MATT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to this evening’s episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us voice actors get together and roll dice like we’re awesome nerd people, which we are. So, welcome! We’re going to do a couple quick announcements here before we kick things off. You want to go ahead and start?
ZAC: Yeah, I’m that guy that you can’t wait to stop talking so the show can get started. So guys, last week we hit 516 on the sub-train. Okay? And each week, in theory, should grow by itself because re-subs count. So basically, if we break 516 and make a new record, we will do a giant giveaway which includes everything from Heroclix to Steam keys to D&D schwag, books from Felicia, all sorts of stuff. It will be a giant box of wonderful Geek and Sundry-related stuff. So that is if we break 516, so there’s a reason to keep that train alive, guys. We are also very close to hitting 10k. We are like 160 away from reaching 10,000 subscribers. How many? 154 away from hitting 10k. Now you guys may remember #noshavetil10k. I have not. If we hit 10k, right when we hit, a straw poll will be released into the chatroom, and you guys get to vote on what my face gets shaved into for the next week of programming on G&S. And it is very unfortunate that that’s how we’re going to do it. So tomorrow night on Gather Your Party, it will be Stef and Jessica’s birthday, we’re going to be throwing a birthday party, and I’m going to let them shave my face in whatever you guys vote on, as a birthday present to them.
MARISHA: So many things.
MATT: The possibilities are endless.
ZAC: Just saying that out loud honestly hurts me. A lot.
MATT: It is thick, too. You can get some nice dimension in there.
LIAM: Words, shave words in–
TALIESIN: You could build a bear in the beard.
ZAC: I could build a bear. Yeah. Great.
MATT: Can we shave off bits and then re-apply them to other parts of the face?
ZAC: If you want to wear them, yeah!
MATT: Okay! I might do that, yeah.
ZAC: And then this weekend, Nerdist is running a 24-hour livestream for Extra Life. You guys may recognize some of the faces that stop by. They are going to be streaming from our set. So, let’s welcome them. We’ll be hosting it, but I encourage you guys all to head over to Nerdist, twitch.tv/nerdist. This weekend it’ll be Saturday from 9AM to 9PM Pacific Standard Time. I will be there the whole time helping out, as well as some of our other Geek and Sundry hosts. So you guys should check that out and help them be part of our team, raising money for Extra Life. And Matt, I wanted to thank you for helping us make Battle of the Bands a success last week. We all know that the voting was rigged and that’s why your team won, but it was a valiant effort nonetheless. And if you guys enjoyed that, you should tweet at Geek and Sundry’s twitter and let them know, and we will try to do things like that for you more in the future. That’s pretty much all I have. Let’s get to 10k and get this stupid stuff off my face.
MATT: Thank you very much, Zac. Speaking of shaving, let me take a moment here to mourn the Mercer-beard. Those who saw on twitter. I was trying to hold off until 10k and Halloween for my costume, but due to work, had to shave it as of last night. So, I apologize. I’m in mourning. So please bear with me for this evening, going forward. Couple announcements. Critical Role-related: we have a lot of our party in transit right now. Laura and Travis just flew in from Toronto and will probably be a little bit late to the game. Sam is currently heading here from a session and will get here as soon as possible. Unfortunately, Orion will not be joining us again this evening, but hope to have him back next week for Halloween. So, things will get rolling as they arrive. Thankfully, we’re at a situation in the game where I don’t think it’ll be too halting. We shall see. Next announcement, we’re putting out Critical Role thematic playlists. All the players have put together playlists of Spotify songs that they feel encapture aspects of their character and their character’s journeying as Vox Machina and in the world of Exandria. So those will be releasing every week, starting tonight at 8PM with Percy, I believe. So Taliesin’s playlist will be up available on Geek and Sundry’s website and–
TALIESIN: Dropping mad jams– I’m not.
MARISHA: They’re mad, you’re allowed.
TALIESIN: I’m going to show you some music.
MARISHA: It’s good. Go download Spotify right now, so you can go, if you haven’t. It’s free!
MATT: There you go.
TALIESIN: It’s cancer. It’s been a weird weeknight.
MARISHA: It has. It’s been a long day.
TALIESIN: I had a strange day. I’ve infected friends with Spotify now.
MATT: As you should. Infecting friends is fun. Couple other things. For those who haven’t seen it already, the D&Diesel videos went up earlier this week, where we had the wonderful chance– for me, at least– to Dungeon Master for a half an hour for Vin Diesel, along with Travis and Laura, and Jessica and Dan of Nerdist ilk. Had a great time, so hopefully you liked it, and if you’d like to see more stuff like that, hopefully we’ll have more things coming up in the future in that vein, because we had a good time. Also, along with that, I released my Witch Hunter class, which was a customized 5th edition class that I designed after I ran that game, based on the character I created for Vin. It went up on the website, untested. Feedback is always welcome, and I will be updating it on the website as feedback comes in and balancing is tweaked for it. But have at it, have fun, hope you guys enjoy it. I had a good time creating it, and it’s a good time. Also, just a reminder to you guys: our official Critical Role t-shirts are available on the Geek and Sundry website store if you want to wear any of the awesome red shirts that we’ve shown on the show with our full-on Critical Role logo. Shown in an exemplary dark, fine ink. Those are available for purchase.
MARISHA: And keychains.
TALIESIN: What if, due to some strange third-arm syndrome, I can’t wear t-shirts; is there any way I can show my support to the show?
MATT: Yes, you can. We have necklaces and keychains with our logo as well. Also available on the store. So, you’re welcome to check those out.
TALIESIN: With my third arm, I need necklaces and keychains.
LIAM: Three-armed shirts are coming in 2016.
MATT: Yeah, three-armed shirts will be on the docket. Thank you, Liam, I was trying to get to that.
MARISHA: There’s a new shirt up. I didn’t know that.
MATT: We have a new shirt up?
OFFSTAGE: How do you want to do this.
MATT: We have it up?! This is good news to know. We have now up on the store our official “How do you want to do this” shirt as well. So you can go check that out on the shop. Prepare for the holiday season with your Christmases and your Chanukahs and your Critmases and all that fun stuff to make people look as nerdy as we are. Which is I think part of my goal, personally, through world domination.
MATT: Maybe not Liam. Everyone but Liam can look weird. There’s no way to help you.
LIAM: Can I just interject for a second only because I’m hot as hell. I just want to thank @pupgames on twitter for making me this fabulous stealthy cloak. I’m going to take it off in about two minutes, because it’s more t-shirt weather here in the studio. So I’ll just let everybody bask in the glow of my absence of light for two minutes, and then I’m going to switch to t-shirt mode.
TALIESIN: You’re so stealthy.
MARISHA: Where’d Liam go?
MATT: It’s mysterious.
MARISHA: Holy shit.
MATT: All righty. Also, our cast interviews on the Geek and Sundry website are almost over. Orion’s went up today and those will be finishing up shortly.
MARISHA: But we have Spotify lists to replace them.
MATT: Yep, Spotify lists coming up.
MARISHA: So there’s still more content.
MATT: If you’ve missed any of the cast interviews, they’re all available on the website. So feel free to check them out.
MATT: Marisha, you wanted to follow up on the 826LA news you had.
MARISHA: Yes. 826LA, they’re in a campaign right now for– let me try to get all this right– for LA 2050 which is a big contest that’s sponsored by Goldhirsh, right now, and it’s all for sponsoring education and a brighter future for Los Angeles. So 826LA and Young Storytellers are actually partnering together, and they’re in this contest right now. You have to go vote, and they could potentially win $100,000. Which: awesome. And we’ve got Critters. I think they’ll win. So you have to go vote. I tweeted the link, so the mods, go find it on my twitter, or you can just search #LA2050, and you should be able to find it. So, yeah, go vote.
MATT: Team Hooman, Critters, come up there and make this happen.
MARISHA: Also, they just announced they’re going to be opening an 826LA– sorry, not 826LA, but an 826 in San Francisco!
TALIESIN: Another 826 in San Francisco?
MARISHA: Oh, is there another, I guess so.
TALIESIN: Yeah, because there’s one there–
MARISHA: They might be opening a second one.
TALIESIN: They might be opening– that would make sense.
MARISHA: I think they said they announced they’re opening one. I think.
TALIESIN: I’m retweeting you right now.
MARISHA: Okay. Taliesin’s retweeting me.
MATT: So there you go. Follow either of their twitters to get the information.
MARISHA: But, go vote. Help them win 100k.
MATT: All right, Taliesin, you wanted to mention something about Tara’s–
TALIESIN: I do! Tara Platt, who is a wonderful friend of the show and amazing voice actress and extremely fabulous in many different ways; she’s a sky pirate, she does all sorts of crazy stuff. She’s got an Indiegogo for an interactive book called, and I’m hoping I pronounce this right, Zartana. You should check it out, it’s really cool, it’s really pretty and beautiful. It’s got a very Stardust-y vibe. I’ve already picked up my copy. So you should go, there’s just a couple days left, just hop in and grab a copy for yourself. It’s going to be really exciting. And–
MARISHA: Yeah, it’s like about a g*psy girl, and it’s got a bunch of recipes, and it teaches you how to make a bow, and has herb cards and all sorts of cool stuff. I was into it immediately.
TALIESIN: For the cool child in your life this Christmas. This would be for the kid who needs something that’s not quite outdoors, but not quite a video game.
MATT: There you go.
TALIESIN: Also, I will be in OniCon in Galveston, Texas over Halloween. So, if you’re in Galveston, Texas and it’s Halloween, and you want to go to an anime con, I’ll be there. And I’ll be in costume, and it will be pretty hilarious.
MARISHA: And last, but not least, last Thursday while we were here, looking at dead versions of ourselves hanging from a tree, Super Power Beat Down won a Geekie!
LIAM: Oh! Mazel tov!
MARISHA: Yeah, glad I came here instead of going to the award show. Totally worth it. But we won a Geekie. So, I thought I should say that.
LIAM: You nerd.
MATT: Good on you.
TALIESIN: You should wear it like bling. Get a chain for it. That’d be great.
MARISHA: Just, once again, like, it– No.
TALIESIN: No. No, never mind.
MATT: All righty, any other announcements anyone needs to make?
TALIESIN: God damn it, it keeps happening.
LIAM: I’m good.
MATT: All righty. Well then, let us go ahead and get ourselves tuned in for tonight’s episode of Critical Role.
MATT: And welcome back. So, everyone, our Sam arrived–
SAM and TALIESIN: Samurai?
MATT: We have our samurai! Laura and Travis are in transit, they’ll be here as soon as they–
(thump from Sam’s mug)
MATT: Well played. So. To give us a little overview of the current story. Two nasty individuals known as the Briarwoods, Lord and Lady Briarwood, have, for the past five years, been occupying the city of Whitestone, which was once the home to Percival here, after it was forcefully taken from his family, most of which seemingly have been either killed or lost in the process, and he was scattered to the four winds to find Vox Machina. After encountering the Briarwoods in Emon in a scuffle that took place, the Briarwoods retreated to Whitestone, inviting the party to come and say hello. Since then, the party has prepared the best they could, made their way towards Whitestone, and, through some bit of infiltration and subterfuge, managed to sneak into the city itself. They, under the guise of Scanlan’s Seeming illusion, appeared to be as common folk as the rest of the poor saps that still live in Whitestone. They scoped out an abandoned tavern, which they fitted to their needs as a base of operations, and also managed to come across a central portion of Whitestone’s city structure and history, known as the Sun Tree, a tree once risen to the might of the god of the sun, Pelor, now lies dead in the center of town, and from it hung eight figures that appear to have been individuals killed, hung, and painted up and dressed to resemble Vox Machina as essentially a warning, or a welcome. It’s hard to tell when it comes to the Briarwoods. Nevertheless, a message was definitely delivered. The party, retreating back to the tavern, set up for the remainder of the afternoon. Keyleth carved, through her druidic magical ways, through the ground to find some of the roots of the Sun Tree, and began preparing an extensive, time-consuming ritual in hopes of restoring some semblance of life to the entity itself. That is where we left off. While the rest of you have been going about your preparations for the rest of the afternoon as this ritual for Keyleth is an eight-hour ritual and it begun in the early afternoon around 2:00, so this will conclude by around sundown, a little past sundown. While she is down there, essentially meditating with the barren roots of the Sun Tree, is there anything you guys would wish to do, or are you just waiting for her to complete her ritual?
TALIESIN: Well, there are options.
SAM: What do we need? We have to get water, right? There was some issue about– we don’t have any water, do we?
TALIESIN: Was that an issue?
SAM: I don’t remember. There was some wells around.
MARISHA: Can I do a few checks while I’m preparing the ritual to see if this is a curse over this tree?
MATT: Go ahead and make a religion check, I guess.
MARISHA: Not great. Hang on, my ring of protection is in the way. Nine.
MATT: Nine. Honestly, it’s hard to tell if it’s a curse, the tree itself is just dead. You are very well-connected with the natural essences of the world, the life essence of plants and natural growth. All of your interactions with the Sun Tree are devoid of any response. It seems dead where it stands. But, as you continue your ritual–
MARISHA: God, I hope this works.
MATT: Anyone else have anything they want to do?
LIAM: Well, couple of things. Grog and I were keeping watch. I forget, one of us was on the first floor and one’s on the second. I’m just going to say that I was on the second for now. Because I can’t remember. It’s probably wrong. I’m going to take all daggers out of my Blinkback Belt except for the Keen Dagger and replace them with wooden stakes that I purchased. And I’m going to spend an hour or so, whatever it takes to– I’ve got partial gloves on; I’m going to take that symbol of Sarenrae and I’m going to take as much time as it needs to sew it so that it is fixed firmly to the back of my right hand. I tell Grog that I’m going to go down below and check, and I follow the path all the way down to find– I think everyone else is down there.
SAM: Oh hi, Vax.
LIAM: I step over Scanlan’s head and I kneel down by Keyleth and gently place a hand on her shoulder and say: What do you need? What can I get?
MARISHA: I don’t really know. I don’t know if this is going to work, to be totally honest. The tree is dead. Do you have any of that holy water?
LIAM: I got holy oil. Not water.
MARISHA: Do I have holy water? I don’t know if I took one or not. I can’t remember.
MATT: If you didn’t write it down, it’s not in your inventory.
MARISHA: I’m pretty good about that. I don’t think I took one.
TALIESIN: In the meantime, there are options.
LIAM: I got two. I remember it. It was two vials of holy oil. I gave one to my sister, and I have the other. If you think it will help, you take it.
LIAM: Do you need me to get water?
MARISHA: Yeah, let’s get some water.
MATT: Yeah, because as you guys went through the tavern, you found there was no actual water. There was old ale. There were still a few casks of wine. Stuff that was abandoned when whoever previously was the owner of this tavern either left Whitestone or fell to a worse fate. But there was no plain water to drink.
LIAM: I’m going to go out into the street. I’m going to find water.
TALIESIN: I can show you where there’s water.
TALIESIN: I lived here my whole life.
SAM: Are you guys disguised?
LIAM: Yeah, we all are.
MATT: They’re still technically under your Seeming spell, for the next few hours, at least.
MARISHA: Yeah, we cannot let that go.
SAM: Does that have a range? No, it just lasts.
MATT: As far as I know, it lasts just for an eight-hour period. I’ll double-check.
LIAM: Percival, do you want to come upstairs to the window, and–
SAM: I’m coming.
LIAM: Oh, you’re coming, too? All right. You’re my son, let’s go.
MATT: Yeah, it lasts for eight hours and allows you to change the appearance of–
SAM: Great. We’re still peasants.
MARISHA: Remember, we also have Heroes’ Feast up.
SAM: Oh, okay.
MARISHA: Advantages on wisdom throws and whatnot.
TALIESIN: Hit point bonus, advantage on wisdom throws–
MARISHA: Yeah. 2d10 hit points. Max hit points.
TALIESIN: I have my advantages still. So I’m going to lead them to the closest well.
MATT: Okay. Stealthily?
MARISHA: I’m going to start– I’ve kind of cleared out around the roots.
MATT: It’s a lot. It’s earth and then giant roots from a very large tree that go past. You aren’t at the bottom of the roots. You’ve met the roots as you were carving through. They go even deeper than where you are right now.
MARISHA: Yeah. Can I start carving a little ravine around it for where we’re going to start pouring the water?
MATT: If you’ve already started the eight-hour process of the secondary spell, you would not be able to really interrupt that to be able to continue another spell you’ve been doing. I could say that you did that as part of your preparation for the roots. That’s fine. That’s fine. It’d be a small ravine, because you also don’t want to–
MARISHA: Damage anything.
MATT: You continue your ritual. The rest of you make your way out the same window that you entered, into the alleyway, following Percival. You lead them to the back of the tavern into one of the large alleyways between this chunk of the city. You find there was a grassy area; most of the grass here has turned gray and brittle, as it is starting to push towards the winter months. And even for the daytime, the temperature is pretty chilly. It’s probably around 50 or so degrees, 55. Fahrenheit, for our un-American friends. Eventually, you make your way to the nearest well that you’ve been to. And there is a bucket there. It looks like it has gathered some dust and some cobwebs. You get the bucket, and you let it down, and eventually it finds its way into the water. It’s pretty deep before it hit the water. You don’t know if it’s been just, like, water level, or if this particular well itself is drying up. But you manage to get a bucket up, and you pull it up and check it and it looks clear. You take the water back with you to the tavern. Seemingly uneventful. You guys have managed to stay far enough out of sight. Nothing seems to caught your attention.
SAM: Okay. Should we scout around and see if there’s anything else around the hideout that we should be aware of, or any other hiding places, or safehouses?
LIAM: I feel like we should probably bring a little more water than one bucket. So we should spend a little bit of time doing that. But maybe my sister and I can have a look around, see if there’s anything that we’ve missed. Outside.
TALIESIN: Well, here’s the question. There’s three lordly houses that we have to avoid at all costs, for now. There’s a few shops that if we feel might be in our best interest to scout out. I know where an old weapons depot used to be. We could check the temples to maybe see if we could maybe find some support to begin with.
LIAM: Do we trust anyone here?
SAM: We need friends.
TALIESIN: There might be people I trust.
SAM: Is there a central meeting place?
TALIESIN: There’s a temple.
SAM: Is that a place where you can really chat up brand new people? Or is there a pub? I guess it’s not really a pub town, is it?
TALIESIN: It’s not a pub town. And it’s a place where you don’t necessarily chat up new people, but maybe find some old ones.
SAM: Okay. We could go there.
LIAM: Percival, we’re on your turf, so I’ll follow your lead.
TALIESIN: (sighs) If we have just enough time, I’d like to try to go to the temple and the cemetery. Leave, maybe Grog and Vex to guard Keyleth.
MATT: Okay. So, Keyleth, you’re staying behind to finish the ritual?
MARISHA: I’m doing what I do best. And I focus all my energy on this thing.
MATT: There are two temples in here. There’s the temple to Pelor, which is known as the Zenith. Within the graveyard.
TALIESIN: Yes, the Zenith is the one I wanted to go to.
SAM: What’s the other one?
TALIESIN: The other one is called The Lady’s Chamber. It’s a temple of Erathis.
SAM: That sounds fun.
TALIESIN: I don’t know anybody there.
SAM: I might!
TALIESIN: That’s what I’m afraid– they might know you, so no.
MATT: So the Lady’s Chamber, the temple to Erathis, is more central to the city and is partially a courtyard, partially a half-dome amphitheater place of worship. You guys make your way through the city. I’ll have you all roll stealth checks if you could.
SAM: We’re not trying to hide, are we?
MATT: Well, if you’re not trying to hide, then make deception checks instead.
TALIESIN: Awesome possum.
SAM: I rolled an 18 for something.
LIAM: Can I choose to hide instead of deceive?
MATT: If you’d like to.
LIAM: Yeah, I’ll hang a little bit back from them.
TALIESIN: I was trying to be stealthy, as well.
TALIESIN: Although I’m fine either way. 23.
SAM: I’m better deceiving.
MATT: So we have two folks staying to the shadows, best they can in broad daylight in a clustered city. And one child-looking pauper of a boy wandering through the city alone towards the graveyard. As you guys make your way through, staying off to the side, jumping, or running through buildings and staying off the main path, you walk along the central road to the far eastern side of Whitestone. A few folks come out during the day, some are carrying bundles of textile goods. There’s one guy that has a small cart, and it looks like he’s bringing tools and stuff either to or from a store of some kind. Gives you a curious look as if he hasn’t seen you before but doesn’t seem to–
SAM: G'day, sir!
MATT: “G'day!” And just keeps rolling along, the wheels squeaking as he pushes up the road.
SAM: I wish I had a yo-yo.
TALIESIN: How about a wheel and stick?
SAM: Oh, the wheel and stick would be good.
MATT: Eventually, you guys make your way to the far eastern side of Whitestone. This is where the boundary wall that surrounds most of the city from a defensive standpoint lies. There is the multiple exit points throughout this wall. You dart around the outskirts of it, being careful to avoid the pattern of the undead giants that are slowly stomping through the city, like these hulking sentinels that walk in a perpetual pattern through the town. You follow the winding path through the thick woods, just on the outside of the wall of the city itself. You sticking to the path in your open way, or do you want to join them in the side of the forest?
SAM: Well, I’ve got to stick with them, I guess, although I like being a young peasant boy. It’s kind of fun. All right, I’ll go with them.
MATT: All right. So the three of you dart off into the woods, skirting the outside of the road, but making your way following it to the outside of the graveyard itself. Eventually, you come to the outside of the graveyard. Large iron fence that marks the outside of it. It’s rusted from time, small spikes mark the very top of it, about six feet tall, and the gate itself is partially open. With a little bit of breeze that’s blowing through, very, very cold breeze that blows through this part of the forest, it’s opening a little bit, and (creak) against itself. You push through the gate–
LIAM: Wait a minute, nope. Let me look. I’m just going to move in, ten feet ahead, and see what I see.
LIAM: That is a 23 for perception.
MATT: Okay. You skirt up and look inside. And there’s a handful of trees in little clusters here and there, but for the most part this old graveyard is flat land, with just stones set up throughout. The older stones have very little rhyme or reason to their placement. They’re sporadically thrown around, fresher ones tend to be more clustered with family names. This definitely looks like something that was put here when the town was founded and has been slowly expanded over time, and it’s not uniform.
LIAM: I hiss back at Percy: is this the way to your temple?
TALIESIN: (whispers) Yes.
LIAM: Through here?
MATT: You do see, a little ways ahead in the center of this open barren area, there is a stone temple that has, from what little you can see, a bit of stained glass pattern to it.
LIAM: Do we knock?
SAM: Is it safe? Should we go up?
TALIESIN: We go up to the doors, and give it a tug.
MATT: Okay. Percy walks up to the doors.
LIAM: Well, all right.
TALIESIN: This is my neighborhood. I feel comfortable.
MATT: Okay. You–
SAM: All right, Papa, let’s go.
MATT: You go to the doors of the temple, the large wooden doors. In them are carved this flaming wreath into the wood. It looks almost like the outer ring of the classical depiction of a sun and going across the sky where you can see the waving flames licking the sides of the actual doors. And it is a double door. As you tug on the handle at the front, it gives very little to you. You give a little more of a tug on it, not enough to gather attention, just enough to really see if it’s just stuck, or if it’s locked. And it appears that the doors are not opening.
LIAM: And I look–
SAM: This is what he does!
LIAM: It is what I do. This is an old, old type of lock, hold on.
MATT: There is no lock, actually.
LIAM: There’s no lock? Oh, but I rolled a natural 20. Does that help? Let me get through the door?
TALIESIN: Suddenly, a lock appears! Utterly pickable!
MARISHA: Utterly pickable! It’s the most pickable lock I’ve ever seen!
MATT: There is no lock. It is barred from the other side. There is some heavy wooden plank that is currently set on the other side of the door.
LIAM: Oh, where’s Grog when you need him?
MATT: So, with your expertise in these sort of circumstances, you know that with the proper placement of a long blade and enough strength and weight put at the right fulcrum point, you can probably shimmy it off, and it may take a little bit of teamwork to do so.
