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Pre-Show[]

MATT: Welcome to tonight's episode of Critical Role where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons.

(cheering)

MATT: Before we get into the chaos of tonight's game, we have some announcements to get through. First beginning with our fantastic sponsor of campaign two, up to this point and going forward for hopefully infinity, D&D Beyond. Sam, if you want to take it away.

SAM: I will indeed. Guys, D&D Beyond will be streaming tomorrow, June 15th, live from Origins Game F-- Uh-oh. I've forgotten something in my car. Laura, take over.

LAURA: Ugh, no, what is he doing to me? --from Origins Game Fair! Check out twitch.tv/DnDBeyond-- N, not &-- starting at 12:00 pm Eastern time, to catch interviews the monthly D&D Beyon-- What?

SAM: *Buenos noches*, I am the masked vigilante named Storro. I fight injustice and defend the innocent in order to send them to the D&D Beyond Store-o.

TRAVIS: Oh, no.

SAM: Mine is a dangerous cause, filled with scary monsters, vile beasts, devilish devils. All of them can be found in the various Monster Manuals at the D&D Beyond Store-o. Aha! What is this?! It is a generic tablet device, displaying a handsome array of content and inventory to streamline your tabletop gameplay. Why, this can only be the infamous handiwork of D&D Beyond. With my blade, I cut down on prep time, I slice my physical book collection in half, I slay the enemies of book management? For I am (click click click) Storro! And I will never stop fighting until our D&D Beyond contract expires! And then I will stop fighting! Hyah!

TRAVIS: Who was that masked man?

SAM: Oh boy, guys! What did--

TRAVIS: Did you find what you needed in your car, Sam?

SAM: Yeah, you know what? It was right here, it was this thing. Check out twitch.tv/DnDBeyond starting at 12:00 pm Eastern time to catch interviews, the monthly D&D Beyond dev update, Q&A, and a live play session with exclusive reveals from Dwarven Forge's upcoming KS6. I don't know what that is!

MATT: Their sixth Kickstarter.

LAURA: Oh! You didn't plan a commercial at all this time.

SAM: I didn't plan any commercial today, it was just--

TRAVIS: There was a guy that-- you know what? It's not important. Great job.

MATT: Well done, buddy.

MARISHA: It feels like the longest walk yet.

(laughter)

SAM: You know the thing when you find a mask at home and you're like, "I can do a bit with this!" That's the whole thing.

MATT: Thank you, Sam. And thank you, D&D Beyond. Storro lives on in our hearts. Hopefully only in our hearts. A few other updates. One: we have the standard editions of Vox Machina Origins are still available at Geek & Sundry and the Alpha online shops. The special editions are gone. So you can find details at critrole.com. Talks Machina is our after-show every Tuesday, and this episode's episode will be next Tuesday at 7:00 pm Pacific time, where a number of members of our cast will be talking with our fantastic Cabbage Master, Brian W. Foster, to discuss the events of tonight's evening's episode. We'll have giveaway prizes for Gif and Fanart of the Week. Make sure that you submit them to submit@talksmachina.com. Currently only U.S and Canada, excluding Quebec, are eligible to enter and win because of dumb rules. Also a reminder that Twitch Prime allows you, if you have your Amazon Prime account, to attach with your Twitch account to subscribe to a channel for free on Twitch once a month. If you can, do so. It's free. And that is it, and that's all; short announcements tonight.

SAM: Wait.

EVERYONE: Wait.

LIAM: Wait, there's one more. I have a thing. This is not an announcement. One of the artists in our community, Jason deBit, who's been with us since the very beginning-- old-school Critter, has made great art, he's made art on his son's sandwich bags for years, and he made a lot of Critical Role art, too. He contacted me a couple of weeks ago and said something's coming, be on the lookout for it. He gave me a vague idea of what it was and didn't prepare me for what I'm about to show you guys. It's cabbage. So this is another example of how unbelievable the people in our audience are. So Jason had an idea in 2016 to take a sketchbook and mail it around to other artists in the community.

LIAM: This book and this box, because it's covered in notes, I'll let you guys look later, but this book has been traveling the planet since 2016. Instantly started crying. This book. The rules, "When you finish with this book, email Jason, yadda yadda, if you use a medium that bleeds-- Decorate it, send it on to the next person." It's been traveling. The very first one, I'll find some-- Kat Winslade has done art for ages. I can't. I just can't.

MARISHA: Oh! It's Darragh!

LIAM: Yeah, Mikandii, Ameera, just a couple. Lloyd. I'm not going to do everyone justice, and I'm going to take pictures of this. Every single picture in here. I opened this up for the first time an hour before the show and was openly weeping, like Liam O'Brien is wont to do. Charlotte. There's one more that I want to find that I really like. That one's really good too. I'll take pictures of all of them, but I can't tell you how much this meant to me and obviously to all them seeing it for the first time. Thank you. We have the best audience on planet Earth, bar none. Legitimately thank you. Really, really, thank you. I'm looking at the wrong camera. Amazing.

TRAVIS: It doesn't matter, that's incredible. Wow.

LIAM: We'll pass it around. Everyone will see it. The audience will all see it. Thank you.

MATT: There will be tears at break.

LIAM: (fake crying) Okay, we'd better start the game!

MATT: Thank you guys so much, oh my god. No, we're good. And on that note, let's bring us into tonight's episode of Critical Role.

[click, TV static]

[groovy Critical Role theme]

Part I[]

MATT: Welcome back, everyone. Last we left off, The Mighty Nein had been traversing northward towards the Labenda Swamp, to make good on the first of two jobs they had accepted from The Gentleman back in Zadash. Upon traveling northward, you made a young feathered friend by the name of Kiri, who's been under your protection since. You briefly met Cali, who is a dragon-blooded sorcerer, who joined you for a length of the journey. You managed to discover where the seemingly cut-off and abandoned safe house was. Beneath it, discovered what had been responsible for it going silent, by an underground tunnel network run by swamp merrow. You engaged with them, found a strange altar room where they had amassed everything they had stolen from the safe house, slaughtered the present shallow priest and his protectors, took what was necessary and what was of interest from that pile, including an interesting orb, made your way back out, closed the pathway the merrow had to the safe house, thus establishing its true safety once more, and completing the job of which you were tasked. There, you spent an evening resting, and began heading back out to return from the northern center of Labenda Swamp towards the town of Berleben, and to where the next leg of your journey takes you. Mighty Nein, as you begin heading southward into the daytime of the thick, heavy swamp, what would you like to do?

TRAVIS: I forget, are we returning back to report in between missions, or are we doing a twofer?

LAURA: I can send a message to the Gentleman, so we don't have to go back.

SAM: How can you do that? He's terribly far away.

LAURA: I keep wanting to use this spell that I have, but I haven't been able to do it yet.

TRAVIS: What spell's that?

LAURA: It's called Sending.

TRAVIS: Sending?

LAURA: Yeah, I can send a message.

LIAM: That is a literal description.

TRAVIS: I guess that would cover it, then.

LAURA: But it's one of my most powerful spells, you guys, so if we're going to fight somebody, I don't know if it's smart.

ASHLEY: Do you send an actual message, or is it a piece of paper?

LAURA: It's like a piece of paper of the mind.

ASHLEY: Ooh.

TRAVIS: You lost me a little.

LAURA: Do you want me to do it?

SAM: Shouldn't we get out of the swamp first? What if there are scaries around?

TRAVIS: What time is it about, in the sky parts?

MATT: If I recall, you guys had taken a long rest after your previous battle, so now it's mid-morning, I'd say.

TRAVIS: Jester, maybe not just yet. Maybe before we go to sleep.

LAURA: At the end of the day?

TALIESIN: Well, like so many good things, we can do it back when we get to the hotel.

LAURA: Okay. Do we want to go find that troll guy?

ASHLEY: To get that 100 gold back?

MARISHA: I did almost die, which was pretty awesome.

TRAVIS: And remember, he bleeds damaging liquids.

LAURA: So we stay far away this time.

MARISHA: Do we have any more boom-boom sticks?

SAM: I think we have one. We can go blow up his house. That seems petty.

TRAVIS: Or something that we would totally do.

MARISHA: He almost killed me and definitely killed our guide.

SAM: Yeah, we should blow up his house.

TRAVIS: I'm down for that.

MARISHA: Sounds fun.

TRAVIS: Two votes. Three votes. Four, five votes.

LIAM: I defer to the group.

TRAVIS: Are you abstaining?

LIAM: No. Okay, let's go. I do not have a cat in this hunt, but whatever you want to do, I will support.

ASHLEY: Throw it in and see how it goes, and then we can run if he's-- We don't know if he's in there, though.

TALIESIN: You can sneak up, take a look, rob it, and then throw a stick of dynamite in just because, if we're going to be those people. What happens if he's actually there?

MARISHA: Wait, what do you mean by “those people?” Do you know a lot of people who throw dynamite in houses?

TALIESIN: Yeah. I feel like that's pretty obvious, at this point.

TRAVIS: I feel like I knew that about you.

TALIESIN: I just like having a game plan.

TRAVIS: Sure. Maybe we have Nott bolt in, we have everybody else stand back, because you're super fast, right?

SAM: Yeah, I guess.

TRAVIS: Very dextrous?

SAM: Sure.

TRAVIS: Yeah, then you run in and toss that sucker. If he pops out, we light it up from afar.

SAM: So I'm going to be carrying an explosive device into a troll's house, solo?

LAURA: No, you just throw it in the door. You don't have to walk in.

SAM: Just to play troll's advocate here, what if it's not his house?

LAURA: I know. That's the thing, right?

SAM: What if we're blowing up an innocent troll's house?

TALIESIN: Then we should rob it first.

LAURA: We'll send Frumpkin in first.

TALIESIN: There'll be a body curing, if it is his house. We'll know, because there'll be a body curing and getting nice and ripe.

LIAM: We also had no qualms about sending a highly decorated richter to the guillotine, so I don't know why we are getting tied up over a troll.

TALIESIN: I feel that as well.

MARISHA: He definitely has 100 gold on him. Just saying. Possibly so much more.

SAM: Let's go check it out.

LAURA: It's on the way back, anyway.

TALIESIN: We'll give you the dynamite, and if anything seems like it goes wrong, you can immediately signal Caleb, and we'll bring the cavalry in.

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: Caleb, you got that photographic memory. You remember where those damn daggers are in the trees?

LIAM: I remember the way. This way.

MATT: What is your marching order, if I could ask?

LIAM: Oh boy. I am right behind whoever's in the lead.

MATT: All righty. Who's in the lead, guys?

TALIESIN and LAURA: Fjord.

ASHLEY: I'll go behind Caleb.

TALIESIN: I'll go behind Yasha.

LAURA: I'll go next to Molly.

MARISHA: I'll take up the rear.

MATT: All right. Nott?

SAM: 30 feet to the right.

MATT: And Kiri will stay with Jester.

LAURA: Yeah, she can ride on my shoulders again.

MATT: And Frumpkin?

LIAM: Frumpkin is scarfing it on my shoulders.

MATT: Got it. Fjord, does that mean you're leading through? Who's responsible for navigating?

LIAM: I'm a couple steps behind Fjord, saying "that way" once in a while.

MATT: Make a survival check, please.

TRAVIS: I'm glad that's you.

TALIESIN: That's not bad.

LIAM: That is a 15.

MATT: Very good!

MARISHA: You get a gold star, very good!

MATT: You follow the pearl-handled daggers along the treeline until eventually, you break southward to the northern side of the Ounterloch. You continue to follow it southwestward from your current position, curving around the outside of the lake. Eventually, you make your way back to the treeline where you were before. At one point, there's a faint shift in the greenery-- looks like a vine maybe has moved-- and you, recognizing the placement of it, manage to stop Fjord from stepping into it. As you pull him back, you guys watch as there is now a cluster of vines at the base of one of these trees, and what looks like thorns on them, appear to be jagged and in rows--

LAURA: Is it a trap? Or is it organic?

MATT: You don't know.

LIAM: I'm sorry, DM, could you say that again because I was busy rubbing it into Travis that Caleb is stronger than Fjord.

SAM: Vines.

MATT: You saw a patch of vines that were tangled at the base of one of these trees that you managed to stop Fjord before stepping into the area.

TALIESIN: Do we recognize these vines and what kind of plant this is?

MATT: Make a nature check.

TALIESIN: We'll see how this goes. No.

MARISHA: Can I do a scan and look around?

LAURA: Nott, it could be a trap, come look and see if it's a trap.

SAM: Okay, I'm coming.

MARISHA: Can I do a scan and see if I see anybody responsible for making the vines move?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Wow.

MARISHA: Yeah, man, it's pretty bad. Eight. Nope, ten. Still getting used to my stats.

MATT: You don't see anybody responsible for that.

SAM: I will visually inspect it for traps.

MATT: All right, make an investigation check.

SAM: Nope!

LIAM: We want the numbers though.

SAM: Eight.

MATT: Does not appear to be trapped. There are no other cables or lines, you don't see any signs of anything else either holding any tautness to it. They seem slack.

LAURA: Can I follow the vines along and see where they're coming from?

MATT: As you look at them, they're just centered there at the base. They either might be coming out from under the tree or part of a plant network right there.

TALIESIN: I've got a weird idea.

SAM: Let's walk around them.

TALIESIN: Everybody back up a bit. I'm going to take a little bit of my jerky, I'm going to wrap it around a ball bearing, make a little baseball out of it. I'm going to chuck it right into the middle of the vines.

MARISHA: What, no! It's good jerky!

LAURA: Yeah! Do it!

MATT: As soon as you hear Beau's words, "It's good jerky!", you watch as the vines suddenly wrap around where it was and begin to coalesce and twist around it. You watch as they tighten and tear and hold there.

TALIESIN: I love camping.

LIAM: Feed me!

MATT: Then they begin to slowly shift in your direction. The vines-- (moving noises)

TRAVIS: Back up!

LAURA: Oh, no, it's one of those things again, just go around it!

MARISHA: Let's just run! We're going to go.

MATT: It's not very quick. You watch as this poor cluster of jagged vines, different than the man-trap you encountered before, slowly circle around and eventually give up after you guys very easily make your distance.

LAURA: I throw little bits of moldy pastries at it because I feel sorry for it.

MARISHA: Aww, feeding the plants.

TRAVIS: And it throws it back.

MATT: Doesn't seem to have much interest in them, unfortunately.

LAURA: Well, it's still really good.

ASHLEY: It'll get hungry. Maybe later.

MATT: Pressing on, you're heading back to Berleben, or are you searching for this hollow you found before?

LIAM: I was leading everyone back to where this troll was.

MATT: Make another survival check for me, please.

LIAM: I know exactly the direction of north, and I remember where we were, that is a nine.

LAURA: You know we're going to get lost in this swamp forever.

LIAM: But I have perfect memory.

MATT: You have firm memory of directions. You know which direction you're traveling, and you have--

LIAM: But it all looks the same.

MATT: Yeah. You don't have the ability to suddenly know where everything is that you've been. You have a good sense of it, and you can guide better than most, given most circumstances. But you also have not grown up in a swamp, and after a while, the pattern recognition begins to fade a bit and you discover, after you've been circling a bit, stumbling upon your own footfalls, you've lost about two hours of travel in the middle of the swamp.

LAURA and ASHLEY: Oh, no!

LIAM: It looks just the way I remembered it though.

LAURA: Maybe we circled around for two hours the first time and we just didn't realize it.

TALIESIN: That's entirely possible.

MATT: Knowing that, you do take knowledge of the current source of sunlight above the canopy. Following that, heading in the western direction from where you were, eventually you come across that similar sound-- distant chimes.

SAM: What was that?

LAURA: Those were the bone chimes!

SAM: Oh no! That's scarier than wind chimes.

LAURA: Should we be stealthy?

TRAVIS: Yeah, we should be stealthy.

LAURA: Should I cast Pass Without a Trace on us?

LIAM and SAM: Yes.

SAM: Is that all of us?

LAURA: Yeah. Stay within 30 feet of me, okay?

TRAVIS: Big times are coming, Nott.

SAM: I don't want to, don't make me go in there. It's a troll house.

LAURA: Nott!

SAM: What?

LAURA: Bless you. Now you have advantage on stealth checks.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: So are you all staying back?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: How far back are you staying?

MARISHA: Should we do a circle, surround the perimeter, just in case?

LAURA: Let's do a semicircle around where the door is.

MATT: Here, this will make it easy to establish the scenario.

SAM: He's got a map.

TALIESIN: We remember what not to do, right, which is--

SAM: No, what?

LAURA: Don't attack him up close. Don't let him get close to us.

TRAVIS: Yeah guys, distance is key.

MATT: There is the hollow, with the central tree there.

TRAVIS: And we're coming from?

MATT: You guys are coming this direction, so north would be that direction. You guys are heading this way. Where would you guys like to be placed?

SAM: Semicircle right there?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: I would like to be on the absolute side of the semicircle, please.

LAURA: Is this rough terrain, is this swampy or is this normal ground?

MATT: It's normal ground where it's green and then rough terrain where it's water.

LAURA: Okay. Oh, that's. Oh no.

MATT: Kiri has her dagger out and is currently--

LAURA: Oh no! Kiri, stay behind this tree next to me.

MATT: There?

LAURA: No, behind it. Yeah.

MARISHA: Hiding in that tree.

ASHLEY: I feel a little exposed.

SAM: Nott's in the rear.

MATT: There you go. As you're preparing yourself, Kiri looks over to you with a big smile with the dagger out and goes (as Jester), "I don't know if it's smart."

SAM: Kiri, I don't either. Give me the boomstick.

LAURA: Who has the boomstick?

TRAVIS: You do now.

SAM: I have the boomstick.

LAURA: Okay, be stealthy. You have advantage.

SAM: What am I doing? I'm going to see if this is the troll's place.

LAURA: You're going to see if the troll is inside--

TALIESIN: You're going to take everything that you can grab in there.

ASHLEY: Frumpkin's not going in?

TRAVIS: It's an unnecessary step. Just blow that thing up, man!

LAURA: What if the troll's not in there though?

TRAVIS: Then you blow it up anyway!

LAURA: Then we can go steal stuff.

MARISHA: Do we go steal stuff and bounce?

TALIESIN: And then blow it up and run.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LAURA: So find out if he's in there.

SAM: All right.

MARISHA: Wait, is Frumpkin dead? Not to be insensitive.

LIAM: You just touched his tail.

MARISHA: Oh, hey buddy. Sorry.

LAURA: Maybe he should go in there.

MARISHA: Yeah, maybe we send Frumpkin first.

SAM: But Frumpkin's not as-- I mean, yes, that would be great. But Frumpkin's not as stealthy as I am.

TRAVIS: If you want, I can go.

LIAM: You cast Pass without a Trace on all of us.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: I'm okay.

TALIESIN: But it's only up to 30 feet away from her.

LAURA: That's true.

SAM: I have advantage.

LAURA: Okay, go in there Nott. Do it.

SAM: I'm going to run up, stealthily.

MATT: Roll your stealth with advantage, Nott, as you come up along the side.

LIAM: Plus ten.

SAM and MATT: It's not plus ten.

LIAM: I thought that--

LAURA: It has to be within 30 feet.

SAM: 22.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: So Caleb, you've got plus ten right now.

MATT: As quietly as you can, you turn around the corner, walk this little swampy land bridge, dipping down to about your waist in swamp water, but in a very slow, steady path, begin to emerge, your foot finding the roots at the base of this large, now hollowed, tree. You turn around the corner--

SAM: I'm wearing my Ring of Waterwalking, by the way.

MATT: That's true, you do actually. So you (tip tap) across it. The softest ninja run you've ever seen. You can almost hear Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies as you go. Glancing inside, you do see currently in the process of chewing something. You hear a crunching sound, and then a slurping sound, and then some subtle (eating noises).

TRAVIS: Smoke that for me!

SAM: I will stealthily back away so there's no way he can see me. To the side, and I will--

LAURA: Wait, can we all hold our attacks for as soon as the troll comes out of the tree?

MATT: Do you want to hold actions when comes to it?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MARISHA: Sure.

TRAVIS: I'll hold Eldritch Blast until he's visible.

LIAM: I will hold Fire Bolt.

MARISHA: I'll hold a throwing star.

MATT: Essentially it would be a surprise round, so you aren't *holding* necessarily.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: He doesn't know you're there.

SAM: Am I able to light the boom boom stick?

MATT: Do you have flint and steel in your equipment?

SAM: I'm looking.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Did we send him out there without matches?

ASHLEY: Great idea.

SAM: I have thieves' tools? And I have acid.

LAURA: Well, sneak back here!

LIAM: I pull out the wire and say, “What are you doing? Throw it in!”

SAM: I don't have a match!

LIAM: Oh. I could light it from here if you just toss it down and dive.

SAM: What?

ASHLEY: I have… I probably can't hear you guys.

MARISHA: Like, you throw a fireball and make it go?

SAM: I'm going to come back!

MARISHA: Oh my God!

MATT: Nott scoots back around the corner. As you guys are all waiting patiently,

TRAVIS: How's it going?

SAM: It's definitely the troll. I just need someone to light this for me. Or give me a match. Or something, or light something on fire.

LAURA: Just use your thing! Don't you have like, Burning Hands or something?

LIAM: It's hard to control.

LAURA: Just light a finger on fire and just touch the thing.

ASHLEY: I have a tinderbox.

SAM: Oh, great! Great!

TRAVIS: But is it a long wick?

MARISHA and LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: It's about that long.

TRAVIS: Oh, geez!

MATT: Make an intelligence check, actually.

LAURA: Run and do it.

SAM: Intelligence? Eight plus something.

LAURA: Oh, that's good.

SAM: Intelligence check. 11?

MATT: 11? You have some understanding of basic alchemy; you know probably the way this is treated it won't burn super fast. You're not sure. You could have anywhere between 24 to six seconds once lit.

TRAVIS: This is such a Fourth of July problem.

TALIESIN: You have full running speed, though.

TRAVIS: Jester!

LAURA: What?

TRAVIS: Go with him!

LAURA: Why?

TRAVIS: You've got Pass Without Trace, just go with him!

LAURA: Why you want me to die?

MARISHA: It'll look really cool when you're running away from it, though, when it's exploding.

LAURA: You're right, it will! Okay, I'm gonna follow 30 feet behind Nott as we're going up.

(laughter)

SAM: Okay, I'm going to cast Mage Hand to hold the dynamite.

TRAVIS: Okay, good.

SAM: Okay, so Mage Hand is holding the dynamite. Go ahead and light it, Yasha.

MATT: Okay, so where are you then?

SAM: I am near Yasha.

MATT: Okay, so you move over.

TALIESIN: I'm going to get behind that tree and activate my swords.

LAURA: I'm going to get within 30 feet of Nott.

MATT: Both swords ignited.

TALIESIN: Oh, dear.

LAURA: And I'm within 30 feet of Nott.

MATT: So you move over here with Yasha, then?

LAURA: Sure, I guess?

MATT: Okay, there's now this floating piece of dynamite just kind of gliding over the swamp. You hear the insects buzzing and various dragonflies making their way through. So you have now floating it in front of you, Yasha.

ASHLEY: Okay, I'll light it.

MATT: It's going!

SAM: Okay! I'm going to move toward the thing and make Mage Hand go in front of me all the way into the hole.

MATT: Okay. You get right around this corner make another stealth check as you've now dilly-dallied around for a bit.

LAURA: Oh, that's good, you still have advantage.

SAM: Okay. 25.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: And you're within 30 feet, right?

LAURA: Oh! And plus ten!

SAM: 35!

MATT: No idea you're there. But there is a faint (hissing) sound and from the inside you see the shifting movement of the large hulking troll beast on the inside of the hollow kind of pause for a second in the middle of chewing.

SAM: The mage hand is going in!

MATT: Silence.

LAURA: But I--

SAM: What did you do?

(massive explosion)

MATT: If I can get a pair of scissors please.

SAM: What? You're going to cut your beautiful work?

MATT: Well yeah, you blew it apart!

(laughter, cheering)

MATT: Thank you kindly.

