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Pre-ShowEdit

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

SAM: Yay!

MATT: We have returning this week our fantastic guests, Ashly Burch and Sumalee Montano. They’ve been amazing, we’re excited to have them back, and going to see what this next adventure of the story’s going to have. Before we get to that, we have some announcements to get through, beginning with our fantastic sponsor and friends at D&D Beyond. Sam?

SAM: D&D Beyond, everybody, two new products have been announced on D&D Beyond. The Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, alternate title is That’s So Ravnica, available for preorder now on the D&D Beyond marketplace, officially will be released on November 9th. Also, The Wayfarer’s Guide to Eberron, alternate title, The Werfernder’s Gerd to Erberron, available for purchase now on the D&D Beyond marketplace. As a reminder, anyone who already has purchased the Legendary bundle can pre-order or purchase these and any future content at a 15% discount, everyone. Which has the savings baked right in. I’ve been using D&D Beyond for a while now, and they just redid their layout, took me a while to get used to it. For those of you at home using D&D Beyond, I have a couple of tips, pointers, for the new layout, to remind myself where things are layed out. It’s like little mnemonics. It’s a weird thing. On the right side of the screen, you can remember “L E F,” so right sort of like, LEF, left, sort of. That’s where loot, equipment and features are. On the left, is “I A A,” insight and awareness. I’ll put that down here. Then in the middle, is “A T R,” which is things you can add to roll. ATR.

LIAM: I have a mounting sense of dread.

SAM: Right up top is “M S T,” which is makes saving throws. That’s what you add to make saving throws. That’s Sam’s little guide to how you can remember the layout of D&D Beyond. And that’s it!

MATT: Thank you, Sam! I hope that was as useful to you folks as it will never be to any of us. Thank you to D&D Beyond for being our awesome sponsor. Onto the next bit of business. For those who haven’t seen the announcement we had today, we are headed to London MCM Comic Expo in October, actually. October 27th and 28th, Critical Role will be in London! Super excited about that. We’re looking forward to meeting a lot of you European Critters out there. We’ve been trying to get an opportunity to go over there for a while, so glad we finally have the chance to come and hang out with you folks across the pond. You can go to critrole.com for details on it, and we look forward to seeing you then. Also, as a reminder for next week, we will not be broadcasting an episode next Thursday. Instead, we’ll be doing a live broadcast Friday evening from Indianapolis. It will be airing, this is Friday, August 3rd, at 9:00pm Eastern time, that’s 6:00pm Pacific. So it’ll be an hour earlier than what you are used to, but it’ll be our live show at the Murat Theater in Indianapolis. Super excited about that. It’s going to be crazy. It’s going to be absolutely nuts. Other than that as well, we have up on our YouTube channel now the VOD of our Vox Machina character buildout for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. I went ahead and messed around on stream for about an hour or so earlier this week to show you guys my interpretation of building our first campaign characters, Vox Machina, in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, and if you want to check it out, it’s on the YouTube. That’s youtube.com/criticalrole, and you get to watch me make each character, and we hang out.

SAM: I watched part of it.

MATT: Did you really?

SAM: It was pretty good, and I might watch it again so I can actually build those characters.

MATT: I think you should, that surprised me. I’ve never really done a live stream of just myself playing a video game before, so that was very new experience for me. Thank you for your patience. Go check it out if you want to. Be sure to check out the Beast of Winter DLC for Deadfire is coming out soon. You can pick up the game at versesevil.com/criticalrole, and it’s a fun one, so check it out if you haven’t yet. Reminder that we do our Wyrmwood giveaways during the breaks, and they’re going to be happening over here at the Critical Role Twitch chat, so I’ll prompt you when we come to our mid break today, but we need you to come over to the Critical Role chat to enter the giveaway, and then head on back to Geek & Sundry, or wherever else you’re watching. That’ll be at twitch.tv/criticalrole. Talks Machina, our after show discussion about what happens this week will be happening next Tuesday at 7:00pm Pacific, here on the Geek & Sundry Twitch and Alpha, where our fantastic host Brian W. Foster interviews us, and makes us feel a little better about ourselves after the chaos the previous week had.

SAM: I thought you were going to say makes us feel a little uncomfortable.

MATT: That was the subtext I was going to go into, but I’ll leave that for you, Sam. I believe that’s all I have--

SAM: There’s no merch, there’s nothing merchy?

MARISHA: We made announcements online.

LIAM: There’s brand-new merch, GenCon.

SAM: I’m trying to honor the memory of Laura.

MATT: It’s true!

MARISHA: We’re trying to get better at spercing our announcements out through other things.

MATT: So we’re not barraging the audience.

SAM: So me talking right now is just wasting time.

MATT: Yeah, essentially, yeah.

SAM: Cool, cool cool.

MATT: If you are curious about any merch stuff, we do have some new merch coming up at GenCon. You can go check it out at critrole.com for all the details.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: We’ve got some other fun surprises for folks that are coming, too. Anyway, much love, I think it’s time--

LIAM: Oh, so tense.

MATT: That we dive into tonight’s episode of Critical Role.

[click, TV static] [groovy Critical Role theme]

Part IEdit

MATT: Welcome back, everyone. Last we left off, The Mighty Nein, who had acquired two new allies in Keg, the dwarven fighter, and Nila, the firbolg druid, had made their way to the city of Shadycreek Run. After making your way through the town, spending an evening staying at the Landlocked Lady, and getting some information about where to find info about your quarry, and where your friends may have been taken to after they were captured by the Iron Shepherds, a traveling slavers crew.

SAM: They’re the worst.

MATT: They are the worst. You went and had a discussion at the Estate Sybaritic with Ophelia Mardun, of whom you were sent by The Gentleman to interface with and do a deed for her a little over two weeks ago. There it seemed that the intent of your job placed here in this city has aligned with your current goal of freeing your friends and seeking vengeance against the Iron Shepherds, as they currently work for a competitive family to the Mardun house, and in response to them destroying parts of the trade route that the Mardun family enjoys through the center and southern sides of the empire, they wish you to instill damage upon their traders as well, by eliminating the Iron Shepherds. You were given some ideas as to where you might find some help, you gathered your things, made your way north into the seemingly corrupted and haunted Savalirwood, to seek information about these Iron Shepherds and where they are. You narrowly avoided two large, immensely mutated, bone-spurred bear creatures. You sought out and cased the exterior of the Sour Nest, which is the fortress that was given to the Iron Shepherds by the family that pays them and keeps them in their employ. You decided to send your new druid friend, Nila, in the form of a small mouse, over the wall, delivery via owl. She snuck through some portions of the fortress to gather intel, and to get an idea of where you were going and what may reside within. A few close calls, and some discovery of what can be expected within the interior, you made your way back, safely, to join your friends.

ASHLY: I forgot about the baby. (sigh)

SAM: Oh yeah.

ASHLY: Sorry, the meal that Lorenzo was having.

MARISHA: Oh, yeah.

ASHLY: Sorry. That just occurred to me.

MATT: Upon accidentally spooking one of the outer guards who were walking the perimeter of the wall that surrounds the Sour Nest, you immediately picked up what you had, fled south, back through the Savalirwood, on your way to Shadycreek Run to look for means of possibly finding more help for this endeavor when nightfall hits, and whatever else you can do to prepare for the necessary evacuation of your allies. And that’s where we left off. Mighty Nein, as you’ve charged back through the purplish-gray corrupted Savalirwood, the midday sun barely visible through slight peaking cracks through the canopy above you, leaping and hearing these large growling sounds and hoots, you beeline it as best you can, and as quickly as you can, before you breach into the outskirts of the northern side of the North Clover area. You’re now between some of the nearby buildings, and you immediately begin to see some of the relatively shady denizens of this north side of Shadycreek Run that glance over their shoulder, their hooded selves watching you as you pass. You slow your gait, as you are no longer fleeing, per se, but you have made your way back to the town. What would you like to do?

SAM: What time is it?

MATT: At this point it would be midday, a little bit in the afternoon.

SAM: Okay. Oh god! It’s midday! What do we do?

ASHLY: We’re trying to gather allies right?

MARISHA: Yeah.

ASHLY: That’s the plan.

LIAM: Yeah, and we don’t have all the time in the world because we are trying to intervene before the worst happens.

MARISHA: We mentioned about going and looking to see if a Tasker would be up to it. There were the Taskers, and there were the other group of hired workers.

MATT: Yes, The Grunge Gang-- The Grudge Gang, which the Taskers are a part of it.

SAM: Wait, is is Grudge or Grunge?

MATT: Grudge.

SAM: Can I just say Grunge is better name?

MARISHA: Is it like, the Grudge Gang is an umbrella corporation of the Taskers, or vice versa?

MATT: Vice versa. The Grudge Gang is the overarching, loose network of mercenaries that sell swords and do not affiliate directly with any of the other political powers. They’re all just outside of the system within the town. The Taskers are a small subsect of the Grudge Gang that have taken it upon themselves to keep the peace to a certain extent.

LIAM: Do we get a sense of the Taskers, are they just a group, like us? Like a small group, or we don’t know yet?

MATT: Well, you don’t know. You’ve had some experience here. The Taskers, best that you can surmise, you haven’t had a lot of dealings with them, they are probably in the neighborhood of 30 to 35 people. They are not a massive group by any means, and they’re stretched a little thin, but because a lot of them have friends within the Grudge Gang, and people they’ve worked with before, they can usually call upon friends if need be, especially if they have some coin to their side and they have a specific endeavor they need to do.

ASHLY: Well?

SAM: Do you think we should go talk one, chat one up?

ASHLY: It seems like the best option to me. I’m not sure who else we could turn to.

MARISHA: I mean, just to play devil’s advocate here, is it an issue if we get a hired mercenary group to kill another underground faction in their same town? Is that--

ASHLY: Could it trace back to Ophelia, is that what you are saying?

MARISHA: Yeah, I don’t know, it’s a weird political issue, hiring someone in the system.

SAM: Maybe before we go randomly hiring people: what do we need to make this attack? We can probably get in. Also, we’re not attacking, right? We’re just going to go and try to rescue, or maybe pick off one or two of them, or smoke them out, so that the prisoners, or whatever, have to leave and we can rescue, right? We’re not trying to kill everyone in the motherfucking house, right?

MARISHA: Well this Ophelia wants us to kill everyone in the motherfucking house.

SAM: Well I just want to get our people out.

LIAM: Then we are not fulfilling our responsibilities.

SUMALEE: It will be impossible to save our friends without killing them.

MARISHA: I think she’s right.

LIAM: We go at night, and the first step is taking care of the two, there could be more, but two that we saw on the wall, whoever is on the wall at night, silently. Then, from all you’ve told us, we have-- this might be incomplete information-- but three. There is the shithead himself, and then two you saw.

SUMALEE: At least two eating.

LIAM: So three total that we know about.

SUMALEE: But there were many more beds.

MARISHA: Plus, who knows who could arrive in the time that we're gone.

LIAM: That is also correct.

MARISHA: I think we need to be prepared for all of them.

SAM: But are we going to hire muscle, or magic, or what are we trying to get? What helps us?

MARISHA: I miss Jester's healing spells.

SAM: Maybe there's a place to buy some potions.

ASHLY: Well it seems like-- I mean, I'm not the stealthiest person. It seems like having more numbers is a good thing. I don't know if we could create a distraction of some kind, lead some of them away. I don't know.

SUMALEE: I can do that. I'm good at that.

ASHLY: Diversions?

SUMALEE: Yes.

ASHLY: You're very excited about this, Nila.

SUMALEE: I want to get in there as fast as we can.

MARISHA: I mean, look. The solution might end up solving itself, who know who in this town is even willing to go up against the Iron Shepherds.

ASHLY: Wait, would I know--

SAM: Wait.

LIAM, ASHLY, MARISHA and MATT: Wait.

ASHLY: The place where they keep the prisoners is underground?

MATT: Correct.

ASHLY: Could we just burn down the building? Burn down the motherfucking house?

MATT: It's mostly stone.

ASHLY: Burn down the-- is there wood in there?

MATT: There's elements of wood from a decoration standpoint, but for the most part, it's a stone structure.

SAM: We could bring in a lot of kindling.

MARISHA: Smoke them out! That's actually not a bad idea, now that I think about it, though.

LIAM: When you were in this house, as a mouse, there was no way down there. It was a solid trap door. You don't know what was under it?

SUMALEE: I could hear them, but that's the only thing that I could see.

LIAM: What did you hear, specifically?

SUMALEE: I heard voices, I remember that. I was trying to listen for my partner and my son. I know they were the voices of the captured people, the prisoners. I believe I heard voices as well of some of the murderers.

LIAM: Well, we need to peel this like an onion. We need to, I believe, get some help. Get some reassurance. Outer layer of the onion is making sure we take whoever is on the walls, whoever is keeping watch, out, silently, so that we can begin anew with the building itself. I think that either you or my friend here should go in ahead of us so we have some idea of what is happening. Once in a while I turn this one into a spider. It is slow, but it is very undetectable.

MARISHA: (laughing)

LIAM: Do you feel differently?

MARISHA: Sorry, I'm just imagining an infiltration with the spider, like that's feasible.

SAM: Tip of the spear!

MARISHA: Go, Frumpkin, go!

ASHLY: Get him! Now bite him!

MATT: Lorenzo, felled by a brown recluse!

MARISHA: Put him in his boot!

LIAM: Truthfully, there are ways that I can hurt people with a spider, but I'm just talking about having a look around so that we are not walking into something different than what you saw last night.

MARISHA: Sure. Literally anything is better than a spider, though. For that. I just want to point that out.

LIAM: Well, I disagree with you.

MARISHA: I mean they've got a lot of eyes, I get that, but I think in terms of a movement situation, spiders aren't the best.

LIAM: Agree to disagree.

ASHLY: Do you guys need a second, should we take a smoke break?

LIAM: You are new. This is very typical. It's just part of the group dynamic. We are all friends.

SAM: It's like, have you ever seen a debate team? They pick one side, and the other, and then they just go at it for a while.

