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Critical Role Wiki
Critical Role Wiki

List of Transcripts

[upbeat music]

BRIAN: Good evening.


BRIAN: Good evening. Welcome to god-knows-what. This is our very special fireside chat edition of Talks Machina. Travis cannot stop looking at me, as per usual. I would like to welcome the cast of Critical Role minus one Ashley the Jenkins. As you can see, Matt also got the memo about dressing incredibly fucking sexy tonight.

MATT: Just saying.

BRIAN: We are here to discuss a bunch of overflow questions from the wrap-up episode. If you guys didn't get a chance to see, it's free anywhere that shows on this network are free. So go find those places. We had a lot of stuff left over so we wanted to lightning round it and do about 90 minutes worth of stuff, and then we'll do about 90 minutes of worth stuff off-camera that we can't talk about. How was everyone's break? LAURA and


LAURA: Happy new year!

BRIAN: Happy new year! I haven't seen you guys in forever. I was up north dealing with a legal situation about something that happened at Knotts Berry Farm, but I got to Skype and see you guys and Travis was one of my only phone calls.

TRAVIS: Yep, I'll never forget that.

BRIAN: Some of you went abroad.

LAURA: A lot of us went abroad.

TRAVIS: Raise your hand, you travelling dicks.

SAM: Does Hawaii count?

TRAVIS: That's off the mainland.

BRIAN: It is off the mainland, off the beaten land. I stayed at home and watched a lot of Murder She Wrote, in this very gown. Is this the one you wore for the last?

MATT: Yeah, I haven't washed it since.

BRIAN: You haven't?! Do you have any idea how much money this would have been worth before I put it on?

LAURA: It's a good thing it's not colder in here.

BRIAN: I have tape preventing, no matter how low the temperature drops.

LAURA: I don't think the tape is doing its job I can still see them.

TRAVIS: He's also getting some good pec quiver.

BRIAN: That's the tape literally squeezing milk out of my breast because it was put on so tight. On someone's phone there is an image of Ryan Green putting nipple tape on me 20 minutes ago. Guys, speaking of nipple tape, I can't believe this ties into my first announcement but speaking of nipple tape, Painter's Guild with Will Friedle season two begins on January 8th on

MATT: I'm so glad that he's learning to paint because seeing that first mini he did for your guys' home campaign, it damaged me on a spiritual level. He's gotten so much better!

BRIAN: It damaged so many people the cat-petting executives here gave him a show. They were like, "You're so bad at this, we will pay someone to teach you in front of a camera."

LIAM: He could eventually evolve into Michelangelo of painting minis, but we will never let him forget that one.

BRIAN: I have the picture of it on my phone because I sent a picture to Gil and I said can you paint this and he goes "Who the fuck?" I was like Will did this himself!

MARISHA: I would have been like "Nah. We can't. That can't--"

BRIAN: Yeah he was like, "I might need to just bleach it and start all over." I said we should do the same with Will.

MARISHA: We got that picture and we used it in the first season to shame him in the very first episode. The new season is going to be great!

BRIAN: It is, Painter's Guild season two, January 8th. Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins number four from Dark Horse Comics will be released digitally on January 24th.

LIAM: That's too far away!

BRIAN: No it's a hop, skip and a jump. Grab your copy at; Comixology, with an x; iBooks, with an i; Amazon Kindle; Nook; or Google Play. The fuck is a Nook?

SAM: A Nook, I think, is a Barnes & Noble proprietary Kindle.

MARISHA: They were a thing before Kindle overran them.

BRIAN: There are a couple of Barnes & Nobles around still, but yeah.

SAM: Get yours at Ballard's Books!

BRIAN: People buy their books from Ballard's Books. Waldenbooks? Hey guys the Vox Machina D20 set is still out of stock. We appreciate your patience as we wait for the restock and will notify everyone via social media as soon as the inventory is in place.

LAURA: That's true, but I can say that it's going to be very soon.

SAM: That is some bullshit!

LAURA: No, it really is gonna be super duper soon. I just talked to Fernando today about it and it's coming up. You'll be happy.

BRIAN: A crucial addition to that last update. The last batch of the critical role podcast episodes 101 through 115 will be going up on Monday, January 8th. Now that's only a few days away.

SAM: I'm confused about that. I haven't recorded any ads for that, I should probably do that.

BRIAN: That's because we replaced you with a gentleman goes by the name of Darin De Paul.

SAM: Ooh! Okay.

BRIAN: He's more expensive but, says here, easier to work with.

SAM: I believe that.

BRIAN: Monday, January 8th.

SAM: It says it on your card?

BRIAN: I would not give people half-true information. Those last batches, there's no batches, the last batch of episodes will be out January 8th. Now does anyone who works here know, and I look at you: The new campaign, are podcasts going to be released like in groups also when the new campaign come out for the new episodes?

LAURA: How's that happening? Do we know yet?

BRIAN: That's a great question that's why I--

MARISHA: To be determined says a member of--

TRAVIS: Not in groups, but we're aiming to get them out much more efficiently.

MARISHA: I think we wanted to do it, yeah, more efficiently.

BRIAN: I say wait till you're 101 episodes in again and then do it.

MATT: They will be happening much more consistently.

BRIAN: What else do I have to go over? Yes this is live. You know Marisha's guesting on As In N.E. Wisdom.

MARISHA: Good, close.

BRIAN: This Tuesday. What is it?

MARISHA: Asinine.

MARISHA: One of our new shows where we debate about really dumb shit.

SAM: Marisha.


SAM: I was asked to be on that show. Would you be pissed at me if I did that show before your Signal Boost show?

MARISHA: Considering Signal Boost has been on hiatus for six months. It doesn't matter.

SAM: I don't watch the channel.

BRIAN: Yeah, we know.

SAM: Not a big fan of geek stuff really.

MARISHA: No, please do it, go for it.

BRIAN: Sam. Did you know that the--

SAM: Hey! What's up with Marisha's show?

BRIAN: We just plugged it for the amount of time it deserved.

MARISHA: We wanted to just take a break, sometimes we move on. This is actually a good question. This is a good question because a lot of people will be like "Why did you cancel this show?" "Why did you cancel that show?" The answer is there are 1000 reasons why you could and maybe cancel a show and each show is going to be like unique in its own way.

SAM: Is it because I didn't go on the show?

MARISHA: It might be because you didn't come on the show. No, honestly, we wanted to mix it up a little bit.

BRIAN: Considering how well certain clips or viral music videos of you how well they do on YouTube, you would think a Signal Boost would have been right up your Tiger Woods alley. Guys, did you know the Critical Role podcast, speaking of, was one of Podbean's top ten podcasts of 2017? Can you believe it? Sam, did you get an invite to the Podbean awards because mine must have been lost in the mail.

SAM: There was a mysterious bowl of pinto beans left on my doorstep.

BRIAN: That's from them! That's the invite. It's inside the beans.

SAM: It's like a secret society.

BRIAN: Yes, it's inside one of the beans.

LIAM: I'm offended on behalf of All Work No Play. I know we only do one episode a year.

SAM: Side note, we've had an episode recorded since September that I haven't edited yet.

BRIAN: Oh boy.

MATT: Quality over quantity.

BRIAN: Our questions for tonight are what was left over from the thousands that were sent in for our wrap-up episode. Dani and Courtney are here, as they are every week, but this time they are looking the the chat so if you guys have some questions, they better blow us the fuck away because in my hand is a stack. If you are going to submit one, maybe, "Where did the name Critical Role come from?" or "Matt, is DMing fun?" Some of those questions maybe we could just leave for another time. The last announcement for tonight is the new campaign starts next week. Okay.

SAM: That's the most important announcement!

BRIAN: Okay, the new campaign starts next week January 11th, at 7:00. I want to begin by asking how it's going in the creation of the characters. What's the biggest hurdle or challenge you're facing right now coming up with a new person?

MARISHA: Culture shock.

BRIAN: Tell me about it.

MARISHA: We're all doing pretty different things. It's like I don't know how to D&D anymore and it's scary.

LAURA: Are we allowed to say what we did?

MATT: Yeah, every person is doing a session zero at home in private, just like a very brief warm up to feel out the character and if there's anything they want to change before we really started the campaign.

BRIAN: Those were not filmed or recorded for all the people who have been asking us. None of that is going to be released at any time.

MATT: Our little nuggets just for us to have for ourselves.

LAURA: Has everybody played?

TRAVIS: No, Liam and Sam are tomorrow.

LAURA: Oh my gosh, so we're the only ones who have done it. Oh gosh.

MARISHA: It was so fun! Oh my god!

LAURA: My hardest one is that I kept wanting to say "darling" as I was talking. I caught myself do it out loud one time and I was like, "Ooh, I really need to not do that."

BRIAN: Because your disposition is just so naturally pleasant in real life, it just flows. It's how shitty things just flow out of me all the time. Who is happy with the way they rolled besides Liam?

LAURA: I'm happy with my roll.

LIAM: Marisha has got to be happy.

BRIAN: Yeah? Are you happy, did you do okay?

MARISHA: I did all right.

TRAVIS: I shit the bed.

BRIAN: You shit the bed? And then how did you roll?

TRAVIS: Not great. I got three single digit categories again.

MATT: I think Ashley's got you beat.

LIAM: But it was all under his watchful eye.

MATT: She didn't roll poorly, but you know, she has some--

LAURA: She rolled some pretty fucking low numbers, Matt.

MATT: And I'm so happy she did. Those are my favorite! Low stats are awesome!

BRIAN: It's going to play well into the character.

MATT: It really is. I'm excited.

SAM: Matt, does anyone have a stat lower than my lowest stat?

MATT: Which ones your lowest again?

SAM: Well, I can't say.

MATT: You can't say. I think so, I think Ashley's is lower.

LAURA: Oh, I want to know. Hold up fingers underneath the couch so I can see what it is.

BRIAN: This is the lamest-- Talk about silhouette watch. Why are you showing me? Don't show me; I'm not looking good. Guys, was there anything from the wrap up episode-- I know we were here for five plus hours shooting that-- but was there anything that you wanted to ask each other or ask Matt, or Matt that you wanted to ask, before we jump into the questions? Was there anything left unresolved?

LIAM: Well, months ago you hinted a little bit at something, but didn't want to go into full detail, behind the scenes, because we were still knee deep in it all. It wasn't just me, a couple of us asked, what would have happened if Vax hadn't stuck his dick in the mashed potatoes and stopped Raishan from doing what she was going to do, and you mentioned that she'd-- and what would happen next?

MATT: Oh right, if he hadn't done that then she would have gotten the information she needed from Thordak's corpse. The main thing was she was trying to get to the corpse of Thordak to use the torturous Speak with Dead spell to extract information from him on where Opash's lair was, would have found out information she needed to do the dracolich transition and then she would have just fucked off. She's a long term person, once she had dealt with the immediate issue of the disease and her slowly degenerating then she would have taken all the time she wanted as a dracolich.

LAURA: She could be a villain in this next campaign.

MATT: That was essentially what was going to happen, yeah. If you guys didn't stop her, then she would have gone off on her own, done everything she could to be untraceable and probably would have come up as a villain later in this next campaign. But that didn't happen.

LIAM: So if we hadn't run blindly in she would have poofed--

LAURA: If you hadn't run blindly in--

MATT: Her whole deal was to let her have a moment with the corpse.

TRAVIS: Quit sticking your dick in the mashed potatoes man, god, fuck.

LIAM: That's what campaign two is for, that's a Beastie Boys reference.

MATT: He gets that feature at level 14.

TRAVIS: Tater fucker.


LIAM: The new team presumably, what you had said to me once was, would have run into her having lorded over where we're going to be. You talked about her being the next-- Shitting all over everything where we're going to be.

MATT: There would have been a 20 year jump, she would have had time to establish herself in an area on the new continent and would have been one of the major players in that area.

LIAM: Part of her argument during negotiations was, "I'll get what I want and then you won't have to deal with me at all, I'll be gone." She would have just pooped on Wildemount.

MATT: She would have been like, "You guys have Tal'Dorei. That's fine; I have ideas elsewhere."

BRIAN: Taliesin, how's your campaign for mayor of Tucson going?


TALIESIN: I've got a firm shot at it.


MARISHA: Poor Taliesin. It's been nothing but jokes!

TALIESIN: No, I've been loving it.

MARISHA: I said it looked like he was ending a second year of finishing school.

BRIAN: Absolutely. Just for that, unless you guys had more stuff you wanted to ask each other or Matt, if you think of anything speak up. ALL: (singing) So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!

BRIAN: Taliesin, just for being a good sport--

TALIESIN: This was my purchase in Berlin. I'm quite pleased with it.

BRIAN: It looks great. Well, just for being a good sport, I'm going to give the first question to Travis.

TALIESIN: Thank god.

BRIAN: Travis, this comes from Seth Taylor. "What was one of the most memorable moments for you that your negative intelligence made a situation go not the way you wanted?"

TRAVIS: What was one of the most memorable moments?

BRIAN: Yeah.

TRAVIS: I mean I loved giving three vials of blood to the Vasselheim trader instead of the two that he was asking for. That was one of the first moments where I was like, "Oh wait, there's so much I can do being this stupid."

MATT: Oh yeah, man, bartering Grog, that's legendary.

TRAVIS: It's so fun and that was the first time where I think Laura also was like, "I'm going to fucking kill you."

BRIAN: The first time, yeah. Liam, question from LazyGothy, little bit lazy little bit gothy. Aren't we all? Where/when did you first get Simon? What was the background?

LIAM: Oh shit, I don't remember, Matt. Pathfinder. Home.

SAM: Did you buy him? Did you find him?

LAURA: No, you got him off of somebody.

TRAVIS: Did you make him in the forges of Nithfluflop?

LIAM: That's it, that's totally it.

LAURA: Nithfluflop?

LIAM: Nithflufloff.

MATT: No, he was a random treasure find. I don't think I remember specifically when it was, but it was early.

SAM: Is that a common item? Like is that a thing that exists in D&D?

