List of Transcripts

Pre-Show

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

ALL: (discordant yelling) We play Dungeons & Dragons!

LIAM: Oh! (laughter)

MATT: Before we get into tonight's episode, we do have some announcements to get through. Beginning with the first of our sponsors, our friends at Ravensburger.

TRAVIS: Ravensburger.

MATT: Sam.

SAM: This episode is sponsored by our friends at Ravensburger and the newest in their award-winning Disney Villainous line, Despicable Plots, featuring three new villains: Gaston from Beauty and The Beast, the Horned King from The Black Cauldron, and my favorite, Lady Tremaine from Cinderella. It can be played as a standalone game or as an expansion for up to six players using other Disney Villainous titles to expand the plot. And hey, speaking of despicable plots.

TRAVIS: Uh-huh?

SAM: I'm going to give the cast an opportunity to weave their own dastardly web of evil, on my head. That's right, fellow cast members, you're going to give me a haircut. Using this map of my head--

LAURA: No!

SAM: I would like you to--

MATT: Sam--

LAURA: Sam, stop doing this to yourself!

LIAM: No, no, no, no, no!

SAM: We're going to go around the room, starting with Matt.

LIAM: No.

MATT: No!

SAM: You call out a number and say if you want me to use scissors or a clipper and how short to go. You guys can work as a team and give me a mohawk. You could focus on one side only. You could just do face stuff. You could do a reverse mohawk; it's up to you.

LAURA: (horrified) Sam!

LIAM: We do two, seven, and five, we can just clear the whole center of his face.

SAM: Matt, you're up, the clock has started.

MATT: We could pull some Peter Gabriel shit.

MARISHA: Maybe we do, like--

MATT: No! Like--

SAM: The clock has started, Matt.

MATT: Okay, uh--

ASHLEY: I say you get rid of all of it. Oh, no, this is Matt.

TRAVIS: Start at the chin, start at the chin, start at the chin.

MATT: I'm going to say, let's see how this, let's go ahead with five and let's go for the full Hogan.

MARISHA: Yes, that's what I was going to say.

SAM: Five?

MARISHA: Do the full Hogan.

SAM: Okay, here we go.

LIAM: But how many seconds till he's bleeding?

MARISHA: You got to do the--

SAM: Okay, okay, be thinking of your next one, guys. Marisha, what do you want?

MARISHA: Okay, if we're going the full Hogan-- Oh god.

TALIESIN: One or three I think, right?

SAM: I got this.

LIAM: Ugh.

TRAVIS: What else is new?

ASHLEY: Yeah, hold it up a little.

TALIESIN: This is really hard to do without a mirror. Marisha, what you got?

MARISHA: Three with the razor.

SAM: Three with the razor, like full razor?

TRAVIS: What do you mean with the razor?

MARISHA: How do you mean full razor?

SAM: Well, I also have a little guard.

MARISHA: Oh. No, full trimmer.

SAM: Full trimmer.

TALIESIN: Yeah, zero.

SAM: Is this three?

TRAVIS: No, other side, other side.

MATT: Wait, no, really, really? (yells) Sam!

LIAM: (yells)

MATT: What are you doing?!

LIAM: Oh my god!

MATT: What the fuck?

LIAM: Give him the vanity screen so he can see what he's doing.

SAM: Oh wait, I have a mirror, where is it? (laughter) Doesn't matter, it's gone. Who's next? Taliesin, go.

LIAM: Oh god.

TALIESIN: If we're doing, you know?

MARISHA: Yeah. Clean that up a bit.

TALIESIN: Yeah, clean that up a little bit.

MARISHA: Yeah, there you go, there you go.

TALIESIN: I'm going to continue onto this. I'd say, let's do one. I'm just going to say--

LAURA: One's the other side of your head.

SAM: Same thing?

TALIESIN: Same thing.

SAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: Use the zero.

LIAM: Who would dare do two to him?

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: Oh yeah.

TALIESIN: You can hit two with the scissors.

SAM: Oh yeah. All right, Ash?

LIAM: I hate this.

LAURA: I don't like it.

TRAVIS: I do, I kind of like it.

ASHLEY: There's a part of me that kind of wants you--

LAURA: You look like a D&D character right now, like a tavern keeper.

MATT: Kind of, yeah.

ASHLEY: There's a part of me that kind of wants you to take all of it off except a poof back here.

LIAM: (groans)

LAURA: No, Ashley.

ASHLEY: I know, I'm not going to make you do that.

SAM: I need a number. (laughter) I've also got scissors.

ASHLEY: I'm kind of liking where this is going, actually.

TRAVIS: I like where it is.

LAURA: Just leave it where it is, because it looks really--

SAM: Should I clean up anything on the sides?

LAURA: I mean, yeah, fucking clean it up.

ASHLEY: Yeah, just clean it up.

LAURA: It looks really awesome right now.

MATT: It is actually looking pretty great.

TALIESIN: I mean, I wouldn't have you do this, but have someone come in and deal with the split ends.

ASHLEY: Get these side bits above your ear.

MARISHA: Your sideburns aren't--

ASHLEY: Pull your ear down.

MARISHA: -- connected to anything.

SAM: Pull my ear down?!

MARISHA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: You got to get that--

MARISHA: Yeah, there you go.

LIAM: Jeez.

MARISHA: Down a little bit. (laughter)

LIAM: This is like a steam from Brazil.

ASHLEY: That's why I love it so much.

SAM: Are we good?

TRAVIS: Yep.

SAM: Travis? You got anything?

TRAVIS: No, you're good, you're good.

SAM: Laura?

LIAM: Is there, like--

LAURA: I mean, I like it.

TRAVIS: You look like a Mad Max character.

MARISHA: Look at this side a little bit. You got a little, like a little right on this side. Kind of do the same--

ASHLEY: On your one.

MARISHA: On your one.

LIAM: Is there a secret menu, like at the coffee shop?

MARISHA: That's it, that's it, there you go.

TALIESIN: There you go, there you go.

LIAM: Well, there's his buttocks.

MATT: Well, I was going to say, is there a number seven and a number eight?

LIAM: Yeah, I want the hidden menu.

SAM: I gave you guys a chance to be villains and you were nice.

TRAVIS: No, it's pretty wild, what's going on over there.

ASHLEY: Hold on, look to the right. Look at me.

SAM: Okay.

ASHLEY: You got to clean up the--

MARISHA: You've got a-- your edge.

TRAVIS: Just go straight up.

MARISHA: There we go, there we go, that's the daddy.

ASHLEY: You had, like, Giuliani drippy going on.

LIAM: Get the top and the front, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

LAURA: Yeah, that's good.

SAM: Oh, look at that.

LIAM: Now just shave an L on your chest, and we're done.

MARISHA: Wait, can I? Do you want to do for the full Hogan?

SAM: I don't know what that is.

MARISHA: Do a little patch?

MATT: No, put it like in the sideburns.

ASHLEY: Handlebar. That's what I was going to do. Yeah.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

SAM: Hey. That was despicable. (laughter)

TRAVIS: You look like you were working on Deadwood.

SAM: Grab a copy of Despicable Plots right now at bit.ly/CRDespicable. And for a chance to win a copy of the game, head over to the official Ravensburger Twitter page--

LAURA: Ew.

SAM: -- which is @RavensburgerNA. Matt, back to you. (hair clippers buzzing)

MATT: (laughs)

TRAVIS: Wow.

TALIESIN: I mean, it's not a bad look.

LIAM: He looks like he's headlining the Metallica reunion concert.

MATT: Yeah, kind of, kind of. It's--

TALIESIN: It's got a little bit of the Lenny vibe. It's got a little Lenny from Motorhead.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: Yeah, I dig it.

SAM: Thanks, guys.

MATT: I dig it. I really, really like it, actually. All right. Well, thank you, Ravensburger.

MARISHA: I also do really like the little, you know, your little ducky shield.

TRAVIS: I can't wait to take our meetings tomorrow. (laughter)

ASHLEY: But aren't they so used to Sam just looking different every Zoom?

MATT: That's true.

SAM: There's always a Snapchat filter that can fix it.

MATT: All right! Next sponsor! Elderwood Academy!

TRAVIS: Elderwood Academy!

MATT: Not shaving any part of myself, but I do appreciate you guys and your brand new campaign for keyring spellbooks with tiny bespoke leather and wood crafts for D&D lovers, but also a key ring. If you guys haven't seen, they do specialized, high-end customizable gear for players and GMs, and everything is designed for both functionality and immersive-ness for your game. It's amazing stuff. You can check it out, for they are offering a very generous 15% off everything the store wide. Bonus, when you check out using the code "criticalrole21" all one word, at So go check out the campaign and anything else from the shop. They do amazing work, enjoy, and stock up.

MARISHA: Is he sticking to [inaudible].

LAURA: This is the one time, like, I'm so happy we're not still sitting at the same table because I would've had to fucking be next to him for that.

MATT: That's true.

MARISHA: You would have gotten beard clippings on your character sheet.

ASHLEY: We would just all be itchy--

LAURA: So gross.

ASHLEY: -- with little bits of hair.

LIAM: Yeah, I would be crawling out of my own husk. (laughter)

MARISHA: Wow. Look at you, doing manual labor.

SAM: Oh well, you know.

TALIESIN: When this is over, I will totally shave your head the proper way. I will take a razor to your head.

SAM: What's minimum wage these days? Is it like $40, $50 an hour? I don't know.

MATT: God, Sam.

SAM: I don't know how much people make. I don't know what money is.

MATT: (groans)

TRAVIS: Trying to get it up, trying to get it up.

MATT: Just leave.

ASHLEY: "Just leave."

TRAVIS: "Just leave." (laughter)

MATT: And our friends at D&D Beyond.

ALL: D&D Beyond!

MATT: Thank you so much for supporting us since the beginning of the campaign two, bring us home as we begin to climb towards some intensity in the near future. If you use Discord, D&D Beyond has a bot named Avrae that lets you roll dice, add your character sheet-- access your character sheet through it, and track initiative right without ev-- and track your initiative without ever leaving Discord. There we go.

MARISHA: Nailed it.

MATT: The words, got it in one. Hell yeah. I was a little distracted by our gnomish friend over here. Check it out at dndbeyond.link/discord. That's what it is. I've made you in Warcraft before. (laughter) Like, I have a gnome on a server somewhere that looks just like you right now.

MARISHA: Say like, "Whatcha buyin'?"

SAM: (cockney accent) "Whatcha buyin'?" (laughter)

MARISHA: Yeah! That's good!

MATT: I dig it. And also thank everyone for joining us live on Twitch and YouTube every week. To join our live and moderated chat community, please head over to our Twitch channel which is the official hub of Critical Role. And Liam and Laura, you have an announcement to make.

LIAM: Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Laura and I and everybody at Critical Role are so excited to announce our first official Critical Role novel. (applause and cheering) And to reveal its cover, KITH & KIN, written by #1 New York times bestselling author, Marieke Nijkamp. Tell us all about it.

LAURA: I'm going to tell you this original story will follow a brand new tale featuring the cunning ranger, Vex'ahlia.

LIAM: I know her!

LAURA: And the cunning rogue, Vax'ildan.

LIAM: That's me!

LAURA: And of course, Trinket. Years before we meet Vox Machina. After the-- oh gosh. "After leaving the unwelcoming refuge of Syngorn, the twins become entangled in a web spun by the Clasp. And for the first time, Vex and Vax find themselves on opposite sides of a conflict that threatens the home they've carried with each other for years."

LIAM: I mean, there's things to read. It doesn't make sense, it doesn't make sense. The cover is going to be illustrated by longtime artist, friend of the show, Nikki Dawes, @nikkidawesdraws. She's amazing, amazing paintings. KITH & KIN will release on October 26th, 2021.

LAURA: That's this year!

LIAM and SAM: This year?

LIAM: Do we still do years?

TRAVIS: I think so.

ASHLEY: What is time?

LIAM: You can pre-order your copy right now wherever books are sold. For full details and for more information, head to criticalrolebooks.com.

SAM: We have that URL? We're very forward thinking.

MARISHA: A new slash?

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: Wow. Cool.

MARISHA: You guys, cool.

LIAM: Unbelievable, unbelievable, fantasy novel, twins, man.

TRAVIS: I'm proud of you guys! That's so exciting!

MARISHA: Because you talked about this for so long and being the Dragonlance people and the two of you and like the reading the books and it's the best.

LIAM: It's all connected.

MARISHA: It's all connected.

MATT: I love it.

ASHLEY: I just I want us to have a bookstore and then I will work at a bookstore and wear an apron and give people recommendations.

LAURA: And we need to have a bakery in the bookstore.

ASHLEY: And we need to have bakery in the bookstore, obviously.

SAM: It's just the one book, though.

TRAVIS: Coffee, tea, and cookies.

ASHLEY: I'm just only going to suggest KITH & KIN.

TRAVIS: Cupcakes. (laughter)

ASHLEY: This actually is a really great read.

SAM: It's on the Staff Reads shelf.

ASHLEY: Staff Reads. It's only KITH & KIN.

MARISHA: It's the only book we sell, just displays.

LIAM: "What about DIY crafting projects?" "Well, KITH & KIN."

ASHLEY: Well, actually that's a great scene.

MATT: Awesome. Well, I look forward to that book and mortar, but until then, let's go ahead and jump into tonight's episode of Critical Role. (grunting and growling)

(water bubbling)
(thunder rumbling)
(explosion)
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Role, Critical Role ♪
♪ Roll the dice ♪
♪ The adventure begins ♪
♪ They were always beside you ♪
♪ Your nerdy best friends ♪
♪ And the DM to guide you ♪
♪ And they rise from the flames for the battles ahead ♪
♪ Villains beware because you're about to be dead ♪
♪ They got magic and flair ♪
♪ They got falchions and cunning ♪
♪ They don't see over there ♪
♪ There's a monster incoming ♪
♪ Inspiration is waiting, rise up, don't think twice ♪
♪ Put your fate in your hands, take a chance, ♪
♪ roll the dice ♪
♪ Roll the dice ♪
♪ Critical Role (roll the dice) ♪
♪ Critical Role (roll the dice) ♪
♪ Ooh, ahh ♪
♪ Can you answer the call ♪
♪ Diggin' deep in your soul ♪
♪ As the legend unfolds ♪
♪ Now it's your turn (your turn, your turn) ♪
♪ to roll ♪
(flames whooshing)

Part I

MATT: And welcome back. So last we left off: Vox Machina, having to tie some loose ends before making their return trek to Eiselcross, decided to take a turn towards the Grove, that was once the home and abode of Caduceus, to go and check up on the Clay clan. At that space, you got to see some folks. You got to check up a bit on these visions that were being had. Some of you had some conversations, had some realizations, and some shared anxiety with the adventures to come. Towards the end of this evening's final rest, a storm crashing in the distance, the darkened clouds and lightless night, the heavy rain falling all around. Yasha went out to think on the Storm Lord and the connection they've been steadily dancing around since her escape from Xhorhas. In the fits of this vision, this blasted wasteland of broken weapons, in isolation, the brewing storm slowly coming towards you, as flashes of lightning grows stronger and louder. You run into this storm. With the final voice of the Storm Lord saying, "Show me." (thunder rumbling) At which point, I'm going to pull out a battle map. (exclaiming)

ASHLEY: What?!

TRAVIS: I fucking told you!

SAM: This combat-- Did you think I was lying?

ASHLEY: Well, part of what you were saying.

SAM: -- was brought to you by Dwarven Forge.

LIAM: He's going to bring out a two-foot tall statue for you to fight.

SAM: Their exclusive build of the month for March is available now. Each build includes a custom encounter, bonus gift card, and of course, Dwarven Forge's hand sculpted and hand painted terrain. Delve into the sea cave of secrets at http://bit.ly/DwarvenForgeCR.

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

SAM: Or whatever it is, there'll be a URL.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LIAM: Let's fucking do this, Johnson.

MATT: Now, as you hear the words ringing still, "Show me." (thunder rumbling) You see from the clouds above--

ASHLEY: There's thunder!

MATT: Yeah. Bits of lightning crackle and descend, elements of heavy wisps and fog began to gather as you see elementals begin to curl down from above. You see three creatures made of sparking electricity, themselves like long serpents snaking their way down from above.

SAM: ♪ Snaking their way ♪

ASHLEY: ♪ Making my way ♪

MATT: As these dangerous, burly, storm-like cloud entities begin to race down towards you, massive, angry, hammer-like fists of condensed anger racing in your direction. I would like the rest of you--

SAM: What?

MATT: -- to look under your dice trays for a sheet.

SAM: Is that what that was?

ALL: What?!

LAURA: What did you do, Matthew?!

SAM: Is that what that was? Wait, we get to jaeger these things?

MATT: You guys--

ASHLEY: I'm going to fight all of of them?

MATT: Your job is to fight the fuck out of Yasha. (cheering)

ASHLEY: Oh my god!

MARISHA: It's like Christmas.

LIAM: Kill her!

MATT: Marisha, what have you got?

MARISHA: I got a storm spirit, a large elemental.

MATT: This'll be you.

MARISHA: That's me.

LAURA: Oh my gosh.

MATT: Taliesin?

TALIESIN: I am a lightning spirit, large elemental.

MATT: That is you.

LAURA: "I am a lightning spirit."

SAM: I'm also a storm spirit, unaligned elemental.

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

SAM: What can they do?

LIAM: I'm lightning.

MATT: There you go.

LAURA: I am storm.

TALIESIN: I'm going to use some mean dice for this.

MATT: There you go.

TRAVIS: And I am Kord, the Storm Lord. No, no, no, I'm a lighting spirit. (laughter)

MATT: That'll be you there.

ASHLEY: "I'm, ah, Kord?"

LIAM: It's just Travis standing on the map.

MATT: Yeah, and just kicking the shit off of it.

TRAVIS: Grog's like, "Let's go." (laughs)

MATT: All righty, I would like you all to roll initiative. (exclaiming)

MATT: All of you independently.

TRAVIS: Wow, wow.

LAURA: I'm only going to do blue dice for this.

MARISHA: Oh, that's bad initiative.

LIAM: Well, lightning would be fast.

TALIESIN: It's plus what for initiative?

MATT: Dexterity is what would be, dexterity modifier.

SAM: Without revealing anything to Ashley, these guys are no joke.

TRAVIS: No, they're not.

TALIESIN: No.

SAM: (laughs)

TRAVIS: No, they're not.

MARISHA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: That's okay, that's okay.

MATT: You stand there amidst a crowd--

SAM: We're not talking will-o'-wisps here.

MATT: -- of broken blades of different sizes on the ground around you. No weapon in your hands. 25 to 20, anybody?

SAM: What do we add? Dex?

LAURA: Oh, shit!

ASHLEY: My first roll of the night was a one.

SAM: Matt, for initiative, do we add dex?

ASHLEY: Thankfully, I have advantage on initiative.

MATT: Yeah, your dex modifier, yes.

SAM: Okay, cool.

MATT: 20 to 15?

TALIESIN: 19.

MATT: All righty. 15 to 10?

SAM: 10.

ASHLEY: 10.

LAURA: 12.

MATT: 12, all right.

TRAVIS: Sam--

MARISHA: Then Laura.

MATT: Right, because you do get to have advantage on this from your thing, yeah. Good

ASHLEY: But I rolled a seven, so, you know. It takes me to 10.

MARISHA: Ooh.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Ooh, boy.

MATT: 10 to five?

SAM: And you've got no weapons?

MATT: Five to one?

MARISHA: Four.

TRAVIS: Natural one.

MATT: (laughs) All right.

ASHLEY: Not my weapons, no.

LIAM: Bamf your wings out, going to make some fried chicken.

MATT: Liam, you're up first, right there.

LIAM: Okay, well, I will just close maybe 10 feet closer. Yeah, right there, and I'm just going to kick us off. Arc Strike, reach 30 feet. (crackling)

MATT: Go ahead and roll to attack.

LIAM: Here it comes. Natural 20!

MARISHA: Oh!

TRAVIS: Wow! (laughter)

TRAVIS: Wow!

SAM: We're going to kill Ashley.

TRAVIS: Well, yeah, I fucking told you.

LAURA: Oh no!

LIAM: It's the snitch reborn.

MARISHA: That's amazing.

LIAM: Okay, so that is--

TRAVIS: But I lie.

LIAM: -- 3d6, so here it comes.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LIAM: Plus six, 12. 24. That is 24 points of lightning damage.

TALIESIN: Oh wow.

LAURA: 24 points! Oh, no.

TRAVIS: Rage doesn't do shit against lightning damage.

MATT: Wait, 3d6?

ASHLEY: Does it not?

LIAM: 3d6, it's what it says here. 3d6 lightning damage.

SAM: Bludgeoning, piercing.

MATT: Right, 3d6 couldn't even add up to 24.

LIAM: It was a crit.

MATT: Oh that's right, it was a crit, I'm sorry.

LIAM: It's okay.

MATT: My brain. You're right.

LIAM: It's a lot of numbers.

MATT: 24 points of lightning damage.

LIAM: A lot of rolls and numbers.

MATT: You're right. Sorry, I was caught in my own math for a second there.

ASHLEY: Oofy, okay.

MATT: All right. As an arc shoots out (explosion) and you feel the strike hit you and your body rocks with electricity. The pain hits you, all your muscles tense for a second. You almost crumple to one knee, breathing heavy, and you see this serpent of electricity arcing through the air. That finish your turn, Liam?

LIAM: Yep.

MATT: Taliesin.

TALIESIN: How far away am I from--?

MATT: You are right there. You're about 25, 30 feet away.

TALIESIN: 25 feet? I'm not even going to bother moving. I'm just going to charge up another Arc Strike, and I'm going to attack with an Arc Strike.

MATT: Go ahead and roll for an attack.

TALIESIN: All right. (whistles) That's a 22 to hit?

ASHLEY: That hits.

TALIESIN: It's not-- at least it's not a-- Nine points of lightning damage.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: As soon as you're reeling from the one hit, a second one hits you in the shoulder. It doesn't hurt quite much, but you're now realizing just how surrounded you are. That finish you turn, Taliesin?

TALIESIN: Yep, that's everything.

MATT: Laura, you're up.

LAURA: Oh god. I'm going to--

TRAVIS: Enter!

LAURA: (laughs) I'm going to move 15 feet towards her. At least 15 feet in a straight line. I'm going to move straight up to her,

MATT: You can get straight there to her.

LAURA: And I'm going to slam attack her. So I'm going to turn this into a Battering Ram. Did I move 15 feet before I hit her?

MATT: Yes, you did, you moved about 25 feet.

LAURA: So yeah, this is a Battering Ram attack. So I'm going to try to hit you with a slam attack.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Battering ram!

LAURA: 22?

ASHLEY: That hits.

LAURA: Okay. Oh no. (laughter)

LAURA: So that's 2d8 bludgeoning damage plus an additional 3d6 bludgeoning damage.

ASHLEY: Holy smokes!

SAM: Read those stats! I think you get more.

LAURA: Do I really? Plus five. Wait, "if you hit with a slam attack--" Oh, and you're pushed 10 feet away from me.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: Okay.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: So 2d8. (giggles) Oh no.

MATT: Yeah, you probably wanted initiative on this round.

ASHLEY: Would have been real helpful.

LAURA: So that's 10 plus--

ASHLEY: I seem to roll real low on initiative.

LAURA: That's okay, I rolled low on my things. 10 plus-- so that's 16 points of bludgeoning damage.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: And you're pushed 10 feet away from me.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: Skidding across the dirt and the ground, but catching yourself as you stand there in pain.

LAURA: And I just stand there and go (whooshing).

MATT: So Yasha, at the top of your turn, as you're looking around, you hear (crashing, explosion) an extreme impact hits the ground in front of you. Your eyes go blind from the flash of light, the ringing hits your ears. As you stand there, slowly taking in the space around you, you see on the ground, this small crater, and in the center of it, a blade that looks suspiciously like the one that you borrowed from Lady Kima, (electricity crackling) energy sparking around it. What do you do?

ASHLEY: It's in front of me?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Uh oh.

ASHLEY: I wonder if I'm going to be able to use it. Okay, hold on, first things first, I'm going to fucking rage.

MATT: Damn right you are!

TRAVIS: Go!

ASHLEY: Jeez, okay, okay. Okay, so I'm going to rage and I'm going to reach out and I'm going to try to grab it.

MATT: As you pull it out, it comes out smoothly and as it does the energy arcs off of it. And this warm, vibrant light just emanates from you out to about five feet. You become this lantern beacon of holiness, holding it in your hand. "Show me." (thunder rumbling)

ASHLEY: Okay, let me see if I can do this as well.

SAM: ♪ I'm a battering ram ♪

ASHLEY: Okay, would that be considered an action, me grabbing the--?

MATT: No.

ASHLEY: Okay, great. Okay, so what I'm going to do here. All right, I'm going to go to stormy Laura, over here.

LAURA: Oh no!

ASHLEY: She's still moving around and I'm going to take my first slice.

MATT: Go for it.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: Normal strikes or reckless?

ASHLEY: Reckless.

TRAVIS: That's what I'm talking about!

ASHLEY: I don't want to use that one, I'm going to use-- Ooh! 18.

LAURA: Oh, that hits me. That's my armor class.

ASHLEY: Okay, so 18 plus--

LAURA: Does that means it hits me? That hits me.

ASHLEY: Do I know if I'm able to use these stats yet for the Holy Avenger?

MATT: For this, you can.

ASHLEY: Okay, so that would be-- plus nine, plus 18-- 27.

MATT: It's a hit.

ASHLEY: Okay. So can we get these guys here?

