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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show[]

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

(cheering)

MATT: For our special 100th episode, which is crazy.

(cheering)

MATT: So, you may have noticed, we have a new set. Our crew's been kicking ass and working hard to get this done in time for this episode, and we're pretty keen on it. so welcome to the visual upgrade to Critical Role. That includes the glasses, the hats, and the various accoutrements. I should probably put mine up too.

LAURA: They'll be here forever.

MATT: Perfect, that's what was missing. Right in my lav. Anyway, welcome. The start of the episode. All day, the energy from the community on the internet has been just overwhelming. The stories, the messages, the art. It's been intense. That's because of you guys, all of you. There are so many people to thank for the fact that we've been doing this as long as we have, and enjoying it as much as we have every step of the way. Thank you to everyone here at Geek & Sundry that brought us in, and had faith in this weird little show. Thank you to my incredible cast that really make the show. I set the table, you all actually make the dinner.

TRAVIS: Eat it.

MATT: You all eat it. Thank you to everyone who's been a part of it. Thank you to Orion Acaba and Tiberius, who started this adventure with us before going off on his own, thank you to all of our amazing guests we've had: Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Will Friedle, Mary Elizabeth, Chris Perkins, Patrick Rothfuss, Noelle Stevenson, Jason Charles Miller, Phil Lamarr and Ashly Burch who we had on one of our one-shots, which was fantastic. And tonight, returning to this next chapter of the story, we have Jon Heder.

LAURA: Kit Buss!

MATT: And Kit Buss who came in! Our fantastic artist, Kit Buss. We've had a few guests.

LIAM: Tom Hanks was great.

LAURA: He was wonderful. Renee Zellweger was phenomenal.

SAM: You guys missed the Dalai Lama.

(laughter)

LIAM: Such a min-maxer though

MATT: Barbarian the whole way, I wouldn't have expected it.

MARISHA: And of course, the latest, Jon Heder.

MATT: Jon Heder, who will be here. But thank you, everybody, and more than anyone that I just mentioned, the community. You guys, you guys who have somehow taken our crazy adventure into your hearts and come along and laughed and cried and tensed your butthole at the moments we did.

TRAVIS: Tensed. Your buttholes.

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: Never stop.

MATT: Never stop. You guys, it is an honor, it's a privilege, it's overwhelming, it is humbling. It is truly magical, of anything I've experienced outside of this wonderful girl here.

LAURA: Who's that?

SAM: I think he was talking to you.

MATT: I was pointing at Taliesin.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: But no, thank you all so very, very much. We're all so happy to have you here. And let's get into our announcements for the evening.

(cheering)

MARISHA: There's so many.

MATT: First and foremost, our hundredth episode tonight is sponsored by Marvel Puzzle Quest, returning once again. Thank you so much for being our amazing sponsor. Sam? If you want to.

SAM: I'm going to do a super fast throw out–- well, I'm not going to rush them, 'cause they are our sponsor. Marvel Puzzle Quest, everyone, great game. Download Marvel Puzzle Quest, available on the App Store, Google Play, and Steam. New characters are added every two weeks, and you can play as heroes, villangers-– Villangers? Villains, the Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, and more. Speaking of the characters, I'm going to do a quick trivia quiz with Taliesin Jaffe here. Master of comic books. I'm going to read a list of characters available on Marvel Puzzle Quest game. Some of them of them are real, some of them are yoga positions. You tell me which is a character and which is a yoga position. Ready?

TALIESIN: Yes.

SAM: Spider-Man.

TALIESIN: Marvel character.

SAM: Flying-man.

TALIESIN: Uh, yoga position.

SAM: Firefly.

TALIESIN: Marvel character?

SAM: Yoga position. Devil Dinosaur.

TALIESIN: Devil Dinosaur is definitely a Marvel character.

SAM: Invisible Woman.

TALIESIN: Marvel character.

SAM: Wild Thing.

TALIESIN: Both?

SAM: Yoga pose. Medusa.

TALIESIN: Marvel character.

SAM: Bird of Paradise.

TALIESIN: Yoga position.

SAM: Yes. Cow Face.

TALIESIN: Marvel character?

SAM: Yoga pose! The Hood.

TALIESIN: Oh, Marvel character.

SAM: The Warrior.

TALIESIN: Yoga position.

SAM: Yes. Ares.

TALIESIN: Marvel character.

SAM: Extended puppy.

TALIESIN: Later. Yoga position.

SAM: Correct, yay! Marvel Puzzle Quest, everybody. Get it wherever you get your games, today.

MARISHA: Watch him on the Wednesday Club. Shameless plug.

TALIESIN: There will be another shameless plug later.

MATT: We all laugh now, until the announcement of the Extended Puppy comic series at Comic Con in a few months.

SAM: We're also supposed to give a quick shoutout to Backblaze for sponsoring the first set of episodes of…

MATT: Of, if you want to go ahead and discuss this-– who wants to pick this up? We have–-

SAM: Did I skip? Did I skip? It says on my page! I'm sorry!

MARISHA: No, it's okay. As a lot of people already probably know, we announced it in our press rollout, but in honor of the hundredth episode, we now have episodes zero-– which is all of our backstories-– through ten in podcast form. Critical Role podcast. And then what's going to start happening is, towards the end of the month, we want to start rolling out one a day, on work days. Five a week. Don't kill us. All right? Every day to catch up, 'til we get back on track.

TRAVIS: (sings) It's the end of the month.

TRAVIS & MATT: (sings) Wake up, wake up, wake up, It's the end of the month.

TRAVIS: Bone Thugs? Thank you, Matt.

MARISHA: There's a podcast.

TALIESIN: You can find it on iTunes, you can find it on Google.

MATT: Google Play Music, or the Geek and Sundry website.

LAURA: Yeah, there's definitely–- all the links are on geekandsundry.com.

MARISHA: Yes, and Google Play, and yeah. The stuff like that.

LAURA: Can we talk-– can we talk about this thing now?

MATT: Yes, we can. So, getting into our merch and part of the celebration of the hundredth episode, Laura. What have you got in store?

LAURA: Oh, well, thank you for asking, Matthew. Well, number one, we have our amazing Scanlan concert tees.

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: As being worn by the buff and glorious Sam Riegel. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous, with all the tour cities on the back and everything. And then, also, a commemorative item for the hundredth episode. We worked with David Mack-– Who is, like, this amazing artist. He's–- you know him. Tell some of his work, 'cause-–

LIAM: Oh my gosh, he does covers for everything. Daredevil–-

LAURA: Jessica Jones, I saw Jessica Jones work. Kabuki. All of it. So he does this amazing watercolor work and he did an amazing art print for us, so-–

LIAM: Here it is.

LAURA: Without further ado.

(cheering)

LIAM: (sings) Look at this motherfucker.

SAM: The intensity. The glamor.

LIAM: The splatter.

LAURA: I mean, I'm so excited about this. Number one, just because it looks so freaking amazing. But then, he incorporated all of this amazing stuff like quotes and everything that has to do with the characters, and things that mean so much to us as the characters. And he just worked with us nonstop to try to make the most amazing thing for you guys, and I'm so proud of it and so happy.

LIAM: It's farkin' beautiful.

LAURA: And we have this amazing gold emblem in the bottom. I don't know if you can tell, but it's like extra shiny and fancy. It's a special Vex. And the paper's really heavy, and so it's super, super special. So-–

ASHLEY: It feels like it was-– like it's a one-of-a-kind watercolor. Like that's what it–- up close, it's crazy.

LAURA: It looks like he painted it on the page.

SAM: 400 thread count.

(laughter)

MATT: And we're only selling the one.

LAURA: Venetian silk.

LIAM: Also, like our shirts that you can't tell how soft they are until you're wearing them, like the Joe Mad poster that was so beautiful but until you saw it in person you didn't get it. This thing in person is unbelievable.

LAURA: So yeah. This will be available for one month and one month only in the Geek and Sundry store starting today. And then after that, it is gone. And we're doing the same thing that we did last time, which is also offering a limited edition signed version, so if you guys want to check that out, that's only available for three weeks so we can try to get as many signatures before Ashley has to leave.

ASHLEY: Sorry.

TRAVIS: (sings) Sorry.

LAURA: So yeah, three weeks from today you can get the autographed. Starting today, only for three weeks, and then it's gone forever from the store.

TRAVIS: We already got copies, right?

LAURA: We already have copies, yeah.

ASHLEY: I love it so much.

LAURA: Thank you David. Thank you for being amazing. We love you.

TRAVIS: Yeah, it's so nice.

MATT: Thank you, David. Really appreciate it, man. Awesome. And what else you guys got?

MARISHA: So, The Slayer's Cake–- the members of The Slayer's Cake-– Yes, have a new product they have just released.

SAM: Is it a baked good of some sort?

MARISHA: Well…

LAURA: We should show them.

MARISHA: I think, you know, they worked so hard on making a commercial, so we should let them-–

LAURA: We should let them talk about it.

MARISHA: So here is a commercial from The Slayer's Cake.

SAM: Oh, hello there. I'm Taryon Darrington of The Slayer's Cake. The Slayer's Cake, your pals in a pastry pinch. Go now? Okay. (clears throat) Heading to a fancy banquet and not sure if your hosts are undead? (gasps) Slayer's Cake. Say it's Winter's Crest, and you don't know what to get your secret Sarenrae. Possibly because you've never given a gift before. It could happen. Slayer's Cake! We even have miniature cakes for that special gnome-one in your life.

LAURA: Those are cupcakes, Tary!

SAM: Oh, okay, well, I mean, mm! But hey, if I still haven't convinced you, don't take my word for it! Are we still-–

LAURA: Mm, delicious.

ASHLEY: Wow, so light, and I would know, I'm a cleric. Er, what?

SAM: So come on down to the Slayer's Cake, located in downtown Whitestone. Look for the big unsanitary bear. You can't miss it! And don't forget, don't step in bear shit!

MARISHA: Bumper VO. The Slayer's Cake, open till 6PM, 7 on weekends. Closed Thursdays for adventuring. Slayer's Cake aprons available now. What? We have aprons? Tary, you didn't tell me we have aprons!

(cheering)

LAURA: Wait, wait, can you see me? There it is! So we had the aprons made, which we're so excited about. I didn't do it, Ben did it, and he's amazing. Ben did this! He made cupcakes with the Slayer's Cake logo for us for the 100th episode. We can eat them! So I'm passing them around.

ASHLEY: What if we save them forever?

LAURA: I'm just so excited about this, you guys! I kind of just wanted to get the apron made so I could personally have it.

MARISHA: I know, I know!

TRAVIS: She's not lying. She wanted to have the apron.

TALIESIN: Oh! Cupcake down!

MARISHA: It's fine, it's fine. Don't worry about it. I'm taking that one.

LAURA: I don't know if I want to wear this the whole episode. I might. I'm going to hang out. Oh yeah, save a cupcake for Jon. Wait, Matthew!

TALIESIN: Matt, Matt!

MATT: I don't want any of your shit! Don't want it! Brian, eat it. I don't want it. Don't! I have things to do!

MARISHA: Give it to Heder, give it to Heder!

TALIESIN: Heder's got one.

MATT: All righty, so, thank you very much for those announcements, guys. Other cool things coming up. Our fine friends at Wyrmwood, we have an awesome spot to show during the break today, showing some of their awesome craftsmanship and their partnership, showing off their products as well. There's an amazing giveaway at the mid-break that we'll show you guys when we get there, so stick around for the mid-break when we get to that point to see the process of what they do and how they do it and all the awesome things they produce there. You can find their stuff, by the way, at wyrmwoodgaming.com/criticalrole for free domestic shipping with the promo code-– Liam?

LIAM: Yes!

MATT: What's the promo code?

LIAM: Oh. Uh, I don't have any of the shit in front of me! Critrole? Is it Critrole now? It's Critrole again? It's back?

SAM: Wyrmwood's has always been Critrole, hasn't it?

LIAM: Critrole.

LAURA: It's hard to remember because it's been such a long time since you said it.

LIAM: No one told me.

MATT: That's okay. Anyway, thank you very much. Looking forward to that at the break. Also, those asking about campaign guide information, for the Tal'dorei campaign guide. All that is up on the Green Ronin website. You can go there, go ahead and find out when it's coming out, how to find it, all that fun stuff, and I hope you like it. Soon, I guess. Also, we have an awesome infographic up on social media and the website, put together from our friends at CritRoleStats, Andrew and all you awesome guys. So they're awesome, go check that out, a lot of fun trivia elements about how long we've been running the show, and apparently how many nonexistent characters live in my brain. We're in the 500s.

LIAM: It's just the tip of the iceberg, Matt.

MATT: That has to be certifiable on some level.

LIAM: Campaign four, I'm waiting for it.

MATT: Give it time, I'm sure.

SAM: Matt, that soda pop looks like you're drinking it out of a wine glass.

MATT: We are running out of receptacles for soda pop, Sam.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: Also, I'm going to be at A-Kon tomorrow. Fly out in the morning to Texas. So, looking forward to seeing you guys in Dallas.

LAURA: What were you thinking?

MATT: I agreed to this a long time ago! And it all just coordinated.

LIAM: Freakin' Willy Loman, man.

ASHLEY: Do you at least have a late flight?

MATT: No.

TRAVIS: Does it start with an 'AM'?

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: Take a break. Run away upstate, for the summertime.

TRAVIS: Take a break! Sing it, Liam.

LIAM: Take a break!

MATT: Nonstop.

SAM: Halfway through announcements.

LAURA: Our infographic is no longer valid!

MARISHA: Completely outdated, immediately.

MATT: That's okay, it was nice while it lasted. So see you guys at A-Kon in Dallas, Texas. Talks Machina, always live, Tuesdays, 7PM Pacific time on Twitch and Alpha. Talk about this crazy episode next week. Hosted by the fantastic Brian Wayne Foster. Thank you for eating my cupcake. Still, surprisingly. All right, Signal Boost, new episode, with?

MARISHA: Jeff Lewis. Everyone knows him and loves him from the Guild. Check it out.

MATT: Or as Waluigi in “There Will Be Brawl.”

MARISHA: Or as Waluigi. He's been so many things. Everyone knows who Jeff Lewis is. Go watch it.

MATT: There you go. And we have some other cool announcements coming up in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out and an ear out for each episode. We'll have a few more fun things that we can announce as the month goes on. So, that, I believe, will bring us to-–

LIAM: Well, I have a little thing, I just have to share this. Friend of the show, Kiki–- not our Kiki, the other Kiki who's made so many vestiges–- brought me a little something today.

(laughing)

LIAM: There it is. Got to lose those. Oh yeah.

LAURA: No, no, no, maybe Vax needs glasses to see in the dark.

LIAM: Maybe he does! Maybe he does. Look at my shoulders! I'm like Travis Willingham! Is this what it feels like, Travis?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I have to put them on under each shirt. It's a real bitch.

LIAM: Man, I've been Crossfitting all day! That's like stitching knitwear, right? Crossfitting all day.

LAURA: Ah, you're hitting me with your shoulders.

LIAM: Cacaw!

LAURA: That's amazing.

LIAM: Thank you, Kiki. Thank you. Oh my god.

LAURA: You're phenomenal!

LIAM: This will sit in my office and scare my children. Yeah.

MATT: Appreciate it, Medhiv. All right, guys. We ready? Let's dive in now to tonight's episode of Critical Role.

[dramatic music]

Part I[]

MATT: Welcome back, everyone. So. You all right, Jon?

TALIESIN: He's jacking in.

SAM: He's jacking in.

MATT: And the lava's connected. Welcome back, Jon! Glad you could join us again.

(cheering)

MATT: All righty. So, picking up where we left off last time, Vox Machina had just completed their adventure in the distant countryside of Wildemount, interfacing with the Darrington family and apparently their long-acquired debt with the Myriad, a criminal syndicate on that side of the world. After making a deal that would salvage elements of the Darrington family, you made your way back and encountered a half-orc bardbarian by the way of Lionel, who was there on behest of his boss, Aes Adon, or, as you were immediately referred to as, the Meat Man. Immediately. You were brought to a nearby tavern in Whitestone where the vicinity had been rented out entirely and you met with a large, intimidating-looking gentleman. Scarred, pockmarked, ready to go ahead and wheel and deal some business with you. After some interesting conversation and some sly insights by Vex'ahlia and Keyleth, it was discovered that the Meat Man was indeed your old compatriot Scanlan under an illusion, to attempt to notify you that he'd discovered something quite dangerous on his side of Exandria. You discovered that this fantastic bardbarian Lionel had been working for him under his Meat Man guise in Ank'Harel for the better part of a year, and while set on a mission with a number of other compatriots of his, Lionel had stumbled upon an area called the Smouldercrown, a mountain range not terribly far from Ank'harel, what seemed to be a cavern structure that led to an underground pyramid, similar to the ziggurat that you guys had been keeping an eye on underneath Whitestone, which also contained its own small black spherical orb in which they were feeding magical items towards, it looked like. However, they were discovered in that tunnel and Lionel was the only one to escape with his life. The rest fell behind and were left for dead. Upon notifying Scanlan, or the Meat Man, of this information, he knew it was pertinent to return and get this to you in person. After which, apologies were made; some were accepted, some were not. But it was generally decided by the team that, based on this information, you needed to make your way to Ank'Harel post-haste and discover what exactly resides beneath the mountains of the Smouldercrown. You gathered up the following moment, well rested, all met up at the base of the Sun Tree in the center of the square, and that's where we left off. So, as you've gathered your materials, your weapons, your armor, what you think you may need for this trek, you've all gathered around the base of the Sun Tree. Some shade has been thrown, but you have gathered. So, what do you wish to do?

SAM: We've gone through the Sun Tree or not?

LAURA: No, we're right outside the Sun Tree, just before we've left Whitestone.

TALIESIN: I just want to make a point that I've alerted everybody in the government-- everybody reasonable-- where we're going, why we're going, and that there should be people watching the Ziggurat underneath Whitestone 24/7 while we're on this mission. Anything happens, be prepared for anything.

LAURA: You're so brilliant, darling.

MARISHA: I don't understand. There's not a lot of shade. It's noon.

TALIESIN: We've been throwing it, it's not here.

LIAM: Thrown from a distance.

LAURA: I think we should probably head out.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah. Where in Ank'harel?

LAURA: Where are we going, Scanlan, again? Shadowy Mountain?

MARISHA: Do I know anyplace that's near?

MATT: You've been to Ank'harel, you've been around quite a bit, and you've seen a number of trees. The city itself, within the walls, through magical means or otherwise, there is an interior oasis within the city itself. There is the sand and dust that blows in from the outside desert that surrounds it in Marquet, but there are a number of ponds and rivers and large palm trees and other types of trees that are risen. There are small clusters that form almost minute forests throughout the city, whether they be a park to wander through or a means of harvesting whatever the trees have to offer for the people that live there. But you've seen a number of trees and it's easy enough to make your way there.

MARISHA: Okay. I'll do the oasis.

MATT: Okay. As Keyleth reaches out, Lionel, you watch as the small half-elf red-headed girl reaches out and touches the tree, and suddenly the trunk splits open at the base, and you watch as what seems to be a glowing doorway of divine energy appears.

MARISHA: Go, go! Six seconds, go! Go, go!

TALIESIN: I help shove.

SAM: I should note that Doty is coming with us as well.

LIAM: Hey, quickly!

LAURA: Sure, I'll note that Trinket is coming as well, even though it's a fucking given.

LIAM: I shove my sister through the tree.

TRAVIS: Warming up.

LAURA: I mean, just kidding, I love you Tary.

LIAM: You're not here, I just shoved you through the tree. I made it up, I created it, right there on the fly.

TRAVIS: We all go through the tree, yeah?

ALL: Yeah!

MATT: After an incredibly long, well-stretched six seconds, you all eventually make your way through the doorway into the center of Ank'harel. The temperature difference is stark, it's immediate. Whereas you had a gradual transition to Ank'harel last time you were there, going from the Whitestone colder, more damp climate to the immediate dry heat of the central Marquet desert is just immediate, it's uncomfortable-- it may be comfortable for some of you-- and your mouth immediately dries out for a moment, and you have to adjust to the new atmosphere. Looking around you, you've emerged from the outside of one of the central oases, which is kind of near the Lux Run where you originally entered the city. There, you see the streets are bustling and busy. It's starting to get closer to later in the evening now, on this part of Exandria. You can see the sky's starting to get a little darker. There's an element of dusk that will probably be setting in about an hour. But here you are.

LAURA: Well, Scanlan?

JON: Why didn't we do this before? It's so much faster! Why did we take a 500-day journey?

SAM: It was just ten days, first of all.

JON: Again, I don't get days. Why don't we just make that tree open up?

SAM: I am very powerful, but there's some things that I can't do, all right? Ever since you found out I was short, you're much snappier and snippier with me.

JON: You're just much smaller, I mean, I didn't realize. Why don't you just go back to looking like Aes?

SAM: Maybe I should.

TRAVIS: Maybe you should.

SAM: Yeah, because I'm known around these parts, so that would probably be better.

LAURA: Does Aes wear this stupid headband? Because it's really fucking distracting.

JON: What headband?

MATT: Perfect.

SAM: I'll put on the hat and become the Meat Man.

MATT: So you step off to the side to a point where you're not being noticed and take on, once again, the illusory facade of the Meat Man. Stepping out into the sunlight once more, you see the imposing figure of the Meat Man now amongst you.

LAURA: You're so scary and big. Do you have a place that you always stay?

SAM: I have many places.

LAURA: That's what I figured.

LIAM: I try sticking my fingers through the fake head a little bit.

SAM: Get off! Get off! Stop it!

JON: No wonder you said hands off!

LAURA: You didn't touch him this entire year?

JON: He always said hands off. No matter how many times I tried.

ASHLEY: You never went to brothels or anything like that then, I guess.

TALIESIN: Probably not together.

MARISHA: Have you been hugged in a year? Has anyone given you a hug? I give him a hug.

JON: Are you trying to go through me to him?

MARISHA: No, I'm just giving you a hug!

JON: That gives me, like, 50 extra attack points or something, right? I feel like something cool when someone hugs me.

MARISHA: Can I use my Inspiring Leader feat?

MATT: If you would like to take a moment to give everyone hugs as part of your Inspiring Leader, sure.

MARISHA: You know what, guys?

SAM: Oh, she's speeching.

MARISHA: Human contact's important, you know? So come on, come on, let's all group hug! Group hug!

TALIESIN: No! No!

JON: Can I hug everybody else?

SAM: The Meat Man does not hug.

TRAVIS: This is a ten-minute huddle?

MATT: It's a ten-minute, like, hug it out.

LAURA: Ten minutes is so awkward!

MATT: I know! And not in Keyleth's bailiwick at all!

TRAVIS: Are we attracting any awkward looks?

LAURA: I feel like I would have abstained from the ten-minute group hug.

TALIESIN: I would have brought you into it.

MARISHA: I keep trying to grab Vex. Come on! Come on, hug it out!

MATT: So, you brought Scanlan and Tary for this.

SAM: Yes.

MATT: Are they both?

SAM: Scanlan stepped out. Tary's in.

MATT: So everyone except for Scanlan gets 17 temporary hit points.

LAURA: Thanks, Kiki! No, no, no, Percy brought me in.

MARISHA: Brought her out of her comfort bubble.

MATT: As you all slowly begin to realize the slight display you've given in the center of the town, especially those of you in your darker, heavier leathers amongst this very warm, open air.

LAURA: Oh, I thought we knew we were going to Ank'harel so we dressed for it. That's what we said the last episode.

MATT: Did you?

LAURA: That's what you said, actually. You said “you all showed up dressed for Ank'harel.”

LIAM: My armor is fire set.

MATT: Okay, I'll trust you on that.

LAURA: I feel like you said it?

MATT: You would've, it's fine. But it's less the attire. You're still wearing your armor, I assume.

LAURA: Yes, yes, yes.

MATT: So, you're still in heavy leathers.

LIAM: Yeah, we're just doing the whole Lawrence of Arabia.

MATT: So you're still a display of people in heavy leather hugging for ten minutes in the middle of this open thoroughfare.

LIAM: Yeah, we're still very awkward. At all times.

MATT: So it's not like all of a sudden there's a crowd gathered around you. But occasionally there's a few merchants across the way that are like, “So, anyway, as I was saying…”

LIAM: Bidet!

LAURA: Be pleased!

MATT: “Be pleased.”

TRAVIS: You guys are all saying it wrong. I don't know why. Vax can pick it up, it's not that hard.

LIAM: I am very smart.

LAURA: Where do we go?

SAM: Come with me.

MATT: You watch as the Meat Man leads you down four or five different streets, dodging through a couple of alleyways and off onto the southern-eastern side of Ank'harel. There is a modest-looking tobacco shop that is in a poorer district, it's a little run-down. Run-down compared to a lot of Ank'harel, which is pretty colorful and very well-kept. So, it's pretty decent, average fare for Emon, considered the poorer side of Ank'harel. But you--(laughs)

SAM: Was that a fart?

MATT: It's one of the various beasts of burden that you're walking past in the streets of

Ank'harel. (fart sound)

LAURA: That was awesome.

MATT: To be fair, sometimes the Slayer's Cakes get a little…

LIAM: They're rich.

LAURA: We're working out the ingredients.

MATT: Adventurers can't get it right all the time. So you come to this modest tobacco shop. As you lead them into the interior, one of your employees, Doran, who is a rather scrawny-looking boy maybe of 22, 23, completely shaved head, tanned skin, a little sallow, but he's sitting there, balancing a long, thin, almost like a railroad-spike-type metal rod. He's just kind of balancing it over the wood, and as soon as the door opens, he fumbles. “Ah. Aes. It is a pleasure to have you back.”

SAM: How are things in my absence?

MATT: “They have been well. You've only been gone for a few hours, but they've been uneventful.”

SAM: Oh, yes, yes, that's right, yes. Any new reports of the hooded people?

MATT: “None within the town, not since last-- oh, hi, Lionel!”

JON: Hey, what's up?

MATT: “It's good to see you. Anyway.”

(laughter)

JON: You want a hug? It makes you, like, super-strong.

MATT: “Really?”

JON: Yeah. At least, that's what I--

SAM: No fraternizing.

MATT: “But anyway.” And he reaches down and pulls a small wooden lever, and it's like you see he's having to struggle with it. And as he does so, you hear the scraping of wood, and a chain-winch going. You watch as one of the small furrows in the back corner slowly lifts up and reveals a narrow staircase that leads down into a subterranean area.

LIAM: This is kind of cool.

JON: It's really awesome. You guys should-- we should go. This is like our cool hideout.

MARISHA: What was the guy's name again?

MATT: Doran.

MARISHA: Doran.

TRAVIS: Doran, you known Aes long?

MATT: “For a number of months, yes.”

TRAVIS: Yeah. Good guy?

MATT: “We don't converse often, but he pays well, and the work is-- the work is very rewarding.”

TRAVIS: Right. Does he have a firm handshake?

MATT: (stammers)

TRAVIS: You should find out. Yeah, no, shake his hand. No, go ahead, right now.

MATT: “I do not presume to want to-- I mean, unless you would want to?”

SAM: No.

MATT: “Okay, yes, I am sorry, I do not mean to--”

TRAVIS: In his custom, 'no' means 'yes, I crave it deeply'.

MATT: Make a deception check.

TALIESIN: Your voice got really high during that.

TRAVIS: Oh, shit.

LAURA: What'd you roll? What'd you roll?

TRAVIS: 19.

MATT: 19. (laughs) “Uh. I mean, if you--”

TRAVIS: Known him for years. Really.

SAM: I will just walk by him and go down into the hidey-hole.

MATT: Okay. “I think you have some incorrect intel, my friend.”

TRAVIS: No, I think you're probably gonna need a new job pretty soon. That was a diss. It's all right. Just look elsewhere. That's all I'm saying.

MATT: He sits back on his stool and takes his little rod and jams it into the wood and huffs as you guys all make your way down there. Which, both Lionel and Grog, you guys have to cannonball up real tight to make it through the corridor. You drag your way through by pulling on the little bits of wood and earth that mark the exterior walls of this descending staircase. The smell is musty. It's not damp, but you can sense that there is a smell of tobacco. You thought, oh, this tobacco shop's a front. As you go down, you see about ten feet down there is a large storage room that contains barrels of dried tobacco of all sorts, and has a very rich, pungent, but also like a nice spice scent to it in places. Spice. Ah! You lead them on down to the far end of the hallway. There is another door that is locked. You pull out a set of keys, unlock it, open it. It leads down another hallway, and then eventually what looks to be some smaller sets of barracks rooms. You see a few doors that are ajar and empty with some beds inside. You lead down another 20 or so feet to another chamber. And as it opens up, inside, you can see there are three tables arranged in a triangular pattern, and at the far end of the table, there is a single-- what looks like a throne-like chair. It's very well-crafted. It's gold-leafed in places, it has intricate scrolling on the sides and where the armrests are, and there you see an individual with a hooded cloak and a deep, bluish-purple color with what looks like a red crimson slash design around the back, a number of jewelry, and they're facing away, speaking towards the chair, for there on the chair sits an identical large, looming human male with long, dark hair and mustache, pockmarked skin, and is mid-conversation.

LAURA: You guys really should plan this out better.

SAM: Bit of warning. Don't use her name. All right, so I'll just walk up to them.

MATT: You walk up to the two of them?

SAM: Yeah, sure.

MATT: All right. The cloaked figure is in the middle of conversation, and speaking Marquesian, which you understand, to the effect of, “We've been looking, and apparently all the shipments have been diverted and held off until--” And hears the footsteps and turns over and sees you. “Oh.” (confused sounds)

LAURA: (clears throat) Twins. Funny.

LIAM: What are the odds?

MATT: Deception check.

LAURA: Motherfuck. Oh, you know, like 11.

MATT: “I, um.” Begins to pull a small blade out to the side. “I am under the impression that perhaps one of you is a doppelganger, and whoever my boss is, would you please raise your hand?”

SAM: I do not raise my hand.

MATT: The other one does. “Aes, what do we do?” And puts the blade forward, and you watch as the other Meat Man on the throne just says, “We do nothing. I know this man, and we will do our business. Tell no one what you saw here, but if two more leave, I have been taken by its will and you'll have to kill us both. I'm just kidding, that's a complete joke. But no, seriously, you really-- go, go.” And the--

JON: Should I go kill him?

SAM: No, no.

MATT: The person with the cloak kind of--

JON: It's fine, I won't kill you.

MATT: “Thank you. Be pleased.” And darts out of the room real fast. The other Meat Man on the throne goes, “Oh, Verath, I'm gonna work real hard to try and convince him other of that.”

SAM: Sorry about that.

MATT: (clears throat) “It is all right.”

LAURA: Good to see you again.

MATT: “Good to see you as well. You all look… spry. You look alive.”

SAM: Is anyone in the room, now, Matt, besides--

MATT: Besides you guys? No, it's just you guys and Lionel.

SAM: All right, so. We can drop all of the illusions. They all know what's going on now.

MATT: Looks earnestly at Lionel.

SAM: Even Chod.

JON: Lionel.

MATT: “Aye, very well.” And you watch as the Meat Man on the throne suddenly diminishes into a smaller, gnome figure as well, only female, with short, almost buzzed sides of her dark brunette hair that poofs into a curl there. You can see she's also much tanner than you remember. She is wearing what looks to be a leather tunic that's straining against her rather large muscles for a small gnome, it looks like she's been making sure that nobody messes with her while she's in the city.

