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List of Transcripts

MATT: Hello, ladies and gentlemen! Thank you all for coming to our silly little Critical Role panel this afternoon. How's everyone feeling this Thursday afternoon?

(cheering)

MATT: That makes me happy.

OFF-SCREEN: I love you!

MATT: Oh my god, I love you, too! Getting here was an adventure, but we're here. It's been a delightfully chaotic start to Comic-Con, as I think we've all kind of experienced, but let's go ahead and get this panel on the road, work it forward. First introduction here to our fantastic human gunslinger of the party, Taliesin Jaffe as Percy!

(cheering)

MATT: Following up on that, we have our delightfully awkward but extremely powerful half-elf druid, Keyleth, played by Marisha Ray!

(cheering)

MATT: Currently rocking a clay sculpture that a fan made of the airboat in past episodes, so that's awesome. Coming up next, we have our sly, charismatic, and wink-inducing ranger, Vex, played by Laura Bailey! Come on stage.

(cheering)

MATT: Wherever you'd like. Following that-- oh, stop taking pictures, Tiberius. We have our dragonborn sorcerer, Tiberius, played by Orion Acaba. Come on stage, buddy.

(cheering)

MATT: I figured if someone would hit the couch, it would probably be you, so well done. Following that, we have the twin brother to our fantastic ranger here, the other dangerous, stealthy half-elf rogue, Vax, played by Liam O'Brien. Come on up, buddy.

(cheering)

MATT: And rounding out the rest of our forum here, we have the extremely strong in the body, not so much the mind, goliath barbarian, played by Travis Willingham, Grog!

(cheering)

MATT: Hi, guys. I myself, I am your humble dungeon master, Matthew Mercer. Thank you very much for coming. I guess I'll go ahead and I'll take a seat over here. We'll share mics, we've got a mic here, we've got a mic there, and Orion's rocking the front stage. There you go! It's nap time for Orion. All right, so I guess we'll begin with a-- What the heck?!

(screaming and cheering)

MATT: You guys did this. No, I had no idea! All right, so we didn't know she was here. We thought she was in New York, away forever. These are real tears, ladies and gentlemen. Oh my god, that's amazing. We've got more mics, perfect!

MARISHA: Ashley, what are you doing here?

ASHLEY: Oh hey, Grog. Hi! It's a long story, I'll tell you guys after.

MATT: Well, I'm glad you could make it.

ASHLEY: Hey, I'm glad to be here.

MATT: Everybody, this is Ashley Johnson, our wonderful cleric, Pike.

(cheering)

MATT: All right, wow, so after that emotional moment. So, for those of you who don't know, we are Critical Role. We're a bunch of voice actors, actors that have been playing Dungeons and Dragons together for going on almost three years, now. And we recently had the pleasure to be approached by Geek and Sundry to have us begin bringing our wondrous little personal adventure out to you guys via their Twitch channel. And we've done 16 episodes so far, and the outpouring of appreciation for it and the connection we've made with you guys in the community has been absolutely electric and amazing. I think all of us agree with that, definitely. But yeah, it's been a really interesting journey. Let's go down on the end here and talk a little bit about ourselves and what we do and how we got pulled into this craziness.

TALIESIN: Oh god, I've got to start? Really?

MARISHA: I mean, everyone's voice actors, so we can get that out of the way, right?

LIAM: Probably also talk about how you got into D&D, at what point in your life. Add that in.

TALIESIN: Okay, I can do that. That's much more interesting than voice acting. My name is Taliesin Jaffe. I got into roleplaying in high school with-- well, I had funny hair and wore a lot of black, so I played Vampire the Masquerade. And I LARPed. I was a big LARPer, for those-- I don't think I have to explain that. And had a group of friends in high school, and we would do everything from weird games, like we played GURPs and Rifts and Cyberpunk and all those games in the early 90s, late 80s. And it had a been a while for me, and then I got pulled into a completely different game with Matt and a few friends of ours, so we played for about a year and a half, and then we'll get to the story of Liam's game, but I got pulled into the game that was the first game, and it has ruined me for every other game I could possibly want to play.

MARISHA: Yes, I guess I first got into tabletop roleplaying in particular with Matt. Matt was actually my first DM six, seven years ago, approximately. And I've had other games, I was a part of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer tabletop RPG, which was super fun. Yup. It's a good game. I was a pyromancer, it was awesome. I will say, though, once you have Matt, it's hard to go back. Once you go Matt, you can't go back. It works. Shut up, don't judge me, Travis. MATT: That's not becoming a t-shirt.

OFF-SCREEN: Yes, it is!

MARISHA: Chris, hi! How are you? I didn't see you. Oh, and it's Erika! Hi, you guys!

ORION: Okay, how about you, Laura?

