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List of Transcripts

Pre-ShowEdit

MATT: Hello, and welcome to tonight’s episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons. Before we jump into tonight’s game, we have some quick announcements to get over, but welcome regardless.

LAURA: To get over?

MATT: To get over the announcements, you know, to make it work. First and foremost, we have our fantastic returning sponsor for tonight, our friends for this campaign, D&D Beyond.

ALL: D&D Beyond!

MATT: They’ve been awesome and, Sam, you have a few things to say?

SAM: I’m ready. In honor of our impending trip to Chicago, I’m dedicating this ad for D&D Beyond to the Second City. One disclaimer: like all accents I do, my Chicago accent is “harrible.”

(laughter)

SAM: (in Chicago accent) Hey there, Grabowskis. Everybody from Wrigleyville to Lincoln Park is talking about the D&D Beyond. Whether you’re checking out the Bean, riding the Red Line, or getting a pop at a Blackhawks game, you’re always thinking about the Dungeons and the Dragons, and right now, if you enable content sharing on the D&D Beyond and one of your pals has a Master Tier subscription, your whole campaign crew can share all the materials and the content, not just the DM. Anybody with a Master subscription can do it, so jump on the “L,” take the Eisenhower to the Kennedy, throw back a PBR or a 312 and grab a deep dish on me, because life just got a little better with the D&D Beyond. Oh, and don’t forget to call dibs on the Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, out next month. Pre-order yours on the D&D Beyond site and get all kinds of exclusive stuff and junk. Go Bears!

MATT: Nailed it. Nailed it in one. Thank you, Sam, and thank you, awesome folks at D&D Beyond.

LAURA: And sorry, Chicago.

SAM: Sausage!

MATT: There’s a lot of options, lot of–

TALIESIN: Make sure Sam exits the plane first. Sam exits the plane first.

MATT: All right. Moving on. Reminder, if you have Amazon Prime, you can go ahead and combine that with your Twitch account for Twitch Prime, which allows you to subscribe, for free, to a Twitch channel of your choice every month. It doesn’t cost you anything and you get to support your favorite channel out there, so check it out if you haven’t yet. Critical Recap of course is now available. Our fantastic Dani Carr hosts a recap of the campaign two so far. It updates every week with the episodes. If you haven’t seen the one that was earlier today, actually at the start of the art reel, well, you’re probably going to be out of place if you didn’t watch last episode, but you can check out recaps or send it to your friends who want to get updated into the campaign quickly and watch live with us, if they want to, to check out Critical Recap. Talks Machina, our talk after-show about this show is every Tuesday at 7:00pm Pacific, and the episode about tonight’s episode will be next Tuesday at 7:00pm Pacific time. Our fantastic host, Brian W. Foster, and a few of us will be there to join and talk about the events of this evening, so check it out then on Twitch and Project Alpha. We are, of course, all leaving tomorrow to fly to the fantastic city of Chicago for C2E2, so looking forward to seeing a bunch of you Critters out there for that. We’ll have panels and signings, it’s going to be great. We’re excited, and we’ll see you guys there in a couple days.

LAURA: Maybe have chosen too many dice tonight.

TRAVIS: What were the words you just used?

LAURA: I just– okay.

SAM: There’s no such thing!

TRAVIS: There’s hope.

MATT: Vox Machina: Origins, issue six, the last comic of this six-issue run, finishes soon. The date is April 18th. April 18th will be the release of the final issue of this arc.

SAM: We all die in it.

MATT: Spoilers. Yeah, it’s a bit anachronistic with the campaign, it’s weird. The print edition will be available as an anthology of the entire six-issue run soon. We’ll have details on that as soon as they’re available, but on April 18th, check out the final issue of the run. I hope you enjoy it. All right, let’s see. Other than that, we have a fantastic charity, 826LA. Definitely check it out if you haven’t had a chance. 826 is all over the country. They do great work for teaching creative writing for young adults and children. They do fantastic work. Check it out if you haven’t. See if you can volunteer, or if not, help donate. They’re amazing. And I believe that’s all for tonight’s update, which means that brings us to tonight’s episode of Critical Role.

[click, TV static]

[groovy Critical Role theme]

Part IEdit

(laughter)

MATT: And welcome back. So, last we left off, the Mighty Nein had gotten themselves involved in a number of various factions in the city of Zadash and decided to buy in to aid the Knights of Requital in their attempt to get one of the various powerful lords of the city and the High-Richter, both seemingly corrupt individuals, ousted. You had planned forgeries that you were going to place in their homes at night during an offsite gala in the Tri-Spires, not too far from where your breaking and entering was to occur. Bringing Ulog along, one of the members of the Knights of Requital, you snuck into Lord Sutan’s house, managed to avoid a number of the pitfalls, traps, and contents within, going straight to the bedroom, where you battled the Rug of Smothering, knocking a couple of you out, but found within a couple of interesting items that you gathered, and the wax seal you needed to complete the forgeries to make this loop come together. From there, you immediately went across over to the High-Richter’s home. You managed to– well, the two of you managed to obscure yourselves to look like the High-Richter and one of her guards, went right into the abode. The rest of you met from the outside, and within the interior of the bedroom, you discovered Ulog had found papers that proved that his wife was innocent and that the High-Richter was basically making an example out of her, as well as discovering a scroll case that led to a brief confrontation. After placing the document required, you went to leave right as the High-Richter seemed to have arrived. She had a seemingly confident demeanor as she rung the bell for her guards, and at that moment, Ulog, realizing that this was his chance to get vengeance when no one else was taking a stand, rushed her, placed a bead within her mouth that caused a Fireball to detonate, killing them both, destroying most of the torso of the High-Richter and Ulog together. At that point, you all began to radically find a way to flee; the window shattered out from the gable windows at the top floor. You heard the guards trying to bash in the front door to make their way in. After fleeing outside, you heard this strange sound as this large, dark sphere seemed to emerge from the distant Zauber Spire of the Halls of Erudition. It seemed to collapse in itself, causing the base of the tower to lose structure, and it began to tip over, stopping midway, seemingly by some sort of force field holding it in place. You watched as two darkened figures leapt from the tower, while two other ones began to glide off the top of the tower, firing bolts of energy in various forms of magical attack in their direction. Using the chaos, you all fled through the night, darkness, back towards the sewers where you came. You managed to watch one of the two dark figures be slaughtered on the street and be gathered by some shaded, older figure who was one of the flying mages who was giving chase. You all ducked down into the sewer system, and began to notice a trail of blood amongst the dried sewer run. Putting some lights up ahead of you at this intersection, which you had been previously before, you immediately noticed there was a darkened figure of black leather armor with various horns and hooks at the joints, chitinous insect-like in its appearance. The creature seemed to notice your presence and called out in a language you couldn’t understand. In an attempt to cast a spell to understand the language, the creature seemed to deem it as an aggressive stance and then rushed you. And that’s where we left off, so to begin, I’d like you all to roll initiative.

ALL: No!

LAURA: That was so fast!

TRAVIS: I am ready, my body is ready.

LAURA: Oh no, I chose poorly.

SAM: Yes, you did. You rushed the process.

LAURA: I did.

MATT: All right, so, 25 to 20?

MARISHA: 21.

MATT: 21? All right. Let’s see here. 20 to 15?

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: 15 to ten?

TALIESIN: 14.

SAM: 11.

LIAM: 11.

MATT: All right, so we have Molly, then we have Caleb and Nott together. All right. Who’s next? I guess I should say. What’d you roll? All righty. At the top, we’ve got Jester.

TRAVIS: Even in love, we are close. Wait, in game. In love? Fuck it.

MATT: All right. So. Top of the combat round, as it pulls its jagged blade out of its side and darts forward in the direction of the group, Beau, you actually have the first reaction. Seeing this happen, you immediately jump into action, and what’s your turn?

MARISHA: Anyone speak Dark-Shady-Guy-in-a-Sewer?

MATT: Don’t have time to react. What are you doing?

MARISHA: Okay, I’m going to get out the rope and climbing hook that I had from earlier, and I’m going to say, Jester, catch! Oh, wait, you’re super last. Okay, never mind. I’m going to rush to him and see if I can–

MATT: You look over at Jester, who is holding Caleb up and is not even paying attention. You’re like, “Shit!”

MARISHA: I’m going to rush to him and see if I can grapple? I’m so bad at grappling.

TRAVIS: Are you? Is it strength-based? Oh.

MATT: It’s athletics-based.

MARISHA: My athletics is okay.

TRAVIS: That’s not bad.

MARISHA: Okay, I’m going to see if I can take the grappling hook and swing it around and grapple.

MATT: All righty. So go ahead and make your athletics check.

MARISHA: Okay, big money. Okay, that’s all right. 16.

MATT: You actually beat him. Wow. That was a five plus ten on that one. That was a 15. So you wrap the rope around and, immediately, it’s grappled in place, unable to move. Although its arms are free, it cannot seem to pull itself away from you. So that’s your action– that’s your attack.

MARISHA: I’m going to see if I can do a blow to his temple with my elbow.

MATT: Go for it. Roll for an attack.

MARISHA: This is just an off-handed attack, right? 16.

MATT: 16 does not hit. You swing, and the head ducks out of the way. It swings wide and it glides against the edge of the leather mask, but makes no impact.

TRAVIS: 16 does not hit?

MATT: Correct.

TRAVIS: 16 does not hit.

MATT: All right, that ends your turn, Beau.

TRAVIS: Did you hear that?

SAM: No, none of it.

TRAVIS: It’s very important.

SAM: Did Beau make out with the Crick?

TRAVIS: 16 does not hit.

LAURA: 16 doesn’t hit him?

MARISHA: I’ve got him wrapped and grappled.

SAM: Wow, that was fast.

MATT: The dark figure, arm looking at you, and looking out in the middle of the space, concentrates for a second, puts its hand without the blade in it– actually, it would be this one, because it’s right-handed– focuses for a second. As it does, you watch as this tiny bead of darkness appears in the center of the area and expands until a sphere of pitch-black light completely engulfs this space, and none of you can see into it or past it. You are blind within this sphere, and you guys see the whole hallway, it consumes the creature and Beau.

TRAVIS: Neat trick.

LAURA: Oh no.

TRAVIS: Yeah, darkvision in that is still blind if you go in there, right?

MATT: Yep.

TRAVIS: Oh, fuck.

LAURA: Oh no. We could hit Beau.

TRAVIS: We’re going to.

MATT: That’s going to end its turn. That brings us to Molly.

TALIESIN: I’m going to head up to the other side of the void. Yeah, I’m going to sit there. I’m going to start one of the blades up, and I’m going to hold my attack for anything that crosses my path.

MATT: Okay. So if anything comes within range that you want to attack–

TALIESIN: Actually, I’ll say the minute I see something, it’s Vicious Mockery.

MATT: The minute you see something, Vicious Mockery, got it. Okay, all right, so you draw your blade out, you take the damage, and you prepare Vicious Mockery. Got it. All right. That ends your turn, Molly. Caleb and Nott.

SAM: We’re up already?

MATT: You guys are up on the same turn.

TRAVIS AND MARISHA: It’s literally right here.

TRAVIS: The Crick is right between these two? Beauregard and Molly?

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: Yeah, you go first.

SAM: Me?!

LAURA: Don’t call it a Crick, it’s insulting, it’s a derogatory term.

SAM: The Xhorhasian? Okay. Uh. Shit, I don’t know. Why are we attacking this person?

LAURA: Because he attacked us first.

TRAVIS: He’s covered in hooked armor and running at us aggressively.

MARISHA: Let’s subdue him and talk to him!

LIAM: Okay, so I will go– I will destroy the initiative ranking! I will send my globules of light into the darkness to see if it has any effect.

MATT: Okay. As the globules go in, they blink out.

LAURA: Oh no! His spell is higher than your spell!

LIAM: And then I’m going to back up–

MATT: Did you send all of the globules in there?

LIAM: No, let’s say two of them.

MATT: Okay. The two blink out. The two remain there, but the other two you sense that they’re no longer in existence. You have two globes lighting up the area now. It’s low light in here.

LIAM: At the same time I will back up my full movement while Frumpkin runs into the edge of that darkness.

MATT: All right. Frumpkin peeks in. All right. Cool. That ends your turn. Nott, what are you doing?

SAM: I’m looking around. I’m not seeing a lot of attacking going on. They don’t speak our language. Shit. Maybe they speak– No, I don’t know. All right. I will cast Message, and I will point into the darkness at the creature. I’ll say: Do not fight us! We are no fans of the empire either! You can reply to this message. Do I sense a reply?

MATT: You do not sense a reply. But for the hell of it, go ahead and make a persuasion.

SAM: That’s a two minus three.

MATT: Okay. Good to know.

SAM: Oh no, just a two minus one, Matt. I’m still in the black.

MATT: Perfect. Finishing, Nott, do you want to move anywhere?

SAM: Yeah, I’ll go front and left. Is there anywhere to hide?

MATT: Not in this area, no. You’d have to get over here to hide.

SAM: Then I will bonus action dash over there.

MATT: There you go. Good to know. That finishes Nott and Caleb’s turn. Jester, you’re up.

LAURA: Me?

MATT: You.

LAURA: Oh gosh! Okay. I’m going to prep the spell Hold Person and I’m going to wait to cast it until I can see him.

MATT: Okay. Good to know. You’re prepping the spell. That ends your turn. Fjord, you’re up. Unless you want to move at all.

LAURA: I’m going to move across the sewer across from Fjord.

MATT: Okay, good to know. Fjord, you have Armor of Agathys on. You cast that reactionary last time, so what are you doing?

TRAVIS: Can I look and say: Everyone stay here. I’m going to see how far this darkness goes. I’m going to double dash and run down 60 feet in that direction, hopefully not running into anybody. I’ll stop if I come into the light.

MATT: All right. You stop as soon as you come to the other side. As you rush past, there’s a (swoosh) in the darkness.

LAURA: Oh no, you get cut!

TRAVIS: That’s okay.

MATT: That is going to be a 25 to hit.

TRAVIS: Pray tell, it doth hit. That’s okay, I’ve got the armor on. I’ve got that armor, boo.

MATT: It did roll very high.

TRAVIS: That’s all right, he’s going to take it.

MATT: So that is ten points of slashing damage.

TRAVIS: Oh shit, all ten?

MATT: But he takes damage back, right?

TRAVIS: He does take ten ice damage back, yeah.

MATT: As you run by, the blade strikes. You manage to feel it glide off your ice armor and you feel the blast of ice energy. You, Beau, as you’re holding the rope, feel this spray of dark cold and you wince at it in the darkness.

MARISHA: I hate these rides!

MATT: But that gets you on the other side.

TRAVIS: Oh, for a bonus action, can I make a perception check to see if there’s anybody on the other side of the tunnel?

MATT: Sure.

TRAVIS: 13.

MATT: Okay. You glance over in the area. In the darkness, the light’s fading at this point, but you have darkvision. You don’t see any other figure.

TRAVIS: Can I about-face and wait on the other side of this?

MATT: Sure. Waiting on the opposite side. You got it. All right. That brings it up to the top. Beau, you’re up.

MARISHA: Okay. I still have him restrained. I can’t see or do shit. Still holding onto the rope, can I full-on football tackle him and try and push him out of this dark cloud?

MATT: Try and shove, you mean?

MARISHA: Uh-huh.

MATT: Well, if you have someone grappled, you can pull them at half movement.

MARISHA: Oh, I’ll do that, then. I’m going to start, with the rope wrapped around, start like a lifeguard, backing out.

MATT: This way or this way?

MARISHA: Yeah, towards Fjord. I felt Fjord go by, so I want to try and go towards Fjord.

MATT: Okay, so you manage to push it out of it, right there, and you’re both outside of the darkness.

MARISHA: Look what I caught!

TRAVIS: You caught a big one!

MARISHA: Yeah I did!

LAURA: Oh wait, he’s outside the darkness?

TALIESIN: But we can’t see him.

LAURA: Oh, but he’s across from me, through the darkness.

MATT: Yeah, it’s through the darkness.

MARISHA: Help me subdue him.

TRAVIS: I will when it’s my turn.

MATT: Beau, that’s your movement. You still have an action if you want.

MARISHA: I’m going to do another crack to the forehead with my off-handed attack. That’s a natural one. No! Wait. No, it is. I thought it was a seven. Thought it might be a seven.

MATT: I’ll say as you swing, he manages to loosen the grip a little bit and the rope comes a little bit loose. If it attempts to break your grapple, it’s going to have advantage on it.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: At the beginning of its turn, it’s now grappled up in front of you. It pulls its blade with both of its hands and its head turns back towards you, now that you’re the one who’s been pushing it out, and it begins to unleash two heavy strikes against you. That’s another 25 and that’s going to be an 18.

MARISHA: Both hit.

MATT: Both hit, okay.

TRAVIS: Wooshed!

MARISHA: Ouchies.

MATT: That’s going to be 20 points of slashing damage from the two strikes. As the first blade impacts across the front of Beau’s chest, there’s this strange grayish flash of energy that seems to scatter from the impact of the blow, and it congeals off to the side, and you watch as this, for lack of a better term, a shadow clone of the creature appears off to the side, behind Fjord, there.

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: It looks semi-corporeal. It’s still holding the blade, it has the same armor, but it’s somewhat translucent and made of this dark grayish shadow energy.

MARISHA: Ow.

MATT: Also, Beau, you feel the second blow that hits you, it seems to carve a letter or some kind of a symbol on your chest as it pulls back, and as it does, you feel this burning singe, and you look down. There’s this glowing brand on your chest. It’s not burned into the skin, it appears to be magically placed, but you have a brand on your chest that you don’t recognize.

LAURA: Oh no, it’s like Hex or something.

MATT: That’s going to end its turn. Molly, you’re up.

TALIESIN: Have I heard any of this happening or–?

MATT: Yeah, you’ve heard them impact. It’s just darkness, but you hear yelling and shouting and then talking back and forth and then Beau taking damage and this strange shifting of energy in the distance. What are you doing?

TALIESIN: Oh, for gods’ sakes. I am going to run straight through the–

MATT: 30. You get to the edge of it. You can barely peek out. You can continue to move, but it’ll be your action to continue to move.

TALIESIN: No, I’m going to stay at the edge of this and I’m going to use Vicious Mockery.

MATT: Okay, good to know.

TALIESIN: (demonic voice) Stop where you are!

MATT: That is wisdom, right?

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: That’s an 18.

TRAVIS: Does Molly do birthday parties for kids?

MATT: I’m pretty sure that passes.

TALIESIN: That passes, yeah.

MATT: The Vicious Mockery seems to be unaffected by your demonic voice. Sorry.

LAURA: Oh no! We have to talk to him, you guys. We’re not going to beat him.

MATT: He looks pretty wounded already, like bleeding out the side. It’s your choice in what you want to do. But he’s really powerful, but really hurt. That finishes your turn, Molly? Caleb, Nott, what’re you doing?

SAM: Oh, it’s us again?

LIAM: Frumpkin will run forward out of the darkness.

MATT: This way?

LIAM: Towards the action. Yeah, and poke his head out, actually, closer to– He’ll come out between Molly’s legs. Peek right out there. I’m sitting down in the muck in the sewer and I’m now watching and listening to use Comprehend Languages through Frumpkin.

MATT: Okay, sounds good.

TRAVIS: Non-lethal damage!

MATT: All right, Jester.

SAM: Oh wait, it’s me.

MATT: Oh no, it hasn’t come yet. You’re right

SAM: Although I don’t really know what I’m going to do. Who do I still see? Just Caleb way in the back. Jester–

MATT: You see Caleb and Jester there and this curl of darkness–

SAM: Do I hear anything?

MATT: Yeah, you hear all the sounds happening and the shouting and the impact–

SAM: But I don’t know where they’re coming from?

MATT: You hear them around that corner. That’s all you know.

SAM: I’m going to go around the darkness. Around it, counter-clockwise, to see if I can see around the other side without going into it.

MATT: That’s as far as you can get with your movement. You could bonus if you want to move around.

SAM: I will bonus dash around, just to look.

MATT: From there you can see your friends. You can see Fjord. You can see the creature. You can see the shadow form out of the side. You can see Beau, with a hint of Molly poking out of the darkness.

SAM: All right, I’m going to shoot the shadow form.

MATT: All right, go for it. Roll for an attack.

SAM: (yelps) 20.

MATT: A 20 hits. Roll damage.

SAM: Sneak attack?

MATT Sure. Technically, yeah, because these are considered one space, there.

SAM: Okay. 16.

MATT: Okay, you watch as it dissipates. The impact hits it, and you see it react slightly, and then vanish into vapor.

SAM: It was all in my imagination!

(laughter)

SAM: That’s it. That’s all I got.

MATT: All right, Jester, you’re up.

LAURA: I have a question, because I’ve never prepped a spell and then not used it. Does that use the spell?

MATT: It does.

LAURA: That’s balls!

MATT: You cast the spell and then hold the very last moment, waiting to release it, and then if it doesn’t happen, the spell expends. I’m sorry.

LAURA: That is rough. That was a second level. Okay, can I go and see what’s going on around the big black spot?

MATT: Sure. (counting) 30. You can just manage to see Nott at the corner of it, and that’s about as much as you can see. The rest of it’s just darkness still encompassing the corner.

LAURA: I guess I’ll use my dash to go forward and see what’s going on.

MATT: 25 or 30? You could get either of those spaces there, if you want to.

LAURA: I’ll go right there.

MATT: Right there, all right. So now you can see it, but that’s your movement and your action.

LAURA: (screams)

SAM: (screams) I know, right? This is crazy!

(laughter)

MATT: Does that end your turn?

LAURA: I guess so.

MATT: All right. Fjord, you’re up.

TRAVIS: Can I–

LAURA: Oh wait, but I have a bonus action.

MATT: You do have a bonus, yeah.

LAURA: Okay, I’m going to use– wait, wait– Healing Word on Beau.

MARISHA: Yes, please.

LAURA: I’m going to cast that. Okay, so that is 1d4.

SAM: What will you sing to her? Oh, wait.

LAURA: Nope. Whoa. (childish voice) Three plus three is six points.

MARISHA: That’s great, thank you. Much better. Ouchies.

LIAM: I like that an eight-year-old boy delivered those points.

MATT: All right, Beau, it’s your turn. No, it’s Fjord’s turn, sorry.

MARISHA: No, that’s right, Fjord’s turn.

TRAVIS: Can I run up behind the assassin and, using the blunt end of the falchion, the non-edged side, can I try and strike non-lethal damage into the back of his head?

MATT: You can. Go for it, roll for an attack.

TRAVIS: Do I get advantage because he’s bound? Grappled?

MATT: You are technically on opposite sides, so I would say flanked. I’d allow it.

TRAVIS: Okay.

LIAM: Barnacle blow.

TRAVIS: Barnacle blow. 18 plus–

LAURA: Did you know barnacles scream when you scrape them off of things?

SAM: No. That’s not true.

LAURA: No, they do, they go (screams)–

MATT: 24. That hits. Roll damage.

TRAVIS: All right, now, non-lethal–

MATT: Same damage. If you bring it to zero, they go unconscious, not bleeding out.

TRAVIS: That is 12 points of damage.

MATT: 12 points of damage. Whack! You swing across and slam it from the back of its armor and (grunts) you hear this exhale of pain out of its throat. As it hits, it spins around and you watch as that same energy that came out earlier when it struck Beau, the blow that you hit it dissipates into the same energy and then forms into another shadow version of it behind you.

LAURA: Is he still taking damage?

MATT: He’s taken damage. He’s getting hurt, he’s hurt pretty bad. Does that finish your turn?

TRAVIS: Yes, it does.

MATT: All right. Top of the round, Beau, you’re up.

MARISHA: Oh God. Okay–

TRAVIS: He’s not hurt enough, apparently.

MARISHA: I’m going to first try and tighten my grip on him.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: And can I try and bulldoze him down to the ground and pin him to the ground?

MATT: Unfortunately, you need a feat, the Grappler feat, to then pin somebody.

MARISHA: Cool. I’m going to also try and do non-lethal damage and knock him on the head.

MATT: Go for it, roll for an attack.

MARISHA: Two attacks. Yeah, first one’s a natural 19. Second one is another natural one.

MATT: The 19 does hit.

TRAVIS: What about the one?

MARISHA: Sorry, 1d8 plus four is–

TRAVIS: 12.

MARISHA: 12, thank you.

MATT: 12? Nice. So as you crack across the head, you watch the helmet slip a little bit. You can see a little bit of the jaw beneath the mask now and the skin itself has a dark blue, purple color. You see white teeth that have pretty prominent incisors visible.

MARISHA: Can I take a free action to be like: We just want to talk to you, damn it!

MATT: You’re just shouting, yeah.

TRAVIS: Did you hear that important detail about the enemy that he just revealed?

SAM: Uh, nope. We were talking. What was the detail? I mean (coo) what was the detail?

TRAVIS: Pretty sizable incisors, sharp fucking teeth.

SAM: (cooing)

LAURA: Whoa.

(laughter)

MATT: All right, Beau, is that the end of your turn?

LAURA: Sorry, Travis. It’s important stuff that we’re talking about.

MATT: All right, it is now the creature’s turn. The creature is going to swing one strike at Beau in front.

TALIESIN: Blood Maledict. With the added–

SAM: Yeah, drop that BM on him!

LIAM: You just did that like the glitter guy. Blood Maledict.

MATT: Disadvantage.

TALIESIN: Disadvantage on that.

MATT: Well, you prevented a natural 20, that’s good. So that’s 19.

MARISHA: Still hits.

MATT: Still hits. That is–

LAURA: That was good that she didn’t get critted.

MATT: Ten points of slashing damage.

LAURA: Are you still up?

MARISHA: Nope.

SAM: Oh! Wait, we just healed her.

LAURA: I did, but not for that much.

MATT: Beau falls to the ground unconscious. The rope goes loose. At which point, the creature turns around towards you, Fjord. As you focus on its face you feel this swing from behind as the shadow version is going to try–

TRAVIS: Nonlethal!

SAM: Not in the face!

MATT: That’s going to be 21.

TRAVIS: That hits.

SAM: (high-pitched) Watch out for the teeth (coo).

MATT: That is nine points of slashing damage and it vanishes. The impact, the actual blow hits and discards itself into the impact of the blow.

MARISHA: I don’t think he wants to talk to us.