LAURA: Shit. Is she buff now?

MATT: She's pretty buff.

LAURA: Shit.

MARISHA: You got a haircut! I love it.

MATT: “You know. The hot weather around here is a bit of a bitch this time of the year, so best to get it taken care of. Anyway. What the fuck are you all doing here?”

SAM: I went to get them to tell them about the thing that we found.

MATT: “Right, okay. Great.”

SAM: I was going to escort them there. Do you think you have things handled if we go for a day?

MATT: “Oh, that's fine, I've only been dealing with this for the past two and half weeks without you just fine, no one's noticed, until you came up inside looking the same as me. That's great!”

SAM: Sorry, I didn't know you were throning.

MARISHA: 'Throning'.

TRAVIS: Yeah, is that a thing?

SAM: Well, when we're in command, yeah.

MATT: “It's not called throning, don't listen to him.”

LAURA: How long have you been here?

MATT: “Been here? Ank'harel? I've lost track of time. Better part of maybe eight months, nine months?”

TRAVIS: We've heard you've risen through the ranks. Very successful, you are.

MATT: “Not too bad, if I do say so myself.”

TRAVIS: Well done.

MATT: “This one's almost ruined us a few times.”

TRAVIS: That's not surprising.

LIAM: How are things with the old man?

MATT: “They're fine. Talks about you lot an awful lot.”

LIAM: Oh, really?

SAM: Not true, not true.

ASHLEY: Did you have a good year together? Sort of, I guess. That was the last time we saw you. Have things been good?

MATT: She pats the side of her coin purse, which you can see is rather thick and makes a heavy (clinking) of clinking coin. “Not been too bad, if I say so myself. More than I ever made playing violin.”

TALIESIN: Profit suits you well.

MARISHA: I don't know if she was referring to monetary wealth, but sure.

TRAVIS: Well, if you can't have an earnest relationship with someone, at least she's got money.

TALIESIN: It's also very hard to put an earnest relationship in a coin purse.

MATT: “Anyway. So. What can I do for you, or have you just come by to say hi?”

SAM: No, I didn't, I came to make sure you were all right, and is everything all right? Have we heard of any other attacks or incidents?

MATT: “None yet, before you came in and rudely interrupted my update from Verath over there, but it seems that there hasn't been any more activity. All the hooded ones we've seen have all absconded over towards the mountain range again.”

TALIESIN: Hooded ones?

SAM: Yeah, the ones in the mountain, in the cave. What about buyers? Have we had any new interest?

MATT: “No, not too bad. Carthol's been working around the clock. I believe he's working on a new game set. Something ivory and Issylrian in nature. Supposed to go for a pretty penny, if we take it across over up on Wildemount, but it'll take a little longer to make it. You know, one-man job. He's good. He's not that good.”

SAM: Just remind him to put some imperfections in it. He always likes to make things too beautiful.

MATT: “I will, I will.”

LAURA: Why don't you want to sell beautiful things?

SAM: We want to sell real things, not things that look like they're brand-new. If things are really old, they have dents and scuffs on them.

JON: Wait, so you're lying again.

MATT: “Modifying the presentation.”

JON: I don't know who to trust anymore.

SAM: You should trust me because I pay you.

MATT: “I don't know. Looks like he might be growing up.”

(laughter)

JON: I have been eating more.

MATT: “Oh, I can tell that.” (laughs) She sets off the throne and comes up and leaps and smacks you on the shoulder. Pretty good hit.

JON: That's awesome!

MATT: “I know. Anyway.”

SAM: All right, so we'll be gone-- we've rested recently, right?

MATT: Yeah, the night before.

SAM: So we'll be going for a while, and just hold down the fort while we're gone. Also, I know it sounds stupid, but can you look into getting a few ducks? Just as pets?

MATT: “Sure.”

SAM: Yeah, I know. It's just a thank-you.

MATT: “Ducks.”

SAM: Yes.

JON: They have awesome information.

MATT: “Right, okay. Ducks it is. I'll get right to it. I'll talk to my duck distributor.”

SAM: Just ask, just ask us and that would be fine, too.

JON: Yeah, but ducks will know things that you don't!

MATT: “I'll send some word to the Fowl District of Ank'harel to provide the proper--”

MARISHA: There's a fowl district?

MATT: “No, there's not a fowl district! I'm fucking with you.”

SAM: You should always assume she's fucking with you. Every time.

MATT: “You traveled with this one long enough. Figure it out.”

LIAM: Wonder where she gets it from?

MATT: “Don't you say a goddamn thing or I'll cut your tongue out.”

LIAM: Promises, promises.

MATT: “All right. Go about your business. I've got it here. Don't die. Any of you. Especially you. I've got ducks coming for you, don't know what to do if you don't show up back here to pick 'em up.”

JON: I won't die.

MATT: “Good. Don't.”

SAM: If he does, we'll just eat the ducks.

MATT: “I don't care, then. Ducks are pretty tasty.”

JON: They'll tell you where to bury me.

(laughter)

JON: They know all the proper spots.

SAM: Sure. Okay.

MATT: “All right, then, shoo. Night's about to come. You can travel over the cool evening air.”

SAM: Do any of you need any supplies or anything before we go? Are we good to travel on foot?“

LAURA: What kind of potions you got available? Healing potions?

SAM: Healing potions? I can heal with my words. Why would I need healing potions?

LAURA: Just in case you run away.

LIAM: Is that a no?

ASHLEY: Just in case you decide to leave again, which is probably highly probable. I don't know. Just in case.

SAM: No, I don't have any of those. But it can be arranged if you are short. I can have my second here look into it for you.

LAURA: I have three regular healing potions and that's it.

TALIESIN: Cleared out.

LAURA: I think we're pretty much out.

SAM: Crutch, will you--

JON: I have 375 grams.

SAM: That's gold.

LAURA: You have 375 grams?

JON: Gold, I guess.

LAURA: Grams of gold?

JON: They look the same. But I can buy lots of potions with that, right?

SAM: No, you cannot buy any. But the Crutch here will look into it while we're gone. We won't have any until we get back, though.

TRAVIS: He calls you the Crutch?

MATT: "The Crutch is my work name. It's what the Meat Man calls me 'cause of my height.”

LAURA: Oh. I see.

TALIESIN: So it's a name for when he's ribbing you. Ribbing. I'm just so excited by all the puns that are available.

LAURA: So no healing, then? Let's just go?

SAM: No, we have to just go.

MATT: “Hold on, hold on.” She walks over and starts rummaging through a few small crates that are to the side. She's like, “These haven't been organized properly.” Grabs a little crowbar and wedges it in. Pops off the top, starts rummaging through, tossing various things out the side like small metal cups roll across the ground, come to a stop. Pulls out a small, looks like a leather satchel of some kind that's wrapped over the top and the side with twine. Unwraps it. “There's a few something for you.” Sets it down. Pulls a necklace off. “You're borrowing this, but you're bringing it back when you're done.”

SAM: Of course.

MATT: “All right. Now, which one of you but him wants it?”

JON: Oh, I do, I do!

MATT: “Okay.” Throws it to you.

JON: It's really cool-looking.

MATT: It's a heavy, somewhat tarnished silver chain that smells of old ale-stained wood.

JON: Oh, I don't like it, someone else take it.

LAURA: No, no, no, I called it.

LIAM: Give it to me, give it to me, I called it as well! Dad, make us roll for it.

JON: Why don't you guys just cut it in half?

LAURA: Tickle-tickle-tickle!

MATT: Both of you guys make strength checks.

LAURA: But I don't wanna break it! Don't pull so hard that you break it!

LIAM: Why would I do that? I have so much finesse. That's cocked. It was cocked, you say cocked eighty thousand times, and now I'm gonna use Luck, because I wanna beat you.

LAURA: You motherfuck!

LIAM: Oh, it's the same thing! So what is this, strength?

MATT: Strength, add the strength modifier.

LIAM: I will.

LAURA: Oh, no.

LIAM: You go first.

LAURA: Nine.

LIAM: Oh, she beat me!

(laughter)

MATT: You rip the chain from his grip.

LAURA: What did I get? What is it?

MATT: “It's an Amulet of the Drunkard.”

LAURA: What's that mean?

MATT: “You wear that, you drink yourself some fine, fine alcohol, might heal you a bit.”

LAURA: Do you already wear a necklace? I already wear a necklace, so I probably can't wear it, huh? You can get up. It's okay, you can go. You've got 30 feet!

SAM: Jack off, jack off, jack off!

MATT: The umbilical! There you go.

MARISHA: You're good, you're good.

TALIESIN: It turns spirits into potions. That's pretty solid.

TRAVIS: Beer, ale, mead, or wine will cause you to regain 2d4 plus two hit points.

LAURA: Oh jeez, that's so cool. Do you already wear a necklace, Grog? Do you have to attune to it?

MATT: It is not attuned. But there is a limit to it, if you read it.

TRAVIS: Yeah, you can only once until the next dawn.

MATT: So once a day, you can just drink a pint of some alcoholic drink, and it'll heal you like a basic healing potion.

TRAVIS: Fucking awesome.

MARISHA: Who was out of healing potions?

TALIESIN: I'm out.

LAURA: I've got three for the party, it's not for me. I have none for myself.

SAM: I know I've been rather quiet this journey, but I could just provide us with a few more, if that would help things--

TRAVIS: Tary, that is very considerate of you, yeah.

JON: Is this Taryon?

SAM: Yeah, sorry, it's odd for me. I will rip off my last remaining potion patch on the robe, which has four small healing potions.

MATT: There you go, so you have-- and the satchel that you received from the Crutch has three more additional regular healing potions.

SAM: So we have seven regular healing potions.

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay. So everybody take one?

MARISHA: I have four on me.

LAURA: Oh, jeez. Everybody but Keyleth take one?

MARISHA: I made a few over the break, if we want them.

TALIESIN: Well, as long as I've gone one in there.

MARISHA: I'm gonna hand another one to Percy.

TALIESIN: I'll take two.

LIAM: Hey, T., are you feeling sentimental, being back in Marquet?

SAM: The weather is certainly dry.

LIAM: You've come full circle.

SAM: Yes. I certainly have. It's good to be back, but I'm a little nervous. I don't know why, really.

LIAM: New setting.

SAM: Yes. New dynamic.

TRAVIS: Your hair's holding up well in the heat, though.

SAM: Only because it's under the Helm. Believe me, it's a nightmare in there if you look underneath.

ASHLEY: I'm sure you look beautiful.

LIAM: Does it retain the shape of the helmet?

SAM: Unfortunately, yes.

(laughter)

LAURA: I'm just holding this necklace. I have a necklace on, I can't wear it.

JON: I thought you were giving it to him.

LAURA: Can you wear it?

JON: To Gog over there.

LIAM: No, I'm not wearing a necklace.

LAURA: Well then, let me give it to you.

LIAM: I didn't actually want it. I just wanted to best you.

LAURA: Well, now you have it.

TALIESIN: You can actually use it, though.

LIAM: Can I have the thingie?

TRAVIS: You're not giving it to me?

LAURA: I thought you said you already wore a necklace!

TRAVIS: No. No! I mean, I wear, like, ears and fingers and toes around my neck, but you can always accessorize some more, fuck, shit! I'm the only one that walks around with alcohol on me all the time, anyway.

MARISHA: So wait, can he combo-use that and be like fine wine and chug it?

MATT: Any relatively alcoholic drink labeled on the thing, he can drink a pint of.

LIAM: A pint, though, Grog? A pint? You'd snort that up your left nostril, right?

TRAVIS: Yeah. It's like a little traveler's bottle of soap.

LIAM: Yeah, that's like you sneezing into a bottle.

JON: Do you have an extra necklace that turns chocolate milk into, like, healing?

MATT: “I'll put the word out for you. See what we can find.”

LAURA: Are we heading out immediately?

SAM: There's nothing to wait for.

MARISHA: I actually do have a necklace. I have an old necklace.

SAM: What are we talking about now?

JON: Everybody went from no potions to, well, I've got this, I've got this.

LAURA: I don't know why I asked for potions when we had four fucking potions.

TALIESIN: It might be that thing that I got rid of.

MARISHA: I had an old card that was the necklace that gave plus one to attack and damage while--

SAM: That's an attunement item. We don't need that shit. Let's go.

MARISHA: All right. Sorry your employer overruled me, Kord. Or Card. Or Chode.

LAURA: Lionel.

MATT: “All right. Please. Out of my space.” And you watch as her form shifts back to that of Aes Adan, the Meat Man.

TRAVIS: That's impressive.

MATT: “Thank you. Treat that well. If you lose it, I'm making you pay for it!”

TRAVIS: Oh, no, it's in good hands.

MATT: “All right, then. Good luck! Don't die.”

LAURA: The Crutch.

MATT: “I'm the Meat Man now.”

TRAVIS: Yeah, she changed back.

LAURA: Sorry, I was looking at necklaces.

SAM: All right. On we go.

TRAVIS: Yeah. We head back out the cramped little tunnel.

MATT: All right. Make your way back up through the tobacco shop to the streets of Ank'harel. You are aware that the Smouldercrown mountain range is about 290 miles southeast of Ank'harel across the desert.

JON: You guys, it's gonna be a really long hike, so let's find another burning tree, or Sun Tree or something that we can just walk into. 'Cause that was way easier than traveling.

TALIESIN: Misty Step.

LAURA: Not Misty Step. Wind Walk.

TRAVIS: You can do the tree thing too?

JON: No, I've never seen that. I can show you how to get there, but it seems--

TRAVIS: Have you ever tried?

JON: Tried through the Sun Tree? What do I do? Do I just--

LAURA: You have to ask him.

JON: I'm good at-- okay.

LIAM: Absolute conviction.

JON: So I go over to the nearest tree.

MATT: Okay. About maybe one block up, there's--

JON: About one block, guys, come on. Leading the way.

MATT: All right. Solid trunk palm.

MARISHA: He likes it when you're super chill and casual with him, so be cool.

JON: He? So the trees are like dudes?

LAURA: All of them?

MARISHA: (mouths) Just go with it.

JON: He likes it when you're what?

TALIESIN: Chill and casual.

JON: Oh. Okay. So I go up to the tree. Do I touch it? You're the tree. Hey, can you open up and take us to Crown-- what was it? Smouldercrown entrance, just 'cause. Wait, it would be way easier to just go straight to the pyramid.

LIAM: Yeah, but it's more like a stroking thing. You don't just leave your hand in place.

JON: Okay, so hey, I'm chill. Can you just take us? Be cool?

TRAVIS: The bark's a little dry. Maybe it needs a little moisture. There you go.

SAM: (screams)

JON: So yeah, it's cool, we're cool, if you want to take us there. If not, we get it. Is that pretty chill?

MARISHA: That's pretty chill, yeah.

LAURA: I'm surprised it's not working, honestly. That's the most chill I've ever seen.

SAM: Why am I playing the tree?

JON: Are you guys--

MARISHA: You know that intimate hug we had earlier? Kinda do that.

JON: Aes? Now I'm talking to Aes.

SAM: Oh, okay. Yes.

JON: This reminds me of times when I was a kid and kids would-- are they making fun of me?

SAM: They are definitely making fun of you.

JON: Oh, come on!

LIAM: What're you telling him lies for?

TALIESIN: We do this to everybody. It's all right.

JON: You do?

MARISHA: It's part of the initiation.

TALIESIN: But yes, we are making fun of you.

JON: Sorry, tree. Wait, are the trees really alive?

LAURA: No, they are.

JON: Okay, sorry, tree. But that was kinda fun, stroking it.

MARISHA: The tree appreciates it.

JON: Anyways, why don't you guys just do the Sun Tree thing?

SAM: We can't really do that. We need to know where the tree is that we're going to be going to.

LIAM: There's a lot of tree science involved.

MARISHA: If you could maybe potentially help me, Meat Man.

SAM: I haven't been there, have I?

MATT: You haven't been to Smouldercrown, no.

MARISHA: Why were you just talking like the Meat Man?

SAM: I have not been to the place we are going. I do not know of any tree.

MATT: Yeah, the only one who's been there is Lionel.

MARISHA: You've been there.

JON: Yeah, I'm the one who saw it and told you guys about it.

MARISHA: Were there trees?

JON: Yeah, there were a couple dead-looking trees, not huge ones. How big do they have to be?

MARISHA: They looked dead?

JON: They looked a little dead-ish.

MARISHA: They were dead? Like very dead?

JON: Do they have to be alive?

MARISHA: I think so? Right?

JON: I really wanted to see that Sun Tree thing.

TRAVIS: We'll use it to go back.

MARISHA: Would you prefer to be a cloud?

JON: I can be a cloud?

MARISHA: I could be a cloud, but I'm gonna blow a 7th-level spell for it.

LAURA: Wait, but how many people can you do, because we also have Doty.

MARISHA: Ten? Let me see.

LIAM: Can you turn an automaton, a robit, into cloud? Did we do that already?

SAM: Not too many. We're ten exactly.

TRAVIS: Really?

LAURA: Yeah, Trinket's in the necklace.

TRAVIS: Doty, Taryon, Scanlan.

LAURA: Oh, shit. Taryon and Scanlan.

SAM: That's ten, isn't it?

ASHLEY: But that's blowing a 7th-level spell. How long does it take to hike up there?

SAM: 290 miles.

MATT: Wind Walk is a 6th-level spell. Not a 7th.

MARISHA: But I've already used my 6th-level spell to Transport Via Plants. That's what I'm saying. So I'm gonna have to use a 7th-level spell to do it.

MATT: This is true.

TRAVIS: It's worth it.

LIAM: Does that work on Doty?

MATT: So you'd be able to get all of you.

TALIESIN: Would it work on Doty?

MATT: Willing creatures. Technically he's considered a creature for the targeting reason of spells and effects, so yeah.

LIAM: Tary.

MARISHA: So we can do that, but then we might wanna rest. Or we can do some scouting, take a look. I won't be completely tapped out.

LIAM: We can camp it up if we need to.

TALIESIN: It'll take more than a day to get there anyway, so this way we'll just save some time and we'll take a day to take a look around.

LAURA: Let's go!

LIAM: Lionel, this is really awesome. For real, you're going to like this.

MARISHA: Ready? Ready? Everybody join hands, joim hands, join hands.

LAURA: Do we have to join hands for this?

SAM: We don't at all. Not at all.

JON: Can we still do it?

MARISHA: Poof!

MATT: All right, you guys feel a warm, magical effect go through you. As you're concentrating, consider yourself being a cloud, you are the cloud. You open your eyes, Lionel, and you look, and you are a fucking cloud! You're like 20 feet up!

JON: Oh, check this out! (spits)

MATT: As you do that, you watch as more cloud spit goes (fft) and just more cloud. Your body is moisture. When you try and talk, it just goes (exhale).

JON: So you can't really talk.

MATT: Can't really talk. You're a cloud. So if you wanted to, you could spend a minute to concentrate and revert back, and you can do that-- you have an eight-hour period where you can just turn back and forth.

LAURA: We should probably concentrate for just a minute. I'm gonna turn back, just so I can shout out, we should all follow-- you know how to get there, right, Lionel?

JON: (wind noises)

LAURA: Bob up and down if it's a yes. Okay. We're going to follow you, all right? And when it's ready to land, then just hover down, and we'll all follow your lead.

JON: (fart sound)

(laughter)

LAURA: That's totally normal. We all do it. All right.

MATT: All right. So you all go into your mist forms and begin to follow after Lionel's lead. As you guys coast over the upper areas of Ank'harel, it's a beautiful view looking down at this gorgeous city, just this glittering jewel of color and architecture, one of the older cities in Exandria that portions of it seem to have survived elements of the Age of Arcanum and the Calamity, and one of the first societies to spring up thereafter. And it's beautiful to see this history, far longer than that of Tal'Dorei, or at least the human societies of Tal'Dorei, just standing obstinate against the dark oppression of the surrounding desert. You continue to head in that direction, with you leading. Lionel, I need you to roll a survival check.

LAURA: Survival check. We might get lost?

TALIESIN: Add that to your survival.

JON: 14.

MATT: 14. All right. So you're traveling at an incredible speed. Like you're used to walking speed, running speed sometimes, maybe horsey speed. This is a very, very fast speed. You're coasting through the air right as the sun begins to set, and the night begins to hit. You keep relatively low to the ground, so you have your Darkvision to see the topography and get an idea of where it's going and the direction. You can look up and see the stars above. You've traveled, and you've been amongst this desert most of your life, so you have a good sense of how to follow that, and because of that, you're able to maintain your directional position towards the Smouldercrown Mountains. You push on. About halfway through the journey, you can see some little flames occasionally in the distance, what looks to be either caravan camps or bandit camps or various nomad circles that are set up for the night where different campfires are placed, whether it's beacons, traps, or just people to stay warm for the evening. You know, best not to stop whenever you see a flame in the middle of the desert. The winds are picking up and getting colder, the stark contrast between the temperature of the day and the night here is immense, and your moisture form takes on the cold fairly quickly, and you feel, even though you're in this form, the chill still captures you a bit as your condensation begins to slightly crystallize in places, but you push on. Roll one more survival check, please.

LAURA: Don't get us lost!

JON: 15.

MATT: 15. And without an issue or any sort of a loss of step or position, eventually you watch as the ominous spire-like jagged dagger-topped Smouldercrown Mountains begin to break the horizon and make their way towards you. You're now, at that speed, it hasn't been that long since you left, maybe a few hours out of Ank'harel. So you're maybe around ten o'clock in the evening or so, 10:30. Going to go ahead and move over here to a non--

TALIESIN: I was gonna argue that since he has the Duck Totem, that technically he would have a natural migration sense of what direction he was gonna go.

MATT: That's a good argument to make, but not necessary, but good for holding on to that.

TALIESIN: Yeah, just thought I'd put that out there. I feel like his duck sense would be tingling. Always knows where South is.

MATT: Not denying. Recognized, but unnecessary in the moment.

TALIESIN: Unnecessary, but worth noting.

MATT: Worth noting, indeed. But yeah. So the spires of the mountain are surprisingly steep. They're steeple-like, almost, in a lot of places. They're all just jutting up like these gargantuan spikes that were pressed out of the earth from some sort of landmass shift or some volcanic activity long, long ago. But you can see the densely packed rock formations, and the mountain cluster is maybe, at most, I'll say three miles, four miles across. It's not a very, very big mountain range. And it's called Smouldercrown because the circular pattern of the oval-like pattern of the mountains that rise up and resembles at a distance like a king's crown in the way that it circles around itself. You recall one of three different entrances, the one that was safest that you guys took when you entered, the central portion of the mountain range from the outside, and you guide the rest of them to the exterior of this space. You can see it's a small valley between two of the exterior mountains that collide together, and there is a valley path, where you see a number of dried trees. Some do appear to be alive, Keyleth, though they're designed to weather extreme droughts. They seem to have some sort of weird fruit that they're bearing, dripping off some of the branches, but the leaves themselves are brown and withered and you haven't quite seen plant la-life-- plant life like this before.

LAURA: Plant la-la-la.

MATT: Plant la-va-la-fl.

MARISHA: Does it look like it's natural decay?

MATT: If you want to go and approach it and inspect it, you can.

MARISHA: How far-- we're still clouds?

MATT: You guys are maybe 100 feet up or so, and you've just now hit the edge of the Smouldercrown mountain range.

MARISHA: Starting to go into the entrance.

MATT: Yes. The entrance of the mountains. You haven't found an entrance to the actual mountain rock itself.

MARISHA: Are we going to go on foot from here?

MATT: That's up to you guys.

TALIESIN: I think we'll get a little closer.

MARISHA: I'll wait 'til we get closer. From up here, does the mountain formation look like it's naturally formed, or like some sort of other event? Is it seismically formed?

MATT: Make a nature check.

MARISHA: Oh, not good. What's my nature? Okay, 16.

MATT: 16, not bad. They appear to be seismically formed. You can see some of the rocks, the way they rise up in the smaller areas, are at an angle where it's smooth on one side, and you can see the layers beneath where portions of the earth seem to have been jammed, cracked, and pushed upward. But because it's so localized, it isn't like there's tectonic plates shifting or anything, it's not a mass range. Most mountain ranges are long, driven locations that mark where those various boundaries are. This is just a central formation, so you're uncertain as to what the nature of this creation was, but it seems natural.

LAURA: I'm picturing beautiful Bob Ross mountains. Just lightly touch.

MARISHA: Happy accidents.

TALIESIN: Happy little TPK.

MATT: Yeah. Percy, can I have you roll a perception check, please?

TALIESIN: Yes. I'm not gonna roll that, 'cause you've been-- I feel like that's yours. It landed on other dice. I'm gonna let it be there, though. Actually, yeah, it's 20.

MATT: Okay. You, Mr. Human, with no actual Darkvision, do not get lost on the path. Taryon, could I have you also roll a perception check?

SAM: 15 plus something. Minus one. 14.

MATT: Okay, so you fall a little behind the group.

SAM: Doty has low-light vision, I think.

MATT: Doty has Darkvision. We'll say that Doty manages to get you caught up a little bit. You fall a bit behind, but you do manage to find the rest of the team. You don't get terribly lost in the middle of the dark, desert sky of these small wisps of cloud with no light other than starlight there to guide your path forward. They begin to just pull ahead and vanish into the horizon. You freak out but Doty eventually finds you as a cloud and you swear you hear the wind go, “Tary.”

(laughter)

MATT: You continue to push forward, eventually leading into the outside of this entrance of Smouldercrown, where the rest of them have gathered. You guys begin to slowly push into the valley that makes its way towards the center of Smouldercrown, following Lionel's leads. These trees that you notice, Keyleth, they're sporadic in places, and there is scrub brush, sparse, there are areas of the ground where it's dried and cracked. The badlands here, the sands of the deserts, the big storms largely don't make it into the center of the valley because the mountains protect it. While there are elements of it here and there, you can see the topography and the landscape here is very dried, cracked, red earth. Little moisture seems to be contained here. The plant life that exists here is designed to subsist on very, very little water. You eventually come, Lionel, to the area where you believe you found the last entrance. Make an investigation check, if you don't mind.

JON: 21.

MATT: 21, okay then. You very quickly look around and recall some of the landmarks.

JON: I'm still in cloud form.

MATT: You're still in cloud form. But you see some of the landmarks that seem to triangulate where you originally found the entrance. However, to truly search in this area, you'd have to get low and probably go to your physical form to seek it out. All right, so. You take a minute to concentrate and you revert back into your half-orc form.

LAURA: I go down and do it, too, 'cause he did it.

MATT: Okay. Everyone else joining him?

ALL: Yes.

MATT: All right, so the rest of the party goes, and they take their physical form.

(laughter)

JON: That was awesome, guys.

LAURA: Is this where it is?

MATT: You're able to see in the dark for a decent amount. You walk the perimeter of this space where the first cavern was, and you feel around, and you gather that there was a path here, but it looks like there's been a small cave-in. A lot of the rocks appear like they've been recently fallen in, and there's some sort of a grade to them where you watch loose rocks have recently been tossed around that are of a deeper-set red color and haven't been quite as weathered as the exterior of the mountain appears to be. So apparently the entrance that you originally used either has collapsed on its own, or was intentionally shut.

JON: I could've sworn it was right here, you guys. I don't know what's with all these rocks.

LAURA: It looks like it was caved in, actually.

LIAM: This is 100% the spot?

JON: Pretty sure. I mean, I don't have the best memory or knowledge or brains or really any skills, but I'm pretty sure this was it.

LAURA: Don't be so hard on yourself, Lionel.

MARISHA: Does it look deliberate, or does it look natural?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

JON: Well, it could be. I have an idea, you guys. Let's ask the ducks!

LAURA: Are there ducks here?

JON: There's no ducks here?

MARISHA: Natural 19 from Gil. 22.

JON: We can see if there are if we Commune With Ducks.

MATT: The cave-in is not natural. The rocks you can see, the portion of the archway where the natural mountain rock becomes the rockslide that seems to have filled the space, there is no damage that seems to be seismic or quaked, and you can see what appear to be some cleft sides at the edge of this entrance where it appears like elements of it were actually hacked or damaged until it eventually fell in.

LAURA: Are there any kind of tracks around, or footfalls that look like it was recent?

MATT: Roll a-- for you, it would be a survival check, 'cause you're a tracker.

LAURA: And it's a mountain!

TALIESIN: I honestly think they might have trapped it.

LAURA: I can roll that one again.

LIAM: I'll wait until she has looked, and then I'll take a look.

LAURA: Yeah, that's way better! 27!

MATT: As you guys are having this moment, and you get low to the ground and begin to read the patterns of the different rocks that have tumbled and left small grooves and a little bit of dust and sand that does reside over this dark, caked dirt and rock, and you do notice a number of footprints. They're scattered a bit, some older, some newer. There's been a lot of foot traffic in and out of this cavern fairly recently, like a week or so ago. And you begin to follow the tracks. Some lead back the path you came, some seem to circle around further into the valley around this mountain.

LAURA: I think I've picked something up. Should we follow it now or should we--

SAM: It's dark.

LAURA: --camp out and do it in the morning.

MARISHA: Cover for me. I'm gonna drop down and do a Commune With Nature.

TRAVIS: How do we cover you?

TALIESIN: She talks to non-ducks.

MARISHA: Can Lionel and I commune together and do bonuses? Can I be like, can you call your ducks?

JON: That's what I was trying to do.

MARISHA: All right.

MATT: I'll say, as you begin to cast the spell, you take Lionel's hands and focus, and Lionel, you close your eyes and you imagine before you the most beautiful desert duck that could ever exist. And for a good 45 seconds, 50 seconds, 60 seconds, nothing. And that sadness in your heart sinks a bit, that perhaps Aes, or Scanlan, as these weird people keep calling him, said, there are no ducks here. And you hear, in the darkness, (flapping wings, squawk, impact sound). It runs into the side of the mountain, tumbles down onto the ground. (duck sounds)

SAM: It's a miracle!

TALIESIN: It certainly is.

JON: The duck!

LAURA: Wait, you can call them to you?

JON: I mean, I just, normally that happens.

LAURA: That's a power, that's amazing.

TALIESIN: Do they obey you, or is it a partnership?

LAURA: Could you call multiple to you and they pick you up and fly you through the air?

JON: You guys are confusing me. Look, I just talk to them.

MARISHA: You know, it's okay.

TALIESIN: Let's not question this.

MATT: So which of you wants to commune with the duck?

LIAM: Let the expert.

JON: Okay, what do we wanna know?

MARISHA: How deep is the cave-in?

JON: How deep is the cave-in? Okay.

SAM: To the duck?

TALIESIN: They knew about the others.

SAM: Sure, sure.

JON: I ask the duck, how deep is the cave-in?

MATT: Okay, the duck, “20 feet”.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: That's a chill-as-fuck duck, y'all!

JON: You couldn't understand that. I was like, you guys, that duck was really chill.

(laughter)

LAURA: No, I can tell, his body language is super chill for a duck.

JON: 20 feet. What else do we want? Do we wanna ask if he recognizes who did this?

MARISHA: That's a good one, that's a good one, yeah, yeah, yeah.

JON: Hey, greenie. How-- who did this? What caused the cave-in?

MATT: “People.”

MARISHA: You know, I have a similar problem when I try to talk to cows. They have face-blindness.

LAURA: I'm just gonna stealthily start following the path around.

MATT: Stealth check.

MARISHA: Is there another entrance into this cavern?

JON: That's good, that's good. Should we ask the nearest? Where's the nearest entrance?