LAURA: Oh, hey. Oh, hi guys. Hi, I'm Laura Bailey. RPGs, huh? So the first time I ever played pencil and paper RPG was with this group, because of that guy. I always played RPGs, like I'm a big video game fan, I'm a geek for that, and yeah, and so I always chose RPGs as what I wanted to play, so surprisingly, it wasn't anything new for me once we started playing. I fell into it really, really fast, because I was accustomed to all of that.

LIAM: Some would say instantly.

LAURA: Insta. It was so much fun. It was only supposed to be a one-off game, when we started this, and we all had so much fun playing together that it was like, we can't stop this. When's the next time we can get together and do it again and again and again? Yeah, it was epic.

LIAM: The longer version of that story, for anybody who doesn't know it, is several years ago--

ORION: That's Liam O'Brien, everybody.

LIAM: Oh hi, I'm Liam O'Brien. Hi. Just so happy. Several years ago, I was directing Matt for the first time for a game. We knew each other, but not as well as we do now, and he would come in, and every time he came in, like a drug pusher, be like, "You should come. We could do a one-off, I could play with you. You played when you were younger. We should play together."

MATT: Hey, man, roll some dice. It'll be fun. What could possibly happen? I won't tell your parents.

LIAM: And I refused every time, I said, "Oh, that'd be great, but I got brand-new kids," 'cause I had brand-new kids. And then fast-forward to several years later, where Sam Riegel, who's not here, and I do a dorky podcast, and we do something dorky every time, and I thought, one time, we'll play a pen and paper roleplaying game, and we asked these yahoos, and we played the game, and it was a blast, and then everyone left and I went home that night and went, "Oh man. That was so good. How do I tell them I want to do it again?" And I sent out an e-mail and nobody responded for a long time.

LAURA: That is true, actually, yeah.

LIAM: Couple of days, so I felt like I had a big red N on my forehead, but then the answers trickled in and we kept playing, and now we're here and there's a baseball field behind us!

(cheering)

MATT: Take that, sports.

LAURA: Yeah, sportsball.

ASHLEY: I shouldn't do that. What they do here is really awesome.

MATT: No, this is great.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I got involved because of this guy. They had already played a game, one game, and then I remember we had a party for a friend of ours, Troy Baker. It was his birthday, and you guys were talking about it. And I was like, "Oh, dang, I want to play!" And then we started and we were putting our character sheets together, and then I sent you, I was like, "Yeah, I think my name should be, I don't know, Pike Trickfoot?" You were so helpful and emailing me back. Then the first game, because I'd never really played anything like this before. And I'm sure you guys can tell in the game, I'm always like, wait, what is this? Or, what does this mean? I was in awe of everybody, because they were doing voices, and I was trying to keep up, but I couldn't really. And I was like, I want to do this all the time. Every night. Can we? And then we started doing it all the time. Honestly, some of the best nights of my life have been from this game.

OFF-SCREEN: Love you, Ashley!

ASHLEY: Love you.

MATT: Orion?

TRAVIS: Oh, you? Me? Hi!

LAURA: Hi.

TRAVIS: I'm Travis. I play Grog. Super smart. I never played any--

LAURA: Also, ale.

TRAVIS: Huh? Also, ale. I never played any RPGs before this, but I had asked around our little voice actor community for years, like Yuri Lowenthal and Liam and Matt Mercer. I think the first time I asked you about it was on a mo-cap session. I was like, "I hear you do the Master of Dungeonings, what does that look like?" And he started to tell me, and I couldn't concentrate on anything beside the fact that I wanted to do it. Then Liam had that birthday party, and I came 20 minutes late. I walked in to Laura being extremely posh and bargaining with somebody for something. Liam was going, "Yes, of course. Oh, hello, sir." I was terrified. I think Matt had said, "Just prepare your class and your race." I said, "Goliath barbarian." He goes, "Okay, so what's your name?" I was like, "Um. Grog." He was, "Grog, what do you do?" I was like, "I make fine leather boots." He goes, "Okay, bootmaker Grog," and we were off to the races. But that has led us to this, somehow.

ORION: Greetings and salutations, everyone. I'm Orion Acaba. I'm a voice actor. Did you guys--? Okay. That's enough, Keyleth. I'm a big Magic The Gathering guy. Also with Travis and Laura, I hadn't played D&D before Liam's birthday. He was like, "Hey, we're doing this D&D thing." I was like, "D&D. Okay." I've known Liam the longest. Maybe you the longest, but he's like a brother to me, so I'll do whatever. I was like, "Yeah, I can play and stuff." That led to a bond and a friendship and experience that I can't replicate or pay any money or do anything to even compare to anything else to. This game has literally become the most important thing and most fun thing in my life. Every week. Through time and bullshitting around, we'd find and tweeted stuff and randomly in our privacy of our own game, and fucking now we're-- what the fuck is going on?

LIAM: Let's play ball!

