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List of Transcripts

Pre-show[]

AABRIA: Hello, and welcome to the inaugural episode of Exandria Unlimited. I am your DM, your wonderful game master, Aabria Iyengar. I'll tell you I'm great, that's fine. (laughter) Before we start, I want to introduce you to my amazing table. Let's start with Robbie.

ROBBIE: I am Robbie! Robbie Daymond, and I am so excited to go on this adventure with you. I'm so excited!

AABRIA: Yeah!

ROBBIE: Whew!

AABRIA: Liam!

LIAM: Hi, I'm Liam O'Brien. It doesn't matter how many times we've done this, I feel like a bug on a windshield right now, I have no idea what's about to happen. I can't wait. I can't wait.

ASHLEY: Oh, hey. I am Ashley Johnson. It's me, and I am so nervous, too. This is going to be fun! I'm done. (laughter)

MATT: There you go. Hi, I am Matthew Mercer. I'm super excited to be playing at this table and I'm having a great time.

AABRIA: I'm in your seat. Hey, Matt, look at me. I'm in your chair. I'm in your-- it's my chair.

MATT: You look much better up there.

AABRIA: Oh my god, thank you.

AIMEE: She is easier on the eyes.

MATT: Oh, you don't have to tell me.

AIMEE: Hi!

AABRIA: Start with advantage. (laughter)

AIMEE: I'm Aimee Carrero. I'm also having a great time. Thanks for letting me be here--

ASHLEY: Yay!

AIMEE: -- everyone. (cheering)

AABRIA: All right. First things first, you all start with inspiration, and because these episodes are pre-taped, we're going to throw to Comfy Matt in the future for a couple announcements, so take it away, Comfy Matt!

MATT: Why thank you, Aabria. As you can see, I am extremely comfy here in the future, watching along with everyone else with my sweet little buddy, Omar, right here. Now, this is the first episode, so we got a bunch to get through, so just hang tight as we begin with our first sponsor for today, The Deck of Many and their Animated Spells pre-order, which is almost over. So the long-awaited follow up to the first series of Animated Spells is here, and these spell cards animate to look like you're actually casting the spell. I know, Omar's really excited about it. With nine new decks with animated spells level six through nine, including new Humblewood spells, conditions, a haunting illusions deck, and much, much more. You can check out everything at animatedspells.com and check out their discounted bundles before time runs out. And we'd also like to thank our other sponsor tonight, Roll & Play: The Game Master's Fantasy Toolkit. The ultimate book of random tables for D&D and all fantasy-based RPGs. Look at him. He's so excited to play, he's jumping out of his skin! The inspiration and ideas in this hundreds-page book, hundred-page book, even, can be used when planning a session in advance or in the middle of a game if a player catches you off-guard with an unexpected question. Which never really happens, does it, buddy? That's what I thought. Build your campaigns with NPC names, magic weapons, monsters, features, critical hit tables and encounters for every environment. There's also tables for potions, and poisons, and plant life, and festivals, and landmarks, and even bizarre diseases and nightmares to plague your players with, and so much more. Roll & Play: The Game Master's Fantasy Toolkit is available right now in digital and print with international shipping. Pick up yours today at www.rollandplaypress.com and if you use the code CRITICALROLE10 at checkout, you get 10% off all orders through the end of July. Don't worry, buddy, you won't have to wait too long. We'll get you set up with it. He gets pouty if he doesn't get his cool new books. Some very quick announcements to get through as well. First off, thank you so much for joining us live on Twitch and YouTube. If you want to join our live and moderated community chat, please head over to our Twitch channel to be a part of it. and thank you especially for anyone who's joining us live for the very first time. As a reminder, VODs for each episode of Exandria Unlimited are available immediately after the broadcast for Twitch channel subscribers, and will be available on YouTube Mondays at noon. A podcast version of ExU episodes will also be available a week after the initial broadcast, so check out for that. In Darrington Press news, our How to Play video for Uk'otoa, our first board game, is now on YouTube. Learn how to run, push, and sacrifice others to win in this fast-paced game of semi-cooperative card play. And then, let's play Uk'otoa! Join us this Wednesday, June 30th at 4:00pm Pacific on Twitch and YouTube as myself, Marisha, Laura, Travis, and a crew of terrified sailor meeples face off against the sea leviathan's wrath. Raaahr! The VOD will be available to consume on YouTube Friday, July 2nd. Get your own copy of Uk'otoa right now, available at all of our Critical Role shops as well as local game stores across the US. And lastly, our Exandria Unlimited t-shirt and journal! Ho ho! Look at this cool thing that you've seen a few of us wear on the show. Omar, see, look how cool that is right there, wee! As well as the amazing journal here. Both of these designed by the incredible Grace Berríos are available right now in all of our Critical Role shops. And with that, Aabria, back to you.

AABRIA: Wow, Matt. You sure look cozy and calm and collected. Not nervous like we all are right now. But that's it. With all of that taken care of, let's begin tonight's episode of Exandria Unlimited.

(dramatic music)

Part I[]

AABRIA: We begin where it all started, a world of myth and legend. Exandria. Tal'Dorei. And the most exciting city in the world, Emon. It's 6:00am in a place colloquially known as the Upper Slums. The first weak rays of light are trapped behind heavy pewter clouds, threatening rain, and a chill wind carries the salty bite of the Ozmit Sea all the way up to the townhouse where some of you may be, but let's find out. Orym of the Air Ashari, where are you?

LIAM: I've already been up for 30 minutes, and I'm walking the city. Orym is a halfling. He has a short shock of brown hair, leaf-themed armor, and a blade with a tinge of green to it. He has a full sleeve tattoo up one arm covered in clouds, and here on the arm, the two moons of Exandria, one within the ring of the other. I'm still not used to a city, to any city. So it feels good to be out early, when there aren't that many people in the street, so I can take it in in my own pace and time. Still getting my sea legs.

AABRIA: Yeah. Where are you observing the city as it wakes up right now?

LIAM: Well, I started with a ring around the crater in the center of the city. And then I'd heard about a keep that still stood on the outside of town, and have just arrived there. And I'm lingering for five minutes maybe before I head back to meet up with the others.

AABRIA: Make a perception check for me.

LIAM: Nine.

AABRIA: As you walk around this place that you've heard tell, it's called Greyskull Keep, you have a sense of weight and purpose. And then a little breeze crosses you from the east, and it carries on it a scent that reminds you of home, of the mountains, of forest, of old, hardy trees that have stood longer than maybe even this city. And something profoundly green, but not quite natural. You shrug it off.

LIAM: I can feel the history on the air here.

AABRIA: Is there anything else you want to do or see before you head back? You can see a couple carts down closer to the road headed into the city proper, and you can get this sense of the entire town beginning to wake up.

LIAM: Well, I hear there's a good magic shop in town. Probably not open, but I think I know where it is. I'll walk past, since I've heard so much about it.

AABRIA: Yes. And you make your way back into the city as a couple of raindrops begin to fall. And we move over to Dorian Storm. Where are you?

ROBBIE: I'm sitting in sort of a broken-down chair that doesn't quite look like it should support me, leaning back with my back against the outside wall of the townhouse where we spent the evening, and sort of feeling morning sun come in and enjoying a moment of peace and quiet because the last few days and weeks have been more exciting than anything I've ever experienced. And in this quiet moment, I have my lute out, which is sort of this sunburst blue that matches most of what I'm wearing. Typically, I have a long cape on, but I've got it draped over the chair, and inside the cape is oranges and reds, color of a sunset. My skin is also a sky blue. My eyes are crystal blue, and hair is jet black, and it falls into an ombre over my shoulders, white and light blue, you guessed it. (laughter) And I've got my lute in my hand and I'm just enjoying this moment of peace, strumming out a new melody I've never played before and humming along with it, feeling this morning very content, very happy. Yeah.

AABRIA: Go ahead and make a performance check for me. See what kind of bard you are.

ROBBIE: Ooh. 14.

AABRIA: As you play, you can feel just a little bit of a breeze kicks up, it's pleasant and it's warm. And it flutters the curtains that you're sort of like half-heartedly looking out, and a little flutter happens, and then another one, and it reminds you first of the flutter of the tents at the Everdawn, the party where some of you, most of you, all of you met, a rager happening a couple blocks away that started as a party for civilization's dawn and promises to hold through until the new year. And you think about how that all started with levity and has landed you here with this strange group of people that's opened up the world to you, and then the curtains flutter again and they remind you of the tents of your home, the Silken Squall, and you think back to where you started, and that closed-off feeling, that sense of curtains and fabric holding you in and binding you releases, and you're lost in the music, but if anyone else heard you, it would be one of the most beautiful songs they've ever heard. Passive. Lilting, drawling out, just you feeling yourself and coming back to the present on this morning. Fearne Calloway, where are you?

ASHLEY: Well, I decided to go for a walk because I try not to miss a sunrise or a sunset. And I just wanted to get Little Mister some fresh air. Little Mister's my little monkey. (laughter) He's my little friend. Who's just the best. And Fearne has-- And Fearne has-- Is a faun, and her little hooves have little bits of moss around them, and she has flowy clothing and is covered in all types of flowers that are poisonous. (laughter) You know, hemlock and oleander and all of these types of things, and just taking in the beautiful day this seems to be.

AABRIA: Can you make a na-- a nature cheek-- check for me? I don't know words, let's try that again. Nature check.

ASHLEY: Okay. Oh, okay. 15?

AABRIA: Yeah, with a 15, as you are walking down the street, you're able to spy little flowers, especially night blooming jasmine, things that are sort of closing down for the night. They sort of open and turn to you, like the sun.

ASHLEY: Hello, little beauties.

AABRIA: As you go over to it, Mister, who's right by your side the whole time, snatches it, just jams it into his mouth.

ASHLEY: (gasps) Oh.

AABRIA: And you see that, as he opens his mouth, he's not a normal monkey. It's just a furnace, fire, as that flower and the beautiful scent is consumed and burned up immediately. But in that moment, you see a spark, brighter than the rest. A beginning of a bigger blaze, and your mind drifts back to standing at the edge of Thordak's Crater in one of your earliest adventures, and staring into the ground and seeing the seething, roiling energy and potential. And just like Little Mister reaching out and grabbing that flower, you jam your hand into the earth and you feel flame licking around it, hotter than flame, and you pull your hand free unharmed, unhurt, and the fire spirit that you held, that you brought into being, looks at you, smiles at you and resolves into Little Mister that's standing beside you right now, grinning as a couple little charred bits of plant fall out of his face.

ASHLEY: Isn't it just so tasty?

AABRIA: (monkey screech) (laughter)

ASHLEY: I give him a little scritch under his chin.

AABRIA: And heartened by that, since you only give praise, he just starts absolutely tearing down these beautiful--

ASHLEY: Okay, well, let's not get carried away.

AABRIA: (monkey screech) And just start jamming them into his mouth. Make a perception check for me. Because this little dude is not the vibe of the street right now.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay. 16.

AABRIA: Yeah, with a 16, you hear around the corner the door suddenly swings open and this woman looks out the side, and you see Mister stop jamming plants into his mouth, look over, he leans back, looks over at the woman and just grins and screams as she begins yelling at you, "What are you-- what-- Excuse me, I've been working very hard on those plants. Why is he laughing at me?"

ASHLEY: It's fine. I can fix them for you. Okay. I'll just-- I will Druidcraft.

AABRIA: "Okay."

ASHLEY: Some of the flowers back that he ate.

AABRIA: "Okay." You say that to her. She's very confused and stressed out. Go ahead. Yeah, there's no roll associated with Druidcraft. So what do you do?

ASHLEY: Say again?

AABRIA: Just describe what your magic looks like as you restore these plants.

ASHLEY: For how the way Fearne looks, you'd think it would be gentle almost, but her magic is not. (laughter)

ASHLEY: So-- It's almost red and fiery, and it almost looks like she's going to be destroying the plants, but what's left in place is just the beautiful night blooming jasmine again.

AABRIA: Sweet. As you do this, you can hear this woman going, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no!" And Mister starts screaming along with her as this little corner of the street just gets incredibly loud, and then you step away and the plant is restored and she's like, "(stutters) Yay. (unsure) Thank you."

ASHLEY: Mister, we should probably go back to everybody, okay? Come on.

AABRIA: "Okay." You just see, she never leaves eye contact with you, just goes back into her house and watches out the window.

ASHLEY: Goodbye! (laughter)

AABRIA: She just waves, and then Mister does a little wave, and then that, and she's like, "Ah!" And you see the curtains drop down. You make your way back across town. Okay. Dariax. Where are you?

MATT: I'm heavily snoring currently, before something catches in the sinuses and begin to toss awake. And you see, perched at the edge of a roof, one arm dangling off the side, a young male dwarf with wild, floppy, reddish-auburn hair with a nice, somewhat unkept chin strap beard, wearing a vest over chain mail. One of his boots is off and partially up the roof behind him, of the townhouse. He has a little bit of drool poking down his chin as he kind of-- Um. How did? Nice. (laughter) As he rights himself and takes in whatever of his surroundings he can make sense of.

AABRIA: Yeah, there's one little pigeon. It's sort of staring at you and waddles a little closer.

MATT: Yeah, you too? Rough night?

AABRIA: (pigeon coos) Gets a little closer.

MATT: Well, hair of the dog for ya? And I go ahead and pull out a small-- (laughs) Small little metallic package in my pack.

AABRIA: Yes, please make an animal handling check.

MATT: Oh, hell yeah.

AABRIA: To get this pigeon turnt. (laughter)

LIAM: I thought the Metagaming Pigeon would come much later. (laughter) Right at the top of the show.

MATT: Nah, I don't got to wait. 11.

AABRIA: Yeah. It hops a little closer, and it dips its beak into your flask, and thinking that there was bread inside, you see a look of consternation as its eyes flash red and it just pokes you on the hand and flies away.

MATT: Well, more for me, I guess. Birds. It's pretty cool, though. (laughter) He puts it in his pocket and just watches it fly for a minute, the rising sun hitting him.

AABRIA: Do me a favor and make-- let's call this a history check, to see if you can remember your dream.

MATT: Ooh, nice. That is a dirty one.

ASHLEY: Ooh!

AABRIA: You do not, and we move forward with the story.

MATT: Okay. (laughter) Checks out.

LIAM: Thank you for your service.

ROBBIE: Blackout.

MATT: What he does think is like: Oh shit, where'd my spear go? And he just starts looking for his spear, which he doesn't know where it is right now.

AABRIA: Yes, okay.

MATT: (laughs)

AABRIA: Yeah. You move over to the edge, and you see, stuck in the gutter, wedged at a ridiculous angle, your spear, which is just sloshed over with leaves and gutter water and other things, because there's not indoor plumbing yet. (laughter) It's a medieval world. I didn't build it that way. What do you want to do?

MATT: Oh, buddy. Looks like we got to hose you down again. All right, well, let me see if everybody else is up, once I figure out, how far is it to the floor where my spear is right now?

AABRIA: It's probably only a 15-foot shuffle down to the edge of the roof. And then the window that you conceivably came out of to be here is right below that.

MATT: I'll shuffle over to it and be like: Man, I'm better than I give myself credit for if I got up here.

AABRIA: Sweet. You are going to make an acrobatics check.

MATT: Oh, yeah, I am. (laughter)

AABRIA: I will kill you in the first five minutes of this show.

MATT: Okay.

AABRIA: Not afraid to.

MATT: That is a five. (gasping)

MATT: (laughs)

AIMEE: Boop, boop, boop, boop.

AABRIA: Your foot hits a little bit of leaf on there and you slide and do the splits on the roof. Just, you hear a little (squeaks) of your pants. Just a little rip. As you scooch to a stop right in front of your spear.

MATT: (high-pitched) Okay, buddy. (clears throat) (normal voice) Let's go ahead and-- Nah, I'm just going to pick it up.

AABRIA: Yeah. (laughter)

MATT: Just start marching my way around to whatever door is nearby.

AABRIA: Yep. It does smell. It smells like pee. You have a pee spear now. You can add that to your inventory.

MATT: I'm going to do that.

AABRIA: Yeah, that's fine. And it takes you probably a good 10 minutes to very gingerly make your way back in through the window, where you actually see your boy Dorian sitting.

MATT: Hey, mornin'.

ROBBIE: Good morning, Dariax. Is that a pee pee spear that you have in your hand right now?

MATT: Well, it's a spear.

ROBBIE: With pee pee on it.

MATT: Right, did you--?

ROBBIE: Did I?

MATT: Yeah.

ROBBIE: What?

MATT: Pee on my spear.

ROBBIE: Maybe. No, of course not!

MATT: Oh, I was about to congratulate you. That'd be kind of a fun prank, but--

ROBBIE: You don't remember anything from last night, do you?

MATT: Nah, but I mean, nothing holding me down then, right?

ROBBIE: Sure. Why don't you go wash your spear and yourself? You both smell about the same.

MATT: I'm going to go wash myself and my spear.

AABRIA: I don't like the way you said that. (laughter)

LIAM: Got serious Waiting for Godot vibes right now. (laughter)

AABRIA: And as you exit the room to wash up, Opal, where are you?

AIMEE: Opal wakes up. She hears talking and the faint remnant of a monkey scream. So she opens one eye and panics when she realizes she doesn't have her makeup on, or has it on from last night and is looking for a mirror, desperately, sniffs herself, it's really bad. Grabs anything that's like, oh no, that's full of pee, that's disgusting. She finally finds a mirror and is trying to fix herself up because this is her first time in the big city and she will not be caught without her face. She cleans herself up a little bit. She puts on her sateen pink jacket that she's sort of laid over herself as a small blanket, except it's a crop jacket, so it didn't do much. She puts it on. (laughter)

AIMEE: She ties her--

ASHLEY: Put it long ways. (laughter)

AIMEE: Just to cover the cleavage on her crop top, and she pulls up her hair, which is iridescent, and it almost looks white when it's not moving because it's iridescent and opalized, and she puts it in a half-up half-down sort of do, and she checks in on her necklace that she's wearing. It's a rose gold necklace. The pendant is an open hand and inside there's a small opal. And she's just tired, but so happy to be there. And she looks out the window, which is nearby, and just takes in the big city for the first time. She's finally out of her small town and living the life she always wanted to live.

AABRIA: I'm going to have you make me a constitution saving throw. Because I feel like y'all turned up last night, and I just want to see how my girl's doing.

AIMEE: Not great. That's a seven.

AABRIA: Ooh, ooh. As you sort of go through your morning ritual of setting yourself up and trying to greet the day as best you, you take that one beautiful look out the window and the light hits your eyes and goes directly to your brain, punches you in the brainstem. Do not try to out-drink the dwarf.

AIMEE: No.

AABRIA: You will learn that eventually.

AIMEE: But I'm so much taller than him. But it's fine.

AABRIA: He's been practicing. So you're a little hung over, and in that moment where your eyes snap shut and you see the pink of your eyelids behind your eyes, everything goes a little darker, and your attention moves a little more inward, past where you consider yourself in your head and it moves deep into your chest, almost behind your necklace at the center of yourself. And you feel a presence like your twin sister, who you grew up with and followed you around, but you both made different decisions when you left your home. You're here now and you don't know where she is, but for just that half of a heartbeat while your eyes are shut, it feels like she's right beside you.

AIMEE: (gasps) Ted? (loud whisper) Ted? Are you here?

AABRIA: Dorian and Dariax, you just hear a mumbled, "Ted," coming out of one of the rooms.

ROBBIE: I'm going to lean around the side of the cracked front door and say: Everything all right in there?

AIMEE: Oh, you're not Ted. Hi, good morning.

ROBBIE: Okay. I don't recall anyone named Ted from last night or-- Who's Ted?

AIMEE: Ted is... Did I say Ted? I meant Dorian. I said, "Dorian, is that you!"

ROBBIE: Okay. And I'm going to just squeak my chair back to where I was and continue to play.

MATT: As he squeezes out of frame, I squeeze into frame. Opal.

AIMEE: Yeah.

MATT: Did you pee on my spear?

AIMEE: Yeah.

MATT: Nice. (laughter)

AABRIA: And it's on that note, "Did you pee on my spear," that both of you have made your way back to the townhouse.

LIAM: Oh, hey.

ASHLEY: Hi.

LIAM: You up and about already?

ASHLEY: Up and about. I just, I love to watch the sunrise, because I think it's one of the most beautiful things to ever see.

LIAM: How's the little man? He eating the shrubbery still?

ASHLEY: He is, yeah.

LIAM: Yeah. Come here, buddy.

AABRIA: Mister hobbles on over, grabs your hand.

LIAM: Squishes. Oh, my hand, oh my gosh, then I'll use my other hand to squish his hair a little bit.

AABRIA: He puts some crumpled up leaves in it.

LIAM: You know, I lean down, but not really. I just kind of-- (laughter) Reach out. I'm a little taller than you, buddy. This much.

AABRIA: He offers you some plants, and then he just gestures to your mouth.

LIAM: Is this, that's not poisonous.

ASHLEY: I'm sure he can eat it. I've given him all kinds of things so far.

LIAM: That's good.

AABRIA: He gives you a massive, toothy, fanged grin and you see just a couple flickers of flames behind his teeth.

LIAM: I don't know what Dariax's problem with it is. I like him.

ASHLEY: I like him, too.

LIAM: Yeah.

AABRIA: At the sound of his name, you see his eyes flash red.

LIAM: Sorry, I mean he has his uses.

AABRIA: (monkey screech)

LIAM: You're the monkey. (laughter)

LIAM: He does, give him a chance. You'll warm up to him, warmer than you already are.

AABRIA: He spits on the ground and it burns a little hole in the rug.

LIAM: Well, everybody has their hiccups.

AABRIA: And he moves from you and moves back behind Fearne. Just starts playing with your skirt.

ASHLEY: Come on.

LIAM: Want to find the others?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LIAM: All right.

ROBBIE: Did these two just walk up to the house?

AABRIA: Yep, they are now at the house. You're all together!

ROBBIE: Yay!

AABRIA: Yay!

ROBBIE: I'd like to ask one-- So, anything special on the morning patrol?

LIAM: Maybe rain, that's about it.

ROBBIE: Rain?

AIMEE: How about food? Anyone have food?

ASHLEY: Oh.

AIMEE: Is there food in this townhouse?

ASHLEY: I'm sure we could find some.

AIMEE: Food! Food? They're not getting back to me, so.

AABRIA: I don't even know what to do with that. (laughter)

AIMEE: She just calls out for everything.

AABRIA: The kitchen ghost responds, "There's food here!"

MATT: Dariax is over there drying off his spear with the curtains. He goes: Does that actually work?

AIMEE: Sometimes.

MATT: Whoa.

LIAM: Depends on who you are.

AIMEE: Yeah.

MATT: Food?!

AABRIA: You know what? No. Mister comes down and comes over and just slaps you in the leg.

MATT: I hold the butt of the spear towards him, like: Hey, hey, it's too early for that!

AABRIA: And he just looks at you and (screams).

ROBBIE: Let's all go inside before the monkey and the angry man kill each other.

ASHLEY: Yes, yes, yes. Let's go.

AABRIA: (mouthed) You're food.

MATT: (mouthed) You're food.

AABRIA: (monkey screech) And then runs over to Opal. All right. I would like-- Dorian, give me an investigation check to actually look like a normal person for food in a house, instead of just summoning it from the ether.

ROBBIE: Hey!

AABRIA: Respect the drip, though.

ROBBIE: That's a one!

AABRIA: Oh my god.

ROBBIE: Yeah! Did we eat all the food?

ASHLEY: We're getting them out of the way.

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: Sunday morning after the bed and breakfast that you've never been to before, and you're like, there has to be cereal somewhere here, right?

AIMEE: Right?

AABRIA: You go into the kitchen and you just see a bunch of upturned-- like it's very clear that you guys made a bunch of food and snacks last night, but in the couple of days since you've been here, no one's gone grocery shopping, and you see a couple grapes, half of some sort of melon that looks like it's not doing amazingly, but there's not a lot of food in the house right now.

ROBBIE: Well, the bad news is we are out of food. The good news is we could always just go out into the streets and scream "food" and see if anyone brings any.

AIMEE: Hey, you know what, sometimes that works. Maybe my grandma will come bring us some food.

ROBBIE: Has that ever worked?

AIMEE: It works with my grandma, at my grandma's house.

ROBBIE: Is your grandma here right now?

AIMEE: Grandma!

ROBBIE: Oh god.

AIMEE: Grandma! No, she's not here.

LIAM: You know, instead of shouting into the air, we could just go to one of the two or three places I saw open on my walk this morning.

ASHLEY and AIMEE: Let's do that.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LIAM: Okay. Pub food?

ROBBIE: Rub food.

LIAM: All right.

MATT: Breakfast of champions.

LIAM: Mm-hmm.

AABRIA: Nice. So you head out the door and maybe a block or two away, within view of a little green space a park is a little outdoor restaurant. It is part of an inn called The Third... Wing. Didn't just make that up right now. That's fine.

LIAM: There it is. Canon.

AABRIA: Ha ha! Oh, it's so fast before you did something I didn't prepare for.

ROBBIE: I've got questions. Is it like an unwanted third wing? (laughter)

AABRIA: Yeah, yeah. It's a goose trying to hide it.

ROBBIE: Start building the lore.

AABRIA: Yes, exactly. (laughter)

AIMEE: Opal's like, where's the second one?

AABRIA: There's two out and the third's being tucked away. It's a little goose in a-- He's got a bow tie.

AIMEE: It's a franchise.

AABRIA: Yeah. There's a couple of these across--

MATT: Kind of more of a fan of The Vestigial Tail myself, but you know. (laughter)

AABRIA: And as you guys go up and sit down at these little outdoor patio chairs, you see a large older goliath woman. Gives you a little head nod. She spotted you as you were walking back across town.

LIAM: Morning. Is it too early? It is all right that we--?

AABRIA: "Oh. Ahem, sure, yeah, that's fine. Do you-- inside or outside?"

LIAM: Is it still look like it's going to rain or?

AABRIA: Actually, yeah. You were in the drizzle when you were on the outside of town. You can see that those clouds are moving inward and it's going to rain.

LIAM: I like the rain. But not eating in it. Should we go inside?

AIMEE: Good idea.

ASHLEY: Good idea.

AABRIA: "Wait, is it going to rain?"

LIAM: Looks like.

AABRIA: "I guess. Okay, sure." And she waves you all to go inside, and you see her heaving these massive wrought iron patio furniture. She grabs a table and hefts it up, and grabs four chairs, and follows you in, holding, like, 400 pounds worth of iron. Like, "Okay, okay, okay."

