MATT: Hello everyone, and welcome to tonight’s episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. We have a bunch of announcements; try and get through them as fast as possible. First and foremost, Taliesin Jaffe is on his way, he’s playing the part of Sam Riegel and being late today.
SAM: Yeah. Clever.
MATT: But he’ll be here shortly. And we do not have a Travis Willingham tonight, unfortunately, he is out of town shooting something pretty awesome, so yeah, boo indeed. Not watching Avengers this time.
LAURA: That was the only time he’s missed.
MATT: That was the only time he’s missed it, yeah. And he was not happy. I know. He’s like, why is everyone else leveling and not me yet? Nah, sorry dude. Anyway, so we’ll miss you Travis, sorry you’re not here. Oh, it sounds like we have a Taliesin. Get in there, Taliesin. We have two sponsors–
SAM: Wait, what, Matt? Two sponsors?
MATT: What? Two sponsors. We’re splitting this up, is what we’re doing. First, the new tonight-only sponsor we have is Puzzle Quest, Magic Puzzle Quest, actually. If you’ve watched any other programs this week, Me, Marisha, Liam and Taliesin all did a show that was on Tuesday. Before Talks Machina. Game the Game, with Rebecca and Ivan, where we played it, as well as a number of other ridiculous games. But it’s great, I grew up playing Magic, it’s very much a mutually–
SAM: Oh, Taliesin has it on his iPad right there!
MATT: There you go, and it’s facing sideways. But it’s a puzzle drop game, but mixed in with the mechanics of Magic. It’s free, you can check it out, and they’re being awesome, sponsoring us tonight. If you’re into fantasy and that type of three-match games, totally up your alley, and if you click on the link in chat, which is bit.ly/criticalquest and try the game out. That’s where you can go ahead and find it. So–
LIAM: You should totally play that during the Thordak fight.
TALIESIN: This is my plan, while you guys are doing your stuff, I’m going to be playing Puzzle Quest.
MATT: Oh and Taliesin, also I have left a sheet there for your updated Cabal’s Ruin.
MARISHA: Yeah, we have updated stuff.
TALIESIN: Wow, you nerfed me. Okay. I’m just kidding.
MATT: No, in working on the campaign guide, and the section about the Vestiges, while also seeing how things played out through the game as we’ve gone through, there’s been a slight balance tweak to a couple of them, most in your favor. Enjoy.
TALIESIN: I think you were giving me a little bit of this drunkenly during Westworld, if I recall.
MATT: I think so, actually, yeah.
MARISHA: The main thing that has changed on the Spire of Conflux is that I now gain plus one bonus to spell attack rolls and my spell save DC increases by one.
MATT: It’s a benefit to you.
MARISHA: Yes it is.
MATT: It’s a benefit to anybody who uses it in their own home campaign, it is not just specific.
LAURA: And Fenthras is a plus five to attack? And plus ten to damage rolls?
LIAM: 12 hours of wings, Matt? Thank you!
MATT: All the Vestiges suddenly turn to dust. In your bag. And your tears.
LIAM: You have chosen poorly.
MATT: Exactly. So yeah! So aside from Magic Puzzle Quest, we also have our secondary sponsor, Loot Crate!
SAM: You know, guys, I always do a little fun Loot Crate thing, but this week I’m not going to be doing the Loot Crate announcement. This week, my new character that I’ve been workshopping, Brody Slater! Of Malibu, California is going to be doing the Loot Crate ad. I’ve been workshopping this, I’ve been doing some acting coach work with it.
TALIESIN: How you never did a rhyme on SNL is beyond me, man, I don’t know how–
SAM: It’s a showcase for Loot Crate, but it’s also a showcase for my acting.
SAM: Let me get into character real quick. Yo surf bros and bunnies! December can be a mondo bogus bummer! You want to lock in on a maxed out cruncher, ride an outside breaker, shoot the curl on an epic set, but you can’t! It’s too cold! The beaches are blown out, the swells are glassy, and you feel like you’re getting a sand facial, like some gremlin poser, amirite? Well not for long! Get amped again with December’s radical Loot Crate. The primo duds’ll get your heart beating like a gnarlatious double spinner, toes on the nose! The geeky gear will make you feel like you’re droppin’ in on the wedge, pruning out at Pendleton, or taking a face goofy-foot at Sano, outrageous! So don’t wipe out, sign up! For Loot Crate! At lootrate.com/criticalrole, promo code “critical role” for ten percent off your first month. Bonzai! All right.
MATT: That’s pretty good! A little Scottish at the end, though.
TALIESIN: Somewhere in Topanga Canyon right now, Dweezil Zappa is bleeding from the nose, going: oh! What?! What?!
LAURA: That blonde hair did something for your complexion, though.
TALIESIN: Yeah, no, you were glowing.
LIAM: No wonder you’re in voiceover!
SAM: I mean, we’re versatile actors, and I just want to showcase that to the people!
MATT: I hope that’s a sneak peek of your character in the next campaign, Sam.
MATT: Thank you Loot Crate, thank you Magic Puzzle Quest– Check ‘em both out, guys. Couple quick announcements! Talks Machina will be up next Tuesday, and every following Tuesday simulcast both on Twitch and Alpha! So you guys can still get a chance to watch it, the Alpha supporters will still have all the access to it. It’s going to be awesome, glad you guys get a chance to follow us along with that and to try out the platform, and enjoy it on Twitch. So yay! So, next Talks will have a couple guests, which you might meet later on this evening, will be joining the next episode this Tuesday at 7:00pm here and on Alpha. You’re welcome, Brian. Next up! Next Monday December 12th, from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, there’s an extra special holiday season episode of Dick and Johnson happening here. Dick and Johnson Save Everything Ultra Holiday Special– such a specific title– going to be a bunch of guests, including Chloe Dykstra, myself, I will be showing up for a little bit, with some ridiculousness in characters, so you guys need to check it out if you haven’t already, it’s– how do you describe the game? It’s like a shark riding a reindeer shooting a minigun, while waving an American flag and playing D&D.
TALIESIN: That’s a great tattoo.
MATT: That’s a challenge to you guys. Show us your pictures of your great amazing Dick and Johnson tattoo. Wherever it may be on your Dick and Johnson. But tune in next Monday, December 12th, at 4:00 to 6:00pm, check it out, I’ll see you there. All right.
SAM: So many announcements.
MATT: I know! We’re getting there, we’re getting there. New GM Tips came out today!
MATT: This week’s topic is specifically on running an evil campaign, and curbing modo– herber– murder herber– murder hobo behavior in games. Check out the good times. That’s out now on YouTube and the Geek and Sundry website. Also, at the break today, we have a very special video from our good friend Patrick Rothfuss and plays Kerr in the world, as we’re helping support his Worldbuilders charity, which has been doing amazing, gangbusters, and they’re setting up a specific Critical Role page on that, with a few prizes that we’re providing from our end as well for people that enter and donate, that you can win. So he’s going to put together a video and information about the page will be available very soon. Go check it out, it’s an amazing charity, I’ve talked about it here before, and the money’s being matched, dollar for dollar, by a number of corporations for everything you donate. So check out the break for a special message from Patrick Rothfuss.
LIAM: He’s a good human being.
MATT: He’s a good man. And he wanted to be here tonight but he’s unfortunately in a– I say unfortunately– fortunately in a tux, at the, I think it’s the game– what? The–
TALIESIN: Gamer’s Choice Awards?
MATT: No no no no. Child’s Play, I think, charity event tonight.
TALIESIN: It’s the gamer’s Shorty Awards.
MATT: So the whole cha– no, it’s the charity! It’s all about charity, apparently. Speaking of charity, we have the pleasure of once again, as a fantastic example of this community that’s sprung up around this channel and this show, so many of you guys have been so generous, and supporting of all the charities we’ve spoken of, and other charities you’ve gone on to find, we have one amazing Critter who is here tonight, named Mark Kuro, who has donated an amazing amount to 826LA in the name of this show–
MATT: –and you guys, so say hello to Mark everyone. Mark, I’m blown away by your generosity, and I think it’s a fantastic example once again of the power of community that you’ve all put together and helping support other people who don’t have the opportunity.
MARK: Well, and I also want to thank you guys for the inspiration. I mean, you get to throw inspiration dice around all the time, but when you do it in the real world, it makes a big difference. So I think 826LA is an amazing charity, and I think I would do sort of a Christmas Critter Charity Challenge, for all the Critters out there at this time of year especially, to go ahead and donate to your favorite charity, donate to 826LA in the name of Critical Role, and again, make a difference. World’s gotten a little wonky, time for love and generosity is never better than now, so thanks guys.
MATT: I completely agree. Thank you, Mark. Really appreciate it, thanks buddy.
MARK: Kill the dragons, he’s got to die!
LIAM: He said, he said, Mark said, he’s got to die. He’s got to die, Matt, he’s got to die.
MATT: Well, you know, maybe I gave you a damage bonus, I don’t know. Thank you, Mark.
MARISHA: And yeah, and as always, 826LA is amazing, and there might be a local branch in your city, I know there’s one in San Francisco, I know there’s one in New York, I know there’s one in Chicago.
TALIESIN: You should totally check it out, you can also– they have web stores, and you should go onto their web stores because there’s a lot of really good Christmas stuff that you can buy that’s fun and arty and poetry-ish, and kids poetry that you can buy books of that’s actually really good, and it’s a great Christmas gift, and you’re giving to a good cause. It’s amazing.
MARISHA: Yeah, it’s amazing.
MATT: Hell yeah. Oh, and I forgot to mention this too, for the Talks Machina announcement too, while it’s remaining on Twitch, also they will have an enhanced version on Alpha in the new year as well, so you’ll have that positive element of it, too, and get to see what the platform is capable of doing with that show. So. There you go. Spotify playlists are still rolling out. We had Laura’s go up last Friday.
LIAM: It was so good, it was so good!
LAURA: Did you think so?
LIAM: I did, I liked it.
LAURA: Is it maybe because you had a song on there?
LIAM: Well, that’s part of it, but the whole thing was pretty good!
LAURA: Thanks, bro.
SAM: It’s all Debbie Gibson.
LAURA: You had a song on there, too, Sam.
SAM: I did?
LAURA: Yeah, I know you didn’t listen to it.
SAM: No, I haven’t. I will tonight. I’ll go down to Spotify, or Geek and Sundry, or wherever you get them, and–
MARISHA: Did you ever listen to any of the first playlists that we put out?
SAM: Of course I did! I listened to mine.
LIAM: You are on a show called Critical Role, where a group of nerdy-ass voice actors–
SAM: My best friends, who I support, by showing up!
SAM: No, I listened to them. I read your little blurbs. I did, I did those things.
LIAM: Oh, I just got the Christmas spirit all up in my heart. Nice.
TALIESIN: Let’s get some seltzer, we’ll get that right out.
MARISHA: Thank you for your click on the Geek and Sundry website, I guess!
TALIESIN: Just a click, not a like.
MATT: And, last–
TALIESIN: Who is the Spotify playlist this week?
TALIESIN: Oh, it’s me? Oh, that’s great.
SAM: Have you done it yet?
TALIESIN: Yeah, I know I did it, I did do it– It’s good, it’s good music.
LIAM: Sam will listen to it in five months.
MATT: Last but not least, me and Marisha are guesting at MagFest in January, 6th to the 8th, MagFest is one of my favorite events and has been for many years, it’s a video-game music festival. We’re going to have a bunch of panels over there, and there’s a bunch of great concerts and shows going on, it’s a general awesome, fun experience. If you haven’t been before, I recommend it, if you have been, go again! We’ll be there. Come and say hi.
LAURA: There’s also a couple more announcements.
SAM: More and more and more and more.
LAURA: I know, I know, but these are good. Well, last weekend was PSX and there were a couple awesome projects that were announced there, which is the new Uncharted game! The Lost Legacy! What what what! I play Nadine, what what what!
LAURA: And then, also announced at the same time, was Last of Us 2, starring one Ashley Johnson, so we’re all very very very excited about it–
MATT: Our D&D show book-ended PSX, that’s cool, actually.
LAURA: Yeah, it was pretty frickin’ cool. And those are going to be a long time before they’re out, but you know, it’s still really awesome. And then! Finishing announcements tonight with some special, special treats, which is–
MATT: I haven’t even seen that.
LAURA: A Critical Role hat. Yeah, you’ve been in here the whole time. This is out, in the store, right now, as well as Critical Role dice! So, I have heard tell that if you get these ordered– if you live in the United States, at least, I’m sorry international Critters– but if you live in the US then you should be able to get these before Christmas!
MARISHA: Yay! Stocking stuffers.
LAURA: Yeah, great stocking stuffers, great under the tree presents too.
LIAM: This is a fine-ass baseball cap. On the inside it says: How Do You Want To Do This? Oh, and your head is so small, and my head is so large.
MARISHA: And it’s all embroidered.
SAM: And it’s perfect for when we play all the other Dungeons & Dragons Twitch shows in our softball league!
LAURA: Right? So we have a certain amount. And I by the way rolled these dice, before the show, and I got a critical on my d20, so–
MATT: No guarantee.
LAURA: They’re in the store right now. There’s a limited amount, obviously, like it always is, but! As soon as they’re gone we’re going to order more. But if you want ‘em for Christmas, then you know, probably get them soon.
MATT: All righty. I think that’s it, right? Okay, good. Wow. Front-loaded them this week. Thank you for your patience, guys. It’s all good! Good announcements. Good things. Good holiday spirit kicking forward. And in that same spirit of good positive fun, let’s bring it down here into the current dramatic, rocketing conclusion of the Chroma Conclave, for tonight’s episode of Critical Role!
MATT: Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen.
SAM: A lot happened. A lot happened in that break.
MATT: Apparently! I missed most of it.
LAURA: Pure chaos.
MATT: I’m so removed from most events at the table before the game starts, I’m like: what happened? What?
TALIESIN: Do you phase out so you don’t hear the terrible things we say?
MATT: No, I’m focused on the rest of the shit that’s happening tonight. Anyway. So, to get you up to speed, our fantastic band of adventurers, Vox Machina, had been battling against the Chroma Conclave, a collection of evil, dangerous chromatic dragons, led by Thordak, the Cinder King, who has been reigning over their home city of Emon for quite some time, terrorizing the community, and apparently slowly undergoing a change based on the elemental stone that is embedded in his body that once locked him into the Plane of Fire. You’ve defeated most of the dragons, and allied yourself with one of the only remaining members, Raishan, the green dragon. You guys have since acquired a number of allies, you made your way to the Fire Plane to the City of Brass, you returned to find Fort Daxio under attack. You managed to defend it, you saved a few friends, returned to Whitestone, and it seems like everything is gearing itself towards the final conflict in Emon, with Thordak the Cinder King. Last we left off, you were meeting underneath Whitestone at the ziggurat, with the current standing council, the War Council, of both Whitestone and this entire endeavor. You decided a couple of people to come with you, and now is your time to spend the next day or so wisely, as the army from Fort Daxio and Syngorn will be arriving at Emon by about sundown the following day. Your airship was in transit to Daxio, and has been rerouted to Emon as well. Everyone is converging to the city. What do you want to do to prepare?
LAURA: Oh god, it’s all happening!
MARISHA: Okay. They’re all going to the city.
LAURA: So, what time of day is it right now?
MATT: Right now, I’d say about mid-afternoon.
MARISHA: Are we still down by the ziggurat?
MATT: Yeah, you guys just finished your meeting at the ziggurat.
TALIESIN: I have some guns to repair, because everything broke, and many of these things cost money now.
SAM: That’s small picture. We’re big picture.
LIAM: How long is the trip, did we say? To get to Emon from here.
SAM: Instant for us.
LAURA: Well, we have to go through a tree.
SAM: Or a teleportation circle.
LIAM: Then we’re meeting with Dad?
LAURA: Yeah, he’s marching to Emon right now.
MARISHA: Are we going to have a meeting spot outside of Emon? We should probably have a plan.
TALIESIN: We should probably get close to Greyskull and see if we can enter through the tunnels.
LIAM: I think that’s our way, yeah.
SAM: Yes, but we do have to rally with your pops, and also didn’t we cut loose 55 soldiers to wander free in the desert from Daxio?
LAURA: They’re meeting the other armies.
SAM: They’re just going to form up?
LAURA: Trust in them. They’re soldiers, they’ll be able to find their way.
SAM: Right. But can we scry and figure out where this other army is? Maybe we’ll go there? Or maybe we should scry on our old keep and go there. Those seem like two good locations.
TALIESIN: I think scrying on the old keep and then letting everyone know– we don’t necessarily want everyone arriving at the same place as well, as long as there’s a coordinated movement towards the city.
LAURA: They can all start attacking and we can come in from the bottom.
SAM: Sure, but we’ve told the approaching army nothing about any plan whatsoever.
TALIESIN: We can call them if we need to.
MARISHA: So we probably want different regiments flanking the city in different areas?
TALIESIN: And then maybe the 50 men coming into the sewers to fight.
LIAM: I feel like we want to catch up with our father’s army before they’re anywhere near the walls of the city, because, well, that’d be stupid.
TALIESIN: We can go meet them if that’s the next move.
SAM: And strategize when we get there? Once we see their forces, and what they have to offer?
MARISHA: Percy, do you still have that map of Emon?
TALIESIN: Yes, somewhere.
LAURA: We should probably talk to Gilmore as well, and let him know that he has to fucking join us.
MARISHA: That he drew the short straw. We drew the short straw for him.
TALIESIN: We should also collect some other allies, if we’re going to head in this direction.
LAURA: Of course.
SAM: All right. Do you want to go talk to Gilmore, Vaxy-poo?
TALIESIN: We’re going to need a painter, you know a painter, we should bring a painter with us.
SAM: A painter? To paint our exploits?
TALIESIN: Yes, to paint our exploits. You have that portrait–
MARISHA: Once again, Percy, I feel like that’s small picture–
TALIESIN: Is it small potatoes? Is it really, though?
LIAM: We could find a jeweller right now. If that’s what you’re into.
SAM: I have a man at a casino that I really need to get revenge on.
TALIESIN: You might as well get it all done now, because you’re not going to be able to do it later.
MARISHA: 24 hours left alive!
LIAM: Kynan? Kynan!
SAM: All right.
TALIESIN: But no, stock up on what– again, Whitestone doesn’t necessarily have a lot for us to gather–
SAM: But we should bring any potions. How we doing on potions? Did you ever divvy up our last several potions?
LAURA: I did divvy up our last potions, I feel like it might be smart to get some more, but the only place to really buy any is Vasselheim.
SAM: Is that true?
LAURA: I mean it’s the only city still standing that we have access to immediately. We don’t have a lot of time. The thing is, I feel like people in Vasselheim said they would help us, but I don’t know how they’d get to Emon to help us in time.
SAM: I know, an airship! Oh shit, where’s our airship?
LAURA: It’s on its way.
SAM: To where?
LIAM: Emon. To Emon.
SAM: Did we say Emon, or did we say Daxio?
MATT: It was on its way to Daxio–
MARISHA: They’re redirecting to Emon.
SAM: Thank God. We’re sending it to a dragon instead of a fort on fire.
TALIESIN: It does have weaponry.
LAURA: Yeah. It’s made to take on things attacking it.
TALIESIN: It’s designed to help keep him on the ground.
MARISHA: Uh-huh, yeah, it’s a giant balloon in the air–
LAURA: It’s not a balloon, actually–
TALIESIN: Well, no, it’s a giant crystal. It’s– I know I keep saying–
MARISHA: I always think of it as a high-tech Hindenberg.
TALIESIN: I know. Please don’t say that. That’s not funny.
LIAM: That’s a metaphor for Vox Machina.
MATT: There you go. If there ever was one, yeah.
SAM: All right. Besides gathering our forces here, gathering our potions here, and telling Gilmore, where are we going? Let’s put it to a vote, as we always do, democratically. Grog?
SAM: Grog, where would you like to go? To the army waiting just outside of Emon, or to our old ratty keep with nothing in it?
TALIESIN: “I’d like to go to the–” I don’t know.
LAURA: I don’t know what he wants.
MATT: Percy’s getting a little strange off to the side.
LAURA: Wait, Travis is watching, so he can just text in, yeah. Grog is thinking about it. Grog is thinking really hard.
MATT: He considers it for a second and goes, “Whatever makes me kill things faster.”
LAURA: That’s good.
MARISHA: Wait, have we rested?
MATT: You did rest before coming here. You spent the evening in Fort Daxio.
MARISHA: And then we teleported. No, Allura brought us here.
SAM: Okay, putting it to a vote. Three choices. Ready? To your dad, to our keep, or to Vasselheim. I don’t know why, but it’s been mentioned.
MARISHA: Hang on, I can scry on our keep.
LAURA: Can’t Allura send a message to them and let them know what our plan is, and then we don’t have to actually bamf there?
SAM: We don’t have a plan!
TALIESIN: Wherever we go, we can let everyone know what the plan and where we’re going is.
LAURA: I feel like what we need to do– okay, here’s what I think our plan should be.
SAM: Lead us, O Mighty Vex.
LAURA: I feel like we should tell the armies gathering to prepare to attack. We enter in where the Clasp is; we come in from the bottom up.
SAM: So they’re going to create a diversion for us?
LAURA: Exactly. They take on the armies while we head straight to Thordak.
LIAM: Dad creates a shit-storm at the wall, and we take advantage of that chaos.
SAM: We have to communicate this to them.
TALIESIN: Easy to do. We just send a message.
LAURA: We could send a message, or we could bamf there and then bamf another place. It seems a lot of time wasted.
TALIESIN: Yeah, easier just to send a message.
MATT: Allura has been in communication and has been the information hub between most of these individuals.
LIAM: How long did we say before Syldor reaches Emon?
MATT: By about dusk the following day.
LIAM: Dusk the following day. And you said afternoon right now? So a little more than 24 hours.
TALIESIN: We can at least get into there and start communicating with the Clasp.
MARISHA: We’re not really in good standing with them.
TALIESIN: I’m sure they’ll be happy to see us, regardless.
MARISHA: You think? I guess. Sure. It’s like seeing that person you hated in high school after something terrible just happened. Happy for the familiarity.
SAM: But now they’re a little bit overweight and they work in an Applebee’s.
MARISHA: Sure, and it’s a little gratifying?
LIAM: They can hate us, and we can deal with that afterward, if there is even an afterward.
TALIESIN: They’re businessmen; I doubt they hold grudges.
LAURA: I’m sure they hold grudges.
TALIESIN: Not until after the dragon’s been taken care of.
LAURA: Then they’ll make us pay?
TALIESIN: Yes. It’s not profitable to kill us before the dragon is dead.
LIAM: Also, somewhere in all this fracas, we need you to take care of us with food.
TALIESIN: When it’s time.
LIAM: Right, when is the time?
TALIESIN: I think once we’re there.
MARISHA: It lasts for 24 hours.
LAURA: Before we head in.
LIAM: In the keep, for old time’s sake?
LAURA: I don’t think that’s very smart.
TALIESIN: Or in the sewers, for old time’s sake.
LIAM: I mean underneath.
TALIESIN: Hopefully, in the keep.
SAM: So we have a clear plan, then?
TALIESIN: We have a plan for dinner.
LIAM: There’s no guarantees, Scanlan.
SAM: Where are we going? That’s all I care about right now.
LIAM: We’re going to hell. Where do you think we’re going? It’s going to be fucking awful. You’re probably going to be dead in 48 hours.
