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List of Transcripts

Pre-ShowEdit

MATT: Hello, everyone and good evening. Welcome to Critical Role, a show where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons. This will be our final episode for the year before we take our holiday break, and for those of you who aren’t currently in the theater to see Star Wars or are not planning to leave in the next five minutes to go see Star Wars, which we do not begrudge you that whatsoever; many of us will be rushing off after this to do the same. For those of you staying with us, thank you for kicking it and may the Force be with you when this is over. So before we get started, let’s go ahead and get a few announcements out of the way. One, for those of you who have been waiting extensively, because I know you have been. Tomorrow, on the website you will have the Snugglelord playlist will be premiering on GeekandSundry.com.

ZAC: It’s completely serious!

MATT: It’s totally serious.

MARISHA: So serial.

MATT: Super serial, guys. Like, so serial.

TALIESIN: For real-real, not for play-play.

MATT: (laughs) The next announcement, we had our Critmas article go up earlier this week, our Critter’s Guide to Critmas, where we each talk about the different charities that we represent and if you want to try and give something to the show and the goodwill we put out for that, it’s a really great way to see what each of us would like to see presented or supported by the community. So if you haven’t had a chance, go check it out and feel some holiday spirit to give, go ahead and pick any that are there or any of your own charities and do what you can to help. So, appreciate that guys. Also, the most recent comic went live for our Winter’s Crest festival.

LIAM: It’s a good one.

LAURA: It is a good one.

TALIESIN: Grog pranking.

MARISHA: Grog pranking.

TALIESIN: Everybody loves Grog pranking.

LIAM: It’s a flight of fancy. It did not happen in our game. It should have, but it didn’t.

MARISHA: Yeah. It’s art imitating life.

TALIESIN: We had to fluff it up a bit.

MARISHA: There was fluffing. Just a little massaging.

TALIESIN: Especially for you, we had to, we had to fluff.

MATT: The two fluffers.

MARISHA: Three.

MATT: (laughs) Yeah, so go check it out, it’s a lot of fun and plays into our Winter’s Crest festival this evening, though that one took place a year ago in game technically. Two years, I guess, in game– no, it was a year because the original– and all the events that transpired after that, there was the make-up Winter’s Crest festival. You don’t know what we’re talking about, but you may soon.

TALIESIN: Just act like you know.

MATT: Which, speaking of which, we have a little gift for you guys at the break today. We’re going to have an extended mid-way break because we have a gift that we’ve all put together for you that I think you’ll enjoy.

TALIESIN: It’s cool.

LAURA: It’s so exciting.

MATT: So, look forward to that.

MARISHA: So no peeing today. No pee breaks.

TALIESIN: Like Star Wars, just hold it until it’s over.

MATT: Or be like me, just put in a catheter beforehand, works out really well. Don’t do that, don’t do that. Please don’t do that. (laughs) Thanks for the support, guys. And Wyrmwood Gaming. Liam, if you want to go grab that real fast?

LIAM: Wyrmwood Gaming, they make gorgeous, beautiful gaming boxes. They make lovely Christmas presents and if you use the code CritRole, you will not have to pay for shipping on your Wyrmwood Gaming order. They’re gorgeous.

TRAVIS: Smells like twenties. Natural twenties. I’m working on it. I’m polishing.

TALIESIN: Keep workshopping that.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I’m working on it.

MATT: We’ll have a Sam here with us shortly.

LAURA: Oh, Sam is here.

TRAVIS: I’ll go get him!

MATT: Very shortly.

LAURA: Go, Travis, run like the wind!

LIAM: Clarence! Bring the gnome in, Clarence!

MATT: I guess while we’re waiting for him– (laughs) Travis is going to be really disappointed.

(laughter)

LIAM: Ah, Grog pranked again!

SAM: It’s okay, I’ll go get Travis.

TALIESIN: (sings Benny Hill theme)

MATT: This is the rest of our show tonight. Just three hours of this. It’s going to be great. So, if you want to show the cookies that–

TALIESIN: Oh, yeah. My girlfriend made cookies for– I’ll put this one on the–

MATT: On the mat, here?

LAURA: I took a picture.

MARISHA: Hold them closer to the camera. Hold them to the sky.

LIAM: Wow, that was what that camera was purchased for.

MATT: This is now officially the cookie cam.

LAURA: Raise them up, Taliesin. Raise them to the air. Closer to the camera.

MATT: How do–

LAURA: You want oh wah ta goo.

MATT: How do Pike do this?

MARISHA: (laughs) How do Pike do this?

MATT: How do Grog do this?

LAURA: They’re so cute. There’s little baby Trinkets.

TRAVIS: It’s really pretty. And it makes it hard to eat.

MARISHA: I like the little gingerbread, with little lederhosen and they got little goats and reindeer in lederhosen.

LAURA: This is exciting, you guys.

MATT: Travis. Can you let Sam in for me?

TRAVIS: He’s already here.

LIAM: Christmas TPK.

MARISHA: Oh, look at that Keyleth one!

LAURA: But they’re so cute, I don’t want to eat it.

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: I’ll have a snowflake, please.

MATT: Any other announcements you wish to make, or shall we go onward?

TRAVIS: Any other announcements we should make, you fucking– cookie– pass arounder? Cookie distributor?

LAURA: Oh! You know what, I do have something.

LIAM: What’s that?

LAURA: Glitter Force. It’s a new show. It’s going to be on Netflix tomorrow. So I play the main girl, so that’s exciting.

MARISHA: Oh, that’s awesome.

LAURA: It’s great for little girls.

TRAVIS: (muffled) Super cute and funny.

LAURA: Yeah it is, it’s adorable and it’s funny.

LIAM: And 25-year-old guys.

LAURA: And 25– whoever wants to watch it.

MARISHA: Are they going to make the next Bronies?

LAURA: I don’t know, but there are like a lot of– I mean, it’s called the Glitter Force. There are a lot of cute little make-up accessories.

LIAM: I already have all the merchandise.

LAURA: Yeah. I’m touching every cookie in this box.

MATT: How very Vex of you (laughs).

TALIESIN: There’s also some whipped cream if you want to dip.

LAURA: Yes.

MARISHA: Touch all the whipped cream, too.

MATT: And on that note.

(laughter)

MATT: Let us go ahead and bring our way into this evening’s game. So, to– hey!

TALIESIN: Sorry.

MATT: It’s all good. Sam will show up; it’s fine.

TRAVIS: It’s like the devil. Say his name and he will appear.

SAM: I couldn’t find Travis anywhere.

LIAM: Cookie icing on your lips.

TRAVIS: You look like you literally came from the set of Mad Max. Did you just witness?

LIAM: Glam rock.

TRAVIS: Did he tell you he loved you, or what?

SAM: They had me eat–

LAURA: Oh, I know what it is. Okay.

SAM: Some stuff.

TALIESIN: Scanlan stocking cookie there.

SAM: Oh, that’s so nice.

MATT: That’s adorable. All right.

TRAVIS: We’re locked in!

Part IEdit

MATT: Let’s do this. Bring it in. So, to get you guys up to speed quickly, for those of you who are coming in fresh. Oh, what an episode to jump into. So, the intrepid group of adventurers known as Vox Machina had made their way to the city of Whitestone, a town that Percival here grew up in and had taken from him and his family five years ago, most of his family, the de Rolos, being murdered in the process. The Briarwoods, who had taken the town rather quickly and covertly held it for five years had now been building toward some sort of a ritual, some sort of event that the party was investigating. They incited a rebellion within the city of Whitestone, gathering the remaining members to take up arms and fight against this undead scourge that had kept them locked down for so long, oppressed for so long. After managing to take out some of the various operatives under the Briarwoods’ regime, they made their way into Castle Whitestone itself, saved Percy’s sister, Cassandra, thought dead for a long time, got vengeance upon a number of individuals that were on his List, except for Ripley, who got away. Fought their way down underneath the city of Whitestone, fell into an acid-based trap, made their way to the ziggurat, this construct beneath the city of Whitestone, where some ritual was attempting to be completed by Lady Delilah Briarwood. It was discovered that the patron they spoke of, the Whispered One, had been in previous bits of history spoken as Vecna, a powerful lich of ancient history that had attempted to ascend to godhood at some point in the past. They managed to tackle the Briarwoods, destroy Sylas, defeat Delilah, and dragging them back, decided to interrogate. In the process of trying to extract information, Percy’s dark harbinger, his dark passenger, if you will… who was a tongue-waggling dog for a moment.

TALIESIN: I was making an evil shadow.

MATT: I see.

TALIESIN: Evil shadow.

LIAM: “Kill them all, Percy. Kill them all.”

MATT: Pressured to incite the vengeance that apparently the pact he made with this entity required. Upon fighting its will, it was jettisoned from his form and the party battled this deranged greater smoke demon-like entity in the center of this cavern. During this fight, Lady Briarwood tried to escape, however, found a dagger in the middle of her back, thanks to Vax over there.

LAURA: Good job.

MATT: Stripped of her possessions, and then Cassandra dragging her into the nearby acid baths, tossing her body within to leave her story to a definite conclusion. Scanlan, being very astute, apparently, in some observations, and as convincing as he can be, managed to wrestle Percy’s weapon, his List, his Pepperbox, from his grip, and tossed it into the very acid pits, destroying his greatest creation and in doing so, seemingly breaking whatever hold this shadow demon had on Percy’s soul.

SAM: The Way of the Gun.

TRAVIS: The Quick and the Dead.

LIAM: A couple weeks in detox and you’ll be fine.

MARISHA: It’s true.

LAURA: It was an intervention, Percy.

SAM: Had to be done.

MATT: Upon returning to the city of Whitestone, they found the rebellion was successful. The undead hordes had fallen to the blades of the surviving rallying warriors of Whitestone. Keeper Yennen, who currently was the, essentially, leader of the rebellion while you guys were going into the castle, met with you. You guys were brought to the center of town, where you began to see the rest of Whitestone emerge: the families, the children, the people that had been too scared to go outside finally came out to celebrate victory, the first real breath of free air they’ve had in five years since the Briarwoods took the city. Some justice was doled to a few survivors of the Briarwoods’ regime. And you were asked to stay behind to help rebuild and prepare for the coming Winter’s Crest festival, of which you agreed. A few awkward moments and a few delightful bits of interpersonal comedy brought you guys to this point and now we begin tonight’s session of Critical Role. So, to start off, leading up to this Winter’s Crest festival, about a two-week period, what would you guys like to individually do in this time to prepare for the festival?

TRAVIS: We have two weeks?

MATT: Yeah, essentially. The two-week period, we’re doing a bit of a time jump here, so if there’s anything in particular you want to do or attempt in this time period, now’s the time to do so before we get to the actual event.

TRAVIS: I had a question. Could I go around lifting up various wagons and maybe ponies, working out to try to increase my strength?

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Or just randomly picking shit up and not have an excuse for it. That was good, too.

MARISHA: I mean, the town’s in tatters. You could be productive and pick things up.

TRAVIS: Yeah! Or you know, I pick up a hammer in the morning.

LAURA: And you’re helping to rebuild.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

SAM: Like Rocky IV.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: Yeah, in a brilliant holiday montage, as the cold weather finds its way into the valley of Whitestone, Grog goes around aiding many of the groups repairing and reassembling the glory of Whitestone, finding the structures that are broken or destroyed and trying to clean them, prepare for new building properties. You come by, eagerly lifting, carrying, dropping, slamming, and holding in place extremely heavy pieces of stone and masonry. In some cases, putting a few of the local strong men to shame and some of the local ladies, very blush-worthy in your presence. You are very happy. Go ahead and make three strength checks for me.

TRAVIS: Oh shit, three of them. That’s a 24.

MATT: Okay, second one?

TRAVIS: That’s a 22.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: 22. 24, 22, 22.

MATT: Through the process of these two weeks, not only have you managed to surprise the local denizens of the city with your feats of strength and masculine physique– as when Grog is building, Grog does so shirtless.

TRAVIS: (laughs) As anything. Might as well get a show out of it.

MATT: In doing so, some of the local denizens pull some cash to the side to thank you for your efforts. You find at the end of the week you are granted a small pouch which contains 315 gold pieces as a thanks from the locals for all the help both in the rebellion, the freeing of Whitestone, and for your feats of magnificent musculature.

TRAVIS: I don’t feel like I should take this.

LAURA: You should take it.

TRAVIS: It’s a lot of money.

LAURA: You should take it.

TRAVIS: How about you refill my cask of ale instead?

SAM: Ooh.

LIAM: Happy Festivus.

TRAVIS: And you give me one gold piece so Vex doesn’t kill me.

MATT: The crowd look among themselves and one of the lead architects for this whole endeavor nods to you. “Sounds like a fair trade. If you’re certain, sir.”

TRAVIS: I’m a very stringent businessman. Do hurry before I change my mind.

MATT: Gold piece is in your hand faster than you have a chance to– you chip a tooth.

TRAVIS: I don’t understand this practice. It tastes like shit. Tastes fucking horrible.

MATT: Two casks of their precious ale roll up to the base of your foot.

TRAVIS: (gasps) Two?!

MATT: Two.

TRAVIS: One for each arm, eh? All right, the one that I have, I’m not stopping, until it’s completely empty. Bring your goblets and cups. It’s time to get fucked up.

MATT: (laughs) Fantastic. All right, Vex.

LAURA: Well, I got the ring and the bracers that I need to get checked out, see what they are.

MATT: And the robe?

LIAM: Oh, the robe. No, I threw it down, though.

TALIESIN: You picked it up.

LIAM: You picked it up.

LAURA: I have the robe, too.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: We left her naked. Yes, we did.

MATT: You kind of did, actually.

TALIESIN: Like properly.

MATT: A few things here, actually.

TRAVIS: Oh Vex, I made gold.

LAURA: Oh wow, thank you, that’s amazing, Grog. Where did you find this piece of gold?

TRAVIS: Oh, I got it for fixing a bunch of shit around town. Are you going to taste it?

LAURA: No, I’m not. It’s already got a lot of drool on it, actually.

TRAVIS: But how do you know if it’s gold if you don’t taste it?

LAURA: I’m just going to put it in with the rest of the gold, Grog.

TRAVIS: Shit. I’m going to pull one over on her one of these days. Can you make things look like they’re gold?

SAM: I can, actually.

TRAVIS: You can?

SAM: Yes.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: I’ve had my thought for the day, there’s nothing else.

SAM: When you have the punchline, let me know.

TRAVIS: It’s a standby TV symbol right now. That’s all I got.

MATT: So, as you take some time, first off, I want you to go ahead and roll an investigation check.

LAURA: Aw man, I’ve got to roll for this? I’m going to roll one of my new dice. Well, it’s for–

MATT: What was that sound?

LAURA: It was exciting! 24.

MATT: 24, okay. So as you begin pulling out the items and begin separating, before you can even begin the initial inspection, as you are pulling the robe out, you find there is a slight poke. There’s something thin–

LAURA: (singing) Feel a little poke coming through.

MATT: Not that kind of poke. You unravel that part of the robe and find there’s a long deep pocket on the inside of the robe. And inside, there’s a long gnarled piece of deep maroon wood that is carved into a wand shape.

SAM: What kind of a wand?

MATT: I’m trying to find the actual item card here. Found it! There we go.

SAM: I want it.

LAURA: Oh my god.

SAM: I want it.

LAURA: Oh, did you find it? Did you find it in the group? Are you even standing near me right now, as I’m seeing this wand?

SAM: Of course I am. I’m always with you.

LAURA: How do you know I’m not doing it in my room?

SAM: Are you?

LAURA: Yes.

TALIESIN: What’s she wearing right now?

SAM: Why I am in your room?!

LAURA: Scanlan, get out of here, I’m naked.

SAM: Oh I know, I came in here to tell you, to ask you something: where’s my wand?

(laughter)

LAURA: Ugh, I’ve got to look at this a bit more before I give this to you because it is very, very good. It is a Wand of Fireballs, by the way, people. It has seven charges; while holding it, you can use an action to expend one or more of its charges to cast the Fireball spell, DC of 15, one charge you cast at third level– so many words. I don’t even understand.

LIAM: A fan art of this moment, please?

LAURA: But also–

MATT: You recall, actually, as you went over the top at the initial battle with Lady Briarwood, that was what she pulled out and managed to blast all of you with at once when you all were on the top of the temple.