LIAM: Okay who’s got a– mine are all very small. Do you have a shortsword?
SAM: Everything I have is short. I can just go in there and open it from the inside.
LIAM: Oh, right. I always forget.
SAM: It’s not concentration, so I can just jump in there.
LIAM: Don’t fuse with a church pew.
MATT: If you’re referring to a Dimension Door–
SAM: Correct. It’s not concentration, I don’t think.
MATT: No, it is not concentration.
LIAM: More of a sneeze.
MATT: You can visualize it. It doesn’t have to be a place you have seen yet.
SAM: I can say I want to go ten feet in that direction.
SAM: Before I do, why are we trying to get in here? I thought it was to meet people. I don’t think there’s anyone in there.
TALIESIN: I would like to find out what happened.
SAM: Okay, good enough for me. I go in.
MATT: Okay. (spoof) With a burst of dark purplish energy, Scanlan steps through the door, leaving no mark or trace behind. On the other side you hear this muffled (spoof) as he reappears on the opposite side, completing his transition. You appear now in the central worship hall of the Zenith temple. To each side of you, you can see there are windows, about ten foot wide, stained glass windows, about every ten feet around this pattern, it looks like three to each side. There are pews set up for the masses to come and sit and worship, but a lot of the pews have been pushed off to the side, set astray, some have been destroyed and ruined. There’s a pile in the corner of a number of sundered and tattered pews. There is a red carpet that marks the center that goes all the way to what looks like a raised altar on the opposite side of the room. You can see that some of the stained glass further down has been shattered and broken, and a little bit of sunlight creeps through. You can see there is on the altar a large stone platform. It’s hard to see from this distance. Make a perception check.
LIAM: (muffled) Scanlan! Open the door.
SAM: We do have earrings. 17.
MATT: There appears to be something on the the altar in the distance, small and scattered about it, but from this distance, it’s hard to make out the details. But you hear Vax muffled through the door.
SAM: All right, how big is this thing that’s keeping the door shut?
MATT: It’s about eight feet wide and about a foot– eight feet long, about a foot wide and about six inches thick. A big old piece of wooden board.
SAM: A couple hundred pounds?
MATT: I would say it probably weighs about 40 or 50 pounds.
SAM: 40 or 50 pounds?!
MATT: It’s wood. It’s porous.
SAM: And how high off the ground? Could I touch it?
MATT: You could touch it. It gets to about your head, a little higher.
SAM: All right. I’m going to try and lift it off.
MATT: Go ahead a make a strength check. Athletics! Make this athletics.
SAM: Athletics? Hmm. Not good. 12!
MATT: (grunting) From this position, it’s not even budging.
LIAM: All right, Scanlan, step back from the door a couple of paces. I’m going to stick a blade through the door.
SAM: It’s not going to do much. There’s a big heavy thing.
LIAM: I’m going to hold on one side, you’re going to hold on the other, and we’ll do it together. Percy, can I borrow your blade?
TALIESIN: I’ve never used this. I’ve had it since I created the character and I’ve never used this blade once. This is the most use it’s ever gotten. I pull out this pristine piece of shit (laughs) I don’t even remember. I think I found it in a dungeon. It’s terrible.
MATT: What is it?
TALIESIN: It’s a boarding sword, it was one of those little curved swords.
MATT: Right. A scimitar or falchion.
TALIESIN: A scimitar. But short. It was nothing, it was terrible.
LIAM: It’s all we need.
TALIESIN: Yeah so. Get it in there.
LIAM: Scanlan, grab some rags or something, wrap it around the blade. You’re going to lift on your side; we’re going to lift on this side.
SAM: I get the sharp side?!
LIAM: I can’t get the handle through the crack in the door.
SAM: All right. I feel like there’s some sort of spell I could use.
All right, let’s just do it your way.
LIAM: Got that Bigby’s Hand, is that what you’re saying?
SAM: Yeah, I’ve got a million things I could do.
TALIESIN: Are any of them concentration spells?
SAM: Bigby’s is probably concentration, but I’ve also got a potion of strength.
MATT: As a note, Seeming isn’t concentration.
SAM: I thought it was.
MATT: No. You cast it and it lasts for eight hours. You don’t need to worry about that.
SAM: No, I want to follow this through.
TALIESIN: Let’s keep going.
LIAM: All right. Can we lift it together?
MATT: (laughs) We can try. All right, so. This is going to be the three of you as a skill challenge, I want all three of you to roll. Not athletics, just a straight strength roll.
TALIESIN: One, two, three.
MATT: Add your strength modifier.
SAM: Plus strength. 12.
SAM: Wait, did you get a four? Four? We are the worst! We are the weakest ones. Oh, I cut my hand!
MATT: Which is exactly what happens.
TALIESIN and LIAM: Bigby’s Hand? Bigby’s Hand!
SAM: I’m going to take damage.
MATT: Yeah. First and foremost, you take four points of slashing damage to your hand. You pull back, and there is a line of blood now, beginning to drip off your hand. You shake it amongst yourself.
SAM: Oh, I can’t say “God damn it” in here. I’m in Pelor’s– Sorry, Pelor.
TALIESIN: Let’s use a sword, I want to see how this plays out.
SAM: God bless you. Gesundheit, Pelor. Man, all right. Well, jeez Louise.
LIAM: Whip out the purple hand, man!
SAM: Seems like overkill. What about a Thunderwave? Can I do that?
SAM: All right. Does it only affect living things? Or does it affect–
LIAM: Wait. Scanlan, are there any windows in there?
SAM: There are. There are windows. Good call.
MATT: It’s a blast of thunderous energy in an area, it would affect living and nonliving matter, yes.
LIAM: Hold on, this is stupid.
SAM: Are you sure?
TALIESIN: We are going to the window. We are going to the window.
SAM: No, let’s carry this out.
TALIESIN: No! We are going to the window. Please do not destroy the temple of Pelor.
SAM: Three hours later, we are still trying to open the door.
MARISHA: It’s not even locked. It’s just heavy.
SAM: I can Bigby’s Hand. I’ll just Bigby’s Hand.
LIAM: Which way to the window? I can walk to the window.
SAM: It’s up there. You can make it, but Percy can’t.
LIAM: I can probably lift that door bar from inside.
SAM: You could, probably.
LIAM: With your help, son.
SAM: Yeah, but I could blast it. Would be very dramatic.
LIAM: Let’s save that for important stuff. All right, where is the window? Which way do I go?
SAM: To the right and up.
MATT: There are windows shattered on both sides. They’re broken a little higher up. So you could either continue to break the bottom part of the window, or just attempt to leap through the hole.
LIAM: Yeah, I’ll attempt to leap.
MATT: Okay, so give me an acrobatics check.
LIAM: All right.
SAM: The saga of the door!
MARISHA: It’s just a door, you guys! It’s just a door.
MATT: 25. You get a running start, leap off the side and parkour up between the actual– there is an extension to the side where another room is attached on each side of the temple towards the back. You leap off that wall onto the small pillar that’s holding the side of the window and up through the broken portion of the stained glass, landing, three-point landing, on the inside. You almost land in one of the shattered piles of wooden pews and splinters and jagged pieces of wood sticking out of it. About a foot away from you, and you are like, “Oh, that was close.” You see Scanlan across the way. You see the altar to your right.
SAM: Hey! Oi! Your stupid idea cut my hand!
LIAM: Builds character. I’m going to stay away from the altar and skirt the wall all the way around it.
Mat: Okay, you get to the door.
LIAM: I’m going to try to help. Do you want to help me lift this thing?
SAM: With my good hand, yes.
MATT: Have both you guys make strength checks.
SAM: You know what, I’m going to get some assistance. I call my Unseen Servant to assist.
MATT: (laughs) Okay.
SAM: He is going to lift with us.
MATT: With a brief burst of wind energy, a shimmering form, somewhat humanoid in shape, but still amorphous appears.
SAM: Hi, Darrell.
MATT: (wind sounds) and begins to shove itself up against the bottom of the wooden bar. Make your check, as well.
SAM: That was a six. Is that for me?
MATT: That’s for you, and then roll and add five for your Unseen Servant.
SAM: So, five extra to that is 11. Right? No?
MATT: Roll again, add five.
SAM: Oh, I see. Four. So that’s a nine.
MATT: The three of you, one mystically summoned from a plane beyond your own, cannot seem to budge this single wooden door! You’ve defeated beholders. You’ve slaughtered illithid underneath, in the Underdark, deep in the belly of the planet. But this door bests you!
MARISHA: Man, Laura and Travis ain’t missing shit!
SAM: All right, I’m doing it. Step back!
LIAM: Whip out the hand!
SAM: All right, I summon Bigby’s Hand! The mightiest hand that will ever unlock a door, ever! (singing) Bigby’s Hand!
MATT: This giant, glimmering, purple fist appears in your vicinity. It grabs the bottom. Go ahead and roll a d20.
LIAM: Come on.
MATT: Plus eight to it.
SAM: Plus eight? 20!
TALIESIN: How do you want to do this?
MATT: With its finger, just goes (ping) and it (thudding noises). The door (creak) opens up and Percy stands there, looking not very happy.
TALIESIN: Was it overkill? Because really it took that.
SAM: It took three spells to open this door! Three spells!
TALIESIN: It’s not overkill if you used what it took.
SAM: Three spells and I injured myself.
TALIESIN: We took damage from an inanimate object. Oh god! Get it out of our system now!
SAM: Welcome, Percy.
TALIESIN: Oh god! All right, I’m looking around, taking in the damage. Anything that I notice is particularly out of whack from the last time I was here? Other than they’re upgrading the locks, apparently.
MATT: Looking about the place, it looks pseudo-ransacked. There has been much force used in whatever destroyed these pews. The glass that was broken, was broken from the outside in. So, definitely seems like there was someone throwing a rock through, or a intrusion from an outside standpoint. As you walk further and look around, the two rooms to the side, the doors are closed. There is the altar on the top, and you do see, there is a couple of small sacks, laid to the side of the altar. What looks to be some low-lit candles, and there are some braziers. One to each side of the altar, and one against each wall. All of them appear to be long dark and out. Go ahead and make a perception check.
SAM: All of us?
MATT: All of you.
MATT: You both, as you approach the far side of the temple towards the altar, you notice the brazier to the right is smoldering ever so gently. Just a very faint glow of ember to it.
LIAM: What’s the matter?
SAM: Who? Reynal?
TALIESIN: Father Reynal? (louder) Father Reynal? Let’s check one of the doors. We’ll start on the door on the right.
MATT: You step up. You can see now, on top of the altar, there appears to be a couple of glass vials that are overturned, a little liquid spilled. You can see bits of broken glass across the bottom, the one step that leads down from the altar’s raised platform.
TALIESIN: Can I dip and smell?
MATT: Make an investigation check.
MATT: 13? Okay. Looking at just the general vicinity of the altar. You taste the liquid. It’s definitely somewhat caustic in nature, you can’t really determine it. But, just touching it to your tongue, your tongue goes numb for a second and you feel a slight burn. Your nostrils clear out a little bit from the scent. There is some random powders and such that’ve been brushed off. You get the feeling that the way that all this was treated, it wasn’t so much like it was destroyed more than it was hastily packed up. Roll a perception check.
MATT: 20? Okay, looking about the outside of the altar, you do notice that around the brazier that is slightly smoldering there is a layer of ash there, gathered on the inside of the brazier and a little bit on the floor, around its base.
TALIESIN: Someone has been working on something in here.
SAM: It couldn’t just be ash from the thing that is burning?
MATT: If you look at the other braziers, there is no ash around it. Most of the ash is contained. The wood ash itself tends to fall; it’s a little heavier. This seems to be a lighter shade of ash and it’s more of a– has found its way out of the brazier from just the heat and the air.
TALIESIN: I want to smell the ash. Does it smell like some sort of– is it perfumed?
MATT: You lean down and you take some of the ash in your fingers and smell it. It’s not perfumed, but you’ve had some experience with dealing with various burning materials: this is definitely paper-based ash. You do also notice underneath the brazier there is one sliver of paper that was not wholly burned.
MARISHA: (whispering) Paper.
SAM: It’s a golden ticket.
TALIESIN: “Without sufficient magical essence the distillation is proven to consistently fail. A shame, really. I shall seek an influx of materials elsewhere before I can continue this project. Regarding the weapon, after a year of taking notes from eyewitness accounts, my original designs were faulty and recently cost me my hand. The wind of fortune has seen a shift it seems as Sylas just returned from Emon, having encountered the still-living subject, and had the pleasure of seeing his work first-hand. His unnatural eyes took in much detail. I believe his observations have brought me to the brink of finishing my design. I intend to journey from Whitestone within a couple of months to gather the components needed. But, if Delilah’s hunch is correct, the subject is heading here. I may find myself needing to leave sooner than anticipated.”
LIAM: They’re trying to copy your work.
LIAM: For war.
TALIESIN: I want to take another look at everything that was on the altar, and I want to see if it looks–
MATT: Go ahead and make an investigation check.
MATT: Testing what’s there: I mean, a lot of the material has been scattered and mixed but there are elements that resemble the black powder you’ve used in some of your constructs and tinkering in the past.
SAM: They’re making guns!
TALIESIN: Well, we know we’re looking for someone without a hand.
SAM: To do what?
TALIESIN: To find out who’s trying to copy my work.
SAM: Someone who is working with Sylas, right?
TALIESIN: Yes. Let’s check the rest of the temple.
SAM: Okay, I’m going to go up on the altar. Was there a small something on the altar?
MATT: What you noticed were like some of the glass vials that were overturned.
TALIESIN: What’s in the pouches?
MATT: Looking at the pouches, it looks like some of them contained phosphorus, some of them contained other alchemical reagents that were used in the research but most have been emptied, and it’s just a residuum on the inside.
TALIESIN: Checking the door on the right.
MATT: Door on the right.
LIAM: Going with.
MATT: (creak) Opens up into what was Father Reynal’s room. As the door opens, you’re immediately hit with terrible smell of decay. And you can see, shoved under the bed that first appears on the opposite side of the small room, what appears to be the remains of Father Reynal. Long passed and left to fester beneath his bed.
SAM: Can I tell how he died?
MATT: You’re welcome to go ahead and take a look. Roll an investigation check.
MATT: 23. Looking at the body, it appears that there are a series of puncture wounds. Rapier-based. They’re too long, like stiletto, too long to be a dagger.
SAM: Not teeth.
MATT: No, they are inflicted by a weapon, a long thin weapon. And multiple to the torso.
TALIESIN: I’m going to search the room for anything else. Search the body.
MATT: Okay. Searching the body, searching the room, it looks like everything of interest has been taken from the place. You find some leftover stale food, you find some candles that are generally used for the purposes of worship here in the temple, but anything beyond that– all the drawers have been emptied, everything has been taken by whoever was previously setting up residence in this facility.
SAM: Are there any holy symbols or anything that we might take to give to Keyleth to, I don’t know. Wasn’t she gonna– I don’t know. Do some holy shit?
MATT: You do notice that, throughout the temple, there are images of Pelor, flame-wreathed face, various sun and stars that are set up, but most of them have been profaned, marked on, shattered, or covered in soot. An intentional effort has been made to dampen the power of Pelor in this once-holy place.
LIAM: Are there any untouched?
MATT: None that are untouched, but there are some that could possibly be cleaned. A couple of small medallions that are hanging up in the room where the Father lays.
LIAM: I’ll snag those.
TALIESIN: I want to check the other room. The room to the left.
MATT: Make a perception check.
TALIESIN: So much perception. 19.
MATT: All right. As you walk back into the main temple–
MARISHA: Finish. First.
MATT: All right. Your ears catch a faint, distant sound like a strong wind pushing through a mountain pass. This low mournful wail-type sound.
SAM: What’s that?
MATT: No wind is moving. There is a stillness to the air.
LIAM: Stepping back into the darkest shadows I can see.
MATT: As you guys take in this sense, this sound gets louder and louder. At which point, the air itself gets colder and colder. As you nervously exhale, you can see your breath becoming visible in the air around you. As you all look at each other, you, stepping back into what shadows there are, as it is a very open temple, as it’s a temple of sun–
LIAM: 32 stealth.
MATT: You find what tiny little alcove you can of shadow. It’s not going to offer a lot of protection once you move, but for now you seem to be out of the circumstance.
SAM: I grab Percy, and I make us both go invisible.
SAM: So, what is that, a 3rd-level Invisibility spell?
MATT: Yeah. You guys both vanish, holding your place on top of the altar, and as that moaning tends to grow louder and louder you can see this shimmer at the doors that are open on the opposite side of the room. It looks like a woman. A form of a woman, but translucent in nature, drifting in, giving off the horrible (raspy groan) sound, as it drifts in and you see it looking around and the features are gaunt as it gets closer. It looks elven by racial nature, but the eyes are just these sunken faintly glowing sockets, the hair wild and matted and floating behind it, its hands reaching out, and as it gets partway through the temple, it looks like it’s seeking something, and its eyes fall directly on you two.
LIAM: I’m throwing a dagger right now.
MATT: Let’s go ahead and–
SAM: Ugh! What if she was a good guy?
LIAM: It’s a banshee, man.
SAM: What if it’s a good banshee? Some of the banshees that I’ve met have been decent. We’re rolling for initiative?
LIAM: There’s Siouxsie and the Banshees, they’re all right.
SAM: I’m glad I used half my spells trying to get into this goddamn place.
MATT: Off to the side there.
LIAM: He means well.
TALIESIN: He means well. That’s a terrible costume.
MATT: You guys are on the altar there.
TALIESIN: You were so prepared for me to go to the temple that you built it?
MATT: I built the whole city, because I didn’t know where you guys were going to go.
SAM: Jesus, Matt!
MARISHA: He does have a pile of maps over there.
MATT Shh! Don’t look at it.
TALIESIN: I’m not looking, I’m not looking.
MARISHA: I’m just noting the pile.
MATT: So, first and foremost, let’s go ahead and roll initiative.
MATT: You’ll get a surprise round.
LIAM: Natural 20 for initiative, as well.
MARISHA: You finally got a good initiative roll!
SAM: I got a seven.
TALIESIN: I got an 11! Together, we can get a Slurpee. I’m weird tonight. I don’t know what’s up.
MATT: All right.
SAM: Well, I can’t do anything.
MATT: All right, well. First and foremost, before anything happens, this entity, as it notices your presence, it begins to transform and its image becomes more horrifying. As you pull your dagger out, I need all of you guys to roll a wisdom saving throw.
MARISHA: You have advantage!
TALIESIN: I rolled a one and then a natural 20.
MATT: (laughs) Nice.
TALIESIN: Thank you for the advantage.
MARISHA: You’re welcome.
MATT: With advantage?
SAM: I also always have advantage, so do I get to roll a third time?
LIAM: No. Doesn’t stack.
MATT: Unfortunately you are considered frightened by this entity. It scares the crap out of you.
MARISHA and TALIESIN: You can’t be frightened after a Heroes’ Feast.
MATT: Ah! Then never mind. You feel it shake your form for a second. Its horrible visual presence, for a second, freaks you out, but then you remember the knowledge that your friends are here and you have to serve a purpose and you shake off–
SAM: Not only do I shake it off, I gird my loins!
MATT: Pull them up and get ready. All right.
MARISHA: Just for a refresher: you’re immune to poison, disease, and fear, and you have advantage on your wisdom throws.
TALIESIN: We should do this every time we fly.
MARISHA: It’s expensive.
LIAM: So, do I get to attack and then move into the combat round where I got a natural 20 plus five for initiative?
MATT: Well, you go first. Technically, it’s not a surprise round because the creature can sense life and saw them before it happens, so it wasn’t ambushed. But you do get to go first, and you do get to go before it. In the use of surprise, I didn’t mean to use it in the surprise round fashion. These entities can detect living creatures up to five miles away.
LIAM: So, there’s no sneak attack damage on this thing, is there?
MATT: If you get to it first, you still have advantage.
LIAM: All right.
MATT: Because it doesn’t see you. You’re still hidden from it.
LIAM: 15, so this is a 26 to hit.
MATT: That hits.
LIAM: Okay. And this gets the sneak attack damage?
MATT: This would, yes.
LIAM: All right, here we go. But it’s not a critical hit from assassinate because–
MATT: It is not surprised.
LIAM: It’s not surprised. All right. So, that’s a four plus seven is 11. Plus 15, 19, 20, 24, 26, 28?
LIAM: I’m just going to keen dagger it three times in a row. Oh, I’ve got to roll to attack, so that is a twelve plus– 22?
LIAM: Okay. Two, and that is six of damage, and then natural 20 on that one. That is three, four, three, plus seven is ten, so 20 for that, if it’s doubled for a critical hit.
MATT: For double dice, not doubled modifier.
LIAM: Oh, all right, so six plus– 13.
MATT: Okay, 13, good to know. Awesome. So, out of the shadows, (whoosh) three daggers strike this wailing ghost entity. Each dagger, it punctures, and you see it reacts from the impact as there’s a flash of magical energy with each hit. The daggers then tumble out of its form and then blink back to your belt side. It looks like it definitely did some damage to it, but it’s–
LIAM: You know what, just to be fair, I changed out all my daggers except for one, so I probably couldn’t throw the same dagger three times in a row, so I think should pull back some of the modifiers, so I would pull out four, because my dagger is plus two. So the plus two for two of those hits gets taken out, right?
MATT: It would actually, yes.
LIAM: So four, minus four.
MATT: So, minus four damage to this other guy.
TALIESIN: So truthful.
SAM: So, we’re fighting it with wooden stakes?
MATT: Wait so you threw wooden stakes at it as two of the attacks?
LIAM: I threw one dagger and two wooden stakes.
MATT: Okay. So, the first dagger hits?
LIAM: First was the dagger, yeah.
MATT: Yeah. The two other stakes pass through its form without any other impact. The one dagger does return to you, but the two stakes just clatter in the distance, and the creature seems unharmed by those two.
LIAM: Even though they came out of the belt?
LIAM: All right.
LIAM: It’s okay. It’s just wood.
TALIESIN: You learned.
MATT: So that ends that point. The creature now swoops up to the center of you three and gives out this horrible (roar) this wailing scream that bursts out in the air, you feel like the wind push you back and all of you feel like for a moment you’re staring at your own death. I need all three of you guys to roll constitution saving throws.
SAM: Does our meal help us with that at all?
MARISHA: Wait, don’t forget you have the additional–
MARISHA: 2d10 hit points on top.
SAM: Okay. 16.
MATT: Okay. Both of you guys, you feel this chilling burst of spiritual energy blast through your soul. And you each take 14 points of psychic damage. Percy, however, as you look at it, it seems like this blast actually forces the soul from your body momentarily. You immediately drop to zero hit points and are unconscious.
SAM: What? No! No, he can’t. Oh, god.
MATT: So with that, you see Percy, eyes roll back and then collapse onto the floor like a pile of cold bones. Out. Percy, it’s your turn. Go ahead and make a death saving throw.
MATT: 11, okay.
MARISHA: That’s a good sign.
MATT: Scanlan, it’s your turn.
SAM: Very quickly. Should we flee?
MARISHA: Get the fuck out.
LIAM: In a little bit.
SAM: In a little bit? Okay.
LIAM: Without Percy?
MARISHA: Well, get him up.
MATT: You still have Bigby’s Hand, by the way, on concentration.
SAM: Oh, that’s right!
MATT: Let’s see how long that lasts, actually. Let me see how long it lasts. Just to be safe.
TALIESIN: We haven’t been there very long. (whispering) God damn it.
MATT: Up to a minute. So probably would have faded by now.
SAM: God damn it.
MATT: Sorry. What are you doing, Scanlan?
TALIESIN: Really, it’s the door’s fault.
SAM: Shit. I’ll just Lightning Bolt her. Him. It. Whatever it is.
MATT: Okay. So you release a bolt of lightning energy right in its direction. Go ahead and roll damage for that.
SAM: Oh, just damage?
MATT: You don’t have to hit for lightning bolt; it just hits everything in front of it, and you have to try and avoid it.
SAM: Oh, 8d6.
MATT: What’s the DC?