TRAVIS: Look, it's got roots and all sorts of beautiful things.

TALIESIN: If I could get a pair of scissors please?

SAM: Should we start bringing cherry bombs?

LAURA: Attack, attack, attack!

MATT: Okay, so first off.

MARISHA: That was the coolest!

MATT: Disadvantage on its dexterity saving throw: fails, go ahead and roll 2d6 for me please.

SAM: Me? Okay.

MARISHA: That's only 2d6?

LAURA: *Oh no*.

SAM: Double ones.

(laughter)

LIAM: Ooh, that's some stale dynamite.

TALIESIN: That was a bottle rocket.

MATT: A concussive blast blows apart the hollow. You see pieces of shrapnel go flying in every direction. The only one who is not currently protected is you, Nott. I need you to make a dexterity saving throw, please.

SAM: On my own blast?

MATT: Well, not from the blast. This is from the shrapnel of the tree hollow that has exploded outwards in all directions.

TRAVIS: I'm unprotected.

MATT: You're far enough away where I don't think it would hit you.

SAM: 11.

MATT: That's okay. You take half damage.

LAURA: If you take so much more--

MATT: You take three points of bludgeoning damage from pieces of wood flying in your direction. The troll is, however, knocked prone.

(cheering)

TALIESIN: He's harder to hit from a distance, at the moment.

MATT: From a distance, yeah. However, I need everyone to roll initiative.

SAM: We did this to ourselves.

LIAM: Yes! Natural 20!

MATT: He's aware that you guys are there now.

MARISHA: You think?

MATT: We'll say for the purposes of this I'll give you each one action to do something.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: Not me, I did my action.

LIAM: I like that the blast didn't knock him down. He was just scared to death. He went, "Ah!"

MATT: 25 to 20?

LIAM: 21.

SAM: 20.

MATT: A natural 20 on his-- Sorry, Caleb was?

LIAM: 21.

MATT: And Nott, was it?

SAM: 20. Where's that music, Matt?

TRAVIS: I want to know yours is first all the time.

ASHLEY: What?

TRAVIS: I want to know what you rolled.

ASHLEY: Mine is like, two!

MATT: 20 to 15?

TALIESIN: 19.

TRAVIS: Oh, man.

MATT: 15 to ten?

MARISHA: 14.

TRAVIS: There you go, come on.

ASHLEY: 12. Moving on up!

MATT: Ten to five?

LAURA: Seven.

MATT: What you got, Fjord?

TRAVIS: Fjord got a four.

SAM: A fjour.

MARISHA: A fjour by Fjord.

MATT: I think this is a surprise round. The troll cannot act this turn. We'll just let it go that way, because he'd be going up with you, Caleb, on the same turn. He's on the ground, dazed and stunned. What are you doing?

LIAM: A Firebolt goes from my hand. That is a natural 20.

TRAVIS: Yeah, come on now!

LIAM: With my Vax die, we will use this one. That is a three-- 11. Doubled is 22.

MATT: 22 points of fire damage. Nice. The bolt impacts, the flame curls across his now currently black, blasted chest and back area. The flames, as you noticed in a previous battle, has prevented its regeneration.

LIAM: I didn't actually even want to come here. Ah!

ASHLEY: He can regenerate?

LAURA: He can't; he's burned.

MARISHA: They do normally, though.

TRAVIS: Fire!

MATT: From the battles you've had and from watching the previous strike, you now notice the impact, and as the time progresses over the next round, the wounds are not knitting themselves back together. So, that finishes your turn. Are you going to move?

LIAM: No. I'll stay where I am.

MATT: Finishing Caleb's go. Nott you're up.

SAM: Okay, I'll shoot my crossbow and miss, with a nine.

MATT: You have disadvantage because he's currently prone.

SAM: Disadvantage? I already missed.

MATT: I just wanted to see if you rolled lower.

SAM: Still nine.

MATT: Good to know. First shot misses.

SAM: Oh, I get another one?

MATT: I'm letting you guys have a full surprise round, because technically he's dazed.

SAM: Oh, that's no good. 13?

MATT: 13 does not hit.

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: It manages to ricochet off of the outer parts of its hide. Even though it's burnt and scarred, it's still thick. You watch as the bolt reflects off it. Molly, you're up and then Beau.

TALIESIN: I'm going to come out from behind my tree right there, just a little bit so I can see him. I'm going to try and Enthrall him, because I don't have any good stuff that I can do from a distance.

LAURA and TALIESIN: (singing) From a distance!

MATT: Spell DC on that is charisma-based, so it's a ten, correct?

TALIESIN: Is it charisma-based? That's right.

MATT: All of your racial abilities are charisma-based.

TALIESIN: Because it says wisdom I get so--

MATT: That is a 12, so it does not succeed.

TALIESIN: It does not succeed?

MATT: No, sorry, I mean--

TALIESIN: It does succeed.

MATT: Meaning your ability does not succeed. That's your action. You still have 25 feet of movement if you want do anything.

TALIESIN: I'm actually going to sort of stand out in the-- I'm going to move a couple feet out-- there. And just start yelling at him: Hey-- hey you fucker, you got-- We got more than that! Where we-- Come on! Bring it! I don't know what I'm doing! Too much caffeine!

MATT: Perfect.

TRAVIS: The wires crossed!

TALIESIN: That all happened in there. That all happened.

MATT: That finishes Molly's turn. Beau, you're up.

TALIESIN: Good thing nobody in the world saw that.

MARISHA: I'm going to move up my speed pretty far, because I think I have to be within 20 feet for these darts.

MATT: Keeping on the green, you can get about there, and he is within 20 feet of you.

LAURA: Can you not get within close range of him again?

MARISHA: I'm not!

TRAVIS: You are just inching up.

MARISHA: I have throwing darts that only go 20 feet, and I'm a melee fighter, man!

TRAVIS: He stole you last time. You should have PTSD from this.

MARISHA: Have you met Beau?

TRAVIS: You're right.

MATT: You have disadvantage on the attacks, because he's prone.

MARISHA: Oh right, okay. First attack. 19.

MATT: 19 hits!

MARISHA: On the first one. We celebrated too soon. A natural 20 and a seven! So 14.

MATT: 14 misses, unfortunately, but the first strike does hit.

LIAM: Get up there and grapple him, and I'll send projectiles.

MARISHA: That sucks. Four damage.

MATT: Four points of damage to the troll.

MARISHA: I'm going to spend a ki point--

MATT: As you throw it, you watch as it splinters off of its body and there is a splash of poisonous toxin.

MARISHA: Like a rock in his face!

TRAVIS: Yep, like a pebble.

MARISHA: Like a pebble! I'm going to use a ki point to do patient defense.

MATT: All right, you go into your defensive stance, preparing for any sort of assault towards you. Yasha, you're up.

MARISHA: Did I go my full speed?

MATT: No you didn't.

MARISHA: Can I move back a little?

MATT: If you want to, yeah.

MARISHA: One more, that's good.

MATT: All right, there you go. Yasha.

ASHLEY: I don't want to move close to it. May I hold my action until it gets--

LAURA: This is a surprise attack, though.

ASHLEY: I know it's a surprise attack, I just don't have any ranged weapons or anything. I can go up and hit him.

MATT: It's up to you. If you don't move, you don't get to move later until your next turn. So if you're going to move, do it now, and then hold your action for whatever trigger you want.

ASHLEY: Okay, let me move around by Beau.

MATT: Over here?

ASHLEY: Yeah, next to Beau.

MATT: And you're holding an attack?

ASHLEY: I'm holding an attack.

MATT: Okay, you are readying an attack, for what? What's the trigger? Comes within range? Got it. Okay, that finishes Yasha's turn. Jester, you're up.

LAURA: That's me! I'm going to cast Spiritual Weapon right above it!

MATT: Right above it!

LAURA: And it's going to hit him!

MATT: All right, roll for your attack.

LAURA: It's not at disadvantage, because it's melee, right?

MATT: Correct. Technically it's at advantage, because it is prone. I imagine it's considered a melee attack.

TALIESIN and LAURA: Ooh!

LAURA: 19 plus something, so that definitely hits.

MATT: That definitely hits, roll damage on that.

LAURA: That's 1d8, because I did it wrong before. That's five plus seven.

MATT: 12 points of damage as the lollipop (whack) slams down on its body. It rears back. This awkward, sickly-looking creature being bashed by beautiful, glistening, divine lollipop. It's a unique visual.

LAURA: Eat it, troll! Then I am going to use my bonus action to ring a spiritual ballad! Toll the Dead!

MATT: You mean you used your bonus action for the Spirit, and your action for the--

LAURA: Yes, that's what I mean! He's got to make a wisdom save of 15.

MATT: Wisdom or constitution? Wisdom, all right. That is a four.

LAURA: Yeah! So that's 2d12!

MATT: Yeah it is!

TRAVIS: Rock it!

LAURA: Ooh! 14!

MARISHA: Making up for last week!

MATT: Apparently. All righty, that ends Jester's go.

LAURA: I'm going to stay right there.

MATT: All righty, Fjord, you're up.

TRAVIS: I'll move forward ten feet, and with my bonus action, cast Hex on him, for strength checks.

MATT: All righty, strength checks are denied onto him for disadvantage.

TRAVIS: Denied, and I'll launch two Eldritch Blasts in his direction.

MATT: Go for it, both at disadvantage.

TRAVIS: That's a ten on the first; that's going to miss.

MATT: Misses over top.

TRAVIS: And 19 to hit.

MATT: That does hit, roll damage.

TRAVIS: Seven! Seven points of damage! Wait, and a d6.

MATT: A d6 from your Hex, don't forget that.

TRAVIS: Another four, total of ten.

MATT: 11, technically.

ASHLEY: Is he looking rough?

LAURA: He's looking pretty rough.

MATT: No, he's all right. I mean, he looks hurt. Top of the round, Caleb and the troll going at the same time. Because you are going at the same time with the enemy, roll a dexterity check. Roll a d20, add your dexterity modifier.

LIAM: It's pretty high, I reckon. Nope, that is a seven.

MATT: He's going before you. Gets up in its space, that's half his movement.

LAURA: Ooh, he's so ugly!

MATT: (counting) 15.

MARISHA: Ha ha ha!

LAURA: Don't laugh yet.

MATT: It's going to use an action to dash forward in front of you.

SAM AND LAURA: Oh no!

LAURA: Run away.

TRAVIS: Oh, he can't fucking hit him.

LAURA: He can't attack you until you guys move.

MATT: You know what? He's not. He's going to stay there, and instead he's going to go ahead and use his venom spray. It lumbers forward, it's darkened, with angry, blasted soot and flame scars, it rumbles toward you, its strange bulbous midsection wobbling as it steps through the swamp towards you. It looks like an even more swollen Meg Mucklebones from Legend. Reaches up with its claw and tears a giant wound across its chest. As it does, dark green venomous liquid sprays out in a 15-foot cube in front of it, hitting both of you. I need you both to make a constitution saving throw, please. It takes seven points of damage from its own claw.

TRAVIS: We had to have 100 gold, didn't we?

MARISHA: Does my Patient Defense do anything here?

LAURA: This is not about the gold, Fjord!

MARISHA: 16.

LAURA: This is a reckoning!

ASHLEY: Just a straight roll, yeah? 11.

MATT: Okay, you just make it. The DC was 16.

TRAVIS: Hah. You're like, I made it.

ASHLEY: I made it. You're telling me there's a chance.

MATT: That is exactly what you needed. 18 points of poison damage to you, Yasha, and you are poisoned for one minute.

SAM and LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: You take nine points of poison damage, Beau, and you are not poisoned.

TALIESIN: But you can save against that, right? Every turn?

MATT: Yep. At the end of each turn, you can repeat the saving throw to try to get rid of the poison, so that's going to end its turn. Next, Caleb.

LIAM: Yeah, okay, so I'm going to keep it simple. I will move as close as I can, probably getting close to Mollymauk.

MATT: Right there?

LIAM: *Ja*. I will hit him with some Magic M-- No. Is he within splashing range of you all? Did you just get hit?

TRAVIS: No, not with blood spray.

LIAM: I'll hit him with Magic Missile.

MATT: What level?

LIAM: The basic level.

MATT: Three missiles. 3d4 plus three, go ahead and roll that up. Nott, you're next.

LIAM: Three, four, eight. 11 total.

MATT: Finishing that, Caleb, your turn's over. Nott, what are you doing?

SAM: I will fire once. Am I at disadvantage or anything?

MATT: Nope.

SAM: Oh, I still missed. 11.

MATT: That does miss, unfortunately.

TALIESIN: Are we seeing sprays when he gets hit by these things, by the way?

MATT: Each Magic Missile, the spray is still jumping off of its body in these very proximity-based sprays of terrible toxin. So yeah, it's still happening.

SAM: Can I scoot back behind that tree to the west?

MATT: Are you going to make another attack?

SAM: I'll make another one when I get over there.

MATT: Over here?

SAM: Can I go farther around? Just as far around as I can-- yeah.

MATT: As you're rushing past.

SAM: That one hits. Okay, 19 plus something. This is not a sneak attack, though.

MATT: Correct.

SAM: Well, poo. Six points of damage.

MATT: Six points of damage to it. As the bolt sticks in the back, you watch as one of its bulbous pustules sprays venom behind it, impacting nothing in its proximity.

LAURA: How far does it look like the pustules spray?

MATT: Between five and ten feet, you're not entirely certain from your visible standpoint, because you're kneeling behind a tree with partial cover. That finishes Nott's turn. Molly, you're up. Then Beau, you're on deck.

TALIESIN: How far can I move in one?

MATT: 30 feet.

TALIESIN: Okay, I'm going to head in the direction of this creature. I'm going to stay about-- Actually, let's try something ridiculous. You took a lot of damage from that spray, right?

MARISHA: Nine. Not as much as Yasha.

TALIESIN: This'll be fun. Let's run up to it, see how close I can get.

MATT: In order to make it with your distance, you're going to have to leap across that bit of open swamp water.

TALIESIN: I'm going to try to leap at that just north of me to see if I can get over here, then. By that spiritual weapon. If I can leap there.

MATT: That'll be the rest of your movement. You'll be right there and that'll be the end of your movement.

TALIESIN: That's fine. At least it'll hopefully give everybody some flanking.

MATT: Okay, make an athletics check.

TALIESIN: That's a four.

MATT: (counting) You trip and fall down to your knees in the water. 20, 25, and that's about as far as you can move on this turn.

TALIESIN: That's as far as I can move?

MATT: You can use an action to dash if you want.

TALIESIN: I'm going to hold my action in case he comes within fighting distance.

MATT: Okay, you're holding your attack?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'm holding my attack.

MATT: Got it.

TALIESIN: Can I do anything with my bonus? I can't do anything with my bonus.

MATT: Okay. Does that end of your turn?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I think that ends my turn.

MATT: Beau, you're up.

MARISHA: I look at Yasha. Yeah?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MARISHA: I pull out my oil flask and I undo it and I douse him with oil, power-of-Christ-compels-you style.

MATT: Your first attempt to spray it. It dissipates in front of you.

LAURA: Throw it at him!

MATT: You can't throw it 15 feet to land on his body. You have to throw the actual-- All right. Roll a d20 plus your dexterity modifier.

LAURA: It's 15 feet away.

MARISHA: Eight.

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: It sees it coming towards him and (whooshing) past its head, and you hear it (shattering) somewhere in the distance. You glance past it, and there's a pile of skulls and bones that were previously charred from the impact that currently now are doused in oil.

MARISHA: That didn't go as planned. Sorry.

ASHLEY: Do you want to move?

MARISHA: Yeah, I'm going to step back.

TRAVIS: Run. (singing) Sail away, sail away, sail away.

MATT: How much for full movement?

LAURA: As far as you can. Get as far as you can!

MARISHA: Yeah, a little bit more. I'm going to go behind that tree there. Yep, that's fine.

MATT: All right. That ends Beau's turn. End of Beau. Yasha, you're up.

ASHLEY: Okay. I know we can't go up and slash, and that's all I can do, but can I--

MATT: You can.

TALIESIN: You're just going to take damage.

ASHLEY: I can't do it. I'll just take damage. I'm already low.

TALIESIN: We healed up. We got a long rest.

ASHLEY: Yeah. I know. I'm already nervous. Could I take a torch and throw it at him?

MATT: Sure, I'll let you do that. Yeah.

MARISHA: Maybe there's some oil flecks on him.

MATT: You, who are still holding your tinder box from lighting the dynamite earlier, pull out your pack, pull out a torch, and it begins to burn. Roll a d20; add your dexterity modifier.

LAURA: Roll better than Beau!

MARISHA: Do better than me!

ASHLEY: Oh no. Seven.

MARISHA: Damn it!

SAM: Does it at least land where the oil landed?

MATT: It does! You see behind a pile of freshly dampened, oil-covered skulls burns like a nice little bonfire behind him.

ASHLEY: Is he looking at it?

MATT: It looks at it, and looks back at you about as incredulously as a troll can, like--

ASHLEY: I'm going to go back as far as I can.

MATT: I should have actually rolled at disadvantage on that, but it would have been the same.

MARISHA: We still would have sucked.

ASHLEY: Still would have been shit.

TALIESIN: There is a tiny burning fire there now.

ASHLEY: I roll for a save on the poison?

MATT: You do, at the end of your turn. Make a constitution saving throw.

MARISHA: That would have been really cool in theory.

TALIESIN: It would have been.

ASHLEY: 17.

MATT: You manage to shrug off the poison.

ASHLEY: Good call.

MATT: Good. All right, that ends Yasha's turn. Jester, you're up.

LAURA: From out of the flames comes the spiritual weapon from behind and it's going to come up and spank him on the butt.

MARISHA: Heavy metal lollipop.

ASHLEY: Come on, lollipop.

LAURA: 14.

MATT: 14 just misses. It strikes across its shoulder but glances off and slams into the wet, sickening swamp floor with a (sucking) sound. It has to pull itself out by wedging back and forth.

LAURA: Aw man. I poke out from behind the tree and say, "I was aiming for your butt." And then I'm going to cast Guiding Bolt at level three.

MATT: Oh shit. All right. Roll your attack.

LAURA: Damn it, fuck, mother, bitch. No, it doesn't hit.

TALIESIN: There's a lot of threes in this game right now.

MATT: You watch as behind, (booming).

SAM: Oh no! It's got a mate!

MATT: A tree blasts back from the Guiding Bolt, slamming into already-rotted roots, needed that one final nudge, and the tree behind uproots itself and falls.

LAURA: Did you guys see how powerful that was? Super powerful. I'm going to run away. I'm going to turn around and run the other direction. Yep, right there.

MATT: All right. That ends Jester's turn. Fjord, you're up.

TRAVIS: I'm going to move over here. Five, ten, 15.

SAM: You're going closer?

TRAVIS: Yeah. I'm going to cast Witch Bolt at it.

MATT: Go for it. Level one? What level you have to.

TRAVIS: Yeah, whatever it is. 3d12. I have to roll to hit first. 16?

MATT: 16 does hit.

TRAVIS: Hi, d12. I missed you. (counting) 18 points. Lightning damage.

MATT: Plus a d6 because it has Hex on it.

TRAVIS: Thank you for the reminder. Two. Solid 20 points.

MATT: 20 points of damage. I'm putting this on there for Witch Bolt, so if you wanted to use your action again, you can continue to hit it every time for a d12 automatically. Now you see, as Fjord steps around the corner and releases this arcing bolt of purplish-black energy, this lightning arcs off and slams into the troll. The energy continues to swirl around it. It tries to stop it and grasp for it to no effect. There's this strange thread of faintly visible energy between it and Fjord right now. There's some sort of connection between the two of them. All right, that ends your turn, Fjord?

TRAVIS: It does.

MATT: The troll's going to go first because it rolled higher than Caleb. Immediately, it turns--

LAURA: No!

MATT: No. It's real angry at him because it just got Hexed, Blasted, and then Bolted. It's going to bypass the shiny swords right there.

TALIESIN: Does it get close enough for me to take a swing?

MATT: It does.

TALIESIN: Swing, swing. I just get two attacks, right?

MATT: You were holding your action, so you get two attacks, yeah.

TALIESIN: Actually, I'm going to use the good sword. It doesn't matter. That's awful, and that's pretty good. That's 11, that misses, and 19, that hits.

MATT: That does hit.

TALIESIN: That's 1d6 plus 1d4. 2d6 now, that's right. That's not bad. That's ten points of damage.

MATT: Ten points of damage, as you strike it with one blade and miss with another. Immediately, as you strike across it with your blade, the venom splashes into your face. You suffer 13 points of poison damage, and then it moves out of your combat range. You can still take your reaction if you wanted to.

TALIESIN: I will take my reaction. 13 points of damage?

MATT: Yep.

TALIESIN: That's fine. This is what I'm good for. I'm taking it.

ASHLEY: Hundred gold!

TALIESIN: Hundred gold. Natural 20.

(cheering)

TALIESIN: New die.

LAURA and TALIESIN: It's a pretty gold die.

TALIESIN: Does the fact that I'm using what effect I have--

MATT: It does not appear to be undead. So it's 2d6 plus, and then double whatever you roll.

TALIESIN: So it's 4d6 plus a little.

MATT: Yeah, if you wanted to do it that way.

TALIESIN: Ooh. That pretty much does the same thing. (counting) 21 points of damage.

MATT: As you carve past, with a third, final swing towards it, you cut through a portion of muscle and tendon on its arm there, which immediately slips, dull to one side, unmoving. The spray splashes back in your face for only five points of poison damage.

MATT: And it's coming into you. As soon as that arm goes limp, the muscle reconnects and the arm comes back with strength, angrily. It's going to swing. It's going to take a bite and two claw attacks against you.

TALIESIN: He's also going to, of course, Curse of the Eyeless.

MATT: You can't. You already used your reaction to attack him.

TALIESIN: Oh, that was my reaction. Nevermind.

MATT: Sorry, buddy.

TALIESIN: That's all right.

MATT: For its bite attack against you, its jaws open, Fjord. That is going to be a 26.

TRAVIS: That hits.

MATT: You take ten points of piercing damage, plus six points of poison damage, and you are poisoned until the start of its next turn, as the venom courses through your veins. Its teeth and giant tusks dug into the front of your shoulder and chest. The pain is strong, but it's holding you fast. From there, like a clawed wolverine, it begins to rake at your chest with its claws on each side. The first one's going to be a 16 to hit.

TRAVIS: That misses.

MATT: Right, because you have your shield out. The shield blocks one of the claws. The other ones attempts to reach behind it to get to your body. That's going to be a 19.

TRAVIS: That hits.

MATT: With the other claw strike--

LAURA: Is he grappled?

MATT: No. He is not. That is nine plus four. 13 points of slashing damage.

TRAVIS: (high-pitched yelp) I mean, (deeper grunt).

MATT: And another three points of poison damage.

TRAVIS: Jeez Louise.

MATT: That's going to end its turn.

LAURA and MARISHA: Run away!

MATT: Caleb, you're up.

LIAM: Oh, this thing is way closer than I was prepared for. I take a little bit of molasses and rub it on my hands and say: slow down. You boys have got this? Good. And I start to back away, casting Slow as I go. I will loop around by our cleric. He has to beat a wisdom save against 16.

MATT: Wisdom save? That is a 14 minus one. 13, no.

SAM: What does that do to it?

LAURA: It slows him, I think!

MATT: Half movement, he can only make a single attack on its turn.

LIAM: He can do an attack or a bonus, but not both.

MATT: I need you to make two concentration checks, by the way. Your Hex would be gone, technically. Which is my fault. Hex is gone, and make constitution saving throws to see if you're maintaining your Witch Bolt.

TRAVIS: That's an 11. That one saves. They both save.

MATT: All righty. Good on you.

TRAVIS: I think it was four. You can add four hit points, I think was the last Hex damage.

LIAM: It was a cube, but Caleb knowing that would put the troll in the corner and send the rest of it in that direction.

MATT: I assumed as much. Okay.

LIAM: Can't use reactions.

MATT: Correct.

LAURA: Oh, good.