LAURA: It discards itself.

MATT: Let’s see here. It’s now going to swing forward and head over to make a strike at you.

LAURA: Why me?! I didn’t do anything to you.

TRAVIS: Nonlethal. That’s only a 14, no, 15.

MATT: 15 does not hit.

TALIESIN: He still has disadvantage.

MATT: Did you amplify it?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I did.

MATT: Okay, that brings it to 19.

LAURA: 19 probably fucking hits. Yes.

MATT: Okay, that is eight points of slashing damage.

LAURA: Hellish Rebuke!

SAM and TRAVIS: Ooh.

LAURA: I’m going to say: I’m not your enemy, you guy with big teeth. But I say it in Infernal, because you know.

TALIESIN: No, that was good.

MATT: That’s a constitution saving throw for that one, is it?

LAURA: Sure, I don’t know.

SAM: (singing) I still get hellish.

MATT: That’s a 12. What’s your DC on that?

LAURA: Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this.

MATT: What’s your charisma bonus?

LAURA: This is where it gets complicated, I’ve got a plus one mod to charisma.

MATT: All right, so your DC with that would be 11. So yeah, it succeeds. It takes half-damage. You still do damage.

LAURA: Oh okay. Great. Which is 2d10, right?

MATT: 2d10.

LAURA: That’s a lot. (coo) That’s a lot. Oh, eight. So four.

MATT: Four points, all right.

SAM: It’s dead.

MATT: You see this blast of ice come out as you’re shouting Infernal at it. It strikes into the armor and pierces parts of its shoulder as it (grunts). It goes limp for a certain point, you see it flex angrily. It’s looking really rough. As the attack hits you, another one appears over there.

LAURA: How many slashing damage did you say you did to me?

MATT: Eight.

LAURA: Eight, got it.

TRAVIS: That’s a dope feature, whatever that is.

MATT: All righty, that’s going to end its turn. Molly you’re up.

TALIESIN: If I run up behind it, do I then get advantage because he’s flanked?

MATT: Yep.

TALIESIN: I’m going to do that.

LAURA: Nonlethal.

TALIESIN: It’s all nonlethal once you stabilize it after you put it down to the ground. All right, first strike with the–

MATT: That’s actually not true.

TALIESIN: No, I know. I’m paying attention. First strike with the scimitar is a natural 20!

TRAVIS: Hey!

TALIESIN: Does that do a thing then? For him or is it just double damage?

MATT: It’s double damage.

TALIESIN: Okay, nothing weird in that.

MATT: That’s both the weapon and the–

LAURA: You get all your grit points back, aren’t you excited?

TALIESIN: Yeah, no. I miss things. I don’t get special damage to him, do I?

MATT: As a reaction, he’s going to use Transpose Echo and shift over with that guy.

SAM: Did he just–

MATT: You watch as suddenly there’s a shimmy of shadow energy and he switches places with the shadow version of himself. You end up striking the shadow thing, which is dissipated from the impact.

LAURA: Bitch.

TRAVIS: That is some white elephant gift shit, right there.

TALIESIN: So I don’t have enough movement to go for another.

MATT: (counting) You do.

TALIESIN: Run in, and if I can flank him great. If not I’m still going to take my shot.

MATT: Yeah, you can flank him actually.

TALIESIN: All right.

MATT: So you strike the one. Angrily spin around and then catch it behind, where you see him appear. Filling the spot where his shadow clone was.

TALIESIN: That’s 21 to hit.

MATT: That hits, roll damage.

TALIESIN: 22. Oh god. I don’t get the d6 on that, so that’s five points of damage.

MATT: Five points of damage. How do you want to do this?

TALIESIN: I’m going to bounce off the wall, after the other one hit, and spinning around and finally taking him, and knocking him out with the little spike on the side of the sword. Right in the helmet.

MATT: As you spin the sword around, coming down (crack) you hit across the side of the head and the body collapses and falls to the ground unconscious.

TALIESIN: Someone go deal with Beau.

MATT: The darkness vanishes.

LAURA: I run over to Beau and I cast Cure Wounds on her.

TRAVIS: I start patting the body down. Molly help me.

TALIESIN: I’m pulling the armor off.

SAM: Caleb we need you.

LAURA: Should I? No I’ll just cast that at regular. I cast Cure Wounds on you.

TALIESIN: Did I feel anything when I hit it?

LAURA: Seven points.

TALIESIN: Did it set off the blood hunter spider sense at all?

MATT: No.

TALIESIN: All right. Just curious.

MATT: All right, so as you all–

LAURA: Is he awake still or does he–

MATT: Unconscious.

LAURA: Let’s tie him up! Quick tie him up!

TRAVIS: I got 50 feet of hempen rope.

TALIESIN: I got 50 feet of hempen rope.

LAURA: Let’s tie him up real good.

TALIESIN: With Beau’s.

TRAVIS: Maybe no bows.

TALIESIN: I was going to say with Beau’s rope, because she’s also got the hook.

MARISHA: (strained) Oh yeah, I’ve got a– I can also tie bows in my, Beau’s, rope.

LAURA: But also bows are really cool. We should give him some, because he’s got all these barbs and they’d be really fun to decorate.

MARISHA: Wait, you want to put my bo in bows–

TALIESIN: There’s no bows.

LAURA: Just tie him up quick!

LIAM: This language spell runs out in an hour, let’s speed this up.

MATT: You strip him of everything he has. There’s the armor you pull off, there’s the blade and the sheath. There’s a pair of dark, jagged black boots that are pretty cool, three daggers that are all hidden in pockets in the armor, and a pouch that is hidden within the plating of the leather armor that is filled with quite a few coin if you go and inspect within.

LAURA: Is anybody writing all of this stuff down?

TRAVIS: Yes, yes I am.

MARISHA: Boots, something.

TRAVIS: Sword, sheath, black boots, yup.

MARISHA: Three daggers and lots of gold.

LAURA: Oh, I am the inventory person. Shit.

MATT: So that gets you 116 platinum pieces.

SAM: Whoa, platinum?

MATT: Yes.

TALIESIN: I’m going to put 116 platinum.

LAURA: You weren’t even writing it down.

MATT: And 12 gold pieces.

TRAVIS: Got it.

TALIESIN: 12 gold. 116 platinum!

MARISHA: Remember when we lost 500 platinum at the bottom of the Bag of Holding last campaign for months? That was funny.

LIAM: Between the couch cushions?

MARISHA: Yes. Oh that’s where I put that.

SAM: Each platinum is worth 100 gold, right?

MATT: Ten gold.

LIAM: Do they say “In Xhorhas We Trust” on them?

MATT: No, they are standard imperial platinum.

MARISHA: We universally forgot it, as a team.

TRAVIS: All right, so we get him nice and tied up, right?

TALIESIN: We can’t stay here. We’ve got to move.

SAM: Why do we have to move? We’re in the sewers. Who’s going to come down here?

TALIESIN: Everybody who’s looking for him.

SAM: Oh. That’s fair.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

SAM: What if we hide? Could we hide, could we put up an illusion to hide?

TALIESIN: We can start heading back in our direction at the very least. Get further away from–

MATT: There is also the dodecahedron that is the slow undulating gray glow that he was holding, before dropping it and rushing towards you.

LIAM: Oh, let me take a look at it.

SAM: Won’t you lose your other spell if you do the spell?

LIAM: What? Does anybody have a torch or anything? No.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: I didn’t write down, did you really write down that stuff?

TRAVIS: Yeah, sword, sheath, three daggers, pair of black boots that look cool, 116 platinum and 12 gold.

SAM: She got sword, so far.

LIAM: Okay, I need ten minutes. Ten minutes with this thing. I’m going to, as a ritual spell, cast Identify.

MATT: To which object?

LIAM: On the dodecahedron.

MATT: Okay. You focus on it for a bit. It is definitely magic.

LIAM: (whispering) But it’s next level shit.

MATT: The magic contained is outside of the parameters of the spell. You’re not entirely certain what it’s capable of. There’s something alien about its magic source that your Identify spell is unable to pierce.

LIAM: Oh.

MATT: As you focus more and more on it, your brain begins to open up into, what feels like, space. Endless expanse and it begins to scare you. Just the endless infinity of nothingness and you pull back and (gasp), “Oh that’s… interesting.” It seems very powerful, whatever it is. But you don’t know quite how it works.

LIAM: Yeah, I throw a dirty rag over it.

MARISHA: Molly, do you think this is the weapon from the crime scene, that we saw? That big glowy, black–

TALIESIN: I don’t know it seems kind of small, doesn’t it?

LIAM: It is extremely powerful, whatever it is.

MARISHA: See? Extremely powerful.

MATT: Do you want to continue and concentrate on it?

LIAM: No.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Can I take his helmet off, and look at his face?

MATT: Sure. You took the helmet off when you took the armor off.

LAURA: Just kidding. So that’s one of the things we have as well.

MATT: The helmet is part of the armor. The armor is very well made. With the armor removed, you can see the deep blue, somewhat purple colored skin. It resembles, actually, you if a bit darker. Whitish gray hair that goes just past the shoulders. It was tied up in a tight bun into the helmet and tumbles past once it was pulled off. Dark elf, definitive drow.

MARISHA: Does it look like the same color from the gauntleted hand that we saw in the alley?

MATT: Correct, what you thought you saw the fingers dipped in the color was actually just gloves that didn’t have the fingers covered.

TRAVIS: Oh wow.

LAURA: Is it a boy?

MATT: It is a male, yes.

LIAM: What do we want our next step to be?

SAM: We have to ask him some questions. But we have to leave, right?

MARISHA: Let’s wake him up.

MATT: The more you think on it, the more you know there’s more to this device. It scares you, but there was something you were close to there. Something you were close to learning. You’re not sure what lies beyond that threshold. You keep thinking on it.

MARISHA: Super baity.

SAM: One more opportunity.

TRAVIS: (singing) Might as well jump. Jump!

(laughter)

MARISHA: (singing) Go ahead and jump.

MATT: It’s up to you.

LIAM: (sighs)

MARISHA: By the way, last time Travis did this, I jumped off of a cliff and splatted as a goldfish.

LIAM: I was going to say, let’s wake up the elf.

TRAVIS: Okay. Yeah that’s fair.

LAURA: I’m going to pull his hair out of his face so he can see us.

MATT: Okay, he’s still unconscious. There’s blood curling out the mouth and nose. He is beaten.

TRAVIS: If we turn him in, it’ll take attention off of us in case we have trouble getting out of the sewer. But maybe we need to know who this is.

TALIESIN: Who are these people who caught this person would be another question they might ask. We got to be careful.

TRAVIS: True, good point.

MARISHA: We could be heroes. Turn him in, invaders in chains.

TALIESIN: No one is a hero for very long.

LAURA: What is the name of the romantic lead in the romance novel?

MARISHA: That is true, these guys were called Cricks.

SAM: Oskar?

LAURA: No, no, not my romance novel. The one about these guys.

LIAM: Well I don’t remember it, but Caleb does because he has photographic memory. So Matt has to tell me–

(laughter)

MARISHA: If anything was true in the porn, you can always trust porn to be honest.

LIAM: There is always some truth to porn.

MARISHA: There’s always truth to porn.

TRAVIS: At least one basic truth.

MARISHA: This guy is from the Dwendalian Empire, from the Julous Dominion.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Is that right?

MATT: No. Well, the main character of the book was. The Julous Dominion was what once ruled the Marrow Valley.

MARISHA: Remember the porn. It was a very awkward reading.

LAURA: The Marrow Valley.

MARISHA: The Marrow Valley. What was–

TALIESIN: That was a metaphor.

MATT: So yeah. So the main character was not Xhorhasian.

LIAM: Caleb says.

MATT: They were a general in the army of Julous. Which was–

MARISHA: The army of Julous.

MATT: Yeah, the Julous Dominion. Which as during the conflict, before the Dwendalian Empire conquered it.

MARISHA: Oh, conflict between the Julous Dominion and the Dwendalian Empire. And she was a general for the Dwendalian empire.

MATT: Right.

LAURA: Can I heal him and wake him up?

SAM: Yes we need to– yes.

LAURA: Are you guys ready?

MARISHA: She was super in love with this general named Theo.

LAURA: Theo.

MARISHA: Theo.

SAM: How far are we from the entrance, where we came down into the sewer?

MATT: You’re maybe 150 feet from entrance of where you came down and you’re a few hundred feet from the way that leads back up into the city, of the Interstead Sprawl.

SAM: Should I go back up to the entrance and make sure we’re not being followed or anything?

TRAVIS: Sure, if you want to. Unless you have any questions.

SAM: Questions? I don’t know anything about this shit.

TRAVIS: Yeah, go keep watch.

SAM: Okay. I’m going to head back and look at the entrance.

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: Seven.

TRAVIS: Plus?

SAM: No.

MATT: Plus no. Okay. You look past and you can see some folks darting back and forth occasionally across the end of the alleyway. Otherwise you just see the dark, shadowed walls and the dark sky above with the cloud cover. No one seems to be immediately coming towards it for the time being.

LIAM: Jester, my idea is, you know, most people are not like that crownsguard bastard. Most people like cats, so maybe if Frumpkin woke him up, you know, with a couple of licks, he would wake up in a better–

LAURA: Most people like me too, though.

LIAM: That’s also true.

LAURA: And I’m blue and he’s blue.

LIAM: It’s all yours.

LAURA: I pat him on his little cheek, and I say wake up: Theo. Wake up.

MATT: Okay. It takes a few moments, but eventually, he (mumbling) (grunts).

LAURA: (whispers) Hi!

MATT: Spits out a bit of blood on to the front of his chest and the rope and (grunts)

LAURA: You’re not dead, because we didn’t even want to fight you, but you attacked us.

MATT: (speaks in Undercommon) And so you’ve cast–

LIAM: Comprehend Languages. I understand everything.

MATT: The essence is “Stupid empirical scum. You’ll get nothing.”

LIAM: He thinks we’re with the empire.

LAURA: We are not with the empire. Look at us!

LIAM: Do we have any of that Crownsguard armor? Didn’t we collect some?

MATT: Make a, I’ll say a persuasion check, because you haven’t technically allied yourself with the empire entirely, though you are part of the empire. You, specifically, are not part of the empire. You did not grow up here.

TALIESIN: Do we need a little greasing?

LAURA: Where’s my persuasion? Where’s persuasion?

TALIESIN: There it is.

LAURA: Where?

TALIESIN: You just rolled over it.

LAURA: Oh. Nine.

MARISHA and TRAVIS: Nein!

MATT: His eyes narrow towards you and still bears the incisor fangs. (breathes heavily)

LAURA: Oh, Theo, what big teeth you have!

LIAM: Jester, give me one of the Crownsguard helmets from your backpack.

LAURA: I pull it out.

LIAM: I take this helmet. I set it on the ground in front of the elf, and then I start to piss on it.

SAM: The language of love.

TRAVIS: Just wang out.

MATT: The right eyebrow curls up into a very confused expression.

LIAM: Frumpkin comes over and also pisses on it.

LAURA: That’s gross.

TALIESIN: Oh, for god’s sakes. You can’t reason with angry people.

LAURA: I give a pastry to him.

MATT: (sounds of disgust)

LAURA: It’s good to eat.

MATT: As you’re shoving this pastry into his face, you can see right now, he appears demoralized, ready to lash out at the first moment’s notice, and has seemed to have calmed a bit from the confusion of the displays in front of him, but doesn’t seem to be buying into any of what you’re saying at the moment.

LIAM: I shake it and put it away.

LAURA: Can he understand us? Can you understand me?

SAM: It walks away.

MATT: “I can understand this.”

(gasps)

MARISHA: Oh, he does speak Common.

LAURA: That’s great.

TALIESIN: Should I expedite this?

TRAVIS: Please.

LIAM: Can you, yeah?

TALIESIN: Come on, friend. We just need to ask you a few questions and we’ll let you be on your way, as long as there’s nothing too inappropriate happening. Devil’s Tongue.

LAURA: Devil’s Tongue.

MATT: That is a…

TALIESIN: Wisdom save, second level.

MATT: That would be a nine. That does not succeed. Okay. You watch the eyes gloss over for a second. Wait, hold on a second. Where’s my Player’s Handbook? Do you have it real fast?

LAURA: Oh I do.

MATT: Here I’ll grab this one real fast.

LAURA: Sorry, I was sitting on it.

MATT: Double-check one more thing.

TALIESIN: Are you trying to weasel out of my–

MATT: I am trying to confirm. One of the racial traits of the elves, if I recall, is they have–

LAURA: Oh, a resistance to charm?

TALIESIN: Or advantage.

MARISHA: Half-elves did. I remember team half-elves did.

MATT: Yep. Advantage on saving throws on being charmed.

TALIESIN: So you get one more roll.

MATT: I do.

TRAVIS: Roll low, roll low!

MATT: That’s going to be a 12.

TALIESIN: It’s a wisdom save, so it’s ten plus my wisdom modifier?

MATT: It’s eight plus– yeah.

TALIESIN: So, that’s 13.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: 13. Still fails. All righty. So as the eyes glass over for a minute, the snarling and the tension in the muscles relax for a minute.

TALIESIN: We’re not with the empire. We’re private individuals just trying to get by. We wandered into a lot of chaos, so we just want to know what we’re getting wrapped up in right now.

MATT: “Untie me.”

MARISHA: No.

LAURA: You attacked us.

MATT: “You rushed me and began to assault me.”

LAURA: No, we didn’t! You came at us with your sword out.

LIAM: I cast a spell so I could try to understand your tongue.

MATT: He keeps looking at you. It’s ignoring the rest of them. It goes, “What happened to the Beacon?”

TALIESIN: What’s the Beacon?

MATT: “The Beacon.” It looks around.

LIAM: It’s under a dirty rag.

MATT: Right. It’s just glancing about.

TALIESIN: It’s right there. Is it important?

MATT: “Yes. Very.”

TALIESIN: Why? I’m just trying to understand, friend. Help me help you.

TRAVIS: You Jerry Maguire motherfucker. Help me, help you.

MATT: “We are here to retrieve the Beacon from the empirical bastards in Zadash. We had it. I have it. I don’t know what happened to my companion, but, so far, I am successful. And I need it.”

TALIESIN: What is the beacon for?

MATT: “The beacon is part of our culture. The beacon allows the rebirth.”

TALIESIN: The rebirth of what?

MATT: “Of our people.”

LAURA: That’s important. People need to be born.

TALIESIN: This all sounds very complicated to me. I am personally of the opinion that we just let everything go.

MARISHA: Do you mean rebirth or do you mean reanimate? Let’s be honest here.

MATT: It doesn’t even pay attention to Beau.

TALIESIN: My friends are your friends.

TRAVIS: I’ve got one job on this ship. It’s stupid, but I’m going to do it!

(laughter)

TALIESIN: You’re making a very, very good argument, and my friends are your friends. We’re all here to help.

MATT: “The Beacons are sacred. I have lived four lifetimes. As long as the Beacons remain, me and my people will live more.”

LAURA: Do you make babies still?

MATT: “We do.”

LAURA: Okay. And they live as long as the Beacon lives too?

MATT: “The souls continue. With each rebirth, the memories retain.”

LIAM: What is your intention for the people in this empire, this kingdom?

MATT: “What is the intention of the empire?”

LIAM: No, your people’s intention, for all those who live here.

MATT: “We live. We worship. We learn. We die. We are reborn until we are perfect.”

MARISHA: Oh jeez.

MATT: “We find more Beacons.”

LAURA: There’s more of them?

MARISHA: Is this thing what we saw take out half the Zauber Spire?

MATT: “No. That was my companion.” You see at this point, now, as friendly as it has been, there’s this look of, “I might be saying too much and I don’t trust the most of you still.”

TALIESIN: Sorry to tell you, but I think your friend may have got hit on the end of something fierce and may not have made it. I thought I saw someone fly by and take him out. I’m sorry.

MATT: “That’s all right.”

MARISHA: Is it just the two of you or were there more?

MATT: “For this mission, just the two of us. We had help, but…”

TRAVIS: Where are you trying to get to?

MATT: “Out. Of the city.”

MARISHA: Who was your help, if it was just the two of you?

MATT: “I’ve said too much. Either kill me or let me go.”

MARISHA: It has to be someone in the city. Who was it? You don’t tell us, we’ll find out one way or another. I can tell you that right now.

TALIESIN: We’re trying to fight corruption in this city in our own way. We just need to know who we can trust and who we can’t.

MARISHA: You can either help us get there faster, or we’ll just take the long goddamn way.

MATT: “You cannot trust anybody in this city. You cannot trust yourselves. Anyone who has not bound themselves. They are the enemy.”

LAURA: To the beacon? What do you bind yourself to?

MATT: There’s a moment of very tightly closed eyes. The jaw clenches as he looks about.

TALIESIN: I know my vote, but anybody else?

LAURA: I thought he was going to answer. I thought he was going to answer!

TRAVIS: You want to let him go, don’t you?

TALIESIN: Eh, not our problem.

LAURA: I think we should let him go. I think he’s handsome.

MARISHA: He looks like a good reward to me. Unless, under one condition. You tell us who you were working with in here.

TRAVIS: Yeah, tell us. We’ll let you go.

TALIESIN: That’s fair.

MATT: “I cannot. Our allies in the empire are short on the list.”

MARISHA: Is it Kara? Dolan?

TRAVIS: Ulog? Checking his face for reactions to any of them.

MARISHA: Exactly. Anything? Any reactions?

MATT: That would be an insight check.

TRAVIS: Can I help her?

MARISHA: Yeah, can me and Fjord tag team this?

MATT: Sure.

MARISHA: Yeah, let’s just each roll. We’re just going down the list. Fucking fuck.

TRAVIS: 15?

MARISHA: Better than me. 13.

MATT: 13.

SAM: Whispers on a 15?

MATT: He’s not in a very strong place. The charm spell is–

TALIESIN: Charm spells are mean.

LAURA: How long does charm spell work?

TALIESIN: Like an hour.

LAURA: That’s great. I’ve got it, too.

TALIESIN: I can do two people.

SAM: Liam, what are you looking forward to in Chicago? Is it the sausages? The brats? The deep-dish?

LIAM: Yeah, you know that deep-dish pizza there.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I feel like we’ve kept him up long enough. We don’t have to get him out, we just have to give him the chance to get out. I think we should do that. He’s given us everything.

MATT: “And give me the beacon.”

MARISHA: What? He hasn’t told us shit.

LAURA: Will the beacon hurt people, though?

MATT: “No.”

LAURA: I’m going to insight check him.

MATT: Sure.

LAURA: 14.

MATT: 14. Kind of hard to read on this one.

LIAM: What will you do if we say no?

MATT: “I will strike you down where you stand and take it. It’s too important.”

TALIESIN: That’s rude. I’m going to start moving towards untying him unless anyone’s got any–

MARISHA: Just leave him. He can get out himself. He’s a smart guy.

TALIESIN: If we’re all good–

LIAM: We leave him only if we leave the beacon with the Gentleman, but if we leave him on his own–

LAURA: (gasps) Was it the Gentleman? Is he who helped you in?

MARISHA: Ooh, was it the Gentleman?

TALIESIN: Insight check. Do I get advantage because he’s friends with me?

MATT: Yeah, I’ll say. Yeah. Why not?

SAM and TALIESIN: Double insight.

LAURA: Ooh, that’s not bad.

TALIESIN: That’s not bad. 21.

MATT: 21.

SAM: More whispers! Just whispers. It’s all whispers. Oh, guys. D&D Beyond, right?

LAURA: I mean, D&D Beyond.

SAM: What is there to say that hasn’t already been said by me?

TALIESIN: Personally, this seems like more than I feel like taking on right now. I say we walk away, and you’ll know that our silence means that we were trustworthy in the first place.

LAURA: And then you can be our friends later.

MATT: “And you’ll leave the beacon? Free me. Give me the beacon.”

MARISHA: We could pawn this thing. Right now. It’ll be off of our tail in like two minutes.

TALIESIN: Have you ever pawned anything before?

LIAM: I think that this thing is a great responsibility.

TRAVIS: We removed his armor. We should give him something to leave in so he’s not just walking buck through the city.

TALIESIN: Now we’re getting silly.

MARISHA: What if he comes back and destroys us with this thing in six months? Two months?

LAURA: He won’t. He likes us, right? You won’t do it? Will you promise not to hurt us later?

TRAVIS: No, he just said he’s going to kill us if we don’t give it to him.

LAURA: But what if we give it back though?

MATT: “You give it back. We go our separate ways. I run.”

LIAM: I think we should kill him.

TRAVIS: Really?

LIAM: Seems dangerous to me.

LAURA: Oh, man. This is a really tough one.

MARISHA: And super different than five seconds ago when you said we should just let him go.

TRAVIS: Why don’t we leave it up to him? We untie him, he comes at us bros, we take him down. We’re giving him a chance at freedom.

LAURA: What about the beacon?

TRAVIS: He doesn’t get the beacon.

TALIESIN: He’s not going to leave without the beacon.

LAURA: I think we give him the beacon and we walk away.

TRAVIS: He’ll come after it. I know.

LAURA: Maybe you can look at the beacon one more time and try to see what it is, and then we can give it back to him.

TRAVIS: Yeah, let’s do that. No?

MARISHA: Does it scare you that much?

LIAM: It does.

LAURA: Can I look at the beacon?

TALIESIN: Did he get worried when we said we were going to take a look at it one more time?

MATT: He didn’t seem to flinch.

MARISHA: If it’s that scary, then what do you want to do with it?

TRAVIS: Can anybody else concentrate on it?

LIAM: If we leave this gentleman here and take the beacon, it becomes his life’s work to find us.

TRAVIS: Agreed.

LIAM: So we either leave him and it, or we take it and kill him.

TALIESIN: Agreed.

MARISHA: Or we can take it now and kill him later.

TALIESIN: No.

MARISHA: Just saying, it could be like a fun game.

TALIESIN: You first.

TRAVIS: I won’t speak for anybody in the group, but I’m not taking his life. So, if someone feels motivated, I’ll just walk over this way. And I start walking back the way we came.

LAURA: (whispers) Give it back to him.

LIAM: I don’t– why are you–

LAURA: You have it!

LIAM: I don’t. It’s on the ground under the dirty rag, ja.

LAURA: Oh, it is? I go and look at it.

