List of Transcripts

Pre-Show

MATT: Hello everyone, and welcome to tonight’s episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons.

(laughter)

MATT: Liam gets ever creative every week right before the camera goes live. Thank you, Liam.

LIAM: First good one of the campaign, come on.

MATT: Welcome! Before we jump into the game, we have some announcements, so we’ll get through those as quickly as possible. First and foremost, once again, returning, and for an extended time for the foreseeable future, we are happy to have a sponsored partner, D&D Beyond.

(cheering)

MATT: Awesome, fantastic application for those to make their D&D characters and store them online and adjust. Sam, do you want to go ahead and take it away?

SAM: Yes! D&D Beyond is our awesome sponsor. It’s a great online mobile access thing that you can manage all sorts of stuff. I’m losing my voice tonight, because--

MARISHA: Oh no!

SAM: Yeah, I know. So that I can preserve my voice for the rest of the night, Laura, can you read the copy and I’ll lip sync it.

LAURA: The joy of sitting next to you.

SAM: Thank you.

Laura: Oh god. As you know, D&D Beyond is the official digital tool set for Critical Role. It’s got a ton of features, but one of the coolest is that it keeps track of stuff like hit points, inspiration, and all sorts of modifiers to your dice rolls, which is amazing, especially if you’re the kind of person that’s more focused on which dice you’re rolling with.

SAM: Keep going.

(laughter)

LAURA: You know, the kind of superstitious gamer that thinks that the color and style of dice actually makes any difference at all. The sort of weirdo who believes some dice are lucky and some are cursed. Or one of those crackpot shut-ins who uses dice jails-- ha ha ha. Those people are lame. Anyway, check them out at w-w-w-dot--

SAM: Oh, keep going.

LAURA: dndbeyond.com That’s D-N-D not D-and-D. DnD. Get $10 off any book in the marketplace with code ‘beginnings.’ Also, Sam Riegel is a cock bag.

SAM: What?! No! That’s not what it says!

(laughter)

MATT: Thank you, Sam. Well done.

TALIESIN: Classic, classic.

MATT: Thank you, Laura, for the assist. Thank you, D&D Beyond for being an awesome partners on this new campaign. As a reminder, Talks Machina, with our recently paroled friend Brian W. Foster, your host every Thursday-- I’m sorry, Tuesday-- Tuesday nights at 7:00pm on Twitch and Project Alpha to talk about this episode that’s happening tonight, next week. Check it out if you’re around and want to see different cast members’ thoughts on what has transpired. The new campaign episode two is now available for download on podcast, so you can go ahead and find that where all great podcasts are available on the internet. Issue #4 of the Critical Role comic, Vox Machina: Origins is out! It’s been out for a couple of days now. It’s starting to ramp up towards the story climax in the next two issues. Pretty excited about it and the next two issues are crazy.

LIAM: Well-oiled machine, that party.

MATT: Those of us that know what happens in the next two issues, it’s like (quiet squeal) getting impatient.

SAM: I don’t know what happens.

LIAM: Oh my god. I saw some early black and white pages today.

(laughter)

MATT: Olivia did such a good job. Olivia is our artist for it. She’s from the Critter community. She’s amazing and did an incredible job with the comic, so show her some love. Olivia Samson is amazing, and Matt Colville, of course, our writer. Everyone who works on the comic does a great job, so check it out if you haven’t had the chance. It’s available on digital download on the Dark Horse app, on ComiXology, and a lot of other awesome places on the internet you can probably find.

MATT: Are you-- oh jeez. Why do we put you two next to each other?

LAURA: Look, I gave him a dice and he gave me a dice.

MATT: Aw, that’s actually really cute. I apologize for being so snappy.

(laughter)

MATT: I apologize if I’m a little puffy still. I had my wisdom teeth taken out.

(cheering)

SAM: When?

LAURA: How are you functional?

MATT: On Saturday.

TRAVIS: No anesthetic.

(laughter)

LIAM: Show us your mouth holes!

MATT: No, you do not want that.

LAURA: I expected your cheeks to be all poofy.

MATT: They have been throughout the whole week and steadily, I have been like, “Please, please, don’t be so bad on Thursday.” It’s okay. Not too bad today.

LAURA: You look chiseled.

MARISHA: He looks fine. It’s all in his head.

TRAVIS: Did you dunk your head in a tub of ice and stuff?

MATT: A lot of ice. A lot of ice. But that’s enough about me and my gum holes.

(laughter)

LIAM: I would like to hide behind 50 characters now.

MATT: Exactly. That’s my usual defense mechanism for social engagement. Also, once again, our fantastic charity, 826LA. If you haven’t had a chance, check it out. They do amazing programs for creative writing for underprivileged kids. If you have the opportunity to donate, or donate your time to become one of their fantastic volunteers, that would be fantastic. Check it out, we love them, and have been supporting them for a long time. They’re amazing. Thank you, 826LA. Or an 826 near your home. I think those are all of the major announcements.

LAURA: Whoa, that was fast!

MATT: I know, we went through them fast.

LAURA: I didn't even sort my dice yet!

MATT: No new cons or events. So with that, let's dive into tonight's episode of Critical Role.

[upbeat music]

Part I

MATT: Welcome back. Last we left off, this intrepid band of slowly converging individual stories into some semblance of an adventuring party have found themselves caught up in an investigation. There was a carnival you attended, which Mollymauk was a part of, that had a terrible scenario occur. An older man who was at the carnival had been transformed in the middle of a performance into some horrible undead creature that attacked and assaulted other people within the tent. You defeated it and since have all been under investigation and been told you can't leave the town. To try and absolve yourselves of any sort of doubt, you've begun to investigate what the cause is for this strange transformation. You've gone around the town asking questions, meeting individuals, eventually finding yourselves back at the tent in the middle of the night, past midnight, in the early hours of the morning, sneaking into tents and asking members of the carnival what they may know about what has transpired. Upon speaking with a number of members of the carnival, two of the guards that were on site suddenly fell dead where they were standing, writhing in pain as they passed. You watched as a large shadow, which you had confirmed being fiendish in nature, leapt northward towards the Ustaloch and out of sight as both Fjord and Caleb rushed out of the main tent to see the center of the camp where these two bodies begin to rise up, two more of the freshly transformed undead creatures now angered and looking about for something to feast upon. And that was where we left off.

TRAVIS: Totally good.

SAM: No problem with our setup.

LAURA: That was the third spell, by the way. Detect Good and Evil.

MATT: Okay, there you go. So how many spells do you have left?

LAURA: No spells. I've got cantrips though, so don't worry, guys.

TALIESIN: No burger left. Just onion rings.

LAURA: Just the fried piece. Not even an onion left in there.

MATT: I would like you all to roll initiative, please.

TRAVIS: Oh, right off the bat?

MATT: Yeah!

SAM: We're fighting already?

MARISHA: Oh, natural 20!

SAM: I rolled her dice, it was a one, I'm never rolling it again.

LAURA: Oh! Yours rolled a one, too.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: We rolled low. Level two!

MATT: All righty. 20 to 15.

MARISHA: 24.

MATT: Beau at the top. 15 to 10?

LIAM: Elf. 11.

SAM: Is that German?

LIAM: Ja.

MATT: Ten to five.

SAM: Five.

TALIESIN: Eight. That's a number.

MATT: That it is. You?

TRAVIS: Nope. Three.

LIAM: Three!

LAURA: You have three initiative? What's your initiative?

LIAM: What's your modifier?

TRAVIS: Zero.

MATT: So. Five.

LIAM: Holy. Shit.

MATT: The good news is they didn't roll very high, either, but still better than a lot of you. And then three and three?

LAURA: No, I'm four.

MATT: Okay, there we go.

TRAVIS: You're one, right?

SAM: I have five. One plus four.

LIAM: And you're one plus nothing?

LAURA: One plus three.

MATT: You watch as these two zombified guards, their brass-colored scale armor clanking as their forms rise up, looking around, peer past the shadowed darkness around the campfire lighting the interior. The horses grow nervous as you watch both Caleb and Fjord emerge from the tent right in their sights. They both begin to lumber in your direction.

TRAVIS: Son of a bitch.

SAM: You guys are out in the open?

LAURA: Yeah, they're just sitting there.

LIAM: We just walked out of the tent door and are looking at that.

TRAVIS: Thank god there's that cart right there.

LIAM: We're safe.

MATT: They come right up to you.

LAURA: They are fast moving zombies!

MATT: Well, that's all it can do. It dashed. It lurches towards them. They move a little bit quicker than you'd expect, but not necessarily that quick. They both spend their full turns trying to close the gap. The horses immediately freak out and start running this direction in a gallop.

LIAM: Oh, damn it.

TRAVIS: There goes that idea.

TALIESIN: It was such a good idea.

SAM: The horses have their own initiative.

MATT: That's going to go ahead and end their go. Beau, you're up.

MARISHA: I turn to Jester and Molly. Fucking, we probably shouldn't kill crownsguard, even if it's a zombie. Should we go after the toad?

LAURA: We should probably kill the zombies because anybody that gets bitten by a zombie turns into another zombie!

MARISHA: I don't want to be a guard killer. All right, fine.

TALIESIN: I don't want to be a fucking zombie.

TRAVIS: We just can't be here.

MARISHA: Can I peek out and see the guard-zombies?

TALIESIN: They did run by.

MATT: You watch them as you peek under the tent and they both just ran to the right.

MARISHA: Can I crawl out from under the tent and clear the gap with them and get up to them?

TALIESIN: Oh, fancy.

SAM: Cool map.

MATT: That's as close as you can get right there. You can go into a dash if you wanted to engage directly.

MARISHA: Oh, man, I don't know what to do.

TRAVIS: It's all right. Work it out.

MATT: Actually, this is my fault. I rolled for the zombies to see who they saw first, but technically their turn hadn't come up yet. That's my fault, because their initiative is lower in the order, so we're going to retcon a little bit of that. That's still there.

TRAVIS: (singing) Rewind!

MATT: Because your initiative was super high. That's totally my bad. It's early enough in the combat where it's not going to make a huge difference. But you do watch as they turn and they look past the direction like they're ready to dart towards the actual large carnival tent.

LAURA: Now I just want to do Hamilton with all our character voices.

MARISHA: After Jester trying to help me, can I close the gap to this guy?

MATT: You can at this point, yeah. It's two squares to get there.

TRAVIS: Look at that mini!

LAURA: Oh, you're out there all by yourself! Beau!

MARISHA: It's cool, man.

TRAVIS: Cut them down with those guns.

MARISHA: Is that fire still going?

MATT: It's not a huge blaze, but there's some flames in it. It's starting to burn out a little bit.

TRAVIS: Both barrels. Six shooter. Give it to them.

MARISHA: Okay. With my initial attack as I run up, can I take my staff and try and take them out at the knees? Just a sweep?

MATT: Sure. I'd say go ahead and make an athletics check.

TRAVIS: Knock them prone?

MARISHA: Yeah, that's what I'm going for.

MATT: Make an athletics check.

MARISHA: That's not great. Nine.

MATT: Rolled a natural 20 on his end.

MARISHA: Shit!

MATT: As you swing with the staff, it slams into the side of the guard's leg and you hear the slight crack of wood as the armored exterior of the zombified form seems to stand resolute against the strength of your blow. Its head, which was turned off angrily towards the shadowed direction of Caleb and Fjord, turns back, the red burning coals for eyes now glaring in your direction. What are you doing?

MARISHA: I look at him and I say, you fucking broke my stick! I'm going to do an elbow to the face and then another punch with the staff still in my hand and do Flurry of Blows.

MATT: Well, you did your one attack to sweep him. It's an unarmed attack for your next two.

MARISHA: Right, I know. I'm doing an elbow and a punch, I'm just holding my staff.

MATT: Right. Misunderstood. Okay, go for it. Roll for the attack.

MARISHA: Two attacks, right?

MATT: You got it.

MARISHA: Oh god, this makes me so nervous. That's good! 19 for the first one.

MATT: 19 hits.

MARISHA: Oh, and a natural one for the second.

MATT: You guys with the ones at the start of this fight!

LAURA: I don't know what's happening!

MATT: Roll damage for the first one.

TRAVIS: You can't be too cocky.

MATT: I know, apparently.

MARISHA: Eight?

LAURA: What's new at the table?

TALIESIN: Everything.

MATT: Eight points of damage. As you elbow across, wham! You watch as the jaw hangs and dislodges a bit, and as its head turns towards you, you reach with your other first and it catches it in the middle of the air and it tries to bite at your arm, but the jaw hangs open, not able to actually find any purchase in your arm. I believe that ends your turn. Caleb, you're up.

LIAM: I am going to move over a bit towards that carriage and I pull the diamond out of my component pouch and a small prismatic ball forms over it. I take my other hand and spin it really fast and little ice shards start shooting out of the side. I take it with the free hand and I'm going to throw it like a fucking baseball pitcher at the one closest to Beauregard.

MATT: Right there? Okay. So go ahead and roll your attack on that.

LIAM: D&D Beyond, where did you go? Oh, that's good! 23.

MATT: 23 definitely hits.

LIAM: Okay. So that is cold damage. 3d8. Come on! Nine total.

MATT: Nine points of cold damage to it. You watch as it's trying to bite with no effect towards Beau's arm as she's pulling away. The sphere slams into the side of its shoulder, it would be this side, and it pulls back. You watch as the arm breaks a bit and the ice shards coalesce around the outside of the armor and linger with this frost and mist that sprays off the impact. It looks fairly damaged.

LIAM: Question, am I supposed to roll initiative for Frumpkin as well?

MATT: Technically by the rules, yes. But it might be easier to have you guys go at the same time.

LIAM: Okay, if that's what you want to do.

MATT: Sure, for now.

LIAM: I'm sending Frumpkin to zip under that tent. He has 40 feet of movement.

MATT: This one here?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Easy enough. Frumpkin is underneath there.

TRAVIS: What's inside?

MARISHA: What's in the tent?

TRAVIS: (sneezing) Fucking cat.

MATT: That your turn?

LIAM: That's it, ja.

MATT: Molly, you're up.

TALIESIN: I'm going to burst out of the tent. Can I make it to the one that Beau is fighting?

MATT: (counting) You can indeed.

TALIESIN: I'm going to make it to the one that Beau is fighting and I'm going to take two straight attacks with my scimitar.

MATT: Go for it. You see half of its body encased in ice now, and it's still lashing out in Beau's direction as you rush up.

TALIESIN: That's a 15 and a natural 20.

MATT: Okay then!

TALIESIN: Without even figuring out, yeah.

LAURA: Fifteen plus whatever.

MATT: Those both hit.

TALIESIN: Natural 20 is just double the die, right?

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Come on, iron snitch.

LAURA: Make up for our shortcomings, Taliesin!

MATT: Which one's which?

TALIESIN: First one is (counting) 15?

TRAVIS: Yeah, dude.

TALIESIN: No, double, I have to roll two dice, right?

MATT: The first attack is that die, so that's not the critical.

TALIESIN: Okay, that's fine. That's nine points of damage. Then two dice or double the dice?

MATT: We'll just double the die, it's fine. It's fun to do it that way. Less dice to have to roll.

TALIESIN: That's 13 points of damage.

MATT: Ha, nope. So you watch as it's slashing at Beau. The ice explodes in its side and Mollymauk comes walking out of the tent, both of the scimitars spinning in his hand like this dervish entity. As he slams both blades simultaneously into the sides of this creature, he cuts a v shape into the upper torso and it slips out of it. The central portion of its body slips onto the ground with a splat and the arms fall to the side and the body collapses onto the ground.

TALIESIN: I turn and smile at Beau.

MARISHA: Thanks.

LAURA: You cut like a little v cake with head.

TALIESIN: It's a pizza pie with a pizza slice. I turn 180 and get ready for the other one.

MARISHA: Doesn't make me trust you any more. Less, actually.

MATT: Which is now its turn. Having you rush out of the tent, its attention once in the distance, it traces you over as you attack its ally. It lunges over towards you and makes two strikes in your direction.

TALIESIN: I make eye contact with it and, fuck it, just for fun I'm going to burn my blood maledict. There's going to be a blood vessel that pops on my neck and I'm going to make him cry.

MATT: The bulging red eyes suddenly go black and thick droplets of blood-like ichor begins to spill out the corners of the zombie's eyes.

TALIESIN: I take three damage.

MATT: Oh are you--

TALIESIN: I’m amplifying

MATT: You take three damage. This attack and the next attack he has disadvantage on.

MARISHA: Ooh shit, that's awesome!

MATT: 16 and an eight for the first attack so that bring it down to a 12 to hit.

TALIESIN: No.

MATT: As it rushes towards you, you can see the opening as it swings too wide and you duck right out of the way. Second attack with disadvantage as well. That's a 19 and a 16, so the 16 plus four that's 20, so it still hits.

TALIESIN: It still hits. That's fine.

MATT: The first one you duck out of the way. However, the secondary slam hits you for five points of bludgeoning damage across your shoulder. You get pushed back into Beau and Beau catches your fall.

TRAVIS: Not the jacket!

TALIESIN: Ow.

MATT:That ends its go. Nott you are up.

SAM: It's still alive?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: Nott is going to hard charge out of the tent. Not at the beast, but across the courtyard. Yes. As fast as she can go, saying: Shit shit shit! Can she make it to that box?

MATT: She can't, unfortunately.

SAM: She can't?

MATT: No, it's (counting). You can get to right there.

SAM: As she's running, she's going to fire her crossbow at the dude. 11 plus six, 17.

MATT: That hits.

ALL: Ooh!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Your dice just ollied off of the side of your dice tray! If this was Tony Hawk, you would be accumulating points still, it's riding it up.

LIAM: I’ve seen this Twilight episode. He knows what is behind your screen the rest of the game!

MARISHA: Give him the multiplier!

MATT: There you go.

SAM: Okay, so that is seven points of damage and sneak attack damage?

MATT: Correct, as it is adjacent to Molly.

SAM: Another two points.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Oh! And why not? I'll use Fury of the Small! Add another two points.

MATT: That's a full ten points of damage to him.

SAM: Yes and then bonus action can I just hide behind that thing?

MATT: You can't hide behind it because you’d have to get behind it, but you can use your bonus action to dash and get behind it. You're not going to be hiding, but you'll move in this direction.

LAURA: Oh, that's what rouges can do, they can use their bonus action to dash?

SAM: Apparently?

MATT: Yep. You get behind. "Oh god!" That finishes your turn, Nott. That brings us to Jester! You're up!

LAURA: Oh okay! I'm going to sit down on the ground and open the tent.

MATT: And look out?

LAURA: And look out.

MATT: You see this sudden interaction of everyone, or at least Beau and Molly leaping towards the standing zombie.

LAURA: Then I say: Oh shit, I should not have used all those spells earlier. All I have is Sacred Flame, and I'm going to do that. I'm going to shoot Sacred Flame and at the same time I'm going to go: Frumpkin, come here, let me pet you!

MATT: All right so Sacred Flame is a saving throw for the--

LAURA: Yeah, it's a 13 dexterity.

MATT: It actually rolled exactly a 13 with no modifiers, so it does succeed.

LAURA: That doesn't do any damage then?

MATT: Well, what does it say on the spell, is it half damage or no damage?

LAURA: It just says that's it.

MATT: Okay then yeah, sorry.

LAURA: Balls! (Coughs) Shit. Frumpkin! Lumpy, come here.

MATT: Let me double check that.

LAURA: Sorry, guys.

MATT: That finishes Jester's turn. Fjord, you’re up.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah, can I fucking run up past the cart? Charge into the fray with my 30 speed.

MATT: That's about as close as you can get right there.

TRAVIS: Can I pull out my falchion? I’ll flip it over so it's pommel up and I will use Eldritch Blast towards the remaining zombie.

MATT: As you hold your arm out in force, the edge of the pommel glows with this dark, black, purple, crackling energy, and this single bolt of Eldritch energy fires out in the direction. Roll for the attack.

TRAVIS: That is a 14.

MATT: That hits, roll damage.

SAM: Travis is using magic.

TRAVIS: I'm telling you, it's all happening you guys! That is nine points of damage.

MATT: Nine points of damage, nice. It hits and the armor dents inward, to the point where if it was still a living human, it probably would've caused some serious internal bleeding or bludgeoning, but the creature seems relatively unphased by the impact, other than being pushed onto one foot then back on its, two-foot weight. That ends your turn.

TRAVIS: I look around and say we need to drop this fucker and get the hell out of Dodge.

MATT: Beau, you're up.

MARISHA: Okay, back to the top. I'm going to do with my two-handed, I'm going to use my quarterstaff two-handed and come down and try and crack it over his head.

MATT: All right, you have to move over to him, though.

MARISHA: Okay, can I step over the dead guy. Sorry, excuse me.

MATT: You vault off of the corpse of the other zombie guard and then leap down with your staff towards him, go for it.

MARISHA: Goddamn it, fuck, balls and shit. 13.

MATT: 13 still hits.

MARISHA: Yeah! Fuck yeah!

TRAVIS: If you weren't drinking a sea anemone.

MARISHA: You're so weirded out about it. 11 points of damage.

MATT: 11 points of damage. Wham! You slam into it and watch as it (impact). It's starting to look pretty beat up, but it's still standing.

TRAVIS: Damn, that armor's helping it, huh?

MATT: You have a bonus action if you still want it.

MARISHA: I can hit again with my bonus, right? I’m still trying to figure this out.

MATT: Every turn, as long as you're attacking with your action, you can bonus attack with you unarmed strike. Then use a ki point to double attack if you want.

MARISHA: Right. Learning these combat abilities, it's weird. Okay. I'm going to be like: Ugh, die! I'm going to do a big roundhouse kick to his head.

MATT: Go for it, roll for the attack.

TRAVIS: That's awesome.

MARISHA: That's good, that's a 16!

MATT: 16 hits! Go ahead and roll damage.

