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Pre-Show[]

MATT: (higher pitched) Hello everyone! And welcome to tonight's episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. (laughter) (exclaiming)

ASHLEY: (hollering like Travis) We play Dungeons & Dragons!

SAM and MATT: Yeah! (laughter)

MATT: I am Laura Bailey. Matthew Mercer dressed up as Laura Bailey, and welcome to our Halloween episode. Let's go around the table and see what other people are dressed as, starting over here. You!

TRAVIS: Oh hi, I'm-- Wait. I'm Emmy-winning--

ASHLEY: Oh, wow.

TRAVIS: Sam Riegel! (laughter)

MATT: Perfect.

TRAVIS: Thank you.

MATT: And you, Robbie.

ROBBIE: Oh, I am Robbie Daymond. This is the face, pretty sure, right? (laughter) And I'm Matthew Mercer. Hold on a second, hold on. Glub, glub, glub, glub, glub. (water spraying) Don't you make sound effects a lot? I don't know. (laughter) I was trying.

TRAVIS: Not monsters. Water. (laughter)

MATT: Actually, this reminds me, I should drink more water. Thank you, Robbie. (laughter) Marisha?

MARISHA: Uh, uh, yes. Hello. I am Taliesin Jaffe. I'm 948 years old. Go dance in graveyards, or eat pie, or something. Ah, yeah, yes. (laughter)

ROBBIE: The impressions!

TRAVIS: Damn it.

LAURA: Oh no. (laughter)

SAM: (low-pitched) Hey, hey, hey. I'm Marisha Ray. (laughter)

SAM: (high-pitched laugh) I'm Marisha Ray, and I'm Creative Director of Critical Role. And this is what I'm wearing for Halloween. So, whoop! (laughter)

MATT: Perfect! Ashley.

MARISHA: Oh no!

ASHLEY: Hello, um. (laughter)

SAM: Good voice.

TRAVIS: Don't freaking smile. Don't fucking smile. (laughter)

TRAVIS: You can got it!

ASHLEY: I'm Travis Willingham, CEO of Critical Role. (sniffs sharply) (laughter) I'm a dad. (laughter) My wife, Laura Bailey.

MATT: Hi, beebee!

ASHLEY: Hi, beebee! And... Shit, it's coming off. (laughter) That's it. My friend over here, who's here?

LAURA: Oh, hey. Oh. Hey, guys.

ROBBIE: Oh no!

TRAVIS: Ah, again, again!

LAURA: I'm Robbie Daymond.

SAM: Ooh! (laughter)

LAURA: You may know me from such shows as--

SAM: Oh boy.

LAURA: Spider-man. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Woo!

TRAVIS: Oh man.

LAURA: I'm hot boi. (laughter)

LIAM: (loudly and forcefully) Hello! I'm Ashley Jenkins. (laughter) But actually, Liam O'Brien, but hello! Star of such things as Narrative Telephone, Warlock.

LAURA: What about Gale?

MARISHA: Warlock!

LIAM: You Got Gale.

MARISHA: Warlock.

ASHLEY: What is this mug?

SAM: "It's a Blindspot thing!" (exclaiming)

TRAVIS: Beautiful. Beautiful.

ASHLEY: Nice work. Nice work.

MATT: Well done. And--?

TALIESIN: And finally, I'm Liam O'Brien. Taliesin Jaffe, really. I'm Art Dad, who you probably know from Twitter. It's just lovely to be here and hello to all the Critters out there. (awwing)

ASHLEY: Art Dad.

LAURA: Taliesin, I believe it's Art Daddy.

TALIESIN and ASHLEY: Art Daddy.

MATT: That's true. That's true and dangerous. Well, all righty. After that little Halloween intro--

LIAM: Onto some more serious things.

MATT: Yeah! Let's make this night completely serious. (laughter) Let's get through some announcements before we jump into episode two.

TRAVIS: (whispered) So hot!

MATT: I'm tr--

LAURA: (laughing) It's upside-down. (laughter)

ROBBIE: There's no instructions!

SAM: It goes under your chin, I think.

LIAM: Now Marisha looks like a Wicked + Divine character. (laughter)

LAURA: Why does it work so well!?

ASHLEY: It works really well.

LAURA: There it is, that's it. They fit.

MATT: Beginning with the first of our sponsors for the night: Ravensburger! Marisha.

SAM: Ravensburger. Yo-- Yo, yo yo. I'm Times Square. A frightening gargoyle from the Big Apple.

MARISHA: Hey yo, I'm walkin' here. They call me Staten Island and I love scaring tourists.

ROBBIE: I am Robbie Daymond, and I don't really know what's going on.

TRAVIS: And you're lookin' at Famous Ray's, the grumpiest, grouchiest gargoyle of all.

SAM: Real talk! We're here to plug the sponsors of tonight's episode, Ravensburger and their new title, Disney Gargoyles: Awakening.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm, based on the first season of the 1994 fan-favorite Dis-uh-ney cartoon.

MATT: Dis-uh-ney? (laughter)

MARISHA: The game-- Yeah, three syllables, obvious-uh-ly.

MATT: Oh no.

MARISHA: The game includes six miniature Goliath, Brooklyn, Lexington, Broadway, Hudson, my bro, and Elisa Maza, each with totally tight, unique abilities.

ROBBIE: T-t-the accents? Are they, like, New York or Jersey, or am I supposed to do the same thing? Is this a thing you guys rehearsed?

TRAVIS: I mean, youse could play as a full cooperative experience, or a one-versus-many game and it contains four scenarios to play. Bada bing, bada boom.

SAM: Ch-ch-check it out right now at bit.ly/CRGargoyles. Now let's give the people our scary gargoyle faces. Roar!

MARISHA: Roar!

ROBBIE: Travis, can I switch to the other side?

TRAVIS: Roar!

ROBBIE: Okay. That's fine, yeah.

MARISHA: (laughs)

SAM: It's scrolling so slow-- yeah! Now we're going to say our favorite thing about being a gargoyle. Mine is defendin' the night.

MARISHA: Good one. Mine is castin' spells.

ROBBIE: Okay, role playing. Mine is, uh, I'll take a pigeon, I'll rip his wings off, and throw them off the top of the roof.

TRAVIS: (normal voice) Whoa, holy shit, dude. What the hell?

ROBBIE: Is that right? Is...

MARISHA: What? No, Robbie, that's not right. It's a kids' cartoon.

ROBBIE: Yeah, but you guys were being so scary and I thought like--

SAM: Yeah, but why would you rip the wings off of a pigeon? That's...

TRAVIS: Pigeon wing?

SAM: What did they do to you, ever?

MARISHA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: But I-- they're gargoyles and they're on the roof. And I just thought--

TRAVIS: Yeah, but it was so specific, though. Right? I mean, you are fucked up, Daymond.

SAM: Yeah, yeah. But you know what? It's fine, Robbie. You're new to this, so why don't you just read the tagline so we can wrap it up.

ROBBIE: Yeah, sorry. Uh, okay. Gargoyles is available now at--

SAM: In a New York accent, you pigeon hater! (laughter)

ROBBIE: Okay! Right, right, right! (clearing throat) (NY accent) Gargoyles is available now at our retailers! Hey yo, Matty! Back to you, baby! (cheering)

MATT: You got there! All right, thank you, thank you.

ASHLEY: Hey, stugots! (laughter)

LAURA: For the whole night.

MATT: Do your best.

TRAVIS: Get sliced!

LAURA: It's fine.

MATT: This episode of Critical Role is also sponsored by Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios and their latest chapter release, The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood, which is available now on all platforms, including Xbox Series X, S, and PS5. Join the over 19 million players in the award-winning RPG and enter the Gates of Oblivion, the year-long adventure, which wraps up with the launch of the ESO: Deadlands DLC, coming to PC on November 1st and to consoles on November 16th. We also want to welcome you all to join in the fun, and please check out everything Elder Scrolls Online at elderscrollsonline.com/buy.

SAM: Boom.

MATT: There it is. We did it.

MARISHA: Bada bing.

MATT: Did it. Bada-- oh god no. (laughter)

SAM: No, seriously, that might be your best accent. (laughter)

ASHLEY: It's really good.

LAURA: It is really good.

MATT: This is absolute chaos.

MARISHA: Shit, Laudna should've been a New Yorker. Fuck!

SAM: It's just episode two, they won't know if we change.

TRAVIS: You can switch it right here, bada bing bada boom!

MARISHA: Ah, do-over, do-over.

MATT: Okay. Well, thank you so much for joining us live on Twitch and YouTube. To join in our live and moderated community chat, please head over to our Twitch channel. And Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen Issue #1 with our friends at Dark Horse Comics is available right now at local comic shops and digitally via ComiXology and Dark Horse Digital. Leylas Kryn has spent multiple lives in her pursuit to assemble the Luxon. With her eternal lover Quana at her side, she will stop at nothing to use its power to bring a golden age to the people under her rule. When what seems to be another piece of the Luxon appears nearby, Leylas sends Quana to collect it, with consequences that may threaten the entire Kryn Dynasty. Tales of Exandria is a four-part miniseries written by the incredible Darcy Van Poelgeest and illustrated by CoupleOfKooks with covers by Helen Mask. Exclusive variants of each issue are also available only from Things From Another World, featuring cover art by David Mack. (cheering) It genuinely looks so good. We've had a blast consulting on it, seeing the story through. Please be sure to support your local comic book shops, if you can on this. It's worth your time, all. All right, moving on to, it looks like, Robbie and Ashley right here.

LIAM: (as Ashley) Okay! (as Liam) Oh my gosh.

LAURA: So confused! (laughter)

LIAM: This whole game is going to be a problem. Kith & Kin! Our first novel-- (cheering) -with our friends at Penguin Random House is available right now for pre-order, and will be released--

LAURA: Oh my gosh.

LIAM: -- on November 30th. (exclaiming) Now, in case you missed it, the audiobook version is going to be narrated by none other than our dear friend, Robbie Daymond.

TRAVIS: Robbie Daymond! (cheering)

LIAM: Robbie Daymond, Robbie... shit. Kith & Kin's going to follow a brand-new story featuring the cunning ranger Vex'ahlia--

LAURA: Vex'ahlia.

LIAM: -- and the cunning rogue Vax'ildan--

LAURA: Vax'ildan.

LIAM: -- and, of course, Trinket, years before they meet Vox Machina. Why don't you give them a breakdown of the story?

LAURA: After leaving the unwelcon-- well-- unwelcoming refuge of Syngorn-- I am killing this! The twins become entangled in a web spun by the Clasp. For the first time, Vex and Vax find themselves on opposite sides of a conflict that threatens the home they've carried with each other, for years.

SAM: Ooh.

LIAM: Pre-ordering--

LAURA: I made it sound really interesting! (laughter)

LIAM: Just like the book is also really interesting. Pre-ordering Kith & Kin physically, digitally, or as an audiobook will give you access to a special virtual Q&A with Laura and myself and author Marieke Nijkamp, moderated by our good friend, Mica Burton. The lovely Mica Burton. (cheering) Presented by our pals at Penguin Random House. The prerecorded Q&A will air on November 29th at 5:00pm Pacific, for those who have registered to attend.

LAURA: So, register to attend.

LIAM: Learn more-- (laughter) There is no thinking here tonight. Learn more about this event and pre-order your copy by visiting CriticalRoleBooks.com.

SAM: That's a URL that we have?

LAURA: That's a new one! (cheering)

LIAM: We like books.

MARISHA: We got books now!

MATT: And for the merch update, Robbie!

LAURA: Yes. Whoo! First up! Do-do-do-do-do! They've been in my lap the whole time. (exclaiming)

TRAVIS: Joggers! Joggers!

LAURA: They're so comfortable. Oh my goodness, Xhorhas joggers.

MARISHA: I love that color.

LAURA: These are designed by our fabulous Jordyn Torrence. They're sweaty-- They're not sweaty. (laughter)

TRAVIS: What the fuck?!

MATT: Every pair comes pre-sweated.

TRAVIS: Why would they be sweaty? What the fuck have you been doing to make them sweaty?

ROBBIE: Pre-sweaty.

TRAVIS: Who gave those to you?

SAM: They're sweaty in the crotch area.

TRAVIS: Somebody's in trouble!

LIAM: Travis personally wears--

ASHLEY: Swamp ass!

LIAM: -- every pair for five hours.

TRAVIS: Just smell the crotch and we'll figure out who it is.

LAURA: Fucking gross!

MATT: Whoa! Continue!

LAURA: Anyway, they're really comfortable. Check them out!

LIAM: That's Taliesin.

LAURA: The other thing we have available right now is do-do-do-do-do!

ASHLEY: I have it! I have it! Hold on, let me prepare it.

MATT: Go, Travis! Faster!

LIAM: It's hidden under her pecs! (cheering)

ASHLEY: It won't fit me, though, with these muscles. This fabulous redesign of our Scanlan Reunion Tour by artist Bryan Weiss, thank you very much. This updated design also includes new--

SAM: Tour stops?

LAURA: -- new updated tour stops.

SAM: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Go down the list, babe. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Climb the ladder.

LAURA: Check it out online to see what--

LIAM: Robbie, that's Laura's husband! (laughter)

LAURA: This is so weird.

MATT: (as Laura) Um! (laughter)

MATT: (as Laura) Continue, Travis? (laughter)

LAURA: Yeah. So, check it out. They're in the stores. I don't know what stores, but they're in some of our stores. shop.critrole.com.

MATT: There you-- wow, okay. Well-oiled machine. I am so sorry.

LIAM: Oh my gosh.

ASHLEY: We're rusty.

TALIESIN: If you're a new viewer--

MATT: If you're a new viewer, this is a fraction of how it is normally, but well, we'll see.

LIAM: Have we hit the two-hour mark yet?

LAURA: You have to show off your t-shirt, Matt, because you have the cool, fun t-shirt on, too and we can't see it.

MATT: I am the mama bear.

LAURA: Little higher, nice. (exclaiming) Well. (glasses clatter) (laughter)

TRAVIS: I feel like we're in trouble.

MATT: I think that's all of our announcements. (laughter) So, let's all jump into tonight's episode of... Critical Role. (exclaiming)

Part I[]

MATT: On the continent of Marquet, disparate destinies begin to intertwine, as a few small groups of companions whose lives had folded together all begin to converge within the center of the Oderan Wilds, amongst the various spires of the central city of Jrusar. Upon wandering your ways through the city streets, suddenly there was a commotion. It looks like a cart. Something had detonated and sent it onto its side, and let loose a cadre of enchanted utensils and furniture. Jumping to the defense of the locals, this ragtag unexpected group of allies managed to throw them to the ground and keep everyone safe, as well as catching the eye of the esteemed, once-esteemed fighter, Sir Bertrand Bell. Bertrand then offered to pay for a meal to this crew, assemble them and invite them, if they are looking for work and an opportunity, to a patron that he has relationship with. After some discussion and a night's rest, you all gathered the next morning and followed him to the estate of Lord Eshteross. Upon being led into the somewhat dusty and dark interior, (cheering) (laughter) led by a woman named Evelyn to a study. You stepped within and were met with a roaring fireplace and a darkly lit, dark wood interior. The individual sitting in a chair facing away from you, Lord Eshteross himself, a well-to-do, older orcish gentlemen, began to inquire as to what Bertrand's reason was for coming to his estate. And upon pitching yourselves as possible allies, hires, if you will, Lord Eshteross stood from his chair, turned to you all and said, essentially, "Show me." Then, clutching his cane, rushed you. So, that being the case, friends, I'd like you all to roll initiative.

TRAVIS: We're jumping in! (yelling)

LAURA: Straight up, straight up.

MATT: I'll be right back.

SAM: ♪ Straight up, now tell me ♪

MARISHA: Oh, shit.

SAM: Oh, the lights are changing. Matt is getting a map!

LAURA: Oh my god. This is immediate.

TRAVIS: That's fucking balls, anus. Shit! God! (oohing)

LIAM: Tiger skin rug!

TRAVIS: Tight quarters, tight quarters, tight quarters!

MATT: All righty, so.

LAURA: Poor Trinket!

MATT: You all are standing across on the opposite end.

MARISHA: Yes, why did I take this shit? I don't like doing close-quarters. Goddamn it.

SAM: She's a Spell Sniper.

LAURA: Uh-huh.

SAM: From four feet away.

LAURA: (laughs)

MARISHA: Laura's already seen how well that works.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

TRAVIS: Oh, he's right up on me? Oh no.

MARISHA: Oh shit.

TALIESIN: Well, at least I know who I'm standing in front of on occasion, so.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: We'll be fine.

MATT: So. 25 to 20?

LIAM: 22.

TALIESIN: 20.

MARISHA: 21.

LAURA: Oh jeez, jeez.

MATT: All righty! Out of the gate, not too bad.

TRAVIS: Orym, Laudna, Ashton.

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: I'm down.

MATT: 20 to 15?

LAURA: 19.

SAM: 18.

ASHLEY: 18.

TRAVIS: Dope.

ASHLEY: What's your dexterity?

SAM: Probably not that great. Zero? 10.

ASHLEY: I go first.

SAM: Oh, well.

ASHLEY: So, Ashton, then who?

TRAVIS: Letters.

LAURA: Then me. Imogen, Fearne, Letters.

TALIESIN: Imogen, Fearne, Letters?

TRAVIS: Imogen, Fearne, yeah, Letters.

MATT: All right, and who's left? All right, what do we got?

TRAVIS: Five.

ROBBIE: 14. (laughter)

TRAVIS: One of those is better than the other!

ROBBIE: That is true.

MATT: Dorian and Bertrand. Bert himself.

LAURA: Bertie.

MATT: All righty, friends.

TRAVIS: I'm in the fight!

MATT: So. The moment that you watch Lord Eshteross grit his teeth, his tusks firm under his lower lip, you can see the deep-set wrinkles under his eyes and the intensity of a person that's probably seen some combat, though his dark burgundy smoking robe seems to belie his very formalized and trained stance. He darts forward, but at the top is Orym, with Laudna on deck. What are you doing?

LIAM: Orym is going to rush forward and roll 10 feet directly in front of Sir Bertrand Bell.

MATT: Right there?

LIAM: Right there, pulling sword out as soon as he gets up to his feet, shield out and will say: We really don't have to do this. And I'm going to hold my action and strike at him if he rushes me or anyone behind me.

MATT: You got it. All right. That finishes your go, holding your action. Laudna, you're up, with Ashton on deck.

MARISHA: Wait, you just held your action?

LIAM: I'm "defending the group."

MARISHA: Oh. All right, I'll help with that. I'm going to cast Hex on him.

SAM: Yeah!

MATT: All righty.

SAM: On Orym.

MATT: He is indeed-- (laughter) (groaning)

MARISHA: Oh shit!

LIAM: (cutesy voice) Why?

MATT: That would be amazing. All right, he is-- I'll pull this out here, Hexed.

MARISHA: Just sending a cloud of black smoke and fog. And then I'm just going to go ahead and Eldritch Blast him, as well.

MATT: All righty, go for it. Roll for the attack.

SAM: You're a-- What are you? What are you?

MARISHA: You'll find out.

SAM: (Southern accent) Eldritch Blast.

MARISHA: (Mid-Atlantic accent) Eldritch Blast. For a 20.

MATT: 20 hits. Go ahead and roll damage.

MARISHA: Oh shit, what do I roll? What am I?

SAM: You'll find out.

ROBBIE: Taliesin Jaffe.

MARISHA: Nine, total.

MATT: Nine damage. Got it. As he's darting forward, and Orym stepping in the way, you see he begins to slow a bit, giving you a look over and as he does, (impact) hit in the shoulder. He's pushed back for a second and you can see a bit of dark energy spiral off and dissipate off the shoulder.

MARISHA: As the dark energy flies off, I yank it right back through him for Hex damage. Two points. (oohing)

MATT: Nice!

MARISHA: I did not forget how Hex works. Right? You get to add a d6 with Hex?

MATT: Yep, a d6 when you damage. That's correct.

MATT: Okay, okay.

LIAM: Orym sees that and goes: Oh, well, okay. (laughter)

MATT: Lord Eshteross goes, (laughs). He just chuckles. Are you staying put?

MARISHA: Can I get the furthest away in the room, ever? (laughter)

SAM: You're going to walk five feet.

MATT: Yeah, 10 feet that way? Or to the very back corner over here, if you want.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that looks good.

MATT: You're just hiding between the furniture. There you go.

LIAM: Prop yourself on the bookshelf.

MARISHA: Yeah, sink into the shadows.

TRAVIS: That's horrible. Terrible.

MATT: So Laudna's turn is done. Ashton, you're up.

TALIESIN: Oh, hell yes. I'm going to rage. I'm raging.

MATT: What's your dexterity?

TALIESIN: My dex is 15.

MATT: Go ahead and roll a d20 for me. (gasps)

TRAVIS: Why?

TALIESIN: 15.

MATT: 15? Hold that thought. Lord Eshteross had the same initiative as you. He's going to go a little bit before you do.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: He gives you a glance, and is going to-- He's going to go ahead and rush over this way.

SAM: Is he in range?

MATT: He is in range as he rushes past you, heading in the direction towards Bertrand Bell and/or Fearne over there.

LIAM: Okay. So this is-- First off, it's not a reaction, because I said I was going to attack as soon as he rushed?

MATT: Correct. Well, it uses your reaction to then use the attack.

LIAM: Okay. So would I be able to use Action Surge on this? Or only in a--

MATT: Action Surge is only on your turn.

LIAM: That's fine. So I'm going to use a maneuver. I'm going to try to disarm him. That is low.

TRAVIS: Take away that cane.

LIAM: That is-- sorry.

TRAVIS: I don't trust it!

LIAM: Where's all my stuff? Weird. All my weapons are not on my character sheet for some reason. But they're probably down on the paper. That's a 15 to hit. If I remember correctly.

MATT: 15 to hit? As you go ahead and swing your sword towards him, the cane comes back and you see sparks fly off as he immediately parries it to the side, the blade deflected.

TRAVIS: Oh shit.

MATT: The momentum carries. As soon as you react and look back, he's already gone.

LIAM: Got it.

MATT: And he is rushing over towards Bertrand and Fearne, over here.

LAURA: Oh god.

TRAVIS: More Fearne, though, right? (laughter)

MATT: And is immediately going to go ahead--

LIAM: I'm just waiting for the Fearne voice to come out of that beard.

ASHLEY: Oh, man. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Can I get you a Boilermaker?

MATT: Bonus action.

SAM: Bonus action?

MATT: Rush past both of you.

SAM: Oh!

TALIESIN: Uh-oh.

LAURA: No!

MATT: Towards the one that immediately struck him.

LAURA: No!

MATT: Kicking the chair over. You, Bertrand--

ASHLEY: Did you get an attack of--

MATT: Yeah, you both get reaction attacks of opportunity, if you want them.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: Opportunity attacks. Older editions.

TRAVIS: We're hitting him, right? Yeah, we're hitting him. Of course we are. Old friends of mine. That's anus. That's 12.

MATT: Going wide. He's a massive figure. Even with his age, he still manages to move with an incredible unexpected speed and all of a sudden, Laudna, as you duck into the corner and turn around, (whoosh) he's right there in front of you. And is going to go ahead and unleash a barrage of strikes with the cane.

SAM and TALIESIN: Oh no.

MATT: Natural one on the first one, though.

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: Hits the top of the edge of the desk and it splinters, wood flying wide, but it manages to deflect enough where you can duck out of the way. The second strike towards you. That's going to be a 15 to hit.

MARISHA: Shield.

SAM: Ooh.

MATT: As he goes for a second strike down towards you with the cane, this arcane barrier flashes and blasts off with a flash. And he goes, (laughs). He's going to spin around and make his third strike against you, Fearne.

SAM: Nice!

MATT: That is going to be a-- Does a 19 hit?

SAM: That's you, Travis.

ASHLEY: Me? Oh, I'm sorry. Yes. That hits. (laughter)

MARISHA: So like you.

TRAVIS: I touch my pecs all the time.

ASHLEY: Me? (laughter)

ROBBIE: Nice separation.

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's good.

MATT: 13 points of bludgeoning damage, as you get beaned right in the back of the skull, as you're turning over to try and figure out how he got out of your range so quickly. Whack! Everything goes white for a second. You hear that high-pitched whine, as you had your bell rung. Not you.

ASHLEY: Whoa!

MATT: That's going to go ahead and finish his turn for the moment. That brings us to--

ASHLEY: This feels weird.

MATT: -- Imogen, with Fearne on deck.

TALIESIN: Oh.

LAURA: Oh, okay.

TALIESIN: Um.

MATT: Oh, no, sorry. Ashton.

TALIESIN: I was about to say.

MATT: You're the same time as him, my bad.

TALIESIN: All right.

MATT: Sorry.

TALIESIN: Well, here we go. We're going to rage.

TRAVIS: Ragé!

TALIESIN: And we're raging. Ooh, this is going to be fun. Ashton begins to flicker a bit, with a blue image and a red image on either side that keep popping out a bit.

SAM: He's gone 3D!

TALIESIN: Yeah, a little bit.

MARISHA: Sick! Put on your glasses!

TALIESIN: So, I'm going to charge right in to see if I can get some flanking.

MATT: There is nowhere to flank. The only person that's currently adjacent to him are Laudna and Fearne, and they're both on opposite sides of him.

TALIESIN: Okay. Well, I'll get in as close to the bookcase as possible to just try and--

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

TALIESIN: I'll get there.

MATT: On the-- yeah.

TALIESIN: And then Reckless Attack. Because apparently, they're hard to hit. Yeah, that hits. I hope that hits. 27 to hit?

MATT: That definitely hits.

SAM: Dude!

TALIESIN: And I'm also going to put a Chaos Burst into this.

MATT: Certainly.

TALIESIN: So that's-- Seven, eight, nine, ten. That's 17 points of damage.

TRAVIS: Whoa!

TALIESIN: Plus.

TRAVIS: Chaos Burst.

TALIESIN: 17 points of damage, plus six points of lightning damage.

MATT: Nice!

TRAVIS: Fuck!

TALIESIN: Big spark comes right out of that hammer.

MATT: You see the arcs of energy spidering around his body. (grunts)

TALIESIN: I'm so excited. Hi. (laughter)

MATT: All right, does that finish your turn?

TALIESIN: Yep.

MATT: All right, now it is Imogen's turn, with Fearne on deck.

