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List of Transcripts

Pre-ShowEdit

MATT: Hello everyone! And welcome to tonight’s episode of Critical Role, where us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. Slight delay there due to tech issues but we’re back online and all is well. Tick issues are a problem– It’s a thing, I know. We’re going to jump in here shortly. We have a guest who’ll be joining us partway into the story. Before we get to that, let’s go ahead and get to our announcements and get them out of the way because we’re a little behind. We’ll try and rush through. First and foremost, tonight our sponsor and has been our sponsor from the beginning and onward into the campaign, our friends at D&D Beyond. They’ve been awesome. Sam! You seem ready to say something?

SAM: You guys know what D&D Beyond is? It’s awesome. You should check out the site dndbeyond.com. They also now have open alpha access for an upcoming mobile app. The D&D Beyond team is looking for additional stress testers and you can sign up using the following links. Insert links below me.

MATT: In case they aren’t–

SAM: Oh, I have to read it? Okay, bit.ly/dndios and bit.ly/dndandroid.

MATT: Bit.ly as in bit dot ly.

SAM: Yeah, they know what bit.ly is.

MATT: I’m just making sure!

SAM: Sure. Since D&D is such a dorky 80s thing to do, I’ve composed a dorky 80s jingle for D&D Beyond.

(cheering)

SAM: (singing) You got the perfect warlock, their weapons and supplies, But you need a place to track your stuff, ‘cause you’re so disorganized! You click open the web page you heard about on Critical Role. And now you’re ready to kick some butt in a mineshaft full of gnolls!

It’s D&D! D&D Beyond. Yeah D&D! D&D Beyond. You got your stats, you got your sword and you’ve got your invisible wand! It’s D&D! D&D (synthetic drum sound effects) D&D Beyond!

(cheering and applause)

TRAVIS: Oh my god! If they don’t make that they’re fools!

MARISHA: That was magic!

LAURA: I want to see that!

TRAVIS: We’re going to make that right? We’re going to make that now.

MATT: There are moments like this that it makes me a little sad that you’re no longer a bard. At least we keep the Scanlan alive with shit like this.

TRAVIS: Tell me you were singing that in your car on the way home from work.

SAM: I was.

TALIESIN: I can see action figures busting through walls being held by hands (explosion sound effects).

MATT: That was awesome. Thank you, Sam.

SAM: You had to imagine the synths.

MATT: Oh yeah, we were there. Thank you D&D Beyond for allowing that to happen as well as being a helpful tool.

LIAM: Les Mis was a stepping stone for that moment.

MATT: Awesome. Next up. Reminder guys who have Amazon Prime, with Twitch Prime, you can actually subscribe to a Twitch channel for free. One a month with your Amazon Prime account. If you have it, connect it to your Twitch account and you can subscribe to Geek & Sundry or any other Twitch channel you are a fan of, for free.

LIAM: (as Mickey Mouse) Comes with Prime!

MATT: What is going on? I’m so scared.

TRAVIS: You hit a particular high note and we’re trying to do our best squeaky voice.

MATT: It’s a really good idea to taunt the DM before you start playing. I think it works out really well for everyone involved.

LIAM: Like the internet, we like to obsess about your every little movement.

MATT: Of course, that’s okay. I have a sense of self. Talks Machina, of course, will be discussing tonight’s episode next Tuesday with our host W. Foster. Brian W. Foster. It’s been a long day. W Foster!

MARISHA: It’s very formal.

MATT: Isn’t it though? When he dresses up nice? Tuesday at 7:00pm Pacific here at Twitch and Project Alpha to discuss what happens tonight. Check that out. Laura, you said there’s a merch update.

LAURA: Yes! Hey! I don’t know if you guys have gone to the store lately but there’s stuff in there. The reason that I was talking today is because I was informed that there’s actually some more CR dice, not the Vox Machina dice– those aren’t back yet, but the CR dice are in stock if you’ve been wanting some of those. There’s also stickers and keychains and t-shirts– lots of t-shirts you should check them out– and notebooks and awesome pencils.

LIAM: Still got that art book.

LAURA: That art book and an apron for the Slayer’s Cake.

SAM: Just one?

LAURA: Just one apron.

MATT: A single apron, get it now before it’s gone. Awesome, thank you, Laura.

LAURA: Supplies are limited.

MATT: The podcast for last week’s episode is available for download where all fine podcasts are available on the internet. If you have friends listening to the audio version, they be caught up, now. After this episode probably, they’ll start it now. You get it. We announced at Emerald City Comic Con we have a limited release, only 1000 copies of the physical copies of the Issue #1 of the Vox Machina Origins comic.

(shouts of excitement)

MATT: Oh, I haven’t seen it yet!

LAURA: I haven’t seen it in person yet!

TALIESIN: It’s all about the back.

SAM: Don’t open it! Your hands will touch it and it will no longer be mint!

(groaning)

TRAVIS: Now it’s worth more. Keep going.

MATT: There’ll be 1000 copies there. The limit is only five copies per person per day.

MARISHA: Oh my goodness gracious.

SAM: You’re on the back of a comic book?

LAURA: Hey, and it’s the Slayer’s Cake apron that I was just–

MATT: (laughing) Thank you Laura for pointing that out.

(exclamations of awe)

MATT: Dark Horse is releasing that for this special event. Please check it out if you are going to be there. Grab a copy if you want. It is March 1st through the 4th, and our good cast members here Laura and Travis will be there.

LAURA: Yes we will as well as– You’re going to be there too.

MATT: Oh shit! Well, there you go. You can go tell him how much you liked his character tonight. Speaking of the comic book: Issue five will be released on digital platforms of that very comic March 7th. Those that want to keep up and get to the next chapter of the six issue arc, issue five comes out March 7th so keep an eye out for that and we’ll have announcements as that comes. You can look for a sneak peek at the artwork at geekandsundry.com. Once again, our campaign is pushing our fantastic friends at 826LA. They’re an amazing charity group that takes underprivileged kids or children and young teens who don’t have the opportunity to get in depth and learn about creative writing and give them a safe space for them. They do wonderful work. Check it out if you have the opportunity. See if you can give either financially or with your time and you can volunteer to be part of the program. It’s really great. Other than that, appearances are as they’ve been and I think–

SAM: I have one more thing. A quick shoutout to a critter named Carol who is an awesome fantasy writer and friend of the show. She’s been feeling a little under the weather but she’s been watching our new campaign and I wanted to wish her a speedy recovery and thanks for watching.

MATT: Love to you, Carol. All right guys, without further ado, let’s dive into tonight episode of Critical Role.

[click, TV static] [groovy Critical Role theme]

Part 1Edit

(laughter)

MATT: Welcome back. The DM will remember that.

LIAM: Are we doing a show right now?

MATT: We are.

LIAM: (whimpering) Okay.

MATT: Welcome back. Last we left off: The group of adventures in seeking a warband of gnolls which had attacked the city of Alfield they were passing through on their way to Zadash. Began to track them as to where they had retrieved a number of bodies, both dead and living of the civilians of the town and taken them with them. You eventually track them to an abandoned mine a number of miles away from the city to the northeast. You entered, narrowly missed a trap or two, managed to recover a couple of interesting items, delved off to the left side during the first divide of pathways, and came upon some sort of small ritual with a number of gnolls and some humanoid figure wearing bits of gnoll as an armor or cloak. Doing a ritual– after he had left along with the previously armored gnoll that you had battled during the incursion at Alfield. You tore into a number of hyenas and gnolls that remained within the chamber and upon defeating them, took a moment to take a breath, get your bearings before hearing a muffled boom in the distance, some sort a low vocalization, some cackling, and eventually the scream of a woman saying, “No, my baby!” You began to run and give chase. That is where we’re picking up this week. Grabbing your weapons and keeping your mettle about you, you charge further down the tunnel. The shaft curves to the right in a wide spiral about a few dozen– there we go. What was that?

TRAVIS: The shaft curves to the right.

SAM: You said “The sha–” and she laughed. Like before you were done with the word shaft.

LAURA: Because the shaft curves to the right, y'all.

LIAM: It’s her psychic power.

TRAVIS: It’s usually to the left, but whatever.

MATT: It’s okay.

SAM: Not from her perspective.

(laughter)

MATT: Boom!

MARISHA: That’s fair.

TRAVIS: Too fast! Like a fencer! That was amazing!

LAURA: Only you.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Walked into that one.

LIAM: Well.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Life or death. Here we go.

MATT: The tunnel continues in a wide spiral before eventually snaking a bit–

(laughter)

MARISHA: You’re an asshole.

MATT: –before sharply turning to the right. The tunnel straightens out before emerging into a chamber of– goddamn it guys, this is serious! Lives are at stake here. Okay.

(laughter)

MARISHA: What were you going to say?

TRAVIS: You got it. We’re with you. Life or death.

SAM: The path–

MATT: The tunnel straightens out before emerging into a chamber of mixed natural rock walls and simple stone work. Two other tunnels mark this chamber as a Y intersection or like a second common room. Similar to the one you that you originally encountered when you entered the mine. Tables and stools are strewn about the area, with a pair of hyenas currently picking at junk for scraps. You see bits of meat that are being dragged across the ground by them about 20 feet off to the left. Two thick natural pillars of rock currently stand as load bearing portions of the chamber breaking the open space while a crumpled section of the floor drops into a pit below. Two closed doors, to the left of where you’re looking into it, are guarded by a skeletal gnoll and two standard gnoll warriors, one of which has apparently pulled a small child from one of the doors. The sound of muffled cries coming from beyond the closed door. Four other gnolls rush from within the chamber into the right tunnel exiting on the opposite side. What do you guys do?

MARISHA: Four to the right?

MATT: You watch as four of them rush into the other exit. There’s an exit to the left and an exit to the right. They exit the room to the right and then there’s three left: two regular–

MATT, TRAVIS, and MARISHA: (singing) Regular gnolls!

MATT: –and then one skeletal gnoll and then two hyenas that are currently picking at scraps. You can see as the gnoll pulls the child out, is currently in the process of crying and they’re both looking at each other like– still holding the child by the arm essentially– but currently is bickering with the other gnoll.

LIAM: From our vantage point, it is the entrance that we’re at and then there is doors to the left–?

MATT: Let me go ahead and give you a visual.

TRAVIS: (singing) Visual aid, visual aid.

LIAM, TRAVIS, AND MARISHA: (singing) Visual aid, visual aid.

LAURA: Oh no! If this is like a running thing this whole campaign–

TALIESIN: Oh, there’s no getting away from this.

(laughter)

(Oohs and ahs)

LAURA: Look at that opening, it’s so cool looking!

SAM: Where are we?

MATT: You guys are entering from this side.

LAURA: Oh that’s a little door? That’s the door you we’re talking about?

MATT: Yep.

SAM: There’s too many options!

MATT: Essentially, over here– You can place yourselves as you feel necessary. Off to this side, in whichever marching order you prefer.

LIAM: I will be at the rear.

MATT: I figured as much.

LAURA: How old is the child that got pulled out of the room?

MATT: At first glance, it’s hard to see, especially for those of you who are keeping their light low, because there is no light source in the chamber. Those with dark vision will be making out most of the details here.

TRAVIS: I’ll be up front. I can do that.

MATT: All right, that would put Fjord up at the front.

LAURA: I’ll be behind Fjord.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I can’t see shit.

MATT: Given this, you guys are deciding what to do. There’s, in a brief moment of quiet, a loud boom that shakes the interior of the chamber. You watch as both the hyenas (squeal) look up, scared. The two gnolls immediately look about. Dust and rocks begin to settle and fall from the ceiling as it shakes and then comes to rest. A moment later, a cloud of dust and smoke comes billowing out this side of the chamber where the four gnolls had run previously. Then the rumbling settles. The gnolls themselves are spooked. Then, distracted from the child at the moment, both peeking over, the undead gnoll stands there glancing about, seeming unaffected by the current scenario. Passive perception, the highest on this would be Beauregard, Caleb, Molly, and Jester, I believe. Actually, Caleb and Beauregard would not, because they don’t see anything. You guys hear sounds, and you’re waiting for any inclination of light to kick in.

LAURA: What do we see, though?

MATT: You guys see the faint appearance of some sort of a flying creature, very small, emerge from the tunnel that had recently expelled all this dust and smoke.

LAURA: Frumpkin size or smaller?

MATT: Frumpkin size. (humming) It hovers in the air in a few places, and then locks itself over here onto this far wall, on a higher perch.

TRAVIS: Fucking bugs.

LAURA: Did you see that?

TALIESIN: I think I saw that. Did you see that?

LAURA: I saw that.

MATT: (snarl) Another moment passes, and the gnolls relax. You watch as the immediate dread of the recent explosion sound, the shocking and rocking of the room, seems to have passed over them. They both go back to paying attention to their recent vicinity, which includes the small child, which is still quietly sobbing in the painful grasp of this large curled gnoll hand.

TALIESIN: On the count of three?

SAM: Wait, are we just going to attack?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: We should distract them–!

LAURA: Radiant blast!

SAM: Oh, Jesus.

LAURA: Sacred Flame, I mean.

MATT: All right. The ones who are making the initial strike on this–

SAM: I could distract them or something first!

TRAVIS: Eldritch Blast for me, yeah.

LIAM: I will also do that as well, following suit with everybody.

MARISHA: Wait, are things happening?

LAURA: Don’t hit the kid!

MARISHA: We can’t see! Do you have your lights?

MATT: Caleb, you don’t see anything.

LIAM: Oh, okay.

MATT: The ones who can see in the dark right now, which would be the four of you, you guys get a round of attack on this.

TRAVIS: Nice.

MATT: Where you’re currently positioned, I would like you all to roll initiative before we get to your round, just so we have it.

TRAVIS: Come on, first roll of the night! Be fucking amazing.

TALIESIN: Yay!

MATT: Not so much?

TRAVIS: I’ve had better.

MATT: All righty. So–

SAM: I’m not drunk anymore, right?

MATT: No, that’s worn off.

LIAM: Great. How about Nott?

MATT: 25 to 20?

MARISHA: 20.

SAM: 24.

ALL: Ooh!

SAM: Natural 20.

MATT: All right. 20 to 15.

TALIESIN: 16.

LAURA: But you can’t see, Beau.

MATT: She’s missing the initial round.

LAURA: Oh, this is for the whole thing.

MATT: Correct. This is just general combat.

LAURA: If I’d have known that, I would have rolled better for the whole thing.

MATT: That’s true. Sorry about that. That’s okay.

LAURA: I wasn’t trying so hard.

MATT: 15 to ten?

LAURA: Ten.

TALIESIN: That’s very adequate.

LIAM: I have rolled a nine.

TALIESIN: This is going to be the thing for the entire campaign. This is going to be the joke that never goes away. Nein!

LIAM: (singing) Regular gnoll, regular gnoll.

LAURA: Oh no, oh no.

LIAM: That’s it. Just nine and regular gnoll, that’s all that we have. That’s campaign two, ladies and gentlemen.

MATT: That leaves– you rolled a what?

TRAVIS: An eight.

MARISHA: Nines and gnolls. That’s our group name, you guys.

TALIESIN: No! Don’t joke, don’t ever.

SAM: It’s one of the best rolls you can make in the game. What is our initiative shit?

LAURA: Ah!

MATT: Nott, you’re up first.

SAM: Okay, but I didn’t see, and you guys decided to attack first. I will grace you going first if you prefer.

LAURA: You’re going to hold your turn?

MATT: You feel the tension rising and you’re like, I’ll follow their lead.

SAM: Does that mean I still get to move and shit when I do my move?

MATT: That means you’re holding your action.

SAM: Then I’ll go now. Because they’re more than 30 feet away, right?

MATT: Yeah. You can see what’s out there, you just don’t notice the bird.

SAM: Hand crossbow, it says 30/120. I’ve got to be within 30 to hit them without disadvantage, right? If I run out there, they’ll see me and I won’t be sneak attack anymore, right? How does this work?

MATT: If they don’t know you’re there, which this is currently what’s considered an ambush round, you still have advantage on your first strike if they’re not aware of your presence. Which means it would cancel out that disadvantage.

SAM: I can take my shot from here.

MATT: You can, yes.

SAM: All right. I will fire.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Ooh! 17 plus a lot. Six! 17 plus six to hit.

MATT: That hits. You do not get sneak attack on this because you do not have advantage on the strike.

SAM: I thought you just said I had advantage!

MATT: You had advantage, but you have disadvantage because they’re beyond the–

LIAM: It cancelled out your advantage. It’s just a straight roll and you lost the sneak attack.

SAM: Could I run forward and still get the sneak attack?

MATT: You could try it.

SAM: That’s what I will do. Undo.

LAURA: Roll again, because you might get natural 20!

SAM: Now I have to roll for stealth, right?

MATT: You’ve been stealthed as you crept up on this from the last time, so go for it.

SAM: I’m rolling to hit?

MATT: You already hit on that.

LAURA: Roll again for advantage, you might get a 20.

SAM: Okay. Still 17 plus six.

MATT: Now you get a sneak attack, go for it.

SAM: Cool.

LAURA: Did you find it?

MARISHA: I did! It was nowhere it should have been.

SAM: 11 points. Not very good rolls.

TRAVIS: Which one are you aiming at?

MATT: Not bad, either.

SAM: The one that’s holding the child.

MATT: As it’s holding the child and it’s looking down at the young boy, lifting it off the ground and bringing it towards its jaws as its teeth open wide, its lips curl back like it’s ready to take a quick little nibble of the child’s arm. Suddenly the bolt hits it in the side of the jaw and it’s sticking out. (squeal, snarl) It starts looking over in your direction and it looks right towards you. (growl)

SAM: Can I use my regular– regular gnoll. Do I have remaining movement as a bonus?

MATT: No, it’s your full movement to get there. Bonus action you can dash if you want to.

SAM: Yes. I will dash away, but I can’t hide. I will dash behind those rocks to my right.

MATT: Over here?

SAM: Yes. In those skulls or anywhere around there.

MATT: That works fine there. Beau.

TRAVIS: She can’t see shit.

LAURA: I’m not Beau.

MATT: Sorry. Beau, you lose your turn. It’s been a long day, I’m sorry. Molly, you’re up next.

TALIESIN: I’m going to run straight in, take a look around. Is the undead one the closest one to me?

MATT: It is, yes.

TALIESIN: Push me a little more against the wall.

MATT: Over here?

TALIESIN: Yeah, over there. I’m going to hit that undead one with Vicious Mockery. Actually, I’m going to hit the one that has the kid with Vicious Mockery, not the undead one.

MATT: Okay. Same roll, puts him at a two, natural roll, so he’s affected by it.

TALIESIN: Oh that’s right, I don’t have to roll to hit. Just a wisdom saving throw. That’s three points of damage.

MATT: All right, and he has disadvantage on his next attack roll.

TALIESIN: Yes. (rasping) Drop the child!

TRAVIS: Jesus Christ.

TALIESIN: Get used to it.

MATT: The skeletal gnoll turns to you (cracking). It seems to hear it and there’s something about the speech and the connection to this entity that cause it to shudder for a moment. That ends your turn?

TALIESIN: Yep. I’m holding waiting for them.

MATT: Next up is Beau. Wait, no. Sorry. That’s my problem, I wrote Beau twice on this.

TRAVIS: I’m the only other one that can see.

LAURA: I’m Beau number two!

MATT: Jester and then you.

LAURA: I lied! I am not going to do the Sacred Flame, I’m going to do Toll the Dead because that’s a wisdom saving throw.

MATT: Okay! Toll the Dead to which one?

LAURA: To the one holding the kid.

MATT: All righty. Constitution saving throw?

LAURA: That’s a wisdom saving throw.

MATT: That is going to put him at a 15.

LAURA: Aw, he saves.

MATT: Sorry. As it seems to ring within its head, the impact of the necromantic magic, currently still reeling from the pain in the throat from the bolt, it seems to shrug it off, unaffected. Then Fjord, you’re up.

LAURA: (rasping) Next time I’m going to really hurt you! I said that in Infernal.

TALIESIN: Oh, yeah!

TRAVIS: Which one of them is the undead looking gnoll?

MATT: Right there.

TRAVIS: That guy. I would like to aim at the dude on the right, the one closest to you, and I will carry over my Hex that is still up since it lasts an hour, so for my bonus action I will cast Hex on that motherfuck.

MATT: All righty.

TRAVIS: I would like to use Eldritch Blast.

MATT: Go for it. Roll for the attack.

TRAVIS: Plus six, that’s a 20.

MATT: Yeah, that hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

TRAVIS: Nice. This is a 1d10 plus four. That’s 11 plus five points of necrotic damage for 16 total.

MATT: 16 points of damage, all right. As it’s standing on this upper portion of the rock floor, it glances back as you guys enter. You guys see a flash of light from the arcing of the arcane energy as it streaks across and slams into its body just in time to see another shadowed shape emerging out of this tunnel to join the fray. As it falls back (snarling, chattering). That’s going to end the initial round of combat. Now we’re into the initiative order. At the top of this, you guys glance over and the four of you, at least, see this shape begin to emerge from around the wall. You see this tall, spindly humanoid figure that begins to curve around the side. Khary, if you want to join the table.

(cheering)

TRAVIS: Spindly, what?

MATT: If I can have you roll initiative when you get settled in there.

TRAVIS: Oh, man, I don’t even know what that means!

LAURA: I’ve got to see this dice as you roll it.

MARISHA: Do you want a dice tray, Khary? We have an extra one down here.

KHARY: Oh my goodness, look at this!

MARISHA: Look at that.

TRAVIS: The luxurious life.

LIAM: Welcome, friend! Welcome!

KHARY: This is the first time this dice has been rolled, ladies and gentlemen.

TRAVIS: Do it.

MARISHA: It’s a christening roll!

LIAM: It’s a one!

KHARY: It’s a one?

TRAVIS: Welcome! Welcome!

LIAM: One of us! One of us!

[laughing]

KHARY: Thanks for having me, guys. I’ll just be taking this.

LIAM: Storytelling!

LAURA: You weren’t even rolling those dice?

KHARY: Yes. All right, here we go.

MATT: You, having succeeded at some of your other business, begin to creep further into these tunnels and suddenly see a cluster of unidentified individuals rushing in here and attacking these gnolls in front of you and the surprise of it apparently puts you off for the moment.

KHARY: Just a little.

MATT: We’ll come to you in just a moment. Good to know. At the top of the combat round, Nott, you’re up first.

SAM: That was it? We cycled through a whole round of combat?

MATT: The surprise round. The humans can’t see anything, unfortunately. Everything you’ll be doing will be at disadvantage after this point.

SAM: I’ll have to move. I’ll lean around to get around that stalagtite.

MATT: Around here?

SAM: No, just so I can get an eyeline on the one I already shot once.

MATT: Back over here?

SAM: Yeah. Anywhere. I’m going to move right back in a second. I’ll lean around, reload. Oh, god! Fire again.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: Do I get sneak attack? No, right?

MATT: No, because you’re not hidden.

SAM: Shitballs. 20 to hit.

MATT: 20 hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

SAM: Eight.

MATT: Eight points of damage. That’ll do it, actually. As it’s holding the child and lifting it up by the arm in the air, it looks like it’s ready to run away and grab it with it. As it turns to flee, you catch it in the base of the skull and it falls to the ground. The child falls prone onto the floor next to the now lifeless gnoll body.

SAM: What does the child look like? He or she? It’s a boy?

MATT: It looks to be a young boy, probably between six and eight years old. You’re not quite sure of the age.

SAM: And human, I don’t know anything about. Is it injured?

MATT: You haven’t got a strong bead on it but he looks to be humanoid.

MARISHA: Six or eight years old?

MATT: Around that age group, you’d assume.

TALIESIN: Some would say seven.

LAURA: Yes! The field is ours now!

SAM: No! I’m too scared to go over there. No, there’s a child in need. We’ve got to help.

TRAVIS: You’re sober now, right?

SAM: Yeah. Nott’s going to scurry over to the boy as fast as she can scurry.

MATT: 30, and then you can use your bonus action to dash if you want to.

SAM: Yep, all the way to the little boy.

MATT: That’ll do it. You can get right to the little boy.

SAM: (screech)

MATT: As you run up, the little boy’s like, (screaming) Just starts screaming bloody murder in the tunnel.

[laughing]

SAM: I’m good! I’m a good one! I’m good!

MATT: (screaming) He starts crying even louder, somehow scared of you more than the gnoll.

[screaming]

LAURA: Now it’s a horror movie.

MATT: That’s your turn, Nott. Beau, you’re up. You’re hearing all these sounds, but you can’t see anything.

MARISHA: I’m going to turn to Caleb and be like: Can you do the thing? The lights?

LIAM: Get back to me in a second, in about nine seconds.

MARISHA: I’m going to wait until he casts Dancing Lights.

MATT: You can’t move in there if you hold your action, but you can move in and then hold your action if you want to. You’re just not quite sure where you’re walking.

MARISHA: Okay. Sure. I will stumble forward. I will head towards Molly because I’m going to follow his fluorescent purple coat.

TRAVIS: Just doing this?

MARISHA: Molly! Molly!

MATT: He’s easy to see because Molly has this faint, luminous glow around the sword from his right. You see that as a beacon. You’re like, “That I know, that I can follow.” You cozy up right next to Molly and carefully prepare yourself.

MARISHA: Where are they?

MATT: What action are you holding? If any.

MARISHA: I– Because I moved and I’m not near anything.

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: So I’ll take the Dodge action.

MATT: Okay. Dodge action. You’re just being careful. All right, ending Beau’s turn, Molly, you’re up again.

TALIESIN: I’m going to rush the undead one.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Spinning swords at bloody high speed and take two shots.

MATT: Go for it. Do you want to be on the higher ground here or–?

TALIESIN: Ooh! Can I do the higher ground?

MATT: Yeah, you can.

TALIESIN: I’ll do the higher ground. That’s exciting.

LIAM: Now taking the stage, it’s Mollymauk!

TALIESIN: That sucks! I’m taking your–

LAURA: I was trying to help!

TALIESIN: Nope!

MATT: And your off-hand?

TALIESIN: That’s a 15.

MATT: 15 does hit.

TALIESIN: Okay. Yep. No. That’s at least eight points of damage.

LAURA: That’s great!

TALIESIN: That’s okay. That’s okay. I’m now engaged in combat with him, so that’s fine. I am whirling dervish that hits nothing at this point.

SAM: As per usual.

TALIESIN: I’m a hippie with poi right now. Might as well be a pair of pois. Wah! Wah!

MATT: Good to know. End of Molly’s turn, Jester, you’re up.

LAURA: Oh! Okay. I’m going to move forward into the room. To about, yeah, there’s good, sure. I’m going to try it again. Did the guy up there get hurt at all?

MATT: Yeah, he’s been damaged, yes.

LAURA: Yes? Then I’m going to cast Toll the Dead at him.

MATT: All right. That is a 14.

LAURA: Fucking A, piece of shit!