LAURA: 29.

JON: Or the safest entrance?

MARISHA: Are there other entrances?

JON: Hey, Greenie, how many other entrances are there to this, about?

MATT: “Two.”

JON: Two. Uh-oh, that was two questions.

MARISHA: Is that two including this entrance?

MATT: (flapping wings)

JON: Wait, wait, wait!

TRAVIS: Duck Hunt! Shoot it! Vex!

JON: Meant to ask where the entrances are. Sorry, you guys.

MARISHA: Well, there is another one. It's good, it's fine, it's good. In fact, I can double down on this. Can I now do my Commune With Nature and see if I can map out this cavern and find the other entrances?

MATT: Okay, so as you've now sat down, and you focus, you can sense the guardian duck that was temporarily summoned is now wandering out to the desert, probably to dehydrate and die horribly when the morning light comes.

JON: I don't know about this, I don't know about this. Aw, he's going home to his family.

TALIESIN: In a way, yes.

MATT: However, you connect and you can feel your spiritual essence connect with the land here. The landscape is something you're not used to. Elements of it remind you of Pyrah, though not as visceral and volcanic, but the general heat and barren aspect of the landscape is familiar in some ways. So as you extend yourself, you can breathe and you can feel the land breathe with you, and as that communion hits, you feel you could ask some questions of the terrain.

MARISHA: Where are the other two entrances to this cavern?

MATT: You get, as is the essence of answering these questions, you sense that there is one near the top of the spire and there is one not terribly far from where you are, kind of continuing inward towards the valley. But it doesn't specify directly where, it doesn't put an 'x' on your map for you. You just know that one's towards the top, and one's further around the path you're going.

MARISHA: Can I-- hang on-- around the path. Okay. How deep is the Ziggurat from here? Can I sense the other Ziggurat?

MATT: You focus, and you sense that there is almost like a cyst in the ground. You can sense some subterranean cavern. Maybe about 400, 500 feet into the heart of the mountain from where you currently sit. You can sense there this kind of pulsing darkness, almost like a terrible, cancerous heartbeat in the center of this land.

MARISHA: Okay. What else? What's the last one? What should I do?

SAM: Are there any people around?

TALIESIN: Has anybody been through that upper passageway?

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, can I sense any other maraudering douchebags?

MATT: Well, you can ask questions about people, powerful celestials, fey, fiends, elementals, or undead, influence from means of other existences.

MARISHA: Humanoids? What about humanoids?

MATT: You want to try and sense humanoids? You ask about it. Your attention is shifted back towards that weird cyst-Ziggurat area in the center of the mountain, and the land seems to give you the idea that there are a number of humanoids there right now.

MARISHA: Shit. Do they look like cultist-y people?

MATT: You don't have a visual. Your vision isn't brought there, you just kind of sense that they're there. They're inside the mountain.

MARISHA: What?

JON: I could've told you there was people at the pyramid.

TALIESIN: Well, last time. Who's here now?

JON: Well, why would they leave?

MARISHA: I don't know. I said there's all these cool cult people. Yeah, they could leave.

JON: It's good to know that they're still there.

TRAVIS: Were there people inside?

MARISHA: A decent amount of people.

MATT: So Vex is gone.

TRAVIS: Where's Vex?

LIAM: What did you find out?

MARISHA: A lot of people. There's another entrance nearby, I think further down this path. It's close.

LIAM: Well, Vex went this way. Is it in that direction?

MARISHA: What? What do you mean? She went where?

MATT: You actually didn't see the direction she went.

LIAM: Do we see footprints going in a direction, though, you described?

MATT: Nobody else did. Only she was tracking. Literally, you all turn around and Vex is just gone.

MARISHA: I think there's also an entrance at the top of this spire, if we want to do a downward approach, but that seems risky.

MATT: You follow the tracks, and about 200 or so feet around the edge, and you have to follow them between a few smaller rocks that are jutting out at the base of the mountain, and the terrain itself rolls a bit, and cracks in places. There are small fissures from recent rains that caused the earth to well up and tear in places, and eventually the tracks curve in towards the mountain and end, and it's just sheer mountain. There's no sign of an entryway visually.

LAURA: Can I search for one?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

LAURA: Do I get advantage because it's a mountain?

MATT: You do, actually, yes. Favored terrain.

LAURA: Fucking balls. Perception?

MATT: Investigation.

LAURA: No, I want perception.

MATT: You're getting investigation.

LAURA: 11.

MATT: 11? You have no idea where the entrance is. The tracks end in this general vicinity, and it's just rock. It doesn't even look like there's handholds.

LAURA: Weird. I wonder if it's an illusion. Can I put my hand on the rocks and see if there's an illusion?

MATT: Okay. You put your hands out to feel against the rock, and your hand passes through.

LAURA: What-what! I feel like Vex is really good at finding illusions. Oh, shit! Okay, well, can I put the front of my face through the wall and see what I see?

MATT: Sure. You poke into the darkness, and it is pitch-black on the inside. As you poke past the illusion, it's about two inches or so of this rocky, heavy orange-red stone, and as you peer in you can see a cavern about ten feet wide or so and about 12 to ten feet tall. Natural along the walls, you can see the ground itself is smoothed over, and it's straight. It's a straight tunnel. It's not a rocky natural formation, it's like it was pushed and carved into the rock, like something heavy or something very focused drove through. You glance over to the side, and you catch what appears to be a face in the wall, about that big around. It's featureless, you just see two eye sockets, a mouth, and a nose. You see a flash of green light. I need you to make a constitution saving throw.

LAURA: Well, it's too late. Constitution saving throw?

TRAVIS: Can we also say that we put our earrings back in the next day?

MATT: I assumed you did.

TRAVIS: Because we're professionals.

LAURA: That was almost so good, but then it wasn't. Ten.

MATT: Ten. No, that does not succeed.

TRAVIS: Curious little cat.

LAURA: I'm a rogue now, you guys!

TALIESIN: Had to poke it.

MATT: You take 61 points of necrotic damage. As a familiar sting, as the green light flash turns into a piercing beam of life-draining energy, one that once almost brought you to the edge of death before, and as it hits you, you feel your breath and life essence sucked out of your nose and mouth and ears like a giant vacuum is pulling the essence out of your body. The veins bulge, you can't breathe, and you pull yourself back out of the illusory wall, and have to gasp for a moment. You guys hear the gasping as you begin to approach that side, and you find your sister there grabbing herself.

LAURA: (coughing) Jenga. Not full Jenga.

ASHLEY: What happened, what happened, what happened?

LAURA: Don't go through the wall. Can I heal, Pike?

ASHLEY: Yes, yes.

LAURA: There's a thing in there. There's a face, and it sucks your life out. I found a door, though, guys!

JON: Where's the door?

LAURA: Don't. I'm not even going to tell you where the door is. I'm not going to tell him where the door is.

TRAVIS: We don't see a door.

JON: I don't see a door.

LAURA: Nobody touch the rocks!

LIAM: But there's a bad door somewhere around here?

LAURA: There's a bad door. Just listen for a moment. Bad door. Right in front of me: fake, bad door. If you go through it, there is a very bad face that sucks your life out.

LIAM: A bad face.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: There's a door you cannot see, and a bad face sucks your life away.

LAURA: Yeah. I'm going to take my Oracle Arrow and crouch down.

SAM: Wait, wait, wait, before you do that, are you sure that's--

LIAM: Yeah, slow down, you're doing all the shit.

SAM: You're going to just shoot something in there? What if they see it fly in?

LAURA: That's why I was going to crouch down and shoot the arrow super low to the ground.

LIAM: What if they still see the arrow fly in?

LAURA: Well, when I peeked my head in, before I got my life sucked out, I didn't see anything in front of me. Did I?

LIAM: I'm going to assume that before we heard her gasping, Keyleth was filling us in.

MARISHA: You know, I think it's right around that direction. Follow the gasping. It feels like it's really close to the gasping.

LIAM: I'm going to go check out the top. (mist sound)

LAURA: Give me shit, and then take off on your own.

LIAM: Well, I'm not going to stick my face in something.

MATT: All right. So you fly up. (flapping wings) 60 feet a round. It'll take you a good five minutes or so to make your way towards the top end of the spire. As you're going, make an investigation check.

LIAM: Can I stealth as cloud?

MATT: Oh, you're going cloud! Sorry, I thought you were doing your wings. As a cloud, you get there really fast. So as you make it up there, you cannot-- I will say, for the purposes of this…

LIAM: I'm wind. I'm not going high, I'm going through the treetops.

MATT: Yeah, so make a stealth check.

LIAM: All right, I will. That is very good. That is a 35.

MATT: 35, okay. As far as you understand, no one seems to see you. Make an investigation check as you make your way up the mountainside to check for any sort of entrances.

LAURA: You should mark off one of your Lucks because you already used it for the day.

LIAM: I did, it's on the plastic.

SAM: Keep him honest.

LIAM: Oh man. I love you so wholeheartedly, and on a regular basis you kick me in the goolies. I don't understand it.

SAM: Good old four-Luck O'Brien.

LIAM: Seven Luck. It's not per game, it's per day, so if we go to bed, it resets. Fart knockers. I'm doing investigation? That's 18.

MATT: 18. You glide around there for a good ten, 15 minutes or so, scouring the edge. All you know is it's near the top, and you see no sign of an entrance.

LIAM: Okay. So it's not a volcanic hole or anything, there's just a secret entrance.

MATT: No. She told you there was supposedly an entrance, but you see nothing. Sheer rock. There are a couple of indents that could be cave entrances, but when you get close you see it's just a small alcove that ends.

LAURA: Maybe you should try sticking your face against some of the sheer rock face.

LIAM: I return to my loving sister, kind and good. I land, and say, I saw another face, but I didn't stick my face in it, because that would be stupid.

MARISHA: I wonder if there's another face behind the cave-in.

LAURA: You know what, I should probably find out! And I shoot the Oracle Arrow.

MATT: Okay. You shoot the Oracle Arrow and--

MARISHA: Wait, into the cave-in, or the illusory wall?

MATT: How far do you fire it? Is it full strength, is it a lob?

LAURA: No, I don't want to go crazy far. I want to get in, a little bit further to see if I can find any more traps, and see how that face works.

TRAVIS: What percentage of your strength do you shoot it at? 70? 50? 25?

LAURA: 65 percent of my strength is used.

MATT: Okay. (whoosh) As you release it, it's still a good distance. It (whoosh) continues through. As you go past the face, the one that shot the green light, you can see the front of it is darkened now, from where before it was untouched. It cruises past. You see the formations. It looks like there's some cool designs here and there. The arrow eventually comes to rest. You don't see anything of interest as you pass by that quickly. You do see a very, very faint glow down the hall. You can see the glimmer of light, and as you watch, it's shifting ever so slightly, flickering like firelight.

LAURA: I think there's a fire further in.

TRAVIS: Was the face there?

LAURA: The face is in there.

TRAVIS: Was it doing the life-sucking thing?

LAURA: Not to my arrow. But it was there on the wall.

TRAVIS: I'll go in.

LAURA: No, no, no, Grog, don't!

ASHLEY: She got hurt!

TRAVIS: Yeah, but I'm stacked for days.

LAURA: We should dispel it or something.

JON: I got your back, Grog.

TALIESIN: We've got another entrance.

MARISHA: I can Dispel Magic still.

LAURA: Yeah, see if you can dispel the magic!

TALIESIN: Let's see if there's a second entrance.

MARISHA: Well, there is a second entrance. One is up top.

TALIESIN: Well, they're going to think we're coming in through here, because they know about this entrance. Maybe they don't know about the other one, so we could maybe be super tricky and take an entrance they don't know about at all.

MARISHA: I can clear out the cave-in. I imagine if someone is trying to cause an intentional cave-in, they're anticipating no one going through that cave-in, and we can start there.

JON: I at least know my way in, if we cleared that.

TALIESIN: If I were expecting people, I'd expect them through the entrance I take or the cave-in, not a third entrance I don't know about, though. Assuming they don't know about it.

MARISHA: But they do know about the up. He said there was a face.

JON: No, he's talking about the third entrance, that's lower.

TALIESIN: Higher.

JON: No, I thought that was the higher one.

MARISHA: Hang on, hang on. There are three entrances: the cave-in, the one where Vex just got exploded, and one through the top of the spire.

LIAM: Which I could not find.

TALIESIN: Should we take a group look for the top of the spire?

MARISHA: If we go through the cave-in entrance, I can clear it out. I will clear one of my last high-level spells, but Lionel knows his way through that way.

LAURA: Yeah, but we shouldn't go in the night. We need to rest.

MARISHA: But I can clear it tonight.

TALIESIN: We could just make a tiny hole in the cave-in and become smoke and go inside. Is that not possible? He asked.

MATT: That may be quite possible, actually.

TALIESIN: So that they wouldn't even know that we had cleared it. It would just be relatively untouched.

MARISHA: Can we camp out inside?

MATT: It's a gaseous form, so yeah.

LAURA: We would have to camp inside the cave-in.

TALIESIN: It's either that or camp right in front of the front door after just triggering a spell.

LAURA: Oh, Scanlan! We've been so long without you, I forgot we had it!

MARISHA: Oh my god, we have the mansion!

LIAM: I mean, only if you want to. I remember that being a sore spot.

SAM: I don't even know if you guys want me to come in with you. I've taken you this far. But if you need me in there, I'll come.

ASHLEY: No, you'll be coming.

SAM: All right. Let's make a hole and go in, and then we can camp the night inside.

JON: I think some of my dead comrades we could use as pillows. They're probably still in there.

TALIESIN: That may not be necessary.

ASHLEY: Body pillow.

TALIESIN: I'm so proud of you! That was amazing!

MATT: So what's the plan, guys?

LAURA: We're going to go back to the cave-in. Oh, wait, wait, wait! I did have a question. I feel like it might be smart to get my arrow out of there, in case anybody comes out and sees an arrow.

ASHLEY: That's a good idea.

LAURA: But I don't know how to do that. Is there an Unseen Servant or something?

JON: I'll run in real fast and get it.

SAM: No, do not do that. I, Scanlan Shorthalt, can go get it, if you'd like.

LAURA: No, Scanlan, that's not what I meant.

SAM: I can go get it if you'd like.

LAURA: No, I don't want you to go in! It fucking sucks your life out!

SAM: It's easy. I'll be there and back in two seconds.

JON: But there's a face-sucking thing.

LAURA: Do I know how many feet in it went?

MATT: You're not entirely certain. I'd say a couple hundred, maybe. 150.

TRAVIS: You did 65 percent of your…

SAM: You're an expert marksman, you know. Within 100 feet? Yeah, how about this? Why don't you shoot an arrow right now, outside the cave, same strength, and see how far it goes?

LAURA: You got it.

MATT: Okay. So what's the range on your bow?

LAURA: Oh, that's a good question. Fenthras, exalted.

MATT: It's a longbow. It's just a general longbow's range. Do you have that written down?

LAURA: What? Like 120 feet? Is it that, or is it more?

MATT: 150 is your first increment, and then 600 is your second increment.

TALIESIN: 65 is like 400 feet.

MATT: Approximately, yeah.

TALIESIN: Or the closest wall. Did it hit a wall?

MATT: It did not hit a wall.

TALIESIN: 400 feet.

LAURA: That's really far. No, but how would you do it? How would you do it?

SAM: I have ways.

LIAM: Could you see through the mouth of this face that you saw, when you were in there?

LAURA: I saw eyes.

MATT: There was no eyes. There was empty sockets, a mouth, and a nose, and then suddenly the sockets began to glow green for a second, and then the hit.

LAURA: The sockets glowed green and then I got hit.

LIAM: So you couldn't see through the mouth, it was just a dark maw.

LAURA: Right. But the eyes glowed.

ASHLEY: You're just going to go in there, Scanlan?

SAM: You want to come?

ASHLEY: How are you going to do this?

SAM: The way I always go. Dimension Door.

LAURA: What if it can reach you that far in?

SAM: It can't.

ASHLEY: How do you know?

SAM: I assume.

ASHLEY: Well, I'm not going with you!

SAM: Great.

LIAM: I'll go with you.

SAM: You can't.

LAURA: You're too big.

SAM: I'll just go. Dimension Door 400 feet straight in.

ASHLEY: Wait, I'll go with him. I'm going to go with you. I'm keeping my eye on him.

MATT: All right. (poof) You guys appear inside the cavern. Darkness. You can see the firelight ahead, the flicker at the end of the tunnel, and you can see the tunnel, the straight portion of it, maybe 100 feet forward, begins to shift and bend a little bit. It starts to turn into more of a natural cavern as it goes. Whatever drove its way in here has merged with a natural path on the inside of the mountain, possibly even merged with the cave-in path. You look on the ground, and both of you guys make investigation checks, if you don't mind.

ASHLEY: Investigation, did you say?

SAM: 30.

ASHLEY: I'm sure he found something. 11.

MATT: In the time it takes you to go, “Okay, we're looking…” He's like, “Found it!” You find the arrow. A little dust drifts off of it, and as you're walking you can see that there's a softness to the ground here. You get the sense that the formation, whatever rock was pushed through here, was… There's no pile of rock outside, there's no symbol of the earth that was carved out of this tunnel, recently it seems, placed anywhere. There's just an absence of rock, and there's a heavy layer of dust on the ground.

LAURA: Do either of you have Dust of Tracelessness?

ASHLEY: No. Well.

SAM: Go back?

ASHLEY: Yeah. Let's go back.

SAM: Will you hold my hand?

ASHLEY: No. No, don't push your luck.

MATT: (poof) You guys bamf back out of the outside. You watch as Scanlan and Pike reemerge from the outside, Scanlan holding your arrow triumphant.

LAURA: Oh, it's dusty. Was it dusty in there?

SAM: It was very dusty in there.

LIAM: Any footprints?

ASHLEY: None that we could see.

SAM: Soft un-tread earth.

LIAM: Weird.

LAURA: Thank you.

MARISHA: Oh, no.

LIAM: What is it, Kiki?

MARISHA: Maybe this is the unused entrance. Maybe the cave-in is the more recent.

LAURA: No, I see tracks coming in and out of this place. I know there's people that use this.

MATT: Yeah, fairly recent tracks.

LIAM: But you saw no footprints inside?

ASHLEY: Did you, Scanlan? You should've seen something. Did you look?

SAM: No, I forgot. I was looking for the arrow. That was our mission.

ASHLEY: Well, I was just making sure you weren't going to run away, so I was preoccupied.

JON: So you guys both accomplished your missions! Awesome!

LAURA: Maybe we should go back into the other side, then. Unless somebody can just fucking dispel that face, and then we can just go in this way.

MARISHA: I could attempt it. I have Dispel Magic with me right now.

TRAVIS: Do it!

MARISHA: All right. I'll do it.

LIAM: Is the plan to camp out tonight? In the mansion, by a fire, whichever?

LAURA: In the mansion.

TALIESIN: I'm going to point out, I've already been looking for a way into the cave-in while you've all been being ridiculous.

LAURA: You've already gone back?

TALIESIN: The minute he suggested that he get it, I didn't want to be a part of that, so I just immediately went in to start testing to see if there was ways we could just meld through the cave-in, or if we actually had to make a hole.

MATT: So you're inspecting?

TALIESIN: I misty-ed out of that the minute that he started working on it.

MATT: So you're over, currently looking for a way through?

TALIESIN: Seeing if I can find ways through.

MATT: You manage to squeeze through a few crevices between the stones and rock, but it's pretty densely packed. You get maybe five feet in before you can't really find a way to get your whole mist form through.

TALIESIN: I'm going to start, back to normal, at the very top of the pile, looking to see if I can start scraping through using my sword to make a crevice.

MATT: Okay, so you're working on that. What are you guys doing?

SAM: Are we trying to dispel the magic or are we going in the other way? Maybe we should just make a decision.

MARISHA: I'm trying to dispel the magic.

MATT: Okay. So you walk up to the illusory wall.

MARISHA: I'm having Vex be like, tell me where it is. Can I prepare it so as soon as I poke my head in, I can be like (dink)!

MATT: Okay. You poke your head in, and as soon as you glance off to the side, you can see the stone face in the wall.

MARISHA: (poof)

MATT: Cast Dispel Magic… Doesn't seem to have an effect.

MARISHA: Bail. Bail! Bail! Out!

LAURA: Did it hit you that fast? It didn't hit you?

MATT: There was no attack from the face, either.

TALIESIN: I get the distinct impression, perhaps, that you used it up, and probably alerted them that somebody was at that entrance.

LAURA: Let's maybe move away from the entrance.

MARISHA: Can I peek my head back in and do a…

MATT: You glance in. No trigger, nothing. The face seems inert.

LAURA: I peek my head in. Does the flickering light in the distance seem brighter?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: It's too many choices. Too many dice. Fucking shit, motherfuck! Wait, wait, it's a mountain.

MATT: It is a mountain. You get to have an advantage. That's what rangers do, man!

LIAM: Was the light seen by the arrow?

MATT: The light was seen by the arrow.

LIAM: So you're looking at the face.

LAURA: No, I'm looking in the fucking tunnel.

MATT: The face is on the side of it. It's beyond.

LIAM: Oh, it keeps going?

MATT: Yeah. So depending on how high her perception is, she may, now that she sees the flicker at the end, she may be able to see something. So how high did you roll?

LAURA: 31.

MATT: That would be high enough to just barely focus your half-elven eyes and glance down. You get to see the very faint bead of light at the very tip, and it doesn't seem to change over the next 30 seconds, next minute, next two minutes while you focus intently. You don't see any shift or change.

ASHLEY: Should we just go in?

LAURA: We could.

JON: So you think the face is recharging?

LAURA: I think I might have used up its only charge, potentially. Or it's recharging.

JON: It's like a booby trap, used once.

LIAM: I will take a look at it, and look at the area and see if there's anything left to it or other traps further down.

MATT: Okay. Make an investigation check.

SAM: Well, if he's going in, Taryon will go in and Identify the thing.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and make an arcana check.

LIAM: 19.

MATT: 19, okay. You glance by, you check it. As you both are looking at it, both Taryon and Vax approach the face, and the carving is rudimentary. It looks more like it was prepared as the basis of-- what did you roll?

SAM: 17, but I've got Identify.

MATT: Yeah. There's no magical essence to it any longer, but your arcana check shows that you can see that there are certain small carvings in it that look to be some sort of sigil or glyph that is designed to hold a spell until triggered, and then it's released. Actually, Pike, you've used this once before. It's an actual Glyph of Warding spell that is utilized to hold a spell in and release it upon some sort of a trigger.

SAM: So it's one-time use, so we're good to go in this way if we'd like.

LAURA: Does the Glyph of Warding alert you once it's gone off?

ASHLEY: I don't think so.

MATT: You don't recall. You didn't know your glyph went off until you found the destroyed body of the prisoner that you had released in Westruun long ago.

LAURA: Oh, right. The guy that was stealing all that gold.

ASHLEY: And then I think we also put one on the top of the loot for the dragon?

MATT: That's the one that got him. He tried to get some money on the way out, and you found his body blown up and dragged about 20 feet off before he expired.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I don't think it alerts anybody.

LAURA: Okay, good. Then we are probably safe going in. I'm going to cast Pass Without a Trace on us. I'm going to see how many people I can cast it on. Every creature I choose within 30 feet of me! So, sweet, it's everybody.

MATT: Yep. All right. You notice, Lionel, as you guys step in, even in your Darkvision-- which, by the way, for your two human companions, it is complete darkness. You had a little bit of starlight, and your eyes had adjusted to it where you could see the edges and rims of different shapes within the mountain range, but once you step past the illusory barrier into the interior of the cavern, it is just darkness.

LAURA: Is Percy back yet?

TALIESIN: Yes, I just got back.

LAURA: Percy, hold on to my waist, dear.

SAM: Should we use our flashlights or no?

TALIESIN: No, I don't think so.

LIAM: I'm going to stay 30 feet in front of the group and continue to check for traps.

MATT: All right, so everyone roll stealth.

LAURA: And add ten to it because of Pass Without a Trace.

SAM: Doty's going to click his boots of whatever. His boots of elven…

MATT: That give him the bonus on stealth checks?

SAM: Yeah, elvenkind.

TRAVIS: 26.

ASHLEY: 30! That's never going to happen again.

MATT: Vex?

LAURA: 25.

LIAM: 37.

MATT: Pike is more stealthy than Vex right now!

LAURA: It's because Percy's holding on to my waist.

MATT: I understand. Keyleth?

MARISHA: 26.

TALIESIN: 21.

JON: 28.

SAM: Scanlan got 29, Taryon got 25, and Doty got a two, but with his boots-- what do his boots do? Shit!

MATT: The boots give him advantage on stealth checks. He gets to roll again.

SAM: Okay. 17! Plus ten, yeah.

MATT: There you go. So you guys silently make your way in. I would like a marching order on this, because it is about ten feet wide, this tunnel, and you guys can only go in there two at a time, shoulder-to-shoulder.

TALIESIN: Who's got the best night vision?

LAURA: Actually, Doty has the best night vision. He's got complete Darkvision? Oh, we all have Darkvision.

MATT: Okay, so Vax and Pike in the front.

LIAM: Check for traps, check for traps, check for traps.

LAURA: We didn't take a nap.

SAM: Do you want to stop and camp?

LAURA: Maybe in a little bit.

TALIESIN: I'm all right with the notion of getting a little deeper in.

MATT: All right, so. Pike and Vax at the front. All right. Who's after them?

LAURA: Me and Percy.

ASHLEY: I tug on Vax's shirt just to let him know I'm there.

SAM: I feel like good old Chod should be near the tip of the spear since he knows the inside of this place a bit.

LAURA: That's true. What did he roll for stealth?

MATT: He rolled a 28 I think.

JON: Have I been in this area?

MATT: You have not been in this specific tunnel. You haven't seen anything that looks familiar. The path you went before was a natural cavern. This one is pushed straight through.

JON: Yeah. But I can see how, I'm the only one who's been in this mountain, so there's maybe a little trust. I got this! I haven't been here, but I got it!

MATT: All right, so do you push your way towards the front?

JON: Sure.

MATT: All right. So, Pike and Vax, as you guys are moving forward, your bardbarian friend pushes aside and muscles up to become the point at the tip of the sphere.

JON: I crop-dust all of you as I go in front of you.

MATT: After that, after Percy and Vex?

MARISHA: I'll go.

MATT: All right. Keyleth, and we still have Taryon, Scanlan…

SAM: Taryon next, with Doty with him.

MATT: Taryon with Doty behind. Doty is going to be two people in the cavern. So who's behind Doty?

TRAVIS: Me.

MATT: All right, Grog. And…

SAM: Scanlan will be in the rear.

MATT: All right, so Scanlan is alongside Grog. I imagine you have Trinket in your necklace?

LAURA: Yes.

MATT: All right. So at the very end, Grog, you're walking, and Scanlan's there at your side, and Doty walking in front of you, lumbering, surprisingly quiet. And you get the sense the reason you're so stealthy in here is because as you step, it's soft. It's like stepping on a bunch of very, very fine powder. (heavy footsteps) It helps cushion your footfalls.

MARISHA: Like snow? Or ash?

MATT: Like ash, almost. Like a very, very fine dust.

MARISHA: Can I dip down and grab a bit of it and do a nature check on it? Is it ash?

MATT: Sure, make a nature check.

LAURA: It's cocaine!

MATT: First she eats the soul, then she just does a line in the middle of the tunnel. Keyleth's gone off the end, it's really bad.

MARISHA: 15.

MATT: 15's not too bad. You taste it, and you smell it. It's not ash. It's very, very, very fine powder. It has an earthy rock taste to it.

LIAM: And are there any tracks or footprints ahead of Pike and I?

MATT: Make a survival check.

LIAM: Survival. Ooh, that's good. 19.

MATT: 19. You do see some tracks stepping up and down, yes.

LIAM: Both ways?

MATT: Both ways.

LIAM: Shite.

MATT: All right. So pushing forward, another 30 or 40 feet, roll another investigation check.

LIAM: Not perception?

MATT: Not for checking for traps, man, it's investigation. Always been.

LIAM: 21.

MATT: 21, okay.

SAM: Fine, if Matt wants to change the rules 100 games in, I guess so.

MATT: All right, so you continue moving forward. You do not see any traps, anything that catches your attention.

MARISHA: Can I just do a little, I'm going to scoop up a little bit and say, Percy, can I get a little bit of water added onto this? Can I do another nature check on what this is?

TRAVIS: You are fucking fascinated with the god damn ash.

MATT: I'm not going to tell you to make another nature check. You can't keep making rolls until you get a better one. It turns into an immediate mud. It's a very, very fine silt, almost.

TALIESIN: What color is the rock?

MATT: The powder, you mean?

TALIESIN: I can't see anything, can I? Never mind.

MATT: You can see nothing. In fact, when you say, “Percy, get some water on this,” you're like, “What? I don't-- where?” You have to guide his hand.

LIAM: And is it dead silent in here?

MATT: It's dead quiet from where you currently are. You can make a perception check to listen in to see if you hear anything ahead.

LIAM: 24.

MATT: 24. You listen carefully and you hear faint sounds of footsteps and scraping stone. In one little, sounds like a (whistle), like a brief sucking sound, and that's it.

LIAM: Over the earring, not alone. Not alone. Something up ahead. I don't think we're camping.

LAURA: If we camp, then they won't find us. They can't see the door.

LIAM: What do y'all want to do?

TRAVIS: You're on point. Keep going.

ASHLEY: I say we keep going. If it's an emergency, we can all jump into the mansion, maybe.

TALIESIN: I'll activate my boots.

ASHLEY: Is everybody okay to keep going?

MATT: Okay. You continue another 40, 50 feet down the path. Make another investigation check.

LIAM: Natural 20.

MATT: You go a little further ahead and you come upon what appears to be two more of those faces, that are facing the inside of the wall maybe 30 feet ahead. And you stop. You can see they're both facing outward, towards the center of the hallway.

LIAM: Kiki, a couple more faces. Can you shimmy your way up here, please?

MARISHA: I get down on my hands and elbows.

LAURA: Percy, spread your legs! I let her crawl through us.

LIAM: Left hand green!

MARISHA: Where are they?

LIAM: Right over there, right up ahead, 30 feet. Both sides.

MATT: He points it out to you, and you can just barely see the smooth walls, the almost oval, circular passageway, you can see the slight lift of the side rock where the faces form a very faint profile.

MARISHA: I scootch a few more inches and use my last two 3rd-level spells.

MATT: Okay. Roll a d20. Add your wisdom modifier, please.

MARISHA: Just my straight modifier?

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: Don't fuck me Gil! Okay, that's good, that's good. 19 on the first one.

MATT: Okay, roll again on the second one.

MARISHA: 18 on the second one.

MATT: Okay. As you take a moment (whoosh), the first one releases, and you watch as the face suddenly begins to glow with this dull, grayish, black crackling energy, and then (poof). The energy seems to vanish and disperse, with the one on the left. You turn and release Dispel Magic on the one on the right, and you watch as the same effect happens. (poof) Disperses as well.

MARISHA: Okay, we're good!

LAURA: (sings) You're the best around! Okay, keep going forward.

LIAM: Grab her shoulder, move slowly past, pull Pickle along, and continue to carefully search.

MATT: Okay. As you approach and step toward the space right between where the two faces are, you make one footfall between the two of them, and nothing happens. You successfully dispelled the effect.

ASHLEY: You sneaky.

