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List of Transcripts

Pre-ShowEdit

MATT: Welcome to tonight's episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. Oh, that was good, well done.

LIAM: We all had to fought to be heard that time.

MATT: Yeah! It helps when you all say it at once because it just becomes noise at that point and nothing really affects me. I find it funny, it amuses. So yes, welcome! Before we jump into tonight's game, let’s go through some quick announcements. First and foremost we have, returning, our fantastic sponsor and partner for the beginning of this campaign and for the foreseeable future: D&D Beyond!

TRAVIS: D&D Beyond!

MATT: Sam, do you have a--

SAM: Guys, check out DnDBeyond.com. They're giving away a Legendary Bundle on their Facebook page. A Legendary Bundle contains every digital source available on D&D Beyond, all reference books, including a pre-order for Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Go to Facebook.com/DnDBeyond, check out that top pinned post for instructions. Last week, as you all know, I sent out a request saying, "Send me your stories of D&D Beyond, mail me your stories,” so I got some viewer mail to read. “Dear Sam, you're my favorite on Critical Role, don’t tell Travis!”

TRAVIS: Fucking dicks.

SAM: “Also a big fan of D&D Beyond, but had one question: Was that you I saw in Studio City, running around covered only in mayonnaise? If so, what the hell, dude?” I don't know what that is. “Dear Sam, I own a convenience store, we have your show on our TV all the time, love you as Nott, but please be aware I've filed an injunction to keep you a hundred feet away from the store. We have you on-camera stealing jars of mayonnaise and smearing them all over your body. PS: D&D Beyond rocks.” Okay. “Dear Sam, to answer your question: No, we do not consider 16 jars of Hellman's mayonnaise slathered over your naked body appropriate attire for our furry convention. No, it does not matter if you use Cool-Whip instead, your credentials have been revoked, please stop asking.” There's nothing even about D&D Beyond in that one. But hey! D&D Beyond!

MATT: Didn't realize mayonnaise could be a fursona, but I guess we all learned something tonight. Thank you, Sam.

TRAVIS: It's great camouflage.

LIAM: I think Matt went dead inside.

LAURA: I was looking at his face as that was going on, was like--

MATT: What is going on, Sam? Thank you, Sam.

LIAM: I guess somebody at this table used to go to furry conventions.

MATT: Nothing wrong with that, unless you're covered in mayonnaise.

SAM: It does not go well with fur.

MATT: Exactly. Another reminder for those of you who have Amazon Prime, can go on Twitch and use your Prime account to subscribe for free to any channel you want to, every month, and I think they just put out an email to Prime members that they have a new way of making sure it notifies you whenever your subscription is up, so you can know when that's happening, which is pretty useful. Also, Talks Machina, of course, is every Tuesday night at 7:00PM Pacific here on Twitch and Project Alpha, hosted by our fantastic Brian W Foster.

TRAVIS: Hey!

MARISHA: Nailed it! You know our friend’s name.

MATT: That's going to be your announcement from now on. Cabbageman Foster is a fantastic host of the show, you can check him out next week, thank you, Brian. Podcast of last week's episode is now available where all fine podcasts downloadable, so if you want the audio version, your friends are listening to the audio versions, they can find it now and be caught up, after this episode, I guess.

MARISHA: (loud whisper) Yeah.

MATT: I’m talking!

LAURA: I’m sorry. I just saw that she had pencils.

LIAM: I have a bunch as well.

MATT: That's okay. Heads up to all our fans, we're going to be at Emerald City Comic Con. Our good friends at Dark Horse will be selling the print version of Vox Machina: Origins #1.

SAM: They already are, aren't they?

LAURA: Yeah, it’s happening

MATT: Oh that’s right because it’s already there! There you go.

LIAM: And there's copies for us in this building somewhere.

MARISHA: Are there?

TALIESIN: You have fluff on your chin.

LAURA: You got it.

TRAVIS: Just leave it there.

MATT: There you go.

TRAVIS: That's right. There's a limited number.

MATT: Yeah, they only have 1000 copies, so if you're going to get one, get it soon.

LAURA: That’s it?

LIAM: Yeah, that's it.

LAURA: They might be gone already!

LIAM: Could be.

LAURA: It's gone, you got it.

MATT: The limit's only five copies per person, per day, so we'll see how that works out. That's Dark Horse, booth 1708 at the event, so if you're going to be there, look for that. Also, you'll be able to look for these two folks. You guys are flying out to that tomorrow, right?

TRAVIS: We are.

LAURA: Early, early, early in the morning.

TRAVIS: We'll be there around noon thirty for our first panel of the day.

LAURA: We have a couple of Critical Role things tomorrow, so come say hi.

MATT: Issue five of the comic book, by the way, goes up March 7th, so next week, you'll be able to check out the fifth comic, the next stage in the story.

LIAM: Character development.

MATT: It's pretty awesome, actually. I'm excited for you guys to check it out. I'm excited to read it myself, so keep an eye out for that. You can find it on Dark Horse's digital comics platform, comiXology, and many other places-- you can find it on the Geek & Sundry website that I didn't bother to put down. Once again, reminding that 826LA and 826 in general is our partner-friend charity from the very beginning of this whole stream and we're still pushing them because they're amazing. Check them out if you haven't had the chance; they do great work, and maybe you can do great work with them either by helping support them--

MARISHA: Go volunteer! Go start a D&D club! Hit them up! Kids and D&D are hilarious.

MATT: As a heads up, I'll be at Lexington Comic & Toy Convention next weekend in Kentucky, so for those of you guys who are in that vicinity, come say hello to me!

MARISHA: Represent!

MATT: Exactly.

MARISHA: Hometown! Well, not really. An hour and a half outside my hometown!

TRAVIS: Partial, yeah.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Relatively. It's fine. Come and hopefully see me there! We'll have events and signings and all kinds of good stuff, so, yay! I think that's almost all of the announcements?

MARISHA: We’re Alive just came out on Project Alpha with the amazing horror aficionado Ivan Van Norman. It's awesome. It's based off of the "We’re Alive" podcast; it's the "We’re Alive: Frontier." It's, oh man, you guys have to go watch it. Next week is the first episode of my new show with Mr. Matt Key: Key Question! That's on Tuesday.

LAURA: I'm excited about that one.

MARISHA: It's going to be good. It's got some good shit in it, been looking at the edits. So yeah. Go watch.

MATT: And... I think that's it, right?

LAURA: Oh, well, there's one little thing, which is that Travis and I are... having a baby!

(cheering)

LAURA: All this! This right here!

TRAVIS: Look at this one, too.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: That's currently available in the store right now.

LAURA: That's available in the store.

TRAVIS: Limited number, limited quality. I think there are only one.

MARISHA: Available where you can find all babies.

LAURA: Very excited to not have to hide it on the show anymore! Thanks for blocking my belly the whole time.

SAM: Certainly. Your turn to block mine!

LAURA: Yay!

MATT: We got our new critter coming. So excited.

LAURA: That's right. We rolled a character sheet for our baby on our announcement.

MARISHA: I like Bladder Kick. That one's my favorite.

MATT: That was pretty great. If you guys haven't seen it yet on Laura and Travis' Twitter, you can go and see the announcement page. It's pretty adorable.

TRAVIS: I like his flaws: poops his pants.

MATT: It's a pretty big flaw... and for some people it's a strength. I don't know.

LIAM: The baby is sitting playing Dungeons & Dragons with us.

LIAM and LAURA: Right now.

LAURA: Oh.

MARISHA: The baby is being watched by so many people.

LAURA: Don't be shy baby, it's okay!

SAM: Hey, are you guys going to hold a critter contest to name your child?

LAURA: What a good idea, Sam! No!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Son of a-- go ahead and do that. Go ahead.

LIAM: Send those suggestions to @laurabaileyVO on twitter.com!

MARISHA: You're definitely live-streaming the birth though, right?

LAURA: Oh, live-streaming the birth. We're going to Periscope the birth for sure. My goal is to go into labor while we're playing on a Thursday night.

MATT: We laugh now.

LAURA: How great would that be?

MATT: Oh, man.

LIAM: Well, we played the game once in that back office, so we could just move to you and then bring the stuff with us.

MATT: That's true, yeah!

LIAM: Dwarven Forge, Dwarven Forge, Dwarven Forge.

MATT: On that note! Congratulations to the two of you guys, we're all super excited for you.

ALL: Yay!

MATT: And with that, let's go ahead and dive into tonight's episode of Critical Role!

[click, TV static] [groovy Critical Role theme]

Part IEdit

MATT: Welcome back. And welcome back, Laura, when she gets done using the restroom. Where we left off, you guys have been travelling northward into the Marrow Valley, eventually making your way towards the city of Zadash. Along the way, you were passing by the city of Alfield just past the sunset as an incursion of a gnoll warband began to set fire to a number of the buildings. You rushed in to aid some of the denizens there, jumped in under the watch of Bryce, the Watchmaster there, and managed to slay a few, but they managed to escape with a number of bodies and living members of the community. You were then given the opportunity to make some money and to wreak some proper vengeance for this town by finding out where these gnolls were and retrieve those who were still living and/or the bodies of those that needed to at least be given a proper burial. Along that path you discovered this underground network of what was an abandoned mine where they had been holing up. While you were travelling down there and battling with these gnolls as you did, you encountered a new ally: this individual named Shakäste and his amazing little dark hummingbird. All of you together managed to make your way through, save a number of lives-- (burps) pardon me-- encounter the priest of these gnollish creatures who had been using these members of the town to help feed a mother manticore. To retrieve some of the living members, you managed to get into battle with it. Nott slew the baby manticore, drawing its ire and you all, by the skin of your teeth, took both the priest and her out, and in doing so saved the lives of those that were within, retrieved a small bounty of things that were caught within the nest and the priest's corpse and made your way back to town. Upon arriving--

(shuffling chairs, laughter)

TRAVIS: Anything for that butt-shot, Sam.

MATT: That's Sam's gift to you guys. Upon returning, the sun had set. A number of members of the city of Alfield began to thank you for what you've done. They began to come out into the streets and began to make small campfires and play music and basically take this moment to both grieve and be thankful that there are individuals who will stand up and show strength in the face of darkness even this far out on the edges of the empire. In this time, you realize right about now that your new friend Shakäste seems to have vanished from the vicinity. You glance about, and at a quick look, he's gone.

LAURA: Where did Shakäste go?

SAM: I don't know. He's very mysterious.

MARISHA: He's the coolest.

LAURA: He's like the wind. (gasp) Maybe he was the Traveler!

SAM: What does that mean, the Traveler?

LAURA: The Traveler.

SAM: What does that mean?

TRAVIS: It's like a deity.

LAURA: Well, yeah, mostly. Yeah.

SAM: Oh.

LAURA: I mean he takes many forms.

SAM: Do you worship the Traveler?

LAURA: Maybe I'm the Traveler.

SAM: Okay, maybe she doesn't worship the Traveler.

LAURA: I mean, yeah, sure. I worship him, sure. He's more like my best friend.

TRAVIS: Jester, don't you think that if that was the Traveler he would have said, "Hey. I'm the Traveler."

LAURA: Probably.

MARISHA: He didn't seem very irreverent in the way the Traveler seems to be.

TRAVIS: Yep.

LAURA: How do you know what the Traveler's like? Do you hang out with the Traveler too?

MARISHA: No, but I hang out with you.

LAURA: Oh, right. Well, he's probably not the Traveler then.

LIAM: I liked that guy though. He was good.

MARISHA: He was.

TRAVIS: He was pretty cool.

LIAM: He was talented.

SAM: Are you okay, Caleb? You went a little quiet there for a little while.

MARISHA: Is that your first time killing something? Or somebody?

LIAM: He was burned alive in front of me.

MARISHA: Yeah, you did that, though.

LIAM: I am well aware that I killed a person. I have nothing else to say, why is everyone looking at me?

LAURA: Have you ever killed someone before?

TRAVIS: We were worried. Kind of went into a state. Just making sure you are all right.

LIAM: I'm okay.

TRAVIS: All right, yeah.

LIAM: It was terribly grisly; his hair was on fire and he burned horribly. Maybe it went a little bit further than I anticipated-- I have killed people before in defense, *ja*. But not like that.

TALIESIN: Well, there's one sure-fire way to make sure that he's all right, which is, we get drunk on something really expensive and listen to the stories of all the people we just saved and so you can feel better about everything that just happened.

LIAM: Okay, that sounds good.

TALIESIN: We're going to spend a ridiculous amount of the money we just made.

LAURA: I'm okay with that.

MARISHA: I am too.

SAM: Oh, didn't we get some items as well?

LAURA: Oh, yeah! Who was it that had that stuff?

TRAVIS: Apparently, I raise my hand in this group. That just happened.

TALIESIN: Yes, you, the small one in the back.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we have a silver ring with a little blue gem on it.

LAURA: Can I have it?

TRAVIS: Hold on a second!

LAURA: I like rings!

TRAVIS: Fucking pace yourself, all right? Yeah, I know. The bling is going to come your way, all right. We have a carved wand. Anybody have a wand that's not carved?

SAM: Is it a stick?

TRAVIS: It is.

SAM: I like sticks.

TRAVIS: Oh, shit. Well. Yeah. We got some chained manacles, they're some big sons of bitches with a bunch of runes on the cuffs.

LAURA: Ooh.

TALIESIN: I like manacles.

MARISHA: Who ended up grabbing the goggles? Did I grab the goggles? I got them off the priest!

MATT: You did, yes.

MARISHA: I'm going to pull them out, take a look at them.

TALIESIN: Those are fancy.

MATT: The base of them is a soft leather that's been cured and taken care of once you manage to wipe off some of the blood and soot from the remains of the previous owner. It's a set of goggles that can be comfortably placed over your head and the glass elements, or the lenses of them have a bluish-purple sheen to them.

MARISHA: I put them on.

LIAM: Would you like to know what they are before you put them on?

MARISHA: Too late, man. It's like Thir13en Ghosts (screams). No, I don't know.

LAURA: What does it look like? Is it like a kaleidoscope?

MATT: When you place them over your eyes because immediately in the vicinity there's the few small bonfires people have gathered around, and it's a dark night sky with stars peeking through the elements of the clouds that have broken apart. It looks like a cloudfront is still blowing in from the eastern side of the valley, but from what little bit of the sky, you can see the stars are there. Upon places the lenses over your eyes, you have clear definition of all the nearby buildings, the dark alleyways. You have a very clear perspective on anything that is not being directly hit by firelight, and the firelight is almost a little too bright.

MARISHA: Holy shit, you guys. Is this what you can see all the time?

LAURA: I don't know, what does it look like?

MARISHA: It's like I got night vision! Like I can see... things!

LIAM: Look over here. You look like a nerd.

MARISHA: I can deal with that, it's fine.

TRAVIS: That's great. With you humans--

MARISHA: I can see shit!

TRAVIS: Yeah, it's real important. We were running into problems--

TALIESIN: I'm curious, can I try them on really quick?

LAURA: Do they fit over your--

TALIESIN: No, I got to unstrap them. I'm holding them up--

MATT: It tugs all of your horn jewelry and under it in an uncomfortable way.

TRAVIS: Jingle jangle jingle jingle.

MATT: No effect, actually.

TALIESIN: Yeah, this is nothing.

MARISHA: Lies.

TRAVIS: Hey, Caleb.

LIAM: Yeah?

SAM: Can you see through my clothes?

MARISHA: Do you want me to see through your clothes?

SAM: No.

MARISHA: Nah.

TRAVIS: I remember you have an ability to identify?

LIAM: I don't have an ability, I understand certain magics. If you want me to explain what those things are before you try them willy-nilly, yes, I can tell you--

LAURA: Ooh, then look at the ring I want!

TRAVIS: Yeah, sure, yes.

LIAM: May I see it?

TRAVIS: Absolutely. Here's the silver ring with the blue gem.

LIAM: Yeah. You know, I'm just going to check D&D Beyond to see if I-- Yeah, I'm all tapped, but--

SAM: Maybe you can just look at it and see with your smarts.

LIAM: I will tell you something.

TRAVIS: Motherfucker.

LAURA: He totally just took the ring from--

TRAVIS: I know!

LIAM: I will tell you something: I don't need to have this ring, I can tell you what it is.

MATT: Do you have Identify as a spell?

LIAM: I do, but I need a pearl. I say to Fjord, I need a somewhat valuable pearl, then I can do it all day long. I can know what anything is, even though I am tired.

LAURA: Ooh, do any of the rings that I have on my fingers have a pearl on them?

SAM: How about the one that I stole from her?

MATT: The ring that would have the pearl on it is no longer on your hand, and the one that you have does have set into it a fairly nice pearl.

LAURA: (gasp) You have a pearl!

SAM: Would you--

LIAM: Is that worth about a hundred gold pieces?

MATT: You can certainly try.

LIAM: Oh, yes, let me-- Can I borrow this?

SAM: I want it back, though.

LIAM: This is not instantaneous. Since I am so tired, it takes me a little bit longer. I wedge out one of my books and I set it on the ground.

MARISHA: Do you want to go to--

TALIESIN: Instead of setting a book on the ground let's sit at a table at a pub or bar.

TRAVIS: We'll make sure you're not disturbed.

LIAM: It's up to you. I haven't done this in a while and I'm excited to do it. But I could hold off a little.

TALIESIN: I require drink and lumbar support.

LIAM: Okay, I take the book and I close it and then I put it back.

LAURA: Do you want me to carry it for you?

LIAM: No I have both the ring and the one that Fjord gave me. So if it's good for you, you may have it. I'm more interested in executing a skill.

TRAVIS: Okay, yeah. Molly, I need something from you.

TALIESIN: Yes?

TRAVIS: Find us a fucking bar.

TALIESIN: On it.

SAM: Should we just go to the Feed and Mead?

LAURA: Let's do it!

SAM: Or somewhere else?

LAURA: I hope they have milk.

TRAVIS: Because the Candleglow Inn is fucking toast.

TALIESIN: I'm going to just literally yell at the top of my lungs in the middle of the crowd. I'm looking for the best pub in this bloody town.

MATT: As soon as you finish screaming it, you turn around and go face to face with Crute. The rather rough looking dwarf who runs the Feed and Mead where you guys have been staying. He goes, "Huh, that would be my place where you are staying."

TALIESIN: Onward!

MATT: Everyone who is around is like "Eh." But he's already got your attention. He leads you guys back to the familiar Feed and Mead. Where has been empty previously when you guys were staying there, now there seems to be a little bit of an air of celebration. Since that is where you guys are going, other people are following and it seems the party is going where you're going. As you enter the place, Crute seems excited because now all of a sudden there's a burst in clientele.

TRAVIS: Pub crawl.

SAM: There's only one pub.

MATT: As you begin to order your drinks, many of the various villagers prevent you from paying. For the remainder of the evening, the drinks are on the town of Alfield.

TRAVIS: Very, very generous. Fucking drink up.

LIAM: Before we even go into the building, I go over to Nott and adjust the hood a little bit further forward.

SAM: Are my ears tucked back in?

LIAM: The ears are in and make sure that the mask is secure. Have fun.

SAM: Okay. You're really all right, Caleb?

LIAM: Yeah, I'm okay. It was a rough night.

SAM: I know but you went a bit catatonic.

LIAM: I did.

SAM: Did you see anything or have a vision? I don't know.

LIAM: No, I did not see a vision. I saw a burning person.

SAM: All right. They were bad.

LIAM: Let's go get a drink.

SAM: All right.

TALIESIN: Anybody who tries to buy me a drink, I slip a silver into their pocket. Let me know how low we get.

MATT: Okay. They're common folk for the most part. Nobody seems to notice. Those that even do watch you aren't going to argue. Now, is that just drinks on you?

TALIESIN: When any time we let them buy us drinks, I'm just going to put a silver in anybody's pocket who's buying us drinks.

MATT: Okay, depending on how many rounds you guys want, that'll put you down around two gold probably by the time the night is done.

TALIESIN: Done.

SAM: I'm going to keep getting shots and pouring them into my flask and going up and ask for another.

MATT: Fair enough. Make it three gold (laughs). Caleb, you're spending time--

LIAM: I'm going to find a corner table in the ruckus. I will take the ring with the pearl, and I hold it right here. I pull out the other ring and I look at it and I begin to focus and study the different angles of it and hope that I have a pearl of enough value to make things happen.

LAURA: I'm going to sit next to Caleb and watch it all happen.

MATT: It is riveting.

LAURA: Don't you need to pull out your book so you can look at your spells?

LIAM: It's already out.

LAURA: Oh.