LAURA: Nice. I’m just going to put this in my pocket.

LIAM: I thought you were naked.

LAURA: I’ll put it in the pocket of the outfit I’m about to put on. And then the ring and the bracers?

MATT: I’ll get those right now. There you go.

LAURA: Wait, Grog, don’t sit down.

TALIESIN: This is why it’s Christmas.

SAM: Where’s my ring?

MARISHA: What’s the ring do?

LAURA: Oh my god. I found so many amazing things, you guys.

TRAVIS: Those are bracers–

LAURA: No!

SAM: Those are mine. I found them.

TRAVIS: Grog will believe whatever you say.

LAURA: No! I’m reading them all; they’re mine! Ring of Lightning Resistance. Who wants a Ring of Lightning Resistance?

SAM: Sure.

LAURA: Bracers of Defense. Who needs extra defense? You’re really weak. Your AC’s super low, isn’t it?

LIAM: It is.

MATT: Bracers of Defense will technically only really benefit anybody who’s not wearing armor.

LIAM: Not wearing armor?

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: Like Grog?

MATT: Like monks.

LAURA: There you go.

LIAM: Thank goodness, because he is a blushing flower in the wind.

MATT: If you currently have– is it an amulet that helps your armor? We’ll go through your AC and find out if it overlaps with any other benefits.

TRAVIS: I do have the Amulet of Armor.

MATT: Right, so basically that would replace that and you would now have an amulet slot open for any sort of future enchantment stuff.

LIAM: I’ll take the amulet.

MATT: You could give the amulet to somebody else if you want to.

LIAM: He’ll never give it to me.

MARISHA: He was willing to do it until you gave him the idea to not do it.

LIAM: That’s fine.

TRAVIS: Can’t remind me of these things.

LAURA: Okay, a Robe of Shielding Shadows. Can it be worn with armor?

MATT: No.

LAURA: Oh man. It’s just a robe. It’s her dress, basically, and it gives you resistance to piercing damage.

LIAM: You know what we can do with that? Sell it.

SAM: Or give it to me.

LAURA: You have armor, dude.

SAM: Oh, okay.

MARISHA: It takes an armor slot.

LAURA: And it’s a woman’s robe.

SAM: I can make that work.

LAURA: Yeah, you totally could.

MARISHA: Can we take the fabric and sew it into a nice afghan or something?

MATT: You can certainly try. It would probably ruin the enchantment.

LAURA: Oh, it would ruin the enchantment? If you sew it differently?

MARISHA: What if you don’t cut into it?

LAURA: What if we fold it?

TALIESIN: What if we just tie the dress around our neck?

LAURA: Maybe just put your arms through it and then let it ride behind you like a cape?

MARISHA: Right, it’s like one of those “wear nine different ways” dresses?

MATT: You can wear it however you want and you will discover one way or another if it actually gives an effect.

LAURA: Well, I’m just going to pocket this because we may sell it, how about that. And then, a Ring of Lightning Resistance, anybody want it? How many rings can we wear at one time?

MATT: Two. One on each hand.

TALIESIN: I would not say no to a Ring of Lightning Resistance.

LAURA: Pass that over to Percy.

TALIESIN: I’ve got plans. At the moment, it’s the only way to charge my glove.

LAURA: All right, and this Wand of Fireballs? I feel like Scanlan needs it more than anyone else.

SAM: I already have a wand that shoots things.

LIAM: You’re the only one who can use it.

SAM: Oh, I’m the only one who can use it? I’ll take it, then.

LAURA: I might just sell this robe, though.

TRAVIS: I know how you work it, it’s swish and flick. Fireball.

LAURA: Swish and flick.

MATT: What could possibly go wrong?

TRAVIS: What if a non-spellcaster uses a wand? Nothing, right?

LAURA: No. Anyone can use it.

TRAVIS: Should we try it?

LIAM: Yes, you should try it.

TRAVIS: I am a walking crash test dummy. I mean, we can try it. It’ll be fine.

MATT: That’s my favorite mindset.

LAURA: And then I’m going to mostly for the rest of the time, keep to myself and Trinket and I’m going to help the townspeople rebuild a bit.

MATT: All right. Wondrous. Vax?

LIAM: I am also going to keep to myself and I’m going to talk to the people in town, see what businesses are open or trying to open, see what they need. And I would like to talk to Percy, since I don’t know anyone here, about who I could talk to about getting messages to Emon, and I would like to get a message to Gilmore, to see if he can fill any need here. If trade is so ruined here, that Gilmore could be a help. And Gilmore gets another front, a place to do business and actually do good in a place that needs it.

MARISHA: Gilmore’s Glorious Books.

SAM: That’s right.

LAURA: I like it.

MATT: Over bits of a period of discussion, for the most part, any sort of non-official courier service has been negated in the town. However, there is now a glut of people that are, after the devastation, especially the ensuing rebellion, folks that need work and need coin and there are many individuals that would be more than willing to, for a handful of gold coins, make the journey to Emon delivering any messages you like.

LIAM: Well, I will write a message to Gilly and say that they’re hurting here. They need trade, all the supplies that he’s able to supply and tell him that this town is about to explode and is definitely a good place for his wares.

LAURA: Are you going to break up with him in the letter too? Are you going to tell him that you’re going to break his heart as soon as he writes you back? Is that what’s going to happen? I’m sorry, I’m just looking at your letter as you’re writing it.

LIAM: No, because I’ve been avoiding her as well. I’m avoiding everybody except for Percival, who I’ve been asking advice from.

MATT: Okay. Do you also have the cloak? Did you take the cloak?

LIAM: I have the cloak, yeah. Yeah, dibs on that.

MATT: Fine pickings off the corpses of the two major villains of the previous arc.

LIAM: Yes.

TALIESIN: More corpse picking to do.

MATT: Exactly.

LAURA: What?! You have so many cloaks, though. Why do you need another one?

SAM: He’s opening a cloak factory.

TALIESIN: Gilmore’s Glorious Cloaks.

MATT: Cloak hoarding over here. All right, Scanlan.

SAM: I wanted to do four things.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

SAM: One, compose an epic poem to commemorate the rebels rising up against the empire that had kept them down for so long. Sort of a force that had awakened. I call it… Resident Evil. I don’t know why. Because they’re residents and there was evil. I couldn’t come up with another name for it. They’re residents of the town and there was an evil. That’s all. So, I’m looking for a publisher.

MATT: Okay, good. There may be a grand opportunity at the Winter’s Crest festival to perform this.

SAM: Oh– gulp.

LIAM: Disney and Capcom will be calling.

SAM: I also wanted to make sure that we were using the treasury, coordinating with Percy to open a library for the people to help them rebuild their place, which sounds like Vax is already on. I also commissioned a portrait of myself. I don’t know if you– I found a young artisan in town that I paid him some coin to paint me something that could possibly hang in the keep, at Greyskull, in the dining room.

MATT: Okay. After asking around for a few days, you manage to discover there is a budding local artist who doesn’t really believe in his artwork. He currently works in the stables on the far southwest side of town. But people have seen some of his work and tried to bolster him, so you’re sent in his direction and as you get there, you can see him. He’s currently in the process of actually cutting through one of his recent works he wasn’t happy with and he’s violently tearing through it. As you step into the stable, he stops and puts it off to the side. “Sorry, sir, can I help you?”

SAM: Ah, hello. My name is Scanlan Shorthalt. I was the leader of the rebellion that just defeated Lord and Lady Briarwood.

MATT: “Oh! The pleasure is mine.” He is now averting his gaze and almost bowing his head like you’re royalty. He’s very flustered and flushed by the sudden appearance.

SAM: I hear you are a budding artist and I am, if nothing else, a supporter of the arts.

MATT: “My talents are far unrefined and nowhere near powerful or decent enough for your attentions.”

SAM: Well, I believe in you. And I need you for a very important commission. A great good has been done here by the rebels, by the townspeople, with the help of Vox Machina and of course, with the help of Vox Machina’s leader, myself. Therefore, I’m here to commission a humble portrait of myself. You may not know him, but there was a folk hero in my town growing up. His name was Fabio. He would frequently pose with windblown hair and an open shirt on a horse. I was thinking something like that, and also I have this figure of Pike. She’s a friend of mine. I’d like her on the back of the horse, arms around my waist, looking super hot. If that’s possible.

MATT: Make a persuasion check. Only because he’s so down on his own skills.

SAM: 33.

(laughter)

MATT: As you’re telling this tale, he goes from bashful and meek to staring off in the distance, the artistic inspiration rolling through his head.

SAM: Oh. Sorry, 31. I was wrong.

MATT: Unchanged. He begins finishing your sentences as you’re describing scenery and extrapolating on it. You can see the artistic mind is definitely spinning. He looks to you and goes, “It would be my honor. Please.” He reaches forward and takes your gnomish hand and you know, you’re about two and a half feet shorter than him, but he’s still very humble, kneels down and says, “I would be honored to do this portrait. No charge.”

SAM: Please, I insist. I must give you something for your troubles.

MATT: “Whatever you deem fit, Sir Gnome, but I–”

SAM: What’s your name, young sir?

MATT: “Jameson.”

SAM: Jameson?

LIAM: I like him.

SAM: I like this guy.

TRAVIS: I think everybody does– until they don’t.

SAM: How about in return, I will sing your praises far and wide as the greatest artist in– where are we? Whitestone. Whiteheart. Briarstone. Heartwood.

MATT: In making that mention, his openness suddenly closes off and he withdraws. You see this fear in his eyes and he shakes his head. “That would be untrue and I am but a simple stablehand. I can do this for you, but please, if you could keep this between us.”

SAM: All right. I’m aware that some people like to be discreet about things and that’s all right with me, too. Then I’ll pay you the going rate for portraits of me.

MATT: “Certainly. How large would you like it?”

SAM: How big is the wall at Greystone Keep?

MATT: Depends on which area.

SAM: The dining room wall.

TRAVIS: (laughing) That’s like Sistine Chapel!

MATT: Your dining area’s probably about 12 to 15 feet high.

SAM: High? Okay, and wide?

MATT: Wide? I’d say, off the top of my head, somewhere between 40 and 50 feet.

SAM: Well, I’d like to leave room for other artwork, as well. We’ll say 20 by six.

TRAVIS and MARISHA: (laughing) 20 by six?

SAM: Well, it’s half and half. 20 wide, six high.

MATT: His eyes go wide and he nods and says, “This is a challenge. But I believe I do know someone whom I can order such a grand canvas from. This can be done. This can be done.” And you see he smiles and takes your hand once again. “This can be done.”

SAM: Thank you, sir. Jameson, was it?

MATT: “Jameson, yes.”

SAM: You have done a noble deed for your people and for the rebel forces.

MATT: “Eclipsed by the deeds you have done, Sir Gnome.”

SAM: Oh, that is true.

(laughter)

MATT: He rushes off to prepare himself.

SAM: And then, one last thing. On a serious note, I do some research to see if me, or any one of my party could, over time and with great effort, learn the skills required to utilize a teleportation circle.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and make an arcana check.

SAM: Not great. Arcana? 11.

MATT: Yeah. What little you know of teleportation-based magics, which is not your forte in your bardic experiences, but what you’ve heard and what you’ve seen, while you’ve traveled with Tiberius, and you’ve come across other individuals that used the arcane spells that caused transport, teleportation circles themselves are a very specific ritual. It’s a spell that comes from within the arcane caster’s capabilities. If you yourself do not have that, you’re not going to be able to utilize it at a drop of a hat. After asking around, you find there once was a teleportation destination circle in Castle Whitestone that was part of the network of Tal'Dorei, in Emon, but has since been destroyed and sundered and has been for quite some time. You imagine probably when the Briarwoods came, it was deemed a dangerous little loose thread. So, over the period of the next week or so, best you can ascertain is that type of transportation here is going to be probably not likely, at least not with the resources you have at your disposal. You may have to travel elsewhere.

SAM: It’s not a skill I can learn?

MATT: It’s a spell you could learn, but that would be something you would have to swap out as you level up or choose as your spell progression down the road.

SAM: All right.

LIAM: I find it’s better to travel the world rather than use fast travel.

LAURA: I agree. You see so much more of it.

LIAM: You miss everything.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: All the artistic–

LIAM: Every nook and cranny, yeah.

MATT: But you do, as part of your group’s discussions throughout the week, discover that Keyleth does have long-transport capabilities.

SAM: Ooh, hello Keyleth. Fly the friendly skies.

MATT: You want to explain what you can do?

MARISHA: I have Teleport via Plants. So I can bamf through the Sun Tree. We can all–

SAM: We can all?

MARISHA: We can all.

LIAM: You mean like a big plant?

MATT: It opens for six seconds, a portal–

MARISHA: For one round, I can be like, this tree is a portal and we walk through the tree and it goes to another tree as long as I know of that tree’s existence.

LAURA: And it’s the same size, right? It has to be something of the same size? Or it can be any tree?

MARISHA: It has to be walkable body-size.

MATT: A large or larger tree as far as this size.

LAURA: Trinket and Grog-sized trees.

SAM: That sounds like it would be the quickest “root” to go.

TALIESIN: (groans)

LIAM: Is there a tree in your garden back at Greyskull?

MARISHA: There is. I made sure there was a nice–

LAURA: Big old fatty tree.

MARISHA: Big old fatty oak tree.

MATT: There’s actually two large trees, I believe, in the Sarenrae temple.

LAURA: I forgot to say what else I wanted to do.

MATT: What else do you want to do?

LAURA: Well, because of that flying potion, I wanted to try to do some research and see how much flying potions are, if there’s any kind of items that can make you fly whenever you want?

TRAVIS: She liked it.

LAURA: I really liked it.

MATT: (laughs) The first taste is free.

LAURA: I know. I mean, I know the carpet’s gone, but maybe there’s like an individual sort of item that’s less expensive than a flying carpet, I don’t know. Just wondering.

MATT: You still have the flying potion–

LAURA: I downed it!

MATT: Right, the card I gave you for it. Because that would contain the cost of that particular one.

LAURA: Oh.

TRAVIS: 5,250.

LIAM: You have a robe.

LAURA: Well, but I want a bunch of them, though.

MATT: Which you can have made or possibly look about to have purchased. This town is pretty thin as far as–

LAURA: Magic stuff?

MATT: Yeah. Most of anything of worth, of an arcane nature was confiscated and utilized or essentially melted down for its residuum components as part of the creation of the ziggurat, in preparation for their ritual. So, other than the items you were given when you first arrived here, you’re hard-pressed to find anything in this town of that type. But asking around, there are enchantments that can gift flight, but they’re pretty rare.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: Talk to Gilmore.

MATT: Gilmore would be the person to talk to about that. You good, Scanlan?

SAM: Oh, I’m good.

MATT: All right. Keyleth?

MARISHA: Well, Keyleth is very confused as to why everyone seems to be avoiding each other. It’s odd. Everyone’s so standoffish. Anyway, Keyleth is going to go help the farmers and try and maybe help revitalize some of the land and help with planting crops, and helping out there. She also wants to make sure all the local kids are taken care of. Any kids that lost their parents in the rebellion. Lead the charge of making sure the kids are taken care of.

MATT: Okay. Going around, there were a number of casualties in the town as part of the rebellion. It unfortunately happens in warfare, regardless of how noble a cause it may be. There are a few families that were left fatherless or motherless, as there was quite a share of the sexes raising up for this battle. So the children that– no one that you know of lost both parents, for the most part. There was the intent that if there were a parental unit, that at least one had to stay in case of such an occurrence to raise the children. But you go out and meet with some of the families and make sure they’re taken care of. Some of the homes that were destroyed as part of the rebellion, you and Grog both worked together to help make sure the process of rebuilding goes well. You do also help the farmers begin to right their crops and revitalize the land, which had been drained by the necromantic essence of the Briarwoods’ presence, and whatever the ziggurat was pulling from the land itself beneath seems to have released its hold on the immediate vicinity. So, through your aid specifically, being a druid of your nature, you prepare this for probably one of the finest harvests that Whitestone has had in quite a long time. Even though it is deep winter, they’re already seeing early spring growth through your aid.

MARISHA: Dope. Climate change.

MATT: I know, it’s crazy. Vegetation and vegetables that are withstanding and still able to grow through the frost in the mornings, as the cold weather is coming from the winter, so you’re raising quite a strong crop. Well done.