SAM: Yeah, but we’ll be together, and I don’t think that I’ll die.
LIAM: You’re adorable.
TALIESIN: You’re going to be in front, if anything.
MARISHA: This is the worst of two extremes.
TALIESIN: You should scry on Greyskull.
MARISHA: Is anyone still there?
SAM: Last time I looked in, there was some movement, or it looked like people had recently been there.
MARISHA: Wasn’t it Drexel? Dranzel?
SAM: Nope, they’re off somewhere else.
LAURA: You said by sunset tomorrow is when they’ll be at Emon?
MATT: That’s when they’ll be there and ready.
MATT: If you want more information, you might have to talk to somebody who has that information.
LAURA: Right. What we need to do is plan a time that they start the attack.
SAM: Sure. We’ve got to get there first and suss it out, too. We haven’t done any recon. This army of your father’s, we have no idea how big it is, if they have archers, if they have an elite SWAT team task force–
TALIESIN: How do you feel that will affect our plan?
SAM: If we know we have an elite SWAT team task force, we can take them down with us into the sewers!
TALIESIN: I can almost promise you they do not have an elite SWAT team task force.
LAURA: They might have some stealthy–
TALIESIN: Some stealthy individuals.
MARISHA: We have friends of our own.
SAM: Also, if we do any recon, we might know that oh, there’s a big thing we need to have taken out before we can even get in. What if our keep is being surrounded?
MARISHA: Okay. Hang on. Let me scry on the keep. This will answer plenty of questions, and then we’ll go from there.
LAURA: Scry away, Keyleth.
MARISHA: Did we leave Laina there? Did we leave anyone there, or is it completely vacated?
LIAM: It was chaos when we left.
MATT: Yeah, it was absolute chaos. You pushed your servants through. Your staff still currently exists somewhere in Whitestone.
MARISHA: I can’t scry on a building, correct?
LIAM: We fought Vorugal and then high-tailed it out of there; inside and gone.
MARISHA: I can’t scry on a building.
TALIESIN: Can you scry on a plant?
SAM: Can you scry on a dead thing?
MARISHA: Can I scry on a plant?
TALIESIN: There is a tree.
MATT: Because you are a druid, being a nature-based entity and it is a living creature…
MATT: Don’t steal my thunder!
MARISHA: One that I’ve had personal communications with.
MATT: I would say, due to the fact that you are a druid and nature is your basis, if it is a specific plant-based entity that you are very familiar with, sure.
SAM: Do we have anything like that at our keep?
MATT: You have a number of trees in the front; you have the garden that you built in Sarenrae’s temple.
MARISHA: That’s what I want to scry on. I want to start there.
MARISHA: You know how it’s always, “you zoom in really fast, and you zoom in really fast–” Can I slow down?
MATT: It doesn’t work that way.
MARISHA: I can’t pull focus?
MATT: In theory, scrying is only supposed to show you what’s there. I narratively let a little bit of a journey happen. You can’t control the journey, sorry.
SAM: DVR it.
MARISHA: It’s the worst. Okay.
MATT: All right, so where are you doing the spell?
MATT: Where are you doing your Scry ritual?
MARISHA: Not near the ziggurat, if we’re still there.
MATT: Right, so are you guys heading back to the castle, then?
LAURA: Yeah, let’s go to the castle.
MATT: While you guys are heading back to the castle from underneath the tunnels, you are briefly headed off by a familiar dwarven fellow in robes and a crystalline staff: Elementalist Drake Thunderbrand. “By the way, before you leave, we’ve been working on a few things for you. They should “be of assistance to you. Come find me in the common room whenever you’re ready.”
SAM: Yeah, sure. Wow, fortuitous.
MARISHA: I like presents.
MATT: You head to your quarters to do the Scry spell? Okay. Your vision clarifies on dark clouds. Your vision sees a gathering of grayish mists, and you slowly transition through them to see shapes that are either extremely small or extremely distant. Your vision begins to funnel through it quickly, like you’re passing over the edge of a waterfall. There’s a rush, and you see, as the clouds dissipate, a glimpse of the overhead of Emon. You see the once-gleaming city of white across the Bladeshimmer Shoreline pockmarked with black and tall towers of curling black smoke. You see flames that still burn unfettered, unstopped throughout the town, and what looks from the distance like small clouds of gnats or flies that you realize are much larger flying entities doing small passes over various neighborhoods to keep watch or find food. Your vision jumps again, this time careening down even faster. Below, you can see, from an overhead view, Greyskull Keep. You begin to rush in that direction, and as it gets closer, you can see the same damage it took from the wall from the initial attack of the Conclave. You see elements of rubble around the outside, though it’s still pristine, being repaired by the celestial entity that was summoned by Pike shortly after. Your vision jumps again, this time through the repaired stained-glass exterior of the temple of Sarenrae, and it comes to rest there in a moment, amongst the strangely contrasting, peaceful greenery of this temple. There’s such a sense of hopelessness and horror on the outside of the city, this one little moment of time here is almost like a time capsule of how things were before. It’s sad, but hopeful at the same time. As your vision swivels over to the tree, there in the temple, while contained here for as long as it’s been, it seems to be healthy. Looking in the vicinity, most everything seems in place.
MARISHA: Do the trees look overgrown? Do the plants look overgrown?
MATT: As much as being away for the handful of months that you have been. They look like they haven’t been trimmed or tended to recently.
MARISHA: And the temple is intact? It looks like the keep is still intact from where we rebuilt it?
MATT: Correct. It has not fallen.
MARISHA: Do I sense any movement?
MATT: Make a perception check with disadvantage through your Scry spell.
TALIESIN: No, I can’t help. Yeah, no.
MARISHA: I rolled two ones. Both ones. I’ll say that’s just flushing it out.
MATT: Strangely, somehow through a Scry spell, something got in your eye in the temple.
MARISHA: I hate it when the VR goggles short out.
MATT: You don’t know if it’s divine energy interference or what, but it stings a lot, and you feel the essence of the spell begin to shiver and quake, and as you try and clear your vision through, it remains blurred.
MATT: You’re still there; your presence is there, but you don’t have the capability of seeing anything beyond the tree you’re focused on. The Scry spell is focused on the tree, and everything around it has this hazy fog-of-war feel about five feet beyond it.
SAM: Good scry.
MARISHA: Good scry, guys. Good scry.
LAURA: What did you see? Anything good? Are we safe?
MARISHA: It’s still standing, for the most part. I saw Pike’s– wait, her celestial being wasn’t still there.
MATT: No, it was temporarily summoned for the reconstruction of the ceiling portion.
MARISHA: Looks okay. Looks like home.
LIAM: Still standing? There wasn’t anybody around it?
MARISHA: I couldn’t tell.
SAM: How’s my comic book collection? Is it still there?
TALIESIN: Mint in box.
LIAM: That’s as close to a guarantee as we’re going to get.
MARISHA: I told you to get a fire box.
LAURA: Do you think Drake would join us?
SAM: Who? Little guy? I’d like to be the shortest on this trip, please.
LAURA: Got it.
LIAM: You are.
MARISHA: Where’s Kash?
LAURA: And Zahra?
MARISHA: Kash was really mad at us last time we talked to him.
LAURA: So maybe we shouldn’t ask him.
TALIESIN: Let’s not.
MARISHA: I talked to him last time.
LAURA: I don’t even want Kash to come. I don’t even want him around.
SAM: When we walk near his residence, let’s walk around.
LIAM: That guy is a badass motherfucker, and we do want him.
SAM: I know why you want him to come.
LIAM: Well, he’s got those brown eyes.
LAURA: No, he’s got one brown eye and one blue eye, I think.
TALIESIN: We are this loopy because we’re genuinely terrified, and we’re doing everything we can not to go.
LIAM: It’s called gallows humor.
LAURA: I’m going to go ask Zahra if she’ll join us. Can I go talk to Zahra?
LIAM: I’ll go find Shaun, after her.
MARISHA: You guys are forcing me into going and talking to Kash, aren’t you?
LAURA: Scanlan can ask him. It doesn’t have to be you.
SAM: Would you prefer me to go? We do have a rapport.
LAURA: I do want to ask Jarett to come too, though.
SAM: Oh, I need to go see Jarett.
SAM: You’re on Kash duty, Kiki.
LIAM: Scanlan, do you need a little resolve for this fight?
SAM: I just want to see Jarett. He’s our most solid ally, and most dependable friend.
LIAM: There’s no other reason?
SAM: He’s been there for us in our time of need.
LIAM: Still no other reason?
SAM: I feel like it would be a big pick-me-up to see him.
LIAM: Solid. You do that.
TALIESIN: I’m going to talk to Cassandra about one last dip into the vaults to see if there’s any potions. We know we have to leave them with something in case everything goes wrong, but anything we can take with us will be helpful, and then I have to fix this giant mess of parts that are currently in my bag. I may need to spend a little money. I do apologize.
TALIESIN: Okay, just letting you know. It might be a bit expensive to get everything working again.
LIAM: Percy, spend it all.
TALIESIN: I will not spend it all. I promise.
LAURA: I gave an entire bag of jewels to a random efreet.
TALIESIN: That was brazen, yes.
MARISHA: We got armor out of it, though. It’s not like we didn’t get something from it.
TALIESIN: If anyone asks about the plan, the plan is chaos, if everyone agrees with this. We want to break up their forces as much as possible. We want them sending ten percent of their forces to every edge of the city. They know where we’re going; they know we’re eventually heading to the center, and he’s not going to leave anymore, but we’re going to make it very difficult for them. They’re either going to be fighting us in every corner, or they’re going to be letting the entire city fall back to us.
LAURA: I’m going to go find Zahra.
SAM: Splitting the party five ways.
MARISHA: I go find Kash.
MATT: Okay. Vex, as you progress up to the secondary floor to the outside of Zahra’s room, the door is closed.
LAURA: Zahra, dear?
MATT: Zahra, you hear a knock at your door.
MARY: What is it, darling? I’m trying to sleep.
SAM: This is where the live studio audience is supposed to applaud.
MARISHA: You had one job, pit crew.
TALIESIN: You had five jobs–
MATT: You had 12 jobs, pit crew.
MARY: Anything in my eyes?
LAURA: Not much time to sleep, I’m afraid.
MARY: Unfortunately, I’ve been buried in books.
LAURA: Yes, and plans are moving ahead much faster than we anticipated.
MARY: First off, I heard word about a white dragon. Sister killer!
MARY: Yes, we have to go get tattoos. Tell me, what’s the news? Catch me up.
LAURA: We’re marching on Emon tomorrow.
MARY: Oh! I was going to get my hair done. All right.
LAURA: That’s how it is. All the way.
MARY: I haven’t heard much. I’ve been reading, I’ve been decorating, and I’ve been enchanting and making things. Tell me, what’s the news with Thordak?
LAURA: Well, he’s terrible. He’s even worse than we thought. Armies are marching on the city, and we plan on coming in from underneath, maybe striking at him where he doesn’t realize. And we’d like your help, if you’re willing.
MARY: I don’t think so. Oh, all right. Yes, I’d love to. I would love to. I’ve been craving dragon meat since Rimefang, so yes.
LAURA: I don’t know if we’ll succeed, and I’m sure we won’t all make it out alive. It’s a big ask.
MARY: (sighs) Isn’t death supposed to be a wonderful adventure, as well?
LAURA: I think so.
MARY: Fuck it.
LAURA: Fuck it.
MARY: Fuck it. Durr ‘n’ durr. Fuck it. Let’s do it. Yeah, all right. I’ve been sitting for too long; I need some action.
LAURA: Did you make any dragon arrows?
MARISHA: Buy her a drink first.
MARY: I’ll get back to you on it.
LAURA: I plan on it. So many drinks.
MARY: What next? What do we do?
LAURA: We prepare tonight, and we leave tomorrow, I assume. You know us; we don’t have a plan, really. I have no idea what’s going on. Be prepared.
MARY: Isn’t that the secret to adulthood, that we’re all winging it? Yes, all right. Good.
LAURA: I’m glad you’re joining.
MARY: Darling, I’m with you wherever you go.
MATT: With your recently joined into your crusade tiefling ally, you go to gather the rest of your party. Who’s going to Kashaw?
TALIESIN: Kiki, what are you doing?
MATT: You take a long, slow, careful walk down through town to the guard barracks.
MARISHA: I try not to step on any cracks in the sidewalk on the way. It’s very important.
MATT: It’s a warmer and more humid day than you’re used to in Whitestone. A couple of insects are out and about. There’s a lot of aspects of Whitestone that you’re noticing for the first time, because you really want to focus on anything else, and yet suddenly, without warning, you stop and realize you’re standing right outside of the barracks. You see that recently there had been a finished training session with the up-and-coming guard, and there, sitting off to the side, partially armored and currently sharpening the edge of his spear, is Kashaw.
MARISHA: He’s on the outside? Oh shit.
MATT: And he’s watching you.
SAM: Ladies and gentlemen.
(cheering and applause)
MARISHA: I drop to one knee and start tying my boot. I start retying my shoe.
WILL: You’re five feet from me. Am I not supposed to see that?
MARISHA: Oh my god! Kash! Whoa, I didn’t see you there.
WILL: Really? Interesting. It was the looking at me that threw me.
MARISHA: Sorry, I’ve had something in my eye ever since this scrying spell earlier. Shit’s been blurry. Yeah, no. You’re clearly in focus now.
MARISHA: Hi. Hey, how’s it going, man?
WILL: Everything’s been great. Life’s been awesome. What can I help you with?
MARISHA: Okay, Kash, I’m sensing a little bit of underlying aggression.
WILL: Really? It’s underlying?
MARISHA: Okay, look. I know we fucked you. Look.
WILL: Why don’t you send me out to get some milk and go save the world while I’m out there doing that? What’s up there, lady? What? What do you want? Speak!
MARISHA: (stammers) I’m trying to think of what to say. Please help us! We’re going to die, and we need you. I’m sorry!
WILL: I’ve got nothing to that. Help you what, first of all.
MARISHA: Okay, you know how we’ve been hunting down those dragons?
WILL: I vaguely remember it, yes.
MARISHA: We’ve been doing an okay job, because we’ve killed a few, but now there’s the big one that’s left, Thordak, and then we might be working with the one that killed all my people, if you remember that there was one that killed them, so now we’re working with her, and we’re gathering an entire army, and we need as many talented and charming and gifted people that we can get, so I thought– I’m really sorry we made you be an errand boy. I didn’t vote for that, by the way. I was trying to–
WILL: Keep babbling. This is fun.
LAURA: I’m sweating for her.
SAM: This is just how the Patrick Rothfuss conversation went.
MARY: This is how it’s going to go with you and Jarett.
WILL: Why should I help you? Give me one reason.
MARISHA: Why did you bring back Vex?
WILL: Because I thought Vax would kill me if I didn’t.
MARISHA: Maybe Vax will kill you if you don’t help us.
WILL: Now I’m not really that scared of him.
MARISHA: That’s not true. You did it because you’re a good person. You ultimately want to see change in the world. I know you do. And I know you care, even though you pretend like you don’t. So that’s why.
WILL: In all fairness, dragons bring change.
MARISHA: Kash, that’s not the type of change– there are better ways to bring change than through death and destruction.
WILL: Who else is helping you?
MARISHA: Everyone, and then Zahra.
WILL: Z? I’m in. Where is she?
WILL: Let’s go. Where is she?
MARISHA: Should have led with that. All right, let’s go. This way. Glad I spilled my soul and everything, and I just splashed coffee in my face. Come on, Kash. Come on!
WILL: On my way. Let’s go.
MATT: All right, as you gather your implements of war and your supplies you may need for this journey, you two head back to the castle, a nice, solid six feet between you as you walk.
WILL: I’m hitting the wall constantly over here.
LAURA: I can’t scooch any more!
LIAM: You don’t have any guests over there.
MARY: We got it!
WILL: You comfortable over there?
MARY: You got enough room, Sam?
TALIESIN: We’re working on getting a bigger cup.
MARY: There’s no swiveling.
SAM: I’m going to give a seat just to my cup, because we have the space here to do it.
LAURA: We’re turning into one person.
MARY: The twinsies will finally be conjoined.
MATT: Scanlan, you are off looking for Jarett. Go ahead and make an investigation check.
SAM: 18. 28.
MATT: 28. All right. You know exactly the type of people that he talks to. Because he’s been put in this position of power within the guard hierarchy here in Whitestone, within the Pale Guard, there’s really only three people that he hangs with. One of them’s Kashaw. One of them’s a guy who you never remember the name of, who’s fun. That’s the guy you’re going to go bother. You go and talk to him for a bit, and he points to one of the few currently functioning, non-destroyed taverns in Whitestone. There you find him sitting there drinking alone; not heavy drinking, in his cups, but staring off at the wall and sipping a midday ale.
SAM: Friend Jarett.
MATT: “Ah. It is good to see you alive and– right. Hi.”
SAM: Just coming to check on my main man J-money. It’s J, right?
MATT: “It is, yes. Otherwise, it would be Garett.”
SAM: You’re right.
MATT: “I’m good. I’m a little nervous, to be honest. I like to shoot things from a wall. I don’t like to go through a wall to shoot things, and that’s been happening a lot recently, and from what I’ve been hearing, tomorrow is looking to be a very big day.”
SAM: Well, it’s going to be quite a fight. Can we count on you to come with us, perhaps?
MATT: “I’d assume that would be the case. I would not want to have all of you disappear into darkness and fire without me yelling behind you, 'don’t die!’ I figure that’s the very least I could offer for this circumstance.”
SAM: We would be honored to have you with us, and as you are still technically our employee, there’ll be a bonus for you at the end of it.
MATT: “Another bonus?”
SAM: Oh. Yes. I wasn’t aware there was a– yes. Two bonuses.
MATT: “Oh yeah, there was like four bonuses.”
SAM: You deserve all of them.
MATT: “Damn right.”
SAM: The other thing that we had talked about, did that ever come to fruition?
MATT: “No, it was unfortunate. You see, my sister is engaged recently–” And he stands up and walks out of the tavern, putting a coin down on the front of the bar. “No worries. I’ll find you another lady.” And he walks outside.
SAM: Oh. Oh, we’re speaking in code. Okay. Yes, I need a lady so bad, and you were going to find me a date.
MATT: “You’re so much better at this when other people are involved. Why are you so bad when it’s me?”
MATT: He goes outside and guides you into a shaded portion of a nearby alley and leans against the wall, waiting for you to follow in.
SAM: So. Is she a brunette?
MATT: “We’re out of the tavern.”
SAM: Okay. I don’t know how long to keep the cover going.
MATT: “It’s fine. Look, it is very difficult to find anything right now, the way things have been. But I did manage to scavenge a little bit of suude.”
MATT: “Yes.” And he pulls out a small brown pouch, maybe about the size of a d20, really. Like a little nugget there, and it’s tied tightly, and he pockets real fast. “Now, don’t ask me again to do this.”
SAM: Wait, are you a cop? You have to tell me if you’re a cop. Are you a cop?
SAM: Okay, good.
TALIESIN: That’s a myth, for the kids at home, by the way. Just want to get that out there. Sorry. Can’t fill their heads with bad ideas. Carry on.
WILL: Kids arrested all over town tonight.
TALIESIN: Are you a cop? No?
SAM: All right. How much do I owe you for this?
MATT: “No, don’t worry about it. Simply the bonus. Whatever you feel you owe me for it. But not again, please. It’s harrowing.”
MATT: “Harrowing. It was harrowing to acquire this for you.”
SAM: Jarett, thank you for this. Thank you very much. And I’m cool and all, but do you put it up your butt, or snort it, or do you burn it somehow, or wrap it in something, or eat it? I’m pretty cool, but–
MATT: He leans in really close, one eye half-squinted, going, “I will never understand you, Scanlan Shorthalt. You’re a smart boy. How do you think you use it?”
SAM: In a pipe of some sort?
MATT: “Sure.” And he walks out of the alleyway, really embarrassed that he even did this. The minute you said that, he was like, oh no, I just bought beer for a 12-year-old. He’s like, ooh.
TALIESIN: I’d like to think that “ha!” was passing that guy coming out of the pub, and getting a second–
SAM: All right, when you get her number, call me or whatever, so we’ll meet her later.
MATT: He walks away and puts his hand up with a– and keeps walking. You can almost see the hanging head shake as he continues back towards where he was in the tavern.
SAM: That went well.
TALIESIN: That went very well.
SAM: I got that.
TALIESIN: You did that.
SAM: I did it.
MATT: (laughs) Mark down one small pocket satchel of suude. S-U-U-D-E.
LIAM: That’s for after the dragon.
LAURA: It’s his own drugs. He’s made his own drugs up.
TALIESIN: Here you go. Right there.
MARY: He made drugs?
LAURA: Well, Matt made drugs.
TALIESIN: Put a glove on if you’re going to get high if you hold it for too long.
MATT: There is a society out there. People are going to continue to find ways to smoke, swallow, or inhale substances.
WILL: Definitely not a cop.
MATT: Definitely not.
WILL: Definitely not a cop.
MARY: Sometimes you ride the dragon before you kill it.
WILL: (laughs) Exactly.
TALIESIN: Got to ride the dragon before you ride the dragon.
MARISHA: That’s right.
MARY: You’ve got to ride the dragon before you kill it.
WILL: That’s right.
MARY: It’s going to be great to watch Scanlan take drugs.
MATT: How do you think herbalists of previous generations found out which plants are poisonous? Huh? That’s bad.
MATT: It’s culture, man. All right, Percy, we need to make some checks for you.
TALIESIN: Actually, do I have to check even if I’m spending money?
MATT: You’re spending money to fix it, but–
LAURA: How much money are you spending?
TALIESIN: How much do we have? Sorry, I’ll stop.
LAURA: You tell me what you need.
TALIESIN: We’ll find out.
MARISHA: You’re the prince of Whitestone. Can’t you tap some taxes or something?
MATT: You could, actually.
TALIESIN: I really try not to do that. That’s a dick move. People are already iffy on these things, I imagine.
LIAM: Spend everything right now.
TALIESIN: Wow! That made five decisions and landed on a really good one. That’s 28.
MATT: Okay, yeah. This is for Bad News?
TALIESIN: Yeah, Bad News is the only one that is broken. The rest survived.
MATT: Yeah, that’s fine. For Bad News, the original cost I have here… sorry, have to pull up the PDF to remind me, so I get it right.
LIAM: Two electrum.
MATT: (laughs) I’d put it about at maybe 500 gold worth of materials.
TALIESIN: Oh! Okay. Feel better about that.
MATT: It’s not a magical implement, but it is expensive.
TALIESIN: It is. It’s got a lot of moving parts. And then I’m going to go and talk to Cassandra, quickly.
MATT: All right. As you make your way to try and find Cassandra, she is actually currently in her room talking with Allura. Talking with Gilmore, with Brom and Drake. There’s guards rushing in and out. There’s a general sense of ramping energy, as everyone is gathering everything they have at their disposal in preparation for what’s going to happen tomorrow.
MARY: Where’s Raishan?
MATT: (laughs) You can go look for Raishan, if you like.
MARY: No, I just wanted to know.
MATT: You don’t know where Raishan is right now. As you enter the room, over in the corner, mid-conversation, Cassandra is currently rolling up some papers and handing them to a guard. Turns and finishes a quick bit of conversation whispering off to the side with Drake. Turns around and her eyes meet you and she goes, “Brother.”
TALIESIN: My lady.
MATT: “Yes. What can I do to help you?”