LIAM: That's boss.

AIMEE: Wow.

MATT: Hell yeah.

ASHLEY: Very strong.

AABRIA: "Sweet. We've got bread, beer, fruit. There's meat; it's bacon?"

MATT: All of it, yeah.

LIAM: Oh, bacon.

AABRIA: "Sweet, okay."

ASHLEY: Bacon for sure. And may I have a glass of milk with a shot of whiskey in it, please?

AABRIA: "My kind of girl. Okay, okay."

AIMEE: Oh, make that two.

MATT: Three, but without the milk.

AIMEE: Oh.

AABRIA: (laughs) "Sure. I'll just bring the bottle." And she disappears as the little sideways shuffle, because she's a little too wide, goes out the back door. And yeah, you guys are able to grab the big, nice, floofy leather booth in the back. And she comes out every couple minutes. She drops off a fresh loaf, a fresh loaf of bread, bottle of whiskey, a little pitcher of milk, and a little jar, a little jar of honey. And she's like, "Bacon will be in a couple minutes, I have to wake up my husband. Gerald!" (laughs)

AIMEE: Gerald. Hey, it works for her.

ROBBIE: It does.

AIMEE: Okay, let's try the drink.

ASHLEY: Well, how did everybody sleep?

LIAM: Did everybody sleep?

ASHLEY: Did everybody sleep, yes?

AIMEE: I slept a little bit, and then I woke up to the sounds of monkey, Mister. But yeah, I'm so excited, I don't know why. I just can't stop-- I can't just get a good nights sleep. I just can't, I'm just so excited!

ROBBIE: Dariax?

MATT: What?

ROBBIE: What are you looking at?

MATT: Oh no, I was just trying to think if I had a-- I don't know what I did last night. But I woke up on the roof and that was crazy and Opal peed on my spear, so like it must have been fun, right?

AIMEE: For sure!

MATT: Awesome.

LIAM: Was it on the roof when you peed on it?

AIMEE: Yes?

ASHLEY: I seem to remember a contest.

AIMEE: Oh! Who could--

ASHLEY: We all put our assess off of the roof--

AIMEE: Yes!

ASHLEY: To see if we could pee on the spear. Am I making this up?

AIMEE: No, I think you're right.

LIAM: No, yes, I lost because my ass is the smallest.

AIMEE: Yeah.

LIAM: Couldn't get it that far out.

AIMEE: It just hit the roof.

LIAM: Yep.

ASHLEY: I did pretty good.

AABRIA: Oh, we're doing a flashback. I need a performance check from everyone. We'll figure out who won.

ROBBIE: I'm confused about the mechanics. Why is my ass off the roof when I'm-- am I peeing backwards? What's the challenge?

AIMEE: Well, the gals' asses are off the roof.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

AIMEE: Ooh!

AABRIA: What'd you get?

LIAM: You know, I didn't remember it quite well enough. I'm pretty limber. I got a 20.

AABRIA: Oh snap, okay, can anyone beat a 20?

AIMEE: 23!

ALL: Ooh!

AABRIA: Can anyone beat 23? Okay.

MATT: Nah, there's a reason I woke up on that roof. (laughter)

AABRIA: Are there any natural ones to report?

AIMEE: Oh, please.

MATT: No, no.

LIAM: Can't beat that leg reach.

AABRIA: She's got such long legs. Opal, please describe as everyone has a moment as their memories lock into place, Opal's victorious.

AIMEE: Wait, wait, I can do it because I've done this before. The way to do it is you got to almost, like-- it's like a squat, but better. And then you just shoot it out. But you got to be careful, because if you have a dookie in there, that could come out, too.

LIAM: I spent the whole time just in a crouch ready to grab, because she looked like she was going to go ass over tea kettle.

AABRIA: You thought she was going to but the heels are actually a really good counter balance. They're the exact angle of the roof so she's just doing a normal sit.

AIMEE: You know, I can't walk in flats. My heels-- my arch won't support it.

MATT: I'm just saying, like, metal's worth points, but if you get the ribbon on top, its double.

ASHLEY: Wow!

AIMEE: It's a dare.

MATT: Dared!

ROBBIE: Oh, can we just get this over with? On the count of three, everyone pee. One, two, three.

AABRIA: And all of you-- Nope, we don't have to do the sound. We don't have to, we can just do a cool cut.

ASHLEY: I rolled a seven, so a little dookie comes out. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Oh no, I rolled a six. What happens to me?

AIMEE: An owl pellet!

AABRIA: A little goat pellet comes out. Do me a favor, make a dexterity saving throw for Mister because he's going for it! He's like, "Oh, ammo, tight, I'm a monkey."

ASHLEY: Oh god, I don't have stats for him. Should I just use mine?

AABRIA: Yeah, just use yours, that's fine.

ASHLEY: Okay, still, that's very bad, a 10.

AABRIA: He goes to try and grab it and he just splats his hand on it and he's going to turn to Dariax.

MATT: I'm passed out.

AIMEE: Don't put it in your eye!

MATT: I fell asleep as I'm getting ready and just like-- One arm hanging over the roof.

AABRIA: Yup.

ASHLEY: Hey, come here. I think you should give him a little paint.

AABRIA: (shrieks) And he slowly makes his way over and does his best to not wake up Dariax. He does a little mustache situation. He tries to replicate his own beautiful white beard.

ASHLEY: Yes, that is just a work of art.

LIAM: Oh, that is not coming out of his facial hair.

ASHLEY: No.

AIMEE: Don't get it near the eyeball.

AABRIA: And then he claps his hands and goes (screams). That's where we flash back. You're back in the tavern again.

ROBBIE: Dariax, you have a little-- (laughter)

MATT: What's up?

ROBBIE: Just a little--

AIMEE: I smelled it and didn't want to say.

ASHLEY: You know, I forgot about that.

MATT: I haven't eaten yet.

LIAM: I don't remember your beard being so mottled.

MATT: I try and keep it nice and oiled, why?

ASHLEY: I think you might have rolled into something on the roof.

MATT: That sounds like me! I'll be right back. I'm going to go ahead and just wash up a bit.

AABRIA: You take off again for your second round of wash up. Maybe this one will stick.

MATT: Maybe.

AABRIA: Who knows.

MATT: My mom would be proud if it did.

AABRIA: And you pass by the goliath barkeep as she lays out a massive plate of bacon in front of all of you.

AIMEE: Wow!

AABRIA: "You guys are up very early. Any cool parties? What's going on? Are you all here from the Everdawn?"

ASHLEY and AIMEE: Yes.

AIMEE: He got shit on his beard.

AABRIA: "No, I smelled it when he came in. I wasn't going to say anything."

AIMEE: Its pretty great.

AABRIA: "Did you do it?"

AIMEE: I didn't do it. Someone else did it. But what happens in the townhouse stays in the townhouse. Except for the poop on the beard. Because that came here.

AABRIA: "Yeah, next time, please don't have shit on you when you come to my restaurant. It's just a thought."

AIMEE: Oh, for sure.

AABRIA: "Thank you."

ASHLEY: Very good call. Very, very good call.

ROBBIE: To answer your question, we started at the party, and since then we've been sort of milling about as freelance adventurers.

AABRIA: (snorts) "Yeah, okay."

ROBBIE: Would you--?

AABRIA: "No, go ahead.

ROBBIE: Okay?

AABRIA: "No, no, go ahead."

AIMEE: Do we not--

AABRIA: "Do something adventure-y."

AIMEE: You're catching us at a bad time. I mean, we're usually very professional.

ROBBIE: Yeah.

AABRIA: "You just talked about putting shit on the dwarf."

AIMEE: I know but that's-- we-- That's a bad time I'm talking about you caught us in.

ASHLEY: Yeah, that was-- that was--

AIMEE: Not our highest.

LIAM: Hey, man, work hard, play hard.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

AABRIA: "That, I kind of believe."

ROBBIE: If you're not interested, I guess I don't have to regale you with stories of our adventures so, I'll just have some bacon. And my feelings are hurt, and I'm going to walk over to the bacon and I'm going to eat a piece. I was feeling proud, and now my feelings are hurt, goliath lady.

AABRIA: She looks over at you like, "I'm sorry?"

ROBBIE: It's okay.

AABRIA: "I'm sorry. Do you want to tell me a story of your adventure?"

LIAM: He's a very good singer and poet.

AABRIA: "Oh. Like a bard?"

ROBBIE: Yes. I'm a bard.

ASHLEY: Play us a song!

AABRIA: "Yeah, play us a song."

ROBBIE: Well, I have bacon lips, it's hard to play the flute with bacon lips. (laughter)

ROBBIE: All right. Just one. And I, on my hip, I have what appears to be a handaxe but with a gentle click I unclip it from the axe part and it's actually a flute, which is the handle of my axe.

AABRIA: She goes, "Ooh."

ROBBIE: Thank you very much. And I begin to play a little morning tune on my flute.

AABRIA: (laughs)

ROBBIE: (fluting)

AIMEE: So jaunty.

ROBBIE: Sorry, bacon lips. Wipe it off, and I get a little bit better.

LIAM: I push a little pot of honey over towards you. You might want to grease the instrument.

ROBBIE: Thank you so much. I dip my finger in the honey and get it in there. It sounds much better. (jaunty fluting)

AABRIA: Make a performance check with advantage.

ROBBIE: Yay!

AABRIA: Because you've honeyed your flute.

ROBBIE: Eighteen, oh, and a nine, so 18, with performance, that is a 22!

AABRIA: Nice!

ROBBIE: Let's go!

AABRIA: By the end of your song, she's just sitting at the end of the table and her arms are leaning on it, and the entire, this 50-pound, solid-- is tilted in her direction and she's just staring at you. "That was lovely."

ROBBIE: I finish my last note and I clip my flute back on, and I am--

AABRIA: You see her turn her ring around.

ROBBIE: I notice her turn her ring around and I am wildly uncomfortable. But I'm kind of into it and I like the attention. So I give her a wink and then I go back, and I turn my shoulder coyly and I go back to my bacon. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

LIAM: Old Honey Flute, they call him.

MATT: Right in the moment of this heated attraction I lean into her eyeshot and be like: All right, piss on my spear, shit in my beard, that's two pranks, well done. Whoever else did this for me, let me know because I'm going to get you back. It's going to happen. I'm just waiting for the day. I'm proud of you, I'm proud of you all.

AABRIA: She startles back.

ASHLEY: I think that was my fault.

MATT: Respect.

ASHLEY: I love pranks.

MATT: Oh, we're going to have some times.

ASHLEY: Okay! (laughter)

MATT: You see his demeanor change from a jovial to plotting. (laughter)

AABRIA: As the goliath woman walks away, you actually hear her ripping a small sheet as she tears up you guys' check, throws it away.

ALL: Ooh.

LIAM: Man.

AIMEE: Nice.

LIAM: Stick with you.

AIMEE: Hey, so have you guys been-- can you tell me how many taverns you've been to in your life?

LIAM: Well, you first. Because that's a very pointed question.

AIMEE: Second.

LIAM: Second?

AIMEE: Second!

LIAM: Wow.

AIMEE: I mean, like, city tavern. So?

ASHLEY: City tavern?

LIAM: Oh, second.

AIMEE: Second?

LIAM: Mm-hmm.

AIMEE: Thanks.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I think-- wait, Yeah, this is-- This is my second as well, I think?

AIMEE: Wow! Are we all from small towns?

ROBBIE: This would also be my second.

AIMEE: No!

ROBBIE: Yes! Second time. What about you, is this your second?

MATT: Oh well no, see I came from a small town, too, you know. Turst Fields, not far, actually quite far from here. This would be my-- There was Kymal, that was quite a place, Kraghammer... I'm going to be honest, I can't count that high. But it's been a lot. It's been a lot.

AIMEE: That's my dream. Tavern crawl.

MATT: Well, I mean, I'm happy to show you around if I can remember most of them.

AIMEE: Great!

MATT: But it's a good time, it's a good time.

AIMEE: Good, good.

ROBBIE: Maybe we can recover from last night before we start planning our newest tavern crawl. Yeah, sober up, have a bite. And where do we go from here? After breakfast that is. It wasn't a grand question, just.

MATT: I mean, if no one's got any ideas, I can go to my usual go-to.

ROBBIE: Which is?

MATT: You see him fiddling with this object that hangs around his neck, this light chain, and you've seen it on him. It looks like it's an adornment, but it's a compass, a somewhat hollow, almost a compass rose. Looks like it was attached to something in the past. It's a very intricate design. And he goes: Oh, well, when we finish up here I'll show you. I'll show you a little trick.

AIMEE: I love tricks.

ROBBIE: All right, sounds interesting.

MATT: He just takes a handful of bacon.

AABRIA: Yeah, you guys are able to spend a lovely morning eating. You don't have to pay for any of it. That goliath woman is just creeping, like she's in a very high window sill eight feet up and you can see her little eyes look over at you. Give a big obvious wink, and then you hear her elbow someone and they say, "Ugh, ow." "Let me have this!" (laughter)

AABRIA: By the time you wrap up, it's a steady drizzle outside.

AIMEE: Oh, hair's not waterproof.

LIAM: Also can you remind me, I'm trying to remember through the haze of all the drinking last night where the Fire Ashari are? Where we left off in our tale?

AABRIA: Make a history check for me.

LIAM: Okay. That's not bad. 17.

AABRIA: With a 17, you're starting to wrack your brain, and now that you've turned your attention back to this a lot of strange things that have happened in the last couple days are snapping weirdly into place. And you remember just a day or so ago waking up in the morning on the road outside of Emon. But you don't really know what happened before. And there's a tidy blink of about a week, now that you've put it together, that is just gone from your memory. But before that, at the very bleeding edge of what you can recall, you remember being at Thordak's Crater in the Cloudtop District, and seeing footprints leading out and away towards where you know the scar of the Cinder King is, and the rest of the Fire Ashari remain. And as you're putting it back together, it would make sense, that you would have gone and sought out the Fire Ashari. But all of that is a tidy blink. You woke up, as a group, outside of the city walls, not sure how you got there or what your purpose was and instead of investigating it too much you made your way back into the city.

LIAM: And new campaign, new timeline--

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: New GM. The crater is different than the scar of Cinder King?

AABRIA: Yes, Thordak's Crater is in the center of the Cloudtop District. It's where he was sitting and the scar of the Cinder King is a little bit to the eastern-south, outside of town and it's this massive fissure and is a whole event space.

LIAM: Got it. So the crater is where he had his pissing contest and the Scar of the Cinder King is on the edge of the city.

AABRIA: Yes.

LIAM: Which we haven't been to yet.

AABRIA: You haven't.

LIAM: Thank you.

AABRIA: I mean, maybe you were there. You don't remember.

LIAM: We got to drink less.

AABRIA: Or more.

LIAM: Because I don't remember a full week.

AIMEE: It's been a week?

ROBBIE: Yes, it has been.

AIMEE: Oh my gosh, no wonder I stink.

ROBBIE: I have nothing, no bits or pieces. I just remember waking up with you all on the road and then we partied, and here we are.

AIMEE: I remember a rich guy.

ROBBIE: Yes.

ASHLEY: Oh yes.

ROBBIE: Lothar.

ASHLEY: Yes, yes.

AABRIA: You are living in his townhouse, yes.

AIMEE: Oh, mm-hmm, I think that's the guy in the painting.

MATT: This isn't our townhouse?

AIMEE: No.

ROBBIE: No.

MATT: Oh! Oh no.

ROBBIE: You do need to drink less. This was before the week that we lost.

MATT: Probably.

ASHLEY: Time is a weird soup.

ROBBIE: A soup? Time's a weird soup? Is that a saying where you're from?

ASHLEY: Uh-huh.

LIAM: I mean, that kind of tracks.

ASHLEY: It does. It is, we all say it where I'm from, it's kind of a-- We just say it all the time when things don't make sense. Time is a weird soup.

ROBBIE: Are you lying right now?

ASHLEY: Of course not.

AABRIA: I need you to make either a persuasion or deception check. But you have to tell us which it is. Is time a weird soup?

ASHLEY: Persuasion. Because time is, it's real.

AABRIA: Good to know.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Ooh, 16.

AABRIA: Go ahead and roll an insight check to oppose it.

ROBBIE: Oh, 16, do I have a bonus? I have plus one, 17.

AABRIA: Ooh. You look at her and you see in those giant fawn eyes nothing but open and honest truth. Time is a weird soup.

ROBBIE: Time is a weird soup.

AIMEE: Like a chowder.

ASHLEY: Yes, very chunky.

AIMEE: Chunky.

LIAM: Chunky time.

AABRIA: Fearne, can you make a wisdom saving throw for me?

ASHLEY: I can.

AIMEE: Going off the rails.

AABRIA: We didn't start on the rails, you're good.

LIAM: Feels like a D&D game. (laughter)

MATT: We've been grinding dirt for about an hour. I don't know if you're paying attention. And some have been grinding it into my beard, so.

ASHLEY: Eight.

AABRIA: Ooh! (laughter)

ASHLEY: Always a good reaction.

LIAM: The impartial voice of god: "Ooh!"

AABRIA: With an eight, as you think back to some of the weirder sayings from the Feywild, from which you hail, you have this little pull at the back of your mind. A sense of familiarity, almost connectivity, but you quickly lose the thread of it.

ASHLEY: That was weird.

AIMEE: You okay?

AABRIA: Make a wisdom saving throw for me, Dorian.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

AABRIA: Just for putting stuff together.

ASHLEY: I just had a weird--

ROBBIE: Eight.

ASHLEY: Maybe it's just a headache.

ROBBIE: Another eight.

AABRIA: Tight, tighty tight. Woo, all this plot I don't get to give you. Dorian, as you're also thinking back and trying to piece together the missing week that you all share, you're missing someone. And you have that thought for an instant and then it goes away. And it all resolves back into the fog of not knowing.

ROBBIE: We've established that time is a weird soup.

AIMEE: A chowder.

ROBBIE: Or chowder.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

ROBBIE: We've had breakfast.

AIMEE: Should we look for contracts, for adventure? (yelling) Contract? (laughter)

AABRIA: Wow.

ROBBIE: Dariax, you were going to show us a trick, weren't you?

AIMEE: Oh yeah, show us a trick.

MATT: All right, all right. So let's-- Look for, make sure we have a little open space here. Step back a little bit, if you don't mind, just make a little circle here.

LIAM: Would this be better outside or, we're good?

MATT: You know what? Let's pick a road intersection. Fearne, pick a road intersection. It's where this works best.

ASHLEY: Pick a road intersection?

MATT: Yeah, yeah, just point us to one.

ASHLEY: Um. Let's do that one.

MATT: Okay, looks like a perfect intersection. Let's go, come on! He bounds over. All right. Excuse me, we're doing something.

AABRIA: "I'm-- sorry." He walks around all of you.

MATT: Anyway. Takes it off, holds it, detaches the chain from the compass rose sets it on the ground, puts his hand over it for a second. And spins it. It slows and slows and slows until it comes to a stop to the left is where the point on the compass, where the north is and he goes: We go that way.

AABRIA: Nice.

ROBBIE: That's the trick?

MATT: Yeah.

AIMEE: What's that, a compass?

MATT: Yeah, well, it's more of a decoration, but.

ROBBIE: It's just like throwing a dart at a map and picking a place to go.

MATT: We can do that, too, up to you. I mean, it's always worked for me.

ASHLEY: It pointed that way, and we're going that way?

MATT: Unless you got a better idea? Hasn't steered me wrong this far.

ROBBIE: Do we have a better idea?

AIMEE: Mm-mm.

MATT: It really is--

AABRIA: Orym and Opal, can you make perception checks for me? You seem the most nonplussed by this trick.

LIAM: Perception, you say?

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: 21.

AIMEE: 12.

MATT: You're kind of lost in it. And as you're interacting with this, Orym, your attention is taken as you see a person standing strangely in front of your townhouse, just around the corner.

LIAM: Someone we've seen before or somebody new?

AABRIA: From here, you don't recognize them. This red leather duster.

LIAM: Okay, I'll watch a moment.

MATT: You see that they lean forward and begin etching something onto the front, like the lintel on the side.

LIAM: Hmm.

AABRIA: And look up and look around. And begin to slink back.

LIAM: I avert my gaze, I see them doing that. Just try to watch from my peripheral. Are they hanging out or are they taking off?

AABRIA: You see this person takes up across the street and slinks into the shadows between in the bushes of a couple other townhouses and is just watching.

LIAM: I walk over to Dorian and tug on his pant leg. Down here.

ROBBIE: Okay.

LIAM: There was some guy messing with the door on the townhouse and he floated back into an alley across the road.

ROBBIE: Like a handyman, was he fixing the hinges or?

LIAM: I mean, I've never seen a handyman slink into the shadows after fixing something?

ROBBIE: Good point. What do you want to do? You're our little tactician.

LIAM: Well, options, we could double around the block and try to come up behind whoever it is.

ROBBIE: All right.

LIAM: And get the jump on them.

ROBBIE: Okay.

LIAM: There's just walking up to the door and seeing what the heck he just did to it, he drew something, or he wrote something? I don't know. I like the first option better.

ROBBIE: All right, I trust you.

LIAM: Okay.

AABRIA: Also, this conversation's definitely happening long enough if any of you want to clock it.

MATT: I'm already walking down the road. I'm part way away, now.

ASHLEY: What are you whispering about?

LIAM: Somebody's fucking with the townhouse.

ROBBIE: Tell her, tell her. And I'm going to run after Dariax. Dariax!

MATT: What?

ROBBIE: Dariax, come back, come back come back come back.

MATT: Oh okay.

ROBBIE: We're talking about something important.

MATT: Oh oh, yeah.

ROBBIE: And I'm going to put my arm around him and he's so surprisingly dense, I'm going to try to try to pull him and I realize I can't and I'm just going to be like: Come on, come on.

MATT: I put my arm around him like: Yeah, buddy!

ROBBIE: He put it on my liver, it hurts a little bit.

AABRIA: A sturdy boy.

ROBBIE: And we--

MATT: Walking like pals.

ROBBIE: Yeah, just like pals, right back to the crew.

ASHLEY: He saw something. He saw somebody fucking with the door of the townhouse.

AIMEE: Fucking the door?

ROBBIE: No, no, no, with, with.

AIMEE: With-- Oh, with.

ASHLEY: Fucking with the door? Oh, fucking with the door, I understand.

AIMEE: How do you fuck with a door?

ROBBIE: You said he was drawing something? You thought he was etching something in the door?

LIAM: Yeah, he was carving something in it--

AIMEE: That's graffiti.

LIAM: It could have been. It could've been a message.

AIMEE: Let's go--

MATT: I'm already walking to the door.

AABRIA: Yeah! Give me a perception check.

LIAM: And seeing that I swear under my breath and I immediately start trying to surreptitiously go wide and try to creep around to where--

AABRIA: A pincer maneuver, we love this. Make a stealth check for me.

MATT: 17 perception.

AABRIA: Yeah. You are walking back and you actually can see as this person pushes a little bit farther back into the shadows of these bushes and you see a little flash of red leather and blue hair as they try to sneak away, like slink away. But you absolutely clock them as you make your way to the door.

AIMEE: What does it say?

MATT: Hey. I address them.

AABRIA: Amazing! How'd you do on your stealth check?

LIAM: 18.

AABRIA: Yeah. You were already doing a really good job of sneaking around the block and then they were directly addressed. So you're able to get around behind if you ever wanted to do anything at any moment, I'm going to say that you are beneath--

LIAM: Yeah, I'll let them keep talking and I'll just slowly get within maybe 15 feet of whoever it is in the bushes.

ROBBIE: Do we see him flanking the red jacket guy?

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Okay. So the party knows that he's-- we've got his back, okay.

AABRIA: Yeah, a hundred percent so. Whatever you guys--

ASHLEY: I'm going to walk, I'm going to try to get a little closer to the door to see what maybe he was fucking with on the door.

AABRIA: So as you walk over to the door, this person just looks over at you. In the bush.

MATT: Right. Hey, were you fucking with the door?

AABRIA: "What?"

MATT: Both ours--

AIMEE: Were you fucking the door?

MATT: "What?"

AIMEE: He was fucking the door.

MATT: That's kind of uncouth, I'm not going to lie.

AABRIA: "I wasn't fucking the door, I have no, I have idea what you're talking about, and I was not fucking-- I wasn't anywhere near your-- I don't know who you are, where you live so I'm just over here-- I'm a gardener. And reaches up and just pulls a leaf off of the bush and drops it on the ground. And you see this is a, just a human woman. She's got coppery skin with this really interesting surprisingly symmetrical vitiligo pattern across her face, like long blue hair that's shaved on the side, and a big red leather duster with a crimson high scarf to keep the chill out.

AIMEE: You're really fashionable for a gardener.

MATT: I immediately look around--

AIMEE: You must be city gardeners.

MATT: It's just a gardener guys, it's fine.

AIMEE: Yeah, she's just a fashionable city gardener.

MATT: "Yes, I'm a gardener," and she pulls a knife out, it looks a very aggressive blade and just starts slowly sawing.

ASHLEY: Insight check. (laughter)

AABRIA: Yes, go ahead and make an insight check.

ASHLEY: I feel like she's not telling the truth. Oh no. Seven.

AABRIA: City gardeners, wild. So fashionable, as she's just sawing and then it lands on her and a couple bits of sap get on her jacket and she's like, "No! Yep, gard-- gardener, I'm a garden. I don't know who you, who are you?"

LIAM: From 15 feet behind her she hears: What were you gardening on the door?

AIMEE: Ooh!

AABRIA: (high-pitched nervous noise) "Oh, you guys are all, everywhere."

LIAM: I'm down here.

ASHLEY: We're surrounding you now.

MATT: "Oh yep, certainly appears that way, um." Make an intimidation check for me.

LIAM: That is an 18. And I'll just slowly pull the sword--

AABRIA: "Okay, okay, we all have gardening tools here." She adjusts herself and steps back into the street. "All right, you all live at this place?"

LIAM: In the place you were defacing, yeah.

AABRIA: "I mean." You see that little bit, you see a little bit of graffiti, it looks like the double-edged axe of the Lawbringer, Lawbearer, but it's turned into a chalice and this is just general Everdawn graffiti. But make an arcana check for me. With this fantasy Coachella around the corner.

ASHLEY: Eight.

