Critical Role Wiki

This wiki contains spoilers for the entirety of Critical Role and The Legend of Vox Machina. Proceed at your own risk!

READ MORE

Critical Role Wiki
Advertisement
Critical Role Wiki

List of Transcripts

Pre-Show[]

MATT: Welcome to this very special Critical Role one-shot experience with our partnership with our friends at Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios for their 2021 release of the Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood. For a little context for those who want to know, ESO has a year long adventure which includes the Blackwood chapter release and also multiple DLCs that unveil the storyline as it progresses, one of which is already out now called the Flames of Ambition. Now, the storyline is part of the Gates of Oblivion overall storyline. Some of you may be familiar with Oblivion or previous Elder Scrolls games. This is part of the ESO diving into that awesomeness of the world and lore and it uncovers the scheme specifically in this of the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon 800 years before the events of Elder Scrolls IV. I'm super excited about this. It comes out-- Blackwood specifically comes out on June 1st for PC, Mac, and Stadia and June 8th for Xbox One, X-Box series X and S, PS4 and PS5, across the board. And you can check out everything right now at www.elderscrollsonline.com/buy. Super excited they approached us to do this partially because I've been playing Elder Scrolls for forever. I've played through all the main games, part of the reason that me and Marisha named our bird Dagon was after Mehrunes Dagon.

LAURA: Really? I didn't know that.

MATT: Yeah, it was a combination of Mehrunes Dagon and the classic Mesopotamian deity slash cosmic horror sea god. So a lot of reasons to go with Dagon at that point. But Mehrunes Dagon, we had just finished playing through Skyrim at the time.

LAURA: That's actually why we named Ronin Ronin Mehrunes Willingham. So it's so weird that we have that in common.

MATT: For a brief second, for a brief second I was like--

LAURA: "Oh my god."

MATT: But yeah, anyway, been a long time fan of the series and super excited that we get to play some of this chaos into their world. Apologies in advance, Bethesda, for ruining it. But before we begin, I want to go ahead and do a quick round of our amazing players at the table, everyone go ahead and introduce yourselves starting on this side, Sam.

SAM: My character or myself?

MATT: Yourself.

SAM: Hi, I'm San Riegel.

MATT: And your character.

SAM: Oh, I'm Sam Riegel, and I am playing the character of Slaughter Grimm. Slaughter Grimm the necromancer. What do you need, what else?

MATT: Argonian.

SAM: Argonian, no, but like, what else should I say about--

MATT: That's fine, the rest of it we'll find in the story.

SAM: Okay. My name's-- yep!

MATT: Out of the gate. Taliesin.

TALIESIN: Hi, my name is Taliesin Jaffe and for this fun little romp I'll be playing Mallory Klaxton, and he's a Dunmer sorcerer. So that's where we're going.

MATT: Wonderful. Aabria?

AABRIA: Hi, I am Aabria Iyengar and I'm playing Tavima, your Redguard Templar. Those words all meant things.

MATT: Laura.

LAURA: Hi, I'm Laura Bailey. And today I'm going to be playing an orc named Grelnok Nightbringer.

MATT: Nailed it.

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: Michelle.

MICHELLE: Hi, I'm Michelle Nguyen Bradley and today I'm playing Hoa Sen and I am an Altmer Warden. I almost said Altmer hostess. That's my job. (laughter)

MATT: She's not actually joking. Well, there we go. Thank you all so much for joining us for this, super excited to have you. And with that, I think let's go ahead and jump into the narrative chaos that will ensue for our Elder Scrolls one shot here tonight. Let's do this.

Part I[]

MATT: So we begin within the sprawling realm of Tamriel during the historical period known as the Interregnum. No emperor sits on the Ruby Throne at this moment, while war and chaos between political factions ravages the land and divides the people. Rumors continuously spread of dark arcana and clandestine threats growing in shadowed places. But here, within the safety of the Aldmeri Dominion, such matters rarely interest the more common folk like you, who seek to just make a living right now. Now crossing each others' paths as you may have as young sellswords, curious wanderers, or even just happenstance allies, you forced a friendship or at least a convenient business partnership strong enough between you all to match this collective interest in living the less dangerous life and in pooling your gold saved through whatever work you may have done, bloody or not, to purchase a ramshackle hillside inn on the outskirts of Grahtwood called the Dreary Jug. That was the name when you purchased it, you're welcome to decide if that's what you want to keep. The renovations have been slow for the past few months. Since you've acquired this location, the clientele has been a bit sparse, but it's beginning to swell a bit. As tensions rise beyond these lands, you begin to see more soldiers passing through, and with them, more coin. So the prospects are growing steadily brighter. A handful of Bosmer soldiers of the Dominion military are deep in their late night rounds at a far table as one of them suddenly raises a hand towards the nearby waiter, shouting, "Hey! Lizard! Another round of Four-Eye Grog and a big old pork platter for me and my mates if you don't mind."

SAM: I'm sorry, I'm sorry, sir. Say that one more time, one more time. I just need to get the order right.

MATT: "Yeah, another round of Four-Eye, Four-Eye Grog? Four-Eye Grog? Yeah, going to get two rounds for the whole table."

SAM: Two Four-Eye Grog, yep.

MATT: "Yeah, and a big old pork platter, if you don't mind."

SAM: Pork platter? Pork platter. Anything-- do you need extra napkins or any--? I'll just be right back. (stammering) Grelnok?

LAURA: Oi.

LAURA: Grelnok, we need two Four-Eye Grogs over at table-- the big meaty table over there, and-- oh, Mallory? Mallory!

TALIESIN: Yeah?

SAM: Can I come back there?

TALIESIN: No.

SAM: All right. Mallory, we need the pork platter?

TALIESIN: Pork's still smoking, it's in back. Well, what do I-- do I say no?

TALIESIN: Fine, give me one minute.

SAM: All right.

TALIESIN: Ugh.

SAM: All right, thank you.

LAURA: Order up.

SAM: That was fast.

LAURA: I just had to pour it.

SAM: I guess so, that's how it works. I'm sorry, yes, okay.

LAURA: We've been here a couple of months, you should learn this.

SAM: I just-- I get so nervous.

LAURA: Take the fucking drinks and go.

SAM: Great.

TALIESIN: Slaughter!

SAM: What?

TALIESIN: Here's a plate. Apologize to them, it's terrible 'cause they ordered it too early.

SAM: All right.

TALIESIN: They should know better.

SAM: I will try to hold all this stuff, and--

MATT: You scoot your way through the dark interior of the tavern. The smell itself a combination of partially-cooked foods, well-cooked foods, and prematurely-cooked foods in this particular instance, splatters of long-dried and semi-cleaned bits of liquor and wine across the stained wooden floor, over towards the front where the open doors are currently ajar to reveal the freshly night sky amongst the trees of the nearby wooded area. You can see leaning into the table, or leaning against the doorway, the bouncer, Tavima.

AABRIA: I am just looking out into the street and the moment I make eye contact with anyone: You! Come get some food and a drink. (laughter)

MATT: As you glance out there, and you are on the outskirts of this area of Grahtwood, specifically this tavern definitely corners this area, which is mostly just heavy wood and the path where a lot of soldier footfall and occasional horse traffic comes through. There is one, looks like a farmer who has a satchel on his back and he's wearing a simple leather cap, looks over. "Oh?"

AABRIA: Now.

MATT: "Okay, I don't--"

MICHELLE: I run forward. No, Tavima, we talked about this. No yelling, the shouting, use your inside voice. I know you're a partly outside--

AABRIA: I'm outside.

MICHELLE: Yeah, but you shouldn't-- so. Young, beautiful, handsome wanderer, please come hither. We have warm fires and lovely cold drinks and--

LAURA: We got grog.

MICHELLE: -- liquors.

MATT: Make an intimidation check, make a persuasion check.

AABRIA: Oh, it was on a 20 and then it rolled to an eight. 11.

MICHELLE: 14.

MATT: "Okay, I think I'll take my chances."

AABRIA: Come on.

MATT: "Do you have a place where I can put this down?"

AABRIA: Here, I'll take it. And I try to lift him and his, yep, come on.

MATT: Releases it and quickly shuffles his way into the-- It's not bustling, per se, but at this point in the evening, there's three tables that seem to have some folk who've wandered in. You expect it to get a little rowdier as the night progresses. But you've you found yourself a comfortable space, settling into the various aspects of the business as you progress. You go over to the table of Bosmer soldiers.

SAM: Here's your plate of food, folks. And here's a couple of grogs, best in town I think you'll find, freshly poured. Also-- and I put my hand on his shoulder-- it's a he, a she?

MATT: The one who's talking to you is a he.

SAM: I've read that if you have a personal touch with the person that you're waiting, you're more likely to get a better tip. So it's nice to meet you. Hi, I'm Slaughter. I'm the waiter here. I've been working here for a little while and gee whiz, it's really great. I'm getting to meet all sorts of people here.

MATT: "Go away."

SAM: Well, if you need anything, just-- There's a little bell that I put on--

MATT: "The pork's underdone."

SAM: I don't-- do you want me to tell the chef?

MATT: "We'll make do."

SAM: Good. I don't like the chef. But yes thank you so much, sir. I'll just put my hand on you one more time and I'm off.

LAURA: Slaughter?

SAM: Hi, yes, what's up?

LAURA: You're a shit waiter.

SAM: Well, I'm trying to do better.

LAURA: Just don't try.

SAM: Well, I have to. This is my dream. I don't know if I've told you this before because we don't talk a lot. I come from a long line of necromantic torturers. My father was named Massacre Grimm, my mother is Felony Grimm-Lebowitz, my brother is Homicide Grimm and my sister is Agony Grimm. And we've all been a long time family of torturers. We've worked for despots and tyrants and, you know, mainly my mom and dad are freelancers now, semi-retired, but they expected--

LAURA: I pass a shot over to him.

SAM: Thank you so much. That's very strong. They wanted me to go into the family business, of course, but I just can't with the torturing. It's just too much, you know? It's icky and you get splatter on yourself and the screams of anguish and agony. I just can't, I can't do it. So I'd like to be in the service industry and I'm making a go of it. And I think that what we've got here is really something special, you know?

LAURA: Yeah, yeah I think this is a really good setup we have.

SAM: How can I be better?

LAURA: Stop talking. Just don't talk. Don't scare away the customers.

MICHELLE: Actually, I found-- I just butt into your conversation, I kick over another customer. Actually, I found that more talking and lots and lots of direct eye contact is exactly what people want. They say no, but their eyes, they say yes. To me, anyway. So when somebody comes in and they say things like, "Oh, go away," what they really mean is, "I'm hurting inside and I just want someone to talk to."

SAM: See, this is great advice. Hoa, I did the thing that you told me earlier about touching them and I think it really--

MICHELLE: You have to touch their insides.

LAURA: Don't touch their insides!

MICHELLE: No, I meant--

LAURA: Don't.

AABRIA: I'm behind Hoa right now just making dagger eye contact with the table, like--

LAURA: Hoa, Hoa.

SAM: All right, I'll keep a lid on. I'll keep a lid on it.

TALIESIN: I'm going to come running out of the kitchen. Drink, drink. Tavima. Tavima, watch that table over there, they ordered the pork at this hour. I don't trust anybody who does that.

AABRIA: I'm on it. Tavima just sits down on one of the other tables, just watches.

SAM: On one?

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: You hear some footfalls approaching, two different sets, an odd cadence. You look and see on one side there is an Altmer, or high elf, in fine cerulean clothing, a light brown hair, who looks to be a bit powdered in the face, much more done up than the normal folk that wander through this side, but has a certain kind of-- I don't know, a lifted back to him as he steps in your direction. A little bit behind you see another figure who's currently hitching a horse over by the small side stables. Is a grungy looking, leather cloak-clad female with dirty red hair that just saunters up with a little bit of bag. And as the Altmer approaches, "Ah, is this a place to come for a drink perhaps and a place to rest?"

LAURA: Hoa.

MICHELLE: Yes, yes, yes! Okay, yes! I'm knocking over chairs as I run to the front door. Hello, hello, yes, fellow Altmer, thank you, welcome to our fine establishment. Where are you coming from today? What is your name? What's your name over there? What have you had to eat today? Would you like to eat something different today? How tall are you, exactly?

MATT: "Let's begin with a table, perchance, and maybe a spot of reddish wine, if you don't mind?"

MICHELLE: Reddish wine, or do you want red wine? We do have reddish wine, but I don't know if it was technically the right--

LAURA: We got blood in the white. It's not quite the same, but.

MATT: "I'll go with what you recommend."

MICHELLE: Yes, we have wine of colors, great. I usher them over to our finest table in front of the fireplace.

MATT: Okay, he sits down to eat. The other individual that came from the horse just sauntered up to the side of the doorway as you're helping him get to his seat ends up coming up right to your area. She rubs her chin a bit. "Can I just grab a seat?"

LAURA: (grunts)

MATT: "All right." Sits in and picks like a little side area almost like an independent booth. And as opposed to ordering any food, pulls out a bag and starts removing bits of looks like roadside jerky. Just starts chewing it at the table.

SAM: I'll just wander over to Tavima. I've forgotten, are we allowing-- are we allowing clients to bring in their own food from outside or-- I don't think Mallory would like that very much.

AABRIA: You can tell her not to.

TALIESIN: I'm staring deadlocked.

SAM: I can tell her? That's not my job.

AABRIA: Yeah, if she gets rowdy, I'll bounce her out, but she seems fine.

SAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: Offer her the Plowman Special.

SAM: What is that?

TALIESIN: Sausage, sausage roll, fresh potatoes. Some cheese, piece of bread. It's very nice. It's simple, it's rugged.

SAM: Every dish you describe sounds like a threat. All right. (clears throat) (stammering) Hello, welcome to the Dreary Jug. I'm Slaughter. I make super-duper eye contact with her. I'll be your waiter tonight. We have a special, can I tell you about it?

MATT: "I'll just have an ale, thanks."

SAM: It's called the Plowman Special. It's got sausage, potato, cheese, and bread. Can I interest you in that?

MATT: "I'm good. If I could just get an ale, please."

SAM: Did you say a nail?

MATT: "An ale, please."

SAM: Oh, that would have been-- yeah.

MATT: Her eyes wander as you're talking and you see she's looking around. She's checking the place out, eating some jerky.

SAM: First time-- first time in here?

MATT: "First time, ale, please."

SAM: Sure, sure. G, we need an ale! Is that okay?

AABRIA: That's fun.

LAURA: Don't call me G.

SAM: Okay, yeah, I thought I'd try it to get some witty banter or rapport going. Didn't work.

AABRIA: Can I call you G?

LAURA: Yeah, whatever you want.

SAM: What? All right, I go over, grab the ale, come back. Here's your ale. What brings you to this neck of the woods today?

MATT: "Passing through."

SAM: On your way to? Sounds interesting.

MATT: "Personal business."

SAM: Yeah, very interesting.

MATT: "You're a real curious type, aren't you?"

SAM: Do I see any weapons on this person?

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: Yeah!

MICHELLE: I'd also like to add that from behind I'm going more! Touch, touch, inside.

AABRIA: No, I think at this point I'm going to come around and just body Hoa and, like, just drop her off in front of the elves where she belongs.

MATT: The other gentleman is sitting there, is taking his cloak off and set it over the chair. And is just gently awaiting his wine's arrival as he looks around the establishment.

SAM: Separate tables or the same table?

MATT: There's multiple tables.

SAM: So the fancy gentleman's at one table, the surly person is at another.

MATT: It's like a booth side element, then there's the soldier table near the front.

SAM: Soldier table, got it. It's a busy night tonight. I could use some help on the floor.

MICHELLE: Three tables.

LAURA: I'm not even out there. I'm searching for fucking wine.

SAM: Goddamn it. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Slaughter, do you want me to get this one?

SAM: Could you?

TALIESIN: I'm going to walk over to the fancy.

SAM: Oh god.

MATT: He's in the process of going, like, "So what can you tell me about this place? What's it called?"

MICHELLE: It's called The Dingy-- The Jug of-- The Dirty Drinking Hole. (yells) What's the name of this place again?

LAURA: Dirty Hole.

SAM: The Dreary Jug.

MICHELLE: Oh, it's that, yes, it's the Dreary Jug, I'd forgotten.

MATT: "Well, I'd recommend perhaps maybe workshopping that a bit, seeing it's a bit challenging to remember and or present. But anyway."

MICHELLE: Wow, do you work in marketing?

MATT: "More or less, you could say."

MICHELLE: Tell me more.

MATT: "Well, um."

MICHELLE: Where did you grow up? Where did you learn how to do marketing? What does marketing really mean?

MATT: "You're new at management here, aren't you?"

MICHELLE: Aren't we all new beings on this beautiful planet that we call, hmm.

MATT and AABRIA: Nirn.

MICHELLE: Nirn. (laughter)

MICHELLE: I mean, I think that every place is new and exciting and it's great to learn about every single thing that you can set your eyes upon.

LAURA: You just hear a loud crash of glass in the background as I break the bottle over the bar to open it up.

MATT: At this point, as you're helping approach at this point, and you're coming over to get the wine for this gentlemen, the woman in the leathers goes--

SAM: The surly one.

MATT: The surly one puts the pouch away, downs the drink, and just exits. And muscles past you, like, done to go out into the night.

AABRIA: Hold on.

LAURA and AABRIA: Did she pay?

MATT: If you go back and look at the table?

SAM: I'll go look at the table.

MATT: There's a handful of gold on the table. It looks paid, it's paid.

AABRIA: We good?

SAM: It's okay. Was she a good tipper?

MATT: There was no tip.

SAM: There was no tip! I put hands on her.

LAURA: That's why there's no tip.

AABRIA: I'm not allowed to wear a sword anymore, so do you want me to punch her in the back of the head? Like what are we doing?

SAM: I don't know. What do you do in this situation? You're the muscle.

AABRIA: Did you do a--

SAM: I did an excellent job.

AABRIA: All right, I'm going to follow her out. Like, you need to fucking tip. (laughter)

MATT: Okay.

SAM: You guys are all on hourlies. I work for tips over here, okay?

MATT: It's a valid point. It's a rough service, food service. I've been there. As you step out and shout that into what is now the early evening air, the little bit of torchlight flickering on the front porch area off the side of your face, you can just catch her stepping onto the road and turns around, reaches into the pouch, takes a couple of coins, and just throws them onto the ground and keeps walking.

AABRIA: Cool, I'm not worried about that.

MATT: There you go.

AABRIA: Okay. I'll wipe them off on my weird, ruffly outfit that I hate so much. Here's your-- it's ground money. Good job.

SAM: Thank you so much, I appreciate it. And thanks for the support. I know that I'm not the--

AABRIA: This is a lot for me. We can just move on.

SAM: Thank you, thank you, just thank you. Okay, thank you.

LAURA: Wine.

TALIESIN: I'm going to take it over.

LAURA: There might be glass bits.

MATT: "Thank you kindly."

TALIESIN: We have a sandwich platter. (wheezing laughter) It's got cheese, pickle sandwich, cucumber sandwich, curried chicken. I bake the bread myself. Amazing and it compliments the wine perfectly. There may be blood in the bread.

MATT: Goddamn it. (laughs) "I'll-- perhaps just a spot of the cheese platter, if you don't mind. Is it all on one platter?"

TALIESIN: It's a sandwich platter. I can give you cheese and pickle and bread platter. It's going to-- it'll be deconstructed, but that's the Plowman Special.

MATT: "Just bring me the whole thing."

TALIESIN: Fine. I go into the back.

MATT: (laughing) It's one of my favorite characters you've ever played.

SAM: (gruff) I can make you a Surf and Turf. (laughter)

MATT: He leans his attention back to you. "Well, I guess best to say is, I'm an appreciator of the entrepreneurial spirit. Businesses has been steadily growing, you would say?"

MICHELLE: Yes, today we've had three-- we have two tables and that's amazing for us. I think we're doing quite well. We're probably-- we're definitely going to make it.

MATT: "Wonderful, wonderful."

MICHELLE: What else brings you to this, our humble little town?

MATT: "Well, my name is Diven." Takes a sip of his wine.

MICHELLE: Just be careful. There's a little-- nevermind.

MATT: "A bit granular. There's a bit of a grain--"

MICHELLE: Oh, it's a specialty of the vineyards nearby, I think.

MATT: "Curious, notes of iron. Well, I'm an Aldmeri representative out of Elden Root. I assume you've all been rather forthright in your taxes to the Dominion in these trying times?"

MICHELLE: Yes, Slaughter does all the math.

MATT: "Well, I'll be curious to see your ledgers, please."

AABRIA: It was a threat.

LAURA: Wait, what?

SAM: It's a tax man.

LAURA: L-ledgers?

MATT: "Yes, please, if you don't mind. Just to keep everything forward and upright. These are times to be showing support for the Dominion that is keeping you safe."

LAURA: I'll be right back. I'm going to go to the back and I'm going to find some papers and I'm going to-- (laughter)

LAURA: -- write some numbers and some lines on it.

MATT: Okay, while you're doing that anyone else is doing anything?

AABRIA: I mean, do you have paper? Like, can you prove who you are?

MATT: "Well, of course I can." He reaches into his-- he reaches into his little breast pocket and pulls out this really nice scroll that somehow he's kept immaculate while pressed within his breast and unfurls it and shows it to you. And indeed it says it says Diven Leson, the Aldmeri tax collecting individual. There's a very unique lengthy title, but it seems as far as your experience with formalized Dominion paperwork to be forthright.

AABRIA: Cool well, we'll get those-- I'm going to-- No. She just walks away.

LAURA: I bring it back out. There we go. You'll see there on line five it says-- that, it says taxes.

MATT: Go ahead and just roll a general-- you can choose dexterity or intelligence check.

LAURA: What do I got here? What are we looking at? Yeah, we're solid on both these numbers. Don't know who rolled for me, but woof. Oh, I wish I would have gone off the table 'cause it landed on a two!

MATT: All right, so--

LAURA: Wait, no, plus one.

MATT: There you go, so three.

SAM: So three.

MATT: So three. So that was just for the assemblance of the papers you made in the back, which are-- you know when a child makes a really cute drawing and the parents put it on the fridge. If they made a ledger that they saw their dad do on tax day, it's in a similar realm. I would like you to also make a deception check for me, please.

LAURA: Natural 20. Three! (laughter)

LAURA: Plus one.

SAM: So that's a four.

MATT: It's a four. "Ahem. (laughing) I-- really don't want to make a scene here, but are you to tell me that you've just presented to an official of the Dominion fraudulent documentation of your income for a new business such as this?"

LAURA: Well, I wouldn't. Those papers were just here when we moved in. I just thought that that's what--

SAM: This is a new business, sir, where we've just started out and, as you know, many establishments like ours fail within the first six months. So we're still getting on our feet. Haven't worked out the books correctly yet, but Hoa over here is on it.

MICHELLE: Oh, I was supposed to-- I thought you were.

SAM: We have a plan, we have a plan and we just haven't enacted it yet. But we're working on it. What is the deadline for pay-- for payment?

MATT: "This establishment is number of months behind, I believe, from the previous owner."

LAURA: Oh, well, that-- that's why.

MATT: "But as per Tax Code 13AA underscored, within the Dominion itself, new proprietors are to carry over any existing debts from previous proprietors."

SAM: They didn't tell us that

AABRIA: That doesn't feel good or fair.

TALIESIN: I walk over with the sandwiches and put them down. I'll be taking the tips on this one. What are we all doing here?

SAM: There's a bit of a paperwork--

MICHELLE: We owe taxes, or something.

LAURA: How much do we owe?

MATT: I could tell you if you gave me a proper ledger.

MICHELLE: Well, if you don't know how much we owe, then why?

MATT: "Then perhaps you would need somebody to look these up for you and that is quite a bit pricey."

LAURA: I'll go find a ledger.

TALIESIN: You've lost the chicken curry sandwiches, and I just take--

MATT: "I want that chicken curry sandwich, thank you."

TALIESIN: I grab one.

LAURA: I'm going to look through all the boxes that have been like covered and stuff, try to find a ledger.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

TALIESIN: I'll help.