ASHLY: There's no really debating in Shadycreek Run. Mostly insult, kill, insult, kill.

SAM: They should really start a debate club.

ASHLY: We should really start the first one!

LIAM: I am a master debater.

ASHLY: Shadycreek Debaters? Side mission.

MARISHA: Shady Debaters!

ASHLY: Shady Debaters? That's all I care about now.

MATT: Well that's our next merch piece there.

MARISHA: Laura, make a Shady Debaters debate team shirt!

MATT: Nope!

LIAM: But we want to take numbers down, so we peel the outer layer separately. If all goes well, then there is whoever is upstairs. The big X factor is what is what is beneath. We don't know how many people are underneath.

SAM: You said the sleeping quarters are upstairs. If we went in the dead of night, and I know you have a spell that can lock a door, or shut a door or something?

LIAM: If I can find materials in Shadycreek. I need gold dust, a lot of gold dust. How likely is that here?

ASHLY: Would I know where to find that? Would that be the general store, would that have that?

MATT: They may have it there, yeah. You haven't had to acquire gold dust before, but if you were to ask around, you could see if there's some place in the vicinity that might carry it.

LIAM: To first get gold dust, I would need gold.

ASHLY: Which we would also need to hire people.

SAM: We have some.

LIAM: How much do we have? I have next to nothing.

ASHLY: I have 130.

SUMALEE: I have ten gold pieces.

SAM: Did you say ten?

SUMALEE: Ten.

SAM: Oh wow.

SUMALEE: I am happy to contribute that.

ASHLY: Is it 130 gold? Or is it silver that I have?

MATT: 130 gold.

LIAM: What about in the haversack? Does Jester have any funds in there?

SAM: Oh. That's a good question. I'll reach in and see what she has.

MARISHA: I've got a little bit of funds.

LIAM: Text thread explodes in five, four, three.

SAM: I need my thing? Where's the currency in here?

MARISHA: If you go under equipment--

ASHLY: You don't remember your handy acronym?

SAM: I need it written down! Oh there it is.

LIAM: Remember, “LIAM EATS FARTS.”

SAM: “LIAM EATS FARTS!” That's right, it's right here. I have a few hundred gold.

MARISHA: Same.

ASHLY: Maybe we need people on the outside to take care of folks on watch. The onion you're talking about, maybe the outer layers are the hired hands, and then we're the ones who go in.

LIAM: Yeah, it could be a group effort. I feel very confident for many of our skills for the ones on the outside. What I'm concerned about is entering the front door. What is behind? What I would like to do is go when they are sleeping and hopefully murder them in their sleep, is the best case.

SUMALEE: Why don't we call them out, then? Why don't we make them come outside? We have more abilities outside.

SAM: But then they'll have weapons.

LIAM: Yeah, the thing when someone is sleeping in a bed is they are like little-- (whispering) I was going to say babies. I shouldn’t say that!

SAM: Don’t say that to her, especially.

SUMALEE: I cannot use my lightning inside. That is all I'm saying.

ASHLY: What if we lure one of them out for you to fry like a chicken?

SUMALEE: I would be okay with that.

LIAM: There's a little bit that we have to play this by ear. I think we should go at night to handle things when it is the least busy.

ASHLY: Is there anything we're missing?

SAM: We have no way of healing ourselves if we die, unless you have healing potions on you.

LIAM: Well, maybe we can find some in Shadycreek.

ASHLY: I have two potions of greater healing.

SAM: How many do we all have? She has two.

MARISHA: I have one.

LIAM: One.

SUMALEE: Of what?

MARISHA: Healing potions.

SUMALEE: I have Healing Words.

SAM, ASHLY, and MARISHA: Ooh!

SUMALEE: Does that help?

MARISHA: That does help!

SUMALEE: Excellent! And I have those Goodberries!

MARISHA: Those are good! Those are great!

SUMALEE: And I can help give us extra power. In my clan, we have a bear spirit known as Oaktar. If I invoke the spirit of Oaktar, it gives us each extra power.

ASHLY: Your clan sounds awesome.

SAM: Do I have to go to church or anything?

SUMALEE: No, you just have to be-- I think it's within 30 feet of where I put the spirit totem.

LIAM: That seems strangely specific.

MARISHA: I'm into it, yeah.

ASHLY: So to Nott's point, what do we need? We need fighters, we need magic? What do we need?

MARISHA: I like the idea of getting some sort of fighter, especially if Nila can maybe take out that outer onion layer with the lightning. We should have found a better analogy.

LIAM: Than an onion? Well, how about we're just going to kill the people on the wall, how is that for a metaphor?

MARISHA: I like that.

LIAM: I like the idea of someone with a little bit of muscle and then another person who is adept at healing injuries.

SAM: Well, we did hear about that weird-- someone said that there's some priest or something, or cleric?

LIAM: In the woods.

MARISHA: Ophelia mentioned that, yeah.

SAM: Yeah, so we could go see if they could give us--

MARISHA: Aid.

SAM: Or come along?

LIAM: Did Ophelia mention how far out into the woods that person was?

MATT: Travel on foot is about roughly four to six hours depending on how well you can make your way through the terrain.

LIAM: It is the same day?

MATT: It's like two in the afternoon, yeah.

SAM: So we can make it tonight.

MARISHA: I oddly trust that more than hiring someone from The Grudge Gang.

LIAM: *Ja,* that is a good point.

MARISHA: I feel like The Grudge Gang might have ties to the Iron Shepherds or at least an inside man.

LIAM: Yeah, friendsies.

ASHLY: I mean we could try, but if all they are is a healer--

SAM: That would be amazing, though. I mean healing potions are nice, but we need someone who can-- we get killed a lot or nearly, you know?

ASHLY: Yeah.

MARISHA: I've seen some pretty badass priests in my day.

ASHLY: Do I have any sense of--

SAM: You have?

ASHLY: She mentioned some of the kooky ones out in the woods, right?

MATT: Yeah, she mentioned a Blooming Grove.

ASHLY: Do I have any sense of what that is?

MATT: You've not necessarily heard of The Blooming Grove. Roll a history check, actually.

ASHLY: This not going to go well. 12.

MATT: That's not too bad. You've vaguely heard of The Blooming Grove, but it's not referred to that very often. It's more referred to do as The Bone Orchard.

ASHLY: Hmm, less fun.

MATT: Yeah, you haven't been there, but from what you know, it's this strange, ancient gravesite that's been on the outskirts of town, a few miles out, since before the town was built.

ASHLY: Are these healers considered by people in Shadycreek Run to be wackadoos? Or are they--

MATT: From what you know, from what you've heard, everyone thinks they're strange, creepy hermits and possibly witches. No one really goes there. Some folk in here tend to put on the air of not being superstitious, but the Savalirwood carries a lot of superstition with it. Some folks, while they may play it off, still seem to get a little nervous about delving too deep into it.

ASHLY: Well, that is a good point. If this person lives in the Savalirwoods, then they're not weak. There's a lot of crazy shit in the woods, so they must be able to hold their own, or at least remain discrete.

SAM: They don't belong to any pact, or group that we would need to negotiate with?

ASHLY: No, they live outside the-- I mean, they're not even really related to the clans.

MARISHA: Did we hear what god they worship?

MATT: You have no idea.

MARISHA: I feel like if it was one of the accepted gods of The Empire, you wouldn't have to hide out in the woods. I'm kind of into this idea.

ASHLY: We can try.

SAM: Is it worth asking a Tasker first? What would we even ask? Just how much it would be to hire you for some muscle?

ASHLY: Yeah. They're not affiliated directly. It's better for them to not be affiliated with any particular groups, so-- but you know. This is not a great place.

LIAM: Well, we're weighing two things against each other. One is expediency because there are many people in Shadycreek who could possibly lend a sword or ability. But I think that you are correct. That there is no telling their allegiance, and I'm not ruling them out, but this person out in the woods: probably not in the pocket of our enemies. We need to come to a decision promptly.

ASHLY: Well, how hardy would you say the mental state of your companions is?

MARISHA: The ones in captivity?

ASHLY: Yeah.

SAM: Oh, I thought you meant us, because we're right here. We can hear you.

ASHLY: No. I know that.

MARISHA: Probably pretty unstable.

ASHLY: What, do you think that they would be susceptible to torture?

MARISHA: Being controlled.

SAM: Fjord, probably not. Yasha’s probably is okay. Jester has already turned. She's flipped. She's probably flipped.

ASHLY: Oh, then there's no rush.

LIAM: Or wrapped them around her finger, one way or the other. No, they are actually pretty-- they've got their shit together.

MARISHA: They arguably have their shit together way more than the three of us do.

ASHLY: Would they look after--

LIAM: A child?

ASHLY: Yeah.

LIAM: Yes.

ASHLY: Okay.

MARISHA: Yeah, especially Jester.

ASHLY: Then maybe it's all right to take a little bit more time.

LIAM: We have to make a decision.

MARISHA: What time is it?

MATT: Pushing past two to three in the afternoon.

MARISHA: You said it's four hours there.

MATT: Four to six hours depending on how well you travel.

ASHLY: We have our horses?

SAM: Are we walking or horsing?

MATT: That's walking. Your horse isn't going to go any faster than you in the middle of this very clustered forest. There's no path that leads to it.

MARISHA: Brisk power walk there, that'll get us there right around sunset. Talk to people. Power walk back, should get us there back--

SAM: For the Tonight Show?

MARISHA: Yes, in time for Saturday Night Live.

(laughter)

ASHLY: Lorenzo loves that show. He'll be up watching it.

MARISHA: Great.

ASHLY: We'll change the plan.

LIAM: (announcer voice) Ophelia Mardun.

(laughter)

MARISHA: We might be able to go and get back in time, is what I'm saying, and still be able to attack tonight.

LIAM: To the household, *ja.* If we find what we find in the woods is helpful enough, and we feel good with what we got. Then in the middle of the night is a go.

MARISHA: If it is a total bust, then that sucks.

SAM: We can still find a Tasker.

ASHLY: Yeah, they don't have a bedtime.

MARISHA: That's true.

LIAM: We want to hit it at two or three in the morning.

MARISHA: All right, let's go. Are you good with that, Nila? You seem apprehensive.

SUMALEE: I could check my smell bag, but I trust you right now.

SAM: No, check your smell bag.

SUMALEE: Oh thank you. It makes me feel so much better.

SAM: See if it passes the smell test.

LIAM: Whatever makes you feel comfortable.

SUMALEE: This is for going to find the priest who has special abilities for reviving the dead and healing people.

SAM: (fart noise)

SUMALEE: Pretty good. Okay, this is for The Taskers and The Grunge Gang.

ASHLY: She took your name for it.

SAM: Oh, it's a better name.

SUMALEE: Did I mistake it?

ASHLY and SAM: No, no.

ASHLY: That's perfect. Smell your bag.

SUMALEE: It smells salty. Salty versus a little bit of a raw, but grounded spicy flavor. I like that one. Let us go see the priest. Thank you, smell bag.

LIAM: You cannot argue with that.

SAM: No. You cannot argue with someone who talks to a smell bag.

ASHLY: That is accurate.

SUMALEE: It has given me so much comfort over many years. I love it. Thank you.

SAM: Sure.

MARISHA: Well, shall we?

LIAM: Yeah.

ASHLY and MARISHA: Let's power walk.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Butt-cheeks clenched.

ASHLY: What's the one where you wiggle? Is that power walking?

SAM: Speed walking.

MARISHA: You know like grandmas in malls, like around Christmas time.

LIAM: Are we Prancercising?

MATT: Everyone has their Fitbits attuned?

MARISHA: Yes.

MATT: First off, what's your marching order, please?

LIAM: Oh, also are our horses dead?

SAM: No, we can take the horses. It wouldn't speed us up, but at least we'd be on horses.

MATT: You can take them with you.

LIAM: But it wouldn't speed us up, because it's the woods?

MATT: Because it's like a thick wood.

LIAM: Let's walk.

MATT: Okay. Who's up front? Who's in the back? Who's guiding what?

ASHLY: Would I know better, potentially, where I'm going? Should I be in front? Or have I never been to this?

MATT: It depends. Whoever wants to guide this will be taking the survival checks to lead you through. So who wants to be making--

SAM: Nila, you seem to know about the woods. No?

SUMALEE: I would be happy to. Oh yes, survival is good for me.

LIAM: I will walk just behind Nila.

MAT: Okay, so Nila's helming that.

SUMALEE: You are relying on me. I'm very happy.

ASHLY: Aww.

LIAM: She's just the biggest. I'm going to stand next to the biggest person.

MATT: That's a good call.

MARISHA: That's still reliance.

MATT: Who's behind or near Caleb?

ASHLY: I'll take up the back.

MATT: All right, so Keg's holding up the back. Beau in the middle?

MARISHA: Nott, do you want the middle?

SAM: Yes, please.

MATT: There you go. I'll put Frumpkin there, next to-- okay.

MARISHA: Fuh-wumpkin.

MATT: Taking this moment now, you begin to head back away from Shadycreek, and helming this group of ragtag adventures you've under your wing. You tread into an area of the Savalirwood you've not traveled before hoping that your instincts, your smell bag, and the spirit of what nature has managed to maintain itself through this corrupted wood could guide you properly to your destination. I need you to make a survival check, please.

ASHLY: She is superstitiously leading us around, just smelling.

LIAM: Get it girl.

SUMALEE: Oh.

MARISHA: That was almost great.

LIAM: Is there anything to add to-- ooh.

SUMALEE: Ten.

MATT: Ten, okay. You still have your Luck feat if you want to, unless you want to save it.

SUMALEE: Oh, yes.

MATT: You have two more points left.

SUMALEE: I think we should use it. Yes. I would like to use one Luck point.

MATT: One more Luck point.

SUMALEE: 17 plus seven. 24.

MATT: 24, okay!

SUMALEE: We shall survive.

MATT: Not only do you swiftly manage to find the portions of the wooded paths that are least blockaded by thorny brambles and fallen half-rotted trees, but you also manage to help the party avoid a few small openings that look uniquely and uncomfortably welcoming. In the midst of a wood like this, you know from your experience as well, that it is now always a good idea to step where it seems most inviting, when you know the wood around you to be less so.

