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"4-Sided Dive: Silken Secrets" (4SDx01) is the first episode of 4-Sided Dive, discussing from "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) to "A Hungry Jungle" (3x18) with guests Robbie Daymond, Matthew Mercer, Marisha Ray, and Travis Willingham. Marisha served as the night's Tavern Keeper, and the guests played Mario Kart 8 after the break with Travis ultimately winning the tournament.

Synopsis

Cold open

After Marisha joked that she almost got the show airing in Q1 of the year, the cast rolled for who would serve as Tavern Keeper. With a natural 17, Marisha was determined host for the night.

All right, howdy do, everybody and thank you for joining us on the first 4-Sided Dive. I rolled the highest, which means I am your first Tavern Keeper. I get the privilege of moderating this discussion, moving things along, and reading this cold open from the prompter for the very first time. Right now, really, this is true. I have not read this before. And the host is randomly chosen every time, I promise, or my name isn't Travis Willingham. Tonight, we will be sliding metaphorically into the DMs of the MM, the DM from way back when and find out what makes Matthew Mercer such a gem. Robbie Daymond stole our hearts and fled to Kymal before he could tell us how that squall got so silky. Nowhere to run now, Daymond. Your silken secrets will be exposed. Marisha Ray, she's playing a dead lady with a rat and we're going to find out what the fuck is up with that, and Travis Willingham traded in his silver fox for a pocket-sized werewolf. But is Travis for real this time, or is Chetney Pock O'Pea just another fair weather wise wander with a weakness for Werther's waiting to wantonly ride away with a whimsical wave goodbye? We'll wind out a wittle waiter. And waiter on... Oh, I see it, I see what we're doing. And, waiter on, we'll be playing Mario Kart. Now make car noises. (makes car noises) Mario Kart, now make them sexy car noises. (attempt at seductive car noises) I'm so tired. Welcome to 4-Sided Dive. Let's fucking do a show.
– 
Marisha's cold open
[!h]

What the Fuck is up with That?

Travis, what made you want to be old as fuck?

  • Travis did not set out "to play fogeys" but did want to play Chetney. The plan was to have a character at the beginning who would soon leave, including "old glass cannon wizard" and a basic character who had art created.
  • They initially laughed at the suggestion to play Bertrand Bell, then realized it would work. Travis had more fun than expected playing an older gentleman.
  • Travis considers Chetney a little younger relatively than Bertrand, though he is unsure how long gnomes live. This is the most alive Chetney has been.

Dorian has had quite the journey. He's had two transcontinetal flights in six months. How's it been?

  • Robbie felt shifting between Exandria Unlimited: Kymal and Campaign Three challenging and exciting due to the differences between their tones. It was easy to adapt because he never set out with strong intentions for Dorian and felt having "grand machinations" would've been too much as a new player.
  • Robbie felt Dorian's backstory, including Cyrus, was rather dense and didn't expect to see Cyrus. His wanted to reverse the Reluctant Noble, a trope he loves, and instead have Dorian seek himself by leaving a home where he feels ineffectual. In his imagination, Cyrus was a stalwart, capable, perfect first son and that was the primary motivation Robbie leaned on for Dorian leaving home. He found Matt's interpretation of Cyrus as a "lovable himbo" better than how he originally wrote him. Matt imagines Cyrus is capable at home among his family and fulfills all he was trained to do. When Dorian left, it prompted Cyrus to follow and quickly discover he has no other skills.
  • Robbie is unsure how Cyrus' bounty increased from 20,000 to 40,000 gold in Exandria Unlimited: Kymal. Though that the number is small to Dorian and Cyrus at home, it's a lot of money while they're out trying to find themselves.
  • Moving into Exandria Unlimited: Kymal with his Campaign Three experience was the most confident Robbie felt as a player.

Marisha, Laudna and her relationship to the Briarwoods, what the fuck is up with that?

  • Laudna was inspired by a nightmare of a flower girl, incorporated as an illusion in "Ghosts, Dates, and Darker Fates" (3x10).
  • Marisha considered playing a young girl who died during the Occupation of Whitestone. This was too weird, she instead decided on Vex'ahlia's double in "The Sun Tree" (1x28). This was around the same time she decided to multiclass into warlock, eventually choosing Delilah Briarwood as her patron.
  • She wrote was that Laudna was lured to Whitestone Castle in the hopes of being tutored. She was reawakened when Delilah's necromancy sparked something in Laudna's innate magic. This is all Marisha knows.
  • Robbie asked how they navigate connecting things to the larger universe and previously stories without "getting into the realm of hokey". Matt focuses on developing characters as having their own stories rather than being part of someone else's.
  • Travis compared how ridiculous Chetney is conceptually to the other characters. Marisha remembered when he first pitched Chetney, Matt had to point out that Santa and Christmas is not canon to Exandria. Robbie found Chetney charming and sincerely not out of place, prompting Travis to laugh that he immediately knew Chetney would hate Dorian's energetic affability.