MATT: It existed in Pathfinder, yeah. It wasn't a powerful item it just became a snake, then it went and bit something and then it became a belt again. But I think that good magical items are ones that are not just useful in the game, but eventually become a small portion of your character's identity. I think that's a good example of that. It wasn't entirely useful all the time, but every now and then it was but it just became part of Vax.

LIAM: He might have actually accomplished something for me, once. Maybe twice.

MARISHA: Didn't you use him to scare some poor merchant or something once?

LIAM: I cheered up a kid, showed him my snake.

MATT: At the end of the campaign, on your way to the forge.

LIAM: He was my pet and he was less problematic than Vex's pet, and it was easy. Like a belt that turns into a snake.

BRIAN: Yeah, all right, I see you going all night. Because we're five. Marisha, at some point in what I'm about to read you there will be a question. This is from TiamatZX: Marisha, over the course of the Conclave Arc we've seen Keyleth slowly overcome her hesitancy about falling in love with Vax, with moments like the talk with Vex in the hot springs and Pike trying to convince her to be more comfortable with him. This is the part where there's a question. What would you say was the only thing that made her take that chance?

MARISHA: I mean it was answered actually in the question.

BRIAN: Fantastic, we can--

MARISHA: Yeah. It was a combination of you giving your seal of approval and Pike being like, "Hey girl, someday we're going to die and you're going to regret not loving somebody!" I was like "Aw shit, she's right." That was basically it.

MATT: I don't remember it like that, but I want to remember it like that.

BRIAN: That's how those characters sounded.

MARISHA: Actually I think what she said was, "You should just have fun." I guess it is what she said.

MATT: I'm pretty sure it is one of Sarenrae main stipulations in the religion. "Just have fun."

BRIAN: You be you.

LIAM: Also, when Vex finally stop making the hork sound, both of our shoulders dropped.

LAURA: It's true.

BRIAN: The hork heard around the world, a memoir. Sam, question from @YourRedDog.

SAM: Oh, Clifford.

BRIAN: Yes, Clifford. Sam, Scanlan's one man attack on the mansion as a triceratops is one of my, @YourRedDog's, favorite moments of the campaign. How much of that went according to plan and how much was improvised?

SAM: Plan? I think the plan was I was supposed to create a diversion by setting a fire. Until I realized I had no means of creating fire, and found myself inside the place as a dinosaur surrounded by archers. There was no plan at all.

TRAVIS: And then the Stinking Cloud and then the goliath came out.

LAURA: I think that was the moment when I was like, "I'm in love with Scanlan." Not Vex, Laura.

LIAM: Yeah, your face was manic, for that entire thing.

SAM: That was an hour of just me and Matt, or felt like an hour anyway.

MATT: That was about an hour.

SAM: It was amazing.

BRIAN: Every hour with Matt is.

SAM: Yeah, none of that was planned and it was just so fortuitous and it was one of my favorite moments of the whole campaign.

BRIAN: Well, it was @YourRedDog's favorite moment.

SAM: The writers, you know, they had a different scenario where-- it was contrived.

LIAM: There was a great art in the Christmas Gallery. I don't know the artist's name yet because it was their first art ever. It was one of two clockwork pieces done, and it shows just different vignettes, and they did, in a circle, the Scanbo moment. And it had Scanlan with the bandana on his head, but holding Bigby's Hand like a gigantic AK.

BRIAN: That's amazing.

SAM: And that was fun. And that was early on too.

MATT: Yeah, that was during the Whitestone/Briarwoods arc.

TRAVIS: "I'm going to kill everyone on this motherfucking house!"

BRIAN: Yeah, that's right. That was back when it was fun. Taliesin, question for you from @bae_warden. "How aware or conscious was Percy of everything that Vex was doing and saying in an effort to help him out of his Orthax and Briarwoods induced darkness/stupor?"

TALIESIN: Pretty aware, I would say. He was definitely not the worst he'd been. I was not prepared to where that was going to go. There was no understanding of how the guns or the curse worked, at all, until it just started happening.

MATT: Like a lot of curses do.

TALIESIN: There was no conversation about that at all. That was just me as player sitting going, "What the fuck is happening right now? What is this? Oh no. I may have made very poor choices. I didn't actually even know where my character was at that point. You just went with it, man. It was kind of crazy.

MATT: It was like the DM's gift. Like, here's a really tragic backstory, filled with violence... Loosely. Have fun with it. And I was like, "Oh, I will."


BRIAN: Well, the best part of doing the show with our brand new fireplace. I don't know if we can get a wide shot here. But when I'm done with the card, I can just literally throw it into the fire.


BRIAN: Laura, question for you from @magestictrinket, how fitting. "Vex promised the Raven Queen that she would destroy Orcus, in exchange for Vax returning after being killed by the kraken, as we know. Does she have any plans or concerns about upholding that contract?"

MARISHA: That's a good question.

LAURA: I totally thought that she was going to make us do that. I guess I'm pretty happy that she didn't' because, I don't-- I'm pretty sure that we would've died before we got to Vecna, if we did go and fight Orcus.

MATT: Well, it was more like, "I will give you my soul, in exchange for my sister," is something that a god could be like "Okay, I'll accept that."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "I myself personally will murder the Demon Prince of Undeath in the bottom layer of the Abyss," she's like, "Heh, sure."

LAURA: Aw. I volunteered all of us together.

MATT: Right. From her perspective, that was something that, if Orcus became a prominent issue immediately, then maybe she'd call it in. But for the time being, I think she also felt that she'd claimed enough attention and happiness from the family here. Taking Vax.

LAURA: I also, as me and as Vex, had no fucking concept of what Orcus really was, when I offered that. Like, at all. It wasn't until afterwards I was like, "Hey Matt, can I learn some stuff about Orcus? Because Vex is doing a lot of research after she did that," and he was like, "Okay." He sent it over and I was like, "Oh no, this is impossible!"


MATT: Some of the lore stuff that you had discovered as Vex and you were like "Oh."

LAURA: "We're doomed."

BRIAN: That was after you said that?

LAURA: Yeah.

BRIAN: That shows your level of commitment to your family, that you would choose to take on something like that. I know you're not somebody who's comfortable with compliments, but I thought I might throw that one your way. Look this one's just blank, what the fuck am I supposed to do with this, write my own?

TRAVIS: Throw it into the fire.

BRIAN: Toss it into the fire! Up next, hey guys, Madam Socks reminded us, did we not talk about this on the wrap up? A, it was a while ago, B, we were all quite drunk. "What happened to Keyleth's mother?" We didn't go over that?

LAURA: Oh! That's right, we didn't! We didn't ever talk about that!

BRIAN: I know we meant to get to it.

MARISHA: I thought we did a Talks forever and ever ago.

BRIAN: I think it might have been discussed on Talks.

LAURA: I don't remember ever hearing about what happened to Keyleth's mother.

MARISHA: She's dead. But I guess we don't know how she died.

MATT: Well, there's elements of the story and campaign that I like to leave somewhat vague for people who are building their own narratives and stuff.

BRIAN: Oh I see. It's all about money for you.

MATT: Yeah. if you pay me enough, I'll happily tell you. No, that's one of the elements I want to keep vague for the purposes of other writers out there.

LAURA: I like to imagine she's alive, and living under the water, with one leg. Because her leg was discovered, and that's the only thing that was recovered, right? So I think she's a pirate with a peg leg now.

MARISHA: Like a mermaid pirate.

LAURA: How fucking cool would that be?

MARISHA: She's a mermaid pirate. That's actually kind of awesome.

LAURA: That's what I think happened.

MARISHA: Oh yeah, that's right, all they did is discover the leg.

MATT: Yeah, that was the one remnant of the battle that they found.

LIAM: Cliff diving accident.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: That would be kind of rad. LAURA and

MARISHA: That would be tight.

BRIAN: Question for you, but before that, how are you feeling about the new campaign?

MATT: I am super excited, and I am really stressed, but I'm super excited. I mean, I've disappeared for-- half of our holiday break was me just working on the campaign, I'm sorry.

BRIAN: I disappeared for half the holiday break too and I'm sorry, Ashley, but it was out of my control, they came in the middle of the night. Anyway.

TRAVIS: Pay those parking tickets.

MATT: I'm excited, I'm finishing up the details of the whole continent map right now.

BRIAN: We are saving character reveal, we are saving race reveal, we are saving all of that for the campaign.

MATT: We're holding it for that. I want to experience the first game where all the characters come together as a group, the same with these guys.

SAM: You have long arcs planned? Do you have the first session planned, do you have the first three sessions planned?

MATT: Depending on what you guys do and where you go because that's always expansive. I have the first six or so episodes of story pretty well beat-ed out, from there I have loose arcs to bridge all those, and then I have long-term arcs. I have level ten, level 15 arcs already kind of worked out.

LAURA: What if we just completely fuck up and--

TALIESIN: We could basically do sim farm if you want. We could all decide to become sharecroppers, and that could just be the show. Are we going to do eggplants for this next season, or are we going to do carrots?

MATT: That would be the fastest sunset of a campaign ever.

MARISHA: We just open a B&B, it's great.

MATT: We get to session 12, and I'm like "All right, guys. As you all gather your harvest for the fall, you look off to the setting sun and think, 'My kids will eat well next year.'" And that's our campaign. Thank you for joining us, guys.

BRIAN: Probably not going to make a ton of shirts for this one, but hope you like the characters.

LIAM: This game is just Cooking Mama.

LAURA: Oh, I love that game!

MATT: Stardew Valley: D&D Version would be great.

LAURA: Cooking Mama, taught me how to correctly beat eggs.

MARISHA: Oh, yeah, because you actually had to do the little--

LAURA: Yeah, do it and then switch.

BRIAN: Cooking Mama was the one that told me the other nuns didn't like me.


BRIAN: I'm sorry. I snuck that one in there. We did, however, you're not going to get too much juice out of us tonight.

LIAM: (fart noise)

BRIAN: However we did tease you with something over the break. Le Chiffre, show it to me at once. We did tease you with something. (cheering and clapping)

BRIAN: Put it back up! People don't want to see me drink this!

LAURA: Oh my God! Do it again! Do it again!

TRAVIS: Yeah, put it up! Show me those legs! (cheering and laughter)

BRIAN: There is a lot going on there.

MATT: Oh god.

LAURA: Those glasses!

BRIAN: We got to it, didn't we?

MARISHA: Oh, look at that, look at that!


BRIAN: Oh, wow, what a great fade! Wow!

LAURA: That whole day it's like, "Are we in a cult? Are we in a cult right now?"

MATT: What's incredible is there are elements of that image that aren't that different from my middle school photos I took. Man, I've always been a winner.

LAURA: I've seen that!

LAURA: Don't you have a picture of you on a stairwell, or something?

BRIAN: With a Hawaiian shirt on or something like that?

MATT: Oh yeah, I've got a bunch of pictures that the world will never see.

MARISHA: Yeah, I felt like the whole time we were doing the photo shoot, because it was like a house in the Valley, I'm like, "Oh, they're going to think this is the weirdest porn."


TRAVIS: The weirdest porn!

MARISHA: Throwback!

BRIAN: Yeah, the place where that photograph was taken, you guys lucked out.

LAURA: It was a great place.

SAM: It was the only photograph taken there, though.

BRIAN: No, that was it! They came, they posed, they went their separate ways.

SAM: Yeah. It was about a five minute shoot.

BRIAN: Well back to questions about the last campaign.

MATT: Yes.

BRIAN: What? Oh, Chiffre's going to put something else on the screen. Side by side! Let's do the look there. Do the face! There you go. Tilt the head to your--There you go! ALL: Yeah!

SAM: I love that we're comparing Matt to Matt two months ago!

BRIAN: Yeah, Matt two months ago and Matt now.

MATT: Well this way you can tell just how much weight I gained over the holidays. Direct comparison!

BRIAN: Exactly. I know don't do a side by side of any of us. Okay, back to questions about the last campaign. TiamatZX is back with a eloquently-worded question for Matthew Mercer the Dungeon Master. "Percy had gotten two points of corruption before having one reversed by Pike in 'Against the Tide of Bone,'" I guess that's the title of an episode?

MATT: Yeah.

BRIAN: "What would've happened if he had gotten more than two?"

MATT: I had made a custom kind of 5e version of the Corruption-- what were actually called the "Taint Rules" in the Heroes of Horror, but I decided to change that because I knew, that this group would never fly.

BRIAN: Stay taint!

LIAM: You shouldn't have said that shit now!


MATT: Yeah, but it's from the Heroes of Horror book for the older 3.5 D&D. I had used it for my Ravenloft game back in the day. I took all those tables and I retooled them to Fifth Edition and simplified a bunch of it. Past two points was a threshold where you get to more of a moderate severity of corruption, which you get a mental of physical corruption. And so I'd roll--

TRAVIS: A physical corruption on your taint?

MATT: Yes. See what I got to deal with every week?

TRAVIS: Listen!

MATT: You're making Purvan cry. ALL: Aw.

LIAM: Point of order! I believe the "Taint Rules" apply in this situation!


BRIAN: I so bad wish I could read all those cry babies on Reddit complaining about "Taint Rules" instead of--

MATT: It would've been a physical or mental corruption at that point, it would've been either a moderate insanity or a physical ailment like, the eyes would've started to rot away, or he began to have the skin slough off a bit. Or he could've began to have obsessive mental characteristics.

TRAVIS: Bring it back, man, we can handle it, that sounds awesome! We'll totally be grownups about it!

LAURA: No that is what it is! We're just not going to call it the "Taint Rules".

MATT: No! That's the "Corruption Points" now. Because it used to be divided. Like a lot of Third and 3.5 Edition rules, it was super complicated when it didn't really need to be so I pulled it back a bit. I was going to put them in the Campaign Guide, but like I said, it was based on the Heroes of Horror and it was too close to the original settings. I may just release them online and if people want to give them a shot and, mess with them them and retool them to yourself.

BRIAN: Something tells me that people will be very interested in that.

MARISHA: We can't even get through that question without 30 jokes!

MATT: Yeah, I'm so excited for the new campaign!

TRAVIS: All your hard work is extremely valued.