MARISHA: We’ll have Thanksgiving in about nine months.

MATT: (laughs) There you go.

TALIESIN: For the orphans, man.

MARISHA: For the orphans.

MATT: Percival?

TALIESIN: Okay, I’m going to spend most of my time organizing the affairs of the castle and the local government and making sure that there’s institutions in place, getting rid of anybody who might still have sympathies towards the Briarwoods. Helping re-establish the Zenith and the Ladies’ Chamber. Spending some time with my sister.

MATT: On that note, before you continue, there is no current institution in place. Anyone of any political power outside of Archibald, you, and Cassandra, has been slaughtered long past. So in these discussions, you talk with Keeper Yennen, you talk to Cassandra, and there is an air of understanding that right now, there is this period of peace, this period of calm, but there has to eventually be an establishment put into place: some sort of political head to oversee the rebuilding of the city and the continued growth and survival of this town proper. Cassandra confides in you multiple times that she is nervous, that she, especially given recent circumstances, her recovery of her Stockholm syndrome with the Briarwoods, is not confident that she would be able to lead on her own. There is a moment where she apologizes extensively to Archibald. Archibald, who did survive, and was her direct contact in the castle, takes a few days before he will even face Cassandra when he is told that she essentially had been leading him astray and spearheading the death of the previous rebellion. You also discover the reason the various new nobles that were prepared for your ambushes were because Cassandra had gotten information about that from Archibald and then fed it to the Briarwoods. But you do sense a very, very deep-seated regret and an urge to make amends for that from her. And because of that circumstance, she doesn’t feel like the people of Whitestone, who would have this information, which you haven’t told anyone. There is no large-scale announcement. The only people that know about Cassandra’s current situation with the Briarwoods are you guys, Keeper Yennen, and Archibald.

SAM: Archibald’s still around?

MATT: He is.

SAM: And he betrayed us?

LAURA and MARISHA: No.

LAURA: Cassandra betrayed him.

LIAM: Cassandra played everybody.

SAM: Oh. All right, I’ll let him live.

LAURA: Thank you, glorious leader. Thank you.

SAM: Just part of the team, guys.

MATT: So that is an ongoing discussion. As far as establishing the structure, there’s been many talks, but nothing has been fine-tuned, and that may play itself out as part of the festival.

TALIESIN: I have two items that I would like to look at. Well, I have three items that I would like to look at. Sylas’s sword and his amulet.

MATT: Okay. The brooch that he left behind.

TALIESIN: Brooch!

MATT: Travis has got you.

TALIESIN: Really, Travis?

LAURA: He’s our runner.

LIAM: Oh, ho ho ho, and all of that!

LAURA: What is it?

MARISHA: What is it, what is it?

TALIESIN: Damn.

LAURA: Is it amazing?

LIAM: He’s standing there like Guile before a Street Fighter match.

MATT: He hasn’t heard of that character.

LAURA: (laughs) What is it? What do you have?

TALIESIN: I don’t know, it’s a piece of paper. It’s pretty cool. It’s called a Brooch of Living Essence and it basically masks the wearer’s alignment, essence, whether they’re good or evil, they can’t be seen by Detect Magic spells.

LIAM: That is the worst thing for you.

LAURA: Not anymore!

TALIESIN: Is it?

LIAM: I’m unsure. It’s hard to tell.

MATT: You gather that this item in particular was used by Sylas to travel through magically protected areas without giving up his undead essence or being read for his true intentions.

MARISHA: It’s for a shifty bastard. It’s definitely a shifty bastard thing.

LAURA: It’s for Scanlan.

SAM: Oh, me? My alignment’s good.

MARISHA: Yeah, but it could be good if you want to pretend to be evil.

TALIESIN: Either this or Vax. This would be an interesting thing for either–

MARISHA: It doesn’t protect you against Detect Magic spells. It protects you against Detect Good or Evil spells and magic spells that reveal your true nature.

SAM: True nature.

LIAM: It would be a good thing.

LAURA: So you could pretend to be bad.

TALIESIN: What do you have in your– brooch?

LIAM: My brooch?

MATT: It’s in the neck slot.

LIAM: Nothing.

TALIESIN: Nothing in your neck slot?

LAURA: That sounds so disgusting.

LIAM: My neck slot (laughs). I don’t know, Percy. What have I got in my neck slot?

MATT: You see the brooch slowly press deep in his neck slot (laughs). God. Ugh. Don’t turn that into any fan fiction, please.

TALIESIN: Don’t say that!

MATT: I know. Percy, what else?

TALIESIN: The sword.

MATT: The sword.

SAM: That is a big piece of paper.

LIAM: That’s a rather big piece of paper for a sword.

TALIESIN: And Ripley’s gun.

MATT: Well, first, as you take the sword in your hands, the large, thick obsidian, onyx black blade. You take a while to, not necessarily attune to it, but put enough of your attention towards it where you sense its magical capabilities. As it begins to clarify, where one voice before was not there, a new voice speaks and says–

MARISHA: Wait!

LIAM: (shushing noises) This is important.

TALIESIN: Goddamn it.

MATT: “You, are you my new wielder?”

LAURA: What?

SAM: He’s got a talking sword!

MARISHA: What’s with you and fucking weapons, man?

TALIESIN: (whimpers)

LAURA: Be strong, Percy!

LIAM: You’re not here.

TALIESIN: No.

(laughter)

MATT: “Then leave me until one worthy lifts this blade.”

TALIESIN: I’m going to gently put it down.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: This is a sword that has a name!

TALIESIN: I don’t know what to do about this (laughs). This is really disturbing.

MATT: As you step away from the blade, you can feel the air nearby is generally colder in its presence, and where previously it was just a weapon, you can almost feel like there’s something looking at you. There’s a presence just bent towards you, expectantly.

LAURA: That’s creepy!

TALIESIN: (whimpers)

SAM: Just try it out! What could go wrong?

LIAM: Do you want to become evil, Grog?

TRAVIS: I can tame it.

TALIESIN: (laughs) Wow–

LIAM: Don’t do it, Percy.

TRAVIS: What does it say?

LAURA and SAM: What does it say?

TALIESIN: I don’t think I should tell any of you.

MATT: The blade sits there on the ground where you leave it, whatever you wish to do with it.

TRAVIS: Do you want to put it in the Bag?

TALIESIN: God, you’ve given me so much to think about. It’s really unfortunate. I’m definitely going to take at least a week of our two weeks to think about the sword.

MATT: Okay. What are you going to do with it in the meantime?

LIAM: Sleep on top of it.

TALIESIN: Sleep on top of it. It’s in my room.

TRAVIS: You don’t want it in the Bag?

TALIESIN: No.

MATT: So, for each evening as you lay down to sleep, you can feel a voice creep back in to say– The voice is inquisitive. “I’m useless left here. I seek the thrill of battle. I’m hungry.” Other evenings, it comes to you, almost pleading. “Why have you forsaken me? You took me as a trophy. What purpose has a blade that goes unused? I will remember this.” Then it falls silent after a few days.

TRAVIS: The silent treatment.

LAURA: It’s sulking.

TALIESIN: Is it a two-handed sword or a one-handed sword?

MATT: It’s a greatsword. It’s two-handed, big old Final Fantasy 7 sword.

TALIESIN: Goddamn it.

SAM: Evil Grog is not a good idea.

MARISHA: This is the thing that’s fucked up.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I know, which is why I shouldn’t have given him that brooch. Goddamn it. I may ask for that brooch back.

LIAM: You can certainly try.

TALIESIN: God damn it.

TRAVIS: (laughs) Whoa.

MATT: So, as you think on it, the weeks pass–

TALIESIN: No, I had a–

MATT: Oh, what did you guys want to do?

TALIESIN: I also wanted to work on Ripley’s gun.

MATT: Right. The gun itself is essentially a baseline pistol. If you look in your archetype for your fighter class of gunslinger, the pistol mechanics all apply to that weapon. Beyond that, nothing in particular. It’s just her first successful attempt in recreating a firearm.

TALIESIN: Okay. I’m going to start making some ammo for it. And I’m going to work on it.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Percy, whenever you get a chance, could you, maybe– how hard are those exploding arrows to make? Super-duper hard?

TALIESIN: Not terribly difficult. I don’t think it’s in two weeks, but when we go home, I’ll work on it. I know, I like them too… I hate you. You’re a terrible person.

MATT: You picked up the sword, man.

TRAVIS: Percy, how’s that sword working out?

TALIESIN: It’s a little big, actually.

TRAVIS: Is it? Look, I have this one-handed Dragonslayer Longsword if you want to get used to a bit of badassery before you move up to the big leagues. I know you’ve got that dinky piece of shit you’ve been using this whole time.

MATT: Just as a note, too, a greatsword is a strength-based melee weapon. Dex does not play into it.

TALIESIN: Oh, which is– well, yeah.

MATT: Based on whatever your strength is. What’s your strength, Percy?

TALIESIN: Strength is 12.

MATT: You would probably not do very well with that.

TALIESIN: Which is why I was thinking about having it cut down and melted down into something more useful.

MATT: This is also viable, if you wanted to try.

TRAVIS: (whispering) Dragon-slayer Longsword.

TALIESIN: You know, this is actually pretty badass if I did give it to Grog. Yeah.

TRAVIS: Trade!

MARISHA: Jesus Christ! And he’s not even going to say anything about it. You’re a terrible person, not Matt, you are. He gave you the device and you used it!

LIAM: You’ve been playing D&D for years. You know what this means!

TALIESIN: I’m going to let you know we should keep an eye on him, just in case.

MATT: So, Grog. As you take up the blade in your hands, you hear coming out of the ether, a gentle, low velvet voice caresses the inside of your head saying, “You, are you to be my wielder?”

TRAVIS: What the shit?

MATT: “Speak your name, warrior.”

TRAVIS: Grog.

MATT: “Warrior Grog, have you taken up the blade of Craven Edge?”

TRAVIS: Is that what this is? Do you have a female setting?

(laughter)

MATT: You hear a long, drawn-out sigh. “Do you accept my power?”

TRAVIS: There’s a power that comes with you? What kind of power?

MATT: “Do you enjoy drinking the strength of your foes, watching them beaten before you, and have that very power become your own?”

TRAVIS: Sounds pretty good.

MATT: “Do you wish the shadows to encase your form and grant you resilience and anger, forcing those to kneel before you in fear.”

TRAVIS: The shadows?

MATT: “Do you accept, Grog?”

TRAVIS: Fuck yeah.

(laughter)

MATT: “Then it is done. Together, we will accomplish great things.”

TRAVIS: Do you have a name? Do I call upon you? Can I call you Bacon?

MATT: “You call me Bacon and this blade will cut the very hand you hold. My name is Craven Edge. It will do you well to remember that.”

TRAVIS: Right. Yep. Was totally kidding about the bacon, Craven Edge. Well, I’m excited about this partnership. Clearly we will be a force to be reckoned with. By the way, can other people hear you?

MATT: Silence.

TRAVIS: Shit.

LIAM: He will kill me first.

TALIESIN: It is an amazing sword.

TRAVIS: I haven’t even read it yet.

TALIESIN: You haven’t read it yet?

TRAVIS: No. I can’t read!

(laughter)

LAURA: I want to read it so bad!

LIAM: Don’t let anybody read it.

TALIESIN: It’s so magical.

TRAVIS: Give me a bear cookie.

MATT: You have a clue as to what it can do based on when it was used against you by Sylas.

TRAVIS: Yeah, it was badass. Thank you.

MATT: So, anything else you want to accomplish before we close out on the rest of the week?

SAM: I had a question.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: Did we assemble a team of magic–

LAURA: To take care of the thingy?

MARISHA: Yeah, that we needed to– we all need to take care of that.

LAURA: The marble of death?

MATT: So, throughout the week, Keeper Yennen, a few of the low-level arcanists that exist here–

LAURA: Didn’t we send for Eskil Ryndarien?

MATT: You sent for him, but you know information right now travels at the speed of whatever it is you–

MARISHA: By mule?

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: At speed of mule.

MATT: The speed of that as it continues forward. You get word back. Nothing from Allura Vysoren yet. Eskil does respond, saying he is currently finishing up some personal business, but will make his way towards Whitestone within a couple weeks, with some of his compatriots who may also be of aid. Information has been gotten across, but it won’t be until probably after this festival for them to begin their investigation. However, in the meantime, Keeper Yennen and a few of the smaller local arcanists do make a couple trips down to inspect the ziggurat themselves. When they return, Yennen is at a loss. Most of them don’t quite understand the nature of the magic there. It seems to be immobile. It seems to be completely either negating, consuming, or preventing any sort of magical force within a specific radius of it. A lot of their normal arcane methods of inspecting or divine methods of inspecting this site are not functional. This is more like bring old tomes and research historical records of things that may be similar to this. So when you bring up that you had reached out to Eskil Ryndarien with the information you had, you gather that will probably be a much more fruitful endeavor. As of right now, no one has any clue what this is.

LAURA: And we searched the Briarwoods’ library that they had gathered together that say anything about–

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Some of the information you acquired from Scanlan’s memory and a little bit of research into Vecna. Very little information really exists, but as the keeper of secrets, you get the sense that most anything of importance in dealing with this ritual has been destroyed as part of its preparation because secrets are meant to be kept and hoarded. So not much luck in that regard, unfortunately. However, as the second week draws to a close, the Winter’s Crest day comes forward. As the morning crests into the proper Winter’s Crest festival, you all awaken in Castle Whitestone to an unusually cold morning. As you look out, there is a fresh dusting of white snow that has gently caressed the entirety of this valley and the entire city itself. You all get yourselves ready, gather your belongings and preparing for the festival you’ve been helping get ready this entire week, you walk down towards Whitestone itself. As you get to the outskirts of the city, you can already hear in the distance music beginning to play. Blue and white ribbons are hung up all throughout the town, on the outside of buildings, outside of taverns, outside of even the remaining wreckage that is only partially built. It seems that overnight, people just went through the town and decorated whatever needed to be decorated to wipe clean the memory of the recent trials and difficulty that everyone’s undergone. You begin to make your way towards the center of the town, to the town square where the Sun Tree is, and as you approach, you now see the source of the music, as a number of individuals in the town have brought out their instruments. They’re playing, some more discordant than others, but overall, a sense of joy as people for the first time in a long time are truly embracing this positive atmosphere. You see children laughing and running through the streets. You can smell fresh-cooked pies and various bakery items just filling the air around you. Looking over, as you approach the Sun Tree, you can see where once bodies hung from its boughs, there now are strings of blue and white ribbons that are intertwined with each other, braided and set across from branch to branch. You can see fine little glass structures that have been hand blown and left to drape from them to be part of the festivities. As you begin to make your way up there, immediately people begin to notice your presence, and you can see people in the streets begin to gather up and begin cheering. You hear voices mutter out, “Vox Machina!” People start reaching out and shaking your hands. “Thank you so much, thank you.” You’re taken aback by the attention. It’s reminding you a little bit of the awkwardness you had with the last Winter’s Crest in Emon.

LAURA: Be on the lookout for eggs, giant frosty-looking eggs.

MATT: You make your way towards the Sun Tree and there you see Keeper Yennen is in the process of speaking with a few of the people that helped him with this entire rebellion, in setting up this event, and he greets you all as you approach. “Oh, my friends! How wondrous. Glad to see you are all wakened and ready and well rested, I assume.”

TRAVIS: Yes.

MATT: “Glorious. Well, this is a day of celebration. We’ve taken the time and mourning shall continue as needed, but today, today is to embrace what it means to be alive, to thwart the darkness and the evils that press upon the free folk of these lands. And of course, to eat and drink until you are full and drunk.”

(laughter)

MARISHA: Cheers to that.

MATT: “It will be a little bit before we get to the actual celebration speech, but in the meantime, go free yourselves, drink, be merry. There are a few events going on around you.” And he points in a gew directions, and you can see around you there are tables set up, there are individuals playing games. Immediately to the left, you can see there are two long tables set up and a stack of pies off to one side, looks like an eating contest.

TRAVIS: I haven’t eaten for a full day.

MARISHA: In preparation?