TALIESIN: We’re preparing to leave. We are preparing to have a small strike force go underneath the city and do what we can while the other armies hopefully distract, thin the forces and give us a shot at taking care of this once and for all.
TALIESIN: Is there anything left in the vaults, potion-wise? Especially healing potions. We don’t want to drain you, obviously, but I thought I would make one last push.
MATT: “We’ve provided what we can. Drake, and a few of our helpful supporters here in the city have been providing for this purpose. It’s not much, but we do have–” and she snaps her fingers and points to Drake. You see he’s currently putting together a big leather package. “Oh! No worry.” And he lifts it up on the table. You hear the clanking of glass around on the inside of the satchel. He pulls it down a little bit over the front, pushes to the side and you can see there are two cushioned racks that contain various sizes of vials. “All right, we’ve got three greater healing potions, one basic healing potion. That’s as much as we can find, to be honest right now. There hasn’t been a lot of trade, and our supply’s been limited, and most of what we had has been used by you or folks here in defense of the city.”
LAURA: You said one basic?
MATT: “One basic. Yeah, regular healing potion. However, I’ve spent my time, knowing what’s coming, and being a focuser of the elemental arts, brewing a few helpful bits here. I wish I had more time, but our timeline has been a bit accelerated.” He pulls out the second cushioned grouping here. The vials are different shapes. It seems like the glass has been scavenged from what was available, but the coloration is similar, and you recognize these. You’ve had these before. These are four potions of fire resistance.
SAM: That’s huge.
LAURA: That’s great.
MARISHA: That’s massive.
TALIESIN: We will be grateful for you till the end of our days.
MATT: “Oh, I count on it.”
TALIESIN: It may only be a day, but you will have it.
MATT: “Just remembered for these in particular, they don’t last a terribly long time. One hour. Make sure you don’t drink it too soon.”
TALIESIN: One hour will be all that is necessary.
MATT: “I certainly hope so. So. That’s what I am able to provide for this. I’ll be there helping with some of the distraction, so we’ll figure out some of the details for the specific attack, but we’re pulling all that we can for this, and we’ll figure out who’s going where, who’s attacking when and in what way, I guess, if not tonight, tomorrow.” And he looks over to Cassandra and nods. “I’m going to go pray.” He leaves the room.
LAURA: Can I ask a question?
LAURA: With potions, do they stack? Can you take multiple ones and get multiple benefits, or is it like you take one potion and that’s the one potion you get to take?
MATT: I mean, if they’re different types of potions, I’d say they could stack, to a certain degree. If you just begin to chug four potions in a row I might be asking for some constitution saving throws.
TALIESIN: Or like a mixed drink, that can get weird, right?
MATT: Yeah. Things might not–
MARY: Long island ice tea of death.
MATT: Yeah, exactly. Some effects might not mingle well or the urge from your body might reject that much ingestion of enchanted fluid.
LAURA: Okay. Cool. Just checking.
MARISHA: Don’t mix your darks with your clears– Pick one.
MATT: Don’t eat the giant toenail at the bottom of the bottle.
TALIESIN: Water breathing before fire, never been higher.
TALIESIN: Exactly. I think that was the– Yeah.
MATT: Anything else?
TALIESIN: I’d like to just grab Cassandra really quickly and take her aside.
MATT: Okay. “Yes, brother?”
TALIESIN: I will only take one moment of your time. I’ve not had a moment to repay you for my part in all of this yet, and if we survive, I owe you much. And if I don’t, seal off the city. There is room underneath. Prepare for siege. Prepare to be a safe haven. Do not be– do what you can to save the city. Do not get involved in the aftermath of this if we fail.
MATT: “That’s actually what I’m discussing with Allura, and the reason she’s staying back is to help us continue should such an occasion arise. But I am confident, knowing what you’re capable of, that we worry for naught. We’re doing our best here, and I know you are doing your best there. Just come back to me.”
TALIESIN: I will do my best. We’ve– for centuries, you must know we have survived as realists. And it is very hot down there and I do not like it. Good luck, see you soon.
MATT: “I need you. Return.”
TALIESIN: I shall. And I go pack.
MATT: Okay. As you leave, Vax crosses you in the doorway, as Gilmore is in mid-conversation. Right now with– well, it was with Drake and then when he’d had the conversation, he watched and Drake left and so he was on his way out following Percival. And you caught him.
LIAM: Can I steal you for a second?
LIAM: Over here.
MATT: “All right.”
LIAM: Hi, again.
LIAM: Remember how we just saw each other a couple of days ago, and I tried to say goodbye, and you told me to promise you that I would see you again?
MATT: “Yes. And much to my delight, you’ve kept your promise. And you better keep keeping it.”
LIAM: You know what would help with that? Boy, have I got an offer for you. You want to help us save the world? My family and I, we’re going to him. And I wasn’t sure the path that would take us there. I thought we might be on our own. But we’re back here. And you are easily the most impressive arcane user I’ve ever met in my life. And I want us all to still be breathing in a week. I can’t think of anyone better to stand with us than you, Shaun.
MATT: His eyes look off for a minute. And he reaches up and rubs the back of his neck, and you can see there’s still a scar there. He goes, “If I’m to be honest, I’ve felt a bit useless here in Whitestone for quite some time. I was there when this all began. It destroyed not just the thing I’ve been working to build for so long of my life, but friends, home, for all of us. So it is my just honor, and vengeful glee, to join you on the siege to Emon, if you will have me?”
LIAM: I grasp him by the back of the head. Gesundheit. I’m so glad to have you with us, friend. So glad.
MATT: “Just stay alive. Keep that promise.”
LIAM: It will be a little bit easier now.
MATT: “Good.” And he smacks you on the cheek.
LIAM: Good time for a musical quote.
ALL: (singing) Stay alive.
MATT: He smacks you on the cheek and goes, “Learned that from you. All right then, I guess I’ve got to gather my supplies and– Oh, it’s been a while since I’ve seen some– I’ve never actually seen combat on this scale before when, you know, I wasn’t just trying to run away? So let’s see if I can knock off the old dust.”
LIAM: I’m sure it will be glorious.
MATT: “Oh, I can guarantee it.”
MATT: “All right.”
LIAM: Let’s do it.
LAURA: I’m wondering if we should eat a Heroes’ Feast tonight, and then just eat one again tomorrow? 'Cause we just don’t know what’s going to happen during the day anymore. Just a Heroes’ Feast every night. Be ready, and just, you know.
SAM: Yep. Do we have the money for that?
LAURA: It’s, yeah. We’re fine.
SAM: All right.
TALIESIN: I was looking forward to a Heroes’ Brunch, personally.
LAURA: Either one.
SAM: Bagels and lox?
MATT: Heroes’ High Tea.
MARY: Eggs Benedict with lots of extra hollandaise.
TALIESIN: Capers of might.
MATT: What else do you guys wish to prepare, if anything?
LIAM: Holy shit, man!
LAURA: We have our potions. Should we split them up?
SAM: Who needs fire giant, I mean fire resistance, the most?
LAURA: Okay. We have five potions of fire resistance.
SAM: We do?
LAURA: Yes, because we already had one. Now, we have two superior, five regular healing, and three greater. What we also have is a potion of invulnerability, which is clutch, and a potion of speed. We need to decide who to give the potion of invulnerability to, because it lasts for ten minutes?
MATT: No, one minute. I’m pretty sure, I’ll check, but that’s a powerful-ass potion.
LAURA: You can’t die, right, when you take it?
MATT: You wish!
LAURA: I mean, can you take damage when you’ve got it going? It’s like a minute of no damage?
MATT: You take damage, you have resistance to all damage, so all damage you take is halved.
MARY: Should that be decided mid-battle? Clutch.
SAM: That one seems like a specific task.
LAURA: That’s a specific task kind of thing. So we’ll decide that later?
TALIESIN: There is an item. And I’m currently holding it, and I don’t know if I’m the best person to be holding this. But I’m just going to pass this down the line to see if anyone has an opinion.
MARISHA: It’s the sword.
LIAM: This is too bad, I can’t wield this fucker.
LAURA: I can’t wield a sword either.
TALIESIN: It’s a dex-based sword, correct?
MATT: The Sword of Dragon-Slaying?
TALIESIN: Yeah. Or it can switch.
MATT: I’m allowing it to switch if need be.
TALIESIN: So it can be strength- or dex-based. Maybe this is the thing to hand to Grog. And one minute of invulnerability with that is possibly the cruellest thing that dragon will have ever experienced.
LAURA: The thing is, if he’s raging, I don’t know if he’ll think to switch over.
TALIESIN: Well, it’s an attuned weapon.
MATT: He isn’t resistant to fire while he’s raging.
MARISHA: No, but he has resistance to physical damage, and if he takes a potion of fire resistance, is he pretty much covered the same way if he’s raging and has a fire potion?
LIAM: I could use this because it’s dex-based, if I so choose?
LAURA: But you can’t do three attacks with it, because it’s bigger?
MATT: Well, yeah. You would have one attack with that.
LIAM: One attack, but not– I can’t do longsword and then a dagger?
MATT: You could do longsword and then a bonus.
LAURA: That’s pretty cool.
MATT: Let me check, I don’t know if he can do them all.
LAURA: Could he do Whisper and then attack with the dragon sword?
TALIESIN: I don’t know how many items you have attuned at the moment?
WILL: Just two, I believe.
TALIESIN: So you could go for a triple?
WILL: I could. Well, I have my shadow spear. But my nec, so you’d want the nec damage from that, is what you’d be looking for. I don’t know if I could wield the two of them together?
TALIESIN: It’s a one-handed sword, so I’m not sure. What is your–
MATT: It has to be a light melee weapon in both hands, it looks to do this, unless you have a feat to fix that.
TALIESIN: Which I do.
MATT: You have the– Do you have Dual Wielder as a feat?
MATT: Yeah, so yes, you can use the longsword and Whisper in the other hand.
LIAM: But it’s attunement, so I have to choose something.
MATT: You’d have to chose that over–
LIAM: This would supersede Whisper. Yeah.
LAURA: What? Whisper is a Vestige.
LIAM: I understand that, but this is very strong, and with wings I could go anywhere.
MATT: Do note. As part of the rogue ability– I’m just double-checking here, but I’m pretty sure– The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon. Technically I’m allowing– Actually, no, I’m allowing it to be a finesse.
LIAM: You’re allowing it? You’re allowing it?
MATT: Well, because it’s strength or dex. I’m sticking to my choice.
LIAM: Okay. So it’s light.
MATT: It’s not light. It’s finesse. Meaning you can choose strength or dexterity.
MARY: I have a question. Last time I saw you, you were looking for the Vestiges.
MARY: Did you find them?
LAURA: All of them! All of them! Well, all of them that we know about.
MARY: Do you know what to do with them?
SAM: They are all super powerful, and are awesome, and you’ll see them in battle tomorrow.
LAURA: That’s all we know, is that you fight with them. That’s all we know. Why, do you know more?
MARY: Is there any information we can glean from Osysa at all, in Vasselheim, of how to use them?
LAURA: Well, it would mean traveling to Vasselheim.
MARY: That’s true. Is there any way to get there, just quick and bamf in and just–
TALIESIN: Last time we went somewhere quick and bamfed in–
MARY: It was a long time?
TALIESIN: Things went poorly. But we could speak to her. We could talk to her.
LAURA: One of us could go and bamf back. And be back tomorrow morning.
WILL: Well, you said you used them.
MARISHA: Yeah, we’ve been using them
WILL: So then you know what they do, for the most part, right?
WILL: Why waste a trip?
MARY: What if there’s a way to combine them?
MARISHA: We tried. We put them all in a pile…
WILL: That didn’t work? Piling them on top of each other didn’t work?
SAM: They didn’t become a robot.
LAURA: Not as much as we hoped it would, no.
MARISHA: Yeah. There are other Vestiges, too, that are out there.
LIAM: You have a potion of haste, yeah?
LAURA: Yeah, potion of speed.
LIAM: What if you gave me that and I gave you my boots?
SAM: Real quick, who needs the fire protection?
MARY: I don’t; I’m resistant.
MARISHA: If we have plenty of potions, I’ll take it so I don’t have to use a concentration spell.
TALIESIN: Ditto. My plan is to stay away from the fire, but if I can’t, that would certainly help.
WILL: My plate is partially fire resistant.
SAM: Vex? You don’t need it.
LAURA: Fire resistance?
SAM: Didn’t I give you that? Oh, I gave you cold resistance.
LAURA: Yeah. I need fire resistance.
SAM: What did you give me?
SAM: Acid resistance.
LAURA: Oh, yeah, that’s right.
MARY: Sorry. I was just in Australia. I got it from a koala. I’m kidding.
LAURA: I could take off my bracers–
LIAM: It’s up to you. I don’t want to–
MARISHA: There’s also the discussion–
SAM: What. More discussions?
LIAM: You take the boots, I’m on the potion. I have Whisper and this sword.
MARISHA: Are we going to try and lure Thordak out of his lair as a challenger?
SAM: No, we’re going to sneak into his lair, right?
WILL: You’re going to corner it.
TALIESIN: He’s not going to leave his lair anymore; he knows we’re coming
MARY: So, just very briefly, what is the plan?
SAM: The plan, as I understated it, is: we send a vicious army to attack at the gates, all over the place, drawing out Thordak’s forces in an epic battle. Blood, sinew, and gore everywhere, while we slip under the city, unbeknownst to Thordak, in the tunnels with the Clasp leading us. Leading us right to the center of town where we pop up, and surprise Thordak! He didn’t know we were coming! He thought that there was an army at the gates! And we stab him real quick and leave.
LAURA: Done. And we also find whatever it is he’s protecting and kill that too.
SAM: And at some point Raishan comes and helps us.
LAURA: Hey! What’s up?
WILL: How you doing?
LAURA: I’m really sorry. About all of that.
WILL: No, it’s no problem. It’s great.
MARY: I have a question. Do I know about the machine? Have I been told about that? Did Raishan tell me about that?
MATT: Which one?
MARY: The machine that Thordak is building, or whatever the heck he’s–
MATT: Thordak, as far as you know, has let nobody down there, Raishan included. And you have no idea what machinations Thordak is–
MARY: But I do know about it.
MATT: I mean, you know as much as they do. It’s come up in conversation previously, yes.
WILL: And you said we’re going into the tunnels? Does anyone know the way through the tunnels?
SAM: The Clasp does. They’re an order of rogues and thieves who hate us. But they’re going to help us.
MARY: Do you trust them?
SAM: We totally trust them because they are scoundrels and liars. And we have no other choice.
TALIESIN: It doesn’t serve them to lie to us.
MARY: This sounds like a wonderful plan!
WILL: It doesn’t serve the scoundrels and liars to lie and be scoundrels?
TALIESIN: It doesn’t serve them in this moment, no. You know, if you’re always a liar and a scoundrel, then no one will ever trust you to do anything, they’re only conveniently liars and scoundrels.
WILL: I love this plan, this is great.
SAM: (laughs) It’s pretty air-tight.
WILL: Yeah. I don’t see any room for problems. So you want to go in and corner the dragon where he lives and is most powerful–
SAM: Yes, yes!
WILL: His back to the wall, and no escape–
SAM: He can escape at any moment, he can fly.
WILL: Just us, though? Not the entire army which we are using as a diversion?
SAM: Just a partial group. Yes!
WILL: But the scoundrels are going to lead us to him?
TALIESIN: Well, he has his own army.
WILL: Of course.
TALIESIN: So we need to keep his army distracted so we’re not fighting a dragon and an army. So those armies will hopefully either distract the armies or; if he chooses not to send the armies to fight the rest of the armies that we’ve brought, all of our armies also converge on the dragon’s nest and then we have everybody there.
WILL: You’re engaging all of your forces in one play? If he holds his forces back, why not send in skirmishes to see what happens first?
LAURA: Oh, I like this plan. He’s good.
TALIESIN: No, we have people that we can do for that. Although, it’s not just one army we have. We have groups of them, technically. I was just–
WILL: Attacking in one place?
TALIESIN: Oh, no. All around the city.
WILL: Is there a weak point?
SAM: Our plan.
TALIESIN: Don’t you laugh! No! No! You don’t get to laugh. That scares us. Sadly, the only weak point is–
LIAM: We either go with the shitty hand we’ve been given, or we lie down and let him steamroll over us.
MARISHA: Yes, but we can also try and formulate at least a vague plan, so that we all don’t die within a single–
TALIESIN: I think this is a vague plan so that we don’t all die.
MARISHA: All right, okay. Let’s build off of what Kash has.
TALIESIN: If it’s too specific, then it’s going to go wrong too quickly–
MARISHA: Hang on, hang on. He’s right.
MARY: Plus we don’t know what to expect. We have to be ready for anything.
WILL: We feint the city. Send skirmishes in to feint the city so they don’t know where the main attack is coming from. They’ll have to defend every wall. What you then do– what you want them doing, because they’re defending the wall, they won’t know when the serious attack is coming from. Then you send them towards one fortified position. That would draw everybody to the one fortified position, but that’s also a feint. And you come in the backdoor. That’s always the way you do it. Meanwhile, we’ll take the scoundrels and liars. And hopefully they’re going to take us to corner the giant thing that wants to kill all of us, in the place where he is the most powerful.
LAURA: Yeah, that one!
TALIESIN: I’m actually very okay with this plan.
SAM: We should have him with us always!
MARY: I totally agree.
LAURA: Do it! Let’s do that, let’s do that!
WILL: Let’s do that! Okay! Great plan! Oh my god! Who’s in charge? Who’s leading your ground forces?
SAM: We have no leader. Except we do have a secret weapon: we have a dragon who definitely wants something that we don’t know about. Who might or might not be working with us.
LAURA: We also have another secret weapon!
MARISHA: We have two dragons.
SAM: We have a sword that is a dragon-slaying sword.
LIAM and MARISHA: A whole other dragon.
WILL: We should just kill each other now and just save the trouble. We got to plan something!
LAURA: Scanlan, you do remember the flute, right?
SAM: Yeah, I carry it with me always. I use it all the time.
LAURA: I wonder how long it’ll take? To bamf over when we play the flute? Is it instantaneous or is it like, it takes a day?
SAM: We’ll never know.
LAURA: We’ll find out.
SAM: I’ll be dead long before it works.
TALIESIN: Six months later, “Where is everybody?”
MARISHA: I told you we were going to die if we didn’t have you.
WILL: No, you’re going to die even with me! But I’m going to be the guy going, “Hey, we could have planned this better!”
MARISHA: Right, yeah.
MARY: I think you’ve given them a really good plan.
LAURA: Yeah, no, that’s great! Let’s do that!
TALIESIN: There is no situation that anyone is going to come up with where we’re looking good, and this is going to work well. There’s just– there’s a dragon in the middle of the city with an evil army and we have to deal with it, and there’s just no positive way to deal with that.
MARY: Are we taking Raishan with us?
SAM: Raishan, I feel like she’s going to meet us there.
MARISHA: It just seems so highly defeatist to already plan for– you know, defeat.
TALIESIN: It’s not planning for defeat. It’s recognizing that no matter what, ten minutes into it, everything that we thought we knew is going to be wrong anyway.
WILL: At least tell me you’re not going to send all your forces in at the same time. You’re saving a reserve.
LAURA: Of course.
MARISHA: Okay. Then we need to talk about the forces that are going in. More armies are talented than others.
SAM: We’re not sending them all in?
TALIESIN: No, we’re not. We are going to surround the city.
WILL: I need one supreme general who’s going to be in charge of everything. Who stays back as we’re attacking.
LAURA: Daxio is going to do that.
MARY: All right.
WILL: And the men trust him?
LAURA: Yes. He’s the leader of the army.
TALIESIN: He’s all right.
MARISHA: Then we need to get this plan to him.
LAURA: Yeah, we need to talk to him.
TALIESIN: We have communications.
MARISHA: So we’re going to have waves of assault from one position, have other people flank in from another position–
WILL: And you’re attacking a fortified city?
TALIESIN: Fortified-ish. Well, the hope is actually– also we have the 50 men from Fort Daxio. We can bring them in underground as well, and just have them pop up–
LAURA: And open the gates?
TALIESIN: –all sorts of places. Also open the gates.
WILL: So you could bring forces with us to come up in the middle of the city?
WILL: That’s good. We should have talked about that in the beginning.
SAM: I also think there’s a SWAT team that’s available to us.
TALIESIN: He thinks there’s a SWAT team.
WILL: You should– you should talk less.
SAM: Smile more?
TALIESIN: I think you smile just the right amount.
MARY: I use my Awakened Mind to speak to Kash telepathically. You can’t respond out loud, so don’t. You know how I feel about Raishan. You know what I’ve experienced with her. Keep an eye on her. Don’t trust her. If you see anything while we’re out there, you let me know and we’ll take her out. All right, darling?
SAM: Kash, why are you drooling and staring off into space?
WILL: Was– was I drooling?
SAM: Oh, just a little.
WILL: That’s my bad, I’m sorry.
LAURA: You were talking so much a second ago, and–
WILL: I was thinking about how I can’t wait to die tomorrow. Yeah.
SAM: Well, why don’t we finalize this plan tomorrow when we meet with the general who will be– what, commanding half the forces?
MARISHA: I think we need to meet with the general, like, tonight.
SAM: Okay. Let’s go.
MARISHA: Right now.
TALIESIN: Meet or telepathically communicate?
LAURA: I think we should send a message through Allura. She can just scribble a note and send it to him.
TALIESIN: Also that way, he’ll have less time, less effort defying us.
SAM: Why– why not go talk to him?
MARISHA: Yeah. I feel like you can’t really scribble an elaborate battle plan in a 25-word message.
TALIESIN: It’s not written down, it’s all telepathic conversation.
MARISHA: But the Message spell that Allura is using only allows for very minimal conversation. It’s not exactly– She can’t have a full-blown conversation with them.
MATT: It’s a long-distance Twitter.
MARISHA: Yeah. A hundred percent.
SAM: Let’s go to him.
LAURA: All right, let’s go. Right now. I still think we should eat a Heroes’ Feast before we go. Just in case.
SAM: When Vex wants to spend money, I’m in agreement.
LAURA: What’s the difference, really? Just to be prepared.
MARISHA: Well, it blows a spell.
LAURA: But the day is almost up. It will protect us all day tomorrow.
MARISHA: What time is it?
MATT: After this much conversation, it’s getting closer to sunset, probably an hour after–
SAM: Oi, Pike! Can you do a Heroes Feast for us?
SAM: Thanks, Pike!
MATT: “No problem!”
MARY: You’re so tiny, I didn’t even see you.
MATT: Yeah, she then goes ahead and casts Heroes’ Feast. Same cost. Same cost as– It also cost her 6th-level spell slot. Which I’ll mark.
LAURA: You don’t have to, we have party funds for this, dear.
MATT: All right. So Heroes’ Feast has been summoned for you guys.
LAURA: Did you just give me 800? I’m just pocketing your 800, and I’m putting it in the party gold. So thank you.
LIAM: It’s the same thing.
MATT: So you guys are going to speak to Allura, then?
SAM: No. We’re doing a Heroes’ Feast.
WILL: I was told there was brunch.
MARY: I was promised brunch!
MARISHA: Do we know exactly where the Syngorn army is? How far away from–
MATT: That, you would have to talk to Allura about. She’s acting as the information nexus for everyone. It takes an hour. You all have to sit and devour the meal for an hour, for 12 people.