AABRIA: Okay.

LAURA: Oh, well--

TALIESIN: Oh, you've already got--

AABRIA: I'm back there helping, yeah. And just the whole time I'm not really helping you look as much as I'm like, are we just going to just kill this guy? Are we're just going to-- we're going to-- yeah, okay, I just wanted to be on the same page.

LAURA: Oh, oh. Investigation?

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: Wow. 14, fuck-- no, 16.

MATT: 16, there you go.

AABRIA: Teamwork.

MATT: Looking around, you find scraps of some notation of shipments that were brought in and you've kept a few pieces of paperwork that, you know, receiving drinks and food materials and just generally in and out going income. But you're also very new to this as a collective and you've not kept the best notation. So you're a little bit of a loss. Like it's a little frustrating and a learning as you go, unfortunate circumstance.

LAURA: I just bring out all the papers that I could find and hand it over to the guy.

MATT: As you're back there searching and figuring this out, both of you, he begins to stand up and walk about the establishment as the soldiers finish up their meal and rowdily leave, and one of them begins to complain like, "Oh man, I'm feeling a little weird." And they make their way out into the night. And begins looking around. (as Diven) "Well, this is quite a collection of wines here on this rack."

MICHELLE: Oh yes. That one's red. That one is sort of a lighter red. That one is white? It looks clear to me, though, so I don't know if that's called-- maybe it's called a clear wine. Maybe that's a special thing.

MATT: "Hmm. He puts it within a bag.

AABRIA: (gasps)

MICHELLE: Oh, actually we, sorry, but we actually need that to sell and make money, so that we can pay our taxes.

MATT: "Oh, of course, of course. I understand. You should probably order some." And begins to slowly walk around over towards the edge of the bar and glancing about. "Some fine silverware is here as well."

MICHELLE: Oh, it's actually some silverware we found when we got here and it was quite dirty and we just-- we just cleaned it, but it's probably not worth anything. It looks like it's probably like trash silverware, really. I won't even call it silver silverware, more like metal prongs.

LAURA: Oi.

MATT: "Yes?"

LAURA: Hands off the goods.

MATT: "Hand over your taxes."

TALIESIN: I'm going to walk over. It's a sample of our smoked pork on the house and walk away.

MATT: He takes a bit of it.

SAM: I wouldn't eat the pork at this time of day. I'm sorry, sorry.

TALIESIN: Just let it happen.

SAM: Okay, go ahead.

TALIESIN: We have a smoker in the back.

MATT: Make a deception check.

SAM: Me?

MATT: Yeah. (laughter)

SAM: 18.

MATT: He goes, "(sniff) Hmm."

AABRIA: We found papers. Look at the papers and--

MATT: Begins to thumb through them a bit, glancing up, giving each of you eye contact as he does so. "These are rather incomplete. It would be a shame to have to return empty-handed."

AABRIA: I don't want to do something. You're the elf, talk to the elf. Make an elf deal.

MICHELLE: Not all elves know each other. Okay, so well, what are we talking about? How much money--

AABRIA: They're like immortal. I feel like they know each other.

MICHELLE: How much money are we talking here to appease our absence of some papers?

MATT: "Well, I mean to alleviate an intrusive inspection of the entire operation here at the-- is it the Dingy Hole you called it?"

AABRIA: I'm going to go write that on the chalkboard.

MATT: (laughs)

MICHELLE: Yes, that is the current name.

MATT: "Perhaps a deferment fee of about 300 gold would be--"

MICHELLE: Oh, oh, oh.

SAM: Do we-- what's our-- do we have that much?

LAURA: Mm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

MICHELLE: (whispers) I think we have like maybe five gold. But we need that money to pay for the food for tomorrow. (normal voice) How about a bunch of birds' nests? I can ask some of my friends to bring them in and you can use them to decorate your front lawn. I can get you about 20 birds' nests by tomorrow morning.

MATT: "This grows tiresome. I've been sent here to do a collection. Now, either I'm going to collect or I'm going to have to return here with more men. I'm giving the opportunity to keep business flowing as it always has flown. Now, are we doing this the easy way or the hard way?"

LAURA: What do you want? We ain't got your money.

TALIESIN: How much would it take for you to flow?

MATT: "As I said, 300 gold."

SAM: What if-- what if we got it for you tomorrow?

MATT: "Well, I'd already be on the road back."

SAM: All right.

AABRIA: I mean, how many men do you got? Because I don't know. We should just explore all of our options. Yeah, right?

MATT: "Is that a threat?"

AABRIA: It is, yeah. I'm the bouncer, can't you tell?

MICHELLE: Yeah, she's really scary.

AABRIA: I'm very scary.

MATT: "I can tell."

SAM: Have the soldiers already left?

MATT: The soldiers have left. It's pretty much-- at this hour, it's just you and the tax collector.

SAM: Oh boy.

AABRIA: Well, here's the thing, the way I see it is in this very empty tavern, there's five of us and the one of you right now. So I would like to have a conversation about a deferment plan, because I don't know if you're necessarily going to be able to get to your soldier friends to come back and continue this conversation, so we should just have it now.

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

AABRIA: No. 13?

MATT: Thirteen's not bad, not bad. You see him get a little rustled and he's like, "Look, I-- business is just going as it's always been. Do not hold it against me. (sighs) I'll come back tomorrow."

AABRIA: Good man. You should stop eating the pork.

MATT: He touches his stomach a little bit. "Well, good evening, then," and he struts his way out of the establishment and is gone in the night.

LAURA: I hate him.

AABRIA: I didn't get in a fight!

SAM: That's great, but not a victory. We still owe this gentlemen 300 gold and you can bet that he'll come back with reinforcements of some sort.

MATT: You hear (knocking)

SAM: What's that?

AABRIA: Are we still open?

MICHELLE: Okay, okay! I open the door.

MATT: Outside, you see him currently nailing a piece of paper on the front of the tavern, which says, "This property is no longer in business for the time being by order and decree of the Aldmeri Dominion."

AABRIA: Rude.

LAURA: How are we going to get the money if we can't even--

MICHELLE: I take some chalk from under my cape and I just write, "But we'll be back just as soon as we can!"

AABRIA: Ooh, silver lining. (gasps) And I add it to the board for names.

SAM: The Silver Lining?

AABRIA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: That's really good.

MATT: Make a perception check.

MICHELLE: Okay.

LAURA: I still like Dingy Hole.

MICHELLE: Nat 20.

MATT: Natural 20! For a total of?

MICHELLE: Was it investigation you said? 22.

MATT: All right, so as he begins to trounce off and get onto his horse and begin to make his way off as you write the chalk bit, out there alone, listening in the night, the crickets (chirping) in the night, the occasion distant (hoots) owl sound.

SAM: (moos)

MATT: And you know, the occasional--

LAURA: (moos)

TALIESIN: (bleats)

MATT: -- the feral wildlife goats that also ate the pork, apparently. (laughter)

MATT: You hear this strange (thudding) Like heavy impacts and rustling. With a natural 20, it seems to be coming loosely from behind the tavern and inn and to the right side of the structure.

MICHELLE: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. I come back into the tavern. Everyone, I think there's a large creature, perhaps, behind the tavern. Should we go investigate?

LAURA: I reach behind the bar and grab my battleaxe off the--

AABRIA: Sword time?

TALIESIN: I get the stick.

SAM: I've got my notebook in case anyone orders anything.

MICHELLE: I reach above--

LAURA: How do you know it's a creature?

MICHELLE: Um, it sounds-- you know it might be a big cow that escaped but I think it's something-- it's something very large and heavy. So it's either a cow or something more dangerous I just--

LAURA: Whatever it is, I want to get violent right now.

AABRIA: Thank you. And I'm going to go like run into the back and go grab all my stuff like, yeah! Shield and sword.

SAM: Just don't-- just remember though, if our establishment gets sort of a reputation for, you know, being deadly or whatever, people might not come.

AABRIA: I think if we put sawdust down and like, it would be like an expectation and then it would be like a destination thing.

SAM: Oh, like it'll be dangerous at the Dingy Hole or what are we calling this place?

AABRIA: Dingy Hole, but I will also add

LAURA: "Silver Lining"'s real nice.

AABRIA: -- Night Goat to the list.

TALIESIN: I feel like Silver Lining creates too many expectations.

SAM: I liked the "jug" part of the Dreary Jug, honestly, so I was thinking either Rum Tum Jugger or Jugs the Way We Are.

MICHELLE: Oh, I like Jugs the Way We Are because then it implies that the way we are is perfect, and like jugs themselves, are a vessel waiting to be filled with experiences.

AABRIA: And blood. And a little glass sometimes.

SAM: But we can come back to it.

AABRIA: It goes on the board, I put it on the board.

SAM: Okay, okay, okay.

MATT: All righty, as you all gather your things, Mallory, frustrated to see that the sandwich platter that you prepared has been largely untouched by the individual that left.

TALIESIN: Grabbing a couple more--

LAURA: Yeah, I grab some pickles and eat it off the plate. This is really good.

TALIESIN: Yeah I'm very proud, this is-- I was very excited about adding this to the menu. Been working on it.

LAURA: Just eating the sandwich with the battleaxe.

MATT: Yep, just chewing as you go out there. As you all begin to step outside of the tavern, immediately you see there's one weary traveler who had just pulled up on his horse goes, "Oh, I'm sorry are you closed?"

AABRIA: Little bit.

MATT: "I'll come back," and he rides off. And about that point, you guys can begin to hear the same-- (thudding) It's like a heavy impact and a dull, almost breaking sound. But it's repetitive.

SAM: Should we all go together or split up and go around the--?

LAURA: I feel like just marching straight to it.

SAM: Okay.

MICHELLE: Yeah let's stay together, it's a little spooky.

AABRIA: Can I try to recognize it? Like what the sound is?

MATT: Sure, make a perception check.

AABRIA: Different die. Oh my god, worse. Nine?

MATT: Nine. You've heard the sound of splitting wood before. Kind of sounds kind of like that, maybe? Like someone's chopping wood, making firewood, maybe?

AABRIA: Wood splitting? Someone chopping down a tree, at night?

LAURA: It doesn't sound that scary, though.

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: You still trailing on that with your keen Altmer ears, it's over in the direction of the meat curing shed.

SAM: Is that shed ours or--

MATT: It is your shed. It is part of the establishment, it came with it.

LAURA: So Mallory was just out there?

MATT: Correct.

SAM: All right, well, let's go.

LAURA: Someone's in the meat curing shed?

SAM: Something in the meat curing shed.

MICHELLE: Oh yes, we wouldn't want anyone to disturb Mallory's artwork in there.

AABRIA: Do you want to go first or do you want me to go first? Oh my god, thank you, you get the next one. Cool, and I'm going to go up and yeah I'm just going to-- shield up, and then go and open the door.

MATT: Okay, as you approach and you go for the keys on your side because, as you know, for an establishment where the food is your business and you're not keeping somebody on watch because that'd be ridiculous for the small clientele you have, the shed is kept chained and has a lock on it. You approach and can see the chains are just on the ground and the lock is broken and--

LAURA: Someone's stealing our meat!

MATT: The door is slightly ajar. And you can now hear louder it is definitely the sound of something impacting and splitting wood.

AABRIA: Mallory, just quick check, any chance you were just very sloppy the last time you came out here?

TALIESIN: Yes.

AABRIA: Respect, all right.

MATT: As part of this conversation, I'd like you both to make stealth checks, please, because you're having this careful conversation in fair proximity to the source of this noise.

AABRIA: Four.

LAURA: Oh wow.

AABRIA: Mallory!

TALIESIN: 20.

AABRIA: Oh no.

MATT: So four and 20.

TALIESIN: [Inaudible] at that restaurant, but carry on. The sound stops.

TALIESIN: (quietly) On the count of three, we open it. One, two--

AABRIA: I open on two.

MATT: Okay.

AABRIA: Maybe it heard, I don't know.

MATT: You open the shed, and it's a sizeable shed for a lot of the storage that's done in here. You see the hanging hams and hemlocks and various other pieces of curing and salted meats. And some of them have been placed off to the side. Towards the back, hiding up against the wall you see a shadowy figure, currently clutching to their chest what looks to be your pickaxe, which you keep in the nearby tool shed. And the back end of the inside of the shed is currently partially broken and busted through. The minute you take in this scene, the figure notices you making eye contact and goes, "Ah, stupid s'wit!" and drops the pickaxe. And immediately goes for something beneath the cloak. I need you all to roll initiative.

AABRIA: Yay!

SAM: This is so hard to run a business.

LAURA: Why all the terrible rolls today?

AABRIA: Oh my god!

MATT: So 25 to 20? 20 to 15? (laughter) 15 to 10?

AABRIA and MICHELLE: 11.

LAURA: Oh, good!

SAM: 10.

MATT: Okay, who has the higher dex of the two of you?

AABRIA: Plus one, or 12.

MICHELLE: 12 also.

MATT: So you guys get to pick who goes first.

MICHELLE: You can go first, I'll support.

MATT: All right, Tavima then Hoa.

MICHELLE: Killing it.

AABRIA: Killing it.

MATT: Then Slaughter. All righty, ten to five?

TALIESIN: Eight.

LAURA: Four. (laughter

MATT: All right, Mallory and Greln. So as soon as this door opens, the figure shouts that curse under their breath and leaps out towards you. With what little bit of moonlight's coming through you just see a hood and cloak and a flash of dirty red hair. As the figure darts towards you and then suddenly (whooshing) is gone. What's your armor class?

AABRIA: Huh?

MATT: What's your armor class?

AABRIA: 16.

MATT: 16. You feel something impact the back of your armor and try and slip through the plates and you spin around and feel it scrape off to the side as the individual seems to have vanished from sight and appeared behind you mysteriously. The rest of you who are getting ready for this, you see this (whoosh) of darkened smoke and the cloaked figure that was previously in your establishment appears and is attempting to stab Tavima in the back. However, you pull back and knock the blade out of the way at which point, the figure turns and looks and sees all the rest of you right there and says, "S'wit!" And that's going to go ahead and finish her turn.

SAM: This was the surly woman?

MATT: Correct.

LAURA: Yeah.

AABRIA: She did tip.

LAURA: Should had given her some pork.

SAM: She did tip, she's fine by me.

MICHELLE: Maybe we shouldn't have made her tip.

MATT: All right and actually, no, as part of her turn, the bonus action is going to go ahead and is going to mark you.

SAM: Me?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: But--

LAURA: It's because you're so annoying.

MATT: Finishing their turn--

LAURA: In a good way.

SAM: I'm courteous.

MATT: That's going to bring us to Tavima, you're up.

AABRIA: I see her mark Slaughter and I go: Okay, same. And I would like to use Sun Fire.

MATT: Oh shit, okay.

AABRIA: Yeah I'm going to cast Sun Fire. So I'm going to spend two magicka to blast an enemy with-- Wait, no, hold on. No, sorry, I want to use Backlash.

MATT: Backlash, got it.

AABRIA: So yeah, an expanding beam of sunlight to doom an enemy and she has to make a DC 15 con save.

MATT: You've got it. That is going to be a fail with a 14. And Hoa, you're on deck.

AABRIA: Four points of fire damage and they're doomed until the end of the next turn.

MATT: You've got it. And while they're doomed, you deal additional bit of damage when you hit them. Great, so that's your bonus action.

AABRIA: So can I attack with my--

MATT: You can.

MATT: Oh tight, so I'm going to attack with my longsword. Let's do it. Nope, 12.

MATT: 12, they're quick. And while the flash of light hits them and you can see this like faint tingling burn that is now curling around their shoulders and they're trying to pat it out they see you swing towards and they pull back and just duck out of the way. Just misses the face by inches. And you can see now that feral energy as they're beginning to feel momentarily surrounded by the rest of you. But no, that does not hit, unfortunately.

AABRIA: I'm done.

MATT: That finishes your turn. All right. Hoa, you're up, and Slaughter, you're on deck.

MICHELLE: Is anyone within five feet of the enemy? Or are we all within five feet?

MATT: I'd say no. The only person who's directly within five feet would be Tavima.

MICHELLE: Don't want to hit you, okay.

AABRIA: Eh, live your dreams.

MICHELLE: I'll do an easy thing. I reach behind my cape and you see my eyes turn blank white. No one hurts my friends! And I pull out my ice staff and I go for a melee attack.

MATT: Go for it.

MICHELLE: So that's going to be 14 plus three is 17.

MATT: 17 will hit, go ahead and roll damage on that.

MICHELLE: All right that's--

AABRIA: She didn't actually hurt me, but go off.

MICHELLE: Maybe she hurt your feelings, I don't know.

MATT: That is important.

MICHELLE: Oh goodness, that is an eight plus eight, that's a 16, and I'm going to use my bonus action as an expert hunter to use one stamina and add 1d10 damage.

MATT: Slick.

MICHELLE: Yes, that's 18 plus-- where's my d10, come here. Five.

MATT: Great, so it's--

MICHELLE: 16 plus five is 21 total damage.

MATT: Whew! All right, so out of nowhere, the extremely socially engaged hostess, which up to this point, in mostly a business relationship, seems to just with absolute anger mark this antagonistic force that showed up and with a resounding crack upsides her in the temple. And for a moment you watch the back foot begin to give as she begins to stumble and then catches herself almost losing a sword and then props back up into space, looks back over the shoulder and growls towards you. All righty, does that finish your turn?

MICHELLE: Yes.

MATT: You got it. That brings us to Slaughter. Mallory, you're on deck.

SAM: I call out to the figure: You had a quick meal, but you forgot dessert! (laughter) And I will pull out a skull from my belt.

LAURA: Slaughter?

SAM: And I will use one magicka to infuse it with magical fire. And I will go (screams) and I'll throw the skull at our patron.

MATT: Go for it. The patron looks at you-- growling, looks towards you and goes, "What?!" Surprise across the face.

SAM: I roll to hit with spellcasting, 12 to hit?

MATT: 12 does not hit. Surprised as they may be, she sidesteps. And the skull just swings by, glancing off of your shield with like a magical spark and rolls to the ground a few feet away.

SAM: Does it come back? It does, it returns to my hand. Oh no, on a success it returns to my hand. I don't know what happens on a fail.

MATT: It's just, it's rolled away. You have to go retrieve it now.

SAM: No, I need that!

AABRIA: Slaughter, do you want me to-- do you want me to-- I'm sorry, do you want me to--?

SAM: Can you?

AABRIA: Just start slowly leaning down.

SAM: I guess that's my turn-- although, who's up next?

SAM: Do you-- do-- does Mallory-- Do you have like things to chop or cut with or are you--

TALIESIN: I have a stick.

SAM: You have a stick, but you're more of a magic thing?

TALIESIN: But I have a stick. I'm going to hit them with a stick.

SAM: You're going to hit him with a stick?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

SAM: All right, sure. I will use as a bonus action, Hungry Scythe where I can infuse a melee weapon with necrotic energy. So I will do that on-- I'll just point at your stick and go-- (hisses)

TALIESIN: Your parents messed you up, man.

SAM: I'm eager to serve.

TALIESIN: They really did a number on you.

SAM: That's it.

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

TALIESIN: I'm going to use my bonus action to cast Crystal Weapon on my now infused staff.

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: And I'm going to take a swing.

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: Ooh, 19 to hit.

MATT: That'll definitely hit.

TALIESIN: So that's a-- I should have probably put the correct dice aside. That's-- what did you give extra?

SAM: I think I read it wrong, it doesn't do anything to your weapon it just heals me. But it's still cool, it's glowing purple and black.

LAURA: It heals you when he hits?

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: That's awesome.

TALIESIN: That's seven damage.

MATT: Seven damage, you got it.

SAM: I wasn't hurt, but I feel great.

TALIESIN: That's a-- their AC is down by two.

MATT: Indeed.

TALIESIN: 'Til my next turn.

MATT: You got it. So as you arc towards it, the staff turning this rocky, jagged, crystal outside you spin it and you watch this purple-ish necrotic energy almost like screaming through the air as you swing it wide, it impacts. Ooh, that's a tingle.

AABRIA: A little B-12 shot.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: What did you get me into?

SAM: Sorry.

MATT: Does that finish your turn man?

TALIESIN: Yeah, that's everything.

MATT: All righty, with that, brings it to Grelnok, your turn.

LAURA: I'm going to strike out right away with a venomous claw straight at her face.

MATT: Out of the gate, okay.

LAURA: Out of the gate, going for it.

MATT: Go for it.

LAURA: What do I roll, what do I do? What do I do?

SAM: What a world, what a world.

SAM: Is that-- I add my modifier, my weapon modifier?

MATT: Yeah, your proficiency and your strength, which would be plus five total.

LAURA: Okay. Nope, wait, proficiency, nope.

TALIESIN: The AC is lower, so you never know.

MATT: What'd you roll?

LAURA: Nine.

MATT: Nine, as you angrily streak outward, just putting all of your fury into this claw strike, this woman, this roguish figure who has been bludgeoned back and forth a bit now ducks low and the shadows seem to almost gather and coalesce for a second. As you swing outward, suddenly she's just not there where you thought she was and she's ducked out of the way in an instant.

LAURA: I'm going to keep using my momentum and spin all the way around and bring my axe around and swing low like where it seemed like she ducked.

MATT: Go for it, take the axe hit.

LAURA: Kill me! 10.

MATT: "That's the plan, honey."

LAURA: Goddamn it.

AABRIA: Ooh!

MATT: No, all right, so yeah, that misses.

LAURA: Cool, that's all I got.

MATT: All righty, finishing your turn. At the top of the round now, the rogue once more shakes her head a bit and goes, "This isn't how it's supposed to go." First, let's see if this comes back.

LAURA: I don't want to roll anything because it's going to roll well when I don't care. All of these are--

MATT: Turn instead towards you who got the heavy hit as well. And is going to go ahead and bonus action mark you instead and goes, "We're going to dance." And is going to go for a multiattack against you.

MICHELLE: I really love dancing. My eyes flip back for a second. Dancing's really wonderful.

MATT: Right as you get the end of that "Dancing is really wonderful"-- It was like one-- or sorry, two, natural 20. So that's a natural 20 hit with a shortsword and a 10 with a dagger. Does the 10 hit?

MICHELLE: Oh, 10 does not hit.

MATT: Okay, but you do take... Plus an additional... 14 points of slashing damage from the crit plus the additional damage from being marked by this figure. She is intent and furious. And after doing that strike, sees that you're not going down, she is surrounded and goes-- (frustrated sigh) Is going to go ahead and try and start backing up towards the shed once more and begins glancing towards the back wall where the damage has been impacted. That would put her within melee to you four, actually. So all of you do get an attack of opportunity as she begins to get dart towards the back of the shed.

AABRIA: Do I get one?

MATT: Yeah, all of you who wish to take it gets a--

SAM: Four meaning me or Hoa?

MATT: No, sorry, the four who made melee attacks. You threw the skull from a distance.

SAM: I did.

MATT: What was it?

AABRIA: 18.

MATT: That hits.

AABRIA: Yes. Eight points.

SAM: Laura Bailey.

AABRIA: Girl!

LAURA: I think it's because I've got my Jester dice out and they're like, don't.

SAM: They don't like this character.

MATT: I know. "I don't belong here."

SAM: Should've gotten a whole new set of dice.

MATT: You get one hit.

AABRIA: Yeah, eight points of piercing damage.

MATT: Eight points of piercing damage.

AABRIA: Oh wait, hold on I get my 2d4 right, because of--

MATT: Yeah, because of Backlash.

AABRIA: Dope, add another four to that.

MATT: How do you want to do this? (cheering)

AABRIA: Sweet, she goes away and I go: No, no, no. And I was leaning down to pick up Slaughter's skull and I just sort of like slash back and I want to catch her, like, behind and hamstring her and bring her down and just stand up and step over her as she bleeds out. Here you go. Don't kill our wall.

MATT: As she's like trying to crawl forward.

AABRIA: Stop moving.

MATT: And the light just goes out of her eyes.

AABRIA: I forgot to ask--

SAM: Should we ask questions?

