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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show Edit

MATT: Welcome to Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons.

TRAVIS: Dungeons & Dragons!

MATT: Travis is in a good mood. Glad you guys can join us. Before we jump into tonight's episode, let's get through some quick announcements. First and foremost, we have our first sponsor for the evening: our recurring friends at the wondrous D&D Beyond. Sam, you said you were prepared in advance for this one.

SAM: Well I've been getting a lot of questions lately about like: how do you write these ad things? I make it sound like, "Oh I just come up with it on the fly!" It's not true. I spend a lot of time, in fact, I have a file here of rejected ads that I didn't deem good enough to use to promote our friends at D&D Beyond. dndbeyond.com. Go there, sign up, use their service like we do. Here's just a few. I'm just going to rifle through my files. This one's terrible. It was a pirate one, I was going to wear an eye patch, and go, "Ahoy and welcome to D&D be-yargh! Grab your duffel, set the binnacle and follow the freebooters to DnD beyond dot carrrrrrm!" But it didn't make sense.

LAURA: No, that's terrible.

SAM: This one was-- I was going to do a Travis impression.

TRAVIS: Oh!

SAM: "Yo bros, how about that Cowboys game, right? When Prescott hit Hurns on that outside post-route?"

TRAVIS: Hurns doesn't play for them yet.

SAM: Fuck. "I nearly spilled my Natty Lite all over my Emmitt Smith commemorative Snuggie."

TRAVIS: It's a Troy Aikman Snuggie!

SAM: "Man, I love sports. The smell of grass, the sound of marching bands, the sight of 22 men pounding each other for--" All right. Here's an early draft of the now famous D&D Beyond jingle. I went through many drafts of the lyrics before I landed on the primo ones that we got. (Singing) You got your perfect wizard, his tomes, and his supplies. But he burned his entire family to death and now he's traumatized.

(laughter)

SAM: I thought that was a little too dark.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: This one? What was this one? Our test indicate that your rash has spread to the groin ar-- Nope, that's not it. That was a different file. I had this one, this one's really conceptual. Here I'll do it. Matt.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: Matt.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: Matt.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: Matt.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: That's all it says. It just keeps going and saying Matt. It wouldn't have worked! This is why it's rejected! Oh, this one. This one is specific for--

MATT: Very Tim and Eric of you, I respect that.

SAM: We're all excited to meet Laura and Travis's baby.

LAURA: Oh, okay.

SAM: So I consulted with some computer whizzes. We did some facial recognition to find out what their baby might look like.

LAURA: Oh no.

MARISHA: Please tell me this is true.

LAURA: No, what did you do?

SAM: It's got Travis's eyes, Laura's eyebrows, and why don't you just feast your eyes?

LAURA: Oh jeez.

SAM: On this beauty.

LAURA: That is so terrifying.

TRAVIS: That is some Planet of the Apes.

LAURA: It looks like a ferengi from Star Trek.

SAM: It is definitely your mouth. That's Travis's beard.

TRAVIS: It's like just the chin strap part. That's really Abe Lincoln of me.

SAM: Then the other one I had was flowers for you to say sorry for that last bit.

LAURA: Aww, they're wonderful. They're real!

SAM: That concludes the file, that's all I've got. The other things in here were just the pictures that I cut out.

LAURA: Oh jeez, that's all--

SAM: Yep.

LAURA: Oh, I like that one.

SAM: This is the final one. There's more rejected ones, but I'll read you those another day.

MATT: There we go.

LIAM: BB! I want shaved ice, BB!

SAM: I got my flask for tonight.

LAURA: You asshole.

MARISHA: Anthony Kiedis! That's who that picture looked like! I had to remember his name. Show it again! It's Anthony Kiedis! I'm just saying!

MATT: Yeah, I can see it.

LAURA: The flowers are a little more bitter right now.

TRAVIS: Yeah, it is.

MARISHA: Look look look!

TRAVIS: That's Anthony Kiedis.

SAM: It really is Anthony Kiedis. We'll do a side by side. We'll put it on Twitter. We'll post it later. But all of that is to say, D&D Beyond: Thank you.

MATT: Thank you, Sam. Thank you, D&D Beyond.

TRAVIS: What a look into the future. And what a bright future at that.

MATT: Our second sponsor for the night actually comes from inside the family. Those of you who are familiar with our first campaign got to see him performing as Garthok for one of our guest episodes and he's been on a number of shows here at Geek & Sundry. He helped write the theme song for Critical Role, actually he wrote the theme song for our show, amongst many other songs for the series. Jason Charles Miller has a new album coming out this week called In the Wasteland.

SAM: That's amazing.

MATT: The art looks really cool, the design there. It's available now. You can find it wherever else music is streamed or sold, you can buy an autographed physical CD copy of it from Jason's website, which is jasoncharlesmiller.com. If you like rock, country or metal music, anything in between, you'll probably like this album. If you've ever heard his previous work, it's pretty badass actually. I'm very picky with my music and his stuff is great so check it out, I hope you like it. We have a great little video at the break also to discuss this fantastic album. So thank you, Jason, and I hope you guys enjoy his new stuff. Moving on. We made the really exciting announcement earlier this week. If you haven't seen: we launched our new online store and we're working on new shows for our YouTube and Twitch channel.

LAURA: Are none of us wearing the new shirt?

SAM: Oh wow.

MARISHA: Shit.

TRAVIS: (with mouth full of food) I'll put it on at the break, I've got it right here. I'll put it on when we get to the break. I'll put it on.

LAURA: Wow.

LIAM: Gobble Gobble.

LAURA: Keep going, Matt.

MATT: We have also put up on Critrole.com shop the new Mighty Nein shirt. It's already selling out really fast in a lot of sizes, but we already have more ordered that are coming in, so we'll update you guys as soon as those come in.

LAURA: Only small, medium and 4XL are sold out right now. Everything else is still in there.

MATT: If you are of those sizes that are sold out, we'll have more soon. We're super excited about all the things coming up. Critical Role and Talks Machina will still be here on the Geek & Sundry Twitch and in Alpha, so do not worry. All the new stuff will be coming on our own channels and let you guys know as soon as things come forward. Super stoked about that. Also, wanted to let you guys know friends of ours in the community, I know that some of you guys are familiar with Web DM they do fantastic work, fantastic streams and they're doing, on June 24th at 1:00pm Central Time, this weekend, a fantastic fundraiser D&D stream. With a wonderful all-female cast: we have Satine Phoenix, Lysa Chen, Autumn Umphress, Syd Shields and the DM Emma Lambert will be running for the benefit of The Girls Empowerment Network in Texas. Tune in at twitch.tv/webdm or twitch.tv/criticalrole. We'll be hosting them as well so you can check it out. It's going to be a wonderful game with good people involved and a great charitable event that you can help be a part of the cause. So look forward to that.

LIAM: Not to be confused with WebMD.

MATT: No. The standard editions of Vox Machina: Origins, the comic, are still available through Geek & Sundry and Alpha online shops. Details are at critrole.com. Talks Machina is every Tuesday evening at 7:00PM Pacific where our fantastic host Brian W. Foster talks about the episode that's happening tonight next week. Watch us next week and a few of us will be there, present, to discuss what will transpire. I believe that is it and that is all for the announcements. Anything else guys or shall we--?

SAM: Short and sweet.

MATT: Then, without further ado: let's jump in to tonight's episode of Critical Role.

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

Part I Edit

MATT: Hello everyone, and welcome back. That's good. Last we left off: The Mighty Nein had completed their first of two ventures they agreed to complete in the name of The Gentleman. Heading northward towards Berleben, traversing the dangerous Labenda Swamp, freeing the once endangered safe house from the encroaching merrow dangers that had destroyed and decimated the people that were working there at the time and freeing it up for future use. You had acquired a bird friend in the tiny Kiri that is along with you, dagger in hand.

TRAVIS: Six hit points.

MATT: Yeah. That's fine. You'll be fine.

MARISHA: She's going to die.

MATT: You gathered your things and went back to the open road where you headed to the crossroads, did some trading. Through the evening, jumped into a few old friends who were looking to rob you, sent them on their way. Then continued northward until eventually you came upon the outskirts of the-- what was it-- Silberquel Ridge-- there we go, brain not working-- to the gnomish city of Hupperdook. Upon arriving in the city, you took in the industrial sites: the elements of it that are heavy machinery and the creation of new types of clockwork-based technologies, the stacks of soot and steam sent outward, the war machines being developed for use to the eastern lines where the conflict with Xhorhas is now brewing. You made a friend by the name of Rissa who said, in exchange for a round drinks in the evening, would show you around the town for a bit. Upon making your way to the upper level, you were given a brief tour of the vicinity which seemed strangely empty. The streets very well decorated for some seeming celebration, but nobody present. As the sun slowly went down, the town came to life as all the work whistles blew, the sounds of merriment began. And suddenly, as the sun goes vanishing behind the distant mountains, the golds and oranges and subtle purples of the sunset begin to take over, the sound of music and laughter begins to take the streets. So, Mighty Nein, what would you like to do?

TRAVIS: Laughter and music? I don't trust laughter and music.

SAM: Were we on our way to something? Were we going to some place?

LAURA: The Blushing Tankard? Is that where we were going?

SAM: Blushing Tankard, is that a place to stay?

LAURA: It was a tavern. Rissa?

MATT: "Right, yeah?"

LAURA: There's a big party happening now!

MATT: "Like I said, welcome to Hupperdook."

LAURA: Wha-- Should we-- Should we party?

MATT: "Well, I mean, what else is there to do for the night here but that?"

SAM: We don't know, we just got here.

MATT: "There's nothing else to do! You've arrived, go and get your stuff somewhere and let's have a drink!"

TALIESIN: Let's go get out stuff somewhere.

MATT: "You owe me a round anyway."

TRAVIS: Is this every night or just-- It is.

MATT: "Yeah. It's part of our culture, our gnomish heritage."

LAURA: Why?

MATT: "Why? Because it keeps us working hard every day. Sure, maybe our general longevity, for gnomes, is a little shorter than most, but what a life we lead." She reaches out and she's leaning out the cart as you guys are heading through the street. These kids run by with sparklers in their hands and she reaches out and plucks them from their hand and picks it up it's all (popping) around and she passes it over.

SAM: Ooh what-- (yelling and blowing)

LAURA: No, it's cool!

SAM: Oh, are you drawing something? It's a dick.

LAURA: (gasping)

SAM: I knew it!

LAURA: I was going to write dick!

SAM: Oh, you didn't even need to.

LAURA: I didn't!

MATT: "I can already see I'm going to like you folks!"

TRAVIS: Wow. Work hard, play hard.

MATT: "That's the way we do here."

LAURA: I like this town.

TRAVIS: Should we drop our shit off and--

SAM: Where are we dropping? Can we stay at this place as well or do we--

MATT: "You can."

SAM: Give me that, I want to smell it.

TRAVIS: Quick question. This Blushing Tankard tavern, the doors lock, right? There's privacy, it's not like some fucking free-for-all all night, is it?

MATT: "Well, in the tavern."

TRAVIS: Upstairs, in the rooms, I assume they have--

MATT: "Oh, you can lock the doors!"

TRAVIS: I'm just asking, I don't know! Could be free love and a bunch of crazy people roaming around, I don't know!

MARISHA: It is called the Blushing Tankard.

TRAVIS: Right?

MARISHA: Why is it blushing?

MATT: "Because you put your lips to it."

TRAVIS: Oh, shit.

LAURA: Because why?

SAM: Because you put your lips to it.

LAURA: Oh.

TRAVIS: Yeah. We're in for a fucki-- Okay.

LAURA: Lead the way!

MARISHA: Do I see anyone selling glow sticks?

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: Light up swords.

TRAVIS: Fiber optic whips.

MARISHA: I want a fiber optic whip.

MATT: Candy necklaces, big giant pacifiers.

MARISHA: That's not great. Nine.

MATT: What you see is waves of fast moving families and people. Gnomish, some dwarves, a few human-sized folks rushing by. It looks like some of them are rushing from work to get home to disrobe from all their dirty clothes and jump back out with their party attire, or they're already on their way to wherever their destination is. You hear fireworks going off in the distance and the occasional flashes in the sky. But you don't see any vendors at this juncture. At this point, who's helming the cart and the horses?

LAURA: Fjord.

TRAVIS: I am.

MATT: Okay. Rissa saddles up, sits right in the little bench next to you at the front of the cart and takes part of the reins. "Helping to guide you to where you're trying to get to go. Follow me. Tug to the right and it's got about two blocks down that way. It's going to be hard to miss. Look for the large arch with the various spiraling ivy vines against it."

TRAVIS: Very nice of you. Can I keep an eye on her hands just to make sure she's not going through my pockets while she's up here?

MATT: Yeah, make a perception check.

TRAVIS: 15.

MATT: During this travel, as you're keeping an eye out, she seems to be just focused on the task at hand.

TRAVIS: I feel a little guilty, but not much.

LAURA: That means that her sleight of hand is better than your perception. That's all it means.

MATT: That's what it could mean, or she could just not be trying to steal from you, but it could be either. You don't know. After pulling around the side, you come to this large celebration square where there are three stages set up. There is a large maypole in the center, and they're currently lifting up and tethering these large colorful streamers of multiple colors. People are gathering baskets of flowers. A few get tossed and you catch it, and they're made of cloth. You get the sense here that they don't have access to a lot of fresh flowers here in Hupperdook based on the rocky terrain and the perpetual tossing of soot and ash into the atmosphere. Also, if the celebration is that often they probably continue to reuse the same elements over and over again. As you come over into this corner, there are bands starting to play, music being set up on the outside, people are starting to sit down with blankets and families are starting to gather in this area. To your left, you see the large ivory archway with the ivy that's twisting across the top of it. Rissa reaches and tugs your hands to the left to gear the cart in that direction and goes, "All right, Blushing Tankard right up this way." There's more laughter and there are two vendors now on the outside, one of which is currently selling flower necklaces or bands. The other has clusters of sparklers and firecrackers.

TRAVIS: There's some of them now. Am I stopping?

MARISHA: Just keep it going, I'm just going to-- and I just roll off.

TALIESIN: I'll follow.

LAURA: Oh, get me some too, Beau! Get me some, too.

MARISHA: Okay, I go up to the sparklers and firecrackers.

MATT: You walk up and there's a young gnomish man in what would be the equivalent of his late teens, or early twenties, got a very prominent Adam's apple, and very thin for some of the gnomes you've seen around there. He glances up to you, holding a small barrel filled with various small-scale explosives. "Hi, can I help you?"

MARISHA: I want three of everything.

MATT: "Three, all right. I'll just get this together."

MARISHA: How much comes in a pack?

MATT: "Well, do you want three of everything or do you want a pack?"

MARISHA: They come in packs?

TRAVIS: We're going to lose a finger before the night's done.

SAM: Did you just change your shirt, Travis?

TRAVIS: Yeah, bitch.

SAM: How did that happen?

TRAVIS: Hocus pocus, motherfucker.

SAM: Sorry, focus!

MATT: "Packs of ten."

MARISHA: Ten? Ten sparklers or ten poppers?

MATT: "Packs for both of ten."

MARISHA: Yeah, I want one of each. Pack of each.

MATT: "All right, pack of each. That will be five silver."

MARISHA: Okay, thank you.

TRAVIS: I slow down just a little bit and give her time.

SAM: I don't think she's coming.

MARISHA: Then I also get a flower necklace for Jester.

MATT: "Oh that's--" on the other side, the next person over there, a portly-looking fellow in his middle ages or so, resting inside of his neck, rescinded inside. "Hi, yeah, the flowers are going to run about five copper per string. So do you want just one?"

MARISHA: I'll, ah--

TRAVIS: Bring him with us!

MATT: He's got a bunch of them tied up in his hair, and hanging off his neck.

MARISHA: Do you also do braids?

MATT: "Braids are across the way over there. Cindy does the braids."

MARISHA: I'll just take one.

MATT: "All right, that's five copper, thank you."

TRAVIS: Please tell me he has a shortsword and can fight.

MATT: You're going to keep collecting pathetic characters to fight with you?

TRAVIS: Yes, please, bring Kiri and that guy I'll be happy every night.

MATT: It's the best front line you can hope for.

MARISHA: I catch up and I give Jester the flower necklace.

TRAVIS: As she starts to roll up I go: Hyah! And just take off.

MARISHA: (grunting)

LAURA: Oh, no I'm get-- (grunting) Is that for me? Beau, its beautiful!

MARISHA: It looked like you. I'm sorry if it smells weird.

LAURA: Wait, I guess it'd have to be like this. It's beautiful!

MARISHA: I take out one of the poppers and I throw it! On the ground, what happens?

MATT: (bouncing)

MARISHA: Shit! I jump out and I go pick it up, it's too valuable. I run back.

MATT: You go back and look at it and you realize there is actually a tiny little fuse on it.

MARISHA: Oh, there's a process, okay. I jump back on. Caleb, light it!

LIAM: No, you throw it.

MARISHA: Okay! Oh, like skeet shooting!

LIAM: Yeah, throw it in the air.

MARISHA: Okay! (whoosh)

LIAM: Fire Bolt.

MATT: Roll for an attack.

SAM: Fire Bolt?

TRAVIS: It incinerates the fiber.

LIAM: Pretty good. That's 19 plus something.

MATT: You don't even have to roll damage. She tosses it in the air and it arcs, this tiny little firecracker, this little gray rod and then this little streak of flame fires up and hits it. It detonates with this loud pop! sound and you see sparks around it. It dissipates a moment after and in the vicinity, about seven or eight nearby gnomes, two of which children, all go, "(gasp) Yeah!" Start clapping and cheering.

MARISHA: You see that? I'm their hero.

LIAM: How did you do it?

TRAVIS: Yeah, different fingers, but sure. I like it.

MARISHA: This is amazing, these could be useful.

LIAM: For shits and giggles, or what do you have in mind?

MARISHA: For distractions. We could do that again and like when we're fighting people--

TRAVIS: Diversions.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LIAM: Sure, it went very good in the swamp with that little one.

SAM: Well. Can I have one to examine?

TRAVIS: Say no.

SAM: You have a bunch of them.

MARISHA: How many is in a pack?

MATT: Ten, so you have nine now.

MARISHA: I might have to get more before we leave this town.

LAURA: I think that's smart.

SAM: Matt, how much do we know about black powder?

MATT: Well, communally, not much at all. You, make an intelligence check and have advantage because of your alchemical history.

SAM: Okay, I'll take the first roll. Intelligence?

MATT: Yes.

SAM: 18.

MATT: You know it's had minor applications for a while, but it's only really been applied in very condensed and common use for, like the explosives you found in the mine, clearing out spaces in underground caverns, or for the detonation of localized rocks that are in the way of paths trying to be put in mountain ranges. Small scale black powder like this you haven't encountered, really, so this seems to be a relatively new use of this particular compound.

SAM: Up to this point, it's been rare that I or we've come across anything?

MATT: You've barely come across it at all. You've read about it. Actually, the dynamite sticks you found in the mine were probably the first ones you encountered in your experience. Not a lot of use for it in the small farming town of Felderwin.

LAURA: Would I have seen fireworks before in Nicodranas?

MATT: You have before, but they're saved for very rare occasions, like the coming of a ship that's been long gone from shore or particular times of the year for celebrations they would go off and for that in particular they would put ship barges out on the water and they would fire them up from the waterfront. Having it this close is intense and even that small burst right there, there was a flash of heat that you haven't really had before and it's really exciting.

LIAM: Are we just in an ocean of gnomes, is it like 98% gnomes all around us?

MATT: Most everyone you see here is gnomish. You've seen a handful of dwarves, that's the next prominent people that live here and then a smattering of human and half-elf. Right now, you guys have just come to the outside of The Blushing Tankard.

LIAM: I'm traveling with my hood up, minor detail, as you were.

LAURA: Let's go inside!

TRAVIS: Yeah, we're here. Is there a hitching post in the front?

MATT: There is.

TRAVIS: Yeah! Hitch up the horses.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: You think it's safe? I don't think it's safe.

TRAVIS: They seem real jovial-like.

LIAM: When people have libations they get up to hijinks at night, and that seems like the main activity here.

TRAVIS: You want to go in and secure us some rooms, and I'll watch the carriage. Figure out if there's somewhere else we need to keep it?

LIAM: I pull out the silver thread and I start going around the horses.

TRAVIS: Oh! Or that.

LAURA: Hey Nott, have you ever been dancing before?

SAM: Have I ever been dancing before? Like to a place like this?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: I've danced.

LAURA: Okay, just making sure.

SAM: Why, are we dancing?

LAURA: I figure we're going to dance tonight.

TALIESIN: Probably inevitably.

SAM: All right. I might need some liquor.

MATT: You guys, leaving Caleb and-- you're staying with Caleb while he sets up the perimeter.

TRAVIS: Yeah, while he does the string.

SAM: Do we need to choreograph something?

LAURA: (gasps) We probably should. We should probably get Kiri involved.

SAM: That sounds adorable.

LAURA: Come on Kiri.

TALIESIN: Definitely going to need a drink for this.

TRAVIS: We're going to lose her tonight.

MATT: As you guys enter the Blushing Tankard Tavern, it is one of the larger taverns you've been in. The floor space has 20 or so round tables scattered amongst the floor. There is a stage in the far back where the music hasn't quite started yet, but there are musicians setting up. You can see a violinist who's currently tuning. There is a piano in the back, and outside a couple of taverns you saw in Zadash, and your experiences from when you were on the coast, pianos aren't as common in tavern spaces. Usually reserved for the upper class, for private performances or higher-end social events. However, the tables are filling up already, people are rushing in there. Food is passed around left and right. In the back, there's a group of gnomes that are currently clapping the ground on their table, singing some sort of tune, a shanty. One of them is up on the table, clapping his legs there. One of the barmaids comes by and slaps him. "Get off the table!"

LAURA: This place is great!

SAM: It's really nice.

MATT: What would you guys like to do?

MARISHA: Try to get some rooms.

TALIESIN: Let's get some rooms and stow our stuff and get out there.

LAURA: I want to go try to play the piano.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Right away?

LAURA: Yes!

SAM: Do you play the piano?

LAURA: I've played it a little bit at home.

LIAM: I want to listen. I'm going to sit close by.

MARISHA: Molly and I will go.

LAURA: I have a lot of really good songs that I learned when I was growing up. I'm going to sit down and try to play Chopsticks.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and make a performance check.

LAURA: Oh yeah, it's an eight!

MATT and LAURA: (poorly playing Chopsticks)

MATT: There's a few moments of this going on before you suddenly hear this (throat clearing). You turn over your left shoulder and can you see there a half-elven gentlemen in a very nice doublet, who is currently holding a handful of sheet music. "Um, you're at my piano."