MATT: Okay, as you pull the cloth up and look, the grey light energy spills out from underneath, and you watch as it looks over, and it can see it now. Its eyes go wide, and you feel the soft undulating low hum to it.

LAURA: (hums) I hum back at it.

MATT: Okay, you match the tone.

LAURA: What does he do when we’re looking at it?

TALIESIN: I walk over and scrape my radiant sword against the orb.

LIAM: I’m going to take a few steps back.

MATT: As you do, he’s like (growling).

TALIESIN: Just seeing. Just going to give it a little tap. I’m not cutting it, I’m just tapping it.

MATT: Okay, it taps. It sounds like you’re tapping some sort of a stone or rock.

TALIESIN: Does the radiant energy have any effect on it?

MATT: No, it does not.

TRAVIS: Well, I don’t know what it is. And if you’re not going to look, what use do we have for it?

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Look, I know some people. Why don’t we bag this thing up and we’ll take it right over to–

LIAM: These two individuals were responsible for blowing a hole in that tower, yes?

MARISHA: Okay, I’m not talking about anything–

LIAM: I’m not contradicting what you’re saying, I’m sorry. When you say, “What use do we have for it?” It’s a dangerous thing.

LAURA: It didn’t do it. The beacon wasn’t the thing that did it.

MARISHA: New plan.

LAURA: What?

MARISHA: New plan. All right, we can’t decide if we should leave him, or take the thing, or take the thing but leave him, or kill him, or– why don’t we take both him and the thing?

TRAVIS: And what do we do with him?

MARISHA: We go to the Cobalt Soul. Drop him off. Front doorstep, leave a note, “You’re welcome.”

LAURA: They’re going to kill him, though.

MARISHA: And apparently so are we? Or at least talking about it?

LIAM: What do they do there? I don’t know much about the Cobalt Soul. What can you tell me?

MARISHA: They hold information. They’ve got a decent amount of relics and spell books and things that they might know.

TRAVIS: And it would endear us to the city.

MARISHA: And they’re technically a little bit separate from the city. They’re kind of not necessarily a part of the empire. They kind of make sure the empire stays in check.

TALIESIN: What’s your name again, friend?

MATT: (sighs) This long, heavy sigh. Hearing all this conversation and not knowing who to trust, even in spite of your spell. “Thuron.”

TALIESIN: Help us out, here. I’m Molly, and I– Give my friends more to go with. Give them something, some reason to trust you, to make sure that this is not going to come back and bite us in the ass. I mean, that’s what we’re looking for, here, is a reason for us to be able to walk away.

MATT: “Then walk away.”

LIAM: Question. When he said Thuron, did I hear Thuron, or did I hear some other word, like eagle, or swift, or something?

MATT: The name itself does have meaning in Undercommon. It is a name.

LIAM: So I didn’t hear Bob, right? Did it have a–

MATT: No. The nuance to the word, from what you can best understand, is– it means “blessed second born” is the best I can find the right words for it.

TALIESIN: Should send him to a monastery.

TRAVIS: I’m good either way.

TALIESIN: How did you lose the thing in the first place that you need to get it back?

MATT: “It was taken from Xhorhas.”

TALIESIN: By who?

MATT: (chuckles darkly) Grins and looks up. “From your fucking wizards.”

TALIESIN: I don’t have any wizards. Well, I have one wizard, but–

LAURA: He doesn’t like the other wizards.

TALIESIN: Well, to be fair, they are kind of arseholes.

LAURA: It was stolen from him! We should just let him have it.

TALIESIN: How did they take it?

MATT: “I don’t know the details.”

TALIESIN: Did they come to you?

MATT: “I was just sent to retrieve it. I don’t know all the answers.”

TALIESIN: Sent by whom?

MATT: “By my empress.”

TALIESIN: Your empress? Which empress would this be?

MATT: “You don’t know much, do you?”

TALIESIN: I don’t know anything. It’s part of my charm.

MATT: “Empress Leylas Krynn.”

LAURA: Leylas Krynn. Did I say it right?

MATT: You did.

LAURA: Nice!

LIAM: Same question.

MATT: Question was?

LIAM: Context of the name. Anything?

MATT: No, actually, that one is a proper name.

TRAVIS: Leylas Krynn?

LAURA: Empress o’ the drow? Or o’ Marrow Valley?

MATT: Well, the Marrow Valley is in the empire.

LAURA: Oh, right. My facts are–

MARISHA: The Dwendalian Empire?

LIAM: No, we’re in the Dwendalian Empire.

MATT: You guys are in the Dwendalian Empire.

MARISHA: No, wait, sorry. I meant Xhorhas.

MATT: Xhorhas is to the east of here. It’s the wastes to the east of the Ashkeeper Peaks.

MARISHA: Right.

LAURA: So that’s where you’re from? Xhorhas?

MATT: He nods, slowly.

LAURA: And the Dwendalian Empire is fighting you? And they’re stealing your babies? Because this is the only way you can have babies?

MATT: He stares at you, confused.

LAURA: It all makes perfect sense to me.

TALIESIN: I say we give him his armor, and that thing, and be on our way. This is none of our concern.

LAURA: I say we give him the thing and let him walk around naked, because that’s better.

TALIESIN: That could be funny, too.

LIAM: That’s close to a death sentence. How about we give him some crownsguard armor?

TRAVIS: Fair call.

LAURA: Then you can get out.

MATT: “But you will give me the beacon?”

TALIESIN: Well, we’re not going to give it to you. We’re just going to leave it here. I think that’s fair, we didn’t give him anything. We found him, he attacked us, we defeated him, we walked about our way.

TRAVIS: I’m all right.

MARISHA: We’re letting him leave without the beacon?

LAURA: We’re leaving the beacon on the ground, Beau.

LIAM: I suggest, leave it for him.

MARISHA: And he’s not going to take it?

TALIESIN: We don’t know what he’s going to do.

TRAVIS: (whispering dramatically) Yes, he’s going to take it.

TALIESIN: I’m all right with this.

LAURA: I’m okay with this.

TALIESIN: Anyone else?

LIAM: I defer to the group.

SAM: I’m drunk, 120 feet away.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Unless you’ve got a strong opinion otherwise, Caleb, on that thing.

LIAM: Say what?

TALIESIN: Unless you’ve got a strong opinion on that thing otherwise.

LIAM: I am able to tell a great many things about a great many things, and that is beyond me.

LAURA: Maybe you should stare at it some more.

TALIESIN: You don’t have to stare at it some more. If it’s beyond you, then it’s beyond me.

TRAVIS: Unless you really want to. Huh? Do you? Do you?

LIAM: I do not.

TRAVIS: Open the door.

TALIESIN: I say we just let it go.

TRAVIS: (singing) Take a look…

LAURA & MARISHA: (singing) It’s in a book, Reading Rainbow!

TALIESIN: Okay, we’re getting into singing. No. I’m calling it, then?

MARISHA: I still say we load up both of these guys.

LAURA: I pull out– oh wait, you know what, I think I don’t have full armor for the crownsguard because I gave them away. I gave them back.

MATT: Yeah, you returned them.

LAURA: We don’t got no crownsguard armor.

TALIESIN: Just give him his bits.

MARISHA: Okay, he definitely does not get a secret disguise to help him get through the city.

TRAVIS: We’re giving him everything but the black boots, the sword and the sheath and his money.

LIAM: We’re taking his shit.

TALIESIN: Give him just the armor.

LAURA: He gets his armor back. But you don’t have the shoes, okay?

TALIESIN: We’ll leave it right next to the bit.

MARISHA: Just saying, it feels like we’re leaving an opportunity in the sewer.

TALIESIN: There are good opportunities and bad opportunities, and this one is giving me the vibration that perhaps we should just leave him be.

LAURA: And he’s going to remember us and love us. He’s going to be our best friend.

TALIESIN: Well, he’s going to be a little irritated at me in about half an hour. I’m going to start fraying the rope just a bit, so that it’ll be breakable with a little bit of work. Are we off?

MATT: Okay, are you fraying it with your sword?

TALIESIN: Mm-hmm. Just give it a little–

MATT: The– (trails off and chuckles)

SAM: Yes!

MATT: The moment the rope breaks–

TALIESIN: I wasn’t going to break it, I was just going to fray it.

MATT: I know. But as you begin to pull, you notice that, all this time that’s been happening, the ropes in the back have gotten looser and looser. He uses that point to grab the blade and swing around and pull it up against you. “I’m sorry, I need your help.”

LAURA: He can do that when he’s charmed?

MATT: He’s not cutting him, he’s just grabbing, going, “I’m sorry, I need your help,” and is holding you now against the wall, looking at the rest of you, and says, “Leave me.”

LAURA: That’s what we’re doing! Jesus!

TALIESIN: We were literally just doing that. And boy, I’ve got to tell you that you are really overestimating their fondness for me right now.

MATT: He pushes you off.

TALIESIN: (laughs) Your stuff’s over there.

MATT: He rushes over and pushes the cloth off the beacon real fast, picks it up and holds it.

LAURA: I go (hums).

MATT: Goes over and starts picking up the armor.

MARISHA: Nope!

TRAVIS: Yeah, we gave him the armor.

LAURA: Yeah, we gave it back to him.

SAM: It’s very clear.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Not the boots, not the sword, not the gold.

SAM: They said it four or five times.

MATT: He puts on the armor. Puts on the mask. Puts on the leg armor. Takes the beacon.

LAURA: Don’t run out the same exit that we do, okay?

MATT: Turns around and darts deeper into the sewers.

SAM: (whispers) That’s the way we were going to go.

TALIESIN: I’m going to say, right now, that was the easiest 20 platinum I’ve ever made in my entire life.

LAURA: I mean, we just made so much money.

MARISHA: Should we follow him? See where he’s going?

TRAVIS and TALIESIN: No.

MARISHA: Just saying, maybe there’s some cool portal or something.

TRAVIS: Yeah?

TALIESIN: That’s fair.

MARISHA: How are they getting in and out, man?

TALIESIN: I think he probably has some thing. Whatever they do.

LIAM: He left all his shit– his armor he’s wearing, but all his other shit was left around?

MATT: Other shit you have, yes.

LIAM: We scooped it up?

LAURA: It’s in the bag.

MARISHA: Is he heading deeper into the sewers the way the spiders were?

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Why are you so keen on this one? I mean, that was a lot. I don’t want to get involved in that. That’s crazy.

LAURA: This is wars between empires. Do you really care?

MARISHA: I don’t care about wars between empires, I just like having more information. For later.

TRAVIS: We should get back to the Song and Supper Inn.

LAURA: You mean the Leaky Tap.

TRAVIS: Song and Supper. See if Dolan’s there.

LAURA: Oh.

TRAVIS: We are short one, you know.

LAURA: Ulog.

MATT: You hear a shout in the distance.

TALIESIN: Let’s roll.

LAURA: Go, go, go, go.

MATT: In the direction that you’re traveling, echoing down that way. And you see a flash of firelight, torchlight in the distance. You hear a (hiss) and the sound of weapons clanging–

LIAM: Where he went?

MATT: Yeah, in the direction he went.

LAURA: Oh, he was going in the direction we were going.

MATT: And then it goes quiet, and you hear voices say, “We got him! We got him!” And other voices, and around the corner up ahead you can see a little bit of torchlight flickering against the wall.

LIAM: Well, whatever it is, the empire just got it back.

MARISHA: I should have just strapped him up.

TALIESIN: Do we want to end this really quickly?

TRAVIS: End it?

TALIESIN: We could go over and get involved in that, since you seemed so keen–

MARISHA and LAURA: No.

TALIESIN: Oh, now you don’t want to.

MARISHA: We had control of it when it was still in our hands. We don’t have control anymore.

LIAM: Also, as a sidebar, if we want the other half of our earlier plan to work, we need to get to Dolan, we need the crownsguard inside Sutan’s house as quickly as possible.

MARISHA: What did you say, you said we’re down one?

TRAVIS: Yeah, Ulog.

MARISHA: What happened to Ulog?

LAURA: (gasps)

TRAVIS: Oh. Yeah. Well, in the fray of the Richter coming in, he lunged at her and put a little gem in her mouth. They exploded.

LAURA: I’m keeping an eye on the path to make sure nobody’s coming down our direction.

MATT: Okay. Hand me the object, please. The item sheet.

SAM and LAURA: Oh.

LIAM: That could have easily been a blank piece of paper.

TALIESIN: But it wasn’t.

LIAM: It wasn’t.

LAURA: You should have looked at it more!

LIAM: I looked at it plenty.

TALIESIN: He also technically memorized it.

LIAM: Sure. All the question marks. I memorized all the question marks.

MATT: Doesn’t work that way.

LIAM: No, that was too mysterious.

MATT: All right. There’s some other muffled voices down the way.

TRAVIS: We’ve got to get out of here.

MARISHA: Yeah. We don’t want to be a part of this.

LAURA: But wait. Is there another exit? Or is it back to the–

MATT: It’s back to the Tri-Spires.

LAURA: Oh, shit.

MATT: You hear footsteps.

LIAM: All right, come on, we’re going back up? We’re either fighting crownsguard or getting out of here.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we retreat. Back the way we came.

LAURA: (singing) Back it up, back it up, back it up, back it up.

SAM: What are you guys doing coming this way?! We were going the other way!

LIAM: It’s a long story, go.

TALIESIN: Bad at this.

TRAVIS: Be quiet, we’re being followed.

SAM: Oh God!

TALIESIN: Shh!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Are you drunk, Nott?

SAM: Not yet, but now I will be!

MATT: You guys manage to head back up into the Tri-Spires, back into the alleyway. As you close and lock the thing behind, a voice in the back of the alley– you guys watch as two crownsguard approach and go, “Hey! You!” And both pull their swords to hold out in front, and one guy in the back, a third one arrives with a crossbow up to you guys and says, “Hands up, weapons.”

LIAM: One, two, three? Don’t know who you’re point– oh, everybody?

MATT: This would be all of you guys as you got out of the sewer.

SAM: We came back up. Oh, shit.

MATT: “What’s your business?”

LAURA: We were scared, things were falling from the sky.

LIAM: We took cover in the sewers.

MARISHA: We were working at the festival. We’re just trying to get out, man.

LIAM: Has the danger passed?

MATT: (chuckles) I will say, since it wasn’t a single person, I’m going to ask for a deception roll from both of you, since you were the first two to speak up.

SAM: This is going to be great.

LIAM: 15.

SAM: Why do you get advantage?

LAURA: Oh, I don’t know why I took advantage.

MATT: Yeah, don’t get advantage. Roll one more.

TALIESIN: Or you can take the lowest? No?

LAURA: No, I don’t want to do that.

TALIESIN: Okay.

LAURA: God damn it. Nine plus– 12.

MATT: And you rolled a–

LIAM: 15.

MATT: They take a moment. “Get out, we’re investigating.” They move in, and they don’t take their arms off of you. They get behind you and move you out of the alley, into the street, and begin pushing you guys in the direction of the outer wall of the Tri-Spires.

MARISHA: I say, sir, we have coworkers that were working at the festival. Do you know anything about this attack?

MATT: “We don’t have any information at this time, just get out, we’re still checking. Please.” You see the tower, still listing but held in place. There’s this flickering arcane energy underneath it that occasionally a wave goes (whooshing) that’s holding it aloft. You can see crownsguards are now– some are shifting in the streets, going and weaving through the buildings, and there’s a bunch at the actual exterior wall, and they eventually push you through, and lead you into the central part of the city.

LAURA: Are they still with us, or did they push us away?

MATT: They pushed you away, and you guys are now in the Interstead Sprawl.

TRAVIS: We should stop by the Song & Supper Inn, see if we see a friendly face.

LAURA: Let’s go, before they realize we were down there with the guy.

MARISHA: As we walk, I’m going to ask Fjord, did you catch any weird twitches, or any signs that he was lying?

TRAVIS: Yeah. I don’t know if you saw, but his eyes and his nostrils flared when we mentioned Ulog. I have a feeling our small dwarf friend was involved in quite a bit more than we were aware of.

MARISHA: You know, maybe we were assholes for not noticing that him handing over his entire life savings was a little suspicious.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: Did he give that to us before?

TRAVIS: Yeah, down in the basement when we were talking.

LAURA: He gave it to us already, or it was an after sort of thing?

TRAVIS: We didn’t get it yet.

MARISHA: I don’t think we got it.

LAURA: He was lying. He’s not giving us any of the money.

TRAVIS: Even more reason to find Dolan.

SAM: He showed it to us.

TRAVIS: It was part of the pot, yeah.

LAURA: I bet it exploded when he did. He exploded.

LIAM: That is correct, right? We have not been paid.

MATT: No, you have not been paid.

SAM: Except for the 112 platinum we just got.

MARISHA: Which is pretty dope.

LAURA: What-what!

TRAVIS: How many gold is a platinum?

MARISHA and TALIESIN: Ten.

TRAVIS: Damn!

MATT: Who are the two that are keeping point, leading you guys to the Song and Supper?

TRAVIS: I am.

MATT: Make a perception check, please.

TRAVIS: 13.

LAURA: I am, too.

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: You asked for two people!

MATT: I did.

LAURA: Nobody else spoke up.

14.

MATT: 14, okay. You catch it first, and you corroborate it. As you guys are heading down the road, near the sewer exit where you guys were previously, there’s a commotion gathering on the side of the street.

SAM: Should we go check it out?

TALIESIN: No.

LAURA: Is there a crowd around it?

MATT: There is a crowd gathering now, and you hear gasps and people starting to shout.

LIAM: I send Frumpkin scurrying between people’s legs into the crowd, put my hand on Beau’s shoulder and go blind.

MATT: You can see now, crownsguard are coming out of the sewer, and they’re dragging the dead body of the dark elf that you had seen below, and throw it onto the ground. People are like (gasps), and they’re looking at it, and some folks are talking. “I’ve never seen one up close like this.” There’s this murmur in the crowd as all about the guards are like, “Don’t worry, don’t worry. Both of them are dead. You’re safe now, thanks to the might and the trust of the empire. The king keeps you safe.”

LIAM: Do Frumpkin and I see the doohickus? The dodecahedron?

MATT: You do see it being held by one of the guards in one of his hands, yeah.

MARISHA: All right, let’s all be clear that whatever the empire wants, they’ll fucking take.

SAM: Why don’t we take that thing from them? Those guys don’t know what that is. Let’s go get it!

MATT: Two of the guards pick the body up, and one of them puts it over his shoulder, and all of them cluster together as the crowd follows them. Some of them are taking sticks and poking at the body as it goes. The guards are like, “Please, stop, no.”

LAURA: Can we run interference and try to trip the guard and get the thing back?

SAM: Sure, if we want it. Do we want it?

TRAVIS: Oh my god, we’re going to try and get it now?

MARISHA: You can disguise yourself. You can disguise yourself as Crick!

LAURA: What if we go try to look at the body and then we accidentally fall on one of the guards and we make him drop it and then Nott picks it up and runs away?

MARISHA: I’m definitely super injured, but this sounds fun.

MATT: They’re heading in the direction of the King’s Hall, it looks like.

LAURA: I run up and try to look at the body.

MATT: Okay. So you move and weave into the crowd.

LAURA: Whoa, what is that? Is that a dead body? Whoa, I’ve never seen one of those!

MATT: You push up and look, and the body has deep lacerations all through the torso and back. It looks like they cut him until they were sure he was dead.

MARISHA: They’re in an alleyway?

MATT: They’re heading down the street right now, they’re turning the corner heading down to the main thoroughfare.

LAURA: Can I trip and fall right in front of the guard that’s carrying the thing?

MATT: You can if you want to.

LAURA: I’m going to trip and fall! Right in front of him.

TRAVIS: We had it in our hands!

MATT: (laughs) Okay.

LIAM: I’m going to cast Disguise Self as a crownsguard and just follow. Just see what’s happening.

MARISHA: I’m going to parkour elf, get on the– Elf? Monk, get on the roof of the nearest building.

MATT: Okay. Make an acrobatics check, just for the hell of it. Just to see how fast you get up there.

MARISHA: Okay, okay, okay. 16.

MATT: 16? And make a stealth check, please.

LAURA: Yeah, but now they want it, I want it back. Because it hums.

MARISHA: Natural 20.

ALL: Whoa.

MATT: All right. As you dart off onto the rooftop like Batman, you just vanish amongst the night sky. And you?

LAURA: I’m tripping and falling in front of the guard carrying the thing as I’m trying to look at the body.

MATT: Okay. Make a deception check.

SAM: I’m casting Mage Hand, just in case.

LAURA: God damn it. Why deception? I’m just falling.

MATT: This is as you falling forward, “Ah!” and make a scene.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: This is just to see how–

LAURA: Oh, well, I rolled a five.

MATT: Okay. So the guy’s– as you fall in front of him, he’s like, “Please, miss, move away.” And two of the guards rush forward and start picking you up and shoving you off to the side.

LAURA: Oh, man. I want to trip him.

MARISHA: Where’s Nott? Where are you?

SAM: I’m just following behind. Behind Jester, by 30 feet or so.

MATT: More people are coming out now and gathering the crowd around, to see them pull this dead Crick through the street. Word’s getting around and people are–

LAURA: As they try to pull me away, I’m going to try to hook my foot around the ankle of the guard carrying the thing and, as I’m standing up, try to trip him to the ground.

MATT: Okay, I will say make a dexterity check, if you don’t mind. Just a straight dexterity check.

TRAVIS: What is the matter with you?

LAURA: 21.

MATT: 21! You barely manage to–Your foot doesn’t quite reach, but your tail does. As it scoops around his ankle: (yelps). He falls back and lands–

LIAM: Don’t drop it! Don’t drop it!

MATT: And you are disguised as–?

LIAM: As a crownsguard. I was walking alongside.

MATT: Okay. Okay!

MARISHA: Come on, come on, come on!

MATT: Okay. And you catch it. The guy starts getting back up.

LAURA: Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry! That hurt my tail so much. I’m so sorry! Are you okay?

MATT: He grabs you by the front of your armor and goes, “You need to get out of our way.”

LAURA: I’m sorry. It just looked so inter– I’m really impressed with how well you took down that guy, though!

MARISHA: I follow Caleb as he traces around, but on the roof.

MATT: Okay. That guy pushes you off–

TALIESIN: I’m standing with Fjord, in shock and horror.

TRAVIS: Yeah, just full, “Ah.”

MATT: He starts looking around the ground.

LIAM: I start doing that thing where I was taking steps, but not walking with them. And then I started walking backwards.

(laughter)

MATT: Okay, roll a stealth check, because you’re holding a glowing, undulating device.

LIAM: I thought it was, like, black and glowing. It’s white and glowing?

MATT: It’s like a deep grey.

TALIESIN: I swear we just had this conversation. What changed?

LIAM: Pretty good for me. Pretty good for me. That’s 14.

MATT: 14?

LIAM: Yeah. Dressed as a crownguard.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I crouch down on the roof above Caleb, and I go (bird coo).

SAM: May I–?

MATT: You may.

SAM: Seeing Caleb walk away with the object, I’m going to cast Silent Image, and make the image of the object, glowing, about 30 feet away from them on the ground. (dissonant humming)

MATT: So there’s two of them, currently.

SAM: Yeah, I guess.

LIAM: One in my hand, and one on the ground. But I’ve got it like this.

MATT: What’s your spell DC?

SAM: My spell DC is– It’s plus– Oh, sorry, hold on. Silent Image is– Come on, D&D Beyond.

MATT: What’s your intelligence modifier?

SAM: It’s plus three is my spellcasting modifier.

MATT: Okay, so it’d be 13, would be your spell DC.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: Okay. I will say that the two guards that noticed you leave with the object, even though they’re coming over to be like (confused stuttering). They see the other object over there, and they both get confused and look at the two. As they’re standing, trying to figure out what to do, they both split. One goes for the object over there; one goes for Caleb. He’s catching up to you and goes like, “Hey! Hey. We’re going to the– We’re going to the hall of the king.”

LIAM: Oh, I just want to get it away from the crowd. This thing seems dangerous to me.

MATT: “Right, right. Well, come on.” And the two of you turn around; he guides you to turn around. You’re now walking, trailing behind.

LIAM: Let’s just– a little further back, like another ten feet. I don’t know if this is going to blow. It’s better that it’s just you and me.

MATT: All right. Some other townsfolk are starting to, like, walk up to get a look at this object now that the crownsguard are holding.

LIAM: So what’s around?

MATT: So, you’re off, you’re behind the group. The large cluster is moving maybe about 60, 70 feet ahead of you now. You are back– when it was turning onto the main street is where all this transpired. So you’re a little bit off, past the corner of where they are. They’re just starting to curve out of sight. And you are walking with the guard now in that direction, slowing down. The other object that you caused the illusion of is the other way, and the guard has about 100 feet or so to walk to get to it. And he’s partway there and he hasn’t quite learned what the scenario is.

LIAM: Yeah, good, so I cast Friends on this crownsguard.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Does that make it drop?

LIAM: No. It’s not concentration.

MATT: What’s the saving throw on it?

LIAM: It is–

SAM: It just gives you–

MATT: Is there a saving throw?

SAM: Advantage to charisma rolls.

LIAM: Yeah, advantage to charisma rolls. If he’s not under attack or thinks he’s threatened.

MATT: Oh, all right, cool.

LIAM: Advantage on charisma checks at one creature of your choice that isn’t hostile towards you.

MATT: Yeah. And he is not currently hostile towards you.

LIAM: So listen. Don’t die for this. I will take this. Just walk ahead. This thing blew a hole in the side of that tower.

MATT: Make a deception check, with advantage.

MARISHA: Come on, Caleb.

LIAM: Okay. 15.

MATT: 15?

LIAM: The first was a one.

MATT: As soon as you say that– Oh, shit! Thank god for Friends.

TRAVIS: (stabbing sound)

MATT: As soon as you say that blew the hole in the tower, you watch him take an instinctual step back. “Right. I’ll go catch up.”

LIAM: We’ve seen balls of fire take out half a city block.

MATT: “Right.” He darts ahead, looking over his shoulder as he starts to try and join up with the crowd.

LIAM: I turn into an alley.

LAURA: (pigeon cooing) Cover it up. Walk away.

TALIESIN: You can turn into an alley?

MATT: Make another stealth check, because there’s other folk now that are coming out and are seeing this. The other guard has just now gotten up to the illusion.