AABRIA: Even still as you look at it, your eyes unfocus a little bit and it seems to blur and shift before it resolves back into this carved-in little bit of cup graffiti. Something's not quite right there. And she just walks and walks full and clear into the street with her hands up, she puts the blade away and goes, "Okay, the thing is, none-- I heard that was a property owned by the Cirrospects in Cloudtop, a bunch of rich gentrifiers in the neighborhood, but none of you look rich, so now I'm a little confused."

AIMEE: (offended gasp) Well, that's rude.

AABRIA: "Care to explain?"

ROBBIE: We're guests.

LIAM: Yeah, we did the family a good turn.

AABRIA: "Mm."

AIMEE: And, I mean, I only smell like this because we have lost a week, okay.

AABRIA: "I don't know at all what the fuck that means, so I'm really not going to--"

MATT: She did win the pissing contest.

AIMEE: I did win the pissing contest.

ASHLEY: She did win a pissing contest.

AABRIA: "Is that literal? I'm going to talk to you, or you, no, I don't want to talk to you. You, you, hey."

ROBBIE: We know you're not a gardener. So why were you defacing this property? What does that symbol mean?

AABRIA: "Oh that's you know, the Everdawn, it's a party, I love partying. I'm drunk from the party."

ROBBIE: You're a terrible liar.

AABRIA: "I'm not used to being seen."

ROBBIE: Not used to being seen? You hid in a bush and we all saw you.

MATT: Yeah, I mean, I saw you and that doesn't say much about your skills, I'm just pointing it out.

AABRIA: "Fine, fine, okay, hold on," and she turns and she snaps and the illusory script dissipates and you see a hand clasping a five pointed star.

AIMEE: Ooh.

AABRIA: "Does that mean anything to any of you?"

LIAM: Does it mean anything to any of us? (laughter)

AABRIA: Dariax, make a... just a general intelligence check for me.

MATT: Great.

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: I'm going to use my inspiration.

AABRIA: Good call.

MATT: On that natural two, minus one it would have been, and instead replaced with my natural four, minus one, so three.

AABRIA: It means nothing to you, but it looks close to some things from a shadier bit of your time in Emon before you hooked up with this group. The rest of you who have been to roughly two taverns each, nah. Nah, homies. That's nothing. And she very slowly moves and looks at you all for any sign of recognition. And finding none.

MATT: Wait a second. You're not a gardener, are you?

AABRIA: "Oh, oh my god. Oh god." And her entire guarded posture relaxes. "Huh."

MATT: Dariax gets intense about this, he's like: I don't like being lied to.

AABRIA: "Okay. I am telling-- All right, you have a lot of weird energy. I feel like you're really mad about the not-gardening thing. We have a problem?"

MATT: No. I just have had problems with other people who tend to lie a lot. And you know, some of them draw shit like this on doors.

AIMEE: He's been to a lot of taverns. He knows about this.

MATT: Like, a lot.

AABRIA: "Mm-hmm."

ROBBIE: And he's our friend, so--

MATT: Aw.

ROBBIE: -- if he doesn't like-- it's okay.

AIMEE: (laughs)

ROBBIE: If he doesn't like someone, I don't like someone. And I don't like that you're lying, either. You come here--

AABRIA: "Mm?"

ROBBIE: -- deface our house, and then lie to our faces. And then I-- I want to play off of maybe Dariax isn't making a play, but I want to unclip-- I'm going to unclip my axe and just make it clear that I'm drawing my weapon and I'm going to match Dariax's seriousness over something else.

AIMEE: Opal puts her long leg against the wall and just shows off her dagger. Maybe sensually just touches it.

LIAM: When are your friends supposed to show up?

AABRIA: "Not til tomorrow, for what it's worth. But. Seeing as you are not the people we thought we would be dealing with. Maybe we can come to some sort of arrangement, and we don't need to come to blows. It's all a bit messy."

MATT: I missed half that, I'm sorry.

AABRIA: "Oh my god. What is his deal? I can't tell if he's-- what?"

MATT: I was going to say something cool, and I forgot what it was, but it was going to be threatening.

AABRIA: "Yeah."

MATT: And you should be feeling real bad about it now.

AABRIA: "No, honestly, I kind of thought it was going to-- Anyway, what's your deal?"

LIAM: Who exactly are you negotiating for?

MATT: That's what I was going to say.

AABRIA: "Names are kind of a problem. You know, Clasp, Myriad, all very hush-hush. A couple of years ago, since some of you look very new in town. Sorry, you can get your leg off the wall now. I'm sufficiently scared of your pink daggers."

AIMEE: Yeah, they're iridescent.

MATT: (laughs)

AABRIA: "Lovely. Well, those of you in the know would know that the Clasp and the Myriad are two very big parties interested in the well-being and progress of this city. And they came to blows a couple of years ago. And no one really knows who won. And we are the ones that are left, but we know better than to use names."

AIMEE: Wait, so there was a fight, but nobody knows who won?

AABRIA: "Yeah."

AIMEE: Nobody knows who won?

AABRIA: "Oh my god."

ASHLEY: Which side are you on?

AABRIA: "Sweetie, I'm on my own side, but if you need a name, you can call me Poska."

ASHLEY: Poska.

AABRIA: "Mm."

ASHLEY: Hi, I'm Fearne.

AABRIA: "Hi. So we were looking at this as one of several properties to hit to deal with the gentrifying forces in the Upper Slums. But I'm more than happy to tell my associates to leave you be, but what will you do for me in return?"

AIMEE: I mean--

LIAM: Not bring you to the city guard right now.

AABRIA: "Hm, you're not going to do that."

LIAM: We're not?

AABRIA: "No."

ROBBIE: We might.

AIMEE: We'll do it.

MATT: Maybe.

AIMEE: City guards! My voice carries. (laughter)

MATT: That-- she means business.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: When she yells things, things appear.

LIAM: I hope this is the thing that shows up finally. (laughter)

AIMEE: There is a ten percent chance it might.

AABRIA: Go ahead and give me a performance check. Let's see how much that voice carries.

AIMEE: 19.

ROBBIE: Ooh!

LIAM: Woo!

AABRIA: Yeah, you hear, within just a few seconds, the clanking of armor as a group of guards turn down the corner and they were on the far end of the street. Do you continue to hail them?

AIMEE: City guards. Ci-- Oh wait-- (whispering) Do we want them to come?

LIAM: Sure.

AIMEE: Do we want them to come?

LIAM: Why not? We're just having a conversation.

AABRIA: She begins to back away and she's getting closer to you.

LIAM: Yeah.

AABRIA: But away from the main group.

LIAM: We're still talking, right?

MATT: "Look, do you want me to talk with a bunch of guards? You seem a little cooler than that. All right. Get rid of the guards and we'll have a conversation."

AIMEE: Oh, n--

AABRIA: "I promise."

AIMEE: Never mind. It was just pee I found on a stick, on a spear.

MATT: That's not true, I cleaned it.

AABRIA: The guards are just kind of-- they're going to continue to walk down.

LIAM: I take a couple of steps back into the alley, further into shadow and I keep the blade up and pointed up at her so she can see that I'm barring the way.

AABRIA: She stands really stiffly as the guards come over and they look over at you. "Do you need something?"

AIMEE: Oh, one second. Do we need something?

AABRIA: "What?"

AIMEE: Do we need something?

AABRIA: "No, I don't think so, thank you. It's such a nice morning."

AIMEE: We don't need anything.

AABRIA: "Guards about. As you were." And there's an awkward like two minutes where the guards are looking at you all and looking for a secret signal. Like, do you need assistance? What's going on? And they wait and if no one does anything they eventually roll their eyes and get bored and continue down the street. And you can see that the entire time Poska is just sweating, and trying to hold it together.

ASHLEY: Oh, you're sweating.

AABRIA: "Yeah."

ASHLEY: That made you very nervous.

AIMEE: We could do it again.

AABRIA: "Cause I'm a c-- I'm a crim-- Yeah. What-- What is your deal? What do you want?"

ROBBIE: Why don't we continue this conversation inside? You go first. Because I don't like walking through thresholds that just had magical writing put on them.

AIMEE: Good point.

AABRIA: "It's just writing." And yeah, she's going to go. She looks over her shoulder to see if Orym is still there. You still there being a--

LIAM: Mm-hmm.

AABRIA: "Ugh. I don't like him. He's little and green and mean."

ROBBIE: I'm going to nod towards Orym, as if to signal for him to usher her into the house, off the street.

LIAM: I will walk forward five or ten steps and then holster the blade as I get out into the thoroughfare.

AABRIA: And you see her flick out a very tiny, two-inch blade as she walks past that little bit of illusory script and you see her cut through it and it dispels what little magic is remaining there. And now you just see a crossed out weird jumble of symbols. And she goes inside. Did you want to try to intervene and stop her?

LIAM: No.

AABRIA: Okay.

LIAM: No, she just cut me off from doing something I want to do, but that's fine. That's fine.

AABRIA: Sorry. And she goes inside.

LIAM: Smart lady is smart.

AABRIA: Looks around and then goes and takes a seat in the corner near the fireplace. "So. Let's talk."

LIAM: Okay, so you're describing two criminal organizations--

AABRIA: "The remnant of the turf war between the Myriad and the Clasp, yes."

LIAM: Yeah, I'm vaguely familiar.

AABRIA: "I'm sorry, go ahead. I've got time."

LIAM: And you were a third-party?

AABRIA: "Mm, nameless."

LIAM: Nameless, looking to pick up the pieces and carry on.

AABRIA: "Mm. With, let me be very clear, the city's best interest at heart, for the most part."

LIAM: Sure.

AABRIA: "Who cares when people hurt the rich?"

ROBBIE: Why are you targeting Lothar's home? Just because he's rich?

AABRIA: "Because he bought property in an area that's been-- belongs to the people. And this is a weird thing that all of those people up at the Cloudtop that were too chicken shit to move back there after Thordak attacked, what, 30 years ago. And now they're buying up property down here changing the infrastructure of a once lucrative area. So we figured a couple targeted breaking and entering would dissuade them from their little sojourn out to the sticks."

LIAM: What was this place before the family bought it up?

AABRIA: "Just a neighborhood. With normal people." You can make an insight check.

LIAM: Yeah, is she-- Is she lying? She could be, I wouldn't know. That is an eight.

AABRIA: You can tell that she is telling the truth, but she is holding something-- a little bit of something back.

LIAM: Shocking.

AABRIA: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: What are we doing, gang?

AIMEE: Did they kick people out to live here?

AABRIA: "Oh, you're new."

AIMEE: Yes.

AABRIA: "That's what-- that's what they do. They buy up the property, kick out the people that lived here before and by virtue of their... aura, bring in things like increased guards, oversight."

AIMEE: Oh, you don't like guards?

AABRIA: "No, sweetie, I'm a criminal."

AIMEE: Oh, you're a criminal!

AABRIA: "Yeah, yeah, I'm a thief."

AIMEE: I've never met a criminal.

AABRIA: "Oh, oh my god, that's so nice. This is very nice for you."

AIMEE: This is very exciting, stop.

AABRIA: "Okay, hi."

AIMEE: Okay, I have questions, but I'm not going to--

AABRIA: "No, go ahead."

AIMEE: No, no, you guys go ahead. You just go ahead.

MATT: If I'm going to be honest here, I'm not a huge fan of the way this town is guarded, more or less. I mean, I've been here for a while. There's facets of corruption through it. A lot of them are just dickholes anyway. And you know, I've-- I've done some jobs-- adjacent-- out of necessity. And honestly out of it just sounding really fucking cool and I wanted to do it and it was really cool.

AABRIA: "Crime is cool."

MATT: So, you know, I get where you're coming from. I just-- I don't know, Lothar's been kind of nice to us and I don't know. It feels bad to, like, write on his door.

ROBBIE: It's true, and correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Lothar's family provide protection for everyone here? They pay the guards, don't they?

AABRIA: "Oh, oh my god, hold on." And she gets really close to you and turns her head slowly and then gives a little-- (sniffs softly) "No, you're money, that's the thing. You think that money brings good things. Guards can be paid off. Oversight benefits the rich and not everyone else that they're stepping over. Look outside right now. You see half of the shops are closed. They were bought out. Maybe there'll be something. Maybe they won't. Maybe they'll just be hoarded by people with too much gold and too much time."

AIMEE: Hm.

AABRIA: "Honestly, I'm doing the neighborhood a favor."

ROBBIE: By committing crime?

AABRIA: "Yes! Do you want do crimes with me?"

ROBBIE: Oh.

MATT: Kind of.

AIMEE: I wouldn't.

ROBBIE: What?!

MATT: "Listen to this one, mm-hmm."

LIAM: Well, I don't, but I've just met you, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, once.

AABRIA: "Mm."

LIAM: The city is a complicated place, I hear.

AABRIA: "Mm."

LIAM: So for us to not turn you in and for us to not fuck you up, what can you give us?

AABRIA: And she gives a little look around the house, and it's disheveled. She can peek back into the kitchen and see bowls strewn and empty cupboards.

LIAM: And I'm not interested in money.

AABRIA: "Oh."

LIAM: At all. I'm talking about information, or-- you seem to have a philosophy in life.

AABRIA: "Mm-hmm."

LIAM: Give you a chance to prove it to us.

MATT: Maybe a really cool hat.

AIMEE: Yeah.

AABRIA: "Information and a very nice hat."

AIMEE: The coat's nice, too.

LIAM: Do you want?

AIMEE: Your duster's cute.

AABRIA: "You want my jacket?"

AIMEE: No, I just want to know where you got it.

MATT: Let's start with the hat, we can work our way up.

AIMEE: Okay.

MATT: It's called negotiation.

ROBBIE: I don't think she meant mug her right now.

AABRIA: "I am very excited that you think that you would win in a fight with me. That's--"

AIMEE: Here's what I know. I'm from a small town, but if somebody moved into my house, kicked me out, kicked my whole family out and was like, "You can't live here anymore," and then set guards in front of the house that I lived in, I'd be really mad.

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm, I was thinking the same thing, actually, I don't think anybody should be kicked out of their home.

AIMEE: No.

AABRIA: "You're new here. And you could use a bit of connection, a network. Keep yourselves afloat."

LIAM: Context.

AIMEE: Yeah!

LIAM: It's a good story. So far, all I know is it's a story.

AABRIA: "Okay. Well, how about this? If you all do me a little favor, I will keep the Cirrospect properties off of our lists? I'll provide you with any information you need, a bit of spending money, a hat, and the name of my tailor."

AIMEE: Thank you.

MATT: I'm in.

AABRIA: "It's good to have friends."

ROBBIE: I won't-- Would you give us a moment?

AABRIA: "Oh, sure. Do you want me to wait in here?"

ROBBIE: Sure.

AABRIA: And she sinks back into the chair and gets really comfortable.

ROBBIE: I want to bring everybody in close for a huddle up, out of her earshot, if I can. So what are we talking about here? We see someone defacing our house, and she asks us to join her? For what? Information and a hat? What are we doing?

AIMEE: Well, it's not our house.

LIAM: I think she's just vamping, to be honest, I'm not really comfortable with this, but I've also heard a lot about this city and its maze-like infrastructure.

MATT: I mean, I don't know a lot of things, but I do know that I got really uncomfortable around Lothar's family. Lothar seems all right, you know, he's young, he's come up in money. He's just doing his thing, but--

ASHLEY: His family was quite strange.

MATT: Yeah. And the problem with young kids with money as they eventually become--

AIMEE: Old kids with money.

MATT: Older folk with money. And that never ends well.

ASHLEY: Hmm. Wait, why did-- She sniffed you and said that-- I don't know.

MATT: Said you're money, which is ridiculous. You're, like, a blue person.

AIMEE: Yeah, I don't smell any money on you.

ROBBIE: Thank-- thank you?

AIMEE: Mm-hmm.

ROBBIE: Yeah, just a humble bard, right?

MATT: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Yeah, of course. I don't-- You know what, this whole thing makes me uncomfortable. I'll do whatever you guys decide. I-- I don't want it.

AIMEE: I think we should just meet some of her, like, people she works with. A fun adventure, more people, more context. More hats.

MATT: We probably have some mutual friends, too. You know, I've done a few maybe not-so-top-of-the-board things. Your old boy here Dariax might be a well-seasoned crimin-ail.

AIMEE: Wow.

LIAM: Insight check.

AABRIA: Yeah. (laughter)

AABRIA: Persuasion or deception.

LIAM: 19.

MATT: Natural 20 plus five.

ALL: Oh! (cheering)

LIAM: I was like, "I have three of a kind!" (laughter)

AABRIA: Oh.

MATT: I'm just going to be honest, like, it's really fun.

ASHLEY: Being a crimin-ail?

MATT: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Hmm.

AIMEE: Well, crime is really in the eye of the beholder.

ROBBIE: Is that another one, like time is a weird soup?

AIMEE: Yes.

ROBBIE: Okay.

ASHLEY: I've heard of that one, yeah.

ROBBIE: I'm with Orym. This whole thing makes me uncomfortable. But if it's something that group decides, I'll support it. I just don't want to hurt Lothar. And if we're going to get information out of her I want it to be something good. She's offering us information. Maybe she knows something about the Ashari?

LIAM: Maybe.

ASHLEY: Well, maybe we should see where this goes.

LIAM: I'll go along, probably not for the same reasons, but.

ROBBIE: Same. Break the huddle.

AABRIA: Sweet. She's just staring at you all expectantly.

ROBBIE: And I'll motion for the master negotiator and career criminal to take the lead.

MATT: Dariax takes his spear, and he's been using it as a walking stick most of the morning, and sets it across leaning against the wall, cracks his knuckles. So Poska. Me and my little band here of friends, allies, family are-- we're interested in what you're packing. I think we can come to some sort of an arrangement.

AABRIA: "And he speaks for you all?" And she gives a very pointed look at Orym, who seems the least bought in.

LIAM: Well, I'd like everything would be on the table first. What are we talking about?

AABRIA: "Hm, that doesn't answer my question. Does he speak for you?"

LIAM: Tell you what, I'll sign on.

AABRIA: "Mm."

LIAM: As long as you come with.

AABRIA: Persuasion check.

ASHLEY: (sighs)

AIMEE: Oh!

ROBBIE: Oh no.

AABRIA: And she gives you a nice long look and says, "Look, you're cute. And I feel like the beginning of a vibe, but no, no. This is for you to prove yourselves. And all you have to do--" And she pulls a coin out of a little flap in her shirt and flicks it towards you.

MATT: It hits my head. (laughter)

AABRIA: And she was mid-speech and just goes, (laughs) "Oh my god. Well, all right, you're going to get killed, so I'm not super bothered about this anymore. Keep that, don't drop it."

MATT: I didn't drop it, you threw it. And your aim's a little off.

AABRIA: "Anyway. No, I won't be going with you, but I will happily wait here for you and make sure that nothing happens to your digs in the interim, but any given day in the docks of Emon, there are a dozen ships from Marquet, merchant vessels. And they've got lots of lovely little trinkets. And sometimes the dockmasters lose them. Sometimes they just didn't make the crossing. I need you to find me something nice. Something... worth all of this. And you're going to drop it off in my warehouse. And if it's nice enough, I'll give you a cut when I fence it. Seem fair? You don't have to do anything that you don't want to do. I don't even care where it comes from. The docks were just a suggestion. You have very nice boots. What do you need?"

AIMEE: The dagger is in my boot.

AABRIA: "Yeah."

AIMEE: I just want you to know we're armed.

AABRIA: "Yeah, okay. I am also armed."

AIMEE: Yeah, but do you got two daggers?

ROBBIE: I think what our friend is trying to say is that--

AIMEE: Don't fuck us.

AABRIA: "No, hold on. You've-- I-- yeah, I have at least two daggers on me."

AIMEE: Damn it.

AABRIA: "No, I'm not saying that to dissuade you. It was a really-- It's a cool power move. You've very nice boots. Sorry, go ahead."

ROBBIE: No, it's it's fine.

ASHLEY: What qualifies as something nice?

AABRIA: "Oh, gold, silks, magical items, art. Anything worth a price. Anything sellable on the black market."

AIMEE: We're doing that so that you don't loot this house.

AABRIA: "Mm-hmm."

AIMEE: But we could have just turned you in! Why are we doing stuff for you? You should be doing stuff for us.

AABRIA: "Yeah, I understand."

MATT: Because it's fun.

AIMEE: Oh, okay.

AABRIA: "That. And you'll make money and friends. And you're new here. So you want the kind of friends I have, I promise."

AIMEE: Do they go to taverns a lot?

AABRIA: "The best."

AIMEE: Okay. I'm kind of in.

AABRIA: "That's two? Three, including the little monkey. Seems very excited."

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm.

MATT: He doesn't have to come.

ASHLEY: That's not true. He does have to come, because wherever I go, Dariax, he comes with me.

MATT: (quietly) Okay.

AABRIA: "Blue boy, you in?"

ROBBIE: Sure.

AABRIA: "Hmm. Leaves you."

LIAM: Okay.

AABRIA: "If you do a good job I'll take you out for a drink after, sound good?"

LIAM: No.

AABRIA: "Aw, don't worry I grow on people."

LIAM: Put that to the test.

AABRIA: "All right, well. I'm going to go upstairs have a little nap and let me know when my bright new shinies are in my warehouse. Sound good? You're going to want to head to Darkwater Street. It's the one warehouse that refuses the light. We love a little mystery here. Okay, goodbye!" And she just walks upstairs and closes the door and you hear her scooching furniture in front of it to barricade herself in.

MATT: Expertly done.

ASHLEY: Okay, so we go to the docks to try to find her some bright and shinies. Orym, why are you hesitant?

LIAM: Because I'm not a thief.

ASHLEY: Oh. Well, we can do the stealing.

AIMEE: Yeah. You can just stand outside.

ROBBIE: It'll be all right, Orym.

LIAM: I'm just trying to square up where she started the conversation and where she ended it.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: The beginning was Robin Hood, and by the end of it, it was rob these foreign merchants. So--

MATT: It's a little weird, actually, now that you point it out.

LIAM: I'm happy to be involved, but I would like to propose that we bring the city guard into it.

ROBBIE: You mean while she's up there, we go out and call them in?

MATT: Well, here's the thing. What if we go talk to these people at the Darkwater Street that she was talking about and what if they're like, big assholes.

AIMEE: Yeah.

MATT: Would you feel better about it then?

LIAM: Not really, no.

MATT: Man, I can't get a read on you.

LIAM: I just don't like fucking people over, Dariax.

MATT: This entire world is built on it. I've spent my whole life getting fucked over. If you don't start fucking people over you're not going to survive, buddy. I know you're from some highfalutin' mountain town you've been talking about, you know, but like, welcome to Emon, man.

LIAM: I know that you are wrong. I know that there's more in this world. I know that temptation and corruption and imperfection is rampant in this world. But that's not all there is.

MATT: I'm not saying that's all there is. But it's-- it's, uh-- it's unavoidable, to a certain extent. You don't have to be a bad person to do bad things if it's hurting other bad people.

ROBBIE: She's not asking us to find something specific. She's not telling us to do this to hurt someone else. She just wants us to steal for her.

MATT: Just to show that we're in. That we're not going to go call the guard on her.

LIAM: (laughs ruefully) She is right about everything she said about this city.

AIMEE: Who?

LIAM: Don't worry about it.

MATT: We're not going to make you do anything that you really don't feel comfortable with.

LIAM: That's all of this.

MATT: Oh shit, um--

ASHLEY: We could-- We could go buy something nice.

AIMEE: Oh yeah, that's a good idea.

ASHLEY: Give that to her, if that makes you feel a little bit more comfortable with-- with being a crimin-ail.

LIAM: I'd like to try to find out more about who she works for.

MATT: Which, we can probably do by asking around, now that we have a name. I got some old friends we can maybe stop by to see if they got some information. If I can find them. You know, this is information gathering.

ASHLEY: Yeah. I like this plan.

MATT: Thank you.

ASHLEY: We just-- we go there, we just do some-- some simple

AIMEE: Recon.

ASHLEY: -- snooping, recon. And just maybe figure out who she is and then maybe we'll see what happens from there.

MATT: Look, I speak for all of us and that's a big responsibility. I wouldn't put that upon you if I didn't care about you.

LIAM: You met me a week ago and we don't remember six of those seven days.

MATT: That's most of my friendships, though. So it's not a big deal to me.

LIAM: Well, I'll tell you what. I can hang for a day or two. We'll reassess after that.

MATT: Works for me.

LIAM: All right. We're at the same height-ish.

MATT: Yeah, I'm a little taller. (laughter)

AABRIA: And on that shake, the camera pushes through the window. The skies have gotten much darker and the rain falls heavier. And on that, we will take our break. (oohing)

AABRIA: All right, we'll be back in a few. Hang in there.

ASHLEY: Yeah!

Break[]

LAURA: Hey Critters, Laura Bailey here. Let's see what's up in the Critical Role shop. (lively music) Ooh, look at this. Look at the details, ooh. I mean the Traveler always says impulse purchases are a good decision. You're only, like, five clicks away from owning this, maybe more if you have a lot of windows open on your browser; I don't know your life. The cuteness, it's overpowering. I mean, seriously, look at this thing. So click on over to the Critical Role shop. (chuckles) Don't worry, there's a few more minutes in the break, you've still got time.

MARISHA: There's something about Phil Bourassa that's incredibly contagious.

BRANDON: He's an amazing artist, he's an amazing designer, he's a genius.

MATT: He's just been knocking it out of the park over and over again.

ASHLEY: With his designs, it just solidified the characters in our heads, on the page.

SAM: He's that good, and he's that confident.

PHIL: I love drawing this stuff.

SAM: We at Critical Role have been blessed with having our characters drawn by amateur and professional artists in the Critter community for years. I've seen hundreds of versions of Scanlan Shorthalt. There's been such a broad spectrum drawn. But when I found out Phil Bourassa was going to be our official character designer for "The Legend of Vox Machina" it was like a great weight had been taken off my shoulders.

TRAVIS: I'm a huge fan of Phil Bourassa's. I have been for many, many years. All of his work on the DC films. I saw his style and I connected with it in such an acute way. He has such a fantastic eye.

PHIL: I met Travis before I knew about Critical Role. He was playing one of the heavies in a Batman movie I did all the character design for. I didn't talk to him after that for a few years. The next time we ran into each other, my wife and I were taking an early flight out of LAX to go to JFK for New York Comic Con in 2018.

TRAVIS: As the fates would have it, when Laura and I sat down, I hear this, "Travis?" And I look to my left, and across the aisle is Phil Bourassa just sitting right there. And just in that moment, lightning bolt to the head, I was like, "We got this animated series that we're developing."