LAURA: (poorly playing Chopsticks)

MATT: He twitches at the off-tune hammering of the keys. "I'll be right back." He turns around and wanders off for the moment, clearing his ear with his pinky. You guys go to get rooms?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: You head to the front, it's a very long bar that wraps around the right side of the entire chamber. It has two hatches that can open up. From the inside, you see two individuals. You see a male gnome with a massive mane of red hair. Clean shaven, middle age, and he's smiling and running around, getting drinks, sliding them down the bar, filling things. He's the gnomish redhead equivalent of Tom Cruise. Spinning the bottles and pouring them out. On the other side you see a female dwarf, with this awesome, well-kept, chinstrap beard who has beautiful eye makeup on and this very colorful, silk, billowing blouse that tapers at the wrist with a flourish. She's currently filling out drink and snack orders, and they're both workhorses. They both have smiles on their faces, and they're chatting with regulars. You haven't quite caught their eye yet, they're in the midst of other business.

LAURA: Did you say she was a dwarf?

MATT: A dwarf, yeah.

MARISHA: Who do we talk to? Do we talk to the gnome or the dwarf?

TALIESIN: Whichever one we catch the eye of first.

MARISHA: Yeah, we should do the bar lean in thing.

TALIESIN: All right, I'm in.

MARISHA: Shove some other people around, do that thing.

MATT: For the hell of it, both of you guys roll charisma checks, please.

TALIESIN: Oh, this is going to be funny.

MARISHA: Something we're great at. Just straight checks?

MATT: Just roll a d20 and add your charisma modifier.

TRAVIS: That dice just is the biggest tease.

TALIESIN: Want to go at the same time?

MARISHA: It rocks back and forth. Okay.

TALIESIN: Three, two, one. Six.

MARISHA: Eight.

MATT: So the better part of 15 minutes pass of you guys waiting there and being overlooked until eventually the dwarf woman stops and goes, "All right, sorry about that, didn't see you there. You're a bit higher than the usual folk. What can I do for you?"

MARISHA: That seems oddly backwards. We need a couple of rooms, a few rooms, a handful of rooms. And some drinks.

MATT: "Both of those can be done, lassie."

MARISHA: How many rooms do we need? Three, four?

TALIESIN: (counting)

MARISHA and TALIESIN: Four.

MATT: "Four rooms, all right. Let's see then. That's one gold piece per room per night."

TALIESIN: I just put down four gold pieces.

MARISHA: Does it come with amenities? Does it have a mini bar? Do you charge?

MATT: "This is the mini bar, my dear. But don't worry. We can bring drinks up, we can bring companions up, we can bring what you need up, just let us know."

TALIESIN: You're in a tourist town, things are going to cost something.

MARISHA: All right.

LIAM: On the other side of the bar I cast Haste on Jester while she is playing the piano.

LAURA: I want to start playing The Entertainer.

MATT: All right.

SAM: (playing The Entertainer)

MATT: But really fast.

SAM and LAURA: (speedily playing The Entertainer)

MATT: It's impressive. A little off-key, but overall impressive, the speed of the composition. Right as she starts crescendoing, about to get to the quiet part (speedily playing The Entertainer), a hand slams down on the keys, and that same half-elven gentlemen leans in once more and goes, "If I might please request my instrument returned to me, my dear."

LAURA: This is a really good piano.

MATT: "Thank you."

LAURA: You should be really proud it's yours.

MATT: "I am."

LAURA: Do you have a tip jar?

MATT: "I have a tipping hat." He pulls off from the side this wide-brimmed hat that comes to a point in the front and floppy in the back, and he sets it up on top of the piano.

LAURA: I really think the first couple tips should be to me because I really set up the room for you.

MATT: "Well then, I certainly hope the first few tips come while you're at the bench."

LAURA: Fabulous.

MATT: And he sits down at the bench and pushes you off of it.

LIAM: I toss one gold in and say: This one's for the lady. Very good.

LAURA: Did you see?

MATT: "I saw." Cracks his knuckles, sets his music down in front, starts getting ready. The other performers to the side are watching this out of the corner of their eye and laughing. They're enjoying the tension that's brewing.

LAURA: I run over and give Caleb a kiss on the cheek. Thank you, Caleb.

MATT: You guys get your rooms situated. As the keys are being passed out to the different rooms, drinks are being handled. "So are you looking for something strong or something *strong*?"

TALIESIN: Amaze me, baffle me, make me forget where I am.

MATT: She leans into you and goes "I like you. You're colorful."

TALIESIN: Bless you. You're colorful yourself. I love everything you're wearing.

MATT: "Thank you. First one's on me, how about that?"

TALIESIN: Bless you. I'll happily pay for hers as well because I want to drink her under the fucking table.

MATT: "Hold that till later on. That event's not till later tonight."

TALIESIN: What happens later tonight? Other than more drink.

MATT: "Is this your first time here?"

TALIESIN: Are we that obvious?

MATT: "A bit. Well, we have some performances going on, and then we have our contest. Our weekly Hour of Honor. So just don't drink too much if you're looking to compete." She pops the top button off the top of her blouse and gives a better look at her dwarven cleavage.

LAURA: I love that you did it.

TALIESIN: Brava!

MATT: I realized that I could do it as I was doing it. As she does that, she reaches down and pulls out a dark red glass bottle with a large cap, which she pulls off. This tiny glass, passes it over to you, and you look at it. You're used to seeing liquid splash quite often, this sloshes at a slower pace. It's a thicker liquor.

TALIESIN: I dip a finger.

MATT: It's surprisingly sweet. Strong, the burn kicks in afterward. You like it.

TALIESIN: Shoot or sip?

MATT: "That's up to you."

MARISHA: Sorry to interrupt your incessant flirting. Can I please have a damn drink?!

MATT: "Would you like one of the same?"

MARISHA: Yes, one of the same, yes!

MATT: "All right, that'll be five silver pieces."

MARISHA: I thought he paid for me; I thought you paid for me.

TALIESIN: I am paying for you. I just put a gold down. Keep the tip as well.

MATT: "Oh my goodness, thank you!" She puts it in her cleavage. Pours you another shot of it as well, hands it over.

MARISHA: I just kill the whole thing.

MATT: All right, it *burns,* but it's good. It's like a sweet thick honey liquor that coats the throat, and the coating at first feels nice until the burn hits.

MARISHA: It's kind of medicinal.

TALIESIN: Challenge accepted. (satisfied grunt)

MATT: It's good.

TRAVIS: Caleb and I have come in at this point and I turn to Caleb and go: I feel like I may be regretting my roommate choice tonight. It's just a hunch. I think he's in his element.

LIAM: Well, the odds are that you are not going to even see him in your room tonight, so I wouldn't worry about it so much.

TRAVIS: You think? He'll just like tear into the night and maybe not come back until the sun comes up?

LIAM: He's like a coyote. You know what that is?

TRAVIS: Yeah, it's like--

LIAM: (funny accent) Diplomatic Immunity.

(laughter)

SAM: (funny accent) I don't know what that means.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Wow. Okay.

TRAVIS: I do.

LIAM: Yeah, they like to fuck a lot is my point.

TRAVIS: I thought those were rabbits.

MARISHA: I thought so, too.

TRAVIS: We're going to have to work on our analogies, I feel like there is something missing here. Yeah, okay, a bunny coyote.

MARISHA: That sounds cute.

TRAVIS: It does sound cute.

LIAM: But if you want a quieter evening, you can certainly share the room with Nott and I for once. It's probably not as raucous a room, but you're welcome to it.

TRAVIS: Yeah, just in case he goes full monty, I might have like a secret knock or something.

LAURA: Where *did* Yasha go?

MATT: Yasha is with you, but the player's in Japan, filming. As you glance around, Yasha's sitting towards the back, and towering over most of the clientele here, and not necessarily uncomfortable, but unsure what to make of the jovial atmosphere. There is the faint corner of a smile, but the awkward, anxious smile of not knowing what to do and afraid to step any direction and crush somebody.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

TALIESIN: She's turning on the charm.

TRAVIS: Fair enough, I appreciate that.

LAURA: There are four rooms.

MARISHA: I really like it when she crosses her arms like that, it makes her biceps look good.

LAURA: So Molly can have a room all to his own, if he really wants to, you know (clicking) (whistle).

TRAVIS: Oh.

TALIESIN: Oh, are we talking about that, I'm not going to invade your space if you don't need it, don't worry about it.

TRAVIS: No, I mean half of me's interested, the other half's terrified, so I'm just kind of curious.

TALIESIN: And if you drink enough, you won't remember either way.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: At this point, Rissa's like, "Well, if you've got your rooms taken care of, we're looking for a place to sit, then." She glances past and you can see patrons are starting to get really rowdy. They have these rope-hung chandeliers in three different spots, and you can see one person is jumped up onto one and is hanging back and forth off of it. Some people are like, "Yeah!" All of a sudden, the dwarf woman at the bar goes, "Oh, for the love of--" clambers over with a speed you didn't expect from her, rushes over and grabs the ankle and tears him down, off onto the ground. "Not in my bar!"

MARISHA: You know, I've never seen anyone *actually* swing from a chandelier. I just thought it was a metaphor.

TALIESIN: No, that's entirely something you can do. It's more common than you'd think.

LAURA: Is it allowed in other bars?

MATT: Are you talking to Rissa? "I imagine if they're not paying attention."

TALIESIN: There was some pub, I don't remember what town I was in, but I do remember the pub because it was actually called the Swinging Chandelier. I don't remember what town it was, though. But it was a great pub. It had the best chandelier.

MATT: "My gnomish eyes spot what looks to be one open table across the way, right there." Rissa points, and you can see, past the way, there's one table that two people are just getting up from and leaving.

SAM: I will dart at full speed, full dash to get that table.

MATT: You and Rissa go into a full run. You beating her easily. You get to the table and scoot into the side. As she approaches, you watch as two male gnomes intercept her, and block her path. One of them goes, "Uh-uh, sorry Tinkertop, table's not for you." She goes, "Fuck off, Fitz! I've worked hard enough. I saw this table fair and square." The other one goes, "You don't work, Tabletop, just like your brain-sick dad. This table's for working folk." Fitz glances over and says, "Go ask your pops to make you a table to drink at alone. Might buy you an hour before it breaks."

TALIESIN: I'm going to walk right into the middle of this. Gentle persons, are you harassing our employee right now?

MATT: They both look wildly confused. "No, no."

TALIESIN: We have employed the services of this person right here, and I would agree that you should probably leave right now and get another table for yourselves.

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

TALIESIN: Nope, that's a four.

MATT: As you lean forward in that tense glare, a little bit of a liquor-based burp comes up abruptly and breaks the intensity of the moment. "Oh, someone's starting early, not too bad. No, from what I've heard about these folks, their blood's fire, but on the inside they're nothing but cold and clammy." He goes and flicks the edge of your nose, these two little gnomish punks.

TALIESIN: (demonic voice)

LAURA: I use my tail to--

TALIESIN: If you want to go, too, at the same time. I say a little bit of Infernal, and I'm going to use a blood maledict and make him go blind for a second.

LAURA: I was going to smack him on the ass with my tail at the same time.

MATT: All right, which one?

LAURA: I'll do the other one.

TALIESIN: The one on the left for me.

MATT: The one that just flicked you in the nose, his eyes go black and you can see the bit of crimson pooling at the corner of the eyes. He goes, (stuttering), stumbles back, and hits the stool, and falls onto his ass. "What's going on?!"

SAM: I'm going to jump on top of him and start rifling through his pockets.

TALIESIN: Thank you. I was hoping for it.

MATT: Go ahead and make a sleight of hand check.

TRAVIS: The table, Sam, the table!

SAM: 23. No, 27.

MATT: You manage to pull six silver pieces and three gold pieces out of his pocket.

SAM: Anything other than money?

MATT: Right now, no. Strangely enough, it's only money, and only that amount.

LIAM: I'm watching Nott, and as soon as I see that she has found everything that she is looking for, I've got the copper wire ready, and I mutter through it, to the one on the ground: They're going to kill you, you have to run, now.

MATT: The one that gets slapped in the ass by Jester is like, (stuttering) "I apologize. Rissa, we didn't know," reaches over and goes and grabs the friend. As soon as Nott jumps on and starts thrashing around on him, "Get that thing--" goes and pushes you off of its body, picks up the other gnome. At this point, his eyes come back, and the little strings of blood are curling down the side of his cheek. He goes, "What happened?"

TALIESIN: Some people can't hold their liquor. It's really embarrassing.

LAURA: It's sad, really.

MATT: They both just get lost into the crowd.

LAURA: No, stay, play with us longer!

MATT: Rissa looks over her shoulder at them leave and (laughing).

TRAVIS: Wow, that took a turn fast.

TALIESIN: I like the way that worked out.

MATT: "Me too, indeed!"

SAM: Who were they?

MATT: "Fitz and Ashton. They're both a couple of punks. I've known them since I was a kid."

TRAVIS: They called you "Tabletop."

MATT: "Well, Tinkertop."

TRAVIS: Tinkertop.

TALIESIN: Both equally mysterious.

LAURA: Wait. So your dad is, what, rich or something?

MATT: "Eh--"

LAURA: It's nothing to be ashamed of, it's okay if he is.

MATT: She curls into the bench around the table and leans one shoulder onto it. "My father's an inventor, a tinkerer of some renown at one time. He's had a rough few years."

TRAVIS: He said he was brain-sick.

MATT: "That's just him being an arsehole."

LAURA: What kind of stuff does he make?

MATT: "All sorts of things, toys, contraptions, occasionally whatever he's told to make by the Starosta, but he's just a bumbling twat, really."

LAURA: Can we meet him?

MATT: He's probably in nap time right now. Tomorrow, maybe?

LAURA: Okay!

MARISHA: I bring over a round of drinks for everybody.

MATT: Another round of just traditional ale drinks for everybody would probably run you, we'll say three silver pieces. As you guys gather around for a second, Rissa livens up a bit after that conversation. "But anyway, you've asked me a bit about myself, what about you? What are you here for? What brings you to this godforsaken place?"

TRAVIS: We're actually here for a spot of work.

MATT: "Looking for work?"

LAURA: Yes, of course, work, that's what we're doing.

SAM: Not looking for work, we're just on a job.

TRAVIS: I said for a spot of work.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Oh, yes.

LIAM: Honestly, the name really sells this place. We have been fascinated with it for quite some time.

MATT: "That's not the first time we've heard that."

LAURA: I was really hoping you would have houses of mushrooms. Do you have any?

MATT: "I'm just going to call that unintentional ignorance, but, no, gnomes don't live in mushrooms. Don't be saying that around here very loudly, not all folks will be taking kindly to that."

LIAM: She's set in her ways.

LAURA: No, I just thought Hupperdook sounded like a mushroom sort of town.

TRAVIS: Didn't she just say not to--

LAURA: I'm going to stop, though.

SAM: They prefer the term "toadstools."

MARISHA: I somehow feel like that's worse.

MATT: She grabs one of the tankards and starts drinking heavily from it. "Anyway!" The music begins to kick in even louder. The celebration has kicked into a second gear here, once I can find the music transition.

MARISHA and TRAVIS: (heavy metal guitar melodies)

TALIESIN: Oh, so it's the Noise Room. (heavy bass thudding)

MATT: The crowd begins to hush for a moment. From one of the back rooms, a door opens and a range of brightly-colored gnome dancers come rushing into the room to a swell of cheers and applause. You see four dancers emerge, across the spectrum of gender, and take to tabletops and begin to stomp and click their feet to the rhythm of the music. The musicians begin to finally pick up and build. The pianist you met earlier is starting to make his music happen. It's beautiful and echoes through the room, the placement of it. You get the sense now, whether it be some enchantment or some intentional acoustic presence in the room, but the music carries well and seems to bleed from everywhere. As the dancers are up on the tables, these silk scarves rainbow-colored, from their arms, twirl into large circles and shapes, and they have this worked out, fantastic choreography in unison. They begin to leap from tabletop to tabletop in a circular fashion, making these large arching foot leaps and landing again. Folks cheer with each land, the music whirring itself into a frenzy. Folks are starting to toss coins towards them on the table. They, in the middle of it, will spin, catch one and pocket it and move back into the dance. You get the sense this a very practiced and fairly often performed as to how well-oiled this machine of a performance is.

LIAM: They are almost as nimble as you.

MARISHA: What?

LAURA: I toss a silver.

MATT: Snatched out of the air.

TALIESIN: I toss two at the same time.

MARISHA: I see if I catch one. Missile Snare. I'm going to try to catch one of Molly's coins.

TRAVIS: Did you just take a dancer's tip?

MATT: Make a dexterity check. This is going to be a contested dexterity check between you and a dancer.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'm into it. Especially if it fails, please!

MARISHA: Natural one.

TALIESIN: Yeah!

TRAVIS: That's justice.

MARISHA: It is.

MATT: As you reach for the coin, your fingers almost touch it before everything goes dark as a wooden shoe-covered foot (slamming) across your face from the dancer who catches it between two fingers, looks down, retracts the foot, and as you get your vision back and look up, the dancer gives you a wink and goes back into a spin.

MARISHA: I wink back. You know, I kind of liked that. It was kind of hot.

MATT: As the dancers begin to gather, leaping from table to table, they start getting closer to the center of the room. They begin to spin together until eventually they clasp hands. Some of the bar hands grab the tables and start pushing them together in the center, telling the patrons to step back a bit. As they do, the circle continues to get tighter as they leap from table to table, holding each other wrist to wrist, arm to arm. As they do, the silks are billowing out and you can see them extending. The silks they've been holding seem to have been a bunch hidden within their sleeves, and as they billow out, they widen until it's like a parachute of rainbow colors that just spin in this circle. It completely engulfs them; all you see is the tip of their heads within this swirl of color until eventually the music comes to a climax and with a heavy stomp, all the colors fade, and the dancers bow. Everyone in the room starts cheering and clapping.

(applause)

TRAVIS: Hot damn!

MATT: The dancers smile and step off, walking around with hats in the front, taking tips from people at tables as they adjust the tables back to their original point. Everyone else goes back to their meals, and you see them tossing the odd copper or silver piece into their hats.

SAM: I don't know if we can learn that dance.

LAURA: I think we can do it.

SAM: Let's just work on something simple. We're going to take a moment to work out a couple of moves in case it comes up. Just some basic hand moves.

MATT: Kiri is off to the side. (chirping)

LAURA: We can have her stand on one shoulder each--

SAM: I'm much shorter than you.

LAURA: I'll be on my knees. Then we can do these things. Kiri can have a ribbon and she'll do this while we do it.

SAM: I like it.

LAURA: It's basically the same as what they just did.

SAM: Caleb maybe can do some special effects.

LIAM: Will it be dark where we are doing this? I worry about-- you know what I worry about.

SAM: Maybe I should sit it out.

LIAM: No, it just depends on the situation. This happens all over the city, outside, everywhere, *ja*?

MATT: "For the most part, yeah. As the evening goes on it tends to gather around the places where drink is running freely, until everyone passes out, then wakes up, hair of the dog, usually takes himself a bit of Fuse and then gets back to work."

TRAVIS: A bit of Fuse?

MATT: "A Fuse is the hair of the dog drink that we brew here to get everyone waking up and back to work."

TRAVIS: I know what Molly'll be having in a couple hours.

MATT: "I don't know how it's going to mingle well with non-gnomish tracts, but I'm willing to watch and try."

TALIESIN: I'm very excited to find out.

MATT: "Me too." (laughs)

TRAVIS: Rissa, can I ask you about the, what's it called, honor hour that comes up later?

MATT: "Hour of Honor?"

TRAVIS: Hour of Honor, yeah. What's that about?

MATT: "Look over there." She points to the far wall and they're starting to set up lights on it, these glowing lanterns they have on pikes. It's a collection of wooden name plates. She goes, "Once a week, there's a contest where the previous holders of the Hour of Honor can take challenges. Whoever provides the most monetary amount to the challenge gets to go one-on-one with their team, drink to drink, until only one's left un-puking or un-passed out."

SAM: A team drinking competition?

MATT: "The remainder gets the coin, I think a percentage goes to the house, and gets to take the title and a token. That token is worth a free drink to each member of that team in this bar every night."

LAURA: Every night?

LIAM: It is almost like a drunken CrossFit gym. I'm sorry, it is almost like a CrossFit gym.

TRAVIS: There you go.

LAURA: We should probably do that. For this, I would make an exception.

TRAVIS: It could cost a lot of money.

LAURA: How much?

TRAVIS: Well, he said whoever contributes the most monetarily gets to take a shot at the honor.

LAURA: How much do people usually contribute?

LIAM: I have two gold.

MATT: "From what I've seen, it can depend on if people are that interested or that competitive. Some folks put up the few gold they've earned for a few days if they're feeling lucky. I've seen people put upwards of 20, 25 gold sometimes, which is quite a sizable sum."

LAURA: Are you a big drinker, Rissa?

MATT: "I can hold my weight, but I'm not much of a competitor, if that's what you're asking."

TRAVIS: Is it happening relatively soon, or do we have a few more hours to explore a bit? I just have the feeling if we were to engage, that all activities after that would not be documented in the ol' brain so well.

MATT: You've probably been here for the better part of an hour or two, just getting your paces, having drinks and taking in the performances and the music. "I'd say you probably have another hour before it begins."

TALIESIN: Want to do a little runaround?

TRAVIS: I figure, if we're going to do that.

TALIESIN: I think we're going to do that.

TRAVIS: All right.

MARISHA: Let's go. Who's going to put Kiri either on their shoulders, or we need to--

TRAVIS: To bed!

LAURA: We can't put her to bed!

TRAVIS: Why not?

LAURA: Because she'll just come out of the room. Won't you, Kiri?

SAM: Why would she come out of the room?

TALIESIN: Because Hupperdook.

LAURA: Because there's so much noise and stuff.

TALIESIN: It's family friendly.

TRAVIS: There's no drop-off daycare. Is there a daycare here?

MATT: (like Jester) "I am Kiri."

TRAVIS: Oh, god.

LAURA: Yes, you are very sweet.

MATT: (like Jester) "Yes, I am very sweet."

LIAM: Perhaps our feathered friend is a little more important than the horses and I could leave my threads around her room and she would be safe there. I would know if there was a problem.

MATT: (like Caleb) "Doesn't matter, though."

LIAM: No, but it does matter, because you are a young child and you need to get your rest, and we are going to be doing things that are, quite frankly, not for your eyes.

MATT: (like Jester) "Okay."

LAURA: She would come out of the room, I know her

MATT: (like Jester) "I know her."

MARISHA: What if we get her one of those child leashes?

SAM: Ooh! They said that they would send someone to the room, right, Molly?

TALIESIN: Did they?

SAM: Didn't you say that they would send someone to the room?

LIAM: We could get a babysitter.

SAM: Like a babysitter. You could pay one of their women to watch our little Kiri.

TALIESIN: I have done some ridiculous things in my life; that might take the top of it, though.

SAM: They're working women, we rent them for a time.

MATT: Rissa, at this point, goes like, "Well, first off, you're assuming they're all women."

SAM: Oh yeah, that's true! We could get a sturdy, strapping gigolo man to go up there and watch out for Kiri!