MATT: For your party, your two allies there, and Gilmore, and Jarett, Drake, anybody else you want to bring along. And as you guys, for the next 24 hours–
LAURA: And Trinket.
SAM: Do you need it?
WILL: Wait. That was you at the beginning?
MATT: Kima– you’d have to choose between Kima or Jarett.
TALIESIN: Or Kima or Trinket.
LAURA: We have to choose between Kima and Jarett to come? Or to eat?
MATT: To eat. You only have up to 12 people for the meal.
MARISHA: Kima. She’s in the fray.
TALIESIN: Yeah. He can stay back, he has a crossbow.
MATT: All righty, so, that being the case, gonna roll 2d10 to see how much everyone’s maximum hit points increases.
SAM: Oh, we don’t need to do Grog.
LAURA: Yeah, we do.
SAM: He’s not here.
MATT: That’s a really good roll. That’s an eight and a nine. So there you go. All of you gain 17 additional max hit points for the next 24 hours.
MARISHA: Wow, that’s awesome.
MATT: That’s actually really, really good. So keep a note on that.
LAURA: And then we’re immune to fear and poison, right?
MATT: And you’re immune to poison and the poisoned condition.
SAM: And we have advantage on wisdom saving throws.
MATT: All right, I’m marking this here.
WILL: I feel so much healthier. And the bacon is great. Fresh lox.
LAURA: I’m so hungry now!
MARY: Hollandaise wasn’t that blender stuff, it was the real thing.
MATT: All right, so you finish your meal. You summon Allura, she comes and enters the room. She looks a little frazzled, a little sleepless, but she’s keeping it together. “All right, what do you require?”
MARISHA: We were curious if you knew the location of the Syngorn army?
MATT: “Yes, we’ve been keeping in contact. They look to be arriving about early afternoon tomorrow, at a far enough distance from Emon. Their illusionists have been keeping a blanket in front of the army to dissuade any visibility and giving away their position in advance.”
LAURA: Oh, that’s so comforting.
WILL: You have numbers?
MATT: “They are at– let’s see here, they’re at 2,000 troops.”
LAURA: Okay. All right.
MATT: “Give or take, and–”
MARISHA: Do you know the status of the other armies?
MATT: “Well, that is the Syngorian force and the three Daxio– the Dusk regiment, the Tide regiment– The Dusk, the Gale, and the Tide regiments with the Syngorian forces.”
LIAM: And all together is 2,000?
MATT: “Yes. A little over 2,000.”
WILL: Are they all foot?
MATT: “They are all foot, yes. Unfortunately, with the time given, and the transition to and from the Feywild, there was an inability to bring with them most of their beasts of burden and horses. Many of them were left to scatter shortly after the Conclave’s attack.”
SAM: Is there an elite SWAT team task force?
MATT: “I believe that’s– there is one, and they are called Vox Machina.”
MARY: I’ve heard of them.
WILL: Are there shields?
MATT: “They do have shields.”
WILL: How big?
MATT: “Uh, depends on the regiments. I mean–”
WILL: Can we form a phalanx, is my question.
MATT: “I– Yes, that is–”
LIAM: He has been training military in Whitestone.
MATT: “Specifically the Tide regiment is a frontline shield phalanx.”
WILL: And how big is it?
MATT: “I don’t actually have numbers on that. You’d have to talk to Mikael on that. The Warmaster.”
WILL: And they’re going to be attacking a fortified location?
MATT: “Yes, the outer walls of Emon are guarded by a wall. The wall has sustained damage through the Conclave’s initial attack and there has not been, as far as I know, intent to rebuild, or at least a force to be able to since then.”
LAURA: So if we could get in, talk to the Clasp, and have them find a way to open the gates, it would help the armies.
WILL: Well, that’s the thing, is you’d have to hold the gate once it’s open. That’s gonna be the hardest part. But 50 men could easily do that.
LAURA: Plus the Clasp, which hopefully will be willing to fight.
SAM: Hey, where’s our stone golem?
TALIESIN: Far away.
SAM: He’s gone.
WILL: How many– do we know the numbers that are inside the city?
MATT: “Not specifically. As far as the lizardfolk army– from what we’ve heard from Asum, from Brom, from Raishan, the estimates are somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to nine thousand, and at least five to six hundred wyverns that are–”
WILL: So we don’t control the air?
MATT: “Not on a wide scale, no.”
TALIESIN: We have a single battleship.
WILL: We’re attacking a fortified location with no siege engines, outnumbered three to one.
TALIESIN: Their fortified location also does not have siege engines, just air force.
MARISHA: Their air force is also giant wyvern beasts.
MATT: “Now, understand, lizardfolk are not the most hearty, the most well-trained. They’re a chaotic force at best and even the bit of unification they’ve had under Thordak’s banner is thin. You’ve already had luck cutting down a few of their main sources of tactics; I believe the general that you slew outside of Daxio was one of their main organisers. That’s a big blow to their tactic brigade. Who knows who else is in cahoots with Thordak since he took power, but we’ve been, in previous encounters, chipping away at their capabilities. Thordak also does have under his command a number of fire giants that he brought with him from the Fire Plane. However, you also slew their general.”
WILL: Are they superstitious?
MATT: “Not to my knowledge, no.”
WILL: Any type of religion; a devil figure in their religion?
MATT: “There are. They exist among many various devils.”
WILL: I’m wondering if we have the illusionist drop the shield when the army gets there and create an illusion of one of their giant beasts that they’re afraid of on one side of the wall. Scatter fear among all of them.
TALIESIN: It could work. The big fear there of course is that they work for a creature they already fear quite a bit.
LAURA: I think Thordak might be scarier than any of their gods at this point.
WILL: Thordak will be busy, hopefully. We want to move them away from the gate so that the 50 men can come up through the city and hold the gate.
TALIESIN: I think a carrot would be easier than a stick. I think it would be better to find a force for them to rush toward, than to find something for them rush away from.
MARISHA: Do we know how many spellcasters are in the Syngorn army?
MATT: “I do not have those numbers, unfortunately.”
WILL: That could be interesting.
TALIESIN: More carrot, less stick.
WILL: You might not even need to see the soldiers, just the dust rising from their boots.
MARY: And the horses charging, if you can make that kind of illusion.
MARISHA: We need to figure out how many spellcasters.
MATT: “That would be a conversation with the Warmaster.”
MARISHA: They can throw down long-range, large, covering spells.
SAM: Let’s go talk to the Warmaster.
LAURA: Well we don’t know where they’ll be exactly until tomorrow.
MATT: “Have that conversation at the ready.”
MARISHA: All right, hang on, how about this? We know that they’re to arrive in Emon by the afternoon. We can just try to connect with them in the early morning and march in with them, then split when we get closer to the gates.
TALIESIN: And then meet the 50 men at Greyskull Keep.
WILL: Do we have access to anything that goes boom?
TALIESIN: A little bit. Do I have anything possibly still leftover at Greyskull, any of my supplies?
MATT: You do have a small cache of blackpowder at your disposal. It’s about a cask.
TALIESIN: I make it myself, half the time.
WILL: A cask in the right place against an already damaged wall could punch a hole.
TALIESIN: It could.
WILL: And if we’re underneath, and the foundation is already weakened, we’d be trapped but the army could get inside.
TALIESIN: Do you still have that siege arrow or is that gone now?
LAURA: I do, I have a siege arrow. And Grog does extra damage against buildings and walls.
MATT: “Yes I do!” (boom) slams his fists together, and as they hit you hear what sounds like a very localized sound of a rockslide. Just like (boom).
TALIESIN: So we do have a siege arrow which will basically do the damage of– It’s a wall-shatterer. It’s designed to bring down stone.
LAURA: So it damages stone, specifically? The siege arrow?
MATT: Yes. It damages anything that is liable to siege.
WILL: And it can be fired by anybody?
TALIESIN: Yes, but it is weirdly weighted and she’s probably the one you want firing it.
LAURA: I’m a really good archer.
WILL: I remember, when I brought you back from the dead.
LAURA: Yeah, oh my god thank you so much.
WILL: You’re welcome, not a problem.
MARY: What am I, chopped liver? I get nothing? I think it was both of us, I believe.
WILL: That could be interesting, though.
TALIESIN: Yes it could. I’d forgotten about that.
WILL: Well because what they’ll be expecting is for 50 men to come in and hold the gate. What if holding the gate is actually a distraction? And then we punch a hole through the wall and go in the back door.
LAURA: Yes. I like it.
WILL: But we’re going to be in the tunnel, we’re working about the top right now.
MARY: But if we can scatter their forces front and back, we’ll have the center to come in underneath, and that way if they figure it out they’ll have to come from either side.
WILL: The 50 men holding the wall, the chances of any of them getting out are slim, but they’re going to know that going in.
LAURA: These guys are legit!
SAM: We are the worst people.
LAURA: Apparently! Which is terrible. It really, really is.
WILL: It’s the end of the world, they know what’s happened.
MARY: You’ve been dealing with dragons, we’ve been thinking about it.
MARISHA: I’m still concerned we don’t have enough air support for the 500 wyverns.
MARY: I think we might have to let that go.
MATT: Allura chimes in and goes, “As far as I understand, that’s part of the reason you’re bringing the mages with you.”
MARISHA: Yes, well I’m thinking–
TALIESIN: Ground to air.
WILL: How big is the airship?
MARISHA: I wasn’t wanting to necessarily tap into this resource unless necessary, but I think it’s necessary. I can contact the Air Ashari and have them specifically on air support.
LIAM: And they can get themselves here quick, like you?
LAURA: They can go through trees, instant!
TALIESIN: It can hold two dozen people on that ship, right?
LAURA: We need all of the Ashari.
TALIESIN: It’s about three cannonade?
MARY: Is there anyone that could put an illusion on the airship to make it seem like another dragon?
SAM: I could put a slight illusion on it but it’d be pretty easy–
WILL: I’m just wondering if there’s a way to draw their air force to the airship and then blow it up?
LIAM: We also supposedly have a green dragon as an ally.
SAM: Oh yeah!
LAURA: I fucking forgot the Ravenites said they would help us, too! I just remembered.
SAM: Well, we sent word to them, didn’t we? Didn’t we send word to everybody?
MATT: You sent word to a few specific entities, not the Ravenites.
LAURA: How long would it take?
TALIESIN: Vox Machina, swearing that they’re going to call you back for four years.
LAURA: Fuck. Are they too far?
MATT: They’re like a continent away.
WILL: Wait, you can bring in air force?
MARISHA: I can contact my father at the Air Ashari.
SAM: Do that. We also need to contact Gilmore.
WILL: If you control the air, you control the battle.
MATT: “Gilmore is accompanying you, and I believe Kima is going to come along as well”.
TALIESIN: We also have your friend.
MATT: “The airship we don’t know quite exactly where it is and when it will arrive. I don’t know if we can count on it being there by the time you make this assault, but they’re going there as soon as they can.”
TALIESIN: It has cannonade as well and it is designed to hold sieges in the air, so it will keep many of them busy, and they’re not that bright.
WILL: If it’s not coming though, you can’t count it among them.
TALIESIN: We can’t count on anything.That would be–
MARISHA: Can you message Korren?
MATT: “I’ve not met Korren.”
MARISHA: Oh, shit.
MATT: “If you could take me to him–”
MARISHA: Uh-huh. Yeah, right. Yes. Because we’re not leaving until the morning now. Sure, yeah. Oh man (gasps) who wants to go see my hometown, you guys?
SAM: (dubious noise)
MARISHA: Okay. You know what? I wasn’t looking at you, Scanlan. Okay. I can show you where I went to school!
MARY: Keyleth, we need to get back here as soon as possible.
WILL: You went to school?
LIAM: That was catty.
TALIESIN: We were like back in school suddenly, that was great!
WILL: I formally apologize.
TALIESIN: That went so John Hughes, so quickly.
LAURA: Are we expecting you back tonight?
MARY: And the rest of us can rest, yes?
MATT: “Rest and prepare for everything you can, for tomorrow this happens.”
TALIESIN: I swear if you’re aerating wine under there I’m going to be so upset.
WILL: I just saw it out of the corner, it was great!
MATT: All you had to do was ask, I’m working toward getting the break, buddy!
SAM: (sigh) Feels so much better!
MARY: Before we go to bed, I would like to talk to Vex very quickly.
MATT: As you guys are going to prepare to make your way to the Air Ashari, Zahra pulls you aside.
MARY: I have major concerns about Raishan. I don’t know that we can trust her, I just want you to keep your eyes on her. While you were gone, I tried as hard as I could to glean anything from her, and the closer I thought I got– I found out that I knew nothing about her. And she knows everything about me.
LAURA: She knows everything about all of us, dear.
MARY: Don’t trust her.
LAURA: Not even for a minute.
MARY: Don’t trust her. If it comes to it, I’ll go down taking her out.
LAURA: I’d rather you didn’t.
MARY: So would I.
LAURA: I have to do it, I have to insight check Zahra to make sure she’s really Zahra!
SAM: Oh shit.
MATT: Make an insight check.
LIAM: No that’s good. That’s good.
LAURA: I love you.
LIAM: Pretty good.
TALIESIN: I can also say there’s an easy way to do this–
MATT: Turn that way real fast.
TALIESIN: Just go downstairs.
SAM: (in surfer accent) Hey guys, don’t forget: December’s theme is “revolution!” Featuring items from Assassin’s Creed, Mr. Robot, Firefly and more! Don’t forget to go to lootcrate.com/criticalrole, and enter 'critical role’ for 10% off, my bruh!
MATT: That’s the worst use of Seeming I’ve ever seen!
MATT: All righty.
LAURA: When did you even speak to her?
MARY: While you were gone. You know I’ve been spending time– she’s been down in the ziggurat.
MARY: So I’ve seen her. I’ve seen her form, as I guess you have as well.
MARY: After Rimefang, I sort of became obsessed with dragons.
LAURA: I know the feeling. (laughs)
MARY: Yes, it’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it? But I also know that she was part of it, and the minute a dragon says 'trust me’ is the minute you don’t.
LAURA: Especially her.
MARY: Especially her. So while you were gone, I tried. I tried to find out as much about Thordak as I could.
LAURA: Just know that we don’t trust her.
MARY: All right.
LAURA: I don’t even know if she’s really sick.
MARY: I actually believe her in that respect. But Thordak is the only one that can cure her, and if that’s the case– if she believes that– then we are nothing. We are expendable to her the minute she sees Thordak. That’s the carrot that he has put in front of her, is that 'I will heal you’, and he hasn’t done it yet. I don’t think he will.
LAURA: I don’t think he really can.
MARY: If he does, we’re fucked. That’s all.
LAURA: You’re not alone in this, at least.
MARY: Good. That’s good.
LAURA: She’s not our friend.
MARY: She can be persuasive. Thank you, darling.
MATT: You separate for the evening to gather your mind, gather your supplies and prepare for the coming battle. While the rest of you find yourselves resting for the evening, Keyleth and Vax find yourselves walking towards the Sun Tree to make your journey.
MARISHA: Is Allura coming with us, too?
MATT: If you want to ask her to come with you.
MARISHA: I thought she was.
MATT: I’m sorry, yeah.
MARISHA: She doesn’t have to.
MATT: You’re right, no, she goes with you.
MARISHA: Okay, come on, Allura, let’s go!
MATT: “Of course! Certainly.”
MARISHA: It’s great, we have these really great crepes that we make. It’s like our hometown special.
MATT: “If there’s time, I would love to have some. Don’t know if we’ll have time.”
MARISHA: Okay, okay!
MATT: So you all walk your way down to the Sun Tree. You open the portal. Immediately on the opposite side you see– as it is nighttime in this part of Exandria’s hemisphere– what looks to be a beautiful, simple village made of curved wood, almost dome-type structures, but not huts, there’s no thatch. They’re really well-crafted, long, intricate strips of wood like it’s been grown to a specific shape. It creates these interesting domiciles that are all built, you see beyond that, on the edge of a sheer cliff, and the minute you step through the wind hits you. There is a strong wind immediately on the outside of this tree, and you feel your cloak being blown to the side. You look over behind the tree that you just stepped out of, and it’s another cliff that vanishes into darkness below. The Air Ashari village of Zephrah lies at the very top of this mountain range. For a brief second, you get vertigo, glancing over your shoulder. Keyleth steps through with a big smile on her face. You see Allura step through, and as soon as she sees this happen she clasps and keeps her hair down, not wanting to be like you right now with your hair (blowing) in the wind. You take a few steps toward the village. Probably close to 100 homes at most, built into the mountainside. It goes up into a hill with trees that surround the outskirts of it. You see small lights that are lit throughout so it has this firefly feel glimmering through. As soon as you step maybe ten or 15 feet from the tree, the wind just stops.
LIAM: What happened to the wind?
MARISHA: I mean, we’re Air Ashari, we don’t have to live in a hellscape our whole lives! Come on, we control it, it’s great! (sighs) Doesn’t it smell good? It smells so fresh up here, you know? You don’t have to deal with the pollution down there. Oh look! Over there, that’s where I learned to shapeshift into a squirrel for the first time–
MATT: “Keyleth? Keyleth. We’re here on business–”
MARISHA: Yeah no, then let’s start walking!
MATT: “Please lead on.”
MARISHA: Okay, yeah. And over there was the first time that my dad taught me how to fly. He just pushed me off the cliff–!
LIAM: I have my hand on her back and I just start–
MATT: (laughing) Pushing her forward? You eventually make your way back. There are a number of trees that are grown through some of the buildings, or buildings are built around them, or from them. It’s a very beautiful, simple, natural-looking series of structures that are all so smooth in their design that it was obviously bent with some druidic magic to craft this space. Currently there is nobody you see visible walking through the city, most everything is closed off for the night. The little lantern-like lights you saw before are coming from the inside of these buildings.
MARISHA: It’s a quiet mountain town, everything closes at like five, it was actually annoying growing up.
MARY: You live in South Pointe?
LIAM: That explains so much.
MARISHA: I told you it was remote!
MATT: I want both of you to roll a perception check.
MARISHA: 14 total.
MATT: Okay. As she’s talking and you guys are walking, you notice a little dark spot, just covering past the stars, arcing quickly in your direction.
LIAM: I spin her around and tilt her head back. What’s that? Do you know what that is? Is that normal?
MARISHA: Do I know what that is, is that normal?
MATT: Once you see it, you recognize the trajectory of it. This is a person rocketing toward you.
MARISHA: Oh, that’s a person!
MARISHA: No really, is this normal?
MATT: It’s normal for you, because this is a person riding a skysail.
MARISHA: Oh, it is normal for me? Oh, like a–? Yeah!
MATT: As the person swoops up and then lands– it’s a sort of glider. It resembles a pogo stick in the fact that feet are placed on top of it, and elements are grasped on the side. It’s a large, leather-winged structure that immediately folds up and is held like a staff to the side.
LIAM: Whoa, that’s nifty! Hi!
MATT: Standing before you is Korren, your father.
MATT: He looks surprised. He lands in a very aggressive, coming-to-see-what’s-going-on-type way, and as soon as he looks, “Keyleth! I wasn’t expecting–”
MARISHA: Hi! Village looks great! I see you guys have been keeping up with the landscaping, this is awesome. Hi, how are you?
MATT: He hugs you, but it’s a tense hug and he pats your shoulder. “We’re good. I–”
MARISHA: What’s wrong?
MATT: “Well, things as they are, I know you’re probably here for not a passing visit. Am I correct in this assumption?”
MARISHA: I mean, I guess you could say it was going to be passing in that we don’t have a lot of time. We’re here to ask for help, for the Air Ashari’s aid.
MATT: “We were waiting for specific word based on our last conversation. We have ways of finding information about what’s going on in the world, with the armies that have been mounting making their way towards Emon we’ve been keeping a watch on the gathering energy toward the west coast of Tal'dorei. We were preparing ourselves. So if you’ve come to ask for our aid, we’re ready.”
MARISHA: Why do I sense trepidation in your voice?
MATT: “Because we know what we face. Because my daughter is going to war against something that we watched tear through the countryside not long after you were born. I’m just concerned as a parent. That is all.”
MARISHA: You sent me on this path to prove myself worthy and a hero. I’m following what I thought you wanted of me.
MATT: “You are, and I’m proud of you. I just want to do what I can to help safeguard that.”
MARISHA: I will continue my duties as I promised from the beginning.
MATT: “Of course”.
MARISHA: As those supersede being your daughter.
MATT: “Of course.”
MARISHA: And I am here for unfortunate reasons, and I wish I wasn’t. We need the best. We need as many of the top soldiers that we have. I’m looking at you, at my people, for air support. There’s about five, maybe six hundred, maybe even more wyverns covering the city. So far we don’t have a lot of options.
MATT: “We know wyverns well, that’s the good news. We can probably facilitate this request.”
MARISHA: I was hoping maybe some of the best nature manipulators could create a hazardous storm ahead of time? See what we can do to take out as much in bulk.
MATT: “We can do that. Yeah.”
SAM: (whispering) She went to school.
MARISHA: I know, I got educated!
MATT: “We can do that. When is this set to happen?”
MARISHA: Tomorrow afternoon.
MATT: “All right, we’ll get our conjurers together and begin building a storm front. We’ll send it mid-day tomorrow. Then what sign should we look for to enter the fray?”
MARISHA: Oh shit.
SAM: Just anything.
LIAM: A flare, we have flares. Kiki, we have flares.
MARISHA: We have flares.
MATT: “Very well.”
MARISHA: We’re spitballing this as we go, dad. So we can work on a sign together, right?
MATT: “Sure, I mean, if we’re creating a sky of rain and darkness, just make the sky itself a sign.”
MARISHA: I can do that.
MATT: “All right. Something I’d know, something I’d recognize.”
MATT: “We’ll go in there and tear as many of those wyverns as we can to the ground.”
LIAM: You’re not alone, there is an army of elves marching as we speak.
MARISHA: The Syngorn army.
MATT: “We’ve seen them traversing. Their illusions are strong but their illusions are faced towards the city. We have the luxury of knowing their magic. So, yes.”
MARISHA: With all due respect, if you have seen through their illusion, does that mean– I’m sure many of Thordak’s spies could do the same?
MATT: “It depends on who he has on his side. I hope that’s not the case.”
MARISHA: Yeah, me too. Are you going to come as well?
MATT: “I do not wish to live in a world where the dangers that continue to press upon the free peoples of this or any land draws my daughter to the front lines to fight, kill, and possibly die, and I stay back and do nothing. So yes, I will be there.”
MARISHA What about Zephrah? What about the village? Who is going to watch it while you’re gone?
MATT: “We have enough to spare for this and protect our people. Besides, as you well know, the protections in this village prevent wayward fliers.”
MARISHA: Okay. This is Vax, by the way.
MATT: “We’ve met.”
MARISHA: Yeah, you have.
MATT: “Good to see you.”
MARISHA: He came with me. So–? Yeah. See you tomorrow, I guess?
MATT: “See you tomorrow.”
LIAM: A great many people are grateful for your aid, as am I.
MATT: “And I’m grateful for yours.”
LIAM: You’re a good man.
MATT: “Prove to me you’re one as well.”
TALIESIN: Cleaning the shotgun.
MATT: “But we have a lot to plan, I’m sure you do as well.”
MATT: “Good night.” He pulls you in and kisses you on the forehead, and gives you a long look.
MARISHA: I just give him a big hug in response.
MATT: He holds you there for a second, then looks back over at you as he’s holding her.
LIAM: I just nod my head.
MARISHA: I miss you, Dad.