LAURA: Okay. I'm going to back up. What can I do? I'm going to back up across the room.

MATT: Across whereabouts?

LAURA: To the other side. To where, like, the bear rug-- I'm trying to get away from him.

SAM: It's Trinket!

MATT: That's as far as you can go.

LAURA: That's as far as I can go? I know. I'm going to stand on Trinket. (laughter)

MATT: Oh no!

LAURA: And I'm going to open up my mind to all of the sounds that are filling my head and I'm going to send it over to him and I'm going to cast Dissonant Whispers.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: Try to overwhelm him.

MATT: Is that a wisdom--

LAURA: That's a wisdom saving throw.

MATT: All righty. That is going to be a failure on his part.

LAURA: So that's 3d6 of psychic damage.

MATT: Slick!

LAURA: Oh, shit!

SAM: Nice.

LAURA: 11, 15 points of psychic--

MATT: 15 points of damage. Nice!

SAM: This fool dead.

MATT: And what else does it do? Dissonant Whispers?

LAURA: Oh, that does do things, doesn't it?

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Oh, if it's available-- Let's see. "It must immediately use its reaction to move as far as its speed allows away from you. If the creature doesn't move into obviously dangerous grounds, such as a fire or pit. On a successful save--" But you didn't save, so it doesn't matter.

MATT: Yeah. He's pretty far from you. He can move further into that corner, if you'd like.

SAM: Just smush up against Laudna.

MARISHA: The other way. The other way!

SAM: (as Eshteross) Excuse me.

LAURA: Whichever way. It says farthest away from me. It's basically afraid of me.

TALIESIN: Can I take an attack of opportunity?

LAURA: Sorry, sorry.

MATT: Forced movement? does not trigger--

TALIESIN: I didn't know if that's--

MATT: Unless it specifies in the spell directly, it would not trigger that.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: So as you release the extent of these creeping whispers that normally hint around the periphery of your perspective at any given point in time, and thrust them out to his mindscape, you watch him (groans) duck and slam his shoulder into the wall and is now pushed into the far corner of the room, barely visible in the dark shadows of the chamber. Does that finish your turn?

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: All righty. Finishing Laudna's go, it is now Fearne's go.

LAURA: Oh, wait!

MATT: Yeah?

LAURA: Can I use my bonus action? This is probably not going to do much, but I'll use my bonus action to move Laudna five feet away from him, so she can get away without triggering his opportunity--

MATT: Unfortunately, the way that she and him are placed, he has completely locked her in that corner.

LAURA: Fuck. I should have done that before. I'm sorry.

MARISHA: No, I'm fine.

ASHLEY: You're in that corner with him?

TALIESIN: Oh yeah.

LAURA: Okay, she's locked in. I'm sorry, Laudna.

LIAM: Caster in the corner.

MARISHA: It's all right.

MATT: Fresh Cut Grass, you're up.

SAM: Fearne's up.

MATT: Sorry, Fearne's up, and then--

ASHLEY: That's me!

MATT: -- Fresh Cut Grass, that's right.

ASHLEY: Okay. So I'm going to turn around.

SAM: Oh boy. Go Cowboys. (laughter)

TRAVIS: [Inaudible] Cowboys!

ASHLEY: I'm going to say: I really don't like hurting an old man. (laughter) But I will. And I'm going to produce a Flame Blade in my hand and try to stab him right in the gut.

MATT: Okay. (laughter)

MATT: Flame Blade, that's a bonus action to cast that, correct?

ASHLEY: It is.

MATT: So this large arched blade of fire emerges from your hand as you then-- To strike him, you'd have to move in.

ASHLEY: That's fine.

LIAM: Oh boy.

TRAVIS: I have so much protein intake to live up to.

ASHLEY: Okay. Okay.

TALIESIN: This Popeye reboot is definitely taking liberties.

ASHLEY: Let's take this. Oh wow. Okay, that's great. 19.

MATT: 19? He-- No, he used his reaction. So yeah, that hits. Go ahead.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: He used his reaction to move, so he does not get a reaction.

ASHLEY: That's 3d6. Okay.

SAM: Pretty good!

ASHLEY: 12 points of damage.

MATT: Nice.

ASHLEY: Let's see. Let me see if I can do this as well. No, I cannot. That's it.

MATT: All righty.

ASHLEY: That's all I'm going to do.

MATT: You got it. Fresh Cut Grass, you're up.

SAM: Fresh Cut Grass!

MATT: Unless you want to move.

ASHLEY: Does he get an attack of opportunity?

MATT: He's used his reaction, because he ran.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Yes, yes, yes. I'll back up a little bit.

MATT: Okay, how far?

ASHLEY: Yeah, around that--

MATT: Around there?

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: You got it, okay. Finishing Fearne's go. Now you're up.

SAM: All right. Fresh Cut Grass is within 30 feet of everybody, right?

MATT: Seems to be, yeah.

SAM: Okay. I think I'm just going to help everybody out a little bit and cast Bless on Ashton, because they are, you know, important to me. And then maybe on Laudna, because she seems like she's in a little bit of a pickle. And on Fearne, because she's just amazing. And I'll just yell to them: Be optimistic! Of all the -isms, optimism is the most optimistic! (laughter)

SAM: And then I'll roll towards Orym a little bit, I guess. And then, if I can use my bonus action to start arming my grappling cannon?

MATT: That's an action to do that.

SAM: Oh, it's an action to do it. All right. I'll just get it out and ready.

MATT: Okay. So, you start working on getting that situated. Finishing your go, it is now Dorian and then Bertrand. What you got going on, buddy?

ROBBIE: I'm before Laudna? Oh yeah, you already went, that's right. I am going to--

MARISHA: I hate that feeling, too.

ROBBIE: And he's backed right there? I am just going to close the distance in between him and I'll get right behind him, I believe.

MATT: All right, so you're now closing the distance and pincering him. Moving next to Ashton. And he is now between you and Laudna in the corner.

ROBBIE: Mm-hmm, yeah. Behind me, where I've got my lutes, I twist a little thing at the top, right by where the tuning things are, and I pull out my Moon-Touched Scimitar.

MATT: Slick.

SAM: M.T.S.

ROBBIE: I'm going to take a big upward strike at his back.

MATT: Go for it.

ROBBIE: Not great. Ah, yeah, that's going to be 11.

MATT: 11, unfortunately--

ROBBIE: Whifferoo!

ASHLEY: Is he flanked?

MATT: You go to swing and unfortunately, with all the furniture in the way and him pushing against the way, clutching his head from the Dissonant Whispers that are currently rocketing through his mind, he manages to push his arm out, right as you go to strike, and it hits you in the wrist and deflects the attack.

ROBBIE: All right. Well, second time's the charm! And I'll use my bonus action for two-handed fighting and I'll pop out my handaxe and give it another whack.

MATT: You got it.

ROBBIE: Sheesh! Very bad. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Stick to performance!

TRAVIS: Is this your thing?

ROBBIE: That's a 13. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: 13. The second strike, you come around and all of a sudden, as you're coming around with the large arc with your axe, catches your wrist, not even looking at you, and turns back.

TRAVIS: Boss move.

LAURA: Oh no.

ROBBIE: Everyone else was fighting. I'm sorry! (laughter)

MATT: All right, that finishes Dorian's go. Bertrand, you're up, with Orym on deck at the top of the next round.

TRAVIS: I'll see him catch the handaxe and be like: Yes, you're all doing very well! Show him what Bertrand Bell and His Sorcerous Swords have to offer! And I'll just very jauntily make my way towards the fireplace. (laughter)

TRAVIS: And I don't know if there's whiskey or brandy anywhere, but I'll just post my elbow up on the mantle and offer encouraging words.

SAM: He's just getting cold because he's an old man. (laughter)

TRAVIS: You're doing well!

MATT: There is indeed a bottle of half-drunken brandy there on one of the side shelves you can grab and start-- (laughter)

MATT: Nerves of steel, that one. (laughter)

MATT: All right, is that your turn?

TRAVIS: That's it!

MATT: You got it. You're up.

LIAM: Orym watches that and just goes (sighs), and then turns and Orym makes a diagonal straight at the bookshelf and leaps and clings to a bookshelf and hangs from it and slashes down on his weapon.

MATT: You've got it.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

LIAM: I'm going to try to Disarm again.

ASHLEY: Look at the frog!

LIAM: That hits. That's a 22 to hit?

MATT: 22 hits.

LIAM: Okay. So that is eight plus-- 14 damage and he has to make a strength save.

MATT: All righty.

TRAVIS: Party all in that corner.

MATT: That would be a 19.

LIAM: Oh, he saves. So Action Surge.

MATT: Strong dude.

LIAM: I've just slashed down and now I'm going to try to knock it back up with the second swing.

MATT: You got it.

SAM: ♪ Knock it back up ♪

LIAM: That is a 19 to hit?

MATT: That definitely hits.

LIAM: Okay. Same deal. Two. Oh. Three plus-- (thinking noises) It's just an eight damage, but it's the same strength save.

MATT: Got it. That is going to be a 15.

LIAM: Still holds on to his weapon.

MATT: Good try, though.

TRAVIS: Good try! (laughter)

LIAM: And he's just hanging, going: (laughs nervously) Sorry. That's the end.

MATT: That finishes your go. Laudna, you're up.

SAM: Ah!

MARISHA: Yeah. Pretty much. Taking the Dissonant Whispers that Imogen just produced, I'm going to take that and magnify it and just say: Imogen! And I'm going to unhinge my jaw and it appears like my skin starts sucking deeper into my face as black pours out of it and my eyes go black. And I'm going to do Unsettling Presence on him as I reach out for his throat, as my bones crick.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Ew.

ASHLEY: I love it.

MATT: That is a what save?

MARISHA: It's--

MATT: Is that wisdom?

MARISHA: Yes. Hang on. I was just looking at it, and I wish I would've had--

TRAVIS: Do you also whisper, "Seven days"? (laughter)

MARISHA: He just hears, (whispering) "Imogen, Imogen, Imogen." It is-- Shit, I'm sorry.

MATT: I'm pretty sure it's a wisdom save on that one.

MARISHA: I think it is, too. "As an action, you can unsettle a creature within-- target-- -- within 15 feet. The target has disadvantage on the saving throw it makes in the next--"

SAM and MARISHA: It doesn't say.

MATT: Oh, so you use the action and it gives him that?

MARISHA: I guess so.

MATT: That might be it.

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: All right. Yeah, so you use your action. Okay.

MARISHA: So he has disadvantage on the next saving throw he makes.

MATT: Saving throw he makes. But that is your action.

MARISHA: Yes, that's it. That's it.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: That's all I got.

MATT: Yeah, you can't really move either.

MARISHA: Nope.

MATT: All right. That finishes your go. It's now Lord Eshteross' turn.

TALIESIN: Ooh, constitution saving throw. I've got Temporal Morass going.

MATT: Oh yeah, that's right.

TALIESIN: Yep.

MARISHA and SAM: What is that?

SAM: Who knows?

LIAM: That's just 2021, you guys.

TRAVIS: You have it going?

TALIESIN: Disadvantage.

MATT: Disadvantage, that's right. Because of that.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: Rolled higher, so that it makes him 14.

TALIESIN: Oh, fuck.

TRAVIS: What is "morass"?

TALIESIN: 13 is the save.

MATT: Yeah, so he saves.

TALIESIN: Fuck.

SAM: It's a Temporal Morass.

MARISHA: Oh, he sucked the saving throw? Fuck!

MATT: Unfortunately.

TALIESIN: Sorry.

MATT: There's a weird blur around him, almost like time seems to shift to a slower phase before it ramps back up to where he is, angry.

TALIESIN: Dick!

MATT: Yeah. For his turn, glancing up at the hacking from above, he's going to go ahead and do a cane sweep on you.

TRAVIS: Watch out!

SAM: Ooh.

MATT: Ooh! It's a 24 to hit.

LIAM: Yeah, that probably hits.

MATT: This is with one hand.

LIAM: Oh dear.

MATT: So it does a little less damage. Oh, but he rolled pretty well. 11 points of bludgeoning damage. And I need you to make a strength saving throw.

LIAM: Oh, that'll go well. (laughter)

LIAM: That's a 12, even.

MATT: 12? Fail. He takes the cane and bats your legs out from under you up on top of the bookcase. You hear a crack in where your knee cap is, and as you begin to lose your balance, you feel a hand reach up and grab your chest and throw you onto the ground where he is.

TRAVIS: Oh, fuck!

ASHLEY: No, no, no, no!

MATT: You are on the ground at the feet of Laudna and Lord Eshteross. At which point, he takes both hands on his cane and is going to take a strike--

LAURA: No!

MATT: -- with advantage on you because you are prone.

LIAM: Yeah, get it. Get it.

MARISHA: Oh man.

MATT: That is going to be a 26 to hit.

LIAM: For sure.

TALIESIN: Sheesh!

SAM: What a beast!

MARISHA: I'm not sure if this is going well.

MATT: You take--

LIAM: I am the littlest punching bag.

MATT: -- 14 points of bludgeoning damage as it hits you right in the sternum. You feel the air get knocked out of your chest as you're on the ground. He's going to pick it back up, look back at you, Laudna--

SAM: Before that happens, I'm going to use Transfer Suffering and take half of that hit.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: I'll absorb that onto myself.

LIAM: 14 halved?

MATT: You take seven back and you have seven temporary hit points at the moment.

SAM: (yelling) That hurt.

MATT: All righty. With that, he's going to go ahead and third strike--

LAURA: Three hits?

MATT: Noticing the impact there, frustratedly growl and is going to make one more strike on you on the ground, because that one didn't do as much as he wanted. With advantage, and he's got it there. That'll be 19 to hit?

LIAM: Hits.

TALIESIN: Fuck!

MATT: You take 11 points of bludgeoning damage.

TALIESIN: Oh!

MATT: Bonus action. He's going to do Second Wind. So he managed and was like (panting).

MARISHA: Second Wind! He's a fucking fighter!

MATT: You see him begin to get himself fired up once more. And the impacts and the damage and the windedness of his just first round of combat begins to fade a little bit.

LIAM: Orym is looking dazed as fuck.

TALIESIN: Yeah, wow.

MATT: He's now going to Action Surge--

TALIESIN: What?!

SAM: This guy.

MATT: -- and look towards you, Laudna. Natural 20. (sounds of shock)

ROBBIE: Yikes.

TRAVIS: Matt, calm down! Calm down, this is episode two! (laughter)

LIAM: Somebody get Laura a doughnut. She's out of control! (laughter)

TRAVIS: The hangry is out of control!

MATT: So five doubled to 10 plus four, so 14 points of bludgeoning damage to you as you just-- It hits you upside the head and pushes you into the wall, smashing your head against the wood and you just see nothing but darkness for a minute beyond just the visual perspective of it.

MARISHA: You see like a black ink just smear across the wall.

MATT: He's going to spin back and do a strike behind, towards you, Dorian, who he can feel right behind him.

LIAM: This guy is a high level.

MATT: That's going to be 21 to hit.

ROBBIE: That definitely hits.

MATT: Eh, you take nine points of bludgeoning damage as it hits you in the shoulder, and almost knocks you to the ground with the blast, but you catch yourself there. Ooh, that stings. And the final strike is going to swing with that same momentum up and try and bring it down into the middle of your shoulders.

SAM: Good gravy.

MATT: That's going to be a 17 to hit.

ROBBIE: For sure.

MATT: (laughs) Oh! (laughter)

ROBBIE: I don't like that.

TRAVIS: That's a terrible sound!

MATT: Sorry. Double sixes on that. So that's going to be--

LAURA: Double sixes?

MATT: -- 16 points of bludgeoning damage to you.

ROBBIE: And with the force of that impact, it knocks me out cold.

SAM: Oh no!

MATT: Wham! Dorian just falls to the ground unmoving.

SAM: Oh boy.

TALIESIN: Anybody got a--

LAURA: What the fuck is going on?

MATT: And with that space now free, Lord Eshteross begins to step over his body and move.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah! (laughs) How fucking cold!

ROBBIE: Smudges my cape.

TRAVIS: Step over the door, Matt.

MATT: He does move out of your combat range.

LAURA: And doesn't Laudna get an attack, too?

MATT: Laudna does get an attack of opportunity if you want to take it.

LIAM: Mine, too!

MATT: You are prone, so--

LIAM: I can still hit, though, right?

MATT: Yeah, you can, you have disadvantage on the strike.

MARISHA: I need War Caster up in here. Why did I take Spell Sniper?

SAM: It'll come in handy in 20 episodes.

ROBBIE: In the corner, wedged in the corner. Pew pew!

TALIESIN: You need some spider shoes.

MARISHA: I almost took them.

SAM: You get an attack, though.

MATT: You get a physical attack.

SAM: A physical attack.

MARISHA: This is going to be funny. Watch this.

TALIESIN: I'm so excited.

SAM: Remember that you're Blessed.

MARISHA: Great, I rolled a six.

TALIESIN: Add a d4.

MARISHA: Oh, I'm sorry-- (laughter)

MATT: What'd you roll?

MARISHA: With a three, a nine--

LIAM: A 20.

MARISHA: -- and my strength is--

MATT: 20? Yeah, that hits.

MARISHA: -- minus three, so that brings it back down to six.

MATT: Okay. (laughter) So you hear a move and you strike out, but your vision is still gone and you just flail out into the middle of the air, not realizing that he's already stepped away. Orym does strike from the ground, with an open arc.

LIAM: He's in a daze and sees him start to go and just takes his blade and goes (grunts) and shoves it down into his foot, into the floor. I rolled damage, 16, and that is a Goading Attack. He has to make a wisdom save.

MATT: Ooh, 16 damage?

LIAM: Yes.

MATT: Slick!

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's real good.

MATT: That's great. All right. And what was the save? Was it a wisdom save?

LIAM: 14 wisdom save.

MATT: Does not make it!

LIAM: So that was a Goading Attack. If he tries to attack anyone but me, he gets disadvantage.

TRAVIS: And if he pulls his foot out, he's going to rip through the--

MATT: Well, he does (ripping)--

TRAVIS and ROBBIE: (scream)

MATT: -- continue walking, because he steps out of your range. He just keeps going, and the blade, you feel tear out. There's now a big tear in the leather of his boot.

TRAVIS: He turned his foot into a hoof.

MATT: You can see now it's leaving these little pools of red behind, as he steps over Dorian and makes his way over towards where Fearne is, keeping between both Fearne and Ashton.

TALIESIN: I was about to say, do I get advantage now?

MATT: You would, if you stay put in your position.

TALIESIN: I'm going to stay in my position.

MATT: That's going to finish his turn. Ashton, you're up, with Imogen on deck.

TALIESIN: All right. Taking a big swing,

TRAVIS: Chronic Blast, Chaos... Bubble.

LIAM: Messy fight.

ROBBIE: Brutal.

TALIESIN: You've got to be fucking kidding me, really? Eight (counting) 15 to hit?

MATT: 15 does not hit.

TALIESIN: I had a funny feeling.

MATT: You swing the hammer and you just--

SAM: You're Blessed.

TALIESIN: I know.

SAM: Oh, okay.

MATT: Yeah. You go to swing the hammer and he just, looking back over his shoulder, barely moves his head and it (whoosh), whiffs past it.

TALIESIN: Come on, fucker. Come on. What you got, what you got! And I'm going to start scooting to the other side of Fearne over there.

MATT: Over here?

TALIESIN: Yeah. Yep, yep. Right there. Next to Fearne.

MATT: Next to Fearne?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I just want to be able to give some coverage.

SAM: I love how you were trash talking as you were running away.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah! (laughter)

MATT: What're you gonna do!

ROBBIE: Hold me back! Hold me back!

SAM: Please, please someone hold me back. (laughter)

MATT: That's amazing. As you shout this and work around, you can see in his eyes, this like-- gives this nod. There's like a weird meeting of enjoying this.

TALIESIN: I'm ready. I'm fucking ready.

MATT: All righty. Finishing Ashton's go. That brings it to Imogen, with Fearne on deck.

LAURA: After seeing what he did to Laudna, Imogen's eyes flash white, and her hands start to flicker brighter. And she's just going to reach out her hand and I'm going to cast Witch Bolt--

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: -- straight at his heart.

MATT: Go for it.

LAURA: At level two.

MATT: At level two?! All right, go ahead and roll an attack on that.

LAURA: 17?

MATT: 17 hits? Yeah. No, that-- He can't do that. So yeah, that hits, go ahead and roll damage.

LIAM: Ooh, pretty good.

LAURA: Okay. What's that, 17 points?

MATT: Woo! Slick! As he is currently now facing down Ashton from right there. He's got the semi-bloodied, metallic cane in both of his hands. He looks over his shoulder just in time to hear the crackling as the arc of energy blasts into his chest. (groans) And as it's like, you could see the energy swirling and crackling through. And it leaves that anchor in his body.

LAURA: Yeah. It's just staying there, being lightning damage.

MATT: Hell yeah. (grunts) He smiles at you. All righty. You going to stay put?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: All right. Finishing Imogen's turn, Fearne, you're up, with Fresh Cut Grass on deck.

ASHLEY: Okay, so I'm going saunter over to him. Just a little bit of a saunter and--

MATT: Staying where you are, or moving around?

ASHLEY: I'm going to move closer to him.

MATT: You are right up against him.

ASHLEY: Oh, I am! Okay, great.

MATT: But you can move around this way--

ASHLEY: No, no, no. I'll just stay. I'm in arms length, to touch him?

MATT: You are. He does have a little bit of cover because of the edge of the desk is right there. So if you're looking to do any melee against him, you might want to shift away from the desk. Otherwise, it's going to give him a little bit of a benefit.

ASHLEY: Okay. Yeah. I'll shift around.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: And I'm just going to put my hand on his chest and I'm going to cast Burning Hands.

MATT: Oh, shit.

TALIESIN: Delicate.

SAM: Your cleavage is amazing!

ASHLEY: I know. (laughter) It's like you've got a butt.

LIAM: Make them dance, Travis, make them dance. (oohs and ahs)

TRAVIS: That's what the look like, for sure.

MATT: Knowing Burning Hands and the range of it, you'd probably move a little further, so just to not catch Laudna in it.

ASHLEY: Oh, she's in that corner.

MATT: So right there will catch--

ASHLEY: I don't want to hurt anybody, so--

MATT: Yeah, figured that'd be the case.

ASHLEY: I don't want to hurt anybody else.

MATT: So as you move around and then (roaring fire) release this blast of intense, fiery energy, that just burns past his chest, incinerates all the papers and books on the desk behind him, in the back of the wall, there's like a little banner that begins to curl up and burn. He, with a four, does not make his dexterity saving throw, so it does full damage.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LIAM: (as Eshteross) That's my taxes. (laughter)

MATT: You're not that far off, actually.

LIAM: Four months work.

SAM: I just filed for an LLC.

ASHLEY: 14 points of damage.

MATT: 14 point of fire damage, nice.

ASHLEY: And--

ROBBIE: Stupid.

ASHLEY: -- let me see if I can do this one last thing.

TRAVIS: [Inaudible] is such a pain in my ass. (laughter)

LIAM: Did you save any gas receipts? (laughter)

ASHLEY: As a bonus action--

MATT: Yes.

ASHLEY: -- I'm going to whisper some sweet nothings into my staff and wake up my little snakes.

MATT: Okay. So the staff top suddenly begins to curl and you watch the snake head looking to separate from the wood you're holding. All righty.

ASHLEY: Great.

MATT: Does that finish your turn?

ASHLEY: That finishes my turn.

MATT: All right. Fresh Cut Grass, you're up.

SAM: Let's get our friend back.

MARISHA: This is the sexiest Travis has ever been. "That'll finish my turn."

SAM: I'll start by casting Healing Word on Dorian.

MATT: Okay, you got it. I got to roll for that.

MATT: Yes, you do.

SAM: First level, yeah. That's a four plus three is seven.

MATT: So Dorian, you come back to consciousness, face down on the ground with seven hit points.

TRAVIS: Yeah, baby.

SAM: I got you.

ROBBIE: Thank you.

SAM: And then action, I'll complete putting on my grappling cannon. Cannot use it though, correct? Not yet.

MATT: No, you have it attached now. You'd be able to.

SAM: On this turn?

MATT: On this turn, yeah.

SAM: Oh. Okay. Well, then I'll fire-- Well, shit. How far away am I from this fellow?

MATT: Sorry. I misunderstood. It's an action to attach it. So you take your action to do so.

SAM: Great. Then that's it. Then I'll just sort of-- I'll just wheel back and forth. (high-pitched buzzing)

MATT: You got it.

TALIESIN: We're going to need you for this one in a minute.

SAM: Yeah, I'm ready.

MATT: That finishes your turn. Dorian, you are up.

ROBBIE: I just came to, and Orym, you're lying right next to me?

LIAM: Hey.

ROBBIE: Hey! This isn't going great, is it?

LIAM: No, we should probably stand up.

ROBBIE: Yep, hold on a second, wait. I'm going to logroll over to him. (laughter) And just slap my hand on his shoulder and cast level two Cure Wounds.

MATT: Nice!

LAURA: You're on the ground and healing him, that's so sweet!

MATT: That's what real healers do.

ROBBIE: Eight. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

LAURA: (as Robbie) Yeah, I'm so good.

ROBBIE: Eight total. Yeah.

MATT: That's awesome. All righty.

TALIESIN: Double digits.

MATT: You can use your movement to get up if you wanted to.

ROBBIE: Yeah, I am going to use my movement to slowly get to my feet and rattle loose the cobwebs, and that's it for me.

MATT: You got it. All right, finishing Dorian's go. Bertrand, you are up. Orym on deck.

TRAVIS: Ah yes, that's excellent teamwork, I see. Well done. And I'll start walking back towards Imogen--

MARISHA: Look at the closeup of Bertrand. (laughter)

ROBBIE: By himself at the fireplace.

MARISHA: Just sipping a beer.

TRAVIS: I see you. Well done. I'll unsheathe my Gambler's Blade and I'll take my snifter of scotch and I'll throw it at the burning Eshteross.

MATT: Okay!

TRAVIS: Just a-- (glass breaking)

MATT: Go ahead and roll a d20 and your strength bonus.