LIAM: ♪ What would Nydoorin do? ♪

LAURA: (laughs)

ASHLEY: Let's use this one. Okay, 3d6.

LAURA: Oh, Storm Lord.

ASHLEY: Ooh! Okay. Oh jeez, my math, my math, okay.

TRAVIS: These elementals are crazy.

ASHLEY: 30 points of damage.

MATT: 30 points of damage on that first strike.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: The blade carves through the air with this high whining sound. As it hits the elemental, you watch the blade barely meets resistance as it carves through. Part of it just apparates. So now it's a lopsided elemental. You see its arm begin to reform in its space, but it looks like it's taken a hit.

LAURA: Ow.

MATT: That was your first attack.

MARISHA: (giggles) He's got a little flipper now.

ASHLEY: I flip it around and then go to the other side.

LAURA: I'm spinning in a circle now instead of--

ASHLEY: Reckless.

MARISHA: (laughs)

ASHLEY: Oof. Ugh. Okay. 21?

LAURA: That still hits.

ASHLEY: (exhales) Okay. These are the tiniest little dice.

MATT: Now Yasha knows how I feel. "21? Oh, that still hits, okay, okay."

TRAVIS: (laughs)

MATT: "I just wanted to double check." The little joys.

LAURA: Such a dick. (laughs)

ASHLEY: 20.

LAURA: 20 points?

ASHLEY: 20 points.

LAURA: All right.

TRAVIS: You're still up?

LAURA: I'm still up.

ASHLEY: You're still up? Okay, and then--

LAURA: I'm just a little teeny storm now.

TALIESIN: A little dust devil?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: So you bonus action, action attacks.

ASHLEY: Bonus action--

MATT: You've already done bonus action to rage, yeah.

ASHLEY: Oh, oh, yeah, what am I thinking? Yes, yes, yes, I'm done, I'm done.

MATT: Okay, following Yasha, we have Sam. Marisha, you're on deck.

SAM: What's my backstory?

TRAVIS: (laughs)

SAM: How did I become a storm? Was I--?

MATT: You became a storm roughly 10 seconds ago.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: By the will of the Storm Lord, you now exist and are filled with an anger you don't understand against a creature you've never met. All you know is you must destroy.

SAM: Okay, okay, thank you for that.

MATT: No worries.

SAM: Now I'm prepared to make my move. I will fly towards her, and if I can, hover above.

MATT: Mm-hmm. You can do that.

MARISHA: I was very destructive, then I realized--

SAM: And I'm going to go ahead-- sorry, Yasha-- I'm going to unleash--

ASHLEY: Don't apologize.

SAM: I'm going to unleash the Maelstrom.

MARISHA: Oh! Do it!

ASHLEY: Unleash the Maelstrom.

SAM: You must make a DC 20 strength saving throw.

ASHLEY: I have to make a strength saving throw?

SAM: Yes.

ASHLEY: Okay.

SAM: Oh, shit.

ASHLEY: Against you?

SAM: Against the Maelstrom.

LAURA: Against the Maelstrom.

SAM: It's a strength saving throw.

MATT: Which you are raging, which I believe you get advantage on that?

SAM: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yes, so--

SAM: Better roll good.

ASHLEY: It's cocked. Okay, 23?

SAM: Ooh, you beat it.

ASHLEY: (growls)

TRAVIS: Yeah!

ASHLEY: I point at the Storm Lord. (laughter)

SAM: So now you only take 3d6-- or it's 6d6 bludgeoning damage halved, right?

MATT: Correct.

SAM: I happen to have 6d6 right here. Okay. Ooh, that's really good roll. Ooh, that's 30 halved, so that's 15.

TALIESIN: Which is also halved.

MATT: But it's bludgeoning and you are raging so it's halved again.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT and SAM: So seven.

LAURA: Dang.

SAM: Damn. That's right, you're not knocked prone, you're not pulled towards me, and that's it, that's it. You survived the Maelstrom. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I point again at the Storm Lord.

SAM: Oh, if I can, as a bonus action, I'm just going to swirl around.

MATT: Okay, yeah, yeah, totally, I'll allow it.

TRAVIS: Do it, do it, yes, make it your own.

SAM: I'm going to angrily swirl.

TRAVIS: Make it your own.

ASHLEY: This is really good work.

TRAVIS: Embody that character.

ASHLEY: Really good, like cold reading. (laughter)

MATT: Awesome, well done. Marisha, you're up. Travis, you're on deck.

MARISHA: I am. I don't think I am within 30 feet of her. Am I? Can I get up to her?

MATT: You can just get up to her, if you beeline it.

MARISHA: I'm going to beeline it.

ASHLEY: Baby!

LAURA: Work it!

SAM: Ooh man, you've got a bunch of storms around you.

MARISHA: Would that be considered a straight line to where I can also Battering Ram?

MATT: You can, yeah.

SAM: ♪ I'm a battering ram ♪

MARISHA: I'm a battering ram. I'm so sorry, I feel so guilty. I'mma slam into her!

MATT: Do it, roll another attack. Is there a plus nines? Is that what-- Oh, I rolled a natural one.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: Good friend. (laughter)

MARISHA: Girlfriend Storm is like, "(sadly) But--!"

ASHLEY: I'm attracted to this one, I don't understand.

MATT: It's the weirdest feeling.

LIAM: I'm not feeling your commitment in this.

MARISHA: (half-hearted swiping)

MATT: You're new to being a storm, it's a little confusing.

MARISHA: I was just born.

MATT: You do have a second strike, I believe.

MARISHA: Um...

MATT: Make two slam attacks in one round.

MARISHA: Okay, yes.

LAURA: I didn't do that.

MARISHA: You're right, I thought the battering ram--

SAM: Know your character, Laura, come on. Know your spells.

MARISHA: Jeez, read your spells. That is a natural 19 for a 28.

ASHLEY: That hits.

LAURA: Mine is a 26.

SAM: Ooh.

ASHLEY: That hits.

MATT: All right, so roll damage.

ASHLEY: They both hit. They both hit.

MARISHA: Okay, that's 11 points of bludgeoning damage.

LAURA: Mine is--

MATT: Halved from her, so you take five.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: Nine points of bludgeoning damage.

MATT: Which is not halved because you raged after her.

ASHLEY: True, so nine points.

MATT: You got it.

SAM: How you doing, how you doing?

LAURA: Oh no.

ASHLEY: Standing, but.

LAURA: Oh no.

ASHLEY: I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay. I was already pretty low.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we hadn't taken a rest yet.

ASHLEY: We didn't rest, or I didn't.

MATT: Okay, so I should preface this with the fact that you would have been at full hit points for this experience, so.

TRAVIS: Do you know where you started this encounter with hit points?

ASHLEY: Yes, I was at... 138, and I am usually at 154, so.

SAM: So whatever you have now--

TRAVIS: Hurts the wizard's heart.

SAM: Whatever you have now, add 16 to it.

TRAVIS: It just seems like a distant dream.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I'll just heal for 16 points.

MATT: Add 16 to that. You got it, all right, that finishes Marisha's turn. Travis, you're up.

TRAVIS: I will move forward one square.

SAM: That's the voice you're going to use for this character?

TRAVIS: (high scratchy voice) I will move forward-- (laughter)

TRAVIS: --one squ-- [inaudible noises] So that I'm within 30 feet and I will unleash, I didn't make this name up, Ball Lightning.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Ball lightning.

TRAVIS: I need you to make a--

SAM: Stinkiest kind of lightning.

TRAVIS: -- dexterity saving throw.

ASHLEY: I make a dexterity saving throw?

TRAVIS: Yes.

ASHLEY: Okay. I have advantage on dex. Okay. 18?

TRAVIS: That's exactly what you needed to make.

SAM: (scratchy voice) That's exactly what you needed to make.

ASHLEY: (scratchy voice) That's what you need.

TRAVIS: So you take 11 points of lightning damage.

TALIESIN: Actually, I don't-- I don't think that it-- No, there's no-- I think it's a safe save.

TRAVIS: A safe save?

TALIESIN: Target creature was-- on a failure they take 2d8 lightning damage. There's nothing about if they save.

LAURA: Oh.

TRAVIS: On a failure--

SAM: Oh, that means that on a success, they just don't take--

MATT: Half damage.

TRAVIS: It says they take half damage.

TALIESIN: Where?

TRAVIS: Yep, last line.

TALIESIN: Oh, okay, I don't-- all right.

MATT: Might've been an older version.

TALIESIN: I was about to say, that's not on mine, but okay.

TRAVIS: And it says, I-- but that's-- she saved, that's it.

ASHLEY: 11 damage.

TRAVIS: Yep.

LAURA: You're the older version of a lightning--

TALIESIN: (old man voice) That's not how they did it in my day.

TRAVIS: You know what? I rolled the wrong fucking-- wait, a d-- what?

ASHLEY: d8's, did you roll sixes?

TRAVIS: I rolled d6's, yes, scratch that. So put 11 hit points back in there and instead you're only taking--

MATT: Give that to Taliesin. There you go, it's fine, it's fine.

SAM: (laughs)

TRAVIS: Eight points of damage.

ASHLEY: Even better, okay.

MATT: Slip it across the floor.

TRAVIS: I never roll d4s, that's it.

MATT: All righty, finishes Travis' turn. Liam, you are up, with Taliesin on deck.

LIAM: (sighs)

MARISHA: Oh, it looped around, it looped around.

LIAM: I will back away ten feet, and I will also drop a ball of lightning.

MATT: Now if I recall the Ball Lightning actually teleported you to her?

TRAVIS: Only on a success.

MATT: Only on a success, you're right. All right, so you're doing it as well?

LIAM: So I'm backing away 10 feet, but also dropping a ball, that's another DC 18 dex save for you.

MATT: Go for it, Yasha.

LIAM: Yasha.

SAM: And is that, just so I'm clear, is that just against her--?

MATT: Just against her.

SAM: Does it hurt us too or anything?

TRAVIS: Just her.

ASHLEY: 23.

LIAM: 23 saves. On a failure, they take... 4d6 lightning damage. Okay.

MATT: All righty, so you stay put.

LIAM: 17, so on a failure, they take this lightning damage. That is 17 points of lightning damage.

MATT: You succeeded, right?

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm.

MATT: So half that.

ASHLEY: But it's lightning?

MATT and TRAVIS: Yes.

ASHLEY: So, but it--?

TRAVIS: It's just the spell.

ASHLEY: It's just a spell, okay, I got it.

MATT: All right, that finish your turn?

LIAM: That does finish my turn.

MATT: You got it, all right. That brings us to Taliesin. Laura, you're on deck.

TALIESIN: Let's see where I am. Not going to do that. I'm going to go for a... also a ball lightning attack.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: We can do this, you guys.

MATT: Make another dex save, Yasha.

TALIESIN: That's a dex save.

TRAVIS: (Enya "Orinoco Flow" melody) ♪ Make it rain, make it rain, make it rain ♪

LAURA: Hey, one of you lightning bitches fly up here, we need lightning.

MARISHA: I know, we get boofs.

LAURA: I know, we need lightning up by us. Move up close.

TRAVIS: Well, if you would communicate with your teammates earlier, perhaps--

ASHLEY: 14?

SAM: (hissing)

TRAVIS: ♪ (high-pitched note) ♪

TALIESIN: That's the dex save?

ASHLEY: That's my dex save.

SAM: (scratchy voice) Come, come closer to us.

TALIESIN: All right, I'm going to take-- oh.

MARISHA: Campaign three character, right there.

TRAVIS: Oh god.

SAM: Just a bunch of clouds.

TRAVIS: There's blood coming out of your mouth.

LIAM: This is Jeremy.

SAM: (scratchy voice) Hi, I want to go the brothel. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Is there an-- Okay, so I'm going to teleport to the unoccupied space.

MATT: Yep.

TALIESIN: Oh no.

MARISHA: (laughs)

LAURA: Oh, you teleported in?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LIAM: Failed save?

ASHLEY: I failed.

MARISHA: Lightning can--

TALIESIN: That's 20 points of lightning damage.

LAURA: (gasps)

TALIESIN: I'm so sorry.

TRAVIS: No, it's good when it hits.

ASHLEY: It's good.

TRAVIS: Ball Lightning is good.

ASHLEY: Oh.

TRAVIS: And his next attack is going to be nasty.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: All righty, finishing Taliesin's turn, Laura, you're up and then it's you, Yasha.

LAURA: Okay, since I've got a lightning spirit right next to me, I'm going to slam attack it twice.

MATT: Go for it, you do have advantage on these attacks since her last use was reckless.

LAURA: Okay, so that is 20 on the first one.

ASHLEY: That hits.

LAURA: And-- Oh, that is a big hit. Yeah, that definitely hits on the second.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: 16 plus nine. So 2d8. 10 points on the first hit.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: Reduced to five.

LAURA: Eight points reduced to-- oh no, nope, that's a lie, eight plus five is 13, so six points for the second.

MATT: Okay, now you are next to-- you're adding the extra lightning damage for being next to him? Lightning damage is not halved so--

SAM: Oh boy! Oh boy!

MATT: What'd you roll for both of those?

LAURA: Two on the second, so add an extra point of damage.

ASHLEY: Extra point, okay.

LAURA: One extra point, and one extra point on the other one because I can't remember what it is.

MATT: Make it two extra points.

ASHLEY: Two extra points, okay.

MATT: Just to balance it out because we don't know what that was.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: All right, Yasha, you're up.

ASHLEY: Ooh, I am looking a little rough. Okay.

LAURA: Is she bloodied, are you bloodied?

ASHLEY: I'm bloodied. Okay.

MATT: You are surrounded by roaring storms. You hear crackling lightning and angry, shouting thunder, and you are just holding this blade as the darkness rolls around you. What do you do?

ASHLEY: Okay, so I need to get out of here even though they're going to get an opportunity, so... Wings are coming out.

TRAVIS: (shouting) Yes, here it comes!

ASHLEY: Ready to go, and I'm going to try to just pull myself up out of their reach.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: As much as I can, but still I know that-- I know it's going to be an attack of opportunity.

MATT: So.

LAURA: That's four attack of opportunity.

MARISHA: Yeah, four attacks of opportunities.

MATT: Three, technically, because the lightning doesn't get one.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: Do know, as your wings pop out, this does not take your action, and this dreamscape as soon as you will it to happen, they tear out, the bright white wings now, the wingspan widely out, the feathers being caught up in the storms around you as the blade still matches you, the light now glowing from it and you and the wings. So you still have action and a move. So did you want to fly up?

ASHLEY: Okay, so yes. (frustrated grunt)

LAURA: (gravelly voice) Show us!

ASHLEY: Okay. Yeah, so I'm going to try to just get above them-- can they-- can they fly?

SAM: I'm flying above you right now.

ASHLEY: You're flying above me.

MATT: Yes.

ASHLEY: Oh, so they can fly as well. Well, okay, fuck, okay. (laughter)

TRAVIS: ♪ Don't let it stop you go for it ♪

ASHLEY: That's fine, I'm just going to fly, I'm just going to get up, so I know they're going to have to take their--

MATT: If you're going straight up then three of them will get attacks of opportunity.

ASHLEY: Okay, can I wiggle? Can I kind of like--?

TRAVIS: Wiggle and quiff? (laughter)

ASHLEY: Wiggle and quiff? So there's four-- four surrounding me or three?

MATT: Correct, there are four surrounding you, there are three storm spirits and one lightning spirit.

ASHLEY: So can I wiggle out towards... like fly backwards?

MATT: Like this way?

ASHLEY: The-- that way? Like where I'm getting away from the--

MATT: Oh, this way?

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah yeah Yeah.

MATT: You can, you will fly up and over and you will get attacks of opportunity from these three.

SAM: Choke me out!

ASHLEY: I'm going to get an attack of opportunity from all of them anyway, right?

MATT: Well, if you're moving, it's some of them.

TRAVIS: Or you can stay and swing away.

MATT: It's your call.

ASHLEY: I'm going to stay and swing away. I'm going to stay and swing away because those three attacks of opportunity could take me out. Okay.

TRAVIS: Fair.

ASHLEY: All right, so swipe--

MARISHA: Left.

ASHLEY: Swipe left. (laughter) I'm going to swipe left.

MATT: All right, so to which one? The same one you've attacked previously?

ASHLEY: Sure.

TRAVIS: Yes.

MATT: That'd be Laura.

LAURA: Hit me!

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay.

MATT: Reckless or not?

ASHLEY: Reckless.

MATT: All right, go for it.

ASHLEY: Ooh, that was a one. So thank goodness I'm reckless. Ugh, that's not much better. Or wait, 17?

LAURA: (whispering) It doesn't hit.

MATT: First swing goes wide, no impact.

LAURA: It's because I'm smaller than I used to be. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Okay, attack again. Second attack. Okay, that's better. Okay, so 23?

LAURA: That hits.

ASHLEY: Okay, so-- come here, you guys. I'm going to do Savage Attacker because that was kind of low. Make sure I keep the-- That's better. Okay, so-- oh my god, math. Okay, so 31 points of damage.

LAURA: Okay, I'm--

MATT: Are you adding the additional damage for having your wings out?

LAURA: It doesn't matter because I'm already down.

ASHLEY: No, so that's an additional 14.

MATT: An additional 14 points of radiant damage on top of that.

LAURA: Well, I'm a big zero.

ASHLEY: Oh, you're out?

LAURA: But when I hit zero, I do my action move, Exploding Thunder!

TRAVIS: Oh, you too? Oh shit.

LAURA: I explode into a thing of lightning and all of you fuckers around me take 6d6 bludgeoning damage.

TRAVIS: 66!?

LAURA: 6d6.

TRAVIS: Woo!

MARISHA: Windy, no!

SAM: (laughs)

MATT: That's all of you right there.

LAURA: So hold on, oh! (laughter) This is like the best I've ever--

ASHLEY: Did you roll all sixes?

LAURA: Four sixes, so. (laughter)

MARISHA: Oh my god!

LAURA: Plus another six, so that's-- five times six is 30-- No, five times six is 30?

MATT: 30.

SAM: But we get to make a dexterity save?

LAURA: You have to make a dexterity save.

MARISHA: Oh.

TRAVIS: Including Yasha.

LAURA: Including Yasha.

MARISHA: I failed.

SAM: I failed as well.

TALIESIN: What's the save?

LAURA: 18.

TALIESIN: I failed.

ASHLEY: I failed.

LAURA: Everybody takes 30.

MATT: Everybody except for Travis and Liam.

LAURA: But you're raging.

SAM: It's bludgeoning damage, so it's halved.

ASHLEY: So 15.

MATT: And you failed as well, right?

ASHLEY: I did.

MATT: Yeah, so you take 15 points of bludgeoning damage.

ASHLEY: Okay.

TALIESIN: 30 points of damage?

LAURA: 30 points of damage and you're knocked prone, everybody.

SAM: I'm flying, what does that mean?

LAURA: That means you're on the ground.

SAM: Ah!

ASHLEY: Ah!

LAURA: I went out with a bang, guys. It felt good.

MATT: (explosion) Explosion knocks you, Yasha, onto your ass, the wings still out, catch you during your fall but you impact the ground, your eyes are spinning, the pain is throbbing throughout your body. So that finishes your turn or you still have movement. So you can use half your movement to get up if you want to.

ASHLEY: Yes, I will absolutely do that.

SAM: We're prone, so we probably can't do an opportunity attack.

MATT: You're prone, too, right?

TALIESIN: Yeah, yeah.

MATT: Yeah, so, so you can still, none of them get attacks of opportunity because they're all prone.

ASHLEY: Oh my god, amazing, okay, thank you.

MATT: So that's half your movement gone.

ASHLEY: So, my other half of the movement, then, I'm going to extricate myself out of that area for just a moment.

MATT: Okay, where abouts?

ASHLEY: Let me--

SAM: For some reason I'm a little itchy, guys.

LAURA: Do you have something to change into?

SAM: No. No.

MATT: I have so much caffeine in my system right now, let's go!

ASHLEY: I know, I know, I know. I still want to be able to attack them with the sword. So let me just, out of striking range, maybe just backing up a little bit, or anywhere that's out of striking-- I can't really see where I'm at.

MATT: You're right there.

ASHLEY: Okay, there we go, yeah, so let me go that way a little bit then, I think.

MATT: How much movement do you have left? At half speed?

ASHLEY: Half speed would be 25 feet.

MATT: All right, so you can fly about here.

TRAVIS: No. No.

ASHLEY: Great, let me hang out there.

MATT: Okay, so you will be flying right up here. (wing beats) You watch as she just darts out of the explosion, and is up in the air, holding the blade two-handed, wings in the air as up above her, lightning is striking in the dark clouds, flashing and silhouetting her from moment to moment.

SAM: So cool.

MATT: That finishes your turn.

SAM: How far away is she from us now?

ASHLEY: Finishes my turn.

MATT: Sam, you're up.

SAM: How far away is she?

MATT: From you?

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: You are right there, no, sorry, you are right there, correct?

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: So she's about 30 feet from you, 25-30 feet.

SAM: Please don't address me as Sam. My name is Tempest Cloudburst.

MATT: Sorry, Tempest Cloudburst, I'll make a note of that.

SAM: (awful Italian accent) And I have decided I am an Italian storm. (laughter)

MARISHA: You're just growing an identity--

SAM: (Italian accent) Yes!

MARISHA: -- over this game.

ASHLEY: Workshopping your tempest.

SAM: (Italian accent) I use half of my movement to stand up-eh.

MATT: There you go.

SAM: And seeing her in the air, I will fly a-towards her but I can only a-fly a-15 feet, so.

MATT: Correct. (laughter)

MATT: So unfortunately you get about, we'll say, there, flying above your buddy.

MARISHA: You're on my head.

SAM: I've already used my maelstrom attack, so I cannot do anything.

MATT: All right, that finishes your turn, Tempest Cloudburst.

SAM: Thank you.

MATT: All right, Marisha, you're up. Travis, you're on deck.

MARISHA: (low voice) Get off. And I shove Tempest off and stand up. (groans loudly) What are arms? And then I--

SAM: It's just your Beau voice. (laughter)

MARISHA: Yeah, it's-- It's just-- yeah. Yeah. And then I, too, will maelstrom.

MATT: Okay, all right, so.

MARISHA: I would like to maelstrom.

MATT: So is that a-- which saving throw for her, strength?

MARISHA: Uh-huh, DC 20.

MATT: Make a strength save.

LAURA: I didn't even get to maelstrom before I died.

SAM: I'm sorry.

MATT: (sympathetic noise)

MARISHA: This is for Windy.

ASHLEY: 27?

MARISHA: Said Beau.

MATT: Yeah, that'll work, that'll work.

SAM: Saves.

MARISHA: Okay, well, you're still taking half damage.

ASHLEY: I still take damage, and then halve that because of raging.

SAM: One-quarter.

MATT: Quarter damage.

LIAM: For the Storm Lord.

MARISHA: Okay, that's pretty good, that's 10, 16, 20, 21. So 10 damage, 11 damage, do you round up or down?

MATT: Down, to 10 so five, take five points of bludgeoning damage.

MARISHA: Five damage.

SAM: How you doin'?

ASHLEY: Oof.

TALIESIN: That's not the one that hurts everybody around you, is it?

ASHLEY: I'm a pre-teen at the moment.

MARISHA: That happens when we die, and it just happens.

MATT: All right, that finishes your go, Marisha. Travis, you're up.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'm this lightning guy that's right there.

MATT: You are right there.

TRAVIS: I'll move within 30 feet of Yasha, just out of the range.

MATT: So about there.

TRAVIS: Yep, and I will send an arc strike towards--

MATT: You have advantage on this because she did roll recklessly.

SAM: Oh noes.

TRAVIS: That will hit with a 27.

ASHLEY: That hits.

TRAVIS: And that will be--

MATT: Go ahead and do some damage.

TRAVIS: Plus an accumulated charge. I dropped that. Yeah, that's 26 points of lightning damage.

ASHLEY: I'm unconscious.

MATT: You are.

ASHLEY: I'm out.

MATT: But you're also a 14th level zealot barbarian.

ASHLEY: You better fucking believe it! (laughter)

SAM: What does that do?

LIAM: Stays up and fights dead.

MATT: So she is technically unconscious, but the body continues to fight.

SAM: For how long?

MATT: She doesn't take-- she doesn't take zero hit points to heart.

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: With the strike knocks her, in the air, and right as she's about to fall, the wings come back with a fury (wing beats), even angrier, blade up.

LAURA: That's so fucking cool.

MATT: You now see, where Yasha's eyes normally have pupils, have given way to arcs of lightning that now strike out of both sides of her head, going down as her hair begins to lift. The air around her, that static electricity, is now causing it to create this halo around her. All right.

SAM: You see a little bit of rain trickling down Tempest's legs. (laughter)

TRAVIS: I love how you said legs, but you pointed to your face. (laughter)

MATT: All righty, does that finish your turn, Travis? You got it. Top of the round. Liam, you are up. Taliesin, you're on deck.

ASHLEY: So should I-- do I count these damage points? Or, I'm just fighting it basically unconscious?

MATT: You're just fighting unconscious right now.

ASHLEY: Got it. Okay, okay.

LIAM: All right, my lightning spirit will crackle up to the top of that peak.

MATT: Up here?

LIAM: Yep, right there, that should be within 30 feet, and fire off another arc strike.

MATT: The range is 30 feet?

LIAM: Yep.

MATT: (crackling) Just out of range.

LIAM: Oh, is it, okay.

MATT: Yeah, just out of range, if you look-- going back and measuring here.