MATT: “I miss you, too. When all this is done, do you still intend to finish your Aramente? Do it quickly. Come back to us, please. You’re missed.”
MARISHA: You have my word. I won’t let you down.
MATT: “I know. Anyway.” He slams on the ground and the leather flares out into arcing-looking fingers, and he steps on.
MARISHA: Are these the new models? They’ve really upgraded them.
MATT: “No, you’ve just been gone for a while.”
MARISHA: Have I been gone that long?
MATT: “You’ve been gone a while.”
MARISHA: Well, they look great!
MATT: “Thank you.”
MARISHA: Okay, all right, okay, bye.
MATT: “Good night.” As the wind picks up under him, the skysail begins to lift and glide off. He heads back toward the village.
LIAM: That is fucking cool. We should get out of here.
MARISHA: Yeah, we should.
MATT: “Yes, I believe we should. Well, it was nice to meet him.”
MARISHA: Yeah, that’s right. Sorry, I should have introduced you, I guess.
MATT: “I was waiting.”
MATT: “As are the expected pleasantries of diplomacy. But it seems you had it all taken care of, so it’s fine.”
MARISHA: Sorry, I got distracted by talking to you as my father and not as Allura!
LIAM: It was so weird though, you were standing directly behind him.
MATT: “It’s all right, don’t worry, it is a bit cold, if we could get back please?” She’s rubbing her shoulders and arms a bit.
MARISHA: That was my dad, let’s go.
MATT: All right, you guys head back, exiting out the Sun Tree, making your way back.
LIAM: I catch her by the arm. I can’t wait to come back. Let’s go!
MARISHA: When we come back, I’ll have to show you the first time I–
LIAM: Let’s go! Let’s go, please!
MATT: You make your way back to castle Whitestone, preparing your materials, your weapons, your minds and your disposition for the coming war tomorrow.
TALIESIN: I have a quick thing!
SAM: Shit, Taliesin, shit!
TALIESIN: I knock on Vex’s door. I have a bag, and I go to Vex’s door and knock on her door.
LAURA: Hello, who is it?
SAM: It’s a bag of dicks.
TALIESIN: You’re terrible. It’s me, I have something to show you.
LAURA: (faux surprise) Percy?
TALIESIN: No, I’m an evil green dragon, let me in.
LAURA: Are you here for our later talk?
TALIESIN: No this is a very– open the door, I have something to show you.
LAURA: Fine. I open the door completely naked!
LAURA: What was it, dear?
MARISHA: (laughs) It’s a power play, I love it!
TALIESIN: I don’t remember but it was mostly to head in this direction. Can I come in?
LAURA: Sure, of course! Would you like to talk before, or after?
TALIESIN: I open the bag.
TALIESIN: I pull out the first bottle. This is called Dire Heart. I pull out the second one. This we simply call Courage. I pull out the third one. And this is a snow mead. And this is Green Tear Whiskey.
LIAM: Drink the Courage one now.
TALIESIN: We’re going to start with the Courage and not talk about dragons. And I run in and shut the door. You just stepped on the whole thing, didn’t you?
MATT: That was beautiful!
MARY: I can’t wait for the artwork!
TALIESIN: I will be expecting labels for all of them.
LIAM: You can’t always be in control, Percy.
TALIESIN: No, I can’t. It’s beautiful.
MARY: Not when Vex is around.
MATT: Awesome. While you guys rest, most of you rest for the evening, we’re going to go ahead and take a restroom break. We’ll be back here in a few minutes to continue the story. Stick around for the break for a wonderful video message from Patrick Rothfuss about the Worldbuilders charity that we’re supporting. Information will be coming up here shortly. See you in a bit!
MATT: And welcome back, everyone, to Critical Role, as we come back from the break. We will have a winner from the chat room giveaway from our friends at Wyrmwood. We are giving away an awesome English Wych Elm Burl Personal Dice Tray winner if you guys were in chat. It’s actually, this is really cool. If I pull it out of the box there. It’s got a leather interior, it’s awesome. And it goes to Jaanro.
MATT: So we’ll get that to you very soon. Go ahead and make sure to contact some of the crew here, or the mods, and get your information to get this out to you ASAP, so congratulations. And thank you once again, Wyrmwood, for making this possible.
MARISHA: And by ASAP we mean as soon as we get out the other 20 packages we need to get out and then you’re in the queue! Welcome to being in line.
TALIESIN: It’s like the kickstarter you didn’t sign up for. It’s coming!
MARISHA: I didn’t want this.
MATT: All right! So, coming back into our game. Get my music situated here. [very loud music] Oh my, volume! So, as you all slowly come to consciousnesses the following morning, well-rested for the most part. You gather your supplies, you prepare whatever else you prepared before, making your way to the coming battle. So, what do you guys want to do?
SAM: Go to the coming battle?
MATT: All right, if you have all your things situated, you wait throughout the day, anxiously, eating your meal, looking to–
LIAM: Why is the music so–
MATT: The music is intense here.
LIAM: Is he here now?
SAM: I attack Zahra!
MARY: I use Witch Bolt on Scanlan!
TALIESIN: It’s like that random Final Fantasy encounter just happened and you’re like, I only got ten feet.
MARISHA: I just got out of the shop. Just got out.
MARY: And in that moment, we fall in love.
WILL: If it’s the final fantasy, why are there 14 of them?
MARISHA: Every J-RPG.
MATT: We’re fixing the audio.
(loud wind instruments)
MATT: I don’t think this is mine, either.
SAM: Is this just a radio station that we’re picking up?
WILL: You’re listening to the sounds of Whitestone.
MARY: On WNBC radio!
WILL: This is dragon radio. Giving a shout-out to the Conclave, Vox Machina…
MATT: Okay. I think we’re at my tracks. Okay. Thank you for your patience. I need my music. It’s just a thing; I need to have it there. I can’t focus and dungeon master if I forget the music. What? So, thank you, guys. Pushing through the day, working through the antsiness of the coming conflict. Allura, communicating back and forth, gets word that the forces have gathered, temporarily set up camp to arm themselves and prepare for the battle once sundown hits. Warmaster Mikael Daxio is awaiting your arrival.
LAURA: I have a question. I have a question. I’m going to attune the Boots of Haste that I took from my brother just now.
LIAM: That your brother gave to you.
LAURA: That my brother gave to me. And if I un-attune my Coldsnap Armor, do I just lose the cold resistance?
MATT: And any sort of armor bonus that it gave you. I mean, you would still have the armor. Like, if it’s leather armor, it would give you a bonus of two to your AC. But if it’s a plus two armor, you would lose the plus two on top of the actual armor.
LAURA: That’s a big drop. I’m going to take my bracers off, then.
MATT: Okay, so you’re doing two less damage per attack.
LIAM: That’s smarter. That’s wise.
MARY: I’m going to attune my Charred Dark Staff.
MATT: All right. Good.
MARISHA: And I’m going to go ahead and attune to my cape, instead of my ring.
LIAM: I’m attuning the dragon sword, and I want to use it a little bit just so I don’t get pantsed in the moment. Does it work all right; am I all right with this? It’s awfully large.
MATT: It’s bigger than what you’re used to.
WILL: Do you want to spar?
MATT: But even still–
TALIESIN: It won’t do a bonus to him. He’s not a dragon.
LIAM: I mean, I’d like to, but do we have time?
MATT: You could give it a shot.
LIAM: Yeah, sure.
MATT: All right, so the two of you square off briefly out in the streets just outside of the guard barracks.
LAURA: I whisper in my brother’s ear.
LAURA: Just be careful because– What? What?
LIAM: Nothing. What were you going to say?
LAURA: Be careful; I think he has a grudge against you.
LIAM: For what?
LAURA: Just go. You’ll be great.
WILL: Am I fighting you or your sister?
LIAM: It’s really the same thing, at all times.
MARY: I use Awakened Mind and I say, Kash, go easy on him.
LAURA: (laughs) Oh, shit.
WILL: We’re going easy. I just want to make sure that you and your blade are one before you go into battle. It’s a bad time to find out you don’t know how to use it.
LIAM: I poke him in the knee with my sword.
MATT: Roll an attack.
LIAM: That is– Is this a sneak attack?
LIAM: No, it’s just 28.
MATT: All right, so yeah. So, as you say that, he smiles, and before you even notice, you hear a ping! and you feel a slight vibration into your lower pauldron, and you look down and the sword has not hurt you, but it has definitely pierced the plates behind the armor and he’s showing, he’s posturing that he already has availability with the blade between your armor.
LIAM: I jump back five feet.
WILL: I Flame Strike! No, I’m kidding.
WILL: Just jump right to it.
MATT: “Where’s Vox Machina?” “Well, um. They killed each other. It’s weird.”
So as you both stand there, in a moment, squaring off, the tension still in the city from the coming event, but people are starting to look out and gather. They’re having a “Morpheus is fighting Neo” moment as people are starting to pull others from nearby buildings, and gather in a small circle around.
MARISHA: Yeah, I go up to Vex, and go: why– Why is this happening? Is this happening for, like, a– Did they tell you– Did they tell you the reason?
LAURA: They’re fighting over you, darling. They’re fighting over you.
MARISHA: I can tell– I’ve been with you for a long time. I can tell when you’re lying to me.
LAURA: They both professed their love and now they’re fighting.
MARISHA: Now you’re patronizing me.
LIAM: (calls) We’re really not that far away! Are we going to do this? You ready?
WILL: I’m ready when you are.
MATT: Who’s making the first move?
LIAM: Me. Are we doing initiative or attacks? I don’t even know what this is?
MATT: The initiative was whoever said “me” first, so.
MARISHA: I didn’t know how badly I wanted this until now.
TALIESIN: Boy, I did.
LIAM: Oh, man, what are we fighting to? Here we go. So that is the first and that is– I’m going to use Luck.
MARISHA: You’re about to fight a fucking dragon! You’re fighting Kash!
MATT: You do realize– You only have– You’re spending your Luck for–
LIAM: I spent it already. Just so we’re clear, everybody– I’m going to switch back to Liam– This is a game! This is a game. Which camera’s on me? This is a game!
WILL: Your fun is wrong.
MARY: Your fun is very wrong.
LIAM: So it’s an 18.
MATT: An 18. What’s your armor class? With your shield?
WILL: My armor class is 20.
MATT: As you go to strike with the sword–
LIAM: That’s the first one.
MATT: Yes. With your sword. And so now you’re attacking with your–?
LIAM: Natural 20, with Whisper.
MATT: With Whisper, okay. All right. So, as he swings with the sword, with your shield you deflect it off to the side and you’re about to bring your spear through for your own strike. However, he’s suddenly much closer than you expected, and you feel the blade shirk the side of the armor. So for the purposes of this, we’re not rolling damage because it’s to spar–
LIAM: Thank you.
MATT: But the blade hits and pokes just enough where you know that’s maybe– That’s where the kidney is.
WILL: Right, okay.
MATT: And in that brief moment, you see the little creeping smile up the side of his mouth. You go ahead and roll your attack now, Kashaw.
WILL: Plus, well, if I’m using my– I don’t want to use the shadow spear. Should we use– Let’s not do nec damage on him, let’s think. It’s just a regular plus two, right?
LIAM: So what is he at?
MATT: Well, it’s a plus two spear. What’s your attack bonus altogether?
WILL: Oh, with the attack bonus is plus ten.
MATT: So that’s 28.
WILL: 28 to you, yeah.
LIAM: Oh, that definitely hits.
MATT: Yeah, so, after you get the blade there, there’s that moment of posturing. How do you deflect him off?
WILL: I think, yeah, the blade comes in, he’s got his spear, so as the blade comes in, he slaps his arm away and just takes it right lightly across the chest so it just cuts into the little bit of fat.
MATT: Just– (slicing noise). You back away and you see two of the mantle-like dark feathers of your armor, the very tips just go– (puff)
WILL: And then I look at you and go: one-one.
MARY: I cast Eldritch Blast, two beams, right in front of either one of them.
MATT: As you guys are having this moment, all of a sudden the ground detonates before you. In a haze of greenish-white arcane energy, you see now these small basketball-sized concave blast craters in the ground before each of you, and right off to the side you see Zahra standing, staff in one hand, hand before her with the other.
LIAM: Oh, you do have two different color eyes. They’re so nice.
MARY: I use Thaumaturgy to go fire with my eyes.
WILL: We’re just playing.
MARY: All right, boys. Enough. I appreciate it.
LIAM: All right, we’ll play slap and tickle later.
MARY: Your fun is wrong. Play slap-tickle later. Let’s do this.
LIAM: Anyway, sword works. Sure.
MATT: All right, you sheath the sword. So you guys gather the rest of your materials together.
TALIESIN: We still have that spare sword that was just that standard rapier that was just in the bag before from the general, correct?
LAURA: Grog has the Bag of Holding, and I don’t know what’s in it.
TALIESIN: I think we have it. We still have just a very standard nothing, where it’s barely a plus one–
MATT: Yeah, it’s barely enchanted.
LIAM: What’d you need it for?
TALIESIN: Just in case someone gets close enough to me that it’s complicated.
LIAM: I have a shortsword, but that sounds better.
TALIESIN: It’s probably better. It’s whatever Stonefell had.
MATT: Shortsword is dex-based, so you’re going to probably want to run with that.
MARISHA: I need to roll really fast to recharge my Spire. So I’m going to do that, real fast.
MATT: All right. And actually, you should roll to recharge your wand.
MARISHA: It goes all the way up. It is full again.
MATT: All right.
MARISHA: I rolled four plus four.
MATT: Twice, actually, for two nights of rest, so.
WILL: “My spire’s full.”
MARY: “So is mine.”
SAM: Seven. So I’m back up to normal.
MATT: Okay. All righty. As you guys are preparing, Gilmore comes out. He’s usually dressed in his usual casual flowing robes. Or his wizard tracksuit-type outfit. The outfit you see on him, it’s more ornamental. And it’s, specifically more so than you’ve seen him wear, it has a very similar design and presentation of some of the more noble individuals you saw wandering Marquet, Ank'Harel in particular. He seems to be going more ceremonial than you’re used to seeing Gilmore.
LAURA: What color are the robes?
MATT: Oh, they are very much purple and gold. He keeps to his aesthetic. But the design is definitely ceremonial; different than anything you’ve seen him wear.
LIAM: Full Bollywood.
MARISHA: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking about!
SAM: Is it his old boy scout uniform or what?
MATT: It’s a long mantle that travels down to the lower part of his torso, where his arms come out from these long sleeves that come to a fine point at the ends. He still has all of his jewelry on, but where the belt is you can see it’s a very thick, heavy belt that like ties to a bow in the center, almost like a reverse kimono that comes to a square point. And the robe itself drops low and flows behind him as he walks. It’s really pretty. As he walks in, he’s holding himself with the Gilmore air, but you can still see a bead of sweat down his head and a little bit of nervous energy. “Very well, I guess today’s the day.”
TALIESIN: Be pleased.
SAM: How are we going to get there?
MATT: “Be pleased.”
WILL: Are we speaking to the general first?
SAM: Yeah, we’re going there first. But not via a tree, we have to go via something else.
LAURA: Why not via a tree?
SAM: Is there a tree on the battlefield where they are?
LAURA: Well, it’s not a battlefield.
MARISHA: I will be able to find out when we scry. If not, we’ll have to talk to Allura. I’m going to scry real quick! Scrying Eye.
MATT: Who are you scrying on?
MARISHA: Can’t hide from my scrying eyes. Your dad. What’s his name? Syldor, okay.
TALIESIN: Syldor the inevitably disappointed. That’s his full title.
MATT: Okay, you scry Syldor. You have a bit of a flash of green, lots of green, endless green. Your vision jumps into a familiar warm home. You see Syldor nervously sitting with his daughter on his knee, and they’re talking. Syldor is back in Syngorn. Syldor isn’t a fighter, Syldor is a diplomat.
TALIESIN: Oh, that’s fair.
LAURA: Right, right.
WILL: Did you see them? Where are they?
MARISHA: Happy and healthy and comfortable by a fire.
WILL: The whole army is happy and healthy and comfortable by a fire?!
MARISHA: No, he’s not with the army is what I mean. Oh shit. I thought he was going to be with the army.
TALIESIN: It’s okay we have plan B. Let’s go deal with plan B.
MARISHA: Okay, I’ll scry again.
TALIESIN: Or we can make Allura do it.
MARISHA: Allura, do you know where they are?
LAURA: She can take us to Daxio?
MATT: “I don’t know specifically where they are.” And she sits for a second and sets up a rush job of a scry ritual, 'cause now she feels she’s been put on the spot. But she puts it together.
MARISHA: Can I help her a little bit?
MATT: Yeah, you give her a little aid. You pay it back to the last time you helped her with a scry spell, back when you first met in Emon. And her eyes blink over white again, cloudy. And she returns. “All right, I see Mikael and the army gathered, and there is a very energetic air to them. They’re looking restless. I can bring eight of you with me.”
SAM: Well, are there any trees near them?
MATT: “There are, yeah.”
MARISHA: The problem is it generally has to be a tree that I’m familiar with.
SAM: If you go with her, you’ll be familiar with the tree.
MARISHA: It doesn’t work that way.
LAURA: Question, if you go and you open up a path to the Sun Tree, can people on this side run through the Sun Tree?
MARISHA: Can I? That’s an excellent question, can I?
MATT: Wait, so if you Transport via Plants–
MARISHA: Like if I go with Allura and then open a gate through the Sun Tree, and they’re just ready to rock.
TALIESIN: Do you have a Sling Ring?
MARISHA: Oh, damn it. Fucking lost my Sling Ring.
MATT: It does; it connects the plants on both sides.
MARISHA: Hey! I’ll do that. Does anyone else want to go, just in case?
LAURA: Yeah, the eight of us need to go. And then how many is that left?
MATT: “That would leave–”
MATT: “Then Grog, Pike and Gilmore. And Kima. And Jarett. Yeah, we could bring everybody.”
LAURA: And Drake?
MATT: “Is Drake coming?” And she looks off to the side, and you see this little figure running down from the castle at the top, carrying all this shit in his arms. “Hold on! I’m–” And you watch him just eat shit. He just tumbles; scatters. Gets up and is like, “No one saw that!” Picks it back up, runs back down and catches up.
TALIESIN: Are we supposed to get something from the– Oh god, we were supposed to– Weren’t we supposed to grab something earlier? My brain is just turning to mush.
SAM: We got it already.
TALIESIN: Oh, we got it already; never mind, that’s right.
LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. He gave it to us.
MARISHA: Where’s Raishan, though?
LIAM: Yeah. Are we going to talk to what’s-her-butt?
SAM: She’ll find us. She’s not our problem. She’s not our problem. We’re not babysitting a dragon.
TALIESIN: In fact, if anything, the less we speak to her at this point, probably the better.
WILL: And you’re sure she’s coming?
MATT: “Don’t worry; she’s coming.” And you hear another dwarven voice from the side, as you glance out you see there’s standing not too far from you, arms crossed, Larkin.
LIAM: Buddy! Where have you been!? I’ve been fucking worried sick! You were there; you were gone. How’d you even get back here?
MARISHA: Vax, please, don’t–
LIAM: Listen, I’m fucking with you. All right? What’s up, green bean?
MATT: “So, are we ready for this?”
MATT: “Didn’t think so. Let’s do it.”
SAM: So you all go; I’ll stay with these ragtag group and sit by the tree and get ready.
LAURA and MARISHA: All right.
MATT: Allura grabs you, and takes Kima, and the rest of the group that she can, and over time you guys manage to get– we’ll say for the sake of brevity here– everyone back over to the war camp itself. And it is a fair-sized war camp. And what’s interesting is as you’re within this camp, you look up, and in a similar way, the illusion barrier that surrounds Whitestone, that very, very faint shimmering effect, is present, but it’s much stronger and it’s much more visceral in the way that it alters the visuals. It looks like the sky is this perpetual shifting kaleidoscope of colors. The blue sky becomes green, becomes purple, becomes red; it just constantly shifts like the surface of a pond that’s been perpetually rippling. And you see on the outskirts of the war camp, this rotating guard of illusionists that are taking time to just restore and maintain this illusion, as everyone else is eating, polishing their weapons and armor. You see a mix of elven warriors, elven archers, and, very similar to the Daxio soldiers you met earlier, but armor of different crests, signifying the different regiments. It doesn’t take you too long to eventually come upon, and be led to, the tent where Mikael is, the Warmaster himself. The Warmaster, I do not believe you’ve met before, personally. As you enter and look within, you can see the Warmaster– It sets you off at first, because he does resemble his son. His son, who you did not have quite a positive experience with. He’s an older elvish man. His hair just past shoulder-length, but pulled into a very, very tight ponytail in the back, with a few strands that fall in front of his face. He has a very, very strong jaw for an elf. He’s a thick and well-built warrior and holds that with both a strength, and commanding respect, and everyone around him definitely looks up to him. You can immediately see why he’s the Warmaster and how he’s held that position for so long. And you also wonder, one, how his son fell so hard, and two, how it must have affected him. But in that instant as you enter, he’s in the process of having a conversation, and they have a layout of what looks to be a brief sketch of Emon in its current state, with a few things here and there marking where most of the gathered elements of the army, whatever you’d call it, the defense of Emon, exists. And as you all begin to enter the tent, he goes, “Oh, hello. I know of you, and I’ve been expecting you. Allura has been kind enough to fill me in, in bits and pieces, but as far as I am to understand, you’re our strike force?”
LAURA: The elite SWAT team, heading in there.
MATT: “Good to know this. We’ve been walking for quite some time, and the soldiers have had a bit of rest. If we could, we would take an additional day, just to put it at our most capable, but it seems time is not at our beck and call in this situation, and as such, when the sun is down, I think that is the agreed-upon time to strike.”
SAM: At sundown. All right, sure. Yeah, yeah, sure.
TALIESIN: Most of these soldiers have, at least, night vision, some form of darkvision, I assume.
MATT: “Most of the Syngorian army does, and we have quite a few at Daxio that do as well.”
WILL: (flatly) How are you going to attack?
LAURA: This is Kashaw.
WILL: Hi. How are you going to attack?
MATT: “Pleasure to meet you as well. So. We have broken up the regiments into five different segments. We’re going to separate, leading into the initial strike. We’re going to simultaneously hit the four main gates, the north, south, east, and west side. The easternmost gate has already received quite a bit of damage. With all the simultaneous strikes, we’re hoping to draw most of the army to the outer circles of the city. We’re going to utilize this time to then shift our forces southward and instead push towards a singular gate in a southward position, while they’re scattered in that direction. If I’m to understand what Allura has told me, you are going to be entering from underneath the city?”
TALIESIN: That is the plan.
MATT: “And attempting to facilitate the opening of one or more of these gates in doing so?”
LAURA: That would be swell if we can, huh?
MATT: “That would be.”
TALIESIN: We haven’t really discussed it, but–
LAURA: No, no, no, but we have talked about doing it.
TALIESIN: Or even breaching the south gate alone would be– If all four gates are being–
WILL: Any time we go out and we attack a gate, they’re going to bring all of their forces to that gate. What they’re not going to be suspecting is a wall being ripped down. And once you open a wall, you can’t close it. You can close a gate.
LAURA: What’s the weakest wall?
MATT: “That would be the eastern wall.”
TALIESIN: It’s also near Greyskull Keep.
MARY: Oh, that’s the arrow that you’re going to use, yes.