LIAM: You know when you play D&D, you don't narrate taking a pooper, but you can assume that the characters take a pooper every day.

TRAVIS: (chagrined) I narrated it.

LAURA: This is true.

LIAM: Some things just happen.

LAURA: While he's doing everything he's doing, I'm going try to very subtly draw a dick in his book.

MATT: Make a sleight of hand check.

SAM: (singing) It's a dick in a book.

LAURA: Natural 20!

SAM: Natural dick 20.

TALIESIN: 20, goddamn it.

MATT: Yes, the pearl is enough for you to focus on the spell.

LIAM: Yes!

MATT: The ring.

MARISHA: What is it?

SAM: Is this our first item?

MATT: And you know what this is.

LAURA: It's our first item!

LIAM: Oh.

LAURA: What is it, Caleb?

LIAM: This is good. You may have it. I don't get into water too much, as you could guess. This is good for walking yourself upon water. You take this, as promised.

MARISHA: That's rad.

LAURA: You can stand on and move across any liquid surface?

LIAM: Yeah, but also why is there a dickbutt in my spellbook?

LAURA: Where did that come from?

LIAM: I don't know. Maybe it was Nott pulling a prank on me.

LAURA: Probably. It was probably Nott. Wow, this ring is so cool!

TRAVIS: Hey Caleb are you exhausted from that experience? We do have other items to--

LIAM: No, I don't need-- well, I do need one drink but I don't need a ton of drinks. This is my thing, so what else did we get?

TRAVIS: We have a carved stick-- wand.

LIAM: I will take the wand.

TRAVIS: Yup.

LIAM: Thank you.

TRAVIS: These big fucking chain manacles I’ve got over my shoulder.

LIAM: I need another ten minutes. Fjord, would you get me a second whiskey? By the time you get back, maybe I will understand what this is.

TRAVIS: I ain't a fucking waitress.

LIAM: Ten minutes later.

MATT: Yep. Look at the majesty of this.

LAURA: What is it?

TRAVIS: It's a wand of dickbutts.

LAURA: How fortunate.

LIAM: (sighs)

LAURA: What is it?

TRAVIS: That's the: Do I tell them or do I not?

LAURA: What is it?!

LIAM: It's fascinating.

(laughter)

LIAM: Oh. Do you know how to use wands?

LAURA: Of course I do.

LIAM: Is she full of shit? What do I roll?

MATT: Make an insight check.

LIAM: Yeah. I got a 15.

MATT: She seems to be on the level.

LAURA: Yeah, I'm on the level.

LIAM : This is too dangerous for you to have. I'm keeping this one--

LAURA: No, just tell me what it is, Caleb!

LIAM: No it is for me, I gave you the ring. That's the deal. I promised it to you and now you have it.

TALIESIN: What does the wand do?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I was going to say, you can just share.

LAURA: You have to tell us.

LIAM: If I tell you, you will try to steal it from me.

TRAVIS: No, I swear I won't.

LAURA: Unless it's a wand that makes doughnuts or pickles. Then I probably won't try to steal it, probably.

LIAM: No, it's too dangerous.

(laughter)

LAURA: No, Caleb!

TALIESIN: I'm taking his drink away. You don't get to drink.

TRAVIS: Now it's definitely going to be stolen.

TRAVIS: We have one other item. Not that I don't love my posture being corrected.

MATT: You technically have two more.

LIAM: Fine, do you want to know what it does?

LAURA: Yes!

LIAM: I will show you what it does.

LAURA: What does it do? Wait, he’s doing it!

SAM: Oh, he's casting the wand.

LIAM: I point this stick at Jester.

MATT: Okay, make a-- is it a wisdom or charisma?

LIAM: It is a charisma saving throw.

MATT: Charisma saving throw please.

LAURA: Ah, oh Jesus. Okay.

TALIESIN: First party death.

SAM: Insta-death.

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay. Oh, 12.

LIAM: Oh, it is just a stick.

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: What it didn't do anything?

LIAM: No. Told you.

LAURA: That's a very low DC because I rolled shit.

LIAM: A low what?

LAURA: A DC.

LAURA: Yeah, that's a nine, right? It's a nein!

SAM and MARISHA: Nein.

LAURA: Plus three.

TRAVIS: How about these them there chain manacles? So I can get my spine back in alignment.

MARISHA: You look like you're into some shit.

LIAM : You'll have these back because I cannot lift them. Would you put them on the table for me?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: (crash) Onto the table.

TRAVIS: They're fucking huge.

LIAM: Hold the ring and wait.

MATT: You finish the spell. They are not magical. They once were and you can tell by the runes at the base where the manacles clink together, that they were at some point sealed. Whatever enchantment that was on them has been released.

TRAVIS: Tell me they're super valuable. That was a fucking bitch to lug around.

LIAM: They are a very strange one. If you are feeling gassy, they take away the cramps you feel. You have to wear them. It's extraneous, it's too much.

TRAVIS: Seems extreme.

LIAM: It's overkill.

TRAVIS: Yeah, all right. Well mysterious wonders.

LAURA: What kind of metal is it?

MARISHA: Yeah, I was going to say it's a lot of good metal. We could always sell it for scrap metal.

LAURA: To the blacksmith.

TRAVIS: I like that more.

MATT: There's also the glaive.

LAURA: I have a glaive. Look at this glaive.

MARISHA: Didn't we get a pendant off of the priest?

MATT: No, there was a glove.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah, the red glove!

LIAM: These are shit. I slide them off the table--

MATT: (crash) Everyone who is near in the vicinity all of a sudden turns as this loud, heavy clatter of metal chains--

TRAVIS: Sorry! No, we're just going through stuff. Back to your drinks, everything's fine.

LIAM: I want to do it again. What do we have? Give me the thing.

LAURA: A glaive.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: Whoa!

SAM: That's a big thing.

LIAM: Yeah. Oh.

LAURA: Is it too dangerous for me to have?

SAM: It's too dangerous.

LIAM: No, this is great. This is very powerful. It is a fine weapon. Probably better than anything-- except for maybe your blade. Is anybody able to use a glaive? I can't do anything with it.

LAURA: What is a glaive?

MATT: A glaive is a polearm with a giant axe blade at the top of it.

SAM: Beau could use it, right?

MATT: It's not a monk weapon.

LAURA: Is it something that I could use?

MATT: It's a two-handed weapon, yeah.

LAURA: Can I use a two-handed weapon? Oh, I have a shield.

MATT: You have a shield, you'd have to get rid of your shield and I have go to see if you have the capability to even use it. Because I don't think you know-- do you know simple weapons?

LAURA: Yes.

MATT: Let me double check real fast. As far as I know--

LAURA: I need to get a better weapon though, you guys. Because this sickle doesn't do much.

TALIESIN: It's very pretty.

LAURA: It's really cool looking, right? That's why got it. How's it balanced, is it good?

TALIESIN: It's very nice.

MATT: Yeah, you aren't proficient with glaives, unfortunately.

LAURA: No.

LIAM: Do you know what this is? It is a very good sale at a pawn shop.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: None of us can use it?

LAURA: Well what does it do, because how much is it worth?

LIAM: Well, it's very painful if it hits you.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: That's it.

MARISHA: So it is magical?

LIAM: Most definitely it is magical, yes. Stronger than your average glaive, that’s what I am saying, yeah.

TRAVIS: Great, yeah.

MARISHA: I have a feeling that no one in this town can afford it right now. But when we get to--

LAURA: Zadash.

MARISHA: Zadash. I might know a few contacts that might want something.

LIAM: You know people in Zadash?

MARISHA: I know people everywhere.

LAURA: I'm writing magic glaive.

SAM: Oh yeah, who's keeping stuff? Are you our stuff keeper?

TRAVIS: Who's got the oven mitt?

LIAM: Who's got the monster calves to carry this? There you go.

LAURA: (grunts)

SAM: Oven mitt?

LIAM: Here.

TRAVIS: Red oven mitt who's got it?

SAM and LAURA: I don't know.

TALIESIN: Who had the red oven mitt?

MARISHA: Was it on the priest?

MATT: It was on the priest.

MARISHA: I have it. I got it.

TRAVIS: I was looking at you when I said it the whole time.

MARISHA: I've got my goggles on and I'm just like--

TRAVIS: I grab the nose piece and go (fwoosh) (impact).

MARISHA: Ah!

(laughter)

MARISHA: I just punch him in the shoulder really hard.

TRAVIS: (pained) Yeah, ah.

MATT: Yeah, your left arm goes numb for a while.

MARISHA: I pull out the oven mitt.

LIAM: Oh my goodness, yeah. Like 45 minutes have gone by looking at all these things.

MATT: You guys have all grown steadily more intoxicated.

LAURA: Not me, because I drink milk.

MATT: That's right.

SAM: And not me, because I've just been getting them and pouring them.

LAURA: What is it? Can you shoot fire from your hands? Can you shoot lightning from your hands? Can you catch things really well?

TALIESIN: Does it make a very good macaroni and cheese?

LIAM: He just puts it away.

LAURA: I don't like Caleb looking at our shit anymore. He just looks at it and steals it.

LIAM: He puts the wand down in front of Jester.

LAURA: (gasps)

MARISHA: What's with the oven mitt?

LIAM: It hurts people.

SAM: This is the wand, this is just it?

LAURA: This is so cute.

MARISHA: Wait, it hurts people so you're going to hang onto it?

LAURA: This is a great wand.

LIAM: Do you know how to use arcane artifacts?

MARISHA: It doesn't matter if I know how to use arcane artifacts. Stuff that hurts people could still be beneficial to our cause, because other people want to hurt us.

TRAVIS: I mean, she has a point. I know how to use arcane artifacts.

MARISHA: Yeah, why don't you see if Fjord wants it?

LAURA: I point the wand at Nott.

SAM: I rolled a four.

LAURA: (laughs)

MATT: You watch from beneath the mask--

LAURA: I pull the mask down.

MATT: The edges of the toothy, goblin grin curl into this uncontrollable smile that threatens to crack the sides of her face.

LAURA: Oh my goodness. That's really creepy Nott.

SAM: I can't stop!

LAURA: How do I make it stop?

SAM: I don't know, dear gods!

TALIESIN: Nott, why so serious?

SAM: It hurts!

LAURA: I think it lasts for a while.

SAM: Oh gods! It's painful!

MATT: At this point, these two young, farm boys, that were in there drinking in the back watching, listening in just staring at Nott and backing away slowly to the back of the room. "We got to go."

SAM: It's okay.

MATT: "We're got to go!" They leave the room and everyone else just looking over. Yeah, it's caused a bit of a scene.

SAM: The Wand of Smiles.

LAURA: Yes it's The Wand of Smiles. They have to roll a DC of ten for charisma saving throw or be forced to smile for a minute.

TRAVIS: Yes, awesome.

LAURA: That's the cutest fucking wand!

SAM: Love it.

LAURA: I love it.

MARISHA: I wonder if it works on animals.

LAURA: We'll find out. Where's-- oh Frumpkin.

LIAM: What?

LAURA: Frumpkin’s gone.

LIAM: He’s not gone. He’s always with me and he will be back tomorrow.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: Back to the glove thing, though.

LIAM: Yeah. It burns people like I burned that man.

TRAVIS: Oh.

LAURA: Oh. Well, you don’t want to keep it. You hate burning people.

MARISHA: Exactly.

TRAVIS: That could come in very handy.

MARISHA: It’s not fair for you to put your issues onto literal inanimate objects.

LIAM: Would you like to trade your goggles for them?

MARISHA: No. I can’t use arcane shit. But he can.

LIAM: You have that very fancy sword you have.

TRAVIS: Yeah. But sometimes you need batting gloves.

LIAM: Does it mean that much to you? Would you like it?

TRAVIS: I would like to see it.

LIAM: Okay. Here it is.

TRAVIS: Yep. Hold on. That’s a fucking glove of fire.

TALIESIN: Do your thing.

LAURA: You have to stick it on your forehead.

MATT: Does it require attunement?

LIAM: I don’t know. No. He’s good.

MATT: After putting it on, you would actually know the properties of it.

TRAVIS: Oh, sweet! What are the properties of it?

MARISHA: Give him the damn paper.

LIAM: I don’t move at the speed of your thought.

TRAVIS: Okay. Cool. Yeah.

LAURA: What does it do?

TRAVIS: It’s a Scorching Ray spell. A little plus five.

LIAM: I’m sorry that I kept it for myself. Enjoy. I will not take any of the spoils of anything we find anywhere. Enjoy.

MARISHA: Okay, you didn’t frame it that way, though. You put it under the guise of this is bad, this hurts people.

LIAM: It does hurt people. You seem very angry at me right now.

MARISHA: I’m just wondering what your deal is.

LAURA: Look. This ring is perfect for you. That way if we get near water you don’t go in it.

LIAM: I’m slowly, ever so slowly beginning to like you, so please don’t fuck it up.

SAM: I think that we should all say thank you to Caleb for identifying our objects.

LAURA: Cheers to Caleb!

MARISHA: Yeah. That’s not the issue. But cheers!

LIAM: That’s what people do.

TRAVIS: And Nott, may I say thank you for saving my life because I was in a fucking pickle in there and if you hadn’t gone and slaughtered that little baby manticore, I’d have been fucked. So thank you.

SAM: You’re welcome.

LAURA: Thank you, Fjord for saving my life.

TRAVIS: Did I save your life?

LAURA: Didn’t you give me a potion?

TRAVIS: I did. Yeah. That’s right.

LAURA: I woke up and you were over me giving me a potion like a knight in shining armor.

TRAVIS: Yeah. You’re right. It was my pleasure. You would have done it for me.

LAURA: I probably would have. Probably. I did do it for you though, Nott.

SAM: Did you save me?

LAURA: I saved your life!

SAM: Thank you.

LIAM: Is she still smiling?

MATT: No. It’s faded by now.

LAURA: I hold the wand under the table at Caleb’s leg and try to do it to him too.

MATT: Make a charisma saving throw.

LIAM: It’s constitution though, isn’t it?

LAURA: It’s charisma. You had me do charisma.

LIAM: I said constitution to you.

MATT: She did charisma.

LIAM: Okay. I’m sure I’ll fail it. 15.

LAURA: You succeeded, but you didn’t even know I tried.

MATT: As you guys finish your cheer, everyone else in the room lifts their drinks. “Hurrah!” They all give a cheer as well.

MARISHA: Huzzah.

ALL: Huzzah!

MATT: As the evening continues, some folks come up and tell their stories to you, Give you thanks. Share a drink if someone was lost. Some recovered, some not. Overall, they’re very appreciative. Eventually, whether through just general exhaustion or imbibement, you bring yourself to rest. Finding yourselves back to the singular room you’ve all been sharing since you got here at the Feed and Mead.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah. Are we gonna need another room now that we’ve got some extra coin?

MARISHA: How many rooms do they have here at the inn?

MATT: Three.

TRAVIS: Oh!

MATT: It’s not a big place.

SAM: Are the vacant?

MATT: At the moment? Yes.

TRAVIS: We can get an extra room.

MARISHA: Buy them all out.

TRAVIS: Whoa! Hey there, big spender!

MARISHA: I’ll take my own room if y’all don’t want in.

LAURA: But we have always been roommates.

MARISHA: Then come join me, girl!

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Crute, while he has been happy to provide you the evenings free for two rooms, even for all you've done, "I am a businessman, through and through, so I'll give you a discount. Three silver."

MARISHA: Done.

MATT: (laughs)

LAURA: Matt's totally taking advantage of the fact that none of us are hagglers this game. It's hard. It's really hard.

TRAVIS: Craft fair Laura is dying.

LIAM: I will also pay for a room for Nott and Caleb.

MATT: "Of course. Then that will be also three silver."

LIAM: Wait did you just, *ja*? Did you pay for everybody or for you?

MARISHA: I paid for me. Here, for giving you shit earlier. I give three silver.

MATT: "Thank you. (laughs)" You have your own room now.

LAURA: Totally obvious that he's fucking us over. (imitates Crute’s laugh)

LIAM: *Danke*.

TALIESIN: Today has been the most profitable day in my life. I have never seen so much money cross my path.

LAURA: More money will come tomorrow because we are selling the ears tomorrow!

TALIESIN: This is ridiculous.

LAURA: Yeah!

SAM: Where are the ears? Someone has them safe.

LAURA: Of course, yeah, I have the ears right here in this pickle jar.

SAM: Maybe it should be in Caleb and I's room because we will have the alarm to protect us.

LAURA: No, I have them, it's okay.

TALIESIN: Is somebody just going to show up and say I--

LAURA: Like who wants pickled ears really, except for me?

SAM: All right.

LIAM: I'm going to go get my cat! I go up.

LAURA: I'm going to go eat some pickled ears!

TALIESIN: I'm going to watch this.

MATT: Do you actually partake in pickled ears?

LAURA: No, I don't. I go upstairs and I'm conversing with the Traveler

TALIESIN: Oh you're going to do your thing.

MARISHA: I go up and head up to the room as well.

LAURA: I'm going to doodle and talk to the Traveler.

MATT: You all find yourselves going about what final business you have for the evening before rest takes you. You are doing your--

LIAM: Well, I first take out the silver thread and I cross it across the door and if there’s any windows there, I do the same and allow for Nott to enter and leave. Then I draw patterns along the floor that spread up onto the table as well and back down onto the floor. I squat with my book since I am tapped and I begin to bring back my cat. An hour and ten minutes later, I don't know if they're asleep or not, I have at this cat named Frumpkin and I wear him like a scarf.

MATT: You watch as you finish the incantation and the ritual comes to a complete cycle, in the center of where you made these markers across the table you hear this slight tearing sound and there is this slight ripple in the air right in front of you in the center of this and it's almost like a slight little tear in reality almost. From that, Frumpkin steps out and lands looks up at you. (meows)

LIAM: Come here, I promise--

MATT: Immediately leaps up into your hands.

LIAM: I promise not to do that too often. I just scooch, for a long time.

MATT: He purrs against you.

MARISHA: He can't even hear about it!

LIAM: I love when we [inaudible] my cat.

LAURA: Can I draw the General Gnoll peeing on a little fire hydrant and the rest of the gnolls behind him fighting over a bone?

MATT: Easy enough to do.

LAURA: Then I'm going to draw the cutest baby manticore you've ever seen and its dead! I'm going to tell the Traveler: You know, I don't know what's going on. I'm just hoping that you're here because this is the farthest I've ever gone and I'm afraid that you can't hear me anymore and it's freaking me out a little bit. Because I know that I'm around a bunch of people now and I haven't been before but I want you to know that you're still my best friend and if you want me to be alone I will be if that means that you'll be here.

MARISHA: Beau just reaches over and hands her a kleenex.

LAURA: Thank you. Okay, that's all, good night. What?

MARISHA: Nothing.

LAURA: Did you hear that?

MARISHA: I'm in the room with you.

LAURA: Oh. Right.

MARISHA: I'm reading. While she was doing that, I'm opening the letters from the Baumbauchs.

MATT: Oh! Right.

TRAVIS and LAURA: Oh shit.

MATT: Well, finishing up with you. As you finish that and lay down, you lay on one side, staring towards the wall in this moment of quiet. You feel this strange warmth and you look down underneath your robes and there you have the symbol of the Traveler that you keep on yourself, the door arch and path, and it’s warm to the touch, warmer than your skin is. The subtle sensation of familiar closeness comes over you and wordless, but an emotion washes through your brain that's alien, from the outside of your own thoughts that just says, "I'm with you."

LAURA: I take the symbol and I hold it up to my cheek and I go to sleep.

MATT: You start going through. There were four letters clustered in here. You tear through the first one and look at it and it looks like it's a shipment ledger up by Nogvurot. Nogvurot, it's a city on the northern end of the empire. It's just an information ledger about shipments received, confirming payment and distribution to which taverns are receiving it, and then asking for the next shipment. The second one that you open is another ledger, this one comes from Deastok to the west. This one's cheaper, it's a smaller ledger. The third one you open up, and it's a complaint--

MARISHA: (kissing sounds)

MATT: --From Rexxentrum. It's titled by-- it doesn't have the name but it says, the purveyor of the Rotted Stump, which is apparently some sort of bar or tavern saying, "To the Baumbauch family: I would happily request that if you are to send the aforementioned and already paid shipments to our establishment that they would not be containing any sort of animals of which could chew through and ruin and spoil the shipments you've been given. We request an immediate refund." It shows a copy of a deal that was made. It's just an open complaint.

MARISHA: Nice.

MATT: The fourth one's a little interesting. It's just titled: To Demedan Baumbauch. Specifically.