SAM: Do I get my hand cone?
MATT: It is a free action to pull it out, so you instinctively– hand cone, cast the spell– out the bolt goes.
SAM: So, 19.
MATT: 19, okay.
MATT: Does not make its saving throw.
TALIESIN: Need more d6, or are you cool?
SAM: Nope, that’s it. I just need help counting.
MARISHA: That’s good!
SAM: 16, five, 21, 27.
TALIESIN: 28, 29, 30. 34!
MATT: 34 points of damage. The lightning blasts through her, not impactful as you think it might be. This entity because it is in an ethereal state, is not as effectively hit by such magics. However, it does take damage.
SAM: I will move back a bit. Away from the thing. And I will– Oh! We have people.
MARISHA: Yay! Percy’s unconscious!
TRAVIS: Keep fighting!
MARISHA: It’s okay, it’s cool.
LAURA: We’ve been listening in the car.
TALIESIN: Okay, so you know.
MATT: Scanlan, you move back?
SAM: Okay, and then I can, as a bonus action, still get a bonus? I will heal him, this doofus here.
TALIESIN: I didn’t do anything!
MATT: Healing Word.
SAM: Okay, yeah. (singing) I’m bring health points back. Yeah! You mothafuckas don’t know how to act– Yeah! That’s all I got. (singing) Take it to the bridge!
MATT: All right, so Healing Word is 1d4 plus–
SAM: Yeah, but maybe I should do it at a–
TALIESIN: Just get me up. It’s okay.
SAM: Just get you up? Okay. 1d4 plus something?
MARISHA: Do it.
SAM: Two plus whatever. Six? Eight?
MARISHA: I think it’s plus your spell level.
MATT: Healing Word will be–
SAM: It’s 1d4 plus five, so it’s seven points.
MATT: So, seven hit points. You’re conscious, but you’re still on the ground, face down, loosely fallen over the stuff on the altar.
TALIESIN: I don’t get my turn until next round.
MATT: Correct. So, Scanlan? Your turn’s done? Vax, you’re up.
LIAM: All right, so where is it? I’m just going to back away from it about three steps, while I pull Flametongue Dagger out of my cloak.
MATT: Okay. You’re in this room currently.
LIAM: Yeah, oh! That, oh, okay. No. So, I’m going to walk, thanks. I’m going to slide up the wall along where Scanlan is. Towards Scanlan. And another thing I realized, I haven’t clicked my Boots of Haste, so I wouldn’t have been able to do whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, anyway. And I’m still not going to. But I’m pulling out my Flametongue Dagger and now I’m throwing Keen Dagger, Flametongue. First one is 26.
LIAM: And the second one is 23.
LIAM: Okay. First attack gets 11.
MATT: All right.
LIAM: And the second attack gets eight.
MATT: All righty. Both daggers hitting it, you see its form being impacted by each dagger hit. It still continues to come forward toward the two of you. Is that the end of your movement?
LIAM: I’m going to, without doing any dash or anything, because I can’t, I’m going to move as far as I can just going kitty-corner. Behind Scanlan, walking along the wall.
MATT: Over here?
MATT: That far?
LIAM: Yeah, that’s as far as I can get, that’s good.
MATT: I think so. All right. That ends your turn. The creature now is going to drift up to the unconscious form, or the now-conscious form of Percy. It’s going to swipe at you with its Corrupting Touch. Since you’re prone, it has advantage on the attack. That’ll be 20 to hit. What’s your AC?
MATT: 18? Okay. As its hand reaches down and passes through, as you just come to consciousness, and you start getting yourself up, you look up and feel this cold sensation as its hand reaches through your back and seems to almost grasp your spine. Your whole body lurches from the impact. You take 12 points of necrotic damage.
TALIESIN: I’m back to zero.
SAM: That’s two!
LIAM: It starts over.
SAM: It does?
TALIESIN: Yeah. I’m back to zero.
SAM: If he dies once, comes back and dies again, is that two?
MATT: No, he has to fail his death saves.
TALIESIN: I just woke up and went, (groans). Passed back out again.
MATT: That ends its turn. Well, no actually, it’s going to start moving now. It’s going to drift through the rest of its movement this direction. That ends its turn. Go ahead and make your death saving throw.
TALIESIN: Yes, 19.
TRAVIS: Yay, little snitch.
MATT: All righty. That ends your turn. Scanlan, you’re up.
SAM: Hey, should we leave?
LIAM: No, we should kill this thing!
SAM: Damn it! All right.
LIAM: We’re not going to be able to run. This thing flew in here on the breeze.
SAM: I don’t think Eyebite’s going to work against it. So, fuck, I’ll cast Bigby’s Hand at 6th-level, then.
MATT: (laughing) Okay!
TRAVIS: Has that ever been done?
SAM: I don’t have any more 5th-level slots. So, I’m just going to make it even bigger.
MATT: All righty.
SAM: I don’t even know what it does.
LIAM: Fingers going out the windows of the church like Alice in Wonderland.
MATT: All right. Bigby’s Hand. With a clenched fist deals an additional 2d8 damage.
MATT: So if you’re going to punch it, it does an additional 2d8 damage.
SAM: Yes, I think–
MATT: What are you going to do?
SAM: I’m going to bitch-slap it, but the forceful hand. So I can just push it far away from us. Possibly to the front door.
MATT: Okay, I see. So it does no damage but it does force its movement.
MATT: Okay, and I’ll say because you did it at a higher level, it’s an additional five feet of movement on that. So, as the hand shoves toward the creature–
SAM: It takes no damage for that?
MATT: The forceful hand it doesn’t, no. There’s grasping hand and the clenched fist do damage.
SAM: All right, so then I’ll just hit it. I’ll just hit it hard.
MATT: Okay. So, you bitch-slap it physically hard. Clenched fist. Go ahead and make a spell attack. Go ahead and roll a d20, add your spell attack modifier.
SAM: 14. Plus, what am I adding? Oh, nine. Plus nine.
MATT: 14 plus nine? That hits. Go ahead and roll damage. That’s 6d8 force damage because you cast it at 6th level.
SAM: 6d8. I don’t even know what those are. That’s a ten.
LIAM: They look like diamonds.
SAM: There they go. I got one. I’ll just roll it six times.
TRAVIS: (singing) Diamonds are Scanlan’s best friend.
LAURA: No, diamonds are Vex’s best friend.
SAM: Even at 6th-level, that’s all it did.
MATT: Yeah. As that happens, the fist clenches and (wham) bitch-slaps the back of the wailing ghost creature. As it does you hear it scream out in pain (screech) as its spectral form is scattered across the air and dissipates.
MARISHA: Thank god.
TRAVIS: I think you smashed it.
MARISHA: You killed it.
LIAM: You crushed it.
SAM: But I’m so little and wee!
LIAM: Lift yourself up for a victory lap.
SAM: Yes, I lift myself up with Bigby’s Hand. Yeah, that was a great idea.
MATT: You toss yourself up a couple times.
TRAVIS: Meanwhile, Percy’s unconscious.
SAM: Oh shit! Percy!
LIAM: No, I’ve got four healing potions. I pour, it’s not the best. It’s a greater healing?
MATT: So, it’s 4d4 plus four.
SAM: I will also sing for him a Song of Rest, which is just another d6.
MATT: If you guys are taking a short rest–
SAM: Yeah. Oh, are we clear of danger?
LIAM: We don’t know, but I poured the potion into Percy’s mouth.
TALIESIN: 4d4 plus four?
MATT: Yep, you got it.
TALIESIN: Four, five, six, seven, nine, ten, 14. Yep. I’m awake. Hurt, but–
LIAM: I slap him twice, anyway.
TALIESIN: Ugh! Ah!
LIAM: What do we do?
SAM: What are we doing here?
LIAM: The priest’s dead. Is there anyone else, or should we head back?
TALIESIN: We should head back. Apparently, any help I thought we’d find here is obviously gone.
SAM: Should we check this other room first, before we go?
TALIESIN: Did we not check the other room?
SAM and LIAM: No.
TALIESIN: Let’s check the other room, and–
SAM: Quickly, though, quickly.
TALIESIN: We’ll check the other room quickly.
LIAM: While they check the room, I’m going to go all over the altar and see if there’s anything, any hidden door, any trapdoor, anything like that.
MATT: Okay, go ahead and make a perception check.
LIAM: Eh. That’s a– oh! No! Wait, I keep forgetting that’s a rogue skill. That’s a 20.
TALIESIN: I was really hoping you missed that part.
MATT: Looking over the altar, it appears to be smooth, solid stone. Nothing catches your attention. You check the other room. This is a small kitchen, essentially, for whoever was running here would make small meals or things to delineate during worship and/or just cook for its own meals when the father was keeping–
TALIESIN: Has it been used recently? Is it–
MATT: It does not appear to have been used, you can make an investigation check to gather an idea of how long it’s been there.
SAM I’m going to look around as well and food and stuff.
MATT: Okay. You get the feeling that the last time this was used was a little under a week ago.
TALIESIN: All right.
SAM: Any provisions that we can take? Water, food?
MATT: You find a couple of loaves of stale bread, some dried meats, salted dry meats, like some jerky-ish type things. Things that are meant to last a while. There is produce here, but the produce has long wilted and gone to rot.
TALIESIN: I have theories on who’s been using this space. Is there anything that would clue me in to who’s been using this space?
MATT: It’s hard to really tell. You’re not too familiar with lifestyles of different individuals. Whoever left the notes, and whoever was dabbling with the vicinity does have a tendency towards sciences and alchemy in ways that seemingly can blend and overlap with your specialty. That’s the best you can ascertain, based on the information given.
TALIESIN: Now, here’s the question. Do we leave them a sign that we’re here, or do we hope that they don’t notice?
SAM: Well, let’s leave them a sign. We’re supposed to be sowing discontent, right? So, let’s leave a sign that someone was here and fucked up their shit. Do you want me to pee on the altar?
LIAM: I take my dagger, and I go to the altar–
SAM: No, don’t leave your dagger; it’s your only one left.
LIAM: I didn’t say I’m leaving it. Yeah. You want that?
TALIESIN: I want that.
LIAM: I start– would you hand me that scrap of paper, yeah?
SAM: Whoa, this is our sign?
LIAM: So I start carving this– Is this Pelor?
TALIESIN: This is not Pelor. It’s part of the crest of de Rolo.
MARISHA: de Rolos are back!
LIAM: Okay. So, I just start scraping it into the stone with the Keen Dagger.
MATT: Okay. And it gives a horrible screeching sound as you carve into this well-polished stone surface that’s used predominantly for worship, or when it was. Given about five, ten minutes in you manage to scrape a design into it that is visually distinct against the smooth surface, and does match the design best to your ability that Percy–
TALIESIN: I would also like to drag Father Reynal out of his room and put him at the pedestal.
LIAM: And then before we go, I’m going to the wooden door, and I carve into the door: Pelor lives in Whitestone.
SAM: That’s a lot of words.
MARISHA: Six hours later…
LIAM: It’s wood! It took me five minutes.
MATT: Okay. You finish your carving, seemingly without recurring incident.
TALIESIN: Like to head back now, I believe.
MATT: Yeah. You guys make your way out of the temple back into the center of the graveyard. The sun is beginning to set. The reds and purples of the night sky are starting to creep in, as it just begins to crest on the far western side of the mountain range surrounding the valley.
MARISHA: I have a question.
MARISHA: What’s the weather been like since we’ve been in Whitestone?
MATT: It’s been spotty, cloudy–
MARISHA: The sun has come out during the daytime?
MATT: Bits and pieces. There is heavy cloud cover that seems to be pushing through. It brings colder weather. It looks like when you first got there, there was some snowfall that happened before you arrived. You’ve had a few days of sun, but I’d say about half the day is cloud cover.
MARISHA: Does it seem to be fairly natural weather for this time of year? Okay.
MATT: And this far north, too. All right. You guys–
LIAM: I also grab those wooden stakes off the ground.
MATT: Okay. Takes you a little time, because they’re amongst a bunch of other broken wooden scraps–
LIAM: I grab a couple extra, as well.
MATT: Okay! You find some splintered wood. You guys make your way back into the town. I’d like you all to make a stealth, or a deception check, if you prefer.
SAM: Deception, please. (sings a ditty) I’m just a peasant boy.
TRAVIS: G'day sir.
MATT: All right. As you guys are making your way back towards the tavern, there is a small group of Whitestone villagers walking and having a conversation. Not heated, but there is a sense of desperate conversation amongst them. And, standing with them you can see there’s an older gentleman, mostly bald, long scraggly gray hair that falls past his shoulders, a little bit hunched. He’s wearing dark leathers and a cloak that’s over one shoulder and drags the ground behind him. And they’re talking to him and he’s growling to himself and the best you can make out is there’s an argument about farming shipments and the inability to make dates and requirements. He shouts back to the remainder, says, “Listen, it is beyond my control. This is what has been decreed by Sir Kerrion. That is how it’ll be. If you cannot provide, then taxes will be pulled. If you cannot pay, then there are far worse things we can take. Now, be on your way!” And steps away from the group, looks over and sees a little boy and this in the shadows skulking individual. “You there!”
MATT: “You new around here?”
TALIESIN: A bit, yes.
MATT: “I don’t recognize you.” And two of the guards step forward.
TALIESIN: I suppose it’s our good luck, then.
MATT: “What’s your name?”
TALIESIN: (sighs) Reggie.
MATT: Make a deception check.
TALIESIN: Fuck my life. I know! 21!
LIAM: My name’s Reggie.
MATT: “Then make yourself useful. Maybe you can make up for some of these lost crops that these bags of shite keep saying they can’t do.”
TALIESIN: I’m actually supposed to be going back for a–
MATT: “I don’t give a shit, move on, boy.”
TALIESIN: Yes, sir.
MATT: He grumbles and keeps on walking. The guards give you a look. One of them spits at your foot, keeps walking on. Eventually, they drift aside. You continue your path back to the tavern where the rest of you are waiting. The sun has now set. Night has taken the sky and Keyleth is on the verge of completing her ritual.
LAURA: I’m cleaning my nails as I’m watching her.
TALIESIN: I’m keeping an eye from the second floor. I want to see how much movement in the city there is and whether or not there’s any guards by the tree, whether or not the tree seems to be left to its own devices.
MATT: Okay. As you’re keeping watch, you notice occasionally there will be one of the zombie giants that will lumber through the center of town. There’s a very specific pattern that they tend to follow.
TALIESIN: Definitely trying to memorize that.
MATT: And you do notice a couple of other guards that you didn’t notice during the day begin to show up. They’re humanoid; they’re armored. They sneak around. They’re humanoid, but their movement is unnatural.
TALIESIN: Is there a lot of light in the town, or not very much light?
MATT: Not very much light at all. There’s very low-lit points at certain crossroads that’ve been left up for general visibility for those who have to travel at night, but you gather most people just do not travel at night here in Whitestone.
LAURA: Make sure no lights are lit in our–
TALIESIN: We’ve already blacked out–
SAM: I blacked out the windows.
MATT: You finally complete your ritual. Sweat pouring down your brow, you have your hand on the roots–
MARISHA: Can I do something? Something real quick for my final, extra drama? So, as I complete the ritual, remembering that Pelor, and this is a sun tree. I’m going to cast my 6th-level Sunbeam spell as I’m finishing the Plant Growth with the last big essence–
SAM: At night?
MARISHA: I’m underground. So, I’m going to take my Sunbeam, and wrap it up with my druid goodness. And shove it in the tree.
TALIESIN: You’re going to shove it where the sun don’t shine.
MARISHA: Yeah, I’m going to kill it. I don’t know if it’s going to work or not.
MATT: Okay. Roll a d20 and add your wisdom modifier.
MARISHA: Do I get advantage on this? Because of Heroes’ Feast?
MATT: I would say no, because this isn’t a saving throw and because what you’re attempting to do is essentially convert a highly damaging spell into a non-damaging circumstance at the end of an eight-hour endurance match with a ritual. This is going to be a difficult attempt. So go ahead and roll a d20. Add your wisdom modifier.
MARISHA: I hope I didn’t just fuck up by doing this.
LAURA: You got it, Keyleth.
TRAVIS: Yeah, you never get arrested or anything, you’re good.
SAM: Use the green one. This is you doing greenery.
MARISHA: I’m so nervous.
SAM: Natural 20. Easy. Or a six.
LAURA: Oh, no.
MARISHA: But my wisdom’s not bad, so 12?
MATT: You complete the ritual and release the healing energy of your Plant Growth spell. As you release it you begin to concentrate on the sun ray and you begin to see, throughout the pieces of earth around, seeds quickly begin to germinate and small little bits of ivy, greenery begin to pierce out from parts of the earth in your immediate vicinity, as this affects a large radius. There does not appear to be any sort of immediate reaction by the tree. You begin to pull back and concentrate on the spell. You release the Sunbeam forward. In the frustration of the lack of reaction from the tree and the desperation to make sure some effect happens, you release the full force of the beam as opposed to the prequel aspect and you burst into some of the roots, blasting some of them apart and beginning to set flame to part of the under of the tree.
MARISHA: Oh, cool. That’s cool. Cool story.
LIAM: Bucket of water.
MARISHA: I’ll put it out.
MATT: You guys hear this (explosion).
LAURA: That’s right in front of– I pull out my cloaks in my bag and start trying to put out the flames. Keyleth, what? Was that supposed to happen? Is that good? Was this good? Should I stop? I keep putting out the flames.
MATT: You put out the flames. And you notice where the fire had burned aspects of the wood, there is the black char marks across the roots where the flames touched, and the area surrounding the root is a little more of a vibrant brown color. Almost like a little hint of life seemed to have seeped into the root.
MARISHA: Oh my god.
MATT: It expands for a moment and you can see a little bit of life return to that localized section of the tree.
MARISHA: Ooh! Like starting a fire. (blows air) Go, go! Can I Druidcraft? Come on!
MATT: As you do, there’s still these bits of ivy greenery, this long-embedded seeds through years and years and generations of earth layering in here. These long-dormant seeds are starting to come to life and spring through the earth around you. The expansion of the healthier portion of the root begins to spread, and then stop spreading. And you begin to notice all the greenery begins to immediately wither and crumple and turn to ash. And you watch as the vibrant aspect of the roots slowly drain from the bottom up. Like something is pulling the life force out of the roots.
LAURA: They’re sucking the life force out of the earth.
MARISHA: I take some of that holy oil that Vax gave me and I dip my finger in it and start rubbing it along the vines that are growing along the edge of the roots.
MATT: You take the holy oil and place it along the roots, and it soaks into the dry and in some cases now charred aspects of the roots. You wait a moment, and the oil seems to almost burn off and evaporate.
SAM: So, the ground is cursed.
MARISHA: The ground is cursed.
SAM: Well, poo.
TRAVIS: Should I try peeing on it?
MATT: Make a perception check.
MARISHA: Perception check?
TALIESIN: That thing you hate doing?
MARISHA: No, I’m good at perceiving things, I’m just not good at reading people.
SAM: You know what we need to do?
MARISHA: That’s not bad. 23?
SAM: Hydroponics. No ground, just grow it above.
MATT: The pattern of decay that followed your initial attempt at reviving this vicinity, all had a very distinct downward motion of draining. There was something about the ground, something beneath the tree and where you are that is seemingly taking the life force of the surroundings.
LAURA: Oh, my god, what if the vampire thing is right underneath us?
MARISHA: I was going to say, can I still see the green being sucked down a bit?
MATT: At this point, all the life force was very quickly drained.
LAURA: Can I use my Primeval Awareness and sense any sort of vampiric presence within our very close vicinity?
MATT: What’s the radius on that?
LAURA: It’s a minute. It’s up to six miles if I spend six minutes.
MATT: Okay. So you take your time, and you begin to focus and it expands. As you do, focusing on vampiric presence, you feel a fair amount of presence: above, below and further north. And smattered throughout the city. You get the sensation at this point in time that there is much more beyond just Lord Briarwood that have come to be a creature of the night in this city.
LAURA: (whispering) That’s good. Bad. Probably bad.
TRAVIS: Maybe they’re not below the tree, maybe it’s just the soil.
TALIESIN: The ground is tainted.
MARISHA: I’m exhausted.
SAM and TALIESIN: Let’s sleep.
LAURA: We’re just going to sleep? Surrounded by vampires, we’re just going to sleep surrounded by lots and lots of vampires?
TALIESIN: I’m going to tinker for a moment on my glove with that thing I talked about.
MATT: Okay. Make an intelligence check.
TALIESIN: An intelligence check?
MATT: Yeah, just a straight intelligence check.
MATT: 14. Incorporating this organic organ? Keeping it from rotting is already going to be a feat. In order to incorporate any of its natural charge essence is going to require your workshop. Doing that on the go is too intricate.
TALIESIN: I just wanted to think about it. It’s fine.
MATT: I mean, it may be functional. It’s definitely possible to use what you extracted from the behir to be a way to charge your Diplomacy, but that is something that you’ll have to do in a controlled space when you have everything at your disposal. It’s a very delicate process to even attempt it.
TALIESIN: I think we get it.
LIAM: I’ll take first watch.
MATT: Okay. You all take an evening’s rest.
MARISHA: I’m sorry I couldn’t fix the tree, you guys.
TALIESIN: We learned a lot.
LAURA: You even did that awesome fire thing at the end that was really, really cool.
MARISHA: Thanks. I was afraid I was going to permanently kill it for a second.
TALIESIN: We know it’s not dead dead. That it’s just tainted.
SAM: Guys, I just want to say that I killed a door and a banshee, so–
LAURA: Nice, Scanlan.
SAM: The door was harder to kill.
TRAVIS: That’s some door!
TALIESIN: It’s okay. I think I figured out what we have to do first.
MARISHA: What do we have to do first?
TALIESIN: I think we have to kill Kerrion Stonefell.
SAM: Who’s that?
TALIESIN: It’s the one that everyone– he’s the one managing all of the goods and all of the farming.
SAM: Is that who they were talking about today? The group?
LAURA: Where is he at?
SAM: Oh, Sir Kerrion. I thought they said something else.
TALIESIN: Kerrion Stonefell. He’s in one of the three– I would assume that he’s been given one of the three mansions in town.
SAM: You think if we find him, kill him, and leave his body on some sort of public display, it would sow some seeds of rebellion?
TALIESIN: I think it would be the beginning. He’s who everybody’s afraid of.
TRAVIS: We could hang him in the tree.
TALIESIN: We could hang him in the tree.
SAM: We could. Grog, could you do something nasty to his body?
TRAVIS: Just say the word.
LAURA: Oh, this is messed up.
SAM: All right.
TRAVIS: Do we check the mansions for him?
TALIESIN: I think we ask around to see if there’s a way to ask around to find out who’s in what house.
SAM: Ask around? Let’s just go house to house and kill everyone in all of them!
TALIESIN: Let’s– Eventually, yes.
TRAVIS: Hello. I’d like to share the news of our Lord and Savior: my axe in your face!
SAM: Yes. We could be Mormons.
MATT: As you guys take your watches and go to sleep in the cold interior, and it is a cold interior of the tavern. As the night comes through, this is your first time really staying the night in the center of Whitestone. Even though you slept in the forest, in the boughs of the trees itself, the temperature grows far colder here, and even with the warm interior, the windows frost over and you find yourselves having to huddle or build some sort of small fire to even keep a semblance of comfort to rest. You all eventually go to sleep throughout your various times. I would like everyone to make a wisdom saving throw. With advantage, because you’re still affected by the Heroes’ Feast.
SAM: Until noon tomorrow, right?
MARISHA: 2PM tomorrow.
MATT: Okay. All of you wake the next morning rested as best as can be. Percy, your entire evening was wracked with nightmare after nightmare, imagery you wish to not recall. Whispers and voices familiar, unfamiliar, seeing yourself pulled from your physical self into the heart of this banshee, then wrest from death, barely, cackling in the distance. I want you to go ahead and mark on your sheet one point of corruption.
TRAVIS: What does that mean?
MARISHA: Oh no!
SAM: I don’t even know where that is on the sheet!