LAURA: I don't think that's a bad idea.

TRAVIS: Rissa, do you know how much one of these evening companions might run per hour?

MATT: "I can honestly say I do not. Sorry."

TRAVIS: Should I go ask?

SAM: Yes.

TRAVIS: Yes, all right, fine. I'll be right back. I'll make my way up to the bar, to the one with the--

TALIESIN: I've got an idea. I've got an idea. There is one member of our party who is probably not going to want to go out and see this ridiculousness.

SAM: She is a wallflower tonight.

MARISHA: She does seem very uncomfortable, yeah.

TRAVIS: I still want to check the price, so I go up to the bar.

MATT: As you approach the bar, the dwarven woman, who's in the process of cleaning a spill on the side, looks over and sees you and does a triple-take, like-- "Well, would you look at this strapping mass of green and tooth." (laughs)

TRAVIS: Thank you kindly, ma'am.

MATT: "What can I do for you?"

TRAVIS: It's a little early in the evening, but I thought I might get a head start and inquire what some friendship might run me.

MATT: "Mighty forward, but I can't say I'm not interested. I've got a few more hours on my shift, but if you hang around--"

TRAVIS: I would hate to remove you from your duties. Plus, my companions are also interested in the same. You said there might be--

MATT: "Well, it's been a while since I've--"

TRAVIS: Oh! No, yeah, let me clarify. (stammering) I need--

MATT: She goes and starts pouring herself a drink.

TRAVIS: Multiples-- not multiples! I need individual companions for my friends, not just your beautiful self.

MATT: "How many?"

TRAVIS: Three.

MATT: "Three companions? All right. I have to go and connect with a friend here and see what's available, but that's certainly doable."

TRAVIS: Great, and do you know how much that might run?

MATT: "Well, that depends on what you're asking for. Is it only for the hour, is it for the evening, what the requests are--"

TRAVIS: Per hour is good, yeah.

MATT: "For an hour? Three? That'd put you about, say, 20 gold."

TRAVIS: Boy, that sounds like a fun night. Outstanding. I will be sure to return. I turn my head and leave.

LAURA: What did she say?

TRAVIS: That was the most horrible thing I've ever had to do. I'm not prepared to talk to people about those things.

LAURA: What did she say?

TRAVIS: It's 20 gold for three people for an hour.

LAURA: That's it?

SAM: Three man-hours?

TRAVIS: Nope. At one hour, three people: 20 gold. So that's-- yeah.

LIAM: Are you all right?

TRAVIS: God, it's real uncomfortable.

LAURA: Why do we need three people to watch Kiri?

TRAVIS: Look, I was just making shit up on the fly, all right?

TALIESIN: Yasha, I know you're not into this. I know that you want to have a night out. Do you just want to sit and keep the young one out of trouble?

MATT: "I can do that, yeah. She's small. I can hold her down."

TALIESIN: It's going to be fine. That's a joke.

LIAM: Are you sure? I was planning to go out, but it's awkward for me. I thought you would be going.

MATT: "It's awkward for me, too."

LIAM: I thought that we could give each other moral support, you know what I mean?

MATT: "Good, then you go out and have a good time. I'll hold the bird down."

TRAVIS: Is that a phrase, or does she actually mean she'll hold the bird down?

TALIESIN: Only one way to find out.

LIAM: I think the child will be dead by the morning.

LAURA: Kiri, are you cool with staying with Yasha for the whole night?

MATT: (like Jester) "I can send a message."

LAURA: Do you promise you won't try to leave her, and you won't try to come out and find us?

MATT: (like Jester) "Okay. I don't know if it's smart."

LAURA: I don't think it is either, Kiri!

TRAVIS: Jester, come on. She is just trying to tug on your heart strings. She'll be fine.

MATT: (chirping)

LAURA: Oh, I just love her so much.

TRAVIS: I know. She'll be safe.

LAURA: You be good.

MATT: She holds her little dagger in front of her.

TALIESIN: I'll bring you back something, Yash.

MARISHA: Blade pointed down, Kiri. Good job.

MATT: (like Jester) "Okay."

MARISHA: There we go.

SAM: Caleb, we may need a third person to join our dance now.

LAURA: Oh, that's right. Now me and Caleb will do it. You stand on our shoulders. You wave the ribbon.

LIAM: No, that is not a thing that is happening. You could ask Beauregard. That's not going to happen.

SAM: You can't dance? You're not a dancer?

LAURA: Have you ever danced, Caleb?

LIAM: *Ja*.

LAURA: (gasps) You have? I can't picture you dancing.

TALIESIN: He's never going to dance again.

TRAVIS: (singing) He's never going to dance again.

MARISHA: There's too many dance puns!

TALIESIN: You can dance if you want to.

MATT: He's not going to leave his friends behind.

LIAM: Yeah, that is the key: if I want to. No, perhaps Beauregard is fleet of foot. She could round you out.

SAM: Are you sure?

LAURA: But Caleb, we want to dance with you.

TRAVIS: Fucking Pet Sematary up in this bitch.

LIAM: I played with Mommy, and I played with Judd, and now I going to play with you. I will take a rain check on that. No thank you, Jester. It is tempting, but no.

LAURA: We'll figure it out.

SAM: I guess we can-- Beau?

MARISHA: Yeah? No, I know, I'm your second choice--

SAM: No, third. It was Kiri first, Caleb second. You're three.

LAURA: You're very dexterous and I think you'll be a very good dancer.

MARISHA: Feels like you had to reach for that. You stammered a little.

LAURA: Plus, you have already lots of scarves on you, so you can do a lot of the things the people were doing.

TRAVIS: You got scarves on you?

MARISHA: I do have a lot of scarves.

LIAM: No, that's truthful. It's obvious how dexterous you are; you're just gruff.

LAURA: Yeah! So should we dance in the street?

SAM: We should rehearse. We don't know when we're going to need the dance yet.

TALIESIN: We're going outside to see what this place has to offer before it's time for a drinking contest that we'll--

TRAVIS: We're going to need a beagle to lead the charge. I'm assuming that's you?

TALIESIN: (shouting) Onward and outward!

TRAVIS: Jesus. (dog baying)

MATT: As you're making your way out, the dwarven lass reaches out in your direction, Fjord, to flag you down.

TRAVIS: Oh! Ma'am.

MATT: "So, just asking: how soon are you wanting this companionship sent to your rooms, and--" and her finger's playing with the front of your armor on the edge of the bar, and goes, "I could give you a discount."

TRAVIS: (stammering)

LAURA: You know, here's the thing. He's already been with the Ruby of the Sea, so probably nothing you do could compare to that. Kind of sad, really.

MATT: "Would you like me to cancel your request, then?"

TRAVIS: No, no. I'd like to put a deposit down. I don't know when we'll be back. Maybe four gold to hold the reservation?

LIAM: Ask if there's a cancellation fee.

TRAVIS: No, I can't. I'm terrified.

MATT: "All right, I'll hold on to this until then. Well, hopefully see you around." Gives a hint of grinning stink-eye in your direction, Jester, and back to Fjord: "Take care of yourself, lad."

TRAVIS: Yeah, okay.

MARISHA: Did you just put a hooker on layaway?

TRAVIS: I think I did. I feel like I did. Did you just say I'd been with your mom?!

LAURA: I know, as soon as I said it, it was really creepy.

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's fucked up!

LAURA: But you know what, it was just a power play, and it didn't really work out.

MARISHA: I will say, normally being like, "You slept with my mom" is an insult or something, or "Don't talk about my mom."

LAURA: Yeah, but people that have slept with my mom are really rich and really powerful, usually, so it's a compliment for them.

LIAM: Also, you have to embrace "yes, and," Fjord. "Yes, and," not "no, but."

SAM: This is good. You have an opportunity for later, if you choose to use it.

LAURA: Yeah, I could sit in the room and let you know if they're any good or not!

LIAM: Are you honestly okay? You seem very perturbed.

TRAVIS: I'm not real comfortable with this sort of stuff.

SAM: Have you ever been with someone?

TRAVIS: Yeah, totally.

SAM: Are you sure?

TRAVIS: Yep.

SAM: Insight check.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

(laughter)

LAURA: Oh, that's pretty good.

SAM: 20.

TRAVIS: I have.

SAM: Okay. He seems to be telling the truth.

TRAVIS: Maybe not many, though.

LAURA: Have you ever paid for anybody before?

TRAVIS: No.

TALIESIN: Like Captain America, not many?

TRAVIS: Yep. Pretty close.

TALIESIN: Frozen in ice, man. It'll happen.

LIAM: Was it someone special?

TRAVIS: No.

MATT: At this point, Kiri, who's not that far from you because you're still in the bar, says (like Jester) "Don't eat humans, okay?" Yasha goes, "I'm going to take her upstairs," and heads off to the chamber.

TRAVIS: I'm going to let you guys take the lead on this. I'm more of a spectator, at this point.

SAM: With the hooker?

TRAVIS: No, I thought we were going out for an hour!

MARISHA: Sorry, you jumped conversations. You have to specify.

TRAVIS: Thought we were going to warm up into this thing!

SAM: With the hooker?

TRAVIS: No, we're going out for a bit, right?

LAURA: Why did you give them money, though?

MATT: There's a big, bassy (impact) that you can feel in your chest. There's a flash of color outside, and there, out maybe 20 feet, looking up, Molly. There's a flash of the firework in the sky going across his horns and form.

TALIESIN: (maniacal laughter)

TRAVIS: Oh, jesus. It begins.

SAM: Okay, let's go make the rounds.

MATT: You walk out in this fair. Most people who have gathered here, they're sitting there, they're eating food, and they're watching the fireworks as they go off. There's a few folks out there, candle dancers, they have these light candles, and it's this very slow, meticulous dance. They're moving in the darkest places of the corner and give this almost will-o'-wisp-type performance. It's really enchanting, and borderline creepy at times, when you can't actually make out the forms of the dancer in the shadow. People are watching and keeping an intent look on it. Otherwise, the rest of this thoroughfare is apparently here, though you're not sure how much businesses are open, since most people are in the process of recovering from a day of business. What do you want to do?

LIAM: Predictably, I would like, as I follow this group around, to keep one eye open for a bookstore.

SAM: The nerdiest raver.

TRAVIS: Can we get you a card, and hold it up? Bookstore.

TALIESIN: It needs *dónde está la biblioteca?*

MATT: What else are you guys going to do?

TALIESIN: I'm looking for vendors. I'm looking for things that are amusing. Bright lights, colors.

SAM: If there's any more of those sparklers or poppers around--

MATT: Oh, yeah. There aren't a lot of them, meaning there's not an endless supply, but you go back to the same people that are just up the road to the right from the outside of the tavern. You can find the same two vendors you spoke with earlier.

MARISHA: You want to buy them out real fast? Let's go!

SAM: Steal some?

MARISHA: We can just pay for it.

TALIESIN: You said there were silk flowers? There's fake flowers? I want to see if I can find the best looking-- that New Orleans, Halloween night, crazy beautiful, overproduced--

MATT: Make an investigation check, and you make a perception check, Caleb.

TALIESIN: (blows a raspberry) Goddamn it! No.

SAM: That is not the Snitch. Just because it's gold, doesn't mean it's a Snitch.

MATT: Was it a natural one?

TALIESIN: That was a two.

MATT: Oh, so not quite a natural one. You come upon a number of vendors that have already given out all their flowers, so you're having a hard time finding anybody that still have any for sale in this main central area.

TALIESIN: If anybody sees, I'm looking for silk flowers. Really, something nice. Something super fancy, if you see anything.

LAURA: I want to look for flowers too, then!

MATT: We'll come to that in a little bit.

LIAM: I rolled a 19 for *Buch*.

MATT: Okay, good to keep that in mind as we move on.

MARISHA: We go pick up some more snappers and poppers, poppers and snappers.

MATT: You go back to those two vendors. They're both set up on the side. The one guy with the sparklers is still set up there, and the guy with the fireworks is still resting there on the edge, and the other guy with the flowers is set up on the side. There's one guy with the sparklers and the fireworks who's there, the thin, somewhat dopey-looking, young gnomish guy, and you have the flower vendor, who's slowly settled into himself, like a barrel of a gnome.

MARISHA: Nott, the flower guy's creepy. Just felt like throwing that out there before we approach.

SAM: Okay. All right, thank you.

MARISHA: I go up to the snapper and popper guys.

MATT: "Hey! Welcome back."

MARISHA: Need more packs.

SAM: No. I want something more powerful.

MARISHA: Plus all the packs.

MATT: "I don't really have anything more powerful than these."

MARISHA: Where do you find more powerful?

SAM: Can you make something?

TRAVIS: We're arms dealing on fucking party night.

MATT: He's, at this point, locking eyes with you, Nott, and there's like a look of recognition in his face.

SAM: Gulp.

MATT: "I don't have anything of that variety. I'm sorry."

MARISHA: Hey, Nott, do you want to-- just stand by me.

SAM: I swoop back into the shadows and mingle.

TRAVIS: Narc.

MARISHA: Hey, don't-- why are your eyes wandering at her? What was that?

MATT: "Sorry, we're closing shop up for the night."

MARISHA: No, give me your packs!

MATT: Then he goes and closes up his little satchel and walks away.

MARISHA: Oh, you piece of shit.

SAM: Sorry, that was my fault.

MARISHA: Hey, don't ever apologize for who you are, man.

SAM: No, I--

MARISHA: You can't help that shit, first off.

SAM: I should have known. I can't talk to people.

MARISHA: You can't predict when people are going to be shitty.

SAM: They're always shitty. It's a 100% accurate prediction.

MARISHA: That's pretty-- that's a good point.

SAM: By the way, Beau, thank you for the other day.

MARISHA: When?

SAM: For talking to Caleb through his, you know.

MARISHA: Yeah, he's a good guy.

SAM: Just be sensitive around him. I know that that's not your strong suit, but he doesn't deal well with harsh criticism all the time.

MARISHA: And you think you do?

SAM: I'm used to it.

MARISHA: That's true.

SAM: Tell me something, how did you know about this place?

MARISHA: Hupperdook?

SAM: Yeah, how did you know that the gnomes here get down with the funky fresh rhythm all night?

MARISHA: The job that I had before I met up with you guys, in Zadash, information passes through. You hear things.

MATT: What job?

MARISHA: I worked at a library, the Cobalt Soul library.

SAM: What's a Cobalt Soul?

MARISHA: It is a faction of monks.

SAM: What kind of a faction of monks?

TRAVIS: Is Nott slurring her words?

SAM: Are you evil? Are you a bad guy?

MARISHA: No, I hope not. I think it differs from day to day, depending on what I'm doing. Do you think I'm a bad guy?

SAM: I don't think so.

MARISHA: That's all that matters, right?

SAM: But I don't know, you seem to know a lot about a lot of things and sketchy things, too.

MARISHA: That has to do with the job that I had before the job that I had.

SAM: What was that job? I thought you grew up-- didn't your parents make wine or something?

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: What was this about a job? Wait, little townsgirl, her parents are wine makers, now you're a brutal assassin martial artist who can kill anything. What happened in between those two things?

MARISHA: Yeah, there's definitely something missing, right?

SAM: Yeah, right?

MARISHA: Let's catch up with the others while we walk and talk.

SAM: Sure.

MARISHA: My dad was super protective and I was an asshole and rebelled a lot.

SAM: You? No!

MARISHA: Yeah. You know, so when interesting and different people would pass through my hometown I started making some connections, started getting involved in some mainly illegal trading.

SAM: Like what? What kind of stuff?

MARISHA: I got in really big trouble from my parents because I started syphoning his cases of wine and selling them underground for half the cost, without tariffs.

SAM: You were bootlegging your old man's hooch?

MARISHA: Yes, I was.

TRAVIS: Industrious.

SAM: Wow.

MARISHA: Yeah. On top of other things, that was like my big denouement, you know? I don't know, I just grew to hate the town that I was in and the system that my father was a part of and so everything--

SAM: Is he a bad person?

MARISHA: He wasn't a bad person. I think he just had bad direction. I don't know, he could've been a good dad. He was a shitty dad and a good businessman.

SAM: So you took matters into your own hands?

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: And got in trouble, and were sent off to boarding school?

MARISHA: Yeah, kind of.

SAM: With monks who are librarians and taught you how to kill with your fists.

MARISHA: One day, he found out about what I was doing after I'd already gotten in trouble for, you know, a little bit of mild extortion, and a little bit of trading, little bit of trafficking. So I think he was already pretty irritated with me. Then he found out about my smuggling scheme with his wine. One day, he called me down into the living room and there was a whole group of monks and people in black. I tried to fight them off and they grabbed me and they drug me away.

SAM: Wait, this was not by choice? You were abducted by monks?!

MARISHA: My dad paid to get me abducted by monks, yeah.

SAM: Oh my gosh.

MARISHA: He wasn't very proud.

SAM: Are you okay?

MARISHA: Sure. Great.

SAM: Was it hard?

MARISHA: Yeah. I mean, there were elements that were hard, but everyone has had hardships, right? What's it matter? Besides, he sent me off to the monks. I think he was hoping that they were going to beat my indiscretions out of me. Instead, I think all of the things that my father saw in me that he hated, the monks saw as a potential advantage. So, in a weird way, I think it might've been the nicest thing he ever did for me.

SAM: I've never thought of you as an optimistic person, but that's a very positive way of looking at it.

MARISHA: I mean, I still never really want to see him again, and I don't think he wants to see me again, either. In fact, he told that he didn't want to see me again. So it's good. Yeah.

MATT: At this point, you guys are caught up with the rest of the crowd as you guys have meandered your way and look up and you can see the rest of your party has been wandering the street.

MARISHA: But, I do have a nice little wineskin that I keep reserved, of my family's wine, if you want to taste.

SAM: I would. Very much.

MARISHA: I toss Nott the wine.

SAM: I'll just take a little sip, in case we have to do the Hour of Power later.

MATT: It's pretty damn good wine.

SAM: Wow. That's amazing.

MARISHA: Anybody else wants a sip of my heritage?

TALIESIN: Is that code for something?

LIAM: It is hard to believe, but I was able to do the-- I danced the waltz and the tarantella. It's been many years.

LAURA: Well, you should show me sometime, because I want to see it.

LIAM: I am very much out of practice, and--

LAURA: We can do it when nobody's watching, okay?

TALIESIN: I could see you as a waltzer. That make sense.

LIAM: It does. A little bit.

LAURA: I'm really good at the waltz.

LIAM: I believe it.

LAURA: Yeah. They taught me the same time I learned piano.

LIAM: Is there anything else that you're hiding from us? Any other quirks or skills?

LAURA: So many. Lots of skills.

LIAM: What are three more?

LAURA: I can paint. I'm really good at baking scones. Specifically scones.

TRAVIS: With cinnamon, right?

LAURA: With cinnamon.

MARISHA: Scones are hard to make.

LAURA: I know. It's a very tough recipe, but I'm good at it.

SAM: The trick is to not overmix. You don't want to overmix. Oh, sorry. We've been walking with your friend, Beau.

LIAM: Wait. Hold that thought. So that's two things.

LAURA: Yes.

LIAM: And the third is?

LAURA: The third thing is something that I want to talk to Fjord about. Because if he's that inexperienced, then maybe he should take some lessons or something.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

SAM: Time is of the essence. He might be with a lady of the night later tonight. You might have to teach him quickly.

LAURA: That's true.

LIAM: And was that skill learned or innate?

SAM: Cram school.

LAURA: No. It really was more of a learning sort of thing.

LIAM: Yeah, study is key.

LAURA: Yes. It's all about studying.

LIAM: That's true.

MATT: At this moment, Caleb, in listening to this conversation, your eyes focus on a sign post behind her on a building that reads Bent Binders.

LIAM: I'm done here. I walk towards the store. Is it open?

MATT: No. The windows are closed.

LIAM: Oh my gosh. I press my nose to the glass and try to see what I can see. Is there a lot of books in there? Or just a few books? Or--

MATT: Make a perception check.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: I'll go put my nose next to his nose on the glass. What are we looking for?

LIAM: That's a 16.

MATT: As you look through, the combination of the two of you, eventually the glass fogs up and you can't see anything. But from the brief moment you had, on the inside, it looks like there are a few shelves that contains some books. It looks like there is actually a binding press and tools for bookbinding in there.

LIAM: From what I can tell, does it look like a technical place where they are just making books or do they have books for sale?

MATT: It looks like they have books for sale, but it's too dark for you to see if they are blank or if they are actual books at the moment.

LIAM: I cannot tell if it's a happy or a sad bookstore.

MATT: You cannot tell yet, no. Just like Christmas, you must wait ‘til the morning.

(laugher)

LAURA: Are there any silk flowers? I was looking for those.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

TALIESIN and LAURA: Yay!

SAM: Yeah. Tonight, when it doesn't matter, you roll great.

LAURA: Shut up. 15.

MATT: Actually, as you guys are fogging up the window, you pull back and look to the left, and you can see this adorable little gnome girl with deep tan skin, her hair pulled in these cute little puffy buns in the side of her head, and she has this little basket that is just filled with these different-colored silk-material flowers. She's standing there, smiling, and you can see an older gnome sitting in a rocking chair behind her with a big old pipe coming out of his mouth as the hat is half-covering his face and he's just sitting there, rocking next to her.

LAURA: I hop over next to her. (gasps) I've been looking everywhere for you.

MATT: "Really?"

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: "Hi."

LAURA: You have *the best* flowers I've ever seen and I would like to buy some.

MATT: "Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much. Okay."

LAURA: How much is a flower?

MATT: "Dad, how much is a flower?" The guy sitting there rocking goes, "Take them a silver apiece. Sorry, copper."

LAURA: A copper apiece.

MATT: "Yeah."

LAURA: I will buy--

MATT: (as Tara) "Copper."

LAURA: I will buy ten flowers from you.

MATT: "You will get ten flowers from me. Lickety-split." She goes and takes out a handful, counts them in your hand, "One, two--"

LAURA: How old are you?

MATT: "--three-- I am five."

LAURA: You are five? That's wonderful. Does your dad take good care of you?

MATT: "Yes. He's a good dad."

LAURA: Are you a good dad?

MATT: "What number is that?"

LAURA: I think that-- I don't know. I wasn't counting.

LIAM: 13. That was 13.

LAURA: 13. I'll buy 13. I give her two silvers. You know, I happen to have a little girl with me who is very cool and I think she would like to play with you.

MATT: "What?"

LAURA: Mm-hmm. She's extra special, though, so you'd have to be very nice to her.

MATT: "Oh, I'm very special, too."

LAURA: (gasps) Really?

MATT: "Yeah!"

LAURA: Where do you live? Because I could bring her over and you could play together tomorrow.

MATT: "The house is two buildings down that way and back one street. You could see it has the red brick on the base, by the door."

LAURA: Red brick on the base by door. I'll come see you guys tomorrow.

MATT: "Okay. What's your name?"