ORION: Scanlan sends his regards as he's too busy fucking whores. Oh, that's right. Sorry, everyone. Matthew Mercer is great. Now you talk.

(cheering)

MATT: You have disadvantage for the remainder of the panel. Yeah, that's the story of how it all came together. There are few things I enjoy more than having people converse with me and say like, "I'm interested in role-playing games, but I don't know how they work or what they're about. I hear it's a weird thing." And I'm like, "Well, kind of, but the best kind of weird." Knowing that, once these people, especially being geared towards performance arts and putting ourselves in a different place mentally for a lot of our job, it'll be an easy transition for them to get into it, watching them all suddenly click. That moment of, oh, I can do anything. Yes. Well, you can try anything. That doesn't mean you'll do it, but you can certainly try. But yeah, it's been an absolute wonderful joy watching this game grow and the community grow since we started the stream, and yeah, it's probably one of my favorite things, period, ever in my life so far. The fact that we get to share it with you guys now is even more amazing, and you guys have been incredible this entire journey, so thank you for that, guys, sincerely.

(cheering)

LAURA: It's amazing the amount of times that we've had conversations because when you're playing a game, we all see it as real. We've lived those experiences for so long that that world exists and our characters exist and those experiences exist, but only between us, and then as soon as we were able to bring it to Geek and Sundry, and now you guys are taking part in it too, all of a sudden it's a real thing, if that makes any sense, to know that you guys know who Percy is is phenomenal, and that anybody loves Trinket as much as I do. That means so much!

LIAM: It's like we were all quietly, privately going crazy when we were just playing a game, but now you guys are saying the weird whispers that we heard in our head. You're parroting them back to us. We're like, "Oh, Percy is real! He's real! I know he's real!"

LAURA: We're all going to be insane in the next five years, I know it.

MARISHA: Yeah, it does feel like being the little kid who's like, "No, there's a monster under our bed." And everyone was like, "Oh yeah. No, you're right. There totally is a monster kicking it under there." And you're like, "What?! They see it too?!" And I feel like that's true every time we get a piece of fanart that comes in, because I know personally I was afraid-- I was like, I hope this story translates. I hope what we see they can see. But every time we see a piece of fanart or anything like that, it's like, oh yeah, no, that's-- yep, that's Gilmore. Holy shit. They see it too!

MATT: And on that note, too, the fanart, the letters, the recently penned Critmas that has happened a few times, it's a strange experience, because for us, just a humility standpoint, it's like, why are they buying us things? They don't need to do that! But it becomes this wonderful connection point where we get the opportunity through that to also realize how much it means to other people through these letters and these people that donate to our charity, 826LA, by the way, which is an amazing charity.

(cheering)

MATT: You guys have done an amazing job helping us support that, too. And it's been a really, really incredible experience to know that something that means so much to us also is starting to mean so much to other people as well, and it's amazing.

LIAM: It's nice to have a show about D&D, huh?

(cheering)

MATT: We're having this strange tabletop renaissance now, where you used to keep that stuff close to your chest, you'd mention, "Yeah, I play Dungeons and Dragons," you'd be kind of quiet about it. Now we can say it a little more proudly, and as opposed to people saying, "Yeah, D&D, that's nerd stuff!" they're like, "Cool, when do you play?"

ORION: Yeah, I have to say, one of my favorite aspects of what this is, is we have-- and I said this to one of our fans, I signed something for her-- is Travis is one of my favorite things about the show. Tiberius is my favorite thing about the show. But Travis as a human being, there's a lot of-- it breaks down those stupid walls where it's like, no, it's not a bunch of introverts in somebody's basement. We have a big, hulking mass of a man, you know? That can beat all of us up. And he's there being as big of a geek as we are. And it breaks down the thing where women can't play, because you have these three gorgeous, badass women kicking ass and also playing Dungeons and Dragons. A lot of great things about this show that I love.

ASHLEY: I remember I was introducing you to a friend of mine, and completely out of context, I was like-- and this was still when it was kind of new, and I was like, "Oh! This is Matt, he's my dungeon master." And then I kept moving on, and they looked at me, and I was like, "Oh, wow, that sounded really weird."

MATT: What you didn't see was me the whole time behind you going like--

(laughter)

ASHLEY: I was like, "What I mean is, we play D&D, that sounded so not what it is."

MATT: I can show you the velvet room if you like.

TRAVIS: Matt pulls out a d20, he's like, "Roll it."

(laughter)

LAURA: Mr. Mercer's been waiting for you.

MATT: I'd forgotten about that. Well, before we get to the Q&A session, is there anything else you guys wanted to talk about here, particularly while we're on a baseball field talking about Dungeons and Dragons?

TRAVIS: We're on a baseball field!

(cheering)

TRAVIS: Stand up if you're wearing one of our amazing Critical Role shirts, because they're all over the place. (counting) That's amazing. We love you. We love you for buying those! It's insane that you have them and we love you.