PHIL: Travis was like, "Would you be down to take a pass at these characters?" And I was like, "Hell yeah." Just something clicked for me, drawing this stuff. I'm just shy of 20 years now doing this, and I spent the last 11 consecutive years doing superheroes. If I'm known for anything, it's for the work that I did on the DC superheroes at Warner Brothers Animation. But fantasy is my first love.

LAURA: Phil is so amazing, and he's worked on a lot of the superhero stuff that Travis and I have done in the past. And his designs are phenomenal, so the fact that he came on board was a huge jump in excitement level for me.

MARISHA: I mean, the excitement was hard to contain. So many of us were fans of his work from what he'd done with WB. I'm a huge Batman girl, and I love all of that.

LIAM: I knew Phil's work before I knew that it was Phil's work. I've seen his animation before and his character designs are gorgeous.

MATT: His design work is immaculate, his creativity is brilliant.

BRANDON: When I heard that Phil was going to be on the project I was like, "Yes, they've got it. This is great. He's perfect."

ARTHUR: Phil is pretty much a legend in the animation industry out here, and the idea that he would be coming on to the project with us, I don't think I even believed it at first.

SUNG JIN: My reaction to Phil Bourassa was like, "No fucking way."

PHIL: There was something about the project that spoke to me on a deeper personal level that I was willing to take the chance on working with a completely new creative team. Critical Role presented this opportunity to be at the ground floor of something relatively new and fresh, and even though the lore was clearly well-defined and the characters were well-defined, there was so much to explore on a visual level. Normally when I'm creating a design, it comes from the written word or a comic book, or even just the writer's script. These characters come from the imagination and the heart and the soul of the voice actors, the cast members who are the creators and founders, right? So they were very involved.

LAURA: We all had-- I had a lot of input. I mean, I gave notes on the feathers, I gave notes on the hair. I gave notes about how much she wants to use her feminine wiles. I didn't want her to be too brazen.

PHIL: So much is determined by the performances, what the creators had imbued in their creations. The way Laura's performance informs the way that I draw the character. She's got to have some sass, she's got to have some attitude, whereas Keyleth has this charming naivete, an innocent aspect.

MARISHA: Every time we pull up an image or a turnaround of Keyleth, everyone in the room is just like, "Aw, she's so cute. She's just a little button." And I think because Keyleth has this fresh look at the world, we really wanted to reflect that in her character design.

SAM: Even his first designs and his first stab at Scanlan was kind of perfect. I don't think we changed that much. We were just nitpicking on collar size and hair shape. Everything else, Phil's first takes are everybody else's 10th take.

TRAVIS: The first stuff I saw of Grog, the frame is right, the expressions were right, and he just gets the bearing of the guy because it's so easy to make a hulking figure look intimidating, but Grog has to be able to convey both the rage and the fury of a Strongjaw, but also the warmth and the gentle nature of Grog.

PHIL: He's kind of The Hulk, but he's kind of not. There's a cuteness to Grog, too, so there were things that we played with, like the size of his ears.

ASHLEY: Phil did such a good job with just the nuance of each of the characters' personalities coming through. Pike's hair color, to the color of her armor and the little scrapes on her armor and he just took it to the next level.

PHIL: They've created these original characters, but they're also very archetypal. Like Percy and Vax are dexterity builds, so they're very lithe and long to bring out, to show the agility and the dexterity inherent in the class.

TALIESIN: Percival is a character that Phil grasped so quickly and understood how everything was supposed to lie, especially when standing with everybody else has a very unique look and a unique vibe.

LIAM: Phil's excellent at what he does, both with Vax and with all these characters, he has come in and landed pretty close to the target already, and then we're able to shoot ideas back and forth and then the next week it's there.

MATT: It's been really cool working with him to take these characters that don't just live in my brain, but each one of them has a part of me in them, and then have them come back even prettier than I could've ever hoped for.

TRAVIS: Watching him dive into this fantasy scape, Phil's just flexing. He's having a blast.

SAM: Phil's had tons of leeway to just create whatever his mind can dream up. Something that's really important about this animated series is we wanted it to be definitely and distinctly an adult series. It's for grownups. So, we wanted to make sure that the world, the background, the atmosphere and the character designs both read as sophisticated, mature.

ARTHUR: We definitely want to make sure that this show feels unique, and I think Phil was well aware of that and totally down to just try anything and throw ideas at the wall and see what stuck.

TALIESIN: Phil's designs capture the kineticism and flow of the best that Japanese animation has to offer while feeling uniquely Western and uniquely-- honestly, uniquely themselves.

ARTHUR: Phil's stuff definitely leans way more in the anime direction, and anime itself is kind of part of the DNA of Titmouse's look and culture. All of us here watch a shit-ton of anime, so he almost was a perfect fit in the sense that he's looking at the same exact kind of stuff and incorporating that into his designs.

MATT: He just came to this with a vigor and an excitement that we couldn't help but be excited alongside it.

ARTHUR: There almost couldn't be a better match as far as Western character designers than Phil.

PHIL: We are pouring every ounce of passion and love and creativity that we have at our disposal into trying to bring this world to life.

TRAVIS: Watching Phil dive into this world, you kind of got the sense of an athlete stretching. He's really just starting to break out of anything that he's done before. It's only limited by what your imagination can envision, and for Phil, there is no shortage of that.

ARTHUR: I really have not experienced anything this good in animation.

PHIL: I'm hoping we can do a lot of seasons of this show.

TRAVIS: I think we're only really getting started with him. He's blown us out of the water with everything that we have in season one. Gods help us for what's in store in season two.

Hello, everybody! Hey. Hey! We're all here sitting around a table playing a board game. Yeah! What? How amazing is that? Ooh! Into the microphone for me, Uk'otoa. (shouting) (laughs) Oh, come on! No, I ain't falling for this shit! Unleash a tentacle. Wait, that's my dude. Yes it is! (grunting) Oh, no! Matthew! I mean, it's pure chaos. Yeah.

Part II[]

AABRIA: And we come back up with the five of you reasonably headed out the door into the rain? Where are you headed? What do you want to do?

LIAM: To whatsit street?

ASHLEY: Dockwater?

AABRIA: Darkwater.

AIMEE: Dankwater.

AABRIA: Sweet.

AABRIA: Dankwater is a slightly different street.

AIMEE: Dankwater Street.

MATT: We can go there after.

ROBBIE: Yeah, please.

AABRIA: It's cool as shit, though.

ASHLEY: It's real fun. (laughter)

AABRIA: So you make your way across town and eventually arrive in the port area. And along these long rows of just massive cobblestone warehouses and rickety streets with big carts and litters going back and forth, transporting goods, you make your way to Darkwater Street. And you see people avoiding the rain. And everything just looks shadier right now because it's dark and people are trying to stay covered from the elements and from the weather. It all has a very sinister air to it. But it's just a bunch of people at work on a day like any other day for them. What do you want to do?

ASHLEY: (inhales, sighs)

AIMEE: Smells fishy.

AABRIA: It does.

ASHLEY: I love it. And salt water.

AABRIA: Mister's going to lean down, and he keeps sniffing the air, and then sniffs the ground and the ground's just like-- you know that permanent wet reflective thing? He just gives a big lick to one of the cobblestones. (lip smacking)

ASHLEY: Salty.

AIMEE: Wait, there's water, like a body of water?

AABRIA: You guys are right next to the Ozmit Sea.

ASHLEY: Ozmit Sea.

AIMEE: Can I have a check about Opal?

AABRIA: What are you--

AIMEE: Has she ever seen water before?

AABRIA: Are you asking me? I don't know your character.

AIMEE: I don't feel like--

AABRIA: Bitch, have you seen the ocean?

AIMEE: I feel like she hasn't.

LIAM: Well, Byroden is landlocked.

AIMEE: Landlocked. This is her first time seeing the ocean. (gasps)

AABRIA: So, yeah. Let's say that as you guys were coming down the hill and getting down to sea level, you're able to see this big, beautiful, sparkling, dark blue ocean under a gray sky. And even with the rain, it is still massive and majestic and you know you can't see out as far as you could on a clear day, but you are just faced with how massive the world really is.

AIMEE: (gasps)

ASHLEY: Wow. I come up and I grab Opal's hand.

AIMEE: (whispering) I've never seen it before.

ASHLEY: Isn't it so lovely?

AIMEE: It's majestic.

ASHLEY: I know.

AIMEE: But it stinks.

ASHLEY: I know! (high-pitched gasping laugh)

AABRIA: Mister's going to go to the other side and grab your other hand.

AIMEE: Who is? Mister!

AABRIA: Yeah.

AIMEE: This is very exciting. Hi, ocean!

AABRIA: And you see a bunch of ships coming in and out of the dock. And as you actually look down into the harbor, you see that there's easily a hundred ships in both the near port and the deep water port. A little farther.

LIAM: Smells better once you get further out.

AIMEE: But we're not going further out, are we?

LIAM: No, we're checking--

AIMEE: She takes off! Runs down.

AABRIA: Mister does not like--

AIMEE: And I take Fearne.

AABRIA: Yeah. Mister's just screaming beside you like (monkey scream) (laughter)

ROBBIE: And are they sort of running toward the end of the dock. Is that where they're going?

AABRIA: I imagine it just running down the hill and just building up steam and you're going to pass four or five streets of warehouses, and just hit stanky-ass harbor. I don't know when you want to stop. Mister will not stop you. Let me be very clear.

AIMEE: Okay.

AABRIA: He's a ride or die.

AIMEE: Maybe we'll just-- Maybe we'll just do like a-- right before the dock ends.

AABRIA: Yeah, all right. Give me an acrobatics check.

AIMEE: Oh boy!

AABRIA: Just to hit those brakes. We'll see if you do a cartoon bloop into the ocean.

AIMEE: That is a 19.

AABRIA: Yeah, you're fine.

AIMEE: But I kind of wish it wasn't because I do want to go boop into the ocean.

AABRIA: Mister, you actually have to catch Mister because he was just going to go.

AIMEE: (grunts)

AABRIA: Yeah. And he just pulling against you. Like (monkey scream)

AIMEE: I want to do it, too.

LIAM: So we'll catch up with her and then take a look at the ships around us in the dock, I guess?

AABRIA: Yeah. Are you looking for anything in particular? For what it's worth, you do see that there are ships of all types. You see the bulk of them are ones that are natural to Tal'Dorei. But you also see the golden-colored clipper ships that are Marquesian. You see one big, scary, dark water boat, that stands out away from everything else that looks like it's probably from either Wildemount or just somewhere farther away. Most of them are Marquesian. Most of them are merchant vessels.

ASHLEY: Okay. What do we think?

AABRIA: Are you trying to case? Like, you want to give me a case roll?

LIAM: I don't--

AABRIA: You becoming a criminal?

LIAM: I'm not becoming a criminal. I am babysitting.

AABRIA: All right.

AIMEE: So we're just watching ships. Have any of them docked? Are there any people coming off the ships?

AABRIA: Yeah. There's people moving stuff on and off of ships all the time. You're immediately lost in the flux of people who are just in their job, and they're miserable in the rain. So you are extra under the radar, even in your pink.

AIMEE: I would just want to talk to everybody, like, where did you come from? Where did you come from? How long were you out there?

AABRIA: You turn to your person and he responds to you. What languages do you speak?

AIMEE: I speak Common and Elvish.

AABRIA: Oh yeah. This person turns to you. And it's a massive red dragonborn. And just starts speaking to you in this low, guttural, rumble that you can feel in your chest. And he's got a perfectly normal face and is responding. There's no hint of malice. But you just hear like-- (guttural speech)

AIMEE: Thank you. Anybody get that?

AIMEE: I don't think I did.

AABRIA: Does anyone speak Draconic?

ASHLEY: No.

LIAM: No.

AABRIA: Sweet.

ROBBIE: So is this a merchant port? Like, are we sensing that these ships are most likely being loaded and unloaded with stuff.

AABRIA: Yes, absolutely.

ROBBIE: Then I'm going to address Orym primarily in the group and say: Well, we could sneak aboard a ship. See what they have. We could--

AIMEE: Ask for a tour?

ROBBIE: Ask for a tour, sure. We could also just ask around. Didn't we talk about finding out more information about Poska?

AIMEE: (shouting) Anyone know Poska?

MATT: Ah! (shushing) Mmm, I would say probably not be throwing that name around here.

AABRIA: I need everyone to make a perception check. Did anyone get higher--

MATT: Three.

AABRIA: Did anyone get higher than 18?

AIMEE: No.

ASHLEY: 16.

AIMEE: 13.

AABRIA: Unbeknownst to you, but the camera catches as one person looks over in Opal's direction, and slinks into the crowd, almost disappearing immediately and moves away. You don't catch it in the flow of everything happening.

LIAM: Off our radar?

AABRIA: Yep.

AIMEE: No, you're right.

AABRIA: Some things are just for the audience.

AIMEE: (whispering) Sorry for that.

MATT: It's fine. There's a kind of finesse--

AIMEE: Yes.

MATT: -- when it comes to talking with people that deal in the same spaces that we now do.

AIMEE: I-- yep.

ASHLEY: Can you show us some finesse?

MATT: Well-- (chuckles) I hope I-- maybe. Well, you-- Look, Orym, you're the one who has sort of the--

AIMEE: Plan?

MATT: Morals. I think is the word.

LIAM: Sure.

MATT: Yeah. Is there a particular ship here that you feel might be, I don't know. You'd feel less guilty about casing.

AABRIA: (laughs)

LIAM: This is your bag, man. I'm along for the ride and to learn.

MATT: Oh! All right. Eenie meenie miney moe.

AIMEE: Why don't we look for someone who looks like (whispering) Poska?

AABRIA: (chuckles)

AIMEE: You know, like, red cape, blue hair.

MATT: You keep an eye out for that.

AIMEE: Okay.

MATT: If you see someone like that, let us know.

AIMEE: All right.

MATT: That's not a bad deal.

AIMEE: Okay.

AABRIA: Give me an investigation check for a Thing 1 or Thing 2. (laughter)

AIMEE: Did I remember that, was it blue hair?

AABRIA: Yeah, you're right.

AIMEE: Oh, it's a natural 20! (cheers)

AABRIA: Amazing. So you're scanning, and you don't see anyone like in that-- like you don't see Poska or someone that looks like her. Or even someone in that outfit that wasn't a uniform.

AIMEE: Do I see the symbol anywhere?

AABRIA: But you do. You see at random little bits of the dock every now and every now and again. You can see that etched in the hand, clasping the star. And sometimes it's really rudimentary. But you're learning to pick it up.

AIMEE: (gasps)

MATT: What-- what happened?

AIMEE: Look.

MATT: Did you draw that?

AIMEE: No.

MATT: That looks just like--

AIMEE: I didn't draw it. I scoped it out. That's what -- (whispering) Poska etched on the door.

MATT: Keep it cool, keep it cool.

AIMEE: Keep it cool.

ASHLEY: It's on the dock?

AIMEE: (whispering) On the dock.

AABRIA: You actually see it on a big post that leads towards dock four that's got a couple Marquesian ships. And that big, heavy, dark ship that you saw.

LIAM: Dorian. You got any paper?

ROBBIE: Paper, paper, paper.

LIAM: One sheet. Half a sheet, scrap.

ROBBIE: Yeah. I reach into my pocket and I do, I have a little piece of parchment. It's kind of crumpled up, and I hand it over to him.

LIAM: Um... I, um... I, uh... Let me see. I pick up some-- I rub my hand in some dirt and grime on the docks. And then I-- Will you stand in front of me for a second?

ASHLEY: Yes, I can. I just floof my cape and my dress. Hiding him behind me.

AABRIA: You're throwing out an area of effect where now sailors and stuff are looking over at you and pointing, and a couple wave. And they just go around. They're not bothering you, but--

LIAM: I push the parchment against that spot.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: And then I just smash and rub the dirt all over it. And brush it away, to try to get a sort of a rubbing of the symbol.

AABRIA: Yeah, no roll required, absolutely. And you see, now that Opal's pointed it out, you can actually see a couple different places on the dock where rough shapes like that are. So you got the cleanest most deeply etched one.

LIAM: Okay.

ROBBIE: Are they on a specific slot-- slip in the dock? Where these prints are?

AABRIA: It seems to signal this dock specifically.

ROBBIE: Where this one boat is. This one slip or the whole dock?

AABRIA: There's three ships here.

ROBBIE: I guess-- what's the question I'm asking. Are the symbols-- look like they're lining up with one ship, one--

AABRIA: No, not one ship specifically. Just this little area.

ROBBIE: A whole dock?

AABRIA: Yeah, the whole dock.

LIAM: Yeah, so the question is, does that mean that these are targets? Or these are property of? I don't know.

ROBBIE: That's what I was thinking. If Poska drew that symbol on Lothar's house, and they were going to hit it.

ASHLEY: It's got to be a target.

ROBBIE: These are targets.

MATT: That makes a lot of sense.

AIMEE: I didn't think of that.

MATT: Me neither.

AIMEE: I was just going to ask if we could have a tour.

ASHLEY: I'm curious about-- about the-- bacon lips. (laughter) I'm curious about the large ship. Woo, it's still happening. (laughter) It's very strangely hard to say for some reason. (laughter) I'm curious about this large ship. It just looks so imposing.

AABRIA: Do you want to make an investigation check and try to--?

ASHLEY: I do.

AABRIA: Yeah, go for it.

ASHLEY: Can I look for the name or just any little bits of--?

AABRIA: Yeah, absolutely.

ASHLEY: (sadly) Oh. What's my investigation? Oh, it's a 10.

AABRIA: It's okay. The things you get for free, because it's a boat, and it's got a name on it. This is a big, dark ship. On its prow, you see the words "The Blightstar." It's got this really dark, burnt-looking wood that makes up the whole thing. And above its black sails you see a little flag that is a black field with a big white semicircle, and below the arc of that, a little red circle.

AIMEE: Hmm.

AABRIA: You instinctively look down at your arm.

ASHLEY: (gasps)

LIAM: Ruidus? Both moons?

AABRIA: This looks like a rough approximate-- like the ship is named after Ruidus, yeah.

LIAM: Hmm.

AIMEE: (whispering) Is that your ship?

LIAM: Two very different things.

ASHLEY: What does that mean?

LIAM: Well, it's the moon. It's the moon. It's a coincidence.

AABRIA: You've been outside when it's night. There's two moons here.

ASHLEY: There's two moons.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Wait, but the flag-- do you know what this ship is?

LIAM: Do I have any--

AABRIA: Give me a history check. You are extremely far traveled.

LIAM: 17.

AABRIA: Ooh. This ship is absolutely from Issylra. A dark place. A wild place. Not known for trade and big ports. So it's strange that it would be here, in this merchant section.

LIAM: I mean, I don't know much. But from-- it's probably the sketchiest ship in the harbor.

AIMEE: (sighs)

ROBBIE: Shall we try to sneak aboard?

AIMEE: Yes!

AABRIA: (laughs)

ROBBIE: All right. Well, I can't believe this. I have an idea. You four get down low, get near the docking area, and I'm going to try and create a distraction.

AIMEE: (whispering) He seemed to really like Fearne, too. The sailors seemed to really like. Maybe you could do a little duet.

ASHLEY: Yeah, sure.

ROBBIE: Do you want to distract over there, and I'll distract over here, and these three can go inside?

ASHLEY: How do you feel about that, Orym?

LIAM: I got to make sure you guys are okay.

AABRIA: Dorian, can you just give me, I'm going to call this an insight check to get the emotional timbre of the place that you're standing.

ROBBIE: Six.

AABRIA: Cool. (chuckles) You were planning this distraction, and you see that you guys aren't standing off to the side at all. You're in the middle of it, and people, dozens, 50, a hundred people have moved past you in the course of this conversation that, like, just as a little-- If you are relatively stealthy, you will simply go unnoticed. It was only when Fearne starting floofing herself out and trying to draw attention. That attention was drawn.

AIMEE and ROBBIE: Hmm.

ROBBIE: I'm going to reconsider my idea after having noticed that, and just say: We don't need one at all. Stick together? Pretend to be part of the crew.

AIMEE: You can be tourists.

ASHLEY: Stick together, birds of a feather.

ROBBIE: Another saying?

ASHLEY: Just another one.

AIMEE: Chowder soup.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

ROBBIE: All right. Well, act like we're supposed to be here. I'm going to look around and grab an empty, shitty-looking crate and pick it up, and just walk onto the ship with it.

MATT: I'm going to grab some dirt on the side of one of the dock side wood pieces and just rub it on my face and just go: Arr! (laughter) and follow in after.

ROBBIE: Terrible disguise.

LIAM: I know what your character art looks like. You look like a blue member of the Justice League. (laughter)

AIMEE: Yes!

AABRIA: That, though.

ROBBIE: That's why I'm carrying the box! (laughter)

ROBBIE: (stilted) I am just a crew member.

AABRIA: Oh no. I'm going to need a performance checks with disadvantage from the two of you. What are the other three of you doing?

MATT: I got this.

AIMEE: Oh, I feel like Opal's just too-- She's never seen a ship. She's never been on a ship. There is no logic or good decision making happening. I think she's just about to just walk on until somebody, unless someone stops her from doing it.

AABRIA: So you just going to, you just--

AIMEE: Just go and walk on.

AABRIA: Just rocking up. Okay. Persuasion check. What are you two doing?

LIAM: I'm going to try to carry more stuff--

AABRIA: (coughs)

LIAM: -- than would make me visible behind it. (laughter)

AABRIA: That's actually kind of amazing.

ASHLEY: I'm going to-- I'm going to-- Are there any-- Is there any food around? Like a basket of food?

LIAM: (yelling) Food! (laughter)

AIMEE: It works. Sometimes.

AABRIA: Make a investigation check for me. And Orym, I need an athletics check to see if you can lift up enough stuff to be unseen behind it.

LIAM: Okay.

ASHLEY: 15.

LIAM: Strength is not my strong suit.

AIMEE: Persuasion was 18.

LIAM: Oh, that's cocked.

AABRIA: Hold on.

LIAM: Oh, I was almost 19, though. Okay. 17.

AABRIA: Okay. Yeah, you are-- You're unseen, and for whatever reason, you see an open crate with a bunch of produce.

ASHLEY: Okay, I'll grab that. Oh, I'm so excited to cook on this ship! That I got hired to cook! I love cooking! I can't wait to take care of the sailors.

AABRIA: I hate you so much. Okay! Performance with advantage because you found food.

ASHLEY: Oh, that's cocked. Oh, that's okay, that [inaudible]. Those were both cocked, by the way. With advantage, okay. Oh, much better.

AABRIA: Okay. Now that everyone's made a roll, did anyone get below a 10?

AIMEE: Nope.

ROBBIE: You idiot!

AABRIA: Thank you. And--

AIMEE: Shit.

AABRIA: As you just mid-rubbing shit on your face.

MATT: Phrase of today.

AABRIA: You were clean for, like, five seconds.

AIMEE: Five good seconds.

AABRIA: An elven man looks over at you and he's like, "What? What are you doing?"

MATT: I'm a local priest coming to bless this vessel before its next journey. And I hold out the, that's hanging on my neck, the little compass be like: Hmm.

ASHLEY: (Cockney accent) I've been on a ship with him before! (laughter) I have an accent now.

MATT: I can tell. Keep going!

ASHLEY: (Cockney accent) He's a real priest. (as Ashley) What is this accent?! (laughter)

ASHLEY: Thought it was English, now it's a little Southern.

AABRIA: Okay.

LIAM: There's a giant stack of crates and stuff with legs on the gangplank. That just turns around and just kind of hovers there.

MATT: Many ships sink into the ocean, the great Ozmit swallows them without the proper journey blessing. And as such, my job is to come and ensure that the proper deific eyes are upon the deck.

ASHLEY: (Cockney accent) He's kept us alive! Many times I almost died if it wasn't for him.

AIMEE: It's a good accent.

AABRIA: "Wait, which ship are you going on to?"

MATT: All of them. I'm prolific.

AABRIA: "All right. Well, if you're a priest, do-- prove it. Do like a-- Bless me. Bless me."

MATT: Very well.

AABRIA: "My gums bleed a little bit because I didn't eat lot of fruit--"

MATT: Go ahead and grab my holy symbol around my neck and look to my left. Dust my shoulder. Look to my right. Dust my shoulder. Pick up the spear like a staff. Give a glance, and I cast Bless on him.

AABRIA: Oh! Yeah! Okay. He feels a surge of warmth.

MATT: As well as the two of us because I have three targets on it. (laughter)

AABRIA: He goes, "My teeth don't hurt as much anymore. Okay!" And he just turns and walks away. And he moves off the dock and you see him going down three docks down into a completely different ship. He had nothing to do with anything happening over here.

AIMEE: Oh, shit!

AABRIA: He was confused by a dude, like, just actively putting stuff on his face.

MATT: We're good.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

AABRIA: You guys can make it.

ASHLEY: We really fooled him.

AABRIA: Yeah. You can make it up to the Blightstar unaccosted. You see that there's not anyone on the deck of the ship.

AIMEE: Opal just a little dance. She's so happy to be on a ship.

AABRIA: Do you go up and then do the dance?

AIMEE: Yeah. She's just like-- ♪ Let the sun shine ♪ (laughter)

AABRIA: Amazing.

LIAM: Orym is taking the visage of the majestic city of Emon and the bustling port. And Opal, just dancing.

AABRIA: Just vibing.

LIAM: And just thinking: What the fuck.

AABRIA: Sir, that is the correct reaction. Opal, can you make an arcana check for me?

AIMEE: Yeah. Oof. That's a four.

AABRIA: You're good. Keep vibing.

AIMEE: (humming)

LIAM: Is there anybody-- There's nobody on board?

AABRIA: You don't see anyone on the deck of the ship? There might be people below decks, but you don't, you didn't, as you were walking up, keeping an eye out on this, you didn't see anyone going up or down it. Nothing's been moved. All the doors and stuff look shut. Like it is a sealed vessel. I know boats. (chuckles)

AIMEE: For a second, I was like, what's a deck? That's the upper part, right? (laughter)

AABRIA: The flat part where you danced.

AIMEE: Yeah, yeah, okay.

MATT: There you go. We're all on the deck right now?

AABRIA: You're all on the deck.

MATT: Okay.

AABRIA: Unless you don't want to be on the deck.

MATT: Well, let's go ahead and maybe carefully peer down below, see if we can find something to pilfer.

ROBBIE: I'm no sailor, but don't ships usually have a crew? Where is everyone?

AIMEE: (gasps) Just kidding. Not going to yell for the crew.

MATT: You're learning. I like that, I like that.

