Nihl touch it?

SAM: I just examined it, but I think now that I know it is, I will try to snuff it out by stomping on it or something.

MATT: It does have a physicality to it.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: It does look like it-- It reacts to your impact, but it does feel like the longer time that goes by, it is starting to shake all the bones and start shimmering them back together into one form.

SAM: You mean the dusty bones?

MATT: Having a harder time with that one. That's-- It's fighting--

BRENNAN: Magic, not so tricky. You know, magic, it seemed tricky at first, but then you just have to, you know, put in the elbow grease.

MATT: The skull of the one that Brigidda is messing with right now on the ground, if it had an expression, it would be, "Come on." (laughter)

SAM: Regardless, maybe we should just leave.

ALEX: That's... yes. Why-- Why not? Let's just go.

MARISHA: I'm going to-- Well, hang on. I'm going to reach out. Can I just take it? Can I grab it? Is that something I can bring with me?

MATT: If you'd like to.

MARISHA: I can bring the green glowing--

MATT: Do you grab it?

MARISHA: I grab the goop.

MATT: Okay. You grab it. As you pull, the bones seem tethered to it and drag with it. This is a tethered essence of undeath here.

MARISHA: (nervous noise)

MATT: You chuck it deeper into the cavern. As it does, as the bones drag with it into the shadow.

BRENNAN: Is there another skeleton that also has one of the similar essences here as well?

MATT: There's the one that you're chewing on. (laughs)

BRENNAN: I'm going to look at that and say: Okay, you were able to unmake this abomination by destroying the connection of the skull to the rest of the bones.

MARISHA: Yeah, I just threw a goop.

SAM: (laughs)

BRENNAN: Yes. I see the goop throw. That's a good idea, too.

MARISHA: Yeah.

BRENNAN: I'm going to say: Can you hold this goop here? I want to see if maybe something else work.

MARISHA: Oh yeah, sure. Pick up the goop.

BRENNAN: Once Kara Gen's holding the goop, I'm going to drop kick the skull as far as I can away from here. (laughter)

MATT: All right, go ahead and roll a strength check for me. Roll a d20, add your strength modifier.

BRENNAN: Okay. Ooh! Not bad. That's going to be a dirty 20.

MATT: (whooshes) Vanishes over one of the nearby hillside lines into the deep high, tall grass out of sight.

KRYSTINA: Well done.

BRENNAN: Give a moment of peering at the grass. Like something's going to come rolling back. Iron giants. (laughter)

MATT: The rest of the bones, as you're looking out that way, begin to slowly reform into a mostly skeletal structure without a head.

SAM: Oh boy.

BRENNAN: This is okay. (laughter)

BRENNAN: Is it okay to leave the bones trying to come back with no head?

KRYSTINA: To stay... is to possibly put yourself in danger. To leave is to possibly avoid... danger. (laughter)

BRENNAN: I would be so lost without you.

SAM: It's like a guiding light that never extinguishes.

MATT: So are you sure--

ALEX: So the skeleton's basically reformed--

MATT: It's the process of reforming without a head, yes.

ALEX: Marcus just takes his staff and just shoots it with a bolt of magic. Just to knock it back down again.

MATT: Okay. It just collapses back to the ground.

ALEX: All right, let's go.

MARISHA: All right.

MATT: Okay. Now, stepping away, the breeze is welcoming in these beautiful lands. It's dreamlike as you step through the tall grass and glance over at the expanse before you. The strange sense of purpose conflicts with the sense of insignificance when looking up at the sheer immensity of the Erdtree before you. You can see small shapes off at the periphery of your eyes, your vision, clusters of creatures that call this land home. As the day begins to turn to night in this space. So what is considered night here in The Lands Between, you can see large bat-like creatures off to the right. You can see small shapes shifting by the shoreline, and the heavy winds upon the hill beyond, above the cliff side, obscure a lot of the space there but you swear, even at this distance, you can see shapes, large shapes moving from within. As you step further forward, an odd shimmer catches your eye towards the edge of this top hill beyond the catacomb that you emerged from, you see, hovering about a foot above the ground, a shimmering gathering globe of gold energy, like a sparkling mote of magic, just inviting, warm.

SAM: Have you seen such a thing in your, your foresight, Madam?

KRYSTINA: I've seen a light that glows and floats, recently, almost moments ago.

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: It's so wild because she predicted what we're seeing right now.

SAM: It's uncanny, really.

MARISHA: It's amazing.

SAM: Almost identical description as we just sort of saw.

MATT: As a Prophetess, stepping into this land, you do know that the once-granted grace by the Erdtree that has been lost by the Tarnished, there is a familiar return to that grace here. In fact, this here would be, in your knowledgeable mind, a Site of Lost Grace, a place of respite for those who would come to walk The Lands Between.

KRYSTINA: Now might be a good time to put a camp and rest and feel the grace. As the grace over takes you and brings you peace. The grace that we once had, returns to me, maybe to you as well. I am so... filled. Do you feel it?

BRENNAN: Yes.

KRYSTINA: Do you feel it?

MARISHA: I do feel it.

ALEX: Absolutely not.

KRYSTINA: Non-belief only leads to non-belief.

ALEX: I can't fault you on that one. I can't--

BRENNAN: So you admit she's right?

ALEX: In this specific instance--

BRENNAN: That's pretty good. That's very fast.

SAM: I will approach the light and see if I feel any different.

MATT: As you begin to step towards it, it seems to brighten, and you feel drawn to it in a comforting way, like you belong in this space, in this moment. This was meant to be. For a moment, a bit of gold light returns to your eyes, a hint of that grace once taken, now granted, temporarily in this space. As you all begin to gather around, this Site of Lost Grace, one, heals all of you back to full for any damage you had taken. If you had used any of your Sacred Flasks, those would be restored as well. If you had died, you would be restored here and just overview for the rules, since we did one initial combat. This heavily homebrewed system everyone has a set number of stamina, based on their build that they can spend on their player turn. They can either blow as much of it as they want to on attacks and abilities. But if they want to save some on the enemy turn, they can use it to dodge or block. If they use all of it, they cannot defend themselves and attacks just do damage. Then all the stamina returns at the top of the player turn. So for those of you who are watching, can follow along. There is focus points for certain spells and skills that can be used as we go. But those are only restorable by your Flasks, your Sacred Flasks of Cerulean Tears, or by returning to a Site of Lost Grace like this. So as you all take a moment here to sit and bask in this sliver of grace, before you, the warmth, you feel a presence nearby and you instinctually glance over and see stepping out of the ether, a humanoid woman made of blue energy and that energy suddenly becomes physical form. You see a darkened cloak and hood around her some pale blonde hair tumbling from beneath the hood. As she approaches and sits within your circle around this site.

ALEX: Hello?

MARISHA: Can she see us?

MATT: "Oh, I can see you."

MARISHA: Oh.

ALEX: That's that.

MATT: "Welcome, O Tarnished. I'm glad that you've made your way here for there is much opportunity for you. My name is Melina, and I would like to strike an accord with you. Here in The Lands Between, there is opportunity for you Tarnished warriors to set your path towards the Erdtree. Seek the Great Runes, the broken shards of the Elden Ring, and claim this realm as the new exalted lord, bringing an end to this warring age. But to begin this path, one must make their way through the dangers of Stormveil Castle." She points off beyond the rolling hills, the rising cliffs onto the windy expanse above and there, that massive stronghold that you had seen when you first came. Dethrone its corrupted-- Stormveil Castle."

MARISHA: Stormveil--

MATT: "Journey there, dethrone its corrupted ruler and continue towards the Erdtree beyond. There, there is where your fate resides."

BRENNAN: Could I make an insight check?

MATT: Yes, you may.

BRENNAN: 13.

MATT: 13. You do not sense, at a glance, any sort of devious purpose to this, though you are uncertain as to whether or not their motives are entirely altruistic. They certainly seem invested in you and certainly seem to be of a different kind of power than what you carry amongst you. There is something ethereal and different about them that you can't quite place.

BRENNAN: Can I ask question of you, Melina of The Lands Between?

MATT: "Of course."

BRENNAN: Very selfless to know of the Erdtree and the Great Runes, and not to seek them for yourself. I know I am not worthy to wield them. I follow one who I believe is. My question, if you are the same, why you have not sought this power for yourself?

MATT: "Ah, but I am not the same. Many who call these lands home have sought these shards, and whether their powers great or their spirits bound to these lands, it drives them to warfare, to fight endlessly, or be given to madness. It is you, once exiled that return, I believe, have the means of gathering these shards and truly bringing peace and an end to this. I am but a steward, if anything. There are few I can invest my intention into."

MARISHA: Does that mean that we have competition?

MATT: "It is possible."

ALEX: How did you know we would be here?

MATT: "I did not, but I sensed your arrival, and I felt it best that I... beseech your alliance before someone of lesser valor did so."

KRYSTINA: How do we know that you're not of lesser valor?

MATT: "You do not. But I come to you peacefully and I offer you gifts that should aid you on your journey, should you agree."

SAM: What kind of gifts?

MATT: "Well," and she holds out a hand, and in the space of where those skeletons were battled earlier, these strange small glowing shards of stone drift over to the space and she lays them before you. "These are Runes. Small shards of the sundered Elden Ring. These you can take from the various dangers that walk The Lands Between and use them to empower yourself. I can aid you in doing so, at any of these Sites of Lost Grace. Also, these lands are wide, the dangers, immense and quick. There are spectral friends that could embolden your passage. Will you accept my accord?"

ALEX: I don't see why not.

BRENNAN: The Prophetess accept.

ALEX: I accept.

MARISHA: What the Prophetess said.

SAM: I have no reason to doubt you, so yes, I will go along with this.

MATT: "Then this pact is sealed. I warn you, the open fields of Limgrave are overrun with powerful mercenaries, unstoppable trolls, and maddened beasts, so a path may fare better if hidden to climb to Stormhill. Stalk along the western coast there and seek a cave among the cliffs. This shall aid you in bypassing the heavily guarded Stormgate. Let the ethereal golden threads guide your way." As she raises her hand, you see from this site a very faint gossamer string of gold energy seems to arc like a faint rainbow off towards where that shoreline to the west lies, where you see the muddy pebbled beaches reside. "Good luck, Tarnished warriors."

SAM: One question before you go. I do not remember much about our time in The Lands Between before exile, but I do remember I had a trusted friend who lived here with me. Sans Queue, it was my little cat. Are any such animals still around?

MATT: "Beings of power or beings of innocence often find themselves taken by those jealous of what they do not have. Perhaps it is, well-- Let us hope, at least, that he who resides within that keep does not hold this cat under his dominion."

SAM: I hope not.

MATT: She steps back and begins to discorporate and vanish into the ether, leaving you there at the site alone, with Runes for the skeletons that you slayed. Everyone there gains six Runes.

SAM: Six!

MARISHA: Six Runes.

MATT: You can utilize these sites to upgrade, if you'd like.

KRYSTINA: Does anyone notice how frustrating it is to speak with someone that only speaks in riddles?

ALEX: Absolutely.

MARISHA: Deeply.

SAM: Is that a riddle? (laughter)

ALEX: Look, I want to do this quickly before I get interrupted again. Bri, Prophet.

SAM: Nihl.

ALEX: Nihl.

MARISHA: Kara, Kara Gen.

ALEX: Kara Gen. My name's Marcus.

SAM: Or Twin-- Do you go by Twin-Soul?

ALEX: That's weird that you would know that.

SAM: She tipped me off.

ALEX: Yes, some people call me Twin-Soul Marcus.

SAM: Some people?

ALEX: It's a title, nothing official, more of a nickname than anything. But yeah, I just wanted to make sure we were all acquainted if we're going to be traveling together. So the beach is where we're going, yes?

MARISHA: I guess, seems like it's a thread of fate we have to follow.

BRENNAN: There is a cave there, which is what Melina said. You said that you have a cat who is left here in these lands?

SAM: Well, I do not know where, but she was my precious angel, Sans Queue, and I have not had her for quite some time, but we would always curl up together and sleep at night. But without her, I toss and turn. And I was hoping-- No, I was determined to come here to find her.

ALEX: It's a good name for a cat.

BRENNAN: Back amongst my people, I have a warthog, very special to me, and is not here in The Lands Between, but I have said goodbye to her to come here. And I know what it means to have a creature. Their faith is pure. Their loyalty is pure. I will find who has taken your cat, and I will chew through their neck until I reach the bone.

SAM: I appreciate that so much. You have my loyalty as well.

BRENNAN: And you mine. I'm going to tap my axe against my shield.

MARISHA: I never had an animal companion.

SAM: You're not a pet person?

MARISHA: No.

BRENNAN: Not even a goldfish or a little lizard, terrarium animal? Maybe a group animal, like a hamster for a group of children?

MARISHA: No.

ALEX: One hamster for a group of children?

BRENNAN: Yeah, like a class hamster.

ALEX: Oh.

SAM: When they look at you, you sort of feel so warm inside and you end up knowing more about yourself after. It's something I guess you wouldn't understand.

MARISHA: I wish to know this type of connection. Maybe along the way I can find an animal and a connection.

ALEX: Maybe, yeah.

BRENNAN: I saw some really big bats that way.

MARISHA: That's right.

ALEX: There's one option.

BRENNAN: Huge bats.

MARISHA: That's fine.

BRENNAN: Bats better for pet than for meat because mostly skin.

MARISHA: Sure, sure.

SAM: I've heard, yes, that bats are-- it's like dolphin, bat--

MARISHA: Oh, right.

SAM: -- and then pig in terms of intelligence, yeah.

MARISHA: Well, and they all communicate sonically, too, so that's fun.

ALEX: It's so odd. We don't really remember much about where we came from, but we have all this animal knowledge. This is really quite amazing.

MARISHA: It's very strange.

ALEX: Yes.

MARISHA: Very strange.

KRYSTINA: Some things are just inherent to one's nature.

ALEX: I guess so.

MARISHA: Yeah, I don't know why I know the things I do, and why I don't know the things that I don't.

KRYSTINA: That's profound.

ALEX: Is it?

MARISHA: When you compliment me, it's a different level.

MATT: It's about this time, you glance over to the space where Melina had stepped away and vanished, and there on the ground, there is a cluster of these beautifully carved runic whistles.

ALEX: Oh, items.

SAM: Hello!

MARISHA: We get whistles?

KRYSTINA: Whistles?

BRENNAN: Oh god, getting handed a card! Yes!

ALEX: Oh shit!

MATT: These can be used to summon your spectral steed.

SAM: We were just talking about animals!

MARISHA: We get-- (overjoyed squeaking)

ALEX: We accomplished your task already.

MARISHA: You know what, game done, you guys. We did it.

MATT: Elden Ring, go play it. You get a horse.

KRYSTINA: That's all you need to know.

ALEX: Welcome to Elden Ring: You get a horse.

KRYSTINA: Excuse me, it's a spectral steed.

MATT: That's true.

ALEX: That's right.

KRYSTINA: Listen to how classy that sounds.

MATT: It's pretty awesome.

MARISHA: "-- your steed vanishes. If your steed vanishes, you can not summon again (inaudible)."

MATT: You can fight on it, if you want to. You just can't dodge or block.

MARISHA: And we can use-- It's not limited? We can do this, we can get on our horses right now.

MATT: Yeah, if you want to.

SAM: Are we going to set out? Is it dark?

MATT: You can see the light is just transitioning. It's almost that golden hour and you're not quite certain how long that's going to last.

SAM: I mean, should we just go?

BRENNAN: Might be better to go than to linger here. No part of this land feels safe.

MARISHA: ♪ ("So Long, Farewell") ♪

SAM: Yep, yep.

ALEX: That's a very nice song.

MARISHA: I don't know how I know music.

ALEX: Yeah, is that the song we have to play?

MARISHA: How did I-- Holy shit.

SAM: How do you know Rodgers and Hammerstein? (laughter)

MATT: Greatest Tarnished musical artists. Well, they've aged not as well, actually. Some of the pieces are okay.

KRYSTINA: Tarnished artist.

MATT: Tarnished artist, oh my god. All right, so you all mount up?

ALEX: Yes.

SAM: I guess so.

MATT: As you finish blowing into the whistles, these beautiful, big, heavy, furred-mane horses arrive, lightly armored (horse snort, heavy footfalls) and wait for you to go ahead and mount up onto them. As you all grasp onto the front, taking the back of the mane in hand and then kicking off. (galloping hooves) As one group, maneuvering much like a flock of birds, you begin to shift through the tall grasses, cresting over the hill off of a small jump, (thump) catching up onto the slower valley below heading towards the beach side western edge of Limgrave. Now, as you continue forward, the air blowing past, you could smell the scent of low tide mingling with this sweetness in the air that seems to just permeate the atmosphere of The Lands Between. You glance a little ways beyond the breeze-blown grass to see, first, a small broken ruin that pushes part way onto the beach. That faint little gossamer thread leading you past and beyond that. Then about 200 feet beyond that looks to be a small campfire, like a burning bit of flame that's set a little ways inward from where the shoreline is.

SAM: This is on a beach. There's no chance that this flame is on the end of a hand, holding a torch that's sticking out of the sand with a--

MATT: Make perception check.

SAM: -- woman's head with a--

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: Okay. (laughter)

SAM: 11 plus two, 13.

MATT: You get a pretty-- it's not a large fire. It is not attached to a fake torch.

SAM: A Statue of Liberty or anything?

MATT: No, it is not. There are no damn dirty apes here.

KRYSTINA: I do have a question from a philosophical standpoint.

MATT: Yes?

KRYSTINA: Is this burning an eternal flame? (laughter)

SAM: Boy, oh boy. (laughter)

MATT: Make a perception check to see if you can hear my heart beating. (laughter)

KRYSTINA: Do you feel the same? Let's see, that's 16. Don't I have a little-- Oh wait, yes, I do. So that's a 17.

MATT: You are not only dreaming. That is indeed a campfire. What you can see is an encampment, a number of soldiers, about four of them, that are currently around this fire in the distance. About a little over a hundred feet from where this ruin is upon the beach.

MARISHA: Does the campfire looks similar to the one we were just at?

MATT: No, this is not a Site of Lost Grace. This is an actual burning flame.

ALEX: Maybe don't-- Maybe hold off a minute.

SAM: She said there were other mercenaries about.

MARISHA: Should we kill them?

ALEX: All right.

BRENNAN: No, no, no, I think she have a point.

ALEX: No, that's fair, but they might not be hostile.

KRYSTINA: We could go around.

SAM: That's a wise idea.

KRYSTINA: Avoidance is the way of peace.

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: Healthy competition, it's good to have. Right, I guess? I could just like sneak up.

BRENNAN: My feeling is that the Prophetess has spoken, which, let's be clear, every time she do that it is a gift. So she said to avoid. I am going to follow her command. And I feel like if these soldiers are making camp, and we have chosen to ride through the night, that we already beat them, so.

SAM: While they are talking--

BRENNAN: Oh, Prophetess also down for throat slitting, so that is an option.

KRYSTINA: Only in their sleep.

BRENNAN: Yes, if we wait for them to go to sleep.

ALEX: I'm not going to wait for them to go to bed.

MARISHA: I agree with that, yeah.

MATT: What were you saying, Sam?

SAM: I was just going to say, on horseback, we will not be very quiet sneaking around. I don't think.

ALEX: No.

MARISHA: We dismount.

ALEX: Dismount and circumvent them.

BRENNAN: Yes, I think that is right to sneak around the camp, and if they are not going to go to sleep, which is condition for Prophetess to want to slit their throat, then I think we dismiss. I will get rid of Horse Tasha and then we will--

ALEX: Oh, you've named yours already?

BRENNAN: Yes, her name Horse Tasha.

SAM: I actually named mine as well.

MARISHA: Same.

BRENNAN: What's your name?

SAM: Avec Queue, because it has a tail.

MARISHA: This is Supernova.

ALEX: What a name.

MARISHA: Thank you. I love her and I will murder anyone--

MATT: Supernova's like, (whinnying) leaning away and just shits on the ground next to you.

ALEX: I just look at my horse. Do you have a name?

BRENNAN: You ask your horse's name?

ALEX: It is only polite.

BRENNAN: Yeah. You know, you smart guy most of the time.

ALEX: It's a spectral horse. It might be able to talk, I don't know.

BRENNAN: No, the horse not talk. Beautiful horse. Would ruin the horse if it talk.

ALEX: Who-- That's an arbitrary rule.

BRENNAN: No, it would ruin the horse. A horse talk. Horse go, "Ugh, I'm a guy, I have some bad opinions.

ALEX: What if it has a beautiful voice?

SAM: In all fairness, I think she's right. I mean, it would look really weird to have a horse just be like, "Hey, how's it going?"

ALEX: You know what? Your name's Ed.

BRENNAN: That's a great horse name.

SAM: Twin-Soul Ed?

ALEX: No, just Ed. I'm Twin-Soul, it's fine. It's Ed.

BRENNAN: One-Soul Ed.

ALEX: Four-Hoofed Ed.

MARISHA: One-Soul Four-Hoofed Ed.

SAM: Yes.

ALEX: Very long name.

BRENNAN: Prophetess. Do your horse also have name, or is secret holy name of horse? (laughter)

KRYSTINA: I have named my horse after the great Prophet of old, Bonnie Tyler.

BRENNAN: Bonnie Tyler, beautiful horse.

KRYSTINA: Amazing mane, beautiful vocal cords.

SAM: Did we decide if we are ambushing or sneaking or?

BRENNAN: I think we dismiss horses.

SAM: We can't get them back. Just throwing that out there.

MARISHA: We can't?

ALEX: We can as long as they're not killed.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: You can't summon them again unless you spend the Sacred Flask of Crimson Tears.

MATT: You can summon them-- Okay, to clarify. You can summon them outside of combat whenever you need to.

SAM: Okay, okay.

MATT: But if you're in combat and you lose it, you have to spend a Flask to bring it back.

KRYSTINA: If they get damaged.

SAM: Okay, great, so feel free.

BRENNAN: We dismiss, we move around, and we get far enough away on the other side, we summon them back again.

ALEX: Yeah.

MARISHA: Good plan.

BRENNAN: Goodbye, Horse Tasha.

MARISHA: Soon, soon.

MATT: It leans away from you. (groans)

ALEX: Goodbye, Ed.

SAM: Bonsoir, Avec.

ALEX: You know, I'm getting the feeling I'm going to encounter a lot of challenges I wasn't prepared for in this. I really thought--

MARISHA: Trolls.

ALEX: Yes, trolls.

MARISHA: Swamps.

ALEX: That's what I meant, absolutely.

MARISHA: Ah, the competitive spirit against those out there, battling your internal demons. What did you mean? I shouldn't speak for you.

ALEX: No, I just meant naming animals. I wasn't prepared to do that. I didn't think that was going to come up in this.

MARISHA: You consider naming an animal a challenge?

ALEX: No, I just wasn't prepared. Never mind, let's keep going.

KRYSTINA: What's wrong with having someone speak for you?

MARISHA: I wish I had it.

BRENNAN: Nothing is wrong with that.

MARISHA: Exactly.

MATT: I'd like you all to o roll stealth checks as you carefully try and stealth your way via this conversation around an encampment of soldiers.

ALEX: Oh, that's excellent.

SAM: Five over here.

KRYSTINA: 15.

MATT: All right.

BRENNAN: Seven.

ALEX: A strong one. (laughter)

MARISHA: Nine.

SAM: Oh yikes.

ALEX: But a total of four.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Because I feel like I've offended the Prophetess, I'm just like: Look I didn't mean. I wasn't speaking to your situation in the slightest. I just didn't want to--

MATT: (cracks)

MARISHA: Oh!

MATT: There's a cracking sound and you watch as Kara lifts up her foot, and you see there was a skull on the ground that was resting there that is now cracked open. The heavy sound of the breaking causes a voice to go, "Huh? What?" And you see the soldiers glance over in your direction.

SAM: Merde.

MATT: (yells) They all go into a full charge towards you. So.

SAM: They get to attack first?

MATT: They get to attack first. You didn't roll high enough. No ambush taken on this point, though, but good looking out. All right, so it looks like there are two soldiers, drawing blades, that are rushing in towards you and two in the back that pull shortbows out and begin nocking arrows into it. So we have the two that are coming to the very, very front with swords. They're going to rush, as you guys are all clustered together quietly, they charge upward and just for spatial awareness points here I'll just go ahead and put these here, so y'all have an idea of where they are.

SAM: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

MATT: And for--

SAM: Matt's best map yet.

MATT: Isn't it, though? This is for spatial awareness, y'all. This guy's in the back. And there we go.

KRYSTINA: I learn better with visual aids.

SAM: That's true.

MATT: Just to give you some, an idea of what's happening there, yeah. All righty, so.

MARISHA: Theater of the minis.

MATT: Theater of the minis, exactly.

MATT: Comes forth and is going to go ahead and strike at probably you towards the front.

BRENNAN: Cool.

MATT: And at you.

ALEX: Okay.

MATT: You both apparently-- They don't quite see you yet.

ALEX: I was very loud.

MATT: But you rolled the one so that's going to put you in a bad space. It was tough between the two of you. So rushing towards you, sword strike for-- Oof. That's going to be 14 points of physical damage to you.

ALEX: I'm going to... Hmm. Yeah, I'll try and dodge.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll dodge.

ALEX: Not good at all. That is an eight.

MATT: An eight. All right. Then yeah, you go ahead and take the full 14 points of physical damage. The one that's striking towards you.

BRENNAN: Is it possible to attempt a dodge and a block, or you may only do one?

MATT: One or the other.

BRENNAN: One or the other, cool. We're going to go ahead and dodge.

MATT: All right. Ooh, same roll.

BRENNAN: 22.

MATT: That manages to dodge. (whoosh) No damage to you as you avoid the attack entirely. Now the one in the back with the bow is going to take a shot at you, and a shot at you. So over toward you that is... Wow, keep rolling the same roll. That is going to be 11 points of physical damage to you.

KRYSTINA: Is it?

SAM: What are you doing?

MATT: Trying to the dodge.

KRYSTINA: I want to dodge.

MATT: What'd you roll?

KRYSTINA: A 19.

MATT: A 19. Nope. (whoosh) Jump out of the way. To you, that's going to be nine points of physical damage.

MARISHA: I look at the Prophetess as we both move simultaneously like we're in lockstep, because we're in lockstep, right, I dodge.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's a natural 17.

MATT: (whoosh) Dodge out of the way, no issue.

KRYSTINA: Blessed child.

MATT: Don't forget to roll for your armor to reduce the damage you take from these attacks, too. All right. That finishes their go. Now it's the players' turn. You guys are up. Stamina's back to full. What are you going to do?

BRENNAN: Question?

MATT: Yes.

BRENNAN: Melee is next to? Are archers at short distance or long distance?

MATT: Archers are technically a long distance, I'll say. So you'd have to use your movement and a stamina to get up to them, I'd say.

BRENNAN: Movement. Now, here's a question. What if I don't want to get all the way to the archers? What if I want to get halfway between the archers and the melee combatants?

MATT: Then you can do that.

BRENNAN: I'm going to look at you and say: I will be by your side as soon as I can. (exertion grunt) I'm going to leap up, and I breathe my fire pot away.

MATT: (laughs)

BRENNAN: I'm going to barbarian hurl myself over the soldiers, tumble, get halfway between the archers and them, and go: You want to fight? (yells) I'm going to breathe dragon's fire. This huge dragon's head of flame covers my body, and I'm going to be able to hit all of them with a Dragonfire spell.