MARISHA: That's an unarmed strike? Okay, eight points!

MATT: Eight points?!

MARISHA: It's a two, plus-- No, wait! I'm sorry, six points. I was looking at the wrong thing.

MATT: That's okay. Six points of damage. Whack! You slam it in the side of the head with a roundhouse kick and watch as the neck snaps and the head is stick there like (snarling). It's trying to snarl, but you can hear the windpipe is closed off at the angle that it got snapped and it's making this horrible choking sound.

MARISHA: I go, “Ugh, Molly!”

MATT: Caleb, your turn.

LIAM: Okay I'm also tapped as well. I'm going to back up against the tent that we came out of and with a sinking pit in my stomach, my hand starts to blacken and flake and fire springs from the palm and it shoots, and I cast Fire Bolt.

MATT: Roll for the attack.

LAURA: Is that a cantrip?

LIAM: That is a cantrip, yeah. That's good though, that's 17.

MATT: That hits, go ahead and roll damage.

LIAM: That's 1d10, that's this guy here that I never used in the last campaign. Oh, that's four.

MATT: Four points of damage. All right. The bolt slams into the side of its head where it was hit by Beau, and actually snaps it back into place. You watch its eyes lull for a second and it comes back with renewed undead strength.

LAURA: *Renewed* undead strength?

TRAVIS and TALIESIN: Undead strength.

MATT: Renewed in the sense that for a second you watched the light flicker out but it seems to push through by the force of the enchantment that holds it aloft.

MARISHA: Beau goes: Who undid my work?

LIAM: I probably have a little bit of movement left.

MATT: You've got ten feet.

LIAM: I would like to sidle into the tent that I exited before and disappear. Frumpkin will dart across behind Molly to the little tent.

LAURA: No, don't leave me!

MATT: (Counting) What's the movement on Frumpkin?

LIAM: 40.

MATT: All right. That's your turn?

LIAM: Yeah, that's it.

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

TALIESIN: I'm going to take two more shots, I'm going to see if I can decapitate--

MATT: Two more shots?

TALIESIN: Oh man! I've got to get out of that habit.

LAURA: Two more swings?

TALIESIN: Two more swings, see if I can decapitate it.

LAURA: Two more flourishes.

TALIESIN: That's an eight.

MATT: Eight? Misses.

TALIESIN: But a 16 does not.

MATT: 16 does hit. Go ahead and roll damage.

TALIESIN: That's nine points of damage.

MATT: As the blade sinks into its shoulder and you see it carves in and jams halfway through the torso, the armor stopping it part way before it lodges in, and it leans forward. (growling) It's still standing, and your blade's stuck in the abdomen.

LAURA: Renewed, undead strength.

MATT: All right, that ends your turn, Molly. It's going to take its first slam, swipe at you. Since you're immediately in front of it. That's a natural 20. I'm rolling some good 20s tonight.

TRAVIS: What dice did you use?

MATT: What other dice?

TRAVIS: (screaming) No, look what you did!

MATT: Of course it's the snitch.

TRAVIS: It came back to bite you in the anus.

TALIESIN: This is not looking good.

MATT: 11 points of bludgeoning damage.

TALIESIN: Oh my god.

MATT: (Whoosh) It clocks you across the side of the temple. You're vision goes blurring for a second. You spit across the ground. You're used to the sight of your own blood, but now it's across the grass and dirt at your foot. You start to feel yourself get a bit woozy. It's going to go ahead and spin around and strike you with its open claw with the other arm.

TALIESIN: I swear I thought I could kill it.

MATT: That's going to be a 16 to hit?

TALIESIN: That hits.

SAM: Man down.

TRAVIS: Come on, baby.

MATT: That is nine points of bludgeoning damage.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah, I'm out.

TRAVIS: (laughing) Yeah, first one!

MARISHA: Oh shit!

TRAVIS: Write the history books.

MATT: You guys watch as the first hit clocks Molly hard. The second one is this clawing uppercut. He goes backwards dropping one scimitar; the other one being left, stuck in the body of the undead guard. As it now glances back towards to beau to its right. That's the end of Molly's turn, and the zombie's turn. Nott, you're up.

TRAVIS: You didn't fall into the fire, right?

MATT: No, he fell straight back.

TRAVIS: Are you sure?

MATT: If he rolled a one, we'd talk.

TALIESIN: I think I'm immune to fire, anyways or some such thing.

MATT: Fire resistance?

TALIESIN: Yeah, fire resistance.

TRAVIS: Because of your magical, technicolor dreamcoat?

MATT: Nott, what do you got? You just watched Molly go down.

TALIESIN: Out, but not dead.

SAM: Seeing one of us die scares the shit out of me.

MATT: Unconscious.

SAM: No, dead forever.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I've just started working on a new character tonight. Thank god.

SAM: I start charging out at the beast.

MATT: All right.

SAM: I get about halfway. I fire my crossbow (wailing scream).

TRAVIS: So brave.

SAM: That's a natural 20.

(cheering)

LAURA: With sneak attack you double your dice.

MATT: How do you want to do this?

(cheering)

MATT: It doesn't even matter the damage you deal. If the damage from a critical hit, it doesn't get its undead fortitude.

(cheering)

SAM: I'm low to the ground so probably in the back of the calf or something. Before it falls, I'm going to turn and run into the tent. I don't even know if I hit. (screaming)

LIAM: That's my girl.

MATT: Molly, as you watch it turn around towards you, suddenly it lurches as a crossbow bolt shatters its kneecap from behind. Its other leg, which had been partially damaged from the process of getting up and combat that's happened isn't enough to keep it aloft. It tumbles back into the fire and immediately begins to burn as it begins to scream and squeal. See the flames begin to burn and engulf its body before eventually it comes to rest, no longer held by this undead magic that keeps it standing. Quiet falls over the encampment. Molly. Well, next up, as this is now important, Jester it's your turn.

LAURA: I come running out of the tent. Say: Molly! Oh shit, oh no! Okay. I kneel down next to him and I'll do Spare the Dying cantrip.

SAM: It's a cantrip?

LAURA: Yes. It took someone going unconscious, guys.

SAM: It's designed for this moment.

MATT: That being the case, you become stable.

TALIESIN: (gasps)

MATT: You're not conscious yet, but you're stable. You don't have to make--

LAURA: Can I try and do some medicine on him. Does that heal him at all?

MATT: Do you have a healer's kit?

LAURA: I don't think so.

TRAVIS: She has desserts.

LAURA: I have doughnuts, some paint supplies.

MATT: Beau as you're standing here, Molly is no longer bleeding out. He’s breathing and coughing in the unconsciousness from the pain. You watch as Jester is fiddling through her bag, pulling things out.

MARISHA: You have a six pack of donuts, but you don't have a healer's kit in there? And you're the cleric? I'm confused.

LAURA: I'm *the* cleric? What is this? I've never traveled with a bunch of people that I thought would die in front of me, okay? I never needed a healer's kit before.

MARISHA: Well, congratulations, you're the cleric now.

LAURA: (gasps) You have a healer's kit? Oh my gosh. I've always wanted one of these for so long.

MARISHA: I'll give it to her. Here, it's a gift. Congratulations-on-you-being-in-a-new group gift.

LAURA: How do I use this?

SAM: Oh no, she's not proficient.

LAURA: I open it and rummage through a bunch of shit here.

TRAVIS: No vanilla extract or sprinkles?

MATT: I'll say for the instance of this, since it's not necessarily immediate danger of him dying off. Go ahead and make a medicine check.

SAM: Use my dice that I gave you.

LAURA: Should I?

SAM: Yes.

LAURA: What if I roll a one on it?

SAM: That's what I'm hoping for.

SAM: That's a strong four.

LAURA: A nine?

MATT: Okay, I'll say-- (sighs). He's still unconscious. Given a little bit of time, he'll come back to consciousness. Ten minutes or so. You can probably, eventually through the use of strong vapors or something you can bring him back from the brink. At this point the rest of the carnival currently within the vicinity begin to emerge from the tents seeing that the danger has passed.

SAM: Is there any young girl in the tent with me?

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: Natural 20.

MATT: You glance around the interior of the chamber which has a unique smell to the inside. You smelled it before, but it catches you very strongly now that there's quiet and you're not focused on anything else. A very faint smell of brimstone lingers within the tent, mingling with the wet grass. You look around and see no girl.

LIAM: What does happen is Frumpkin scrabbles up your back and comes to your shoulder, and I'm watching everything from my hidey hole.

MARISHA: I immediately drop down and start searching the guard.

LAURA: Yeah, is any of their armor still usable? Because we can pretend we're guards for some reason.

MATT: The one that he cleaved, the armor is not functional at all. The other one, the last one to die, the armor is still functional. It is dented and beat up, but it's still functional. There's the slightly tarnished brass armor. Then there's the red maroon color. It's like a scale mail chestplate and armplates for it. It could be used but it's still a big piece of armor. You'd have to lug it around or wear it.

TRAVIS: We still look like Crownsguard.

LAURA: Oh.

MATT: You both do, currently.

TRAVIS: Caleb and I.

LIAM: We probably have a half hour at this point?

MATT: About, yeah.

LAURA: We should get out of here soon though because guards could be coming.

TRAVIS: Did anybody see what happened or where that hellish toad went?

LAURA: It jumped off that way.

TRAVIS: You saw it?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: The Knot twins emerge like, "Where are the guards, the rest of them? Are more coming or is this all of them?"

LAURA: There's probably more coming, I would think.

TRAVIS: We can't be here.

MATT: "Do you think we should run?"

MARISHA: We should hide the evidence.

TRAVIS: What? Where?

MARISHA: I don't know.

LAURA: I don't know who should run where.

TALIESIN: (groans)

LAURA: I have his head in my lap and I'm slapping his cheek consistently.

MARISHA: Was there nothing useful on the guard?

MATT: As you continue to search through, aside from the armor that seems functional, each of them have a basic longsword.

TALIESIN: One of them have my sword embedded in their chest.

MATT: Yes. Which can be pulled out. Between the two of them you can gather about six gold pieces and four silver pieces.

LAURA: Ooh!

TRAVIS: I don't want to get these folk in any more trouble. How far is it from here to the lake?

MATT: Glancing off to the side you can see the lake is maybe 400 to 500 feet north.

TRAVIS: I say we could drag them and throw them into the lake to avoid suspicion on the carnival. We’ve got to get out of here.

MARISHA: How well did the fire burn the other body? Did it do pretty well or--

MATT: It's pretty burned. The maroon robes on the one armor is damaged and can possibly be salvaged. The armor on the one that is burned can be used. The robes or the maroon cloth is burned away entirely. The armor looks like its been burned. It has blackened, charcoal edges to it.

LIAM: Nott, you feel Frumpkin's claws slowly and deliberately squeeze into your shoulder.

SAM: That means I have to go.

TRAVIS: Where's Caleb?

MARISHA: I thought he was with you.

TRAVIS: He was. I look around for Caleb.

MATT: Okay. If you're right there, you're not far from the tent. You head back and see he's not on the outside of the tent.

SAM: The smell of sulfur, I mean brimstone, do I figure that it's probably the residual from the big toad guy or is there a substance in the room that causing it?

MATT: Make a religion check.

SAM: A religion check? One.

(laughter)

MATT: You believe the little girl may have tooted before where she went to where she is.

TRAVIS: That's a devastating toot.

SAM: I'm going to try and get out of the tent through the side. Like underneath the side and towards the horse. Yeah, back there. Looking for Caleb.

MATT: You glance over and you don't see Caleb. You do see Fjord is in the process of looking in the area. You walk up and Caleb is nowhere near the tent on the outside. You don't know where he is.

TRAVIS: Nott, have you seen Caleb?

SAM: No, not yet. Is he okay? Did he live? Did everyone live?

TRAVIS: You got his little cat right there on your shoulder.

SAM: Oh yes I do, hi. Yeah, so he can't be far.

TRAVIS: We need to get out of here. We need to follow after that toad.

SAM: Okay. There's horses around here, let's steal them.

TRAVIS: That's actually not a terrible idea.

LAURA: Ooh good, we can put Molly on the back of the wagon. That way we can get him out of here. And the guards' bodies, too! That way we can drop them off away from the carnival and people won't think it's related.

MARISHA: Oh my god, you are so speaking my language.

LAURA: I'm a very wise person.

TRAVIS: That's a great idea. Let's do that.

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Who wants to help me with the one totally charred body?

LAURA: I'll do it. I go pick him up and carry him.

MATT: An impressive display of physical strength. The little, adorable tiefling, without an issue lifts the body out of the charred bits of burnt wood and charcoal.

TRAVIS: Shit. Never would have known.

MARISHA: I grab the other body and start dragging it or at least its torso.

TRAVIS: I'll help you.

MATT: Ornna gives a hand and helps you. The Knot sisters look like they want to be absolved of this whole scenario and look like they're about to flee at any moment.

SAM: Might I point out real quick, up to this point we are fugitives who haven't committed a crime. But starting now we will be fugitive who have committed crimes. Are we sure we want to do this?

TRAVIS: I mean it's either that or leave the carnival and take the fall for what is two dead crownsguard.

SAM: All right, let's go. But I have to find Caleb first.

LIAM: Caleb gets over it and he comes out and starts helping push the bodies onto the-- doesn't say anything, but starts pushing bodies onto the back of the cart.

TRAVIS: Where'd you go?

LIAM: This is not my thing. I am not brave like Nott. Let's get out of here, please.

TRAVIS: You shot shit out of your hands. I don't think you were not brave. That was really impressive.

MARISHA: Wait, you were shooting shit out of your hands?

TRAVIS: It was fire. It's a figure of fucking speech.

MARISHA: Oh.

LIAM: I haven't learned that one yet. Some day.

LAURA: Somebody needs to grab Molly. He's still over there.

TRAVIS: Yeah, okay. We go back over there and we fucking grab Molly. I grab him by his horn.

MATT: As you're dragging Molly, Molly, your eyes lull open and you're at one hit point. Come to consciousness.

TALIESIN: I'm at one hit point?

MATT: You're being dragged.

MARISHA: I start hooking up the horses.

MATT: Okay. You're hooking them all up to?

MARISHA: Yeah, one is going to hook up to the wagon and I'll-- which wagon do we want to take?

LAURA: The one with the two horses attached, yo. Can you see it?

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: We'll take that one.

MARISHA: Okay.

LAURA: Unhook the other horse so we can steal that one, too.

MATT: As you guys are doing this, the two Knot sisters talking to each other, look around, and they go running to the southeast.

LAURA: They're outies.

SAM: Should I shoot them?

TALIESIN: They're okay.

TRAVIS: Is that single horse a mustang?

LAURA: Oh my god.

TALIESIN: Really?

TRAVIS: What? Can I ask a simple question?

MARISHA: We better get $100,000 from Ford for that one. We better fucking get that.

MATT: Sure.

TRAVIS: It's not a mare? I'm just checking.

MATT: No, no it is.

TRAVIS: I'm just very curious as to the sex of it, that's all.

MATT: Roll a perception check.

TRAVIS: 12. No, 14.

MATT: That is a mustang.

LIAM: Is its name Roy?

SAM: The white one?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Are you going to name it Sally?

TRAVIS: You'll find out.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I had that coming.

LIAM: During all the busywork, I'm not saying anything, but I keep giving worried and stressed glances at my little friend.

LAURA: Don't worry, Caleb, I'm okay.

MATT: You guys have the bodies loaded up, both the charred and the slashed one, onto the cart.

TALIESIN: I'm going to pull my sword back out and start trying to get the horses going.

LAURA: He's alive! You're awake!

TALIESIN: That really hurt.

LAURA: How do you feel?

TALIESIN: I feel terrible.

LAURA: I saved your life. You should be really grateful.

TALIESIN: I can do that.

MARISHA: Molly, I appreciate you trying to rally the horses right now, but I really think you should rest.

TALIESIN: No, I'm fine. I'm going to actually fall back into the cart.

MARISHA: I take the reins.

MATT: All right. Easy enough to find any sort of material if you wanted to cover the contents of the cart. You guys are ready to go. Ornna is standing there alone. "I think I should stay here."

LAURA: Are you sure?

MATT: "What, and be a fugitive? I can explain what happened. Hopefully."

LAURA: What are you going to say to them?

MATT: "Exactly what happened. The same thing that turned these guards ran off and you're hoping to stop it."

LAURA: Don't say that we were here. Don't mention we were here. That's pretty important, I think. Yeah?

TRAVIS: You couldn't see us in the low light, but they chased after whatever caused this.

MATT: "Okay. I can do that. I can't leave Gustav and Bosun in prison to take the fall for this."

LAURA: We'll get them out of it.

LIAM: Would you have the abilities to burn these things up the way we did? Are you capable? Could you have killed these things? Is that believable for people who know you?

MATT: "I'm quite good with fire. That's not entirely impossible."

MARISHA: Ornna, is there anything else that you can think of that could possibly help us? Like why this toad decided to freak out right now? Anything that comes to mind before we go chase after your mess.

TRAVIS: Any previous episodes of this kind?

MATT: "No. Never trusted anything that looked the way Kylre did. Everyone seemed to put a lot of trust in him. Gustav did. Toya did. I don't know if this is still a misunderstanding, but--" She points over to where there's splatters of blood in the middle of the grass. The leftover carnage from the battle. "Just get this figured out, please. This is all I have left." She looks around the empty encampment. She stands amongst the four empty tents by herself.

SAM: Toya's gone, right?

MATT: Toya’s gone.

LAURA: What happened to her? Did it take Toya with it?

LIAM: Yeah, she frogged out.

TRAVIS: We'll try and find some evidence that will exonerate you and we'll return.

LAURA: We need to find evidence to exonerate us.

SAM: Sorry that we thought that you did it. Briefly.

MATT: "It's okay. It's hard for some folks to trust carnival folk. Just as hard as it is for some folks to trust little green folk.”

(laughter)

TRAVIS: We should really get to stepping.

LAURA: Let's go.

SAM: Saddle up.

MATT: You hop on your mustang.

TRAVIS: I do. Shelby.

MARISHA: Oh, god!

TRAVIS: Just deliver it to the PO Box, that’s fine.

TALIESIN: Everything that you've been holding back for years now is going to come pouring out of you. Okay.

MATT: You have the cart and the horses at your disposal. What are you guys doing?

TALIESIN: Trying to take as much of a short rest as I can back there. I'm going to try and sleep this off like a bad hangover.

LIAM: I will attempt to do the same to do arcane recovery.

MATT: Okay. The two of you saddle up on the back of the cart as it makes its way northward.

SAM: Where are we going?

TRAVIS: In the direction the toad leapt.

LAURA: Are we really chasing the toad right now? Molly obviously did the most damage out of anyone and he's almost dead right now.

MARISHA: Maybe we can at least find him, stake him out, and then we'll rest.

LAURA: We are going to rest, right? We can't just chase after a toad. We'll die.

TRAVIS: We might need to play it by ear.

LAURA: Fjord, I'm trusting you.

TRAVIS: If it's too dangerous, we'll stand down. How about that?

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: Also I have a cat.

LAURA: Yeah, it's cute.

LIAM: That's not what I mean. If we catch up to them, my cat can follow and I can watch.

TRAVIS: Yeah, you blanked out there for a second.

LIAM: If we find them, then we assign Frumpkin to the case and I will lean against a tree. Nott will keep watch over me and we will know where it goes.

SAM: We're going with them, then?

LAURA: Yeah, let's follow the direction that the toad went.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: Cats love toads.

LAURA: I like it. It's a good plan. This is definitely not going to backfire. Let's go.

(laughter)

MATT: All right. The horses pick up and begin heading northward towards the Ustaloch.

LAURA: When we get far away from the carnival, we should drop the guard bodies off. Push them out so it looks like they were on patrol when they turned into zombies. Far away from the carnival.

MARISHA: We ran into those guards that were patrolling the lake--

LAURA: Exactly! Like a lake patrol.

MATT: It doesn't take you too long to get to the southern edge of the Ustaloch. You can see the muddy lake bed that gives way to the water itself. Number of scattered stones in the muck and occasionally you hear the lapping of waves. The very subtle wind flowing through in the night. It's about two in the morning. There's some moonlight in the sky. It looks like a waxing moon. At least the one you can see because there are multiple moons.

SAM: Wait, what?

MATT: There's two moons in Exandria.

SAM: How did we never know that?

MATT: That was established in the last campaign.

TALIESIN: Like dogs, we never looked up.

SAM: How many suns are there?

MATT: There's one. Anyway, there's a faint bit of moonlight which gives you folks without darkvision a little bit of detail that you can make out in the vicinity. You come to the lake edge and there's the water.

TRAVIS: This is the best we can do for them.

LAURA: Take them out of this wagon!

MARISHA: Hang on, hang on. I want to look around. Do I see any guards?

MATT: Perception check.

MARISHA: Big dice, don't fail! Natural 20!

MATT: Okay. Couple things. One: you don't see any guards, but you do see a few hundred feet to the west of you along the edge, you see a boat that is about a hundred feet out on the water. You see two figures that are in the boat. Possibly two fishermen or two guards, but you can't really tell from this distance. From your current visual perspective, you don't see the other end of the lake. It's a pretty decent sized lake, but you can see the very faint bump of a landmass that breaks the horizon of the water.

MARISHA: Like an island?

MATT: Like an island, possibly.

LAURA: Or a giant toad sitting in the water?

TALIESIN: That would be a very big toad.

MARISHA: It's far away on the horizon, the little bump?

MATT: Yeah, it breaks the water's horizon from here.

MARISHA: There's two figures on a boat about a hundred yards out.

LAURA: Can they see us?

MARISHA: I don't know. It's hard to say. Do they seem distracted? Can I make anything else out?

TRAVIS: Lamplight on the boat?

MATT: There's a faint bit of lantern light that's the only reason you're able to make them out at this distance, but that's as much detail as you can make out. They’re a few hundred feet away from you.