TRAVIS: What’s the save?

LAURA: It’s 13 because I’m lame!

MATT: Sorry. As you try and release the energy once more, it can’t quite get a bead on the gnoll’s head. It’s moving around and dodging and you can’t focus on it.

LAURA: I’m going to start unsnapping my sickle to get it out to hit things.

MATT: Okay. As you’re fussing with this side, that’s the end of your turn. All right. Caleb, you’re up.

LIAM: I cannot see anything, so I cast Dancing Lights. I put one above my head and as soon as I get a little bit of light, I send one over Beau’s head and then I send one about 20 feet beyond Beau and then the fourth one, even beyond that one so there’s a line of four lights because I don’t know what the chamber is shaped like.

MATT: The chamber erupts into bright light like there’s four torches now lifting brightly at the entire space.

TRAVIS: Ah, god!

MATT: Bright visuals there, you can now see the child on the ground being scared shitless by the goblin trying to help. The undead gnoll that’s currently locked in combat with Molly. You see the two hyenas that are both snarling and getting ready to pounce on whoever comes too close. The one wounded gnoll over there. As well as, if you’d like to describe yourself.

(exclamations of excitement)

SAM: Where is he?

LIAM: You know, Matthew, the guiding lights, those little ’“foomphs” of light, they only have a 10-foot radius, so probably the edges of the line that I have cast just barely makes it flame.

MARISHA: They’re like market lights so it’s pretty. Yeah.

LIAM: Of course. It is, of course, pretty. Never mind, just continue.

MATT: Yes. So.

KHARY: The thing you probably notice about me, first of all–

TRAVIS and MARISHA: (high-pitched) Ooh!

SAM: No. You can’t have a better accent than all of us.

KHARY: –is my hair. My billowy, white afro.

TRAVIS: Yes!

KHARY: Fingers of curly hair radiating in all directions. That should be the thing that you notice first about me but that’s not it. It’s my eyes. My eyes, as white as my hair. My pupil-less eyes as white as my hair. As white as the hair dripping down from my chin to a straight point about three or four inches below. I think that’s all you really notice.

TRAVIS: Shit!

MATT: Caleb, do you wish to move?

MARISHA: I’m in love. What?

MATT: Caleb, do you wish to move?

MARISHA: Oh!

LIAM: Oh. Fuck that. I will stay where I am. No, thank you.

MATT: All right. Fjord and the gnoll going at the same time. What are you doing?

TRAVIS: Eldritch Blast again at that motherfuck.

MATT: As this gnoll here has taken the impact is going to rush over towards Mollymauk to attempt to take a strike. While another gnoll who’s bloodied and partially crushed is now hobbling its way up out of this tunnel and spins around to see you up against the side of the wall (growls and yips). All right, Fjord?

TRAVIS: 16 plus six, so 22?

MATT: That hits. The gnoll’s going to be striking you. That’s a three, that’s not going to happen. No.

TRAVIS: Eight plus four is 12 plus four points of necrotic for 16 total points of damage.

MATT: All right. The reason it misses is right as it swings towards you, Fjord raises the back of the sword and fires a blast of eldritch energy that hits the back of the gnoll’s shoulder as it tries to spin and strike you. As it does, it goes wide. It pirouettes on its foot and stumbles back into the open hole. (high-pitched yell)

TRAVIS: Oh, there’s an open fucking hole?! That’s good to know! Oh, shit!

MATT: Yeah!

LIAM: Did you hear the sound go (high-pitched yell)? So it’s not ten feet, it’s big.

TRAVIS: Okay. Good to know! Fuck.

MATT: You’re a ways away. It’s hard to see.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Uh-huh.

MATT: Described your initial description of the room, though, so now you know. As you, who has not given your name yet, but you turn around and see this gnoll as it looks towards you. It’s leaning towards– normally, it would be seven-foot, but it’s hunched and wounded and as it turns down, it snarls. Takes its spear and attempts to pin you to the wall a bit. That’s going to be a 12. What’s your armor class?

KHARY: My armor class is– what is it? It’s 15.

MATT: 15? It does not hit.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: As it swings, you push out of the way in time, parrying it with your hand and your cane off to the side and it smacks into the stone and sparks off of it for a second, hitting flint. All right, that ends the gnolls’ turn. The hyenas go. Both of these hyenas now, turning around and seeing what’s happening are going to rush forward. This one is going to run up alongside and attack Molly. This one is going to rush over to Nott.

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: Attacking Molly, that’s going to be a 16 to hit?

TALIESIN: That hits.

MATT: All right. It’s going to be–

TRAVIS: Dance harder, dance harder!

MATT: –two points of piercing damage. As it snaps up and bites the edge of your foot, you have to kick and shake it off on the rocks to get it to let go. The one that’s striking towards you, Nott, that’s going to be an 18 to hit?

SAM: Hits!

MATT: You take only one point of piercing damage. It gets one little bite on the side of your elbow and you immediately pull away and kick it instinctually in the chin, going (yelps). The kid is now freaking out of his mind as now there’s, from his perspective, two snarling beasts cornering in. That’s going to end the hyenas’ turn. All right. Your go.

KHARY: I would say, if this thing is this close to me.

MATT: Yeah, it’s right up against you.

KHARY: It’s right up against me. I think I should push him away.

MATT: If you feel the need, yeah.

KHARY: Let’s see. Thunderwave?

MATT: Certainly!

SAM: Skadoosh.

MATT: Is that a wisdom saving throw or constitution–?

LIAM: It’s a constitution save.

KHARY: That is a constitution save.

MATT: That is a three. A natural two plus, actually plus zero. So two.

TRAVIS: Oh, yeah, that fails.

MATT: Yeah, that fails.

SAM: Your spellcasting modifier–

TRAVIS: He rolled a two, you’re fine.

LIAM: 15!

KHARY: 15. It failed. Ah. Well, great.

MATT: 13, I believe. All right, cool. Go ahead and roll the damage of that.

KHARY: With this?

MATT: Well, it should say it on the spell there.

MARISHA: I think it’s 2d8?

LIAM: Thunderwave is 2d8. Yeah. 2d8 there. You want the one that’s shaped like a diamond. Here it is. Yeah. That’s good and then roll one more time. Oh, that’s good!

KHARY: Five and seven?

TRAVIS: 12. Damn!

MATT: 12 points of damage! As you turn towards it, describe what you do with your spell as the gnoll pulls back with its spear.

KHARY: I take my reed of a wand and whip it. Three times.

MATT: (whipping sounds) As the third one hits, there’s a burst of energy forward. You watch as the gnoll gets blown back, slamming into the stone wall and falls back to its knees before getting itself up. It was previously wounded, now it’s on death’s door. It looks like it’s starting to hobble and try and flee.

TRAVIS: Would you say you whip your reed back and forth? You whip your reed back and forth?

KHARY: I do. I whip my reed. I whip my reed back and forth.

MATT: Do you wish to move?

KHARY: I do. I wish to move away from this gentleman that I just knocked against a wall and how about we take a perch on top of– there we go, baby.

LIAM: Oh, look at that fucking miniature!

MARISHA and LAURA: So cool!

MATT: That finishes your turn. At the top, Nott, you’re up.

SAM: Okay, I’ve got this thing on my arm? So with my other hand, I will (high-pitched whimpering) grab its face (normal voice) and I will say a few a words that Caleb told me and cast Shocking Grasp on it!

MATT: Okay! What is the spell save on that?

SAM: Shit, how do I find out? You click on it.

MATT: Oh, it’s a spell melee attack. So go and roll–

SAM: Ooh! Nine.

MATT: No. You try and reach out, but the snout is too slobbery and your hand slips off of it and it discharges the spell having no effect.

SAM: (yelps)

MATT: (yips)

SAM: Oh, god.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Let’s see here. I’ve still got some bonus-y stuff. Can I disengage? No, because–

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: Okay. I’ll disengage, grab the boy, and try to lead him behind the– there’s an overturned table?

MATT: There is an overturned table. Yeah, these are overturned tables over here.

SAM: Like right there.

MATT: Oh, right next to you. Yeah, you’re right. Right there.

SAM: Can I do that?

MATT: You can, yeah.

LAURA: Will the hyena get a bite on the kid?

SAM: We’ll find out.

MATT: As you drag the child away, while you’ve disengaged, you pull the child out of the range of the hyena and it sees the opening and snaps out towards–

LAURA: Children have no hit points!

SAM: I’m sure this one is hardy.

MATT: (chuckles)

LIAM: (singing) Careful, the kids you pull.

LAURA: (singing) Hyenas will bite them.

MATT: The hyena bites down and its jaws clamp into the child’s clavicle and chest. You hear this clenched scream that’s immediately muffled as you watch a bit of blood begin to pour out of the side of his mouth. As you pull the child from its jaws, the child is alive. For now. Unconscious and bleeding out.

(groaning)

MARISHA: Thank god it wasn’t me this time.

MATT: That ends your turn, Nott. Beau, you’re up.

MARISHA: Okay, seeing the situation that Nott is in, I’m going to immediately run over and attack that hyena.

MATT: Putting you there easy enough.

MARISHA: I’m just going to run up and go, “Yeah, get!” Go kick and just kick it real hard.

TRAVIS: G-I-T.

TRAVIS and MARISHA: Git!

MARISHA: Natural 20.

TRAVIS: That it is.

MATT: Roll some damage.

MARISHA: I use my staff as a little bit like a jumping leverage point to give me a little bit of momentum and–

TRAVIS: Mini pole-vaulting?

MARISHA: Yeah. What do I do? I roll 1d8 and then double it. That sucks, but that’s six plus four, so ten.

MATT: That’s enough to do it. As you kick, the hyena gets launched and arc through the air, slamming into this table which busts it up against the wall onto its side and you can’t even see the lifeless body of the hyena. It’s currently buried beneath the overturned table. That’s your first–

MARISHA: Can I do a bonus action to use my med kit on the kid? My healer’s kit?

MATT: It’s an action to use a healer’s kit, unfortunately. You still have some movement.

MARISHA: I’ll just move over to the kid and hold the wound.

TRAVIS: Stem the flow?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay, so you get down with Nott at this point and you’re trying to think of some way to apply pressure to prevent the bleeding. Okay, that ends your turn. That brings us to Molly.

TALIESIN: I’m taking a roll at the big guy. First strike.

MATT: That’s right, I forgot to put the undead guy on the initiative order which he would have gotten a round. We’ll say you and him go simultaneously at this point since you engaged him.

TALIESIN: That’s fine because that’s a 19 to hit?

MATT: That’s a 13 to hit you. What’s your armor class?

TALIESIN: 15.

MATT: Yeah, even as it goes to strike at you with some sort of rusted battleaxe, you still manage to lift your foot out of the way and strike down towards it.

TALIESIN: This is with the good sword, so this– ooh, so this is (counting) 13 points of damage?

MATT: That’s adding your wisdom modifier?

TALIESIN: That’s adding my wisdom.

MATT: That’ll do it. You shatter it with a strike. As it attempts to swing towards you with the axe, you duck out of the way, spin around, and backhand it with your right enchanted scimitar, watching the bones (boom) explode and scatter across the ground. Like so many pebbles being thrown across the floor.

TALIESIN: With my off-hand, I’m going to take a swipe for the hyena over there.

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: Come on. There we go! 20 to hit.

MATT: That hits. Roll damage.

TRAVIS: It’s good to dispatch two in one turn.

LAURA: Yes!

TALIESIN: That’s nine points of damage. I would love to just kick that fucker right into the–

MATT: Yeah, you do.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: It gets down and jumps to pounce towards you and you lean back and kick it and it tumbles down to the darkness below. You wish to move?

TALIESIN: I’m going to move to the other side. I’m going to start running towards the stranger just to the left of– yeah, I’m going to move towards that cover right there.

MATT: Here?

TALIESIN: No, the other way. Towards me. Right there, yeah.

MATT: Gotcha. That ends your go, Molly. That brings us to Jester.

LAURA: Okay. Did I see the child go down?

MATT: You would’ve, yes.

LAURA: Okay. Then I am going to run over to the kid.

SAM: You don’t have to. Just kill– the kid’s gonna live.

LAURA: No, all these other people are helping this kid, so I guess I will too. Somebody better kill that big gnoll, though.

SAM: Do you really care about the kid?

LAURA: I don’t.

SAM: Then don’t help.

LAURA: I don’t care but now I feel guilty.

MATT: Are you going to healer’s kit, Cure Wounds, what are you doing?

LAURA: Should I use my last spell on this kid?

SAM: Hells no!

LAURA: I’m going to use a healer’s kit to stabilize him.

MATT: You don’t have to make a check for that. You get down and start pulling heavy rolls of soft cotton fabric and various balms to help treat the wound, and help staunch the flow of blood and bind the child to the point where it’s no longer on death’s door.

LAURA: The whole time I’m grumbling like: Oh I could have gotten that last Toll of the Dead! It would have heard a really good bell and instead I’m doing this!

(laughter)

MATT: Perfect, that ends Jester’s turn. Caleb, you’re up.

SAM: Angry healing.

LIAM: I cannot see anything except for Fjord, so if I move forward up to where he is, am I able to see any gnolls or any other kind of baddies where I am?

MATT: Right there you can barely see the one across the way that’s on the ground getting up.

LIAM: Then I’ll let my hand blacken and I will fire off a Fire Bolt at him from here. Which I’m sure will miss. Yeah it is. It misses.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: The call before it was clutch!

LAURA: Oh no!

LIAM: I turn to Fjord as it misses and say: Eh, yeah.

(laughter)

MATT: Okay!

TALIESIN: We’ve got to get you glasses.

LAURA: Oh my god, Caleb needs glasses!

MATT: Caleb needs glasses.

LIAM: I have them, they’re right here!

MATT: That ends Caleb’s turn.

LAURA: A new prescription!

LIAM: I need an intelligence bump is what I need. Boomp!

MATT: The gnoll’s been wounded. It is going to take a–

LAURA: Glasses make you smarter.

MATT: He’s going to take a longbow off its and looking over and seeing the Fire Bolt that almost struck it, it’s going to spin back towards you and pull and arrow. It’s going to take a shot at you from across the way, Caleb.

LIAM: What do you mean?

MATT: This one remaining wounded gnoll is going to take a shot at you with its longbow. Just checking real fast.

LAURA: Your scarf will protect you!

MATT: Yeah, sure! You’re well within its first range increment.

LIAM: I have a very high AC. It’s okay.

MATT: That’s a natural 20.

MARISHA: Oh my god!

MATT: However–

SAM: However nothing.

LIAM: Unload it, give it to me!

MARISHA: He’s trying to find a positive.

LIAM: No, don’t find a positive!

MATT: Oh, that’s good actually! He rolled a one on the weapon die. It was a d8, it could have been a 16. Two plus two, four points of piercing damage. That could have been a lot worse!

TRAVIS: That’s pretty bad for him, though.

LIAM: No, actually that hurts an awful lot.

MATT: The gnoll released the arrow. As it hits you in the stomach, it comes piercing out the other side, pinning your jacket to you torso. You feel like the pain and the warm pulse up your back from the wound. It’s almost numb at first and then you feel the shock hit you as the gnoll turns and runs this way.

LAURA: Oh no! I should have Tolled the Dead on him.

MATT: And he’s way over there. That’s going to ends the gnoll’s turn while you’re going Fjord. Because you’re going in the same round as this is happening, so you technically could intercept.

TRAVIS: I’d like to get line of sight on him. I look back at Caleb with his failed attempts and say: Let me try mine. I’ll move my Hex over to him.

MATT: The Hex is on him.

TRAVIS: I’ll fire an Eldritch Blast in his direction. That is only a 16.

MATT: A 16? 16 hits, actually. You needed a 15 to hit.

TRAVIS: Four plus four, eight. Plus three points of necrotic for 11 damage.

MATT: As it turns with its bow, Fjord runs around. Holding your sword out, another burst of eldritch energy smacks into the back of the gnoll. You hear (screeches) as it falls to the ground and slow bits of curling green and blue eldritch flame begin to burn and consume the corpse before eventually it goes out, leaving most of the body intact. Its back shoulder blades now a black cave where its body once was.

LIAM: You ganked him at the last second?

LAURA: Someone bring me those ears and bring them to my jar!

MATT: That being the case, the combat has come to an end.

LAURA: How many gnolls was that we just killed?

TRAVIS: Three.

LIAM: Well don’t we send a lot of them down the hole. We didn’t get their ears. So bad job.

LAURA: We only sent one down the hole.

TRAVIS: We got two ears.

MATT: Correct. They’re sets of ears. There’s the one there and then the one that was killed there.

LAURA: Right and then, one hyena set.

KHARY: I appreciate you all counting ears, but can we deal with the kid for a minute?

SAM: He needs some help!

LAURA: Do you see what I’m doing?

SAM: Who are you?! Ah! Who are you?

KHARY: I like your smile.

(laughter)

KHARY: Who am I? My name is Shakäste. Nice to meet you.

SAM: (swooning) He said Shakäste.

KHARY: You can thank my bird for knowing what you look like, actually.

LAURA: Oh, I saw your bird!

KHARY: That’s not just some bird. That’s the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna. They call her Stacy, but that’s not her name.

LAURA: (whispering) The Grand Duchess.

KHARY: The Grand Duchess. She’s a sweetheart, but she’s angry.

LIAM: It is very dark in here, what kind of bird is that you have?

KHARY: Oh, that would be an abrahum. That’s a dark, midnight hummingbird.

MARISHA: Hey, you’re a badass, what’s your deal?

KHARY: Well, right now my deal it to deal with this little person over here.

LIAM: Yes, handle this child, but then we’re very curious to ask a couple– I’ll shut up.

LAURA: Can you heal? Do you have healing? Because I’m stabilizing him don’t worry, but–

SAM: He doesn’t look good.

KHARY: I think I can maybe do something about that.

MATT: Perhaps. The child is wounded, but the child’s wounds have been tended to. He’s unconscious, but is no longer in immediate danger of dying. He’ll eventually need rest.

LAURA: And some doughnuts.

MATT: Perhaps some doughnuts.

LAURA: I take one and push it onto his face.

TRAVIS: No, no! Fresh doughnuts! You know do no harm, all that shit?

SAM: Can you do anything to help this guy?

KHARY: Well he seemed to be stabilized. I think the best thing we could do is to get him to safety.

TRAVIS: I agree. What were you doing down here? We ourselves were comin’ down trying to rescue folks.

KHARY: I tend to look over the people who happen to be around here. I come by every once in a while. I used to live and grew up in this place, or in the valley not too far from here. Probably just like you, I heard a commotion. I’ve taken a few of these people to safety. I’ve been trying to do it less overtly than some of you.

TRAVIS: We do make a bit of a clatter.

LAURA: We’re working on it.

SAM: Insight check!

[laughter]

11 plus, what am I adding? 13.

MATT: 13. He’s generally pretty forthright in speech, charismatic figure, you don’t get any sense of any immediate lying or conflict to the words he’s saying. You’re also not getting a full read, either.

SAM: How handsome is he?

MATT: Quite handsome. If you’d like to describe how handsome you are.

LIAM: Yeah, what do you look like?

KHARY: I would say I’m an old–

LAURA: On a scale from one to ten.

KHARY: On a scale from one to ten, I would call him striking.

SAM: Bachelorette finalist?

[laughter]

KHARY: You know what? I think he’s old enough that he’s gotten past all the bachelor-ing and the bachelorette-ing.

LIAM: Are you a gray fox, is that what you are?

KHARY: I would call him more of a shock of white. I mean, he’s a striking character. He’s got three dimples, one you can’t see. Two are pretty deep in his face and can be menacing, unless he’s smiling.

LAURA: What are you wearing?

KHARY: He’s covered in leather straps that are a tangle of brown and red and green that pretty much cover him from his neck to his calf where his boots start to take over. There’s a hood that he’s wearing, deep green. It goes down to his legs and a big enough hood that’s able to cover his ample locks.

LIAM: Meanwhile everyone is talking to this stranger, I’m going to edge up to this hole in the ground and hold onto rocks because I’m scared to death. Look over and send my globules of light down there to see if it’s a deep hole, if it goes a long way, what am I looking at?

MATT: As your lights begin to slowly drift down into the hole, they get about 50 or 60 feet down before you begin to see the bottom of the shaft. It looks to have been an intentionally created well-like hole that has since seen disuse. Currently ends into rocks and rubble.

LAURA: It’s a poop hole!

MATT: You see the broken body of a gnoll and the broken body of a hyena down at the bottom of it.

LIAM: We have to get this gnoll out of the bottom of this hole because that’s gold.

LAURA: He’s probably covered in really old poop.

LIAM: It’s still good for the monetary value that was laid out for us, so maybe on the way out we could send– We have a rope we could lower you down and you could slice it off.

SAM: Yeah, I could down there.

LIAM: Not right now, save it for a rainy day.

TRAVIS: Shakäste, my name is Fjord. We are, like I said, on a rescue mission. Are you familiar with these tunnels, at all? Have you been down here before?

KHARY: Have I been down here before?

MATT: The most you’ve been down was the opposite side of this tunnel here. There was a group up here where you had been working with previously, but only recently decided to delve deeper once you had made sure that those few were safe.

KHARY: Right, right. Well, I’ve done a pretty good job of taking care of the other tentacle of this cavern, I guess you’d say.

LAURA: Shaft.

KHARY: Yes, the shaft. That’s a good way of putting it. That boom you may have heard happened to come from me, so we’ve got a little bit less to have to deal with. This, I really don’t know what’s going on.

LAURA: Oh, speaking of, I stand up and I walk to the door where the little kid was pulled from.

LIAM: Wait, Nott, do you want to let her take a look at it? In case it could blow up on you.

SAM: I’ve seen their traps. I know their methods!

LAURA: Are there any ropes across the door?

SAM: Let me look! Are there?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

SAM: Five. Plus five is ten.

MATT: Best you can tell, it doesn’t appear to be trapped. It does have a simple latch that is only accessible from the outer side, but it is not locked.

LAURA: I knock on the door. Housekeeping! Is anybody locked in here?

MATT: A moment passes. There’s no response, but you hear the faint sniffing and whimpering of somebody on the other side.

LAURA: I think it’s the mom.

SAM: Let’s open the door.

LAURA: Okay. (turning noise)

MATT: You lift the small latch and pull the door open. First it hits you, a strong smell of decay. You see the back of this room is filled with piles of bodies or parts of bodies. It looks to be maybe four people in total that have been placed here. Then there’s one living woman, in her mid-thirties or so, who is wearing a dirtied apron. She’s covered in dirt. A spatter of blood, you don’t know if it’s from her or not. Her hair is ratted. She looks to be human. She’s currently huddled with her knees to her chest and there’s tear streaks down her face.

SAM: Is the, is the– Oh, sorry, go on.

KHARY: Can I walk to her?

MATT: Yeah. As you open the door you watch as Shakäste begins to approach and take the space.

KHARY: I look her in the eye. I put my hand on her chin, so that she looks me in the eye, and I tell her, shh. What does that make her feel?

MATT: You watch as there’s a brief moment of confusion, and then an expression of acknowledgement comes across her face. She reaches up and takes your hand. She goes, “Thank you. Thank you.”

KHARY: We need to get her out of here.

LAURA: Yes. Definitely.

MARISHA: Holy shit, this guy’s good.

TRAVIS: He is. Smooth operator.

SAM: Can I ask the woman, is this your child?

MATT: She turns around, and she goes, “Oh my god!” She runs over to him and immediately picks him up into her arms and begins to hold him.

LAURA: He’s alive, don’t worry.

MATT: (crying) “Thank you. Thank you.” She’s rocking the child in her arms, quietly rubbing his face and wiping a bit of blood off of his cheeks.

LAURA: Are there any other people that are alive that you know of?

MATT: “There are a few. I haven’t seen, but I’ve heard voices across the way, and they took a number deeper in, before they locked me in.”

LAURA: Oh. Can we run over to the other door?

TALIESIN: I was saying, if I’m not near the other door I’m going to start looking and unlatching it. Nonchalantly.

MATT: You unlatch it. You watch as the mother, who’s currently running her fingers over the hair of the boy, says, “Jules, it’s okay. It’s okay, Jules.” She pulls him in. The other door, as you open it, a familiar sight. It looks like there’s three bodies in here. These bodies seem to be placed in here for some sort of storage, for the time being. There is one figure you can see, a man in his older years. Half-elven in appearance, his features are a little sharper, a little more elven, but not fully. His hair is dark-brown, black to gray, and salt and pepper on the sides. He looks as disheveled as the woman you just uncovered.

LAURA: But he’s alive?

MATT: He’s alive.

TALIESIN: This is a personal question. Is there anyone alive in here right now?

MATT: “I’m the only one.”

TALIESIN: Oh! Well, we’ll take it. I’m swinging the door open and coming in.

MATT: You get up, and you can see now, there’s a large claw gash across his midsection that might be infected.

TALIESIN: If you wait a second, it’s only getting better.

MATT: “Who are you?”

TALIESIN: Oh, that is a question. We’re here to help. Come on out.

LAURA: We’re the rescue party.

MARISHA: Is there anyone else that you were with that’s no longer with us in there?

MATT: “I mean–” He points back and says, “I don’t know most of these folks, I was just passing through. We were bringing some of our armor-wares up to Zadash when we were waylaid on the road.

MARISHA: You didn’t get taken from Alfield?

MATT: “Oh, we were taken on the way to Alfield. We were almost there. They hit us right as they were reaching the city. We had no chance.”

TALIESIN: You got hit on the way to the city, not in the raid on the city?

MATT: “We were just arriving in Alfield when it hit.”

LAURA: Bad timing.

MATT: “You’re telling me.”

TALIESIN: Let’s get you out here, for a second.

MATT: The woman has come up once again to–

KHARY: I have a place for these people to go. It’s up on the surface.

LAURA: They’re safe there?

KHARY: They will be safe there.

LAURA: Do you have a cart to get them back to Alfield?

KHARY: Well, a cart was just the thing I was needing. What say we hang out?

LAURA: All of us together, like a big party?

KHARY: I’ve got nothing else to do.

LAURA: I like it.

TALIESIN: So many new friends lately.

TRAVIS: I am concerned that there are more further on in these tunnels, but I think you’re right, we won’t be of any use to these people if we don’t get them to safety first.

KHARY: Exactly.

MARISHA: How far was that tunnel to the surface? We cleared out this side.

KHARY: Have we lost our way from- or at least the way that I–

MATT: That tunnel’s not operational.

KHARY: That tunnel’s not operational. We’ve got two ways out here, I see.

MATT: You have this way, which appears to go deeper into the mine.

TRAVIS: Yeah, not that way, nope.

MATT: This way, which backtracks where you guys come from.

TRAVIS: That’s the one.

TALIESIN: Do we need to escort them or can we send them up to the surface?