MATT: (flames roaring) Just spin around and burn in a large arc across them. (flames roaring) Go ahead and roll damage.

BRENNAN: Woo, baby. Okay. This is going to be 5d6 damage to all of them. Oh, that's nice.

ALEX: Ooh!

BRENNAN: 11--

MARISHA: Holy!

BRENNAN: 17, 20 points of damage to everybody.

MATT: Nice.

MARISHA: Oh shit, that was a crazy roll.

BRENNAN: Okay. That takes a bunch of points of stamina off the board for me. I think then I might... Can I use a stamina to move back in front of the Prophetess?

MATT: I'll allow that, yeah. So you jump out, leap, (fire roaring) burn an arc around that way, and then shift back to try and get in front of where the Prophetess is.

BRENNAN: Then I have two points of stamina left. I'm just going to take a battleaxe swing at one of these dudes, whoever is closest to the Prophetess.

MATT: Okay, you got it.

BRENNAN: It's only going to be a nine.

MATT: Nine misses, unfortunately. They all look pretty hurt. They're all like, (screams) just burning in flames before him. You run back in space like: Fuck! (laughter) Just parry off your weapon. No issue there. Who wants to go next?

MARISHA: Seeing what Bri just did, and as I tumble from the dodge, I'm going to also pull out my shortbow, and: Fa, fa! The ones in the back.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: Do you say "fa, fa" when you shoot?

MARISHA: Fa! Fa!

MATT: ♪ Fa, fa, fa, fa ♪

ALEX: Fa, fa, Rasputin. (laughter)

BRENNAN: It's the universal light saber noises. (laughter)

MATT: I mean, all good warriors in RPG should make those sounds as they fight, right?

MARISHA: Pull up one of those anime dubs, just go through the consonants, "fa, ta, ka--"

MATT: Yeah, exactly. (laughs) All right so you're doing an attack to each of them.

MARISHA: Yeah. I'll do-- Well, yeah, yeah, yeah. I'll do an attack to each of them.

MATT: Okay, so the first one, the one on the right.

MARISHA: First one. 15.

MATT: 15 hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

MARISHA: Okay. I should roll the dice at the same time. Seven.

MATT: Seven points of damage.

MARISHA: Then to the second one.

MATT: All righty.

MARISHA: It's a natural 18.

MATT: That hits.

SAM: These are the guys who were on fire before?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: All of them are on fire.

MARISHA: Nine damage to the second one.

MATT: The second one.

SAM: Oh wait, all four?

BRENNAN: All four.

SAM: Oh wow!

BRENNAN: That's why I jumped out in the middle of them, yeah.

MATT: Gets taken out from the arrow (groans) and falls the ground. The other one's really hurt, and the arrow's jammed right in the clavicle. They're (groans).

ALEX: So as she rolls out of ways, I have my spin. I go: Why is everyone obsessed with this Prophetess? And I just stab. (laughter)

ALEX: I'm going to take my spear, flip it around, and stab it into the chest of the one on the right there.

MATT: Over here?

ALEX: Yeah.

MATT: You got it. Okay, roll for an attack.

ALEX: As I do... Well, let's see if I hit first. Ooh, that's much better. That'll be a 22.

MATT: 22 hits. Go and roll damage.

ALEX: Let's do d6, which is... So that's nine points of physical damage. So I stab into the chest and as I do I press down and I take the staff and I point it over the body of the other soldier towards the one there.

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: The far one?

ALEX: The far one, and these runes appear around the tip of the scepter, and I go. Hmm, I had a thing in my head. (laughter)

ALEX: Mind went completely blank.

MATT: I like to imagine that's what he does.

ALEX: Yeah. (laughter)

ALEX: I just aim for a second and go: There. It fires this blue bolt of energy, streaking across the battlefield.

MATT: Fantastic.

ALEX: He's going to--

MARISHA: That's brilliant.

ALEX: Ooh, a natural 19, so yeah, 24.

MATT: That definitely hits. Go and roll damage.

ALEX: That will be--

MATT: It's your Glintstone Pebble?

ALEX: Yeah, Glintstone Pebble. It'll be... Yeah, eight points of magic damage.

MATT: (explosion) As it impacts, you blast him off of his feet and he lands on the ground and just (groans), you hear the life escape from his lungs. Well done. So the two in the back with the bows are taken out. The two armored soldiers in the front seem to have sustained some injuries, but they're still holding the line strong, and they glance over their shoulder at their fall comrades and (growls), just getting more angry and furious.

SAM: I'll push past Marcus and just yell: For the honor of the Prophetess! (laughter)

SAM: Take a couple swings with my longsword this time.

MATT: Okay. Shield out, longsword.

SAM: At one of them. You stabbed one with a spear, right?

ALEX: One the right, yeah.

SAM: I'll go for the same one.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

SAM: First attack is a 24.

MATT: You guys are rolling good here, jeez.

SAM: That's three points of damage. Sorry, eight points of damage.

MATT: Eight points of damage.

SAM: Are they carrying just blades? That's it?

MATT: Yeah, they just have longswords. Not dissimilar to the one you have.

SAM: All right and then--

MATT: He's looking real hurt.

SAM: -- with the second, I will reel back and strike again trying to hit them in his blade arm, too.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: Just in case. 15 plus six, 21 to hit.

MATT: That'll hit, yeah.

SAM: First, 12 points of damage.

MATT: So as you push forward to this guy, go ahead and strike him once with the longsword. It cuts across the chest. He pulls his blade up to try and get it under your chin as a retaliatory strike, but you whip around with the secondary strike right across the throat, and he falls to the ground and expires. So yeah, he's down. There's only one guy standing.

SAM: That's it. I'll just draw the blade back and wipe the blood off, and wait for the Prophetess to do anything if she does anything.

KRYSTINA: She does. (laughter)

KRYSTINA: The Prophetess walks slowly towards the one remaining, and she says: This is a kindness.

BRENNAN: Oh-ho-ho!

ALEX and SAM: Ooh!

KRYSTINA: So she rolls a 10, and attempts to do her Beast Claw.

MATT: She rolls a 10 to hit?

KRYSTINA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: Unfortunately, that misses.

BRENNAN: Do you add anything for Beast? I think you roll with a plus five modifier on that.

KRYSTINA: Oh, you are right, so it's 15.

MATT: 15 does hit, though.

SAM: Ah! (laughter)

KRYSTINA: So it is a kindness. So then, at that time that she walks forward, she--

MARISHA: It would work both ways.

ALEX: Yeah.

KRYSTINA: Calmly walks forward, her eyes close. You know that walk that they do in cartoons where they're like... It's a slow--

MATT: Yeah! (laughter)

KRYSTINA: It's super, super calm.

MATT: "What's she doing?"

ALEX: Ruining the whole flow of the battle.

MATT: "What's this mean?"

KRYSTINA: She just walks forward, goes (screams)!

MATT and ALEX: (scream)

KRYSTINA: Her claws come out, and she goes straight for his throat and just (whooshes) pulls--

MATT: (disgusted groan)

KRYSTINA: -- his voice box out.

MATT: (gasps)

SAM: Oh god.

MATT: He crumbles to the ground. Have you rolled damage yet?

KRYSTINA: No, but I figured I just f'ed him up so--

MATT: Probably, just roll damage.

KRYSTINA: One point of damage.

MATT: He's pretty hurt, though.

KRYSTINA: So that's seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12.

MATT: 12, that'll do it. You carve the larynx from his body. He's (gasps) falls to the ground, unable to speak. The one that was cut earlier, down on the ground with his throat cut in the last strings of his life goes, "You fools, you're too loud. You're drawing their attention."

SAM: Oh no! We just killed good guys. (laughs)

MATT: Right as he-- No, they came after you.

SAM: Oh, okay. (laughter)

KRYSTINA: Was that David Tennant? (laughter)

MATT: Oops.

MARISHA: Such a fan.

BRENNAN: I'm fully prostrate on the ground. When I see the Beast Claw, when I bow, it's full on stomach, legs splayed out behind me. I have to get as low as possible to bow sufficiently.

ALEX: That was good. That was pretty cool.

MATT: As you all begin to bow around the Prophetess, you glance about and think to yourself like, "Too loud, why is that?" Right as you look over towards the darkening slowly turning evening light upon the horizon of the shoreline, there's a shape shifting out of the ocean itself. (sloshes)

SAM: Oh no.

MARISHA: As I look at this--

MATT: You see--

MARISHA: Just take out my dagger, (whispers) and just put this guy to sleep.

MATT: Okay. You see a blackened mass of gnarled flesh. It looks like a dark tumbleweed of skin and sinew. It is a giant land octopus in the sense that it is a mass of tar-like tentacles that clustered together, stands ground to top about eight to 10 feet tall.

ALEX: Oh.

MATT: As it pulls itself out of the water and you begin to see its full form drawn towards the sound and noise of your recent combat, a large sharp beak seems to snap out from the center of it as it pulls itself forward towards you, leaps in the air with an unexpected speed and strength and lands right before you. It's going to go ahead and take its first round of attacks on you as it has been.

KRYSTINA: Why does it sound like Tim Curry and was it in FernGully? (laughter)

MARISHA: Ho, ho, ho.

MATT: Yes, and maybe. "Hello, my darling." (laughter)

MATT: It's going to go ahead and use its Tentacle Lash (whooshes) which is going to go after three of you. The three up front, which means in this arrangement here, it's going to be against Nihl, Marcus, and Brigidda.

ALEX: Cool, cool, cool.

MATT: As these tentacles sweeping out in a large arc in front of you, all three of you are taking a strike towards you, going off whatever stamina you had left at the end of the last fight. That'll be ooh, 20 points of physical damage.

ALEX: I'm going to try and dodge.

MATT: All right.

SAM: I will try to block.

ALEX: It's okay. 17.

MATT: 17's enough. (whooshes) You managed to dodge that, roll out of the way.

SAM: 15 to block.

MATT: That blocks successfully, so ahead and reduce the 20 by a d6 and whatever your physical armor is.

SAM: I'm blocking with the shield.

MATT: Right, so--

SAM: By the way. So that's two, but then it says plus three to block. I don't know.

MATT: Plus three is the roll to try and do it.

SAM: That's the roll to see if I got it.

MATT: Yeah, so it's two off of that and then whatever your physical armor--

SAM: Got it, got it, got it. Physical armor is eight, another two so--

MATT: So four. So you take 16 points of physical damage.

SAM: Okay.

BRENNAN: I meant to do a dodge as well.

MATT: Okay.

BRENNAN: 13.

MATT: 13 is enough. You roll out the way. It's now pulling itself closer and closer towards the group and has now gotten up into the next to space of the entirety of your clustered circle, but it is the player turn so your stamina regenerates. What would you like to do?

MARISHA: Stamina regenerate.

SAM: Oh, yeah.

BRENNAN: I'm going to look. I'm up at the front, right, with Marcus and Nihl, right?

MATT: Mm-hmm.

BRENNAN: I'm going to look at Nihl, who I see is a similarly brawny warrior. I've seen--

SAM: I'm sorry, Bloody Wolf.

BRENNAN: Very sorry. I just, I mean, yes, it's complicated. I am a hero capital H, but you are all heroes, but it's bloody, you know, brawny and wolf, it's not--

SAM: Sure, sure.

BRENNAN: It's not capital B brawny. It's lowercase brawny. (laughter)

ALEX: It's a descriptor, less of a title.

BRENNAN: Exactly, you get it, like One-Soul Ed. Or you are Four-Soul?

ALEX: No, no--

BRENNAN: You're Four-Soul Marcus?

ALEX: Yes. No.

MATT: (growls) (laughter)

BRENNAN: Ah, ah! I was going to say we should set up Kara Gen! She's very accurate! I'm going to leap forward and do a Power Swing.

MATT: Ooh, okay.

BRENNAN: To try and set up Kara Gen.

SAM: I will also do the same thing. While she's doing that-- She, right, yes?

BRENNAN: Yes.

SAM: I will start stowing my shield and getting ready with my bastard--

MATT: All right, so are you both taking two Power Swings at the same time then?

SAM: Yes, please.

MATT: All right. So as you both begin to cycle around like a pincer attacking from the two sides of this giant land octopus, you can both roll your Power Swing attack rolls.

MARISHA: That's me looking for and in on this.

SAM: 17 plus six to hit.

MATT: That hits.

BRENNAN: That first one is only going to be an 11.

MATT: 11 misses unfortunately. Oof.

BRENNAN: I'm going to use all my stamina and Power Swing again.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

SAM: Ooh.

BRENNAN: I got nothing left to dodge or block this turn.

MATT: All right.

BRENNAN: That's eight. That's even worse. That's a eight.

MATT: Aww.

MATT: Stamina used. It's too hard to find where in its body a nice strike would be, and as you do hit something, it's just exterior wounds that leave no significant impact to its health. You, however, do you manage to complete the strike.

SAM: I rolled a 12 on my d12, which is 17 points, plus another two because it's a Power Swing.

MATT: Nice, 19 points of damage on one strike. That's awesome. (whooshes) You carve into it with your heavy two-handed blade and as it sticks in its body, it reacts. (groans) And withdraws slightly and as it does, you can see its distraction pull away from the rest of your friends, puts it in a somewhat, unfortunately, not staggered, but frenzied anxious position. Awesome.

SAM: I think I'll save my stamina, but that reduces its block range. Its perfect block range by three for its next attack.

MATT: That's awesome.

MARISHA: I'm going to, hearing Bri shout me out.

MATT: Actually, at the end of its attack, its going to use one of its counters to take a tentacle swipe. I'll say probably at you because you were the one that recently just dug into it. Don't have to roll to attack, but that it is...

KRYSTINA: It's staggered, right?

MATT: It's not staggered, it's just it's more of--

BRENNAN: It's a double round setup to stagger this thing.

MATT: Exactly.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: That will be 11 points of physical damage coming your way.

SAM: I'm going to take it and instead Step In.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Expending 10 focus points.

MATT: Correct, yeah.

SAM: Right? Then instead of blocking or dodging, I'll just attack again with the weapon.

MATT: Great, so you take the full brunt of that.

SAM: Yeah, which was, what'd you say, 11 points?

MATT: It's 11 points of physical damage, yeah.

SAM: Okay. I have to roll to hit, right?

MATT: Correct.

SAM: Okay. Do I have to expand stamina to do this?

MATT: No, it's a free damage as part of the skill.

SAM: Well, it doesn't really matter. I rolled a two, so it's only eight points.

MARISHA: No!

MATT: That misses, unfortunately. You go to the step in, you take the hit, and you go to swing, but unfortunately, you get it stuck amongst the tentacles and you have to pull it free. But good try, good try. All right, so now you can take your turn.

MARISHA: All right. Yeah, hearing Bri shout me out, I'm going to slide, put my bow away, and run in with my shield and dagger, and try and get into its fleshy weak spots.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I'm going to do two dagger attacks.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: Oh my god. One of them's a natural one. So that sucks, but the other's a 15, which is 19.

MATT: That hits.

MARISHA: ♪ Hubba, de, de, de ♪ ♪ Hubba, dubba, dubba, da ♪ Yeah, that's good. That's four plus two, which is six. Basic math there for you.

MATT: Six points of physical damage. It's going to use another counter to-- Okay. You watch as it begins to heal up its wounds. (groaning)

MARISHA: Not good!

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: It begins to regenerate areas where the bits of your weapons have carved through its flesh. So you get the sense now it can begin to heal slowly over time.

ALEX: Unfortunate.

MATT: But that's the last of its counters. Anybody else want to go?

MARISHA: That was the last of his counters.

SAM: We've got to get this thing down, right? I will use my remaining stamina to attack again with my bastard sword.

MATT: All right, go for it.

SAM: 18 plus six to hit.

MATT: That hits.

SAM: Two plus five, seven points, and I swung two-handed. Wait, is that right? Yes.

MATT: You put your shield away.

SAM: Yeah, because I put my shield away. Yes, so that's an extra-- Plus another six points of damage.

MATT: Ooh, so 13. Great. Big, heavy chunks, so you can now see between the two heavy hits, and the retort from Nihl over here, the center of its massive tentacles is showing heavy wear and tear. It's leaving globules of its own necessary viscous liquids upon the beach ground around it.

SAM: Oh god.

ALEX: Would you like to, or should I?

KRYSTINA: What I would like to do is... I would like to use and spend one stamina to throw a holy water pot directly at its eyeball. (laughter)

ALEX: That's such an original thing to do. (laughter)

KRYSTINA: I've never, ever done before.

MATT: So roll an attack.

MARISHA: It feels like a dream that that happened before.

KRYSTINA: A foggy dream before we were in a cave. All right.

SAM: Ooh, yeah!

KRYSTINA: What's that, 15? So that's 19.

MATT: 19 hits. Interestingly enough, you do not see an eyeball on this creature. You do see a beak that emerges from the mass of tentacles.

KRYSTINA: A mouth?

MATT: Yeah, but it can be--

KRYSTINA: Is there a mouth?

MATT: There is a mouth within that beak.

KRYSTINA: I'm going to throw it in the mouth.

MATT: There you go. So when the eye's not available, go for the mouth.

KRYSTINA: Exactly.

MATT: So roll the damage.

KRYSTINA: At least you hit it in the throat, and then the throat explodes and like-- (laughter)

KRYSTINA: All right, so that's six, seven... All right, so that's seven points of fire damage.

MATT: Seven points, got it. The beak opens up and snatches, swallows it, and it stands there for a second. (explosion) (croaking) It gives this sorrowful screech.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: As you see this light, and this burst of smoke begin to (poof) out of its mouth. (croaking)

KRYSTINA: Am I supposed to feel bad for killing you?

MATT: (laughs) Anything else you'd like to do on your turns?

ALEX: I'll go ahead and I'll dash forward, and I'm going to plant my spear in the ground next to me. I take the staff in both hands and I-- Bring it out before me, do this, and it floats staying right here. These runes appear around the top of the staff.

MARISHA: Cool.

ALEX: I'm going to cast Carian Piercer

MATT: Okay.

ALEX: A spectral sword emerges from the front of the staff.

MATT: Cool.

ALEX: I just jam it into the creature.

MATT: As this massive spectral blade emerges, and then he grabs it, and thrusts forward with it for a--

ALEX: That's a 16 plus nine?

MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

ALEX: What am I? 4d6. That's 15, that's a 10, 16, 17 points of damage.

MATT: 17 points of damage, nice. All right, as the blade strikes into it, now this giant tentacle creature is showing some severe signs of injury. But it is angry and hungry and not backing down.

MARISHA: I'm going to spend two more stamina to do two more dagger attacks, and the whole time I'm going to try and get his attention. Hey. Don't you touch the Prophetess.

MATT: (laughs)

MARISHA: Okay, that first one is a 15 to hit.

MATT: 15 hits.

MARISHA: The second one is a 23 to hit.

MATT: Both hit, go and roll damage.

MARISHA: (jazz-like scatting)

SAM: (jazz-like scatting)

MARISHA: That is, ooh, six damage for the first one, and three damage for the second.

MATT: Got it. Nice, you go stab, stab. Now, in order to get this dagger in you got to get up close and personal with this thing. It's incredibly massive compared to you, and you're just like, "Oh, come on." Trying to shank this wall of flesh.

MARISHA: Hmm, yeah.

MATT: But you're doing it. You feel like you're doing something.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's a good Saturday night.

MATT: Yeah, totally.

MARISHA: All right.

BRENNAN: Does it cost stamina to use your either Crimson or Cerulean Tears?

MATT: It doesn't cost one, but you--

BRENNAN: Have to have an available one.

MATT: You have to have one available to do it. Is that everyone's turn, or--?

ALEX: I'll do one more. I can do with one spear strike still with the stamina I have left.

MATT: Go for it.

ALEX: I bring the staff back around. I pull the spear out of the ground, and I go: It would behoove you to pay attention. And I stab the spear into the creature.

MATT: You got it. Go ahead and roll an attack.

ALEX: 14?

MATT: 14 hits.

ALEX: Hey. Oh, all right.

MATT: This is a large entity.

ALEX: That would be five points of physical damage.

MATT: Five points of physical damage, all right. You stab it, and it draws back a little bit. It's starting to feel the fear a little bit. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily going to withdraw, or if it's going to fight that much harder.

BRENNAN: You're going to put hooves on it with magic. That's nice.

ALEX: Sure, why not? Yes, that's exactly what I'm planning to do.

BRENNAN: Nice! Way to go.

ALEX: Yeah.

MATT: Does that finish the player turn or is--

SAM: Yes.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay, all right. It is now back to the giant land octopus' turn. It gets its counter stuff back there. It's going to attempt a grab and chew combo. So first it goes ahead and--

BRENNAN: I've been there. I've been there.

MATT: It swings a wide tentacle strike over towards you, Prophetess.

BRENNAN: (gasps)

MATT: Are you going to attempt to--

KRYSTINA: I'm going to attempt to dodge it. As I dodge said attack, I'm going to say: This is a not-for-prophet attack.

ALL: (impressed) Ohh! (cheering) (laughter)

KRYSTINA: 17.

MATT: 17. You dodge entirely out of the way. The words were too strong. Then, as it rears back to strike you, it goes (growls).

BRENNAN: Even you realize the way! This is the truth.

MATT: Then it turns around, and it's going to go ahead and go after you.

ALEX: Am I wrong?

SAM: I think you are wrong.

MATT: It's going to go after you.

ALEX: Okay, great.

MATT: Since you're the only one that just stabbed it with the spear, and jammed it with a giant magical sword.

ALEX: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. You take-- As it rears back the other way, a tentacle grabs, and pulls you in. The giant beak snatches onto your body, and just begins to chew and grind you into its mouth. You take--

MARISHA: Get the grab and chew combo, only at Buffalo Wild Wings.

MATT: 24 points of physical damage.

ALEX: Okay, am I able to dodge? If I--

MATT: If you have the stamina.

ALEX: I have the stamina, but am I able to try and wriggle out of the way.

MATT: You can, yeah.

ALEX: Nope, that's-- Six.

SAM: Perhaps if you had believed Howda, you would be imbued with the power of the Prophetess.

MATT: There's 24 points of physical damage to you. As now you see Marcus' legs are sticking out like Audrey 2.

SAM: Oh no!

MATT: He's just currently being chewed within the mouth of this entity.

KRYSTINA: Please don't hurt him! He's a good guy. (laughter)

ALEX: Feed me.

MATT: That finishes its turn.

ALEX: I am down to 14.

MATT: It's your go. Your stamina returns.

SAM: Oh yes! We've got to get

KRYSTINA: They're all still down healing points, correct?

MATT: I believe so, yeah.

ALEX: I'm still narratively grappled inside this tentacles, right? I'm like inside?

MATT: Narratively, yeah, but you can still take your turn and pull away.

ALEX: Okay.

BRENNAN: I'm going to look-- I've seen the Prophetess hurl the holy water into the mouth of the creature. Seeing that it hurt it from within, and I look and say: Always you are showing me the way. I'm going to leap into the mouth of the creature, and say--

KRYSTINA: I thought you were going to throw the fire pot.

BRENNAN: I am throwing the fire pot! I'm going to leap in and say: Time for holy communion. And leap in and blow up with another Dragon Fire.

ALEX: I'm right there.

BRENNAN: Attempting within the creature.

SAM: I yank Twin-Soul out, at the same time. (laughter)

BRENNAN: You should be here for this.

SAM: Yanking Twin-Soul.

MATT: You pull Marcus free from the beaked maw of this creature, just in time to have Brigidda dive right back in. Like a slip'n'slide into a nightmare. All right, so go ahead and mark off your focus points.

BRENNAN: Hell yeah.

MATT: Then let's roll some damage.

SAM: Oh no. Is this going to hit us, too?

MATT: Not from the inside of this creature.

BRENNAN: Actually the wording is only enemies, so my fire knows who's my buddies. (laughter)

BRENNAN: Okay. All enemies within take 5d6 fire damage. Bada boom bada bam. Okay, that's going to be ten, 15 points of fire damage.

MATT: How do you want to do this? (cheering)

SAM: Take that.

BRENNAN: I've been watching your show for so many years, and I got a "How do you want to do this."

MARISHA: Yes, queen, yes.

BRENNAN: Oh man. As you are being pulled out and I'm leaping in, my tons of red braids with woad and different clay in them begin to alight. My eyes, the irises go bright red. As I'm going in, I say: It is always hard to take the first step in believing. And I give you a quick smooch on the lips.

ALEX: In my helmet. (laughter)

BRENNAN: The helmet, (kisses) a couple extra because it has to go through the metal. And I reach out to you and say: I believe! (yells). The dragon head erupts from my body, and fill all the veins of this inky black monstrosity. Begin to glow with embers, and spread down all the tentacles. The Prophetess shows you the way! She just needs a fire to light it! (screams)

KRYSTINA: I love a true believer.

MATT: So where once there was a small campfire, there is now a pyretic blaze, burning like a beacon in the fresh night, along the beach side here. As this creature-- Slowly comes to the end of its life. The smoldering, towering flame marking your victory. So with that, between all the soldiers and the land octopus, all of you gain--

MARISHA: Oh yes, some Runes.

SAM: Treasure.

MARISHA: Give me them Runes.

MATT: 25 Runes from this fight--

SAM: Apiece?

MATT: -- from this fight. Yep, apiece.

SAM: Whoa!

MATT: And--

SAM: Going Rune crazy over here.

MATT: From the bodies of two of the soldiers--

SAM: Oh, we get items.

MARISHA: Yes.

KRYSTINA: That's my baby--

MATT: You do also find--

KRYSTINA: -- and I'm proud.

MATT: --some Smithing Stone shards.

KRYSTINA: Ooh!

SAM: I'll pass one down for you all to use.

KRYSTINA: Do we all get a Smithing Stone shard?

SAM: Oh, no, we just get a couple.

MATT: The two that you've found.

SAM: "Discard three Smithing Stone shards to increase a single weapon's attack bonus, or a weapon's damage, or shield's block by one." So wait, each of these that you gave us is one?

MATT: Correct.

ALEX: Right, so we have to collect more of them.

SAM: So we need more to do anything.

MATT: Correct. You can search around places for.

BRENNAN: Looking at that right now, I know we weren't able to get the combo off this time. But it does occur to me that making a shield's block go up-- Weapons attack bonus is good, and weapons damage is good. Having the block on your block go up, makes some very cool stuff happen. Because when you--

MARISHA: As long as they come at me.

BRENNAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: Maybe I should lean into some intimidation, or something some more.

SAM: Here, keep these together.

MARISHA: Okay, okay.

MATT: So now, at about this time, the night sky and the stars above, and The Lands Between. Divided amongst the strange, shimmering, golden winds that blow through the darkness above. One thread of grace that draws you further along the coastline towards the beachside cliffs of which you were originally guided. But this moment of rest is yours. The nearby ruins to your back, the fire lit camp by the ocean and the path before you. What would you like to do?

ALEX: Drink some crimson tears.

MATT: Okay.

ALEX: As I'm very injured.

MATT: Noted.

ALEX: So I'll use one of those.

SAM: I think I will actually.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: I'm going to scan the horizon, and see if I see any more of those sacred campsites.

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: Perception. 15.

MATT: 15.

ALEX: 21.

MATT: You don't see any other Sites of Lost Grace, none of those golden glimmers. All you can see is that faint thread that you saw projecting from it, arcing into the distance, leading you towards the seaside cliffs.

MARISHA: Okay. I don't see anything.

KRYSTINA: You don't see these beautiful, beautiful stars that have appeared out of nowhere?

MARISHA: Oh, no, I do see that.

KRYSTINA: That's a gift.

MARISHA: That's amazing.