LAURA: If we can't see them very clearly, they can't see us very clearly. We don't have a light on us.

TRAVIS: We're going to have to ditch this wagon anyway because we've got tracks.

SAM: Just change the license plate. No?

TRAVIS: Vanity plate? What does it say?

SAM: Back in time?

(laughter)

MATT: What do you do?

LAURA: Go up a little further away from the boat and then dump the bodies.

SAM: It's really shallow. Shouldn't we weigh them down with something?

LAURA: It's not like we're trying to hide the bodies. We're saying they turned into zombies around here. Is that stupid?

TRAVIS: No, they don't have to go in the water, right? They're burned. It's not like they burned in the water.

MATT: That would be very confusing.

TRAVIS: It would.

TALIESIN: The wagon tracks directly to the point at which they are found.

TRAVIS: That's what I just said.

LAURA: Oh, coming from the carnival.

SAM: We could write a little note and put it in one of their pockets that says something like “I've discovered that Caleb and Nott are innocent and should be cleared of all charges”, or something like that.

LAURA: That would definitely work. Will you add my name to that list?

SAM: Sure. How do you spell Jester?

LAURA: Like normal.

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: Maybe we can dump them, backtrack with the cart, and drop the cart back off.

TRAVIS: As we've been riding, have we seen any tracks that we think might have belonged to the toad? Since it was leaping in these huge arcs.

MATT: Make a survival check.

TRAVIS: Ugh, three.

MATT: Even with your darkvision, it's hard to make out too many details. There's a lot of foot traffic along the banks of the river at different points in the day. There's not a lot of light. You're unable to pick up any tracks.

LAURA: Maybe we dump the bodies and I'll get out and try to make the tracks go away for a little bit. I'll walk up the path and do like this.

TRAVIS: Why? We could get rid of the wagon later.

LAURA: Yeah, but the wagon will come from the carnival straight to the bodies. Isn't that weird?

LIAM: You'd have to erase the tracks all the way back to the-- how far back are you willing to go?

LAURA: Not that far.

LIAM: What's the plan here? Are we going to flee?

LAURA: I think we have to go back to the inn, right?

TRAVIS: Once the sun comes up--

LIAM: I know. Everybody's in deep shit. I understand the problem, but my question is are we cutting and running?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: No, I mean cutting and running.

TRAVIS: No, no, we can't just leave.

LAURA: Oh, okay.

LIAM: We do it all the time.

LAURA: Well...

TRAVIS: Let's see if we can find the toad. If the sun starts to break, then we'll make up our mind.

LAURA: All right. Are we dumping these bodies or what?

TRAVIS: Yes, kick them out.

MATT: Okay, so you remove the bodies from the cart. Are you dumping them on the shoreline?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. (thud, thud) The two transformed guard corpses now lie there. One an ashy mess, the other in three pieces. Left along the bank of the water.

LAURA: I get out and I start positioning them like maybe they were having a romantic tryst.

LIAM: Those two burnt men? Yes.

MATT: Okay. (laughs)

MARISHA: I'm going to help Jester try and clear the tracks while she positions bodies.

MATT: Make a survival check.

MARISHA: (disgusted noise) Eight.

MATT: All right. You guys--

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Anybody else want to look for some toad prints?

LAURA: Do you want us to?

SAM: We were going to go along the north way, right?

TRAVIS: We've been doing that already.

MARISHA: If we try and cover the wagon tracks as much as we can, then follow the embankment and try and ride the horses and the cart along the water, it'll hide our tracks as we move northward.

LAURA: Sure, let's do that.

MARISHA: Okay.

TALIESIN: Who are you?

TRAVIS: That's actually a great idea.

TALIESIN: That's really clever. Why would you even think that?

LAURA: Oh, she's all about shady shit. She does a lot of it.

TALIESIN: Huh.

MARISHA: You understand.

TALIESIN: Maybe. I don't know. I'll think about it.

LAURA: (singsong) Go to sleep, little tiefling.

TALIESIN: Ow, that hurts. Ow.

LIAM: Beauregard, are the people on the boat doing anything different?

MATT: You glance back over and you can see the boat seems to have moved a little bit further away and has come up to the bank and looks like it's hitting land.

MARISHA: Towards us?

MATT: No, a little bit further away and then has hit the land. The figures are currently taking things out of the boat.

LAURA: They're late night fishermen.

MARISHA: I think they're fishermen. Let's keep moving.

MATT: Okay, which direction are you moving?

MARISHA: North.

MATT: Well, north is into the water. Like you hit the water of the bottom of the lake.

SAM: The toad went due north? Like straight into the water?

MATT: That's the direction it was traveling.

LAURA: Can I look for toad tracks?

MATT: Make a survival check, sure.

TRAVIS: Come on, don't roll Sam's fucking dice.

LAURA: I didn't.

MATT: Oh, Sam.

TALIESIN: That was a lot.

LAURA: That was a whole lot of rolls. Survival. 11.

MATT: 11. It's hard to really make out what tracks are what. You do see a few heavy impacts in the mud. Some of them looks like it could have been the bodies being rolled, but not too far from where you are, there's one big smack in the mud. Like something heavy impacted.

LAURA: Fjord! Come look at this! This is definitely toad tracks.

TRAVIS: In the shape that it's in, this print. Are their toes pointing in a specific direction?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

TALIESIN: Well, this will break my short rest.

MATT: This will break your short rest.

TRAVIS: 14.

MATT: You can see the heavy impact has a few subtler imprints. There do appear to be two hands and two feet though the water has washed in and gotten rid of a lot of the details at this point. You can vaguely tell they appear to be facing towards the water.

LAURA: That lump is the toad.

SAM: Could be.

TALIESIN: How many people in the boat?

TRAVIS: Two.

TALIESIN: How many people are we looking for?

TRAVIS: One and a giant toad.

TALIESIN: Didn't he leave with a--

TRAVIS: Girl.

TALIESIN: Two people?

MATT: Two people in the boat.

MARISHA: Do these silhouettes look proportionate to each other?

MATT: They look proportionate to each other.

TRAVIS: Does one look like Gorilla Grodd and---

MATT: They both look vaguely humanoid and regular.

MARISHA: Which way do the fisherman go?

MATT: They are a little bit to the west along the bank in the direction of the city. The city is northwest of you currently. If you were to continue around the lake--

LIAM: Because the city is on the lake so we're just around the edge of the lake.

MATT: Exactly.

MARISHA: I think we should keep heading away from the city, right?

LIAM: It depends on what we’re going to do.

SAM: If we're chasing the toad it seems like we need to find a boat and go out into the water.

LAURA: So we head towards that boat that hit land.

SAM: Steal that boat?

LAURA: If we go towards the toad we are going to fight the toad.

SAM: Well no, we are just going to find the toad. You said this. We're camping and waiting and resting.

LIAM: The other thing we can do, but it will take some time, need about an hour. Frumpkin is a cat but Frumpkin does not need to be a cat. I could fly him over as well but I need time, I need about an hour.

SAM: Or swim.

TALIESIN: I'm actively tracking this creature, aren't I on a certain level?

MATT: I mean, if you want to. You haven't yet decided to.

TALIESIN: I hadn't really thought about it. It's something I can in theory do.

LAURA: Because you used your blood on it?

TALIESIN: No. This would also break my short rest, wouldn't it?

MATT: Actually, I'd say for the points of expediency, with the time it has taken you and have these discussion at the edge, it's pushing 2:30 like 3:00 in the morning and both of you have finished the short rest.

TALIESIN: I'm going to use Hunter's Bane really quickly and look at the track for a second.

MATT: You get your blood maledict and you can use your hit dice if you want.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'm going to do both of those.

LIAM: I changed my mind, I believe I used arcane recovery during the day. So forget it.

MATT: Yeah, it's gone. ` SAM: You can hit dice it.

LAURA: I bet you have a thing where you can click it on.

TALIESIN: Now I’m at 12 hit points.

MATT: That's better, there you go.

TRAVIS: 12?

MATT: Better than one.

TALIESIN: Yay 12 hit points. I'm going to see if I can help with the tracking because I'm going to start actively tracking this particular creature.

MATT: Make a survival check.

TALIESIN: Survival check? Which I have advantage on.

MATT: You have advantage on it because it's a feat.

TALIESIN: 18.

MATT: Looking at the imprint you follow back the direction of the carnival and you can see the path because it was a beeline toward the Ustaloch. The best you can tell because the water picks up there's no trail to pick up in the water. Looking at the trajectory, it was very intently making its way towards the water either avoiding making any more tracks and making it difficult to follow.

TALIESIN: Guy went into the water.

LAURA: That's what we figured.

TALIESIN: Do you think he's trying to swim all the way to the other side or you think he's just going around the lake?

TRAVIS: We're not lucky enough to have any small boats along the shores that have been beached?

MATT: Not near you. There's the one that you saw the two fishermen are at right now. Then further into the city the docks, there's plenty of boats that are tied up and locked.

LIAM: At the level two-- Oh sorry, go ahead.

MARISHA: Go ahead.

LIAM: It's a rules question, you go for it.

MARISHA: Even if we find this thing, if we rest camping out then we're not at the tavern.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we got like four hours till sunrise.

SAM: Do any of us know what's beyond? like what's on the other side of this lake? Is it a mountain?

LAURA: Straight across.

MATT: The other side of the lake from what you know because you were traveling southward towards it, there's no major landmass on the other side of the lake it's just open field. You notice what looks to be some sort of a bulge in the landmass in the center. Too large to be the toad, but it does seem to break up water horizon from that vantage point.

LAURA: It could have gone to the island.

MARISHA: I bet that's exactly where it is.

TRAVIS: How do we feel about the knowledge that it's somewhere here in the lake, perhaps, or the other side? Circling back tomorrow? At least we'll avoid suspicion if we're at the inn.

LAURA: Maybe keep tracking it? After you sleep?

TALIESIN: I don't know. I'm not sure. Maybe. Could be.

MATT: It's not like a mental tracking ability. It's to be able to see details of the specific type of track.

TALIESIN: I legitimately do not know how it works. Sorry.

MATT: Just like any other tracking, you still need to have things to follow. You can read damage in the forest to see if something barreled through. You can follow tracks. You can see blood splatters. Anything that can give you an idea of where something went that is one of those types of creatures.

TALIESIN: Do I know what he was?

LAURA: He was a fiend.

MATT: With the knowledge of it being a fiend go ahead and make a religion check.

TALIESIN: I get advantage on that.

MATT: You do, actually.

TALIESIN: Religion check? 15.

MATT: Now that they've mentioned a fiend, it seems familiar but you only get a memory, you don't know where it came from, of horrible toad-like demonic creatures that exist to the far east in Xhorhas. That's as much as you can recall. You're now sitting here with this memory that comes to mind going, "This whole time!"

TALIESIN: This whole time I've been sitting with this.

LIAM: Rules question. Caleb is too fucking poor to change Frumpkin's shape willy-nilly because it's ten gold pieces worth of charcoal, incense, and herbs, which I don't have. So he's a cat for the foreseeable future.

SAM: Do you just need ten gold pieces?

LIAM: I need incense, herbs, and charcoal.

TALIESIN: Are you saying this out loud?

LIAM: No, I'm just talking in my accent to you.

TALIESIN: I reach in. I've got some incense.

LIAM: Do you have charcoal?

TRAVIS: I'm sure we can find some charcoal.

TALIESIN: Isn't this impressive enough that I have some incense?

LIAM: If we can get back into town somehow.

SAM: We're going to go shopping at three in the morning.

MATT: Technically, elements of that guard's body are charcoal now.

MARISHA: Let's go back and raid the fire.

TALIESIN: There'd also be a fire inside the inn, to be fair. It's not like charcoal is hard to get.

TRAVIS: You two seem to be able to move freely without suspicion.

TALIESIN: That's true, you can go shopping more.

LIAM: I will.

TALIESIN: Let's go maintain the illusion of innocence for the evening.

MARISHA: Should we walk the cart off?

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

TRAVIS: Leave it outside of town. Maybe give the horse a little spank on the ass and send it on its way.

MARISHA: See where it goes. I like that.

TRAVIS: Shall we?

SAM: The twins.

LAURA: It's open 24 hours.

LIAM: That random book about fiends has all answers about the fiend we're chasing. Let's go get it.

LAURA: You should do that.

TALIESIN: Xhorhas. It is a creature from Xhorhas. I'm pretty sure, I don't know. God, I'm remembering something.

LAURA: Let's go.

TRAVIS: We head back.

MARISHA: We go along the lake, then off to edge, then we're going to give the horse a slap and send him off.

MATT: The two fishermen you see are in the process of tying up nets and bags of things and they just stop and watch you guys ride by then go about the rest of their work. You continue with the cart, pulling it up toward the southern edge where the Ustaloch meets Trostenwald. You can abandon it there or you want to send it somewhere?

LAURA: I don't think we would have taken the cart past the fishermen. Are we going to do that?

TRAVIS: We're going to head back to the village, to a good distance.

LIAM: How much ground did we cover?


MATT: So what are you doing?

TRAVIS: We're taking the cart back to a distance from the city.

LIAM: Half mile.

TRAVIS: Yeah, and then letting the horses run and so they send the track off.

MATT: I see.

LAURA: I don’t think we would have gone right past the fishermen where they’d be able to identify us.

MARISHA: Using the lake to hide tracks.

MATT: You guys head the opposite direction for a little ways after the field. Who can spooking the horses?

LIAM: That's your specialty.

MARISHA: Whack with the stick.

MATT: Make an animal handling check.

TRAVIS: If there is any justice in the world.

MARISHA: It's not great, thanks Travis. Six.

SAM: Six? To hit a horse?

MARISHA: Correctly hit a horse!

LAURA: The horse whimpers; you hurt a horse.

MATT: What's your armor class?

MARISHA: 17.

MATT: 17? As soon as you hit it, there's a (whinny) and there's a split second where watch its back leg muscle twitch and you duck out of the way as its back hooves (whoosh) past your face.

TALIESIN: I'm going to walk over to the horses and they're trained horses.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I'm going to go whisper in their ear and give them a little pat.

MATT: Make an animal handling check.

LAURA: You rolled shit, too!

TALIESIN: Nine.

TRAVIS: Horses are our new door!

TALIESIN: I didn't get advantage because I knew the animals, did I?

MATT: No. You knew the animals, but you weren't the animal handler.

LAURA: I use Thaumaturgy and I make the sound of like a predator behind them.

MATT: Okay. I'll give you an animal handling check with an advantage because it's fun.

TALIESIN: I'm into this.

LAURA: Okay, 13!

MATT: 13! It's above a ten, guys! Awesome!

ALL: (chanting) Level two!

TALIESIN: This is Romper Room!

MATT: Yeah, I know! With a crack, and a heavy echoing snarling sound in the vicinity, both horses kick up and go into a full gallop spring away from the direction of you. The cart being dragged behind it. They continue to go into the shadow, you don't know how long they are going to go.

LIAM: I cast Thaumaturgy! (quacks)

MATT: By the time you guys make it back to the inn--

LAURA: Those ducks are scary!

MATT: Are you guys being careful, or are you just walking back?

LAURA: We're being careful.

MATT: I'd like you all to roll a stealth check, please.

TRAVIS: I'm going to use Mask of Many Faces to make myself look old.

TALIESIN: Natural 20.

SAM: What was that? I don't even know what that was.

TALIESIN: Look at all that stuff!

LAURA: Does anybody have shitty stealth?

TALIESIN: I'm can't even see myself with this roll.

LIAM: I do, but I rolled 12.

LAURA: Well okay, I was going to give anybody advantage, but here you go.

SAM: Thank you.

LAURA: Wow, that was bad.

LIAM: You have advantage, right? Roll again!

SAM: I already rolled once.

TRAVIS: 18, but I'm also--

LIAM: 16.

MARISHA: 17.

LAURA: 18.

TALIESIN: Technically, my stealth would be 23.

SAM: 11.

MATT: All right, that's fine. You manage to make it to the Nestled Nook Inn without any prying eyes seeing too deeply into your movement. You get back to your rooms as the very faint distant change of black night begins to turn to the faintest of blue of morning curling over. You guys go to your respective rooms, and you take a rest?

LAURA: We should go to sleep.

LIAM: I'm going to dig some charcoal out of the remains of the fire in the common room and then go to bed.

MATT: Okay. The owner watches you do that and she's just whatever.

LIAM: Don't thank me. Lovely inn. Good night.

MATT: Don't get anything else dirty!

LIAM: Just going to draw some dicks!

MATT: You guys complete a long rest.

TRAVIS: We made it!

SAM: One day down. Two days down!

LAURA: Do we reset our max hit points when we take a long rest?

MATT: Your max hit points? I mean, your max hit points are your max hit points.

TALIESIN: It will auto reset when you long rest.

SAM: With D&D Beyond, it does the work for you.

LIAM: Wait, is there a rest button?

SAM: There is, there are two rest buttons.

LIAM: Where are they?

SAM: They are down towards the bottom, short rest or long rest.

LAURA: I fell asleep in my sketchbook, halfway through my drawing of the two zombie guards making out.

SAM: Gross. Were they dead?

LAURA: They're zombies, so yeah!

TALIESIN: Slightly hotter, okay.

LAURA: One arm is like off to the side.

TALIESIN: Way hotter.

MATT: With full rests completed, consciousness comes to on the outside of Jester's room with the heavy sound of (knocking).

MARISHA: Jester!

LAURA: Is that our door?

MARISHA: I think so.

LAURA: Hold on, I'm naked!

MARISHA: Yeah, hold on, she's naked! Do you want to get it? Or should I get it?

LAURA: I'll get it!

MARISHA: Maybe I should get it.

LAURA: No, I get up, I get it. Hello!

MATT: You open the door. The same two crownsguard that had come the day before.

LAURA: Did you come back to play some games?

MATT: No. We came back to tell you that you'll be needed for the investigation and questioning within the next three hours to arrive at the behest of the Lawmaster at the stockades.

MARISHA: Why didn't you just come and get us when you were ready for us?

LAURA: Well, you know, we might want to brush our teeth.

MARISHA: Does that take you three hours?

LAURA: Now we have time to--

MATT: We'll be back in three hours.

LAURA: Okay. I'll see you soon! I miss you already!

MATT: (door creaking) Habit of creeping on guards, I like it. The rest of you come to consciousness. You're rested. At this point in time, it's afternoon. It's about two in the afternoon.

TRAVIS: No knock on our door, only you two.

MATT: It's these two currently, for the moment. Then-- (knocking)

TRAVIS: Your jury summons is (groans).

MATT: He's finishing up with them.

LAURA: It's two o'clock in the afternoon, you said? When we woke up?!

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: We got back in the middle of the night. No real job here.

TRAVIS: I'll open the door.

MATT: Two guards are there.

TRAVIS: Yes?

MATT: Sorry to disturb, the investigation will require you in about three hours.

TRAVIS: I just shut the door.

MARISHA: Love it! It's my favorite. I was waiting for it.

MATT: What are you guys doing?

SAM: Go down for breakfast?

LIAM: I go down. It's Yorda who runs the place?

MATT: Correct.

LIAM: I find Yorda. Excuse me, a question about the town.

MATT: She's right in the middle a drink, she's like "Right! What do you need?"

LIAM: Is there a pawn shop anywhere in this city?

MATT: "If you're looking for strange wares in general, then you're best look would be Burnished Bibelot."

LIAM: Thank you.

MATT: "You might be able to talk to, let's see here, Lochward General might be interested in buying a few things."

LIAM: Wockwurt?

MATT: Lochward General.

LIAM: Lochward's General, of course. Excuse me. That's in the Lochward, then?

MATT: Aye, it's about three blocks up north.

LIAM: Only been here two days. Okay, you are down here?

SAM: I'm always with you.

LIAM: Yeah, okay. That flask.

SAM: Yes? You saw that?

LIAM: Yes, I did see it.

SAM: Sorry!

LIAM: No, I'm not sorry at all, but I have a big favor to ask you. That's very valuable what you have there. Do you know that is made of platinum?

SAM: Would I know that it's made of platinum, just from glancing at it and feeling it?

MATT: It looks very pretty. Make an intelligence check.

SAM: Not great. Just an intelligence check.

MATT: Yes, just your modifier.

SAM: Eight.

MATT: It's very shiny.

LIAM: Let me explain it to you. That little bottle is worth a great deal. It can buy you many full bottles.

SAM: I don't want to get rid of it.

LIAM: Would you like to trade that for many bottle of booze? Many.

SAM: That is a tough decision. But this is the only one I have! I only have one flask.

LIAM: We could buy you another flask that can hold whiskey just as well as that one. Here's the thing, you know that I was very interested in those books. We came here for books and booze. You've gotten a little booze, but we can get a lot and those books are expensive and I know that we can get enough money for it and I really don't feel like pushing our luck with the law here in town and pulling a fast one again.

SAM: Oh, but it's so pretty. How about this for a counteroffer? How much are the books?

LIAM: They were worth a total of 13 gold.

SAM: Here!

LIAM: Did you just hand me 13 gold?

MATT: Yes.

SAM: I like this better.

(laughter)

LIAM: I take her but the head and I rustle our heads together.

SAM: Stop!

LIAM: That's a good deal. I leave to find that place.

SAM: I come with him.

LIAM: Oh, you're coming too? What a good day this is! All right, let's go shopping!

MATT: All right, you make your way to Burnished Bibelot. It is open, though there is nobody currently inside the interior. As you go to the door, it opens up and you see the same cluttered mess of the inside. There across the way you see the tiny gnome gentleman who’s up on top of his desk, his legs folded over each other. He’s looking through a book right now, as he’s thumbing through, “Oh, hello!”

LIAM: Hello there, my friend! Just as I said, I’ve returned. I have what we agreed on. 13 gold for these two books that we discussed.