MARISHA: (whispering) Yes, yes.

MATT: As you crest around the second of these open groves, you notice how the ground itself seems to shift slightly, and you watch as for a moment it seems to almost pit as elements of the dirt suck inward. You know the antlion funnels that appear in the sand and begins to come in towards them. The ground almost seems to sink in for a second before righting itself. The grove stands flat once more, but thankfully, due to the survival instincts of your firbolg leader, you manage to careen past two of these patches without issue. Pushing on at a fairly intense speed, within three and a half hours, not even the full four--

ASHLY: Hey!

MATT: You manage to make your way to an area where the color notably changes ahead of you. The somewhat still purple-gray color that suffuses most of the natural landscape within the Savalirwood, gives way to a patch of green in the distance. This is the first sign that calls forth that warm sensation you got when you had checked this path within your smell bag. As the rest of you begin to gather up behind Nila, the closer you get you begin to watch as these winter trees, that comprise most of this northern forest, give way to green oaks and swamp-based plant life. The temperature, as you get to a certain threshold, begins to be not quite as biting cold, slightly warmer with each step. Looking around immediately, the first thing that catches your eye is this large wall of tangled vine and thorns. The same purplish-gray color. The green is still ahead of you. Do you guys want to continue on? Anything you want to do?

ASHLY: You said there's a wall of thorns?

MATT: It looks like a natural wall that curls up about five or so feet.

ASHLY: In our way.

MATT: In your way, yes.

SAM: How far to the sides does it go? As far as the eye can see?

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: That's sort of cocked. I'll take it anyway. 11 plus nothing.

MATT: A little ways off it seems to dip a bit. Maybe about 100 feet or so to the northern side of it. You've been traveling northwest to reach this part of the forest.

MARISHA: We can't see over the wall?

MATT: You can see over it a bit, as there's only about five or so feet most places. As you get a little bit closer, you can see areas where these tangle of vines are pulled apart or have entirely enclosed, and you see long-rusted, wrought iron bars, a fence of some kind. A boundary that was placed long ago, that has since been slowly taken back by nature. You then begin to see that area of the wall that you had noticed, Nott, that had seemed to be bending, and the vines have actually curled over and bent it downward. It seems that whatever this little section of the forest is-- whatever protective magics that once contained this outer vicinity have begun to give in to the corruption of the Savalirwood.

SAM: Should we hop the fence?

LIAM: One moment. I send Frumpkin up to flit about 50 feet ahead to see if there is anything ahead, or from a bird's eye view that we are unable to detect.

MATT: Okay, make a perception check for Frumpkin with advantage because it is still in the owl form.

LIAM: That is a 21.

MATT: Frumpkin darts up, jumping from tree edge to tree edge, gliding through. There are numerous layers of similar walls. Three different layers, looks like. Whereas the outskirts or the perimeter of this beautiful, protected, ancient gravesite that once held this corruption at bay has slowly collapsed inward, and a new boundary is placed. Then that boundary has fallen. As the corruption pulls in further, a new boundary is built. That third boundary now seems to be in the process of giving in, just like its previous constructs. Within this third area, you can see not just a lack of snow, or ice, or the winter chill, but a nearly humid summer warmth, something more akin to the southern tip of the Empire or even Menagerie Coast. It is an unexpected and extreme shift in temperature and weather. There is something unnatural, or at least magical, that maintains this little pocket of untouched paradise. There you can see small pools, bits of bog where the soft green and browns of compost fall into green, thick, algae-covered bits of water. You can see dozens and dozens of stone tablets, about a foot to two feet high, with bits of script across them, too far to see, that have partially fallen or leaning. At which point Frumpkin looks around and this entire area, from the outer very edge where that first perimeter wall was found, to the inside has all been graves, most taken back by the Savalirwood as it slowly crushes whatever this location is at its source. On the far end, towards the core and the back-- the northern side of this final, defending pocket of uncorrupted forest-- you can see a stone building, maybe 20 by 30 feet, built as an old stone steeple. It stands windowless, open, and the floor of it to each open window overgrown with green vine and leaf.

LIAM: Frumpkin is how far from me at this point?

MATT: Frumpkin is about 100 to 150 feet from you.

LIAM: So I can only watch. I have muttered all this, watching. We are talking concentric rings?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: I think this is the place.

LIAM: *Ja.*

MATT: Frumpkin begins to return, and a passing of one of the clouds gives more sunlight that breaks through what was previously a very dense, gray sky. As the light passes between the small breaks in the tree canopies, the green comes to light with color, numerous types of color. A rainbow of flowers, of pigments you've never really seen before, begin to emerge as the light hits it. Nearly every inch of these gravesites contain a smattering scatter of rainbow colors across petal and stamen.

LIAM: I am beginning to think this a little more than we came looking for, but we have traveled a ways.

SAM: Is there any sign of life? I mean, other than plant life?

MATT: You saw maybe a few frogs, small natural creatures that exist within this space, but nothing that would resemble a human yet. It seems still.

SAM and ASHLY: Let's go in.

SAM: How do we get over these things? Could we climb them or would we get cut to shreds?

MATT: You can certainly try.

ASHLY: How tall are the gates?

MATT: The areas where the fence has been pushed in is between five to six feet in places, areas where it seems to be pushed down lower to about four to even three and a half.

ASHLY: Your friend’s coat? I know it's maybe not--

SAM: You mean the tapestry?

ASHLY: The tapestry. I know it might hurt it, but if we drape it over--

MARISHA: We buried him with it.

ASHLY: Oh, that's right.

MARISHA: But that's a good idea.

ASHLY: You want to go back? I could try to hack at it with my axe.

SUMALEE: Could an animal jump over it?

MATT: Yeah. You guys could attempt to climb and leap over. Elements of it are thorned and jagged.

MARISHA: This is what I used to do to hop fences back in the day. I look for a few broken-down branches that might be my height.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

MARISHA: A handful.

LIAM: We are going on a witch hunt. We can't go over it, we can't go under it.

MARISHA: Ten.

MATT: That's fair. It takes you a few minutes and you find a couple of softer pieces of branch and vine that have fallen to the corruption. It's interesting; you touch them and they're supple like vines, but they're grey and freezing to the touch. It's a very weird, unnatural feeling, but it seems supple.

MARISHA: Before I do anything with it, I take it over to Nila. Nila, have you seen any type of blight on a plant like this before? Do you know what this is? It's cold, feel it.

SUMALEE: You're right. Do I know what this is?

MATT: Make a nature check.

SUMALEE: I love making nature checks. Yes! 17.

MATT: You've studied and seen, within the vicinity of where you grew up and where your clan had raised you and your children, numerous types of disease and natural means of plant life succumbing to illness or an outside force. What you can tell is that this is not natural. This is not some naturally formed blight. There is some much older and much more powerful latent reasoning for this corruption.

SUMALEE: I do not feel safe using it.

ASHLY: I know this is well-worn dwarf goof territory, but does someone want to throw me?

SAM: That seems very derogatory. Also you're super heavy, though, aren't you?

ASHLY: That's true. You all want to throw me?

MARISHA: I take the branches and I try to lay them down over the vines a little bit and give a little less thorny of a ramp.

MATT: You lean them up against it and slowly they bow over.

MARISHA: Look, they hook all on their own, that's pretty good.

ASHLY: Good job, Beau.

MARISHA: Thank you, look at that!

SAM: We could try to throw you.

ASHLY: I guess it might make more sense to throw you, but I don't want to--

SAM: No, you can throw me, sure.

LIAM: Caleb starts to climb over.

MATT: All right. Make a perception check.

LIAM: 16.

MATT: As you carefully place your hands across the elements of vine and root, you manage to keep a keen glance for any sort of bladed, thorned, or hooked elements that protrude from the local fauna. You manage to avoid any of them from catching your coat, catching your flesh, and step, leaping over to the opposite side without issue.

SAM: That's amazing! He's amazing.

LIAM: Nobody was aware I was panicked the whole time. The thorns are almost like small razors.

SAM: I'm coming!

LIAM: Careful.

SAM: I'm just going to dash over.

MATT: You're just going to dash over? Make an acrobatics check.

SAM: That was 19.

MATT: Caleb has shown areas, as he passed over, where you can safely climb. The rest of you don't need to make checks. Nott ignores this entirely and goes leaping and flipping and attempting to make her way over. The actual fence bends slightly at the impact of foot, the iron beneath having wilted due to long-form rust and whatever perpetual weight has been placed upon it from this land attempting to reclaim it from underneath. Nott leaps, double flip in the air, lands on the opposite side, skids a bit as your feet hit a slight bit of the icy floor, but you manage to catch yourself, no issue.

ASHLY: Keg holds up a ten.

MATT: Each of you make your way over this element of the forest, continuing on past the next two boundaries, eventually making your way into the central area of the Blooming Grove. The term now striking a bell as you look around and can see these beautiful flowers as the sun rays hit and pass. It's like the color flares up once the light hits it and then seems to gray as it passes on. You now stand, temperature much warmer, and there's just that stone structure ahead.

LIAM: How far away is the structure?

MATT: From where you're standing on the interior of it, about 40 or so feet.

MARISHA: On the tombstones that are around, do I recognize any of the language, or can I tell how old some of these gravesites are?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

MARISHA: 21.

MATT: Looking through, there are a few languages that come through, most of them are elven and they are very old. Some of them appear to be 100, 200, 400-500 years old. Whatever individuals or families or bloodlines have been interred in this space have been placed here for a very long time, until recently.

MARISHA: Until recently, okay.

MATT: You do see one that appears to be maybe about ten years old. Very faint elements of wear and tear.

MARISHA: What's the name?

MATT: The name on that one would be Elvish and it would be Tyriel Casala.

MARISHA: Tyriel Castala?

MATT: Casala.

MARISHA: Casala.

MATT: She knows Elvish, but she doesn't really speak it often, so the pronunciations get a little weird.

LIAM: *Domo arigato.*

ASHLY: So should I go knock on that door?

SAM: Is there a door?

MATT: There is a door, yes.

LIAM: Hold on.

SAM: How big a place is the door place?

MATT: The door itself is maybe four feet wide, it's a single door. It's an old wood-- the bottom half of it is green with growing moss and other bits of vegetation that are set in to the relatively damp wood that it's constructed from. The top seems to be split and warped a little bit over time due to the moisture in the air.

LIAM: Caleb tries to creep up to a gravestone and hide behind it to get within 30 feet of the door.

MATT: Okay, make a stealth check.

SAM: On the roof or the top of the-- sorry.

LIAM: Nine.

SAM: On the roof or top of the structure, are there any holes or anything?

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: 13.

MATT: Best you can see, no. It's pretty well made. The walls and the roof all appear to be made from stone.

SAM: But no windows or anything?

MATT: There are windows. You can only really see the front and right side of it, the southeast side of it from your perspective-- there is a single window. It is an arched window that looks like it may have been built at one point to hold glass or stained glass, but it is no longer there. You can see the soft, jungle-like flora at the base of it has swooped up and grown over and into the interior of the structure. Best you can tell from this distance, there is no visible light immediately inside, but there is a bit of natural light that is coming in through the open space.

SAM: Can I go over to the window and take a peek in, stealthily?

MATT: Sure, roll a stealth check.

SAM: 12. I'll take a big swig of booze and then go over and try.

MATT: Okay. You begin to dart across the open space, dodging through gravestones and as you're passing one of them, there is a bit of a thorned vine that catches the back of your cloak. It pulls taut before you get yanked on your neck, slip back, and Nott slams on the ground giving a little sound.

ASHLY: Keg holds up a ten.

SAM: Why do you have that with you?

ASHLY: I'm trying a bit. I'm trying a new thing.

MATT: There's a brief pause, all of you hold in silence hearing a distant bird that goes quiet, the wind passing through the trees. You hear the wooden door begins to slowly open as a shaded figure steps beyond the frame. Taliesin, if you want to step in.

(cheering)

MATT: Finally! (laughing)

TALIESIN: This is my stuff.

LIAM: You're really just a random shopkeep in the woods?

TALIESIN: It's dangerous to go alone--

LIAM and TALIESIN: --take this!

TALIESIN: Just going to get my stuff.

MATT: Would you like to describe what they see emerge from this small stone temple?

TALIESIN: From this small stone temple emerges a tall, not necessarily healthily thin firbolg, who is pale and a grayish color, and has a big shock of weirdly pink mohawk hair--

LIAM: You don't say.

SAM: No!

TALIESIN: I'm going way off the reservation here. He's a little gaunt. He's got a little fuzz, he's wearing this bizarre-- he's wearing this very gentle silk shirt that's got one long, flowy sleeve. He's got a cup of tea. He's just staring. Huh. I think I've only got three more cups. Hold on. I go back in.

SAM: (shouting) Do you know her? Do you know him?

SUMALEE: It's a firbolg! He is a firbolg!

SAM: (shouting) Do you know him? What's his name?

SUMALEE: I do not! But he's a firbolg! He is one of my people! (gasps) He is a firbolg. This will be good. My smell bag was right again!

TALIESIN: I'm going to come out, I'm going to have a little kettle set up on a little tripod. I'm putting it down, I'm putting a big rod with a big purple chunk of amethyst on it underneath the kettle. Tapping it a couple times to get the kettle to start heating up. I'm going to wander into the graveyard and find some flowers for tea.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Can we tag along? Do you need any help?

LIAM: Does he seem like he's going to kill us?

MATT: Make an insight check.

LIAM: Thank you. 19.

MATT: 19?

LIAM: Nein-teen.

MATT: There doesn't *seem* to be any threat at the moment.

TALIESIN: Mr. Clay, and nah, I'm fine. One second.

SAM: He's Mr. Clay.

TALIESIN: I come back with a pile of red-purple flowers and I'm grinding up. This is from Casala. Textile family generations ago, but they make very good tea now. (sighs)

MARISHA: Wait, back up a second. Are *you* Mr. Clay?

TALIESIN: Mm. Caduceus Clay. Sit.