MATT: All right. Caleb, that finish your turn?

LIAM: *Ja*.

MATT: Nott, you're up.

SAM: Is it in melee with good old Fjord?

MATT: It is.

SAM: Oh, thank god. I mean, not for you. I'll run up within 30 feet.

MATT: All righty, you move (counting) 30, there you go.

SAM: And fire! Ooh, good, it's a lot! 20-something.

MATT: That hits. Roll damage. It's hurt real bad now.

SAM: Okay, so that's 13 plus four is 17.

MATT: 17 points of damage. And splash! Fjord, you take nine points of poison damage right into your face as the bolt slashes through.

TRAVIS: My eyes!

SAM: I forgot about that.

TRAVIS: Let it stop you not, my friend! Nott? Nott.

SAM: Wait, do let it stop me, or don't?

TRAVIS: No, keep hitting it!

MATT: It's holding on, barely. It's right there, angrily making a last stand.

SAM: I'll attack again and fire again! And it's even more! 20-something to hit.

MATT: Okay, roll damage.

SAM: Only six points.

MATT: Six points, still alive. Fjord, you take another 13 points of poison damage.

TRAVIS: I do?! Hit it again! (spraying)

MARISHA: Oh no!

SAM: I killed something!

LAURA: Wait, nobody hit it because Fjord's going to take serious damage!

TRAVIS: Just hit it!

MATT: It's standing, heavily breathing like (panting).

LAURA: You'll keep taking damage.

TRAVIS: Oh no, I use my Relentless Endurance to (singing).

MATT: You do!

ALL: (singing)

MATT: You're about to go-- (straining). The orc comes to. The blood of the half-orc kicks in, and you stand there angrily in its face.

LIAM: Fjord Madeline Kahns back to life.

(laughter)

MATT: All righty, that finishes Nott's turn. Molly, you're up.

TALIESIN: Nobody else hit it?

MARISHA: Fjord, run!

TRAVIS: Just hit it!

TALIESIN: I'm going to walk up, and I'm going to flank it so I get advantage.

MATT: You're up to your waist in swamp water, looking up at it.

TALIESIN: I'm going to take a hit. That's 20.

MATT: 20, that hits.

TALIESIN: That's nine points of damage.

MATT: How do you want to do this?

TALIESIN: I want to get the new sword, push, let it bend, and pop into it.

MATT: As you stab through its body, it tries to spin and you watch this strange tensing of its abdominal muscles and its weird bulbous stomach suddenly bursts out in front of you, Fjord.

TRAVIS: I'm down.

MATT: Yeah, you take ten points of poison damage.

TRAVIS: Ah! It was so cool!

MATT: It looked almost like Molly killed them both.

TRAVIS: (sizzling)

MARISHA: Two birds, Molly. I like it.

LAURA: Good one, Molly!

MATT: Fjord is currently unconscious on the ground, guys. What are you doing?

LAURA: And he's poisoned, too, isn't he?

MATT: As far as you know. You don't know.

TALIESIN: I've got a bonus action. I'm going to give him an auto-cure, just in case.

MATT: Okay, so roll a constitution saving throw to resist it.

TALIESIN: The snake tattoo on my hand, the eye on the back of my hand bursts, and blood comes pouring out of it. I take two points of damage.

TRAVIS: That is 20.

MATT: 20.

MATT: Oh, did you amplify?

TALIESIN: I didn't need the amplify. Oh, actually that's right, I don't have to take damage for that, never mind.

MATT: So you watch as where the snake is, the blood bursts and the green venom that's currently coursing through the wounds in Fjord's unconscious body suddenly (sucking noise) siphons out, hovers in the air for a moment, as Mollymauk is holding his hand. And then the poison drops to the ground and disseminates into the swamp.

LAURA: What?

ASHLEY: What? That is so cool!

TALIESIN: I've never done that before. That--

MATT: What are you guys doing?

LAURA: Wait, are you awake then, Fjord?

MATT: Fjord is still unconscious. The poison's gone but he's--

SAM: Wait, what happened? Oh, he was just unpoisoned.

LAURA: I'll walk up to Fjord. And I'll cast Cure Wounds at level one.

SAM: Whenever you cure anyone, it feels like a bother.

MARISHA: I know, it's so begrudgingly.

LAURA: I'll tap his head and be like: Wake up already.

TALIESIN: Just to be sure, I'm going to dig around and make sure this is true death on this thing and it's not going to start regenerating or anything. Does it look like it's regenerating at all?

LAURA: Six points.

TRAVIS: Thank you.

MATT: Make a perception check. SAM: I'll start looking for the gold.

ASHLEY: We could just cut off its head.

MARISHA: I join Nott and we look for the gold.

MATT: You guys begin to make your way over to the--

TALIESIN: 12.

SAM: The skulls. I'm faster.

(laughter)

MARISHA: I'm pretty fucking fast. I'm pretty damn fast.

LAURA: Kiri, come out!

MATT: Kiri begins to run around, joining over here in the swamp area.

TALIESIN: Don't poke it.

LAURA: Don't stab the corpse this time, it's poisonous.

MATT: (like Jester) "It's poisonous."

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: You're looking down at it, and your watching as parts of the wounds are still tethering together.

TALIESIN: Okay, let's like, I'm going to gently--

MATT: It hasn't come back to your turn yet, unfortunately. Its turn's before that. You watch as it suddenly comes up from the ground, pulling itself from the swamp, now conscious once more.

SAM: (high pitched scream)

TRAVIS: Please don't.

ASHLEY: Come. On!

MATT: And it's going to take another heavy swing towards Fjord. With advantage, because you're prone.

MARISHA: The fuck?

SAM: Did you already Cure Wounds?

LAURA: I did.

MATT: That's going to be 20 to hit.

TRAVIS: Thanks, Jester. (death rattle)

MATT: That's going to be seven points of piercing damage, and two points of poison.

TRAVIS: He's out.

MATT: Fjord falls unconscious once more.

TRAVIS: (death rattle)

LIAM: Just like Blink.

TRAVIS: I'm back, I'm back.

(laughter)

SAM: Oh no!

MARISHA: Time is weird for Fjord.

TALIESIN: I feel like I should have had a-- Oh well, that's fine.

MATT: Well, it comes back around to the next turn.

TALIESIN: Ah. Six seconds can go quick.

MATT: As soon as it comes back, it heals ten hit points back up. So it came to consciousness. Just enough movement to get up from prone, knock Fjord down. It's going to make another swipe at Fjord.

LIAM: Can it do that if it's Slowed?

MATT: No, it can't!

MARISHA: Is it still Slowed?

LAURA: Oh, thank god.

MATT: It's still Slowed, yeah.

TRAVIS: Oh, my god.

MATT: Oh man.

MARISHA: You just saved Fjord.

TRAVIS: That's two death saving throws right there.

MARISHA: Yeah, it was.

MATT: And it had a third attack.

MARISHA: It had another one?

LIAM: But it doesn't anymore.

MATT: But it doesn't anymore.

LAURA: Yes!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: It's like walking on the edge of a cliff in the middle of the night. And you didn't know how far the drop was, and you're just toeing the edge. No idea what was on the other side.

LAURA: Oh my god.

MATT: All right. Fjord is unconscious. Brings us back, Caleb, it is now your turn.

LIAM: Oh, is it? Oh goodness, this is--

MATT: As everyone's rushed around, it's got back up, and just (slamming noise) Fjord's unconscious again.

LAURA: Do you have Thunder Wave or anything that can push it back?

LIAM: DM, in everything that I've seen, when fire has been used on this creature, did it splurt?

MATT: It seemed to.

LIAM: It seemed to splurt when I used fire.

MATT: Any kind of damage seemed to cause it to splurt.

LAURA: Still do it.

SAM: Fire also did bad things to it and it didn't regenerate.

TALIESIN: No! Fjord.

LIAM: I know, but Fjord is right under it.

TRAVIS: Just do it. Just do it.

LAURA: Just save your attack--

MARISHA: If it's at its turn, and now we're back at the round so it's going to have another turn immediately?

LAURA: No.

MATT: No. That was its turn it just took. So now we're going back to the initiative order again.

LAURA: We all have our actions, so hold your attack and I'll pull Fjord away.

TALIESIN: So now we have our full turn and it can't react, so hold the-- I can move, I'll be fine. We all get a full turn before anything happens.

LIAM: So Caleb shouts out; should I burn this thing now?

TALIESIN: Wait one second!

LAURA: Wait until I can pull him away!

LIAM: All right, I'll hold on a moment.

MATT: Real fast, hold on, I'm just checking Slow.

LAURA: Ahh! No!

SAM: This has suddenly become the most complicated fight we've ever had!

MATT: It gets to make a wisdom saving throw to see if it can avoid Slow. No, it rolled a three.

LIAM: (funny voice) Ah, sorry buddy.

MATT: So, Caleb, what are you doing?

LIAM: I just yell; should I burn it? And Jester yells, "Wait."

LAURA: Wait, wait, wait!

MARISHA: Hold!

LIAM: I'm going to hold the Glove of Blasting.

MATT: Okay, what are you doing?

LIAM: I'm going to burn it the moment that Fjord is in the clear.

MATT: Okay, so you're holding until Fjord is clear from his body. Got it. Okay, that brings us to Nott. Nott, what are you doing? You turn around and watch as the troll's now back up and slammed its claw into Fjord's now, once again, unconscious body.

TALIESIN: Hold until we're clear!

SAM: Okay. Ahh! (scared, nervous noises) I want to so bad! Am I within 30 feet?

MATT: Currently? You can very easily get within 30 feet.

SAM: I'll get within 30 feet and then hold my action to shoot.

MATT: You step around the flaming pile of skulls right there. And turn and get another bolt and-- you're holding?

SAM: I'm holding the attack until it looks like it's safe to do so.

MATT: Okay, holding the attack until Fjord's safe?

SAM: Until Fjord's gone.

MATT: You got it. All right, Molly, your turn.

TALIESIN: I obviously can't hit it so--

MATT: You can.

TALIESIN: I mean--

SAM: You've got your...

TALIESIN: I'm going to get his attention, peace out. I'm going to Misty Step.

SAM: Ooh.

TRAVIS: Yeah, dude.

MATT: Where do you want to go?

TALIESIN: I can go 30 feet.

LAURA: 30 feet?

TALIESIN: Yep, yep.

LAURA: Go get the shinies before Nott.

TALIESIN: I'm going to head to the shinies. I'm going to Misty Step next to-- yeah, there we are.

MATT: Right behind the fire.

SAM: Maybe I'll just go back and edit!

LAURA: You won't.

TALIESIN: I just need visual and just... no, there's nothing I can do.

MATT: All right, that finishes Molly's turn. Beau, you're up.

MARISHA: Are the two of you going to try and drag? Or do you want to try and attack and Yasha and I can drag?

LAURA: Whatever.

MATT: Figure it out guys, it's your turn.

MARISHA: All right, I'm going to run up, since I know me and Yasha are together. I'm going to cast Step of the Wind, to give myself double movement, or, use a ki point.

MATT: 25, 30. You don't even have to, to get to it.

MARISHA: I'm trying to get to Fjord.

MATT: Oh, to get to Fjord, sorry. 40, 50, that's 60.

MARISHA: Well, I would have gone a straight way, but yeah.

LAURA: Now you have used all your movement and you can't pull him away.

MARISHA: Step of the Wind, I have double movement.

MATT: (counting) 40. So you have, that's your--

MARISHA: Okay. And I'm going to grab onto him and I'm going to turn to Yasha and I'm going to say, Help me, and I'm going to pull when she gets up to it.

MATT: Okay, so you spend an action just to hold onto him. You currently have him grappled.

MARISHA: I'm going to pull when she gets up. I'm going to help her pull him out.

MATT: Okay, got it. Yasha?

ASHLEY: So I'm going to move forward, grab the other side, that she doesn't have, and pull him.

MATT: All right. So you move over, action, and you're going to pull him away. All righty, you are not in melee range so you manage to pull him back here. Fjord, you get--

TALIESIN: He has no reaction.

MATT: I know he doesn't. So you pull him back. Fjord is now right there.

ASHLEY: How far back can I pull him?

MARISHA: I want to assist her though. Can we get him further if I assist? That was the whole point of me doing that.

MATT: Hmm. It gets a little wonky with action, but I'll let you do it.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: With the speed you have left, you guys can pull him about there.

MARISHA: If not, if she can handle him, then.

MATT: Well, it's half speed through the swamp, and then it's half speed dragging somebody. So it's a slow shift because you're moving through the muck and dragging him out of this thick swamp. So that's as far as you can get.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: It does not get any reaction though, because it's currently still affected by the Slow spell and it looks like right now Fjord is in a position where he is outside of the splash radius. Which would trigger Caleb and Nott.

LIAM: Scorching Ray.

SAM: Oh. Firing.

MATT: You fire, and you are using the Scorching Ray from the glove.

LIAM: Yeah. First is a 20, second is an 18, and the third is a 20.

MATT: All hit.

LIAM: They all hit.

SAM: 22 to hit for me. But it's not a sneak attack?

MATT: Roll damage. No. There's nobody in range of it right now.

LAURA: Oh.

SAM: (disgustedly) Five points.

MATT: Five points of damage. It's still conscious.

MARISHA: Kill him, kill him.

LAURA: Five points, if you get more than five points he's dead.

LIAM: I did. A total of 27.

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: How do you want to do this?

LIAM: There is-- I am with these people! And I am going to burn his head off.

SAM: (laughter)

ASHLEY: Here we go.

MATT: As you turn, the glove sparking as you release these three blasts. One strikes his chest and ignites, his arm begins to burn black. This one hits the other shoulder and you watch as the torso begins to ignite. The third one finally hits right in the jaw and you see the shadowed line of its face, eyes, and mouth open before (fire crackling). Incinerated to ash. I need you to go ahead and make a wisdom saving throw please.

MARISHA: Oh shit, Caleb.

LIAM: (high pitched) Oh shit. Oh shit.

MARISHA: (joining in) Oh shit.

LIAM: *Fünf.*

TRAVIS: Five.

MATT: Caleb's arms kind of just fall slack, and he slumps to his knees, staring at the now flaming corpse of the troll as it slumps into the ground and begins to burn, half submerged in swamp water, half of it now just this burning mass of ash and flesh.

LAURA: Whoa.

MATT: So.

LAURA: That was really graphic!

SAM: Oh, he's still down.

LAURA: Oh, are you dead or something?

TALIESIN: Oh yeah, we've got to wake him up now! Cause he's almost dead.

LAURA: Ugh. I go over and I use another--

MATT: Go ahead and make a death saving throw.

LAURA: --healing spell.

TRAVIS: 19.

MATT: Yeah, you're fine all right. It's fine. I just like making him roll.

LAURA: Yay! I do Cure Wounds on him again. Stop doing this!

TRAVIS: Ugh. I feel like this is a rough day.

LAURA: Ooh. 11 points this time.

TRAVIS: 11 points? I sit back up against the tree and sit there in the water, britches in the water, and not caring.

MARISHA: Beau gets up, seeing Caleb a little bit messed up, and I'm going to go up to him and I'm going to grab him and be like: let's take a walk.

MATT: You pull him away. He's not present, currently.

MARISHA: That's fine. I'm walking with him a little bit, slowly.

LAURA: I'm going to take my axe and I'm going to try to cut out his heart. Just in case. Very slowly, so it doesn't splatter.

MATT: You have to wait a moment, because currently the body is being engulfed. Eventually the flames die down to the point where you can carve into its body, but most of its flesh is burned. It's definitely dead. Make a medicine check.

LAURA: Okay. 12.

MATT: You manage to eventually hack away, get to where the troll heart would be, and carve it out without damaging it beyond any interest in this piece. It's a deep forest green, looks like it has half-formed additional ventricles that never fully completed. It's pretty disgusting, and you go to touch it, and your fingers--

LAURA: I don't want to touch it. I'm going to use my fabric and try to get it out, like a cloth or something.

MATT: Okay. You pull it out. It is corroding the cloth slowly.

LAURA: Ah! Does anybody have anything glass or metal?

TALIESIN: Yes.

LAURA: Put it in there!

TALIESIN: No, I'm not going to do that.

LAURA: Why? It squirted poison!

MATT: It's that big. It's about basketball size.

LAURA: We can keep it!

TALIESIN: What are you going to do with that? You don't want that.

LAURA: I'm going to sit on the ground. I'm going to look through my stuff, see if I have anything that can hold it.

TALIESIN: I'm going to go through the skulls. Do you want to join me going through the skulls right now?

SAM: I was going to go to Caleb's aid, but seeing Beau walk away with him, I nod and go back to looking through the skulls for gold.

TALIESIN: Let's not crowd the boy.

MATT: Okay. Both of you guys make investigation checks as you're looking through the rest of that. Yasha, what are you doing?

ASHLEY: I'm going to start walking over towards where the skulls are.

SAM: 20 for me.

TALIESIN: Ten.

MATT: Unfortunately, the concussive blast of the dynamite shattered most of the bones and any materials that were in here, so what would've one time been fairly easy to scavenge what remains, you gather from the patches of now dried and destroyed swamp ground that much of it has been scattered all across. You do manage to find some coins between the two of you-- mostly you, Nott-- and it takes some digging. You're basically having to pan for gold here. You're going in the muck and having to sift through your fingers and pour your water out a bit, take it into the water. You manage to find roughly 26 gold pieces, ten silver pieces, and let's say about 50 copper pieces.

MARISHA: Quarter of what we came back for, but sure!

LAURA: Does his body have a pouch on him at all? Can I search the body?

MATT: The body of the troll? Make another investigation check.

MARISHA: Where's Febron's nasty body?

SAM: Yeah, any other items that weren't destroyed?

LAURA: 13.

MATT: There's basic hides wrapped around the midsection. There is a small pouch. You go inside and pull through and immediately your hands hit something that feels very cold and somewhat slimy. Looking inside, looks like there are slivers of muscle. Fresh muscle that had been torn off of some sort of a body laid in there. The smell is a little bit putrid. It may have been in there pickling for a while.

LAURA: Hey, Nott, I found some pickled muscle for you.

SAM: What kind of species?

LAURA: The slimy kind.

MATT: You can make a medicine check to try and identify it.

LAURA: Man, my medicine checks are sucking. Ten.

MATT: Ten. Probably human.

LAURA: It's probably human.

SAM: I'll take that.

MATT: Caleb, you shake out of it.

LAURA: I'm going to take the hide he had covering his junk, and wrap it around the heart, because obviously it can take being splattered by venom.

MATT: Yeah, okay. That it does. In revealing the partially singed troll dong, you also manage to properly wrap the heart for its own use.

TRAVIS: Us and troll dongs, man!

MATT: Each campaign. It's a through line, guys!

SAM: Can we keep the dong?

LAURA: I don't want the dong.

TALIESIN: There's no sense repeating.

MATT: So, Fjord, what are you doing?

TRAVIS: I'm sitting there, watching Caleb and Yasha walk off and feeling sorry for myself.

MATT: Okay. Caleb, you manage to snap out of it, and come back to reality.

MARISHA: I hand him one skin and I say: Here, this one's water. This one's booze. Take the water and I pour it out on one of my sashes and dab off his forehead a little bit. You all right?

LIAM: *Ja.*

MARISHA: Cool. Cool, cool, cool.

TRAVIS: Y'all mind if we take a short rest or something?

MARISHA: Yeah, let's do that. There's a campfire over there that Yasha and I made with the oil and the torch that we threw. It's already done. Let's go sit by that.

LAURA: Sit by the skulls!

MATT: It's a pile of bone and skull shards that is still burning and will be burning for a while from the oils.

LAURA: It's cozy over here.

MARISHA: Can I get my oil flask back too?

MATT: No. That flask shattered on impact, sorry. You guys take a short rest.

SAM: I'll give out all the gold.

LAURA: Whoa, you pass out the 26 gold?

SAM: Yeah, so we all get three. We all get three gold pieces. I'm keeping the extras.

MATT: The downside of throwing dynamite into the reward pile.

TRAVIS: I heal 39 points. I only have one hit dice left.

MATT: You guys finish your short rest. You're feeling a little more collected. What do you wish to do?

LAURA: I guess we should go home, huh? I mean, back to the town.

TALIESIN: Especially since we're now a hundred gold richer.

MATT: You look around and see Kiri sitting there with the knife and is stabbing the troll body.

LAURA: Don't stab the troll, it's poisonous! It will hurt you.

MATT: It's not splashing venom, it looks like.

TALIESIN: I guess get it out of your system then, that's fine.

TRAVIS: 26 and ten silver.

TALIESIN: Are you done yet?

MATT: (like Caleb) "This means we are friends."

LAURA: I think we're a bad influence on her.

SAM: I don't think so. Kiri, would you like some human jerky?

LAURA and TRAVIS: No, don't! No!

SAM: What? I thought birds might like that.

LAURA: No. Don't eat human, Kiri. Don't stab humans and don't eat humans, okay?

MATT: (like Jester) "Don't stab humans. Don't eat humans. Okay?"

TALIESIN: Unless you're really out of anything to eat. Then I suppose, you know, desperate times.

LAURA: Do what you have to.

TRAVIS: Well, I'm glad we did that. Shall we continue on our way?

LAURA: Are you okay, Fjord? You died twice.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I just meant to--

SAM: Well, three times, because the first time he snapped back up himself.

LAURA: Oh that's true, three whole times!

TRAVIS: Yeah, that didn't go the way I planned. My strategy went to shit.

SAM: Do you still have the crazy eye thing in your stomach?

TRAVIS: In my stomach?

LAURA: I poke his stomach. Does it feel like there's a hard thing in there?

MATT: No, it seems classic Fjord stomach.

TRAVIS: Just these abs, babe.

(laughter)

LAURA: Can't feel anything past the steel.

TRAVIS: You feel all six of them. Eight of them.

MATT: Nine?

TRAVIS: Nine. That is a-- what do you call it when you have-- oh shit, hernia.

(laughter)

SAM: All right, I guess we'll keep going.

LAURA: Yeah, we should probably do that.

SAM: Oh wait, did they ever come back from their little walk?

MARISHA: Yeah, I imagine we wandered back.

TRAVIS: Yeah, you shook it off.

LIAM: Shook it off.

MARISHA: He's great.

SAM: How are you, Caleb?

LIAM: Good. Good.

SAM: You faded away there for a second. Are you okay?

ASHLEY: Yeah, what happened? You good? Okay.

LAURA: He gets weird when he kills people when he burns them. He did it before.

SAM: I think anyone would, really.

LAURA: I don't know if Kiri would. She'd probably be cool with it.

LIAM: But Fjord is still here, so there is the important thing. Let's focus on the good things in our lives.

TRAVIS: Yeah, thank you, Caleb. Appreciate that.

ASHLEY: You took care of the problem.

MARISHA: Yeah. I feel like those two aren't mutually exclusive or anything, but yeah.

LAURA: Let's start walking!

MARISHA: All right.

TALIESIN: It's just getting awkward.

MATT: All right. You guys continue making your way back towards Berleben. You made most of the journey and by the time the sky begins to subtly grow dark with the threat of dusk imminent in the next hour or so, you guys begin to make visual on the lantern lights in the outskirts of the northern side of the city. Within a short time. before it gets too dark in the swamp, you manage to make your way inside Berleben proper.

LAURA: We did it!

MATT: You're still in the Puddles.

MARISHA: Is there another inn, other than that bougie, terrible, underground situation?

TALIESIN: Did you just say bougie? Ugh. God, never mind, I don't like you again.

MARISHA: That was pretty bougie.

LAURA: Yeah, we were in the bad part of town. We can go to the nice part of town.

LIAM: What is this word, “bougie?”

MARISHA: When you want to try and seem fancy, but it's a little ostentatious.

LIAM: Is that in Common? Is that a Common word?

TALIESIN: It's a word that people use when they want to sound ostentatious about how ostentatious something is.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's short for bourgeois, which is super ostentatious.

LIAM: The Zemnian word for that is like seven syllables long.

MARISHA: That's ostentatious.

LAURA: I'm going to cast Sending.