LAURA: My name is Jester. What's your name?

MATT: "Tara."

LAURA: Tara, so nice to meet you.

MATT: "Nice to meet you, too."

LAURA: Red brick by the door.

MATT: There's this pause, and she goes, "Okay. Bye."

LAURA: Okay. See you!

MATT: Then runs back and goes, "Dad, dad, dad," and starts taking the copper and puts it in his hand and he's, like, "Oh, that's a fine job." He pulls his hat up a bit and takes the coin. He looks over to you as you walk away and--

LAURA: Does he seem like a nice dad?

MATT: Make an insight check.

TALIESIN: No.

LAURA: Ooh, that's good. 22

MATT: Seems like a nice enough dad. Yeah.

MARISHA: Happy Father's Day.

MATT: Anything else you guys wish to do? It's starting to get relatively close to that hour window.

LAURA: Do you want many of them? Because I just bought a bunch.

TALIESIN: I'll take two, then. Yep.

LAURA: Flowers?

SAM: Yes, please.

LAURA: Flower?

LIAM: One, please.

LAURA: Flower?

TRAVIS: Are there any authorities walking the street? Any crownsguard or kingsguard or--?

MATT: There are crownsguard. It's interesting, because there are half and half. For the large gnomish population here, you see half of the crownsguard are gnomish, and many of them have some form of firearm slung over their back and shoulders. The other half appear to be human or half-elf. The human/half-elf crownsguard appear to be less jovial and really paying attention to the chaos and generally trying to keep an eye out for anything untoward.

TRAVIS: Just like sentry, though. They're not concerned or turgid or stiff?

MATT: In comparison to the rest of the people that are currently celebrating, yes. But even the gnomish crownsguard seem to be taking their job seriously, but they're still part of the event.

TRAVIS: Among their folks?

MATT: You get the sense here that everyone else gets to celebrate and party at this hour and they don't get to, so they cheat a little bit. Honestly, there's more crownsguard at night than you expected. When you came into the city, it didn't seem that heavily guarded, but now they're out in a pretty serious force. You gather probably a combination of there being wartime, or because the nature of what this city builds. As you're glancing out, on the outside of the ledge of this upper area, looking down, there are a number of torches out by where the construction yards are down below. Either people are working through the night down there, or there's a fairly heavy presence of crownsguard present around these partially-constructed devices and machines of war that you saw being worked on earlier in the day.

TRAVIS: Looks like they even go through the night. That's some dedication.

TALIESIN: That seems like a bit much, doesn't it?

TRAVIS: Yeah. Work ethic can choke you in that way. Well, it's about that time. Should we make our way back for whatever this is going to be?

TALIESIN: I got what I needed. I'm ready.

LIAM: Just a second. Nott, come here for a moment.

SAM: Yes, Caleb, what is it?

LIAM: Are you going to dance?

SAM: Well, I think we're going to drink first.

LIAM: Yeah. But later, it seems like you want to. I think you should.

SAM: I do like to dance.

LIAM: Well, you should try it. You should enjoy yourself, but make sure that either Jester or I ties your mask on very tightly, yeah?

SAM: Should I do the spell that you told me, the disguising spell, before the dance?

LIAM: I mean, it would not be a bad idea.

SAM: All right. I'll do that.

LIAM: All the same. Maybe stay away from direct light, you know? If you can stay a little bit away from it.

SAM: Oh, because the shadows won't match.

LIAM: *Ja*, and some people are smart and it won't work.

SAM: Okay. I will. But you'll keep an eye out in case anyone--

LIAM: That is exactly what I will do.

SAM: All right. Thank you.

LIAM: You should enjoy yourself.

SAM: I'll try. If you want to join us, you could just point and clap, off to the side. You don't have to dance. You can be there to, like--

MARISHA: You guys know that dancing is about spontaneity and you are planning this dance, like when this is going to happen, so hard.

LIAM: I am not dancing, so it is not really an issue.

MARISHA: Let your heart go.

LAURA: When you're performing, you have to have specific moves.

MARISHA: Sure.

SAM: You saw the guys who kicked you in the face. They had planned-out moves that were really cool.

LAURA: Yeah. Like choreography. That's what we're talking about here.

TALIESIN: They kick someone in the face every time.

MARISHA: I like dancing to dance.

SAM: All right. We'll do choreography to the right and left, and you two be in the middle and just freestyle.

LAURA: I think that will work out well. Make sure you use your scarves, though.

MARISHA: Do you guys still have one of those wands?

SAM: What wands? The Wand of Smiles?

LAURA: I have that. I hit a random person with the Wand of Smiles as we walk by them.

MATT: The gentleman who's selling the flower bands is sitting, already smiling, and goes--

LAURA: That guy knows.

MARISHA: Here. I take off my belt ribbon and I tie it around your Wand of Smiles. Now you have a ribbon dancer of smiles.

LAURA: Ah!

TRAVIS: How many charges does that thing have?

LAURA: I don't remember.

SAM: That's probably it for the day.

MARISHA: It recharges, right? Over time?

MATT: Yeah, it has a few uses on it per day. You guys return to the Blushing Tankard Tavern. The music's still blaring. Drinks are being thrown around. A bunch of people are singing big, old songs and clanking their tankards together and spilling onto the tabletops. The floor is already slick with spilled liquor here and there. It is a party that hasn't stopped since you left. As you guys begin to enter, the dwarven woman who you had spoken with earlier gets onto one of the central tables and slams her foot on the table. Everyone starts looking over and she goes, "Attention, arseholes! Might I have your leering eyes upon this supple and available specimen of a woman?" You hear some whistles. "Oh, thank you." She bends forward with a wink to the crowd. "It's as you've all been waiting for: The Hour of Honor!" "Yeah!" Cheers, clapping. "The tokens and titles are at stake. Ol' Blemmy and his crew hold this winner's tokens for the last three weeks," and she gestures over and you can see a team there, mostly of gnomes. Ol' Blemmy is this dwarf with one giant gash down his face, and the snow-blind eye in that socket is sitting there with this tuft of a beard that has been so unkempt that you can't see his mouth. It's this gray-black, salt-and-pepper bush that disappears into a chin beard. You assume he's grinning beneath there.

TALIESIN: Like Bread Papa?

MATT: Kind of, yeah. Beard Papa?

TALIESIN: Yeah, it's all Beard Papa.

MATT: "They're not willing to let them go! Who wants to put up their coin and their balls to topple these nobodies?" (chuckling) Folks start standing up and tossing some coin on the table at her feet and shouting out, "Five silver!" "A gold piece!" "Three gold over here!" People are standing up and their groups are starting to get amped up and ready. She's like, "Keep them coming, keep them coming!"

TALIESIN: Ten gold?

TRAVIS: Sure.

TALIESIN: Ten gold.

MATT: "Whoa. By the colorful newcomers-- hi there, sweetie!"

TRAVIS: Oh god.

MATT: "Do we have more than ten gold here to try and take down these giants of drinking?" There's a moment, and this one group in the corner, these coal-smeared gnomes that come from-- you can assume now this is probably a heavy mining town. They're sitting there with elements of their leather work clothes still on, and they're all thinking and talking amongst themselves, and they all pull in a few more coins, and one of them comes forward, still wearing leather gloves from the day and pops down, "15 gold."

TRAVIS: Hmm, shit.

MARISHA: 16!

MATT: "18."

LAURA: 20 gold!

MATT: He goes back, talking to them. Comes back, "25 gold pieces."

LAURA: Oh, come on! I don't even know if I want to do that for 20 gold.

TALIESIN: I just don't know how to walk away from something like this.

MARISHA: 25 and five silver!

SAM: So petty.

TALIESIN: Oh for god's sake, 30 gold.

TRAVIS: Price is right.

MATT: At that point, everyone goes, "Whoa!" With a flourish, you place the rest of the 30 gold piece pot on the table. (as Ireena) "Ooh."

TALIESIN: So you'll all be giving me a little bit of gold for this later.

MATT: "So?" Turns back and looks back at the miners, and they all go (heavy sigh).

TALIESIN: We'll be out of town in a week.

MATT: They gather their gold off the table back again, and Ireena goes, "Well, if that's it, it looks like our contenders for the night are-- (quietly) what are you called?"

TALIESIN: The Mighty Nein.

MATT: "The Mighty Nein!"

TALIESIN: If I want to be known for something, this is exactly what I want to be known for.

MATT: Cheers and clamoring continue around, and everyone starts shouting and yelling. (as Ireena) "All right, let's set up these drinks people!" With that final slam on the table, she leaps off onto the ground and starts heading off towards the bar on the side. The other bartender-- the gnomish gentleman there is rapidly clearing out tankards and drinks, and he's starting to pull up bottles onto the countertop. They start pushing tables into the center again once more as the crowds begin to circle around, and Ol' Blemmy and the rest of his rather rough-looking crew that have seen some life in their time--

TRAVIS: Fraternity all-stars.

MATT: They're all pretty much gnomish middle-age, which could be anywhere between 100 to 200 years old, and you can see the weathering on their faces and their clothing. They look like they nearly drink professionally. They step up to the table and they figure out what order they're going to go in. You guys figure out what order you're going to go in?

SAM: Are we all going?

TRAVIS: Anybody who wants in.

MATT: There's five on their team, and talking to her a bit, she goes, (as Ireena) "All right, there's five competitors, you need to pick five of your team to compete."

SAM: Who's the worst at drinking?

LAURA: Well, I've never been drunk.

SAM: Then maybe you should sit this one out.

LAURA: But maybe I'm really good at it, you don't know!

SAM: Do we want this to be the thing that we find out on?

TRAVIS: Probably not, Jester.

TALIESIN: Caleb, how're you feeling?

LIAM: I don't think I should go late in the game, but I feel capable of this challenge.

TALIESIN: Excellent.

TRAVIS: I can drink.

MARISHA: I'm pretty good at it, too.

TALIESIN: I'm ready for this.

SAM: I've never had a drink in my life.

TRAVIS: Our fucking team captain over here!

MATT: Who's sitting it out amongst you guys?

LAURA: I guess it will be me.

TRAVIS: Well, we need five.

MATT: You need five, yeah.

LIAM: We have *eins, zwei, drei, vier, und fünf*.

SAM: Maybe you can be--

LAURA: I'm taking my five gold back from him and I'm stomping upstairs.

SAM: You could be the manager of the team!

TALIESIN: You can also drink along since we'll have to buy your drinks for you.

MARISHA: I can also give you some magic mushrooms if you want to slip them in their drinks.

TRAVIS: It's fungus, actually.

LAURA: Oh, but I can work distraction.

SAM: Yes. You can use your clerical mysticism to confuse and disrupt our enemy.

LAURA: I stomp back down the stairs and I join them.

MATT: As you're coming down, you notice, Jester, the crowds are all gathering, and there's this big circle appearing around the central-- they have two tables that are set up with a single bench each end. You can see a third table behind it where there's probably going to be the dwarf woman overseeing this venture. You do see this little gnome girl that's walking through the crowd, and her hands open, and people are--

LAURA: Is it Tara

MATT: It's not Tara, actually, but it's a rather dirty-looking gnome little girl who's thumbing through and getting pushed around a little bit, her hands are out in front.

LAURA: I give her a little money. I give her a silver.

MATT: She takes it and, "Thank you," barely audible voice, and continues wandering in the crowd. So, the five of you guys are doing it?

SAM, TALIESIN, TRAVIS, MARISHA, and LIAM: Yes!

MATT: At this point, the dwarf woman comes back to the top of the tables there, looks out, "All right, friends! I am but your humble evening mistress, Ireena Clawmop. And it is my pleasure to present to you tonight's esteemed head-to-head drinking battle between Ol' Blemmy and crew, and The Mighty Nein. First up of Blemmy's crew, we have Duncan!" You see this one gnome gentleman come forward. Patchy beard, more of a Stonewall Jackson type, missing the centerpiece there. His eyes are bloodshot and red. His hair's slicked back with some sort of a thick oil, and he's wearing a leather apron over a white, stained shirt with the sleeves rolled up past his elbows. He sits up, gets on one end of the table, puts one hand on his tankard, and is waiting for his competitor. "And on The Mighty Nein's side, who's competing against old Duncan?"

TRAVIS: Listen, the anchor needs to be you, Nott. You're our ringer.

SAM: All right. So I'll wait until there's--

TRAVIS: Molly, do you want to kick us off?

TALIESIN: I'll take this in. I'm going to Riker right over the chair and sit down.

MATT: "What's your name?"

TALIESIN: Molly, dear.

MATT: "Molly! All right. So we'll take turns." She grabs this small barrel-- it's a handheld barrel-- she pours both of your drinks to the brim. "When I clap hands together, you both drink! It's not first to finish, but it's one drink after the next. First to pass out or lose their drink forfeits. So with your drinks full, let's begin!" With that, I need you to roll a constitution check. Roll a d20, add your constitution modifier.

TRAVIS: Warm it up.

TALIESIN: Ten.

MATT: You watch as Duncan, takes it (gulping).

LAURA: No wait, add your constitution. 12!

TALIESIN: Oh, 12, sorry.

MATT: You're drinking it and getting through it fine. You're partway through your drink and he's already finished (slam) on the table. It was a natural 20 on his end.

ALL: Oh!

MATT: You finish the drink, and you're like (burp), a little effervescent, but it's there. So that's one loss on your end. How the rules work is that the first to three losses is the one-- in these competitive spaces.

MARISHA: So you have to drink fast? I thought you just said it didn't matter how fast--

MATT: No, that was just how fast he finished. The idea is you both make competitive constitution checks and the first to three losses in that competition is the one that either barfs or passes out.

LIAM: Barf saves.

MARISHA: Copy.

MATT: Yeah, essentially. At that point, as soon as you guys drop the drinks, "Next round!" (pouring) Fills up both of them, the crowd starts cheering. Go ahead and roll.

MARISHA: Come on, Molly.

TALIESIN: Ugh, goddamn it. Eight.

MATT: He rolled a two plus two, so, four.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: This time around, you manage to finish a little sooner than him. You put it down, he's like (burp, then chuckling). Roll again. Fills up for the third round.

TALIESIN: 20.

MATT: You finish your drink a little bit sooner than him, plop it down. (burping, grunting) From behind him you hear Ol' Blemmy go, "Don't you lose it, boy!" A voice that grates like it's been slammed across a hundred years of seawater.

TRAVIS: Molly, how is it?

TALIESIN: It's rough.

MATT: Roll off again.

TALIESIN: 19.

MARISHA: Yes!

MATT: You finish your drink. He takes his next one, pops it down, and you both stare for a moment. (coughing and spitting) Down the front of his shirt, the crowd's goes like, "No!" Tries to scoop it back up, and they're like, "No, and you're out!" Ireena kicks him out of the chair, "And he's done! First round goes to The Mighty Nein!"

TRAVIS: Oh, shit!

MATT: He gets off the ground, dazed. You are fucking drunk, Molly.

TALIESIN: I'm very drunk.

MATT: He topples back to you guys, you see Duncan get pulled back in the crowd, and Ol' Blemmy's like (inaudible muttering) and under his breath, you can hear a string of curse words. (as Ireena) "Next up, we have Ruth!" You watch as this rotund, tough-looking, oval of a gnomish woman comes up there, her hair pulled into really tight braids in the side, with bright freckles and this grimace. This woman has seen some shit and lived. She gets up to the side, takes the same tankard, and goes, "I'll show you how it's done, Duncan. Fill it!"

TRAVIS: She's got nothing on you. She's nothing! You got this!

MARISHA: My resting bitch face is stronger! And I jump in.

LAURA: I hop up on the table next to her and start yelling: Beau! Beau!

ALL: Beau! Beau!

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

LAURA: I use Thaumaturgy to make it sound like other people are chanting with me.

MARISHA: Yes, girl, yes!

TALIESIN: That's a roll.

LAURA: That's a 21!

MATT: With that, the crowd starts picking up on Beau, and the name, "Beau! Beau! Beau!" begins to resonate through the crowd. You lock eyes with this gnomish woman and you can see there should be color, but the irises are gray-- slate gray-- and it puts you off. There's this intensity to her that you're like, "Oh. This is--"

MARISHA: Fjord, she has crazy eye.

MATT: Go ahead and roll.

MARISHA: Do I have advantage because people are chanting my name?

MATT: No. But people are definitely invested in this victory. Go ahead and make your first roll.

MARISHA: Don't fuck me, Gil. 16.

MATT: You both chug, slam it down at the same exact time. Both hold tight. It was a tie.

TRAVIS: Oh no, you're getting shithoused during this round!

MARISHA: Yeah, I am!

MATT: They fill up the drinks. "And next round, go!" Roll for it.

MARISHA: Blue die. Okay! 21.

MATT: You both (gulping)-- you finish just before, slam the drinks down. (heavy exhaling)

MARISHA: I'm not as tough as Beau.

MATT: That's one victory on your end there. Roll again.

LIAM: Snap.

MARISHA: Fuck. Seven.

MATT: This time, she doesn't even break eye contact with you. She tilts to the side (fast gulping), finishes it in seconds and slams it down (heavy slam, belch) and burps in your direction while you're still drinking, and it catches you. That's a loss on your end.

TRAVIS: Burns your eyes a little bit.

MATT: Yeah. Next one.

TRAVIS: You got this.

MARISHA: Don't fuck me, Gil. I'm going to let it go, I'm going to let it live, 19. No, 20! No, 17, 18, 19! I know math.

MATT: Nice rolls! These are not saving throws, right? This is the actual check.

MARISHA: Plus three.

MATT: Got it. On that, as you both fill this next set of tankards, you drink, and you finish just before she does. Both slam down, and she's starting to have to tough into it. You can see her grinding her fingers into the woodwork. This is a lot of drinking.

MARISHA: I wipe the sweat off with my robe.

MATT: That's two victories to you, one victory to her. Fill up the next batch, the crowd's still shouting, "Beau! Beau! Beau!" Next roll.

MARISHA: Nine.

MATT: This time she toughs it in, she grabs with both hands and chugs it down. The foam catches the corner of her mouth and she finishes it and she wipes it off and sips it off her finger.

TRAVIS: Brutal.

MATT: That's a victory on her end. You guys are both tied, the next roll's going to see who takes it.

TRAVIS: Win or go home, Beau. Eye on the Cobalt Soul, here we go!

MATT: "Beau! Beau! Beau!" Her left eye's twitching as she's glaring at you.

MARISHA: All right, Gil. Comes down to you, boy.

LIAM: Come on, Beauregard.

MARISHA: Did she already roll?

MATT: She did.

MARISHA: Six. No, five.

MATT: With that, you both chug, maintaining eye contact. You get partway into it, and then (coughing and retching) and you begin backing up into the tankard. You try and pass it off, and then as you drop the tankard to gather yourself, (spitting) it sprays onto the table.

MARISHA: Sorry!

MATT: "Oh!" The whole crowd worked up for Beau's victory falls into a series of sad awws. Ruth finishes her drink, sets it on the table and (teeth sucking) turns around and goes back.

TRAVIS: I'm sure we've got bread around here somewhere, just find something to soak all of that up.

MARISHA: Ugh. Okay.

MATT: "Next up, we have Valkin!" You see now, this very young-- looks like the runt of his family line of gnomes-- comes forward. Looks very thin, bright-eyed, and very stark contrast to the rest them, as he gets closer to the table and sits down. "Who's my competitor?"

LIAM: *Ja* hello, my name is Caleb.

(laughter)

MATT: Puts out a hand, "Caleb, it's a pleasure."

LIAM: It's a pleasure.

MATT: "Best of luck. May the best gnome win."

LIAM: Let's enjoy a good game. Did you just say, "May the best gnome win?"

MATT: "Yes."

SAM: He's trash talking! Don't listen to him!

TRAVIS: Keep him out of your head!

LIAM: I am a very skinny man. Let's do this.

MARISHA: High metabolism. Use it!

LIAM: Do not let me fall asleep face down in the gutter tonight.

LAURA: Won't happen.

LIAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: That was an option?

TRAVIS: For you.

MATT: As you guys gather, the crowd begins to pull in a bit. The evening mistress leans down at you and goes, "Don't worry lad. I can see you're nervous, but just let the throat open and take it in." Leans back, "And first batch, go!" Roll off.

LIAM: Grog die! Yes! 21!

MATT: Oh shit! Unexpectedly so, little Caleb finds his taste for alcohol in this one, and with but a moment's notice, downs the entirety of his glass, finishing it before Valkin does. Who says, "Oh, well done. That's impressive."

LIAM: Yes, it's a good game. It's just a game.

MATT: Fills both of them again. Next round, go for it.

TRAVIS: So polite.

LIAM: (singing) *Laurentia, liebe Laurentia mein. Wann woll-*

MATT: Your confidence overtakes you as you go into the second round of cups, and you manage to finish, but you have to stop halfway through. You have to actually go (heavy breathing) for the second serving. You take it down and finish it; however, as you pull your glass down, you can see Valkin's there, leaning.

LIAM: Enjoying the fumes. As they waft up again.

MATT: "I can tell that. Well done, well done."

SAM: Maybe we should do our dance to distract his competitor now.

LAURA: That's a good idea.

MATT: Their drinks are filled. Go for it.

LAURA: Directly in front of Valkin, we start.

(laughter)

MATT: Both of you guys make individual performance checks.

LAURA: 19!

SAM: It was 15, but 12.

MATT: He does not seem to be distracted, unfortunately. What did you roll?

LIAM: 13 for me.

MATT: As you take a moment and (grunting and huffing)--

LIAM: Nighty Mein never says die!

MATT: You manage to finish the last bits of it, and it takes a moment. You can feel all the suds of the mixtures of drinks you've had tonight billowing in your stomach and churning. You hear the (gurgling) in your stomach. You're like, oh that's not good. That's a second loss on your end.

SAM: Oh no! No, Caleb, no!

LIAM: I feel like it might go out the back exit instead of the front.

MATT: They fill it up. Next roll.

LIAM: Aw! 14!

MATT: 14? With this, you see Valkin-- he rolled a nine, plus three, so you win this one. He goes and takes it, finishes it. You both, within a second of each other, finish the drink and, "I got this. You got this? I got this."

TRAVIS: Caleb, steady.

LIAM: I swat him on the side of the face.

MATT: "No, don't! Don't touch."

LIAM: I do it again. It's good!

MATT: "Ah no! Don't do it please!"

LIAM: It's good for you! Drink!

MATT: Fill up the last batch. You guys both, final roll.

LIAM: Natural 20.

(cheering)

MATT: Natural 13 on his end. With that, he finishes the drink and goes, "Told you! Boo yah!" Gets up from the table, turns around, and (thud) faceplants right in the ground. Crowd goes, "Yeah! Caleb!" Pick him up.

LIAM: I nod, cooly, for a second, and I just turn and go (spitting).