MATT: Wanted to fuck with you. You continue pushing forward for another 50 or so feet. You're starting to get fairly close at this point to where the arrow may have dropped.

LAURA: Oh, shit, you were right by fucking other faces when you popped in before!

MATT: You moved just a little bit beyond them. Make another investigation check. You're not there yet, but you're getting closer.

LIAM: 18.

MATT: 18, okay. You don't seem to notice any strange or different elements of the topography that worry you. You push on for another 40, 50 feet or so, and you're just now on the cusp of where the arrow dropped. Make another investigation check.

LAURA: Roll super good.

LIAM: That's at least an 18. Oh, it's better than 18. It is 26.

MATT: Okay. You don't notice any traps or any issues in the vicinity. You do see the footprints of Pike and Scanlan where they first arrived earlier before, venturing into this cavern, and pushing forward about 20 or so feet, the smooth cavern begins to turn into more of a natural, almost a volcanic tube-type physicality to it, and you can see to the left, another tunnel merges with it. You begin to recognize this. It looks like this carved tunnel is now dovetailing into the path that you guys found your way in, the one that was collapsed on the exit. Now the path that you know and the path you're traversing have finally merged into one singular path.

JON: I know this place, you guys! Let's go down the left one.

LAURA: Shh!

TALIESIN: Left?

JON: Yeah. There's one that's-- we can either go straight, or there's one at the…

MATT: The one that's on the left will lead you back to the entrance where you first came in, but it was collapsed, the one that you knew. If you keep going straight, it'll lead you towards the light and where you saw these people last time you were here.

JON: If we go left, it's going to take us back the other way, so that's safe, but we could keep going straight where the light is.

LIAM: We're here for your friends, right?

JON: Yeah, they might still be alive. And I call out, hello?

MATT: Okay. It echoes. “Hello?” Everyone make a perception check.

SAM: Right now I'm looking at the back of Grog's ass. But I got a 19.

MARISHA: Natural 19.

TRAVIS: 10.

ASHLEY: 22.

LAURA: 22.

JON: 21.

TALIESIN: 13.

MATT: 19, you got, right?

MARISHA: Yeah. That's a 34 total.

LIAM: 32.

MATT: All right. Everyone over 20, you listen and you can hear very faint voices (whispering), and it sounds like movement moving quicker.

LAURA: Scanlan? Maybe now is the time for that door.

SAM: For the door? The mansion?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Okay. It takes a minute to cast.

LIAM: That's not going to work. We've got company coming.

LAURA: How near do the voices sound?

MATT: They don't sound like they're getting louder. Doesn't sound like they're getting closer, you just hear voices.

SAM: Do you want me to?

LAURA: Let's backtrack to the caved-in tunnel.

JON: Maybe it's my friends. Should we go?

LAURA: No. Let's backtrack to the caved-in tunnel and set up the door.

MARISHA: You guys go. I'll wait here just in case.

JON: I'll stay with you.

TALIESIN: Be quiet.

MATT: Okay. You guys make your way towards the caved-in entrance.

TALIESIN: I'll stay with the two of you because I can't see shit and I'll slow you down. If things happen, they're going to light up. It'll be all right.

MATT: Okay. So you guys make your way back to the entranceway.

LIAM: I actually stay halfway between both.

MATT: You stay halfway between, okay. It's roughly about 150, 200 feet this direction. It's a shallower cavern to this area than the one you came through. It's a longer way in, but you manage to find the other end of this cave-in. It's rocks that have tumbled in and clustered. Keyleth, you glance over and you see shapes moving in the light, and as you glance up ahead, about 30 feet ahead of you, you see six figures heading your direction. Humanoid.

SAM: That's 100,000 dollars, yo. Six figures, moving your direction!

MARISHA: Holy shit, a brand new Tesla is coming this way! Okay. Hey, we have people. We have people coming this way, about six of them. Just letting you know, probably going to be some fighting coming up, and that is your update from the Voice of the Tempest.

LIAM: I'm creeping back.

MATT: All right. So you go ahead and you meet up with Keyleth. The rest of you are back by the doorway. Scanlan, you're taking a minute to cast this?

SAM: I mean, you told me to do this, right?

LAURA: I thought we were not going to fight, but it's up to everybody else.

TALIESIN: We may need a place to disappear to, so yes.

MARISHA: It's not a bad idea. We can hold them off.

SAM: Okay. I'm out of the fight, then. So I'll start casting and singing.

MATT: Okay, so Scanlan begins working on casting the magnificent--

SAM: (sings) When people keep repeating that you need a place to sleep, when everybody starts retreating but you need a really cool keep, let Scanlan open the door. Let Scanlan open the door! Let Scanlan open the door to your house!

MATT: So as this is commencing-- Oh, I've missed that.

JON: I've never heard music. I want to stay back with him. No, I'm kidding, I want to stay. I'm still with her.

MATT: All right, so we have Lionel, Keyleth, and eventually Vax, and the rest of you are still back at the entranceway.

MARISHA: And Percy.

MATT: Oh, Percy's there.

LAURA: I'm going to stand at the entrance of the tunnel and guard Scanlan.

MATT: Okay. Keyleth, you keep an eye out and you watch as they approach. They're in a sprint, a wild sprint. You notice the humanoid figures, there's a lot of clacking sounds, and you immediately notice they're thinner than a fleshed-out human. These are skeletal. They are skeletons in armor with shields and weapons, and they're (snarling) scattering through the hallway towards you at a very fast pace.

MARISHA: I'm just going to say, Pike? Pike, I think we've got some undead coming our way. Probably going to need some Divine Smiting.

ASHLEY: Coming right up.

MATT: Pike's little legs start making her way. It's going to take you a while to get there.

MARISHA: As I call Pike, I'm going to go ahead and be like, here we go. (boom).

MATT: What do you do?

MARISHA: Fireball.

MATT: A Fireball!

MARISHA: I can see them, right? They're close enough?

MATT: For a Fireball, most definitely.

MARISHA: Okay. Out of the spire.

MATT: So. Keyleth, I want you to go ahead and roll your damage.

MARISHA: Okay. Fireball is… Hang on, wait, I'm not a sorcerer. I should've had this prepared. I admit I should've had this. It's something d8? d10's? Fireball. 8d6 fire damage.

MATT: One of them rolled a natural 20.

MARISHA: One, two, three, four, five, six, give me two more.

MATT: That was a 19 and a 20.

MARISHA: A 19 and a 20? That's a lot.

MATT: Your spell DC is what, 21?

MARISHA: 21, yeah.

MATT: All right, so two of them make their save.

TALIESIN: You re-roll.

MARISHA: I reroll ones. (counting) 34 damage.

MATT: 34 damage. All right. You watch as four of these skeletons explode, their bones detonating and exploding all over the cavern. You watch as it bounces around and breaks and shatters, and you hear them all clattering into the dust below. Two more push through the flames. You can see the armor, the leather they have on is now burning behind them and is causing this glow in the alley. You see this, Percy.

TALIESIN: How loud was this Fireball?

MATT: It was pretty loud. It's a Fireball.

TALIESIN: I'll take two shots at the two that came through.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: We're here.

TALIESIN: I'm going to curl up to the top and upside-down, take two shots.

MATT: Okay.

JON: This is with your rifle?

TALIESIN: Yeah, with my big rifle. That's not bad. A 20 and a 27 to hit.

MATT: Both hit.

TALIESIN: Actually, even more than that.

MATT: Don't even worry about rolling damage because even your minimum damage, with what damage they'd taken from the Fireball? Both shots, you hit them both in the ribcage, in the sternum and the back of the spinal column and they fold into themselves and crumple into spinning pieces of bone. You watch as the momentum of their movement causes them to scatter across the dust. Both of them. (gunshots)

MARISHA: Hey, Pike? Hold that order for that divine smiting. We're going to need it probably in a second.

ASHLEY: I'm here. Did you save any for me?

TALIESIN: There will be more.

MARISHA: I think there's going to be more.

ASHLEY: I take out my mace and get ready.

JON: I want some now.

MATT: All right, as you guys are waiting there… 30 seconds passes. 30 seconds pass. Scanlan, you finish your spell. The doorway appears up. There doesn't appear to be anything else currently coming down the hall after you.

LAURA: (singing) Scanlan, open the door.

MARISHA: (singing) Scanlan, open the door.

TRAVIS: We going in or what?

LAURA: You guys want to camp? Let's go.

TALIESIN: Can we leave something here? Is there some sort of alarm that we can set?

LAURA: Like a glyph?

ASHLEY: A Glyph of Warding?

TALIESIN: Like a Glyph of Warding.

ASHLEY: Yes, we can.

JON: Can you put it on the faces that already exist so that they think--

ASHLEY: Ooh. Chod!

SAM: And an idiot shall lead them.

JON: What's an idiot?

LIAM: Broken clock. Twice a day. Well done.

TALIESIN: Let's take a long rest and see if we can get two more.

MATT: You do notice, Keyleth, that the flickering light, the firelight, is getting brighter. The firelight is now becoming more of a white light, and it's a flickering white light.

MARISHA: How hot does a campfire normally get? Not that hot, right?

LAURA: Not that hot.

MARISHA: Oh no. Something bad. Hey, Pike? Fire. Fire is very white. White fire.

ASHLEY: Huh.

LAURA: Feel like coming to the campsite? Maybe?

TALIESIN: Let's start backing up.

ASHLEY and MARISHA: Okay.

MARISHA: Back up a little bit.

ASHLEY: Are we close to the faces at all, still?

MATT: You're maybe about 70 to 100 feet.

ASHLEY: On the way back?

MATT: You're backing up through a different tunnel, so there's no faces that you've seen on this side.

TALIESIN: Let's leave it at the shift, so if they go up our tunnel, we'll know.

ASHLEY: Great. I throw up a Glyph of Warding right there.

MATT: Glyph of Warding. What's the casting time on the glyph?

ASHLEY: A gift for someone.

MATT: What's the casting time on the glyph?

SAM: A gif of cording.

MATT: Yes, that one.

LAURA: We can't find the card.

ASHLEY: Give me just one second. I don't know if it slipped underneath.

SAM: Probably a minute.

TALIESIN: Everything fun takes a minute.

MATT: All right. Glyph of Warding is one hour casting time.

TALIESIN: Oh, never mind!

ASHLEY: You know what? We don't have time, so maybe we can just hop into the mansion.

TALIESIN: Watch an episode of House of Cards, and by then Glyph of Warding will be done?

LAURA: Keep an eye. Hop in the mansion?

TALIESIN: Let's hop in the mansion.

MATT: All right. You guys hop into the mansion. You all make your way into the center of Scanlan's magnificent mansion. Lionel, you step through this weird sparkling purple doorway that wasn't there before, and as you go through, the temperature becomes very comfortable-warm. It's well-kept inside. It's climate-controlled. There's these beautiful marble pillars. There's this royal red and gold carpet that spreads out over this dual staircase that winds up to a second floor. It's a gorgeous mansion. The interior's immaculately designed, and you watch as about a dozen or so spectral people suddenly float in with their arms crossed and give a bow and a nod to you as you arrive.

LAURA: Before we go in, will you throw down the Dust of Tracelessness?

TRAVIS: No.

LAURA: Grog.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

(laughter)

MATT: All right. You guys are all inside the mansion.

LAURA: Well. That was fun.

MARISHA: It's been a while. You've redecorated.

SAM: I put some new art pieces in here. They're all counterfeit, but still good.

LIAM: How's the menu?

SAM: The menu's changed quite a bit.

TALIESIN: Oh, do tell.

SAM: Kaylie got sick of chicken about two weeks in, so she's got me on this vegan thing. (sighs) She says it'll make me last longer and feel healthier and stuff.

LAURA: Last longer?

SAM: Well, you know. Live longer. She said all that meat was probably bad for me, so it's all salads now.

MARISHA: Only salads?

SAM: Yeah. Different kinds of salad.

LAURA: That's it? That's all they make, is salad?

SAM: That's what she told them to make, and that's what they're making now.

LAURA: But you run the place.

SAM: Well, I don't want to cross her. She has me on a diet, and I'm trying to stick to it. It will be all salad.

TALIESIN: Is it more tasteful in here now?

SAM: Tasteful?

TALIESIN: Is it more tasteful in the mansion?

MATT: Is it more tasteful in the mansion? No, I didn't think so.

LAURA: Is the picture still up that Pike commissioned?

SAM: Yeah, sure. It's there.

TRAVIS: You didn't replace that?

SAM: Maybe we should all retire to our rooms for a while and come back for dinner.

LAURA: Is Tary-- does he have his own room, as well?

SAM: Oh, that's the fancy fellow you've brought with you.

LAURA: Yeah. Tary, Scanlan. Scanlan, Tary.

SAM: The new Scanlan. Yeah, right.

TRAVIS: Tary, say hi.

SAM: Hello! I'm Taryon Darrington. I've been quite pleased to spend some time with your friends for the last year, and it's-- you have wonderful friends. You should honor and cherish them. They are the best people I've ever met in my life, and this is a lovely home you have.

TRAVIS: Scanlan, don't be rude. Respond.

SAM: (sighs) It's nice to meet you, too. Thank you for looking after my friends. I guess any friend of Vox Machina is a friend of mine. You can use the downstairs. The basement room.

LAURA: Scanlan, you can add a room at a thought!

TALIESIN: He can have my room.

LAURA: He can have your room.

TALIESIN: That will be fine.

JON: Do you have any bunkbeds?

SAM: No. I don't have bunkbeds.

JON: Do you have a hammock?

SAM: No, I don't think I do, but there might be some spare cots and stuff downstairs.

TRAVIS: Lionel, there is a war room down in the bottom of this bitch.

JON: War room?

TRAVIS: Yeah. It's got all the things people like you and me need. We're covered.

JON: Sweet.

TRAVIS: Sand pit, fighting dummies.

JON: Dibs on the sand pit.

TRAVIS: Shit.

(laughter)

JON: It'll make me feel like I'm at home.

TRAVIS: Fair enough.

ASHLEY: There's also the spa, right?

SAM: Yeah. It was destroyed but rebuilt. It's lined with iron now, in case there's an explosion.

LIAM: Wise.

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: Do you guys all scatter to your rooms for a moment to take a rest?

LAURA: I guess so.

LIAM: Do you want to play some cards or something?

SAM: Sure! That will be great.

LIAM: Want to go back to, what, your room?

SAM: That will be fine, yeah. Let's go.

MATT: All righty. You guys head back to Scanlan's room? We're going to take a break here. We'll return here and pick up from that exact moment here, in just a few minutes. Real fast, we do have a Wyrmwood giveaway. It is the black walnut complete dice tower system and tabletop dice tray with leather rolling surface.

LAURA: Should we open it and see what color that is?

MATT: I'll open some of it. I'm not going to open all of it.

LAURA: Just one, because it's all black walnut.

MATT: Black walnut is this really nice dark color. The leather interior is really nice. This will be going to the person who wins in the Twitch chat. Enter the code “hundred.” The word “hundred” is the code for the evening. Put it in there. Good luck to whoever wins, and we'll see you guys back here in a few minutes.

(cheering)

Break[]

[break]

Part II[]

MATT: And welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to Critical Role. First and foremost, we have our winner in the chat: AJSparks08, congratulations, you won the fantastic Wyrmwood package. Denovo will contact you shortly to get your address and shipping information. Congratulations, on our 100th episode Wyrmwood giveaway! Also, it's come to our attention that the chat room and the Internet is convinced that this is not a real set and we are apparently on a green screen, so I wanted to show you guys how incredibly real this-- no, I'm kidding, it's actually real. It's a real set, it's actually here. It's a real set.

LAURA: Don't fuck up the wrinkles, they look so good in the light!

MATT: But I do understand illusions are prominent in magical realms, apparently.

TRAVIS: Because of the beautiful spot behind you, can you give us one Vidal Sassoon wave of your--

LAURA: Yeah, because you have a backlight!

MATT: No.

LAURA: And a halo around you, because of the shield!

TRAVIS: It's kind of magnificent. Yeah!

MATT: I hate you all so much.

LAURA: Now your hair is extra fluffy because you did it.

MATT: God damn it. All right! Why do I listen to these people?

SAM: Maybe he's born with it.

JON: Maybe it's--

MATT: “Tary?” All right, so leaving us back where we left off, you guys had all scattered to your various rooms in Scanlan's magnificent mansion. Vax, you had gone off with Scanlan?

LIAM: Catch up, play cards.

MATT: All right, so you make your way to the chambers.

LIAM: Boy, it is more extravagant in here than I remember.

SAM: Well, to be fair, you hadn't spent a lot of time in my room.

LIAM: No, but there was just one mirror on the ceiling, and now there are three.

SAM: I need to get every angle, don't I?

LIAM: Yeah, that's weird. Do you want to play cards?

SAM: Sure. Rummy gin? Gin rummy? Pinochle?

LIAM: Yeah, I'll pretend to know what those are.

SAM: Spades? Hearts?

LIAM: Let's do hearts.

SAM: Okay. I'll deal.

LIAM: Okay. No idea how to play this game. But Vax does!

SAM: I will win.

LIAM: All right, so catch me up, man!

SAM: I mean, there's a lot to talk about in a year. We--

LIAM: What happened in the beginning? What happened right after you left? First couple of weeks?

SAM: We went on sort of a walkabout. Me and Kaylie went off to the woods, did some camping. We found some travelers and sang to them, and told stories like we do. Entertained some folks. Some nights were spent alone, some nights in the company of people who wandered by. We weren't too far away from Whitestone.

LIAM: So how did you get to Marquet?

SAM: After about a month or two of being hobos, I guess, she wanted to do something. You know, anything. She was getting bored, she's young. So I told her, I don't really have anywhere to go, but I do know of two fuckfaces I have to get revenge on. I asked her if she'd be interested in that, and she said, fuck yeah! So she came down with me. We got a boat, went across the sea, and we went back to that casino. It was really the only piece of unfinished business from our time together that I had to deal with.

LIAM: And that somehow stumbled into all this?

SAM: Well, when I got my revenge on them, I learned a bit about what they were up to. They weren't really drug dealers. It's embarrassing, but the drugs they sold me were not real. I know that's hard to believe, but I was swindled by them.

LIAM: That is hard to believe. I don't think it's true.

SAM: It is true. They sold me a bunch of shit.

LIAM: Oh, surely not, no.

SAM: But they were in this other game, of selling counterfeit stuff. So I did the thing that I knew would hurt them most. I took away their counterfeiter, and now he works for me. So I put them out of business, and I put me into business. And since then I've been doing that for a while, and it turns out I'm very good at it.

LIAM: That actually is not surprising.

SAM: We don't try to swindle people who are innocent. We started off by taking down-- well, not taking down, but ripping off a few guys who were corrupt officials in the city, and built from there. It's not a big operation, if I can be honest with you. It's just me and Kaylie and a few other people.

LIAM: I mean, I'm not going to lie, I think it's pretty cool.

SAM: Thank you. It is kind of cool. I have this persona, and people know who it is, and when I go places, they're scared of me a little bit.

LIAM: I mean, you did save a fucking continent, you are scary.

SAM: That's true.

LIAM: It is true.

SAM: I helped, a bit.

LIAM: A bit? You've had a year to clear your head, you think it was just a bit?

SAM: I don't know, maybe. We all did our part. We all did our part!

LIAM: You know there are multiple times we'd all be dead if it weren't for you. You know that. You know that! And the same could be said for any of us, that's true, but you take any one piece away, and the tower falls. Jenga, man.

SAM: I don't know what that game is. But, I know, I know. Listen, I did a lot of thinking over the year, and I-- Yeah. I appreciate you all much more now than I did, and I realize that you probably appreciated me, too, but at the time I just didn't know. I was so used to being a loner that I didn't know really how to behave in a group, that's all. So I left.

LIAM: You know, it was ugly, on all sides, when you left, but I've always understood why you left. I admire it.

SAM: Really?

LIAM: I wish my dad gave half as much effort as you have this year. Or I used to. Anyway, you know, we've missed you. Everybody has.

SAM: That's not true.

LIAM: It is true. And I certainly have, and if I did anything or said anything to make you feel lonely, I'm sorry. I really am. Fucking missed you, man.

SAM: You don't have to apologize for anything. It was me. It was me, and I don't know if we'll ever have what we had before, but I can tell you that fighting alongside you all was the best time of my life, and not because of the glory, or the fortune, or the fame that we got. It was just to fight alongside you, and to see the looks on your faces when I did something really cool in battle.

LIAM: Fucking every time. I know I miss that flair.

SAM: But you've got this new guy, and he seems really-- He's very handsome.

LIAM: Well, I don't know. Yeah, he's good looking. That's true. I don't know that we have-- I mean, we've scattered a bit. I live in Zephrah now.

SAM: Oh, really?

LIAM: I'm on holiday, yeah.

SAM: Zephrah Heights?

LIAM: Pretty much, yeah. It's all Zephrah Heights. No, I'm very happy right now.

SAM: You are happy?

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: That's so weird.

LIAM: I know. I was happy for a long time.

SAM: But still with the black. You're not giving that up.

LIAM: I mean, this is, no! This is part of the bargain.

SAM: I mean, some turquoise could pop it up a little bit.

LIAM: Yeah, but you know I have sunshine in my life every day, so it's all right.

SAM: That's true. How's that all going?

LIAM: Fucking the best, man! It's the fucking best!

SAM: Yeah?

LIAM: Yeah. But, you know, all I care about is that you're happier now than you were. You seem a little happier.

SAM: I'm certainly better off than I was when I left you all. I don't know that I'm happier, just better off.

LIAM: Well, that's a step up. And Kaylie, is she better off?

SAM: Most certainly.

LIAM: Well, that's great.

SAM: Listen, thank you for coming up here and stuff. I don't really know what to do with the others.

LIAM: Well, again, a lot of hard shit was said on your way out, in many directions, and the way I look at it, it's to be expected. We went through hell together, that's going to have an effect. But even the ones who are angry at you, they did miss you. And family doesn't break apart that easy. Don't scare away. Just be patient.

SAM: I'll try.

LIAM: Clap him on the back of the head.

SAM: I can't reach.

LIAM: I can. I love you, man.

SAM: You too. I'm sorry.

LIAM: It's good to see you.

SAM: We're not going to play cards, are we?

LIAM: I don't know how to play this game.

SAM: Yeah, okay.

LIAM: But thanks for the conversation.

SAM: Sure.

LIAM: That's been about an hour, I think.

SAM: Yeah, you should just go.

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: I mean, yeah.

LIAM: I walk away.

MATT: All righty. All right. If anyone else wants to do anything else before dinner, or after?

MARISHA: I take all the mirrors off the roof of our bedroom while he talks with Scanlan, and then we go to sleep.

MATT: There are mirrors in yours as well?

MARISHA: I assume.

SAM: I hadn't intended on it, but there's definitely a mirror in there.

MATT: All right. Your wonderful exposé on salad types are presented to you by the spectral servants. A fantastic dinner of greens of all shades--

TRAVIS: Where's the meat?

SAM: There's lima beans.

TALIESIN: Do they serve meat for guests, or is it just Scanlan that's barred?

LIAM: Not even chicken salad in this mansion?

SAM: No, the closest we have is lima beans.

LAURA: They know how to make chicken, though, I know the servants know how to make chicken!

SAM: If I have them make chicken, they'll tell her, and I'll get in trouble.

TALIESIN: Tell her you didn't have any.

TRAVIS: That's true. I have an idea. Bring me a cow. No, I'm kidding.

MATT: The spectral servant's like--

SAM: Don't do it.

TRAVIS: It worked once before.

SAM: Listen. They make a great cucumber salad. They've got an excellent endive.

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: Fabulous.

SAM: A couscous. And a tabbouleh.

ASHLEY: So, basically, it's one of those meals that you're still hungry when you eat it all.

SAM: Yeah, it's really not filling at all. It's terrible.

MATT: And he's not lying.

TALIESIN: Do we lose hit points from this meal?

LAURA: Oh, shit, did we say that we have to buy chalices before we have any more fucking feasts?

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: Shit balls.

LIAM: Said Vex.

LAURA: We're out of chalices!

ASHLEY: Do we have any chalices in here?

SAM: For what?

MATT: They're referring to the Heroes' Feast meal, but no. Stuff like that, you stock up on.

LAURA: We've got to remember. We've got to do it.

MATT: All right. So the meal is filling to varying degrees of enjoyment, but you find rest at your disposal. Relatively early into your day, though it is night in Ank'harel. You guys have been awake for approximately five hours. Do you go to rest?

SAM: I mean, if we all rest, when we wake up, those things are gonna be swarming outside the door, right?

LAURA: Yes, potentially, or they could have given up. What if we just peek out the door and see?

SAM: We can do that.

LAURA: Yeah. I'm going to peek out the door.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Very stealthily open the door a little bit and see. Yeah, I'm going to stay inside the door but just look outside the door.

MATT: You peek outside the door, and right as you glance through, you see about 13 or so skeletons that are all clustered right there at the door going (zombie groans).

LAURA: Ah, fuck. Shut it.

TALIESIN: I feel like that can wait till morning.

LAURA: I think it might keep getting worse, I'm not sure.

SAM: Maybe we should sleep.

LIAM: We wait till morning and we throw Pike out the door.

ASHLEY: Yeah, that's fine. I'll volunteer.

JON: Can they come into this magic door?

SAM: No, they have to be invited.

JON: They can't? Are they vampires?

LIAM: They're all bones.

JON: Okay. So we're okay. They can't come in.

SAM: For a while.

JON: Is there a back door to this place?

SAM: Oh, no.

JON: So if we wake up in the morning and there's 200 of them, then--

SAM: We're fucked.

MARISHA: We're okay. We have Pike.

TALIESIN: We have options.

JON: What's Pike going to do?

ASHLEY: Undead is my favored terrain.

JON: Are you going to talk to them?

ASHLEY: I could. But what's the point?

JON: Well, maybe they have secrets.

Do you have Commune with Skeletons?

MARISHA: Not all skeletons are like ducks.

LAURA: Yeah, some of them are a lot meaner.

ASHLEY: If we find your friends, I can talk to them if they're dead.

JON: Maybe they're unhappy with their employer. Maybe we can find their good side.

LAURA: We could turn some undead.

ASHLEY: That's not a bad idea.

JON: I'm sorry, I never talk so much. I'm just really hungry after that stupid meal.

ASHLEY: Same, it's okay. I feel starving.

TALIESIN: Let's have a nightcap.

SAM: They can make you a fruit smoothie.

LAURA: Yes. I want that. I do want it. Yes. Bring it.

TALIESIN: That may be breakfast.

TRAVIS: That'll give you the runs, you don't want that.

MARISHA: Can we put some rum in it?

ASHLEY: Can you have eggs, or is that not vegan?

SAM: She said vegan. No eggs.

LAURA: This fucking sucks.

TALIESIN: A shallow ghost of a dinner served by shallow ghosts of people. I'm ready for a nightcap, and an end of the evening.

MATT: So you pull out the various bottles you've stored amongst Grog's Bag of Holding. Scatter a nightcap amongst those who wish to partake, and find yourself resting for the evening within the mansion.

TALIESIN: To a death in the morning.

MARISHA: To a pina colada.

LAURA: As we're walking towards the rooms, can I pull Pike aside for a second?

MATT: Sure. So as you guys are heading off--

LAURA: How are you?

ASHLEY: Well, I'm fine. I'm just finding myself a little angry.

LAURA: Well, I think it's reasonable to be angry.

ASHLEY: And I'm trying not to be.

LAURA: It's a different side of you.

ASHLEY: I know. I don't like it. But I can't help it. What should I do?

LAURA: Well. Your emotions are justified. But you found it in your heart to forgive your family, and they did terrible things to you. Maybe it's harder with people that are closer. They cut deeper.

ASHLEY: Yeah. I think it's just because I didn't really know them. Maybe it was easier to just let them go, and I wasn't as angry as I am with him.

LAURA: Have you talked to Sarenrae about it?

ASHLEY: No. I'm just nervous. I know what she'll say, and have me do, and I just want to be--

LAURA: You don't want to do it yet.

ASHLEY: I don't want to do it! I just want to be mad for a while, I guess, but… I don't know. I guess just seeing him again. Slowly but surely, I'm not as mad, but--

LAURA: He's still charming.

ASHLEY: I know, I just feel like now I'm acting like I'm mad, almost, around him. I don't know. He's making me feel so many different kinds of emotions. I'm confused.

LAURA: I don't know what tomorrow will bring. Probably a battle of some sort, which is usually life-endangering. Just ask yourself if you would want to die without saying how you feel.

ASHLEY: Okay. That's a good idea. I would feel very bad if something happened to him and I didn't say anything. I mean, if I died, then I just wouldn't know, I guess.

LAURA: You'd know a few minutes later when we tried to bring you back. I just spit on you, I'm sorry.

ASHLEY: It's fine, I don't care. Okay. Well, that's true. Thank you.

LAURA: It's hard.

ASHLEY: I know. It is hard.

LAURA: Well, you know, if you feel like staying up and wandering around and talking to some people--

TALIESIN: I come running up. No, now. We're going. Good night. Good night! Now! Now. No more. Good night!

ASHLEY: Well, good night.

TALIESIN: Good night!

ASHLEY: Okay. Well, good night, you two.

LAURA: We haven't been here in a while.

TALIESIN: I know. I kind of want to break a few things. You've earned it, fucker.

ASHLEY: I go and I knock on Grog's door.

MATT: Okay. Grog doesn't have a door, Grog is currently staying in the war room area.

ASHLEY: Oh, that's right.

MATT: So as you head down, you see, curled up on the sand pit, this half-orc snoring loudly, like a golden retriever that had rotated twice and passed out in the sand. Grog, what are you doing?

TRAVIS: I'm like the dog that's staring at the cat that stole its fucking bed.

JON: Can't argue with the dibs policy.

TRAVIS: It's supreme. It's absolute. It's binding in all planes.

JON: All barbarians understand it. It's the law.

ASHLEY: I stand next to him and stare at Chod-- Lionel in the sand pit.

TRAVIS: This is bullshit, right? Everything I had, everything I was, right there. Just another one.

ASHLEY: Grog, I know that you probably feel replaced, but there's no way he could fill your shoes.

TRAVIS: I mean, he's big! Look at those feet! It's like clown feet! I bet he's a great swimmer.

ASHLEY: He could-- I mean, but his feet are a little bit too big, you know.

TRAVIS: Yeah, too big.

ASHLEY: Your feet are just right.

TRAVIS: Right. Mm-hm.

ASHLEY: I have an idea. How about we go get a bunch of blankets, the ones out of my room. We'll just make a fort by the fireplace. We'll make a better spot.

TRAVIS: A new spot. Yeah, okay.

ASHLEY: I just talked to Vex, and she said that maybe if something were to happen tomorrow, maybe it would be better to just say some things, so that you're not, you know, thinking about it if somebody dies.

TRAVIS: Is somebody dying tomorrow?

ASHLEY: No.

TRAVIS: Are you going to die? Pike, you mean the world to me. Listen, I couldn't go on--

ASHLEY: I'll be fine, I promise. Just, I guess, Scanlan.

TRAVIS: What?

ASHLEY: Maybe, do you feel like you want to talk to him?

TRAVIS: No! Yes. No!

ASHLEY: I think I'm angry with him, but I can tell you're also angry with him.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

ASHLEY: So I'll stay mad at him as long as you are.

TRAVIS: Really?

ASHLEY: But I feel like maybe he feels a little bad.