LIAM: Wait, are there other guards around me? I’m sorry.

MATT: No. There’s the other guard that was paired with him that went off to go after the illusion that Nott had created.

MARISHA: Trying to avoid the paparazzi.

TRAVIS: Molly and I are running after Caleb, since we saw the other guard.

SAM: I’m staying put, and as soon as the guard gets close, I’ll make it slowly rise up into the sky, just like 12, 13 feet up.

LIAM: Does that give me advantage?

MATT: What spell is this?

SAM: This is Silent Image. I can move it. I just can’t make it make a sound.

MATT: Yeah, so as it drifts up in the air, the guard goes, “Uh.” Looks around. All the about 17 or so townsfolk had began to converge to look up at it. They’re all like, “Ooh.” They’re all excited looking at it. It’s definitely distracting the current group. The one guard there is like, “Go, back! Back!” to everybody. He’s starting to look nervous, because he doesn’t know why it’s lifting up, and he’s uncertain about what’s happening. You make a stealth check. You’re only getting it because they’re distracted by that. To try and duck into the alley unseen.

LAURA: Am I near him at all? Can I give him a blessing?

LIAM: Stealth?

MATT: You’re not quite close enough.

LIAM: It is a nine.

TRAVIS: Nein! Sorry.

MATT: So you duck into the alleyway, not sure if you’ve been seen. All right. What are the rest of you guys doing?

TRAVIS: Molly and I are trucking after where Caleb just went through.

TALIESIN: Walking at a very gentle pace in that direction.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: I’m on the roofs, been tracking Caleb this whole time. On the roof.

MATT: Right. So you guys go behind. As you begin to approach, you can see there are two teenage kids, a boy and a girl, that are dressed nice enough. Both are like, “Did you see what he was holding? I want to see it.” They both go into the alleyway after Caleb as well.

LIAM: Are there any doors or anything in here?

MATT: In this alleyway? There’s no immediate door. It looks like there’s a solid wall on one side, and an arch that leads into a small walkway that leads between the buildings. If you keep going, then it splits off into a T intersection of alleyways, right or left.

LIAM: I’ll take the left.

MATT: You take a left? All right.

LIAM: And just keep going.

MARISHA: I drop down in front of the kids Batman-style.

TALIESIN: Stay in school!

MARISHA: Don’t take my fucking line before I get a chance to say it!

TALIESIN: So sorry. I’m so sorry!

MARISHA: Close, but different motive.

MATT: So you land and they both go, “Ah!”

MARISHA: Whatcha buying, kids?

MATT: “Uh– uh–”

MARISHA: You know that shit will fucking kill you, right?

TALIESIN: Oh goddamn it.

MATT: Make an intimidation check. With advantage.

MARISHA: With advantage?

MATT: With advantage because you just dropped down from the sky.

MARISHA: Jesus, a natural one and a four. So five.

MATT: Okay. The two kids go (scoffs).

MARISHA: I take out my staff and I say: Do your parents know you’re out this late? Or are you trying to prove something?

MATT: “It’s not worth it. Come on.” The girl, (sniffs) “Fine.” They both turn and walk away, kicking the dirt a little bit.

MARISHA: And just for Taliesin, I say: Stay in school!

(laughter)

MATT: Perfect.

TALIESIN: I’ve know you too long now. I feel sick.

MARISHA: Yeah!

TALIESIN: What a perfect stay in school moment.

MARISHA: I’m going to stealth and try to track back towards Caleb. But make sure no one else is also following him.

MATT: Okay. All right, so you guys dart off into another alleyway. You still do hear guards shifting, but you start hearing other people are talking. People are starting to go back to their homes. They’re whispering to each other. Listening in, you hear phrases being said, like, “The city’s on lockdown. This is crazy. I’m supposed to be leaving tomorrow!”

LAURA: (whispers) This is a lockdown? Shit.

MATT: You start hearing whispers about the gala, and like, “How many people were killed?” “Oh, I heard like 100 people were murdered.” “Serves them right, those fucking rich bastards.” You know, passing conversations. It’s now, the buzz of the town, even this late at night, as people are now either emerging to see the scene, or are returning to their homes, seeing what they have. But the crowd has dissipated, or at least the crowd has moved on towards the King’s Hall, and are probably in the process of trying to figure out what the fuck happened to the object they were carrying. You guys manage to dart off to the side of the is the eastern end of the Interstead Sprawl. You aren’t apparently followed at the moment, but you’re still holding this glowing–

LAURA: Can we put it in the bag?

LIAM: Ordinarily, I would say yes, and I might want to put something else in there. But for the time being, I don’t understand this thing enough.

LAURA: (mumbling) You want to put something else in the bag?

SAM: (giggles)

LIAM: Let’s table that for now. I’m worried what will happen if this specifically goes into that bag.

LAURA: Why?

LIAM: Because that is an extra-dimensional pocket.

LAURA: Yes.

LIAM: And I don’t know what this is, and I am worried that it could potentially create–

LAURA: A black hole and suck us all in?

LIAM: Sure, let’s go with that. But maybe if we could procure a lead box to put this inside of, that will shield it from any possible searching that could happen for it.

TRAVIS: A lead box?

LIAM: A large, lead box, yeah.

MARISHA: I don’t think we should go back to the Song & Supper.

TALIESIN: I have a hooded lantern we can put it in in the meantime.

SAM: It’s bigger than that.

MATT: It’s about that large. It’s got two handles on each side. It looks like you’re carrying a lantern.

LIAM: We need to find Dolan fast. We need to, I’m serious, find a lead box to put this thing in, because someone’s going to want this very badly.

TRAVIS: Let’s split the party. It’s always the best idea. No, but seriously, we don’t need everyone for both.

MARISHA: Fjord and I found an additional cellar, where we found that skeleton, behind the Leaky Tap. Doesn’t look like anybody–

SAM: I’m still doing illusion shit. Have I finished that?

MATT: All right, so at this point now, the guard, who’s down below, has called over like four other guards and they’re all at the bottom of it. Some of them are getting their crossbows ready to shoot if it does something.

SAM: I’ll make it inflate, and then Salvador Dalí, start dripping. Just like (humming).

MATT: As it swells and then behinds to drip, they all start backing away. The guards start pushing people away. The guy that was originally carrying it, with seven other guards, begins to approach the cluster. They have broken off from the procession with the elf body, and they’ve now joined up with the other guard. He’s like, “There it is! Stay back; stay back.” They’re all nervously waiting for this thing, dripping, and doing nothing, and they’re all scared.

SAM: It’s going to start to boil and fizzle into steam, and dissipate.

MATT: It does, and there’s a brief moment as everyone holds their breath.

TALIESIN: Tinkerbell.

MATT: And you hear a couple of local townsfolk go (scattered applause and cheers).

(laughter)

MATT: The guards all look at each other, very confused.

MARISHA: (announcer voice) Thank you for joining us for Fantasma. The park is now closed.

LIAM: I wish I could be a fly on the wall when those wizards hear this story from the crownsguard, just like–

MATT: (dopey guard voice) “I don’t know. It just flew in the air, grew big, and then made sauce and disappeared.”

MARISHA: (dopey guard voice) “It was just like that cat I kicked the other day.”

LIAM: (disinterested voice) “Yes, very good. Take a lollipop from the bowl and get out.”

(laughter)

SAM: Then I’ll try to rejoin them.

MATT: Okay, you manage to catch up. You dart past two teenage kids that are cursing to each other. They’re both like, “Yeah, that woman was such a bitch,” as they pass by.

SAM: I know who they’re talking about.

MATT: Yeah.

(laughter)

MATT: At this point, when you guys are discussing what to do, you hear the little– Actually, we’ll say largely you don’t hear, but you see Nott appear at the cusp of your circle. You’ve caught up with the rest of them.

SAM: What’s going on? Where are we going?

LAURA: We’re going back to the Leaky Tap, I think.

TRAVIS: Yeah, how about Beau and I will go to the Song & Supper Inn and we’ll meet you at the Leaky Tap.

LAURA: Okay, and we’ll try to find a box to put it in.

MARISHA: Nott, remember that additional cellar behind the Leaky Tap?

SAM: The secret cellar where I found– nothing. Where we found a skeleton.

MARISHA: Uh-huh.

SAM: Yes.

MARISHA: I think that might be safe.

LIAM: You think the basement with a dead person is safe?

MARISHA: It was super dead. Like, no one’s been there for a super long time.

TALIESIN: I like this plan.

LIAM: What is a super long time? Like ten years? What is that?

SAM: Long enough for the body to decompose.

MARISHA: Super clean bones. Like, at least, two years, I’d say.

LIAM: That’s a conversation for another day. Let’s go.

MATT: All right, so the two of you are making your way to the Leaky Tap.

TRAVIS: Song & Supper.

MATT: Song & Supper, right. The rest of you guys are going to the Leaky Tap, but finding a box on the way you said?

TALIESIN: We’re going to see if we can find, like, a–

LIAM: Just a shitty hardware store, man.

MATT: At this point, it’s past midnight, and most of the market is closed.

LAURA: Maybe Claudia has a lead box at her thing.

MATT: You do still have a glowing beacon in your hand.

LIAM: Okay, well, I’m going to take my cloak off and cover it.

MATT: It does cover it up. It’s a very faint bit of glow that comes through the fabric, but it’s enough where it probably won’t be noticeable from a distance.

LIAM: I’ve changed my mind, I think it can wait until morning, but for sure– Well, if she has one, good, but it’s a lot of disarray.

LAURA: Yeah, but we need one. What if they try to find it, like, tonight, though?

LIAM: Well, then let’s go break into a store and get a lead box.

SAM: Wait, wait, why does it need to be lead? I mean, you can turn anything into lead, can’t you?

LIAM: Not that particular material.

SAM: Oh. Why does it have to be that particular material?

LIAM: Because lead shields things from magical– from divination magic.

TALIESIN: Would they sell a lead box at a magic shop?

LAURA: Or even at the blacksmith’s shop?

MATT: It’s possible. None of you are very well-versed in the ways of blacksmithing or lead objects, so–

SAM: Pumat would have something.

LIAM: But I would know that when I saw it. I know alchemy, I know all sorts of materials.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: We need a safe, is what we need.

MARISHA: I think we can wait until morning, though. How’s the city looking? Are people ransacking? Are there looters?

MATT: There’s no looters, no.

MARISHA: Okay. It’s not that bad.

MATT: No, and at this point now, the streets are fairly barren of crownsguard. They’ve all– aside from the cluster that you saw moving through, there’s a whole bunch at the perimeter gates of the Tri-Spire, and where they would normally be posted at the different corners of the streets, they are not.

TALIESIN: Let’s hide it with the skeleton for now. We’ll put some of your thread on it?

LAURA: Oh, that’s smart.

TALIESIN: And that way it’ll be down there, unconnected to us just in case someone finds it, and if they do, we’ll know the minute they touch it.

SAM: Smart.

LIAM: For now.

TALIESIN: For now.

LIAM: Good. That’s it. That is a great idea.

TALIESIN: Teamwork. Fine, let’s do this.

SAM: Look at us! We’re like a team.

MARISHA: Break!

SAM: Break?

MATT: All right, so you two are heading to the Song and Supper. Okay, and you guys are heading to the Leaky Tap? All right. So you head back. While you guys are heading that direction, you head to the Song and Supper. You manage to make your way there. It’s still open. It’s fairly empty on the inside, there’s only two patrons that are present at this hour. It seems like the commotion has drawn most of what clientele would have been in there at the moment, and there’s only two patrons that are both halfway into their cups, and pretty drunk or tired at this point. But you look around and you don’t see Dolan, you don’t see Horris, you don’t see Kara.

TRAVIS: Nobody here.

MARISHA: You think the whole damn thing was a fucking distraction?

TRAVIS: Sure feels like it, doesn’t it?

MARISHA: I really don’t like being used. Who’s at the bar? Is there anyone at the bar?

MATT: Yeah, there is the general barkeep there, which would be– Clay Owens.

MARISHA: Clay Owens?

MATT: Yeah, he’s a balding, portly gentleman, middle age or so. As you walk in, he, “Aye, can I get you something?”

MARISHA: Hey Clay, how’s it going? Long night?

MATT: “All right. Crazy night, from what I’m hearing.”

MARISHA: I know, right? Can I go ahead and get a double to help with the night?

MATT: “Aye, certainly. Here you go.”

MARISHA: Had anyone come in tonight? Any one of the usuals? Seen Ulog? Seen Kara?

MATT: “No? No. Oh no, Ulog was in earlier this evening.”

MARISHA: Yeah?

MATT: “He was here for a while, and then left with some friends. Think Dolan and his boy were in for a bit. They rushed out in a hurry about an hour ago?”

MARISHA: All right. You didn’t see them rush out with anybody?

MATT: “Just the two of them.”

MARISHA: Mention where they were going?

MATT: “No, they just up and left. Figured they were done for the evening. They looked a bit hurried.”

TRAVIS: Not that we’re looking for them, we’re– I don’t feel very well and I don’t have money for a proper physician. I’m sure we could find someone else.

MATT: “Maybe. You could probably go to their home. That’s usually where they practice out of.”

MARISHA: I think he got food poisoning from the finger food at the gala. You should never trust that shit.

MATT: “Better get there soon, then. It’s kind of late.”

MARISHA and TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: All right. Well, thanks, Clay.

TRAVIS: Have a good night.

MATT: “No worries, here’s your drink.” He gives you the shot.

MARISHA: Slam it. Let’s go.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Want to check his house?

MATT: “I don’t– That’ll be a silver.”

MARISHA: Oh, I give him a gold.

MATT: He goes “I– uh–”

MARISHA: Oh, I’m sorry, I was– It’s just the– Just keep it. It’s just the stress of the night.

MATT: “Thank you kindly!”

MARISHA: Sorry, I’m a little– maybe next time, it’s a round on you, right?

MATT: “Of course!” He tucks it away. “Thank you!”

MARISHA: Okay, bye. All right, let’s go.

TRAVIS: You feeling that double?

MARISHA: No, why?

TRAVIS: Oh good. That’s good. I just– Damn, that was impressive. Yeah.

MARISHA: Oh, my tolerance is like–

TRAVIS: Beast mode?

MARISHA: It’s at an unhealthy level. Let’s go.

TRAVIS: You want to go by Dolan’s house?

MARISHA: Yeah, let’s see if those guys are there.

MATT: Okay, as you guys quietly make your way towards Dolan’s house, as you approach, there’s no light from the inside. Make a perception check, both of you.

MARISHA: Natural 20!

TRAVIS: And a 16.

MATT: Nice! You both notice there is a quick bit of movement on the inside even though the lights are out.

MARISHA: Someone’s hiding.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Well, I’ll go up and knock. You want to go around back?

MARISHA: Yeah, sure, make sure they don’t try and run.

TRAVIS: Yeah. I knock and say, it’s Fjord with the Mighty Nein, open up!

MATT: There’s a moment pause and the door opens up very quickly with just enough space to let you in. Do you go in?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: Okay, you head inside. It’s dark in there, but you have your dark vision, so you look around and it looks like Dolan and Horris are both in there. Horris has a candle light with a side hood that’s keeping it contained to a small area. Dolan goes, “Oh, thank god you’re okay! We’re trying– We don’t know what to do.”

TRAVIS: It’s all right. Take a breath. Is there a back door to this place?

MATT: “Through the bedroom.”

TRAVIS: Beau’s going to be coming around the back, make sure she gets let in.

MATT: “Okay.” Horris is in the process of taking things and putting them into a sack. They are basically rapidly–

TRAVIS: You’re leaving?

MATT: “We can’t stay here!”

TRAVIS: Why?

MATT: “If they trace anything back to us, they’re going to string us up in front of the tower.”

TRAVIS: Take a deep breath, friend. Listen, Ulog is dead. He sacrificed himself in a very brave moment. He threw himself at the Richter, threw a gem in her mouth, and exploded in a Fireball. Listen, I think–

MATT: “Great, so now we have a murder on our hands, too.”

TRAVIS: I think–

MATT: Horris goes, “Keep your mouth down! Please!”

TRAVIS: I don’t think any of this leads back to us. We still have to complete our mission. We got to make sure that Lord Sutan is implicated in this, but right now we’re clean.

MATT: “At this point, that doesn’t even matter. We can’t–”

TRAVIS: The Richter’s gone! You have a chance to ascend to her seat! Wasn’t that the plan?

MATT: “Yes, but if there is any chance they can bring that back to us– maybe we leave town for a short time. Maybe just go.”

TRAVIS: Stop. Don’t be a coward in this moment. If you want to help this city, if you want to help make the empire better, you’re going to have to stand strong. A little risk is going to come with this job, especially in that position. You knew the risk going into this, didn’t you? To put your money and your lives at risk?

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

TRAVIS: 15.

MATT: 15. He goes, “You’re right, we should–” And Horris goes, “No! What, do you want them to go ahead and throw us in the dungeon? Is that what you want? I understand what you’re saying, but none of us knew that the High-Richter was going to be dead! I’m sure they have ways of tracing that back. What good–” And Dolan goes, “Calm down. Please. Maybe he’s right, maybe they don’t have a way to bring it back. If we see this through–” Horris takes the satchel and sets it on the table, puts the candle below it and walks up, grabs the side of Dolan’s shoulders, and says, “I understand, but I don’t want to lose you, and this scares the shit out of me.” They both take a moment and look at each other. Horris looks at you and says, “I think you’re right. Neither of us know how to talk our way out of the guards if they come by, we’re not good liars.”

TRAVIS: I understand. Fortunately, in this situation, you don’t have much to lie about. You were here. You weren’t at the Richter’s. You weren’t involved in it in any way. The Knights of Requital are going to take the fall for this, that would be the only tie-in. Ulog is dead. You have a chance to do some real good here.

MATT: Horris nods. “Okay. Then we stay.” And Dolan says, “No, I stay. Just in case things go wrong, I want you safe and gone. If this is to be turned around, I’m the one they’re going to look to. I’m the one who actually has the political influence here. I’m the one who can talk and make a difference, if that is to be done in the next few days, or the next week. If you can just, for a while, trust me and just leave. Is that okay?” He looks to you, and Horris kind of– “Fine, but I’ll come back soon.”

TRAVIS: We’ll keep an eye out. I promise. If anything needs to be shared between, you can rely on us to pass a message.

MATT: Dolan nods. “Okay. I’m good. Sorry, Horris, I don’t need you for this. It would be stupid for both of us, should anything go wrong, to be taken, swept up by this. Okay? Trust me.”

TRAVIS: Are you in the house yet?

MARISHA: Nope, I’m still out back.

MATT: She’s still out back.

MARISHA: (whispers) Fjord? Are you dead?

TRAVIS: That’s Beau.

MATT: Horris rushes off and opens the back door.

MARISHA: While all this was going on, can I do a quick little casing, intelligence to see if there’s any thrown-away trash, burned evidence, or anything in the back?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

MARISHA: Fucking– fuck you, Gil. Six.

TRAVIS: You love him or you hate him.

LIAM: The big bad of campaign two.

MATT: There’s piles of trash that are pushed in the corner. You look through and you don’t find anything that catches your interest.

TRAVIS: Dolan, I know Horris and you both are worried. We’re still going to need that payment. Our efforts have incurred some damages.

MATT: Of course. I don’t have Kara’s, but I have ours and I have Ulog’s. He left that with us before he left tonight.

MARISHA: Did he let me in?

MATT: Yes. He let you in at this point. Horris brought you in. He points over, too, and you can see there’s a smaller sack and a larger one that’s more of a backpack that seems to the be one that Ulog left. He goes, “Take them, please. That’s of no use to us.” At this point, Horris is letting Beauregard in, and knowing that it’s just the two of you, he puts his hand on your shoulder and says, “Keep him safe. Get him out if you can, please.”

TRAVIS: Anywhere you prefer? Is there a hiding spot?

MATT: "I don’t know. Just out of the city. Just out of the city for a week. That’s all I ask.”

TRAVIS: Fair enough. We can do that.

MATT: A cart rolls by and they all get very quiet.

MARISHA: There’s a little town not far from here called Alfield. It might actually have use for a doctor right about now.

TRAVIS: Beau has experience with this area.

MATT: “Maybe. Okay.”

MARISHA: Wait. Before you guys leave. It doesn’t matter based on what’s just happened. Is there anything that you guys know that we didn’t about any other of the members of the Knights of Requital that might have a more invested interest in an invasion or getting back at anyone in the Zauber Spire? Sorry. Yes. That was the right one.

MATT: “Invasion? I’m confused.”

TRAVIS: I’m afraid Ulog may have had a larger game to play.

MATT: Horris slaps the shoulder of Dolan and says, “I told you there was something up with that guy.”

TRAVIS: Why do you say that, Horris?

MATT: “I just didn’t trust him. I mean, it took a while for us to be okay with each other, but he was always on edge.”

TRAVIS: He left us in charge of finding justice for his wife, and we intend to.

MATT: “That’s something.”

MARISHA: Seems like you all had your own individual motives for why you were part of the Knights of Requital. You sure yours was just because you wanted to be the High-Richter?

MATT: “Anywhere I could help change the law of the town.”

TRAVIS: Do I believe him?

MATT: Make an insight check.

TRAVIS: 11.

MATT: 11. Hard to read, but he seems forthright.

TRAVIS: All right. Let’s help Horris get out of the city. Stay low. Stay here.

MATT: “I will. Thankfully, when all this went down, we were both in the Song and Supper, so at least we have an alibi. I’ve just never done something like this before. Pardon my nerves.” You see his hands are literally shaking, and you see notice now he is very nervous.

TRAVIS: Have a drink. It’ll help with that.

MATT: “I will.” He goes off to the corner and pulls out a small glass bottle of liquor. He comes over, and him and Horris give a very tight hug to each other, and then separate. Dolan sits down, puts the drink on the table. “Thank you.“

TRAVIS: Of course. We’ll have to regroup, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

MATT: "Go.”

TRAVIS: We leave.

MATT: Horris comes with you guys towards the Leaky Tap. You guys make your way to the Leaky Tap.

LAURA: Yes, we do.

TALIESIN: Before we go in, we’re going to go to the basement.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: I’m going to go upstairs to try to talk to Claudia.

LIAM: I will say that on the walk, I would instantly Identify the stone.

MATT: Okay, so you will cast–?

LIAM: Identify.

SAM: The stone?

LIAM: From Sutan’s house.

MATT: Oh, from Sutan’s house, I got you. Yeah. Here you go. A sending stone. One of two. You do not know where the other one is.

SAM: Oh, intrigue.

LAURA: Like we had? Like Vox Machina had?

SAM: Who? What? Who are you talking about?

LAURA: Oh, where you speak into it. Not like where you hold onto it and you transport?

MATT: No, not that. That was a gate stone. This is essentially a means of communicating between two stones.

LIAM: Once-a-day walkie-talkie.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: You head down into the basement area beneath the Leaky Tap. Once again, the guard is pretty sparse. You’ll see one guard walk past, but their numbers seem to have been ushered elsewhere in the city. So you make it down there and you take enough time that you eventually get the lock back open that you left. You head down into basement. It’s exactly how you left it.

SAM: This is the place. Are you with us?

LIAM: Yes, I am.

SAM: This is the place I was talking to you about. The skeleton’s right over there.

TALIESIN: I say we put it behind the skeleton.

LIAM: I go take a look at this skeleton. I would like to try to ascertain how long this fucker has been here.

MATT: Make a medicine check.

LIAM: Yeah. Not great at all, like all my skill rolls. Seven.

MATT: A seven? Hard to tell. I mean, just looking at the level of decomposition, it’s been here a while.

TALIESIN: Do I get anything from it? Is it a normal human skeleton?

TRAVIS: “Do I get anything from it?” You creepy bastard.

MATT: Make a medicine check to see if you can ascertain the creature type.

TALIESIN: Ten.

MATT: It definitely doesn’t appear to be anything beyond humanoid. The size, the shape of the skeleton, it’s a standard humanoid skeleton, but you’re not able to tell anything beyond that.

LIAM: Here’s the thing. We can hide this here. It’s a calculated risk, which I am fan of, generally. But my thread, my magic would let me know if someone– no, never mind.

SAM: What?

LIAM: No. I can put a magical lock on the door to this basement as well. As well as an alarm.

TALIESIN: An alarm and a lock?

SAM: What would that do?

LIAM: Well, the thread will allow me me to know if someone I didn’t want to be in here came in here.

(distant clattering)

MATT: That’s upstairs.

LAURA: That’s me upstairs, talking to Claudia. And the spell will stop your average Joseph from coming in here.

TALIESIN: I like this plan. It’s a good plan.

SAM: All right. Very smart, as always.

LIAM: But, you know, I think you and I should sleep down here tonight, actually.

SAM: With the skelly?

LIAM: Yes.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I think we’re going to need you upstairs for some identification. I think it would be less suspicious sleeping down here.

LIAM: I worry– well, I’ll tell you my concerns and that is that this thing is beyond comprehension, even. And the desire to get it back is going to be great. This– and I pull out the Sending Stone– is just a stone that I stole from Sutan’s house. This I’m not worried about. Would you put this in your backpack, please?

LAURA: I’m not with you. I’m upstairs trying to get a hold of Claudia.

LIAM: Oh, you’re not with us? I’ll have to ask Jester to put this in her backpack.

TALIESIN: So noted.

LIAM: But this thing was worth blowing up a tower for.

TALIESIN: And if someone spies on it, I don’t want them to see you with it.

SAM: If we slept in our rooms–

LIAM: You cannot spy on a thing, as far as I know. You can spy on a place. You can spy on a person.

TALIESIN: You can spy on anything, I imagine. I mean, it’s magic, right?

LIAM: This is why I want the lead box.

TALIESIN: Is that really going to work?

SAM: But what if someone breaks in and we’re here? Then we’re attached to these objects. I mean, I’ll sleep down here if you want. Maybe we can get rid of the skelly first.

TALIESIN: It’ll take 20 seconds to get here from the second that alarm goes off.

LIAM: All right.

TALIESIN: One night.

LIAM: Okay. Well, let’s hide it.

TALIESIN: Well.

LIAM: Ja. From normal people. I put the same shitty rag on it that was on it before.

MATT: Okay. Make a general survival check to pull things from the surrounding–

LIAM: Two plus three. That’s five.

TALIESIN: Can I help with this?