ALL: Demedan! Ooh!

LIAM: I’m sure that one’s not important.

LAURA: Gross!

SAM: It's mostly about mayonnaise.

LAURA: He's totally looking!

LIAM: I know.

TALIESIN: Dear Mr. Mayo. We relish the time we've had together.

MARISHA: Would I recognize what this word means?

MATT: Make an intelligence check.

MARISHA: Do I get any time of advantage for being a shifty person?

MATT: No, because this would be an investigation check specifically, not an intelligence it would be an investigation.

MARISHA: Is this a code? Is this backwards? This is backwards isn't it. Fuck balls.

TALIESIN: You don't know.

MARISHA: Eight.

MATT: Eight. Well. You're just going to have to figure it out on your own.

LIAM: (singing) Fuck balls.

MARISHA: Toordolbo.

SAM: We'll come back to you

MARISHA: Do I know what the Evening Nip is? Do I recognize that?

MATT: You don't, actually.

TRAVIS: You don't know the old evening nip?

(laughter)

MARISHA: I finish reading everything I go over to a sleeping Jester, pull her blankets up and tuck her in a little bit, and then I crash out.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Two quick things. One, I'd like to ask Caleb, when he's done with his insanely long ritual: That pouch that I gave you, what was in it?

LIAM: Did you give me a pouch?

SAM: Oh, I gave you a pouch before. You might not have felt it, but it's in your back pocket.

LIAM: When did you do that?

SAM: Before?

LIAM: Oh, what is in it? Let's see.

MATT: Which pouch is this?

LAURA: Shakäste's.

MATT: Oh, Shakäste's pouch. You find what is roughly a hand full of bird seed.

LAURA: Wouldn't it be funny if there was like, two copper and a bunch of bird seed?

MATT: Well, it's a heavy pouch and contains about 113 gold pieces.

ALL: Whoa!

LAURA: Shakäste was fucking loaded!

LIAM: One...

LAURA: Oh jeez.

LIAM: Two...

TRAVIS: No long rest for you.

LIAM: And then ten minutes later--

MATT: There's some dried jerky and hide in there, just for trail snacks. It seemed like a half road travel pack that Shakäste was keeping with him and whatever coin he had brought with him on the journey.

LAURA: You stole an old blind man's food and money.

SAM: I am the best.

LIAM: Did you say 113?

MATT: 113.

LIAM: Okay, so after counting it all, I separate it and I put some jerky down-- go, have it-- for Frumpkin, and I push six gold across the floor. Come here.

SAM: Yes. Ow!

TRAVIS: That was five of them.

SAM: No, that's good because my muscles are sore from smiling before.

MATT: It does help a little.

SAM: Then I'm going to try to make acid while he was doing his thing.

MATT: Go ahead and make an alchemy supplies check. Roll that plus your proficiency bonus and your intelligence.

SAM: 19, plus things.

MATT: It will take you through the night and part of the morning to do it. With a full night's sleep-- a full rest-- if you start early enough in the night, by about noon tomorrow you'd be done.

SAM: All right.

MATT: Throughout that, you manage to create a vial of acid.

SAM: Awesome.

LIAM: I have a question: the metal on the ring with the pearl in it, what is it made of? Can I tell?

MATT: Looking at it, it looks like the base material for the pearl set in is a polished brass that has been treated to look like gold, but some of that treatment is rubbing off and you can see the duller brass color beneath.

LIAM: I cannot remember, but Caleb can because of Keen Mind. Brass: is that part of the alchemy that I can do?

MATT: I will look. That's part of your school of transmutation?

LIAM: Yeah, that is correct.

SAM: You have copper and silver for sure.

LIAM: Copper, silver, wood.

SAM: Iron?

LIAM: I just can't remember if it is. Do we have a Player's Handbook?

MATT: Wood, stone, iron, copper, or silver.

LIAM: Brass is not on it, okay. Then I'm going to spend the last 30 minutes before bed trying to slowly wedge the pearl out of the ring. I don't want the ring.

MATT: Okay, make a general strength check.

LAURA: The pearl pops out and flies out, never to be found again.

LIAM: 15.

MATT: 15? It doesn't take you too long. Working on it back and forth you eventually have enough give where the four claws that hold the pearl into the ring set eventually give way and it pops out. It does hit the ground and roll and you quickly catch up to it and grab it.

SAM: It's bronze?

LIAM: Brass.

SAM: Brass, okay.

LIAM: I take what's left of the ring and I throw it across the room for Frumpkin to go chasing it across.

MATT: Frumpkin just watches it land. (thunk, thunk)

LIAM: Go chase that.

MATT: (meows)

TRAVIS: While everybody is going up to their rooms, can I stay down-- are you staying down?

TALIESIN: Oh, I'm going upstairs, I'm going to pass out on the floor.

TRAVIS: I'll stay downstairs and do some people-watching. Call it character study.

MATT: Okay, yeah. Looking about, at this point in the evening most of it is filtering out. The few stragglers there are the older folks, grizzled farm hands with sunburned skin, thick fingers that have seen a lot of field work, a lot of them reminiscing about days of old, some of them talking about some folks they know that were lost over the previous events, but they seem drunk enough to at least be smiling and laughing about these old stories they bring up. You continue to study these personalities, I imagine you're probably taking in quirks, taking in elements of their body language, their vocal intonations for your own purposes.

TRAVIS: Very well.

MATT: Okay. As you all eventually close the evening. The morning sun comes to, with Nott sleeping in a little further after staying up late creating a vial of acid.

TRAVIS: Please tell me she has bedhead.

LAURA: One ear's up.

MATT: What do you guys want to do?

MARISHA: Hey, Jester?

LAURA: Hey, what?

MARISHA: I want to show you something.

LAURA: Okay, what?

MARISHA: You know how I stole some shit from the Baumbauchs on our way out of town? Most of it's boring shit, but I stayed up and I was trying to solve it and figure some of this stuff out. Take a look at this, what do you think?

LAURA: Okay. I'm really smart, so I'll probably be able to figure it out. “Demedan, your request has been approved and the toordolbo extract will be arriving in a case of rose wine from the Evening Nip in the coming week. Many Gifts, The Gentleman.”

MARISHA: (whispering) The Gentleman. Who's The Gentleman?

LAURA: I don't know but I like your addition of “douche” to Demedan, I agree.

MARISHA: Uh-huh, I wanted to put a reminder for myself.

LAURA: Oh yeah, who specializes in a rosé? You're right, that's weird. Especially not the Baumbauchs.

MARISHA: No, the Baumbauchs don't make rosé.

LAURA: No, they make, like, ale.

MARISHA: You're right. The place where I came from, you got-- certain regions are going to make certain kinds of wines. That might tell us where it's come from. And, what do you think-- I think the "oblodoro" I think that's a code.

LAURA: "Toordolbo."

MARISHA: I think it's bloodroot.

LAURA: Oh, bloodroot, that's good.

MARISHA: That sounds like a thing, right?

LAURA: What if it's the "boltodoor?"

MARISHA: That's a possibility. I haven't ruled anything out yet.

LAURA: Bloodroot is probably pretty good, though.

MARISHA: Do I know of bloodroot?

MATT: Make a nature check.

MARISHA: Nature check.

LAURA: Would *I* know bloodroot?

MATT: Make a nature check. You both may make a nature check in this moment, in a strike of inspiration.

LAURA: 20!

MARISHA: Better than me. 13.

MATT: Okay, you've heard it somewhere. Nothing big, but like, bloodroot, I've heard of it. You know it. It's a unique flower that is pretty in its own right, but you know it because the places where it's used are usually fenced off in a way that children can't get to them because they are known to be poisonous. Not to the point of death, but to the point of severe nausea and vomiting upon ingestion.

LAURA: Oh, bloodroot. That's right, it's a type of flower, super-duper red. I know because I tried to make paint out of one of the flowers one time and it made me want to like seriously puke my guts out. And do the spins, if you know what I mean. Super bad. That's bad.

MARISHA: And they're wanting an extract, so--

LAURA: That means it would be extra strong, yeah.

MARISHA: Are the Baumbauchs trying to poison people?!

LAURA: Oh my gosh! Well, the Gentleman wants to poison people. Oh, no, the Baumbauchs, yeah, I understand. Wow, do we need to tell someone about this?

MARISHA: No. Just keep it in the back of your head if you hear something, if something spikes your interest--

LAURA: If we hear about an outbreak of people vomiting--

MARISHA: --or about a gentleman.

LAURA: Or about a rosé.

MARISHA: And an Evening Nip.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: I want to know about these evening nipples-- evening nip.

TRAVIS: There you go, Freudian slip.

LAURA: In the coming *week*! That's soon. When did you steal this?

MARISHA: How many days has it been?

MATT: It's been probably, at this point, four days, I guess.

LAURA: Oh my gosh, what if we could intercept it? Then we could have all of the poison, and the nips.

MARISHA: Interesting.

LAURA: I like it.

MARISHA: Let's keep this-- we'll workshop it.

LAURA: Let's make a decision!

MARISHA: You--

LAURA: We just did it!

MARISHA: Yeah we did, we definitely did.

LAURA: Oh man, I'm really hungry though I'm going to go downstairs.

MARISHA: Let's get some food.

MATT: You guys all wake up and get your breakfast situated and sorted, Nott joining you a little later on, but you are fed, the morning is fresh, what would you like to do?

TRAVIS: Well, I guess it's time to collect on those ears, right?

LAURA: These ears.

TRAVIS: Yes, those ears.

MATT: Asking around, you're eventually led to where Bryce's location is. Apparently they are in the process of going through paperwork in the Salt Trench Jail. That's where the prisoners of Alfield, this podunk town, keep there in prison. Being led to this small but functional shack of stone and dried wood, eventually Bryce emerges, not fully armored, but they're wearing comfortable robes with a bit of the ceremonial maroon and gold that a lot of the crownsguard and members of that political faction seem to wear. As they emerge, you see Bryce's face brighten up as they say, "You're awake! Come, I've been able to gather enough pay for your deeds the other day. Please, do step inside." They lead you over to their desk, "How many set of ears have been procured?"

LAURA: 19 sets.

MATT: “19 sets?”

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Or 19 total?

LAURA: No, it was 19 sets, I marked down sets. Technically Matt, I'm not telling Bryce this, five of those sets are hyenas. 14 of those are gnolls for sure.

MATT: Bryce has a hard time telling the difference at the moment, having been overworked and stressed with the recent goings-on.

LIAM: (whispering) We are assholes.

MATT: Counting through, they finish each bit counted. "That comes to--" They pull up a small chest and begin to count out change into a large sack. Then that fills up into a secondary sack, into a third one, finishing with, "A total of 570 gold pieces."

LAURA: We also brought home live people and also some dead people. We brought home seven dead bodies.

MATT: "Seven dead bodies at five gold per seven, that will come to 35 gold pieces as well." Which they fill out for you. “Then the live ones were how many?”

LAURA: 25 gold a piece. How many live people did we bring back? I didn't have those in jars.

MARISHA: There were the two.

SAM: Jules, Petrov, Herma--

LIAM: I would remember exactly. I don’t, but I do.

LAURA: That's right I did write down Herma and Jules, Petrov.

SAM: Then there was a couple that Shakäste had in the--

LAURA: Oh wait!

LIAM: Hold because if he knows he has to tell me because I picked the right feat for it.

LAURA: Oh that's right.

MATT: There were five specifically that you managed to save actively from the tunnel. Shakäste had already saved an additional seven.

(cheering)

TRAVIS: Damn!

SAM: We're fucking rich!

LAURA: Wait, did anybody write down the amount that he said?

MARISHA: 570 for the gnolls, 35 for the--

LIAM: A hundred a piece already.

MARISHA: And a fourth sack is presented as they count out 300-ish more gold pieces.

LAURA: Oh my gosh! That's so good!

MARISHA: That's a little over a hundred gold each.

LAURA: That's so great!

MATT: Not bad, almost can afford a suit of armor.

TRAVIS: A-Fjord?

MATT: Don't instigate it! You'll regret it.

LAURA and MARISHA: 150 gold a piece!

SAM: Are we going to divvy it up?

LIAM: We are so excited over chump change to Vox Machina.

MATT: After all the counting is done Bryce is writing down feverishly, "For my own ledgers, because I do have to present this paper work to the crown for the approval of these rewards, what do we call you?"

LAURA: We should have talked about this. What do you guys think?

SAM: We're very strong.

LAURA: That's true we are. We're very strong.

TALIESIN: We have to leave a paper trail, is that a thing that actually has to happen?

LAURA: What if we're The Strong?

TRAVIS: We're like the mighty.

LAURA: The Mighty! That's good!

MARISHA: Hey there new guy, you know good words that like sound cool in Zemnian right?

LIAM: We are The Mighty Nein.

LAURA: Nein?

MARISHA: Nein!

MATT: The Mighty Nein.

TALIESIN: I can buy that.

TRAVIS: Yeah, why not? There's one, two, three, four--

LIAM: It's just a spelling that is tricky.

MATT: "Please, do spell it for me."

LIAM: Yeah 'Mighty' in Common is spelled M-I--

TRAVIS: I will pull your beard off your face.

LIAM: H--

LAURA: Oh my god!

LIAM: --T-Y.

MATT: "Yes?"

LIAM: Now we come to the next word. N-E-I-N.

MATT: "Yes?"

LIAM: We are The Mighty Nein.

MATT: "I feel like I was part of something crowd sourced similar to this." I feel like I've been part of a game call “Mighty Number Nine.”

LAURA: Oh. Really?

MATT: Yeah. It's a game that I-- It's a Mega Man--

LIAM: Nein, nein, nein.

SAM: That's the number nine.

MATT: Yes, I know. Oh that game. Anyway!

LIAM: Oh *this* game.

MATT: "All right, The Mighty Nein, that is from the paperwork. Are you staying a while in Alfield then?"

LAURA: Are we staying here? I mean, do you want to keep hiring us for always?

MATT: "I don't have much in the way of work here for your type at the moment."

TRAVIS: You seem to be at peace with the current situation, I think it might be in our best interest that we moved on.

TALIESIN: Passing through.

MATT: "Whereabouts are you going?"

LAURA: We're going to Zadash.

MATT: "Interesting, well that's much larger for the tastes of most field folk out here. I lived there for about three years when I was younger, in the West Outersteads before joining the Crownsguard and shipping off to Bladegarden. If you are indeed off to Zadash and are in need of a friend, if she's still there. Ask for Claudia Sheed at the Leaky Tap.

LIAM: Sheet, did you say Sheet?

MATT: “Claudia Sheed.”

MARISHA: At the Leaky Tap?

MATT: “At the Leaky Tap at the East Outersteads.”

LAURA: Oh, I should ask you, is that like the big inn, the big place?

MATT: "It is of moderate size."

LAURA: What would be the biggest inn in Zadash? Like the biggest place that if you go like, “Oh, I need to find the biggest inn in Zadash,” this is what it is?

MATT: That would be the The Pillow Trove. That's in Tri-Spires. I don't know if you can afford that? I don't know, maybe you can! I don't know."

LAURA: I just need the most popular one, because that's where my mom is going be sending me stuff. The Pillow Trove.

MATT: "Good luck."

SAM: That's where we're staying?

TALIESIN: No. That's a fancy inn.

LIAM: Was is pillow or pillar?

MATT: "The Pillow Trove. But The Leaky Tap I recommend. Claudia's great; she owns the place if she's still there."

LAURA: Leaky Tap?

MATT: Leaky Tap.

MARISHA: Not Tavern, Tap.

LIAM: Leaky Tap Tavern?

MATT: "Certain, fine. She's got a good head on her shoulders and at the very least she may be able to guide you to anything you're looking for. Hopefully. Oh! I almost forgot, follow me please." They stand up and close the ledger and lead you outside. About two blocks down by the outside of the stables, titled the On The Wind Stables. There you see outside a hardy looking female dragonborn. Rotund and strong, no tail, who is black scaled, turns around as you approach and gives a quick hand up to Bryce and Bryce approaches. "Ah, thank you Durmas. Everyone this is Durmas. She is the main stable hand here at the On The Wind. We've taken, as a bit of appreciation here, we've outfitted you with a new cart as the previous one was a bit-- It had carried many of our dead, so Durmas." And Durmas steps forth and says, "Great. I have presented for you this cart that we had made. It belonged to somebody here, it is now yours. It is well made, it is larger than what you had previously and does not smell of blood and feces."

SAM and TALIESIN: Yet!

(laughter)

LIAM: Give us a day.

MATT: "Very well." She steps back and starts getting the two horses, one that you had brought along and the other that you had discovered out there. They've already been hitched to the cart.

TRAVIS: Have they had water?

MATT: Fed and watered, cleaned, brushed.

SAM: Is that enough horses? Should we be getting two more to pull us faster?

TALIESIN: Two is pretty decent, I think.

LAURA: Is it?

SAM: For six?

LAURA: You're little.

LIAM: Watchmaster, I'm sorry it slipped my mind. Is there anywhere still open in town after all of the carnage that sells inks and paper?

MATT: "I'm sure that can be done. Yes, I can lend you some. I wish you'd told be back in the office."

LIAM: I'm sorry, but I'm looking for the highest quality ink. Do you know what I mean?

MATT: "I think I do, and I don't know if this is the city to find that, unfortunately. You have much better luck in Zadash."

LIAM: Okay, thank you.

MATT: "Of course."

LAURA: Before we leave, can you tell me where Starosta Kosh's office is?

MATT: You watch as they smile a bit based on your sudden interest and they say, "Why do you ask?"

LAURA: Oh, we have some unfinished business.

MATT: "Best that I summon him? But I can retrieve him."

LAURA: All right.

SAM: (whispering) Because he's balls deep right now.

(laughter)

MATT: "I'll be right back. We've taken--" And at that point you hear a slapping sound, you watch as Shumas the dragonborn, she's taken the large manticore head. And is chained into the side and slammed it on to the side of the cart. You still have that.

LIAM: Did you say her name was Shumas?

MATT: Shumas-- oh no! Durmas! Sorry.

LAURA: Dermis is what I wrote down.

MARISHA: I wrote down Dermis, yeah!

MATT: No, Shumas is a region in Marquet, sorry. I have too much in my brain.

TRAVIS: *Du*, *Du* mas! *Du* mas *mich!*

LIAM: This is the best campaign ever!

TALIESIN: I was trying so hard not to say it.

MATT: We can slowly crash every song’s YouTube's comments now.

LIAM: I'm so sorry, Mr. DeAngelo, my high school German teacher! We're going forward.

MARISHA: My high school German teacher's first language was Spanish. It was real weird.

LIAM: What was their name?

MARISHA: I don't remember her name.

LIAM: Okay, my was Jim DeAngelo. He's the principal now. I'm sure he's very proud of me.

MATT: As you guys are getting your stuff situated onto the cart, eventually you watch as four crownsguard approach along with Bryce and the small robed gnomish figure of Starosta Kosh. "Right, I've been summoned. What is your business?"

LAURA: Yes. Hi! Starosta, it's so wonderful to see you again.

MATT: "I've been told that you did a great service for Alfield and for that I am very thankful."

LAURA: Yes. I was thinking a really good thing you could do for us in return is to give my friend Fjord here a letter of recommendation to the Academy.

MATT: "What?"

LAURA: He did a great service to your city.

MATT: "And you have been paid handsomely for it. As the Watchmaster has notified me."

LAURA: Starosta, it's good to see you again. It's been a while, about, hold on. I get out my sketchbook and I look through it. Maybe like eight years almost? Your hair hasn't changed though, you should change it.

MATT: "I'm confused? This is strange, but no I believe that our business is complete."

LAURA: The Ruby of The Sea says hello.

MATT: You watch as his face loses color. His hand drops to his side. "Um. I will be happy to write you a letter of recommendation, but I cannot assure you that it will be accepted as there are many points of acceptance within the Academy. And is quite a bit of travel to Rexxentrum anyway. Is this to the actual Soltryce?"

LAURA: Of course.

TRAVIS: If you wouldn't mind, that would be most kind of you.

MATT: "Very well, it will be done in just a moment. What is your name?"

TRAVIS: Fjord.

SAM: There's a j in it.

LAURA: Make sure he spells it right, Fjord.

TRAVIS: Yeah, F-J-O-R-D. Fjord.

MATT: "Have you a surname?"

TRAVIS: No.

SAM: Tough.

(laughter)

MATT: Fuck you!

(hysterical laughter)

TALIESIN: Just been sitting on that shit, haven't you?