KRYSTINA: That's a gift, lighting the way.

MARISHA: What does it mean?

KRYSTINA: That our way is lit.

ALEX: I'm starting to figure it out. I think I've got it. We're good. I've figured out this whole situation here.

SAM: What did you figure out?

ALEX: It matters that you believe, each one of you believes in her.

MARISHA: Of course it matters.

ALEX: But it only matters because you believe. You know? You get it? Never mind, I'm not going to explain.

KRYSTINA: If you did not care about me at all, you would not care about me. At all.

MARISHA: Exactly.

BRENNAN: When she says that, how do you not jump right on board? When she say that, how did you not?

SAM: The second time she repeated it, she did a slightly different inflection that made the whole difference.

MARISHA: It means so much more.

ALEX: No, I-- Yes, I'm just going to go with it.

MARISHA: (laughs)

ALEX: Okay.

MARISHA: ♪ ("So Long, Farewell") ♪ Boom.

KRYSTINA: Bonnie Tyler.

BRENNAN: You hit a wild bass note at the end of that.

ALEX: It's miraculous you did that on a flute.

MARISHA: I know. It's like I have a whole orchestra in this flute.

MATT: Your steads are summoned, yours less than eager, but present.

MARISHA: Supernova.

MATT: (neighs)

MARISHA: I love you.

MATT: (blows raspberry)

MARISHA: Spectral horse poops. What does the spectral horse shit? What does he shit?

MATT: Oh, it wasn't a shit. It was a ghostly (flutters).

MARISHA: Oh, of course.

BRENNAN: Your ghost horse did poop earlier. Right? Someone's did.

SAM: I think it was also--

ALEX: It was hers.

BRENNAN: If it's a ghost poop it would hit the ground, and go straight through to the core of the planet.

ALEX: Yeah.

BRENNAN: So all the ghosts who ever poop, all their poop just collects at the very core.

SAM: That's what's at the core of this planet?

ALEX: Scientists have told us that the core of our planet is made of--

MATT: Those are The Lands Underneath. (laughter)

MATT: Come here for all your Elden Ring hardcore lore, folks. (laughter)

ALEX: Elden Ring equine needs.

KRYSTINA: Fake lore you should know.

MATT: You have entered the ghost apple lands. (laughter)

BRENNAN: The way to the castle-- If we cannot see a Site of Lost Grace, then perhaps we should just continue straight on to the castle.

MARISHA: To the cave?

ALEX: Aye, the cave, yes, that it where I want to see if there was a secret path.

MARISHA: All right. Did you all catch how Milana--

MATT: Milena.

MARISHA: Milena. Whatever their name was.

ALEX: We just met. It's fine.

MARISHA: Yeah, I don't know.

BRENNAN: The whole time I was ready to pounce, and bite her throat.

MARISHA: Absolutely!

BRENNAN: I was coiled like a spring.

MARISHA: They knew a little too much.

ALEX: You do a lot of biting, huh?

BRENNAN: I only got an axe for the first time like three days ago. Huge improvement. Before that, all biting.

SAM: That's why all of your teeth are all--

BRENNAN: Ah, you got to be ready.

SAM: Jagged and--

BRENNAN: Where I come from, and I know we are all in The Lands Between now, where I come from, you got to be ready.

MARISHA: I've had a fourth weapon this whole time. I never thought about it like that.

BRENNAN: It's beautiful.

MARISHA: Man, you're all so smart. Anyway, I was curious because this Melena--?

MATT: Melina.

MARISHA: Meli, Mel, person.

KRYSTINA: I wrote down Melana, so I'm right there with you.

MARISHA: All right.

MATT: Melina.

KRYSTINA: Melina.

MARISHA: They're like, "Oh, you know, go and go to the castle and overthrow somebody and become a lord." Is that only one of us that become a lord?

ALEX: Yes, I was thinking about that earlier. Do we all become lords?

MARISHA: All right.

ALEX: Or this is like a "King of the Hill" sort of situation?

MARISHA: I don't know. I mean, obviously, I nominate the Prophetess.

ALEX: Of course you do.

MARISHA: If it is only one of us. Yeah.

SAM: I don't know that-- I mean, I do not purport to speak for you, but oftentimes holy people or seers do not want to be in a position of power or politics.

KRYSTINA: I believe that it's a violation to intertwine the two. I believe that there should be a separation of sorts. That way, the amount of power does not go to one's head, and the decisions are being made with the good of the people in mind, and not just greed and how one might grow.

ALEX: That's the first time I believed something you said. Honestly, if I'm speaking, like, honestly, that was nice.

BRENNAN: Wow.

KRYSTINA: It's who I am as a person. (laughter)

SAM: And he's right back where he was. (laughter)

BRENNAN: I don't-- I follow the Prophetess. Very little that I know, but I do know what I don't know, which is almost everything.

ALEX: Your limit.

BRENNAN: So I follow Prophetess because I believe she's right person to lead. But if she does not want it, then I trust her judgment in that as well. I do not feel the need to be this person, but this person must be, even if it's not me.

SAM: I don't have any aspirations to be a ruler. I just want to find my cat.

KRYSTINA: What if, in finding your new power, you could use it to find your cat?

SAM: If that's what it takes, I just want to snuggle. But I feel like we are losing time.

ALEX: I think it's a bridge we can cross when we get to it.

MARISHA: All right.

ALEX: If we get to it.

SAM: Yeah.

ALEX: So it's cave? Cave, right?

SAM: Yes, but--

MARISHA: To the cave!

SAM: Perhaps we should ride slowly and be scanning for lights off of the road.

ALEX: Yes.

SAM: In case we stumble upon one of those Sites of Lost Grace. Quoi? Qu'est que c'est?

KRYSTINA: So you're saying that we should scan the land, scan land, if you will?

SAM: I don't know what you're talking about. That sounds stupid.

BRENNAN: We've taken a short halt. We should continue on. (laughter)

MARISHA: Oh!

SAM: I don't understand these words. They sound raunchy and nasty.

KRYSTINA: I believe that we should carry on so that we don't burn daylight.

SAM: All right.

ALL: Mm-hmm.

MARISHA: Let's proceed.

BRENNAN: All right, Horse Tasha, let's go. (hooves pattering)

MATT: Gentle, careful trot forward along the--

SAM: While perceiving, while perceiving.

MATT: Indeed, I'll say two of you can keep point on being lookout to roll perception checks.

ALEX: I have pretty good perception. I can take a look out.

MARISHA: I perceived once and didn't find anything, so.

BRENNAN: I'm not going to do perception because I don't have good perception, but I'll make a survival. Can I make a survival check to maybe give us advantage on a later stealth check?

MARISHA: Ooh.

MATT: I'll allow that, yeah. So go ahead and gauge the landscape around you and ensure that you know the best ways to adapt to the topography ahead.

BRENNAN: Did a little mid-session dice swap out, had to go back to the good performers. Let's see. Hey, all right, 17.

MATT: 17, okay, good to know. Keeping that in mind. Noting the rocky formations that formed the edge of the seaside cliff, you get the sense that a lot of the rocks are hollow at least towards the base elements. A lot of them volcanic in makeup which would probably, one, make a lot of the ocean shore and wind moving elements to cause a lot of sound. So as long as you can keep your movement almost blending in with the sound of that wind and whistles that might permeate around there, might help you blend in a little better. So that will help in future stealth rolls.

MARISHA: Cool.

SAM: As I gallop, I am also saying. (clicks tongue) Sans-Queue, Sans-Queue. I rolled a 18 perception.

MATT: Got it.

ALEX: That would be a 19 perception for me.

MATT: 19 perception. One, you both keep eyes out towards the shoreline ahead of you and can see some sort of a large, ox-type creature that has fallen on the side and is currently being pulled apart and eaten by smaller versions of those same tentacled masses that you had just fought. So with that, you manage to scoot a distance. They seem so enthralled with their current meal, they do not pay attention. Thankfully, noting their presence at a distance.

MARISHA: Bri.

MATT: So you avoid that.

MARISHA: Is that your pet boar, the one that's eating the octopus?

BRENNAN: Look out.

SAM: Being eaten by it.

BRENNAN: Being, I look out.

MATT: Make a perception check.

BRENNAN: 10.

MATT: 10, hard to tell at this distance, but probably not, given the fact that they did not travel with you.

BRENNAN: No. I do not think that boar is Tasha. Tasha is safe back where I left her.

ALEX: Wait, I'm sorry. Is your horse's name Horse Tasha? Like, that's the whole name? Because your boar was Tasha.

BRENNAN: Yeah, my boar, Tasha. If I name horse Tasha, then I get them confused.

ALEX: Right, so his name is Horse Tasha?

BRENNAN: Yeah, my horse Horse Tasha because he's-- You say this like I wrong, but you actually --

ALEX: No, no, I just got it.

BRENNAN: What I do make sense. So you just say, you know.

ALEX: No, I just understood.

BRENNAN: You very smart guy! You do wizard magic. And so I feel judged when you go like, "Why Horse Tasha?"

MATT: One of the creatures--

SAM: Keep it quiet.

MATT: (squelching)

BRENNAN: I'm just saying you command a lot of status, so when you say stuff that's judgemental--

ALEX: I wasn't being judgemental. I was just trying to, I just understood it. I was pointing out something that I just got it.

BRENNAN: Okay.

ALEX: It's me.

BRENNAN: Yes, I name horse Horse Tasha, because if horse is just Tasha then there is two Tashas and it's really confusing.

ALEX: Right, except the other one is not here.

BRENNAN: Yeah, but I think about her all the time. (laughter)

MATT: While you are having this debate, you, keeping your keen eyes out, can see there is a path that curves up and what you, in the little bit of low light that's coming through the strange gossamer lit sky above, an entryway that carves into the seaside rock.

SAM: The cave, the cave, ahead. I have spotted it. So when we approach, there could be guards. There could be traps. There could be any number of hidden monsters. Should we go sneakily, or just charge right up?

ALEX: I vote yes.

SAM: Yes to which one?

ALEX: Sorry, sneaky.

SAM: Okay.

KRYSTINA: I am also for the sneaking.

MARISHA: Oh, Prophetess has the best ideas.

SAM: Prophetess has spoken.

MARISHA: Yes.

BRENNAN: I'm going to jump up on a little rock outcropping and try to look around for the wind moving through the stones and see if there's some way to approach the cave or some other-- If it's formed by the sea and wind coming in, so I want to try to use that earlier survival check and see if there's some better way to approach the cave or some other little eddy or crevice.

MATT: As you head up to the side and you clamber up one of the larger rock elements the wind (whooshes) blows by in gusts, and as it does, it hits some of the openings where the seaside erosion has impacted with the volcanic rock and occasionally creates tones. (humming) You note that almost maintaining some of those tones as you carefully move through could help blanket some of the general travel noise as well as maintain the idea that the wind is undisturbed, passing through the cave.

BRENNAN: I look at the little spectral whistle in my hand and look at the little holes in it. I say: There are signs everywhere. Whistle bring Horse Tasha. Cave is a whistle. Incredible. (laughter)

BRENNAN: Incredible, you're so good at this. I'll try to help us on a stealth roll, using that wind cover to get in.

MATT: Okay. So you'll have to dismount and disperse your horses to step through stealthily, but as you set the steeds off to whatever realm they were brought from, I would like you all to make a stealth check. As part of your roll earlier, I will say that one of you is allowed advantage after rolling, if you'd like.

MARISHA: After rolling?

MATT: Correct.

BRENNAN: So like-- okay.

MARISHA: Like in a just in case.

SAM: So whoever biffs it.

MATT: Yeah, one reroll, essentially.

KRYSTINA: If one were to roll a seven, if it were.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: All right.

SAM: 12.

MATT: 12 okay, and?

BRENNAN: 11 for me, 12, seven.

ALEX: 14.

MARISHA: 24.

BRENNAN: So Prophetess should probably reroll.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: With the gift of foresight, she rolls again.

BRENNAN: (gasps)

KRYSTINA: Wait, what were we rolling? (laughter)

SAM: She's the best Prophet ever.

MATT: Stealth.

KRYSTINA: Whoa, it's a 15, okay.

MATT: Okay.

KRYSTINA: She's not a Prophet, she is a dingbat. (laughter)

MATT: With the guidance of nature and your protector, you all begin to huddle into this tight cavern space. Gently and occasionally following their lead. (humming) You carry that, that hum and whistle of the wind, which becomes a bit challenging the further in you go as the low tide seaside stench gives way to a much stronger, rich scent of damp earth, still water, and rot, fleshy rot. Stepping in deeper and deeper as the cavern begins to curve at an incline, you begin to see signs of small, ramshackle structures, huts or buildings that are cobbled together with scavenged stone and wood. Bits of leather that have been stretched over and piles of refuse that stink horribly. You can see broken weapons and what look to be bones scattered about, picked clean.

MARISHA: Can I look at the bones and see if I can discern what turned them to bones?

MATT: You can make an investigation check, if you'd like.

MARISHA: Investigation.

ALEX: Whoa, whoa.

MARISHA: Oh, oh. I mean, can read it.

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: 20 total.

MATT: 20 total, yeah. Glancing down and looking into this space, this looks to be a sentry point. It's placed in a way where someone would watch and keep an eye from the cave. But there's nobody at the sentry point at the moment. A sentry point for general military positioning. But the construction here is very rudimentary.

MARISHA: Like old as fuck?

MATT: No, like recently built, but just cobbled together.

MARISHA: Gotcha.

MATT: Of creatures not as refined as maybe the soldiers that you battled before. Looking at the build and looking at the bones, you can see a whole manner of scrapes and gashes across the bones that you ascertain to be teeth marks. Some are broken and some have been sharpened. It looks like there are elements of them have been carved and whittled and possibly used for tools that are not present here.

MARISHA: The bones?

MATT: Elements of the bones here. These that remain here are humanoid, and it looks like they're the remains of numerous meals. It's at this point, you hear upwards in the cavern (conversation in foreign language) You hear about a dozen other voices.

SAM: A dozen?

BRENNAN: I'm going to look over. I think we hear about trolls before, things like that.

KRYSTINA: Now might be a good time to retreat and make a plan without stepping on anything that might make a loud noise that might draw more attention.

BRENNAN: They've clearly been alerted. We've gotten in here theoretically stealthily. This is a sentry point that we know they're going to come to, to look out on. Are there crevices or niches around here that we can--

ALEX: Ambush?

BRENNAN: Try to set up an ambush?

SAM: Dark shadows?

MATT: Glancing around in this space, very clearly, yeah. There are a number of outcroppings and small bits of wedged stone entryways, where you could very easily step off to the sides and prepare yourselves, if that'd be what you wish.

ALEX: Yeah.

BRENNAN: Any offal or like, nasty remnants around here, I'm going to reach down and grab. (grunts) and rub on myself really quickly. And say: Prophetess, your resplendent holiness, am I permitted to-- am I, can I--?

KRYSTINA: I think that I will find another way, but I appreciate your--

BRENNAN: Okay, just, you know.

KRYSTINA: -- enthusiasm.

BRENNAN: No judgment in brainstorm.

SAM: Bring it over here, I'll take it.

BRENNAN: Yes!

SAM: Ah!

SAM: Nihl, I knew you would like it. You, I really, I get--

SAM: We vibe.

BRENNAN: We vibe, I get you. (laughter)

SAM: I'll also take some bones and cover myself up in bones.

MATT: Okay.

ALEX: I'll hide behind a rock.

MATT: Okay.

ALEX: Like a normal person.

BRENNAN: Marcus!

KRYSTINA: Brilliant.

BRENNAN: Marcus, there's a bunch of blood and poop on the ground. You want some on you?

ALEX: No, it's okay, it would clog my armor.

BRENNAN: Good point, that's good thinking, smart guy.

MARISHA: Kara's really confused and doesn't know what to do. So she flops prone and rolls.

BRENNAN: Perfect, you look like a dead body, exactly.

MARISHA: Okay. Then, yeah, rolled to the corner and just like--

ALEX: I can't with these people.

MATT: Prophetess, are you hiding amongst the cavern walls with them?

KRYSTINA: You know that thing that you do where you climb up the inside of a wall or a doorframe and you do that thing?

MATT: Press out.

KRYSTINA: And you hold. I don't know that there is a doorframe, but--

SAM: Probably not.

KRYSTINA: I would like to do that, but under a rock. Sprawl out like that under a rock in this weird shape. Knees out to the right.

MATT: Okay.

KRYSTINA: And the left. Arms up.

MATT: Okay.

KRYSTINA: Then just kind of--

MATT: Perched.

KRYSTINA: Yes.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: She's got magic and core strength. (laughter)

ALEX: It's so rare to find both.

KRYSTINA: It's the squats, baby.

MATT: Yeah. All right, as you all settle into your spaces, about that time you can hear. (speaking foreign language) The sound of new numerous feet begin to tear through. As you all carefully, quietly hold your breath in that space, you see figures begin to step from deeper in the cavern. Initially, you see about four or five hunched-looking humanoid figures. These wide arches to their long necks and these protracted lower jaws with hooked broken teeth beneath. They look like they were human or mockeries of humanity that have been twisted by some dark magic over time or by some dark ritual. You can see on them bits of hide and leather armor that they've either cobbled from the corpses of those they've eaten or have placed together by other kills in the region. They carry with them large clubs and scavenged blades. You see them walking through sniffing. As the four of them step out, two larger ones pull in from behind them. Each looking like a pair, male and female chieftains, themselves more heavily armored. Both of them holding large, machete-like blades towards the bottom of the hands. Just (snuffling loudly). You see behind them two more of the smaller ones. So eight of them in total with the two larger ones. They are stepping right into the center of this chamber, and for the moment, have not noticed you. But they do smell something is up.

MARISHA: The moment that the-- So you said there's four, two big ones, two bigguns.

MATT: Then two of the regular ones again in the back.

MARISHA: Then two of the regular ones.

BRENNAN: What... In terms of spatial awareness, are all of them within the same distance category? Are all of them generally clumped enough close together that they would be considered in the same distance category?

MATT: I'll say from a spatial awareness standpoint if the cavern goes this way, you have all taken to the sides. These are the two large ones. There are these four up front about here. Then there are these two to the flank right there.

SAM: That's a whole bunch of bad guys.

KRYSTINA: So you're saying that all of those would technically count within a short distance?

MATT: They would, yeah.

KRYSTINA: Nice to know.

MARISHA: I... kind of prone on the ground as the cluster of four start to step over my body. I'm going to roll over and go: (shouts) Now! I'm going to jump up. I'm going to do a spinning slash to the four that I'm near.

MATT: Okay! So you do now have an ambush round, which means you guys get to go first.

KRYSTINA: Yes!

BRENNAN: Woo! Feels good.

MARISHA: Feels good!

BRENNAN: Feels good. We were--

MARISHA: That stealth paid off. Feels good.

MATT: So you're --

MARISHA: Yeah, that's me. I can roll into them.

MATT: Into here?

MARISHA: Can I get in the center of them and so I can hit all four of those fuckers?

MATT: Yeah, I'll allow that. You can swing in there. Oh boy!

SAM: That one's drunk.

MATT: There you go. Yeah, go for it.

MARISHA: Go home, chieftain, you're drunk. All right.

KRYSTINA: So that's two, four, six--

MARISHA: So how many am I hitting with my spinning slash?

MATT: Four.

MARISHA: Four. Attack is against all of them, correct?

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: My scimitars. Okay, first one's a natural 19.

MATT: Hits.

BRENNAN: Woo!

MARISHA: Second one is a 15 total.

MATT: Hits.

MARISHA: I've got an 18 total.

MATT: Hits.

MARISHA: And another 15 total.

MATT: Hits, all them hit.

SAM and BRENNAN: Wow.

SAM: That's solid.

MARISHA: Huh, plus, I go, okay. Oh, nope, nope, you don't count. Go away. Okay, and so damage here, pretty good. Eight damage to the first.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: One, two, three, four, those are for other rolls. Six damage to the second.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: 12 damage to the third.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: 11 damage to the fourth.

SAM: Dang!

MATT: Nice.

SAM: That's a great round.

MATT: So you just this whirlwind of blades after screaming, "Now," getting all of your attention. All of a sudden (monster screams) they all pull their weapons free and spin around. However, you're spinning much faster. (whooshes) Begin to Ginsu your way between the center of that fray.

MARISHA: (battle cry)

MATT: As an immediate counter.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: Both of the demi-human chiefs there are going to... They're both going to go ahead and just slash at you with their blades.

SAM: Oh no.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: So that's two strikes against you. If you would like to dodge or block any of them?

MARISHA: Took my damage first, right?

MATT: Mm-hmm, it's 11 physical damage and 11 physical damage. They both roll the same.

MARISHA: Okay, I'm going to-- 11, 11, I'm going to block the first one.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Perfect block, give me perfect-- No! Big no!

ALEX: That's imperfect.

MARISHA: Very imperfect. Six, nothing.

MATT: So no, you take it. It's 11 minus your armor roll.

MARISHA: All right, right, right, right, right, right. Dang, 10, so nope, wrong side of the pencil. 38, got this. Okay, you know what? Let's go to Vegas, baby. Blocking again.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

MARISHA: Come on! (grunts triumphantly) Oh! Wait. Yes!

ALEX: Yes.

MARISHA: Yes, yes!

ALEX: Yes.

MATT: That was a--

MARISHA: 18! I did it!

MATT: That was a three-act play.

ALEX: I did it!

MARISHA: Perfect hit. Because I have a plus two to my block (silly mutterings).

MATT: It's perfect block.

MARISHA: Perfect block!

MATT: So the first one just--

MARISHA: Foaming out the mouth.

MATT: The first blade catches you off the side of the cheek and the jaw and the searing pain's there. The anger builds in you. As the other blade comes toward you, you pull your shield up and actually push them back. You take zero damage from the attack, and they are staggered.

SAM: Staggered.

MARISHA: Which one is staggered?

MATT: This one is staggered there.

BRENNAN: Incredible.

MARISHA: Okay, staggered.

BRENNAN: What does staggered mean mechanically?

MATT: Mechanically, staggered means the next attack against it has advantage and does an additional 1d12 damage.

BRENNAN and KRYSTINA: Whoa!

BRENNAN: I have a single target attack that can really--

ALEX: Oh.

MARISHA: Go for it.

ALEX: But yeah, go, go, go, no, you go. No, no, what? No, you can do your thing. Do your thing.

KRYSTINA: Because I can attack all of them in one fell swoop.

MATT: One, yeah.

KRYSTINA: I would like to--

SAM: Maybe you should hold that until...

KRYSTINA: Like a death knell?

SAM: Well, no, you can still do it. But if he has a powerful single attack--

BRENNAN: It's only one advantage, right?

MATT: It's only one advantage roll.

ALEX: It's a bunch of attacks on all. So I would only get advantage on one of them. So if yours is one roll, then go ahead and do it.

BRENNAN: Is yours a roll or is it just a thing that happens?

KRYSTINA: No, it's an attack roll with a plus five on every enemy in front of you within a short distance.

BRENNAN: Gotcha.

ALEX: But your individual attacks as well, it's not just one--

KRYSTINA: Yeah, so you go ahead.

BRENNAN: I will--

SAM: Or I could do an gigantic swing.

ALEX: If you can do one single attack and whoever does that, yeah.

BRENNAN: I'll say this. I have a spell that is an attack against a single target, and if it hits, it does a bunch of damage to everyone around them.

SAM: That.

ALEX: Yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: All right, all right, you win Rock, Paper, Scissors. Yeah (laughs).

BRENNAN: Okay, so it's a roll--

MATT: Tactical Rock, Paper, Scissors.

BRENNAN: A question about skills and abilities.

MATT: Yeah.

BRENNAN: I know you can only use one per turn. Can you use both if you have the focus points to use both or is it just one spell per?

MATT: It's just one spell per turn.

BRENNAN: Cool.

MATT: It's the limitation, unless it says otherwise. Like he has one that he can do multiple times in a turn--

ALEX: Multiple times.

MATT: But it's the little pebbles.

BRENNAN: Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha, okay. This is Feast Upon Flame. "Roll an attack roll against the target. On a hit--" They take damage no matter what, but it's better if it hits. Oh yes! That's a 21.

MATT: 21 definitely hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

BRENNAN: Okay, so the one that you just staggered is going to take 6d6 fire damage.

ALEX: Plus a d12.

MATT: Plus a d12.

BRENNAN: Plus the d12 (gasps). I got them. Oh, gang, we didn't think we were going to use a d12.

SAM: Here's a d12. Here it is.

BRENNAN: Hold on. (laughter)

SAM: Oh you got--

BRENNAN: Hold on. Get it out. We go it! We got it. Hold on.

MATT: Yes.

BRENNAN: Here we go.

MATT: Oh, the bounty.

BRENNAN: Okay.

BRENNAN: The bounty.

MARISHA: ♪ d12s are the loneliest number. ♪ (laughter)

MARISHA: Poor d12, poor--

BRENNAN: Barbarian hit points, greataxes.

MATT and MARISHA: That's it.

BRENNAN: And that's all she wrote, folks.

ALEX: It's like the xylophone of D&D.

MATT: Yeah, yeah, which will, thankfully, does give it a little love.

BRENNAN: Okay, 6d6, d12. Oh my god!

MATT: Holy shit.

BRENNAN: Jesus. Okay, that's 15, 21, 25. A one on the d12.

MARISHA: The d12 is the weakest.

BRENNAN: d12, you had one chance! This was your moment, and you blew it. I'm so sorry to say.

SAM: Yep. (laughter)

BRENNAN: Okay. That is 31 points of damage to the demi-human chieftain.

MATT: Got it.

BRENNAN: Then everyone else within short distance takes 4d6 fire damage.

MATT: Go ahead. Let's do it.

SAM: Every enemy, or are you also--

BRENNAN: Every enemy.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: Every enemy, yeah.

KRYSTINA: Not everybody.

BRENNAN: I don't think that d12 gets added to the--

MATT: No.

BRENNAN: No, no.

MATT: Just that initial hit.

BRENNAN: You got to ask.

MATT: Of course, of course.

BRENNAN: Okay, wow! That's great. Okay, 15 damage. Wow!

SAM: (guitar riff)

BRENNAN: So yeah, I look down and see you staggering the thing. I'm covered in offal. (yells) (whooshes). Big ball of flame, throw it right at the demi-human.

MATT: (explosion)

MARISHA: I just use my shield to block from the fire.

MATT: To block just this area?

MARISHA: Yes.

MATT: Right there. This tiny little buckler on the arm, oh. It does singe some of your hair off. But as the flames erupt around you, the divine protection from whatever entity this seal is marked towards that you hold in your hand and your devotion to the Prophetess, you are not yourself burned. However, the flames erupt around and engulf the space. The two that you had slashed fall to the ground screaming before curling up and are no longer living. While everything else stands there (snarls loudly) reeling from the fire angrily.

MARISHA: Amazing.

MATT: Fantastic.

SAM: That big guy's still alive?

MATT: Oh yeah. They're still standing. The other four around there are still standing as well.

SAM: Okay, okay, okay.

MATT: So else wants to go now?

ALEX: Do you?

KRYSTINA: No, you go ahead.

ALEX: All right. Marcus will step out from behind the rock and goes: Well, if we're all doing something flashy, then I'll-- And he takes the-- (laughter)

ALEX: Takes the staff and he basically, he just spins it around his back and spins it up above, twirls it above his head. As it spins, it creates five points of light, these five pebbles. They're going to strike one at each around.

MARISHA: Yes. Throw those rocks.

ALEX: So it'll hit the two chieftains.