AABRIA: We should have asked her what she was doing in the wall.

SAM: My parents would have been-- They would have said like, "No, you always torture first before--" That's their whole thing, I should've remembered.

LAURA: Can't you, like, bring her back or something? Isn't that what necromancers do?

AABRIA: Oh yeah!

MICHELLE: Or talk to the dead?

SAM: I can throw a skull at her.

MICHELLE: Oh, okay.

AABRIA: I mean, you might as well.

TALIESIN: I'm going to go inspect the damage to my beautiful shed.

SAM: What was she doing in our shed?

AABRIA: So many dice.

SAM: Are you really swapping out all your dice right now?

TALIESIN: Of course she is.

LAURA: Those are both good, okay.

SAM: Hold the show. Hold the show, Laura has to swap out all of her dice.

MATT: It's entirely on brand. I don't know why you're surprised by this, Sam. Okay, so while you all are taking a moment to breathe your stamina and magicka come back. You go over and inspect your wonderful shed. And indeed the back wall, a lot of the wood planks that make up that section of the interior have been splintered and broken back and left the back of the hill behind it that it's built against. Though, where you've always expected upon its acquisition was just rock, there is a faint crevasse. There is a broken opening that leads deeper into the hill behind the shed that is now exposed by the damaged wall.

SAM: It's just a hole in the shed?

MATT: Like a crack that leads deeper into the hill beyond it.

SAM: Into the hill.

MATT: Indeed.

LAURA: Oh!

SAM: Oh!

LAURA: I understand.

SAM: A hidden cavern.

TALIESIN: I didn't put this here.

MICHELLE: And you're sure it's not a secret meat-- I'm just coughing blood-- cavern. I need to take a nap.

SAM: Oh, are you in--

MICHELLE: I'm just going to take a little shorty-short-short rest while we-- you investigate.

SAM: We heal on short rests, is that how it works?

MATT: If you want to take an hour-long short rest, you can totally do that.

TALIESIN: I don't need the short rest, so I'm going to slowly clear the debris to see if we can get easily into this.

LAURA: I'm going to help.

AABRIA: I'm looting the body.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and make an investigation check.

AABRIA: No. It's a six, just a six.

MATT: Just a six, okay.

TALIESIN: We're really [inaudible] this round, aren't we?

MATT: The armor is ruined. The last strike that you gave just carved through the leather plates and it is, you know, aside from like maybe some visual perspective, it's not going to give any additional protection to anybody anything more than what you already have, at the very least. There is a shortsword and dagger that they were carrying, you can pocket those if you like.

AABRIA: I'll take the dagger.

MATT: There's a set of thieves' tools.

AABRIA: Thieves' tools, yeah.

MATT: The only other thing you find-- with that roll-- it's okay-- is a crumpled, somewhat stained note that you see tucked into one of the belt pouches along with about 25 gold pieces.

AABRIA: I toss the note and I hand the gold to you. Better tip.

SAM: Oh, that's very nice of you. We should split this, though.

LAURA: We should keep it to pay the tax man.

AABRIA: Oh, we're going to need it for the tax guy.

SAM: Yes, that's true.

AABRIA: I was trying to do a call back to the--

SAM: Thank you.

MICHELLE: Since I'm laying on the floor taking my--

AABRIA: Oh, it was a note. Go back to pick it up.

MICHELLE: I was going to say since I'm laying on the floor, taking my rest, I just go and grab the note. And I just hold it up. Can someone else read this? I'm a little sleepy. I toss it to one of y'all, there you go.

MATT: All right. So as you were cleaning the debris, you're taking a short rest everybody who wants to, who needs to, you can use your--

LAURA: I was helping to clean the debris so this should really be Slaughter.

SAM: Oh, okay, I'll read the note, I guess.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Is it in a language I can comprehend?

MATT: Yes, it is.

SAM: Excellent.

MATT: In the common tongue here it reads, "Scout if you lack the brass, but payment in full awaits should you find what lies at the heart of the ruin. My searches point to one of the disparate hills in Grahtwood, likely forgotten. Seek a masked entrance and be wary of Daedric dangers or unwanted interests. Locations such as these are generally meant to keep something out, or something within." And it's signed "Lyranth."

SAM: Lyranth. So me, Sam Riegel, knowing all the Elder Scrolls Online lore, do I recognize any of those names?

MATT: Not at all. Not in the slightest.

SAM: Even if I did know the Elder Scrolls Online lore?

MATT: You might have, but Sam Riegel and the character you portray in this have no idea who that is.

SAM: Cool, cool, cool.

TALIESIN: Who's Derek Danger? Does anyone know that? That name sounds really familiar.

SAM: I relay this all to my business partners and colleagues.

LAURA: Does it say the actual amount?

SAM: The amount that they would get if they succeed?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: I turn it over, any amounts?

MATT: No amounts on this note, no.

SAM: I assume it's more than 300 gold, though.

AABRIA: Who is it signed by?

SAM: Derek Danger? No, I don't know.

LAURA: Lyranth.

SAM: Lyranth, I wrote it down and everything.

AABRIA: Does it look-- like, looking at the signature. I peek over Slaughter's shoulder. Does it look at all like--

SAM: Watch out, my shoulder's really pointy.

AABRIA: It's very pointy, I cut myself little bit on your cheek.

SAM: When I-- when I'm using my pen to write down notes and stuff, I just put it up here. Like I can just stick it on a quill, whenever I want.

TALIESIN: Does that mean every time you make contact with a patron, there's like spines so it's just, ow.

SAM: Oh, I didn't think about that but, yes, yes, I've got needles all over my body.

SAM: Sorry, go on.

AABRIA: No, you're good. (laughter) Does it look at all like the signature from the official documents from that awful elf that we saw earlier?

MATT: Make an intelligence check, if you don't mind.

AABRIA: Oh no! Why do we have to make a roll about it?

LAURA: (laughs)

AABRIA: Eight, it's eight.

MATT: Eight, okay. I mean, the handwriting is fairly good. It doesn't seem like as fancy and presentory as that note, maybe. You don't recognize or can't really find any through line to it, but it's nice handwriting.

AABRIA: Cool.

TALIESIN: Cursive's a lost art.

AABRIA: It really is.

SAM: I'll keep the note for later.

AABRIA: Ah! (laughter) You've got to start putting orders on you. (laughter)

LAURA: Did you check her boots?

AABRIA: Oh!

LAURA: There's always money in the boots.

AABRIA: Oh! I go back and yank off the boots.

MATT: Okay. You do find 45 additional gold pieces.

AABRIA: Shut up! Genius.

TALIESIN: Does she have a clay pot? I usually find something in a clay pot. Sorry.

AABRIA: Does anyone want boots?

TALIESIN: The only joke I have.

LAURA: Did she have better boots than us?

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: Her boots are pretty slick. For as-- It's interesting. For as dirty as she presented herself from the exterior--

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: -- the actual interior of the cloak, the armor, the weapons, very well-made. Definitely putting on an appearance.

AABRIA: Ooh!

LAURA: I'm pretty tall, my feet are pretty big.

AABRIA: You should just try it on, just--

LAURA: They don't, they don't fit. They fit you?

AABRIA: (grunting) Nah, nah.

LAURA: Ah!

AABRIA: Do you want to try the boots on?

MICHELLE: I'm still laying on the ground, bleeding a little bit. Well, I think--

AABRIA: I just lift her leg up and just like--

MICHELLE: These are very nice boots, which to me it seems to mean that she was hiding her appearance. Perhaps she was a rich person in pauper's clothing for a reason. I don't know what that reason is, but maybe she's hiding something.

AABRIA: Yeah.

MICHELLE: And there's probably gold in the hills. Take a nap.

LAURA and MATT: (laugh)

AABRIA: She went to sleep. I'm just going to put the boot on her.

TALIESIN: She'll be happy when she wakes up with the boots.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LAURA: I just want you all to know, I'm rusty, we've been in that bar for a while. Obviously, I'm a much better fighter than what you just saw.

SAM: You're a fantastic barkeep. You make an amazing drink. I've never heard anyone come into our establishment and order something that you did not know how to make without even looking it up. You're incredible. Why do you also have to be an amazing fighter? You're a great bartender.

AABRIA: Okay, I like where that started, but if you want to also be a good fighter, how about this? The next time I have to fight someone and bounce them out, I'll go behind the bar and you can do the murder part. And you just keep it up, just yeah.

LAURA: Thank you.

AABRIA: Got to stay loose. Yeah. But what you said, too, both the things.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LAURA: By the way, I don't know any of those drinks, I literally make them up every time.

SAM: Oh, oh!

TALIESIN: Did you not know that?

SAM: No, I've been-- I get lots of questions about the drinks, and I tell them that they're wrong, that they've been taught wrong.

AABRIA: Good job.

SAM: You've made a liar of me. That's why I get terrible tips: I'm lying to the customers all the time.

TALIESIN: That's not why you get terrible tips.

SAM: I'm going to go just close up the-- It seems like we're going into this creepy tunnel, right?

LAURA and AABRIA: Yeah, yeah.

SAM: I'm going to go close up the restaurant, take out my towel and just sort of wipe down the tables and just make sure all the doors are shut nicely.

MATT: You got it.

SAM: After I'm done with all that, I just look into the dark restaurant and say: (sighs) We'll be back. (laughter)

AABRIA: Aw!

SAM: We'll be back.

LAURA: Aw, Slaughter.

TALIESIN: Some of us, some of us will be back. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Sorry.

MATT: (laughs) I like your confidence. All right.

TALIESIN: I'm an optimist.

MATT: While you're doing all that and you're all getting yourself arranged for whatever this mystery is, begin pulling apart and opening the space to get a little more traversable. You finish-- You're taking your short rest. You can go ahead and use your hit dice to do some healing, if you'd like.

MICHELLE: I did that, I--

MATT: All right.

MICHELLE: I got my healing a little bit. I'm 16 out of 21 now. It's fine.

MATT: There you go--

MICHELLE: I'll be fine.

MATT: That's fine, you're fine.

SAM: Are we allowed to restore our (vague Spanish accent) magicka and stamina? (laughter)

MATT: Yes, yes.

MICHELLE: Elder Scrolls Online is going to yell at us. (laughter)

MATT: Your stamina, your magicka.

SAM: (vague Spanish accent) My Majika.

LAURA: My stanima.

AABRIA: Dang it!

MATT: They restore--

TALIESIN: I ruined everyone now.

MATT: -- when you have a moment to get a breath. Yeah, after combat, you got it.

SAM: ♪ We play Elder Scrolls Online! ♪ (laughter)

MATT: All right, you gather yourselves. Anything else you want to do?

LAURA: (drawn out) Uh.

AABRIA: I think I got bored waiting for Hoa to wake up, and I'm just like shaving a little bit. I'm trying to subtly shave little bits of pork, while Mallory's not looking.

TALIESIN: You don't have to be subtle. I pull out, just start carving off some jerky.

AABRIA: Oh, thank you.

TALIESIN: There's also some cheese sitting in the corner. I also use this as a cheese house.

AABRIA: Thank you.

MICHELLE: I wake up, I'm covered in bits of cheese and pork because I'm laying there.

SAM: Oh yeah!

MATT: Nice boots, too.

MICHELLE: And I'm nicer boots, and I'm just like: Oh, a feast, great, okay. Are we going into, am I carrying this for us, these snacks. Oh, are these trip snacks?

LAURA: Just put them in a bag, ugh!

MATT: And with that final hit, the wood cracks back and you can see now, this can probably fit one at a time with this entrance with a narrow squeeze, especially for the taller of you, but there is already even just this bit of an odd warm air emitting from the interior.

LAURA: What's the smell like?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: (sarcastic laugh) Okay, I'll roll. I'll roll a dice. (sarcastic frustrated noises) (laughter)

MICHELLE: What is going on over there?

LAURA: I rolled five. I rolled two and added three, for a five.

MATT: (laughs)

TALIESIN: Oh, like allergies, I take it, you can't really smell anything.

LAURA: Shaking off the dust, shaking it off!

MATT: Weirdly, the physical action of striking this, the adrenaline gets pumping and sometimes your sinuses just begin to swell up a bit. And so you're a little clogged and congested and not get much of a smell.

LAURA: Cool, cool, cool.

MATT: Sorry.

TALIESIN: I feel like this does possibly put another vote in for The Dirty Hole, so.

SAM: The Dirty Hole, as the name of our establishment?

AABRIA: Yes.

TALIESIN: It does kind of, and here we are.

LAURA: It was Dingy Hole, but--

TALIESIN: Dingy Hole.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: The Dirty Hole's pretty good, too. (laughter)

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: This is where my brain goes, yeah. We have a pit now. We do, we have our own pit.

AABRIA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Who's first?

MICHELLE: Oh, The Dirty Pit, that's a good one, too.

TALIESIN: Ooh!

MICHELLE: I take out a piece of paper.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LAURA: We should keep track. I'll go, I'll go in.

AABRIA: You want to go first, yeah.

TALIESIN: You're first.

LAURA: I'll duck through.

SAM: Are you sure? Because the rolling.

LAURA: You know what? If something takes me, I deserve it, at this point.

TALIESIN: I'll go next.

MATT: All right. One by one, you all slowly begin to step within the dark, mysterious, unknown crack in the hill that descends in the earth below. As the camera pans past to see the gored body that's been left out in the open, unhidden.

AABRIA: Yep.

SAM: Oh!

LAURA: Oh! (mumbles)

AABRIA: This was a dupe, let's try.

MICHELLE: That was in the shed.

AABRIA: It's our shed, it's our corpse.

SAM: Oh, should we at least dress it up like it's a piece of meat that or that's--

MICHELLE: Oh god!

SAM: -- that's curing.

LAURA: Just to make sure it's in the shed. It's in the shed, right? It is in the shed.

AABRIA: What, do you want to bring them in the hole? I'll come back out of the craw and just drag it into the--

MATT: There you go.

AABRIA: Yeah.

SAM: Ew!

AABRIA: Wedge it in there.

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: We should shut the shed, make sure the shed is--?

AABRIA: Oh, yeah, okay, hold on. Should I lock us in? Is that weird?

SAM: No, just close the door.

AABRIA: Okay, cool.

MATT: Okay.

AABRIA: (creaking)

MATT: You begin to squeeze through the cracks, and the opening descends further and further to meet with a wider tunnel. Odd, ancient architecture carved somewhere between rock and root. Simple at times, but detailed and other worldly at others. There's some things strange and unfamiliar about the space you've wandered into. You can see this arched, stone-carved ceiling aperture above you. You can see faint details and even the natural cavern floor here at times seems to have a smoothed, intentionally set pattern to it. To the left a ways up, you can see there is a double door, and to the right it continues to spiral subtly downward and out of sight beyond the wall.

MICHELLE: Well, there's doors, or we go darker down, down this darker hole area here? What seem safest?

SAM: Do we have any sort of torches or anything, candles?

LAURA: Oh, did we grab any of that from the-- Shit!

SAM: I didn't bring any candles.

LAURA: Hold on, now I'll run back to the tavern.

SAM: You'll run back.

LAURA: I'll run back to the tavern and grab us some of our lanterns.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Come running back.

MATT: As you run back, your lantern's on, and now you see the wonderful architecture--

AABRIA: (laughs) Yeah.

MATT: -- in front of you in detail.

LAURA: Oh!

AABRIA: Yes, ooh. We missed it the first time.

MATT: Two of you, you can decide, you can make either a history or religion checks as you get more detailed glances at the interior of this walkway.

TALIESIN: Anyone, anything?

LAURA: Are any of us good at anything?

SAM: I mean--

MICHELLE: I'll do a history check.

SAM: You guys can do it.

TALIESIN: I'll do a religion check.

MATT: All righty, two of you.

AABRIA: I'll admire the architecture with G-Money like--

TALIESIN: Doric!

MICHELLE: Oh, 16, 17, 18, total.

MATT: 18.

SAM: Ionian.

MATT: 16, great.

AABRIA: Corinthian.

SAM: Fine Corinthian leather.

MATT: Elements of the columns and shapes of the interior, and the iconography that you can occasionally see carved in the elements give you the sense that some of this intentionally or alluding to something beyond Nirn. Certainly Daedric in nature, something that whispers of the void of Oblivion and other darker spaces beyond the natural world.

MICHELLE: This is some really spooky stuff down here where we are heading, maybe Slaughter's family might know something about it. It seems like there are dark powers at work here. So if we want to continue for the money to keep the tavern alive, we should do so, but there will probably be peril, I think.

LAURA: I like peril.

TALIESIN: It's between this and the tax collector. I'm okay with this.

SAM: We're partners in this establishment, and we do things together, so yes, I'm with you.

AABRIA: Mm.

MICHELLE: Okay, let us go forward then.

SAM: Mm-hmm.

MICHELLE: Light the way.

LAURA: There were doors.

TALIESIN: How big are these doors?

MATT: These are about 20 feet tall and roughly nine to 10 feet wide, and it's double door set. So total about almost 20 feet tall, 20 feet wide between the two of them. Heavy, heavy lock mechanism across the front of it.

AABRIA: What if we took these from here and put them at the front of the Dingy Hole?

LAURA: (gasps)

AABRIA: Upgrade.

TALIESIN: That would really class the place up.

AABRIA: Right?

MICHELLE: They're beautiful, but scary, and I guess if we're going for scary--

TALIESIN: And we could call it the Double Door.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

TALIESIN: That's not very good.

LAURA: Can I see any kind of lock that you can--? Does it open? Can we unlock it?

MATT: You do see what looks to be two heavy, metallic-set handles, brass in coloration like a full foot, top to bottom bolted into each side. Do you go and give a tug?

LAURA: Mm.

MATT: Not moving, solid in place. Make a strength check, if you'd like.

AABRIA: Let's go.

MATT: You want to help out?

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: All right, so take it with advantage or you both roll independently.

AABRIA: All you. (laughter)

AABRIA: I knew what I said as I said it. I'm so sorry.

MATT: (laughs)

MICHELLE: Gosh.

LAURA: 12.

MATT: 12.

SAM: Best roll of the night.

LAURA: It is my highest roll so far.

AABRIA: It's getting better.

MATT: That's good, it's trending upward.

SAM: Mm-hmm.

MATT: They do not budge.

LAURA: Woo!

MATT: Not a single bit of movement. No sounds, no creak, no scrape, they are solid.

AABRIA: Does it look like there's a lock it-- like a lock mechanism anywhere on it?

MATT: You could make an investigation check, if you'd like.

AABRIA: Why?

MATT: Because that's what you were requesting.

AABRIA: Three!

MICHELLE: Wow.

AABRIA: I look.

LAURA: Both of us are--

MATT: They look pretty solid.

LAURA: -- are doing pretty shit.

AABRIA: (laughs) We're doing great. I just throw the thieves' tools at Mallory, like, I don't know, just-- do something.

SAM: I'm not-- you're better with tools than I, I assume.

TALIESIN: Eh! I'm going to take a look at this lock, see if I can figure out anything about it.

MATT: Are you attempting to inspect it, or are you attempting to unlock it?

TALIESIN: I'm going to try and unlock it.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll a dexterity check. Are you proficient with these tools?

AABRIA: There's no lock.

LAURA: Yeah, there's not even--

AABRIA: There's not a lock? (laughs)

TALIESIN: No, I'm not proficient.

AABRIA: I was very careful.

MATT: Just roll and make a dexterity check.

LAURA: There's nothing.

MATT: Here's my question to you. Do you think that you would be proficient in thieves' tools?

TALIESIN: No.

MATT: Then no, then you just roll a dexterity check.

SAM: But you're a cook, you got, like, knife skills.

MICHELLE: Knife hands.

AABRIA: What are lock picks, but tiny spatulas for a lock.

MICHELLE: Hmm, mm-hmm.

MATT: Valid point.

TALIESIN: Yes. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Okay, 17.

MATT: 17.

MATT: You do begin to see facets of the door that have a locking mechanism ingrained within it, and you begin to fiddle with these tools that you are assuming would be functional in this, and you feel pretty confident in your ability to manipulate the interior of this lock. You hear a click. And a second click, and then it sticks. You feel like you're close, but it didn't quite, didn't quite-- it's a very, very tough lock.

TALIESIN: I mean, I'm feeling-- I'm feeling-- I don't know if I could take this any further, I'm not sure.

LAURA: Do we need a key?

MICHELLE: Maybe--

SAM: I was just going to say, is there anything else around the room, any other markings or--?

MATT: Aside from just the interesting architecture, not much in this walkway other than just the other path that continues to curve.

SAM: There is another path though.

LAURA: Yeah, maybe we just try the other path.

SAM: Maybe we can circle back.

MICHELLE: Maybe we'll find a key over there or-- someone could just have dropped it somewhere really noticeable.

TALIESIN: Am I just going to leave these lock picks in, or am I going to give it one more--?

AABRIA: No, you keep trying. And I'm just on the other like door handle--

MATT: Just shaking. (laughs)

AABRIA: (yells)

TALIESIN: I'll take one more stab.

MATT: All right, do it with disadvantage.

TALIESIN: Okay, that's--

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: I inspire you.

MATT: You're partway through here. You're partway through, but--

AABRIA: Eh?

TALIESIN: Disadvantage.

MATT: Yes.

TALIESIN: 19.

AABRIA: Ow!

SAM: (laughs incredulously)

TALIESIN: I rolled an 18 and a 20.

LAURA: (gasps)

AABRIA: Ugh!

MATT: Damn, okay.

AABRIA: Hey, dice, you can roll that high, too.

LAURA: Yeah, listen little.

AABRIA: You just got to want it, buddy.

LAURA: I mean, I'm going to be kind to you, look. This guy's--

TALIESIN: Hey, dice, we're grading on a curve here, you really--

LAURA: Hold on, which is better, my intimidation or my persuasion? Listen, you little bitches. (laughter)

MATT: So as-- you've fiddled with a lot of pegs once or twice in your past, long, long ago, an old past you'd like to forget. And it's not so much the lock picks as much as, this is a very large locking mechanism, an old one, it seems. And as you begin to see it and why it's caught, it's not because the lock picks aren't getting there, it's because it's just a very detailed, intricate lock, and there's just enough room for a finger to get in there. A terrible idea, a terrible idea, but you see a tiny hook on the inside that you think seems to be connected.

LAURA: Oh no!

AABRIA: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

SAM: Yes, yes, of course. What are you going to do, not do it? Of course you're going to do it.

TALIESIN: Do I have anything I can use for this?

LAURA: What about that sausage? One of the sausages. (laughs)

AABRIA: What about the--

TALIESIN: You have some cured meat--

AABRIA: --extremely spiky waiter next to you.

TALIESIN: So I'm going to try and wrap some cured meat around it in a little, and used that as a pull.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Because you are a cook and you are an experienced handler of cured meats. Yeah, yeah, you rolled high on lockpick, sure. The meat begins to give ever so slightly and you get nervous, the beads of sweat are dripping down your forehead as everyone is tense. Looking forward, the dust is in your nostrils and you're shaking and shaking and you pull, and you feel it splitting, splitting, but just enough tension for that little metal hook to go tick. And as it does-- (stone grinding) The doors open and reveal a wide staircase that descends further and deeper down beneath the hill.

AABRIA: Nice.

TALIESIN: Bacon.

AABRIA: Hah!

SAM: Wow!

AABRIA: Something, something ham-fisted.

MICHELLE: It was a very good idea--

TALIESIN: Oh!

MICHELLE: -- to bring all of this extra meat with us.

LAURA: Yeah. I take a little.

AABRIA: Ooh, you eat the lock meat?

SAM: You know why, you know why? Because you waited until it was pork o'clock, you know. You waited until it was the time. You did good.

TALIESIN: It has to have time.

SAM: Yep. So we're going down there, we're not going to go down the other winding, twisted path.

LAURA: Well, I feel like we should at least see what-- like give a little peeksies around the corner and see what it is.

AABRIA: Good call.

LAURA: Eh? I'll give a little peeksies around the windy path.

MATT: Around the winding path, okay. It continues to spiral down. You're not quite sure how far it can go. Do you continue to follow it?