TRAVIS: We’re not going to make it through all of them.

MATT: Oh, I was keeping it together so well. Here, buddy.

LIAM: Thank you.

MATT: "I'll return in the next 15 minutes." Starosta turns and gives a long look of simmering fury behind a forced smile to Jester. Spins around then walks off in a haughty march to wherever he came from.

LAURA: He really should have changed his hair, I mean it's pretty hideous.

TALIESIN: You may be my new hero.

TRAVIS: How is it that you saw him before?

LAURA: Oh, he visited my mother years ago.

MARISHA: And your mother's The Ruby of The Sea?

LAURA: Yes, The Ruby of The Sea. You've heard of her?

MARISHA: I have now. Have I heard of her?

MATT: Make a history check.

TRAVIS: Can I do that, too?

MATT: You may.

MARISHA: Don't fuck me. That's a natural one.

TALIESIN: I don't get a bonus, right?

MATT: You actually wouldn't have.

TALIESIN: Okay, no that's fine. Oh, I wouldn't have heard?

MATT: No. It's outside of the Empire.

TRAVIS: 23 investigation?

MATT: It's history.

TRAVIS: Oh, history. 21.

MATT: Okay. This makes sense for you since you grew up in the Menagerie Coast, though in Port Damali. The Ruby of the Sea is well known in some circles. You've only heard rumors. Belongs to an establishment that specializes in all forms of socializing, entertainment, and is one of the most prominent brothels in the Menagerie Coast, in which the Ruby of the Sea is known to be the star courtesan. Many travel all across the Menagerie Coast and beyond, supposedly, to be within her company. Many have fallen in love with her and had their hearts broken. There are poems and songs that have wandered through bars and taverns that spoke of her, that first caught your interest. It seems like a faint, distant tale that was just a myth that people made up or someone spoke of. Ruby of the Sea, it sounds amorphous.

TRAVIS: Of course, I remember now. The Ruby of the Sea, I can't believe she's your mother.

SAM: Is she a jeweler?

LAURA: No.

TRAVIS: Not exactly. No, she entertains gentlemen. She's hard to describe, a performer, an entertainer or--

LAURA: Well, she's mostly known for her hmm-hmm-hmm. Outside of that, her voice is amazing, you should hear her sing.

LIAM: What does that mean?

LAURA: What does what mean?

LIAM: Hmm-hmm-hmm.

LAURA: She has sex for money! Mostly, I mean, people pay her a large sum. It's like three guys mostly, she keeps a few people at a time. She doesn't see everybody because she's super famous.

TRAVIS: Yeah, the name has made itself known all along the coast. You'd be lucky to find yourself in her company, at least how I've heard it.

LAURA: You would, you really would.

MARISHA: Is that what that song is about?

LAURA: (singing) The Ruby of the Sea is the best lay ever!

SAM: It's a translation, I think.

SAM and LIAM: It sounds better in the original Infernal.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Is the best lay ever, oh god.

MARISHA: I'm so glad I set that up. No regrets.

TRAVIS: The best lay ever.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Oh shit.

MATT: A well-known bar jingle all across Wildemount.

SAM: It's the whole song.

TRAVIS and MARISHA: The Ruby of the Sea is the best lay ever!

MATT: It's more of a jingle than a song, really.

LIAM: I'm picturing a public access infomercial.

MARISHA: (singing) The Ruby of the Sea, the best lay ever!

MATT: (singing) 800-588-Ruby of the Sea now! Today! Anyway.

SAM: So you're the daughter of a celebrity.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: How was that, growing up in fame and fortune?

LAURA: Well, I wouldn't know exactly, because she never told anybody that I was there. I bet if she had, it would've been crazy.

LIAM: Then where were you at this point?

LAURA: You know, in my room.

SAM: Just trapped in your room?

LAURA: Well, no I wasn't trapped, but you know--

LIAM: Did you get to go to the park, did she read you stories, did she do the things that parents do?

LAURA: She read me some stories. And a lot of times I would listen at the door and hear her sing.

MARISHA: Did she tell people about you?

LAURA: No.

TRAVIS: I imagine that would affect her business a little.

LAURA: Exactly. I totally understand, she loves me so much. She really, really does. It's just, you know, people frown upon courtesans with daughters.

TALIESIN: Very fair.

LIAM: I am sorry, you are from the south, yeah?

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: I am from the north. Does this include also, besides the hmm-hmm-hmm, singing and poetry, you said?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: So she was skilled as an artisan as well.

LAURA: Yes! That's why I'm such a good painter.

LIAM: That’s fascinating, for real.

MARISHA: Did she teach you your spell and fighting talents?

LAURA: Oh, no, that came from the Traveler.

LIAM: How did you-- never mind.

TRAVIS: And this is why you're looking for your dad?

LAURA: Well, yes.

SAM: Was he a client of your mother's?

LAURA: Well, yes. But-- I feel so nervous all of a sudden, everybody‘s looking at me.

SAM: We can look away.

MARISHA: Yeah, we'll-- keep talking.

LAURA: Okay, so they were totally in love and she was going to marry him, and he was totally in love with her and he was going to marry her, and they said they were going to get married, and then she got pregnant with me, and he said-- they got married and he was going to go set up his house, and then he just never came back.

SAM: That's very sad.

LAURA: I know, it is really sad.

SAM: So are you going to find him to meet him and know him, or to seek revenge upon him?

LAURA: No, I'm going to find him so that I have somewhere to live because I'm not allowed to be at the house anymore.

SAM: Why aren't you allowed to be at the house anymore?

LAURA: Well, because I'm kind of in trouble in Nicodranas.

SAM: What did you do?

LAURA: Well, because I sort of played a prank on this guy who was seeing my mom.

SAM: What kind of a prank?

LAURA: Well-- so the Traveler taught me how to make myself look like other people, right?

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: So, I made myself look like my mom, and then I lured him out onto our balcony and he was wearing nothing but this girdle of hers. And then I locked the door. And I thought that was funny, you know?

SAM: That is funny--

LAURA: It looked really good in my sketchbook.

SAM: So he was just out there in a girdle.

LAURA: Yeah, which is no big deal. But then I found out he's a lord.

SAM: And you embarrassed him?

LAURA: He was really pissed off.

LIAM: Was it nighttime or daytime?

LAURA: It was in the day.

MARISHA: How many people saw?

LAURA: Oh, everyone!

MARISHA: That's so great!

LAURA: It was so great. But he said he wanted to kill me and they said--

MARISHA: That's not great.

LAURA: --that was cool and he could. So my mom was like, "Go!" and I was like, "Okay."

SAM: What was his name, so we can avoid him?

MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Or not avoid him.

LAURA: Lord something something.

SAM: Let's avoid all Lords.

TALIESIN: I'm all right with that.

LAURA: Lord Robert something something.

SAM: Robert.

LAURA: I'll remember it eventually.

LIAM: Funny is funny. He should have a better sense of humor.

LAURA: I thought so, too! He looked really good.

MARISHA: What's wrong with being in a girdle?

LAURA: I know, right?

MARISHA: Very waist cinching. Skirt.

TALIESIN: I'm wearing one right now.

SAM: I bet you are!

TALIESIN: No, I'm not. I'm actually just built this way. I could be, I'm built like I am.

MARISHA: That's pretty crazy. So you think you can actually-- hang on, why do you want to live with your dad that you never met? Why not just go do your own thing?

LAURA: Well, I mean--

LIAM: Your father is your father, how could you not be curious about your father?

LAURA: I know, right? I mean, I've never met him, I thought it would be cool. That's who I was looking for when I met Fjord, over there.

MARISHA: Sometimes fathers are disappointing.

LIAM: But it is still your right to know your parents. Who they are, you have to understand where you came from.

LAURA: I mean, he's supposed to be pretty darn cool. He wears lots of rings on his fingers too, you guys!

SAM: Do you know his name?

MATT: “Ahem!” You look and see that the Crownsguard are approaching. And there's the Starosta Kosh there with a rolled up piece of parchment which he presents with a broad smile. "As you requested."

LAURA: Thank you, kind sir.

MATT: "Of course, it's everything I can do. Now, be on your way."

LAURA: Fjord, it's your letter.

MATT: "Go! Please."

LAURA: Bye.

MATT: He huffs off, they all begin to leave as you guys go to your cart. The Watchmaster comes up one last time and they say, "Sincerely, you've saved many lives and... A paltry sum I could get approved, but know that you have my gratitude.

LAURA: Thank you, Bryce.

MATT: "Of course. Good luck to you. I hope our paths cross again."

LAURA: Me too. If you see a girl named Yasha, let her know we are on our way to Zadash.

SAM: She's tall.

MATT: "Yasha?"

SAM: Yasha. She carries flowers.

LAURA: She's super scary looking, but she's got a heart of gold.

TALIESIN: Extremely charming.

MARISHA: Very in shape.

MATT: "I'll try my best."

SAM: Black chin.

TALIESIN: Wearing a girdle.

(laughter)

MATT: "All right."

LIAM: What are you talking about, the bouncer?

TALIESIN: Oh, she makes her way back every now and then.

LAURA: Yeah, Yasha said she was going to catch up with us, I believe her.

LIAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: Yeah, plus she looks like she can herself in a fight. She'd be most welcome.

TALIESIN: She can.

LAURA: Do you want to hold on to your letter, Fjord?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I would love that, thank you, Jester.

LAURA: You're welcome, of course. I told you I would get you to the Academy.

MARISHA: That was smooth. I'm into it.

TALIESIN: I forgot to say this is the most pleasant experience I've ever had at a city building before. I could get used to this.

MARISHA: Yeah, the hero worship is kind of nice.

LAURA: Yeah, right?

SAM: Are we sure we want to leave this place? People like us here.

LAURA: It's only a matter of time before they don't.

LIAM: We have to go.

TALIESIN: It's like you were born in the circus. I'm so impressed.

MARISHA: It's so true. Yeah, let's leave while we're on a high note.

LIAM: We want to find a bigger city to disappear into.

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: Hey, Caleb.

LIAM: *Ja.*

MARISHA: Do you have kids?

LIAM: No.

TALIESIN: Insight check.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: 20.

MATT: 20? Seems, straight and narrow.

TALIESIN: All right.

MARISHA: Did you have kids?

LIAM: No.

MARISHA: Insight check. 14.

MATT: Hard to read, but it seems to be fairly forthright.

MARISHA: You just have some paternal qualities. Just you know--

LIAM: You know I think maybe you are confusing my good friend and I. You know, she's very little, and I am taller. So, it does have that sort of father-daughter look, but you know well, that's not exactly what it is.

SAM: No, no, no. I'm a goblin.

LIAM: Yeah. You know if anything-- I've never really said this out loud before, but if anything you're more like a *Schwester*, a little sister to me.

SAM: That's nice.

LAURA: How old are you, Nott? Are you a little goblin? Or are you a normal adult goblin?

SAM: Well, you know, the funny things about goblins is we don't really celebrate birthdays or anything so it's hard for me to know exactly. There's no real holidays in clans.

LAURA: Are you fully grown or are you still growing?

SAM: I'm of child bearing age. So I'm about somewhere between six and nine.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: What is today?

SAM: So that's like a grown-- almost grown goblin.

LAURA: Oh, okay.

SAM: Yeah, but like I said is really hard for me to tell. It's not like we had a party every year.

TALIESIN: Birthdays are shite.

LIAM: What is today in this world, DM?

MATT: As far as the date?

LIAM: Yes.

LAURA: Are you okay?

MARISHA: No.

TALIESIN: Did you have one of those sneezes that actually break something?

TRAVIS: You know when you sneeze and turn, and pulls the rib out.

MARISHA: I think I just pulled a rib.

MATT: I have to go and look that up.

LIAM: Well I will tell you, we'll get to that, but I think today we call your birthday.

SAM: Today we're calling my birthday?

LIAM: Yeah, you know, we never talked about that. I didn't realize that, so today is your *Geburtstag*, today is your birthday.

LAURA: Today is your birthday, Nott?

SAM: Apparently. What day is it?

LIAM: He doesn't know. He will tell us later.

SAM: All right. Well for right now, let's say it's Thursday.

LIAM: Every year on a Thursday it is your birthday.

SAM: All right.

LIAM: Happy birthday.

TRAVIS: Congratulations, Nott.

SAM: Thank you.

LAURA: Happy birthday.

TRAVIS: This is a very special occasion.

SAM: Do you know a birthday song too?

LAURA: No. I'm sorry. But I do have this pickle in my bag.

SAM: (screams) Is it old?

LAURA: It was sitting in the jar and I put it in my bag because we put the ears in here.

LIAM: Congratulations, today you are a mighty nine.

MATT: It is the 12th of Fessuran.

LAURA: Oh yes, Fessuran.

MATT: It's getting towards the start of fall.

SAM: It's already Fessuran!? It feels like “Huvnufn.”

LIAM: The pumpkins lattes have come out..

SAM: Well, thank you, Caleb.

LIAM: Well I didn't do anything, you got me a pile of gold, so thank you.

SAM: All right.

MATT: (coughing)

SAM: Oh, sorry, we'll leave now.

MATT: On the other side there is Durmas leaning on one of the horses. "All right, so, your horses are ready, your cart is ready."

LAURA and TALIESIN: We should go.

MATT: "You should probably go."

LAURA: Let's go.

MATT: All right. Durmas gets behind and pushes the cart out as the horses clump out. "My business is paid, good luck." She goes back into the stable and goes about her work.

TALIESIN: Oh the open road.

TRAVIS: Yeah, shall we?

LAURA: Back on the road again.

TRAVIS: It's crisp out.

LAURA: I like it. Who is going to be driving this thing?

TALIESIN: I could drive this thing.

SAM: I tried it last time, maybe I'll try again this time.

TRAVIS: I like it.

MATT: Animal handling check.

SAM: Animal handling?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: 19!

LAURA: Oh, hey we're getting better!

TALIESIN: With an 18 bonus.

MATT: A slight flick of the rains watching your various allies previously travelled with a controlled snap, the horses lurch and (clopping).

SAM: Yeehaw!

(laughter)

TALIESIN: That was a good one.

MATT: With that, you guys make yourselves westward for the central streets up Alfield. A few folks come out and watch you leave, those who were present for the evening, and with a final silent nod and smile you make your way back onto the Amber Road heading northward deep into the Marrow Valley on your way to Zadash. And we're going to take a break there.

(cheering)

MATT: Yay!

LIAM: Come on in!

LAURA: Marisha is broken!

LIAM: Come on broken McGee.

TRAVIS: You fucking busted a rib did you?

MATT: Yeah, she did. She was coughing too hard the week before last.

LAURA: Are you okay?

MATT: How are you doing?

TRAVIS: Yeah, you pulled it. Want me to get it?

MARISHA: There's shit cracking. Something popped.

TRAVIS: Yeah, when you sneezed and you turned and lean away from it, boy.

MARISHA: I was trying to defend the table.

LIAM: You've got to Lethal Weapon that shit.

MARISHA: I'm going to take some Advil.

MATT: Yeah, you go do that. I'm going to take care of my wife here in a minute. All right guys, we'll be back here in a little bit from the break continuing the story as they head to the open road, heading northward towards Zadash on the Amber Road. We have our contest from Wyrmwood this week, they're giving away two more of their awesome Kickstarter boxes. This is--

LIAM: Oh shit, look at that.

MATT: Those who haven't see it. Get the fuck out of this thing. There it is! It is their awesome-- what is this called? Is this the--

TALIESIN: It's the--

LIAM and LAURA: Tamarind.

MATT: Freaking awesome, here comes the dice box, and then it has this case which has inside of it dice, pen--

LAURA: Look at that pen.

MATT: It's freaking great. A little section there for keeping a mini or whatever else you want to put in there, we're giving away two of these at the break so be prepared. Through a misunderstanding, you don't have to wait for a prompt, as soon as we go to break you can enter in the chat. So I apologize if I've been fucking with people, that's on me, that's my fault. For this week, the keyword is Gates, G-A-T-E-S, so when we go to the break enter the Twitch chat room. You can only enter it once, if you enter it more than once you'll be disqualified. I'll have two winners for you who will win two of this delightful things from my friends at Wyrmwood Gaming when we return. See you in just a minute.

BreakEdit

[break]

Part IIEdit

MATT: Hello everyone, and welcome back. Before we hop back in, the two winners of the Wyrmwood giveaway are Jevons and Nicholas Fernandez. Jevons and Nicholas Fernandez, congratulations, you guys won. Danoba will contact you and get your information so we can get that sent out to you, so congrats. All right, everyone seems ready and iced.

TRAVIS: Yep. Marisha.

MARISHA: Uh-huh?

TRAVIS: Stay frosty.

LIAM: Stop!

MARISHA: Don’t make me laugh!

TRAVIS: She shouldn’t laugh at that.

MARISHA: This is some bullshit.

TRAVIS: A rib will be pulled when you turn and sneeze.

MATT: Yeah. Don’t turn and sneeze!

MARISHA: Therapeutic D&D right now.

MATT: Exactly. Speaking of which, guys. You’ve begun your trek northward back on the Amber Road, passing through the high grass fields, the rolling hills. The sky grows more cloudy, and as the day progresses, uneventful, three horses carrying crownsguard are patrolling down the Amber Road and pass by, and watch them nod as they continue on. As you continue down, for the remainder of the day-- you guys probably left around noon. Eight hours of travel, would say is a standard travel day for a horse, so that’ll be just past sunset.

LAURA: Well, Nott slept in until noon, so we probably left a couple of hours after that.

MATT: That’s true. So you get back a little bit on the travel. Not too bad. Continuing on, you hit sunset, and your horse could go for a few more hours. Do you wish to continue to travel in the night? Follow the road?

LIAM: No, why would we be ambitious like that? We’re not in a hurry.

LAURA: Is there a good place to make shelter?

TALIESIN: I’d say we pull off if we see something really nice.

MATT: Right as the sky begins to grow dark enough to threaten vision for distant vision, at least. You use darkvision, you have a closer proximity.

MARISHA: I put on my goggles way too early. I’m super stoked about them.

(laughter)

LAURA: I’m just seeing you at Burning Man.

MARISHA: Yeah, totally! 100 percent! That’s kind of how I imagined them is Burner goggles.

MATT: The sky is as dark and the distance is as hard to see. But nearby, there’s some decent shapes and outlines.

LIAM: Ferris Bueller, all the time.

MATT: Yep.

LIAM: I’m sorry. Don’t laugh.

MATT: “Are you in here for drugs?” “No. What are you in for?” “Drugs.” You don’t see any landmarks that would gather your attention to be a place to stay or stop at or rest for the evening. Your best plans would be to look for something not far off the road in the natural environment to make camp. Who is helming that expedition?

LAURA: I’ll help him.

MATT: Both you guys roll perception.

LAURA: Did you roll good?

TALIESIN: I did! 19! Thank you, Gil.

LAURA: 17.

MATT: Okay. You find a small clearing that looks to be a handful of rocks that were partially lodged into the ground long ago that have since been overgrown with moss and grass. But there is a bit a small opening where it looks to be the remains of charcoal. A fire has once, or many times, been built and then put out there. So it looks like a standard place where people have set up camp while making their trips up and down the Amber Road. Easy enough to do. So you guys set up for the evening? You gather yourselves around, build a small fire.

LAURA: You should use your cloth and make a fire for us.

TRAVIS: Oh, right before the day goes?

LAURA: Well. Unless something attacks us again.

LIAM: If you are going to do that, we all need to stand 50 feet back.

LAURA: Why?

LIAM: Because it’s not a little (fut fut). It’s a big one.

LAURA: Oh, okay. Never mind then. Who has a (fut fut)?

LIAM: I have a (fut fut).

LAURA: Okay, then do it.

LIAM: (fire burning)

MATT: It doesn’t make much of a (fut fut), much to your disappointment. But a fire is built. You all begin to bed down for the evening, and who’s taking first watch?

LIAM: I am.

MATT: Okay. You can break it up between, probably let’s say, three watches over a casual evening.

TRAVIS: I’ll take the second.

MARISHA: I’ll take the last.

MATT: Perception check from you, please.

LIAM: Yeah, okay. Ten.

MATT: Okay. An uneventful evening continues for you. You trade off to Fjord. Fjord, make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Nine.

MATT: Your mighty nine allows you to keep an eye out as the dark perimeter seems to bring no shapes or movements of interest other than the occasional sound of the wind blowing through the fields and the distant dark. Then your watch is up. Beauregard, perception check, please.

MARISHA: Seven.

LAUDA: Oh god!

LIAM: It’s gotten lower and lower.