LIAM: It's okay, the 40-foot distance from the table might have messed with my--

MATT: I know, I know.

SAM: Spatial?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: That's fine, so it goes wide.

LIAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: I know it, baby.

MATT: Doesn't quite reach.

LIAM: (vulgar noise)

MATT: Taliesin, you're up.

TALIESIN: Let's see, I'm going to get up.

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: Oh boy, I'm going to circle around to the left and get a nice-- through the storms.

MATT: Through this way, you mean?

TALIESIN: Yeah. I can't move very far, can I?

MATT: That's about as far as you can move right there.

TALIESIN: Am I still within 30 feet?

MATT: You'll find out.

TALIESIN: Yeah, okay, then I'm going to--

MATT: Yep, she's in range for you.

TALIESIN: All right, I'm going to do another retribution shot.

ASHLEY: Wrong pipe.

MATT: Go for it, with advantage.

TALIESIN: Oh, with advantage.

MARISHA: She's like a duck.

SAM: We're drowning her with our rain!

MARISHA: Yeah, I was going to say she's drowning in a rain storm.

TALIESIN: That's-- what's that to hit?

ASHLEY: (coughing)

TRAVIS: Did you do it again?

LIAM: Aim it down the wrong pipe!

TALIESIN: 19?

ASHLEY: I'm just like so amped, I'm like drinking all the things, I have to pee.

MATT: Yasha.

TALIESIN: 19 to hit?

MATT: Does 19 hit you?

ASHLEY: Yeah, yes.

TALIESIN: Okay.

ASHLEY: Yes, that hits.

TALIESIN: That's--

LAURA: (laughs)

TALIESIN: 1d12.

TRAVIS: You have any reaction things you can do as a zealot barbarian?

MATT: For this, I don't think so.

ASHLEY: I don't, I know I was looking.

TALIESIN: That's four feet, That's four damage. That's four damage.

MATT: So you lose a death save.

SAM: Wait, any damage?

MATT: Any damage when you're unconscious, (snaps) takes off a death save.

SAM: Oh snap.

MATT: All right, that finishes your turn, Taliesin.

MARISHA: Is it like the Matrix, if she dies here, she dies in real life?

SAM: No, no it's like "Nightmare on Elm Street."

LAURA: Oh my god.

SAM: If she dies here she dies in real life.

MARISHA: Yeah, same thing.

MATT: All right, so, Laura is out.

LAURA: What if she really died?

MATT: Yasha.

LIAM: Well, then we go to "Weekend at Bernie's."

MATT: Yasha.

ASHLEY: Wait, how do I?

MATT: Yasha, it's your turn.

ASHLEY: It's my turn, okay.

MATT: Yeah, what are you doing?

ASHLEY: Sorry, I was looking for the death saves. I'll just note that there's one.

MATT: Yeah, one is spent.

ASHLEY: I can't find them, okay, okay. Um, okay. (exhales) All right, so I... in front of me, I'm going to go for the one, the--

MATT: Right here?

ASHLEY: Yes.

MATT: All right, still in the air, slightly above it.

ASHLEY: Still in the air, slightly above it, take a swing.

MATT: All right, so you move down about five feet, big sweeping arc with your blade, go ahead and roll for attack, reckless or not?

ASHLEY: Reckless.

MATT: Go for it.

ASHLEY: Okay, good. Uh, uh, uh--

MATT: This is against--?

ASHLEY: 28, points of damage.

MATT: 28, to hit?

ASHLEY: I mean 28 to hit.

MATT: 28 to hit, this is against--?

ASHLEY: I think that's Sam?

MATT: I think it's Sam.

SAM: (growl) I mean, ey-a. (laughter)

MATT: So I believe that hits you, go ahead and roll damage.

LAURA: Have you-- oh, you've taken some damage because of me.

SAM: Yes.

TRAVIS: It's a-me.

ASHLEY: Savage Attacker because that was no good. Ooh, better, okay, so. It's so quiet while I'm trying to count. 25.

MATT: Is this plus your level, for your radiant?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Dude, that radiant is huge. Yeah, I rolled pretty low.

MATT: Right, I'm saying the additional 14 points for your level.

ASHLEY: For the radiant, for the wings.

MATT: Every turn you get to do that once when you have your wings out, so.

ASHLEY: Okay, so, (panting) 39? 25 plus 14, 39?

MATT: 39 points of damage to you, Sam.

SAM: You see a flash of lightning, then you wait one, two, three (explosion). You hear a thunder blast as I'm destroyed. (yelling) My family will kill you. (laughter)

LAURA: So that's 6d6 bludgeoning.

SAM: Oh, I do a cloudburst, am I close enough to do that?

MATT: Everybody, except for Liam.

SAM: Within 15 feet of me?

MATT: Yep.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: Everybody except for Liam.

LAURA: Make a dex save.

SAM: Ooh, big roll. Ten, 22--

LAURA: Do you have to make a dex save, too?

ASHLEY: I don't think I do.

SAM: 30.

MATT: You do.

ASHLEY: I do, actually. (laughter)

SAM: 30 points of bludgeoning damage, make a dex saving throw.

MARISHA: That's all of us, right?

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: I rolled a 19.

SAM: You save, so it's half that.

MATT: So 15 bludgeoning to you.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: Taliesin?

TALIESIN: I'm dead.

LAURA: It took you out?

TRAVIS: Do you explode also?

TALIESIN: I get grounded, I just go-- (laughter)

TRAVIS: Grounding charge.

ASHLEY: I failed.

MATT: All right, so you take your second death save.

ASHLEY: Another death save, okay.

MATT: All right.

ASHLEY: You have three total, right?

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: Three total, yep.

SAM: Did I hit you?

MATT: So that was your first strike, what's up?

LAURA: Does that mean she's knocked prone, too?

MATT: No, she never falls unconscious.

SAM: Did I hit Travis when I blew up?

MARISHA: The exploding thunder.

MATT: Oh, and you as well, yes.

TRAVIS: Oh, how many points was it?

SAM: It was 30. Unless you make a dex 18 save.

TRAVIS: Natural 20.

MATT: Damn.

LAURA: The bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone if you fail.

MATT: Correct.

LAURA: Okay.

ASHLEY: So would I fall?

MATT: So you would fall prone.

SAM: So would Travis.

MATT: So you fall to the ground.

SAM: I'm sorry, not Travis, Cyclone.

MATT: You take... one point of bludgeoning damage because you were-- well, no, you would have been five feet up, so you wouldn't have been enough to take any damage, so you're fine. But you are prone.

ASHLEY: I am prone.

MATT: You moved five feet, so your speed would normally be 50? Right?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: That's 45, in order to get back up you have to half that, we'll say to 20. But you still have a second attack.

ASHLEY: I know.

SAM: Get it.

LAURA: Get it.

ASHLEY: I'm just wondering if I should heal myself.

SAM: Can you heal yourself?

ASHLEY: I can.

SAM: Would that take-- would that restore a death save?

MATT: It's an action, which you cannot do, because you already used your action to attack.

ASHLEY: Yeah, because I've already used it, okay. Fuck it, sorry. I'm going to attack.

MATT: All right, which one are you going after?

ASHLEY: Let's go for that guy.

MARISHA: No.

MATT: Which guy?

ASHLEY: Oh, sorry.

MATT: There's two guys.

ASHLEY: The floofy.

MATT: Right here?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: All right, yeah, you have enough movement.

TRAVIS: The soft serve?

ASHLEY: The soft serve.

MATT: So you get back up off the ground, your feet are still dangling in the air as the wings, (flapping) and you swoop in to swing your second strike towards Marisha.

MARISHA: Barry. I'm naming him Barry. His full name is Low Barometric Pressure, but it's Barry for short.

ASHLEY: Fuck. Sorry, I'm cursing a lot.

MATT: Tempest Cloudburst is gone but we have Barry on the field.

ASHLEY: Oh, wait. 15?

MARISHA: To hit me?

ASHLEY: Oh, no, I'm sorry. 19?

MARISHA: Yeah, that hits.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay.

MATT: This is just standard damage roll, you do not get the additional radiant, because you only do that once per round.

ASHLEY: Got it, okay. I already did Savage Attacker, right, on this turn?

MATT: You did.

ASHLEY: Okay, so. 15 points of damage.

MARISHA: That is exactly my hit points, which means I essplode.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: Which gets you as well.

TRAVIS: Uh-huh.

MATT: So I'd like you both to roll dexterity saving throws. And you go ahead and roll damage there, Barry.

MARISHA: (low, slow voice) Okay.

MATT: Buddy.

LAURA: Be bad if you didn't--

TRAVIS: Natural one.

ASHLEY: That'll be interesting.

LAURA: You have to roll above 18.

ASHLEY: You have to roll above an 18?

MARISHA: Okay.

TRAVIS: I literally rolled a natural one on the dex save.

MATT: There's a balance.

TRAVIS: I don't have a lot of hit points.

LAURA: But you get advantage on dex saves, right?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TRAVIS: I've only been hit by my own people.

MARISHA: 21 total again.

TRAVIS: 21 total what?

MARISHA: Bludgeoning damage.

TRAVIS: Jesus Christ, I only had 20 hit points.

MARISHA: Oh no!

TRAVIS: You killed me. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Thank you, baby!

TRAVIS: I only got hurt by all you fuckers.

ASHLEY: Wait, so who's left?

MATT: Liam is untouched. But Ashley, did you roll? Because you were in the radius too.

ASHLEY: Oh, that's right.

SAM: Oh, I don't like this, I don't like this.

MARISHA: (low, slow voice) I'm sorry.

ASHLEY: Okay. Oh good, okay. 22.

SAM: She saves.

MATT: That's a success, but you still take half damage.

ASHLEY: So I'm still taking damage.

MATT: So third death saving throw. You are dead.

ASHLEY: I'm dead.

MATT: But you're still up.

LAURA: Oh my god!

MATT: Because that's what your ability does.

ASHLEY: Rage after death.

MATT: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Because I'm raging.

MATT: She is a dead spirit, flying.

ASHLEY: If I weren't raging, I'd be donezos.

MATT: When the rage ends, we'll find out. Well, nevertheless, that finishes that go. Travis is gone, everyone else is gone, Liam, it's your turn.

LIAM: Well, I guess Shock Hudson will close the distance. (laughter)

MATT: Right there?

SAM: He's so handsome.

LIAM: As close as he can get. (laughter)

MATT: It gets you about there.

LIAM: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I just stop and I do the Matrix.

TRAVIS: He has a fedora.

MATT: Just come-- all right, go for it.

TRAVIS: You and me kid.

LIAM: Winner takes all, arc strike! Ka-kow!

MATT: You do have advantage.

LIAM: 22 to hit.

ASHLEY: That hits.

MATT: Go ahead and roll damage.

LIAM: (whooshing)

LAURA: Oh no.

ASHLEY: The little chains! Oh my god.

LIAM: 12 points of electric damage.

SAM: What does that do?

MATT: You are still dead. It's your turn, Yasha.

SAM: (laughs) What?

LAURA: What does it mean?

ASHLEY: Okay.

SAM: She's extra dead.

ASHLEY: Okay, so.

SAM: Super dead.

ASHLEY: I'm going to look to make sure Storm Lord's watching, which I'm sure he is.

SAM: (laughs) He's distracted. (laughter)

MATT: He's checking his Twitter, he's like--

ASHLEY: Hey, hey, hey, hey.

MATT: Good job.

TALIESIN: Swipe right.

LAURA: Dad! Dad, look at me!

ASHLEY: I'm going to take a swing, or get up closer, a little closer, and--

LIAM: (monster growling)

MATT: Arcing up. Blade down, go ahead and roll for your attacks.

ASHLEY: Okay. Ooh, cocked. Cocked, okay, I'm not going to roll that.

LAURA: Ooh, cocked.

MATT: That there's real cocked.

LAURA: That one's cocked.

ASHLEY: Okay, that's good. But reckless, let me see if I can get a 20. No, okay. 26.

LIAM: That does hit.

ASHLEY: Okay, so--

MATT: Full damage on this first strike.

ASHLEY: It's cocked. I'm going to roll Savage Attacker because that wasn't great. (groans) Okay. 17. 29, 30, 31, 32. 35, this is so embarrassing, counting with my fingers while everybody's watching.

TRAVIS: Barbarian counting is tough.

MATT: No, we all do it. Yeah.

LIAM: 35?

ASHLEY: 35.

LIAM: That is the exact number of hit points I have.

MATT: No shit! (exclaiming)

LIAM: But you take four points of lightning damage from the Retribution Shock as I (screeching).

MATT: Indeed, you are, with the final blow struck, the final foe scattered. The rage still pumping in your veins, your consciousness barely present. Comes around to your turn. As the rage is subsiding, what do you do?

ASHLEY: I rage again.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: Wait, wait, wait, what did you say? I'm sorry.

MATT: I said it's coming to your next turn. What are you doing this turn? At the end of this turn, unless you are attacking or being attacked, you will fall out of your rage.

ASHLEY: And I'll die.

MATT: Yes.

ASHLEY: So I want to continue my rage.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: So I'll rage again.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: (sighs) And I want to try to fly up to where I think the Storm Lord is. Get closer to him so I can be eye to eye with him.

MATT: Okay. You glance up into the sky and you can see the clouds rolling, but the face isn't present. It's not on the surface as it once was. You just see the storm. (whooshing) You start flying up as fast as you can, 60 feet, you're not sure how high up it is. 30 feet flying up, finishes your round. End of your next turn, what are you doing?

ASHLEY: I'm keeping going.

MATT: Even higher up into the air.

SAM: Did you rage or something?

ASHLEY: Just raging. (whooshing)

MATT: How many rages do you have left?

ASHLEY: I have, well-- What I have had since this was considered a--

LIAM: Full tank of gas.

ASHLEY: A full-time. (laughs)

MATT: You would have had full rages--

ASHLEY: Full rages, okay, so I think I've used--

TRAVIS: Three?

ASHLEY: Two?

TALIESIN: Two.

MATT: Two at this point.

ASHLEY: Two at this point, so I have three left.

MATT: Okay. So you continue up, double move by dashing, I assume?

ASHLEY: Yes.

MATT: Okay. (whooshing) Sword out, heading towards the storm, and the faster you go, the immensity of the sky above you begins to come into view as it just slowly begins to approach. It's further than you thought, but you're getting closer. Next round.

ASHLEY: Great, because I want to fly to the center of it.

MATT: Okay, so you just keep coasting upwards, slowly spiraling as your wings take you up higher and higher. (surging) The flashes of light all around you as the blood is pumping through your veins (blood pumping) in the back of your head, that furious, Zealot-like rage, keeping you conscious in spite of the fact that your body is falling into its end. You continue to swim upward, the next round comes.

LAURA: That's the last rage.

ASHLEY: That's the last rage, so keep going till I... I want to get to the eye of the storm.

MATT: You're close, you're close. But you got another two rounds or so before you reach the top.

ASHLEY: Fuck.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: You're about to fall out of your rage, what do you do?

ASHLEY: See if this will work, hang on. Can I dash? Can I--

MATT: You've been dashing up.

ASHLEY: I know, I know, okay. Um, um, um. So the storm's going.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

ASHLEY: Is there lightning still?

MATT: There's lightning in the space around you, yes. And the storm is approaching you, but you can feel the energy starting to drift, your vision starting to go dark. The damage you've sustained has been too strong and you're currently teetering on that line between life and death. That light that shines inside you is starting to fade. What do you do?

ASHLEY: Fuck, okay. Can I... (sighs) I don't have to roll anything, so that's not going to help. (exhales)

MATT: What do you still have at your disposal?

ASHLEY: Well, I have Zealous Presence, but I'm not rolling anything so that's not really going to help with that. I don't... Hold on, hold on, hold on, oh fuck. Everybody's watching, this is great.

SAM: Yeah, yeah, we're all watching you.

MATT: (crackling) (thunder rumbling) (whooshing)

ASHLEY: I can't do anything.

SAM: What sustains rage?

LAURA: Can you hit yourself? Can you damage yourself?

MATT: Can't damage yourself, the only way to get up is through--

LAURA: You can't Kylo Ren yourself and hit yourself to stay angry?

MATT: (laughs) Not really.

ASHLEY: Is there a way I can get into the path of lightning or something?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Go ahead and make a perception check.

MARISHA: Come on.

ASHLEY: (sighs) Okay.

SAM: Lightning rod.

ASHLEY: 18.

MATT: 18. Glancing off the side of your eye, you can see some of the arcs (lightning crashing) flashing around and you just sense the air to your left starting to get that tingling sensation, like something's about to happen, that anticipation.

ASHLEY: Okay, if I feel that, I want to attract it, so I hold out the sword up.

MATT: You hold the sword out. (rumbling) A bolt of lightning arcs straight to the tip of the blade down into your arm and your torso and as it fills you, you scream out in what you expect to be pain. It's power, but it doesn't hurt. In that moment, you look back at the sword. (crackling) the energy still crackling up and down the front of it, and you're sustained for the moment, and you continue to fly up. (whooshing) You hit the clouds (cracking) and break through the heaviness of the darkness pushing past you before suddenly, you open into a pocket in the center of the storm. This vacuous expanse where you're surrounded by this empty void, where the lightning (crackling) arcs around it like the inside of an orb. And there on the opposite side, you see the face staring at you, crackling eyes of angered nature. "Where do you find your strength?" (rumbling)

ASHLEY: Oh my god. (chuckles) I'm so nervous. (sighs) I... I protect. I find my strength in my friends. I find my strength in my family, and laying my life before them.

MATT: (crashing) Bolts of energy begin to just gather, more and more frequent arcing all around you. The inside of this dark space begins to light up all over, hitting in the center, sparking. You're having to push against it. It seems like a whirlwind is spinning up. The wind is pushing at you and you beat your wings as hard as you can, still teetering on that edge of consciousness. (growling) "Then protect them." And it all goes dark, until all you see are those two burning, crackling eyes. "Protect them." As everything goes to dark. (gasps) You take a deep breath, still sitting in the middle of the dark mud, rain pattering down on you. You're freezing to your core. Your whole body is shaking from the temperature. You look around you and you're in the center of the grove at who knows what ungodly hour, alone. You look down at the blade you placed in the dirt.

LAURA: (excited noise) Oh!

ASHLEY: Um. I'll take the sword.

MATT: As you reach for it, (crackling) energy strikes between your hand and the blade for a moment, and you pull back. And you grab it, and it feels warm to your touch.

ASHLEY: I wipe it down. I'll sheathe it and I'll go inside.

MATT: Okay. You wander back in and it seems that most of the group is in some state of sprawled out and sleeping in this slumber party of a main area in the temple, with varying degrees of consciousness and unconsciousness. You can see Caduceus and his father, Cornelius, nodding off, two half-dranken cups of now cooled tea in their hands. But it's quiet, it's peaceful. And you swear, listening out, the rain seems to be subsiding gently, lessening, calming.

ASHLEY: I'll go see where Beau is sleeping and just lay beside her and stare at her until I fall asleep.

MARISHA: I just roll over, being in that, when you know your significant other isn't beside you, lighter sleep, just roll over. You okay?

ASHLEY: Yeah, I'm okay.

MARISHA: Okay. Hold me. (chuckling)

ASHLEY: I bring her in and--

MARISHA: Oh, oh god, you're so wet.

ASHLEY: Oh shit, I'm sorry. I take off my cloak, all the stuff, try to wring out my hair. (laughter)

MARISHA: I just warm up her arms a little bit.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I'll clasp and hold her hands as I drift back to sleep.

ASHLEY: (exhales)

MATT: Okay. You may all take your long rest.

LAURA: I had to do something before we went to sleep.

MATT: Okay, what do you want to do?

LAURA: I have to send a message.

LIAM: To [inaudible].

LAURA: Uh-huh. I have to send a message to Wensworth, Wens, Wayne's World---

MATT: Wensforth.

LIAM: Wilbur.

MATT: Wayne's World, yeah.

LAURA: Have to find out to find out what's happenin'.

MATT: Sure.

LAURA: So I'm going to try to send a message to him.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: I'll have to do this at 4th-level because I'm out of thirds.

MATT: Okay, it is... Well yeah, go.

LAURA: Is that--

MATT: Yeah, you can totally do it.

LAURA: It's late.

MATT: Yeah, but when's that ever stopped you?

TRAVIS: That poor fucker.

MATT: Yeah. (laughter)

LAURA: Hey, what's happening, are you okay? Yussa sounds like screaming! I tried to contact him and he was screaming! Are you dead? Oh gods. Are you okay, please?

MATT: There's a pause before, "Hello? Master's still doing his journey."

LAURA: Oh shit.

MATT: "Sorry about that business. I think old friends stopped by. I may have been had, but we're safe."

LAURA: Okay. Okay.

TRAVIS: (whispering) May have been had?

LAURA: Doesn't even know that Yussa's fucking being tortured right now, mentally. Fuck. How did he make it out? I'mma send one more message.

MATT: Sure.

SAM: (sneezes)

MATT: Gesundheit.

MARISHA: Bless you.

LIAM: Gesund.

LAURA: Wait!

SAM: Hair in my nose.

LAURA: How did you make it out? Did they hurt you? I'm talking about the old wizard. Did he hurt you? You should really wake Yussa up. (laughter)

MATT: "No, he didn't hurt me. I think I might have been ensorcelled to let them in. but they didn't stay long. I'm trying." (chuckles)

LAURA: Okay, okay. Well, at least he's not dead. I don't know if I'm talking to anyone or just myself right now. Is everybody sleeping?

TRAVIS: No, I'm with you.

SAM: This is earlier.

LAURA: Oh, this is earlier? Okay, good.

TRAVIS: I'm still here.

LAURA: Okay, so that happened. (laughs)

SAM: Oh, crazy.

LAURA: I know. Okay, you go back to sleep, sorry.

ASHLEY: I think I'm going to go for a walk outside.

LAURA: Okay. (laughter)

SAM: Careful, it sounds like there's a storm brewing. I heard some, like, Italian thunder.

ASHLEY: Oh, yeah? I don't know what that is.

LIAM: I'm going out, too. You go this way, I'll go that way.

ASHLEY: Yeah, okay, okay. Yeah. You okay over there, Beau?

MARISHA: Yeah, you need me?

ASHLEY: Nah, I'm good.

MARISHA: I'm going to go to sleep, then.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LIAM: Hi, doggie.

ASHLEY: Oh, hi, doggie.

MATT: Pulling some Witcher timeline shenanigans here now.

TRAVIS: You're my favorite customer. (laughter)

LAURA: And then I had one more thing that I wanted to do.

MATT: Yeah, yeah, go ahead. Go for it, sure.

LAURA: But this could be after everybody's--

SAM: This is earlier still.

LAURA: No, this is later. (laughter)

MATT: We got to untangle this as we go.

LAURA: Just fast forward in time--

LIAM: Go back to Trostenwald.

LAURA: -- because I want this to be after Fjord and I went on our walk.

MATT: Yeah, okay, sure.

LAURA: Before I go to sleep.

MATT: Right.

LAURA: But I can be by myself.

MATT: Hey, Dani's the one who's going to untangle this. I don't give a shit. (laughter)

MATT: I ain't doin' the recaps. (laughs)

LAURA: I want to wander off by myself.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: This corner's taken. (laughter)

MATT: "Taken. Seat's taken."

LAURA: Find a little-- alcove in the temple. And I'm going to just say: Hey, Artie. I need to scry on somebody, okay? Are you here? I want to scry on-- (whispering) I want to scry on Vandran.

MATT: You hear a voice go, "Um, terribly sorry. Remind me who this Vandran person is?"

LAURA: Vandran is the guy that-- He was Fjord's mentor and Fjord-- I know he's really important to him and he won't let me check up on him, and I think I should check up on him.

MATT: "Then let's give it a shot."

LAURA: Okay. We checked up on him before, so I know what he looks like and everything. I have the description and all that shit.

MATT: Correct, yeah.

LAURA: Okay, I'm going to cast 5th-level spell.

MATT: You got it, so you're going to scry on him. What's the DC?

LAURA: Of scry?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Okay, hold on. Let me look.

MATT: It's your general spell DC, so.

LAURA: Oh, then I think it's 18.

MATT: And I believe wisdom, right? Yeah.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: As you concentrate for a second, you feel Artie's hands touch on your temples, almost like he's about to close your eyes like a Guess Who game, but it's just on the sides of the face.

LAURA: Can you just give a little, a massugle?

MATT: "Why not?"

LAURA: Been a hard--

MATT: He goes and massages the temples for a minute. And you're like, "Oh, that's good." And he goes "Hey, look at that," and then tilts your head up, and as you do, you feel your vision (whooshing) jettisoned through the ceiling, up into the storm clouds. And then as you're lost, drifting on the winds of the storm, it seems endless. (whooshing) Just being buffeted around, not to a painful degree, but just a little disorienting, until suddenly you break the clouds below and you can see occasional flashes of distant lightning reflecting on ocean water. And then you blink your eyes for a second and you're in a jungle. You can hear late night jungle insects and crickets, and other such creatures, just (chirping), all echoing through the space. And you see a little makeshift cabin made of driftwood, and a very faint glow in the inside of it. And you blink again, and you see on the inside, sitting by a very small, almost just embers fire, an older gentleman who matches the description, facial hair a bit scragglier, a bit longer, just sitting and reading a book. Picks up a pipe, puffs on it. Sets it down and just keeps reading. By himself, peaceful.

LAURA: There's nobody else? Nobody in the cabin?

MATT: Just him.

LAURA: Does his face look-- (sighs) I don't know, troubled, or serene, or?

MATT: Make an insight check.

LIAM: Get a good one.