AABRIA: Bend your vision.

LAURA: I'll go, like, a little bit further, like 20 more feet.

MATT: Okay. You continue to curve around that way, and you see it begin to open into like a subterranean chasm space. There is about a 25-, 30-foot wide break where beneath the hill, you start getting into this dense, dense bedrock period, and there is just a wide chasm that carves through, maybe about 30 feet high up from you and 70 or so feet down. With just your lantern light, you have no idea how deep that chasm is. And it looks like there is, or was at one point, some sort of a stone land bridge between here and the opposite wall in which there is a slight shelf and another opening that continues onward, but whatever there was that connected these two has crumbled beneath.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: But it could be traversable with a little bit of ingenuity.

LAURA: I'll go back and tell the others. There's a big cave with a drop, there's a bridge that broke. I say we take the stairs.

AABRIA: Yeah.

SAM: I agree. I agree, I mean, they had these doors, they're locked, it seems important. This is the way to go, yeah?

LAURA: Right?

MICHELLE: Yeah, you would lock up a treasure, you wouldn't-- Yes, you would lock up a treasure.

TALIESIN: And just put it at the end of a cave.

SAM: Yeah.

MICHELLE: Plus, I don't think any of us can jump super far, right?

SAM: We're not very good at anything.

TALIESIN: No.

SAM: We are restaurateurs.

LAURA: This was right behind the bar the whole time.

AABRIA: Right?

LAURA: In our shed.

MICHELLE: It's very coincidental that we need money, and we found it right away.

SAM: But also, it could be a selling point.

AABRIA: True.

SAM: You know? Like-- Come to the Dirty Hole and if you spend a certain amount, you get a quick tour of--

MICHELLE: Oh, like an escape room thing.

SAM: -- the dirty hole.

SAM: An escape room is a great idea.

MICHELLE: Yes!

SAM: It's like a theme restaurant now.

MICHELLE: I love it.

TALIESIN: On board with this.

AABRIA: This is very good.

LAURA: I like it.

AABRIA: And now it makes sense to call this the Dingy Hole. Yes.

LAURA: Really.

SAM: It's a theme restaurant.

MICHELLE: Well, it's not-- it doesn't have to be dingy, we can make it really nice in here, put lights up and it could be like the--

SAM: The Glory Hole? (laughter)

MICHELLE: A Really Nice Hole.

SAM: A Really Nice Hole!

LAURA: A Really Nice Hole.

SAM: Come to our really nice hole. Take a look!

MICHELLE: It sounds better than "dingy" to me.

LAURA: Take a look at our really nice hole.

TALIESIN: A Hole in the Hill.

MICHELLE: It's nice and exciting and you must escape from it. (laughter)

SAM: We're still workshopping, we're still workshopping.

MICHELLE: I write it down.

MATT: Write it down. (laughter)

LAURA: We move into the room, yeah?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: Okay, so these stone stairs begin to-- they're the same width as the entryway. So you have 20-foot wide stone steps that just descend further into darkness. Who is going first? Where is the marching order for this?

AABRIA: Do you want to go first?

LAURA: I'll go first.

SAM: Again, okay, sure.

AABRIA: Are you feeling confident?

LAURA: Always.

SAM: Maybe-- right, sure.

LAURA: I'm going to keep an eye out for any traps on the ground.

TALIESIN: How's your darkvision?

LAURA: It's good.

TALIESIN: All right, I'll also join then.

SAM: What does it say that?

TALIESIN: Bottom left.

SAM: Oh, I guess I don't have it, then.

AABRIA: Same!

MICHELLE: Oh, I have darkvision, I forgot. (laughter)

AABRIA: I'll bring up the rear.

MATT: All righty. So you're keeping an eye out?

LAURA: Mm.

MATT: Perception or investigation, your choice.

LAURA: 15.

SAM: Hey!

TALIESIN: Yay!

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: All righty, so. The stairs continue down 50, 60 or so feet before evening out to an archway standing 15, 20 or so foot tall space comes to a gradual point, and then it opens up into a wider hall beyond. As you're all stepping forward, you glance down looking at the floor, and right beyond the archway there is a faint smear of long dried blood that is just faintly visible on the stones beyond.

LAURA: Hey-o, we got blood.

AABRIA: New?

LAURA: Old.

TALIESIN: Is it wine blood or just normal?

AABRIA: Mm.

MATT: It's still wet.

LAURA: Oh!

LAURA: Ugh!

SAM: Oh! (laughs)

LAURA: Normal, it's normal blood.

TALIESIN: That's weird.

MICHELLE: Can I do a nature check to see what kind of creature's blood it is?

SAM: Ooh!

MATT: Yes, you may.

AABRIA: All right, all right!

MICHELLE: Oh, that's very good. 17 plus four, it's like a 21.

MATT: Nice. Humanoid, some sort of humanoid blood.

AABRIA: Is it a bird?

MICHELLE: No, it's not a bird, that would be terrible. It's actually a person who is down here.

AABRIA: Oh!

MICHELLE: A human. I quite like birds. But that means that someone is here, has beat us to this area.

SAM: How is that possible? We just discovered the hole into this place.

LAURA: Maybe they came up from the other tunnel.

SAM: Ah, yeah.

TALIESIN: Yeah, maybe. But they would have had to open--

AABRIA: What if they just live here?

MICHELLE: Or they came from around the back.

SAM: Or they just live here.

LAURA: Maybe they just live here.

SAM: Or there's multiple entrances, we don't know.

TALIESIN: Or they have the key to this door.

MICHELLE: Key.

AABRIA: What's up with this smear? Is it just across and then stops? Does it like trail off in a direction?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Well, as you kind of-- because you rolled pretty high. The smear was you first glance. And as you all come in and inspect and do your moment of checking in on it, the group is about to move forward and instinctually you put your hands out and you realize the smear continues on beyond the archway to the wall on the side where you see, there is against the stone wall an impacted crater cracked where the stone is broken and there is a crushed body that is just completely inverted and bloodied and ruined, pushed into a long, probably multiple-impacted indent.

SAM: Oof.

MATT: You do not see what did it. But the blood trail continues and spatters across.

LAURA: If I look up, does it look like a pendulum would have swung and crushed something, like--?

MATT: You glance up in the other space and put the lantern up and you can see there is a chain affixed to the wall above, and on the opposite end there is a massive rock, about four feet across that is currently just ratcheted and ready to go. And glancing down over where that blood smear is. You now glance and see the stone work right beyond the arch for about two feet is just ever so slightly raised against the surrounding stone.

AABRIA: Tight, cool cool cool.

LAURA: Do not step on this.

AABRIA: Yep.

MATT: At this point, you also hear a grinding sound.

MICHELLE: Oh-oh!

MATT: (stone grinding) Behind where you came. (stone crashing)

AABRIA: Oh, beans.

LAURA and SAM: The doors.

LAURA: That's how--

AABRIA: It's an escape room.

TALIESIN: That makes sense.

MICHELLE: It's an escape room!

TALIESIN: We already have one.

AABRIA: We already did it.

SAM: This is super cool.

AABRIA: We're going to have to do a lot of insurance paperwork.

MICHELLE: At least it's already set up, that's really nice. Not too much renovation.

TALIESIN: You just make everyone sign a waiver, you can get away with anything.

AABRIA: There we go.

LAURA: Can I see what looks like a safe place to put our feet?

MATT: About two feet beyond that, you hope, take a little hop.

LAURA: I'm going to hop.

AABRIA: You're going to, you're just going to--

LAURA: I'm going to hop.

AABRIA: Oh, buddy, oh.

MATT: All right, you watch as Grelnock goes, hup! And does a little jaunt over those-- that little platform area and land on the opposite side, your feet hit the stone. And as they do, nothing happens.

AABRIA: Hey, next time we can throw a skull or something. I'm just, woo.

LAURA: Ooh, that would have been smart.

AABRIA: Mm. (laughs)

LAURA: Make a leap, we're fine.

SAM: All right, I'll run and leap.

MATT: One by one, you all begin to leap over, make it comfortably to the other side and dusting yourself off, glancing about this larger... chamber. That at first glance, it's odd. You see signs of... not dungeon, not dingy, trapped torture space, much to your family's chagrin, but just some broken tables and seats like a common room. Some stools, and shattered dishware on the ground, some bent or broken tools amongst the fallen shale. Like a sealed underground living space left to ruin. There are two corpses dressed in dark shifty gray leather that are sitting on far ends of the room away from you.

LAURA: Are they old corpses, new corpses?

MATT: They're a ways from you. Do you want to go inspect?

LAURA: Yeah, but keeping an eye out for any trapsies.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay, well, make an investigation check, or perception, your choice.

AABRIA: Can I assist?

MATT: If you'd like to.

AABRIA: I'm waiting for you.

LAURA: Oh, I'm just going to roll my-- Okay, give me, okay. Ah!

AABRIA: (laughs)

SAM: You're getting better and better.

LAURA: 21. (cheering)

MATT: Nice!

SAM: Do you think it started bad and is getting better and better, and we'll--

AABRIA: Please don't.

SAM: -- go back around again?

AABRIA: No, no, no, no, no. (laughter)

MATT: You're an asshole. (laughter) So yeah, you glance forward. You do not see any traps in the pathway to these bodies. And as you approach and pushing past some of the long-dusted, forgotten signs of life that have since been left still and alone for some time, you approach the bodies, and at first glance they're not smashed by traps. There is all manner of slash marks across them. Gashes, heavy wounds and chunks missing, ragged, broken chunks, bitten, pulled off. And as soon as you notice that, a sound catches your ear. (low growling)

SAM: Oh boy.

MATT: And you see now glancing up lantern ahead, in this open room there are some alcoves set off to the side where some small benches were set once, some shelf space where some books may have once been set that are now been removed. There are signs that this was once probably a comfortable subterranean vault-like space, as well as three doors in this room. There's one on the eastern side way from you, and a north side on the left, the south side on the right, but in one of these alcoves on the side, you watch as massive, clawed, leathery hands pull around the corner. The light hits black, pupil-less, dark, marble-like eyes that glisten against the light as a... Nine-foot tall, hulking, crocodile-like humanoid, with a long gnarled snout filled with teeth-- (steps impacting) (low growling) Looks right at you. (roars) And goes into a full run.

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: That's where we're going to take a break. (yelling)

MATT: We're going to jump into this combat here in just a moment.

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: But in the interim, stay tuned, and we'll see what the next half of this story has to tell about the Dingy Hole, the Dirty Hole. The Dreary--

MICHELLE: Very, very clean--

AABRIA: Nice hole.

MICHELLE: A very nice hole.

MATT: The Very Nice, Very Good Hole.

AABRIA: A very nice hole.

MATT: There you go. We'll see you guys here in a little bit.

Break[]

(upbeat music) (dramatic music) (upbeat music) (dramatic music) (thunderstorm roaring) The stories I've read tell of how these lands once thrived. Before the cultists, before the chaos and fire. Watching these pathetic mortals bores me. Meddling with power they don't comprehend. This destruction, this plotting and scheming, it must be stopped. (dramatic music) A deal has been struck. He is coming. Dagon. (dramatic music) (roaring) (dramatic music) (upbeat music) (somber music)

LIAM: Subscribe or don't subscribe. That's not a question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to ponder the pros and more pros of Twitch or Twitch Prime or to take hands and gift new subs to Critters who find they can't afford them. To play, to sleep no more. And by asleep to say the cast and crew of Critical Role might find their naps around the hectic schedule of a live broadcast that we have brought for your consumption, both Critter and fan alike. To play or sleep? No sleep, perchance to stream. Aye, there's the rub. For with your subscription, what streams may come. Oh man, oh man, oh man. That is a fucking tagline. Have we got that? Oh, that is Twitch poetry. Oh, anyway. Subscribe to Critical Role. Use Twitch Prime to subscribe, gift some subscriptions. You, you got it. Wrong slogan for the skull but that's fucking good. (classical music)

(dramatic music) (somber music) (upbeat music) (metal rattling) (punches landing) (fighters grunting) (panting) (creature growling) (crowd chanting) (dark smoke hissing) (crowd chanting) (dramatic music) (weapons clanging) (footsteps running) (metal gate creaking open) (beasts growling) (upbeat music) (beast growling) (dramatic music) (upbeat music) (dramatic music) (somber music) (somber music) (dramatic music)

Part II[]

MATT: And welcome back (laughs). So as you all begin to step into this forgotten subterranean common room, and upon inspecting the scattered bodies, a creature seemed to stir. A massive, gator-like, humanoid Daedric beast began to charge towards you, and I need everyone to roll initiative.

LAURA: (tongue waggling)

AABRIA: Okay guys, we had a conversation.

TALIESIN: No!

LAURA: All right.

SAM: Yes.

MICHELLE: This is being very nice to me today.

MATT: All righty, 25 to 20.

AABRIA: Dirty 20.

MATT: Nice! All righty, Tavima up front. 20 to 15.

MICHELLE: Me.

MATT: All righty. What'd you get?

MICHELLE: 19.

MATT: 19? Oh, damn, Hoa's right up.

LAURA: 17.

MATT: All right, then we got Grelnock.

SAM: 16 over here.

MATT: Great! Slaughter. All righty, 15 to 10? I guess, what do you got?

TALIESIN: Two.

MATT: Two, aww, sorry, Mallory.

TALIESIN: It's very hard to roll a two, let me tell you.

MATT: I can-- yeah.

TALIESIN: Hardly do worse.

MATT: All righty, top of this as the creature is now charging forward, its long tail behind it, its scaled, heavily-armored hide. Its head seems to end in these long, crooked horns as its mouth is open, salivating, fangs, teeth outward, towards you. You're up first, Tavima.

AABRIA: Nice. I want to slide forward and interpose myself between Grelnock and this bad boy, and then also charge at it, and shield charge this bad boy.

MATT: Hell yeah, let's do it!

AABRIA: Okay, all right, so I'm spending two stamina and I got to roll to hit. No! I rolled so bad!

LAURA and SAM: Aww.

AABRIA: 11?

MATT: 11.

SAM: Hey.

MATT: Shield forward, you rush to go ahead and slam into it and it's like hitting a wall, because it's charging full bore towards her, you interpose, and right as you go to hit, instead, whack, it hits you, and you get thrown back about three or four feet. You land on your back, but kick back up, but unfortunately, it didn't seem to leave much of an impact on the creature.

AABRIA: Done, that's me.

MATT: All right, finishing Tavima's go, that brings us to Hoa, and Grelnock you're on deck.

MICHELLE: Okay, I activate my magicka. I'm going to cast Swarm. So it's a range of 60 feet, so I can stay where I am. And I spend two magicka to summon a five-foot radius swarm of fetcher flies. Remember those guys?

MATT: Hell yeah.

MICHELLE: They will obey my command. I'm unsure if this means-- it says, "as your action you may will them to move and attack anything in a space." Do I summon them first and then I order them the next time, or can I order them now?

MATT: No, you can order them now.

MICHELLE: Excellent, I do so.

MATT: All righty.

MICHELLE: And the creature must make a DC 14 constitution saving throw.

MATT: You've got it.

AABRIA: Go!

MATT: That is a six, that is a failure.

MICHELLE: Yes! They take 4d6 damage.

MATT: Go for it.

MICHELLE: Got them all set up here, whoosh!

MATT: As the flies (buzzing) swarm over and swarm around this creature, biting, stinging.

MICHELLE: That is seven damage.

MATT: Seven damage to it, you've got it.

SAM: Nice.

MATT: It is now (growling) clawing around in the middle of this cloud of swirling fetcher flies. Does that finish your turn, stay put?

MICHELLE: Finishes my turn, and I stay in concentration.

MATT: Fantastic, you got that. Bringing that up to Grelnock's turn with Slaughter on deck.

LAURA: How far away is it?

MATT: From you, it's about 10 feet from you, since you did have an interposed moment with Tavima stopping you.

LAURA: All right, I'm going to run up behind it. Do I get advantage if I'm flanking?

MATT: Currently, I'll say sure, why not? Yeah.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: Yeah, it'll take your full movement, but you do manage to get into position where now you and Tavima are pincer attacking.

AABRIA: Flipped up like: (babbling) Let's go.

MATT: You got it.

LAURA: Cool, then I'm going to get behind it and go (roaring) and try to get it with my venomous claw.

MATT: Do it, do it.

SAM: Venom claw!

MATT: Spend that stamina.

LAURA: Venomous claw! (laughs) Natural one!

SAM: It went back around, it went back around! All right, start it all over again.

AABRIA: You did this!

SAM: Yeah, I did it.

LAURA: Get rid of that stamina, and I'm going to--

MATT: As you go running past, claw out--

LAURA: Oh wait, I get advantage!

MATT: Because you have it flanked, you do.

LAURA: Flanking!

AABRIA: Yes! Come on, natural 20.

TALIESIN: Two.

LAURA: That's way better! That's 21! (cheering)

MATT: That hits, that hits! Go ahead and roll some damage.

MICHELLE: You broke the curse, kiddo.

AABRIA: Shake it off.

TALIESIN: Everything's finally coming up Grelnock.

LAURA: That's poison damage on this. That's really good. 15 plus three is 18 poison damage, plus my strength modifier, which is plus three.

MATT: Slick!

SAM: Damn.

LAURA: And that's my bonus action. So after that, I'm going to whip out my axe and swing at its... back. (laughter)

MATT: The claw sinks in deep, and as you carve across, you can now see that thick, thick Daedric hide does split. And you watch as the black venom left behind from this instilled, forced bit of energy--

SAM and LAURA: Oh!

SAM: What happened? Something flew far.

MATT: You swing back with your axe--

LAURA: Oh, oh! I said I had an eight, but I landed on a 20 on my d20!

SAM: Wow.

MATT: There you go.

LAURA: A two and a 20.

AABRIA: Let's go.

LAURA: Cool.

AABRIA: Yes!

LAURA: So that's 1d12 plus three, so I just double the dice.

MATT: Double the dice.

LAURA: Seven times two is 14, plus three is 20 points.

SAM: Oh, what?

MATT: Nice.

SAM: Still alive?

MATT: The axe carves through, and you cut back, and the tail behind it just slops off. You sever it from the body, and it hits the ground and it's still flexing and curling on its own, now detached from the body.

LAURA: I'm going to use one more stamina and I'm going to try to hit it again with my free action.

AABRIA: Let's go.

LAURA: Oh no, that just adds a d8 slashing damage.

MATT: Correct.

LAURA: That's six additional points.

MATT: Six additional points of damage.

MICHELLE: Beefy.

MATT: It's looking real hurt.

AABRIA: Let's go!

MATT: All right, that finishes your go, Grelnock. That brings us to Slaughter.

SAM: Oh great. I will yell at the creature: You can't have a table here without a reservation! And I'll pull out a skull, my lucky skull, give it a little kiss, and say: Tavima, duck! And I'll throw the flaming skull, (screaming) at the creature. (laughter)

MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll for the attack.

SAM: Oh, it's a four. (laughter)

SAM: Plus six is 10!

MATT: Not enough.

SAM: I forgot to light it on fire first, oh!

MATT: Yeah, the skull, it literally is just a skull. It goes through the air (ting, ting, ting) and just rolls on the ground, no effect.

SAM: I'm the worst necromancer. I will then use the rest of my action to just run around. Those dead bodies, do they have any weapons or anything?

MATT: Do you want to take your turn trying to look through?

SAM: That's all I got. I mean, I guess I could do a bonus action.

MATT: Sure, you can do that if you want to.

SAM: But it just heals me.

MATT: It's up to you.

SAM: So, and I'm fine, so I'm just going to look around those bodies.

MATT: Okay, you start rummaging through the bodies. Make an investigation check.

SAM: Okay. Okay, okay, nine.

AABRIA: Pop a skull and then go check some stuff out.

MATT: Yep, nine?

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: I mean, one of them you see has a longsword on the ground, and you've seen all different metals, but at first glance this has a unique color and texture to it. Not quite something you're familiar with.

SAM: Grab it.

MATT: All right. Finishing your turn, Slaughter. It is now the Daedroth's turn. As it's like (growls) angrily, spinning around now, feeling surrounded. You, Grelnock, pincered in the back, ready, feeling confident after a heavy round, you hear this (growls) from behind you.

LAURA: Uh oh!

SAM: There's another one?

MATT: You glance over your shoulder, and charging out of one of the alcoves from the direction-- from the left of where you entered, a second one comes barreling out (thumping footsteps, roars) and is now going to be attacking you, pincered.

AABRIA: Hi, buddy.

LAURA: Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.

MATT: So this one's going to go ahead and-- you know what? Yeah, it's going to go ahead and bite attack you. So it goes for a full on (thump, thump, roar).

LAURA: Bring up my axe.

MATT: That is going to be a 17 to hit?

LAURA: 17's my armor class.

MATT: Okay, so that hits you. (laughter)

MATT: For not too bad.

LAURA: I like when [inaudible] say it anyway.

MATT: Not too bad, six points of piercing damage.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: As it clamps on, but because you got your axe up just in time, it slams but you wedge it in there to keep it from closing entirely on you, and the blade carves a little bit into the roof of its mouth, which causes it to open wide and pull back, so it doesn't actually clamp onto your body, and backs up (growls). The one that's in between the two of you, wounded and on one knee almost, looking around angrily glances, with you in front, it glances and sees, I think based on directional wise-- Actually, I would like to have Hoa and Mallory both roll d20s for me.

AABRIA: Oh god.

MATT: Just roll a d20 and tell me what you got.

MICHELLE: Five.

TALIESIN: Six.

AABRIA: Oh my god!

MATT: It angles its head in a direction to where it's still facing you, but lines up with you, Hoa, and it (growls) releases a column of flaming breath (rumbles) towards both of you that goes out for a 15-foot cone. I need you both to go ahead and roll dexterity saving throws for me, please.

MICHELLE: Okay, okay, okay. This is fun. Oh my god, that's not very good. It's a three.

AABRIA: Four!

MATT: You both take eight point of fire damage.

AABRIA: Yeah, that feels right.

MATT: Charred a bit from the flames escaping from its jaws. Now that finishes their turn, however. The one, they're both going to stay put, because one is currently flanked between the two of you, the other one is flanking. So finishing its go, Mallory, you're up with Tavima on deck.

TALIESIN: What kind of weapon are you carrying?

AABRIA: Shield, sword.

TALIESIN: Okay, I'm going to run up behind you, I'm going run up behind Tavima, and I'm going to tap your sword as I run by and I'm going to cast Crystal Weapon.

MATT: Okay, the blade (crackling) suddenly is wrapped in jagged, dark crystalline power.

TALIESIN: And then I'm going to keep running and I'm going to see if I can-- there's no way they hit both of the-- no, so I'm going to have to pick one. How big are these creatures?

MATT: They're roughly 10-foot tall from ground to shoulder and they're hunched and bulky.

LAURA: One's almost dead, though.

MATT: One is looking really, really hurt.

TALIESIN: I'm going to put a Lightning Splash Sphere right above the one that's almost dead.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I think I can put it somewhere where it's not going to hit anybody else, because it's 10 feet tall. That's a 10-foot sphere of lightning.

MATT: 10-foot sphere of lightning.

TALIESIN: And I can stay kind of far away.

MATT: I will say, go ahead and roll, because it is a very tight space between this creature. Well, the creature's-- actually, no. The creature takes 10-foot. It is a 10-foot--

TALIESIN: Yeah, that's why I was-- I can also just put it slightly above as well.

MATT: Correct, so yeah, go ahead and roll damage on that. It makes a save.

TALIESIN: That's a save.

AABRIA: Let's go.

MATT: That's a dex one?

TALIESIN: Yep.

MATT: Rolls a 16.

TALIESIN: That is a save.

MATT: So it doesn't take any damage.

AABRIA: Rude!

TALIESIN: Nope, it doesn't.

MATT: Yeah, sorry.

TALIESIN: That's okay, that's just a couple magicka points, I don't care. Yeah, and I'm just going to back off quite a bit now, as much as I can.

MATT: Okay, so now you're getting all the way towards the back wall of this chamber, to try and keep away from the middle of the fray. All right, you're done, Mallory. Tavima, you're up.