MATT: Keeping an eye out, best you can, the sleep takes you eventually and you end up cheating on the last few hours of your watch. Nevertheless, you all come to consciousness in the morning intact and fine. You begin your way further on the road for a second day. Now, who’s guiding the-- I would say more of who’s keeping a perimeter watch during the next day’s journey?

TRAVIS: I will.

LAURA: I’ll help.

MATT: All right. So one of you two, we’ll say that’s the case, make a perception check with advantage because of Jester’s aiding.

TRAVIS: Thank you, Jester.

LAURA: You’re welcome!

TRAVIS: Oh jeez, that’s terrible. Nine!

(laughter)

MATT: Keeping with the theme of the name, I guess.

TALIESIN: For the record, we’re hiding all of our valuables. If that’s okay. Making sure everything is stowed. I would assume we’re hiding all of--

LAURA: You know how to do that because you’re on the road a lot.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I know how.

SAM: That’s even worse!

MARISHA: We did scoop up those chains, right? We put those in the wagon?

LAURA: Yeah, of course!

MATT: Yeah, those are still with you.

LIAM: The shitty manacles?

LAURA: Yeah! That we’ll sell to a blacksmith.

LIAM: Yeah, excellent.

MARISHA: Metal’s valuable, man.

LAURA: Along with this giant sledgehammer!

LIAM: That is a glaive.

LAURA: No, I have a sledgehammer too.

LIAM: Oh, that’s right! You also picked up a sledgehammer, yeah. Sledge!

MATT: Continuing on for the rest of the day, eventually you pass by a small travel wagon. It’s similar to the size of the cart that you have, but it has some cushioned seats set up in the back. You look towards three, well dressed individuals that are looking miserable. They’re sitting in the back of the cart as it rides by with a single coachman whose single horse is pulling it along with a rather rapid pace. You watch as they begin to approach, the few bumps that hit the road are hitting them relatively hard because of the pace of which they’re keeping. Some of them kind of get flung up, and you watch their hair get mussed and they quickly put it back into place.

MARISHA: What kind of cargo does it look like they have?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: I want to draw a sketch of them in a little pan popping like popcorn.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: As she’s doing that, I’m trying to get Jester’s attention. I’m like: Jester! Jester!

LAURA: What?

MARISHA: 13. (whispers) The Gentlemen.

LAURA: (whispers) The Gentlemen.

MATT: The best you can tell, the cargo within are personal bags. There’s nothing of what looks to be *cargo* cargo, at least what you have seen in previous bits of people that have traveled down here. Especially the trade caravan you passed on your way up to Alfield. This looks to be more of a personnel-based journey. They pass glaring as they look at your colorful variety of individuals.

LAURA: Are they going the opposite direction than us?

MATT: Yeah, heading south.

LAURA: (whispering) Should I ask if they’re the Gentlemen? (shouting) Good to see you, Gentlemen!

MARISHA: Gentlemen. Do any of them look--

SAM: Like a gentleman?

MARISHA: Like a gentleman.

MATT: I mean, they’re well-dressed. They look to be of bourgeois class. Not upper crust, but better than most you’ve encountered on this side of the Empire at least. And they seem to almost-- aside from glaring as you pass-- pay no mind to any of your verbiage beyond, you motherfuckers.

MARISHA: I think they thought we were patronizing them.

LAURA: Oh. Yeah. Probably.

MARISHA: We kind of were, though.

LAURA: Yeah, kind of.

MARISHA: What?

LIAM: It worked. Never mind.

MATT: All right. Continuing on for the remainder of the day, seeing nothing else that catches your eye along the journey, eventually the night comes to a close once more. You guys have pretty much hit the extent of your horses’ energy for the days travel right as the sun begins to set. So you can pull off and make another camp for this evening.

LAURA: We find a good place?

MATT: Who’s helming that one?

LAURA: I mean, we did such a good job last time.

TALIESIN: Yeah, let’s do it again.

MATT: Go for it!

LAURA: Oh no, that is bad.

TALIESIN: This is perception?

MATT: Yes.

TALIESIN: 14.

LAURA: Five.

MATT: Not too-- ooh, not good for you. That’s fine. Easy enough, you find--

LAURA: I find grass!

MATT: You find, maybe a few hundred feet off of the eastern side of the Amber Road, a small dip in the ground. It looks like an area where the earth seems to sink almost a bit. This crucible-type look for maybe 60 or so feet. There in the center, you see another well-used stop along the way. There’s some discarded, empty scraps of sack. You can see a couple of small stone rings were fires were previously set. There’s a lot of travel on this road, and so it’s not too difficult, if you’re keeping an eye out for a while, to find some place that’s been used over time as a place to rest for the evening. So you set up camp there without an issue.

TALIESIN: Yeah. Set up again.

LAURA: Do we put an alarm around us in case?

LIAM: I do that every night.

LAURA: Oh! Wonderful.

LIAM: It’s just a given.

LAURA: Nice.

TALIESIN: It’s a griffin.

LIAM: A gif-in.

LAURA: Should we three take watch since those three took watch last time?

TALIESIN: That’s only fair!

SAM: Yes, that sounds good.

TALIESIN: I’ll take watch number one!

SAM: I’ll take number two!

LAURA: I’ll take number three!

LIAM: Yes, DM, I would like to say that, too. If we’re ever camping outside, just because Liam is a dumb fuck and will forget it. Every night, Caleb does silver thread around the group.

MATT: Right. For a 20-foot cube.

LIAM: Okay. That’s around us, yeah.

MATT: All right. So after setting up your alarm--

LIAM: (singing) It’s murder time in the campaign.

MATT: As you complete our set up for the evening, make a perception check.

TALIESIN: Six.

TRAVIS: What the fuck?! We can’t roll perception for shit.

TALIESIN: I shouldn’t have touched this die. This die has been nothing but trouble.

MATT: Okay. You are sitting back for a minute , the fire crackling to a very diminutive ember. There’s just a bit of light slowly flickering off, framing the outer shapes of your various sleeping friends and companions. You don’t hear the snapping of twigs because it’s subtle enough. A brief tickle hits the back of your neck, Caleb, as the thread perimeter is broken.

LIAM: Nein, nein! Up. Up!

MATT: As that happens, a voice goes, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” At which point, you immediately whip around and you guys see, in the vicinity, standing directly around where you’re sleeping, you see nine figures.

MARISHA: Nine! Are they mightier than us, though?

MATT: This number coming up is so creepy, you guys. They all look humanoid-- some variation to height, but most of them seem to be standard human size. Various degrees of patchwork: hide armors, some leathers, a lot of what seems to be cobbled together and scrapped to build some sort of defense. You see a uniform mismatch of green, blues, and black cloths that are covering most of the faces. And hoods.

MARISHA: Green and black? That’s weird.

MATT: One’s green. One’s blue. Couple of black.

MARISHA: Oh my god, we’re fighting the Ninja Turtles!

SAM: That’d be purple, blue, and orange.

MATT: Yeah, completely different thing. As you all begin to come to conscious and look around, you can see some of them have hand crossbows that they’re holding out in front. Two of them have heavy crossbows that are currently being held with two hands that are all locked in. There are a few of them that have shortswords drawn, one in each hand. They’re all threatening, but not raring to leap. The one that had spoken out against that, who’s right behind you, Molly. With his boot, presses it against the blade of one of your scimitars, and says, “I would recommend you just take a step away from that.” You feel this very sharp point of a nocked crossbow bolt that taps the back of your skull.

TALIESIN: Oh, you’re so polite. How could I refuse? I just get up. I’m not turning around. Both my scimitars or just one of them?

MATT: They’re both set in your usual, placed wrapping. Your ceremonial set before you go to bed at night.

TALIESIN: I’m just going to walk to the cart, then.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Wait, do they have them?

MATT: He’s stepping on them right now.

TALIESIN: I’m walking to the cart.

MATT: Okay. As you begin to walk towards the cart, which is breaking the perimeter of their holding, the ones on that side go (disapproving sounds). The one who spoke up before just goes, “All right. No big moves. No trouble wanted. Get your friends up. Place your valuables onto that cart for us, you have hitched over there. And we’ll leave you with your life. No worries-- ”

LIAM: I would like to cast Friends on that gentleman.

MATT: Okay. Make a sleight of hand check.

LIAM: Ah, that’s very low. That is a five.

MATT: As soon as you begin to-- and, correct me if I’m wrong. Friends-- actually, let me see here. Friends is-- no! It’s--

LIAM: Somatic and material. All I did was just do this with my thumb and I put a little bit of rouge on my cheek.

MATT: Okay. Yeah, so your charisma checks. The spell seems to take an effect.

LIAM: You’ll have to be careful. We are going for help. Medical help. We all have syphilis. *Extreme* syphilis.

MATT: Make a deception check.

TRAVIS: Extreme.

MARISHA: Oh my god, brilliant!

LIAM: Is this with advantage, right? That’s the effect of the spell.

MATT: Yeah, it gives you advantage. Yeah.

LIAM: Yeah. Oh yeah.

SAM: Ah, that's some good syphilis.

LIAM: That is a 22.

TRAVIS: Cauliflower crotch, baby.

LIAM: 22. We are riddled with it.

MATT: You watch as one of the eyes over the face scarf closes and twitches. He goes, "Right, good to know. Then--"

(Liam sneezes loudly)

MATT: "I suppose we're going to be leaving you unspoiled."

SAM: I'll stand up and go next to Caleb, and say: Honey, did you tell them about our disease?

LIAM: Oh, it's so much worse! Pity on us, please. We are just trying to get medical help.

MATT: "Then I suggest you all just get down on your knees and stay where you are. We're just going to take your cart and what's inside of it."

LIAM: What was that?

MATT: Take the cart and what's inside of it. They all begin to shift slowly, all keeping their weapons drawn, begin to move over towards the cart. One of them hops up into the back and begins rummaging through the stuff.

TALIESIN: I wouldn't touch that. That might, ooh.

LAURA: Oh, no, that's where we got our syphilis from!

TALIESIN: There's a severed head in there.

MARISHA: Yeah, look out for that manticore head. They're diseased.

MATT: At which point, one of them pull over a cloth. He goes, "Jesus Chri--" They all turn around, weapons drawn again like, "What the fuck are these people doing?"

LIAM: No, we might have tried a few things with that head, but, you know, we've paid the price. Clearly we have suffered enough!

MATT: Looks over to Fjord.

LAURA: He's just laughing.

MATT: "You also infected?"

(laughter)

LIAM: I mean, the amount of contact we have had, there is no question. You have to go.

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

LIAM: It's not as good.

MARISHA: Oh, come on.

LAURA: Do you get advantage? Because he's a friend?

LIAM: On this, for with my Friends?

MATT: This would be the very tail end of your Friends spell.

LIAM: Is it the same guy?

MARISHA: Come on; come on.

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Do it.

LIAM: It's better. It's 13.

MARISHA: Syphilis is intimidating, though.

MATT: He looks to the rest of the guys. "I don't know..." There's a moment where the spell comes to an end and he goes, "Clever motherfucker."

MARISHA: Fuck their shit up!

LIAM: Scorching Rays on that guy!

LAURA: Spiritual Weapon!

MARISHA: Fucking punch him in the face!

TALIESIN: I'm going in the cart.

MATT: Okay! Okay. Well, they had weapons drawn and were prepared for something.

SAM: Sure.

MATT: This is all going to happen simultaneously.

LIAM: Yeah, mm-hmm.

MATT: You're attacking. What are you doing?

LAURA: The guy that's been talking.

MATT: Okay. Scorching Ray to the guy who's been talking as well?

LIAM: Say again?

MATT: Scorching Ray to the guy who's been talking as well?

LIAM: On the guy I put Friends on, yeah.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Dodge and pick up my weapons.

TALIESIN: I'm just trying to wait for the first crossbow bolt, and I'm going to hit them with a Vicious Mockery.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Yeah, and I'm looking for the first crossbow bolt that's going to go towards one of my friends and try and deflect it.

MATT: Who are you going to get in front of?

MARISHA: Am I near Caleb? Who am I near?

MATT: You're all in a clustered circle; you're in your camp. Except for Molly, who's--

MARISHA: I'll protect Caleb. He just pissed them off.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Fjord?

TRAVIS: Yes. I'm firing. Yes. As well.

MATT: Okay. Towards the main guy?

TRAVIS: No, another one.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and make your attack rolls, please.

LAURA: Giant purple lollipop.

MATT: Oh, you're doing Spiritual Weapon.

MARISHA: You busted out the lollipop?

LAURA: I did.

LIAM and MARISHA: (sings) Lollipop, lollipop, ooh lolli-lolli-lolli, lollipop, lollipop--

LAURA: Oh god, you guys, keys.

(cheek popping)

LIAM and MATT and TALIESIN and TRAVIS: (singing deeply) Bum bum bum.

LAURA: Is it plus five? I forget.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: It should say.

LAURA: Okay, yeah, 15.

MATT: 15? That hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

LAURA: Yes.

MATT: Caleb, make your attacks for the Scorching Ray.

LIAM: Yeah, that's an 18 to hit.

MATT: Yes. The first one.

LIAM: Okay. Oh, the first one, right! It's three.

MATT: Multiple rays.

LIAM: Yeah, I forget. Sorry, it's a brand new spell.

LAURA: Seven points of damage.

LIAM: Second one is a 24.

MATT: Hits.

LIAM: And the third one is a natural 20.

MATT: All three hit.

LIAM: Okay. The first is a 11, 12, 13, damn it. *Ja*.

MARISHA: Is that a natural 20 on the--

LIAM: (Gasps) 37. Total.

LAURA: What!?

MATT: 37 points of damage?

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: All on one guy?

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: It was three things of flame go shooting-- Because I did this.

SAM: Ooh, that's Vax numbers.

MATT: Immediately as that ray is released. That's a 16 to hit?

TRAVIS: (German accent) The fire starter!

MATT: 21 to hit.

LIAM: Oh, they're attacking me?

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: They all hit.

MARISHA: Come on, Duraflame, come on.

MATT: That's a 19 to hit.

LIAM: All three hit.

MATT: And a 12 to hit.

LIAM: Yeah, I think so. Yeah.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: All at you?

LIAM: As the flames go out, these come in.

MATT: As the flames escape, four crossbow bolts: two of them are heavy, and two of them are light crossbow.

MARISHA: I was holding my action for that crossbow bolt. For one at him.

MATT: Correct. You went to intercede. I'll allow you to take the hit on that one then. The damage goes through to you automatically.

TALIESIN: Can I Blood Maledict one of them, or no?

MATT: I'll allow you to do one of them.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: Well, technically I already made the attack rolls, and you didn't say that.

TALIESIN: Oh, okay. Never mind.

MATT: That's okay. That would have been seven points of piercing damage.

MARISHA: Yeah, that's a nine, plus seven.

MATT: You catch one right before it hits Caleb.

MARISHA: Can I go ahead and burn a ki to go back?

MATT: You can!

MARISHA: Bam. Doing that shit.

MATT: That is a d10, plus your dexterity modifier.

MARISHA: d10 plus my dex-- d10?

MATT: Yeah. It's a heavy crossbow.

MARISHA: Oh, in terms of damage.

MATT: Yes.

MARISHA: Fuck. Yes.

MATT: Well, you still have to roll to hit, right? You have to roll to hit back, yeah.

MARISHA: I think I do, right?

MATT: Yeah. You're considered proficient, though.

TRAVIS: Yep.

MARISHA: That's a 15 naturally.

MATT: Yeah, that hits.

MARISHA: And then, so d10. Fuck. That's a fucking one. Five points of damage. That's lame.

MATT: Okay. Caleb you do suffer from the bolts that do make it through to you. 19 points of piercing damage.

LIAM: I have 19 hit points.

MARISHA: Damn it. If I would've rolled one fucking higher.

MATT: (rapid thudding)

LIAM: (groans and coughs) Syphilis.

MATT: The last thing you watch is the leader, who'd been talking with you, gets slammed up in the air about two feet with an uppercut from a mystical lollipop, and then all the rays incinerate him into ash in midair. He is scattered to ash. One of the other guys gets hit with his own bolt. Another guy goes blind. What are you doing?

TRAVIS: I was Eldritch Blasting him.

MATT: Against which guy?

TRAVIS: Just any of them.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: 19 to hit.

MATT: 19 to hit works. Go ahead and roll damage.

TRAVIS: That is 12 points of damage.

MATT: He gets a blast to the side of the face and goes down unconscious onto the ground. His crossbow fires wide into the air, and disappears into the night sky. As soon as this happens, as you fall unconscious, all these hits happen like this Mexican standoff that just suddenly-- All this action happens at once. Caleb goes down! Two other guys double over! Two of them go, "Wait, wait! Hold on! Hold on!"

TALIESIN: I pop out of the cart, and I'm holding the giant glaive.

MATT: Okay.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I light it up.

LAURA: Yeah, the sucker's just spinning in the air.

MATT: All of a sudden, as the sucker's spinning, and you watch as this bright burst of radiant energy's crackling on the edge of this nasty-looking, gnollish blade. They're all just standing there. "What happened to Trevor?"

TRAVIS: Oh, Trevor's with the wind.

LIAM: I just failed my first death save.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Oh, already? Why'd you roll? He didn't even tell you.

LIAM: About six seconds went by.

LAURA: Jesus.

TRAVIS: See, Trevor done put his fucking nose where it didn't belong. Unless you want to join him, I'd get the fuck out of here.

LAURA: I'm going to walk over to Caleb, while I'm doing this, and I'm going to cast Cure Wounds on him.

MATT: All right, go for it.

SAM: (magic sounds)

TRAVIS: I don't know if you know, but syphilis is fucking contagious.

MATT: One of them nearby walks over to where Trevor was, where his boots on the ground now are smoking, and picks up a handful of ash and goes--

LAURA: 11.

LIAM: 11, oh, wow. Thank you.

MATT: "We're going to go ahead and wish you a good night." (whistles)

LAURA: Hey, hey!

TALIESIN: No, no, no.

LAURA: I think you're going to give us everything on *your* cart.

MATT: "We don't have a cart."

LAURA: I thought you had a cart; you were going to load our stuff onto your cart.

MATT: "No, we were taking your cart."

LAURA: Oh, well where'd you come from? That's so stupid.

TALIESIN: This is a really terrible plan.

MATT: "Well, we steal your cart and then we get your stuff and--" "Shut up!" He's like, "I'm sorry."

LAURA: Well, then give us all your clothes then!

MARISHA: Yeah, your headbands are lame, but I want them.

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

SAM: I'm going to disappear back into the woods.

LAURA: That was so close to being good. Five!

MATT: He goes, "No!"

TALIESIN: I'm going to say I'm going to use Devil's Tongue: Come on, we're all friends here. Why don't you just walk away, leave your things, and just admit your defeat? It was a good try.

MATT: Is this the Vicious Mockery?

TALIESIN: No, this is not Vicious Mockery. This is Charm Person.

MATT: Right! That's a four.

TALIESIN: Yeah, nope.

MATT: He goes, "The man makes a valid point," and starts taking his trousers off immediately in the place. All the other guys go (questioning stutters).

LAURA: Take it off! Take it all off!

MATT: They all start pulling and stripping their armor off. As they take their masks off, you can see a lot of them just look like dirty, poor, wandering brigands. A lot of them are missing varying teeth. A lot of them look like they haven't had a bath in days. They look kind of like Caleb.

SAM: DM shade.

MATT: They look genuinely perturbed by the fact that you incinerated their de facto leader, Trevor. There's a moment where they go from these really frightening nameless thieves to a bunch of people that you feel sorry for as they strip down and throw their armor on the ground. A lot of them are left with either just some semblance of slacks or some sort of tattered long johns that are just stained and awful. They throw their crossbows onto the ground. They throw their shortswords and daggers onto the ground.

TRAVIS: Jester, maybe we can let them have a little fucking dignity as they leave.

LIAM: As he says that, I already begin picking through the remains of the leader's shit, looking to see if anything is left.

MATT: Well, there are two shortswords that are currently covered in soot, that was once their previous owner. All the rest of the armor has been burnt and charred. And there is ashes.

SAM: While they're talking, can I do a long circle around the whole campsite, looking for horses that are tied up?

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: Okay. 19.

MATT: You do see there are, a ways over the previous hill, nine horses that are all briefly hitched to a few stakes that are pounded into the ground.

SAM: I will unhitch the stakes.

MARISHA: Oh, yes you will.

SAM: Let's see here. Five of them I'll just shoo, the meekest five I'll shoo off into the woods and the other four I'll try to control and take with me somewhere else.