LAURA: He could be evil. We could turn evil here!
MATT: As you wake up, you find yourself wracked by those nightmares, a sense of nervousness comes to you. And there’s a tremor to your voice now that’s uncontrollable. At times of silence, you find yourself impulsively clearing your throat. And with that we’re going to take a five-minute break.
MARISHA: What the fuck?!
MATT: All right guys, keep this to a stringent five-minute break so we can get to as much as we can before the show’s up tonight. So we’ll see you guys here in five minutes? All right?
LIAM: See you in 17.
MATT: Welcome back everyone. So, a couple quick things. One, we’re roughly 30 to 25 subs away from our next milestone. The milestone, as we do with every 100 subs, the winner in the chat room, as long as you’re active in it, gets a package of one of our signed cast photos, as well as a wonderful poster art piece from our artist, Kit Buss, signed by the cast, and that will also be our 10k mark.
LIAM: Damn, damn!
TRAVIS: Skittles, motherfucker!
MATT: It’s pretty fantastic. So, as soon as we hit hat we’ll have our next giveaway and a big celebration as we hit 10k.
MARISHA: Get yourself a double cheeseburger.
LIAM: (singing) Look at the Sun Tree!
MATT: Also, you guys just caught, as that break ended, a quick episode of Omnibus. Omnibus is a new show that shows here every Tuesday. It’s helmed by Ian and Hector, some of our fantastic hosts here. It talks about all sorts of things. Not just Batman things. All sorts of things in geek culture and– what’s that?
TALIESIN: There’s more than Batman?
MATT: There’s more than Batman! It’s crazy! I pop pop there every now and then to answer some questions and talk about some cool things, as well as a number of other cool personalities that pop in and out. Check it out if you’re around on Tuesday. It’s a lot of fun. All righty. So let’s kick back into this. So, a rough morning’s rest come to fruition. Percy seems a little worse for wear after the evening’s sleep.
MARISHA: You feeling okay?
MARISHA: It was cold. Did you catch a cold?
TALIESIN: No, I’m fine.
MARISHA: Is your throat ticklish?
TALIESIN: A little ticklish, I’m fine.
MARISHA: Do you want some Goodberries? It might help a little bit–
TALIESIN: I’ll take some Goodberries.
MARISHA: All right. If you suck on them a little bit they act like “logenzes.”
MARISHA: Well, shut up.
LIAM, SAM, and MARISHA: Kenny Logenzes.
MATT: It’s a whole business opportunity that was missed.
LAURA: Oh wait. Seeming has ended at this point, hasn’t it?
MATT: Seeming has ended, yes.
LAURA: So, Trinket is a bear.
MATT: Trinket is now a bear.
LAURA: Okay, cool.
MATT: And not a donkey.
TRAVIS: And not a donkey.
LIAM: But he’s indoors with us, right?
LAURA: Yeah. I’ve been laying on him all night.
TRAVIS: Man, that was a good night’s sleep. Who do we get to kill today?
SAM: Sir Kerrion.
TRAVIS: How many mansions are there?
TALIESIN: There’s three.
TRAVIS: Right. One, three.
LIAM: Do you know which one he lives in?
TALIESIN: I don’t.
SAM: Only one way to find out. Burn every house down except for those three mansions and see who runs out.
TRAVIS: I like it. Seconded.
TALIESIN: I also think perhaps we should find a new place to sleep tonight. I think it might be best. To mix it up. Keep moving.
TRAVIS: But I’ve been peeing in the corner.
LAURA: That’s why it smells like it does. Grog!
TRAVIS: What? Look, it’s like they did in the old days, they had chamberpots. I mean, I have my corner. It’s my recreation corner. Sorry. Yeah, that’s my brand.
LIAM: That is ripe. We’re leaving.
SAM: You want to all be peasants again? Can we not just disguise ourselves in tattered clothes?
LAURA: I have a bear. Do you want to disguise the bear?
SAM: Oh, wait. We could just leave the bear behind.
LAURA: In the house.
SAM: He could guard this safe house, and then we could go find another safe house.
TALIESIN: Scanlan, cast the spell.
SAM: All right, fine. Seeming it is. We’re all peasants and he’s a donkey. And I’m a little boy.
MATT: You’re a little boy. Jovial boy without a yo-yo.
TALIESIN: There’s a shop that I used to frequent. We can see if that’s perhaps been abandoned.
LAURA: All right. I want like a crazy eye in my Seeming.
SAM: Of course you can! I’ll give you two crazy eyes.
MATT: (laughs) You now have two crazy eyes.
LIAM: That’s an improvement. That’s nice.
MATT: The majesty of bardic illusion.
TALIESIN: So we’re going to go to Beyond the Horizon.
MATT: Going to Beyond the Horizon?
MATT: All righty. You guys step out into the day’s sun. Today is fairly overcast. Clouds have taken the sky, and there is a bit of a light mist that is falling. Not quite rain, but not quite drizzle, but just a mist in the air. It’s a cold day. The ground and most of the walkways and roads are a little damp due to the moisture in the air. Not muddy, just a little bit of a packed wetness to it. As you head over towards Beyond the Horizon, and that lies more in the northwestern quadrant of the city. A little ways around the street from one of the noble houses, so you keep a wide berth. You come to the row of shops that bookended it before, and you go to the curiosity shop to find that the building itself is partially collapsed and ruined. The door is torn off the hinges and left to the side. Part of the ceiling is fallen in.
SAM: Is there a basement?
LAURA: Yeah, secret doors? Can I use a perception check to see if there’s any kind of secret entrances in the rubble at all? Something that leads to a cellar?
MATT: Do you wander into the building? You guys are still on the outside–
LIAM: How collapsed is it?
MATT: The whole building is still standing. It just looks like the front entrance is caved in and the doors were pulled off.
LAURA: I’ll just old lady walk into the building and look around.
LIAM: I’ll go in with her.
TALIESIN: Do old ladies lick the air?
LAURA: Yeah, she does. This crazy-eyed old lady does.
LIAM: Yeah, the eyes, they never go in the same direction; one’s always to the left and one to the right.
MATT: Looking about the inside, most of the furniture has been broken or taken. You can see a bunch of shelves set up as this was once a curiosity shop. Empty. Anything of worth has long been taken.
SAM: Oi, Grandma! Any yo-yos in there?
LAURA: I’m looking, boy.
MATT: A large scattering of broken glass, and a peppering of stains. Dark, ruddy stains across the hardwood floors you can see spattered in places. Occasional rat seems to crawl out in the distance a little (rat squeaking) sound. But there is no other sign of life within the interior. Go ahead and make an investigation check.
LAURA: Ooh, with no advantage, right?
MARISHA: What time is it?
SAM: Oh, until noon.
MARISHA: Until 2PM, yo!
MATT: Wisdom check, not saving throw.
MARISHA: Oh, never mind.
LAURA: That would have been an eight.
MATT: Eight. Okay. You take a while pushing through some of the rubble, checking behind the main desk, if you will, as to where most purchases would have taken place. The place is cleared out, and looks like it’s covered in enough dust to have been left here for the better part of six months to a year.
LAURA: I can’t see any kind of like door that leads to a cellar?
MATT: Glancing about, you find what looks to be a small cellar door that opens up in the floor in one of the back rooms. You open it up, there’s a small ladder, not even a staircase, a ladder that leads down in there. It’s a small room, about ten foot by ten foot. That room is also entirely cleaned out.
LAURA: All right. No yo-yos here, boy.
SAM: Thanks, grandmama.
TALIESIN: Can we use this as a base of operations in the moment, then?
LAURA: But it’s half-collapsed, it would not be very protected.
TRAVIS: Yeah, we’re fully exposed.
SAM: Let’s just take a walkabout and see if there’s anything else around the area.
TRAVIS: Do you want to head in one of the directions of the mansions?
TALIESIN: Let’s head to the closest mansion.
MATT: Okay. So you skirt back towards the the crossroad, the nearest crossroad that heads northward to the very, very far northwest section of Whitestone. There you come to this noble house, which has a nice bronzed fence around the outside of it. Probably about seven feet tall with these intricate spears affixed to the top, almost in a fleur-de-lis type pattern, but looks sharp enough to keep anyone from trying to leap over. The front gate is currently chained off with a lock on it. There is a lawn, but the lawn itself appears to be frost-crusted from the evening’s moisture and cold temperature. What grass is there is very gray and dull and currently crisp with a white frost dew. Is a slight hill, and you do see the building itself. It’s a very nice building. It’s a deep brown. A lot of it appears to be like natural stained wood from the local forest surrounding Whitestone, with highlights of deep green and black. There does not appear to be any immediate sign of life from the inside, but there does appear to be a light coming from the inside, so even at this point in the day, it can be dark on the interior. You can see a little bit of light coming from one of the doors.
MARISHA: Is there a mailbox with a name?
SAM: Are there guards out front or anything, or is it just a gate?
MATT: It’s just a gate, currently.
SAM: Do you want me to go in?
LAURA: What if we went to the fields and we asked other peasants how we report to what’s-his-fuck. Keron. Keron?
TRAVIS: Oh. That’s actually a good one.
TALIESIN: I will say, chances that anybody in any of these buildings is somebody we’re going to want to take care of is very high.
LAURA: So, just bust on in and kill them right now.
SAM: Just, whoever’s in there?
MARISHA: Is that actually what you’re saying?
LIAM: And you went from focusing on Kerrion, to kicking in doors?
TRAVIS: Are you feeling all right?
LAURA: Yeah, you look a little pale, Percy.
TALIESIN: I am a little pale.
MARISHA: It’s kind of like the game show problem.
SAM: Well, you know.
LAURA: Are you sick? Does Keyleth need to cast, I don’t know, Restoration on you or something?
TALIESIN: I just had a bad night’s sleep, that’s all.
TRAVIS: Scanlan, go knock on that door.
MARISHA: Do you have a fever?
SAM: I’m just a little peasant boy.
MARISHA: Is he running a fever?
MATT: He is not actually, he’s quite cold and clammy.
TALIESIN: My nice jacket. We can ask around. See if we can manage to ask somebody without arousing–
SAM: Is anyone else on the street?
MATT: Right now, in this particular area, there is nobody on the street. You passed a few folks. A lot of them seem to be traveling southward.
TALIESIN: How far are we from the temple? The Alcove?
MATT: The Alcove is a little further east, it’s probably about a 15-minute walk. The other temple, that one is about a ten-minute walk south of here. It’s closer to the southwestern side of the city.
TALIESIN: We could take a walk to the Lady’s Chamber and see if we run into anybody there or on the way, and it’s only ten minutes out of the way.
TRAVIS: The Lady’s Chamber?
TALIESIN: Not as exciting as it sounds.
LIAM: You know someone there?
TALIESIN: (sighs) It’s not looking like it.
SAM: I bet it’s empty. I mean, it’s a temple. The other one was.
TRAVIS: All right, but I thought we were killing somebody in this house.
SAM: I thought so, too.
TALIESIN: We’ll get to it.
SAM: I can just pop in there and see who’s in there and pop out.
LAURA: Be killed? Never pop back out again.
TALIESIN: He doesn’t know what he looks like, anyway.
SAM: I’m just a peasant boy. You wouldn’t kill a harmless peasant boy.
TALIESIN: I think they would, actually. They already have.
LAURA: We saw the tree.
TALIESIN: Genuine proof that they are perfectly fine killing a small peasant boy.
LIAM: What is there in the way of guards out in the open now, and those giants strolling about?
MATT: The skulking humanoids you saw last night that were wandering the streets? None of them visible. You do take in that far down the road to the east of you there is a large shape looming around the corner in a shadow stretching across the road. And you hear the distant (muffled stomping noise).
LIAM: Are we within eyeshot of that thing right now?
MATT: Not yet. It looks like it’s coming around a corner at the bend of the road a ways to the east.
LIAM: Is there anyone our size, any humanoid guards around?
MATT: Currently? No.
LIAM: I’m guessing the best time to sneak into any of these places is during the day.
MARISHA: Do we want to sneak in, though? You’re the only one who knows what they look like.
MATT: It’s coming around the bend.
MARISHA: Okay, wait. Are the gates locked?
SAM: Let’s get out of here. Take a walk, we’re going to take a walk.
TALIESIN: We’re going to take a little walk and let it pass by. Let’s go to the Lady’s Chamber.
LIAM: Lady’s Chambers, anyone?
SAM: Towards the Lady’s Chamber. We’re not going in.
LIAM: It’s full of prostitutes, Grog. Full.
TALIESIN: You’ll see. It’s not really that complicated.
LIAM: What did you roll?
MATT: All right. You guys dart southward across the road, ducking into the alleys of the southern portion of the road, getting out of the visual range of the zombie giant that is making its way down the road, across your path. Heading southward, you dart through the back alleys and keeping free of the main central visual areas of the city, you eventually make your way to the corner that houses the Lady’s Chamber. And as you guys see it–
SAM: Have we passed any people?
MATT: If you’re keeping an eye out for that, yes. In some of the alleyway, you do pass a couple that are holding some, what looks like either scavenged groceries or some sort of food they have keeping close to themselves.
SAM: Can I go talk to them?
MATT: You can, indeed.
LAURA: I’m going to come with you.
MATT: All right. As they’re both walking by, keeping the hush, they see you guys step in the same alley. They stop for a second, looking you over, give a nod.
SAM: Oi, excuse me? My papa sent me to send a present, a gift of sorts, to a Sir Keri? Kurion?
SAM: We’re just looking to see where we can deliver the gift.
MATT: Make a deception check.
LIAM: Scanlan’s forte. Come on.
MATT: You both stop and the man gives her a look like he’s trying to usher her along, pulling her arm and she goes, “No, honey, it’s just a child.” Walks up and leans forward and says, “If you’re looking for Sir Kerrion, you’ll find him in the extravagant abode to the southeast of the city.”
SAM: The one right over there?
MATT: “No.” And gives you a side look for a second and says, “You don’t want to go find the Countess there. If you’re looking for Sir Kerrion, you go to the southeast. Look for the brick building. That’s where he stays. Near the farming area south of us. You’re not from here are you?”
LAURA: We’re new to town.
SAM: She’s blind.
MATT: “Well, just do what he says. Don’t question. All right?”
SAM: Okay. I just need to bring him this sack of presents, or my papa will whip me pretty bad.
MATT: “Then perhaps you could do that quickly.”
SAM: You’re so pretty and clean.
MATT: She blushes for a second, goes like, “You stay safe.” And brushes the hair out of your eyes for a second and pinches your cheek a little bit, and there’s a look of sadness in her eyes, almost like, what horrible fate befalls this child, if he’s not careful.
LAURA: I smack him on the back of the head and say: Let’s go boy! Keep up!
SAM: I’m her seeing-eye boy.
MATT: She rushes back to the side of the man with her and, “See, it’s fine. Good luck!” And they both dart off down the alley again.
LIAM: Sam Riegel, ladies and gentleman, he played Gavroche in Les Mis. Gavroche, right here, Gavroche.
MATT: On Broadway. Literally.
TALIESIN: He is Oliver Twist.
SAM: (singing) Consider yourself! (speaking) Oh, that’s a different show.
TALIESIN: I was ready! I was ready.
MATT: All right, so. You make your way southward to probably what’s the second largest road intersection in this city. Away from the Sun Tree square. You can now see the temple to Erathis here. And it is a large stone half dome amphitheater set up where it’s built outward to face the actual crossroads. And there is a courtyard built around it, a small stone wall about three feet tall, that encapsulates this area. There is a couple of trees, but there isn’t a lot of grass, most of it’s just stonework– Erathis being the goddess of civilization. You know, it has an interesting duality and disrespect to Melora and all unbridled nature. Things that are controlled and civilized are definitely her realm of expertise. But as you approach, like most of the grass here, it’s pretty desolate and dead. Winter is definitely making its way to this part of the city. You do notice that surrounding it, there is dried ivy, and just a general feeling of solemn desperation and sadness. There are a few people scattered throughout sitting on benches, sitting in quiet contemplation. Some of them are clutching small holy symbols and doing a prayer to themselves while rocking in the bench. You do see within the dome, there is a group of about four people that are all sitting, looking up to a man, an older man with a thick, white mustache and receding white hair. His gray robes he’s wearing look weathered. You recognize him. While you haven’t had too much interaction, not being much of a pious man, in any form of religion from your history, but you do know, Keeper Yennen is the head priest of Erathis here and is currently giving the tail-end of a small sermon to those here. Hearing him, he speaks words of comfort talking of, through these dark days, we must bind together as a community. We have to ensure that our livelihood and our existence is kept, and we look out for our fellow man. There is solace in the friendships and bonds we keep here. And best not to upset those that wish to keep us down. Erathis looks over us. There will be a time in which our salvation will come. And he goes into this very rallying speech and trying to lift the spirits of those around.
MARISHA: You said there was 40?
MARISHA: Four. Right.
SAM: But they’re allowed to assemble?
MATT: Yeah. There’s four around him in the amphitheater. There are probably another ten or so scattered about the various ground surrounding it, just doing their own private prayer.
TALIESIN: Do I have an opinion on Yennen?
MATT: Yennen? From your previous experience and what you’ve heard is a very– can be a bit arrogant in his worship, but not in a way that is considered dangerous or impactful to when the de Rolo families were in rule. He does good for the people. Kind of a tool at times. But he practices well and he keeps the people’s spirits up for those who worship.
TALIESIN: We found him a bit obnoxious to our means and ends on occasion?
MATT: On occasion, but mostly just his personality. Nothing he’s done personally. He’s not a bad person, by any means. He’s just, you know.
TALIESIN: He’s also not a lapdog.
MATT: Yeah. Strong-willed in his ideas.
LAURA: Can we insight check him to see if it seems like he’s changed at all, or if he’s still that same douchebag or if he’s–
MATT: You would have no basis of comparison. You would be the only one that has.
TALIESIN: I’m going to walk up to the little meeting. Is it wrapping up right now?
MATT: It seems like it’s winding down. He finishes the discussion about the bonds of community, speaks about this city sprang up from nothing, but has a greater destiny to itself. If not here at Whitestone, one day we will all go past these boundaries, these borders, and create our own cities. There is hope for this. And then begins to go into a couple of familiar prayers tailored specifically to the Erathis way of thinking, and then finishes and everyone looks up, bows their heads for a second and begin to stand up and walk away from the amphitheater as he turns around and begins to clear off one of the back benches for him to sit on.
TALIESIN: I’m going to just walk up and start a conversation.
MATT: Okay. You walk up to him, he sits down. “Can I help you?”
TALIESIN: Do you think there’s any hope for Whitestone? Do you think there’ll be a day the people can find happiness again?
MATT: “I can say this. If history has taught me anything, our people are a resilient bunch. There has been much death, opposition, to all the free peoples of these lands. And yet, they persevered and surmounted these odds. I think, though, to some degree a prison this town may have become, perhaps we ourselves cannot see the distant ends. It’s easy to misinterpret the means of those that would oppress us. But we can’t go too long before the world at large can see the atrocities committed, the terrible entities that walk these streets.”
TALIESIN: Do you think there will come a day that these people can seize freedom for themselves against their oppressors?
MATT: “I look forward to a day in which there can be a beacon of outside hope. From the inside, I fear many wills have been torn asunder. I’m sorry. Forgive my manners. Welcome to the Lady’s Chamber. You are unfamiliar to me.” And he looks out at you guys standing at the peripheral of the amphitheater. “Travelers?”
MATT: “I fear the cold winter is looming. An ill omen takes this city, friends. You may stay to give worship, if you will, then I recommend you continue on your way. There is little here but dying tradition.”
TALIESIN: I have a prayer to give.
TALIESIN: I pray for a day to come when outside forces can rally the people of Whitestone again. That strangers may come and bring with them salvation, and that the people will seize it.
MATT: “You speak in strange confidence for a traveler.”
TALIESIN: Look for signs, Keeper Yennen. Look for signs. I’m going to hand him a piece of parchment.
MATT: “Signs of what, I might ask?”
TALIESIN: Salvation. Good day to you, sir.
LIAM: Act cool. Everybody act cool.
TALIESIN: We walk south.
TRAVIS: We walk south. We leave.
TALIESIN: And you know what I’ve left him.
MATT: Yeah. As you’re walking away, you hear his voice call out after. “Wait! What does this mean?” He pulls the parchment forward, revealing the symbol of the top of the de Rolo family crest.
TALIESIN: That… (sighs) What appears dead may not necessarily be death. And that with the shadow of death over the city perhaps there is life deep underground. Perhaps things that appeared ended and gone are perhaps continuing to this day. And may rise again.
MATT: Go ahead and make a persuasion check. Give you advantage on this.
MATT: Nods his head slowly, looks back at the sheet. Looks back at you with a discerning look.
TALIESIN: He’s definitely not going to–
MATT: Oh, not at all. You look like a dirty peasant right now. Takes it and hastily closes it and folds it and puts it in the pouch. Steps back over and gathers some of his loose tea leaves– he was making himself some tea– and looks about shiftily, calls over one of the other worshipers and begins talking with them as you guys walk away.
TALIESIN: Let’s head south.
TRAVIS: South it is.
SAM: To the–
LAURA: To the house?
SAM: To the house.
TALIESIN: Kerrion Stonefell’s stately manor.
MARISHA: So wait, which mansion were we at?
SAM and LAURA: The Countess.
TALIESIN: Countess Anna Ripley.
MARISHA: Which mansion is that out of the three?
TALIESIN: That’s the northeastern one.
MARISHA: That’s the northeastern one?
LAURA: And she was which? Who was the Countess again?
TALIESIN: I’m assuming if it is who I suspect it is, it’s Countess Anna Ripley.
SAM: And who is she to you?
TALIESIN: She is a terrible person.
SAM: Wait, she’s the one who killed a bunch of your people, right?
MARISHA: She’s the doctor, right?
TALIESIN: She’s the doctor.
LAURA: Oh, she is the one!
TRAVIS: Do we get to kill her?
TALIESIN: I hope so. But let’s– one at a time. If we’re lucky, maybe one a day.
MARISHA: Well, okay.
TRAVIS: Like a vitamin?
SAM: Like a Flintstone’s vitamin. Except it’s assassination.
SAM: Do you need some healing? Are you okay?
TALIESIN: I’m fine. I’m fine.
SAM: Scanlan can make you feel good.
TALIESIN: I’m fine.
TRAVIS: (laughs) He can make you feel real good.
LAURA: Can I go up and ask Keyleth, outside of his earshot, to maybe cast some sort of restoration on him, without– He’s fighting it. I don’t think he’s feeling well. Can you heal him?
MARISHA: I’m mean, yeah. He’s going to feel it once I cast it on him, but I can try.
LAURA: He looks cold and kind of slimy, and he’s coughing a lot.
TRAVIS: Wow, that’s harsh. Looks cold.
SAM: He’s probably been up tinkering all night.
LIAM: Who are you to talk, Crazy Eyes?
LAURA: I know.
TALIESIN: I look like like a dirty peasant right now.
LAURA: No, that’s true.
MARISHA: I don’t know if my– I don’t know if Greater Restoration will work.
LAURA: All right.
TALIESIN: Should only take 20 minutes to get to the house, shouldn’t it?
MATT: Yeah. Approximately.
TALIESIN: We’re not passing anything interesting on the way, are we?
SAM: Any other safe houses? Potential candidates?
MATT: I mean, there are plenty of houses that currently don’t show signs of life.
TALIESIN: I was thinking mostly of the barracks or the Alcove.
SAM: Yes, but after we kill this thing, we’re going to need to know where to go.
TALIESIN: Got some thoughts.
SAM: Thoughts? We need a place to retreat to immediately.
TALIESIN: The Lady’s Chamber.
SAM: It’s an amphitheater isn’t it?
TALIESIN: There’s quarters. They’ll be able to hide us.
MARISHA: What makes you think they’re going to hide us?
SAM: Shouldn’t we have a backup plan, in case they turn us out onto the street?
TALIESIN: Actually, my thought was if we take care of Stonefell, why don’t we hide in his house?
LAURA: Nobody will know, right? Let’s do it!
SAM: That’s a good plan. They probably have some good wine.