LAURA: (laughs) I'm going to use this old wood one. Oh, that didn't count because it flipped out of my hand. 15.

MATT: 15? You don't sense any trouble in the face. I mean, his face is heavily marked with lines and wrinkles from just years of living in the elements, but where the creases are, in the eyes and the mouth, they seem to not denote any sort of stress at the moment, here in this quiet night.

LAURA: Can I see what he's reading?

MATT: You cannot. Roll a perception check, just for the hell of it. See if you surprise me.

LAURA: 23.

MATT: (sighs) The book cover you can't see because he's holding it in his lap as he's setting his pipe down, as you glance down. He's probably two-thirds of the way through. But you get through a few of the sentences. There's something about this that seems really familiar. Deals with returning to the Menagerie Coast after she was taken. Shit, he's two-thirds of the way through "Tusk Love."

LAURA: (laughs) Yes.

TRAVIS: No!

LAURA: (laughs)

SAM: Nice, nice.

ASHLEY: Yes.

LAURA: I was going to say it as a joke. (laughs)

MATT: No, he's straight-up reading "Tusk Love."

LIAM: It's a good book.

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Vandran is the coolest! (laughter)

MARISHA: Apparently, the only smut novel and they all love it.

LAURA: The most popular one.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: It's 50 Shades of Gray.

MATT: No, there's a lot of smut novels. It's just really popular.

MARISHA: 50 Shades of Gray.

MATT: Yeah, it gets around a lot.

MARISHA: I get it. 50 Shades of Green. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Solid.

LAURA: There's nothing, like-- I can't get a clue of where he is?

MATT: Unfortunately, Scry doesn't really help out with that.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Is there a map behind him, with a big arrow that says--

TRAVIS and SAM: "You are here"? (laughter)

LAURA: Okay, okay. All right, I guess that's all.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: (whooshing)

MATT: (whooshing) You pull back and Artie's hands move from the temple, and he's like, "All right, back to my evening, and enjoy yours." (whooshing)

LAURA: Thanks for the massage!

MATT: "No problem!"

MARISHA: So where in the timeline are we now?

MATT: We're back to--

LAURA: We're back to where we were.

MATT: We're in Trostenwald now.

MARISHA: Oh, okay.

MATT: We're jumping back to the beginning.

TRAVIS: (whooshing)

LIAM: Wait, roll forward to the sunset of the campaign.

MATT: Right, okay. (laughs)

MARISHA: Let's all start saying our goodbyes. And then jump back to here.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Anything else?

LAURA: No, I'll stop taking all the time.

MATT: It's okay!

TRAVIS: It's not a lot of time.

LIAM: Please.

TRAVIS: Anything else?

LIAM: Do your thing if you have--

TRAVIS: Yeah, I can see it.

MATT: Yeah, do it!

LIAM: The wheels are turning, do it.

LAURA: Can I use one more Message spell?

MATT: If you've got the spell slots for it.

MARISHA: Are you going to do it?

LAURA: I'mma send a message to Vandran.

MARISHA: You're going to do it!

TRAVIS: To Vandran?

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Fucking shit. (laughter)

TALIESIN: I'm proud of you.

SAM: "Where are you?" (laughter)

LIAM: DPB.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Are you on the Tusk Love forums? (laughter)

LAURA: Oh my god, I love that book!

MARISHA: You have to tell me what you think when you finish it.

TRAVIS: Chapter 16 is so hot.

MATT: Oh my goodness.

LAURA: You're not with me, you can't count. I got to count myself.

SAM: Is that how that works?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: Let it happen.

LAURA: Hello. You don't know me.

MARISHA: ♪ Hello ♪

LAURA: But I know Fjord. Is there anything you want me to tell him? Make it good.

SAM: What?

LAURA: Tusk Love rocks. (laughter)

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

MARISHA: #TeamOskar.

MATT: You wait a moment.

MARISHA: It's Oskar and--

LAURA: No, he's in it.

MARISHA: Fiona? Who's the girl's name?

LAURA: I think it's Genevieve.

MARISHA: Genevieve? Oh, I think that that does sound right.

TRAVIS: Oh, Oskar.

TALIESIN: Been a while.

ASHLEY: Oh, Oskar.

TRAVIS: Take me, Oskar.

LIAM: Wait, the heroine from the book's name is the same as Jester's name?

LAURA: Yeah. (laughs) That's why she loved it.

SAM: She was named after that book. It's her mom's favorite book.

LIAM: (stammers)

MATT: "Rather unexpected. Well, whoever you are, just tell him to take care of himself. Also, it's pretty good. No spoilers, please." And that's where he ends it. (laughter)

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: That's it.

LAURA: I'm going to go back to you know, where the beds and stuff are and lay down.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: (laughs)

LIAM: Best troublemaker.

TALIESIN: Chaos bomb.

MATT: All right, anything else?

SAM: I'm just going to spend some time writing a letter before I go to sleep. That's it.

MATT: Okay, no worries. All righty, can take your long rest.

SAM: Oh, thank god. Oh, wait.

MARISHA: Oh yeah.

LIAM: I'm going to take it in the bathroom.

TRAVIS: Fucking A.

TALIESIN: I picked my spells. I'm excited.

TRAVIS: I feel like it's been three sessions since we took a long rest.

ASHLEY: My god, it's been a while.

ALL: ♪ It's been a while ♪ (laughter)

MATT: But as you all come to consciousness into the still chilly, but thankfully warmer, morning now that the storm has passed, and light seems to creep across the grove first thing. You can see everything glistening with dew. The breeze is still. And while there is still a gray sky above, it's more welcoming than it was the night before. Well, to most of you. So what would you like to do?

TALIESIN: I'm having a bath.

MATT: (chuckles)

TRAVIS: Having a bath?

TALIESIN: There's a hot spring, this is how I do it.

TRAVIS: Oh yes, yes, is it a private hot spring or--?

TALIESIN: No, it's right there.

MARISHA: Yeah, how many people?

TRAVIS: Sounds amazing.

TALIESIN: It's big enough.

ASHLEY: Can we all fit?

MARISHA: We all can fit>

TRAVIS: Jester, did you want to go to the hot spring?

LAURA: Yes!

TRAVIS: Okay, yeah, I mean, we're going.

MARISHA: We're about to be in the frozen tundra.

TALIESIN: It's not that far away.

TRAVIS: They're naturally more buoyant than other bodies of water.

SAM: I'll jump around on top of it.

TRAVIS: All right, yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: Put your feet in?

SAM: Nah.

ASHLEY: No?

SAM: I'm okay. (laughter)

MATT: All righty. You all go ahead and take a dip as a scattered crew within the hot spring. If you want to.

TALIESIN: Oh, let me do that thing, then. Roll a d6, anyone who's getting in.

MARISHA: All of us?

TALIESIN: Yep.

MARISHA: Anyone who's getting in?

TRAVIS: Roll a d6. Three.

LAURA: Five.

MARISHA: Two.

TALIESIN: You're fine.

ASHLEY: One.

TALIESIN: You fit. The three of you hop into a part of the spring that is not fed by the hot water, because it's kind of random where you get. So it's fucking cold.

TRAVIS: Fuck this! (laughter)

TRAVIS: (shouting) Your neck seizes up.

TALIESIN: Just keep scoochin', keep scoochin'.

MARISHA: I've got a warm patch right here.

TALIESIN: Got to find a jet.

MARISHA: Right here, feels good. There you go.

ASHLEY and SAM: We're in a hot spring.

LIAM: Wow. I was like, "What's goin' on?" Are we poisoning Fjord in his sleep? (laughter)

MATT: Are you joining them in the hot spring, Caleb?

LIAM: Of course I am joining in the hot spring. This has been been the hardest day ever.

MATT: Roll a d6.

LIAM: Three.

TALIESIN: Yeah, it's freezing. Freezing as fuck.

LIAM: The one that I picked?

LAURA: Find a hot spot, find a hot spot!

MARISHA: Over here, get over here!

ASHLEY: Yeah, we have a hot spot that's really--

LIAM: I deserve this frigidity. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Cold and then you go to the hot, and you go back to the cold, it really loosens you up.

LIAM: Oh, I'm doing the dog paddle.

MATT: It's like soaking self-flagellation. You all eventually find some sort of a middle ground. It's a little crowded to get to the warmer spots there, but you all are enjoying that cleansing warm hot spring experience. All right?

TALIESIN: Everyone sleep well? Everyone feeling rested?

ASHLEY: Yeah. Wait, should we give a look-see?

SAM: To what? Oh, the eyes? The eyes?

ASHLEY: Did you have any dreams or anything?

SAM: If you're naked in the hot spring, why don't you just show us your bodies?

LAURA: This is the best time to look.

LIAM: Well, I didn't have any dreams. I just stand up out of the water.

MARISHA: T-pose.

SAM: I mean, any new eyes?

LIAM: Full 360?

MARISHA: Full, yep.

LIAM: Yeah, you see everything.

MATT: Between the passive perception of Caduceus and a number of other of you, you do not see any additional eyes that have gathered on your teammates.

LIAM: Hold on, there's one place we haven't looked.

ASHLEY: Where's that?

LIAM: Right here.

ASHLEY: Ah!

TRAVIS: The bottom of effort.

LIAM: Ace Ventura. (laughter)

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: You seem chipper.

ASHLEY: Hmm? Me?

TALIESIN: I don't know, you seem a little--

ASHLEY: I like it here.

TALIESIN: Yeah, me, too.

ASHLEY: I like it here a lot.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: That's what I get from my nat 20 perception, fuck it. (laughter)

LAURA: Fjord?

TRAVIS: Yes?

LAURA: I have to tell you something.

TRAVIS: Did you pee in the hot spring?

LAURA: Doesn't everybody?

TRAVIS: No.

LAURA: Oh. Anyway.

MARISHA: What did you do?

TRAVIS: Is this is a game? Am I supposed to guess at your gestures?

LAURA: I'm just going to whisper in his ear that I scryed on Vandran.

TRAVIS: (stammers)

TALIESIN: She sighed the bad man. I don't know, that's what I could get from them.

TRAVIS: What did you say?

LAURA: He's living in a jungle in a little, in a little driftwood house. And he was smoking a pipe and he was reading Tusk Love. And I sent him a message.

TRAVIS: Are you telling me a dream or something that is true?

LAURA: No. And I sent him a message, and I-- I-- he sounded like-- he sounded so happy and taken aback to know that I knew you. And he said that he wanted you to take care of yourself. And he also said that he loved Tusk Love, too.

TRAVIS: I have so many different emotions about this.

LAURA: I know.

TRAVIS: You really--

LAURA: I really did that.

TRAVIS: And he was reading Tusk Love?

LAURA: Yeah!

TRAVIS: In a small hut, in a jungle?

LAURA: Yeah. It doesn't seem real. It doesn't seem like possible.

TRAVIS: Of all the books?

LAURA: I know, it's a real good book.

TRAVIS: Okay. He seemed happy?

LAURA: He seemed, like, content, if not lonely.

TRAVIS: You didn't see where, what jungle?

LAURA: No, it was just a jungle. But it was like-- do I remember? It was like, we went over the water, right?

MATT: You remember a brief moment of water and that was it.

LAURA: I remember a brief moment of water.

LIAM: I'm sorry, but what you're saying, we are talking about your old friend?

TRAVIS: Yes, yeah. My old captain.

LIAM: Reading Tusk Love?

TRAVIS: In a hut in the middle of the jungle.

LIAM: Well, if anyone here did not believe in fate before today, brush those qualms aside.

LAURA: But it's got to be a jungle close to the water because it was a driftwood hut.

TRAVIS: Right. I told you I didn't want to, I didn't want to scry on Vandran.

LAURA: I know.

TRAVIS: Thank you.

LAURA: Are you mad at me?

TRAVIS: No, no. I'm not mad.

LAURA: It's just, we're going into this big, important thing and who knows what's going to happen, and--

TRAVIS: I do. It will be fine. I suppose there was some bit of me that wanted the extra motivation, but coming out of this, and besides I-- now I really, really want to find him.

TRAVIS: If only to take that fucking book away!

LAURA: (gasps) What!? No.

TRAVIS: Ha ha!

LAURA: I want to meet them now when we can have a good long talk. Just about that.

TRAVIS: Okay. Sure. After I can, you know, share a few words first.

LAURA: Of course.

TRAVIS: Thank you.

LAURA: If you're mad at me, I understand.

TRAVIS: No, no.

LAURA: That was an overstep.

TRAVIS: It's really hard to be mad at you. That is a universal--

LAURA: Especially look. I'm naked. (laughter)

TRAVIS: You are. And so are they! It's a close knit group, this.

MARISHA: Very, very close knit.

TRAVIS: Yeah. It's fine.

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: How's everyone feeling this morning?

TALIESIN: Pretty good.

ASHLEY: Pretty good, yeah.

MARISHA: Not too bad, actually.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TRAVIS: How many of you actually believe that? I actually feel pretty good. You?

TALIESIN: Oh, aye.

TRAVIS: Yeah? Do you feel good?

ASHLEY: I feel-- I feel great.

TRAVIS: Did you mean it?

MARISHA: I did. Yeah.

TRAVIS: What about you three?

LAURA: Just left my mom.

SAM: Yeah. My son died a day ago, so no, not really.

LIAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LIAM: You know, if you want, it's been a night of sleep for you to think about it. I want you by our side, but it's got to be a hard decision to make. And if you want to go back, I can send you, if you want.

SAM: But what are we doing? I mean, what is the plan?

LAURA: We go to Eiselcross from here.

SAM: And do what?

TRAVIS: I imagine we lay in wait for Lucien, hope he hasn't beaten us there. Sync up with Essek, figure out who's going to join us on this defensive build.

TALIESIN: Maybe figure out more about what it is.

MARISHA: We know where that secret passage is. If we still wanted to try and go there and lay a trap. I don't think we can kill Lucien so easily, but maybe if we can pick off some of the other Tomb Takers.

LAURA: I could lay-- you could do it, too, I think. We could lay, like, symbols on the ground as traps. And if they wander into it, it could maybe, you know, lay like an ambush, because they won't know we're there if they can't scry on us anymore.

TALIESIN: I have some thoughts.

LIAM: There is possibly another-- (laughter) Possibly another problem to worry about, as well. I think that Ikithon is aware that we've had contact with Essek.

MARISHA: What do you mean?

LIAM: When we saw him, he intimated-- When he spoke to me? When he spoke to me.

MATT: When he spoke to you, yeah.

LIAM: He intimated he was aware of our connection. And unless Essek is taking some sort of precautions, he is not hidden the way we are. And we might still not be finished with my old family.

SAM: What does that mean? Like he's going to Eiselcross?

LAURA: Do we need to send a message to Essek and let him know?

LIAM: Yes, we do need to send a message to Essek. Yeah.

MARISHA: I mean, to be fair, Essek has done a lot to try and seclude himself from all of this, based on what he's done. He has taken some measures of defense by hiding in Eiselcross.

LIAM: Correct. And if he is still, still with his people, then he's not alone. But we don't know where he is.

TRAVIS: We are most definitely not done with your family.

LIAM: And they were able to walk into your mother's house, looking like somebody else. They could be there now, waiting for us to walk in the door. So when we approach him, it needs to be carefully and, yes, we should talk to him before we arrive.

LAURA: Should I send him a message now?

TRAVIS: Well, hold on. I want to get back to Veth's question because there's strategy for days. Many evolutions of this, but we are leaving and going back to Eiselcross and it's going to be dangerous and there will be inherent risk. You know, all of this, of course, but--

SAM: Yeah, of course, but I know what we're doing. And I want to be there with you all to do it. But if we're just wandering around, you know, forgive me, but I don't want to do that.

LIAM: Well, we are not wandering around.

MARISHA: Yeah, I don't think that's at all the plan.

LIAM: Hopefully bringing our complicated ally on board and we are going to lie in wait for our enemy, slash friend and deal with him.

LAURA: We know that their plan is to bring that section of Aeor back. So if we can stop them from doing that at the source, amazing. If we can't, we have to follow them. We have to go to the city to try to stop them there.

LIAM: Or the city is coming to us and we have a whole new set of problems, but either way, it needs to be dealt with. And no one else is dealing with it except for us.

TRAVIS: I'm just going to say it. Are we at all entertaining working with Master Ikithon and the Cerberus Assembly?

TALIESIN: I am.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I know.

LAURA: I mean, they would be as strong.

TRAVIS: We have those devices, that'll help, but it's going to be the fucking fight of our lives. Even with Essek. We could, could reach out.

MARISHA: Where did you leave it off with him, with your old master?

LIAM: He's trying to reestablish. I hate the very idea of spending any time with him.

MARISHA: Maybe we'll get lucky. He'll be killed in the fight.

TRAVIS: Astrid, Eadwulf might join. We have suspicions about where their true loyalties lie.

LIAM: Yeah, he's the one I'm having a hard time predicting because he does not typically put his neck out.

MARISHA: Yeah, he doesn't really seem like a frontline fighter.

TALIESIN: This is a big deal.

LIAM: Astrid and Eadwulf, as difficult as that seems, would, I mean, who are we kidding? We are grossly outmatched. We were lucky to escape with our lives the last time. We are already dealing with someone entirely compromised between both nations already. It's not like we have any kind of moral superiority or place of judgment.

TALIESIN: Well, I think, honestly, you got a bit. I think you're willing to lean into a little bit of moral superiority. Give yourself that. But--

TRAVIS: What about a question? See what he says from afar.

TALIESIN: Maybe from much further once we're somewhere cold.

LIAM: Yeah, it has merits. It has drawbacks. I mean, I tried to talk to his pupils. Everything is potentially on the line. Any normal person or rational person, why wouldn't they want to help, if they had the courage and the ability?

LAURA: Maybe we don't appeal to his moral code. Maybe we appeal to his desire for power.

LIAM: And control. If the city comes, yeah, control has gone. Possibly survival is gone. We don't know what these thousands of voices want. Really.

TRAVIS: He must know something already. He followed us for quite a while, yes?

SAM: He also was reaching out to you.

LIAM: Yes.

SAM: Much more than ever before.

LIAM: (stammering) I've been thinking the same thing and just not wanting to admit it to myself.

MARISHA: Do you think you could work alongside your abuser?

TRAVIS: (chuckles quietly) Fucking shit.

LIAM: For this?

MARISHA: I wouldn't wish it on anybody, for the record. But--

LIAM: For a short period of time, I can manage it.

MARISHA: Do you think-- not trying to be patronizing or question you, but you've had elements with falling into dark places in moments of stress, especially in the middle of battle. And can't have you mentally compromised, really need you on your A-game out there. And if you think that he could potentially drum up old trauma and old stress, I don't want to weaken you by bringing him.

LIAM: Ikithon is not a temptation I need to worry about.

TALIESIN: Can I insight?

MATT: Sure.

TALIESIN: 17.

LIAM: Straight on.

MARISHA: I'm not afraid of you killing him.

LIAM: Neither am I.

ASHLEY: But is there a possibility, though, that we would get out there and he would be tempted by all of that? Then we would also have to fight him, as well.

MARISHA: But I think we can use that to our advantage. The more that we know people's motives and desires, the more we can play on that. We're going in with the advantage of knowing more than anybody, including Ikithon, including-- including Essek, from the discussions that we've had. No one knows more than us and the Tomb Takers, at this point.

TRAVIS: And numbers are good. We need the numbers-- we have them already, we need more.

SAM: But also, you've always wanted to go back and reshape your past with him and you can't, you know? There's no going back. So this might be the closest thing that you get to change something about how he views you or how you view him.

LIAM: We can change something.

SAM: You won't-- if we survive all this, you won't be able to move forward without that. Without sort of buttoning up that part of your life.

LIAM: Let's deal with the problem on the table.

SAM: Can maybe do both.

LIAM: Maybe. We have a bullet list of importance. One thing is required, one thing is a bonus.

MARISHA: To your point, let's reach out to Essek, and who knows? Maybe Ikithon will make this decision easy for us.

LIAM: Maybe we start with Essek now, warn him of the complications. Get there, see if we still take a gut check, see if we're still on the same page, and then reach out to them.

LAURA: So I should ask Essek-- so I should say to Essek-- what should I say to Essek?

LIAM: He may be under scrutiny now. We are looking to smooth those ruffles out and potentially collaborate.

TRAVIS: With--

LAURA: With Essek?

TRAVIS and LIAM: With the other side.

LAURA: Oh, okay.

TRAVIS: And we'll be returning soon, but I think he knows that.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: It's-- you have very few words.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: It'd be helpful to know where he is, as well.

LAURA: Essek?

LIAM: Yes.

LAURA: Well, I imagine Essek is probably still where we left him.

LIAM: Well, probably, but let's not assume.

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: God, you're a pro. I love watching you work. (laughter) Rawr. Push ups and my pecs, my nips are just buck wild.

LAURA: Okay, okay. This is good. Can you, for every word, like, flex your pec? Okay. Yeah, that's how I'll count.

MARISHA: I always wanted to do that.

LAURA: Okay. Oh no, I lost everything--

TRAVIS: I know! They shake you up, don't they?

TALIESIN: I knew it! Ah!

TRAVIS: Earth shaking!

MATT: Let's be fair, we were all hypnotized, I mean, let's-- we can be real. (laughter)

TRAVIS: The rising sun.

LAURA: Okay, everything I want to say has a lot of extra words and I don't know what-- okay.

MARISHA: Dad bod be damned.

LAURA: You may be under scrutiny!

SAM: Why are you so angry? (laughter) Does tone translate on these things?

TRAVIS: (confused, scared noise)

ASHLEY: It's like, "Why is she so mad at me?"

TALIESIN: That's her Shatner.

LAURA: Ickythong could know about our involvement with you. He could be coming! Maybe you can help, though. Where are you now?

MATT: I like to imagine he dropped his coffee, as soon as that hit him.

TRAVIS: (splashing) Ah!

MATT: Just (startled noise).

ASHLEY: You are under scrutiny! (laughter)

MATT: The response comes rapidly.

MARISHA: Volume. Down.

LIAM: He's like (electric razor buzzing). Ah!

MATT: "This is challenging tidings. Then I can not stay here long. I am at the Outpost. If you still need my help, we should leave soon. Soon." And that's all you get.

LAURA: He's super nervous. He did not like that message. He wants to leave, like, stat. We should probably like bamf in there because he's going to run. I think he's going to bolt.

SAM: He's that scared of Trent?

LAURA: He's super scared. Which is kind of scary, if Essek, I don't know, like, how powerful he is. I thought it's pretty powerful. He floats everywhere, you know? But if Ikithon is like way more powerful than him, ooh.

TRAVIS: Well, that and a bunch of Volstruckers heading to an outpost in the middle of nowhere where Essek might be the top dog. Not great for him.

LAURA: That's also true.

LIAM: Let's go. So I can get us to the Outpost. I have a-- hold on.

TALIESIN: Are you sure?

LIAM: He rustles through his bags and pulls out a little piece of stone wrapped in parchment with a little twine on it. This is from there. This will increase our chances, there is room for error.

TALIESIN: Is there anything that we can do to help?

LIAM: Massage is nice. I like tea.

LAURA: Do we-- wait, wait before we go. Hey, do we have mercury, phosphorus, powdered diamond, and opal?

LIAM: I have phosphorus.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: I bought some diamonds.

LAURA: We've got diamonds.

MARISHA: They're tiny.

LAURA: Do you have opals here? You probably have opals here, this seems like a place that would have opals.

TALIESIN: That's presumptuous. No.

LAURA: There's like-- look at how shiny everything is. You probably got opals under the ground.

TALIESIN: No, we just cleaned.

LIAM: What are you thinking?

LAURA: Well, that's how I-- the spell I want to do that would you lay like a good trap, you know?

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: It's really powerful. It needs opal and mercury and phosphorus and diamonds powder.

LIAM: Maybe Essek has some?

SAM: Weren't we just shopping yesterday?

LAURA: I know. I-- can we time jump? (laughter)

MATT: Unfortunately, you jump through time that often and it begins to really destabilize the continuum, so.

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay.

TALIESIN: There should be a chronomancy spell where you can hop back to the last time you went shopping.

ASHLEY: And go get that one thing.

TALIESIN: Doctor Who the-- Once this is over, I'm going to go back.

LIAM: I'm working on it, okay?!

MATT: Yep. The 8th-level Bill and Ted preparation spell.

TRAVIS: Uh-huh.

LAURA: Yes!

TALIESIN: I'm glad you're on the same page.

LIAM: Well, it sounds like there's no opal here.

TRAVIS: Nope.

TALIESIN: I don't think so.

LIAM: Maybe Essek has some, maybe they have some at that outpost.

LAURA: I mean, we do have residuum.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: So that can take the place of opal and mercury.

MATT: Mm-hm.

LIAM: There you go.

LAURA: We just need a lot of diamond dust to make up for it.

MARISHA: We've got those, like, what was it? 150? 300? 150? It was 150 gold worth of tiny diamonds?

LAURA: This thing takes a thousand gold's worth of stuff, but it doesn't say like, you know, the portion. So it could be like a tiny little amount of everything. And then like a 999 gold of diamonds.

TALIESIN: Hold on. (yelling) Calliope, you up?! Are you up?!

MARISHA: She is now.

LAURA: Calliope, we're naked!

TALIESIN: (yelling) Calliope, are you up?!

MATT: You hear something get thrown out of the front of the actual temple and ping, ping, ping.

TALIESIN: (yelling) Are you up?!

MATT: "What?!"

TALIESIN: I can keep yelling or you can come out.

MATT: She stomps out. "What?"