MATT: Sure. You look at it, the job he did, and you’re like, “Yeah, I can probably do a little better.”

TALIESIN: Yeah, I can! Is this survival? Seven.

MARISHA: Always have someone check your work.

LIAM: Molly and Caleb put the skull on top of it together.

MATT: It’s fine. Essentially, you didn’t do a masterful job in completely camouflaging it, but it looks like it’s the rest of the objects that looks dusty and left there.

LIAM: Did you say there were crates down here too?

MATT: There were some barrels. There was an open crate with nothing in it. It’s a dusty, unused cellar.

TALIESIN: Let’s put it behind the skeleton. If I came down here, I’d look in the crates. It’s the first thing I’d do.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: You would– Oh. Never mind, I’m not there.

MATT: So you hide it up and put it off to the side.

TALIESIN: I look in the crate.

MATT: You look in the crate? You look inside and see a fairly rat-eaten sack of rice grains that have spilled out.

TALIESIN: Awesome.

MATT: As well as a lot of rat droppings in the crate. It looks like some of the wood at the bottom has been chewed through as well.

LAURA: I’m not there.

TALIESIN: Nope. Never mind. Damn. That was good thought, though.

LAURA: That was a really good thought.

MATT: Anything else, guys?

TALIESIN: Thread. Lock.

SAM: What’s wrong, Caleb?

LIAM: I really think we should stay down here with it.

SAM: All right. I’m game.

TALIESIN: One of you, if not both of you.

LIAM: Why don’t you and I stay down here for the night? You have anything you want me to identify, leave it, I can do that. You know what I have, I’m not leaving.

SAM: What? I mean, we don’t know what Fjord and the grumpy one have discovered. Maybe we should go upstairs and reconnoiter with them and then come down here, when it’s time for beddy-bye.

LIAM: I will stay with this thing. You go up. When they come back, you come back down. My gut tells me to stay close to this thing.

SAM: All right. I’ll stay with you, then.

LIAM: I’m glad.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: So we’re going to go in and out of this room several times tonight?

LIAM: The entrance to this is in the back of the building, right?

MATT: It is, yes. It’s in the alley.

TALIESIN: That in no way is suspicious, but that’s fine.

LIAM: Well, Nott, you go up. You can just Message me.

SAM: Oh yes, I can do that. Should I do that and then come back later?

LIAM: Yeah, and you come down here.

SAM: You’re just going to stay here in this dank, dark room with a skeleton by yourself, no dinner. All right.

MARISHA: Sounds like half the clubs in LA.

SAM: All right. I’ll be back in less than an hour.

TRAVIS: We got a quesadilla.

MARISHA: Fuck! All right. I’ll go up and see what they are saying.

MATT: While this is happening–

LIAM: When they leave, I’m going to take the big item and put it on my person. I’m going to hold it, actually.

MATT: Okay. As you’re holding it there, it’s strangely warm to the touch. The more time you spend with it holding it there.

LIAM: I am not, like, looking into the abyss. I just don’t understand it and I’m just holding it there.

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: Okay. Let me see here. Okay.

LIAM: Jester had all the shit, right?

LAURA: I had all the shit!

MATT: Yep. So you head back up into the Leaky Tap Tavern. There’s a handful of patrons, a lot of them are talking or whispering about the events tonight. Talking about, “The tower’s still up there! It’s crazy!” The general conversation-hubbub through the room.

LAURA: I go to the barkeep. Is Claudia awake?

MATT: “Probably in her office.”

LAURA: Okay! I go and knock on the door.

MATT: Okay. “Who is it?”

LAURA: It’s me, Jester!

MATT: “Um, w-what do you want?”

LAURA: Claudia! When we were over at the Gala, we saw things that were going on, it was crazy, a tower exploded and then all hell broke loose. Did you know someone tried to steal my stuff?

MATT: “I did not know that. My apologies.”

LAURA: Do you have maybe a safe or something? Because I don’t feel safe carrying around my jewelry anymore with me.

MATT: “No, not on me. Well– Come back in the morning, I might have something for you.”

LAURA: Claudia, are you naked? Why won’t you open this door?

SAM: Flush.

MATT: “No, I am busy at the moment.”

LAURA: Is everything okay?

MATT: “Everything is just fine.”

LAURA: Claudia. Blink once– knock– say you’re not okay if you’re not okay because you sound weird.

MATT: “I’m fine. Do not worry.”

LAURA: Okay. But you do have a safe I can put my jewelry in now?

MATT: “It is currently in use, but I can swap it out. How long do you need it for?”

LAURA: Well, I was going to put it in my room for as long as we’re here, if that’s okay with you.

MATT: “Okay, then come back in the morning. I will have it cleared out.”

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: “Then it will be at use for you.”

LAURA: Are you having sex?

MATT: “No.”

LAURA: Do you want me to come in? Are you okay?

MATT: “I’m okay.”

LAURA: You sound really weird. I try the doorknob.

MATT: Okay. It’s locked.

LIAM: Cue the horror strings. (violin screeching)

TALIESIN: I have had this roommate.

MARISHA: I was just about to say, Jester’s everyone’s little sister when you’re a senior in high school.

LIAM: Jester’s face pushes through the door!

LAURA: I get down on my hands and knees and try to look. Can I look under the door?

MATT: Make a perception check with disadvantage because you are looking through a tiny little gap in the floor.

TALIESIN: Whoa.

LAURA: Okay, well the first one was really good. Perception. Nine.

MATT: Nine? You see there’s light in there and you can see Claudia darting back and forth behind her desk, moving very rapidly and with haste. Is grabbing things and seems to be writing something feverishly. But you don’t actually see her, you just see the bottom of her feet moving back and forth.

MARISHA: Why are so many fucking people trying to skip town?

TRAVIS: Shady motherfuckers.

LAURA: Claudia, what are you doing?

MATT: She stops in the space. “Um, I’m–”

LAURA: Is everything okay?

MATT: “Everything’s fine.”

LAURA: Did you see the tower explode?

MATT: “I heard about it.”

LAURA: Can you let me in?

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

TRAVIS: That cuteness, man.

TALIESIN: There should be an annoyance check. This is so great.

LIAM: Give her advantage. Oh my god.

LAURA: 15.

MATT: 15. The door opens up and you can see Claudia looking as pristine as ever. Hair, makeup, everything done perfectly. “Come in, quickly.”

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Closes the door, brings you inside.

LIAM: Can I come in now?

MARISHA: Don’t take no for an answer.

LIAM: How about now?

MATT: “I am aware that you and your team were involved in something this evening. Am I correct?”

LAURA: Well, we were at the Gala because we were having some fun.

MATT: “But you are not in any way, shape or form perhaps doing a burglary and job breaking in for the Knights of Requital, yes?”

LAURA: Who are that?

SAM: Two floors below we’re putting a skull–

(laughter)

MATT: Make a deception check.

TRAVIS: Who are that?

LAURA: That’s actually a really good deception. 21.

MATT: She looks at you confused and goes, “Well, regardless, your friends are involved in something that as a precaution, as I have been housing certain meetings out of friendship with an individual, there is danger that I might be pulled up in this. So I am preparing to sell off the tavern.”

LAURA: (gasps) Wait a minute, but wouldn’t that draw attention to the tavern?

MATT: “It will only draw attention to me.”

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: She walks over and finishes tidying paperwork on the side.

LAURA: Who are you selling it to?

MATT: Make a general charisma roll. Just for the hell of it.

LAURA: Well see, this is why I– oh no. Ten?

MATT: Ten? She goes, “To a friend.”

LAURA: Oh. Friends are good. Can I have that safe though?

MATT: (sighs) She kneels down at the side of the room and there’s a cloth put over a small table, like an end table, and she removes the flowers from it, pulls the cloth off and it’s a safe.

LAURA: What’s it made out of?

MATT: “Out of iron. What else would you make a safe out of?”

LAURA: Oh. Okay.

MATT: She pulls out a key and unlocks it, brings out a couple of bags of coin, brings out a couple other bags of something. You don’t hear any noise, the rustling as she pulls it out. Sets them off to the side, looks at you while she does so the whole time like–

LAURA: Are those drugs?

MATT: “Here’s your safe.”

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: Hands it to you. It’s small. It’s heavy, but you’re pretty strong. “All right.”

LAURA: Well, all right. Will you be gone in the morning, then?

MATT: “Probably.”

LAURA: Oh no! But Claudia, I really like you.

MATT: “Well, I like you too. But that’s okay. Don’t worry. The woman I’m selling this to is also a very good person and a good friend.”

LAURA: What’s her name?

MATT: There’s a brief pause, glances over at the paperwork on the table–

LAURA: I look down at the paperwork on the table, too.

MATT: “Lauren. Lauren Schvine.”

LAURA: Is that what it says?

MATT: It is.

LAURA: (giggles) Okay. Lauren. That’s a good name. I heard when we were coming back that they were putting the city on lockdown, so if you’re going to leave, you should probably do it quickly.

MATT: “I appreciate the information. I should be okay.”

LAURA: All right.

MATT: “Good night.”

LAURA: Good night. Thank you, Claudia, for all of this.

MATT: “Not a problem.”

LAURA: I walk very slowly out of the room and keep looking over my shoulder as I’m doing it and smiling back at her.

MATT: She watches and waits, sees you smiling, arms crossed on the desk, patiently waiting.

LAURA: Okay. I’m going to put this in my room, thank you.

MATT: The door closes behind you and you hear a (heavy sigh) audibly on the other side of the door. So as the rest of you begin to catch up and gather for the evening, we’re going to take a break!

(cheering)

MATT: Be back here in a few minutes to pick up from that point. We do have tonight’s Wyrmwood giveaway. That went all sorts of weird, interesting ways. Oh man.

MARISHA: We almost killed a guy and then someone else killed a guy, we still reaped all the rewards. Good for us, guys. Good for us.

MATT: Not all of them.

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: There’s a lot of interesting ways that could have gone. All right, so we have the black walnut deck box from our friends at Wyrmwood here. Also, apparently comes with a Magic the Gathering pack. These have been in all the boxes so you get a little gift in there. This will go out to one winner. You have to enter Twitch chat, starting now. You can only put the word in once, or you’ll be disqualified, but the word tonight is “Threats.” T-H-R-E-A-T-S. Come into the Twitch chat, enter that. Once again, only, unfortunately, available to people in the United States and Canada, excluding Quebec. We’re trying to figure out how to fix that in the future, but weird laws in giveaways. Anyway, we’ll be back here in a few minutes. Much love and we’ll see you soon.

BreakEdit

[break]

Part IIEdit

MATT: And welcome back. Way late on that one.

LIAM: It was like a Pokémon, though.

MATT: There you go. We have a winner. The winner for this evening is Iraginger. Iraginger, congratulations.

MARISHA: Ey, represent!

MATT: We’ll get that box to you ASAP. Well done. All right, so, bringing us back into the game, you all begin to converge back in the Leaky Tap. The party has reassembled, aside from you, who are staying down in the basement.

LIAM: Hanging out with my new friend.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: Yorick.

MATT: As you guys all gather together, what do you do?

LAURA: Are we in a room? We should be in a room instead of in the–

TRAVIS: Not downstairs?

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Upstairs, yeah. Convene in-room.

TALIESIN: There’s money and loot. Let’s take a look.

TRAVIS: Convene in the girls’ room. It’s bound to be cleaner.

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

MARISHA: It’s all right.

LAURA: We did have a pillow fight.

MARISHA: Yeah, it’s down feathers all over the place.

MATT: Yeah, it’s pretty (blows out lips).

SAM: So we’ve got some stuff. What did we get?

LAURA: (heavy thud) Nott, what is this made out of?

SAM: This? I will taste it. I will lick the safe.

MATT: It’s very… iron-y? It’s like licking a nine volt battery.

LAURA: Is it made of lead?

SAM: It’s ironic. It’s not what we want.

LAURA: I really was trying to get a lead box.

SAM: You did very well considering it’s after midnight and you got a metal box for free.

LAURA: It’s true.

SAM: I don’t know, can I tell it’s lead– I mean, iron, not lead?

MATT: Make an intelligence check. Because you are an alchemist, I’ll give you advantage on it.

SAM: Okay. Just a straight intelligence check?

MATT: Yep.

SAM: 15.

MATT: 15? Okay, yeah. This is very definitively iron. You’ve tasted iron, iron filings and things of that similar nature and it has the same twinge to the flavor.

SAM: Oh. It’s a very well-made safe.

LAURA: Well, we can still put stuff in it if we want to.

MARISHA: Where’s Caleb? He downstairs?

TRAVIS: Yeah, where is Caleb?

SAM: He’s downstairs for now, but I am in constant communication with him.

MARISHA: What’s the last thing he said?

SAM: I take out my piece of wire and I do my incantation and I whisper to it and I say: Did the skeleton come to life and kill you? Please respond to this message.

LIAM: Everybody is dead down here.

SAM: He’s a prankster.

(laughter)

SAM: He’s good ol’ Cay.

TRAVIS: He’s down there babysitting our item?

SAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Okay.

TALIESIN: We’re going to want to take a look at these boots. These daggers.

LAURA: Hey, Claudia was aware that we guys were in league with the Knights of Requital.

MARISHA: Makes sense.

LAURA: Claudia says she’s selling the tavern.

MARISHA, TALIESIN, and TRAVIS: What?!

LAURA: Yeah. Like tonight.

MARISHA: How much?

LAURA: To a girl named Lauren Spizzick or something.

MARISHA: Shpizich?

TRAVIS: Spinach.

SAM: Lauren Spinach.

LAURA: So she said she was selling it, and I said, “Wouldn’t that draw attention to the tavern, though?” and she said no, just her. But if it does, and she knows, then maybe it could lead the guards to us, though.

SAM: Should we change to a different hotel?

LAURA: It might be smart, but that might be–

SAM: Wait, she was selling this place because of us?

MATT: As a note, so you guys recall, Horris is with you.

MARISHA: Wait, what?

LAURA: Wait, Horris came with us?

MATT: Horris came along with you guys.

TRAVIS: That’s my bad. Yeah, he did.

MARISHA: I thought we just sent him on his way.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we forgot to qualify that.

MARISHA: Aw, fuck! I thought–

LIAM: Make believe is tricky, guys.

LAURA: Horris is in this room right now?

MATT: Horris is in the room with you.

LAURA: Aw, come on, man.

SAM: I should put on my pants.

TALIESIN: Let’s not be hasty.

MATT: We’ll say, for the purposes of this, the door now opens to the room and Horris comes in after a drink to steady his nerves and goes, “Hello.”

MARISHA: Did you bring me that drink? Oh, sit down.

TRAVIS: Yeah, jeez, man. No sense of humor right now, he’s in shock, all right?

MARISHA: Sorry.

TRAVIS: Horris, we’re going to get you out of the city as soon as possible. Is there a destination you wanted to send him to, or point him in the right direction?

MARISHA: I was mentioning Alfield, but really, it’s up to him, I guess. I don’t care.

TRAVIS: Have any spots in mind that you can lay low for a while?

SAM: Why does he need to leave the city?

MARISHA: We walked in on him and his boy trying to skip town.

TRAVIS: They were understandably rattled. It’s understandable, but Dolan’s going to try and stay to make the city a better place. Horris is going to remove a bit of the risk for himself for a bit.

MATT: “Just for a little bit.”

LAURA: You should go to the coast. You should get out of the empire.

TRAVIS: It is lovely by the coast.

MARISHA: Well, he said he only wanted to be gone a week, though, right?

MATT: “About a week or two, until things–”

SAM: Why do you need to leave? Who’s suspicious of you?

MATT: “We don’t know yet. It’s just a precautionary measure.”

MARISHA: You do know that leaving town itself is suspicious in its own right, right? Just throwing it out there.

MATT: “We have an alibi, but if we both stay and we get found out, we both get arrested.”

MARISHA: But you have an alibi. It’s hard to have an alibi when you mysteriously–

MATT: “What do you want me to do, then?”

MARISHA: I don’t give a shit what you–

MATT: “She who questions everything and offers no answers. What do you want me to do?”

TRAVIS: I think what Beau is trying to say is that you’ve made a wise choice in removing yourself for a bit. Did you happen to know the owner of The Leaky Tap? She’s apparently selling it.

MARISHA: Yeah. Claudia. Also skipping town.

MATT: “I don’t blame her, either.”

LAURA: I don’t know if she’s leaving town. She’s just selling the tavern.

TRAVIS: She’s selling it? Yeah.

MARISHA: She knew we were holding all those backroom meetings, right? She helps you guys quite a lot.

MATT: “As far as Dolan told me, yeah.”

TRAVIS: Did you want to get out of town tonight, or did you want to wait until the morning, perhaps?

MATT: “I can wait until the morning, if you don’t mind me crashing with you.”

TRAVIS: Not at all. We have room in Molly and I’s room.

SAM: You can take Caleb and my room.

LAURA: Why? Are you not going to–

SAM: We’ll be spending the night somewhere else.

LAURA: (gasps) Where?

TALIESIN: Well, we’re not going to speak of that in mixed company, but they’re dealing with other problems.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I’ll lead Horris to our room and let him get comfortable. I’ll be back.

LIAM: Just a quick aside, while all of this is going on. I place the thing in my lap and I pick up the skull. Oh, so many secrets, huh, Yorick? (gravelly) “Maybe you should tear it off your chest.” I don’t think that’s a good idea. "It’s driving you crazy.” Maybe not yet. “It’s probably a good idea.” You’re funny.

TRAVIS: (gravelly) Red rum.

MATT: Seriously.

SAM: I get to spend the night with that guy.

TRAVIS: Yeah, you’re going down there.

MATT: All right. Anything else you want to work out, discuss, or plan?

TALIESIN: Let’s divvy up the loot. I’ve worked it out, that’s 19 platinum apiece, and two gold pieces apiece.

TRAVIS: Wow, fucking pay day!

TALIESIN: With two platinum left over.

MARISHA: How many platinum? 19?

TALIESIN: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: That’s a lot of platinum.

MARISHA: And two gold?

TALIESIN: Mm-hmm.

SAM: I’ll take Caleb’s share and give it to him.

TALIESIN: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: Okay, so we also got– let’s look. This sword.

TRAVIS: What kind of sword is it?

MATT: It’s roughly longsword length. It has this curved, hooked edge to it. The blade looks like it would not just slash, but tear as it went through flesh as well. It’s pretty wicked-looking.

LAURA: It’s pretty wicked-looking.

TRAVIS: Does it look like it has any magical aura emanating from it?

MATT: I don’t know, can you sense magic?

TRAVIS: Not officially.

MATT: Then you do not know.

SAM: I can take it downstairs later and have Cay-Cay take a look at it.

TRAVIS: Cay-Cay, not to be confused with Kiki.

MARISHA: Yeah!

LAURA: We also have these really super cool spiky boots.

TRAVIS: What do those do?

LAURA: I think you put them on your feet and they protect them.

TRAVIS: Molly, put those boots on.

TALIESIN: Yeah, all right. How do they look?

MATT: They look nice.

TALIESIN: I think they clash a bit, but–

LAURA: I don’t think they go with your pants.

TALIESIN: No, not really.

TRAVIS: You get an extra spring in your step? What’s it do?

MATT: You take a moment and you feel… alert.

TALIESIN: They’re caffeinated. Sorry.

MARISHA: I didn’t expect you to wear platforms.

LAURA: It’s weird to see the bottom of your pants because you normally have those thigh-highs on.

TALIESIN: Oh, they’re very comfortable and they keep everything else clean.

LAURA: Yes. Okay, we also have these three daggers, which look like– Are they ceremonial? Do they look–

MATT: They look functional. They’re similar in design to the longsword. They’re not quite as intricate, and they’re much simpler. They don’t have the same grooves carved into the hilt, and they look like fairly decent daggers for either stabbing or throwing.

LAURA: I lick one, then I lick the safe. Is it iron, then?

MATT: You’re not certain what material they’re made from. It’s not the same as the– What are you doing?

TALIESIN: I’m playing with the longsword.

MATT: It’s got a great balance.

LAURA: Oh, and we don’t have the armor anymore, we gave it back to him.

MATT: Yeah, the armor you gave back, and then was scooped up by the Crownsguard.

MARISHA: I look at Molly and I take out my bo staff. I say: Parry! and I go whack with the sword. See if anything happens.

MATT: Okay. Do you attack him?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Roll for an attack.

MARISHA: I mean, I told him I was attacking.

TALIESIN: I’m going to parry.

MARISHA: 20 total.

TALIESIN: Boy, that hits!

MATT: You attempt to parry cooly, and she hits you in the right eye.

TALIESIN: Ow!

MARISHA: Oh sorry, I thought we were just wrestling a little.

TALIESIN: I hit her with the flat of the blade.

MARISHA: Ow! Fuck!

TALIESIN: Any effect?

MARISHA: Do I feel anything?

MATT: Pain.

SAM: Why don’t I just have Caleb look–

TALIESIN: Any effect?

MARISHA: Yeah, a fucking headache!

TALIESIN: My god, it works! It’s amazing!

SAM: I’ll take the daggers, unless you can use them to throw, I can throw them at things, I think?

MARISHA: Do the daggers seem special?

MATT: The daggers seem to be simpler in design. You’re not sure if they’re special or not. I mean, the only person who can detect magic is not in the room.

LIAM: We’re going to drag this out as long as possible.

MATT: I know!

MARISHA: I’m going to take one of the daggers and I throw it against the windowsill.

TRAVIS: Window-seal?

SAM: That’s how they say it in Kentucky.

MATT: Go ahead and roll an attack.

TRAVIS: Window-seal.

MARISHA: Seal. Damn it, that’s true. What did you say?

MATT: Go ahead and roll an attack.

MARISHA: (singing) Don’t fuck me, Gil. 20. Sorry, 22.

MATT: 22? Yeah. (vibrating impact) It sticks to the bottom of the sill; it doesn’t quite hit the glass, it manages to hit its mark and stay there, like a dagger.

MARISHA: I mean, that was pretty awesome, right?

SAM: I think that was more you than the dagger, though.

MARISHA: That’s true.

TRAVIS: Why are y'all staying in another place tonight?

SAM: For safety.

TRAVIS: Oh. Because of the thing?

SAM: (loudly) Yes, because of–

MATT: Horris isn’t in the room anymore.

SAM: Oh. All right.

LAURA: You take your pants back off.

SAM: Yeah, because of the thing. Caleb’s idea.

TRAVIS: You need any help? Backup?

SAM: I’m the help.

TRAVIS: Right.

MARISHA: I think what Fjord meant was: can y'all be trusted?

LAURA: Exactly. Will you send a message to Caleb and say, “Are we going to leave everyone else tonight and steal the big ball?” Send a message to him saying that.

MARISHA: Very valid question.

SAM: All right, sure. I take out my wire, I do my incantation. I send a Message to him, I say: Caleb, are we going to abscond with the dodecahedron in the dead of night? You can reply to this message, and only I can hear your reply.

LIAM: Tell them I’m not going to run off with it.

SAM: Yes, we are.

LAURA: Damn it!

TRAVIS: Nott, why? Why are you going to–

SAM: We’re not going to steal it! He’s scared of that thing, why would we take it away from you?

MARISHA: Seems like he’s taken a few things that he’s afraid of.

TRAVIS: Yeah, to be honest, that evening started to take a turn before the Richter showed up. Do you know Caleb to be sticky-fingered like yourself?

SAM: We do what we need to do to survive.

MARISHA: Wait, what happened?

TRAVIS: Well, remember we were trying to leave no trace? Caleb was the architect of the plan, and there was a scroll that looked like it might have some magic to it, and he wanted to take it with.

SAM: So what? The plan was to leave no trace, not take nothing. He was very clear at the outset that we were doing this for money.

MARISHA: You do realize that missing things mean leaving a trace, right?

SAM: No.

TRAVIS: We were right there at the end, we were at the finish line.

SAM: We caused a giant explosion, we destroyed a rug, we broke into two different places, Mollymauk was seen by guards outside of both; there was plenty of traces we left behind. I opened a box that froze me for an hour!

LAURA: I know, and I saved you!

SAM: Yeah, I’m pretty sure someone’s going to notice that that box has been opened!

MARISHA: You realize you’re not helping your case, right?

SAM: I’m just saying, him taking a scroll is small potatoes.

MARISHA: We’d already fucked up the rug, we probably shouldn’t fuck up anyone else’s house. We were already implicated at one place, right?

TRAVIS: Nott, it’s just a little reckless, wouldn’t you say?

SAM: What Caleb does is well thought-out and always intentional and smart.

TALIESIN: You’re a remarkable judge of character, you know that?

MARISHA: Are you aware of what Stockholm Syndrome is?

SAM: Stockholm Syndrome?

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: No, I’m not. Explain that to me.

MARISHA: Yeah, it’s an Emon thing.

MATT: Gerald Stockholm.

SAM: What are you implying?

TALIESIN: I think what Beau is trying to imply is– I’m going to use something a little more basic. Do you know the story of the scorpion and the turtle?

SAM: Sure. The scorpion rides on the turtle’s back…

TALIESIN: And then what happens?

SAM: Whatever Caleb says happens next.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: The scorpion rides on the turtle’s back across a river. The scorpion stings the turtle, they both drown. What is the moral of this story?

LAURA: Don’t be a scorpion.

SAM: Stay away from the water, is what I take from it!

TALIESIN: That’s true, but the full point of this, and the point I’m trying to make, is that with a group like this with very untrustworthy people, you’ve got to trust each other– because you have to trust somebody. You can’t trust not anybody, because you’re just alone.

SAM: All right, so you are all apologizing for not trusting Caleb’s judgment.

TALIESIN: We don’t trust you.

LAURA: I trust you!

TALIESIN: You’ve tried to steal from us twice.

SAM: Not you.

TALIESIN: You’ve tried to steal from us. Not me, us. This is where the circle has to start. We will support you in doing some ridiculous stuff, but you have to keep it outside.

TRAVIS: We’re looking out for you, I mean.

TALIESIN: And that means sometimes you can’t do the thing you want because it’s going to be better for everybody else, and sometimes everybody else is wrong, but you have to go with it.

SAM: All right, and what exactly have you done to earn our trust?

TALIESIN: Nothing, there’s been no earned trust–

LAURA: I saved you!

TALIESIN: I actually did take a crossbow bolt, knocked myself unconscious, trying to save your life!