TRAVIS: I always wanted to be a lord.
SAM: All right. Let’s go assassinate someone.
MARISHA: Percy? I don’t mean to beat a dead horse or anything, but–
TALIESIN: If it would make you feel better, you can do whatever you like, but I think it’s just a tickle.
MARISHA: No. You’re sure about all of this?
TALIESIN: This has been what I’ve been working for for years. I’m not going to lose– I was surprised last time. I’ve had time to think about it. I’m going to be all right. And I’m keeping it together. I’m not going to pretend that I’m great. But I’ve got a hold on it.
SAM: They also have technology, now. They have weapons, guns, that they’re developing. It could be a threat to many, many other people.
MARISHA: Well, that I’m fine with. No, not that I’m fine with. I mean, I’m fine helping prevent that. I’m just more worried about your sanity than anything else.
TALIESIN: I’ve got a hold. And I respect that if you think that I’m slipping, you’ll let me know.
MARISHA: Okay. You followed me into the fiery abyss, so–
TALIESIN: If that isn’t a sign that I must be crazy, I don’t know what is.
MARISHA: Touché. I’ll follow you, though. I’ll follow you to the end.
SAM: As the oldest among us, I say that he’s fine.
TALIESIN: Are you actually the oldest among us?
SAM: Well, I assume so. How old are you people?
TRAVIS: Somewhere between one and 50.
LIAM: Well, I’m 27, but I don’t know how old she is.
MATT: And with that, rainfall begins to hit upon the city–
LAURA: Oh no.
SAM: Let’s go.
MATT: The ground immediately becomes thick with mud and sludge as you begin making your way through the city to the eastern side.
MARISHA: I go puddle hopping!
TALIESIN: This is not a happy place.
TRAVIS: Low key.
LIAM: Low key.
MARISHA: Oh. I look miserable.
TALIESIN: Look wet.
TRAVIS: I take the Dust of Tracelessness to void out any footprints in the mud.
LIAM: It’s been washed away with the rain.
MATT: You do it. As you walk along, you do, some of the mud shifts behind you. It can be a little conspicuous if you’re not careful.
TRAVIS: Oh. Not my normal flower girl routine; maybe it’s like the old Shawshank Prison walk.
TALIESIN: The old Shawshank Prison walk.
MATT: All right. The Alcove is a little ways north. It would take some time. You’re pushing at like 10:30 in the morning at this point, around 11AM. Are you going straight to the supposed homestead of Kerrion Stonefell?
LAURA: Let’s do it!
LIAM: We’re going straight there?
TALIESIN: We’re going straight there.
MATT: All right. You bee-line it. You’re all getting cold from the wet rain that is now soaked through your clothes. You make your way, and this home is a deep, red brick in construction. This house was not here when you lived here. It looks like what house was here has been demolished and rebuilt with sturdy masonry. It’s a two-story building. There appear to be two guards currently set outside. Two regular leather-armor looking, more thugs than guards, but they’re just both keeping under the overhang at the front porch to keep dry and grimacing at the weather. There is a gate around it. This gate is more for purpose than visual presentation. It’s a black iron, nasty, jagged, rusty-looking gate. Not too dissimilar to the one that surrounded the graveyard. It’s about a 20-foot walk from the gate entrance to the front step of the actual building itself. How do you want to approach this?
TALIESIN: Let’s walk around the back, I think.
LIAM: As we walk up, I’d like to trail back by Grog in the rain. The killing’s going to start soon. It’s not going to stop. We’re going to protect them. All of them.
LIAM: Yeah, big guy?
LIAM: All right.
SAM: Vax, you have your daggers back, right?
LIAM: I got them all.
LAURA: I put a couple arrows in the holy oil that we have.
MATT: All right. Each holy oil is essentially three–
LAURA: Oh, can I just dip one arrow in, then, right now?
MATT: Mark that off from one of your holy oils, you have one of three uses of that, and that that arrow does have a holy oil essence.
SAM: Percival? If we get in there, what are the chances that this gentleman, Sir Kerrion– Korean–
TALIESIN: You can mispronounce his name. It’s fine.
MARISHA: Sir North Korean.
TALIESIN: Sir Starbucks, yes.
SAM: Sir Starbucks. What are the chances that he’s going to be in a coffin? Sleeping?
SAM: Okay. All right. Good to know.
TRAVIS: Would it be worthwhile to maybe say that the little boy and the old lady were caught hoarding crops and we brought them to this guy, see if we can draw him out of his house?
SAM: Ooh, that’s a cool plan. I like that plan!
MARISHA: It is raining.
SAM: Oh, wait, but I would be bait?
SAM: Okay, fine.
TALIESIN: Let’s take a long walk around the house to see if there’s a way in through the back.
MARISHA: It’s dark. It’s raining.
TALIESIN: And I can’t imagine that many people attempt to infiltrate this house.
LIAM: How dark is it?
MATT: I mean, it’s overcast, but it’s getting closer to noon. Even though you can’t see the sun, and it is dark clouds overhead, it is still a general universal storm light. Darkened daylight.
TRAVIS: Once around?
MARISHA: Does it look like it’s going to pass soon?
MATT: No. It looks like it’s probably going to be here for most of the day at the very least.
SAM: The rain will dampen the screams from inside. So we go around once? Once around?
MATT: Okay. Perception checks all around.
SAM: Perception check.
LIAM: I’m looking specifically for ways in the building other than the front door.
SAM: I’m looking for clouds because I rolled a two.
MATT: All right. I will say above 20s, you guys notice there is a cellar door outside the building that descends beneath it. There’s no indicator as to whether or not it’s attached to the house or if it’s just an exterior cellar that you can enter from the outside. You do also see there are a number of windows around the household that are all currently closed that lead into the interior. You’re uncertain if they’re locked or open. There’s a little bit of light from the inside.
MARISHA: Like candlelight?
MATT: Like candlelight or lantern light, the darkened exterior has made most of the sunlight that would warm a building or light it up from the inside has been cut off by the rainstorm. So, there is a necessity for internal lighting.
MARISHA: Is there any sign of windows that are blacked out?
MATT: No, but you do notice that one of the windows to the far back side of the building where most of the light’s coming from– occasionally the light does seem to shift or a shadow moves past it. There’s movement within that room nearish that window.
SAM: They’re watching TV.
LAURA: Probably. I cast Pass Without a Trace on all of us.
SAM: Ooh, thank you!
MARISHA: Are we going through the cellar?
SAM: Is our meal still affecting us?
TALIESIN: Until two.
SAM: Yes! Let’s go in quick!
LAURA: Is it possible to see what the movement is, who it is inside that window?
MATT: Not from this 25 to 30-foot distance from the building and you guys trying to be inconspicuous.
LIAM: There’s nothing between us and the building?
MATT: There is the gate. The gate, and what looks to be a few rocks and a couple small trees that are on the actual grounds of the house surrounding it.
LAURA: Is the cellar door hidden from view of everything or is it out in the open?
MATT: Which one?
LAURA: The cellar door that we saw.
MATT: The cellar door is out in the open, buttressed against the back of the house. It’s up against the ground on the side. It has two doors that open up and lead into the cellar below.
LAURA: Does it look like anybody can see us?
MATT: From where you’re standing? No. You’re going to be hardpressed to get across without being in sight of somebody if someone were nearby.
MARISHA: We’re between a fence, right?
MATT: You’re on the outside of a fence.
TRAVIS: Do we want to try to draw them out or get to the cellar? Either way, those two thug guards are going to die.
MARISHA: There are guards?
LAURA and SAM: There’s two guards.
MATT: They’re currently not in visual range of you. They’re guarding the front of the building. You guys moved around back. So you don’t see the two guards currently on the opposite side of the house.
TRAVIS: What’s the fence made out of? Is it the spear-y shit?
MARISHA: Is it poky up top?
MATT: It is poky. yes.
TRAVIS: It is poky.
MATT: It’s not super sharp poky, but there’s iron rods.
TRAVIS: So, I could throw Scanlan over.
LIAM: If you roll a two, you can get hurt.
MATT: Yeah, if you rolled poorly, it’s going to deal some damage.
SAM: Should we do a diversion for the guards?
LAURA: They can’t even see us, though!
SAM: Yes, but once we go through the fence, they might. I don’t know.
All right, you want to sneak in?
TALIESIN: Let’s try to sneak in and leave the guards there unless they notice us and then we’ll just (thwip thwip).
SAM: All right, sure!
TRAVIS: How do we sneak in past them?
TALIESIN: You want to try to pull one of the wrought irons off, maybe?
TRAVIS: I’d be down for that.
SAM: If I puffed some smoke, would it draw attention to us?
SAM: Okay, then never mind.
TALIESIN: It’s raining. We can make a little noise, it’ll be okay.
LIAM: Where are the guards in the front?
MATT: They’re currently on the opposite side of the building. If you guys are looking at the back. They’re in the front of the building guarding the front door.
LIAM: Inside the gate at the house?
MARISHA: Want me to heat up that metal bar for you?
LIAM: We still have to go over and in.
LAURA: Let’s just up and over the bar, athletic it. Acrobatics it?
LIAM: Grog, can you bend that shit open?
MATT: Your donkey’s still there beside you.
LIAM: Yeah, well, if Grog can frigging make a hole in there–
TRAVIS: Can I try and Lou Ferrigno those bars?
MATT: You’re more than welcome to. Go ahead and make a strength check.
MARISHA: The bar that he’s–
TALIESIN: Lou Ferrigno-ing.
MARISHA: – Lou Ferrigno-ing, I’m going to cast Heat Metal.
SAM: Is that going to burn his hands?
MARISHA: Put on some gloves.
TRAVIS: I don’t have any gloves.
MARISHA: Spit in your hand a little bit. Grip and bear it.
SAM: It’s raining. It’ll be fine.
MATT: So, you cast Heat Metal on the bars and a certain area of this gate begins to glow with a dull orange to become a brighter orange, and portions of it going whitish-hot in places.
SAM: Why don’t you just hit it with something?
LAURA: Wrap your hands.
MARISHA: You can use your axe.
MATT: The rain, by the way, is puffing against it and evaporating as it impacts the now-heated metal.
SAM: But that’ll be loud!
MARISHA: You do you! You do you, Grog.
TRAVIS: I rolled a 23.
MATT: 23? Okay, you reach over and grab it, your hands smoking on the– use the pain! Use the pain and pull down the bars. You get a large portion of the gate to actually bend downward into an arc, causing the whole gate to fold inward on that side, making it much easier for anyone to pass through. However, you do suffer nine points of fire damage from the burn and your hands are currently scalded.
TALIESIN: Now we can get Trinket in!
LIAM: That’s a hangnail on his pinky toe.
TRAVIS: It’s all right.
MARISHA: I go ahead and I cast Healing Word on his hands.
MATT: Okay. So it’s 1d4 plus six. She’s rolling it.
MARISHA: Ooh! 11.
TRAVIS: Hey, back to full!
MATT: So, the scarring stays for a bit. You do smell the burning flesh, but there’s no lasting wounds on your hands.
TALIESIN: You can check to see if there’s a lock on the cellar door?
LIAM: Yeah, sure.
TRAVIS: We gotta make it across the lawn first.
LAURA: Well, we’re in the back of the house.
LIAM: Well, we’re all just walking very quietly.
LAURA: We’re stealthing.
MATT: So, everyone make a stealth check.
TALIESIN: We have advantage?
MATT: No, everyone gets plus ten to their stealth. You have disadvantage on the stealth check, though.
SAM: Plus ten.
MATT: Yes, plus ten to your stealth roll.
MATT: All righty. You guys all keeping low and quickly darting across the grass field. You make your way, pattering across the somewhat slick grass. The rain is a little warmer than the frost that kept the grounds frozen as the morning came to. So, it’s a little slick, but you make your way to the back of the building. You’re still loosely out in the open, in a weird way, so you don’t want to be out in the open for a long period of time. This isn’t a safe place. You’re currently, apparently made it to this side of the building unnoticed. But you don’t want to stay here very long because you are visible to anyone who’s on either side of the gate exterior.
LIAM: I’m going straight to the cellar door.
LAURA: Up against the wall of the building.
LIAM: I give it a little (clunk) to see what I feel.
MATT: It is locked. It does gives resistance.
LIAM: I get to work.
MARISHA: Do your thing.
LAURA: I feel like it’s been a while since you’ve done this.
LIAM: Did what?
LIAM: I already did it earlier when you weren’t here. 14, that’s 27.
MATT: 27. You reach over, without even looking. You grab the lock; you’re familiar with this kind of lock. (clicking) You take the lock off the chain. The chains fall loose against the opposite side of the, or the inside of the door. You pull it open. It’s dark inside. You can see the dry stone steps that lead down below the building as rain starts darkening them with drops that are hitting them.
LIAM: I lean my head in really fast and just see if I can hear anything, and roll a one.
LAURA: Could I stealth in a couple of steps look around and see if there’s anybody in there, or hear anything?
MATT: Okay. Make a perception check.
LIAM: No, I said it’s good! It’s good! Let’s go! Right? You agree. We’re never wrong!
MATT: 19. Listening to the inside. The smell’s a little musty, like a cellar you’d expect. But a little bit of dust and untouched earth. There’s nothing down there; no movement, no sound.
LAURA: It’s clear, let’s go! Ish!
MATT: You all drop in. Darting into– which is good, because you notice around the corner one of the giants is turning the corner. You all dive inside, close the cellar doors. Bringing you to the interior.
LAURA: I wonder if they’re going to notice that fence.
SAM: They might.
MATT: You hear the pattering of rain across the wooden doors of the cellar. You made your way down underneath. And it is pitch black. There is no light source down here.
LIAM: I pull out my Flametongue Dagger.
MATT: Okay. A little bit of flame causes enough candlelight to see the surface. And it is a wine cellar.
TRAVIS: I have Darkvision.
MARISHA: I’ll go ahead and use my flaming hands.
MATT: Okay, so with an instant of will, all of a sudden flames burst around–
MATT: – is a small ladder in the corner that seems to lead up to a latched door that leads to the interior of the house.
LAURA: I got up to it and listen.
MATT: Make a perception check.
LAURA: I don’t hear anything, you guys. I think it’s fine!
LIAM: My ears are bigger than yours. Let me have a listen. Get down.
LAURA: Yeah! Your ears are huge compared to mine!
LIAM: Definitely, look at them!
MATT: Your sister assures you she heard–
LAURA: There’s nothing there!
LIAM: I don’t hear anything, either. I think we should just bust in.
TALIESIN: (whispers) Quietly!
MARISHA: Wait, hang on! Grog just said wait!
LIAM: I keep forgetting the rogue skill, so really I rolled a 20.
SAM: Wait, what? You rolled a three and it becomes a 20?!
LIAM: For perception, I can no longer roll lower than ten, unless I roll a one. But if it’s a two or nine, it’s actually a ten for me.
LAURA: That’s awesome.
MATT: Rogues are pretty cool.
TALIESIN: That’s crazy.
LAURA: Yep, rogues are awesome.
TRAVIS: Rogues are whatever.
MATT: So you put your ear up to it and listen carefully. And you hear pacing footsteps creaking against wood no more than maybe four feet away from you.
LIAM: Is that one person?
MATT: One person stops and then moves again, then moves again almost like there’s pacing, and you hear low voices. It’s a conversation; there’s two voices. You hear one voice very muffled, but it seems to be similar to the voice of the gentleman that came across you guys on the street that actually briefly talked to Percy the day before.
LIAM: The old guy; the balding guy?
MATT: The balding guy with the long stringy gray hair.
LIAM: He’s just reporting in. He’s his frigging money collector.
MATT: The other voice you don’t recognize, and it’s too muffled for you to make out anything. About four feet from you, not over the cellar, but off a ways to it. You’re not certain where this doorway leads to, the level of muffling you can hear through the floor leads you to believe that they’re not directly above you.
LIAM: Not directly above. All right. There’s nobody right above us, but there’s people in the house.
LAURA: They might be close.
TRAVIS: Just to be clear–
LIAM: No, they’re on another floor or in another room.
TRAVIS: Before we start: we’re killing everything, right?
TRAVIS: Okay, good. Do we want to send one person out sneaky and then have a code word like Cheeto if it all goes wrong?
MARISHA: Last time we did that, it went really well.
TRAVIS: Did we do that before?
LIAM: No, we didn’t send anyone, I just–
TALIESIN: Let’s just go one room at a time.
SAM: One room at a time? We have to get up through this latch and there’s people right above us!
LIAM: Scanlan, you or me? You want to go invisible, or do you want me to creep in?
SAM: I think you should have some fun, too. But before we do anything, do you want me to send a cloud up there of gross smoke to smoke out the area?
LIAM and TALIESIN: No.
TALIESIN: Let’s not let them know we’re here.
LAURA: Wait, before we do this. Keyleth, can you maybe make the gate outside not look like it’s all bent to shit?
LIAM: Zombie guards aren’t going to– giants are stupid.
SAM: It’ll be fine.
LIAM: They’re stupid. I mean, there are the guys out front.
TRAVIS: It’s fine!
SAM: What could go wrong? This is a stealth mission. We’ll be in and out of here in six minutes if we do this right. Let’s go! Go, go!
MARISHA: Wait, are you going in? Are you infiltrating?
LIAM: I’ll go up and see what I see. Just above us, not far away.
MARISHA: I touch Vax’s shoulder and I cast Enhance Ability and I’m going to give you dex saves– what do you want?
LIAM: I’m good on that.
MARISHA: What do you want advantage on?
LIAM: Not dexterity. Constitution. I’m feeling a little weak.
MARISHA: All right. Constitution.
MATT: What’s this for?
MARISHA: Enhance Ability. So I think it’s called Bear’s Constitution or something weird.
MATT: Advantage on constitution checks. Those are different from saving throws.
MATT: But it does give him 2d6 temporary hit points, but those do not stack with the current temporary hit points you have. Constitution would not be of much benefit to you.
TRAVIS: We could just set a fire down here.
MARISHA: Okay. Do you want dex or anything?
LIAM: I’m pretty dex-y already.
MARISHA: Instead, I say, good luck.
SAM: Bonne chance! Vive la résistance!
TRAVIS: All right.
LIAM: I’m going to check and see if it gives at all or if there’s anything to it.
MATT: (creak) It gives.
LIAM: It gives. All right, so I’m going to go up.
TRAVIS: Invisible or not?
LIAM: No, stealthing up. All right. So, okay, hold on, I get advantage. 23.
LAURA: Wait, no. Plus ten because Pass Without a Trace.
LIAM: Oh, 33.
MATT: 33. You move it up, without a sound, dart up, catch yourself and lower it down carefully. Dark interior, you use your Flametongue Dagger to look inside. You are inside of a closet of some kind, a ten by five closet. There are coats and outfits around you. You can push them aside. This looks to be like a small storage room that has been repurposed as a closet of some kind.
LIAM: I am listening intently and feeling through as many pockets as I can find around me.
MATT: Easily enough. As you put your ear to the door, they are talking immediately on the other side of this door. You are a room adjacent to it. You do manage to pocket from a few of the coats about 47 gold pieces in total.
MARISHA: Who leaves that much in their coat pockets?
TRAVIS: Dead people, that’s who.
LIAM: Can I make anything out through there?
MATT: You make out conversation. It seems to be between a voice you don’t recognize and the gentleman earlier you met, basically saying, “With everything that’s going on now, it’s honestly very frustrating that these people wouldn’t do their share of the bargain. I, myself, I’ve been doing my best to keep them in order, but at this point in time, I think we need to do another show of strength in order to keep them working as hard as we have been.” Another voice calms him down and says, “Don’t worry, don’t worry. Keep it under control. At the very least, we should have to be ready, prepared. If what Lady Briarwood says, we should be having visitors any day now. And I would hate to be caught flat-footed. So, we’re going to go ahead and gather our arms, going to make sure that we outfit the place the best we can. Traps, alarms, whatever is necessary to make sure that we are not caught off-guard.”
MARISHA: This is about to be hilarious!
MATT: You guys came at just about the right time.
LIAM: I’d like to– everybody hold.
LIAM: I just want to wait for one minute and see what progresses.
MATT: Okay. The conversation continues. The older gentleman begins talking about, “I don’t like the idea of there being any sort of conflict on our home turf. I wish they would just meet them out, head them off, cut them off at the head. Why did we invite them in here? That seems to be a dangerous circumstance.”
LIAM: While they’re talking I say: we’ve got two gentlemen up here.
SAM: Two gentlemen!
LAURA: Okay. I start climbing the–
LIAM: I think it’s time to start killing.
SAM: Grog up first!
MARISHA: Places everyone, places!
LAURA: Grog up before me.
TRAVIS: It’s opening night and I’m so excited!
MATT: Stealth checks all around.
LAURA: Plus ten!
LIAM: Send up the goliath.
MARISHA: That’s good!
LAURA: Plus ten!
SAM: That was plus ten.
MATT: All righty. You all slowly make your way up. There’s not enough room for all of you inside this room, this storage space.
LAURA: Grog first.
MATT: Grog, you go up, you push open the door into the next room and it is a– for lack of a better term, a music room. There’s a few couches around, there’s a piano set up.
LIAM: Oh, it went closet to music room?
MARISHA: Oh, we’re opening the door?
MATT: You guys are opening a door to a room next to– the wall you were listening to is the room next to you. This opens up into a room adjacent.
MARISHA: A music room! How regal!
MATT: So, as you push out into the room, it’s dark in here. The only light that’s coming in is from the nearby window. A little bit of sun’s coming through from the rainstorm. You can still hear the rain pattering on the window and the second floor above you, there is no sound from the rain hitting the roof from this distance.
LIAM: Dart my eyes around. Is there anything that’s useful in here?
MATT: Not particularly; it’s mostly decorative. Few vases, some books on the shelf. There is a door that is partially open that leads into hallway. A hallway that seems to connect the two rooms.
LIAM: Which way are the voices coming from?
MATT: Yeah. The door is the opposite of the window and the room that you’re in is adjacent to the room that the voices are coming from. The closet is in between the two.
LIAM: Oh, between the two. So it is out, door, hallway?
MATT: Yes, out, door, hallway, and then the room where the speaking is coming from.
SAM: Do you want me to create a diversion of some sort? No?
LAURA: Just run in, surprise him.
SAM: Are we going to go around?
LIAM: So, we’re stealthing, right?
LIAM: So I pull both of their hands and I say–
SAM: Who’s they?
LIAM: Grog and Keyleth. I start pulling them through– that’s all right. Out the door. Along the hallway towards the voices.
MATT: All right.
TALIESIN: Matt, that’s a lot of maps you have down there.
LAURA: Really? Really?! I’m offended. And I’m hurt.
MARISHA: I look back at Vex and I just go–
LAURA: I give you the worst evil eye I’ve ever given anyone.
LIAM: Too bad one’s going that way and the other’s going that way.
SAM: As they go, I quickly lock eyes with Grog and I give him a quick little inspiration. (singing) Blood, glorious blood! Grog’s about to take some. Dead dudettes and dudes, Grog’s about to make some!
MATT: All right, so take a d10 inspiration die. So, the three of you move on ahead. The rest of you– Trinket is unable to climb.
SAM: Oh! Can I? Trinket: stay.
LAURA: I smack the back of your head again. And it’s hard because I’m angry right now.
TRAVIS: Do you have any of your rings on? Turn them inside and (impact noise).
MARISHA: It’s the mom slap, exactly! It’s the grandma backhand.
MATT: All right, the three of you stand at the double doors. You moved around to the hallway. Is there a change to this arrangement that you would like? You currently have Grog, Vax, and Keyleth at the front, and three of you in the back.
LAURA: Yeah, I want to stealth in behind Grog after they go into the room.
MATT: All right, so there you are. I’ll put you on the side of the door there. You hear the voices from the other side of the door conversing and talking back and forth. Scanlan, Percy.
MARISHA: Oh my god. Someone say something cool!
MATT: What’s the plan?
LIAM: I put my hand up in the air.
SAM: de Rolos, roll out!
LIAM: And I click my boots together. (click) Feel that adrenaline rush.