LIAM: You know what we could do? If we want to check this cave for more people, is that we could bring them up to the cart and I could do that one spell that I have that would let me know down here if anything is happening up there–

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: Yeah. If the little bell goes off in my head then I know that either that something’s coming out–

LAURA: The good bell, not the bad bell.

LIAM: The good kind, ja. We would know, more or less, not 100 percent perfect, but pretty close. Then we could come back down here quickly, and see if there’s anyone else who needs help.

MARISHA: How long is it going to take to hike back the way we came?

MATT: Not too long, maybe 20 or so minutes back to the surface.

MARISHA: Let’s do it.

KHARY: That’s not bad.

SAM: Are we going to leave some folks down here to–

LAURA: No.

SAM: What if they repopulate all of these rooms that we’ve already cleared?

TRAVIS: We should move together. There’s no point in leaving just a few–

TALIESIN: If you leave your alarm up here–

LIAM: Well, I was thinking about getting them to safety outside. If anything leaves the mine, we’ll know it was them.

TALIESIN: That’s fair then, yeah. That’s a good plan.

LAURA: Let’s do it.

SAM: I don’t like this plan at all. What if someone– What if one of the gnolls wanders into this room and sees five of his dead brothers?

LAURA: Let’s throw them down the hole!

TALIESIN: We start kicking them right up to the edge, kicking them right in the hole.

MATT: One after another, you take the remainders of the previous battle and roll them into the hole in the center.

KHARY: Good call.

LAURA: Now they all look like they just left and had some–

SAM: There’s a whole other room with dead bodies in it that we also caused, and also ball bearings.

TALIESIN: Oh, people die all the time.

LAURA: You know, sometimes accidents happen.

TRAVIS: We’ll be coming right back down. We just need to get them to safety.

LIAM: You know, people don’t bare balls all the time, but I think it’s a reasonable risk at this point in time.

TRAVIS: Plus, we could take a short rest up top while we’re getting them folks to safety.

SAM: All right.

TALIESIN: I like this plan.

SAM: Are there any other boxes or things to search down here before we get out?

MATT: You can search if you want to.

LAURA: Yeah, let’s search around.

MARISHA: Oh my God. I crack boxes like fucking Zelda.

TRAVIS: Quietly, maybe?

MARISHA: Quiet, sorry.

LAURA: How many dead bodies do you think I could carry?

MATT: You could drag two.

TALIESIN: I’ll take a couple as well.

MATT: Because you’re pretty strong, you could drag two bodies.

LAURA: I’m going to try to drag some of the dead out–

MATT: Everybody else can take one each, I think, based on your strengths. You can take none.

KHARY: Yeah, my dragging days are over.

TALIESIN: We’re going to look around, see if there’s anything of interest.

MATT: All right, so two of you can make investigation checks on this one.

LIAM: I will help you look because I have an eye–

LAURA: You need glasses though.

LIAM: No, I have very– trust me, I mean I could roll for shit but–

MARISHA: He’s nearsighted.

LAURA: Oh nearsighted, I understand.

LIAM: That’s okay.

MARISHA: But you have advantage.

LIAM: Do I have advantage?

MARISHA: Because he’s assisting you.

MATT: If he’s assisting you, yeah.

LIAM: That’s a little better. Oh, yeah, it’s good. That’s 15. You know, for level three. Fünfzehn.

TRAVIS: (chanting) Level three. Level three.

MATT: In a quick glance through, a lot of it appears to be pickaxes, shovels. Most in here seems to be tools and anything of worth has been ravaged or taken. You find a few bits of rotted meat of indeterminate origin, that you immediately shrink away from.

LIAM: No, actually, I’m going to scoop up some of those pieces of rotted meat and put them in my pockets.

MATT: Okay. There you go.

LIAM: You can’t smell it.

SAM: No, it smells good to me!

TRAVIS: Could be good bait later.

LIAM: That’s why I’m taking it.

SAM: Any baubles or little doodads?

MATT: Nothing in this chamber, unfortunately. This one has either been picked clean or didn’t contain anything of immediate worth in the process.

SAM: Oh, I don’t care about worth.

MATT: I mean, there are plenty of bodies you could rummage through if you wanted to, but.

LAURA: As we’re walking them, Nott’s going through the pockets.

KHARY: Anything explosive?

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

KHARY: All right. How would I do that?

MATT: Roll a d20 and add your investigation skill bonus.

LIAM: It’s there by– good roll.

KHARY: Plus one.

LIAM: Yeah, 15 for him.

MATT: 15 as well. All right, so. Not in this chamber in particular, but as you guys are going through the other tunnel, you glance over in one of the overturned boxes and you find another familiar object, one of which you had used previously. Another singular stick with a long explosive wick on the end. You have another piece with you.

KHARY: Gingerly, I take it up.

SAM: Gently! You should be careful with that. Those can make big booms.

KHARY: This ain’t my first rodeo, baby. Thank you.

SAM: (flustered noise)

MATT: As he says that and turns, you watch as the small black hummingbird perches on his shoulder as he continues to walk.

SAM: He’s got a Frumpkin too!

LAURA: I’m dragging the bodies going, Duchess! Duchess Stacy, please come over to me! Duchess Stacy!

KHARY: Grand Duchess.

LAURA: Grand Duchess Stacy!

TRAVIS: We make our way back up to the top.

MATT: I’ll have you all– You can’t make stealth checks. You’re dragging bodies. Who’s carrying; how many bodies are you bringing back?

TALIESIN, TRAVIS, LIAM, MARISHA, and MATT: One.

LAURA: Two.

MATT: That’s four, five, six, seven.

SAM: I will go ahead of the party to run point.

MATT: Make a perception check for me.

SAM: 11.

MATT: Okay. You guys carefully make your way back up through, trying not to drag the bodies over heavy bumps or rocks, eventually making your way out of the main entrance way. You notice a trap that you had deftly avoided multiple times getting people in and out, of a large tree trunk that had been suspended in the roof to swing down when triggered, had been triggered and is now hanging there. Apparently somebody made an unfortunate mistake making their way through. You all eventually find your way out into the daylight once more. The woman, who’s now introduced herself as Herma, and the older half-elf man, Petrov, all step out into the light, blinking, bleary in the sudden influx of light. As soon as you make it into the open sky, you can see this breath of relief wash over both of them, and the young boy is now starting to come to consciousness again. Goes, “Mom?” She goes, “Shh! It’s okay; it’s okay.” She looks up over towards Shakäste, and has more tears in her eyes, and goes, “Thank you.”

SAM: I helped too!

LAURA: I stabilized him. I stabilized him real good.

MATT: “Thank you all so much.” You lead them over through the hills here, that cluster around where this mine once was, around the corner there appears to be a shed that’s been long abandoned and locked up. As you approach, you have been here previously.

KHARY: I take my reed stick and rap on the door.

MATT: “Is that you?”

KHARY: Shh.

MATT: The door opens and there you can see emerging four survivors, also from Alfield that, with bright eyes, welcome the arrival of this strange traveler, as well as the three other survivors you’ve brought in. As some of them begin to reunite with people that are familiar to them, people who live in Alfield and know each other, they begin to hold each other and take a moment to relish in this renewed moment of life. Then they begin to pour over the bodies that have been recovered, and they begin to identify them to each other, and then sadness takes over. Then once those waves have passed, individuals begin to go up and thank you, and take your hand, and a few of them are like, “Anything I can give you, please, just let me know. Thank you so much.” It’s a lot, to have at once, and for many of you an experience that is different and new. Take it as you will, however you wish to, but you also know time is of the essence, and not too much time can be spent on this.

LIAM: I would say that I did not partake in any of that. As soon as we exited efficiently, I pulled out the silver thread and I’m already doing my thing while they do that.

KHARY: I would say, to the people inside: Stay safe, stay here. I look at everyone else and say: this isn’t over.

MARISHA and KHARY: Let’s go.

LIAM and MARISHA: Let’s go.

TRAVIS: That’s a badass motherfucker, I’m just saying.

MARISHA: Yeah. I’m so about it. He’s so cool.

TRAVIS: I know. Number one fan club.

LIAM: I guess we do not need a perception check.

MATT: All the bodies are placed in a small pile and a large heavy piece of canvas material is placed over them to hide them. The shed is closed and locked, and they all seem to feel, at least for the moment, comfort and safety in this space, as you all begin to delve once more into the mines beneath the hills. I would like you all to make a stealth check, please, as you progress further in.

LIAM: Oh good. That’s my specialty.

LAURA: Ooh, I could give someone a blessing, who’s shitty at this? Blessing!

LIAM: Thank you. Ugh.

TRAVIS: Ugh.

KHARY: What am I doing?

TRAVIS: 15.

SAM and LAURA: Roll a 20.

KHARY: Roll the 20.

MARISHA: 25.

LIAM: Eight.

LAURA: With advantage?!

LIAM: Ja.

LAURA: Fuck.

LIAM: You brought me from a four to a seven.

LAURA: Oh, Jesus.

KHARY: 17.

SAM: 13.

LAURA and TALIESIN: 18.

MATT: Universally, you guys are all confident in your ability to delve without being seen, even making up for those who maybe not have been a less bumbling experience making their way in.

LIAM: I stubbed my toe!

MARISHA: Shh!

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Learn how to see in the bloody dark!

KHARY: You’ve got light, boy, you’ll be fine.

MATT: You make your way back through the familiar tunnel, and you can now see that the right tunnel, the one that you had previously seen the pitfall and decided to not head down into, is now a large cluster of rock and rubble.

LAURA: Oh, that’s where you came from?

KHARY: Mm.

MATT: You progress down through the ritual area, carefully avoiding a scattering of metallic ball bearings across the floor. You see an altar with candles on it that have all burned down entirely, except for a few tiny flickers. Is there any light source you guys are bringing down here with you?

LIAM: (spell effect)

MATT: All right, the balls of light now float as you progress, giving everyone who needs it sight. You head down into the familiar chamber where this last fray occurred, carefully avoiding the large hole in the ground. This is the only other exit from this chamber. You continue forward. Who’s taking point, and what is the marching order, please?

LAURA: Keep checking for traps, okay?

SAM: All right, that’s a good idea.

KHARY: Can I send the Grand Duchess?

MATT: You may.

TALIESIN: I’m not getting over that.

LAURA: Oh, the Grand Duchess and Frumpkin will be best of friends.

MARISHA: Do they like each other?

LIAM: Frumpkin was obliterated.

KHARY: –stay away from my bird.

LIAM: You know, it’s funny, because only about 30 minutes ago I also had a bird, but he was obliterated.

MARISHA: Oh, that’s right.

LIAM: It was very sad. I’ll bring him back tomorrow.

KHARY: Thanks for that.

(laughter)

LIAM: He and I, we are like that.

TRAVIS: It’s going on, it’s going.

SAM: He’s very charming.

LAURA: I feel like we’re seeing more of Caleb’s social awkwardness, seeing him from the outside, it’s so good.

TALIESIN: It’s everything I could’ve wanted.

MATT: As you take a moment to continue focusing, as you do, through the vision of your bird, (hovering hum) coasts down through the tunnel before you to keep an eye out. Make a perception check for your bird, please. Roll a d20, and add two to it.

KHARY: 17.

MATT: 17, nice. The bird’s perception, not his. That’s great. The tunnel descends at a moderate grade for about 80 to 100 feet before it levels off once more. Ahead, you see a set of rough stairs that rise for about five or six feet, leading to the remainder of the tunnel, and then curving to the left suddenly out of sight, slightly along this elevation. Right there, you have your bird (hovering hum), and right as the stairs ascend and turn immediately, there is the outer corner of a gnoll stands there waiting, keeping watch. (gnoll murmurs) Do you want to send your bird in further to check out the rest of the room or pull it back?

KHARY: She’s quick.

MATT: She’s pretty quick.

KHARY: I say move on.

MATT: All right. (hovering hum) Okay.

LAURA: It’s really smart that he made a hummingbird. That’s really fast.

TALIESIN: It’s really clever.

LAURA: It’s a pretty smart move, don’t you think?

LIAM: It’s not a cat.

SAM: One that can see in the dark.

LAURA: Yeah. I mean, it’s really smart.

MATT: As the Duchess moves further and up to the platform, the Duchess can see another portion of the floor that is collapsed inward into another falling pit that rests against the wall on the opposite side of where these stairs ascend. The tunnel curves to the left immediately, where this hole is on the top, and where it continues down there appears to be a large archway where there was once a set of double doors. The doors have been broken off the hinges and are not visible at current sight, but to each side of the frame, you can see two skeletal gnolls with bits of flesh and skin hanging off their bones and rib cage and snout, sitting there like silent undead sentinels looking around.

KHARY: Thank you so much. Come back to me, dear.

MATT: (hovering hum) Charging back to the tunnel, back to your shoulder.

KHARY: We have a friend about a hundred feet away. He’s by himself, but yeah, there’s just the one. Beyond him, there is more to deal with. I think we quietly take care of this gentleman first, and then we move on.

LAURA: Did you see any survivors?

KHARY: Not yet, but there are two sentinels and they are guarding something. I’m hoping that’s someone.

TRAVIS: Perhaps we can create a little bit of a lure to bring back that single fellow closer to us and we dispatch him quietly.

KHARY: It’s not a bad idea.

MARISHA: I reached into the ball bearings that I have left since I have about half. I take one and go– (ball bearing bouncing)

MATT: Down along to the grade? (ball bearing bouncing) Eventually, you can no longer hear any noise the ball bearing makes as it continues out of your earshot.

LIAM: I’m also going with the Dancing Lights. They’re not leading the way. The closest one is actually ten feet behind us like a choo-choo train back behind the group so that it’s dim light 20 to 30 feet ahead of us.

MATT: Okay. A minute passes. Two minutes. You don’t see any indication that anything noticed or heard.

MARISHA: Ah, shit! He’s stupid!

LAURA: Maybe he’s sleeping.

TRAVIS: Who’s real good at dispatching them quiet?

MARISHA: Nott, do you want to?

SAM: Don’t make me do this again.

TRAVIS: I tell you what, if you summon some courage, I’ll come with you.

SAM: All right.

KHARY: Could I give her some guidance?

MATT: You may if you are going to try to stealth it.

SAM: Sure, what does that mean?

LIAM: Just give you a little bit of boost, you know.

KHARY: I got a really good feeling about what you’re about to do.

SAM: Uh-huh.

KHARY: Like a really good feeling. Like the kind of feeling that will put a big smile on your face, you know, take you back home, make you feel like there’s a big–

SAM: I’m not interested in a relationship right now.

KHARY: Well, this isn’t working at all.

LAURA: Offer her shiny things.

KHARY: Ah, you know what? You know the way this is turning out, I feel like you can get all kinds of gold and silver.

SAM: Oh, yes! Pretty things. Sure, yes!

KHARY: Exactly.

SAM: Yes, absolutely. Give me something.

KHARY: Oh well, it’s waiting for you just down the hall. All you got to do is take care of a creature quietly and quickly.

SAM: I feel inspired.

MATT: All right, so make your stealth check and add a d4 to whatever you roll.

LAURA: Then I give you a Blessing of the Trickster for your stealth.

TRAVIS: What does that do?

LAURA: You get advantage, Fjord.

TRAVIS: That’s good.

TRAVIS: Oh god.

MARISHA: Did you roll the same thing?

TRAVIS: No, but not much better. Eight.

LIAM: Oh, low rolls at both?

TRAVIS: No.

TALIESIN: Plus a d4.

SAM: 18.

MATT: Plus the d4?

SAM: Oh no, d4. Sorry, not a four, but d4.

MATT: Not good.

SAM: 17.

MATT: 17. Okay. It’s just Nott? You’re going as well?

SAM: He’s going too.

MATT: The two of you begin to make your way down the hall carefully, ever so carefully, about 60 or 70 feet towards the bottom where you can both see the grade begin to turn up. Fjord, you discover why you stopped hearing the ball bearing, as suddenly you take a step and your foot slides up from under you.

MARISHA: Oh, shit.

MATT: You try and catch yourself and you manage to do so, but you dislodge a rock that begins making more noise than the ball bearing did. At which point you hear (growls and howl)

SAM: Does it see us?

MATT: It’s down below the grade and out of sight. It’s just the rock that began to make its way down.

TRAVIS: I screwed the pooch. I think y'all need to fucking join us.

MARISHA: Come back.

LAURA: We can’t hear you, you’re fucking 60 feet ahead of us.

TRAVIS: It was a really loud stage whisper.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: (echoing) -sper, -sper, -sper.

(laughter)

SAM: I will tell them, all right? I’ll point back to them and I will bring out my little piece of fabric. Wait. No, it’s a piece of wire and whisper into it and send a Message to Caleb that: We’ve been made. Start making your way down here.

(laughter)

LIAM: Oh, verdammt. It didn’t work, we’re in trouble, they are coming. I think they’re coming.

LAURA: Should we go down the tunnel?

LIAM: Come back to us please.

LAURA: Or should we go to them?

LIAM: I already sent the message.

MATT: Okay. So!

SAM: Are we sticking?

TRAVIS: What did he say?

SAM: He said “Come back to us.” I feel like we’re already here, we should just– oh gods. What do we do?

TRAVIS: I’m with you.

SAM: What does that mean?

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Let’s take them on. I feel like I’ve never felt. You and me, let’s take them.

SAM: Why are you big men making these weird speeches to me?!

(laughter)

SAM: All right, sure, I feel inspired again. I’ll take a swig.

MATT: You do take a heavy swig off of your flask, thank you. Both wait carefully holding your action until underneath you can see what emerges below the lowest part of the curving tunnel roof, a gnoll snout begins to protrude past. You can see the arrow already nocked in the longbow as it turns down and turns and glances up the tunnel to meet your guys’ vision.

TRAVIS: As soon as he fires, I will as well.

SAM: I will fire, my hand– how far?

MATT: Right now he’s about 30 feet below you.

SAM: Yeah. I can make that shot. (ping!)

(laughter)

MATT: Go ahead and roll an attack.

TALIESIN: Oh dear.

SAM: Ten.

TRAVIS: Oh, me?

MATT: Yep.

TRAVIS: 15.

MATT: Just hits. Misses.

MARISHA: 15 is the magic number.

TRAVIS: Can I say my bonus I move my Hex over to him?

MATT: At this point, your Hex has faded.

TRAVIS: Fair enough.

MATT: Since you guys hadn’t left before.

TRAVIS: I tried it. 20 up, 20 down that side.

MATT: Yeah, had you guys taken a short rest when you were up there or not?

MARISHA: I was hoping so.

TRAVIS: Oh, we did say we were going to.

LAURA: Then it would add another hour up there, wouldn’t it?

MATT: It would. It’s up to you guys. It may or may not affect things.

LAURA: I don’t really get anything back on short rest.

TRAVIS: I do.

MARISHA: I would get my ki point back.

LIAM: I would get a spell back, yeah.

TRAVIS: I think we should. We rescued the survivors, we gave them a little moment to grieve.

LAURA: I mean there might be more survivors.

TRAVIS: I know but–

LAURA: We rescued some survivors.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LIAM: We say ja?

TRAVIS: Yes.

LIAM: Ja.

LAURA: We took a rest.

MATT: All right, so before we jump into this, we’ll say you took the short rest, which is an hour, so you guys can use your hit dice. You hadn’t taken any damage, Shakäste, so you don’t have to worry about it.

KHARY: No but I was just thinking about– because I did use the Thunderwave.

MATT: That does not come back on a short rest.

KHARY: That does not come back, okay.

MATT: Yeah, it’s a long rest for you.

(background music)

MARISHA: Jesus, shitty rolls.

SAM: Is there a way to track the hit dice in (singing) D&D Beyond?

MATT: Yes, under hit points.

TRAVIS: Yeah. You hit short rest and it will pop up the number of hit dice you have.

MATT: It’s under the short rest.

LAURA: Yeah, under short rest, not hit–

SAM: Yeah, okay.

MATT: All righty, so, with that the case, you’ve taken a short rest. Now back to the current moment. You both fired. You missed, you succeeded to hit, go ahead and roll your damage on that.

TRAVIS: Thank you. 1d10 plus four. That is a ten plus four, 14.

MATT: 14 points of damage, all righty. As it looks up and gets hit in the snout and it looks back up and you can see the black, charred exterior of its head, one of its eyes is now ruined and he (growls). Its tongue is dangling out. You can see blood and slobber across the front of its chest as it looks up and gets ready to release its bow strike at you since you made the hit. That’s going to be a 23 to hit.

TRAVIS: Oh that definitely hits.

MATT: Natural 18. That’s an eight on the die, that is ten points of piercing damage to you.

TRAVIS: Damn.

MARISHA, TRAVIS and LIAM: (singing) Damn, damn, damn.

TALIESIN: I was watching this, I was going to head down this direction anyway.

MATT: Right, at this point you guys have now begun to head down, yeah.

MATT: You guys head down, it’s going to take the better part of the turn to get to where they are, unfortunately, because you guys were waiting at the very top. As soon as you see the lights go off suddenly and the impact of the spell from him and hear the snarling in the distance, you guys begin to make a full beeline and it takes you the full dash and movement to even get beside your allies. You guys get another round as well as the gnoll, so go ahead and make your attacks.

SAM: All right.

LAURA: You can do it.

SAM: I can do it.

TRAVIS: Here we go.

SAM: Sure, 18 to hit.

MATT: 18 hits.

TRAVIS: 21.

MATT: Hits. Roll damage. No sneak attack, unfortunately.

SAM: Five.

MATT: All right. Damage on you.

TRAVIS: On my bonus action, I’ll cast Hex as well. That’s five points of necrotic.

KHARY: Is my Guidance still helping at all?

MATT: The Guidance only helps for the next six seconds, so it helped him with the stealth check originally. You can do it whenever you want to as an action.

TRAVIS: Eight points of damage, five necrotic for 13 total.

MATT: As the gnoll pulling back its arrows, about to give out a large bellowing cry, makes a large inhale as it pulls back a second arrow and then both of you slam into it and watch as it falls to the ground, dropping its weapons that clatter against the stonework. It’s not longer moving as you guys catch up.

LAURA: I go running past them right as they do it and cut its ears off.

TALIESIN: I’m opening up the jar. There you are.

LAURA: Thank you.

TRAVIS: Pull it back into the tunnel!

LAURA: Oh okay. I do that.

MATT: Okay. You drag it back in, while you’re down you make perception checks, please.

TALIESIN: Both of us?

SAM: Her forearms are amazing.

MATT: If you’re helping yeah, both of you.

MARISHA: They’re bats, just baseball bats with arms.

LAURA: 15.

TALIESIN: 13.

MATT: As you rush down and grab the body, you glance up and whereas previously he described there was the singular gnoll and the two other skeletal ones in the opposite side, it appears that since it was given some indication of nearby sounds and it made that brief call before it began to approach, there are a few more gnolls that have appeared at the top of the platform above where the stairs crest.

LAURA: Do they see us?

MATT: No, they do not at the moment, but only because they’re not looking at your direction. As soon as you see it you immediately drag the body out of the way. I would like you both make a stealth check to try to quietly drag the body back.

LAURA: 16.

TALIESIN: 20.

MATT: You both don’t drag it, you both grab an arm and a leg and very painfully lift it up without making any sound and pull it out of range up the grade out of view as you watch one of the gnolls turns its face in your direction barely passing seeing you guys yank it out of sight.

LAURA: (whispering) There’s a lot more guys out there.

MARISHA: (whispering) How many?

MATT: You saw three visually appear.

LAURA: I saw three visually.

TRAVIS: Fucking Beau and her ball bearings.

SAM: Why did you drop a ball bearing down there?

MATT: To give you perspective on this, because it looks like we’re going on that direction.

(cheering)

LAURA: Oh god this means that–

MARISHA: It’s like a motion simulator ride. Whoa!

TALIESIN: Fun fact, Matt’s house is actually made of Dwarven Forge.

MARISHA: It’s true.

TALIESIN: Every wall, the kitchen.

LAURA: That would be amazing.

TALIESIN: It’s just Dwarven Forge all the way through.

MARISHA: No, I don’t know.

LIAM: You haven’t lived until you’ve slept on Dwarven Forge.

MATT: You now see.

MARISHA: Or our bed’s not on braziers, no.

LAURA and LIAM: Critical Role, Critical Role.

LIAM: Oh god, we’ve got to stop.

TALIESIN: I know, this has to end.

MATT: This leads into the grade that head up in an angle here where you guys originally shot the gnoll and dragged him out of the way.

LIAM: We are down that way?

MATT: You guys are over–

LIAM: Over this way?

MATT: You’re up in the tunnel here. It angles down there and this is where–

LAURA: Oh no. They’re coming. (whispering) They were about to look in this direction, but they weren’t quite looking in that direction when we dragged the body out.

MARISHA: (whispering) Okay.

KHARY: They’re not exactly–

MATT: They haven’t noticed anything yet. You guys are up in this way, and this is the layout here.

LAURA: Fjord, what do we do?

SAM: Don’t do anything yet. We have to figure out what we’re doing.

KHARY: Well, I’m meaning simply as a strategy. Should we use something to distract them? Since they’re already not looking our way, so that we could get a few shots at their back.

LAURA: Can you send the Grand Duchess in?

KHARY: I absolutely will. Can we start there?

MATT: You may. Yeah.

KHARY: Let’s do that. Find a safe perch, my dear.

MATT: The Grand Duchess makes her way down to the tunnel up. Let’s see if they see her.

SAM: Is she really royalty?

KHARY: That’s what she told me.

LAURA: Did she used to be a person and you shrunk her down?

KHARY: No, she is who she is, baby. Just like you.

MATT: She passes them over. There is one perch up on the side of the wall right above where this large pit is on the opposite end. She perches right over the side as two of the gnolls are still (growls). One of them begins to look over the table and underneath for any possible source of the noise earlier. One of them glances over his shoulder as the Duchess enters, begins to pull an arrow out of the quiver.

KHARY: Come back here, baby.

MATT: (bird noise). (growl).

KHARY: Thaumaturgy.

SAM: Oh no! It’s on!

MARISHA: Do it.

KHARY: Thaumaturgy. I’m sorry.

TALIESIN: I’m going to use my bonus action just before this happens and I’m going to activate the second sword.

MATT: Okay, you reduce your max hit points.

TRAVIS: I roll to maintain concentration because he hit me after I cast Hex.

MATT: Yes, please. Constitution saving throw.

TRAVIS: Oh no. Yeah, that’s a six.

MATT: Six, no, that’s a failure. You lose Hex, sorry buddy.

LAURA: Oh no.

TRAVIS: Got to be honest with him.

KHARY: Thaumaturgy. Can I brighten the room? How dark is it in here?

MATT: It’s pitch black aside from the globes of light that he has. There’s nothing to make brighter in there.

LIAM: It’s bright behind us, not in front of us so much.

KHARY: Let’s see, then, if it’s–

LAURA: You can shake the ground, though.

KHARY: Yes, let’s shake the ground so however well he thinks he can aim takes him off kilter.