MATT: Right there?

ALEX: Yeah and then I'll hit the two in front.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

ALEX: Then one of the ones in the back because I'm doing five which is all my stamina.

MATT: Sure.

ALEX: So I'm going to roll five d20s here.

SAM: Dude, you have five d20s?

ALEX: I do.

SAM: I have one.

ALEX: Okay, first one is going to be a what's one--

MARISHA: You're the anomaly here, not us.

ALEX: 17.

MATT: Hits.

ALEX: That one's going to be above a 17. So I assume it hits.

MATT: Hits.

ALEX: That one is a natural one, so no.

MATT: Nope.

ALEX: Then that's a 15, 16.

MATT: Hits.

ALEX: And an 18.

MATT: Hits.

ALEX: Okay, great.

MATT: So those two and those two hit.

ALEX: Yeah.

MATT: So for the two chieftains.

ALEX: Two chieftains, that is 1d4 plus five.

MATT: Chiefs, as they're called in the game.

ALEX: So first one is--

MARISHA: Chiefs.

SAM: The chiefs.

ALEX: Eight points of damage, eight magic damage. Next one is seven points of magic damage.

MATT: Seven points of magic.

ALEX: Then nine points of magic damage.

BRENNAN: Wow.

ALEX: And seven points of magic damage.

MATT: (explosions) The two pebbles hit the two chieftains in the head. (squelches loudly) You see one of them, their eye is now partially blown out the sock. A little bit of crimson is running down its face. (snarls loudly) Starts screaming. The other one took it heavy to the throat and there's a big lump already swelling. These two both just get pierced by it. It really cuts through them leaving a solid hole. They both just (groans) collapse to the ground, the life leaving them.

ALEX: All right, awesome, awesome.

MATT: All right, who's next?

ALEX: All my stamina.

MATT: Actually, well, no, end of the turn. They're both going to take their counters, the second counters for the chieftains. They're both going to take additional strikes. (laughter)

ALEX: Well, wait, no, because spells, I can still use stamina to dodge and block. Yeah, okay.

MATT: Since you're right in that space, I'm going to say this one here's going to come towards you. This one's going to go ahead and keep focused on... No, you fucking threw a fireball. It's going to come after you, too. As they both dart over in this space--

SAM: Marcus, no.

MATT: -- and are going to arc towards you.

ALEX: I'm fine. Don't worry.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: Damn, okay, so that is 14 points of physical.

MARISHA: Marcus.

MATT: 14 points of physical.

ALEX: 14 points of physical. Okay, I'm going to go ahead and block with my shield. I'm going to try blocking. I haven't done that yet.

MATT: Go for it.

ALEX: 14. Wait, wait, wait, I'll use the d20.

BRENNAN: Ooh.

ALEX: 14.

BRENNAN: Glad I blocked, because a dodge would've just wasted a stamina. That's a five.

MATT: So 14 points of physical to you.

ALEX: That's a 19.

MATT: 19, you reduce it by an additional d6.

ALEX: With the shield, my Carian Glintstone Shield, I reduce it by a d8.

MATT: Great, hell yeah.

BRENNAN: I reduced that by three, so.

MATT: Got it.

ALEX: By seven. How much was the damage?

MATT: The damage was 14.

ALEX: 14 minus so--

MATT: So minus three and the minus your armor.

ALEX: Oh yeah, there's my armor.

MATT: Okay, that finishes their reactions and counters. Who else wants to go this turn if they haven't already?

SAM: I will draw my bastard sword and scrape it along the rock wall, making sparks fly as I jam it two-handed into the one that's severely hurt.

MATT: They're both pretty hurt. The one that's hurt the most would be this one--

SAM: Her.

MATT: There, yeah

SAM: Yeah, yeah, I'm going for her.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: 11 plus six to hit, 17.

MATT: That hits. Roll for damage.

SAM: Okay. I'm using two-handed strike, yes. Come on, d12. 13 plus two, so 15 points of damage.

MATT: Great. The blade carves through across the shoulder and it's caught in the upper chest area in the armor. (snarls loudly) The creature reaches up and then grabs the blade. Looks you in the face (snarls loudly) before yanking and pulling it out of their own flesh back.

SAM: As they're pulling it out, I'm going to force it back down and hit again with the same sword.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: 18 plus six to hit.

MATT: That definitely hits, roll damage.

SAM: Same, everything. Come on, 12 plus everything. 17, 22 points of damage.

BRENNAN: Woo!

MARISHA: Woo!

MATT: You hit him and being pulled back out of the wound, you (grunts) all the way down, sinks even lower into the shoulder. It's now about two inches past where the top is. (snarls loudly) The creature screams in pain at your face. Blood (squelches loudly) begins to spill out of its chin. It looks very hurt.

SAM: Okay, that's probably all I can do. So I'm just going to stand locked with it with my sword embedded.

MATT: All righty, anybody else?

KRYSTINA: I'm going to. Wait. First, I'm going to ask, is everyone good on hit points? Everybody is?

ALEX: I'm at half.

SAM: For now.

MARISHA: I'm okay, yeah, I'm all right.

KRYSTINA: Define okay.

MARISHA: I'm just 10 down. I'm still pretty good.

BRENNAN: About 80%, I'm good.

MARISHA: Yeah, also about 80%.

SAM: Marcus is rough, but he's not a believer, so-- (laughter)

ALEX: I'm unimportant. It's fine. Do what you're going to do.

KRYSTINA: All right. So I am going to take this opportunity to attack all of the remaining standing beast.

MATT: Oh ho ho ho.

KRYSTINA: If I'm going to attack a beast--

MATT: Do you want to shift over here to get all of them in the front of you?

KRYSTINA: Yeah!

MATT: All righty, go for it.

KRYSTINA: A beast claw!

MATT: Okay.

SAM: (howls)

KRYSTINA: I'm going to go after all of them and again (whooshes) pull them out. They come out in a cone. So this time I would like to shoot it out and have them surround them and just have the blades surround surround. Then just (whooshes)

MATT: They just carve and rake through them like--

KRYSTINA: How many of them are left standing?

MATT: -- scythes. There are one, two, three, four. Four standing, currently.

ALEX: Six.

SAM: ♪ I'm still standing ♪

ALEX: Four.

MATT: First one is?

KRYSTINA: That's a 15 plus five, so that's a natural 20.

MARISHA: Yes.

MATT: Natural 20 on the first one?

KRYSTINA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: So that's a natural 20 on him.

KRYSTINA: Then it's a 13. Then it's a natural one, which is a six after everything is said and done.

MATT: This is?

KRYSTINA: And then an 11.

MATT: Okay, got you. The 11 actually just hits on the last one there.

KRYSTINA: Yay.

MATT: The little guy. So you do miss that one, the one that's the most wounded, but the other three, you do manage to hit. So go ahead and roll damage and then they'll just all take the same damage. That'll keep it easy.

MARISHA: Does that nat 20 get doubled?

KRYSTINA: So that's eight, 11, 12, 13.

MATT: Was it a natural 20 or was it 20 total?

KRYSTINA: No, it was a natural 20.

MATT: Oh, then it would be double the dice on that first guy.

KRYSTINA: Okay. So then it's going to be-- I just counted this, I'm dumb. Yeah, so that's eight plus five

MATT: 13 on the first. Or eight, 16. Yeah, he's dead.

SAM: Yay.

BRENNAN: Woo!

MATT: The blade just carves through him. He's like, (wet slice, shriek) Just crumples into pieces in the ground. Then it's eight plus you said five for the rest of them?

KRYSTINA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay, so 13 and 13 there. He's also (whooshes) taken out in the back there. All the little dudes have now been sundered. The two are standing.

KRYSTINA: Heh heh, sundered.

MATT: They're both (panting snarls) looking angry and furious. All of their current companions in the middle of this desolate withered cave have now been brought low to the ground and you can see the rage and fury building in their eyes. Does this finish the player turn?

BRENNAN: I have one last thing I can do. I don't know if anyone else has any other actions?

ALEX: No, I'm out.

BRENNAN: Cool. I'm just going to take a swing with a battleaxe.

MATT: Go for it.

BRENNAN: That's going to be a 15 to hit.

MATT: 15 hits. Against which one of the two?

BRENNAN: I'll do whichever one is looking sadder.

MATT: Got it, that's the one that your blade is still stuck in right now?

SAM: My blade is stuck into, yes.

BRENNAN: Okay. (laughter)

BRENNAN: I look at you and say: I like your work! Oh, that's an eight on the die, that's going to be a 12.

MATT: 12. It carves in (whoosh) and you now have two blades, two weapons stuck into this creature. (snarls)

SAM: Symmetry.

BRENNAN: Ah, it's really hard. It's dense like wood, like chopping wood, you know.

SAM: Yes, it is, I can't get it out.

MATT: (growls) Angrily, it growls beneath the impact and pain of your two weapons. Does that finish the player turn?

ALEX: Yeah, I think so.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: All right. Retribution turn is up.

MARISHA: Retribution turn?

MATT: The one that's there against the two of you is going to go into a furious dagger combo. It's going to-- It's three strikes. So it's going to take one, two, three.

SAM: Sure.

BRENNAN: (nervous noise)

MATT: So taking this here.

MARISHA: Which one is this? The big guy? Or the other big guy?

MATT: They're both big. It's the one that they have both their blades stuck into is going to swing out with its daggers multiple times. So against you, that's going to be 12 points of physical damage.

SAM: Yeah. I'll try to block it. I'll block it, why not?

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Just with my sword, I guess.

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: 15 plus one, 16 to block.

MATT: That'll block it. So you get to reduce the damage by d6. And your--

SAM: Four. Oh yeah, that's right. What was his roll?

MATT: It was 12.

SAM: I rolled four and an eight.

MATT and SAM: No damage.

MATT: The blade streaks across the edge of your sword as you parry to the side. Against you, Brigidda, that is going to be 14 physical damage.

BRENNAN: Okay, let's go ahead-- 14 physical damage. Let's go ahead and try to dodge that.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll for your dodge.

BRENNAN: 22.

MATT: 22. You pull your axe free right as the blade comes towards you and just roll backwards out of the way. (whoosh) It goes free into the air--

SAM: Hey, come back! I need you.

MATT: As it comes towards you for 22 points of physical damage.

SAM: I will use Step In. I'll just take it.

MATT: Okay. (laughs)

BRENNAN: Wow.

SAM: But I will drive the blade deeper and lower as I do.

MATT: Okay, so 22 minus your armor roll. And then--

SAM: Oh, yes, armor. Two, so 20.

MATT: That's 20 points of physical damage. Go ahead and roll your attack.

SAM: Uh-huh, okay.

MARISHA: Uh-huh.

SAM: 14 plus six.

MATT: 14 plus six. How do you want to do this? (cheering)

MARISHA: Huzzah.

SAM: I've been watching the show for years. I've never got a chance to do this. (laughter) The blade is already partially sunken into this creature. So I will just lock eyes with it--

MATT: (growls)

SAM: -- and just say: I want my cat! I will push the blade further and further down towards its mid-section.

SAM: It strikes upward, sticks its own blade in your abdomen as you're doing that. (mutual groaning)

MATT: You push it onto the ground, pushing your blade all the way through to (wet slurping sound) separates in the center. (laughs)

SAM: Oh god. Ah!

MATT: (laughs)

SAM: (groans in pain)

BRENNAN: That was really hot.

SAM: Thank you. I mean, I didn't try to do it in a hot way. But if it came out in a hot way--

BRENNAN: But you did.

SAM: I'm not going to fight it.

BRENNAN: You don't always plan for these things.

ALEX: There's a je ne sais quoi about you.

SAM: I don't know what that means.

ALEX: It's something we say back home. It's funny. Just never mind.

SAM: This guy.

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: The other one is going to go ahead and do its dagger combo.

SAM: He just doesn't quite get it.

MATT: It's going to dart back and forth between the Prophetess and the warrior over here. It's going to (whooshes) to strike each of you. So for your first--

MARISHA: Not her, not her, just me! No.

MATT: First, it does 20 points of physical damage.

BRENNAN: (grunts)

SAM: Oh, no.

MATT: You can--

SAM: But she's the chosen one.

MATT: Do you have any stamina to try and avoid?

BRENNAN: Can you dodge or do anything?

KRYSTINA: I could do something. But I'm going to-- I'm just going to let it ride for the moment.

MATT: Okay. So reduce the amount by your armor roll, your armor dice. Two, all right. So it makes it 18 points of physical damage to you.

SAM: She's is fine.

MATT: For you, Marisha, that is going to be 14 points of physical damage.

MARISHA: I... will... parry? (laughter)

SAM: Parry?

MARISHA: Parry.

SAM: (French accent) Ah, Paris. (laughter) I love it there. It has a je ne sais quoi to it.

MARISHA: It does.

MATT: Oh, my god.

MARISHA: Right? Right?

ALEX: Am I saying it right?

ALEX: Am I saying--

MATT: (laughs)

SAM: To be fair, that's how French people really are.

KRYSTINA: It's pronounced gaslit.

BRENNAN: It's a rough gig being the sole voice of reason in The Lands Between. That's really rough, man. I'm so sorry.

ALEX: I'm starting to think it's me. I'm starting to think I'm not--

MATT: Look, you do any multiplayer in Soulsborne games, and you feel like the only person who knows what they're doing. Everyone shows up in weird hats. (laughter)

ALEX: I thought it was supposed to look cool.

MATT: Is that Shrek? What the?

MARISHA: 15.

MATT: 15. 15... will block. So you reduce the damage by a d6 on top of your armor.

MARISHA: Did not stagger. Ugh, yuck.

MATT: So 14 minus--

MARISHA: Oh, right, wait. A d6 plus my armor?

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: So 2d6?

MATT: Because you did block, yeah.

MARISHA: Okay, okay, okay.

ALEX: Did you roll two ones in a row?

MARISHA: I rolled a one and a two.

MATT: Oh, okay.

MARISHA: It's pretty weak.

MATT: So 11 points--

MARISHA: What should I--

MATT: 11 points of physical damage. Then back to you, Prophetess. That is-- okay. 18 points of physical damage.

MARISHA: (gasps)

KRYSTINA: Okay. I'm going to block.

MATT: Okay.

KRYSTINA: Duh.

MARISHA: Natural 20.

KRYSTINA: Natural 20. (cheering)

ALEX: You're the Prophet!

SAM: You're the Prophet! You can see the future!

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: The divine prominence that has been granted--

SAM: You're a devil!

MATT: -- via visions to the Prophetess.

KRYSTINA: I love you so much.

MARISHA: I got it from you.

MATT: (laughs)

MARISHA: It just... And then back. It's a feedback...

BRENNAN: Bro, bro, come on. Come on, bro. Bro. Bro.

ALEX: I believe in you. You did something that I saw!

BRENNAN: Don't try to make a subjective, philosophical, like, it's all relative. This, she's the real deal, man.

MATT: (laughs)

MARISHA: Her eyes--

ALEX: She did something. It was her!

MARISHA: Her eyes are mine, and mine are hers. It is a constant feedback loop. Why don't you see it?

BRENNAN: Koo koo kachoo. (laughter)

MATT: So it's a perfect block. You take zero damage.

KRYSTINA: And is there any--

SAM: Are they staggered?

MATT: And they are staggered.

SAM: Ooh.

ALEX: Oh.

BRENNAN: Woo!

MATT: So as you-- in that moment, the pain from the first strike hits you. You watch as they swing over towards Kara and then swings back towards you. Without even thinking, full-on Neo in The Matrix slow block. You just, shield comes up. (boof) Whack! And just slam it back in their face. (snarls) You can see now, they already had one eye blown out. The other one now is currently held back, and they're just having a rough day.

KRYSTINA: But I can answer that, right?

MATT: Well, you can now because it's the player turn. They're done.

ALEX: Yeah.

SAM: That was their whole turn?

MATT: Yeah.

KRYSTINA: Oh.

SAM: Whoa.

MATT: Yes?

SAM: We get all our stamina back.

KRYSTINA: So any movement doesn't mess with them on the stagger? There's only one movement allowed after he's already staggered, right? That would have the advantage?

MATT: Correct, only one attack gets advantage against him, yeah.

KRYSTINA: Okay, great. Then I'm going to use that opportunity to take my holy water pot and... He's staggered, staggered? So I could walk up to him at this point?

MATT: Yeah.

KRYSTINA: Okay. So I'd like to get really, really close and take the holy water pot, put it between my fingers like this, and walk up to him, and then slam it in his mouth.

SAM: Ooh.

MATT: (pained snarl)

MARISHA: Yes.

BRENNAN: (laughs)

MATT: Okay, so roll--

KRYSTINA: Oh, I get advantage.

MATT: You do.

MARISHA: Come on.

KRYSTINA: All right, so that's a 16. Plus... Oh, dirty 20.

MATT: Dirty 20. That definitely hits. Go ahead and roll the damage to the holy pot plus 1d12.

KRYSTINA: I don't have a d12, I don't think. Oh, no, no, that's--

BRENNAN: That's d12, right there.

KRYSTINA: Is it?

BRENNAN: Yeah.

KRYSTINA: Oh, I don't use it, so I don't know what it looks like. (laughter)

MATT: If I had a nickel.

KRYSTINA: All right, so let's see. That is three points plus five. So eight.

MATT: Eight points of holy damage to it. Jam it in its mouth. (grunts, exhales) This holy smoke apparates from it. The smoke has an incense-like censer burning scent to it, like a faint clove essence to it. It's rather nice--

ALEX: Nag Champa.

MATT: -- brimming forth from the creature's jaw. (snarls) It's looking hurt. That was definitely a rough hit on its gullet.

SAM: Nice, nice. It's all of our turns now. Correct?

MARISHA: He's still alive.

MATT: You can keep going if you want to, the stamina. Anybody else can jump in if you want to.

MARISHA: Is he still-- He's no longer staggered, correct?

MATT: No longer staggered, correct.

KRYSTINA: I do want to take-- I want to do something, but--

MATT: Yeah.

KRYSTINA: I want to take the opportunity.

BRENNAN: Yeah, do your thing.

KRYSTINA: At that moment, the Prophetess falls over, and... She goes: Ah! All of a sudden, a giant burst of light comes out of her. She is going to cast Heal.

SAM: Oh.

MATT: Okay.

KRYSTINA: So that she can not only heal herself, but all of the people around her get healed for a 2d8 plus five.

MARISHA: I love you, yes.

BRENNAN: Oh my god.

SAM: That's a lot.

ALEX: I could use it.

MARISHA: Healers, man.

KRYSTINA: All right, so that is seven. Eight, nine, 10, 11, 12. So you each get 12 points damage.

SAM: Nice.

ALEX: Woo!

BRENNAN: Back to full. Oh my god.

KRYSTINA: I get full. Oh, wait. Was that plus five? Did I do plus five? How much did I say?

BRENNAN: You got a seven and a five, which is 12, and then plus five.

KRYSTINA: Okay. Oh, plus five, yeah.

MARISHA: Oh, plus another five?

KRYSTINA: So 17 points you get.

SAM: Oh, dang.

KRYSTINA: Then I get 4d8 plus five.

BRENNAN: Wow, wow.

SAM: That really helps.

KRYSTINA: All right, so that's seven.

MARISHA: That's great.

KRYSTINA: Eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14--

ALEX: Yeah, much more.

KRYSTINA: 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

ALEX: Much better now.

KRYSTINA: So 19 points of damage back, which I got 20 so, boom. She's right back where she--

MATT: That's fantastic. Heck yeah.

BRENNAN: Wow. Wow, wow, wow.

KRYSTINA: Still don't believe? (laughter)

ALEX: No, that was one of my-- That's very helpful. I believe in that. That was great. But I'm not-- I didn't say magic didn't exist. I was, in fact, doing it a minute ago.

BRENNAN: But you kind of did, you know? Remember we got out of the cave? You're like, "I don't think magic real." Remember you said that?

ALEX: No, I didn't say that.

BRENNAN: I don't know. I don't remember. I was missing my pig. Okay.

MATT: (laughs)

ALEX: I can understand, yeah.

BRENNAN: You were so good. Do you need anything? You want pillow massage?

ALEX: Look, I just go-- I take my spear. I'm going to make three strikes with the spear.

MATT: Nice, three strikes!

ALEX: No, two strikes, because I don't have enough stamina to do three.

MATT: There you go.

ALEX: It's going to cost two. So I'll do two strikes with the spear. Okay. One is... 14.

MATT: 14 hits.

ALEX: The other is eight.

MATT: Eight misses.

ALEX: Uh-huh.

MATT: But you got one strike off on it.

ALEX: All right, so that's... Eight points of physical.

MATT: Eight points of physical damage to it. (whooshes) The spear hits it. (snarls) Takes the impact, but it's still holding strong.

MARISHA: Goddamn it!

MATT: The other one was the one that got wrecked really early. This one's taken some wounds, but it's still holding on.

BRENNAN: I'm going to run in and try to set up Kara Gen again.

MARISHA: All right.

MATT: Okay.

BRENNAN: I'm going to go-- I'm going to not preserve any of my stamina for reaction. I'm just going to take two Power Swings again, and try to create that block.

MATT: Okay, so you take your first Power Swing. Go ahead and roll for attack.

BRENNAN: Okay, first Power Swing here. Oh, that's going to be a 21 to hit.

MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

BRENNAN: That's going to be-- ooh.

ALEX: Ooh, ooh!

BRENNAN: Eight plus six is 14, and the perfect block range comes down the next time someone tries to block it. So yeah, 14 damage. I'll go for Power Swing. I'll go for Power Swing--

MATT: At the end of your first attack, it's going to use a counter to shoulder check you. That's going to be 13 points of physical damage.

BRENNAN: Take it.

MATT: Okay, boom.

SAM: ♪ Take it ♪

MARISHA: ♪ To the limit ♪

BRENNAN: Okay, Power Swing number two coming in.

MATT: Let's do it.

BRENNAN: That's 22.

MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

BRENNAN: That's going to be 10-- 12 points of damage.

MATT: 12 points of damage, as you just start carving with your axe. (smashes) It's starting to-- Sections of its armor are starting to fall free. You can see now the bony, malformed ribcage beneath the skin. It's pushed against it. As you begin to carve away, you can see the muscle exposed. It's starting to flail about angrily, taken over by the rage of pain.

BRENNAN: I think, in order to try to get it to target Kara Gen, I'm going to wail on it with my battleaxe, and then do an acrobatic barbarian backwards somersault to the range increment away from it to try to give it fewer targets to hit.

MATT: You got it.

MARISHA: Cool.

MATT: All right, so from there, you rush forward (whooshes) and dart backward, leaving it in the open. You got it. Who's up next?

MARISHA: As Bri somersaults backwards, I'm going to slide under her with my scimitar and pop out (grunts) coming out from behind.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Okay, okay. 17.

MATT: 17 hits.

MARISHA: That is seven damage.

MATT: Seven damage. It's going to use its second counter to go ahead and shoulder check you for 13 points of physical damage.

ALEX: Block, do the block, do the block.

MARISHA: Parry.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Oh, you're doing it now.

MARISHA: I'm doing it now.

BRENNAN: Do my two stack? Is that four? Because it's two each time.

MATT: I'll allow it.

BRENNAN: Cool.

MATT: Because it's just extra stamina to build up for that. That's mainly the point there.

SAM: You said parry last time, but it's a new round.

MARISHA: I did, okay, okay, hang on. You're right. I just want to make sure I'm tracking my focus points. I didn't track them before.

MATT: There it is. Perry Mason, if you will.

MARISHA: Parry. So what's my range?

BRENNAN: You get another minus four just from my Power Swings.

ALEX: So a...

MARISHA: So 17, plus my--

MATT: So 13 plus.

ALEX: 13 plus, yeah.

BRENNAN: Wow, wow, wow.

MARISHA: Come on, come on. Not that one. I don't believe in that one.

ALEX: Whoa.

KRYSTINA: I believe in you.

MARISHA: Don't fuck me, Gil. I rolled a natural one. (groaning)

MATT: No! (laughs)

SAM: Oh, Gil.

MARISHA: Fucking Gil, goddamn it.

MATT: (laughs) So no block, unfortunately. 12 points of physical damage reduced by your armor roll.

MARISHA: Okay, so that's eight points of damage. Not too bad. Bummer. That's okay.

MATT: It's a worthy setup. Them's the dice.

BRENNAN: Bri behind you is like: No, it's great. It's like foreshadowing. When this goes off in the final-final battle, going to be huge. We teased it so much. It's going to be awesome.

MATT: The Prophetess really does speak through you. (battle cry) I'm going to attack again.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: One, that's two stamina, so two more stamina. Man, that's-- That's a natural 18. Where were you?

BRENNAN: (laughs)

MARISHA: Okay. That's a six on a d6. So that's nine damage.

MATT: Nine points of damage.

MARISHA: No, sorry, 10 damage, 10 damage.

MATT: 10 damage, you got it. All right, so angrily, you come back, cut through once more, a heavy blow to its back. (snarls) It's bleeding heavily. It's looking rough.

ALEX: Jeez, god.

MARISHA: Someone put it to bed.

ALEX: I'm going to use my last stamina to drink a Flask of Cerulean Tears--

MATT: You got it.

ALEX: Because I am very low on focus points.

MATT: You got it.

SAM: I haven't acted on this round, so I'm going to just get right in front of this monster's grill and put the bastard sword away and draw the longsword and my shield.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

SAM: I'm just going to do a strategy poke, poke, poke.

MATT: (laughs) Okay, go for it.

SAM: Multi-attack with the longsword, thrusting--

MATT: Okay.

SAM: So I get a plus two to the attack bonus. 13 plus a lot, so 19.

MATT: That hits.

SAM: Okay. Should I do damage now?

MATT: Just roll all the attacks. That's fine.

SAM: Okay. 12 plus eight is 20.

MATT: That hits.

SAM: And 19 plus a ton.

MATT: That hits.

SAM: Okay, so d8, d8, d8. Five plus... Plus three is eight. Four. Five. That's it, total.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Eight, four, five.

MATT: Stab, stab, pull back, stab. It's doubling over. It looks like it's barely holding on. You can see the heavy strings of saliva and blood dripping from its mouth onto the bottom of the cave floor. Anybody else got anything?

ALEX: I'm out.

SAM: With my last remaining time, I'll say-- Oh, no, no, she's no set up to do her parry. So forget it, nope, not going to say anything.

MARISHA: No, no.

SAM: I'm just going to stay and get ready.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: So okay, okay, wait, though, wait, wait. It's looking bad, it's looking bad?

MATT: It's looking real bad.

MARISHA: I'm going to use my last two stamina that I've been saving in case it hit me to do another attack.

MATT: Okay.

BRENNAN: Ooh.

MARISHA: Hoping that this bitch is going to go down.

ALEX: Get it, get it, get it.

MARISHA: Come on.

ALEX: Is that another one?

MARISHA: It's a two.

ALEX: Oh.

SAM: (laughs)

BRENNAN: But a plus?

MARISHA: Oh, five. So seven.

MATT: That's a miss, unfortunately.

MARISHA: Yeah, okay, okay.

MATT: (whoosh) Too excited, you manage to avoid hitting it. Is that it?

ALEX: I know you like the Prophetess, but just focus on what you're good at.

KRYSTINA: As he's over here talking cat shit about the Prophetess- (laughter)

KRYSTINA: I would like to grab my club, and use my Power Swing.

MATT: Go for it.

ALEX: You have a Power Swing?

KRYSTINA: I do, hater.

MATT: The bigger weapons, yeah.