SAM: Oh, you're going to send a message. What's the message? Completed first half of mission?

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

SAM: Send money.

TALIESIN: It's collect when we get back.

LAURA: I'm going to cast Sending and send a message to The Gentleman.

MARISHA: Safe house cleared?

MATT: Okay. He cannot respond though, right?

SAM: You can reply to this message.

MATT: Oh, can answer in a like manner immediately.

LAURA: I'm going to say: Hey, Mr. Gentleman. We found your safe house. We cleared it out of a bunch of fish people. Don't worry, everything's fine now, okay. We also found a troll in the swamp, we killed that too, and we also found some crocodiles. Please respond to this. If you need anything let us know, okay?

TALIESIN: And his agent is dead. His person out here is dead.

LAURA: And your agent out here, the guy with the no teeth, is dead.

MATT: Seeing as how the spell's limit is 25 words--

(laughter)

MATT: There's a moment where you hear in your mind a familiar voice of The Gentleman going, "I think I catch your gist. Well done. Keep trucking?" You hear the confused rise at the end.

LAURA: He interrupted me while I was telling him what we did.

SAM: Yeah, there was still more to say.

LAURA: Yeah, there was so much more, but I think he got the idea. We'll get the bonus.

MARISHA: Jester's that person who keeps trying to record the voicemail and gets cut off. Aw, re-record, one more time!

TALIESIN: Or trying to send an email. “How does this work?” All caps.

MATT: As you guys are having this conversation near one of the lanterns. you see a cloaked figure that's sitting on a bench suddenly stand up and face you, and begin to walk towards you.

MARISHA: Wait, we're in the tavern?

MATT: You're walking through the Puddles.

SAM: Scatter, scatter!

TRAVIS: No.

SAM: Take to the sewers!

MATT: The figure approaches. Somebody in the tech sneezed, I think.

MARISHA: Can I pull and grab my staff a little bit?

TALIESIN: Just ruin everything, there we are.

MATT: I know.

TRAVIS: All I could see is somebody go (fart sound).

MATT: The figure approaches and pulls the hood back, and you see a scruffy chin, the unkempt hair, a dirtier, but excited, Horris Thrym.

MARISHA: Oh my god, Horris! Oh, he's not dead!

MATT: He goes, "Well, word of a motley group of strangers spreads in whispers, and I knew it had to be you based on the description. My friends, you've come this way. This place is miserable. Oh, do not think that I don't appreciate what you've done for me, please."

TRAVIS: No, you're right on the nose. It's pretty miserable.

MARISHA: Yeah, this place sucks.

MATT: "As rough as this journey was, I'd rather be here than in prison. What word of Zadash has come? Is Dolan all right?"

MARISHA: He's fine. He was sitting pretty next to the other diplomats of the town.

LAURA: Yeah, he seemed like he was doing pretty good when we saw him.

TALIESIN: Except, of course, that they're making ready for war.

MATT: "I've heard whispers of that as well."

MARISHA: Did you see that crazy army ride by? There was a lot of horses. A lot.

MATT: "I've been here for over a week, so no. But I'm sure there was. How long should I stay? What is the current atmosphere there?"

LIAM: That is a big question mark at the moment.

SAM: It's chaotic.

MATT: "Is it safe to return or should I hang low a little longer?"

LAURA: You know what, it might be, because I think they decided to charge other people with the crimes and stuff.

TRAVIS: The gates were pretty heavily watched, though.

LAURA: Were they still, though? Are they?

TRAVIS: At war?

LAURA: I don't remember.

LIAM: Perhaps wait until you receive word from him.

MATT: "Okay, I'll remain in this quaint city."

LIAM: Well, he has a better eye on the situation than we do. He's right in the thick of it now.

MATT: "That's true, I'll be patient. Thank you all so much. I really appreciate it."

LAURA: Horris, do you have a lot of diamonds on you? Maybe some that are worth 300 gold?

TALIESIN: So thirsty.

MATT: "No, I don't. But if I do, I'll let you know. "

LAURA: I'm on the lookout, okay.

MATT: "I genuinely wish to make this up to you at some point. If it is diamonds you require I'll begin looking."

SAM: Do you know anywhere in town where they might have that many diamonds?

MATT: He stops and looks around the city and goes "I don't know if this is the place. Call me crazy, but--"

LIAM: Is there anything of use or value here? At all?

MATT: "Fish, swamp fungus, herbs."

LAURA: Poisonous troll hearts!

SAM: You have it? Ah!

MATT: He steps back.

TALIESIN: Where would we sell such a thing like this?

MATT: He starts thinking for a second, then goes "Maybe there," and points to what is another two story building that had been burned and left to rot that now appeared to be a hollow structure that is overgrown with greenery and plants.

TALIESIN: Is that an apothecary? Do you have an apothecary here?

MATT: "It seems to be from what I've noticed in passing."

TALIESIN: My god I miss shopping! I'm going to give him three gold for his trouble. You're brilliant! And I'm heading in that direction.

MATT: "Thank you. Thank you all. If you see Dolan, tell him please, come get me."

TRAVIS: No fear, we won't be too much longer. We're going to head back to Zadash after we take care of some other business. And we'll be sure to check in. Word will find its way to you soon.

MATT: "Thank you."

MARISHA: Where are you staying right now?

MATT: "I'm over at The Drowned Nest."

MARISHA and TRAVIS: The Drowned Nest.

MARISHA: How are rooms there? Are they underground and filled with water and mold?

MATT: "No, they're better than that place." And he points to The Keystone Pub where you guys stayed the night.

TRAVIS: Who would stay there right? I mean--

MATT: "Not to my standards."

TALIESIN: It's quaint and rustic, shut up.

MARISHA: The Drowned Nest? Do they have a tavern at The Drowned Nest?

MATT: "I'm sure you could acquire a drink. Trust me, most of the folks here have to."

TRAVIS: Do you feel safe here? I noticed your hood was up when you approached us.

MATT: "Just precautions. Not a lot of business happens here that you won't get mingled in unless you were looking. So I just stay put."

TRAVIS: We'll send word. It was good to see you.

MATT: "You as well. If you pass by The Drowned Nest, hopefully we could have a drink." And he makes his way up towards the central part of the town, the Midway Docks.

LAURA: Man, I'm glad he's alive. I thought he was one of the dead bodies we found at the safe house.

MARISHA: Me too.

TRAVIS: Where the hell did Molly go?

LAURA: He went in the apothecary! And I take off running.

MATT: You approach and there is a sign that's hanging from a chain, from two iron hooks that are long rusted, this dull brown-red color. It reads across the front The Fungal Fount.

TALIESIN: What kind of font is it written in?

TRAVIS: Papyrus.

MATT: Never enter if it's Papyrus.

TRAVIS: No business back there!

MATT: So you approach. The door is closed, currently.

TALIESIN: I go to knock.

MATT: "Sorry, we're closed."

TALIESIN: You're not buying today?

MATT: "We're closed, it's sundown, and I'm shutting up."

TALIESIN: Already? What time do you open tomorrow?

MATT: "Sunrise."

TALIESIN: Are you sure you don't want to perhaps buy a fresh troll heart?

MATT: (pause) "What?"

LAURA: I have a troll heart. It's full of poison.

TALIESIN: Very wet!

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

SAM: We got a real wet troll heart.

LAURA: Do I roll with advantage because Molly is helping?

MATT: You are helping. I'll give you advantage on this roll. That was a roller coaster right there.

TALIESIN: Not a bad dice there.

LIAM: You two just became that Muppet meme that was made.

LAURA: 22!

MATT: There's a moment and you hear (multiple locks clicking) The door opens and on the inside you see a wild-looking, gaunt dwarf. He has a chin beard with green moss growing on each side of it. His clothes look a little moist and his forehead glistens with sweat, and he peers through, his eyes popped out. "You said you have a troll heart? Come in." Opens the door and lets you both inside. Closes the door behind. (lock clicking) "I'm sort of curious as to how you came across this troll heart. Did you kill the troll?"

LAURA: We killed a troll.

TALIESIN: We found a troll and we killed it.

MATT: "That's amazing. I'm very impressed. Um, ah--"

LAURA: Do you want to see it?

MATT: "I would like to, very much. Place it on this counter please. On the leather, which you carried."

LAURA: I open the leather and place it down. (squishy noise)

MATT: He reaches over and grabs metal tongs and starts pushing--

LAURA: Hey!

MATT: "I'm inspecting it."

TALIESIN: Let him prod. It's fine.

MATT: Takes a moment to look around. "I can see there's some very fascinating applications that could come from this."

LAURA: There are a lot of aortas and chambers and stuff.

MATT: "It is quite exquisite. I would be happy to buy this off of you. Do you have an asking price or would you like me to make an offer?"

TALIESIN: Or could we also talk about trade possibly if you have some interesting stuff.

LAURA: Probably you could buy it and also give us some stuff.

TALIESIN: If you've got stuff to trade. You seem like a clever fellow, I'm sure you got something around here that's interesting and unique.

MATT: Without breaking eye contact, he starts rummaging behind this small wooden table that acts as his counter. Which has a bunch of planters and potted weird looking swamp fungus and plants that are grown together and entwined. One of them, you lean close and a little spore goes off, and you back away carefully. You hear the clinking of glass and he pulls up two small jars, opens and says "I could spend the night preparing, perhaps, for some medicinal potions. "

LAURA: Really strong ones?

MATT: "Strongest you'll find this side of the Labenda."

LAURA: Is that regular? Or stronger than that?

MATT: "I don't know, I have to brew it to find out. It's not a perfect art form! You are impatient."

TALIESIN: We'll see what you put together, and we'll definitely talk about what this is worth in the morning. And if you have anything unusual that you put together, if you have a signature blend of any kind, I'm always interested in people who are excited to experiment.

MATT: "Unusual?"

TALIESIN: Yes!

LAURA: But I'm more interested in the healing potions.

TALIESIN: That too.

MATT: "Right. The morning then."

TALIESIN: We'll see you bright and early.

LAURA: Take the troll-- what's your name by the way?

MATT: "Smithe. Smithe Durban. Pleasure to meet you."

LAURA: Smithe Durban.

TALIESIN: Do you think it would be better to leave this here, so he can contain it?

LAURA: No!

TALIESIN: I mean we killed a troll, it's not like we can't kill him if it goes wrong.

LAURA: Nope! I'm taking it with me.

LIAM: Vex is back.

SAM: Smithe Durban is, knows, or has a gimp.

(laughing)

TRAVIS: 100% for sure.

TALIESIN: Why must you sully everything good and pure in this world, Sam?

LIAM: There is a halfling wrapped in parchment paper underneath the shop.

TALIESIN: This is where all those manacles have been coming from! Oh no!

MATT: They haven't invented the zipper yet, so it's laced.

TALIESIN: Perfect, we'll be back in the morning. Let's go take a rest.

MATT: "Very well. Goodnight, sleep well. Return please." Closes the door. (multiple locks clicking)

LAURA: What a nice guy.

TALIESIN: I really liked him.

LAURA: I did. I liked him a lot.

MATT: So what are you guys doing for the evening?

MARISHA: Let's go check out The Drowned Nest, shall we? There is a better place than the Keystone Pub. We head to The Drowned Nest.

MATT: You head to the Midway Docks. Following the outskirts of the Drydocks, which are a number of these wooden docks that head out into various edges of the swamp, where there are small boats that are currently roped off and being watched by the crownsguard that come across with torches, make sure that nothing gets stolen or anyone is doing anything untoward over in the area. Asking around, you eventually find your way to a relatively simple looking building. Single story, but it stretches quite a bit and you can see a number of windows that are faintly glowing with candle light. On the inside, it does appear to be a simple inn, with a small bar in the far corner. It's better than the Keystone Pub, but only incrementally. Entering inside, it's relatively quiet. Looks to be one person who is drinking alone on the far end, and you see across the way a female human in her middle age, a warm smile with a cracked face who glances up from a small book that she is thumbing through and goes, "Good evening folks. Can I help you?"

TRAVIS: Yes you can. We're weary travelers in need of respite and perhaps some drinks.

MATT: "Well, I can provide both. My name is Uma Cole. Pleasure to meet you."

TRAVIS: Uma. (kiss)

Matt: "Oh! Well--"

TRAVIS: Is that a dirty hand?

MATT: "Oh no, I keep quite clean."

TRAVIS: I was asking out of character, but okay. Did you give me the dirty hand ma'am?

MATT: I was trying to process what that was referring to. "Oh, you stop." No, the hand was clean.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: "We do have about four rooms available for rent, if y'all willing to stay for the evening. Our selection of liquors and beers are not extremely versatile, but welcome to provide as needed."

TRAVIS: That sounds absolutely fantastic.

TALIESIN: Whatever you think that we shouldn't leave town without trying.

MATT: "Very well. That will be five silver per room for the night's stay."

MARISHA: We'll take them all.

MATT: "All four rooms? That will be two gold pieces please."

TRAVIS: I got it.

TALIESIN: You got it?

LAURA: Thanks, Fjord.

TRAVIS: No problem. Thanks for making sure I was okay back there.

MATT: "What a gentleman."

LAURA: I saved his life multiple times today.

MATT: "Well, good for you."

TALIESIN: To be fair, he saved our lives dozen of times.

MARISHA: He's very dapper. He touches the hearts of all of us. Where would we be without Fjord?

TALIESIN: All gone. All dead.

LAURA: Yeah. I mean he's not that cool or anything! I mean you probably wouldn't be interested in him at all.

MATT: "Course not, I'm sorry."

LIAM: Are you interested in him?

MATT: "Here're your keys." Strangely surrounded by a group of strangers, now accosting her with various degrees of insinuation. "Drinks-wise we prefer more hard liquors, or more of an ale beer?"

MARISHA, LIAM, and ASHLEY: Hard.

TALIESIN: Any surprise you have.

MATT: "Well, only a couple of surprises at my disposal, but--"

LAURA: Do you have any ginger ale, or fresh milk?

MATT: She pulls up this dark green bottle, and uncaps it. "It's beer, but its practically ginger ale. Not very alcoholic." She hands it over to you.

TALIESIN: You can't drink in real life and you still won't drink on graph paper.

MATT: A round of liquor for all of you guys will run you about three silver pieces. It's not very expensive.

TRAVIS: I'll do that as well. It's exactly what I have.

ASHLEY: What book are you reading?

MATT: "Oh, nothing," and she tucks it under. "Just keeping my mind busy. Anyway, welcome to stay if you like. We don't have food available here. You may have to go over to the Keystone Pub for that. But we do offer finer sleeping arrangements."

TRAVIS: Is it a busy night? Any new travelers, anyone that caught your eye coming in before us?

MATT: "Not to the degree that you have, no."

TRAVIS: Well I'm flattered.

MARISHA: Well I'm going to go get a drink.

TALIESIN: I've got cards, I'm going to play and I'm going to drink. And we've got to discuss what's happening tomorrow.

TRAVIS: True. We'll find our way over to a table.

MARISHA: Yeah, I'll go get a table. Does someone want to tuck Kiri in?

MATT: Kiri at this point is leaning up at the counter towards the woman. And goes (like Jester) "Don't eat humans, okay." The woman goes, “Aw!”

LAURA: She's the sweetest, isn't she. She's wearing a mask, she's not really a bird! And I take her.

MATT: Make a deception check.

LAURA: Oh! That's surprising, 20.

MATT: She goes, "Children and their costumes."

SAM: Yes, I know right?

(laughter)

MATT: She grabs her book and starts reading from behind the counter.

TALIESIN: Can I see the cover when she grabs the book?

MATT: Actually it's just plain leather.

LAURA: (whispers) It's Tusk Love. That's definitely Tusk Love.

MATT: So what are you guys doing?

TRAVIS: We head over to a table in the corner to discuss.

MATT: You got your drinks. They're functional at best. This isn't a bad establishment, but it's a plain establishment. But it works. It's you guys and one other patron, who currently seems to be deep in their cups, making it on their own. They are out of earshot; you have your own table.

TRAVIS: Well, we seem to be doing fairly well. How do we feel about setting out in the morning to--

SAM: Shadycreek?

TRAVIS: Yeah, Shadycreek Run.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'm ready.

TRAVIS: Ophelia Mardun.

LAURA: Sounds good.

SAM: Was there anyone else here that we were supposed to see, or anything else we were supposed to do?

LIAM: No, we are on a bit of a time crunch.

SAM: We got to stop by this fungus place to get some potions.

TALIESIN: We'll do that on the way out as soon as we put the cart together.

LAURA: It opens at sunrise should be good.

TALIESIN: We've done what we needed. This is a one troll town, I think. Not a great time to be had here.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we can catch up on some rest. We got to get the carriage, right? Get the horses back.

LAURA: Yeah, they're at the docks or something.

TRAVIS: That means I got to go over to the-- Where did we stay before?

MARISHA: The Keystone Pub.

TRAVIS: I have to get it from that guy.

LAURA: He dropped them off at the place--

SAM: The central stables.

MARISHA: We paid way too much money to have him store our horses.

TRAVIS: Yeah, but we don't know where the stables are.

LAURA: The central stables, we have to ask where they are. We don't have to go back to the other pub. Don't worry, Fjord.

TALIESIN: They may not give them to us unless he's there.

SAM: Hey, Yasha.

MARISHA: I have validation, it's okay.

SAM: Yasha, I saw you asking about that book the lady had.

ASHLEY: Yes.

SAM: Do you want me to get it for you?

ASHLEY: Yes. I would love that.

SAM: All right.

TALIESIN: I miss this.

SAM: Maybe place an order or get her attention so I can go snag it real quick.

ASHLEY: Okay, would you like me to try to--

SAM: I don't know.

ASHLEY: Okay.

SAM: I'll cast Mage Hand.

TALIESIN: Oh, why not? Another round, please! And I'll put a gold for everyone down.

MATT: Okay, she goes, "Oh, of course, I'll go ahead and get that for you." She closes the book and puts it beneath the counter and runs off and grabs the bottle that she had previously poured and shakes it. It's fairly empty, so she grabs another and then heads over to your table and begins to uncork and fill the drinks.

SAM: As she's filling, I'll Mage Hand back and try to grab the book.

MATT: Okay, you do not see where it is. You still have to have visual.

SAM: Okay, I'll walk over there, then.

MATT: Make a stealth check.

SAM: That's not great. 14.

ASHLEY: You could just be looking.

MATT: Okay, she walks and is pouring drinks and looks over her shoulder in your direction, and is still pouring, but is looking at you.

LAURA: Kids, huh? They're always wandering off.

MATT: "Apparently."

SAM: Goo goo ga ga. Do I see where the book is now?

MATT: You do see it from your perspective, but she is watching you.

TRAVIS: Uma, has anyone ever told you that you have eyes like the sea?

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

SAM: (imitating guitar)

TRAVIS: Shit, nine. Come on, that's my jam!

ASHLEY: Yes, Uma, they are like a sky blue.

MATT: She finishes pouring the drinks, caps it up, and goes "Well, I appreciate the flattery, I really do. Have a wonderful night." Then walks back towards where she was sitting, but as she does so, her eyes are locked on you, Nott. Goes back to her stool.

SAM: Damn it! Fjord, what was that? What was that? That's not how you talk to a woman!

TRAVIS: I'm not real practiced, I'm sorry.

SAM: “Your eyes are like the sea?” We're in a landlocked part of the place here. She doesn't even know what that means.

TRAVIS: I should've said like the swamp, right? Your eyes are like stagnant water, green and-- no? Green and yellow in places.

LIAM: I walk directly over to the bar.

LAURA: They look like a troll took a shit in them.

MATT: "Can I help you?"

LIAM: Yeah, I'm good on drinks. I was just curious what it is that you're reading.

MATT: Roll a persuasion check.

LIAM: For a question? Okay.

LAURA: She doesn't like us very much.

MARISHA: Yeah, she hates us.

MATT: She's had a bad series of minutes with you guys.

LIAM: Just a nine.

MATT: "I'm reading a fine story."

LIAM: Is it fiction?

MATT: "It is."

LIAM: I am so starved for a good book. We've been in the wild for a while. I don't suppose there's-- I doubt it, but is there any place to find literature here?

MATT: "I had to order this from Zadash, unfortunately."

LIAM: That sounds terrible. How long does it take for it to get here?

MATT: "Well, the order goes out there, and pay upon delivery. It took me the better part of a month to get here."

LIAM: I commiserate for your thirst for fiction. I struggle with it myself. How far in are you? Are you almost finished with it?

MATT: "I'm about three chapters in. It's just starting to get interesting."

LIAM: Is it a page turner?

MATT: "Yes."

LIAM: Okay, I'm obviously just a little bit jealous, but I don't want to take you away from your reading time.

MATT: Make a perception check.

LIAM: Nine.

MATT: There's a little bit of text just barely visible at this proximity to the cover of the book, but you can't make it out in this low light.

LAURA: Does it look like a T, with a U, with an S, with a K. With a L--

MATT: She takes it and closes it and puts it beneath the counter. "Is there anything else I can help you with, sweetie?"

LIAM: No, that's fine, enjoy. I give her a wink and I go back to the table.

ASHLEY: This is going to drive me crazy.

SAM: Let's fucking kill her and take the book, take everything in the place!

MARISHA: We have been wanting to buy a bar.

TRAVIS: Yeah, but you know what they say: it's location, location, location.

MARISHA: Yeah, this town sucks.

TRAVIS: Yeah, it's really not that good.

ASHLEY: I'm going to go up to the bar.

MATT: She's just pulled the book out and looks up and goes, "Hi."

ASHLEY: Hello. Here's the thing. You've made this very intriguing, this book that you're reading, and I can't leave here without knowing what it is.

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

MARISHA: Were you being intimidating?

TRAVIS: The brachial artery flexes in her bicep.

ASHLEY: My intimidation is minus two but we said we can use--

MATT: Well, it depends on how you're being intimidating. Are you going to physically threaten her to show the book?

ASHLEY: No, no.

MATT: Then it's charisma based.

LAURA: You got this, Yasha!

MATT: This is subtle.

TALIESIN: No.

ASHLEY: That would be a zero. Because I rolled a two, and my charisma is minus two.

MATT: She goes, "I apologize, but--" (southern drawl) I apologize.

ALL: (southern drawl) I apologize.

MATT: "But your behavior, paid customer or not, has been lackluster, and I would appreciate if I could have my privacy."

ASHLEY: I will give you privacy, I just don't understand why we can't know what you're reading.

MATT: "Why are you so interested in what I'm reading?"

ASHLEY: Because it looks like it's very good! I will go sit down, fine. I miss reading. I miss it a lot.

LAURA: I have a book you can read, Yasha.

ASHLEY: I want to know what she's reading.

SAM: Jester and Molly, you have not tried yet.

MATT: Dungeons and Dragons.

LIAM: We plan a heist for tonight. We wait until she's asleep.

TRAVIS: In the morning, we'll send her for the horses and the carriage, and perhaps it's time we turn in. I pound mine. Molly, are we bunking up?

TALIESIN: I'm finishing this and I'll be right up.

MATT: All right. You guys finish up your respective drinks.

TALIESIN: I go last.

LAURA: I feel like we only need three rooms.

SAM: It's just an extra couple gold.

TALIESIN: I leave two gold on the counter before I leave. For you no matter what, but if you tell me what it is, I promise I won't tell the rest of them. I just want to lord it over them.

MATT: She palms the two gold. She goes, "It's called Feathered Leather."

TALIESIN: Enjoy your evening. Cheers. And I head upstairs.

MATT: She pockets the gold happily.

LIAM: It's about Vax.

(laughter)

MATT: Some bard somewhere in the past has penned a story about a dark knight in leather and feathers.

MARISHA: I've seen that Tumblr post.

TALIESIN: For the record, I tell none of you.

MATT: You guys manage to get your evening rest. You gather your things, and the next morning--

LAURA: Wait, before I go to sleep, I want to use my pearl of power and regain a 3rd-level spell, and I want to cast Sending on my Mama. And I'm going to say: Hi, Mom! I got a new spell. I want to say thank you for the package you sent me. I know that It was really hard for you to do that and I love you so much and I hope everything's okay with you, and I got your letter and the ink and I think it's so--

MATT: As you're talking you hear, in your mind, this gasp. "Jester, I don't know how, but it's so good to hear from you. Did you get my package?"