TRAVIS: Oh, that's not actually terrible. Natural one. (laughter)

TRAVIS: It's all about a group effort! (laughter)

MATT: There's a dull thud on the back of your head, Fearne, and then a strange wetness begins to creep down the back of your shoulders. It's an odd sensation. You hear the shattering of glass at the same time and glance over your shoulder to see Bertrand Bell, standing there at the end of a large arc throw.

TRAVIS: You got this!

ASHLEY: Did you just... throw your glass at the back of my head?

TRAVIS: Who?

ASHLEY: Who?

TRAVIS: Eyes on the prize!

MATT: Okay. (laughs) Top of the round. Orym, you're up. Laudna, you're on deck.

LIAM: Okay, Orym is going to push himself up, wipe a bunch of blood off of his face, and walk 15 feet over in front of this guy.

MATT: He can get right there, yeah.

LIAM: Truce? Nah? And I'm going to try to slash the weapon out of his hand again.

MATT: Go for it.

LIAM: That's a 22 to hit.

MATT: That hits.

LIAM: That is nine plus six is 15 points of damage and it's a strength save, 14.

MATT: Natural 19. (groaning)

MARISHA: Damn this guy.

LIAM: And I just grind my back heel into the ground and wait.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: That's it.

MATT: That finishes your go. Laudna, you're up.

MARISHA: All right, really pissed as my head is smashed into the plaster. So you're just going to see-- It almost looks like Laudna's shoulder just pops out of socket--

TRAVIS: No.

MARISHA: -- as she cracks her head out, crawl out of the wall. I'm going to do my Form of Dread, so as I am crawling out of the wall, I start to stretch unnaturally. The black veil comes over. More black starts to pour out of my face. I get temporary hit points. New character, who dis? Hang on. Whoa. That's good. Das good. Oh. Plus two, so that's 11 temporary hit points. And then, okay. I'm just going to go big on an Eldritch Blast.

MATT: All righty.

TALIESIN: You have a d4 on you.

LIAM: I meant to say--

MARISHA: Oh, yes I do.

LIAM: What's the bonus action? I'll get back to you.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: 22.

MATT: 22? That does hit.

MARISHA: All right, and then I do an extra--

LIAM: Second Wind for a bonus. Is that okay?

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: Thank you.

TALIESIN: So good.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm. Okay. That is 12 plus another four, 16 damage.

MATT: 16.

MARISHA: And he has to make a wisdom saving throw.

MATT: Well, actually, because you had Hex on him earlier, go ahead and make concentration check for me. Before the extra damage goes through.

MARISHA: I'm good, I rolled a 14.

MATT: You're fine. Okay. Yeah. So that takes 14 points of damage on that strike. Blasted again from the other shoulder. Now you can see bits of the robe are burnt and frayed. He's taken slash marks and strikes. He's bleeding from the boot. Does that finish your turn?

MARISHA: Yeah. I just smear a black tear across my face.

MATT: He's glancing at you out of the corner of the eye after the impact.

MATT: It is now his turn.

SAM: Oh boy.

TALIESIN: Oh, constitution save.

MATT: That's true.

SAM: 17 attacks.

MATT: 19.

TALIESIN: God, fucker.

MATT: I know, he's rolling well.

ROBBIE: Wow.

MATT: It's got a high constitution, yo. He takes the cane in both hands, grabs the head of it with his left hand, slams it into the ground next to him and goes, "Enough! Enough!" And begins to walk past Fearne, back towards the chair across the room.

SAM: Oh.

TALIESIN: Is it my turn?

MATT: It's your turn.

TALIESIN: Let's throw a knife at Bertrand.

MATT: Go for it. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Reckless. Not that I need it necessarily, and I have a d4 to add to that. (counting) 16 to hit.

TRAVIS: Yeah, hits.

TALIESIN: Okay, cool. (laughter)

TALIESIN: How many feet away are you?

MATT: He would be from you, currently, 20 feet.

LIAM: In range.

TALIESIN: All right. 25, technically.

TALIESIN: That's (counting) seven points of damage. And there's a knife sticking in you.

TRAVIS: Enough everyone, enough-- (yells) (laughter)

TALIESIN: Hey, look, you participated! Cool!

MATT: As you're reacting to that, Lord Eshteross walks past and puts a hand on your shoulder and goes (laughs) and he just pushes you out of his way. Steps over, back to his chair, turns around. (grunts) (grunts) (sighs) "All right, all right. Thank you. Bertrand, you surprise me. Your companions have some skill. That is one thing. Where does your spirit lie?" He sits back in his chair and places the cane in the center and leans back, adjusting his shoulders a bit. "(grunts) Come, closer."

LAURA: I drop the Witch Bolt.

MATT: The energy disperses from where it's held.

MARISHA: Is he afraid of me? From where I hit him? He's got to make a wisdom saving throw--

MATT: Oh, that's right.

MARISHA: -- or be feared for a minute? So I just wondered--

MATT: So he sits in the chair and tells everyone to come, and just keeps looking nervously over at you. (laughter)

MATT: He's unnerved by you. (laughs)

TALIESIN: Fucking dope.

MATT: Does everyone approach?

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: I'm going to hang back by Laudna.

MARISHA: I probably shouldn't.

TALIESIN: Back row. Back row kid.

LIAM: I'll walk up.

MARISHA: Technically, I think if I approach him, he would have to move away again. It would be very weird.

ASHLEY: I'm going to walk over and I'm going to sit on the bear rug and I'm going to just pet my snake heads and listen.

MATT: Very well. So everyone's gathering up except for Laudna and Imogen?

LAURA: I'm going to lean against one of the bookshelves and just hang back by her.

MATT: Okay.

ROBBIE: I'll walk over by Fearne and sit down Indian style, cross leg, sit next to her.

MATT: You got it.

ROBBIE: Like kindergarten story time.

TALIESIN: I'm about halfway between the group in back and the group in forward and just going to sit on the hammer.

MATT: Okay. For everyone who's immediately in the proximity, he adjusts the top of the cane that he has, the small spherical apex of it. And there's this very faint warmth that just briefly emanates within a 15-foot area around him, which would encompass all of you, except for the two of you on the opposite side of the room. I need you all to make wisdom saving throw for me, except for those two. Sorry, a charisma saving throw.

TRAVIS: Charisma saving throw.

TRAVIS: 11.

MATT: 11.

ROBBIE: 15.

MATT: All right.

SAM: 22.

MATT: All righty.

ASHLEY: Is this a magical...?

MATT: It is.

ASHLEY: So I have advantage against spells and other magical effects?

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Some of us add a d4 to this, too. Because Bless is still up.

SAM: Oh yeah.

ASHLEY: 23.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Two.

TALIESIN: Five.

MATT: Okay. You don't have to worry about it, you don't have to worry about it. The rest of you feel some strange, hard to describe energy. Just faint sense. Like something's watching, it's hard to express, but Lord Eshteross leans forward now on the edge of the cane. "(coughs) So you're here for work, yes?"

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: "Is that all? Just coin?"

SAM: I think that that's our immediate goal. That's right? That's what Sir Bertrand Bell brought us here for.

TRAVIS: Yes, they had to, obviously, show their talent and I thought not only a chance to earn some coin, perhaps you could provide some connections throughout the city, as you are wont to do.

SAM: But if you're asking what are our longer-term goals, that's something that I'm really curious about as well. If y'all wanted to talk about it, we can sit down and one at a time, talk about what we want to do with ourselves and where we are in our lives.

TALIESIN: I think they're saying, what else you got?

MATT: "What else have I got?"

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: "These are challenging times in the Wilds. Terrible things happen to good people and much of the Quorum promises protection or justice. They meet expectations with excuses. The Ivory Syndicate moves nearly unimpeded through Jrusar and the great Honored Trails of the jungle, further tightening their grip on the fine people of this region. And this is just the social struggles. Rumors of darker, deadlier things, hide on the outskirts of these whispered streets, dangers both ancient and new creep up in the jungles surrounding. Even the further townships, where protection is a luxury. So what do I have to offer? Well, employment, for those who want to do something about it. I'm not interested in common sellswords."

LAURA: What about introductions? We're looking for someone to introduce us to the Starlight Conservatory, maybe.

MATT: "I didn't take you for the bookish type."

LAURA: I'm leaning on a bookshelf.

MATT: "So you are. Hmm." Wipes a little blood from the corner of the mouth and leans back into the chair a bit. "I do have connections, yes. But you have to earn one's favor for such a grace to be given. Why do you wish to go to this Conservatory?"

LAURA: They got books. I'm looking for answers.

MATT: "Thirst for knowledge, very well. You, small one. What are you trying to do?"

LIAM: Trying to get the lay of the land around here, for starters. What kind of work specifically are you talking about?

MATT: "I've worked with many mercenaries. I once was one a lifetime ago. Before Mistress Prudaj entrusted her estate to me when she passed."

TALIESIN: Can I do an insight check?

MATT: Sure, what are you curious about? If he's telling the truth on that point?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: Was it past? What is that roll again? It's been too long. Insight.

MATT: Insight, yeah.

TALIESIN: 11.

MATT: 11? I mean, he's practiced being dodgy, but he-- It's hard to tell how forthright he's being.

TALIESIN: That's fair. Thank you.

MATT: "There are many in this city that want to do right by the people of it. I'm too old to be as much of a frontline hand, but I'm willing to put my resources behind those who have a like mind and heart."

LIAM: To do right by this place.

MATT: "Yes."

LIAM: Insight check. Natural 20. (cheering)

LAURA and MARISHA: Whisper!

MARISHA: We got whispers!

SAM: Guys, Gargoyles was a TV show, and now it's a game.

ROBBIE: Keith David starred in it.

MARISHA: Yes! Fucking great.

ROBBIE: Fantastic.

MARISHA: Gargoyles was awesome.

TRAVIS: Gargoyles changed the game, man.

SAM: To play Gargoyles the game--

ROBBIE: Thom Adcox was great in that as well.

SAM: Robbie's here all night to give you the voice acting--

LIAM: That was so good to happen.

TRAVIS: You got a whisper for the first time this campaign!

LIAM: First one in two years!

LAURA: Oh my god.

LIAM: Ah! Okay.

MATT: "I have many contacts across the city, across Marquet, even. And hear of many places where people cry out for help unheard. So I seek individuals that can do these deeds in my stead. Offer guidance, protection, or at least be my eyes and ears in the greater world. Doing this kind of work as long as I have tends to make some enemies. So it's safest I stay here, and those that work for me make no mention of it."

ASHLEY: He did--

MARISHA: And this-- You beat me to it.

ASHLEY: Oh.

MARISHA: I like you.

ASHLEY: Oh, thank you. I really just think you're so lovely.

MARISHA: I think you are, too.

ASHLEY: Just everything, I love it.

MARISHA: Oh, fabulous. You work with him often?

MATT: "Not in some time."

TRAVIS: My Lord. He sees so many people. I only came to you because you demonstrated ability.

MATT: "This braggadocious warrior was indeed once under my employ. Before he abandoned his troop mid-mission."

ROBBIE: What happened to his troop?

MATT: "One fell. The others left."

MARISHA: Tragic.

TRAVIS: Unfortunate.

TALIESIN: Shit happens.

SAM: That must've been very hard for you.

MATT: "It does indeed happen."

TALIESIN: So we're not the first that you've hired for this kind of thing before.

MATT: "No."

TALIESIN: Did you send a group in to clear out a mine in the last couple months?

SAM: No, that wasn't this fellow.

TALIESIN: Just checking.

MATT: "Cannot say I have."

TALIESIN: All right.

SAM: But thanks for asking.

TALIESIN: That seemed to be the thing to ask.

MARISHA: So what are you thinking? You want us to deal with politics in the city, or these dark forces?

MATT: "Well, there's probably a decent chance in some places they dovetail. I would like to offer an arrangement. One that involves, indeed, paid employ. A chance to prove a unity of ideals and to show that you can indeed do some good. Maybe even a path to forgiveness. You will be paid for a completed endeavor, given a stipend at the outset. Once again, you cannot express who you work for, for both your safety and mine."

SAM: Is there a cover story or a false name we can give instead? I find that when someone wants to lie, it's better to have, like, some sort of answer, rather than just saying, "Nuh-huh, I'm not going to say." Can we say a fake name or something?

MATT: He thinks to himself for a second, as I think to myself for a second, too! (laughter)

TALIESIN: Normally, it's not a problem. You know, I pride myself on discretion. People respect that if you're doing the work.

SAM: You just don't say nothing, huh?

TALIESIN: You just say you're employed. And who you're employed by really doesn't fucking matter.

MARISHA: Imogen and I don't talk to anyone. (laughs)

LAURA: No. Not really.

TALIESIN: You guys seem like you have a really good deal going on. Should keep that up, it seems nice.

MARISHA: It's pleasant.

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: "If, indeed, we can build a trust between us, maybe I can help you learn the way of the land, connect with these individuals you are challenged to talk to. Maybe answer questions, offer guidance, open some doors, that otherwise would be closed to those who aren't as involved in the Quorum, maybe."

LIAM: I don't know about the rest of you, but that'd suit me just fine.

ROBBIE: This Ivory Syndicate, is it just a name, or is it apropos? Do they deal in ivory, or--? How did they get their name? I just find it disconcerting. I've elephant folk-- we see walking through town.

MATT: "And you're right to think so. They did begin in the ivory trade, long ago. But they've expanded their enterprise, but the name stuck."

ROBBIE: Do they ever deal in assassination?

MATT: "They deal in many things."

LAURA: So we'd be the good guys?

MATT: "I would certainly hope so. And the minute you prove otherwise, our business is done. There's enough immoral individuals crossing similar darkened paths these days. It becomes harder, at times, to see who has an idea of how to do any good."

TRAVIS: Oh, this is (clap) most encouraging. I think we all have an accord. Yes?

SAM: Well, I mean, we're not really a-- We don't have a leader or anything. So maybe we should just put it to a vote or at least express our opinions before we all agree to something. I can only speak for myself.

LIAM: That's fair.

ASHLEY: Like a democracy.

SAM: I mean, if that's all right with you all. I mean, for myself, I always say: Always judge a book by its cover. And this fellow just seems strong and nice and polite and he has a lovely decorated room, and that's all I need. I'm good.

MATT: "For the record. If you need to take some time to discuss and return, you're welcome to. But, on your way out, if you could please put out my desk." You look over and it's still kind of crackling. (laughter)

LAURA: Oops.

ASHLEY: Very sorry. I just-- we can-- get you a new one, maybe.

MATT: "I'll be fine."

SAM: Should we go talk it over then, or--?

TALIESIN: I think that seems like a great idea.

LAURA: Sure.

TALIESIN: More drink? More drink, more drink?

LAURA: Taverns, huh?

MARISHA: It is noon.

SAM: Um, Sir Eshteross? Uh, we, uh-- My associates here kind of messed you up good. Do you need any sort of magical healing, or--

MATT: "I'll be fine, but I appreciate your interest. I'm good."

TALIESIN: Bert, give me my knife back. Now. Now.

TRAVIS: My tit is still bleeding.

MARISHA: Laudna then goes over and just starts mending the desk a little bit, repairing it.

SAM: Perfectly fixed, burned desk.

MATT: Yeah. (laughter)

LAURA: I'll Prestidigitation the flames down. So it's not burning at all anymore.

MATT: "Discuss, but either way, let me know soon. The forces that work against us, do not rest."

TRAVIS: Lord Eshter-ohss, we thank you for this opportunity. We will not let you down. I'm sure we will be back to you without delay.

MATT: "Eshter-ahss."

TRAVIS: Of course. Eshteross.

MATT: "Very well. Evelyn will see you out. Return when you have had your discussion. (coughs) In the meantime, I'm going to pour a drink." Stands up and begins to make his way over towards the mantle before going, "Shit!" (laughter)

TRAVIS: Up we go. Out the door! (laughter)

MATT: (lock clicking) (door creaking) The door opens, unlocked. Evelyn leads you back out and to the street, on the exterior road of Eshteross Manor. The morning light greets you once more. And you forgot about the warmth of the morning. That was here before you entered this darker, more intense interior. But nevertheless, the morning is yours.

TALIESIN: I just lose track of time. Do you mind, Fearne, do you mind really quick? I'm just going to, I'm just going to go in and just pat your back really quickly.

ASHLEY: That's fine.

TALIESIN: And it's now-- It's still soaked.

MATT: Yeah, it's soaked with brandy.

TALIESIN: Okay. That's fucking great. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Do you want me to ring it out? Get a little bit of the leftover. You can suck on my hair, if you want. (laughter)

SAM and LIAM: (gagging) (laughter)

ASHLEY: Just get it all out.

TALIESIN: I don't know how to handle the dare. Fuck!

MATT: Evelyn slowly closes to the door. "Goodbye."

SAM: Thank you for your hospitality!

MARISHA: See you soon.

TALIESIN: Bye! So I guess it's breakfast beer.

MARISHA: Oh yes, your breakfast beer.

ASHLEY: Breakfast beer. Yes.

LIAM: I think we're in brunch territory.

TALIESIN: Brunch. Is brunch mimosa? I'm trying to remember.

LIAM: Let's find out.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Same spot, or something new for your palettes?

TALIESIN: You have some suggestions, some ideas?

TRAVIS: Yes, there are lots of places around.

TALIESIN: Such as?

LIAM: What's your favorite?

TRAVIS: Uh-huh.

SAM: Name your top three.

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm. (laughter)

MATT: Are you looking for other taverns in the Core Spire? Other spires?

LAURA: Yeah, I have a question. Would Laudna and I know of any locations around that maybe are less populated around this time of day? Something that's a little less crowded.

MATT: Yes.

TRAVIS: The Four Seasons.

MATT: It's a little bit of a walk over to the Lantern Spire, but you do know that the Weary Way Tavern tends to be, at this point in the day, pretty empty.

LAURA: Yeah, I would love to show you guys--

SAM: That's in a different spire?

MATT: It's in the Lantern Spire.

TRAVIS: The Weary Way Tavern?

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Awesome.

TALIESIN: I don't think I've ever been there.

ASHLEY: The Weary Way?

LAURA: The Weary Way.

SAM: The Weary Way.

ROBBIE: Nice.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: All right. So as you all begin to pick up and make your way towards the edge --

LAURA and MARISHA: ♪ Makin' my way! ♪

MATT: -- of the board. You begin to step across what's known as the Fatewalk. It is the only rigid bridge that connects any of the spires here. It is a wide and hundreds of feet long stone bridge that leads from the Core Spire to the Lantern Spire.

TRAVIS: The Fatewalk?

MATT: The Fatewalk. You can see, at this hour of the morning, there are a number of people, traders and travelers that are making their way into the town from the outside. I see you trying there. Eventually crossing into the ramshackle neighborhood that greets you upon entering the Lantern Spire. You can see there is still an element of the spire that rises up. And above that there is what is referred to as the Prakash Pyre. Which is where that singular torch burns through the night. Though, currently it is extinguished. And you can just see a bit of smoke smoldering from the night's beacon. Following Imogen and Laudna through the tight, narrow passageways, and the somewhat still muddy, flooring that leads you through these tightly packed regions. You come to the side entrance door to the Weary Way Tavern. It's not much to look at. You see a sign that has probably been painted over three or four times as it begins to just give way, due to weather and rot. But the front door is open. You can smell the scent of stale liquors, as well as some sort of a cooked vegetable of some kind. Stepping in the inside, it's a smallish room, compared to the Spire by Fire, which is a much larger central gathering space. But beyond two individuals that are probably between jobs and in the process of just thinking hard while they stare at the wood grain in the table in front of them. It is yours to take. You quickly find a small table that can fit the eight of you. And within a short period of time, you see a female half-orc in her fifties or so. Kind of a boisterous smile on her face. This long, somewhat curly black hair with bits of gray streaking through it. Leather apron on. Come over and begin to set down glasses at the table. Thick, rough looking, almost sandblasted glasses. "Hi. So what can I get for you?"

LAURA: Their stew is actually pretty good. Don't ask what's in it, but--

MATT: "Lentils, mostly."

LAURA: It tastes good. I swear.

ASHLEY: I'll have some.

MATT: "All right."

TRAVIS: Breakfast beer.

TALIESIN: Actually, now that we're here, I got a better idea. I will definitely take the stew. I'll also have a black coffee and if you can bring like a big container of cream. And, do you have, like, a whiskey or something? Something I could just pour in the coffee to just give it a little bit of a boost?

MATT: "I can arrange that, yeah."

LAURA: Can I have that as well? It sounds wonderful.

MATT: "Sure two-- For the table?"

MARISHA: Yeah, sounds delightful.

MATT: "All right."

ASHLEY: May I have a glass of milk and two shots of whiskey, please?

MATT: "All right."

ASHLEY: Thanks.

MATT: "Interesting breakfast party, but uh, welcome." She goes ahead and heads back towards the kitchen area and begins preparing this unique meal.

LAURA: You all right, Dorian?

ROBBIE: Hmm?

LAURA: You all right?

ROBBIE: A little, still a little woof.

TALIESIN: He got fucked up.

ROBBIE: He was -- right? And then with the boom.

LAURA: So that was all just a test? You brought us in there just to have him fuck with us? And you didn't warn us that he was just going to fuck with us?

LIAM: You've seen this kind of thing before?

LAURA: Oh shit. Great. (gasp) (candy wrapper crinkling)

TALIESIN: Can you give me a Reese's?

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: You fucking--

ROBBIE: Do you want something?

TRAVIS: No, I don't want any.

ROBBIE: Are you sure?

TRAVIS: I don't need any.

MARISHA: Look at this magnet right here.

ROBBIE: The olds love candy. Are you sure?

TRAVIS: No, I'm fine. (screaming)

TRAVIS: I don't need anything.

ASHLEY: Ooh, Heath!

LIAM: Here, it's coming back.

LAURA: (laughs)

MARISHA: Gimme them Whoppers.

MATT: I'm working with children. (laughter)

ASHLEY: We all got distracted. Candy!

MATT: I respect that.

LIAM: Happy Halloween! (laughter)

TRAVIS: You know you just--

ASHLEY: I'm going to take it all.

MATT: The bit worked. We're good. (laughter)

TRAVIS: He doesn't always do that. I think he's been stagnant recently and just wanted to feel his old bones move. I can relate. And you held up admirably. That was very, very well done. I'm sorry for the slamming, though, that was a bit much.

ASHLEY: Did you know he was going to do that?

TRAVIS: He, on occasion, has similarly auditioned people in that way, but I've also seen him just hold an actual conversation before.

ASHLEY: May I make a suggestion? Next time we're in a situation like that, it would be great for you to tell us.

TRAVIS: Of course. Of course. Yes.

ROBBIE: And what I think she means is, it would be great for you to tell us.

TRAVIS: Right. Yes, of course.

MARISHA: Did you go through a similar audition?

TRAVIS: Yeah, many a time. In fact, with several groups. So I have a comparison.

TALIESIN: Did you actually fight in any of those auditions?

TRAVIS: Yes.

TALIESIN: All right. Fucking--

TRAVIS: And in fact, sometimes they asked me to stop fighting so that it could be like a control group.

TALIESIN: Do I even need to roll for this? It's so deeply full of shit-- an eight.

LAURA: Wow, you believe him.

TRAVIS: I have. I have fought before.

TALIESIN: Oh, who the fuck knows?

SAM: Well, thank you for making that introduction. Seems like we have a job offer now.

LIAM: I guess let's move on to what we are doing.

MARISHA: It was very kind of you, thank you.

TRAVIS: Yes, and think you'll get your-- (laughter)

TRAVIS: Don't fucking look at me like that. Goddamn it. You'll get your connections, and you will be able to help people, and you can tell people to fuck themselves, and it'll be great!

SAM: Is this something that we all want to do? I mean, I just feel like y'all were on separate paths. Hi!

MARISHA: Hi.

SAM: You were on separate paths when we bumped into each other, right? I mean.

LAURA: I mean, yeah, but if this get us what we need, then I'm willing to team up with y'all.

LIAM: Certainly try it.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: Once.

MARISHA: And it seems like we're all in search of connections.

SAM: You certainly are. You want to get into this school, right?

LAURA: Yeah, they're a bunch of dicks up there. I mean, honestly, we've been trying for a while and nothing's working, so if this is what it takes, then--

SAM: And you both want to go to this school?

LAURA: It's not that I want to go to the school.

MARISHA: It's a means to an end, you know, we're looking for information, and if we can find it at this school, then, you know.

SAM: Is it deep, dark information? About a sordid past? Or a mystery you're trying to unravel?

MARISHA: Exactly that.

SAM: Oh, that sounds exciting.

MARISHA: Yes. But, you know, Imogen. She's also very talented, very gifted. If, you know, she wanted to go to school. I would support that wholeheartedly. You know.

MATT: Food and drink begins to make its way. Bowls of stew, shots of whiskey. It is--

LAURA: Can I just use Mage Hand? I'm just going to pick up one of the shots of whiskey and send it over to Bertrand and dump it on him. (laughter) Oh, I'm so sorry about that.

TRAVIS: It's not a problem. It's only the most expensive velvet in Marquet.

LAURA: Well, it already had a big hole in it. I mean... after all.

TRAVIS: Yes. It did.

TALIESIN: I mean, technically, if the drink was worth something and now it's on the shirt, doesn't it just, like, add to the value?

LAURA: Now we're even. I swear I won't do it again.

TRAVIS: No, it's fine. It's fine.

MARISHA: I'll Prestidigitation and lift off of him and pour it back into Ashton's glass.

TALIESIN: Wasn't in my glass, but I'll take it. (laughter)

SAM: And this will line up with your plans, you three, from wherever you're from?

LIAM: A ways away.

MARISHA: Fresh off the airship.

ASHLEY: Yes.

ROBBIE: So to speak.

LAURA: What are you looking for, by the way?

LIAM: Fresh start.

LAURA: Just a fresh start?

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: This is an odd city to choose.

TALIESIN: Yep.

LIAM: Is it?

MARISHA: Yeah. Why not Ank'Harel or one the other, you know, more central districts.

LIAM: We've barely been here-- I wonder--

MARISHA: Did someone recommend this city to you?

SAM: Are you hiding from someone?

MARISHA: (gasps) Are you hiding from someone?

TALIESIN: This is a really good place for that.

LIAM: It seems that way, but no.

MARISHA: Are you looking for someone?

LAURA: No hiding.

LIAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: Are you looking for someone who's hiding? (gasps) I'm putting it together.

LAURA: Y'all are looking at each other a lot. Like, "Who's going to tell the answer?"