MATT: For that instance, make a standard wisdom check for me. Roll a d20 and add your wisdom modifier which I think is–

LIAM: Oh, that’s a 19 natural roll.

MATT: As you feel the Duchess return to you and just past the vision as the Duchess passes over you hear the sound of the fingers gliding across the bowstring. You hear the creak of the wood as it’s pulled back. You know exactly what that sound means as you see through the Duchess’s eyes. You focus on the ground below and cause it to quake somewhat. Rolled a natural five plus four, with that shaking it causes the– it’s very localized in the area, the gnoll (yip) as it does, it releases the arrow and it whips past and shatters across the rock. The Duchess returns to your shoulder.

KHARY: Well, now I’m pissed.

SAM: Do they know we’re here now?

LAURA: He saw the bird come back this way so maybe–

LIAM and SAM: It’s just a bird.

LIAM: He might have even thought it was a bat.

SAM: Should we all turn into birds and confuse him?

LAURA: Do you know how to do that?

SAM and LAURA: I could try.

KHARY: Let’s try later. Why don’t we do things we’ve done before?

(laughter)

MATT: What are you guys doing?

MARISHA: Are we doing this?

LAURA: Let’s fucking go.

SAM: We’re going to go in or– this doesn’t seem very smart! I don’t know.

LAURA: I rub her head and give her a little blessing. Don’t you worry. You keep hiding whenever you need it.

SAM: What is this blessing?

LAURA: It gives you advantage on stealth checks.

SAM: Oh, okay. Thank you.

MATT: If this is the case, what are you guys doing?

MARISHA: Do we get a surprise round?

SAM: No, they know we’re here.

KHARY: No, they don’t know we’re here.

MARISHA: Or an earthquake. We’re in a shaft! Things shake a lot.

MATT: They’re aware of something in the vicinity. The first gnoll announced there was something fishy. They don’t know what it is or where you are, but they’re on guard.

LIAM: Surprised is like a condition. Like poison, but they know something is–

LAURA: Not surprised.

KHARY: If I used Sacred Flame on one– because if it’s dark in there and one of them burst into flames wouldn’t they all look in that direction?

MATT: It’s possible.

KHARY: Let’s try that.

LAURA: I could Sacred Flame him in the exact same time.

TRAVIS: While we’re waiting, can I cast Armor of Agathys on myself?

MATT: You may.

KHARY: I like this.

TRAVIS: (hissing sound) I pull the moisture out of the air and it forms frost all over me.

MARISHA: It’s got a little moss on it from the cave?

MATT: As you have this conversation you turn back and you watch as Fjord, the rather handsome looking half-orc, finishes muttering something under his breath and the shadows coalesce into this dark, cold, icy armor that shatter into bits of shards around the exterior of his leather armor. You watch as this mist rises off of it.

TRAVIS: Everybody chill.

LIAM: No, you ruined it! It was so good!

MARISHA: It wasn’t cool when Arnold said it.

TRAVIS: Wait, everybody. Be cool.

(laughter)

SAM: Stay frosty? Stay frosty.

LAURA: I pull my sickle out so I’m prepared for actual up-front combat.

TALIESIN: I’ve got both of those sticks going. I’m ready for this.

MATT: This guy’s moved forward to here. This guy’s moved forward to there. They’re in the process of searching the area, looking down the tunnel.

LAURA: Which one do you want to hit? The orange one, the gray one, or the black one?

KHARY: Did we see those other ones over there?

MATT: You saw them, the skeletal ones there.

KHARY: That’s what I thought. I thought my baby saw them. I say, I think we need to get those fellows to turn back and look at those fellows.

LAURA: We can’t see those guys to Sacred Flame them.

KHARY: I can’t see them anymore?

MATT: You guys are up in this tower right now, so you’d have to send Duchess back in to see.

KHARY: Isn’t that always the way?

LAURA: We could get the one in the back, and then the other two might look at him.

KHARY: I think that’s a great idea, darling.

LAURA: Let’s do it.

LIAM: Can I say, I change my mind every five minutes about whether this group was a good idea or a terrible idea, and I’m listening to these chuckleheads talk to each other, and I’m waiting to cast Blur on myself when it looks like everybody’s going to do something, but I’m waiting until the last minute.

LAURA: I knew it was Blur!

LIAM: Good for you. You get a doughnut.

KHARY: Sacred Flame, on the gentleman in blue.

LAURA: At the same time I see his little reed flick, I’m going to swirl my sickle around and cast Toll the Dead.

MATT: All right, on this guy there?

LAURA and KHARY: Yeah.

MATT: As you guys slowly bring your way to the base– which in order to get you in the space where you can see them, that would put both of you rushing right down to the base in that area. If I can get a marching order to where the rest of you are, by the way.

LIAM: Hey, I’ll be in the back.

MARISHA: I’ll take the front.

TALIESIN: Let’s take a line of the three of us, at least.

TRAVIS: Yep. I’m good with that.

MATT: You guys rush forward to take the line as they–

TRAVIS and MARISHA: Linemen.

SAM: I’ll be back with Caleb.

MARISHA: Yeah. I knew what that meant.

TRAVIS: You going to be a guard or a tackle?

MARISHA: Oh. Tackle. I’m probably a guard.

MATT: As you all rush in below, you both release Sacred Flame and Toll the Dead on the guy in the blue. That’s a wisdom saving throw for Sacred Flame, I believe it is?

LAURA: It’s a dex save for Sacred Flame and a wisdom save for Toll the Dead.

MATT: That’s right. A wisdom save for you, that’s a 13?

LAURA: 13.

MATT: Yeah, it succeeds. Sorry. For you, it’s 13 as well for your DC. That is a five.

LAURA: You couldn’t have them roll that for me?

MATT: Sorry.

(laughter)

SAM: It’s Crystal Pepsi.

LAURA: I really love Crystal Pepsi.

TALIESIN: Original run.

MATT: Roll damage for the Sacred Flame, which should be– What’s the damage on the spell?

KHARY: The damage on the Sacred Flame is– The spell’s damage increases by 1d8 when you–

MATT: Yeah, so it’s 1d8. Go ahead and roll 1d8 radiant damage.

KHARY: 1d8 is this thing?

KHARY: One.

LAURA: Ugh. That’s okay. It was for visual anyway.

KHARY: It was. That’s true. I would have wanted the–

MATT: You watch the light burst in.

LIAM: I’ve pulled the ripcord on Blur if they’re doing that.

MATT: You cast Blur. That all happens in a quick instant as they rushed forward and you guys caught up. Now we’re rolling initiative.

MARISHA: Fuck yeah.

TRAVIS: Let’s get this one right.

MARISHA: Son of a fuck!

LIAM: There is a vision of me before me and also behind me, flickering in and out of view.

MATT: 25 to 20. 25 to 20 anybody?

KHARY: 20.

TALIESIN: A real initiative roll. That’s something.

MATT: All right. 20 to 15?

SAM: Nobody got 20 to 15?

TRAVIS: Can I call you Shaq?

MATT: 15 to ten?

KHARY: No.

TALIESIN: 13.

LAURA: Ten.

SAM: 11.

TRAVIS: Molly, Nott, and Jester?

MATT: Jester, you got ten?

LAURA: I got ten.

SAM: Ten to 15. Ooh, boy.

TALIESIN: Wow, really?

MATT: Ten to five?

LIAM: Siebzehn.

MARISHA: Eight.

TRAVIS: Caleb’s before Beau?

MARISHA: What’s zip– seven?

LIAM: Siebzehn is seven.

MARISHA: No, I am.

MATT: Beau, what did you get?

MARISHA: I rolled a nine.

MARISHA: Five plus four. Nein.

TRAVIS: I rolled a three.

LAURA: Oh, Fjord.

MATT: As the gnolls are all clumping together, preparing for your onslaught right at the edge of the hole with the furniture on the opposite side there, the two skeletal gnolls who are getting ready to rush into the fray. Top of the round is Shakäste.

KHARY: Let’s see. Frostbite.

MATT: Okay. Against which one?

KHARY: Let’s see. Oh, wait, first of all, they burst into flames, this gentleman burst into flames, and when that happened, what did these gentlemen– how did these gentlemen react?

MATT: The two other gnolls glance over at the side, and then look towards the tunnel where you guys were. It didn’t seem like it was much of a distraction for them, unfortunately, in the moment.

LAURA: Right as we all ran in at the same time.

MATT: Unfortunately, it wasn’t a sourceless cluster as you guys all made your way to the base.

KHARY: All right then, I say the one closest to us, I will hit with Frostbite.

MATT: All right. Would that be that one there?

KHARY: That would be that fellow.

MATT: All right, go for it. Frostbite he has to roll against your DC, so I roll it for you. That is a natural one, so go ahead and roll damage on that.

KHARY: All right. That is the diamond?

MATT: It should be, is that a d8 for that one as well?

KHARY: Yeah. Wait, by 1d6.

MATT: Okay, so it would be d6. I’m pretty sure it’s a d6 for the cantrip.

KHARY: 1d6? Is that this one?

LIAM: That is that one, yeah. The cube is a six. Hey, a three.

MATT: Three points of cold damage to him, and he has disadvantage on his next attack roll. Suddenly, a similar cold to what you saw coalesced around the armor of Fjord, this time it’s attacking and freezing inward, and you watch as the gnoll (gnoll pain sounds). It’s shaking briefly, you watch as its muscles are beginning to slow down and become sluggish. Do you want to move, or do you want to stay where you’re put?

KHARY: Let’s see. Actually, I feel pretty good right behind these fellows.

MATT: All right, so you stay there. That ends your turn. The gnolls will now go. The three of them are going to begin to back away, and they’re all going to take strikes with their bow.

SAM: Ranged attackers.

MATT: They all pull out their arrows, and each are going to make a strike. The one you frostbit is going to attack you, it has disadvantage.

SAM: Guys, let’s all cluster up at the bottom of the stairs.

MARISHA: Sounds great. Yeah.

MATT: It was a three and a two, with disadvantage, so no, it misses you entirely. It actually gets partially caught in the ‘fro, and makes its way to the back.

KHARY: Oh man, I’ve got beads in that thing, baby. Got to be careful.

MATT: Missed them all, thankfully. The next attack in the front is going to be against Beau, and then one’s going to be against Molly, since you guys are the most visually impressive of the front row color-wise. You blend into the surroundings a little bit comparatively, so against Molly– Man, they cannot roll, that is a six.

TALIESIN: I slice it, catch it in the spin.

MATT: (grinding sound) Just grinding toothpicks. The one versus you, Beau, that is a 14.

MARISHA: Miss.

MATT: Dodge out of the way.

SAM: Devil sticks?

KHARY: I think that’s what they– yeah. I seem to remember them being–

MATT: All right, Molly, you’re up.

TALIESIN: Goddamn it. I’m going to hop up and move to the left. I’m not even going to use the real stairs, I’m going to get to the side up on that barrel over there.

MATT: There?

TALIESIN: Yeah, and use Vicious Mockery on the one closest to us.

MATT: That’s a 15 on the saving throw.

TALIESIN: So he’s fine.

MATT: So he’s fine, unfortunately.

TALIESIN: (devilish voice) Ack! Fuck! Can’t finish it!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Talk tough.

MATT: You can keep using your movement if you want or you can stay put.

TALIESIN: I’m going to get to the– No, I’m going to stay back because I’m a little– yeah, I’m going to let other people come up first.

MATT: Okay. Ending your turn Molly, it’s Nott, you’re up.

SAM: Oh. Excuse me, pardon me, pardon me, excuse me. I’m going to cut through the front and go as far up the stairs as I can go.

MATT: (counting) 30.

LIAM: Careful.

SAM: Take one shot, at the one who looks frosty.

MATT: That’s that guy there?

SAM: Yeah. (crossbow sound)

MATT: Make the attack.

SAM: Oh, boy, 12.

MATT: 12, it does hit, and then splinters off the armor. Off the ice in particular.

SAM: (groans) I will, bonus action, go right back to where I was.

MATT: (goblin yell) You rush back down. That finishes your turn Nott, Jester, you’re up.

SAM: Pardon me, excuse me, excuse me, pardon me.

LAURA: I’m going to move forward, up to the other side. Yeah, can I see them?

MATT: You can see them.

LAURA: You know what? Fuck it. Should I do this?

MARISHA and TALIESIN: Always.

LAURA: Fuck it. I’m going to climb up the stairs.

SAM: (imitating Laura) Climb up the stairs. Hello, gentleman.

LAURA: Then I’m going to Invoke Duplicity!

SAM: Shaka-pow.

MATT: Where’s it going to appear?

LAURA: It’s going to appear next to the– yeah, right there.

MATT: Right there?

LAURA: She’s going to be like–

MATT: The one gnoll goes (growls). All right. Seems immediately confused by the appearance of two Jesters in proximity.

MATT: That’s your action. That’s your go?

LAURA: Yeah, and then can I use my movement to crouch behind this table?

MATT: Nah, that’s as far as you can get with your movement, unfortunately.

LAURA: Okie dokie.

MATT: Ending Jester’s turn. These two guys come into play. This one rushes up and swings at the illusory Jester; passes through, no effect. This one’s going to– five, six. It does not have a ranged attack, so instead it’s going to rush forward and engage with you right there.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: It’s now Beau’s go.

MARISHA: Okay. Is it dark in here?

MATT: It is dark. You currently, there’s a little bit of light that you have–

LIAM: The closest globule is ten feet behind us.

MATT: Yeah, you’re seeing action happen up ahead, and you’re like (groan). You don’t have a good bead. You can still do things, but you’re considered blind, so you have disadvantage on any attacks that you make.

MARISHA: Can I run up to the guy that just came up to Jester and wait until that light comes up from Caleb?

MATT: Yeah, you can hold your action if you want.

MARISHA: Hold the attack?

MATT: Okay. All right, you’re holding your action. You rush up and you can see the outer glimmers of bits of bone and its body moving as it rushes in to harry Jester.

MARISHA: When I hold my action, can I also hold my bonus action with that?

MATT: No. Only your action, unfortunately.

MARISHA: Can I use my bonus action to spend a ki point and do patient defense?

MATT: You can.

MARISHA: Let’s do that.

MATT: You go into a defensive potion there, all right.

MARISHA: I can still attack when it comes, right?

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: Okay. Thank you.

MATT: That ends your turn. Caleb, you’re up.

LIAM: My choo-choo train of globules of light go (whirring) and float over all our heads–

MATT: Lighting up the vicinity here.

LIAM: Yeah. I’m already falling into a routine with my other human friend here, because I know that she’s a badass, but not without light. The globules pass her and curve to the left a little bit, and one floats above her head. The last one.

MATT: Okay. Perfect.

MARISHA: As soon as it comes around me, I’m going to use the staff with the light as it comes and crack it down over top of his head.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: Natural 20! I rolled an eight on my die! (sings) Max all the way around. That’s 16 plus four! I’m not going to touch you right now. I’m sick. There we go. I’ll hit the elbow. 20!

MATT: All right, so as the light emerges above, you leap into the air, swing the staff, bring it straight down, as it does–

MARISHA: Can I have the light following behind me as I run up?

MATT: Yeah. It splinters the skeleton into pieces all around its entire body, crushes and collapses to the ground. Scattered across.

MARISHA: Fuck yeah.

KHARY: Anastasia, did you just see that?

(laughter)

MATT: Caleb, rest of your turn?

LIAM: That was it. No, I’m staying where the hell I am.

MATT: Stay where you are, all right. That finishes your go. The light is in the room. The end of Caleb’s turn, that is now Fjord.

LIAM: Ah! I’ll move up 15 feet. Sorry, I apologize, Entschuldigung.

MATT: 15. There you go.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I’ll come up the stairs so I can get a line of sight on any of those motherfucks.

MATT: There, 30?

TRAVIS: Actually, I’ll be behind Beau.

MATT: Okay. Behind Beau right there.

MARISHA: I hug the wall, let Fjord do his thing.

MATT: I’ll put you right there. We’ll just lean you.

TRAVIS: Coming through!

MATT: There. Oh, excuse me!

TRAVIS: Eldritch Blast.

MATT: Which one are you shooting at?

TRAVIS: The closest one.

MATT: That’s the one that’s been frosted. Go for it.

TRAVIS: Only 14.

MATT: 14, for against him, does not hit.

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: Unfortunately. It manages to strike some sort of shield on the side that shatters. It’s bolted to its forearm. It pulls it up just in time to deflect the Eldritch Blast. It cracks the shield and does damage to its exterior, but no wound to the actual gnoll.

TRAVIS: Fair enough. That’s my turn.

MATT: That finishes Fjord. Top of the round, you hear this (hyena barking and growling).

MARISHA and LAURA: Oh shit.

MATT: (heavy footfalls)

LAURA: Oh no, it’s the general!

MATT: Watch as an armored gnoll–

ALL: Here comes the general!

MATT: In the back of the chamber.

LIAM: Gnoll Washington!

(laughter)

LAURA: We are outgunned.

ALL: What!

LAURA an KHARY: Outmanned!

ALL: What!

MATT: Outnumbered, and crossbow. As the pack lord approaches, cackling at the sight of you, you see a look of recognition on its eyes as it pulls back its longbow and is going to go ahead and fire immediately at– Well, first I’m going to see– It does see through the illusion, so it does not fire for the fake Jester; however, it does fire for you, the actual Jester.

TALIESIN: I’m going to use Blood Maledict.

MATT: You currently do not have visual.

TALIESIN: I do not have visual?

MATT: Not in your current position, nope.

TALIESIN: Damn it. Fine.

MATT: So that’s an attack on you with a longbow. That is going to be a 15.

LAURA: Doesn’t hit me!

MATT: Doesn’t hit you.

LAURA: 17! I put my shield up.

MATT: It splinters across the shield, no impact. That’s going to end its go. We’re now at the top of the round. It’s your turn, Shakäste.

SAM and MARISHA: (whisper) Shakäste.

KHARY: Aid.

MARISHA: A rakshasa.

KHARY: I don’t know, this big guy’s got me worried. This may take a little time. Nobody seems to be able to hit shit right now.

TALIESIN: Welcome to the game!

KHARY: Yeah, so I say myself and my two brave warriors who are so far frontal, Mrs. and Mrs.?

MARISHA: Yeah.

KHARY: Let’s all take Aid. I will, and so will they.

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: What is Aid?

MATT: Aid, is that 2nd-level?

KHARY: Aid is 2nd-level, yeah.

MATT: I believe you both get five additional hit points to your max, and five hit points.

LAURA: Me?

MATT: Yeah, so the three of you, your max hit points go up by five.

LIAM: Oh, nice.

MATT: You gain five hit points on top of that.

TRAVIS: Damn.

MARISHA: I turn to Shakäste and I say: Are you a motivational speaker or something?

KHARY: I pack them in on the Menagerie Coast, baby.

TRAVIS: He knew the location!

MARISHA: He totally did.

TRAVIS: He fucking studied up!

LAURA: There, it’s already at 30, so 31?? Sweet.

MATT: All right, as you feel this sudden burst of physical hardiness surge within, this warm glow in your belly that helps stir you up to the future of physical impact and damage. That’s your action; do you want to move at all on your turn?

KHARY: Sure. You know what? I think I’ll move up a few feet, and I’ll also take Anastasia and put her a little further forward, but at a safe distance from these people.

MATT: All right. Like this direction, or this direction?

KHARY: Actually, yeah, closer to me. Yeah, there we go.

MATT: We’ll put Anastasia perching on the wall there, looking that way.

KHARY: I like it.

MATT: Okay. That ends your turn. It’s now the gnolls’ go. This one is going to rush forward towards you. This skeletal one is going to rush forward towards Jester. This one’s going to stay back and continue to fire at Beau. It’s going to take a step back there. This one’s going to stay where it is and take a shot at Beau as well. We have one gnoll that’s attacking you with a spear. That’s a 12.

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: You deflect it with your sickle, which you’ve unhooked from earlier. Just grab it and (shing) off to the side, parrying it. The skeletal witherling rushes up and is going to attempt to strike at you with a bite actually. It’s going to lash out with its horrible bony maw. That is going to be a ten.

LAURA: Ha.

MATT: You pull the shield up a little higher. Teeth shatter and break and fly off around the exterior of the shield.

LAURA: I look over at Beau and I’m like: I’m doing you!

MARISHA: Good job!

MATT: As you’re doing that, “Good job!”, you look back just as two arrows go flying towards you from the two other gnolls. They both have disadvantage, I believe, right? Because you took your defensive stance.

MARISHA: Yep.

MATT: All right, which is good because that would’ve been a 20, and an 11.

MARISHA: Miss, miss.

MATT: Well, that’s the first attack. I rolled a 20 and 11. You dodge out of the way. The second one is going to be a 21 and a 22.

MATT: That hits.

MARISHA: See if I can catch another arrow.

MATT: You take six points of piercing damage.

MARISHA: I’m going to do my Deflect Missile.

MATT: Reaction, right.

MARISHA: I’m going to try and do like a frisbee catch in the air.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and roll your die.

MARISHA: It’s a d10, right, d10? What was it, six damage?

MATT: Six piercing damage.

MARISHA: Five plus my seven, so yes.

MATT: All right, so the first arrow you dodge out of the way, and the second one you see it coming out of the way. There’s a brief moment where time seems to (whirring) and you catch it right in the middle of your hand. It pulls you back a little bit and looking down you can see the arrow is there, right in the middle of your grip.

MARISHA: (stuttering) We’re so cool right now! Yeah!

KHARY: You’re welcome.

(laughter)

MATT: That’s going to end the gnolls’ go. Molly, you’re up.

TALIESIN: All right, I’m going to try and run up the stairs toward the undead guy.

MATT: There you go.

TALIESIN: I’m going to take a swing at him. That’s 14 to hit?

MATT: 14 hits him.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: Only a 12 armor class.

TALIESIN: Wow. Let’s see what we do. That’s (counting) 11 points of damage?

MATT: 11 points of damage is just what you needed. With your first strike, infused with the rite, you streak down with your first blow and your scimitar carves through the upper part of its shoulder blade into its ribcage. As you do, you watch as whatever necrotic energy’s holding its body together suddenly dissipates and all the bones clatter to the ground in a pile.

TALIESIN: I’m going to keep running and to get to the other side of that other gnoll.

MATT: This one here?

TALIESIN: Yeah. Actually, if there’s any way, can I get all the way around him?

MATT: (counting) Yes, there is.

TALIESIN: Yeah! I don’t know if this is helpful, but I’m going to take my second swing. That’s 18 to hit.

MATT: That hits. Roll damage.

MATT: You don’t get the bonus to your wisdom, but you still have the rite on that one.

TALIESIN: That’s ten points of damage.

MATT: Ten points of damage on the other.

LIAM: Regular gnoll.

MATT: Using the momentum of that first strike, you continue running and with a backwards swipe carve through the back of the other gnoll. It arches its back with pain as you carve this giant wound across the back of its shoulder to about where the base of its spine is, and you see blood beginning to flow from its wound where the bits of the armor are separated, and the fur poking out from within the haphazard hide. I believe that ends your turn?

TALIESIN: That ends my turn.

MATT: All righty. End of Molly’s turn. Nott, you’re up.

SAM: (whimpers) That’s my turn.

(laughter)

SAM: No, I will run up behind Shakäste and I’ll peek around and fire at the frosty one right in front of Jester.

MATT: Okay. Go for it.

LAURA: (whispers) Frosty.

SAM: Yeah, 24.

MATT: 24 hits, and you do get sneak attack because it is currently–

SAM: Yeah!

LAURA: Engaged!

TALIESIN: So engaged.

LIAM: (Picard voice) Engage.

SAM: 12.

MATT: 12 points of damage. It’s already taken 11 from the rest of you, so that finishes it off.

(cheering)

MATT: You wait for the moment where Jester moves out of the way. As it’s pulling back and beginning to try and strike again with its spear, and take the shot and watch as it hits right in the sternum and pulls back its spear and with its final thrust of momentum, falls to the ground into a pile and is now bleeding out of its mouth as it’s unconscious and dying on the ground.

LAURA: I’m a really good fighter you guys!

SAM: Bonus action, I will cast Mage Hand and pull back the cloak around Shakäste’s cloak, to see what’s in his back pocket.

MATT: Can you cast it as a bonus action?

SAM: You can use it as a bonus action.

MATT: Meaning you cast it as an action. You can’t do that yet.

SAM: Then I will do this with my hand.

MATT: Make a sleight of hand check. I need you to go ahead and make a perception check.

KHARY: Ah, yes.

SAM: 22.

MATT: Roll a d20. Add your perception skill modifier.

TRAVIS: Come on, 20.

LIAM and KHARY: No.

MATT: Yeah, you don’t notice it. What does he see hanging off the back of your belt?

SAM: Anything off the belt, in the back pocket?

KHARY: Oh, gosh, what do I have back there?

TRAVIS: What don’t you have back there?

KHARY: Yeah, what don’t I have back there?

SAM: It’s assless chaps!

(laughter)

KHARY: He sees a pouch that’s relatively full, I would say.

MATT: Okay. Just hanging right there on the back of the belt.

SAM: Okay. Good to know. That’s my action; that’s my bonus action.

MATT: That’s your action. That finishes your turn, Nott. Jester, you’re up.

LAURA: Okay. That went really well, so I’m going to run– Oh, god, there’s three of them right there.

TRAVIS: They’re going to spread pretty soon.

LAURA: I know, but–

TRAVIS: Right after you.

LAURA: What am I going to do? I’m going to run into– Oh, no, that’s really dumb. I’m going to use my duplicate and she’s going to Toll the Dead.

MATT: To which one?

LAURA: To the orange one.

TRAVIS and LAURA: Come on, Toll the Dead!

TRAVIS: One time!

LAURA: It’s a wisdom saving throw!

LIAM: Toll house.

TRAVIS and LAURA: Roll low!

MATT: It did! It rolled a seven.

(cheering)

LAURA: This is a really loud gong. He takes four damage.

MATT: Four points of damage. All right. That was to which one of these two?

LAURA: The orange one.

MATT: The orange one, okay. Both of them have been damaged now, a little bit. You watch as it shakes its head for a second, and it’s beginning to string another arrow. That finishes your turn?

LAURA: Oh, had he not been damaged yet?

MATT: He had not been damaged before.

LAURA: I shouldn’t have rolled a 12. I should have rolled an eight.

MATT: Then roll that eight.

LAURA: Six damage.

MATT: Weirdly, more damage.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: Well, there you go. Now he’s damaged. Good catch on that. That end your turn or do you want to move? Well you moved your– oh, that was a bonus action.

LAURA: As a bonus action I did that, so I’m going hop up on the table that I’m next to.

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: That’s your turn. That brings us to– all, no, both of the skeletons have been destroyed. That’ll bring us to Beau’s turn.

MARISHA: All right. I’m going to vault past everybody. Well, never mind they all moved. I’m going to run up right into fray.

MATT: Five, ten, 15, which one?

MARISHA: Right in between the orange guy and the gray guy.