TALIESIN: Well, we're in a bit of a pickle and we were-- I was wondering if you had any components lying around, gems. I know that occasionally you dabble, if there's any-- anything that I can borrow?

MATT: "And what kind of gems are you looking for?"

TRAVIS: Give us your 1,000 gold.

TALIESIN: Opal, opal--

LAURA: Opal, diamond dust, phosphorus, mercury.

TALIESIN: Things like that.

MATT: "You all may be a little rich for my blood, but I may have an opal or two, I can check."

TALIESIN: That'd be amazing.

MATT: "You can get dressed when you like to-- if you want to talk in the house."

TALIESIN: She's messing with us, it's fine.

MATT: She walks into the house.

TALIESIN: I'm going to go collect some stuff. I'll be right back.

MATT: Which spell is this you're going to be looking for?

LAURA: This is for Symbol.

MATT: Symbol.

SAM: ♪ (hi-hat sizzling) ♪

TALIESIN: ♪ (drumset fill) ♪

ASHLEY: ♪ (drumset fill) ♪

MATT: Short time after, you do convene with Calliope. And she has two opals worth about 100 gold each.

SAM: Hey.

LAURA: Oh, great.

MATT: They were part of a piece of armor that she had designed for herself. And so she's like, "I take it what you're doing is pretty important, right?"

TALIESIN: It's very important.

MATT: And she gets one of her tools and bends the metal back to relieve-- And you look at them, the opals have been carved through a little bit in the center to go ahead and give them a place to slide onto the armor decoratively, and so she removes them. They might've been worth more before she had done that, but roughly, it comes about a 100 gold each of worth as they currently sit.

TALIESIN: Just as an apology, I know you can go back to town and get some more. I'm just going to give her like 350 gold.

MATT: She takes it. "A fair trade."

TALIESIN: I'm really sorry.

MATT: "It's fine. I can probably do a better job the second round anyway."

LAURA: Or are you putting that in your inventory, or--?

TALIESIN: No, you put in yours, I'm just-- I'm paying out of my pocket.

MATT: The rest of the Clay family begins to gather, those that were there, as you all start getting your things ready and as they all collect across from all of you, Cornelius looks over and says, "Well, I... it's not often we get friends in this area. So, it's nice to have some friendly faces over. From what your mother tells me, you have quite a bit ahead of you. So may the Wild Mother go with all of you." Looks over to Constance, who looks at everyone quietly for a minute and, you know, Caduceus definitely has that, that warm look that just reads your soul at times, that very intense, not challenging, but just exposed sensation that this person can see through any fronts you put. You see where he gets it from, as his mother makes eye contact with each of you. And it's-- it's a very raw and emotional look of-- without words-- saying, "Take care of yourself." As she looks across all of you and nods, the family looks at each other and they all just step forward and give this giant embrace around Caduceus, just all of them putting their arms around, just one big family huddle. Once they pull back, your mother takes a necklace off of her neck and you see it's this beautiful gold woven cord. And at the bottom of it, there is a sculpted icon of the Wild Mother, this beautiful wreath. And you can see, it's polished and it's fired, but it was once, you recognize it, the material from the base of the pond here, made of itself in clay and she places it around your neck. "That way, a little part of us goes with you, too. A little part of home."

TALIESIN: That's all I want. Thank you, Mom.

MATT: (as Constance) "When you all come back, let us know in advance and we can cook a proper meal. We'll send for some of the good southern vegetables that are harder to get up here."

TALIESIN: We'll show you our house also next time. It's really nice.

MATT: They all nod, wide-eyed and you can see Clarabelle, "Is that the one with the tree on top?"

TALIESIN: No, no. There's another one.

MATT: "You have two houses?"

TALIESIN: It's pretty crazy.

MATT: She looks at her mom and dad like, (as Cornelius) "When you're older, it's a long ways away."

TALIESIN: It'll be there.

MATT: "Well. Good luck." They all hold hands and wait to see you off.

SAM: I'm going to go up to Constance and just ask her: If-- if your son doesn't come back or if you don't hear from him again for a while, can you take this and send it? There's instructions on it. Can you send it to my son and to my family?

MATT: "Where would we find them?"

SAM: I wrote-- I wrote down where they are. It's-- it's a dive bar in Zadash.

MATT: She places it into a little side pouch that she has, with other squishy bits of moss. She clasps her hands around yours and she is, like her son, very tall. So she kneels down and very low to get to your eye level and cups her hands around yours. "Of course."

SAM: Thank you, and I'll try to take care of your son for you.

MATT: "Please do." And she pulls you in and whispers in your ear. "What you're doing is the definition of bravery. A mother would give anything to protect her son. I don't have that strength, but you do." She pulls back.

SAM: I'll try to live up to that. Thank you.

MATT: So?

LIAM: One more time, are you sure?

SAM: No, but I'm going to do it anyway. That's what we're all doing, right? Are you all sure?

TRAVIS: Yes.

SAM: Well, you're the only one, then.

TALIESIN: No, I'm with you. No.

LAURA: I'm sure I want to go.

LIAM: Gather in close, please. I promise to do everything in my power to get you back to Yeza and Luc. And I have that little bit of stonework from the Outpost and I take Veth by the hand and clasp our hands together and the stone is held between our hands. Veth the Brave, let's you and I do our best to keep all these families together. And I mutter a word and we're gone.

LAURA: Dang, I wish you would've taken us with them. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Wait! (laughter)

TRAVIS: How many can you carry with your wings?

ASHLEY: I can probably get us to Eiselcross.

MATT: That familiar sensation of being pulled, plucked from the point in space where you were, and suddenly thrown through invisible doors to a space in the distance. And with that, we'll take our break. We'll be back here in a few minutes to pick it up from here.

Break

(dramatic music) Dwarvenite, the most precious substance among dwarven smiths, able to absorb the very spirit of the craftsman. Thus infused, it becomes nearly indestructible, able to forge heirlooms that will last for generations. (ax smashes) Pure dwarvenite. Now you can get your hands on this legendary substance with the new Dungeon of Doom, available now at DwarvenForge.com.

(light music) (typewriter clicks) (music continues)

LAURA: Hey, Critters, Laura Bailey here. Let's see what's up in the Critical Role shop. Oh, my gosh, it's so amazing. The cuteness, it's overpowering. It's so cute, I can't handle it. Oh, goody, you can look just like my brother. I mean, the Traveler always says impulse purchases are a good decision. So click on over to the Critical Role shop. Don't worry, there's a few more minutes in the break. You still got time.

SAM: (birds chirp) I'm a fan of hot air balloon rides above the Venetian countryside. I'm a fan of Momlan. She's always got my back. I'm a fan of wine older that Taliesin. I'm a fan of Twitch subscriptions. I'm a fan of emotes by our Squeef. They're neat. I'm a fan of a wife so cool people forget I exist. (echoes) (ominous music) (dramatic sound effects) (heart beats) (baby cries) I'm a fan of wearing your skin as a mask. (light music)

Part II

MATT: And welcome back. (laughter) Last we left off-- was before break, so we're back from it. Hey guys.

MARISHA: Hi.

LAURA: (laughing) Hi.

LIAM: Oh hi.

MATT: As you are plucked from the Blooming Grove, I need you to go ahead and roll.

SAM: Oh boy.

MATT: See where your feet fall.

LIAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: We're fine, we're fine, we're fine, we're fine, we're fine, the campaign's over.

ASHLEY: I don't want to leave this beautiful place.

SAM: Can you do--

MARISHA: I know.

SAM: Can you do fate-- what is it called, Fate/stay night, what is it?

TRAVIS: Fate/stay night?

SAM: Fate's Favor.

LIAM: Name some more anime. More anime, Boys B, come on, KO Beast.

TRAVIS: Wolf's Rain, Big O.

SAM: Can you kamikaze yourself? Death Note.

LIAM: Okay, so it's-- Oh, that's okay I had it upside down. 65.

MATT: 65.

SAM: Butterflies.

TRAVIS: I think it might be.

LIAM: Yeah, it was in the 60s, yeah.

LAURA: No, I thought it was in the 30s.

LIAM: We're seeing if we fuse with a slab of stone right now.

TRAVIS: But butterflies.

MARISHA: Is it butterflies?

MATT: What, the--?

MARISHA: What happened?

MATT: 65, you said?

SAM and LIAM: Yes.

SAM: Did he just roll?

LAURA: He did.

LIAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: No, he put his--

MATT: I put my phone down.

SAM: Oh, okay.

LIAM: Likely story.

MATT: As you're suddenly pulled from the grove, there is a momentary push like someone's pushing you from behind, or pulling you from your sternum, you're not sure where it's coming from. And in a flash, an abrupt sensation hits you all at once. Cold. (wind blowing)

SAM: (quietly) That's good.

MATT: No snow, but a very cold breeze. Looking around you, it is a cloudy day, but... you have arrived without issue.

LAURA: Oh.

SAM: Oh.

MARISHA: Oh my god.

MATT: It seems to Eiselcross, because you had that object. Because that would have been a very different scenario.

LIAM: (high-pitched voice) Don't forget to grab a rock.

TRAVIS: What would it have been, I need to know!

MARISHA: -- the alternate timeline!

MATT: Well, no, you don't know. Well, the good-- you didn't-- you're not on-target, I'll put you that, because as you guys land and look around you, you do not see the Outpost anywhere.

LIAM: Okay, well north, north is that way so we know that.

SAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: I can do a thing.

MATT: You can just see--

LAURA: Do a thing!

MATT: -- open, white snow and ice around you.

LAURA: What are you going to do?

TALIESIN: I cast Find the Path.

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: It's the only time this spell is good.

MARISHA: It's 100% true.

MATT: It's come in handy a couple times. Search For Grog it did.

LAURA: Oh yeah.

MARISHA: Oh, that's true.

ASHLEY: Oh, that's right.

MATT: Twice. (laughter)

TALIESIN: So as soon as we can find some sort of landmark we'll know where we are, but in the meantime, I know the cardinal direction to where we're going, which is that way. It's that way.

LAURA: Okay, let's head that direction.

TALIESIN: So there could be a mountain in the way.

LAURA: We'll find out soon enough.

LIAM: Well, hold on a minute. If we know where the Outpost is because it's that way, and we know where north is because of Keen Mind.

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: So we should know if we are east of the Outpost or west of the Outpost or-- judging by the direction.

MATT: You are southwest from the Outpost.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: So no mountain in the way.

SAM: Is that near one of the other numbers by any chance?

TRAVIS: No. Aeor--

SAM: The "A"s?

TRAVIS: Aeor, A2, and we're down here, which is also where the lava river is.

SAM: There's no "A5" or "A?" where we are?

TRAVIS: All east, far, far east.

SAM: Do we have to cross the lava thing again?

TRAVIS: We might be on the other side of it.

ASHLEY: Oh, good grief.

TRAVIS: Southwest could be--

LIAM: Yeah, we could be, that's correct.

LAURA: We could fly over it.

TALIESIN: I burned what I got.

SAM: We could fly over it.

MATT: Yeah, this is considered an "off-target" result.

LIAM: Better than--

LAURA: In the middle of a mountain.

MATT: Better than a lot of possibilities there, so.

TRAVIS: In the lava.

MATT: Take it where you can get it.

SAM: Oh, but Laura wanted to go back in time and take that rock away from Liam. She did that last night before we left.

MATT: Gotcha, gotcha, okay, cool.

LAURA: I switched it with another rock.

TRAVIS: (as Jester) How stupid to bring a rock in his coat.

LIAM: Why does this stone have a smiley face? Is this a pet rock?! No!

MATT: Well, first off, can I have a marching order?

LAURA: Oh, well, you should lead because, you know.

TALIESIN: I'll go first.

MATT: All right, Caduceus at the front.

TRAVIS: I'll join Caduceus up there.

MATT: All right, Caduceus and Fjord in the front.

ASHLEY: I'll go next.

MATT: All righty, anybody else along with Yasha?

LIAM: Squishy wizard in the middle.

SAM: I'll go on the end.

TRAVIS: Jester.

LAURA: Well, I know, I was trying to separate the clerics.

MATT: It's an open space. You guys can be in any organization you want to be.

LAURA: I'll go right next to Yasha. I'll be behind Fjord.

MARISHA: I'll bring up the rear with Veth.

MATT: All righty, squishy wizard in the middle indeed. You've got it. Okay. With the direction you're given, you are now heading in a northeastern direction and after you get yourself adjusted you could see there's a mountain range to the east of where you currently are. A number of miles off you can just see it. You can't quite tell the full distance, but you're directing in a northeastern direction.

TALIESIN: There's no lava river that we can see between us and the mountain?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: That's pretty good, 29.

MATT: You do not see any sign of a lava river between you and that mountain range at the moment.

LIAM: If there's a mountain range to our east--

TALIESIN: Right.

LIAM: -- we are probably on the right side of the lava river, probably.

TALIESIN: Yes, that would be my guess.

MARISHA: Yeah, would we know that a little? Like, would I remember that?

MATT: Well, you have a map.

MARISHA: Or we can just look at the map.

TALIESIN: I kind of remember that.

LIAM: I've been looking at it.

TRAVIS: That's the Happy Fun Ball.

LAURA: Don't throw that!

TRAVIS: It's somewhere around here.

LIAM: There's nowhere really that is southwest of the Outpost--

LAURA: I like to think Fjord's just--

LIAM: -- that would have mountain range to the east except for one or two places and they're both on the good side of the lava river.

LAURA: We discuss as we continue walking forward.

MATT: Of course. Well, as you figure out the--

TRAVIS: Nope.

MARISHA: ♪ Too many maps ♪

LAURA and MARISHA: ♪ Too many maps ♪

TRAVIS: There it is. There's a lot. Come on, you fuckin' bitch!

MATT: Love watching Travis battle over there.

ASHLEY: ♪ Mapmaker mapmaker ♪ ♪ Make me a map♪

LAURA: I don't think that's it.

TALIESIN: Oh, actually I do know how far it is when I cast the spell. I know how far it is.

MATT: You do?

TRAVIS: You do?

TALIESIN: I do.

TRAVIS: And after I get the map out, you bastard.

TALIESIN: Wasn't going to say it before you had the map up.

MARISHA: Testing the map.

TALIESIN: Yep, that's a map.

MATT: "How far it is and what direction it lies," all right. Let me do some math here because--

SAM: Ashley, help him.

TALIESIN: Ish, I mean, you can give me an ish.

ASHLEY: I can help you, I got fingers to count.

TALIESIN: You can tell me in, like, day's travel if we didn't have to go over a mountain.

TRAVIS: There are eight maps.

MATT: I will say it's about... at your current location, between two and three days' travel.

LAURA and LIAM: (shocked gasp)

TALIESIN: Between two and three days' travel.

LAURA: That is so much farther than what I thought.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah, we're down by Allowak's Sanctuary.

LIAM: Oh, we're deep southwest.

MARISHA: Oh no.

LIAM: We could be by the Allowak's Sanctuary.

TRAVIS: Yep.

LIAM: Oh, wow.

SAM: Is that where the yetis are?

LIAM: That's a steep southwest, yeah.

SAM: Should we get them to-- should we ride them?

LIAM: No.

TALIESIN: Should we--

SAM: Could we ride on yetis?

TRAVIS: We need to be doing that flying shit.

TALIESIN: We should we need to be doing that flying shit.

MARISHA: How many days were we-- we were still in under a week, right? We're on day five or something like that?

MATT: Roughly around there, yeah.

TALIESIN: But better faster than shorter.

MARISHA: For sure.

TRAVIS: Time to grind.

LAURA: We should fly.

LIAM: Yeah, shoot.

TALIESIN: How far away are we from the mountains right now?

MATT: You're probably... 10 or so miles away, maybe.

TALIESIN: So I say we-- This is my plan, if anyone's interested. We could get to the mountains and then fly through the mountains. We just walk to the mountains. That's half an hour, ish, 45-- there's snow, this is slow. But then we can try and fly maybe through the mountains.

LAURA: Why don't we just fly to the mountains and through the mountains?

TALIESIN: Well, how long can we fly for?

MATT: You would, actually, with your perception check, you do not see-- I should've clarified. You do not see the river of lava between you guys and the mountain range to the east. As you've had this conversation, you look and you can see it to your west.

TALIESIN: So we are on the other side of it.

MATT: You are on the eastern side of it.

LAURA: That's good. We can fly for an hour.

TALIESIN: So I would say we wait till we're at the base. That way we get as far through the mountains as possible.

LAURA: Okay, okay.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: We're southwest of the-- am I forgetting where the Outpost is? I thought it was where Aeor is on the map, right?

TRAVIS: If Aeor's right there then we're right here. On the eastern side of the river.

LIAM: So not by Allowak's.

TRAVIS: No.

MATT: You didn't move that far.

TRAVIS: Huh?

MATT: You did not move that far away. Knowing the distance you have there the location of the topography as you figure it out, you can kind of triangulate.

LAURA: So if we flew up and over the mountains, that would cut down the time by a lot.

LIAM: That's three days' travel?

MATT: It would cut down, but you can only fly for an hour at a time.

LAURA: Right.

MATT: So it does help.

LIAM: It'll help, but it's not going to erase it or--

MATT: Yeah, depending how many slots you burn doing it, you know, it'll maybe cut off a day, day and a half depending on how you do it, so.

TRAVIS: We'll take it.

TALIESIN: I'd say once we hit the mountains and see if we can carve straight through them as opposed to walking around.

TRAVIS: Plus when you were talking to Lucien, didn't you say he had to double his efforts?

MARISHA: Yeah, but it seemed like maybe they found what they were looking for and were making their way.

ALL: ♪ Making their way. ♪

TRAVIS: Quickly?

MARISHA and TRAVIS: Yeah.

TALIESIN: He strikes me as the sort of person to tell the truth in a way of--

TRAVIS: Let's fly!

TALIESIN: -- that you can't tell.

LAURA: Okay, well, I can fly--

MARISHA: 100%.

LAURA: We got to figure this out again. Because I can only fly-- turn two people into animals for an hour and then from then on, it's only me and Caleb that can turn into flying creatures.

TRAVIS: I can fly as well for an hour.

LAURA: Oh, yeah?

SAM: Yasha can fly.

LAURA: Only for like--

ASHLEY: I can fly for--

SAM: Ten minutes?

ASHLEY: -- a minute.

SAM: Oh, one minute.

ASHLEY: One minute.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: So not as long as an hour.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Nope, I can only fly for 10 minutes, I lied.

TALIESIN: So I'd say that the biggest people, maybe?

LAURA: Can we Polymorph into a white dragon? (laughter)

LAURA: Probably not, huh? You can only Polymorph up to a certain challenge rating?

MATT: Up to a certain challenge rating, yep.

TRAVIS: Should we just mimic what we did before?

SAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Let's do it.

LIAM: Ja.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: Even if we only do it once, it is still better than nothing.

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: What did we do before?

ASHLEY: I think I was a--

LIAM: Well, eagles is faster.

LAURA: Eagles are faster, yeah.

MATT: Yeah, it can be any beast is the--

LAURA: Any beast, got it, okay.

TRAVIS: Who are the eagles?

LIAM: Well, Yasha, I think makes sense to be an eagle.

TRAVIS: And Caleb and Jester?

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Okay, so.

LAURA: Once we get to the base of the mountains, we'll do that and then we'll fly.

MARISHA: And then we split up Caduceus on one person, Veth paired with somebody.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: So.

MATT: Okay, so you're going to travel on foot to the mountain range and then transform, or transforming now?

LAURA: On foot to the mountain range.

LIAM: Yeah, that's a good idea.

LAURA: And then transform at the mountains.

MATT: Okay, got it. Well, I need somebody to go ahead and roll a d20 for me.

SAM: Whose turn was it?

LIAM: Why don't we start fresh with Fjord-y?

TALIESIN: Boulder, paper, shears?

ASHLEY: I'm not doing it again.

SAM: Boulder, parchment, shears.

MARISHA: Yeah, we might've left off at you.

ASHLEY: We might have.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: Wait, I think we should all play boulder, parchment, shears.

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay, okay.

MARISHA: Oh, like eliminate together.

SAM: This is going to work.

ASHLEY: It's fine. We'll make it work.

MATT: On three.

SAM: Ready?

LAURA: We'll figure it out.

MARISHA: Okay.

ASHLEY: This is not going to work.

TALIESIN: There's only one scissor! There's only one shears.

LAURA: So he wins, okay, you roll.

MARISHA: You win!

LIAM: That's how it works.

TALIESIN: Yep.

MARISHA: Shears beats all. (laughs)

TALIESIN: Shears beats all.

MATT: Checks out. (laughter)

LIAM: Okay, I'll roll the meteorite die to crush us. Where'd you hide? A three.

MATT: A three.

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Oh yes, oh no.

LAURA: Remember the eight is the dragon.

ASHLEY: Eight was dragon?

LIAM: Dang it.

MATT: What was once a somewhat gray, broken blue sky begins to grow darker with clouds.

MARISHA: No!

MATT: And the weather begins to grow harsher and harsher. You bundle yourselves. Becoming accustomed to less colder areas, and the return to Eiselcross has been jarring. So as you bundle up and trudge through the ever-growing pressure of the snow and wind, eventually you do make it to the base of the mountain. Flight is going to be a little hard, but it can be done.

LAURA: Fuck.

TALIESIN: To fly or not to fly?

LAURA: We have to, we have no other way to get up and over these mountains. Otherwise we have to go around them now.

TRAVIS: What's the flying speed?

LAURA and LIAM: 80 feet.

TRAVIS: So if it's halved it's 40?

LAURA and LIAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Because of the wind, and most of our speeds are 30 to 40 on foot.

LIAM: Well, you have to go as fast as your slowest person.

TRAVIS: That's true.

TALIESIN: Was the wind coming from the mountains or towards the mountains?

MATT: Make a nature check, or survival, your choice.

TALIESIN: 13.

MATT: 13, it is heading towards the mountains and in a-- it's somewhat helpful, though it's going more eastern than northeast. So it might--

TALIESIN: It'll jostle us, but we're not going to be fighting it.

MATT: Exactly.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: So it won't halve our speed, but we will have to be really careful.

LAURA: Okay.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: So I'll Polymorph me and Yasha

LIAM: I'll take care of myself.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I'm going to use a little rope just to make something extra to hang on to, if that's okay. Since it's windy.

LAURA: That makes sense.

TALIESIN: Bit of a bridle.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: We should make you with--

LIAM: Caduceus with-- well.

LAURA: Caduceus with Yasha.

LIAM: Because of the strength, ja?

MARISHA: Because the strength, yeah.

MATT: Just keeping this situated here. So who is riding on-- we'll say this is Caduceus.

LIAM: Jester, why don't you take Fjord.

MATT: Or Yasha, sorry.

LAURA: And you take Beau and Veth.

LIAM: Those two together-- Yeah, yeah, that make sense. equals the weight of one of the other party members.

MARISHA: That's true.

MATT: Who are you taking?

LAURA: Fjord.

MATT: Fjord, all righty.

TALIESIN: And then where are you, Beau?

MARISHA: I'm riding on Caleb with Veth.

TALIESIN: Gotcha.

MATT: Got it.

TALIESIN: And then you're on, okay.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: We're splitting up the--

LAURA: The clerics. That's-- yeah.

LIAM: Eee!

MATT: So whoever the flyers are, if I can have you go ahead and roll either an athletics or acrobatics check for whatever form you're taking.

TRAVIS: You are flyer, not a faller.

TALIESIN: Guidance.

MARISHA: I put on my goggles by the way.

LIAM: Athletics or which?

MATT: Acrobatics, which would be either a strength bonus or a dex bonus, that's your choice based on the form you took.

LIAM: They're the same, so I'm going strength. Terrible.

LAURA: Oh, yeah.

TALIESIN: Strength or dex.

LAURA: 22.

LIAM: Eight.

ASHLEY: 31.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Wait. This is giant eagle stuff?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Oh.

ASHLEY: So do I not use my--?

MATT: No, you use the form of the eagle.

LIAM: Plus three only.

TALIESIN: Okay, oh, plus three only? Okay, so.

LAURA: Right, right, 21.

ASHLEY: 25.

MATT: Which is still two very high rolls versus one lower, which between this minute skill challenge puts you in the positive. So you do begin to trudge through the heavy wind and the snow, and as you begin to pick up, the challenge comes in not being pushed into the side of the mountain as the wind is taking you that way. You begin to adjust and use the blasts and the gusts to your favor, having it carry you higher and quicker, higher and quicker, until eventually you begin to coast over some of the highest parts of this edge of the mountain range. What you can see through the casting of snow and white are all the peaks of gray rock and ice beneath. You continue on for quite a bit until you begin to feel the spell begin to reach its conclusion.

LAURA: Looking for a safe place to land. Looking for a safe place to land.

MATT: I need the three of you, anybody on your back who would like to make a perception check using your creature's form. So roll and add your wisdom, though I believe if it's large eagle, right?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Then those have a perception advantage, right? For sight?

LIAM: With sight.

MATT: Correct, so go ahead and make-- though it's just a single roll because it would be with disadvantage because of the storm.

LAURA: Okay, so I take the first roll, then.

LIAM: Natural 20.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

ASHLEY: What are we adding to it again?

MATT: Whatever your wisdom is.

LAURA: Four. Your perception is a plus four.

MARISHA: Is that the same die?

LIAM: This shit is legit.

LAURA: So 15 for me.

MARISHA: Damn.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: Damn!

SAM: Broken. Burn it.

LIAM: Shut up!

SAM: Burn it, it's a witch.

ASHLEY: 19.

LIAM: Go to hell.