MATT: We have original generation, we have the second generation release, too. We have the new generation, which, by the way, the new red shirts you see with the Critical Role logo, designed by Taliesin Jaffe over here, Percy designed those himself.

ASHLEY: I was wearing my shirt on the plane, but then I dropped my cinnamon roll with-- you guys can probably tell on the show, I'm constantly eating, because I'm always hungry.

ORION: So that was a cinnamon roll fail?

ASHLEY: Yeah, but it was a cinnamon roll, and it was a Cinnabon with the fresh sauce. All right, I can't wear this to the panel.

MATT: We wouldn't have judged.

TALIESIN: I love that today seven people have come up to me with this intense look in their eyes, and they've come up to me very quietly and been like, "Hey. Briarwoods, man. Wow. Wow."

(laughter)

TALIESIN: This is weird private issues in my life that I'm like, "Yeah, I know! Wow!" It is fabulous to finally have an audience. We've been playing in this little room knowing that there are people there in theory, but to actually--

MARISHA: It's kind of like a reality show, but we're not putting ourselves through the wringer, we're putting our characters through it, so it's great.

TALIESIN: Better them than us.

TRAVIS: People going, "Oh, Keyleth's mom, man," you're like, "Yeah. Wait, what?" Right, that's a real thing. That's a real thing!

MARISHA: I will say-- no, you.

LAURA: Wait--

ORION: For the record, I'm really shitty at math, so.

MARISHA: What I was actually going to say was, I am actually really impressed at the Critters as a whole and the Critter Nation. We had an awesome story that we heard from our friend Dani who's a Critter.

ASHLEY: Oh man, hi!

MARISHA: I know, right? Hi! Yeah, she came out here and then was talking to another Critter, and he was like, "You're in Southern California? Well, I know people at Disneyland, so I can get you passes to Disneyland." And it was just because they like Critical Role.

LAURA: Be a Critter, go to Disneyland, that's the moral of the story.

MARISHA: So you guys are awesome because you guys are taking care of each other, and I'm really loving the communities that I'm seeing are being built and the friendships that are being built around this.

MATT: And the other campaigns that are coming out of this. All you guys who have already been playing or starting your own games and tweeting at us your adventures and your stories and your characters, it's so awesome to see that continue to grow.

TALIESIN: It's like the internet, but nice! It's so crazy.

ORION: Yeah, it's super weird! I've been YouTubing comedy stuff for a bit. They're mean. And our people are not mean and they're really intelligent and compassionate. It's fucki-- really great.

LAURA: What is happening?

MATT: I don't know.

LIAM: We're all kind of playing ourselves, people. Let's be real.

MATT: Yeah, Tiberius's wisdom, maybe not that far off.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: My intelligence is still six.

LAURA: Well, yeah.

MARISHA: Questions? Q&A?

MATT: Let's go ahead and move on to the Q&A section of this. We have a mic available, I believe it's somewhere?

MARISHA: Yeah, is there a mic floating around?

ASHLEY: (singing) I believe there's a mic.

LIAM: I got it, I got it.

MARISHA: Liam's got it.

LIAM: Put your hands up if you've got questions.

ORION: Vax is stealthing into the crowd.

LAURA: You have to sneak through, though, they won't be able to--

MATT: Microphone-microphone-microphone.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I have a question for Orion. When you wanted that thing from Scanlan, how long did it take you to think that up, to do that on that board?

ORION: I wanted that thing since he got it, and really--

LAURA: And he wouldn't give it to you.

ORION: No. And I was going to approach it several ways, and I talked to Matthew a lot outside the game. I never metagame, but I get really excited. I've been playing RPGs since I was ten, and so half the time I think of strategy as opposed to the player. I get really into that. Matthew's really good at, "Think of who you're dealing with, and then act accordingly." With Sam, he's an interesting fellow to begin with. I was going to pummel him to death. Really to get it back, at first.

MARISHA: To which I was like, "Remember, your party would not take kindly to that. I don't think Keyleth would be able to take your back on that one."

ORION: No, she wouldn't like that. So I didn't. That's the simple Silence, Telekinesis and then Fireball him to death. The thing is, I'm a UCB guy (Upright Citizens Brigade), he's also a funny guy. There you go, UCB! He's funny, I'm funny, I'll use funny. Then it was empty chalkboard. I was like, "Math? That'll be funny. I'll fucking come up with something." I figured more bees with honey. Or flies, I have no idea how that saying goes. You know what I was trying to say, right?

LIAM: It's the honey.

ORION: Use the honey instead. I thought of that for a month, of how to get that back.

LAURA: It was worth it.

LIAM: You mean you thought of that right there. In the moment. It suddenly burst into your mind, and you did it right there.

ORION: For the math thing, yes.

ASHLEY: That math moment, it was one of my favorites.