MATT: There you go.

MARISHA: Hit, and then I’ll probably do my Flurry of Blows.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: I’m going to run up, I’m going to go for a rib shot with the bo. It’s not a good roll. It’s not great. 12.

MATT: 12 does not hit. As you rush forward to swing with your first strike, the one that’d been firing at you from the previous round notices your approach, throws the longbow over the arm and brings up the shield in the same motion and deflects the quick thrust of your staff.

MARISHA: Uh-huh. Okay.

MATT: If you’re doing Flurry of Blows you have two more attacks on it.

MARISHA: Yeah, wonder if that’s a good idea. Maybe I should– I’m going to Patient Defense this again. Do I have a bonus attack?

MATT: No, you do that instead of your bonus attack. You hit once, it gets deflected, and you spend your bonus action to do Patient Defense.

MARISHA: That didn’t go as well as I thought.

MATT: That’s all right.

TALIESIN: That’s okay. You’ve engaged them, which means they’re less likely to use their bows.

MARISHA: That’s true.

MATT: That ends your turn. Caleb, you’re up.

LIAM: I don’t really have a clear view of what’s going on so I would, on this wall here, I would inch five or ten feet up the cave to see what’s going on.

MATT: You get just about there.

LIAM: I see a gigantic gnoll and– okay.

MATT: The one that you saw earlier in Alfield and that you–

LIAM: The big one. I’m going to do what I did to him before and I’m going to bring my hand once around, twice around, three times around and cast Scorching Ray on that one only. First is a 17.

MARISHA: Come on, Caleb!

MATT: 17 hits.

LAURA and MARISHA: (cheering)

LIAM: Second one hits as well, and the third one also hits.

(cheering)

TALIESIN: Take that.

SAM: Those are the only hits he’s had all campaign.

MARISHA: Guys, I think Shakäste makes us better people.

LAURA: Shakäste, stay forever.

MARISHA: He makes us better.

LIAM: 18. That is a total of 20 of fire damage.

MATT: 20 points of fire damage.

(cheering)

MATT: That’s awesome. As he turns the corner, the two gnolls back out of the way and you see it standing there. It has its large two-handed glaive in its hand, its shield slung over one shoulder, the bow over the other, and seeing this for the first time, you see this larger, muscular, more dark-furred gnoll that looks like the leader of this cluster, this pack. The armor it has is chunks of chainmail and hide armor that are patched together where a number of long, thin spines, like heavy, bone-like spikes have been woven into it like a decoration to make it look extremely intimidating. Right as it grins and gets its glaive ready, it gets blasted with three beams of burning arcane energy as they hit and impact you watch as the flames curl up and it has to pat it out with its giant hand. (snarling) It took the hit like a champ, and it seems like it’s hurt, but it’s still doing pretty well.

LIAM: I wipe my arm down and say: Oh boy.

MATT: Is that your turn?

LIAM: Yeah, that’s done.

MATT: That was a good round. That finishes Caleb’s turn. Fjord, you’re up.

TRAVIS: I pick myself up out of my prone position there on the–

MATT: Well technically you’re not prone, sorry.

TRAVIS: I know, I was commenting on the way I was laying. Can I come up to the top of the stairs, right there? Keeping some of my movement left, and can I cast Eldritch Blast, at the gnoll that’s standing in front of the big bad baby?

MATT: Right there? You may. Go ahead and roll the attack.

TRAVIS: 17.

MATT: That hits, roll damage.

TRAVIS: Nice. That plus six, that’s eight points.

MATT: Eight points of damage. That one, as it’s notching another arrow into its bow it takes the impact off of its shoulder. It grazed it.

TRAVIS: With my bonus action, can I cast Hexblade’s Curse on the big motherfucker and say: Come on, you sack of shit, come get me.

MATT: You may. We’ll mark him with the Hexblade Curse with this big old angry black circle to mark him as the target there.

TRAVIS: Can I use the rest of my movement to go back down the stairs?

MATT: You may.

LAURA: Come get me, you coward!

MATT: That ends Fjord’s turn. Back of the combat round, it’s now the pack lord’s turn. The pack lord returns to this way–

TALIESIN: Attack of opportunity– oh, no.

MATT: No, it steps through the one and is going to turn this way, and rear back for a giant kick. It’s going to make a shove attack against you.

TRAVIS: That’s not a pit, is it?

MATT: Yeah, that’s a big ol’ pit.

TRAVIS: I thought they were stairs!

MARISHA: But we couldn’t see that!

SAM: It’s another poo hole.

LIAM: I had no idea that was there!

TALIESIN: Blood Maledict to all fuck.

MATT: He already has disadvantage because of Patient Defense.

LIAM: We can imagine that, Matt. We needed the fear of god.

TALIESIN: Oh, look at that.

MARISHA: (groaning) Well. I’m suddenly having regrets.

MATT: One and 17. What’s your armor class?

MARISHA: 17.

MATT: Oh, shit! All right, so, hold on.

SAM: Does that hit or not?

MATT: It hits. We’ll see with the shove.

TRAVIS: I think it’s five feet unless it’s stronger. Could be ten.

MATT: I’m seeing if there’s a contested check, we haven’t done the shove in a while here.

LIAM: Yeah, that back wall perfectly blocks that whole thing.

MATT: I’m so sorry, guys. That’s my bad.

MARISHA: Totally probably wouldn’t have even have run up.

MATT: That’s my bad.

LAURA: It’s fine. You’re just going to die.

MARISHA: It’ll be great.

SAM: You’ve got a staff. You can jam it into a thing on the way down.

MARISHA: Yeah! In more level I get Feather Fall. That would’ve been nice.

LIAM: Your eldritch knight is going to be great.

MARISHA: Thank you!

MATT: Oh, actually it doesn’t have a roll of attack against you, technically, so that wouldn’t have mattered. It’s a contested athletics versus your–

MARISHA: Versus my strength, right?

MATT: Versus your athletics or acrobatics, your choice.

MARISHA: I’ll take the acrobatics.

LIAM: Come on, ninja!

TALIESIN: Oh man!

MATT: I’ll check real fast to see if your Patient Defense affects that at all, not sure if it does.

TRAVIS: Give her your energy, guys. What the fuck are you doing?

TALIESIN: You don’t want my energy, it’s been bad.

TRAVIS and LIAM: (chanting, rhythmic breathing)

MARISHA: Are you looking for patient defense shit?

MATT: Yeah, it doesn’t affect this roll, unfortunately. It’s just a straight roll.

MARISHA: Oh, it doesn’t?

MATT: Nope. It’s a contested roll.

TRAVIS: You got this.

LIAM: (chanting) Monk monk monk.

LAURA: (glumly) I know what he rolled.

MATT: It’s a natural 20.

(yelling)

MATT: You can come look at The Snitch right now.

MARISHA: You did this! If I die it’s on your head!

TALIESIN: You can make this go away at any time.

MATT: Make your acrobatics check. It’s not an automatic success.

SAM: Just roll a natural 20.

MARISHA: Oh my god. Pick the dice that I use.

LIAM: A natural 20?

MATT: It’s a 23 total. It only has a plus three strength bonus, so.

LIAM: This is clearly a case of the husband favoring the wife.

MARISHA: I don’t want to die. (yelling) Ugh! Goddamn it! That happened before!

MATT: It was almost an 18 and it went to a four. So! He shoves you, not actually with the shield. He pulls back and Sparta kicks you. Right as you turn to try and defend, whack! It hits you right in the sternum and you get pushed back five feet, which puts you right on the edge. I need you to go ahead and make a dexterity check to try and catch yourself.

MARISHA: Make a what?

MATT: Dexterity saving throw.

MARISHA: Saving throw? (Panicked breathing) I’m good at this.

LAURA: Don’t say those things, Marisha.

TALIESIN: Yeah, we’re not good at anything. Let’s stop pretending that we’re good at anything.

TRAVIS: Yeah, because you did have patient dodge going, right?

MARISHA: I had Patient Defense, but–

MATT: It’s against attack rolls, but I feel like I just saw something. For dodge action, “and you make dexterity saving throws with advantage.”

MARISHA: I do?

MATT: You do, so roll with advantage.

MATT: It’s a high DC, you have to beat I think with this and the impact that hit you, you have to beat an 18, so go for it. You have advantage!

LAURA: You can do it.

LIAM: Advantage and have a good bonus.

MARISHA: I have to roll at least a 12.

LIAM: You’ve already fallen off one cliff, you’re not going to do it again.

MARISHA: That’s an 11.

LAURA: Oh god!

MARISHA: Please be better.

LIAM: It’s the exact same thing.

TRAVIS: Two 11s! Two! 11s!

MATT: You watch as Beau slips, can’t get a grip, and then falls and tumbles into the pit below.

MARISHA: (fading scream)

TRAVIS: Oh. Shit.

LIAM: Blind justice.

SAM: The pit is six feet deep.

KHARY: There’s a grate on that– can you grab it?

MARISHA: Busting fingernails.

MATT: That’s what she was trying to grab as you fell back. That was the dexterity saving throw, because it was a grate. You suffer 11 points of bludgeoning damage, which– it’s not bad. You fell 40 feet and landed on your back onto hard rocks and stones.

TALIESIN: Could have been worse, although you are our tank.

MARISHA: (wheezing) It knocks the air out of me, so going to be sick, I guess. Hit real good. (normally) 11 points?

KHARY: Did the aid I give help at all with that?

MATT: Oh yeah!

MARISHA: Oh, right. Hang on.

MATT: You have five more hit points than you had before the battle started.

TALIESIN: Yeah, it halved the fall damage. That’s so mean.

MATT: That ends his go. Shakäste, you’re up. You watched Beau fall into this pit behind–

LIAM: What a turn around.

KHARY: God.

MARISHA: (wheezing) I’m good. I’m okay.

SAM: There’s an old man down in the bottom of the pit.

KHARY: Good to know. Let’s see, I’m running out of spells. Let’s see. I can’t do this anymore because

LIAM: Well, you can do this a million times.

KHARY: I can do this a million times?

MATT: You have four 1st-level spells per day you can cast and two second. You’ve used one 2nd-level, so have one of those, and you’ve cast Thunderwave before, so you still have three 1st-level spells.

KHARY: I still have three 1st-level spells.

MATT: Correct. You can cast with any of those.

KHARY: Let’s see. Would it be best– could I Command the big guy?

MATT: You could try.

MARISHA and MATT: You can certainly try.

MATT: What do you want to Command him to do?

TRAVIS: Or one of the smaller ones if you want a higher rate of success, maybe.

LIAM: Maybe get a little bit closer.

KHARY: Right, maybe, yeah get a little bit closer in order to–

LIAM: Not all the way.

KHARY: No, I can see him just fine.

MATT: Yeah, you can see him, the big guy.

LIAM: 60 feet of range on that.

KHARY: Yeah, how close am I to him?

MATT: He’s within range. He’s about 30 feet from you.

KHARY: Let’s see, if I asked him to drop or asked him to fall– could I ask him to fall on his fellows?

MATT: You can’t ask him to fall on somebody else’s weapon. You can ask him to drop prone if you want to.

LIAM: Yeah, what are they, like “lie down” or “drop your weapons” or it’s a single word, so “drop.” Drop everything in his hands, or you could say “lay.”

SAM: Turn, jump.

LAURA: Drop his weapon, no don’t listen to me, do what you want.

LIAM: You could say “dance” and he would just start dancing.

KHARY: The target doesn’t move and takes no action. How about– oh, you know what? Drop,

TRAVIS: Keep going.

LAURA: Yeah, that’s pretty good.

KHARY: I say: Halt. I say we tell the big guy to halt. Not to mention, “halt” is good, because he’s actually standing in front of his dudes as well, that’d give them– that would make it harder for them to move.

MATT: So what do you say as he finishes kicking Beau into the pit and turns (snarling).

KHARY: Halt. Is what I say. Halt!

MATT: It looks back towards you, and I see the spell DC is 13 for you. That is a two, it does not succeed. You watch as it puts its weapons down for a second and looks right at you, eyes wide, confused as it turns its head (inquisitive sound).

SAM: Does that last a round?

LAURA: He keeps his weapons in his hand, though?

KHARY: Yeah.

MATT: Yeah, it takes no actions for its next urn.

KHARY: Yeah, he doesn’t do anything.

MATT: Do you want to move or stay where you are?

KHARY: Let’s see, I actually feel pretty good about where I am.

MATT: It’s the gnoll’s turn.

KHARY: I can still see everything, right?

MATT: Yep. These guys are going to back up a little bit, and they’re both going to take shots, one at Molly and one at Jester. At Molly, that is a 16. What’s your armor class?

TALIESIN: It hits.

MATT: It hits? You take four points of piercing damage. Attacking against you, Jester. A natural 20, I’m sorry.

LAURA: Could they tell it was my illusion right there?

MATT: They noticed earlier, unfortunately.

LAURA: Damn it.

MATT: That’s okay, it’s not too bad. That’s eight points of piercing damage.

LAURA: Oh. Oh! I’m going to take it.

MATT: Okay. That ends their turn, Molly, you’re up first.

TALIESIN: I’m going to rush around to the left of the big guy. His left, I’m sorry. Right over here. Right in there. I’m going to take two shots and see what happens.

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: Do I have advantage or anything because he’s not moving, or–?

MATT: No, he just doesn’t make action on his turn.

LAURA: Can he not react either?

MATT: He can react, but he doesn’t– He can’t take any actions or move on this turn.

TALIESIN: All right. That hits, that’s a 23.

MATT: That hits, roll damage.

TALIESIN: I’ll roll damage on that. He doesn’t get the bonus, does he? None of that special power against him?

MATT: No, you don’t.

TALIESIN: Ooh, that’s nice! 13 points of damage.

MATT: 13 points of damage from that first strike. You carve through the body. Its eyes still locked on– (chuckles) Its eyes are still locked on Shakäste, not looking away, going (grunts).

TALIESIN: Shot number two is 21 to hit.

MATT: That hits. Roll damage again for that one.

TALIESIN: That’s seven points of damage. I’m going to try and see what happens if I disengage.

MATT: All right. So as you back away.

TALIESIN: I’m going to back away towards me.

MATT: That way. It sees you walk away and makes a strike towards you.

TALIESIN: Does he try and make his strike?

MATT: He does.

TALIESIN: I was just curious. I was going to hit him if he’s going to try and hit me. I’m going to hit him right back with Blood Maledict.

MATT: Okay. That’ll give him disadvantage.

TALIESIN: I’m going to use the full Blood Maledict so I’m going to take a little damage. Yep. Oh, I take my three points of damage. I start bleeding again from the neck.

MATT: As his eyes go black and you watch him begin to bleed from the corners of its eyes. The second roll for that attack was a three plus five. So yeah, it misses you; it’s an eight.

TALIESIN: I’m going to back up a little further to get–

MATT: Like over here?

MATT: Ending Molly’s turn, Nott, you’re up.

TALIESIN: Right up here, if that’s okay.

SAM: No one’s in sneaky range. I’m going to caress the little pouch, little bit. Looking up to Caleb to see if he’s looking at me at all.

LIAM: I’m not, by the way.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: Trying to make good choices. I will leave the pouch and draw the hand crossbow and run up a few stairs and then I will crouch down on my knee and hold my attack until someone is within sneak attack range.

MATT: Okay. So you’re holding that there. Ending your turn Nott, Jester, you’re up.

LAURA: Okay. I’m going to run forward and attack him because he’s not moving at all.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: He doesn’t have a reaction, so you can back away now.

TRAVIS: Dude, Command is clutch.

MATT: So both of you guys make your attack. Or whatever you’re doing, Jester.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: 23.

LAURA: 16.

MATT: 16 also hits. Both of you guys roll damage.

TRAVIS: 16 hits?

SAM: 15.

MATT: 15 points of damage.

LAURA: Four points of damage.

MATT: How do you guys want to do this?

(cheering)

MATT: Currently held.

LAURA and SAM: (yelling)

SAM: Jester! We’ve solved the mystery!

(laughter)

SAM: It was him! He did it!

LAURA: It was you!

LAURA and SAM: (yelling)

MATT: As you collide with the gnoll pack lord as you release a bolt that strikes it in the throat.

LIAM: We’ve got four jokes this campaign.

MATT: The bolt sinks through one of the eyes as the sickle hits the other and it (choking) and it tries to make one final thrust before the halt magic prevents it from doing so and it (falls).

MATT: And falls to the ground.

TRAVIS: Dude, thank you for that. Because of that, I regain hit points equal to my warlock level plus my charisma modifier.

MARISHA: Oh because your Hex thing?

TRAVIS: Really appreciate that.

MARISHA: That’s awesome.

LAURA: Yeah, we do. Wait, what kind of weapon was that guy holding?

MATT: That was a glaive. It was a large two-handed polearm with an axe head at the end of it.

LAURA: That’s really big.

MATT: It’s pretty big.

TRAVIS: Seven points I heal. That’s fucking sweet.

KHARY: Which means to bluff.

TRAVIS: To blathe!

MATT: That ends Jester’s turn. That brings us to Beau.

MARISHA: (groaning)

MATT: You’re like (groaning). You get up from prone, so it’s half your movement.

MARISHA: Fuck, that’s half of my damn movement?

MARISHA: All right. Can I do some cool monk shit and do like a (wall jumping) to get out?

MATT: It is a small enough space, I’ll let you make an athletics check or acrobatics check instead of athletics.

MARISHA: Is it small enough to where I can do the wedge myself–

MATT: It is not small enough for that, unfortunately. It’s about a ten foot gap, but you can leap from side to side or you can climb with athletics. It’s your choice.

MARISHA: Is leap from side to side also athletics?

MATT: That’s acrobatics to do that.

MARISHA: Yeah, that one. Let’s do that one.

MATT: It’s monkish. Go for it.

MARISHA: Monkish? Okay. 19.

MATT: You leap, leap, leap, leap. You get about 20 feet up your movement before you have to grab onto the wall to stop yourself.

MARISHA: 18. Sorry.

MATT: That’s fine. Still enough. And if you wanted to use an action to dash, you could make it the rest of the way up.

MARISHA: Yes.

MATT: Pole vaulting off, parkouring up the wall until eventually you leap and get back up to the top.

TRAVIS: Hey!

MARISHA: Did you guys know there’s a hole?

TALIESIN: I did not know that. Did not know that.

TRAVIS: We did not.

MARISHA: Now I climbed out of the hole to two gnolls. Hole to gnoll?

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: Cool.

MATT: Ending Beau’s turn, Caleb, you’re up.

LIAM: Caleb, who was just going into his bag to pull out a ro– oh, she does not need the rope, okay. So instead I pull out the diamond and I start spinning it around and it turns to thunder and I sent that flying into the tannish colored– Chromatic Orb to that one, yeah.

MATT: Right there? All right, roll for the attack.

MARISHA and TRAVIS: Thunder.

LIAM: That hits. That is a 20 to hit.

MATT: 20 hits. Roll damage.

LIAM: Yeah. This is thunder damage is a total of… oh, just eight, you know. Just eight points of thunder damage.

MATT: Eight points of damage. It impacts and it looks like really hurt now and it’s like (heavy breathing). It’s getting ready to run. It looks like it’s in the process of deciding to flee.

LIAM: Okay. This looks good. I’m going to back down the stairs and stand by Shakäste, I think. Diplomatic immunity!

(laughter)

MATT: Finishing Caleb’s turn, Fjord, you’re up.

TRAVIS: Can I use my full movement to come back up the stairs as far as I can? 30 feet.

MATT: There you go.

TRAVIS: Eldritch Blast into the darker gnoll. Yes.

MATT: Go for it. Roll to attack.

TRAVIS: Plus six. That is 21.

MATT: That hits. Roll damage.

TRAVIS: All right. That is (counting) 15 points of Eldritch Blast damage.

MATT: That one, seeing the other one about to flee, tries to turn to meet gait right before your Eldritch Blast slams it in the back and core through its abdomen, leaving this burning hole in the center before it falls to the ground and collapses dead. Its friend going (whimpering). It’s now looking scared and ready to bolt. That ends Fjord’s turn.

TRAVIS: Yes.

MATT: Pack lord’s gone. Shakäste, you’re up. There is this one who’s very wounded and about to flee.

KHARY: Yes. I will run a few steps up and hit it with Sacred Flame.

MATT: All righty. That is a natural four. It does not succeed so roll damage on that one. d8 radiant damage.

LAURA: You got up!

MARISHA: I did! It took everything.

LIAM: All good! Sechs!Sechs-y.

KHARY: Six.

MATT: Six points of damage. That’s– aw man, almost! As it bursts into flame, its body is now singed by the radiant energy that’s burned around its torso. It’s breathing heavy and limping and it’s going to go ahead and– is that the end of your turn?

KHARY: Is that the end of my turn? That’s a great question.

MATT: That’s your movement, your action so.

KHARY: I moved and I action so bonus action? Is there some?

MATT: If you have anything that could use a bonus action.

KHARY: I know that there’s something here that has a bonus action.

MATT: You have a spell that does it, but I don’t think it’s going to be helpful right now.

LIAM: Spiritual Weapon.

KHARY and LIAM: Nah.

MATT: Yeah, hold off on that. Okay, so that ends your turn. It’s going to turn and bolt. It was right up against you, so you do get an attack of opportunity on it.

MARISHA: Oh, yes! Fuck you!

LIAM: It’s got one hit point.

MARISHA and LIAM: Yes!

MATT: Roll damage.

MARISHA: Okay, okay, okay. One! Plus four, so five damage.

(cheering)

MATT: As it spins to run away, you’re like “No you don’t!” (whack) and slam it on the head. It falls. (grunt) “Again!” You just slowly bash it to the ground until its head’s a mashed-in pulp.

(cheering)

LAURA: Wait! Not the pulp, we need the ears!

MARISHA: Oh shit. Oh no. Is there still an ear left?

MATT: Yeah, you can pull the ears out. There a little wet, but they’re functional.

LAURA: That’s three gnoll sets and I’m going to mark one as super special because it’s big.

TALIESIN: We’re also going to go through the pockets of the big one, obviously.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: All right. we’ll come back and begin that right after we take a quick break. So we’re going to take a quick break. I’m going to sit back down here. We’ll continue the story here in just a moment, but before we do that, real fast, we have a couple things. One, we have a gift here from Wyrmwood for our resident monk over there.

MARISHA: What, really?

LIAM: With a letter.

SAM: I didn’t get a letter!

MATT: Apparently, she’s got fans at Wyrmwood.

LIAM: Patrick Rothfuss again?

MARISHA: Oh wait, this is to all– wait. Oh. It was probably addressed to me because of Geek & Sundry.

MATT: That’s probably it.

MARISHA: But this is to all of us. “To the cast of Critical Role, while–” Hang on, let me make sure.

SAM: It’s mostly cursing.

TRAVIS: What is that word down there?

MATT: Open it! While she’s reading it. Wyrmwood is giving away two Adventurer’s Arsenals, which we’ve shown previously on weeks here, that are zebra wood. If you guys haven’t seen it, Wyrmwood’s last Kickstarter. It’s a packaged dice box and then on the inside, holds your dice, holds your pencil or pen, eraser or mini. All magnetized in there. We’re giving away two of these at the break to anybody who wants to enter.

MARISHA: It’s mine.

LIAM: It’s yours.

MARISHA: Yeah. It is a gift for me.

MATT: There you go.

MARISHA: It’s so great.

LAURA: Thanks, Wyrmwood. Thanks for Marisha.

MATT: Oh, they give us plenty. Anyway, two of you will win this. When you’re prompted in the chat and only in Twitch chat, to use the keyword 'hush’. H-U-ace-H-S. H-U-S-H. There we go, I can spell. Brain not working, too much math. Hush in the chat, when you’re prompted. Only enter once or you’ll be disqualified, but we’ll come back with two winners after the break. We’ll see you guys here in a few minutes.

TRAVIS: I’ve gotta pee!

TALIESIN: Nice.

BreakEdit

[break]

Part IIEdit

MATT: Hello and welcome back everybody. So, before we jump in here, we have our two winners in the chat of the Wyrmwood giveaway. They are Grugswald.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Grugswald and onegirlx10. Congratulations to you guys, Grugswold and onegirlx10, Danoba will contact you and get your information and get those sent to you in the chat. Congratulations and we’ll have more of these in future episodes. They’re awesome. They’re pretty rad.

MARISHA: They came fully stocked. Look at that. Look at how jealous Laura is. Look at that. It fuels me. I love it.

MATT: I would be careful.

TALIESIN: I’m here more than you these days. You better hide that thing.

TRAVIS: Other people’s dice.

LIAM: All those dice that you could check before the game. You could roll them.

MATT: Bringing it back in, guys.

LIAM: We’re all real good friends.

MATT: I know.

(laughter)

LAURA: No. Congratulations, Marisha.

TALIESIN: So happy for you.

MATT: You guys, finishing this fray, you gather the gnoll ears as well as–

LAURA: Rummage through their bodies.

MATT: Make an investigation check. The two of you who are investigating their bodies.

TALIESIN: I’ll give advantage.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Advantage.

LAURA: I did. I know. I’m doing that.

TALIESIN: Yeah. That’s not good.

LAURA: (yelling) Did you see that?

TALIESIN: That’s cocked. Well.

LAURA: That is not cocked. I rolled a one and a two.

MATT: Aw.

LAURA: So yeah. A three for investigation.

MATT: Okay. Well, there’s the glaive. It’s hard to miss that. It’s pretty well-made; it’s sturdy, it has some of the spines that are part of the armor as well affixed to it along the top.

LAURA: I’m going to take it. How heavy is it?

MATT: It’s like– Let me look at how much a glaive weighs according to the book. The glaive is about six pounds. It’s not too bad. Well, this one’s probably closer to ten. It’s a pretty top-heavy. It’s designed for a gnoll. Or at least designed for something big that wants to hurt something badly. You do manage through a collection of shinies in the pack leader’s pockets and manage to find roughly 13 gold pieces, three silver and no copper. It only wants things that are shiny. Copper aren’t as shiny to them.

LAURA: Who wants this gold? Anybody?

TALIESIN: Never say no to gold.

KHARY: I could use it.

LAURA: Yeah?

KHARY: Sure.

LAURA: Here is three gold for you.

KHARY: You are the best thing.

LAURA: Here is three gold for you.

LIAM: How much was in there?

LAURA: There’s seven gold left. Here’s three gold for you.

SAM: Where does Shakäste?

MATT: Mm-hmm. Shakäste.

SAM: Where does Shakäste put the gold?

MATT: Where does Shakäste put the gold?

KHARY: I put it in my–

MATT: You can do it discreetly if you want to.

KHARY: Well, I suppose a blind man does put his gold in his back pocket pretty discreetly, actually. He doesn’t have to look at it.

MATT: Make a stealth check. Or a sleight of hand check.

LAURA: Three gold for you. I’ve got one gold left.

MARISHA: Yeah, I’ll take it.

KHARY: It’s a nine.