LAURA: Oh no, can I respond to it? Oh no!

MATT: She pauses. "Well, wherever you are, I love you, and I hope you are well, If--" and it cuts off.

ALL: (groaning)

MARISHA: Maybe next time if you write down the words, so you can know which are the most important words.

LAURA: Okay, I need to tell her I got her package.

MATT: I wasn't counting the words, but I think it that gets the gist of it. Probably somewhere in there. I'm sure I'll get 14 tweets going like, “That was only 22 words.” It's fine.

TALIESIN: Three of those tweets will be from me.

MATT: I know. Oh, I know, Taliesin. That's why I'm nipping this in the bud. Yeah.

TRAVIS: Can I confide in you for something?

TALIESIN: Oh yes, please.

TRAVIS: I'm a little unnerved about this sword. Would you stay and watch for a second?

TALIESIN: It seems like a bad idea. Sure.

TRAVIS: All right. I'll summon the Wastehunter Falchion.

MATT: As it emerges from your grasp, you can see there's the slight splash of sea water across the wall. There you can see, in the center of the pommel-- previously was just the well-crafted hilt to the blade-- you see a single, yellow, lidless eye on each side.

TALIESIN: Does it look like anything? Does it remind me of a mystic symbol of any kind?

MATT: Make an arcana check.

TALIESIN: Just an arcana check. Let's see what happens. Natural 20.

LAURA: Whoa!

TALIESIN: I'm back, baby.

MATT: There's no religious symbology here. In thinking through, there's nothing that gives you the essence that there's any sort of belief system locked into this that you're aware of. Looking at it, one: it immediately reminds you of whatever it is he jammed into his stomach, and two: the image of it, and sea-based theme of these experiences that Fjord has been having, leads you to believe that this is something very old, and something that resides, probably, beyond land and possibly beyond the sea. That's as much as I can give you. Which is more than you should've gotten, but you rolled a 20.

TRAVIS: Does the iris move at all, or is it static?

MATT: Currently it's just static.

TALIESIN: What happened to you on that boat?

TRAVIS: Um.

TALIESIN: Something might have followed you.

TRAVIS: Nothing like this. I've never seen anything like this eye before. Only in that dream, where Vander was holding it. Pushing it into his chest, but this is smaller. This sword just seems to take in things.

TALIESIN: You're going to forgive me for this later. I cast Friends.

MATT: Okay. For the next minute, you have advantage on your charisma checks.

TRAVIS: I forget what Friends does.

MATT: It doesn't do anything to you, it just gives him advantage on charisma checks.

TRAVIS: Oh okay. Oh nice.

TALIESIN: Actually, I'm so sorry, not Friends, it's Charm Person.

MATT: You're doing Charm Person?

TALIESIN: I'm so sorry, it's Charm Person.

MATT: Make a wisdom saving throw.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

TRAVIS: Why did I ask? That's an 18.

MATT: He resists it. You feel your mind begin to cool with subtle arcane influence and you shrug it off.

TALIESIN: There's something in you that you either don't want to talk about or don't remember properly, I think.

TRAVIS: Well, you could've just asked.

TALIESIN: No, I don't think I could've.

TRAVIS: If anything, it's the latter.

TALIESIN: I know.

TRAVIS: There's not a lot I remember about being in the ocean.

TALIESIN: Which is why I didn't ask.

TRAVIS: Right.

TALIESIN: I trust that you'll tell me everything you know, but I'm not sure you even know everything you know.

TRAVIS: Maybe, but that's why I asked you to stay in the room. I'm not entirely sure I trust this thing.

TALIESIN: I don't think it matters where the sword is at all.

TRAVIS: Maybe. Can I try and focus on the sword? I close my eyes, put both hands on the hilt, and just concentrate on it real hard?

(laughter)

MATT: Sword of Sea Eye, give me sight beyond sight. Go ahead and make an intelligence check. Just a straight roll with your intelligence modifier.

TRAVIS: Oh. That's a ten.

MATT: Ten. You grab it and you focus, and you focus, and much like an element of the dreams you've had and the spells that you pull from whatever this agreement you've made with this entity may have been, you can feel that thread connection from you to something beyond your hemisphere. It's like that sensation of someone looking at you, and you just *know* someone's looking at you, and you turn to look and there's nobody's there? It's like that, all the time, right now. But, you can't read more than that.

TALIESIN: Perhaps, I think, may I?

TRAVIS: Don't take any offense, but no. I make it disappear.

TALIESIN: Something from the deep is in that. I don't know. It reminds me of something.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Me too. I'm just not sure what. Please, I only confided in you because I feel like the strange is your ballpark.

TALIESIN: I'll keep an eye, and no matter what, keeping each other safe, it's what we do. It's what you do when you got a group of people.

TRAVIS: Agreed.

TALIESIN: We'll keep you safe.

TRAVIS: I appreciate it, Molly. I'll turn in.

TALIESIN: I'll probably be up for an hour then I'll turn in.

MATT: Okay. As we go to rest for the evening, let's go ahead and make this our break! So, we'll come back here in just a few minutes to pick up the story for the next leg of your journey. In the meantime, guys, enjoy these next few minutes. Enjoy the videos and chaos in between. We'll see you here shortly.

Break[]

[break]

Part II[]

MATT: Welcome back everybody. Let's go ahead and dive back in. As you all come to consciousness the following morning, a much more comfortable sleep than that you've had at the Keystone Pub, you gather your things. Upstairs, there are a few more patrons in the process of waking up since there is not a meal provided for sleeping here. They are just getting out the grogginess, having some coffee, some of them having some hair of the dog, and they all go about their business. What do you want to do with your day?

LAURA: We have to go to that shop, Molly.

TALIESIN: Let's go to the shop, everybody. Anybody wants to go shopping can go shopping. Anybody else wants to wrangle up the cart?

ASHLEY: Yeah, I'll go with you guys.

TRAVIS: I'll tell Uma to go collect the cart and horses from the--

LAURA: You have to pay her to do it too.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'll pay her.

MATT: Okay. She goes, “To pick up your money at the stables, you say, on the docks, how can I assure them that I'm allowed to do so if I did not check them in?”

MARISHA: It is what you said!

TALIESIN: We need a valet ticket.

MARISHA: We do need a valet ticket. Did we get a valet ticket?

SAM: I don't think that we did.

LAURA: I write a valet ticket really fast. Here you go! That's--

MATT: You forge it?

LAURA: Yep.

MATT: You have a forgery kit?

LAURA: I do.

TRAVIS: We're not going to forge--

TALIESIN: As much as I'm kind of into this--

MARISHA: Look, if we don't have one, you have to pay full price if you lose it.

TRAVIS: Or we just kill them. I'll go down and go and get it myself.

LAURA: But you might have to go--

TRAVIS: And then I'll kill them.

ASHLEY: You know what? I'm going to go with Fjord to get the cart.

TALIESIN: Why don't you all meet us at the-- get the cart and you'll meet us at the apothecary.

ASHLEY: Okay. Just in case you need backup. If we need to kill them, we can.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. You guys go ahead and head off. You gather the cart, easy enough to do. You gather your supplies, they're all good to go. You guys are heading towards the Fungal Font?

LAURA: We are!

SAM: Get a lot of healing potions! Oh, are we all going?

MARISHA: Yeah, the rest of us.

LIAM: No, I want to go for a walk on the edge of town for something.

MARISHA: Hey, will you take Kiri with you?

LIAM: Yeah, of course.

MARISHA: All right.

SAM: You want me to come as well?

LIAM: Yeah, of course!

SAM: Get a lot of healing potions!

LAURA: I'm going to!

SAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: Meet us at the apothecary.

MATT: Kiri pipes up. She says, (as Jester) “Get into trouble.”

LIAM: No, we are not going to get in trouble.

MATT: (as Jester) “Get into trouble.”

LIAM: Nein!

MATT: (cooing)

LIAM: Nein.

MARISHA: Oh my god, that's so cute.

LIAM: Be good. Just going on a stroll, *ja?* We're not going to kill anything, you're not going to, you know. Just taking a walk.

MATT: (as Caleb) “You know. Okay!”

LIAM: You are pretty cute. Come on.

MATT: Turns to Nott as you guys walk off. (whispers) “Wrapped around his weenie!”

(laughter)

MATT: You continue making your way towards the swamp. The two of you--

MARISHA: She's our new brand mascot.

MATT: You guys make your way to the Fungal Font. The doorway is partially ajar. It is open.

MARISHA: As we walk there, I, to the rest of these four, three, say-- no! You're not there. To these two, say, all right, guys. Real talk. What are we going to do with Kiri?

TALIESIN: I've been thinking about that.

MARISHA: We can't keep her with us.

LAURA: Why not?

MARISHA: She's going to die.

TALIESIN: In front of you.

MARISHA: Bloody. Horribly. Brutally.

LAURA: Oh, man.

MARISHA: You're going to be real sad about it. So we got to let her go.

LAURA: We can't just let her go!

MARISHA: No, we can't let her go. But I'm saying we have to let her go from our group. Somewhere safe.

LAURA: What if I try to get ahold of her parents or something?

MARISHA: Can you do that? Do you need to know who her parents are?

TRAVIS: Aren't they dead?

MARISHA: No, they got separated. But we don't know yet.

TALIESIN: But we have a map and maybe she can show us on the map where she thinks she needs to go?

LAURA: We can't just-- what are we going to do? Just send her on her way by herself?

TALIESIN: No! I didn't say that. I said if we know which direction she needs to head, we can figure out possibly if we can get her there.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: I think we need to get her out of this swamp, because this place is terrible. And I wouldn't want to live here.

TALIESIN: No one should live here.

MARISHA: I'm not going to subject a poor little child bird to that.

TALIESIN: She does drink a lot and occasionally seems interested in eating human flesh. I'm not entirely-- well, that's a subject for another day.

MARISHA: You're right! She could grow up and run this town.

LAURA: She could be like her own Gentleman.

MARISHA: Oh my god, she's her own mob boss.

LAURA: (gasps) I hope so.

MARISHA: I like that. I have high hopes for her. Yeah.

LAURA: Maybe I can talk to her and have her write down exactly what her parents look like or something and I can try to send a message to them?

MARISHA: Okay. I think that'd be good. We'll start there. Put a pin in this for now.

TRAVIS: Just draw some birds.

LAURA: They're birds.

TALIESIN: Birds. You know, there's a bird in a bonnet and another one smoking a pipe. That's all I really-- (coos) Just think about that. Yeah.

MATT: You guys make your way into the Fungal Font, and there you see, waiting anxiously, there's the sallow dwarf sitting in a small chair in the corner going, "Ah, so, where is the heart? Did you bring it?"

LAURA: Right here.

MATT: "Right, okay. So I've been working on something for you based on what you requested and I have these." He puts these two vials on the table. One of them is a healing potion, larger than the basic kind. The other is a sky blue color, and as he sets it on the table, as it impacts, there's a flash and you see some sparkles kind of going (energy crackling) through it before it settles. And he goes, "I'm going to be honest, not entirely certain the extent of what this is. It protects you from something. I know the basis of it is insulation."

LAURA: What's the gold stuff in there?

MATT: "I do not see what you mean."

LAURA: What's the stuff that swirled around when you put it on the table?

MATT: He taps it again and (energy crackling). It looks like a spark.

LAURA: What is that?

MATT: "I don't know. But I bet it's interesting."

TALIESIN: If we knew the name of everything we put down our gullet, there would be no fun, ever, any time. I'm very excited.

SAM: It's riboflavin.

LAURA: What else?

MATT: "I will trade these and put a topper of 50 gold pieces."

TALIESIN: I'm all right with this.

LAURA: I think that sounds like a pretty cool deal.

TALIESIN: I'm into it, yeah.

MARISHA: I'll throw in for it. I'll throw in 25 gold.

LAURA: Wait, no. Beau, no. He's paying us.

MARISHA: Oh, I mean--

TRAVIS: Holy shit.

MARISHA: I'm pulling a Grog.

MATT: You're totally pulling a Grog!

MARISHA: I thought you said it was going to cost an extra 50 on top. I'm sorry. Yeah, give us that money.

MATT: "All right. If you don't mind--"

MARISHA: Deal!

MATT: He grabs the leather and carefully moves it off the table and puts it in a small chest, closes it. Goes and counts out 50 gold pieces, shoves it your way and goes, "Thank you for your patronage."

TALIESIN: So if we were to take that 50 and possibly spend it on something in this shop, is there anything that we should take a look at?

MATT: "Depends on what you're looking for. I have various balms and salves to help with headaches, wounds that are festering. Some that help with helping your manhood come to light, some that help you with sleeping if you're having insomnia--"

MARISHA: What's the manhood thing?

TRAVIS and SAM: Oh, boy.

LAURA: They help you-- sometimes guys have problems with the (tongue click) and then there's potions that can help with that.

MARISHA: Ah.

LAURA: My mom said.

TALIESIN: I'm curious about the sleeping thing you have, and again, anything you're particularly proud of.

LAURA: I'm going to look around the store.

TALIESIN: I'm always excited for a surprise.

MATT: Essentially, over about five minutes of him showing you around, they're mostly general herbal remedies for day to day ailing elements. It looks like all the special stuff that he had at his disposal went into those potions. Everything else has been general helping, like melatonin. Things that help you a little bit.

TALIESIN: I'll take some sleep aids and whatever helps you sleep. Some sleepy tea or whatever. Anything like that.

MATT: “All right. That's five silver for ten doses."

SAM: (whispering) Get the manhood thing.

TALIESIN: You buy your own issue. Whatever you've got a problem with, you can buy it yourself. This is not where my coin is going. And anything that smells nice, just whatever.

MATT: "There are some lavender oils I would recommend to you. Here it is. I hope you like it. It's quite nice." He rubs some on his wrist. "Yes."

TALIESIN: How much for the whole deal?

MATT: "For the oils and your sleeping, I'll put it around-- I'll say seven silver pieces."

TALIESIN: Can you do change? One gold?

MATT: "I can." He gives you three silver back.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

(whispering and giggling)

MARISHA: We're having our own story over here.

TALIESIN: I'm aware. I'm ignoring it.

MATT: You guys finish up there.

TALIESIN: I'm fine. I'm going to put it in my additional notes right now.

MATT: Okay. You guys are heading off to the edge of the swamp with Kiri.

LIAM: This is so silly. I'm looking for a good stone.

SAM: What kind of a stone? A big stone? A skipping stone?

LIAM: No. Something with a little bit of heft to it.

SAM: Do you need it for a spell?

LIAM: Not exactly. I don't really have anything specific. I guess I'll know it when I see it. Something about yea big. You know, my father used to tell me that if a stone had a ring around it all the way, it was lucky.

SAM: If a stone had a ring around it?

LIAM: Yeah, like a natural formation, a coloration, right? It doesn't matter, though. I start looking for a stone.

SAM: Kiri, help us look for a stone.

LIAM: A good one.

SAM: I'll look with him.

MATT: (chirping) Make an investigation check, one of you with advantage, if you're aiding the other.

LIAM: I will make the check with your help, if that's okay.

MATT: Sure.

LIAM: Okay. That is a 13.

MARISHA: With advantage.

LIAM: Oh. That is a 14.

MATT: All right. What particularly are you looking for?

LIAM: A stone about as large as a malformed baseball, I suppose.

MATT: Okay. It takes you upwards of ten minutes, not very long, until you find one that's roughly that size. It's not perfectly spherical. It's got its imperfections, but it's pretty smooth.

LIAM: Is there a ring around it?

MATT: I'll say there's a very faint ring around it, sure.

LIAM: That's a lucky rock.

SAM: What will you use it for?

LIAM: I'm not sure, exactly. I have some ideas.

MARISHA: Murdering people in their sleep.

SAM: You know, Caleb, I never told you this before, but when we met that dragon lady-- Carrie? Kaylie? Kali?

LIAM: Cali.

SAM: Cali? That's a lot of K's. She gave me this scroll of Invisibility. I've been hanging onto it, but I didn't know if you wanted to look at it and maybe learn from it, or something?

LIAM: I mean, does an armored bear shit in the woods? Oh yeah, I want to see it! Let me see it.

SAM: Here, here, yes. I didn't want the others to see it, just in case.

LIAM: Ooh, that's a good one. *Ja.*

SAM: Do you want it? Can you learn that now?

LIAM: I mean, I could use it right now, but that seems detrimental. If I had proper funding and materials, but maybe later. I'm going to keep it safe, for the moment.

SAM: Great. Also, I'm so sorry that I got you in trouble with Beau for the whole bowl incident. I didn't realize that she was going to freak out on you like that.

LIAM: Neither did I, but we're figuring it out.

SAM: You took a walk with her. Was that okay? Was it awkward?

LIAM: *Ja,* that was fine. She's probably a good egg.

SAM: I think so, too. In her weird, sort of stoic way, she seems to care about you.

LIAM: Yeah, she's a prickly pear. but she's not a bad person.

SAM: Do you think she was dropped on her head or something? She's very sort of, you know-- (grunting). You know what I mean? (grunting)

LIAM: I think you and I are a little “Eh,” in our own particular way.

SAM: Yeah. Yeah, that's true.

LIAM: I mean, she's abrasive, but that has its uses. Right tool for the right job. Right Kiri?

MATT: (as Jester) "Go fuck yourself!"

(laughter)

LIAM: Kiri knows what I'm talking about.

MATT: (chirping)

LIAM: You're good? You're still good?

SAM: I'm very good. Yes.

LIAM: Things are looking up, I think.

SAM: Things are looking up and, you know, earlier you said that I could come talk to you whenever I want, and thank you for that. That makes me feel very good. Yeza was his name. The halfling man. Before. That's all. I just wanted to say his name out loud. It's been a while.

LIAM: That's a good name. Names are important.

SAM: Yeah. But you got your rock!

LIAM: Got my rock.

SAM: All right. Let's rock out.

LIAM: Kiri, come on.

LAURA: Before we leave, or as we're leaving the store, I want to say: Molly, stay inside for a little bit, okay? And keep talking to the guy, okay? For just a minute.

TALIESIN: All right.

LAURA: I'm going to use my paint, and I'm going to change the sign to “The Fungal Fart.”

(laughter)

MATT: All righty. Make a sleight of hand check, if you don't mind. I'll give you advantage if you manage to succeed on a deception check.

TALIESIN: All right. What are you going to do with that heart anyway?

MATT: "Well, I have many possible uses. I could extract all sorts of--"

TALIESIN: That's a seven.

MATT: So just make a roll.

LAURA: Ooh. 20!

MATT: With a quick flourish, you complete a fairly accurate recreation of the font utilized, in its glorious Papyrus, without him noticing from behind the door. With that, you go and complete your conversation. The rest of you meet up just as you hear the clomping of horse hooves. All of you gather in the center of the Puddles. The clomping is this splashing as there's still two inches of water in this section of Berleben. (wet clomping)

MARISHA: Ugh. I think I'm getting athlete's foot from all the moisture in my shoes from this place.

LAURA: I can heal that.

MARISHA: Really? It's so itchy.

TRAVIS: Yeah, it's called “jungle rot.”

MARISHA: Ugh. Really?

LAURA: Hey, you've got our stuff!

TRAVIS: Whose stuff?

TALIESIN: Is everything relatively all right on the cart? Doesn't look like it's been--

MATT: You guys take a moment to look through. Everything's intact.

ASHLEY: We had to kill them all, but we got it.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Yasha was surprisingly effective.

LAURA: That's not surprising.

TALIESIN: I trust you. It's the only way to be sure.

MATT: Kiri comes up. (like Caleb) "She's probably a good egg."

MARISHA: What does that mean?

SAM: She could've learned that from anyone. Anyone with a mildly Zemnian accent.

MATT: (like Nott) "Yeza was his name."

SAM: Oh, fuck.

MATT: (like Nott) "The halfling man. From before."

(laughter)

SAM: Shut up! Shut up, Kiri!

MATT: (like Nott) "Shut up! Shut up, Kiri! Shut up!"

LAURA: Yeza?

MATT: (like Nott) "Yeza."

LAURA: Was he the halfling guy?

TRAVIS: Did you say “Yeza,” Kiri?

MATT: (like Nott) "Yeza was his name. The halfling man. From before."

LIAM: The gimp we were joking about under the floor of that place.

LAURA: Aw.

SAM: Aw what?! Don't look at-- I'm turning green!

MATT: All right. You guys gather your things, get back onto your cart and your horses, and head southward, exiting Berleben, leaving this swamp town behind, hopefully for good. Making your way back onto the road. Which direction are you going? You have a map.

MARISHA: Where's the map?

SAM: Northeast.

TRAVIS: Northeast to Shadycreek Run.

LAURA: While everyone's figuring it out--

SAM: Wait, we have to go around Hupperdook.

LAURA: Hupperdook!

MATT: You guys heading to Hupperdook on the way?

MARISHA: Or we can go through Hupperdook.

SAM: There's a ridge line there, right? There's mountains?

MATT: Those are high mountains.

SAM: Silberquel Ridge?

MATT: The Silberquel Ridge is a very high series of mountains.

SAM: We would have to have to go around it--

LAURA: So we'd pass by Hupperdook.

MATT: There are roads, or there is cutting through the open fields and nature. That's your choice to make. Looking at the map here.

TALIESIN: We have some weights to put down.

SAM: So we have to go around these mountains. We can either go to the east past Hupperdook. Because we're going to Nogvurot, right, up there?

MATT: You guys are heading this direction. As far as you know, Shadycreek, which is over here in the corner--

SAM and LIAM: Shittycreek.

TALIESIN: But there seems to be the crossroads up there. There seems to be a path through the forest--

SAM: We could go around Hupperdook way, or we could go Rexxentrum way.

TALIESIN: I think we go Rexxentrum, just because there's an army marching that direction.

LAURA: But Rexxentrum is the capital.

LIAM: That place is very busy.

LAURA: We should probably stay clear and go to Hupperdook.

SAM: You've been up there, haven't you, Caleb?

LIAM: Yeah, but there's a war brewing, and that place is the center of it all.

SAM: But you might know some folks who could help us.

ASHLEY: That man Trent Ikithon or whatever is in Rexxentrum.

LAURA: That Trent guy?

ASHLEY: Yeah, that Trent guy.

MARISHA: Wait, is in where? Rexxentrum?

ASHLEY: Yeah, don't you remember? When we talked to him he said if we wanted to meet up with him to talk more, he was in Rexxentrum.

LIAM: I thought we were on a timetable to get these things done for the Gentleman.

TRAVIS: And we're trying to be sly. We want to avoid eyes.

LAURA: Tell you what, we go Hupperdook on the way up, and then we can do Rexxentrum on the way back.

MARISHA: I'm just going to say, I've heard some pretty crazy stories through the grapevine about what goes on in Hupperdook.

SAM: What goes on in Hupperdook?

TALIESIN: I don't believe you've ever heard a crazy story about anything happening anywhere.

MARISHA: Are you challenging me?

TALIESIN: I'm challenging you for details.

MARISHA: So, all right. City's got a lot of gnomes, and they're filled with industry, and they work all the time. But at night, they party.

LAURA: Gnome parties.

MARISHA: Work hard, party hard. It's what that city's all about.

LAURA: And they live in mushroom houses.

MARISHA: I don't know about the mushroom houses thing, but I've heard some crazy-- they have ragers every night.

ASHLEY: I've heard gnome parties are the craziest kind.

SAM: Are you making this up?

MARISHA: No. Not at all.

LAURA: Insight check!

MATT: Make an insight check, both of you.

SAM: 18.

LAURA: 13.

MATT: As far as she's aware, she's telling the truth.

LAURA: That's amazing.

MARISHA: I'm just saying, I've had some shady friends.

LIAM: Ain't no party like a Hupperdook party.

MARISHA: I've had some shady friends.

TRAVIS: Hupperdook it is.

SAM: Let's "dook" it up.