MARISHA: (laughs)

BRENNAN: Wait, can I look right at Marcus and be like: Listen. Whether you have two souls, four souls, I don't know how many souls you have. If this work, you got to-- You got to do it.

MATT: (laughs)

BRENNAN: If this work, you got to do it.

KRYSTINA: Okay, so that is an 18.

MATT: That hits.

MARISHA: (laughs)

ALEX: Look, I didn't agree to this.

BRENNAN: But it's pretty much like, yeah, you did.

MARISHA: (laughs)

KRYSTINA: So that's--

MARISHA: "Pretty much like, yeah, you did." (laughs)

KRYSTINA: 1d6, so that's three. So six points plus two. So that's eight points damage.

MATT: Eight points of damage. How do you want to do this?

KRYSTINA: Yes.

MARISHA: Oh!

BRENNAN: Bro, my bro!

SAM: Mwah, mwah, mwah, mwah, mwah.

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: (snarls)

KRYSTINA: So. Literally, as he's over here talking about why the Prophetess ain't about shit.

ALEX: That's not what I said.

KRYSTINA: It's what I heard.

MATT: (laughs)

KRYSTINA: Doesn't matter what you said. So she's going to come up and just start running and go (yells).

SAM: I'll put my shield out to give you something to jump off of.

KRYSTINA: Oh, hell yeah. So she bounces off of the shield and goes: Ah, bwah! She comes down straight across his dome, but it's a full-on connection. You just see, as the club hits his face, he goes-- (low-pitched slow sounds)

SAM: Oh, slow motion.

MATT: There's a heavy snapping sound as the skull is thrown to the side, the neck breaking upon impact as it (thumps) limply hits the ground and is no longer--

KRYSTINA: Then she puts her foot on its dome, and she looks at Twin-Souls Marcus.

ALEX: What?

KRYSTINA: She just goes: Yah!

BRENNAN: Oh my god.

SAM: I'll throw up some bone pieces to make it look like--

BRENNAN: The blood spatter perfectly spell out, "I have not come to bring peace, but to bring the club." (laughter) Can you believe that? What are the odds?

ALEX: No, I don't.

BRENNAN: What are the odds of that, Marcus Twin-Soul? What are the odds of that?

KRYSTINA: You can find me in the club, bottles full of bub.

MATT: As the heavy taunting echoes through the cavern--

ALEX: Look, I can go. I can just not be a part of the group. It's fine. (laughter)

MATT: We're going to take a break. (cheering)

MATT: So we'll come back and do the looting rewards from that miniboss encounter here when we return. We're going to take a break here, and we'll see you shortly. (cheering)

Break[]

Narrator 1: The tarnished will soon return. (dramatic music) Narrator 2: Someone must extinguish thy flame. Narrator 1: They will fight and they will die. For how else is a champion to be born? (dramatic music) (dragon roars) (dragon's head crashes) (dramatic music)

MARISHA: Hey Critters, it's me, Marisha Ray. I had exactly a minute and a half of free time today, so I thought I'd make a little unboxing video for y'all unpacking everything you get with a Twitch subscription to Critical Role. (bright music) Okay. Safety third. (ethereal voices laughing) What the fuck was that? (Marisha exclaiming in awe) So the first thing we've got here is our live and professionally-moderated chat. Twitch is the only place that you can actually get this. You know, it's a little strange to hold because it's an amorphous concept, but honestly, you can't deny this craftsmanship. It's really well made and, aw, oh, you can post links in this too! That's really cool, so yeah. Put that in your chat and click it. Oh yeah, this is cool. This is the ability to watch all of Critical Role's VODs immediately after the live broadcast ends and before they're uploaded to YouTube. Oh, it smells like ranch. Oh wait. Oh no, that's me. I had ranch on my salad earlier. Yeah, this smells like nothing. Oh, oh, here we have (Marisha grunting) gift subscriptions, which you can either give to a fellow Critter by name or at random using a fancy Twitch algorithm. You can give away a lot of subs with this, which I guess is why it's so heavy for something that's technically non-tangible with a value that's deeply subjective to the consumer. Oh, sick, yeah, I'm so excited to show y'all this part. With a Twitch subscription to Critical Role, you can use all of our incredible custom emotes in chat. We have so many emotes in here. Let's see, we art dad, super cool. We got Ashley hype, fun one. Look at Trinket here. He's so, oh, oh god. (clattering and crashing) Oh god. Broom, broom. Hang on, I can fix this. I can fix this. I'm fixing it! Jerry! Oh god, okay. I'm sorry, Trinket. (machine whirring) Yeah, that'll work. I need more glue, this is not gonna be enough. (tape ripping) Don't tell Rachel, okay? Okay, please nobody. (metal clanking) Schapiro, will you cut all this out? (electronic buzzing)

Part II[]

MATT: And welcome back. As we left off our troop of... heroes. Sorry. Having just finished their combat in the center of the subterranean caves heading up towards Stormhill. Encountering these demi-humans, as well as the chiefs of their odd central cavern, I don't know, play space, I guess you would call.

MARISHA: Fisher-Price.

MATT: There you go. That would be a very different brand. But in the space you gather, and looking through the materials that are left behind, one, you all gain 54 Runes.

SAM: Dude.

BRENNAN: Wow!

MATT: From the miniboss level.

SAM: That's so many Runes.

MATT: As well as finding two fire pots.

ALEX: Ooh.

MATT: For anybody who wishes to use them, you can pass them amongst yourselves there.

MARISHA: What's a fire pot?

MATT: Three smithing stones.

SAM: Ooh, we've got more than three now.

MARISHA: Ooh. Ooh!

MATT: Amongst the collections that you find, there is a somewhat--

MARISHA: These are good, these are good.

MATT: A shiny-looking bell that you clear off a little bit, and a small orb that contains a bit of ash within it. This is specifically--

SAM: An orb ash.

MATT: Lone Wolf Ashes.

SAM: What? Blood wolf?

MARISHA: I'm going to give this to the one that-- Oh, damn it. The one that also has wolf.

SAM: I have a wolf in my title. Oh, and I get this. Oh, what is this?

MATT: You can use your focus points, or anybody who is holding the bell, at least.

SAM: Ring your Summoning Bell to summon the spirits of three wolves to fight for you.

BRENNAN: Wow.

KRYSTINA: Stop it.

SAM: Whoa, I knew my name meant something. (laughter)

KRYSTINA: You now have three cats.

SAM: Oh. Well, they're not-- They're canine, but okay. (laughter)

KRYSTINA: Well, you know.

SAM: You're right, Prophet, about everything, in a way, aren't all wolves just cats with longer legs? (laughter)

KRYSTINA: I think the biggest moral of it is do they dance? Because cats don't dance.

SAM: I did not know that.

SAM: There's only one way to find out.

KRYSTINA: Summon the wolves!

MATT: Continuing further up the path, you step into a small sub-chamber where a familiar golden glow draws your attention and there you see, sparkling, curling in that space what appears to be a Site of Lost Grace.

MARISHA: Oh boy, oh boy.

MATT: Taking a moment to rest there, you are, one, able to restore your health and focus points. Your Flasks return to you refilled.

SAM: This is amazing.

MATT: While you are here, you are able to spend your Runes to upgrade any of your attributes on the list, if you'd like.

MARISHA: Oh my god.

SAM: Man oh man, so many upgrades that we could do.

MARISHA: Exactly.

SAM: "Physical and magical defense--" oh man, we should have plotted this out from break.

MARISHA: Yeah, I know, before the break, I didn't think about it.

SAM: I'm just going to grab stuff randomly, I guess.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: Sure. Like a true Souls player.

BRENNAN: Are we allowed to double up on the same perk if we have--

MATT: Yeah, if you have enough for it.

BRENNAN: Sick. God!

SAM: Okay, okay, so if I do 40 there, then I'll have 45 left. If you do that for 25, and I'll have 20 left, I can put it on a gift card. (laughter)

KRYSTINA: It's like those memes where they're like, "You can build your perfect team. You can spend five to get Steph Currie. You can spend six to get... somebody else that plays basketball." (laughter)

SAM: Larry Bird? I don't, I don't--

KRYSTINA: Scottie Pippen.

MATT: There you go, we'll go with that one.

MARISHA: Okay.

ALEX: Scottie Pippen.

MARISHA: Are we calling this out, or are we just doing it?

MATT: It's up to you.

BRENNAN: Yeah. Yeah, we can talk through this a little bit.

MATT: Yeah.

BRENNAN: Nothing's better than stamina, right? Nothing's better than being able to do more stuff, and stamina is the fundamental engine of the game, right? So that's why it's the most expensive. But I would say that it's pretty-- it's hard to beat that. The only thing-- Getting more focus points is really good, if you feel like you're constantly running out of focus points. I think all of the incremental bonuses-- the swing on a d20 is pretty wide.

ALEX: Yeah.

BRENNAN: So if you're only getting a plus one on a d20 roll, it's only a 5%. It's not the biggest--

MARISHA: Incremental chance.

BRENNAN: Very incremental, how many rolls are we going to have for the rest of the one-shot, right? You could roll--

SAM: We're playing these characters forever, Brennan. I'm invested now. We're invested.

BRENNAN: We must get to the tree. I think the incremental stuff I don't think is that persuasive. I think the bonuses to focus points is really good. For me, that plus one die to all spell damage, because it's area of effect.

ALEX: Yeah.

BRENNAN: If there's eight enemies, that's 40 extra damage.

ALEX: Right.

BRENNAN: Right?

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah.

SAM: If there's 1,000 enemies, that 5,000 extra hit points.

ALEX: The math checks out.

BRENNAN: Matt, are you going to have us fight 1,000 enemies?

MATT: I'm waiting for the branding deal with any of the-- Oh, what are those games called?

SAM: Oh, the ones that you see on mobile games?

MATT: Yeah, I've done voices for it.

MARISHA: Wait, why can't we think of this right now?

KRYSTINA: Because you don't have the ad in front of you.

MATT: Yeah, yeah, yeah, you're talking about the-- Oh my god. The big--

KRYSTINA: Clash of--

MARISHA: Yes, the big-- They've got names.

SAM: Quick! Go to Facebook.

MARISHA: Oh my god.

MATT: Why would I go to Facebook?

KRYSTINA: Somebody just open your phone and--

ALEX: It's not a Facebook game. It's, like, a PlayStation game.

MATT: Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

ALEX: Dynasty Wars!

MATT: Dynasty Wars, thank you. Chinese folklore, yes. Dynasty Wars, go ahead-- (laughter) We'll have thousands of people for them to kill, it'll be great.

KRYSTINA: Boom, an ad for one of those things, but it wasn't that exact one.

MATT: Gotcha, no worries, but you got it.

ALEX: All right, the game we're playing.

MARISHA: So, the game we're playing. Not Dynasty Wars. Definitely Elden Ring. I am a little interested in the 35 Runes that increase physical and magic defense by one dice value. Because I feel like if I fail my parry, I get a little bit extra juicy juice there.

ALEX: Oh, I see, so it would go from a d6 to a d8, or a d8 to a d10.

MARISHA: Is that what it would be?

MATT: Yeah, for your armor.

MARISHA: So my armor would be from a d6 to a d8 instead? Okay.

MATT: Correct.

BRENNAN: Mathematically, unless you're moving from a d12 to a d20, all of the dice increments are by two, which on an average roll only increases it by one. So you're only preventing one point of damage.

SAM: Look at this dork over here.

MARISHA: I know, this is amazing.

KRYSTINA: Sorry for being brilliant.

SAM: I ain't no min-maxer. I'm just going to grab one stamina, one dodge, and one weapon attack bonus. Boom, done.

MATT: There you go.

BRENNAN: Teamwork makes the dream work. I love it.

KRYSTINA: I would like an extra stamina, I think.

BRENNAN: Extra stamina is so hard to argue against. Here's the thing, I could either grab another two stamina. Or I could do plus 10 focus points, and plus one die to all spell damage.

MATT: They're both pretty viable.

BRENNAN: Basically, do I want to be--

ALEX: You've got way less focus points.

BRENNAN: Yeah, I only have 16 focus points, so I could either become way more of a wizard, or be way more of a gish. Doing a lot more attacking and spell casting.

ALEX: I get it, you can take my job, it's fine. (laughter)

SAM: Let me complicate things even more. I got five extra Runes, here, take them.

BRENNAN: (gasps) Wow.

MATT: Technically, Runes are per player.

SAM: Give me those back.

MATT: Just from a balance standpoint.

BRENNAN: Very, very kind for you to consider to give me Runes.

MARISHA: I'll for sure also do the plus one stamina.

SAM: ♪ I have stamina ♪

MARISHA: ♪ I have stamina ♪ Okay.

ALEX: Yeah, I'll go ahead and do one stamina, and one die to all spell damage rolls.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

SAM: Oh, wait, maybe I'll take that back.

MATT: This'll be the next hour by the way, guys. Just so you know. Enjoy.

ALEX: The amount of time I spend in character creation and leveling up in the Souls games.

MARISHA: So my shield or weapon block, doesn't add to my perfect block?

MATT: It does not, those values remain the same.

MARISHA: Those remain the same.

KRYSTINA: I feel like I should increase my physical and magical defense.

SAM: Watch us level up with a game system you don't even understand. (laughter)

KRYSTINA: Maybe you're not the only ones.

MATT: Yet this is also a very accurate representation of playing Elden Ring in the same place, too.

BRENNAN: Everyone watching at home just with your mouths just make little noises of (high-pitched electronic sounds) Like we're navigating the little--

MATT: Exactly.

SAM: I'm getting rid of my dodge bonus, and I'm moving it towards FP, that's focus points.

MATT: That is correct.

MARISHA: Honestly, focus points--

MATT: Amp up the power.

MARISHA: -- is pretty damn good.

MATT: -- to learn skills.

SAM: ♪ (vocalizing) ♪ All right, I'm ready.

MATT: All righty.

SAM: Therefore we all are.

MATT: Pencils down.

MARISHA: 25 would give me plus five focus.

BRENNAN: It's funny, because stamina's so good, but I don't think I need more stamina. Because I'm always casting a spell every turn, it's like I always have a couple of extra stamina--

ALEX: Leftover.

BRENNAN: Leftover for dodging, and blocking, and shit. So I actually don't think it's optimal. Shit, doing this live on camera, it's hard.

SAM: We'll cut all of this out later,

BRENNAN: This could take days!

SAM: Oh no.

MARISHA: ♪ Character creation ♪

BRENNAN: I'm going to sink full spellcaster, I'm going to do 50 into getting ten more focus points. Then plus one die to all spell damage.

MATT: Great.

SAM: The rest on a gift card.

MARISHA: Okay. Okay. I've got 20-- Shit, 20 Runes left. I'm going to give me a plus one to my-- Yeah, my scimitar attack.

MATT: Do it.

MARISHA: Sure. Sure.

SAM: I will forge ahead down the path while they are discussing this.

ALEX: Great idea.

SAM: Searching for my cat.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: I am looking golden.

MATT: Moving forward, you begin to hear, not the gentle whistling of the beachside winds that were hitting the cliffs. But a stronger, heavier sound. There it is.

SAM: I don't hear anything.

MATT: (French accent) But you will shortly. This loud, heavy push (wind whooshing). As intense winds begin to blow in the space beyond, as you begin to step out from within the cavern to the upper portions of the hill above the cliffs, you enter Stormhill, where the stars begin to vanish through heavy clouds above, and the strong winds sending heavy dust in your direction.

BRENNAN: Do we use smithing stone shards here as well?

MATT: You can if you'd like to, yeah.

SAM: What do those do?

BRENNAN: "Discard three smithing shards to increase a single weapon's attack bonus, a weapon's damage, or a shield's block by plus one permanently."

SAM: Just a single weapon?

BRENNAN: Yep.

ALEX: So someone would have to?

BRENNAN: I think throwing this on Kara Gen's shield, that would be my pitch because--

SAM: Do it.

BRENNAN: Yeah.

SAM: Done, no arguments here.

MARISHA: So plus two to my buckler now, right?

BRENNAN: Yeah, your buckler is at plus one permanently.

MARISHA: Okay.

ALEX: Yeah, cool, that's good.

MARISHA: Let's do it, thank you.

SAM: Merci beaucoup. (laughter)

ALEX: Not going to lie, it took a minute.

KRYSTINA: Well done, Alex.

ALEX: I'm ready to--

MARISHA: Then we've got these fire pots, who wants the fire pot?

KRYSTINA: I want a fire pot.

MARISHA: You throw-- Yeah, take a fire pot.

SAM: Because you used yours already, right?

KRYSTINA: Well, I get them--

MATT: The items are one-use only.

KRYSTINA: Oh, get away from me.

BRENNAN: Prophetess, please take all the fire pots, take my fire pots as well.

KRYSTINA: Oh, I don't want to take your fire pots.

BRENNAN: I make fire pots with my body, I am the fire pot.

MARISHA: You don't have range? Take this then. (laughter)

MARISHA: That's horrible.

SAM: That was the worst. No, this'll definitely work.

MARISHA: Goddamn it.

MATT: This is great. (laughter)

ALEX: Take it, take it.

SAM: Thank you so much.

KRYSTINA: Make it, take it.

MATT: The sand and dust being kicked up by the wind stings your eyes, and you are forced to take what elements of cloth you have to wrap around your face to breathe easy. As you begin to trudge out into these fields, you can see the tall grass being pushed at a heavy angle, and then shifting dramatically as the winds seem to whip in odd directions at any given point in time. Your vision's a little obscured, but you can see there are roads ahead. Bits of old... carved pathways that have given way through history and this heavy issue of blasting winds. You can see some sort of a structure a little bit ahead and to the east. You can just barely make out the shadowed shape of Stormveil Castle ahead.

SAM: Forge forward, of course.

MARISHA: Do we see any patrol?

MATT: Roll a perception check.

MARISHA: Anyone in the skies? All right. 12.

MATT: 12.

ALEX: Such a heavy die.

MATT: You don't see any patrols. I'd say the best you can see is that small structure to the east. There's a slight glow coming from its direction.

MARISHA: A slight glow.

MATT: Correct.

SAM: Should we investigate?

ALEX: I'd prefer not to have something sneak up on us, if we decide to walk past it.

SAM: Fair.

BRENNAN: I'll try to look at the landscape again, just to try to see if there's another optimal path of approach.

MATT: Certainly.

BRENNAN: That is a 19 survival.

MATT: 19 survival, okay. Inspecting this space here with what limited visibility you have, and the details of the environment. It's pretty tough to really take in the topography beyond a certain point, it just becomes shapes in the dust. But from best that you can ascertain, most of the land continues to rise in a somewhat upward incline towards the precipice of this hill, where the castle itself is built upon. You gather, as most strongholds like this have walls around, there might be multiple means of ingress to the castle, depending on the paths you take to approach it.

MARISHA: What did you see?

BRENNAN: There are multiple ways for us to go in through here. Land is dust, everything is confusing. Possible we don't see enemy until too late, possible enemy don't see us until too late. Little bit of chaos, I'm afraid, but there are many ways to enter castle. Perhaps best just to be as quick as we can.

MARISHA: Quick or stealthy?

SAM: If only there was a way to know what will lie ahead.

BRENNAN: Headache, you need water?

KRYSTINA: No, I do believe that we should approach with caution, be as stealthy as possible.

SAM: Do you know my lucky numbers also? (laughter)

KRYSTINA: One, 29.

ALEX: Some sort of Powerball?

KRYSTINA: Seven, 33.

SAM: That's just amazing. (laughter)

MARISHA: Such a prodigy. All right.

BRENNAN: Let's be sneaky.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: All right, so you are heading towards where?

ALEX: Right, do we want to investigate that light in that thing?

SAM: I think so.

MATT: Okay, so everyone roll stealth, please.

KRYSTINA: (gasps) Natural 20.

MATT: Nice, hell yeah.

MARISHA: That's fine.

SAM: 13.

KRYSTINA: Whatcha got over there, Twin-Souls Marcus?

ALEX: Oh, I'm natural 19 with a plus three.

KRYSTINA: Ooh, you fancy.

ALEX: In full plate armor. (laughter)

BRENNAN: 14 for me.

MATT: Great.

MARISHA: 12.

MATT: Okay, all around you feel pretty confident in your ability. The wind being loud enough is helping keep you relatively unheard upon approach, and the low light and low visibility is aiding your progression as well. As you get ever closer to the structure, it begins to come into view. You notice that it is a dilapidated farm building. Partially collapsed, and there is a porch area where it seems a low fire has been lit, A campfire-esque setup. Expecting to turn the corner and possibly run into a number of soldiers, you glance through the tall grass. Instead, you see a single woman in a dark burgundy red cloak, who's wrapped up. Pushed off to the side, just out of sight, you can see a nervous glance in her eyes as she just ensures that nobody is sneaking up on her, and failing miserably.

SAM: Is this our girl?

MATT: This is not her, no, this is another individual.

MARISHA: Marisha doesn't trust it, but Kara Gen's like, "Ooh." (laughter)

BRENNAN: Okay.

ALEX: Lady.

KRYSTINA: That's bait.

MARISHA: Right?

BRENNAN: Vaguely.

KRYSTINA: Oh, you're just standing out here by yourself? I predict that's some bull.

BRENNAN: The Prophetess is wise. Yes, so what, eh. Oh, you just have a nice little seaside cottage where the tar octopus and the giant bats all hang out.

SAM: It's affordable real estate.

BRENNAN: I guess, probably. Yeah, probably very good.

SAM: But we must find out to be sure. Should we surround her and approach her from--

KRYSTINA: Considering all the attacks we've had, does it make any sense that someone would be standing just in the middle of a field?

MARISHA: What do you think, Marcus?

SAM: I literally have no idea how this world works. (laughter)

ALEX: I think it makes it difficult when you sarcastically prophesize things when you're also really prophesizing things, it gets confusing. (laughter) No, I think that... we should prepare, set up an ambush and then maybe one of us go talk to her and see what happens.

SAM: Should we draw her out, a cry for help, perhaps?

ALEX: No, I'll happily walk out there and talk to her if you all surround her and wait to see what happens. Then we can jump.

MARISHA: Do you have any more of those pebbles you can throw at her face?

ALEX: Yeah, I can just-- (laughter) I'm really good with pebbles, guys.

KRYSTINA: How about people?

ALEX: No, not good with people.

KRYSTINA: So this is-- Okay.

SAM: It's going to be great. Do you have a signal or something that you will use to call us in for help?

ALEX: Now.

SAM: Now.

MARISHA: Now, I got it.

BRENNAN: I'm going to go crawl up on the house and you say now, I blow up.

ALEX: Sure.

BRENNAN: Okay, good.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: You're going to crawl-- ah, okay. I'll stay in the grass. That feels like a safe option.

SAM: I'll do that, too.

MATT: You both stay in the grass. You clamber up the dilapidated farmhouse-like building.

ALEX: Unless you would like to go talk to her.

KRYSTINA: What if we went together?

ALEX: Sure.

KRYSTINA: And just approached it as, "Hello, fellow traveler," if you will.

ALEX: That was my plan.

KRYSTINA: If you'd like to carry it out by yourself--

ALEX: No, please, no, no, let's go.

KRYSTINA: I'm just saying, I--

ALEX: No, I'm very happy to.

KRYSTINA: I have a better bedside manner, as shown by past situations, but--

ALEX: I feel like I'm perfectly fine. Let's go, let's go. I'll walk into the clearing.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: So as you step out from the grass, and I assume in a very outwardly way, present yourself to this figure?

ALEX: Hello?

MATT: You hear shifting and there's a quick glance and she pulls back, almost hiding.

ALEX: No, no, it's okay, we're not here to hurt you, just saw you and you seem a little--

MATT: She glances out, ushers you to come over for a second.

ALEX: Okay. I'll start heading forward.

MATT: Okay. You approach and you see now closer this darker hair, you see the cloak is hiding a recent wound on the side. She has gathered a small bit of materials, and has managed to bandage herself up a bit. As you approach, "I'm terribly sorry. I wasn't expecting to meet anybody out here. Why have you come?"

ALEX: Well...

KRYSTINA: Well, we were just out for an evening stroll, and we saw you. You seemed a bit lost, or out of sorts, and we just wanted to make sure that you were okay. Is there any way that we can assist you?

MATT: "A stroll? You should go back. This is dangerous land."

KRYSTINA: Then why are you out here?

MATT: "I'm making my way back. I came here with compan--" Motherfuckers.

SAM: Nothing, we said nothing.

MARISHA: Nope.

SAM: We just made eyes at each other.

MATT: I hate you. "I had traveled here with companions to take Stormveil Castle. But I'm afraid I'm-- I'm a coward myself. They proved too strong and I abandoned them. I haven't seen them since. There are so many bodies in these lands, missing arms, legs. Heads. All taken. All added to the ruler of the castle. It's a nightmare. I can't stay. I'm just here long enough to recover my breath, and I'll be on my way. And you should, too."

ALEX: You said the person in the castle is taking arms and legs. Like taking, taking?

MATT: "I've seen many bodies. The soldiers cutting folks down, and leaving most of them behind. It's terrifying."

ALEX: Hmm.

MATT: She starts gathering her materials into her pack. "It's not safe, it's not safe." (groans) "You should run." She heads off back into the grass. Stealths slow and bumps into the two of you. "Oh, hi."

MARISHA: (yells)

MATT: "(scared yell)"

BRENNAN: Now?

MARISHA: Now?

ALEX: No, no, no, she's fine, let her go.

MARISHA: Oh.

MATT: (screams) Then runs off frightened into the night back from where you came.

SAM: If you see a cat, send her back here. (laughter)

MARISHA: I come out.

ALEX: Just someone who was on their way to the castle with another group.

MARISHA: Competitors.

ALEX: Yes... yes.

BRENNAN: I'm going to kick the fire apart.

MATT: Okay, good call. Go ahead and kick the fire apart, the embers separate a bit. Just about that time you notice, a little further up the field, the shape of somebody on horseback. A dark, shrouded figure. The horse would look comparably massive, as at this distance, both rider and beast seem larger than they should be, in black, all dressed in black. (hooves clopping) Stop and glance over in the direction of where the flames were. Go ahead and make a stealth check for me, please.

SAM: Oh boy. 19.

MARISHA: Ooh, a natural 19 as well,

MATT: Nice.

MARISHA: For 24 total.

MATT: 24, all right.

KRYSTINA: Six.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: No 23, 23.

BRENNAN: 12.

MARISHA: 23.

MATT: 12.

ALEX: 21.

MATT: Okay. While the Prophetess has a brief stumble, the rest of the troop manages to catch her before she steps into a series of partially broken crates and making a loud ruckus. Quietly, you all get low, and you watch as the rider-- (slow hooves clopping) Turns and hears something in the distance, (reins whooshing, rapid hoofbeats) and heads off westward, off of your path, and off of where you currently sit.

ALEX: Odd.

SAM: (exhales)

ALEX: That was ominous.

MARISHA: They didn't-- That didn't feel like our competitors. That felt like something else.

ALEX: They were very big.

MARISHA: Yes.

ALEX: I mean, perspective is iffy.

MARISHA: Right, the forced perspective, right, you don't.

BRENNAN: Right, I thought they was regular but closer, but no, it's bigger and farther away.

MARISHA: Yeah.

ALEX: You never know how big, like, Clifford is, but it's closer to the screen.

BRENNAN: Oh yes, for sure. You need to be like, "Okay, we going to put a tree partially in front." So now you go, "Oh, he behind the tree." He's behind the tree, then that means it's a big dog.

MARISHA: A big red dog, yeah.