MATT: Plus what’s your sleight of hand skill?

KHARY: Sleight of hand is plus five.

MATT: So 14. Make a perception check.

SAM: Seven.

MATT: Yeah, so you have no idea. He receives the gold and the hand disappears beneath the cloak which is now covering most of his torso and you have no idea where it got put.

LAURA: How much silver did you say there was?

MATT: Two silver.

KHARY: Do I notice her looking at me? I mean, does Anastasia notice her looking at me?

MATT: I mean, no more than anybody looks at anybody.

KHARY: All right.

MATT: The little goblin girl isn’t leering at you. I mean, has been leering at you since you arrived but nothing in a way that catches your attention.

KHARY: Nothing out of the ordinary. Very good. Nice to know.

MATT: Make an insight check. Roll a d20 and add your insight skill.

KHARY: Insight. Nine. Nine plus insight is plus three so, eh.

MATT: It’s a 12. I’d say, yeah. No more than usual.

KHARY: Right. She’s got awfully big eyes.

MATT: As you guys get closer to the exit where this broken, hinged archway was, this double door archway about eight to ten feet wide, a new smell rushes into your nose. Whereas previously it had been just decaying earth and dust there’s now this musky smell that resembles the faint mixture of urine and citrus. It’s hard to place, but it’s new and it’s different than the rest of the mines you’ve been through.

LIAM: It’s a step up for me.

SAM: We got all the ears?

LAURA: We got all the ears. Should we search for more survivors and then burn it to the ground?

LIAM: Like the mine?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: Burn the mine to the ground? Under the ground?

LAURA: Well, we can explode it.

TALIESIN: You can.

KHARY: I appreciate your excitability. Why don’t I let the bird do the talking?

LAURA: You mean search for people?

KHARY: That’s what I meant, baby. Thank you.

MATT: (humming) You watch at the Duchess makes her way further down the tunnel.

SAM: As the Duchess flies away, I push on Shakäste’s body a little bit and see if I get any reaction.

MATT: You feel this tiny goblin hand push on you. There does not seem to be a reaction.

SAM: I’m going to pick the pocket of Shakäste.

MATT: As you’re focused currently to the vision of your– you do not sense–

KHARY: I do not sense a thing?

MATT: You do not because currently all of your senses are through your familiar. So unfortunately no.

KHARY: That’s fine by me.

TALIESIN: Do any of us notice this?

SAM: I will use sleight of hand to conceal this from the group.

MATT: You will have to, so make a sleight of hand check.

SAM: Okay. Yeah, okay, that’s not great.

LIAM: Our guests are like farm animals that we mine for loot.

SAM: 14.

MATT: 14. Nobody has a passive perception higher than a 13, I think.

MARISHA and LAURA: Mine’s 13.

TRAVIS: Negative.

TALIESIN: Yep. 13.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: Horrible bastard.

MATT: Go ahead and mark nine gold pieces off of your total and you take nine gold.

SAM: I’m going for that pouch.

MATT: The whole pouch?

KHARY: You’re going for the whole– Wait, I wouldn’t feel the entire pouch being pulled off of my–

MATT: You don’t, unfortunately, because your senses. Well wait, no, it’s sight and hearing, isn’t it?

LIAM: It’s sight and hearing for Find Familiar.

MATT: That’s right! I take it back. He didn’t react to you being touched earlier, but I need you to go ahead and make a perception check.

LIAM: Nah, it’s pretty good.

KHARY: 13.

MATT: Plus what is your perception skill?

KHARY: Plus insight or–?

LIAM: There it is, 16.

KHARY: Perception? 16.

MATT: After the initial pat, you were focused, it didn’t bother much. You feel your belt tug a bit and you feel suddenly the back of your armor begin to get a little lighter as your pouch is noticeably being removed from your person.

SAM: He doesn’t know by whom!

MATT: No.

SAM: Just knows that it’s happening?

MATT: It’s happening.

SAM: And can’t react?

MATT: I mean, he can if he chooses too.

SAM: Oh god.

MATT: Shakäste, do you want to do anything?

MARISHA: You have a height that’s very identifiable. It’s a very recognizable level you’re on.

KHARY: No, I don’t want to do anything.

MATT: You undo the pouch and now have it in your possession. As you’re focusing through the Duchess’s vision, beyond the broken doorway the tunnel grows rougher as you sense that the deeper shafts of the mines are coming to an end fairly soon. The scent the Duchess is picking up is strong, that weird musky smell. After about 100 feet of it snaking a little bit forward, through ten, 15 foot wide tunnels, suddenly the tunnel opens, into a large, rocky alcove formation, stalactites from the ceiling, and some elements of broken digging equipment around the corners of this chamber. The uneven ceilings stand about 15 to 20 feet tall within in places, and are scarred with pick marks from various attempts to meet the end of the mine, which apparently were not enough to keep the mine in business. A rough slope descends from the immediate entrance to this tunnel, hits the wall before it, rises a few feet past that to a smaller platform that meets the opposite side of the wall, about 70 or 80 feet to the other side. The chamber’s about 80-foot from where you enter to the opposite end. Near the base of the raised rock you see two humanoid figures, sitting against each other, bound tightly in ropes and above the platform on top, you see a figure you haven’t seen yet. Human-like, but seems to have large chunks of gnoll flesh strapped to their body, like they used a disembodied gnoll arm as a glove, a gnoll head with the jaw removed and hollowed out used as a hood. There is this individual carrying baubles and chains of some symbols across their neck and they’re spattered with blood. They’re standing at the top, currently holding a third humanoid figure who is bound in ropes, and dragging them up the stairs to this platform on the opposite end. Next to this gnoll-wearing priestly-like figure, you see the figure in their arm is a guard, one of the Crownsguard of Alfield. You don’t recognize him at a glance, but you can see they are currently still living, bloodied and are being dragged up to the top of this platform. You can see right at the top of this raised section a monstrous mound of broken wood, rope, burlap and scrap from nearby within the mine that has been amassed into this large pile. At that moment a majority of the mound begins to move and shift, as two large, brown red, leathery wings unfurl from the mound. Where a fur-covered body steps out. Is the Duchess going to stay and continue to watch?

KHARY: I can explain what is happening as she sees.

MATT: You can. You are describing this verbally to everybody?

KHARY: Yes, absolutely.

LAURA: What should we do? What should we do?

KHARY: We should wait and see what else unfurls in this thing.

MATT: This creature stands up from within this pile, you can now see this large, lion-like body and torso the size of a rhinoceros, massive and muscled, with giant clawed paws. Around the neck you see this thick, red, fiery mane of hair and a humanoid female face, dark and tanned, with this large, curled grin. The mouth that opens and hangs with rows of sharp teeth, but weirdly humanoid in appearance. It turns its head towards this priestly figure, who thrusts the guard to the front and says “Come, gifted mother. Feed and may you grow strong. Your strength is a boon from Yeenoghu, and one that will bring us much more meat in the time to come,” and kicks the guard forward. This large beast turns, and inspects the frightened, shaking, and sobbing guard. “Your god meats hold me to nothing, but your offer pleases me and my child.” As the beast stands up further in this pile of rough, found pieces of wood and twine, a small infant of its same species seems to be wound up and begins to mewl in its place. It’s pawing at the air, its eyes not even freshly opened. This creature steps forward and bites into the Crownsguard and lifts it up as he begins to scream. The rest of you hear the echoing screaming in the distance of the Crownsguard.

LAURA: I think that means he ate him!

MATT: As it begins to bite and crunch, pulling its jaw open, it tears it into two halves and begins to chew on the upper torso. The screaming has stopped.

SAM: Get your medical kit ready.

LAURA: Don’t think it’s going to help.

KHARY: There are two people left?

MATT: There are two people left in the room and you can look around the vicinity. It looks like there were more people in here that have probably been fed over the past hour.

KHARY: This sacrifice will not end. First, Duchess come back to me.

LAURA: Should we go in?

KHARY: We should talk. This is going to take a minute.

MATT: Thankfully, nobody seems to notice Duchess’s presence as Duchess retracts back into your chamber.

TALIESIN: How flammable is that nest?

LAURA: I meant it’s–

KHARY: How far is the nest away?

MATT: It’s past 100 feet of tunnel before it opens up into the chamber, which is another 80 feet from the entrance.

SAM: How big was the chamber?

LIAM: 80 feet.

SAM: Oh my god.

MATT: To give you a visual.

SAM: A visual? Matt, there’s too many maps!

TALIESIN: (Singing) Too many maps! Too many maps!

KHARY: Oh look at this thing!

MATT: So you can prepare.

SAM: That– What?!

SAM: That is upper level shit!

LAURA: What are we doing? We’re level three! What are we doing? We got to go in, we got to throw some dynamite, get the people out, and run!

KHARY: We got one stick.

LAURA: We got two sticks!

TRAVIS: I don’t see any support columns. I’m just going to say it.

TALIESIN: No, we hit the nest. Set the nest on fire and it’ll run.

TRAVIS: Yeah. You got to get pretty danger close to do that, though. I’ve got to stand up and look, make sure there’s no damn holes.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah, good point. Yep!

MATT: No holes in the chamber from what you can see.

TRAVIS: That’s the baby, the little thing.

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Okay, no load bearing support columns that we can see right?

MATT: Not that you can see, no. There are various portions in the ceiling that are stalactites. It looks like it’s the deepest part of the mine, which is the roughest, which means it does not have a lot of support structure built into it for the miners. This like it’s as deep as they got before they abandoned it from the veins dried up.

TRAVIS: Before shit started going wrong?

MATT: This mine has been long abandoned. The recent occupants seem to have discovered it, and taken it their own.

KHARY: Well, personally I’m a fan of freedom of religion, but that’s got its limits.

TALIESIN: It’s fair to draw a line at human sacrifice.

KHARY: I think so.

TALIESIN: Yeah. Let’s–

SAM: We can’t possibly kill whatever that beast is.

LIAM: I don’t know, maybe not on our own, two at a time. I’m pretty tapped, but there’s a lot of us here and only a few of them there, according to our new friend.

SAM: But there’s only two survivors in there, right?

TRAVIS: Two survivors and two enemies, right?

MARISHA: Yeah, but what happens if they get sacrificed?

SAM: No, I mean, what if we just get the survivors out and leave?

MARISHA: I think that’s smart.

KHARY: I tend to agree with my little friend.

LAURA: And we steal the baby.

LIAM: We could also try and seal the cave behind us as we go?

TALIESIN: Sealing the cave would be one thing, I think stealing the baby is going to be a bit of a–

TRAVIS: I love your enthusiasm, but I tend to agree with Molly here. Maybe the baby just stays put?

MARISHA: If we can get the baby, I bet it would fetch a high price.

SAM: A baby should be with its mother.

LAURA: Yeah. We might kill the mom though, or bury it.

TRAVIS: I think I’m okay with that.

SAM: As long as they are close to each other.

TRAVIS: It just ate a Crownsguard in half.

LAURA: Let’s get it out, and then collapse the tunnel leading to it. Then they can get stuck in this room.

MARISHA: All right.

LIAM: Could we do a quick inventory check of how much of these boom sticks that we have, the TNT?

LAURA: We have one and one.

KHARY: I have one.

LIAM: We have more than one? You have one?

KHARY: I have one.

LIAM: We have one amongst. Okay.

LAURA: We should make our way towards this, though. They’re going to get to the next hostage by the time we get to this room, cause we’re 100 feet away from it still.

TALIESIN: We make our way.

LAURA: Start walking.

TALIESIN: Stealthy walk.

LAURA: Stealthily.

MATT: You guys all making an approach?

SAM: Stealthily.

MATT: Roll stealth, please.

LAURA: Who needs a blessing? Caleb, you need a blessing!

LIAM: It would help.

LAURA: You’re shitty at stealth right?

LIAM: I’m pretty shitty at stealth.

LAURA: I bless you.

TALIESIN: I’m pretty iffy.

KHARY: 19!

LIAM: Plus?

KHARY: Plus five.

LIAM: Thank you, Jester, for saving my ass because the first roll was a four. The second one was a 15.

TRAVIS: Are there steps?

MATT: Yes, right there.

LAURA: Oh, they’re real close to them.

MATT: All right so, marching order please.

LIAM and LAURA: I’m in the back!

SAM: Wait, what’s our plan?

TALIESIN: We’re going to make a bunch of noise, we’re going to throw some dynamite, we’re going to get the kids to run and we’re going to keep them distracted by threatening the baby.

SAM: That’s not a plan.

TALIESIN: Yes, it is a plan!

SAM: No, to kill or to capture the–

LAURA: We get the guards out, we get the people out.

SAM: Get the guards out and run? So who are we leaving back with the sticks?

LAURA: Oh, we’re all going to be in there.

MATT: What is the marching order?

TALIESIN: We will throw the sticks.

MARISHA: I’ll go up front with Fjord.

SAM: No! We should use the sticks to blow up narrow passage way so they can’t get out!

TALIESIN: Well, we have two sticks.

SAM: We should use them both!

TALIESIN: If we run, then we’ll drop the sticks.

MATT: Nott, where are you?

SAM: I’m in the middle.

MATT: I’ll put you in front of Caleb. Molly, are you next to Beau?

TALIESIN: Yeah, anywhere that– I don’t want to be in the front front, but I’ll be in the middle.

TRAVIS: Who are our two strongest? Jester?

LIAM: Jester and Beau.

MARISHA: Well, I’m dexy.

LIAM: Yeah, you’ve got dex.

MARISHA: But I’m not strong. But I’m dextrous. It depends on what we’re talking about. Are we doing anything with strength checks? Oh! Dragging people away? Is that what we’re talking about?

SAM: Are the good guys unconscious?

MATT: They’re conscious, they’re just tied up to each other.

SAM: Oh. Shit, so two people need to be on drag duty.

KHARY: We could cut them free?

TRAVIS: We’re going to have to keep them busy.

LAURA: You need to sneak in and you need to try to unhook the ropes, okay?

SAM: I could try to untie them.

LAURA: You stealth around. They won’t even know that you’re there while we’re attacking. Untie the guards and then we all run.

KHARY: Could we distract them with maybe a Thaumaturgy or Spiritual Weapon?

LAURA: Spiritual Weapon is really good if you have that, that’s very badass.

MATT: You can certainly try, it’s up to you guys.

KHARY: I think Spiritual Weapon could make a lot of noise and call a lot of attention, and then maybe you could sneak through.

TALIESIN: You could do two Spiritual Weapons if you’re feeling it.

LAURA: I know, but then I have no spells left. I got a first level, y'all!

KHARY: I think, because I used Aid, I think I’ve got–

MATT: You have one 2nd-level spell and you have three 1st-level, I believe.

KHARY: Yes. No, I’ve got two 1st-levels, because I used Thunderwave and Command.

MATT: That’s correct. You have two 1st-levels, you have three spells left.

KHARY: Why don’t we use– okay, here’s the thing. If we start with Spiritual Weapon, we lure their gaze to this side of the area and then if this beautiful young lady could find her way around the other side to free the two–

SAM: I can sneak in down to those stalagmites.

KHARY: Yes.

LAURA: She should sneak in before you do Spiritual Weapon, otherwise it’s going to make them aware that something’s going on. The Spiritual Weapon will definitely alert them to our presence.

KHARY: The Spiritual Weapon goes off, giving the people a chance to run out of the place.

LAURA: Yeah. You make that Spiritual Weapon appear right next to them. You can hit them immediately.

KHARY: Right.

LAURA: You do it right when we do the surprise attack. You sneak in.

SAM: Yes.

MARISHA: The rest of us can be on distraction duty, yeah? Until we go.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Nott?

LAURA: Are you good to sneak? I’m going to bless you.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: Before you go sneaking around the side.

SAM: Can I have a ball bearing, please?

MARISHA: Sure. You can have a few. I hand him a handful.

SAM: Thank you.

MARISHA: Did you just want that because it’s shiny?

SAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: Oh, Nott.

(laughter)

SAM: I will cast Mage Hand and hold one ball bearing. I’m getting ready to move stealthily.

MATT: If I can have all of you who are approaching to make a stealth check, please.

LIAM: Also, DM–

SAM: In addition to the one we just made?

MATT: Sorry, the one you just made. Sorry, so what was were those scores?

SAM: 23.

MATT: 23.

LAURA: You get advantage, when you go into the room, just in case of a natural 20.

LIAM: I will also say, and I’ll do this a lot, Dancing Lights is in effect behind us. 20 feet behind us, waiting.

MATT: All right. Interesting point of order, this human that you see, this priest. Pitch black, sees fine.

LIAM: Sees– (groans) Okay.

MATT: Does have a set of, as they’ve walked into this chamber– although you would have seen this.

LIAM: I did not see that.

MATT: Actually, yeah. You’re the only one who would notice something. You don’t see anything, never mind. All right, so–

KHARY: Say that again.

MATT: You didn’t notice anything in particular, other than just seeing this scene. Nothing at all. You know nothing! So stealth is 23.

LAURA: 13.

TALIESIN: Nine.

TRAVIS: 18.

MARISHA: 19.

MATT: All right.

LIAM: Did you know that you can’t see?

KHARY: I’m blind.

LAURA: Caleb, what’s your stealth roll?

LIAM: Oh. It was really good. It was a 16 total.

MATT: 16. What did you roll for stealth check?

SAM: How do you see things?

LIAM: The bird.

KHARY: The bird, baby, the bird.

LIAM: That’s hot.

MATT: Shakäste, what’s your stealth check please?

KHARY: My stealth check. Oh, my stealth check was 19.

MATT: 19, okay.

TALIESIN: I’m the only problem.

MATT: Yeah, which is good because that means the rest of the group picked up for you.

KHARY: That’s right, it’s 24.

MATT: As you guys approach, those of you who can see in the dark, you can’t quite see your quarry. You’d have to get closer in because I believe it’s a 60 foot darkvision radius for most of you guys. Which means you can see to about there.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: We suck.

SAM: I can see the stalagmites?

KHARY: I believe Anastasia could fly in and hide behind the stalagmite.

MATT: You can. Make a stealth check for your hummingbird.

LIAM: Come on birdy. Ooh! Good.

KHARY: All right, 15 plus– No, I’m sorry.

LIAM: It’s 15.

KHARY: It’s 15 plus five.

MATT: Natural one and a four on their perception. Nobody sees your bird’s arrival.

LAURA: Come on, Nott, go.

SAM: (scampering feet)

MATT: All right Nott, so you rush in?

SAM: Yeah. I’m going to– Mage Hand’s already cast.

MATT: Yeah, and what’s the range on that one?

SAM: 30 feet.

MATT: 30 feet, so you can keep it out as far as that. Yeah, it’s fine. All right, so you come in there. Where are you holding the ball bearing?

SAM: I’m going to drop the ball bearing right at the edge of that stair so it (tings).

MATT: As that happens, you watch as both the priest and the large beast at this time– which now that we’re getting closer and we’re seeing the form, I probably should’ve asked this of you earlier: go ahead and make a general nature check.

SAM: Who me?

MATT: Both of you guys.

LIAM: It’s alphabetical right on the list. Ooh.

KHARY: 19.

LIAM: Plus?

KHARY: Nature? Plus one.

SAM: 15.

KHARY: 20.

MATT: You notice it, but you, after getting a closer view of its form as your hummingbird gets in close, you can, “I know what this is.” This is a manticore. The wings are scary, the teeth are scary, the spines on its tail are scarier.

KHARY: It has spines in its tail.

MATT: You’ve heard rumors of such things being flung as a weapon and regrown quickly and begin to suddenly remember the spines that were affixed to the armor of the gnoll leader and the glaive. You rush in and have this moment of remembrance as you begin to curl forward, stealthing around the side as the ball bearing (ting ting ting). Both the priest and the manticore whip over in that direction. The priest pulls a glove on its hand that’s a dull red color that begins to sparkle and glow at the tips of the fingers, and tightens it on its hand and begins to step down the stairs a bit in the direction of that.

SAM: I’m going behind those stalagmites over there.

MATT: Over here?

SAM: No, like–

MATT: Over here?

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: All the way around.

MATT: Okay. Whereas the female manticore, (flapping). The wind picks up and dust begins to spiral and briefly obfuscates the area. The manticore flies; with an impact, lands on the opposite side, right where the ball bearing is and (sniffs). “Company.” All right, what are you guys doing?

SAM: I’m going straight for the Mage Hand to untie them.

MATT: Make a sleight of hand check from a distance. Well, this would be a straight dexterity check. Roll dexterity, not sleight of hand.

SAM: Dexterity check.

MATT: Add your dexterity modifier.

SAM: 18.

MATT: 18. With a quick, rapid movement of your Mage Hand, you watch as the ropes on one come free. One of them (breathing heavily) looks at their hands and doesn’t know exactly what happened but is apparently now free of the ropes.

LIAM: Are we in a weird in-between combat and non-combat?

MATT: Yes. We’re not in combat yet, so what are you guys doing?

LIAM: I would like to hug the wall and slide along it. I would like to think I can hear my friends breathing– and stop, yeah that’s good– and hold my action, and if anything comes this way that is not my friends to cast Burning Hands as a tripwire. I’m the tripwire.

MATT: Within range you mean?

LIAM: Yeah, of course within range.

MATT: All righty, anybody else? What are you preparing for?

LAURA: Got nothing.

MARISHA: Waiting to beat face.

MATT: You’re all staying right there?

TRAVIS: I mean, no.

MARISHA: Should we creep forward a little? What should we do?

TRAVIS: Yeah. We’re going to have to fan.

MARISHA: I guess Fjord and I will take a good ten feet or so up.

LAURA: They might see you.

SAM: Yeah, you’re going closer?

LAURA: You’re getting really close to the manticore.

SAM: Jesus.

LIAM: Yeah, maybe the other side of the tunnel so they don’t see you.

TALIESIN: He’s got a distance weapon anyway, there’s really no such thing as a bad–

LIAM: You can see me doing this.

MARISHA: Will you put Fjord towards me?

MATT: Oh, this way?

LIAM: Yeah, pull him to the other side. They’re seeing me do arcane bullshit on the side while sweating.

MATT: Anybody else preparing?

LAURA: I’ll stand next to Caleb on the inside.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I’m really, at this point, only useful for a couple things. I’m going to keep in the back there.

MATT: Okay. Shakäste, anything?

TALIESIN: I got my Vicious Mockery rolling.

KHARY: I would like for Anastasia to fly to the other side of the room.

MATT: Whereabout?

KHARY: No those stalagmites over– yeah, there you go. Hide in those crags over there by the– that’s it. Keep a good eye. Good girl.

MATT: (humming drone) All righty. The manticore begins to clomp up the steps.

TRAVIS: Airborne?

MATT: No, on foot at the moment like (impact sounds).

MARISHA: We’ll just wait for Nott. Go Nott go.

KHARY: When do I go?

MATT: Well, right now as the manticore crests the top of the stairs, the large, joker-like, toothy grin of the female manticore glances up right towards all of you and goes (growls).

LIAM: I attack her.

MATT: It’s not within range of you yet.

LIAM: Not within range? Then I don’t do it yet.

MATT: You’re holding it and it’s not close enough. I need you all to roll initiative now.

LIAM: Wow. My initiative is such dick. All night long. All campaign long, let’s be honest.

TALIESIN: I did okay.

LIAM: Oh my gosh. At the end as always.

MATT: We have 25 to 20 anybody?

TALIESIN: 22.

TRAVIS 20.

MATT: Nice. We have Molly.

TALIESIN: Are we going to redo the initiative flags?

MATT: And Fjord. 20 to 15?

LAURA: 18.

SAM: 17.

MATT: Nice. Jester and Nott. You have Molly, Fjord, Jester, Nott, and the manticore. Then 15 to ten?

KHARY: Pass me Shakäste.

MATT: Ten to five?

LIAM: Acht.

MATT: All righty. We have–

LIAM: There’s people after my eight?

MATT: Well, simultaneously with the priest.

KHARY: I am a five.

MATT: Five (groans).

MARISHA: I’m a nine.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Sorry.

MATT: It’s okay, I got you. At this point, top of the round: Molly, you’re up.

TRAVIS: I have no idea what the order was.

TALIESIN: Vicious Mockery.

MATT: It’s Molly, Fjord, Jester, Nott, the manticore, Beau, then Caleb and the priest together, then Shakäste.

TALIESIN: Vicious Mockery on the manticore.

MATT: All righty, 12.

TALIESIN: I don’t actually know what it’s rolling against. What is it against?

MATT: It’s eight plus two, which is your proficiency bonus, which is ten. Plus your wisdom modifier. What is your wisdom modifier?

TALIESIN: My wisdom modifier, I believe it’s three.

MATT: It would be 13, so it hits, yeah.

TALIESIN: All right! That’s one point of psychic damage and it has disadvantage on the next attack. (rasping) You should leave and protect the child. Trying to–

MATT: All right, the female face grins even wider, the eyes narrow (growls).

TALIESIN: I’m going to back up.

MATT: It seems like it shakes its head a bit. It seems strangely wounded briefly, but then grins at the prospect of a new meal.

TALIESIN: I’m backing up a little bit. I’m going to step back ten feet.

MATT: You move back ten feet to there.

TALIESIN: Yeah, backing up.

MATT: That brings us to Fjord’s turn.

TRAVIS: Can I move forward and end up right over there?

MATT: Right there?

TRAVIS: Yeah and end up on his flank melee, please.

MATT: Put you right there.

TRAVIS: I will unleash the full fury of my falchion into his side.

MATT: With the blade drawn–

TRAVIS: Two-handed.

MATT: Right. Shakäste, as you watch, the half-orc, Fjord, suddenly emerges from his hand out of nowhere, this flash of greenish-blue energy and a splash of water spatters across the ground as a slightly curved at the tip falchion appears that has a cluster of barnacles along the base of it and slowly curling up the blade and sea water dripping off of it at all times leaving a trail of liquid.

TRAVIS: 23.

MATT: That hits.

TALIESIN: Yeah!

MATT: This thing is pretty big, it’s not too hard to hit comparatively.

TRAVIS: 13 points of damage. Slashing damage.

LIAM: What did you roll to hit?

TRAVIS: The ten, two-handed. That is it.

MATT: All righty, that ends your turn. It’s now Jester’s turn.

LAURA: I’m going to run around to the other side of it. This is so dumb.

MATT: (counting) 30. Are you getting within melee of it?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: There you go.

SAM: Oh my god, are you going to hit it with your sickle or whatever?

LAURA: I’m going to hit it with my sickle or whatever!

MATT: Roll for attack.

MARISHA: Do it girl!

LIAM: Those arrows are long gone.

LAURA: Natural one!

MATT: As you rush around the corner, out of the corner of its eye it sees you. As it spins its giant, spined tail which you can see now which looks like a porcupine filled with javelins. Rushes past and slams into your shoulder. As you do, your sickle flies out of your hand and clatters across the ground and hits the floor at the bottom of the stairs. That is where your sickle currently is.