BRIAN: Liam, question from (gibberish). "Vax originally planned to become a paladin of Sarenrae but was forced into the arrangement with the Raven Queen. After meeting both, which goddess did he favor more in the end?"

LIAM: In the end?

BRIAN: Yeah.

LIAM: (confused noises) I don't know how to answer that.

BRIAN: Well, as Kirk Douglas wouldn't help us.

TRAVIS: Go back to two episodes before the end, and how did you feel?

LAURA: Just what does your gut say? Just answer!

LIAM: RQ, man, RQ let him be there at the end there, at the end.

TRAVIS: Good call, man.

BRIAN: Yeah, that's true. Sam.

SAM: Yes.

BRIAN: TheHollyPhoenix would like to know: "Was Scanlan really trying to learn what it's like to be on drugs or was he just trying to find a way to numb the pain of the whole Kaylie situation?"

SAM: Hmm. I think he was the latter, numbing the pain. He had some issues and was having a crisis of conscience.

LIAM: And taint points?

SAM: Yeah, and he had--

MATT: So much regret over here.

SAM: He had some grundle issues.

BRIAN: How do you think I feel?

TRAVIS: This has been its infancy.

SAM: It's "taint-ancy."

TRAVIS: It's a dwarf star, it's about to-- A supernova's coming.

BRIAN: Liam's had a month and a half to think of stuff to yell at you right before we go live.

MATT: You've never seen a faster TPK.

BRIAN: Matt Colville, this'll be his favorite campaign: kill all the players before episode four.

SAM: He was genuinely seeking a way out of his distress. He didn't know who he was any more, what his purpose on the team was, or whether he should be on the team or not. So he was looking for a way out.

BRIAN: I had someone message me, I'm going to share this because I died laughing. I had someone message me and say: "I know that Sam did the whole Scanlan Drug Arc thing because that's what he was dealing with in real life, but do you know if, like whatever?" And I wrote back, and I was like: "HAHAHA" in all caps because I was like: "If you knew Sam, where did you--" And he was like: "I just saw some people had said 'that's probably whatever's going on.'"

SAM: I got in too deep?

BRIAN: Yeah, you were in deep, man! You got in the streets!

MATT: A few weekends in Lancaster and you just never were the same!

SAM: Part of the reason I was late to so many of the shows was I would come in with just gold spray paint. Then everyone would be like, "You have to go clean up! Just say you were late or whatever!"

MATT: It was a very stressful period of the campaign.

BRIAN: It was, man. To think that so many laughs came out of such heartbreak.


BRIAN: Oh man, well, Taliesin. Run for sheriff of Abilene with an answer to this question from Schneeland.

SAM: The captain's uniform from Lufthansa Flight 91!


TALIESIN: Thank you! That's what I was going for!

BRIAN: Oh man. "In a way, Taliesin, Percy's greed and carelessness in the sunken tomb were responsible for Vax's ultimate departure. Does this ever plague him?"

TALIESIN: I mean, it's a long list, and also, I would disagree with greed.

BRIAN: A long list of what?

TALIESIN: It's a long list of things that he feels responsible for, because he's the only adult in the entire world. It wasn't greed, it was just hubris. Yeah, it was just hubris. He's a character based on hubris. People make that joke occasionally, like immediately going into hell like "Okay, nobody ever make a deal, don't sign anything," and then immediately within one hour is like "I'm going to to make a deal." Yeah, it's because this is what you do when you tell all the kids "Don't touch the oven!" This is my oven, I'm going to cook something. It's what you do when you think you're the only adult in the entire world. It always goes well. MATT and

TALIESIN: As we've seen!

BRIAN: The way I used to see it was, "I was always the kind of guy who would steal your drugs and then help you look for them."


BRIAN: "What man!? I'll be right over! I'll be right over! I'm sure you left it in the can of Pringles." Laura, question from subokunotora. Isn't that the thing-- no, that's-- did Vex know about Tary's feelings for Percy? If so, how did that affect their friendship?

TRAVIS: Seppuku.

BRIAN: Thank you.

LAURA: I was thinking sudoku.

BRIAN: I was way off. Laura.

LAURA: I don't think so? Did she know about-- no, she didn't know about him. No.

BRIAN: Okay. That wouldn't have been something that was discussed.

LAURA: Yeah, that was obviously, we talked about that in our best friend hangouts.

SAM: I'm sure you asked, but I don't know if he was really into--

LAURA: Like, who do you like right now?

SAM: He was probably not in touch with his emotions enough to even know.

LAURA: Right.

SAM: Plus you talk a lot.

LAURA: I did. I imagine that she did a lot of talking.

TRAVIS: That was a one-way street.

BRIAN: He had to be a good listener.

SAM: Just on and on.

TRAVIS: Did you know that-- and oh my god. Have you heard?

LAURA: I am so glad you're here because nobody ever wants to hear these things.

TRAVIS: I feel like you really understand me.

BRIAN: Matt and Laura, this came from the internet. Well, these all came from the goddamn-- SamanthaXYZ-- We've been off for a few weeks. This isn't a permanent situation. Matt and Laura, what would have happened if Vex would have said yes to Saundor when she got her vestige?

MATT: Oh yeah, I think we mentioned that in one of the Talks episodes.

BRIAN: Dani said only one person asked that question.

MATT: The offer that would have come with your character type going from humanoid to fey. You would have become a fey creature. The tree would have embraced and pulled her up into the canopy and there would have been this transformation process.

BRIAN: A fey-ancé? ALL: Oh!

BRIAN: This is why I write the show, folks. This is why I alone write the popular program Critical Role.

LAURA: Now I am regretting not saying yes.

MATT: You would have transitioned to a fey creature and some of the racial benefits would have come with that.

LAURA: But then, some of the downsides, too.

MATT: Well, some of the benefits would have been like a perpetual bark skin. You would have had other fey abilities would have come to you, but you also would have gotten vulnerability to fire damage.

LAURA: Which would have been real bad.

MATT: Especially in the later battles.

LAURA: Yeah. I would have been dead fighting Thordak. There's no way I would have survived those.

MATT: And then you would have been bound to Saundor, in which case he would have become a patron for the remainder of the campaign to you, or until you rebelled, in which case that would have gone-- I don't know where that would have gone.

LAURA: Super south.

MATT: Probably pretty bad. But yeah, you would have bound yourself to a not-so-good person.

LAURA: Yeah, but I would have gotten some sweet tree loving.

MARISHA: Yeah, you would have had those nice curvy tree hips. Yeah.

TRAVIS: Sweet tree loving?

LAURA: Saundor. I would have gotten some Saundor loving.

BRIAN: May be a better way to word it. I picture some bad things happening with those trees from the second Lord of the Rings. Travis--

LAURA: Ooh, there's got to be some fanfic online.

BRIAN: There is.

LAURA: Some ent fic? Yeah.

MATT: Guess what we're googling at break.

BRIAN: Yep. Not going to be a break, unless you want one.

MATT: Oh, no. Keep going.

BRIAN: Do you want a break?

TALIESIN: That'll be the 90 minutes after this 90 minutes.

BRIAN: Travis. Cardamonelaw wants to know, "What was Grog's-- character you played in the last campaign-- fascination with the lycans about? Was he just wanting to tap more into his primal side?"

TRAVIS: What was the--?

BRIAN: Fascination with the lycans?

TRAVIS: Oh, yeah. I think he just-- what was the name of the big alpha lycan?

MATT: Oh, in the Feywild.

TRAVIS: Ukurat?

MARISHA: Ulrich?

MATT: No, not Ulrich. I can't remember off the top of my head.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I can't. He was really in the face of Scanlan right when he got there and Grog took issue with that, and so I wanted to pick a fight, but I was trying not to blow up too fast and get us all into trouble, and then I got petrified by a bunch of faeries. So that didn't go well. But after that, I think Grog just realized that there was maybe more to tap into, plus Travis loves werewolves.

LAURA: Yeah. I was going to ask, when are you going to say that part?

LIAM: That was my follow-up question. What percentage is Travis and what percentage is Grog?

TRAVIS: Oh, it was 99% Travis wanting to get werewolf art of Grog.

MATT: So internet, make that happen.

LAURA: Yeah, did that ever happen? Did you ever get werewolf Grog?

TRAVIS: Yeah. I saw it. I saw some stuff. I even got some minis while we were in-- I got three werewolf minis in Australia.

LAURA: That's right. I remember that.

SAM: Speaking of petrified, how many fights were you in as Grog where you were totally taken out of the fight by being bamfed away, frozen solid, killed instantly, turned into a dummy, turned against us?

BRIAN: Check CritRoleStats later and see if that's a thing.

SAM: It's got to be half, right?

MATT: Oh, it's not half by any means.

LIAM: No, but it's the only way for the DM to get at him.

MATT: Well, it depends on what you're fighting. If it's an intelligent creature, it knows what the biggest threat is, the seven-foot, eight-foot guy with the giant axe who looks like he could take anything you throw at him. I'm not even going to damage him, just (pop). Get out of the fight.

TRAVIS: Okay, bye!

MARISHA: You got grappled in that, not Kevdak, the beholder.

LAURA: K'varn?

MARISHA: K'varn, thank you.

SAM: Yeah, in a holding cell or something?

MARISHA: Yeah, you got stuck for most of it?

LAURA: The mime box.

MATT: It depends on who you're fighting. A lot of things that are not very intelligent will still go after Grog and be like, "Ugh, he's just not going down!"

LIAM: Wasn't he also grappled by something in the fight with the elder brain? Like you got too close to a cage and got snagged by something in the cage?

LAURA: That's what he was talking about.

LIAM: Oh, that's K'varn?

MATT: Yeah, there were two of K'varn's experiments in cages. Anyone got close, they would just grapple and hold them to the cage.

TRAVIS: I had to be all curious and see what was in there. I was like, "Ooh, allies! (clang) (groan) Help!" Then I got stuck there forever.

MARISHA: You were just rolling so bad. I remember that. Should have broken out, man.

LAURA: You were just rolling so bad.

TRAVIS: We were really good at strategy at that point. We were the Avengers on point.

LAURA: No, that was some good strategy in that fight.

TRAVIS: We got fucking lucky.

SAM: We got worse at strategy as we went.

LIAM: But this is the year that we reclaim dignity!


TRAVIS: Gif that.

BRIAN: Says the guy who yells out taint whistle three seconds before we go live.

LAURA: Hey, that's going to be the first one.

BRIAN: Matt, we had to mine really deep for questions for this thing, you know, when we did the original thing, and I found a gem-- and by I, I mean Dani-- found a gem only asked by TheHollyPhoenix. What does the Moon Hammer do?

MATT: Oh, right!

BRIAN: Literally 10,000 people show up at my house asking me about the goddamn Moon Hammer.

TRAVIS: Mary gave me a Moon Hammer.

SAM: Did you use it?

LAURA: He never used it.

TRAVIS: No. Well, it had to be used under the moon, apparently, but we rarely fought under moonlight. But I don't know what it did.

LIAM: It's a plus one hammer.

MATT: Well, naturally, it was a plus one hammer, and then when you brought it under full moonlight, it would empower the hammer. What it would do is it would give it a charge that would allow you to cast Improved Invisibility on yourself or another target until it was charged again. It wasn't some grandiose powerful item.

TRAVIS: It didn't turn me into a werewolf?

MATT: No. That would have been cool, but it didn't make sense for what Zahra's--

TRAVIS: I would have ripped my clothes off and run out of this studio right now. I would have beat myself to death during the rest of the stream if that was true.

MATT: Zahra's enchantment capabilities weren't super powerful, so she can craft something that was somewhat useful given the circumstance.

LAURA: Probably at this point, she'd be able to do some pretty badass--

MATT: By now, yeah. But at the time, limited to enchanting something with a one charge Improved Invisibility.

TRAVIS: Improved Invisibility is not bad. I never went invisible.

MATT: No, especially if you could use it as a person who was not a spellcaster. That was the benefit of it. Anybody was attuned to the weapon could then use it until it was recharged again.

TRAVIS: Grog would have forgotten he was invisible. It's okay.

LAURA: Yeah, the minute you attack, you would have been visible again.

TRAVIS: (yells) Aww.

BRIAN: Matt, OnceUponAPun wants to know, speaking of interesting items, where and when did Sylas come into possession of Craven Edge?

MATT: Craven Edge would have been probably one of the artifacts that the cult of the Whispered One had amassed. Even while Vecna was scattered amongst the planes and trying to coalesce over time, those who followed him, all the various Remnants that were out there in the world were collecting things for when he returned. There were all sorts of artifacts and items that they were pooling in places where they had the most influence. Craven Edge was one of the most powerful artifacts that they had recovered. When he brought Sylas back and the Briarwoods had proven that they were dependable right-hand men to Vecna, he went, "All right, you can use this, and since you are undead by nature and I was responsible for your resurrection, Sylas, you could ignore some of the penalties of this item."

TRAVIS: The dying part?

MATT: Yeah, it would have been harder for that to happen to him. So it was just amassed by the Remnants then gifted to Sylas when he became one of the higher-ups within that structure.

TRAVIS: Was Grog the only one to take Craven Edge to the limit? To its max anime status? Did he take him to the ten? Give it to him?

TALIESIN: You maxed out the taint bar, man.

MATT: There may have been a handful of other ones that had bankai-ed in the past, but you were the only one in recent centuries.

TRAVIS: Fair enough. Recent centuries is pretty good.

MARISHA: Good thing Pike was there.

LIAM: I wonder what Sylas' toilet chats were like?

MATT: Nowhere near as interesting. They actually probably had good debates and philosophical discussions.

LIAM: Does Sylas Briarwood even take a shit?

MATT: You know, that's a good question.

LAURA: Is it just blood poop?

SAM: Matt doesn't want to reveal anything that might come into play in the next campaign.

BRIAN: Yeah guys, a couple of things he keeps really close to the chest just in case Sylas poop was something we talked about.

MATT: There are some great DM's Guild things I am working on in the future around that so I don't want to spoil anything.