TRAVIS: Are you sure? I can't tell. He changed the inside of the mansion. He's got a new dog sleeping in the sandpit. He called him his best man. You heard it. I did.

ASHLEY: That was weird.

TRAVIS: Yeah. It's fucked up, is what it was.

ASHLEY: Well, you know what we should do? We should just tomorrow--

TRAVIS: Kill him.

ASHLEY: That's definitely an option, but I feel like maybe we could just try to be better than him. Maybe you could really show off, and show him that you are better, and that we're better, and we're better friends, and you know, that he should come back and hang out with us.

TRAVIS: Yeah! No, I like this idea. This is really something we can roll with! Yeah! He should miss us! In fact, he should be coming to beg us to be like, I miss you! You're so cool!

ASHLEY: He should!

TRAVIS: Yeah! We've got to make him remember.

ASHLEY: We've got to make him remember.

TRAVIS: Yep.

ASHLEY: We've got to make him remember how great we are and what he's lost.

TRAVIS: Yeah. So tomorrow, all the tricks out the bag, throw caution to the wind, you and me, it's a show.

ASHLEY: All the tricks.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

JON: I suddenly wake up. You guys, I'm used to sleeping alone. You guys are talking so much.

ASHLEY: Oh, sorry, we didn't realize you were awake.

TRAVIS: Just roll over. If you pile the sand up, you make little earmuffs.

JON: It's not working, I'm used to silence, and you guys are like two alarms.

TRAVIS: We're going to go. We go make a blanket fort.

ASHLEY: We make a blanket fort by the fireplace.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

JON: Thank you!

MATT: All right. As you guys go make a blanket fort, curl up and sleep takes you. The next morning, you come to consciousness, are greeted with a fantastic, spiritually brought, vegan breakfast.

LAURA: Ooh, but like an acai bowl?

SAM: Yeah, sure. Yeah, that's a thing.

MATT: There you go, so it picks up the second day! There you go.

LAURA: Is there granola?

TRAVIS: It doesn't pick up. Don't defend this shit!

MATT: Comparatively!

TRAVIS: Just because it's sweet doesn't mean that it's savory or satisfying.

MATT: Fair enough.

JON: There's nothing sticking it together, so it's just loose.

TALIESIN: It's only the things that make granola good that make it not vegan.

JON: Exactly. It's just all loose.

TRAVIS: Any proteins that used to have a heartbeat, in any way? No? Yeah, fuck it.

LIAM: This is a world of magic and delight!

LAURA: It's going to catch up when you burp really good.

MARISHA: But we have a sound guy who's like--

LAURA: But what if I want it to catch when I burp?

MARISHA: That's what sound guys do.

MATT: That's how it works? Okay. So what's the plan, guys?

LIAM: Stay in the mansion forever.

MATT: Yeah.

JON: Let's take a look again.

ASHLEY: Can I peek out the door?

TRAVIS: Pike and I go to peek out the door, because we're not eating shit vegan breakfast.

MATT: Okay. You peek out into the hallway, and there before you, you see about 20 or so armored skeletons that are all clustered into this hallway, maybe five feet between a few of them, but they're scattered throughout, they're just in this holding pattern.

TRAVIS: What do you see?

ASHLEY: There's just 20 or so skeletons out there.

TRAVIS: This is the perfect opportunity!

ASHLEY: This is the perfect opportunity. Maybe we take care of it ourselves?

TRAVIS: I'm saying! You lead the way!

ASHLEY: Let's do it.

TRAVIS: Do it.

SAM: Oh, shit.

TALIESIN: Oh, shit.

MARISHA: I approve of this so hard.

SAM: Wait, we're all still eating breakfast?

MATT: You guys are eating breakfast, wondering where Pike and Grog are.

TRAVIS: Before we break through the door, I should yell something like, Pike, don't be so brave!

ASHLEY: Okay, you can yell, Pike, don't be so brave, and then I can say something like, but Grog, you're too strong! I don't know, let me workshop it.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Grog, you're too strong! You're too strong, you're just going to kill them all anyway.

TRAVIS: This is true.

ASHLEY: Should we just wing it?

TRAVIS: Yeah, just what happens.

ASHLEY: Okay, ready?

TRAVIS: On the count of what?

ASHLEY: On the count of three.

TRAVIS: I can do that.

ASHLEY: I know you can!

TRAVIS: All right.

ASHLEY: Okay. I'm going to get my mace ready.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: I have my blood axe.

LIAM: Back at the breakfast table, just before they make whatever loud sound they're doing: It's good, it's almond milk, but I like cream a little bit (explosion).

MATT: Yep, suddenly you guys hear-- What do they hear?

TRAVIS: One.

ASHLEY: Two. Three.

TRAVIS: Oh, that's it, yeah. Three!

MATT: All right. Scanlan, because this is your mansion, you feel the door, suddenly, you sense the breaching of the front door opening.

SAM: Oh, God. The door's open.

ASHLEY: Grog, you're so strong!

TRAVIS: Oh, Pike, you're so brave!

LAURA: Oh, shit.

TRAVIS: You put yourself before others!

LAURA: I take off running.

ASHLEY: I'm going to start swinging my mace.

MATT: You guys all of a sudden drop your meals and start charging out. The door's already open, and it's vacant. You guys, as you charge out, all of a sudden you watch as ten of these creatures (zombie snarling) and leap towards you. What are you doing, Pike?

ASHLEY: I start swinging my Mace of Disruption. Can I just do this as I go through?

MATT: You'll still do attacks, but they'll get attacks on you as you go back and forth.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: You rush forward. Go ahead and make your attack. Is it, as a war-- do you have two attacks? As a bonus action, you can attack, right?

ASHLEY: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! I forgot, I haven't done this in a minute with undead! Okay.

LAURA: What does the Mace of Disruption do to undead?

LIAM: Area of effect, y'all.

MATT: No, no, it just hits targets. It's the other one does.

ASHLEY: It says when you hit a fiend or undead with this magic weapon, the creature takes an extra 2d6 radiant damage.

MATT: Yep.

ASHLEY: So. Oh, okay. So 17 and 22.

MATT: 17 and 22 both hit. Go ahead and roll damage for each, with the additional disruption damage.

ASHLEY: Okay, so, I don't have all of the dice out.

LAURA: See, this is why you take the time at the beginning to organize.

MATT: I know. Grog, while this is happening, you're also charging in with her and you're attacking?

TRAVIS: Yeah, Great Weapon Master with the blood axe.

MATT: Go ahead and make your two attacks with it.

ASHLEY: So with undead I also roll an additional 2d6, so am I doing four? How many?

MATT: You would do additional damage as part of your cleric's war--

ASHLEY: Okay, so 1d6, plus 2d8.

MATT: Is the additional disruption damage?

ASHLEY: Is just one strike. Sorry, I haven't done this in a while.

MATT: All right, so as a war domain cleric, you can make a weapon attack as a bonus action, up to your wisdom modifier per day, so that's one use there. And you deal an additional 1d8 weapon damage on the attack, so it's-- How much damage does your mace do?

ASHLEY: 1d6 plus six and 2d8 is what I have written down.

LAURA: For Divine Strike.

ASHLEY: For Divine Strike.

MATT: Correct, yes. Yeah, because you reached 14th level. So yeah, it's plus 2d8. You got it. 1d6 plus 2d8 plus whatever the disruption damage is.

ASHLEY: Okay, so 18.

MATT: 18 damage on the first hit? You slam the mace into the side of a skeleton, and it crushes a lot of the bone, and a lot of it just seems to erode away as the divine flash impacts it, and you watch as the bleached white turns to gray and black. However, it still stands, largely wrecked, but still (zombie snarling). And your second attack, you hit the same one?

ASHLEY: Yep.

MATT: All right, go ahead and roll damage for that one.

ASHLEY: Okay. 14.

MATT: All right, that one (whack) you hit the side of the skull, and the head just turns into dust to the side. The bones collapse into a pile. You destroyed one skeleton out of about 20 or so. Grog, what are you doing?

TRAVIS: I did my first attack, it was a 26, and so was the second one, both with Great Weapon Master.

MATT: Both hit with Great Weapon Master. Go ahead and roll damage.

TRAVIS: The first one was 26 damage.

MATT: You completely destroy a skeleton in one hit. It turns into a scattering of bone (shatter) across the wall.

TRAVIS: That's what up.

ASHLEY: Grog, it's so crazy how strong you are! They're all dying!

TRAVIS: I know, but I only do it to protect my friends! And the second one is 39 points of damage.

MATT: And with that second hit, a second skeleton that's leaping towards you, with a giant scimitar in the air and a buckler around the side of its wrist, (zombie snarling), you just batter-up swing it, and it explodes across and rains down upon you. Pike, a couple of the bones hit your armor, fall to the side.

TRAVIS: With my bonus action, can I go into a rage and go, I kill these skeletons because I would never replace a friend like you!

ASHLEY: I know, Grog!

MATT: All right, and so as you guys are rushing into the doorway, the skeletons immediately turn and swarm in. That's going to be five attacks on each of you within this range here. So, against Pike.

LAURA: Quick, use your spells!

MATT: All right, so it misses Pike. Misses Pike. God, misses Pike. Misses Pike. And a 20. What's your AC?

ASHLEY: My AC is 23.

MATT: 23. All of them leap onto you, but they can't get through the armor. They're all clustered up around you, they're piled up almost, like you're just being dogpiled by skeletons, and while none of them are getting to your flesh, there are all these skulls biting in front of your face as you're holding them back with your shield and mace. Grog. Miss. Natural one, miss. Two, miss. 20?

TRAVIS: That hits.

MATT: And 21?

TRAVIS: Also hits.

MATT: All right. So, you take 22 points of slashing damage, reduced to 11, from the two attacks together. As both of these skeletons just start hacking into you with their weapons. One has a long sword, one has what looks to be some sort of a war pick and is just, both of them, jamming into your flesh, and you just take it without an issue. All right. You guys all rush to the door and you look out and you can see this group of undead there, swarming your two friends. You get there just-- Well, you start preparing for the round. They're going first. Pike, what are you doing?

ASHLEY: I'm going to Guiding Bolt down the hallway. Towards the rest of the skeletons.

MATT: Guiding Bolt can only hit one target.

ASHLEY: Oh shit!

MATT: Yeah, the area effects that you have are your Turn Undead or Destroy Undead, or any of the spells that you have.

LAURA: Destroy Undead!

ASHLEY: Oh yeah, Destroy Undead. Fuck, I forgot about-- Sorry, it's been a minute since I've been around them. Okay, yeah, Destroy Undead.

LIAM: Come on, cleric.

MATT: Okay. So you are--

ASHLEY: It's been a minute.

MATT: Yeah. You're a 17th level cleric now? 16th level? What level are you?

ASHLEY: I think 16th level. I don't know if I've leveled.

MATT: Yeah, 16th level. So, CR three or lower. These are definitely there. All right. All righty. So, you're going to affect with that, in a radial area here, which is a radius of 30 feet. That's going to affect 15 of these undead.

LAURA: Nice!

MATT: Within the ones that are piled on you, that piled on Grog, and the ones that are swarming behind. What's your spell DC?

ASHLEY: 18.

MATT: Okay. Rolled an 18, but it's a minus one.

LAURA: Yay. Do you roll for all 15?

MATT: Mm-hm.

LIAM: Here he goes. Math. Still math.

MATT: Oh, no, that one survived.

LIAM: More math.

LAURA: Don't confuse him. It's a lot to keep track of. Hey guys, we have these amazing art prints by David Mack.

MATT: Almost done.

ASHLEY: Oh fuck, are they all making it?

MATT: All right. So, out of the 15, two survive. As you're held down by all of these skeletons, suddenly this beacon of divine, bright flame begins to burst from you. And you watch as the flaming wings of Sarenrae swirl up out of her like a phoenix. And as it does, you see above her the image of the dark skin, light flaming hair Sarenrae embodying her like a JoJo stand, as it takes this pose. And as soon as Pike brings her arms out and screams (yells), the image bursts out and you watch as every skeleton practically in that radius just turns to ash and dust in the vicinity, leaving two skeletons there, that are like (breathy groan). So there's maybe four of them left in the whole tunnel, from that one burst.

TRAVIS: Damn!

LAURA: I nudge Scanlan.

TRAVIS: That was amazing.

ASHLEY: Do you think Scanlan saw?

TRAVIS: Yeah, how could he miss it?

SAM: I'm at the door.

TRAVIS: (voice breaking) You and me against the world, huh?

ASHLEY: You and me, Grog. We're so loyal to each other.

TRAVIS: Yep, to the end. Best friends.

ASHLEY: Best friends till the end.

MATT: Grog, what are you doing?

TRAVIS: I'm hitting things.

MATT: All right, so you rush up to the two.

LIAM: I walk back to the kitchen and start clearing people's plates.

MATT: Okay.

(laughter)

SAM: I'll step out into the fray just to watch.

TRAVIS: A regular strike, 25.

MATT: Hits.

TRAVIS: Ooh, and a 17.

MATT: Yeah, they all hit.

TRAVIS: That's as low as I can roll.

MATT: 17 is a low for you.

TRAVIS: I know. 16 points of damage on the first one.

MATT: All right, first hit, it smacks into the side and breaks part of its upper shoulder and upper arm. It cuts off one of its arms, but it's still standing there in front of you.

TRAVIS: That's embarrassing. I use the second strike on the same skeleton and hope Scanlan didn't notice.

SAM: I saw.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Fuck. 15 points of damage.

MATT: 15 points of damage does destroy the skeleton, the one that's giving you a hard time. This time you just cleave through the center of its spinal column and torso. It tumbles over and just scatters into a pile of bones.

TRAVIS: Yeah. He saw it, didn't he? I fucked it up. He saw it and my whole plan's gone to shit.

ASHLEY: So much is happening at once, he can't see, he didn't see.

MATT: All right, so. Vex, you're at the door. Scanlan, you're at the door. You're at the door, Lionel. What are you guys doing?

LAURA: I sh-- I'm going to hold it.

MATT: There's three skeletons still standing.

LAURA: All right, I'll shoot one of the skeletons.

MATT: Go for it. Roll for attack. Lionel, what are you doing?

JON: I'm just like: it's cool. I'm just watching. I forget, you know--

MATT: Okay.

JON: But then I see and I'm like: Oh, I got them. So I think it's now time to impress Grog a little bit, because he knows-- He goes into a rage.

MATT: All right, so you go into a rage. Pull your great sword?

JON: My what?

(laughter)

MATT: All right, so you're charging out. What did you roll?

LAURA: Oh, I just decided maybe I shouldn't hit them, though.

MATT: All right, so you go to fire and then pull the arrow back.

LAURA: Because I rolled a one.

(laughter)

MATT: Oh.

JON: Wait a second.

LAURA: Oh no, it's the chicken-Scanlan incident all over again.

MATT: So what happens is, you go and release it, and you just mis-strung it (sound of rope snapping), and you're like: Oh, I just didn't--

LAURA: You know what? I'm going to leave it. It's for them.

TRAVIS: She's got the bruise on the--

MATT: Yeah. So you rush up alongside Grog at the three skeletons that are there.

LAURA: I got a blood blister on my arm.

JON: I roll this?

TALIESIN: Yeah, and you add the attack bonus of your great sword, which is right in the center.

JON: Plus 12.

TALIESIN: Oh, natural 20!

MATT: Oh, critical hit on the first hit?

TRAVIS: Motherfucker.

MATT: All right, so that hits. Roll the second attack.

SAM: He's so strong.

LAURA: Don't say that!

TALIESIN: Another?! What?! What?!

JON: Another 20.

MATT: Did you roll two 20s in a row?

TALIESIN: Oh my god.

JON: He's raging, dude, and he's had a really great sleep in the sand.

SAM: I've never seen anyone so strong and powerful before.

TALIESIN: He doesn't even understand what just happened.

JON: Are you getting turned on?

SAM: Yes!

MATT: You're honing Vin Diesel right now with this crit power.

JON: Well, he's finally-- He likes these guys, he wants to finally show off and do something cool.

TALIESIN: Travis just aged a year.

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: So you rush forward to the first skeleton. Roll 2d6.

TALIESIN: Roll 4d6.

MATT: Yeah, roll 4d6.

TALIESIN: Roll four of these.

JON: Which ones? Okay.

TALIESIN: And I think you get to reroll.

JON: I have to roll the two dice.

TALIESIN: Yeah, roll those and add two more. Or roll them twice.

Yeah, there you go. Four of those.

MATT: And then you get to reroll any ones or twos.

TALIESIN: Oh my god!

TRAVIS: What? Are they all fucking sixes?

JON: Is that a six?

TALIESIN: That's a six.

JON: Six, six, three, three.

MATT: Okay, so 12, 18 plus?

TRAVIS: Percy, take your hand off of him.

JON: No, he needs the help.

MATT: So as you rush forward with your greatsword, big smile on your face, next to Grog. Whack! You just shatter one skeleton with the first attack. Roll damage for the second attack.

TALIESIN: All four.

MATT: All four again.

SAM: Six. That one's cocked, reroll it. Six.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I'm leaving. I'm going away.

JON: And I'm like: Grog, look at this, this is awesome! I think I'm channeling you.

TRAVIS: (strained voice) Yep. Real impressive.

MATT: You just, one skeleton, the other comes jumping at you and you just grab it in your hand and crush its skull in your hand.

TRAVIS: (strained voice) That was real cool.

JON: And then I go: Look, I'm a gymnast!

(laughter)

JON: With all the chalk and everything.

LIAM: You've got to appreciate that, Travis.

TRAVIS: (strained voice) It was a good moment. That was really impressive.

MATT: Percy. You want to do anything?

TALIESIN: I'm just going to sit next to Vex and I think we're just going to stand and let this happen.

MATT: So Pike, Grog, Lionel, you're right there, there's one skeleton left that's like (breathy hiss). And it leaps at you, since you just crushed its friend. And it hits you on your breastplate and just goes (metal ringing out sound) (breathy hiss). That's all it does. It's a sad sight.

JON: Look, it's doing the Duck Flail to me. It's not as good, but that is what he's doing.

MATT: All right, who wants to finish this poor thing?

ASHLEY: Finish him, Grog, finish it.

TRAVIS: I'm broken on the inside. Did you see that display?

ASHLEY: Grog, I need your help!

TRAVIS: (yells) Reckless, Great Weapon Master.

(laughter)

MATT: Go for it, Grog.

TRAVIS: A one?!

TALIESIN: Yes!

TRAVIS: A one?!!

(laughter and yelling)

ASHLEY: Can I War God's Bless it?

MATT: A natural one is an auto fail. I cannot-- I cannot--

TRAVIS: What is going on?!

(laughter)

MATT: As you look at the one skeleton, just feeling this embarrassment, you swing with your axe and the skeleton (metal impact sound) stops it with its own blade and parries the axe to the side. The one that just didn't barely dent his armor.

JON: And then I say: It's okay, Grog. Everybody messes up sometimes, let me get this one.

(laughter)

JON: Can I roll?

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: That's a nine.

SAM: As he rolls, I will inspire him.

JON: Nine plus 12, that's 21. 22!

SAM: I'm going to sing-- Oh well, that's fine, that's fine.

MATT: So that hits. Go ahead and roll damage. Just 2d6 plus seven. Well, plus your--

TALIESIN: Just two.

JON: Oh, okay.

SAM: Okay, that's not as good.

MATT: Well, it's plus seven, plus your rage damage. So it's plus ten.

SAM: To this? 15.

TALIESIN: No, plus seven also.

MATT: Plus ten to whatever he rolled there.

SAM: Five plus ten.

MATT: All right, so 20 points. So as you hack down this other skeleton, you cut into it and it destroys part of its torso. Its arm that's holding its weapon is hanging to the side, but it's still standing. Its jaw is unhinged.

TALIESIN: You get another shot, don't you?

MATT: Yep. So you attack again.

TALIESIN: Yeah, attack again.

JON: Four?

TALIESIN: 16?

MATT: 16 still hits. It's a skeleton. That's enough. You finish it off. You destroy the other skeleton in two hits.

JON: That was kind of a tough one, I get it. It's okay. That was a really hard skeleton. But he's dead now. Let's go--

ASHLEY: We had it. We just-- We had it.

JON: Can we eat these skeletons, because that breakfast is still blowing.

ASHLEY: Yes you can. Give it a bite. Give it a bite.

JON: Is there any meat left on those bones?

SAM: Chod, that was amazing. You slew those skeletons like they were nothing. Incredible.

JON: Oh, I just do whatever I can for my friends. You guys are all awesome and I'm just glad I could be of service and help.

SAM: Yes. It's good to have someone like you by our side.

JON: Awesome!

ASHLEY: I walk back inside of the mansion.

TRAVIS: I take out the giant cask of ale and I just…

MATT: Just chug it.

SAM: Are you drinking it or just pouring it all over you?

TRAVIS: Both.

LIAM: I come out with fresh coffee for Percy and Keyleth. What happened?

TALIESIN: It was beautiful, terrible. I'm not entirely sure.

ASHLEY: Chod saved the day. Chod saved the day.

TALIESIN: Well, really, he cleaned up after you two finished it all off.

ASHLEY: He did. He did.

TALIESIN: He swept up.

LAURA: That was a lot of skeletons that you killed, Pike, with that spell. That was really good.

TALIESIN: You and Grog were most of the skeletons, easily.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

SAM: Are we all back in the mansion?

MATT: You're all back in the mansion, now.

LIAM: Why is it so tense in here all of a sudden?

SAM: I think I know what's going on.

ASHLEY: I don't know what happened.

SAM: Grog. Grog, Pike, can I say something? I feel like there's some tension between us and we need to clear the air if we're going to go fight today. You guys are really bad today. Well. And I think it's because I haven't made you feel at ease. So can I please just take a moment before we go out there and just, for once and for all, say I'm sorry to you guys for what I did and how I left things. I said things that were really cruel and meant to hurt you, and that's wrong and I'll probably regret it for the rest of my life. But I needed to go and I just didn't know how to express myself. And I'm so sorry that I insulted you. Pike, I've said awful things to you for as long as we've known each other, and I can't take them back, but I can at least try to be a better person. And can I confess something to you? During the last year, I've-- I think I've been praying. I mean, I just talk at night and nobody hears me, but I guess that's praying, right? And sometimes I talk to Sarenrae, because that's the only one I know. And she seems cool. And she seems like someone who could be a good guide. And it feels good. And I even wrote a little poem about her and about her teachings. It's very simple, but can I tell you it?

ASHLEY: Let's hear.

SAM: It's really simple. It goes: “Everybody people, everybody bleed, everybody need something. Everybody love, everybody know, how it go.” I know it's stupid, but there's a certain Logic to it.

ASHLEY: Certain Logic to it. That actually makes a lot of sense.

SAM: It makes me feel connected to you guys, even though you're not there. So I say that to myself every night before I go to sleep.

ASHLEY: It just makes you feel connected to Everybody people.

SAM: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

SAM: And Grog.

TRAVIS: No, stop.

SAM: I can't apologize to you, because words don't work.

TRAVIS: So, let me get this straight. You think you can go away for a year, and come back, in a disguise, and apologize to this group, and that's going to be good enough for me? And then when I'm still pissed, you're going to give me a combo apology with Pike, and that's going to be good enough for me? I'm still pissed. You came back in a costume. A costume! I'm not even really that smart, it's not hard to trick me. And I'm a big guy, but you made me feel small. I don't know if you missed us; I don't know if somebody is making us go down into this Zigga-fuck.

ASHLEY: (whispers) Ziggurat.

TRAVIS: Ziggurat. I don't even know why we're here. I thought maybe you'd come back and be like, oh my best mate, the guy that would do anything to keep me alive, there he is, I missed him. No. You come back, you've found yourself a brand new idiot. One that does amazing strikes, twice in a row. And talks to ducks. Has all sorts of new tricks, brand new model, new and improved in every way. I bet you do all sorts of fun things with him. So no. You do not get to apologize to me.

SAM: I wasn't going to. I was just going to give you a gift. Because the times we had together were the best times ever. You might be a little slow. But you're the best friend I ever had. And our times together were great, not because of our conversations, or our witty repartee. It was because of the fun we had together and the experiences we had. So last night, I wrote something for you. I know you can't read, but--

LAURA: He can read.

TRAVIS: No, Vex. He doesn't know that.

SAM: I just got you a gift. Because if you won't spend time with me now, maybe you'll be able to spend time on your own. So I wrote you this. Maybe someone else can read it for him.

ASHLEY: He might be able to read it, Scanlan.

LAURA: It depends on if there are long words.

SAM: There's really long words.

TRAVIS: It's a big word. It's a bit--

ASHLEY: Well, just give it a try.

TRAVIS: Aoo, ooh, shh.

SAM: Nope. Nope.

TRAVIS: (whispering) I'm really embarrassed. I'm really embarrassed.

ASHLEY: (whispering) I'll whisper it to you, then you say it out loud.

TRAVIS: (clears throat) Yeah, I don't feel like showing off my powers. I can't read the dirty hand of betrayal.

ASHLEY: All who read this, let it be known, by order of Aes Adon-- it's a stupid name, Scanlan. But it's fine.

SAM: It's Elvish.

LIAM: It's a stupid name.

ASHLEY: AKA the Meat Man, AKA Vicoul the Vicious, AKA Reddish the Bold, AKA the Little Paws, AKA François Bertrand Jean-Luc Australia, be aware that the bearer of this note, Grog Strongjaw, shall be entitled to any libation of his choosing at any pub, tavern, restaurant, inn, alehouse, brewery, or house of lady favors within the city limits of Ank'Harel. He shall be allowed to drink until drunk, and enjoy no molestation by any employee of said establishment, unless he requests it. All charges and bills related to his drinking, cavorting, or violent behavior resulting from drunkenness, shall be forwarded to the Meat Man for timely payment in full. By complying with this request, you are hereby under the protection of the Meat Man, and shall receive all the benefits and goodwill accompanying such association. The Meat Man always remembers. Sincerely, Aes Adon.

TRAVIS: Probably best to test it out. See if it's even worth anything.

SAM: Grog, I love you. I'm sorry that we won't get to hang out, because you hate me now. But I would never replace you. And if you ask me right now--

TRAVIS: You'll kill him?

SAM: I will kill him.

JON: Who?

(hushed laughter)

TALIESIN: (quietly) I wouldn't worry about it.

JON: Okay. I really like this job.

TRAVIS: He's all right.

(hushed laughter)

SAM: Will you go drinking with me some time?

TRAVIS: We'll see. By the way, I want you to know: when you died, I sang a song I would never sing for anyone else, and I'm sorry you didn't hear it, but it was really hard.

SAM: Is that true?

LAURA and LIAM: Yes.

SAM: He sang?

TALIESIN: Yes.

JON: Do a truthful check.

LAURA: Do you know what he sang?

SAM: A truthful check? Sure, I'll roll a truthful check.

MATT: An insight check? Okay.

SAM: Natural 20.

LAURA: Whoa.

MATT: Honest as the day, or Grog dick is long, he apparently sang.

TRAVIS: It is, I can just lean forward.

MARISHA: Happy 100th.

MATT: Happy 100th.

(laughter)

LAURA: Grog, I didn't hear it. Maybe you should sing it, and let him know what it was.

TRAVIS: Oh, you know, it's like the face of death in the hallway, once it uses up its power, it's done.

SAM: I'm so sorry I missed it. And I hope someday we'll sing together, in a drunken stupor together. Maybe that will remind you.

TRAVIS: Maybe.

SAM: I was an asshole, Grog, I'm sorry. I would never, never replace you, ever. You're irreplaceable.

ASHLEY: And he could've read this, by the way.

SAM: That's incredible.

TRAVIS: I would've gotten the name right.

MARISHA: Wait, did you frame it like a coupon book? That's very impressive.

SAM: I had some time last night.

ASHLEY: Coupons, that you can sort of pick out of it like a--

LAURA: A free massage.

MARISHA: Like a couple on Valentine's Day. Who forgot it was Valentine's Day.

ASHLEY: It looks like there's a free steak.

SAM: Listen, we need to go kill some things right now, but I just want to say to all of you, I'm so sorry the way I left, it was awful of me. Percival, I said awful things to you, I said awful things to all of you. But just know I've done and said worse things to Kaylee, and she's forgiven me, and I've done and said worse things to myself, and I've managed to forgive myself, and I hope that someday, you'll all be able to forgive me. And until then, I'll just keep trying, and that's all I can do. And after this fight, if you want me to stay, and you guys go home, that's fine. But if not, maybe we can start over.

MATT: Vex, Vax, Keyleth. At this moment, you hear what sounds like footsteps making their way up the tunnel. Not where the light was before, but the path you previously stepped from.

MARISHA: Does it sound like skeletons, or heavier?

MATT: From just your passing hearing, it just sounds like patterned footsteps.

LAURA: I cast Pass Without a Trace on everybody.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Everybody quiet down.

MARISHA: We're inside a glowing door, I think they know where we are.

MATT: So, you guys all close the door to the mansion.

LAURA: Well, I don't want to close the door to the mansion, but turn out the lights in the mansion so you can't see.

MARISHA: No one's home! We're out of candy, no trick-or-treating.

MATT: Up the hall, you watch as two humanoid figures with hoods are carrying each side of what looks like a chest or a crate that has handles. They just pass and then continue going.

SAM: (whispering) You've seen that? You've seen that? Those are the guys?

JON: (whispering) Those are the guys.

SAM: (whispering) We should kill him. Let's go kill them.

LIAM: (whispering) Can I murder one first?

TALIESIN: (whispering) Yes.

LIAM: (whispering) Thank you.

LAURA: (whispering) Wait, I shoot--

MATT: You're still inside the mansion.

LIAM: I thought she said the door was just barely open.

MATT: Yeah, but they're not walking by; you made the door way back in the tunnel. You see them up toward the T-juncture. So you guys would have to leave the mansion and get there quickly.

LAURA: Shit. We sneak out. We sneak out and shoot them from behind.

MATT: All right, stealth check for those who are moving forward.

SAM: Maybe we should all go.

LIAM: Now, wait a second.

LAURA: If you feel like it, you can go. This is a team.

TRAVIS: You Pass-Without-a-Traced us, right?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Those who are moving forward, stealth check?

LIAM: 43.

MATT: Happy hundredth.

MARISHA: 24.

LAURA: 27.

MATT: Anybody else moving forward with them?

TALIESIN: I'm a little bit behind them. 28.

SAM: Wait, are we all going?

MATT: Up to you guys. Whoever's going?

SAM: Did everyone else leave?

JON: 20.

SAM: If he's going, I'm going.

TALIESIN: I'm behind you guys.

SAM: Natural 20.

LIAM: Twins are in the front.

TALIESIN: Yeah, we're letting them go first.

JON: Oh, I'm behind, but I'm going.

MATT: You do have advantage on your stealth checks because of your boots, Pike.

MARISHA: Table right is hanging back behind the twins.

ASHLEY: 16.

LAURA: Plus ten?

ASHLEY: Oh, 26!

MATT: All right, everyone got above 20.

SAM: Taryon's still asleep.

LAURA: No!

MATT: Taryon is still asleep. Okay. All right, so. You carefully move forward. The twins, you, at full stealthing pace, make it up to the corner, and as you crest around the side, about 20, 25 feet up, you see the two humanoid figures with hoods that come to a underoff point that hangs to one side. Looks like a leathery or rubbery substance from the little bit of light that's coming through, it's hard to really tell. They're wearing long black cloth, like a tunic, and what looks to be dark leather or thick black cloth, pants and boots.