TRAVIS: We love Scanlan, by the way. Every time he comes up with a song, I ask him afterwards. I'm like, "Did you have two songs on retainer that you were going to sing during the show?"

LIAM: You guys have a baseball field behind you. You look amazing.

MARISHA: Shut up. Oh my god!

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Everyone looks very pretty. You touched on this a bit whenever you were talking about how you started playing. How did you all come up with your names individually?

LIAM: That's a good question.

MATT: Mine's my professional name. I use it for most things. It's easy for me to hear when people say it because it's my name.

ASHLEY: Oh man. I had been trying to put together this webseries ages ago that was basically a post-zombie apocalypse type of thing. Then cut to a little while later, I work on a game called Last Of Us, which was basically the same thing. But my character's name in the webseries--

MATT: By the way, how amazing was she in that?

ASHLEY: Thank you. So, the webseries that my character's name was Pike in it. I just like that name, and I honestly don't know where Trickfoot came from. I can't remember it.

MATT: Your imagination.

ASHLEY: I was like, "True, tritch, trutch, Pike Tr-- Oh, Trickfoot!" I don't know. There was nothing interesting about it.

LAURA: I, like I said, like to play RPGs a lot, and Vex was always a name that I would go to for my characters I would create in those games. Then I always think that elves need to have apostrophes in their names. Because in every RPG like Dragon Age, every game that I play, I recreate characters like ten times before I stick with one, so there's a list to level four of characters--

TRAVIS: True story.

LAURA: Yeah, Vex is always in that list. There's other names as well that I might get to. Someday in this game. Hopefully not.

ORION: Wait, you did that for Skyrim too, didn't you?

LAURA: Yes. Of course. I'm not Vex in Skyrim because I feel like Vex is sacred now. I don't want to use Vex on-- Is that weird? Then, when me and Liam-- Okay. So here's the thing. I'm getting off-subject. When I got invited to the game, Liam had already taken rogue, and I wanted to be a rogue. He had already taken half-elf and I wanted to be a half-elf. And I was like, "What the heck, man, you're so stealthy." Then I remembered that we actually are twins, and I was like, "Maybe we should be twins in the game as well."

LIAM: You said your name was Vex. So I said, "Oh, I'll be Vax then."

LAURA: Perfect.

LIAM: That's not what you said. You said, "But my name's short for Vex'ahlia, so you got to come up--" And I went, "I'll be Vax'ildan." Without a beat, you went, "Oh, that's pretty good."

LAURA: That's really good. What's funny is, for the first year you kept looking at me like, "What's my name? How do I spell my name?"

TRAVIS: We still don't get it right.

LAURA: Is there an H in it? I don't know.

MARISHA: I actually still use Vaxy-stabby to remember that. Cause we said vaxstab, like backstab. So he does vaxstab as rogue.

LIAM: There you go. Now you all have that.

MARISHA: Vaxstab.

LAURA: That's an easy way to remember.

MARISHA: Vex-dex? Yeah, that works. I'll buy that for a dollar. Workshop it. I also really like elven names, but I'm like, "I feel that my name should have meaning." I don't know why. I'll tend to pick a character. For Keyleth I was like, "She's an Air Druid, so I'll name her something airy. So I'll type in 'air.'" I'll go to an elven dictionary and I'll type in, "air." It'll pop out all these elven words for air. Or if my character was angsty, I'll put in "angsty," and it'll pull out all these elven words for angsty. And I picked something based on that. So I think Keyleth was actually originally spelled with a Q. It was a Que-- It meant like a zephyr. It meant like a wind, so I switched it and renamed it and got Keyleth.

LAURA: So your name actually means fart, and you just don't know it?

MATT: Exactly. Yeah. In Sylvan.

MARISHA: No, it means silent but deadly.

TRAVIS: What's the explanation behind yours?

TALIESIN: Oh boy.

ORION: Yeah, what's your name again?

TALIESIN: Percival Fredrickstein von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III.

ORION: They call him Percy, though.

TALIESIN: They call me Percy. I decided, after I had an image of the character I wanted to play, I wanted him to have a ridiculous name because I love ridiculous names. It's actually a mixture of three things, one of which is a character. I was a child actor, also. One of them is the name of a character I played as a child actor. The other section of it is the name of an anime character from Legend Of The Galactic Heroes. And the third chunk of it is actually a friend of mine, who I will not name, but who has the greatest name on earth. Yes, I'll leave it a mystery because he doesn't know that I stole his name for my little D&D game.

MARISHA: And now we're trademarking it.

TALIESIN: And thankfully he's 80 years old and lives in Italy, so he doesn't have to know about this. And I want to keep it that way. That's basically where my character's name came from. This is a mix of all three of those things.

LIAM: Somewhere in Tuscany, a little old Italian man is standing up in front of his computer, and swearing in Italian.

TALIESIN: He types all in caps, too, so I'll never know how angry he is.