MARISHA: Caduceus Clay.

TALIESIN: I'm going to put out the three cups and wait for the pot to boil.

SAM: Hello.

MARISHA: Is that Caduceus with a K, or a C? Okay.

SAM: Hi. Oh, we have to wait?

TALIESIN: Pour out the three cups. You have to share, I apologize.

ASHLY: I don't drink his tea. Booze is fine.

LIAM: I come over and sit and take one of the teas.

MARISHA: Caleb and I will share one and I hand the other to Nila.

SUMALEE: I would love to try your tea.

TALIESIN: Please, let me know what you think.

SUMALEE: It is delicious.

TALIESIN: Only grows here.

SUMALEE: I would like to hug you.

TALIESIN: Oh, please. Come.

SUMALEE: Nila gives him a big hug!

TALIESIN: I haven't had one of these in a long time. That's nice.

SUMALEE: I am from the Guiatao Tribe. Do you know us?

TALIESIN: No. I'm sure they're wonderful, though. That sounds just great. That sounds wonderful. Friends! (sigh) You have come. (sigh) Please, let me know what I can do for you. Usually when people come here, it is because of some great tragedy. How can I alleve your pain?

LIAM: Oh, well, *Herr* Clay, we come to you with a great tragedy.

MARISHA: A few great tragedies.

LIAM: Do you want to, or should I?

MARISHA: Well, the first one is, I think, it's time for Caleb to have another bath. It's been a little bit.

LIAM: That's the first one?

MARISHA: Being without a shower has been a bit of a tragedy.

LIAM: (whispering) Do we really have time for a comedy bit like this?

MARISHA: No.

SAM: We recently lost one of our friends.

TALIESIN: I would assume.

MARISHA: I didn't want to open the gate like that. That's why we're here.

TALIESIN: People who come here usually have.

SAM: We aren't here to bury him. He's already in the ground. We've come to avenge him and we were hoping to find some help in these parts.

TALIESIN: Avenge him? What happened?

ASHLY: Do you know the Iron Shepherds?

TALIESIN: Do I know the Iron Shepherds?

MATT: You actually have not. You would have no idea.

TALIESIN: No, I'm sorry, I really don't get to leave very often, especially these days.

LIAM: How long have you been alone out here?

TALIESIN: (contemplative sigh) Been 20 seasons now, 18 seasons? Try not to count, it just gets in the way of more important things.

LIAM: How many seasons has it been since someone has knocked on your door like we have?

TALIESIN: It's been about two seasons, I suppose. Little bit of business, but it's been very slow.

MARISHA: Do you only gauge time in seasons?

TALIESIN: It's the only time that seems to matter.

MARISHA: That's fair.

SUMALEE: I agree.

SAM: Do you work here? Is this your place? Do you own this land?

TALIESIN: I’m so excited!

SAM: Are you the funeral director?

TALIESIN: Most people who come here know what this place is, this is going to be delightful. I've never had to explain it to someone before.

SAM: It's a graveyard. It's a boneyard.

TALIESIN: Well, boneyard is a bit crass, but yeah, this is a place where we take the dearly departed who have done well and the people who have lived good lives and we put them into earth that has been touched by the Wildmother. In turn, she grants them with beauty and splendor and sometimes tea.

SAM: Like a boneyard sort of a place?

TALIESIN: More like a garden. We have been tending this garden for generations.

MARISHA: We're drinking dead people tea?

TALIESIN: Aren't we all?

LIAM: That is a very fair point.

MARISHA: Very true. But you're cultivating dead people for good tea?

TALIESIN: Aren't we all?

MARISHA: Yeah, okay. Yeah. That's a good point.

LIAM: We are very random visitors from out of the blue. We do come to you with tragedy. We do have a friend in the ground. We do have friends who are in dire need of assistance. You help people into the ground, but offhand, do you help them *out* of the ground?

TALIESIN: Well, I mean, sometimes we can help people who are on the edge of death. We certainly understand that most people would rather spend their time alive than not, and that makes sense. I certainly have no interest in shortening my life any time soon.

SAM: But you can't bring someone back who's already expired?

TALIESIN: I mean, that's very tricky. Once you're dead, there's a natural order to things. There's a movement that things have to go, but in certain cases, I'm sure.

LIAM: We've all read stories of the extraordinary, but you do not have this in your wheelhouse, you are saying?

TALIESIN: Oh, I can sometimes help people. You never know.

MARISHA: Okay, well, beyond helping our recently passed friend, how do you feel about helping people who are on the edge of life and death in captivity?

LIAM: Three in the cage is worth one in the dirt.

SUMALEE: There are firbolgs in this group, too, that need help.

SAM: They've been kidnapped, including a firbolg child.

MARISHA: And they might not have long to live.

ASHLY: They're being held by the Iron Shepherds.

SAM: Who are bad guys. We're good guys. Well, we're sort of bad guys, too.

MARISHA: We're working on it.

LIAM: We are not bad guys.

ASHLY: We're doing all right.

SAM: Are you a bad guy?

TALIESIN: You know, honestly, I don't think I've had enough experience to have an opinion on that. I'm a good gardener.

SAM: What do you grow, other than dead tea?

TALIESIN: I grow lilies, I grow bramble, mushrooms, moss.

MARISHA: Dead bramble. Dead mushrooms. Dead moss.

LIAM: If you are saying that you are able to help people back from the brink of extinction, on occasion or under the right circumstances, I am going to hazard a guess that you could heal a wound in a snap, yeah?

TALIESIN: Not with an actual snap, but yeah, I can do that. I don't have to snap, though. I can be really quiet when I do it-- pretty quiet, I actually have to say something, now that I think about it.

MARISHA: I'm going to take a guess: you don't leave here very much, do you?

TALIESIN: I’ve left a few times, I suppose. It's been a while. I've been on my own for a while. It makes you get a little rambly.

SAM: You're stationed here? Are you allowed to leave?

TALIESIN: That's a bit of a story. My family have run this temple for generations, and I'm sort of the last one left holding the fort down.

SAM: No cousins or anything?

TALIESIN: No cousins. A couple sisters, a brother, my parents, but everyone's either wandered off to help try and fix what's been going wrong or has been put into the earth.

SAM: What's been going wrong? What's that? What's going wrong?

TALIESIN: Well, as I'm sure you've possibly noticed, and I apologize if I'm breaking some terrible news to anyone who didn't, the forest beyond my little patch of earth is a little unsavory. It's dark. It can be a bit dangerous. Don't recommend going out alone. It has been overtaking our temple for the last hundred years, and recently has breached the walls again.

SAM: So your family is trying to fix that?

TALIESIN: The last one to leave was my sister. She went east.

LIAM: Now it's just you.

TALIESIN: Now it's just me. It's not much to hold down at this point.

MARISHA: Why do you stay?

TALIESIN: Honestly, because it's a little dangerous for a lone person to leave. I figured I'd sit here with a kettle and wait for someone to come along, and maybe see if I can make my way out of here and figure out what's been happening in this place.

LIAM: Well, you're double lucky.

SAM: This is great. So you don't have to check in every night, and be here to punch in and punch out? You could leave whenever you want?

TALIESIN: I could leave whenever I want, sure.

MARISHA: Is there a watering system, or can you put it on a timer if you're not going to be here?

SAM: A drip-line?

TALIESIN: That's a really good idea. I don't... I mean, if you guys in a serious rush, if you could help I'm sure we could figure out--

MARISHA: Maybe we're in a rush; maybe after.

LIAM: *Herr* Clay, we are dealing with a time-sensitive situation. You are looking for a segue out of this predicament you’re in?

TALIESIN: Mmm.

ASHLY: I feel like it's only fair to warn you: if you were to come with us, we’d be asking you to go into a situation that's not very safe.

TALIESIN: Are you inviting me to come with you?

SUMALEE: Yes, very much.

ASHLY: Oh, yeah, sorry-- did we not--

SAM: We came here seeking help in a mission that we're about to go on.

TALIESIN: That's excellent. You're lucky I came along, then. This is going to work out really well.

MARISHA: Well, we came to you.

TALIESIN: Well, you're lucky that I stayed right here so that you intercepted me, because if I had wandered off ten, 15 feet this may have never happened.

LIAM: *Herr* Clay, we should be very honest with you. We are intending to do good by people who deserve it. A young one. Good people. But we are going to do very difficult business tonight or tomorrow.

TALIESIN: Well, I don't know if I think that anyone deserves anything, but I don't like cages, and I'm really--

MARISHA: You don't have a particular penchant or sympathy towards people who eat babies, do you?

TALIESIN: That seems a little specific. I'm mostly interested in trying to take care of the natural order of the world and nature itself.

ASHLY: Does murder end up on that checklist?

TALIESIN: Have you ever *been* in nature? Yes. Violence is extremely natural.

ASHLY: Tight.

SUMALEE: No, the people we are after have done terrible things. They have upset the balance of nature so much by what they have done. They do not deserve to live. Please come with us. I have an idea. If you can come with us, maybe some of the firbolgs from my tribe can come help you here afterwards-- can help keep the temple afterwards.

TALIESIN: Well, I don't know about deserve, but I think there's always somewhere there's a plant that needs some compost, and I'm happy to make some more if it'll make people happy.

MARISHA: Was that you saying you're willing to kill people and put them in the ground to make compost?!

SAM: I think so.

TALIESIN: You got a lot of aggression. You got a lot of anger.

MARISHA: Oh man, you're seeing me at a relatively calm moment, actually.

LIAM: Welcome to The Mighty Nein.

TALIESIN: There's only--

MARISHA: Don't overthink it.

TALIESIN: Okay!

SAM: Do you know Pumat Sol, by any chance?

ASHLY: Nott!

SAM: What?

TALIESIN: Is that a time of plant?

SAM: All right, then no. No, I just had to ask.

TALIESIN: I've actually already packed; I'll go get my things.

SAM: What?! Wait, what would we owe you for this?

LIAM: Do you require anything?

TALIESIN: I do; I may ask for it later.

SAM: Money?

LIAM: You'll have it.

SUMALEE: Firbolgs do not need money.

LIAM: You'll have it.

SAM: Tea?

TALIESIN: I like this one. I'll go get my green beetle armor.

SAM: What?

SUMALEE: (excited gasp) I have not come across a firbolg with green beetle armor!

TALIESIN: Thank you. My sister made it; I'm very proud of her.

MATT: It's a chitinous-looking metal breastplate that has a somewhat pearlescent turquoise green-blue tint to it that seems to shift in the light.

TALIESIN: I get a big, knotted, wet-looking stick that is covered in lichen. The armor is also covered in lichen. It's a big growing, living wet thing. It has a big purple amethyst rock at the top of the staff. I get a little shield also made out of beetle.

LIAM: Motherfucking druid.

MARISHA: (whispering) Fungal armor!

TALIESIN: (sighs) Give me a minute. Just going to walk around once, take it in.

SAM: If the thing he needs from us is our blood or something, shouldn't we know that in advance? We should find out what he wants from us before we just blindly agree to this. What if he wants Keg?

LIAM: (whispering) We'll figure that out.

SAM: Some sort of, like, concubine thing? I don't know! What if he's creepy or freaky like that!

ASHLY: I'm kind of into that.

SAM: Really?

ASHLY: I'm not picky.

SAM: Wow.

MARISHA: Your blood-- you got some to spare. You can get more of it. That's how your body works.

SAM: What?!

SUMALEE: He does not seem freaky to me at all. He seems very nice. Like a normal firbolg.

SAM: (warily) Okay.

TALIESIN: All right. I'm ready to leave. This is going to be a little much, but I think I can do it. I'm ready.

MARISHA: Hey Clay? Did you bury Tyriel Colsala here?

TALIESIN: Casala?

MARISHA: Yeah, him. That's what I said.

TALIESIN: What did you think you were drinking?

MARISHA: (accented) Casala?

TALIESIN: Yeah. That's very close. It's good. It's always worth trying.

MARISHA: Were you around when you buried him?

TALIESIN: Casala family, I think we have eight in their generation; I was only here for the last two.

MARISHA: All right.

LIAM: So! Let me tell you about the murderers we are dealing with.

SAM: While we walk.

MARISHA: Power walking?

ASHLY: Yep.

MATT: All right. Making your trek back to the forest. Are you helming this as well?

LIAM: First, there was the dinosaurs.

(laughter)

SUMALEE: May I helm it with Clay?

TALIESIN: Caduceus. Caduceus Clay. You can call me Clay.

SUMALEE: Caduceus.

LIAM, MARISHA, and SAM: Deuces!

SUMALEE: Deuces Clay.

SAM: It is decided.

TALIESIN: I have been trying not to show you this art for two weeks now.

MATT: Caduceus, are you wanting to help? Or Nila, I think, is asking for your help in fording this forest, as you have a little more experience.

TALIESIN: Sure!

MATT: So make your survival check with advantage.

TALIESIN: Okay.

SAM: Where are we going? Back to town, or straight to the--

ASHLY: Oh yeah. Do we want to go and try to get some Taskers on our side? We have a healer now, but we still don't have--

SUMALEE: 21.

MATT: 14 and a 14.

SUMALEE: I got 14 and 14.

MATT: It's up to you guys.

SUMALEE: I don't think we need them.

ASHLY: You don't think we need any more help?

MARISHA: We might be all right.

SAM: We don't even know what he *does!*

ASHLY: I'm with Nott!

SAM: He's a firbolg, yeah, but... Hey, Mr. Clay? I'm going to shoot Beau with my crossbow.

TALIESIN: That doesn't seem like a very good idea.

SAM: Oh, I missed.

(laughter)

MATT: (arrow whizzing away)

SAM: 12.

MARISHA: Yeah, no.

SAM: Sorry, I was just going to test if he could really heal you.

MARISHA: The fuck?!

SAM: I'll shoot again with my bonus action! That's a natural 20.

(laughter)

MATT: Go ahead and roll damage.

TALIESIN: You make me figure out how to do this.

SUMALEE: Don't worry, I can cure them, too.