SAM: I’m not talking about life or death.

TALIESIN: I saved your life!

MARISHA: It doesn’t matter, wait.

TALIESIN: And it doesn’t matter, we start from scratch! This is where it starts!

SAM: I’ve saved your lives, Caleb has saved your lives–

TALIESIN: When?

SAM: Tonight. Caleb got that dodeca-fuckballs out of there by himself.

TALIESIN: We didn’t want it!

MARISHA: Okay, hang on, before we turn this into a pissing contest–

SAM: He has slain things, he has saved things, and I have as well! If we’re talking about trust, what on earth have any of you people done to earn our trust? What have you done that we have requested? Ever?

LAURA: I let you have a ring.

SAM: I like you.

MARISHA: It’s not about earning each other’s trust. Look, I have worked with some skeevey motherfuckers in my day, very unsavory types. But you know what I trust? That they have their own self-preservation, right? So I can trust that these motherfuckers don’t want to get caught, and that they don’t want to die at the end of the day. If you want to do something skeevey on the side, let me know, I will help you out. But when we are all working as a team, I don’t want your actions to get me in fucking trouble.

TALIESIN: So if you really don’t trust us, I’ll happily take that 40 platinum back, right now.

MARISHA: We don’t have to trust each other, but when we are working on a job together, I want to know that you care enough about yourself that you’re not going to get me in trouble.

TALIESIN: God, you’re making me agree with her.

MARISHA: Fuck you, Molly.

TALIESIN and MARISHA: Fuck you.

TALIESIN: See?

SAM: When we signed up for this job, Caleb was very explicit. He said we are doing this for coin and treasure, and that’s what we got.

MARISHA: I agree with that.

SAM: There was no surprises here, we’re in it for what we can grab for ourselves.

TALIESIN: No, we’re in it for what we can all grab together. That’s how these things work.

MARISHA: When you want to grab something for yourself, you let me know, and you go grab it for yourself, I don’t have to be a part of it. When we choose one objective together, I can only trust that you are in it with us. We can be selfish as a group, and then be selfish as individuals.

TALIESIN: This is why the circus worked. This is why the circus was functional.

TRAVIS: You know, Nott, you count on Caleb to keep you safe, right, to achieve greater things than you by yourself can achieve. Think how many things you could do with all of us by your side. I’m not saying you don’t have to be selfish, and I’m not saying that you can’t go after treasure and coin.

SAM: I think there’s a bit of a misconception here.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MARISHA: Is there?

SAM: Caleb and I have a very special relationship. It is that of a parent and a child. But I am the parent. You do understand that, correct? I protect him. He’s my boy, and I keep him safe. I want him to thrive and get better and better, and more powerful and stronger. Because he can achieve great things. When I found him, he was nothing. He was a scared little boy in the corner of a jail cell. As we have gotten more comfortable, he has gotten more comfortable and come out of his shell. It’s my job to protect him, because I love him, and I am his protector. Not because he protects me.

TALIESIN: So do you think it would be a good idea to explain to him that he almost got himself killed tonight? Turning on a bunch of people he was working with, he almost got himself killed tonight for nothing.

MARISHA: You’re not the only one who can have the same interests in keeping each other safe.

TALIESIN: And you’re not nearly as smart as you think you are.

TRAVIS: If I may, thank you for sharing that, Nott.

MARISHA: Oh yeah, thanks.

LAURA: That is so cute!

SAM: He’s going to be a great man someday.

LAURA: He will! He really will!

TRAVIS: That changes things. I admit that I had the wrong idea about you two. I know what it’s like to feel responsible for someone.

MARISHA: Man, super shame that Caleb’s not here for this entire conversation.

TALIESIN: I try not to have ideas about people, they just get in the way.

LAURA: I just want to go down there and hug him!

TALIESIN: If you do, bring all of this stuff so he can actually do something useful.

MARISHA: Let’s go down there, why don’t we camp in the cellar?

SAM: That seems like it would be suspicious.

TALIESIN: No, he created this situation, I’m all right with this.

LAURA: Does he know that you think of him like his son?

SAM: I don’t know that.

TALIESIN: Well, we get to tell him now, don’t we?

LAURA: No, we can’t out her like that.

TRAVIS: Nott, we want to take care of Caleb, we do. We pulled him out of that house when that Fireball went off. We didn’t cut and run, even though it might have saved our skins. We care about you two. I hope in time you’ll learn to trust us just a little bit more. Maybe think about protecting us as well, because you seem to do a great job taking care of Caleb.

TALIESIN: And stop expecting people to earn things. You just have to sometimes go with it.

SAM: I’ll have a talk with him.

TRAVIS: I appreciate that.

MARISHA: I mean, not as nice as what they said, if he ever does anything to get me fucking locked up I will beat him so fucking bad his ancestors on the next plane won’t fucking recognize him.

SAM: That’s very nice, Beau.

MARISHA: Thanks, I’m trying real hard.

SAM: Yeah, I could tell that there was at least six more fucks in there that you held back.

(laughter)

SAM: That’s progress.

MARISHA: Yeah, progress. I am an HR liability.

LIAM: What about in the game?

TRAVIS: So when are you planning to go down to keep an eye on your boy?

SAM: As soon as you give me the stuff you want identified. And you’ll have to trust me that we won’t run away with it in the dead of night.

LAURA: Oh, now I feel like you really will because everyone was just mean.

TALIESIN: We literally caught you stealing our stuff. Here’s an extra platinum.

SAM: Hey, you’re the one who hypnotized me into talking about stuff.

TALIESIN: I did.

SAM: Yeah, you think that’s what friends do to each other?!

TALIESIN: When they catch them stealing their stuff, yes they do.

SAM: I don’t think so. You think that’s cool, Beau?

MARISHA: You caught him stealing your stuff?

LAURA and SAM and TALIESIN: Her!

MARISHA: You caught her stealing your stuff?

TALIESIN: Fjord’s stuff, technically.

SAM: I was not stealing! I was searching for something to steal.

TALIESIN: She was stealing.

LAURA: What were you trying to find?

SAM: That’s besides the point.

TALIESIN: Here, you can cast Friends on me, I’ll tell you everything you want to know.

SAM: I don’t have Friends, he hasn’t taught me that one yet.

TALIESIN: Oh gods, suddenly I’m compelled to answer everything truthfully! Oh no, more of whatever you’re drinking, I can’t help, stop, ack!

MARISHA: This is the most I’ve liked either one of you motherfuckers.

TALIESIN: I feel that.

TRAVIS: Nott, how about you take those items to Caleb and call it a vote of confidence.

TALIESIN: There was an extra platinum in there.

SAM: All right.

MARISHA: And I pull out my bo. And I put it down and I say, but I’ll find ya. If anything else happens.

TRAVIS: I think he’s got the point.

TALIESIN: Take the items and the unearned trust downstairs.

SAM: Maybe you guys can have a talk with her tonight.

TALIESIN: Oh no, that’s coming too.

SAM: I know she’s drunk, but–

LAURA: She’s pretty drunk. You’re pretty drunk, Beau.

MARISHA: Y’all don’t fucking know me.

(laughter)

SAM: I’m going to leave now.

TALIESIN: Take the things, we’ll see you in a bit.

SAM: Have a good night, don’t break into our room. I’ll go down with Caleb.

MATT: Caleb, as you’re sitting there talking to your skull.

LIAM: Oh, that was so brief. That was like five minutes ago.

MATT: The door opens and Nott scuttles in, closes the door behind and comes and joins you.

LIAM: How’s it going up there?

SAM: I stole this fucking scroll for you.

LIAM: It’s a scroll case, right?

MATT: Which one are you handing him?

SAM: The one from the Richter’s.

MATT: That’s right, yeah.

SAM: I got it. I went back and got it.

LIAM: Does anybody know you took this?

SAM: No.

LIAM: I set it on the ground. I pull Nott closer to me, and I give Nott a kiss on the forehead. Thank you.

SAM: Thank you for saving me tonight. You brought me back from the dead. Oh. I think you used a potion on me, didn’t you?

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: Here, take one of mine. I have two, it’s okay.

LIAM: You are too kind to me.

SAM: Of course. You keep me safe.

LIAM: Well, you know, I think maybe you have guessed it before now, but I care a great deal for you, and that is no small gift. Thank you.

SAM: Thank you. We lived, huh?

LIAM: Another day. You know, a little bit of me is worried that this scroll case will explode, so I think we should check that out first.

SAM: The folks upstairs gave me some more things for you to check out as well. Are these things you can do?

LIAM: Yeah, okay. I can get this done in about an hour, I think. First, Nott, will you take the scroll case and put it on the other side of the room?

SAM: Okay.

LIAM: Yeah. I’m tapped, so this is all ritual spells now. So I will use a ritual spell to Identify the scroll case.

MATT: Okay. The scroll case is a scroll case. It does have a faint magical element to it. The limits of what Identify can–

LIAM: How big is this room down here?

MATT: I’d say it’s about eight by 12.

LIAM: Okay.

MARISHA: So smaller than this.

LIAM: This is going to be funny. I take another ten minutes to summon Schmidt.

SAM: Oh.

LIAM: Come with me outside, okay?

SAM: All right.

LIAM: Okay. Schmidt, go open the scroll case. Come on! I shut the door.

MATT: Okay, you both back out, close the door.

SAM: (explosion) Oh no!

MATT: You hear (boom).

LIAM: That is what I was afraid of.

SAM: Oh shit! Was it loud enough that anyone else could hear?

MATT: You don’t know.

TRAVIS: Are you fucking serious?

MARISHA: Did any of us hear it from the second floor?

MATT: Everyone else make a perception check, please.

TALIESIN: Natural 20!

TRAVIS: Natural one!

LAURA: Ten.

MARISHA: 13.

MATT: You hear a slight shift in the ground.

SAM: It was that Agoura Hills earthquake.

MATT: Exactly.

LAURA: Did you just fart?

TALIESIN: You would think so, but no. I think they’re doing something.

MARISHA: What?

TALIESIN: I heard something.

MARISHA: Are they trying to fucking escape?

TRAVIS: I’m just eating bar popcorn.

TALIESIN: It sounded like a thump.

MARISHA: A fucking thump?!

LAURA: That doesn’t sound like an escape.

MATT: Everything’s messy.

LAURA: I hope they’re not dead.

TALIESIN: Yeah, that’s something we can find out in the morning.

LAURA: Does our room look down onto the alleyway?

MATT: Your room does not, no.

LIAM: So, at this point, back up a little bit, and I open the door and back up to see what I see.

SAM: Smoke?

MATT: A purplish dark fume wafts out.

LIAM: I back away from it.

MATT: You back away from it, and it dissipates over the next 30 or so seconds. You keep watch to see if anybody else notices, and it doesn’t. It rises up, and thankfully by the time it would hit the roof as a smoke beacon, it mostly has dissipated enough in the sky where it doesn’t cause a column of visible darkness. The edge that you’re catching of it, the little bit that’s wafting through, has this very fine metallic smell to it, almost. The brief bit that catches your nostrils, you feel your sinuses open up very abruptly, and like a mouth full of wasabi, it’s like (coughing). Eventually it clears out, and you walk inside.

LIAM: So not a ball of fiery death.

MATT: No, not a ball of fiery death.

LIAM: Okay, so it’s cleared away, Schmidt’s gone, I assume.

MATT: Schmidt is–

LIAM: Well, if it wasn’t damage-dealing, he’s still there.

MATT: It might have been damage-dealing.

SAM: I forget how this works, does he have your hit points?

MATT: Unseen Servant.

LIAM: He has two. One or two.

MARISHA: He has the hit points of a kitten.

LIAM: One hit point.

MATT: Oh yeah, Schmidt is gone. The scroll case is open.

LIAM: Okay, so it’s clear. Next ritual spell that I will cast, I will gather the other items, except for the dodecahedron.

SAM: Was there anything in the box?

LIAM: Well, we’re about to find out. The dodecahedron is in my satchel at this point. I push all the other items towards the case and whatever is there, and I use ritual magic to cast Detect Magic everywhere. I just cast it.

MATT: Both of the scrolls emanate– You see within the scroll case there’s now two rolled-up scrolls inside there, and they emanate a magical aura. The longsword emanates a magical aura, the boots emanate a magical aura, and your satchel is almost distracting, the vibrancy of the magical source from that object, the crystal-looking object.

LIAM: I rearrange my satchel so it’s back by my butt, so I don’t have to look right at it. Okay, we have a little bit of work to do. I pick up the scrolls and examine them.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

LIAM: (gasps)

TRAVIS: What the fuck?

MARISHA: What, why are you getting teary, what is happening?

SAM: It’s a good spell.

MARISHA: Was it that good?

LIAM: Come here, come here!

SAM: What did we get?

LIAM: I pick her up and I hug her.

SAM: What did we get, what did we get?

LIAM: This will be good for the group, this will be good for you and me, this is good. It’s something that I was not able to do. I’ve been trying to figure it out for months and I have not been able to figure it out and now I have it.

SAM: Yes!

LIAM: Okay, let’s look at these things for everybody else. Okay. Ho, ho, ho, let’s Identify all this shit! I spend the next 40 or so minutes–

SAM: Sinterklaas!

MARISHA: Santa Klaus!

LIAM: Ah. Yeah.

SAM: Oh, and these daggers, too.

LIAM: Beau might like these. These are good. Yeah, these are good. Okay, so. All right, we’ll put these away. This is a very good blade. This might be a good blade for you. Why don’t you hold on to it? You hold onto that.

SAM: It’s a longsword?

MATT: It’s a longsword.

SAM: Can I use that?

LIAM: Oh. Let me see. I thought that was the daggers.

SAM: (fake crying)

LIAM: So the daggers are not magic?

MATT: The daggers are not magic.

LIAM: Not magic.

MATT: They are just base daggers.

LIAM: No, this is bigger than you.

SAM: Too big for me. I know my limits.

LIAM: Fjord or Molly would like this. They can decide. They can decide. I mean, really, these boots are good for anybody. These are good for– yeah.

LAURA: Just tell us what they are! Just say it out loud! Just say it!

LIAM: No, I’ll tell you on Christmas morning and not before!

LAURA: You’re killing me!

LIAM: We couldn’t do this at all last campaign! Now you have to wait 20 minutes!

MATT: It’s true.

LAURA: (groans) I wonder if I have Identify I could take…

TALIESIN: There’s a way to do it.

SAM: Well, should we go to sleep?

LIAM: Oh, boy.

SAM: Oh, here’s your 19 platinum, and your two gold, and one extra platinum for some reason, as if that were supposed to smooth things over. Oh, and also, they don’t trust us, they think we need to cooperate more, they’re trying–

MARISHA: Oh!

TRAVIS: Nope, you’re not there.

MARISHA: Fuck!

SAM: They are very upset–

MARISHA: I’m not, I’m speaking as myself!

MATT and LAURA: (shushing)

SAM: They were very upset that we tried to take the scroll box.

LIAM: Why?

SAM: Because they are in the firm belief that it would have left some sort of clue that would have led the authorities to us by stealing something, after we had broken into two houses, stolen other things, torn up a rug–

LIAM: That is the red flag. Not the arcane rug that was destroyed and removed, covering his precious things. Not Jester disguising herself as the High-Richter.

SAM: Not stealing the seal.

LIAM: And leaving witnesses who had seen someone who was not the Richter going in before the Richter–

SAM: Sure. Also, she was dressed as the Richter not wearing the correct outfit.

LIAM: Yeah. Ulog rifled through her desk and took some papers from there, but I did not see Fjord tear him a new asshole.

SAM: Sure. But they are under the impression that, and this a fair point, that we are not very communicative or… We don’t behave as much as part of a team as they would prefer. I said that I would tell you and discuss. And so that’s where it stands with the weirdos.

LIAM: Well, you know, I want this to work. So whatever they need. I definitely do not agree, but whatever makes it work.

SAM: I think what would make it work is letting them take the lead a bit, and following.

LIAM: Well, I have no interest in being a leader, do you?

SAM: Oh no, not at all.

LIAM: No.

SAM: But we can just see how it goes, playing ball, I suppose.

LIAM: Do you know that I was going to go to that school one day?

SAM: The Soltryce Academy thing?

LIAM: Yeah. Didn’t work out.

SAM: What? You didn’t get in?

LIAM: Oh, I didn’t get anywhere near it. I’m from a small town, and there was a lot of hubbub for me, and maybe, you know, a gathering-up of coin. But I fucked it up.

SAM: Did you do something wrong? Or bad?

LIAM: (whispers) Yeah.

SAM: You don’t have to tell me what it was, or what you did, but is it something that you can be forgiven for?

LIAM: (clears throat) That is not for me to say. But I have no interest in going. I will do it on my own. Correction: I will learn with your help.

SAM: Our own academy?

LIAM: That’s the idea. Ja.

SAM: All right. It’ll take a little longer, probably. I’m not a good teacher.

LIAM: Yeah, well, you know, anything worth going after takes some elbow grease and hard work, so.

SAM: All right, well. I’ll help wherever I can. I do enjoy seeing you get new spells and new skills.

LIAM: I haven’t had a friend in a very long time. The last few months have been… unexpected.

SAM: I think for me, too. I’ve had more people throw rocks at me than conversations, and it’s nice. You know what, it’s nice with them, too. They don’t seem to mind that, you know, my teeth are a little– People find that off-putting, sometimes.

LIAM: I do not. And I’ll tell you another secret. I like them, too. I get that they’re angry. I don’t agree with them. But I get it.

SAM: Well, they’re not as smart as you are, so.

LIAM: Or you, I would argue.

SAM: That’s nice.

LIAM: Well, you want to bed down with a terrifying artifact of awesome power?

SAM: I prefer the skeleton, actually.

LIAM: Okay.

SAM: I’ll go on that side of the room.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: All right.

LIAM: Night, Nott.

SAM: Night, Caleb.

MATT: All right, so. As you guys all come to sleep for the evening, first off, we’ll consider this rest the milestone where you all hit level four.

(cheering)

MATT: So if you guys have decided on your adjustments in advance, you can do that.

SAM: How do you do this on D&D Beyond?

MATT: While you guys figure that out, if I could have everybody but Caleb leave the table, please.

LAURA and SAM: (surprised sounds)

SAM: Oh no.

LIAM: Get out of here.

MARISHA: What is happening to you now?!

TRAVIS: Yes!

SAM: I’m in the room!

MARISHA: Are we doing the level four thing now?

LAURA: So we’re doing it.

MARISHA: Are we doing the level four thing, or we doing it after?

TRAVIS: Just wait.

MATT: Just set up your stuff except for your hit points; we’ll roll those when you get back.

MARISHA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Pick up and walk.

LAURA: Okay okay okay!

SAM: Where do we go?

LAURA: This way!

TALIESIN: We’re going this way.

LAURA: Bye, Caleb!

TRAVIS: I have to say it because Taliesin said it: (whispers) Don’t die.

SAM: Bring your dice so we can roll.

LIAM: I love you guys! I don’t mean the Mighty Nein, you’re assholes, but I love you guys!

MARISHA: I’ll kill you in your sleep! Okay, bye!

LAURA: You don’t roll a d20 for hit points, Sam!

MARISHA: Grab all the dice. Grab all the dice!

LAURA: I’m grabbing my bag!

MATT: Don’t roll hit dice! Roll hit points when you come here!

SAM: How do you play Dungeons & Dragons?!

MATT: You won’t need dice! You’re fine.

LIAM: We did it. We reclaimed our dignity. We did it.

MATT: We did it. Totally. So, as the dark takes your dreams, sleep brings calm, brings peace, brings rest. There’s a soft hum that seems to radiate around you. A welcoming softness. A light, not quite white, not quite dark, it’s a grayish, familiar light, strangely. You feel it pull you forward, through stars. The distant night sky. You see beacons of light coast by. You see a dark sphere before you. Then there’s a flash of light, and you’re standing there and you’re holding the object in your hand which you keep. It’s welcoming. You look into it for a moment, and look ahead, and you see yourself. And you see another self. And you see another self. And a fourth Caleb, and a fifth Caleb, and an endless row of Calebs, all slightly different. All begin walking in different directions at once. You look down at the object and back up again and they’re all gone. You see a distant flame flicker. You feel yourself hypnotized by its movement. You look down again at it, and there’s something wonderful and ancient about this thing. You can’t grasp it. Its scale is both too large and too small. The more your mind tries to make sense of it, the more you feel yourself walking in 17 different directions at once. All those Calebs you saw before are all within you and they’re all pulling at different sides and it confuses you. It scares you for a moment, but once again you focus back on this object and the warmth is comforting. You look up again at the stars; they’ve stopped passing by. They’re held in place. And for the first time in a long time, you feel at peace. That’s the end of your dream. All right, let’s bring everybody else back in, please. You wake up in the cold, dark basement of this relatively unused cellar beneath the Leaky Tap. Come to consciousness with the most restful night’s sleep you’ve had in a long time, it feels, almost. You look over at Nott curled up right against your thigh, like a dog, asleep. Come on in.

(laughter)

SAM: I got scared of the skeleton so I came over here.

MATT: (laughs) All right. So, first off, let’s go ahead and get a roll of hit points here, so we have–

LAURA: Oh, gosh!

MATT: We haven’t done this live on air before!

LIAM: Oh man, here comes my extra one hit point.

SAM: That was like two minutes.

LAURA: We had no time!

SAM: We had no time to do anything!

MATT: That’s okay. So go ahead and roll. As a general rule, I reroll ones for hit points, because nothing sucks more for a character than leveling up and rolling a one. So now two is the new sucky baseline. So go around the table. You are rolling for hit points first, Fjord.

TRAVIS: Oh, okay. A d8, right?

MATT: d8 for the warlock, yes.

TRAVIS: Seven.

MATT: Seven, nice.

MARISHA: d8 for the monk as well. A four. Right down the middle.

MATT: There you go.

MARISHA: Plus my con modifier, yeah?

MATT: Plus your con modifier, yes.

TRAVIS: Yeah, really, con modifier?

MATT: Yeah, every level. That’s how it’s always been.

TRAVIS: I just forget. 11 points.

MATT: Caleb, d6.

LIAM: Plus my con modifier, it’s a total of six. So I’m sitting at a big 25 now.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: I roll a d8?

MATT: For you, yes. I believe it’s a d8.

LAURA: Whoa, nice!

SAM: Eight!

MATT: Nice! All righty.

SAM: When I leveled up, it already gave me two extra hit points. Why?

LAURA: Because that’s your modifier.

MATT: That’s your modifier.

SAM: Okay, so now I add the extra eight.

MATT: You add the eight to it. Yeah, it automatically adds your level up to that. Roll yours.

LAURA: Aw, three.

MATT: There you go.

TALIESIN: d10, no con modifier?

MATT: No, you get con modifier.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: Every class gets a con modifier to hit points.

TALIESIN: All right. Six!

MATT: There you go.

SAM: Oh my god, I just got ten extra hit points!

LAURA: That’s amazing.

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: I feel like that was really bad. That was a really bad roll.

MATT: It’s okay. Sometimes you get better rolls than others.

SAM: No, she’s dead now.

MATT: (laughs) If you don’t roll at least four hit points, you die in your sleep.

LAURA: Yes, that’s the rule.

MATT: If you die in the level-up, you die in real life. All right, so anyway, continuing. The hit points are the main thing, and your abilities, we can keep tabs on that if it comes into play, and we can define stuff after the episode tonight. But anyway. As you all come to consciousness in the morning, the day is before you. What do you wish to do?

TRAVIS: I’m going to see Horris.

MATT: Horris is already awake and looking out the window, and looks nervously.

TRAVIS: Horris, do you need an escort out of town, or do you think you can find your way?

MATT: “I mean, an escort would be nice, just to have somebody I can work with in case things go bad.”

TRAVIS: Of course. Have much coin do you have on you?

MATT: “On me? 20 gold.”

TRAVIS: Oh, you’ll be fine.

MATT: “It’s enough to last me a while, yeah.”

TRAVIS: Molly? Molly!

TALIESIN: Huh?

TRAVIS: Wake up. I think I’m going to escort Horris out. Be back as fast as I can.

TALIESIN: All right, we’ll wait for you.

TRAVIS: All right.

TALIESIN: I’m going to wake up and go see what the girls are doing.

MATT: Okay. You guys get to get your breakfast started and such. You guys begin to walk, heading southward, since that was where the Alfield suggestion was, making your way. The general bustle is still happening. There’s still not a lot of crownsguard on the street corners you’re used to seeing them posted at, and as you make your way towards the southern portion of the Interstead Sprawl, to the southern gate, you can see why. The exit gates are swarming with crownsguard. The portcullis is down, with the smaller side doors open, and every person who enters and exits is being interviewed and being checked as to whether or not they’re allowed to leave. It seems that lock-down is very serious during this investigation. Horris immediately clamps up and grabs your arm and goes, “I don’t– I don’t know–”

TRAVIS: Stay casual, stay calm, just turn and we’re going to slowly start walking back. Just act normal.

MATT: “Okay.” You both slowly make your way through that intersection and back, and no one seems to pay much mind. They’re consumed with the current hustle and bustle at the gate. As you guys are walking back, Horris is like, “Is there another way out? Is there someone, something you know–”

TRAVIS: There always is. And if all else fails, there’s the sewers. You’re not opposed to getting a little dirty to get out of town, are you?

MATT: “No, no, no.”

TRAVIS: We’ll want to wait until we have more of the others, just in case. I’m afraid the sewers might be being cased as well, so stay put for a little while longer, we’ll find you a quiet spot in the Leaky Tap, but let me check with the others.

MATT: “Okay, okay.” All right. As you guys are getting the rest of your morning on, what do you want to do?

LAURA: Get the rest of my morning on.

MATT: Getting your morning on.

TALIESIN: I’m going to point out, because I took Tough–

MATT: Oh yeah, all right.

TALIESIN: So I’m at 49 hit points

SAM: Ooh!

MATT: Damn, dude!

SAM: That’s a lot!

TALIESIN: But now I burn through more to use my swords.

SAM: Do we have to find Dolan now?

TRAVIS: No, we found Dolan last night. He’s going to stay put in his house, low. We’re going to try and assure that he’s safe so that he can, you know, put his name up for that High-Richter seat.

MARISHA: We’ve got to figure out what we’re doing with this thing.