TRAVIS: I rage.
LIAM: And I kick the door as hard as I can and go right in!
MARISHA, TALIESIN, and SAM: (scream and cheer)
MATT: (impact noise) The door swings open, both of them slamming into the sides of these two bookcases. Immediately, you see behind the desk here and standing in the center.
LIAM: It’s Kiefer Sutherland.
MATT: You see the older gentleman in these long robes immediately spin his head and see, essentially, a troupe of armed villagers, peasants, dirty faces come rushing in, all fucked up eyes and all. Rushing into the room. They both turn, looking completely caught off-guard by this. You do also see in the room, there are a few guards that are just waiting off to the side. There’s a couch area, there’s a fireplace.
MARISHA: Of course. Damn guards.
MATT: You guys get a surprise round.
MARISHA: That’s right!
MATT: So, let’s go ahead and roll initiative to get the order of things here.
TRAVIS: Advantage on initiative because I have that thing.
SAM: Are you alert? Do you have Alert? Is that what it is?
TRAVIS: I have Feral Instinct.
TRAVIS: Which I forget sometimes. That’s better.
SAM and LAURA: (sing with the battle music)
MATT: All right, so 25 to 20?
MATT: All right. 20 to 15?
LAURA: Whoa! Look at you, Scanlan!
SAM: Better figure out what I’m going to do!
MATT: So, Scanlan is 16. 15 to ten?
MATT: Ten to five? Is that everyone?
LAURA: That’s all of us.
MATT: That’s everyone, yeah.
MARISHA: Bitches gonna die!
MATT: All righty! First, surprise round from all of you guys, catching them off-guard. Up first is Percy.
TALIESIN: I’m going to pull into that empty– Oh, I’ve got a button, don’t I? I’m going to pull into that corner right there?
MATT: Over here?
TALIESIN: And I’m going to take two shots at that soldier in the corner, that guard.
MATT: Okay. The guards, you can see, are wearing dark studded leather armor, no cloaks. Both have rapiers or stilettos, daggers on their sides. They look at the sudden intrusion and begin going for their weapons. You caught them off guard.
MATT: 22 does hit.
TALIESIN: That’s just a d10, where are my d10s? That’s nine points of damage.
MATT: All righty.
TALIESIN: Another shot to him.
MATT: All righty.
TALIESIN: That’s a misfire. I’m going to do a quick repair. And that’s fine.
MATT: Does the repair take an action?
TALIESIN: No, it takes a–
MATT: Okay, so you’re fine. It does not break. Cool. That’s your turn. One shot off. The blast rings out. As you fire the pepperbox, it misfires, and you quickly throw one of your tools in the air, catch it, and with one swift movement you unblock the passageway, click it back up into its place. Out of the corner of your eye, you turn, and for the first time in five years, you see, standing behind the desk, Sir Kerrion Stonefell. Visually, nearly the same as the last day you saw, except maybe a bit of white on the sides of the hair. Armored with a nice set of relatively ornate leather armor, blue hues and blacks. The hair itself is this tousled brown. There’s a boyish charisma to him, if he wasn’t such an asshole. And the moment you see him, there’s this boiling rage from within just to have that moment of sight.
TALIESIN: If you’re lucky, you die last.
MATT: There’s a look of complete confusion, as he has no idea who any of you are. You look like paupers that literally burst into his office. That ends your turn, Percy. Grog, you’re up.
TRAVIS: I hear him say that he has to die last, and in my rage, I race forward to that fuck in the middle of the room and I swing my Firebrand Warhammer at him twice!
MATT: All righty!
TRAVIS: I would make to make this first one a new feat called Great Weapon Master.
MATT: All righty!
SAM: What does that do?
MATT: Minus five to hit.
TRAVIS: I’m going to use my– no, not on that one. That misses.
MATT: What did you roll?
TRAVIS: A two! So that’s 11. Yeah, that misses.
MATT: That definitely misses. As you swing in, (nervous yell) just ducks out of the way, and even though he’s older, he reacted pretty quickly. Your weapon slams into the ground, splintering some of the wood. You peel back for a second attack.
TRAVIS: That makes me even angrier. And now I’ll use inspiration. 18… minus five, 23!
MATT: 23 does hit! Plus ten damage.
TRAVIS: Okay. Plus eight is 13, 17, 27!
MATT: 27 points of damage, ooh!
TRAVIS: Plus four for the fire damage, but still the 27 total.
MATT: So, as he ducks out of the way, you bring up the hammer a second time and (whack) smack him right square in the chest. (grunts) The wind escapes him for a moment and the flames lick across the front of his chest. He catches himself on the table between the sofa and chair behind him. Gets back on his feet. Looks to you for a second and pulls out two short swords.
TRAVIS: That’s the best thing you could have ever done.
MATT: “I don’t know who you are, but you’re going to regret this!”
LAURA: What does Grog look like?
MATT: Grog looks like an oafish butcher. Tubby on the sides, an oldish, middle-aged looking man. Scruffy beard. Scanlan does his best on that one. Whatever other visual you want to–
MATT: Huge potbelly. Grog, that ends your turn?
MATT: All right. In theory, it is a surprise round. So you may have had advantage on that first strike, so go ahead and roll it.
TRAVIS: (screams) 26. Minus five is 21.
LAURA: 23. No, you’re right.
TRAVIS: Yeah. 21.
MATT: Roll damage again. We’ll say this is an additional third strike in reaction to him pulling his blades out.
SAM: Jesus! God!
MATT: (wham) The hammer slams him a second time and he almost drops his weapons. The actual end table he’s resting on shatters beneath him and he, (grunts) has to get back up onto his feet. Looking genuinely fearful now. That ends your turn.
TRAVIS: You dropped your toothpicks.
MATT: Scanlan, you’re up.
SAM: Okay, so he’s been attacking the old guy.
SAM: Those two flanking the big boss are just guards, right? They’re just standard-issue guards?
MATT: Best you can tell, they’re both in studded leather armor. They don’t look like guards, like armored, they look like thugs that are essentially there to watch.
SAM: All right, well, I’m going to run in the room.
MATT: About how far in?
SAM: Make a left. I’m sorry, turn right, away from the action. And then I’ll look at the guard behind and to the right of the big guy.
MATT: That guy there.
SAM: The good guy– the bad guy.
MARISHA: You got it.
MATT: That guy there?
SAM: No, this guy over here. And I’ll Dominate him.
MARISHA: Is that also a guard? There are three guards?
TALIESIN: There are three guards.
MATT: All right, you’re going to attempt to Dominate Person.
SAM: Yes. I pull up my hand cone and I say, (singing) You’re as cold as ice! Willing to sacrifice your boss! And so I tell him to kill his boss.
MATT: What’s the DC on that?
MATT: Wisdom. He rolled a 17. That’s a fail.
MATT: He is currently Dominated by Scanlan.
TRAVIS: (singing) Cold as ice!
MATT: Good to know. So, as he pulls his heavy crossbow out, loads it, and aims it towards you, looks over his shoulder for a second, and trains it on his boss. Sir Kerrion looking confused by this whole circumstance.
MATT: That ends your turn?
SAM: Yeah, that’s it.
MATT: All right. Keyleth, Vax, and Vex, take your surprise rounds now.
LAURA: Can I go first so I don’t do any damage to you guys if you guys go in?
MARISHA: I’m also probably going to do a ranged spell.
LIAM: What are you guys talking about? Kill him!
LAURA: I want to go in, peek my head in and shoot– first, I’m going to shoot from my Longbow of Sky Sentinel. And I’m going to use– it turns into three arrows for one of my attacks, so it’s three more attacks, potentially?
MATT: Well, it’s two additional attacks against the one arrow. So you’d get four attacks in one round, essentially.
SAM: Good god!
LAURA: Okay! I’m going to do that! I’m going to attack him, the guy.
MATT: Which guy?
LAURA: The bad guy.
MATT: There’s two bad guys in there.
LAURA: The one that’s in charge. Kerrion.
MATT: Sir Kerrion? All right, go for it.
LAURA: Yeah! 28.
MATT: 28 hits.
LAURA: Okay, so I make an attack for all three arrows.
MATT: Correct. That was one of them. You fire it, it splits into three along the way, and you roll for each attack on each arrow.
LAURA: Oh, that one doesn’t hit. Well, probably not. 13?
MATT: 18 unfortunately does not hit, either.
LAURA: Jeez Louise, what a waste of a storm arrow.
MATT: And you still get a fourth attack with your second–
TALIESIN: Hunter’s Mark?
LAURA: That was the wrong thing. I can’t; I’m going to Hunter’s Mark him after this first one because it’s a bonus action.
TALIESIN: Oh, yeah.
LAURA: What am I doing? 14, 15, 16, and then plus another d6, so it’s basically like Hunter’s Mark, right?
TRAVIS: Nobody knows what you’re doing.
MATT: So the first arrow does an additional lightning damage.
LAURA: 19 is the first one. And then I attack again. I’m going to Hunter’s Mark him now. Can I do that?
MATT: You haven’t used your bonus action, so yes you can. Two eyes going all–
MATT: 29 does hit, yes.
LAURA: I’m so confused right now.
LIAM: Us, too.
LAURA: I know. 14 on the second one.
MATT: Okay, gotcha. So your arrows split, two of them embedding into the actual desk itself and exploding with a burst of electricity. A third one strikes him in the chest and you can see it stick in the armor and (boof) jolt him for a second. He backs up a little bit, catching himself on the edge of the desk as the final arrow comes and strikes him in the shoulder. He cuts off the shaft of the arrow as it hits (grunts) out of anger and frustration.
LAURA: I totally shit the bed on that one, guys, and I apologize. I had things I wanted to do.
SAM: After she does that, I say: that was my grandma!
LAURA: That’s right, boy!
MATT: This little boy.
TRAVIS: Adding to the confusion.
MATT: Do you want to move at all? You would’ve had to move into the room to do that shot because you were outside in the hallway.
MATT: You were in the hallway when that happened, so I’d say you’d have to be in the room to shoot them. Where would you want to be?
LAURA: Oh, just right inside the door.
MATT: Right there in the door?
MARISHA: What kind of armor is Sir Kerrion wearing?
MATT: Best you can tell, it looks like a very high quality studded leather.
MARISHA: Studded leather?
LAURA: Can I say I peeked in to shoot and then went back around the side of the door?
MATT: Yeah, you can do that.
TRAVIS: Keyleth, Vax.
LIAM: Is it up to us?
MATT: You guys are the last ones to go.
MARISHA: Okay, I’m going to cast Call Lightning. And I’m going to bring down a bolt. Here we go. This way. Right in between Sir Kerrion and this guard so they both have to save from it.
SAM: Take that, Sir Korea!
TALIESIN: Kerrion Stonefell.
MATT: As a thing of note, a storm cloud appears in the shape of a cylinder that is ten feet tall with a 60-foot radius centered on a point you can see in the air.
MARISHA: Oh, so it’s going to–
MATT: The room won’t fit it, unfortunately.
MARISHA: The room won’t fit my storm cloud?
TALIESIN: That sounds like a great song.
MATT: It says if you’re in a room that can’t accommodate the cloud, it can’t appear.
MARISHA: Pooper muffin. Okay. Well, then.
MATT: If you want to consider your next move, Vax can go.
MARISHA: Yeah, go Vax.
LIAM: I am running straight towards what’s-his-name, Kerrion? Is at the desk, so I just run right towards the desk, I step against the desk, leap up in the air and go (stabbing sound) into his shoulders.
MATT: Right there?
LIAM: Yeah, no, I’m on the desk in front of him, going for his chest.
MATT: Go for it.
LIAM: First, and I get advantage on everything is a– It’s a 30! And this is surprise attack, so it’s a critical hit plus the sneak attack damage. This guy is going down! One plus seven is eight– what gets doubled?
MATT: Just the dice.
LIAM: Just the dice? But not the sneak attack damage?
MATT: No, the sneak attack damage, as well, but just the modifiers don’t get doubled.
LIAM: Okay. So that was– okay, two plus seven is nine. Nine, ten, 11, 12, 18, 23, 29, 33, 66 for the first attack, darling.
LIAM: 66! Here comes the second dagger into him at advantage.
MATT: Surprise rounds.
LIAM: Is 28, so that obviously hits. And that is seven. And then the third dagger comes down. Is 29, and that also hits. So I’ve shanked his ass, that’s an eight. (stabbing noises)
SAM: That’s 15, is 70– is 81.
MATT: Yep. 81 points of damage in one round of combat. As you land on the desk, your daggers bypass the armor and they find their way through the top of the armor and sink past the clavicles into the deep portion of the chest. He (choking noise) from the impact and you hear him choke and blood splatters up from his throat. He reaches up and grabs your hands and lifts them off out of the wound. You see a gout of blood pour from the wound as you reach back and stab him a third time with the dagger as you catch yourself on the desk. He reaches up and kicks you, forcing you to get back on your feet with your daggers at the ready. The blood’s beginning to pour. It’s not a mortal wound, but it’s looking really bad for him. He’s not on death’s door, but that definitely took him down a few pegs.
LIAM: I give him a Vex wink.
MATT: (laughs) He looks at you and growls. Draws two rapiers from his side.
TRAVIS: Two rapiers?
MARISHA: He draws two rapiers? Do we get any indication by what we just saw if he might be a vampire or something?
MATT: Make an insight check.
MARISHA: I can make an insight check? Ooh, yeah! 27.
MATT: 27. Nothing yet has given away any sort of essence of that. He doesn’t look particularly pale.
TALIESIN: He’s also aged. He’s a bit peppered.
MARISHA: Yeah, he has aged.
MATT: He definitely looks wounded and unhappy.
LIAM: Can I ask a technical question?
LIAM: According to Assassinate, any hit I score against a creature that is surprised is a critical hit. Any hit. So are the two subsequent attacks–
MATT: After the first hit–
LIAM: That’s sneak attack. This says, “in addition, any hit you score against a creature that is surprised is a critical hit.”
MATT: Right. Okay.
SAM: Any? He wouldn’t be surprised after the first one.
MATT: I’m usually under the impression that after the first hit, they’re no longer surprised. They know you’re there.
LIAM: Okay. Okay. Got it.
TRAVIS: (grunts) Ow! (grunts) Ow?!
LIAM: Well, I thought they were like 0.3 seconds apart, so I thought it was so fast.
MATT: That’s true. I’ll allow it.
TRAVIS: Double what?
LIAM: Double the last two attacks. Which were much less.
SAM: It was 15, so it becomes 30.
MATT: Yeah. Okay. So, yeah, he’s not happy. Really not happy. Okay. All right. That ends your turn. Keyleth, what are you doing?
MARISHA: All right, I’m going to do some fun shit. So seeing Vax go up and get next to Lord Kerrion or whatever the shit his name is. I’m going to go and turn into a dire wolf this time. Mixing it up from Minxie.
TALIESIN: That’s like a normal wolf.
MARISHA: But slightly bigger.
TALIESIN: But dire.
MARISHA: But dire. It’s white, a wintery wolf from the mountains that I’m from.
MATT: You are now filling up the entirety of the double-door frame right now.
MARISHA: I’m going to rush and use my pack tactics and flank Lord Kerrion.
MATT: At your size, you can’t quite get to him, unfortunately. You can try and move around this way, maybe. You will probably take an attack of opportunity from this guy, but you can try and move around.
MARISHA: Oh, from a random shithead? Yeah, let’s do it.
MATT: What’s your movement?
MARISHA: 50 feet.
MATT: Yeah, you can do that. You move around and you get over there.
MARISHA: Is that flanking?
MATT: It’s not flanking, no. Yeah, it’s not flanking per se. I mean, you’re adjacent to him. You’d have to be on opposite sides to flank.
MARISHA: I know, that’s what I was trying to get. All right. Well, then, since Vax has that guy, I’ll go for this guy. Take him out.
MATT: Okay. So you move into that guy there.
SAM: That is the most peasant-looking direwolf ever.
MATT: Yeah, this little peasant girl just went (growls).
MARISHA: Ooh, that was a 19 to hit.
MATT: That’ll hit.
MARISHA: Okay, 2d6 plus three. That’s not great, four, five, six, seven, eight piercing damage, and then do I also– oh, and he has to make a DC 13 strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
MATT: He rolled a 12.
MARISHA: (cheers) So he’s down.
MATT: He’s knocked prone. How much damage was it?
MARISHA: Not a lot. What did I say, six?
MATT: Six points of piercing damage?
MATT: He’s knocked prone. (impact sound) Falls on the ground.
MARISHA: Do I get my fiery stuff for that?
MATT: What attack was it? Was it bite?
MARISHA: Okay. Okay, he’s down.
MATT: All right. Is that your turn?
MATT: All right. That ends the surprise round. Now we’re at the top again. Percy, you’re up.
TALIESIN: I’m going to take one step forward. I’m going to shoot that guard once, one more time.
MATT: The one over here?
MATT: All righty.
TALIESIN: Fuck it, I’m going to try sharpshooter. And that’s 14, 15, 21 to hit?
MATT: 21 hits.
TALIESIN: That’ll do 19 points of damage. Actually, that’s more than 19 points, because it’s a fire shot, so 19 plus two, so 21 points, with two points of fire damage in there.
MATT: 21 points of damage. All right, (gunshot sound) you fire. There’s a burst of flame that gouts out the side of the pepperbox, (impact sound) blasting into the chest of the guard off to the side. He’s thrown against the wall from the sheer force of it. Reaches down and grabs his chest and looks at it, and you can see there’s this red crimson across his hand, as you’ve actually blown a piece of his leather armor open and you can see the wound in his chest. There’s a little bit of blood trickling out of his mouth, and he looks angry at you.
TALIESIN: I’m shooting him again.
TALIESIN: That’s 17.
MATT: 17 hits.
TALIESIN: That’s 21 points of damage.
MATT: 21 points of damage, nice. (gunshot) You blast him, this time on the other side of the shoulder, you can see now this armor is now torn open exposing the wound here and his arm’s now hanging to one side. He’s (grunts). He’s looking in severe pain and barely hanging on at this point.
TALIESIN: Fall, damn it. Shooting him again.
MARISHA: Kill him!
TALIESIN: That’s 20 to hit.
MATT: 20 to hit. It hits.
TALIESIN: Eight points of damage.
MATT: Eight points of damage. All right, this is the final one as he’s looking at himself; he’s like (pained noises), angrily looks at you, picks his crossbow up and aims it at you. Before he gets a chance to, you aim your third shot, (gunshot) firing, hitting him right in the center of the head, (impact noise) blasting out part of his face, his body spins, and then he falls over into the plant in the corner, slumped over it there.
TALIESIN: I finish walking almost into the corner over there, right next to him, about there. Spend an action surge, taking three more shots at Kerrion.
TALIESIN: This is a sharpshooter round.
TALIESIN: That’s 19, 26 to hit.
MATT: 26 hits.
MARISHA: Do you crit on a 19?
TALIESIN: I don’t crit on a 19.
TALIESIN: Oh, that’ll do. 24 points of damage plus a point of ice damage. So, 25 points of damage.
MATT: Plus an additional d6 points of damage for that.
TALIESIN: Yay! Because he’s an asshole. That’s six more points of damage.
MATT: So, as you go around and fire from the barrel, the shot fires out. And as you recoil you guys, for those who are noticing off to the side, this dark smoke’s beginning to slowly pour out of Percy’s body, out of his eyes and his ears and the hand on the gun. There’s black smoke beginning to emit from his body and beginning to envelop the gun arm.
MARISHA: We all see this?
MATT: For those who are paying attention, which right now would be pretty much just Scanlan and Vex.
SAM: You’re weird.
TALIESIN: So you don’t see shit. Shut up.
MARISHA: I’m not crazy! No, and I’m at this guy’s throat.
TALIESIN: I’m going to take a quick reload, and I’m going to fire again, with Sharpshooter, and I’m going to do a head shot.
TALIESIN: So, I’m going to attempt to make him have issues doing things. Natural 20.
TRAVIS: The golden snitch strikes again!
MARISHA: Yeah, it did! I can see it from here!
TALIESIN: I swear it’s– yeah.
MATT: With the additional d6, by the way.
MATT: With the additional d6.
TALIESIN: Does the d6 double or does it not double?
MATT: All dice rolled double. Then add the modifier.
TALIESIN: This is going to be angry.
MARISHA: Yeah it is!
LIAM: Gunslinger warlock.
MARISHA: That’s pretty “grood.”
TALIESIN: 42 points of damage. Of fire damage. 42 points, and that’s with 5 points of fire damage. 42 points.
MATT: Okay. (gunshot) The first blast hits and you can see the cloak is blown off the shoulder and set aflame and actually burns to cinders in the corner. Sir Kerrion looks down and is like (grunts), and is looking very, very curiously. The second shot rings out (gunshot), and at this point now the smoke is wreathing your entire arm, the gun isn’t even visible, it’s just this giant column of smoke. (gunshot) The second shot rings out, this time hitting him in the side of the neck and the shoulder, blowing a chunk off of it so part of the bone is now sticking out it’s like (noise of pain). He reaches back with his arm and is like with the rapier up, clutching it for a second and leans over and looks back over and is (pained panting) “Ripley.”
TALIESIN: Just as an action, as a bonus action, I’m going to remove my hat, and I’m just going to say: Drop it.
SAM: Will this take an action?
MATT: To drop the spell? You can do it on your turn.
TALIESIN: On your turn, yeah.
SAM: Okay. I think that’s next.
MATT: All right, so.
MARISHA: He thinks it’s Ripley. He thinks it’s Ripley with the gun! Ripley’s building guns!
LAURA: It’s Ripley that’s doing the guns!
MARISHA: Fucking Ripley!
MATT: So. That finishes Percy’s turn. It is now Sir Kerrion Stonefell’s turn. Kerrion’s going to use a bonus action to use Second Wind.
SAM: Oh no, that’s some sort of healing thing isn’t it?
TALIESIN: That’s healing. It’s not much healing.
MARISHA: Wait, who’s doing what?
SAM: He has 6,000 health points.
MARISHA: Kerrion’s healing? Is it a regeneration thing or is he casting a spell?
TALIESIN: No, it’s a fighter action.
MATT: And that was with the head shot, you said?
TALIESIN: Yeah, it was with a head shot. So that means he has disadvantage on attacks for one round.
MATT: And deals damage, right?
TALIESIN: And deals damage.
TALIESIN: I’m a good boy.
MATT: Sir Kerrion is going to, in the circumstance, is going to move this way just to hide alongside Vax, and since you’re on top– his both rapiers out, and you just jammed your daggers in, is going to do a flurry of four strikes against you.
MATT: With disadvantage on all the attacks.
TRAVIS: His clavicles sticking out of his shoulders.
LIAM: I’ll use Uncanny Dodge for the first one that hits.
MATT: 16, the first attack?
MATT: All right. Rolled a one on the second. That is a 21 on the third attack. And, no, that’s a 14 on the fourth attack. That disadvantage just– swinging wide, gets one hit on you.
TRAVIS: Get that clavicle; be working.
LIAM: Yeah, Uncanny Dodge on that attack.
MATT: That is eight points of piercing damage against you.
LIAM: So, four.
SAM: Ooh! That’s nothing!
LIAM: That’s nothing.
MATT: That finishes Sir Kerrion. Sir Kerrion is now going to–
SAM: Turn invisible.
MATT: He’s actually going to take a step back towards the wall. You get an attack of opportunity.
LIAM: All right. I throw a dagger in his face.
MATT: All right.
LIAM: That is a 28.
MATT: That hits.
LIAM: That is eight points of damage.
MATT: All righty. Steps back and slams his fist against the wall (thudding).
LAURA: Oh no!
SAM: Wait, who did that?
LAURA and TRAVIS: Kerrion.
LAURA: He’s calling in backup.
MARISHA: Wait, he’s calling in backup? Shit.
MATT: So, that ends Kerrion’s turn. Grog, you’re up.
TRAVIS: I keep smashing shithead that’s in front of me!
MATT: Okay, go for it!
TRAVIS: That’s 24. These are just regular.
MATT: Yeah, 24 hits.