MATT: Make an animal handling check.

MARISHA: Yes, come on, Nott.

SAM: 18 plus something! Plus three-- No, plus zero.

MATT: You have been learning, as you've made your way past these barriers with nature's beautiful, natural creatures. Manage to get four sets of these reins, and these horses look pretty malnourished, and they were probably stolen too. Some of them have brands, but different types of brands. You get the sense that they were probably pulled from different homesteads. As you pull them together, there's a moment of you waiting for them to draw and quarter you. Just based on what you're holding. Just like (yelps). But they follow. You carefully begin to walk a perimeter around. While that's happening--

TALIESIN: Now that the leader's dead, who's the de facto leader here? Speak up, be bold!

MATT: Two of the ones go, "Me!" They both look at each other and shoot each other down with these horrible glares and go, "No, it's me!" again, at the same time. Both say, "Fuck you!" at the same time. (Groans) And they're just frustrated.

TALIESIN: Do you know parchment-shears-stone?

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ALL: Boulder-parchment-shears.

TALIESIN: Do you know that game?

MATT: "Yeah."

TALIESIN: Pick your leader.

MARISHA: Do it! Come on.

MATT: They both come together and (tapping).

LIAM: Kiss yourself, Matthew.

MATT: All right, the one on the left, who looks to be a scraggly redhead, probably close to 20- or 21-years-old, wins the bout of boulder-parchment-shears.

TALIESIN: Step forward. Would you agree that the previous leadership of this group has probably failed you on some level?

MATT: "You know, I wouldn't say so. Yeah, no, I mean, Trevor, he--"

TALIESIN: Look where you are right now, son.

MATT: "I know! Trevor's turned to ashes."

TALIESIN: It was a bad decision!

MATT: "It was very bad. He was a very bad man."

TALIESIN: Perhaps you should rethink your line of work.

MATT: "Yeah. Yeah, you're right. You are right. Right?" And all the boys go, "Right."

TRAVIS: Molly I think they also need a bath.

TALIESIN: Right. All right here's the deal, if everyone's fine?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: "Are you going to bathe me?"

TALIESIN: Maybe.

MATT: (whimpers)

TALIESIN: Put your clothes back on, this is just embarrassing, all of you-- don't pick up your weapons--

LAURA: Leave your weapons.

MATT: They start taking their clothes and the one who this one kid beat at boulder-parchment-shears is like, "You fucked up, Zenny."

TALIESIN: Do not criticize new management until it's had time to take full effect.

MATT: "Right."

TALIESIN: All right?

MATT: They all start putting on bits of their clothing, most of them are just holding it under their arms.

TALIESIN: Now, line up. Line up.

LAURA: How many are there?

TALIESIN: Nine. Eight.

MATT: There's eight now and three of them look like they're hurting pretty bad. One of them has their own crossbow bolt in their chest that Beau threw and it's still there and he's (groans) holding it.

TALIESIN: Now you're all going to leave tonight. You're going to find something better to do with yourselves and remember, no matter how you die or where we can identify your bodies without the heads. So be careful. I'm going to give, in a line, one gold piece each to each of them in the row.

TRAVIS: Yes, that's, yes. I like that a lot.

MATT: They all look very confused.

TALIESIN: Now for this, you promise that your terrible bandit days are over because you're really not very good at this. I mean, we were barely paying attention, this is pathetic.

MARISHA: Well, you were barely paying attention.

TALIESIN: Well let's not cast aspirations on new management, it's only been two days.

MATT: They all lower their heads and one of them goes, "Yeah, Zenny." He's like, "Shut up."

TALIESIN: You're all walking away with one gold.

MATT: "Right.” “Right.” “Right.” “Right.”

(laughter)

TALIESIN: That's about as well as this night could've gone for you.

LAURA: Make sure you wash your gold thoroughly because they're all infected with syphilis.

TALIESIN: There's so much syphilis.

MATT: Two of them drop the coins on the ground and then pick them up again, but with bits of their cloth.

MARISHA: Molly, if I will, I feel like our money should still buy something, you know, a service. We teach these good men to make money based on the services they provide.

TALIESIN: What precisely did you have in mind?

MARISHA: You all have one fucking job, you go and you tell all your stupid friends: No fucks with the Mighty Nein.

MATT: You as three of them are, quietly under their breath, "Might Nein, Mighty Nein, okay."

MARISHA: But spelled N-E-I-N. The Mighty Nein. Don't forget it.

MATT: It's at that moment you think you've lost most of them.

LIAM: It's in Zemnian. Partially.

TALIESIN: I mean, unless anyone else as anything to say?

MARISHA: That's all I got.

TALIESIN: Okay.

LAURA: The Traveler is with you all, forever and ever (low-pitched) and ever.

MATT: Use Thaumaturgy to make that, “(low-pitched) And ever!” You Gandalf-voice it for a moment and they all take a step back, "So, leader Zenny, where are we off to?" He's like, "Um, I think, let's just head to Felderwin."

TALIESIN: That's a very bold decision, well done.

MATT: "Okay. Thank you."

TALIESIN: You're welcome.

LAURA: Go away now!

MATT: "Okay!" They all quickly dart off, they're pulling their pants up the rest of the way and they're making their way back into the field. They're avoiding-- yeah, you've certainly made their evening.

LAURA: Oh man, did you see that you thought you burned that other guy up, did you see how much you burned that--

LIAM: (groans in pain)

MARISHA: Sorry, I caught one of them.

(laughter)

LIAM: Two-- (groans in pain)

LAURA: That's really good. I just go up and put a hand on each of them to cover the blood holes.

LIAM: Oh, cover my nips.

TALIESIN: I'm going to gather the swords and the crossbows and put them in the cart.

LAURA: I don't have any more hands, Caleb, don't do it, don't do it. Oh no! I put my knee up on the hole. Stop it. I'm going to cure your wounds now. Get ready for it, it's going to be so good.

LIAM: I think I'm going to faint right now.

LAURA: No! Cure Wounds!

MARISHA: He’s all right. He'll be fine. He's going to feel great when he wakes up.

TRAVIS: Yeah, like a million bucks.

LAURA: That one isn't as good, that's only four. Sorry. You pulled out all three of them at once, you know.

TALIESIN: Well hey, more kindling.

MATT: You guys eventually settle yourselves down to continue your evening of rest.

SAM: I walk back into camp with the horses and tie them up. I found some horses.

TRAVIS: Oh shit.

SAM: I named them: Loo, John, Crapper, and Toilet.

LAURA: Woah. I'll take Toilet.

MARISHA: I take Crapper.

TRAVIS: I'll take John.

TALIESIN: I'll take Loo.

MATT: All right. Keep in mind now that you're having to feed and take of six horses.

LAURA: Okay. I feed Toilet so many doughnuts, I just feed him so many.

MATT: You're running pretty low on doughnuts, by the way

LAURA: I know, it's crumbs and moldy bits of pastry at the bottom of my bag now.

MATT: Yeah. They didn’t start as lemon tarts.

LAURA: I had, like, twelve stuffed in there.

TALIESIN: It's 2:00AM on a Sunday at a Starbucks right now. There's nothing.

MATT: Basically, yeah.

MARISHA: One lone cake pop.

LAURA: I'm out of pastries. I'm out of money and I'm out of pastries.

SAM: Money?

LAURA: Well, compared to what I had, this is bullshit.

SAM: What did you have before?

LAURA: I don't know, it was a pretty big pile though. This is like not a big pile, this was like a big pile.

SAM: When you were with your mother?

LAURA: Yeah!

TALIESIN: I don't even know what you do with that much money, this is ridiculous.

LAURA: You buy clothes for your horse that draws your carriage, which is something I did.

TALIESIN: You put clothes on your horse? That's a great idea.

LAURA: It was real pretty.

MARISHA: What happened to those clothes and that horse?

LAURA: Well, I think I left them on the side of the road, somewhere, actually.

TALIESIN: Insight check.

LAURA: Why did I do that?

TALIESIN: Is she full of bullshit?

MATT: Make an insight check.

TALIESIN: All right. 12.

MATT: Hard to read.

TALIESIN: Damn it.

LAURA: I can't remember. I saw something super interesting. Shit.

TALIESIN: If it was that interesting, why can't you remember it?

LAURA: I see a lot of interesting things.

TALIESIN: That's fair.

MARISHA: I bet that horse made a great gift for someone else, you probably made somebody really happy. Maybe a little girl who wanted a horsie for her birthday.

TRAVIS: I start kicking the ash of the former leader around to spread him around and fucking lay back down.

SAM: Caleb's still out.

TALIESIN: How many sword and crossbows and random things did we pick up?

MATT: Two heavy crossbows.

TALIESIN: Two heavy crossbows.

MATT: Three light crossbows.

TALIESIN: Two heavy cross-- Oh you've got--? Yeah.

LAURA: Two heavy--

TALIESIN: Two light.

SAM: This is not a good system. Travis, will you teach her how to keep track of our group stuff?

TRAVIS: Nope. Trust me, my system wasn't any better.

LAURA: I'm going to make better notes soon, I'm just going to-- Two heavy crossbows, two light--

MATT: Two hand crossbows.

LAURA: That's in addition to the two light crossbows?

TALIESIN: Two heavy, two light, two hand.

LAURA: Two hand.

SAM: It's like, all over the place next to dick pics.

MATT: What would amount to 43 bolts.

SAM: Oh, I'll take some of those.

MATT: Yeah, those will be helpful to you.

LAURA: Do you want all of them?

SAM: No, because what if we need-- someone else--

LAURA: No one else is going to use crossbows.

SAM: I'll take 20

LAURA: 20, got it.

MATT: And six shortswords and two daggers.

LAURA: Holy moly.

MATT: You can load up in that cart. Carrying them on your person would be a problem, that cart's getting pretty full. Thankfully you have more horses.

LAURA: Two daggers you said?

TRAVIS: We’ve got the fucking Wells Fargo carriage now.

MARISHA: Oh my god, it totally is!

TRAVIS: We’re straight-up Wells Fargo.

MATT: Mind you, all the equipment you found from them, not in the best condition. The swords are dinged to shit. They're chipped in places like they've been banged against things hard pieces.

MARISHA: Scrap metal. I roll Caleb over and make sure he's not face-down in the dirt.

MATT: He's breathing, he's good.

MARISHA: I cover him up, he's fine.

MATT: You guys eventually find yourselves back to rest for the evening. You're keeping second watch now?

LAURA: He was going to keep second watch.

SAM: Yes, I'm second watch.

MATT: Nott, go ahead and roll a perception check for me, please.

SAM: Oh man, eight.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Take them out! Take them out!

LAURA: Jesus Christ.

LIAM: (heavy panting) Oh, you're all awake.

SAM: Hello.

LAURA: Now we are all awake.

SAM: Were you having a bad dream?

TALIESIN: Party’s over.

LIAM: Why would you say that?

MARISHA: One day we're going to have a real big talk about your issues.

LAURA: You have major glasses indentations on your face.

LIAM: I don't wear glasses.

LAURA: Then what the fuck is that from?

TRAVIS: Yeah, the syphilis is creeping up into your eye cavities.

SAM: That was some good lying. Oh boy. Your face is fucked up.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Look over here. Holy shit.

LAURA: That's commitment.

LIAM: I've been asleep face-down in the cart, it feels like. Where are we?

SAM: We're in the same exact place, you're not dead.

LIAM: Did we make it to Zadash?

LAURA: No, Caleb go back to sleep, you're ruining everyone's sleep.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's literally been about ten minutes.

LIAM: Okay, let's fight these fuckers. Where are they?

SAM: They're all dead, they're gone. We took their horses, they're gone.

LAURA: They were already gone when you passed out. Go back to sleep. Is he always like this?

SAM: Yes!

LAURA: Oi.

SAM: He's very smart.

MATT: All right. Third and final watch?

LAURA: Yes.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: Good wrist action, terrible roll.

TALIESIN: Wow!

TRAVIS: Please tell me it's less than a ten.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah.

LAURA: It's six.

TRAVIS: I mean, that's six perception checks in a row that were under ten.

MATT: Yeah. During your final watch, as people are finishing up their rest, the sun just barely begins to-- or would be cresting over the hills. The slight change in light is the precursor that notifies you of dawn, however, the heavy, dark clouds in the sky and the sudden sound of thunder immediately followed the freezing cold rainfall that begins to spill across the entirety of your campsite. All of you begin to come to consciousness, finishing your long rest, by immediately being drenched in freezing water of a recent storm here on the Marrow Valley fields.

LAURA: Hey you guys, it's raining.

TALIESIN: Are you sure?

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Have you checked?

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Hold on.

MARISHA: Camping sucks.

TALIESIN: Yeah, that's rain. That's a little water. I'm going to fold my coat up and put it away, just vest and vestiture.

TRAVIS: I take out that heavy cloak and I put it over my damn head.

MATT: Okay. you guys all bundle up what you can. The horses are trying to stay warm and cuddle up next to each other.

LAURA: I take my cloak off and put it around Toilet's head.

MARISHA: Aww!

LAURA: See?

MATT: I'm not going to talk about the state of the manticore head at the moment, which is now drenched in rain.

LAURA: The cold weather will be good for it.

MATT: You guys you have rested for the evening. you continue back onto the path and continue forward. Whose keeping watch on this next journey? Perception check for me, please.

LIAM: It's a 12.

MATT: You glance off the side of the western edge of the Amber Road and see a neglected gravesite, maybe 300 feet off the road's path. It's overgrown in the fields. At a quick glance, you can gather maybe close to 200 various stones that are grave markers in various states of disrepair and erosion over time. As you ride past and see in the distance, it looks to be an older landmark, that's been left to be reclaimed by nature.

LIAM: At our closest, where do we get to it before passing it?

MATT: You'd probably get about 80 or 90 feet from it.

LIAM: Is everybody sleeping?

MATT: No, everyone's up in the cart, or riding.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: You guys continue on past, up the road. Are you still keeping watch on this?

LIAM: Am I controlling the cart at this point if everybody is sleeping?

LAURA: We're all on horses.

LIAM: We're all just going, and I'm keeping watch?

LAURA: Nott might be driving the cart, you might be sitting in the cart, but the rest of us are on horses next to the cart.

LIAM: Wait, wait. I want to--

SAM: Whoa!

LIAM: I just have to take a piss, hold on. I'm going to walk over towards the graves.

SAM: It's true, he does need to pee quite frequently.

TALIESIN: There's an old cemetery?

MATT: You glance over to where he's going to pee and you can see a long in disuse cemetery.

LIAM: I would like to get about 30 or 40 feet within range of it and start taking a tinkle.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I'm going to crawl over there on my horse as well and get a feel of it.

MATT: Okay. As you're finishing your business, you can get within 30 feet or so and you see that a lot of the stones are intact, some of them have been cracked and broken, a lot of them-- what once may have been a well-kept perimeter of earth, dirt, and dust has since been completely retaken by the grasses of the field. While the grasses aren't as tall as the surrounding field may be, the greenery and the moss has taken a lot of the stone and to read a lot of them you would probably have to clear off whatever bit of growth has reached up and claimed them.

TALIESIN: I'm going to pick a random one.

LIAM: After I shake it and put it away, I move my fingers in a shape in the air and whisper a few arcane words and cast Detect Magic within range of the gravestones.

MATT: Okay. As you begin to do a conscious pass across the grave, nothing magical catches your attention within the radius you're observing.

LIAM: Okay. I squeeze out a single fart and go back to the cart.

TALIESIN: Anything undead, anything...?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

TRAVIS: *Nein!*

TALIESIN: With advantage, or no?

MATT: As you're seeking anything that’s related to the undead, yeah, go for it.

TALIESIN: Natural 20.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I'm cleaning off one.

MATT: As you pick one and look for any signs of grave emerging or grave robbery, or different things that may be attributed to the necromantic studies that involve the creation and/or maintenance of undead, the site seems to be largely undisturbed. You go through one name and it says "Bagent" and the next once you go by says "Avryn" and the next stone says "Emor." The markings are simple. They're very simple stones. It looks like whoever was buried here was done so at the very basic level of marking a grave site. Your foot hits something hard on the ground and your toe-- and you go down and a rusted helmet of iron make. You pick it up. Make a history check.

MARISHA: (whisper chants) Scrap metal! Scrap metal! Scrap metal!

TRAVIS: Like nobody's going to want metal and we're just going to be driving around that busted jalopy with a shitload of metal.

TALIESIN: Nothing. Six.

MATT: You're unable to make out any details of the construction of it or any significance of it, but it's an old helmet. And it looks like a lot of the edges of it appear to have just slowly been taken by the oxidization--

TALIESIN: I'm going to take it back anyway.

MATT: As you guys are waiting, Caleb's returned, and a few minutes later, maybe about ten minutes after, you watch as Molly approaches, tossing this deeply rusted iron helmet in his hand.

LIAM: What is that? Can I see that?

TALIESIN: Of course.

LIAM: Yeah, I would like to. Do I recognize this?

MATT: Make a history check.

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: It’s Yorick.

LIAM: Yeah. That is a 14.

MATT: Okay. You have a little more grasp and understanding of the history of the valley. The markings on this indicate that this helmet belonged to a regiment of the Julous Dominion. The Julous Dominion, which you recall is the last remaining empire to be conquered by the Dwendalian Empire, nearly two centuries before.

MARISHA: Julous what?

LIAM: Julous Dominion. Two centuries.

MATT: Zadash was the capital of that empire before the Dwendalian rule conquered them and took over. As opposed to erasing their society, they just allowed it to be integrated into their own beliefs, and then just imposed their life upon those people, their laws, their rules, and adjusted as they saw fit. That marked the end of it. This gravesite seems to have been a reminder of soldiers that fought, probably, in those conflicts or something around that time period, and has just been left to the annals of memory as the Dwendalian influence left no real particular interest in those to keep tabs of the history behind them.

LIAM: Caleb says: You know, it's funny-- and then says everything that you just did to everyone in the group.

TALIESIN: That's very interesting.

LAURA and MARISHA: Wow.

LIAM: Here's your helmet back.

TRAVIS: That's very informative, Caleb.

MARISHA: We can still sell that for scrap metal, though, right?

LIAM: I read.

LAURA: I mean, it's pretty rusty.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: Like maybe to a museum or something.

LIAM: Steeped in history.

LAURA: The Dwendalian Empire kind of sucks, you guys.

MARISHA: I've lived here my whole life. It's kind of lame.

LAURA: I mean, the Menagerie Coast is really cool.

MARISHA: Never been that far.

LAURA: Oh, it's amazing!

MARISHA: Been a lot of places in Dwendalian, but not that far.

SAM: There must be some nice places here, right?

LAURA: I don't know, everything I've seen so far--

SAM: Well, that village we were just in was not bad, except for, you know, the gnoll attack.

LAURA: That's true. And Bryce was a soldier of the Dwendalian Empire?

MARISHA: They're on the outskirts. The further on the outskirts you go, the more tolerable they are. Further north we go...?

LIAM: The further out you are, the easier it is to bend the rules.

LAURA: What's the capital of the Dwendalian Empire?

MARISHA: It's--

SAM: Let's consult our notes.

LAURA: Is it Rexxentrum?

MATT and TRAVIS: Rexxentrum.

SAM: Oh, that's where the magic school is, right?

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: I'm just telling you, the more north we go, the stricter it's going to get. You're going to see more and more of the empire and its influence.

LAURA: Crazy.

SAM: Maybe they'll have nicer things. Arts. Culture.

MARISHA: Of course they will. It's where all the money is.

LIAM: They have the best of the best in the north, *ja.*

LAURA: Do they like arts and culture in the Dwendalian Empire?

LIAM: What and culture?

LAURA: Arts and culture.

LIAM: Arts and culture.

LAURA: Do they like painting?

MARISHA: Farts and vultures.

LIAM: What are you talking about?

MARISHA: Never mind.

LIAM: I hear.

LAURA: Yeah. Okay. That's good.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: You guys continue moving northward again, the rain still pouring as you all maintain warmth best you can, bundling up with the various travel supplies, blankets and insulation you can muster off the cart and your own--

LAURA: I was taking in the rain, yo! I like it!

SAM: Hard to tell what motions you're doing.

LAURA: Shut up! I could see it in my head!

LIAM: Frumpkin is fucking miserable because he's drenched and he does not like to be wet.

TRAVIS: (meows)

MATT: Yep. (sad meow). As you push into the latter half of the afternoon, a few hours before the sun begins to set, you begin cresting a large hill along the road, before you notice a trio of spiky peaks catching your eye, breaking the skyline ahead of you. As you begin to come higher up to the top of that hillside, you can watch these peaks slowly unveil into the rest of the massive skyline of the city of Zadash, breaking the horizon.