AABRIA: Sweet. I'm waving the crystal sword around and I make a little flash of light hit it and I'm going to cast Backlash on the one right in front of me. So DC 15 con save.

MATT: Got it. That's an eight. That is a failure.

AABRIA: Yes, all right.

MATT: It is now surrounded and cursed by the slowly swelling light around it.

AABRIA: Okay, take eight points of fire damage and you are doomed.

MATT: Great.

AABRIA: And then I'm going to run forward and be like: Yeah, does it do any--? I'll find out. I'm going to go and try to hit it with the sword.

MATT: Roll an attack.

SAM: Come on.

MATT: You have advantage, because you are flanking.

AABRIA: Yes, okay, 17. 22.

MATT: That definitely hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

AABRIA: Sweet, okay. Eight plus two, my d4. How spicy can I be? Can I add a stamina on that to also puncture it?

MATT: Sure.

AABRIA: I would like to super kill this thing, if I can.

SAM: This is the hurt one?

AABRIA: Yeah.

SAM: Nice.

AABRIA: So make a DC 14 dexterity check.

MATT: No, that's an 11.

AABRIA: Sweet. 18 points.

MATT: How do you want to do this?

SAM: Oh, nice! Second of the night.

AABRIA: Go! I slice it across its throat and I want to walk all the way around it as it drops to its knees and take the full skull all the way off and lift it up and go: New skull!

MATT: (laughs)

SAM: Oh yes, I want!

AABRIA: In a second, hold on.

SAM: What? Okay.

AABRIA: And I show it to the other one.

MATT: The body (thuds) hits the ground with a heavy thud as you tear the flesh off of its skull, which is now glistening reddish black, with the remnant blood across it, spin it around to show the other one.

AABRIA: You next.

MATT: (growls) All righty, finishes your go. Brings it to Hoa, with Grelnock on deck.

MICHELLE: I am pretty bloody and not doing super good, so I'm going to back up, approximately as far back as I can get (laughs) from all the creatures. I'm going to wave my hands like this, and a bunch of little mushrooms pop out from my fingertips, making a semicircle around me. These mushrooms are part of the Fungal Growth magicka spell. So I can get 1d4 hit points every turn for three rounds and anyone who gets into the circle may also do that if they're feeling yucky.

LAURA: Oh nice.

MATT: Hell yeah.

MICHELLE: I'm going to roll my healing.

MATT: The mushrooms begin popping up around you. These beautiful bioluminescent colors and as it does, you can feel the energy begin to swell through your body, like this excited butterflies in your stomach and your wounds begin to slowly close.

MICHELLE: Whew, and that's the end of my turn, because-- Oh, the flies are still there, but they're not going to attack because I don't have a turn for that.

MATT: You'd have to spend an action to do that, yeah.

MICHELLE: I am going to use my bonus action to see if I can automatically sense any living creature within a 120-foot cone. Are there more of these, I'm wondering?

MATT: Good call. Any living creature?

MICHELLE: Yes.

MATT: You do not sense any more of these creatures. You do sense, on the north wall a few odd dots. Something beyond the north wall, there's a cluster that catches your attention.

MICHELLE: I just yell: Let's not open the north door. I'm going to lay down for a second. (laughter)

LAURA: She's just always napping.

AABRIA: She's doing a mushroom nap.

SAM: The laziest--

MATT: Do you heal yourself?

SAM: -- hostess.

MICHELLE: Yes, I do, yeah.

MATT: Great. So go ahead and roll that. All right, that finishes your go. Grelnock, you're up with Slaughter on deck.

LAURA: I say: Mallory, stuffed mushrooms?

TALIESIN: Oh, we could add that to the menu. A little bit of lemon and pepper.

LAURA: And I'm going to swing my battleaxe at that guy.

MATT: Go for it.

LAURA: Oh-- yeah. I don't get advantage anymore.

MATT: No, because you are not-- you killed the creature that was between the two of you.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LAURA: Oh, that's still good, 21.

MATT: That hits, go ahead and roll damage. This one is currently unscathed, but not for long.

LAURA: Oh, 12 plus three is 15 points of damage.

MATT: 15 points of damage.

LAURA: And I'm going to use my last stamina point of the fight to add another d8, which is seven.

MATT: Nice, heavy hit! The axe, as you swing wide, it doesn't cut through, but it sinks about four or five inches into this creature's chest armor. (grunts) It grabs the axe with both sides of its clawed hands and shoves it back. You almost get thrown off balance, but then hold yourself there.

LAURA: And I'm going to use my bonus action to cast Hardened Armor on myself to prep for the hit that's going to come.

MATT: You got it.

AABRIA: Smart.

MATT: Okay. That finishes your go. Slaughter, you're up.

SAM: Yes, I, Slaughter Grimm, will run up to Tavima, and: Skull me! I will take this gigantic skull--

AABRIA: Yeah!

SAM: -- and try to set it on fire with my Necrotic Mind and throw it at the bad guy.

AABRIA: Yeah! (laughs)

MATT: Okay, okay.

MICHELLE: Please work.

SAM: (growls) (laughter)

MATT: The skull ignites with deeply dark, burning, arcane fire. All right, go ahead and roll to attack with it.

AABRIA: Let's go!

SAM: It's big, right? So I'll do, like, a little hammer toss thing and I'll toss it. 13.

MATT: 13 hits. (cheering) Wait. I'm sorry, it does not.

TALIESIN: Wow. (groaning)

MATT: I read the wrong stat.

AABRIA: I was so excited.

SAM: I can't hit shit with my skull.

MATT: I know, I know.

TALIESIN: Have you thought of just tapping things with it instead of throwing it?

SAM: Maybe I should just--

TALIESIN: Just like it tap it.

SAM: I'm a bad thrower.

MATT: (laughs) As you swing and go wide--

SAM: (grunt of exertion)

MATT: (grunt of exertion) (whooshing) You were completely off-course, it just goes off and skitters into the corner. (grinding)

SAM: Okay. (laughter) Well, I'll--

AABRIA: I still clap.

SAM: Thank you. All right, well, okay (laughs). That's my move!

MATT: All right, that brings us to the Daedroth's turn, which, it does not get its fire breath back.

LAURA: Oh wait, no that one died.

MATT: There's two of them.

LAURA: I know, but did that one use its fire breath? The second one?

MATT: No, you're right, thank you for the reminder. To that point, it's going to--

SAM: It does have its fire breath.

MATT: It does have fire breath, and is going to, (inhales) (flames whooshing) which is going to catch you and you in the same column in front. I need you both to make dexterity saving throws for me, please.

AABRIA: 10.

MATT: That's a fail.

LAURA: 11.

MATT: You both take eight points of fire damage. (laughter)

SAM: Yikes.

MATT: Feeling singed, burned, cauterized.

AABRIA: (coughs) (laughter)

LAURA: I just pat out the fire on me.

MATT: There you go, badass, awesome. And with that, it's going to go ahead and begin to stomp around the side of you, since I had you both in a column, it's now going to try and get both of you in the fray to give you less opportunities to engage elsewhere on the battlefield. That finishes its turn. Mallory, you're up.

TALIESIN: I'm going to use my bonus action to use Dark Exchange to get a magicka back.

SAM: Oh, nice.

AABRIA: Nice.

TALIESIN: And I'm going to-- Actually, I don't even have to do that. I'm going to hold off, I don't need that yet. I'm just going to try another Lightning Splash.

MATT: Sure, all right. So for that.

SAM: Lightning Splash.

MATT: That is a 13.

TALIESIN: Ah ha!

MATT: No, that hits, go ahead and roll damage.

TALIESIN: That's... 11 points of lightning damage.

MATT: Great, so as it's storming around, just getting in the fray with Tavima and Grelnock, there's this flash of light, and this (fizzing) cycling blast of electrical energy that shocks the creature. You see its muscles tense up before it shakes to shrug off the pain and the stunned sensation across its body. Yeah, it took a heavy hit.

TALIESIN: I'm then going to try and shift so that if-- So that I'm out of any-- Yeah, you're fine, so I won't-- Yeah, I'll shift to just stay out of any straight lines with anybody else, just to not get surrounded.

MATT: You got it. Okay, finishing that, it's back up to Tavima's turn.

AABRIA: Okay, I would like to back up a little bit, just this is a very nice sword, but hold on, and I want to cast Sun Fire on it, as I drop the shield, get a free hand, and just yeah, bright light, let's do that.

MATT: You got it. All right. So go ahead and make a spell attack against the target.

AABRIA: 19.

MATT: 19 hits.

AABRIA: Sweet. 16 points of fire damage.

MATT: Nice, 16 points of fire damage to it. All right, it's looking pretty hurt.

AABRIA: Cool.

MATT: Starting to show some real wear and tear.

AABRIA: Yeah, we burn the last magicka. I'm going to cast Backlash again on this one.

MATT: Okay, you got it.

AABRIA: So DC 15 con save.

MATT: Does not make it with a seven.

AABRIA: Yes, okay. Another eight points of fire damage.

TALIESIN: Oh!

MATT: You got it, all righty. It's now burning and charring, the Backlash is now searing into it as it's now doomed by the perpetual spread of divine almost light that's burning into its flesh. It's angry and it looks like it's starting to turn even more feral than it may have been before.

AABRIA: Why are you still alive?

MATT: (growls)

AABRIA: Okay.

MATT: (laughs)

LAURA: Are you right next to it, or did you back up?

AABRIA: I backed up a little bit.

MATT: Okay, finishing your go, Hoa, you're up.

MICHELLE: I'm going to stay where I am and heal for-- Oh, that's eight. Nice, nice, nice. But while I'm-- because I can just stand there, I don't have to do anything to heal. My mushrooms are active for one more round if anyone wants to join me.

TALIESIN: Boy, aren't they.

MICHELLE: And I am going to go ahead and activate my swarm again, because they're still there.

MATT: You got it.

MICHELLE: And that is 4d-- Oh, a DC 14 constitution saving throw first.

MATT: That, unfortunately, does succeed with a natural 16.

MICHELLE: Oh no, and they'd still take half, though.

MATT: Indeed, so go ahead and roll damage.

MICHELLE: 4d6, here we go. Five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 total divided by two, is sevenish.

MATT: Got it, seven points of fire damage to it as the insects begin biting around it, and you watch little sparks sparking off it as they're impacting it and carving through. (growls) Sweeping in the air.

MICHELLE: Yes, go little buggies, go! You can do it, I believe in you!

MATT: Awesome, finishing your turn?

MICHELLE: Yes.

MATT: All right, Grelnock, you're up, with Slaughter on deck.

SAM: Come on, Grenlock!

LAURA: Grelnock!

SAM: Yeah, whatever.

LAURA: And I'll swing the battleaxe.

MATT: Go for it, roll for an attack.

AABRIA: Please finish him.

LAURA: 17.

MATT: 17 hits.

AABRIA: Let's go, let's go, let's go.

LAURA: Nine points of damage.

MATT: Nine points of damage. How do you want to do this? (cheering)

MICHELLE: Yes!

LAURA: (growls) I'm going to just rage out and swing and-- Oh, you already chopped one's head off. I'm going to chop the other head off! (laughter) Teamwork!

AABRIA: Skulls for the skull guy.

SAM: I need the skulls!

MATT: As you swing past it takes two hits, the first one carves through part way into throat and its eyes go wide.

LAURA: Flip the axe and swing back the other way.

MATT: The head spins and slops onto the ground, the body falls forward, and ends up slumping against the other corpse. The other head rolling, coming to a stop on the opposite end.

AABRIA: Nice.

LAURA: Nice.

SAM: (crying) It's everything I've tried to not do in my life.

LAURA: Well, you're still not doing it.

SAM: Oh. Oh, good. (laughter)

MICHELLE: Burn!

SAM: Oh, thank goodness. Okay, I'm still pure. Thank you, I don't think I can carry all these skulls.

LAURA: I go and I-- The two corpses that are resting against the walls, I just snap their heads off and hand them to you.

AABRIA: Yeah!

MICHELLE: I take some of the--

SAM: I'm lousy with skulls.

MICHELLE: -- fabric and I make a big rope so that you can weave the rope through the eye holes of the skulls and then carry it like a sling on your back.

SAM: Ooh, I like it!

MATT: There you go.

SAM: I'll spend some time working on that, a little skull sling.

TALIESIN: You get two more rounds of healing, too.

MATT: About to say, how many more rounds of healing do you get?

MICHELLE: I get one more. I'm fully healed, so if anyone who wants to jump in, it can do--

LAURA: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

AABRIA: Oh, please!

MICHELLE: Well, it can only do up to 20 total healing, so it can do five more healing.

AABRIA: If you, go ahead.

LAURA: No, no, no.

AABRIA: No I got this.

LAURA: Are you sure?

AABRIA: No, 100%.

LAURA: Okay, I'll go sit.

MICHELLE: Let me roll it for you, just in case it doesn't come out as that. No, three, so there's two more left if you want to jump in.

AABRIA: Yeah, I'll take it.

MATT: All right, go for it.

AABRIA: Thank you.

MICHELLE: I'll roll it and then it's probably.

AABRIA: 14.

MICHELLE: Yeah, it says eight, but you get two. (laughs)

MATT: All righty.

MICHELLE: Mushrooms disappear.

SAM: Can I just look at this sword and just see if I see anything unusual about it other than its color?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

SAM: Investigation check.

AABRIA: Mallory, how does this crystal work?

SAM: 17.

TALIESIN: Well, when you, well, it's done now.

AABRIA: Oh.

TALIESIN: It's just one hit, it's one good hit.

AABRIA: Okay, it was great.

TALIESIN: And yeah, it would've been great if it hadn't died, too, but yeah. I wasn't very helpful on that.

AABRIA: You did great.

LAURA: There was lightning, it was great.

TALIESIN: There was lightning.

AABRIA: Yeah, you did so much lightning.

TALIESIN: Mind if we take a bit--

MATT: The flies fizzle out.

TALIESIN: -- of that crocodile? I'm kind of curious as to what it would taste like if we grill it up with--

AABRIA: There's a whole tail.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

TALIESIN: Yeah, okay. I'm just going to open it.

MICHELLE: Oh, it looks delicious.

MATT: Okay, you start carving some meat off of it. Magicka, stamina restored.

SAM: Oh wow.

MATT: Yeah, magicka and stamina--

LAURA: That's great, I love this.

MATT: At the end of every battle, your stamina and magicka come back, that's just a short term burn use.

LAURA: It's great, it lets you feel like you can really go all out every battle, which is pretty cool.

AABRIA: Yeah. That is nice.

MATT: So yeah, so looking at the sword that you found, from your quick glance at one of the bodies, the texture and pattern on it, you've heard of this material. It is orichalc, so it's an orichalc sword. It is a flexible, powerful metal that is used in blacksmithing and forging and it'd probably be a pretty decent longsword for anyone with martial interest in using one.

SAM: Can I use it? It says I have a maul, but I don't know.

MATT: You could use it, if you want to.

SAM: I'll take it.

MATT: Okay. For all intents and purposes, it's considered a longsword plus two in this game.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: So plus two to hit, plus two to damage.

LAURA: Can I search the headless bodies and see what they have in their pockets?

MATT: Sure, make an investigation check.

TALIESIN: I'll assist on that.

AABRIA: Nice.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: (chuckles)

AABRIA: Oh.

LAURA: There's a lot of blood all over the bodies now.

TALIESIN: I specifically didn't roll my own because I wanted you to roll both. (laughter)

LAURA: With advantage, that came to a six.

TALIESIN: It's everything I wanted.

MATT: So both of these Daedric creatures, these Daedric beasts, do not have pockets.

LAURA: Oh, I didn't mean those, I meant the-- you know what, all four bodies in here are headless now, so I see the misunderstanding.

MATT: I see. (laughter)

AABRIA: Amazing! That's where I got the idea from, I didn't realize it.

MATT: With a six, you searched the bigger creatures. (laughter)

LAURA: I like it.

MATT: Yeah. Nooks and crannies, pretty bloody, not a lot of things to find on them, but there's some decent meat you could probably, if it's cookable, edible, you don't know, you'll find out the hard way, that could be harvested or salvaged.

MICHELLE: If anyone needs extra healing, I could summon forth more mushrooms, if you would like.

LAURA: Sure.

AABRIA: Yeah. Yeah.

MICHELLE: Sure, yes, absolutely.

AABRIA: I am hurt pretty bad.

MICHELLE: I burn another Magicka.

LAURA: Oh, you are?

MATT: Fungal Growth is once per short rest.

MICHELLE: Oh, is it? Oh, I'm sorry.

AABRIA: It's okay, I've got this.

SAM: I can heal a little bit as well if you need.

AABRIA: I mean, I can heal, too. I was just, if you were offering a free mushroom party, I was going to--

MICHELLE: I'm all out of mushrooms, it seems. I can't flick any more out.

AABRIA: I put my hand on my chest and a little rune begins to glow red and gold on my skin and I'm going to cast Rune Focus on myself.

MATT: All righty.

AABRIA: And heal some d4s. Okay, and it says the next attack on me has disadvantage. Does that carry through just 'til the next time something attacks me?

MATT: Yeah.

AABRIA: Tight! Cool, all right.

MATT: We'll say until the next short rest, essentially.

AABRIA: Get my hit points back. 22!

LAURA: Should we investigate the other body?

MATT: But you got to keep that in mind.

MATT: You can, if you'd like to.

SAM: Did you just do one of them?

LAURA: I just did the big crocodile bodies. I haven't done the little human bodies yet.

AABRIA: Well, you found a cool--

SAM: I found a cool sword on one, I can go and just--

LAURA: Check the pockets.

SAM: Well, I already investigated, so someone else investigate those bodies.

TALIESIN: I'll take a round.

LAURA: I'll give you help.

AABRIA: It's all you, I'm good.

MATT: (laughs)

LAURA: All of us are telling you you can do it.

MICHELLE: Look at the body, look at the body!

MATT: Little cheer squad over here.

LAURA: Check the pockets!

TALIESIN: 15.

LAURA: Hey!

MATT: 15.

AABRIA: Oh!

MATT: Okay. You do find, upon the other body and the scattered bits of debris around it, a heavy axe that is made of similar, if not the exact same metal as that longsword. Orichalcum.

AABRIA: Beautiful.

MATT: So that does act as a plus two battleaxe, for anybody who would want to utilize that.

TALIESIN: I don't need this. I'm just going to throw it.

AABRIA: Oh my god! No, no, no! I grab it and bring it over to you.

LAURA: Is that better than what I have?

MATT: What do you use? You use a battleaxe?

LAURA: Battleaxe.

MATT: Yeah. The same rolls you have, just add plus two to hit and damage.

LAURA: Oh!

MICHELLE: Dope.

LAURA: Tight!

MATT: You also find a potion of health.

SAM: (gasps)

AABRIA: Nice.

MATT: Which is a quick bonus action, 2d4 plus two healing to whoever uses it, and a mostly burned journal.

SAM: A mostly burned journal.

TALIESIN: A burned journal.

LAURA: Who here can read?

SAM: Is that a better thing--

AABRIA: It's not good.

SAM: Is that a better name for our restaurant? The Burned Journal?

AABRIA: The Burned Journal?

LAURA: The Burned Journal.

AABRIA: It has--

SAM: The Dreary Jury. The Dreary Jug and the Burned Journal. (laughter)

MICHELLE: Many items are in our taverns, that would make sense.

MATT: You could convert it into a thrift store.

AABRIA: I mean, I'm putting it on the list.

SAM: Burned Journal.

TALIESIN: I'm going to open up this burned journal and--

MATT: Okay. It is--

TALIESIN: -- briefly browse it.

MATT: Briefly browse the burned journal? Beneath the Dreary Jug? (laughs)

MICHELLE: Rolls right off the tongue.

MATT: It is heavily damaged, but skimming through, you find references to a veil between Nirn and Oblivion that has been laid thin and traversable. Other entries speak of Daedric powers bleeding through, and deeper still, a passage reads, "To keep the power of the ambitions is paramount. Such weapons of annihilation are key."

SAM: After hearing that, I remind everyone that Nirn is the planet that we live on. (laughter)

MICHELLE: Thank you, it's very hard to remember.

TALIESIN: Maybe the planet you're living on right now. Yeah, I don't--

LAURA: This sounds a lot bigger than what I thought we were getting into.

AABRIA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Like difficult to carry thing, I don't know.

SAM: What did you think we were getting into?

LAURA: I don't know, we were going to find something that was worth a lot of money or something.

AABRIA: Yeah, and give it to that guy.

MICHELLE: Yeah, that one.

TALIESIN: This sounds like it's worth a lot of money, I don't know.

MICHELLE: Oh, we can sell the journal.

LAURA: Does the burned journal say which door we should go into to find this thing?

TALIESIN: Does it say?

MATT: No, it's mostly just recipes after that.

SAM: Behind the north door was--

MICHELLE: Probably more creatures to deal with. Many small ones, so maybe skip that one for now and come back to it if it's important later?

AABRIA: Okay.

LAURA: Sure

SAM: Unless that's where--

LAURA: Let's check the other doors just to see.

SAM: Yeah, let's check the other doors.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: So we have the east door and the south door.

MATT: Those are the ones that do not have that living essence.

MICHELLE: Okay.

SAM: Are they locked?

MATT: Which one would you like to check?

SAM: I would like to go over and just sort of look at the east door.

MATT: Sure. Go ahead and make an investigation check. One thing you do notice on the east door, as you approach, is there is a symbol intricately painted on the door that appears to be a fiery rising sun.

SAM: Are there similar symbols on the other doors?

MATT: Not from what you can see. Make a history or religion check, your choice.

SAM: I'm terrible at both. Eight.

MATT: Eight. You have no idea.

SAM: Cool. I'll check the doorknob, if there is such a doorknob.

MATT: The door is closed, but it is not locked.

AABRIA: Get a skull ready.

SAM: Oh yeah.

AABRIA: Do you want to just use the big one real quick? You don't have to undo the other one.

SAM: Got a whole bunch of them here.

TALIESIN: I like that you're just pulling the scarf and they're just staying back there.

SAM: Yeah, they are. (laughter)

SAM: I'll try the other way. (laughter)

AABRIA: What if you use the sword to fling the skull?

SAM: I'll just open the door with my hand.

MICHELLE: Yay.

MATT: Okay. You go ahead and open the door, and immediately as you look within, it is a metallic set of dark metal stairs that descend in a tight spiral, like a spiral staircase, out of sight. The walls themselves have occasional carved columns in the sides of a similar Daedric architectural design. You also notice from above the door, suddenly, (loud hissing) a purple-ish fume fills the space where you stand. Anybody who would have been within five feet of our good friend here.

SAM: I will use my reaction to cast Bone Shield on myself.

MATT: Awesome! The bones get in front of your way, and the toxic---

SAM: I use the skull!

MATT: The toxic fume suffuses the porous bone you hold before you. I need you to go ahead and make a constitution saving throw.

SAM: Sure. Not good. Five, six.

MATT: Five, six. You begin to cough heavily as the poisonous gas fills your lungs. You take six points of poison damage.

SAM: But Bone Shield gives me six temporary hit points. (gasping)

MATT: That's true. So as you hold it upward, the Bone Shield itself, as it swirls around you, actually closes off possible air passages, and as such, the fumes disperse.

LAURA: A literal Bone Shield. (laughter)

MATT: With no poison damage, I'll say you also are not poisoned as from the trap would normally do.

AABRIA: Tavima is so proud of you and this excellent shield work. You shielded against air!

SAM: With a dead head!

AABRIA: That's great!

SAM: Thank you. Thank you.

TALIESIN: Defensive necromancy.

SAM: You know, servers have to be-- they have to think on their feet, they have to be aware of their surroundings, they have to be ready to deal with any sort of crisis that comes and this was just an example of that.

MICHELLE: You know, if we're thinking about themeing our restaurant, you should really use your Bone Shield as a serving platter, it'll help add to the ambiance.

SAM: Ooh, I like it. I could throw dishes at our customers on skulls.

LAURA: We can serve fajitas and you can set it on fire before you throw it!