TRAVIS: Other than just coming up with it because I hadn't made a name yet, because I'm an idiot, I loved Monkey Island, the game, and I remember that was my introduction to Grog. I always figured that a barbarian needs a really simple name. So Grog was the first stupid light that turned on in my brain. And that's what I am. And you came up with my last name.

MATT: Strongjaw, yeah.

TRAVIS: That's right. Because I got possessed or something at one point. It was bad. You.

LIAM: I'm done. Tiberius.

TALIESIN: Bring us home.

ORION: Tiberius, I named for two reasons. The first is, Tiberius Caesar is Caesar's father. I wanted the character, because it comes from a political height to your family, to have that weight behind it. And Stormwind--

TRAVIS: It's about farting.

LIAM: That's another fart reference.

ORION: This is, yes. I fart a lot. No. I was actually--

ASHLEY: Who doesn't?

ORION: At the time, I was cracking the hell out of Skyrim. Again. It came out, and you were passing, and playing it again when we started the campaign, and I think it's a place in Skyrim, or it's like the Stormwind, or something like that. I was like, yeah, Stormwind, awesome.

MARISHA: But I would like to point out, we didn't even realize that you had done that until a few weeks ago.

ORION: Yeah.

MARISHA: And we were like, ah! Because you were playing Elder Scrolls Online. That's what it was.

ORION: Thank you. Two and a half years and some change years pass, yeah, I'm really creative. I've totally-- It's really hard not to curse, so I'm trying not to. I was like, wow, yeah, I came up with all that myself. And then I started playing Elder Scrolls Online again, bad. Love that game. I was, Dragonknight, cool. Fans were, hey, just try Dragonknight. And then I started playing and I'm like, "Draconic Power, Draconia, oh shit, I ripped off Skyrim the whole time! I'm not creative at all!" Thanks for pointing that out, Marisha.

LIAM: Any more questions?

MATT: Real fast, I did want to give a shout-out to our wonderful gnome Scanlan, who is apparently watching from home and wants an ego stroke.

ALL: Hi, Scanlan.

ASHLEY: We miss you.

LIAM: All right. What?

MATT: We have about 15 minutes left of the panel, so we want to make this questions we have pretty quick answers to.

LIAM: But we're Periscoping.

(inaudible audience member)

LIAM: What each character's most heroic moment was. On the show, any time, including the whole game?

MATT: Let's do whole game. I know Tiberius'. Want me to tell the story?

LAURA: I feel like Matt would know our most--

MATT: I know a lot of them, yeah. There was one sequence. I'll make it quick. They were fighting their first umber hulk they ever encountered in this nest that was in this cavern up at the top of a giant underground cave. And there was an about 170-foot drop into a lake that had an island in the center. And they were fighting it, Grog was trying to grab it and throw it through the hole that dropped into this giant cavern. However, it bull rushed him and knocked him off instead. Grog fell, took enough damage to put him unconscious from full life, and the umber hulk then was pushed out after him via Tiberius, and they all realized, oh, we're all up here with a hole with no creature. Grog's unconscious down there with an umber hulk. He is going to die. And so Tiberius decides he's going to jump out after him. And he leaps through the hole, swan dive, I'm talking Gandalf versus the Balrog style. You know, slow plummet in darkness. I'm telling him, "You realize, casting Feather Fall is going to take a really hard concentration check, and if you fail, you're probably going to die." And he said, "Yes. Do it." He needed a 14 on a d20, and he rolled exactly a 14, cast Feather Fall, landed, and managed to stop the umber hulk in time to let the rest of the party come down via rope. It was one of my favorite moments for his character.

(cheering)

LAURA: It was pretty epic.

ORION: I got your back.

MATT: Anyone else?

LAURA: We thought we were going to lose two party members at the same time. We were, like, "No! Ugh!"

MATT: Anyone else?

LAURA: Well, I got the kill on the creature that killed Pike.

ASHLEY: You did.

LAURA: I don't get a final kill on a lot of things, and it was like ugh, and so Pike is dead on the ground, and I got the last shot, so I'm moving forward shooting arrows. It was sad. Tears falling down, screaming, "Pike!"

MARISHA: I was actually going to say, I think one of my most heroic moments was in the same game when Pike died, and Keyleth turned into an eagle, and I scooped you up, and got you to the temple first. Was it at the same time that the tower was collapsing?

MATT: No, that was beforehand.

MARISHA: Oh, that was beforehand. Okay.

MATT: A battle with a treachery demon, by the way, a glabrezu, for those who are in the know. I get to say that in a panel.

ORION: Translation: He's a giant butthole.

TALIESIN: I was quite proud of the magic carpet save. Our very first run-in with the magic carpet. It's a very complicated story, but we found the magic carpet out of luck while falling out of a building and everything. Kind of worked out okay. No one died.