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: End of your turn, Jester?

TALIESIN: Bonus action, anything?

TRAVIS: Bonus action to run your ass.

LAURA: I’m going to just dance in place.

MATT: All righty. Nott, your turn.

SAM: Bonus action, use the Mage Hand to untie the other one.

MATT: All right, make another dexterity check.

SAM: 19 plus four.

MATT: With that the other person’s rope falls free and they’re both out of their ropes. They’re both looking at the only exit that is currently blocked by this giant manticore creature. They look scared and have no idea what’s happening. They haven’t seen you. For some reason their ropes have dropped and they’re scared shitless. They aren’t guards. These two look like civilians and they’re having a really rough time.

SAM: (sighs) Should I waste my action on this shit? I’m still hidden, yeah?

MATT: As far as you know.

TALIESIN: There’s also another dude.

SAM: Another dude? Oh, you mean the bad guy.

MATT: There’s the priest.

SAM: Yeah. Not another good guy.

SAM: Ah fuck. I’m going to use Message and point to one of the guards that I just untied.

MATT: They’re not guards, they’re civilians.

SAM: Or whatever, the civilians and say to him: The second after the priest casts a spell, grab your friend and run.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

SAM: Nine.

MATT: Okay, you deliver the message. That’s as far as you know.

SAM: Then for my movement I’m going to tuck in even tighter.

MATT: Okay. All right that finishes your turn. It is now the manticore’s go. It is going to make three attacks, a bite and two claw attacks. It’s going to make two claw attacks. Actually, it’s going to make one sweeping claw attack at Jester from behind and then a bite and a claw attack at you, since you’re right in front of it and already struck it with your falchion.

TALIESIN: First one’s disadvantage.

MATT: First one’s at disadvantage, which would be against Jester as you rush past. That is a 17, and a 19.

LAURA: Hits me.

MATT: Yeah, it hits you, that’s without bonuses, unfortunately. You take from the first strike nine points of slashing damage, as it (woosh). It rolled high, a nine again. Then two strikes against you.

LAURA: I’m going to cast Hellish Rebuke at it as soon as it does it.

MATT: Okay, what’s the save? It was a natural 20 on you Fjord, unfortunately. The other claw attack.

TRAVIS: Oh player, I’ve got the Armor of Agathys on.

MARISHA: Oh, that’s right!

LAURA: It doesn’t say on my thing. It’s a dex save.

MATT: A dex save, all right. That is a 12.

LAURA: Oh!

MATT: So that hits? All right, go ahead and roll damage.

LAURA: 3d10! I’m going to say in Infernal–

SAM: 3d10?

LAURA: I’m going to say–

LIAM: All tens, come on.

MATT: 2d10.

LAURA: No, 3d10 because it’s cast at 2nd-level when you’re doing Hellish Rebuke.

MATT: Oh, right, yeah.

LAURA: Okay, 13.

MATT: 13 points of damage. Of cold damage.

LAURA: Yeah, in Infernal I say, Oh, you’re such a cute kitty!

MATT: With an awkward flick of her wrist, you watch as this wave of ice spike energy flies outward and pierces the side of the manticore’s body as it rotates and breaks the ice off of its torso. In doing so, it spins around with its other claw and strikes right into Fjord with a natural 20. It rolled a one on the fucking damage die, so you’re fucking lucky on that, that’s twice in this game. It’s kind of disappointing on my end, but it’s fine. So that’s five points of slashing damage.

TRAVIS: And he’ll take ten points of cold damage.

MATT: That’s right.

MARISHA: So. Sick.

TALIESIN: We’re at our best when we’re losing.

MATT: As it strikes with its second claw attack against you and the ice cracks, and it looks at you and the mouth opens wide and you can see where three separate rows of teeth like this horrible shark maw. As it reaches forward to bite towards you, the head itself about maybe this wide, the jaw can almost clamp down onto your waist, Jurassic Park style. That’s going to be a 16 to hit.

TRAVIS: 16 hits.

LAURA: Oh no!

LIAM: Where’s your AC?

TRAVIS: 14.

LIAM: You’re Grog!

TRAVIS: Nope.

MATT: That’s ten points of piercing damage from the bite to you.

TRAVIS: Great, he takes another ten points of cold damage, as my Armor of–

MATT: She.

TRAVIS: She, thank you. As my Armor of Agathys.

MATT: Interesting, in this quick series of hits, she’s doing fine, but this is an unexpected burst of damage and you can see harrying’s starting to show. A powerful creature can do some powerful damage, but is showing a little bit of wear and tear. With that, the manticore is going to take to the sky.

TALIESIN: (singing) Take to the sky!

MATT: It’s going to fly up.

LAURA: Do we get an attack of opportunity?

MATT: You both do, yes.

LAURA: Ah, I’m going to kick it.

MATT: You can punch it, make an attack.

LAURA: No, I don’t hit it!

MATT: What did you roll?

LAURA: I rolled a three!

TRAVIS: Do I get an attack?

MATT: You do, yes.

TRAVIS: I don’t think that’s going to hit either, that’s an eight.

MATT: Nope, you both, (whoosh). The giant gust of wind from the wings flapping push you away and you have to block your vision to keep the dust out of the way. Finishing the manticore’s turn, it is now Beau’s go.

MARISHA: Okay, well it took off flying, so that sucks.

LIAM: You can’t even see it.

MARISHA: I feel kind of like Grog. what can I do with that?

TRAVIS: Welcome to my fucking three years.

MARISHA: Yeah, that’s lame. I don’t know what to do. I’ll move forward and hold my action for light.

MATT: How far are you going to move forward? 20 feet?

MARISHA: Oh, where’s the priest? But I can’t see the priest, it’s dark in here.

MATT: You’re seeing faint flashes of light. Actually, you don’t see any light, because no one’s cast any spells, it’s all been combat, so it’s just darkness and you hear roars and slams and impacts. You’re like, (worried noise).

MARISHA: I’m going to move behind Jester, and I’ll just dodge as my action, there’s not a lot I can do.

MATT: Okay, that finishes your turn, Caleb and the priest are going simultaneously. What are you doing?

LIAM: So this has happened like six times now, where I go right after Beau, so Dancing Lights, excuse me.

MATT: Well first off, the spell you prepared, never went off, so the spell is gone, it’s used.

LIAM: Of course.

MATT: So the spell’s gone, so you lose one of those.

LIAM: So instead, Dancing Light. I’m going to do the same line of light that I always do because Beauregard needs to be able to kill things and see. One goes far as here, and here, and here probably.

MATT: You have enough to generally light most of the chamber.

LIAM: It’s always a line spread out.

MATT: Perfect. That’s your action?

LIAM: No, I’m also going to back up about 15 feet as well. Then I’m going to crouch because I’m frightened.

MATT: Okay. That comes to the priest’s turn. The priest is going to step forward angrily, and is going to attempt to cast Hold Person on you.

SAM: Joke’s on him, that’s not a person. It’s a half-orc.

MATT: Half-orcs are people too, Sam. Make a wisdom saving throw.

TRAVIS: Wisdom saving throw. Big modifier of nothing. Six.

MATT: With that, you feel your muscles lock up, your entire body freezes in place as you feel your entire physical self lock up, unable to move.

LIAM: He done been bifurcated.

LAURA: He done been paralyzed.

MATT: All right. The priest is going to go ahead and take two steps back after casting that, and hide behind–

LAURA: (singing) Two steps forward–

ALL: (singing) Two steps back.

MATT: Caleb, that finishes your turn as well. Shakäste, you’re up.

KHARY: Let’s see, we don’t need light anymore.

LIAM: Save us.

KHARY: I think we need a bigger mode of damage. I think rather than Spiritual Weapon, we need to go with the Thunderwave again.

LAURA: Oh, the spell.

LIAM: That’s a very short range, though.

MATT: Yeah, it’s a 15-foot square.

LIAM: You can’t get close enough to anybody on that map to use it.

MATT: Yeah, the manticore is about 15 feet up in the air right now, so it’s just out of the range.

KHARY: Ah, so I can’t get to it.

LAURA: Spiritual Weapon stays on the field. Once you cast it, it’s out there in every single turn, for a bonus action you can attack.

MATT: I will say, Spiritual Weapon, as far as I know– let me see here real fast. It’s pretty great.

LIAM: Do you have a level one left?

KHARY: I do have a level one.

MATT: It says a floating spectral creature, it doesn’t specify if that it can or cannot move up and down, so I would imagine you could create it in the air if you want.

LIAM: I think these are your best options: either a floating weapon that can go anywhere, or a big fog cloud, if you run up and put it on the priest, or up there. I think probably Spiritual Weapon.

KHARY: I think Spiritual Weapon because the thing is, is that I can move it from one to the other.

LIAM: You can adjust.

KHARY: Spiritual Weapon.

MATT: Do you move forward to cast it?

KHARY: Yes, let’s see, I will stay in the hallway.

MATT: How far, there?

KHARY: Yeah, right about there.

MATT: You’re creating it at the base of the manticore, or further in the chamber, or where?

KHARY: Oh, I would love to drum the underside of her.

MATT: Easily enough to do. What kind of weapon do you create?

LIAM: Decide what it is. A lollipop, a salmon, a sword?

LAURA: Don’t give– Let him decide.

MATT: What magical, mystical weapon would you like to create that represents your attack on this creature?

LIAM: Nunchucks.

KHARY: I would–

LIAM: Have fun.

KHARY: (laughs) The first thing that I was thinking, for some reason, was I would like to materialize the awe-inspiring sass of Estelle Getty, and pummel the stomach–

TALIESIN: Oh man.

TRAVIS: What the fuck.

KHARY: That’s all right. That might be a little bit too out there, so–

TRAVIS: It’s not.

MATT: What do you want to do?

LIAM: It could be a cudgel carved to look like Estelle Getty if you wanted it to be.

KHARY: You know what? The sassiest of the Golden Girls– I think because my lovely daughter, literally– It was 120 days into the school year, and she dressed like a 120-year-old woman today, my six-year-old daughter. I think that the bust of a tiny curly-headed 120-year-old woman needs to slam its way into the torso of that manticore.

LIAM: Like a Beethoven bust, but Estelle Getty!

MATT: Estelle Getty begins to bludgeon itself into this creature. I love it.

KHARY: Into that thing right there. That’s right. Mya, you should be in bed, but this is for you, baby.

MATT: Go ahead and roll a melee spell attack. Roll that and add five to it.

KHARY: 13. 18.

MATT: That hits. Roll the damage on that one. It is 1d8 plus three.

LIAM: That’s the d8, yeah.

MATT: Roll that and add three.

KHARY: Ah! One.

MATT: Still, four points of damage. Nothing to scoff at, and it’s still out there without concentration.

LIAM: That’s true.

MATT: Do you want to move anywhere, or you going to stay put?

KHARY: Let’s see. I am going to remain where I am.

MATT: Good to know. Finishing that, top of the round. Molly, you’re up.

TALIESIN: Again, there’s not much I can do– I’m going to step in front of Caleb, in an attempt to be another target, and I’m going to try again with Vicious Mockery.

MATT: All righty.

LIAM: Thank you for being a friend.

MATT: A two. It does not succeed.

TALIESIN: Yeah. (rasping) You are going to be buried here! I hit him again. Four points of psychic damage.

MATT: All right, four points of psychic damage, and first attack has disadvantage.

TALIESIN: First attack has disadvantage. I’m going to be in front of Caleb.

MATT: Cool, sounds good. That’s the end of your turn, Molly. Fjord, you’re up.

TRAVIS: Oh, I’m up? I’m a Hold Person!

MATT: Yep, so roll a wisdom saving throw to see if you can resist it.

TRAVIS: Nope!

MATT: Nope, you’re still locked in place.

TRAVIS: Fuck that die.

LAURA: Can you do anything while you’re paralyzed?

MATT: Nope. Nothing. That ends Fjord’s turn. Jester, you’re up.

LAURA: Okay. I’m going to Sacred Flame the priest.

MATT: Okay. Is it a wisdom saving throw?

LAURA: Sacred Flame is a dexterity saving throw.

MATT: Dexterity save. That is a ten.

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: 12, sorry.

LAURA: Doesn’t matter! Still hit! Six damage of radiant.

MATT: Six damage of radiant. As it’s right behind– it’s trying to block around the pillar, but you still have a clear visual as you concentrate on the symbol of the Traveler hidden beneath your outfit. You focus and there’s a burst of energy that burns around its body–

LAURA: Pink energy.

MATT: Pink energy that sparkles around him as he looks over towards you and he continues to try and crouch behind the stalagmite.

LAURA: Is Hold Person concentration?

MATT: It is, so he has to make a concentration check. Which he fails? That’s an 11? No, it’s a ten. No, it succeeds. Just barely succeeds. The DC is ten. Sorry! He rolled a nine, but he has a plus one constitution. Sorry.

TALIESIN: That’s ten.

MATT: Yeah, he succeeded. He has to meet the DC or higher. But good try.

TALIESIN: You still have movement, too.

LAURA: Oh, I can move.

MATT: Yes, you can.

TALIESIN: You could go get your sickle.

LAURA: Oh yeah, that’s right! I could run down and grab my sickle, why not?

SAM: Wait, so the boys didn’t get up and run as soon as the priest made his move?

MATT: No, not yet, unfortunately.

SAM: They’re just lying there?

MATT: Well, they’re coming around for their turn.

LAURA: Oh, that’s right. They can’t just move.

MARISHA: Save yourself!

TALIESIN: This is why you don’t plan, Sam! This is why we don’t plan! Because plans go wrong.

MATT: You have your sickle, you still have more movement if you wanted to move. You have ten more feet. Or 15 more feet.

LAURA: I’m going to run up and engage the priest.

MATT: All right. You’re right up in his face. That ends your turn. Nott, you’re up.

SAM: What to do?

MATT: Gnollish priest. Regular gnoll, regular gnoll.

SAM: I will run right past those two guards. As I go by, I say: Get the fuck out of here!

(laughter)

MATT: They watch as a tiny goblin with jagged teeth yells at them as they run by. However, there are more scary things in the current vicinity. You rush past, and they’re two civilians, not guards, but continue.

SAM: Oh, sorry. No, I’m going to keep calling them guards.

MATT: I’m okay with that. They’re guards from your perspective. All right, so you run past.

SAM: Bonus action dash up the steps.

TALIESIN: Are you going to go for it?

LAURA: Get the baby.

MARISHA: Oh my god, are you going for it?

SAM: I’m going to turn around and yell at the manticore–

MARISHA and TALIESIN: Oh no!

MARISHA: Nott the Brave!

SAM: You want to save this thing? I will slice down with my short sword on the baby.

MATT: Make an attack roll.

SAM: Ooh. I mean, 14?

MATT: It hits it. It’s a baby. Roll damage.

LIAM: Nott’s going to die!

SAM: Eight.

MATT: It’s helpless, it’s sneak attack.

MATT: It can’t do anything. It can’t defend itself. Its eyes aren’t open!

SAM: It’s 16. 2d6. No sorry, 17 damage.

MATT: As you plunge your short sword down into the mewling, eye-covered cub, it goes still, as the mother manticore flying up in the air turns around to watch this, and gives a (roar)!

SAM: (screaming) Get the fuck out of here!

ALL: Oh my god!

TALIESIN: I take it back! Plan!

MATT: Nott, that ends your turn? It’s the manticore’s turn. The manticore, which was about to unleash a triple round of attacks against a paralyzed Fjord, who, while paralyzed, would have all been criticals, strangely saved him and is instead going to dart–

LAURA: Does the Spiritual Weapon get a–

MATT: It does not, no. At a 50-foot fly speed, land right next to you, Nott, and take a full round of strikes against you. Too angry to worry about tail spines at this point, it’s going all in, physical assault to whatever just murdered its baby.

TALIESIN: Disadvantage!

MATT: Disadvantage on the first strike. 17 and a natural one.

SAM: Miss!

MATT: Which, I’ll say, causes it to strike down towards you in fury, and instead its claw gets jammed into the ground, so it gets disadvantage on its second attack. I’m trying to play with natural ones a little more in this campaign. This is the second claw attack against you. A natural 20 and a 17. It hits but it avoids the critical, which is good.

LAURA: Oh my god.

MATT: That is nine points of slashing damage with the claw.

TALIESIN: Are you all right?

SAM: So far.

MATT: Then the bite attack is going to come towards you. I’m going to give this advantage because you just killed its baby.

TRAVIS: Because you killed its baby!

MATT: Yeah, that’s going to be a 21.

SAM: Sure, that hits.

MATT: All righty. There we go, there’s the actual damage die roll. That’s 11 points of piercing damage.

LAURA: (gasp)

LIAM: Are you up?

SAM: (whispers) One point.

MATT: Oh shit!

(laughter and gasping)

TRAVIS and TALIESIN: Oh, fuck.

MATT: That ends the manticore’s turn. The civilians get up–

SAM: Yeah, leave, motherfuckers! Leave!

MATT: And begin to run. (counting) They get that far with the movement and dash. They’re (gasping) tripping and falling, managing to make their way there. They’re both frightened, covered in all sorts of dirt and gore, and running in your direction, trying to get away from whatever’s happening back there. The roar set a further fire in them. All right. Beau, you’re up.

MARISHA: (moans)

SAM: She’s got to grab Fjord!

LAURA: Grab Fjord and get out of here.

LIAM: Fjord? Nott! Nott’s in danger!

LAURA: I know, I’m going to cast– I’m going to cure you.

MARISHA: Okay. How far away is Nott from me?

MATT: Nott is 40 feet from you.

TRAVIS: Or hit the fucking manticore. You got to unfreeze me, too.

MARISHA: Okay. I’m going to yell at Nott, I’m going to be like: Nott, the fuck?! Then I’m going to take off in a full sprint towards Nott.

MATT: (counting) You can get right up to the top of the steps.

MARISHA: I’m going to go: the fuck?! I grab you again, and I scoop up Nott, and like a football drill, I dart, and then I’m going to dart all the way back with Nott. Carrying Nott like a football.

SAM: You’re going to get the hit. With me, too.

MATT: Okay. You scoop up Nott. That means, because you’re carrying another creature, your movement is halved when you run. Are you using– it’s your action to grab and pick him up.

MARISHA: Okay. I want to use my Step of the Wind. Ki point.

MATT: Ki point, Step of the Wind to run. That moves you and Nott 20 feet. You get Nott to there. The manticore is going to take an attack of opportunity against Nott.

MARISHA: Ah, damn it! I was hoping it would be on me!

MATT: Of course! The creature doesn’t give a shit about anybody but that little goblin that stabbed its baby.

KHARY: You are like holding her and covering her, aren’t you?

MATT: That is 19 to hit.

SAM: Yeah, that hits.

MATT: A bite strike again, that is ten points of piercing damage.

SAM: (scream)

LAURA: Unconscious.

MATT: As you pull Nott away, there’s a sudden tug, and you pull hard and you look back and you watch as you drag Nott out of the teeth of it, grinding across the body, dragging wounds like daggers across Nott’s face and chest. You see blood pour out of each of these scars.

MARISHA: The fuck?! I still run.

MATT: All right, so you are unconscious and bleeding out.

MARISHA: I don’t have a bonus or anything, right? That was everything?

MATT: Nope, that’s your whole turn. You used everything for that. End of Beau’s turn. Caleb and the priest are up.

LIAM: I saw that, and I walk as far forward as I can with my movement and start stirring the pot on Chromatic Orb. I have one left. I will use ice damage and I will send it out and I knock it off my hand towards the manticore. Come on, please.

SAM: The sticks! The dynamite sticks!

LIAM: That’s a 25.

MATT: 25 hits. Roll damage.

LIAM: That is 3d8 cold damage. That is– ooh! 15 total.

MATT: 15 points of cold damage. Nice.

LIAM: I would have gone as far forward as I can.

MATT: You moved up there. It strikes the manticore, a burst of ice that freezes part of the side of the mane and the fur on its body before the fur cracks and the flesh that it impacted cracks. There’s a little bit of muscle exposed beneath the wound left behind from the frost freeze you left on the side of its torso.

LIAM: Caleb is breathing very heavily and not looking at the manticore. He’s looking at Nott in Beauregard’s arms.

MATT: That ends your turn. The priest, who is currently working on that, going to maintain Hold Person, is going to step up. No, it’s going to– yeah, because you’re right there in front, it’s going to Inflict Wounds on you.

LIAM and MARISHA: Ooh!

SAM: No problem.

MATT: A melee spell attack. Not great. Actually, not bad! That’s a 17.

LAURA: 17.

MATT: That is your armor class. 17 hits. You take 3d10 points of necrotic damage.

LIAM: Oh! Necrotic! Necrotic just follows Laura Bailey.

MATT: I know.

SAM: It will be like a 12.

MATT: That is 14 points of necrotic damage to you.

TALIESIN: Oh my god.

SAM: Or the exact amount.

LAURA: Exact amount.

MATT: Oh no!

TALIESIN: Fuck fuck fuck.

LIAM: Cleric’s down. One of our clerics is down.

MATT: You watch as the priest reaches out and grabs onto the armor of Jester, and with a burst of black energy, the veins under Jester’s blue skin begin to pulse with black energy, and she screams out as her eyes loll back and close, and she hits the ground unconscious.

MARISHA: She’s next to me, right?

TRAVIS: Technically, there are three of us out, because I ain’t moving.

MARISHA: I’m next to two unconscious people going (screaming).

MATT: Yeah. That ends the priest’s turn. Your turn, Shakäste.

LAURA: You have one of the healing potions.

LIAM: It’s your call. I will help you with decisions you make. You can get to the front of those stairs.

KHARY: Yeah, let’s see, I should move forward.

MATT: You have 30 feet to move forward.

TRAVIS: If you could put a beat down on the priest, do it.

SAM: That will release the Hold Person.

TRAVIS: I have a healing potion in my possessions.

LIAM: Do you have any spells slots left?

KHARY: I think I–

SAM: He’s got the Spiritual Weapon.

MATT: The Spiritual Weapon can only move 20 feet, though, which will only get it about there, unfortunately.

SAM: Damn.

LAURA: No, Spiritual Weapon can move 30 feet.

MATT: I thought it was 20 on a bonus action.

LAURA: Oh, maybe I’m wrong.

LIAM and KHARY: The range is 60 feet.

MATT: Well, the range of the spell is 60 feet, but then the bonus action to move it is 20 feet and repeat the attack. Sorry, guys.

LIAM: No, that’s great.

MATT: You can move forward if you want to. Did you want to move forward the rest of your–?

KHARY: Yeah, if I move is anything going to get close enough? I could do Sacred Flame.

LIAM: That’s all you can do is try to take down the enemies, and we can help. That’s all you can do.

KHARY: All I can do is move forward and Sacred Flame the priest.

MATT: Okay. That’s a wisdom save, right?

KHARY: Yeah, that’s a wisdom save.

MATT: That is going to be an 11. Which, your DC is 13, that hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

KHARY: All right, going to roll damage. Come on.

LAURA: Man, hit the fucking priest!

KHARY: Three plus–

MATT: That’s just three points of damage. Three points of radiant damage. It bursts and he’s still trying to concentrate on the spell. He does make a constitution saving throw. That’s an eight. That’s a failure. The DC is ten. With that, your paralysis ends.

TALIESIN: Oh, thank god!

MATT: Yeah, it’s either half the damage or ten, whichever is higher. With that, you blast it, and he loses the spell, and all of a sudden your body comes back into control of you, Fjord. You have the bonus action. You can still move the weapon if you want to.

LIAM: I’d get it into the business.

KHARY: Oh, absolutely.

MATT: It was up ten feet, technically. It can move down and then move over here, and it would be down on the ground right there.

LIAM: It’s on its way for the next round.

KHARY: Sure. Okay.

MATT: If you wanted. You could move it anywhere else you want to.

TRAVIS: Who do I pour that potion into, you or you?

SAM: The healer.

KHARY: Stay right there, Estelle. She doesn’t move quickly, but she moves effectively.

MATT: The bust (humming) and rests floating in the air. That brings us to the top; Molly, you’re up.

TALIESIN: Fuck, there is so little I can do. I’m going to move forward a bit, I’m going to move close enough that I can– I’m just going to keep trying to– Put me next to Caleb.

MATT: There you go.

TALIESIN: Shite. I’m just going to keep trying to give disadvantage to the first attack on the manticore.

MATT: What’s the range on Vicious Mockery?

TALIESIN: 60 feet.

MATT: Yeah, you can do that here. Wisdom save for the manticore. 19.

TALIESIN: Yeah, it saves.

MATT: Sorry.

TALIESIN: Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. Not even In infernal. Fuck fuck fuck.

MATT: (laughing) Fjord, you’re up.

TRAVIS: What is it, an action or a bonus action to pour a health potion into somebody’s mouth?

MATT: It’s an action.

TRAVIS: I’ll run down and pour a health potion into Jester’s mouth.

LAURA: That’s good, because that gets me up and I can heal you.

LIAM: Yeah, in time for your turn.

MATT: You reach down, pull out the healing potion. It’s a regular healing potion, right?

TRAVIS: It was a regular.

MATT: Yeah, so that would be 2d4 plus two you heal.

SAM: You roll? You roll? Who rolls?

TALIESIN: Doesn’t matter.

LAURA: Six plus two. Eight!

MATT: So you heal eight.

TRAVIS: Can I use the rest of my movement to start running up the stairs?

MATT: You may.

TRAVIS: I don’t know how much I have left.

MATT: From there it was (counting) six, that’s as far as you get.

TRAVIS: Okay, fair enough. Okay.

MATT: As you move out of range, the priest is going to make a strike at you with his dagger.

TRAVIS: Was I in melee of the priest?

MATT: Yeah, to get to her you would have.

TRAVIS: I’ll stay in there, then. I couldn’t see where I was. Yeah, I’ll stay close.

MATT: Yeah, because you would have moved– Oh, god.

SAM: Oh god, everyone’s dead.

LAURA: It’s all going to shit!

MATT: That’s okay. You stay there. That end’s Fjord’s turn, Jester, you’re up. You are on the ground, prone, but are now conscious and breathing, as you feel the glass vial pulled away from your lips, and Fjord looks down at you with a nod, like “Go!”

LAURA: Thank you! I stand up. I’ll reach out and cast Cure Wounds on Nott.

SAM: (gasping)

MATT: Go ahead and roll that. That’s a d8 plus your wisdom modifier?

LAURA: Yes, it is. Sorry.

SAM: I just say to Beau: The fuck?!

(laughter)

LAURA: Eight points to heal.

MATT: So you heal eight points.

TRAVIS: The fuck.

LAURA: Then I guess we should start running, yes? I use the remainder of my–

MATT: Movement to run? You can move 15 feet.

LAURA: Can I use my bonus action to dash?

MATT: You do not have that ability, unfortunately. That’s a rogue and monk ability to use a point. Clerics do not get that. Sorry. Let’s put you there.

LAURA: My bonus action to whimper a little bit.