MATT: “While we are not in a position to use siege weaponry, we do have most of our mages at our disposal, and they have prepared a modicum of siege-based arcane spells at their disposal. So I do not think piercing the outer wall will be an issue. It’s what lies beyond it that our focus is going to be: sow confusion, separate and destroy. They are not a very well-organized army, and most of the creatures we’ve seen wandering the skies do so with nothing but bloodlust and the intent to rend and tear as their main driving force and goal. So, utilizing that technique– And we’ve discussed, you’ll be entering the walls; we’ll be pushing forward, phalanx method with those that are shielded. We will be piercing through and scattering from the inside, breaking their ranks as much as possible, and doing our best to stay out of the skies, using alleyways, using small streets. We don’t want our men being plucked out from the middle, from their air support.”
LAURA: We will have air support.
MARISHA: I called in assistance from the Air Ashari, from the north. They’re maintaining the skies.
MATT: “The Ashari are aiding us as well?”
WILL: Do you know how many?
MARISHA: Did dad tell me how many?
MATT: He said roughly a hundred.
MARISHA: Oh, shit. Thanks, dad. Roughly a hundred.
WILL: If I can make a suggestion? If you get into the city, don’t move through the alleys. You’re going to scatter your forces. Move into the city and fortify a position. So then you’ve opened a gate inside the city. Move the command center inside the city, and defend from there.
MATT: “That is indeed part of our push, however, we are rather vulnerable from the air. So with the Air Ashari giving us air support, that will allow us the ability that we need to push forward as a singular unit, from unit to unit, in its own right. You are entering from where?”
SAM: The sewers.
LAURA: Yes. We have a secret entrance in our keep, if we can still access it. If not, there is an entrance to the sewers towards the water. We were told of it by the Clasp, right?
SAM: I’ve also used a tunnel to get out, at some point.
MARISHA: That’s right, when you were looking for Kaylie.
MATT: That was Westruun.
SAM: It’s the same sewer system, though, right?
MARY: It’s the same basic layout of a city, yeah, right?
LAURA: Wait, wait, the Traverse Junction. What’s the Traverse Junction?
MATT: “The Traverse Junction is– was– is, as far as I know, still attached to the Lyceum, but–”
SAM: The Lyceum’s unguarded!
MATT: “The Lyceum is partially destroyed, and is filled with the remains of the enemy.”
SAM: I remember that.
LAURA: That’s not what I meant, then. That wasn’t the thing that I meant to say.
MARISHA: And we know Thordak has made an underground basin. He only emerges when someone challenges him, or offers their loyalty.
MARY: Were we supposed to meet the Clasp in a specific place?
SAM: We’ve just got to get to a sewer.
MARY: So we just need to find a sewer and then we’re going to reconnoiter with– Is that the right word? Anyway– with the Clasp. And at that point, we shall make our way through–
MATT: All right.
WILL: And that’s when the thieves and liars will take us to the thing that’s going to kill us all? We’re very excited about the plan.
MATT: “I can tell.”
WILL: Yeah. Do we have the 50 soldiers we need, or do we need to ask them for 50?
SAM: Did they ever show up? Did the 50 soldiers from Fort Daxio show up?
MATT: “I had heard that Daxio had fallen. There are survivors?”
LAURA: Well. There were. There were about 55 soldiers.
MATT: “They haven’t found their way to us yet, then. We’ll keep an eye out.”
TALIESIN: They might be headed towards Greyskull, if I recall. I believe they were heading there.
LAURA: That’s true. They should be crossing paths very shortly.
TALIESIN: 50 men can move quietly.
LAURA: So after you cut through all of the lizardmen like butter, you’ll make your way to Thordak?
MATT: “That’s the intent, to push in towards the Cloudtop. And, based on how well you and/or any of the air forces have been able to puncture the defenses, push in towards the creature itself and unleash everything we have at the beast. As far as I know and have been told, from some of the remaining members of the Council, they have a few members still within the city. I believe Tofor Brotoras, Seeker Asum, and Brom Goldhand are still within the city.”
SAM: Well, not Asum. We know where he is.
LAURA: And Brom.
MARY: I thought Brom was at Whitestone.
LAURA: Don’t say that word out loud.
MARY: I said it to you, quietly.
LAURA: Yeah, very quietly.
TALIESIN: We’ll gather what we can. We don’t really know what’s actually in there, yet.
MARISHA: And we can’t trust anyone within the city limits.
WILL: Do you have a time frame? For your attack?
MATT: “We are intending, once the men have been fed, once the men have been able to rest and prepare their armaments, we were going to attack upon sundown, yes.”
WILL: And you plan to breach the city when?
MATT: “Hopefully within the first hour of the attack.”
MATT: “That’s the intent.”
WILL: How far do you think we can make it in the tunnels in an hour?
TALIESIN: Pretty far, to be honest, especially if we’re– Well, no that’s–
SAM: 20 blocks.
WILL: You making that number up?
WILL: You just pulled that out of nowhere.
TALIESIN: It’s the highest number he knows. Grog’s not here; I have to do something.
SAM: An hour– We can probably make it, I don’t know, we can make it deep into the city, but not all the way to the center, can we?
TALIESIN: No, not in an hour.
LIAM: It’s a maze in there. But the tunnel from our keep in, if it’s intact, was not that far.
MATT: “If you were to traverse the tunnel system in advance of our attack, that would perhaps aid us in syncing our maneuvers.”
SAM: So we should go now.
WILL: That would be the goal, is to act as point for the entire army.
MATT: “That would indeed be the goal.”
LAURA: So, what, the minute we pop out, we send up a flare?
MATT: “Some sort of a sign. Hopefully something not quite as easy to read as a sign of aggression. We’ve taken much care to not be seen this far.”
SAM: Or we could just wait for sundown and then go, knowing that they’re going to strike at the same time.
TALIESIN: We go now.
SAM: No, I mean, once we get in there, we wait until we pop out, until it’s getting dark outside.
LIAM: I mean, what kind of symbol do we send up in a sky full of wyverns?
LAURA: What if we’re not in position by sundown?
MARISHA: The Ashari are already looking for a symbol. I plan to be aiding them. They should be helping us with–
SAM: What about a storm?
MARISHA: Well, there will be a storm.
WILL: Wait, there’s a storm coming?
SAM: Can you make one?
MATT: As you guys actually glance over, you can see in the eastern sky, past the Iron Seat Ridge, there is an extremely dark, building stormfront that is just looming, miles off in the distance.
MARISHA: See? Told you.
SAM: What about– Kiki, what if you just made some lightning strikes to signal the start of the fight?
TALIESIN: I think nature itself is going to make some lightning strikes.
MARISHA: Well, I’ve got my whole Skywrite thing. I’ve got my whole Skywrite thing; I can make a symbol in the air out of clouds, which isn’t as terrifying as everyone has thought it is in the past. We just need to pick a symbol–
LAURA: It just has to be subtle, something your dad will recognize, huh?
MARY: A phoenix or something.
WILL: How is the storm going to affect your attack, is my question.
MATT: “We are trained to undergo warfare in many different forms of terrain and weather.”
MARY: My concern is that if we wait until this storm comes in, the sewers will be flooded. We need to go in now before the storm gets here.
WILL: But if we get lost in there and the storm comes, it’ll be flooded while we’re in there.
SAM: The storm isn’t a real storm, isn’t it Air Ashari?
LAURA: No, no, no, it’s Air Ashari.
TALIESIN: But it’s still a real storm.
MATT: “If there is rain to come with the storm, that is fortuitous, for much of the city still burns. But fire we can quell with a storm would be helpful.”
MARISHA: It’s a-coming man. It’s coming.
MATT: “Right, good to know this.”
LIAM: Well, let’s go.
SAM: To Greyskull Keep?
MARISHA: Look for– Keep your eye on the sky.
MATT: “I will have two of my hawkeyes keeping an eye at the clouds”
MARISHA: There will be a symbol. It will be super obvious when it’s determined. You’ll be like, “Oh, of course, it couldn’t have been anything else”. When you see it.
MATT: “I look forward to solving your riddle. You as well, stay safe.”
MARISHA: Don’t know what the fuck it’s going to be. It could be a big “VM” for Vox Machina, I mean like you know– We could be like, Now! Fucking attack!
LIAM: Are there clouds overhead now? Above the city.
MATT: If you look up, it’s– the weather over here’s been fairly clear. There are a few wispy white clouds, but nothing that is indicative of a storm, yet.
TALIESIN: If the storm has taken the city, there will be a break in the storm, of a perfect circle, where we are attacking–
WILL: The eye of a hurricane.
TALIESIN: The eye of a hurricane. If it is not a force, we can certainly look for it.
LIAM: And if the skies are clear, they’ll not be clear.
TALIESIN: It will be a nice column that will–
MATT: “All right. Then–”
WILL: Look for the stillness in the storm.
MATT: “We shall. Travel safe, travel swift.”
MARY: Safe journey.
MATT: “You as well, good luck.”
SAM: Be pleased. Remember, the plan is chaos.
LAURA: Total chaos.
WILL: Chaos can work.
TALIESIN: Chaos works very well.
LAURA: We make our way to Greyskull.
TALIESIN: Back to Greyskull.
MATT: All right. As you guys make your way towards Greyskull Keep. Walking through, as you see rows and rows of soldiers of different walks of life, all part of the alliance of Tal'Dorei between Syngorn and Emon. Many of them watch as you pass, some just curious as to what regiment you belong to, and you get a couple of occasional looks of recognition.
LAURA: I wink.
WILL: Dale? Where you been, man?
MATT: “Wait! Kash?”
WILL: What the hell’s going on?
MATT: “Going to die today, what are you doing?”
WILL: Pretty much the same thing man, how’s Anne?
MATT: “Anne’s not doing too well.”
WILL: Aw, I’m sorry to hear that.
MATT: “Yeah, she was in the city when the dragons attacked.”
WILL: No! She wasn’t.
WILL: Oh, that’s horrible!
MATT: “It’s okay, we’re going to kill them today, right?”
WILL: We’re getting there buddy. Good to see you, you’re looking good.
MATT: “Good to see you too, you too!”
WILL: All right, I’ll see you later, man.
MATT: “All right.”
WILL: That was– I haven’t seen that guy in forever. So bizarre. Sorry, let’s go.
SAM: Small world man, small world.
LIAM: And we’re walking and we’re walking and we’re walking.
TALIESIN: I feel like I’ve had that awkward four minutes of like every con ever. Oh god!
MATT: As you guys exit the side ranks of the current encampment, as they are all preparing, the sun itself growing maybe about two hours out from touching the horizon, you can see, in the distance, on some of the outer embankment and small structures that litter the walls of Emon’s surrounding fields, you see Greyskull Keep, a very welcoming, longtime coming return. As you stay low to the grass, I need you all to make stealth checks.
LAURA: Oh shit. Oh shit, oh shit. You roll a 20. And then you–
MARISHA: Oh, natural 20!
SAM: Natural 20 right here as well.
MARISHA: Really? Eh! Natural 20 bros!
TALIESIN: Natural 19, I haven’t added yet.
MARISHA: Fuck you.
LAURA: Should I cast Pass Without a Trace on all of us? Is it too late? Can I just add it to everybody’s if I cast it now?
MATT: As you guys were going stealthy, I’ll say sure. Because you would have known, at this point to do so. If you want to spend your spell slot to do that, sure.
LAURA: I do.
LIAM: And that’s plus ten, right?
LAURA: Yeah, it adds ten to all of your rolls.
LIAM: 35, now.
TALIESIN: 35, 35 with the plus ten. 35.
MATT: All right. As you guys all stay low and guarding each other, keeping an eye out to make sure nobody is giving too much away. You manage to go unnoticed–
MARISHA: (coughing) Sorry, I so inhaled my spit, keep going.
MATT: Don’t do that. That’s bad.
WILL: Make a breathing saving throw.
MARISHA: (coughing) I’m still dying for a second. Go on, guys.
LIAM: I rolled double ones. (wheezing)
MATT: You guys make your way to Greyskull Keep, front door’s open. Like, partially ajar. Not locked.
LIAM: I move in, forward.
MATT: Okay, you head inside first.
LIAM: I’m going to poke my head in first.
MATT: Make a perception check.
MATT: You take a moment and look around, listen carefully. No sound.
LIAM: So far so good. I’m going to move further in. And continue to– I’m going to check for traps.
MATT: Go for it. Investigation check.
LIAM: Fine, sure, investigation is an 18.
MATT: Okay. Nothing appears to be trapped here. If anything is out of place, you know this area pretty well, so.
LAURA: We’re making our way to the doorway, we peek in now.
MARY: Is it very dark in there?
MATT: There are no current set torches or candlelight whatsoever, there are a few openings that bring some light in. Specifically from Sarenrae’s temple. But other than that, it is pretty dark in the hallways.
MARY: Can I see anything with darkvision?
MATT: With darkvision, you’re fine. As you guys glance around and begin to scatter throughout the keep, you can see signs that it has been lived in. People have been rummaging through, there is no sign of any food whatsoever in the keep anymore, there are a number of bowls and anything of any remote value has either been taken or is left used and unwashed. But after doing a quick scan, there is no one inside Greyskull Keep. Apparently–
LIAM: Like, the whole place?
LIAM: So all the way up the stairs, to our bedrooms, to his laboratory, all that’s clear?
MATT: All of it’s empty, but a lot of things have been taken.
SAM: Can I go in the kitchen and just sort of sense magic, or do an arcana check or something, to see if there’s any–
MATT: There is a Detect Magic spell, if you have that.
SAM: I don’t have that.
MATT: Then you would be hard-pressed to detect if it’s present necessarily.
MARISHA: Is your poop still around?
SAM: My poop is still there, it’s just inert. It’s just poop.
LAURA: Did somebody steal the poop?
SAM: Oh, is it still there in the jar that I left it in?
MATT: Actually, there is a broken jar on the ground. It looks like somebody discovered it and wasn’t quite sure what it was, and then discovered what it was.
MARY: This isn’t pudding!
LIAM: This single scoop tastes funny.
MARY: Gelato? (retches)
MATT: The behavioral patterns of the way things are left, it looks like people have come in through, rummaged, grabbed what they needed to survive, or what seemed of value, and left. And things they didn’t understand, or didn’t see value in, they left behind. Most of your workshop has been ransacked.
TALIESIN: I figured.
MATT: Your cask is still there. And a few esoteric tools that they didn’t really understand, or too big to maneuver, are still there. But most of your toolset is gone.
TALIESIN: Grabbing what’s useful, and maybe as a lark I might try and run a wire from my inert glove to Cabal’s Ruin to see if I can actually get the charge to travel through it if I punch something.
MATT: If you want to use one of the charges, you can try that.
TALIESIN: Yeah, I’ll use a charge– I’ll hold. I’ll find out in the moment, won’t I?
MATT: Yeah, that you will.
MARISHA: Try it on the day.
WILL: Is this your castle?
SAM: Yeah, this is our house. This is our keep.
TALIESIN: It’s a keep, not a castle.
MARY: This is lovely. It’s a little cold.
SAM: But it’s seen better days.
MARY: But the bones are good.
WILL: Lot of space.
SAM: It’s a fixer-upper.
MARY: Good location.
LIAM: I’m going downstairs to the entrance, and I’m going to check it out. And use Divine Sense at the entrance.
MATT: Okay, make an investigation check.
LIAM: All right. That’s good. That is a 24.
MATT: Okay. Divine Sense doesn’t trigger anything off. Nothing gets you riled up in that sense.
LIAM: Feathers are in place?
MATT: Indeed, yes. Except the two that were cut earlier from Kashaw. But you do find the hidden entrance, or the exit I guess you could say from the keep, left as it was, untouched. The seam still smooth, covered in dust.
LIAM: Nothing hinky with it?
MATT: Nothing hinky, no traps.
SAM: Let’s go down to the secret path. We’re in a hurry now, we’ve got to get into the city.
TALIESIN: Oh, I show Kashaw the cask, by the way. I have some powdered death, if you like. This will explode very loudly.
WILL: How much damage?
TALIESIN: You know, I’ve honestly been too nervous to ever find out. Because everybody who plays with this loses a limb eventually.
WILL: Is it heavy?
MATT: You hear this faint echoing voice in the back of your head that says, “Learn from my mistakes…”
WILL: I say we bring it.
TALIESIN: That’s my plan.
SAM: Can I just give you a quick note? Planning Kashaw is very staccato. He’s very clipped. I feel like when you’re just talking normally, you’re so warm and pleasant. But when you’re planning, you get this voice you use that’s very grating. I’m just saying, try to even out your tone. Do some breathing exercises, breathe from the diaphragm.
WILL: (breathes) Let’s go.
TALIESIN: To the tunnels.
MATT: All right. Grog happily takes the cask under his arm.
LAURA: Don’t drink that, Grog.
MATT: “Oh come on! One–”
LAURA: No, none of it. No–
MARY: He could fart explosives if he did.
SAM: Matt’s Grog and Matt’s Trinket are very similar.
MATT: To be fair. You guys all– single-file, because this tunnel is not very wide, it’s maybe four feet wide– you make your way through and it’s a long, musty tunnel. It smells of damp earth and dust.
LAURA: We need to pass out these healing potions before we get anywhere.
LIAM: Well, why don’t everybody bunch up for a second then?
MARY: Is there light in there? Do you need light, are there torches?
MATT: There is no light.
MARY: I cast Light.
LAURA: All right, we have three greater healings, five regular healings, and two superiors. Who needs what?
TALIESIN: I’ll take a greater.
LIAM: Superior, please. I’m weak as fuck.
LAURA: All right, take one.
TALIESIN: I’d like to take a greater as well, because I’m always far away.
MATT: “Greater for me.” Grog raises his hand.
LAURA: He wants one?
LAURA: You want a greater or–
MATT: “Yes, please.”
LAURA: Okay, we have one greater left. Five regulars, so I’ll pass out regulars to– Do you need any? You, you–
WILL: I should be okay with healing, but if you’d like I’ll take one.
MARISHA: I’m all right. I still have a couple.
MARY: I have one normal, and two greater, and one superior.
LAURA: There’s one superior left. Oh, you already have a superior?
MARY: I have a superior, two greater, and one normal.
LAURA: Oh shit. You have a fuckton of potions!
SAM: I’ll take a superior and one of them fire resistance, please.
LAURA: Take the superior, Scanlan.
SAM: I need the stuff.
LAURA: Zero superior and four fire potions. I’m taking one of the fire potions as well, so that’s three fire potions left.
MARISHA: If I could have a fire potion?
LAURA: Yes, two fire potions left.
MARY: Should Pike have a fire potion?
LAURA: Pike has fire resistance.
MARY: I don’t know, I’ve only met her once.
TALIESIN: I would love a fire resistance potion, if one exists.
LAURA: Of course darling, whatever you need.
WILL: No, I have fire-resistant plate, but I’d love a healing potion, if you have an extra.
LAURA: You want to take two regulars?
TALIESIN: I’ll take the fire resistance. All right, one fire resistance.
MATT: As you guys are awkwardly passing this down this singular tunnel, having to almost chain it back and forth.
MARISHA: I load up Grog’s camelback with healing potions.
LAURA: Now, the potion of invulnerability. Is there someone specific we need to give that to?
MATT: “It sounds really neat.”
SAM: Why don’t we give it to Grog for now?
TALIESIN: Well, Grog already halves all of his damage.
LIAM: Grog, if we give it to you now, you can’t drink it now. Not now. You have to wait.
TALIESIN: Quick rule point, if he already takes a lot of half damage, if he takes the potion, it doesn’t really affect?
LAURA: Does it quarter the damage?
MATT: No. He just likes being invulnerable.
TALIESIN: It should go to Vax.
LIAM: I didn’t wanna–
TALIESIN: Because you’re gonna get close.
LIAM: I’m gonna get up in his shit.
TALIESIN: So you should take the potion. It doubles your HP, double your HP.
LIAM: I just wanted you to be able to pl– excuse me? Can I have that, Grog?
LAURA: I still have it. I didn’t give it to him.
LIAM: Can I have that, please?
MATT: “What do you want to give me?”
LAURA: You don’t have it, Grog. You don’t have the potion.
LIAM: He’s holding a wood chip.
TALIESIN: Where did you find a purple wood chip down here? That’s, oh–
MATT: Travis just texted me saying he does not have resistance to fire, which I knew. So if anyone would like to–
LAURA: Oh! Okay, well then he gets the last–
MATT: The last one is Grog. He takes it and is about to open the cork.
LAURA: No, no! Grog, wait for when we start fighting Thordak.
MATT: “What can I drink?”
LAURA: Some ale.
SAM: Use your magic canister.
MATT: (whispers) “Mayonnaise.”
MARY: I would also like to evoke Fiendish Vigor.
SAM: What’s that?
MARY: Which means I can cast False Life on myself for one hour, yeah?
MATT: Yeah, yeah.
LAURA: Do you do it now?
MARY: Well, we’re about to go in.
SAM: It’s gonna take us an hour to get to the center of the city.
MARY: All right, right before we go in, I’ll hold it. Grog, give me a drink! Just one small one! Just a shot. Don’t look at me like that, I just want a shot.
MATT: It’s like an urn-type cask, and he holds it over to you, and it’s just filled with mayonnaise.
MARY: Ah– It’s so delicious, thank you so much. No, all right.
MATT: “Sour, isn’t it?”
TALIESIN: Sweet, bitter, angry.
MARY: It’s good. It’s only four or five days old.
WILL: You pull out your whiskey, but Kash is already naked.
TALIESIN: I hand the bottle to Kash.
SAM: Let’s go!
LAURA: I’m gonna give– I don’t know if Pike has any healing potions, so I’m gonna give her a regular healing potion just for something.
MARISHA: We’re going out like we came in!
LIAM : We’re in a little tunnel passing things up and down in a little single file.
TALIESIN: Eating mayonnaise out of a jar.
MARISHA: Kash, pass the trail mix. Pass it all the way back.
MARY: I smell a new sponsor!
MATT: You guys eventually find your way towards the end of the tunnel that leads to the ladder that leads you into the alleyway on the outskirts of the southern edge of Emon. You make your way up– Well, it leads you through an outhouse, an alley. You’ve been here before.
LIAM: I’m gonna, yes, I’m gonna peek through the pooper first. Let’s see what I see.
MATT: Perception check.
LIAM: Yeah. Okay, that’s fine.
LAURA: We know where the entrance to the tunnels are, though.
LIAM: I’m just looking for anything unexpected, 27.
MATT: It is empty and still chained.
LIAM: Are there poos?
MATT: No. It is chained shut for that reason.
LIAM: It’s clear.
SAM: Should I– Before we go out there, should I Seeming us as lizard people? Yes?
LAURA: Can you do it to all of us?
SAM: I can do eight. Wait, is that right?
MARISHA: Do we? What time is it? What time of day is it?
MATT: It’s maybe like, at this time? After travelling this far in Emon, you’re maybe 40 minutes from sunset.
SAM: Want to be lizard people or no?
WILL: Has the storm hit?
MATT: The storm is getting closer.
TALIESIN: I think that we will not act like lizard people, and also anybody who can see through, there are like–
LAURA: Lizard people can’t see through that.
TALIESIN: They are idiots. But they also–
SAM: All we need is a second to get some confusion.
TALIESIN: They’re used to seeing humans, though, and as long as we scatter and are fearful they’ll–
MATT: “I don’t mind being invisible. That’s not an issue. Meaning I can make a number of us invisible if you want to go–”
LAURA: How many can you?