How do we feel about Werther's?

  • Travis particularly recommended the coffee flavor. Robbie relayed stories about his grandmother's candy dish growing up.
  • The studio received boxes of the candy from Werther's that Matt has been eating before games.

The Tower of Inquiry: Round 1

@ALifeOfRyley, Instagram: What are the similarities and differences between your character and yourself? — pulled by Robbie

  • In the 4th grade, Travis became fixated on whittling through Boys' Life magazine. He abandoned it minutes after his mother gave him a pocket knife because whittling is tedious.
  • Keyleth tapped into Marisha's insecurities, Beau tapped into her confident and arrogant side, and Laudna is "just me at peak weird". She enjoys Laudna because it's difficult to tell if it's Marisha being weird or Laudna.
  • Matt, comparing himself to Dariax, admitted he can be similarly distracted and also loves spontaneity. Otherwise, they are not similar. Robbie liked how Matt embraced how impulsive Dariax can be. Matt highlighted this as a big difference, that he often feels crushed by responsibility where Dariax has no sense of it.
  • Unlike Dorian, Robbie feels socially confident; he sought to play a character who is charming but insecure. Dorian feeling in "In Too Deep" (3x14) that he was always an outsider was partially Robbie as someone who sometimes finds it safer to keep people at a distance. To lean into the vulnerabilities of social anxiety, he tried to stay away from making jokes or being charming to win friends, instead trying to remain unable to know what to say to new people. Because that vulnerability is frightening, Dorian lied to the point that Robbie questioned why Dorian constantly lied to friends.

The Deep Dive

  • Marisha: How does Laudna feel about working with a group of friends in her unlife? She is enjoying herself because she's lived in solitude for nearly thirty years. Though Imogen came into her life a couple years ago, this is the first time Laudna has really had friends in her life, including in her childhood. She's happy that she hasn't driven the others away yet. Marisha believes people Laudna knew in life are now dead.
  • Matt: Why did you choose to explore a new city in Marquet for this campaign, as opposed to somewhere like Ank'Harel or Shamal? He wanted to explore other topography, cultures, and places in Marquet. Because previous campaigns did not significantly linger in cities, he also wanted to start in a metropolitan area—but not Ank'Harel and Shamal to avoid tying things too closely to Campaign One. Marisha observed that Campaign Three is more heavily tied into the first campaign than Campaign Two. Matt discouraged strong connections in the second campaign to prove they can create strong narratives without relying on the previous one. The third campaign is allowed stronger ties because there is now distance.
  • Travis: How do you feel about Bertrand's lasting impression on the group? Remarking on Twitch chat saying Bertrand died with his dick out, Travis felt he should not need to describe "putting it away". It was unexpected that Bertrand would leave a big impression and become the basis for the group name. He reminded everyone that Bertrand was designed to quickly die in "The Search For Grog" (Sx42), but against the odds, Bertrand lived. Travis enjoyed that Bertrand became a catalyst and that the group in return changed how Bertrand related to others. He particularly liked Bertand's relationship with Dorian and Imogen.
  • Robbie: What is one lesson that Dorian learned while with Bells Hells that he'll take with him in his future travels? Always take a spa day. Because of the party's supportive natures, Dorian learned to trust, not necessarily others but learned to trust himself with others. Robbie mentioned Dorian had a romantic interest he kept distance from, prompting Marisha, Travis, and Dani to demand explanation. Marisha wondered if it was Imogen, which Robbie found interesting. Matt rescued Robbie from answering by drawing another question.
  • Matt: Bells Hells have left the big city of Jrusar for the jungles of the Oderan Wilds. Tell us about what that shift has been like as the DM? He liked the city but felt it was time to move to the more expansive space of the wilds. He also no longer needs a massive number of NPCs to accommodate what the table may do. Travis similarly liked not having to worry anymore about witnesses when Chetney transforms into a werewolf.
  • Travis attempted to get Robbie to answer who Dorian's crush is, but Robbie directed him to pull a question. Marisha barely heard Matt's answer because she was thinking about Dorian's crush.
  • Travis: What was it like to keep the werewolf secret from everyone, and then to finally reveal your werewolf self in-game? Amazing! Only a handful of people knew, including Marisha and Laura. He highlighted Liam, who did not know, joking in "Thicker Grows the Meal and Plot" (3x09) that Travis gave up the chance to be a gnome werewolf. Travis has been rewatching his favorite werewolf movies, influencing each of Chetney's transformations. He shared anecdotes from his childhood about his love of werewolves, particularly Lon Chaney in The Wolf Man. Travis regretted not having Ukurat bite Grog.
  • Travis and Marisha again failed to get Robbie to tell them about Dorian's crush.
  • Robbie: What was the reason behind Dorian's decision to leave behind Chetney's toy skyship? Robbie said that Travis, at the time, immediately understood the reason: most toys are meant to be loved by children. This was the most loving thing Dorian could do for Chetney, even if Chetney never knew. Additionally, knowing that he was leaving that episode, Robbie wanted a final image. Joking about blowing up the airship, a joke made in the episode as well, Travis suggested there is "a little bit of history" behind that.
  • Marisha: Tell us more about your inspiration behind Pâté de Rolo, both from yours and Laudna's perspectives. Pâté was developed in the character art with Hannah Friederichs. Marisha felt Laudna needed something dead. Hannah illustrated a rat, and Marisha suggested a raven skull to make it more crafty. She named Pâté before Laudna, and she named him "Pâté de Rolo" to mess with Taliesin. The decision to puppet Pâté was tentatively worked out afterward "in the moment".
  • Travis: How is it playing what is essentially a rogue/blood hunter multiclass, without the multiclass? Do you think Chetney might ever multiclass, if just to get Expertise and Sneak Attack? Travis felt it might be beneficial for people in the party, possibly even Chetney, to take levels in rogue. Chetney has "roguish" items. He knew he was going to be a werewolf and built toward that, but he did keep in mind Chetney needed to appear to be a rogue at first. He wants to reach higher blood hunter levels, joking at Taliesin's expense that "somebody needs to do it". Molly died at level 5, so Travis only needs to reach level 6. Travis joked that after level 6, "all bets are off" and he may multiclass into rogue.