SAM: Just tell us who. We might be able to-- maybe we know them.

LAURA: I know. Yeah, maybe we run into them.

SAM: Ashton knows a lot of people.

TALIESIN: Yes, I do.

MARISHA: We're third party strangers.

SAM: Or at least a lot of people know Ashton and they're yelling at him a lot.

TALIESIN: That is also true.

MARISHA: What is there to lose?

LIAM: I tell you what, just met. Let's take the one job. Ask me again afterward.

ASHLEY: That's great.

LIAM: I got a good feeling off of Sir Bertrand's friend. And I wouldn't be willing to sign up with just anyone. I'm not looking for coin, and I'm not looking to sell my soul. I am looking to learn about this place. And it wasn't lying about starting over. That's real.

ROBBIE: Sounds like fun. And I trust you. He knocked me out cold and you just rolled right over and brought me back. It was great.

SAM: Of course. I'm not going to let you just sit there and die. I mean, you're a person who needs to be preserved.

ROBBIE: But you don't know me. You didn't have to. Or do you have to? Is it like a-- I'm sorry if that comes across as judgy, but I don't know.

SAM: No, no, that's about right. I wouldn't like to see anyone pass away if they-- if I can help it. Yeah.

MARISHA: Your healing magic, it is magic. Yes?

SAM: I don't know. It's just something I do.

MARISHA: Does it come from a divine source? Are you a holy robit?

SAM: Um, no. I mean, what? No. I just-- (laughter)

TALIESIN: We normally patch those. (laughter)

SAM: No, no, I was just built this way. I don't-- Yeah. It's just how they built me.

ASHLEY: How do you-- do you--

LAURA: We always keep asking the questions. Sorry about it.

SAM: No, it's fine. I'm here to answer.

LIAM: I've never met anyone like you. Ever. So, it's--

SAM: Me neither.

LIAM: Really?

SAM: Yeah. I mean-- Aw, thank you for that. (laughter) Yeah. I've never met anyone like me either, but that's because I was made, you know, I'm one of a kind.

MARISHA: But you said you had a lot of brothers and sisters like you. Correct?

SAM: Sure, they weren't exactly like me. Some of them were a little bit smaller, wider. They had more specific tasks. One of them was just-- Oatmeal was just there to chop down and make firewood and campsites and stuff like that.

ASHLEY: What were the other ones' tasks?

TALIESIN: We don't have time right now, necessarily. I feel like that's a discussion for another time.

SAM: Okay. If you're interested in Pussy, I can talk about it, but it seems like we should move on.

TALIESIN: I think it's best to slowly let stories happen because then you always have something to say.

SAM: Absolutely.

ASHLEY: Very, very well said.

SAM: But the long and short of it is, Dancer, my former associate, made all sorts of automatons and I was, not to toot my own toot, but I was a little bit more tricked out than the other ones.

LAURA: Oh.

SAM: I could do more stuff.

TRAVIS: Now you have a variety of attachments, limbs.

SAM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I'll take off the--

MARISHA: Can I play with it?

SAM: -- the cannon and-- Sure, show it to Laudna.

TALIESIN: This never goes poorly.

SAM: It's like a grappling hook. So if I ever-- I don't know if you noticed this, but I don't have legs like y'all. So if I fall over, I can use that to sort of pull myself back up again.

LAURA: That's wonderful.

LIAM: It was first thing I noticed.

LAURA: I can also help with that. If it ever comes up.

SAM: You can lift me up?

LAURA: Well, sure, I could help you out.

SAM: Well, thank you.

MARISHA: Here's your arm back.

SAM: Oh, thank you very much.

TRAVIS: How many of those do you have? And I mean, does it only work when it's on your--

ROBBIE: That's a lot questions. Those are from his dead friends, Bertrand. That's a lot of questions.

TRAVIS: Oh.

ROBBIE: Just a little more, you know.

MARISHA: Is it rude to ask about dead people?

ROBBIE: When you're using their body parts, I think so.

MARISHA: Wow. Oh, don't tell Pâté!

MARISHA and LAURA: (laugh)

SAM: Wait, what?

LAURA: He doesn't matter.

MARISHA: Pâté is my dead rat.

SAM: Oh, I'm sorry. What?

MARISHA: Yes!

SAM: This is an amazing detail that we hadn't-- we just passed right over. Show-- You have a dead rat?

TRAVIS: Where are you looking?

MARISHA: Yes, this is Pâté. Pâté de Rolo, specifically.

SAM: Pâté de Rolo?

MARISHA: Yes.

SAM: Can we-- can I hold your dead rat?

MARISHA: Would you like to meet him?

SAM: Yes.

MARISHA: (gasps) Pâté! And about this time, you see like rubber bands snap from each of Laudna's tips that go to his head and each of his four limbs. And they look like rubbery, black sinew. And she lifts him up and starts puppeting him. (gruff cockney accent) "Oh hello, I'm Pâté de Rolo. Pleasure to meet you. Look at you." (laughter)

SAM: Hello. Can I shake its little paw?

MARISHA: "Oh hello. Yes. Pleasure."

SAM: Hello!

MARISHA: "I've never met someone like you."

LAURA: I never get used to this.

TALIESIN: I never want it to end. This is amazing.

LAURA: Two years and I never get used to it.

ASHLEY: Hello, Pâté.

LIAM: How often does it happen?

LAURA: Too often.

MARISHA: Say hello to the big--

TALIESIN: How did you attach the skull bit? That's amazing.

MARISHA: Oh yes. Did you like that? It's a raven skull.

TALIESIN: I really like that.

MARISHA: It just died in my house one day. Ran into the wall and so, I just thought I would, you know.

SAM: I can barely see your lips moving. It's amazing.

MARISHA: I've had lots of practice.

ASHLEY: It's a work of art. My goodness.

MARISHA: (as Pâté) "Thank you. I think you're pretty fine looking myself." (as Laudna) Oh Pâté. Oh. (laughter)

LIAM: I'm sorry.

MARISHA: He's so silly.

LIAM: I'm sorry. Did you name the dead rat after the de Rolo family?

MARISHA: Oh. You're familiar with the de Rolos?

LIAM: Only a little.

MARISHA: Yes.

LIAM: I mean--

MARISHA: There was a lot of P names, you know? And, like, I don't know. It just sounds fancy, so. And you know, he kind of looks like dead liver.

LIAM: How familiar are you with the de Rolos?

MARISHA: Oh, well, I'm from Whitestone originally. Think I mentioned that. And the de Rolos were rulers for a time in my youth. And then there was a horrible coup when I was a young woman and they all sort of died. I don't know, just gone. Guess that's what happens when people want your political power.

LIAM: But they came back.

MARISHA: Did they? Oh, I don't know.

LAURA: What do you mean, they came back?

MARISHA: I went far away from Whitestone and never looked back.

LIAM: Oh, yeah. Lost son showed up.

MARISHA: Hmm? Good for him.

LIAM: Found his sister, brought it back.

MARISHA: How do you know all this?

LIAM: Uh.

MARISHA: I know you're from Tal'Dorei.

LIAM: Yeah. I mean, it's not a secret, really. It kind of spread.

MARISHA: I became a bit of a recluse after my time in Whitestone. Didn't talk to people much and they didn't want to talk to me.

LIAM: I don't want to pry. I just wanted to know about your rat. Sorry.

MARISHA: No, you're not prying. I love questions.

LIAM: So why are you puppeteering a dead rat?

MARISHA: (as Pâté) "Well, you see--" (laughter)

MARISHA: "Laudna here was quite alone for quite some time, and she needed someone to keep her company or else she would go insane. Especially because it was just me and that voice in her head." He's so silly.

LIAM: Good job, Pâté. You did it.

TALIESIN: How have we not met before? How long have you been here? Fuck.

LAURA: Not that long. A month or so.

TALIESIN: Boy, I got some people for you to meet. Holy shit.

TRAVIS: How is it that you know about the de Rolos?

MARISHA: Oh, do you know about the de Rolos, too?

TRAVIS: (laughs) I should say so. The question is, how have you not heard of me before this? I hold out my lapel pin. I mean, clearly you recognize the symbol of Vox Machina.

MARISHA: Hmm.

TRAVIS: You see a circular pin on the lapel with a V and an M.

TALIESIN: Is this a thing for the de Lolos? That's kind of their thing?

TRAVIS: De Rolos.

TALIESIN: Whatever.

TRAVIS: Thank you. Vox Machina. From Emon, Tal'Dorei, the defeaters of The Whispered One. No, you don't?

TALIESIN: What a weird band name.

LIAM: Know of them. Haven't heard of you.

TRAVIS: Ah, well, yeah, there were many stages to Vox Machina in its glory. But I was there in the heyday of it all. Rescuing, um, uh, Frog, Grog-- Uh, Strong-- Strongbone. Large fellow, beard. I think he's in Whitestone now actually.

LIAM: Some of that's familiar.

ASHLEY: I thought I remember it Stonejaw or something (laughter)

TRAVIS: I'm going to fucking--

ASHLEY: Try it. (laughter)

TRAVIS: The world is a very small place. I remember Keyleth, and Vex'ahlia. All of them dear, dear friends that I have not seen in a while, but how do you come to know them?

MARISHA: Well... Whitestone was nearly turned upside down looking for them, at least when I was there.

TRAVIS: Yes. Yeah, I remember reading about that part.

LIAM: I'm from Zephrah.

TRAVIS: Zephrah, Zephrah. Ashari?

LIAM: That's right.

MARISHA: Are you a druid? Aren't most of them druids?

LIAM: Many of them are druids. Many of them are farmers. There's a lot of us.

MARISHA: Can you do any wind stuff? A little light tickle.

LIAM: (whoosh) And I send the door open behind.

TRAVIS: You did?!

MATT: (door creaking)

TALIESIN: What the fuck?

TRAVIS: You got a sword and shit, you can do that?! (laughter)

LIAM: Just a bit. Wasn't really my-- I didn't excel. Really quick, though. Athletic.

TRAVIS: Yes. I would say so.

LAURA: I use Telekinesis to shut the door. (laughter)

LIAM: Thank you. I'm unable to do that.

MARISHA: Well, Bertrand, speaking of, what do you want out of all of this?

TRAVIS: Oh, just to foster young talent. See you make your own place in the world. And, you know, the coin is not bad. Really, you should look at this as a shortcut.

LAURA: So, you'd be taking some of the coin, too?

TRAVIS: Well, naturally. I think Fearne recommended a democracy of sorts, but equal shares.

LAURA: So, you'd actually be fighting this time? You'd actually be fighting with us?

TRAVIS: Did I not join you in the streets?

MARISHA: It feels like you're more of a chaperone.

TRAVIS: I am more of a consultant. I mean, I have so much wisdom to share. But yes, I tend to get my blade dirty from time to time. I think you remember, I gave that table what for.

TALIESIN: Are we ever actually going to circle back to the living room and dinette set that attacked us yesterday?

LAURA: I don't know how we'd find that trail. Shit happens here all the time. At least, from what I've seen.

ASHLEY: Where were you, actually?

TALIESIN: I'm just going to be freaked out walking into any house again for the rest of my fucking life.

ASHLEY: You came out of nowhere.

TRAVIS: I was in the tavern when the commotion started.

ASHLEY: Oh, you were in the tavern and then you came outside. I see. Okay.

LIAM: Well, I'll throw my hat in the ring. I'd like to try this out, Bell. If you guys are okay with it, Dorian and Fearne.

ASHLEY: I go wherever you both go. Yes. This should be fun.

ROBBIE: Absolutely.

LIAM: So, it doesn't need to be permanent. Could just be a couple of days.

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah. Test it out.

MARISHA: Imogen? What do you think?

LAURA: You just hear in your head,: I think I feel good about it. You?

MARISHA: Feeling pretty good.

LAURA: So, I'll say to the group, Yeah. We're in.

SAM: Ashton? What--

TALIESIN: I'm in.

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: Decisive. I like these ties. They bind you well. This is a good recipe. This group, I can feel it, it's something spe-- (coughs) special.

SAM: Old miner's lung, there.

TRAVIS: Miners?

SAM: Can I just make one suggestion before we sort of forge this pact?

TALIESIN: Oh, yes. Please.

SAM: Let's just try to be honest with each other, okay? I don't want to speak out of turn, but I've sensed a little bit of hesitation in being forthright and forthcoming among some members of this little assemblage here. And I'm just saying that we could probably get along okay a little bit better if we were all not deceitful towards each other for the next couple of days.

LAURA: Of course.

MARISHA: (as Pâté) "Oi, he's right. Secrets don't make friends."

SAM: (laughs) That's a rat that's talking! (laughter) Ah! Hee hee!

LIAM: The rat makes sense. (laughter)

TRAVIS: The rat checks out. That makes sense.

TALIESIN: If you find yourself doing something that you feel compromised about, if you find yourself doing something that goes against any prior arrangement or agreement, you say it before it becomes a problem. We work it out. That's the best way to make these things work. Don't let yourself get somewhere where you're not going to be okay. We will figure out how to go around you, if need be. We all want to make money.

LAURA: Well.

ROBBIE: Very astute. It's almost like a code that you have.

TALIESIN: I like getting paid and I like living. And it's good for your employer to know that you're not going to take a better offer the minute it comes around, and it's good for an employer to know that you are going to stay on course and do the job you were paid for and not ask too many questions and hopefully not have any conflicting arrangements. And if you do, you bring them up.

ROBBIE: Speaking of employers. Imogen, how's breakfast?

LAURA: Delicious.

ROBBIE: Looks like it.

TALIESIN: You're right, that's a weird stew.

LAURA: How can I help you?

ROBBIE: These, uh, aristocratic types. Might I offer a small suggestion? If he does contract us, let's ensure that whatever you need, as far as connections to get into the library, to find this book--

MARISHA: Conservatory.

ROBBIE: -- we'll make sure it's in the contract. Yes?

LAURA: That's brilliant.

ROBBIE: Yeah!

ASHLEY: Put it in writing.

ROBBIE: Put it in writing.

LAURA: I wouldn't have thought of that. Thank you.

ROBBIE: Well, he had a big desk, and if the contract isn't on fire, then I think we should ask to include it.

LAURA: Yeah. Dorian, that was your name?

ROBBIE: Yes.

LAURA: All right. Thank you.

ROBBIE: Of course.

MATT: "Another round, or--?"

TALIESIN: Are we having another round?

TRAVIS: Oh, I mean, this is all sort of a shared tab. Right?

MATT: "Yours?"

TRAVIS: (stammers)

TALIESIN: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Yes. Yes.

MATT: "All righty. Let me go add it up." And she wanders off to put the coin together.

MARISHA: Thank you, again.

TALIESIN: If you like, we could vote really quickly just to, you know, push forward that democracy idea. All in favor of Bert covering this round? Everyone?

MARISHA: Aye.

ASHLEY: Sure.

TALIESIN: Fuck, democracy's great. Fuck yeah.

MARISHA: You're so generous.

TRAVIS: Well, a shepherd. Of sorts.

TALIESIN: I'm a little more sorry for stabbing you now.

TRAVIS: Thank you. Well-thrown dagger, though.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

MATT: You can mark three gold off of your (laughs) your money. (laughter)

MARISHA: Draining poor Bertrand.

LIAM: These lentils are excellent. (laughter)

MARISHA: Yeah, expensive lentils.

LAURA: I avoid any of the little meat chunks in my stew. You might want to do the same.

LIAM: The group all just starts farting at the same time. (laughter) (imitating fart sounds)

ROBBIE: That's how I know they're really bonded.

TRAVIS: It's coming out of me like lava! (laughter)

LAURA: Should we let him know?

MARISHA: I guess so.

TALIESIN: Fuck it.

LIAM: Bell paid the tab. We'll head back.

LAURA: All right.

LIAM: And figure this out.

MATT: All righty. Gathering your things, finishing up your meals and drinks, you make your way onto the streets--

LAURA and MARISHA: (softly) ♪ Makin' my way. ♪

MATT: -- of Jrusar-- (sighs)

SAM: Is that just not even words, now? It's just-- (vocalizes)

MATT: Yep, yep. Back towards Eshteross' estate. You're let back into the abode. Separate from the study, there is a dining area where you can see Lord Eshteross now has late morning tea situated and is in the process of reading through a book before you all begin to enter. He turns a page, marks it, closes it, sets his saucers and tea to the side. "So, you've discussed?"

TRAVIS: Yes, my... Actually, they can speak for themselves.

ASHLEY: We've come to kill you. (laughter)

TRAVIS: No, no, no, that's not, that's not right.

MATT: His hand does go for something unseen.

TRAVIS: I think there's a sense of humor here.

ASHLEY: Just trying to see if you have a sense of humor.

MATT: "I do." And he pulls his hand away from this stack of books where you can see a glint of metal of something hidden between two of them, and lets it rest. And at this point, Fearne, Orym, and Fresh Cut Grass, you glance around the room, and there are all bits of furniture and vases and things set up in this dining area and you start seeing hidden weapons throughout the entire room.

TRAVIS: Dope.

MATT: Just things barely visible, tucked behind elements, barely peeking out from underneath a little breadbasket.

LIAM: That umbrella has a knife in it.

TALIESIN: Fuck, that's cool! I want one!

SAM: That knife is actually nunchucks.

TALIESIN: Fuck! I want it even more.

TRAVIS: Nunchucks? Three ninjas!

MATT: "Well?"

LAURA: Oh, I think--

MATT: "I displayed a sense of humor, perhaps. What else do you need?"

SAM: We've come to kill you. (laughter)

LAURA: No, no.

SAM: It doesn't work a second time?

MATT: "Not as effective. I apologize."

MARISHA: One more time, rule of threes.

LAURA: We're in. We're in.

LIAM: All of us.

MATT: "Very well."

LAURA: With a contract.

MATT: "Of course."

LAURA: All right.

MATT: "Once again, this is still a preliminary test. Should this go well, then we can enter a more formal agreement. But I do invest my time, my interests, and my coin into those that do right by my, and their, aligned values."

LIAM: I can respect that.

MARISHA: So, do you want to tell us what the gig is?

MATT: "Let us work you up the chain from the bottom, first. The Dayal Hall." (laughter)

ASHLEY: Die-all?

MATT: D-A-Y-A-L.

MARISHA: D-A-Y-A-L.

MATT: "It's a privately funded learning center here in the Core Spire for citizens of Jrusar of all walks of life. The long-time symbol of opportunity within the Wilds, regardless of economic disparity. It holds a very dear place in my heart. My estate has been overseeing the deliveries and storage of supplies and goods to the Hall in recent years. But in these past months, occasional signs of theft have begun to creep up. Crates are left open and portions of supplies have been taken. I would ask you to trek to my storage warehouse on the right-hand side, past the Fatewalk in the Lantern Spire, marked 'Prudaj Textiles.' Investigate however you see fit. And return when you have specifically uncovered what is befalling these stores. You will be given 50 gold each as an advance. A payment of 150 gold each upon delivering a satisfactory conclusion. 350 gold each if this source of these thefts is dealt with."

TRAVIS: Dealt with, just for clarity, dead or alive?

MATT: "Assuredly prevented from continuing. The means are up to you."

TALIESIN: Do you want to give us legitimate access to this property? Do you have keys or anything that maybe we could...?

MATT: "The people that run it work for me."

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: "And I'll let them know you work for me. But it is open. You should be able to ask around. If anything, catching them not under my purview, likely to get some answers that aren't quite as guarded."

TALIESIN: All right.

MATT: "Tea?" And he points over to his arrangement and platter of various steeping teas.

TRAVIS: I think we'll be getting to work.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "Very well."

TALIESIN: Do a little scan of the bookshelves, just to see if anything looks interesting.

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: 11.

MATT: 11. Most of them are written in Marquesian, which you can read, but a lot of them seem to be based in local history. Some of them are based in what looks to be origins of different townships within the Oderan Wilds. There are also some books on mythology, and there are a number of other books that, just at a glance, you can't quite read at this distance without inspecting. But nothing that catches your fancy too strongly.

ASHLEY: Am I close to any of the shinies that I saw?

MATT: Maybe one. You're not sure what it is, but you do see a glint in the light.

ASHLEY: I'm just going to try to take it.

MATT: Roll sleight of hand.

ASHLEY: Okay. Oh! Four.

MATT: As you're all--

LIAM: So everyone sees.

MATT: -- getting ready to leave, you hear (crashing) as two books and what looks to be a heavy bowl hit the ground. The bowl's now (rolling).

ASHLEY: I stop it with my hoof.

TALIESIN: It's not on fire.

ASHLEY: I... am so sorry. I just, I'm so big that I just, I tripped.

MATT: Make a deception check.

TRAVIS: Triceps got in the way.

SAM: Oh boy, oh boy.

MARISHA: I love that the beard is layering overtop of the mustache.

ASHLEY: Nope. That's a--

LAURA: It's just sliding around.

ASHLEY: Oh god. It's just like, I'm sweaty, so nothing is sticking. Okay. Five.

MATT: Five?

ASHLEY: It's so hot in this thing. (laughter)

SAM: Travis, how do you live like this? (laughter)

TRAVIS: It's tough.

MATT: Lord Eshteross gives you a look as you-- And you reached it, you pulled it forth, and you can see it's a really thin stiletto, about a good foot and a half long to its point. As you begin to place it back where you found it, he gives you--

ASHLEY: Here's the thing, though. I think we need this to complete this mission. It's coming together now as one piece and I can't talk through it. (laughter)

LAURA: You could make it like a mask to actually wear.

LIAM: Pull off the 'stache and go Abe Lincoln.

ASHLEY: Yeah. I think-- I think we need it for what we're doing.

SAM: She's not giving up.

MATT: Make a persuasion check with disadvantage.

SAM: Trying to steal it. Trying to lie about it. And now she's going to try to talk him out of it.

ASHLEY: Did you say with disadvantage?

MATT: Yes.

ASHLEY: I rolled a one. (laughter)

MATT: There's a long pause and he goes, "Put it back."

ASHLEY: Do you want me to hide it? Like how you had it?

MATT: "No, I will take care of it. Just leave."

ASHLEY: Just put it out in the open?

MATT: "It's fine. Evelyn will see to your funds. You can purchase one, if you'd like to, on the way out."

LAURA: So, that contract, would that be after we complete this mission or would it be prior to this mission? And then the contract would state what? I don't understand, Dorian, how these things work. Would it say that if we complete this mission that we also get your note of, uh...

ROBBIE: This feels like, and correct me if I'm wrong, sir, more of a show of good faith. And I believe we'll have a contract afterwards. Is that correct? I don't want to speak for you, of course.

MATT: "No, but you are very astute. Should you complete this, then a contract will be written up and we can begin to further define our relationship."

LAURA: Got it.

ROBBIE: You did great, though.

LAURA: Thanks.

MATT: "Very well."

ROBBIE: Does he still have his staff?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: His cane?

ROBBIE: His cane, yeah. Whatever his walky-thing was.

MARISHA: Cocked.

ROBBIE: Cocked, okay.

TRAVIS: Come on, just above a 10. I just want to see it.

ROBBIE: I know.

TRAVIS: Hey!

ROBBIE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 16.

MATT: 16? You do see it leaning, tucked in the corner to his right where one of the tables and this large shelf meet. It's tucked under, but you see a little bit of the metal glinting from underneath. It's within a quick grabbing range of him, if need be.

ROBBIE: And do I feel anything similar to what was radiating out of it when he messed with it that first time?

MATT: Not necessarily, I'd say. That strange sensation-- Make an arcana check.

TRAVIS: Hey!

ROBBIE: 18.

MATT: 18? You've thought about it for a little bit. And, at first, in the tense circumstances of you guys' first meeting, you didn't spend too much time. You've encountered it before, largely in your youth. Largely when you were caught in a very heavy lie and certain members of your family would employ somebody to place upon you, essentially, a forced truth. (murmuring) You're like, "Oh, I remember this. Okay. Interesting." But Evelyn escorts you out and pays you each 50 gold as your stipend as you exit.

SAM: Oh, I don't need this. Ashton, do you want mine?

TALIESIN: Yes. Yes, please. I will put it to good use.

TRAVIS: You don't require coin?

SAM: What for?

TRAVIS: For purchasing--

SAM: What do I need?

LIAM: What if you wanted to eat it?

TRAVIS: Repairs, or-- That's true.

MARISHA: Upgrades?

SAM: Ashton'll give it to me if I need it.

TALIESIN: Honestly, it just all goes into a little safety thing for repairs, is basically where. I keep it for rainy days when things need to get fixed. I've got to pay somebody to fix them, so.

TRAVIS: Oh, so you are not-- forgive me-- a mechanic?

TALIESIN: Oh, fuck no.

TRAVIS: Oh. Okay.

TALIESIN: Yeah, no. I've got a friend, so.

TRAVIS: Oh, good.

SAM: Yeah, we've been staying with them at the Krook House. The Krooks' House? Krook House.

TALIESIN: Yeah, Milo.

SAM: Milo Krook. Yeah. They fixed me up. I was damaged before and he fixed me right up.

TRAVIS: Just a question. If we are out in the Wilds, as we soon should be, if you are damaged then, do you have a repair kit, or do we need to acquire some tools in which to--

SAM: You're worried about me! That's so nice of you.

TRAVIS: Well, you look after everyone else. I figure you--

SAM: Well, I hope you're good with a set of tinkering tools because you're going to be the one who's got to fix me.

TRAVIS: Me?

SAM: You're the leader!

TRAVIS: I am? I am.

SAM: I'm just playing with you. No, I can do it myself. We'll be fine.

TRAVIS: Oh.

MARISHA: I have a little experience, too.

SAM: Oh yeah?

MARISHA: Yeah. I mean, not with your kind, but with fixing things.

SAM: Oh, that's good. I'll let you take a crack--

MARISHA: I have a hammer.

SAM: Oh, is that what that is in your hair?

MARISHA: It is.

SAM: Wow. Is it a-- Does it talk, too?

MARISHA: You'll find out!

SAM: Are you going to make it talk? (laughter)

LIAM: "I'm Hammy." (laughter)

TRAVIS: Oh, shit. Bust out the hand puppets.

SAM: I'm going to keep looking at the hammer as we go. Just waiting for it to do something.

LAURA: Should we make our way over--

ALL: ♪ Making our way ♪

LAURA: -- over to Prudaj's Textiles to ask around right away?

ROBBIE: I feel still a little funny from getting--

SAM: Should we rest?