MATT: You pull your way away from the table. Success is yours. That's now two victories on your end. One for Ruth there and two final competitors. "Second to last competitor, the powerhouse, The Walking Brick herself, Tanya!" This dwarven woman, who looks like Rosie the Riveter on steroids, comes around the corner. She has her sleeves rolled up past the deltoids. She has these massive hands with a bit of the dwarven hair gathered on the outside of the forearm. Big, square jaw, missing the two front teeth, and she grins as she sits down. She has most of her hair up and tied into this cloth. She got a bit of the coal smears on her cheeks.

MARISHA: Yeah Tanya! Woo!

TRAVIS: Okay. I'll throw my leg over the chair and sit down. Evening.

SAM: All right, Fjord!

MATT: "Ah. Evening to you."

MARISHA: I like Tanya!

TRAVIS: You ever done this before?

MATT: "Oh, like all the time. You?"

TRAVIS: No.

MATT: "Well, good luck then. I'm happy to see how long you last, big boy. Fill it up!" They fill the drinks. Take your first swig there.

TRAVIS: 16.

MATT: You both finish neck and neck, but you still manage to get it down faster. As you both stand there, she looks at you with a nod of being impressed. "Not bad, not bad."

TRAVIS: Is that all there is to this?

MATT: "Oh, we've just gotten started."

TRAVIS: Fill her up!

MATT: "Fill her up!" Fill the next round.

MARISHA: Nott, she said you were bad!

TRAVIS: 13.

MATT: She beats you with a 16. As she goes ahead and finishes off, sets it down and just waits for you to finish, fingers crossed, and goes, "Cute, cute. Not as strong as coming out of the gate. Is that all you got? You going to lose the wind in your sails there, green boy?"

TRAVIS: I admit, I feel a little weak. I can't tell if it's the drink or if it's your beautiful visage sitting in front of me.

MATT: You hear this voice go, "Ah, ey ey! He's mine."

TRAVIS: Shit. Fill her up.

MATT: They fill up the two drinks.

LAURA: I want to cast Mirror Image on myself in front of... her. What's her name?

SAM: Tanya.

LAURA: Tanya, and wiggle to make it look like her vision's starting to double.

MATT: Make a deception check.

LAURA: Oh no, that's bad. Yeah, that was the goal. Eight!

MATT: Eight. You manage to do so. She doesn't seem to be paying attention to you. Caleb, you're getting really nauseous watching Jester do this little dance off to the side.

LAURA: Whoa-oa-oa.

MATT: Make your roll.

TRAVIS: Natural 20.

MATT: No shit! Okay!

LIAM: That is one smooth seaman.

MATT: That's two victories to you, one victory to her. With that one, you finish it abruptly, slam it down, and you're like oh, you're actually gaining a round. That weird swirling in your stomach has faded and you've come into your own in this game. She's looking-- you see the sweat appearing on her brow. She's like, "That's okay. There's more where that came from! Fill it up! I got his number, come on!" Make a roll off.

TRAVIS: Natural 20.

MATT: What the shit!

MARISHA: Fucking champ!

TALIESIN: Eye contact never broken!

MATT: And with that, Tanya goes down. She gets halfway through the drink before, "No. Sorry," and looks back towards Ol' Blemmy before she leans forward and stumbles out of the chair. One of the other people picks her up and pulls her to the side, and Ol' Blemmy's just sitting there, fuming.

TRAVIS: Never get into a drinking game with a man of the sea.

MATT: She goes, "And with that, it looks like Ol' Blemmy's team has fallen! That's three victories-- " at which, Ol' Blemmy puts up a hand and goes, "Not yet! I haven't competed. One of theirs hasn't competed. How ‘bout we make a deal? Last fight: double or nothing."

LAURA: Wait, we can win money from this thing?

SAM: It was always about money.

LAURA: I thought we only got tokens or something for free drinks.

TRAVIS: Nah, we win money. There's money in it. I like it. I say we go for it.

LIAM: I like it as well, but only if you can match this diamond worth, oh... about 100 gold.

TRAVIS: Are you putting in the f-- well.

LIAM: Give me something like that or there's no deal.

MATT: They look at each other going, "I think that's a little rich for our tastes."

LIAM: Oh.

LAURA: Aw, no, fuck it! Let's just do it without that deal! Double or nothing! Go Nott! Yeah!

SAM: She's the worst negotiator ever!

TALIESIN: This is such a change of pace from last year. It's so exciting.

LAURA: All my mirror images are like, yeah! Drink!

MATT: "Who's going to come after me then?"

SAM: I'm scared.

LAURA: You've got it Nott!

SAM: All right. I've looked in the-- by the way, Matt-- I've looked in the thing. The--

TRAVIS: The dodecahedron.

SAM: The dodecahedron.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: All right, I'll try. Hello, sir.

MATT: "This? This is what you bring before me as an offering?"

TRAVIS: You know, she's called the Bottomless Pit. (hiccups)

MATT: "I'm going to crush you, little green one."

MARISHA: Fuck his shit up, Nott! Fuck his shit up!

SAM: All right, I'll try!

LAURA: Are you under Disguise Self?

SAM: No!

MATT: It's great. When he talks, you see the bristles of the beard-- You can see as the evening mistress up at the top goes, "All right! Looks like we're going to get to see Ol' Blemmy strain through his baleen after all! Get to the sides of the table. Let The Whale take a drink.

MARISHA and TRAVIS: The Whale?!

MARISHA: Oh shit!

SAM: I don't have this.

TRAVIS: You already have this!

MARISHA: Bottomless pit!

MATT: The dwarf sits down. His mitt completely encompasses the tankard with his giant dwarven hand. "Against Ol' Blemmy we have?"

SAM: (stammering) Hello. I'm Otto.

MATT: "Otto!"

LAURA: Woo!

SAM: Sorry.

TRAVIS: Otto the Bottomless Pit!

SAM: Yes.

MATT: "And drink!" Pours the drinks, make a roll.

SAM: It's a five.

LIAM: You could use it now?

MATT: Are you going to go with it?

SAM: Yeah, I'll use it now! Okay, that's better. That's 17.

MATT: 17? You both chug down. You manage to finish quickly, slam it down. Oh, this isn't as bad as you thought. You've have much harder liquors than this. The froth is filling at the edges of his mustache and as he pulls it down, there's a coating of foam from the drink resting there. A tongue comes out of nowhere, this Cousin Itt broom-like beard, the tongue takes the suds in. That was a victory on your end.

SAM: I feel good. This feels right.

TRAVIS: Otto!

LIAM: Get it, von Bismarck!

MATT: Next batch. Make the roll.

SAM: I take out a bit of fleece and rub it and cast Silent Image on myself, to make a pussy eye, something real gross that looks real disgusting. That's an 18.

MATT: 18? That's pretty damn good. Ol' Blemmy finishes his drink. That's two for two victories on your end there. He's not had the best luck rolling these last two rounds. He finishes it down, "You're small, but I can see why they call you the Bottomless Pit."

MARISHA: Yeah, BP!

MATT: He grabs the barrel from the person and fills his own last tankard, hands it off. "Let's go." Take the roll.

SAM: Can I drink this with Mage Hand pouring from way up there?

MATT: If you really want to, sure.

SAM: I do.

MATT: So you're like, "Ah!" catching it underneath. The crowds like, "Yeah!" clamoring. Go ahead and make your roll.

SAM: Only 14.

MATT: As it's coming down, it's splashing on your face a bit. You're trying to catch it all.

SAM: I got too cocky!

MATT: You manage to catch most of it and you finish it. You realize that the liquors that you've been having are not been mixing well with this particular drink. You're starting to feel-- oof. That's a victory on his end.

SAM: Oh no!

MATT: All you hear is this subtle (chuckling) Roll for the next one.

SAM: I don't think I can do it!

TRAVIS: Jester cut him! He can't see you out there, cut him!

SAM: Cut my eyes! Cut my eyelids off!

LAURA: What? No! You got this, Nott! I'm going to cast Bless.

SAM: Oh, what does that do?

LAURA: I think it gives you advantage on saving throws. Is this a saving throw?

MATT: No, but you're blessed.

LAURA: But I cast it on you!

MATT: All right, make your roll.

SAM: That's a 21.

MATT: He rolled a natural 16 with a plus four modifier, that puts him at 20.

(cheering)

TRAVIS and MARISHA: (chanting) Frank the Tank! Frank the Tank!

MATT: As you both finish the drink, everyone is like, "Yeah! Oh--" The whole crowd backs up for a minute.

TRAVIS: Nott!

SAM: Sorry.

MATT: Ol' Blemmy leans forward and goes, "Wait a minute. Are you a fucking green--" and passes out on the table, the saliva pools before him. The crowd goes wild!

(cheering)

MATT: Ireena leans does and fiddles through his pockets and pulls out his tokens. He goes, "I do believe that you've earned this!"

SAM: Thank you.

MARISHA: (drunkenly) And we get our names on the board!

SAM: What does this get me?

MATT: "Oh, it get you free drinks here for the rest of the week. Or until someone takes it from you.

TRAVIS: Free drinks?

SAM: Guys, we can drink more!

MARISHA: (drunkenly) Yeah.

TRAVIS: (drunkenly) Yep.

LAURA: You guys look like shit.

LIAM: There's three of you.

LAURA: There are, yes.

MARISHA: My mouth is watering.

SAM: Let it be known that The Mighty Nein can take on any competitor and win! Victory will be ours in any arena!

MATT: "Yeah!" Cheers go up there. Already, there's somebody off in the corner who's whittling a block of wood and carving "The Mighty Nein" into it to put on the wall. The rest of Ol' Blemmy's team begrudgingly come up and drunkenly pass forward their tokens and pass them over to you. You have five drink tokens. Five of you can drink for free at this bar.

SAM: Well worth it.

LAURA: Is there money involved here?

MATT: It was double or nothing, so that's 60 gold. They end up having to pony up the rest of it. There's a 20% cut for the house though, so that's 60 gold, losing 20% of that.

TALIESIN: I'll take 20 of that because I put in--

MATT: That's 48 gold go back to you guys.

LAURA: I take five because I gave Molly five.

MATT: Okay. Everyone claps you on the back and starts cheering and shaking your hands and stuff. "Oh, that was amazing!"

TRAVIS: Tell me you have biscuits and gravy or something.

MATT: "We will in the morning."

TALIESIN: Oh, that will be perfect.

MATT: "Well, if you're looking for a meal-- "

SAM: Oh yeah!

MARISHA: She wants to fuck your brains out.

TRAVIS: You know, I think I have some more libations in me.

SAM: Fjord, why not? We're in Hupperdook. Dook it up!

TRAVIS: I know. The night is young! It's young!

TALIESIN: I can crash in another room, it's perfectly fine.

TRAVIS: It's young, Molly!

LAURA: We do have an extra room.

TRAVIS: No, it's fine!

MARISHA: He's too drunk to fuck.

TRAVIS: Well, that's not true. I'm fine.

MARISHA: He's a little embarrassed. His penis gets a little limp after a few drinks.

TRAVIS: Wow. Not at all.

MARISHA: It's nothing personal.

TRAVIS: She doesn't know me like that. It's not real.

MATT: "I have a friend who's an herbalist who has something could help with that."

TALIESIN: You have a friend who's an herbalist?

MARISHA: Do you have a topical cream? Nevermind, that's a different problem.

TRAVIS: Where's your pisser?

MATT: "Oh! It's up, third floor. There's a bit of a water closet. Just aim for the hole, please."

TRAVIS: I'll be right back. I go.

MARISHA: It's his penis problem again. What?!

MATT: You guys are *trashed*.

LIAM: You-- you are very-- you are-- you are very drunk.

MARISHA: That's very observant.

LIAM: Am I also very drunk?

MARISHA: Can you feel this? Slap!

LIAM: I assume I take one hit point of damage. Or 1d4, from a monk.

MATT: I'd say you take a hit point.

LIAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: You're drunk, you're real relaxed.

MARISHA: Did you feel that? My hands are stinging now.

LIAM: (singing) Oh, The Mighty Nein is The Mighty Nein. The Mighty Nein is The Mighty Nein. The mightiest nine that ever neined!

SAM: I like that song!

LIAM: (singing) Nine mighties, mighties nine!

LAURA: Do you guys need to go to bed or something?

MARISHA: I think I'm going to puke.

SAM: I'm totally fine.

LAURA: You sound pretty normal, actually, Nott.

SAM: This is great.

MATT: Nott, you are intoxicated. You are fearless.

LIAM: I thought we were going dancing.

SAM: I can do anything!

TRAVIS: Holy shit!

SAM: I can surf on a truck!

(laughter)

MARISHA: Give me five minutes. I'm going to go out. I'm going to go behind the alley. I'm going to barf. I'm going to clean myself up, and then I'm going to go back in a little bit more put together.

TRAVIS: Puke and rally!

MARISHA: Yep!

LAURA: I'm going to ask Caleb to waltz with me.

LIAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: Nott, I'm so proud of you. I'm so proud of you! So well done!

SAM: You were great out there.

MATT: In the midst of everything dying down, people are starting to get pretty sloshed, and the energy level, while still rather rowdy, some folks are starting to tap out for the night. Jester drags Caleb into the center of the tavern floor, takes hands, and Caleb, almost running out on autopilot, who does have some minor experience in the past. Go ahead and make a performance check with disadvantage, Caleb.

LIAM: That's cocked. That's okay. With advantage, you say?

MATT: Disadvantage, because you're *drunk*.

LIAM: That's very low. Very low. That is a five.

MATT: Caleb, a moment passes before Jester begins leading you, but you guys continue, the two of you, to have a very nice little waltz in the middle of the area. Quietly, the music begins to change. What was once the rowdy bar music transitions into an actual waltz piece as the musicians notice this happening. The three fourths begins to pick up. One two three, one two three. As you guys continue to dance, a few other couples begin to get up and start faking it. They don't seem to know, but they're watching, playfully making up their own waltz-type maneuver. An impromptu, half-assed waltz begins to develop here in the center of the tavern.

SAM: Mollymauk?

TALIESIN: I'm in!

SAM: We'll dance a bit.

MATT: You guys begin to join this as well. Which one of you is leading?

TALIESIN: I'll lead.

SAM: Absolutely!

MATT: Molly's leading. Nott's at his beck and call as you guys begin to dance around in a circle. Beau and Fjord, you're drunkenly staring at this.

TRAVIS: I actually did not come back down.

MATT: Oh, that's right. You're still upstairs. Fjord is passed the fuck out upstairs.

TRAVIS: I might have passed out in the pisser.

LIAM: Out there dancing: You were always a better dancer than me, Astrid. You were always so good.

LAURA: Astrid?

LIAM: *Ja*.

LAURA: Oh, well, you know, Caleb--

LIAM: I break away. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

LAURA: Caleb, do you need to go to sleep?

LIAM: I stumble away.

LAURA: No, no, no! I grab his jacket.

SAM: Yes, you're way stronger!

LAURA: You are not going to go pass out in the street. You told me to be in charge of this. I walk him upstairs and makes sure he gets in bed.

MATT: Jester goes and tucks Caleb into one of the rooms, in bed comfortably.

LIAM: You are blue.

LAURA: Yes, I am, and you are very nice and a little stinky.

LIAM: (singing) One of those things is true, and you are blue.

LAURA: I'm sure Astrid loves you very much. I tuck him in.

TALIESIN: I'm going to grab Beau before we head up.

MARISHA: I'm coming in the door. Let's keep going! What?

TALIESIN: Is it all right if I try something? No, nothing like that. I just wanted--

MARISHA: I will fucking punch you if you try and kiss me.

TALIESIN: Oh god!

MARISHA: I know I'm attractive.

TALIESIN: How is your hangover? Whatever team your on, I'm not sure I play for that one. It's Team "fuck off," I'm well aware. How are your hangovers normally?

MARISHA: Normally, I'll wake up and I sweat it out.

TALIESIN: I got a weird thought. This may feel weird. I'm going to try my blood maledict.

MARISHA: What?

TALIESIN: I'm going to do the Purgation advanced to see if I can cure a hangover with it. I don't know if it will work. Technically, it's a poison, and I'm willing to drop some HP into this. It gets a little fancy and it's mostly to see if I can clean it up a little bit. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't.

MATT: Are you going to amplify it or not?

TALIESIN: Oh, yeah. I want to see if it works.

MARISHA: I'm a hot mess and I like it!

MATT: Make a constitution saving throw, Beau.

MARISHA: Saving throw?

MATT: Yes.

MARISHA: God, this one does this every time.

TRAVIS: It's a fucking tease.

MARISHA: It's kind of a dick. Six.

MATT: You manage to sober her up a little bit, but you're still pretty tipsy. From going blackout drunk, you're now heavily buzzed and right at drunk.

TALIESIN: I feel like this could be very useful. I'm going to work on this.

MATT: What's interesting is, as you finish this, out of some of the pores, the actual alcohol is drawn out, hovers in the air for a second before dropping on the ground.

MARISHA: No! No, that was a party foul!

TALIESIN: I wouldn't touch that!

MARISHA: Was that inside of me? Did you touch inside me? Oh, fuck.

TALIESIN: Thank you for being part of my little experiment.

MARISHA: All right, now what?

TALIESIN: I was just curious if I could pull liquor out of people. I'm going to go throw up on Fjord, excuse me.

MATT: Oh, no!

TALIESIN: I'm going to find Fjord and make sure that however I throw up, it makes it so it looks like he did it to himself.

(groaning)

MATT: No! Not like that!

LAURA and MATT: Not like this.

MATT: Do you leave Fjord in the bathroom?

TALIESIN: Oh, god no. I bring him back in.

MATT: Okay. You guys all make yourselves back to your rooms. As you check inside, Yasha is asleep in a corner, there with her sword at the side, ready. Curled up against her chest is Kiri, also asleep, bundled up, a little bustle of feathers.

LAURA: She tried to shake her.

MATT: You guys eventually find yourselves to rest for the night, sleep. Long arduous morning comes to, as the sun comes up through the windows. The sound of distant, wandering roosters crowing at daybreak break you into consciousness. The hangovers are real. Beau's doing okay. There's a little bit of a hangover, but not too bad. Jester's totally sober. Yasha's sober.

LAURA: Sober! I'm doing ribbon dances in the bedroom.

TALIESIN: Fuck off.

MATT: Jester, as you and Beau start to get ready, you guys start gathering your things. Beau, your coin purse is missing.

(gasping)

MARISHA: Motherfucker. Who did it? Jester! My coi-- fuck. Fuck, I'm still hungover! Goddamn it!

LAURA: What?

MARISHA: My coin purse is missing!

SAM: Her koi pond!

MARISHA: My koi pond!

LAURA: Your money is gone? Is my money still on me?

MATT: You still have your money on you.

LAURA: I still have my money. What happened to yours?

MARISHA: Motherfucker, there was 300 gold in there!

LAURA: You should really spread it out, Beau! That's really not good! Should we go looking for it? Maybe you dropped it under the bed. Can I start looking around the room?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

MARISHA: Someone's going to fucking die.

LAURA: 16.

MATT: You spend a few moments looking around, and it's nowhere to be seen in the room.

LAURA: I think somebody might have taken it from you.

MARISHA: Yeah, I think that's exactly what happened.

LAURA: Oh no. I wonder if that's a common thing when people get drunk like that.

MARISHA: We're going to go talk to Irene right now. I bet she knows the motherfucker. We're going to fucking track him down.

LAURA: Ireena?

MARISHA: Whatever that bitch's name is. Let's go!

MATT: All right, is everybody else waking up?

SAM: Sure.

LAURA: Hey! I knock on the doors really loud. Check your coin purses!

(groaning)

LAURA: Make sure you have your money still!

TRAVIS: What's wrong with you?

SAM: Do we have our money?

MATT: No.

SAM: Wait, all of our money is gone?

MATT: Nott, Molly, Fjord, your coin purses are gone, and we're going to take a break!

TRAVIS: You!

MARISHA: I lied; I had way more in there than that. We just got fucking-- (exhales deeply)

TRAVIS: That's a lot of money.

TALIESIN: That's a *lot* of money.

LAURA: What about Caleb? Does Caleb have his money?

TRAVIS: (screaming)

MARISHA: All two gold?

LIAM: All five of my gold. Do I have my motherfucking books?

MATT: Your books are still with you.

LAURA: What about your diamond?

MATT: Your diamond you keep with your components. That wasn't missing. It was just the coin purse missing.

MARISHA: All right guys, here's the deal--

LAURA and MATT: We're taking a break.

MARISHA: No, fuck! I'm so angry! Fuck!

MATT: Hold it!

(laughter)

MATT: I love that woman. All right, guys, we'll be back here in a few minutes. Stay tuned for the break. We have Jason Charles Miller's video about his awesome album. Check it out, and we'll see you here in a few minutes.

Break Edit

[break]

Part II Edit

MATT: And welcome back. Returning to where we were, The Mighty Nein, coming to consciousness, most of them with a roaring hangover, have come to realize that all of their money has been pilfered. Other than Jester and Yasha, everyone else appears to, at some point during the evening, lost their monetary gains. As you guys are finding this out, what do you do?

SAM: I accuse Jester of stealing our money!

LAURA: Me? Why would I steal your money?

SAM: You're right. It's stupid.

LAURA: That is really dumb.

SAM: We, as detectives, should think clearly about this and figure out: when was the money stolen? Did you all have your money after the competition?

MARISHA: Yeah, we put our winnings-- we split it up and threw it in the pack.

SAM: Between the competition and bedtime, our money was stolen.

LAURA: So it had to be somebody that seems inconspicuous, walking around the room and stealing people's money!

TRAVIS: It's that damn bird.

LAURA: Kiri? I think she'd be noticeable downstairs taking people's money.

SAM: Is Kiri with us?

MATT: Kiri is with Yasha.

SAM: Kiri, did you steal our money?

MATT: (chirping), (like Jester) "Go fuck yourself!"

TRAVIS: Don't stop there. She's a kleptomaniac. I can tell!

LAURA: I might be able to help us. Also, there was this little girl who seemed really sweet, but she was walking around inconspicuously throughout the room, and maybe she did it.

MARISHA: I also don't think this was necessarily a one-person job. Normally there's a couple people doing stuff like that, or one person is a runner, and one person is a looker.

LAURA: Maybe we should ask Ireena if it happens often when these things go on.

TRAVIS: I thought you said you had something.

LAURA: Oh, yes. I have a spell that can locate objects.

SAM: That cuts down on our detective work a lot.

LAURA: Well, I could locate potentially a money purse.

MARISHA: Do you remember what my bag looked like? It matches my sash that you still have on your wand.

LAURA: It's on this wand, yes!

MARISHA: I almost forgot we tied that on! That was funny. Man, we were drunk.

TRAVIS: Can we bring the volume level down?

MARISHA: Sorry.

SAM: But it was only the five who competed who were robbed.

LAURA: It was only the five who got *stupid* drunk.

MARISHA: We were super drunk.

SAM: It could be because we won, and Blemmy's crew stole our money.

LAURA: We should find out if Blemmy's crew also got stolen from. Do we remember if Blemmy's crew hung around the tavern afterwards?