LAURA: Pants and boots and pants.

MATT: Boots and pants and boots and pants. Not gloved hands, but they're both just carrying this chest along, they're just quietly moving along.

LAURA: I bramble shot one of them.

LIAM: (dagger throwing noise)

MATT: Okay, so, roll for your attack. On the one that's closest to you, or further?

LIAM: On the left.

MATT: Well, they're both moving away from you.

LAURA and LIAM: Oh.

LIAM: Well, you're further.

LAURA: I'll go for the further one.

TRAVIS: Please both be old people.

(laughter)

LAURA: Should I roll two for attack?

MATT: Yeah, because they do not know you're there, so you have advantage.

LAURA: Ooh.

LIAM: 29.

MATT: That hits.

LIAM: And this is assassinate, critical hit.

MATT: Yes it is, it's an auto crit.

LAURA: So, Oh! I'm an assassin too!

MATT: Correct.

LAURA: So I get an automatic?

MATT: Auto crit. If you're a level three, you do. So both you guys auto crit.

LAURA: Sweet!! Ooh, so I double all my dice?

MATT: Yep, including the bramble shot.

LAURA: Oh shit!

TALIESIN: That's the end of both of them. It's going to be a cadaver and a fern.

MARISHA: Oh, new chest. We could put our blankets in it.

TALIESIN: I'm working on a quilt.

MARISHA: I was going to say, the quilt from your grandmother.

JON: This thing must be worth them dying for.

LAURA: 66 on the first hit.

MATT: 66 damage?

LAURA: For the arrow, yeah.

LIAM: 78 on the first hit.

LAURA: Oh wait, I didn't do my sneak attack damage! (cackling)

JON: They can just obliterate anything?

TALIESIN: Yeah, they're monsters.

LIAM: And I use a bonus action for an offhand attack. And I got a critical on it. I rolled a 20.

MATT: You rolled a 20 on the second one? Okay. Roll damage on that.

LAURA: 76 for the first hit.

MATT: Okay. In an instant-- don't worry about the second attack, critical damage. Both of them just go-- (footsteps) (thud)

(laughter)

ASHLEY: What's in the box?

TRAVIS: What's in the box?

MATT: You lift up the box--

LAURA: We check it for traps.

MATT: Okay, investigation check.

LIAM: Let's both check.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: Natural 20.

MATT: What the fuck? You guys tonight. Talk about the hundredth episode mojo here. Unless you're Grog. Sorry, buddy.

TRAVIS: Fucking leave it in the past!

MATT: All righty, so. Who rolled investigation on that one?

LAURA: He did.

MATT: What did you get?

LIAM: 20.

MATT: 20. Natural, oh that's right, (blows raspberry) I'm stupid. Yeah, no, it is not trapped, it's not locked, it's just closed.

LIAM: Spick and span.

MATT: Inside you see what looks like a polished stone of smooth jade that is affixed to a grey leather band that loops in the back. You see a scimitar, a very well-made scimitar, that has a series of pearlescent gems across the hilt, it has a very Marquesian flair to it. And you see what appears to be a rusty iron sphere that is about three inches in diameter and weighs about a pound. It has a bunch of really strange shapes and design, almost like it was made from condensed chains that were then melted down into a single sphere. It has a really rough texture on the outside.

LAURA: We need to have Tary Identify it. Can we drag the box back to the mansion?

MATT: Yeah, you drag it back (dragging noises). I mean, the box has some food and blankets that are meant to keep it hidden, so you search through as you find them. Those are the only things of interest in the box, the rest of it just seems to be to fill the space.

LAURA: Can we hide the bodies?

MATT: Sure. You guys drag the bodies back?

LAURA: Yeah. And Dust of Tracelessness to hide where they were dragged.

TALIESIN: I'm going to take their cloaks.

TRAVIS: You want me to hide the bodies?

LAURA: Yeah, Grog.

TRAVIS: I put the bodies in the Bag of Holding.

(laughter)

MATT: Okay. The opening is about that big, so it takes you a second, just like when you had to put Dork the Ox in there, it's like trying to fit a king-sized pillow in a twin-sized pillowcase.

TALIESIN: I fully support it. Whatever you need to do to feel better, man.

TRAVIS: I'm trying to get over these double ones, man, I'm working it out.

TALIESIN: I'm curious about a couple things here.

LAURA: Don't touch any of it, until we get Tary to look at it.

MARISHA: While they drag the bodies back, Percy and I take the robes.

TALIESIN: We're going to strip the cult members of their culty pants.

MATT: So, Percival and Keyleth are currently wearing--

MARISHA: Can I study one of the guys' face, and take that for Alter Self?

MATT: Sure, easy enough. You also find that both of them have what looks like a dark iron symbol hanging around their neck, hidden beneath their robes. It resembles a four-pronged pitchfork that has a single rod beneath it that forms a loop.

LAURA: Do you have a picture?

MATT: I'm going to sketch it for you.

SAM: Dickbutt.

LAURA: I spilled coffee on my paper, and it looks like David Mack watercolor.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, it's aged a little.

LIAM: Mack spatter.

SAM: Hey, in the store tonight, we've got lots of--

MATT: It looks like that.

TALIESIN: Angry happy face with a goatee.

MATT: Kind of, yeah. So you have the corpses both being stuffed into the Bag of Holding, you guys find the whatever symbols are hanging, and the robes are on you.

LAURA: We go back to Tary.

MATT: You go back to Tary.

SAM: (as Tary) 34, 35. Other side, Doty. One.

LAURA: Tary? We're in the mansion. Tary?

SAM: Hello? Yes? I'm not decent yet.

LAURA: Tary. I've seen you naked.

SAM: Come in, come in. Hello.

LIAM: Thank you. We have a box of crazy shit, will you look at it and tell us what we're looking at?

SAM: Of course.

LAURA: What are you doing in here, why didn't you come down with us?

SAM: I'm doing my daily preparations. I had to pluck my eyebrows, I had to comb my hair. My unmentionables needed to be washed and--

JON: Waxed?

SAM: Yes. I will identify these objects.

MATT: Easy enough to do as a ritual for each. The scimitar is a Scimitar of Speed.

TALIESIN: I'm excited.

SAM: Oh, oh. I'm jacked in.

LAURA: You can go, you can go, you've got 30 feet of jack.

MATT: All right, don't go so far. These are the other two items you've got.

SAM: Oh my god, there's so many items.

LAURA: Whoa, go us!

SAM: What we have here is a Scimitar of Speed. You gain a plus two bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magical weapon. In addition, you can make one attack with it as a bonus action on each of your turns.

LAURA: Shut up. Is it attunable? Do you have to attune it?

TALIESIN: Yes, you do.

SAM: But maybe this guy can do it. We've also found the Third Eye of Awareness. A single polished stone of smooth jade is affixed to a grey leather band that loops in the back. The wearer gains advantage on initiative.

(gasps)

SAM: Not attunable.

(louder excited gasps)

LAURA: We're in the room, we're in the room!

LIAM: Tary, I am an assassin of the highest caliber.

LAURA: Tary. I'm your best friend.

SAM: Oh. Little Elf Girl.

LAURA: Oh wait, is it a necklace?

SAM: No, it's a leather band.

MATT: It's a headband.

SAM: Of course Vex gets this. All the times we've had together.

JON: What are the other Eyes of Awareness? Have you guys come across the others? It says that's the third one.

SAM: The last item is called the Iron Bands of Bilarro. This rusty iron sphere measures three inches in diameter, and weighs one pound. Like my dick.

(laughter)

LIAM: It says that on the paper, Matt?

MATT: I didn't-- no-- I didn't-- Wait-- No.

MARISHA: Wait, does that require attunement?

SAM: You can use an action to speak the command word and throw the sphere at a huge or smaller creature, like my dick, that you can see within 60 feet of you. As the sphere moves through the air, it opens into a tangle of metal bands, like my dick. Make a ranged attack roll with an attack bonus equal to your dex modifier plus your blah blah blah, if you hit it, the target is restrained until you take a bonus action to speak a command word and release it. Doing so, or missing, causes the bands to contract and become a sphere once more. So it's like a trap ball. Trap ball.

MATT: It's like, you know in Doctor Strange, that prison exoskeleton it threw on him? It's like that.

SAM: Once the band is used, it can't be used again until the next dawn, like my dick.

LAURA: Tary, you've never been quite so obsessed with your dick before.

SAM: It's just that gnome, he's so weird and he rubs off on people, like my dick! Oh, I'm doing it again!

LAURA: You're doing it! How are you? You've been hiding a lot!

SAM: Well, it seems like you guys are working through a thing, and I should really be getting back home, anyway. I don't know, I don't feel quite as needed any more.

LAURA: Oh no!

JON: You're not, I don't think.

LAURA: You're not there!

SAM: How did he get in here?

MATT: You turn around and realize that Lionel has followed you into the room.

JON: What else do I have to do?

SAM: After this is all done, I'll say my proper goodbyes. But I should be going. He's your best guy, right? You need him. He's part of the team, he always has been.

LAURA: You're my best guy!

SAM: I love you both. I'm definitely poorer for having known you, though.

LAURA: I mean, you were poorer without knowing us, you just didn't realize it.

LIAM: I mean, poorer, but richer.

SAM: That's true.

TRAVIS: Your family's actually poorer because of you.

LAURA: This mansion disappears in 24 hours, so you can't just hide in here.

SAM: All right, I'll come outside. Doty, get my armor ready. Spritz it!

MATT: “Tary.” Doty pulls an arm up, and you can see one of the slight changes that they had made in his construction is a slight mister on the other hand that goes (water spraying).

TRAVIS: For your face or for your armor?

SAM: His armor!

TRAVIS: Oh my god!

MATT: Depends how hot the day is.

LIAM: Freddie! Where's Fred?

LAURA: I feel like Percy would like this a lot. We found something that you might enjoy.

LIAM: What's this?

TALIESIN: Scimitar of Speed.

LIAM: Well, I think you might like this thing. You could come up with very creative solutions with that.

TALIESIN: This could go-- (interested noises) Yes. Yes, I think I could do something with this.

SAM: Let's go kill some shit, shall we? Come on!

TALIESIN: I've even got a codeword for it!

SAM: Codeword?

MARISHA: There's a codeword?

TALIESIN: You have to speak a word to make it work.

MATT: A command word, yeah.

TALIESIN: Can I program the word? I've programmed it. Perfect.

LAURA: I put this on.

MATT: Okay, you put that on. All right. Who is going where? What are you doing?

LIAM: Wait, hold on. Would you like this, either of you? It's not my bag.

ASHLEY: Gain a plus two bonus to attack… It's a weapon.

MATT: All right, so what's the plan, guys? What are you doing?

LIAM: We should go.

LAURA: We should go attack things.

TRAVIS: Campfire!

LIAM: Well, let's go quietly, you and I, take point.

LAURA: And head deeper in, see where the people have been.

LIAM: Twins are in the lead.

MATT: New stealth checks from you guys since you've had combat.

LAURA: Still have Pass Without a Trace going.

TALIESIN: Everybody roll who's walking.

MATT: Sam, are you bringing Scanlan?

LAURA: Natural 20!

MATT: So, across the board.

TRAVIS: What are we rolling?

MATT: Stealth.

TRAVIS: Oh, I did that already. 23.

ASHLEY: 35!

LAURA: Natural 20.

LIAM: I rolled a two, so it's a 27.

MATT: Reliable Talent, man, it's awesome.

MARISHA: 29.

TALIESIN: 23.

JON: 19.

MATT: Plus ten.

JON: Yeah, that was with ten.

SAM: 20, 23, 23.

MATT: Okay!

ASHLEY: Question!

SAM: Scanlan, Taryon, Doty. I tried to leave them behind, guys!

LAURA: But he's in a mansion, he'll just pop out and then he'll be sitting in a tunnel by himself!

TRAVIS: You opened this hole, man, you gotta pay for it!

LIAM: Yeah, you've got to juggle these balls.

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: Sorry, Matt. What do we do? He's going to kill him! He's going to kill one of them! What should we do?

SAM: Let's go!

MATT: You move further into the tunnel.

LIAM: Twins in the lead, point, traps. All that.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: Searching, keeping an eye out for any other people as well.

MATT: All right, it's only 80 feet until the winding tunnel opens up slightly. So, make another investigation check partway up, about halfway to that period.

LAURA: God damn it.

LIAM: 18.

MATT: Okay. You make your way there. And you begin to push towards the entranceway. The soft dust on the ground, which is the same color as the rest of the stonework. Vax, you step onto one section that seems to step in a little further than the others, and you feel a (click).

LIAM: Nobody move. Don't move.

MATT: I need you and Vex, and who was following them?

SAM: Everybody.

MATT: I need everybody to make a constitution saving throw.

LAURA: Oh no.

SAM: Saving throws are up there.

LIAM: Sam. I'm using my first Luck of the new day. Okay?

SAM: Great. That's the third one, then?

LIAM: The first one of the day.

TALIESIN: Oh, I can reroll a saving throw.

MATT: All right. Grog?

TRAVIS: 17.

MATT: 17. You take 36 points of necrotic damage. Pike?

ASHLEY: Five.

MATT: 36 points of necrotic damage.

LIAM: Constitution saving throw?

MATT: Yep. Vex?

LAURA: 16?

MATT: 36 points of necrotic damage.

LIAM: 18, but armor after those faces, is set to necrotic damage.

MATT: Right, because you never un-set it from that. Okay. All right, I'll let you do that. All right, so instead of 36, that's 18.

LIAM: I rolled an 18.

MATT: You did not succeed on the saving throw, but you halved it.

MARISHA: 20 total?

MATT: 20 total? You take 16 points of necrotic damage. You make it.

TALIESIN: Out of curiosity, is this a magic saving throw?

MATT: Against a spell effect? Yes.

TALIESIN: Then I don't even have to use a resolve. 19.

MATT: 19 does not succeed. You take 36 points of necrotic damage.

JON: 16.

MATT: 36 points of necrotic damage.

TALIESIN: We don't have the bonus hit points, either, do we?

MATT: Nope.

TALIESIN: Okay.

SAM: Scanlan, 26.

MATT: Takes 16 points of necrotic damage.

SAM: Is it 18 points?

MATT: Yes, 18.

SAM: Taryon, 26.

MATT: Wow. 18 points of necrotic damage.

SAM: Doty, one.

MATT: Doty takes 36 points of necrotic damage. All righty. You watch as you pull back and the sand sifts in and you see another face below, with a burst of dark energy that echoes out in a 60-foot radius. Fills the hallway with this high-pitched shrieking sound. As it hits all of you and the breath escapes you for a second, this circle of death-like sphere passes all of you, and you hear the shriek echo through both sides of the hallway.

LAURA: Well, if anything's going to bring more skeletons, it's that.

LIAM: Clicking my boots.

TALIESIN: I'm going to burn my quick heal. Might as well.

MATT: What are you guys doing? Pushing forward, staying where you are?

LAURA: Should you heal us before we pop into anything more? Can you heal us?

ASHLEY: Yeah. I can heal us.

LAURA: That was a lot.

ASHLEY: That was a lot.

LIAM: I'm doing this.

MATT: Perception check.

ASHLEY: I'll cast Mass Cure Wounds.

TRAVIS: Pike's doing this.

MATT: Mass Cure Wounds. How much does that heal everybody?

ASHLEY: 3d8 plus spellcasting ability modifier.

MATT: So whatever you roll plus five.

LIAM: 31 perception.

MATT: Okay. You listen out, and you hear what sounds like low voices, things shifting, a slight general humming sound. The bright light that was there before is not there at the moment. You still see the fire.

LIAM: Does it sound like anything I've ever heard before?

MATT: Make an intelligence check.

ASHLEY: Everybody heals an extra 18 hit points.

LIAM: Natural 20.

MATT: Natural 20. You do remember it. The low hum that temporarily appears was very close to the sound whenever anybody was throwing something into the dark sphere above the ziggurat.

LIAM: I was wondering. All right.

SAM: You said 18?

ASHLEY: 18 points, yeah.

JON: They've heard that before.

MATT: Apparently. A different one.

MARISHA: No one's rolled initiative. No one knows we're here yet.

MATT: Not yet. You haven't thrown into combat yet. You guys just hit a trap and heard things ahead.

MARISHA: If you can wait 60 seconds, I can make us an elemental.

TALIESIN: Will the magic fade if we get too close to the ziggurat, though?

LAURA: Maybe we'll have to fight things outside of the ziggurat.

MARISHA: That's a good question. I have a mild confession, and maybe I should have said this a little earlier, but I'm going to say it now. One night, I might have sneaked down into the middle of the ziggurat, and I stuck my hand in it.

LAURA: What the fuck?

SAM: Why would you do that, and what happened?

MARISHA: Well, I wanted to find out what would happen, and I found out it's real bad. It's really bad, is what I found out, and it nearly crushed my hand to a point of oblivion and I think I got really lucky, so I think it just crushes anything that it tries to suck in.

LAURA: But it's a doorway. I shot an arrow through it.

MARISHA: It is. I think your arrow happened to be tiny and fast.

TALIESIN: Well.

LIAM: Those 60 seconds have passed.

TALIESIN: Let's go.

MATT: You were talking instead of casting a spell. Do you want to take another minute to cast a spell?

TRAVIS: Thanks for the confession, though.

MATT: All right, so what are you guys doing?

LAURA: Moving forward. Keeping an eye out for those--

MARISHA: That's all I mean. Don't jump in.

LIAM: Do you want to go elemental?

LAURA: No, she wanted to summon an elemental.

MARISHA: I wanted to summon an elemental.

MATT: You guys rush forward, and a hot wind is picking up through the tunnel. You're not quite sure directionally where it's coming from. But as you move forward and through the winding passage, maybe 60 feet ahead as it opens up, you see it splits into two different pathways of natural interior rock formations, and you can see a larger chamber beyond that. You have the right and left.

LAURA: I pop Trinket out.

MATT: Okay. Trinket pops out of your necklace. What are you guys doing?

LAURA: Can I hear the noise of the ziggurat coming from either side more?

MATT: You hear it coming from both sides.

TRAVIS: Let's split up.

LAURA: What about wind or anything?

MATT: There's the general wind in the room, but it's (whoosh) whipping around you, picking up sand and dust from the ground.

LAURA: Do we see faces on either side?

MATT: Perception check.

LIAM: I'll have a look, as well.

LAURA: 28.

LIAM: 24.

MATT: Okay. You do not see any faces immediately within the two paths that are ahead of you. However, as you glance past one of the edges, within the chamber, you can see the sources of some of that flickering firelight. You see two clay bowls, large clay bowls that are set in the ground that have burning materials inside. Wood, cloth. Who knows what, but they're burning this bright orange-red flame. Not a natural yellow flame. A deep orange-red flame. It's causing this glow to emanate around the room, and you see the flames flickering and moving with the wind that's blowing about.

TRAVIS: Safe to assume this goes to the same room, yeah? Just two different entrances?

LAURA: Maybe.

TRAVIS: So let's flank.

LAURA: I feel like there's traps.

MARISHA: I go with Percy, since we have the robes over top of us.

MATT: All right. Who's going left and right?

TRAVIS: I'm going right.

JON: I'll go left.

ASHLEY: I'm going right.

MATT: Left?

LIAM: I'll roll with Percy and Keyleth.

MATT: Percy and Keyleth with Vax. Grog on the right. Who else is on the right?

LAURA: I'll go right.

MATT: Vex is right. Pike? Right or left?

ASHLEY: Yeah, right.

MATT: Trinket's with you.

SAM: All my people to the right.

MATT: All righty. Indeed, what looked like two different hallways was one entrance to the chamber that was divided by a singular column in the center. You both flank around as it opens up inside. You see a 50-foot-tall, 70-foot-wide natural cavern chamber that rounds out over the top, and you see it end on the opposite side. There are two pillars nearer to your end that both hold defaced statues of a woman on each. Defaced statues of a woman. Partially destroyed and collapsed. There are elements of it broken on the ground. The heads removed. In the center of the chamber, you see before you a massive stone-stepped pyramid, similar to the ziggurat you've found. The design is a little different, and you get the sense that a lot of it is still buried and it's just the top that has been uncovered and repurposed for whatever this may be. You do see, there are a number of cloaked figures scattered across these steps, and some of them are out looking in your direction as soon as you come around the side. They're all wearing the same black outfits, the cloaks. Some of them have the hoods back; some of them have the hoods on. Roughly, you have what looks to be six or seven from what you can view. There are two of them at the very top that currently have what looks like another crate that has been opened, and there above them, you can see the black orb, exactly like the one you have underneath Whitestone, and they're in the process of taking objects out and throwing them up into the sphere, and you watch as they flash and vanish into the darkness. You see one cloaked figure that's currently shouting out and giving commands right now.

LAURA: Do they see us?

MATT: With all of your stealth? You got a 19, correct? One of them shouts out, “We have visitors!”

LAURA: Do they only see that side? Do they see us come around the other side of the pillar? They see all of us.

MATT: As soon as they all glance over, you guys are out in the open of a hallway. Once they see him, they see the spread of you. As this happens, you watch as a number of skeletons walk out from the halls on the sides, and one seems to suddenly shake and rise up from the ground: a large skeleton with what looks like giant horns that curve out of the head, standing about 12 feet tall. Looks to be some sort of minotaur-like beast, but bone and anger.

LAURA: How far away is the ziggurat?

MATT: The ziggurat from you guys? Let's pull out a map.

(cheering)

ASHLEY: Do you need help?

MATT: I may be able to get this here.

LAURA: It's such a big map.

MATT: It's a big one. Actually, Travis, do you want to help me with this real fast?

JON: This time, it's big.

MATT: We're working out the kinks here, guys. Thank you very much.

SAM: Guys. So many great things available in the store tonight. Those posters? The Scanlan thing. Oh shit.

LIAM: Combat. Here we go! This is the real deal.

LAURA: Wait, we didn't do this last time, did we?

JON: If I hadn't sneezed, you guys, we never would have seen this.

TALIESIN: They would all be dead right now. We would have taken them all out in one clean kill.

JON: We would have quietly (blow gun sounds).

SAM: An overhead cam? An out-of-focus overhead cam?

JON: This is the place, guys.

LAURA: Wait, so it's reversed?

SAM: Matt only has to manage 22 individual characters right now.

MATT: No, it's great, guys. I love it; it's wonderful.

LAURA: So when we tell you which direction we want to go, Matt, it's from your perspective.

MATT: Well, do the best you can to see.

TRAVIS: The map's right.

TALIESIN: Towards and away from the ziggurat, and the ziggurat's 12:00 and we're 6:00.

SAM: We'll just say leeward and windward. Starboard.

MATT: Okay, so. There is a singular figure standing up here that seems to be giving orders and shouting it out to the side. Female voice rings out across the center of the chamber and says, “Remnants, slay the intruders and grant their bodies to the cause!”

LAURA: Can I see whose voice that was?

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: That was crazy. 27.

MATT: 27. It's hard to see. She's in the dark right there and the sphere doesn't give a lot of light, but the voice sounds familiar.

SAM and LAURA: Familiar?

MATT: All right, so at this point the woman pulls an amulet. The woman pulls an amulet out from beneath the robe, and as she clutches it in her hand, the orb shifts from black to white, to a white-gray color, and you watch as the wind (whoosh) gets whipped up even heavier and lights up the area around the space. You watch as the cloaked hood flows back, and for a brief moment, before the grin crawls across her face, you see the face of Delilah Briarwood.

(gasps)

SAM: We killed her! She's dead!

LAURA: No!

TRAVIS: Look at Percy.

SAM: She's dead. She died. We killed her!

ASHLEY: Oh no.

MATT: Yet there she is at the top of the ziggurat.

LAURA: How?!

SAM: This is like a soap opera!

LAURA: Dun dun dun!

TRAVIS: I broke the world for you returns!

MATT: I would like you all to roll initiative.

TRAVIS: (laughs) What?

LAURA: I know.

ASHLEY: This looks like a crazy fight.

MARISHA: Natural 20.

MATT: Nice.

MARISHA: If only it was for something a little more important, but it's fine.

TALIESIN: You get to go first.

MATT: So 25 to 20?

TALIESIN: 20.

SAM: 20 for Scanlan.

MATT: What was it?

MARISHA: 22, tied with Scanlan.

SAM: No, mine's just 20.

MATT: All right, so Percy.

TALIESIN: Percy and Scanlan are tied.

MATT: Scanlan. Okay. All right.

SAM: Wait, does Doty roll? I forget. No, he just goes when Taryon does.

MATT: Yeah, I'm letting him go with Taryon. It's easier to check that. All right, 20 to 15?

TRAVIS: 17.

SAM: Taryon's 16.

LIAM: 15.

MATT: All right, so we have Grog. You got, what did you say? 17? Vax, what did you say?

TRAVIS: 15.

MATT: Oh, 15 and you said 17 for Taryon?

SAM: 16 for Taryon.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: 14.

MATT: 14.

SAM: What did you get?

JON: 17.

SAM: He got 17. Did he tell you?

MATT: Oh, he didn't tell me that. Sorry about that.

ASHLEY: Okay. So many things on the board. I wonder if those statues are going to come to life.

MATT: All righty. So who else is left. Pike?

ASHLEY: Seven! She's so good at initiative rolling.

MATT: All right, so at the beginning of this initiation, with the orb now flaring this pale gray-white and Delilah Briarwood standing there at the top of the ziggurat, staring down and focusing on the group of intruders that have just rushed in. Keyleth, it's your turn.

MARISHA: Oh god. Okay. I am going to, under the cult hood that I have, transform my face with Alter Self into Sylas Briarwood.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Her husband. Her dead husband. I'm going to have his face, and I'm going to walk forward and say, Delilah. Don't. It is me.

MATT: Make a deception check.

MARISHA: Deception?

MATT: So as you step forward into the chamber.

MARISHA: This is not good.

LIAM: Sunshine, roll high.

MARISHA: I'm not good at this shit. Oh, that's not bad! 14? That's it. 14. That's all I got. 14 is good for me.

TALIESIN: It's dark.

MATT: Okay, so that's your action. As you say this to Delilah, her eyes flash over to you, and her face goes--

SAM: She's mad.

LAURA: So pissed!

MATT: You have your movement and your bonus, still.

MARISHA: Movement and a bonus? (sighs)

LIAM: Feeblemind on the dragon.

MARISHA: I am going to take my bonus to ignite my form into a fire elemental and rush towards the closest thing to me.

MATT: Okay, there are two skeletons to your right and left. You're turning into a fire elemental.

MARISHA: Yeah. I don't know. Where are we?

MATT: There you go, Keyleth.

MARISHA: Okay, I have a 50-foot movement. I want to hit as many skeletons as I can by running through them and catching them on fire.

MATT: Okay, so with that, you can do (counting). You can probably get this whole cluster here. All righty. They all catch fire as you rush through. You do get attacks of opportunity on you as you rush by. That is 15?

MARISHA: What am I against?

MATT: What's your AC for your fire elemental?

MARISHA: Hit.

MATT: All right, so that's 11 points of slashing damage, reduced to half because you take half damage, right?

MARISHA: Yep. So five.

MATT: That's a 13?

MARISHA: Miss. No, hit. Armor class is 13.

MATT: Another five points of slashing damage. Ten?

MARISHA: Miss.

MATT: Eight.

MARISHA: Miss.

MATT: Okay. That one and that one. That is a 15 from the minotaur skeleton.

MARISHA: Hit.

MATT: You take 17 points of slashing damage, reduced to eight. And the last one is a natural 20, so you take 22 points of slashing damage, reduced to 11. And they are all set aflame. All of them take, I believe, fire damage from impacting you?

MARISHA: Yep.

MATT: So we'll say eight damage across the board for all of them. All of them get hit with fire as they swipe out at you, including the giant minotaur that swings over you with this large greataxe in its hands and bursts into flames as it does so. Awesome. All right, that ends your turn, Keyleth. Delilah, who's currently glaring at Keyleth and the rest of you, looks out and goes, “Of course it would be you, wouldn't it?” She takes a step back. Without breaking eye contact, goes, “Finish your work.” (foreign words) And slams her hand down on the ground, and you watch as this sphere of rainbow color completely encompasses around the top of the ziggurat. You now see this large orb, this dome of multicolored rainbows that flickers for a second, and then briefly becomes a singular color.

LAURA: It's a giant--

MATT: You see it is a giant Prismatic Sphere around. The color you see now as it flickers for a minute becomes stark red, just deep ruby red.

JON: It's so pretty. Look at it, you guys.

LIAM: Taste the rainbow.

TRAVIS: These people kill ducks, Lionel.

JON: (gasps) Kill them all!

MATT: Percival, Scanlan. What are you guys doing?

TALIESIN: Scanlan, you first. My plan just went up the rainbow.

SAM: All right. I'll step forward and I will-- is Vax or Vex near me? Vex is near me, right?

MATT: Vex is near you, yeah.

SAM: I will inspire Vex. I will sing to her. I will sing, (singing) you don't need anybody else. When I stand beside you, I touch you, elf. Whoa.

(laughter)

SAM: Something creepy.

LAURA: Working your way back up.

SAM: And then I'll cast Reverse Gravity on everybody. Everybody in there. All their shit.

MATT: All righty! What's the radius on that? My templates are still back on the shelf. Can someone grab my templates real fast? That would be awesome.

SAM: 50 feet.

MATT: 50-foot radius?

SAM: 50 feet radius.

MATT: Oh, that's going to get everybody in there, including probably Keyleth.

MARISHA: I can take it. I'm into this.

MATT: You can fly, though, right?

MARISHA: I can fire hover?

TALIESIN: I have sticky feet right now, so I ain't going nowhere.

MATT: Reverse Gravity, perfect. Dexterity save across the board. What's the spell DC with the hand cone?

SAM: 22.

TALIESIN: Fuck their shit up!

SAM: Does it affect people in the dome?

MATT: You don't know.

TALIESIN: We'll hear a thunk, won't we?

MATT: You see over here, a number of other robed figures and one that looks like it's heavily armored in the front, as well. A couple of small other cultists down on the sides, but they all-- apparently. Okay, the armored one actually manages to grab the stonework and hold on.

SAM: Oh boy, Matt's hating this.

MATT: Everyone else, except for that one armored guard, rises up and (wham) slams into the ceiling 50 feet up. That is 5d10 points of damage. 5d6, sorry. Thank you very much. Perfect.

MARISHA: Is that including me, or no?

MATT: That would be including you.

MARISHA: Okay.

LIAM: Let me just reiterate, we always appreciated Scanlan.

SAM: I just need to hear it more, guys.

MATT: 20 points of bludgeoning damage, which completely destroys these skeletons that were damaged earlier from the fire.

LIAM: So long, pawns.

MATT: All right. Are you maintaining it, or letting them fall?

SAM: Maintain!

MATT: All righty, so everyone else is held in the air right now against the ceiling.

SAM: The people inside the dome? No.

MATT: Seem to be unaffected.

SAM: Oh, that ziggurat.

LAURA: Anti-magic dome.

SAM: I'll move a little closer in.

MATT: So over here next to Pike?

SAM: Done. Percival.

MATT: That ends Scanlan's turn. Percy, what are you doing?

TALIESIN: I'm going to pull out Bad News. Actually, let's pull out Animus. This will be funnier if I'm walking around that way, which is always a fun thing to say. There's that one guy holding on, right?

MATT: There's one guy holding on, yeah.