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: You do see what looks to be a gentleman with a high box, with a very, very fine waxed mustache that is currently doing parlor tricks and magical presentations for people who are trading coin to be astounded with his illusions. You can see what looks to be a series of tables behind the Sun Tree heading towards the southeast side of it. You recognize better than anyone: these are central tables, relatively small, with a chair on each side.

TRAVIS: Arm wrestling!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Craven, I think– oh wait, that’s arm wrestling. Go to sleep.

MATT: The sigh is getting more and more impatient.

TRAVIS: He’ll get used to that.

MATT: So these are the three first events you come across in your immediate vicinity. What would any of you guys like to partake in?

MARISHA: I see the magic tricks and go (loud gasp) and run over, without saying anything.

SAM: I tag along.

TALIESIN: Oh, I’ll go in for this one as well.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: As you guys rush forward, you come to the box. It’s a relatively high box. It looks like it hasn’t seen some use in a while. The gentleman sitting there, with longish hair, parted in the center, and combs outward. He’s got a waxed mustache. He’s wearing dusty presentational robes and he has on the top of it a series of small boxes and what looks like various tricks he has at the ready. There are three children off to the side with either their keeper or parents behind. “Now watch, if you will, as this simple ball transports itself between the cups and yet find your eyes unable to follow.” And he switches the cups around for a moment. (whoosh)

(laughter)

MATT: “Where is the ball, little one?” The kids deliberate and one goes, “That one!” “Are you sure?” They all shake their head. “Oh! I’m sorry, the ball has escaped your vision once again.” And they all they cheer. He lifts the other one.

MARISHA: (gasps), are you a wizard? We’ve met a few wizards. No, are you a sorcerer? Because you don’t look like a druid. This doesn’t look like natural magic. What?

MATT: “I am what you refer to as an illusionist. And I can play tricks on your mind, your mind, your mind…”

MARISHA: (shouting) No! God, we’ve been through way too much of that here lately.

SAM: It’s entertainment.

MATT: “Playful! Playful illusions, not against…”

SAM: It’s just a game.

TALIESIN: Carry on. It’s good. She’s good.

MATT: “Keep her in check, please. You’re scaring the children.”

SAM: It’s not real. It’s a game. It’s going to be fine.

MARISHA: (whispers) Okay. I don’t trust this guy.

SAM: Don’t worry. Why don’t you have Percival take the first turn?

MATT: “I’m also a diviner. I can look into your eyes and see your very future.”

TALIESIN: Not really. It’s okay.

MATT: “For a simple gold piece, you can test your skills against the transference of this ethereal ball. Or for five, I can look into your fate.”

MARISHA: (starts hyperventilating)

TALIESIN: I’ll do both, actually.

MATT: “Ha ha. All right.” Takes the gold piece.

MARISHA: I grab him by the scruff and I say, if you hurt him… You don’t know what he’s been through, okay?

MATT: “It’s fine. It’s all right.”

MARISHA: Are you working with the Briarwoods? Did the Briarwoods send you?!

MATT: “Can you please get her off of me?”

SAM: Hey, kids, this is why you shouldn’t drink during the daytime.

MATT: “Anyway.”

MARISHA: Do your magic.

MATT: “So, sir.” Takes one gold piece off, sets it aside. “Now, the ethereal ball. This was taken from the Far Realms themselves, crafted in the ivy-covered hills in the far North End, the Feywild itself. How could you follow this, with but your simple vision?” He places one cup over it, two cups to the side and begins shifting and shifting. Go ahead and make a perception check.

MARISHA: Oh, him? Okay.

TALIESIN: 20.

MATT: You see now, there’s a couple moments where the ball shifts between cups and you get a really close idea of exactly how this works. And when he finishes, he looks to you. “Now, where is the fey ball?”

TALIESIN: I would say it’s to your right, right there.

MATT: “That one?”

(laughter)

MATT: “Are you sure? It could be anywhere on this table.”

TALIESIN: It could, but it’s there. Because it’s not anywhere else other than there.

SAM: I’m not so sure about that, Percy.

TALIESIN: Well, you’re welcome to go in, if you like.

SAM: I choose the one on the left.

TALIESIN: You’ll have to give him a gold coin, though.

SAM: Sure. (ding)

MATT: He takes the gold coin. “Do you wish to choose for this one instead, then?”

TALIESIN: No, I’m choosing on the right.

MATT: Takes the gold piece. “And with that– "You found it, yay.”

(laughter)

MATT: He gives you five gold.

MARISHA: I lean into Percy and I say: this guy’s not a threat. He’s okay.

TALIESIN: Well, I am a dark evil demonic creature.

MATT: As he gives you the five gold, he immediately takes it back. “But you wanted to know your fate.”

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: “Step forward, young– what’s your name?”

TALIESIN: Just Percy.

MATT: “Percy. Please, present your face.” As he reaches out, he begins to feel the bumps on your head. He begins to touch the outside of your face. He closes his eyes. “Yes, yes, I can see into the very nature of your existence. You, young– Percy?”

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: “Percy, Percy. Young Percy. You, you have hardworking hands, you’ve seen a lifetime of hard, hard work in the fields. But you wish to make your father proud, as does every son and you will– as one day you will become… a well celebrated smith of horseshoes! Yes! Glory to Percy!”

SAM: Amazing! So accurate.

TALIESIN: So accurate.

MATT: He leans in and says, “I could tell from the black powder on your hands that you’ve worked with a few pieces of iron in your time.”

TALIESIN: Very astute.

MATT: (chuckles) “Thank you so much. So, who’s next?” The children start rushing up and– you guys wish to continue with this guy?

MARISHA: No.

(laughter)

SAM: All right, we’ll leave.

MARISHA: I’ve seen enough.

MATT: Okay, who’s doing what now?

TRAVIS: Does anyone want to get down to the pie contest? I thought I might arm wrestle first.

LIAM: I think you should arm wrestle.

SAM: Oh yeah, I want to see this.

TRAVIS: I’d like to arm wrestle, in case I need to eat my way out of sadness with pies.

MATT: (laughs)

TALIESIN: Turn your sadness into victory.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: I will also enter the arm wrestling competition.

MATT: All right.

TRAVIS: Yes!

MATT: Okay, okay. So, as you guys step up, you can see there’s a woman dressed in a rather simple barmaid outfit, leather apron on her side and she’s pretty thick and rough-and-tumble with her timbre. She has her hair pulled up in a very tight bun in the back. She has a bit of a smudge on her chin. She says, “All who wish to enter the contest please step right here, pay your entry fee! Graciously prove your might and your strength. Show that you yourself are responsible for the rebellion succeeding.” Sees you. “You! You wish to be part of this, yes!”

TRAVIS: Yeah, I do!

MATT: “Very well, very well. Ah, entry fee–” She leans in and gets real for a second. “Entry fee is 25 gold pieces each. Winner gets free drinks and the pot.”

LIAM: I slap down 25 gold on behalf of Grog.

TRAVIS: (excited gasp)

SAM: You’re paying for his entry?

LIAM: I’m paying for his entry, sure.

SAM: And mine, as well?

LIAM: No.

TRAVIS: Good man.

SAM: I would like to– I would also like to compete.

MATT: (prolonged high-pitched giggle) “Sorry. 25 gold then.”

SAM: Here you go.

MATT: “I mean no offense, I just– it’s a cute beret.”

TALIESIN: (laughs) Wow.

MATT: Other individuals come and enter and you can see as you guys are preparing for this event, you hear the rattling of chains nearby and you can see two guards stepping up with–

LAURA: The other goliath!

MATT: Goran Vedmeyer, who you’ve seen–

LAURA: The Duke!

MATT: Yeah, no longer Duke. Un-Duked.

LAURA: Once you Duke something, you can’t un-Duke it, Matt.

MATT: No, he’s been thoroughly un-Duked, trust me.

MARISHA: The Duke that was formerly known as–

TRAVIS: Duke Gonad.

MATT: Yeah. He’s brought by two of the guards and the guards whisper to each other. They bring out their own 25 gold pieces and they plop it into the pot. “He’s entering as our proxy.” He looks around. “Yes, what they said.” She gives a nod. “Well, I don’t see why not, I suppose. All right!” Other people end up gathering up their change and she goes over the sheet with one of her compatriots and they end up breaking off into teams. There are four tables set up and for this round, at least, this part of the festival, they break up in different parts. She calls out to one table. “All right, we have a Jasper Leer to go against a Scanlan Shorthalt at this table.”

SAM: That’s me!

TRAVIS: Yay, Scanlan!

MARISHA: Yes, Scanlan!

MATT: As you’re getting ready, you see a farmer-type individual. Clean, as dressed as he could be in relatively ragged clothes, but he looks like he’s trying to be presentory for the festival. Grey beard, longish shoulder-length tousled hair. He walks up, pulling his wrist back, and he’s got some good muscles. Looks like he’s definitely been working a lot of heavy farmwork for most of his life. He sits down at the table across from you, gives you a look over. “Well, shall we begin?”

SAM: Sure. Can I ever-so-covertly say to him, you don’t want to beat a gnome. You don’t want to beat a gnome. I’m casting Suggestion on him.

MATT: I will say, go ahead and make a sleight-of-hand check.

SAM: Oh, the worst. Shit. 13.

LAURA: What does it mean? The eyebrows!

TRAVIS: And the phone came out.

SAM: Who knows? We’ll find out when my arm gets wrenched off.

LAURA: Looking at Jasper’s stats, I can tell.

MATT: No, what are you talking about?

SAM: He’s checking Twitter.

MATT: Yeah, got to respond to a couple– guys, give me a second. All right. So, he has his hand up, he looks you over with a look of intensity for a second. “Put your hand up.”

SAM: Yes, sir.

MATT: He clasps his fingers entirely around your hand at this point. As the intensity mounts, the crowd gathers around, everyone begins cheering, the barmaid steps up again. “All right, two of you, hands together. And prove your strength… now!” Go ahead and make a strength check.

SAM: 19.

MARISHA: (laughs) Oh shit.

MATT: You guys stand there for a second (groans) his arm begins to push on yours, begins to bend back a little bit, you reflex with might and begin to set him back up to the center. You’ve reached a standstill, once again, back at the center. His expression on his face looks frustrated and surprised.

SAM: You weren’t expecting this, were you? (pants) Neither was I!

MATT: Make another strength check.

SAM: Not as good. 11.

MATT: 11. At this point, as you say that, he tenses and forces down your hand now, right at three-quarters to the table. Make another strength check.

MARISHA: Come on, Scanlan!

SAM: 16!

MATT: 16. (groans) About to touch the knuckles–

SAM: What is going on? I had– This has never happened before.

MATT: He’s keeping his hand to his side, trying not to grasp the edge of the table, which is technically against the rules. He’s looking around at everyone watching and realizes the sheer amount of attention that’s put on the fact that this tiny little gnome is now keeping him at a standstill.

LIAM: I shout out from the crowd, Scanlan! Pike is here! She’s astral-projected in!

SAM: Natural one.

(laughter)

MATT: With that moment of distraction, you look around and (wham) your arm hits the table. Cheers go on, everyone shouts happily.

SAM: You idiot!

LIAM: All the blood rushed somewhere else, that’s not my fault.

SAM: I had him! (groans)

MATT: He lifts up his tankard to the side, someone begins pouring ale into it. He shouts his victory out, everyone cheers. The barmaid pats you on your back. “You did good, you did good.”

SAM: I don’t need your pity! Grog, kick this motherfucker’s ass!

MATT: Two more events go by, two more gentlemen have a showdown– actually no, it’s a woman and a man. The woman is a pretty tough-looking warrior, probably one of the guards of Castle Whitestone. She’s still in partial armor, has been guarding the event, has taken her helmet off to be part of this event, taking a moment to relax. She goes up against another merchant of the town and just destroys him. The next bout is a man who, the way he’s dressed, appears to be a blacksmith. He still has his leather gauntlets on, he takes them off at the table, takes off his leather apron and sets it to the side. Gets down and ready and looks around for his opponent and the two guards bring up the chained Vedmeyer, who then sits down at the table, the chains hitting against the sides of the wooden table top and coasting to the ground as they adjust. He puts his arm on the table with a thud, and has to bend over to even reach the other guy’s grasp. You can see the look on his face immediately pale as he realizes who he’s up against. It’s two rounds and maybe 20 seconds tops before Vedmeyer slams him so hard you can part of the tabletop splinters inward and the guy brings his hand back with bleeding knuckles. He reaches over, puts his hand out expectantly. The barmaid hands him a tankard full of ale. He downs it in one gulp, slams it on on the table and stands back up again. He glances over at you and steps back into the crowd. The second round of the events go in. You are paired up with the gentleman who defeated Scanlan.

MARISHA: Kick his ass, Grog!

TALIESIN: Yeah!

SAM: Put him in a body bag!

TRAVIS: I sit down and I say, I feel really bad for you mate. You know, my friend? He’s got hand herpes… So do I.

SAM: It’s true.

MATT: Make a deception roll.

TRAVIS: 20! 19 plus one!

MATT: Natural one on his part. He looks genuinely frightened and is about to back up and get the attention of the barmaid who’s running this event and he sees the crowd around.

TRAVIS: I mean, you’re a farmer, right? You handle food.

MATT: He spits in his hand, puts it out and grabs your hand. The barmaid once again. “And– prove your strength!” Roll a strength check. He has disadvantage.

TRAVIS: 21.

MATT: Natural one. He’s already straining and the back of his knuckles are immediately up against the wood. You can see fear in his eyes and he’s gripping, but he’s also trying to move his fingers to make sure he doesn’t make too much contact with your hand. Go ahead and roll another strength check.

TRAVIS: 11.

MATT: At which point, he sees the grin on your face and gets his will back behind him and (grunts) forces you back to the center. Make another strength check.

TRAVIS: Oh, shit. Seven.

MATT: Natural 20.

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: He (groans) slams you right over on the edge of the table. Make another check.

MARISHA: Come on, Grog!

TRAVIS: 23.

MATT: 19. Back up to the center, at a standstill. You see now the veins bulging at his neck, you can see now, his face is turning red from the strain. He’s breathing heavily (pants) as he pushes again. Make another strength check.

LAURA: Come on, Grog!

TRAVIS: Eight.

MATT: (chuckles) Eight. (groans) Keeping you right in the middle. Make another check.

SAM: I hold up my hand and I use Minor Illusion to make it all dotted with herpes.

MATT: He glances sidelong at your hand and (whimpers). I’m going to give him disadvantage on this one. All right, what did you get?

TRAVIS: 17.

MATT: 17. (laughs) With a disadvantage, he got a six. (groans) The hand goes at three-quarters. He’s now looking at you, looking at Scanlan’s hand, looking at you, looking at his own hand, he’s really worried. Make another strength check.

TRAVIS: It’s slippery when the pores start to seep. That’s a one.

SAM: No!

TALIESIN: No!

MATT: With a disadvantage, he gets a two. You guys are at the middle again.

LAURA: Oh my god.

MATT: Big struggle.

TRAVIS: 22.

MATT: With disadvantage again, because of that– though disadvantage is fading at this point. He got a 12. So yeah (groans), now he’s back down.

LAURA: Come on Grog, finish it!

TRAVIS: 22.

MATT: He got a seven. He looks at you, looks at the hand, looks at you again and you can see in his face, the sudden look of acceptance as you stop playing with him and (whack) slam it really hard on the wood. You can see, he pulls away… (gasps) “Wash it! Wash it, please! Wash it, somebody wash it!”

TRAVIS: You know, the cure for that is actually on my man Vax’s groin. It’s very magical.

MATT: He slowly backs into the crowd, looking very disturbed and disgusted as everyone else is cheering for you. A tankard is slammed before you, filled with ale. “Drink up, you’ve earned it, champion.”

TRAVIS: I look at Gonad over at the side. I drink it, chug it down, and hold up the finger at the same time.

MATT: (laughs) He sits there and tenses for a second with a grin, as he growls, his cold breath in the cold Winter’s Crest air dissipates up above him and he gives you a nod, the slow look of warrior intensity, but respect. You can see he’s looking forward to hopefully this as much as you are, but he still has a battle to do himself.

LIAM: I’ve spent the last ten minutes while he’s kicking that guy’s ass to find a soldier or somebody in the crowd to bet.

SAM: A young boy?

LIAM: I’m not you.

(laughter)

LIAM: 200 gold on Grog. Somebody in the crowd.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

TALIESIN: All right.

LIAM: 14.