MARISHA: The magic carpet was awesome, because we were trying to use it as a parachute.

LAURA: That's right, because we were falling--

MARISHA: And it was essentially a gamble move anyway. We were going to be like, oh, let's be--

LAURA: This carpet's never going to work, it's too heavy.

MARISHA: Exactly. We are going to be like those toy GI Joes that you throw over your balcony, and it doesn't work. That's what we thought. Then we're trying to parachute with a rug, and that's when Matt's like, "And you float down slowly because you learn the carpet is magic."

ASHLEY: Right before that, he goes, "Make a use magic device roll," and we were all, "What?!" And you screamed, "It's a flying carpet!"

LIAM: Many of you have seen this moment, because Ashley made a video. It's online. You get a lot of our reactions to that, real time.

ORION: That whole thing was another one of my favorite Tiberius moments because he didn't deal with any of it. Tiberius jumped out the window while that shit was going down and Feather Fall to safety while these guys had to deal with that whole fucking thing.

TRAVIS: I did that, too. I jumped out of the window with no Feather Fall.

ORION: They go through this whole ordeal and they come out of this tower that's crumbling, barely with their lives and I'm like, "Oh, hello everyone."

TRAVIS: You go jump out of the window and I'm like, "Great idea!" Jump out of the window. You cast Feather Fall and I'm like, "Shit." Live and learn!

MARISHA: (singing) I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend.

TRAVIS: My most heroic thing was when you crushed my cask of ale and I avenged it by headbutting the giant in the face. True love, people, true love.

LIAM: I don't know about heroic, but I think the most intense moment I've had in our entire game was sneaking in with Scanlan into the mind flayers' little camp. You were just describing all the things that were in the room and we were walking quietly through the room looking at it. My heart was going like a hamster. It was intense!

ORION: And then Sam throws shit on the dude's face.

MARISHA: At any moment you hear us on the screen being like, "Oh god! I'm hyperventilating! The adrenaline! My heart's racing! I'm shaking!" That's all 100% real. We'll actually be like, "Oh, we've got to roll. Oh, I dropped it!" It's awful. It's all real. It's good.

LIAM: Any other questions?

MARISHA: Ten minutes!

MATT: You have time for a few more, so start getting these pretty rapid.

LIAM: Sword. Maybe take your filter out of the way.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thanks, man. Hey guys, how's it going?

MATT: Good! Good question. Next? No, go ahead.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: My question isn't about D&D, it's actually: How are you guys enjoying your time here in San Diego or, more specifically, at Comic-Con? What's the best, or most shocking cosplay you've seen, or a cosplay where you guys were like, "Oh, that's awesome!" Have you guys even seen any cosplay, or have you been too busy?

TRAVIS: We've seen no cosplay!

MARISHA: We've been here the whole time.

MATT: I'm having a good time.

MARISHA: Yeah, we're having a great time!

TRAVIS: This sucks!

MARISHA: We have a baseball field behind us! So that's cool.

MATT: Best cosplay I've seen here. It was a couple years ago, I saw a really amazing Mass Effect group that had an Urdnot Wrex that had a functional animatronic face. It was incredible.

TALIESIN: I saw a guy dressed as Hodor with a box of Raisin Bran on his back. It was awesome!

ORION: We've got another question.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Sorry, Orion. Hi. This is a DM question for Matt because--

MATT: Oh hi!

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi! I had problems with this in previous campaigns as a player and now as a DM with six new players. How do you keep battle going when players take time to roll? How can you encourage people to keep a flow going so at the end of the game you're like, "That was epic!" instead of "That was math."

MATT: Right. The system helps. Our transition from Pathfinder to Fifth Edition I did partially because of that. Pathfinder's a great system and I love it, but the more players you have, the more you can get bogged down with floating modifiers. "Wait, your Bless spells gives me plus one to hit and damage, and that gives me plus two to damage, but I have a racial bonus against the kobolds, plus six to hit, four to damage, three to damage." It gets to that point. Being able to simplify the modifiers. You can homerule certain things where you have a simple way of keeping track of those. As a DM, keeping combat going is just keeping your energy up. You're the guide for everyone else, and if you start getting slow or laggy, everyone else will follow suit. Music also helps. I find battle music, really good sets. We can't use any licensed stuff on the stream any more. I had to gut my previous music selections. Good classic Conan music works well. Lot of great fantasy films and good soundtracks work.

MARISHA and LAURA: (horn sounds)

MATT: They know them all too well. Good music, keeping your energy up, and making sure that when it comes to players' turns, they know what they're going to do. If they're not ready, you skip their turn. You're hesitating.

LAURA: That's happened to us a few times. Before we started streaming, he would skip our turns.

MARISHA: You would be like, "What are you going to do?" And if we say "Uh," more than three times, then he's like, "Nah." We'd go, "Uh, uh, uh," "Moving on."