TRAVIS: Oh, I should roll the other one first. Again, 24.
MATT: 24 hits. Are you going into a frenzied rage?
TRAVIS: Regular rage. 23 on the first one.
MATT: All righty.
TRAVIS: And 12 on the second.
MATT: Gotcha. (whack) Is this with the fire damage as well from the hammer?
MATT: Yeah. so the hammer strikes across the back, the broadside of his shoulders and back. (grunts) Looks up at you and looks over at Sir Kerrion being annihilated behind the desk and is trying to nervously gauge his circumstance. Second strike smacks him upside his body and he’s like (panting) and he’s trying to take in the surroundings and figure out a plan. All right, are you going to stay where you are?
TRAVIS: That’s it.
MATT: It is now Master Vouk’s turn.
MATT: You have not heard his name yet, but it’s his turn.
TRAVIS: The guy I’ve been smacking.
TALIESIN: Mr. Rogaine.
LAURA: I’m picturing him as what’s-his-name in–
TALIESIN: From Harry Potter.
TALIESIN: Yeah. I know, me too.
TRAVIS: Mr. Filch?
TALIESIN: Filch. Filch on steroids.
MATT: He’s going to use a– okay. He’s going to use a bonus action to disengage from you. He’s going to back away just one step that way. Use his action to–
LAURA: He has magic?!
MARISHA: Oh, he’s going to Dimension Door out.
LAURA: But Mr. Filch doesn’t have magic.
TRAVIS: Yeah, he’s a squib!
LAURA: He’s a squib! Squibs can’t do magic.
TRAVIS: He knows this. He’s making origami.
TALIESIN: Don’t you get an attack of opportunity?
MATT: Actually, instead, he’s not going to use bonus action to disengage, he’s going to use a bonus action to use Misty Step. Vanishes, reappears over by the wall. Uses the action to cast a level three Invisibility on both him and Sir Kerrion Stonefell. So they are both considered invisible at the moment.
TRAVIS: With the Missy Elliot step, I don’t get an attack?
MATT: Not from that, unfortunately; it’s an immediate teleport. So he just vanishes from in front of you.
TRAVIS: What the fuck?!
MATT: We’ll say, for the purposes of this, they are both currently invisible. And that’s going to end–
TALIESIN: That soldier hasn’t attacked yet, either.
MATT: Correct, his turn hasn’t come up yet. Now it becomes Scanlan’s turn.
SAM: Oh. Well, I can’t see anyone who’s alive who I haven’t Dominated already, except for the guy under the dire wolf. I will remind all my fellows to keep one alive to spread our terrorist message and I will run out to the hallway and say, Vex, get inside. Because I know reinforcements are coming, I cast Stinking Cloud out into the hallways.
MATT: Okay. Stinking Cloud appears. What’s the radius on that?
SAM: (singing) Stinking Cloud!
MATT: I think it’s a 20-foot radius, isn’t it?
SAM: It says 90-feet range, let’s see here. 20-foot radius.
MATT: Okay, cool. So you just filled this entire hallway.
SAM: Yeah. Will it seep into the room as well?
MATT: You can keep it localized to that area, you’ll just be in your own cloud.
SAM: Oh. Well, can I stop just short of the door?
MATT: You stop just short of the door and fill this whole area with a Stinking Cloud.
SAM: Sorry, Vex.
TALIESIN: You can hold that action until she comes into the room.
SAM: Okay, I will hold that until she comes in the room.
MATT: Okay. So Stinking Cloud is not yet up. Okay.
SAM: Laura’s next, I believe.
MATT: So, next round. You are up next.
SAM: And I will inspire her, as well.
SAM: Do you want a d10?
SAM: Okay. (singing) Vex be nimble, Vex be quick! Vex jump under limbo stick! Now you don’t know how you’re going to react because Vex has an attack! Oi!
TRAVIS: Amazing! How?! God! I don’t get it!
MATT: You take your d10 inspiration. Confused, but accept the inspiration. A chuckle in the middle of a hearty battle is always worth a little inspiration.
LAURA: All right, so I go in the room.
MATT: You step into the room. At that point, you trigger your action to release the Stinking Cloud. You want to stay there? You’re just outside of the radius.
LAURA: Yeah, I stay in the doorway. Actually no, I back– well.
MATT: What are you doing, Vex?
LAURA: Yeah, I’m staying right there. I can’t see; is there a soldier right there next to the invisible guys, or is it just the invisible guys?
TRAVIS: On that wall, it’s soldier being eaten by Keyleth, and then invisible.
SAM: There two invisibles, and then another soldier who I have already Dominated. He still hasn’t had a turn?!
MATT: Surprise round, and they’re lowest on the initiative count.
LAURA: Actually, I’m going to do Lightning Arrow because that gets everything within ten feet.
LAURA: I’m going to cast Lightning Arrow on the soldier on the ground.
MATT: Which one?
TRAVIS: The one that Keyleth’s attacking.
LAURA: The one that Keyleth’s attacking.
MATT: I will say you don’t really have visual on him from that position.
LAURA: Can I move to a place where I get it?
LIAM: Do a bank shot off the ceiling.
MATT: Now you can see, yeah.
LAURA: Awesome. Let’s do it from there.
MATT: Okay, go for it. You have advantage on the attack roll because he is prone.
LAURA: Nice. 27.
MATT: 27 hits.
LAURA: Okay, so that is 4d8 damage to him.
MATT: All righty.
LAURA: And then anything within ten feet has to make a dex save.
SAM: Is that including your brother?
LAURA: Yeah, that’s everything within ten feet.
TRAVIS: It’s also including invisible guys.
MATT: If it’s ten feet, he’s not there. It’d just be Keyleth and Sir Kerrion.
MARISHA: 22. 21!
MATT: Makes it, 21, actually, exactly.
LAURA: 19 to little prone soldier.
MATT: Okay, 19. As it snaps and it bursts, the electricity shockwaves out, he shakes and on the ground takes in the effect. The blast seems to– is it half damage if they make the save?
LAURA: To the little prone guy?
MATT: No, it’s to anybody within radius.
LAURA: Anybody within radius takes 1d8 if they make the save and then 2d8 if they fail.
MATT: Okay, so roll 1d8.
MATT: Okay. So one damage to you, and one damage to Sir Kerrion.
MATT: You see a spark of energy around the invisible form as it wavers in place.
TRAVIS: That’s good; at least he (electricity noise) around some.
MATT: All right. That ends your turn. Vax?
LIAM: I saw that spark in the air and I start knifing right into it.
MATT: All right. Was that the last thing you wanted to do with your turn?
LAURA: Yeah. Does the Hunter’s Mark damage him, the invisible guy, still, if he gets hit with anything? Or is it just if I attack him with an arrow?
MATT: I think if you attack him. That was more of the burst in the vicinity.
LIAM: So, hearing him go (grunts) and seeing a spark right in front of me, I start knifing at that point.
MATT: All right. At disadvantage on all the attacks.
LIAM: Disadvantage? But I get advantage, so it cancels out.
MATT: Why do you get advantage?
LIAM: Oh, no, I don’t. I’m sorry.
MATT: Disadvantage on weapon strikes because he’s invisible.
LIAM: The first one misses. That was it. So, the first two were terrible. That’s terrible. That’s also terrible. I whiff. I just (whooshing).
MATT: Yeah, you’re swinging in the area, and you can’t get blades to find any of his physical person. You’re striking and arcing across the wooden wall behind him, causing these giant gashes. All right, that ends your turn.
LIAM: Still bleeding!
MATT: Unless you want to stay where you are right there?
LIAM: Yeah, I’m going to stay there.
MATT: You probably would’ve had to move up there to attack him. Oh, you’re just throwing the daggers, right?
LIAM: I back up. Is Keyleth on the desk?
SAM: No, she’s next to the desk.
LIAM: And I’m on the desk? No, I’ll stay where I am.
MATT: Okay, so you’re just throwing the daggers from the desk? Okay, that ends your turn. Now, Keyleth.
MARISHA: Looking up and noticing that Sir Kerrion is gone and Vax is blindly stabbing into the distance, I’m going to drop my wolf form and cast Faerie Fire in that radius.
MATT: Drop your wolf form.
MARISHA: 20-foot cube.
SAM: Mark that shit.
MARISHA: Right here.
MARISHA: Realizing my party members are clearly stabbing at something.
TALIESIN: I like it when he has to go to the book. Makes me feel like there’s, perhaps, things he doesn’t know.
SAM: Faerie Fire is an underused thing. It’s really cool.
MATT: Yeah, so both of their forms all of a sudden are outlined by this sparking purple halo that shows you directly where they are.
MATT: All right. So that’s your turn? You going to move anywhere?
MARISHA: I’ll back up a tidbit.
MARISHA: Just back up a smidge.
MATT: Okay, as you back up an invisible form that just got revealed swings out at you with a rapier, an attack of opportunity.
MARISHA: Yeah, sure, whatever.
TALIESIN: But, he’s–
MATT: At disadvantage on the attack. He has advantage on her because he’s– although–
MARISHA: I can see him now.
MATT: You can see him, that’s true.
LAURA: This is confusing!
MATT: Faerie Fire kind of made this weird.
TRAVIS: To the books again!
MARISHA: Faerie Fire always makes it weird.
TALIESIN: Ain’t it the truth? Man, that Faerie Fire.
MATT: Just a minute, folks. Lot of overlapping effects, here, because everyone has magic.
SAM: Now’s a good time to go to the store and check out Critical Role t-shirt–
MATT: Yeah, it doesn’t benefit from Invisible. It’s at disadvantage. It has disadvantage on the attack. That is–
SAM: Brand new t-shirt for sale, guys.
MATT: And 15.
MATT: Yeah, so (whoosh) as you back up. All right. That ends your turn. Now, this guard gets up, (grunts) gets his crossbow, aims it up and, looking around the room, aims it, this would be– seeing his friend turn on his boss briefly after you shouted that song at him, is going to turn the crossbow on you.
SAM: On me?!
MATT: That’s going to be a 16 to hit?
SAM: I don’t even know any more. No one’s attacked me in a while.
TALIESIN: It’s your AC.
SAM: It’s 17.
SAM: Well, it’s 15 plus two because I’ve got some thing on.
MARISHA: You’ve got the amulet on.
MATT: All right. So, as it comes towards you, you just duck out of the way and it passes and snags into the wall behind you (arrow landing sound). No hit. The thug is then going to drop the crossbow on the ground and rushing up, pull out a mace that was hanging from the side of its belt and engage you right there.
TRAVIS: I thought he was coming for me.
SAM: I thought so, too. That would have been good!
MATT: This guy is going to attempt to make two attacks against Master Vouk Strono. Has advantage on them because Faerie Fire. That hits. And, two attacks with a mace. That is 18. Yeah, hits with both. (whack whack) With the mace both times.
MARISHA: Is that the guy who you charmed? Awesome.
SAM: Wait. Who’s this?
LIAM: The guy you charmed.
SAM: That’s not my guy, Matt.
MATT: That guy?
SAM: Oh, that guy there is, yeah. Oh wait, he’s attacking my guy?
MATT: No, he’s attacking the guy that’s invisible.
MATT: Doing a total of 16 damage with his mace. (whack whack) Bludgeoning. He’s now going to try and make the saving throw to shrug it. What’s the DC on that?
SAM: On my spell?
SAM: It’s 19.
MATT: 19. Yeah, he does not make it. Still under control. That ends the thugs’ turn. Top of the round. Percy, you’re up!
MARISHA: Go Percy, go Percy, go!
TALIESIN: Sharpshooter against Kerrion.
MATT: Sir Kerrion, okay.
TALIESIN: Do I have advantage on that because of Faerie Fire?
MATT: It does not benefit from invisibility and you have advantage. Yes, you do. Vox Machina: broken.
MATT: 16 to hit?
TALIESIN: Taking another shot.
MARISHA: That was with advantage?
MATT: 20 does hit.
TALIESIN: 15 points of damage.
MATT: 15. (gunshot) You see one blast hits the wall and causes part of the wood to splinter outward. The second shot impacts the partially invisible form. You can see a splash of blood across the desk in front. Partially spattering across Vax and one of his guards.
TALIESIN: Third shot with ice. No sharpshooter. Natural 20!
MARISHA: Percy rolls!
TRAVIS: What the hell?!
TALIESIN: It’s making up for my gun failing four times.
TRAVIS: Whatever, you possessed Voldemort.
TALIESIN: I know.
TRAVIS: (laughing) Smoke arm.
TALIESIN: Six, 16, 25, 31 points of damage. 31 points of damage with four points of that being ice damage.
MATT: So, Percy: how do you want to do this?
TRAVIS: He said that weird.
MARISHA: This against Kerrion, right?
MATT: This is against Sir Kerrion.
SAM: Wow! How do you want to do this? That’s the logo that’s on the shirt that’s for sale right now.
TALIESIN: Oh, stop it.
TRAVIS: Is this the name on one of the barrels?
TALIESIN: Don’t cheapen this!
SAM: Too late.
MATT: Currently visible, at your disposal, Sir Kerrion. You have enough of a shot to finish him off. The smoke is pushing you, “Vengeance. Vengeance. Vengeance.” Repeatedly echoing in the back of your mind. How do you want to do this?
TALIESIN: I’m going to put on the mask, since he still doesn’t know who I am.
MATT: Okay. You pull the mask down, the bird-beaked element to the mask now wreathed in smoke, resembling, very closely, the entity that made the original bargain with you.
TALIESIN: I’m going to walk up to him. Yeah, there’s no way to drop the illusion. That’s such a damn shame.
SAM: Oh wait, you told me to!
TALIESIN: I did.
SAM: I could have; I didn’t. Fuck! (laughs)
MARISHA: Could you do it now, for flavor?
TALIESIN: That’s fine. The mask will do. I’m going to take one last shot. I’m going to look right at him, I’m going to catch his eye. This is for the de Rolos. And let me say: you were the one I was least looking forward to.
TRAVIS: That’s some cold shit!
MATT: With that, the little bit of wreathed magical energy you can barely make out an expression of horror on the face before the resounding blast sound rocks the room. The actual bullet itself a trail of black smoke behind it as it impacts the front of Sir Kerrion’s face. The entirety of his head caving inward as the back splatters across the scarred wooden wall behind him. The body slumps to the ground immediately. You guys all glance over at Percy. You don’t even see Percy, you just see a humanoid entity made of black swirling smoke energy with the peaked beak of his mask poking through.
MARISHA: Not 100% sure what’s going on. Can I take my Faerie Fire concentration that I still have up and move it over top of the black smoke figure?
MATT: Can you move a Faerie Fire?
MARISHA: I don’t know; can I move a Faerie Fire?
MATT: I think when you use it, it just stays where it was. Could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s how it works.
MARISHA: 20 feet; is he in it, perchance?
MATT: From there, it’s 20 foot, no. Not from where you placed it right on him, unfortunately. That’s okay. Yeah, no, it just happens once.
MARISHA: Never mind.
MATT: With that, you recoil from it and the voice echoes in the back of your head, going “Yes.”
TALIESIN: I’m going to drop the gun.
MATT: You drop it (impact sound).
TALIESIN: Remove my mask. Run to find something metal, something sharp, anywhere on the table. And just start scratching off the name on the gun. I’m just going to go to a corner and just start scratching the name off.
SAM: He’s disturbed.
MATT: Okay, that’s your turn.
TALIESIN: That’s my turn.
MATT: Sir Kerrion is gone. Annihilated. That brings us to Grog.
TRAVIS: Percy’s having all the fun. And I start smashing that fuck that’s looking at Vax.
MATT: Right there, okay. So you move up to him, (whoosh) swinging the hammer wide.
TRAVIS: Might as well make these great weapon master strikes, just for fucking why not. That’s a 15.
MATT: 15 just hits.
TRAVIS: Yeah, that’s awesome. And the second one– Yeah, that’s pretty good. 28 minus five. 23.
MATT: 23 hits.
TRAVIS: Okay. 15. 20 is the first one, with the fire damage. Oh!
LAURA: Actually that’s 30.
TRAVIS: Yeah, 30 is the first one. Plus 10. And 13, 16, 26 for the second one.
MATT: Okay. So as you rush up, you can see, it’s pulled out its mace and is swinging it in a wide arc towards Vax. As soon as you rush up, it looks to you out of the corner of the eye, drops the mace and before the mace can hit the ground, your hammer actually swings around, hits the mace, and then both your hammer and the mace slam into the side of his head, pushing him down onto the desk. Stunned, blood spatters across the wood as he’s (gasping) twitching on the table, already done. And you swing the hammer, lift it up, (impact sound), like Gallagher performance, the head just (explosion noise).
LAURA: This is disgusting.
LIAM: Happy Halloween, folks.
TRAVIS: Great weapon master.
MATT: Vouk is currently looking very–
SAM: He’s Vouk-ed.
MATT: Yeah, he’s Vouk-ed. All right. Is going to cast Haste on himself and is going to run, dropping invisibility, and leaping through that window.
LAURA: Doesn’t the guard get a–
MATT: The guard gets an attack of opportunity, and Keyleth does. The guard has advantage. A three. No, the guard misses, with a mace.
MARISHA: Natural 20.
LAURA: Yeah! With your fire hands?
MARISHA: No, it’s with my staff, I’m assuming, right? Unless I wanted to deck him in the face.
MATT: No, this would be with your staff.
MARISHA: This is with my staff, okay.
MATT: You just (whack).
MARISHA: So it’s five, so that’s 11. I don’t attack a lot. 13 damage.
MATT: 13 damage?
MATT: All righty. As you smack him at that point–
MARISHA: I just clothesline him. I see him running, I’m like (grunts).
MATT: It brings him exactly to zero.
MATT: You whack him right in the face, knocking the teeth out, and he just falls to the ground. Unconscious and bleeding.
SAM: Good, yes, keep him alive.
MATT: All right. That ends his turn (laughs). Wow. Man. Surprise rounds, man. You guys are nasty. All right. Scanlan, you’re up.
SAM: Scanlan’s up?
SAM: All right. I go run up to the guard I have dominated, and I just– Is he still dominated, can I change the domination?
MATT: I mean, you can cancel it, but otherwise he’s just–
SAM: I mean, can I change it from “kill your boss” to–
TRAVIS: “Kill yourself.”
SAM: To “give up”?
MATT: Yeah, you can tell him. You can’t tell him to attack himself.
SAM: No, I will tell him–
TALIESIN: You– Oh, go ahead.
SAM: No, what?
TALIESIN: I was going to say, tell him to go tell anybody else in the house everything’s fine.
SAM: Oh. Ooh! That’s good.
TRAVIS: Yeah, because we should kill the more powerful guy.
TALIESIN: Tell him that everything’s fine.
SAM: Okay. You there, guard! Go tell everyone that everything’s fine. Go into that Stinking Cloud out there and tell all your friends that everything’s hunky-dory.
MATT: Technically, Stinking Cloud is a concentration spell.
SAM: Is it?
MATT: So if you were to maintain concentration on that, you would lose your Domination.
SAM: Oh, okay.
MATT: So it’s your call. Which one do you want to maintain?
SAM: The domination.
MATT: Okay. So the Stinking Cloud fades from the hallway.
SAM: Stinking Cloud is concentration?
MATT: I believe it is. Spells like that usually are, if it’s to maintain–
SAM: It is! I never wrote down a C next to it.
MATT: This is where that circlet would come in handy.
TALIESIN: Can I run over to Kerrion’s body?
MATT: You will be able to shortly.
SAM: You mean the thing that Orion took from me? Yeah, the thing that I needed? Yeah.
MATT: It’s all right. He’s used it pretty well a couple of times.
SAM: Yes, so I tell him to go warn his friends– not warn his friends. Tell his friends that everything’s fine. All is good.
MATT: Cool. Good to know. That ends your turn. Is anyone going to take any specific actions?
LAURA: I want to loot the bodies.
TALIESIN: I’m running over to Kerrion and just going to rage loot him.
SAM: I’m going to go to the desk.
MATT: Okay. While you guys all do that, the guard leaves the room. You hear a few whispers in the hallway, a conversation with a person unseen.
LIAM: I walk towards the door.
SAM: A giant attacks.
MATT: The conversation fades and the guard walks back, seemingly job done. Also is going to make a wisdom saving throw. That is a 17?
MATT: He remains dominated. You guys now– For the moment, the threat seems to have subsided. At the moment. You’re still in the house and there’s still, apparently, things in the house. Whether it’d be guards or other individuals in the house that are on edge as they heard a series of gunshots ring out, screams, and other sorts of cacophony. The fact that this is even right now being handled is a very lucky series of rolls on his part.
TRAVIS: I want it said that this one should die. He has magic. He’s too strong. They could set better traps.
SAM: We can interrogate him, though. Get crucial information. He’s an officer.
TALIESIN: I can’t talk yet.
MATT: So you’re going through Sir Kerrion’s body.
TALIESIN: I’m taking his swords, and I’m going to use his sword to get that deep gouge into the gun.
MATT: He has two rapiers, so it’s like holding a stiletto.
TALIESIN: And anything he has on his body, I’m taking it.
MATT: He has a potion of greater healing on him. Never got round to actually using it.
TALIESIN: And once there’s a good gash in the name, I’m going to sit down and breathe.
MATT: Okay. As you finish gashing the name out on the side of the metal and start breathing, you can see the name itself begin to glow with a slight dull purple glow and burn away from the metal, leaving just the scratch marks. From his body, you have two rapiers, regular rapiers, studded leather armor that is enchanted with a plus one bonus, and that potion of greater healing. So you can mark those down.
LAURA: I’m keeping a very strong eye on Percy right now.
SAM: Anything on the desk, papers of any sort?
MATT: Going through the desk? Go ahead and make an investigation check.
SAM: It’s a lot. Yeah, it’s tons. It’s 27.
MATT: Yeah. You find wax seals, you find parchment, you find pocket change, about six or seven gold pieces just left in there. On himself though, on his actual person, on Sir Kerrion’s body, you find about 320 gold pieces as his own personal fund. Looking through the desk, you find mentions of the bridge plan to move between the two continents. To go across the channel to Wildemount. Basically plans, the discussion, a lot of what they were planning to do with Emon.
MARISHA: Someone write that down.
SAM: I got it.
MATT: You also find a small notebook that just has some hand notes of his.
SAM: I’ll take it.
MATT: Okay. So mark that down.
TRAVIS: I start tying up unconscious guy on the floor.
MATT: He’s currently– He’s got to zero hit points, he’s bleeding out.
MARISHA: What about the dominated guy? He’s about to save from it. Domination, he can save from it at any second.
TRAVIS: No, I know. I thought we wanted to interrogate–
MATT: Which he does not; he’s still dominated.
LIAM: I take a rag out of my pocket and I roll it up and I shove it into Kerrion’s mouth while Grog is tying him up.
TALIESIN: Kerrion’s dead.
LIAM: I thought he was out.
TRAVIS: The balding guy.
LIAM: Balding. All right.
TRAVIS: We tie him up, he shoves a rag in his mouth, I put one hand on the top of his head and the other hand under his chin. Should we bring him back just a little so we can ask him some questions?
MARISHA: Okay, but what are we going to do about dominated guy? Can we tie him up, too?
LAURA: Yeah, tell him to go sit in a corner, Scanlan.
MARISHA: He could save from that any second. We need to like off him or something.
TALIESIN: There’ll be time for that.
LIAM: I got it. Could you tell him to look in the corner?
SAM: Turn away, look in the corner, Blair Witch style.
LAURA: Oh, this is so wrong.
MATT: Doesn’t make his save.
LAURA: Oh, terrible.
SAM: Grog, do you want to?
LAURA: No, this is so wrong.
TRAVIS: What? We’re asking questions. We got to bring him back, just a little bit.
SAM: Are you on Vouk’s right? Or whatever-his-name?
TRAVIS: We’re on Vouk.
LIAM: Can we put him to sleep, or anything short of me knocking him out?
SAM: I can put him to sleep.
LIAM: Put him to sleep, then.
SAM: But I have to drop my thing first.
LAURA: Just knock him out.