TALIESIN: There's one guy holding on. I'm going to use my gun to make him drop an object of my choosing. And that object is going to be the pyramid. So just remembering how to do this.

MATT: Roll for an attack.

TALIESIN: Roll for an attack. That's 29?

MATT: That will hit. All right, he has to make a strength saving throw?

TALIESIN: Strength saving throw against 20.

MATT: Nope, five plus five. That is a no, so he goes (whoosh) and slams into the ceiling, as well, taking-- ooh, that is 22 points of bludgeoning damage.

MARISHA: Can Keyleth clothesline him on the way up as a fire elemental?

MATT: Sure. Close enough. You swoosh over there; it's fine. More of a flavor element. So all the visible creatures you can see right now are held against the ceiling.

TALIESIN: Okay, is he still alive? I don't suppose I have advantage to hit anything that's pinned to the ceiling.

MATT: I'm going to say for the purposes of falling up, a lot of them are prone, so you would actually have disadvantage.

TALIESIN: So weird. I'll take it. I hit the wrong thing. There we are. I'll burn another point for advantage and shoot him again. Just with a straight roll. That's 19.

MATT: That hits. Same armored guy?

TALIESIN: Same guy. That's nine points of damage, plus three points of psychic damage.

MATT: Okay. All right?

TALIESIN: And I'll hit him again. Same thing. Hit him again. This time I'm going to take a bonus for a Hex on him, too, for extra fun. That's 27.

MATT: Yeah, that hits.

TALIESIN: So that's not bad. That's 17 points of damage, plus three points of psychic damage and five points of necrotic damage.

MATT: Nice! You're just firing up at this figure. The one shot sends it flying up into the ceiling, and I'd say even before it impacts, as it's still floating up in the air, you shoot it once while it's still falling upward, and then it slams into the ceiling and you get one final shot to hit it while it's there. (grunts) Across the top. It's hard to see if it's really that hurt, but it's currently a little wounded.

TALIESIN: Yeah, and he's got disadvantage on dexterity checks for now, because that's funny.

MATT: Are you going to move, Percival, or are you going to stay where you are?

TALIESIN: I'm slowly going to make my way towards the ziggurat, so I'm going to be actually walking up on the wall. So you can put me up on the little creases. Yeah, I'm walking sideways, as gravity's reversed right now. I'll make my way, as far as I can get, towards the sphere.

MATT: Okay, and that radius, by the way, is maintained as long as you concentrate on that. So anybody who walks into that radius will have to make a dex save or be flung up into that. So! That being the case, ending Scanlan's turn and Percy's turn, the cultists that are currently flung to the ceiling are going to get up and run this way, so they're technically up on the ceiling right now. Those two are going to continue their work. You don't see what's in there. Grog, you're up.

TRAVIS: Is it me and Chad?

MATT: Let's see here. Actually, no. I disagree. They actually can take an action this turn from that distance. So I need Grog and Pike to both make wisdom saving throws.

LAURA: Are you both wise?

ASHLEY: I have gnome cunning, so I have advantage on wisdom.

TRAVIS: 14.

MATT: 14.

ASHLEY: What did you say it was, wisdom? 20?

LAURA: Roll your advantage. You get advantage.

ASHLEY: Maybe I don't need it?

LAURA: Try it. Maybe you'll roll a natural 20.

MATT: Advantage for which one?

ASHLEY: I have gnome cunning. I have advantage on wisdom, intelligence, charisma saving throws.

MATT: Just in general?

ASHLEY: I guess so.

MATT: Against magic, I think it was? So yeah, both of you guys shrug off the effect. You feel the magic try to take hold over the inside of your brain and your muscles seize up and you manage to shrug it off. It's a familiar feeling. It is one that you're familiar with, as well, Pike. It is a Hold Person attempt on both of you.

ASHLEY: I know what you did. I know what you were trying to do!

MATT: All right, that ends their turn. Grog, you're up.

TRAVIS: Okay, where does that sphere of vertical influence start?

MATT: You're not entirely certain, Grog.

TRAVIS: Awesome. I'm going to go into a rage and haul ass along this wall.

MATT: Okay, as you rush into this wall here, I need you to make a dexterity saving throw.

TRAVIS: I have advantage on those. 14.

MATT: Grog, you start running and then (yelps) go flying up into the ceiling.

SAM: Oh shit, it affects the area?

TRAVIS: (screams)

MATT: You take 17 points of bludgeoning.

TRAVIS: I raged at the beginning.

MATT: So half that. You're now locked on the ceiling, as well. However, that does put you in melee range, and prone, with one of the cultists on the ceiling.

TRAVIS: Totally meant to do that. I'll attack.

MATT: You're upside-down on the ceiling. The guy who cast a spell and it didn't work on you watched you tumble up, land, get up, and stare him down in his face.

TRAVIS: Hi.

MATT: His hood falls off. You see a guy who's staring at you now with one eye plucked out of its socket.

TRAVIS: Might as well make a matching one. Reckless! Natural 20.

(cheering)

MATT: Roll some damage.

TRAVIS: So I rolled a ten. Two more of these, seven. 31, 11, 42.

MATT: Okay. You smile at him, bring the axe back, and you completely-- we're talking tree trunk. He slides over and his body attaches to the ceiling and collapses against that, blood splattering out from his midsection. It seems really gross, in a sense. You still have at half movement, about 20 feet to run across.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'll keep trying to come to this wall.

MATT: This wall? Okay. That's about as far as you get, but you don't have range with your axe.

TRAVIS: That's my turn.

MATT: Okay. Finishes Grog's turn. Lionel. You're over here, currently.

JON: I move forward and I jump into the radius so I can float up, too. And as I'm flying, I say, I'll save you, Grog!

TRAVIS: Come on, buddy!

MATT: Do you go into a rage first? It will reduce your impact damage as you land.

JON: Wait, what?

TALIESIN: You take less damage.

MATT: If you want to be raging first, you'll take less damage from the impact.

JON: Yeah, you know what? Let's rage.

MATT: Okay. You joyfully leap into the sky.

JON: It's the duck rage.

MATT: You take 16, reduced to half, so you take eight points of bludgeoning damage as you slam into the ground at the top, and you stand up and there's about five feet between you and Grog, and one of the cultists is there right in front of you, who's like, “Shit!”

JON: I rage.

MATT: Do you want to attack him? Go for it.

JON: I think the anti-gravity is screwing me up. Three, plus 12.

MATT: Three plus 12 still hits, actually.

JON: He does it clumsily.

MATT: Your first strike is 2d6 plus ten damage.

JON: Seven. 17.

MATT: 17 points of slashing damage as you pull your greataxe up and rake past. You see his chest split open and he (grunts) pulls back. He's still alive, and as he looks up at you from under the hood, he is also missing one of his eyes. (pants)

JON: Second attack? Rage, bonus action…

MATT: You have an extra attack as a barbarian, so you get a second attack.

JON: Okay.

TALIESIN: d20.

JON: Do the same thing.

TALIESIN: Natural 20! Now roll 4d6.

MATT: Roll 4d6.

TRAVIS: Stop touching him!

TALIESIN: He's so plush, though. It's really nice. Whoa! Does he get to reroll ones?

SAM: Oh, that's a one.

TALIESIN: Does he get to reroll a one?

MATT: He does, because of his great weapon fighting, yeah.

TALIESIN: Reroll it. Better.

JON: So it's 17. Plus ten. 27.

MATT: Okay. The first strike cuts him across the chest. (pants) Rears back. Oh, that wasn't enough, and with a second half-assed swipe, he goes down and spills out all across the ceiling. That cultist is done. All righty, that finishes your turn. Taryon.

SAM: Doty, stay here. I'll jump on the broom. I cast Fly on-- no, I don't have to cast Fly. I'm on a broom!

LAURA: It's hard to keep track of three characters.

SAM: Well, Matt does it all the time.

TALIESIN: The walls are tall enough that you can put that above people and it won't be a problem.

MATT: Possibly. We'll find out. Where are you going, Tary?

SAM: I'm going to fly straight in to the steps.

MATT: All right, so you're doing a dash? Or just your movement?

SAM: Can I get there in one fly?

MATT: What's the speed of the broom?

SAM: It's 40, right?

MATT: You can get there. That's as close as you can get with one movement.

TALIESIN: You're close, though. You can throw something at it.

SAM: I can't get all the way there, so I'll cast something. Shit. It's a prismatic thing, right?

MATT: Right now you have this ruby, bright-red dome that's glowing with light right now.

SAM: Would a Prismatic Spray beat a Prismatic Spray? Probably not, right?

MATT: I don't know. What do you think?

SAM: Shit. I'm not going to risk it. I'm going to point straight up.

Is there anyone right above me?

MATT: Yes, actually. These guys here are on the ceiling right now. Anything you see there are on the ceiling, currently.

SAM: And I'm up a bit, so I could throw something at them? I guess drop it. I'll drop a thing of fire up there. Alchemic fire. A little pot.

MATT: At which one?

SAM: Can I get two of them? It has a five-foot radius.

MATT: Yes, you can hit these two.

SAM: Great. I'll go for both of them.

MATT: All right, so the skeleton and guy get to make… what's the DC?

SAM: 17.

MATT: 17? Unfortunately, the cultist makes it. Skeleton does not. So the cultist dodges out of the way on the ceiling. It smashes on the ground by the skeleton and bursts into flames. How much damage does it deal to the skeleton?

SAM: I'm 15th level or 16th level?

MATT: 15th.

SAM: Okay. 5d6.

MATT: 5d6 fire damage to the skeleton.

SAM: 16.

MATT: 16 points of fire damage? That skeleton, fire consumes it. It's still currently standing, and now the flames are licking through its ribcage. That ends your turn?

SAM: I will, as a bonus action, cast Sanctuary. Am I within 30 feet of any of my friends?

MATT: Right now? Nope.

SAM: On myself.

MATT: All righty. Vax, you're up.

LIAM: Boots on, poof go the wings. I have two actions left. It's really hard to see. How far am I from skeletal minotaur?

MATT: Right there? You're approximately 40 feet. 45.

LIAM: And nowhere on the board are any of my allies within melee combat range of any enemy.

MATT: Nope! Anyone that was killed whatever they were fighting.

LIAM: That's what I figured. Okay, so I'm going to use my two remaining actions to throw daggers at minotaur skeleton.

MATT: From where you are? From where you're standing?

LIAM: I'm 40 feet away. I'm in range.

MATT: Yeah, and you have sharpshooter.

LIAM: I didn't say it on the first.

MATT: You have sharpshooter, right? Sharpshooter feat.

LIAM: I have it if I choose it, but I don't want to choose it.

MATT: Right, I'm asking because that ignores cover.

LIAM: I have sharpshooter. Right, so I ignore three-quarters cover. So the first one is a 19?

MATT: Hits.

LIAM: Good, and the second one-- oh, that hits, for sure. That's a 16… 28. Okay, so for the first one, I'm going to unload some Smite into this motherfucker because I know he's undead. That is three, plus eight is 11, plus psychic damage is 17, plus 3d8 because he's undead. So 17 plus eight is 25, 29, 36 for the first attack.

MATT: 36 damage. As you fling the dagger out, it seems to skid across the stone of the pillar in front of it, leaving these bright white sparks as it hits. Comes through and strikes through the chest. As it does, a burst of divine energy. You watch as some of the ribs shatter and scatter across the stonework. (roars)

LIAM: Fucking feathers, buddy. And then the second one is four, plus the Smite, and I get four plus eight is 12, 15, 22.

MATT: 22.

LIAM: Wait, I can only smite once per round?

MATT: You can smite. I believe so. I think it's whenever you expend a spell slot, so I don't think there's a limitation per round. That's part of what makes paladins so crazy at the higher levels, actually. But just to make sure of that or the internet's going to hate me. No, there's no limitation on that. So 22?

LIAM: I'm also going to use my movement. Is there enough room to fly safely over big skeleton?

MATT: Yeah, it's about 12 feet tall, so as long as you get 20 feet over it, you can.

LIAM: Then I want to get into the back corner closest to Liam, on the map.

MATT: Over here?

LIAM: Yeah. 120 feet of movement.

MATT: Over here, you mean.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: All right, you're over here in this area.

LIAM: As far back from the enemies as I can be. That's good. Done.

MATT: All right, that ends your turn. Vex.

LAURA: Has anybody tried shooting anything through the orb?

MATT: Not yet, no.

LAURA: Okay. Well, I'm going to try Hunter's Marking Delilah.

MATT: You have no sight on her.

LAURA: I don't?

MATT: No. All you see is a sphere of red. It blocks everything. All sight is obscured with light. It's very bright; the whole room is lit up. You almost have to squint a little, looking at it.

LAURA: Okay. I'm going to try to shoot an arrow, then, at where I remember her being.

MATT: Okay, go for it. Roll an attack.

LAURA: Because it's red. Natural 20!

MATT: Awesome. The arrow shatters. No effect.

LAURA: Oh, what a waste. Because it was red. Motherfuck. Okay, then I'm going to Hunter's Mark that big guy and I'm going to shoot him with a flaming bowstring.

LIAM: Y'all motherfuckers need Sarenrae.

LAURA: Are you fucking kidding me?

LIAM: Well, you got a 20 on the last one.

LAURA: Yeah, when it didn't fucking count!

LIAM: Well, we've all got to eat a little humble pie every once in a while. Even you.

LAURA: You motherfuck. Don't rub it in my face when I just rolled a one.

MATT: Anything you want to do with Trinket? Movement?

LAURA: No, he has to wait because he's going to get hit. He's going to get bludgeoned.

MATT: Okay, ends Vex's turn. Skeletons are now going to go.

LAURA: I am going to move back into the little corner that's next to me.

MATT: Right here.

LAURA: Yeah, and Trinket will follow me in there.

MATT: Perfect. The skeletons get up and start rushing in towards the nearest things. This one's going to rush towards Grog. This one's going to rush towards Keyleth there. This one's also going to rush towards Keyleth. The minotaur, who got impacted angrily, sees you dart past. Turns around. You're not within range, so it's going to move up towards (heavy footsteps). This knight is also going to move in towards Keyleth. These guys up at the top are going to focus in that way. All right, first, the minotaur swings with its axe. Makes a giant swing towards you, Lionel. Actually, no. What it's going to do is it's going to rush up, instead, put its head down, and charge forward towards you with its horns in front. It's attempting to strike you with its horns. That's 18 to hit. What's your armor class?

JON: It is 18.

MATT: 18, okay, so that just barely hits. You suffer 13 plus nine. You take 21 points of piercing damage, reduced to half, so it's ten, because you're raging. I need you to make a strength saving throw.

JON: So mine's plus ten. That's with this dice, right?

MATT: Yes. Roll that, plus ten.

JON: 23.

MATT: 23, yeah. You're not pushed. You get the impact and the horns come to your chest and you're like, “ooh, that hurt,” but this giant creature's stopped in its tracks. Its hooves are scraping into the ground, and you're immovable. That's the end of its turn. Skeleton attacks on Keyleth. That's 18?

MARISHA: Hits.

MATT: 13?

MARISHA: Hits. 13 is my armor class.

MATT: All right, you take 22 points of slashing damage, reduced to 11, from the two attacks.

MARISHA: 11, so I'm at 52.

MATT: And all right.

TALIESIN: Dungeons and Dragons. Yeah.

MATT: The blackguard is going to make three attacks with this giant glaive that it has. Now you've got up close, you can see this jagged black armor. He's going to rush up with his glaive and spins. All three attacks on you. That is 23? 18? And 16. All righty, so you take nine, plus Thunderous Smite damage. That's going to be 21 points of damage. Sorry, it's going to be nine points of slashing, which is reduced to four, and then you take an additional 15 points of thunder damage.

MARISHA: So 19 points total?

MATT: Correct. Mark that off.

TALIESIN: No, it's the big motherfucker. The minotaur.

LIAM: Wait, smite?

MATT: The second strike is going to hit you again. He's going to burn another slot for another smite. On the second one, you take another four points of slashing damage, plus 13 points of radiant damage to you. This would be necrotic damage.

TRAVIS: From the skeleton minotaur?

MATT: No, this is from the armored guy.

TRAVIS: Gotcha. Okay. We've got to get you out of there.

MATT: And the third strike hits you for four points of slashing and a third dark smite. Another 13 points of necrotic damage.

MARISHA: That brings me exactly to zero.

MATT: You drop your form.

MARISHA: I drop form. Just form. I tanked that motherfucking fight, y'all.

MATT: So at that point, all of a sudden your form drops in place.

MARISHA: I'm still on the ceiling, right?

MATT: Yes, you are. The war priest across the way is going to look outward and begin to focus and chant under his breath, and the little bit of light begins to show, once again, the missing eye on most of these individuals. Delilah is not missing an eye, it seems, but the rest of them seem to have this appearance amongst them. As it releases this form of energy, you watch as a familiar, darker-burning flame begins to spill across the ceiling as a Flame Strike makes its way-- not a Fire Storm, Flame Strike. Sorry, so it's a column.

SAM: Am I close to him?

MATT: Scanlan is-- it's a 60-foot range, is what you're asking? Yes, it is.

SAM: I'll Counterspell that.

MATT: Counterspell the Flame Strike?

SAM: Sure.

MARISHA: Scanlan!

LIAM: I missed you.

TALIESIN: It's so nice that this is not a problem.

MATT: I need you to roll a d20. Add your charisma modifier.

SAM: It's just a plus two? Oh, wait. Wrong guy! Ooh, 19.

MATT: 19 will do it. With that, as the flames begin to well out in this column of fire and dark divine energy, you just reach out and snap your fingers and the spell vanishes on the spot.

LIAM: Shorthalt.

ASHLEY: Shorthalt.

LAURA: Shorthalt!

SAM: I don't feel the love! I need to go away for another year.

TRAVIS: It's a start.

MATT: That necromancer, however, is going to impact in the center of the chamber a burst of necrotic energy that billows out from the center in a 60-foot radius. It's going to affect all of you guys.

LIAM: Me up in the corner?

MATT: Everyone but you because you're away. Mr. Way Out of the Way Guy.

LIAM: It's what I do.

MARISHA: Ceiling and floor?

MATT: Ceiling and floor, because it's a large enough radius where it affects the entire space. I need you guys to roll a constitution saving throw for me, please.

LAURA: Who?

MATT: Everybody but Vax. No, it will still affect Doty.

TALIESIN: I have advantage because of Cabal.

LAURA: I suck tonight!

MARISHA: Yeah!

LAURA: I can't help it!

LIAM: Mother bitch!

SAM: Laura, did you roll?

LAURA: Oh, I can add inspiration! Okay. No, that's not going to save me.

MATT: So over here. Grog?

TRAVIS: 26.

MATT: 26. You take 15 points of necrotic damage. Pike.

ASHLEY: 15.

MATT: 15? You take 15 points of necrotic damage.

LAURA: Ten.

MATT: You take 30 points of necrotic damage.

MARISHA: 23.

MATT: You take 15 points of necrotic damage.

TALIESIN: Natural 20.

MATT: 15 points of necrotic damage.

JON: Ten.

MATT: 30 points of necrotic damage. Scanlan?

SAM: 24.

MATT: 24? You take 15 points of necrotic damage, and make a concentration check, please. Constitution saving throw, with advantage because you have war caster.

SAM: Plus anything?

MATT: Plus your constitution saving throw bonus.

SAM: Constitution saving throw. It's a lot. 22 on the first one.

MATT: You have advantage, but yeah. You maintain concentration. You're fine. All righty, and I need Taryon.

SAM: 13 plus seven. 20.

MATT: All right. 15 points of necrotic damage to Taryon. As the wave fades off, you hear the chuckle of the two cultists, and they step backward into the red sphere.

TALIESIN: Weren't they on the ceiling?

MATT: Oh, you're right. Sorry. They were on the ceiling. Thank you for the reminder!

TALIESIN: They were my least favorite.

MATT: I know. Fair enough.

SAM: Does Doty get hit?

MATT: Doty does get hit, yes.

SAM: He's out.

MATT: Doty is (creak, impact) on the ground. Thank you for the reminder. Sorry.

SAM: Wait, how many points?

MATT: 30. 30 necrotic.

LAURA: Trinket.

MATT: Did Trinket roll? Roll for Trinket.

LAURA: No.

MATT: 30 points of necrotic for Trinket. All righty. That ends their go there. Pike?

ASHLEY: Okay, so I am going to hold my turn until after Scanlan goes.

MATT: All you can hold is an action. What action are you going to hold?

ASHLEY: I have to tell you what I'm going to do?

MATT: Essentially, yeah. As opposed to moving your initiative around in the order, you can still move on your turn, and then if you're going to cast or attack, you start it and then wait for something to trigger it and then release it when that happens.

ASHLEY: I'm going to cast Guiding Bolt, but I'm going to hold it until after Scanlan's turn.

LIAM: He's at the bottom?

LAURA: She's at the bottom.

MATT: Scanlan's close to the top. Okay, so you begin casting Guiding Bolt. What's the trigger? For Scanlan to go?

ASHLEY: For Scanlan to go.

MATT: Okay. You begin concentrating on the spell. End of your turn?

ASHLEY: Yes.

MATT: Keyleth, you're up.

MARISHA: Okay. How many people are still on the ceiling with me?

MATT: Grog, Lionel, and a number of skeletons. The blackguard, the two other casters over there, the minotaur skeleton…

MARISHA: Okay. I drop form. I'm going to look around and go, (nervous laughter) and drop my staff and do Fire Storm radiating out from me, and I want to try and avoid Lionel and Grog, but basically radiating out, fire floods the ceiling.

MATT: Okay. You can hit him. (counting) You can get everyone but these two skeletons, if you want to do a swath through that.

MARISHA: Everyone but the two skeletons?

MATT: Actually, if you started it here, you could go… (counting) You can either avoid the two skeletons or avoid one of those casters. Your call.

MARISHA: No, fuck the casters.

MATT: So those two skeletons next to you: untouched. Everything else in there has to make a dexterity saving throw against a DC 21. Natural 20 on that first skeleton.

MARISHA: What a dick!

MATT: Minotaur does not make it. Let's see. Blackguard does not make it. Natural 20 on that caster there, and a 13 on that one. So this one fails, that caster succeeds, blackguard fails, minotaur fails, skeleton succeeds. Roll damage on that.

MARISHA: I get to reroll ones. (counting) 26. Roll two more. 12 more damage. What did I just say?

TALIESIN: 26.

MARISHA: 26, plus 12 more. 38 damage.

MATT: 38 points of damage. This skeleton is burned into ash and destroyed. The minotaur skeleton, even though it made the save with a 20, it had taken damage from the fall earlier and it was enough to wipe it out. Minotaur skeleton, with that last bit, also burns up. The flames burn around the blackguard, but it stands there, defiant. It seems to almost be relishing the pain as it burns and tears through its armor. You don't see a face. All you see is black armor, jagged at the tips, long cloak that is burned to the back, big glaive that spins in his arm.

TRAVIS: Where is he?

MATT: Right there. He takes half the damage.

TALIESIN: Is he on fire, too?

MATT: It doesn't set them on fire. All righty. Keyleth, that's your action. What else are you going to do?

MARISHA: Can I move any? Can I back out of wherever I am? Where am I?

MATT: You're right there. Two skeletons get attacks of opportunity on you if you move. It's up to you.

MARISHA: I'll stay. Let me back out of it.

MATT: Okay. Two attacks of opportunity on you. That is a 24?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: And a 17.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: All right. You take 22 points of slashing damage.

LIAM: Sorry, honey.

MARISHA: It's okay.

LIAM: You're fine. Oh, you're dead.

MARISHA: I'm fine.

MATT: Okay. Delilah.

SAM: Wait, she goes through the thing?!

MATT: Yeah. She walks through.

LIAM: She can go wherever the fuck she wants.

MATT: She's going to make a dexterity check to hold on right there, and she rolls a 23. No, a 22. Your DC is 22 for Scanlan? She just steps out of it and holds onto the edge. Actually, she wouldn't have had to do that. She steps to the edge. She succeeded, but she basically just looks out of the sphere. You watch her face appear out, and her hand. She begins to look around for her next target.

LIAM: Matt Mercer in drag, shitting all over us.

SAM: All it ever has been.

MATT: She looks over at you, Pike, and goes, “Not this time, my dear.” I need you-- Delilah's got the Player's Handbook-- I need you to make an intelligence saving throw, please.

ASHLEY: Intelligence saving throw? Okay, I get advantages. Okay.

LAURA: Don't jinx this.

TRAVIS: The same fucking thing.

LIAM: Two eights. Holy fuck.

ASHLEY: Nine.

MATT: Nine. As her finger reaches out to you, your brain goes a little numb and a little fuzzy, and the spell that you were preparing dissipates, and conscious thought becomes difficult as the Feeblemind spell takes effect.

MARISHA: No! Bitch!

LAURA: What works on Feeblemind?

MARISHA: This is my karma!

MATT: Your intelligence and charisma become one. You can't cast spells, you cannot understand language or communicate in any intelligible way.

MARISHA: I might be able to do a Greater Restoration on you, but I don't know if I can help you there.

LAURA: Tiberius had it one time. How did we heal him?

MARISHA: It was a restoration spell.

MATT: She steps, laughing, back into the orb.

LIAM: Back into the Skittle? Fuck you, Delilah. Holy shit!

MATT: Percy, you're up.

TALIESIN: God fucking damn it.

TRAVIS: Can you point to where Pike is on the map? Okay.

TALIESIN: I'm going to continue further down the wall towards the evil orb of death.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Is that as far as I can get?

MATT: That's as far as you can get in a 30-foot movement, yeah.

TALIESIN: Okay. And the cultist closest to me on the ceiling?

MATT: That's going to be that one right there.

TALIESIN: That one right there? Let's do some damage with Animus, and let's add a sharpshooter for it, just for fun.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: That's 16 to hit.

MATT: 16 to hit does not hit.

TALIESIN: Hold on, I may have done that wrong. 17 to hit.

MATT: Still does not hit. As soon as you fire, it hits but it sparks off what looks like big plate armor on this caster that the robes were obscuring. As it hits, it tears through the cloth and you see the reflection of armor beneath.

TALIESIN: That's irritating. All right, forget sharpshooter. One more. That's better. 24 to hit.

MATT: 24 hits, yeah.

TALIESIN: This is not the one I have the Hex on, right? Okay, that's fine. I should have done that differently. 12 points of damage and one point of psychic damage.

MATT: All righty. This does hit. (gunshot) Doesn't seem to affect him much.

TALIESIN: He's still fine, isn't he? That's fine. I'm going to hit him again.

MATT: Go for it. Scanlan, you're up next.

TALIESIN: That's like 35 to hit. Jesus Christ, I rolled a 19. And that's 17 points of damage and one point of psychic damage.

MATT: All righty. Still standing. Not showing any wear and tear. Taking damage, but does not appear to be wounded significantly.

TALIESIN: I'm going to use my bonus to heal myself a little bit because goddamn it. Oh, Jesus.

JON: You're attacking who?

TALIESIN: I'm attacking one of the cultists. I'm up to 120 hit points now.

MATT: This isn't the one in the fully dark armor. This is the one that has armor under a cloak. It looks like an older man's face. Has this staff at the side and a mace hanging from the belt and is currently casting spells from the ceiling right now.

TALIESIN: Goddamn it. I wanted to throw some electricity on it and I blanked because my brain is made of Swiss cheese. Is it too late?

MATT: I'll let you throw it on.

TALIESIN: I'm going to add-- on that last shot, I'm going to add 5d6 worth of electricity damage.

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: (counting) 16 points of lightning damage.

MATT: 16 points of lightning damage.

TALIESIN: That's five Cabal's. (blast) Five Cabal's.

MATT: All righty. That ends your turn, Percival?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: Scanlan, you're up.

SAM: I don't have much.

TALIESIN: Really?

MARISHA: You've always ever said that.

TALIESIN: You always say that. That doesn't mean anything.

TRAVIS: The minotaur's down, right?

MATT: The minotaur fell, yeah. It was incinerated by the Fire Storm.

LAURA: It's cultists and Delilah left?

MATT: And some skeletons.

TRAVIS: And a dark paladin's still up there.

MARISHA: The blackguard, yeah.

JON: The one who's got all that black. The really powerful one.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: It's possible we can run straight into the ball.

SAM: Who's with me? Who's near me? Nobody, right?

MATT: Right now? Nobody is near you. Right, Pike is right next to you.

SAM: I can't do anything to Pike or with Pike. (fake sobs) All right. I'll inspire myself. The saddest inspiration. (singing) It's raining gnomes. Hallelujah, it's raining gnomes. Everywhere we go. Short, stout, tough, and mean. The handsomest I've ever seen.

MATT: What are you doing?

SAM: I'm going to Dimension Door into the orb, into the whatever this thing is. The prismatic ball.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: If it's doable to pass through a magic barrier.

TALIESIN: It might be concentration-based, and if he can knock it out…

ASHLEY: Clever gnome.

LIAM: Come on, baby.

MATT: I'm going to check one thing. This is important, because this will make a big difference.

LAURA: Is it an action to drop anti-gravity?

SAM: I can do it at will.

LAURA: They'll all get bludgeoning damage from the fall.

SAM: So will you.

LAURA: I'm not on the ceiling.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Not into the orb of death.

MATT: But inside the sphere. I understand. I will say, as is the nature of the spell versus a Dimension Door, I need you, as you begin to pass through, your form folds through the magic, the very powerful magic and intent of this sphere. The dome of red hits you immediately. I need you to make a dexterity saving throw, please.

SAM: Two.

MATT: Two.

SAM: Oh, wait. Plus six. That's eight. Plus, I'm inspired.

MATT: You can inspire and roll on top of that, if you want.

SAM: Ten. So 18.

MATT: 18. Not enough. All right.

TALIESIN: Oh god, there's a lot of d6 I hear rolling.

MATT: You take 28 points of fire damage for the red. As soon as you flash through, and there's orange behind it. I need you to make another dexterity saving throw.

LAURA: Oh no, it's a whole rainbow!

JON: Rainbow, ending with indigo!

SAM: 18.

MATT: 18.

TALIESIN: Oh no.

LIAM: And if you make it in, you're in a death box.

MATT: You take 34 points of force damage. Sorry, lightning damage on this. Acid damage. I'm reading the wrong one.

SAM: Acid, I get halved.

MATT: All right, so you take 17 points of acid damage.

TALIESIN: Oh god.

MATT: You pass through that into yellow. Make another dexterity saving throw.

SAM: I thought Dimension Door, I disappear to another plane and reappear.

MATT: The essence of this 9th-level spell is to not let anything pass through it.

SAM: All right. Keep it coming.

MATT: Make a dexterity saving throw.

SAM: 16.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: Can he bounce off at some point and stop pulling through this fucking rainbow of death?

MATT: This is the first time that I've used this, so I'm making sure that I can…

LIAM: Scanlan Shorthalt, killed by ROYGBIV.

MARISHA: What fucking spell is this?

MATT: You know what?

SAM: No, keep it coming. I got this.

MATT: No, based on how it's written, it's passing through the sphere.

SAM: What do you mean, passing through?

MATT: Physically passing through the sphere, so I will say, looking at the rules now and really thinking about how it's worded. It doesn't say otherwise. I'll say you can teleport into the sphere.

LAURA: Oh my god. You're going to another plane!

TRAVIS: It's not a gimme.

MATT: I'm going to take that damage back.

SAM: I can take it, Matt. Bring it!