MATT: Skip it or put them at the bottom of the initiative order. Give them an incentive to be present in the moment and already to have their ideas ready to go. Things change in battle sometimes. You'll get to your turn and everything's changed in the battle dynamic. That's also how battle works. You have to be like, "Uh! I'm going to do this!" And you're like, "All right!" Keeping that energy up. As the DM, you're the holder of the flow of the story. It's a lot of pressure on you, but keep up that energy. Some good music. Make sure people are also putting energy into it because you put countless hours into that stuff! The least they can do is respect that by being present and trying to keep up with you.

TALIESIN: Really quick. Tell them about the hourglass.

MATT: Also, hourglass helps! I got a nice five minute and ten minute hourglass. Especially if you're in a skill challenge or an event that has more tension behind it, just putting an hourglass on the table, turning it over and being like, "You have this much time." "Until what?!" "You don't know. But what are you going to do?" You'll be surprised how quickly in the moment every player is.

LAURA: It's terrifying. That hourglass you put down when the lava was coming down and we had to get out of the cavern. It was horrifying!

ORION: It adds a whole other layer of-- Another question.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi, guys. What I wanted to ask--

LIAM: Get it right up there.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What I wanted to ask is especially for Grog and Pike since they personally experienced this lovely thing. Was there ever a time when you die in Matt's game where you're afraid that this is going to be the death of the character and they're not going to get revived this time?

ORION: Yes!

LIAM: That's every game!

TRAVIS: When Pike died, she was crying, she was crying, she was crying, you were crying. I was asleep. No! Matt, you could tell he did not want to say the things he was saying, and it was only because we rolled extremely well when it counted that we got that thing that brought you back to life. Every time we go unconscious and then the death sets in. Against the beholder thing, I was just hoping we got around to Pike or Keyleth, so that Greater Restoration could come around, I wouldn't permanently be dead. There's a chance that one of these days.

LAURA: When you were unconscious in the lava, what? I thought he was done. If Trinket dies, I-- Yes!

ORION: In all seriousness, the K'Varn fight is a really good example. Myself, Tiberius, was terrified of fighting a beholder because I knew, particularly as the only real caster of the group, as soon as I get in the eyesight of that thing, I'm useless. The reason that I didn't go in there at all is because if I did, I would be no use to anybody. I don't know the range. I'm not going to cheat. You don't come back from disintegration!

MATT: Nope!

ORION: You don't come back from death rays! They're called death rays for a reason! And then he throws it at us and I'm scared for a while.

ASHLEY: That was the most nervous I'd ever been in any game we've played. I think that's why it was such a silent game. I was just like-- I just never wanted it to be my turn because I was like, "Uh! Well!"

TRAVIS: We didn't even talk in voices.

ASHLEY: I know. There were no voices.

MATT: You're twice the reason we still have Grog. He technically would have died twice that battle over.

LAURA: That is true.

ASHLEY: That's true. Oh, Grog!

LAURA: I went back and watched the stream of that to see if you could see our hands shaking as much as they were because all of us were terrified during that fight.

MATT: Yeah. That was a crazy boss battle. What were you going to say, Liam?

LAURA: And then the second one was even harder than that! What the heck, Matt?!

MATT: That was less of a boss battle and more of a scenario-based challenge. You walked into the center of an illithid colony and freed them of their oppressor!

MARISHA: Exactly! We're their saviors!

TALIESIN: We had a buddy!

ORION: More like a butthole.

MATT: Lessons were learned, people.

MARISHA: By the way, this is essentially a glimpse into our time after the show cuts. It's us yelling and being like, "Why did you do that?! You could have died! Don't you scare me like that again!" Feel like a protective mom being like, slamming on the brakes.

ORION: One more question?

MATT: We have time for one more really fast, rapid-paced question. We'll answer and cruise through it. We have a minute left and then we have to run.

LIAM: As Orion is running out, please take a moment to appreciate the fact that we've been talking about Dungeons & Dragons for an hour in front of a baseball stadium.

(cheering)

LIAM and MARISHA: Our time is now!

AUDIENCE MEMBER: All right guys, real quick. Same time next year?

MATT: Same time next year? We're down!

LAURA: Yeah!

ASHLEY: It's a date!

MARISHA: We brought sleeping bags.

MATT: We'd be happy to.

MARISHA: Yeah, we'll be here.

LAURA: You guys are awesome.

ASHLEY: All hail!

MARISHA: Oh, Ify!

IFY: Question for the DM. I heard rumors that there might be a little space for a sellsword of some type. If you got the gold for it, I've got Regina and Linda waiting by my sacks of gold.

MATT: Classic dwarven request!

MARISHA: Money talks and bullshit walks.

MATT: We shall see if the adventures of Vox Machina mind their way towards Vox Moronica. Guys, that is the end of our panel. I want to thank you all so much for coming!

(cheering)

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