MATT: Going around, you’re hard-pressed to find somebody who at this moment in time is interested in betting any money against the goliath that helped save the city. You find one gentleman who seems a little interested and he gives you this sidelong, sleazy grin. “Tell you what, not 200 gold, but I’ll put 50 down.”

LIAM: That’s not worth it. 75 gold?

MATT: “Step away, halfie.”

LAURA: Oh! I heard it. I give him the evil eye.

MATT: He’s too focused on the current bout at hand. At this table, you can now see Vedmeyer and the woman guard sits down. Someone’s like, “Oh, Trisha’s wrestling.”

TRAVIS: Her name’s Trisha? Trish the Dish.

MATT: Vedmeyer, again with his chains against the wood as he sits down with a smile. He gives her a grin and nod. She’s just– intensity towards him the whole time. You can see there’s a little bit of intensity to win, but you also see spite in that look. You see that she knows what he’s done and this victory means more to her than otherwise. The two of them– first match, she pushes and gets the upper hand. A three-quarter view perspective, she’s tensing herself, you hear the muscle tensing beneath the armor itself, the metal creaking as her whole upper torso begins to push into it. She begins to push it back–

LAURA: Yeah! Trish the Dish!

ALL: Trish the Dish! Trish the Dish!

MATT: As you guys are shouting this and keeping it going, she gets pushed back again into a defensive position. You see the blood rushing to her face, but he himself is starting to look really intense. You can see there’s surprise in his face from the battle she’s giving. She (groans) pushes him back to the center, this back and forth, the crowd is starting to get really intense. You can see the shouting, the cheering, gets really quiet as everyone is now breathlessly watching this bout. She pushes to three-quarters– He rallies his own strength, but it’s not enough, as she (impact sound) onto the table. As she releases, she goes, “You deserve that, and much more.” She gets up and walks away. The tankard is held out for her. She pushes it aside and cracks her knuckles as she steps away. Vedmeyer is there staring at his hand. “Hmm. Fitting. It’s a real pity, I was looking forward to fighting you.”

TRAVIS: Well, get used to disappointment, shithead.

MATT: At which point, his chains are tightened and the guards lift him up again off of his seat and he gets led off back into the crowd.

LAURA: Yeah, walk away, you beardless bastard.

MATT: As everyone gathers in now, you can now see more discussions and people are starting to really place bets down now on the outcome of this circumstance. The barmaid comes up again. “You, champion Grog, sit down. And you, champion Trisha, sit down. As the final round of this show of majestic might happens now. Hands clasped, please.”

TRAVIS: If I may, thank you for your service to this city. That last round was a true pleasure to watch.

MATT: Her face goes from hardened to soft for a minute as she reaches out and clasps you, not hand in hand, but forearm to forearm, and gives you a solid shake. “I’ve done so little. You’ve done far more. But we all must do our part to keep the city safe.”

TRAVIS: Aye.

MATT: “But right now, I’m going to have to destroy you.”

LAURA: I kind of love Trish the Dish.

MARISHA: I know, I like her, too.

MATT: Her clasp on your forearm slides back, keeping your hand. Both of you tense muscles, we’re talking Predator vs. Schwarzenegger.

TRAVIS: (Schwarzenegger accent) Yah, what’s the matter, Dylan? You guys ate too many pretzels?

MATT: (laughs) Just like that. As the crowd begins to shout different names, you can see people going, “Trish, Trish, Trish, Grog, Grog, Grog.” The voices are starting to grow and grow as both of you are standing there focusing on each other. You can see her tightly bunned dark brunette hair, you can see these green eyes piercing through, looking straight into yours with a bit of sly smirk on the side of her face. You can see a little bit of a scar on the outside of her face that’s longtime healed and you can see she’s definitely seen her share of battle, just from the complexion and the intensity in her face.

MARISHA: She’s one of us.

MATT: “For the final round, let this show of might begin!” Strength check.

TRAVIS: Eight.

MATT: As the moment of tension hits, you can sense there’s definitely a balance, both of you are keeping at bay. She cocks her head curiously and forces you down to the three-quarter back position. Go ahead and make another strength check.

LAURA: Come on, Grog! Oh my god.

TRAVIS: Six.

LIAM: It’s that sword’s influence.

TRAVIS: Yeah, it’s laughing in the Bag of Holding.

MATT: She brings you right down to the edge of the table and you can see in her face, there’s this genuine look of surprise, like she probably could have finished you, but she feels like there’s a trick or there’s something to it that she can’t be beating you this easy.

TRAVIS: I’m so surprised by what’s happening. I use Intimidating Presence on her.

MARISHA: Oh shit.

MATT: (laughs) Okay. Go ahead and make an intimidation check.

TRAVIS: Fuck.

MATT: Does this have to be during a rage?

TRAVIS: 12. I’ll go into a rage for it.

MATT: (laughing) It may have to be. Let’s see.

LAURA: (laughing) Why weren’t you raging the whole time?

TRAVIS: I was hoping I wouldn’t need it!

MATT: No, you don’t have to be in a rage for it, but you can choose to, if you want.

TRAVIS: it doesn’t add anything to my strength roll, right?

MATT: A 12 for intimidation? Well, what do you want to do to try and intimidate her? She’s about to finish you off on this table.

TRAVIS: I’m like, oh! (grunts) and I bite down on my tongue and blood just starts to pour out of the corner of my mouth.

LAURA: Oh, gross!

MATT: She sees this, and her eyes go wide for a second. She pulls back and for a brief moment, you feel her grip loosen ever so slightly. Go ahead and make the next strength check with advantage.

TRAVIS: Fuck. (laughing) It’s unreal. 11.

MATT: 11?

TRAVIS: The other one was a one.

MATT: Well, I’m glad you had advantage on that; she rolled a five. So you do manage to (groans) force her back up. You’re still in a bad place, but you manage to pull out of that circle and you can see now her intensity hits and she realizes she’s not going to go soft on you at all going forward. But as the blood pools down your chin, you can feel the iron-y taste swishing around in your mouth and you can see there’s a little bit of a quiver to her. She’s still spooked by this whole circumstance, but she’s trying her best. Go ahead and make another strength check.

TRAVIS: She’s battle-worn. 19.

LAURA: That’s good!

MATT: That’s good. She has disadvantage on these because of the fright. I’m giving her that, but even still, she still rolls a 17. What did you roll, total?

TRAVIS: 19.

MATT: 19. You guys keep it– she’s still holding you there, you’re not able to gain any ground. You’re really impressed by this display she’s giving you. Roll again.

TRAVIS: Do I have advantage? No.

MATT: No.

TRAVIS: 12.

MATT: 12? Okay. She forces you back down–

SAM: I step forward and I sing a song of inspiration.

MATT: What are you singing?

SAM: I sing, (sings) let’s go raging now, everybody’s learning how, come on on a rampage with me!

TALIESIN: Come on on a rampage with me!

MATT: All right, take a d10 inspiration, as you hear the song break through the intensity and you know that Scanlan’s presence alone in itself and his fine ditties means that you can do this.

TRAVIS: Fine ditties!

LIAM: Show us your ditties!

TRAVIS: 16.

MATT: 16?

LAURA: With the ten inspiration.

MATT: With the ten? Okay. It’s good you did that. You force her back up, she starts like, really pushing into it and you can see now the sweat’s dripping off of her brow, her eyes are quivering. Make another check. How long does that last?

TRAVIS: Seven.

MATT: Seven. Hold on.

LAURA: You should switch.

SAM: Grog, what are you doing?!

TRAVIS: (laughing) I don’t know! They’re so low! It was all those free rolls during the two weeks when I rolled 20–

SAM: Oh my god, do you really have hand herpes?

(laughter)

MATT: What did you roll?

TRAVIS: Seven.

MATT: Seven. Yeah, she still beats you. So, at this point, you’re pushed down. She gives you this look–

TRAVIS: This is unreal.

MATT: Yeah. Of intense anger– and her face softens and she gives you a nod of respect. (thud) Releases her grip and pulls away, holds her arms up, crowd goes wild. The drink is slammed in front of her, the ale swishing and spilling over the side. She takes it in one hand and slides it forward and hands it to you.

LAURA: Aw, she’s a good lady.

TRAVIS: You are a true warrior and I hope you’ll continue to protect this city with that strength.

MATT: “I intend to.” She gives you a nod, walks around, accepts her coin purse and steps back into the rest of the celebration.

TRAVIS: I walk away (coughs), coughing (coughs), trying not to cry. (coughs) I take my tankard and splash it on my face. Oh, it’s just ale. It’s just ale. (sobs)

SAM: It’s okay, Grog. Let’s go get you drunk.

MATT: As this is happening, a courier comes up dressed in colors that are reminiscent of the courier service that travels through Emon, through Westruun. There’s a certain type of overcoat they wear that gives you the inclination that they’ve traveled from nearby civilization. Steps up with a rolled up sequence of letters and a small box that is wrapped up.

MARISHA: Oh look, the young boy you ordered, Scanlan.

MATT: He’s in his mid-20s.

(laughter)

MATT: He’s asking around. “Looking for a Percival and a Vox Machina. Percival?”

TALIESIN: I’m Percival.

MATT: “You’re Percival?”

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: “I’m to deliver this to you.” He hands you the small box. “I have here two small letters.” And hands them over both to you. There’s a small, thin one that is actually written to Percival, and there’s one addressed to Vox Machina.

TALIESIN: I was going to sit here and watch you roll them.

MARISHA: Presentation’s lost.

MATT: That’s fine.

SAM: I just noticed Taliesin’s outfit, by the way.

LAURA: We were supposed to wear pajamas.

TALIESIN: I wore my pajamas. My muppet pajamas.

MATT: Yeah, the week got busy and we forgot.

TRAVIS: You don’t want me in my pajamas because they’re–

MATT: That one’s to you and the other one’s to Vox Machina.

SAM: (sings) Letters, we’ve got letters.

TALIESIN: Oh, this is quite interesting. “Vox Machina, a little bird tells me you have been playing the heroes again. Keep this up, and the whole world will end up indebted to you. Please accept this small gift in the spirit of Winter’s Crest, as a token of my enduring gratitude. Perhaps it will prove useful in a difficult moment. In the meantime, I look forward to a fuller account of your deeds reaching us in Vasselheim. A joyous Crest to you all. It seems you have earned it. Lillith.”

LAURA: Oh!

TALIESIN: “P.S., Zahra sends her greetings.”

SAM: (dreamily) Zahra.

MARISHA: The tieflings!

SAM: We had quite a night together. Just braiding each other’s hair.

TALIESIN: I tuck the private note away and put it in my pocket.

TRAVIS: Yeah, there’s another one, right?

MATT: There is a box, yes.

LAURA: Oh, is it big enough to hold a giant carpet?

TALIESIN: Perhaps a small ice egg.

MATT: It’s about that big in your hands.

TALIESIN: We open the box.

MATT: You open the gift. Inside, there are two–

SAM: Check it for traps!

MATT: (laughs) Make a reflex save– no. As you open it, you see inside there are two crystalline stones that both identically look like that.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: It’s been a while since we had a visual aid.

MATT: Yeah, it’s nice when you have a really good artist, apparently. But two stones like this. They are called Gate Stones.

SAM: Gate Stones?

MATT: The two stones are essentially linked. One is placed wherever you like and the other is kept with you. A single individual, just an individual, not a group, can take a minute to concentrate on one stone and be instantly transported to where the other stone is, with the stone.

TRAVIS: Badass.

LIAM: One-way ticket.

MATT: Essentially, yeah.

TRAVIS: You take it with you and you can zoom back to wherever you left it.

SAM: There are two stones in this box?

MATT: Yeah. They are the two that are linked.

TRAVIS: A person or linked?

MATT: No, there is a single set.

MARISHA: So this is a get out of jail free card.

SAM: Or a bamf-in-Pike card.

MATT: There’s multiple situational uses for it, depending. But apparently this has been painstakingly either enchanted, constructed, and sent by Lillith for you.

LIAM: They’re all from Lillith?

MATT: Yeah, the letters and those two stones.

SAM: From Lillith and Zahra?

MATT: And Zahra, both of them, essentially.

MARISHA: Yeah, Lillith doesn’t have the other stone?

LIAM: For a little arcane booty call?

TALIESIN: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

TRAVIS: Please?

TALIESIN: No.

LAURA: I don’t think I’ve ever seen Percy giggle before.

TRAVIS: Are you blushing?

TALIESIN: No. It’s cold. Very cold.

TRAVIS: It’s a new demon, isn’t it? The blushing demon!

TALIESIN: She was great, wasn’t she?

SAM: Lillith is a true friend. Zahra, as well.

TALIESIN: Zahra is great, as well.

MATT: You hear murmurs now, people mentioning the pie-eating contest starting soon.

SAM: Vex and Vax!

LAURA: All right, we’ll give it a go.

MATT: As you guys make your way over there, we’re going to go ahead and go to our break. We’re at the middle point here, yeah. So it’s going to be a longer break guys, because we’ve got a little present for you. I know for a while we’ve been talking about this work we’ve been doing on a pre-stream story of Vox Machina’s adventures that you guys hadn’t had a chance to really experience. So, through all of us doing our individual narration, as well as the wonderful Wendy Sullivan doing incredible work on 50 pieces of art for this, and using music from actually some of our Critters that sent us some great musical tracks, we have been able to present to you over the next 20 minutes, the story of Vox Machina, the beginning. So, enjoy guys, we’ll see you here in a moment.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

The Story of Vox MachinaEdit

MATT: The grandest of adventures often stem from humble beginnings. The story of Vox Machina is one such a tale. They begin as a ragtag group of mercenaries in the swamp town of Stillben, eking out a living, when a job board posting brings them to Fendril Vas, the wealthy head of a small merchant empire. Hired to investigate new competition in town called The Myriad, the path eventually leads them into a chamber housing a planar rift, pulling the group into the plane of the stillborn god Crysa-Thul. It is revealed that the contract was a ruse to feed the party to the undead, fetal deity. Upon destroying the abomination, the party returns to repay Fendril’s deceit with a blade to the throat.

LAURA: Weeks pass, and Grog the barbarian hasn’t been seen since suddenly leaving for the city of Westruun. Heading there in search of him, the party meets his childhood friend, and their new companion: the gnome cleric, Pike. Grog apparently hasn’t been acting normally, and had marched off on his own through the Bramblewood towards the ominous mountain, Gatshadow. The party followed, dispensing with a troop of roadside thieves along the way, and wound their way toward the mountain. Deep within, they encountered an abandoned subterranean city and eventually a crypt housing a mind-controlled Grog, the reanimated corpse of his father Strongjaw, and a dying mage attempting a ritual to Lichdom. Our heroes slayed the mage, but not before he could complete the ritual and embed his phylactery into Grog’s chest. Returning to town in search of aid, they find there are few of enough knowledge or power to ascertain the nature of Grog’s wound. Also, rumors of missing children begin to reach the party’s ears. While contemplating all this at a local inn, the party is approached by a mysterious elf named Drez Vina who wishes to pay handsomely for the party to infiltrate an archmage’s tower, and retrieve a particular brass box within. Pushing forward in the hopes of speaking with this archmage, the party accepts, and passes through arcane trap after trap to reach the top of the tower, deciding not to steal from the archmage but instead parley with him for his aid. The tower’s keeper, Realmseer Eskil Ryndarien, agrees to help and sends the party to collect two items he requires for the ritual: the skull of a nightmare and the heart of a nymph. The caveat: their defeated foe is indeed a lich now, and in merely two weeks, he will be reborn within Grog! They travel north to the Umbra Hills, wrestle with a small cult to slay their infernal messenger and his nightmare steed, and find a fresh companion in Percy, newly freed from imprisonment. From there, the party rushes south to the Frostweald, a forest shrouded in eternal winter. Battling past basilisks, the party finds a single, unfrozen pool where they coax a nymph from her dimensional sanctuary. Talking their way out of battle, Grog enters the sanctuary with the nymph, and returns holding a jewel gifted by the beautiful creature: the “heart” of the nymph.