MATT: “Yes! Okay. Good! I have them right here!” He reaches back and then has to arrange himself again.

TRAVIS: And dies.

LIAM: Free books!

MARISHA: The best day ever!

MATT: Eventually he crawls off the top of the desk, gets down there, puts the two books on the top. “Wonderful doing business with you!” Slides them forward to you, counts--

LIAM: These are the same two books? As yesterday?

MATT: “Those are the ones you told me to hold for you, yes.”

LIAM: Oh, I was asking Matthew, these are the same two books?

MATT: Yes they are.

LIAM: Oh good! Excellent!

SAM: Your accent is confusing.

LAURA: I know it’s confusing when you say things in the accent all the time!

LIAM: I never stopped with the British either last time so I’m never going to stop now. Oh, I’m so happy, and I’m saying this out loud as Caleb. Good day to you!

SAM: So you don’t want to--

LIAM: I scoop up Nott and I just start dancing down the street with her up onto my shoulders!

SAM: Sure you don’t want stay here and shop around some more? Okay!

LIAM: No! We have plans to make with our new friends! Let’s go get some breakfast!

SAM: Okay, but I could’ve perused some of the aisles and it’s a long-- okay!

LIAM: Nope! We’re away!

TRAVIS: No hands in your pockets order.

MATT: You guys make your way back as the rest of you have come to consciousness and you’ve head down to the tavern.

LAURA: Cool. Why are you guys so happy?

LIAM: Good shopping run. Where did you get 13 gold?

SAM: I’ve always had it, you ever asked for any.

LIAM: Good to know. I don’t need to know anything more, I’m just happy that you have it. I’m thankful.

SAM: I collect things, among them are small pieces of gold. I have more.

LIAM: I just squeeze the cheeks, and I look at my books!

SAM: Ooh! You made my cheeks all green!

MATT: So, it’ll take you a few hours to go through those books.

LIAM: Yes. I will start on the one about fiends because it is topical!

MATT: You begin to read through it. In the tavern at the table, or do you want to read in your room? Up to you.

LIAM: No I’m going to read here. Good focus!

LAURA: Can I look at one of your books?

LIAM: Yeah, go away.

LAURA: Is that a yes? You said yes.

LIAM: I shove the book deep into my belt near my dick so she doesn’t want to go near it!

LAURA: I’m not afraid of dicks.

MARISHA: She’s not your sister anymore.

LIAM: Good point. Hey now.

SAM: He gets like this when he’s studying. He gets very focused, it’s best not to disturb him.

MATT: It’s an interesting book. It talks about different forms of fiends and demons and the hierarchy of the Nine Hells. It talks about myths and stories of devils and demons interfering with the lives of mortals. A lot of it is fables, a lot of it is warnings and things that parents would tell to keep their children from wandering in the darkness. But it does have little tidbits of information about different types, and they talk about horned devils, and they talk about the great and terrible balor and pit fiend, and it seems to be a jumble between both demons and devils.

LAURA: Can I look over his shoulder the whole time he’s reading it?

MATT: Sure, if he lets you.

LIAM: I do not let her. I am in a corner.

TRAVIS: And it’s about 2:30 to 3:00?

MATT: Right now, it’s about three.

TRAVIS: In the next couple hours they said they would called for us.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: Should we go look for the toad?

TRAVIS: I was going to say, did they come to your room as well?

LAURA: Yeah. In a couple hours.

MARISHA: Should we talk about what we’re going to say to them? Do we need to corroborate our stories?

TRAVIS: I mean we tell the truth, we did nothing wrong.

LAURA: That’s right, we were in this inn the whole time.

MARISHA: That’s true. Yeah.

TRAVIS: I was thinking that if we get out of there tonight, fingers crossed, we should probably think about acquiring some sort of vessel to explore the lake tonight.

LAURA: We can definitely steal a boat.

MARISHA: We know where the fisherman’s boat is.

TRAVIS: Or I may be able to arrange free passage on a vessel.

MARISHA: What, how?

TRAVIS: I have a little knack with, you know.

LAURA: He was a sailor! That’s how I met him!

TRAVIS: Well, for a bit.

MARISHA: Wow, that’s pretty cool.

LIAM: How long was that for?

TRAVIS: Few years.

LAURA: As soon as Caleb looks up, I look in his book. What is your book about?

LIAM: Oh, this is about grumpkins and periwinkles.

LAURA: (gasps) Those are my favorite!

LIAM: What is a periwinkle?

LAURA: Are there drawings of them?

LIAM: Occasional drawings. There’s no penises drawn in this book so I don’t think you’d be interested.

TALIESIN: Any toad creatures?

MATT: You do find one interesting tidbit of information that piques your interest.

SAM: Ooh, he has it written down? On a thing?

TALIESIN: Oh, the first piece of paper of the game!

MARISHA: What’s it say?

MATT: If he decides he wants to share, it’s up to him.

LIAM: Leave me alone, I’m reading.

MARISHA: Caleb, we’re bored! Tell us a story!

LIAM: I need 20 actual seconds to see what the piece of paper says!

TALIESIN: Have you read it now? What’s it say?

SAM: So Fjord, your very acquainted with seamen then? Having been on the water for so long?

TRAVIS: Sure am! Yep.

MARISHA: Have you heard that joke a lot?

TRAVIS: I have. It gets funnier every time though, I got to say. It’s all in the delivery.

LAURA: He laughed at it the first twenty times I said it to him.

MARISHA: So wait, do you seamen have cloisters in Trostenwald?

SAM: Are there clusters of seamen around you at all times?

TRAVIS: Is it too early in the campaign to walk away? And I fucking saunter away.

SAM: And I saunter away. I mosy away.

MATT: As Fjord slowly walks away from the table, not engaging with your comedic advances.

LIAM: Do I remember people talking about nightmares from the past couple of days? Not Liam, but Caleb?

MATT: No, you didn’t inquire or question.

LIAM: Okay, and I didn’t overhear, okay.

LAURA: What does it say?

LIAM: I mean, it’s chock-a-block with a lot of things, most of it probably untrue and stories to scare your children, but there is some sort of demon that is described as being fat and rotund, and it talks about-- I mean, this is too coincidental, it can’t be the thing that we’re-- what are the odds of something being in this book, and it’s what we’re chasing today? But this is describing some sort of scaled demon that feeds on people in the night, when they’re sleeping, and it leaves corrupted, undead corpses behind, known as husks.

LAURA: That is what they look like. They look like husks!

MARISHA: They did look like husks.

TRAVIS: And we didn’t see anybody it fed on.

LIAM: Does this book-- is it of this town, or?

MATT: Oh no, it’s a general book about--

LIAM: General book, could be anywhere.

MATT: Anywhere, anything, it doesn’t even mention locations. It’s just, “This is some lore about devils and demons!”

TALIESIN: Kylre’s been around for a while though! And this is new, right? I feel like-- Was there nothing?

TRAVIS: How well did you know Kylre?

TALIESIN: I mean, not that well. Of everybody, the least.

LIAM: You haven’t heard the word Nergaliid?

TALIESIN: That's a--

MATT: As soon as he says that, it triggers something in your brain, and that thought you had the other night clicks. Like, that's what it was that escaped you. Nergaliid.

TALIESIN: I have heard that word before.

LIAM: Because that's what I'm talking about here.

TALIESIN: Oh dear. Oh, why can't I remember. It was so long ago.

MARISHA: Okay, so what was Mr. Frogman's diet?

TRAVIS: Yeah, what did he feast on?

TALIESIN: What did he eat?

MATT: He ate what was given to him.

TALIESIN: He ate what we had!

MATT: He seemed like a lizard man, from what you knew and experienced. He thought it was fine. There was no draw to it.

LAURA: You never noticed him eating people before?

TALIESIN: I feel like I would've taken note of it. I don't necessarily know I would've commented on it, but I would've noted it.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: And it was not noted.

LIAM: Once again, I have no idea if this is the creature that we're in pursuit of, but this talks about it not eating food, but siphoning the life off of mortal creatures, but not to the point of death or harming them. They might not even notice that it’s happening.

TALIESIN: Oh no.

LAURA: (gasps) That's what was happening to Toya. Maybe all of you.

LIAM: It says that this thing has two types of feeding: one is slow and unnoticeable, maybe, and one is quick with much pain and anguish.

LAURA: Does it say anything about it hiding in water?

LIAM: No.

LAURA: Does it say anything about it liking the sound of song?

LIAM: It does not.

LAURA: Is it related at all to the periwinkles you were talking about before?

TALIESIN: It’s not possible he’s trying to head back to Xhorhas, is it? I said out loud.

TRAVIS: I think we saw both of the fast and the slow feeding methods.

TALIESIN: Kylre was not a talker.

LAURA: Does it say how to kill it?

TRAVIS: Yeah, weaknesses? Vulnerabilities?

TALIESIN: Stabbing?

LAURA: Well, most fiends are weak to holy damage, right?

MATT: Make a religion check.

TALIESIN: Can I also do this? I'm thinking about everything I hear.

MATT: Sure, I'll let you roll for it.

SAM: They have a vulnerability to poppyseed muffins.

TALIESIN: Nine.

LAURA: 14

MATT: You don't get the idea that most devils or demons have a vulnerability to radiant or holy damage. Some might, some don't, but you were unable to take a beat on this. The book you have is informative from an encyclopedic standpoint. It's sort of storytelling and an informative thing, but it's not a catalog about all the aspects and details of each creature.

LIAM: Right, it's a kid's Encyclopedia Britannica and scanning through, I saw one thing that popped out.

MATT: Yeah, you were like, wait.

LIAM: May I ask with my intelligence score of 18 and the Keen Mind feat, could we say that Caleb is a speed reader?

MATT: In comparison to some, maybe. You're not Johnny Five-style, I know kung-fu.

LIAM: Believably, not magic.

MATT: Yeah, you can read pretty quick, let's say. You spend a lot of time by yourself reading.

LAURA: “Reading.”

LIAM: Good times.

TRAVIS: In the bathroom.

TALIESIN: Clusters of semen all around you.

LIAM: It was still funny when it was just implied. You can paint it across the wall.

TALIESIN: Always funny. Always.

LIAM: We're talking about masturbation.

SAM: Jerking off.

(laughter)

LIAM: Would you say that Caleb is a speed-beater?

SAM: Roll for spanking.

MATT: From the window to the wall.

(laughter and groaning)

MATT: As you guys are having this discussion, the two guards that had come in earlier come through the main door earlier than the three hours you had anticipated with another guard in tow. As they rush in they glance around the room and see you and make a beeline to your table in a very huff bit of energy. They say, "You are absolved of meeting this afternoon. We'll pick this up tomorrow."

LAURA: What's going on?

TALIESIN: Wait, what?

MATT: "There have been a series of murders within the Crownsguard that we are investigating as well. This will be part of the investigation tomorrow, you are not to leave this inn."

LAURA: We could help. Obviously, we had nothing to do with it if people are hurt outside and we were here the whole time.

MARISHA: How are we absolved yet we still have to be locked in this inn?

MATT: "You are absolved of it today. We're still going to come by tomorrow and have you questioned. We've arrested Ornna and we have members of the carnival that have fled that we're currently seeking at the moment."

MARISHA: You should pick better words next time that are slightly more clear.

MATT: "We'll return tomorrow." They leave in a frustrated huff.

TRAVIS: Well, our day just got freed up.

SAM: But they still said we couldn't leave.

TALIESIN: You could read that other book, at the very least.

LIAM: I could. I could also-- here's the thing about my cat. He's a cat, definitely a cat, but is also a fey creature. If I have an hour, he doesn't have to be a cat. He can temporarily be a bird.

LAURA: How much did you say it costs, though?

LIAM: Well, I have a lot of charcoal now, and you said you have incense on you?

TALIESIN: I go into my bag and I've got some old, weird-- I've got a weird, little--

MATT: You've got about eight silvers worth of incense, and that's a lot.

TALIESIN: It's in a very strange, ornate bag that's covered in strange gems and weird filigree.

SAM: Does Molly always smell of patchouli?

TALIESIN: Sandalwood. It's nag champa all over.

MATT: It's masking the faint scent of horse dung.

SAM: What else do you need?

TRAVIS: Are you sure you want to do this, with your cat?

LIAM: Yes. I prefer him as a cat, to be honest, but in a pinch.

TRAVIS: Anything else besides a bird? I mean, any kind of creature?

LIAM: Well not any kind of creature, but I've made him an octopus once. There was this one time when Nott was very high up in a burning building and we had no way to get her down.

SAM: I jumped on to the octopus and it served as some sort of a landing pad. It killed the octopus, but I lived.

LAURA: Octopuses are very smart.

LIAM: I think it's octopi.

LAURA: I didn't say I was very smart.

TALIESIN: Enough about the pastries already.

TRAVIS: It can be killed is an important thing to know. I only mean that if it's important to you, in a moment of danger I would try to save it, but if that's not important.

LIAM: It can be pricey to keep bringing him back and all that, but he-- no you can't kill him.

SAM: I’ve tried.

LIAM: She's eaten him twice. I will need about an hour of time I'll probably head upstairs. Do you have a pot I can borrow?

MATT: Yorda is currently in the process of sitting down and checking something underneath and bar and goes, "I'm sorry what was that?"

LIAM: I was hoping you had an iron pot I could borrow for-- never mind I'll use the piss pot. I'll borrow this.

TALIESIN: Yes, of course.

LIAM: Is this enough to jury-rig?

MATT: How much is the--

LIAM: It's ten gold.

MATT: No, you're going to need to go out and buy some.

LIAM: That's why I asked.

SAM: Buy some, what, incense?

LIAM: Okay, this is a joke. I need to actually go to the incense store.

LAURA: Get ten gold of charcoal and incense?

LIAM: For this plan to work.

MATT: There is the remedy store that you've seen before, and that would be the place to have incense and/or herbal type.

SAM: I've been to one of these places, it's called Natural Remedies. Herbs and medicinal things. It's up the street a bit.

LIAM: Do you have ten gold?

SAM: Maybe.

TRAVIS: I have ten gold.

LAURA: You're going through gold very quickly.

SAM: Or I can sneak in and grab it for you.

LAURA: I could help you.

SAM: That sounds fun.

LIAM: We're still trouble with the law. I don't want to push that. If we have the gold, that's the safest path.

TALIESIN: I'm in for a penny. I'm going to through a gold in there as well.

MATT: All right, so you have ten gold between you: nine from Fjord, and one from Molly.

LAURA: Okay, I'll put one in then you have only eight.

MATT: Okay, so eight off. All right, you have the gold. We'll say for the purposes of expediency, it's easy enough to go purchase the necessary incense and it's quite a bit. For the purposes of this ritual, which you've done before, it's quite a cluster you have to assemble for this. The chalk's amassed, the other materials you need for it.

TALIESIN: I just saw Jester open her purse. Dear--!

LIAM: I'm going to go up to my room and it takes me an hour to do this. An hour and ten minutes to be exact. I put the--

TALIESIN: The ten minutes is clean-up.

(laughter)

LIAM: Look at the dungeon master. Is that maybe the longest facepalm?

MATT: I don't know, you guys have made me facepalm pretty long before.

LIAM: I go upstairs to cast Find Familiar.

MARISHA: Oh, you found him!

MATT: What form?

LIAM: A sparrow.

MATT: As you finish the concentration, the cat form shimmers and condenses into this tiny little cluster of coal before it sprouts wings and you glance on your shoulder. (whistles)

LIAM: I'm sorry, I know this is not your preferred form, but it is only temporary until I get ten more gold. Let's go down and get some breakfast.

MATT: You guys, after waiting patiently and talking amongst yourselves, Caleb reemerges with a tiny sparrow.

LIAM: There he is. He lands on Molly's horn.

LAURA: Damn it. Right here?

LIAM: On his horn, yes.

TALIESIN: Go ahead.

LAURA: This is the lumpiest little bird I've ever seen.

MARISHA: Is his name still Frumpkin, it's just a bird now?

LIAM: Always Frumpkin, yeah.

TALIESIN: He's a little feathery Frumpkin.

LIAM: He flits over to Jester's horn. Takes a dump.

LAURA: I feel so special and blessed you guys.

TALIESIN: You look like a princess.

LAURA: Thank you.

LIAM: He stays there for the time being. Is this what we're doing? I can't go anywhere, I'm going to be blind and deaf, I have to stay still and safe. Try not hit me in the head with too many things. It'll take a while, but he will go off.

TRAVIS: Well if you'd like you could stay at the inn, or we could acquire that boat and once you're on board we could send it out as a sort of a recon.

LIAM: That's true as well.

SAM: Do sparrows see in the dark? They're daytime birds.

TRAVIS: It is daytime right now, it would require us leaving now.

SAM: We should do this quickly before the light goes away right?

TALIESIN: Well if we can send the sparrow out, we can carry him with us if he finds anything.

LIAM: I could have done a bat, but it's too late for that now.

TRAVIS: A what?

LIAM: A bat.

TRAVIS: We should take advantage of the daytime. Out the windows as we did before?

TALIESIN: Let's let the sparrow see if it can find anything then we know which direction we have to head into so there's not too much meandering about.

MARISHA: Yeah, can we hunker down here while--

TALIESIN: Until there's a direction to go.

TRAVIS: Perhaps we should go upstairs--

MATT: You can only see through Frumpkin's eyes for up to a 100-foot radius.

LIAM: I thought we talked about this. You told me-- and if you need to change it, change it-- But that I could only control him telepathically up to 100 feet, but could continue to see.

MATT: Let me double-check.

LIAM: I'm happy with whatever your ruling is, but that's how we've done it.

MATT: I have to recall the specifics, I may have confused--

TRAVIS: If that's the case, we'll get the boat. If not we'll let drone sparrow activate.

LIAM: That's what I based this whole plan on.

LAURA: Do we have to get in disguise again in order to leave?

TRAVIS: We could try to sneak out the side of the window. It is daytime.

LIAM: The wording is a little squirrely.

MATT: The wording is a little squirrely. Yeah, you cannot communicate with it telepathically, but you could technically still see through its eyes, I suppose.

LIAM: So I can give him the command up close to go, but if anything happens I can't improvise with him. He does what the command is.

MATT: Right. What's the command?

LIAM: To fly north to the island and circle it a few times to see what we can see and come back.

MATT: All right. As you go up to the window and release Frumpkin--

TRAVIS: Can we say we're doing this from one of our rooms?

LIAM: We gather in Fjord and Molly's room.

MATT: It's curious when Caleb is focusing the pupils go to a very faint sky blue. You see flickering in them, though you cannot make any imagery out of it, it's just the strange movement of the pupil.

TRAVIS: Yep, there's that bullshit again.

LAURA: He can't communicate with us when he's like this?

TRAVIS: He talks. He will talk to you out of the fucking blue.

LAURA: Can he feel if we touch him? I poke him in the forehead.

LIAM: Ow.

LAURA: Oh, okay.

LIAM: Don't do that please, I'm trying to concentrate.

LAURA: Can he tell who did it?

SAM: No, he can't see you.

LAURA: That's wonderful.

SAM: But I will tell him later when he asks.

LAURA: Well, okay, but he won't know now.

MATT: As you concentrate, the bird's eye view of Trostenwald-- Frumpkin carries up high into the air. For the large lake that it is, you can see two smaller land masses in the center of the lake. Technically not north from where you are now, since you're back in the city, it's more of a northeastern direction. They're both relatively small, one's maybe a few 100 hundred feet across, the other one is maybe 50 feet across. It's a smaller mass. Watching as it coasts downward and does a pass over the larger one, make a perception check for Frumpkin.

LIAM: That is a six plus very little or nothing, so you can guesstimate.

MATT: There is a faint treeline on this island. The island has a few small tree, which is mainly what you had seen during the night when you look out over the water, Beauregard. The land mass was actually the very top of this tree line. It's a small grove that has clustered there on the center of this island.Unable to make out any other details other than the tops of these trees and there's a few spots in between where you can see overgrown grass and general ground, rock.

LIAM: This is the bigger one?

MATT: The bigger one, yeah. Make a perception check for the smaller one.

LIAM: Worse. Five.

MATT: The other one has maybe five or six trees on it, but most of them appear to have either died or be standing alone on this small mass. That one looks pretty barren. Even with as bad of a look that was, it doesn't look like there's anything visible on that land mass.

LIAM: Does it look balder than the other?

MATT: It does.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: The larger one has more of a cluster, a grove.

LIAM: Last question, I can probably tell how far apart these two islands are, yeah?

MATT: Yeah, they're roughly 600 feet apart from each other.

LIAM: 600, okay.

SAM: We're all sitting around in this room, watching him watch TV, essentially.

MATT: Yes, basically.

SAM: While this is going on, can I whip out my little chemistry kit and start putting together some chemical stuff?

MATT: Sure, what would you like to make?

SAM: Acid.

MATT: Okay. It requires half a day to make that.

SAM: I'll start it, then.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Get in an hour of work.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: While she's doing that, I'll take my staff and repair where it cracked.

MATT: That's easy enough.

LAURA: I'm going to braid Caleb's hair.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: I feel that.

LAURA: I know.

LIAM: It feels good.

SAM: We talking just one braid? French braid?

LAURA: Like a few little braids, because his hair is not super long. Maybe one here, one here, and one down here.

LIAM: You can't make me Vax again, it won't work.

MATT: Make an intelligence check, adding your proficiency modifier.

SAM: One.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: You kill us all.

TALIESIN: Play-Doh, we've got Play-Doh.

MATT: For the supplies that you've spent-- You've used your one set of acid supplies you had on you, so you'll have to buy more to make it again. As you begin to make it, it becomes caustic and begins to melt through part of your glove. You immediately freak out, you drop it, and it hits the wood. Splatters a bit and begins to melt through the wood.

SAM: Sorry. I didn't mean to, I was-

LAURA: (gasps) Now we can spy on the people below us.