ROBBIE: Should we take a little break?

LIAM: How long were we at the Weary Way Tavern?

MATT: I'd say if you got some breakfast, you'd consider it a short rest.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

SAM: Short rest!

MARISHA: Oh, that's fantastic.

LIAM: All right.

SAM: Short rest.

MARISHA: Okay, wait. Oh shit! Okay. Oh my god.

ROBBIE: There it is, short rest.

LIAM: Aww, one? Come on.

TALIESIN: ♪ One is the lowest that you can-- ♪

SAM: How much hit dice do I have?

MATT: You should have 3d8 hit dice, plus whatever your constitution modifier is, for each you roll.

TALIESIN: One rage into my day.

MARISHA: Does it automatically do my spell slots, I guess?

TRAVIS: How many do you get right now? Ashton! How many do you get right now?

TALIESIN: Three.

TRAVIS: Wow. Beautiful.

LIAM: Still got that itch, don't you?

TRAVIS: You know it.

TALIESIN: And I've got four builds.

TRAVIS: How many you got right now?

TALIESIN: Three rages, four different kinds of rages.

TRAVIS: Awesome.

TALIESIN: Haven't gotten to use them all yet.

TRAVIS: I must know more.

MATT: He's a little weird.

TALIESIN: It's very weird.

LIAM: Yeah, but what about his character? (laughter)

MATT: All right.

ROBBIE: And as we're walking, I'm going to pull out my flute and play a soft little song and Song of Rest. So everybody gets a little bump on a short rest.

MARISHA: Oh, hell yeah!

ROBBIE: "Regain hit points at the end of a short rest by spending one or more hit dice. Each of those creatures regains an extra 1d6 hit points."

TRAVIS: Do we roll, or do you roll?

MATT: Anybody who spent hit dice, you roll a d6 and they get that.

MARISHA: Oh, he rolls.

MATT: And you get to add that.

ROBBIE: Okay. I'll try my best. Four.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

SAM: It's a lovely song.

ROBBIE: Thank you.

SAM: It's much better than when you were playing last night.

ROBBIE: Hurtful, but thank you. (jaunty fluting)

ASHLEY: He's very good.

SAM: Sounds like maybe he just gets stage fright.

ROBBIE: What?

SAM: Oh, well that's a thing that I've heard happens to--

TALIESIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBBIE: Maybe to you. (subdued fluting) (laughter)

MATT: The slightly less-jaunty tune continues as you mark your way, for the second time, across the Fatewalk into the Lantern Spire. Now, following the instructions that were given to you by Eshteross, you begin to look around. And it doesn't take too long to necessarily find the building you're looking for. You find a large building of sun-bleached blue paint. The faded sign, "Prudaj Textiles," in Marquesian established above two wide doorways, you can see have been multiple times placed on there and with time, faded. A fresher coat put maybe in the past couple of months or so stands contrast against the rest of the dust-beaten back of it. As you approach, you can see one of the doors is partly ajar. Who would like to enter first? Or otherwise?

MARISHA: We're back on the Core Spire, right?

LIAM: Core Spire.

MATT: You're on the Lantern Spire.

MARISHA: Lantern Spire!

TRAVIS: We are a larger group.

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: So perhaps--

LAURA: I could go in and just check it out beforehand.

MARISHA: I'll stay outside.

LIAM: I'll go with.

MARISHA: You know what? Is it built into the wall? Is there a perimeter situation?

MATT: For this, it's nestled away from the main street. You can see there's layers to this part of the neighborhood, where there are other smaller storage facilities and some residential abodes. It's by no means a wealthy district. A little more purpose over presentation, but definitely functional. And at a glance, a lot of the buildings are probably intentionally nondescript, partially to make it not so easy to see what they might contain. This one has a little bit of color to it, but it doesn't appear like there's much space between the buildings surrounding it and it's not built into a wall or anything. It's not against the edge of the Spire. The Spire that begins to peak upwards to where the Prakash Torch is, is a little ways off. So there are some nooks and crannies that go around the entire building.

MARISHA: All right. You talk to them and I'll walk around outside.

TALIESIN: I'll hang back, too. Make some noise if you need somebody hit.

LAURA: Of course, yeah.

LIAM: Or intimidated.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I'll stand out front, with Ashton and make sure everything is safe.

TRAVIS: It's a textile store, yeah?

LAURA: Yeah, I think it's just a regular store. Does it look like it's open to the public?

MATT: It doesn't look to be a store, more than it is a storage. The sign that's there is marked not as a presentory welcome, more of just a visual marker. And even then, it's a little hidden off to the side to where the doors are. It's not at all designed to be a storefront.

LAURA: Got it.

ROBBIE: So you're going to go around the side? May I come with you?

MARISHA: Yes, please.

ROBBIE: Will you please keep your rat away while we go?

MARISHA: Oh, sure.

ROBBIE: Thank you.

SAM: We're going in?

LAURA: Yeah, I'm going to go in.

SAM: With Orym?

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: Sure.

SAM: Need any help, or you're good?

LAURA: Sure.

LIAM: Maybe hang back.

SAM: Great.

LIAM: You're very-- Well, I don't know. I've never met anyone like you, but maybe--

MATT: (impacts)

LIAM: Why don't you come? Come on.

MATT: You glance over, and from the open door, a couple of objects get flung and hit the wall across the way. You look over and as they land, they look like some sort of rodent. Limp, thrown with quite a bit of strength, that hit the wall and land, not moving.

LAURA: I kick it out of the way and walk through the door.

MATT: (laughs) As you step in, the first thing you see is a male dwarf with this very scraggly-looking, bushy beard that creates this giant, dark poof around the bottom of his face. He's wiping a bit of sweat from his brow and he has his sleeves rolled up and he has these little gloves on. You see him currently holding in his hand, two other dead rodents. And is walking towards the front of the doorway before stopping and looking at you. "Can I help you?"

LAURA: Yeah. I've been sent here by Madam Zhudanna. She's planning on opening up a shop over in the Core Spire. Looking for a new vendor for fabrics. And I assume this is a good place to start.

MATT: Hides the rats for a second. Make a deception check.

MARISHA: Get it! Yes.

ROBBIE: That was a good lie.

MARISHA: Yes!

ASHLEY: Yes, that's good.

LAURA: Deception? That's a 21.

ROBBIE: Woo!

LIAM: Damn!

MATT: "Okay. No worries. Sorry. I'm just doing a little bit of cleaning."

LAURA: Yeah, I noticed.

MATT: He steps past you and throws the other two out.

SAM: While he's doing that, if I'm in there with you, I'm going to cast Guidance on you if you have to do anything else.

LAURA: Thanks.

LIAM: Quick thinking.

MATT: "These your associates as well?"

LAURA: Yes. They also work for her.

MATT: "All righty. Let me just let the boss know. I'll be right back." He steps inside for a moment. So all of you are currently present, right at the entryway, except for--

SAM: Just the three of us.

MATT: Just the three of you?

LAURA: The three of us went in.

MATT: You two were going around the sides, what are the rest of you doing?

TALIESIN: I followed at a distance.

TRAVIS: I'm just standing out front, acting like I'm waiting for someone. (laughter)

MATT: Fair enough.

TRAVIS: My carriage will be along shortly! (laughter)

ASHLEY: Where are you going?

TRAVIS: It's a ruse!

ASHLEY: Oh, it's a ruse.

MATT: So as the three of you begin to head around the outskirts, you, you, and you?

SAM: We're inside.

MATT: Begin to enter after the dwarven figure leading you inside the warehouse. That's where we're going to take a break! Because we're past the two-minute mark. Two-hour. Two-hour mark.

LIAM: Two weeks.

MATT: We'll be back here in a few minutes to pick up as the investigation kicks off, here in the Prudaj Textiles building in the Lantern Spire. See you in a few minutes.

Break[]

(dramatic music)

LAURA: Hey Critters, Laura Bailey here to guide you through what's new in the Critical Role shop. You need this? You probably need this. (eerie music) Ooh, so comfy cozy. (eerie music) I mean the Traveler always says impulse purchases are a good decision. The cuteness, it's overpowering. (eerie music) Hey, look at these, they go on your face. This is pretty badass, and it glows. And hey, if you want, you could head over to the Critical Role shop right now.

(whimsical music) (uplifting music)

SAM: Hi critters, Sam Riegel here. There are many relaxing properties to a Twitch subscription to Critical Role, so today I'm going to tell you all about them in soothing ASMR, which stands for autonomous subscription meditative reaction or something. With a Twitch subscription you can watch our VODs immediately after the live broadcast before they're uploaded to YouTube, so you can unwind with us at your own pace. Listen, that's the sound of your blood pressure decreasing. You also get access to all of our custom emotes. And you can post links in chat. Doesn't that sound nice? (squeaks) And speaking of chat, Twitch is the only place to join our live and professionally moderated chat while watching Critical Role. So snuggle up with some cocoa and let the calm flow through those fingers, critters. I'm whispering from really far away. And if you're an Amazon Prime member you get one free Twitch subscription to a channel of your choice through Prime Gaming, so why not use that tranquil little freebie on a Critical Role subscription? Just remember to resubscribe every month. Am I doing this right? Or, oh, sorry. Am I doing this right? You can also gift subscriptions to fellow critters. So what are you waiting for, start spreading that sweet serenity with a Twitch subscription to Critical Role. It's like a warm blanket. Oh, oh hold on, hold on. It's my proctologist, just give me a second, okay. Hello, hello. Oh hey doc, yeah, what's up? What do you mean more teeth? I thought you got rid of them all. Well no, don't tell me to relax. I'm the one with teeth up my-- (calm music) Subscribe.

(calm music)

Part II[]

MATT: (as Laura) Hi! (as Matt) Welcome back. And now it's time to begin our game.

TRAVIS: Game time.

MATT: Once again.

TRAVIS: No farting about.

MATT: So, here in the midst of the street side chaos of the Lantern Spire in Jrusar, inspecting what seemed to have been a series of thefts here within the Prudaj Textiles warehouse, the group has divided. We have one troop involving, if I recall correctly, Fresh Cut Grass, Imogen, and Orym heading to the inside after meeting one of the dwarven employees of this warehouse. We have Ashton and Laudna and Dorian currently making-- and you're going as well with them?

ASHLEY: Standing out front with Bertrand.

TRAVIS: All right.

TRAVIS: Waiting for my carriage!

LIAM: Looks like rain.

MATT: Investigating the outskirts of the warehouse. And then, of course, Fearne and Bertrand just staring into space. Hell yeah. All right, let's go ahead and begin with the interior troop. So Fresh Cut Grass, Imogen, Orym, as you step inside and your eyes adjust to the shift from exterior bright daylight to the shaded interior with a couple of oil lanterns flickering on the sides, you're immediately hit with the smell of musty clothing and dust. There's very much a pungent smell of probably old mildew that's been long cleaned out, but not entirely, and just left a lingering smell. There is a faint bit of patchy carpet, you can see where a number of rugs have been laid down over time to leave a comfortable spongy texture to the ground as you step. But stepping through the initial hallway, it opens up into a large warehouse. You could see about a little over two stories tall, and there are some catwalks along the sides where you can see all sorts of small rolls of various thick rugs and some sort of an embroidered material, all manner of different strange bolts that you can't quite make out in this distance and low light. You see some ladders situated to the right and left and a number of boxes. It's not incredibly cram packed. You can see the there's a few things shoved off to the sides and a handful of larger crates in the middle. And you can see there are three other individuals that are in the process of working through the interior. The dwarf that led you in is currently taking his gloves off, and is going to go wash his hands in a basin on the side after handling dead rodents. You do see one male human, probably in his fifties or so, a slight balding comb-over. He's in the process of currently closing one of the crates and has one arm, a bunch of pieces of cloth draped over it and wrapped around he's taking it to another location. You see a female gnome with a bright shock of red hair who has a stack of papers and is in the process of going around and making notations and keeping an eye on everyone else within the space. And then on the far back right-hand corner, you see a very tall, lanky, female dragonborn of black scale that is in the process of looking busy, but you can see is also just keeping an eye on the gnome character facing the other direction, and is just moving things from one part to another and then moving them back. And then they all seem to one after the next notice your arrival at the interior as the dwarf goes, "Hey, we got some visitors asking around here. I think it's a business thing."

LAURA: You said you were going to get your boss?

MATT: "Right, right. Danas," and he goes and points over and the--

TRAVIS: Dennis. (laughs)

MATT: Danas.

TRAVIS: Oh, Danas.

ROBBIE: Oh yes.

TRAVIS: I was like, "Dennis is in this motherfucker!" (laughter)

ROBBIE: High fantasy Dennis.

MATT: No, Dennis is a late-game protagonist. Be patient. All fall before the Dennis. Danas, the female gnome, turns around and goes, "All right, sorry, I didn't see you come in. Well, what can I do for you?" And she comes up and tucks her stack of papers under her arm with this bright smile.

LAURA: Yeah, we're interested in purchasing some of your fabrics and textiles for a shop we're opening up over in the Core Spire.

MATT: "Oh, all right."

LAURA: I've never visited this establishment before. Is it possible to take a look around and see what kind of a stock you hold?

MATT: "Sure, sure, yeah, certainly. I'll go ahead and just-- Feel free to look about, I'll just trail behind you, answer any questions, if you have any."

LAURA: Wonderful, and your name was Danas?

MATT: "Danas."

LAURA: Thank you so much.

MATT: "By all means." Looks back and glances past your shoulder. "Gerudal! I can see you, keep working!" You see the dragonborn spits on the ground and starts gathering up another pile and shifting it over the shoulder with a heave and begins working. The dwarf goes ahead and finishes washing his hands and goes and starts walking up one of the ladders and going across the top catwalk area before sitting and just resting for a second. The other human you can see, who's a bulky fella, muscular with a softer layer around it, but definitely you could see he's seen some hard work in his day, with the faint comb-over. He finishes closing up one of the crates, goes and drinks a bit of water from a small metal canister, and then goes and takes a seat on one of the nearby stools, just taking a rest and wiping the sweat from his brow. What would you like to do?

LAURA: I'll just ask Orym and Freshy to look at the stock, and make sure that all the fabrics seem high quality, I guess.

LIAM: Sure.

LAURA: While I ask Danas: Is this the normal amount of employees y'all usually keep here?

MATT: "Oh, that's right, that's right."

LAURA: And how often do you get new stock in?

MATT: "Not too terribly often. This is more of a storage facility, not quite most place of business, which this is a bit curious, but--"

LAURA: I was just told to come here and look around, you know.

MATT: "Who told you?"

LAURA: My employer, Madam Zhudanna. You might not have heard of her, she's new to town. She's opening a store over in the Core Spire.

MATT: Make a deception check.

SAM: You have Guidance.

LAURA: Guidance gives me a d4.

MATT: Yep.

LAURA: I know.

LIAM: Oh, that's a four.

LAURA: 16 plus four, so 20.

LIAM: Yeah!

MATT: "Right, right, okay. Not an orthodox method, but happy to facilitate, if we can."

LAURA: She's new to town, you know how it is. A lot of times they're just working their way around, figuring it out.

MATT: "Right, right, okay."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "Well, feel free to look around and ask any questions." And she just sticks to you as you begin to wander around, and if any of you begin to-- Are you guys separating, or are you staying in one clump?

SAM: We were told to go around and inspect the wares, so I'm going to just go around and look at textiles. Not quite sure what I'm going to look for.

LAURA: As I say that, I say to you, in your mind you hear: Look for signs of any sort of burglary, stock that might be missing, crates that look like they've been broken into. And then I'll repeat that over to Orym in his head.

LIAM: I'm going to start wandering, meandering my way over towards the stock near Gerudal, I think you said her name was?

MATT: Point of order. Is this the first time that you've placed your thoughts directly into the mind--

LAURA: Why, yes it is.

MATT: -- of either of these people?

LAURA: Yes, it is.

MATT: You suddenly hear Imogen's voice emitting directly into your brain, sourceless, loud, like it is just emanating in your mind. It's a bit shocking.

SAM: Uh.

MATT: And then you slowly continue.

MARISHA: Does it have an echo in your brain because it's metallic?

SAM: (robot voice) It sounds like this. (laughter)

SAM: (robot voice) Go check for missing stock.

MATT: So you head over you said past where Gerudal is?

LIAM: I'm going to start looking into any open crates near Gerudal.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Just get closer.

MATT: All right.

SAM: And I'm going to cast Detect Thoughts to see if I can detect the presence of any thinking creatures that I can't see in the establishment.

LIAM: Nice.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Within a 30-foot radius.

MATT: You've got it, all right. Are you subtly casting this spell? Does it have verbal and somatic components?

SAM: Let me look. I've never done this before. It says VSM.

MATT: So if you're trying to be subtle about this, we're going to have to make a sleight of hand check.

SAM: All right, let's do it.

MATT: And you're already a curious position because having an automaton wandering the interior of the business, you can see there is, specifically Otan, or sorry, the male dwarf and the male human are both keeping an eye on you as you roll by. But go ahead and make a sleight of hand check, if you want to try.

SAM: Oh boy.

MARISHA: With your big mechanical-- Hey, 18.

MARISHA: -- buzz saw.

MATT: 18, you jostle by and quickly mutter to yourself and begin to cast Detect Thoughts. And where are you headed, Imogen?

LAURA: Oh, I'm just walking around fully next to Danas, and just picking up different, whatever the fuck is in here.

MATT: Are you playing distraction, or are you also doing investigating?

LAURA: I'm playing distraction mostly to keep her sidetracked, asking questions about the stock, asking questions about how often do y'all rotate out your storage? I mean, do you get-- How many buyers do you have?

MATT: "Well, it's not really about lots of buyers per say, but you know wherever the information is, where the materials are sold out to those who are inquiring from a business storefront, what you're saying about, then we go ahead and continue those businesses. We have many of these come imported from all over the Wilds and beyond, and we just go ahead and sort them for the business and ensure that they're taken care of and kept in a dry space until they're needed or--" and begins to start to rattle off the business elements. In the interim, you cast Detect Thoughts. You begin to loosen your concentration a bit and you pick up sources of intelligence of everyone within the room, a handful of individuals that you quickly make out to be your companions, nothing beyond that out of the ordinary within your 30-foot radius.

SAM: Hmm. Okay.

MATT: You can make an investigation or a perception check.

LIAM: I'm going to make a perception check, and I also want to get within conversation range of Gerudal.

MATT: All righty.

LIAM: And this is at advantage. That is a 20.

MATT: 20, all right. As you begin to wander in Gerudal's direction, you can see there are three crates that look like they haven't been here for a while. There is no layer of dust heavily placed on them, and you can quickly make out that a lot of these are here for the long haul. This is definitely a storage place for offloading of, not to say unpopular textiles, but the things that are more situationally useful.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: But there are these three larger crates that do not have anywhere near the layer of dust that are around here, so more recent arrivals.

LIAM: Okay. And how close are they in relation to Gerudal?

MATT: They're maybe 10 feet away.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: Gerudal, you can see at this point, is finished moving this large batch and closing one of the upper crates, smaller ones on the top and setting it on the ground, takes the wrap around her arm and begins heading over to prepare it in some way for delivery.

LIAM: Okay. Are those crates open, the ones with the least amount of dust on them, or no dust on them?

MATT: You can't tell from here.

LIAM: Okay. What in here moves the fastest?

MATT: "I'm sorry, what?"

LIAM: Like, just trying to get a bead on demand. What sells fast?

MATT: "I mean, all sorts of regular linen. When we get silks in, they go pretty quick."

LIAM: Is it okay if I take a look in these?

MATT: Glances past you and Danas, who is currently helping you, looks over-- "Yeah, sure." Just wipes the edge of her snout. You can see a little bit of residue work-based snot trail off a bit like a string before vanishing, and then takes a couple steps away and crosses her arms and just keeps an eye, not on you directly, but the space. Doesn't seem heavily invested, necessarily.

LIAM: Okay.

SAM: Gargoyles. (laughter)

SAM: I'm going to use my action, if I can, to move focus of the Detect Thoughts onto I guess if Gerudal is the one who's in the room with us, I guess?

MATT: There's Gerudal, there's Danas. There is also the male dwarf and the male human. They're both taking a break. They both-- Whenever their bustle is, they both clean up a bit or sat down and are just not letting their work get in the way of an impromptu showroom.

SAM: And none of them look particularly suspicious, I would imagine.

MATT: Not at a glance. They all look like they're working class folk.

SAM: Well, because Gerudal is talking to Orym, I'll use that as an opportunity to sort of peer into their-- her thoughts.

MATT: Gerudal's?

SAM: Yeah, her surface thoughts.

LAURA: Oh, are you talking to Gerudal?

LIAM: I just was talking to Gerudal.

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: The dragonborn?

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: Just surface level thoughts. I'm not probing too deep.

MATT: You got it, so checking on here. The individual gets a wisdom saving throw, correct?

SAM: I don't know if you do that for surface level thoughts.

MATT: "You can and try and probe deeper" is when you focus on somebody.

SAM: Okay, yeah, I'll probe deeper.

MATT: Yeah, so the surface thoughts you get from Gerudal, which you do get for the casting of the spell. Is just more of like, "Yeah, well, I'll take the distraction. At least I don't have to work while people are around. Wish I can go out and smoke my pipe."

LIAM: How tall are these crates?

MATT: For you, they're a little over your head, but they're about five-foot tall on any given side.

LIAM: Grouped together?

MATT: Loosely. They're not pushed together tightly. They're just in the same vicinity. It looks like whatever these new arrivals are, they either came together, or came in rapid succession and were relegated to one specific area as the new arrivals.

LIAM: Can I open them, being three-foot three?

MATT: You can certainly try.

LIAM: Okay. I'm going to walk around out of eye sight of Gerudal, and just squat down and go (springing noise, thump) and land on one.

MATT: Okay, you land on the crate.

LIAM: And then I'll walk over and try to (grunts) get over it. A nearby one, or are they too far?

MATT: From on top of-- Are you going and getting on top of one of the actual crates?

LIAM: I want to open one, but I can't open the one that I'm standing on.

MATT: Correct. I'd say you could probably get to one of them.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: Go ahead and make an athletics check for me.

LIAM: All right, I can do that. Athletics, that is a-- Oh, it's a natural one, which I get to re-roll, because I'm a halfling, motherfucker.

SAM: What a stupid rule. (laughter)

LIAM: That is 22.

MATT: 22, so this looks like it was opened and then resealed, but the second resealing process was just nailing some of the nails back into place, which means it wasn't that much of a strong seal. So with that you (thump) and easily can lift one edge up, and as that one lifts the other sides lift and the lid is open. This crate is at your disposal.

LIAM: All right, what fineries do I see?

SAM: Cocaine. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Orym's just-- (sniffs)

LIAM: I don't know why.

MATT: Looking inside here, you see some cloth bolts and material, but it's very simple. It's cottons, it's just standard everyday fabrics like burlap and general breathable, common folk clothing. And you can actually see clothing in there as well. Not just bolts of material and cloth, but there are shirts. There are long blouses. There are a number of other even smaller sized.

LIAM: And nothing weird or squirreled away in there?

MATT: You can make an investigation check, if you want to dig around inside.

LIAM: Sure. Oh, that one looks good. Interesting texture. That is a 17.

MATT: A 17, okay. Pushing past pairs of dhoti pants and some other elements, you can see sacks of--

ASHLEY: What are dhoti pants?

MATT: It's a type of wrap pants.

ASHLEY: Those are so cute.

MATT: Like Eastern Asia area. India, specifically. Others are in the vicinity. You find a few small sacks that contain food, dried figs and some grains in there. It's a bit strange to find in a textile place. There is definitively, as you step around and look around one of the other edges, the edge that you didn't force through, there is splintering. There are signs of forced entry on that side of the crate itself. And as you look back down to where things are, most everything in here seems untouched except for this gap in the center where it's a folded pit where something was once here and is now gone.

LIAM: Okay. I look over at Gerudal. It's good.

MATT: "Yeah." (laughter)

MATT: "We do good work."

LIAM: So something was here, something was hidden within and removed is the appearance I'm picking up.

MATT: Glancing around, because you rolled pretty decent on the investigation, there's an oddly minimal amount of goods taken here. Like if someone was coming here to steal whatever was in here, they only grabbed a few armfuls of anything, But also--

LIAM: It's like hiding drugs in coffee.

MATT: Yeah, you only looked at one of these crates. You do also notice there is a strange, odd residue as you push through, and the things in this pit area are a bit loose. Everything is packed pretty tightly, and that center area is loose bundles of cloth and shirts. And as you look inside, there is this odd crumbly, gravel-like residue around the inside of it. It's hard to tell the color without some proper light.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: Just light up your dagger.

LIAM: That's the wrong guy. (sighs) Cool, cool, cool, cool. I spy Imogen in the room and call out: I think she might like these! Good pattern.

LAURA: Good to know. (laughter)

MATT: Fresh Cut Grass, what are you doing?

SAM: Are the others all within sight range of me, O-Town, Danas, and the human male?

MATT: The human male, the dwarf who's name is Otan, though he did not introduce himself yet, that was a slip on my end, but his name is Otan.

SAM: ♪ 'Cause want it all. ♪

MATT: But also, let's say with the spell you learn their names, because that's a thing that can happen when you read surface thoughts. They're all within 30 feet of you.

LAURA: Laura, Laura, Laura, Laura, Laura, Laura.

MATT: Hey, some people are very self-centric, so. (laughter) So yeah.

TRAVIS: Singing your own name.

SAM: I'll pick that human male and sort of shift the spell over to them.

MATT: All right, you pick up the name Karrock.

SAM: What, who?

MATT: Karrock.

SAM: Kerrek?

MATT: K-A-R-R-O-C-K, Karrock.

SAM: Not Kerrek. Didn't we have a Kerrek?

LAURA: Yeah, we knew a Kerrek.

MATT: People have the same name in the world, guys.

LIAM: There is only one Dave. (laughter)

TALIESIN: You know of Dave?

TRAVIS: Danas, meet Dennis.

ROBBIE: No!

LIAM: Such a menace.

MATT: Only one can survive. You get a bit of the thoughts.

LIAM: For laughing at my terrible, terrible, terrible joke.

MATT: "I just want to wait for my break."

ALL: Aw!

MATT: "I'm tired, I'm almost done with my shift. I just want a piece of pie."

SAM: Oh, Karrock just wants pie!