AABRIA: That's great!

SAM: I love it!

MICHELLE: We got to work on that name, though.

TALIESIN: I have my limits.

SAM: Baked Alaska, can we do that?

TALIESIN: (unconvinced grunt) Tawdry.

MICHELLE: What's that?

SAM: It's a dessert.

AABRIA: Bananas Foster.

MICHELLE: Okay.

LAURA: Well, this staircase seems like the actual way we're supposed to go.

TALIESIN: There's this whole other room right here, though.

LAURA: I know, we should check the other door, see if there's gold in there.

SAM: I don't want to check it.

TALIESIN: He's just going to check for traps.

SAM: You guys check.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah, that'll do it. Eight.

MATT: Okay. (laughter) So, an eight. (laughter)

SAM: And it's been a great show, everyone.

MATT: So as you approach and look carefully, no, it doesn't appear to be trapped, and as you lean back on your other foot to tell your friends--

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: -- the piece of stone that was at the front of the door, gives a little bit. The weight shifts and you hear a (soft rushing). As you look back--

TALIESIN: I jump. Oh god.

MATT: -- you glance up just in time to see this cylindrical shape in the ceiling get larger and larger and larger. The rest of you watch as a stone cylinder in the roof just drops. I need you to make a dexterity saving throw.

LAURA: What if you just get squished right now and that's the end? How do you come back from being squished?

TALIESIN: Dexterity save?

MATT: Yes, please.

TALIESIN: Do I have one of those? I kind of do. Oh no. Eight again.

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: You take 15 points of bludgeoning damage and are restrained.

SAM: Because there's a thing on you.

TALIESIN: Because I'm stuck by a--

MATT: Yes. You watch this go (loud crash) and you just see full on Wile E. Coyote, arms and legs akimbo. (shouting)

MATT: And for a moment, there's no movement. Both of you make strength checks, please.

TALIESIN: (grunts)

LAURA: Oh no! (laughs)

SAM: Oh no!

LAURA: I rolled a one.

SAM: Oh no!

AABRIA: Can it be an athletics check?

MATT: No, this is not an athletic, perpetual thing. This is a singular feat of strength.

AABRIA: Yeah, eight.

LAURA: Oh god, we're so bad.

SAM: One and an eight!

MATT: You take an additional four points of bludgeoning damage as it's continuing to crush you.

LAURA: Oh no! Oh god, we're going to have to keep trying!

TALIESIN: I'm going to use Dark Exchange really quickly and give myself a little bit of healing, because oh god.

SAM: I will cast-- I will cast Spirit Mender on him using three magicka. (guttural gibberish) And I will harness my dark powers to cast this healing. It's 1d4 plus one per round.

TALIESIN: And then I'm going to use my action to cast Power Surge. Not Power Surge, I'm sorry, Force Shock.

LAURA: Oh, that's good.

SAM: You got three points--

TALIESIN: Ooh, thank you!

SAM: -- of healing.

TALIESIN: So I'm going to cast Force Shock on this thing. Everything is hard to say!

MATT: Yeah, that's how it works out. Go ahead and roll damage on that one.

SAM: The north door. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Force Shock the north shore. All right, please roll high. That's okay. That's 11 points of force damage.

MATT: Okay, I'll say as you're trying to pull from underneath, you rush forward and go ahead and summon this dark spirit, this ghastly wraith appears, and for a second, your mind goes, "Oh god, it's coming to take his soul." But it reaches out and touches the hand and you feel a little bit of strength return to you, so you heal 1d4 plus one. Yeah, and you have your thing.

SAM: Three points, yeah

MATT: And then you (grunt) push off with this blast of force and this cylinder flies off and goes arcing through the air. I need you to make a dexterity saving throw.

SAM: Oh nos!

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: With advantage, because you do see it coming.

MICHELLE: Well, okay, that's a four. And that's another four!

SAM: Oh!

MICHELLE: My dex is one.

LAURA: Did she get splatted?

MICHELLE: I got a five, y'all, total.

MATT: You take four points of bludgeoning damage. It just nicks you, it's not the full impact, it doesn't restrain you, but it does clip you and you (yells) grab your shoulder as it (loud crashing) slams into the back wall, cracking it and coming to rest there as dust begins to settle a bit.

AABRIA: We're doing great.

MICHELLE: Okay, maybe checking for traps is good.

AABRIA: Well, that was the trap, so I feel like the door is good now.

TALIESIN: I was just checking for it.

LAURA: You good, Mallory?

SAM: You get two more rounds of healing from me, so that's another three points and another three points.

AABRIA: I mean, were you holding a--

TALIESIN: That's 11 total, I think?

SAM: It was nine total.

TALIESIN: Nine total, so, all right. I think I'm at-- I think that brings me back up to 18. The math, I got a little, I'm pretty sure I'm at 18 after that.

MATT: I'll trust you.

SAM: Is 18 your full?

TALIESIN: No. It's close, though.

LAURA: I'm going to step over Mallory's body and push the door open. (laughter)

AABRIA: You've got that potion, bud. I'm just letting you know.

TALIESIN: I know.

AABRIA: Give you a little light pat.

TALIESIN: I know, I'm fine for now.

MATT: The door opens and it is a gradual decline, tight tunnel that continues on downward before evening out about 100 feet or so below.

LAURA: There's another fucking pathway!

AABRIA: Always.

LAURA: Which way do we go?

AABRIA: Can you send a bug or something to see where to go?

MICHELLE: No, I can't see what they're seeing, they do what I tell them to do. It's a little different than that. I can go down and look if you want with my darkvision.

AABRIA: You just got hit by the pillar we all saw, so no, not your own.

MICHELLE: Okay, well, we could all go down together?

AABRIA: Which one do we want to do?

SAM: My door had a fire symbol on it. Which is cool.

AABRIA: Want to do that door?

SAM: But then Mallory almost died opening this one. I feel like we should probably--

TALIESIN: I'm genuinely not invested. (laughter) If anybody's worried, I'm not invested.

AABRIA: I feel like we have to honor the sacrifice.

TALIESIN: Don't honor me. Don't.

MICHELLE: Well, there's blood on it, so anyone coming through will know we marked the door, at least.

AABRIA: That's true.

TALIESIN: Yeah. I'm fine just--

LAURA: What about the third door, though?

AABRIA: The bug door?

SAM: The one with the living things behind it?

MICHELLE: I could take care of them, if you want, but these two doors are already open.

LAURA: What if there's gold behind that door? (laughter)

MICHELLE: Okay, I'll take care of it.

SAM: No, no, no! We're going to pick from one of these two doors. We don't need the third door.

MICHELLE: Are we sure?

AABRIA: My vote is for smoosh door.

MICHELLE: Smoosh door?

AABRIA: Yeah.

SAM: I'm team fire door, but we've got one vote for each.

MATT: Smoosh door, fire door, what else we got?

LAURA: Gold door.

SAM: Okay, so--

TALIESIN: This is my decision now.

SAM: So we've got one vote each for three of the doors.

AABRIA: Yeah, all right.

MICHELLE: I choose the sun door, because it looks very pretty.

SAM and AABRIA: What's the sun door?

MICHELLE: The fire door.

SAM: The fire door, okay. I thought there was a fourth door. I was going to take a hostage. (laughter)

TALIESIN: I will admit, I want to see the cylinder door.

AABRIA: Yeah!

SAM: So we have a tie now.

MICHELLE: We have a tie. (laughter)

LAURA: It's the gold door then, right? Because I'm the only one that's got the odd vote.

TALIESIN: How about you try and open the gold door--

AABRIA: This is a caucus.

TALIESIN: -- and we see what happens?

AABRIA: You lost, so you have to pick between the other two.

TALIESIN: I say you try and open the gold door and see what happens.

AABRIA: Okay, I actually like that.

LAURA: All right, I'll go over and look for traps.

SAM: Oh, god!

MATT: Make an investigation check.

MICHELLE: Is the gold door the north door?

MATT: Yes.

MICHELLE: Oh god.

LAURA: Investigation, 15.

MATT: 15. Does not appear to be trapped. It looks like there is a slight gap. It's not locked, but it is wedged or it is caught in some way. It might be pulled open forcefully, but there's a slight gap in the door that you can just--

LAURA: Can I hear any creature right behind it?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: Perception, huh? (laughs) Seven.

MATT: Seven. You hear the occasional-- (shuffling)

LAURA: All right, all right, all right. I got an idea. You pull open the door (laughter)

AABRIA: A little more thought out, but go ahead.

LAURA: And I'll stand over to the side. (laughs)

MICHELLE: Actually, I--

LAURA: No, no, no.

AABRIA: Honestly, I respect. I got you, I got you.

LAURA: I had an idea, then I realized you're within 10 feet of me.

SAM: How'd you come up with that?

LAURA: No-- Okay. (laughter)

MICHELLE: If I may--

SAM: Did you guys work on that?

AABRIA: We've been working on this teamwork for a while.

MICHELLE: I can set a trap, too.

LAURA: You open the door, and I'm going to get ready to cast Stone Fist as soon as the door opens.

AABRIA: Doesn't Stone Fist just protect you from stuff?

LAURA: No, no, no! That's Hardened Armor, baby.

AABRIA: No, it's cool, I feel--

LAURA: But I'm afraid you're going to take some damage.

AABRIA: No, we're good. I'm into it. Can I ready a spell?

LAURA: Oh god.

AABRIA: As I open the door, or nah?

MATT: Yeah, I'll allow it..

LAURA: Same. As soon as the door comes open, I'm going to get ready to slam my battleaxe down onto the ground.

MATT: Whoever's pulling the door open, that's your action, you wouldn't be able to ready something for that.

AABRIA: Okay.

MATT: But anybody else can ready.

AABRIA: I'm not readying anything and I'm opening it anyway, here we go.

MATT: Go ahead and make a strength check for me, please.

AABRIA: Yay. Can it be athletics, please?

MATT: Sure.

AABRIA: Thanks. 15.

MATT: 15. (laughter)

MATT: (grunting) Pop! Oh, something in the shoulder popped. (groans)

LAURA: Oh, that's super wedged. Super wedged.

MATT: You felt it move a little bit, you were super close.

AABRIA: I warmed it up.

MATT: Like one off. (pop) And it pops back in.

TALIESIN: Ooh.

AABRIA: That's fresh. Okay. I'm going to need a second.

LAURA: Just give her a little--

AABRIA: Yeah, thank you, thank you.

LAURA: A little on the back.

MATT: The heavy shifting, you hear this little sound come through the crack. (squeaking)

LAURA: Sounds like rats.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LAURA: Spiders. That's not bad.

MICHELLE: Yes. If you want, I could set a trap in front of the door from this side and then we open the door. If they come rushing out, they'll get caught in that trap.

TALIESIN: That's a great idea.

LAURA: That's great!

MICHELLE: But we do still have to figure out how to open the door without crossing the trap.

LAURA: Okay. What if you ready the spell, I open the door, you set the trap?

MICHELLE: Okay, let's try that one.

LAURA: Okay.

AABRIA: Do you want to open it?

MICHELLE: Watch your shoulder.

AABRIA: Can I help? Together?

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

AABRIA: I'll help you.

LAURA: Try together.

MATT: All right, so you're getting your trap ready?

MICHELLE: All right, it's ready. (laughs) Sorry, I'm reading. I didn't know you were waiting for me.

SAM: Good drama. Good drama.

MICHELLE: It's called Barbed Trap and it's ready now. (laughs)

MATT: All right. So you got yourself prepped. Both of you make strength checks or one of you makes it with advantage, your choice.

AABRIA: No, roll it with advantage, go, go, go!

LAURA: Are you sure?

AABRIA: I'm super sure.

LAURA: (laughs ruefully) This ain't gonna work, unless it got better because you-- 13! (grinding)

MATT: It pulls an additional inch.

SAM: An inch.

LAURA: Come on!

MATT: But not fully open.

AABRIA: This door sucks!

MATT: You begin to see little snouts that begin trying to push through the crack. It is-- you expect rats. But these are larger noses and you see faint bits of a greenish glow as they peek through.

TALIESIN: I got a great idea. I'm just going to look inside, I'm not going to get super close, I'm just going to try and get a vantage and I'm going to cast Lightning Splash on the other side of the door.

AABRIA: Yeah!

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: That's good.

MATT: There is enough space there to fit a trap.

AABRIA: Is this a castable situation?

TALIESIN: I can put a 10-foot sphere 60 feet away.

AABRIA: Get it!

LAURA: Yes.

MATT: All right. And you could probably fit a trap in there, if you wanted to.

MICHELLE: Yes, I would like to do my barbed trap, also.

MATT: Okay.

MICHELLE: At your leisure.

MATT: So it is a DC what for you?

MICHELLE: For me, it is a DC 13 dex saving.

AABRIA: We are very dead.

LAURA: Man!

AABRIA: We ain't strong.

MATT: Nope.

TALIESIN: DC 14 for me.

MATT: No.

LAURA: We kicked butt in that fight though.

MATT: Yes.

AABRIA: We crushed it, we got somebody's skull.

MATT: And yes. Then for you it's DC 14?

TALIESIN: Mm-hmm.

MATT: Yes. Yes. Nope. Nope. Wow, it's a full inverse on both points. All right, so go ahead and roll damage.

MICHELLE: I did, it's eight, and if they take damage they also stop moving and are grappled until it breaks free.

MATT: Nice! So as you chuck the trap in there, it goes-- and sets off all these screams and screeches right as this burst of energy from inside. Go ahead and roll damage for you.

TALIESIN: 14.

MATT: All righty. Even halved, you hear this sudden swirling cavalcade of screeches and screams. (chittering and screaming) Scrambling. Silence.

AABRIA: Yay!

LAURA: Nice.

AABRIA: We opened it the exact right amount and I am proud of us. And I push my shoulder back into its socket one more time.

MATT: (laughs)

TALIESIN: I'm going to get a little closer to the crack. Oh no, I'm right here, I'm so edible, ah!

MATT: Make a persuasion or deception check. Your choice.

AABRIA: He is edible.

MATT: Because you are edible and you are very close. You can make persuasion if you'd like. I'm not that edible, you would have to really cook. (laughter) I know where I've been.

MATT: Dealer's choice.

TALIESIN: 16.

MATT: 16. I mean, somebody believed that. But no response.

TALIESIN: Yeah, the void does not believe it then, okay. I think we're good. Let's--

SAM: Open this door.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Let's axe maybe and--

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

AABRIA: Well don't break the good axe, hold on. We got this, one more.

LAURA: Yeah, we'll just brace our feet on the side.

AABRIA: Yeah! Just get on the side!

LAURA: And then get the extra.

AABRIA: Big pull!

TALIESIN: I back up 10 feet.

SAM: I'll throw a skull at it just to see if I can knock it a little.

MATT: Go for it. All right, so go ahead and roll an attack and you guys go ahead and roll.

AABRIA: Can I roll with advantage on this one?

LAURA: Yes!

AABRIA: Thank you. Okay. There we go. 22.

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: 22. You go ahead and it slams open. What'd you roll?

SAM: 11.

MATT: 11. You miss the door entirely. (laughter) It goes into the room and--

SAM: I need that skull! (laughter)

MATT: And-- (explosion) the skull shatters in fire.

SAM: But if it hits, I get it back.

MATT: Correct, but you missed. So it shatters on the wall. (laughs)

SAM: Was that my skull or one of the ones--? It doesn't matter, I got four left, I'm okay. (laughter)

AABRIA: We can go get it, it's right there.

SAM: No, it blows up. It blew up.

LAURA: We could get maybe some of the rat skulls.

SAM: Oh yeah! I'll use these little guys.

LAURA: And those are much easier to throw. (laughter)

AABRIA: Yeah, what are these?

TALIESIN: It's like the kid at the museum keeps throwing their doll in inappropriate places and then crying. (laughter)

MATT: Immediately, you can see from the flash of flame and the lanterns you're carrying with you, it is about a 15 by 15-foot storage chamber. You can see there's tumbled and rotten grains, long-toppled water jugs that have since emptied and dried out leaving this faint residue of long, stale water. And you see an armored and fresher, if mostly-eaten corpse that is propped up in the corner. Bones picked of flesh and elements of the armor torn open and these rats apparently had eaten what remained of him.

SAM: Were they just normal rats?

MATT: Looking upon their bodies, they are larger and given this odd, bone-like protrusions in their body, not dissimilar to the large crocodile beast you had fought, which-- make a religion or history check.

SAM: I'm great at those.

AABRIA: You got it.

SAM: Natural one. (laughter)

MATT: These are some creepy rats, dude. (laughter)

SAM: I'll try to pop off a little mini skull.

MATT: With a little work, you can. You can. There is one giant bleached skull that is mostly pulled of flesh that had been eaten off of it from the rats that is just going.

SAM: Oh, I'll go get that guy.

MATT: Okay. You pop that off.

LAURA: Is there any emblem or anything on the armor that looks familiar?

MATT: You can see, the armor is dark grayish leather but it is worn beneath a set of reddish, deep crimson robes.

AABRIA: (whispers) Aw, crap.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

LAURA: Natural 20.

AABRIA: Yeah!

TALIESIN: Yeah!

MATT: Amongst the tattered refuse, both rotted flesh and terrifying rat droppings, you see a mask, a scarred, almost featureless gray mask with eyeholes that is left there amongst the pile around this corpse. You also discover that, beneath the armor, there is a nicely, well-made silk robe. The armor was more ornamental over an actual thick robe, as well as a singular potion of health and stamina that when it heals you-- or if you drink it, you gain 1d6 + one hit points back and one stamina.

LAURA: Ooh.

MATT: And, because you rolled so high, an odd, flat, circular stone with an unfamiliar symbol carved into it. You can make a history or religion check, if you'd like.

LAURA: 18.

TALIESIN: Whoa.

MATT: 18. This is letter Oht. O-H-T in the Daedric alphabet and the symbol most commonly associated with the Void of Oblivion.

LAURA: (gasps) Uh-oh.

LAURA: It's oht. (laughter)

SAM: I remind Grelnok that we live on the planet Nirn. (laughter)

LAURA: This ain't good.

MICHELLE: Yes, I think it looks similar to the symbols I saw on the outside of that large door. So this is probably a bad place to create a theme park escape room, maybe.

SAM: Well, I don't know. The place used to be called The Dreary Jug. Maybe we call it the Oht Jugs, you know? No?

AABRIA: No. I'm not writing that one down.

SAM: Nope?

AABRIA: I'm not going to.

MATT: Hoa, if you could, you make a history/religion check since you made the Daedric connection earlier and with the stone in your hand, with what Grelnok has noted.

MICHELLE: That's a dirty 20.

AABRIA: Hey.

MATT: This symbol, the fiery sun rising on the other door that was opened, there was something about it that was tickling your mind. You couldn't quite place it, but now seeing the connection of the Daedric architecture, this stone to Oblivion, the Daedric beast that you fought, that is known in places to be the emblem of Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of darkness and destruction.

LAURA: Uh-oh.

MICHELLE: So there's a prince of darkness, and I think he or they rule over this place or the people who visit here. So this is super bad news. But maybe there's still treasure, I don't know. How does this all-- what does this mean for us and-- us just trying to find some money at this point?

AABRIA: Feels like a better chance to find money.

LAURA: I'm taking the mask.

MICHELLE: Okay.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: I'm taking this robe.

AABRIA: I want those-- yeah, okay, sweet.

TALIESIN: Take a look at that mask.

LAURA: Anybody, robes, robes?

AABRIA: I mean I do like-- I like red.

MICHELLE: I throw the stone into the meat sack that I have.

MATT: Into the meat sack, okay.

MICHELLE: The beef jerky.

MATT: (laughs) Those are considered spider silk robes, which are plus one to AC and saves. (exclaiming)

MICHELLE: What?

SAM: And it's red and you were just talking about how you hated your outfit before.

AABRIA: Yeah, I do feel better. It's the ruffles, it's hard to pull doors open.

SAM: Yeah, this is great.

MICHELLE: There's a Pretty Woman montage.

AABRIA: Is it okay, can I keep these?

LAURA: Yeah.

AABRIA: Do I look okay?

TALIESIN: It looks very good.

LAURA: You look good, baby.

AABRIA: Thank you.

SAM: If possible, Matt, this sash is not working for me. (laughter) Instead, I'm going to take the skulls and try to jam them on all my spikes that are all over my body. See if I can make them stay.

MICHELLE: Oh god.

MATT: All right. Go ahead and make a dexterity check for me.

SAM: Okay, come on, this is my roll. 10.

MATT: It takes you a little bit and at a couple points, your companions watch and figure you need a little help there and it was more of a communal effort, but all together, you eventually-- much like the friend at the Comic-Con Masquerade who needs a group to help him put his costume on.

AABRIA: Yeah, handlers.

MATT: Together, you eventually have assembled the Skullmeister.

LAURA: (laughs)

AABRIA: Yes.

MICHELLE: Final form.

SAM: I'm here to take your order. (laughter)

MATT: You're halfway to--

LAURA: You look friendly.

SAM: Great.

AABRIA: Looks good.

SAM: Great, all right.

TALIESIN: So I'm trying on this mask. I'm seeing what it does, if it feels good, I don't know.

MATT: I mean, it fits. It doesn't seem to have any sort of... pertinent energy to it.

LAURA: Does it smell bad?

MATT: It smells pretty awful, but no different than the rest of the chamber that it was found in and the pile of refuse and filth that it was pulled from.

AABRIA: Wait, does it smell in here?

TALIESIN: Yes.

AABRIA: It's fine, we're fine.

LAURA: We're fine. Anything else in the room in any of the grain--

TALIESIN: You should always break the pots and the water jugs.

MATT: You feel like you searched pretty thoroughly with that roll. So most everything else in here is rotted materials for whoever might have been the previous denizens of this subterranean chamber.

LAURA: Tight.

SAM: We still have the conundrum of the two other doors.

AABRIA: Hot spot.

LAURA: Fiery door.

AABRIA: Yeah, I change my vote to hot spot.

MICHELLE: Now we know that symbol is connected with this stone and the prince of darkness.

SAM: Okay.

MICHELLE: We know where we're going.

SAM: Great, great.

MICHELLE: Okay.

AABRIA: Oh no.

SAM: Who will lead us?

MATT: Where are you trekking?

SAM: Into the door with the symbol on it. This door.

MATT: All righty.

AABRIA: I'm feeling splashy, I can do it, I got it.

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: Okay.

AABRIA: I open the door. Wait, can I check for traps first? (snorts)

MICHELLE: No.

AABRIA: Please?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

AABRIA: Oh god.

LAURA: Does it reset?

SAM: I already opened that door.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: The door is open.

AABRIA: I still check, I get really nervous.

SAM: It's a spiral staircase.

MATT: Double, triple check is never a bad thing.

AABRIA: Yeah, okay. 19.

MATT: 19, looking about it, you can see there is definitely a trap mechanism for the doorframe that involves when the door is opened, if the weight clutch on top of the door is shifted out of the way, like your necromancer friend did earlier. However, currently it is not reset and requires manual resetting. So you feel pretty confident moving through right now would be fine.

AABRIA: Okay.

SAM: Awesome.

AABRIA: I think we're good.

LAURA: You've got darkvision, right?

AABRIA: No. We have torches, right?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Yeah, we got a torch.

LAURA: Yeah. I'll take rear.

AABRIA: Cool.

MATT: All right, so you're up front, who all's next?

AABRIA: No, I'm up front.

MATT: Oh, you're up front, sorry.

LAURA: I'm in the back.

MATT: You're in the back. So you said "rear," got you, not front. All right, so front, who's after Tavima?

TALIESIN: I'll go after her.

MATT: All right. So you have Tavima, Mallory, Hoa.

SAM: I'm just walking around like the kid in A Christmas Story. (laughter)

TALIESIN: And the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

MATT: Got it. Okay.

MICHELLE: Wonderful.