SAM: Not a sneak attack, because she was looking. Oh boy. That's ten, but it's a crit. Does that do anything?

MATT: Well, you double the dice that you rolled.

SAM: Okay, so that's 12 plus four is 16.

MATT: You take 16 points of piercing damage, Beau.

MARISHA: I'm going to try to catch it.

MATT: Okay, go for it.

MARISHA: Okay, I roll a d10.

MATT: Roll a d10.

MARISHA: A ten! Plus my monk level, right? Which is five.

MATT: I think so. Is that what it says right there?

LIAM: So only one hit point?

SAM: Just the tip.

MARISHA: 1d10 plus eight. Oh, it's my monk level plus my proficiency bonus, so no damage.

MATT: It goes for right underneath where the clavicle and the neck meet and catches it right there.

SAM: Oh, but with this crossbow, when I roll a natural 20, it shoots another one immediately.

MATT: That's right!

SAM: Do I have to roll for that one?

MATT: You have to roll to attack.

SAM: That's a 23 to hit.

MATT: Go ahead and roll damage on that one.

SAM: Eight.

MATT: What happens is you pull back to fire, and as it gets ready to go ahead and extend it looks like another bolt slips up into it accidentally and it fires two in a row. Beau catches one and is like "Ugh, ow!" and there's a second one that's jammed right into the space between two ribs.

ASHLY: What the hell, Nott!

SAM: First of all, that was cool. And this was cool!

MARISHA: And third of all, that was a killing blow!

SAM: Now, do your thing!

MARISHA: You could fucking kill me!

TALIESIN: Is she always like this? This seems kind of extreme.

SUMALEE: This is the most extreme I've ever seen her.

SAM: Do your thing!

MARISHA: I'm keeping this bolt, this is mine now.

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: I rip the other one out. Yeah! I put that, and I'm keeping this one, too!

ASHLY: Keg is aroused.

TALIESIN: Come here. All right, and I get in there and I'm going to do Cure Wounds and there's going to be a little bit of lichen that grows on the wound really quickly.

MARISHA: Don't infect me!

TALIESIN: It's fine. Do I roll for that?

MATT: Yeah, it's a d8 plus your wisdom modifier. The wound seems to close as you watch this--

TALIESIN: Six points of damage-- six points of healing.

MATT: You go up by six. You watch as this bright red-pink colored lichen, mossy material, seems to come out of the wound and close it and then turn gray, break away, and crumble off. Where it is, the wound seems to have closed and healed over, like weeks of healing have gone by.

MARISHA: Okay, this shit's dope.

SAM: You're welcome.

ASHLY: Probably a different way we could have demonstrated that, Nott.

TALIESIN: It felt very--

MARISHA: That wasn't for you. Never mind.

SUMALEE: They can be strange, but they are good.

TALIESIN: Honestly, it's been so long since I've been around anybody, I genuinely wouldn't have been able to tell.

MATT: In making your journey back toward Shadycreek Run, the sun does set part way through your journey. The forest goes dark, nearly pitch black. Now, I believe all of you but Caleb have some sort of darkvision. At this point, the crickets start coming out very loudly, the distant sound of skittering and animal movements through brush and dry leaves catch the outside of your peripheral. You manage to stop every now and then, as Nila puts her hand up, listening and smelling for anything nearby. Are you guys continuing at a fast pace, or are you attempting to be stealthy?

ASHLY: Well, did we decide what we're doing?

MARISHA: I think we were going to go straight there.

ASHLY: We're going straight to the Shepherds?

MARISHA: It's on the way.

LIAM: We didn't really discuss; we got distracted.

MATT: That's true. Are you guys heading back to Shadycreek, or are you heading straight to the Sour Nest?

SAM: Is it on the way?

MARISHA: It's on the way. I say we at least stop by and scout it.

SAM: If it's more or less on the way then yeah, we can at least swing by.

MATT: It'll add an hour or so to go into Shadycreek. Essentially this is Shadycreek Run at the bottom of the forest and you've traveled, from your perspective, far northwest to get to the area where you met Caduceus. You're now heading back down and the Sour Nest is on the northeastern side of the city, just outside of it, so you have to scoot and ricochet off.

SAM: So we'd have to go through the town just to get there?

MATT: No, you could go straight to it through the forest, but it depends on what you want to do. If you're going straight there or if you're wanting to skim through Shadycreek, it's your choice.

MARISHA: How long after dusk has it been?

MATT: The sun set. With that roll you made, you'll be arriving at Shadycreek Run at about 10:00pm.

LIAM: We are going to find somebody, spur of the moment, tell them to come with us out to the woods? To do a bit of dark business?

MARISHA: Are you being facetious? I can't tell.

LIAM: No, I don't know if that's a good idea, I don't like our options at the moment, any of them really. I feel like we don't have-- we are one more person than when we got our asses handed to us on the road, and we thought we had the upper hand then. Now we have one more, that is better, but if we go to the town and we find a couple of ne'er-do-wells who’ll work for coin, we are convincing them to come with us right away, into the woods. Into the woods.

SAM: Into the woods and out of the woods?

TALIESIN: That would be the hope, I imagine, you’d leave the woods once you went into the woods. I mean, you don't just want to sit there. I mean, that's what I do, but I'm not sure that was really a great decision, so, yeah, huh.

SAM: Are you talking to us?

TALIESIN: I'm just thinking out loud. I've had a few years to just think out loud.

SAM: How old are you?

MARISHA: How many seasons old are you?

TALIESIN: Been about 100, give or take.

SAM: But there's four seasons? Or is it three seasons up here? I don't know.

MARISHA: 25.

SAM: He's between 25 and 100.

TALIESIN: That'll do.

LIAM: What do you think?

MARISHA: I'm still afraid if we roll into Shadycreek-- once again, just pointing out what we are: two firbolgs, a goblin, and then some kind of acceptable-looking people and someone with a reputation. Well, by society's standards.

ASHLY: A lot of shade just got thrown.

MARISHA: Look, come on!

LIAM: If we do that, the three of us would do the talking, naturally.

MARISHA: I'm just saying, we will draw attention to ourselves, and then we might go around asking people to kill the Iron Shepherds, and that might draw more attention to ourselves in a town that it feels the Iron Shepherds kind of run. Or at least have a better foothold in it than we do.

ASHLY: How would this be different? That's my question. One more person, sure. A healer? Sure. But--

LIAM: Well, we could take them at night, which we did not do before. Some of them would be awake, probably not all of them. We had the element of surprise before, we hopefully have it now.

ASHLY: They're on home turf.

LIAM: Home turf is big.

SAM: Can I just say, again, I don't give a shit about Ophelia's request or The Gentleman's offer. I just want to get all of our friends and get out. If we can kill them, great, but if our aim is not to kill them it makes this a much easier mission.

MARISHA: Do you know Ophelia, Clay?

TALIESIN: No.

MARISHA: Sorry, you just had a face like you recognized.

TALIESIN: I had to think a little bit about it, but no.

LIAM: You know, Nott, I agree with you. The most important thing is getting the people who are in that basement. The most important thing. You've always got to improvise.

SAM: Yes.

ASHLY: So you're saying go in with the plan of killing them and then switch it up if need be?

LIAM: The only thing that I believe is known is taking care of the people on that wall, anyone outside. I will send Frumpkin around to see if there are more than just these two, then we will have decisions to make. We will need to send in Frumpkin again or our new friend here. One of us, one of them and make a plan from there. That is all we know now. We need to do something and I feel a little on edge with our numbers, but I am maybe more on edge by the ticking clock.

MARISHA: Okay.

SAM: Let's swing by the baddies' house and just see what's going on?

MARISHA: Anyone in particular feel super strongly about going and getting more help? Should we put it to a vote?

SUMALEE: Do you carry a smell bag?

TALIESIN: A what?

ASHLY: So much disappointment.

SAM: She sniffs a purse every time she wants to make a decision.

ASHLY: It's worked out so far.

SUMALEE: It's filled with things from nature that I find significant.

TALIESIN: That seems like a really good idea actually. I should start doing that.

SUMALEE: It helps me so much.

TALIESIN: What a good way to make a decision.

MARISHA: What does your smell bag say? Do we go and we get more people or do we go to the house?

SUMALEE: I do not need to check it. No smell check necessary.

MARISHA: Make a smell check.

SUMALEE: I just want to go. It will be okay. We have two firbolgs.

MARISHA: I mean, she's so convincing.

ASHLY: Nila, I love your enthusiasm, but again, they're on home turf, they have more people than I thought, more abilities than I thought. I mean, we hire a couple of Taskers. I know it's not ideal, but if--

MARISHA: All right, new plan. We split the party!

SAM: No! Terrible idea.

MARISHA: Half go to the house, the other half go look for more help and then we meet you.

SAM: How’s the half at the house going to do?

MARISHA: Watch.

SAM: No.

MARISHA: All right.

SAM: Let's swing by the house and check it out. If there's a raging party, we'll just continue on to town. If it seems dead, maybe we'll do a little recon. If the recon goes well, maybe we'll do a little insertion.

ASHLY: Are you describing a date right now?

SAM: The insertion goes well, maybe we go steady.

TALIESIN: I don't know what any of that means.

SUMALEE: You will get used to it. I just laugh along now.

TALIESIN: All right.

ASHLY: Look, they're your people, so I'll leave it to you guys, but I don't love the odds.

SUMALEE: I know because of your abilities, if we can draw more of them outside, we will stand a better chance. We will have more power than you had last time.

MARISHA: Let's go to the house.

SAM: We're just going to watch.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: We're going to see what it's like at night so if we have to come back tomorrow night, we'll know what to expect. Are there more guards at night? We don't know, they could have six more dudes who come up there at night.

MARISHA: Let's go. We're wasting time just talking.

SAM: We'll just look.

MARISHA: We'll go look.

MATT: Okay, so you head straight to The Sour Nest? All right. Over the next couple of hours, you make your way, scooting as opposed to the more southern direction you were traveling, heading eastward. Carefully making your way on the outskirts of the northern side of North Clover of Shadycreek Run, I need you all to make stealth checks.

MARISHA: Shit.

MATT: Disadvantage for you, Keg, unfortunately.

ASHLY: Fuck.

TALIESIN: Tonight, can I just politely ask the forest to just give us a round this time, just in case? I want to talk to a couple of trees, see if they'd be all right just giving us a little passage.

MATT: Okay. Roll a wisdom check.

TALIESIN: All right. Wisdom save or wisdom check?

MATT: Wisdom check.

TALIESIN: All right. 21.

MATT: You bend in quietly, placing your hand against one of the nearby trees, the bark being cold and somewhat soft from the moisture of the snow that had melted from the day before. You feel the oppressive sense of the central nature that encompasses the Savalirwood give way ever so faintly.

ASHLY: Wait. Maybe a stupid idea. You guys can talk to plants. Plants are neutral. What if we lead them into the woods?

SAM: What?

SUMALEE: Now you're thinking like I was. I didn't have that specific idea--

ASHLY: The Iron Shepherds. We could lure them into the woods.

SAM: And then what?

ASHLY: We fight them in there.

SUMALEE: We can have the plants entangle them.

ASHLY: I don't know, it could be a backup if this plan goes south, if they wake up or something. But if they can talk to the plants-- the woods are anyone's game. They'd be fighting other creatures, not just us.

LIAM: But what is it that lures the Shepherds out of their hole?

SAM: They won't leave.

MARISHA: I've got fireworks.

SUMALEE: I can put a stink bomb inside. Really stinky, not like what you call my stink pouch.

LIAM: That will put them in the courtyard, it will not probably put them in the woods.

SAM: We'd need to take one of theirs, take Lorenzo or something. They'd have to come after us. There would be no reason for them to leave.

ASHLY: Do I know if Lorenzo is a loyal person, like would he give or would he just let someone die if they got taken?

MATT: Best that you can tell, he's not a "leave no man behind" type individual.

ASHLY: Okay.

MARISHA: He isn't?

MATT: He is not.

ASHLY: But he is a vengeful type of individual?

MATT: He's definitely a fan of an eye for an eye.

ASHLY: If it goes south, and we manage to kill one of them, he might chase us.

LIAM: True.

SAM: Or maybe not.

ASHLY: Or maybe not. It could be a backup.

SAM: No, it's good.

LIAM and MARISHA: Let's go.

ASHLY: Oh, stealth checks, right.

MATT: Stealth checks.

TALIESIN: First stealth check. Where's my stealth? Seven.

SAM: 26.

ASHLY: Seven.

LIAM: Ten.

MARISHA: 12.

SUMALEE: 20.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLY: These are such bad stealth checks.

MATT: Thanks to you speaking with nature, I am ignoring one of the lowest stealth rolls.

ASHLY: Only one?

MATT: Even still, you approach the outskirts of The Sour Nest. The clouds of the night are broken here and there, the very darkened night occasionally broken by the errant moonbeam that manages to sweep through the open grove where this fortress was built. The canopy itself cleared out, leaving it open for the occasional peek of white through the clouds. The same perimeter wall you see being slowly trained across by two guards dressed in the same hooded attire as those that you previously saw. As you saw as well bringing the three carts northward from the Glory Run Road. As you begin to approach, Keg, unfortunately, manages to step on a hornet's nest. It crunches under your foot, and, for a brief second, you inhale very sharply knowing this familiar sound-- This is not the first hornet's nest you've stepped into. Thankfully, a moment passes, no hornets. It was abandoned and had fallen from a tree. However, you do hear a voice on the wall say, "Hello?"

ASHLY: Shit.

SAM: How far?

MATT: About 70 feet from you.

LIAM: I think we might be doing this now, so be prepared for it.

ASHLY: I don't want to put Frumpkin in danger, but could we pretend it was Frumpkin, if he shoots out or something?

LIAM: Frumpkin shoots up into the air and bounces off a tree.

MATT: (hoots) "Oh, there you are again, you sucker." He's going to raise a crossbow again.

ASHLY: Oh no! Oh my god, if I kill someone again!

(laughter)

MATT: That is a 13 to hit. What is Frumpkin's armor class as an owl?

LIAM: I have an owl here, it is-- That hits.