MATT: To your memory, they didn't. Shortly after the competition, tucking their tails, they went to find another place to drink and not have to be in the eyes of people that watched them lose.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: So we're going to talk to Ireena, and then we're going to maybe find Blemmy, or maybe just follow Locate Object.

LIAM: We are not going to start with the spell that will lead us to it?

TALIESIN: I say we start the spell now in case they decide to throw away the coin purses. Unless somebody knows something that was in their purse that was of actually of value that they could recognize. I need some bacon. Does anyone have money for bacon?

LAURA: I still have money.

MARISHA: Nott, did you have any of those trinkets, like my jade bracelet, in your bag?

SAM: I'm wearing it.

MARISHA: Fuck!

SAM: No, I only keep my valuable things in other pockets.

LAURA: It has to be within a thousand feet, and it only lasts for ten minutes.

SAM: Within how many feet?

LAURA: A thousand. Which is not that far.

MARISHA: Let's see if we can get some tips, and that's something later.

LAURA: What if I cast Zone of Truth on Ireena?

MARISHA: That's not a bad idea.

SAM: Well, let's sees if she talks first.

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's a good idea.

LAURA: But how will we know if she's telling the truth? She seems shady as fuck.

SAM: Does she? I haven't talked to her.

LAURA: Yeah, I don't like her at all.

TALIESIN: Let's try not to escalate anything too quickly yet.

SAM: Molly could use his masculine wiles to talk to--

LAURA: I think Fjord should do it.

TALIESIN: Do I have masculine wiles?

SAM: You have pan wiles?

TALIESIN: I'm into it. I'll take it.

LAURA: "The affected creature is aware of the spell." Always?

TALIESIN: Why don't we save that for the moment that we have somebody we definitely want to interrogate, instead of somebody who might tell us they don't know anything.

TRAVIS: Let's go down and talk to Ireena.

TALIESIN: And get breakfast.

LAURA: We go looking for Ireena. I think she did it.

MATT: You guys head down to the bottom floor of the tavern, and it is empty. From seeing it so busy the night before, it is just 20-odd empty tables. There is Ireena at the bar, who's currently sitting down in the process eating a sandwich, probably looking a little hungover herself. Sitting at a far table, in the middle of cleaning out her fingernails, is Rissa.

LAURA: Rissa did it.

TRAVIS and TALIESIN: No.

SAM: She did it.

LAURA: We should get them at the same table and ask them questions, because they have to be within 15 feet of me.

TRAVIS: I don't think it was her. She's been nice.

TALIESIN: If it was Rissa, what is she still doing here?

LAURA: Oh, good point.

SAM: I still think she did it.

TRAVIS: I'm thankful for your seedy background right now, Molly.

TALIESIN: Let's get some breakfast, before anything happens.

MARISHA: With what fucking money, Molly?

LAURA: With my money. I'll buy you guys breakfast. (singing) Ireena!

MATT: You walk up. "Good morning. You're all looking appropriately fucked."

MARISHA: Yeah, in a few ways.

MATT: "What can I get for you?"

SAM: Bacon.

MATT: "Breakfast can be done, let me grab that. Sid! Sid, more breakfast!"

LAURA: Ireena, did you see anybody taking all of our money last night?

MATT: "No, why? Did someone take all your money last night?"

LAURA: Does it happen all the time when people do this drinking game?

MATT: "If you're not paying attention and you have a lot on you, well, that's your own fault."

MARISHA: Do you know anyone where that's their little side hobby?

MATT: "I don't know anyone particularly, but it happens sometimes. That's why most folks that go out only take a few coins with them."

TRAVIS: The fucking kids had, like, six coins on them. Happens all the time.

MATT: "If you're walking around with a bank in your pocket, I mean, you're asking for it."

LAURA: Wait, what did you guys do with our cart?

TRAVIS: It's out front.

TALIESIN: It was strung up.

TRAVIS: It was tied to the hitching post.

LAURA: Would you have woken up in your drunken stupor?

LIAM: Of course I would.

SAM: We'll go check.

LAURA: Yeah, we go look at the cart. Is it still there and protected?

MATT: You turn around and the cart is protected. There are crownsguard that patrol the main area. It's not as busy as it was last night, of course. It seems they come out in full force. A lot of them seem to sleep during the day and then come out at night to keep watch, because that's when a lot of things happen, but there are a few. There's one that's posted on the far corner. It looks like nobody's messed with the cart because it is out in the open.

LAURA: Should've left our money in the cart.

TRAVIS: Excuse me! Can I have a mi-- (hiccups) minute of your time?

MATT: Are you referring to--

TRAVIS: The crownsguard.

MATT: Okay, so you've exited the tavern.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'm walking out.

TALIESIN: I'm sitting down to breakfast.

LAURA: I'm going back in the tavern.

SAM: Me too.

MATT: The food is being brought out to you slowly over the next 30 minutes or so. The crownsguard looks to you. He's human, a bushy, not really well-kept blond beard.

TRAVIS: Morning.

MATT: "Morning."

TRAVIS: You go first, yeah. (breathing deeply)

MATT: "You all right there, buddy?"

TRAVIS: We tied one on last night, in a harsh way.

MATT: "I can see you're newcomers to the town, then."

TRAVIS: Indeed. So much so that we seem to have been relieved of our coin during last night's revelry.

MATT: "You don't say."

TRAVIS: Yeah. Does that happen a lot around here?

MATT: "To conspicuous folks? Maybe. It happens every now and then, we try and keep an eye out there. As with any place of business, there is always going to be some element of theft. Nothing we saw out of the ordinary, but we can begin to investigate if you like."

TRAVIS: Well that might not be necessary. I believe it was our fault. But just out of curiosity, is there anywhere in town that, I don't know, there might be an infestation of this sort of problem? Do you know any common areas where folks engaged in this sort of activity might gather at night or in the day? Areas of trouble that you've dealt with before-- oh god, am I sweating?

MATT: "You are, profusely. I can't say there's a specific region. If anything, the workplaces here are not teeming with that element. The industrious nature of the city keeps itself busy in a very visible place. Perhaps, somewhat here in the Idleworks Shelf, there's the residential areas of Silver Falls. Those are probably the more likely areas. I wouldn't look in the lower half. Up here in this shelf and beyond would probably be the most-- Are you sure? I don't mind, I could probably keep an eye out. Is there any information you have about these individuals who robbed you may be?"

TRAVIS: (sighs) We're a little light on details, unfortunately. You know what, I'm going to go eat a half a cow, and then maybe once that's soaked up some of this I'll return. If I remember anything else.

MATT: "Yeah, I think you should go do that."

TRAVIS: All right, thank you, have a good morning.

MATT: "You too." He sits back into his post, looking a bit confused.

SAM: Ask Ireena about the little girl.

LAURA: Ireena, what about the little girl?

MATT: "I don't know what you're talking about. Which little girl?"

LAURA: There's a little girl that was walking around last night that was asking for money and stuff.

MATT: "Oh yeah, the beggar. She comes in every now and then. Some folks help her get along."

LAURA: She doesn't steal things?

MATT: "Not that I've seen. She's like a waif. What're you talking about?" Make an insight check.

MARISHA: Is she lying to me? Does she know more? 12.

MATT: I mean, as best as you can read she seems to be forthright. As best as you can read.

LAURA: I'm going to cast Zone of Truth.

MATT: Okay. So what's the saving throw on that? What's the DC?

TRAVIS: I like it.

LAURA: Charisma...

TRAVIS: Cut to the fucking chase!

LAURA: 15

TRAVIS: Trim the fat!

MATT: No, she fails. She goes like, "What's going on?"

LAURA: What are you talking about?

MATT: Because if I recall, yeah, she is aware of the spell. She's like, "What sort of trickery are you doing here? I don't like this. I'll ask you to leave."

LAURA: Oh, I don't think you need to do that. I'm just, you know, curious about what happened last night, if you have ever seen any shady figures in here.

MATT: "There are many shady figures that come through here. It's a town."

TRAVIS: (cooing) More specific!

LAURA: Do you know of anyone who would've stolen coins from people?

SAM: Who was here last night?

MATT: "There was a lot of people here last night. I know you’re asking me-- Look, I'm a shady-looking character sometimes as well. I can't pick it. There's a lot of hard-working people here."

LAURA: Did you steal the money?

MATT: "I did not steal your money!"

LAURA: I'm just checking. Do you know who stole our money?

MATT: "No, I don't know who stole your money!"

LAURA: Hey Rissa, come here for a second!

TALIESIN: But if you were going to suspect somebody, who would it be?

MATT: "I don't know. You damn well pissed off Ol' Blemmy. He's a possible one. Otherwise, I don't know if anyone got too friendly with you last night. I mean you've got to get close to take your money."

LAURA: Was anyone friendly with you guys?

TALIESIN: Not with me.

MATT: "I didn't send any people up to your rooms, because you told me not to pay for-- I was holding your cash, which I've still got by the way. And the offer still stands. But--"

MARISHA: Is there a thieves’ guild?

MATT: "I don't know, probably."

LAURA: Rissa, come here!

MATT: Rissa comes up. "I can help you?"

SAM: Ireena, if Molly was interested, would you like--

LAURA: Snip his--

SAM: No, just like--

TALIESIN: I don't understand what you're trying to imply here.

SAM: Nevermind, let's go to Rissa.

LAURA: No seriously though, what was this? Why is this having sex?

SAM: Don't you guys use scissors when you have sex with each other?

MARISHA: Is this a goblin thing?

TALIESIN: This might be a goblin thing.

SAM: This is real.

LAURA: Stop it.

LIAM: Just a boulder parchment shears reference. It's simple.

LAURA: Rissa! Do you know of anyone who steals money from drunk people?

MATT: "Not personally. I'm sure there are folks out there."

LAURA: Did you see anyone taking our friends' money last night?

MATT: She rubs her temples and you can tell she is a little hungover herself, too. She's like, "No…”

TALIESIN: Did those two gentlemen come back into the bar at any point?

TRAVIS: Fitz and Ashton.

LAURA: Ooh, good call.

MATT: "I saw them come in at one point, but then leave when they noticed I was still hanging with you folks, so thank you for that. I appreciate that."

TALIESIN: I mean, at the very least that'll be fun.

LAURA: Man. Do we have any other questions to ask? Who are you all attracted to. Do you guys like me?

SAM: That's what I was trying to get to. Wait, us? We have to answer truthfully?

LAURA: Yeah, because you were standing next to me anyway.

LIAM: If you're within 15 feet.

SAM: You're not my type.

MATT: If all the rest of you are in the area?

TALIESIN: Everybody’s my type. I’m really pretty easy.

LIAM: I was at the door. I don't know how big the place is.

MATT: If anybody else steps into that zone, you have to make a saving throw.

LIAM: I was going to do something before Jester did what she did.

MARISHA: What was your question?

LAURA: Who are you attracted to? Do you like me? Are we friends? Do you really like me and stuff?

MATT: Make a saving throw.

MARISHA: Wow, that was a layer of questions.

SAM: I like you. You're nice.

LAURA: Really?

SAM: Yes.

MATT: Charisma, right?

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: What is it, charisma saving throw? 16.

MATT: Yeah, you resist it.

MARISHA: I like you a lot. Here's the deal.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Has there been a raise in criminal activity? Is there something in the town that would start provoking people to want to pickpocket more? Is the rise in the war effort bringing people down? There's got to be some reason.

MATT: Rissa goes, "I mean it's possible, I imagine. People are distracted. They're working hard. They're having to push out double time in a lot of their work to get things out to the front lines. It's possible."

TALIESIN: Whoever took our purses has our drink tokens too.

MARISHA: They do have our drink tokens. That was in the bag.

TRAVIS: You didn't need to remind her, she's ready to pop as it is, all right?

TALIESIN: I'm just saying that if drink tokens come back to the bar--

LAURA: Then you know. (gasps)

MARISHA: I wouldn't come back the next night if it were me. I would want to make sure that we were gone.

TALIESIN: But somebody's got them.

LIAM: How could they even use them? Because only the winners that everyone saw won them.

SAM: They're probably not going to use them. They're just one drink. They would keep all the hundreds of gold.

TALIESIN: I would keep it, though.

MARISHA: But, I think that could be a better target for your lost object spell. That's what I was thinking.

LAURA: Yeah. Because it probably blends in. Are they the same sort of shape as regular coins?

MATT: They are, but they're wooden and a little bit bigger than an actual gold coin.

TALIESIN: Any time I've stolen something I couldn't use later I've always kept it for sentimental reasons. I'm not sure why.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's a prize. It's a reminder of your good job.

LAURA: That's smart. Should I cast it?

TALIESIN: I don’t steal anymore. Much. Sometimes--

MARISHA: Hang on. Ireena.

MATT: "Yes? What you asking?"

MARISHA: Do you have any new staff members?

MATT: "No, it's just me and Sid." At this point Sid brings out the last of the food, the male gnome who you saw when you first entered. He's like, "So, all of your food is ready. Enjoy."

MARISHA: You mentioned being able to get us friends and other type of services. Where do you find those resources?

MATT: "Through a friend of mine."

MARISHA: What's her name?

MATT: "Why are you asking me all of these questions? I didn't send anyone up to your room, and I'm not going to spill all of my business propositions your direction."

MARISHA: I don't think you did any of that at all. I just think you might know who did. Even if you don't consciously know, I think you have an idea.

MATT: "Not really, lass."

LAURA: She's telling the truth.

LIAM: Do you give a shit about our problems?

MATT: "No."

TRAVIS: Rissa, do you know where this Ashton and Fitz stay?

MATT: She nods and takes another sip of her morning coffee, and goes, "Aye, they're about two blocks down from my father's... shack. A couple of kids that usually at this hour they're probably working at the anvil."

MARISHA: If I wanted to go hock some stolen goods, where would I go?

MATT: "I don't know. I haven't hocked stolen goods around here, I'm sorry."

SAM: One more question!

MATT: To which one? You have both Rissa--

SAM: Ireena. Where does the pianist live?

MATT: "What, of the band?"

SAM: Yeah, the guy playing the piano.

MATT: "Here! He has a room on the third floor."

LAURA: Well maybe if I cast Locate Object we'll find out.

SAM: What's his name? We never asked.

LAURA: He was really talented, though. I mean, like, super duper.

MATT: He was Weimar.

LAURA: Weimar.

TALIESIN: He had to flip a page for that one. It was exciting.

TRAVIS: Why don't we start by going around where Fitz and Ashton lived and then maybe we can pay a little visit to Rissa's pops?

TALIESIN: Yeah, she said they lived by her pops' place.

LAURA: Yeah, we'll go and I'll cast Locate Object and maybe we'll just pass by something.

TALIESIN: I wanted to meet Pops anyway. He sounds interesting.

MATT: She's like, "Oh, all right. Fair warning-- pardon me, rough morning."

TALIESIN: We feel that.

MATT: "So where are you wanting, are you looking for the boys? The Steelbringer's Forge first, or going to my pop's place?"

TALIESIN: We'll go to your father's place first. I think we'll maybe, if we're in the mood, pop into their place while they're not home, perhaps.

MARISHA: Who? What, the Fitz and that guy?

MATT: "Okay, follow me." She gets up and finishes her coffee, sets it back down, and you guys take whatever scraps remain of your breakfast and make your way back out into the street.

LAURA: Pocket bacon! Before we leave, I ask Ireena who's still in the Zone of Truth. Are you really interested in Fjord or are you just flirting with him because it makes you some money and stuff?

MATT: "Both? I'm a business woman, but I've got my needs."

LAURA: Oh. Okay. Thank you. I cast Locate Object on the coins.

SAM: Already? We're not there yet. Now? Okay.

LAURA: It lasts for ten minutes. What if it's in the tavern still?

SAM: Makes sense.

MATT: Okay, so you cast it. You're in the tavern. You're not getting anything.

SAM: Let's run!

TALIESIN: We're going to put you on a cart, and we're going to take the cart.

LAURA: I feel like we'll walk faster than the cart will go.

TALIESIN: Will we walk faster than the cart will go?

MATT: In the town, getting the cart around can be a bit of a pain. It's comparable, but you also have to deal with a cart.

LAURA: Let's walk quickly!

MATT: Rissa leads farther through the Shelf. At this point, once again, the town is fairly quiet, and most folks you do see in the street are in the process of carrying supplies. There are a few horse drawn carts that have stacks of metal ingots that are being taken from above or below, or vice versa. You can see partially made metal plates and curved structures of larger things that are being developed and created separately and then all being brought to a singular location, probably down near the artillery yard. It's a very interesting black and white, day and night separation of how the people live in this city. A short jaunt around, probably the spell does fade before you get there, but you're still not picking up any blip. About a few minutes after the spell fades, you get to the outside of a small shack. It's got metallic siding, there are rivets in it. You see it has a roof that is metal sheets. There is a smokestack on top that's giving out this lazy smoke drip that makes its way into the sky, and a sign out front that says "Tinkertop Inventions."

MARISHA and LAURA: Aw!

TRAVIS: When we get there after our run, I chuck up a little salsa into the back of my throat and swallow it down.

TALIESIN: Really? All right.

MATT: She goes (sigh). Rissa rolls her eyes, and knocks on the metallic door. "Yes? Come in." "Dad, it's me. I have some friends here, they just want to say hi. They got thieved." "Oh that's all right, come on in, certainly!" (sigh) She opens the door, and on the inside, you already hear the whirring of hundreds of tiny clockwork objects. On the inside, you can see, wall to wall, clocks of all sizes. Some broken, springs exposed. Some that are fixed, and clicking away. Some that have small sculptures that move in a circle around a central area. You can see partially made pulleys, small toys that are set up on the corner, some wooden, some metal, and all of them have some sort of built-in clockwork locomotion to them, though they are currently still. There are two sets of lanterns that are hanging in the back, giving the faint light which is, as you enter, giving this dark silhouette to a lot of these objects, but as you walk into the light and look behind you, you can see the detail work in them, and they're very beautiful and very well made. It's that point you hear a (crash) "Ah! Ugh!" You glance over and you can see, hopping up and down, running his hand like this, this older gnome character with patches of white-gray hair, this big bush of a white beard. It's well-trimmed up here and then comes to a point at the bottom. Very large spectacles with a number of small and even smaller lenses in the front of it. He's currently wearing a leather apron and sleeves that are rolled up, and one of his hands is currently now bleeding on the edge and he's like (distressed noises) "I'm terribly sorry about that! Come forward! She said you're the friends of my lass there. How are you doing? What's your names?"

TRAVIS: Morning. We're The Mighty Nein. We had the pleasure of meeting your daughter yesterday. She showed us a great time last night.

MATT: "Oh, did you, dear? That's so nice! You're making friends." Rissa's like, "Dad, please stop it. Look, they just wanted to come by, they had some questions, I think. Do what you're going to do, please, so we get going."

TALIESIN: How close are we to the other houses at this point? To the boys?

LAURA: Probably not within a thousand feet.

MATT: The boys, she mentioned earlier, are a few blocks down, or a few buildings down and up from where you are. "Well at the very least let me introduce myself! I'm Mastermaker Clef Tinkertop!"

LAURA: Clef or Cliff?

MATT: "Clef."

TALIESIN: I was excited to see what sort of stuff--

MATT: "Creator and experimenter of all things metallic and clicking!"

LAURA: Your shop is beautiful!

MATT: "Thank you so much, I appreciate that! So yeah, what can I do for you?"

LAURA: Do you have any little toys that Kiri would like?"

MATT: "What's--?"

SAM: Kiri's our little daughter, she's a bird."

LAURA: Kiri is right here.

MATT: You look over and Yasha's still behind. Kiri (chirping). He's like, "That's a mighty big bird!"

LAURA: She's a little girl.

MATT: She leans forward, looks up to him. (like Clef) "She's a mighty big bird!" He's like, "That's a nice trick on that one! I like that."

LAURA: She's very talented

MATT: "Do you like--" and he pulls this small contraption, it's actually a miniature version of what you saw those bolt throwers that were constructed out front, where it has this bowed arc and there's a small, blunted stick in it. He goes, "All you do is pull back on this trigger." Ping! It fires off, narrowly missing the side of Beau's head, hits something, and you hear glass shatter in the back and he goes, "Oh, maybe not that one." Puts it back. (cranking) and hands something over to Kiri, who accepts it. There's a moment where things are awkward and there's a tension, and you're about to go before it opens up and from the inside you see this tiny metallic bird, its wings flap up and down. A music box begins to play (metallic song) and Kiri looking at this begins mimicking exactly the sound of the music box (metallic song). It's almost one beat behind it, until it synchronizes, and she's mimicking at such an incredibly fast pace behind it that they're almost in unison, until eventually it slows down and comes to a stop. Kiri looks back to you (chirping).

LAURA: Do you like it? How much is that?

MATT: "Oh that one, it's a beautiful piece. I'll be happy to let it go for about three gold pieces."

LAURA: Three gold pieces. I think that's worth it, Kiri. Okay. Three gold pieces.

MATT: There's a whole smattering of cool contraptions, now you're looking at the back, too. Some that looks like they could be armaments, almost. Some that look like they're the insides of large machine pieces.

TALIESIN: What's the thing you're most proud of?

MATT: "Ah, proud of now? I have one thing I'm working on, if you want to see it."

TALIESIN: Oh, absolutely!

MATT: "Okay! I've been hoping they'd pay attention to this. Since the whole war's going on, I think it'd be quite useful. I've lost some good favor with folks in power, but I hope maybe this will turn my fortune around." He goes around, off to the shelf, and pulls this down, and a bow of some kind that's affixed to this large device. It looks like a crossbow, but it's got a heavy crank on one side, and it has all these extra grooves put in where it's easy to assemble a bolt in there. The actual shaft of it is made of this polished, treated wood, with metal casing where the grip is. It's like a half clockwork, gear-based crank hand crossbow.

TRAVIS: A repeating crossbow.

MARISHA: It's a repeating crossbow.

SAM: How does it work?

MATT: "Well, you lower the bolt into here, and you crank it back real fast," and it's like (squeaking) as he cranks it, "I probably have to oil this. Crank it. Then, you just release!" This one goes just parting Caleb's hair into the roof above.

LIAM: How many gold is that toy?

MATT: "Well this one, you see, I had a friend of mine go ahead and prepare it with some magical enchantment."

LAURA: (distorted) Whoa!

SAM: What the fuck was that?

LAURA: I don't know, it sounded like a cow, or like a manatee was at the table, I don't know.

MATT: "I call this one The Tinkertop Bolt Blaster 1000."

LAURA: Whoa!

TALIESIN: What happened to the other 999?

LAURA: How much is it?

MATT: "This one runs just over 2000 gold."

LAURA: Whoa, that is a lot of gold.

MATT: "Well, it's my prototype, so if I'm going to let it go..."

SAM: Am I allowed to rob him?

MARISHA and TALIESIN: No.

MATT: Rissa's like, "Dad, they don't want it, it's fine. No one wants all your bullshit, please."