MARISHA: Same, buddy.

LIAM: That's the thief.

MARISHA: Kill him!

SAM: Okay, good to know.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: That was comb-over man?

MATT: Yes.

SAM: That was Karrock, the human male.

LIAM: Comb-over man.

SAM: Yes, thank you.

LAURA: As Danas is talking to me, I'm just going to send a message over to Orym. Did you find something interesting?

LIAM: I start to think: Can you hear me?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: Wild. Yeah, but I can't see too well and I'm hoping you can help me out.

LAURA: Okay. I'll make my way over there--

SAM: ♪ Makin' my way ♪

LAURA: -- in a moment.

TRAVIS: Broke it up.

MARISHA: Just a dial tone.

LAURA: Yeah. And I'll say to Danas after she's done: So I'm taking from your information that we can actually purchase fabrics from another area and bring it here and store it, then? It can be a hold over sort of situation?

MATT: "With approval of Prudaj Textiles and its owner."

LAURA: Oh great, who's the owner of this?

MATT: "It's more of a-- If you haven't made that connection yet, it's sort of a handshake deal. You'll have to come back once you figure that out."

LAURA: Got it. A lot of stuff around here works that, funny. All right, but stuff is safe here, right? I mean, y'all don't have a problem with theft. I know a lot of areas around here kind of do.

MATT: "Well, there-- I mean, things get stolen."

LAURA: I'm going to, after I ask that, I'm going to just open up my mind.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: How close are we to everyone else in this room? I'm hoping we're 30 feet away from everyone, but--

MATT: No, everyone else is within 30 feet.

LAURA: Oh shit, well, there you go.

MATT: Well, are you using a spell slot, or are you--

LAURA: No, I was--

MATT: Are you just using your ability? Okay. Then--

LAURA: That would be one, two, three, four--

MATT: Five, six, seven.

LAURA: Okay. Okay.

TALIESIN: We can all talk while you say what--

MATT: Yeah, so yeah, go ahead and--

LIAM and TALIESIN: (whispering)

LAURA: I rolled a 12.

MATT: Okay, well, you do get to utilize the ability, but the load of whispers is becoming difficult to keep at bay.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: And so for the remainder of the day, any concentration checks are made with disadvantage until you get a long rest, as the oppressive thoughts of the world around you continue to push deeper and deeper into your mind against your will. But you are focusing, you have cast the Detect Thoughts spell and you are focusing--

LAURA: I had just asked about any kind of theft situations.

MATT: Right. Surface thoughts are, "Who are these people? What are they asking about? I'm starting to think maybe this isn't much of a business deal." There's a mistrust and a general tense nervousness.

LAURA: I hope you don't mind. Madam Zhudanna, she's had issue with this in the past, and she just likes to make sure that her wares are safe.

MATT: "No, I understand, I understand. That's why we have Gerudal and Karrock here. They're our watchers, both for physical labor and keeping an eye to make sure people don't take things that don't belong to them."

LAURA: Oh good, all right. Well, that's wonderful news. Yeah, I'll just make my way over to Orym.

MATT: "Very well." Danas follows you.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: I think what's in here is good for the line of coats that she was talking about.

LAURA: Oh, great, yeah, coats. It gets cold here.

MATT: Make a deception check, Orym.

LIAM: No one wears coats here. I didn't say fur-lined parkas.

TRAVIS: It can get chilly at night.

LIAM: That's a big five.

MATT: This is more of an-- because this a continued period of deception.

LIAM: It's all a ruse, right.

MATT: It's all just--

LIAM: Come look at the stolen hole.

MATT: Yeah, ensuring there isn't any sort of weirdness that begins to go. So as you begin to come and help and inspect, you see the same interior of the crate, the same missing gap there, the same grab of a few materials there, and that same granular--

LAURA: Can I just take a handful or a few of the, a little bit of the grains and--

MATT: Yeah, you can grab a little bit.

LAURA: Pocket it?

MATT: Yep. Fresh Cut Grass, what are you doing?

SAM: I'm looking around at crates, but while I do, I'm going to shift that focus over to O-Town.

MATT: Okay. Well, first, make an investigation check as you are glancing at other boxes and storage bins.

SAM: What is that? Is that a one or a 20?

ASHLEY: That's a 20.

SAM: Natural 20. (cheering)

MATT: Plus? Plus what for investigation?

SAM: Minus two. (laughter)

MATT: Perfect, so an 18.

ROBBIE: Squeaky.

MARISHA: Oh no.

MATT: Okay. You, glancing around some of the same batch that they're over, you can see signs of very, very minimal breaking on the edges of the crate as well, like crowbar and damage set to it that are signs of either somebody just brusquely getting through if they're in a rush, or somebody who is attempting to unlawfully do so. But looking at the other crates around, you do not see signs of similar forced entry.

SAM: So there's one that sort of stands out?

MATT: Right, well, there's two that stand out beside the one that they're currently looking at. While also focusing on Otan, you said?

SAM: Mm-hmm. ♪ Or nothing at all. ♪

MATT: So focusing on Otan, you get the first surface thoughts, which are just a, "Well, I don't know, like a cheese sandwich."

SAM: Goddamn it.

MATT: "Like a goat cheese. Like a sillgoat cheese. It's a little frothy. I like the froth, it's a bit chewy." And then you try and peer past that, and it's not digging much deeper there. If there are layers beneath it, he's got a strong will.

SAM: Why don't they constantly think about their crimes?

LAURA: I don't know! (laughter)

TALIESIN: Goat cheese is pungent and overpowering, let's be fair. It would go through my mind.

ROBBIE: Goat cheese. (laughter)

SAM: Then I'll just walk over to that crate that I saw was messed with, and try to see if I can see inside.

MATT: Okay. It's a bit tall.

SAM: Oh. (laughter)

MATT: But with your arm extension, you could probably try and push it over. It won't be subtle, but--

SAM: I don't care. I'll just do it.

MATT: All right.

SAM: They know we're here looking at stuff.

MATT: (thudding) The lid crashes over on the opposite side.

SAM: I got it!

MATT: Little bit of dust around the edges of it slowly settles. You have to clamber up to look down inside. The interior of here looks like it is a number of deep, rich browns and greens in a thicker material. Nothing extremely fancy, but definitely a step up from the standard street wear. Similarly, there is a pocket nearest the corner to you where you can see some of the bolts have been unrolled slightly and there is a little bit of an opening in there.

SAM: Hmm. Can I reach down there and fish around?

MATT: You feel around. You feel more material and the same granular residue.

LAURA and SAM: Hmm.

MATT: Just a little bit. Just slight elements of it.

SAM: I don't want to take up too much turns over here, but--

LIAM: Go for it.

SAM: Can I cast Identify? Oh, is that going to be a thing? VSM?! Shit. (laughter) Oh, but wait, I can ritually cast it. I don't know if that--

MATT: You can.

LIAM: That'll add 10 minutes to it.

MATT: It'll add 10 minutes to it.

LAURA: Matt, I forgot that I had Guidance on me and that --

MATT: Well, Guidance is one use.

LAURA: Oh, it is?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Okay. Then never mind.

MATT: No worries.

TALIESIN: Is it only sorcerers that can do silent casting?

MATT: If they have the right metamagic, yeah.

SAM: I'm sorry, this is not a cast spell. This is from an object. I have a lens that can go over one of my ocular sensors.

ALL: Oh!

ASHLEY: Awesome!

MATT: That's pretty rad.

TALIESIN: What?

SAM: Yeah.

LIAM: Make believe is cool!

TALIESIN: What?! (laughter)

SAM: It's the Goggles of Object Reading, so it can cast Identify.

TRAVIS and LAURA: Oh!

MATT: Correct. You still have to cast the spell, though.

SAM: Got it.

MATT: There still is an initiation, it just allows you to focus the spell through it as opposed to energy coming from you.

SAM: Got it.

MARISHA: Aww, cool!

ASHLEY: That's really cool.

MATT: So you can still cast it as an action,

LIAM: It's the Terminator HUD.

MATT: Definitely have to see if you can keep it subtle as well.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: You can do it.

SAM: I'll try.

MATT: All right, make a sleight of hand check for me.

SAM: Am I good at these?

LAURA: You can guide yourself.

SAM: I didn't know that, 16? 16.

MATT: 16, okay. As far as you're aware, maybe nobody saw you. You go ahead and the spell begins to take hold. Glancing at this, in the dark shades of the space, the color goes from the dull, lightless gray to a somewhat vibrant sky blue color, like a light cerulean. It's a dull piece of brumestone.

SAM: Oh. Do I know what that is, maybe, or no?

MATT: Make an arcana check.

SAM: Really good! Oh, okay, so it's a negative two to arcana.

MATT: (laughs)

SAM: -- but it also says, "Advantage on intelligence checks made to reveal information about a creature or object you can see."

MATT: Correct, so roll again.

SAM: Okay, it's not going to be much better than the 19 I rolled, so I'll take the 19! Negative two, 17.

MATT: Brumestone is a very, very rare substance. The only sources of it that are known currently are very, very heavily controlled, largely by the Alsfarin Union, which operates out of Ank'Harel and the brumestone was utilized in the Age of Arcana as the basis for the various floating cities in the mageocracies that would pass throughout the world. The destruction of these cities have led to mining operations to control the remnants of recovered brumestone, which have now been used to create the skyships that sail across the main continents in the world. And they are the blue stones that are embedded in skyships to keep them aloft.

LIAM: So, and this is just Liam asking, and maybe you can't answer this, but there's no mining of this or fetching of it now, it's just going back to what people from the past had? That's the one--

MATT: That's known of.

LIAM: That's known of.

MATT: Yeah, most places where it's been found, have been-- it's been recovered from some of these fallen cities, or other devices that utilized it. Any natural source that has been untapped, you have no idea.

LIAM: Cool, but I don't know that.

MATT: While you're having these revelations, the group wandering the exterior of the warehouse. So Dorian, you and your compatriots Laudna and Ashton, what would you like to do?

TALIESIN: I want to, briskly but with an eye out, head towards the back of the warehouse and see what's going on back there.

MARISHA: Not too briskly, it draws attention.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: We're a lot.

MATT: You are.

TRAVIS: (laughs) Yeah.

MARISHA: Me or him?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Us!

MATT: (laughs) If you're trying to go unseen, I would like you all to make a stealth check, please.

TALIESIN: Pass Without a Trace.

MARISHA: Ooh, Pass Without a Trace? Thank you! Cocked.

LAURA and LIAM: Cocked!

MARISHA: Cocked! Okay.

LAURA: Sleight of hand. (laughs)

TALIESIN: 20.

MATT: 20, great.

ROBBIE: A very flashy 11.

MATT: Is that with a plus ten?

ROBBIE: Oh, with a plus ten. No, that's 21.

MATT: You watch as you step around the alley, Ashton concentrates for a second and all the shadows seem to grow deeper around you and you feel unnaturally shielded within the darkness. So you get to add a plus 10 to your stealth check.

MARISHA: Seeing what Ashton is doing, Laudna immediately falls into step and sinks into the shadows with a 26.

MATT: Great, so it's a 21 on your end?

ROBBIE: Yes.

MATT: All right.

MATT: You all--

LIAM: Fucking creeper.

MATT: -- begin to shift around the alley corner and to the back side of the warehouse. And you can see there is one other entrance to this warehouse. It is a singular door, but it looks to be sealed and barred. There are three metal bars that are welded across the front in some way.

MARISHA: And as we're walking around, I'm going to drag my fingers along the edge. Just to have them there.

MATT: Okay. You got it.

TALIESIN: Sealed and barred?

MATT: It seems to be, just from a glance.

TALIESIN: I'm going to get a little closer, like someone decided to close this and that it shouldn't ever open again, sealed and barred.

MATT: All right, make an investigation check.

TALIESIN: I'll make an investigation check.

MATT: Look into the details around it.

TALIESIN: This is going to suck because my investigation sucks. Hey, never mind, 18. I rolled real high!

MATT: Not too bad! As you both keep a watch around, Ashton gets down low and starts giving some very dedicated attention towards this door. And as you look around it, one, yes, it was intentionally sealed. It looks like this building may have been repurposed as a warehouse and whatever the previous tenant of it utilized this door, currently, it is intended to be put into disuse. You can see it as a bit rusted at the edges and the elements that do seal it were put in a long time ago.

TALIESIN: Is there a lock behind the grate? Does the door itself have a lock besides just the metal bars?

MATT: You do not see any sort of handle at all. There is a small slit where it looks like it would maybe be slid open to one side, like it's on a track on the interior of the structure, but the metal bars are jammed into the ground from the exterior point, and there are parts of metal that have been melted to keep it sealed shut.

TALIESIN: Cool. Cool, cool, cool. And are there any signs of life back here? Do people chill out back here?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: Okay, I'm just going to keep doing this. This'll be a great roll. Yeah, look at that! Perception check. What am I add-- Oh, that's 12.

MATT: 12. glancing about, not much in this small alley. It's pretty tight, and to the right and left of you it hooks around and meets back to the, for lack of a better term, the central alleyway that these small little alcoves that surround the warehouse spring from.

TALIESIN: It seems kind of private, though.

MATT: Yeah, it's fairly private.

TALIESIN: All right.

MARISHA: I'm just going to slip down the alleyway and look at the adjoining alleyway and get a lay of the land.

ROBBIE: I'm going to make my way toward Ashton.

LAURA and SAM: ♪ Making my way ♪

ROBBIE: (laughs) Check out what he's checking out, over his shoulder investigating.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Do I see any obvious path where people would enter or exit? Does it feels like they could be very secluded?

MATT: It looks like the front double doors that lead to the entrance, the labeled one where your three friends went into, is intended to be the bottleneck entrance and exit from the ground floor perspective, at least. It looks like what was once the opposite side door is the one that's sealed. Which you go ahead and glance over Ashton's shoulder and you can also see how this is very definitively long ago sealed exit from the structure.

TALIESIN: This just might be a way in later, if we have to be quiet about it. We could probably open this back up.

LIAM: (sneezes)

TALIESIN: Your friend-- (laughter)

TALIESIN: The fuck was that?! (laughter)

LIAM: Look over there! Look over there!

TALIESIN: Think we're cool, think we're cool. (laughs) Shit. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Sneeze is the new fart.

LIAM: I'm good. That was my last 20 seconds, by the way. I was like, "Don't sneeze, don't sneeze, don't sneeze. Look in the lights, look in the lights, (sneezes)."

MATT: That'll do it.

TALIESIN: Didn't get on my glasses.

MATT: Sorry, so where you were?

TALIESIN: If we have to, your friend's pretty good with fire. If we had to, we could burn through this, I think.

MARISHA: It feels like there's got to be an easier way. Because how did others come in?

TALIESIN: Probably through the front door, but we'll finish our roundabout. But if we want to come back at night, this might be a good way of not breaking in in the street.

ROBBIE: Right, we don't know what's going on inside. I thought for sure you were going to suggest breaking and entering right away.

TALIESIN: I like breaking and entering. It's a hobby.

ROBBIE: You're more pragmatic than I thought.

TALIESIN: Ah, bless you.

MARISHA: Do I see-- I'm going to look up. Do I see any signs of physical distress on the building--

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: -- forced entry with my handy knowledge. Perception?

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: 19 total.

ALL: Mm!

MATT: Level threes rolling high all game!

TALIESIN: Start combat, we'll kill that.

MATT: Yep.

LIAM: Yep.

MATT: The just over two-story top, as you glance up the side of the building-- There's general wear and tear from light and weather. Though a lot of the buildings are built well to withstand a lot of the rain and the other more extreme weather that comes through the Oderan Wilds. You can see elements of a rope ladder that went to the ceiling, but it looks extremely rotted, and it only comes down about three or four feet from the ceiling, so there's about a 15-foot gap or so before you can even reach up to it.

MARISHA: Hmm. Do you think you could reach that? Our jumpy jump game?

ROBBIE: I think we could reach that, if you wanted to. And I'm going to pull my cloak back and click my heels together and reveal my boots that have wings on them.

LAURA: Ooh.

ROBBIE: Mm-hmm.

MARISHA: That's fancy.

ROBBIE: As an option.

MARISHA: Hmm.

ROBBIE: Your choice.

MARISHA: What are you suggesting? I hitch a ride?

ROBBIE: Princess carry? Very uncomfortably scoop her up.

MARISHA: I spindly spider climb.

ROBBIE: I feel her dead rat leg brush against my thigh.

MATT: It's like holding a scarecrow.

ROBBIE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, she's very light.

TALIESIN: She weighs 20 pounds wet. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Are you ready?

MARISHA: I guess. Let's get this over with.

ROBBIE: All right-- I click my heels together like Dorothy, and we'll try to float on up.

MATT: You both lift up towards the edge of that little rope ladder and up to the edge of the roof. And there on top, you can see the lip along the very, very top of the structure. It's maybe about a foot high lip, and across the way, you can see all manner of things that have been dropped here. One, you see all spatterings of long white-dried bird and simurgh shit that has just been loosely piled and forgotten up here. Speaking of simurghs, as you guys do come up into the light, you can already see two simurgh riders of the Sky Wardens, glancing overhead doing their general patrol. If you would like to take a moment to avoid their sight.

MARISHA: Yes.

MATT: So go ahead and both make stealth checks.

ROBBIE: Oh no!

MARISHA: Do we still have Pass Without a Trace?

MATT: You are not within ten feet of him.

MARISHA: Oh shit.

MARISHA: Ooh!

ROBBIE: Ooh boy.

MARISHA: Rolled better than me. Oh! That's good! That's a natural 20.

ROBBIE: Yeah, that's a natural 20.

SAM: There it is! (cheering)

MATT: All right, so natural 20?

MARISHA: I rolled a seven.

MATT: Okay, well--

MARISHA: (hissing) (laughter)

ROBBIE: I'm going to take my cloak and be like: What are you doing?! And I'm going to cover her up with my cloak.

MATT: And now, which is great, too, because as you get up onto the top of the roof here, the white dried bird and simurgh shit and your white cloak wrapping around her does manage to cover the lightless dark spot that she would normally be from an overhead perspective. You watch as the two Sky Wardens pass and glide overhead. The massive crimson-winged simurghs and their ever-watching, hound-like heads glancing past.

LAURA: "Hound-like heads"?

SAM: They got dog heads.

LAURA: They got dog heads?

MATT: Yeah, Simurghs.

TALIESIN: I'm going to keep walking around.

LIAM: I'm an indoor kid. Ugh!

TRAVIS: Can you describe a simurgh again?

MATT: Yeah, simurghs are these large, deep crimson, feathered, winged, hawk-like creatures, but the heads are, depending on the type or the lineage, range from dog- to wolf-like, depending.

LIAM: (howls)

MATT: Little more birdlike with a hint of dog.

SAM: Are they like Joust? Like the things that you ride in Joust?

ROBBIE: Yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: Oh yeah, they are sort of--

MATT: You know what, sure! Sure! Yeah, very easy to equate it to the 4-bit ten pixels of a creature? Yes, they look just like that.

SAM: Thank you, thank you.

MATT: Yes, they are indigenous to this area in Marquet, but the Sky Wardens here have a whole cluster of trained simurgh that they utilize to keep watch over the many different spires of the city, as well as a handful that have been tamed and used as taxis throughout the different spires for those who have the money to pay. But you both wait for a moment. They pass on ahead and you feel pretty confident in the moment to not be under siege.

ROBBIE: I want to scan the roof for a skylight to see if there's any natural light coming in.

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: That's a good idea. I'll assist.

MATT: All right, so that's advantage for you. (laughter)

MATT: She's assisting, so you do have advantage on the roll.

ROBBIE: Okay? That's very help-- Thank you for your help.

MARISHA: What did you roll? I missed it.

ROBBIE: It was a five. I'm going to need you.

MARISHA: Oh shit, come on!

ROBBIE: Yeah, let's go! No! No, no! We're bad, we're very bad at this!

MARISHA: It's just so fucking bright!

ROBBIE: That's a nine.

MARISHA: The light is blinding!

ROBBIE: You're very squirmy.

MARISHA: Do you have anything?

ROBBIE: Nope, it's a zero!

MARISHA: For what?

ROBBIE: For perception is a zero!

MARISHA: Oh jeez!

MATT: (laughs)

ROBBIE: Sorry!

MATT: Giving a pretty thorough glance, you see an abandoned wasp nest--

TALIESIN: Hopefully abandoned.

MATT: Hopefully abandoned wasp nest, a sack or a satchel of some kind that is just left to the elements on a far corner, but no signs of any sort of a skylight or entryway.

TRAVIS: Get that satchel!

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah.

ROBBIE: She grabs the dirty satchel! Oh god!

MATT: You grab the satchel and you pull back, and as you do, you hear the (wet tearing) sound as you partially tear it away from the elements of dried bird shit that have been plastered to the roof and it tears open as you pull back because the constant rain and heat and moisture, it's just rotted.

LAURA: Nothing but platinum. (laughter)

TRAVIS: It's just shit. Bag of shit on the roof.

MARISHA: Is there anything in there? Nothing? It's just shit.

MATT: It looks like there was some sort of a leather case, but it is covered in a thick, gray-black mold.

MARISHA: Ooh. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Of course.

MARISHA: I take the leather case.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: All of this.

MARISHA: Lick it.

TRAVIS: No!

ROBBIE: (groans)

TRAVIS: You do?

MARISHA: Yes, I do.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Ew!

MATT: That's horrible.

TRAVIS: What the fuck?

ROBBIE: Do you have everything that you want?

MARISHA: Let's go.

ROBBIE: All right. And I'm going to slowly start hovering back down to--

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: What the fuck?

MATT: While they're doing that, Ashton, what are you doing?

TALIESIN: I'm slowly making my way back around.

ALL: ♪ Making my way ♪

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: It's never going away.

LAURA: We got to stop saying it.

TALIESIN: We never will. Just slowly finishing my round to see if there's anything else to see. Anybody watching the building, any other weird doors on the other side, and I'll collect back the front.

MATT: Nothing else catches your eye. There's no other interested parties keeping a close eye, any sort of shadows off in the corners. Based on your initial perimeter search. Before you gather up at the rest of your troop. In the interim, Fearne, Bertrand, are you doing anything, or you just keep watch?

ASHLEY: Do you have a significant other?

TRAVIS: No, no, no. Not in a few years. I felt being independent was best.

ASHLEY: It really is so nice to just do what you want.

TRAVIS: You as well? Solo?

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm. Do you have any children?

TRAVIS: Not that I know of.

ASHLEY: Hmm.

TRAVIS: You?

ASHLEY: Not that I know of.

TRAVIS: Do you have ambitions for family life?

ASHLEY: Hmm. Yes.

TRAVIS: Oh, that's wonderful. Little bit of a dangerous lifestyle that we lead for that, though.

ASHLEY: Well, I know, it is, but you know, you have to settle down at some point, they say. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Oh, I've never heard that. By the way, we should be keeping an eye out for-- Is there anyone near us?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: 11. (laughter)

TALIESIN: We are kind of paying attention to a lot.

ASHLEY: I'd like to see if there's anyone clocking us, taking us in.

MATT: Also make a perception check.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay.

TRAVIS: Let's go, let's go!

MATT: Bertrand, you can look past the initial alley entrance that led you to this further corner, deeper into this part of the neighborhood.

MARISHA: Also 11.

ASHLEY: Yeah, 11.

MATT: Great.

TRAVIS: No fucking way.

MATT: Both of you glance over and see that there are people walking past the entrance to the alley. You can see the busy street. A couple of blocks beyond is beginning to pick up in its early afternoon bustle, but there's nobody in the immediate vicinity that's catching your attention as to be paying an eye towards you.

ASHLEY: I think people are watching us.

TRAVIS: R-really?

ASHLEY: Yes.

TRAVIS: Where?

ASHLEY: I-- just look around.

TRAVIS: I don't see anyone paying particular attention to us.

ASHLEY: Well, you need to pay more attention.

TRAVIS: My eyes have gotten very poor.

ASHLEY: That's okay, I can look for the both of us.

TRAVIS: One thing to keep in mind, this Ivory Syndicate--

ASHLEY: Yes.

TRAVIS: -- that Lord Eshteross told us about-- Our previous group was tasked with keeping an eye on them and it went afoul. They're dangerous. Can I relay to her what I've seen before in terms of what they look like or where they met or if this could be anything that might be related to that?

MATT: Sure. And from your experience there is very little consistent-- for lack of a better term-- there's no uniform for the Ivory Syndicate. There is meant to be no real personal demarcations so that it would be easy to suss out in a social environment. They work by looking like anybody. And it's only at certain gatherings, only at certain moments that those who are part of the faction come together, which is why it's so hard to trace. You do recall-- Actually, make a history check for me.

TRAVIS: 17 plus five, 22.

MATT: 22. You do recall that there is a lot of speculation that the Chandei Quorum, the anonymous grouping of various Mahaan houses and nobles and powerful figures in this city that overlook and protect the people of Jrusar and the greater Oderan Wilds. There is a lot of rumors and speculation that some members of the Quorum work directly with the Ivory Syndicate and keep them safe, keep them obscured, keep their business and dealings--

LIAM: I'm sorry, Laura pranked me. I was eating trail mix.

MATT: Well done.

LIAM: Sorry. I'm sorry, guys.

MATT: That's okay.

SAM: What was the prank?

LIAM: I just put food in my mouth and Laura kind of--

LAURA: (hushed) Don't!

LIAM: -- made it go bad. (laughter)

MATT: So-- (laughter)

TRAVIS: Don't choke, don't choke.

ASHLEY: So the Shaun Decor?

MATT: Chandei Quorum.

ASHLEY: Chandei Quorum could be working with-- may be working with the Ivory Syndicate?

MATT: There is a lot of rumors, speculation, and loud calls from the standard civilian who feels disenfranchised by the Quorum's protection and organization over the Wilds, that there has to be some collusion. Because there's very little public presentation of any sort of aggression towards the Ivory Syndicate that has seen any fruit. There's been no public arrests of any high-level members rank. Either the Quorum's working with them, or the Quorum is not doing a very good job or hasn't had the right people doing the job. But yes, that you do recall, and can express on there.

TRAVIS: My hesitance to go inside could be from someone that maybe worked with the Ivory Syndicate and my face might trigger something.

ASHLEY: You know what I think we should do?

TRAVIS: What?