LAURA: (gasps) Oh my gosh!

MATT: It's an incredible sight compared to the rural townships you've encountered here in the empire thus far, and comparable in mass to the coastal metropolis of Port Damali, where you grew up. The 15-foot perimeter walls outline the somewhat triangular shape of the city from your current perspective. The communities spilling beyond the protective bulwarks cascade beyond the walls into ramshackle tent cities and hovel towns. As you ride down the road towards the stretch that leads to the southern gates, you pass through fields of crop workers that are currently out there with heavy shawls and head coverings, in the process of harvesting various vegetables and crops from the field. Some take note of your presence and watch as you pass and then go amongst their work; others are too involved, could care less about the constant passing of travelers northward and southward. As you approach closer to the city still, the external neighborhoods begin to envelop your vision as small farmsteads, homes, begin to mingle with these tents and shacks you had seen at a distance. A mother in ragged clothes plucks a chicken before noticing your band and sending her six-year-old boy over, dirt smeared on his face and no shoes, running up to the mud outside the cart and puts his hands out towards you as you walk past.

MARISHA: I toss him a silver.

MATT: He takes it and runs back to his mom and she just nods. Doesn't make eye contact with you, but as soon as the child approaches, gives a nod. Continues pulling feathers out. Pushing on, the foot traffic--

LIAM: Sorry, Caleb trips, or pretends to, into the mud, and scoops up two fistfuls of mud and shoves them into his pockets.

MATT: Okay. Easily enough. Pushing on, the foot traffic grows heavier near the gate. A huge, 15-foot wide, currently open portcullis is being held aloft by chains beyond your visual range. As two pairs of crownsguards flank each side of this opening with semi-watchful eyes. They're not interrogating passersby; they're keeping a close watch as folks enter in and out. You can see another caravan is currently in the process of loading up and getting ready to leave southward. You can see people are walking in and out from the external shantytown, and other individuals are-- some are paying attention to the rather, once again, your colorful band by comparison; most the folks you see here range between your typical human populace to the occasional halfling and dwarf. The fairer races beyond that haven't caught your eye yet on this exterior perimeter. Stepping beyond, the crownsguard keeping a watch as you pass, you emerge beyond the threshold of the entry gate on the southern wall here, into Zadash. The smell of wet earth, manure immediately hits your nose, accompanied by the sound of hooves, mingling conversations, distant shouts, and the barking of dogs as they welcome you into this new and interesting city. Glancing up, you can see the buildings around you that flank the street continue to be rather destitute in the atmosphere, but then eventually begin to graduate into a standard village feel. You've arrived.

LIAM: Is it still raining?

MATT: It is still raining.

SAM: This place sucks! Too much water.

TRAVIS: We should find a place to take some shelter until this rain lets up.

SAM: Are we supposed to go to the Pillow Trove or the Leaky Tap?

LAURA: Well, we should probably hit the Leaky Tap first, in the West Outersteads.

LIAM: Agreed, that is our first stop.

TALIESIN: *East.*

SAM: The East Westersheets. What was it?

TALIESIN: East Best Western.

LAURA: It was in the West Outersteads.

SAM: I thought it was the *East* Outer!

LIAM: We are looking for Claudia Sheed.

MARISHA: East?

TALIESIN: East.

LAURA: It was?

MARISHA: I don't know, I didn't catch it. I got Claudia Sheed.

LIAM: I remember exactly, and Matthew will tell me because of my Keen Mind feat.

TALIESIN: This is the best thing you've ever done.

LIAM: It was entirely on purpose.

MATT: Bryce, when you were talking about this, Bryce grew up in the West Outersteads, but Leaky Tap is in the east.

LAURA: Aww!

MATT: Still take your notes!

MARISHA: But Bryce grew up in the west.

LIAM: I took the Clippy feat.

SAM: Looks like you're writing a letter!

LIAM: Looks like you can't remember the details the DM told you. Would you like to ask him again and get an exact replication?

MATT: As the horses are clopping through the mud and you guys are having this conversation, slowly making your way through town, everyone else is rushing about their business, but you're just leisurely just taking in the vicinity. You hear this coughing off to the side, and you watch as a bundled up, hunched-looking human approaches and goes, "Well, hello! You look a bit lost, and obviously not from around here." As the face looks up, you can see within the hood, a somewhat pudgy-looking older man in his mid-60s or so, it looks to be. He has a thick, bushy, gray mustache that turns into a full Stonewall beard on the side. He has a monocle up in one eye, but it looks a bit scratched. The cloak he's wearing is just covering the rest of his form, but as he looks and goes, "I'm just happy to greet you to our fair city. Do you require anyone to help you around? Show you the grounds?"

MARISHA: How much?

MATT: "Well, for a day's work, that would merely run you a paltry two gold pieces."

TRAVIS: What might your name be, kind stranger?

MATT: "I am Ulysses Stanneras. I've lived here my entire life. I'm a purveyor of all the great sites and sounds of the city, and it would be my pleasure."

LAURA: Ulysses, are you going to flash us or try to sell us some watches?

LIAM: What is a watch?

MATT: They have watches? (laughs) There is clockwork in this--

LAURA: There you go!

LIAM: What is a watch?

SAM: Oh, he only knows it by the Zemnian name.

LIAM: You mean, like a guard?

SAM: No, like a “clockcruzen.” That's how you say it in your language, I think.

TALIESIN: Mechanical croissant.

SAM: A “clockenticken.”

LIAM: You are adorably, fucking wrong right now.

SAM: I've been picking up little bits of the language.

LIAM: Okay. To say "yes," it is "*ja*." That is your first lesson.

SAM: *Ja.*

LIAM: Everything else you said was shit.

MARISHA: Stanneras.

LIAM: Staggeras or Standeras?

MARISHA, LAURA, MATT, and TALIESIN: Stanneras.

LIAM: Ulysses Standeras. Strong name, *ja, ja, ja.* Ulysses Standeras.

TRAVIS: It's a fine offer, Ulysses. Where would you have us get out of this rain for a bit?

MATT: "Well, there is a small tunnel, maybe about several hundred feet above; it'll give us some break from the rain."

LAURA: Can we insight check this motherfucker?

MATT: Of course.

LAURA: Please.

MARISHA: Let me take you to the shadiest place, tourist.

LAURA: Natural 20!

(cheering)

ALL: Whispers!

LIAM: Mama Bear takes care of the Mighty Nein!

MARISHA: Yeah! (chants) Den mama! Den mama!

SAM: It's not D *and* D Beyond, it's D *N* D Beyond. You don't want to type in an "and," because that will take you to a porn site.

TALIESIN: What doesn't, really?

SAM: What does Stannis Baratheon say?

LAURA: I mean.

SAM: Should we go to this dingy tunnel?

LAURA: I guess we can?

LIAM: You say that because it's a good idea, or because you're feeling--?

LAURA: I don't know, he just seems like a good guy some-- I mean, shifty. But I don't think he's trying to fuck us *right* now.

LIAM: Insight check!

(laughter)

MATT: Make an ins-- (laughs and coughs)

MARISHA: You're insight checking--

TALIESIN: This is a game of trust.

LIAM: 18.

LAURA: Can I whisper to him?

MATT: Yeah, you may.

MARISHA: This is our first chain whisper.

MATT: I love this so much.

LIAM: What, what?

SAM: What is going on right now?

MARISHA: Is D and D Beyond.

TRAVIS: D *N* D.

MARISHA: With an N.

TRAVIS: Beyond.

MARISHA: Little hitch in it. DND.

MATT: "Oh, not. You're welcome to wonder as you see fit but I was just merely willing to help."

LAURA: What do you have under that cloak? Is it weapons?

MATT: He takes the edges and daintily holds the cloak open presentery style and he's dressed in very fine clothing, like a nice coat that's buttoned, with a little cravat and fine trousers. Or at least they were at one point, the edges are a little tattered. It looks like is a one night suit that he's had for maybe 20 years and it's definitely seen some rough days. You get the sense, from this whole package here, that either he feigns some level of prominence or has fallen very hard from it.

TRAVIS: Well, Jester, if he's fine by you, I mean, let's get out of the rain, I'm fucking soaked.

LAURA: He seems pretty okay, I guess.

SAM: To the tunnels!

LIAM: I cast Friends on him.

MARISHA: So soon.

SAM: Friends.

LIAM: Yes. *Freunde.*

SAM: *Freundes.*

LIAM: And I say. My *Freunde*--

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: I have just cast a spell on you, okay? So you just have to listen to what I'm saying, okay? I think you are kind of an asshole but so are we, we are the Mighty Nein and we will fuck you so hard if you fuck with us.

MATT: Make an intimidation check with advantage.

LIAM: 20.

MATT: He goes: "Well, first off that's terrible rude, affecting me with any sort of arcane-based nature enchantments upon first meeting you when I've been so gracious."

LIAM: *Ja,* we're a bunch of *Arschlochs*, yeah, we're assholes it's fine, but I'm just saying--

MATT: "But do you pay?"

LIAM: Today we do.

MATT: "Then I think we will do quite well working together."

LIAM: Okay, you see this one? The purple one? He will cut you from navel to nuts, so please, have fun with us, but don't you fuck us.

MATT: "I know better than to cross anyone with a--"

LAURA: Unless we ask for it. And then you're welcome to do it.

MATT: "Well then, shall we get out of this rain? Follow me." He closes his cloak and begins to dart with a really rapid gate further down the road and then turn off to the right. You can now see the city. Beyond the outer wall, it looks like there are a number of perimeter walls that have arches between them almost like an under a bridge and there are constructs-- houses that are built through those gaps and in these small tunnels that are maybe 15 to 20 feet in length but, you know, 40 foot wide where these large separation barriers are and you can see along the top there are carts that move on their own along these wall tops and it catch your eyes. One of them shifts down, it's curious.

MARISHA: Like a people mover.

MATT: Kind of.

LIAM: Like a people mover.

MARISHA: Like Disney!

SAM: They have a monorail?

LAURA and MARISHA: They have a monorail in Zadash!

MATT: He guides you underneath one of these arches.

LAURA: Does it look shady in there? I mean, are there people in there?

MATT: Yeah, there are people wandering through. It's just where one of the streets turns off to it. It sounded a lot shadier when he presented it than it was, but it's more just like a brief respite from where people are walking through and occasionally you see a couple crownsguard that come through passing.

LIAM: This guy is good.

TALIESIN: Forgive our friend, someone attempted to mug us on the way into the city, he's still a bit sore.

MATT: "Oh, that's all right"

TRAVIS: He recovered from four arrows to the chest.

LAURA: Three actually because you got one.

MARISHA: I did.

LIAM: *Ja.*

TRAVIS: My apologies.

MATT: "That's impressive, Mighty Nein." He pulls his hood back and he has this Benjamin Franklin skullet going on where there it’s curly, wavy, gray hair, but it's balding on top and he throws the cloak over one shoulder. "So now that you've arrived. What's your business here? What can I help you with? What do you want to see? What can I show you?"

LAURA: Well we need to--

SAM: Sell some things?

LAURA: We need to get to a blacksmith. Oh, we need to go somewhere that'll buy expensive-y magic-y things and somewhere that'll buy junky, shitty things.

TALIESIN and LAURA: Antiques.

MATT: "Both of those you can probably find in the Pentamarket."

LIAM: Penta-what now?

MATT: "Pentamarket."

LIAM: Pentamarket. Would the Pentamarket also have the finest inks *und* parchment?

MATT: "It would have probably some of the finer inks, yes. The finest you could probably find there or in the Tri-Spires."

LIAM: Tri-Spies?

MATT: "Tri-Spires."

LIAM: What about of arcane quality?

MATT: "There are a few places you could go, yes. Actually, if we're going towards the Pentamarket, your best luck there would be the Invulnerable Vagrant. Yes."

TRAVIS: The Invulnerable Vagrant?

MATT: "Yes."

TRAVIS: Excellent names in this place.

LIAM: Also, I am a collector of rare tomes. I have a great appreciation for literature. Where might I find the most--

TRAVIS: Nudey picture books!

LIAM: --elaborate writings in the city.

MATT: "That would probably be at the Archive.

LIAM: The Archive?

MATT: "Yes."

LIAM: Could you give me a little more background? That is a very common word.

MATT: "The Archive of the Cobalt Soul here in the city. It's a library that is maintained by a number of... believers. But as long as you're not taking anything from within, and you have approved entry and are heavily watched within, for the most part you can peruse the content of the interior."

LIAM: That is excellent. Also, I'm a big reader. Is there any place that has pulp fiction and shitty smut?

MATT: "I mean, I'm sure there are, but I would not bother myself with such base interests of reading."

LIAM: Insight check.

MATT: Make an insight check.

LIAM: That is 23.

LAURA: So many whispers!

LIAM: Listen to me, my friend-- I take him by the hands and say, You have given us a great welcome into this city.

MATT: "My pleasure."

LIAM: So eager to learn all about it. I take my hands away, and he has two gold in his hand. Just know, I'm a big reader.

MATT: "Then, perhaps, if you find your way somehow into the Tri-Spires’ southern quarter, somewhere in the vicinity of--" Let me look it up real fast. Look at my own notes.

LIAM: It worked!

MATT: "On the southern side of the Silken Terrace, you'll find a place known as Chastity's Nook. That may be where you'll find what you're looking for, friend."

LAURA: That was one of the names of the other courtesans at the place my mom--

MARISHA: That's a good name for her, Chastity Nook. Yeah, that's good.

TALIESIN: We'll probably be staying at the Leaky Tap.

MATT: "The Leaky Tap, you say? Well, it's affordable."

TALIESIN: We're trying to keep a low profile.

MATT: "Fair enough, fair enough. The Leaky Tap, that'll be in the East Outersteads, actually. Bit of a rowdy clientele."

TALIESIN: Perfect for me.

MATT: "It's bawdy and fun."

TALIESIN: Definitely perfect for me. Would you say there's a reasonable bathhouse for someone who's--

LAURA: Stinky?

TALIESIN: --and complicated, in the horns?

MATT: "For your clientele--"

TALIESIN: Somewhere I can take a nice bath in peace.

MATT: "That could be--" You guys are really--

TRAVIS: Yeah. Run us through it, Encyclopedia Britannica. Give it to us.

TALIESIN: Don't want to scare the locals too much.

MARISHA: Not yet.

TRAVIS: Don't you?

MATT: "The Steam's Respite."

TALIESIN: That'll do it.

LIAM: Caleb heard that.

TALIESIN: I throw another gold at him. You are a fount of information.

MATT: "That's what I'm here for."

LAURA: The Pillow Trove. Is that in the Tri-Spires?

MATT: "That is." He glances quickly over towards Caleb. "You aren't planning to stay there, are you?"

LAURA: Why?

LIAM: We've heard good things.

MATT: "They work for a certain clientele."

TALIESIN: You can be frank.

LAURA: What kind of clientele?

MATT: "Those who live in the Tri-Spire or can afford to stay at the-- Well, you're welcome to try."

LAURA: Are they super snooty there?

MATT: "You could say that, yes."

LAURA: Do they not like you very much?

MATT: "Not anymore."

MARISHA: You used to be a regular?

MATT: "I was a man about town, yes."

MARISHA: Was?

MATT: "Well, things change. Life changes. Partners disappear with your business's goods and funds and leave you having to make a living showing people around the city."

MARISHA: That's telling, yeah.

LAURA: That's awful.

SAM: That does sound terrible.

MATT: "It's very sad, I know. But anyway."

MARISHA: What shop did you used to own?

MATT: "We used to run a business that sold and traded leathers, but I was ousted and I've been scraping by ever since."

MARISHA: Are you a craftsman in the trade?

MATT: "I was more of a business connection, if you will. My partner was the crafter. I knew a few things I'd picked up throughout the years, but--"

MARISHA: I mean, a businessman can sell anything, right? Why don't you get back into it? You still have all those connections.

MATT: "Put it this way. Strangely enough, I make half as much with a quarter of the emphasis doing what I'm doing for you now."

MARISHA: Fair.

LAURA: Lot of people come through town?

MATT: "A lot of people come through town."

LIAM: Is it easy to work around the Empire here?

MATT: "It can be. You can look for work. You can head to the--" He points out here. This would be, "The Signet Wall, if you're more of a sellsword."

MARISHA: The Signet Wall?

MATT: "The Signet Wall. That's where the military stays, and most of the Crownsguard are holed up."

LAURA: Let's not go there.

MARISHA: Do you know a good blacksmith?

MATT: "The Pentamarket would be a place where you could find. There is the Spark Hammer Smithing, that would be of aid to you. There's also Packwearer's Provisions, but they're more of a smaller scale, smithing goods, tools, and such."

TALIESIN: More of an antique collector.

MARISHA: Maybe he'll want that helmet.

LAURA: Okay. I think we learned a lot.

MATT: "And, looking up at the sky, it appears the sun has set, which means my purchased day is done. It's been an absolute pleasure."

LAURA: Oh, but Ulysses, we like you so much!

TALIESIN: We're looking forward to seeing you again. To the inn!

LAURA: Where do you stay?

MATT: "Well, it appears that our business transaction has come to an end. If you would like to rent another day, I'd be happy to answer your questions."

TRAVIS: Shittiest phone ever.

SAM: Well, come see us at the Leaky Tap and maybe we'll hire you tomorrow morning.

LAURA: That's true!

MATT: He leans forward to you with a closer look. He goes, "Maybe."

SAM: I have extreme syphilis.

MATT: Make a deception check.

SAM: One.

MATT: The fact that that was your lie scares him more than believing it could've ever done. He goes, "Very well. Enjoy your stay at the Leaky Tap. I'll be on my way." He throws his hood up and darts back out into the rain.

LAURA: Oh man, I liked him. I'm almost sad that we didn't believe him at first.

SAM: Was he trustworthy?

TALIESIN: No.

LIAM: I mean, no, he's not trustworthy, but we are birds of a feather.

TALIESIN: Don't trust trusting people, they're just the worst.

LAURA: He was trustworthy enough that he wasn't going to, you know.

TALIESIN: No, I have full faith in untrustworthy people.

LIAM: Yes, he was predictably a shit, just as we are.

LAURA: I forgot to ask him about bakeries, so I am going to keep an eye out for them.

SAM: I will aid her in that search.

MATT: Okay. You guys are making your way towards the East Outersteads?

LAURA: Would we be passing through the Pentamarket on the way to the Leaky Tavern?

MATT: You'd have to curve around to do that. Do you want to?

MARISHA: Do things shut down in an hour here?

MATT: You don't know. Well, you've been here.

MARISHA: I've been here.

MATT: You haven't spent a lot of time in Zadash. In fact, probably the last thing you did before your family said, "Come home," was here. You know it a little bit. You've been to the Pentamarket, you would be able to guide the rest of them through the Pentamarket if you wanted to.

MARISHA: Do I know that it stays? Do they keep later hours?

MATT: Yeah. Some of them do, some of them don't. Some merchants prefer to use the night for revelry and spending some of what they made for the day. Some know that those who drink and revel sometimes make poor choices in their purchases, so it can vary.

LAURA: We can sleep first and then get settled into the Leaky Tap, and then sell our shit tomorrow.

MARISHA: I'd like to say maybe selling our shit now. That way it doesn't get robbed in the night.

LAURA: Either way.

TRAVIS: I'm inclined to agree, actually. The longer we keep it out here, the more eyes will be on it.

LAURA: All right.

MARISHA: I think the Pentamarket's that way. I've got a hunch. We can just slide by and see. Small detour.

TRAVIS: Might be no one home.

MATT: As you guys wander through the cold rain, making your way, aside from you, perhaps, this is the largest city any of you have visited. Comparable to Port Damali, but much taller. Damali was a little more spread out. This has architecture and buildings that are designed to rise, and almost seem to curve when you're looking up at it. In certain moments, if you're not careful, it can give a hint of vertigo, just at the height of some of these structures.

MARISHA: Like New York compared to L.A.?

MATT: Yeah, that's a good way to put it. Rexxentrum is still easily twice the size of this city. As you make your way outside of the Pentamarket, and it's called this because central to Zadash, a number of the streets that bisect it naturally carved a pentagonal shape and the interior between all these streets has since become the center of most merchant business, and there's a bazaar set up in the center of that penta-shape, where carts and tents and buildings are out there all day, every day. It's an open market. As you're making your way through the rain, some of them are closing early. Some of them are closing up because of the weather, and it's not going as well as most days would when it isn't so freezing. You can see your breath escaping from you with each exhale. You ask around a bit. Make an investigation check, as you're guiding the troupe.