BRIAN: Sam and Matt, was there any discussion about how Doty was built? I know that got asked about a lot.

SAM: How it was built? It was part of the artificer class to have a-- something.

MATT: A mechanical automaton that would be his companion.

SAM: Before I knew that and before he proposed the class to me, artificer, because i didn't know what it was, I had proposed to him a rich guy who travels around with a biographer, who buys all of his gear and has no actual skill. And he was like "I've got it, artificer and you have a robot assistant." I was like "Can he write?" and he was like "Yep, done!"

MATT: Yeah it was a perfect union. The more you told me about the character, I was like "Oh, well this just came out very recently on Unearthed Arcana."

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: It worked out great. SAM. Yeah, it worked out great. I don't know about that class so much. It seemed like it peaked. I don't know how much--

MATT: It's in the testing phase. It definitely isn't a powerful class it is a utility, interesting class. I can see certain builds that would be powerful but--

LAURA: I guess a support.

MATT: Yeah, a support and toolbox type class.

MARISHA: Your crown jewels saved me when I jumped off a cliff. That was great.

LIAM: Story-wise, when he was a strapping young buck, was he taking physics and engineering classes, tutors?

SAM: Sure, yeah, tutors.

LIAM: Was it Lawrence who taught him how to make Doty?

SAM: I don't know what Lawrence taught him. I actually thought that Lawrence was more of a literature tutor of romance languages or whatever. But he definitely had all the best tutors.

BRIAN: Who do I want to talk to more in this moment? Matt.

LIAM: Ashley is not here Brian.

BRIAN: I know. Erin Bradshaw wants to know, "What were the plans of the illithid after Vox Machina's escape? Would they/did they consider taking over Kraghammer?"

MATT: The illithid rarely want to get closer to the surface. They prefer to bring things to them. They expand slowly from an inside standpoint. Conquering a location isn't as important as building up power to base and then possibly jumping to a new plane or a new society. They are one of those weird, alien colonization-type species that jump between worlds. The Far Realm gets real interesting, folks.

LIAM: And all underground when they dimension shift it's just beehives under the earth.

MATT: For the most part. It depends on where they're going. They're all about enslavement and mind-control and fleeing their hunters, which are like the githyanki. There are other species out there that are constantly hunting and trying to eradicate them. So they have this combination of wanting to be as unseen as possible and then drawing things into their fold and controlling them. Probably, they were pulling things that got too close, maybe eventually if Kraghammer became a huge issue they would maybe core it out and destroy the people and then leave the ruins, but I don't see them hanging as close to the surface as Kraghammer was.

LAURA: Just like, making some bedrooms in there and summer homes.

MATT: Yeah, with some nice shawls or sweaters.

BRIAN: I don't understand why my friends who don't watch Critical Role, that tune into this, say that they are confused. With answers like that. Question for everybody from Myurnaoneshot-- it's as close as we are going to get gang. "What happens with the Slayer's Cake? Does Vox Machina stay involved with it?"

MARISHA: We loosely talked about this?

LAURA: Yeah. I think they opened up chains.

MARISHA: Yeah, we said they franchised it. The next place would be Emon.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: They'd release a cookbook.

LAURA: Eventually an Ank'Harel location.

MARISHA: 100%.

TALIESIN: Eventually, there's like two a block. You can't escape them.

SAM: They have a low price point option. SC2.

MARISHA: Well, part of my Honey Heist game, that was part of the whole easter egg because it was a year or two after everything had closed. I don't think we ever actually got into this. Part of the prize for winning the honey contest was that you'd be able to sell your baked goods and your honey tax-free. Remember Vex being like "We have to go win this shit, and then open up our next chain--"

LAURA: Tax-free!

MARISHA: Yeah, in Westruun. I think, in my head, we were trying to start making a name for ourselves as the Slayer's Cake in Westruun.

BRIAN: Wow, that's pretty awesome.

LAURA: Plus, think about it. They're friends with Gilmore, so he's telling them how to do stuff, they got to like--

LIAM: Every Gilmore's Glorious Goods should have a little Slayer's Cake inside it.

LAURA: Like Barnes & Noble with a coffee shop!


LAURA: (yelling) That's what happened!

LAURA: That's canon.

BRIAN: Speaking of Gilmore, and his glorious goods--

MATT: (as Gilmore) Yes, you rang?

BRIAN: People want to know, especially The Florist Friar, what a great name, "How did Gilmore react to Vax's death?"

MATT: Oh, terribly! He was heartbroken, just because--

BRIAN: I was so hoping you were going to say he went, "Who?"


MATT: Even though long-term things didn't pan out for them, he still cherishes the time they did have, and the friendship he forged thereafter, with everybody, so he's heartbroken for both his connection with Vax, and for the rest of Vox Machina and other people whose lives he'd come in contact with. He's very thankful for the time he had. The whole post-campaign for Gilmore was a lot of self-reflection. He was very much this self-started, wanting to prove to the world that he can succeed and be as good as he can, and had these dreams of perpetual expansion and franchising. He backed off that a little bit after all the events of the campaign, and just focused on small local shops and staying on Tal'Dorei.

LAURA: You're screwing up our Slayer's Cake.

MATT: I'm sorry!

MARISHA: It doesn't work anymore.

MATT: Well no, he's an expansion of your territory, you guys can go wherever you want!

BRIAN: After he got famous from that meme it all went--

MATT: Yeah, exactly.


MATT: Enchanter bae.

BRIAN: Yeah, after he got famous from that he did his own thing.

MATT: I think Vax's death and the whole events there, especially in the tower at the end-- a lot of self-reflection, a lot of showing more appreciation to Sherri and the people that helped him build what it was, and talking to his parents more often.

LAURA: Yeah, that's great.

BRIAN: Liam, how does his sentiment about that nonexistent person resonate with your sentiments about your own nonexistent person?

LIAM: Oh man, tainted love is a complicated thing.

BRIAN: Just to remind people out there these are fictional characters. Despite how close you might get to them.

MATT: It's just fictional from your standpoint, man. It's been our life for three years.

BRIAN: I just mean when I get death threats because I didn't ask enough questions about Gilmore, he's not real. What is real is your lack of life. ALL: Aww.

BRIAN: I'm just kidding! I plan to read a list of screen names at the end of it. Your reaction.

LIAM: (sighs) I mean he feels guilty about leaving everybody. He didn't regret anything he did in his life that was stupid and there was so much. But leaving people behind were his biggest regrets. For a long time, and I said this at some point like six months ago, that his biggest regret was disappointing Gilmore. That was eclipsed by disappointing Keyleth, and leaving the family. But Gilmore is a huge thing for me, Liam. I mean, I kissed guys in college. You think I'm pulling this out of thin air?

SAM: College?

LIAM: Come here, baby.


BRIAN: Sam was immediately hurt! I saw anger, hurt--

SAM: Give me his name, and where does he live!? I will burn his house down!

LIAM: His name was Kevin Harris, it was on the--

SAM: Did you like it?

LIAM: A little bit!

BRIAN: "I kissed guys in college" he says.

TRAVIS: Did you kiss him? Or did he kiss you?

SAM: Do you follow him on Facebook?

TRAVIS: Did you kiss him back?

LIAM: Gilmore was one of many things that was like a huge, blessing and surprise, that I had no idea that Dungeons and fucking Dragons would give to me. And I loved that I had that story with Matt.

BRIAN: Like we talked about last time. Nobody even expected him to become probably the most beloved of all the NPCs or that he would play such a huge role in campaign. At all.

LIAM: How many games did we have at home total? Eleven? Fifteen?

MATT: Seventeen.

LIAM: Seventeen? Gilmore was not in the majority of those. It was the minority, right?

MATT: I think he was in two sessions.

LAURA: That's it?

MATT: The one where you met him and the one where you guys made the deal that he would sponsor you guys' adventures.

LIAM: But he was super memorable and we loved our encounters with him, but it wasn't a lot. And then we're like, "Oh, we hope this NPC that we thought was so entertaining and so amazing will show up in the game." And then it evolved rapidly. Again, it just comes from us doing it every week instead of every week instead of every six weeks.

LAURA: We shouldn't have eaten all of those beans and stuff before this.

TRAVIS: Are you saying that I shouldn't have eaten all those beans?

LAURA: No, because that's what there was to eat right? It was beans.

MATT: It was seventeen home sessions, but the home sessions were like six to ten hours. They were super long home sessions.

BRIAN: But I'm thinking about the home game that I'm doing with Mary and Steve and everybody and we're coming up on almost that number. And to think of having to go weekly, online, playing in front of like-- fuck no! That's terrifying to think about.

LAURA: I don't feel like your sessions are as long as our were, right?

BRIAN: Some of them can be.

LAURA: Because we went like twelve hours.

BRIAN: If I drink, and then the dice fall of the table, and I have to reroll.

LAURA: Brother, we had a twelve hour game.

MARISHA: Yeah, we got there at like ten and we went until like ten.

LIAM: That feels right as well, like all day feels right.

BRIAN: Yeah we do like the big Sunday ones now where we drink mimosas. Yeah. Mary's usually

MATT: Yeah, like I grew with that shit. We'd do long weekends planned out where we'd go to a friend's house and we'd game all Saturday, sleepover, and game all day Sunday. It was amazing.

LAURA: That sounds amazing!

MATT: I miss those days. LIAM, LAURA, and

MARISHA: Big bear!

LIAM: You used to also have to corral us every game too. For like the first hour, it would be like "Ah!" And we would be catching up and drinking mimosas. And you'd be like--

MATT: All right, guys, we've got to play. Get back to the table.


MARISHA: How was your shower and walking the dogs? That was good? Okay, cool.

BRIAN: Matt, Mike Mahathy wants to know-- Don't laugh, it makes me laugh Travis. "Who was the mystery person who contracted the Clasp to abduct Vex?"

MATT: Oh yeah!

LAURA: Did we ever talk about this yet?

LIAM: Steve Bannon.

MATT: (laughs) Kind of. Well, there was an individual. I didn't have to develop it too far because you guys didn't go too deep into that plot thread. But it was like a lower noble in Westruun who, just in passing, had a run-in with Vex, and she totally blew him off in a very Vex fashion. And he kind of developed this obsession with her. And so he would try to find information, send people to follow her. It was really a weird, fucked up--

LAURA: It happens all the time, actually.

MATT: Yeah. And so the story with that was--

MARISHA: (as Vex) I'm such a hazard.

MATT: Yeah. He'd try and court her, she'd knock it away. He'd have her followed.

BRIAN: Sounds like me and Ashley's relationship.

MATT: Yeah, well, that's kind of what I was hoping to show you this later.

LIAM: She is a relentless stalker.

BRIAN: She is, yeah.

MATT: And so he hired the Clasp and said, "Could you please bring her to me?" And that was when Vax had his first run-in with the Clasp. He noticed this guy was following her, took him out, and in doing so himself, was taken by the Clasp and inducted into it as his means of paying back the debt of knocking out one of their members.

LIAM: Which was the Pike and Vax game at home.


LAURA: This was way before that.

MATT: This was a whole off camera storyline.

LIAM: Wasn't that the setup for the Pike and Vax game?

MATT: It was the setup for it. But it was your backstory to how you got involved with the Clasp and got your branding and everything there. Because at the time, this is really messed up, so you had talked with the Spireling there at the time in Westruun, and told the story about how this was your sister and you were protecting her and everything. And you offered yourself like, "Whatever I can do to pay this debt back so that this doesn't happen, let me know."

LAURA: Take me instead! You Spireling bitch!

LIAM: You're welcome!

MATT: The guy who you had knocked out who was following her, who was also being held down while you guys were having this back and forth in front of the Spireling, he accepted what you were doing. Then for failing, for punishment to the one who failed, he pulled out this artifact, that's in the--

LIAM: Yeah, tongues. Stick of tongues.

MATT: It's an artifact in the Book of Vile Darkness. That is just made of tongues stitched back to back, and it can kind of still move and flex and quiver.

LAURA: I remember you talking about this I was like, "What the fuck are you--"

MATT: When you touch it to somebody, they have to make a saving throw or their flesh gets changed to whatever form you want it to be.

BRIAN: Oh, Taliesin has one of those at his house!

LIAM: It's right here!

MATT: This would-be kidnapper that was hired by the Clasp and failed, his punishment was to be touched with this and then turned into a replica of Vex, and then was sent to fill the bounty to this guy who was obsessed with her.

LAURA: So there's some guy that looks like me that's probably in a cage somewhere?

MATT: Probably.

LIAM: Is he not dead by now?

MATT: I don't know. Probably not.

LAURA: So if he ever breaks free, there's another Vex in the world?

MATT: Yes. Who has lived most of their life as a Clasp member who's probably really messed in the head right now.

LIAM: That was backstory for one game that Ashley and I played because we both missed a home game. Matt was gracious enough to give us a game together. Then three and a half years later, I'd totally forgotten about it, we're live on the internet, and you were like, "By the way," and I was like, what the fuck was the story? How did it go? I don't know. I'm telling it to Laura, but I don't know what I'm talking about!

LAURA: I remember you saying something about tongues and I was like, "That's fucking weird, bro."

MARISHA: Hey, I have a question. What would've happened had we not told the Clasp to-- the half of us, that I got blamed for-- not told the Clasp to fuck off? That thing that all but two of us agreed to, but I got yelled at by Percy. Yeah, that one.

BRIAN: Thanks, Keyleth.

MATT: The Clasp would've become a source of information and material and fast movement through Emon. You guys could've traveled through their caverns beneath the city--

MARISHA: But they wanted access to the city and other levels of the government in exchange.

MATT: They wanted in exchange for that installation in Vasselheim. So they would've been like, "We will help you. We can help get everyone out of the city safely. We'll get them to places that are safe. We can move you in and out of the city anywhere in Emon safely. We can gather information for you. We can supply you with things. You have full disposal of the Clasp in reclaiming Emon from the Conclave, but when all this is done, we need you to help us install our satellite beginnings in Vasselheim."

LAURA: I think that's acceptable.

LIAM: We all survived.

MARISHA: I felt like it wasn't our call to be like, "Yeah, we can give you Vasselheim."