MATT: Okay. Peering through the storm, looking into the forms below, you can just barely make out a shelf of ice-covered stone that's the closest safe spot to stop nearby and it's on the opposite side of a mountain peak to where it may block the wind from blowing you. So you head your way down toward it and then land in the soft snow trying to find footing. It does slip a bit. The ice beneath is really hard to get a hold on, but the wind is cut off at this angle and you find a safe spot to stop.

MARISHA: Good work.

LAURA: Hi.

MARISHA: Not bad.

TALIESIN: Yeah, we may be stuck here for a little while, but at least everybody else will be stuck too, so.

LAURA: Did anybody see the Tomb Takers while we were flying? Did anybody see them?

SAM: Oh, I wasn't looking for them.

MARISHA: Oh, I didn't.

TALIESIN: I wasn't looking.

MARISHA: That would've been a good idea.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: Shoot, sorry.

LAURA: No, no, no it's fine. I would've looked, but it was really windy and it was, like, burning my eyeballs

SAM: Yeah, there were some weird storms whipping around.

LAURA: Next time we fly, we should look for them.

SAM: Okay, okay.

LIAM: So are we going for another round or are we calling it a day?

LAURA: We need to go for another round.

LIAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: Do we need a short rest? Does a short rest help?

LAURA: No.

LIAM: No, I'm just doing this for flavor. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Fair.

LAURA: Okay, but it's only going to be me and Caleb flying now.

SAM: We can still do it, right?

LAURA: Yeah, but we'll move a little bit slower, I think.

MARISHA: Are we through the mountains? Did we make it through the mountains?

MATT: No, you're in the middle of the mountains right now.

MARISHA: In the middle of the mountains.

LAURA: So it'll be harder, but we can do it.

LIAM: Yeah, so you carry Caduceus and I will carry Yasha. and then what is left is Fjord again with you, and you two with me, and that is about even.

MARISHA: Does it look pretty rocky and rough ahead of us through these mountains?

MATT: Yeah, the mountains are pretty nasty.

LAURA: Yeah, I'll take Yasha, you take Caduceus.

LIAM: Okay, okay.

LAURA: Just in casies.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: It looks like a lot of the mountains here-- there are some softer edges, but a lot of them are these pointed peaks where ice has built up over time and has caused these spire-like points. It leads to some interesting valleys, which can be be taken for a shelter if need be in a crutch moment, but you would not want to fall upon some of these mountains spires. So you're both transforming?

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: Ja.

LAURA: Let me see. Wait, hold on. I can't remember. Polymorph is concentration.

MATT: Yes, it is.

LAURA: You're guiding somebody. You're going to guide him. Okay.

ASHLEY: I'm on Jester.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: And Caduceus is on the-- Caleb.

LAURA: I'm carrying Yasha and Fjord.

LIAM: And Caduceus, I'm going to carry you, and ladies, please, I think you should ride on top.

LAURA: Which one of you wants to ride like this in my claws and which one of you wants to ride on my wings?

ASHLEY: I'll take claws.

TRAVIS: All right.

LAURA: I can carry you like you're on a chair. I can carry you by your arms. I can carry you like, you know, like you're flying sideways like this. What seems most comfortable?

ASHLEY: Maybe like a chair.

LAURA: Okay, I'll do this.

ASHLEY: Yeah, like a little thing and then I'll swing my legs.

LIAM: Ski lift?

ASHLEY: Yeah, like a ski lift.

TRAVIS: She can fly by herself.

LAURA: For, like, a minute.

TRAVIS: No, I know.

ASHLEY: Yeah, but if there's an emergency, you know, I can.

LAURA: Yeah, if I start to fall, bamf your wings out and you know, don't die.

ASHLEY: So I feel like you might be safer to-- Well, you can also--

TRAVIS: Fly.

ASHLEY: Okay, we're fine.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: All right. So this is the arrangement we're going with?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: Mm-hmm.

MATT: You got it. Picking back up once more, (wings flapping) and you crest the moment where wind hits you and you have to take a moment to adjust. I'd like to have the two eagles once again roll for me, please.

TALIESIN: Add a d4.

MATT: Athletics or acrobatics, your choice.

TRAVIS: Add a d4!

MATT: Strength or dex.

LIAM: 19, I rolled.

TALIESIN: Did you add the d4?

LIAM: Do I get a d4?

TALIESIN: You get a d4.

LIAM: I do, too?

LAURA: I rolled 15.

LIAM: Oh boy!

MATT: 15. Okay. You both manage to maintain your course in the face of this strong, strong storm. It's blowing you further east if you can keep going forward that might be to your advantage. Might be.

MARISHA: Does this storm sound Italian?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LIAM: It's-a me!

MARISHA: Natural two, so you know.

MATT: It sounds a little more, I want to say Austrian.

MARISHA: Sound of Music.

MATT and TRAVIS: (garbled Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions)

LIAM: You are von Trapp-ed!

SAM: I'm blowing, I'm blowing.

TRAVIS: I hate all of these white things.

MATT: It's a voice over disease, doing an Arnold impression.

ASHLEY: Get to the Outpost. (laughter)

SAM: I am the Herr Carl Rogen.

MATT: Okay, okay.

TRAVIS: He's not a Tomb Taker. (laughter)

LIAM: Oh no!

SAM: Not at all.

MARISHA: That was pretty good.

LIAM: Oh no!

ASHLEY: Get to the eagles. (laughter)

MATT: You motherfucker. Okay.

LIAM: These are my eagles, Whiskey and Lulu.

MATT: It is tougher for you to go at full speed carrying this number of folk. It doesn't slow you down-- It doesn't slow you down to half speed, necessarily, but you aren't quite getting quite the full breadth of this, but you push on, you push on through the storm. By the time the second hour fades you find, or begin to look for, another safe place to land. You're still above the mountain range.

LIAM: Straight roll perception?

SAM: I'm going to look around for the Tomb Takers, because we were told to look.

MARISHA: Oh, that's a good idea.

TRAVIS: I do the same thing.

MARISHA: I help Veth.

ASHLEY: Yes, I'm going to help look for Tomb Takers.

MATT: Okay, well then go ahead and make a single roll because it would be disadvantage otherwise.

LIAM: I rolled shitty.

SAM: 12.

MATT: All right, no Tomb Takers.

LIAM: Seven.

LAURA: 19.

MATT: 19, you lose sight of a safe place. It's too much snow, it's too much wind. It's too much storm. You, however, manage to peek over and you see there is this large mountain that, as opposed to coming to a singular peak, comes to two smaller peaks at different angles, and in that little tiny valley, it looks like there's a safe space where it's shielded from a lot of the storm. With that, you eventually find yourself, land there right in time for the magic to drop, and you safely come to a moment of rest, catch your breath, and feel safe from the freezing elements of the snow. If you have more spell slots to use, you can give it another shot.

LAURA: I got another one, yeah, yeah, yeah. We should keep going try to get there as fast as possible, right?

LIAM: Ja, as much as we can--

LAURA: What if we use up all our spells and then stupid Trent shows up again and then we have no spells to fight him again?

MATT: That's never happened.

LIAM: Don't worry, I have not been thinking about that the entire time we were in the air.

MATT: All right.

SAM: They both blew up. (laughter)

SAM: Oh god!

ASHLEY: No!

LIAM: Fade to feathers.

MATT: Magic in Aeor can be real dangerous, man.

MARISHA: Holy shit. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Guess we're walking.

TALIESIN: Oh boy, guess we're falling.

LIAM: Who's got climbing gear?

MATT: So yeah.

TRAVIS: Pitons. Same arrangement?

LIAM and LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: All right, going up into the storm once more with these crew, go ahead and make another roll.

TALIESIN: With a d4.

LIAM: Okay, 15.

LAURA: 17.

MATT: 17, okay, you--

LAURA: Oh, yeah, 17.

LIAM: Oh schei e. Thank you!

LAURA: I don't get a d4. He's giving him Guidance.

LIAM: 18.

LAURA: I can't give myself that.

TALIESIN: Thank you, 18's better.

MATT: Braving the strength of the storm, you guys are keeping it up pretty well. As exhausted as your bodies have become even within, the strain of the spell and the strain of pushing is weighing on you. You might be a little sore in the morning, but the majority of this creature's body that you're currently inhabiting that you've magically crafted is managing to keep itself pretty solid on the path you're trying to go.

LAURA: My eagle looks like it's got some really toned shoulders.

MATT: There you go. You're doing a lot of P90X, like pterodactyls backing out of trouble, yeah.

LIAM: Oh, no, flashbacks.

MARISHA: Wow.

TRAVIS: Pause if you need to.

MATT: You push on for another hour or so and the spells begin to fade. You're not through the mountain range entirely, but you begin to see the edge of it. At the very edge, the storm itself is starting to subside a little bit. It's not as strong as it was when you first pushed into the sky, but you do not think this spell's duration will carry you to the final length of traversing this plain.

SAM: We could ski down the rest.

LIAM: Well, I mean, I can do it again.

LAURA: We've done it three times now?

LIAM: Yes.

LAURA: I mean, yeah, I could do it again. We're wasting higher spell slots at this point.

LIAM: Yes, this is correct.

LAURA: We got to look for--

MATT: Well, you got to land first.

LAURA: We got to land.

LIAM: Ja, oh, are you sure? (screeching)

MATT: Go ahead and roll perception checks for me, please.

LIAM: Oh, not advantage because it's storm.

LAURA: 20.

LIAM: And their bonus is-- Oh, and we get the d4 on this too, right?

TALIESIN: I've basically been pumping it into you at this point, so.

MATT: Pardon me.

TALIESIN: Yeah, you're welcome.

LIAM: Thank you, 15.

TALIESIN: You got the d4.

LAURA: I got a real good visual.

TALIESIN: I'm hoping for it.

MATT: Nobody wants to be pumped full of d4s. That's a terrible idea.

LIAM: Oh, yeah.

SAM: They're real sharp.

TALIESIN: They're very sharp, they have a point.

MARISHA: (groans)

MATT: You do catch one safe spot similar to the first shelf that you came upon, but it's smaller and slimmer, which means it's going to be a little bit of a precarious landing. Thankfully, it's just two of you trying to find the space there for the point of the landing. If you could both make dexterity saving throws for me using the dex of your bird forms.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: To see if you can stick the landing.

LAURA: Bird dex.

LIAM: Natural 20!

TRAVIS: Wow, that's three in the past--

MARISHA: That's pretty good.

LAURA: 21.

SAM: Burn it.

MARISHA: Same die?

LIAM: It's the dunamancy die.

MATT: Apparently.

SAM: Destroy it.

LIAM: It is, sparkly, space.

MATT: It must be destroyed. Cast it into the fire!

TRAVIS: What movie's that from?

LIAM: Campaign one was gold.

MATT: Constantine.

LIAM: Now it is physics.

MATT: You both manage to skid into it, scrape, and catch yourself to the very edge before going over right as the spell vanishes from beneath you and all of your friendly payload fall into the snow and ice next to you. It is at a slight angle. There's an uncomfortable moment where you feel yourself gives just a bit, that slight decline makes you worried that there's a chance to slip off and fall, but you feel pretty comfortable where you landed.

LIAM: Okay, now.

MARISHA: How you guys doing?

LAURA: Kind of tired.

MARISHA: Yeah?

TRAVIS: Oh, us, too. I feel like we're really grinding.

LAURA: You're getting a lot of wind in your face, I wouldn't be surprised if you are--

MARISHA: A little chapped.

TRAVIS: We look down, and in the terrible-- try and see anybody walking, making their way.

TRAVIS and MATT: ♪ Making our way ♪

LIAM: Down below.

TRAVIS: Yeah. (laughs)

LIAM: ♪ Down below ♪

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: ♪ Six feet under ♪

LIAM, MARISHA, and LAURA: ♪ Down below ♪

TRAVIS: 19.

MATT: 19?

LIAM: I want to see it.

MATT: With disadvantage because of the storm.

MARISHA: Fuck.

LIAM: Come back, theater, come back.

TRAVIS: Aww, 16.

MATT: 16. Looking around, you do not see any sign of anything beyond snow, ice, and stone. Yeah. That's all you got.

TALIESIN: I could get a personal mount. I could burn my strongest, my--

SAM: What?

TALIESIN: Yeah, you heard me. (laughter)

TRAVIS: You know, I could get a personal--

TALIESIN: If you need one less person, I could summon--

MARISHA: Taliesin, or--

TALIESIN: -- flying creature.

LAURA: No, that's not it.

MATT: We're getting to that point in the night.

LAURA: It's just a matter of whether or not we want to burn, you know, 5th-level spells to do this.

TALIESIN: It would be everything we've got.

LAURA: Yeah, we've got, so. I mean. It's probably more important to try to get there right now, right? Burn through it?

LIAM: Ja. But after this--

LAURA: This is the last one?

LIAM: I really want to-- No, I mean, tomorrow, and tomorrow-- Uh-oh. (laughs) I want to try to be conservative with our abilities.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: For many reasons.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: But right now, we are stuck up a tree, or a mountain, so we'll go again.

LAURA: We'll go again.

LIAM: Ja. Caduceus, hang on to your butt! (whooshing)

TALIESIN: Wow.

LAURA: Here, Fjord, get on my back before I turn into an eagle, it'll be fun. Okay.

TALIESIN: Throw another spell into you.

LAURA: (hand rubbing)

LIAM: (eagle squawk)

LAURA: (poofing)

TRAVIS: It blows my arms back--

MATT: I was about to say, yeah, make a strength saving throw.

TRAVIS: (pained yell) (laughter) Just a (squelching).

TRAVIS: Ugh, oh! Six.

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: Six?

SAM: Dislocated.

MATT: It doesn't dislocate your arms, but you do get pushed back off of her, hit the snow, and begin to slide.

TRAVIS: (panicked yell)

LAURA: Oh no! I grab you. (laughs)

MATT: Between the two of you, you catch him before he slides off the edge and tumbles hundreds of feet into the ravine below.

LIAM: Could have had a Willow moment. (laughter)

MATT: But with that, you pick up for a third bit. The storm is not as strong as it was, but it's still strong enough. I need you both-- the DC is a little lower, but go ahead and both roll either with your strength or dex bonus.

LAURA: Natural 20!

LIAM: Oh, thank god!

MATT: What's your total?

LIAM: Six.

MATT: Okay, the natural 20 does help, it's considered two successes versus one failure, so you're real lucky you got that.

LIAM: ♪ That's fuckin' teamwork! ♪

MATT: So, you can watch as Caleb is starting to have a hard time keeping pace and you come up from behind and give a tail wind, like bluff the side of him, and help block the wind from hitting him. And with that, you begin to make your way down--

LAURA: ♪ Makin' your way ♪

MATT: Wow.

SAM: If you had said it was snowing, I might say, "Flakin' its way," but--

MATT: Oh no, it's evolving. (laughter) You eventually begin to push through the worst of the storm, and you begin to see the mountain range below subside, leading into a somewhat familiar valley of broken ice, stone--

LAURA: Oh, we're already there! Yeah, that was great.

MATT: --and right as the spell begins to reach its end, as you begin to descend rapidly to catch the ground at the very base of the mountain range, which is now to your south, you glance out ahead, and you can see the clouds are now passing further east to where there's a little bit of a break ahead where your vision is a little better, and you can see now at this distance, a different perspective but the same view, of the massive, odd, sunken valley that houses the Ruins of Aeor.

LIAM: All ice spires?

MATT: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: Do we get a cooler view of it? Does anything catch our eye now that we can see it from above?

LIAM: Like an aerial view?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: I'll join on that one.

LIAM: Yes.

TALIESIN: Nope.

LAURA: Nope, like 12.

TALIESIN: 13.

LIAM: Dammit, Bobby.

MATT: Not any real additional detail, but it is definitely--

LAURA: What about, is the storm less now, do I get advantage on my perception for this one?

MATT: No.

SAM: Do we get a sense for how far we are? Could--

TALIESIN: I drop Find the Path to do that d4 thing, I had to drop Find the Path, it was worth it.

LIAM: Well done, yeah.

MATT: So as you all come land at the base of the mountains, forms dropped, you gather, probably, it's another day's travel or so, or a little less than a day's travel before you get to the Outpost. So you did make some good time with that.

SAM: Should we--

LIAM: So what time of day, I'm sorry, go ahead.

SAM: No, I was just going to say, should we just continue on through the night? And get there?

TALIESIN: Let's see what the weather-- can you do the house?

LAURA: No, because we don't want to go into all of this exhausted.

SAM: Well, we'll get there a day earlier, though.

TALIESIN: We can take a-- well, if we're only a day away, then it hardly matters, I suppose. Let's see how it goes.

LAURA: What does the Wild Mother tell you? Does she tell you we should sleep?

TALIESIN: The Wild Mother says that when it gets dark and cold, you should sleep, and then when it warms up and gets light, you should move.

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: I did not know that, hmm.

LAURA: Let's keep moving until it's dark and cold.

TALIESIN: Nature is its own language.

LAURA: Yeah?

LIAM: Is that code for '"go to the end of the day and rest"?

LAURA: Yeah, that's--

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LIAM: Good, because I am also worried about, you know, we were talking about negotiating, perhaps, but there is a chance they will just drop on us.

TRAVIS: Yep.

LIAM: And we are-- you and I are fucked up.

TRAVIS: And actually with that, I'll summon the sword and cast See Invisibility because we haven't done that once since we've been wearing these necklaces.

MATT: Mm-hm. All right, make a perception check for me.

LAURA: Oh gosh, what if they're just still scrying on us?

TRAVIS: Natural 20. (cheering)

MATT: Damn! Getting that shit.

TRAVIS: 23.

MATT: So as the sword apparates out of your hand, Fjord, and as you bring it ahead of you, the energy glows off, and you watch as the blade begins to glow, and this energy from behind Fjord's eyes begins to glow with it. And with that, your sight clicks into the spectrum beyond what is normally capable of mortals. Glancing about, you get a very keen view, and no sign of any sort of drifting, invisible arcane orbs, viewing portals, nothing.

TRAVIS: Money well spent. We are clear.

TALIESIN: Billboards.

TALIESIN: I assume there's advertising.

MATT: There's a blimp, but I figured that wasn't pertinent to this.

MARISHA: #NotSponsored.

TALIESIN: (laughs)

MATT: Not an ad. So, what's the plan?

LIAM: Just to trudge until it is too dark to feel safe, and then we will plunk down, so a little bit further.

MATT: A little bit further, yeah. With the travel to the mountains, the travel then to the range there, and you guys left the grove a little bit before noon, so you're getting pretty close to dusk. You probably have another hour, or under an hour of light before you hit night. And the days here are probably a little shorter, anyway. So you continue to push. And push for this final hour. As the light begins to go, so does the temperature. While it is not a raging storm, thankfully, there is still a cutting breeze that blows through. There is no snowfall, there doesn't appear to be moisture, enough moisture in the air to exhibit any sort of storm front, but it's enough to remind you just how desolate and biting this landscape is. As the final bits of light begin to vanish into the blue-purple twilight horizon, the choice is yours to continue or bed down for the eve.

SAM: I make one more vote to keep going.

TRAVIS: I second it.

ASHLEY: I third it, but I also know--

TALIESIN: What happens if something-- what happens if we run into anything?

LAURA: Well, it could--

SAM: What happens if something attacks us here?

TALIESIN: We'll be inside a house, so nothing. We either choose to be safe, no matter what, or we--

LAURA: I say we go waste another spell slot, we go for another hour, as far as we can, and then we do the tower.

LIAM: We cannot do the tower. We would do the dome. Because I teleported us here.

TRAVIS: Yeah, no, that's okay, dome's good.

TALIESIN: That's fair.

TRAVIS: No eyes, no scrying, so--

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Unless they just happen upon us in the middle of fucking Eiselcross, we should be all right in the dome.

LIAM: We should be all right.

SAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: I feel like it's your comfortability.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

SAM: Dome it up, then.

LIAM: Yeah, let's dome it up or fly it up--

LAURA: One more hour. One more hour of flying. And then dome it up.

LIAM: Okay. Yeah, it's risk, but it's a small risk, let's do it.

LAURA: Okay. One more hour of flying.

MATT: One more hour of flying? Okay.

TALIESIN: The owls, or--?

LAURA: I mean, owls are not as strong as eagles, so I think we should still be eagles.

TALIESIN: Will you be able to see in the dark?

LIAM: Yeah, that's a trade off.

LAURA: Oh, that's true.

TALIESIN: Unless there's some--

LIAM: Keen hearing and sight, the owl has advantage on perception checks that rely on hearing or sight, so we could listen hard.

MATT: It's hard to listen at a distance. Listen is more for proximity.

LIAM: Okay. And it's still storming, right? Is it like-- (imitates wind)

MATT: There's wind blowing, yeah. It's not a storm, per se, but there is a biting wind blowing.

LIAM: Then it cancels out, then we might as well just stick with eagle.

LAURA: Yeah?

TRAVIS: Call it?

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Owls don't have dark vision? That's weird, since they're night creatures.

LIAM: They do.

TALIESIN: Owls have dark vision.

LIAM: Dark vision, 120 feet.

LAURA: Then we should do owls.

LIAM: They don't fly as fast. Yeah. Sure.

MATT: Your call. Owls or eagles?

LIAM: Let's do owls, let's do owls.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Okay. Owl and eagles appear. So owls.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: What's the strength value on the owl?

LIAM: It is 13, plus 1.

MATT: Versus the eagle, which was--?

LIAM: One moment, please.

LAURA: 16? Would it be stupid, is that dumb?

LIAM: 16.

LAURA: That's a big difference. Would we not be able to carry--

MATT: You're going to be moving a little bit slower.

LIAM: We've done it before, so we would know from the past.

MATT: Correct. So if you want to go owls, you're probably going to go a little bit slower with this group you're holding onto, just because you only move as fast as the slowest of you. But you will be able to see in the dark and have stealth bonuses when you travel.

LAURA: That seems smart, yeah.

LIAM: At this point, yeah.

LAURA: That's smarter.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: We also already said it, so--

MATT: But just wanted to make sure you made the informed decision, because you would know.

LIAM: Have you met us before? (laughter)

MATT: Got to have hope, man. With that, quietly the two owls take off. The wind blowing helps cover any sound that may come from the already super quiet wings of these two owls. I will need need you both to make stealth checks for me, please.

LAURA: Stealth checks?

LIAM: Stealth checks. With the owls.

TRAVIS: Owls have advantage because their feathers don't make sound when they fly, according to the--

LAURA: So we get advantage?

TRAVIS: National Geographic, Matt.

MATT: No, on the stat block, does it give you a bonus to stealth, or--?

LIAM: Not that I'm aware of.

LAURA: No, it's just a plus 9.

LIAM: No, and I rolled total balls.

LAURA: I rolled pretty ballsy, too. But I got 13 total.

MATT: 13, okay, and--?

LIAM: 4 total.

LAURA: Wait, no, that's not possible! We have a plus nine to stealth bonus as an owl.

LIAM: As an owl?

LAURA: As an owl.

LIAM: Where does it say that on the-- I didn't see it on--

LAURA: Giant Owl. Skills: Stealth plus nine, perception plus 10.

TRAVIS: Owl's feathers don't make a sound when they fly.

LIAM: Oh, there it is. Plus four to stealth.

MATT: Yeah, it's plus four.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: Wait, what? Giant Owl.

LIAM: I'm looking at it.

LAURA: Skills: stealth plus nine, perception plus 10.

SAM: What'chu looking at?

LAURA: It says 'Giant Owl. Large beast.'

LIAM: I'm not looking at D&D Beyond, I'm looking at a secondary thing.

MATT: I'm looking at D&D Beyond, and it says "perception plus five, stealth plus four."

LAURA: I'm looking at a Ranger's Companion. I'm looking at a Giant Owl Beast Companion.

MATT: Oh, gotcha, gotcha.

LAURA: Which is weird that it's different than just being a regular owl.

LIAM: And you bless us?

TALIESIN: In theory, I've been pumping it into you, so you should get a d4 from that.

LIAM: Let's keep doing it.

TALIESIN: I'm going to keep pumping.

SAM: Pumping it into them.

LIAM: Seven for me. Totally changes everything.

SAM: On your personal mount.

LAURA: I mean, I don't know if it's a lot different than everything else, but that sucks. So I only rolled an eight, if it's only a plus four.

LIAM: I rolled a two on the 20, plus four is six.

MATT: Okay, got it.

TRAVIS: Numbers.

MATT: You guys-- the wind does not prevent you from cleaving through the air without issue. Quietly, you assume, you traverse through the sky in the direction that you recall will lead you closest to the Outpost in the morrow. Nothing seems to pay mind in the darkness. Nothing blocks your path. Nothing catches your attention, sound nor sight. An hour passes, you've made some progress. But you find yourself having to land soon, amongst the darkness below. I'd like you to both make perception checks. You do have dark vision, which means you do not have to--

LIAM: There's no disadvantage.

MATT: Exactly, but you do have advantage because of keen hearing and sight, so you both have advantage on the perception check.

LAURA: That's good.

MATT: So add the wisdom modifier-- or perception, which is plus five.

LIAM: So much better. 21, plus that d4.

TALIESIN: Plus that d4.

LAURA: That's great.

MATT: That's where the owls really come in handy.

LIAM: 28!

LAURA: 16.

MATT: 16, that's still-- 28's pretty slick.

LIAM: Hoo hoo hoo.