TRAVIS: But listen, the gates, it’s not a joke, it’s sealed. There are crownsguard swarming all over it. It seemed like they were doing personal interviews, pat-downs, the whole smash, so even an enchantment might not hold up to scrutiny.

LAURA: Wasn’t there a woman who was also (whispers) part of the Knights of Requital?

MARISHA: Yeah, Kara.

LAURA: What happened to her?

MARISHA: She was the most shifty bitch.

TRAVIS: We didn’t see her last night. She wasn’t at Dolan’s.

LAURA: But she saw you guys.

TRAVIS: Well, she saw– Yes, she did.

LAURA: At one of the meetings.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: She never said a whole lot.

LAURA: If anyone is going to turn us in, it would be her.

TRAVIS: Perhaps.

MARISHA: She’s the one I arguably know the least about–

LAURA: Where’s Horris? Maybe he knows something about her.

MATT: You look behind Fjord at this point, and in the doorway is Horris, arms crossed, biting his lower lip.

LAURA: Horris?

MATT: “Yes?”

LAURA: Do you know where Kara is?

MATT: “I honestly don’t. We scattered when the preparations were done to make sure we were far apart so we couldn’t be traced together.”

LAURA: Do you know where she lives?

MATT: “I don’t, actually.”

LAURA: Do you know what she does?

MATT: “She says she occasionally works out of that really terrible bar, the Evening–”

LAURA: The Evening Nip? She works at the Evening Nip?

MATT: “I don’t go there.”

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: We’ve got to get our Nip on. Ooh, wait, maybe not.

MARISHA: Well, Jester and I know the code to talk to the Gentleman if we ever want to do that.

TRAVIS: Indeed. I was thinking that we might try and get Horris out now. That way, if a crownsguard finds its way here– maybe we should take him into the sewers, get him out of the city.

LAURA: Do the sewers lead out of the city?

TRAVIS: I imagine.

MARISHA: Generally when a city is on lockdown, though, the sewers is the first place that guards are looking for shady people to leave.

MATT: “That’s true.”

MARISHA: Where’s our cart? We still have our gypsy wagon.

SAM: Oh god, we haven’t fed the horses in days.

MARISHA: No, we haven’t.

(laughter)

MATT: The horses are being taken care of. The horses will be fine. The manticore head, though, that’s probably a whole different order of business.

LAURA: The manticore head. Oh, I bet it smells so bad!

SAM: So we left the horses at a stable or something? Okay. They’re not dead in an alley somewhere?

LAURA: Oh god.

TALIESIN: Trying to rip the cart off the dead horses.

MATT: “Oh! Excuse me!”

MARISHA: Is our cart in the city or is it outside the city?

MATT: No, you brought it in the city with you.

MARISHA: We can bury him under a pile of produce or something like that, try and sneak him out of the city.

TALIESIN: I think we would need a proper smuggler for that.

TRAVIS: Indeed.

TALIESIN: A well-built cart with a secret compartment.

SAM: Get a big catapult and just–

MATT: “Do you know a smuggler?”

TALIESIN: No, I don’t know a smuggler. I don’t know anybody in this city.

SAM: Wait, we know a smuggler.

LAURA: Yeah, we do know a smuggler.

SAM: Who was the guy who first showed us around the city?

LAURA: Ulysses! Ulysses Stanneras!

TALIESIN: Oh god.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: He was in that yellow cloak. Remember?

MARISHA: Also, you know who we haven’t checked up on? Bryce’s sister. Right? Her sister?

SAM: Their sister.

MARISHA: Their sister, sorry. Bryce’s sister.

SAM: I totally forgot about that.

TRAVIS: I did, too.

SAM. And also there’s the Gentleman, and also we need a lead box. Oh my God, there’s so much to do!

LAURA: We need a lead box. Should we go try to buy a lead box?

SAM: Or maybe Pumat would have some sort of a magical-encasing–

LAURA: But how would we tell him why we need it?

SAM: He doesn’t care, does he?

LAURA: Don’t you think somebody would be asking, “Who recently bought something that would protect against scrying?”

TRAVIS: Horris, we obviously have a lot to decide on. Perhaps it would be better if you stayed up in the room.

MATT: “I can do that. I’ll lock myself in there, and let me know if anything comes up.”

TALIESIN: We have some reading, if you like. I’m going to grab the copy of Tusk Love.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Try and relax. But not too much.

MATT: “All right.” Horris gives you a long look of, “I’ve learned a lot about you in the moment.”

(laughter)

SAM: We should write Tusk Love and sell it on the store.

MATT: I’m sure the community is already halfway there, buddy. (laughs) All right. So, Horris is taken care of for the moment. What’s the plan?

MARISHA: Is Broken Veil the name of a tavern here, or was it in Alfield?

MATT: The Broken Veil?

LAURA: I know I wrote it down.

MARISHA: I think I messed up and I wrote down where she is, but I don’t know where–

LAURA: I’m trying to find where I wrote down Bryce’s connections. I think I wrote it down in a different–

MARISHA: No, wait.

SAM: Was he in Alfield? She. They! Were they in Alfield?

MARISHA: Yes. Bryce is in Alfield.

SAM: Bryce Fayled? Fell-lid? Fee-lid?

MARISHA: Yeah. Feelid. Bryce Feelid. Watchmaster Bryce Feelid. Elf. Leader of the guard. Very sweet person. These are all the things I wrote down.

TRAVS: Great notes. Jesus.

MATT: (laughs)

TRAVIS: “Very sweet person.”

MARISHA: Bryce despises the Dwendalian Empire, thinks they get no support being so far south from the Dwendalian Empire. He’s not from this region. And then I wrote down ‘Broken Veil’ and ‘Bluffs’.

LAURA: So it’s got to be that.

MATT: Okay, so yes, I know what you’re talking about now. Thank you for the heads-up on that. So the Broken Veil Bluffs is to the far, far east. That is where the border of the Dwendalian Empire and Xhorhas is. It’s actually where most of the conflicts happen. It’s where the garrisons exist. Where most of the army is sent to defend the Empire in the valley.

TRAVIS: Level four, let’s go!

(laughter)

MATT: You are ready for this shit!

LAURA: The radiation area in Fallout. It’s like, get out! Get out now!

MARISHA: You’re unprepared!

TRAVIS: (computer voice) You are leaving the combat area.

MARISHA: So I didn’t– I don’t have the name of her damn–

MATT: Their.

MARISHA: Their damn sister!

LAURA: And I can’t find it in these notes either. Shit.

SAM: If Caleb was in the room when Bryce said it, then Caleb would know.

MARISHA: I think Caleb was, because it was right when we said we were going to Zadash and Bryce was like, “Go look at this person.” Sorry, I choked on my spit.

MATT: Bryce was the one that sent you to the Leaky Tap. Bryce is the one that sent you to Claudia.

LAURA: Yes.

MARISHA: Wait, is Claudia his sister?

MATT: No.

MARISHA: Am I going around in circles?

MATT: I think you’re going in circles.

SAM: There was no sister?

MATT: I don’t recall there–

LAURA: –being a sister. It was Claudia!

SAM: Well, if Matt doesn’t recall the sister, then it was Claudia!

MARISHA: It was Claudia. Was it Claudia this whole time?

MATT: I was like, what did I say about Bryce’s sister, oh shit?

MARISHA: It was Claudia. Never mind!

SAM: Mystery solved!

LAURA: No wonder I don’t have it in my notes.

MATT: There you go. Once again!

SAM: We did it!

LAURA: We figured it out!

TRAVIS: Chat’s like, “Fucking idiots.”

MATT: If I did say sister, remind me.

SAM: Well, that takes one thing off the list. We still need: The lead box! Get Horris out of town! The Gentleman! What else?

TRAVIS: The Leaky Nip. What’s it called?

LAURA: The Evening Nip.

SAM: That’s the Gentleman also.

MATT: The Leaky Nip?!

LAURA: That’s going to be me in a few months.

TALIESIN: Bam! Bam!

MATT: That’s a different establishment.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: That’s a daycare.

LIAM: Wow. This ain’t your kids’ D&D, right there!

SAM: The Leaky Nip? I mean, the Evening Nip, should we go there?

LAURA: No, we need a lead box, that’s probably more important.

MARISHA: And get Horris out first, right?

TRAVIS: Pumat’s got to have a–

LAURA: Or a blacksmith. I feel like a blacksmith would be more–

SAM: He was telling us about blacksmiths before. There’s the Spark Hammer Smith. We could go to the Spark Hammer Smith in the Pentamarket.

LAURA: Yeah. Let’s go to that.

TRAVIS: Have we been there yet?

SAM: I think we actually have been there before.

LAURA: Yeah, that was the first place we went.

SAM: Yannick. Jan?

MATT: Caleb.

LIAM: Yeah?

MATT: For the hell of it, make an arcana check.

LIAM: Sure. I’ve just been nerding out over my leveling up over here.

MATT: I know.

SAM: He got 75 new spells.

LIAM: Oh, I rolled a one, Matthew.

MATT: Fuck, okay.

TRAVIS: I rolled a natural 20.

LIAM: I rolled it really badly. I’m not good at dice.

MATT: It’s fine. All right, continue.

LAURA: You need to take Luck as a feat again.

LIAM: It doesn’t always work out for you anyway.

TRAVIS: I know magic some!

SAM: I’m a student of magic.

TRAVIS: Not enough, DM says.

MATT: It’s not about not enough, it’s placement and what you have and where you are. So what are you guys doing?

SAM: We’re going to go to the Spark Hammer Smith’s. Smithy’s.

MARISHA: Yannick and Jan.

MATT: You find your way there. Yannick is inside currently, working on hammering out the edges of a piece of armor. “Hello. Can I help you?”

LAURA: Yes. Do you make anything out of lead?

MATT: “I mean, I certainly can. Depends what you’re hoping to have made.”

LAURA: Could you perhaps make me a really pretty– so, my mother is a big fan of things made out of lead. She said she likes the color of that metal.

MATT: “That’s a very curious liking, but sure, I’ll take it.”

LAURA: She gets a lot of things in gold and stuff and so she says that lead looks very different from that and she thinks it’s pretty.

MATT: “Hey, I’m not judging.”

LAURA: So I want to make her a really pretty jewelry box out of lead.

MATT: The halfling scratches his temple and goes, “Well, I mean, if you’re willing to pay, I can make it.”

LAURA: Okay! It’s like she has a lot of jewelry, so something like around this big.

MATT: “It’s going to be a lot of lead, and a few days to make it.”

SAM: Can it just be lead-lined? Is that a thing?

LIAM: It can be thin as a sheet of parchment.

LAURA: Oh, so not a whole lead box, maybe like a box made out of wood and then pretty lead on the inside.

MATT: “That there’s a little more easy to put together.”

LAURA: Or maybe on the outside so she doesn’t realize it’s not made of lead?

LIAM: It doesn’t need to be as– Am I here? I’ve been doing this with my spells.

MATT: That’s up to you. Sure.

LIAM: It needs to be sealed all the way around and be able to close.

LAURA: He’s a good friend of my mom’s.

MATT: “Right.”

SAM: Everybody knows her mom.

MATT: “Okay, we’ll go ahead and get started on that there. Full cost to you, two days’ work, materials. That’ll run you back about one and a half gold. One gold, five silver.”

LAURA: I think that is acceptable, yes.

MATT: “All right.”

LAURA: Here. Will you also engrave it with, “Love you so much”?

MATT: “It’ll be an additional silver.”

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: “All right. Come back here in about 48 hours. Should be good.”

LAURA: Okay. If we give you more, could you make it faster?

MATT: “I could certainly do my best.”

LAURA: I noticed they’re blocking up the gates, and I need to get it to her because her birthday’s coming up.

MATT: “I am but one small halfling, so you’re going to have to wait one way or the other.”

LAURA: All right.

MATT: “Sorry.”

LAURA: Okay. Thank you.

MATT: “No worries, mate! Come back then.”

MARISHA: Our blacksmith is Taika Waititi. So into it.

LIAM: Are we all in a group, though? Sorry, I really did have my head up the ass of level four.

MATT: You guy haven’t said you’ve split, so I imagine you’re all as a group.

LAURA: That’s a couple days.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: Should we check with Pumat Sol and see if he has something like that?

LIAM: Like a lead– I would pay premium price to get a hold of a lead box right away.

MARISHA: You all keep talking about this Pumat Sol guy.

TRAVIS: Have you not been to the Invulnerable Gentleclerk?

MARISHA: No. I don’t do the magic stuff. I tend to do other things.

LIAM: Yeah, but this is more like an experience, like Sleep No More. You have to go and–

MARISHA: Oh, really?

LIAM: Yeah, you have to see it for yourself. We do have a lot to do, but this is a functional trip as well.

TALIESIN: I’m normally not impressed by eccentrics, so this is really impressive.

LIAM: This is a functional trip as well. A gentleman like Pumat Sol– gentlemen like Pumat Sols– would most likely– because they understand divination, and the needs of the arcane.

MARISHA: See, it feels like an inside joke.

TALIESIN: It is.

LIAM: We want you to be in on it.

LAURA: He would be more aware of what we’re asking for, if we asked for it. As opposed to the blacksmith.

LIAM: Yeah, he would not be surprised by the question.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: Also, come over here. Please.

LAURA: Just me?

LIAM: Well, whoever– everybody hears this. Come closer. Yeah, so–

TRAVIS: (belches loudly)

(laughter)

MATT: My hair went (wind sounds) on that one.

LIAM: I look around to see if anyone was distracted by Fjord’s large belch.

MATT: At the moment, no. It seems to be a common thing here in the Pentamarket.

LIAM: All right. I know you’re all a big fan of my sticky fingers. I took this from Sutan’s house.

SAM: What is that? What does it do?

LAURA: What is it?

LIAM: It is a sending stone. It’s a communication device. This was in Sutan’s house. This was under the rug that we destroyed and removed.

LAURA: That attacked us, you mean.

LIAM: Yes, of course. We did what we had to do. We improvised. Like Fjord told me the other day: you have to improvise. This stone has a twin somewhere and we can talk with it. I don’t know who it is. Honestly, my opinion is, the probability of someone trying to find us, searching for this thing, is like looking for a needle in a haystack in a newly made warzone. However, in the meantime, I was wondering if you’d hold it inside of your fancy bag, because–

LAURA: Will they be able to find it through the fancy bag?

LIAM: I believe not, because inside your bag is somewhere else. It is not even on this plane.

LAURA: I hold it up to my ear. Is anybody trying to talk to me right now?

MATT: Not at the moment.

LIAM: Let’s put that in your bag right away, because we don’t know what’s on the other side of it.

LAURA: How do we– oh, okay. Can they hear me talking to it right now?

LIAM: There is a very, very small chance the answer is yes, so please put it in your bag right now.

MARISHA: So you started stealing stuff in the first house?

LIAM: Yeah. That is what I said that I was going to do.

TRAVIS: To be fair, he did say that.

TALIESIN: We had the talk. I’m willing to let it slide.

MARISHA: We had the talk with her

TALIESIN: That’s fair. Ah! Sword. Boots. Daggers.

LAURA: Wait. Don’t pass it out out here.

TALIESIN: Oh, not right here, of course.

LIAM: Do we want to do it before Pumat, or after Pumat?

LAURA: Before.

SAM: One little interjection. Couldn’t we use the sending thing to find out information if we sent a message?

LIAM: All we could do is say hello to a stranger. We don’t know who it is.

LAURA: Would it hear our voice, or would it– ?

LIAM: It would hear our voice.

SAM: We could disguise our voice and say, “We’ve been made! Send instructions!” and find out what happens.

LIAM: That is true. Just keep it in the bag for now, just in case.

MARISHA: That’s pretty good, though.

LIAM: Yeah. We could certainly roll this over in our minds and see if there’s something we could do with it. If someone is going to look for this thing– and, again, probability very low– but if they were going to look, it’d be right away. It’d be a couple of weeks.

LAURA: What if we say to it, “Hey man! We found this stone on the ground. Who do you belong to?” What do you think?

TALIESIN: I think that’s– It could be dangerous. It’s better if they initiate, because then we learn information immediately.

SAM: Sometimes if you scroll through and find a listing for mom?

LAURA: I know, and then you call the mom?

LIAM: I believe possible that at some point a message could come through it.

TALIESIN: That’s what I was thinking.

LIAM: But we don’t know. I just want– for the next two to four weeks– I would prefer to keep it either in a lead-lined container or in that bag. Chances are small, but if someone was really determined.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: It’s possible.

LAURA: All right. It’s in the bag.

TRAVIS: Pumat, or the rest of the equipment?

SAM: We could probably divvy up the equipment at Pumat’s. He won’t ask any questions.

TRAVIS: Let’s do it.

LAURA: How do you know? How do you know he’s not working for the Empire?

TRAVIS: He’s pretty nice.

LAURA: The only store in the Empire.

TRAVIS: He seems like a nice guy.

LAURA: He’s probably working for the Empire.

LIAM: I would agree with Fjord’s sentiment. If we took it out of my own bag– There’s four of Pumats so one of those Pumats would see it coming out of my own stuff.

TRAVIS: Plus, we’re returning customers.

LIAM: Yeah, that’s also true.

MARISHA: Wait, what are you agreeing with? That he’s nice or that he’s working for the Empire?

LIAM: No, that he’s nice.

MARISHA: Okay.

LAURA: I don’t want to trust him.

LIAM: We could also go to a breakfast shop and do it there.

MARISHA: The two aren’t mutually exclusive. We know that, right? He can be nice and working for the Empire.

LAURA: I had a dream about Pumat Sol attacking us.

SAM: You did not!

TRAVIS: Attacking us?

LAURA: I did. I had a dream about it.

SAM: What?! That seems terrible!

LAURA: This is Laura actually. I did have a dream.

MATT: What, are you serious? That’s terrifying!

TALIESIN: I was starting to go in that direction of: Is this a real thing?

LAURA: No, it really was. It was a dream that Pumat Sol betrayed us and he attacked us all. Anyway–

TALIESIN: This is Clarota aftershock.

LAURA: I’m just letting you know. We don’t know anything about him.

SAM: Oh my god.

TRAVIS: I think if you give him a chance, he’ll do you right.

SAM: (banjo music)

LAURA: Anyway, I don’t want to bring out all of this stuff from the assassin guy in front of him!

TALIESIN: Let’s go shopping at Pumat Sol’s and then we’ll divvy up everything when we’re in private.

MATT: You guys making your way to the Pentamarket?

LAURA: Yes.

LIAM: (Pumat voice) Respectfully, we are.

MATT: Okay. It’s still early morning, relatively. You make your way to the warm, welcoming interior of the Invulnerable Vagrant. There are no other patrons in there. You do see, across the way, one Pumat Sol is sitting behind the counter with knitting needles. There is one off to the side in a chair that’s currently reading through a book, the small set of glasses on the tip of his wide nose. They both look up and go, “Why, hello there! That’s just a real nice thing to see you this early in the morning. Just about to finish my breakfast snack, so you caught me at a good time.”

MARISHA: The fuck?

LAURA: Are you open all the time?

SAM: This is normal, it’s okay!

MATT: “Not all the time. We generally do a cycle of sunrise to about four hours past sunset. That’s our general scheme that we maintain business.”

TRAVIS: Pumat, we’d like to introduce you to one of our friends. This is Beau.

MARISHA: ‘Sup?

MATT: “Beau? Well, the pleasure is respectfully mine.” He reaches out, giant hand encompasses your entire fist.

MARISHA: Little clammy.

MATT: He puts the book down. Takes his glasses off. “What can I do for you?”

LAURA: Well, my mom’s birthday is coming up, and she really likes boxes that have– Do you have a lead-lined box?

MATT: “We’ve got quite a few here currently containing items that require shielding.”

LAURA: Oh, good!

MATT: “Yeah!”

LAURA: Can we get one of those?

MATT: “That can probably be done. How big a box you’re looking? We got them right around that there. Then we got a bigger one about that there. Then we got one in the back that’s a biggie.”

LAURA: Probably the grande. The middle.

MARISHA: I was thinking the same thing!

MATT: “All right. Let me go ahead and–”

SAM: Wait! Mr. Pumat, what is it made of? What does it do?

MATT: “Well, what the nice lady there is requesting is a box that is lined with the material known as lead.”

SAM: I’ve heard of the material, but does it have any other magical properties?

MATT: “No magical properties. It’s just really useful for poisoning yourself if you put food storage in there, poisoning other people if you store their food in it, and keeping at bay the prying eyes of distant divination magics.”

SAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: I think we’re probably going to need a couple of healing potions as well.

SAM: Yeah, to replenish.

MATT: “Not a problem.”

TALIESIN: I’m going to window shop, then! Thank you.

TRAVIS: Pumat, we came into a little extra coin recently and this is our favorite place to spend. You don’t happen to have any articles of protection, do you? A necklace, a bracelet, a ring?

MATT: “Well, we got this here cloak here on the wall. I think you’ve already taken a look at it. That’s a pretty protective–”

TRAVIS: It was expensive, right?

TALIESIN: It was expensive.

MATT: The other one who’s knitting is like, “Yeah, it’s a pretty penny because that’s a pretty item.” Goes back to knitting.

LIAM: Sorry, how much precisely was that one again?

MATT: “That one will run you about 800 gold pieces.”

LAURA: Still out of the reach there.

LIAM and MARISHA: (singing) How much is that doggy in the window?

MATT: “We got this nice shield over here that we just had finished a couple days ago. That’s an enchanted little delightful piece. That one is a little more affordable at about 550 gold pieces.”

LAURA: What does it look like, though?

MATT: The shield itself has the head of two lions, facing away from each other, with their claws extended. It has almost a diamond shape. It’s a pretty decent size. The coloration of it is a bright gold where the lions are. The back of it is a dull, almost graphite metallic, with a gold border around the edge of it. It’s very pretty.

LAURA: What does it do?

MATT: “This one? It improves your defenses more than a normal shield would. It instinctively places the shield in places that might help protect from incoming blows, therefore making you hard to connect with.”

LAURA: Oh. That’s pretty cool.

MATT: (whispers) “It’s a plus one.”

(laughter)

LAURA: How much is your fancy box?

MATT: “The fancy box that you’re requesting, while not actually enchanted, it is taking away one of the objects that we keep contained. So, respectfully, I’ll have to charge you the cost of that one and a replacement, but that’ll simply put you back about 15 gold pieces total.”

LAURA: It’s probably smart, though, huh? It’s probably made a bit better.

MARISHA: I’ll go in on it. What was in the box though, originally?

MATT: “That is none of your concern.”

MARISHA: How much to make it my concern?

MATT: “Your friend is a strange one.”

LAURA: She really is. She’s always asking questions that are weird.

LIAM: She is very useful in the right circumstances.

MATT: “Oh, I can entirely understand that.”

MARISHA: I’m right here! I can hear you all talking about me.

LAURA: She can catch arrows out of midair.

MATT: “That’s really impressive.”

SAM: Mr. Pumat, I have another request. I know that I had requested, would it be possible to invent a small haversack? Just the pocket thing. But do you have any sort of magic incantation ability– if I gave you a flask, could you make it never run out of alcohol?

MATT: “Actually, that is a very doable enchantment. It’ll take us a little while, but we can definitely make something like that happen.”

SAM: How much would that R&D cost me?

MATT: “About a week’s worth of enchanting time, the cost will put you at about 250 gold pieces.”

SAM: I’ll take it.

(laughter)

SAM: Here’s my platinum flask. Could you also put a nice little flourishy design on the side of the flask?

MATT: “We can go ahead and outsource that. Yeah, we can make that happen for you, couldn’t we?” The one knitting goes, “Yeah, that’s not a problem at all.”

SAM: Oh wow.

LAURA: That’s a lot of gold.

SAM: That’s nothing. It’s nothing at all.

MATT: “You’re going to pay up for now, up front?”

SAM: Sure. Here, take it.

MATT: “Oh, the whole lump sum up front!”

SAM: Yep! All up front!

MATT: “I appreciate your trust in our ability.” Writes up a quick little piece of paper. Hands it to you as a receipt.

LAURA: We should buy that box?

LIAM: We definitely should. I will buy that box for us. How much was it?

LAURA: It was 15 gold.

MATT: “15 gold pieces for the box. You wanted two healing potions? That’ll put you back about 100 gold pieces for the two.”

TRAVIS: That sounds fine.

MARISHA: Any other healing potions you got?

MATT: “We got probably another dozen or so more if you want to buy.”

MARISHA: I’ll take one more as well.

TRAVIS: Here’s ten platinum.

MATT: “Ten whole platinum. All right there. 50 gold from each of you. That’s a healing potion to each of you.”

LIAM: Also, I assume it is out of my reach price-wise, and I’m on a budget, but do you deal in arcane knowledge? Pre-prepared scrolls of any kind?

MATT: “Yeah. We have certainly many number of various scrolls and scroll types and spells. If that’s what you’re looking for, we can definitely provide.”

LIAM: What is the range? What are your lowest rung, I guess I’m curious to know.

MATT: “I’m going to go ahead and double-check here.” He goes through his ledger. “Let’s see. The very basic ones, whether that be cantrips or 1st-level spellcasting, those are fairly common. Those will put you back about 50 to 100 gold, approximately.”

LIAM: DM, a question from Liam. Can cantrips be added if they’re found?

MATT: I imagine they could.

LIAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: Greater healing potion, yeah?

MATT: No, it’s a regular healing potion. Regular heal. “If you’re going up from there to 2nd- or 3rd-level, those’ll put you back probably closer to maybe 250-500 gold, depending, and then it skyrockets from there.”

LIAM: You know, I am interested in everything from the second level and below. Do you have a menu?

MATT: “I mean, we have to order them from the Academy, but we can get them in here for you. Or the Halls of Erudition.”

LIAM: Give me a moment. Player’s Handbook!

MARISHA: Taliesin, are you seeing– wait, no. Are you seeing the potion of healing?

SAM: Go to your D&D Beyond app; it has all the manuals.

TALIESIN: Potion of healing.

MARISHA: I’m only seeing the greaters.

TALIESIN: Careful if you’re filtering by type. I was having a problem with that. It’s “potion of "healing.”

LAURA: We should probably get back and put the thing in this box, though.

MATT: The box is presented, you pay for that, 15 gold.

TALIESIN: It’s black. It’s not green, blue, or purple. It’s black text. It took me a second to realize.

SAM: Maybe you should cancel the order. Have him make something else.