LIAM: Traveling back to the archmage, the ritual is completed and the phylactery destroyed in time, but not without some lingering necromancy branded within Grog. They are suddenly approached by the mysterious elf again, saying his master is unhappy with the broken contract, and he demands that either the debt be paid, or the party complete a more difficult contract in its place. The party accepts, and heads into the Shade Barrow, an ancient druid burial chamber that was purchased and renovated by an eccentric lord who made it his own tomb. Fighting the denizens of the barrow, they locate the tomb and the iron golem guarding it. Successfully defeating the golem, they tear the Arcane Cortex from its chest and return it to Drez to square their debt. After a bit of R and R, a clean-shaven dwarf named Grimthorne propositions the group to enter a nearby, underground fighting ring, even offering to represent them. The party agrees and, not surprisingly, manages to pull off a victory. With the holiday of Winter’s Crest arriving, the town bustles with preparation for a festival, during which a strange blue crystal is delivered in the name of Archmage Eskil. This crystal suddenly detonates, freezing the entire populace of Westruun in ice– though the party is protected by a sudden ally in the streets. In a last-ditch arcane effort, a mystic merchant named Noja manages to shield the group from harm. And where the crystal previously rested now stood a pale, nude woman of white hair and frail physique. She opens a portal and leaps through, the party giving chase into what seems like an icy, frozen world, chaotic and elemental in nature. They catch up to the woman, who then reveals her true self: a great white dragon. Weakened by her premature “rebirth”, the party manages to defeat her, and upon returning to Westruun, discover its people released from their icy prison. With the archmage Eskil Ryndarien now on trial for the attack on Westruun, the party intercedes and proves his innocence. In thanks, Eskil uses his talents to investigate the source of the blue crystal, revealing the powerful society of thieves, known as the Clasp, responsible for its delivery. Vax, having previously been a member of the Clasp, knows the main headquarters lies within the capital city of Emon, and Vox Machina sets out for the west.

ASHLEY: Upon arriving in the sprawling metropolis of Emon, the party continues to hear of children disappearing, and reports of a black-haired, golden-eyed boy befriending them before they vanish. While investigating, they do a few odd jobs, one of which unexpectedly leads them to the home of Syldor, Vex and Vax’s father, and his new wife and child. Awkwardness aside, Syldor is here as ambassador to Syngorn, the elven city of their origin, to seek aid from the Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei. However, the political climate of Emon is tense with a recent, failed attempt on the royal family’s life making Uriel unreachable at the moment. Syldor’s connection within the Council has now gone missing, and his mission stands at a complete standstill. He hires the party to look in on this missing ally, Sir Gregory Fince, and get his ear back to Syngornian business. Vox Machina finds Sir Gregory’s home dark and still, pushing them to infiltrate and investigate. Within, they discover a dark presence in the home, leading them into a battle with demons in the basement. The battle won, Sir Gregory’s tortured corpse is found, as are his notes about the attempted assassination on Uriel and his family. It seems that since the attempt, the royal family has grown strange and withdrawn, keeping Uriel from the council most hours, and his wife now demanding she attend all meetings, whispering in the Sovereign’s ear and scoffing at the others who defy their decree. A General Krieg thwarted the attempt, and is mentioned often. The party decides to inquire with him. On their way out of the basement, half of the party falls into a trap, tumbling into a cistern and are flushed deep below into a subterranean river system. The trapped party members– Vex, Keyleth, Grog, Tiberius, and Percy– come to rest on a small island in the vast Crystalfen Lake, home to a terrible aboleth! Barely escaping, they eventually discover the base remnants of an ancient town, long toppled, and a small hut that contains a clever hag named Trysta. Tiberius finds one of his prized artifacts and makes a dangerous deal to acquire it. The party barters for information on how to escape, which Trysta will give… in exchange for their aid in slaying a newly nested denizen that threatens her work. The party agrees, climbing to the very top of the Crystalfen Cavern to do battle with an umber-hulk. The fight goes south when Grog is tossed from the cavern ceiling, nearly dying upon impact with the island, but victory is eventually theirs. Returning, Trysta shows them a hidden staircase that exits into the Graveyard District of Emon.

TRAVIS: The other members– Vax, Pike, and Scanlan– set out to find where the cistern could have drained to. Scanlan leaves to seek out a map of the sewers, while Vax and Pike notice they are being followed through the town. Leading the pursuers into an alley, the shadowed figures attack, eventually knocking them both out. Vax and Pike awaken within the Clasp’s headquarters, meeting with one of their leaders, or Spirelings, named Modeth. The Clasp had Sir Gregory’s home under surveillance, as bad political stuff can be difficult for the way the Clasp does business, and when our heroes were spotted leaving, they had to be interrogated. Vax reveals his membership to the Clasp sect in Westruun, and Modeth calls for a test of their skills and intent. Pike and Vax are then forced to do battle with a chained chimera in the Clasp’s arena. Their might rings true, and the beast falls beneath their weapons, but Modeth is not convinced. While the two are held overnight, they manage to escape from the Clasp’s lair, exiting into the night and managing to locate the rest of the party in the Graveyard district. Knowing their next step is to speak with General Krieg, Vax forges a letter of summons using Sir Gregory’s handwriting, and the party is allowed entry into the carefully guarded Cloudtop District, the innermost area of the city and home to the Citrine Garrison, as well as Emon’s Palace. Approaching the garrison, they have an audience with General Krieg, who seems nice and keenly interested upon learning of the Clasp’s involvement. He also mentions the difficulty in talking with Uriel since the attack, and is sad about the death of Sir Gregory, but warns to leave the investigation to the officials. Vox Machina then heads to the palace to try their hand at speaking with Uriel, but entry is barred. They find another is being prevented from entering, a golden-haired woman in fancy blue robes who angrily stomps away from the palace doors. They engage her in conversation, and she reveals herself to be Allura Vysoren, a powerful arcanist and member of the Tal'Dorei Council. They discuss the state of things within the palace, how Uriel is a good and trusted man, but his actions (and those of the Empress Salda) are recently suspect. After seven days of being kept from the council chambers, she’s about to give up and leave. The party tells her of their findings, and Allura leads them to her tower within the district to further discuss the matter in private.

SAM: Within, Allura and the party make an alliance, and Keyleth aids her in performing a scrying ritual on the palace. The vision reveals that the family of Uriel– his wife, two daughters, and son– are all under the influence of some demonic force, and have addled the mind of their father, using him as a mouthpiece for their plot. The party decides to pay a visit to the Clasp, using Vax and Pike’s knowledge of an entrance, and end up in a confrontation with Spireling Modeth within his chambers. The battle ends with Modeth’s head on the floor and four strange, glowing crystals he had been keeping now stolen by the party. They attempt to leave, but are met by a host of Clasp members and another, dangerous-looking Spireling. Through Scanlan’s deft lies and coercion, the party is allowed to leave unharmed before their deeds are discovered. They return to Allura’s tower only to find the front door ajar and the interior tossed by some previous scuffle. As they reach the top of the tower, they investigate, finding signs of a struggle with a demonic entity, and Allura’s escape seemingly successful. Unfortunately, a magical defense of the tower is triggered, and it begins to cave and crumble around them. Through some ingenuity– and the discovery of a magic carpet– the party manages to escape being crushed within, Allura’s ivory monolith now compacted into a single, magical pearl. Our heroes then locate and enter the home of General Krieg, finding a brainwashed servant and a hidden passage that leads to a teleportation circle. Using the device, they are transported to a distant cavern, high in a range of frost-covered mountains, and an incredible hoard of gold, jewels, and fine trinkets. Across the room are four obsidian orbs placed within the rock. As one is touched, a giant eye appears from within the black crystal and a voice erupts, calling for a Brimscythe, and noticing the unfamiliar folk, mentions, “Intruders… I know your face now. He is a fool, and so are you, insect.” The orbs all crack simultaneously, becoming inert. Grog dives right in, rage-looting the gold, but the arrival of the party seems to call the attention of General Krieg, who appears at the teleportation circle. He angrily denounces the party and reveals his true form, that of a frightening blue dragon!

MARISHA: The battle is difficult, with many an ally nearly devoured, but eventually Vax strikes a mortal blow. Krieg, or Brimscythe, defiantly smashes against the support pillars of the cavern in his death throes, causing the chamber to collapse, the party barely escaping via the teleportation circle. Leaving Krieg’s home, Allura finds the party and warns that the evil that feeds on the throne is growing more bold. She herself was attacked shortly after the scrying was complete, and barely escaped. As dark clouds fill the sky above Emon, the party decides the time to strike has come. Allura aids the party in infiltrating the palace, and they storm the throne room. Uriel sits upon his throne, surrounded by his creepily mannered, possessed family. Vox Machina attacks, managing to banish the shadows from within their bodies, but the throne itself cracks in half as the dais below glows a deep red, summoning the entity behind the entire scheme: a devil prince called Juurezel, who tells the party of a great war between devils and demons spilling over into this plane, threatening all creation. He justifies his actions, and notes all the demonic forces throughout the city, and tells them of the horrible devastation that will ensue if the party stops him. They read him as honest, and Juurezel asks for their aid in destroying the demonic threat, offering a single Wish should they make a pact. The party deliberates and agrees to the contract. Thinking over what they had just agreed to, the party returns to the throne room, asking for their Wish to be provided to aid them in their demon hunting. Upon its casting, the party wishes to cancel their contract with the creature, and attack! The devil prince angrily reveals his true form, a hideous treachery demon, a glabrezu. A long, deadly, and epic confrontation ensues, one that suddenly claims the life of the gnomish cleric, Pike. Her death fresh in their minds, Vox Machina deals the killing blow, sending the demon to its unmaking. They gather up the cold body of their fallen friend and rush her to a nearby temple of Sarenrae, where a resurrection ritual is attempted… and succeeds.

TALIESIN: The clouds disperse, the immediate danger over, but the royal family lies on the throne room floor, catatonic. Upon inspection, their souls are missing and their bodies failing. The party recalls the four glowing orbs they recovered from the Clasp headquarters behind Modeth, now identified as soul jars, and through a rigorous and tense evening, all souls are successfully restored to the family. A few days pass, and Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei calls the party for audience. He thanks them all for their bravery, heroism, and for saving him, his family, and quite possibly all of Emon. As thanks, he offers them a place on the Tal'Dorei Council and informs them of his intent to throw another Winter’s Crest festival to make up for the ones ruined in Westruun, and here via assassination attempt, where they will be celebrated as heroes! He has also commissioned the construction of a keep for them on the outskirts of Emon as a sign of his very deep gratitude. A week later, the festival begins! The populace is out in full force to meet and celebrate Vox Machina, but during the festivities, the party notices Uriel’s son Gren speaking to another child– one with black hair and golden eyes. They immediately spring to apprehend the child, but he escapes with Uriel’s son. They give chase, following him into an alley, and through a portal of some kind. The party finds themselves atop a large island drifting through the Astral Plane, surrounded by a perilous bramble forest. They fight their way through, eventually coming upon a gothic mansion towards the center of the landmass. Within, the party makes their way to the inner library, where numerous kidnapped children are working all about the place, cleaning nervously. The Dread Emperor, as he calls himself, stands from his chair, the child illusion fading into a golden-armored man with long, black hair, four children chained at the neck to his breastplate. He attacks the party with fierce magic, mind-controlling all of his child servants to attack as well. With the first blow dealt, they realize that damaging him also hurts the chained children, one boy accidentally falling in battle to Keyleth’s magic. Eventually, they succeeded in destroying the Dread Emperor and return to Emon with a host of lost children, happily now found. Six months of peace follow as their new keep is constructed, and the party scatters to their separate business until its completion. Upon their return, they assess their new abode with delight, naming it Greyskull Keep. They then send out job inquiries, seeking guards for hire, and servants. After an impromptu try-out, they settle upon their new hires.

MATT: That evening, the party receives a visitor in their friend Arcanist Allura Vysoren. She happily sits with the party for dinner, and trades tales of their past months, before asking if she could hire their services for a matter of great personal importance. Allura’s longtime friend and ally, Lady Kima of Vord, has gone missing, following a vision quest from her deity, the platinum dragon Bahamut. Her last letter spoke of an evil taking root beneath the dwarven city of Kraghammer, and Allura worries for her safety. While Allura is unable to go herself, she can provide the proper paperwork for entry, and would pay handsomely if they could find, aid, and return with Kima. Vox Machina agrees to the new contract and sets out for the city of Kraghammer the very next day. As for the rest of their journey… the legend of Vox Machina is still being written.

Part IIEdit

MATT: Hello! And welcome back. I hope you guys enjoyed your little look into the past of Vox Machina. Once again, thank you to everyone who helped us with that. Huge thanks to Wendy. You were amazing in putting that together for us. It’s been a long-time endeavor coming.

LIAM: We love you, Wendy.

MATT: And all the wonderful Critters that are incredibly talented put the music together and we are very thankful that you helped us fill out the soundtrack. If you didn’t catch all the names, they’re at the bottom of the credits and hopefully we’ll have that video up separately on the website soon, so people who couldn’t make it tonight will have a chance to see it for their own. That being the case, when the rest of them decide they want to join us, those who are going towards the pie eating contest. You start pushing through the crowd, making your way towards the two long tables that are set up. At this, you can see there are a pair of bakers that are standing there with stacks and stacks of various pies of various flavors they have been preparing, all different colors and shapes, just pushed into a pile, as people are gathered around, excitedly sitting at the table.

LAURA: Is Trinket allowed to join in the pie eating contest too?

MATT: (laughs) You can ask.

LAURA: (laughs) I do.

MATT: Okay, one of the bakers is sitting there. “All right, all right. So sit there, everyone’s got a table. We have room for about four more.”

LAURA: Oh.

LIAM: Right here.

MATT: “All right, three more.”

LAURA: And a bear. Is there room for a bear?

MATT: “A bear. Like, a bear?”

LAURA: Yeah, but a very human-acting bear.

MATT: “Oh, sure. Bring him in. No! It’s a bear! Two more, room for two more.”

TRAVIS: Do you want me to join?

LIAM: Can someone transmogrify Trinket, quickly?

LAURA: (gasps) Can you Polymorph Trinket, Keyleth?

MARISHA: Into what?

LAURA: A human.

LIAM: To a hot man.

TALIESIN: To a lumberjack.

LAURA: Into a lumberjack of a man?

MARISHA: I don’t think it works that way.

LAURA: Try it!

TALIESIN: Old Spice commercial. Make it happen.

MATT: You can certainly try.

MARISHA: I try it.

LIAM: Winter’s Crest magic!

MARISHA: I believe. I believe in the spirit of Winter’s Crest.

LAURA: Can you Polymorph Trinket into a man?

SAM: Sure.

LAURA: Scanlan says he can.

MARISHA: I think Scanlan actually might have a better chance with Seeming?

SAM: I can Polymorph Trinket.

MARISHA: But can you Polymorph animals into people?

MATT: Technically, you could, yeah.

MARISHA: I can?

MATT: Technically. I don’t see why not.

MARISHA: Sure. Yeah, I’m going to make him real beefy. He’s got pecs that can lift semi-trucks. All right?

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Fur, just fur–

SAM: Furry belly? What is that?

MARISHA: Like that guy in the beginning of Barbarella.

MATT: So you turned your bear into a bear.

TALIESIN: Brian Blessed.

MARISHA: Yes.

LAURA: Here’s my bear, right here.

MATT: So you rush off and you come back with Trinket. As you can see, he’s walking a little strange and (bear moans) Rolls up and brushes his scruffy man beard against the side of your face. You gather, Polymorph does not affect the intellect of whatever you transform.

LIAM: I grab a mug of ale and go: another one, right? Yeah! He’s had so many!

LAURA: So drunk, this guy!

MARISHA: Wait, wait, wait. Grog, do we still have that helmet, that pot that you wore on your head, in the Bag of Holding?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: Can we have that real quick?

TRAVIS: Yeah, okay. So I reach in and take out the big bronze pot.

MARISHA: I put the pot on his head.

LAURA: Why?

MARISHA: It’s special.

SAM: Oh, he has a helmet head?

MATT: So the pot, which covers Trinket’s head… (bear moans)

LAURA: He does not need a pot on his head. Trinket, have a seat in this chair like a normal human.

TRAVIS: You can give that back to me.

LAURA: Here you go.

LIAM: I keep giving him ale.

MATT: Okay. (laughs) What is going on? Okay. So, at this time, you guys have people gathered around now. You guys all take your places at the table. You have to put your feet planted, everyone pushing elbow to elbow. You guys sit down amongst yourselves in a cluster and you eventually guide over as your fourth at the end of your group, your Polymorphed bear friend who’s still (confused moans) messing with his manly ham hands.