MARISHA: I think they have one of the highest imports and exports for illicit substances. I don't know. That's just what I've heard.

SAM: Okay, let's go.

TRAVIS: Let's get it started.

MATT: You guys are making your way along the Rillway Road eastward from Berleben, heading from here along Rillway. Heading past north of Felderwin, hitting the Felderwin Tillage, and then there's a crossroads that leads to the northern Gravelway Path.

SAM: We're going that far--

MATT: If you're following the roads, if you guys are cutting away from the roads and going through the rough open fields, that can be done.

LAURA: We have a carriage, let's stay on the roads.

MATT: Via road, it's about 110 miles to the crosswo-- crossroads, and then 120 miles along the Gravelway Path.

MARISHA: To hewe? To the cwosswoads?

MATT: It's about a week's worth of travel to get to Hupperdook from where you are.

MARISHA: What's in the cwosswoads?

MATT: You'll find out when you get there. You haven't traveled there before.

MARISHA: Is it a village? We don't know.

SAM: I've been there, haven't I?

MATT: You may have been there, actually. The crossroads, from what your experience is, folks who are making long travels stop there and set up shop for a day or two to sell or trade whatever wares they have before they continue on the rest of their journey. And people from Felderwin and the Felderwin Tillage head up there sometimes to set up shop if there are people that are traveling through.

LAURA: Like a flea market town.

MATT: Kind of. It's less a town, it's maybe a handful of anywhere from four to 20 tents depending on what time of year it is.

LAURA: It's an outlet, outside of town.

MATT: It's a fantasy outlet.

SAM: Cabazon!

MARISHA: Yes!

LAURA: I bet I can get 300 gold worth of diamonds for way less.

SAM: We need that! And our money exchange.

LAURA: Which, by the way, I want to talk to you guys. Here's the thing; this spell that I have takes diamonds, in order to bring you back to life. I don't have enough gold to buy all these diamonds for everybody, so--

LIAM: So you're asking if we would like to pool our resources for a handful of these diamonds for a perilous situation?

LAURA: Well, yeah. Or if you want to be selfish about it, you can buy your own diamonds and then I'll use those for you.

TRAVIS: How big do these diamonds have to be, like little suckers?

LAURA: Doesn't matter, it's just 300 gold worth of diamonds, but they're going to be gone if you die.

TRAVIS: That's a significant diamond.

MARISHA: How do you know which diamonds are our diamonds?

LAURA: You keep your diamonds on you.

MARISHA: But don't you need them for the spell? Do we have a specific diamond pocket that, if we go down, you go in our diamond pocket?

LAURA: Yeah!

SAM: She's got to hold all the diamonds.

LAURA: No! You have your own diamond pocket and then when I save you, it'll be like--

SAM: We're each going to have a pocket of 300 gold--

LIAM: I would rather you, as an accomplished healer, knew where the diamonds were on your person and got them lickety-split rather than you looking through my 32 pockets to find the diamonds.

LAURA: Sounds good to me.

LIAM: But yeah, I agree with you that we should pool our resources, that is a good idea.

MARISHA: And whenever we steal jewelry off of people, maybe we keep it instead of selling it.

LAURA: We just pop out the diamonds! We can still keep ruby jewelry and emerald jewelry--

SAM: I will look for diamonds.

ASHLEY: That's all you need is diamonds?

LAURA: Just diamonds.

MARISHA: Do you have any spells that use rubies or emeralds? What about you, Caleb?

LIAM: This is a little diamond I use for that one thing I do.

MARISHA: But this doesn't go away?

LIAM: No, this one I spin it and surround it with arcane energy, and no, it does not go away.

LAURA: What's that about? How come he gets to keep his?

SAM: Are you talking to the Traveler right now?

LIAM: It's a very studied practice; I spent years learning how to do it.

SAM: He's extremely smart.

TALIESIN: What's the Traveler doing up there?

LAURA: Well, maybe he can fly, I don't know! Sometimes he's invisible, could it be he's flying next to me? I don't know!

LIAM: Could you let her keep the diamonds?

LAURA: Could we maybe keep the diamonds?

MARISHA: Could you teach her how to do the spinny thing?

TALIESIN: Could someone keep their eyes on the road as we're moving forward?

SAM: Let's go!

MARISHA: The Traveler is my co-pilot, it's okay. He's leading the way.

LIAM: Traveler take the wheel.

MARISHA and TRAVIS: (singing) Traveler take the wheel!

MATT: Oh my god, guys.

LAURA: While we're going, I need to sit next to Kiri, and I'm going to pull out my sketchbook, and I'm going to ask her to write down everything she can think of about her mom and dad, and draw a little picture of them, because I'm going to try to do Sending for her mom and dad.

MATT: Okay. She draws the best she can. Her drawings are rudimentary, but functional. You see two blackbird parents in somewhat geometric clothing.

LAURA: That's about how I pictured them.

MARISHA: It's American gothic, but as birds.

MATT: Basically. Best you can tell from what she writes down and communicates with you via the book, they were traveling from the east, heading west.

LAURA: So they were going the opposite direction that we are.

MATT: They are, yeah.

LAURA: That sucks.

MATT: You guys make your way out of Labenda Swamp, heading southward across the bridge past the river that breaks from the Ounterloch heading south.

LIAM: Just a minor thing. While we're traveling, I'm going to use my minor alchemy to turn a ring of the wood in the cart-- I'm sitting criss-cross applesauce-- and I make a ring of copper in the bottom of the wagon and place this stone in it. I place both hands on the side of the stone and I'm trying to channel my knowledge and ability into it. I'm futzing with it, that's it.

LAURA: I take a little paintbrush and I draw a smiley face on the rock.

LIAM: I slap her hand.

MATT: Because this is a longer journey, I'm not going to drag us through every single stage of it. But there are some elements that can happen during this journey.

TALIESIN: You have died of dysentery.

MATT: Yes, exactly.

MARISHA: Did we ever find anything out about the Sending thing? How did that go? That's I want to know about first.

MATT: Unfortunately, given the lack of details, lack of information--

SAM: The fact that they can't speak.

TALIESIN: At some point, we want to pull out the map and show it to Kiri and see if she can point to anything on the map.

LAURA: They're not dead!

TRAVIS: We're going to get this fucking bird killed, y'all. I'm just saying.

MARISHA: This bird's going to die.

MATT: The Sending spell isn't able to connect with anybody, unfortunately, but you tried. First day of travel comes to a close; you reach the river. Actually, you don't quite reach the river, you almost do. First night's rest happens. For expediency, who wants to make the perception check for the evening's rest?

TRAVIS: I'll do it.

LIAM: I will also do it.

MATT: Both individually?

LIAM: I will do it individually.

MATT: Both of you guys roll.

LAURA: I like how this is like Final Fantasy traveling.

TRAVIS: 16.

LIAM: Ooh, I got a five.

MATT: That's better. For the evening's rest-- taking your breaks, keeping watch throughout the night-- no incident. At one moment, there is a shifting of movement in the distance. Fjord, you go and check, and there is a family of foxes that are making their way through the field southward away as it gets colder. They're starting to move southward, and you spook them off to get away from the traps.

TRAVIS: Scat!

MATT: The next morning, you guys get yourselves back up into the cart and continue on further. You pass beyond the river and start making your way towards the crossroads before your second day comes to completion. Who's going to keep watch the next evening? All right, make the roll, guys.

TALIESIN: Do you want advantage?

LAURA: Let's roll individual ones.

TALIESIN: Individually. 20.

LAURA: Oh, 17.

MATT: Keeping watch throughout the evening, thankfully, no issues happen. You manage to keep watch, evening goes without issue. Your rest is fine, and you continue onto your third day of travel. Along the way, you do finally reach the crossroads here. As you come upon the area, you see where the road diverges. It continues in a southward curve and then a road that very starkly turns left and heads in a northeastern direction. There are a series of wooden signs up, and you do see three tents of varying sizes. There is a blue and white striped tent, a white tent, and a faded green one. A couple of carts are stopped off to the side, and some folks are looking in there. It looks like a very small merchant setup there, but if you were to inquire, you could see what's available.

LIAM: Wait a second. I send Frumpkin skittering off in that direction. As he's leaving, I say, "Rub against some ankles. And listen."

MARISHA: Who are you talking to? Are you talking to me?

SAM: I think he's talking to the cat.

MARISHA: Okay.

LAURA: That would be funny.

MARISHA: That would be weird if I walked up to you and said, "Did you want me to rub his ankles?"

SAM: No, sometimes when he stares at you and doesn't say anything, he is talking to you, though. So that's a fair question.

MARISHA: No, I've noticed that.

TALIESIN: Have you ever actually tried rubbing his ankles when he says that?

MARISHA: Can he still hear us, or can he only hear the cat?

SAM: He only can hear the cat, but he can feel you, so poke him if you feel--

MARISHA: Okay. What if I poke his ankles?

SAM: That would be weird.

MATT: Frumpkin listens about, and there are folks asking and trying to haggle prices. You get the sense that one of them, as Frumpkin looks up, has a small selection of fruits, some looking more tropical, probably further south-sourced, brighter oranges and yellow in color, some with vibrant green leaves.

LAURA: Pineapple!

SAM: Durian!

MATT: The white tent goes by, has more of a general goods feel. There are tools, repair kits for travel. You see some bolts, two crossbows in the back wall, all sorts of general tools. It looks to be a general store and some basic means to defend oneself when on the road.

LIAM: Any books?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LIAM: Any books, 13?

MATT: No books. The green one appears to be mainly furs and leathers, some that are tanning on the outside, as well as bone jewelry made of teeth and bone of hunted animals.

MARISHA: That's cool. You guys know tents.

SAM: We also need some warm clothes. Winter's coming.

TALIESIN: Some tents would be a great idea.

LIAM: To justify all of this, he's been muttering everything he sees. Bones, bone necklaces, pineapples.

MARISHA: I want a bone necklace, but do you guys recognize any of these tent colors?

SAM: I recognize the color green and white.

TALIESIN: I generally don't actually care about the theme of any city that I'm in because I've never bothered to learn. Does any of this look familiar before? Do I recognize any of these people?

MATT: If you start walking and glancing through? No. They're all various travelers. No one has crossed your path before, nobody of significance to your previous experience, no.

MARISHA: I want some bone jewelry! I walk off that way.

TALIESIN: I think we're going to need some general goods. I've got some ideas of some stuff we could use on the road.

MARISHA: Yeah, you mentioned the tent thing. That's not a bad idea.

TALIESIN: We should have some tents.

MATT: You head to the green tent, those who are going, to the one that has the bone jewelry. There is a human woman there, dark, weathered skin, leather and fur over her shoulders. She's currently talking with somebody, and as you approach, "Terribly sorry. If you're looking for furs, bones, or leathers, look around. Feel free to ask. I will tell you what we are selling for."

MARISHA: Do you have any bracelets? A goblin took my jade one.

MATT: "That's unfortunate, but we do." She turns around and there's a few strips of leather that are rough on the edges but functional. One of them has a fur inlay, so it feels comfortable on the wrist. "I've made these myself."

MARISHA: Fjord, does this look like a little much? This feels like it doesn't go with my outfit.

TRAVIS: Are they thick or thin bones?

MARISHA: Yeah, does it feel out of place?

MATT: These are leather.

MARISHA: Oh, it's just leather?

MATT: The wristband that she has is leather, yeah.

LAURA: If you got a thicker cloak, it would look real good with it.

MATT: Are you looking for bone in particular?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: There is bone jewelry. There's a bone choker that's a series of finger bones that are lined end to end that goes around the neck, there's one that can go on the wrist, looks like there's a necklace that has a bunch of various canine teeth-- not necessarily from a canine, but sharp teeth from some sort of creature.

MARISHA: Where do these bones come from?

MATT: "Oh, most of these were taken from various wolves, dire in nature."

MARISHA: Volves?

MATT: “Wolves.”

MARISHA: Wolves, wolves.

MATT: "These are from the Zemni Fields, near Icehaven is where I hail. It's a very hunter-trapper community up there. I bring the goods to sell this far south."

TRAVIS: Very impressive.

LIAM: Frumpkin comes around a corner and Caleb sees that the entire party has left him in the cart, snaps out of it and scrabbles out, and starts hustling over that way.

LAURA: Do you buy stuff as well, or do you only sell stuff?

MATT: "Mainly meant only to sell, but if you have something worth buying, do present, please. I'm curious."

LAURA: I've got a gator skin.

MATT: She takes it. By the way, the gator skin is not tanned. It's not cured. It is fucking nasty. As you pull it out of your haversack, it's dripping with congealed blood. Flies immediately start gathering and she's like, “Ugh.”

LAURA: Super fresh!

MATT: "I can tell. Not interested, sorry."

LAURA: We should probably tan this. I leave the tent.

MARISHA: I buy the bone bracelet, throw her money, and say: thanks! And walk off.

MATT: Okay, you didn't ask how much it was.

MARISHA: No.

MATT: The bone bracelet runs you two gold. It's not that expensive.

MARISHA: Here.

SAM: I disguise myself as a gnome, go in, and buy warm clothes.

MATT: Okay. For the set of warm clothes, which is heavy leathers and fur that you can throw over, a leather cloak as well that you can bundle up in, and it straps over and buckles multiple times across the way. For you, it runs past your legs, almost, so you'd have to trim it up a bit, but that one will run you three gold pieces.

SAM: Okay, done.

TALIESIN: I want to hit the general store.

MATT: As you approach the white tent, you see a female halfling there who is wearing a leather apron that has some tools tucked in there. There's nobody currently at the station, so as you approach, she looks out to you. She has frizzy brown hair with some gray ones that are starting to sprout from the outside that's pulled back and held in this giant poof of a ponytail. She looks out toward you and points and goes, "Oh, hello! Looking to buy something?"

TALIESIN: Actually, I am. How fascinating that you caught me right in the moment where I'm ready to spend money.

MATT: "Oh, great. What are you looking for?"

TALIESIN: Well, I've got a couple problems.

MATT: "Problems? I have, possibly, some solutions."

TALIESIN: I've got a cart that keeps breaking down on me.

MATT: "That's a problem."

TALIESIN: If you've got a kit for something like that. Also, I was thinking about maybe putting some canvas on top of it, giving it a little bit of safety from the elements. I think I'm going to need at least four tents. I've recently come into a bunch of new companions and they really didn't have what's necessary to make our way through these wonderful, wonderful roads.

MATT: "Tents, tents I can do. Two gold per tent. We have five ready. If you need four, throwing those all together if you're buying a tent--”

TALIESIN: Four'll do it.

MARISHA: How big are they? Are they four-person sleepers?

MATT: They're two-person tents each.

TALIESIN: Actually, I'll get five tents.

MATT: "Five two-person tents. You're buying me out. That's ten gold, my friend."

TALIESIN: That's perfect.

MATT: Passes them over. They're all rolled up and ready to go. "As far as repair kits go, these are a little pricier. If you're looking specifically for cart repairs, one kit I can sell to you for, say, 25 gold pieces. That contains all that you'd require for any on-the-road going: wheel repairs, your axle, equipment for keeping your horses attached to your cart."

TALIESIN: You wouldn't happen to have any raw canvas I could use to possibly put a bit of a pop tent?

MATT: "Raw canvas I can do, but beyond that, the rest of it's up to you."

TALIESIN: I'll take the repair kit.

MATT: "25 gold for that."

TALIESIN: And however much basic supplies to put this together, and I'll figure out how handy I am on the road.

MATT: "All right. Rolled canvas here, I've got about 20 square feet of rolled canvas. Will that do?"

TALIESIN: Will that do?

MATT: Will it do?

TALIESIN: Hmm. I'm used to yards.

MARISHA: 20 square foot is pretty big.

TALIESIN: If nothing goes wrong, it should work. Is it waxed and reasonable?

MATT: "Reasonable. It's weather-resistant."

TALIESIN: All right, we'll just have to make a little--

MARISHA: A little bubble?

LAURA: Are we trying to do a covered wagon?

TALIESIN: We're trying to do a covered wagon.

MATT: "For the treated canvas, if you're taking the whole bolt, that's going to be five gold."

TALIESIN: So we're at 30 gold now.

MATT: "30 gold, and with the tents, that puts it at 40 gold."

TALIESIN: 40 gold. All right, we've got the tents, we've got the canvas, and then just a little bit of lumber to put this whole thing together and that ought to do it.

MATT: "Define 'little bit of lumber.' For the structure?"

TALIESIN: Yeah, covered wagon-worth.

MATT: "I don't have much in the way of lumber. I have a few--"

TALIESIN: Do you have bamboo? Whatever you have.

MATT: There's no bamboo. There are wood slats, but no super-long pieces that could be curved over.

TALIESIN: All right, at the very least we can fake something for now. That's fair. What's my total right now?

MATT: "40 gold."

TALIESIN: I could do 35.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

TALIESIN: That's a nine! That's nice.

MATT: "The days grow colder, friend. Unfortunately, I've got to make ends meet."

TALIESIN: Can't argue. 40 gold.

MATT: "40 gold. Fantastic, thank you."

MARISHA: I toss Percy ten gold to reimburse him a little bit.

LIAM: Oh, you did it again! That's not Percy.

TALIESIN: Two! I got two. One more and I get a free sandwich. Is that 40 total?

MATT: 40 total.

MARISHA: Was it Percy the time before too?

TRAVIS: Stop saying it, stop saying the name.

LAURA: No, keep saying it, maybe he'll start rolling better.

LIAM: He's got his head shoved up the ass of a clock right now, leave him be.

TALIESIN: That was a savage burn. Ugh.

MATT: Anything else you guys need?

LAURA: I'm heading back to the cart, spreading out the leather hides, and making them dry out.

LIAM: Yeah, what is Fjord doing right now?

MATT: What is Fjord doing right now?

TRAVIS: He's fucking bored out of his fucking shopping mind.

(laughter)

LIAM: I see that.

TRAVIS: He's holding an invisible phone, scrolling social media.

MATT: Checking Tinderbox?

TRAVIS: Any sweet half-orc around here?

LIAM: You look bored out of your mind.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'm not much of a shopper.

LIAM: Same, same. Me either. So far, so good, though, right?

TRAVIS: Yeah, it's been without incident, which is what we want.

LIAM: I mean the lot of it. We've been together for weeks, now.

TRAVIS: Oh. Yeah.

LIAM: There's been some friction, but we're still here.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Nothing we can't overcome. Everything's got its little bumps and growing pains, and I think we've had ours. You and Beau seemed to make up nice.

LIAM: Oh, hell, that was nothing to when you held a blade to my throat. But we're making it work.

TRAVIS: Indeed we are.

LIAM: You're a good guy, I think.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I think so too.

LIAM: What does he look like when I say that?

MATT: What do you look like when--

TRAVIS: He smiles at you.

LIAM: No, I know what your face looks like. What does it mean? Double rainbow, what does it mean?

TRAVIS: It's a pleasant smile.

LIAM: Okay.

SAM: Caleb, Caleb! They have rambutan, they have lychee, they have jackfruit, they have all sorts of different fruits.

TRAVIS: What did you just say?

SAM: They have all kinds!

TRAVIS: What's a lychee?

SAM: It's a white little-- it's got a big seed, it's white, it's sort of citrus-y, it's really good. You can put it in liquor.

LIAM: I am from the north. We have *Brot,* tomatoes, and cheese and that's it.

SAM: They may have tomatillo, I don't know.

LIAM: What?

SAM: It's really exotic stuff.

LIAM: Well, you teach me. Good talk. Okay, show me what you're talking about.

SAM: Come, come. Do I recognize anyone in any of these tents?

MATT: No. You do not.

LIAM: That's a dirty picture!

LAURA: No it's not, it's a ballerina.

LIAM: No, that's a dirty picture.

MATT: Anything else you guys wish to do? Or do you move on? Okay. With your supplies gathered, you load up back into your cart, and now shifting over to where you see the signs. The directions show: NW - Rillway Road to Berleben/Labenda Swamp, NE - Gravelway Path to Hupperdook/Silberquel Ridge, and then S - Rillway Road to Felderwin/Alfield.

MARISHA: We want the Hupperdook one.

TRAVIS: NE, Hupperdook.

MATT: Making the left turn onto that road, heading northeast, you begin to make your way towards the Silberquel Ridge.

TRAVIS: I guess we're going slower than that.

LAURA: Wait! Should I have asked if Kiri was cold? Do you get cold, Kiri?

MATT: Kiri's sitting there on the edge, eyes half-closed, and her feathers all puffed up. She looks over towards you, “(coos)”

LAURA: Do you get cold? Yes? Or No?

MATT: (like Jester) "Yes?"

LAURA: You get cold. Oh, I run back in and try to get some warm clothes for Kiri.

MATT: Okay, easy enough. It costs you three silver to get the proper thick fur material to give her enough to keep warm.

LAURA: Something really pretty though.

MATT: Eh, beggars can't be choosers in this circumstance, but you get something functional.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: Burlap, it's all burlap.

TALIESIN: Or really itchy wool.

MATT: Continuing northward, as the sky gets subtly darker and darker, preparing for what is the coming dusk, you see ahead a caravan of carts heading southward along the road that's going to intersect with your path.

MARISHA: What? What's ahead?

MATT: A caravan of four carts, heading your direction, heading southward and going to cross your path.

LAURA: Can we see?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: That was impressive. 15.

MATT: Okay. Glancing ahead, there's still enough light for you to make out details. They appear to be mostly human from what you can tell. Looking behind there looks to be a group of dwarf family members all gathered. They appear to be families.

LAURA: Do they look like fancy wagons?

MATT: They don't. They look like wagons. And as they begin to approach, they turn and give you a wide berth like they're going to make room to travel past you guys.

SAM: It could be a diamond shipment.

LAURA: Maybe we should ask.

TRAVIS: Howdy! What news from the road up ahead?

MATT: The gentleman at the front puts a hand up and the carts slow down a little bit. "Nothing, just passing through."

TRAVIS: No dangers? Clear roads?

MATT: "Roads are clear so far."

LIAM: What do the faces of the people who aren't talking look like?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LIAM: 17.

MATT: 17. There are men, women, children. Mostly human. Three other carts, one of them is a dwarf family. They all look somewhat nervous. General looking out, quieting the kids.

LAURA: Have you been to Hupperdook?

MATT: "We rode past, didn't stop."

LAURA: Did you see the mushroom houses?

MATT: "No."

LAURA: Damnit.

MARISHA: Did you party any? Quick rager after the kids were asleep?

MATT: "No. I'm sorry, we must be going."

SAM: There was no blazing drum and bass?

MATT: The horses pick up their pace a bit more.

SAM: I don't believe you.

MATT: The horses kind of pick up their pace a bit more.

TRAVIS: What do the kids do as they move on?

MATT: The kids just kind of watch quietly as they begin to pass.

TRAVIS: I didn't like his demeanor.

LAURA: No. (shouts) Where are you going? Are you safe?

SAM: (laughs) We are the *worst* people.

MATT: He looks back and says, "We're heading south."

SAM: (shouts) What are you reading? What are you reading?

(laughter)

MATT: "We're just passing through. Heading south."

LAURA: I look at one of the kids. (whispers) Are you safe? Are you good? Are you safe?

MATT: The kid kind of recoils from this blue-skinned, horned tiefling all of a sudden engaging him from across the way. The kid just kind of freezes in place.

LAURA: I don't know. I feel like they would've said if they were in danger or something.

MARISHA: Trafficking kids?

LAURA: Yeah. I'm afraid it's like… I don't know, I just feel like somebody's not safe there.

SAM: All right, I'll cast Message on one of the kids.

LAURA: Okay. Okay.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: I'll say, if you're being kidnapped, you can respond to this message and tell me.

MATT: There's a pause, and the kid that you're aiming at goes... Like big smile on the face. Looks over and sees you and kind of... "No, we're just getting away… from our home."

SAM: That was like a real connection!

LAURA: Ask what's happening at their home!

SAM: Okay. I'll cast it again. Where's home? You can respond to this message!

MATT: "Nogvurot."