SAM: It helps if people hold a banana for a size reference. If the horseback rider was holding a banana we would know instantly.

BRENNAN: But probably if you hold banana, I'm more like, "Hey guy, what's up with you? Why you out here at night? You seem like you enjoying a nice snack."

SAM: Just getting my potassium.

BRENNAN: Less threatening to hold a banana, for sure, instant friendship. Hey, this guy like banana, he cool.

MARISHA: People who eat bananas are generally jolly, and happy folk.

ALEX: I feel like it's very difficult to be threatening when you're holding a banana.

MARISHA: Sure.

KRYSTINA: You can always bring a banana to a party.

BRENNAN: Yeah. No one ever like, "So you think you can do defeat me? I am the dark rider of the castle realm, you and your friend (munches) you all--"

SAM: Now that you're saying it, though, that's a pretty cool little character detail that you can.

ALEX: I think there's no middle ground, it's either you're absolutely not threatening, or you're very threatening with a banana. There's no--

MARISHA: Right, if you can lean into it.

SAM: Yeah, like you're peeling it, and then you put a little chocolate sauce on top, but you're still a murderer.

BRENNAN: For sure, it depends on context, right? If it was like a Willem Defoe type, and he had earbuds in, and he's dancing and eating a banana. Then you're like, "Okay, we go to Uncanny Valley, now he's scary again.

MARISHA: Right.

SAM: On we forge. (laughter)

SAM: Into the night.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Hang on real quick, though. On we forge, but I quickly ransack the farmhouse.

SAM: Oh, sure, sure, sure.

MATT: Okay, roll investigation check for me, please.

BRENNAN: Can I give the help action here?

MATT: I'll say you can both roll investigation checks, if you'd like, by helping. There's no, technically, a help action in this homebrew.

BRENNAN: It's a hot six.

MARISHA: 15, he helped, she helps, sorry, Bri.

MATT: Yes, indeed.

BRENNAN: It's all good.

MATT: Okay, yeah. You do find amongst the chaos there--

ALEX: What items do they have back there?

MATT: A cluster of five throwing knives.

ALL: Ooh!

MATT: And a singular arrow with a sleep enchantment upon it.

BRENNAN: Oh my god.

MARISHA: I will definitely take the arrow, because I've got a bow.

ALEX: Yeah, it would do me literally no good.

MARISHA: Uh-huh. Does someone want throwing knives?

MATT: Yeah.

KRYSTINA: Love knives.

MARISHA: That worked.

BRENNAN: This is how you can tell that I don't play enough video games, that I was literally like, "All right, let's leave this farmhouse." (laughter) There's not stuff in houses, is there?

SAM: Nope.

BRENNAN: No.

MARISHA: Break all the crates, break all the pots.

ALEX: You're just constantly rolling.

MATT: Yeah, I just assume that's what you guys do, you're just rolling into all the crates and barrels, and destroying them all.

MARISHA: Yes, roll.

KRYSTINA: We've landed on a side quest. (laughter)

ALEX: I get the dark phantom curse armor and just roll around.

MATT: Exactly! It's what you do. Trudging forward, are you heading across the fields? Are you stealthing across them, are you riding horses quickly? What are you feeling about traversing these?

MARISHA: Which direction did the--

MATT: The rider?

MARISHA: The dark figure.

MATT: It went westward, the castle is more of a north direction from where you currently are. It's still an open field of tall grass getting there, with small ruined arches here and there, shifting hills moving upward, but it's a fairly open space.

SAM: Take the horses.

MARISHA: Maybe we haul ass.

ALEX: Yeah. Even if someone sees us, if we can just blow right past them, then it won't matter.

SAM: I will summon. ♪ ("So Long, Farewell") ♪

MATT: Okay. You all summon forth your spectral steads, and jump atop their runic selves. They're magical and pretty.

ALEX: Did you hear that, Ed? (laughter)

MARISHA: Auf Wiedersehen.

MATT: Riding strongly towards the castle.

KRYSTINA: So long.

MARISHA: Farewell!

ALEX: Goodbye.

MATT: Clutching the sides of the manes, and moving forward, it's still difficult to see in this low light through the storm. You carry on for two, three, four minutes, glancing around nervously in case you're being pursued, or something takes notice. What is the general order, who's spearheading this?

SAM: Hmm. Mm-hmm.

KRYSTINA: Do-do.

SAM: Sure, I'll be in the front.

MATT: All right.

ALEX: I can be at the front as well, I got pretty heavy armor.

BRENNAN: I'll try to go to one side of the Prophetess, to try to keep her.

MARISHA: I'll go to the other side, then. We'll make a little flying V around the Prophetess.

ALEX: Why are you looking at me?

KRYSTINA: Did you gingerly agree with protecting the Prophetess?

ALEX: No, I just said I would go in front.

KRYSTINA: Oh, I thought you were--

ALEX: No, it makes sense to have you in the middle.

MARISHA: He does. He's into you.

KRYSTINA: He what? (laughter)

MATT: Avoiding the main road, you continue pushing through, a little ways adjacent off of it. Still visible atop the tall grass, and moving and dodging between the large hills, as you press upward and northward. Those of you at the front, in pushing forward, loudly clomping across the stone and dirt ground, you can't help but see sudden movement in front of you. Your horse instinctually picks up in the air and nearly throws you. I need you both to go ahead and roll acrobatics checks. Yeah, go with acrobatics checks. Or animal handling, if you want to.

SAM: That's a five.

MARISHA: Oh.

ALEX: Ooh, and that is also a five.

MATT: You both get thrown from your horses onto the ground. The rest of you slow down just a bit as you see, from the ground (grinding) these massive stone-like pillars covered in runes, that now begin to blaze with burning orange, coming to life around them. 20, 30 feet of segmented stone and metal begins to shift and burn. You see almost a massive knee and leg rise up, as another one steps into place. You see a breast plate of intricately carved runes that have been largely tarnished, and broken away, weathered with history and the elements, rises up in the center of it with a burning center, this burning flame, like an engine in the middle, and a helmet with an angry center slot where the flames burn through. It stands up almost 40 feet in full height above you, hunched down looking at you. (heavy footfalls) "Hello." (laughter)

MATT: "My name is Calvis, I don't have any arms. Sorry. How do you do?"

BRENNAN: Calvis!

MATT: "Yeah?"

BRENNAN: You don't have to apologize for not having arms. This break my heart, you feel like you must apologize.

SAM: We disturbed you, I'm so sorry to wake you from your slumber.

MATT: "It's all right. These are dangerous places, you understand? I've just been resting ever since this--" He looks down and there's this odd hilt of some wicked-looking blade, that's half jammed into the chest plate of its armor. "So I've just been sleeping."

SAM: May we ask a question?

MATT: "Yeah, I suppose."

SAM: We've heard that the residents of the castle up here steals people's arms. Is that who took yours?

MATT: "No."

SAM: Oh.

MATT: "I think I lost them in a bet."

BRENNAN: Sorry, you say you lost them in a bet?

MATT: "Yeah, long time ago."

BRENNAN: Like you play cards and someone's like, "This hand, I going to raise you like 40 Runes." You're like, "I'm short." They say, "Maybe bet your arms"?

MATT: "Yeah, in hindsight, it probably wasn't very good."

BRENNAN: No, that came across judgmental, I am so sorry, that's very rude.

MATT: "No, it's okay."

KRYSTINA: Did you do a rock, paper, scissors?

MATT: "See, now it's just getting personal to remembering it, but yeah." (stone grinding)

ALEX: Wow. This in your chest, does it hurt you?

MATT: "No, it just tickles a little bit."

SAM: Would you like us to remove it for you?

MATT: "I guess?"

ALEX: Okay, how-- you-- You're so big.

MATT: (grinding, impacts) Kneels down, very close to the ground, you could feel the heat emanating from it, even just in proximity.

BRENNAN: When this guy say these lands are dangerous, it's first time I'm like, "Maybe we should not be around here." Because this guy is 40 feet tall and made of rocks, and he's like, "I don't like it here."

ALEX: Yeah. Absolutely. How big is the thing sticking out of his-- the sword sticking out of his chest, the hilt?

MATT: Yeah, it's a long--

ALEX: It's us size, though?

MATT: Yeah.

ALEX: Okay. Not like 40 foot.

MATT: No. On its body, it looks almost like someone jammed a toothpick into him.

ALEX: I'll reach for it and grab onto the hilt.

MATT: Okay. You take...

ALEX: -- take a bunch of damage.

MARISHA: Oh boy.

MATT: 12 points of magic damage--

ALEX: Okay.

MATT: -- in the form of magical fire, so you get to reduce this from your armor.

ALEX: By one.

MATT: There you go! I need you to make a strength check for me, please.

ALEX: Okay. It's just strength? Okay. Oh, there it is. Terrible. Seven.

MATT: Seven, it is not budging.

ALEX: Maybe I'm not the one to do this.

MATT: "Hey, I appreciate you trying, though. It's very, very nice."

ALEX: You're welcome. (whispering) It hurts when you take it out.

SAM: Would you like me to take a try?

ALEX: Yeah, you seem very strong.

SAM: I work out. This may hurt a bit, but I will pull with all my might. Ooh, that's good. Oh wow, that's real bad. Yes, it's a four.

MARISHA: Oh no.

SAM: Plus what, strength?

MATT: Plus your strength modifier.

SAM: So nine.

MATT: It does not budge. But you do take eight points of magic fire damage.

MATT: "Look, I don't hold it against you, even just your offering to help means a lot to me."

SAM: You're a really sweet--

BRENNAN: Prophetess.

SAM: Sweet person.

BRENNAN: Have you seen if any of us are meant to be the one to remove this?

KRYSTINA: Do you mind if I try? I apologize for the rock, paper, scissors jest.

MATT: "I'll accept your apology."

BRENNAN: Can I give the help action here or--?

MATT: I'll say you can both roll together, and I'll give--

MARISHA: Oh, that's good.

MATT: Doing it together as one, You'll both take damage, but it'll add a circumstantial plus four to whatever the higher roll is.

BRENNAN: Okay.

ALEX: We'll be able to leave town today?

MARISHA: Cheers. Yeah. Come on.

BRENNAN: That's a natural one, which is sad, but does my natural 20 do anything about it? (exclaiming triumphantly)

MARISHA: Love this fucking game!

BRENNAN: Woo!

MATT: That is amazing. So you're not usually the one that has to do too much of the labor because you have your companion here. You barely get your hands on it and just let them do the work. But together, you can't help but be drawn in by the excitement that they have in helping you here. The blade comes free. You both do take seven points of magical fire damage, which you can reduce by your magical armor, magic defense. But you do pull forth from it with a flash of almost a electrical sheen across it in a brief instant. You pull this arced katana-like weapon from the center of its chest. (oohing)

BRENNAN: Wow. "Dragonscale Blade, only equippable and usable by someone with a strength of 11+, dexterity of nine+, and faith of 11+." Do you satisfy these? I can't because I only have a dexterity of eight.

KRYSTINA: I have a-- What was the first one?

BRENNAN: Strength 11.

KRYSTINA: I have a strength of 12.

KRYSTINA and BRENNAN: Dexterity of nine.

KRYSTINA: Faith of 16.

BRENNAN: This was meant for you. This is your blade.

KRYSTINA: There's something about it that just makes me feel immortal, like I have inside me the blood of kings.

BRENNAN: You do.

MATT: "Hey, I've just got to say thank you. That was tickling for some time. So, appreciate it."

KRYSTINA: Sorry you were uncomfortable.

MATT: (grinding loudly) "I'm used to it."

KRYSTINA: Will you be my friend?

MATT: "Yeah, I think I can."

KRYSTINA: Okay, I like you.

MATT: "You too. Hey, if you're going that way," and he gestures over towards the castle with heavy grinding sounds. I'd say maybe avoid the front gates. There's a big troll there and they're pretty nasty."

ALEX: Good to know, thank you.

MATT: (grinds loudly) "You're welcome." (grinds loudly) I'm going to go nap now."

SAM: Good night, thank you.

KRYSTINA: It was nice to meet you.

BRENNAN: Good night, Calvis, It was very nice to meet you.

MATT: "You too. Hey, if you see someone with my arms, tell me." (grinding loudly) Just walks about a hundred or so feet away before just collapsing back onto the ground and--

SAM: Oh man.

MATT: -- going inert.

BRENNAN: Wow.

MARISHA: That was the strangest experience of my very short, memorable life.

BRENNAN: Yeah, you know, because it is very strange, because confidence is really hard and people have this sort of way of apologizing for things that are not even really their fault. Right?

MARISHA: Absolutely.

BRENNAN: He's also a big rock man.

MARISHA: Also, he's a big rock man.

ALEX: That's not a voice I expected to come out of him.

MARISHA: No.

BRENNAN: No.

SAM: Just to be clear, we are fighting because we love The Lands Between so much that we want to rescue it, right? I mean, we love this place? We're trying to make this place a--

MARISHA: It seems very esoteric and vague and veiled in a very long term secrecy that maybe we will uncover, or maybe the reason we're doing this is simply for ourselves and what we'll find along the way, including our friendship.

SAM: That's beautiful.

MARISHA: And definitely the Prophetess.

BRENNAN: That's my number one, is I was going to say, yeah.

MARISHA: Really the Prophetess. Friendship is fine, but also the Prophetess.

ALEX: Like that.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: So we need to find a separate, a new entrance, right? This creature's--

BRENNAN: The castle has multiple entrances, yes.

SAM: But we don't know of any others, correct?

BRENNAN: Not specifically, but we do know they exist. So we avoid front gate and maybe search around for other way in.

SAM: All right.

ALEX: All right.

SAM: So how do we do that?

MATT: Glancing over, there is the large perimeter wall around it and there are clusters of trees and elements of rock that are-- that the wall itself is built upon or around in places. You can't really quite make out the front gates, but the shape of it, you can go either to one side or the other to try and inspect, if you'd like.

ALEX: Are we closer to one side or the other?

ALEX: Or are we pretty much dead in the center?

MATT: Where you are right now, you're a little closer to probably the right or the eastward side.

ALEX: Which leads us away from that man. So yeah, let's check the eastern side out.

MARISHA: It's closest.

BRENNAN: Yeah, let's do it.

MATT: All right.

BRENNAN: What if we had snuck instead of riding horses? We never would've met Calvis.

ALEX: No, that's fair. I know.

BRENNAN: Wow.

MARISHA: We would've never been warned about the troll either.

ALEX: No, we would've never got that sword.

BRENNAN: Everything happens for reason. This is, you know, this is what I'm talking about all the time, pretty good.

KRYSTINA: Everything that we do has a consequence or a joy

BRENNAN: (explodes) (laughter)

BRENNAN: You're the best!

MATT: All right, so are we taking horses? Are we stealthing forward?

SAM: Let's stealth.

ALEX: Yeah, let's leave the horses.

MARISHA: Well, okay.

ALEX: Wait, how far?

MARISHA: How far away?

MATT: You're a few hundred feet from the--

ALEX: That's not really far.

MARISHA: Oh, yeah, yeah. Stealth, stealth for sure.

MATT: All right, let's get everyone to make another stealth check for me, please.

SAM: 13.

MARISHA: (sighs)

KRYSTINA: Six.

MARISHA: Yikes.

BRENNAN: 11.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Eight.

ALEX: Also 11.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Eight, eight, eight.

ALEX: 12.

SAM: Ooh.

MATT: 12, okay.

MARISHA: That's better, one better.

MATT: Okay, not wonderful.

BRENNAN: No.

MARISHA: No.

MATT: So as you begin to arc around on the eastern side of the wall, one thing is first, you do notice at the gates, the sound of heavy of footfalls not terribly unlike those of your new friend Calvis.

ALEX: Oh.

MATT: (rumbles loudly) Looking over, this shape of a towering troll, about the same height, though broad shoulders, dark blueish, almost gray skin with thick muscle and sinew. The arms swing almost past the knees, as it lumbers around. A gargantuan blade that's strung to its back, itself maybe about three, three and a half to four feet wide and about 10 to 12 feet long. Then it's just (rumbles loudly) glancing around through the field, keeping eyes peeled. Along the walls, you see a handful of ballista that are affixed to the top, where armored guards are swinging around and glancing. One of them looks over in the direction of where you're hiding in the middle of the grass and shifts over and looks down.

MARISHA: (shushes)

SAM: Throw something as a distraction or something? A throwing knife or-- ?

MARISHA: How far away is he?

MATT: He's, from where you are right now, about a hundred or so feet away.

MARISHA: Is that considered long?

MATT: It's just outside of long. You would have to get a little closer to do long, but you can do that. He's starting to glance over at one of the other guards.

SAM: I have nothing to throw. I have nothing, no, nothing to.

BRENNAN: I could, I could throw. I could throw.

MARISHA: I'm going to, I'm going to, I'm going to I'm going to just belly crawl.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Get within long.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Sleep arrow that I just got.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Sniper shot.

ALEX: Don't waste it!

MATT: You see him--

MARISHA: I got two.

ALEX: You had two.

MATT: You see him taking the ballista and pointing it. Not towards you, but over the way. You gather quickly that he sees somebody else in your crew that he's aiming this long, jagged-looking ballista ammunition piece. This probably six-foot long harpoon that would probably kill any of you in an instant hit. Go ahead and roll for an attack. He doesn't see you, so you technically have advantage on the strike.

MARISHA: Great, don't fuck me. I'll keep that one there. Lucky jade. Barely lucky. 14.

MATT: 14. 14 is exactly the armor class.

BRENNAN: Woo.

MARISHA: Oh yeah.

MATT: So aims over, gets it set. (arrow firing) The arrow hits him, "Oh." And just slumps over it.

MARISHA: Go, go, go.

MATT: Okay, you all quickly begin to dart through the tall grass. Now that the one person who's posted to keep watch there is currently passed out for the next minute over the ballista. You head around to the side and there is a rock pillar that is jutting out from the top of the mountain. There is a portion that is collapsed inward and stairs have been carved into the stone leading upward. There is an unlit beacon tower atop that, but there's about a 12- to 15-foot gap between where the stairs begin and the base of where it is.

ALEX: (sighs)

MARISHA: Wait. 12 to 15, like we fall?

MATT: Meaning stairs curl up and lead up to the top of this and go over the wall. But there the stairs have crumbled a bit and there's about 10- to 15-foot distance to get to the stairs.

MARISHA: I understand.

SAM: What do I have? Nothing!

MARISHA: Have you all ever seen those circus shows where people are on horses and they're standing on their horses and then they like?

SAM: You want to summon the horses to stand on?

MARISHA: I wonder if we can stack our horses on top of each other, if we summon them strategically.

SAM: Is this not, is this a spiral staircase or a--?

MATT: You're trying to break the physics engine?

MARISHA: Uh-huh. (laughter)

BRENNAN: You never heard of a horse stack? (laughter)

BRENNAN: You stack a bunch of horses. Make a horse ladder.

SAM: I haven't--

KRYSTINA: Do you go head to bottom or is it?

SAM: Of course I've heard of such a thing. I've just never seen it in practice.

ALEX: One horse standing, the other horse stands on top of the other horse and stands on top of the other horse and--

BRENNAN: Yeah, that's why horse shape like that. It's like lawn chairs that you've put on top of patio furniture.

SAM: You lift the horse to get on top of--

MARISHA: No, you just have to be on a horse and summon another horse and as long as you're like--

BRENNAN: Oh, the trick is you're on the horse. You summon horse two. You really got to jump quick off of horse because that second horse is coming right down.

MARISHA: Yes, that's true.

SAM: How do you get on the top of the other horse?

MARISHA: They've all have stirrups--

BRENNAN: That's the trick, because you got to be able to jump off something onto that. So what you want to do is start a second horse stack next to the first horse stack. (laughter)

SAM: So it's like one horse, two horses, three horses next to it.

BRENNAN: Yeah, exactly. You make a horse staircase of different horse stacks.

MARISHA: Well, if we do (laughs), if we do three horses. (laughter)

BRENNAN: Let's really break this down because this for sure going to happen.

MARISHA: Yeah (laughs).

BRENNAN: So let's really.

SAM: How tall up, GM, how high up is it before the stairs break? But measure, please, in hands. How many hands? How many hands?

BRENNAN: Is there a sign about how many horses these stairs can hold? Like an OSHA compliance for maybe unsafe amount of horses?

MATT: I'm going to say the stairs are probably not designed with horses in mind.

SAM: No, no, they won't be on the stairs.

MATT: Right.

MARISHA: The horses will be on the ground.

MATT: We'll say it's about a three-horse stack. (laughter)

MARISHA: So we do three horses and then two horses.

BRENNAN: Perfect.

MARISHA: I just snotted. (laughter)

MARISHA: Then, we can vault ourselves onto the two-horse stack.

SAM: I'm just throwing this out there.

MARISHA: Okay.

SAM: If we are short, I could stack three wolves on top. (laughter)

BRENNAN: This is, really this is innovation.

MATT: This is the most accurate representation of any game like this I've experienced. (laughter)

MARISHA: Is that DM permission to try this?

MATT: Oh, this is some SpeedRunners shit. (laughter)

MATT: Do what you guys got to do. We'll see if it happens.

SAM: Let's stack these horses.

MARISHA: Okay, okay. (laughter)

KRYSTINA: Who's going first?

MARISHA: Well, I'll make Supernova the base of the first three-horse stack.

ALEX: You sure?

MARISHA: What do you think your nameless horse is stronger?

ALEX: My horse's name is Ed.

MARISHA: Oh, that's right. You did name it Ed.

BRENNAN: Four-Hooves Ed, that's right.

MARISHA: Is Ed a Clydesdale?

ALEX: He's got four hooves. It seems pretty stable.

MARISHA: All right, I'll summon Supernova on top of Ed.

ALEX: Supernova doesn't seem really keen to participate.

SAM: Supernova was getting a little distracted--

MARISHA: Supernova does, I think, hate me. So maybe...

SAM: All right, Ed on bottom.

MARISHA: All right.

ALEX: So I (hums) summon Ed.

SAM: Was that Edelweiss?

ALEX: I don't know what that was. It wasn't anything.

MARISHA: Broken Edelweiss.

ALEX: Yeah. So Ed's there now.

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: Okay.

SAM: So someone climb on top of Ed and summon your horse.

ALEX: Right.

MARISHA: All right. So I get on top of Ed and stand a little. ♪ Do do do, do do, do do, do do do ♪

MATT: (whooshes) (grunts loudly) (snorts softly) They're stacked. (laughter)

SAM: Somehow we have to climb on top and summon a third horse.

BRENNAN: Horse.

MARISHA: I'm nimble-ish.

ALEX: Then we all have to climb three horses after we do this.

BRENNAN: Okay.

MARISHA: Yeah, you put the first of your base stack and because you got to Minecraft it. Right?

ALEX: Yes, right.

MARISHA: You got to build it a little at a time.

ALEX: I'm sorry, we're making a--

BRENNAN: So five of us.

ALEX: -- staircase out of horses.

MARISHA: Yes.

BRENNAN: Three horses get us close enough to jump. So the trick is there's five of us, right.

ALEX: Yes.

BRENNAN: So this is like, you know, the farmer have a boat with the fox, chicken, grain. So what we have to do is, first we make two-horse stack and one horse next to that.

MARISHA: Exactly.

BRENNAN: Then we have two of us get on two-horse stack. Then we are on that one, okay.

MARISHA: Yes.

BRENNAN: Then we have to jump back on horse number one. Make-- no wait. When two are up, then we summon that one to make a two-horse stack. You jump to two-horse, then fifth person on ground, make three horse.

MARISHA: Three-horse stack.

BRENNAN: They jump up over there. They get onto stairs. Then we get rid of all the horses. Then we start back from the beginning.

SAM: All right.

MARISHA: That is the plan.

SAM: What do we need to roll for this?

MATT: Well, let's say the actual stacking process is sound. It's the leaping from horse stack to horse stack that is the challenge. So I would like each of you to make an athletics or acrobatics check to attempt to leap from the two-horse stack to the three-horse stack.

MARISHA: Three-horse stack. All right, all right. Acrobatics, here we go.

SAM: This is a really important roll, guys.

BRENNAN: 23, baby.

MATT: Yeah.

ALEX: Okay, okay, okay.

MARISHA: Okay, that's fine.

SAM: 18.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: 15.

ALEX: 15.

BRENNAN: Athletics.

MATT: All right.

KRYSTINA: Okay.

MATT: These are all very good rolls.

SAM: Oh, athletics? 20.

MATT: Okay.

KRYSTINA: 16.

MATT: Everyone above a 15. Like, you're made for some things in your life, but you never realized quite how well you were made for jumping from horse stacks because you are efficient as fuck. Of anything you've done in The Lands Between, horse stack jumping is the top of the list of proficiency.

ALEX: Everybody, in all seriousness, we should start a troupe. (laughter)

MARISHA: I agree.

ALEX: We're really good at this.

MARISHA: Yes.

ALEX: Like, I didn't know this was a skill I had, and now I have it.

MARISHA: Yes.

ALEX: I should do something with it.

BRENNAN: To be clear, everything about this new land is strange and wonderful. We're stacking horses all day back where I come from. This is the least crazy thing that has happened. You think we can survive one day where I come from without making some kind of horse stack? Out of your mind. Number one survival strategy.

SAM: It's just made me very homesick for my cat.

KRYSTINA: Oh, I'm sorry.

SAM: She'll climb on me that night.

ALEX: And I was the horse stack.

MATT: I can't wait for someone to introduce the concept of a ladder to your people, just blow their fucking mind.

BRENNAN: How would you even, it's like someone trying to explain a horse stack made of pieces of wood.

MATT: Okay, so with all those rolls, we'll say without issue, you manage to make your way onto the tower. You have effectively exploited your way past the castle wall. So climbing up the stairway of this tower, you get to the precipice of the wall on which there is a parapet walkway and a staircase that switchback, heads down into the interior courtyard of this castle. Glancing over, you can see there are some patrols of guards shifting through. There's two clusters of two that are glancing, or are stepping back and forth. You can see there are walls to an inner courtyard of Stormveil Castle. This looks to be the centerpiece of this stronghold.

MARISHA: Are we able to time it to where we can each dart when they're not looking?

MATT: You can. I need you all to roll stealth as you try and get back unseen.

ALEX: I'm using a different die; I'm scared of that one.

KRYSTINA: Ooh! Sorry, I got a nat 20, I was excited.

MARISHA: Ha, ha, oh yes.

MATT: You should be excited.

SAM: 15.

MATT: 15, nat 20.

BRENNAN: Nine.

MATT: Nine.

ALEX: What's my stealth? Seven.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: 18.

SAM: Ugh! Oh, okay.

MATT: Okay. The nat 20 saved y'all.

BRENNAN: Woo.

ALEX: Thank you.

MATT: So--

MARISHA: The Prophetess could tell the pacing of their patrol.

MATT: Mm-hmm. Keeping low, you begin to weave between the various clusters of armaments and collected ammunition that are set to the side for the ballista. You go past one cart, wait for the next patrol to pass, and then dart between the main opening of this courtyard thoroughfare. Dodging from bush to small bit of fern cluster to the side. You all dart off and you can carefully break contact with the patrol heading around and passing unseen. Across the way, you see a small, bridge-like walkway that leads to a large set of double doors that seems to continue into the inner sanctum courtyard and the cathedral tower that lies at the center of the castle grounds. Continuing to push forward.

MARISHA: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Are we about to go through the double doors?

MATT: You're not at the doors yet, no.

MARISHA: Oh okay, no, keep going then.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Not ready for my pep talk.