SAM: It didn't go through the entire floor, I don't think.

TALIESIN: Well we're not going to get our deposit back.

SAM: We'll move the nightstand over a little to cover it up. No one will see.

MARISHA: Is it still slowly eating through the wood?

MATT: It is still slowly eating through the wood.

SAM: I pour some water on it.

MARISHA: Oh no.

TALIESIN: That makes it worse.

SAM: Oh no.

MATT: Eventually Frumpkin begins to return, having done Frumpkin's full watch.

LIAM: When I see that he's halfway back, I come out of it.

MATT: You come out of it and the first thing you see is all of them gathered around this hole in the wood.

LIAM: What are you doing?

SAM: I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Caleb.

LIAM: I plant my hands on the sides of the wood and start transmuting it to iron.

LAURA: Iron? That's not noticeable.

MATT: As you concentrate that area and the wood around where that hole all of the sudden begins to turn darker and more solid. While the texture remains of wood, suddenly it has the appearance of a dull reddish-brown metal.

SAM: Thank you. We'll mop it up with some towels and whatnot while it's still iron.

LIAM: Hopefully it will dry.

TRAVIS: That is a hell of a talent you have.

TALIESIN: It's pretty fancy.

MARISHA: Is that what you did with the coin? Is this the coin trick?

SAM: No, the coin was magic. It was a magic pot that we sold you.

LAURA: Oh man, I've been concentrating on skinky-doodles all day.

SAM: That is your power word.

LAURA: All right.

SAM: Sorry.

LAURA: It's fine.

MARISHA and SAM: Sorry.

LIAM: It brought us closer together.

SAM: Would you like back the two copper pieces you gave me for the pot?

LAURA: No, you keep it. I'm a very generous person.

TRAVIS: Can we ask what you saw?

LIAM: Of course, sorry. Acid. Wood. There are two islands out there, a bigger one-- they’re not close-- and a smaller one. One is bald-ish, a couple of trees, but I couldn't see too well on either of them. The bigger one is dense with trees. I didn't see them.

LAURA: Did you have it fly down closer so you could see better?

LIAM: I thought that he would be able to see from the air, and I thought that would have been safer, so no, I'm sorry.

TRAVIS: It was a busy water, there was lots of ships out?

LIAM: I would have seen that.

MATT: There are some fishing vessels out there, and there are a number of them that are still at the docks.

TRAVIS: It's not a lull for any reason?

MATT: No.

LIAM: It's not fleet week.

LAURA: I guess we should go to the big island?

LIAM: I think that the chances of finding it on the big island are greater, yes.

TRAVIS: Fair enough. Out the window, shall we?

MARISHA: What time of day is it?

MATT: By now it's 3:30 in the afternoon, four o'clock.

LAURA: Should we wait until about dusky-time?

MARISHA: That's what I was thinking. Wait until the sun starts to go down? Because it's got to be soon at this point.

MATT: Actually, it's probably closer to five at the time that you've spent with Frumpkin, so it's starting to get closer to dusk.

LAURA: Okay. Does anybody else want braids in the amount of time we have to wait?

MARISHA: Ooh, yeah! Can you give me one going back this way?

LAURA: Of course, I can totally do that.

MARISHA: Thanks.

TRAVIS: Is anyone else going to be heading out the front door besides Caleb, Nott, and myself?

LAURA: I don't want to waste a spell this time.

TRAVIS: I think that's smart.

TALIESIN: I'll keep with you.

LIAM: How far away, roughly, was the edge of the lake and islands from where we are right now?

MATT: From where you are right now? I'd say a mile and a half.

LIAM: Okay, so while everyone is preparing, I take out my spool of silver thread and I go first to Jester's room, and I stretch the thread across, and a little (magic flitter sound) flashes across and the thread disappears. It takes about ten minutes each time, and I do the same on Fjord's doorway, stretch across (magic flitter sound). If anyone goes in to these doors besides you, I will know, but not when we're on that island. Only on the way there. Lasts about a mile.

LAURA: That's awesome!

TRAVIS: That's great, yeah.

MARISHA: While we're getting ready, Molly, I don't know if you unintentionally dodged the question last time, or if you didn't hear me, but you never exactly told us how the circus creates and writes their performance acts.

TALIESIN: I’ve forgotten about that.

MARISHA: Oh, so you did hear me though?

TALIESIN: We were in the middle of things.

MARISHA: Just clarifying.

TALIESIN: It's usually Gustav. If somebody's got an act, they show it off, Gustav figures out how it's going to work into the narrative. Puts it all together.

MARISHA: You bring your own narrative?

TALIESIN: You bring a bit, and then the bit is shaped and formed by the director of the show. If you can do a thing with fire or you can do some juggling, and then they figure out how that's going to work into everything. Where it sits and what costuming, and the whole thing is all an act. Mostly. Mostly an act.

MARISHA: Did Toya and Kylre come together with their act?

LAURA: They came separate.

MARISHA: They came separate.

TALIESIN: Oh, you're thinking of Toya and Kylre? They were an act before-- They were an act for as long as I can remember, right?

MATT: As long as you can remember, yeah.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I've never not known them as an act.

LAURA: I thought when we talked to them they said that Toya came after Kylre. They joined the circus at separate times.

MARISHA: That's what they told you?

SAM: When we were investigating, we were--

LAURA: We gave them a hard-- what was it?

SAM: Bad Cop.

LAURA: Yeah, Good Cop. I was the good cop.

SAM: I was the bad cop!

LAURA: Yeah, and we got hard information from them!

SAM: You're not leaving here without telling us the truth!

LAURA: Yeah, and I was like, “Don't worry, she won't hurt you!”

SAM: I'm crazy! I'll bite her too!

LAURA: Then they just confessed to everything! They were like, "We're a fiend!" and she was like, "I'm a little girl!"

SAM: Yeah, it was crazy.

LAURA: That was how it went.

SAM: She confessed to being a little girl.

LIAM: Do you have any empty positions at the circus for these two?

TALIESIN: I'm feeling like maybe that might be a thing.

LIAM: Tealeaf, you said, "It's mostly an act." What's the not-mostly part?

TALIESIN: Well, I mean, everyone's got some weird. We're weird people. People come in and you're a bit strange, you got something you can do.

LIAM: Are they all swashbuckling swordsmen like you?

TALIESIN: No.

LAURA: Can they all tell fortunes like you?

TALIESIN: No.

SAM: Do they cut themselves like you?

TALIESIN: Well, that's a complicated conversation, but no.

MARISHA: You guys are super easy to lie to, no offense or anything. They lied to them, which means--

LAURA: No, they didn't lie to us!

SAM: We meted out the truth!

LAURA: They told us the truth!

SAM: We cracked the case wide open!

TALIESIN: She is a little girl, to be fair.

LIAM: Nott?

SAM: Toya. Unless, and here's my new theory: The big frog man can leech the life force from people?

LIAM: If that's what it is, yeah.

SAM: What if Toya is a fully-grown adult woman, but he's been slowly leeching so much life from her that she's a small husk.

TALIESIN: Toya's not a fully-grown adult woman.

SAM: She's a tiny full-grown person!

TALIESIN: She's a dwarf.

SAM: Oh, she's just a dwarf? Oh, okay, that makes more sense, actually, when you say it that way. It seemed like she was shrunken down from magic!

TALIESIN: That is so offensive.

LIAM: Perhaps this girl Toya is his baby's bottle, and then once in a while he wants an extra snack.

TALIESIN: I think you're right, but I don't know how he's managed to go this long. Why now, and why in front of all those people?

LAURA: What if he's like, one of those creatures that live at the bottom of the sea, and she's not actually even a person, she's like this light thing that dangles in front of--

SAM: One of his tentacles!

LAURA: Yeah!

TRAVIS: He has tentacles now.

SAM: Not just tentacles, dwarf tentacles!

LIAM: Fucking anime actors.

(laughter)

SAM: I think we know all we need to know.

TALIESIN: I think he is a fiend. I think he is feeding off her. The rest of it I'm not sure.

MARISHA: You never noticed Toya acting weird? You were never like, "Oh this is a strange--"

TALIESIN: Have you met us? We're all a bit weird, and you don't ask a ton of questions.

MARISHA: Yeah, but there's a difference between "quirky" weird and "Oh, I think this person's life force is being siphoned away from them" weird.

TALIESIN: There is. It's the difference between being in a carnival and not being in a carnival.

MARISHA: Then why were you with the carnival?

TALIESIN: Because I'm weird!

MARISHA: (groaning)

SAM: That tracks. That definitely tracks.

TALIESIN: I mean, it's putting together. He was never that talkative. I don’t know. I don't like it.

LIAM: Well, what are we doing?

MARISHA: Let's go find the damn toad!

TRAVIS: Can I use Mask of Many Faces to change into that older gray-haired farmer?

MATT: Sure. Easy enough. The sun is close to setting. I think you got about another 30 minutes or so before it sets.

SAM: Let's go.

LAURA: I Bless you.

SAM: Gesundheit. On the way out, can I grab some booze from the bar to fill up my platinum flask? Or to fill it up a little?

MATT: Okay, we'll say for that, that'll run you about two silver pieces.

SAM: Great. I'll mark it down.

MATT: It's a hefty flask, too.

TRAVIS: Using D&D Beyond.

MATT: Mark that bar tally. All right. Liquor refilled, you go towards the window, you all gather and glance out, and in the alley below the inn is a stationed crownsguard that wasn't there before. You immediately get the sense that with the sudden murder of two crownsguard being discovered in the vicinity, they may have beefed up security a little bit.

MARISHA: Oh shit.

MATT: Only one of them is guarding the alley's exit onto the main street, and they're looking away at the moment onto the road, but occasionally glance over their shoulder into the alley. But there appears to be a little more of a security set-up.

LAURA: Maybe you should go out the front and talk to him and distract him so we can sneak out the window.

TRAVIS: I can do that. Do you want to come along on this little escapade?

LIAM: Yes, I'm a good talker when I have to be.

SAM: As am I.

TALIESIN: Well!

LIAM: Not for this.

SAM: I'll keep lookout.

TALIESIN: I am not the right kind of talker for this.

TRAVIS: Fair enough. So I'll head out the front.

MATT: Okay, you exit without issue.

TRAVIS: Can I locate the crownsguard?

MATT: Easy enough, and as you exit the tavern, you can see where once there were two guards sitting at the front, there's now three, and there are two guards stationed across the street that are keeping a watch. It looks like everyone's on high alert since they've had some of their own crownsguard killed. You make your way around the corner, through the T-intersection to the other road that meets with the main street that crosses in front of the Nestled Nook, and you see the guard stationed outside who's currently leaning up against the wall, arms crossed, looking back and forth.

TRAVIS: Can I run up to him and say: (old raspy voice) Help, please, over here! I've seen one of those creatures! It's tearing into him and it’s horrible. Please, come quickly!

MATT: Make a deception check.

SAM: Oh yes, here it is. Come on charisma.

TRAVIS: 15.

MATT: 15? He goes, "Which way? Please, point and show me."

TRAVIS: This way, quickly, please!

MATT: He grabs his blade and draws it out, and gives a jog after you. The rest of you guys make your way down quickly outside into the alleyway. Make a stealth check.

LAURA: I'm so scared of rolling right now.

TALIESIN: Why does every roll have to be-- Oh thank god.

SAM: We're fine, we went out the front door.

MARISHA: Nope, it's a one.

TALIESIN: 18.

LAURA: 21.

SAM: We're going out the front door.

MATT: All right

MARISHA: I don't know! You know, if it's binary, one means--

MATT: All right. Between the three of you making the check that's still a majority success. But you do pop your ankle when you land.

MARISHA: Did you see the stink-eye he gave me?

LAURA: Don't make comments after he just was kind to us.

MATT: I was being kind! You sprained your ankle a little bit as you land and you kind of hop behind but the three of you make your way past the alley without issue.

SAM: Does she have disadvantage on all checks for the next two days?

MATT: No.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: This is why we don't have you as DM.

MARISHA: This ankle is affecting my wisdom! It's reaching into my family's history!

LIAM: Dungeons & Dragons is about punishment.

MATT: The three of you dart on the outside and make your way down the alley behind what looks to be a cluster of empty rain barrels that are set up to catch during storms, and you appear to have managed to just avoid the sight of the guarding crownsguard on the outside of the inn. Caleb and Nott, what are you guys doing?

LIAM: We're scouting the way nonchalantly, I would imagine.

SAM: I'm real! I'm with you!

MATT: So they darted off into the alley, what are you guys doing?

LIAM: We could make our way to the outskirts of town.

SAM: I said that I would be on lookout duty, so I'm just peering-- Wait they went to the alley to go?

MATT: While he was distracting them, you saw the guard leave with Fjord.

SAM: We'll go with, right?

LIAM: No, we can stay in the open. I send Frumpkin up into the air over the party, 100 feet in the air.

SAM: We're just going out in the open to the water.

TALIESIN: We can also follow the bird.

MARISHA: Yeah, I was going to say, why don't you guys lead the way, and you guys give us a signal if you guys see a guard.

MATT: You aren't there. You haven't caught up with them yet, they're still out in the open.

TALIESIN: I miss the earrings.

LIAM: So I take your hand, and I'm watching them from above.

SAM: I'm guiding him along.

MATT: So the two of you make your way towards the docks slowly.

LIAM: I'm totally acting like I see everything.

MATT: Right. I see everything.

LAURA: I have my hood up.

TALIESIN: Yeah, no, I'm over cloak.

TRAVIS: Weekend at Bernie's walking. Looking around at nothing.

MATT: You guide for two and a half blocks and the guard's still like, "Where is it?"

TRAVIS: I look over my shoulder and keep running, and then go: Oh, what do you want? Who are you? Why are you following me?

MATT: "You called me-- You said there was one of them--"

TRAVIS: Have I done something again? Have you seen my son? What's your name? You're a strong looking--

MATT: He sheathes the blade.

TRAVIS: Oh dear. Do you have any coin?

LIAM: It's badass.

MATT: He walks up and slaps you across the top of the head, and just goes, "Don't go wasting our time."

TRAVIS: I'm sorry. No respect for the elderly, apparently. I walk away.

MATT: He spits on the ground towards you and turns around and heads back to his post.

TRAVIS: (grunting) I make my way towards the docks.

MATT: You all manage to slowly make your way to the outskirts of the Ustaloch, down to where the majority of the docks are set up on the lake itself. Since the lights have gone out, most of the boats have now come back in, and they are bringing in their hauls out, and have small nets and baskets filled with fish they've caught while they're out there, small crustaceans, most of them are in the process of just offloading and locking up and tying their boats. What are you guys doing?

LIAM: I think perhaps the best thing to do is to rent a boat, not steal a boat.

LAURA: You should talk to people.

TRAVIS: I think we may be able to avoid any kind of trading of currency.

LIAM: What's your idea?

TRAVIS: Let me see if I can find a boat that would accommodate all of us and see if we can find some amicable people.

LIAM: All right.

TRAVIS: As a sailor, apparently I'm able to acquire free passage on ships.

MATT: You are, actually. One of the larger fishing vessels that can carry a group of your size, as well as a couple of others, has already been pulled in and most everyone has been loaded off. You can see there's one gentleman in his mid-forties, a little bit of a five o'clock shadow on his chin, a small scar across the bottom of it. He has a heavy knitted cap that's folded back onto the top of his shoulders and a long coat, and as he's standing there, he looks over at you and watches you approach, taking the rope and tying it around the edge.

TRAVIS: Hello there. I was hoping that perhaps I could trouble you. We're trying to make our way out into the lake, some of my companions and I, for a small day trip. We've never quite been out on the lake, not this one. Is there a chance we could trade some work on your day's journey for some travel?

MATT: "If you're looking for someone to take you around the lake, I could do that for a bit of coin, sure."

TRAVIS: I'm sorry, we're a bit light on coin. Is there perhaps anything we could help you with around here in trade?

MATT: He glances at your hands as you're talking, "I like a hard-worker."

TRAVIS: Indeed. Many years of my life.

MATT: "Where are you from?"

TRAVIS: Port Damali.

MATT: "I see you've been a shiphand before. I can see the cracks in the fingers."

TRAVIS: They never go away.

MATT: He looks at his own hand. "So you're just looking for a joyride?"

TRAVIS: Yes, it would help me look a bit more impressive in the eyes of my younger comrades.

MATT: "I'll tell you what. I'll take you around. You get a bottle to take more out there, we'll call it even."

TRAVIS: Much obliged.

MATT: "All right." He goes and starts getting the boat ready to go back out on the lake.

TRAVIS: I go back. It fucking worked.

LAURA: That was pretty cool, Gramps.

TRAVIS: Thanks. We should go.

MATT: He's getting ready. The trade was to bring a bottle.

TRAVIS: A bottle! Right. You don't happen to carry any fine firewhiskey on you, do you?

SAM: Nope.

TRAVIS: If I gave you some money, could you go pick us up a nice bottle of some stuff?

SAM: Yes.

TRAVIS: I don't trust you. If I gave you some money, could you--?

LAURA: Yes, you can definitely trust me.

TRAVIS: I don't trust you either. Beau, I'm going to give you three gold.

MARISHA: That's too much, but do I get to keep the change?

TRAVIS: No.

MARISHA: Damn it. I'll be right back. I go get two bottles.

MATT: A bottle of fine wine runs you about ten gold pieces. A bottle of basic wine, about a gold. This is some Two-Buck Chuck style of wine.

TRAVIS: You can't come back with ten gold wine if I said I was broke.

MARISHA: Exactly.

TALIESIN: Two-Gold Bold.

MATT: You spend the gold and you get a bottle of cheap wine, make your way back to the boat--

LAURA: Can I pull Fjord aside while she's off doing that?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Fjord, that voice you're doing. It almost sounded like you actually did in Port Damali.

TRAVIS: Right, yeah.

LAURA: I mean, I like that voice. I like this voice too, though.

TRAVIS: Oh, well I'm glad. I'm partial to it myself.

LAURA: I like it. You can keep doing it.

MATT: As you return with the bottle, you all get onto the boat. The older gentleman, as you all get on, introduces himself: "I'm Noah, this is my vessel. I'll take you where you need to go. Now, if I can ask where you're headed. Want to do a pass on the lake and back, or..."

SAM: Caleb, where are we headed?

LAURA: Wait, are you still in bird mode?

LIAM: No. That ended. We hear that there's beautiful islands out in the middle of the Ustaloch.

MATT: As he pulls the rest of the rope in as you guys are on board, he stops. “Beautiful?"

TRAVIS: They haven't been on the water much. An island to the eyes of someone like him could appear--

LIAM: I've never seen a lake before this one so, first island. It's a very big moment for me.

MATT: He goes and gets his paddle out and begins making his way-- "Well there's only two islands out there. One's a piece of shite and the other's Crookedstone."

LAURA: What's Crookedstone?

MATT: "Crookedstone used to be where and old witch lived about a hundred years ago."

(gasps)

MATT: "No one goes over to Crookedstone."

TALIESIN: Well!

(laughter)

MARISHA: No one goes to Crookedstone.

TALIESIN: That is our siren's call.

LIAM: Did you say piece of shite? What's the name of the other one?

MATT: "Well, it doesn't really have a name. It's too small."

LAURA: Oh, so the big one is Crookedstone?

LIAM: Crookedstone, yeah.

MATT: "Can I ask you where you're going?"

LAURA: I mean, that sounds like fun, right?

MARISHA: Yeah, you guys aren't actually afraid of some--

MATT: He puts the oar down--

SAM: Boink.

MATT: (cork removal noise) (gulps) (sighs)

TALIESIN: No aerator?

(laughter)

SAM: You monster!

(laughter)

TALIESIN: You've ruined it.

MATT: "Fair be it to me to judge. To Crookedstone, then." He picks up his oar and begins paddling.

LAURA: Tell me more about this witch!

MATT: "I don't know. Probably died many years ago and no one goes around, seeing as it's cursed land. You'll see for yourself soon enough."

LAURA: Did she have a wart on her nose?

MATT: "Probably."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "We don't really deal with witch folk."

LAURA: Did she have a hat? Like a pointy one?

MATT: "I'd only expect as such."

LAURA: Right?

MATT: (chuckles) Takes another swig as you guys begin to make your way towards the center of the Ustaloch--

TRAVIS: Can I put an arm around Beau and have her come to the front of the boat so we can check out the waters as we're going, just for anything that might be--

MATT: Sure. Both of you make a perception check, please.

TALIESIN: I'm going to keep my eyes peeled as well.

MATT: Sure.

LAURA: I'm going to draw witches in my sketchbook.

MARISHA: (yelling) God fucking shitballs cock!

LIAM: I actually tagged along with them.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: (growls and sighs)

LAURA: So it went well?

MARISHA: (high-pitched) It's great. It's a good roll.

SAM: I'm drinking tons of whiskey because I'm super scared to be on the water.

TALIESIN: Eight.

TRAVIS: 13.

LIAM: 20.

MATT: Okay. For future note, if everyone's going to make a perception check I may have a few folks, you know, to helm it, and other people aiding their roll with advantage. Just so we don't end up having a barrage of perception like, "They failed? *I* do it. They failed? *I* do it." Because that gets a little lame. All right, as you guys keep watch over the edge of the water, heading in as the sky darkens, heading towards Crookedstone, the island in the center of the Ustaloch. Prepare yourselves for whatever you'll find there and we're going to go to break!

TRAVIS: Crookedstone, here we come!

MATT: It's time. We're going to go ahead and take a quick ten minute break, roughly. We have ten minutes so we get a little bathroom break. We'll be back here shortly. Make sure to stick around for a video at the break in which we have our Wyrmwood contest to win some awesome Wyrmwood stuff, so keep an eye. We'll be back here in a little bit. See you soon.

Break

[break]

Part II

MATT: Welcome back! Sam!

TRAVIS: Wow. There's Hail Mary's and then there's that.