LAURA: Nogvurot. Oh, that's where the people have been getting stolen from! People are getting stolen, remember?

MARISHA: Wait. Yeah, Nogvurot is right where we're going. We're going past Shady… Shadycreek.

SAM: There's been a string of kidnappings there in town.

MATT: Well this is where you're going, and Nogvurot is this way.

LAURA: Oh, okay, so we can sort of avoid--

MATT: You can go straight, or you can arc-- it'll take more time.

MARISHA: But they're next-doorsies.

LAURA: We should avoid Nogvurot right now.

MATT: You can hit it on the way back. It's up to you.

MARISHA: Yeah. On the way back. On the way back.

LAURA: After we've already taken care of the stuff so we get paid. Do we know how much time we have left before our time is up with the Gentleman's timeline?

MATT: Uh, with the days of travel… I'd have to go do the math again, and I'm sure that the Internet knows and has been keeping track--

TALIESIN: I think we're probably fine.

MATT: I'll check in with CritRoleStats to make sure--

LIAM: And Caleb will tell the group.

MATT: But since you've left, just estimating right now, I'd say it's been about a little over a week as of now.

LAURA: And we have a month.

MATT: You have a month.

TALIESIN: We're killing it.

LAURA: Okay. This is going to be the hard stuff now.

SAM: Let's continue on.

TALIESIN: We're basically gods.

LIAM: Caleb is futzing again with the rock and just sort of massaging the four days of stubble that he has grown back and his facial hair comes in as fast as Liam's does so it's already pretty thick.

MATT: All right. You pass the caravan and they continue southward. Eventually it gets dark, if you guys want to stop and make a rest for the evening, you can. So, as you set off and set up camp, who's keeping watch this evening?

TALIESIN: We've got tents!

ASHLEY: I'll keep watch.

MATT: All right. And you do have new tents, which is much more comfortable than the open air, bundled up with your blanket in the cold night. And as you travel further north, you know, it's going to get colder, especially with the winter looming and the autumn coming to a close.

SAM: One of us bought warm clothes.

(laughter)

MATT: All right, who's keeping a watch?

TRAVIS and SAM: Yasha and Beau.

MATT: All right, go ahead and make a roll, guys. Or one of you with advantage. Your choice.

SAM: Beau's just looking at Yasha.

MARISHA: Her bad. Did you see anything?

ASHLEY: 15.

MATT: 15? Okay.

MARISHA: Because I don't see anything.

(laughter)

LIAM: Except for your eyes.

SAM: They're like the ocean.

LAURA: Her eyes are like the sea.

MARISHA: Your eyes are like the swamp. Super muddy.

LIAM: Your eyes are like blue crayons.

MARISHA: One's like the swamp, one's like the sky.

ASHLEY: Yeah...

LAURA: (laughs)

ASHLEY: Yeah. I mean, one's like more purpley, but I guess that's sky, or swamp?

MARISHA: Yeah. It's very like, very diverse biodomes in your eyes.

LIAM: Ooh.

TALIESIN: (whispers) How?

ASHLEY: Yeah...

MATT: Not biome. Biodome.

MARISHA: (laughs) Biodomes, you know?

ASHLEY: Like a… I think that's a film?

MARISHA: You know, like-- Yeah. Waterworld.

TRAVIS: Pauly Shore movie.

MARISHA: Let's go.

LIAM: We're off the rails. We're off the rails.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: All right. The evening passes without issue, actually. Keeping a watch--

TRAVIS: You call that "without issue?"

MATT: Well--

MARISHA: It's natural. It's in my blood.

MATT: Touche.

LIAM: You're so cool, how do you fucking eat gravel so hard? Oh, man.

MARISHA: It's in my blood, man. It's all a ruse.

MATT: So. You wake up the next morning. You get the sense that being the vigilant beasts that you are, if anybody wanted to come close to inspect, immediately saw Yasha and went, "Nope!" You continue on the next day of travel. Heading upward. Northeast, further and further. You can begin to see the edge of the Silberquel Ridge, the mountain range that, when you were approaching the Labenda Swamp, began to rise and kind of loomed over the swamp, and then began to slowly get more distant. As you traveled southward the crossroads begins to come further into view again. The mountain range moving closer, more massive, kind of peeking over, this large-- it's very, very steep edges to the base of this mountain range. You get the sense that passage over or through is very specific. Or at least nowhere in visible sight. As you guys begin to crest into dusk for this next, fourth evening of travel, who's keeping watch?

SAM: Me and Caleb.

MATT: All right. You guys go ahead and roll perception checks, please.

SAM: Six.

LIAM: 13.

MATT: 13. All right. As you guys are just setting up, Caleb, you're looking out past as everyone else is getting ready to bed for the night, and you look over and you can see what looks like a shape off in the grass. Looks like a-- like a big mound, but it's hard to tell from this distance, but there's something in the grass.

LIAM: There's something deadly out there that wants to murder us all in our sleep.

SAM: Well, it could just be an animal or something, right?

LIAM: Yeah, it could be. Do you want to wake everybody up, or--

SAM: Not yet, let's find out what it is.

LIAM: Well I can't see shit!

SAM: I'll go look. You stay here and be ready to wake.

LIAM: Okay, well hold on a second. Just wear my cat as a scarf. And she digs-- dammit, my cat was a girl, but-- nevermind. He digs his claws into Nott's neck and hangs in.

SAM: I'll flank around and try to see if I can see what this thing is.

LIAM: And Caleb sits between Fjord and Beau and loses his sight and vision and listens.

MATT: All right. So make a stealth check, please.

SAM: One.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

SAM: Plus ten, but it's was a natural one.

MATT: Still a natural one.

LIAM: Fuck a duck!

(laughter)

SAM: Get out of my eyeline! Get out of my eyeline, Wil Wheaton!

(laughter)

LIAM: It's a 30-foot radius!

SAM: You have sunglasses or anything I could wear?

(laughter)

MATT: As you begin to slowly approach, make a perception check, please.

SAM: That's a 12.

LIAM: Do I get to make a perception check through Frumpkin's ears?

MATT: Sure.

LIAM: Yass!

SAM: Queen.

LIAM: It's a two!

(laughter)

MATT: All right. You hear nothing. You glance around the corner, and just beyond the grass, you can see an overturned cart.

SAM: Not ours.

MATT: Not yours. Another cart. It's just on its side. It looks like it has a cover over the top of it. But it's not--

SAM: But that's not where we saw movement?

LIAM: No, we just saw a hump, right?

MATT: You saw the shape. And the shape, as you approach, looks to be an overturned wagon, roughly about 100 feet off the road.

SAM: Okay. I will cast Silent Image, and I will make it look like there's just a curious human walking over there. (bad American accent) Hi, I'm an American man!

(laughter)

LIAM: I pull out a wire and say, You're onto this, right? This is a possible ambush, *ja?*

SAM: It seems like-- yeah? So, Chent goes over there and checks it out.

TRAVIS: Chent?

TALIESIN: When have you ever met a Chent?

SAM: You know, good old Chent.

MARISHA: I already hate him.

MATT: Walks over there. Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: He got a sweater around his neck and mid-thigh khaki shorts?

MATT: 13?

MARISHA: Crocs? Is he wearing Crocs?

MATT: Nothing.

SAM: Abercrombie and Fitch top.

(laughter)

LIAM: Tell your man to check the cart.

SAM: Yeah, he's over there investigating. Nothing? Okay. I will withdraw him if nothing has happened.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: I didn't-- I take out my wire-- I didn't see anything move. I think it might just be a cart.

LIAM: Probably but give it a moment.

SAM: Okay. I'll wait.

LIAM: Tell him to do the Running Man.

SAM: He's not a good dancer; he's a white guy.

(laughter)

LIAM: *Ja* I can relate, but just do it.

TRAVIS: White man's overbite, white man's overbite-- there it is!

TALIESIN: Can't handle.

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: Okay. 15 now.

MATT: 15. You see a brief-- a split second of movement. And you look and you see a crossbow bolt hit the edge of the cart--

SAM: Near where Chent was?

MATT: Near where he was standing. He was still dancing.

SAM: Oh, shit. No direction? Can I tell from its impact from whence it came?

MATT: Not from this distance, no.

SAM: Okay. (panicked breathing) Crossbow attack! Crossbow attack! Wake up everyone! I'll take them out single-handed!

LIAM: No, no, no, switch to the Cabbage Patch! And I start punching Fjord and Beau in the shoulders.

MARISHA: (groans)

LIAM: Shh! Quiet! Be quiet!

SAM: I'm going to keep flanking around in the shadows, trying to stay out of trouble. Crossbow at the ready.

LIAM: I start quietly handing over everybody's mouth, "Wake up, there's an ambush!" I'm scared of Yasha but I do it anyway. "Wake up, there's an ambush!"

MATT: As all of you come to consciousness, you glance over and you can see the dark shape, once Caleb points out the direction where it was. And as you're coming around the side, Nott... because you did not roll a very good stealth--

SAM: No, no, not at all.

TRAVIS: You went forward and did *not* retreat?

SAM: I'm trying to flank around.

MATT: You suffer six points of piercing damage as a crossbow bolt catches you in the thigh.

SAM: (groans) I will reduce that to three.

MATT: All right. You glance over to the side and you can see what looks to be a humanoid shape that darts down into the grass and begins shifting around the other side of the cart.

LIAM: Caleb will, at this point, once everyone is awake-- Yasha was the last one-- will go back in to see what is going on. Oh, shit. (stammering) Nott's being attacked. Let's go! And I jump out of the cart.

SAM: Did I see where the creature went?

MATT: Yeah. It ran down through the grass-- actually, make a perception check, just as you're trying to peer through the darkness here.

SAM: Six.

MATT: Yeah, you have no idea. They vanished into the grass and moved what you assume to be around the cart.

LIAM: I am doing my best Vax impression and making my way through the grass.

MATT: All right. The rest of you following?

TRAVIS: Yes.

MATT: All right. You guys are all--

ASHLEY: I start walking towards the--

MATT: Not carefully, just straight on run in that space?

MARISHA: No! Spread and flank? Spread and flank?

LIAM: Still stealthing.

MATT: You're still stealthing?

LIAM: I'm trying!

MATT: I'd like all of you guys to make a stealth check, please. As you try and carefully approach. At the slow pace at which you are approaching, at that many feet away--

LAURA: Natural 20!

MATT: Nice!

TALIESIN: Natural one!

ASHLEY: 16.

MATT: Natural one?

LIAM: 14.

MARISHA: 14.

TRAVIS: Four.

MATT: Four. Okay, Fjord and Molly lumbering across the field. In the meantime, two of the figures jump up from aside the cart, and both take crossbow shots at you. That's going to be a 16?

SAM: Armor class is 16.

MATT: Just hits. And the other one is-- that's a 12. That doesn't hit.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: So this one... you're going to take four points of piercing damage.

SAM: I already used my, whatever, reaction, so I'll take the full four.

MATT: Okay. They both kind of duck down behind, using the cart to put a buffer between you and them

SAM: So now I kind of know where they are.

MATT: You know where they are, yes.

SAM: But they're hiding.

MATT: Correct.

TRAVIS: Hiding in the grass. Caleb, light 'em up.

MATT: You guys are rushing in that direction. You can see, you see two figures dart up and then Nott kind of like (grunt). Nott is *very* visible in the field.

SAM: Can I use my action to message them saying, "There's two or three figures behind the cart!" and then I'll hide?

LIAM: And Caleb heard Fjord say that and just went (fwoof) and there's four globes floating above us.

LAURA: I'm going to Invoke Duplicity.

MATT: Okay, you Invoke Duplicity. As Jester's stealthing below through the field, two Jesters suddenly appear where once there was one.

LAURA: And I'm going to send her out next to Molly.

MATT: All right. Molly and Fjord, you guys rush forward as the little globes of light all of a sudden light the area up a bit, like it has a very faint lantern light in the vicinity.

MARISHA: I'm going to move on the opposite side of where Nott is and do like a quick runaround and try and flank.

MATT: Okay. Fjord?

TRAVIS: Yep, just swinging wide. On Beau's side.

MATT: All right. As you guys rush around, Yasha, what are you doing?

ASHLEY: Yeah, I'm swinging wide. Go around.

MATT: Okay, you guys swing wide around. At this point, you see the figures, five of them. All pop up, two of them in the field off to the side that you weren't paying attention, dart up, and the three from behind go ahead and the three are going to take shots at Nott as well in the center. That's 21. That's an 18. And 17. So that's six points of piercing damage, six points of piercing damage, and seven points of piercing damage. Nott's just being pummeled by bolts and as Fjord and Molly start rushing up, a fifth one off to the side goes ahead and makes a shot towards Molly. That's going to be a 19 to hit.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah, that hits.

MATT: You take seven points of piercing damage, and the other one goes and aims towards Molly and goes, "Wait. Oh God! Stop, stop, stop! Stop your fighting!" You see the other dark figures look. Their heads swing over in that direction. What are you guys doing?

MARISHA: Taking out the closest guy that's to me.

MATT: Okay, the one that's closest to you is the one that shot Molly. He popped out of the grass as you were pulling around the side.

MARISHA: The one who's yelling?

MATT: No, the other one. The one that's shouting is on the opposite end.

LIAM: They're really spread out? How spread out?

MATT: I'd say if you're looking at where the cart is, there's two on the sides here that were in the grass, and there's three that are directly behind the cart.

LIAM: Roughly how far apart are those two?

MATT: They're about 60 feet apart.

LIAM: Okay, I'm going to hold Slow for one side of the group if I decide they're a threat, if they sound like a threat.

MATT: Well, you have to release it next round or the spell's lost.

LIAM: Yeah, that's fine.

MATT: Okay. You prepare, you're readying Slow.

TRAVIS: Do we see any visual of the face of whoever is yelling that?

MATT: There's very little light except for a little bit of light that's coming from the sky. The globes are like a lantern light, but it's the middle of the night, so you can see the shapes. They're not able to hide at the moment, but you don't see the features or details as you're rushing up. Make a perception check.

SAM: Do they see that Chent is now doing the sprinkler?

MATT: They are aware.

TRAVIS: 14.

MATT: You do notice that all of them have thick green cloth masks that cover the front of their faces, bandit-style, that cover most of the features.

MARISHA: I'm cracking the one on the head.

MATT: Go for it. As you rush up, go for it.

MARISHA: Does he see me? I'm trying to do this stealthily.

MATT: He just finished firing.

MARISHA: Okay, while his attention is diverted, I'm going to come up behind and try and do a crack. Go to sleep, go to sleep.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

MARISHA: Do I have advantage on this or anything?

MATT: The first attack you do, because he turns and sees you at the last minute as you approach.

MARISHA: 16.

MATT: 16 hits.

MARISHA: Okay. That's 12 damage, and I'm going to do stunning blow.

MATT: All right. Stunning strike?

MARISHA: Stunning strike. Is that a ki thing?

MATT: Yeah, it spends a ki to do it. Yeah, he does not succeed. He rolled a natural eight. He's (groaning) kidney punch right to the side.

MARISHA: I'm going to cover his mouth and lay him down in the grass, and do another blow to his temple to try and knock him out.

SAM: And kill him.

MARISHA: Nope, just knock him unconscious. Do I roll?

MATT: Roll with advantage, because he's stunned currently.

MARISHA: Natural 20! Thanks, Gil.

MATT: You (whack) and his eyes roll back.

MARISHA: (shushing) Lay him down in the grass.

TRAVIS: Quickly, declare yourselves.

TALIESIN: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!

MATT: The one guy stands up-- the guy who yelled out-- and goes, "We are so sorry! We are so sorry! We didn't know it was you folks! Our most sincere apologies." The other guy is like, "What the fuck are you talking about?" He's like, "You don't understand. These are the ones that--"

TALIESIN: How's new management working out?

MATT: "These are the ones that ashed Trevor!" The guys put up their hands. "Oh shit. We're so sorry!" They drop their crossbows.

LIAM: Caleb lets Slow fizzle.

LAURA: (whispering) What? I don't--

SAM: (whispering) These are the same bandits from before.

LAURA: No. Way.

MATT: "We didn't mean nothing. We're so sorry.”

SAM: I'm going to fire one crossbow bolt at that guy.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: Oh, it's only a 13.

MATT: It's leather armor. It hits. They're not very strong.

SAM: Eight points of damage.

MATT: He goes, "Oh! Come on!"

SAM: It doesn't feel good, does it?

TALIESIN: Now, now. Is that apology accepted at this point?

LAURA: Do you guys have healing potions, because you just sent a lot of arrows at Nott. I mean at this-- I mean--

TRAVIS: You said her name. It's all right.

MATT: "We don't have much. We're so sorry. Seriously, this is a huge misunderstanding."

TALIESIN: I'm going to put this out here, that we just received an apology. This sort of behavior should be rewarded.

LAURA: You know the drill.

MATT: "Thank you. Thank you!"

LAURA: Take off your pants and walk away.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

LIAM: Also leave one gift for us before you go. Because you're living.

LAURA: I rolled a one. No pants for me.

MATT: Aw. No.

TALIESIN: We appreciate the courtesy.

MATT: He pulls the mask down. "Take the cart. Take it. That's yours. We'll just--" The other one's like, “What the fuck are you doing, mate?” He's like, “Trust me!”

LIAM: *Ja,* we have a cart. We're good. Is there anything in the cart that is more interesting?

MATT: "Whatever's in it, it's all yours.”

LIAM: Back away from that cart, please.

MATT: "Right, that we do. Guys, gentlemen, back away."

TALIESIN: It's rough out here; they should take their crossbows.

LIAM: I am not taking their clothes, but I am interested to see what they are carrying.

TALIESIN: That is very fair, let's take a look.

TRAVIS: Is that your cart, or did it belong to someone before you?

MATT: "It belonged to someone. They're alive. We didn't kill them, but we took their stuff and we sent them on their way.”

LIAM: Are you bullshitting us?

MATT: "No!"

LIAM: Are you bullshitting me now?

MATT: "No!"

LIAM: I'm looking in his cart.

MATT: Okay, make an investigation check.

MARISHA: As I'm laying in the grass with the guy who I knocked unconscious, I'm going to pat down his body.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

LIAM: That's a 15.

MARISHA: Natural 20 again! That's two 20s in a row! Counter Wil Wheaton!

MATT: First off, glancing inside and looking through and rummaging and pulling, most of the cart stuff is gone. It has some simple grain bags and things that were placed deliberately to look like it had a lot, and they shoved all of it towards the exits of the two sides of the cover, but the interior of it is mostly empty. You see two blankets. That's about it.

LIAM: How's this working out for you?

MATT: "Obviously not very well right now."

LIAM: Are you better or worse than when you started?

MATT: "Look, this is embarrassing enough as it is. It's hard enough to make ends meet. We're doing what we need to to survive. We're happy to give you this. We'll walk away, and pretend this never happened."

TALIESIN: I feel bad, I've got to admit. No, I have to deal with this. I'm going to walk to my cart. I'm going to pull out that armor that I got at the orc's place. I'm handing it to the kid.

MATT: "What? I don't understand."

TALIESIN: You're going to get shot at again. It's breaking my heart.

TRAVIS: You really can't find a safer line of work?

LIAM: Yeah, head to the cities. Work on a dock. Learn from your mistakes. What the fuck are you doing?

TRAVIS: What are you doing with your lives?

MATT: He grabs the armor and tucks it in. "Thank you."

TALIESIN: Thank you for recognizing and for being gracious about our previous deal. I appreciate someone who stands up and holds to their word. That's really nice, and that should be rewarded in this world.

LIAM: Three strikes and you're out. This is two.

MATT: "Right, no. Yeah."

LAURA: They said they wouldn't be bandits anymore, but they are bandits.

TALIESIN: Well, I wasn't really holding them to that one.

LIAM: That's fine. The next time, we are going to turn you into grease puddles, so maybe find yourselves a job in a store, or a dock, or a restaurant, even.

LAURA: Yeah, don't go working for criminals! That's stupid!

LIAM: At least be good at it if you're going to do that.

TRAVIS: I think they're freelance, Jester. They work for themselves.

LAURA: Oh. Then if you're going to do bad things, at least work for somebody who's rich and doing bad things! Don't just steal from people on the road, that's stupid!

MATT: Two of the guys go like, "Yeah, no, she's got a point." "I know!"

LIAM: I walk up to this guy, and I take the stone out of my pocket and I place it against his forehead, and I mutter a few words under my breath. And now I know where you are at all times, and I will know if you are still doing this kind of work, and I will come and I will kill you.

MATT: Make a deception check with advantage.

LIAM: Natural 20.

MARISHA: Over here is our safe haven from that.

MATT: He's nodding. You can see the sweat on his brow, and you can't help but notice the darkening spot in his nether regions. "Of course, no worries, sir, I promise, no worries. We'll go and we'll slop pigs. We'll do what it takes, anything but this. Right, boys?" They're like, "The fuck? You pissed yourself."

TALIESIN: Respect management.

MATT: "Yeah." They pick up their crossbows and tuck them under their arms. "Good night. Safe travels."

LAURA: Only steal from grumpy people!

TALIESIN: So true.

MATT: "Good note." The guy next to you, as you're patting him down, two things. One, you manage to get about seven silver from him. That's all the money he has on him at the moment.

MARISHA: (singing) Hey, big spender!

MATT: You find a hard spot on the side of his stomach that he should probably get checked out.

TALIESIN: Oh god, why?

MATT: Because he doesn't have anything else, but she rolled a 20 investigation check! I didn't know what else!

LIAM: Oh my god!

LAURA: You're going to steal his money and he's got medical problems.

LIAM: No, he's a warlock.

MARISHA: As they all leave, Beau peeks her head out of the grass and goes: I knocked one unconscious, and I don't know what to do with him now. I could've let him go, but I didn't want to say anything in front of everybody because I started feeling bad once you guys felt bad.

LAURA: Do I have to heal him now?

TRAVIS: You're probably doing him a favor, all right? He'll wake up in the morning. No one will be here. He'll start his life, it'll be a new chapter. It'll be fine.

LIAM: No, they're going to leave him. We've got one more of your-- This one, take him!

MATT: At this point, there's a sound behind you, a (huffing). You see Kiri running with her knife, going, (like Cali) "I kill people!"

LAURA: Don't kill this corpse! Don't stab this corpse!

TALIESIN: It's not technically a corpse yet.

LAURA: I know, but she'll think it is.

SAM: Maybe they can take Kiri.

LAURA: No way!

SAM: I don't know, we need to get rid of Kiri!

LAURA: That's so terrible!

TRAVIS: Give her a life of adventure and imminent death.

MARISHA: I take this guy's green mask, and his pants, and I give his pants to Jester.

MATT: There you go. Write that down in your equipment.

LAURA: I got pants!

MATT: Bandit pants!

LAURA: I'm going to add it because I think I already have some bandit pants.

MATT: There you go. He starts to come to consciousness.

MARISHA: Oh no! (thud) Oh, fuck! Sorry, it was a reflex!

TRAVIS: Lay him in the grass.

MATT: His friends have all run off northward.

MARISHA: Your friend is-- They're bad friends.

TRAVIS: He gets a fresh start in the morning. It'll be fine.

TALIESIN: He'll only find better people.

MARISHA: Okay. I try to lay him down gently.

MATT: He's drooling down himself.

MARISHA: I turn him on his side.

TRAVIS: Does he have any coin on him at all?

MARISHA: I already took seven silver. These guys sucked.

TRAVIS: Here, I put two gold in his pocket.

LIAM: Judging by the map, how far are we from any town?

MATT: You guys are about here.

LIAM: Oh, this guy's going to die.

MATT: Yeah, you're about 24 miles away from the crossroads.

LIAM: How far away are his friends?

MATT: You don't see them at the moment.

LAURA: He knows where their hideout is, he's fine.

LIAM: I'm going to pull my wire out, and Message the one who I intimidated and say: you left one behind, he's here.

MATT: What's the range on that?

LIAM: It's 120 feet, I think. I'm going to check it out. It's 5,000 feet.

LAURA: He'll be fine, he's a bandit.

LIAM: I just talked into a wire, you don't know. It's fine.