MATT: You do see, as you begin to come down, you were a little bit off track, but you're towards the outer southwestern to south edge of the Aeorian caldera, where the valley begins to sink a bit. And you see one shelf of broken rock that has been pushed up, and you can-- now on this side, which you haven't seen up close, you can see where there is almost smaller mountains and hills that are pushed up around an impact. Something-- the city, likely-- when it crashed, pushed up a lot of surrounding stone and rock in the vicinity. You can see there's almost a smaller mountain ridge along the edge. And you can see there's probably, likely, some spaces there to sleep, to keep somewhat hidden from the open plain around, as well as from the elements, if needed. So with that, before the spell comes to a conclusion, you find a spot.

LIAM: Okay, so we can put the dome up in one of these divots in the earth. I'm exhausted. I'm going to set about doing it, unless anyone has anything else?

TALIESIN: No, I think that's a good plan. I'm going to help pack some snow on top of it once it's up.

LIAM: Okay, 10 minutes later, a white dome goes (foomph).

MATT: Cool.

TALIESIN: I'm going to snowman the heck out of it.

LAURA: I have a technical question.

MATT: Yes?

LAURA: When we're turning into creatures, should it be the Wildshape creature, or we should choose the mount, because apparently all the stats are different depending on which one you choose. Because I just went with Wildshape.

LIAM: Treat it like an enemy beast.

MATT: Just do a search for "giant owl."

LAURA: Yeah, but you have to choose what you want to add it in, which category. And there's Beast Companion, Familiar, Infusion, Psychic, Wildshape, Mount, Pet.

SAM: Mount, probably?

MATT: I just go under Monsters and search for "giant owl."

LIAM: That's what I've always done.

LAURA: Oh.

MATT: I'm not sure.

LIAM: Treat it like a rando.

MATT: But I'm curious as to what that set up is there, because that sounds kind of cool.

LAURA: Okay, I'll show you later.

MATT: No worries. I love the picture of him, too. He's just like, "No. Not right now."

LAURA: I know, he's so cute.

MATT: I love barn owls.

TRAVIS: How many licks does it take--

LAURA: That's the David Bowie owl right there.

MATT: Oh yeah, Labyrinth is strong.

TRAVIS: One, two, three--

MATT: All righty, so.

MARISHA: Such a dick, Mr. Owl.

MATT: You gather up and rest for the evening. Much warmer in the entirety of this dome than it has been on the journey here, and it is a welcome shift in pace. But you rest for the night. Is there anything you want to do for the evening? We'll go ahead and cut to the morning.

LIAM: I just have one question, because when I examined that, when we got the collar working together in the Plane of Fire, it was under duress and exhaustion. So I know that we powered it, but I don't know if I understand how it works. Do I need to fiddle with it more to ascertain how to operate it, or have I already figured that out with all of my--

MATT: I think you've figured it out with the tinkering you've done. It is currently functional and powered. It would need to be affixed to somebody, which would likely involve a successful grapple.

LIAM: Right, manually.

MATT: Correct. It would be a contested grapple. And then once affixed, it functions.

LIAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: Couple of questions before we bed down: Do you think we're going to need Find a Path again tomorrow or should I put it away?

LIAM: Kind of depends on the weather.

TALIESIN: I'll keep it out, then. There's other things I'd like to have. And do we want to talk to Trent tonight or tomorrow?

LAURA: I have messages I can send.

MARISHA: Feel like we need to get to Essek first, personally.

TALIESIN: Yeah, that's a very good point.

LAURA: Should I send a message to Essek?

LIAM: He might not be willing to cooperate at all.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LIAM: So.

TALIESIN: Best we defer.

LIAM: Yeah, you can let him know that we're close.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: Be there tomorrow.

LAURA: Okay. So we're like less than a day away. We'll be there pretty soon. How are you holding up? Don't freak out. Are you preparing for our big battle, though? Woo!

ASHLEY: (laughs)

MATT: "I have increased the guard. Awaiting for your arrival. We have a lot to discuss. But the sight of you will be welcome. Hurry, and be safe."

LAURA: He's doing okay.

LIAM: Okay, good.

MARISHA: Okay.

TALIESIN: All right, then.

TRAVIS: Do you want to ask Vandran which jungle he's in?

LAURA: You want me to? I'm going to send a message to Vandran.

TRAVIS: (stutters)

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Too late! Thought you were being cute.

TRAVIS: I did! That's what I get. Stick your finger in a mouse trap, you get fucking snapped. (laughter)

LAURA: Hi!

TRAVIS: Oh g-- (laughs)

LAURA: Me again. What jungle are you in? I'm with Fjord, he's just wondering. He...misses you? Am I allowed to say that? He's-- I don't know if I was supposed to say that.

SAM: "He misses you." (laughter)

TRAVIS: Is it a verbal message or a mental one?

LAURA: I don't know.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: I think you speak it out loud.

LAURA: Oh that, yeah, I definitely speak it out.

TRAVIS: I was asking in my terror.

TALIESIN: Actually, that's a good question.

MATT: It starts with a chuckle. "Not entirely sure who this is, but I'm comfortable enough. Somewhere near Bisaft."

LAURA: Near Bisaft?

MATT: "Not even really sure."

SAM: It's in the ocean somewhere, right?

ASHLEY: Near the where?

MATT: And that's it.

LIAM: Yeah, I remember it from the past, but I can't remember why.

LAURA: Near Bisaft, he says he's near Bisaft.

TRAVIS: Shut up and plan your game!

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay!

MARISHA: I'm pretty--

SAM: I thought it was in the ocean?

ASHLEY: Near the staff?

LAURA: Bisaft.

SAM: Bisaft. B-I-S-A-F-T. We've passed through there or something.

LAURA: Did we?

SAM: I remember seeing it somewhere on a map.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's out there.

SAM: Bisaft.

LAURA: He seemed unsure where he is, Fjord.

SAM: Where is it? Where is it?

LAURA: Where is it, Fjord?

TRAVIS: Sure. Sure.

LAURA: Where is it?

TRAVIS: It's the nearest island to where our ship exploded. Where we went down.

MARISHA: Huh.

TRAVIS: Maybe. (blows raspberry) Right, should have thought to look there. Would have been the first logical place to look. Where would you swim if you survived?

SAM: Has he been stranded there this whole time?

TRAVIS: (exhales)

SAM: Well, no, he got a book. I mean, he's been to civilization.

TRAVIS: Or are there other people on the island. I don't know, I'll unpack that later.

TALIESIN: I mean, we went to sea with a copy of Tusk Love, maybe everybody does.

SAM: That's true. It's what you do.

TRAVIS: Unless it was on the ship and it was on the wreckage and washed up on the--

LAURA: That would be why he would read a book like that instead of, you know, I don't know, maybe he likes things like that.

TRAVIS: Because it's all there is? It's fine, we have things we are focusing on.

LAURA: Okay. We have to make it out.

TRAVIS: That's the plan.

MARISHA: We all do. I know we all said our goodbyes, but after watching you and your family today, and you, I don't know. I'm prepared to die, but it's not fair to them.

TALIESIN: I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to save them. Dying may be involved, but I'm prepared to do the work. Preferably not dying.

SAM: Yeah, I'm not prepared to die. We've got to do this.

MARISHA: You definitely can't die.

SAM: Nope! But hopefully none of us will.

LIAM: If I feel the need to, I will send just you back to them.

SAM: You can do that?

LIAM: Of course I can.

SAM: Well, it won't come to that.

TRAVIS: Look how good we're doing, we've got this.

LAURA: We've totally got this.

ASHLEY: We're going to be fine.

TRAVIS: We made it back here, we didn't end up in a mountain, we've closed the distance in incredible time.

LAURA: We're doing really good.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Eyes on the prize.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Yep.

TALIESIN: Don't use the E word, but yes.

LAURA: If I do die, I'm not saying I'm going to, but if I do--

TRAVIS: Yes.

LAURA: I promise I'll come back and haunt you guys. One by one, you'll get little surprises, it'll be so much fun.

SAM: That would be cool.

ASHLEY: Do you have any requests?

TRAVIS: What do you mean? Last requests?

LIAM: You going to play us to sleep?

ASHLEY: No, like, is there anything any of you, if things go south, is there anything that--

SAM: You're just assuming that you'll live. You'll live and--

ASHLEY: I'm going to be fine, yeah.

SAM: Yeah, okay.

TRAVIS: Same here, we're just going to be the executors of your will.

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah, we'll just basically, yeah. I mean, you're all going to be fine.

SAM: Well, someone's going to have to marry Yeza.

ASHLEY: Well--

SAM: It might have to be you.

ASHLEY: I don't think that's going to--

SAM: You have to take care of my child.

TRAVIS: I mean, if you have any porn lying around that you want us to get rid of or a browser history you want us to clear, just say it now.

TALIESIN: I have a lot of eligible siblings, I'm just going to put that out there.

SAM: Yep, that's true.

ASHLEY: Definitely delete my browser history.

TALIESIN: Definitely know my parents are eager to get rid of a couple of them.

SAM: But, yeah, I mean, I think if any of us don't make it, the others will vow to take care of their families. I mean, do you want us to hunt down Vandran and tell him how much you missed him? Or-- or-- or--

TRAVIS: Yes!

SAM: Or do anything?

TRAVIS: Yes, of course. I don't think I would have to tell you that, though. I think you would do it anyway. I would look after all of your next of kin. I know what you want.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: What do you want? Yeah, do you want us to draw dicks for the rest of our lives?

LAURA: Aww, that would be really sweet!

TRAVIS: (laughs)

SAM: Should we, I mean, should we follow the Traveler?

LAURA: Oh, no, I don't think he needs that anymore. But do keep him some company, because he's going to be real bored if I'm, you know, (clicks). I would say go visit my mom, you know. Throw some chaos into her life, it's good for her.

SAM: And your dad, too?

LAURA: He might provide enough chaos now, I don't know. Ooh! If I'm not around, and you are, you really have to make sure they stay together, okay? Really Parent Trap them, if it hasn't already happened.

SAM: Sure.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: Sure, I'll say to The Gentleman that Marion is sick. How do you-- you can't break up with a sick person, right?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: And then I'll tell Marion that The Gentleman is too scared to confess his love to her and that'll, they'll stay together.

LAURA: That's perfect.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: I think tricking people into staying together is always the best possible way. And then, also, the other thing I think you should do is, you, Caleb, if you survive and I don't.

LIAM: Well, that will not happen.

LAURA: You have to draw a dick in every single temple.

LIAM: Temples, specifically?

LAURA: Every single temple that you come across, there has to be one dick you leave behind.

LIAM: Well, I promise I will.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: And what about you, Mr. Caleb? Do you want us-- what would be the thing that would make you happy in death? Would it be us killing Trent Ikithon? Or--

LIAM: It couldn't hurt. I don't have any family other than you all. Yeah, make sure that no more children-- (sighs) Or bent away from their purpose in life.

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: Not as much fun as drawing dicks, but I'm down for that. We will do it. We'll do it.

SAM: Beau, any requests?

MARISHA: Kind of in the same boat as Caleb. Yasha. You all are my family. Maybe make sure TJ, my little brother, is okay. Still think him and Luc would be good friends. I do have a request, though. I don't know what these eyes do. And I was hoping that maybe I could gain some knowledge on how to use them to our advantage, but if last night told me anything, it feels like it's just a device for Molly. Lucien. I don't know if I'll ever stop doing that. If it goes bad, and I'm not on your all's side anymore, (sighs) my request is for you all to live. One way or another. If it goes bad, take me out.

LIAM: There's a little puff of sparkly cloud next to me, and a white cat appears and trundles across the distance of the dome and crawls into your lap and does a couple of circles and scritches.

MARISHA: What do you think?

LIAM: I don't know, what are the odds of us waking up changed again?

MARISHA: Pretty strong.

LIAM: Pretty strong. If what she's talking about does happen, if I am out of control, you will stop the problem. I'm calling my favor. If it comes to that, you will stop me. Utterly.

TRAVIS: I made you a promise.

LIAM: Get them out.

TRAVIS: It won't come to that.

LIAM: No, we are the Mighty Nein. (sighing)

LAURA: Caleb, can you put pretty visions on the dome tonight?

MARISHA: Yeah, that would be nice.

LIAM: Hmm. Well. I start a small fire in the center of the dome, which is not concentration. So a small fire starts up and globules start to slowly rotate around our heads, very, very slow, casting shadows that are constantly moving. And the fire, using Control Flames, begins to take one shape after another. And then I just start running through things that pop into my head. We see the crudest form of Marion and The Gentleman dancing, and we see a ship at sea. We see the fire flatten out into a plain and we see two feminine forms at the center of it, sitting on the ground together. We see a little house, ringed in by a flaming forest. We see a tall figure and a very short figure, walking through a field of flaming grass. Eventually, it just turns to plain, old fire and the globules dim. And in the dark, all you hear is the sound of purring in the dome.

MATT: One by one, as these images fade from view, and the sound of purring takes the interior of this safe space, you all find yourselves to come to a night of rest. Eventually, a dream-filled night comes to some of you. To others, a bit disturbed sleep. But the morning does come. And you have a long rest.

TRAVIS: We didn't even take watches, in case you fuckers tripped out.

MARISHA: Oh my god, we should have.

ASHLEY: I noticed.

TRAVIS: What the fuck is wrong with us?

MARISHA: Oh my god.

TRAVIS: We're ready, we're ready, we're ready.

TALIESIN: We're going to be--

TRAVIS: We're on our guard. (laughs)

TALIESIN: Are there any footprints around the--

LIAM: I was wiped out, you guys.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: I believe it. I believe it.

MATT: Make a perception check outside of the dome, if you'd like.

TALIESIN: 22.

MATT: 22, pretty good. Glancing around the space, other than the footprints that you left behind--

TALIESIN: Still there.

MATT: -- which are still there, no additional footprints.

TALIESIN: Cool.

TRAVIS: No new snow?

TALIESIN: No new snow. One bonus.

ASHLEY: Any weird dreams?

LAURA: Any more eyes?

ASHLEY: You two?

TALIESIN: Eye check.

MARISHA: Ooh, it's cold.

TALIESIN: Yep.

MARISHA: Ooh, it's cold.

TRAVIS: All the way, all the way.

LIAM: No, it's not. It's not cold. It's warm in here; it's nice.

MARISHA: Oh, oh, okay.

SAM: I was just blowing, I was blowing on you. (laughter)

MARISHA: You and your frosty breath.

LAURA: ♪ Naked Beau ♪ ♪ Naked Caleb ♪

TRAVIS: Scoop out of the dome. (explosion)

LIAM: Anything?

ASHLEY: Reach for the sky!

LIAM: Anything? Look at these two skinny motherfuckers in the dome.

ASHLEY: Nothing?

MARISHA: Okay. (laughter)

TALIESIN: 23, do I see any eyes?

MATT: No eyes on either of them.

TALIESIN: No eyes!

MATT: Other than the ones that are already there.

TALIESIN: No new eyes. Same old eyes. Eyes on the prize.

LIAM: Okay. Early to bed, early to rise. Let's get to the outpost.

SAM: Are we flying more?

LAURA: We could do one final flight.

LIAM: We probably-- well, let's see what the weather is like. What's the weather like?

MATT: Well, you'd have to begin your journey to find out. Right now, it seems fine.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: There are still clouds in the sky, it's not open, you know, cold, blue, sun-reflected morning. It's still a little gray.

LIAM: Well, I'll tell you what, why don't we walk for 20 minutes and see what the weather feels like?

TRAVIS: I'm down with that.

TALIESIN: That's a great idea.

LIAM: Make a plan from there.

MATT: Gathering your things, the dome vanishes. You all side-step the elements of snow that have been pushed around, that Caduceus arranged, but the dome-top is pretty clean, so it's not a huge danger. And, even so, overnight, depending on the weather, it would igloo anyway, so. Which I did wrong previously, as the internet has let me know. (laughter)

MATT: Eh. You were right, you were right. That's on me. But 20 minutes in the journey, I would like somebody to roll a d20 for me, please.

LAURA: Oh, we should all--

SAM: Me? Or are we all going to--

LIAM: I'm going to hang out of this one, because I was the big winner last time.

TRAVIS: Ready, and--

SAM: Boulder, parchment, shears.

MARISHA: Okay.

LAURA: Oh, no, wait! He's the only one that did paper.

MATT: Travis, you're the only one that did paper. Parchment, sorry.

TRAVIS: d20?

MATT: d20.

TRAVIS: 19.

TALIESIN: Aw, no.

MATT: 19.

LIAM: Tarrasque!

TALIESIN: Oh no. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Give it to me!

LAURA: Oh no.

TRAVIS: Don't look at me like that.

ASHLEY: He's got a face on.

LAURA: No, that's the good one. 19 is good.

TRAVIS: It's fine.

LIAM: I want it.

MATT: The weather is clear. (cheering)

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: Gray, but without issue, no storms blowing, just a gentle journey eastward. Continuing on this path on foot, you could go and fly if you'd like to, or continue on foot, your call.

LIAM: Well, if we go up, we could probably get a good look.

LAURA: We could get a good look.

LIAM: And, know exactly where to go.

LAURA: And we could get there much faster--

TALIESIN: Save a spell.

LAURA: -- because it's not windy.

LIAM: Mm-hmm.

TALIESIN: Happy to save a spell.

LAURA: I could do three of us, we could get even faster, because we'll be going--

LIAM: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: Yeah?

LIAM: Yeah, repeat of yesterday.

LAURA: Okay, let's do three fliers. Eagles.

LIAM: (popping sound)

MATT: All righty. (wings whooshing) You take off with the troop, heading eastward, eyes peeled. I would like the eagles and perhaps one additional member of the party to make perception checks, please.

LIAM: The eagles are coming!

MATT: There is no storm blocking your vision, so you do have advantage. Go ahead and add your perception roll for the eagles. If there isn't a--

LAURA: So, we get advantage on perception?

MATT: You do.

ASHLEY: Ooh!

LAURA: Ooh!

TALIESIN: 26.

LAURA: 23.

MATT: Nice.

LIAM: Er-- uh.

ASHLEY: 22.

ALL: (record scratching)

LIAM: 16.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: Ow-ah.

MATT: Ow-ah.

ALL: Ow-ah.

MATT: About an hour's worth of travel in, you make a good bit of distance. You, Jester, and you, Caduceus, can see, along the ridge of rock and stone and ice shelves that mark where this sinkhole begins and where the ruins themselves, at least sealed beneath the layers of ice over a millennia at this point, ride and shift into the topography, only in this high point of view can you really make out the edges of where this ruin sits in this valley. And both of you can make out the familiar sight of that one cluster of icy spires that you remember the outpost is. You're not near it yet. You still have a better day's worth of travel to get there. But you know the direction you're going, without error.

TALIESIN: And we can carve a little bit of that time out for the next hour. That'll help us get there.

LAURA: Yeah. That'll be good, right?

MATT: Mm-hmm.

TALIESIN: All right.

MATT: So continuing on this path for the next hour, you come to a landing as the spell fades, and you gather you probably have another four or five hours on foot to get there.

MARISHA: Okay.

LIAM: That's not bad.

MARISHA: Not bad at all.

TALIESIN: Fine with that.

LAURA: Did we see anything, like any other people walking while we were flying?

MATT: With your perception view, you would've. You would've seen... Actually. Yeah. You would've seen one small group of what looks to be four white-cloaked figures that are doing a journey, not leaving any footprints behind, around the outer edge, heading away from the outpost, and intersecting the path you would be taking.

TALIESIN: Does it look like they're heading to where I know the secret entrance to be?

MATT: It looks like they're following the perimeter of the ruin exterior.

TRAVIS: Patrol.

TALIESIN: Just a patrol.

MATT: You get the sense it's likely one of the outpost's patrols. But you land. Are you taking the rest of this journey on foot, then?

LIAM: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: Yeah?

TALIESIN: I think so.

MATT: Okay. (sighs) Moving forward. You're a bit exhausted, but you eventually make your way to that familiar cluster of spires. Within moments, you hear, "Halt!" And you see, coming out of the nearby snow, (whooshing) approximately seven individuals, armed with all manner of bows, crossbows, and even one with, it looks to be some sort of a rifle. Like an elongated pistol.

TALIESIN: Ooh!

LAURA: What?

TALIESIN: Oh, that's cool.

SAM: They're Sand People.

LIAM: I hold up my Little Orphan Annie membership badge from the Dynasty.

MATT: One of them puts his bow down, still holding the arrow in place, takes a few steps forward, gets about 20 feet from you to glance over. "Ah, we're expecting you."

TALIESIN: I was hoping he'd say that.

MATT: "Come. Essek is waiting." Puts his hand up, everyone puts their weapons down at the ready, but they keep watch out past you, just remaining keen on the space to make sure no one's followed you or there's any funny business, as you follow this one individual that leads you back into the center of the outpost. As you begin to approach, and you can see this individual that's guiding you is, you know, at this moment, putting on a bit of an air and a hand up of, no worries. At that point, a little bit of bustle continues between the central pathway. Of the various spires here, there's a little carved road nook between the center, where most of these structures are built to face each other, so it can, for the most part, do business back and forth, unseen by the majority of the valley. You are led to the familiar exterior of Essek's chambers. And, as you approach, the door (whooshing) opens on its own. You step inside and you can see there, pacing back and forth, or would be pacing if he wasn't floating-- gliding back and forth, Essek turns. "(relieved sigh) Friends, please enter. I've got it from here, thank you." As you all enter, the door closes behind, as he curls his hand towards him. And, with his other hand, he drifts out, a chair scooches forward and he drifts down into the chair, one leg crossed over the other. "I'm glad you've traveled here safely. It is good to see your faces. So, what is the word?"

LAURA: Are we in the chamber that had the invisible guards or are we in his private chambers?

MATT: No, you are in the chamber that has the invisible guards.

TRAVIS: I'm going to walk up and just place a hand on his shoulder. It's good to see you as well. Is his shoulder his?

LAURA: Mm.

MATT: Ah, it is.

LIAM: May we speak freely here?

MARISHA: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

MATT: "Is there something that should not be shared?" Any of you speak Undercommon?

MARISHA: Yep.

MATT: You hear Essek say, "Give me 10 minutes, please."

TRAVIS: Yep-- oh, right, not to us.

MATT: And you watch as two perched guards step out of the shadows nearby, descend and exit the chamber. It closes, he waits a moment. "Now we can speak freely."

LIAM: Well, things are considerably more complicated than when we left you, I'm afraid.

MATT: "This is my look of surprise. Well, please explain these complications to me."

LIAM: So...

LAURA: Oh!

LIAM: Yes?

LAURA: Oh, we have an extra... I'm going to pull out the extra necklace. Put it on! This will keep you from being scryed on.

MATT: His eyes flash in a familiar way that you've seen whenever Caleb has looked over any sort of magical item. "Huh. Wonderful, thank you." And he goes and places it over his neck and tucks it within his mantle. "I'll get to that in a bit. What else?"

LIAM: Now that may be useful in the days ahead of us. However, some damage may already have been done. In an effort to hide ourselves from the prying eyes of our adversary here in Eiselcross, we traveled back to some of our homeland and acquired quite a few of those for us. We wanted to--

LAURA: (whispered) Can you look for invisible scrying?

LIAM: -- take ourselves off the grid. However, we had run-ins with my folk. Ikithon and his protégés. (sighing) So we risked much to get these, but in doing so, there was a confrontation. And I am fairly certain, because of his past dealings with you, and my use of things I have learned with you and from my own noodling, that he has put two and two together and... I'm sorry, Essek, I think that he may have got wise to you, so there is a very real chance that he has been--

TRAVIS: On that note, summon the sword, cast See Invisibility.

LIAM: -- watching you already.

MATT: Make a perception check for me.

TRAVIS: 19.

MATT: 19. Looking throughout the chamber, you feel pretty safe at the moment.

TRAVIS: Those prying eyes are at least not here at the moment.

LIAM: Not at the moment. So what does that mean? That means we are still on a ticking clock. We still need to keep moving. We would still be very grateful for your aid, if you wish to give it to us. But we have to assume Trent and his closest, they could be showing up soon. And we had the prickly idea, since we are facing something so large and potentially beyond all of us, even you, that in these circumstances, perhaps we should be negotiating an alliance. (laughter)

LAURA: A temporary one. You know?

TALIESIN: It does solve a couple problems. If he's involved, then it's not just you working with him, it's him working with you. It muddies the water for any information he feels the need to spill. Do we have those crystals?

MATT: "I do wish it was that simple. I mean, I've been expecting my choices to catch up to me. Maybe not as soon as I had hoped, but... As this is. Regardless, it is not safe for me to remain in this outpost. My presence here puts everyone else in danger. Let alone myself. As this is not an unknown location, at least its existence. It would be safe for me to travel with you into this ruin, which I was preparing for. I do not trust working with that man."

LIAM: No.

MATT: "I understand if you need to, but I do not think that I could be part of that."

MARISHA: Oh, wow.

MATT: "I can find a place to go. I am capable of being slippery when I need to be. And I understand if you find the capabilities of a member of the Assembly more useful, given the dangers you face, and the choice is yours."

LIAM: Essek. We don't trust him either. The question is, one, do you trust us? And, two, what we are talking about could potentially leave your home and mine in ashes. You've committed sins in your home. So have I. You talked about wanting to make up for them. If the appropriate amount of ability and skill is not wrought against this enemy, it could spread across every inch of the world we know. I understand this is unpalatable. My question to you is do you want to protect your home?

MATT: He leans back. "I do, but I do not... I do not think you seek the right kind of aid. Not with this man. You mentioned that one of the Assembly already fell under the spell of whatever this thing is. Right? This Cognouza."

LIAM: True.

MATT: "Then why should someone as entrenched, as selfish and as dubious as Ikithon not wait 'til the right moment and take it for himself?"