MARISHA: Okay. 13 plus four is 17.

MATT: Easy enough. You ask around. You see a few folks that seem to be locals, or at least who often find their way through this district. They lead you over towards a large building of stained wood and green-gold velvet hanging on the outside. The first thought is, that velvet's going to get ruined in this rain! As you approach the exterior of it, the building is untouched. It is dry. You do glance up, and you can see, carved delicately into a wood placard above the doors, which are currently closed, but little slips of glass in each door reveal a warm, lit interior that's glowing from the inside out. It says, The Invulnerable Vagrant.

MARISHA: Caleb. I think this is going to be where you're going to stock up on your incense and some other goodies.

LIAM: Yes, yes. I won't be long. Excuse me. And I just push in.

TALIESIN: I'm going to find mulled wine. It's cold, and I want to be warm.

MARISHA: I'll join in that.

LAURA: I want to try to sell the glaive here, if it's magic. If they sell magical weapons at this place.

MATT: Okay. Who's entering?

TRAVIS: I'll go in, too.

MARISHA: I'll wait back.

SAM: I'll go in as well.

MATT: You guys staying out?

TALIESIN: We'll watch the cart and we're going to take the cart to find some mulled wine.

MATT: Okay. As you enter the interior of the building, it's warm. It's very warm, and it's a nice change of pace. You immediately throw your cloak back as the temperature shift causes you -- everyone but you, actually, you're pretty comfortable in the cold-- to immediately throw your heavy layers back. On the immediate entry, you can see there's lanterns all throughout the chamber that are hanging up above, flickering candlelight, but they all flicker like there's wind when there's none. You also notice that all of them are floating. They're little glass chambers that contain the candle and they're all slowly gyrating, held in place. Inside the chamber you can see a long table that has a few small books laid out. On a velvet raised platform there's a long blade, like a rapier of some kind. It looks jeweled and gorgeous. In the back there appears to be a shelf with books and books and books with a desk. You see three figures, two of which are facing away behind the desk. The one that is closest to you turns around to make your appearance. You see a large, seven-foot tall humanoid figure. Short, bushy, curly brown hair fros up a little bit. The body is very fine grayish brown fur. And their nose is wide almost like a cow or a bull's nose across a human face. The chin's a bit square and the physicality is hunched and there's just a big smile on the face.

LIAM: I'm sorry. Yes. I’ve not been in a this big a city in a while.

MATT: Make a nature check.

LIAM: Yeah. 20.

MATT: You have not encountered this folk before in your travels. It's rare to see them ingrained in society this close. Firbolgs--

MARISHA and LAURA: Firbolgs?

LIAM: Yeah, firbolgs.

MATT: Yeah, they are usually a more nature-based, free-spirited people that live more towards the mountains of the northern forests in the Greying Wildlands and beyond. To see one here in society catches you off-guard, let alone one that's dressed so well. You can see these long elegant robes of deep green and gold and this big smile on his face as he spins around. "Yes. I'm happy to help you."

LIAM: DM. Sorry. Before I engage in this. You say I've never encountered these, but I've read a lot.

MATT: Yeah. You know of them.

LIAM: I know of them. This is my first encounter.

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Dive in.

LIAM: Hello. Wow. Look at those horns. I'm so sorry. You know, I have never-- Forget it. I am looking for-- I have been in the woods for so long, I'm so happy to be in a metropolis again. I need ink.

MATT: "Before we can get to that, I just have to say you're, respectfully, terribly filthy. And this is an establishment that I have to insist requires some more cleanliness." As he waves his hand in front of you, you watch as all the dirt on your coat just begins to sift away. Your clothing becomes clean right up the front of you reaching up towards your neck. The dirt begins to fleck away across your face.

LIAM: I'm tilting. I'm arching my face.

MATT: As you fight it, a moment passes and you see before you for the first time since you've met, a sparkly clean Caleb.

SAM: Caleb?! What have you done to him?! What have you done to Caleb?!

MATT: "Oh, you're just an excitable little friend there, aren't you?" This giant hand goes down and pats you on the head.

SAM: Ah! It's gentle.

LIAM: I don't see. I have no idea.

LAURA: Caleb, you're beautiful!

MATT: At this point, the two other figures in the back turn around and it's the same guy.

LIAM and SAM: What?!

MATT: There's two more of the same firbolg. The same outfit. Same exact visual. They both go, "Hi!" "Hi."

LIAM: Okay, this is a little off-putting.

LAURA: I Invoke Duplicity.

MATT: "Ho, ho, ho! Well, that's just impressive."

LAURA: You're impressive!

MATT: He reaches out and puts his hand out to shake your hand. "What's your name?"

LAURA: Jester.

MATT: "And what's your name?"

LAURA: Oh, that's Jester #2.

MATT: It goes through her hand.

LAURA: I know. I'm sorry about that.

MATT: "Oh, that's an illusion. Okay. I'm Enchanter Pumat Sol. And this--" "I am also Enchanter Pumat Sol." And the third one goes, "I myself am also Enchanter Pumat Sol."

LIAM: First question that I have for you, Pumats.

MATT: "The fourth one's in the back."

LIAM: Pumat Sol, is there one of you and this is fun and games or you are--?

MATT: "There's the prime Pumat Sol and the three of us are what you would call magically manifested duplicates to aid in his work."

LIAM: Understood. Well, I only came here for business, so--

MATT: "Well! Welcome to the establishment: The Invulnerable Vagrant greets all of you humbly."

LIAM: I am finding it very hard to concentrate at the moment, but I know that I need paper and the most expensive ink you have.

MATT: "Oh, we have both of those things, come with me." He turns around and you can see now as he turns around his head is about to smack into one of these candles and he just-- knowing where it is. He's been so practiced, he just ducks under it and continues walking toward the back. "He needs some--" "Oh I heard him." He turns around and takes down a couple of inkwells and sets them in front. The other one is pulling out stacks of paper and parchment and is stacking them up, and they set them there. "All right, so how much do you need of how much of each?"

LIAM: You know--

MARISHA: This guy's our new Gilmore, you guys!

LIAM: I am not seducing this person.

MATT: You say this now!

LIAM: Touché!

MARISHA: Five hundred hours later we're fighting gods with him!

LIAM: I need your most fine arcane ink and I also need your finest paper. I need about 150 gold worth of materials. Is that too much to ask?

MATT: "No, that's comparably, respectfully, a paltry sum. We can get that paper to you. When you say ink, I have to specify: do you want ink that's used in the ritualistic design and presentation of arcane symbols, scribes, and glyphs? Or you looking for ink that itself is actually enchanted for various uses and manifestation?"

LIAM: No. I pull two scrolls out of my pack. I have these. I found them in my journeys and I want to make them a part of my repertoire.

MATT: "Oh, that's some wizard stuff. Okay, we can do that."

(laughter)

MATT: He goes ahead and they muster the paper and ink that will easily be utilized for scribing.

LIAM: Matt, I love you so much.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: So glad we're not really outside, we're only physically outside. We get to be at the table, and it's so nice!

TRAVIS: Enchanter Pumat Sol, do you have any health potions we might be able to acquire from you?

MATT: "We have a few in stock, actually. You want to--" and he's like "I'm already on it." Then he turns around and pulls out a large, eight vial collecting case that he sets on the table. "That's one there. And there's another. We've got a variety of vials at your disposal, so let us know what you're looking for."

TRAVIS: How much would a greater healing potion run me?

MATT: "That? Let's see here. That would put you back about 200 gold pieces for a single vial."

TRAVIS: How about one of the more basic healing potions?

MATT: "A general?"

TRAVIS: A general, yes.

MATT: "That'll put you at a simple 50 gold pieces."

TRAVIS: I'll take one of those.

MATT: "It would be my pleasure, Mr. Green Man."

SAM: I think I'll buy--

MATT: "What's your name, by the way?"

TRAVIS: Fjord.

MATT: "Fjord. Pleasure to meet you."

TRAVIS: Nice to meet you.

MATT: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to disrespect your invitation there. What's your name?"

SAM: I'm Nott! I'm just Nott! Hi! Nice to meet you!

MATT: "Nice to meet you."

SAM: You're large!

MATT: "You're small."

SAM: Can I have one? I'll have two of those potions, if you don't mind.

MATT: "Of course."

SAM: Is there a discount for two?

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

SAM: That would be zero.

(laughter)

MATT: "I'm sorry, but this is a business. No discounts, but we're happy to sell for the price of 50 gold apiece."

SAM: All right, I'll take two."

MATT: "All righty, thank you very much."

LAURA: Enchanter Purvon-- Permansol?

MATT: "Pumat Sol."

LAURA: Pooman Sol.

SAM: Pumat.

LAURA: Pumat Sol.

TALIESIN: It's like "Poor Matt's soul."

LAURA and MARISHA: Poor Matt's soul!

MARISHA: It feels very meta.

LAURA: Do you guys deal in magical weapons here?

MATT: "We deal with all sorts of enchanted items." He turns as one of the other guys over there goes, "I've got it. We have all manner of objects that we've crafted, enchanted, and designed."

LAURA: Would you like to buy this?

MATT: "Oh, are you looking to sell or trade?"

LAURA: It depends on how much you want to pay for it.

MATT: "Well, let's go ahead and clear off." He takes the vials off the counter and they set a space, and the three of them sit around. You hear this voice behind this thick curtain go, "Is anybody able to help me here for a minute?" "Right there. The two of you, continue this." One of them goes in the back room to help the fourth one.

LAURA: Does the fourth one look just like you?

MARISHA: There's a fourth?

LAURA: Yeah, there's four of them.

MARISHA: I thought there was three.

MATT: "That's Pumat Prime. He's the real guy. But anyway, let's have a look at this." You put down the glaive, you said? "This isn't too bad." Hand me the item card.

LAURA: Fleshrender.

LIAM: Meanwhile, I take every gold piece I have in a little sack, plus 20 silver, which is exactly 150, and I am out of money.

MATT: With that, they happily pass over to you your purchased parchment and ink.

TRAVIS: How much is that glaive worth?

MATT: "This is pretty well made for being such a ghastly-looking design. I think it could easily use some fine gold gilding, maybe some extra polishing. Put some ribbons on it and this thing would be a great ceremonial piece. The manticore spines I think are a little garish, personally, but if you're looking to sell, we could give this to you for about 300 gold."

LIAM: Insight check.

MATT: Go for it.

LIAM: That is a 17.

ALL: Ooh!

SAM: What are you insighting?

LAURA: To see if he's--

MARISHA: Giving a good deal.

LIAM: I looked at the paper, motherfucker.

TALIESIN: (whispering) I'm going to kill you.

MARISHA: (whispering) Seven days.

LAURA: I feel like this guy's a good guy.

LIAM: Oh, shit.

LAURA: What?

SAM: You just died.

LIAM: Yeah, I have to make a new character, guys, I'm sorry.

LAURA: What do you think, Caleb?

LIAM: I think that he's just dealing with used items.

LAURA: I don't know what that means.

LIAM: You could work him for a little bit, not a lot.

MATT: "Mind you, if we're doing it for trade, prices can be a little more in your favor, but understand, I'm a business for profit."

LAURA: You said it needs a little decoration. I take the ribbon off my horn and I wrap it around the handle and I tie it on. What about now?

MATT: "That's adorable. And I'm not going to lie, I like it better."

(laughter)

MATT: "302 gold. But for trade, I'll probably be able to muster a little more. What are you looking for?"

LAURA: We are looking for something that can hold a lot of doughnuts in it, and also maybe some other things that are heavy.

MATT: "Let me have a look here and see what we can muster. You're looking for something that could-- you traveling type? Is that right?"

SAM: Yes.

LIAM: That's all we do, is travel. All of us.

SAM: Like a briefcase of carrying.

MATT: "A briefcase of carrying?"

SAM: A backpack of--

TRAVIS: A knapsack of--

LIAM: A short case of--

TALIESIN: A clutch of objects.

MARISHA: A handbag of endless bottom.

LIAM: A cheat code, if you will.

MATT: "I'll tell you what. If you give me this here majestic weapon, with the ribbon included, and an additional 200 gold pieces on top of that trade, I can just go ahead--" and the other guy who's wandered away goes, "We can take this here fantastic haversack off the wall and make it yours."

LAURA: Is this fantastic haversack--

MARISHA: A Bag of Holding?

MATT: "Let me show you." He sets it down, and it’s this--

MARISHA: Is he beating us at our own game?

MATT: It's a backpack with a bunch of various pouches and things that are latched onto it. There's two side pouches on it beyond the big central one. He opens it up, takes the glaive, and, "Watch this!" and it disappears into it. He reaches in, pulls the glaive out.

LAURA: Whoa. That's pretty cool.

SAM: That looks like the thing that we need.

MATT: It sticks in there. The big, central pouch. He goes, "The side ones don't carry as much, but the central side of it does manage to carry about eight cubic feet of material in an extra-dimensional space to call it whenever you require it. Two cubic feet for both of the side pouches. I enchanted it. Well, he enchanted it. We sell it."

LAURA: If we make this deal, does it come with a regular healing potion inside of it, maybe?

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

MARISHA: Regular potion, regular potion.

LIAM: Come on, La.

SAM: I mean, that's cocked a little bit.

LAURA: It is a little cocked, but barely cocked. Ten.

MATT: "I appreciate your gusto. Were perhaps we had more of a business relationship together, I would consider such a deal, but as this is the first real transaction and time in which we have encountered you and your band of once-filthy travelers, I'm going to have to decline."

TRAVIS: Jester, Wand of Smiles. What about for the wand, too?

LAURA: I really like it.

SAM: It's a good wand. It's a good stick.

LAURA: It is a real good stick. I'm going to keep it.

TRAVIS: You might need a good laugh.

TALIESIN: I can think of uses for that. I'm not here, goddamn it.

SAM: We need that sack!

LIAM: Jester. Shits and giggles or utility, is the question here.

LAURA: Utility here, I'm buying this sack for all of us here.

SAM: We need this sack to keep our stuff in it.

LIAM: You have enough gold to cover it?

LAURA: Of course. And don't worry, once my mom sends me my care package, we'll have thousands upon thousands of gold.

MATT: "So is that a deal?"

LAURA: 200 gold for this beautiful bag. But! I feel like it could be a little prettier. Is there anything you can do to make it prettier for us?

MATT: "Give me just a moment." He turns around and disappears behind the curtain and you hear some talking. Some (inaudible conversation). Another one emerges from behind the curtain who has this leather band on his head with this large magnifying-type tool hanging in front of him with this big smile on his face. He has these thick leather gloves that have a bunch of runes on them. He goes, "I'm sorry, I was summoned to make something prettier?"

LAURA: I’d really like, you know, pretty. I'm going to be carrying it, I'd like it to match my outfit.

MATT: "What's your favorite color?"

LAURA: Pink!

MATT: (Arcane incantation) He finishes and he watches the haversack suddenly shimmers past, and the dull, general, brown leather turns to a bright, vibrant pink.

LAURA: Ah! It's beautiful! 200 gold, here you go.

MATT: You hand it to the one guy, who accepts it. "All right, good. I hope you enjoy it. I'm going to get back to work. Keep it up, me." He goes in the back room. He takes the glaive off. The other guy says, "All right, thank you very much. Any other business you require?"

LAURA: Nope.

SAM: You need some pastries, but we'd need somewhere else.

LAURA: We'll go somewhere else for that. I doubt you guys sell pastries.

MATT: "There's plenty of vendors. With the raining outside and so late, probably hard to find pastries tonight, but fresh in the morning, just let your nose carry you around. The Pentamarket has plenty."

TRAVIS: I will take one extra of those potions. It's such a good deal. Here's another 50 gold.

MATT: "It would be my pleasure."

TRAVIS: Thanks.

LAURA: Do you know what's the blacksmith, if the-- where did I write it, it disappeared-- the Spark Hammer Smithing would still be open right now, or are they going to be closed?

MATT: "They're probably still working. You can maybe convince them to take a conversation."

LAURA: Okie dokie. Thank you so much.

MATT: "No worries. Just listen for the clanging and the sparks. All right, if that's all, I wish you all adieu, come back any time. We're happy to sell, buy, trade, and generally help out anyone who has money."

LAURA: Man, I want to learn that trick real bad.

SAM: Which trick? Oh, the pink-ify?

LAURA: No, where you make real versions of yourself that you get to hang out with!

TRAVIS: Thank you for your time.

MATT: "It's my pleasure."

TALIESIN: Did we find mulled wine? Did we find a wine vendor?

MATT: Oh yeah. No, especially with it so cold outside, you can see there were two different carts that had small, pot-heated, basic alcohol and ciders.

TALIESIN: If there were any little confectionaries with that too, we would have bought whatever they had left.

MARISHA: We buy pastries for Jester.

LIAM: Also, where in the year are we in relation to Winter's Crest?

MATT: Winter's Crest is actually only celebrated in Tal'Dorei. It does not have cultural significance here in Wildemount. I believe you are three to four months out from it. I'll have to check the calendar. You guys are just now cresting into the beginning of fall.

LIAM: Okay. Good.

MATT: As you guys step outside, you are immediately met by Beauregard and Molly, who have come back with some small wooden cups filled with heated, steaming mulled wine and a small care package of baked goods. Which would mark you guys off at about, I'd say total of six silver for the bunch.

TALIESIN: I got it.

SAM: I need the tarts.

LAURA: Why do you need them? I like them.

SAM: I cast spells with them. I need just a couple.

LAURA: But I like to eat them.

SAM: Okay, but I need them.

TALIESIN: We bought enough for everybody.

SAM: I'll take two.

LIAM: Jester, give me your tarts!

LAURA: How many tarts do I have?

MATT: How many did you buy?

MARISHA: A solid baker's dozen.

LAURA: Then we all eat them.

MARISHA and TALIESIN: I have one.

MATT: You may have to come back and buy more tarts in the morning.

MARISHA: If you want one. Do you want one? No, Fjord's good.

LAURA: I have six left. That's okay, I have six left.

TALIESIN: They're really bright and garish. Really good.

LIAM: Red velvet. It's good.

LAURA: Can we say we go and try to sell some of this stuff, or do you guys want to do this next time?

MATT: I was going to say, because you guys got to get going pretty soon. What we can do is we can say at this point in the evening, it looks like the blacksmithy is currently closed off to any sort of wares-selling. They're in the process of creation. You can hear the banging, but upon knocking, they don't stop their stride of whatever sort of work they're doing inside with the anvil. The rain begins to let up a little bit. It’s still sprinkling, but at least the heavy downpour has subsided a bit. You make your way through the slushy mud pits that the streets have become, weaving your way between horses and various wagons being pulled through, individuals that are hooded and bundled making their way around. Eventually discovering the outskirts of the Leaky Tap. As you guys step into the warm interior, pulling your hoods back, we'll pick up on that next week. We've got these guys have way too early flights to go to this convention tomorrow.

LIAM: What time of day is it as we arrive at the Leaky Tap?

MATT: It's about an hour and a half past dusk.

LAURA: Thank you guys for getting pastries for all of us. That was so sweet.

SAM: Those men were incredible. The Canadians.

TALIESIN: It's the stuff they serve at the German Christmas markets. There's pastry and mulled wine everywhere.

TRAVIS: He is instantly at the top.

LIAM: Where did those cow men come from, Matt?

TRAVIS: The facial configuration, too.

LIAM: Where does firbolg come from?

MARISHA: One of my favorites.

MATT: Just world building. Probably fever dream while I'm working on this stuff.

TRAVIS: I wish there was more of me.

MARISHA: Nyquil does some weird shit.

MATT: (Pumat Sol voice) Just come back and try and buy and trade for more things. You know where to find them.

TRAVIS: Fuck, so good.

LIAM: (Pumat Sol voice) Just been writing campaign lore for too long.

MATT: Awesome. Thank you, guys. We'll pick it up next week from that point, now that you've finally found your way to Zadash. This sprawling city. Thank you guys so much for being patient. Thank you for watching, I hope you enjoyed the show. Go visit these guys at Emerald City Comic Con if you have the opportunity. Isn't Khary there as well, yeah? You can go say hi to Shakäste himself.

LAURA: There's so many people there. It's going to be so much fun.

LIAM: Swamp Khary Payton with CR love. Swamp him.

MATT: As we do with every guest. Give him the Critter hug. Yeah guys, have a wonderful week, rest up, and is it Thursday yet? Good night.

[music]

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