TRAVIS: That's not true, it actually is quite impressive.

MATT: "You wouldn't say that if you'd known what some of his other things have done." He gets quiet for a second and recoils, quietly hurt. He goes, "It comes with the job sometimes. Not everything works out like you hope."

TRAVIS: You said you'd lost some favor with people in power. I don't mean to pry, but would you mind sharing what happened?

MATT: "Uh--" and Rissa's like, "Ah, it's-- you don't have to answer him. We can go find the boys." "It's all right." Make a persuasion check.

TRAVIS: Come on. Shamone! Oh, yeah, that's a 20.

MATT: 20? You see his trepidation there, and he goes, "You look like you've got an honest face, so: I was working on a job here for the wardens of the Gearhold Prison down below. I was helping them and came up with, at their request, what would be a clockwork warden. Something that can help keep watch over some of the more dangerous and difficult inmates of the prison below. And I did it. I was very proud of it. On its first foray, it had some faults I didn't see coming, and we couldn't control it. It began to just destroy whatever was in its way."

LIAM: Are you speaking of an automaton?

MATT: "More or less."

LAURA: Did it kill people?

MATT: "They tell me. They keep it down there still. They've sealed it off and it's been down there for the better part of two years and every now then, they like to remind me. I didn't mean anything bad by it. I was just doing my job and I thought I was very proud of my work. I didn't see the problems there. I was just trying to help."

MARISHA: How do they remind you?

MATT: "They come by and tell me."

TRAVIS: There are punishments levied against you?

MATT: "Thankfully, not many. I'm still paying off my fine. They were going to try and destroy the thing, but unfortunately they've had to allocate their attention to many places and now with the war coming, I don't know if they'll ever get to it. But as long as it's down there, it's a black spot on my name, and her name." Rissa goes, "Dad, just please stop it."

LAURA: We could destroy it.

SAM: Or get it back for you.

LAURA: And then you could give us the crossbow.

MATT: "I don't want to send any more people to their death, at the very least."

LAURA: We're really strong.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we're kind of death adverse.

MARISHA: Plus, we would love to pay for your crossbow, but we're currently light.

TRAVIS: Fucking broke.

LAURA: All of our money was stolen. All of their money was stolen. I was sober.

MATT: "Good for you."

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: "Learned lesson for the rest of you."

LAURA: It was a choice, you know. Everybody else was like, "Let's get drunk!" and I was like, "That is really bad and I should probably stay sober."

MATT: "I'm very proud of you. I mean, that sounds very kind of folks that wandered in here naught but a few moments ago."

SAM: What would you do if you had the thing back, or--

MATT: "Oh I don't want it back, I just want it gone. I want it destroyed, I want it taken care of and buried. I don't want to touch it."

MARISHA: Wait, who wandered in here before?

MATT: "You."

LAURA: Yeah, he was just talking about us. You're still drunk, aren't you?

TRAVIS: Are you afraid this clockwork warden could be used for malign purposes?

MATT: "I don't think it could be used for anything but just killing what's in front of it right now."

LIAM: So they have it penned-in, but it is out of their control?

MATT: "From what I know. You'll have to go ask the Warden Helm. I don't go down there places. I mean, I can't expect you to do something like that. It's very sweet of you to offer."

TRAVIS: It's tit for tat. In this case, we're short on coin, and you make mighty fine objects. Seems to have caught the eye of most of our group.

MATT: "I mean, in a theoretical space, which is where I live most of my days, if you were to put this blight to rest, I'd be happy to give this to you free of charge and my thanks."

TRAVIS: We will take it under consideration.

MARISHA: And, just while we're talking, you wouldn't happen to know of any criminal undergrounds, thieves' guilds, pickpocketers, people of the night?

MATT: "I don't--"

MARISHA: Roamers of shadows?

MATT: "I don't delve in those places. I'm sorry."

LAURA: Vampires, zombies?

MATT: "I don’t know what's going on!"

SAM: It's okay. Calm down.

TRAVIS: Clef, do you also have simple arms?

MATT: "I deal with more detailed arms. If you're looking for simple, you're probably going to go the Steelbringer's Forge." Rissa goes, "That's where the boys will probably be. That's where they work."

TRAVIS: Probably headed that way anyways. At the anvil.

SAM: Clef, you know, you seem to have a fine eye and talent for mechanical devices.

MATT: "Thank you very much."

SAM: Do you ever have any need of alchemical combinations with your mechanical devices?

MATT: "I'm always looking for fine oils. Clockwork tends to need to be lubricated."

SAM: I think I have a little oil, if you need it. As a sign of good faith. Didn't we get oil at some point?

LAURA: I don't think so.

MARISHA: I threw mine at a troll.

SAM: Wait. Oh, wait, no. I have holy water. That is not the same thing.

MATT: "That's all right. Don't worry about it. That's okay. If you come across some oil, I could use it."

SAM: All right.

MATT: "Rissa. I like your friends." She's like, "Thank you, Dad."

TRAVIS: You raised her good. She's been taking good care of us.

MATT: "Have you found work yet?" "No, Dad. I'm working on it."

TRAVIS: Awkward.

SAM: She's working for us.

MATT: "Right, I'm working for them."

TALIESIN: At the moment.

MATT: "Good, good. Proud of you."

MARISHA: Subcontractor work isn't too bad of a living.

MATT: "Oh, no. It's still a living. That's more than some folks in the Empire can say."

SAM: We need her Social Security Number for a 1099 by the way.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I believe she's incorporated. She's incorporated.

SAM: Well, okay. Then we're fine.

MATT: Any good gnome is incorporated. I mean, that's a cultural thing.

LIAM: Fucking Hupperdook bureaucracy.

MATT: 13th birthday they get their S Corp set up. It's great.

(laughter)

LAURA: Okay okay okay.

TRAVIS: Clef, we appreciate your time. We are going to venture out.

MATT: "Of course. I expect nothing. I really appreciate you being so kind. Good luck."

TRAVIS: Our compliments on your work. It is truly spectacular.

MATT: "Take care of my Rissania." She's like--

ALL: Rissania!

TRAVIS: There it is.

TALIESIN: That was what I was hoping for, and it happened.

MATT: You can see her shiver at the door and then just run out. "Goodbye! Take care!" (ping) Something shoots off. "Oh, damn it." As you all leave and exit out, she's out there fuming outside.

SAM: He's adorable.

MATT: "He's something. He's certainly something."

MARISHA: As we leave, I grab the bolt that he shot into the wall over Caleb's head.

MATT: Okay. You pocketed a bolt.

MARISHA, TALIESIN, and LIAM: Pocket a bolt.

TRAVIS: So Lasagna, should we try and find our way over to the--

LAURA: Steelbringer's Forge?

MATT: "Right. Come on, I'll lead you over to where the boys are. You going to rough them up again?"

LAURA: They're only a couple blocks away?

MATT: "Right. Just right around the corner. Come on, I'll show you."

LAURA: Should I try casting it again?

SAM: Yes.

TRAVIS: Wait a minute.

TALIESIN: Not yet.

MARISHA: As we walk over there, I say: Hey, Rissa.

MATT: "Aye."

MARISHA: You got a good dad. He really loves you.

MATT: "I know. He's just... he's difficult at times. It's hard to scrape under a family name when it's been through the ringer."

MARISHA: Sometimes family names aren't all that they're cracked up to be.

MATT: She gives you a look over. "I agree."

MARISHA: What's more important is that he really cares for you. Don't take that for granted, all right? And I slap her on the back and keep walking.

LAURA: Yeah, and the fact that you know him is really cool, too. Anyway.

SAM: Wow, so many daddy issues.

MARISHA: I was going to say, me and Jester hold hands and we skip off.

MATT: You guys are led down past a few buildings and then around the corner, and while most of the heavy metalworks is done down below on the ground floor of the base of the mountain, the more refined metalworks are done up here on the Shelf. As you approach, you can already see the Steelbringer's Forge, which has a number of shields and swords on display, armor bits, and you can see simple tools are crafted here. As you step, already looking into the main chamber door-- which is open, because it's so hot in there, they have to keep a breeze going through-- there are two forges going at any given point in time. There are two anvils set up. You see a few gnomes at work and indeed, both Fitz and Ashton are both working as assistants. They're not actually banging the hammer, but they're both helping move things and quenching into the water and then helping gather materials and holding the metal and rotating it on the anvil as their bosses are hammering down. They don't seem to notice your arrival.

LAURA: I use Thaumaturgy to make it sound like whispers of Infernal all around them.

MATT: (hammering)

ALL: (speaking Infernal)

MATT: "Hold back, boys!" There is one male gnome and one female dwarf that are both sitting there, grabbing their nearby warhammers, look around. They look over and see the shadows in the corner. "What beast brings their way into our workplace? Name yourself!"

LAURA: Oh hi!

MATT: They look at each other. The dwarf female goes (hammering) back to work. You see the two assistants look over and go-- and put their heads down and keep focused on their work. The gnome says, "Just take a break. Hi, can we help you?"

TALIESIN: We're here to talk to those two.

MATT: "What did you do?" He slaps with a cloth, and the assistant's like, "Ah! I didn't-- gah!" "What did the boys do? What'd they do?"

LAURA: They might have been party to a crime, we don't know. We're investigators.

MATT: You can see across the way Ashton's like, (gasps) and the dwarf goes, "Well then, best go talk to them." Gives them a little kick to the side, and they both take their hammers down. They take the metal off and put it back in the forge to heat, and they both rest and cross their arms and watch. The two boys look at each other and sheepishly step forward. "Hi, miss. What can we do? What are you asking about?" "Yeah, what can we do?"

MARISHA: We talk in here, or are we going to take them outside?

MATT: Rissa goes, "I don't know. Kind of like to do it in a place of business, that way we can keep it above the board, you know?"

TRAVIS: Indeed. I'm sure their employers are not fond of thieves in their midst.

MARISHA: I look back at the boys and I say: Sit the fuck down.

TRAVIS: Ooh, it's on!

MATT: They both grab nearby stools and sit down.

MARISHA: Here's the deal. This guy's super fucking charming. He's going to talk to you first. You don't want to talk to me.

SAM: She's not charming.

LAURA: At all.

TALIESIN: In the least.

MARISHA: Deal?

MATT: "Deal." "Deal."

MARISHA: My man Fjord is up!

LIAM: I wave my hands a little bit and say, "I suggest you help this one find the things that we are looking for," and I cast Suggest.

MATT: What's the DC on that?

LIAM: That is 16, wisdom.

SAM: On one of them or both?

LIAM: One of them.

MATT: Which one, Ashton or Fitz?

LIAM: Fitz.

TRAVIS: Yeah, Fitz did seem like a prick, didn't he?

TALIESIN: I like that it was not even a question.

MATT: Fitz looks at you and goes-- and looks right to Fjord, the spell seemingly taking effect.

MARISHA: I crack my knuckles, intimidate them a bit from behind.

TRAVIS: Fitz, I understand that you might have felt a little slighted by last night's encounter.

MATT: "Oh, no, you know, I'm just--"

TRAVIS: I didn't say you could talk. What I want to know is, when you came back into the bar last night, did you see fit to rummage your way through some good, hard-working people's coin purses?

MATT: His eyes go wide. "No, not at all, no. What? I wouldn't. I earn my money."

TRAVIS: How about your friend Ashton over there?

MATT: Ashton looks back. "No, sir, we were just looking-- we were just joshing, we were just playing with Rissa, that was all!"

MARISHA: I pull out my staff. Do a cool little flourish.

TRAVIS: See, now we're in a dangerous territory, because once that staff comes out, she's got to hit something with it, and it's not going to be me. Listen, Fitz. The best thing you can do here is wrack your brain *real* hard, and think: have you ever seen anyone around that establishment that might take advantage of some people enjoying some good imbibements?

MATT: (whimpering)

TRAVIS: Oh, Fitz. Tick tock, tick tock.

MATT: "I don't know! Maybe, um--"

MARISHA: I take a few steps forward.

TRAVIS: Oh no.

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

MARISHA: Oh, Jesus. It's not really my strong suit.

TRAVIS: I know, it's mine.

MATT: I'll let you both make one, because you're doing it together.

MARISHA: Oh, that's not too bad. 13?

TRAVIS: 16.

MATT: They both look at each other and like, (stuttering) "There are probably some people who could've taken things. I don't know. There are shady folk in there all the time! We don't have your money! I swear I didn't do anything!" (sobbing)

TRAVIS: We're making kids cry. This is amazing.

MATT: Ashton's like, "Come on! Get it together!" and kicks him and is like, "We're being completely honest. We saw nothing, we took nothing. We were just getting our rocks off freaking people out, and then we went back and got some drinks."

TRAVIS: You don't know anyone else that has made a habit of doing this regularly, then?

MATT: "Not personally, no. Most of them end up in the Gearhold."

SAM: Should I pour this vial of acid on them?

MATT: (screaming)

TRAVIS: You might get it ready, Nott. I feel like we're not getting anywhere here.

LAURA: You know where Ol' Blemmy is from?

MATT: They both look at each other. "Well, originally, he used to be an ice sailor up north, by Ice Haven, but he retired ten years ago."

SAM: No! Now! Where does he live now?

MATT: "I don't know!"

SAM: By the way, ice sailor sounds like the coolest job. What does that even mean?

MATT: Ice sailor would be a person that forges the frozen depths up north.

LAURA: Whoa!

MATT: The people you see on The Deadliest Catch? It's that kind of a job.

SAM: Mixed with Ice Road Truckers?

MATT: Sure.

TRAVIS: Fitz, I'm going to talk to my colleague here. If you move, Beau is going to take your head off. Don't. Move. (whispering) Okay, we got them right where we want them. Just fucking act like you don't like what I'm saying. Look agitated.

MARISHA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Look more agitated, right now. More grimace. Give me nostrils. Nasolabial fold. Really work it. There it goes. (louder) All right. I talked to her, Fitz. Listen, she will stay her staff if, in the next 24 hours, you work your ass off and you find out who took our money.

MATT: "Okay, okay."

MARISHA: God, my staff is just vibrating--

TRAVIS: Easy, Beau. Remember what you said!

MARISHA: I don't know about this, Fjord!

TRAVIS: This is not going to go well for you unless you can produce some results.

MATT: He looks to Ashton. Ashton's like, "Okay! (stuttering) No, we'll ask around! We'll do-- that's okay! When the bosses-- " "You can look when you're done with the forge. When the whistles blow? Have at it."

LIAM: Fitz, I suggested that you do everything in your power to help my friend Fjord, and for the next eight hours, that is what you will do.

MATT: Fitz is like, "I have to work! It's my livelihood!"

TRAVIS: Well, if you got to work, you got even less time. Better be motivated.

MARISHA: You know, in this case, I would weigh between your livelihood and your life. Can't have one without the other.

LAURA: Oh no. You guys, you guys.

SAM: What? What's wrong?

MATT: Their spirits are pretty crushed right now, and they're both like--

LAURA: They're going to get fired.

SAM: You feel bad?

LAURA: I do.

LIAM: How much do these young men make in a day here?

MATT: They both look at each other. "On a good day? We give them about a gold for a day's work."

LIAM: I want this one, particularly, working now. Why don't we stake their salary for the day? We take care of that, double it even. We need these two. We pay for the loss of their work today?

MATT: They nod. The gnome steps forward, takes the coin, if you present it.

SAM: We don't have any.

LAURA: Oh god, guys!

MATT: That's four gold, so that's three of them for the two gold. He goes, "Okay, you boys go get your work done here and we'll find some replacements, and you hope they aren't better than you are." The boys are like, "Yes! Yes, sir!" "Yes, sir!"

MARISHA: I crack my staff on the floor and I say: Get fucking moving, then!

MATT: They get up and grab their stuff and then dart out into the street.

TRAVIS: Excellent.

SAM: Should I shoot them down while they run?

TALIESIN: Not yet.

MATT: The two forge workers--

TALIESIN: Now.

MATT: There's a pause, like the two workers at the forge look at each other and look at you guys and go (laughs). "I'm not going to lie, those boys are going to be pissing their pants for a week after that. That was enjoyable."

TRAVIS: Yeah, might scare them straight.

MATT: "I hope so. They need it. They're a couple of pissants. Anyway, we've got to go find some replacements, but thank you for helping out with the transition, at least."

TRAVIS: It's our pleasure.

TALIESIN: We hate to bother you, also, but we did actually get robbed, and if you have any idea where we should start looking to actually--

SAM: Everyone. Everywhere.

MATT: They both look at each other and be like, "Maybe ask down at the Assembly Yard? There's a bunch of weird folks that wander down there."

TALIESIN: I like weird folks.

MATT: "Lifelong industrial hammer workers. Not a lot of craft and skill. Mind gets a bit addled."

TALIESIN: Bless you.

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: "Of course. Anyway, we've got to go get back to work."

TRAVIS: We take our leave.

MATT: You guys wander outside?

SAM: On the way out, can I just ask the gentleman: Do you make any of those things that we've seen around here?

TALIESIN: Scissors?

LIAM: Octopi?

SAM: (stammering) The pistols. Do you make those here?

MATT: "Oh, no. We don't specialize in firearms. Those are all regulated by the Empire. Those are designed down in the Assembly Yard."

SAM: Oh. Thank you. Good day.

MATT: Or that would be the Iron Lot is where that would be made.

SAM: The Iron Lot.

TRAVIS: Yeah, when we were in the shields and swords, they looked fairly standard, or were there some that were like "holy shit!"?

MATT: No, they seemed pretty standard. I mean, well-made. Looks like a lot of places like this are in the process of developing weaponry, not just for home use, but probably sending it out for the field.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Rissa, how far are we from this Assembly Yard?

MATT: She goes, "The Assembly Yard is down in the bottom half of the city, so it's say about an hour, hour and a half walk?"

TRAVIS: And just out of curiosity, the Silver Falls, the residential area, how far is that?

MATT: "Well, that's that way, about 25 minutes to get to the actual Falls themselves, and you see all the little towers over there, those are where all the homes are assembled in that place."

TRAVIS: Ol' Blemmy's over in the Silver Falls, that residential area. Do we want to go there, or--

SAM: Our list of suspects is as follows!

TRAVIS: (softly) Oh, shit.

SAM: The pianist! Blemmy! Rissa! The girl!

LAURA: The little girl that was asking for money.

SAM: Fitz and Ashton! We've eliminated as possible suspects: Fitz and Ashton, really, they're really lame. The pianist!

LAURA: Why?

SAM: Because you did Locate Object within his--

LAURA: You're right, that's true, we did do that.

SAM: Rissa! Because she was in Zone of Truth.

TRAVIS: Yep.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: That leaves our suspects Blemmy! And the girl.

TRAVIS: But we have no leads on the girl, correct? No one saw her, knows her name--

MARISHA: Blemmy might know the girl.

LAURA: I saw her. But I did not ask her name.

SAM: But! She has *your* copper pieces!

LAURA: I gave her *silver*!

TRAVIS: You did.

SAM: You did! Could you find those *specific* silver pieces? Or the money she stole from us.

TRAVIS: Do you bite your silver pieces before you put them in your coin purse?

MARISHA: Did you lick it?

LAURA: I don't. But I do draw dicks on a lot of my money. But I don't think I did it to those.

TRAVIS: Like, little tiny dicks?

LAURA: Well, I have really good paint, you know.

SAM: So we go find Blemmy!

TRAVIS: Silver Falls.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Silver Falls. That's the residential area. Where the finger towers apartments are.

TALIESIN: We can keep has anyone had anything purchased--

LAURA: That was a lot of money!

TALIESIN: With dicks on it.

LAURA: That, too. No, wait, because they didn't steal my money.

TRAVIS: If there was a way to ask about--

LAURA: I have a whole pouch full of money, you guys, right here.

TRAVIS: If you could ask about large purchases, that would be a good idea.

LAURA: Big pouch.

TRAVIS: Silver Falls?

SAM: Silver Falls!

SAM, MATT, and LAURA: (singing to tune of Silver Bells) Silver Falls...

MATT: With Rissa guiding you guys back, you manage to make your way outside of the main Idle Shelf area and in towards the cluster of the Silver Falls. As you approach, you can see the beautiful, very wide waterfall that cascades down about a thousand feet, across the mountainside, until eventually it falls into this large lake, where you can see columns of steam are rising up. The closer you get, you begin to realize there is an element of this lake, this waterfall, and some sort of a steam engine-type mechanism built into the surrounding rock that they use to fuel probably the furnaces and elements of the technology within this city. As you begin to hit the residential area, you can see these large, somewhat crooked-looking towers that themselves are maybe what would be the equivalent of 1500- to 1000-square-foot apartments, but stacked four or five on top of each other, with spiraling stairs on the outside to go to each level. There aren't a lot of folks currently at home, other than stay-at-home dads or moms that are watching children, some folks that are putting out laundry on lines that are connecting between multiple towers and are dangling up two or three stories above the street. But they're all made of dark irons and blacker metals, so it gives the district this very weirdly-- what's the word I'm looking for? A whimsical, Industrial Revolution feel. It's a unique mixture.

LAURA: Dr. Seuss meets--

MATT: Kind of. Or a hint of Howl's Moving Castle in places. There's also that spray of the waterfall hitting the lake behind, which gives occasionally this light misting of water through the air. You can see faint bits of rainbow that come through where the mist hits the sunlight as it makes its way across the waterfall spray.

LAURA: You said the waterfall goes up a thousand feet.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: And the apartments don't go as high as that.

MATT: No, not at all.

LAURA: So if I got in the middle of the area and cast Locate Object, it would do a really big radius. It would reach at least the top of the buildings.

MATT: Oh yeah, very much so.

SAM: Let's go.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Okay. As you make your way through, you're not entirely sure where Ol' Blemmy is, but you make your way towards where the middle, Rissa says, of the district is--

TRAVIS: Keeping an eye out for old, craggly sailor-types.

MATT: Sure. Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Me? Okay.

LAURA: Should I cast Locate Object while we're walking around?

LIAM: In a center spot?

SAM: Will you be able to cast it again?

TRAVIS: Eight.

LAURA: Yeah. I mean, if I use up all my spells today as like, this kind of thing.

SAM: Why did you--

MATT: It's a 2nd-level spell. Do you want to cast it again or not?

LAURA: I can.

SAM: Just while we stroll through the town?

MARISHA: Through the residential district.

SAM: Sure. I guess. What are you searching for?

LAURA: The drinking coins, right?

LIAM: Yeah, the tokens.

MATT: The tokens?

MARISHA: That's the best way to go.

LAURA: Cast spell.

MATT: Okay, you cast Locate Object. You concentrate and focus, extending your consciousness, focusing on one of these wooden tokens, the one that was won by one of the members of your party. (pop) You get a blip behind you. Not quite in the district, but right where the Idleworks Shelf transitions into the residential area on the Idleworks Shelf. You get (boop).

LAURA: (gasp) Ah! I turn around and start running towards it.

SAM: Follow her! She's a bloodhound!