ROBBIE: I can't be the only one who finds this a little odd.

MATT: I'm not going to lie, I've never been on a ship, either. So this is all new to me.

AIMEE: Maybe they went to get lunch.

ROBBIE: Lunch break.

AIMEE: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Maybe.

LIAM: I think we should assume there's somebody down below.

ASHLEY: There's got to be.

MATT: Quietly.

ASHLEY: Yeah, let's go quietly.

MATT: Anyone want to do a preliminary investigation before you just rock on below the deck?

LIAM: (whispering) I'm small.

ASHLEY: My investigation is not great. It's just--

AABRIA: If you want it to be something other than investigation just give me-- break me off a flavor of what you're trying to do.

AIMEE: Maybe, can Opal put an ear to the ground? See if she hears anything.

LIAM: Through the wood?

AIMEE: Into the wood. Natural 20, that's a star. (cheering)

AABRIA: Let's go.

AIMEE: That's the star, baby.

ASHLEY: That's the one.

AIMEE: That's the good.

ASHLEY: It's the golden snitch.

AABRIA: You listen down below the decks, and you hear the scrabbling of small animals.

AIMEE: That might be mice.

AABRIA: Yeah. And you hear a steady dripping coming from below deck, but you don't hear any humanoid size movement.

AIMEE: Okay. There's definitely rats or little critters and maybe a leak, which is not good on a ship.

MATT: That's real bad. We got to move quick.

AIMEE: No people, though, or humanoids. I wanted to talk to a sailor.

ROBBIE: Well, if you didn't want to steal from people, there are no people here.

MATT: That's true. Is there a boat door nearby?

ASHLEY: Let's see, we could check.

LIAM: Like an entrance to the hold?

AIMEE: "Check."

MATT: Yeah, that works, too. (laughter)

AIMEE: Do the accent again.

ASHLEY: (Cockney accent) Is there a boat door? (laughter) Let me see!

AABRIA: (Cockney accent) You turn and look and you see a boat door.

LIAM: Travis, this one's for you. (laughter)

AABRIA: Yeah. You actually see multiple captains' quarters on the top, and then you see doors that would swing up, so you could head down into the hold. Hull. I don't know boats.

MATT: Well, hold on a second. I have some experience with this. I go ahead and head to the boat doors, and I check to see if they're locked.

AABRIA: They are locked.

MATT: I pull out my lockpick--

AABRIA and AIMEE: Woo!

MATT: -- jingle them for a second in front of you. Drop a couple, put them back. (laughter) Keep an eye out. You're the one with the keen eyes, right?

LIAM: Sure.

ASHLEY: I keep my large doe eyes, I'm looking around. I put my ears, just very large furry ears. Just listening in all directions.

MATT: Beautiful. All right. Come on, whatever gods are watching.

AABRIA: All right, give me that thieves' tools check, my guy.

MATT: All righty.

LIAM: Are you a sneaky cleric?

MATT: That is--

AABRIA: Interesting, you think he's a cleric.

MATT: 16.

AABRIA: It takes a couple minutes of fussing, and then eventually you hear a little (creak, ting) as it actually breaks through. It feels as though the rock-- the lock was rusty. And you're able to get it through and get the doors open.

ASHLEY: (whispering) You opened the boat door.

AABRIA: (laughs) I don't know why "boat door" is funniest thing I've ever heard.

AIMEE: There has to be an official term, we just don't know it.

MATT: Well, Dariax doesn't know it.

AIMEE: Yeah, no, neither do I.

MATT: Boat's open!

AIMEE: (gasps) Ah! (laughter)

ROBBIE: All right, down we go.

AABRIA: Sweet.

AIMEE: I feel like Opal trips over that foot thing that's on all the boat doors because she's never been on a boat. You know, like the little--

AABRIA: Do a little stumble.

AIMEE and AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Why are we all idiots?! (laughter)

LIAM: Okay--

AIMEE: But we're pretty!

LIAM: I'm going to quietly--

AABRIA: You are beautiful fools.

LIAM: I'm going to quietly take the lead and go down the descending wood things.

AABRIA: Yeah. (laughter) The bottom goers.

AIMEE: The bottom goers.

AABRIA: Yes. Are you trying to be stealthy at all? Or are you just--

LIAM: A hundred percent.

AABRIA: Then make a stealth check.

LIAM: And I'm looking for folk, for problems. (unhappy exhale)

ASHLEY: No. (laughter)

AABRIA: My god.

AIMEE: You got two ones, I got two natural 20s.

LIAM: (creaking)

AABRIA: Your foot alights as you take this first step, and there's no railing, and it punches all the way through, and you drop into the hull, as you see Orym just falls out of sight.

LIAM: Help!

AABRIA: Give me an athletics check to catch yourself.

LIAM: Huh?

AABRIA: Give me an athletics check to catch yourself.

AIMEE: He disappeared.

AABRIA: We can give you a cool three-point landing. Please don't roll another one.

LIAM: I'm more of a ballet dancer than a football player. Can I use acrobatics?

AABRIA: Okay, I like that.

LIAM: 11.

AABRIA: You go for the three-point stance and you tap your knee and it kind of stings.

LIAM: (grunts) Oh, kneecap.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: Kneecap.

ASHLEY: Are you okay?

LIAM: Yeah. Yeah. Just my pride.

ASHLEY: (whispering) Do you see anything?

LIAM: And my meniscus.

AABRIA: Looking up, it's very strange that you know you should be able to see a little bit of light from that hole, but the darkness here is heavy. It's oppressive. It's too dark down here.

ASHLEY: (whispering) Do you want us to come down there?

LIAM: Yeah. And bring some light.

ROBBIE: How far does it sound like he is when he's yelling down to us?

AABRIA: He dropped maybe 10 feet.

ROBBIE: 10 feet. Okay. So we can, okay.

AABRIA: That's a lot for him.

ROBBIE: Right, it's double the distance. Without hesitation, I jump in right after him. I want to go-- I want to go, right. I want to go right to him.

AABRIA: All right. Acrobatics check.

ROBBIE: Jump down the hole.

LIAM: I barrel roll to the side. (laughter)

ROBBIE: 16.

AABRIA: Yeah, you're fine.

ROBBIE: Sweet. I land, and feel around down a little low. See if I can. There we go.

LIAM: They meet.

ROBBIE: Yeah, yeah. They clasp hands.

LIAM: I'm here. I think this is not natural.

MATT: That's when I jump down. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Oh no.

AABRIA: Acrobatics check. (laughter)

MATT: Oh! Athletics or acrobatics, you said?

AABRIA: Yeah, whichever.

MATT: They're the same, 18.

ROBBIE: Whoa.

AABRIA: You land with some style. No one sees it. It's dark down here.

MATT: No, but I cast Light on myself as I land.

AIMEE: Nice.

AABRIA: Now, Light is a cantrip, so there's no roll associated. However, I need you to make an arcana check.

MATT: You got it.

LIAM: Strong dwarven thighs.

ROBBIE: Yeah, right. (laughter)

AIMEE: Low center of gravity.

MATT: That was my nickname in high school. Ah, 17.

LIAM: Thighs.

AABRIA: Yeah, with a 17.

LIAM: The thighs have it.

AABRIA: You all get a little flash of dwarven quad--

AIMEE: Oh!

AABRIA: -- as the light bursts out, and you feel it more than see it, but the darkness seems to eat the light up around you until it's just a little dome of whatever you cast it on.

MATT: I just went ahead and cast it on the symbol in front of me.

AABRIA: Yeah, it's a bubble of a foot of light.

MATT: That makes me extremely uncomfortable.

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: Like, I go from the super confident landing to-- (nervous noises).

AIMEE: Right.

MATT: Spear? Which I left up there.

ASHLEY: Oh yes. Should we go in?

AIMEE: Sure.

ASHLEY: Okay.

AABRIA: You jump down, too?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

AABRIA: All right. Athletics or acrobatics, your call. The stair-- You could just try to also do the stairs. They still exist.

AIMEE: They're pretty dumb.

AABRIA: Yep, respect.

ASHLEY: 20, total.

AABRIA: Beautiful!

AIMEE: Woo-ee!

AABRIA: Break me off a piece of that.

ASHLEY: Okay!

AABRIA: What'd you do?

ASHLEY: I just walk down the stairs. (laughter)

AABRIA: You hear the clip clop of her-- (laughter) - of her faun hooves as they slide across the stair before she takes a step and finds her footing, like a mountain goat, as you make your way down the stairs and get to the group.

AIMEE: That's cute. Opal rolled a four. And that's it. (laughter)

AABRIA: You get two stairs farther and then you punch your own little hole right there and drop down. It's only like six feet, though.

AIMEE: Okay.

AABRIA: And you're all together in the dark.

ROBBIE: I would like to try to use my darkvision to see if I can see through this darkness.

AABRIA: Okay.

ROBBIE: Which is sort of a passive sense that I have.

AABRIA and ROBBIE: Yeah.

AABRIA: For any of you that have darkvision, it does not permeate this, unless you have the ability to see through magical darkness.

MATT: Nope.

ROBBIE: I am going to blink again and then try, like I'm frustrated by this, and I want to try to use my blindsight.

AABRIA: Do you have blindsight?

ROBBIE: I have, I have darkvision, blindsight, and tremorsense.

AABRIA: Okay. With your blindsight, it's when you take steps, that you get a sense of what is out and around you. And you feel, make an arcana check for me, on top of all of that.

ROBBIE: All right. Ooh, that's bad.

AABRIA: Okay!

AIMEE: That's all you get. "That's bad."

ROBBIE: 10.

AABRIA: Yeah, you're walking around and you get a little bit of light off of Dariax's little piece, chest piece. I don't know what the word-- Necklaces, there we go. Amulet. Words are hard. Bacon lips.

AIMEE: Bacon lips. (laughter)

AABRIA: And you have this immediate sense that this space is filled. You are not in a large open place that is too dark. There is stuff everywhere. And then you hear it and feel it, a drip, drip from something very close to you, only about five feet in front of you.

ROBBIE: So regardless of all my senses, it's still getting muted by whatever this is.

AABRIA: Yeah, blindsense--

ROBBIE: All this sense, this little drip. I don't know what it is, so I'm just going to walk toward it.

AABRIA: With your hand out, you reach and you touch cold flesh.

AIMEE: (gasps)

ROBBIE: Ugh!

AIMEE: Ugh! (laughter)

AABRIA: You follow it up--

ASHLEY: Ooh!

AABRIA: -- to a throat that's been slashed open, that's bleeding--

AIMEE: Oh, for frack's sake!

AABRIA: -- onto the ground.

LIAM: Orym's got his hand on Dorian's cloak down low going: Wait, what do you got?

ROBBIE: (groans) (unhappily) Mm-mm. Mm-mm. Mm-mm.

MATT: You having a hard time seeing? Let me, and I go ahead and bring up the necklace to bring a little bit of light to the circumstance.

AABRIA: And as you bring light over, you see illuminated, a bunch of weirdly strung up crewmen, that are all dead. And just past your vision, you can sense it with your blindsight, and you feel it with this connection that you have to the light, as something just (whooshing) and disappears past your field of view.

MATT: We're not alone. Something's here.

ASHLEY: (Cockney accent) Hey, I'm the cook!

AABRIA: (laughs)

ASHLEY: What are you? Come here!

AIMEE: (laughs)

LIAM: (whooshing) (laughter)

ROBBIE: Do we want the thing that killed the men to come here? Really?

ASHLEY: That wasn't really-- I just went on instinct and it was wrong.

AIMEE: She pulled an Opal, and it was a bad move.

ASHLEY: Yeah, it was a bad move.

MATT: I thought it was kind of cool.

ASHLEY: Thank you.

AABRIA: I need you to make a dexterity saving throw with disadvantage. (sighing)

AIMEE: Aw.

ASHLEY: Oh! I rolled a natural 20.

AIMEE: Yeah!

ROBBIE: Disadvantage.

AIMEE: Oh.

ASHLEY: Eight.

AIMEE: Aw! No! We'll take an average.

AABRIA: You feel a little burst of energy, a swirling vortex of air beside you. And just a little sting as you look down and you see your arm has a tiny slash across it. And all of you can feel this (whooshing) of energy as it dissipates again. But I will allow, if any of you in this moment, want to attempt to interact with the thing disappearing, as you hear Fearne give a little (pained hissing), and looks down at her left arm. Mostly talking to Orym, who pulled the sword out.

LIAM: But all I heard was a wince from getting someone getting hurt?

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: And we have dim lit? A little bit of light?

AABRIA: You have a tiny amount of light. I'm not going to make you completely blind.

LIAM: And we don't see anything anywhere?

AABRIA: You just have a sense of something with form, but not mass, vanishing.

LIAM: Okay, well, then I will zip forward on my Boots of Striding and Springing and just stab into the dark.

AABRIA: Okay, make an attack roll with disadvantage.

LIAM: By the way, I've been raking Riegel for months to not use his halfling reroll on natural ones, and I fucking-- this is our first game.

AABRIA: Oh no!

LIAM: I forgot! I've rolled like two or three natural ones. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Wait, can you re-roll every single one that you get?

LIAM: Every single one of them!

AABRIA: Every single? And you rolled so-- Oh no!

ROBBIE: (chanting) Episode one!

MATT: Beautiful.

AIMEE: Oh my god, that sucks. Whatever.

LIAM: Hey, I rolled an 18 and a natural one.

AIMEE: Roll again!

AABRIA: Can you get rid of that die, please? My god.

LIAM: What is that? That's okay. So this is an attack roll?

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: Okay. Okay. (laughter)

ASHLEY: What is that?

LIAM: 17.

AABRIA: Yeah, with a 17, you catch something, and you feel your sword make purchase before it goes completely incorporeal. And you hear a very humanoid hiss of pain, on top of the hiss of disapparation.

LIAM: So I just heard (poofing)?

AABRIA: Yeah, but you got it. You got a hit in. Roll damage for me.

LIAM: Okay. Nine.

AABRIA: Ooh! Wrong campaign. Okay. It survived. It got out. But you have a sense now that you are truly alone in this space.

LIAM: Now what?

ASHLEY: What just happened?

LIAM: Are these bodies clothed?

AABRIA: Yeah. They are dressed like sailors that came through a really cold front. So they're all super bundled up. and just the exposed bits of flesh were absolutely brutalized, efficiently.

AIMEE: (scared noise)

LIAM: This doesn't make any sense. I just grab Dariax by the lapel and started dragging him so that I can see. And I'm just looking for anything that makes any sense, that'll explain what's going on in here.

AABRIA: You count 20 soldiers that were massacred, some of them have looks of surprise and confusion still on their face. And a pile of three of them are standing in front of a bunch of crates in a hold.

LIAM: Is there anything, any markings, or writing on the crates?

AABRIA: Leaning Dariax in farther. What languages do you speak and read?

LIAM: Common and Halfling.

AABRIA: It's neither of those two! But you see this one, black crate; the same black as the ship itself. And it's ornately carved and has little onyx fixtures on it, and dark metal, and this looks like, by far, the most valuable piece there. And three of the sailors died sort of interposing themselves in front of it. If there was something valuable, that was it.

AIMEE: Is there anything in it?

MATT: (exhales sharply)

AIMEE: Is it empty?

ASHLEY: I'm going to give it a look.

LIAM: I'm not opening it.

ASHLEY: Can anybody read this?

MATT: Hold on.

AIMEE: I speak Elvish.

MATT: Part of the reason I even have this. And I take my spear. Is there a lid or some sort of opening?

AABRIA: Yep.

MATT: I'm going to go ahead, and from as a far distance as I can, to the edge of the seven, eight feet of the spear, almost kind of like, (creaking) prop it open, carefully.

AABRIA: Nice. Make an attack roll for me.

MATT: Ooh! Natural 19!

AABRIA: Ooh!

MATT: That will be a total of 23.

AABRIA: Yeah. You pry it into this little false lock, and you wiggle it and pop the entire closing mechanism open. It wasn't a full lock, but it swings open and you see just-- that little bit of light allows you to see that there's some particulate, sort of aerosolized, that comes out of it, and if you give it a minute, it will dissipate. And the contents are available for interaction, but you can't see inside it yet. You have to get closer. Get closer to it.

MATT: Of course that's what I'm going to do. I'm a creature of impulse. And yeah. And he just goes ahead and approaches, and holds the light forward to glance inside; still at the spear of the ready.

AABRIA: Yep. As you lean over, you see that the entirety of this two foot by two foot chest is just a single, onyx circlet on a large black pillow. It looks like a thorny crown. It looks jagged, and strange, and you don't smell it, but you feel like you can smell and taste something heavy and oily coming off of it. And even as you sort of dangle the light over, as it swings, you see to the right and left there's satchels of gold and rolled up rugs. Plenty of other trinkets and artifacts, but this, this is the thing that three soldiers died to protect.

MATT: I mean, it's not a hat, but.

AABRIA: It's kind of a hat.

ASHLEY: Well, maybe you should put it on.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Uh, no.

ASHLEY: Just kidding.

LIAM: No. I hand him a rag. I wouldn't even touch that.

MATT: Good looking out.

ROBBIE: I'm curious. I'm going to walk up behind Dariax and peer over, and as I do, I'm going to put my hand on his shoulder, and subtly wipe the blood from my hand on his shoulder. (laughter)

AABRIA: Sleight of hand check!

ROBBIE: Aw! (laughter) Natural one! With plus four, five. Yeah.

AABRIA: It's very obvious. It's obvious to everyone else. Dariax doesn't have the attention span for this, I think, but everyone else sees you doing you doing it.

MATT: Actually, still have a passive perception of nine, weirdly.

AABRIA: Yo! Even he noticed. That's how bad you did.

ROBBIE: (humming) (knocking on table)

MATT: I honestly think it's kind of cute.

AABRIA: Aw!

MATT: I'm happy to help.

ROBBIE: And I'm going to-- Thank--

LIAM: That's the nicest thing that's been wiped on you all day.

ROBBIE: Yeah, that's true!

AABRIA: Honestly! (laughter)

ROBBIE: I'm going to stare in the box.

AIMEE: You're just so happy it's not shit. (laughter)

AABRIA: Aren't we all?

AIMEE: Blood's good.

ROBBIE: And I'm going to look down and I say: What do you think?

MATT: Well, I've traveled a lot of Tal'Dorei in my years of leaving the past behind me, and this looks like something the Orym said I shouldn't touch.

AIMEE: (gasps)

ROBBIE: You're going to touch it, aren't you?

MATT: I want to so bad, but he said not to, and I don't know. I feel like I'm dragging this bad stuff. You can touch it, though.

ROBBIE: I don't want to touch it.

MATT: Actually, probably don't touch it.

AIMEE: Don't touch! There's a bunch of dead bodies in here!

ROBBIE: I put my hand inside one of them.

AIMEE: (groans)

ASHLEY: Can anyone read what this box says?

MATT: Is it in Dwarvish?

AABRIA: Nope.

AIMEE: Is it Elvish?

MATT: Nope!

AABRIA: Nope!

ROBBIE: Is it Primordial?

AABRIA: Nope.

ASHLEY: Infernal? Sylvan?

AABRIA: It's not Infernal, but you recognize the lettering.

ROBBIE: Could the five of us carry the whole crate out? With everything?

AABRIA: Yeah, absolutely. This crate is pretty big and bulky, but it seems like it's to make a little distance between the actual object on the inside of it.

AIMEE: Oh! Oh, oh.

LIAM: The font is clearly Comic Sans.

AABRIA: It is.

AIMEE: Papyrus.

AABRIA: (laughs)

MATT: This object is truly cursed! (laughter)

AIMEE: Oh, god!

ROBBIE: Well, what if we just took the whole shebang?

ASHLEY: Okay, and I have another idea. Since no one is alive aboard this ship, technically we're not stealing from them.

AIMEE: Yep.

ASHLEY: So why don't we take something else that we could possibly give to--?

LIAM: We're not giving this?

AIMEE: Potack.

ROBBIE: The crate is--

ASHLEY: Poska. We can't give this to Poska! We can't give this-- what did you say?

AABRIA: Welcome to D&D.

AIMEE: (laughs) Potack.

ROBBIE: I'm sorry, clarification.

AABRIA: You're good.

ROBBIE: Isn't the crate full of other dope shit around it, and the thing is inside the crate?

AABRIA: So there's a big-ass dark crate with just the circlet inside it, and then a bunch of dope shit all around you.

ROBBIE: Okay, I thought it was in the crate with the thing. Oh.

LIAM: Ark of the Covenant.

AIMEE: Yeah. Ark of the Covenant, yeah.

LIAM: And a bunch of loot.

AIMEE: Let's take something small. Why are we whispering?

ASHLEY: Something that we can-- oh, good call. What if--

AIMEE: What if they can hear us?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

AIMEE: Okay.

ASHLEY: Should we take-- Okay, I'm going to investigate and look around, and see if there's-- what all goodies that we could have at our disposal to take to Poska.

ROBBIE: You look around to steal. Dariax and I will take the crate.

AABRIA: Cool.

ASHLEY: Here's what I--

MATT: Sure.

ASHLEY: I don't think we should give this away.

AIMEE: Give what?

ASHLEY: This.

AIMEE: Oh, yeah.

AABRIA: Are you touching it?

ASHLEY: No.

AIMEE: No one has touched it!

AABRIA: Never been so excited about object work in my life. Go ahead, keep going.

ROBBIE: Let's just get it out of here first.

ASHLEY: Okay, we'll get it out of here. We can grab some other extra things. Oh, nine.

AABRIA: (laughs) Wrong campaign. That's a good joke for, like, two more times, and then we're done. (laughter)

AABRIA: Yeah, you look around and you see big rugs, rolled up tapestries and carpets. A couple little-- just stuff that looks valuable, like vases, and art objects, and a couple bags of sundry coins and things.

AIMEE: Let's take small stuff. Just one small thing.

ASHLEY: Take the coins and maybe a tapestry that I can.

AIMEE: Oh, a tapestry seems big.

ASHLEY: It is big. Are they big?

AABRIA: They are very big. It will be harder for you to get those big, unwieldy things off the ship than this crate.

AIMEE: Let's just take the coins.

ASHLEY: Just take the coins.

AIMEE: And that's fine.

AABRIA: Yeah, take the money, for sure.

ROBBIE: Opal, grab me something cool. I trust your style.

AIMEE: Oh, thank you.

LIAM: Crate is this big? This big?

ASHLEY: Two by two?

AABRIA: Two by two.

LIAM: Two by two.

ROBBIE: Oh, is it a one person job?

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Oh!

AABRIA: Just thought you were being safe.

AIMEE: Well, we should be safe.

ASHLEY: We should take all of the coin, probably? Because who else is going to have it now? Since they're all dead?

AIMEE: Let's do it quick, cause there's dead bodies in here.

ASHLEY: Okay.

ROBBIE: All right.

AABRIA: Sweet. Yeah, you get about 500 platinum pieces worth of sundry.

ALL: Whoa!

AIMEE: Hey, honey!

MATT: Put that down.

AIMEE: You said 500?

AABRIA: Yeah, I'm not stingy with my group.

MATT: Yeah.

AABRIA: You're low level and poor!

AIMEE: I thought she had said 5,000! I was like (yells).

AABRIA: 500 platinum is 5,000 gold.

AIMEE: Really?! Woo!

ROBBIE: I am going to look at Dariax. I'm going to pick up the crate awkwardly, like the crate that I had when I boarded the ship.

AABRIA: Is it open, or shut?

ROBBIE: It's still open right?

AABRIA: Cool.

ROBBIE: Oh, shit.

AABRIA: Wisdom saving throw.

AIMEE: Oh!

ROBBIE: Oh, shit!

AABRIA: You got so close! I love it.

ROBBIE: Oh, jeez. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Oh no, two!

AIMEE: Oh no!

LIAM: Oh, here we go.

AABRIA: I will remind you, I have to remind you that I gave everyone inspiration at the beginning of the episode. If you want to use it. If not, you don't have to.

ROBBIE: Yeah, I can't be so dumb. I'll do it again. I'll use my inspiration. Hey, 14!

AABRIA: With a 14, what is your alignment?

ROBBIE: Chaotic good.

AABRIA: Ooh, good. You get close to this, as it's open, and your stomach immediately seems to fill with a heavy, oily, roiling ichor, and you turn, and while it's still in your hand, you just begin to vomit it out.

AIMEE: (gasps)

MATT: Whoa! Whoa!

AABRIA: And your desire to hold this thing, to be this close to it, is less than zero. I cannot describe how much it sucks to be this close to this object.

ROBBIE: (retching) I'm going to (groans), spit the last of my-- and just slide it across the floor. I don't want it. I'm going to push it away.

MATT: Pat his back. You all right, buddy?

ROBBIE: Bacon, lots and lots of bacon.

MATT: Yeah.

AABRIA: Actually, no food comes out.

AIMEE: Ugh!

AABRIA: Just oily blackness.

ROBBIE: Oh, fuck!

AABRIA: Yeah, you can keep your bacon. I'm not going to take that from you. (laughter)

AABRIA: You earned it.

AIMEE: A gift.

ROBBIE: Oh, that's not bacon. (laughter)

LIAM: He's gone full Billie Eilish.

AIMEE: Yes!

AABRIA: (laughs)

AIMEE: Should we put the top back on? No?

MATT: Yeah, yeah.

LIAM: Yeah. I kick it shut.

AIMEE: You kick it shut?

LIAM: Yeah.

AABRIA: You're not very tall. What's your alignment?

LIAM: I would say-- I've not thought about this 'til now. Neutral good.

AABRIA: The moment your toe touches it, you feel doubled over with cramps, and an urge to vomit also, but you don't. And you kick it shut. You do it.

LIAM: (groans)

MATT: All right.

ASHLEY: Not feeling so hot?

MATT: Good note. Not eating there tomorrow.

LIAM: (exhales)

ASHLEY: True, true.

LIAM: Glad we didn't try to pick it up in a rag.

MATT: Is everyone just this physically weak? I mean, I'm not judging him.

AIMEE: (scoffs)

ROBBIE: Well, you try!

ASHLEY: Do you want me to--? Yeah, try to pick it up.

AABRIA: What's your alignment?

MATT: Chaotic neutral.

AABRIA: Pick it up. It's fine.

MATT: What is it?

ROBBIE: What? No black vomit for you?

MATT: No, I told you. I'm experienced. I've been around the block a bit. Maybe I'd sat next to a bunch of evil boxes before. I don't know.

LIAM: Built up a tolerance.