[no audio]

MATT: “To eat…”

LIAM: I do not have much confidence. You have always eaten more than me, always.

MATT: “Now!” Dive in face first, arms behind you, just tearing through these pies. Just blackberries, strawberries, all forms of berries just being tossed everywhere. There’s a couple chicken pies–

LIAM: No hands, no hands!

LAURA: Oh, no hands?

MATT: No hands, no.

LAURA: Trinket, no hands.

MATT: Trinket goes like, (inquisitive grunt).

LAURA: No hands! No paws!

MARISHA: (laughs) No paws! No paws!

SAM: I’m going to use Message to communicate to Grog: If there was ever a time for a prank, now is it.

TRAVIS: Oh shit.

MATT: As you all tear through your first large pies, smeared across the faces, with your mind off to the side, you glance over, everyone go ahead and make a constitution saving throw.

SAM: Constitution? Oh, he’s going to barf.

LIAM: 20, Natural 20!

LAURA: Oh, you rattled the table, it was 15, then it fell over.

LIAM: Oh, sorry, Charlie.

LAURA: Seven for me, because he rattled the damn table, because he’s an asshole.

LIAM: Yeah. Separate issues.

LAURA: And then Trinket rolled a 21.

MATT: All right, Grog?

TRAVIS: Oh, I’m not eating.

MATT: Oh, you’re not eating?

TRAVIS: I thought it was just you two guys.

LAURA: It was us and Trinket.

MATT: Okay, all right, cool. So, the three of you tearing through. You finish the first pie. The second pies slam down, you all look at it, you have a little moment. Close, but not too bad. You gather yourself and dive into a second round of pies, splashing all over the table.

LIAM: I elbow my sister, then dive into the pie.

MATT: (laughs) Trinket is having a hard time keeping the hands behind. You can see one of the

bakers suddenly come by and hold the hands back. (growls aggressively)

LAURA: He’s really drunk! Don’t touch him too much.

MATT: “All right, just keep–”

LAURA: No hands, Trinket.

LIAM: He lost half his family here, in the attack on Whitestone.

MATT: More and more pie crust being tossed aside, the table is a mess. The bakers are starting to scoop off whatever is left over off to the side into buckets. As you finish the second pie, make another constitution saving throw with the DC increasing with each progressive pie.

LAURA: Oh. (laughs)

TRAVIS: Wow.

LAURA: Natural one for me.

LIAM: Oh boy, I got a big six.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: Come on, Trinket!

SAM: (whispers) Luck!

LIAM: Yes, thank you, Scanlan. I got a big seven.

(laughter)

LAURA: 14 for Trinket. I rolled a one.

MATT: Yeah. Okay, so as you both finish your secondary pie, you both sit up and look at each other with dark purple berry filling down the side of your face. You both make eye contact at the same time, as you both go (vomiting sound) and release your fresh payload into the pans before you. Baker comes by, slamming the hand down. “Disqualified!” You look around the side, you aren’t the only ones. A number of other individuals have dropped out now. You’re down to five people at the table that are still eating, one of which is Trinket, who finishes his second pie. Food smeared all across the face, getting all in the beard. Some of it has dribbled down into the chest hair, it’s a pretty terrifying sight. Third pies are slammed down on the table. These last five individuals and Trinket. Have Trinket roll another constitution saving throw.

MARISHA: Come on, Trink!

LAURA: You want to inspire him?

MATT: You’re adding your modifier, right?

LAURA: 13.

MATT: You’re adding your modifier, right?

LAURA: What modifier?

MATT: His constitution modifier.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: All right, so this time, everyone finishes this last pie. Two of the individuals end up having to stop, just duck out, have to run off out into the crowd. Three of them make it through, Trinket just barely finishes the third pie. (gulps, distressed growls) He gives you that look of like, (distressed growling).

LAURA: Buddy. You can keep doing it! I’ll give you–

SAM: Food?

LAURA: I know, I got nothing. A nice nap. You can have the bed tonight and I’ll sleep on the floor.

MATT: (pants) He looks over and another pie is set down, the fourth round of pies go down. The last three and Trinket join in. Make another constitution saving throw for Trinket.

LAURA: Okay. It was almost a fucking 15. 15.

MATT: A 15? Total?

LAURA: Yeah. Oh no.

MATT: That set of pies finished, two of the remaining three end up getting up partway through the pie and one of them vomits off to the side. The other one stops, stands up and walks away, going (distressed noises). Spits out the food in his mouth in his hand, re-examining his life. The other remaining gentleman finishes the pie. There’s sweat down his face (panting), you see the little bit of a chinstrap beard he has just covered in berries and bits of crust, this awful appearance. Trinket finishes the last bits of the pie (chomp, distressed bellow).

LAURA: Oh, I feel so guilty right now!

LIAM: Why is he so good at being sad bear?

LAURA: I know! Don’t be sad bear, be happy bear!

TRAVIS: 300 gold!

LAURA: It’s just 100 gold.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

LAURA: Oh, a persuasion check for Trinket?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: So he’ll keep eating?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Oh, buddy. 15?

MATT: 15. Trinket looks at you.

LAURA: I love you.

MATT: (distressed growls)

MARISHA: You’re like a Toddlers and Tiaras mom right now.

LAURA: I know. This is the worst. I’m the worst mom.

MATT: Looks down and across the table, the gentleman who’s also there scoots over right in front and goes, “May the best man win, eh?” Trinket goes, (loud growl).

LAURA: Get angry! Eat angry!

MATT: There are bits of pie spattering across him on the ground. Two pies (thud) brought down in front. These are not fruit pies. These are meat pies.

TRAVIS: Oh! That’s so wrong!

LAURA: That’s okay, Trinket likes meat way more than fruit.

MATT: Then he goes, (distressed groans, sniffs).

LAURA: Is it a salmon pie? He likes fish.

MATT: Constitution saving throw.

TRAVIS: With advantage, because it’s meat?

LAURA: Beause it’s salmon. It’s a salmon pie, and he loves salmon.

MATT: (pauses) Hold on. There do appear to be hints of fish inside. I will grant you advantage on this saving throw.

LAURA: Okay. Fucking balls, mother bitch.

MARISHA: Advantage?

LAURA: I did roll with advantage. 11.

MATT: 11. Both of them dive into their pies, coasting through. At a certain point, Trinket stops and (pants) breathes heavily in the pie. You can see bits of it over the edge, just from the nostril flare, looks up at you (distressed growl).

LAURA: It’s okay, buddy. It’s okay.

LIAM: I instinctively move behind Vex.

MATT: The gentleman across the way looks up as well and is like (pants heavily, groans). They both dive into the pies together again, slowly, trying to make their way through and then in a moment, they both look up at each other and their eyes make a connection as a look of sudden fear and realization hits both of them. They both sit up and with but a moment’s notice, the two bakers set down two pails at their side as both of them simultaneously just… buckets. Losing simultaneously, at which point both of them raise their other hand mid-expulsion. “We have a tie! A victory! Both winners lasted quite a ways, splitting the pot, that’s 50 gold each.” Everyone cheers, yay!

ALL: Good job, Trinket!

MATT: (weary growls)

LAURA: You don’t have to eat anything else if you don’t want to.

MATT: (growls)

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: He gets to sleep on the bed.

LAURA: You get to sleep on the bed and I will sleep on the damn floor.

MATT: Trinket steps up and pushes away from the guy and goes running towards you on his hands and knees.

(laughter)

MATT: (growls) Everyone goes like “Whoa– ” as he runs by and starts nuzzling you.

LAURA: Oh, this guy. This guy is so drunk!

TRAVIS: There was some mold in those pies!

MATT: The baker hands you a sack of gold. “For your friend.”

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: When he’s feeling better.

TALIESIN: My favorite kind of pie.

LIAM: I come over to my sister with two big mugs of ale and hand one to her and say, here, don’t swallow the first one, just swish around and spit it out, then the rest.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: That’s a good one.

(laughter)

MATT: At this point, you can now hear voices start to raise, people going, “Oh, the Keeper, the Keeper’s going to speak.” The people start gathering towards the center of town where the Sun Tree is. As you all begin to gather for this central moment of the festival, Keeper Yennen steps up. Cassandra steps up with him and you can see he’s looking over the crowd, eventually meeting Percy’s gaze.

TALIESIN: All right.

MATT: He leads you up onto the stage. The three of you stand out amongst the rest of the crowd as everyone gathers. The children are sitting in the front, expectantly with their hands under their legs, looking up with big smiles. Some of them are covered in candy and whatever else they’ve managed to acquire throughout the festival. The music begins to slowly die down until silence hits and a small cold breeze begins to blow through, as you see a couple of fresh flakes of snow begin to fall from the sky above Whitestone. The Keeper looks out over the crowd as the hush takes the rest of the group. “Friends, families, brave soldiers and defenders of this wondrous city. We gather today to celebrate for the first time in many years, our own Winter’s Crest festival.” There’s some clapping. “It is on this day that we remember, centuries ago, when Erevan, the Ice King, Keeper of the Far Realm of Ice and the Elemental Planes, attempted to tear his way into Tal'Dorei, was kept at bay and sent back packing from whence he came.” There are some cheers from the crowd. “In this, we also are reminded of family, reminded of friendship, and the bonds that we as a people keep ourselves and our families safe, that we rise up to the occasion to show true heroism. To stand by our beliefs and not let the darkness swallow our hope. And by that, we are able to bring to you, this day, the surviving members of the de Rolo family: Cassandra and Percival.” You hear some whistles from the crowd and some cheers well up again. Some shouts, “de Rolo!” some yells from the crowd. Keeper Yennen puts his arms out. “These two, among friends, Vox Machina, the intrepid adventurers from Emon, spearheaded our freedom, from the terrible, tyrant ruin that the Briarwoods had set us upon. So today, we celebrate not just our joint friendships. We celebrate true heroism and give thanks that there are still”– looking to you, Percy– “people who will do whatever it takes to rise to the good of this land.” He looks to Cassandra. “Who in the long run, know the right choices to make and amongst the darkness, still choose sight of the light. May we all raise our glasses to the prosperous future of this city amongst the Alabaster Sierras and to the continued future of the de Rolo family.” Everyone raises their glasses up. “Huzzah!”

(cheering)

MATT: Cheers, everyone drinks, the music swells again, people begin to cheer and scatter and Keeper Yennen leads you guys off of the stage. The rest of you gather up as some people come up and shake hands and express their gratitude and thanks. As the crowd begins to die off a little bit, Keeper Yennen gives you all a look and beckons you over. “If you wouldn’t mind, a moment of your time. I think there are a few things we need to discuss.”

TALIESIN: Of course.

MATT: “Cassandra?” She comes as well. And you all step off out of the festival for a while. A few folks attempt to follow to see what’s going on. Some of the guards usher them away. You guys are led into an empty building, looks to have been a home of some kind that has long since been abandoned. As you step inside, it’s cold and still in here, very low light other than a little oil lantern that’s been lit by one of the guards as you step inside. The door closes behind and Keeper Yennen turns around. “There is no real way that we can show our appreciation for what you’ve done for our people. But first and foremost, there are funds within the de Rolo family treasury left behind by the Briarwoods that we hope could help compensate for some of your expenditures and hardships you’ve undergone.”

LAURA: So many, just so many.

MATT: “This is, of course, at the behest of the de Rolo family, who are the inheritors of this fortune.”

MARISHA: Thanks, Percy.

LAURA: Percival, you’re looking very attractive today.

TALIESIN: I know.

TRAVIS: Very appropriate.

MATT: “Now, we’ve had a few weeks of peace and recovery, of rebuilding and reforging the real bonds of this society here in Whitestone. But going forward, there needs to be a governing force. I would like to ask of your wisdom and guidance, all of you, in deciding on what is to become of the future of this city. There are many options at our disposal. I’m overseeing a myriad of things throughout the town and as a man of religious importance, given the history, the people have recommended it does not behoove me to take any sort of position of ruling in this town. It would be natural, of course, for the people to, without question, follow anyone of the existing bloodline.” He looks both to Cassandra and to Percival. “Have you any thoughts on this matter? Any of you?”

SAM: Of our members, only this one human over here on his hands and knees, is the expendable one of our group.

LAURA: Hey.

MATT: At which point, the strange, burly man on all fours, at this point, Brother– who did not really notice, goes, “Is that your bear?”

(laughter)

LAURA: Maybe.

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: “Strange folk. ”

SAM: I don’t think any of us would– well, Percy, if you’d like to stay and rule?

LIAM: Freddy, this is everything you’ve worked for.

SAM: This is your birthright and you’ve earned it.

TALIESIN: It was really not my birthright. I was not raised to rule.

SAM: But you would be a fantastic ruler.

MARISHA: And also sometimes, those birthrights are thrust upon us.

TALIESIN: I still have work to do outside the city. Ripley’s still on the loose and knows far too much. And I feel more than a little responsible for her and what she may do. Honestly, Cassandra had a better upbringing than I did for this sort of work.

MATT: At which point, Cassandra pipes up and goes, “Well, I understand what you’re saying, brother, but I’m still rediscovering who I am. If the people of this town knew what I’ve done, what I was responsible for all these years.”

MARISHA: You mean surviving being held hostage, surviving an ambush and being pelted with arrows?

TALIESIN: They expect better of us, I know. I understand. We are held to a different standard. And it’s difficult. Perhaps it’s time for a council. Perhaps it’s time for shared rule. There should always be a de Rolo in Whitestone, but perhaps we could share the weight.

MATT: “We could. I could.”

TALIESIN: Yennen, would you be comfortable sharing some of this burden?

MATT: He’s taken aback and thinks. “Well, in the sense of a council that you’re recommending, that would be certainly a more comfortable position for one such as myself. There are a number of community leaders that have really stepped up and shown their true quality. Yes, this could be done. We’d have to ask the people, of course, of the city and make sure that that would be all right with the folks, but I think given the way things have been, that shouldn’t be too hard of a sell.”

LAURA: Do the de Rolos still stay in the giant castle? Or does that go to somebody else, then?

TALIESIN: I think the de Rolos keep the castle, but I think we use the castle to–

SAM: Wait, would you be on this council? And who would they be counseling? Is there no superior primate? Is there no, there’s no–

MATT: “I believe what he’s suggesting is that we make decisions by council, by vote.”

SAM: A triumvirate.

MATT: “If you will.”

TALIESIN: Quintumverate.

SAM: Oh, four people?

TALIESIN: Five.

TRAVIS: A flatterdesplat.

SAM: Flibbertigibbit.

TALIESIN: A religious leader, someone from the farming communities, someone from the economic community, someone from the trade community–

SAM: Someone from the gnome community.

TALIESIN: From the citizenry.

SAM: From the gnome community.

TALIESIN: From some known community, yes.

SAM: I accept.

TALIESIN: Interests will be thought of and there will always be a noble to be a tiebreaker when necessary and to judge from a place of (sighs) greater good.

MATT: “Cassandra?” She steps back at this point and she looks, her hands shaking visibly. She looks up to you and steps forward and reaches up and puts her hand to the side of your face and looks to you with a piercing honesty and fear. She, lower lip quivering, whispers to you. “Percy, can I be trusted? Do you trust me?”

TALIESIN: All things considered, I think that you’re more trustworthy than I am, at this point. Let’s not forget that I was the one who let you down first. I’m going to give her one of the stones.

LAURA: We were– no, that was for the whole group! That was for the whole group, Percival.

MATT: “What is this?”

SAM: It’s done.

LIAM: Leave it alone.

LAURA: (muffled) That’s was going to save your fucking life later.

TALIESIN: You’re going to be so happy when we have instant access to the treasury.

LAURA: All right.

TALIESIN: If anything bad should happen, if there’s any need of quick retreat or quick communication, this is a one-way trip to us. And in return, this is a one-way trip for us to you, in case of emergency.

MATT: She clasps it in her hand, holds it to her chest.

TALIESIN: You were born for this. You were instructed in how to do this, where I never was.

LAURA: And now you’ve got four other people keeping an eye on you.