TRAVIS: Throwing up while we do it.

MATT: You guys dart after Jester, making your way down the road, running, (panting). You're closing the distance. You weave through a couple buildings. You're out of the residential part of the district again and you're back into the Idle Shelf, but on the very back end of it. There's warehouses and there's small buildings, and eventually, you come to the destination and it looks like it's a small building. There's a sign out front that just says, "Butcher." And it's boarded up.

TRAVIS: Yep. That motherfucker had leather apron with shitty-ass sleeves.

MARISHA: He totally fucking did.

SAM: Was it Blemmy?

MARISHA: No, it was the guy with the nasty fucking beard.

SAM: They *all* had nasty beards. Duncan, Valkin, Ruth, and Tanya.

LAURA: It was Duncan!

MARISHA: Duncan! That was his name! Right, the guy that you drank across?

LIAM: We should probably keep our voices down in the street--

TRAVIS: Let's turn it down.

MARISHA: Wait, was Duncan the nerdy guy?

SAM: The first guy was Duncan. Valkin was the next guy.

LAURA: Valkin was the guy that fought Caleb. Okay, let's go. Should we just go in?

TRAVIS: No. Who's going to guard the back?

SAM: Oh, we're going to circle around?

TRAVIS: Fuck, yeah! If she's getting a beacon.

MATT: You see Kiri pulls out her knife and goes, (like Jester) "I can send a message."

TRAVIS: Oh no. No, Kiri, this is where we're stealthy, all right? Knife goes away. Shh. Nice.

MATT: (like Fjord) "Shh. Nice"

LIAM: Do we want to send Nott or a cat in?

MARISHA: Is there a roof to this thing?

MATT: There is a roof, yeah.

TRAVIS: Two story? One story?

MATT: It's one story. It's not a huge building. It's maybe three rooms?

MARISHA: I parkour on the roof.

MATT: Make an acrobatics check.

SAM: No, wait. Can we surround it first? Jesus.

MATT: She's already up.

TRAVIS: She hops up there, I run around the back.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: We surround the building.

LAURA: I'm going to stay in the front.

MARISHA: Ooh! 25.

MATT: All right. You guys surround it. (landing footfalls)

MARISHA: Are there any chimneys? Soft spots in the floor? Skylights?

MATT: There isn't a skylight, per se, but you do see there is a little smokestack that's about three feet wide or so. Two and a half feet wide.

MARISHA: I'm going to peek in. Can I see down?

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: (fake coughs) Okay. 14.

MATT: 14. Glancing inside, it's dark, except for you can see the little beams of sunlight that are coming through the slats of wood on the roof.

MARISHA: Goggles.

MATT: Glancing inside, looking through, you can see four figures in there that are currently not moving and they're all clustered together in the far corner.

MARISHA: What do they look like?

MATT: They look gnome in size.

MARISHA: Okay. They're just huddled together, you said?

MATT: They're huddled together, and they're not moving.

SAM: I will take out my wire and--

MATT: You look and they're starting to look around, like they might have heard a noise.

SAM: I whisper to Beau using Message, "What do you see? You can reply to this message."

MARISHA: (whispers) Four individuals. Huddled around. They're either the assholes or hostages, it's hard to say.

LAURA: (whispers) Should we all go in at the same time? Oh you can't hear me; we're not Messaging together.

SAM: No.

LAURA: (whispers) I'm just talking to myself.

MARISHA: Hey, I'm going to--

SAM: We don't know what you're doing.

TRAVIS: Is there a door or a window on the back at all, or is it just like--?

MATT: No, there's a door in the front, and a door at the back. The door in the front is like a sectional door, a top and a bottom, looks like it can be opened separately to sell out or wants to bring and sell meat over that side. The back is just a general door; it looks almost like a storage space or just a back entry to it.

TRAVIS: Outstanding.

LIAM: No open windows?

SAM: Should we draw them out?

MATT: There are windows, but they're boarded over.

SAM: We're just going to bust in? What if they have traps and bombs?

MARISHA: I'm going to very gingerly lean over the edge of the roof where Fjord is. I'm going to say: (whispers) On the boom!

TRAVIS: (whispers) Okay.

MARISHA: I'm going to go back over to the chimney very gingerly, pull out one of the firecrackers, one of the bottle rockets, light it with the tinderbox, and drop it in.

TRAVIS: Awesome!

MARISHA: Is the chimney wide enough for me to fit in? Santa Claus-style?

MATT: You can try, yeah. You can certainly try.

LIAM: There was a back door, too?

TRAVIS: Front door, back door.

LAURA: He's at the back door.

MARISHA: You guys are at the front.

MATT: (loud popping) It goes off. On the inside is a flash of light. You hear screams.

LAURA: We're going in!

MATT: You guys all burst inside. As you break through the doors, wood splinters on the inside, light breaks in, and in the corner you can see what looks to be four gnomish children.

MARISHA: Fuck!

MATT: Two of them teenage, two of them younger, all scared out of their minds. The teenagers are trying to protect the two younger ones. You can see a pile of gold around them on the ground. They're just like (panting).

LAURA: You took the money! It *was* the little girl!

TRAVIS: Easy. Easy. Easy. We're not going to hurt you.

SAM: I will kill them all!

TRAVIS: No, Nott! It's fine. You're not in any danger.

MATT: There is a gnome girl, the equivalent of like 17 or so with very brown, curled hair, it's this uncontrolled mass, dirty on the cheek. A younger boy with short red hair is the other protector of the two. Their clothes are pretty dirty. Then there's the younger girl that you saw wandering through the tavern, who's on the ground clutching a stuffed bear.

LAURA: Didn't I say it right away? I said it right away!

MATT: You see a boy that's a little older than her, about nine you would say, equivalent, with very long, brown hair that's around the shoulders, and they all just look scared.

TRAVIS: Nott Detective Agency always gets their man! It's all right.

LAURA: Hey. I know you, I saw you. Right? I gave you some money?

MARISHA: (coughs)

MATT: She's not talking.

LAURA: You. Stole. From. Our. Friends. Not. Cool.

SAM: You went down a chimney.

LIAM: It's not in character.

MARISHA: (coughing) Sorry, wrong pipe. Keep going.

LAURA: I totally thought you were just doing the "went down the chimney."

MARISHA: (coughing) As I cough my way down the chimney, "I'm coming!"

MATT: You look up as she comes out the bottom in a big old plume of soot. Just covered.

MARISHA: I'm a little late and I look at the girl and I say: It was *you*!


TRAVIS: No, Beau, we're already winning.

MARISHA: Sorry.

MATT: The older girl, "Look, we don't mean nothing, we're just trying to get by, okay? We didn't realize how much you had on you, and to be honest, it was both exciting and scary. Just don't hurt anyone, please."

LAURA: We're not going to hurt you. Just give it all back.

MATT: "Take it."

LIAM: No parents at all?

MATT: The girl looks sad for a moment, saying, "Not for a little while."

LIAM: How much have you hoarded up here? Just us, or more?

MATT: "We've scrambled coins here and there over time, keep on by. Most everyone here only keeps a few coins in their pockets. Hence our surprise when this came about." The younger boy goes like, "Yeah, we don't expect this kind of a payload."

TRAVIS: How old are you?

MATT: The older girl goes, "I'm Gail. I'm 17."

LAURA: Gail!

MATT: The older boy goes, "I'm Austin." The little boy with longer curly hair goes, "I'm Jude." The older girl points to the little girl and goes, "That's Layla."

TRAVIS: You said you haven't had your parents around for a while now? What happened to them?

MATT: They all look at each other, and the older boy sits forward and goes, "Well, they got arrested."

TRAVIS: Doing what?

MATT: "Got arrested for idol worship. False worship."

TRAVIS: Here? In Hupperdook?

SAM: What god were they worshiping?

LAURA: Was it the Traveler?

MATT: "No. Changebringer."

TRAVIS: The Changebringer?

MATT: "Avandra. It's been in the family for a long time. Every six months, the tithe collectors come through, and they noticed they'd forgotten to put away their idol worship. They locked them up. They've been in the Gearhold ever since."

TRAVIS: Tithe collectors?

MATT: You know about those. Those of you who've been in the Empire, part of living in the Empire is about every six months or so, there's a tax man, a tithe collector that goes through, usually with a couple crownsguard. You recognize them by black cloak with gold trim, usually dark clothing. They go building to building, business to business, inspect ledgers, ask about their business, look at the means in which they're living, and then make an estimation of what they owe. They then collect the money and move on their way. But you know this from your studies, this is also used as a means of inspecting for any illegal activity and anything that goes against the Crown. Often a lot of people get arrested for that.

TRAVIS: You all brothers and sisters?

MATT: "We are."

TRAVIS: And your parents' names?

MATT: "Gilda and Wallace Schuster. We're Schusters."

TALIESIN: How long have you been pickpocketing, then?

MATT: "Only about three months."

TALIESIN: Mostly success at this point?

MATT: "So far, so good. Most people don't seem to pay much attention to the younger kids."

TALIESIN: Well, this is good. This is a very valuable lesson. If you ever come across a purse like this again, you just take a tiny bit of it, and you leave the rest.

MATT: "We just grab it and run, we didn't know how much was here until we got back."

TALIESIN: Well then, you just bring it back immediately. Obviously you take five percent.

MATT: "Right, no, I understand." Gail says, "We understand, sir! We've learned our lesson!"

MARISHA: Look, because you were so good at your job, keep this. I hand him 20 gold. Look, I appreciate good work when I see it, all right? You got our shit. That was pretty damn good.

MATT: "Thank you."

TRAVIS: Gail, you been taking care of your younger siblings this whole time?

MATT: "I've been trying, best we can. Our parents worked as butchers, so we had some food to keep us going for a while, but when stuff got thin and begging wasn't working out, we, you know, did what was necessary. And I'll do what it takes to make sure my siblings stay healthy."

TRAVIS: You been holed up here, or you on the move?

MATT: "We've held up here. This is where we grew up."

TRAVIS: How long before the tithe man comes back?

MATT: "Any time now, really. It's been six months. But we ain't much of a business at this time."

MARISHA: Is there anywhere they take kids? Kids separated from their parents? Or do they just not care?

MATT: "I hear stories, they round them up and throw them to Rexxentrum in orphanages, and we don't want to go there."

MARISHA: So you're just avoiding them.

TRAVIS: Gilda and Wallace. Let me ask you, if we were to somehow get your parents out of the Gearhold prison, would you stay here?

MATT: (nervous chuckle) "How would you intend on getting my parents out of the prison?"

TRAVIS: I'm the one asking questions here.

MATT: "I mean, legally? We'd probably stay here and reopen the shop."

TRAVIS: You don't seem to be taking my meaning. If we were to reunite you with your folks, would you get out of town right quick?

MATT: "If it were by means where people would come looking for us, we would definitely be heading somewhere other than here."

TRAVIS: Give us a moment, will you?

MATT: "All right."

TALIESIN: How soft are you getting?

SAM: It's very clear. We have Kiri already. We take these four children with us, and we keep going.

MARISHA: And we start a children's band.

TRAVIS: The Partridge Family.

MARISHA: Yes, exactly!

LAURA: We can teach them the dances that we have been learning, and working on!

TALIESIN: If I've learned anything, you don't work with animals or children, and we're rapidly getting both!

MATT: Hey man, attach them all by chains to your armor, and you guys are the new Dread Emperor!

LIAM: Throwback!

TRAVIS: Keyleth! No, but seriously. Listen, they've obviously already done a fair job of taking care of themselves. We could toss them some coin and wish them well.

TALIESIN: I see no problem with that.

TRAVIS: Or, if we're serious about returning Clef with his (tongue click), might as well see if we can get a little extra friend or two out.

TALIESIN: Let's make no promises, but again--

TRAVIS: No promises, but man, if we have an opportunity to reunite these kids with their parents, that's a pretty special deed, don't you think?

TALIESIN: You are so soft!

LAURA: Can I ask a shitty question?

TALIESIN: Oh, please!

LAURA: If we take the time right now to break their parents out and get that automaton, are we going to lose time on the thing for The Gentleman?

LIAM: Yes, we are.

TRAVIS: Man, I entirely forgot.

SAM: But we still have weeks left, don't we?

MARISHA: But it's still another three or four days.

SAM: You have a means of contacting The Gentleman. You could ask for a three day extension.

TALIESIN: I tend to find these sorts of jobs, asking for a three day extension does not go well. You're given the time, you do the job, you finish it, you don't ask questions, you don't ask for special--

LIAM: Haven't you been working for the circus for two years?

TALIESIN: That's what I'm talking about. When you're in a circus, sometimes you get paid to do gigs. Things have happened. I've run a couple of things in my time.

LAURA: Insight check.

MATT: Insight check?

TRAVIS: I think it's, "Do I believe him?" right?

MATT: Yes. Do I believe him?

MARISHA: But insight check has become such a thing!

TALIESIN: I'm into it.

MATT: Frustratingly so, yes!

TRAVIS and MARISHA: But the DM hates it!

MATT: I find it amusing.

LAURA: Sorry. Do I think he's lying?

TALIESIN: We're a circus! Of course we've robbed people! My god, we have robbed, swindled, we've been robbed, we've gone back and found the people who've robbed them, sometimes we don't! Oh my god, yes.

LIAM: Does that mean your cards are bullshit?

MARISHA: Of course they're bullshit, they're fucking cards.

LAURA: No they're not, they're super true!

LIAM: I am asking Mollymauk.

TALIESIN: You're asking if my cards are bullshit? My cards are not bullshit.

LIAM: I want to say "insight check" so bad, but I won't say it!

TALIESIN: I know you do! But you won't say it.

SAM: Caleb, you have a photographic memory, as you remind us every session. How long do we have until our time is up with The Gentleman?

LIAM: DM will fill that information in.

MATT: Let's see, we had about three days traveling there. Since you left, you have about two and a half weeks, I'll say, estimated at the moment.

SAM: How long do we think it would take to get up north there, if we went straight? A week?

MARISHA: From Hupperdook?

MATT: I would say, off the top of my head, a little under a week.

SAM: So we've got a couple weeks! We've got a day or two to spend on some prison breaking.

TALIESIN: We've got a day or two to spend on this, but not a week.

MARISHA: Hang on. This thing has been a problem for years, the clockwork warden? Why don't we just go, finish our stuff, we have to cross back through here, anyway.

LAURA: And come back?

MARISHA: And come back and finish the job.

LIAM: We already have a job.

SAM: Beauregard, don't you think they should be reunited with their father who loves them very much, and wants to be with them?

MARISHA: Of course I do. They've been scrappy for long enough. They can be scrappy for another week or two.

LAURA: They don't even have to be that scrappy now.

TRAVIS: They said the tithe man could return any day.

SAM: And take them to an orphanage.

TRAVIS: What if we come back and they're gone?

SAM: It would be horrible if they were taken away from their home and given to some people who would do horrible things to them, or mistreat them for their whole childhoods, leaving them as cold, heartless, resting bitches.

TALIESIN: Didn't you almost open fire on these children not more than 30 seconds ago?

SAM: That was an intimidation tactic. I would never hurt a child!

TALIESIN: Of course you would!

SAM: No, I wouldn't! I love children.

TRAVIS: You'd eat a child.

SAM: That was an accident!

TRAVIS: I knew I saw you drooling!

TALIESIN: This is why I don't miss the circus.

LAURA: Okay. What are we doing?

LIAM: It depends on how altruistic this group is. We already have a job. I mean, I will defer to the group, but we have a job and we are on a time table.

TRAVIS: I would really like the opportunity to leave this place better than we found it, especially for these kids.

TALIESIN: I'm not saying no, I'm just saying remember that we are hired hands.

TRAVIS: I understand. If it goes sideways, it goes sideways, and we run. But if we can keep them out of an orphanage, I would be most grateful to all of you.

TALIESIN: I've done dumber shit.

LAURA: All right.

MARISHA: I mean, Nott's over here trying to pull my heart strings, but it seems like you should be the target. You have a thing with kids and orphanages?

SAM: Were you an orphan?

MARISHA: Separated from dad?

TALIESIN: Have you ever eaten an orphan?

LIAM: *Ja*, so much for sticking to the plan.

SAM: Were you an orphan?

TRAVIS: Yes. I was. They're terrible fucking places.

SAM: Sorry.

TALIESIN: Say no more. I'm in.

MARISHA: You know, I'm interested if there's a master lever to this prison. Just prison break, see what happens.

TALIESIN: That... sounds like a terrible idea. Who knows who’s in there?

LAURA: Maybe we can negotiate our way into the prison and say we'll take care of the automaton, and while we're in there, we can sneak around and set the parents free.

MARISHA: All right, if we do this, I think we need to give ourselves a hard time limit that we all stick to, because the last thing that I want is for the fucking Gentlemen with his vials of our DNA coming after our asses.

TRAVIS: Agreed.

LAURA: As long as we give him some notice, I think it will be okay.

MARISHA: I have a feeling The Gentleman isn't a guy that negotiates on time periods.

TRAVIS: The effort is all I ask for. We're a clever group. Surely we can survey, come up with a plan, try something. If we fail, we fail, and we'll move on with our objective. I can't leave here without trying.

LIAM: I would like it to be predicated on us coming up with at least a respectable plan, not willy-nilly, fly in with our balls out.

TALIESIN: I'm also in it for a crossbow.

MARISHA: I guess it doesn't hurt to ask The Gentleman, if worst comes to worst.

TALIESIN: Just remember, you either get the nickname "The Gentleman" because you are one, or because you're really not.

LAURA: Ooh, good point.

TRAVIS: How about we bring the kids back in, we give them a little coin so they stay out of trouble, for the next--

MARISHA: They have 30 gold on them.

LAURA: They got a lot of gold on them.

LIAM: That's a lot of money.

TRAVIS: We tell them to stay put, unless they're getting food.

TALIESIN: I'm gonna give them-- nope, never mind. I'm not going to give them that, because that would be a terrible idea.

MARISHA: Caleb, how long does your string theory work?

LIAM: String theory?

SAM: Eight hours, right?

LIAM: Eight hours, yeah.

MARISHA: What time is it?

MATT: At this point, it's probably pushing one or two in the afternoon.

LIAM: Do we have any food we can leave for them, so they don't have to--?

SAM: I have some human jerky left over.

LAURA: I did pocket some of the breakfast from this morning.

MATT: You did, yeah. Do you give that to them?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: The kids hungrily accept, and devour, evenly dividing amongst them. They feed the younger kids first and then whatever is left over, the older ones take. They say, "Thank you, I really appreciate that."

TALIESIN: I've got a good idea. I'm going to give the older one one of my rings. I've got these strange little rings that I left over. Keep that on you, sell it if you have to, but see if you can hold off for a while. If things go wrong, get within 1,000 feet of the Blushing Tavern, hide and wait, and we'll find you.

MATT: "All right."

TALIESIN: Hide.

MATT: "We'll keep that in mind, thank you. Thank you kindly." Is it a ring finger, a finger ring?

TALIESIN: It's a finger ring.

LAURA and MARISHA: It's a fingering?

TALIESIN: It was one of the rings that we found in the cave.

MATT: He puts it over his thumb. For his body and size, it goes over his thumb. It's still a little loose, but it'll stay. "Thank you. I don't know how we'll repay you, but--"

LAURA: Question: what are we going to do with Kiri right now, if we're going down into the jail?

LIAM: I think she has a sleepover--

TRAVIS: With the girl we found, right?

MARISHA: And Yasha?

LAURA: Or with these fabulous kids right now? No, Yasha needs to come with us. We need her help.

MARISHA: Oh, yeah that’s true.

MATT: Yeah, Yasha’s like, “No, if we’re going into a prison to kill something, I want to be there."

MARISHA: That’s true. Sorry. Forgot what time it was!

SAM: Well, we know how much the prostitutes cost to watch Kiri.

TALIESIN: She said it.

TRAVIS: Or we could drop Kiri off with the little girl that--

LAURA: Or Kiri can stay with these wonderful children.

LIAM: They are very capable children.

MATT: Kiri goes, (like Nott) “That sounds adorable!”

LAURA: (gasps) Do you want to stay with them?!

MATT: (like Jester) “Okay!”

LAURA: Oh my gosh.

SAM: The children do owe us a little bit.

LAURA: Children, oh, Schusters.

SAM: Oh Schusters!

LAURA: Do you guys want to watch our little friend here as well?

MATT: (chirping) The little girl walks up and touches the feathers, and you see the feathers of Kiri’s head (rustling) and her eyes close for a second as she’s scratching the side of her head.

LAURA: She’s like you, though, so she’s not like a pet or anything. She’s a real little girl, okay?

MARISHA: Hey Kiri, show them your music box.

MATT: (cranking) (music box chiming) It starts playing, and the little girl leans in and they all close in quickly. For a moment, you can see this little unit of kids meeting a new friend, and a friend meeting new kids. You’re like, okay, they might be okay for a little bit.

TRAVIS: You take care of each other. You’re a little temporary family for now.

MARISHA: He’s going to make some protection.

LIAM: *Kinder*, this is a thread I am going to put around the chamber that you are living in, and I will know if our little feathered friend or you all leave. You’re perfectly welcome to. I’m just letting you know that I will know, *ja*? Okay.

MATT: They all nod to you. Kiri looks to Fjord and (dagger unsheathing)

LAURA: (whispers) Don’t stab any of the other kids, okay?

MATT: (whispers) (like Jester) “Okay.”

TRAVIS: Remember, stay quiet.

MATT: (like Fjord) “Stay quiet.”

TALIESIN: Oh! So weird!

MATT: Leaving the kids there, you all quietly exit the building, reaffirming the doors you had kicked in.

SAM: Oh yeah! Going to lean those up against the door jamb.

LAURA: Oh! I cast Mending on the doors!

MATT: There you go! You manage to get the doors back into a sizable place and begin to discuss how you’re going to tackle this next endeavor. And that's where we'll finish this week's episode. We’ll pick up next week.

MARISHA: Such a good game!

MATT: Well done, guys!

MARISHA: That was funsies.

MATT: We’ll see if--

LAURA: Hey, we got the money back!

MARISHA: We got the money back!

MATT: See if you can earn your Tinkertop Bolt Master 1000.

MARISHA: Oh my god!

TRAVIS: Could have just gone back and bought it, but no, we want to go the expert level!

MARISHA: Yo, you can buy it or you can collect all 48 pinecones and then you just unlock it. It’s like that.

MATT: Hey man! Good game, guys! Awesome!

LAURA: We should definitely rest before the next part because I just used up all my 2nd-level spells.

SAM: We’ll do recon for the afternoon and then we’ll attack tomorrow morning.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: Yeah, plan.

SAM: Unless this guy comes in the next week!

LAURA: Hey!

SAM: If that happens!

MATT: Oh my goodness.

MARISHA: (bass guitar melody)

MATT: My God! And on that note! Have a wonderful week, guys. We’ll see you next Thursday for the next stage of this crazy adventure. Remember: we love you and is it Thursday yet? Good night.

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