MATT: Or maybe you just need to acknowledge the fact that as of this moment, you're a criminal now. You've stolen something.

LIAM: What did I steal?

MATT: You've broken and entering. (gasps) You're a criminal!

ROBBIE: Stop teasing him, Dariax.

MATT: All right, fine. Let's go. (grunts)

AABRIA: Sweet. As you carry this out, I just want to remind the group that you are leaving a crime scene. Just--

LIAM: Well aware.

AABRIA: Cool, just letting you know. All right, so you head up to the deck.

LIAM: But it's still dark as sin?

AABRIA: Down there, down where you are.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Before we get up there,

AABRIA: Just saying.

MATT: Could somebody just go ahead and peek up on the deck, and make sure there isn't somebody right there? Make sure the coast is clear if we're going to do this.

ASHLEY: I'll do the peek.

AABRIA: Okay.

ASHLEY: With my ears going.

AABRIA: You look up above the deck, and peek up and over, and give me a-- yeah, give me a perception check. I'll give you advantage on this.

ASHLEY: Okay. 13.

AABRIA: With a 13, it seems-- It is strange now that you're centered on this weird ship, that it feels like people are naturally giving it a really wide berth. And maybe that crate has something to do with it. But you look over, and you see one person in the crowd in robes that seem even darker than the dark black raincoats and stuff that people are wearing. Makes pointed eye contact with you, and then you see them disappear in a swirl of black vapor.

ASHLEY: Oh, I saw someone, and then they just disappeared.

AIMEE: Hmm.

ASHLEY: But they're gone now.

MATT: That's good.

ASHLEY: So we probably can exit the ship.

AIMEE: I feel like we should put this crate in another crate. Maybe the fruit crate.

ASHLEY: Cover it?

AIMEE: And then put fruit on top of it.

ASHLEY: Yeah! Okay.

AIMEE: No?

ROBBIE: Sure.

MATT: Yeah, yeah! Let's do it.

ROBBIE: But this is the point of no return. So far we haven't truly stolen anything. We haven't taken anything off the ship, but if we take this crate, and those coins in your pocket, we are thieves.

MATT: Well--

AIMEE: We don't know who we're stealing from.

MATT: When a ship shipwrecks at sea, and then later on passersby scavenge from the wreckage, are they thieves?

ROBBIE: No.

MATT: Why is this any different?

ROBBIE: Because the ship is floating. Do you want to sink the ship?

MATT: No, no, you're-- well. My logic's flawed, sorry.

ASHLEY: Well, finders keepers. That's a saying where I'm from. Do you know that? (laughter)

ROBBIE: That's a saying where everyone's from.

AIMEE: I say we go for it.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I really don't see a problem with this.

MATT: The more time we discuss this, the more trouble will be, and as we know, time is a sandwich.

AIMEE: Yep.

MATT: We got to get going.

AIMEE: I have heard that.

ASHLEY: Time is a sandwich.

LIAM: Is there, in the dim light that we have down here, is there any other exits, steps further down into the ship?

AABRIA: There is a lower hold, yes.

LIAM: Can I borrow Mister?

AIMEE: Oh no! (whimpering)

AABRIA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: You got to go with Orym, okay?

AABRIA: He doesn't have to reach that high.

LIAM: Can you give me a little light, buddy?

ASHLEY: You take care of my little Mister.

AABRIA: Just opens his mouth, and every now and then he makes a weird gaggy, burpy sound, and a little gout of flame comes up that lights the space. Like a weird strobe light.

LIAM: Mister and I are going to stealth down to the lower hold.

AABRIA: Nice, okay. You come down and around, and even before you get all the way, it's not a staircase; it's a little ladder. You see metal bars and a cage, and then something huge, and angry, and snarling, slams up against it. It makes these clicking sounds.

LIAM: Wait, ladder down?

AABRIA: Yeah, if you go ladder down into this lower hold, there's a big cage, completely caged off about a foot.

LIAM: How far from the ladder?

AABRIA: Let's say three feet.

LIAM: Okay. Ooh!

AABRIA: It's real close.

AIMEE: And you're little!

AABRIA: There's plenty of time. You're good.

LIAM: Okay,

AIMEE: (whimpering)

LIAM: Hey, Mister, can you burp in that direction?

AABRIA: And he turns, and opens his mouth wide, and gives this big hiccup burp, and-- have you ever seen ankheg before?

LIAM: A what now?

AABRIA: Ankheg? An ankheg?

LIAM: An ankheg, yes. No. Orym? No. Liam, yeah.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: I played Baldur's Gate on PC. No, never seen an ankheg.

AABRIA: You see this massive, insectoid monster, nine feet long, run up to the very edge and it's trying to bite the bars, and make its way through, It looks at you, its eyes glittering.

LIAM: That's the only defining feature down here? There's nothing else? It's just an empty lower hold with a giant cage, and a massive killer insect in it?

AABRIA: Yeah. There were goats in there with it. There's not anymore.

LIAM: Pull Mister back.

AABRIA: Nah, he's just like--

LIAM: And we rejoin.

ASHLEY: He's a big boy. He's just ready to fight. (laughter)

ASHLEY: He'll get him. He's tough.

LIAM: This is a bad boat. This is a bad boat. We should get off the bad boat.

ASHLEY: Why the bad boat? What'd you see down there?

LIAM: There's a bug.

ASHLEY: Oh!

LIAM: Big bug.

ASHLEY: Oh, okay.

AABRIA: You could take it. It's worth a lot of money.

AIMEE: No!

AABRIA: Like, a lot of money.

LIAM: (stuttering)

ASHLEY: I could try to talk to him?

LIAM: Just take an ankheg, yeah.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: I don't know what that thing is. This is Liam talking.

ASHLEY: I'm going to hop down there.

AABRIA: Yeah, you see a giant monster.

ROBBIE: Whoa!

AIMEE: My god.

ASHLEY: Wait, why did I think I could talk to animals?

LIAM: Because you're a druid!

ASHLEY: Because I talk to-- Hello? (laughter)

ROBBIE: Right!

AIMEE: No!

AABRIA: Oh my god.

AIMEE: We're going to get killed down here.

AABRIA: Amazing.

LIAM: Well, it's in a cage. It's in a cage.

AIMEE: So far.

AABRIA: You can make an animal handling check about it. The DC is high.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: I love the idea of Poska asking us to steal something for her, and we come back pushing a cage with an ankheg through the front door.

ASHLEY: Well, I just figure we can bring this back to Poska.

MATT: (laughs)

AIMEE: Poska doesn't deserve this! (laughter)

ASHLEY: Hello in there! I don't know what I'm doing down here, or what my goal is. (laughter)

AABRIA: Woo! Love it.

ROBBIE: I want to shout down: What's going on down there?

AABRIA: When you shout, you hear a massive clicking, like (snarling).

AIMEE: Oh no.

AABRIA: And the chewing of metal.

ROBBIE: What was that?

LIAM: (snarling)

AABRIA: Thank you.

ROBBIE: Yes, that! What was that?

AABRIA: Stunt sounds.

ASHLEY: It's just a little-- A little friend!

AABRIA: Just a little buddy.

ROBBIE: Sounds like a big friend!

LIAM: It's a 10-foot tall praying mantis.

ASHLEY: Would you want to come with us?

AABRIA: Animal handling check.

ROBBIE: (laughs)

AABRIA: It's not impossible.

AIMEE: Not one of Fearne's best ideas.

AABRIA: It's not impossible.

MATT: I disagree.

ASHLEY: 12! (laughter)

AABRIA: You have inspiration.

AIMEE: Use it!

ASHLEY: Do I reroll or that's a d4?

LIAM: You add a d12, isn't it?

AABRIA: Oh no no no, that's a reroll. When a DM gives you inspiration--

LIAM: Oh, I thought it was a-- okay.

AIMEE: Oh!

MATT: Bardic inspiration, you get to add the dice.

ASHLEY: Oh, natural one! (sympathetic groans)

AABRIA: Yeah, it just starts chewing the bars, and you see that between Mister and Orym, and the yelling from above, and looking at you, something new and fresh and alive that's closer. It's making its way through the bars, and you hear a clamp as it gets through, and starts trying to push its face and bore its way through the cage.

ASHLEY: You don't have to come with me right now. I just, I don't know what your plan is here. I'm going to go back upstairs. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Okay, well, he is-- didn't want me down there, so.

MATT: What's down there?

ASHLEY: It's a--

LIAM: Big bug.

ASHLEY: Very large bug.

AIMEE: A deadly bug. A deadly bug! It's a deadly bug!

ASHLEY: It's probably a bug. Do you want him?

MATT: I want to see.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: I don't go down, I just peek down.

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: With my necklace.

AABRIA: You peek down and--

LIAM: (whoosh)

ASHLEY: Yeah. (quiet yell)

AABRIA: -- actually see this thing. It started to calm down again, and at the light begins to frenzy, and you can hear the cracking of its carapace as it's breaking itself, trying to push through the metal bars to get to you and get out.

MATT: Turn back up to the rest of you. That's so cool.

ASHLEY: Yeah, right?

MATT: Okay, now let's go!

ASHLEY: Okay, let's go, yeah!

AABRIA: You can get it of you want it!

AIMEE: I feel it! I feel it in my body.

ASHLEY: I want him. Okay.

AABRIA: You know where to find him.

ASHLEY: I do.

ROBBIE: I'm going to slam the door shut. Yeah, yeah, yeah. (impact)

ASHLEY: I'm going to cover the crate with fruit.

AABRIA: Yeah, that's very smart.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: Could someone take my spear for me? (grunts)

AIMEE: I peed on it, I'll take it.

MATT: All right, then, here you go. Thanks.

MATT: (grunts)

AABRIA: All right. You are walking with it. Yeah, you can make it back up and out. Make stealth checks for me. Let me know if you roll lower than a 12.

LIAM: I'm going to use my inspiration.

AABRIA: Good call.

ASHLEY: I have disadvantage on stealth.

AIMEE: So, sorry-- With a DM inspiration, do you just roll again?

AABRIA: Yeah, you get it a free re-roll.

AIMEE: Great.

AABRIA: Because I like you.

AIMEE: I'ma need it! Okay.

AABRIA: Lower than a 12?

MATT: No.

ASHLEY: Six.

MATT: (groaning)

ROBBIE: No, why?

AIMEE: (laughs)

ASHLEY: I have disadvantage on stealth.

AABRIA: I don't know why.

ASHLEY: (groans)

LIAM: Always?

ASHLEY: Apparently. There's a big, old D next to it.

AABRIA: Don't look at me, I don't know why you have it. I do, you're fine.

ASHLEY: (laughs)

ROBBIE: You're six foot tall goat lady.

AABRIA: It's mostly that.

ROBBIE: Yeah!

AABRIA: It's the baby. (laughter)

LIAM: You're like the Dita Von Teese of fauns.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LIAM: You're hard to miss.

ASHLEY: Hello.

AIMEE: Did you just call her Dita Faun Tief? For tiefling.

ASHLEY: Oh! Clever.

AIMEE: Is that what you said? I thought that you just said that.

ASHLEY: Dita Faun Tief.

AIMEE: That's cute.

AABRIA: I respect the pun, you can have inspiration.

AIMEE: That's cute. (laughter)

AABRIA: And you're able to stealth out in a way, and as you're coming down the deck, all of you make it, but all of you notice that there's a figure in the crowd that's staring very pointedly at you, Fearne. And they're just watching you come down. They never get any closer.

LIAM: Do we all see her getting eyed?

AABRIA: I'm going to let you all see this singular person, sort of watching Fearne specifically.

ASHLEY: Do you guys notice that that person is looking at me?

MATT: Yeah.

AIMEE: Can Opal grab one dagger and start picking at her nails, while she makes eye contact with the person looking at Fearne?

ROBBIE: That stare down.

AABRIA: I like it. That person isn't looking at you at all. So unless you work your way into the field of vision, not paying attention to you.

AIMEE: Opal's going to work her way into the field of the vision.

AABRIA: Nice.

MATT: Just full on-- (laughter)

AIMEE: Trying not to cut herself. (laughter)

AABRIA: You do not cut yourself. Go ahead and make an intimidation check.

AIMEE: Okay. Come on.

AABRIA: We respect the drip.

LIAM: Get it, girl!

AIMEE: Oh, 14! Is that good?

AABRIA: With a 14, its eyes actually flicker away from Faun, and alight on you, and its eyes narrow, and then it disappears in a swirl of black vapor.

ASHLEY: (gasps) I felt very safe!

AIMEE: Thanks.

ASHLEY: Thanks!

AIMEE: That was the point.

ASHLEY: Okay, well I guess we keep--

AIMEE: Does anybody remember the name of the--

AABRIA: Poska.

AIMEE: -- warehouse? Oh. (laughter) Poska warehouse.

ASHLEY: I don't know if she told us, but she said that it was the warehouse that refuses the light. So maybe it's a dark-- There's-- I imagine--

MATT: What if the warehouse was a boat? Because it refused the light, right? Maybe Poska's just not very smart, and called it a warehouse?

AIMEE: So then we stole from her instead of giving it back.

ROBBIE: Are we--?

AIMEE: Are we giving this to her?

ROBBIE: Are we still on the deck of the ship?

AABRIA: No, I'm allowing, that you guys have moved off of the ship and are moving through--

ROBBIE: We're into the dock. We've made it safely off of the ship.

AABRIA: Yes.

ROBBIE: And we're discussing this as we're--

AABRIA: As you're moving.

ROBBIE: But we're in the clear at this point.

AABRIA: As far as you know.

ROBBIE: As far as we know.

LIAM: And we--

AABRIA: I mean you know that someone has very specifically clocked--

ROBBIE: He's got it.

LIAM: We took the circlet off.

AIMEE: Oh yeah. We put it in a--

ROBBIE: It's in a under a bunch of bananas or some shit.

AABRIA: Yeah, it's under some fantasy bananas!

LIAM: You covered it in potassium.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

LIAM: Subdues all curses and necromancy.

AABRIA: It's true.

ROBBIE: And they stuffed their pockets with coins.

LIAM: Banana splits.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Okay. So--

AIMEE: Desserts. So are we taking this to the warehouse, or what are we doing with this?

ROBBIE: We can do whatever we want with it.

AIMEE: Well, we can't get too close.

ROBBIE: We could take it to the warehouse.

MATT: Did anybody grab anything else?

ASHLEY: We got some coins.

AIMEE: Coins.

MATT: That's something.

ROBBIE: Or we could still always call the city guard and keep it all for ourselves.

MATT: (uncertain) True. (uncertain noises)

AIMEE: I don't want to get in trouble.

MATT: I'm gonna-- Yeah, I'm going to back you up on that. I've worked with some of these people, and when you get one person arrested, the rest of them know, and then they find you, and then they remove your organs while you sleep. So, best to stay on the up and up.

ROBBIE: I like my organs, okay.

MATT: Me, too. Yeah, I'm a fan of mine!

AIMEE: Good.

LIAM: Also hard to know who to trust in a big city like this.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: So you trust everyone.

AIMEE: Yeah.

AABRIA: Okay, so you guys have reached Dark Water Street and you see rows upon rows of warehouses. And because it's rainy and dark, a lot of the little lights and lamps are all covered and lit. Except for one at the far end that doesn't have any sort of braziers on it at all.

LIAM: It's got that marking anywhere?

AABRIA: As you get closer, yeah, no roll required. You see in the very bottom corner of this foundational cobblestone, you see a really a rough-- it's just five slashes, holding five slashes.

AIMEE: Wow.

ASHLEY: Okay, let's just discuss for just a moment. Are we giving this circlet to these people at this warehouse? I don't understand.

AIMEE: Maybe we should keep this a secret for now and take a quarter of the coins and give it to Poska as--

ASHLEY: We found coins.

AIMEE: We found your loot. We'll start there. It'll give us a negotiating point.

ROBBIE: The circlet does feel special.

MATT: Doesn't feel like anything to me, but looks cool. I did ask for a hat.

ASHLEY: Is there anyone-- is there any way for us to identify what this is?

ROBBIE: Should we look at it again before we go in?

LIAM: We stole an oily, dark crown from a ship full of corpses, with evaporating assassins and a monster in the hull.

AIMEE: We did that!

ASHLEY: That was so bad.

MATT: And it's not even dinner time.

AIMEE: Yeah!

ASHLEY: I mean, we didn't do anything. We just took this with us.

MATT: Look, if we didn't take it, maybe these creepy stalkers of Fearne over here would have taken it, you know? If anything, we're probably doing a good thing by making sure it doesn't fall into the hands of bad people that aren't us. You know?

AIMEE: Yeah, because we know for sure we're good.

MATT: (noncommittal noise)

AIMEE: Ish.

ASHLEY: Can I try to hold it? The box?

MATT: I mean. I look over at Orym and I look over at Dorian. Nah.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: Just for your own good.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I understand.

AABRIA: Mister begins to growl at you.

AIMEE: (laughs)

MATT: But he can get near it if he wants.

AIMEE: I think we should go in. Or just peek in, maybe just knock.

ROBBIE: But maybe not holding a--

AIMEE: No, not holding the box.

ROBBIE: -- big box of fruit. Oh, go ahead.

MATT: Should I just go hide this somewhere, or we'll just stay out here and somebody goes in and gives our gift? Who wants to do that?

AIMEE: Yeah, I'll do that.

AABRIA: I'm assuming you guys are standing 20 feet outside the door.

MATT: Yeah, we're not right up against it, like--

AABRIA: Yeah, I know Orym got close enough to notice that very small symbol, but the rest of you can have a little distance.

AIMEE: I'll knock, and you know, bring in the pouch.

ASHLEY: I think that's a good idea.

AIMEE: Opal takes out the pouch, removes a quarter of them,

AABRIA: Which is how many?

AIMEE: A quarter of 500.

AABRIA: How many is that? I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

AIMEE: I don't know!

AABRIA: Do you want to remind me real quick?

LIAM and ROBBIE: 125, 125.

AIMEE: 125. Opal did not study arithmetic. Takes 125, puts it in the pouch, and then dusts herself off. (knocking)

AABRIA: No response.

AIMEE: Hello? (knocking)

AABRIA: No response, and the other people walking around the other warehouses are looking over at you.

AIMEE: Password: Poska?

AABRIA: Do you try to-- Are you just waiting at the door for a response?

AIMEE: Is it ajar? Or is there a knob?

AABRIA: There's a knob.

AIMEE: A knob?

AABRIA: It's not ajar.

AIMEE: (sighs)

AABRIA: It's also not locked.

AIMEE: She opens the door.

AABRIA: Yep.

AIMEE: Sticks her head in. Ooh! Hello?

AABRIA: Dark, but not magically so. After the weird oppression of the hull of the Blightstar, this just looks, honestly, it looks well-lit by comparison.

AIMEE: Okay, so then I feel like I--

ROBBIE: But it is completely dark?

AIMEE: -- push the door open with my hand, and just maybe stick a toe in, and say: Hi, I'm here, I think you were expecting me, I'm not sure, but (whispering) I'm a friend of Poska's.

AABRIA: (laughs) You whisper, and looking out into the dark, do you have darkvision?

AIMEE: I don't.

AABRIA: You don't see anyone or much of anything. But you have a sense of it's a warehouse full of crates and things. But there's no response.

AIMEE: She gets an idea. She's going to try one more thing. Shakes the bag of coins, see if that entices anyone to come out.

AABRIA: Make a persuasion check.

AIMEE: Seven.

AABRIA: No.

AIMEE: (laughs) Okay. Okay, well, I have a little money here, a little gift here. I guess you don't want it.

AABRIA: As a reminder, you remember Poska said to leave a gift for her and mark it with the illusory script on the coin that she tossed to you.

AIMEE: Okay, perfect. So, maybe I pull a pen? Out of my bag?

AABRIA: You can have a pen if you want, you don't have to look at me for that.

AIMEE: Okay, she has a pen. And she draws, but she takes a little too much time to draw it because she really wants it to look nice. And draws a pretty good rendition of the symbol on the bag, and then says: Okay, well, you just told me to leave it, so here you go! Tosses it, and it lands somewhere in the middle,

AABRIA: You hear a little (clattering).

AIMEE: And then: No thank you?

AABRIA: Nothing.

AIMEE: Okay. Nice chat. Bye! And then turns around and walks away.

AABRIA: Okay.

MATT: How'd it go?

AIMEE: Nobody answered. So I did let myself in, and then nobody answered, and I even shook the bag of money, and nobody answered, so I just drew the symbol on the little bag and I tossed it in. And hopefully that's enough for (whispering) Poska.

MATT: Did you put the illusory script on it like she asked?

AIMEE: Yeah, yeah. Is that okay?

MATT: Yeah. That's incredible.

AIMEE: Yeah. It was easy.

AABRIA: Make a deception check. Against your insight.

AIMEE: Against my insight?

AABRIA: No, you're going to make a deception check, he's going to make an insight check. Because you absolutely did not do Illusory Script. You know that's a spell, right?

AIMEE: Oh.

AABRIA: It was a magical thing.

AIMEE: Great, no. She didn't do that.

AABRIA: No, she did not.

LIAM: She used a Sharpie.

AIMEE: She used a Sharpie.

AABRIA: Used a pen.

LIAM: Just gave her autograph.

AIMEE: All right, well, so it's an 18.

AABRIA: Cool, you have lied not only to Dariax, but to yourself.

AIMEE: To yourself! (laughter)

AIMEE: To yourself. Yeah, listen, I learned that kind of script in school.

AABRIA: Uh-huh.

AIMEE: And I did it on there.

AABRIA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: You are just full of surprises, Opal.

AIMEE: I know.

MATT: Well done. All right, looks like that job's--

AIMEE: Opal makes a mental note of looking up what Illusory Script is later. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Okay, so should we go back to Poska, then, I guess? Because she was hanging out at the house?

LIAM: Yeah, she went upstairs and holed her self up.

ASHLEY: Strange that she wanted us to leave it here, actually, and not bring it back to her, now that I'm thinking about it.

MATT: Thieves are weird.

ROBBIE: Do we still have the circlet in the crate?

AABRIA: Mm-hmm.

ROBBIE: Okay. Let's make ourselves a little more suspicious. And I want to-- no! A little less suspicious! (laughter)

LIAM: (honking)

ROBBIE: The opposite!

AIMEE: (ululating)

ASHLEY: Hey, don't look over here!

ROBBIE: Food!

LIAM: Food!

ASHLEY: Food!

ROBBIE: I want to unclip my cape from my shoulder, and I'm going to hand it to Dariax. And then I'm going to take the crate, And I feel the retching, I feel the retching, and before I barf, I'm going to dump the circlet into my crate, or dump from the crate into my thing, into my cloak that he's got.

MATT: While you're halfway with the crate, Dariax is partway putting it on.

ROBBIE: No, no, no! Keep it open! Keep it open!

MATT: Oh. Oh!

ROBBIE: And I toss it in the crate, and I make a motion to tie it up, and make, yeah.

MATT: All right, yeah, yeah, yeah.

ROBBIE: He gets it. I hope.

MATT: Yeah, takes a second, but.

ROBBIE: Wear it.

AABRIA: Orym and Fearne, I need you to make perception checks.

LIAM: 23.

ASHLEY: 18.

AABRIA: Both of you clock the moment the crate is opened, you are not alone. You look around, and that aura coming off of the circlet has pushed people away and you're at the end of this cul-de-sac of warehouses. And you, Orym, hear a little (soft whoosh) as four dark figures--

LIAM: Eyes up, eyes up. Not alone.

AABRIA: -- appear.

AIMEE: My little daggers out.

MATT: What's going on?

AABRIA: Then they chase you into the warehouse.

ROBBIE: Oh!

AABRIA: So I'm going to need you all to roll initiative, I'm going to get the thing real quick. (cheering)

ROBBIE: I just wanted to be more suspicious.

MATT: (laughs)

AABRIA and AIMEE: You did it!

AIMEE: You fucking did it. Don't worry, nothing topped Opal thinking she did something she did not fucking do.

ASHLEY: I love it. I love it.

LIAM: Buddy, let me dip the one true ring in your trousers, bend over for a second. (laughter)

ROBBIE: I had more of a Sauron's eye in the satchel.

LIAM: Oh man. It's so different from Caleb. I love it, I got a 19 on initiative!

ROBBIE: Nice.

AABRIA: All right, I got to put you guys out. Oop, sorry guys.

ROBBIE: Whoa, how beautiful.

LIAM and AIMEE: Whoa!

AABRIA: I tried so hard!

AIMEE: Holy shit!

ROBBIE: Let's go!

LIAM: Oh, look at the minis!

ASHLEY: Look at this!

LIAM: Minis in action!

ROBBIE: There they are! (cheering)

AIMEE: ♪ We got our minis, we got our minis ♪

LIAM: We're children.

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: Luckily.

AIMEE: Yeah.

MATT: There's no other way to be.

LIAM: Just Winnie the Pooh your way through life.

MATT: Damn right.

AABRIA: And as you run in, I'm just going to say for the sake of setting this up, they disappear from behind you, right over here in the darkness. Just so I don't have to chase you in with guys.

MATT: Oh shit.

LIAM: We've got to go inside, it's the only safe place.

AABRIA: You let me do this! I worked so hard on this map, you have to go in there.

LIAM: Yeah, absolutely. (laughter)

AABRIA: All right. Okay, Orym, what you got?

LIAM: 19.

AABRIA: Actually, hold on. I'm going to do it the right way. Did anyone get initiative between 20 and 25?

LIAM: Nope.

AABRIA: All right, 15 to 19?

LIAM: 19.

AIMEE: I got a 19 as well.

LIAM: Yeah!

AABRIA: Who has the higher dex between the two of you?

AIMEE: Oh, probably you.

LIAM: 18?

AIMEE: 15. Yep.

AABRIA: Okay. I don't remember anyone's name, this is great. Oh good, it's the "O" names, thank you guys. Please do this.

AIMEE: Double O.

AABRIA: All right, anyone between-- what are numbers? 10 and 14?

MATT: 13.

ASHLEY: 12?

MATT: Dorian.

ROBBIE: Back in cleanup, just back in cleanup. More suspicious.

AIMEE: I mean, you really-- the subconscious called it.

ROBBIE: Willed it into being.

AIMEE: You did. Manifestation is real.

AABRIA: All right, how'd you do, buddy?

ROBBIE: Eight.

AABRIA: Okay, okay.

ROBBIE: I know.

AABRIA: We're proud of you.

MATT: That's fine.

LIAM: We got to fight these shadow figures.

AABRIA: That's right. I'm the bad boys. Okay, Orym, you're up first. You run into this dark warehouse full of stuff, and you see those four individuals that are behind you appear in front of you.