MATT: Okay. The priest does get attack of opportunity on you as you run past, as you were engaged in melee.

LAURA: I’m hoping the priest is lame.

MARISHA: Yeah, a weakling.

MATT: Well, he rolled a three. The dagger hits your armor and scrapes off the metal. No effect. That ends your turn, Jester. Nott, you’re up.

SAM: Oh, this is crazy.

MATT: You’re prone, technically, in Beau’s arms right now.

SAM: Sure. I will look up at the manticore, I’ll take out my last shitty tart that you gave me, and crumple it onto the ground, and point up to the manticore and say: What did the incontinent druid say on his surprise birthday party? I’m so excited, I wet my plants!

(groaning)

TRAVIS: Wow.

TALIESIN: Never mind, leave him behind.

KHARY: How much damage did that give?

TRAVIS: Yeah, to all of us? TPK up in this business.

MATT: This is, I assume Hideous Laughter?

SAM: Yes, Hideous Laughter.

MATT: All right, we’ll see if this works. Wisdom saving throw. That is a 12. What is your DC?

SAM: 13.

(cheering)

MATT: There’s been a lot of just under this game.

TALIESIN: Oh, god.

KHARY: The dad joke works!

MATT: Weirdly, as angry as this manticore is at you– You know what? I’m going to give it advantage in the saving throw because you killed its baby.

LAURA: Oh, that’s just mean!

MATT: You killed its baby.

MARISHA: Hindsight advantage.

MATT: I’m allowing it, because I’m the fucking DM. It doesn’t help, I rolled a two. Shit. I felt it was fair for the mother of the baby that you just murdered.

SAM: You would have given it to us.

MATT: I would have, and from a narrative standpoint it made sense. Still takes effect. The manticore, turning around, eyes filled with fury and anger, goes (growling). She all of a sudden begins to chuckle. As the mouth opens from the laughter, you see the jagged teeth, filled with your own blood, and the tongue lashing around from the laughter as it falls on the ground, prone and cackling.

TRAVIS: Is goblin blood red or green? Red?

SAM: I think it’s like a black. I don’t know. Matt, what is it?

MATT: It’s dark enough where, in this lighting, it looks black.

LAURA: Hideous Laughter. Does that mean we all get advantage on hits now?

MATT: It is prone, which means melee attacks do get advantage against it.

SAM: Or we could leave.

TALIESIN: Run!

LAURA: But you guys! We’ve got a whole other round!

SAM: Of what?

LAURA and LIAM: Attacks to wail on her.

SAM: Or to leave.

MATT: It’s up to you. The manticore’s pretty hurt. The priest has taken a little damage, but the priest also doesn’t look very hardy. But it’s up to you. You can flee or you can finish it. There are advantages and disadvantages. There are advantages to both.

MATT and MARISHA: There are advantages to both!

KHARY: Are there ears on all of that crap that this priest has on him? Are there any ears on him?

MATT: No ears. There is actually on the head. The gnoll head has ears.

KHARY: They have ears on that thing. And if we drag that fucking carcass back to the surface, I bet that’ll–

TRAVIS: Be worth a pretty penny?

MATT: You’re probably not wrong.

KHARY: You know what? Forget that. I want that fucking thing on my wall.

MATT: All righty. Well, that’s up to you guys to make your choices.

TALIESIN: How long does Hideous Laughter last?

LAURA: For at least a whole round.

MATT: Each time it takes damage.

MARISHA: Okay, we could unload and then run!

LAURA: And each time he takes damage?

MATT: It gets to make a save again.

SAM: On the end of his turn, he gets to make a save.

MARISHA: If you hit him, he gets to make a save?

MATT: Yeah. And on the end of its turn it gets to save.

TRAVIS: It’s not like a tee off and then we go.

LAURA: Oh, I thought it was like a paralyzation sort of thing.

SAM: So he might save right now.

MARISHA: We should go.

TRAVIS: We should stick to the plan.

MATT: Well, regardless–

LIAM: What about the dynamite?

KHARY: That’s what I’m saying! I want to stick one in its mouth!

MATT: That’s up to you.

SAM: You might not get that chance! It’s the manticore’s turn, and she might save right now!

MATT: Yeah, that’s true. Because it is the manticore– you still have movement, if you want to.

MARISHA: Do you want me to put you down?

MATT: You have 15 feet of movement if you want Beau to put you down.

SAM: Yeah. I will jump down and run.

MATT: Ten, 15.

TALIESIN: Can you also take your bonus action to run too?

SAM: Sure, if I still have a bonus action.

MATT: You do, yeah.

SAM: Bonus action dash. Well, you know what? I’m going to stay within 30 feet of the priest.

MATT: Okay. Good to know. All righty. Finishing Nott’s turn, the manticore’s turn. The manticore’s chuckling, laughing on the ground, howling. It’s echoing throughout the chamber in this very dark–

SAM: 35 feet of the priest.

MATT: I’ll put you about, roughly, we’ll say there. The manticore’s going to attempt to make its wisdom saving throw.

TRAVIS: No! Fail!

MATT: That is a 12, again! I rolled two elevens in a row!

LAURA: Laugh it up, Fuzzball!

MATT: The civilians continue to run and they are just up the tunnel. You hear their heavy breathing fade as they disappear into the darkness. Beau, you’re up.

MARISHA: What do we do? Are we running or are we fighting?

TRAVIS: Whatever you want to do.

MATT: Beau, it’s your choice. What are you doing?

MARISHA: Okay, I’m going to, because I can, fuck the priest.

MATT: Okay. You move in to the priest. Go for it.

MARISHA: Okay. Big ol’ two-handed staff swing. That’s not bad. 16!

MATT: 16 hits! He’s only wearing leather armor.

MARISHA: Nine points of damage.

MATT: Nine points of damage. Whack! Right across the face. You knock part of the gnoll head off. It’s off-kilter to the side and he spits blood and looks back at you, “Do not worry. He will come for you too.”

MARISHA: Ugh! Okay, in response to that, I’m going to be like: Don’t patronize me! Then I’m going to fucking Flurry of Blows. Elbow strike him to an uppercut.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: First attack. Yeah, that hits, with a 12?

MATT: That hits!

MARISHA: Natural 12. And then, not so good. 12 again. Total.

MATT: 12 does not hit, unfortunately. But the next one does.

MARISHA: Six plus four. Another ten points of damage.

MATT: Ten points of damage, nice. With the staff hit, he laughs at you, the blood spilling out on the side of his chin. You smack him with the elbow, miss with the upper cut, but as the elbow cracks and hits you feel like the jaw kind of dislodge a bit. As he looks back, he reaches up and he’s trying to put it back into place. He’s looking not too great.

MARISHA: Hang on, I messed up that. Three plus four. I messed up.

MATT: You said ten? Yeah, you shouldn’t have done– actually, it would’ve been seven.

MARISHA: Seven damage. I’m sorry. I was adding the wrong modifier. I was looking at the wrong guy.

MATT: It’s all good. No worries, so seven damage on that one? That ends your turn?

MARISHA: Yes! No! I can still move? Right?

MATT: You can, yeah.

MARISHA: I’m going to now move past Fjord and start heading away.

MATT: Okay. It already got an attack of opportunity against–. So you move up (counting) 40.

MARISHA: I’ll stay– that’s good.

MATT: All right. Caleb and the priest. Your turn simultaneously.

LIAM: Ja, I cannot see too well, so I’m going to take a step forward between Mollymauk and Nott. Just a little bit there. Now I can see that blond hair, and I am tapped out, so I’m just going to let my hand blacken and say a few arcane words and then send a–

MATT: He does have three-quarters cover behind that from your current position.

LIAM: Well then I will, if I can’t see too well, keep going down the steps until I can see him.

MATT: You can move there to get a view without hitting–

LIAM: That’s fine. That’s not fine, but that’s fine. Fire Bolt and here it comes to you, shithead. That is a 25 to hit.

ALL: It hits!

LIAM: But I could roll a one. I rolled a ten.

(cheering)

MATT: How do you want to do this?

(cheering)

LIAM: I’m going to extend my hand forward. I have five fingers out and then I pull in four. I send the flame down my hand because these people have hurt my little friend. I want his hair to burn off his head and die.

MATT: Okay. As you release the bolt, the anger in your eyes, the fury coursing through the veins in your hand. The Fire Bolt slams into the priest’s head, and he falls back on the ground, screaming. As you watch, Ghost Rider-style, his head just bursts into flame and burn away, until he falls back to his knees. You can just see the darkened expression of a black skull into the fire as he falls. I need you to make a wisdom saving throw.

LAURA: What?! What’s this mean?!

LIAM: That’s a seven.

MATT: A wave of memories come flooding to you, and you feel your motions grow slow.

LIAM: I was going to do this on my own.

MATT: You guys watch as Caleb stares at this, and continues to stare at the guy burning in flames. That ends your turn!

SAM and LAURA: What?

MATT: Shakäste, it’s your turn.

LAURA and TRAVIS: (whispering) Backstory.

(laughter)

MATT: Shakäste, your turn.

KHARY: Yes. Well, I do believe I still have a Spiritual Weapon.

MATT: You do.

LAURA: That’s right!

KHARY: The Spiritual Weapon goes wandering over, just as sassy as she wants to be. I do believe that the underbelly of the manticore is still waiting there for Estelle to tell him all kinds of horrible things about what it’s like to live in South Florida.

MATT: Oh, that’s particularly awful.

KHARY: Absolutely. First of all, exactly. You know what? There’s way too much gambling at the track. Everybody’s constantly upset about the humidity. This is what your problem is. Maybe next time, you’ll eat something less human-like, baby. What do I need to roll?

MATT: Roll a d20 plus five, with advantage because it is prone. So roll a d20 twice and take the higher of the two.

KHARY: Roll the 20 twice?

MATT: Correct.

KHARY: Nine. Three.

LAURA: Nine plus five?

MATT: Nine plus five is 14. That is just its armor class. That hits. It has an armor class of 14. So roll damage on that. d8 plus three.

KHARY: d8 plus three. That’s this one. All right, four. Four plus three is seven!

MATT: Seven points of damage! As the bust slams into the manticore after your musings pierced its soul, it’s going to attempt to make a saving throw, with advantage.

LAURA: With advantage? Why with advantage?

MATT: It’s a two. Because whenever it takes an impact from an attack, it gets an advantage on the saving throw to break it. A two and a five, however!

(cheering)

MARISHA: Aw, baby.

MATT: It’s okay, it happens. It’s good, it’s cinematic. It’s fun. That’s your bonus action. You still have an action.

KHARY: I still have an action?

MATT: Yes you do.

KHARY: Well then. Let’s see. Where am I?

LIAM: Did you use all your slots?

LAURA: You got healing in there?

SAM: Was that a bonus action to use the weapon?

MATT: Yeah. So you still have an action if you want to cast another spell or do something else as an action.

KHARY: Let’s see. How is everybody feeling right now?

TALIESIN: Not too good.

KHARY: Not too good?

MATT: The priest is already dead. The manticore’s pretty hurt. Some of them are pretty beat up and low. Some of them seem to have avoided the fray.

KHARY: Yeah. Am I close enough to the point where I– I’m still pretty far from the manticore, aren’t I?

MATT: You’re about 60 feet from it.

KHARY: I’m about 60 feet, but I would need to be at about a 15-foot cube to do my Thunderwave.

MATT: Thunderwave, yeah.

LAURA: You could do a cantrip as an action. Because you got enough distance.

KHARY: Yeah, I think the cantrip will– let’s hit him again with Sacred Flame.

MATT: Sacred Flame? All right. That will be an eight plus one for the wisdom modifier. That does not succeed! So roll, that’s d8 radiant damage.

SAM: So that worked?

LAURA: Yeah. 1d8 radiant.

SAM: Oh, so you roll!

KHARY: Oh, so I do roll!

MATT: You did damage, yeah.

KHARY: I did damage. Oh, you did wrong, so I did right!

MATT: Exactly! That’s how spells work a lot of the time, man.

KHARY: Big money. Come on, baby. That’s a six.

MATT: A six? As is tradition, it seems, for our guests, how do you want to do this?

(cheering)

MATT: That’s ridiculous, by the way! That’s fucked up! I’m counting and I’m like, if he gets the kill this is going to– this is ridiculous.

LIAM: That’s hospitality.

MATT: That’s hospitality. Jesus Christ!

MARISHA: Put. That. Shit. On. Your. Wall. Describe it!

MATT: So how do you want to do this? As it’s on the ground, laughing and cackling and writhing.

KHARY: I drop the reed that’s in my hand, and I start to play with the flames that start to light on the edges of my fingers. As I slowly bring them together, there’s a musical interlude that starts to play and shoots towards the manticore. Diving down her throat, and bursting through the chest of her, and exploding her heart. You know what? I did that out of love. For someone who just lost their child.

MATT: There you go. As Shakäste smiles, the merciful grin of a person who knows that the loss of a child is hard, you release this torrent of sound energy into the cackling mouth of the female manticore. As the writhing stops, and she begins to stand up, looking down, looks back at the corpse of the child now laid still. Looks back at you with a look of pity and acceptance before (explosion). There is a burst of gore out of the chest, and the creature just falls to the ground, motionless. The wings flopping onto the ground, still. And silence takes the chamber.

(silence)

TRAVIS: Well, time to light the TNT, let’s go.

TALIESIN: I’m going to douse the flames. I’m going to run down to the priest and douse the flames, and then give Caleb a good slap on the face.

MATT: Okay. Caleb comes to.

LIAM: (slapping)

TALIESIN: Hey! Back in the game! Time for that later. You all right?

LIAM: Yeah.

TALIESIN: All right. Big kiss on the forehead and then walking away.

MARISHA and KHARY: I’m–

KHARY: No, please.

MARISHA: I was just going to say, I’m going to do a quick scan. See if there’s anything of interest.

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: Copy. Natural 19. 22.

MATT: Amongst the chunks of flesh and rather horrible attire, there’s a couple of interesting adornments on the priest. The nest looks like it’s a mishmash of all kinds of things cobbled together.

MARISHA: I’ll definitely take the adornments from the priest.

MATT: Okay. From that, there was a set of goggles that were affixed over the priest’s eyes, of a dark lens.

MARISHA: Can I see? If I can see in the dark. I need night vision goggles!

LIAM: You do.

MATT: There is also that reddish glove that was affixed to his right hand.

LAURA: Don’t touch it! I wonder if that makes spells better. (gasps)

TRAVIS: I’ll run up onto the nest and start looking for stuff.

MATT: Make an investigation check for me, please.

TALIESIN: You all right there? You all right?

SAM: Never better!

TRAVIS: Natural 20.

LAURA: Yay! Find all the shit!

MATT: No shit! What’s the total there for that?

TRAVIS: 24.

MATT: All right. As you tear through the rubble of this nest, you find a few interesting things: a skeletal hand that has been mostly chewed through, though a single fleshy finger still holds a ring of beautiful silver make and a blue gem that catches your attention. What at first looks like part of the wooden riff-raff that makes the nest, you pull out a refined and well-carved stick that doesn’t match the rest of the rather rough wood.

TALIESIN: I know I’m so excited, our first loot.

LAURA: This is so exciting!

MATT: Also, tangled within the mass, you find chains but larger than normal chains. These chains are attached to a set of unlocked manacles, much larger than any human manacles you’ve seen. There are four identical loops, a little over one foot in diameter, all attached via this chain to one larger one about four feet in diameter.

SAM: That’s huge.

MARISHA: Was it for the manticore?

MATT: It looks like it would have been the size for a manticore. Since you rolled so high in investigation, you also notice that these manacles, which are open, have a single rune pressed into where they meet and lock in place, as there is no other visible locking mechanism. You are unable to really, at the moment, ascertain the nature of it. These manacles are fresh, they’re clean compared to all the other stuff in here. They are there.

MARISHA: Are the runes recognizable in any way?

MATT: Make an arcana– are you proficient in arcana?

TRAVIS: I’ll make an arcana check.

MATT: Are you proficient in arcana?

TRAVIS: I have a pretty high bonus, I don’t think I’m proficient in it.

LIAM: I would like to sit on my ass and look at the ground.

TRAVIS: I am proficient in it.

MATT: Make an arcana check, please.

TRAVIS: Seven.

MATT: You’re unable to really ascertain the nature of the runes, unfortunately.

LAURA: I’m going to walk up and pet the manticore’s mantle.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Aw, fuck that thing.

KHARY: I’d like to cast a spell.

MATT: What would you like to cast?

KHARY: Fog Cloud.

MATT: Okay. You watch as the central portion of the chamber begins to fill with a thick mist, somewhat obscuring your vision more than a few feet in front of you.

LAURA: What was that?

TALIESIN: Is this supposed to happen?

SAM: What’s going on?

LAURA: We should get out of here.

KHARY: I step behind Nott and whisper in her ear, I say that: This was a bold move you made and we wouldn’t have made it, we wouldn’t have succeeded without you, so I say you earned that gold. But make no mistake, be careful where you put your fingers.

SAM: Yes, fog monster.

MATT: All right. What else would you like to do?

LAURA: Should we get out of here, I guess.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: Anything else in the chamber? Does it look like there’s any other little, interesting things in there?

TRAVIS: Hey, Molly?

TALIESIN: Yeah?

MATT: Honestly, it looks like everything was clustered in the nest or on the priest.

TRAVIS: You want to help me butcher that manticore head?

TALIESIN: Let’s do this.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: Easily enough. Within but a few moments, between the triple-blades that the two of you wield, you manage to carve a fresh and carryable by two of you– this is now the second beast head you guys have acquired, carrying along with you– a female manticore head.

SAM: We’re not going to take those giant manacles are we?

LAURA: Yeah.

KHARY: I’ll take the tail.

TRAVIS: Yeah we’ll be taking all of that.

SAM: It’s huge, can we carry that?

MATT: All the manacles together probably weigh about 25 pounds, so it’s carryable.

TRAVIS: Just over the shoulder, just walk out.

MATT: You couldn’t carry it.

SAM: I can’t carry it, that’s how much I weigh.

TRAVIS: Even I couldn’t carry that.

TALIESIN: Caleb, come on.

MARISHA: Hey, you all right?

TALIESIN: Later.

LIAM: Yeah.

TALIESIN: There’s time for that later.

LIAM: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Come on. Let’s go get some sunlight.

MARISHA: I grab Caleb, wrap an arm around him, and try to walk him out.

TALIESIN: I’m going to grab the other side, we’re going to– yep.

TALIESIN: You did good.

LAURA: Well I’m still here with this big, giant manticore head so– you guys got Caleb?

TRAVIS: I’m helping out.

KHARY: You’re going through a change, my friend, and that’s not a bad thing.

(laughter)

MATT: All right. You guys manage to exit the mines, it seems that the remainder of the gnoll warband have either scattered or collapsed beneath the earlier tunnel falling.

KHARY: Gnoll cowards.

MARISHA: Cowardly gnolls, cowardly gnolls.

LIAM: You just cured me.

MATT: You bring yourself back to the surface. The light of the day is growing closer to sunset, another hour, hour and a half or so before the sun sets, but you return to the shack, which has been untouched, unsullied since your leaving. The remainder of the survivors greet you upon you letting them know you’ve returned, and you watch two more reunions occur as the two individuals you had saved from the belly of the manticore find the rest of their family within the survivors. You gather the rest of the bodies, and whoever needs the travel, and begin to load up the cart you brought with you, as well as the manticore head, unless you want to carry that back to town yourself.

LAURA: I think it might be easier to put it on the cart.

MATT: You can rope it onto the cart without much of an issue, though you still have a single horse pulling a lot of people and a lot of manticore head. That horse is not going to be traveling at maximum speed, it’s going to be a slow pace on that thing.

LAURA: I mean, if it’s all slow then it doesn’t matter I can walk alongside it and pull the manticore head.

MATT: Eventually after night falls, you can make camp or you continue to make your way to Alfield. It’s only a few miles off and you’ll probably get there maybe an hour or two after sunset.

TALIESIN: Sure.

LAURA: We should probably just get there.

TALIESIN: Let’s make it all the way back.

MATT: All right. As you guys make your way under the outskirts of town, back through the forest that cradles the northeast side of the city, a handful of crownsguard that are keeping watch for any sort of incursion watch you approach and immediately one of them puts up a hand, “Halt. Who goes there?”

TALIESIN: All hail, the conquering heroes!

LAURA: The saviors of Alfield have returned!

TALIESIN: Huzzah!

MATT: “Right the, um, yes– come this way,” he seems to not be able to deal with the fact that you’ve arrived with all of these survivors, and the head of a manticore being pulled by this poor horse.

SAM: It’s two horses.

TRAVIS: There are two horses.

SAM: W.C and Crapper.

MATT: Making your way into the town. Since you’ve seen it last, a number of buildings still lay in cinders, ash, and burned structures, but the people are in the process of cleaning and rebuilding their lives from the night before where this first attack initially happened. Within a short time, the crownsguard seemed to have brought Bryce back for you. Bryce, which you have not met yet, is currently the Watchmaster of the town. You see a genderfluid half-elf with blonde shoulder-length hair and armor. They seem to be recovering from the wound they sustained the night before and as you approach they immediately come up to you with a bit of a jog and say, “My gods, "you’ve certainly come through on my– what is that?”

LAURA: It’s a manticore head.

TALIESIN: There was a lot.

MATT: “Apparently.” They scratch their head, and shake their head in wonderment, “Well, you’ve– (laughs) "Thank you. What do we call you?”

MARISHA: Oh shit.

LAURA: Oh fuck.

SAM: We’ll get back to you.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: We’re still a–

TALIESIN: This is all very new.

TRAVIS: We’re the TBDs.

MATT: “Very well.” The woman by the way, who you had helped earlier, she comes forward with two of the members, and they come forward to the Watchmaster and they say, “Bryce, Watchmaster, all of these people came and helped my baby. And–” and turns and looks at you and is looking about to introduce you, if you have a moment you wish to halt or intercede.

KHARY: I stop. I hold my hand up. I put my finger over my lips. Shh.

MATT: “Anyway, thank you all.” Other folks are starting to come out of their respective homes now to see this spectacle. Children are gawking and you hear gasps at the sight of the horrible beast head, the tongue lolling out and dragging across the ground. Other people are gathering and having reunions, other people are beginning to identify the dead that have been brought in the cart and while there is sadness and crying, there is also closure. There are even some still that are disappointed to not see those they had hoped to see amongst those who had been recovered. Given that still, a hero’s night is to be prepared and people begin to prepare food. For a brief moment past the darkness, you can hear music begin to build as people begin to bring chairs and tables out to the center of the town square, the intersection of where Alfield’s simple backwoods lifestyle seems to still understand what celebration is in the face of victory. As what better case is there to be but to celebrate those who stood up to such evils? As you all think over what you’ve done, this ragtag group of wandering know-nothings that have managed to come together and do a good thing. For some coin, maybe, but a good thing nonetheless.

LAURA: I pull out the jar of ears.

(laughter)

LAURA: Before I hand them over, I open the lid and I whisper in: Thadeus Candleglow says hello. I shut it. I think I did what he asked.

SAM: He said to do that. He said to say that to the people.

LAURA: They heard it.

LIAM: Also, Caleb has been very distant for the last couple of hours, but absentmindedly scoops up Nott’s hand. Doesn’t look at Nott, but holds Nott’s hand.

SAM: I stealthily take my bag of coin and slide it into his back pocket, and I pat it and say: I got you some book money.

KHARY: Shakäste is standing at a distance. Everyone else is walking towards the village. The Duchess is perched on his shoulder, and he scrawling something in the dirt with that long reed. It’s kind of an “H.” And he fades into the forest.

MARISHA: We don’t get to say goodbye.

LAURA: He’s the coolest

MARISHA: He’s so cool.

MATT: On that note, we’re going to end tonight’s game.

(groaning)

LIAM: Khary!

MATT: Khary! That was amazing, man!

MARISHA: Have you ever played before?

KHARY: With my kids.

LAURA: You’re so epic.

MARISHA: You’re so good.

MATT: Dude. Thank you, finally. We’ve been wanting to have you on for so long, but schedules haven’t lined up. I’m so glad we could.

KHARY: Sometimes I can’t believe my luck. I love the things people ask me to do and I can’t believe I get to hang out with you guys and do this, this has been so much fun, I don’t know how to thank you.

MATT: Pleasure is ours, man, thank you so much, seriously.

KHARY: Oh!

SAM: Are you inviting us on your show?

KHARY: I have a gift! Is it all right if I–?

MATT: Yeah, go for it.

LAURA: Do you have a present?

KHARY: I do have a present.

MATT: Kind of.

KHARY: Yeah, sort of, from your old friend. Let’s see I– let’s see.

LIAM: Uh oh. All right, I know how this works.

(laughter)

KHARY: I was given something from Will Friedle.

SAM: Is it a venereal disease?

KHARY: At first he was like, “Oh, I’ve got something for you.”

LIAM: Slipping you the digits.

KHARY: Yes, he brought me this 20-sided dice.

LAURA: It’s so pretty.

KHARY: It is, it’s lovely, isn’t it?

LIAM: He’s got gloves on him, don’t touch it.

MARISHA: What’s it mean?

LAURA: It was up Will’s butt.

TRAVIS: He carried it in his ass.

LIAM: Crystallized rice.

MATT: Ass-20s, it’s like ass pennies.

KHARY: My ass– no. He played with this, apparently, but at some point, it was touched by Wil Wheaton.

ALL: Oh no!

KHARY: Exactly. At some point, I had a hammer–

MATT: You know what we should do, because we don’t want to do anything near the table, after this, we’re going to go ahead and record a video of you dealing with that like the Ring in Mount Doom.

KHARY: Exactly.

MATT: We’ll put it up on socials.

KHARY: He gave this to me as if I would use it today. I was like, you know what, that’s the last thing I’m going to do.

MATT: He had it blessed and everything, you were telling me.

KHARY: He said that two witches blessed this thing and that it was okay. I watched him roll it, and it seemed like it was okay, but there’s no way this thing can be okay.

MATT: It’s safer for everyone.

KHARY: Rather than have any foolish soul wander upon it, we’re going do with this thing, like you say, we’re going to take this thing out.

MATT: We’ll have that video for you guys in the near future. Guys, great game. We’ll take this up next week.

LAURA: I can’t believe we survived.

MARISHA: We’re heroes.

TALIESIN: We lived.

LIAM: Just for one day.

KHARY: The plan was perfect.

MATT: The plan was perfect. A couple things didn’t work out to get out of there in time, I was hoping that would.

KHARY: I was really disappointed in Nott for a while, and then she ran up there and did what no one else would.

MARISHA and LAURA: Nott the Brave.

SAM: Nott the Stupid.

MATT: Thank you guys so much. Khary, thank you again. Shakäste goes into the annals of Wildemount history. Thank you guys so much for tuning in. We’ll be back here next Thursday to continue this story. Until then, is it Thursday yet? Have a good night.

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