ASHLY: Oh!

SAM: Burch-icide!

ASHLY: Shit!

MATT: That is four points of piercing damage to Frumpkin.

LIAM: Frumpkin is alive!

SAM: What?!

MATT: How many hit points does the owl have?

LIAM: Well, it's 1d4 plus one, and I rolled it last time, and I rolled a four, so it's 1d4 plus one.

MATT: So it's five? This owl takes a crossbow bolt to the chest, and is like (flapping). You hear the same voice go, "Fucking hell! What-- Phil! I fucking shot an owl, it's still flying! I hate this forest! It's bullshit!" You hear this voice a little further away go, "(laughing) You suck!" He's like, "Shut up!" Loads another bolt into it and starts-- You see now is actively looking for the owl to finish it off and regain his pride.

LIAM: I told him to go down low to the ground. Yeah.

MARISHA: Can you bring him back? I kind of want that arrow.

LIAM: *Ja*, I can, but I poof into Frumpkin's senses. Do I hear anything besides Phil and Mystery Man?

MATT: Make a perception check with advantage.

LIAM: *Ja*, because of the hearing.

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: Oh, that's good on the first roll. The first roll is good, so it is 18.

MATT: 18? Okay. Hearing the two men banter back and forth a little bit, the errant prodding that Phil seems to be giving to this individual. Beyond that, there's the crickets in the air, there's other nocturnal birds that are starting to rouse from their slumber to go hunting for the night. From the direction of The Sour Nest, Frumpkin glances up and can see, on the second floor, there are two openings you had seen previously on the second floor of this fortress, on each side, and there appears to be a very faint bit of firelight, and a shadow that passes by one, the other, so there is somebody moving on the second floor of this--

LIAM: Who's in the building?

MATT: Of the inside of it, yes.

LIAM: Okay. I snap my fingers, and Frumpkin vanishes, leaving the bolt where he was, and then I do it again. He's here.

MATT: All right. Very wounded, but alive.

LIAM: May I borrow one of your goodberries?

SUMALEE: Absolutely.

LIAM: Is this one? Okay.

SUMALEE: You may take-- I believe there are four or five left.

LIAM: I will take four.

SUMALEE: Please.

LIAM: One, two, three, four. You may keep that one. Thank you.

MATT: Frumpkin happily eats from the goodberries.

ASHLY: And he's better?

MATT: Yeah, the wounds close slowly, the magic of the goodberries healing the crossbow bolt over eventually.

ASHLY: Oh, god. Sorry, guys.

SAM: We can maybe use this. We could make a distraction owl that he will focus on, and we could take him out from afar.

MARISHA: Do you have an illusion that you can do that? It's a good idea. Maybe we should've done that to begin with.

LIAM: We could potentially keep moving now, if we want to, because--

ASHLY: We got the lay of the land?

LIAM: Yeah, we know there's two on the wall, maybe that's their M.O., every night there's two on the walls. People are awake inside. What is the hour right now?

MATT: I'd say at this point it's close to 10:30.

LIAM: 10:33, yeah.

TALIESIN: That's very specific.

LIAM: Yeah, it is.

TALIESIN: Are you just going for that, or is that going to mean something?

LIAM: Oh, I'm sorry, 10:34 now.

TALIESIN: In a minute, it's going to be 10:35.

LIAM: Yeah, approximately.

TALIESIN: How about now?

LIAM: It's still 10:34.

TALIESIN: But it's closer to 10:35?

LIAM: I'm not going to do this right now. We have a decision to make. Doesn't seem any better or worse from the outside, but we are outside the onion. Are we going back to town to get a little more muscle, or are we making a go of it here?

MARISHA: All right. Who votes for more muscle? Let's put it to a vote.

LIAM: Well, how successfully could we silently kill these two on the wall? You would be good at one.

SAM: Silently, we can kill these two, I think, very easily. As long as you don't move.

ASHLY: I won't. I'm staying right here.

LIAM: But pitch it to me. How? You, I know--

SAM: Can take this guy easily, if-- Do you fight people from afar?

TALIESIN: Not quietly.

SAM: How about you, Nila? Do you have anything that can shoot from afar?

SUMALEE: Lightning, I told you.

SAM: Well, something that's not like, “Hey, look, we're here, we've got lightning!” Something--

SUMALEE: Poison Spray.

SAM: Okay. I mean, that's--

SUMALEE: Ten feet. No, that's not from very far.

SAM: We have Beau. She's quiet. I could distract one while you go up and just (crack).

MARISHA: How tall is the wall? How would I be able to get on the wall?

MATT: The wall is about 12 to 15 feet. It's not terribly tall. It's about five feet wide.

MARISHA: Are we walking the perimeter? If we're doing a perimeter walk, I want to look and see if there are any branches and trees that might be growing close to the wall, that I could--

MATT: You do know, from previously looking over it, that they've cleared out the forest about ten feet from the outer wall specifically to prevent anyone from climbing over into the space.

SAM: I can shoot one with a crossbow.

SUMALEE: I have a sling, too.

SAM: Okay.

LIAM: Yeah, but we have to finish the job instantly.

MARISHA: Yeah, we've got to do both at the same time, ideally. There's got to be a team one and a team two on the guy. I've got my throwing darts, but they're not super great.

ASHLY: Your lightning, it doesn't make a storm around it, right? It's just a lightning bolt. We couldn't--

SAM: Controlled lightning?

ASHLY: Make it seem like it's a storm, rather than an attack. SAM: Well, listen, you can distract him with the actual Frumpkin while I shoot. It doesn't have to be an illusory Frumpkin. I can still shoot.

LIAM: Could also shoot him from the dark when he's not expecting it to happen.

SAM: That's true.

MARISHA: Also, sometimes maybe it's just a stormy night here in the forest.

TALIESIN: This Phil must be a really bad person if you're--

ASHLY: Yeah, he's a real dick.

SAM: Phil's the worst.

ASHLY: Are they within eyesight of each other? I'm assuming so.

MATT: They are, yes.

SAM: I can, if you guys-- I can shoot. I got a shoot-y thing. I can shoot them.

MARISHA: Okay, here's what I'm going to propose. We split up: three on one guy, three on the other. We'll do the plan that worked when we were doing it on kids, and we didn't know we were doing it on kids. Me and you can throw up a bottle rocket. That will be the signal. We attack both of the guys at the same time, two different sides.

SAM: That's loud. We could just do Message. We can send each other a message that's silent.

MARISHA: But if it's loud, and they're both dead afterwards.

LIAM: No, the people inside will hear it. No, we need silence.

SUMALEE: I could create-- Oh, were you going to say something?

TALIESIN: I know I'm new here, and you've obviously all got some kind of hierarchy going here of how you work this out.

SAM: Caleb's in charge.

TALIESIN: That makes sense. I suppose my question would be: what are you really here for? Because normally, if I'm looking at a complicated problem, I just think about what it is that I really want, and then I go and I do that.

MARISHA: We want to murder everyone inside and rescue the people who are trapped.

SAM: We want to rescue the people who are trapped.

TALIESIN: Well, I was going to say that if you had to put one above the other. If you get one thing, you get to do it.

SAM: Rescue the people in the basement.

TALIESIN: So you've got to get in and out of the basement. That seems to be the conversation then, is getting in and out of the basement. I'm sure, inevitably, you're going to kill a whole bunch of people in the process of that, but as long as you're focused on where you're going and what you're doing, that may help with this wanton violence against Phil, who I'm sure is a terrible person. He shot an owl.

SAM: Phil's friend did.

ASHLY: He thought it was funny, though, so he's still a dick.

TALIESIN: No, that ain't funny.

MARISHA: All right, let's split up, take these guys out.

LIAM: No, it's too early. We need to wait.

MARISHA: Jesus!

LIAM: It's 10:35 at night. We need to wait until they're asleep.

ASHLY: Call it 10:37 at this point.

LIAM: No.

MARISHA: We wait an hour and get into position.

MATT: Okay. You guys wait an hour to get into position.

MARISHA: We watch the passing shadows in front of the windows.

MATT: Okay, you keep an out, and you do watch as the two of them-- They're not perfectly in line with each other, and the second floor of the complex does block their vision of each other when they are on complete opposite sides of the wall. But sometimes one of them will be faster than the other, and they'll yell to the other, and they'll go see each other from the opposite sides.

LIAM: How far is Beauregard from me right now?

MATT: How far is Beauregard from you right now?

LIAM: Did you wander away from me?

MARISHA: No, I'm right next to you.

LIAM: (whispers) Would you rather wait until they are sleeping in their beds before we did this?

MARISHA: Yeah. I was just trying to move things along.

LIAM: I don't want this one moving along right now. She makes a lot of noise.

ASHLY: Sorry.

MARISHA: Yeah, we'll wait. We'll just wait an hour.

ASHLY: That's a good question. I'm probably going to ruin any stealthiness.

MATT: You do know, from the time that you've spent here, that there is no point in which the place is unguarded from the wall.

ASHLY: There's no point at which there is--

MATT: Meaning there are shifts. The perimeter sentinels that you see currently, there are usually two sets that switch off.

ASHLY: Is there a time when they change?

MATT: There is, but you're not entirely certain when it was. You weren't really paying attention.

SAM: You could take off your armor.

MARISHA: That's what I was thinking, at least to get into place, and then put it back on.

MATT: It's a lot of armor.

LIAM: If we are doing this, I feel we should wait until it is late at night, and wait until we see those guards changed, and then wait a little bit further for the old guards to go to sleep. Yeah? So there's a lot of sitting here and not moving. I know we are all very anxious, but we wait, someone comes out, relieves these two, they go to bed, and then we strike all at once. Then we do your plan; it's just delayed, that's all.

MARISHA: Okay. Until the next shift change. I could use a short rest anyway.

SAM: Get on different sides of the facility?

MARISHA: I think so.

LIAM: Yeah, but Keg, you stay here.

ASHLY: And do what?

LIAM: Wait.

SAM: With two other people. We're splitting up so we can take them both out at the same time.

LIAM: Yeah, you are just waiting until some of us are able to silently take out these people on the wall. Then we buy ourselves a little time while you can clink and clunk as we get closer.

ASHLY: (laughs)

LIAM: It's good that you find levity in the situation. Then we go into the inside of this wall and take the next step.

ASHLY: So it's not three and three, it's three and two.

LIAM: Well, it's two groups, and you move less right now.

ASHLY: Okay. Fair.

MARISHA: Can I take a short rest?

MATT: You guys can take a short rest.

MARISHA: And we watch.

MATT: And you watch.

MARISHA: And we solidify our plan?

MATT: Mercifully, depending on your intent, the clouds break for a while and you have a clear, starry, moonlit sky overhead that manages to create a rim-light on both the wall, the structure, and the two guards. And you wait. And you wait. And we’re going to take a break.

LIAM: Thank goodness. I have to pee so bad.

MATT: We’ll come back here in a second. At this point, might as well put the fortress out there, so that’ll be waiting for you when you come back.

LIAM: Let's go back to town.

SUMALEE: You’re a firbolg!

MATT: You finally found him! We’re going to go to break here for a bit, but we have our giveaway at the break! For our fantastic giveaway tonight, we have the purpleheart hero vault with the Celtic knot design on it, which is really pretty. It's magnetized; open it up and you can put your dice; you can put your miniature in there. I’ll be giving this away at the end of the break, so hop on over to the Critical Role chat on Twitch. That's twitch.tv/criticalrole and enter the key word once. More than once and you’ll be disqualified. The keyword tonight is "stronghold." One word: stronghold. All you people in the U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec, throw that into the chat and we’ll come back with a winner as soon as we return. See you in a few minutes!

Break Edit

[break]

Part IIEdit

ASHLY: Banana hammock

MATT: A little late on the draw there, but that worked out. That was awesome. Welcome back, everybody! Before we jump into this, we have our winner of the fantastic purpleheart hero vault.That's going to be Elmosdaddy. Congratulations, Elmosdaddy! We'll get your information and get that out to you ASAP.

LIAM: (Elmo voice) Elmosdaddy!

ASHLY: Sounds just the same. Is it the same voice?

LIAM: (Elmo voice) (giggling)

MATT: To give you a little bit of a visual representation of the size of the base of the fortress.

LIAM: (Elmo voice) Everybody's going to die!

MATT: That's what you see within the interior of the courtyard. The wall itself resides probably about out here.

SAM: This is inside the wall?

MATT: This is inside the wall.

SAM: Oh jeez.

MATT: Above that, still--

SAM: There's a second floor?

MATT: There's a second floor.

SAM: But it would be ridiculous to have built that also.

MARISHA: How are you lifting that?

LIAM: He’s got a little board under there.

MATT: The second floor sits right about there. To give a little bit of perspective on that. The black dots on the outside, by the way, are where the windows are visible on the stone. You guys are currently divided on opposite ends of the outer wall watching the two guards slowly move their way around the perimeter.

MARISHA: Have they done a guard shift yet?

MATT: Not yet.

LIAM: In the interim while we're waiting for that to happen, I'm going to do two things. One, I'm going to cast Mage Armor on myself, and I'm also going to pull a book out of one of the holsters and spend ten minutes changing Frumpkin into a *spider*!

MATT: All righty.

ASHLY: There aren't any windows on the bottom floor at all?

MATT: No. No windows in the bottom floor. There is a front double door, and there is a single door in the back that you know leads into a kitchen.

MARISHA: Go Charlotte, go! You're radiant!

LIAM: He has three hit points, so I think he's actually a bigger spider than the one you're imagining. See, he's right there. He's very big.

MARISHA: How big is that spider?

MATT: It's a pretty big spider.

LIAM: It's three hit points worth of spider.

MARISHA: That looks like a three hit point spider.

LIAM: Somebody could step on it and he could still go.

MATT: That's a four or five hitter.

LIAM: Get Brian Foster in here with his ping pong racket.

MARISHA: That’s arguably terrifying, I'll give it to you. I was a little wrong, just a little.

LIAM: I put it on Beau's shoulder.