The Tower of Inquiry: Round 2 and 3

Grafikpapst: If your character were an author, what kind of book would they write? — pulled by Matt, after returning the original block to abide by "use only one hand" rules

  • Laudna would write a book about composting, sustainable forest life, foraging, maybe house repairs, essentially a handyman's guide to living alone.
  • Chetney would write a Whittler's Quarterly zine with 70s retro fashion.
  • Dorian would write a collection of Shel Silverstein-like poetry with bad doodles.

Filip Martinez, Martysama on Twitch: What is your favorite way of adding flavor to your combat?

  • Travis didn't do as much flair as Grog outside of "How do you want to do this?" because Grog was mostly about "graphic savagery". He feels flair is easier with spells or transformations.
  • Matt highlighted Liam as Orym proving that martial classes can have flavor as well, noting that the Battle Master subclass is good for it generally. Matt feels that may be helpful to those who struggle describing combat as a martial class. Liam's flavor descriptions in test games for Exandria Unlimited inspired Robbie to do the same.
  • Marisha sought to explore how magic would manifest for each individual to establish an identity and balancing when the description would feel special as opposed to trying to add flair to every moment. She also sought to differentiate Laudna's Eldritch Blast from Fjord's.
  • Matt felt that as a player gains experience, they move toward developing their own flavor. He helped Laura reflavor Imogen away from the cosmic horror description of Aberrant Sorcerer, which she was not interested in.

Quotations

  • Travis: At one point, he was like, "Every night, when you go to sleep, I should just make you roll for survival." Just in case, just in case you go too hard, that's the end of it.
    Matt: "Oh man, how's your game going?" "Ah, my character died last night." "What were you fighting?" "Inevitability?"
    Travis: (impersonating Matt) You guys get your long rest. Travis, go ahead and roll a d20.
    Robbie: It's going to be a long rest.
  • Robbie: (off Travis accidentally saying Chetney is nearly 10,000) The elves have moved on, but Chetney remains.
  • Robbie: Split the party across time zones!
  • Travis: It was the most unplanned, unanticipated, unworthy thing for Bertrand to have struck such a chord with the group and to be the basis of the name, but that old sap, he did it!

Trivia

  • Omar wandered around set during the episode.

References

Art:

  1. Thumbnail from "4-Sided Dive: Silken Secrets" (4SDx01). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
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