MATT: “Not all of you, obviously! But like, if some of you wanna go as lizardfolk or somebody else can–”
LAURA: I want to be invisible!
LIAM: Invisible, please.
SAM: You’ve got a ring that makes you invisible!
LIAM: I’m busy with other things. Also, it’s maybe time for another Feast? Isn’t it?
TALIESIN: We’re still good, I think.
LIAM: It’s about sundown. When we did it last– We did it before beddie-bye.
SAM: But that takes an hour, we’re not gonna sit here in the sewer eating a fucking–
LIAM: We cannot fucking fight Thordak without a Heroes’ Feast.
MARISHA: How long has it been? Is it almost up?
WILL: 40 minutes until battle.
MATT: Well, I mean, you guys– It’s about 40 minutes until sundown.
SAM: We don’t have time.
LAURA: Can we eat a really fast feast?
MARISHA: When did we eat the feast last night? About this time? Are we about to expire or can we push it? Was it a midnight snack?
MATT: You guys would choose the most optimal time, since there was no rush to eat the feast.
LAURA: Yes! We would have.
MATT: You would have been like, well shit, let’s do it at 6:00 because we’re fighting– That’s probably when you guys would’ve. So you probably have until the end of the evening.
LIAM: Three or four hours-ish.
MATT: There would have been no benefit to doing it earlier.
TALIESIN: This is going to be over before that. These things move quickly.
SAM: Am I turning us into lizard people?
LAURA: Some of us, but I’m invisible because of Gilmore.
MARISHA: Are we making an above-ground jump to the underground tunnels again?
WILL: Someone knows where they’re going, right?
MARY: Where’s the Clasp? Are we going to meet up with them at some point?
TALIESIN: Once we’re down there, they’ll know we’re here.
MARISHA: How far is the tunnel jump? How long do we have to be above ground? I’m asking because I might be able to make some holes in the wall to cut us into other tunnels and not have to go above ground at all.
MATT: When you recall Garthok leading you through Emon to get to the Clasp entrance, you had to be above ground for probably about 20 minutes.
MARISHA: 20 minutes?!
WILL: That’s a lifetime above ground.
MATT: A lot of it was spent slow because you guys were stealthy, jumping from alley to alley and being very stealthy. If it was a brisk pace, it could be as fast as ten.
MARISHA: That was to the entrance to the Clasp, not the entrance to the sewer system, right?
LAURA: We could just pop down to a sewer. Do we see a sewer hole?
MATT: If you want to go inspect, you could look for one.
SAM: Then we have to find our way through the sewer that we don’t really know how to get through. We should find the Clasp entrance.
LAURA: This plan is smart. Wait, once we get to the Clasp, then we have to fucking talk to the Clasp.
SAM: Yeah, for a second.
LAURA: All right.
MARY: They’re going to help us, right?
LAURA: It’s all on Scanlan; he’s very charming. Kash, don’t talk when we’re in there.
WILL: I won’t speak. Remember that time I saved your life?
LAURA: It was wonderful, and I’m very grateful.
WILL: No, we’re good.
LAURA: I’m very glad you’re here, though.
WILL: Thank you, that’s very sweet.
MATT: “All right, are we lizarding and then invis-ing?”
LAURA: Yes, and then we’re going to go quickly to the Clasp entrance.
SAM: All right, I’ll make us all lizard people, even the ones turning invisible.
LAURA: No! I don’t want to be a lizard person.
WILL: Invisible lizard people!
TALIESIN: We need someone who can turn invisible.
SAM: Except for myself. Myself, I’ll put the Hat of Disguise on.
MATT: And you’re attuning to that?
SAM: It’s an attuned?!
LIAM: Only if it says it. Does it say it?
SAM: Do I have it? I gave it to you.
TALIESIN: And I gave it back. That was a long time ago. Years.
SAM: Fine, I’ll make myself a lizard person, too.
WILL: An invisible lizard person.
LIAM: A little lizard person.
MARY: Sam, I can do me.
LAURA: Don’t waste a spell.
MARY: I’m not. It’s an invocation.
MATT: Seeming affects how many people?
SAM: As many as are near me when I cast it. Any number of creatures, it says.
MATT: That is awesome! Seeming is broken!
SAM: Seeming is broken.
TALIESIN: How appropriate that we’re going to be underground lizard people in the city of Los Angeles.
MARISHA: Yeah, it’s very appropriate.
TALIESIN: It is our best urban myth. The lizard people of Los Angeles.
WILL: That’s not a myth. I have a friend who knows somebody who saw one.
TALIESIN: That’s true!
SAM: I make them all very skinny, not-well-nourished lizard people. Except for me. I’m pretty big.
MATT: You now have a cluster. As Gilmore begins his incantation for the Invisibility spell for him, Vax, and Vex, you guys all watch as each of your forms become these emaciated lizardfolk, except for Scanlan, who is this much shorter, but Wolverine-stocky-looking lizardman.
SAM: It’s a glandular problem.
MARY: It’s the mayonnaise.
MATT: You hear Gilmore chuckle mid-incantation. (chanting) “You’re ridiculous.” (chanting) He finishes the incantation, and Gilmore, Vex, and Vax vanish.
LIAM: Can’t see us, motherfucker!
TALIESIN: I suppose the invisible people will lead the way.
SAM: Let’s go!
WILL: Who knows where they’re going?
LAURA: We do; we all followed Garthok.
WILL: Okay. Can we see the invisible people?
WILL: Then how the fuck are we going to follow you?
TALIESIN: We also know.
MATT: You guys begin to make your way through, out of the alley–
LAURA: I tug on Kash’s little braid behind him.
WILL: Aw, come on! I hate that.
MATT: You guys make your way into the street, out of the alleyway. It doesn’t take you long to find an entrance to the sewer. You do occasionally hear the distant, ominous (wing flapping) of a wyvern rider or two doing a pass over this portion of the city. A lot of the buildings on the outskirts have been damaged even further from last time you were here. A number of the buildings have doors torn off the hinges, signs of struggle on the outside. It takes you only a couple of minutes before you find a grate, a drainage runoff for rain in the city that leads into a subterranean sewer system. It is a little bit out in the open. It’s between two buildings, but right on the cusp of the street itself, so you’ll have to be quick about it.
MARY: Let’s go.
WILL: Who’s opening it?
LIAM: I am.
TALIESIN: Invisible person opens it and then somebody invisible keeps watch.
LAURA: I’m keeping watch.
LIAM: I’m checking for traps, just in case. Natural 20.
MATT: That grate is so not trapped, like, holy shit.
LIAM: It’s brand new.
MATT: No one’s ever trapped it, yeah, man. You could sell that. Like it was day one.
LIAM: I lick it. There’s nothing; it tastes clean.
MATT: No, it tastes sweet, actually!
LIAM: All right. Is it locked?
MATT: It’s not locked. It’s wedged a little bit in there.
LAURA: Grog, help! Lift!
MATT: “Okay! Shh!” He walks over and reaches. As you’re down there, he walks over, not seeing you, reaches on each side of you to get to the grate. Are you going to try to get out of the way?
LIAM: Yeah, I’ll roll out of there. It seemed like you had a little story you wanted to tell. Yeah, I roll out of there.
MATT: You dart out just as he lifts it off. You hear the creaking of metal, the bars bend slightly as the strength imparted by the Titanstone Gauntlets cause him to easily pry this thing off the ground. You can see there is a somewhat eroded ladder, set of rungs, but it is functional.
LIAM: How far down, with darkvision?
MATT: About 20 feet. It seems to open into a chamber or sewer system.
LIAM: I spank him on the ass and say: I’m going in, follow me. I drop in.
LAURA: Wait, Grog! Put the grate down very quietly! I whisper in his ear.
LIAM: On tiptoes. Standing on his knee.
MATT: You guys all head down there with Pike in tow, Gilmore following, invisible.
LAURA: Once we’re down in there, I bamf Trinket out of the necklace.
MARY: I use Beast Speech. How are you, Trinket? It’s been a long time.
MATT: “Yes. I’m scared.”
MARY: Don’t worry. You know Vex loves you very much.
MATT: “It’s why I’m here.”
LAURA: I love you very much.
MARY: We’ll look out for you, darling, we will. Thank you for coming and helping us. Thank you.
LAURA: And for being such a badass!
MATT: (grunts) “Smells weird.”
MARY: Kiss him on his–
MATT: It’s cold. It’s damp.
MARY: I love him.
MATT: You guys continue up the sewer system. It’s been a dry spell for a month, at least. It hasn’t rained in the past couple of weeks. It rains fairly often here, so the system itself doesn’t have a lot of drainage going through. That’ll change soon, I’m sure.
LIAM: I’m 40 feet ahead the whole time.
MATT: Make a perception check.
MATT: Okay. About ten more minutes into travel, you’re starting to get fairly close to game time, when things begin. You do hear some whispers up ahead.
LIAM: Hold on. Vex.
MATT: It sounds like four different voices are all conversing.
LAURA: I creep up next to him.
LIAM: In one location?
MATT: A little ways ahead, out of sight. You’re not sure of the source; it’s echoing from ahead.
LIAM: Listen with me.
LAURA: What are they saying?
MATT: Roll a perception check.
LAURA: I’m going to roll the Critical Role dice. Oh man! Oh good, that was good!
WILL: There was a second where you thought it wasn’t going to be good!
LAURA: Where’s my piece of paper? Perception. That is a 28.
MATT: So while you hear the whispers, it’s too distant for you, Vax, to make out the details. Vex, as you hone in your ranger attentiveness, you’ve studied lip-movement, you’ve read lips so much to the point where any dis-enunciation, you can fill in the gaps. The conversation sounds like, bits are talking about the relocation of people, timing, “it’s too dangerous,” “we have to move further west,” “the tunnels are down,” “now now now,” and you hear a bunch of footfalls.
LAURA: Running away from us?
MATT: Running in a direction, you can’t make out if it’s towards or away, right now in this moment.
LIAM: Do we pop out now and talk to them?
MATT: You now see what looks to be seven figures step into the center of the walkway where you are, walking away from you, in the direction you were traveling.
WILL: Is anybody still invisible and/or lizards?
MATT: You are all still lizards and three of you are invisible.
LAURA: And they’re heading towards us?
MATT: They’re heading away from you, in the direction you were going.
LIAM: Wait if I go?
LAURA: They hate you.
MATT: Three of them stop and turn, “Wait, shh!” It’s really quiet, they’ve all just stopped.
LAURA: Are you true to Emon?
MATT: Stillness, no movement. One of them goes and pulls a blade out very quietly.
LIAM: I used to be one of you. I used to be Clasp.
LAURA: And then I took an arrow to the knee.
TALIESIN: That may be the funniest that’s ever been.
LIAM: So fucking meta.
TALIESIN: Joke has been waiting for years.
MARISHA: Yeah, what’s up, 2014!
MATT: You made it funny again!
LIAM: She’s in the game.
SAM: Are you invisible?
LAURA: Yeah, we’re still invisible.
TALIESIN: We’re friends of Garthak.
LAURA: You’re invisible, and you’re far back.
MATT: Also, all the figures that were stopped are slowly crawling in your direction. And one of them goes, “It’s lizardmen. Turn away.”
LAURA: It’s not lizardmen. Magic.
LIAM: It’s a ruse.
MATT: Make a persuasion check, with disadvantage.
LAURA: Oh no!
MATT: Because you’re two voices coming out of the ether right now! They just see a cluster of lizards in the shadows and voices going, “No, we’re okay!”
WILL: “We’re not lizards!”
MATT: “Don’t worry, guys!”
LAURA: I rolled a 20, and a one.
MARISHA: Shut up.
LIAM: Also one.
MARISHA: You also rolled a one?! You both rolled fucking ones?
LIAM: “Cacaw, look over here!”
MATT: The one in the front goes, “Shit! We have to close it! Run, run!” And all seven just start running in the direction they were going.
LAURA: Oh, fuck, what do we do? Somebody–
MARY: I go running up! Wait!
LAURA: Drop Seeming, drop Seeming! Drop Seeming, Scanlan!
LIAM: I’m running after them.
SAM: Okay, okay! I’m dropping Seeming.
LAURA: Please, wait! We’re not lizardmen.
SAM: You’re still invisible.
WILL: We’re not lizardmen!
MARY: Please, wait! Please, do not be afraid. We are with you.
SAM: Oh, sorry, you’re freaky-looking, so–
MARY: I understand that! I’m not a lizard person, and I have a very high persuasion!
MATT: You do. Double ones is a rough situation. They have bolted very quickly, and they are not showing any sign of slowing, and you just hear the footprints go (stepping sounds).
LAURA and MARY: Shit.
MARISHA: Move fast.
WILL: We can’t catch them?
MATT: Well, you’re keeping in pace. So, if you guys full bore, double dashing–
MARY: How far away are they?
MATT: They’re beyond your visual sight right now in the darkness.
MARY: Are they more than 30 feet?
MATT: Yes, they are.
LIAM: I shout out after them, I know Garthok, he’ll recognize me!
MARISHA: He also kind of hates us, I think.
LIAM: Don’t care.
MATT: The, mm… Double one, man.
LIAM: Okay. Okay.
MATT: Yeah. No, they’re still running. They’re still running.
LAURA: We’re still running after them.
MATT: Okay. You guys follow them for the next ten minutes or so, and you’re roughly ten minutes from sundown, game time, before you hear a door slam ahead of you.
LIAM: I want to move to that door.
MARISHA: I immediately stop and start looking behind me. Does this look like we just ran into a trap?
MATT: Make a perception check. Well, this would be more of an investigation.
LIAM: Are they catching up behind?
MARISHA: Okay. 21 total.
LIAM: I’m checking the door, too.
MATT: Okay. Looking around, it’s hard to see. The sewer has slowly given way to a non-sewage tunnel system that looks like it has existed for a long time. This is reminiscent of some elements of the Clasp’s tunnel system that you’ve seen before, though you haven’t really been to it this far south in the city.
MARISHA: Okay. I stand back before I run in with the rest of them. I don’t want to get us all in a corridor.
MARY: Can we investigate the door?
LIAM: I rolled a 28.
MATT: He’s currently doing that right now. You rolled a 20?
LAURA: I like that you’re talking to Matt through the earring.
LIAM: I’m not talking to Matt, I’m–
LIAM: Laura Bailey, busting my balls since 2000 and something, every chance she gets. But she loves me with all her heart!”
LIAM: Don’t touch me! 28! Support you left and right, and this is the thanks I get?
MATT: The door is locked, and the door is trapped.
LIAM: Scanlan. Will you come up here, please? I’ve got my hand on my earlobe for a fucking reason.
SAM: I’m here, what do you need?
LIAM: I need you to talk us into this fucking doorway.
SAM: For what, are we still trying to get this Clasp? Ten minutes has gone by. All right, great.
LIAM: Talk to the fuckers on the other side of this door. You can talk to anybody.
SAM: I knock, knock, knock on the door. And I say, oi, I know you can hear me in there. Sorry for the scare. We’re friends, and we’re here to help you get a lot of gold.
MATT: Make a persuasion check with disadvantage.
SAM: Because it’s through a door.
MATT: And because they–
MARISHA: Because we’re assholes.
TALIESIN: You should try and sell them drugs. I think that would go well.
LAURA: Oh, sell them drugs!
MATT: I can guarantee you, they don’t have any.
TALIESIN: No, he’s got them, he can sell them off.
MATT: They’re the Clasp.
LIAM: They’re straight-edge, I know.
MATT: Oh, totally.
WILL: You still don’t know if you put it up your ass or smoke it. How are you gonna sell it?
SAM: I’ll find out from them.
MATT: There’s a pause, and then a voice comes through and says, “So. Who are you? What do you want? What leaves you the possibility of wandering these sewers unstabbed?”
SAM: First of all, you, or members of your organization, know us. We are from Emon. We are Emonites. Emonies? We’re locals. We’ve traveled these sewers before, among you. And we will again tonight if you help us find our way to Thordak. We are super-powerful superheroes who are gonna kill a dragon and give you half the gold.
LAURA: Half the gold? Half the gold? Holy.
MATT: There’s another pause. Ten, 20 seconds. 30 seconds. Then you hear a winch go (clacking, tink). Then you hear (door opening sound) and the door just ever faintly opens, and just a single face pokes through, hood up. “So. You’re allies against the dragon?”
MATT: “How many are you?”
SAM: About a half dozen, let’s say.
TALIESIN: Twice a half a dozen.
LAURA: I think 12-ish?
SAM: Ten, ten? Some are animals, some are invisible. Six to 12.
MATT: “We stand 30 strong in this room, crossbows drawn. Make no mistakes, we will be watching you. One false move, you’ll all have a bolt in the back of the skull. Walk with us, we’ll see if what you say is true.”
LIAM: I use Thieves’ Cant to knock out the phrase, “No bullshit,” on the door.
MATT: You see his chin move and grind for a moment.
SAM: I did that with my penis.
MATT: Make a deception check.
MARY: He thinks you’re cute.
LAURA: I like that he goes– and it’s a 20.
MATT: Yeah. (laughs) You see him go– and slowly back away. The door opens wider, and as you enter the room, you can see there’s roughly 30 people in various dark bits of dress. The Clasp had a uniform, or at least a uniform style to them, when they were within their safe space. While that still exists, all of them look tattered. They look underfed. They look sleepless. And they all look driven. And it’s that cornered animal look that both is welcoming and also a little scary. And as you all walk in, they all very intently keep their eyes on you, their crossbows at their side. They’re all surveying you and taking in and– You can definitely see them accepting that you are powerful in comparison to maybe many of the others that they’ve encountered. And that also scares them. It would be like, 'Good. Fuck,’ at the same time. And as you all walk in, in this sullen atmosphere, the one that was talking to you pulls his hood back, and you see it’s a younger man, probably in his late 20s, but his face is just currently wrecked by some sort of a disease that’s just scarred over.
LIAM: Where is Shenn?
MATT: “You want us to take you to Shenn?”
TALIESIN: There’s no time, to be honest.
LIAM: Where is he?
MATT: (sighs) “He’s probably by the volcanic pocket. Looks to me– at least from the word on the street– there’s something going on. Something’s going to be happening tonight, and the Clasp is getting ready.”
WILL: Yeah, we’ve got about ten minutes until all hell breaks loose. So if we’ve got to do this, we’ve got to do this now.
LAURA: We’ve got to get to where Thordak is.
MARY: Is he by this volcanic surge?
MATT: “That he is. (sighs) Travel fast. Travel light. Follow me.” Puts his hood back up, and goes into a run.
WILL: Go running.
MATT: You guys all gave chase, at this point, as fast as you can. Poor Pike is like (panting).
LAURA: Grog picks her up, come on!
MATT: Grog picks her up, as he does. And she’s still like, running in the air before, “Whoa! Okay. Thanks.” And puts her on his shoulders, and they’re running together. Pike has to duck low a couple of times as she almost gets her head knocked off on the low bridge area. Following him as fast you can, it’s around the corner, down low corners. He’s quick. And you can see why certain people within the Clasp rise quickly, in that messenger format, is they can get around the city like that. You begin to get to a point where you see a few grates up above you, passing 20 feet up. You start to see more and more sewer openings. And you hear in the distance the sound of cracking thunder.
MARY: (whispers) The storm’s coming.
SAM: As soon as we get out, Keyleth, you have to make a storm or something–
SAM: Or a VM or something, right?
LAURA: She can probably do it through the grates.
SAM: Okay. Hurricane.
MATT: As you continue to run, you can hear up above, too, what sounds like just the energy itself is gathering into a loud cacophony of screeches and roars. It sounds like the populace that is keeping guard over the currently ruled, tyrannically held city, the wyverns are restless. They see something happening, there’s something brewing. And now, not just those below understand, but those above are starting to get the sense that things are not right. It’s beginning. You begin to feel and hear bits of rainfall beginning to come through the grates, just up ahead. The little bit of light that peeks through, you can see the droplets now hitting as you run past, overhead. You hear another bolt of lightning and thunder in the distance. And another (lightning crack). The storm is getting faster and more successive and it’s definitely landed in Emon. You continue to push forward–
MARY: How far are we?
MATT: You shouting ahead of–?
MARY: How much longer?
MATT: “You feel that?”
MATT: “No. Do you feel that?” And you start to realize, as cold as it is up there, as it has been in the past, these tunnels are growing warmer, and warmer, and warmer. “We’re not far now.” And he’s still running.
LAURA: As I’m running, I’m dipping arrows in poison.
LAURA: I’ve got six.
MATT: Okay. So go ahead and mark those–
LAURA: Six vials of poison. So that makes six arrows or does that make–?
MATT: Each vial can make three poisoned arrows.
LAURA: Three? However many I can make during this amount of time. Because I know it only lasts for an hour. So on the tips.
MATT: So per vial is three hours.
MATT: It’s hard to do while running at this fast pace, so I’d say you could get maybe two vials done, to be honest. Because in order to keep up, it’s a full sprint. You’re racing against time for this. It’s like, running as hard as you can, and like–
MATT: It’s a little hard.
LAURA: It’s one of those things I meant to do earlier.
SAM: Just got to finish knitting this sweater.
MATT: Eventually, you begin watching as these tunnels, you see collapsed portions of it. You see the falling rocks that are gathered. You feel the air itself become humid, become temperate and uncomfortably warm. The sweat begins to drip down your brow, and what you recall being the dry heat of the Marquet deserts is now being matched or exceeded by the wet, damp, humid underground air of the subterranean tunnels of Emon. You dart around the corner and follow him around this curve, and it’s the first time you see a break in the rock, where a vibrant, bright orange stream of molten rock is now pouring down, past into some basin below the walkway. And you see him more carefully walk around it. And now this pathway has gone from an original Clasp tunnel to, essentially, a haphazardly carved or left over and barely functional tunnel that has been wrecked by this slow incursion of volcanic activity. You have about two more minutes of running before he comes to a stop. And you hear now, what initially was just the rousing of local lizard creatures and denizens of Emon, the now-ruling class, the lightning is every few seconds. And you hear one loud, ominous, rumbling roar echo through the sky. And it’s a familiar roar. You heard it once, before the fall of Emon. The storm has awakened, or at least got the attention of the beast, the tyrant that now resides over the city of Emon. And he is not that far from where you stand. The young man pulls his hood back again and points up, and you can see that there’s one tunnel that leads up out of the sewer. Part of it is jutting outward, and it’s a slippery pouring of rain now just gliding off of it and slopping into mud on the ground. Most of the rungs have been rent off or fallen through the erosion, or the impression of this tectonic shift in this localized area. He points up. “This is the closest I can get you but I don’t know how you want to climb. Good luck.” And he turns around and darts back where you guys came from.
MARY: So he’s guiding us up and out?
MATT: No, he’s gone.
SAM: We’ve got to get up. So wait, there’s a pipe to climb up?
MATT: It’s a three-, four-foot-wide tunnel. It used to go straight up, but now parts of it are (ground cracks). It’s a little crooked and some of the initial climbing rungs have eroded away.
LAURA: Can we parkour up?
MATT: Certainly. Go ahead and make acrobatics checks, both of you guys.
MARY: Can Grog throw us up?
MARISHA: Is there a grate ahead of us? Can I see the sky?
MATT: There is, but it doesn’t– it looks partially off.
MATT: Both of you guys, in a networked-twin-type near-ballet in its execution, darting up in tandem, both using each other to push off as you hit each edge, you make your way to the very top in this crisscross fashion, then one of you gets up just in time to hit the grate as the other one hits the other side, sending it onto the ground outside.