MATT: Descending down this metallic spiral staircase deeper and deeper below, the shadows that greet you beyond the torch and lantern light that you carry begin to shift away as sconces begin to appear, still slightly glowing of orange embers and a slight smell of smoke and charcoal begins to seep into the air. (footsteps) Tavima, as you're the first descending these stairs, weapon at the ready, you begin to hear sounds echoing from deep below. Sounds like the scraping of metal on metal. Occasionally a heavy echoing grunt and a shout.

AABRIA: Door struggles, got it.

MATT: Deeper and deeper still you travel, 60, 80, 100 feet beneath as the noises get louder and louder. (metallic clanking) (screams) (grunts) (yells) (growls) (groans) (scraping)

SAM: No! No! No.

AABRIA: I just hold the group: Let's see who wins and we'll clean it up after.

MATT: It gets louder and louder to the point where you stop and you-- Make a perception check for me.

AABRIA: Natural one.

LAURA: Oh!

MATT: Natural one. They're probably quite a ways down below. You can travel pretty far without--

AABRIA: We're good, okay.

MATT: -- worrying about feeling safe. So you guys all continue down and you turn one corner and all of a sudden Tavima, you turn and you're just in a room, like you literally just stepped into the door. Oh, oh. There is this wide, wide chamber. This somewhat square-like structure. (ominous music)

AABRIA: No, music.

MATT: 70 feet across on each side and it rises up like a reverse pyramid to an apex about 70 feet above you. You can see chains dangling and that Daedric architecture begins to coalesce towards the top. In the middle of this on a rise-stepped chamber, you see four bodies strewn about, bloody and not moving. Some burned and charred with smoke still fresh off their corpses. You can see them all wearing similar robes as the one you saw on the corpses that had been strewn about the previous chambers you've been to and the one that you're currently wearing. Masks tossed on the floor. In the center of the room you hear a voice shout, "The time for ambitions is now! We come to prove ourselves!" And you look up and see there is amongst-- still standing in a similar garb to these other figures, but in heavier armor, a figure with a massive two-handed sword makes a giant swing, mask on their face towards a 12-foot humanoid, bestial, Daedric monster with four massive, muscular, armored arms and you can see it has this crest with multiple twisting horns off the top of its head. Its red-scaled body and toothy mouth open, screaming as they're both just trading blows. The figure streaks wide with a secondary hit and you watch as it catches the blade in the shoulder, the creature-- (roars) roars and grabs both of this entity's arms and begins to pull and the figure-- (screams) screams as boom, the arms are torn from his sockets. With that, the body falls to the ground and is-- (groans) yelling in pain as it's trying to back away with its feet as the creature throws the arms to the side and then stomps and smashes the head onto the stonework. You're all just like, "What did I just step into?"

AABRIA: I turn around to the group: (whispering) This isn't where we're supposed to be.

MATT: As soon as you're saying that, behind over the shoulder of Tavima, the creature goes-- (snarls)

AABRIA: Did it see us?

LAURA: Oh no, no, no.

MATT: Everyone roll initiative for me.

LAURA: Oh no!

MICHELLE: We could just turn around and close the door, right?

LAURA: This is bad.

TALIESIN: Come on, come on.

AABRIA: Is there a door? I would just like to slowly--

TALIESIN: Yes!

SAM: This is going to be such a good restaurant, you guys.

AABRIA: What does this thing do again? Just a reminder on the robes?

LAURA: Plus one to AC.

MATT: Plus one to AC and plus one to all saving throws.

AABRIA: Cool, perfect.

LAURA: That's great.

AABRIA: Love that.

MATT: All righty, so. 25 to 2O?

TALIESIN: 21.

MATT: Oh, look at that, Mallory atop, all righty. 20 to 15? 15 to 10?

LAURA: 12.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Oh my god.

SAM: Oh boy.

MATT: All righty, 10 to five?

AABRIA: Six.

MICHELLE: Five. (laughter)

MATT: Tavima.

AABRIA: Sir?

MATT: And then Hoa. And--?

SAM: Four.

MATT: Oh, buddy. Slaughter. (laughter)

MICHELLE: Whomp whomp.

MATT: All righty, top of the round. As an immediate reaction as you're all staring at this climactic battle happening in the bottom of this subterranean chamber, still barely piecing together what any of this may or might mean, in search of coin, you found yourself pulled into something maybe a bit beyond what you had expected. But nevertheless, here you are with the being noticing your presence and up top is Mallory, what are you doing? With Grelnok on deck.

TALIESIN: I feel like this is somebody else's business, but oh boy. This is not what we needed. I'm going to start with a Lightning Splash right in the center of this thing.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: That's a DC 14.

MATT: 14, that's a failure.

TALIESIN: Come on. 11 points of lightning damage.

MATT: 11 points lightning damage, nice. It's like-- (growls) has his forearms out flex angrily with clawed fingertips and then suddenly-- (whoosh), the sphere bursts with energy, arcing through its body. (crackling) (snarls) (roars)

LAURA: Oh god.

SAM: Yikes.

TALIESIN: I understand that, I'm going to back up.

MATT: Up into the stairs a bit?

TALIESIN: Yeah, as I do, I'm tapping your sword again to give you Crystal Weapon.

AABRIA: Thank you.

TALIESIN: Use that quickly is what I'd recommend, okay.

MATT: Nice. Grelnok, you're up.

LAURA: Uh-huh. How far away is this creature?

MATT: From you right now, about 45 feet.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: 40 feet, I'd say.

LAURA: 40 feet, all right.

AABRIA: Get in there.

LAURA: I'm going to run forward 20 feet.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: And I'm going to-- I'm going to swing out my Molten Whip and try to (whoosh) and whip the creature and snag it.

MATT: Slick, all right.

LAURA: Because it's up higher than us, right?

MATT: It is a little bit on a raised platform, about maybe five or six feet above.

LAURA: Yeah, so maybe if I can whip it and try to yank it down the hill, it'll take some damage.

MATT: Go for it, go ahead and roll for your attack on that. Is that spell attack?

LAURA: That's a spell, yes. (cackles) Nine.

MATT: (whip crack) You throw the whip out and at first, you think it strikes, but instead, it wraps it around one of its wide arms, the flames licking the side of its forearm and it goes (growls) and you it about to pull you forward.

LAURA: I let go of the whip.

MATT: You let go and with that, the Molten Whip just de-apparates.

SAM: That's all right.

LAURA: Okay. That's my action. For my bonus action...

MATT: Mm-hmm?

SAM: What other weapon will you give-- (laughter) - to the creature?

MICHELLE: -- Fish and whips.

LAURA: I'm going to use my-- oh god. Well you know, I'm going to use my last magicka point and cast Hardened Armor on myself just in case it comes running at me.

MATT: Good call, you got it. All righty, so that finishes up your turn, Grelnok. It is now the ruinach monster's turn.

AABRIA: Oh, hey buddy.

MATT: You're 20 feet ahead of the rest of the group.

LAURA: Yes, I am.

MATT: You've backed up the stairs. It moves forward about 15 feet, 20 feet, gets right up into your space and as it's stepping (stomping), its two lower arms begin to swirl around and as it does, you see flames beginning to curl in summon and Hoa-- (laughs)

MICHELLE: Why me?

MATT: Tavima and Slaughter.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: The ground beneath you begins to get extremely warm and as you glance down, you can see the stone and marble beneath you beginning to burn bright orange before-- (crashes) a column of burning fire suddenly just swirls around you. I need the three of you to make dexterity saving throws for me, please.

MICHELLE: Our only crime was being slow.

MATT: Yep.

SAM: Am I allowed to Bone Shield myself?

MATT: As a--?

SAM: Reaction?

MATT: Yeah, you would.

SAM: Okay. I'll Bone Shield myself.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: But I will also roll, ooh, a 20.

AABRIA: Okay.

SAM: On my saving throw.

MATT: Okay, so you take half damage on that. So you would take four points of fire damage.

SAM: But I just got seven temporary hit points.

MATT: You have three more.

MICHELLE: I rolled a 10.

MATT: A 10. So you take eight points of fire damage.

MICHELLE: Mm-hm.

AABRIA: 12.

MATT: Eight points of fire damage to you.

MICHELLE: Not looking good over here.

MATT: You're all feeling a little singed there in a brief moment and as it stands now, the flame's pulled upward in front of you. The heat's in your face within the proximity, Grelnok. The creature now glancing over top of you to the friends now looking singed and burned. It chuckles (deep cackling) and looks down towards you. (snarls) You can see rows and rows of spiky teeth in its open jaw. That finishes its go, which brings it to Tavima with Hoa on deck.

AABRIA: Really? Okay. Yeah, shoot. Do I have a sense of-- is fire not going to mess with this thing that much?

MATT: You do not know. It seems to be able to summon fire, but your experience in the world is things that use fire doesn't necessarily always mean that they are--

AABRIA: Honestly same, I am a burned proof of that. Okay, we'll start with a Backlash. It's a DC 15 con save.

MATT: You got it. That is a failure at 13.

AABRIA: Yes, beautiful, beautiful. For three points of fire damage.

MATT: Three points of fire damage.

AABRIA: Hate to see it.

MATT: The light spreads and as opposed to the deep red flames that it summoned, this is a bright solar flare-like fire that burns and sears and as it does, you can see it settling on its shoulders like a faint arcane mantle and you see its eyes (snarls) reeling from it.

AABRIA: Okay. And then yeah, let's hit it with Sun Fire while we're here.

MATT: You got it.

AABRIA: Cool. Okay, please, please, please, please, please. No, 14.

MATT: 14 is exactly its armor class. He's a big dude, he's a big dude.

AABRIA: All right, all right, all right. 13 points of fire damage.

MATT: 13 points of fire damage.

AABRIA: And is there any other enemy--? No, no, no, because it ran forward. Are there any of the other red-robed guys within five feet?

SAM: Red-robed, red-robed, red-robed.

MATT: They are all unconscious or dead.

MICHELLE: Boof.

AABRIA: I did say what I said, are there any within five feet?

MATT: I'd say yeah, there's one right behind him that he stepped over.

AABRIA: I'm going to hit it with a d6 of damage. Just like, I don't--

MATT: Sure, yeah, go for it.

AABRIA: Six points.

MATT: Six points. (whoosh) The body is just in flames, cinders.

AABRIA: All right.

SAM: Nice.

AABRIA: I feel good about that.

SAM: Sure.

MATT: (laughs)

AABRIA: I'm done.

MATT: You got it, all right, Hoa, you're up. Slaughter, you're on deck.

SAM: Oh no.

MICHELLE: Whoever is near me, I want to do a 10-foot sphere of Frost Cloak. So who can be near me right now?

MATT: Right now, Tavima is near you because Tavima hasn't moved from the spot previously and Slaughter is near you. The other two members have darted off a bit.

MICHELLE: All right. Everyone just, as the humans say, stay cool. I wrap my arms in a big motion and frost comes from my fingers and a Cloak of Frost wraps around you, giving you a plus one to your AC and also you're resistant to cold damage, which doesn't do a lot of good, however--

TALIESIN: Things could get weird.

MICHELLE: The frost stays on you and every time you are hit by a melee attack by an enemy, you do three cold damage to them automatically.

SAM: Oh, nice.

LAURA: Nice.

AABRIA: Beautiful.

MICHELLE: It lasts for 10 minutes.

MATT: Hell yeah.

SAM: Great.

MICHELLE: And I think I-- Should I move away from the lava land? Is there a safe-looking spot that's not near the monster and not near lava place where we're standing?

MATT: You could either back up the stairs with Mallory or you could head to the side of the chamber and flank off to the side. You have enough room where you'd be able to move into the chamber and still stay within eyeshot--

MICHELLE: I'll do that.

MATT: -- but out of the battle.

MICHELLE: So I can cast later.

MATT: Okay. So you charge and then dart off to the side and you're now on the right-hand side of this large, square chamber, you got it. All right, finishing Hoa's turn. Slaughter, you're up with Mallory on deck.

SAM: I'll angle left, move a little bit. I'll pull a skull off of my body.

MATT: All right.

SAM: I think I've been-- You know what? I've been untrue to myself. I've been using my necrotic powers to fuel these flaming skulls but I haven't been using the greatest power of all, the power of the waiter. So I will yell into the skull: One stack of Vermont dry stack. Adam and Eve on a raft. Four on two over easy, fire that order! And I'll throw the skull.

LAURA: So stupid.

MATT: Go for it.

LAURA: He's just--

SAM: Natural one! (laughter) (laughter)

AABRIA: No! (laughter)

MATT: Sam!

TALIESIN: That was amazing!

AABRIA: Sammy Riegel, no. (laughter)

MICHELLE: Burn those skulls!

LAURA: Oh my god.

TALIESIN: Oh no.

MATT: You throw the skull and as it leaves your fingers, (whooshing) the creature is currently focused on Grelnok and you see-- Oh, it's heading right for it.

SAM: Yes.

MATT: (whooshing) One of its side arms just catches the skull in midair and it-- (growls) (crunches) and just crushes it into skull dust in its fists.

LAURA: (groans)

AABRIA: Yikes.

MATT: That's your action. (laughter)

TALIESIN: So sorry.

SAM: I have not much left, and I don't really-- nope, that's it. I can infuse my weapon with healing powers, but I don't hit anything, so it won't really help.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: That's it.

MATT: All right, Slaughter's done. Mallory, you're up with Grelnok on deck.

TALIESIN: I'm going to step forward a bit so I can get another good view and I'm going to do what I did last time with Lightning Splash.

MATT: You got it.

TALIESIN: Except I'm going to add a power surge.

MATT: Oh! It's a dexterity, you said?

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: It's 12.

TALIESIN: (gasps) Yeah. So let's see what we can do. That's okay. 13 points of lightning damage.

MATT: 13 points of lightning damage. As its crushing the skull in its fist and it's gloating a bit in your direction-- (growls) (crashes) The blast hits it on the other side and-- (snarls) You can see it's getting frustrated and angry and swinging its fists about. You're having to dart back to not be slammed as they're swirling around.

TALIESIN: Is there any cover to be had or is there no cover to be had?

MATT: You can move in, do that, and then move back out if you'd like.

TALIESIN: Just a step, I have a plan for next round.

MATT: You just step to the side, you still have a little bit of a view. You have half cover.

TALIESIN: How are you doing?

MICHELLE: Oh, I'm pretty-- I'm a nine out of 21.

TALIESIN: How far away?

MATT: She's about 20, 25 feet from you.

TALIESIN: Could I make it do you think or no?

MATT: If you don't move back, you could probably get to her.

TALIESIN: I'm going to make that run and hand off a potion. Actually bonus action, can I use a potion on someone else for a bonus?

MATT: It's an action to use it on somebody else. It's a bonus action for them to use it.

MICHELLE: What if he opens the bottle, throws and I open my mouth, and it's--?

MATT: We can do that, but that's a check.

MICHELLE: Never mind, just give it to me. (laughter)

MATT: I'm totally open for trying it.

TALIESIN: There you go.

MICHELLE: I have not been rolling well.

MATT: Why not turn this into a 90s Gatorade commercial? Let's do this.

TALIESIN: That's a bonus action next turn.

MATT: Now you are both out in the open on the right-hand side of this chamber and that ends your turn, Mallory?

TALIESIN: Yeah, if I can step away, I will, but if not--

MATT: No, it takes your full movement to get up to her to pass that off. All right, so that finishes your go. Grelnok, you're up.

AABRIA: Let's go.

LAURA: All right.

AABRIA: You got this.

SAM: Come on.

LAURA: I'm going to just swipe down with a Venomous Claw.

MATT: (laughs)

LAURA: As my bonus action.

MATT: You got it. Go for it, roll.

LAURA: That would be... 15.

MATT: 15 hits.

LAURA: Oh good. Good. Ooh, that's nice. 14 plus six is 20 points plus--

MATT: Nice.

LAURA: Three. 23 points of poison damage.

MATT: (snarls) You strike down the front of its armored chest and the armor breaks a bit. Some of the chains go free, dangling and in that thick, reddish-orange, armored hide across its torso, there's this series of black gash marks that begin to seep this dark purplish-black ichor from within it. (slurps) Drip down.

LAURA: I take my battleaxe and slam it into the gash.

MATT: Go for it.

LAURA: (suggestive chuckle)

MATT: Damn it, Laura.

LAURA: Oh ho ho ho ho ho. That would be 25.

MATT: That hits.

LAURA: And I'm going to spend a stamina point, another stamina point and get an extra d8 damage on that.

MATT: You got it.

LAURA: So that's nine plus seven. 16 points.

MATT: 16 points of damage.

TALIESIN: Wow.

MATT: So after striking downward, it (groans) reels back and takes a step onto its back leg to catch itself and with that, you use that opening (thud) and jam it down and the axe only sinks maybe an inch or two into the chest at the first impact and then you just push forward into it and sink it another inch and it (snarls) yells out in pain from the impact. You're starting to see some wear and tear on this being.

SAM: Okay, okay.

LAURA: Nice. I'm going to wipe my mouth.

SAM: Ooh.

LAURA: And say: Yeah.

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: I don't know what I do.

AABRIA: Dope.

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: That finishes your turn?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: With my axe in it.

SAM: The Axe Gash, what do you think for a restaurant name?

AABRIA: I write that down.

MICHELLE: I yell: Write it down!

MATT: You watch as it now reaches behind its back with one hand and (swoosh) pulled from the ether, a longsword emerges in one hand and it's going to go ahead and make a longsword strike and three claw strikes against you.

AABRIA: Oh shoot, I should've gotten up there, I'm sorry.

LAURA: I'm resistant to all of these.

MATT: That's good to know.

MATT: Well, the first is a 21 to hit with the longsword.

LAURA: It hits.

AABRIA: Don't forget about the plus one from Hoa.

LAURA: From what?

SAM: From Hoa.

MICHELLE: I don't think you were in the area.

LAURA: I wasn't in the area.

AABRIA: Aw, crap!

LAURA: But any hit that I take does get a d4 plus one force damage because of my Hardened Armor.

AABRIA: Dank.

MATT: That's great.

SAM: Hardened Armor.

MATT: So that is seven points of slashing damage for the longsword.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Which you said is halved?

LAURA: Halved.

MATT: So it's three.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: That's great.

TALIESIN: That's the first d4 you get.

LAURA: Oh, and then a d4. Ooh, four plus one is five damage to it.

MATT: Nice.

AABRIA: Let's go.

MATT: That's a natural 20.

AABRIA: (gasps)

SAM: Oh boy.

MATT: With one of its claw strikes. Ooh.

MATT: 14 points of slashing damage, reduced to seven.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: And another d4.

LAURA: And then another... Four points of force damage.

SAM: Whoa.

MATT: Four points of force damage.

MICHELLE: That was good.

MATT: That is going to be 17 to hit.

LAURA: 17 armor class.

AABRIA: No!

LAURA: Dang, I wish I had the thing.

AABRIA: Dang it!

MATT: Eight points of slash damage reduced to four. Last hit.

LAURA: Wait, wait, wait. Five points of force damage.

MATT: Five points of force damage.

AABRIA: Oh my god!

MATT: And that's going to be 18 to hit.

LAURA: (sighs) Okay, shit.

MATT: That's going to be six points of slashing damage reduced to three.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: How are you doing?

AABRIA: How are you doing, buddy?

MICHELLE: That was a lot.

LAURA: Two points of force damage to it.

MATT: You got it.

LAURA: I'm still up, but I'm hurt.

MATT: They're trading blows. There's flashes of energy off, as they're both just hitting and striking her, you watching as Grelnok is taking hits and still holding strong. The blood's starting to spit out of her mouth as she's holding her front point. That finishes the creature's turn. That brings us to Tavima.

AABRIA: I'm sorry, did I waste my chance for...

TALIESIN: I can't tell. I think it gets used when you actually activate it, and then it's done.

AABRIA: Okay, cool.

TALIESIN: I can't quite tell.

MATT: Here, I'll give you the notes on that. This is for Crystal Weapon?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

SAM: Crystal Weapon.

MATT: The duration is one round.

TALIESIN: But is that the one round of its use? Or is it just the charge, and if you don't use it--

MATT: If you don't it in the next round, it goes away.

TALIESIN: All right, so yeah, it's gone.

AABRIA: Sorry, so sorry. I'm going to run up and shield charge it.

MATT: Go for it, yeah.

AABRIA: Okay, okay. 14.

MATT: 14 is its armor class.

AABRIA: Cool, cool, cool. 15 points of bludgeoning damage.

SAM: Amazing.

MATT: Nice.

AABRIA: And then make a DC 13 strength save.

MATT: All righty.

AABRIA: Or getting knocked prone, buddy.

MATT: It rolls a 15.

AABRIA: Yeah, okay.

MATT: This guy's pretty...

AABRIA: It's huge.

MATT: It's pretty beefy.

LAURA: Are we flanking it?

AABRIA: Ooh, yeah, I would have tried to come over to the side to get to the side. I don't know if that means anything.

MATT: You wouldn't be able to flank--

LAURA: Oh.

AABRIA: Okay.

MATT: With your movement because you didn't quite catch up entirely from where she was up front because you stayed back and blasted it, so it will take your full movement to get up and to the side, but you're not flanking it.

AABRIA: Got it, okay.

MATT: So you rush to the side and just Captain America slam it into the side with your shield in front, and it (groans) takes the impact.

AABRIA: Okay, it still takes five points of fire damage from Backlash as that goes down through.

MATT: Indeed, yeah, it does. Nice.

AABRIA: Shoot. And I will burn one more stamina to puncture it.

MATT: Okay.

AABRIA: So DC 14 dex save.

MATT: No, six.

AABRIA: Yes, okay. 10 points--

MATT: Damn!

AABRIA: -- of piercing damage.

MATT: Are you puncturing it with the shield?

AABRIA: With the center of the shield, had that little spiky boy on it. I'm like--

LAURA: Yeah, that's cool.

MATT: (groans) As you pull back, it leaves this (slurps) splattering trail. You hit something, something nasty in there.

AABRIA: Ooh yeah.

MATT: Hell yeah.

AABRIA: That's it.

MATT: All right. Finishes your turn. Hoa, you're up. Slaughter, you're on deck.

MICHELLE: Okay, so the potion is a bonus action, right, to take it?

MATT: Correct.

MICHELLE: What is it again, a one?

MATT: It's 1d6 plus one to heal, and you regain one stamina if you've spent it.

MICHELLE: Oh, that's amazing. So that's seven, great, feeling great, and then my stamina. In that case, I was going to do something different, but the stamina changes things. I run up to this thing. I pull out my ice staff. I get all crazy in the eyes again. It's time to die.

MATT: (laughs) Oh shit. Nice, go for it. Roll for an attack.

MICHELLE: All right. Holy, that's a 21 to hit.

MATT: That hits.

MICHELLE: All right, and then we've got... That is a five, plus that's six, and then I use my extra stamina point to add 1d10. So six plus-- Where's my d10? Come here, come here, come here--

SAM: He's laughing at me.

MICHELLE: 15.

MATT: 15?

MICHELLE: Yes, 15 damage.

MATT: 15, that's awesome. Swing forward. As you do, you see the ice staff begins to fill with crystalline ice, magical energy as you swing wide. And as you do strike, it impacts and shatters. And as it blasts from the left-hand side, the creature falls to one knee. You can now see the shards are stuck in the side of it, and they each individually burst in the side, leaving these open wounds where they were.

LAURA: Sick.

MATT: (growls) Well done.

MICHELLE: Die, you beast!

MATT: (laughs) I love it.

MICHELLE: And then that's my turn.

MATT: All right, finishing Hoa's turn. That leads us to Slaughter, and Mallory, you're on deck.

SAM: Is it looking rough?

MATT: It's looking hurt. It's still--

AABRIA: Oh no.

SAM: Oh boy, oh boy.

AABRIA: You got this.

MATT: It's a powerful beast.

SAM: It's a powerful beast. I will try something different. I will use my stamina. And I will unfurl an orb-like web at my foe. And I will try Trapping Webs! I don't know.

MATT: You got it. (laughs) Okay, so it has DC 14.

SAM: It's a DC 14 dexterity save.

MATT: Natural 18. (laughs) Sam! Sam, I'm so sorry.

MICHELLE: Aww.

SAM: Webs!