LAURA: I would've done it.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'm totally into it.

LIAM: We know.

MARISHA: Keyleth still lingers on in my soul.

LAURA: Here's my theory about doppelganger Vex. Later in life, she found the doppelganger and hired him/her.

MARISHA: Where are you going with this?

LAURA: Because the paparazzi gets overwhelming for the de Rolo family everywhere you go. So she's the lookalike that goes out.

MATT: I will say, Vex is not aware of this other Vex's existence and has not encountered them.

LAURA: Fine. But when she does, she'll hire them.

MATT: There you go.

BRIAN: Speaking of the de Rolo family, Lipululu wants to know what are the names of Percy and Vex's kids.

LAURA: The pronunciation of the names are getting worse and worse.

BRIAN: Look, it's not going to be a good year for us, folks. What are the names of Percy and Vex's kids? Unless you want to keep them private.

LAURA: It's Nugget--

TALIESIN: We named a couple of them.

LAURA: --Nugget, North--

BRIAN: Nugget North? Isn't that one of Nolan North's kids' names?

LAURA: No, those are two names. Nugget, North--

LIAM: Nugget?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: I'm coming back from the dead to ask you why!

LAURA: Salsa. Percival Fredrickstein--

BRIAN: Rammstein?

TRAVIS: Cheddar de Rolo.

SAM: Capoeira.

LAURA: Bacon. That's a good one. Bacon.

MARISHA: Bacon de Rolo?


LAURA: And then Percival Fredrickstein the Fourth.

MATT: When you guys decide those names, you should put them on social media.

TALIESIN: I kind of like that they don't, so that if people want to actually play the kids in their own games, they can do what they want to do.

LAURA: I kind of want to name them, though. We'll name a few of them.

MATT: You guys name your kids.

TALIESIN: We haven't had time to sit down and go over this.

LIAM: It's like George Foreman. They are all Percy. Even the girls are all Percy.

LAURA: Percy, Percy, Percy, Percy, Percy.

TALIESIN: A couple of them would've gotten the other siblings' names, I think. We'll go over it.

BRIAN: Sam, JerrySalami wants to know--

LIAM: Good name.

BRIAN: Sounds like the world's lamest gangster. Hey, it's Jerry Salami. He's going to put you in the cement boots.

LIAM: Jerry Salami's coming for you.

SAM: Should I be worried?

BRIAN: It was going to be Andy Dicks' character on Sopranos, but he got cut. Did Scanlan ever tell Kaylie that he let her win the flute competition?

SAM: I didn't have to. She knew. That's my theory anyway because, as I found out later in Scanlan's life, Kaylie always knows when he is lying. So she knew and let him so she could get upstairs and try to kill him.

MATT: She knew, yeah.

SAM: Yes. She has this sense. She can always tell when he is lying. She can see through his charms.

TRAVIS: Isn't that a great ability, babe?


BRIAN: Terrible. Watch a marriage crumble--

LAURA: You're like the cat with the thing on its head.

LIAM: (sings)

BRIAN: Taliesin. BigCracker wants to know--

LIAM: Whoa.

BRIAN: Look, imagine a Ritz cracker the size of this card that I hold instead of, perhaps, a middle aged--

SAM: White guy.

BRIAN: White guy who is probably very friendly. He asks a great question. "When Craven Edge killed Grog, how much guilt did Percy feel knowing it was somewhat his fault for giving him the sword? What would he have done if Pike couldn't bring him back?"

MARISHA: Yeah, you've answered this.

BRIAN: Have you answered this?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I feel like I have but--

SAM: You've never answered it in Christoph Waltz' wardrobe.


TALIESIN: Oh. Wow. That's a lot. I'm just going to be sitting like this for the rest of the evening. No, it's weird. One more--


LAURA: Out of all the things that Taliesin has worn, this is the one you are getting the shit for.

TALIESIN: I'm so excited; this is everything I've hoped for and more.

LIAM: That's bingo!

TALIESIN: It hardly matters how guilty he was. He wasn't going to tell anybody. He would have just gone on the list of things I lived with. It would be, "Oh, that's unfortunate, but it would be worse if I actually got blamed for it so I am just going to keep my mouth shut." Why make things worse by actually taking blame?

LIAM: My abs.

MARISHA: Oh my god, that was so good.

BRIAN: Sam, ILikePorkAndFighting wants to know, "Did Tary strike everything off his list?"

SAM: No. Shit. I have it somewhere.

BRIAN: Tweet the list.

SAM: I have a list. I wrote down the things that I accomplished and the things that were left to be done. I also had a separate list of all the things Tary did with Vox Machina that he was going to present to his Dad. Possibly. To prove that he was worthy. But no, he did not accomplish everything on the list. Yet. But there are many more adventures to be had for the two weeks before he gets killed as a member of the Darrington Brigade.

BRIAN: That's awesome. Taliesin and Laura, Vohollica wants to know: "If Percy's first death had "not happened do you think that Vex and Percy would have spent their lives as really awkward neighbors "without ever realizing that they were pining for each other?"

LAURA: We did talk about this, too.

BRIAN: God damn it, it was so long ago and the mescaline and all the stuff. It's just hard to remember.

LAURA: I think we said that they probably would have eventually come to it, but it would have taken a lot longer.

TALIESIN: And it would have been very awkward and strange.

LAURA: Yeah for a while. For a good long while.

LIAM: You once said to me behind the scenes, "If he doesn't make a move, it's never going to happen."

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: That may have just been because there was a lot of tension of when that was going to happen.

LAURA: And you did hear what she said?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I did. So that was a thing.

BRIAN: What she said?

TALIESIN: When I was unconscious. BRIAN, TALIESIN, and

LAURA: Yeah.

BRIAN: Unconscience. Marisha, speaking of unconscience, a question from you from our friend TiamatZX. "How cathartic was it for Keyleth to not submit to her vengeful desires and put Raishan in "her place by killing what made her who she was, thus leaving behind a "feral shadow of her former self?"

MARISHA: It was pretty gnarly.

BRIAN: Neat.

MARISHA: Pretty gnarly.

BRIAN: An answer worthy of a great question.

MARISHA: I fulfilled my promise. Right? I guess. I mean-- Kerrek killed her.

MATT: Really, you enabled the death, though.

TALIESIN: He unplugged the machine, you actually--

MARISHA: It was fitting, as kind of my mentor. Yeah, it's good.

LIAM: That fact would have mentally tortured her far more than the actual killing blow.

LAURA: Isn't it so weird that so often the guests got the killing blow?

MATT: That was crazy.

SAM: Mary especially.

BRIAN: Mary killed everyone.

MATT: It's frustrating from my end, because I wanted to give some of these epic deaths to the mainstay party, but... what are you going to do?

LAURA: I liked that the guests got them.

MATT: It made a good feeling. It does make for a cool, memorable experience.

LAURA: Yeah, totally.

MATT: But also it's like the guest comes in and is like, "Hey guys! Cool, thanks! I win, bye!"

SAM: Who was your least favorite guest?

BRIAN: That's a great question.

MATT: Will Friedle.

BRIAN: Probably.

MATT: I'm kidding, I love you Will, you're amazing.

BRIAN: I didn't care for-- who was the fellow with the--

MATT: Danny Glover?

BRIAN: Danny Glover, yeah, ever since he got those dentures, didn't understand anything he said. No offense to the denture people out there. Guys, little bit of a situation here. That's all the questions that I have for the cast, I have several questions left for Matt. Do you guys want to sit here while I ask them to him or go out and eat that delicious food that's out there?

TRAVIS: Peace out, see you guys next week!

LIAM: We'll just keep saying taint, that's fine.

BRIAN: Yeah, just say taint for every answer of Matt's.

MATT: Please.

BRIAN: No, seriously, you guys are more than welcome-- unless, do you guys have any other questions for each other or anything you want to ask Matt that you didn't get a chance to?

MARISHA: Oh, I have a question. What's with the sphinxes and why didn't they live together anymore? So sad, they were spouses and then they were separated.

MATT: Well, when you live with somebody for a very long time, eventually you enjoy the space you have from each other.

LAURA: I'm going to throw something at you.

MATT: Well, they're creatures of purpose and they had purposes in different areas, as was the assignments of the Knowing Mistress. They have the ability to communicate and every now and then would probably meet up.

LAURA: For that sweet, sweet sphinx loving.

MARISHA: Yeah, I was going to say, they Skype.

MATT: Sphexting.

MARISHA: Sphexting?

BRIAN: What are you guys most excited about?

LAURA: For the new campaign, you mean?

TRAVIS: Just seeing what the fuck everybody's doing. We haven't seen anything yet.

BRIAN: Any secrets among the group still?

LIAM: Sure.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I've been torturing everybody.

LIAM: Yeah, we don't know what his class is, we know what everybody else's class is, but not Taliesin Jaffe.

TALIESIN: I've been very specifically torturing all of them. It's great, it's making me younger.

SAM: I don't know much about what Ashley's doing, right?

TALIESIN: I know a little bit of what Ashley's doing.

TRAVIS: Plus it was great releasing that silhouette art that had nothing to do with the campaign at all, everybody's like, "Oh, those are the new characters!"

BRIAN: That's been the funniest part of the silhouette watch.

TALIESIN: We broke that, right? They know that those aren't the characters?

LAURA: Those are not even close.

BRIAN: Chris Lockheed has spent the last two weeks telling people this is not the new characters.

LAURA: I have seen a couple people online that got everybody right.

MARISHA: Really?

LAURA: I've seen like two people that got everybody right.

TRAVIS: Now, that's out of 80,000 guesses, but yeah.

LAURA: But it's pretty impressive.

BRIAN: And those two people are--

MARISHA: That's like winning the superfecta at the Kentucky Derby. If you had a prize pool for that, oh man, be a lot of money.

LAURA: I think I saw one person who got--

BRIAN: Well, that was the Kentucky beat by Marisha Ray. A regular segment on the next season of Talks Machina.

MARISHA: It's true! Do you know how much money the superfecta pays up? Whatever, fuck you guys, it's a big deal, it's millions.

TRAVIS: Superfecta, long island iced tea? No?

MARISHA: Fucking mint julep? No?

SAM: Coming up, Marisha tastes bourbons.


MARISHA: Let's go down Whiskey Road, you guys, let's go on the bourbon tour.

BRIAN: Well, should we take five and then, Matt, do you want to come back and answer some questions?

MATT: Sure, let's do it.

BRIAN: Let's do it. Thank you guys, stick around, we're going to take five minutes-- can we do that, crew? OFF-SCREEN: (hesitantly) Yeah.


BRIAN: It's my last night, they know.

SAM: Do they even have anything to go to, if you go to a break?

BRIAN: Yeah, they can go to the delicious Critical Role art or-- OFF-SCREEN: Yeah, art sizzle's good.

BRIAN: Art sizzle's good, okay.

LAURA: Ten minutes.

BRIAN: What? We can go as long as--

SAM: It's supposed to be a 90 minute broadcast, it's almost over.

BRIAN: I know, but there's still 20 questions for Matt that I want to get to, but I don't want you guys to sit. I sprinkled some in, and then I asked you guys all this stuff, but mainly this was a lot of things that you guys could just get out the way.

LIAM: I have so many questions, though. So many questions.

BRIAN: Well, then stick around on the set, then.

SAM: It's just Brian, Matt, and Liam?


LIAM: Are we all getting kicked off? Is that what's happening?

BRIAN: You're not getting kicked off, but you--

LIAM: Well, I think I'll have some of that fine, Japanese whiskey that's in the other room.

BRIAN: Thank you, Aki, for providing. She even got bored and left from Laura's answers. All right, we'll be back in-- how many minutes, guys? OFF-SCREEN: Ten? I don't know.

BRIAN: We'll be back five to seven minutes from now, you'll see some of us back here on this professional Q & A. Stay turnt, my friends, we'll be right back. ALL: Happy new year!

MATT: Good evening.

BRIAN: That's all we had planned.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

BRIAN: We're back! Your two dads, in our robes, here to answer questions.

MATT: This is the best alternate universe "My Two Dads."

BRIAN: This is, I know. That was a great show.

MATT: It was a show.

BRIAN: Was that a movie? No, that was a show.

MATT: It was a show.

BRIAN: I was thinking of "Three Men and a Little Baby". Starring TV's "Magnum."

MATT: Yes.

BRIAN: Matt, I have some questions left over here that people are dying to know. We're going to burn through these. Everyone else left because there's food and alcohol nearby. So, that's the way it works. VexMeUpBeforeYouGoGo is back with a question.

MATT: Well played.

BRIAN: Might we learn more about Vesh in the fut-ore, future. Fut-ore? Do I drive a Jaguar? Or could you tell us about her a bit more? Her, question mark, a bit more. You've said that things, as in who Vesh is et cetera, weren't quite as simple as Kash thought.

MATT: Correct. I mean, I'll go into it a little bit, because, who knows, she's still an entity in the world, it might play into the next campaign, I don't know. There's a lot of questions where part of me doesn't want to answer because I don't want to rob people of their own interpretations, and also because maybe things will show up in future campaigns, I don't know. With Vesh in particular, Vesh is an entity that presents itself as a god, like anything powerful would that wants to be worshipped or given attention. But isn't part of the pantheon. As to whether or not she has aspirations for it, or is just trying to convince individuals of that to get what she wants, you know... I'll say that she's a powerful entity, powerful enough to grant divine spells to her one follower. I will say that Kash is not the first suitor that she's cycled through. Yeah, I'll leave it there. Probably the most handsome. Not at all. He's not handsome at all. Kash has a very low charisma.

BRIAN: Yeah. Cariboukai wants to know what were your original ideas for Kynan? Did you have any plans for him had Vox Machina accepted him into their fold in some way?

MATT: Kynan I had written to be their first fanboy. As a party of adventurers begins to become renowned and they've had a parade set for them as thanks for helping Uriel Tal'Dorei. He was their first interpretation of dealing with that attention, and so my intent was for him to be that lovable, slightly annoying young upstart that wants to prove himself and be friends with them and wants to learn from them.