MATT: You begin to quietly make a path towards the front region of this inner wall. It's about that time, you hear a heavy sound. (growling) There, just off to the right of the two large double doored gates, there is a curled up beast, a massive lion-like feral looking feline beast. That even in its curled up sleeping position, its thickened mane, probably from end to end about 15 feet long with a brace with a large blade affixed to it. Part of its protective armor, as well as an additional means of tearing into whatever prey it awaits. It's just laying there, sleeping.

MARISHA: Nihl.

SAM: It's not my cat.

MARISHA: You sure?

SAM: I'm pretty sure.

BRENNAN: It's the first cat we see, so maybe.

SAM: I know, mine has caramel fur and no tail.

MARISHA: It's honey.

MATT: It does look like the fur is somewhat caramel in color. And the tail is missing.

SAM: Wait a second.

MARISHA: Things change in this world, maybe it's like a bastardization of your cat.

SAM: Oh no. How will I-- I cannot-- I cannot go any further.

MATT: (growling)

MARISHA: Maybe it will remember you.

BRENNAN: You must go.

MARISHA: Go talk to it, just say "now."

MATT: You see one of the eyes opens.

MARISHA: If it's bad.

MATT: (growls)

SAM: I'll step forward.

MATT: (growls) The lips curl up and you can see as it lifts its head, its head is probably close to four to five feet from base of skull to end of snout. As the lips curl up, you can see rows and rows of sharpened teeth that stick out at odd ragged angles.

SAM: Sans Queue?

MATT: (growls)

SAM: Is that you, my sweet?

MATT: Make a persuasion or animal handling check.

MARISHA: (gasps) Sans Queue.

SAM: Natural one.

MARISHA: Oh, no way!

SAM: I've come to take you home, my sweet.

MATT: (snarls) And bites your arm off.

SAM: (screams) (screams)

BRENNAN: Nope, here's a water bottle. (laughter)

MARISHA: Just bites her arm off?

MATT: Torches begin to (whooshes) alight on distant walls of the castle from the screaming that is now echoing from the interior.

KRYSTINA: Is there any healing that can come back from that?

SAM: (screams)

ALEX: (shushing)

BRENNAN: Are we under a rampart or battlement like approaching?

MATT: This is--

ALEX: We're in a courtyard.

MATT: You're on the ground courtyard floor. There is a path that looks like a battlement that leads up to these double doors. There is this massive feline-like guardian creature that has just bitten your friend's arm off. (laughter)

BRENNAN: I truly look to the Prophetess and I'm like: I'm really at a loss here.

SAM: I take it all back. She's a fraud, she's a quack. She doesn't know what she's talking about.

ALEX: Thank you.

SAM: This was a mistake. We should run.

KRYSTINA: When it goes wrong, it's my fault.

MATT: The gargantuan--

KRYSTINA: Not your bad choices.

MATT: The gargantuan feline-like guardian spits the arm onto the ground and starts batting it around a little bit. (thuds)

BRENNAN: I'm going to look at you. I swore I would save your cat. I'm going to walk up and go: Hey, no, no, you don't do that. You do not bite the arm off of your beloved, your person. Here! And I'm going to try to grab the scruff behind the head right by the base of the skull. Bad kitty, you don't do this!

MATT: Make an animal handling check.

SAM: Oh boy, if you lose an arm.

ALEX: God, I hope so.

MARISHA: Please do.

BRENNAN: Okay, which of these do I roll?

SAM: Prophetess.

BRENNAN: This one here. (sighs) (lips smack) (blows out air) Now, I add zero to animal handling, which would make this a three. (laughter) No, you need to go to cat dentist, your teeth are at the wrong angle. (screams)

MATT: You're now missing your right arm on the elbow.

BRENNAN: Why you like this cat so much?

ALEX: What's wrong with you?

SAM: She wasn't like this before!

BRENNAN: Tasha would never do this to me!

SAM: She was much more cuddly than this. This is horrible.

MATT: The cat just now like (gulps) swallows the half of your arm, and is now picking up your arm and just walks off and just curls up in a circle and begins chewing on it. While you hear voices shouting off in the distance.

MARISHA: You know, she's distracted, maybe we just go through now while she's got a nice snack.

ALEX: How did this happen?

MARISHA: Well... Let's not overanalyze it right now. We can do that later.

ALEX: What do you mean overanalyze it? I'm trying to analyze it for the first time.

MARISHA: Let's talk about it later and--

MATT: (whooshes) A large ballista strikes the ground about 10 feet from you--

SAM: Run.

MATT: -- sending dirt upward.

MARISHA: Go, go, double doors.

MATT: Okay, I need everyone to make strength checks.

SAM: Do we?

MATT: With both of you with disadvantage because you're missing arms.

SAM: Did we lose any hit points?

BRENNAN: Boy, I do know how--

MATT: Yes, yes.

BRENNAN: -- Calvis feel now.

MARISHA: Oh well, it's good.

SAM: Strength with disadvantage?

MATT: Correct.

KRYSTINA: Oh, with disadvantage?

SAM: Natural 20 and a two.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: So.

BRENNAN: 10.

MATT: 10, okay.

KRYSTINA and MATT: 12.

ALEX: 21.

MARISHA: 20.

MATT: (creaks) The doors open and you all rush in and (rumbles) close behind and (rumbles) put the lock on it. You can hear soldiers arriving, starting to bang on it a bit, and you hear the voices muffled through. One voice is like, "What's it got in its mouth? Oh god!"

BRENNAN: Don't try to reach out to the cat.

MARISHA: I--

ALEX: Just--

MARISHA: Oh, go ahead.

ALEX: No, no, go.

MARISHA: No, go.

ALEX: Can you help them?

MATT: You do see in this initial space, there is a small, glowing golden light that is drifting above the ground, not but five feet from where you stand, as a Site of Lost Grace awaits you.

MARISHA: Maybe it'll regenerate your shit.

SAM: Maybe.

MARISHA: Maybe!

ALEX: You're bleeding a lot.

BRENNAN: Yeah, I'm not going to lie, guys, I know I'm kind of a freaky freak, I'm really out of it right now. That really knock you on your ass.

SAM: I mean, I don't know what happened. You know what, I haven't fed her in a few years.

MARISHA: Sure, yeah.

SAM: So maybe, you know, cats can hold a grudge sometimes. So maybe--

MARISHA: I bet she shat right next to litter box, too, not in it, but right next to it.

SAM: Or peed on my luggage or something.

MARISHA: Yeah, absolutely.

BRENNAN: Yeah, really spiteful, you know.

SAM: All right, I will--

KRYSTINA: That sounds a lot like your fault, everything about it.

MARISHA: I agree with the Prophetess here, you know.

SAM: I will go approach the light, and just hold up my gushing wound next to it.

ALEX: The amount of blood you both have in your bodies is fascinating.

BRENNAN: (spurts)

MATT: It's getting a little woozy.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's fine.

MATT: You step into the golden light. As you do, you watch as (whooshes) arm apparates back into place.

SAM: Wow.

ALEX: Well, that's convenient.

SAM: Amazing.

BRENNAN: Yeah, these, yeah, for as much bad is happening here, love these Sites of Lost Grace.

MARISHA: So great.

BRENNAN: Love these.

MARISHA: I don't know what it says about us. I feel like I'll unpack that later.

ALEX: I want to try and go talk to the cat again. I mean, this is here.

BRENNAN: It is right outside, maybe we just do a quick speed run.

SAM: There are soldiers out there as well.

BRENNAN: That's true.

SAM: Maybe after we complete our mission and our blood rite.

BRENNAN: I feel very-- I was going to say I feel very sorry. My promise to you to help find your cat is technically fulfilled. But I mean, we straight up found that cat, you know.

SAM: It's a pyrrhic victory.

BRENNAN: Yeah, like an, oh, you got what you asked for but not really what you would've needed.

SAM: Needed.

BRENNAN: Yeah, you know.

SAM: I feel like there's a lesson in this somehow.

KRYSTINA: The lesson is: You don't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes--

SAM: Oh boy.

KRYSTINA: You get what you need.

MARISHA: What you need. Oh my god.

KRYSTINA: Maybe you can bring your cat back to this check, this--

SAM: Check?

KRYSTINA: This Lost, Point of Lost Grace. Maybe it'll restore your kitty.

BRENNAN: This, yes.

SAM: That's a good idea.

MARISHA: Maybe if we defeat whatever this is and you become a lord, or definitely she becomes the lord, or-- Really only her could maybe become the-- well.

ALEX: No, I mean, I don't want to, but--

MARISHA: You could be the lord. Any of us have lord potential. But maybe then you can get your cat back.

SAM: I don't think it's in the cards for me, honestly.

BRENNAN: Yeah.

SAM: But thank you all for trying. It really shows your respect for me and for my ownership of this feline terror.

ALEX: Well, if we do fix things and put everything back, the ring back together, things might go back to the way they were. Maybe your cat will go back to the way it was.

SAM: True.

BRENNAN: Shrink.

SAM: I mean, we all super remember how it was before--

BRENNAN: See dentist, maybe.

SAM: So.

BRENNAN: Yeah.

SAM: All right, well let's finish our mission.

ALEX: Right, yes.

MARISHA: Speaking of. I look around. Where are we?

MATT: Yeah, as you now glance at the inner chambers of this interior courtyard, you look down upon this open space that is clusters of gravestones. All jutting at odd angles from the exposed dirt and dried brush with leafless trees twisting out of the ground. You see the central tower, a massive cathedral spire with all manner of statues, shifting out from in front of it, reaching up towards the heavenly sky. You see stone pillars rising up like spikes from the ground, 20, 30, 40 feet up coming to gradual points with religious iconography upon them, sculpted and gilded. There upon one central left hand pillar, you see, curled over it, like it had fallen upon and impaled itself atop one of these stone spires, a dragon curled and long dead. A dark withered look upon its now desolate form. There you see another figure standing to the base of it, walking up, hulking wide shoulders wrapped in a dark green cloak or cape of some kind. You see it walk up towards this dragon about maybe 30, 40 feet from where you are. So it reaches up and caresses the edge of the dragon's face. You hear a voice. "Mighty dragon, thou art a true born heir. Lend me thy strength, oh kindred spirit. Deliver me unto greater heights." As the now noticeably hulking man pulls the arm out to grasp the side of this dead dragon's cheek, you can see the gnarled trunk-like arm extending far past where it should. The being stops and slowly turns towards you all, grasping a massive golden battleaxe embedded in the ground next to it and throwing off its green cloak to reveal its swollen, malformed body and torso that harbors numerous smaller arms and limbs branching off it like the boughs of a tree. Each hand sporting numerous extra fingers and flexing and shifting as it turns.

KRYSTINA: Arm thief.

MATT: A number of these smaller arms carry smaller weapons as well. You see the figure, its long, dirty white hair falling past its shoulders. "Well, lowly Tarnished playing as a lord. I command thee: Kneel!" Slams the axe down on the ground before it. "For I am the lord of all that is golden."

KRYSTINA: No.

MARISHA: I kneel, but I kneel towards the Prophetess.

SAM: Ooh.

BRENNAN: I do the same.

SAM: I will join her, and I hope, in a symbol of power and unity, all of us do.

ALEX: I kneel. (laughter)

BRENNAN: Yeah!

KRYSTINA: Got him. (laughter)

ALEX: I have my fingers crossed behind my back.

SAM: Yes! (laughter)

SAM: Yes, so petty, so petty.

MATT: "What did you say?"

KRYSTINA: I said no, but if you would like me to clarify, I don't know you. Why would I kneel to you?

MATT: "I am Godrick, lord of this castle." Pulls the axe free from the dirt. "Perhaps there is some use to parts of you still." As he lunges towards you.

MARISHA: He wants our arms!

ALEX: He gets to go first.

MARISHA: He gets to go first. I lost my little Supernova.

BRENNAN: (screams)

MARISHA: There it is.

MATT: Darts towards the rest of you who are all kneeling around.

SAM: Oh no, we're all clumped together in a--

MATT: The priestess.

SAM: -- easily defeatable part of the place. Oh god.

MATT: He's going to go ahead and use his whirlwind combo.

MARISHA: Ay.

ALEX: Oy.

MATT: All of you that are in the space in front of him have... Ooh. 18 points of physical damage coming your way.

ALEX: I'm going to try and dodge it.

BRENNAN: Same.

MARISHA: Dodge.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: I will...

ALEX: Natural 20.

MARISHA: Hey!

BRENNAN: Woo!

MATT: You avoid the damage.

BRENNAN: 17.

MATT: You avoid the damage.

KRYSTINA: 19.

MATT: You avoid the damage.

SAM: I will block.

MATT: You will block, okay. Go ahead and roll that.

SAM: Natural 20.

MARISHA and BRENNAN: Whoa!

ALEX: Wow!

MARISHA: Stagger!

MATT: Which means, which is between--

MARISHA: Stagger!

MATT: Wow, yeah, no, you full on stagger him.

ALEX: Yes!

MATT: Out of the gate.

MARISHA: 16 for me.

MATT: 16, yeah. You dodge that as well.

BRENNAN: Did we all avoid that?

MARISHA: I dodge?

MATT: You all avoided the opening round of combat from him.

BRENNAN: You see, you kneel and then it all work out.

SAM: Oh, because we showed unity.

ALEX: (groans) Yes, all right, I--

MATT: Does get one more hit off the combo, though. It's one big whirlwind swing and then a single strike on one of you. Because you're the one in the center, it's going to go for you. So you take a secondary strike. For... 27 points of physical damage.

ALEX: (groans)

SAM: That's huge.

ALEX: That's a lot.

BRENNAN: Can she do anything to attempt to-- I know she dodged already. Can she have to block it or do anything else?

MATT: You can dodge again, if you have the stamina.

KRYSTINA: I do. Well, what, it was at one, so.

BRENNAN: (gasps)

KRYSTINA: 19

MATT: That dodges it.

KRYSTINA: Wait, plus my dodge bonus.

MATT: Oh sorry, sorry, you're right. You're right.

KRYSTINA: 23.

BRENNAN: Woo!

MATT: You're all rolling around this place. (tumbling sounds)

MATT: (yells) Yells angrily, and then stumbles back on his back leg after the perfect block that you had administered before. It's now back to the player's turn. What are you doing?

MARISHA: If you all don't mind while he's staggered. I take out my dagger once again, spin it behind my back.

MATT: What dagger is this? This is the--

MARISHA: My Reduvia dagger.

MATT: There you go.

MARISHA: Back stab!

MATT: Go for it, you have advantage on the strike. As you maneuver around to the back portion of the massive Godrick,

MARISHA: Yeah, oh my god--

MATT: Godrick the Grafted

MARISHA: -- they're both 16s, for 21 total.

MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

MARISHA: So it's 1d4 plus an additional 6d6 because he is staggered.

MATT: Because of the back stab, and an additional d12 because he was staggered initially.

MARISHA: Okay, so wait. That's one, two--

KRYSTINA: I thought she said 66 instead of 6d6, and I was like, "Damn!" (laughter)

MARISHA: One, two, three, four, five, six, plus my d4, plus, let me go shopping, d12. Okay, okay, get out of here, whatever you are. Here we go. You, I don't want any of you. Sounds so nice, it sounds so good, come on.

ALEX: That's so many dice.

MARISHA: All right, all right, let me do math for a hot second.

MATT: (laughs)

MARISHA: That is 10 plus 18 plus 20, three, six, nine, plus two, 40 total.

MATT: 40 points of damage in the opening round.

BRENNAN: Wow!

MATT: As you jam the dagger in his back.

MARISHA: And I ride it down a little bit. I vault and then let my weight drag down the back of the spine.

MATT: You drag it down as you do, two of the wayward arms that are protruding from the middle of his lower back grab at the blade and trying to grab at your hand, eventually pulling it from his own body in a really gross and disturbing way. But that is a gaping wound you left in his backside.

BRENNAN: Hell yes.

MATT: Awesome.

ALEX: So Marcus sees you do that and he reaches into his little satchel that he has on his back and he pulls out this little jar. He looks at it and he goes: You know, I've been saving this for a while, but this seems like the appropriate time to use this and he takes a handful of it and spreads it on the blade of his spear putting his fire grease on his spear. So my weapon now does fire damage.

SAM: Nice.

BRENNAN: Woo!

ALEX: It just lights up.

MATT: You see flames burning off of the blade of the spear.

ALEX: He spins his spear and I'm going to make, now that I have extra stamina, I'm going to make three spear attacks.

MATT: Hell yeah, do it.

MARISHA: ♪ I got stamina. ♪

ALEX: That's-- that lasts for three turns. That's great. So three attacks. First one is an eight, which doesn't hit.

MATT: Eight does not hit.

ALEX: Next one is--

MATT: Parried by one of the smaller weapons.

ALEX: 18 plus eight, which I assume hits,

MATT: That does hit. Yes.

ALEX: and a 14 plus eight.

MATT: 14 plus eight definitely hits.

ALEX: Okay, so those two will hit.

MATT: So you got two hits off.

ALEX: So first one is going to do-- What have I got? 1d6 and then an additional 1d4 fire damage. So that's eight points of physical damage and then three fire damage.

MATT: Got you.

ALEX: Then the next one is-- 10 points of physical damage and four fire damage.

MATT: You got it. Awesome! Just leaving these flaming burn marks into his body. "You Tarnished know not what you mess with!" He's going to go ahead and use one of his counters to go ahead and axe back-swing you for--

ALEX: I have no stamina.

MATT: Nope, that is going to be 15 points of physical damage to you.

ALEX: All right, then I will roll my physical defense.

MATT: The axe carves past right into your breast plate and leaves a large gash across it.

ALEX: How much did you say?

MATT: 15.

ALEX: 15. Okay, minus four.

MATT: So 11 points of physical damage to you. All righty, who's up next?

SAM: I will consume my exalted flesh. What do I do with this? I have a--

MATT: Exalted flesh gets plus three damage until the end of the next turn.

SAM: Do I eat it? How do I activate it?

MATT: Yeah, you eat it.

SAM: Oh, okay. I reach into my satchel and take out a little--

MARISHA: Jerky.

SAM: Yeah, it's a little meat.

MARISHA: Holy jerky.

MATT: That's what I call beef jerky from now on, exalted flesh. (laughter)

SAM: I eat it, becoming more swole than ever and raise my two-handed bastard sword. Actually, wait, should I power swing? I should power swing. I will power swing against this fellow.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: That's cocked. That's terrible. It's an 11.

MATT: 11 does not hit.

SAM: No, it doesn't.

MATT: You go to strike and he takes the large axe and parries it to the side. No impact.

SAM: All right, I will once again attack. Guess I shouldn't do a power swing. I'll just do a two-handed bastard sword attack.

MATT: Do it.

SAM: Oh boy. 18 to hit.

MATT: 18 does hit. You can go roll damage.

SAM: Okay, damage is a d12 plus five, plus a d6. Then because I did that it's plus five. Okay, terrible. Nine, 10, 11, 16 points of damage total.

MATT: Terrible for 16 points is pretty good. Yeah, so the second one manages to swing around using the same momentum of the first parried strike and carve across into its body. Pretty decent hit.

SAM: Decent.

MATT: All right, anybody else?

BRENNAN: You want me up at bad first or you the one to go?

KRYSTINA: You go ahead.

BRENNAN: All right, save the best for last. (yells) I'm going to-- First, we'll do Feast Upon Flame. I'll throw down six focus points. Once again, hurl a ball of fire from my hand. Roll to hit. It does damage even if I miss. So that's a 14.

MATT: 14 just hits.

BRENNAN: Wow! Okay, amazing. So what this is going to do is one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. 7d6 damage. 11, 16, 21, 24 damage.

MATT: Nice.

BRENNAN: Within that 24 damage, it's also then, not that there may be nothing else around, but if there is some hidden combatants, they would take 11, 15. They would take 19 points of damage if there's any other--

MATT: There are none, just this one, but he took a heavy hit to the face. The flames burn and curl across, before shrugging it off.

BRENNAN: Then I'm going to do a power swing.

MATT: Do it.

SAM: As he's gearing up for that, I'm going to use this moment to dash away behind the creature, so we're not all clumped together.

MATT: All righty.

ALEX: Yeah, also I'll move around to the side as well, please.

MATT: Over here?

ALEX: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

BRENNAN: Power swing's a 21 to hit.

MATT: That hits.

KRYSTINA: I'm going to stand directly behind him.

BRENNAN: 10 damage from the battleaxe. That block range has come down.

MATT: By two?

BRENNAN: By two. I will also move out of the range to leave Kara Gen closer in combat.

MARISHA: And I'll kind of--

MATT: Okay, whereabouts do you want to go?

BRENNAN: I'll do this little cardinal directions thing we got going. I'll move in an opposite direction so that I'm in a corner as well, great.

MARISHA: I'll shift in front of the Prophetess. In front of Mariah, yeah.

KRYSTINA: I need to be off to the side of this gentleman.

BRENNAN: Hell yeah.

KRYSTINA: I would like to, if you guys don't mind.

ALEX: Oh no, please.

MARISHA: Please.

KRYSTINA: I'd like to make my way around to the back of this gentleman and I would like to wield my dragon scale blade and I would like to use it to chop him off below the kneecap because I would like him to kneel.

BRENNAN: Ooh!

MATT: I dig it, go for it.

KRYSTINA: ♪ Don't let me down, you bitches. ♪ (laughter)

SAM: Weird roll.

MARISHA: It was the weirdest roll.

KRYSTINA: Wait, it says-- oh, hold the phone. So wait, it's nine to 10 plus-- so 15.

MATT: 15 hits.

SAM: Hey.

BRENNAN: Woo!

KRYSTINA: All right, so it's 1d6 plus dexterity plus one. So that's six, eight, nine.

MATT: Nine points of damage on the first strike. It only take one stamina to attack with it. He's going to go ahead and use his counter to do his axe back swing towards you.

MARISHA: Now to me-- to me-- okay.

MATT: That is going to be 11 points of physical damage.

KRYSTINA: No, I'm going to block that. No, I'm not going to block that because it's a three.

MATT: Three, nope.

KRYSTINA: Oh wait. Yeah, yeah. Three.

MATT: Eight points of damage to you there. Anyone else?

ALEX: I'm out of stamina.

SAM: Might as well use up everything. I'm going to spend some focus points and (tinny ringing sound) ring my summoning bell to summon the spirits of three wolves to fight for me for the next minute.

MATT: You watch as these ghostly white spiritual wolves suddenly leap out of the middle of the ether and land. (howls, grunts) And begin to swarm up. (mic thumping) Oh, pardon me, sorry about that.

BRENNAN: Now we can make a wolf stack and get up so we can get higher on him.

MATT: We'll say there's two big ones and a little tiny dude there.

SAM: Aw.

MARISHA: Aw, buddies.

SAM: So it's one stamina to attack, is that per wolf or?

MATT: They all attack as one.

SAM: They all attack as one, so they're going to attack three times.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: First one is a 14 to hit.

MATT: 14 just hits.

SAM: 18 and a 17.

MATT: Yeah, all three hit.

SAM: Okay, it's not great damage, but I'll take it.

MARISHA: Come on, puppers.

SAM: (howls) Let's see here for a second. Oh, I see, okay. Damage is four, four, five.

MATT: All righty, great. That's awesome.

SAM: 13 points.

MATT: 13 points of damage from the wolves, not bad.

SAM: I think I have come to realize I am a dog person! (laughter)

BRENNAN: That is very good, yes, absolutely.

SAM: They're so cute, I mean, look. The cat really just lounges around and doesn't really acknowledge your presence at all. It's like--

BRENNAN: You really want a cat that's going to bond with you and be like a therapy blanket. But that cat is too violent.

SAM: I think so. You know, come to think of it, she was always kind of like that.

BRENNAN: Yeah, sometimes you look at cat and you're like, if you were four times as big as me, maybe we don't get along so well.

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: He's going to use his last counter to axe back swing you.

MARISHA: No!

SAM: Backs axe.

MARISHA: "Backs axe."

ALEX: Backs ack.

MATT: Well, no. Yeah, he can-- Well, you're actually kind of far away. He's going to back axe you. Since you're the one's right in front.

ALEX: Do that block.

MATT: Ooh, okay. That is going to be 16 physical damage coming your way

MARISHA: Parry.

SAM: Hey, my hometown.

MARISHA: Five. Parry. All right, all right, all right, all right, all right.

ALEX: All right, all right, all right.

MARISHA: Did you do the-- but you did the thing?

SAM: I wasn't successful.

ALEX and MARISHA: It's 15 up.

MARISHA: Come on! It's a 16, I did it!

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Stagger that bitch.

BRENNAN: Wait, what was that, what did you roll on the die?

MARISHA: 16!

BRENNAN: Wait, so-- hey!

MARISHA: You did the thing, you did the thing!

BRENNAN: You did! I said it was going to be in the final battle.

MARISHA: You totally did!

BRENNAN: It's going to be really-- (yells, blows fire) Yes, we do it!

MATT: (laughs) Hell yeah!

SAM: Prophecy!

BRENNAN: The proph-- oh my god!

MATT: It's a perfect block, no damage sustained and you manage to strike with your buckler upward to parry the blade back and it actually strikes him across the face and he pulls back and he's back. You can now see he has two large feet or two large legs with smaller legs dangling off the knees and places that hang loosely as he falls backward.

MARISHA: Does it take anything to eat the exalted jerky?

MATT: No, you can eat it on your turn.

MARISHA: Okay, so I bash him with the sword and I pull out also some exalted flesh and I just (eating sounds). With craze in my eyes. I pull out my dagger and I'm going to jump again and back stab.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: We're going again! So wait--

MATT: He's staggered, so it's advantage on the attack roll.

MARISHA: Advantage on the-- okay. Come on. (yells) That's a natural 19.

MATT: That'll hit, go ahead and roll your damage.

MARISHA: Okay, so that's one, two, three, four, five, six.

MATT: Some good rolls at the front here, I love it.

MARISHA: So it's plus, okay, okay, okay. What did I do? Plus three damage until-- okay. Then a d12 and a d4. (dice clacking together)

MATT: (laughs)

BRENNAN: What a beautiful sound.

MARISHA: Five--

ALEX: (gasping moan)

MARISHA: 10, 18, 20, five, six, plus three, 29.

MATT: 29 points of damage on that strike. (pained groan)

MARISHA: Oh wait, plus three, 29, plus--

SAM: Just hold on, Alex.

MARISHA: Two, 29.

MATT: She's dad hands-ing you.

MARISHA: 31 for my regular damage.

MATT: You got it.

MARISHA: So yeah, mom brakes.

ALEX: I'm not going anywhere!

MATT: (laughs) All righty. Is that the player turn?

ALEX: I guess.

SAM: Yes.

BRENNAN: Love the idea of, like, "Now if you want to move out of the way, that's going to take two stamina. Eating a whole stick of beef jerky, no problem."

MARISHA: Super easy, just om nom nom.

BRENNAN: Pop it in, it's good. You could do that in your sleep.

MATT: Video game logic, yo. I don't know, you guys stacked horses to get here so I have no argument.

BRENNAN: I have eight suits of full plate mail in my backpack and I can eat beef jerky in less than a fraction of a second. (laughter)

ALEX: Stacking horses might be my favorite thing ever.

MARISHA: I'm not done.

MATT: Okay, what you got?

MARISHA: I'm going to do two more dagger attacks. Maybe three more dagger attacks. I'm going to do three more dagger attacks, I have all this stamina.

ALEX and MARISHA: I got all this stamina.

MATT: Got this stamina!

MARISHA: I've got this plus three damage buff. So three attacks, here we go. That is a 14, natural 14 and natural 19 and natural three.