MARISHA: I'm not terrified of it, I'm just saying it could be terrifying. Hi, Frumpkin.

MATT: Shortly after midnight, you watch as two figures ascend from the inside of the wall climbing up different ladders that mark the entrance and exit. They both interface in a brief conversation, hushed voices, and then relieve the two previous guards, who then descend down on the inside of the courtyard via those same ladders and disappear into The Sour Nest fortress. So there has been a guard changeover now. It's past midnight, pushing one in the morning. What would you like to do?

SAM: How are we split up, group-wise? Probably me and Caleb split. And then--

MARISHA: One firbolg each.

SAM: I'll take the new one.

MARISHA: We'll take the old one.

SAM: Oh hey, look!

MARISHA: Table and Table.

SAM: While we're waiting I've asked the Deuce--

TALIESIN: I'm already regretting the name.

SAM: Are you married?

TALIESIN: No.

SAM: Did you go to college?

TALIESIN: What?

SAM: How old are you really?

TALIESIN: I don't really know how to answer that question.

SAM: Do you have kids?

TALIESIN: No.

ASHLY: Why are you badgering him with questions?

SAM: Well, he's a new friend and I talk when I'm nervous.

ASHLY: Why don't you let him think and answer questions one at a time?

SAM: You're right.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

ASHLY: Sure, well, I'm learning from-- I don't know who, actually. None of us are good at this. Nila, I guess.

SAM: Nila is really good at this; she's great. SUMALEE: What am I good at?

MARISHA: I don't know I can only hear muffles. Choice words. I think they’re talking about you, though.

SUMALEE: It's okay.

LIAM: I pull the haversack off and say: I have a decent idea, anyway. I think that you should use this.

MARISHA: Oh yeah.

MATT: Much how you spend a moment with your smell bag, you watch as Beauregard seems to focus into this strange, vibrant pink satchel or shoulder bag that Caleb has been carrying.

SUMALEE: What is inside?

MATT: About a minute passes before Beauregard pulls back away, this strange trance passing over her.

MARISHA: Death is weird, am I right?

SUMALEE: What did you do to her?

LIAM: Back to my idea, okay. Nott on the other side can probably put a bolt in that guy's throat over there. You can probably vault up the side of that wall, if I'm not mistaken, don't you think?

MARISHA: How tall are you?

SUMALEE: 7'2”, maybe 7'6”.

MARISHA: Would you be willing to give me a boost up that wall?

SUMALEE: Absolutely.

LIAM: Oh, you told me about your ability to make things quiet around you.

ASHLY: Damn, should've gone with Nila.

SAM: You married? What kids do you have?

ASHLY: I was married once. It lasted, like, an hour.

TALIESIN: I bet it was a really good hour.

ASHLY: Yeah, she sobered up and she said that she made a mistake.

LIAM: When I hold him, you yank him off of the wall, and then Humpty Dumpty, you know, they can't put him back-- You know how it goes.

MARISHA: Copy.

SUMALEE: Wait, I'm sorry, I need that one more time, but I'll get it.

LIAM: You are going to help Beauregard here up onto the wall, quietly, after you use your--

SUMALEE: Pass Without a Trace.

LIAM: Whatever you call it. Then she gets up there and I am going to use my tricks to hold him and let her rip him off the wall and split his skull upon the stones beneath.

SUMALEE: Excellent.

MARISHA: Also, the thing I was looking at, our version of the smell bag. It's like this artifact that we got from an assassin that lets you look into the creation of space and time and the universe.

LIAM: Pretty complicated.

MARISHA: Yeah

SUMALEE: Wow.

MARISHA: Anyway.

LIAM: I pull out a little wire and whisper into it to Nott and say: I think we have an idea over here, so we should probably get set.

ASHLY: We haven't come up with a plan yet.

SAM: We'll get ready over here, give us one second.

ASHLY and SAM: How tall is our firbolg?

TALIESIN: (singing) How tall is my firbolg? Seven feet?

MATT: Seven to seven and a half feet.

ASHLY: We could just copy their plan.

SAM: I mean, I can just shoot.

ASHLY: Oh, you can just shoot, never mind.

SAM: If I miss, then backup plan is boost-y to you?

ASHLY: Can you? I'm like 200 plus.

TALIESIN: I'm not that strong.

LIAM: Well, she’s a party maker, noise, you know. (clanking)

SAM: You can’t shoot anything?

TALIESIN: I can do some magic.

ASHLY: I have javelins.

SAM: Oh! You have a javelin.

ASHLY: I forgot I had javelins. Yes, I have javelins.

SAM: I guess that’s our Plan B, then.

ASHLY: Didn’t do too hot in the last one.

SAM: Is there anything that either of you can do to hold, silence, or assist me as I shoot this fellow?

ASHLY: I could give you thumbs up as you’re doing it.

SUMALEE: If I cast Pass Without a Trace, can it help them, too?

MATT: Unfortunately, you guys are on the opposite sides of this.

TALIESIN: I’ve got a Guiding Bolt, but it’s very bright and it’s made of light.

SAM: Let’s not do that.

TALIESIN: I have some insects, but they make a lot of noise.

SAM: Okay. It’s fine. It’s on me. It’s okay. I’ll just get super drunk.

TALIESIN: Actually, I have something I can do while that’s happening.

LIAM: Matthew?

MATT: Yes?

LIAM: DM. where would you say, in relation to this map, the two groups are?

MATT: The two groups would be probably on the outskirts of the wall here and here.

LIAM: So 150 feet apart, probably.

MATT: Quite a distance.

MARISHA: How far does your Message work?

LIAM: Like, about that far.

MARISHA: So we wouldn’t be out a Message range of each other.

SAM: Message is 120 feet.

MATT: About 120 feet.

LIAM: Ayy!

MARISHA: When I get up there and grab him, I’m going to bash his head in and I’m going to throw him down, and if he’s still alive, you get him.

SUMALEE: With my shillelagh!

MARISHA and SUMALEE: (grunting)

MATT: We’ll say you can manage to adjust yourselves to get within range.

LIAM: When you get on the wall off of Nila’s shoulders and you do the handhold thing? You know what I’m talking about?

MARISHA: I was figuring I would be on her shoulders and we would suck up against the wall.

SAM: I take out a piece of wire and send a little Message.

LIAM: Right underneath him?

MARISHA: We’ll see, yeah. Right underneath him.

SAM: Caleb! Provided this plan works, after we knock down the folks, someone on each party should put on their cloak and resume their guard pattern and keep walking around the wall.

SUMALEE: Very sneaky.

LIAM: That is an excellent idea.

SAM: You can respond-- oh, you did.

LIAM: Yeah. You and I, we’re good. We have this little routine. Beauregard can do that on this side. What about on your side? You? You’re short.

MARISHA: Keg.

LIAM and SAM: She’s short.

MARISHA: But not as short as Nott.

TALIESIN: You could stand on top of me.

ASHLY: Are these guys humans, these guards?

MATT: Make a perception check. (yawns) Pardon me.

ASHLY: 20, baby!

MATT: One of them is human, though maybe 5 1/2 feet tall. The other, because of the moonlight that’s coming through, you have a better perspective on him, even at this distance, you guess probably half-elven or just a very thin human. A little over 6-foot. So you have a 6-foot one and one that’s 5 1/2 feet.

SAM: Maybe firbolg could hunch over and stalk around.

SUMALEE: As a firbolg, you have the ability, no, to disguise yourself? Every firbolg does, to shrink a little bit if you want.

SAM: She says to Caleb, who tells me, who tells him.

SUMALEE: Sorry!

MARISHA: Pass it along!

TALIESIN: Yeah, I guess I can do that.

SAM: Okay!

ASHLY: I’m very strong, I could maybe hoist you.

SAM: Oh! Yes! See, you’ve got a plan, now!

ASHLY: We made up a plan, too!

LIAM: What are you doing over there, Nott?

SAM: We’re going to shoot the man and then drunky, smoky Keg is going to pick up The Deuce and he’s going to walk around--

ASHLY: Is my nickname Drunky, Smoky Keg?!

SAM: We’re working on a better one.

ASHLY: It’s not even a nickname; it’s three times longer than my normal name! How about Keg?! My normal name!

TALIESIN: It’s literally one syllable. I feel like that’s not a lot to ask.

LIAM: Nott, I have a question for you. The plan is not foolproof, but on our side over here, Beauregard’s going to throw the asshole off the wall. If you shoot your asshole and he does not die but starts screaming, what do you do?

SAM: Other than shoot him again. We have a javelin and that is all we’ve got.

ASHLY: I have rope, so I could tie the rope around the javelin, (shoonk!), and pull him off the wall.

MARISHA: Makeshift harpoon? That’s pretty cool.

SAM: Sure, let’s do it!

ASHLY: Is that now a leading plan?

SAM: No, I’m still going to shoot and you’re going to be ready with jav.

LIAM: Or you could attack at the same time.

ASHLY: That’s true.

LIAM: Said Liam.

MARISHA: Let’s just do this. Come on.

ASHLY: Okay, I tie the rope around the javelin.

SAM: You message me a countdown and I'll say it out loud to you.

ASHLY: I'm very scared.

MARISHA: We're going to wait for our guys to pace--

LIAM: Yeah, the sequence of events is that you two need to get onto the wall successfully.

MARISHA: Uh-huh, with Pass Without a Trace.

LIAM: You've got your javelin tied up.

ASHLY: It's ready, it's roped.

MATT: Battle-optimal position.

SAM and MARISHA: They're here.

LIAM: I say three, two, one.

MARISHA: Go, Pass without a Trace!

SAM: Three, two, one, go!

LIAM: No! Are they in place?

MARISHA: We're going.

SUMALEE: She's on my shoulders.

MARISHA: I'm on her shoulders, I'm up against this fucking wall! You're doing this, I'm going to try and (grunt)--

ASHLY: Then we're shooting at the same time?

SAM: We're shooting at the same time.

LIAM: I'm going to hold Hold Person until these two are right under the guard.

MARISHA: I want to wait until right after he passes, and then I want to do some ninja stuff.

SAM: Are you just sipping tea?

TALIESIN: Yep.

MATT: First, I need you to make a stealth check because you're having to move right up against the wall. This is a ten-foot clearing.

MARISHA: I do.

LIAM: Use the dodeca if you need to.

MARISHA: That's true.

MATT: Both of you guys roll stealth checks.

MARISHA: Mmm.

SUMALEE: Doesn't she get a plus ten to the stealth?

MATT: It is a plus ten to stealth check.

MARISHA: Then that gives me a 20 total. Okay, 20.

SUMALEE: Oh shit, how did I get the same thing? Look.

MARISHA: I cursed you!

SAM: You need to stealth too?

LIAM: Luck, you have luck still.

MATT: What's your total?

ASHLY: Does that apply to her, the Pass without a Trace?

LIAM and MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: But you have a luck left.

SUMALEE: I have two luck points left, but I feel like--

MATT: No, you have one because you used one last game.

ASHLY: But we short rested, didn't we?

SUMALEE: Oh, we rested.

MATT: It's a long rest to come back.

LIAM: You got one left.

ASHLY: Farts.

SUMALEE: I think I need to hold that.

MATT: So 15 and 20? You're throwing a javelin and you're firing.

SAM: Yeah.

ASHLY: Okay.

MATT: You both run up to the wall. You go ahead and hoist up, hanging on the edge right there. Walks past, doesn't seem to have noticed the both of you.

SUMALEE and MARISHA: Woo!

MATT: Rolled a six on his perception. Would you both make your attack rolls, please? Because you are unseen, you have advantage on the attack.

ASHLY: On three?

LIAM: No, Caleb, seeing this, would've went *drei, zwei, eins*. Hold Person.

ASHLY: That is a 15.

MATT: That just hits.

SAM: Natural 20.

ASHLY: Hell yes!

SAM: But you said advantage. So that was a three.

MATT: It was with advantage. Roll again just in case you want to crit.

ASHLY: A one, no.

MATT: No, not at all. Let's roll your sneak attack damage and double it on top because it's a crit, and then take another shot.

LIAM: Take a shot!

SAM: 24 so far.

MATT: 24 points of damage from the first attack. Go ahead and roll damage for the javelin.

ASHLY: Five.

MATT: It's 29 damage. As you throw the javelin up, you get your shot, the next attack.

SAM: 24.

MATT: Roll damage for that one.

SAM: Nine.

MATT: You watch as-- (multiple impacts)-- and you yank back. Make a strength check.

SAM: Come on!

ASHLY: No whammies. Ten?

MATT: (thud) You're dragging the corpse.

LIAM: Ten.

ALL: Ten!

MATT: Hand-over-hand, you're dragging the corpse. He insta-dies, and then got pulled off and then slammed onto the ground and is now being pulled through the dirt and grass. Done, instantly. For you, it's a wisdom saving throw.

LIAM: 16.

MATT: A natural 12 plus one, that's 13, it's a fail.

LIAM: Oh, held!

MARISHA: He's held?

MATT: Yes.

MARISHA: As soon that I see that he's held, I am going to jump up and try and grab him by the pants and bash his head in and then throw him down.

MATT: Easy enough to do. Go ahead and make a martial arts attack. Technically, you have advantage because he's paralyzed.

MARISHA: Okay. Just a straight attack?

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: Okay. 16? No, sorry, 15?

MATT: That hits, it's an auto-crit because he's held. Roll your martial arts damage.

MARISHA: Aw, I rolled a one. Plus two, plus four. Six damage.

MATT: Six damage. You throw him to the ground. He falls and takes an additional five points of bludgeoning damage. After the fall, hits the ground-- off the wall, on the backside of it, he's now face down on the ground, still held.

MARISHA: I go: Nila, now!

SUMALEE: I take my shillelagh and just let him have it (grunt).

MATT: Are you continuing your attack with her or are you hanging, staying up on the wall?

MARISHA: I will finish my attack right as she whacks her staff. I'm going to let go and try and time it to where I land on the staff with her.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and swing the attack. You have advantage because he's paralyzed and prone.

SUMALEE: Okay, this is this.

MATT: Yep. Go ahead and roll that twice and take the higher, adding your wisdom modifier.