BRIAN: Oh, like me with you guys.

MATT: Essentially, yeah, and we treated you basically the same way.

BRIAN: Yeah.

MATT: So, yeah, the idea was for him to be this interesting obstacle on the way of renown, somebody that would want to tag along, that they'd have to protect or leave behind, or could eventually be groomed into a hero if they chose to, or in the circumstances that laid out, give such a harsh beat of reality, in a way that someone as young and impressionable couldn't emotionally process in a healthy way, and it was so crushing to him at the time, whether or not that was the intent, sent him on a very dark path and thankfully they were able to manage to pull him from that. I didn't expect any of his story to go that way when I was developing him. The whole interaction, I didn't expect it to go that way.

BRIAN: Yeah, well that happened a few times.

MATT: A whole lot of times.

BRIAN: I don't know if I, or someone else, had asked you who your favorite-- I know it's got to be hard to pick one-- who your favorite NPC, as a person and maybe as to play, is? Or maybe those are different questions and that's okay.

MATT: That's hard.

BRIAN: I'm not asking you to choose, but I am.

MATT: There's different categories I'd put them in. As far as villains go, as much as I was excited to play, to jump into the role of my own interpretation of Vecna, who's this classic D villain, Raishan and the Briarwoods were both such living entities in my brain, and for different reasons I enjoyed jumping into those shoes. It's hard to pick.

BRIAN: Senokir was one that you liked, right?

MATT: Senokir came out of nowhere, he was completely spontaneous and he was a fun one. Just because of the physicality and the creep factor and being able to just make the players feel suddenly very uncomfortable.

BRIAN: It was so uncomfortable.

MATT: It's great.

BRIAN: Oh, my god. And then, the box.

MATT: Oh yeah, that was fun. I have a special place in my heart for Allura, because Allura, wasn't intended to be, but in hindsight I can see was my self-insertion NPC if there was. The one where I felt was me trying to protect my friends and trying to be a guide in places. I feel there's a little part of me in each NPC, but in Allura probably more than most. Her and Gilmore.

BRIAN: Have you had that happen in other campaigns you've done, where you find an NPC or create one that sort of is an extension of yourself?

MATT: A little bit, but I haven't had a campaign that I've been so emotionally invested before, it's been a variety of different players. I've had some players that were more into the roleplay, some players that were more into the mechanics and the combat, I haven't really had a game until this group of fuckers, where I can get so invested in the NPC that I created, if that makes sense. It's still a very new level for me as a DM.

BRIAN: Well, you wouldn't be able to tell. You hate it when I say shit like that, I'm going to keep doing that. Seedy88 wants to know, "Could you share what happened to Cassandra between the time "she took several arrows to the chest as she fled Whitestone and the moment when Percy found her?"

MATT: Oh, yeah, okay. Cassandra was left to die in the snow and as she was bleeding out she was recovered by some of the Whitestone civilians, a hunting squad that was out found her still alive, brought her back and nursed her partially back to health, knowing who she was. But in the time that she was recovering, they were discovered by the Briarwoods or the Briarwoods' lackeys and were slaughtered, and Cassandra was recovered by them and nursed back to health after that. She then got to watch her whole family get hung, the corpses anyway, on the Sun Tree and was subjected to a lot of brainwashing over a long period of time, was forced to become a member of their family, was forced to eat dinner and breakfast with them every day. They saw her as an asset to keep the people under control. She was a connection to the old regime, and they could kill her at any time, but she probably was more useful in the long run. So they kept her around, and she became this kind of plaything, this adopted child that they kept around. For years and years, she would try and flee and escape and they would punish her for it and eventually got, through a combination of brainwashing and Stockholm Syndrome...

BRIAN: Oh, where you actually fall in love with or begin to--

MATT: Yeah, and so they began to use her to weed out seeds of rebellion in the city and destroy them internally. They would send her out into the city to find those, and be like, "I want to start "a rebellion, who do I talk to?" They'd be like, "Oh, talk to this guy," and she'd be like, "Okay." She'd go and find out where the rebellion's building in Whitestone and return and tell them where it was happening and they would wipe them out. And they would quell any sort of uprising using Cassandra as an agent. When Vox Machina arrived, seeing her brother still alive, and seeing the possible fall of the Briarwoods was just enough to break her from that and then there was a recovery period. A lot of her just trying to figure out who she was and dealing with the guilt of the things that she did do, even though she knew it wasn't her fault, you can't get over that right away. That's something she's going to live with for a while, but she's doing the best she can to make it right for people, because of the things she did.

BRIAN: But that's a lot of residual damage.

MATT: Oh yeah, she's a very complicated NPC that we didn't get to express too much, but I didn't feel it was necessary either. Her strength and inner stoicism, I think, said volumes of where she was.

BRIAN: Yeah, and her mystery created a lot of intrigue as well.

MATT: I hope so.

BRIAN: It definitely did. No, it definitely did. Question that I have been thinking about, what are for you, as you're in these weeks and these months preparing for taking on a new campaign, and luckily getting to start at low levels and you're not dealing with a lot of the massive stuff that you're dealing with at the end of a campaign, but you are thinking about the end of that campaign before it begins and how you map out and everything. What are the truths of storytelling that are the most important for you when you're thinking about something like this? Because obviously you know you can't be married too much to an idea and hold onto it in a place of preciousness too tightly, because you're with a group of people who can change that course at the drop of a hat or at a bad roll or-- some things, other things take a lot more time to mess up. You have to be malleable all the time in the storytelling. So what are the pillars for you of stuff where, "This is definitely something that I have to keep"? Is that hard for you?

MATT: I don't think it's hard-- It's hard when you start, because when you begin running games, your comfort, your safety blanket, if you will, is the stuff that you have prepared. That's what makes you feel comfortable in the space. The more you play, the more you run games, the more you learn, that does bring comfort, but part of the joy is listening to the players, seeing what they do and change and actively alter what you've prepared, and finding ways to incorporate that into the things that you have already worked on and prepared. For me, the core idea is making sure you have a direction you're going, but be open and willing to take the choices and the decisions the players make and let that shift and alter what you have prepared and in many cases will surprise you and end up developing something much more deep and interesting than what-- You're only one person, your input in a vacuum is probably pretty decent. But the final product of having all these friends come together and eventually build the narrative that leads to this points, as long as you're paying attention and you're open to taking these subconscious suggestions they're throwing towards you as they develop the story, it'll end up being much more fleshed-out and being much more impactful for them, and they themselves will sense the impact they've had on the direction they traversed with this characters. You can't be too married to it, you want to have a comfort of an idea where you're going, but constantly be listening and taking notes about the things the players do and see how that would change the trajectory that you're planning, and let it, honestly, in a lot of cases. A big rule for me now is setting events and factions and a direction that will be happening concurrently with the game as they progress. Whether or not they intersect with them in certain times will gauge how they can influence the directions where those different factions or storylines are going. If they avoid them the whole game, then it'll definitely change whether or not they end up encountering multiple times and plucking those threads earlier on. For me, that's really exciting as a game master, is to see what the players can alter at certain times and surprise you.

BRIAN: So you're saying storytelling in this context is as much about listening and being open. You sitting down at the table every Thursday, with your heart open to where what they bring is going to change the story and ultimately end up moving it forward.

MATT: I don't solidly the plan more than one session ahead. I'll loosely plan arcs and maybe a few sessions outlined and possibilities, but session to session the players will make choices that'll change what you've prepared. Now it is either being a waste of time if you spent much time preparing it in advance, but you instinctively may be trying to railroad or push them towards something that you had been hoping would happen three, four sessions down the way, and sometimes that can work fine, but for me, it's more thrilling to let the players really guide their destiny a bit.

BRIAN: Can we get a fog machine on the Dwarven Forge this time? I see people tweet some pretty awesome pictures of their Dwarven Forge setups and they have dry ice and stuff like that. We've got the budget, with them firing me we've got some extra two, three, four, five, seven, eight bucks lying around.

MATT: It's more like a free-time thing. I do what I can with the time I have.

BRIAN: I know. Sometimes they get built during the break.

MATT: Yeah, you'll see me change pieces between, based on the choices they make. Battlefields that'll never happen versus where they're going and I'm like, "Shit, I have to re-jangle this."

BRIAN: It's always funny because whatever pieces you leave behind Ryan Green puts in his vest.

MATT: It's funny because sometimes they are eating and rehydrating and I'm a mad man in here going like, "Shit, ugh."

BRIAN: I know, and by the time we have to come back, Matt is like, "I didn't even get to pee! I "was building what is hopefully going to kill all of them."

MATT: Well, the new campaign will have a catheter so it'll be much easier.

BRIAN: Yeah, we got one put in the chair.

MATT: I'm glad we got that approved, by the way. It's a little expensive, right, you know.

BRIAN: Sucks that I have to wipe it down every week. Cariboukai wants to know, "What were you--" no, just kidding, we asked that. @Farandaway15, "You've mentioned that if Scanlan didn't destroy "the gun, that there was more planned for Orthax. How would that would have come into play if the "pepperbox have stayed around?"

MATT: Well, for one, Ripley would never have acquired Orthax for herself. Ripley would have been stalking the party for a long time to try and scrape what information she could off of Percy. Probably trying to find some way to steal some of his weaponry or even try to steal pepperbox while it wasn't being tended to or they were sleeping. Orthax would have begun to push for the list, for completion, and would begin to have a stronger influence on Percival. It would have been to the point where certain scenarios where he would have moral decisions to let something live that was either on the list or was impeding his progress to vengeance that he would have begun to resist the will of Orthax. He may have begun to exhibit more fiendish capabilities and being offered more powers from Orthax, the more it began to consume him from the inside. I didn't develop it too far from that point, but that was the direction I wanted to go with it based on how long it was going to be around.

BRIAN: Wow. Do you plan on, I don't want to say being harder on them, now that they're all gone. But this time around, since they aren't as much of a newbie as they were when they started before, do you plan on stepping things up a little bit or maybe challenging them more? Even though they're going to be obviously lower leveled, they're gonna be a little squishy. You don't want throw something crazy at them. But now that they do, with the exception of Sam, understand D&D a lot better, are you going to be harder on them or maybe a little bit more challenging this time around?

MATT: I don't want to say harder on them, because the point of the game is for everyone to have fun, and that doesn't always mean making it harder. But challenge them more, I'd like to. I think, the area where the new campaign is happening has a lot more social ramifications for the choices they make.

BRIAN: Also, no doors in this campaign. I thought that was a great choice, this land has no doors.

MATT: Just archways, which will be their new villain.

BRIAN: Hope they don't go into Spanish villas, then, or Hobbiton.

MATT: To an extent, yes. I mean, 5th edition D&D was still new to me and them when we started streaming this, so there was a learning curve, through every level I was learning the balance and everything, and I've made mistakes here and there, and I learned a lot going through the campaign. Both on power levels and what makes an interesting encounter, while also not making it so hard to the point where it's not fun. We've had slogs and we've had battles that fall on that category. But once again, that's part of the fun of playing this live, is not everything is going to be a perfect session. We're learning as you guys watch it, that's what I hope is part of it. I think so, because it's just us playing the game. There'll be those things. I've learned a lot from it, the players have learned a lot. I feel confident in their capabilities now of being a little more tactical, of learning that not every battle can be won, some things are more about creative use of the battlefield than just running and doing damage.

BRIAN: There's a lot about gods.

MATT: And learned a lot about preparation, and learning what you're up against before you jump into that also. And if not, they'll learn that very quickly. I will say it'll probably be a lot more challenging. Also because, as is the nature of D&D, once you get to the higher levels, a lot of things can be circumvented easier. Death becomes more of a nuisance to a certain extent. The lower levels are definitely not that case. I'm both excited and very scared for the new campaign. We even ran our session zero with Laura, Travis, and Marisha and in one attack, Laura's character went to zero hit points.

BRIAN: She told me that.

MATT: Against a giant constrictor snake. And I think that was a wake-up-call, as it should have been. We'll see how that plays out.

BRIAN: Don't show up with any weak shit.

MATT: Or at least just be mindful.

BRIAN: NuclearWhale94 wants to know-- remember that one, from the big nuclear whale of '94.

MATT: Yeah, how could you forget?

BRIAN: I remember where I was the morning. "Raishan was in it for a purpose, as we found out, "can you elaborate on Brimscythe, Vorugal and Umbrasyl?"

MATT: Most of that--

BRIAN: Oh wait, there's more, "Can you elaborate on their motives and more of their characters as "we barely had any time with them?"

MATT: I'll try and be concise. Brimscythe loved and had fascination with corrupting human political structures, so Brimscythe had already, as General Krieg, unrelated to the whole Conclave incident, got himself ingrained in Emon's society and was basically just digging it out from the inside. That's why he had set a whole accommodation with a home there and a lair that was not too far off. Was out of just his own enjoying this degradation that he had created. Vorugal was an animal, a very powerful animal who was intelligent enough to get by, but was more fascinated with the hunt, was the thrill of the stalking and fighting. Imagine Vorugal very similar to Akuma, from Street Fighter, I guess you could say. A warrior who is very powerful, but has no goal other than to eventually find something more powerful than him to give him a real challenge. Vorugal was very much a similar mindset to that. I think Umbrasyl had been hunted enough from lair to lair by people that wanted to be rid of this black dragon scourge that had destroyed societies to the far west, and wanted an environment where he could rule without worry of being bothered or assaulted, and eventually hunted down. Raishan and Thordak-- although mostly Raishan-- brokered this idea that "If all of us "work together, we can wipe out most of the controlling society on this continent and the "immediate threat of Draconia," which kept very close tabs on a number of these members, "to just put us "in a position of power, with no opposition, and we can divvy up the land however we please, and then "go about our business and help each other out when we need to." Chromatic dragons don't work well together in a long-term deal, so it was a short term like, "we all do this together, then we all fuck "off to our four corners and we rule these four corners because we have wiped out opposition." That was the whole premise there. For Brimscythe, if he had survived, he probably would have wanted Emon for himself, but Thordak-- honestly, if Brimscythe had survived when the Conclave happened, Thordak would probably have taken out Brimscythe quietly, without the rest of the Conclave knowing. They never got there so I didn't elaborate too far on that one in the story but there had been a conflict there between those two.