LIAM: He may very well do so. And we are prepared to deal with that.

MATT: "Are you?"

LIAM: Yeah. And your judgment of him... Yes, he is corrupt. You and I know temptation is very real. And your estimation of us is very good, but it is not as perfect as you think it is. And I pull off my coat and pull clothes down--

LAURA: (gasps)

LIAM: -- and show him the eye on my right shoulder.

MATT: His eyes narrow as he looks and peers towards it with a curiosity and a worry. His brow furrows immediately.

LAURA: Tell him it wasn't on purpose.

TALIESIN: I want to check one thing. Is there even a hint of recognition?

MATT: Make a perception check. Or, sorry, an insight check.

MARISHA: Good question.

TALIESIN: Fucking insight. Oh, good, 24.

MATT: 24. Recognition wouldn't be what I'd say. Just unexpected processing.

TALIESIN: Okay.

LIAM: Fjord, are we still good in here?

TRAVIS: Anything new? Good.

LIAM: I propose a side venture, in the middle of all of this, is to rid this world of that man. As circumstance provides.

MATT: "So, this alliance you promote is intended to be a trap for him?"

LIAM: It's a perk. If we fail in the coming days, none of this even matters, this conversation we're having. If we succeed, both our homes still have their struggles with each other, their faults, their flaws. And he is a flaw from our home.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

TRAVIS: Big one.

SAM: That dice! That dice!

TRAVIS: Meteorite? Meteorite?

LAURA: It failed you? It betrayed you in this vital moment?

LIAM: It super betrayed.

MARISHA: What?

SAM: One.

TRAVIS: Wow. Wow.

MARISHA: Shit.

TRAVIS: It is real.

SAM: (sighs) Wow.

MATT: Essek thinks it over for a minute in quiet silence.

MARISHA: Wow.

TRAVIS: Good squeeze.

SAM: Burn it.

MATT: "I understand what you are proposing, and I see the logic in it, I do. But if I am to be honest, I am jealous of the bravery and confidence you have in such things. I am still a coward."

LIAM: A coward? You have dared much.

MATT: "I have done everything for myself. And when any of it came to bear, I have done everything I can to hide and flee. I am more than happy to go and put my life on the line for this cause, but there is something about that man and what he could bring upon me and those he... He may very well be coming anyway. But if you want to work with him, I may have to work independently. Maybe follow. I fear I would make this messier than you need to make it work. Does that make sense? I just... I'm not saying I leave you alone, but we would have to work separately."

TRAVIS: Yes, of course. Of course, it makes sense. There is no good answer to any of this.

TALIESIN: Absolutely not.

TRAVIS: We don't want you to be uneasy or unsettled. There'll be plenty of that to come. You must understand that we are trying to gather every able hand and--

MATT: "Of course. I see the import of that. I just know that I've also survived this long, weaving the intricacies of deceit like I have, by knowing how best to keep myself out of the complications as best as I can. If you wish to work with him directly, I will not stop you. And I will help where I can, but it may be at a distance."

MARISHA: Maybe he's got a point. Maybe Trent is more complicated than what it's worth across the board.

LIAM: We have a choice to make.

TRAVIS: Yes.

LIAM: Because Trent brings power and probably numbers, but of course he is untrustworthy, we all know that.

TALIESIN: Is there a way to find out if he actually is following us here, if he knows where we are? If we can find out if he's coming anyway, that certainly changes the territory.

LAURA: I could send a message to Astrid. Tell her to cough if they're following us.

TALIESIN: Oh, also I have a strange request. Would you mind terribly, taking off your shirt?

MATT: "Excuse me?"

TALIESIN: Well, what's the word? Gotten a bit paranoid and I'd like to make sure that there's the correct number of eyeballs in this room, if you know what I mean.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

TRAVIS: It's your strong suit.

MATT: (laughs)

LAURA: I'll give him an advantage and say, "Essek, if you take your shirt off, all of us will."

TALIESIN: 21.

LAURA: So you feel safe and comfortable.

MARISHA: I will help that by taking off my glove. Showing the back of my hand.

SAM: I've already taken off my shirt. (laughter)

TRAVIS: No!

MATT: Essek is very, like--

TRAVIS: No!

MARISHA: Tig 'ol biddies.

MATT: "If it puts you at ease," and you watch as he unsnaps some of the fasteners for his mantle and--

LAURA: He's got just a rippy stripper outfit and it's just like-- (loud tearing)

MATT: Dunamancy! (laughter)

LIAM: Sparkle and stars.

TRAVIS: ♪ Janie's got a gun ♪ (laughter)

TALIESIN: A giant chest tattoo.

MATT: Full on Kill-La-Kills it, I love it. No, he takes his mantle off and pulls the sides of the robe away and you can see he has an undershirt, it's a little sleeveless undershirt, of like a darker gray silk. And he begins to show his arms and reveal-- he's-- he's being modest with it, doing it in places so he's not just full on bearing it all here, but he's giving a fairly thorough glance.

TALIESIN: Back and head is a big one, too.

MATT: He drops it in the back a bit and shows, his hair's pretty short in the back so it's pretty easy to see.

TALIESIN: I appreciate that.

MATT: "Of course. I understand."

LAURA: We all appreciate that, Essek.

TALIESIN: This thing we're learning to do every day.

MATT: Fastens the mantle back on.

TRAVIS: Well, we should prepare to at least explore the ruins shortly, we do have a decision to make on our end.

MATT: "Of course. Do as you need to do to feel certain in your choices. Let me know one way or the other. I will aid you however I can regardless. It will just inform how close."

LIAM: If we forego trying to negotiate with him, will you come with us?

MATT: "Of course, I was preparing to."

LIAM: Okay.

SAM: And is Dagen still around? (laughter)

MATT: "Dagen, along with a number of guards, have been sent to watch the outskirts of the entrance you had mentioned."

TALIESIN: Thank you.

SAM: That's how girls do it, right?

ASHLEY: They just roll it right in. (laughter) (laughter)

SAM: I think that's how it works. (laughter)

SAM: (clicking noise) (laughter)

MATT: "I would however, ask some semblance of haste because these circumstances do put a timeline that's beyond just the individual we are racing. But the knowledge that Master Ikithon has, I'll be here if you need me, I'm going to begin to prepare for a journey either way."

LAURA: Spend some time with--

LIAM: Spend some time, yeah, with the--

MATT: "Yes, I will do that as well. Thank you."

TALIESIN: That'll help a lot.

MATT: "Thank you."

MARISHA: Can we stay here for a little bit? Just finish our conversation?

MATT: "Certainly. Of course." And he drifts out of his chair and glides around and through the door and leaves you to your devices in the room.

LAURA: Man, Caleb, why didn't you do a better job convincing him?

TRAVIS: Oh, that was a great job, Jester, you did fantastic.

LAURA: You did a good job. (laughs)

MARISHA: It's a tough ultimatum.

TRAVIS: Although it's pretty simple though, right?

LIAM: Happens.

SAM: Simple...? We're choosing between Essek and Icky?

LIAM: Fuckin' dice.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we get one dedicated ally that we know doesn't want the thing that we're trying to keep out of the hands of Lucien, and then on the other side, we get more hands, but perhaps more power, but an almost certainty that they will try and keep whatever they prevent Lucien from doing for themselves.

LAURA: Yeah, which means we're left fighting them at end.

MARISHA: Yeah, the last thing that we need is for some double crossing, other complication.

LIAM: I'm frustrated, I feel like we could have worked it, but one person that we can trust is better than three that we cannot.

LAURA: I agree.

TRAVIS: Agree.

LAURA: They could turn on us in the middle of the fight.

SAM: Can we at least reach out to Astrid?

LAURA: Find out if they're following us?

SAM: Well yes, and ask if maybe she could tear away? I don't know.

TRAVIS: Yeah, the key to the volstruckers would be that unless Trent is dead, they're still going to fight on his side. If we could fell him, then perhaps they would turn. But that's a big "if." And until then, the tide would not be in our favor. We should check in with Astrid.

LIAM: We could, we need to be vague. If they know where we are, if they know where Essek is, they do. But just in case, keep it vague. Maybe ask her... are they following?

TALIESIN: And where they think we are.

LAURA: If she's around him, she won't be able to answer. So we'll have to give her, like, you know, like cough.

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: I've got to figure it out because otherwise it's going to be very confusing.

TALIESIN: We did try and throw him off the path a while ago.

SAM: Cough four times if they're following us.

LAURA: Exactly. Cough once if you're following, twice if you're not following, three times if you know where we are.

TRAVIS: Nope, that's the same as one.

LIAM: Yeah. Just cough--

MARISHA: (laughs)

LIAM: -- cough if you are on our tail and don't cough if you are not.

MARISHA: But then how will we know if she got the message? Maybe it should be a cough and a sneeze?

SAM: Or a throat clear?

MARISHA: Oh yeah, a throat clear.

LAURA: Yeah, give a-- (fake coughs) if they're following us and just (sniffs) if they're not.

MARISHA: I like that. That's not bad.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: Wait, before you do this, just to throw them off our tail, Caduceus, you can do Thaumaturgy, right?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

SAM: Maybe you could make it sound like seagulls are happening behind her.

LAURA: I don't know if that transfers. I don't think it sends my environment. I think it's just my voice. (laughter)

ASHLEY: You can still do it in the background.

TRAVIS: It's a foley. We can make some cobblestones and maybe some street vendors.

SAM: Oh yeah, we can do some call-out.

TRAVIS: "Hey, getcha--"

SAM: (indistinct yelling)

MATT: Oh my god.

TALIESIN: Can you walk around in a circle.

SAM: -- for sale!

TALIESIN: Everybody--

ASHLEY: I like that idea.

LAURA: I don't need any more distractions, please. (laughter)

SAM: "Haberdasher! Haberdasher over here!"

TRAVIS: "Seventh day, seventh center of the world!"

MATT: "Well struck, my lord!"

LIAM: "Huzzah to the victor!" (laughter)

TALIESIN: Do you even remember what we're supposed to say?

LAURA: No. Okay, let's do it.

MATT: Twice in one episode, hell yeah.

LIAM: We're in Trostenwald.

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: You do you.

TALIESIN: Where did we throw them off to?

SAM: (tongue horse trot noises)

LAURA: I'm going to send a message to Astrid.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: (whispering) It's me. Jester. (laughter) Hey, I don't know if you're alone--

SAM: Oh, jesus.

LAURA: -- if you're not, (laughing) and you're following us-- (laughter)

MARISHA: Oh no. (laughter) (laughter) (laughter)

ASHLEY: Great start.

TALIESIN: Oh, you did it. (laughter)

SAM: "If you're not and you're following us"? (laughter) (laughter)

LAURA: Clear your throat if you're not following us. (laughter)

LIAM: Clear your throat if you're not following us?

LAURA: Clear your throat if you aren't following us is what I said.

MARISHA: I really hope she's alone. (laughter)

LIAM: Caleb's like-- (laughter)

TRAVIS: (buzzing) (crash)

MATT: There's a pause. "I'm so very confused."

LAURA: She's alone.

LIAM: Round two.

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: "What did you say?"

MARISHA: Oh no! (laughter) (laughter)

LAURA: She's alone. I'll send her another message.

TRAVIS: That hurt my forehead. Popped a vein between my skull and my skin.

LAURA: Sorry. I need to know if you're following us. If you know where we are. What's the plan with you guys? Hope you're alone. If you're not. (laughter) (laughter)

MARISHA: Another open-ended option. (laughter)

MATT: This spell and Jester is my favorite Pandora's Box combination this entire campaign.

TALIESIN: This is amazing.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

TALIESIN: Oh wow. (laughter)

MATT: Astrid responds. "A volstrucker has never disentangled from Trent before. No one who knows what he does, how he breaks us, has shared their trauma with the world." That's the end of her response. And then she follows up with her own.

SAM: Ooh! She's got her own?

MATT: "With the king. Imagine the threat you are to him now that you carry respect of both crown and Kryn. So yes, he's invested."

LAURA: Oh shit. I tell Caleb all of that.

SAM: Invested?

LIAM: Break that down for me again. Now that she--

TRAVIS: Yes, he's, we're a threat because we're--

LIAM: Invested in both sides.

TRAVIS: Crown and Kryn, but that didn't answer if they know where we are.

LAURA: They know where we are.

MARISHA: Or invested means they could still be researching it?

MATT: The phrase she referred to, which she explains that a volstrucker has never disentangled from Trent before. No one who has gone through the trauma of becoming a volstrucker has expressed the process and the abuse to the King or anyone outside of his employ.

LAURA: So you're a huge danger to him.

MATT: So you're a huge threat to him.

MARISHA: Big ol' liability.

TALIESIN: He's going to kill us all.

LAURA: He wants to.

TALIESIN: He has to.

LAURA: But if we can kill him.

TRAVIS: We need to know if they know where we are if they're coming.

TALIESIN: He won't cooperate.

LIAM: Well, he sure would say he'd like to cooperate, though, if we asked him.

LAURA: I think by her saying yes, Trent is invested, that's her saying that, yes, they're coming after us.

MARISHA: Well, in my opinion, that means we pick Essek as our close person and then we hope the timing works out in our favor with them.

TRAVIS: Yes.

LIAM: Yeah. We need to, as we move forward, be ready for them just to be here at a moment's notice.

MARISHA: For sure.

LIAM: So, you know, if we can think our way out of a problem instead of attacking it like it's an ancient obelisk in the middle of a field, that's the way to go because you want to have all of your capabilities. I have this. And Caleb takes out a collar. You might recognize this from our time inside of the Folding Halls of Halas.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LIAM: I've been working on it for a while. I've had a little bit of help, thank you.

SAM: You're welcome.

LIAM: I don't think I should have this. I think one of the ladies should. And I'm not sure which. But if we can get this on his neck in that crucial moment--

MARISHA: With you being a distraction.

LIAM: We can buy ourselves some time with him.

TRAVIS: Trent's neck?

LIAM: Yes.

SAM: What would it do?

LIAM: It will prevent him from being able to use his abilities on us.

SAM: Well, Beau's very fast.

LAURA: Beau's very fast and Yasha's very strong. I think if we give that to Beau, Yasha can try to grapple him.

MARISHA: And I can get it on. Sure.

LAURA: Plus, you've got a lot of attacks.

MARISHA: I do.

TALIESIN: That's true.

MARISHA: I do. Lot of opportunities to stun him.

SAM: To attach to him, just has to be thrown around and strapped?

LIAM: It's got to be put around his neck.

LAURA: And click.

LIAM: Like a collar on a cat.

SAM: Clicked, locked?

TRAVIS: No magic, no activation, no word?

LIAM: Click it shut.

MARISHA: Does it take time to attune, to connect?

LIAM: Just needs to clasp around his neck.

MARISHA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Well, that's the thing.

LAURA: Wow.

TALIESIN: I've got some spells that might help that I've been thinking about preparing. Forbiddance, if we have a ruby around, is an option.

TRAVIS: What does that do?

TALIESIN: It creates a very, very large field where teleportation is not possible.

LAURA: Oh yeah, the Traveler was telling me about that.

TALIESIN: Yeah. Like 40,000 feet square.

LAURA: That's a pretty powerful spell.

TRAVIS: 40,000?!

ASHLEY: What?

TALIESIN: Yep.

TRAVIS: Nobody leaves, everybody stays?

TALIESIN: Nobody leaves. Nobody can even Plane Shift.

TRAVIS: Or come into the space?

TALIESIN: You can come in, but you can't teleport in. And you can also make it so that certain types of creatures just take damage when they enter.

TRAVIS: Goodness gracious.

LAURA: Can they teleport out? I feel like you can teleport out of it. You just can't teleport into it.

TALIESIN: That's right. It also proofs the area against planar travel. So yeah, you can't get in by the way of the Astral Plane, yeah. Or Plane Shift. Yeah. That plus some silence spells that are always good for dealing with magic people.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Get them in a bubble.

LAURA: Symbol's pretty great.

TALIESIN: Symbol's pretty great.

LAURA: But Forbiddance is good. I don't know if I have any. How expensive of a ruby does it need to be?

MATT: It's 40,000 square feet. So you're aware, yeah, not a radius.

TALIESIN: Not a radius, no. 1,000.

LAURA: 1,000? I mean, my mama gave me my ruby necklace.

MARISHA: Oh no.

TALIESIN: Well, if it comes to it, we'll sleep on it. I would rather not.

MARISHA: Also, something that I want all of you spellcasters to commit to memory. When I was in there fighting Lucien, jumping in balls deep, what I was able to learn is that he is resistant to fire and necrotic, and he is immune to psychic, charm, frightened, and stunned. So commit that to memory when you're planning your spells.

SAM: Which ones again?

MARISHA: Resistant.

TRAVIS: Yeah, resistant to fire and necrotic.

MARISHA: You know, not weaker there, you know? And then he is completely immune to psychic, charm, frightened, stun.

TRAVIS: Psychic, charm, frightened, stun.

LIAM: So no mind games with him.

TALIESIN: That's good.

LIAM: This is difficult.

SAM: Well, we can hit him.

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: As long as we don't stand directly in front of him.

TALIESIN: And we have some tools to help with that, too.

LAURA: Yeah. Oh, that's right, we do.

LIAM: Yeah, if we can set up shop before they arrive we have three, I think of those intuit charges. The first one that we found and then there were some in that bag.

MATT: Correct. They were that the Tomb Takers were carrying.

LAURA: That's psychic damage that it does, though, so it wouldn't do nothing to him.

LIAM: Oh, nothing to them, right.

LAURA: But we do have the Allura-- the things Allura gave us which keeps them from doing anti-magic against us.

LIAM: No, it shows us. It's like a black light and shows where he's put it down so we can see it moving through space.

MATT: Yeah, it doesn't prevent it, but it gives you some strategic information

TRAVIS: Indicator.

LIAM: We're not fighting blind to it.

LAURA: Got it.

MARISHA: Are we going to start at the secret entrance that we know of? Or are we going to work our way backwards to there? Feel like we should start there, right?

LAURA: Start there.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: Start there and are we going into the ruins?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: We got to go into the ruins from the secret entrance and hope that--

MARISHA: Beat him.

LAURA: Should we tell all of Essek's people to move away from the secret entrance so that they think they can use it? So we can lead them down the correct path?

MARISHA: I think that's brilliant. Yeah. I think the more we cat and mouse them the better.

LIAM: Do we want to delve too far into the ruins? Because the ruins, most likely, have their own dangers to us and we don't want to drain ourselves--

LAURA: This is true.

LIAM: -- climbing through it. So we certainly don't want to be waiting on the doorstep.

LAURA: My worry is that they won't use that entrance, they'll have another entrance and they'll just go around back and we'll never even know that they already did all their shit until the city is upon us.

SAM: Well, we should have a second team. Not of us, but Essek's men at the main entrance or is there a main?

TALIESIN: There are guards, if I recall, at the main entrance to the temple but I don't think anyone knows how to get to this wing through the main entrance.

LIAM: Can we, out of character here, review what we know, which is you had your vision thanks to your dope roll.

MATT: He knows exactly where that secret entrance.

LIAM: Secret entrance to it is, okay.

SAM: That's where they're going to go in.

TALIESIN: That's where they're going to try first.

MATT: There are multiple excavations of the ruins. There are multiple entrances to the ruins, but some of them are controlled by, you know, different factions. Some have been abandoned because they collapsed possibly, some of them are controlled by this outpost, some are controlled by Empire interests.

LIAM: And they no longer know where we are or what we're doing.

LAURA: Right.

SAM: We can just wait for them.

TRAVIS: I feel like we'll need to see it. Any of Essek's men that are going to be a part of this are going to be dead men. So cat and mouse is good, but we also need to see the entrance, what's after the entrance, and maybe a little bit further into that, depending on how much time we have. If there is a terrain that suits an ambush, we have to scope it first.

TALIESIN: It's also possible we could collapse that entrance and force them through the main one.

TRAVIS: Possible.

LAURA: But there's no main one, there's multiple ones. You know what I mean?

TALIESIN: There's the one that everyone knows.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: I like the ambush plan.

TALIESIN: Ambush plan is not bad.

LIAM: Yeah. But you're right, we're just guessing a little bit, so we need to take a look.

SAM: Should we go now?

MARISHA: The moment we pop off those traps, they'll know.

TRAVIS: Yes.

MARISHA: Show our hand. There could actually be something to collapsing the tunnel once they're in so that they can't backtrack the moment they set the trap.

TRAVIS: Or as they're coming in.

MARISHA: And that could be something that we have Essek's men do from the outside and they just watch, let them go in, give it a moment, blast the tunnel, then hopefully spring our trap.

TRAVIS: We need to see it.

MARISHA: We need to see it.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I got some thoughts.

LAURA: Get there before them.

MARISHA: Is there any reason for us to stay here? Or should we go right now?

TRAVIS: We should let--

LIAM: We should go right now.

TRAVIS: -- Essek know that--

MATT: (light knocking)

MARISHA: Who is it?

LIAM: Yeah, hello?

MATT: "It's Essek."

MARISHA: Oh.

MARISHA: Hey, come in.

LIAM: Come on in.

LAURA: Wait, we're naked!

MATT: The doorway opens, stops. And slowly opens. (sigh) The door opens the rest of its way on its own. You see he's wearing his heavy cloak with the heavy fur trim around the side for the cold weather. He has a pouch over his shoulder, tucked underneath. He has an orb that's affixed to his side that he just lifts up and it drifts above his hand. And you watch as it warms up a bit and creates this radius of warmth around.

LAURA: Ooh!

MATT: He goes, "I have what I need. Are you all ready to go?"

SAM: I think so.

LIAM: As ready as we're going to be, yeah.

MATT: "All right. Have you decided?"

LIAM: Yes, Essek, we are going to stick with you. We feel we can trust you more than my old teacher.

LAURA: Also, that guy, he can't float.

MATT: "You're not wrong." You see, when you say the word "trust," it's simultaneously like seeing a small hit to the heart. And whatever icy bit that cracked melts away for a minute. There's a moment of him hearing the word and letting it wash over him. "I'm thankful for the trust you put in me. And I hope to make this up to you. Anyway, I'm, bad at such discussions. Shall we?"

MARISHA: Yeah. Essek, do you still have men stationed at that entrance that we told you about before we left?

MATT: "I do. I have seven men and that Dagen."

LAURA: Oh, cool!

MATT: "That man that you sent to us."

MARISHA: Fucking Dagen, that's right.

SAM: Do they have the ability to communicate with you telepathically or send a message?

MATT: "No, but I can send them a message."

MARISHA: When was the last time you checked in with them?

MATT: "That would be this morning."

MARISHA: Oh, great. Everything okay?

MATT: "So far, so good, yes. They're growing a bit bored up there, but, you know, that's part of the job."

SAM: If there's any danger, there's no way of them reaching out to you, though.

MATT: "Unfortunately, no."

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: These men, are they fighters? Do they have arcane abilities as well?

MATT: "They are not. Based on specifically what you told me, they are trained rangers, combatants, individuals that are now ready to use the environment to their advantage."

LAURA: They're good at hiding?

MATT: "They are extremely good at hiding."

MARISHA: Have they been hiding while they patrol this or have they been openly standing guard?

MATT: "I would assume they have been hiding, it is what their specialty is."

TRAVIS: And hiding by physical means? Blending into their environment?

MATT: "Yes."

TRAVIS: Good. That might help.

TALIESIN: Probably will be enough. We're dealing without someone who's very good at seeing.

MATT: "They do have a means of communicating in an emergency. That would be--"

TRAVIS: (impact)

MATT: "Yes, a flare stone. But since they are not practitioners of magic, they do not have that capability."

TRAVIS: That's good.

LAURA: How far away is the entrance?

MATT: "It's a better part of a day's travel for me."

LAURA: Oh, okay.

MATT: "Let's see how the weather holds up. But if we march on, a heavy march, we will arrive by or just past sundown. Otherwise, we will make camp and then arrive first thing in the morning."

SAM: Okay. Let's go, then.

TRAVIS: Yes.

TALIESIN: I'll need one more rest before anything happens, so that's good.

MATT: "All right. Mighty Nein, you're almost fulfilling your number," And he drifts out into the cold, open air of the day.

TRAVIS: Dagen makes nine.

MARISHA: Yeah, he does!

SAM: We'll follow.

MATT: All right, as you step out, you can see the guard that has been stationed within this outpost has been doubled since your arrival. Likely placed at the knowledge of Trent's possible arrival. But they all see you off giving a respectful chest and hand bow towards Essek and you as you make your way beyond the outpost and back onto the familiar white snow covered icy plains of the valley cresting into the bowl that is the ruin of Aeor.

MARISHA: Oh my god.

MATT: And we'll pick up from there next week.

MARISHA: Oh!

TRAVIS: No problem. No problem.

MATT: Well cool, I get to bring this mini in now. (cheering)

MARISHA: Buddy!

LAURA: Yay!

MATT: You had choices.

LIAM: Take a picture and share it with us.

MATT: I will, I will, I'll send it to you.

MARISHA: Look at that little war criminal.

MATT: Right? Awesome. Good game, guys.

LIAM: Who among us has not handed over the most precious object in our country's possession?

MARISHA: Yeah. Who hasn't committed a little war crime? A little treason.

LIAM: A little patricide on this side.

MATT: (laughs) Man, this is some, like, Northern Crater heading into the final dungeon battle.

TRAVIS: Yep.

ASHLEY: Yep.

MATT: All right, all right. Well, we'll pick up from there next week. Thank you all so much for joining us. We love you very much. And is it Thursday yet? Good night.

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