LIAM: In front of us? I don't even blink, there's not a split second. I run diagonally to the side and use the boots to sort of spring up, up onto that platform. Nope, yeah. Uh huh. And as soon as I land in place, I yank a dagger out the back of my boot and throw it at the one closest to me.

AABRIA: Hmm?

LIAM: That's right.

AABRIA: All right, go ahead and make an attack roll.

MATT: You said there's no light source in this place?

AABRIA: Nope.

LIAM: Oh, nothing?

MATT: Do you have darkvision?

LIAM: Not at all, so I don't know nothing. That's a different story entirely.

AABRIA: I will have you make the attack with disadvantage, but there's a strangeness to the fact that you were just in magical darkness that even in non-magical darkness, it's still dim. You can see in this room.

AIMEE: You can see figures.

AABRIA: Please light something, by all means.

LIAM: I'm actually not going to do that.

AABRIA: Okay, okay, we'll walk it back.

LIAM: I'm going to-- I can't quite see the overview of where everyone is, can I get a different angle? That's great. I can hear Fearne's hooves in front of me, so I'm going to dart, using that sound, dart in front of her, and hold an action, and the moment I sense anything right in front of me then I'm going to attack.

AABRIA: Okay. Absolutely. Noted. All right, Opal, you're up.

AIMEE: Oh, I hate it here. Okay, well, she's nothing if not impulsive. So I-- you said it's dim here, right?

AABRIA: Yes.

AIMEE: But she can see figures, right?

AABRIA: I'm giving this to you because--

AIMEE: I love it.

AABRIA: You got to be able to something for this fight.

AIMEE: Because someone's got to attack. Okay, so I'm going to use my movement to go up to those little boxes right there.

AABRIA: Which ones, these ones?

AIMEE: Yeah. Sorry, those, yeah, those that you just pointed out.

AABRIA: Yeah, okay.

AIMEE: And then I'm going to cast Witch Bolt, at this guy that is in front of the boxes.

AABRIA: Him?

AIMEE: Yeah, that guy.

AABRIA: Cool. Yeah.

AIMEE: Okay. That is a 13.

AABRIA: A 13 just hits.

AIMEE: Woo! Okay, so then so I roll for damage, yes?

AABRIA: Please do.

AIMEE: 11.

AABRIA: Oh my gosh. Yeah. You drop this Witch Bolt on the man standing in front of you, and you obliterate him.

AIMEE: Yeah!

AABRIA: Disappears and dissipates.

AIMEE: And does the light stay, by any chance? No? Did it flash?

AABRIA: It did flash.

AIMEE: Do we see anything?

AABRIA: What are you trying to see? Give me an investigation check.

AIMEE: Okay. I just want to see how many more there are, or surrounding. So investigation, so that's going to be 16.

AABRIA: With a 16 you can see the three other figures.

AIMEE: Okay.

AABRIA: Including one that looks a little meaner than the rest, that's standing over here.

AIMEE: Perfect. So I'm just going to hang out there for now.

AABRIA: Perfect.

LIAM: GM, I don't think I was clear in my description, I had Orym run in front of Fearne, 10 feet in front of her.

AABRIA: Okay, you want to be here?

LIAM: Yes, please.

AABRIA: Yeah. Okay, my bad.

LIAM: No worries.

AABRIA: Abso-putely. So did you want to take your action in that flash of light, where you're able to get the lay of the land? I'm happy to give you that moment.

LIAM: I was looking for a threat, so I'll take that. I'll throw at the one diagonally to his right, just past Opal. Nope.

AABRIA: This one?

LIAM: Nope.

AABRIA: This one?

LIAM: Yeah.

AABRIA: Yeah, okay. Make an attack roll.

AABRIA: My non-beefy boy. Just instantaneously.

AIMEE: Sorry.

AABRIA: No, it was great.

AIMEE: Beginner's luck.

LIAM: 19 to hit, 19 to hit.

AABRIA: Absolutely hits.

LIAM: Okay. And that is a seven from the dagger that I just threw.

AABRIA: Amazing. You catch him, and he looks up at you. And he makes this weird hissing noise. And he looks at how far away you are, and just staggers back. Doesn't do anything.

LIAM: Room goes dark from her Palpatine electricity.

AABRIA: Yes.

LIAM: Got it. Great.

AABRIA: Perfect.

AIMEE: I think Opal just wanted you to stumble through her legs again.

LIAM: It'll happen.

AIMEE: Yeah!

LIAM: Repeatedly.

AABRIA: That's fun. If you don't have context for that? Feels weird.

LIAM: Oh right, that's right.

AABRIA: Yep.

AIMEE: Just the right amount of weird. (laughter)

AABRIA: All right, this guy's going to come right here into melee range, and give you a bop on the head, my friend. Does a 15 hit?

AIMEE: For me?

AABRIA: Yes.

AIMEE: Oh, it does, yes.

MATT: Aww.

AIMEE: Sure does.

AABRIA: You're going to take six points of piercing damage, as a scimitar flashes out and catches you across the torso.

AIMEE: Oh! God!

AABRIA: And with his bonus action, he disappears, into that little corner.

MATT: Well, that's bullshit.

AABRIA: Yep! All right, Dariax, you're up, and Fearne, you're on deck.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: People are having a hard time looking around here. Shit. I'm going to go ahead and lumber right next to Orym over there, getting right in front of Dorian. And be like: Ah, protect me! (laughter)

MATT: And go ahead and cast Light on the tip of my spear, and hold it up to try and light the room around us to have a better view of what's going on.

AABRIA: Absolutely. You get a full view and all of you are no longer impeded with your vision.

MATT: Cool.

ASHLEY: Amazing.

AABRIA: Anything else? All right. Fearne, you're up.

ASHLEY: Okay, so I'm going to rub my hands together, put out my hands, and I'm going to cast Burning Hands at-- Oh wow, this is why I shouldn't have left my glasses at home. I guess right in front-- is there someone right in front of me?

LIAM: That's me.

ASHLEY: That's you.

AIMEE: Oh no!

MATT: All of us.

LIAM: It's a super short-range spell.

ASHLEY: Got it.

AABRIA: I wasn't going to say anything, I was like, "What if they killed themselves?"

MATT: I know.

AABRIA: Easiest campaign of my life.

AIMEE: No more show!

ASHLEY: 15-foot cone. You know what--

LIAM: Technically not a TPK.

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah, sorry, I thought that was--

AABRIA: It's a PPK.

ASHLEY: I thought that was a bad guy. Let me switch. Okay, so. Let me go around to the left of those boxes, your right.

AABRIA: This way?

ASHLEY: Yep.

AABRIA: Okay. How far do you want to go?

ASHLEY: Just about right there, and then I'm going to shoot out an Ice Knife.

AABRIA: Ooh! I love that we do that every time, we're like, "Ooh, Ice Knife."

AIMEE: We like it.

AABRIA: "Oh my god."

ASHLEY: Oh wait, oops, don't do that. Okay.

AIMEE: Fearne got surprises.

ASHLEY: Let me pick out--

AABRIA: Did almost murder all of you with fire.

ASHLEY: I sure did.

MATT: Which I can only respect.

AABRIA: Yeah, honestly.

AIMEE: I feel like Dariax would be like, "Thanks."

ASHLEY: 14?

AIMEE: Thanks a lot.

AABRIA: A 14 does not hit this particular bad boy.

AIMEE: Oh shit.

MATT: Ooh.

ASHLEY: And then, as a bonus action, I would like to speak to my staff, and the head on the staff becomes a snake.

AIMEE: Ooh!

LIAM: I was imagining like a presidential staff.

AABRIA: All right, Moses, what do you do with your snake? Is it just there?

ASHLEY: It's just now--

AABRIA: It's just vibing?

ASHLEY: It's now a poisonous snake for a minute.

AABRIA: Okay.

ASHLEY: So ready to go. If I get up close.

AABRIA: Okay. This bad boy has two actions. He's going to throw a dagger at you.

LIAM: Who is you? Me?

AABRIA: No, sorry, at Fearne. Does an 11 hit you?

ASHLEY: No.

AIMEE: Yay!

AABRIA: And it goes wide over your shoulder. I think it gets lost in the billows of your clothing, and he snaps his fingers. And he's going to run. Can he get all the way over? Yes, he can.

AIMEE: Oh, goddamn it.

AABRIA: Yeah, well, you came within runnable range.

AIMEE: I sure did.

AABRIA: And is going to try to attack you with a scimitar. A natural 19 is going to hit.

AIMEE: I'm going to cast Shield on myself.

AABRIA: Oh, good call.

AIMEE: Because she's dwindling.

AABRIA: Does it get you up to a 24?

AIMEE: Let's see. Oh.

LIAM: Yeah, it's a plus five to your AC.

AIMEE: It sure fucking doesn't. So what do you need? Just to know that? Because it doesn't.

AABRIA: I need you to take four points--

AIMEE: Okay.

AABRIA: -- of piercing damage.

AIMEE: Great. So I still cast it, it just didn't help.

AABRIA: Yeah, it's still up, so it'll be up until your next turn.

AIMEE: Okay, sounds good.

AABRIA: If other things attack you. Which, given where you're standing, will probably help.

AIMEE: Ooh, honey, she dead almost.

AABRIA: No! Okay, and he's going to use his bonus action to disapparate, and he reappears right behind you, Fearne.

MATT: Oh shit.

ASHLEY: Okay.

AABRIA: Sweet. And Dorian, you're up.

ROBBIE: This is going very badly for everyone.

AABRIA: No, it's fine, it's fine.

ROBBIE: I'm scared. I'm going to look at Dariax, and see him. You're holding your spear up with the tip of the light, but I'm also looking at you realizing that as long as he holds this position, he's just a big target. So I'm going to go over, I'm going to use my movement and go over to that little thing of trash right in front of him, whatever all that stuff is, right in front of him and see if there's anything flammable in there. Is there anything,

AABRIA: In here?

ROBBIE: Yeah, in that whole mess of stuff.

AABRIA: Yeah, it's a pile of crates and boxes, all of it is extraordinarily flammable.

ROBBIE: Okay, yeah. So for my turn I'll use my tinder box. I'll spark a quick flame and light a flame in the middle of the room so we can see, and hopefully that will give Dariax the chance to put his spear down and fight if he needs to.

AABRIA: Love it.

ROBBIE: For my bonus action, I'll use my bardic inspiration and give it to Opal.

AIMEE: Thank you.

ROBBIE: Yeah, yeah.

AABRIA: Nice.

ROBBIE: Of course.

AIMEE: Appreciate you.

AABRIA: All right.

ROBBIE: That's my turn.

AABRIA: Love it. My last guy over here is going to take a crossbow shot. Dariax, you're currently in possession of the circlet, yes?

MATT: Yeah, it's wrapped across my back like a little satchel, like a little baby bundle.

AABRIA: Little baby situation?

MATT: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Like a Baby Bjorn?

MATT: A Bjørn, that's what I was looking for.

ROBBIE: Dad's got you, yeah.

AIMEE: The Baby Bjorn.

AABRIA: Beautiful. Does 16 hit you?

MATT: Oh yeah. Yeah, it does.

AIMEE: Damn it.

AABRIA: He levels a crossbow at you, aiming specifically for that shoulder that's supporting your evil circlet Bjorn. And it's going to do two points of piercing damage.

MATT: Ah! Dick munch! All right.

AABRIA: And he's going to spend the rest of the turn just hiding back here. Ducks out of sight, and we're back up to the top. Orym.

LIAM: Cool, I know exactly what I want to do. I'm going to run forward and slide under Opal's legs.

AABRIA: Yeah!

AIMEE: Yay!

LIAM: I'm going to use my single battle maneuver, Bait and Switch, so she has to trade places with me. So I'll stand where she is, she's right behind me, so she would be closer, and I'm going to roll my superiority die, and give an extra three to your AC till my next turn. So your AC is three higher.

AIMEE: Wow, thank you!

LIAM: Orym's got his shield out and he's blocking you from anything that's coming. And I will chuck a dagger at the one ahead. Who was in that little alleyway there.

AABRIA: This boy?

LIAM: Yep.

AABRIA: He's hiding, so it's going to be extra hard. He's doing a please-do-not-perceive-me-sir.

LIAM: Oh, okay.

AABRIA: You could aim for him if you want.

LIAM: Yeah, I'm doing it.

AABRIA: Okay.

LIAM: Nah, super low.

AABRIA: He goes (squeaks) and ducks down.

LIAM: Sorry, still did what I wanted to do. That's the end of my turn.

AABRIA: Love it.

AIMEE: Thank you.

AABRIA: All right, Opal, you're up.

AIMEE: Is there a bad guy behind Fearne?

AABRIA: There's a bad guy behind Fearne, and a little south of Dorian, too.

AIMEE: Okay. I would like, then, to turn around and cast Eldritch Blast at the bad guy.

AABRIA: The one behind Fearne or behind Dorian?

AIMEE: The one behind Fearne because I feel like the one-- I don't want to hit Dorian.

AABRIA: Okay. She's got her boy.

AIMEE: Let's go. Oh, goddamn it. Six. That's a no.

AABRIA: That's a no.

AIMEE: Okay, well, then I'm just going to stay right where I am.

AABRIA: Do you do anything else?

AIMEE: No, I don't think so. I mean I'm just-- no. Should I?

AABRIA: If you want to!

MATT: Got anything else?

AIMEE: Well, the thing is, I don't want to move, because I'm protected by his shield, right?

AABRIA: Correct.

AIMEE: So.

AABRIA: Yeah, yes.

AIMEE: No, I'll just hang out.

AABRIA: Don't forget you have your Hexblade's Curse.

AIMEE: Yeah.

AABRIA: Cool.

AIMEE: But I have to do that before and I just remembered. Right?

AABRIA: I mean, you could do it now. It'll kick in later.

AIMEE: For later? Okay, yeah, I'm going to use Hexblade's Curse on the one behind Fearne.

AABRIA: Yeah, that is clearly the beefiest in the midst of them.

AIMEE: The beefiest, yeah. I'm going to do that. Thank you.

AABRIA: Yeah, of course. All right, next up is my little guy over here, who's going to run up and attempt to do a hit on Dorian. Does 11 hit?

ROBBIE: No.

AABRIA: And he lunges for you, and as you get out of the way, he crashes into this pile and sends up a bunch of embers and blinds himself a little bit. He's staggering behind you. All right.

ASHLEY: Haha!

AABRIA: Dariax, you're up.

MATT: All right.

AABRIA: Fearne, you're on deck.

MATT: With the fire now burning on this side, glance over this shoulder and give you a wink, like, nice work. I look back over at you, Opal, how are you looking?

AIMEE: Better now. Thanks. Scared.

MATT: All right, you feel confident on that, let's go. (laughter)

AABRIA: Just as a note, he's asking how close to dead you look.

AIMEE: Close! Real close.

MATT: All right, so you're looking real rough?

AIMEE: Rough.

MATT: Yeah, you're right there. I'm going to go ahead and reach out and cast Cure Wounds on you to try and keep you from death's door.

AIMEE: Thank you!

AABRIA: How many hit points are you at?

AIMEE: Three left.

MATT: Well, that'll bring you to-- you regain five hit points.

AIMEE: Thank you.

LIAM: What's your max, Opal?

AIMEE: 13.

AABRIA: It was lower earlier today.

AIMEE: It was lower!

AIMEE: Thank you, you said five?

MATT: Five, yeah.

AIMEE: Thank you.

MATT: And I'm going to go ahead and use my movement to go ahead and get to the-- Actually, I'm going to step up on top, if I can, the boxes up there.

AABRIA: Heck yeah.

MATT: With the spear at the ready.

AABRIA: The one on fire here?

MATT: No, the one over by Fearne.

AABRIA: Oh yeah, absolutely.

MATT: I'm trying to get my spear at the ready to try and keep this guy from focusing on Fearne, and be like: Hey, hey! Up here, asshole. That's my turn.

AABRIA: Nice, and he looks up at you, and you see him look, and then he looks at your shoulder, that Baby Bjorn, and he gives you-- He makes eye contact with you.

MATT: Yeah.

AABRIA: Just nods.

MATT: Yeah, that's right. That's right. I got the gift.

AABRIA: (laughs) Amazing. All right, Fearne, you're up.

ASHLEY: Okay. Seeing Dariax step up and knowing that he appeared behind me, I'm going to turn around and push him up against the wall, and say: Quit moving around. And then I'm going to cast Burning Hands.

AABRIA: (laughs)

AIMEE: Yes!

AABRIA: Amazing.

MATT: Just full on, point-blank against the wall, that's so good!

AABRIA: Let's go!

LIAM: Like an arcane shotgun, just (explosion).

AABRIA: I love it. I believe in you. That's incredibly cool.

ASHLEY: It's instantaneous?

LIAM: Is it a save?

AABRIA: Yeah, is it a save or an attack?

ASHLEY: Oh, it's a save, it's a save.

AABRIA: Oh, cool!

ASHLEY: So the save is--

AABRIA: Doesn't matter, got a three on the die.

ASHLEY: Okay.

AABRIA: Good job, guys.

ASHLEY: Good grief, I need my glasses. Okay. 14 points of damage.

AABRIA: He is blasted up against the wall, and there's scorch marks all around, you've painted a beautiful silhouette. And he staggers forward, burning, cracking apart under his armor, but he is still alive. Just barely.

ASHLEY: Okay. Let's see if I can do this as a bonus action.

AABRIA: Anything else? Your BA?

ASHLEY: That's it. That's all I can do.

AABRIA: Okay.

ASHLEY: (Cockney accent) I'm done. I'll stay.

LIAM: (Cockney accent) That's right, it's me.

ASHLEY: It's me, the cook. (laughter)

LIAM: And now you're cooked.

AABRIA: No! I hate it. Ugh, it's very good.

AIMEE: I need the spinoff. Or maybe it's Fearne's cousin.

MATT: There you go.

AIMEE: She's just roleplaying her cook cousin.

ASHLEY: Yes, maybe, maybe.

AABRIA: He's going to stagger forward. He staggers forward, and is going to attempt a scimitar attack against you, Dariax. He's trying to cut you down and bring-- he's going to try to hook around your leg and bring you in close.

MATT: Aww, shit.

AABRIA: Does a 12 hit?

MATT: A 12 does not hit.

AABRIA: All right, well he's going to try to hit you with his dagger while he's there. Does a 13 hit?

MATT: 13 does not hit.

AABRIA: You can see him staggering and crumpling. He smells like cooked flesh. It's long pork. And you can see cooked leather and skin sort of sloughing off of him as he's trying, even past the point where most people would be conscious and upright, to try to get to you, and get to that circlet. But he fails miserably. Next up is Dorian.

ROBBIE: This guy's right behind me, huh?

AABRIA: He's right behind you, and attempted to do a hit. You just dodged a blow from him.

ROBBIE: Right, and he's all musty. All right, well. I'm going to reach behind my back and I've had my axe out before, but never my scimitar, so I have a Moon-Touched Scimitar that is hidden beneath my lute on my back, so there's an extra tuning pin that goes to no string, so he's going to give it a click and disengage and pull out his scimitar.

ALL: Ooh!

ROBBIE: And try to take a swing at shadow boy.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

AABRIA: Get him.

ROBBIE: All right.

ASHLEY: Oh no!

AIMEE: No!

ROBBIE: One!

AABRIA: Buddy!

AIMEE: Too much flair.

ROBBIE: Yeah, yeah, too much flair.

AABRIA: Are you a halfling?

ROBBIE: What'd you say?

AABRIA: Are you a halfling?

ROBBIE: I'm not, and I used my inspiration, so that's a one. Haha, so cool! I swing, and--?

AABRIA: You literally would have landed the blow if he didn't have the ability to occasionally be a little incorporeal. And you see him focus all of his effort in that moment. And it just passes through him. But he immediately re-materializes. He wasn't able to move away. And he's locked in this frenzied combat with you, and you look into his eyes, and you see him very worried to be this close.

ROBBIE: All right, then I look straight at him and I go: Second time's a charm. And I'm going to use my bonus action to do a two-handed attack.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Pull out my handaxe and give this another whack. 12. Does a 12 hit?

AABRIA: A 12 just hits.

ROBBIE: Woo, yay! This is my off hand, so it's going to be a little more awkward and it's going to be this upward swing. I'm going to try to take an undercut at his jaw.

AABRIA: Nice. Okay, roll damage.

ROBBIE: Mm-hmm. Which for that is--

AABRIA: I just used his reaction, I said it was that-- so never mind.

ROBBIE: Okay. The damage on this one is five.

AABRIA: That's what I get for using flavor.

AABRIA: Okay. He takes five points of damage. And you hear him whisper, because you are locked up in melee combat. He's like, "Just give us the circlet. We'll let you have everything else here."

ROBBIE: Can I yell at Dariax?

AABRIA: Sure.

ROBBIE: Dariax! They want the circlet! Don't let them have it!

AABRIA: What?

MATT: As I'm jumping on the crates, from the guy swinging, What was that?

ROBBIE: They want the circlet!

MATT: I figured!

ROBBIE: Okay. Just making sure!

MATT: Do I give it to them?

ROBBIE: No, they want it, do not give it to them!

MATT: Got it.

AABRIA: He's going to peek out behind the corner, level his crossbow at you as you yell, since you are a standing target. Does an 18 hit?

MATT: I told you, I heard you. (grunts)

AIMEE: No!

AABRIA: As you take five points of piercing damage.

MATT: Yikes.

AABRIA: Those bolts are grouping up. It is in your shoulder, he is trying to sever the arm that is keeping that circlet on your body. And then he ducks back away again, because he's a chicken shit.

MATT: Fucking dick. All right.

AABRIA: Cool. All right, we're back up at the top, Orym.

LIAM: Uh.

AABRIA: Opal, you're on deck.

AIMEE: Yeah.

LIAM: Five, ten, 15. Cool! Orym, who's very small already, just pushes his boots down into the ground and I jump without a running start. I jump 15 feet over the boxes and land three squares later.

AABRIA: Yeah. Do you add it? Are you going this way?

LIAM: No, I'm doing a straight line over the box.

AABRIA: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: And then a diagonal right.

AABRIA: Yeah, you get up right in his grill.

LIAM: Yep.

AABRIA: He goes "Ah!" And then he swats his crossbow at you. (laughter) He didn't come to it with a melee weapon.

LIAM: Slide to the left. And then I'm going to attempt to slash at his achilles. I'm just going to go down at the ankle there and pull back.

AABRIA: Ooh!

AABRIA: Yes, please.

LIAM: Oh no, that's a terrible attack. That is just a nine. So I'll use an action surge and try again.

AABRIA: Smart.

LIAM: That hits. That's an 18 plus, so 24.

AABRIA: Absolutely yes! It does incredibly hit him.

LIAM: That is an eight damage.

AABRIA: Ooh! With eight, you come-- you know what, you describe it for me. What does it look like?

LIAM: Well, I went for the other and he jumped, so I then just dive back in as he was-- as he lifted one foot up and one foot was down on the ground, I just went and just went (slicing) and slit the other one.

AABRIA: Yep. He immediately drops to a knee and there is just an aggressive amount of blood pouring out of the leather armor as he's on his knee looking at you dead in your eye. And he just says, "Just give us the circlet!"

LIAM: (sword slicing)

AABRIA: "Please." (laughter)

LIAM: That's it. I don't know what's going on.

AABRIA: Tight! Opal, you're up. He's just like--

AIMEE: Okay. So sh-- Opal didn't learn her lesson. So she's going to use her movement to get in front of this little guy right here.

AABRIA: Yep.

AIMEE: Oh, sorry. Who are the evils left?

AABRIA: There's a guy here, here, and out yonder.

AIMEE: Okay. So I'm going-- Ooh, no, but then I'm okay. (uncertain noise) Okay.

LIAM: Set up the triangle.

AIMEE: Yeah. So I think what I will do is-- I'm going to get-- Oh, this is so stupid, but I'm going to do it anyway. I'm going to use my movement to get in-between those two guys.

AABRIA: Mm-hmm.

AIMEE: And then, yeah. So that, okay, and then follow me here. I would like to use, cause one of them has, oh, never mind. I have the Hexblade's Curse on--

AABRIA: The dude on your left.

AIMEE: -- this guy. So that means that will only work-- the curse will only work if I use a spell on him, correct?

AABRIA: No, if you do damage to him.

AIMEE: Oh, fantastic, okay. So I'm going to pull one of my daggers out.

AABRIA: Yep.

AIMEE: And I want to throw it at this guy to the left.

AABRIA: Yep.

AIMEE: (sighs) Okay. (tongue clicking) I'm going to get faster at this. Okay, an 18.

AABRIA: Hits.

AIMEE: Okay. And that will be--

AABRIA: You don't have to roll damage.

AIMEE: I don't?

AABRIA: How do you kill him?

ROBBIE and ASHLEY: Yeah!

AIMEE: Yay!

AABRIA: We're not doing the phrase yet. It's got to be a bigger bad.

AIMEE: Okay. I know, I know. Okay, that's fine, that's fine. I'ma still take the win!

AABRIA: Can't just throw out willy nilly!

AIMEE: I'm going to take the W! I'm going to take the W! Okay, so, Opal throws it with a flair and it lands-- Can I choose where it lands?

AABRIA: On his body? Yeah! Absolutely.

AIMEE: On his body? I think it lands right in whatever big artery is here.

AABRIA: Carotid, let's go.

AIMEE: Carotid artery. And it just goes (blood gushing)

ASHLEY: Yes!

AIMEE: And you just hear the drip drop drip drop call back--

AABRIA: Hey, we love a callback! Inspiration!

AIMEE: And he then he falls to the floor in the pool of his own blood.

AABRIA: Bleh! Falls over. He's very dead.

AIMEE: Yay! Okay. And then with my-- can I use my other-- the two weapons fighting as a bonus action?

AABRIA: Yes.

AIMEE: Okay. So I'll take another dagger and test my luck again and aim for the guy on my right.

AABRIA: Yeah. That's what you do!

ASHLEY: Oh fuck yeah, that's so--

AABRIA: Let's go!

AIMEE: Oh! Okay! 18 again!

AABRIA: Yeah! It hits!

AIMEE: Okay. So now I have to roll for damage.

AABRIA: Yes.

AIMEE: Okay.

ASHLEY: She just knocks them both out.

AIMEE: So that's going to be five damage.

AABRIA: I got to say it. How do you want to do this?

AIMEE: (screams) (cheering)

AABRIA: We got to respect a double murder. Let's go!