BRIAN: That would have been cool.

MATT: Yeah, I mean, I can go on, but there are other questions to get to.

BRIAN: Man, that Conclave arc was my favorite, I think. Besides the one where Tary came in for a little bit.

MATT: It's hard not to love Tary.

BRIAN: @LeDoomGov wants to know, "What were your plans had Vox Machina entered the hag's house in "the Shademirk Bog?"

MATT: Technically not a hag. They thought it was. I think I talked about this a little on one of the Talks Machinas, but this was another fey entity that was there, that was a half-corrupted, half-monstrous and half-beautiful woman. If they had spoken to this woman-- and I can't remember the name, I have it in my notes somewhere-- she could have given them information about Saundor in advance, could basically have informed them with more history of his corruption, what his quirks were, what he is seeking and would have given them possible knowledge that could have aided them in the battle, or to prevent a battle and there could have been a fully wits-based encounter with him. If they managed, after talking with her, convince him of his own folly and that he was not righteous in the actions he had taken, he may have felt so guilty that he would have just withered away and left the corruption to fade on its own without a conflict. She was that, but she was also an old-school ex of his from like a thousand years ago and they don't like each other anymore. She was excited to watch him fall, but it never happened. It was more of an interesting social encounter that if they navigated well it could have lent more information with the coming conflict.

BRIAN: I can't believe you remember all this stuff.

MATT: I can't either.


BRIAN: Myrennororunsha wants to know, "What exactly did Jarett do that forced him to flee Marquet?"

MATT: Yeah, that never came up in the campaign. Once again, I have it in my notes. Jarett was not a very well-to-do individual in Ank'Harel, wasn't a street urchin by any means, but was considered probably very lower class, and had through happenstance gotten involved with a very young girl who was of a very high noble status in Ank'Harel. They began to pursue this romance in private because, from what her parents and family wanted was to maintain a noble birthline and already had suitors and I'm pretty sure had an arranged marriage prepared for her at a certain point, and once it was discovered that they had this tryst going on for a number of months, he was going to be executed. He got the hell out of there. So nothing illegal, technically, by the heart, from the family's concern there. He got out of there because he knew that if he made his way back there it probably wouldn't end well. It had been a while, he probably could be okay if he went back and looked different enough, but you know--

BRIAN: It's the same reason I fled Nevada. @ManlyBubbles would like to know, "If the party "hadn't summoned the goristro to fight Vorugal, what would the adventure to find the Spire of "Conflux have looked like?"

MATT: Oh shit, that was a whole thing that never happened. They would have to go to the Abyss. They would have had to have gone to the Maze of the Abyss where the goristro hailed from.

BRIAN: That would have been fun.

MATT: That would have been scary as shit because they would have had to not just navigate the maze, they would have had to navigate the maze to get to the specific goristro that contained the Spire, which would have involved them finding some arcane means of tracking this entity, or making allies in the maze that could lead them in that direction. Let me tell you, making allies with demons always turns out well.

BRIAN: Yeah. How do you think I got this job?

MATT: (laughs) Yeah. It would have been complicated and very dangerous, so honestly, that was a very inspired use of the Gate scroll. When that item came up as a loot item, I was thinking it would be-- It was one of those systems for the DM, and I recommend this for a DM, sometimes you'll throw things in your campaign and you're like, "I don't know how or where they'll use this, "but I'm sure it will be interesting whenever it does come up." And it was their first real brush with 9th-level magic. I was excited to see how they were going to pull it out, and that was pretty inspired on their end.

BRIAN: Heck yeah, one of those clutch things. Speaking of Dr. Ripley from earlier, CommanderClay wants to know: "What was Dr. Ripley's plan, and what was her deal with the devil?"

MATT: She wasn't a major player, but she was part of a structure of military development in Rexontrum, which is the capital city of West Wynandir of the Dwendalian Empire.

BRIAN: Recsyndrome.

MATT: Rexontrum! That'll show up in the new campaign. She was, on a medium scale, a developer of military technology. They were looking for ways to improve their dominance of that region.

BRIAN: She was a Justin Hammer!

MATT: Kind of! But a little more of a Goebbels, I guess you could say. She was looking into, at the time, more arcane diseases and things that could be a chemical-warfare type of basis that was technically illegal at the time and was using human experimentation, unknown. When she was discovered, she was about to be tried for it, and so she fled. But in part of that process, she probably figured out that there was some bad blood between her and King Bertrand Dwendal, which is why he was on her list. And a number of individuals on her list were people--

BRIAN: Yeah, we had another question, who were the people on Ripley's list?

MATT: I don't remember off the top of my head, but all these people were all individuals she worked with that were responsible for turning her in to the crown and getting her placed on a list for trial. She had some small-level magic as a lot of the higher-level members of Rexontrum and that area do and utilized what she had to escape and fled out of the kingdom over to the Menagerie Coast at Port Damali, and that's where she met the other fugitives, the Briarwoods. They had this unification of ideals and decided their purpose was to "Let's work together and see where this can "take us!" So that was that, and as far as her plans with Orthax, it was just her now fascinated with this new technology that she saw a lot of uses, and as this was the source of it, it seemed. What secrets did it not tell Percy yet, what was it holding back? And if she embraced this entity, what more could she learn from it that Percival would never, his moral code, allow him to make the sacrifice for? She was driven a little mad by that pursuit at that time.

BRIAN: One of the best NPC/PC emotional tug-of-wars, sinister--

MATT: Oh man, I loved it! I was sad that she died in that battle. I knew it was probably going to happen, but I was hoping she would be a fun one to string along for a while and just be a recurring villain.

BRIAN: Maybe there will be a version of her in the next campaign.

MATT: She almost got away!

BRIAN: Yeah, just like Ash. Hakumen Narukami wants to know: "What would have happened if Vex couldn't "find the grey render or if it had escaped?" Anything would have happened there?

MATT: Technically it escaped.

BRIAN: Ran away, right?

MATT: She wasn't able to necessarily charm it to her, and if she had been able to succeed to convince it, the grey render would have bound itself to her. Grey renders do that. Sometimes they will pick an entity or a location they bind themselves to and will protect it at all costs. So the grey render would have become a force of nature that whenever she was in the area of Whitestone would protect Vex from the shadows and then continue to protect her bloodline. So any children she would have had, it would become the protector of the family. She didn't succeed at that, so instead it just continues to wander the Parchwood around Whitestone, watching over its young. So she did miss that opportunity, but that's fine, it happens in D&D, not everything is a success. Yeah, that's kind of it.

BRIAN: Interesting! Speaking of the last Fireside Chat that you did, Brooke Casey says, "When the "assassin created from the Fireside Chat was made into a baker, was it pure serendipity that Vox "Machina in the downtime had founded the Slayer's Cake? Or had you influenced that at all? If they "hadn't, how would she have been added?"

MATT: No, that was completely by a serendipitous scenario. They hadn't even told me their intention over the break to develop this, the Slayer's Cake, at the time. It was the whole chat trying to be ridiculous and trying to get me to create an NPC called Troy Baker. That's where it came from.

BRIAN: Named after the video game voice actor Troy Baker?

MATT: No. Named after the--

BRIAN: Oh, the guy from Deadliest Catch?

MATT: Yeah, exactly.

BRIAN: The game about football, Deadliest Catch.

MATT: Yeah, that one.

BRIAN: Yeah. It's like Death Race, except they play football.

MATT: I would watch so much more football. Or any. (laughs) It was purely a chat-based joke on trying to get me to name an NPC Troy Baker. I was like, "All right, it's a baker. Fine. It's a baker. I "give you that." And then when they did the Slayer's Cake, because I was trying to think how the assassin was going to ingrain themselves into the story. And that was the perfect in and I'm like, "Well, thank you for solving a problem I hadn't come up with an answer for yet. Fuck yeah."

BRIAN: Okay, last few here we've got for you. Repete17, "Was there a way to avoid the fight with the "gigantic forge guardian at the core anvil?"

MATT: Oh, right! There would have been if they had brought any materials to craft or create something using the anvil.

BRIAN: That was the trick?

MATT: As part of the worship to the Allhammer that this location maintained, since the Allhammer no longer exists on this plane, it would be to create and craft something on the anvil and leave it as an offering to the Forge Guardian and the Allhammer's memory. So if they had brought anything, whether it had been any of the raw ore that they had found in previous rooms, and crafted something that was deemed a worthy gift, then they wouldn't have had to worry about the actual encounter with the Forge Guardian. But, once again, D&D!

BRIAN: Yeah, exactly. TCOblivion. "Is Devo'ssa's cover story permanently blown now?"

MATT: Devo'ssa's cover story with the people of Ank'Harel, no. Devo'ssa's cover extends to the general populace. But to mainstream leaders in other parts of the world that have had to work directly with J'mon Sa Ord and their presence in recent events, I don't think has blown any of the cover there. And they're all very well aware of J'mon's necessity to keep such things under wraps. I'm sure rumors will spread, but rumors have always spread. And whenever a rumor has gotten close to J'mon's existence, they've been very conscious to disseminate other rumors that would just clutter and cloud that same space. Almost like our current political structure. I'm not too terribly worried about it. For hundreds of years there have been theories that J'mon is a dragon. But there have also been theories that J'mon is a number of people that just pass through like an office. Like the Dread Pirate Roberts. Or that it's an alien entity from another plane that lives forever. There's been a lot of rumors.

BRIAN: Or the Saint. The popular Val Kilmer film.

MATT: It's the film. It's an actual boxed DVD as the leader of Ank'Harel.

BRIAN: Dani just started typing up her letter of resignation after that joke.

MATT: Good job.

BRIAN: "Was Dr. Dranzel just looking to make a score? Or as a leader of the Golden Grin, did he "have other motive for sending Vox Machina back to General Krieg's house?" This question's also from (mumbled).

MATT: That was purely out of need for money. Dr. Dranzel is not a leader of the Golden Grin, just a member. And it's a very well-hidden fact on his end. Only those who keenly paid attention to the campaign guide would have noticed that.

BRIAN: Few, I'm sure. Knowing this community.

MATT: I'm sure many. Dr. Dranzel is all about, as is the Golden Grin, uplifting the underdog and protectors of good in society. And Dranzel does so whenever the opportunity arises. He's kind of a passive member. More active in his youth. But that whole element was just basically going, "Hey, so "we need some cash. And I hear there's some things that are pretty pricey that no one's watching "over. Want to go get some?"

BRIAN: How much do, if at all, real events impact any of the storytelling that you do? I think about how David Milch talks about how George Hearst in the third season of Deadwood is to represent capitalism coming to America, 1876, right? The forerunner for capitalism would be a serial killer in the form of Garret Dillahunt's character. So thinking about the campaign, do you find that what happens in the world, whether it be the injustices or our successes in any current shape find its way into the story? Is it hard to ignore what's going on in the real world? Because so many of us look at this game as a way to sometimes escape. You know. I'm not a big escapism person, but for four hours to just go like, "This will bring me to a place of happiness."

MATT: It's an interesting point. I would say I don't tailor my stories to reflect the world, but I'd imagine, subconsciously, it's hard to avoid it, too.

BRIAN: It's hard to not be impacted by it.

MATT: The world is filled with so much variety of conflict that no matter what you create in the story that has conflict, there's going to be parallels. Whatever is close to you is going to lead its way in some way shape or form into the work that you're doing. It's not just writing, or writing especially, a lot things that you do, they just find their way in. I think in hindsight there were elements in the campaign that I'm sure were, you know, things bleeding over. This upcoming campaign, just in the way I've built the world I'm sure there's been a lot that's bled into it as well. There'll be parallels. And you want to tell stories. For some people it's escapism. For other people I think it's a therapeutic way of dealing with the injustices of the world. I'm not trying to show an example of a perfect world. I'm not trying to be like, the world sucks out there so come to our place where everything's great! I'm like, the world there sucks. Come to this world where some things do suck but people are standing up and making a difference. People are trying to actively make the sacrifices that are necessary and stand up and be heroes in the face of injustice and probable loss because somebody needs to. And that's the tale I want to tell. I don't want to inspire people to ignore the darkness and find a safe space. There is an element of that. But I think in that space you can also teach people the importance of standing up for what's fucked up in the world around you and in what small way you can contribute to changing the things you're unhappy with. I think we've seen a lot of that in the community. We've seen a lot of that in storytelling in recent years in general. The good stories come from people that are frustrated with the world and want to make a difference and the only way they can is with a pen and pencil.

BRIAN: That's true. That's a great sentiment. What's the hardest thing for you to write?

MATT: Oh man! That's an interesting question.

BRIAN: Are you struggling with anything right now that you're just like, "It's not coming together"?

MATT: Strangely, no. It's coming together. But it's been a lot of months of percolating ideas and throwing things down.

BRIAN: You've had some practice.

MATT: I think the hardest thing for me is outlining enough faction perspectives to flesh out a world but not have everyone feel like they're constantly at war. If that makes sense. We have all these various societies and factions that all have conflicting ideals and interests. However, they're not always battling. For me, it's a conscious development choice to find ways in which they have to coexist. Or find ways in which they have to agree not to--

BRIAN: A trade deal or a thing, yeah.

MATT: Right. You know, with a long term idea of how to do I take you in the end. Or the mutual destruction type idea. Of like, you know, well if we both do go to war we both will probably kill each other. Let's best just hold this tension for now, we'll table this at the moment and come back to it later. History is a great source of these stories. You look at the history of humanity-- If you ever want to run a game and you want to get something a little more interesting and political, read history. I know it may have sucked when you were in high school, but I guarantee the older you get the more interesting history is, and there is some fascinating history in human civilization around the world.

BRIAN: Or just watch a bunch of Eddie Izzard specials.

MATT: That too! Honestly, yes. So yeah. That's about as elaborate as I can get on the topic before rambling and boring you all.