LIAM: (laughing)

MATT: Oh, I'm going to get you guys back one of these days real hard.

MARISHA: You already do.

TRAVIS: Don't poke the DM.

LIAM: Did that make it in? That was a nuke!

MATT: Welcome back.

TALIESIN: I was weirdly expecting more.

TRAVIS: Are you kidding?

MATT: Our winner of the grandiose collection of Wyrmwood elements is koehlerart. Congratulations, you're the winner. Danoba will contact you and get your information. Pretty nice win on your part. We'll have next week another giveaway to look forward to that.

LAURA: I choked on my spit as I wooed.

MATT: You swooed? Don't do that.

TALIESIN: I don't even know how you did that!

MATT: The sun has set, as you guys approach the outer banks of the Crookedstone Island in the center of the Ustaloch. You can see the grove, a clustered central conglomerate of trees that all create this mound of brush. Now that you're up close against it, you can see the bit of moonlight that's starting to come over the horizon dancing across the upper part of the canopy. The trees, at most, are about 15 to ten feet tall. They're not incredibly huge. Some even hovering around the five to ten foot range on the outskirts.

LAURA: How tall was the lizard man? Devil Toad?

MATT: He was about eight feet tall, hunched forward.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: That's big.

MATT: As you approach the bank, you can see already there's a lot of heavy rocks. This is not a soft, muddy embankment like the outskirts of the lake. This has a lot of jagged rock, and your ship-finding friend is carefully making his way through as close as he can before he comes to a stop, pushes off with an oar, and says, "All right, I think this is as close as I can get. What are you doing here, if I might ask?"

LAURA: We are going to have a picnic on the island.

MARISHA: Beach party.

LAURA: Nighttime beach party!

MATT: Make a deception check.

SAM: Nighttime beach party.

TRAVIS: We're carrying nothing.

LAURA: Wait, what is it, a deception? 14.

MATT: “Sorry I asked.”

MARISHA: The nighttime is the best time to go frog-digging.

MATT: "I'll tell you what."

SAM: That is true.

TRAVIS: Kentucky.

MARISHA: Yeah!

MATT: "I get the sense the less I know, the better off I am. Go about your business, I'll be waiting here. Don't do anything stupid. I'm not getting involved with anything. If there's some illegal business here and I see something shifty, I'm back on the shore and you have to swim your way home."

TRAVIS: Of course. Would someone help me down?

LAURA: Here, I'll help you, Gramps. On either side.

SAM: All you need to know is, there's three dudes and three ladies. You do the math.

TALIESIN: Don't do the math.

MATT: He takes the bottle and takes a big, heavy swig, and sits down in the boat.

TRAVIS: We'll return.

MATT: All right. As you guys step off the boat into about ankle-deep water, traversing the broken bits of sharpened stone, making your way to the actual island of Crookedstone, you begin to slowly approach the outside of the treeline. What do you guys want to do?

LAURA: Should I cast Good and Evil Detection again?

SAM: That seemed to work.

LAURA: I can do it.

TALIESIN: Before you do, let's take a look around. I'm going to take a look around to see if I can find any footprints.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

TALIESIN: Can I use my (mumbles) again, or no?

MATT: What are you doing? Are you looking around for details?

TALIESIN: I'm specifically looking for signs of Kylre.

MATT: Make a survival check, with advantage.

LAURA: What was the name of the creature again?

MARISHA: A nergaliid.

SAM: Heavens to Murgatroyd.

TALIESIN: Wow, that's awful. Wait, that's cocked.

LIAM: We're under the light of the moons, correct?

TALIESIN: That's awful. I can't even-- that's eight.

MATT: It's hard to tell. Because it's such a rocky shore, there aren't a lot of signs of landfall.

LIAM: Moonlight, at this point?

MATT: Moonlight, and a little bit of dissipating orange-purple glow in the sky.

TALIESIN: That's right, we've got some humans. SAM: I did a Travis burp.

MATT: Oh no.

LAURA: He blew it out.

SAM: I blew it that way!

MARISHA: Thanks?

TALIESIN: Oh wow.

TRAVIS: You can taste it, can't you?

MATT: What's the plan, guys?

MARISHA: You didn't find anything?

TALIESIN: We can start heading in.

LAURA: I can cast it, I just will lose a spell slot.

LIAM: Hold on. I send Frumpkin into the sky. Look down, and see if now that I have him flying closer, maybe I can see better, or see something moving in this dim light, before it goes?

MATT: Perception check on Frumpkin, please.

LAURA: Roll really good.

MATT: With disadvantage because of the lack of light.

LIAM: Balls. That's a big seven.

MARISHA: We're lowly humans. How did you deal with this?

TALIESIN: It was awful. I let all of you go first everywhere.

MATT: Yeah, the lack of detail, nothing really catches Frumpkin's eye from above.

LIAM: It's too dark. (flutters)

MARISHA: Can I look and see if I see any big broken branches, or sign of something big moving through the forest?

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: Perception? Not investigation?

MATT: Are you glancing about, or are you going to wade through the forest to look for things?

LIAM: No ranger.

MARISHA: I'd like to move up to the treeline and see where the mud is, and see if I can see any sign of something big moving through the forest.

TALIESIN: Or for a witch's hut.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

LAURA: It's a big island.

MARISHA: That's the same damn fucking roll. Piece of shit.

MATT: Which is good, because the first roll should have stayed anyway. Works out well.

MARISHA: Investigation? Seven.

MATT: Seven. It's hard to tell in the dark, unfortunately. Your human eyes prevent you from finding any details in the vicinity without a light source. The faint bit of moonlight gives you the general structure of the island, but beyond that, even looking close, you have a hard time making out details.

TRAVIS: How about we fan out and move in?

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Keep a line. Within eye shot of each other.

MARISHA: Like looking for drowned kids?

TRAVIS: Well, yeah.

MARISHA: Make a line.

LIAM: Because I can't see anything, I'm going to hand on your shoulder.

SAM: Guide you through.

MATT: Okay. What is the order in which you guys are walking or fanning out?

SAM: The exact order that our minis are, right there.

MARISHA: You know, it kind of works.

TRAVIS: Put me next to Beau.

TALIESIN: Let's the humans in the middle, so that they can't be surprised.

MARISHA: Put Fjord on the outside. There we go.

SAM: Well, not the exact order.

LIAM: Do we want to do it like a V-formation, with Nott in the lead and the two humans just behind?

SAM: We're fine like this.

LAURA: Nott should be next to Caleb, because he can't see. So Nott should be right next to Caleb.

TRAVIS: Jester and Nott switch.

MARISHA: Just don't spread out too far to where we're not in shouting distance.

LAURA: Okay. So we spread.

MATT: Technically, you're in the-- We'll go with this.

ALL: It's fine.

SAM: We're all going to die anyway.

TALIESIN: Again.

MATT: You guys all carefully make your way into the treeline. The smell here is definitely that of low tide. You get that unearthing of sediment, and the occasional whiff of dead fish.

LAURA: Do we smell any brimstone?

MATT: No, not at the moment. You guys push further in. Are you being quiet about this?

ALL: Yeah.

MATT: Then I would like you all to make a stealth check.

TALIESIN: Hey! There's my good roll!

MARISHA: That's all right.

LAURA: 17.

TALIESIN: 19.

TRAVIS: 16.

MARISHA: 17.

LIAM: 15.

SAM: 16.

MATT and TRAVIS: Wow!

TALIESIN: There's that magic we never had.

MATT: As you guys slowly become a cohesive unit, a true adventuring party, you begin to carefully make your way through. Thankfully, most of the small tree cluster, this small glade, the floor of it is soft, and as you step, there's no heavy snapping of twigs or crumbling of leaves. Something does catch the edge of your foot on the outskirts, Fjord, as you glance down. You see what looks to be two crustacean shells: small crabs that have been fished out of the nearby lake, and have been completely eaten. The inside has been cleared out.

TRAVIS: Hold for a second. These shells have been devoured.

MARISHA: Oh. I pass it down the line. The shells have been devoured!

LIAM: The bells have been deflowered.

SAM: The whales are in my power!

LAURA: The veils are covered in flour.

(laughter)

MATT: Something about being deflowered.

SAM: Did Toya love crabs?

TALIESIN: She ate what was put in front of her. We ate what was put in front of us. We're not picky people.

MATT: You guys continue about 30 or so feet into the treeline, before you start finding, I wouldn't say a clearing, but the trees aren't as closely placed together. There is some semblance of an opening here and there.

SAM: What?

LAURA: Stop burping! Yes you did!

SAM: I didn't burp!

LAURA: You probably just breathed out hard.

LIAM: I'm sorry, it was me.

SAM: That was you?!

LIAM: No, I meant Caleb's stink.

SAM: I have not burped.

TALIESIN: I'm trying to keep an eye out for anything.

MATT: Unfortunately, you're having a hard time to make out any sign. You guys make your way towards the center of this cluster of trees.

MARISHA: As we walk, Fjord and I will keep a lookout for any more crustacean empty shells.

MATT: Okay. Make a perception check. Well, one of you do, the other can aid if you want to, and that gives you advantage on the roll.

MARISHA: Help me. I get advantage?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Thank god you're helping me. Just perception? 20 total.

MATT: You don't see any more crab shells, but you do glance a bit ahead, and amongst the trees, you can see stonework. Stones stacked in a wall that is toppled over and fallen. A small ruin. Some sort of a structure, once a single-story structure that seems to have fallen inward and been destroyed. Partially overgrown, and what little moonlight comes through, you can make out the shape of it. There's corners still standing, but other than that, it looks like it's been toppled over and left to ruin.

MARISHA: Is that a cave? I think your eyes are better than mine.

TRAVIS. Yeah. With my darkvision, can I zero-in on what she's looking at?

MATT: If you get a little closer, you can, yeah.

TRAVIS: I scoot up a little bit.

MATT: Okay. You creep up and you can see it's a ruined building. It looks like it was 30 feet on one side, 15 feet on the other. It's destroyed.

TRAVIS: I can see why they say a witch was here. It's pretty spooky in this light.

TALIESIN: Even if we weren't here on business, I really want to see this.

LAURA: Can we sneak around the hut?

MARISHA: Can we surround the hut?

MATT: There's no hut. It's a ruin.

LAURA: Can we sneak around the ruin?

MARISHA: We're building a narrative here that Matt is not giving us.

MATT: Like The Secret. You're manifesting a witch fight here. "Where's the hut?"

TRAVIS: Let's approach.

MATT: You guys approach. Who's keeping visual point on this?

MARISHA: Whose got better eyes?

TRAVIS, TALIESIN, and LAURA: I have darkvision.

LIAM: I'm moving slow on purpose at the back of the group now.

TRAVIS: Which means you are, too.

MATT: Who's helming this? I'll give one of you a perception roll to help on this.

TRAVIS: Go for it, Molly.

LAURA: No, we're pointing at you.

TRAVIS: You're pointing at me? I don't want perception, you want Beau.

MATT: Technically, I should have given Beau disadvantage because of her human eyes. I let it slide because you were looking for crustaceans.

LAURA: I'll do it! Because I like witch huts, I'll do it. What's yours?

TALIESIN: I'll do it.

MATT: Because of you being a human.

MARISHA: He basically saw it.

MATT: I know. It worked out fine for the narrative.

TALIESIN: I'll go for it. I don't get advantage on this.

MATT: No.

TALIESIN: No, okay. God. Six.

MATT: It's too dark to see anything, even with your darkvision. It looks like a ruin. It could very well be that this island is abandoned.

MARISHA: Does it look like, when we get up close to it, like it's caved in on top?

MATT: It looks like whatever roof was has fallen in, and all there are are some semblances of the wall still standing, and corners to the structure, but most of it is either crumbled in entirely--

LIAM: Yeah, this is like a famine home in Ireland. You can see the edges of it, probably.

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: Fjord, give me a boost.

TRAVIS: Yeah, sure.

MARISHA: Getting up on the roof.

MATT: Okay. You climb up onto-- there is no roof to it, per se. It's all fallen in.

SAM: There's a full hut with a witch inside, Matt.

(laughter)

MATT: You want me to put a witch in this? You want me to throw a witch in this? There can be a witch, Sam!

SAM: There's a full, two-story hut with a burning fireplace.

LIAM: I'll pull out the Baba Yaga, give me five seconds.

MATT: I got rules for this shit in the book.

MARISHA: You hear a dice fall, "And...six witches come out."

MATT: Yeah, going back to my first campaign. Roll for number of witches. As you vault up to the top edge of one of the stronger walls, you head up onto the side and glance to the back, right as a pair of red eyes (whoosh) right up at you, and this (growling).

TRAVIS: We know that sound.

MATT: I need you to roll initiative.

TALIESIN: I did not sneak that in, did I?

MATT: Nope.

SAM: Everybody, or just her?

MATT: All of you.

LAURA: All of us?

(cheering)

MARISHA: Which dice? I haven't rolled this dice yet. Maybe it will be kind.

SAM: Look at this well-constructed map.

LIAM: Oh, shit snacks.

MATT: There's Beau, right there.

TRAVIS: Look at the size of that.

LIAM: Look, you're up in the air, bro!

LAURA: And little Toya.

MATT: Whereabouts are you guys, currently?

LIAM: I would be the furthest back.

MARISHA: Fjord's right next to me.

LAURA: Me and Molly were closer to it.

MATT: Fjord's right there, giving you the boost up. You and Molly were close to it?

LAURA: Closer than Caleb. Yeah, that's good.

MATT: You guys are next to each other, because you're holding there. Molly moved up to probably here. Around there?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'm all right with that.

LAURA: Yes, I'm good.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: The trees are awesome. Oh man! That fucking music.

MATT: Let's go ahead and-- oh shit, okay.

LAURA: Oh no, they rolled really well.

SAM: They? It's just one.

LAURA: Toya's there too.

SAM: Toya's just a dwarf girl.

LAURA: She's going to pull out some shit.

MARISHA: Yeah she is, don't trust that bitch.

MATT: 25 to 20, anybody? Nott, since you got high-- You got higher than that last time. 20 to 15?

TALIESIN: 18.

MARISHA: 16.

MATT: Hold on. We have Molly up front at 18. Who's next after that?

MARISHA and LAURA: 16.

LIAM: I'm at 15.

TRAVIS: You and Frumpkin?

MATT: For the ease of this, we're going to run with Frumpkin on your initiative order because otherwise it's another initiative we have to worry about.

LIAM: So keep him with me?

MATT: Yeah. All right, so, Caleb. 15 to ten?

SAM: 11!

MATT: All right, Nott. What did you get, Fjord?

TRAVIS: Five.

LAURA: Oh no.

SAM: Wait, you can't see because you're looking through the sparrow, or because you're a human?

LIAM: I'm human.

SAM: That's why we're holding hands?

LIAM: We're not holding hands anymore.

MATT: Top of the combat round. Molly, you hear this growl, and you watch Beau begin to react and get the staff ready and you immediately know this is not good, but you're up first.

TALIESIN: I'm going to pull out both my swords, and I'm going to drag them--

LAURA and MARISHA: [imitating him] Borth your swords!

SAM: Irish, Laura.

TALIESIN: I'm not doing my accent right now. So I'm going to pull out both the swords, and I'm going to drag them on the back of my neck, and before the blood even begins to pour, it goes straight into ice along the blades.

TRAVIS: Sick.

MATT: You can only apply one per round on a bonus action.

TALIESIN: Action, bonus action.

MATT: Oh, you're doing both right now?

TALIESIN: Action and bonus action.

MATT: Technically it's a bonus action; you can't convert an action to a bonus action.

TALIESIN: I can't turn an action to a bonus action?

MATT: No. Unfortunately.

TALIESIN: All right, that's fair.

MATT: Yeah, you could apply it once, and then you still have your action if you want to.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: You can mark down, you take down your temporary hit points or your max hit points to 22.

TALIESIN: I'm going to move around and I'm going to try and get a little cover right here.

MATT: Okay. You move there?

TALIESIN: I'm going to move there, and I'm going to hold my attack until there's something to hit. I'm going to try and make little wave at Yasha. Toya. Ah, brain.

MATT: It is now Kylre’s turn.

TRAVIS: Oh, shit, right away.

MATT: All right, seeing you right there, the devil toad turns to little Toya to the side, who looks a bit dirtied at a glance, and goes, "They're trying to take you away. Come, sing for us! Stop them!"

MARISHA: I look down at Fjord and I go: Let me down! Help me down!

TRAVIS: What?

MATT: All right. The devil toad is going to straight leap, which would pass through your-- you get an attack of opportunity-- and land right there.

TRAVIS: Look at the size of that thing.

MATT: Make your attack, if you want to.

MARISHA: I can't really do anything; it's just a wack, right?

MATT: It's just a hit with your staff, yeah.

MARISHA: Okay, 21.

MATT: That hits! Go and roll damage.

MARISHA: Just with my staff, right?

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: Not great. Seven points of damage.

MATT: Seven points of damage. You smack it on the way, with this horrible wet thud to the back its body, but it moves through with immense speed, especially with the density and the weight of this thing as it lands, the ground shakes in the area, the vicinity, and as it lands, it uses its action to Summon Devil.

MARISHA: Summon devil?

MATT: As it lands, it begins to mutter a language under its breath. Anybody here speak Infernal?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: You hear an incantation that essentially amounts to a faint, "Come, protect me, brothers," beneath its breath, and three bursts of flame.

SAM: Three!? Not three!

MATT: As three imps apparate in the vicinity.

MARISHA: Fucking imps!

MATT: Here and here. Roll their initiative. Okay.

LAURA: (singing) We're fucked. We're fucked.

TRAVIS: So excited right now!

MATT: That's his action, and Toya's up next! Toya actually rolled initiative just below.

TRAVIS: She wants to be our friend.

MATT: Toya is looking around, looking scared, looking at you motioning towards her. (sung note) Her haunting voice begins to spread from her and I need all of you to make a wisdom saving throw, please.

TRAVIS: Oh, shit.

SAM: 15.

MARISHA: Also 15.

TALIESIN: 20.

TRAVIS: 17. Natural 17.

LIAM: 20.

SAM: Still 15.

LAURA: Nine.

MATT: Okay. That's some good saving throws, guys. All of you shake your head and back away. You: your eyes move towards her, and there's an enchantment that pulls your attention. You have disadvantage on any attack rolls you make for the next turn. She, scared, sees you, and begins to walk back this way and hide behind the wall, but continues to sing, giving this aura in the vicinity. That ends Toya's turn. Beau, you're up, as well as Jester.

LAURA: I'm going to Invoke Duplicity.

MATT: So that's your action? Where are you placing your--?

LAURA: So she can appear anywhere?

MATT: Let me see real fast. Still getting used to these new abilities.

SAM: Use your D&D Next to look at the information about that spell.

MATT: It appears anywhere within 30 feet of you in an unoccupied space.

LAURA: Tight. Okay, she's going to appear in the tree in front of me. Next to Fjord.

SAM: Wait, did you have two minis made for yourself?

LAURA: No, Matt did the second one! Isn't that cool!?

SAM: Ah, wow.

LAURA: Then as me, I'm going to run away. Can I run behind a tree and crouch?

MATT: You can go around this one there.

LAURA: I'm going to crouch behind it.

MATT: That gives you some cover. That's your turn. Beau, you're up.

LAURA: That’s my turn.

MARISHA: I'm going to vault off of the platform that I'm on, and I'm going to go for Toya. I'm going to take my bo staff. I'm going to try and take her where her throat is and grapple her down to the ground. Like to basically throat crush and get on top of her.

MATT: All right, make an acrobatics check.

TRAVIS: Little larynx assault.

LAURA: I feel like Beau will have far less problems hurting children.

MARISHA: Yeah. Okay. 15.

MATT: Yeah. You make the landing, roll, and go towards her. You're going to use your action to grapple?

MARISHA: Grapple her down.

MATT: Go ahead and make an athletics check, please.

LIAM: Put her in a body bag, Johnny!

TRAVIS: That was so close.

MARISHA: It's a 14. Yeah, I know, you can barely see that one. Athletics you said? 19. 18, sorry!

MATT: As you land, you manage to grapple Toya and using the staff you press her against the wall, and the scared dwarf girl's eyes are open wide. The singing falters for a second, but she continues to still sing, and you see her eyes looking around desperately for--

MARISHA: Do I have a bonus?

MATT: I mean, you have a bonus action, yes.

MARISHA: Can I crush in a little bit further and get her to stop singing?

TALIESIN: I'm so proud of you.

SAM: Crush that windpipe.

MARISHA: Just a little!

MATT: Technically a grapple is an attack, so it's an attack action, so yeah. You can.

MARISHA: That's right. Y'all thought Keyleth was a fuck up. What am I doing, just a straight attack?

MATT: Just a straight attack. If you're just hitting, or pushing ahead with it, I'll say.

MARISHA: 11.

MATT: 11? Does not hit, actually.

LAURA: She's got the strongest windpipe ever.

MATT: It's more that fact that as you're pressing in, she's adjusting her body and she's reaching up, grabbing, and trying to keep her voice emitting from her throat. You can't seem to get a beat to press. She looks genuinely really scared and freaking out at being put in this position.

MARISHA: I'm just going to say: I felt bad for you before, but now you *should* be scared.

MATT: Okay. That ends Beau's turn. Caleb, you're up.

LIAM: Question: is the humans' visibility shit right now?

MATT: Yeah, there's no light in here.

LIAM: So I can't see what I'm doing, right?

MATT: Most any roll you'd be making would be at disadvantage.

LIAM: Okay, so four globules of light go (popping) out of my hands and one of them hovers--

MATT: Actually, we have a light for this. Forgot about that! I should've put that on. Hints of moonlight.

LIAM: It's a row of four globules of light. One is hanging above where my miniature is now. One is closer to froggy. One is, like a line over the building, so that there's one also hanging over Beauregard.