MATT: Two of them hit, three misses.

MARISHA: Two of them hits. 1d4 for each of them plus two, so that's adding four plus three with each of those, so that's five plus-- So five, 10, 13 more damage.

MATT: 13 more damage, nice. All righty. Does that complete the player turn?

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: Okay, it's now Godrick the Grafted's turn.

MARISHA: Godrick the Grafton?

MATT: Grafted.

MARISHA: Grafted, okay.

MATT: Pulling back from the stagger and the wounds he sustained. (grunts) (whoosh) Leaps in the air. (thuds)

SAM: Eeep.

MATT: Lands back over next to the dragon and goes, "Come, holy brother, grant me your strength." With the axe, cuts the dragon's head off. As the head falls, he grabs it and sticks it onto his body. As the mouth (snaps).

ALEX: Made the second phase.

MATT: (flames roaring) Breathes an arc of flame out to all targets in short range, which is all of you.

ALEX: I don't have anything to dodge with.

MARISHA: Oh shit.

ALEX: I'm going to die.

MARISHA: No.

MATT: All righty, so... 28 points of magic damage to all of you.

SAM: I will block.

ALEX: Oh.

SAM: If that's a possibility.

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: All right. I rolled a 19.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: I block 1d6.

BRENNAN: 19 on a dodge.

SAM: Take off five.

MATT: 19 on a dodge?

KRYSTINA: You said how much?

MATT: You managed to dodge it. (whooshes) Out of the way.

KRYSTINA: You said how many points?

MATT: This would be, sorry. 28.

KRYSTINA: I'm going to have to attempt to block this or I'm going to die.

MARISHA: Come on, come on!

KRYSTINA: 12.

MATT: 12. So take 28 points of magic image minus your armor. You roll your magic armor.

SAM: That's right, magic armor.

BRENNAN: How many hit points are you at right now?

MARISHA: That's not great on that one.

KRYSTINA: One. (screaming)

MATT: No way! (laughter)

ALEX: I'm at three.

KRYSTINA: You're at three?

MARISHA: Oh, you bitches better drinking those Flasks.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I'm going to dodge.

ALEX: I can't believe you rolled that one.

MARISHA: Yeah, that's good. 21.

MATT: 21. (whooshes) You manage to avoid it. All right.

ALEX: We technically dodged, everybody.

BRENNAN: Just hang.

ALEX: Do that from now on.

BRENNAN: Do that.

ALEX: Come on.

BRENNAN: Wow.

MATT: You've played the games.

ALEX: I know. It was stupid.

MATT: No, it was good round.

ALEX: I was given a choice.

MATT: It was a good opening round. I appreciate that.

KRYSTINA: How many points do you have?

BRENNAN: I have 52. I'm at full-- Listen, I've been dodging out here. I'm somersaulting every battle, baby. (laughter)

MATT: All righty. That finishes Godrick's turn.

ALEX: Oh thank god.

MATT: He gets his counters back. It is now the player turn. Who wants to go first?

KRYSTINA: I would like to go first.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: You.

KRYSTINA: Yes. I would most certainly like to heal myself and my allies at this moment. So let's see, that's 4d8 plus five. So eight, nine, 10, 13, 14, 24, 25. So that's plus 30 points for me.

MATT: Heck yeah, that's a comeback!

KRYSTINA: Which puts me at 31. Then for you guys, you are going to get 2d8 plus five. So that's six. So 11 points of damage, or 11 points of healing.

MATT: All the rest of you heal 11 points. That's fantastic.

ALEX: 14.

MATT: All right.

SAM: I'm going to swig a potion.

ALEX: Yeah. I'm also going to swing a potion.

MATT: From your Flasks. Your Sacred Flasks of Crimson Tears.

KRYSTINA: Plus advantage on any dodge rolls until my next turn.

MATT: Mm.

SAM: Yeah, that's fine. I'm all back.

BRENNAN: You're at 31 again?

KRYSTINA: Mm-hmm.

BRENNAN: Yeah.

SAM: Let's start the bidding by have a bunch of dogs attack this guy. They're going to nip--

MATT: The dogs also take the 28 points of magic damage by the way.

SAM: Oh. So--

KRYSTINA: They get healed, too?

SAM: They have 30 hit points total. What does that mean?

MATT: That means they have two hit points left.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: They also lose a wolf for every 10 hit points. So technically now it's just one wolf. (laughs)

BRENNAN: Oh, it's only Kevin.

SAM: Did he heal at all? Or does that not work on wolves?

MATT: You know, I'm not sure. I will say yeah. Which brings them back.

SAM: He's at 10.

ALEX: Hey!

KRYSTINA: Any allies that are next to you, so...

MATT: That's true. So it's 11 on them.

SAM: No, they super died.

MATT: So one of them comes back from the heal.

ALEX: Super death.

SAM: Well, no, I mean, I think two died. But the one who was alive--

MATT: Correct, got healed from the spell.

SAM: Will go back to 10 hit points.

MATT: Correct. So I'm saying there would be now two wolves there.

SAM: Oh, oh, okay.

MATT: So at 10 hit points is just one. Anything above 10 is two. Anything above 20 is three.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: So you're going to have them attack?

SAM: Yes, please.

MATT: They rush in to strike. Go ahead and roll for the two attacks.

SAM: 19. 16. They both hit. And four points. All right. Seven points of damage to start the round!

MATT: Hell yeah! (cheering)

MATT: All right, who else?

BRENNAN: I'll throw some more fire at this dude. There we go. Okay. Natural one.

MATT: Ooh. (whooshes) No impact on that one. It goes wide and the boss moves out of the way and it bursts into open space. No effect.

BRENNAN: He did a whole fire thing. It put me in my head. (laughs) I'm going to surge forward and do another power swing.

MATT: All righty.

MARISHA: Okay.

BRENNAN: I'll take my axe and say: You know what? I don't even need to hit you with fire. I need an axe because you have my friend's arms. And I'm going to take a swing. Eugh. 10 on a power swing?

MATT: That misses.

BRENNAN: Which of those arms is Calvis'?

MATT: It's going to use a counter to do its axe backswing on you. As you swing towards and strike past one of the smaller arms, it's just holding an axe to the side. He goes (whooshes) towards you for 20 points of physical damage.

SAM: Yikes.

ALEX: Jeez.

BRENNAN: Okay. What we going to do? 20 points. That's a lot. I'm going to go ahead and block this. I'm going to try to block it.

MATT: Okay.

BRENNAN: Let's see if we do it.

MARISHA: Come on.

BRENNAN: That's a 15 on a block.

MATT: That does succeed to block. So you do reduce the damage by six, or a d6.

BRENNAN: d6. Okay.

MATT: So roll your armor and a d6.

BRENNAN: You said 20, right?

MATT: That's correct.

BRENNAN: I take 16 points of damage.

MATT: You got it. All right. Who else is up?

MARISHA: Question.

MATT: Yes.

MARISHA: The Exalted Flesh says we gain plus three damage until the end of our next turn.

MATT: The next player turn.

MARISHA: So do we have-- So do I still have it?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Which means I think you still have it, too.

SAM: Oh, okay.

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: So that's a little extra bonus.

MARISHA: Yeah.

ALEX: And I'll go ahead and he's not looking rough, by any chance, is he?

MATT: He looks like he's taken some hits.

ALEX: Yeah. Okay. I'll move slightly closer, but not straight up. As I'm running, I'm going to cast two Glintstone pebbles at him.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: ♪ Glintstone ♪

ALEX: Both of those were terrible!

MARISHA: ♪ It's the Glintstone ♪

ALEX: One's a nine. And one's a 14.

MATT: 14 hits.

ALEX: Ah, yes.

MATT: 14 just hits.

ALEX: So that's 2d4 plus five. That's 11 points of damage.

MATT: 11 points of damage to him. (thudding) "(groans) Your magic means nothing."

ALEX: Well, it means something to me.

MATT: "Touché."

BRENNAN: Well, that's the whole thing you've been saying, right? Like, if it means something to you, then it means something?

ALEX: Yes.

BRENNAN: Wow. (laughter)

SAM: Wise words.

BRENNAN: I actually, by the way, even on a miss, I still do 4d6 fire damage.

MATT: That's true, so go ahead and roll damage on it.

MARISHA: Yes. Come on.

BRENNAN: That's going to be 11 points of fire damage.

MATT: Great. 11 points of damage. Who else is up?

SAM: I'm going to grip my sword with two hands. I need somewhere to put my shield. So I will ask one of his dangling hands, "Could you hold this for one second?"

MATT: It just holds it.

SAM: I use the two-handed sword to slice down with a power swing.

MATT: All righty.

SAM: 13 plus seven to hit.

MATT: That hits.

SAM: 20. Okay. How do I do this? I do this. Power swing is a plus two. Okay. Yes. There's no that. Oh, what a journey. Eight points of damage. That's it. But his block range decreases by three.

MATT: Great.

SAM: For my second attack, I'll just do a regular two-handed attack.

MATT: It will first counter you with a back swing.

SAM: Oh, bastard.

MATT: Ooh! That is 19 points of physical damage.

SAM: Boy oh boy. I'll take it and use Step In.

MATT: Okay!

SAM: To attack again.

ALEX: I believe in you.

SAM: Nine plus seven to hit.

MATT: Nine plus seven to hit, that hits. Yeah.

SAM: Okay, so that's--

MATT: Take your 19 damage.

SAM: Yes. 19 damage. Okay. Okay. Come on.

ALEX: Oh, come on.

SAM: 14 plus, because I stepped in--

MATT: Mm-hmm.

SAM: -- is plus three, that's 17. Plus the beef jerky bonus is another three. Right? So that's 20 total.

MATT: Nice!

SAM: Yep.

MATT: (groans)

SAM: Then I still have more. So I will attack again because I'm a beast. That's a d6, that doesn't work. 18 plus stuff works.

MATT: That hits.

SAM: 12.

MATT: Dang!

MARISHA: On a d12!

SAM: There's another 17 plus another d6, another three. Another 20 points of damage.

MATT: Dang. Heck yeah. Carving into large heaping swathes of skin and flesh are being cut off. He's being knocked back with each impact. (groans) You see the blades are trying to parry, but even if they hit your blade, it's too strong and it pushes through and still cuts into it.

SAM: I'm trying to slice off some of these limbs as well as I hack and slash.

MATT: Yeah, you get a few fingers here and there. Good job.

SAM: Okay. Good, good. I think that's all I can do.

MARISHA: Okay, seeing Nihl doing what you did, I'm going to run in, seeing her leave an opportunity. I'm going to barrel roll over the priestess, or sorry, I keep calling her priestess. Prophetess.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

MARISHA: But also, same thing. Then run in and... Goddamn it.

SAM: So much momentum and then...

MATT and MARISHA: (groans)

ALEX: Already had one earlier.

MARISHA: Do I want to? Oh, I can switch for free. So I'm going to use my scimitars. (whooshes)

MATT: You get it. So, dual wielding.

MARISHA: Dual wielding.

MATT: All righty.

SAM: I think you meant, "Fa!"

MARISHA: Fa! (laughter)

MARISHA: Fa, fa! Two attacks.

MATT: You got it.

MARISHA: One's a natural 20.

ALEX: Hey!

BRENNAN: Whoo!

MARISHA: The other is a 10 for a 16 total.

MATT: Both hit. So first one roll and double dice.

MARISHA: Dice doubled, correct?

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: Okay. Three plus six plus four.

MATT: So 10 for the first hit.

MARISHA: Plus another three for my jerky. Plus four for my base physical.

MATT: Oh, nice. So 17 total.

MARISHA: 17.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Then next one. Eight plus three, 11.

MATT: 11. Nice.

MARISHA: Plus another four because of my base. Three is the jerky.

MATT: Well, the base doesn't come on the second hit for the--

MARISHA: You're right. No, no, no. I did two attacks.

MATT: Oh, these are two attacks. I'm sorry. I misunderstood.

MARISHA: But you're right. I'm dual wielding. Am I dual wielding?

MATT: I don't know. It's up to you.

ALEX: Do you have two wheels? (laughter)

SAM: She is a bicycle.

ALEX: Un bicyclette.

MARISHA: How many horses?

MATT: Or are you keeping your shield out? Because of if you're planning to parry.

MARISHA: I'll keep my shield.

MATT: Okay. So it's just the two strikes. You're not dual wielding. Okay, cool. So it's more of a fa... fa.

MARISHA: Fa... fa.

MATT: Got it. Okay. Cool. All right. Anybody else?

KRYSTINA: I'm going to come back at him. I'm going to run up.

MATT: Okay.

KRYSTINA: And spread out my Beast Claw. So I'm going to see. So that's a dirty 20.

MATT: That hits.

KRYSTINA: All right. So let's go 2d8 plus five. Seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12. So 12 points of damage.

MATT: 12 points of damage. He's going to go ahead and do a counter as a Sweeping Riposte. Takes the axe and just (whooshes) swings an arc out to hit all of you within the immediate distance next to it, which is all three of you in the front and the wolves.

KRYSTINA: Dodge it.

MATT: For 17 points of physical damage.

KRYSTINA: My dirty 20 says no.

MATT: You dodge that shit (whooshes) out of the way. No issue.

SAM: I will also block. Nope, I won't. 19, you said? 19 points?

MATT: No. That was 17 points of physical damage reduced by your armor roll.

SAM: Oh yes, that's right.

MATT: Then for you.

MARISHA: Parry.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: (groans) No.

MATT: Okay. So it's 17 points of physical damage.

MARISHA: Yikes. Okay.

MATT: Reduced by your armor value. You don't have to roll because you're far enough away.

BRENNAN: Okay.

MATT: Then the wolves take 17 points of physical damage.

SAM: So they're down to one wolf.

MATT: Okay.

ALEX: Now down to one wolf.

SAM: He's a teen wolf.

MATT: All right. Anyone else?

ALEX: Is everybody up?

MATT: Okay.

ALEX: I know--

KRYSTINA: Oh! Ooh.

MATT: Oh? Ooh.

ALEX and KRYSTINA: You-- Mm.

MATT: (laughs)

KRYSTINA: Let me see. I don't know how to do this. All right.

SAM: ♪ Ba ba ba ba ba boo ♪

KRYSTINA: I would like to pull out my throwing knife.

MATT: Okay.

KRYSTINA: And I would like to aim for the eyeball.

SAM: Nice.

ALEX: You have a thing about eyeballs.

KRYSTINA: It's effective.

MATT: Roll for your attack.

ALEX: I'm just saying, you're fixated.

MATT: Throw your throwing dagger.

KRYSTINA: I'm fixating to hit him in the eyeball!

ALL: Oh!

MATT: It's valid.

KRYSTINA: Or not, but you know. Let's see. Hold on. That's 11.

MATT: (whooshes) It was a good shot, though. Well, no, it's wasn't a good shot. It was a good try. It's a bad shot.

SAM: Very bad.

KRYSTINA: You're bad, and you should feel bad. That's all I heard! (laughter)

ALEX: Okay. As I'm out there, I'm going to go three more pebbles.

MATT: Do it.

SAM: Plip, plip, plip.

KRYSTINA: Don't bring a pebble to a rock fight.

ALEX: Two hits, one does not.

MATT: Okay.

ALEX: That's two more hits. So that's going to be 2d4. First one is six, 11 points of magic damage.

MATT: All righty.

ALEX: And then... Nine points of magic damage.

MATT: Nice. He's getting hit. He's starting to see some wear and tear on him. Godrick the Grafted is looking, starting to look a little hurt here.

SAM: Okay, okay, okay.

MATT: All right. Is that the end of the players' turn?

SAM: Yes.

ALEX: I think so, yeah.

MATT: All right, he gets his counters back. It's now his go. He's going to unleash an inferno tornado combo.

KRYSTINA: Oh yeah.

BRENNAN: That doesn't sound great.

MARISHA: No. Does it come with curly fries?

ALEX: Oh god, I want curly fries so bad.

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: Everyone next to him--

ALEX: Makes me want a hot dog real bad.

MATT: -- takes...

KRYSTINA: Rally's seasoned fries.

MATT: 19 points of magic damage.

BRENNAN: Oof.

MATT: To you.

MARISHA: 19?

MATT: 19 points of magic damage. And you and you.

KRYSTINA: I don't like that accusatory finger point.

MATT: Sorry. My apologies.

KRYSTINA: I would like to fight you on that.

MATT: You have stamina to block or dodge or--?

KRYSTINA: I'm glad that I added that extra stamina block during the last whosa-whatsit.

MATT: So are you blocking or dodging?

KRYSTINA: I mean, did I really have to use that slot? Can I have-- Can I get a mulligan?

MATT: Nah.

KRYSTINA: If I rolled--

SAM: A Brennan, as we call them?

KRYSTINA: If I rolled a seven? I would like a Lee Mulligan, please.

MATT: So no, it's 19 points of magical damage.

BRENNAN: If I had one to spare, I'd give it to you.

KRYSTINA: Nine points, did you say?

MATT and KRYSTINA: 19.

MATT: Minus your armor roll.

MARISHA: I'll try to dodge completely if I can. Yeah, that's good.

SAM: You got some magic defense, or--?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: 23 to dodge.

MATT: 23 dodges, yeah.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: And then?

SAM: I took it.

MATT: You took it? Okay. Then so as he swings around and then does the up in the air, you watch as the flames curl around the axe swing. It burns through all of you. And he leaps about 10 feet in the air and brings it down as hard as he can onto you.

SAM: Oh no.

ALEX: Let it be the Wolf. Let it be the Wolf.

SAM: I'm going to use my last stamina to block.

BRENNAN: Perfect block, right here, watch it.

MARISHA: Yeah, come on. Stagger this bitch.

MATT: It'll be 25 points of physical damage.

SAM: That would kill me.

MARISHA: Oh my god, come on. Stagger.

BRENNAN: Watch it happen, here we go.

KRYSTINA: I believe in you!

SAM: Mon dieu. Nope. (laughter)

SAM: 13.

MATT: 13 is not enough. The skill rate is 14.

MARISHA: Wait, did you roll your armor and shit?

SAM: But, I mean, it's past.

MARISHA: It's not the same.

MATT: You can roll your armor just to see.

SAM: A one.

MATT: Whoom! You watch as Nihl just collapses to the ground, the axe jammed into his back, and he lies motionless on the ground.

MARISHA: Nihl!

SAM: My quest outlived me.

MATT: Reaches down and tears one of the arms from his body. Affixes it to his shoulder and it begins to move and flex. "Very well, who's next?"

MARISHA: Ugh.

BRENNAN: Uh.

KRYSTINA: Okay, how far are we from that little Madonna room. The little ray of light.

MARISHA: Mm.

MATT: Oh, you're about 60 feet from it that way.

KRYSTINA: Okay. Can I go and grab Nihl by the feet and drag him back out of there?

MATT: Interestingly enough, in the process of this combat, its light seems to have faded.

KRYSTINA: Oh, that's just wrong.

MATT: That's just boss rules in a boss fight.

MARISHA: That's the third time that Madonna album has been brought up.

SAM and MATT: It's a good album.

MARISHA: We listen to it.

MATT: It's a good thing, and as you grab the body and give it a tug and you look over and it's just-- It's not present. But it's the player turn.

SAM: That's all right.

BRENNAN: I have 38 hit points right now. How many hit points do you guys have?

ALEX: 36.

MARISHA: 37.

BRENNAN: Okay.

KRYSTINA: 13.

BRENNAN: You should do-- If you need to do anything close to this person, you should do it, and then you should get very much farther away.

MARISHA: Do you have any more flasks?

KRYSTINA: I do!

SAM: Do them.

ALEX: You got healing potions?

KRYSTINA: Yes.

BRENNAN: Healing potions? Yeah, it's healing potion time.

KRYSTINA: Oh wait, I do have healing potions.

MARISHA: We're refreshed on stamina?

ALEX: Yeah, we're full on stamina. Yeah, we got to remember to use our crimson tears.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: I apologize. She falls, that's on me.

SAM: Oh, thank you, I forgot as well.

MATT: That's on me.

KRYSTINA: Six, seven, eight, nine, 10.

SAM: Oh, I could have upped my focus points. I forgot my cerulean tears.

KRYSTINA: All right, so that's 33 points.

ALEX: What are you doing over there with those cerulean tears? (laughter)

KRYSTINA: Cerulean.

BRENNAN: I'm going to hurl fire again.

ALEX: He's just going to hurl.

MATT: Go for it.

BRENNAN: I'm just going to hurl. Bleh, look an arm, gross! Ugh, a head! Okay. Nat 20! (cheering) This is going to be a hot 14d6 damage coming this dude's way.

MARISHA: Oh my god!

KRYSTINA: Please just die, please just die.

MARISHA: Holy shit, come on. This is going to be so epic if it works.

KRYSTINA: I would be very impressed.

BRENNAN: That's 12.

MARISHA: Do you need extra d6?

BRENNAN: This is...

MARISHA: Do you actually have 14d6?

BRENNAN: I have 14d6.

KRYSTINA: Do it for Nihl's arm!

MARISHA: I don't know what I'm more impressed by.

BRENNAN: We got this ready to go here. We can't-- you know, kids, you got to come prepared. (laughter) All right, 14d6, rolling this dude's way. Okay, let's see here.

KRYSTINA: Math time!

BRENNAN: 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 25, 31, 36, 42, 45, 51 points of fire damage to The Grafted.

MATT: Got it. How do you want to do this? (cheering)

MARISHA: For Nihl!

MATT: (rumbling footsteps)

BRENNAN: You'll never understand the love that binds people to one another, to their arms or to their cats. I don't hate you, I pity you. (roars) Fire roils out of me, and unlike the nasty, roiling smoke of all this barbarian wildfire, as I hold the hands of my Prophetess, it is pure, glowing light and flame.

MATT: He reaches forward with the dragon arm, which then breathes flames in response to it and the two collide (roaring fire) But the light of the Prophetess is blessing into this golden flame pushes back and it cannot hold it at bay. "No, no!" (screams and growls) The flames fully immerse and engulf this figure. You watch as Godrick begins to rush around screaming. (screams) Begins swing wildly, the flames burning brighter and louder catching the nearby trees before eventually the steps become slackened and hits the ground and smolders.

BRENNAN: Walk to the smoldering body and kick it apart, just like I did the fire earlier with these beautiful companions. I reach down into the embers and search for two stony arms, if I can find them.

MATT: Looking through the space here, you do not find stony arms. Those arms would've been disturbingly large ones for this figure here.

BRENNAN: I was going to say, it probably--

MATT: But you do see, discarded off to the side of this courtyard, a pair of large arms that look like they have been frustratingly tinkered with and then abandoned.

MARISHA: Well, I can't.

BRENNAN: Wait, this eldritch abomination is like, "Man, it would be so cool if I could add these, I just need more, another set of legs, I seem top heavy."

MATT: "I should have gotten more than just the arms."

MARISHA: He needs a horse stack, that's what he needs. (laughter)

BRENNAN: They were so-- That's the thing. You were so certain, you all. You said-- you only asked how and not should, you know you needed to think. A stack of horses is what's needed to support all these arms. (laughter)

MATT: We'll say in the twilight of this conflict and in the memory of the lost warrior, Nihl--

MARISHA: Can I drag Nihl's body and throw Nihl on the Site of the Lost--

MATT: Which is only a short inconvenience, thanks to the Sites of Lost Grace restoring.

BRENNAN: Can we do a full funeral for Nihl 60 feet from this lamp? Nihl, you were a beautiful soul. You loved cats, or one specific cat, but you really loved that one cat and you were a powerful warrior.

MARISHA: So powerful.

ALEX: I only knew you for such a short time.

MARISHA: So short, four hours.

ALEX: In that time, you really stunned me with your ability to so freely lose your limbs. (laughter)

BRENNAN: Yeah, the limbs thing came up, actually, a couple times.

ALEX: Yeah, more than once.

BRENNAN: Unrelatedly, yeah.

MARISHA: I didn't understand half of what you said. Your accent was so thick. But I appreciated it all the same.

BRENNAN: Yeah, really sort of incomprehensibly thick accent, you did have.

MARISHA: Deeply thick, yeah.

KRYSTINA: Why don't you all just close your eyes for a moment of silence? Then, as they're closing their eyes for the moment of silence, I'm going to drag his body over to the Lost Souls.

ALEX: He's gone. Where did he go?

MATT: She--

KRYSTINA: Or drag her body over--

MATT: -- emerges from the golden light restored.

BRENNAN: You are truly the Prophetess! A miracle.

SAM: She has saved me.

MARISHA: The light has saved us again.

SAM: She is the greatest of all of us.

MATT: The doors to the courtyard behind you splinter open. There you see just a massacre of bodies torn asunder, blood spattered everywhere, and there in the middle of it, you see a massive feline, just chewing, just red crimson across its fur in the front. Walks up to you. (sniffs) (coos, purrs)

SAM: Oh, who's a good girl? Yes, you are. You are a good girl.

BRENNAN: She just needed to eat. You were totally right.

SAM: I left her with no food. That was the problem. Oh, I'll never do that again. I promise, oh.

ALEX: Things don't work here the way they're supposed to.

MATT: As we--

BRENNAN: I was going to say, if you think with only this, everything will seem crazy. How this tree so big? Why that guy bet his arms? Who this man? Why that lady by the fire? How come these different lamps are around and then people can come back to life, but the people that we kill, they don't seem to use the lamps. If you use this, nothing will make sense. But if you think from here and believe when you should believe.

ALEX: You follow a Prophet.

BRENNAN: Yes.

ALEX: Great. (laughter)

SAM: Still not sold.

KRYSTINA: I respect your commitment to your belief in disbelief.

ALEX: You have to believe in something.

SAM: That's right. She's done it again. She figured it out.

BRENNAN: She even made your thing! She even figured out how to--

SAM: She propheted you!

BRENNAN: Now you are really-- you're tied up. Because what can you do if you say it's your thing? It's kind of now her thing.

ALEX: In about a minute, I need you to drag me into that light. He just walks over and summons the sword out of his thing. (laughter)

MATT: We pull back from the courtyard here at the top of Stormhill here at the Stormveil Castle. As the soldiers are swarming around the exterior of this castle, we see the massive golden Erdtree and the promise, the future promise of somebody rising up to become the Elden Lord. But tonight, instead we focus on the self-inflicted magical stab wound of one such sorcerer as his wayward compatriots begin to stack horses to escape from the outer walls of this castle. What an adventure.

MARISHA: Squad shot. Ha.

MATT: And what possibility awaits. And that's where we'll end this game tonight. (cheering)

MATT: That was ridiculous! Oh my god.

BRENNAN: This video game rules, man.

MATT: It's pretty great, honestly.

ALEX: The horse stacking simulator rules.

MARISHA: Yes! Break the physics engine.

MATT: It fucking broke me, I can't. Oh my god. Oh, thank you all so much for coming and playing and being part of this.

MARISHA: It was so fun.

BRENNAN: So good, pure joy.

MATT: Oh my goodness. Thank you so much for watching. Big thank you to Bandai Namco for partnering with us to create this extremely serious, accurate portrayal of the Elden Ring lore. We'll remind you, none of this is canon, and this system is very homebrewed, but thank you for joining us on this wildness. Big round applause for all the wonderful players and people that brought this story together. (applause) Go check out Elden Ring now. If you enjoyed this and have the exact, I trust you, the exact same sort of experience in the game. Much cooler, much epic at bit.ly/CREldenRing I believe is the URL. So thank you so much. Have a wonderful night. We love you very much, and is it Thursday yet? Good night.

SAM: Yay!

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