MATT: No. You've made a valid point, and the spell does specify “pass through it.” You do not pass through it. You appear on the other side. So what's the range on that?

SAM: 500 feet.

MATT: You appear inside. You appear within, and you're now on the inside. You can see, the bright colors are there, blinding you from the interior. Make a constitution saving throw.

LIAM: Congratulations. You're in a prison cell with Charles Manson.

SAM: 15.

MATT: 15.

SAM: I still have my inspiration.

MATT: You do.

SAM: 18.

MATT: Okay. The good news is, you didn't take any of that damage as you bamf inside the sphere. Bad news is, you're blinded for a minute.

SAM: Great.

MATT: The colors are so bright in there, your eyes immediately go stark, flashing white. You cannot see anything in there.

SAM: Great.

LIAM: Hi, my name's Jeffrey Dahmer. Welcome to my Prismatic Sphere.

TALIESIN: You know, I would watch Jeffrey Dahmer's Prismatic Sphere.

MATT: Scanlan, that's your action.

SAM: And my bonus.

MATT: Is that your turn?

SAM: Yeah, that's it. That's all I've got. I can't see the danger I'm in.

MATT: That's true. However, you didn't take any damage, so you didn't lose your concentration on the spell. You're just blinded. All right, so now those cultists have all been slain. I forgot to do the skeletons last time, so I'll have them move in. These two skeletons are going to rush in. This one's going to go ahead and… 25. That's four skeletons on you, Keyleth.

MARISHA: Four skeletons on me?

MATT: Yeah. Eight misses you. 13 misses you, I'm pretty sure. Eight again.

MARISHA: Miss!

MATT: And a 24. You take 11 points of slashing damage. Three of them are swinging at you and you're dodging out of the way, and then one of them catches you across the shoulder and you're like, (grunts). All right, that ends their go. Grog.

TRAVIS: I'm going to charge in towards the pedestal. What's the first thing that I reach?

MATT: The first thing that you reach over here is a skeleton.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Reckless, great weapon master.

MATT: Go for it.

TRAVIS: 27?

MATT: That hits. Minimum damage, you destroy it, because of the great weapon master. You walk up, smash. There's one also adjacent to you there.

TRAVIS: Yep. Him, too.

MATT: Go for it.

TRAVIS: Reckless again. 20, even.

MATT: 20 hits. Minimum damage shatters that skeleton. You can move five feet in and get a third one, if you'd like.

TRAVIS: Actually, I would like to smash the Titanstone Knuckles together and cast Enlarge on myself.

MATT: Okay. So instead, you go into full, large-size Grog mode here. (impact sound) There you have it.

TRAVIS: Fee fie foe, you're fucked.

MATT: That's your turn, Grog? Lionel.

JON: Okay. Who's the closest to me?

MATT: Closest to you are the skeletons here, or if you wanted to rush around and get the guy with the big heavy armor.

JON: That's the old guy?

MATT: There's an old one with a staff, there's a black knight in all the armor with the halberd, or there's some skeletons.

JON: Can I make it over to the black knight?

MATT: Yeah, you can make it over to him.

JON: Yeah.

MATT: You get up to him right there.

JON: Is there any of my teammates? I want to give bardic inspiration to someone. Are you close? You need it? I'm going to give you--

MARISHA: We're upside-down on the ceiling.

JON: L-E-T-S-G-O. Let's go, let's go.

(laughter)

MARISHA: I'm like, you know how to spell, Lionel!

JON: That's the only thing I learned.

MARISHA: I'm so impressed.

JON: It's the only song I know, but it works.

MARISHA: How much do I get?

MATT: You take a d8, I think?

JON: 1d8 times three per short rest.

MATT: Yeah, you can use it three times. You get a d8 inspiration die, Keyleth.

LIAM and MARISHA: Be aggressive.

JON: I'm going to do a Hold Person. I want to hold that guy.

MATT: All right. He's going to make a wisdom saving throw. What's your spell DC?

JON: 16.

MATT: 16. Natural 20.

JON: So it doesn't work.

MATT: No. As you begin to cast the spell on him and you reach out for his mind to clench it, he (chuckles) and readies his halberd. No effect.

JON: Okay. Don't I have another attack? Is raging done with now?

MATT: You're still raging. You can maintain your rage as long as you're attacking things. You used your action to cast the spell instead of attacking.

JON: So my turn is done.

MATT: That's your turn, yeah. Unfortunately. Sorry, man. All righty, Taryon.

SAM: I don't think I can get through that thing, can I? I'll fly up closer to the orb.

TALIESIN: We still have two cultists full of magic.

SAM: Oh. Where are they?

TALIESIN: They're above you.

SAM: They're right above me?

TALIESIN: On the roof.

SAM: Oh. Well, then I'll attack them, I guess. How wide is my Prismatic Spray cone?

MATT: How wide is your Prismatic Spray cone? What's the cone size on it that it says?

SAM: It's just the standard Prismatic Spray spell.

TALIESIN: It's your everyday Prismatic Spray. It sprays in a cone. It's a sugar cone, not a waffle cone.

MATT: Prismatic Spray I'm pretty sure is a 60-foot cone. So it is this big old fun guy. What are you doing?

SAM: Will it hit the protective thing, as well as the people on the ceiling?

MATT: You can try and spray them, as it is a cone. You can aim it up probably to catch the edge of it.

SAM: I'm mainly aiming at the two dudes above.

MATT: All right, so you can hit those guys and the blackguard, if you want to. All righty, so roll a d8.

SAM: A d8? Just 1d8?

MATT: For that guy there.

SAM: Oh, that's right, to pick the color. Four.

MATT: All righty, that's green, so poison for him. For the sphere?

SAM: Seven.

MATT: Seven for the sphere. That is violet. No effect. Okay, that guy there?

SAM: Two.

MATT: Two. Orange. Acid. And the guard.

SAM: Five.

MATT: Five. Cold. All right, so roll 10d6. Failure for him. Failure for the blackguard, who rolled a four. All three of them fail.

SAM: Okay. (counting) 39.

MATT: 39. All righty… This war priest over here, the one on the far end, as you strike. That was with the acid ray. The green ray strikes him and he goes (death rattle) and slowly dissolves into a pile of purplish-red mush that begins to smear across the roof. The other two are impacted by it, and they're reeling from the pain. They're starting to show some real wear and tear now. That's going to end yours?

SAM: Yeah, pretty much. Oh, and I'll fly closer to the sphere. I said that already.

MATT: Yeah. Vax.

LIAM: Oh, I'm up? Lionel is right on that dark paladin, right?

MATT: That is correct.

LIAM: All right. I would like to use my movement to fly. It's probably not all of it, but 120 feet to get to his backside and stab him in the back.

MATT: You can get there.

LIAM: We'll start with that.

MATT: You rush in.

LIAM: That is a 19.

MATT: 19 will hit, yes.

LIAM: All right, so that is sneak attack damage. He gets three plus eight is 11, plus… where the hell did my d8 go? Okay, 16 plus sneak attack damage. (counting) 45. So that guy took 45 in the back.

MATT: Yes, and as you rush down with the speed of an elven bullet, you drive the blade right into the center of the armor plates, and you watch as he's chuckling with his glaive out, glaring at Lionel. (chuckles, death rattle, thud) And falls dead to the ground.

LIAM: Perfect. So that's movement, action, and what I have left is hasted action and bonus action, so I would like to use my bonus action to zip over to Pike, 120 feet.

MATT: As a dash. Okay.

LIAM: Yeah, and use my hasted action to carry her out of here, out where there's nobody. Towards the end of your map.

MATT: Okay, grabbing her, you can move at half movement to try and pull her along.

LIAM: That's 60 feet.

MATT: Correct. You get her about over here.

LIAM: That's great.

MATT: That ends your turn.

LIAM: I give her a bonus-bonus action to tousle her hair. Next.

MATT: Easy enough with the wind blowing around. Vex.

LAURA: Okay. I'm going to take aim at the other cultist. I'm going to Hunter's Mark them. That's the old one with the staff?

MATT: There are two of them that appear to be staff wielders. The older one has been destroyed with acid. The other one you haven't really gotten close enough to see the face of.

LAURA: But they're holding a staff?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: I'm going to bramble shot that one. No. Yeah, I'm going to bramble shot the one that I haven't seen his face yet.

MATT: Okay, so roll to attack.

LAURA: That was a 33.

MATT: Yeah, that will hit. Roll damage.

LAURA: Okay. (counting) Nobody's standing next to him, right?

MATT: Nope.

LAURA: (counting) 27. So 27 damage, and then DC of 17. Strength DC of 17.

LIAM: You're a fucking beast.

MATT: Does not succeed. He is restrained. (grunts) As you slam with the arrow from the other side, (grunts) the vines curl up and wrap around, constraining him. He's still holding the staff through part of it, but he's completely unable to move and is restrained.

LAURA: But he's holding the staff, still?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Okay, I'm going to hit him again.

MATT: Go for it.

TRAVIS and ASHLEY: Get him!

LAURA: I can't fucking add! 22?

MATT: 22 does hit. Roll damage.

LAURA: I know.

MATT: 100th episode, guys.

TRAVIS: It's extravagant.

SAM: We're onto our bonus material.

MATT: I know. I want to finish this to a narrative beat. Sorry. Thanks for coming along, guys.

LAURA: Do I get sneak attack because he's restrained?

MATT: You do.

LIAM: Advantage, yeah. Yeah, motherfucker.

LAURA: That was the shittiest additional four. Oh no. I don't have any idea what I rolled before that.

MATT: Then roll again.

LAURA: Oh god. I'm so sorry! (counting) This is so much better than the first roll. 23, and then. 33.

MATT: 33. Got it. All right, so (arrow impact) the other arrow hits. Blood pours out of the mouth as they're being held there. They're trying to break away, but they're not very strong. End of your turn? Trinket?

LAURA: I'm going to get on my broom.

MATT: Okay, you get on your broom. You going to move anywhere?

LAURA: No, but I'm going to be ready to.

LIAM: (motorcycle revving)

MATT: All righty, so the necromancer that you just hit--

LAURA: I Hunter's Marked him, too, didn't I? I didn't add my Hunter's Mark on either of those attacks. An additional seven for Hunter's Mark.

MATT: Okay. All righty. He angrily, from beneath the vines, gets his staff forward and begins chanting something under his breath. Rears back and exhales, and you watch as a cloud of green, billowing, poisonous smoke spills out in this area. That's going to get all of you guys. I want Keyleth, Grog, Lionel, and Percy to all make a constitution saving throw, please.

TALIESIN: Is it magical?

MATT: It is magical. It is a Cloudkill spell.

TRAVIS: It's not poison, though, right?

MATT: It is poison.

MARISHA: Don't fuck me, Gil. Ooh, that's not great. I'm going to go ahead and roll my inspiration. That's better.

MATT: Okay, so you take--

TRAVIS: I have resistance against poison because of the Belt of Dwarvenkind.

MATT: 15 points of poison damage, reduced to seven.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: 12.

MATT: 12. You suffer 30 points of poison damage.

MARISHA: I'm okay. I'm all right.

MATT: Lionel?

MARISHA: How much? 31?

MATT: 30 points of poison damage.

JON: 18, but how does off a duck's back work, again?

MATT: You use your reaction to reduce the damage by half.

JON: Do I have a reaction? Can I do that now?

MATT: Yes, and you succeed on that, so you actually reduce it to a quarter, so instead it is seven points of poison damage. Percival?

TALIESIN: I rolled 27.

MATT: 15 points of poison damage.

SAM: Off a duck's back? Oh mallard.

MATT: The cloud remains in this area, so this whole area is a billowing cloud of bad news.

LAURA: I assume we didn't hear that terrible pun from inside the orb of death?

JON: What was it?

SAM: I said, oh mal-lard. Oh mallard.

MATT: Yes, I understand it happens at the start of their turn, but we're trying to get through this quickly, guys. Don't worry. Calming down the internet. It's fine. Yep. Two skeletons already went. That brings us to Pike.

ASHLEY: Can I do anything?

MATT: You can move and attack. No spells.

LAURA: She can attack. Oh, she can't attack.

LIAM: But we're way in the back.

SAM: You can't do anything?

MATT: Not much you can do from this angle, unfortunately. What do you want to do?

ASHLEY: There's no rolling against it or anything?

MATT: Nope. You get to roll against it in 30 days.

ASHLEY: Oh, cool. I'll be back in New York.

TRAVIS: We'll time-jump.

MARISHA: I can fix it. Just give me a hot second.

LAURA: What if you die?

ASHLEY: Yeah, what if you die?

LIAM: We'll have several problems if Keyleth dies.

ASHLEY: Just wander off? I'll start walking back towards that way.

MATT: This way?

ASHLEY: Just start wandering. Yeah.

MATT: You can dash again.

ASHLEY: I don't need to dash.

MATT: Okay. You'll stay back there? We'll say you get that far. That ends Pike's turn. Keyleth, you're up.

MARISHA: Who's left on the ceiling with me?

MATT: It's you and Grog and Lionel on the ceiling with two skeletons.

MARISHA: Two skeletons? That's it?

MATT: And one cultist.

MARISHA: And one fucking cultist?

JON: He's been pretty hard to kill.

TALIESIN: I can't help.

MARISHA: Oh my god. A lot of things have changed in a hot second. Okay. What's going on right now?

TALIESIN: I can't help. I'm not allowed to help.

MARISHA: Where's Delilah?

LAURA: She's hiding in the ball. We can't get to her.

TRAVIS: Smoke everybody outside that bitch.

MARISHA: I mean, why not? Go big or go home. I'm going to burn my 9th-level Shapechange and go… I'm going to go red dragon?

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: And that's all I can do, right?

MATT: Yep. That is your action.

MARISHA: I'm a dragon on the ceiling.

MATT: You can still move if you want to, but you are a dragon on the ceiling.

JON: Cool.

LIAM: Do you have a giant crate of the things she can turn into?

MARISHA: He does. He had to pack a lot of stuff because of me. I feel mildly guilty.

MATT: That's fine. What are you doing, Keyleth?

MARISHA: Can I move, (impacts) giant dragon walking on the ceiling, and then look down at Delilah backwards and upside down and say, hello!

MATT: You get two attacks of opportunity from the two skeletons as you step over. 18 and 21.

MARISHA: No, yes.

MATT: Take 11 points of slashing damage. Do you have damage resistance in your dragon form?

MARISHA: Yeah, I do.

MATT: You move over and you look down. It's an orb, it's not a cylinder, so you just see the giant red dome. You can't see her because it's a dome.

MARISHA: I can't see her.

MATT: Nope. So, you get up and you glance down. For the purposes of this, you are currently right there and it's just a big red dome. There, it's fine. Reverse Gravity makes this battlefield so easy to keep track of.

LIAM: Sorry, Matt!

MATT: It's fine. All right, Keyleth, is that your go? It was an action to cast it and your move.

MARISHA: I have Frightful Presence for anyone who might be terrified of me. That's it.

MATT: Nobody sees you right now through the sphere. That ends your turn. All right. Delilah, within the sphere, the cultists next to her end up throwing the last object up and they-- well, no, sorry, they have not been throwing it in there because when the sphere turned, they'd been holding in there waiting for a moment. Delilah glances out and sees the dragon up there, she gets to make her save against your Frightful Presence. That is a 21 wisdom.

MARISHA: What's that against?

MATT: The DC of whatever your Frightful Presence is.

MARISHA: 19. Versus wisdom save.

MATT: Wisdom saves, yeah, she makes it. She looks out, seeing everyone falling apart out there, pulls back in, looks at Scanlan and goes, “There's more important things to do.” She grabs her amulet that she has around her neck and as she holds it again, you watch as the white orb that was glowing turns to black once again. In that instant, Grog, you revert back to your regular size, Keyleth, you return to your form, Percy, you fall off the side of the wall and land on your feet barely. The skeletons just collapse into piles of bones. Tary, you fall and land on the ground there. This Prismatic Wall vanishes.

SAM: Does Feeblemind end?

MATT: Feeblemind, currently, right now, is not affecting you. Meaning, Feeblemind, whatever the spell is right now, doesn't seem to be having an effect. All of a sudden, your consciousness comes back to you.

ASHLEY: Really?!

MATT: Uh-huh.

ASHLEY: Oh, fucking hell!

MATT: She, clutching the amulet, gives a nod to the two other cultists and all three of them step into the black orb. You watch as their forms (whooshing noises) and vanish.

TRAVIS: They disapparated.

ASHLEY: They stepped into the circle?

MATT: Yep!

LAURA: The orb, they went into the orb!

TRAVIS: They're moving freely and it looked like pretty familiarly--

MATT: Through the sphere.

MARISHA: They went into the thing! They're gone forever!

TALIESIN: No!

TRAVIS: And they've done it before.

LAURA: That's how they got over here!

MATT: Scanlan, I want you to roll a perception check.

SAM: Not great. Five.

MATT: Okay. Never mind.

MARISHA: If she went in the tiny thing.

MATT: Yep!

MARISHA: I still have Shapechange for another hour.

SAM: No, it's gone, you're done.

MARISHA: Wait, did she cancel my spell, or is it just the orb that's done?

MATT: You sense the concentration is still there, but the spell has no effect where you currently are. By the way, Lionel and Grog, you both (falling sounds) slamming into the ground.

TRAVIS: Dexterity?

MATT: Nope! You guys suffer 15 points of bludgeoning damage. So, reduced to half for both of you because you're raging, so seven bludgeoning damage each.

LIAM: And are the wings schlorped back in?

MATT: Yes. Your wings (retracting sound).

JON: Mine says “while raging, resist bludgeoning damage.”

MATT: That's what I'm saying, you're taking half damage from this. You take seven, as opposed to 15.

SAM: Am I still there?

MATT: You're still there, right next to the orb.

TALIESIN: I am going to unload a couple shots into the orb and see what happens.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and take a shot.

TALIESIN: Animus freezes up, I throw it. Pull Bad News. Bad News freezes up. I pull Retort. That hits.

MATT: Technically, fire, discard, quick draw, right? Quick draw means you can do it as a free action as a part of it?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'll burn an action surge for this.

MATT: We'll say because you only used your bonus action to-- oh, not to reload. As a quick draw, you can pull it as an attack, you're fine. So, you do three attacks, the third one fires. You fire (bullet) and it vanishes into the orb.

TALIESIN: I'm going to sit and fix my guns.

TRAVIS: Are there any enemies left on the map?

MATT: Currently, there's the one right there who's being held by the brambles. The brambles have vanished, and he's currently still conscious, and it's not his turn yet. So, Percy took all the shots into the orb. It is now Scanlan's turn.

SAM: I will draw my blade and scream and hit that thing with my sword. No, the guy! The guy, not the orb.

MATT: You rush towards the guy as the brambles wither away and fall to the ground. He turns around to rush towards the orb just as you rush towards him. Your bardic battle cry just “Argh!” with Mythcarver. Go ahead and make your attack.

SAM: Jon's dice. 11 plus I think it's ten. Somewhere.

MATT: That'll hit. His armor class isn't very high; it's just a mage armor of 15.

LAURA: Yay!

SAM: It's just a sword; it's not even magical now. Shit, I can't find anything, I think it's 1d8 plus two.

MATT: It's 1d8 plus your strength.

SAM: 1d8 plus three. Right?

MATT: Well, it doesn't have a magical bonus right now. So just 1d8 plus your strength modifier. What's your strength modifier?

SAM: I can't even find it. I think it's one, but this is an old sheet.

MATT: So, 1d8 plus one, your strength hasn't gone up.

SAM: Thank you. Seven.

MATT: Seven damage.

SAM: Plus one. So eight damage.

MATT: Eight damage. How do you want to do this, Scanlan?

LAURA: The most lackluster how do you want to do this!

MATT: He had, like, three hit points left. How do you want to do this?

SAM: I'll just stab him in his toes over and over and I'll say, this is what you get for separating me from my friends! Who I want to be around forever because I love them! Is this what we're supposed to do now, is this the thing?

TRAVIS: Don't question it.

SAM: Okay. Yeah, my friends!

MATT: As you repeatedly stab it in the feet, he's like, “Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!” and it's like trying to pull away from you down the side of the pyramid ziggurat. “What are you doing?!” as you keep stabbing it over and over again into the feet until it falls unconscious. Bleeding out through his ankles. How very Scanlan.

TRAVIS: Through his ankles.

LAURA: (laughing) That is the stupidest death!

TRAVIS: All right, we're going in the little sphere. Here we go.

LAURA: No!

MARISHA: So, what? What?

TRAVIS: No, no, no.

MARISHA: So it's only a dark magical, anti-magical field because she wants it to be?!

TRAVIS: She manipulated it.

LAURA: She turned it into that.

MARISHA: Which means--

LAURA: She succeeded on the previous one. This a pathway into some other world now.

MARISHA: She can change it!

JON: She did something. It was black before, then she turned it white, and I don't know if that allowed magic. But when she turned it black again, all magic stops, so.

TRAVIS: Which is like the one that we've been around.

LIAM: I mean, she knows what she's doing.

TRAVIS: Who has Speak with Dead?

LAURA: We can't do anything in here.

TALIESIN: We're going to drag this cadaver outside.

LAURA: Okay, let's take the cadaver outside.

MARISHA: So, it's just very strong magic which makes her change what it is?

LIAM: She knows how it works. We don't know why she's here, but she figured shit out the last time.

LAURA: We fucking killed her. How did we kill her before? How did she die?

MATT: You killed her in the hallway as she was trying to escape back to Castle Whitestone when you were fighting Orthax.

LAURA: Like, she fully fucking died.

MATT: You killed her and threw her body in the acid pit.

LAURA: Holy shit.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Not a lot of remains to be, you know.

TALIESIN: Resurrected.

MARISHA: All of their magic was necromantic.

SAM: What if it's just her soul or something?

LAURA: What if it's not really her?

TRAVIS: Well, listen, we're not going in the orb, right?

TALIESIN: No.

TRAVIS: Yeah, so let's drag one of these smart-looking fucks outside and have Pike do Twenty Questions.

SAM: I'm a little worried that once we walk outside, Pike becomes dumb again.

LAURA: Well, she can Greater Restoration her as soon as we walk outside.

MARISHA: I can.

TALIESIN: Let's take this outside. Just take it outside. Nothing good happens here.

MARISHA: Wait, before we go. Pike, does Sarenrae know anything about this? Anything?

ASHLEY: I can check.

TRAVIS: Sam, I think you're right.

TALIESIN: You're just going to waste your attempt in here.

JON: There might be some ducks.

MATT: Are you going to try to have a brief communion with Sarenrae in the temple?

LAURA: I mean, you could try.

LIAM: If you lose your brain, you can't do it, so why not?

ASHLEY: I'll try.

MATT: You drop to your knees for a moment and concentrate, hoping for her wisdom. Go ahead and make a general wisdom check. Roll a d20 and add your wisdom modifier. Plus five.

ASHLEY: Wisdom modifier?

MATT: Yeah, I believe it's plus five.

ASHLEY: Okay. 22.

MATT: 22. As you concentrate, you feel the warmth of Sarenrae's embrace descend from the darkness of the inside of your eyelids. You see the angelic form of her flaming aura come down and her hands touch the sides of your cheek. She turns your head around towards the orb. And, where previously you saw the little black dot, instead, you see a large oval doorway. Around it, it is flickering madly like a hundred spinning razors around the edges, but just beyond it you can see what appears to be a desolate, gray landscape, what looks to be a scattering of city buildings across this broken, black shadowland, and in the center a singular black obsidian tower that rises up to where you can't quite see the top from your current angle. And she gets down really close to the side of your ear. You feel the warmth of her divine breath against your face. She says, “This is the destiny. This needs to stop. Only terror will come through this.”

ASHLEY: We have to go there?

MATT: “Whatever way you can. Our reach cannot go beyond the Divine Gate.”

ASHLEY: If I go there, will you not be able to go with me?

MATT: “I will be diminished, if at all able to.”

ASHLEY: Okay. Thank you.

MATT: And her finger touches your head and she kisses the top of your forehead and you feel the warm presence again, and she withdraws. As she withdraws, the cold is even harder with her absence because now the proximity of that shadow, of this room, just this general sense of negative energy and death that emanates from this direction behind you. As soon as you watch her light vanish and you open your eyes again, you're chilled to the bone.

ASHLEY: Okay. Well, it's a doorway, and we have to go there. It's the only way to stop this.

LAURA: Stop what?

ASHLEY: I don't know.

LAURA: Well, we can't go through now.

TALIESIN: Can't we?

MARISHA: Is it just like this now? Like the ziggurat in Whitestone?

TALIESIN: I don't know. Can't we?

TRAVIS: Yeah, we can.

LAURA: Oh, fuck. But, we're not even healed. They just went through. We're going to go through and just die immediately.

SAM: We have to go at least find out if the spells are still affecting us. If we go through and Pike's dumb--

ASHLEY: Maybe we should back out.

MARISHA: The last time I put my hand in the sphere when it was black it nearly tore me apart. We could try again.

LAURA: It was just a doorway?

ASHLEY: It was a doorway, and it opened into a city of sorts and in the middle was an obsidian tower.

LAURA: That's what I saw through the other one!

ASHLEY: Okay.

LIAM: Do I feel anything? Sense anything?

MATT: In what way?

LIAM: From my patron.

MATT: Do you wish to try to concentrate there?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Make a wisdom check. d20, add your wisdom modifier.

LIAM: Use my last Luck of the day. Same thing. It's shit. Seven.

MATT: Seven? You concentrate and you get the sense that the proximity of this orb and something about the nature of this whole occurrence is interfering with your connection with your deity temporarily. You try and reach out to her, but nothing is returning your call.

TRAVIS: Yeah, let's step out of the range, see what happens.

LAURA: Can we back out and see how far the range goes? Is it the same distance as our ziggurat?

MATT: So, you drag a body, you said?

LAURA: Yeah, one of the bodies.

TRAVIS: Which one, the dark paladin?

LIAM: Yeah, that asshole.

MATT: So, you take the black guard, drag it behind you. The rest of you all continue down the pathway. You get to about where that T-intersection was and Pike, your brain goes numb once more.

ASHLEY: (laughing) No!

MARISHA: Keyleth goes over to Pike and puts her palm on her head and casts Greater Restoration.

MATT: The spell immediately loses its hold and you regain control of your facilities.

ASHLEY: Disaster averted, Keyleth. I throw my arms around her and I kiss her on the forehead, on the cheek.

LAURA: Just full on her lips.

ASHLEY: Sorry, I'm just so intense.

MARISHA: The amount you've saved us. It's nothing. I've learned it from you.

ASHLEY: Okay, do we need to talk to this dead person?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: No.

TRAVIS: What? We don't need to talk to this dead person?

MARISHA: Sorry, I was answering a different question. Continue.

TRAVIS: Do it.

ASHLEY: I'll cast Speak with Dead.

MATT: Speak with Dead. You watch the plate armor rouse ever so slightly as the fresh corpse begins to clink and tense against the metal plates. You hear the creaking sound of breath trying to escape from the reedy thin slit where, apparently, part of the dagger blow that you had shoved in the back of its neck went through and cut part of the vocal cords.

LAURA: Eww! Fucking gross!

MATT: You have its attention.

ASHLEY: Is this one of the ones where his eye is missing, is he one of those guys?

MATT: As you glance closer to the black guard, because the helmet's still on, you'd have to pull the helmet off.

ASHLEY: He's the guy with the-- yeah. Pull it off for sure.

MATT: Pull the helmet off-- it's missing its eye.

SAM: By the way, while this is going on, I'm dragging Doty out.

MATT: Okay. (creaking)

LAURA: I help. Trinket helps, too, because he's stronger.

ASHLEY: Okay, what do we want to know?

MATT: Five questions.

ASHLEY: Why an eye is missing?

TRAVIS: How they access the gate.

TALIESIN: What is it?

LIAM: You've got five?

ASHLEY: Five.

LIAM: Is the gate safe for us to travel?

ASHLEY: Who do you work for? Okay. Is it safe for any of us to get through the gate?

MATT: You can see the lips are curled back against the teeth and the skin is stretched tight against the skull. While once living, this had some sort of necrotic twisting to its flesh, whether it be by proximity or practice. But the jaws open. (gasping) Through the jaw doesn't move, you hear the escaping thin air forming words that say, “You need one of the crafted stones to pass unharmed.”

LAURA: Or the blade, the sphere!

MATT: (gasping) “Or be hearty enough to survive its ravishing doorway.”

ASHLEY: Who do you serve?

MATT: “We are the Remnants. Small parts of the whole, given purpose to come together and remake the vessel of the Undying King.”

ASHLEY: Why do you have one eye missing?

MATT: “To bequeath ourselves of the highest Remnant order to the Whispered One is to gift our sight like he did. Be granted knowledge he keeps.”

LAURA: There's only two more questions left.

LIAM: Suggestion. How did Ripley return--

LAURA: Not Ripley. Delilah.

LIAM: That's what I meant to say. Delilah.

ASHLEY: Was that Delilah?

LAURA and LIAM: Yeah.

LIAM: How did Delilah return?

ASHLEY: I have one job!

LAURA: It's stupid!

ASHLEY: How did Delilah return?

MATT: “I know not the means. But she is a powerful necromancer, and with the right preparation, even death can be averted.”

ASHLEY: What did you say?

LAURA: Or, do they have plans to attack through the orbs? Or how many orbs are there on this plane?

LIAM: He didn't know the answer to the last one. So he might not know the answer.

LAURA: Yeah, are there plans to come through the orbs?

ASHLEY: Yeah, that's a great one.

LIAM: Is there anything that Delilah is afraid of?

LAURA: Nah, he wouldn't know that.

ASHLEY: What are your plans? What are The Remnants' plans?

MATT: The whisper becomes a slight chuckle. (chuckling) “His return is nigh. The Whispered One will come. His acolytes will help him complete his destiny through the Ritual of Seeding. From within the gate he will rise, the solitary tyrant and lord of Exandria. And with the sole crown of creation guarded upon his head, we who were his body will be rewarded with life eternal at his side.” (gasping) And the spell fades.

TALIESIN: Did he not have one more?

MATT: That was five questions.

LAURA: Great.

MATT: As you sit here in the cavern, contemplating what these words mean, what the next step of your accelerated involvement in this plot, we're going to end tonight's episode. Ran a little over, guys; hundredth episode, that's a record.

MARISHA: What time is it? 12:41! Oh my god!

LIAM: 12:41?!

LAURA: Is that the longest we've ever gone?

MATT: Holy shit. For those who are still here, hanging out, thank you for staying! For those who aren't, enjoy your two-parter!

MARISHA: A lot to unpack, there.

TALIESIN: Tune in next week for a shopping episode.

LAURA: Yeah, for sure.

TALIESIN: Critical Role goes to the beach.

LIAM: Scanlan, Taryon. Wow.

TALIESIN: Doty.

MARISHA: The eight characters on this side of the table.

MATT: Yeah, seriously. Dude, thank you again, Jon, for joining us!

(cheering)

MATT: Thank you guys so much for watching. Thank you for being part of our hundredth episode.

LAURA: Thank you, Marvel Puzzle Quest!

MATT: Thank you, Marvel Puzzle Quest for being our amazing sponsor. Thank you, Critters, for being amazing. I'm going to get my, like, four hours of sleep before getting on a plane to a convention. So I'll see you guys in Texas!

LIAM: Real soon.

MATT: Yep. Anyway, love you all. Have a wonderful night, and is it Thursday yet? Good night!

[music]

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