MATT: We'll say within this vicinity here, the entire center of the island now glows. You can see the ruins casting shadows off against the rocks in the vicinity from where each globe is placed. You all have a pretty good view of the battlefield at the moment.

LIAM: With my remaining movement, I'm hauling ass towards Fjord and whichever Jester that is ahead of me.

MATT: You can get right behind Fjord if you want to. That ends Caleb's turn. Nott, you're up.

SAM: Okay. Seeing where Caleb has run-- If I move, will that imp next to me get an attack?

MATT: One way to find out.

SAM: Okay. Well then, I will turn to the imp next to me and I will slash at it with my shortsword.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

SAM: Two.

LAURA: Don't you add something?

MATT: Eight.

MATT: As you swing wide, it flaps its wings backward and the tiny demonic humanoid creature with its wings in the air goes (cackling).

SAM: All right, I will bonus action disengage and run to Caleb.

MATT: Okay, there's that.

TRAVIS: Disengage, baby!

LIAM: So proud! So proud!

MATT: Okay, so you're all clustered up here behind the ruins.

LAURA: So smart.

SAM: They can't get us over here.

(laughter)

MATT: All right, so that finishes your turn, Nott. Fjord, you're up.

TRAVIS: Over the top of the ruins, can I see the hellish toad?

MATT: You can. With the light that's burning up there, it only goes about maybe five or six feet there. You have a good view of the creature.

TRAVIS: Can I use for my bonus action my Hexblade's Curse?

MATT: That you can!

TALIESIN: What?! Hexblade's Curse?

TRAVIS: I gain bonus to my damage rolls. A 19 or a 20 is a crit. When it dies, I might get something.

MATT: As you focus on it, and you condense your attention, you guys watch as the blade in Fjord's hand shimmers slightly. What was previously a faint bit of polished metallic suddenly begins to grow something organic looking. A cluster of barnacles begin to appear out of the hilt of the weapon and curl down about three or four inches down the blade, and it begins to drip water, sourceless. Like it was freshly pulled out of the ocean. The shadows that had been drawn from the nearby bits of stonework begin to tear into the body of the devil toad who looks around at the ground as there's now this squirrely swirling bit of black energy that's wrapping around and causing it to look about confused at its torso. That's your bonus action.

TRAVIS: I'm coming for you. I'll roll around the right side so I can see Toya.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: I'll use Eldritch Blast at Toya being held down by Beau.

MARISHA: He gets advantage, right, because she's pinned?

MATT: You're shooting Toya? Or are you shooting the toad?

TRAVIS: I'm sorry. The toad.

MARISHA: Oh sorry, sorry, sorry.

TRAVIS: That is a 19. That is a critical.

MATT: For the Hexblade's Curse, we'll have to double check.

TRAVIS: Oh, it is melee.

MATT: It is for your melee. I don't think it's for spells unfortunately.

TRAVIS: That's right. It is melee. Yeah, I'm staying right there. Plus six, so that's a 25.

MATT: Yeah, that hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

SAM: Every time he casts a spell, does it go (sings Dueling Banjos).

(laughter)

TRAVIS: 13, 14, 15.

MATT: 15?! Slick.

LIAM: From that blast? Sick.

MATT: Because it’s plus--?

TRAVIS: 1d8 plus four, plus two for the Hexblade's Curse.

MATT: The hexblade-- is that also for a melee weapon though?

TRAVIS: Bonus to damage rolls against the cursed target. It equals my proficiency bonus.

MATT: Great, yeah. That's 15? With that as you snipe through the pommel of your blade, the energy blast strikes and the toad-- as it impacts, the shadows seem to grab the bolts of energy and tear them back towards it's torso causing additional damage as it (grunts in pain).

TRAVIS: Can I use the rest of my movement-- yeah, no, I'm good where I am.

MATT: Okay. That's the end of your turn. Top of the round. Now the imps go.

SAM: Oh boy.

LAURA: Imps are the top of the round?

MATT: Yep.

LAURA: Jeez louise.

TRAVIS: Times three right?

LIAM: Nope, that's a mistake. You also don't mean to do that.

MATT: Two, three, four.

TRAVIS: Twenty feet speed.

MATT: Oh no, it's a 40 foot fly speed!

(groans)

MARISHA: Of course it is.

TALIESIN: Opening your mouth right there. That was so useful! So useful!

MATT: All right, cool. With that, all three are of them are going to make a sting strike. That's one against you, Caleb. That's a natural three plus five. That's eight.

LIAM: Ooh, it almost got me though.

MATT: Misses you. Against Nott, that-- Jesus. Nine.

SAM: No.

MATT: Then Molly. A 17 plus five.

TALIESIN: Yep, that hit me.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Actually, is it close enough to me that I would have taken a swipe at it anyways?

MATT: You would have. You take your strike as it comes into range.

TALIESIN: That's a 13?

MATT: 13 does hit. Just hits!

TALIESIN: That's a 1d6 plus 1d4. That's eight damage plus one cold damage, so nine damage.

MATT: Nine points of damage. As it swings down with its wings, you arc out with your scimitar and you carve through its body. It looks horribly hurt, blood spatters across your arm and across your forearm from the creature.

MATT: But it still survives and jams its stinger into you. It's cocked. That is five points of piercing damage and you have to make a constitution saving throw, please.

TALIESIN: Five points of damage and a constitution saving throw.

MATT: Correct.

TALIESIN: Constitution saving throw. God damn it. 11.

MATT: 11 is just what you need to succeed! You only suffer four points of poison damage. Nine points of damage total.

SAM: That's nothing! You're fine.

TALIESIN: That's a lot.

SAM: We each have like 150 hit points.

TRAVIS: The Hexblade’s Curse is on any damage, it's not melee.

MATT: Correct.

TRAVIS: I could roll an extra damage die, and it would be for that crit. The 19.

MATT: Oh wait! Okay.

TRAVIS: It doesn't have to be melee. I had it right there and I should've read it.

MATT: Thank you for clarifying. Go ahead and roll another die.

TRAVIS: And it's a 1d10, not a 1d8. I was talking out my ass before. So ten.

MATT: You rolled a ten?

TRAVIS: No, I rolled four.

MATT: Well, it's the additional die.

TRAVIS: Thank you, just the four.

MATT: So 19 damage on that one, nice.Good to know, thank you. That brings us to the end of the imp's turn. Molly, you're up.

TALIESIN: I'm going to use my bonus action, take a slash at that imp. I can only use it as an action, right?

MATT: Well, no. You have to attack with one hand and then as a bonus you can attack with the other.

TALIESIN: Okay, I'll burn my attack hitting that bloody imp.

MATT: You can attack with the one that's not enchanted if you wanted to.

TALIESIN: No, I'll hit it with the enchanted one.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I'm really hurt and I just took nine points of damage.

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: Yeah, 19 to hit.

MATT: That hits, go ahead and roll damage.

TALIESIN: That's seven points of damage.

MATT: With a scream and a burst of flame and sulfurous cloud, the imp flickers out of existence.

TALIESIN: I'm going to pull back behind this tree trunk then and get a little cover to figure out what to do next, because I'm really hurt.

MATT: Okay, you used your action, you still have your bonus action.

TALIESIN: Yeah. I can't heal or anything. My god, I can't do anything.

MATT: You can still attack with your bonus action if you wanted to. Okay, then back away. That's your turn then. Molly's done. Kylre, let's see here. He's going to make a standing leap. (counting) 30, he can land right there.

SAM: Juggernaut.

MATT: Lands right next to you, Caleb, you get knocked almost off your feet and barely hold yourself there. As it lands, you glance over your shoulder at it, its eyes burn ever bright and you feel this horrible sickening sensation crawl across your body, make a wisdom saving throw.

LAURA: Oh god.

LIAM: 20.

MATT: That succeeds the saving throw.

SAM: He's so wise!

MATT: You are not stunned, as the siphon life deals four points of psychic damage to you. However, he gains four temporary hit points.

TRAVIS: He gains four?

MATT: Yes. The life that it pulls from you bolsters himself and it would've been a lot worse if you had failed, so that's good. All right, that's going to end Kylre's turn. Now going to Toya, who's still singing, I need everybody to make a wisdom saving throw, please.

TALIESIN: 16.

TRAVIS: 14.

LAURA: 21.

SAM: 19.

MARISHA: 20.

LIAM: What is this, wisdom? 23.

MATT: Yes. You guys are rolling some crazy fucking saves!

MARISHA: Just saves.

MATT: Jesus. Well, Toya keeps singing. She's starting to cry now, you can see tears running down her face as you're pushing her into the wall. That ends Toya's turn, Beau and Jester, you're up.

LAURA: Can I run away without getting hit?

MATT: You don't know.

LAURA: Okay. Do you want to do something first?

MARISHA: Go for it, I'm just going to be like: Shh, shut up! So go ahead.

LAURA: Okay. I'm going to, with my duplicity self, get up on the roof.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: Right there. She’s going to Guiding Bolt straight in his face.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll for the attack. Guiding Bolt is a ranged spell attack, correct?

LAURA: Yes. Balls! Seven.

MATT: Seven is not a hit. As you attempt to fire the bolt outward, the devil creature glances up and sees your secondary form and then ducks, as it blasts into the ground right by your feet, arcing past and exploding across the dirt and bits of-- whatever it is there. The word escaped me in the moment.

SAM: Gore!

MATT: Yes. Well, no, I was going to say compost. There you go, compost was the word I was looking for.

LAURA: I am going to say: you are so stupid why did you get up on the roof like that?! That's why he saw you! I am going to run to the tree, straight back.

MATT: Okay. As you come out of the way, the toad’s long-armed reach swipes out at you as a reaction. That is going to be 16 to hit.

LAURA: It doesn't hit me. 17.

TRAVIS: You have AC 17?

LAURA: I got a shield, bitches.

MATT: As you run and dart, you see the giant arm coming down towards you, and you pull the shield up and it almost causes you to trip from the sheer force of the impact. But the brunt of it is taken by the shield as it scrapes off and you hear this horrible grinding of metal as its claws scoop across the outside of it. That ends your turn I believe. Beau.

MARISHA: Okay, so I've got the little girl pinned, and I am going to go, shh. I am going to take my arm and--

MATT: Are you trying to cover her mouth?

MARISHA: Yep.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and make an additional athletics check.

MARISHA: I want to jam my whole forearm in her mouth.

MATT: All right. Make an athletics check.

MARISHA: Okay.

LIAM: It’s your forte, so--

MARISHA: Ten!

MATT: She rolled a ten as well. That is considered--

MARISHA: A roll off! I get to roll again!

(laughter)

MATT: No, I believe for contesting...

TRAVIS: Yeah, because if it was AC, it would be just enough. But--

MATT: Right. I'm looking at contesting grapple checks here real fast.

TALIESIN: Ah, learning.

TRAVIS: (inaudible auctioneer voice)

(laughter)

LAURA: That was Fjord’s other job.

TRAVIS: As a manure salesman.

(laughter)

MATT: Doesn’t say as part of the rules. I'll say, for the hell of it, let's roll it one more time.

MARISHA: Okay!

SAM: It's a roll off!

EVERYONE: Its a roll off!

MARISHA: Dance battle!

LIAM: Get back in there, Rocky!

MARISHA: Ah-- this one! Don't fuck me, blue! No, that's good, plus, my athletics, right?

MATT: Yes.

MARISHA: 16, thank you.

MATT: Natural 18. This tiny little dwarf girl, her stout form still manages to pull your arm back from her mouth. The voice continues to build outward.

SAM: It's because she is really a tentacle. She is part of him--

MARISHA: Do I have a bonus action?

MATT: Yeah, it was an attack, yeah. It was a grapple attack. You do.

MARISHA: Can I try something else like that again, or do I just get an attack?

MATT: I mean, what you want to do?

MARISHA: Okay, my arm doesn't work. I am going to--

LAURA: Punch her in the face!

LIAM: Knock her the fuck out!

MARISHA: Yeah, I'm going to be like, fuck! I'm going to elbow her right in the temple and try and knock her out.

MATT: Okay, make an attack.

MARISHA: Natural 18. 24.

MATT: That hits, roll damage.

MARISHA: Right, 22, yes, 22. No, 24. I'm confused. Okay.

TRAVIS: New characters.

MARISHA: New characters, new characters. Ah, yeah, okay, eight damage!

MATT: Eight damage. Whack! As you smack her in the side of the head, her eyes roll back and she falls limp in your grasp. She's unconscious.

TRAVIS: Wow.

MATT: The singing immediately stops.

LAURA: Oh, he is going to be so pissed!

TRAVIS: Oh yeah, tiny dancer coming.

MARISHA: That's all. That ends my turn right? I'm holding this girl?

MATT: You have your movement. You are holding her there.

MARISHA: Oh, I'm holding her? Can I drag her back a bit? Into the woods.

MATT: Okay, it's half movement to drag her. That's as far as you can get.

MARISHA: I'm going to be quiet. Can I support her head?

MATT: As soon as the singing stops. (grunts) The toad looks over the shoulder and sees you dragging her back. What previously was this low, guttural growl becomes this bellowing scream of hatred. That ends your turn, Beau.

LAURA: What are the odds you think that Yasha's on this island and she's going to come save us all?

MATT: Caleb, your turn.

LIAM: As soon as it starts roaring, I am surrounded, I have nowhere to go so I pull the diamond out, spin it, and the ice shards start to shoot and I pick it up and I throw it in his bellybutton.

MATT: All right. You are in melee range with a creature doing a ranged spell attack, so go ahead and roll your attack. It has disadvantage.

LIAM: That's okay because if I move I am dicked. That's not good. That's terrible. The second one was so good though. That's not great. That's ten.

MATT: Unfortunately, as you're scared, the sound of its screaming causes you to shake as you release the blast. Unfortunately, your fingers lose the hold of your diamond for a moment and you have to actually catch it. As you do, the spell dissipates and fumbles. Anything else on your turn, Caleb?

LIAM: I'm going to-- Nope. I'm going to stay there and freeze. Freeze up. That cat's a bird and she flies up straight.

MATT: That ends Caleb's turn. Nott, you're up.

TRAVIS: Warhorn.

LAURA: Do something cool.

SAM: I mean I can-- seeing Caleb surrounded, Nott will leap on to the beast's face and stab it in the neck.

MATT: Which one, the toad?

SAM: The big one.

MATT: You will get an attack--

SAM: I'll disengage first.

MATT Okay, so you disengage as a bonus action. Move over--

LAURA: You knocked me off the roof.

MATT: I'm sorry.

LAURA: She didn't feel anything. She doesn't have actual nerves.

MATT: Exactly. As you push away from the imp as it tries to strike at you, seeing your friend in serious danger here, you dive into the shadows, leap into the air. Go ahead and roll an attack.

SAM: 19

MATT: 19 hits. Go ahead and roll damage plus sneak attack, because Caleb is in range.

SAM: Nine, ten, plus fury of the small, 12.

MATT: All right. So 12 points of damage. As you drive the blade into the devil toad, you see it plunge right to the hilt and it begins to bleed from the wound but its intention is still focused on the unconscious dwarf being dragged off by the monk. But that was a pretty sizeable blow. That ends your turn I believe. Fjord.

TRAVIS: All right, I have a question. Hexblade's Curse. If I do another bonus action, does Hexblade's Curse keep going? It doesn't say-- it says if the curse ends early or if the target dies or you die or you're incapacitated, it drops but nothing else.

MATT: Does it say it's concentration?

TRAVIS: It doesn't say.

MATT: Then I would say it's not concentration

TRAVIS: Fucking-A. With my bonus action, can I cast Wrathful Smite?

MATT: Yes you may.

TRAVIS: May I charge el toad from hell-o?

MATT: That you can. As you run through the space between that large rock and the exterior of the ruined building, your large blade, water drifts off of it behind. It seems to almost perpetually emanate its own source of water. You arc with the blade forward. Go ahead and make your strike.

TRAVIS: 17 to hit.

MATT: That hits.

TRAVIS: Beautiful. This is a 1d8.

MATT: Is it one-handed, or are you holding it with two hands.

TRAVIS: I didn't really say.

MATT: You did not

TRAVIS: So I'll go with the lower of the two. 1d8 plus four. 12 plus a 1d6 psychic damage and he has to make--

MATT: Was it plus four, right?

TRAVIS: It is plus four.

MATT: Your charisma's plus four. Then you get a plus two because of your Hex, so technically it's plus 16. Sorry, 14.

TRAVIS: Let's see, 1d6 psychic damage, which is an additional one for 15. He makes a wisdom saving throw or he's frightened until the end of the spell.

MATT: That is going to be a 12. What's the DC?

TRAVIS: Oh, I think that's lower than my 14. I've got a spell save DC, y'all!

MATT: As you rush through the air and the blade arcs, the water seems to glow as it comes off, like it becomes phosphorescent and as he impacts the blade into the side of the demon toad, there’s a flash of light and what’s left behind is the scar that you’ve cut through its body is now burning with this reminiscent ember where you just carved through its hide. It looks down at you, averts its gaze from the monk for a second, and goes (confused snarling). For a split second, for the first time, you see fear in its red burning eyes.

TRAVIS: Yes!

MATT: How long does it last?

TRAVIS: It lasts until he can make a wisdom check against the spell save DC.

MATT: Again? Okay. So he has disadvantage on attacks and cannot move closer towards you.

MARISHA: Amazing.

TRAVIS: Yeah, he's frightened.

MATT: That ends Fjord's turn. The imps are up now. This imp here is going to turn around and dart towards the cleric who ran off to the side and that one's going to attack Caleb. Caleb, that is going to be a 12 to hit?

LIAM: Deffo.

MATT: That hits?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. So you suffer, as the stinger hits you, for seven points of piercing damage. I need you to make a constitution saving throw, please.

SAM: No problem.

LIAM: That's a 12.

MATT: A 12 succeeds. So you only suffer five points of poison damage.

LIAM: Caleb is unconscious on the ground.

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: The other imp attacking you, Jester. That is going to be a natural 19. Pretty sure that hits you at 24. You take six points of piercing damage and I need you to make a constitution saving throw.

TALIESIN: Jesus, these things are so vicious.

SAM: And you lose all your gold.

LAURA: God (angry muttering)-- seven.

LIAM: Jeez, this is going south guys.

MATT: Actually, that's not too bad. Six points of poison damage.

LAURA: So 12 total?

MATT: Correct.

TALIESIN: Oh my god.

MATT: All right, that's going to end the imps' turn. Molly, you're up.

TALIESIN: (groaning) Shit.

LIAM and SAM: Get her done.

TALIESIN: I'm going to get a little closer, I'm going to start running towards the ruins.

MATT: That's 30 feet there.

TALIESIN: That'll do it. I'm going to look at the imp and I'm, in Infernal, I'm going to say, to just-- terrible: There's nothing but death for you here. I'm going to attack Vicious Mockery on him and show him the bottom card.

SAM: Are you a bard?! What the fuck?

MATT: Variant tiefling.

TALIESIN: I have to learn some-- Yeah, that's a--

MATT: A wisdom saving throw?

TALIESIN: Yeah, it's wisdom saving throw.

MATT: That is going to be a no with a seven, I'm pretty sure.

TALIESIN: I'm trying to figure out how this works but--

LIAM: By the way, when Caleb went down those four balls of light disappeared.

MARISHA: No!

TALIESIN: It's not a lot, but that's four points of psychic damage and he has disadvantage on the next attack roll it makes.

MATT: All righty, good to know.

TALIESIN: That was just my bonus action, I'm going to use my action--

MATT: Vicious Mockery is an action.

TALIESIN: No that's a-- it is an action, you're right. That's what I’ve got right now. Just trying to get its attention.

MATT: Okay. That ends your turn. It is now Kylre's turn who is-- (laughs) oh man, yeah. He was about to go right after Beau, but he's scared of you and cannot move closer towards you. He's going to take a swing at Nott. He's like (panicked muttering) and try to squash the small thing right there, with disadvantage. That is 16.

SAM: 16.

MATT: 16's your armor class? That hits. 11 points of piercing damage as the claw strikes out at you, and I need you to make a constitution saving throw.

TALIESIN: Oh my god. We're not doing well.

SAM: Ten.

MATT: Ten is just what you needed to succeed. The poison from the claws of the toad does not set into your system.

TRAVIS: I can't believe this shit.

MARISHA: I know. Who's down? You're down?

TALIESIN: He's the only one who's down but we're all hurt.

LAURA: And I've got a thing right in front of me so I can't--

MATT: Kylre's going to-- out of sheer panic now from you-- try to flee. So he's going to leap and land over here. You do both get attacks of opportunity on the toad. Would not have fled except for that fear effect. He's like, "Fuck, I got to run."

SAM: 22.

MATT: That hits.

TRAVIS: 18.

MATT: Hits.

TRAVIS: Can I grab the sword with two hands, please?

MATT: Sure.

SAM: Eight points.

MATT: Eight points of damage. You added sneak attack to that, right?

SAM: Why do I get sneak attack?

MATT: Because he is next to it.

SAM: All right. 11 points.

MATT: 11 points of damage. Nice.

TRAVIS: 11 points of damage, and does that trigger another psychic attack?

MATT: How does the effect on that work?

TRAVIS: It says the next time that you hit with a melee weapon attack during the spell's duration--

MATT: Yes, it does.

TRAVIS: Okay. So that's 11 plus five, so 16?

MATT: 16 points of damage. All righty.

TRAVIS: Concentration. Can't use something else. Committed.

MARISHA: It's a bitch, isn't it? Concentration's a bitch.

MATT: As an action it has to try and save against the spell, ending the effect. Damn, that's crazy. All righty, so that being the case, that's going to end Kylre's turn. Lands, looks over at you hiding behind the tree--

TALIESIN: Oh god, no.

MATT: Toya, death saving throw. That's a success. All righty, that brings us to Beau and Jester. What are you guys doing, Beau and Jester?