TALIESIN: That went well.

MARISHA: Hey, Jester. What if we take him and we pose him, and we put a drawing around him just in case anybody else finds him, and maybe they think there's something wrong with this guy? A sign? I don't know.

LIAM: The good news is, we're in the middle of the wilderness and no one is going to find him.

MARISHA: I was trying to be jovial, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have tried that.

LAURA: What if we put some flowers in his hair, so when he wakes up, he looks really pretty?

MARISHA: That's good. Let's do that.

TALIESIN: There's nothing better than waking up in the morning with no pants and flowers in your hair.

LIAM: I have a dagger, and I'm going to shove it in his belt so he's not totally alone. He's pantsless, but with a dagger, correct?

MATT: Pantsless with a crossbow, and a simple shortsword that's tucked off to his side.

LIAM: Oh, I didn't see that. I take my dagger back. He's fine, he's got a blade.

MATT: His hair is filled with flowers, he's on his side, flopping away from the sky. The cart's there if there's anything you need to grab from it.

TALIESIN: I add a drop of lavender oil and I think we're done.

MATT: There you go.

SAM: Was there anything in the cart? No, right?

LAURA: There's blankets. We can take the blankets.

MATT: There's a couple blankets, there's grain, and it has a cover on it.

TALIESIN: And this is why you buy the lavender oil.

LAURA: Molly, they have a covered wagon!

TALIESIN: So we can remove it and attach it to ours?

LAURA: Or we can take theirs and leave ours.

TALIESIN: Is theirs better than ours?

MATT: The cart is comparable, probably a little more weathered than the one you guys have.

LIAM: This is so dumb. What color is it?

MATT: It's a basic canvas. It's a tan.

LIAM: It is Oregon Trail.

TALIESIN: It's all about the dysentery.

MATT: It's a tan, light brown.

MARISHA: It's a Florida convertible.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: The Volvo of wagons.

MATT: Essentially. Ironic that you went looking to build that and it was already in the possible path. All right. So you guys pull that off.

ASHLEY: Take the blankets.

MATT: Take the blankets. Make your way back to your cart. Finish up your evening's rest, and at morning light, continue your way northward along the road. All righty.

TALIESIN: (clopping sounds)

TRAVIS: That's some tiny-ass hooves.

MATT: For the sake of brevity, since we're getting towards the end of the evening--

LAURA: We should take the grain for our horses.

SAM: Horses eat grass.

LIAM: Let's count the grains.

TRAVIS: Oh my god! Let's travel north, for fuck's sake!

MATT: The next two days go on without issue. Passing a few travelers heading southward, crossing your way, until eventually, the Silberquel Ridge grows more and more prominent in your line of sight. Following the path, the fields that surround the north road begin to give away to tall grass and trade for scrub land and rocks. The once-vanishing shape of the Silberquel Ridge mountains growing bigger and bigger, the numerous columns of mingling black-and-white smoke you can now see spill from the eastern side of the mountain, diffusing as they rise. As you travel even closer, you can make out the two-tiered layout of a city built into the mountain. One large region encircles the very base of the mountain. A hundred or more dark workshops and towers, billowing smoke from chimneys and stacks visible. A number of large constructions dot the open spaces between these towers, some oversized cannons or others like mobile siege towers. One resembles a wheeled, multi-tiered cart with numerous, wicked-looking bolt-throwers attached. As you begin to head in this direction, you can also see that this lower area, this industrial field of various engines of warfare that are in the process of being constructed, some in their skeletal phase of being built. To the base of the mountain above that, you can see two winding switchback roads as well as one very steep staircase that ascends to a second level, about a hundred or more feet above the first. Here you see a massive outcropping of leveled rocks that holds the other half of the city. There along the ridge of the mountain shelf lies hundreds of buildings and arches, occasionally dappled with an autumn-colored tree. Behind this city mass, you see a shimmering waterfall that cascades from out of the center of the mountain, about 1,000 feet up, that glimmers like silver-white light and the little bit of sun that's coming through the clouds. You've reached the outskirts of Hupperdook.

LAURA: This is not how I pictured it.

TALIESIN: I like it.

MARISHA: I told you it's a city of industry.

TALIESIN: I like a good waterfall.

SAM: Where are the EDM gnomes?

MARISHA: Well, that happens at nightfall.

LAURA: Is it mostly gnomes that live in the city?

MARISHA: I think mostly gnomes, but I'm pretty sure there are other people. I don't know. I've never been here. I've only heard stories.

LAURA: Does it look like the buildings are teeny?

MATT: From best you can tell from this perspective, make a perception check.

LAURA: 13.

MATT: It's hard to tell. The buildings that are in the outside of the upper ridge look to be varying sizes. They don't appear to be super tiny, by any means. You do see from this perspective, as you're heading down to the base of the mountain, you're at the top of a hill, and this last leg as you start pushing in towards Hupperdook. At the base of where the waterfall is hitting, behind that row, you can see what look to be numerous towers, thin and tall, like these weird needles of buildings that kind of cluster around the base of the waterfall. That's as much as you can make out of this distance.

LIAM: On a scale of one to ten, one being like a shit-ass swamp town and ten being like Rexxentrum, what does the civilization of this city look like?

MATT: The technology as you get closer and closer begins seeing these fields of construction. The industry is pretty prominent. It's the most you've ever seen. As far as the beauty of a living, civilized town, five or six, maybe?

LIAM: But not podunk?

MATT: It's not podunk, by any means.

LIAM: It's builded?

MATT: Yeah. It's well-built. It seems comfortable.

MATT: The base area around the mountain as you begin to approach and you can see now where the clouds and bits of steam are mingling and rising up, mixing into the sky above you. The colors here are fairly drab: browns, greys, dark graphite metals. And immediately, you can see the ground itself.

SAM: (coughs) That's a good one.

MATT: You can see the ground itself as you step in the area has a faint layer of soot where some of the burned materials that are pressed up into the air have come down to settle onto the ground surrounding it. What do you wish to do?

MARISHA: What time of day is it?

MATT: It's mid-afternoon.

LAURA: (quietly) We should be going to the city.

MARISHA: (quietly) I think so.

LAURA: I guess we'll ride into the city.

TALIESIN: I'd like sleep somewhere comfortable.

MATT: Following the path, there is a large metallic archway that rises into a pointed entrance where as you enter, you can see in the metal carved in various rivets, "HUPPER," "DOOK" on the other side. There, you see two townsguards standing there, both human, standing guard. And as you approach, one of them steps forward. "Welcome. What is your business?"

TRAVIS: Looking for lodging for the evening. We've been on the road for some time.

MATT: "Understood. You would probably want to go ahead and head up the mountain for that. Down here is all industry."

TRAVIS: All industry? Where would we be looking for further up the mountain?

MATT: He points out, "This is the Iron Lot and the Assembly Yard. You're going to want to head up to the Idleworks Shelf to find lodging."

TALIESIN: Idleworks Shelf.

MATT: "Idleworks Shelf, yes."

TRAVIS: Any recommendations? Favorite spots?

MATT: "The most prominent and most lively would probably be the Blushing Tankard tavern."

MARISHA: I do like alliteracy.

LAURA: Blushing Tankard tavern.

TRAVIS: I-i-illiteracy?

MARISHA: *A*lliteracy.

LAURA: Alliteration.

LIAM: *I*lliteracy.

TRAVIS: Not often you find people a fan of illiteracy, but--

MARISHA: I like unlearnt folks.

TRAVIS: Well, we appreciate it. We'll head on up.

MATT: He steps back to his post, and just keeps an eye as you guys enter in the midsection. At this point, you begin to hear the actual industry here. There's this faint buzzing and clicking sound as you see some of these large wheels that are affixed to the outside of these large towers are grinding. You can see platforms rising up with the gears turning. And on them, you can see numerous gnomes, male and female, in the process of what looks to be building materials lifted onto higher levels. You could see some of these war machines that are being developed and designed here, mid-construction. You get the sense that with the call of war, they're probably put into high gear in developing whatever siege weapons they can possibly muster in the short time frame. And the furnaces going well.

MARISHA: And when you say "war machines," how do you mean?

MATT: From what you can see, from the distance, you can see they have some larger-wheeled platforms that have bolt-throwers, which are *large*-- imagine a crossbow but on a massive scale. The giant metallic spear that gets flung from it at a really, really powerful speed. You see three or four are fixed to a single platform. You're not sure what animal would be able to pull that. You also see siege towers, 30 feet tall, wheeled with a number of ladders and platforms inside that are used to clamor up against fortresses. You see one that looks almost like a giant battering ram that is in the process of being constructed. The interior metal rod is currently resting on the ground next to it and they're building an outer frame. Looking past, on the far end-- on the northern end, you can see a huge cannon, maybe about 15 feet across and about three to four feet wide in the middle. That one is on a platform. The wheels are currently resting in the side and they're in the process of finishing the construction of the device. Make a perception check.

LIAM: Yes!

MARISHA: 14.

MATT: Okay. Just beyond that, on the northern side, as you guys are riding past, and you kind of get as much height as you can, beyond these towers and what was referred to earlier as the Assembly Yard, which is the area where all these war machines are being built, you can see a roped section that is just pock-marked craters and scarred ground, what you assume to be some sort of a testing ground for whatever they've been working on over the numerous decades or more they've been here. You're not sure-- actually, roll a history check, because I'm curious to see how much you know about this.

MARISHA: (sing-songy) Don't fuck me, Gil.

SAM: Yes!

LIAM: He did it.

MARISHA: Fucked me pretty hard. That's three. Can I use my mystical erudition to give an advantage on history checks?

MATT: I'll allow it this time, but usually, you have to decide that before you make the roll. It's not a lucky feat, so.

MARISHA: Deciding it now.

MATT: But going forward--

MARISHA and LIAM: Not much better.

MARISHA: At all. Nine.

MATT: Okay. You haven't learned that much about the history of Hupperdook. You know it's been here for *a while.*

MARISHA: This scarred pot-marked line?

MATT: This city. It's been here for quite some time, so while you're not sure of how long that field has been there, you get the sense that this isn't a recent testing ground. It probably has been their general testing ground for any technology they're developing.

MARISHA: Okay. So, it's not new. Okay.

MATT: Glancing about, you see more crownsguard attire, though now you're starting to get to more gnomish crownsguard who are established there. And on their backs, as opposed to spears or shields at the ready, you see similar weapons to what some of the army moving eastward were carrying. You see long metal rods affixed with a wooden buttress at the end. These strange firearms that have been carefully relegated to certain individuals here are a little more in use here.

SAM: Are there any platform shoes, glowsticks, or pacifiers?

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: All right. 13.

MATT: Not yet.

ASHLEY: Are there any flowers that are even visible at this area?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: Pink cars, yellow moons

ASHLEY: Perception check?

MATT: Purple horseshoes--

TALIESIN: Blue diamonds?

MATT: Red balloons.

ASHLEY: 18.

MATT: As you guys are clopping along, you look down and most of the land here is fairly barren. The outskirts of this, whether it be just the heavy amount of smoke and soot that's put out by the industry, there isn't a lot of grass. What is here is pretty harsh scrub land. You glance down, though, and one of these small bushes does have a very unique-looking white bud. They haven't opened yet, but they're beautiful amongst this stark ground. And you can reach down, if you wanted to.

ASHLEY: I reach down and I take it and put it in my book.

MATT: You grab, pluck a couple of them and put them in your book. Okay.

TALIESIN: There'll probably be something siding closer to the waterfall, maybe.

ASHLEY: Yeah. I'll get more.

TRAVIS: Are the guards still within earshot?

MATT: The ones you talked to earlier? No. You moved on from them, but there are other crownsguard in the area. You can hear the heavy sounds of metal clanging and the occasional sparks in the distance of some sort welding process being done on some of the distant towers. You can see, on the opposite side of the southern side, dozens and dozens of dark metallic warehouses and buildings that are junctured by hallways. There are small compounds that are focused on whatever their specific businesses are in these designated, delegated areas. It's weirdly almost drab and dystopian in a visual perspective. When you come to the base of the mountain here, where you see that large, very steep staircase you were looking at, there are the switchback pathways up there. But as you approach, you here this, (thud). And looking up, you can see these chains, these big, heavy, dark chains that are shifting. And as it does, you can see this platform begin to lower from the city above, heading in your direction. In front of you, at the base of the mountain, you can see there are a few other individuals that are sitting there, waiting patiently. You can see this platform eventually comes down, seems to be one of many means to make your way to the second part of the city.

SAM: Will our whole cart fit on it?

MATT: It's a lift.

LAURA: Hold the elevator.

TALIESIN: Does that seems safe to you?

SAM: Do we have to pay for it?

LAURA: It will be fun.

MATT: All right. As you approach, you see there are four crownsguard, one dwarven, three gnomish, that are there waiting it. You see the few figures that were waiting patiently. They appear to be well-dressed, human, one half-elf, wearing what looks to be like red and gold velvets. They look to be relatively well-off, standing definitely out of place in this rather dark space. They step onto the lift, and as you approach, the guards put their hands out. "I'm sorry, who are you?"

LAURA: We are guests here.

TALIESIN: Looking for lodgings for the night.

MATT: "Lodgings? Well, you'll have to take the path upward. This is designated for guests of Hupperdook."

LAURA: That's what we are. We're guests of Hupperdook.

MATT: "Guests of whom?"

LAURA: Hupperdook.

TRAVIS: Guests of Ophelia Mardun.

LAURA: Yes. That one.

MATT: Make a deception check.

TRAVIS: 16.

MATT: "I'm sorry, I don't recognize the name. You'll have to take the path."

TRAVIS: That's not our fault. She's very important. I would hate to keep us out of her good graces. I feel like the pull she has in this city should be more than enough to allow us to use the lift.

MATT: "I guarantee you, sir, I've never heard the name before in my life. But there is always the path."

TRAVIS: Well, you'll know her name after today. I guarantee you that. I hope you enjoy this post. For the rest of your evening.

MATT: "Of course." He takes a small pistol out from his side and aims it in the air and it fires with a puff of smoke, and the chains begin to lift.

LAURA: Oh, man. Come on, I really want to be on it! Come on, man. Let us get on, man.

TALIESIN: I don't need that ride.

SAM: What the hell was that thing he shot in the sky?

LAURA: It was a firecracker, that's all.

MATT: As you guys are frustratingly fuming over that not-quite-as-positive experience, a voice from around behind you goes, "Well, now. You look like you're not from around here. Is that true?" You turn and glance behind you and you can see, through a surly grin and a curly mop of brownish-red hair, a female gnome in her young adult years wearing simple clothes, some leather gloves. She has dangling around her neck a set of eye protectors. She's rubbing a little bit of soot from her chin. "So. You couldn't take the lift."

LAURA: Well, we could have, if this guy, he would have listened to us, because we are really important people.

MATT: "Are you?"

TRAVIS: No, we're not.

MATT: "See, that's going to get you far here. Honesty."

MARISHA: Self-deprecation? Oh, honesty.

MATT: "Well, probably both, depending on the time of day. So, who are you, if I might ask?"

LAURA: We're the Mighty Nein.

TALIESIN: Travelers passing through to somewhere else.

MATT: "So you're not from around here? I like that. What brings you to Hupperdook?"

LAURA: We thought the name was funny.

SAM: That is accurate.

MATT: Her brow furrows and a smile curls even wider across her face. "You're not wrong. You're not wrong. Well, I happen to be a local looking for a way to kick off some boredom. Mind me showing you around?"

TRAVIS: I don't know. What's your name?

MATT: "My name? Rissa. Pleasure to meet you, Mr.--?"

TRAVIS: Fjord.

MATT: "Fjord. Mayhaps we be getting in some trouble, too."

MARISHA: I hear you people like to get in trouble here at Hupperdook.

LIAM: Especially at night.

MATT: "We got about two hours."

MARISHA: That's like 4:00. Wow. Amazing.

MATT: Well, at this time, it'll probably be about dusk.

MARISHA: That's like 8:00. Crazy.

TALIESIN: We need to find a place to store our stuff and hopefully find an inn for the night, first.

MATT: "There's a few inns to pick from. I can take you around. Here, I'll lead you up the walkway. Follow me."

SAM: She's nice. Why? Let's kill her.

MARISHA: Do we have this tourism look to us?

SAM: For sure we do.

LAURA: We might as well be wearing fanny packs. All of us.

MARISHA: We should get some fanny packs.

LAURA: Like an amazing fanny haversack?

MARISHA: Oh my god. You don't know what's in there. Keep pulling stuff out.

MATT: You guys begin to make your way up the switchback path, up the mountainside towards the upper edge of the shelf. Along that way, your new friend, Rissa, jumps up into the cart with you. She says, "I get the sense you don't know much about us here."

MARISHA: How much?

MATT: "Oh, no charge. Or buy me a round, or five, and we'll call it even."

MARISHA: What do you want?

LAURA: I'm going to keep an eye on her, because I think she's going to try to steal some of our stuff.

MATT: Okay. "That's all I ask. Maybe help me fuck with a friend or two."

MARISHA: What?

TRAVIS: Just say yes.

SAM: She's just like us.

TRAVIS: We're visitors here.

MARISHA: She just asked to fuck with a friend. Yes?

LAURA: Beau, you make really bad first impressions, too. She's basically you.

MARISHA: That's true.

MATT: She looks to Beau and is like, "Yeah."

MARISHA: I nod back. Hmm, yeah.

MATT: "Anyway, don't worry. I know the place is a bit droll, but once the sun's down, it gets interesting."

LIAM: During all of that yammering on the way up, I look over at Yasha and sigh out.

ASHLEY: Yeah. A little crazy?

LIAM: That's it.

LAURA: Are you saying you are crazy? I mean, you did that in front of everybody. Are we having an agreement?

LIAM: (whispering) I am crazy.

LAURA: Oh. I can see that about you.

MATT: "Anyway, things are a bit busy around here. They're busy most of the time. General workday here is about ten to 12 hours. No weekends, no breaks like the rest of you lazy and lackadaisical folk."

TALIESIN: Private contractors.

MATT: "Fair enough. Give you a quick tour of the place, should give us right about time to get some drinks."

TALIESIN: Drinks is a great idea.

MATT: As you make your way up the mountain, making small chatter, eventually you come to the outskirts of the Idleworks Shelf. Here, encompassing the outer ring of this elevated shelf of the Silberquel Ridge, is a lively district of taverns, inns, merchants, open pavilions that are currently empty. It looks like the place is pretty much perpetually decorated for some sort of an event or a festival, but it's in disuse at the moment. It is empty. Everyone you see in the street, there's nobody taking a walk. Everyone is rushing from one place to another or shouting commands. There's a general air of busyness and intent in each person you see. As you guys leisurely stroll through, every now and then you get this side-eye of-- and they continue on past. A majority of the people here are gnomish. Probably 80 percent of the people you see in the immediate vicinity at any point in time are of gnomish heritage, only offset by the occasional dwarf and some human, half-elf. That's as much as you've seen in your path here so far.

LIAM: Do we, as a much taller United Colors of Benetton pack, draw a lot of attention as we walk through?

MATT: I mean, you do as you do. You are a very colorful ensemble whenever you enter any sort of new establishment.

TALIESIN: Have we seen another tiefling since hitting the city?

MATT: Not yet, no, but to be fair, most of the streets are empty unless it's people going from business to business. It's an interesting feel. It's almost like the town is a ghost town, where it's dead outside of those that are in the process of making errands or doing runs.

LAURA: Is it sooty up here too?

MATT: A little bit, but not as bad as below. At this point, your friend, Rissa, is pointing out in different directions and goes, "All right, then that's over that way. This is the center of Hupperdook culture here on the Shelf, where most of the folks come to unwind. Beyond that you can see what's called the Silver Falls, pointing over there. That's the core of where most of the residents live, sleep, make their families, amongst the small towers you can see." And from this point you can now see those strange, finger-like protrusions that were guarded around the waterfall are very condensed, thin, and tall metallic towers that have balconies and little windows.

MARISHA: Oh my god, it's a condo. It's a condo complex.

MATT: They're three stories, maybe four stories at most. A lot of them look like they're off-kilter. It looks not safe, though they probably are. It's a very unique living situation that you haven't encountered with any other people in the Empire and beyond. Glancing up, you can see that there are a few folks that are out there in the process of laying some rugs out and hanging them over the side. One woman up there is throwing some seeds to some birds that float by and start eating off the edge there.

LIAM: Rissa, you mentioned culture. Are there any libraries here in Hupperdook?

MATT: "I'm sure there is. Not anything I've bothered with, though. Not much of a reader. My father, well, he might know, but you don't want to talk to him."

MARISHA: Where do the best parties happen?

MATT: "Just wait. Be patient. Be patient."

LAURA: Do you live on a high floor or a low floor?

MATT: "I choose to live on a low floor."

LAURA: Less stairs.

MATT: "Yeah. Gets warmer up top, anyway. Don't want that."

LIAM: The walk-ups are tough.

MATT: "You're telling me. Want my quads to be ready in case I need to go into a sprint. Run for my life. You know."

LAURA: Do you build the machines down there?

MATT: "I used to. Occasionally."

LIAM: What do you do now?

MATT: "I supervise."

MARISHA: Supervise what?

MATT: "You're being a bit nosy here, not going to lie. I know we just met, and I'm helping showing you around, but--"

MARISHA: You offered, though.

MATT: "I offered to tell you about the city, not about myself."

MARISHA: Okay.

LIAM: Well, we are a traveling group of hired guns who can get shit done. We are a varied group of people. Some of us learn and some of us are good at smashing skulls. We would do any kind of work if it were presented to us. That's who we are. We're a motley group of assholes.

MATT: "I think you'll fit in quite well around here."

MARISHA: Did you get fired?

TRAVIS: Oh. My. God.

MARISHA: What? I just want to know.

LIAM: I was trying to defuse--

MARISHA: Yeah, you gave her information, so maybe she'll give us some. Did you get fired? Suspended?

MATT: "I haven't found a vocation that fits my personality. Tried some things. Wasn't my thing."

MARISHA: Undecided major. I like it.

SAM: Where should we stay tonight?

MATT: "Well, there's a few different places. Are you looking for a quiet spot to sleep or are you looking for a wild place to not sleep?"

SAM: Beau is looking for a wild place to not sleep.

MATT: "Blushing Tankard it is."

SAM: Gushing Tankard.

ALL: *Blushing* Tankard.

MATT: At this point, the oranges and reds of sundown have taken the sky and you hear this pop sound.

SAM: What was that?

TALIESIN: Wait for it.

MATT: You look up and you can see splashes of light in the sky above you. Faint fireworks start going off.

MARISHA: What?

SAM: Are the Dodgers playing?

MATT: You start hearing shouts. Voices echoing from the city, from the towers, from behind you, along the Shelf. All these steam whistles start going off down below, echoing from below. The streets suddenly come to life as people begin to rush out of buildings, taking off their aprons, taking off their gloves, setting off whatever their work attire is and rushing off to home to unwind. There is a rush of energy, and you begin to realize Beau wasn't kidding.

LAURA: This is a party town!

MARISHA: This city's awesome!

MATT: They work hard, and at night, they play hard.

TALIESIN: You've brought us to Florida.

MATT: And that's where we're going to finish tonight's episode.

(cheering)

LIAM: Steampunk Burning Man!

MARISHA: (singing) Orlando! Orlando!

SAM: Fourth Street in Austin.

MATT: Oh, Fourth Street. I love Fourth Street. We'll pick up this next week. We may or may not have Ashley, depending on if Skype is available.

SAM: Wait, what?

ASHLEY: But the following week I'll be here.

MATT: Nevertheless, thank you guys so much.

SAM: Thank you, Wil Wheaton, for not ruining our lives.

MATT: Yeah, Wil's been off-set trying to curse my dice. Apparently, I deflected it to the party. Happy about that. Thank you guys for joining us tonight.

SAM: Ready Player One was good, everything else bad.

(laughter)

MATT: Anyway, we'll see you guys next week. Have a wonderful weekend and the following week from there. We love you, and is it Thursday yet? Good night.

[music]

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