LAURA: What should we have him make?

SAM: A flask.

MATT: A lead flask. It’s weird, every level the intelligence gets lower.

TRAVIS: Well, should we go?

LIAM: Hold your horses.

TRAVIS: Oh, we’re looking up something.

MATT: While this is happening, Pumat picks up the book again and puts the glasses on, and starts continuing to read.

TALIESIN: I was doing a look around to see if there was anything new.

SAM: Did we get any healing potions?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

MARISHA: I got one.

SAM: Do you need any more, Caleb?

LIAM: No, I am very good, thank you.

LAURA: I’ll buy a healing potion.

TALIESIN: 12.

MATT: Right, so another 50 off you. 12, nothing at the moment. It’s only been a few days, and the enchantment process and/or the coming in of new objects can take a while to stock back up. The shield is the most recent creation that was presented. That’s the only new one you see. Other than that, there’s still the pearl, there’s still the cloak. A few other odds and small wands.

TALIESIN: The cloak was the most exciting thing.

TRAVIS: Forgive me, I couldn’t help but wonder. Have you ever had a chance– Pumat Prime, rather– have you had a chance to exercise your arcane abilities?

MATT: “Oh, if you want Pumat Prime, he’s in the back. I can go get him for you.”

TRAVIS: Yeah, if you wouldn’t mind.

MATT: “All right.” He puts the book down on the counter, glasses off, turns around, leaves. Comes back in, takes the glasses, puts them on, takes the book, and continues reading, while Pumat Prime comes from the back, once again, the large set of goggle glasses on, the apron on. “I was told that I was requested to greet you with a ‘hello!’”

MARISHA: What is happening?

TRAVIS: These are all– What’s the correct term?

LAURA: Sicrulalium?

MATT: “Simulacrum. That’s the one, yeah. I know, it’s a little confusing.”

TRAVIS: They’re all copies of this fine gentleman. Pumat, I wanted to ask, we’re such fans of your store, did you ever find call to, I don’t know, use your magic for combat? What led you to a store like this?

MATT: “That’s kind of a personal story. Let’s just say I didn’t get along with my peers at a young age, and found myself wandering. Got picked up by some nice mages that saw some potential. Took me in and helped me hone my craft, and helped me set up a store, and here I am in Zadash.”

TRAVIS: That’s great. How many years have you had this store?

MATT: “Been running this place for a good 12 years.”

TRAVIS: Congratulations. It’s really a thing.

MATT: “Thank you.”

LAURA: What mages were you with? What mages found you? Were they with the Academy?

MATT: “Sort of. They were with the Cerberus Assembly.”

LAURA: That’s right, you were talking about them before.

MATT: “Yeah. They really–” Oh no.

SAM: It gets caught in the corners.

TRAVIS: Shake it out of the corners of the giant flask.

LIAM: Oh no!

MARISHA: What is hiding in those corners, though?

SAM: Good stuff.

MATT: “The main person who’s been of aid to me is the Headmaster Oremid Hass, who runs the Hall of Erudition.”

SAM: We still haven’t gone there, have we? We’ve heard about it, like, seven times!

MARISHA: He runs the Hall of Erudition?

MATT: “He’s the Headmaster of the Hall.” He scratches his chin for a second. “He’s the Archmage of Cultivation within the Cerberus Assembly. He’s been a real nice beacon of tutelage. He’s a bit rough on the edges, and seems tough, but he’s a softie. Especially when it comes to small critters. Don’t tell him I said that.” For that one moment, you see a look of fear in his eyes.

TRAVIS and LIAM: Small critters.

SAM: Wait, he likes small critters? Like me?

MATT: “Maybe? I don’t know. Anyway, I got to get back to work.” He quickly goes into the back room again.

TRAVIS: Thanks for your time, Pumat!

MATT: “Don’t mention it!” The one that’s reading off to the sides goes–

SAM: He’s cool, right?

MARISHA: That guy’s crazy!

TRAVIS: He’s actually still here.

MARISHA: Gah!

LIAM: Let’s get back to business. I don’t know what you have on tap here, but I’m looking for something, just a cantrip, pretty common, shocking–

MATT: “Shocking Grasp. I know what you’re talking about.”

LIAM: You know how it works?

MATT: “I got it myself. Anyone want to see?”

TRAVIS: I would like it.

LAURA: Okay!

MARISHA: Yeah!

MATT: “All righty. I like the gumption.” He goes and gives a big old handshake to Beauregard. Let me look that up real fast.

MARISHA: I don’t know what I’m agreeing to.

MATT: It’s an auto-hit, because you’re reaching out to it. You immediately grab his giant mitt, and a flash of white light and pain as electricity rocks through your body. You take three points of lightning damage.

MARISHA: (yelps) Fuck!

LIAM: That is the one.

MARISHA: Get that!

MATT: “That one will run you 75 gold pieces.”

LIAM: Excellent. Pause. The other thing–

MATT: “Hands. They look paws-ish, but yeah.”

LIAM: The other one that I am interested in that is not really my forte, but many wizards believe it is of great benefit. Do you have the Shield spell?

MATT: “We can get you a Shield spell. That’s a pretty standard defensive mechanism for those of the arcane persuasion.”

LIAM: How much will that run me?

MATT: He thumbs through the ledger. “That one will cost you about 200 gold pieces.”

LIAM: I will take the pair.

MATT: “All righty there.”

SAM: What was the first one?

LAURA: Shocking Grasp.

SAM: We’ll be twinsies.

MATT: “275 gold pieces.” He sets his book back down, puts his glasses down, leaves the room for a second, and is gone for about a minute or so. Comes back with two scrolls and sets them on the table.

LIAM: I will take those. Thank you very much, Herr Sol.

MATT: “My pleasure.”

LAURA: Did you just call him “asshole?”

LIAM: That is Arschloch, so no.

SAM: Wait a minute, what does that mean?

LIAM: Which?

SAM: Nothing.

LIAM: Who’s on first?

LAURA: Should we go?

TRAVIS: Let’s get that thing in its box.

MATT: “Anything else you guys require, or can you leave me to my reading?”

SAM: Whatcha reading?

MATT: “It’s a collection of crazy tales about this weird fella.”

LAURA: What guy?

MATT: “It’s The Daring Trials and Tribulations of Sir Taryon Darrington. This guy’s been all over the place. It’s kind of wild.”

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Wow. Ten episodes.

LIAM: Fiction, or…?

MATT: Oh, it’s got to be fiction. (laughter) But it’s good fiction!

TRAVIS: Are you fucking kidding me?

LIAM: Well, sum it up for me. Give me the Tenser’s Floating Disk pitch.

LAURA: No!

TRAVIS: Oh my god!

MATT: Well, let me finish my book before I tell you too much about it. Needless to say, he’s got this wild construct-looking friend called Dottie. And apparently, according to this thing, there’s these powerful folks from over there in Tal'Dorei that he’s been meeting up with that keep messing up every time they go on an adventure! Real thorns in his side!

LIAM: We can relate. I’m a big reader. If you finish that, I don’t know if you are the kind of fellow who likes to keep every book he reads but–

MATT: I got a collection.

LIAM: Oh, ja, that makes sense. Okay. Well, I will look for it elsewhere, thank you.

MATT: Sure, I got this shipped out to me from Deastok. Perhaps if you are in that vicinity, see that you get yourself a copy.

LIAM: Oh, okay.

TRAVIS: Bestseller or used book?

MATT: I had never heard of it until this, so probably not that easy to find.

LIAM: Would you be able to put in an order for this book for me?

MATT: I mean, I’m not really a book retailer.

LIAM: I understand, but you know many people. You are obviously a very knowledgeable fellow who has vast connections.

MARISHA: I bet we could go back to the Chastity’s Nook for that.

SAM: They will probably have it.

MATT: That is probably a place to look for a book.

LAURA: It sounds like smut to me.

LIAM: It’s a dirty book?

MATT: Not yet.

LIAM: All right. Well, I wait for your full review. Thank you.

LAURA: You just wait.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: It’s called “The Daring Tales.”

SAM: Sounds like shite, Caleb. There are much better books out there.

LAURA: Let’s go. Come on, there are things that need to be taken care of, Caleb!

LIAM: True. I got distracted. You know.

TRAVIS: Pumat, thanks for your time. We will not be bothering you any longer.

LAURA: But we will be back because we like you so much!

MATT: You are always welcome any time! All of us are happy to see you come in and spend your hard-earned money.

LAURA: Thank you.

SAM: Goodbye.

MATT: “Goodbye!” “Goodbye!” “Goodbye!” A little hand comes out from the curtain in the back. “Bye-bye!”

LAURA: Let’s go! Come on, we’ve got to get back to the Tap!

TRAVIS: We double dash back to the Tap.

SAM: To the Tap? Why are we going there now? Oh, to the box thing!

LAURA: Yeah, and to look at the stuff Caleb identified for us.

MATT: All right, so you guys return. Do you head down to the basement?

LAURA: Yeah!

MARISHA: I make sure it’s still there.

MATT: It’s still there.

LAURA: Let’s put it in the thing!

LIAM: So I put the box right down next to me and I put my coat–

SAM: Is the skeleton alive?

MATT: No, the skeleton is still dead.

MARISHA: He didn’t bring anything back to life, that’s good.

LIAM: Okay. So, this is better than it was before. You have monster calves, do you want to carry this now?

LAURA: What, like, on me all the time?

LIAM: I am–

MATT: As he’s holding it, placing it over the box, there’s still that undulating low hum and grayish glow–

LAURA: I mean, I can carry this box with me all the time, but don’t you think it’s weird to carry around a box all the time?

TRAVIS: No.

LIAM: No, people carry boxes.

SAM: Can we put the box in the–?

TALIESIN: The bag?

SAM: Oh wait, we can’t put the box in the bag.

TRAVIS: Why?

SAM: Crossing the streams.

MARISHA: But now we can put the dodecah-shit-ball in the box and now the box in the bag, right?

MATT: Make an arcana check.

SAM: Still crossing the streams.

MARISHA: Still crossing the streams?

LIAM: The lead is just to protect this item from divination.

TRAVIS: 22. Plus four.

LIAM: I am worried about crossing two planes of existence. It might not be that at all, but it is definitely not worth chancing.

MATT: The essence, as you’re looking at this and concentrating on this object, trying to get a grasp on it now that you have a good moment to look at it. The school of magic, or whatever the source of the magic is here, escapes you. It seems almost beyond or separate than some of the magics that you’ve naturally learned through your acquisition of spells and the pact that you had made. But you don’t get the sense that it’s extraplanar or anything that would constitute the same level of danger that you think Caleb is focused on.

LIAM: Tell me.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I say that.

LIAM: What, you have experience with things of this nature?

TRAVIS: It seems like a different sort of arcana than the type that I’ve seen.

LIAM: Okay, well, that’s fine. I’m going to walk about 200 feet away from you when you put it in that bag–

LAURA: I put it in the bag.

(laughter)

MATT: Okay! I need you all to roll– no, I’m kidding.

(laughter)

MATT: Well, that’s a TPK. You plop it in the bag and it vanishes inside the pouch.

LAURA: How long does it take to take effect if we’re all going to die?

LIAM: It takes about two weeks, so I guess we’ll find out.

LAURA: Eventually! I put my bag back on.

TRAVIS: What else we got?

LIAM: Oh yes, very good things.

SAM: Yes, the items!

LIAM: The daggers are just daggers, okay.

SAM: I’ll take those.

LIAM: Who cares about daggers, honestly? But this– I hold up this longsword which I can barely hold up. This would be good for either of you two. I will let you decide. Fjord, here. This is a very strong sword; it is very good against creatures. That is for you to look at. Then these boots would make anyone better, but I think that Beauregard might benefit from them the most. I could be wrong; I’m going to give them to Beau and let you decide.

MARISHA: All right, all right.

LAURA: What is it? What are they? What do they do?

MATT: The downside is longswords are not finesse weapons, so you’d have to use strength to utilize it.

TRAVIS: That’s pretty dope.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Pretty dope.

TALIESIN: This is really bloody heavy.

LAURA: Is it–

TALIESIN: You could actually–

LAURA: Could I use that? A longsword?

MATT: Yeah, well, are you proficient with weapons like a longsword? Your weapon proficiencies? My Player’s Handbook keeps disappearing from me.

SAM: Why do we only have one?

LIAM: There’s another one, it’s just gone missing.

TALIESIN: I know someone who might really enjoy this if you don’t want it.

MARISHA: We have like 30 Handbooks around here somewhere.

TALIESIN: We took them all outside and they stayed there.

LAURA: Did I put that down? I might have written my proficiencies–

SAM: How many weapons can you wield?

LAURA: Simple weapons!

MATT: Yeah, so you could not use a longsword.

TALIESIN: I think I know somebody who could really enjoy this, and I’ll hold on to it for a friend.

LAURA: Could Yasha use that?

TALIESIN: I think Yasha might get a kick out of it.

LAURA: Oh! That’s great!

MARISHA: Wait, is she still a thing? She’s going to come back?

SAM: Gone forever!

TALIESIN: I’ve known Yasha a long time, she makes her way back around.

TRAVIS: Although that greatsword she has is mighty fine.

LIAM: I mean, we will probably never see her again, that seems a little foolish to me.

LAURA: I hope she’s still in the city, because otherwise she’s going to have a really hard time trying to get back in.

TALIESIN: We’ll eventually need a bath and we’ll find her again.

LIAM: Could one of us carry it until she returns? Who could really use it?

LAURA: I don’t think anyone can use it.

LIAM: Not you? You are so good with a sword!

TRAVIS: Yeah, certainly. I just have a preference with mine. I’m just real comfortable with it. You know when you get a feel for something, you don’t want to change it up too much.

TALIESIN: It’s worth holding onto.

LIAM: Of course, yes.

MARISHA: I respect her ability to handle her own shit on her own time.

LAURA: What do the boots do?

MARISHA: They’re pretty great! So I strap on the big, gothy boots–

TRAVIS: Big-ass tall Doc Martens.

MARISHA: Super tall Doc Martens, lots of little fur-lined, lots of straps and zippers.

MATT: These boots are designed in a similar style as to the armor of the Xhorhasian individual you had fought.

LAURA: Is it kind of obvious?

MATT: No, not obvious. They’re made of a very dark brown or black leather with studs and the tops of them curl up into two spikes at the tip at each side.

MARISHA: How do they look?

LAURA: Well, normally you’re barefoot so it looks pretty good. It makes your pants billow a little weird but I like it.

MARISHA: Yeah, it’s hard to tuck your pants into your boots.

LIAM: I thought you would like those. Was I right? I was right, wasn’t I?

MARISHA: They’re pretty great. They add 1d8 to my initiative roll.

LIAM: Once per day. So you can choose a moment to get the jump.

MARISHA: Does anyone else feel like they might benefit from these more than me?

LIAM: I mean, anybody would, but–

TALIESIN: I think I’m pretty good with this.

TRAVIS: My initiative bonus is zero, just saying. (exaggerated cough) No, you keep them.

MARISHA: Your initiative bonus is zero?

LIAM: Yeah, but you know Beauregard really is the most capable fighter in this group, at this moment in time. What? That’s just the truth. Can you handle the truth?

LAURA: Can you handle the truth?

MARISHA: I feel like Nott might be able to do some good with these too, if she had them.

SAM: I defer to the wisdom of the group. We merely follow your expert wisdom.

MARISHA: Okay, I’m sensing some passive aggressive–

SAM: No! I am sincere!

TRAVIS: (whispering) Just smile and say, “Thank you, Nott.”

MARISHA: Thank you, Nott.

TRAVIS: (whispering) Very good.

MARISHA: Very good. Thank you. Thank you, Nott.

SAM: What is that crazy expression?!

(laughter)

SAM: I saw your gums for a second. It was freaky.

MARISHA: Don’t patronize me, Nott.

LAURA: Ooh, I take out the Wand of Smiles and I cast it at her.

MATT: Well, you have to make a saving throw.

MARISHA: Oh, do I?

SAM: I forgot we had that.

MARISHA: What kind of a saving throw?

MATT: Is it a wisdom saving throw?

LAURA: Charisma.

MARISHA: Oh, that’s not good for me. Nope, definitely not.

MATT: Yep, for the next minute, your face is curled up into a Joker-like smile.

LIAM: Oh, I love making people happy.

LAURA: Now you look so happy! It’s so wonderful!

MARISHA: (voice cracking) I am so happy!

TRAVIS: So we should– ugh, just look at them!

TALIESIN: Ugh!

TRAVIS: We should probably do something. We still have to wrap up this deception of ours.

LAURA: Oh, right. What are we supposed to do now?

MARISHA: (brightly) Go talk to the Gentleman, of course.

LAURA: But wait–

TRAVIS: You sound like The General car insurance.

MARISHA: (singing) 1-800-General!

LAURA: What does The General have to do with–

SAM: The Gentleman.

LAURA: What does the Gentleman have to do with this plan, though?

SAM: We were going to investigate Kara, who was going to the bar that the Gentleman frequents.

LAURA: Oh, that’s what it was. Okay, so we go to the Evening Nip to investigate her, and then we just happen to talk to the Gentleman, too?

SAM: If it happens, if it comes up.

LIAM: But also, we did not get the full catch-up, Fjord. What about the remnants of– I know everything is verkakte. The High-Richter is dead, that’s half the job done in a way we did not predict, but what about Lord Sutan? Did you talk to Dolan? And are they going to get the Crownsguard in there?

SAM: Oh yeah, we have to send the guards to find the evidence! Oh god!

LIAM: We can’t do anything. Dolan was going to handle that part of this.

MARISHA: I feel like it’s all gone to shit.

TRAVIS: Yeah. I think that’s right, actually. I forgot that part.

LAURA: I wonder if it’s all a distraction, though, for the big stuff.

MARISHA: I think that’s exactly what this is.

TALIESIN: I’m wondering if the guards are already there looking at the mysterious explosion that happened in that house.

LAURA: Well, that was the High-Richter’s house. But Lord Sutan probably went home and noticed his rug was missing.

LIAM: Absolutely noticed that the very expensive magical rug is gone!

LAURA: And so did he go to the guards, or did he go, “Oh shit, I was hiding something?”

TRAVIS: Did we plant something in Lord Sutan’s house, are they going to find the letter from–

SAM: And we stole a seal.

LIAM: Listen, this could all appear like the Knights turned on the High-Richter. I thought we wanted to get rid of Lord Sutan?

TRAVIS: We did.

LAURA: Yes, but we put evidence in his house. So if he noticed that the rug was missing–

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: He goes to the Crownsguard to report a robbery. Then they go in and they find the evidence that he was actually trying to be behind the attack that happened. So it actually is good that we destroyed the rug, because it led the guards into his house.

SAM: Hmm.

TRAVIS: I don’t know if he would report a robbery if he had a Rug of Attacking and you triggered it.

LIAM: And actual connections to the Myriad.

LAURA: But he– Are you okay, Beau?

MARISHA: Smiling is so painful.

LAURA: It can be.

MARISHA: (groans)

LAURA: Should we go spy on his house, and see if there are crownsguard in it?

SAM: Oh boy.

TRAVIS: We could certainly go by.

LAURA: Do you think they would let anyone back into the Tri-Spire?

TRAVIS: Oh, shit, I forgot.

LIAM: It’ll flip the situation. Dolan, I believe, was saying that with the High-Richter in place, she was favoring Sutan. And now she is gone, Dolan will hopefully take that seat. If he takes that seat, Dolan is not going to protect Lord Sutan in the way that he claimed that the High-Richter was.

TRAVIS: That’s right.

LIAM: I don’t know, maybe we walk away from the whole thing. Discuss it as a possibility.

TRAVIS: We got paid already. How much did I get paid? Because it was minus Kara’s.

MATT: Minus Kara’s, that would have been 628 gold, 21 silver, and 302 copper.

SAM: Oh, did we get paid?

TRAVIS: I did.

LAURA: For what?

SAM: Fuck that.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: So what’s the plan?

LIAM: Well, here’s the thing. If Dolan assumes that seat– we have no idea if that’s going to happen, but if Dolan does take that Richter’s seat, Sutan, if nothing happens to him, if no guards go into Sutan’s house, he knows that his rug is gone, he realizes someone has been in his home, 100%, he looks through the home himself, finds our fake message from the Myriad or whoever, would he retaliate on Dolan? Do we care?

MARISHA: Yeah, you’re actually… yeah. I don’t think you’re so far off. There’s something weird that’s been striking me with Dolan this whole time. He doesn’t seem like he really has the tenacity of someone who actually wanted that seat. Maybe he was a pawn this whole time. That guy is kind of a coward.

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm.

MARISHA: And I mean this with all due respect – the guy was kind of a coward!

LAURA: I am sad that I did that to her, because–

MARISHA: That’s how you do it, right? No?

TRAVIS: I don’t know if they’ll send anything back on Dolan, but we should find a way to get crownsguard into Lord Sutan’s place.

LIAM: Well, it was Dolan who said, I believe, he had the relationship with Orentha, so he was going to report this stuff to Orentha and have crownsguard go in. Now, due to the circumstances of the evening, we have missed the element of a quick surprise. They did not rush in the way we had hoped. So he’s already realized somebody has jacked his shit. I’m not worried, really, about him finding us, but he had a bad night when he came home.

TRAVIS: We can’t have Dolan rat on him. Hmm.

LIAM: But if we don’t give a shit about Dolan, then there’s no problem, really. But maybe we do?

MARISHA: I am really interested in this Kara girl. I’m wondering if she’s a puppet master throughout this whole game.

TRAVIS: Let’s try that.

SAM: So we’ll go to the Evening Nip?

TRAVIS: Yeah. Let’s try that.

MATT: Okay, so you guys are going to the Evening Nip? All right. You make your way over to the familiar, dirty, small, sunken dive bar, the same two beefy-looking guards on the outside eyeing you as you enter. You come inside. The same two individuals sitting at the same booth and the far table. And there lies Clive Binz, the dwarf with the half-burned beard. As you enter, he’s like, “Ah, good to see you again. What can I get you?”

LAURA: Shit.

MARISHA: This is Clive the bartender? Hold. Pause. It’s something along the lines of– Okay.

SAM: Are we gonna do this? Are we doing the Gentleman?

MARISHA: This is Clive the bartender, right?

MATT: Yeah, Clive.

MARISHA: Yeah, we are. So Beau and Jester walk up, and say–

LAURA: Hi.

MARISHA: ‘Sup.

MATT: “Can I get you anything?”

MARISHA: I mean, I know I’d like a drink.

LAURA: Yes, I would like some milk.

MARISHA: But unfortunately we have no coin. However, we are willing to offer many gifts.

MATT: “Right. Well, then. Take these gifts with you.” He turns around and looks at the rest of you, and steps into the back room.

LAURA: Do we follow him?

SAM: I’m so scared right now.

MATT: Do you follow him?

TRAVIS: Yeah, we fucking follow him into the room!

MATT: All right. You step into the back room of this dive, and as you step inside, it’s a storage cupboard. There’s shelves up there with various bottles of liquor, wine, and ale. He’s currently pulling a small chain up on the corner. As he does, you watch as a small trap door goes (creaking), it winches up, and there’s a stairway that leads down. And he goes–

TRAVIS: Yep.

MARISHA and LAURA: Thank you.

SAM: Mazel tov.

MATT: As you all slowly descend down the stairs, it closes behind you. You hear a few things shift over it. You descend down the stairway, and you begin to pick up the sound of soft music. There’s a gentle violin playing, and a lute or some sort of small string instrument. This staircase spirals downward onto the left, and as it curves down for about 40 or so feet, it’s getting colder just from the subterranean depth, that you’re going from the warmer surface. Eventually, you hear some voices and some laughter, and a clink of glasses. As you curve down, the light gets brighter from around the corner, until suddenly you look into a stone-set subterranean tavern. From floor to ceiling, it’s about 20 feet tall. You can see there are two balconies that overlook it from the left side, and one that’s barely visible around the corner, as the room opens up to the right of you. There’s a table immediately down from where the spiral staircase ends, and there’s a gruff-looking fellow sitting there looking up as you enter. He looks immediately defensive. The rest of the people in there are drinking, and not immediately paying attention. As you begin to descend the stairway, who all’s going in?

LAURA: All of us.

MATT: All right. You all begin to descend to the bottom of the stairs. There’s maybe about a dozen or so people in here, between the bartender, folks, and you can see two people are playing music on the upper balcony. There’s laughter and discussion, and there’s a card game at the center table. You see a maroon and dull grey robed person arrive, but their body is covered with a dark black, almost panther-like fur. Their face is cat-like, with ears that curl up. This is a black tabaxi that has turned around the corner, and goes, “Halt, friends. I do not recognize– Lucien?”

SAM: Who? What?

MATT: (incredulous) “You’re alive!”

TALIESIN: Oh, sorry, friend, I’ve got one of those faces people tend to recognize.

MATT: (gasping in disbelief) “Lucien!” She goes forward and does a huge hug.

TALIESIN: Oh, I’ll go with it.

MATT: And that’s where we’re going to end tonight’s episode!

(screaming)

TRAVIS: (shouting) Insight check! Insight check on Taliesin! Insight check!

MATT: We’ll come back to that. That’s a d10, that doesn’t matter.

SAM, MARISHA, and TALIESIN: Lucien?!

LAURA: Lucien?! That’s a cool name!

SAM: What?! Who’s that?

TALIESIN: Don’t know.

MARISHA: Who the fuck?

LAURA: Everybody’s a liar!

LIAM: This is just the first layer of the onion. There’s eight more names to come!

SAM: He’s actually a robot!

TRAVIS: Look at Taliesin right now. Just look at him.

LAURA: You sneaky bastard!

TALIESIN: You fuckers don’t know shit.

LIAM: You fake-name-making motherfucker!

MARISHA: How many names have you had?!

SAM: An hour ago you were telling me that I had to trust you people! You lying fuckers!

MARISHA: No, we never said to trust us! We said not to trust us specifically!

TRAVIS: I didn’t say anything!

MATT: All righty. We’ll pick up from that point next week. Until then, we’ll see some of you guys at C2E2 in Chicago this weekend. Looking forward to that! We’ll be back on this next Thursday to see where this goes.

TALIESIN: So excited.

MATT: (giggles) Until then, we love you guys. Have a wonderful week, and is it Thursday yet? Good night!

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