LAURA: You can go first this time.

MARISHA: I can go first? Who am I next to? Who's Beau next to?

MATT: You're right here, right next to Toya.

MARISHA: And Fjord is in between... I'm too far away from everything.

MATT: Teah.

MARISHA: Can I run-- I want to pick her up--

MATT: It's half movement with her if you bring her.

MARISHA: That's fair. No, I'm sorry. I want to move this way towards Molly.

MATT: Okay. Double move?

MARISHA: Yeah, and I'll try and get behind-- I've got a 40-foot movement.

MATT: That's right. So you can get there.

MARISHA: Okay. Do I have any type of bonus action or anything?

MATT: You have your bonus action.

MARISHA: Can I yell, "Kylre!" And I want to hold up the girl and be like, "come get her!"

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Fuck, man.

MATT: Kylre, between the trees and being frightened of Fjord, doesn't seem to notice you at the moment. He's currently focused on the fear effect.

MARISHA: Yeah, I tried.

MATT: That's all good. That ends your turn. Jester?

LAURA: Okay. I'm going to cast-- fuck-- Cure Wounds on myself.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Glad you didn't do Detect Evil?

LAURA: Yeah. Oh, that's good! Nine points of damage healed. Okay. Which is going to go away as soon as I turn and run away from the imp towards Fjord, around the trees so that the frog guy doesn't get an attack on me.

MATT: Well, you're still in his combat range, actually. He has a ten-foot range.

LIAM: Stay. Maybe he'll be distracted by fear.

MATT: He does have disadvantage on the attacks because of the fear effect, so that's helpful. Do you want to run through this way?

LAURA: I guess, yeah.

TALIESIN: He can't follow you.

MATT: 30, that puts you there. Both the imp and Kylre get an--

TALIESIN: Both have disadvantage.

MATT: The imp because...

TALIESIN: Vicious Mockery.

MATT: Oh, that's right, yeah. That's right.

TALIESIN: Part of the plan!

LIAM: Damn. We're in a tight spot.

MATT: That Vicious Mockery brings the imp's attack down to a nine, so the stinger whips past you. Kylre’s giant claw reaches out and tries to catch you as you run past. Natural 20 and a three.

(sighing)

MATT: That puts you at a nine, which I'm pretty sure misses. As you rush past, you hear the (boom) of the ground behind you and bits of dirt and rock throw up, tapping the back of your head from the impact of Kylre's grasp hitting the ground.

LAURA: I'm just running away saying: Shit, shit, shit!

MATT: That ends your turn?

LAURA: I guess so.

MATT: That brings us to Caleb. I need you to make a death saving throw.

LIAM: Success.

MATT: Okay, that's one success in that. Nott.

SAM: There is an imp still in front of us?

MATT: Yes. There is an imp that just knocked Caleb to the ground.

LIAM: He's going to fuck me up.

SAM: Okay. I will just shoot him with an arrow. I'm like ten feet away?

MATT: Yeah. 15 feet from him.

SAM: 15 feet. I'll draw and shoot.

MATT: You pull out your hand crossbow.

SAM: Oh boy, ten.

MATT: Ten? That does not hit, unfortunately. It ducks out of the way.

SAM: And then I will--

TALIESIN: You have so few actions.

SAM: I really do. I will cover Caleb's body with mine.

TALIESIN: Does that work?

SAM: We'll see.

MATT: You move onto Caleb's space and use your body as a shield. Okay, that ends Nott's turn. Fjord, you're up.

TRAVIS: Let's try to finish this motherfucker off. I run right past Jester as she's going, "Shit, shit!"


MATT: 30, is as close as you can get right there.

TRAVIS: Which is not in melee. Damn! Eldritch Blast!

MATT: You are in its melee range, which means you'll have disadvantage on Eldritch Blast. Knowing that, you can take a step back.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'll go one back.

LIAM: Travis wouldn't, but Fjord would know.

TRAVIS: That is a 24.

MATT: That definitely hits. Is it a natural 18?

TRAVIS: It's a 17. Plus six, 23. Sorry. That is eight plus four plus two. 12, 14, and the--

MATT: Don't do additional psychic damage, it has to be a melee weapon to do that.

TRAVIS: Thank you. 14.

MATT: 14 points of damage. All righty. Fjord, how do you want to do this?

(cheering)

TRAVIS: Oh shit! I run up. Stop. Realize how long its arms are. Flip the sword over. Look into the pommel, and fire it into his back, line him up.

MATT: As the creature pulls its jammed hand out of the ground after trying to strike at Jester it turns around to watch as you approach, and as you hold the pommel outward the blast, lighting up its jaw, its eyes go to a bright pink with fear as it recoils from the blast. As it hits, the blast seems to be absorbed by its blubberous form. This crack starts to (cracking) across its body. It's trying to hold itself together, and the scales begin to turn to ash. Like the inside of it burning out like the end of a cigarette, the embers glowing, incinerating the interior of its body as it slowly tries to hold its body together. It falls to its knees and then slowly the rest of its body tumbles away into ash and dust.

TALIESIN: There is no body?

MATT: The whole body doesn't burn away.

TALIESIN: We need a body!

MATT: The wound where it impacted is burned up at this point.

TALIESIN: Oh thank god. Is that imp still there? Is the imp still active?

MATT: Two imps are still active, yes. That ends your turn, Fjord?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: That imp is going to go after Nott, who is currently protecting the body.

TALIESIN: I'm going to Blood Maledict. I'm going to Curse of the Eyeless on that imp.

MATT: Which one, the one that is attacking Nott?

TALIESIN: The one that is attacking Nott.

MATT: Okay, so disadvantage on that one. That puts it at 14.

SAM: 16.

MATT: As its eyes cloud over it swings with its stinger and you feel it just barely hit the tip of your hood and pull it back. But no impact from the stinger. One will attack you, Fjord. That is an 18.

TRAVIS: That will hit.

MATT: Yeah, it hits.

TRAVIS: You motherfucker.

MATT: You suffer seven points of piercing damage, and I need you to roll a constitution saving throw.

TRAVIS: Copy that.

MARISHA: Big money! That’s not big money!

TRAVIS: That is not big money. I'm pretty sure that is low, because that is a two. Yeah, that is a six.

MATT: 3d6 of poison damage, that is 14 points of poison damage.

LAURA: Are you still alive?

TRAVIS: No, I'm unconscious.

TALIESIN: Oh for fuck’s sake.

SAM: From an imp?

MATT: That stinger is no joke, man.

LAURA: Wouldn't that be funny if we killed the thing and then died from the imps? That would be so funny.

MATT: After the creature that summoned it is gone, the imp turns and as it runs toward you, you try and prepare, and its stinger pushes past your leather armor and pierces right through your sternum and poison hits the inside of your system, right where the heart and lungs are and you feel them seize up. Your eyes and sight go to darkness. That ends both imps' goes. Molly, you are up.

TALIESIN: I'm running at the closest imp. Can I get there?

MATT: You can get there.

TALIESIN: All right, I'm going to take two swings.

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: For fuck’s sake. Nope. That was a ten.

MATT: No. You try and swing, the blind rage in your eyes, but the imp whose eyesight you had cursed, hearing you approaching, manages to just get out of your range. Sorry man, that sucks. All right, that brings us to Beau and Jester's turn.

LAURA: I'm going to turn and say: Oh, help me, Traveler! I'm going to cast Word of Radiance.

SAM: It's pronounced "verd."

LAURA: Which will hit both of the imps with 1d6 radiant damage.

MATT: What is the spell?

LAURA: It's Word of Radiance. Each creature of my choice I can see must succeed on a constitution saving throw.

MATT: Constitution saving throw? Thank you.

LAURA: Of 13.

MATT: Five and 16. The one over by Fjord succeeds, the one over Nott does not. What does it do?

LAURA: 1d6 radiant. Six damage!

MATT: Six points of damage to the one over Nott?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: That's the one that someone damaged.

LAURA: Yeah, that's the one he cursed.

MATT: Yeah, with Vicious Mockery. That's enough to do it. This bright, whitish-blue light begins to burn up its body. As it tries to fly away, you watch its body burn away like flash paper.

MARISHA and TRAVIS: That is cool.


TALIESIN: Can you bonus action anybody?

LAURA: That was an action.

TALIESIN: Stabilize someone?

MATT: No, that's a feat.

LAURA: As a bonus action can I-- I don't even have a healing potion.

TRAVIS: There is one on the map.

LAURA: I'm going to run over to-- oh shit, the imp is still over top of Fjord.

LIAM: Yes, that is the threat.

LAURA: I'm going to make my illusion jump down and start charging at the imp over Fjord.

TALIESIN: That's smart.

MATT: That ends your turn. That brings us to Beau.

MARISHA: Once again, there is no way I can break through the grounds and get to this imp, is there?

MATT: No.

TALIESIN: You could dash.

LIAM: You can get there and draw attention.

TRAVIS: How many imps are left?

TALIESIN and MATT: One.

MARISHA: I gave my healer's kit to her, so there's nothing I can do to try and bring the girl back?

LIAM: You can soak up damage.

TALIESIN: She has got two more rounds regardless.

MARISHA: She does. She’s already saved one.

MATT: Actually I need to make another. Okay, success.

TALIESIN: Yay!

MARISHA: Damn, there isn't a lot I can do. I guess I'll run up. Just there. Can I pick up a rock and throw a rock be like: Get! Get on!

MATT: Sure, we'll call it an improvised weapon.

MARISHA: Get!

MATT: You're not proficient. So go ahead and roll a straight attack roll.

LIAM: In the dark.

MATT: Yes, with disadvantage.

MARISHA: Four. 14. I guess that's a four. So ten.

MATT: You hear it clatter against a tree in the distance.

MARISHA: Yah! Yah!


TRAVIS: Damn trash pandas, get out of here!

MATT: Caleb, make another death saving throw, please.

TALIESIN: How are you doing, man?

LIAM: That’s a success.

MATT: Two successes. All righty. Nott.

SAM: Okay, with one hand I will try to cover the bleeding wounds of Caleb, and with the other hand, not even looking, I’ll just fire my crossbow at the other--

(laughter)

SAM: At the other imp-y thing.

MATT: Okay. Go for it.

SAM: One.

MATT: That’s what happens when you don’t look!

SAM: I should’ve looked!

MATT: All right. Roll one more attack roll for me, please.

LAURA: Oh no.

SAM: That’s a six.

MATT: Six? You hear a (metallic sound) across your shield as a bolt from a hand crossbow almost hits you, Jester.

SAM: I’m blinded by tears!

(laughter)

TALIESIN: This is-- oh man, one imp is going to kill us all. One fucking imp.

MATT: All right. Nott, does that end your turn?

SAM: I mean, I can’t do anything. I can run over to the other thing, but I can’t do anything, so--

TALIESIN: We have to stabilise Fjord, is what we’ve got to do.

SAM: And my boy--

TALIESIN: Caleb? Caleb’s doing okay.

LIAM: I have two successes. Not that you know that.

SAM: I don’t know that, but... I’m just staying.

MATT: Fjord, I need you to make a death saving throw. It’s been a long time since you’ve had to make one of these in the game.

TRAVIS: Three.

MATT: That’s a fail. All righty.

MARISHA: Is that your first fail?

MATT: Top of the round. The imp-- I’m going to make a perception check for that imp. That's not good enough. The imp is going to go ahead and fly over and attempt to take a swing at your duplicity illusion.

MARISHA: That's good.

MATT: Okay. Does anything happen when the illusion is hit?

LAURA: It doesn't say! It just says for the duration you can cast spells as though you were in the illusion's space.

MATT: Let me check just in case.

LAURA: I have advantage on attack rolls against the creature if we're both within five feet of each other.

MATT: Okay, yes. So just an illusion. So it strikes and its stinger passes through with no effect and it seems confused and figures it out. So now it knows that it's an illusion, but it wasted its attack that round. Illusions come in handy for that. All right, that ends their turn. Molly, you're up.

TALIESIN: I'm running right at it.

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: Let’s try some different dice here.

For fuck's sake! I've got to stop rolling that die. This is-- yeah, no.

LAURA: Both of them fucked you again.

TALIESIN: 11?

MATT: 11 does not hit. It's too quick. You swing twice more and it's doing figure-eights around your blades. It's frustrating the shit out of you.

LAURA: Poor Molly. His arms are getting so tired swinging both those blades.

TALIESIN: This is so embarrassing.

LIAM: The dice don't give a shit--

MATT: All right. Toya--

TALIESIN: This is so embarrassing.

MATT: --succeeds on her third death saving throw and stabilizes. No, she's stabilised. A natural 20 is what we'd need to see for the one. All right, so that brings us to Beau and Jester.

LAURA: Do you want to attack the imp?

MARISHA: I'll-- yeah.

TALIESIN: Do you get advantage because I'm engaged with it?

MATT: No. It doesn't work that way.

MARISHA: I'm not a rogue.

MATT: That's right.

MARISHA: So seeing everyone dodge this thing, I'm just like--

MATT: I mean, if you're flanking it, I'll allow advantage on the attack. Which is like, as long as you're on the complete opposite side of the foe--

TRAVIS: There is a convention around the imp right now.

MATT: So you can-- I'll say you can get advantage.

LIAM: Everyone's like, "Hey, hey, hey!"

MATT: Essentially, yeah.

TALIESIN: Ugh, look at it scoot! God!

MATT: So yeah, you can if you want to.

MARISHA: So I'm just going to run up and be like, stupid! I'm going to try and stomp it.

MATT: So you're going to try and knock it to the ground and stomp on it, is that what you’re doing? Because it's flying in the air. All right, first strike. So attack with advantage.

LIAM: It's like that video from Ireland. Catch him, daddy!

MARISHA: With advantage, right? That hits. 15, natural. With my two-handed staff?

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: Wait. I've already hit. Forget that. Forget that! Eight, so 12 damage.

MATT: All right, so the first attack crushes the imp and it hits the ground, the wings go limp and it's dead, but you still (yells) and stomp down, just crushing it more and more. And then its body eventually just burns away into ash. So all the threats have been neutralised and you now have two friends that are bleeding out.

LAURA: Okay, then I'm going to run over to Fjord and cast Cure Wounds on him so he wakes up.

MATT: You come back to consciousness.

LAURA: With five hit points.

SAM: I will try to stabilise Caleb using no--

MATT: Caleb, I need you to make a death save.

LIAM: Death save? Fail.

MATT: All righty. Make a medicine check.

SAM: Natural 20. And I will do mouth-to-mouth.

MATT: I will say for the purposes of this, you watch as Nott pulls the porcelain mask back and just gives Caleb the most terrifying mouth-to-mouth you've ever seen. Caleb, the darkness fades and you come to consciousness. The first things you notice are the cold temperature, the taste of iron in your mouth, and the vision of Nott pulling away from you like a terrifying Nosferatu.

TRAVIS: Oh Jesus! Like Willem Dafoe as--

LIAM: Caleb goes (yelps), and I cast Dancing Lights into the goblin and light her up! Ah!

TRAVIS: Even worse.

MATT: (laughs) Temporarily blinded.

LIAM: What the hell happened?

MARISHA: It's like 2am and the lights come on at the club.

SAM: Ugh, that's what she looked like?

(laughter)

LAURA: Oh man, I start dancing around in a circle with my illusion. We did it, guys!

MATT: You watch as two Jesters start doing a little skip.

MARISHA: I immediately run to Toya.

TALIESIN: I was about to say, I'm going to run to Toya and pick her up. I've got her. I've got her.

MARISHA: Do you-- I've got her. I could hold her, though.

TALIESIN: I've got her.

MARISHA: Why--

TALIESIN: Because you were the last face she saw? I should probably be the first. Thank you. You did the right thing. You don't need to be the first thing she sees. She’ll just start screaming all over again. Thank you.

TRAVIS: Anything of the toad?

TALIESIN: We're going to need him.

LAURA: Oh yeah. I want to go over and start searching his body.

TRAVIS: I thought it burned away, no?

MATT: A large part of the torso just burned away. The inside is partially burned out to embers in the blast, but there's still probably 60 percent of the body remaining.

LIAM: DM, am I at one hit point at this moment? It was zero.

MATT: You would be at one hit point when you come to consciousness. I'm giving you that because of the natural 20. Any other roll, you would just be stabilised.

LIAM: True love's kiss.

MATT: Exactly. (laughs)

LAURA: Investigation or perception?

MATT: This is investigation, because you're poring through the--

LAURA: 14.

MATT: 14. You find a small pouch of flesh, like a little hiding pouch that you kind of reach in a little bit and it has kind of a mucus-y liquid on the inside. As you reach in, your fingers find what appear to be a few small stones you can feel at the tip of your fingers. Do you pull them out?

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: You pull it out. It's a handful of jewels. Looks like rings, necklaces. There's actually a few stolen pieces of jewelry that are in the pouch as well as a few coin.

LAURA: What? This is awesome. Here, Fjord, I found a cloister of seamen for you.

TRAVIS: What is it? What did you give me? What is this?

LAURA: It's a bag of stuff that I think you will like. I already removed all the fancy stuff from it though.

SAM: So it’s just gooey flesh?

TALIESIN: That’s definitely a cloister. It’s a nu-gget.

TRAVIS: That’s foul.

MATT: But other than that, it is devoid of any other items or objects and it looks like that was its running fund.

LAURA: Whoa! I put all of the jewels on my fingers.

MATT: They’re still slick but easy to put on because they’re lubricated.

LAURA: Nott, look at me.

SAM: Those are very nice.

LAURA: Aren’t these pretty rocks?

SAM: They are very pretty, yes. Where did you find them?

LAURA: On the bag.

SAM: On the bag? Can I have one?

LAURA: Yes, but first, can I use a ritual spell? Does that work against-- Yeah. I can do ritual spells?

MATT: You can do ritual spells and it won’t take a spell slot, just takes ten minutes more of casting time to do it.

LAURA: Can I Detect Magic on it?

MATT: You may. So you take a little bit of time concentrating on it. At the end of the spell, you send out your extended consciousness, but they do not resonate anything magical.

LAURA: Hmm, they’re just plain rings, but they’re very pretty.

MATT: They are pretty.

MARISHA: What are you going to do with the girl?

TALIESIN: (sighs) Get her back home.

SAM: What if she’s evil?

TALIESIN: I know. We’re going to have a talk.

LAURA: We should bring her to the--

SAM: Authorities.

LAURA: So that she can defend us. So that she can tell everyone that the fiend was bad.

MARISHA: I don’t know if she feels that way.

TALIESIN: I don’t know if she feels that way either, but although-- it’s going to take some time, I think. And also, we’re going to need the body, and honestly, only one of us was here. For those at home, I’m pointing at Caleb.

TRAVIS: Well, why was he the only one?

TALIESIN: Because the rest of us are under arrest.

TRAVIS: That’s very true.

TALIESIN: So congratulations on single-handedly defeating the creature that killed several guards. I’m sure you will be well-rewarded and compensated.

LAURA: You are a very powerful wizard.

LIAM: Yeah, you know, ain’t nothing. (coughs) Oh...

TRAVIS: Yeah, that’s how I feel.

LAURA: Can I use my healing kit and help heal him? Does that work, or does it just bring somebody back to consciousness?

MATT: It just helps stabilise. There’s a feat you can take that makes it do more.

LAURA: Oh really? Okay, cool.

LIAM: Do you have any anything left in you?

LAURA: I got nothing.

LIAM: Well, okay.

LAURA: I can heal you in the morning.

LIAM: Or we could just sit here for a bit and I could catch my breath, I think.

LAURA: We can rest for 30 minutes or an hour or so.

TALIESIN: Let’s take a rest.

MATT: All right. As you guys sit here in the quiet, you can hear the crickets now; the rest of the sound of the forest has fallen away and the din of the battle has vanished. The moonlight gets a bit brighter as the moon climbs higher in the sky. And you all kind of look around at each other. Through this haphazard series of events you’ve come to assemble a skillset that seems to overlap pretty well. And hopefully it’s enough to clear your name. But we’ll find that out next week. So we’re going to end the episode. We’ll be back to continue that thread next Thursday.

MARISHA: But I want to, like, keep going.

MATT: I know, but it’s 10:45!

LAURA: I would just like to say that as we’re resting there, I’m closing my eyes and keeping a hand down close to Nott with my rings on my fingers.

SAM: I’m going to try to take one off.

MATT: Sleight of hand.

SAM: Eight-- 26.

MATT: I don’t even think you have high enough perception at all. You have a very nice--

LAURA: It was all the mucus on the ring.

MATT: Yep.

SAM: I did it.

(laughter)

LAURA: I’m so proud of you.

MATT: Aw. And we’ll leave it at that. All right, thank you guys so much for watching. I’m excited to continue this next week.

LIAM: Man, I got the full wizard experience tonight.

MATT: Yeah, you did!

(laughter)

MATT: Oh man. Well done, that’s your first boss fight of the campaign!

MARISHA: Oh my god!

TALIESIN: That was so unpleasant.

LAURA: Good job, Fjord!

MATT: Two of you went down.

MARISHA: Does this mean we level up?

MATT: Well, because we are doing milestone leveling with this campaign--

SAM: What does that mean?

MATT: That means there’s no experience points, but at the end of each major story beat, like a big moment that I see fit, then everyone will level up together.

MARISHA: So do you see fit?

MATT: I will see fit when this arc concludes, so end of next episode, probably, everyone’s going to hit level three. So start thinking about-- for those of you who have to choose a path, think about what you want to do if you haven’t already.

TALIESIN: I think I’m going to multiclass.

LIAM: Seven times.

TALIESIN: Master of none.

MATT: Not even passable. (laughs) All right, thank you guys so much for watching. Thank you again, D&D Beyond, for being our awesome partner and sponsor for the leg of this campaign. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and is it Thursday yet? Have a good night.

TRAVIS: We lived!

MARISHA: We lived! Episode three!


[music]

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