MATT: She smiles and closes her eyes. “What you say is true.” She looks over at each member of your group and looks back to Keeper Yennen. “If it so pleases this intended council, It would be my honor to represent the de Rolo bloodline in keeping this town safe.” Keeper goes, “Then so be it. I shall inquire with the people of this town. We will forge a council voted by the greater peoples of this place. And we shall restore Whitestone to its former glory. Very well. Go, enjoy the rest of your festival.”

SAM: What was that cash prize? You had mentioned some sort of–

MATT: “Well, talk with Percival.”

TALIESIN: I will organize–

LAURA: Oh, you have to give it to us? It has to come from you? That feels shady.

TALIESIN: Let’s not forget that within six hours of meeting each other, I ended up handing over an enormous sum of money to you.

LAURA: It was actually 500 gold.

TALIESIN: It was quite a bit of gold, if I recall. You have it written down, don’t you? That’s so endearing.

LIAM: Is it?

(laughter)

MATT: “Very well. Enjoy your festival, you’ve earned it. Go out, be merry. Let us all remember this time of year, the bonds that we carry, the loyalties that we hold to, and the heroism you stand for. Now go.” At which point, the guards open the door and he steps out. The cold air rushes in, and you can see now, quite a bit of soft snowfall is now coming upon the center of the town.

LIAM: I’m sorry, is there a washroom here? My sister’s a little drunk and managed to yak on me a bit and I would really love to wash up a bit. Anywhere nearby?

MATT: He points off to the side. There’s a small bucket of cold water that’s set by the side.

LIAM: Okay, I use it.

MATT: You manage to dampen your outfit to the point of getting it off, although it is a bit cold when you step outside now.

LAURA: Can I follow him for a moment?

MATT: Sure.

LAURA: I haven’t talked to you very much lately.

LIAM: No, you haven’t.

LAURA: You seem a bit off. Yeah. What’s going on?

LIAM: Nothing. I’m tired. We can relax for the first time in weeks.

LAURA: I noticed your girlfriend isn’t talking to you. Did you do something?

LIAM: I will tell you just about everything, but I don’t think I want to talk about that.

LAURA: All right. I leave, as well.

MATT: All right. As the rest of the party joins, you all step out into the cold afternoon air. You are immediately greeted by the sound of music, laughter, and cheer. The rest of the festival continues on into dusk and you can’t help but find the joy in the air infectious.

MARISHA: Percy.

TALIESIN: Yes?

MARISHA: I actually have a present for you.

TALIESIN: Really?

MARISHA: Yeah, it comes with a story.

TALIESIN: (laughs) All right.

MARISHA: You’re the only one I– should we go get drinks? Maybe we should go get drinks first. Let’s go get drinks and then I’ll give you your present.

TALIESIN: All right. In that case–

MARISHA: Alcohol makes everything better.

TALIESIN: Alcohol does make everything better.

LAURA: Speaking of presents, even though you’re being kind of a dick.

LIAM: Wow, you ran fast to catch up with me.

LAURA: I was going to buy you something, but then I realized sometimes old is better than new.

SAM: It’s an old person.

(laughter)

MATT: Vox Machina’s favorite!

MARISHA: Kill it!

LIAM: Already dead.

LAURA: You know what that is?

MATT: As you open the package, you see before you, a familiar belt of leather, with a coiled snake on the buckle.

SAM: How did you get that?!

LAURA: I’ve got ways.

SAM: It was in Uriel’s palace, wasn’t it?

LAURA: I’m a really good winker, if you haven’t noticed.

TRAVIS: She is.

SAM: Did you wink somebody for that? You slutty little thing.

LAURA: (laughs)

LIAM: Hello, Simon. (slithering sound)

(laughter)

SAM: Oh no, it’s just a real snake, it’s biting you!

TRAVIS: Revenge achieved!

LIAM: I am too embarrassed to look her in the eye, and stare for a moment, but then finally, still not looking at her because she’s fucking freaking me out, pull her into a hug and say, I love you, Stubby. I’m never going to leave your side, I’m always going to be there. You can always be a pain in the ass like you are. I love you. Always have, always will. Thank you.

LAURA: Thank you. And then I slap him across the face.

LIAM: What the fuck was that for?

LAURA: I love you, too.

MARISHA: When I was helping the farmers clean up, I had this strange moment where I was walking through the field and saw a dead raven.

SAM: Here it is.

MARISHA: (laughs) More or less. It caught my attention and it made me think about the past several weeks, what we’ve been through and everything. Don’t know– who knows, it probably died, actually, in the rebellion. Maybe my ice storm killed it or something.

TALIESIN: You’re doing very well.

MARISHA: Thanks. I was looking at it and it reminded me of everything and I feel like I was instantly trying to forget about everything because I don’t want to remember. But we should. And I don’t want to remember you the way you were. Because it was scary, and I didn’t like it. I like you now. So I took the dead bird and cleaned it and kept its skull and put it in this box for you, as a reminder of what you could have become. What any of us could have become, really, at any time. Because we shouldn’t forget.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

MARISHA: It’s a little macabre and I would have bought things, but we’re out of money.

TALIESIN: I won’t forget.

MARISHA: I’m glad that’s not you.

TALIESIN: I can’t even think of what the revenge felt like anymore. It’s not… it doesn’t weigh on me. Just regret.

MARISHA: Regret?

TALIESIN: Of how much better I could have been. Thank you. I will try to be better.

MARISHA: No better than you could have been. There’s still a lot to come, you know.

TALIESIN: That’s my plan.

MARISHA: I think we all wish we were better than we could have been. Seeing that bird, I’m sure the bird felt the same way. But fuck it, he’s dead now.

TALIESIN: (laughs) You’re strange, you know that?

MARISHA: I know, I’m sorry.

TALIESIN: No, we like it. Don’t change.

MARISHA: I’m glad you didn’t change.

SAM: Grog, I got you an Amazon gift card. It’s a forest called the Amazon. You can go there and get a gift.

TRAVIS: Is it far?

SAM: Oh, really far, you’ll never use it.

TRAVIS: Re-gift!

LIAM: Well guys, Vox Machina is now free and clear of all evil influence.

(laughter)

MARISHA: No shadowy demons. Feels good.

TRAVIS: Feels good!

MATT: With that, Vox Machina continues to enjoy the joyous affair that is the Winter’s Crest festival. Snowfall slowly covering the night sky as the sun comes to dusk. You withdraw to tell stories, sing songs, and drink merrily as the friends you are, looking forward to the next chapter in your adventure. And with that, we’re going to go ahead and close the Winter’s Crest episode of our adventure and leave you guys to the holiday break. We have a couple cool announcements to make. One, we had our winner earlier from our subscriber count, we hit a hundred. Our winner, if they haven’t already announced it, is Saxecutioner.

SAM: Saxecutioner.

MATT: You’ll get yourself a cool care package we’re going to ship out to you.

MARISHA: I think the Boonzy Arts candle is going out.

MATT: Yes!

TALIESIN: Boonzy Arts candle. Scent-sy Saxecutioner.

MATT: Indeed, indeed. Let’s see, we’ll be gone for a few weeks until we come back for our next episode. We’re on our holiday break, we’re going to get our stuff taken care of, but we’ll be back as soon as we can.

LAURA: Do we know what date that is going to be at?

LIAM: I mean, we come back next Thursday, right? Again, right? We play again every week. Every Thursday.

ZAC: The seventh.

MATT: The seventh. And I think Zac has something you wanted to mention.

TALIESIN: Did you have a thing, Zac?

MATT: Come on in, buddy.

ZAC: So, I have fairly serious announcement, I guess. Hopefully our cameraman Ryan already left for Star Wars. And sorry to like pull the rug out from under you guys, but this is officially my last Critical Role in person. I have been hired to be CEO of a new media company in collaboration with Harebrained Schemes, up in Seattle. And I start on January first. So, this is my last one, so I just wanted to tell you guys, thank you. Thank you to the community. This has been one of the most amazing years of my life. It’s been really cool to see what we’ve accomplished as a community, as a group, being cool on the internet and not dicks has been really cool. As an audience, like you guys and all of us and the amount of money we’ve been able to raise for charity. I can promise you that the channel’s fine, the shows are fine. Lucas will be taking over the commander-in-chief position, so Lucas!

MARISHA: Lucas!

TALIESIN: Lucas!

ZAC: Most people don’t know–

MARISHA: The man behind the curtain.

ZAC: The man that runs the boards. So Lucas is getting a promotion.

MATT: Yes.

ZAC: He’s back there.

LAURA: I see his legs. He’s not walking this way.

ZAC: He’s not moving. Tomorrow, we’re going to have a big party. It’s going to be my last stream on Geek and Sundry. It’s going to be a big party to celebrate. It’ll be a lot of fun. We’re going to do some dancing, we’ll have some special guests coming by. And he’s going to widen the camera just so he can get in the shot. We’re also going to be knighting Lucas tomorrow night, so you guys should definitely tune in for that and watch us knight Lucas. We’ve been training him up, getting him ready. But again, thank you everyone for this amazing experience. You can follow me on Twitter if you want to know more about what’s coming up. It’ll be in a couple of months, we’ll be launching that and I’ll make sure to keep streaming on my channel and Lucas, of course, will continue the spirit. We’ll still be in communication, everything’s good. So you know.

(laughter)

ZAC: There’s no hard feelings at all. I’m not dumping a load of shit on him and walking away.

LUCAS: We’ll figure it out.

ZAC: We’ll figure it out. Everybody, so thank you guys so much. I don’t really have anything more to say other than thank you.

MARISHA and TRAVIS: Overlord, Overlord.

MATT: I don’t think you guys truly, as an audience understand exactly how much he’s done to build this channel, the blood, sweat, and tears. I mean, both of them!

ZAC: Literally, not figuratively.

MATT: Zac has made us all feel so comfortable and so excited to create this whole thing and has given so much of himself and put so much of himself into this and really, if you have the opportunity on Twitter or wherever else to follow him to his new job, let him know and feel the appreciation. He’s awesome and an amazing human being and we’re going to miss him terribly. But we’re so happy and excited for your new ventures.

ZAC: Yes!

(Overlord theme)

ZAC: I’m going to exit on that.

LAURA: Huzzah to Zac!

ALL: Huzzah! Huzzah to Zac!

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: It’s still going.

MATT: There we go. Cross straight over. That song goes on for a while, too. There you go. All right, so. One more quick little exit here for you guys before we go on holiday break, we’ve had a special guest, came in today to check out the stream. Big fan of his work for a very long time and extremely proud he came to watch the episode and he’s been live-tweeting throughout the evening, but he wants to come in and give a little holiday hello as well. We have to the cameras, come sit next to me in this chair, the illustrious Chris Perkins.

(cheering)

MATT: It’s everything I hoped it would be!

LIAM: He’s made of dice!

CHRIS: What’s on tap for next year?

MATT: Oh, you’ll find out. It’s all positive!

CHRIS: Oh, really?

MATT: No.

CHRIS: I have some suggestions.

MATT: Okay, we’ll talk.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Let us live!

LAURA: He’s going to kill us all!

MARISHA: I will say, I feel like the DM power, the balance–

LAURA: It’s over 9000!

MARISHA: It’s over 9000!

TRAVIS: It’s like if suns meet.

MATT: Terrible things happen behind this.

CHRIS: This is a real treat for me, thank you. Thank you everybody.

MATT: Thanks for coming, sincerely.

CHRIS: No, this is magic.

MATT: Go ahead and roll this for a second. I’m just curious.

CHRIS: Okay. Whoa.

MATT: Yeah, it’s a fan-made die. All right, yeah. It’s a 15. Oh wait. It’s like a Sputnik die. So he rolled a 15. That’s DM rolling right there. That’s upper teens, yo.

CHRIS: I rolled a 20.

MATT: Oh, there we go. See, there we go. Natural 20. Thank you so much for coming by, man. Seriously.

CHRIS: I really appreciate it. It was great to hang out. Watch the magic happen. My favorite quote of the night was, “Don’t be sad bear, be happy bear.”

(laughter)

CHRIS: I’m going to use that one. Take that one back with me.

MATT: Go for it. So guys, next year, look forward to the next Dungeons and Dragons module, “Don’t Be Sad Bear.”

TRAVIS: Yes!

MATT: I think it’s for levels three to seven. It’ll be really great. For those who aren’t familiar with Chris, he’s been a longtime dungeon master inspiration for a lot of us out there, who’s put up a blog for a long time with a lot of great tips and tricks and discussions on what makes a great story, what makes running a great game. If you aren’t following him right now, you should, on Twitter at–

CHRIS: I don’t know.

TRAVIS: Oh no!

CHRIS: @ChrisPerkinsDnD.

MATT: There you go. So, that should work out well. Thank you so much for coming.

CHRIS: Thank you.

MATT: I appreciate that. And guys, happy holidays and happy New Year. We’ll see you–

ZAC: I forgot, I have one more quick announcement. I can’t believe I forgot this. So, I was talking to the mods about it and some other people, maybe I told them. So I’m going to challenge you guys in the chat, my one last final challenge to you all. I am going to get a tattoo to commemorate my year at Geek and Sundry here. And I would like that to be of you guys’s design. So I’m going to challenge you guys on the internet to tag me and a week from today, I will Periscope me getting a tattoo that someone in the chat room designed. Most likely a Snugglelord; it’d be cool if it was a Snugglelord.

TRAVIS: I’m pretty sure I’m going to draw you a cock and balls.

ZAC: Travis wants me to tattoo a cock and balls. So, as long as it can be a cock and balls with Travis’s face.

MATT: I’ll vote for that.

TRAVIS: A big veiny triumphant bastard.

MARISHA: How about Snugglelord riding Travis’s cock and balls?

ZAC: You’ve been challenged. You’ve been challenged. But I definitely want to do that to always have with me a little memory from this last year. I really honestly can’t tell you guys how much this year meant to me and I want to make sure that I will never forget, even if my brain starts to fall away. I’ll be like, oh look, Travis’s–

LAURA and MARISHA: Cock and balls.

TRAVIS: He was so good at Halo.

MATT: Yeah.

(laughter)

MATT: Well, nothing could possibly go wrong with that. So go ahead and get your designs together, submit those and see if you could be responsible for designing a permanent piece of illustrious Overlord’s body. Wow. I’m excited for that now.

TRAVIS: Let’s let the gates open.

MATT: Exactly. You guys, happy holidays.

MARISHA: One more announcement. Sorry, I lied, one more.

MATT: This is like Lord of the Rings. This is Return of the King. It’s got seven endings.

MARISHA: Yeah, well, it’s going to be a double feature. There will be a finale to the comic strip of the Winter’s Crest festival, so keep checking the Geek and Sundry website because I believe it’s going to go up on Christmas Eve, actually. So yeah, check it out.

MATT: Fantastic.

MARISHA: Still more stuff.

MATT: All right. Anyone else?

LAURA: Is there going to be a Critical Role marathon or something coming up soon?

MATT: Are you guys playing Critical Role over the holidays?

LUCAS: At some point.

MATT: At some point, there’ll be a marathon.

TALIESIN: What a perfect time to get your friends hooked.

MATT: There you go, it’ll be on the Twitter.

ZAC: Lucas will let you know when it’s up.

MATT: Lucas will let you know.

MARISHA: There is a bajillion hours’ worth.

LUCAS: So, the plan is, the mods will be creating a Twitch playlist, so it won’t show up as us being online. It will say we’re offline, but you can come to our actual Twitch page and there will be marathons of each show individually. Critical Role will be later on. It’s not going to be the first one that we marathon and that will be for probably a week and a half until I get into the studio and make actual playlists and you’ll get that e-mail that says– probably not Critical Role, but just an entire streaming marathon– I don’t even know. I’ll figure it out. I’ve got a week and a half to figure it out, but there will be a playlist coming right up. Next Monday.

LAURA: All right! Good announcement! Good job!

(cheering)

TALIESIN: Hail the new king!

ZAC: First announcement!

MATT: They grow up so fast!

(air horn sounds, laughter)

MATT: Awesome. Well, I guess then we’ll relinquish you guys to watch your Star Wars.

TRAVIS: Oh, actually–

MATT: (frustrated growl) I will smash your mini. I would never do that. I painted it. Far too long. All right, guys. Seriously, happy holidays, happy new year.

LAURA: Happy holidays.

TALIESIN and MARISHA: Happy Winter’s Crest.

MATT: Indeed. Bye guys.

LIAM: I have a snake!

TRAVIS: See you on the other side.

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