ASHLEY: I think we should kill them all. (laughter)

ASHLEY: (laughs) I'm just kidding. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Which-- which-- which-- Who were you, in that-- Were you talking about the people inside the warehouse, or just everyone?

LIAM: Unless you want to. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I don't remember. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Your sense of humor is very hard to lock down.

ASHLEY: (sighs) So I'm told. You don't want to go in there.

TRAVIS: We can, but I would prefer to stay out.

ASHLEY: In case they know who you are.

TRAVIS: On the off chance. It's a huge syndicate, but still.

ASHLEY: I think it's better to be safe that way. (sighs)

TRAVIS: Did you want to go inside?

ASHLEY: No.

TRAVIS: Why do I feel like you do?

ASHLEY: I kind of do. (laughter) But it's just, there's not a lot in there. I'm just going to wait or I'm sure they're almost done.

TRAVIS: Well, maybe they need your help. Maybe they're just shitting the bed inside. Maybe they need someone to really come in and shake things up.

ASHLEY: I think you're probably right. I'm going to go inside. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Oh no!

MATT: So Danas is right there, patiently watching and occasionally making a note and watching you guys go through the crates as you all three begin to gather, and you just make this revelation of what this material is.

SAM: I'm not with them, though.

MATT: Right. You're about maybe 15 feet from the third crate in this area of the warehouse that was similarly more recently deposited.

SAM: Oh, Imogen, want to come check out the thread count of this one?

LAURA: Well, sure!

MATT: You can see some of the figures in the room, Danas and Otan, specifically go, (as Danas) "It-- I didn't realize it talks! Not a lot of talking automatons around here!"

LAURA: Oh, this is an advanced model.

MATT: "All right, impressive."

SAM: Thank you. Following orders. (laughter) (laughter)

MATT: I don't even need a deception check, like, they don't know what to think. Nevertheless, you were--

LAURA: I walk over there and I'll mentally say to you: What did you find? Don't act weird. What did you find?

SAM: I'm going to think back to her?

MATT: At this moment, you enter.

ROBBIE: Oh no! (laughter)

ASHLEY: Hello? I need your nicest materials for myself and I need to see where you keep your nicest things.

MATT: Danas looks back at you, looks at-- is like, "I don't know how word got out there, but we're not really a storefront. Are you here as an individual?"

ASHLEY: As opposed to what?

MATT: "A business! We deal directly with business distribution."

ASHLEY: Oh just myself, all alone.

MATT: "We cannot help you, dear, I'm so sorry."

ASHLEY: I need to be with a business?

MATT: "Yeah!"

ASHLEY: Well, that's so funny. I am with a business. (laughter)

MATT: "And what business would that be, lass?"

ASHLEY: It's the, um--

LIAM: Orym falls on purpose. (laughter)

LIAM: (cries out in pain)

ASHLEY: Oh, sir!

LIAM: Oh, oh, oh.

ASHLEY: Are you okay?

LIAM: No, I don't think I am.

ROBBIE: Oh, the old slip and fall!

LIAM: Actually. I was looking at these great bolts of fabric for coats.

MATT: Detect Thoughts are getting close to fading because it lasts for a minute for both of you both, by the way.

LAURA: Oh, okay. Oh god, yeah, what is everybody thinking right now?

MATT: It's all still surface thoughts. If you want to peer specifically, you have one more chance to focus on somebody, if anything, or you can just exit or go deal with this.

SAM: I will focus on Danas. I think that's the only one I haven't focused on.

MATT: Okay, focus on Danas.

LIAM: I'm giving myself 1d6 falling damage.

MATT: It's a strong will, and you get that from Danas' force of personality and how they run, very much fits a managerial position here. What you catch is, "Get them out, get them out, get them out, get them out." And not in a "rushed from embarrassment" feel, in a, "I'm extremely uncomfortable with them here right now."

SAM: Okay. I'm going to try to think at you.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: Can you hear what-- okay.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: I'm just going to try to think at you.

LAURA: I can hear you thinking, what? (laughter)

TRAVIS: Don't rush me, don't rush me, shut up!

SAM: I found something very rare, residue over there.

LAURA: Yeah, we found the same thing.

SAM: But it's like-- It can float cities and stuff.

LAURA: Oh shit.

SAM: And then also that gnome there is freaking out.

LAURA: I know, I can tell. She is freaking the fuck out.

MATT: "All right, have you found what you're looking for? It's been a lot going on."

LIAM: I think I really hurt my back. (laughter)

LAURA: I can't hear him anymore because I'm focusing on--

LIAM: I'm thinking it, I'm thinking it so hard.

MARISHA: Someone notice, someone ask.

LAURA: I can sort of hear in my periphery just, "Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow," clouding my thoughts.

MATT: (as Danas) "Gerudal, if you could be so kind as to help our friends here out, please do. If you'd like to have your business associates reach out to ours, the connection is there, I think will work out fine. We can go ahead and talk about-- what was your boss' name again?"

LAURA: Zhudanna.

MATT: "Zhudanna, have Zhudanna go ahead and reach out to the head of Prudaj Textiles."

LAURA: Of course.

MATT: "And if we can--"

LAURA: And how late are you all open?

MATT: "Oh, we close at sunset."

LAURA: Sunset, got it. All right, we'll be reaching out. Thank you so much.

MATT: "No worries. Gerudal!" And the black dragonborn goes, "Hey, sorry, you got to get out."

LAURA: Of course. Can I just, while my thoughts are fading on the-- I'm just going to focus on Gerudal as we're walking out.

MATT: Gerudal, you get to peer a little deep past the exterior and Gerudal is definitely a bundle of wanting to be done with their shift. Definitely looking forward to seeing a show tonight. It looks like they have tickets to see a performance at the Dream Theater and are very excited to go ahead and drink a lot, and then heckle some people.

LAURA: Nice.

MARISHA: Write that down, write that down.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: Eventually, you're all pushed back out the door. The door is closed.

ASHLEY: I'll come back with my business. All of them.

LAURA: How much of the brumestone--

MATT: Oh, it's like a palm filled of cat litter. Like, it's a very, very small amount.

LAURA: Just put it in a little satchel along with whatever you grabbed.

SAM: Are we all outside now? Did we all--

MATT: Those of you who were inside are there. The rest of you--

LIAM: We've got people on the roof.

MATT: Yeah, Bertrand Bell would probably be right outside.

TRAVIS: Right outside the door, yep.

MATT: Yep, and the rest of you?

TALIESIN: I'm hiding on the corner. I'm still stealthed.

MARISHA: Yeah, I imagine while they were doing this, we're back huddled in the alley, waiting for them.

MATT: Okay, you see them all emerge and the doors closed behind.

MARISHA: Psst. Psst!

LAURA and SAM: What?

MARISHA: Come here, come here.

SAM: Hi.

TRAVIS: Over to the corner? Okay.

LAURA: Yeah, we walk casually.

LIAM: Sure.

ROBBIE: This isn't suspicious at all. (laughter)

LIAM: ♪ Don't be suspicious. ♪

LAURA: ♪ Don't be suspicious. ♪

ASHLEY: Okay, what did we gather?

MARISHA: How'd you do?

SAM: Very fruitful investigation in there. We found-- Well, I don't know what y'all found, but I found a crate that looked like it had been disturbed and inside it had a residue of this very strange substance called brumestone.

TALIESIN: Oh, shit.

LAURA: We found the same thing. I mean, I assume it's the same looking shit that you found.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: And that one-- the gnome was acting real suspicious-like.

LAURA: I noticed that, too.

SAM: So what do we do?

LAURA: She didn't want us there.

SAM: Oh, what did y'all find?

MARISHA: I found this moldy case. (laughter)

LAURA: Have you opened it? What's inside of it?

MARISHA: I haven't yet. It's like a treasure trove.

SAM: What is that little wet spot on it?

MARISHA: I licked it. (laughter)

MARISHA: Would you like a sample?

SAM: I can't taste or smell. (laughter)

TRAVIS: You licked it with your tongue?

MARISHA: Mm-hmm, it's very cured, it's aged. (groans of disgust)

MARISHA: It'd make a great tea, honestly.

TRAVIS: Are you're going to open it, or?

MARISHA: Yes, I open it.

SAM: The Sword of Kas. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Make a dexterity save. (laughter)

MATT: These loot boxes are bugged. (laughter)

MATT: We'll patch it next episode, shit!

LIAM: It's just a letter opener.

MATT: Yeah. (laughter)

MATT: The Catheter of Kas. Sorry.

TRAVIS: Did you mean to leave a comma?

MATT: Make a strength check.

MARISHA: What?

LAURA: Oh, a strength check! Can you Guide her?

SAM: I can do that, that's my job, right?

MARISHA: Straight strength, right?

SAM: I will Guide you!

MATT: You-- She's already trying it.

SAM: All right, I will not Guide you. Not needed. She's a stronk.

MARISHA: 16, so 13 total.

SAM: Ooh.

MATT: (laughs) Okay!

LIAM: Bird bones.

TRAVIS: Negative three, whoa.

LAURA: Her arm breaks.

MARISHA: Right? Because I'm just using my modifier, right?

MATT: Yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: (cries of pain)

LIAM: I opened a bag of chips.

MATT: Yeah, it does tear open. There is some sort of a-- not really a locking mechanism, but definitely a mechanism to keep it sealed and it's rusted shut. And when you try and pull and pull it just tears the leather open and as it does bits of fuzz and other rotted, moldy elements (air puffing) out in front of you.

MARISHA: Look, I broke a fingernail. And I just hold out a whole fingernail.

SAM: (yells)

TALIESIN: That looks like that hurts.

MATT: You do hear the clattering of coin, though. And it looks like 12 silver and 10 gold fall from this case with some sort of a-- and now you can look at the back of it. There were some loops where it might've been affixed to a belt, like a small wayside belt pouch, but the loops had fallen apart.

MARISHA: Nothing else. That's it?

MATT: Nothing else.

MARISHA: Someone lost their coin purse, but it was on the roof.

LAURA: Why would they throw a satchel on the roof?

MARISHA: I don't know. I think someone was up there.

TALIESIN: There's also a door in back that's been sealed up. Might be a way in, if we want to be sneaky tonight.

MARISHA: Dorian and I found a rope ladder situation leading up to the roof.

ROBBIE: It didn't seem like there was any access, though.

SAM: And what about you, Bertrand Bell and Fearne? What did you discover?

ASHLEY: We learned a lot about each other and that's about it.

TRAVIS: Not much, actually.

ASHLEY: We were just making sure that nobody came in and attacked anybody and we were security.

TALIESIN: Someone's got to sit at the door.

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah.

ROBBIE: You're saying there's something suspicious inside?

LIAM: Were we thinking that this is some sort of pass-through point?

LAURA: I mean, that's what it seems like, right? Unless maybe not all the employees even know, but definitely someone in there has an idea.

ROBBIE: The door we encountered. Was it a door into the main space or was it a cellar, like a cellar door? Did it feel like you went to the same space or somewhere different?

MATT: It looked like it entered into the same area. Like it was a-- on a track and once slid open to the side to let people in like a heavy theater door that had been sealed a long time ago. And it's since been left to rust in disuse.

MARISHA: So you're thinking this is an inside job?

LAURA: I mean, that's the vibe I got. I don't know. I just sensed that-- that that manager was pretty uncomfortable.

SAM: Yeah. Maybe we could catch them red-handed or whatever. If we watch? Stake out? I don't know. How does this work?

TRAVIS: Yeah. It could be a front for something else. I mean, it'd make sense. They wouldn't do anything during the day. Perhaps under cover of night they'll show their colors.

ROBBIE: Did they say how long they'd be here?

LAURA: Close at sunset, they said. Are there any windows around on this building?

MATT: No.

LAURA: Nothing.

MATT: There are oil lanterns within the interior that are placed intentionally far from any of the flammable textiles and materials. But the entirety of the interior is lit by torchlight.

TALIESIN: Can anybody melt metal? Does anybody have, like-- Does anyone have the ability to melt metal?

TRAVIS: Can anyone go invisible?

ASHLEY: I could turn into a crab or something and walk in.

LAURA: You can?

SAM: Wow.

TALIESIN: That's pretty cool.

LAURA: You can turn into a crab?

ASHLEY: I can turn into pretty much whatever I want.

ROBBIE: And I can pretty much make anyone invisible.

SAM: Whoa!

ASHLEY: That is very true. Which actually might be more helpful than a crab.

SAM: Crab sounds really fun, though.

ROBBIE: Or an invisible crab.

ASHLEY: But I don't understand what's happening in there.

LAURA: It looks like you're covering up your cleavage.

ASHLEY: I know, my titties are so out there, so I want to make sure--

TRAVIS: That's how I sit.

ASHLEY: -- I cover it up.

TRAVIS: Like I got shoulder pads on. (laughter)

MATT: I know. I get uncomfortable, have to avert my gaze from Travis a lot of the time.

TRAVIS: Yeah, got to give these arms a rest. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I'm trying to make them dance.

MATT: There it is.

TRAVIS: About what time is it?

MATT: I'd say between travel to and from the different spires, time spent casing the vicinity, it's mid-afternoon.

TRAVIS: How long can you make someone invisible for?

ROBBIE: I don't know. As long as I'm able to concentrate on it. Maybe--

MATT: Does it say duration about an hour, I think?

ROBBIE: Yeah, I think so. I've got it here. Let me recall my arcane training. Ah yes! Up to one hour, Bertrand, thank you for asking.

TRAVIS: Not bad, not bad.

LAURA: Maybe right at sunset, you could turn one of us invisible, or yourself, and then as they're opening up the door to head on out, you could sneak in.

MARISHA: Brilliant idea. See? She's so brilliant.

ROBBIE: Me?

LAURA: Or anyone.

LIAM: Can I ask you a question?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: You talk right in there.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: How far apart?

LAURA: Quite a distance, actually. But it only lasts for a short amount of time.

LIAM: We're talking a couple of minutes, or--?

LAURA: About three minutes.

SAM: Ashton, don't be surprised if you hear Imogen's voice in your head because--

LAURA: You hear my voice in your head saying: Oh hi.

LIAM: If you were invisible inside--

TALIESIN: Good to know, good to know.

LIAM: -- and you saw people coming in, and then you'd be able to reach out?

LAURA: Only if I can see you.

ASHLEY: Can you talk in my head?

LAURA: I talk to you in your head: Oh hi, Fearne.

ASHLEY: (gasps) That's so cool.

LAURA: I think turning into a crab is pretty cool. That's all you hear in your head. I'm not saying that out loud.

MARISHA: I can communicate as well for people, just not as silently as Imogen. And I cast Message to Fearne, and I go: You see what I mean? And you can reply to this message.

ASHLEY: I think in my head and I don't say anything out loud, which I don't know if that'll work: Okay.

MARISHA: She said, "Okay."

LAURA: She said, "Okay, hello."

ASHLEY: It's working?

MARISHA: Yes.

MATT: You don't hear anything. She's not speaking out loud for her message. But you can read lips, because she's 10 feet from you.

MARISHA: She said she thought it.

LAURA: She replied to her message.

MATT: Let me double check.

SAM: I think Message you actually have to say it out loud.

LAURA: Oh, you do?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Oh.

SAM: You can whisper it.

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: It's whisper.

TALIESIN: In Messages, it's the cell phone.

MATT: Yeah, you whisper it.

TRAVIS: Lot of people out there going, "What's this?"

MATT: (laughs)

ASHLEY: I can hear you!

TALIESIN: Can't text, only call.

TRAVIS: Operator?

ASHLEY: Okay. We're doing a stakeout?

TRAVIS: A stakeout!

SAM: Some of us are staking out outside. Some of us are going inside. Who?

LAURA: Well, how many people can you turn invisible?

ROBBIE: I can make myself invisible. I can make any of you invisible.

LAURA: One at a time, or multiple people?

ROBBIE: One at a time, yes. It's an embarrassment of riches, though. We have crab, invisible, and I think hammer versus rusty old gate as well.

TALIESIN: Thank you. How many of you have actually crimed before?

MARISHA: Hmm!

LAURA: I mean, sort of.

TALIESIN: Obviously. Really?

TRAVIS: Oh, I mean, I've been around a while.

MARISHA: Mine was mainly out of--

TALIESIN: That's very fair.

MARISHA: -- survival, though.

LAURA: Right. We don't do it on a--

ASHLEY: What qualifies as a crime?

TALIESIN: Something that if someone caught you doing, they could have somebody with a day job, put you into a box and not let you go.

ASHLEY: Hmm.

LIAM: Generally breaking the law.

TALIESIN: Yeah!

ROBBIE: Breaking and entering is.

TRAVIS: Can you just keep re-upping the invisibility spell for as often as you need, or is there a limitation to how long you can do it for? If you go in at sundown, is it going to run out after three hours?

ROBBIE: One hour, and I have to concentrate the whole time.

TALIESIN: And also, who's quiet, who's sneaky? Are any of us quiet? Well yeah, that's fair.

ASHLEY: I don't think I would be the one because I'm just not very quiet.

LAURA: But if you're a crab? You're probably more quiet.

ASHLEY: But the thing is, I think if I'm a crab--

TALIESIN: Is it just crabs?

ASHLEY: Only crabs.

TALIESIN: You can only turn into crabs?

ASHLEY: I don't know what it is, it's just crabs.

MATT: Circle of Crabs, the special druid subclass.

MARISHA: Do you have the brain of a crab?

ASHLEY: I think I would have the brain of a crab.

MATT: Actually, no. Druids, when you transform into creatures, you keep your full intellect.

TRAVIS: You're a very smart woman.

LAURA: Yeah, you're smart. Polymorph is different.

ASHLEY: It's not Polymorph.

MARISHA: Wild Shape, you keep your brain shit.

LIAM: Learn from our mistakes.

MARISHA: Uh-huh.

LAURA: Yeah, made that mistake.

LIAM: Yep, Mothy.

LAURA: Yep.

ASHLEY: I'm going to write that down. Okay.

LAURA: Yep!

LIAM: Nom nom.

TRAVIS: Do you become an actual, like, a small crab?

MARISHA: Dungeness crab, a blue crab?

ASHLEY: I could be any type of crab, an Alaskan crab.

MARISHA: Ooh!

TALIESIN: So if someone is leaving the building--

SAM: Where's that?

MATT: It's north of Issylra. It's a--

LAURA: I imagine people will leave it open for a bit as people are coming in and out, right?

TALIESIN: Traditionally, when they're leaving the business, they'll lock it up. And the people leaving will either be leaving by themselves, or maybe carrying a big package. And if they're carrying a big package, we can just, you know, follow them, mug them. There's a lot of options. You can just take their shit. Especially around here. It's pretty quiet at night. I've still got fucking Pass Without a Trace up. I'm still kind of low key.

MATT: That lasts for 10 minutes, right?

TALIESIN: One hour.

MATT: Oh, one hour. That's right, you're correct.

TALIESIN: I checked. Oof. And then if someone goes in, and in the middle of the night and doesn't seem to be leaving, we can sneak in and maybe either pick the lock or break the door down.

LAURA: Does anyone pick locks here?

TALIESIN: Kind of.

MARISHA: Kind of as well.

LIAM: Does that mean hitting things with that hammer?

TALIESIN: No, I don't just hit things with the hammer. I like to mostly hit things with the hammer, but I can do some stuff.

MARISHA: It's a very nice hammer.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

LIAM: Maybe it's a better to--

TALIESIN: It's custom made.

LIAM: -- to let something get taken and figure out what the deal is.

MARISHA: Hmm!

LAURA: Mm. Stake out tonight. If we don't learn anything, sneak in tomorrow?

TALIESIN: Could even, early in the morning, maybe if nothing happens, the last thing we can do before going to bed is do a little damage to that back door so that the next day, we can open it.

LAURA: All right.

MARISHA: It's very well done craftsmanship back there, might take solid effort.

TALIESIN: It's some bars, I think we can just heat them, beat them, whatever we need to do.

MARISHA: Oh! So many things rhyme here!

TALIESIN: It's that kind of town.

MARISHA: I'm going to spin behind me and look around. Does it look like there's good places for a stake out?

MATT: There are a number of surrounding rooftops. If they're unoccupied, that would give you a number of decent vantage points. This is an industrial portion of the district. And a lot of the buildings are once again, built for function than display. And you figure there's probably, if you can get onto them, some decent places to keep a watch. Though, once again, if you're on a rooftop, you are open season to anyone flying overhead.

MARISHA: Full time, yeah? There are day and night, 24 hours.

MATT: I mean, they keep watch, but it's not like you're under a police state, you know, watching. They've had patrols and, you know, if you were to keep watch for a while, you could probably pick up a pattern, but you haven't spent time on that.

LIAM: And is ground level bare bones, or is there stuff around there are any kinds of crates or storage or anything out outside of the warehouse?

MATT: There are a handful of pieces of crates. Most what is out in the middle of the alleyway here, looks like it is partially discarded or abandoned, supply crates that fell apart, lost their function, and nobody has taken the time to actually dispose of properly. So there are some places to hide, but nothing that's too intact, necessarily.

LIAM: Did you guys find a way in on the roof, did you say? Nothing?

MARISHA: No.

ROBBIE: No, just a new purse for her.

MARISHA: It was very bright, though. It was like, ugh, blinding.

LIAM: So we want two teams, probably front door, back door. Even if that door seems sealed, maybe it isn't for the right people. Watch both ways in, but both different. Both teams need to have communications. That's you, and that's you two.

TALIESIN: The smart one, all right!

ROBBIE: Born leader.

LIAM: Then whoever sees something go down, reach out and then we follow.

MARISHA: Sounds good.

LIAM: Just got to find a place to lay low.

TALIESIN: Well. Once the sun sets, I'm always a fan of a laying high. Building across the way, you get up on the roof, bring a couple fucking liquor bottles and people would just assume that you're trying to find a place to get drunk and you know, that you don't have a place to go.

ROBBIE: Are there any food carts or restaurants or anything in this area? Like somewhat nearby?

MATT: Oh yeah. There's not much in the way of high dining, necessarily, but there are small, hole in the wall food places and small mini taverns that are popups in the city, if you will. But just a number of carts that constantly shift and move. It's not that it's illegal to do any sort of street vending here, but based on the day of the week and based on the trends of business, they will shift to where the most workers and the most people are during that day, and try and make the max amount of money. So it's not terribly crowded in this space right now, but there are a number of small street vendors. You can find some food. Drink will take a little more work, but not too much. You can spend a little bit of money and buy a bottle off of one of these hole in the wall places in the next hour, if you wanted.

LIAM: What are you thinking?

ROBBIE: Hungry? Try to blend in?

LIAM: We've got to pass the time till the sun goes down.

LAURA: We could always, you know-- There's a lot of sewer systems around here, and Laudna and I have certainly had our experience with shade creepers. There's different types of entrances everywhere. I mean, I would love to look around the city and see along the street, if we can find any sewer entrances?

MATT: Make a history check for me.

MARISHA: (snaps) Come on.

LIAM: [Inaudible] on now.

LAURA: Guidance?

SAM: Sure?

MATT: You did shout it before you rolled it, if you want to take it, it's fine.

LAURA: It doesn't really matter, my history is dog shit.

SAM: Terrible, terrible roll.

LAURA: I rolled shit. Yeah, no. Six.

MARISHA: Oh shit.

LAURA: Balls-uh.

MATT: So.

LIAM: "Balls-uh."

MATT: You don't-- You haven't heard much about the structures of the sewage of the city. There are places like public rest stops, where people can publicly relieve themselves. There is no definitive sewer system beneath the city. There are a series of carved holes that all conjoin. And then at certain spaces at the bottom of each Spire, there are exit portals.

LAURA: Oh, gross!

MATT: There are certain areas around base of the Spire that people do not go. And a lot of creatures do.

LAURA: Oh, fucking foul.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Would I know if there's a similar, the Lantern Spire, a similar thing to my home where there's a little bit of a underground community? Would I not know what was going on?

MATT: You would, actually. You would know of what is called Elder's Post.

TALIESIN: Elder's Post?

MATT: Elder's Post. It's a number of residential subterranean tunnels that weave through the mountain rock of the spire, and all meet in these weird, haphazard, spider filaments and tunnels. And in that space, a lot of people of different walks of life, they have everywhere from modest income to paupers, just all co-mingle. And it's also the place where you can find goods that fell off carts, where you can find goods that may not have been legally acquired. It is often also raided by the Wardens.

TALIESIN: Sure. Would I know where an entrance to this would be nearby?

MATT: You would know a few, yeah.

TALIESIN: Would there be an entrance super close?

MATT: To where you are right now? I'd say within a 20 minute walk or so.

TALIESIN: I mean, I got a place we could go pick up some stuff, if anyone's interested. It's a little out of the way.

SAM: Stuff like items or food?

TALIESIN: A little food, a little booze, maybe ask around a bit about contraband. See if anybody's got a line on anything.

LAURA: I also have a thought. (chuckles) While we were in there, I heard Gerudal thinking about the fact that they were going to be at the Dream Theater later on this evening. Now, what if a couple of us went to the Dream Theater, and just happened to be around Gerudal, made friends, and we find that a little bit more about the situation?

MARISHA: That's a good idea.

TALIESIN: Wait a minute. Dream Theater, Dream Theater?

SAM: That's where your--

TALIESIN: Is Anni playing there tonight?

SAM: Anni Aughta is playing. Or auditioning.

TALIESIN: Oh, okay.

MATT: Anni Aughta is hoping to audition for the Dream Theater.

TALIESIN: Is that tonight, or--?

MATT: Is practicing for the opportunity soon to audition. You didn't get a specific date, if I recall.

TALIESIN: All right.

LIAM: I've been dusting off my monologues.

LAURA: Is it hard to get tickets to the Dream Theater, would I know?

MATT: You've never been.

ASHLEY: So he was looking to audition?

SAM: No, this was Ashton's friend--

TALIESIN: A friend of ours.

SAM: -- who's going to audition.

LAURA: Gerudal has tickets.

SAM: Gerudal is going to go see a show.

LAURA: Is it hard to get tickets?

TALIESIN: Depends on who's playing, to be honest. If it's a show no one wants to see, then no.

LAURA: Just an idea.

TALIESIN: I don't know who's playing tonight.

MATT: Well, the afternoon is growing later. The light in the sky begins to turn from a strong blue to the beginning stages of a coming sunset in the next two or so hours. What would you like to do to prepare?