LIAM: Perception check. For anything nearby.
LAURA: By the way, I was totally going to say I was putting Trinket back in the necklace before you started saying all that, I was just– It went into it right away.
MATT: Okay. Not a worry. Trinket is in the necklace.
LAURA: Oh, I want to perception check too. Just because, you know, that 29 isn’t going to see everything.
LIAM: No, you’ve got to get 30, right?
LAURA: Yeah. No, this is a 23. So–
MATT: You guys both look out. You, Vex, looking around you, you can see you are in the street. And you can see there are a number of buildings around: single-story, second-story, some of them long-collapsed and burned. Some still have flames on them that the rain is attempting to put out, but the fire is fighting back. You, Vax, see the same spread, and off to the left of you, a familiar sight. The Cloudtop District wall and gates, maybe a couple hundred feet off from your current position. You can see beyond that just a singular, black column of smoke, with the occasional flicker of red embers just drifting up through, fighting against the storm itself. The rain may fall, but it doesn’t seem to last long enough to hit the ground of the Cloudtop. You see mist and steam begin to rise up; the rain is evaporating before it can even get close. You also see above the gate what looks to be a few dozen small, dark shapes. You take a moment to focus before you can see what looks to be– what were once people are now blackened husks that have been left up on chains; decoration, if you will, for the outside of the Cloudtop. It’s a warning, or a celebration of Thordak’s rule. You see, on the outside of that gate, two large, armored, alert fire giants, wielding long, thick, square, black metal blades that themselves have flames engulfing. And they are both standing there, just shoulder to shoulder, looking about, on high alert based on the current chaos of the circumstance.
LIAM: What’s between us and them?
MATT: It’s road. It’s just bare road. You have buildings to each side, you’re just now emerging from the alleyway, and you are in the center of the street right now.
LIAM: How far are they from us right now?
MATT: They’re a little over a hundred feet.
SAM: Two fire giants?
LIAM: I pull Vex out of view–
LAURA: I mean, we’re invisible.
LIAM: I know, I don’t want to be heard. We’ve got two fucking giants up here, guarding our path–
LAURA: About a hundred feet off, clear view.
SAM: There’s no more tunnel down here, right?
MATT: No, it goes for another five or six feet, and then it is just wrecked, it’s collapsed, ruined–
SAM: We cannot spend our energy fighting these guys. We have to distract them away and move in past their position.
MARISHA: I can conjure an elemental. Will it–?
SAM: And one of them will chase it.
LAURA: Is it possible to get up and over the wall, away from them?
LIAM: Three of us are invisible, but not the rest. How do we get by?
SAM: Is there a gate behind the line?
WILL: Can we hear this conversation?
SAM: You can hear half of it.
TALIESIN: Two fire giants guarding the gates. We have to get rid of them.
WILL: Can we get into a building on the other side?
TALIESIN: It’s just a wall, it’s defensive. We can get over the wall, perhaps.
MARISHA: What kind of wall is it?
SAM: 30 feet high?
MATT: It is about roughly 30, 35 feet.
LAURA: Can I peek my head out–?
MATT: Oh! It is a solid, thick, stone wall. It is designed as a second-tier defense from siege warfare against the palace and the–
MARISHA: Can I use Stoneshape to stoneshape us a hole through it?
MATT: You know that it’s pretty thick. You’re familiar with the wall. You guys have traveled to and from the Cloudtop before. Let me see, where’s Stoneshape–
LIAM: Extend the tunnel?
LAURA: Or I can fly up to the top of the wall and drop the rope down?
MARISHA: The problem is, I don’t know how far the tunnel has collapsed.
MATT: No more than five feet in any dimension. No, it’s thicker than that.
MARY: Where do you need to go beyond this?
SAM: In there.
MARISHA: I took– Okay, here’s the thing: I took Move Earth. I can try and tunnel us through. But that’s a pretty big spell.
LAURA: Well, what if–
MATT: Move Earth also takes a while.
LAURA: What if I come out, I fly, I move down away from the fire giants, I fly up to the top of the wall and drop the rope down? So everybody can climb up?
LIAM: But nobody’s invisible but ourselves.
WILL: It’s too much of a chance, they’re going to see you.
MARY: They’re going to see you. How far away are we from them?
MATT: You’re about a hundred feet.
SAM: I can make another three of us invisible. But that’s still not enough.
MARISHA: Do fire giants have any reason to attack lizard people?
MATT: You don’t know.
LAURA: Maybe make lizard people and then pop over–
SAM: I’ve just burned a 5th-level spell making us lizard people once for no fucking reason.
LIAM: And that’s dropped at this point?
MARY: You need a distraction.
SAM: We definitely do.
MARY: Let us do this.
SAM: You two?
WILL: Two of us have to stay.
MARY: Let us do this.
MARY: Let. Us. Do. This.
WILL: We don’t have any time.
MARISHA: We need you guys. We need– we need you.
MARY: You can do this without us.
SAM: Are you going to go out and draw them away?
MARY: We’ll try and meet you if we can. In the meantime, call your people. Do it now.
MARY: I cast– I invoke– I use a cantrip Mask of Many Faces. As a lizard person, I go ten feet so I’m within 90 feet, and I cast Evard’s Black Tentacles on the two fire giants.
TALIESIN: You’ve got to go out the tunnel first.
MARISHA: I grab Kash by the arm really fast, and I just say, thank you. And I give him a kiss on the cheek.
WILL: We’re way past that.
MARISHA: Just shut up and appreciate it! Go!
MARY: Before I go running out, I grab Vex. I love you, if I can find you, I will. If not, stay alive.
WILL: I grab Vax real quick. Hey!
WILL: Two things.
LIAM: What’s that?
WILL: First: it’s one-one. And second: don’t get us all dead.
LIAM: All right, cutie.
WILL: Good luck in battle.
MARY: So I go running out. Lizard face. Once I get out of the tunnel, Mask of Many Faces, lizard. I just go walking up. Within 90 feet, I cast Evard’s Black Tentacles, hoping to hold them.
MATT: Okay. As she’s doing this, anyone else doing anything else? Are you–?
SAM: I put on Gloves of Climbing to climb up the thing.
WILL: Kash just stands with his back to them, guarding them as they’re going up the wall, spear at the ready.
LIAM: Are you brooming it? I’m holding onto the broom.
MATT: Okay. You guys go up there.
LAURA: I drop the rope down so Grog and Pike and everybody else can go up.
MATT: Easy enough. You all eventually get your way up to the top and duck in an alley. I need you to roll stealth checks.
TALIESIN: We still have that–
LAURA: Pass Without a Trace that I cast? Yeah–
MATT: All of you would, since it hasn’t expired. It’s an hour concentration.
LAURA: Can I cast it again?
MATT: No, I mean it’s still on. It’s an hour concentration. It’ll last until–
MATT: Well actually, you cast it right before you guys got to the keep, right?
LAURA: Right, at the keep.
MATT: No, no– Yeah, so you do not have it currently. I’m sorry.
LAURA: Do we get advantage because we’re invisible?
MATT: The invisible folks do, yeah.
LAURA: Ah okay, good.
WILL: (chuckles) Invisible folks.
MATT: All right. And– okay. You guys manage to dart up– you notice– First off, the wyverns are now coasting by and scooting over the sky, in groups of ten at a time. And you can see now as the bolts of energy are starting to hit– Off in the distance, you see a flash and (lighting strikes) as one gets taken down by a bolt of lightning. The wind is now picking up and beginning to swirl. You watch as they’re having a hard time flying and being harried by the elements, just darting around and slamming into them. One of the fire giants sees movement over in your direction (speaks in Giant), and starts walking that way as you begin to emerge in your lizard-person form.
SAM: Can I quietly inspire Kash?
MATT: You can if you like.
SAM: (singing) Kash! King of the Universe! Kash! Ah-ah! He is the best of us!
WILL: (singing) And his hair was parted in the middle–
MATT: Take your d12 inspiration die.
WILL: Where’s my d12?
MARY: You just hold on to it.
WILL: My gosh– Oh! Yeah, I’m just holding it.
MATT: So, as you walk forward and lift your hands up, clutching the staff, you watch as these black ethereal tentacles burst out of the ground, slam into the ground, and attempt to wrap around the legs and lower body of these giants. What is your spell DC?
SAM: It’s been a while since she’s played, guys.
MATT: 18, all right. The fire giant– oh! Nope! A two and a three on their dex save.
MATT: All right. Yeah, so they’re both restrained and they take 3d6 bludgeoning damage, if you want to go ahead and roll that.
MARY: 3d6? They’re restrained! And it’s 3d6 bludgeoning damage, which is ten.
SAM: Both of them? You just restrained two fire giants?! Holy shit!
TALIESIN: Ten is on the good side of 3d6–
MATT: You watch as it pulls them back, their swords are held at bay, their wrists are bound by these tentacles, and both of them are being crushed by it. And the other one– No one here speaks Giant, except for Grog.
WILL: I speak Giant.
MATT: You do?
MATT: You and Grog hear it, and it just says, “Under attack!” in Giant. And as they’re both being held there, as you’re holding them in place, they take the damage. What are the rest of you guys doing?
MARISHA: I immediately, right above us, create a little eye-of-the-hurricane. And you know when it snows and there’s a moonbow? A rainbow? I do a little bit of a moonbow situation.
LAURA: Okay, are we trying to keep stealthed and then letting Zarah and Kash–
SAM: I think we just go.
TALIESIN: We’re going to pass them.
MARISHA: And then we run!
MATT: Okay. You guys all bolt towards the– there’s a 15-foot gap between these two giants right now. And you’re rushing across this, like a double-dash, you get just to them as it comes to their go.
LAURA: I thought we were up and over the wall.
SAM: No, no. We were out of the pipe.
LAURA: I understand.
MATT: Yes. At this point, as Keyleth runs and creates this moonbow in this clearing in the sky, the wind suddenly doubles in speed in the air, the bolts come down at twice the pace. You watch as rooftops are exploding. You see wyverns being struck and thrown to the ground. You see small funnel clouds begin to form in portions of the city, as the cloud itself is beginning to draw. And you start seeing a similar dark speck to what you saw in the sky before, coming to land before you– You see distant skysails flickering in and out of the storm, control over this. As this is happening, as you guys are running with that symbol, you hear far to the left a large explosion sound in the distance. It sounded like an impact against a wall. You get the sense that it has begun. You guys rush up to the edge of the door just as the two giants are going to attempt to break free from the tentacles. That is dexterity. Strength or dexterity check against your save DC. So that’s going to be helpful, so strength is much better than the dex. Not with a three! Or a seven. I’m rolling as bad as I did on–
MARY: Stay right where you are, boys!
MATT: Both of them just still locked in place. They both try desperately, staring down at you and growling, you can see the strain as the tentacles are pulling on them, their swords burning–
MARY: Welcome to hentai!
MATT: –and you’re keeping guard there, at the ready. What are you guys doing? You’re at the door now.
SAM: Grog! Can Grog punch through it? I don’t–
MATT: “Yes, I can!” And he goes for a full swing against the door– Yeah! Oh, man! Okay.
LIAM: (in Grog’s voice) Surprise, gents!
MATT: Basically. So that’s double-damage with Siege to the door. Yeah. That is just with his fist, not even using his axe, just his fist against the door. The first hit, he dealt 26 points of bludgeoning damage. For the second strike, he brings up the axe now, as he dented it inward, and swings with it. Ooh! That’s 32 points of damage to the door. You watch as the fist slams between the doors, and they’re large, large, heavy wooden doors you’re very familiar with that have metal reinforcements on them on this part of the gate. The fist slam causes them to shudder at the impact and shake, but the chains still holding them in the inside are taut. The axe comes by. As it hits the edge of the wood and the iron, the wood splinters, the iron bends, and the hinges actually (impact) off of one, and the gate slams off the side, off the top hinge, and you all have to try to dart out of the way as it swings past. Oh, man! It’s not quite big enough to hit all of you, and I would say the ones that’re at the front line would probably be the twins and probably Keyleth. You’d want to stick with them. Well, you’d be back because of the storm cloud– Yeah. And Grog, definitely. So the twins and Grog, I need you guys to make a dexterity saving throw. Natural 20 for Grog!
LIAM: Would Evasion work for this?
LIAM: That’s a dex save. All right, it’s just 20 with me.
MATT: Okay, it’s fine. You guys all duck out of the way as soon as the door slams into the mud to the side, the giants still restrained. You all begin to charge into the space without thinking. As soon as the opening’s there, you dart in as the giants are restrained. And you guys, what are you doing at this point? The giants aren’t going to be held for long.
WILL: Can I cast Geas on one and have one attack the other?
MARY: Swing away, Kash.
WILL: Am I allowed to take control of one of them?
MATT: Oh, I will see what the– casting time is one minute. So that’s ten rounds that you have to cast that spell– It’s not much of a combat spell, really.
WILL: Because they’re flame giants, right? Does a Flame Strike work on them? Or are they susceptible to flames, or no?
MATT: That is up to what you might expect.
WILL: Then let’s give it a try. We’re going to try to do a 5th-level Flame Strike and see what happens.
MATT: All righty! Go ahead and roll 4d6 radiant damage. Both restrained, so they have disadvantage on the save. Yeah, no.
WILL: I also still have my inspiration, too.
SAM: It won’t help here.
WILL: I know. Okay, it’s okay. Yeah– well, no. It’s awful, I– It’s 13. Yeah. 13
MATT: All right. They both take 13 points of damage. They take no fire damage, they’re both immune to fire. The flames do nothing, but the radiant burst in itself does singe the exterior of their bodies. You see them rock with pain as the blast of light, a column that shoots at them, bursts into them, has taken effect. Not as much as you would have wanted, but an effect nonetheless. You, who are still maintaining concentration on this spell, what do you want to do?
MARY: What is the radius of Witchbolt? If I drop Evard’s and hit– they’re 15 feet apart from each other?
MATT: They’re 15 feet apart from each other, yes.
MARY: I just don’t know what the radius of Witchbolt is. Can I hit both of them with it?
MATT: With Witchbolt? With Witchbolt, as a–
TALIESIN: You’d need a ten-foot radius to hit both of them.
MATT: It’s going to be a tough call. Let me see– Witchbolt– No, no. Witchbolt hits one creature.
MARY: Only hits one creature?
MATT: Yeah. You can still maintain a concentration spell and do instant spells, if you wanted to.
MARY: Yes! So then I will hold Evard’s Black Tentacles and use a cantrip of Eldritch Blast and Agonizing Blast? Can I do that?
MATT: Yeah, it’s part of the ability. So, yeah, you can do that. Make three spell attack rolls.
SAM: Three spells?! She’s so powerful!
MATT: It’s all against one guy or it’s–? How are you splitting it up?
MARY: I’m going to hit two on the left, one on the right.
MATT: Two on the left, one on the right. Okay. Go for it.
MATT: Your spell attack bonus is–?
MARY: Plus 12, so 15. Plus Agonizing Blast–
MATT: That only adds to damage.
MATT: So the first one you fire at? It arcs past and hits the door behind, hitting the where the already damaged door fell off the hinges.
MARY: It’s 20–
MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll– So you’ve hit one, now roll for hitting the other.
MARY: Oh, natural 20.
MATT: Okay! So go ahead and your roll damage on that. Roll your d10 plus seven. What’s the first one?
MATT: No, it’s 1d10 for the first roll, next one is the critical.
MARY: That’s a ten.
MATT: And roll one more time.
MARY: Plus my charisma?
MATT: Correct. Add that in there. So go ahead and roll for your critical now.
MARY: Six. Plus my charisma, which is eleven, right?
MATT: Great! So you blast both of them and they’re still held in place. You guys run past. They’re both taking hits from Zahra, but they’re both more focused on the people that are being led through the gate they were ordered to watch. And–
LIAM: How far are the twins from the giant?
MATT: You guys just ran through into the–
LIAM: Right through?
LAURA: We want to take sneak attacks on both of them.
MATT: Go for it.
And five and a seven, they cannot make their checks for shit.
LAURA: First one hits. And then 21, does that hit?
LAURA: Okay, do I get three attacks– oh, no, no, no, I’m not clicking the boots yet.
LIAM: 21. So 21 hits?
MATT: 21 hits, yeah.
LAURA: Augh, what’s happening?!
LIAM: Okay, so the first one was– All the dice, all the dice.
LAURA: So, 15 for the first hit. 22 for the second.
LIAM: 36 for my first, and eight for my second.
LAURA: And just keep running.
MATT: And keep running, okay. All right, so you guys lob those attacks as you’re rushing past, you guys see– actually, both of you guys roll perception checks.
MATT: 12. You just make it– you, Kashaw, out of the corner of your eye, you notice the buildings that were on fire, the flames that were burning amidst the storm, you watch as one of the flames leaps out of the house. And a number of other flames begin to rise up as living, flaming entities that are making their way towards you. And you can quickly see that this is about to become–
MATT: But as you see Vox Machina running into the Cloudtop District and disappearing into the surrounding clouds and fume.
WILL: May the gods be with you.
LIAM: Totally minor, I didn’t add my regular bonus for dex and all that, so add another eight to my damage.
MATT: Okay, got it.
MARY: So they’re leaving.
MATT: You got them in.
MARY: Go! Go! We’ll find you if we can! In the meantime, my love, shall we have some fun?
WILL: Let’s do this thing, baby!
MATT: You guys hear the distant sounds of battle conflict inside the wall and far beyond. You hear, in the distance, the weird, vibrating fuzzy echo of hundreds and hundreds of voices shouting in unison. The battle’s upon Emon. However, that moment quickly shifts as you’re walking through this volcanic fume; the air itself is sulfurous, and there are gouts of poison that spill forth from cracked earth. You can see points, little bursts of glowing, molten rock that break through the surface and pour and then cool and create these small, miniaturized volcanic spires. You can see the burned, destroyed, crumbled remnants of the buildings– the noble houses, the beautiful mansions that used to make up the entirety of the Cloudtop District. The homes that you’d look at and think, “God, one day it’d be great to live in something as beautiful as that,” reduced to ash and cinder. Your run slows as you begin to see this large crater wall that lifts up through the smoke, a lip that then vanishes over the edge where the smoke is pouring out like a thick column, a slow-moving, stationary tornado of black that pours into the sky. As you watch, two large, bulbous, scaled red arms shoot forth from the center, as one long, unfurling dragon neck rises up. You see the red crystalline brow itself, like jagged daggers of flame burst across the face as it rises up beyond the smoke. The teeth, impossibly long and pointed for something of this size. The eyes, not red, not yellow, but burning beams of pure white light, like a small sun exists in each eye. As it lifts its whole form upwards out of the hole, the wings unfurl, the wind itself pushing all the smoke out, clearing the Cloudtop for but an instant, to see its massive, swollen form. You also notice that within its chest, this large, thick scar, but no crystal. Just a large, bulbous, grown-over, thick piece of scaled scar. As it stands towering above all of you, peering over the distance, not even noticing you at the moment, surveying the chaos around in Emon, its face drops, and you hear this voice gurgle up from within. Sourceless, almost, in its immensity, in its encompassing nature, it says, “It appears that we have guests. Where are you?” And that’s where we’ll end tonight’s episode.
(cheering and screaming)
MARISHA: Can we all take a nervous swig of our fire resistance potions? Like, right now? Like glug, glug, glug!
MATT: It’s to the instance where, right now, there’s so much going on that Thordak is having this Superman moment where he closes his eyes and hears all the screams in the city at once. So you don’t know if he knows where you are yet, or has seen you, he just knows that something’s here. And that’s where we’re going to pick up next session.
LIAM: Double-fisting them, gulp gulp!
TALIESIN: Smoke 'em if you got 'em! I’m going to vape– I’m going to vape my fire resistance.
MATT: I’m pretty sure you can get that at Critical Vapes.
TALIESIN: Oh yeah! You can get that there.
MARY: Critical Vapes!
LAURA: Shout out!
LIAM: Merry deathmas, everyone.
TALIESIN: Merry deathmas.
SAM: What happens to Kash and Zahra?!
MATT: They’re currently preventing you guys from having to deal with Thordak and two fire giants and a bunch of elementals.
SAM: But how do we know what happens?!
TALIESIN: We don’t die.
MATT: Don’t die and you’ll find out.
WILL: The Kash and Zahra show, starting next week on Wednesdays.
MATT: If only.
LAURA: It’s just a buddy cop movie.
MARY: We’re in a really old Mustang the whole time.
WILL: He’s a little bit country; she’s a little bit dragon.
TALIESIN: I would watch the fuck out of that.
MATT: Yeah, I would. Oh my god. That’s the best version of Dallas I’ve ever heard of. Which has an RPG book.
MATT: Oh yeah.
SAM: You can roleplay Dallas?
MATT: Yeah! I’m trying to find a copy of it. But anyway, that’s neither here nor there. We’ll be here next week for the showdown with Thordak the Cinder King in the center of Emon! You guys, you avoided a lot. You beelined to Thordak.
LAURA: We were out of time!
MATT: We would have gone into this next time. I was preparing for Thordak–
MARY: Always rely on tentacles.
TALIESIN: If anime has taught you anything–
MATT: Don’t tell the internet that.
MARY: If anime has taught us anything–
MATT: I know! No, I was expecting this Thordak encounter to either happen next week or in the first two weeks of January when we come back from the break, I wasn’t sure when. You bypassed a bunch there.
WILL: Great way to end the year, though.
MATT: It is a good way to end the year!
LIAM: (singing) Here comes Cinder Claus, here comes Cinder Claus, right down Cinder Claus Lane!
MARY: Yeah, it’s just the two of us and the fire giants!
WILL: While I sit back and watch her kick some ass!
TALIESIN: I thought you were dead, Fred!
MARISHA: You told me they were dead!
LIAM: We need Brian Blessed now!
TALIESIN: We need Brian Blessed! We need Brian Blessed for everything!
MATT: I don’t disagree with this.
TALIESIN: He might be down.
MATT: We’ll see you guys next week for this crazy showdown. Rest well, thank you Loot Crate and Magic Puzzle Quest for being our awesome sponsors for tonight’s episode. Thank you all for your patience. Thank you, Will and Mary, for joining us.
WILL: Thanks for having us, you kidding? Thanks for having us back.
MARY: Thank you so much!
MARISHA: Thanks for sacrificing yourself. Hopefully you’re not dead.
WILL: It’s the only show where you can walk by, “Hey, thanks, hope you’re not dead.”
LAURA: Are we allowed to say, Brian, that they’re going to be on Talks Machina?
BRIAN: (offscreen) Yeah!
MARY: So we’re going to be on Talks Machina on Tuesday. With that Brian Foster man!
SAM: Are you going to be on Talks Machina?
MATT: I don’t know.
LAURA: No, we can’t know his secrets just yet!
SAM: But if you were on Talks Machina, then you could do this whole fight on Talks Machina.
MATT: I’ve been on a lot of Talks Machina recently, and I could probably use a Tuesday night off.
MARY and WILL: Yeah.
MATT: Especially to prepare for this.
LAURA: Plus I don’t want to know any secrets before we go into this fight.
MATT: I wouldn’t tell you any secrets regardless, which is why I’d be a very boring guest next week. I’d be like: I don’t know. That’s a great question.
MARISHA: You Don’t Know: The Show.
MATT: Exactly. All right, guys, thank you so much, guys. Thank you guys, have a wonderful weekend. We’ll see you next Tuesday for Talks Machina and Thursday for the finale, possibly, much love and is it Thursday yet? See you soon.