BRIAN: Yeah, I get it. I'm just sneaking in a few of my own questions here because I'm selfish. Did you have alternative plans for Craven Edge if Percy hadn't picked it up and given it to Grog?

MATT: No. It was just going to be a weapon that was left behind and would have probably gone into some archive somewhere. I expected it may have been found, but also as you've seen in a lot of battles sometimes, in the throes of a very emotional sequence, loot will be forgotten. Or I expected somebody to pick it up, somebody who wasn't Percy, and be like, "This doesn't look good. "Let me go ahead and find somebody who can identify it." And be like, "Oh, this is bad!" and be like, "Fuck this," and throw it away. That was the more probable thing, but much like Grog finding the Deck of Many Things, sometimes the people you don't expect are the first to find the loot.

BRIAN: That changed the game.

MATT: I was like, if anybody finds the Deck, except for Grog, they'll probably be okay.

BRIAN: Uh-oh. I know, yeah. And it being Travis, too. VinceK42 says, "So the party was about one "roll/decision away from never discovering Tyriok, the mapmaker, in his petrified form."

MATT: Oh, right!

BRIAN: "How many dead or permanently incapacitated NPCs who Vox Machina just missed are there?"

MATT: (laughs)

BRIAN: That happen a lot?

MATT: Not a lot, because not--

BRIAN: Am I showing nipple? Are we okay?

MATT: Oh, don't cover up!

BRIAN: Okay. Well, we're going to get banned on Twitch. They told me as much. Sorry.

MATT: I mean, recurring NPCs? Not many, because either they stay in places that are safe, or they encountered them. Gilmore during the Chroma Fall, when the Conclave attacked Emon; Tyriok; their friends when they were going up Entropis at the end. If they had not managed to protect or deflect Vorugal's flyover of Whitestone, when they had put up the illusionary barrier and his return from Draconia, there could've been some bad stuff there, because he wouldn't have attacked then. He would've flown up or pretended it wasn't there and then come back later on with probably two other members of the Conclave and wiped out a lot of Whitestone, and that would've been bad.

BRIAN: Yeah.

MATT: It's not too often because I don't want them to continuously meet NPCs they've already met. There's probably NPCs they never met that probably died off-screen that they never encountered.

BRIAN: Or ones that got killed within one line of dialogue.

MATT: Or there was that, yeah.

BRIAN: That was hilarious. Gavrock wants to know, "How are Shale and the Herd of Storms doing "following the fall of Umbrasyl?"

MATT: The Herd of Storms, which technically is no longer called the Herd of Storms at this point, although the stigma around the title is a bit rough, they're doing all right. They're rebuilding, they're taking a little more of a peaceful trade and interacting with local society for goods and then staying to nature. A less dominant Kevdak-style of conquer, take, and ruin. Shale is not around anymore. Shale, according to Chris Perkins, and I'm not going to rob him of his character's end, probably fell down the mountain shortly after that battle and died alone somewhere in the Cliffkeep. By his own words! But Shale had done well, and she had lived a good life up to that point and contributed.

BRIAN: That's crazy.

MATT: Go Shale.

BRIAN: Go Shale. I know you're watching, Chris.

MATT: Drink to Shale.

BRIAN: I know you're watching, Christopher. MetallicaGross wants to know-- Chris, you agree with that? CHRIS: I'm a Megadeth fan.

BRIAN: Oh, he's a Megadeth fan. I like Megadeth. "Matt, was there any exciting backstory, "sidequests, lore, or loot tied to that ship in Vorugal's lair?" Was that anything?

MATT: The party put a lot more to that boat than there was.

BRIAN: Okay. So it was one of those things like Senokir's box where it was like, obsessed with it but it was okay.

MATT: Yeah. Vorugal, who had just relocated to make the ruins of Draconia their nest then began to amass what goods were nearby, and so began to do flyovers of nearby villages and civilizations and grab whatever was there, kill whoever was present, and take it back and began to build a new hoard, and one of the things happened to be a ship that was out in the ocean that Vorugal destroyed partially and then took the rest of it back and then began to sift through what was inside, and over time began to freeze over. There was nothing too special in there, I would have rolled up some random magical items for it. I did have some random items rolled up for it, but nothing too crazy. But that's also one of the things I love about being a DM, is you can convince the party unintentionally of all the possible intents, story-based mystery about a scenario that literally is just a broken ship.

BRIAN: Yeah. That's kind of what happened on Lost, too.

MATT: Yeah.

BRIAN: You know what I'm talking about? (sigh) That ship. At least they killed the guy in there. Hey, Ellie A. O'Neil wants to know, "What were the specific triggers for the Vestiges awakening," did we talk about that already? "and were there any awakenings we didn't get to see?"

MATT: I largely prefer, and I put this in the campaign guide a little bit for those who want to use it, I prefer the Vestiges awakening at moments of either heavy character development, advancement, or a crux for their flaws or bonds, if you run those systems, or something that is so out of character and them embracing a level of adventurous heroism they wouldn't otherwise. Essentially, whenever you as the GM or the director of the game goes, oh man, this would be a fucking cool moment for this to awaken, you know? When the player surprises you with something, you're like, well, that's enough for this thing to start glowing and get more awesome. You know, I wanted to leave it kind of vague because to me it's up to you to find those moments. All of the Vestiges, I'm pretty sure, exalted in the campaign, but not everything they found was dormant when they found it, and this because I didn't want people at higher levels getting towards the end of the campaign comparably to have to get a dormant item and be like, oh, I have to awaken it and then I have to exalt it necessarily. I wanted it to be at certain levels, so I built in a system where if a Vestige is unattuned or unused for a long time it slowly reverts back to its dormant state. Some of them may have been already awakened when they found them, but hadn't been exalted yet and hadn't quite fully regressed yet. So, that was my way of dealing with that scenario.

BRIAN: Yeah. So, you're saying for people who want to do it in their own campaign, sort of case-by-case it because if you pick it out yourself, you maybe rob yourself of a moment where the player does something that makes you go, oh, that's it.

MATT: Yeah. I mean, you could do it. You could be like, when they kill their 20th creature or when they use this feature X number of times. Those are totally viable ways to do it. I think I have a suggestion of that in the campaign guide. But for me, it's more fun to wait for those heroic moments when a player surprises you and their party members and does something really cool, really in or out of character, or really elevates the narrative in a way you aren't expecting, and you're like, this is the moment where I reward you for that awesome moment with your Vestige reaching the next stage.

BRIAN: Yeah. Wow. Okay. Pretty cool. TheFoxyKarama wants to know, "Would it have been possible for Vex to call upon the help of Galdric," Galdric, right?

MATT: Yeah.

BRIAN: "--of Galdric while performing the trial to become Mistress of the Grey Hunt?"

MATT: Yeah, totally.

BRIAN: Okay.

MATT: Yeah, that was totally an option. Galdric is one of the the, since being assigned by Vax, now is this perpetual guardian up until the end of his life of the surrounding Whitestone scenario, and has been through years of being kept inside the necklace and through blessings of the Raven Queen, probably has a much more prolonged life than a regular wolf would. So Galdric will be around for quite a while to keep watch on the woods. And if Vex decided to go call upon him, then yeah, totally.

BRIAN: Wow. Okay. Good to know. If this character doesn't work out, she can go start her own thing with Vex.


(laughter) Exactly. There you go. Perfect!

BRIAN: ForsakenGrundle-- come on.

MATT: Still one of the best!

BRIAN: Just right below my beloved ArseQueef. "What happened to the new Lord of the Quadroads/ Crossroads?"

MATT: Oh! The one who was given the wishes by Grog? Well, like most people that suddenly come into a lot of money, spent a lot of it. He's well established, he's living fine. He didn't have a lot of aspirations with his Wish spells, other than more money, nice house. He's probably still holding onto his last Wish. Probably. Yeah. So with the influx of money-- he's not super high level, you couldn't wish for an exorbitant amount of money to the point where he's the richest person in Vasselheim. But he went from squalor to a very comfortable, mid to high level nobility and title and everything with the Wish. He's doing all right. But I think he's also tortured of what his final Wish is going to be and probably will never use it. Probably live the rest of his life unsure of what it should and then will probably die not knowing what it is.

BRIAN: Wow. That's crazy. Last question.

MATT: Oh shit!

BRIAN: Minafae wants to know, "What is the relationship history between J'mon and Gilmore? They were having a pretty in-depth conversation after that Thordak fight."

MATT: There's no history between the two. They hadn't met before that. I think it was more Gilmore realizing the opportunity to talk to what is one of the most mysterious, prestigious figures of his entire upbringing and culture. It was this opportunity for Gilmore to be like, "Oh, Mr. President. Let me shake your hand. And I've always wondered, what are your thoughts on this, and what are your thoughts on that?" I think it was less J'mon being interested in Gilmore, although happy to answer any questions that he has, I think it was Gilmore more being interested in what they were and what they had to say and just taking this one opportunity to shake hands with this majestic entity that would probably never happen again. So, that was that. There wasn't a long history, it was more Gilmore being like, "While you're here, can I take a selfie?" That kind of feel.

BRIAN: Yeah. That's what our friend Chris did when he saw Maynard from Tool at LAX.

MATT: Don't blame me. I will say on that part, there's been a lot of questions about it. Gilmore is fine. Gilmore is happy. Gilmore has, through the years, developed his business on a scale that isn't too fast and too expansive. Has found love, lost love, found love again. Gilmore is happy. So take that with you.

BRIAN: That's good to know. Has he ever gone into a full beautiful delicious beard? I know mine was trimmed recently.

MATT: Later in life maybe. But I think Gilmore loves the fabulous jawline too much.

BRIAN: Yeah, he wants to show off the jawline. As we wind down here and we've been thinking and talking as much as we can, or as much as we want to about the new campaign. I want to say as a Critter and as a fan of the show, I think that there's a lot of speculation on the internet. There's a lot of the discussion thread on Reddit about the new campaign is at some astronomical number of comments and theory and everything. Expectations being whatever they are, they're going to range across the community if you were to do a survey, which I don't recommend. I want to say on behalf of anyone who feels this way, that my only expectation going into this, and I hope this in some way relieves any of that pressure. My expectations going into the next campaign is Thursday night I'm going to turn on Twitch. I'm gonna be two drinks in already, but I'm gonna turn

MATT: That's the best I could hope for.

BRIAN: Yeah, and I just think like, I know there's a lot of pressure. I know there must be, with the success of the show especially after Talks Machina came along. Before, I mean it was dead in the water, let's admit.

MATT: Thank you for that. For elevating us.

BRIAN: Yeah, right. But I just want to say, as a writer and as a friend, the foundations upon what makes this show not only successful and people watch it, but people watch it not because it's entertaining only because they are a part of it in many ways. And that creates a lot of healthy things and it creates a lot of unhealthy expectations. I just want you guys to feel like-- I've talked to so many Critters and so many people. Everybody's excited to see you back, much less in a new campaign and new characters and all that stuff and a new story line. I just want to set the precedent that the expectations for those of us who really know and love the show is just more nerdy ass voice actors playing D&D. Whatever that ends up looking like. If somebody dies in week two just have fun and keep doing what's made it great.

MATT: Thank you, I'm hoping that. I will say these past two and a half, three months or so where we've been off the story, even with the one-shots, it's been really hard. I've really missed getting back to the table every week and playing a consistent story with my friends. So I'm really excited to get back to that. But also, for everyone who came through the story of Vox Machina with us-- That many years of character exploration and relationship development lead to where we ended that campaign. Do not expect the new campaign to start with that level of relationship development and investment! I mean anyone who's played D&D, it's gonna be a weird ride for the first beginning as everyone's figuring out their characters, figuring out each other's characters, figuring out the story and the world around them.

BRIAN: Accents.

MATT: That too, oh man. It's going to be fun. So, all I ask is come to have fun, come to watch us have fun, fumble around, and figure out where this is going and I hope you have a good time.

BRIAN: Clear eyes, clear heads. What's the-- anybody watch Friday Night Lights? OFF-SCREEN: Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

BRIAN: Thank you, Chiffre. Was that Le Chiffre? Come over here. You guys, before we go, I have to say: one year ago today Le Chiffre joined us as a technical director, executive producer of all shows on the network. He is one of the cat petting executives. I don't know if you're gonna be able to cut to a wide shot. Okay good. Come sit in between Matt and I.

MATT: Come sit by my shoes, buddy.

BRIAN: Come curl up by the fire. Guys, this is Le Chiffre, that's what I call him, which is his Bond villain name. This is Zach, and you work really hard, and you've been back there switching all the cameras and doing all that stuff for us tonight. How have you liked your first year at Geek & Sundry? Talk into my chest because you don't have a mic.

ZACH: Let me get real close here. It's been great, this is a wonderful place to work. Most of the time.

BRIAN: Still?


ZACH: This is a great place to work, this is really a family. Everyone says that when talking about working here, but it is. I couldn't be happier working anywhere.

BRIAN: Only my family would love to be speaking into my-- you can go. Thank you. We just wanted to honor you for your one year of service.

ZACH: Thank you guys, it's been an honor.

MATT: You're amazing man, thank you.

BRIAN: And he's going to quit now. He's going to quit. My nipple tape came undone.

MATT: It's okay, we got some good Foster sternum in there.

BRIAN: Guys, to anyone still watching, if you're still out there. We love you. January 11th, one week from tonight, holy crap!

MATT: Oh God!

BRIAN: A week from tonight, the new campaign begins. There will be tears, there will be fears, there will be...deers? We love you guys, thank you so much for watching. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions. Thank you to our crew who stuck around super late, but early for a Thursday night really.

MATT: Enjoy it now, while it lasts.

BRIAN: Let's all go to Liam's and TP his house! We love you guys, we will see you for the new campaign January 11th. Don't forget to love each other. And don't worry, it's almost new characters that are going to die so fast. Stay turnt, my friends, Happy New Year. I will wear this every day from now on.

MATT: I think you should, dude.

BRIAN: My pleasure. Goodnight, my friends. Get Matthew saying tonight, too.

MATT: Goodnight! Goodnight, guys!

BRIAN: Goodnight, guys!