LIAM: I’ll do it. I’m really good at knocking people out.
MARISHA: Just knock him out. Knowing what’s coming, I’m going to Druidcraft some pretty kaleidoscope-y flowers in front of his face. Pretty image before you die.
MATT: All right. He seems momentarily confused before the blow of the– Are you hitting him with the blade or pommel?
LIAM: Oh, pommel.
TRAVIS: Before we knock him out, should you make sure that whatever he tells people is truly fearsome? But not too descript about us?
SAM: Well, he already told his friends in the hallway–
TRAVIS: That everything was fine.
SAM: That everything’s fine. So now we’re just knocking him out.
MARISHA: While all this happens, I’m going over to baldy. Lord Vouk or Mister Vouk and pop a Cure Wounds potion into him. How far down is he? He was just at zero. I brought him to zero.
MATT: Yeah, he was unconscious and he was making his death saving throws. I was treating him for that circumstance. When you go straight to zero like that, you know–
MARISHA: Yeah. All right, I’ll pop a Cure Wounds into him.
LIAM: The guy in the corner? Scanlan, could you go stand next to him and tell him a joke?
MARISHA: I was giving him pretty flowers.
LIAM: You’re standing next to him?
MARISHA: I gave him pretty flowers to look at.
LIAM: You walked over and gave him pretty flowers?
MARISHA: I Druidcrafted from a distance.
TRAVIS: Are you standing next to him?
SAM: I walk next to him and sort of distract him with a little soft shoe tap.
LIAM: Thank you. That’s what I needed. I got an 18. Sorry, I got a 29. And that is eight plus 14, 22, six, seven, 32.
MATT: 32. He is (impact noise) from barely damaged to nothing. He goes immediately unconscious in the corner, face down, in the middle of a bookcase.
MARISHA: I drop 18 points of healing into Vouk.
MATT: Okay. (gasps, chokes)
TRAVIS: The rag’s in his throat. You are going to listen very carefully as my friends ask you some questions. You’ll shake your head yes or shake it no.
LAURA: What are we going to ask him?
SAM: (laughs) Percy?
TALIESIN: I’m not available right now.
SAM and LIAM: All right.
LIAM: Come on. Come with me.
SAM: Where are the Briarwoods?
LAURA: Where are the Briarwoods?
LIAM: You’ve got to do yes or no.
LAURA: Are the Briarwoods–
SAM: – in the palace?
MATT: (muffled moaning)
LIAM: Yes or no.
SAM: Just nod or nod.
LAURA: This is really smart. I feel good about this.
TRAVIS: Should we take the rag out?
SAM: He can do spells.
LIAM: I just want to remind you that my friend over here can split you in half like an apple, right?
TRAVIS: I nod his head yes.
MATT: (muffled murmur)
LIAM: Have you seen the Briarwoods this week?
MATT: (affirmative grunt)
LIAM: Do you like working for them?
MATT: (sounds uncertain)
LAURA: Do they know we’re here?
MATT: (affirmative grunt)
SAM: Are they in the palace?
MATT: (sounds ambiguous)
LAURA: Do you know where they are?
MATT: (negative grunt)
LIAM: Do they have pointier teeth than most?
MATT: (sounds ambiguous)
MATT: (sounds sad)
SAM: This is mumblecore.
LIAM: Is your life worth giving a little information?
MATT: (affirmative grunting)
LIAM: We want to know how to get into the palace without a problem. Got any advice?
MATT: (eager affirmative grunting)
LIAM: Now I just want to remind you. He can take your head off, your knees off, your cock off, anything, in half a second.
TRAVIS: I just give a little squeeze.
LIAM: I’m going to pull the cloth out.
SAM: I cast Blindness on him.
SAM: Don’t know if he’s blind.
MATT: Suddenly he goes (muffled panic noises).
SAM: Oh, he’s blind. He’s blind.
LIAM: I give him a pat on the cheek.
LAURA: Oh, now I feel bad.
LIAM: I’m a big fan of efficiency, so I’m going to pull this rag out and you’ve got about 30 seconds to start talking about something useful. Otherwise, my friend is going to make you about six inches shorter.
TRAVIS: Yeah. I’m going to turn your head into a dreidel.
LIAM: So we’re going to start talking now, yes?
MATT: (grunts in agreement)
LIAM: In three, two.
MATT: (gasping for breath) “Please don’t kill me. I can show you a secret entrance into the castle. I know a way in.”
LAURA: It’s not guarded?
MATT: “I don’t think so. They’ve closed it off. If you can find a way through, they won’t expect it.”
TALIESIN: Is it the one in the forest?
MATT: “There is one, yes, yes, in the forest. Look, I can bring you to their project room under the castle, what they’re working on. Please don’t kill me.”
LAURA: What is the project room?
SAM: Are they working on explosives?
MATT: “They’ve been– They’ve been working on something. It’s hard to describe. I’ve only been there once. It’s beyond my interests, but it is part of the reason they even took this place.”
LIAM: Lord Briarwood is a vampire.
LIAM: What the fuck is Lady Briarwood?
MATT: “She’s powerful, I’ll give you that. She scares me more than the two of them.”
LAURA: Is it hard to talk with no teeth?
MATT: “It’s more difficult than expected, aye.”
TRAVIS: I start to tilt his head and I’m like: showing us won’t work, we need a location.
MATT: “It’s under the castle. It’s under the city. All the caverns are there. I can show you how to get there, I’ve been there. They’ve taken me.”
LAURA: Do you know what they’ve done to the ground here? Do you know why nothing grows?
MATT: “Stuff grows. It’s how we do the farming.”
MARISHA: Stuff doesn’t grow, though. Not like it should. What did they do to the land?
MATT: “I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with what they’re doing under the castle.”
MARISHA: And what exactly are they doing under the castle?
MATT: “It’s an excavation, or they’re building something. I don’t know the details of it.”
LIAM: You’ve no idea what they want?
MATT: “Comparatively, I’m just a peasant to them. I work with– well, I worked with Kerrion.”
TALIESIN: How long have you worked with Sir Stonefell?
MATT: “Five years.”
TALIESIN: Were you here when he took the castle?
MATT: “Yes, yes. I was part of the incursion.”
TALIESIN: Good. You’re very lucky. Because you’re going to live if you show us– And I bring out a map.
SAM: He can’t see anything.
TALIESIN: I know. Drop the Blindness.
MATT: He hears the crinkling of paper.
TALIESIN: Drop the Blindness.
SAM: All right. I drop Blindness and I drop Seeming.
MATT: (scared, fast breathing)
TALIESIN: Look at me. Look at me. You’re going to show me where on the castle is the secret entrance. Do you know who I am?
TALIESIN: You will. Mark it on the map.
MATT: He looks down at his bound arms and legs.
TRAVIS: I take his head and I shove his nose and his face right above the map. And I say: use your nose.
MATT: “It’s right–” He spits and puts a little droplet. It’s loosely in the area of the western side of the mountain that the castle is built on. Roughly around the entrance where you escaped when you and Cassandra left Whitestone, five years before.
TALIESIN: I know where that is.
TRAVIS: That means we don’t need you anymore.
MATT: “No! I can show you– I can show you where their project is. The tunnels. You need me.”
TRAVIS: He’ll set a good trap.
LAURA: I just want to ask, when do the Briarwoods come out?
MATT: “Not often. They don’t need to. Kerrion does the work for them. Did the work for them.”
SAM: Those giants. Who controls them?
MATT: “Lady Briarwood does. She’s the one who made them.”
TRAVIS: It’s all over the room.
MARISHA: She’s the one who made them?
TALIESIN: Can I propose something to you?
MATT: “She’s strong with necromancy, she is.”
LIAM: I shove the rag back in his mouth for a moment.
TALIESIN: Mark his face, take his tongue, let him loose.
SAM: His eyes, too?
TALIESIN: No, just his tongue.
TRAVIS: His tongue?
TALIESIN: Mark his face.
TRAVIS: I stick my two fingers inside of his nose, crank back on his nose, reach in, and rip his tongue out of his mouth.
SAM: I cover Keyleth’s eyes.
TALIESIN: That was a bit more than I was–
TRAVIS: You said take his tongue! That’s a natural 20.
MARISHA: Natural 20?!
TALIESIN: Natural 20, really? I’m feeling like such a bastard right now.
MATT: There isn’t even a slow scuffle. You just reach in and (wet ripping noise, pained scream) You immediately jam the cloth back in. The cloth begins to slowly soak with blood. You hold almost a pound of muscle: a now motionless tongue in your hand, bloody at its base. These tears are running down his face. (muffled sobbing and coughing)
TRAVIS: Is that good enough for your message?
TALIESIN: I take my gun. I’m going to shoot it very gently– I’m going to shoot into the ground to muffle the sound. I’m going to take the heat of it, and I’m going to cauterize it. His tongue, so he doesn’t bleed out.
MATT: You pull the cloth out. (pained cry and choking sounds)
TALIESIN: I’m going to mark his head with the still-hot gun.
MATT: (noises of pain) He starts screaming in pain as you’re burning what into his head, the symbol of the de Rolo family?
SAM: It’s a very complicated symbol. (laughs)
TALIESIN: I’m going to do it. And then, I say we let him run out the front door and we set fire to the house.
TRAVIS: I’m good with that. I’ve got this.
SAM: Where are we going after this?
TRAVIS: No. I like that a lot.
MARISHA: You would, though. You would.
SAM: Trinket’s downstairs. We should leave Trinket.
TRAVIS: Have we forgotten that this entire town is full of evil, undead vampire people?
MARISHA: Have we also forgotten that this entire town is looking for us?
TALIESIN: They don’t know we’re here.
MARISHA: They will after we set fire on the house and send a man screaming through the street with your symbol on his forehead.
SAM: They don’t know where we live.
MARISHA: They will! They’re going to go, “Hm, let’s look at the burning smokestack of a house and start there.”
TALIESIN: He’s going to be missing by morning. They’re going to know.
TRAVIS: We’ve got the guy painted all over this room. They’re going to find out one way or the other. Might as well do it with a little showmanship.
SAM: We’re trying to make everyone know that we’re here.
TALIESIN: We’re trying to start a rebellion.
MARISHA: (voice cracking) Yeah, but– yeah.
TRAVIS: Come on, be the Mockingjay, Keyleth!
TALIESIN: (giggles) Don’t make me laugh. This is dark shit.
TRAVIS: It is!
SAM: We can stay the night before we release him and burn it down.
SAM: Although there are a bunch of guards around.
MARISHA and LAURA: We can’t stay the night.
SAM: All right, just burn it, then. Let’s get out of here.
MARISHA: Hang on. Fellow half-elves, you look as horrified as I feel. What do you guys think?
LAURA: I feel like it’s a little stupid, since we have nowhere to go.
SAM: We can go back to our old hideout. We have the tavern. No one’s found it.
LIAM: Percival, I know what you’ve been through, to an extent.
TALIESIN: I don’t even know what I’ve been through, to a certain extent, but yes.
LIAM: We came here to wipe out a scourge on this city. Careful lest you become the scourge you’ve come to destroy. These people have eaten shit for five years. I’m not saying that man was innocent, but he’s had a hard road. Everyone here has had a hard road. I am maybe willing to overlook what’s just happened for all the hardship you have had, but careful how you are walking.
SAM: Hey, wait a second here, Vax. That was an enforcer. He kept the people oppressed. He worked for the Briarwoods and punished all of these farmers for not bringing enough taxes and enough tithes.
LIAM: Are we to turn into Jack the Ripper because of it?
SAM: Well, that’s what a rebellion is.
TRAVIS: I do like ripping.
TALIESIN: There’s no pretty way to do this.
LAURA: I’m fully in support with burning down a house, I just feel like it might backfire a bit.
MARISHA: Look, I agreed to start a rebellion and let the people have their uprising, but I’m with Vax. I was trying to tell you this before we even came here, Percy. You don’t want to become the thing that you are so desperate to seek vengeance on. How are we any different than the Briarwoods, at this point?
TRAVIS: We’re not fucking vampires. Look, what are our options besides burning the house down? I’m open to other ideas.
SAM: We can just leave it as a symbol of our terror.
TALIESIN: I’ve marked him. I’m willing to walk away.
TRAVIS: And where do we stay?
SAM: Somewhere else.
TRAVIS: The tavern? Do we have to find another building?
TALIESIN: I know a barracks. It’s not too far away.
LIAM: I agree with you, with burning the house down. Let’s find anyone who’s in here and get them out.
TALIESIN: I think they’ll get out when the house catches on fire.
LIAM: Your soul doesn’t need to be forfeit, Percival.
TALIESIN: (sighs heavily) Things are more complicated now.
SAM: Percy, is that last barrel for you?
TALIESIN: No. But, if it was, would I tell you?
TALIESIN: Thank you.
MARISHA: Why are things more complicated, Percy? Clearly, we all just witnessed what just happened.
TALIESIN: That was unexpected.
MARISHA: Yeah, no, I’d agree with that, yeah.
TALIESIN: (sighs) That’s a longer conversation.
SAM: These guards aren’t going to stay out for long. We should set fire and get out of here.
LIAM: We burn the house down, and we find a place to hole up for the night.
LAURA: Hey, buddy. How’s it going?
MATT: He looks over at the body of Sir Kerrion, which is still slumped against the wall.
LIAM: Percy, we need to have that longer conversation soon.
LAURA: Soon, but not now. Let’s go.
MARISHA: Let’s get out of here. All right, we’re setting this damn house on fire?
LAURA: Let’s do it.
TRAVIS: I take the tongue-less one, and I throw him out. I keep him bound. He’s bound amongst the chest and hands. And I throw him out the window. Bye, motherfucker!
MATT: He falls out into the rain, (boof) falling on his side. (whimpers) He’s being rained on, and he’s trying to struggle with his bindings.
TRAVIS: He’ll get up. His feet are free. His legs and feet are free. I’m picturing chest and arms.
MATT: Okay, then he gets to his feet and starts running.
SAM: Grog, can you carry this unconscious guard out on our way out?
TRAVIS: Sure. Do I kill him first?
MATT: Are you leaving Sir Kerrion’s body?
SAM: Sir Kerrion’s body?
MATT: Are you leaving Sir Kerrion’s body to burn with the house?
LAURA: Are we?
TALIESIN: Let’s take him, too.
TRAVIS: We might as well leave him out on the front step, or something. I’ll grab Sir Kerrion–
SAM: Can you carry both of those fuckers?
MATT: He threw one of them out.
SAM: No, there’s the unconscious guard and the body.
TRAVIS: I’ll grab unconscious guard and the body.
LIAM: He weighs like 600 pounds.
MARISHA: I’m going to say: All right. Well, if we’re going to light this damn house on fire and make it a symbol–
SAM: You have fire hands.
MARISHA: We’re at least going to make it cool and make it the message that it’s supposed to be.
TRAVIS: There you go!
MARISHA: I turn into an eagle and I fly to the roof.
MATT: Flying out the window that you just shattered.
MARISHA: Give me your symbol.
TALIESIN: I give her one of the parchments.
MATT: You fly up. The rain is coming down on you. It’s a little hard to fly. You get up to the top of the roof.
MARISHA: I cast Flaming Sphere.
MATT: You transform into yourself again?
MATT: All righty.
TALIESIN: We’re all going to start going out the way we came.
TRAVIS: I throw unconscious guy and Sir Dead.
MARISHA: Hope you guys were ready to get out.
LAURA: I open up a bottle of wine and take a giant swig.
MATT: Okay. As you guys head back down to the cellar?
MATT: You guys all head back down to the cellar. You throw them both out the window, including the body of Sir Kerrion (boof) out into the yard. You head back down into the cellar.
MARISHA: I cast Flaming Sphere, and I start moving it around on the roof and start drawing the shape of the de Rolo family crest on the roof.
MATT: Okay. It will take you a few minutes. You now see, as you’re finishing the symbol, Vouk running to the front of the building, and you hear the voices of two guards going, “Master Vouk? What happened? Tell us. Unbind him!” “Yes, sir.” And the two guards at the front of the building are talking with him. You finish the symbol.
MARISHA: And I take my Flaming Sphere, and I throw it right at the feet of where the guards are.
MATT: Okay. You’re on the roof, so you don’t see them, but you know they’re off to the side of the roof, so you can roll it off the roof down to them. They both freak out and react and seem to get into a defensive position. They start arming themselves, and you hear crossbow bolts being set into place.
MARISHA: I run over to the edge where the cellar was, and I go, (whispering) Grog. Grog!
MARISHA: (whispering) Come to the side of the roof!
MATT: You guys make your ways back down through the cellar, where Trinket’s waiting patiently. (bear grunts)
LAURA: Hey, buddy. Let’s go.
TRAVIS: Hi, Trinket. Get out.
MATT: You guys come out of the cellar now.
MARISHA: (whispering) Grog! Hey!
MARISHA: (whispering) Catch me!
MATT: Catch Keyleth. You guys are now out in the open, still during the day, rain pouring down.
LAURA: Running toward the woods? Where are we running?
MARISHA: Get the fuck out of here.
TALIESIN: Let’s head back to the inn. Let’s try the barracks. We’ll try the barracks.
MATT: The barracks are attached to the castle.
TALIESIN: Shit. Okay.
SAM: Back to the tavern, then.
TALIESIN: Back to the tavern for now.
LAURA: They’re going to notice–
MATT: Stealth check real fast, guys.
MARISHA: I was going to say, do you have Pass Without a Trace, can you summon any more spells?
LAURA: I don’t. I mean, I can cast it right now.
MATT: If you want to quickly, yeah.
MARISHA: Yeah, before we move.
MATT: Stealth checks?
LIAM: Did we get the Pass Without a Trace?
LIAM: So, plus ten, right?
MATT: Sure enough, both guards rush around the corner. You guys have already leapt over the fence. However, they see the fence. “The fence is bent!” And they go rushing toward that direction. You guys have already disappeared into the various alleyways, making your way back towards the inn in the center of town.
LAURA: Pass Without a Trace, I mean, Dust of Tracelessness.
TRAVIS: Okay, yeah, just throwing it down behind us.
MATT: Okay. They’re giving chase. They’re hearing the sounds of your footsteps a little, but eventually their sounds fade. You do hear in the distance a bell start going off.
TALIESIN: We’re going to go into the basement.
MATT: You start seeing people emerging from their homes, hearing the bell. And, you would know this, this would be a warning bell for whenever a fire breaks out in the city. You see smoke beginning to rise up, even through the rainstorm. The fire is fighting the rain. But the smoke is black and it’s starting to fade. You gather the building itself did not catch fire enough to burn into rubble due to the rain, but you’ve probably left a very visible mark on the roof.
TALIESIN: That’ll do.
MATT: People begin to gather from the outside, and you see folks running past the alley as you make your way back to the tavern that you currently have as your base of operations. You all make your way in safely from the rain. Take a deep breath and come to understand that you’ve definitely started the motion of whatever it is you’re intending to do. We’ll see how it plays out in the near future. We’ll call the session there for the night.
TRAVIS: Shit got hairy.
TALIESIN: That was amazing.
LAURA: That was dark, you guys. Super dark.
SAM: I found seven gold.
TALIESIN: I have a sword, now.
TRAVIS: It’s October.
MARISHA: Speaking of Percy and his crazy storyline–
TALIESIN: So that’s about to happen, yeah.
MARISHA: I’m guessing by now if you go on the Geek and Sundry website, you can find his playlist.
TALIESIN: Music to burn a house to. Music to violently murder people to.
MARISHA: I was gonna say, music to murder to. Go check it out, it’s great.
TALIESIN: Music for a midnight murder. There we are. Actually, I have some art that I would love to– can I put on the–
MATT: Yeah, sure.
MARISHA: Taliesin art.
TALIESIN: Yeah, I drew pictures. Just in case everybody wants to see, this is the terrible thing we keep carving into people and things.
MARISHA: Or burning on rooftops.
TALIESIN: And then this is actually the de Rolo family crest. Just another fancy thing.
MATT: Very, very cool, and well done, sir.
TALIESIN: Thank you. I drew a picture. So that shit happened.
MARISHA: Glad I’m not the only one who thinks you’re crazy anymore.
TALIESIN: I think I’m crazy now. It’s gonna be interesting.
MARISHA: You’re all crazy, we’ve all seen it. Now we can handle it as a family.
ZAC: Yeah, y'all’s fucked up.
TALIESIN: That got way darker than I was expecting.
ZAC: Yeah. I’m sure that won’t have any negative repercussions whatsoever.
TALIESIN: I hate you, Matt.
LAURA: Hey, man. Did we hit 10k?
ZAC: 10,060. Currently Starburns is winning.
MARISHA and TALIESIN: Starburns! Do it!
ZAC: Here’s what they forget: Jess and Steph are the ones doing it. If anyone’s watched Jess and Steph’s craft show, it will most likely end up being just a shaved face. If you think Jess and Steph can pull off Starburns, you’re lying to yourself, and it will just end up being a clean shave.
TALIESIN: I got a straight razor, we could go for this. You trust me, I mean, you know. I can get in there.
ZAC: Moving on.
TALIESIN: I can Sweeney Todd that.
ZAC: Okay, so. Tonight, guys, we’re just gonna be reading off the names and we’re gonna knock through ‘em pretty quick.
MATT: We’re trying to keep time down for weeknights. All right, guys, so we have donating tonight to Extra Live, we have Connor Brown, Steven Sudeban Davis, Ravi Persuad, Mitchell DeFow– sorry if I ruin any of these names, guys, by the way– Tom Revely, Caleb Popum, Michael Holloway, George Rinn, PumpkinSpiceThisBitchTheFourth, Anonymous Donator, we have Patrick Toro, the Lost Tigers, Rebecca Case, Lewis Letter, Emma returns, Emma Engquist, I hope I’m not ruining that too bad, Pernil Ilfsen– that’s a cool name– Arthur Gibbs, another wonderful anonymous donator, Maxine Poloquin, another great anonymous donator, Christian Huntlee, James Bell, John Reap, Killer Penguin, Monica Dahl, Kayla Ernest, Tim Pearson, another great anonymous donator, PumpkinSpiceThisBitch twice more–
ZAC: Well, one’s the original and one’s the second.
MATT: Oh, it carried over, I see. I see. The original and the second. There’s a third one in there, probably. Guys, thank you so much. It’s really incredible, each one of you that donated to help Extra Life. We really appreciate it.
ZAC: Since this weekend is the 24-hour Nerdist Extra Life stream, starting next week we’ll go back to 826LA and get those donations rolling back in for 826–
MARISHA: But in the meantime, don’t forget to go to LA2050 and vote for 826LA so they can win 100k.
ZAC: I would also like to throw out there the other– it currently looks like it’s a race between Starburns, Freddie Mercury, and Fu Manchu.
LAURA: Oh, I like Freddie Mercury.
TALIESIN: Starburns’ really kinda rocking it for me.
MARISHA: I was gonna suggest– we had the Hunger Games reference, so what was his name? Kerrion or whatever? The Gamemaster in the first one?
ZAC: There is no way Steph and Jess have the ability to do something like that.
MATT: I almost wanna see the tristache. Tristache is when you shave the handlebar, and then a smaller handlebar, and then a smaller–
ZAC: Poll’s out. The poll’s out, dude.
SAM: Is the Hitler on the poll at all?
TALIESIN: You’re a terrible person! That is the worst thing I’ve heard yet.
SAM: The Charlie Chaplin.
ZAC: We also have a video to show you guys from a community member about their own D&D Extra Life stream they’re doing this weekend, so we are going to show that to you guys here once you guys sign off, so.
MATT: Fantastic, thank you so much.
ZAC: Stick around tomorrow for Jess and Steph’s birthday, where they cut my fucking face up.
MATT: That’s gonna be worth its own weight in gold. Well, all right, guys, we’ll be back next week for our special Halloween episode of Critical Role. We’ll see how the story progresses darker and darker down this hole of horror and moral conundrum. (laughs) I’m excited. I hope you are too. Once again, guys, thank you all so much. Our love to the Team Hooman, Critter crowd out there, and is it Thursday yet? See you guys next week.
TRAVIS: Damn straight!