TRAVIS: If you want to go after the items, I don't mind staging a look out across the street and just keeping an eye out.

TALIESIN: All right, anybody want to go buy some shit? 20 minute walk, give or take.

SAM: What's there-- I mean, what's there to buy?

TALIESIN: A little food, little drink and, I don't know, see if anything shifty is run through this part of town.

MARISHA: Also, if we want to send a couple people to talk to this Gerudal, we know where he's going to be.

LAURA: That'll be after sunset, though, that'll be later on this evening, I'm assuming.

SAM: I feel like we should just stay here and stake out.

MARISHA: All right, I'll take the back if you want to take the front.

LAURA: Sure. Across the street?

MARISHA: I'll stay in the shade.

TALIESIN: I'll take the back, too, since, if we need to hit a door, I'll hit a door.

MARISHA: Sounds good.

LIAM: Now here's a question because you had thoughts about maybe someone coming up from underneath, right?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: Do we want one of us inside?

LAURA: I feel like one of us inside would be helpful, but you know, I had mentioned just staking out tonight and going in tomorrow, that's dumb. I mean, we can go in tonight, if you want. I'm just a little distracted.

SAM: Are you having some anxiety? Do you want to talk about it?

LAURA: You could call it that. No, I would not like to, but I, yeah.

ASHLEY: Do you just hear everything?

LAURA: Sometimes, Fearne, yeah.

ASHLEY: That's a lot.

LAURA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: We're going to have a limited window. When the last person locks up for the evening, we have an opportunity to go in. We could make someone invisible. Fearne could become a tiny crab and try to sneak by.

LAURA: Or a mouse, or whatever it is.

ASHLEY: Whatever's indigenous to this area. I don't know if a crab is, they might see it and try to kill me or cook me. You know, it's delicious.

TALIESIN: Oh dear.

MARISHA: All right, I like this plan. I like enter, what did you say? B and--

SAM: B and E?

MARISHA: B and E, that's what you said.

TALIESIN: Sure.

MARISHA: I think that's fun.

SAM: So who's in the back and who's in the front?

ASHLEY: I can go in the back with Ashton.

TALIESIN: We'll take the back.

MARISHA: I'll take the back.

SAM: Oh wait, we need to be in the back because you're going to be in the front, communicating?

LAURA: Sure.

SAM: Are you going in? No.

LAURA: I wasn't planning to, but I imagine Dorian here will be.

TRAVIS: I'll be in the front.

LAURA: Are you sneaky, Dorian?

ROBBIE: Not particularly, but--

LAURA: Maybe you can make Orym here invisible, you know? He's kind of small.

TALIESIN: That's the way to do it.

MARISHA: That's not bad, yeah.

TRAVIS: You bitch. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Don't let her go.

TRAVIS: You take your ass inside!

ROBBIE: You going to do some deception shit or are you going to peek on my sheets? (laughter)

TALIESIN: You got cheat sheets, man?

MATT: All right, so what's the plan?

LIAM: It's true, if you hit me, I can wait by the door for when they close up shop.

LAURA: Yeah, you can go straight in. That'd be a lot easier for you to sneak in.

LIAM: Yeah. And then if--

LAURA: I can hear you for three minutes, once you're inside.

ROBBIE: Orym, do you want to do this?

LIAM: I think I should.

ROBBIE: All right.

MARISHA: What are you going to be looking for when you're in there?

LIAM: Somebody coming in from above or below. Something we're not expecting.

TALIESIN: Are there two floors in there? It looks really tall.

LAURA: Oh, it was just a high ceiling.

TALIESIN: Yeah, okay.

LAURA: Right?

MATT: Yeah, it's about 20 feet up.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: A little under 20 feet.

TALIESIN: We are looking for floaty stuff. So that definitely opens up the options of where they can hide it.

LAURA: Yeah, plus as long as you're invisible, you can hide behind one of those crates. I could barely see you behind those things.

LIAM: Yeah. Just if somebody comes from a direction we're not expecting, how do I signal?

TALIESIN: Knock on the back door.

MARISHA: I can message you, at least let you know. And then you can message me back, and I can always communicate to Imogen.

LIAM: Can we do that regularly?

MARISHA: Yes.

LIAM: Okay. Is it going to be creepy?

MARISHA: That's up to your interpretation, darling.

LIAM: It's going to be creepy.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LIAM: Let's do it.

TALIESIN: If things go real wrong, knock on the back door and we'll break in. Guns blazing. Boom, boom.

LIAM: What's that?

TALIESIN: We'll break in with-- you've never seen a-- never mind.

TRAVIS: Ready, break, go! (laughter)

LAURA: So as it starts to get dark maybe we can wait until we see the door open before you turn him invisible, so we get the most amount of time out of it.

ROBBIE: I think they'll come out as a group together--

LAURA: Potentially, yeah.

ROBBIE: That'll be the time.

SAM: All right, so the back door team's going to go in the back and just find somewhere to sit that looks not suspicious?

MARISHA: Back door team.

ASHLEY: Back door team.

TALIESIN: I literally am dressed as somebody who sits inside a warehouse and doesn't look suspicious.

SAM: Right?

MATT: All right, so Team... Team Back Door--

ROBBIE: Say it! Say Team Back Door! Say Team Back Door! Say it! Say Team Back Door!

MATT: So Team Back Door-- (cheering) (laughter)

LIAM: So dumb.

MATT: That's what we do. You all gather yourselves to peruse and hide towards the rear entrance of the facility?

SAM: Uh-huh.

MATT: All right, I would like you all to make a stealth check. As you just keep yourselves somewhat subdued from the public.

MARISHA: Are you gonna give us some (gibberish)?

TALIESIN: That's done for the day.

MARISHA: It's doneskies, all right.

SAM: Well, then, I'll-- Can I Guide this?

MATT: You can Guide yourself or somebody else.

SAM: I'll guide myself for this. Because I think I get disadvantage, right? For stealth?

MATT: Because of?

ROBBIE: My 'stache.

MATT: Is there a "D" next to it?

SAM: Yep.

MATT: Then yep.

TALIESIN: I rolled a one.

MARISHA: No!

TALIESIN: I did.

SAM: I rolled a two and a one.

MARISHA: (gasps)

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: Wait, what did you roll?

MARISHA: I rolled an eight for a ten total.

ROBBIE: Yikes, you're the worst!

LAURA: What the fuck?

TRAVIS: This is exactly what we wanted.

ASHLEY: Wait, we're Team Back Door?

LIAM: Haven't played D&D for six years.

ASHLEY: I rolled a 21.

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: All right.

ROBBIE and MATT: Okay.

SAM: So we got a six total.

MARISHA: Oh, you're Team Front Door.

SAM: No, I'm Team Back Door.

MARISHA: Oh, you're Team Back Door as well? All right. We hide behind Fearne.

ASHLEY: It's just me back here.

TALIESIN: I'm just going to sit by, like, against-- I'm not going to try and hide. I'm just going to sit against the wall like an asshole.

MATT: Yeah. You all gather yourself in--

SAM: Just look natural. Beep bop.

MATT: Yeah, pretty much. You try to remain natural and out of sight and at one point there is a late afternoon drunkard who's already clutching a green glass wine bottle in one hand, who sputters through and looks over at all of you. "You want some?"

ASHLEY: (high-pitched Cockney) I'll take a little bit!

TALIESIN: Yep, yep, thank you.

ASHLEY: After him, ooh!

TALIESIN: What was it?

MATT: "I don't know, somebody gave it to me."

TALIESIN: That's fucking cool. If you see them, say thanks.

MATT: "I will."

TALIESIN: You have a great night.

MATT: And then passes out.

SAM: Oh no!

MATT: Right there on the ground.

TALIESIN: I'm going to gently put them up against the wall with us.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I raid his pockets.

ASHLEY: Let's see what his insides are like!

MARISHA: Fearne and I-- the inside of his pockets.

ASHLEY: Turn them inside out.

MARISHA: His pockets.

MATT: Three copper, half-eaten apple, and a bunch of, like, dry grass.

LAURA: And a bunch of poop.

TALIESIN: You never take copper. You just never take copper. That is so, that's just, that's kicking someone while they're down.

MARISHA: Didn't you eat these? Do you want them?

SAM: I'm not particularly in need. I think Ashton's right, we should put it back in their pocket.

TALIESIN: You take silver if they're an asshole, and you take gold regardless.

ASHLEY: But one man's copper is another man's food.

TALIESIN: That's just sad. You just got to put that back. That's just so sad. What are you going to do with three copper?

MARISHA: There are many uses for this copper.

TALIESIN: This asshole needs it. I'm just saying, this asshole needs those three copper.

MARISHA: I just open his shirt and pour it down his shirt.

TALIESIN: Yeah, no, I respect that, that's great.

MATT: All right. So you guys are posted up, Team Front Door?

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Fronties.

MATT: Team Missionary, like what do I call you? I don't know.

ROBBIE: Team Full Frontal, Team Full Frontal.

TALIESIN: Wow.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Full Frontal!

MARISHA: Full Frontal.

MATT: All right. All right. What are you all doing?

LAURA: We're posted up kind of-- is there another alleyway across the street or is there anywhere we can hide or crouch in?

MATT: Around the building, there are-- the alley continues past the right and left and then splinters off into a number of other alleys. There are a few corners here. There aren't a lot of direct hiding spaces that aren't completely invisible from all perspectives from the front door. There's also, like as you mentioned, rooftops, uncertain what's on them beyond the one that you guys already visited, but that is also an option. What are you looking at doing?

LIAM: Well, hopefully we want a quick route for me once--

LAURA: Yeah, once we start to see the door open so he can go.

ROBBIE: They don't suspect us or anything. What if we just posted up at one of the food carts and pretended to be patrons and waited until they came out?

LIAM: Well, if you're going to (casting noises) to me that can be obvious.

ROBBIE: Right.

LAURA: Yeah, so we should hide in an alley or something. just out of sight for the moment, you know?

ROBBIE: Okay.

MATT: As the sun gets lower in the sky and you guys are figuring this out, you do notice that Karrok leaves with a sack over his shoulder and exits.

LAURA: When he leaves, how does-- does he just open the door and go and shut the door? Or does he open the door for a moment, gather his shit, walk out--

MATT: It looks like he already has all his stuff and just exits and leaves, door closes behind him.

LAURA: Shit.

SAM: Before I would've told you, he seems pretty innocent.

MATT: What were you saying, Dorian?

ROBBIE: Nothing, I was thinking.

LAURA: Well, now that Karrok has left, maybe, I mean, I don't know. What do you think? Turn him invisible, and then you can just be right next to the door, the minute it opens, you go on in?

LIAM: Yeah, it's kind of gambling, but.

ROBBIE: He's quick. You duck in as soon as the next one comes out or when the last one comes out?

LIAM: When anyone comes out.

LAURA: Yeah, just to get in.

LIAM: What's the sun like right now?

MATT: Right now the sky is starting to turn to that bright orange. You probably have another, I'd say 20 or so minutes.

LAURA: Oh, 20 minutes.

ROBBIE: Oh.

LAURA: Shit.

LIAM: That's if they all leave together.

TRAVIS: Is anyone walking down the street with cloaks or any sort of more common fare than my duds?

MATT: Yeah, plenty of people. I mean, outside of the alley, yeah. Like the main street, they're all--

TRAVIS: Can I try to catch up with someone and offer them two silver for their shabby cloak?

MATT: Sure, yeah. You approach one young gentlemen, looks like he's a courier of some kind. He has a paper-wrapped package under his arm, and he's in a bit of a brusque run.

TRAVIS: Uh, excuse me, I'm--

MATT: "Hello?"

TRAVIS: I'm sorry, it's going to be a bit cold tonight. Would you take a few silver for your cloak? For an old man.

MATT: "Uh, how many silver?"

TRAVIS: Two? Three?

MATT: "Five?"

TRAVIS: Four.

MATT: Make a persuasion check. (laughter)

TALIESIN: I love this whole game is just slowly draining the coffers.

ROBBIE: Did you just give him 50 gold, too?

TRAVIS: 14.

MATT: 14. He goes, "Four."

TRAVIS: Four is not bad. Thank you.

MATT: Just continues running.

TRAVIS: I'll back up against the building and throw it over my front and lean up, like I'm sleeping like a drunk person against the edge of the thing, but it covers up all the poufs and ruffles.

MATT: It does. It does end at your knee. This gentleman is a little shorter than you, so it's a little small, but it works for what you're trying to do. All righty.

LIAM: Let's give it 10 more minutes.

ROBBIE: We'll see who else comes out.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Otan leaves. Similar scenario, drops his bag and picks it back up, reaches into his pocket and pulls out some sort of dried roll. It looks like it had some sort of a glaze on it, but it's gotten a bit of lint and stuff from his pocket on it. And he just flicks it off. Takes a bite and just leaves.

LIAM: Okay, I think this is the moment.

LAURA: This is the moment.

MARISHA and SAM: ♪ This is the moment ♪

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

ROBBIE: I'm going to reach inside that winged pauldron on the inside and just pull it out, and I'm going to pull out a little piece of gum arabic. It's usually it'd be like a whatever, but it's got an eyelash in it. Yeah, sorry, I'm barely saying words. And I have it in my hand and I'm just going to walk up to Orym and I'm just going to tink it right on his little forehead, right between the eyes. And cast Invisibility.

MATT: (shoop) He's gone from sight.

LAURA: Wow.

LIAM: I'm still here.

LAURA: That's a neat trick.

ROBBIE: Thank you.

LIAM: Thank you. I'm going to tiptoe over to the building now.

ROBBIE: Don't forget, Orym, if you attack anyone or cast a spell, you'll become visible again.

LIAM: Just going in the door.

ROBBIE: All right.

LAURA: You know what?

LIAM: Yeah?

TRAVIS: Oh, if you can't see him--

LAURA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Oh!

TRAVIS: Welp.

MATT: Yep.

LAURA: That's fine. That's fine. I just-- I'll lose connection with you. I've got three minutes from here--

ROBBIE: Oh shit!

LAURA: -- before I can't talk to you anymore.

LIAM: Well, I'll tell you what, if it goes wrong, not the worst, but if I don't get in, I'll just come back.

LAURA: Sure.

LIAM: If you see the door open and five minutes goes by and you don't hear from me, I'm in there. Yeah, that'll work.

LAURA: Sure.

ROBBIE: Okay, be careful, Orym.

LIAM: Bye, guys.

MATT: You head up to the side of the door.

LIAM: I'll wait five feet to the left or the right of it.

MATT: Okay. You wait five, ten minutes. The light in the sky gets slightly darker and darker. (creak) The door opens up and you see a black-scaled female dragonborn step through with a large leather pouch and pack over, like, well, it looks like a hiking pack on her back. As she steps through, turns back, "You, uh-- you got--" And you hear from the inside, (as Danas) "Don't worry, I'll close up. I've got it." (as Gerudal) "All right." Looks up at the sky, "I hope I'm not going to miss it." Turns and closes the door behind.

LIAM: I soft foot my way towards that door as it swings shut.

MATT: Okay, you slip in. Make a stealth check with advantage.

TRAVIS: Let's go.

ROBBIE: Yeah, come on.

TRAVIS: Let's go, daddy.

SAM: Come on, come on.

LAURA: You can't fail.

TALIESIN: Well...

LIAM: No, I did not fail at all. I did real well. That is a 23. (cheering)

MATT: (whoosh) Unnoticed, (creak) closes behind you. The interior is very dark. You can see just the little bits of oil lanterns flickering on the four different corners of the interior chamber. Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Do you have darkvision?

LIAM: No, halflings do not, right? But I have really good perception and advantage. So it would be a straight roll, maybe?

MATT: It would be a straight roll, because of your low light.

SAM: We sent somebody in who can't see in the dark.

MARISHA: Are you also the only--

LIAM: 15.

MATT: 15. Okay, looking around, you hear footsteps. Quick ones. (quick footsteps)

TRAVIS: Oh shit.

ROBBIE: No, no, no.

LIAM: More than one set? Or just one?

MATT: Just a single--

LIAM: It's her.

MATT: Of lighter footsteps.

LIAM: Right.

MATT: You glance as your eyes adjust and you can see the far back of the chamber where you were all inspecting those tampered crates. You can now see Danas is currently setting the lids back on, looking inside, gathering things. (quick footsteps) Rushes back near where you are. Looks around for a second, grabs some things. Throws a scarf over around the shoulders and around the face, puts a hood up. You can see a jittery energy to her. She swallows hard, pulls out her keys, opens the door and steps out. Are you--

LIAM: Staying in, yeah.

MATT: Closes the door. (lock grinding) You hear it lock. The rest of you who are outside, I would like you to make a stealth check for me to make sure you were unseen.

TRAVIS: For front, full frontal?

MATT: Yep, full frontal, make a stealth check, please.

ROBBIE: Full frontal!

TRAVIS: 18.

ROBBIE: That's cold. Natural 20.

LIAM: Yeah!

MATT and ASHLEY: Ooh!

LAURA: Six.

ROBBIE: (yells)

MATT: A natural 20 might've saved you.

LAURA: Sexy six.

SAM: Sexy six.

MATT: So as soon as you guys hear the door open again, you notice that Imogen is leaning a little far out and you, Dorian, grab her and pull her back. You guys watch as the door locks and you can see Danas, (panicked breathing) Goes and pulls something out, and unfurls and reads something in her pocket looks off and begins to make a very brisk run away from the house.

TRAVIS: We've got to follow her!

LAURA: Who's following her?

TRAVIS: I'm going.

ROBBIE: Is he by himself, or, like, hiding?

TRAVIS: I stood up, I'm not drunk anymore. I guess we've got to go follow her.

LAURA: Should we follow her?

ROBBIE: Why are you asking me?

LAURA: I don't know.

TRAVIS: Can you still have your mind [inaudible]?

LAURA: Yeah, no, I'm saying it just to you. Should we follow her?

ROBBIE: You two can go, if you want, I'm not leaving my friend alone. I'm sorry. It's up to you, but I'm staying here.

LAURA: We should follow.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'm going.

LAURA: Okay, we'll follow.

ROBBIE: Oh no.

MATT: So it's just the two of you?

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Could you tell anybody else? Can't see anybody else.

LAURA: Nope. I'll wait until Laudna sends me a message and I'll let her know what's going on.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Sidebar, as soon as Danas leaves, before I lose all light completely, I'm going to move to the perimeter of the room and find some-- Oh?

MATT: That-- That is a note, too. As Danas leaves.

LIAM: Yes.

MATT: They extinguish all the oil lanterns because there's no need to have open flame burning within the warehouse.

LIAM: So as soon as she's gone, I'm now--

MATT: In absolute darkness.

LIAM: -- feeling my way to the side--

SAM: ♪ Feelin' my way! ♪

LIAM: I'm finding my way-- ♪ Findin' my way! ♪ -to the side of this warehouse. I'm looking for boxes and then just sitting between the wall and crates and just trying to sit down and listen.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Ooh, does it feel spooky?

TALIESIN: In theory, you have an adventurer's kit or something? Right?

LAURA: You have to have a lantern or something.

LIAM: Of course, but I'm not doing that.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: I'm sitting in the darkness and listening with my keen ears.

MATT: You've got it, okay.

LIAM: Not with my Keen Mind.

MATT: What are the rest of you doing?

MARISHA: Well, I will.

MATT: You would've heard the door, like the series of doors, opening and closing, opening and closing.

TALIESIN: What's the right number?

MARISHA: How many was that?

LIAM: If I don't come back in five minutes, I'm okay. (whooshes)

LIAM: There were four of them.

TALIESIN: Four. That was four.

SAM: Want me to check in with the front door team?

LAURA: He's still with you.

MARISHA: All right.

LAURA: Plus all the people in the back.

LIAM: My boy's there.

MARISHA: ♪ Oh, Imogen! ♪ How's it going?

LAURA: Oh god, Laudna, there's people-- Okay. Orym's inside. We're-- I would know how many words I can say for this message. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Is this a message spell? Is this a 25-word?

LAURA: I would know.

LIAM: No, that's Sending.

SAM: Message doesn't really have a word limit.

LAURA: It's not the same, it's not the same?

SAM: There's no word limit, it just says short.

LAURA: Distances?

SAM: No, short message.

LAURA: Oh, short message. We're chasing after Danas, Orym's inside, and Dorian is in the front. That's all.

MARISHA: Oh! It's going great. They're chasing after Danas, Orym is inside, Dorian is in the front.

SAM: Send another message and ask who's chasing them and if they need any more help up there.

MARISHA: Oh Imogen, who are you chasing? Do you need any help?

MATT: What's the range on Message?

LIAM: 500 feet.

MARISHA and SAM: 120 feet.

LIAM: 120?

LAURA: So it is doneskies.

MATT: Yeah, there's no response.

LIAM: Probably could've reached out in the first place.

MARISHA: Don't know! They're off living their best life.

SAM: Well. I will cast a message inside the building.

MARISHA: Ooh, you can do that too?

SAM: Yeah, but mine's slightly different. You'll, Orym, you'll just get a feeling of curiosity from your good old pal, Fresh Cut Grass.

TRAVIS: What? (laughter)

TRAVIS: In the dark. "What the fuck?!"

TALIESIN: It makes you feel like you're being watched, then, is that what that was? Suddenly, you're in the dark feeling like you've been watched.

MARISHA: That's the worst feeling!

TALIESIN: It's terrible.

ROBBIE: -- curious now.

MARISHA: I send a message to Orym.

SAM: Better. (laughter)

MARISHA: (drawn-out whisper) Orym? (laughter) Are you-- Are you well?

TRAVIS: (scary voice) Are you well? (laughter)

MARISHA: (whispered) Are you well?

LAURA: (whispered) Are you well? Are you well? Are you well?

LIAM: Yes?

MARISHA: Is it fun?

ALL: (creepy whispers) Is it fun?

MATT: Jesus!

LIAM: Less and less so.

SAM: Ask him if he needs any help or anyone in there.

MARISHA: Do you need assistance?

ALL: (whispered) Assistance.

LIAM: I'm pretty sure I'm locked inside and I can't see shit, but I think this is the plan still. And don't worry, Dorian and Bell, and Imogen are out front, so they've got me covered.

MARISHA: Oh, he's totally out of the loop. It's quite adorable. (laughter) (laughter)

ASHLEY: Wait, what do you mean he's out of the loop? If he's in there alone, we should--

MARISHA: Oh, he thinks his friends are still waiting out front, but they're totally gone.

SAM: We're his friends!

MARISHA: Oh! Are we friends?

SAM: Well, I don't know, actually, I don't want to be presumptuous.

ASHLEY: I mean, I'm his friend.

TALIESIN: We're acquaintances, at the very best, at this point.

MARISHA: You are his friend.

ASHLEY: Yes.

MARISHA: See?

SAM: Do you want to go up front and just check? Or maybe I'll go with you. We can go check.

ASHLEY: I'm going to just-- I'm going to knock on the back door.

ROBBIE: What?

ASHLEY: No?

SAM: Yeah, sure.

MATT: In the shadowed darkness, after a stillness, you hear: Boom, boom, boom!

LIAM: Shh! (laughter)

ASHLEY: I try just under the crack. I get down low.

MATT: There is no crack, it is sealed.

ASHLEY: Hey!

SAM: This back door has no crack. (laughter) (laughter)

MATT: Well played. Yeah, well played.

ASHLEY: I try to just get where I think the crack is. Orym, can you hear me through the door?

MATT: You hear this, like, high-pitched vibrations.

LIAM: Very high passive perception.

MATT: (high-pitched muffled speech)

TALIESIN: How rusted are the bars on the back of the door?

MATT: It's intentionally prevented. It's practically welded.

TALIESIN: Okay. Can you heat this stuff up, maybe? Heat the door up?

SAM: You keep asking if we can heat things up.

ASHLEY: Oh, yes I can.

TALIESIN: Let's heat one of the bars up, see if we can't pull a few of these off.

ASHLEY: Absolutely. (flames whooshing)

LAURA: Oh, you fucker!

MARISHA: Oh, are we busting in?

TRAVIS: (laughing) Unbelievable.

ASHLEY: Wait, are we going in? Are we going in?

TALIESIN: I don't know, you seemed intent. We can try the-- I mean, like, I don't know how.

ASHLEY: I mean, should we just let him do his thing?

MARISHA: Let him do his thing! He's doing-- It'll be fine.

ROBBIE: That's worse.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: [Inaudible]

MATT: So.

LIAM: She's erasing your facial hair.

MATT: You currently sit in still darkness, blade drawn, facing some sort of metallic banging noise. Some of the crew is currently in the exterior of the back, debating on how to progress. Bertrand and Imogen-- Are you with them as well, Dorian, or are you staying behind?

ROBBIE: I am out front, pacing nervously.

MATT: All right. As Bertrand Bell and Imogen have darted off into the Jrusar sun-setting evening in pursuit of Danas, and it's in the middle of this chaotic cluster that we'll pick up next time.

ROBBIE, MARISHA, ASHLEY, LAURA, and TALIESIN: No!

MATT: Because it's-- (yelling)

MARISHA: It was so close!

MATT: Because it's getting late!

ASHLEY: I know!

TALIESIN: You are a bunch of assholes.

ROBBIE: I'm going to have anxiety for a week.

MATT: Good, me too! (groaning)

LIAM: Never split the-- Byeee! (laughter)

MATT: I'm sure it'll be fine.

LAURA: I shouldn't have gone.

TRAVIS: And just leave me by myself? Somebody had to fucking go. Come on.

MARISHA: That's perfect.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LIAM: That's great.

MARISHA: I'm here for this.

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

MATT: So we're going to pick up in the middle of that clusterfuck next week.

MARISHA: Let's keep going for another four hours!

TRAVIS: There's one person that's like, follow me, follow me, follow me. Shifty, shifty, shifty, doors! Darkness!

MATT: Yeah. You're having the worst out-of-body experience right now. You're in like a sensory deprivation chamber and just being tortured.

LIAM: I'm in Knott's Scary Farm, right?

LAURA: Yeah, so creepy!

MARISHA: Happy Halloween.

TALIESIN: Happy Halloween, everybody.

MARISHA and MATT: Happy Halloween!

TALIESIN: Happy fucking Halloween.

MATT: All right, well, we'll pick up there next week. Thank you all so much for joining us. Happy Halloween, we love you very much. And is it Thursday yet? (cheering) Good night. (like Laura) Bye!

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