MATT: (laughs)

AABRIA: What?

TALIESIN: We brought a LARPer to a sword fight. This is going so poorly.

AABRIA: He keeps tossing bean bags, weirdly. What is happening?

MATT: So the orb, though, it (impacts).

TALIESIN: Nerf!

MATT: And the webs splatter behind it. And it shrugs them off a little bit. But the next turn, it'll still explode as long as he stays there.

SAM: Okay. Okay.

MATT: (laughs)

SAM: If it didn't hit him, but went past him, is it near where Tavima is? Or is it in danger--

MATT: Well, it still impacts the area. It's just being able to avoid it because you didn't roll to hit. This is him rolling to dodge it. So it still blasts in the area behind him, and the web's still there. It doesn't hit any of your friends because you aimed just beyond it to get him in this space. And he's a big dude. So he's not caught in the web--

SAM: Just you wait. (laughter)

AABRIA: We need to back him up gently into it. Go on, git.

TALIESIN: Come on.

SAM: I'll just sort of edge along the--

MATT: Other side? Okay, you keep going.

LAURA: Have any healing?

SAM: Huh?

LAURA: Do you have any healing?

SAM: I can only heal me. (laughter)

LAURA: I thought you healed him! You healed him with a ray.

SAM: I can only do that once per short rest. (laughter)

SAM: And I'm already out of magicka. (laughter)

MICHELLE: God.

MATT: Okay. (laughter)

MATT: Mallory, you're up.

TALIESIN: I'm going to try and flank. I'm going to run up and flank wherever there's flanking to be had.

MATT: Okay. You run into the web to do that.

TALIESIN: Oh, is that a--

MATT: Just to be aware. The creature right now, it has Grelnok, Tavima, and Hoa all on the front and side of it. And then to its back and left is this web that you just watched him throw. So there's no real--

TALIESIN: Oh, I'm not going to run into that, then.

MATT: Yeah, the space is a little crowded right now. You can maybe, with where you are now-- Nah, because you're on the opposite side. You'd be able to get into combat with it, but no place that you could flank it from where you are, unfortunately.

TALIESIN: That's okay. I will try and get safely into combat with it without running through web.

MATT: Okay, so you rush in. You're squeezing in next to Tavima and Grelnok.

TALIESIN: This is not going to end well. Hey. All right, let's-- I have no magic left, so I'm just going to hit it with my stick.

MATT: Hit it with your stick, buddy.

TALIESIN: That guy now. No. (laughter)

AABRIA: Hey, do you want to back up, buddy?

TALIESIN: I'm going to back up, if I have anything to back up with.

MATT: The good news is, you do hit it. It's just not hard.

TALIESIN: No, it's really not. Seven, seven.

MATT: Yeah, no.

TALIESIN: No.

MATT: All right, so you're backing up?

TALIESIN: Just a hair.

MATT: Just a hair, okay. It does get an attack of opportunity.

TALIESIN: Oh, that's true.

AABRIA: No, no, no, just stay here.

TALIESIN: I forgot about that.

MATT: Yeah, you did, you did.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: That'll be 17 to hit.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah, that hits.

AABRIA: No.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: You take eight points of slashing damage.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

SAM: The cook!

MATT: But you step five feet back, and you're not in melee with it at the moment.

TALIESIN: I will keep backing up as much as I can to get away from it.

MATT: You can move five more feet back because it took you a lot of movement to get up into the fray.

TALIESIN: I'll take it.

MATT: Okay. That finishes your turn, Mallory. Grelnok, you're up.

LAURA: All right. I'm going to, with my free hand, take that potion that I found and down it, which gives me four. (laughs) Okay. Wow, and one additional stamina point. And I'm going to hit it with my axe.

MATT: Do it, roll for an attack. (grunts)

LAURA: That is 21.

MATT: 21, that definitely hits.

LAURA: And I'm going to use one of my regained stamina to add an uppercut to this.

MATT: Hell yeah, go for it.

LAURA: Cool. Six plus six is 12 points.

MATT: 12 points of damage, it's looking real rough.

LAURA: Ah!

AABRIA: Let's go!

MATT: As you strike it and then uppercut it from behind in the bottom jaw, you see teeth break and spray. And as it looks down to you, (snarls) it has blood pouring out of its jaw, open wounds everywhere. The venom is still pulsing and infecting the scratch from earlier. The axe and slashing wounds, the ice gashing. It's looking really, really rough.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: That finishes your turn?

LAURA: That's all I got.

MATT: All right, it's now the ruinach monster's turn.

SAM: Oh, no.

LAURA: Hit me. Hit me!

MATT: You all rushed in to be pretty close. The bottom two arms begin to--

LAURA: No, no, no.

MATT: -- swirl around once more.

AABRIA: Oh, come on!

MATT: And then, pulling upward, the ground beneath you three-- You moved back because you took that attack of opportunity, but you're out of the fire now-- glows brightly, and then (explosion).

SAM: Oh, no.

MATT: All the fire erupts, engulfing you three. I need you all to make a dexterity saving throw for me.

TALIESIN: You have a plus one on saving throws, right?

AABRIA: Is your thing still up, Hoa?

MICHELLE: It is still up. It's for... 10 minutes. I rolled a nat 20, by the way.

AABRIA: Yeah, same!

MATT: Both of you got nat 20s? That's amazing! (cheering)

MATT: Hell yeah.

MICHELLE: Yes, yes, yes.

MATT: That's good. So you both take only nine points of fire damage.

AABRIA: Only nine?

MATT: Yeah.

AABRIA: Sir?

SAM: Are you up?

LAURA: I failed.

AABRIA: Barely.

MATT: Okay, 18 points of fire damage.

LAURA: I'm down.

SAM: Oh, noes.

MATT: Grelnok, as the flames subside, you both (panting), and you both look over, on the ground, singed and currently burning, just flames.

AABRIA: No, no, no!

SAM: No!

MATT: And the ground beneath you is beginning to continue to burn. Since you're still in the space--

AABRIA: No!

MATT: You can see there's a lava pool right there.

SAM: Oh no. She made a mediocre--

LAURA: Cut my head off.

SAM: -- drink.

LAURA: Use it as a skull! (laughter)

AABRIA: Maybe he'll hit with it.

SAM: Maybe the name of our restaurant can be Grelnok's Skull.

AABRIA and MICHELLE: Aw!

LAURA: Ooh, that's a good name.

AABRIA: We'll put it on a pike in the front.

SAM: Uh-huh.

MATT: That's going to finish its turn. Tavima, you're up.

AABRIA: (grunts) No. You're my best friend. She's down.

SAM: Heal her!

AABRIA: We throw everything we've got at it. All right, just a normal attack.

MATT: Go for it. Big old swing of your sword.

AABRIA: No, let's do Backlash one more time for my last magicka. Just got to burn it.

MATT: You got it.

AABRIA: Please fail.

MATT: That is going to be a 16 on the DC.

AABRIA: No, it's good, you made it, never mind. Normal attack. 17 to hit.

MATT: 17 hits, go ahead and roll damage.

AABRIA: 1d8. I don't know what an eight is anymore, I'm very nervous. 10 points--

MATT: Nice.

AABRIA: -- of slashing damage. And then I'm going to use my last stamina to puncture it.

MATT: Go for it.

AABRIA: DC 14 dex save.

MATT: Natural 20.

SAM: Ooh.

AABRIA: Shoot! Okay. All right. That's it.

MATT: That your turn?

AABRIA: I'm out, yeah.

MATT: Okay. You don't move out of the ground currently burning up?

AABRIA: No, okay. Sorry.

SAM: Oh no.

AABRIA: "If they fail--" Oh, you didn't fail, so I didn't have to burn my stamina. So no, for my bonus action then, I'm going to use my last stamina for Shield Wall.

MATT: Well, if you used your bonus action to try the puncture--

AABRIA: Oh, that's right, that's right, never mind.

MATT: No, no, sorry. It's a free action is puncture. It's a free action, so you can still use your bonus action if you want to, yeah.

AABRIA: No, but I attempted Backlash for a bonus action.

MATT: You did, yeah, so no.

AABRIA: So we're good.

MATT: So you're good, okay. But you're staying put, or are you moving out of the heated ground?

AABRIA: Yeah, I'll back up. Is there any way I can take-- No. Can I take Grelnok with me?

MATT: You can. You can.

AABRIA: Yeah, whatever it takes.

MATT: Okay.

AABRIA: Got to get her out of there.

MATT: You grab her and pull back. Because the creature has gone again, it does take an attack of opportunity on you.

AABRIA: Yeah, that's fair.

SAM: Oh no.

AABRIA: It has disadvantage!

MATT: It does.

AABRIA: This is the first thing that's attacked me--

MATT: That's true.

AABRIA: Since the other thing, forever ago.

MATT: You're right, Shield Wall. Well, no, it doesn't have disadvantage.

AABRIA: No, no, no, it's not from Shield Wall. It's from when I did my Rune Focus forever ago.

MATT: Oh, that's right! You're right.

AABRIA: That's the first thing.

MATT: That's true. That's still a 16. Does that hit you?

AABRIA: No!

MATT: Nice!

MICHELLE and MATT: Because of the plus one!

MATT: Yeah, all right!

SAM: Nice.

TALIESIN: Math!

AABRIA: Oh god.

MATT: It swings wide. As you're pulling her back, you look up, right as you see this one arm arc down, this slow-mo shot as the blade comes toward you. And in that brief moment, you see Hoa out of the corner of the eye just flex that magical aura. And the slight burst of frost just sheers it off, and it misses you by millimeters.

MICHELLE: Also because it tries to hit her with that, it gets three damage of frost damage.

MATT: If it hits of if it misses?

MICHELLE: Oh wait, no, it just says if-- Oh, they're hit, sorry.

MATT: That's okay. Better, I think in this circumstance.

AABRIA: Yeah, please.

MICHELLE: Yeah, all right, j/k.

MATT: That's awesome. And with that, you pull Grelnok out of the way. Well done. So you do not take fire damage at the end of your turn.

AABRIA: Cool, cool, cool.

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

SAM: Heal our bartender!

MICHELLE: I don't have any more healing left because I can only use once--

SAM: Oh no!

MICHELLE: -- per short rest.

AABRIA: We didn't take a break!

MATT: No, you guys didn't take a short rest. You went right in.

MICHELLE: We should have taken a rest! Regret. I'm going to cast Swarm. I need to get away. It's going to kill me if I do that. I'm going to cast Swarm and just try to kill it with it.

SAM: I think it already used its reaction.

MATT: It did already use its reaction. So you can move if you want to.

MICHELLE: Oh, I hecka move away. I move so, so far away.

MATT: (laughs) You just go (rapid footsteps).

MICHELLE: My full movement is 30 feet. I move, and then I do Swarm again. I cast a bunch of fetcher flies into the air. They must make a DC 14 con saving throw.

MATT: You got it. Natural 17.

MICHELLE: Okay, they take half of the damage.

MATT: It takes half damage, though, so it still damages it.

MICHELLE: Wow, that's a lot. 11. 15, 16, 17, 18. That's 19 divided by two.

MATT: So nine points of damage.

MICHELLE: Yes.

MATT: It's looking real hurt, y'all.

AABRIA: Oh my god.

MATT: That's real hurt.

LAURA: You can do this, Slaughter, you're up.

ALL: Slaughter!

MATT: All right, Slaughter. It's your turn. What are you doing?

LAURA: You can do it!

SAM: Pick off a skull. No, not that one. No, not that one. (laughter)

SAM: I'm going for the smallest one. And I close my eyes. And I throw, throw blindly, trying to hit this fucking thing with a fucking skull. 19. (cheering)

TALIESIN: Oh my god.

LAURA: (angelic singing)

MATT: That hits.

SAM: Okay. I hope it's not totally immune to fire damage.

AABRIA: I think it's had fire damage already.

MATT: It's taken fire damage.

SAM: Okay, six points of fire damage. Plus, I assume the Trapping Webs explode?

MATT: That's right!

AABRIA: Yes!

MATT: Hold on, let me look that up. Hold on, oh, it's right here. Yeah, they do, they explode, so.

SAM: Which is another 10 points of poison damage.

TALIESIN: I cannot believe I'm about to hear this.

LAURA: Yes!

MATT: How do you want to do this? (cheering)

LAURA: Slaughter!

MICHELLE: What a payoff. The long con, indeed. (laughter)

MATT: That is ridiculous.

SAM: As I hurl the skull, I just say: My name is Slaughter Grimm, and I will be your server tonight. And I'll just arc it right, straight for the eyes so the skull eyes hit it in the eyes.

MATT: Full on, we're talking Fury Road camera work as it goes towards his perspective. It hits it in the forehead, and it goes a little cross-eyed and takes a couple steps back. It's still standing, but its feet get caught up in the web right as the web begins to light up. (thrumming) It looks back at the web and looks at you. "Oh, sh--" (explosion) And you watch it get blown into pieces, spattering the inside of the room with Daedric gore, raining from above. (wet thudding)

AABRIA: (whispering) Slaughter! You're so amazing!

SAM: We did it!

TALIESIN: Let's stabilize really quickly.

SAM: Oh, yes, how do we do that?

AABRIA: Can I make a medicine check?

MATT: Make a medicine check.

SAM: I run over to her, but I don't touch her because my hands are needles. (laughter)

LAURA: That's worse than Rogue.

AABRIA: Can someone help?

MICHELLE: I can help, I can help.

TALIESIN: Thank you, yeah, please.

AABRIA: Do you want to roll? Yeah, because I got a seven.

MICHELLE: I got a seven also.

LAURA: Oh, god.

MATT: Make a death save for me.

SAM: Wait.

MICHELLE: Sorry!

SAM: No one can help her?

TALIESIN: What's your medicine check?

LAURA: Fail.

MICHELLE: A three.

TALIESIN: Do again, and I'll assist.

SAM: Wait, I think I can do something. Maybe. Maybe?

AABRIA: Mine's also a plus three. I'm just not a good roller.

SAM: Here, I'll cast-- I do have two... So if I cast Hungry Scythe--

MICHELLE: Oh god.

SAM: -- on Grelnok's weapon, Tavima, can you pilot her hand to hit me with it? Because it will heal the wielder of the weapon.

MICHELLE: (laughs)

AABRIA: As you say it, I just grab her limp hand. (laughter)

MATT: All right, well, you haven't cast it yet.

SAM: Oh.

MATT: So roll for attack.

SAM: Wait, I haven't cast it yet?

MATT: You asked if it would happen.

SAM: Shit.

MATT: So you finish the question and then (impacts).

SAM: What did you roll to hit?

AABRIA: Sorry, do you want to cast it first before I do it now?

SAM: Oh, sure, yeah.

AABRIA: Okay. Okay, and then that's a 21 to hit.

SAM: It hits.

MATT: So go ahead and roll damage with the longsword. Sorry, the battleaxe.

SAM: I don't know if this works.

LAURA: Oh, with the battleaxe.

AABRIA: You can roll it.

LAURA: Oh, sure. (laughter)

LAURA: That's fine, seven.

SAM: So it says, on your next successful attack, you heal yourself half of the damage that you dealt to the target.

MATT: So you take seven points of slashing damage, and you come to consciousness, healing up three points.

AABRIA: Yes! (laughter)

LAURA: We got it?

AABRIA: I can't believe that worked.

TALIESIN: More or less.

AABRIA: Slaughter--!

MICHELLE: The skull worked!

SAM: I'm a hero!

LAURA: I don't believe it.

SAM: Come on!

LAURA: No.

SAM: Come on!

LAURA: Didn't happen.

AABRIA: It did happen.

MICHELLE: He did. It was glorious, it was very nice.

LAURA: That's sweet that you guys want-- Didn't happen.

AABRIA: She's not going to believe me.

SAM: It's all right. I'll prove myself with diligent wait staffing. (laughter)

LAURA: Yay!

AABRIA: Is everyone okay? Are we--

TALIESIN: That was--

LAURA: Should we take a rest? What-- what-- What did we just kill?

AABRIA: Yeah, what is it?

LAURA: What, what, what's my voice? I still don't know.

SAM: (like Laura) What did we just kill?

LAURA: What did we just kill?

TALIESIN: I'm going to examine this chamber a little bit.

LAURA: Can we short rest while you examine the chamber?

TALIESIN: Yeah, that would be great. I would love a short rest.

MATT: Make an investigation check, if you'd like.

AABRIA: Oof.

SAM: So many ingredients.

TALIESIN: Why do I even bother? Eight.

MATT: Eight.

TALIESIN: That's not-- It could be worse.

MATT: Anybody else want to make an investigation check?

AABRIA: I'm busy--

LAURA: I'm healing.

AABRIA: -- trying desperately not to die.

SAM: I'll walk around.

MATT: Sure, so the two of you are going around.

SAM: Natural 20.

LAURA: Nice.

AABRIA: Let's go.

MATT: Late game--

SAM: I'm a late bloomer, guys.

MICHELLE: Right at the end. (laughter)

MATT: Between the two of you looking about, this appears to be some sort of a vault that was designed to contain something. But it appears to be empty, and it had been empty for a while. And with a natural 20, you piece together that some of these other bodies and the conversations you've heard and the notes you've found that these were some... Odd cultists. Looking at the masks and some of the iconography and the shape of it and the shape on the door, there are facets of it you can see that all connect to the name Mehrunes Dagon, which you had decreed unto the group before. They were here searching for something.

LAURA: What?

SAM: Ronin's middle name.

LAURA: Yeah, obviously, yeah. (laughter)

MATT: Coming to search for the ambitions, you had overheard, come to prove themselves. But apparently failed, or what they're seeking is not here any longer. But whatever this place is, it's around the corner from your tavern. And whatever you can scavenge from it for the time being, before any other looters seem to follow suit, it's yours to cash grab.

SAM: We need 300 gold.

LAURA: Is there anything we can take off this four-armed body?

AABRIA: Any of their cultists got these sick robes on?

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We definitely get those robes. There's four other ones.

SAM: They can be uniforms.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LAURA: Yeah, ooh, that's great.

AABRIA: I feel like they're matching. If we sell one of them, that should be enough to square our debt, yeah, maybe?

SAM: Maybe.

AABRIA: Are they all magic?

SAM: I'll go look around for more--

MATT: They all are considered the spider silk robes. So wearing them gives you plus one to AC and plus one to saving throws.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'll put them on.

MATT: Between the two of you, you also know that these robes are probably uniform, right? Because all of them are wearing it. So whoever, whatever group they belong to, this is definitively a sign of who they are.

LAURA: Oh, well...

MICHELLE: Well, we probably don't want to be part of this group. But it's a great costume. Or maybe we can just rub out the symbol. I don't know exactly.

TALIESIN: You could have it paid to be dyed maybe or something.

AABRIA: Yeah!

TALIESIN: We can find someone to do that.

MICHELLE: You could wear an apron over it.

AABRIA: Make them, like, purple.

TALIESIN: Yeah, just wear it like a-- I got a-- I got a thing, it's fine.

AABRIA: I got a guy.

SAM: We still need money.

LAURA: Yeah, what about the body, the four-armed body? Anything on it?

MATT: So the torso is exploded. There are four arms (laughs) and the head still intact, just at different parts of the chamber, and the most lower part of the legs that are now just down the stair a little bit. But you do have a head. And you have a note asking to--

AABRIA: I will carry this back if we want.

MATT: -- find anything that remained within.

LAURA: I've got Powerful Build. So I can carry it--

AABRIA: All you.

LAURA: -- pretty easily.

AABRIA: (laughs) Can you put it on your head?

LAURA: No, I put it on my back like a backpack.

AABRIA: Okay. (laughs)

MATT: Okay. Gather the materials, gathered some of these found artifacts, the information, or at least shreds of information about what transpired here and what this cult was after, as well as a connection of an individual looking to pay for this information and proof of what this might be. You all slowly begin to make your way up from the depths beneath the hill with the hope and seeming confirmation that with the right questions and the right new friends, you might be able to pay off your debts. And with that, we're going to go ahead and close this--

AABRIA: We still have another--

LAURA: We have to name our tavern, at least.

AABRIA: Oh, that too.

LAURA: We have to decide on it before we--

MATT: Okay. Well, we'll say, as an epilogue to this, as we go to credits and credits roll, and they're done, there's the after-credits scene, as you're all back and getting cleaned up in the tavern...

SAM: What a night. (laughter)

AABRIA: Just this sad shawarma. Can you make shawarma?

TALIESIN: Of course. I mean, I've had stuff curing this whole time. It's all ready. I'm just going to go in and start scraping.

AABRIA: Tight, tight, tight.

SAM: So read off that list.

AABRIA: Oh, I wrote down one of the things.

SAM: You said you were writing them down the whole time!

AABRIA: I described it with my imagination! (laughter)

SAM: Well, then what's the one you wrote down?

LAURA: We had Dirty Hole.

SAM: Dirty Hole.

LAURA: Dingy Hole.

AABRIA: Yep.

LAURA: Silver Lining.

AABRIA: Silver Lining.

LAURA: We had A Real Good Hole.

MICHELLE: Really Nice Hole.

AABRIA: A Really Nice Hole.

MATT: There we go.

LAURA: Grelnok's Skull, I still think is solid.

AABRIA: I think that's got to be in the mix.

MICHELLE: Maybe that'll be the subtitle, underneath the main name plaque. We have a--

SAM: A tavern with a subtitle? (laughter)

MICHELLE: Yeah.

AABRIA: It's a Spike Lee joint--

MICHELLE: I don't know, It could be a thing.

MATT: Yeah, see?

SAM: I like it.

LAURA: Mm.

SAM: Should we just pick the Dirty Hole?

LAURA: And stick with it.

AABRIA: Dingy.

TALIESIN: Dingy, I think Dingy Hole.

SAM: Dingy, the Dingy Hole?

MICHELLE: Hole and not Pit, is that correct?

LAURA: Yeah.

AABRIA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: W-H-O-L-E? Or H-O-L? Or H-O-L-E? Do we want to get weird? I don't know.

LAURA: H-O, W-H.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

AABRIA: Yeah.

SAM: W-H?

LAURA: Yeah, the Dirty Whole.

SAM: The Dingy Whole.

AABRIA: Whole.

LAURA: Like Critical Role. (laughter)

AABRIA: What does that mean?

MATT: That's a terrible title.

MICHELLE: Come take a roll at the Dirty Whole. (laughter)

TALIESIN: I think it will attract the exact kind of clientele we want.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Okay. Sure. Well, you know what? We'll workshop it in the epilogue to the epilogue. (laughter)

MATT: Yeah, this is the Return of the King of multiple endings.

LAURA: Yeah. (laughter)

LAURA: It's still not done? (laughter)

SAM: The Dingy Whole it is.

LAURA: I don't like it, though.

AABRIA: I'll take it.

SAM: We'll make up some new menus.

LAURA: I don't like it.

MICHELLE: We started with Jugs. How'd we get here?

AABRIA: Burned Journal?

TALIESIN: Ghost Jugs.

SAM: The Burned Journal.

AABRIA: The Burned Journal was on there.

LAURA: Oh!

AABRIA: It sounds like you're Southern trying to speak French. Burned Journal! (laughter) (laughter)

SAM: Grelnok's Skull it is! (laughter)

AABRIA: That I kind of like, though. And then we can put the big skull out there, and they'll think that's Grelnok.

MICHELLE: Oh, yes.

LAURA: I like it, I like it.

MICHELLE: You're on my team, and we're born again.

MATT: I like that. As you all begin to nail the large skull to the front of your business endeavor and paint in the name Grelnok's Skull into the front, we pull away to the Grahtwood. Who knows? Perhaps there's more adventures to tell down the road about this group of odd individuals. And there we go, our inaugural episode here of our Elder Scrolls Online game experience. A huge thank you to Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios for working with us to make this happen. Those of you, once again, who have the chance and want to go check it out, ESO's Blackwood chapter release is coming up soon as well as all the multiple DLCs. It's going to be awesome. Check all that out at www.ElderScrollsOnline.com/Buy. And yeah, is it Thursday yet? Good night.

SAM: Bye!

Advertisement