AIMEE: Double murder! Okay. So this time, you know, she was she was feeling real cocky about this. So this time she aimed a little bit lower and it just, just pierces, just right here.

AABRIA: You hit him in the wiener.

AIMEE: Just in the wiener.

AABRIA: Okay, cool. (laughter)

AIMEE: And--

AABRIA: This is good for me!

LIAM: Did you do the dick graze?

AIMEE: I think, yeah. Is that what it's called? And--

AABRIA: There's a lot of important arteries!

AIMEE: There's a lot of arteries there.

AABRIA: You can't hit the femoral artery. It's wiener adjacent.

AIMEE: I'm not going to get into the gory details, but I do think we see a crimson smear. Just--

LIAM: Oh! Brutal!

AIMEE: -- soak the front of the pants.

AABRIA: Yeah.

AIMEE: He looks down, horrified, looks up. I do this, and he falls.

AABRIA: Yes!

ASHLEY: Yes!

LIAM: Such a panache!

AABRIA: Amazing!

LIAM: Who will put my kids through thieves' guild college? (laughter)

ASHLEY: I love it! I love that she's standing there like, legs like this, (impact sounds).

AABRIA: Great. And I love that one died loudly and the other just died quietly in his own dick blood.

MATT: To make it cooler, if I recall when you kill something with your Hexblade's Curse, you heal a little bit.

AIMEE: That's right! With five, I think. I think it's five.

MATT: It's your Warlock level plus your charisma mod.

AIMEE: Warlock level--

ROBBIE: Math, math, math, math!

AIMEE: Bad at math! Bad at math!

AABRIA: ♪ Everybody! ♪

MATT: That's a big round!

AABRIA: Yeah!

ROBBIE and LIAM: Yeah!

ASHLEY: That was a good round!

AABRIA: How many hit points did you get back?

AIMEE: I don't know. What's-- why-- I don't know.

ASHLEY: Oh, I'm so proud!

AIMEE: I think it's five, if I remember correctly.

AABRIA: It is five.

AIMEE: It's five? Okay.

AABRIA: I'm just making sure you can confirm it on your own sheet.

AIMEE: It's five, it's five. Heal! I'm up to 13 out of 13, baby! (cheering)

AIMEE: Thanks for all your help, team!

ROBBIE: Yay!

AABRIA: You throw your first dagger, drop him. Second dagger, drop him. And then you blink, and you move, and you feel yourself pulling at the navel back to that dark interior part of yourself, where you feel you're standing and Ted is somehow there with you and in the space of that heartbeat the little cuts and wounds that were on you close up, sparkling with iridescent light and you open your eyes again and you are whole and powerful.

AIMEE: Thanks, Ted!

AABRIA: You don't hear anything back. You can't just talk to people all the time.

AIMEE: Okay! We don't have cell phones.

LIAM: Food!

AIMEE: Someone invent the cell phone!

AABRIA: All right. Dariax, you're up. Fearne, you're on deck.

MATT: Oh, right. So as that guy crumples, I look over towards Opal and I: Well done!

AIMEE: Thanks!

MATT: Where's the other-- and I look over and that one is currently over in the wall. Those are both dead. And I don't-- do I see?

AABRIA: I think you can see him because you could see Orym and his sword pointed out in some guy that's just on a knee, like "Ah!"

LIAM: It was just three inches of sword coming up from behind the lip of the stone.

AABRIA: Yeah! (laughter)

MATT: Got it. Then I'd be like-- It's a little bit hard to see. So I'm just going to go ahead and jump off the pile towards the two boxes that are in the center of the room.

AABRIA: Yep.

MATT: Getting a running start, kicking up onto them and then jumping in the air in that direction and casting Sacred Flame while I'm in midair towards the guy as soon as he comes into view.

AABRIA: Because we don't care about cover. Go ahead.

ASHLEY: Yes!

MATT: I-- by the way, this is all about the attack. We'll get to my horrible landing in a moment.

AIMEE: Oh no!

MATT: He gets to make a dex save.

AABRIA: Yes.

LIAM: We could be heroes just for one day.

AABRIA: Does a 12 make it?

MATT: A 12 fails at a 13 DC.

AABRIA: Aw, beans.

MATT: Oh shit! Eight points of radiant damage.

LIAM: Woo!

MATT: Rolled an eight.

AABRIA: Matthew Mercer, how do you want to do this? (cheering) (cheering)

AIMEE: How exciting! (applause)

MATT: That was so cool!

AABRIA: Yeah!

MATT: Wow! That's what it feels like! That's cool!

AABRIA: It's pretty cool!

ROBBIE: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

AABRIA: I'm [inaudible] going to let you stick the landing because you didn't have to kill the guy.

MATT: Yeah. Yeah. So jumping through the air slow-mo, the light from the spear actually transitions through the arm to the other side. And as he unfurls yelling in slow-mo, (slow motion yell) the light bursts from his hand and as it beams over towards the entity, it just (fire whooshing) ignites them in one flash. You watch as, instead of being a corporeal figure, it is just shadow burned away, like mist on a quick (snaps) hot summer morning. And in that brief moment in the middle of the air, he's like: Yeah.

AIMEE: (laughs)

MATT: And just fucking eats it on the ground, ass over tea kettle.

AABRIA: Beautiful!

ASHLEY: Yes! Yes!

AIMEE: That was chef's kiss!

LIAM: That was the feel good movie of the year! (laughter)

ROBBIE: Just a bunch of badass idiots!

MATT: Yep!

AABRIA: Basically! All right. The field is clear. The hissers are gone and you're alone in a warehouse operated by the Nameless Ones. What do you want to do?

AIMEE: I have to come clean! I don't know what Illusory Script is! (laughter)

MATT: All right. I--

LIAM: I mean, I don't know what that is. Do you?

MATT: That person, Poska, said something about that and this coin that she hit me in the eye with.

ASHLEY: Wait, what's a wh--

AIMEE: I dropped the bag of coins and he asked me if I did the thing. I said I did, but I didn't know what he meant.

MATT: Do I have any idea what Illusory Script might be?

AABRIA: Give me an arcana check.

MATT: All right.

AABRIA: I'm going to give you an advantage just because you have worked in thieves' circles.

MATT: Okay. That'd be a 13 minus one, 12. (laughter)

AABRIA: Yeah, you don't have a sense of what that is as a spell, but you have seen both the aggressive use of Thieves' Cant and also little bits of magic that cover up and change messages. You've received them before. You have no idea what the casting of it is like, but yeah, you've been in and around this.

MATT: Right. Cool. This is used for hiding messages and shit. I don't know how it works. Here!

AIMEE: So do we put it in the bag of coins we're supposed to leave for... Pacha? Poca?

MATT: (laughs)

ROBBIE: Poska!

LIAM: Matcha Mochi.

AIMEE: Mochi? I feel like that's what she asked for and I didn't do it.

MATT: Your guess is as good as mine. I'm just going to sit here for a second and breathe. (panting)

AIMEE: Yeah, that's probably good. Orym, what do you think?

LIAM: I'm going to search this place.

ASHLEY: Yes.

AABRIA: Yeah!

ASHLEY: We'll help.

AABRIA: Sweet.

LIAM: I want dirt on these people.

AABRIA: Cool. Thankfully, the blaze that you kicked up-- You have some light in this room and I'm not going be--

MATT: By the way, is there a chance of this flame could get out of control if we don't--

AABRIA: No, the way, when one of our bad boys smashed it smoldered and crumpled it.

MATT: Okay.

AABRIA: So it's not a bonfire.

MATT: So it's just like: Yeah! We did it, guys!

AABRIA: Yeah, as everything just burns around you!

ASHLEY: Oh, we got to go!

AABRIA: That would be very on-brand for you all. I'm trying to give you a cool moment, please let me give this to you. Love you so much!

AIMEE: Okay. So I guess while they look, I'll look for the bag of gold that I-- platinum that I just threw in there.

AABRIA: Yeah. You see that it hit and skittered open.

AIMEE: Oh!

AABRIA: It's just like a bunch of coins.

AIMEE: Well, at this point, fuck it.

AABRIA: Yeah. But yeah, looking around this area, you see that there's a little, I don't have to point to it. There's an up-raised area with a big, great door that especially you as you're closer to it, you hear something inside.

ROBBIE: Does the door go in or down?

AABRIA: It goes down, it's over here.

LIAM: So that trap door in the raised area.

AABRIA: Yep.

LIAM: And we got a door--

AABRIA: Yeah. You absolutely see the door at the back of the room. (clears throat) Other than that, lots of books and art and gold and lots of cases of stuff that you have no idea what it is.

LIAM: Okay.

ASHLEY: Should we give a peeksie back in the--

LIAM: Maybe door first before--?

ASHLEY: Yeah. Before we go down.

ROBBIE: The last trap door we took had a giant, nine-foot bug in it. Maybe we should take the smaller door.

AIMEE: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: Does anybody here need a break or something? Or we gung ho right now.

AIMEE: Well, why don't you stay here on guard the crate?

MATT: No, fuck that. We're going. I cast Cure Wounds on myself and I'm ready to go. (laughter)

AABRIA: Yes! I love it!

MATT: Seven hit points. That brings me up to max. Yeah. I'm good.

AABRIA: Nice! Okay. So what you guys checking out first?

ASHLEY: That room in the back.

LIAM: Yeah, door.

ASHLEY: Yeah, that door in the back.

AABRIA: Okay. You head back to the door. It's heavy. It's like-- You can feel the weight of this and it is absolutely locked.

AIMEE: Hmm.

LIAM: Without touching it, does it look like any poison needles are going to pop out of it or drop on us or anything?

AABRIA: Give me an investigation check.

LIAM: It's not really my thing. 12.

AABRIA: With a 12, it doesn't look obviously trapped, no.

MATT: (laughs)

LIAM: I touch it with my toe.

AABRIA: What part do you touch?

LIAM: Just under the door knob, I'm graceful like a dancer. (laughter)

AIMEE: Ballet! More than football.

AABRIA: You kick a heavy lock and it jangles reproachfully at you.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: Like a reed in the wind.

LIAM: You're-- You know me too well. You are good with locks.

MATT: What? Yeah, yeah, no. Perfect at them. What's up? Oh yeah, pull out a lock pick. Get down low. You're not the only one who's limber.

AIMEE: Oh no!

LIAM: Take 10 steps back. (laughter)

MATT: I do not check for traps, I just go in.

AABRIA: Yeah, I respect that!

AABRIA: Go ahead and give me thieves' tools check.

MATT: All righty.

ROBBIE: Yes! (laughter)

AABRIA: Oh, I was going to be so meticulous about the way you fuss with it for minutes before you get those locks in and you hear them dissolve as a little bit of glass breaks and acid pours and instantly corrodes your lock picks and you pull out little stumps, like little matchsticks. Boop boop!

MATT: See, I've been using these for a while. Didn't need them, figured it's a good time to go ahead and retire them for now.

LIAM: I attack the knob.

AABRIA: Yeah. Go ahead make an attack roll for me.

MATT: Lockpicks--

LIAM: That is a super low roll. That is a nine.

AABRIA: I don't know how the door, yeah, you-- Describe for me-- Are you attacking with a sword?

LIAM: Yeah, I'm attacking at the-- Does it have a knob or a latch or--

AABRIA: So you've got this extremely big, heavy locking mechanism and knob that's a foot in every direction of just metal and then a heavy wood door. So are you going to attack the locking mechanism and knob?

LIAM: Oh man, no, the hinges.

AABRIA: Or the wood of the door?

LIAM: I'm going to start hacking away at the hinges.

AABRIA: I'll give you-- A nine can hit hinges, for sure.

LIAM: Okay.

AABRIA: All right. Roll me damage.

LIAM: Oh, wrong one. That is a nine.

AABRIA: I need you to pick another number. I'm getting a lot of nines right now. It's kind of stressful.

LIAM: That's it, just ones and nines.

AABRIA: Cool, perfect.

AIMEE: Do you want another set?

AABRIA: You're able to dismantle the upper hinge. There's two more on the door.

LIAM: I'm just going to keep going.

AABRIA: Yeah. You don't have to keep rolling.

LIAM: All right.

AABRIA: Not going to do anything.

LIAM: That's a one, but I'll reroll it.

AABRIA: My god!

LIAM: Anyway. (smashing)

AABRIA: Yeah, after a while-- You have to absolutely obliterate this door in order to get into it, which is the moral of the story. And eventually, you destroy the hinges and the door is just standing freeform, that's how thick the door is. It didn't fall away once the hinges were gone. So you want to just kick it in?

LIAM: Yeah. I'm going to run and then jump at it.

AABRIA: Yeah! Give me an athletics check. Does anyone want to jump in and do it together? You can do it as a group.

ASHLEY: Yes, I'll do-- I'll do a head ram!

AABRIA: Yes!

LIAM: Oh, excellent! I'm going to assist you.

AABRIA: You do it with advantage.

ASHLEY: Are you sure? (laughs)

LIAM: What is your strength?

AABRIA: With advantage!

AIMEE: Go Fearne!

ASHLEY: My strength is--

ROBBIE: Go, go!

ASHLEY: Okay!

LIAM: We'll just find out. Tell me afterwards what your strength is.

ASHLEY: Sure, sure, sure, sure. I'm rolling just a strength check?

LIAM: You would advantage with my--

AABRIA: Don't you have a special move?

ASHLEY: I do. I have a special ram attack.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: With my halfling help.

ASHLEY: Oh! Oh! It was almost a 20.

LIAM: Advantage.

ASHLEY: Oh!

LIAM: Because I'm assisting.

ASHLEY: Ugh! Seven!

AABRIA: (laughs) You run into it you're going to take one-- (laughs) one point of bludgeoning damage. And the door wobbles and stays put.

AIMEE: Jesus!

AABRIA: Anyone else?

ASHLEY: (blubbers)

AIMEE: Could I Eldritch Blast the door?

AABRIA: Yeah. Make an attack roll.

AIMEE: That a bad idea?

LIAM: Not at all.

ASHLEY: Do it.

MATT: It's always fucking doors!

AIMEE: Why not?

AABRIA: It's always doors!

AIMEE: Okay. That's going to be a-- Why can't I ever add these two numbers together? Hold on. 13.

AABRIA: (laughs) Yeah, 13 hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

AIMEE: Okay.

LIAM: Got to be something an aspect of this specific dimension--

AIMEE: Nine.

LIAM: -- and doors.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

AABRIA: I am haunted by this number!

AIMEE: Jesus, nine! This is crazy!

AABRIA: I believe you!

AIMEE: It's so nuts, though!

AABRIA: I'm tired of playing with this door. It wobbles and finally falls. (laughter)

ASHLEY: We did it!

AABRIA: You did it!

AIMEE: We tired her out! (laughter)

ROBBIE: Murdered three dudes at a time, but a door!

AABRIA: I can't. The door can't be the thing that stops this from happening.

MATT: While they're taking four hours to destroy the door,

AABRIA: Yeah!

MATT: I'm going to swallow my pride, and sad to lose my thieves' tools, look over at Dorian and be like: Think it's worth rolling these bodies while they're finishing up over there?

ASHLEY: (whispering) Yes.

ROBBIE: I don't know why I keep looking at Orym, so I'm going to look over at Orym.

LIAM: (thudding) (pained yell) (laughter)

MATT: Waste not, want not, buddy!

ROBBIE: (scoffs) Yeah.

MATT: All right.

AIMEE: Ooh!

MATT: Let's go see. Search through and rummage through the corpses to see if there's anything remaining. If there are corpses, even at this point.

AABRIA: Yeah!

LIAM: Corpse searching.

AABRIA: Well, you obliterated one into beautiful light and dust and he just disappeared because it was pretty. But yeah, there's three other corpses in the room and you're able to take off, well, a lot of their armor is absolutely useless, but each of them have 20 or so gold on them. Nothing really useful. There's a couple vials of poison on their person and then scimitars, daggers, and the one that disappeared dropped a heavy crossbow-- crossbow, if you want one of those.

ASHLEY: Ooh! That's cool.

MATT: Not my style, but I'm going to take these weird vials of non-discriminant liquid that I don't know what they do, but I'm sure it tastes great.

AABRIA: It says poison on the vial. I said it was poison.

MATT: I also, not great at reading.

AABRIA: Respect, respect.

MATT: So I pocket them anyway.

LIAM: Do not drink.

AIMEE: Drink me!

ROBBIE: Fine by me. Hey, (clears throat) how do you feel with the-- with the scary purse? Are you (queasy sound)? Nothing? Nothing at all.

MATT: I mean, it clashes in my outfit a little bit. No offense, I mean, your cloak looks amazing. Just maybe not on me. Otherwise feeling pretty, pretty good. Pretty spry.

ROBBIE: Huh. I'm starting to think more and more we made the right decision by keeping it.

AIMEE: Mm-hmm!

MATT: I think that, yeah.

ROBBIE: Okay. (laughs) And go over to another body and start rifling through that.

AABRIA: Same thing.

ROBBIE: Yeah.

AABRIA: There's not a whole lot going on.

ROBBIE: Exactly. 20 bucks.

AABRIA: Yeah, it was 20 bucks and some light daggers. But you all that finally opened that door. You're in a room. There is a light in this room. The torches are already lit and there's just rows upon rows of boxes, all sealed.

AIMEE: Oof.

LIAM: (exhales)

AIMEE: Oh, these seem dangerous?

LIAM: I mean, I think we should assume in here.

AABRIA: Do you want to do a check about it?

AIMEE: Yeah. What's that?

AABRIA: What kind of danger are you looking for?

AIMEE: I suppose more of that oily damage or that oil--

AABRIA: So you're scared of a magical, bad thing.

AIMEE: A magical bad thing.

AABRIA: Give me an arcana check.

AIMEE: Okay. That is a 15.

AABRIA: With a 15, you reach out with those arcane senses that you have. You don't feel anything.

AIMEE: Okay. Don't feel anything. What do you think?

ASHLEY: Should we give just a little peeksies?

LIAM: These are more crates and barrels back here?

AABRIA: Yep. And looking at the crates and barrels, you recognize their origin, Orym. Half of them are from Zephrah.

ASHLEY: Ooh!

LIAM: Uh. That's weird.

ASHLEY: What's weird?

LIAM: See that?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LIAM: That's where I'm from. I open one.

AABRIA: Pry it open. You make quick work of it with your daggers just slipping in and popping it open. There's no trap. This is just goods being shipped. And what you open is 40 pounds of refined residuum.

LIAM: Um. It's (exhales) I thought the words, "It's been a while," and then I thought the song, ♪ It's been a while! ♪

ALL: ♪ It's been a while! ♪ (laughter)

LIAM: Did it to myself. But do I have any recollection of listening to her talking about, is this something to do with the towers at home or, or anything of her plans and working with her friends?

AABRIA: You heard snippets, little bits that the little crumbs you get when someone is trying to hold information back, but can't help it around someone that they're around most of the day.

LIAM: Yeah.

AABRIA: She had deals with her friends in Whitestone and you never really knew what they entailed, but you know where residuum comes from.

LIAM: Yes, I do.

AABRIA: And you know, what it's used for, this is powerful. It's not magical in and of itself, but it is a catalyst to make magical items. It can be converted into suude, which is a very popular drug on the streets.

AIMEE: Ooh!

LIAM: It is a lot of things. It's a (stammering)-- It's an amplifier.

AABRIA: You're in a room full of it.

ASHLEY: Like, what do you mean an amplifier?

LIAM: I don't know how this stuff works, but I, this makes magic stronger.

ASHLEY: Can I touch it?

LIAM: Yeah, you can. I hold some in my hand and I'm thinking of the worth in my hand. Wait, holy-- Is there anything else in here? Are there any documents or any kind of records?

AABRIA: No.

LIAM: Just the stash.

AABRIA: Just the stash.

AIMEE: What do people use it for? Like, what would they be? Clearly, they stole this from a ship. Who would it have been going to?

LIAM: I mean, it could be anybody. You can use this stuff for all kinds of things. So it could be used for, for, for--

AIMEE: Weapons?

LIAM: -- good purpose or for bad. Well, it could make it easier to hurt people. It could make it easier to help people. It all depends on who's using it.

AIMEE: Hmm.

LIAM: From what I understand. But it's expensive, that I know.

ASHLEY: Should we take some with us?

LIAM: We should take some, yeah.

AABRIA: I'm not going to make you roll for it, but I need you all to know that you've busted into the stash of a powerful, secretive thieves' guild. You've wrecked a lot of it. And now you are contemplating taking the most valuable thing in this room, inclusive of the circlet that Dariax is currently wearing. Are you going to take some of the residuum?

LIAM: Yes.

AABRIA: Are you going to leave anything for Poska?

AIMEE: We left the coins?

ROBBIE: Maybe we shouldn't. Maybe no one should know we were here.

ASHLEY: Oh!

AIMEE: How easy is this to transport? Is it liquid or solid? What?

AABRIA: It's like crushed rocks.

AIMEE: Oh.

AABRIA: Glowing green rocks.

ASHLEY: Oh, that's an interesting point. What if-- What if we take the coins and your illusory script that you definitely did and just go back to the house and just bring the coins to-- Is this bad? What I'm saying?

AIMEE: No, I think that's a great idea because we can just say we never found the warehouse. Give her the coins. She can leave. Maybe she doesn't know it was us.

ROBBIE: There's two dead bodies, a pile of dust a giant bonfire and a hacked up door.

AIMEE: So then--

ROBBIE: She'll know we were here.

AIMEE: But you just said maybe it's better if she didn't know. How are we going to fix that?

ASHLEY: But she did also think that we were not capable of killing just her, so maybe she would.

LIAM: Yeah, she might not.

AIMEE: Maybe she set a trap.

LIAM: Think was us. Wonder what's in that trap door.

AABRIA: You make your way over to the trap door and open it up and you actually see a baby ankheg.

LIAM: Did you say a baby?

AABRIA: Oh god, I had to finish the word! It's an ankheg. Like a little.

AIMEE: Oh, a baby. (laughter)

AABRIA: My god! It's like a little pupa. You came in before I said, yeah.

ASHLEY: A baby--

LIAM: A baby ankheg.

ASHLEY: Yeah, a baby ankheg, that was like what was on the ship.

ROBBIE: In a compartment in the trap door?

AABRIA: Yep. It's kind of a pupa. It doesn't look as dangerous. And there's a coup--

ROBBIE: How big?

AABRIA: A three by three foot cage. And there's a couple other cages open. I'm not going to make you roll for it. There's money in a lot of things and exotic pets are one of them.

LIAM: (exhales)

AIMEE: Okay.

MATT: I'm just throwing it out there. I got some friends in Kymal if you want to go lay low for a few months.

ROBBIE: We were tasked with stealing for Poska.

MATT: That's right.

ROBBIE: And now we're stealing from Poska?

LIAM: I know what I want to do.

AIMEE: What do you want to do?

ROBBIE: What do you want to do?

MATT: What do you want to do?

LIAM: I want to take some of this stuff--

ASHLEY: Don't tell us!

LIAM: -- to the Fire Ashari.

AIMEE: Oh!

ASHLEY: You want to what?

LIAM: I want to take some of this to the Fire Ashari and get word back to home.

AIMEE: I mean, it's from your home, so it's not technically stealing. You're stealing it back.

LIAM: They need to know that this is happening. That, that, that-- They wouldn't want this to be happening. And it's over my head, so we find the Fire Ashari. They get word back to the Air Ashari, she'll know what to do.

AIMEE: So do we take it?

LIAM: Yes.

ASHLEY: She'll know what to do? Is this someone that you work for?

LIAM: Not for a long time.

ROBBIE: We've stumbled upon something much larger than what we bargained for. But Poska is still a problem.

MATT: Yeah. I mean, not to bring down everyone's mood here, but if we take this, they're probably going to kill us.

AIMEE: I mean, yeah, she's a problem, but if we don't go back to the townhouse.

ROBBIE: We call the city guard on her. Tell them she's there. She's a known criminal. Buys us a few days.

AIMEE: Yeah.

LIAM: I came here to help. I did not come here to do whatever it is we were doing. You guys can do whatever you want. I am taking some of this to the Fire Ashari.

AIMEE: Well, let's just do that then and not go back to the townhouse. I mean, I've slept in worse places.

AABRIA: How much do you take?

LIAM: Uh. Cantaloupe's worth.

AABRIA: Do you leave the circlet?

MATT: I look over to Dorian. I mean, maybe leaving this would, like, balance the debt?

ROBBIE: (clears throat)

MATT: Is it a bad idea?

ROBBIE: I don't think something like this should be in the hands of someone like that.

MATT: All right. All right, then we hold on to it.

ROBBIE: But we're getting a new bag. I want my cloak back.

MATT: No. Yeah, no, totally, totally!

AABRIA: You're able to rummage up a better crate in here. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Like a bag or something for, to swap it up. Thank you.

AIMEE: (gagging) (laughter)

LIAM: Thanks.

MATT: Now you trusted us, right? We got to trust you, too. That's how it works.

AIMEE: Yeah.

MATT: I'm going to put you in a place of discomfort to pursue our whims and curiosities. It's only fair.

LIAM: Just a different target on our back, right?

MATT: A bigger target, probably a bit more sprawling and eventually deadly, but still going to be fun.

LIAM: (laughs)

AIMEE: It's still going to be fun.

AABRIA: And with that, you walk out of the warehouse and into whatever's going to come next. But that's a story for next week.

MATT: Ooh!

ASHLEY: Ooh!

AABRIA: I can't believe you guys! That's so fun. Thank you.

MATT: Thank you!

AABRIA: Yeah!

LIAM: Wow! What a cool way to wind it up!

MATT: Yeah!

LIAM: Oh!

AIMEE: Ooh, I got chills!

ROBBIE: I am scared of Poska!

ASHLEY: Me too!

AABRIA: You absolutely should be! Cool, but we'll worry about that next time.

ROBBIE: Listen to me!

AABRIA: We're done for today!

ROBBIE: We have to something about Poska! I know what street beefs are.

AIMEE: "Street beefs." (laughs)

AABRIA: That sounds like a different thing. But until then until we see you all again: Is it Thursday yet? (cheering)

AABRIA: The rain pours as the weather worsens in Emon. And slowly through the weather, footsteps are heard, and Poska stands in front of her warehouse. She walks in, sees the corpses, the destruction. And then she sees the door at the back of the warehouse open and a box pried open. And at that point, she turns. And into a small sigil tattooed on the inside of her wrist, she speaks three simple words, "Burn it down." And across town in the Upper Slums, the penthouse is set ablaze.

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