SUMALEE: Ten plus four, so 14.

MATT: Plus your proficiency modifier, which is plus three, so it would be--

SUMALEE: 17.

MATT: That hits. Go ahead and roll your damage. Should be a--

SUMALEE: Which is 1d8.

MATT: d8 plus four. But d8 times two because it's critical.

ASHLY: Come on, Nila.

MATT: Well, it's-- oh, that's fine, we'll do that. So that's nine-- add the two together-- it's nine plus four. So 13 points of damage on top of that. Right as you're slamming down, go ahead and make your next attack.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm, 23.

MATT: With advantage, these are with advantage because he's paralyzed and prone.

MARISHA: 23.

MATT: Go ahead and roll damage, crit.

MARISHA: That's much better. Eight plus four, so 12 damage.

MATT: 12 points of damage. Yeah, that'll do it.

ASHLY: Fuck yes!

MATT: Both of them-- one was enjoying the wind and then darkness forever. The other got a cramp and then got bludgeoned from all sides after being jammed in the dirt and then expired.

ASHLY: "Was enjoying the wind and then darkness forever." Aw, that's so sad! Was it Phil?

MATT: It was the end of The Sopranos for them, man. It was just--

ASHLY: Phil's asleep, Phil went to bed. It switched, Phil's still alive. We should only leave Phil alive if we can, just save Phil.

MATT: Hashtag save Phil.

SUMALEE: Phil is bad!

MATT: They are both done at the moment, it is silent. There is a very slight sound of both their bodies impacting in the dirt, but you're not sure if that managed to reach as far as anybody within the interior of the stronghold. What do you do now in this moment?

SAM: Mr. Deuce, put on this cloak, if you don't mind, and climb up onto there and patrol around, if you don't mind.

TALIESIN: This Deuce thing's weird, I don't--

SAM: Mr. Clay!

MARISHA: I do the same thing. I slip into the guard uniform.

TALIESIN: Do you think maybe we're going to want some of these clothes at some point?

SAM: You can put his cloak on right now.

TALIESIN: Oh, I'm really tall, but all right. I'm also going to take a look at this guy they just killed and commit his face and what he's wearing to memory, just to put it in there.

MATT: Cool, no worries.

ASHLY: Then I'm going to hoist you up on top? Or can you make it there yourself?

TALIESIN: How tall is the--?

MATT: It's about 12 feet. You might want to help him; he's not the strongest person. Just make a strength check. It's not too difficult.

ASHLY: A million. 24.

MATT: Yeah. You (grunt)-- you get on top of the wall, you have the cloak on.

TALIESIN: I'm going to rope down really quick, quietly, keeping an eye out.

SAM: Ooh, nice.

MARISHA: Would you mind giving me another boost real quick?

SUMALEE: Not a problem at all.

MATT: Between your acrobatics and your ability, your height, without an issue, you get to the top. You guys now are on top of the wall, cloaked. Where do you want to go?

MARISHA: I look over at Deuce and give a nod.

TALIESIN: You said that out of game and I can't say anything about it.

LIAM: I send Frumpkin up into the air to do a circle around the entire perimeter.

MATT: Perception check with advantage please.

ASHLY: Does this mean that they can see in the windows on the second story now?

MATT: If they want to they can try.

LIAM: *Achtzehn*. 18.

MATT: Okay. There does not appear to be any person in the courtyard. Those two guards are the only two that were currently set on the outside. You can see the horses that were pulling the carts that are set over on the side at the moment. You can see the carts that have since been repaired and are currently waiting in rest. You can see the front door to the stronghold, and you can see the back door.

LIAM: Frumpkin saw all of this, yeah? Saw the doors, all of that? I'm going to creep my way to the front door and as I go, I'm going to cast Detect Magic.

MATT: You're still on the outside of the wall.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: You have to make your way through the perimeter of the wall, which has its own front gate, which is closed. Do you want to head to that?

LIAM: Right, to the outer wall.

MATT: The outer wall and out that way, okay. Cast Detect Magic?

LIAM: Yeah. I will wait until I am within 30 feet of the wall and then I do so, I will mutter a few words.

TALIESIN: I get a free Disguise Self that doesn't actually count against any of my slots.

MATT: Correct.

LIAM: Sexy.

TALIESIN: I'm going to be a guard. I'm going to be the guy we just snuffed.

MATT: Easy enough to do.

LIAM: I like this guy.

TALIESIN: That's cool, I haven't done this.

MATT: As you give the Deuce your nod, you watch as his form actually shifts smaller and matches the shape of the previous guard.

SAM: Mr. Clay!

ASHLY: Cool trick!

MATT: Finishing your Detect Magic, you do not detect anything magical of the outer gate. It is locked.

ASHLY: Are we going in together? Should we do back entrance/front entrance?

MARISHA: I can unlock the front entrance for you guys.

LIAM: I take my wire and I say: Nott are you on the ground still? Can you meet me at the front gates quietly?

SAM: Yeah, give us a minute. I am going to rifle through the dude's pockets and go through the guy we just killed's stuff.

MATT: Okay. Make an investigation check, because you're doing this quickly.

SAM: 15.

MATT: 15? Not too bad.

MARISHA: Do we want to go front entrance/back entrance?

MATT: You manage to pilfer about 62 gold pieces.

SAM: 62?!

MATT: Yes.

SAM: Why is he so rich?!

MATT: Because you caught him at the moment outside of the town and he had his money on him.

SAM: But does he have anything else useful, like keys?

MATT: No keys on him, no.

MARISHA: Yeah, make sure we get the gold out of our dude's pockets, you're right there on the ground.

SAM: Okay, cool. Anything else?

MATT: He felt safe on that wall.

SAM: Anything else useful? No.

MATT: The crossbow that he had seems to have snapped in the process of his body being yanked from the top of the wall. His armor is standard leather armor.

SAM: Okay, great.

MARISHA: Is there anything on the dude’s armor that I put on?

MATT: You didn't stop to check, you're already up on the wall.

SUMALEE: I can check.

MATT: If you want to. Make an investigation check.

SUMALEE: 17, what do I add?

MARISHA: Investigation.

SUMALEE and MARISHA: Minus one.

SUMALEE: 16.

MATT: 16, okay. You find 22 gold pieces.

SUMALEE: Added to my ten, that seems like a lot.

MATT: And a pack of crossbow bolts, 16 crossbow bolts.

SAM: Totally useful.

LIAM: Waiting very anxiously for my life partner.

SAM: Oh! Yes, let's go! Oh, not you. You stay up there. Let's go, but be stealthy.

MATT: I'd like you both to roll stealth check with disadvantage.

SAM: Wait, with advantage?

MATT: Disadvantage for her because of her armor.

LIAM: Oh, son of a fuck, come on Ash.

SAM and LIAM: Okay.

LIAM: Don't go lower than that, that’s got to be the worst.

SAM: That was the worst. Still not great.

ASHLY: This is the worst?

SAM: No.

LIAM: Seven plus--

ASHLY: Seven plus five.

MATT: Okay, 12, good to know.

MARISHA: I say: Meet at the front gate.

SUMALEE: Okay.

MATT: You're going stealth as well? Roll a stealth check. please.

ASHLY: Oh god, why’d I get plate armor?

MARISHA: I think you still have Pass Without a Trace on.

MATT: You do, so that's plus ten.

SUMALEE: Oh, thank goodness. Thank you.

MARISHA: Lasts for like ten minutes, I think.

SUMALEE: 14

MARISHA: Lasts for an hour?

SUMALEE and MATT: Up to an hour.

SUMALEE: Okay, so this is four plus ten.

MATT: Okay. Eventually, the four of you meet towards the front gate, seemingly, from what you can tell, no one's noticed.

TALIESIN: From my vantage point, I'm going to see if there's anybody in the courtyard, or if there's anything-- since I'm up there now.

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: I signal to Deuce. I don't know what else to call you.

TALIESIN: Clay, if you have to.

MARISHA: Clay.

TALIESIN: Caduceus Clay. 16.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Hey, look at the windows, too.

TALIESIN: They're nice.

SAM: Oh no!

TALIESIN: I'm looking in the windows.

MATT: Okay, you see nobody else inside the courtyard. You occasionally see the flickering movement. It looks like firelight is the source of light that's coming through the two windows on the two sides of the facility you can see. No movement yet.

MARISHA: Okay, I'm going to slowly start pacing around towards the front. I'm also going to look into the windows. Do I see anything from my vantage point?

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: Natural 20! Thanks, Gil!

MATT: Okay, you feel like you have a pretty good eye on those two sides of the interior windows. You do not see any movement yet, but you're pretty locked on. What are the four of you guys doing now that you've met at the front gate?

LIAM: We're at the front gate?

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: Okay, I can get this open, but I would prefer to preserve my reserves, so can you get this door open?

SAM: Sure, I'll pick the lock. 16 plus stuff. It's plus four plus three or something like that? Is that right?

MATT: That's your dexterity modifier plus your proficiency modifier.

SAM: Yeah, plus seven.

MATT: All right; yeah.

SAM: So 23.

MATT: 23, okay. You take a moment and there are two specific locks that are chained; one on each side that are closed. The one that's nearest to you, easy enough. The one on the opposite side, you have to pull out one of your metallic hooks that slips through a space in the wood and manage to pull it up on the side a little bit. You’re essentially reverse-picking it with two hooked picks from the opposite side. It takes you a little longer, until eventually it hangs.

LIAM: I miss being a rogue every day.

SAM: So far, everything’s going great--

ASHLY: Why did you say that?

SAM: And we should assume that everything will continue to go great.

ASHLY: Oh god, okay.

LIAM: I pull out the wire and get it between my hands and whisper up to Beauregard: Are we good? Is everything good up there from what you can see? Are we good?

MARISHA: Coast looks clear. I don't know why I did this with my fingers.

ASHLY: Okay, now we have a choice. We could just try to go downstairs and get your friends.

LIAM: There is another door over there. Let's get to that door.

ASHLY: The back door?

LIAM: We’re at the front gate.

MATT: You guys are over there.

ASHLY: Oh duh, okay. All right.

MATT: You’re making your way into the courtyard now.

LIAM: Yeah, so we have to get to that door.

MATT: This door or this door. Your choice.

ASHLY: That's the front?

MATT: That's the front.

TALIESIN: Or you could meet me at the corner, since I'm walking around the-- Oh, I'm on the outer. I'm not in the center area yet?

MATT: Technically, Beau, you guys are walking perimeter on the outside wall. The rest of you cats are currently, essentially, over that way. You guys have just past through the gate on that side, where it's open and allowing you into the courtyard.

SAM: Caleb, I trust you. Where do we go, back--

LIAM: There's no magic on the front door, right?

MATT: You’re still focusing as you come inside?

LIAM: It's like ten minutes, so I’ve probably got four or five minutes left.

MATT: Yeah, no magic that you notice on the front door of the fortress.

LIAM: I think that we should cut around the side and go to the back. They will probably be expecting that less.

ASHLY: That leads into the kitchen, too. There shouldn't be anyone in the kitchen.

LIAM: Yeah, okay.

SAM: Okay, but wait. Can we get Beau and Mr. Clay down here as well to help?

LIAM: I think we should leave them for the moment to keep appearances up.

SAM: Well then, in that case, can you carry Keg?

ASHLY: Oh yeah, could you carry me?

SUMALEE: I would love to.

LIAM: Okay, but are you able to-- I don't understand your people’s ways, but are you able to help her the way you helped Beauregard earlier?

SAM: Oh yes, you could use that spell that you used earlier.

LIAM: That ability you had to make Beauregard--

MARISHA: It's within 30 feet of her, so yeah, I think she should be good? But I think you have to cast it on the people within 30 feet of you.

SAM: Recast!

MATT: For the duration, each creature you choose within 30 feet of you.

LIAM: So you could drop it and do it again.

SAM: Wait, for the duration--

MARISHA: For the duration, each creature you choose within 30 feet?

LIAM: Who has it now?

TALIESIN: I think it's as long as they’re within 30 feet, it's like a field and you can say yea or nay. That's my view.

MATT: It doesn't say at the moment of casting you have to select; just that for the duration you choose. So, my interpretation, I would allow someone to step into the radius, and you could then choose.

SAM: Okay, so we know better. We know you don't have to cast it.

ASHLY: I'll snuggle up to Nila.

SUMALEE: I choose Keg.

LIAM: Let's tippy-toe around the back door.

SAM: Okay, let's go!

MATT: All right, everyone who's now making their way around the back, make another stealth check.

ASHLY: Am I at disadvantage now? Still?

MATT: You’re still at disadvantage, because you still have your armor.

ASHLY: So two plus ten plus five. 17.

LIAM: I miss Vax so much.

MATT: 17.

SAM: 23.

LIAM: 14.

TALIESIN: Plus ten.

LIAM: Plus ten, whatever it is.

SUMALEE: 12.

MATT: Okay. You guys begin to head around this direction?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: All right. Going past the barrel pile where you had previously made your way in and out via owl the previous day. As you guys scoot past, you hear the front door of the facility (thudding) (creaking). It opens ever so faintly to the inside, and a figure peers out, having apparently heard something.

MARISHA: We don't see that?

SAM: No, we already went--

LIAM: No, these two. We asked them if they saw anything right before we went.

MARISHA: I didn't see that.

MATT: You see a figure poke the head out and look curiously.

TALIESIN: Sorry!

MATT: "What?" Make a deception check, with advantage given that fact that it's in the darkness and not an unexpected scenario.

TALIESIN: Natural 20.

ASHLY: Hell yes!

MATT: Guard looks past and closes the door.

ASHLY: Oh my god. I'm going to have an ulcer after this game!

TALIESIN: Nah.

MATT: You guys all continue to the back of the facility.

ASHLY: Except Keg.

SUMALEE: No, you are with me. We're together.

MATT: You guys are at the back door.

LIAM: I'm going to guess that I have two or three minutes left on Detect Magic, so does the door seem clear of that?

MATT: The door seems to be clear of magic.

TALIESIN: Who do I see on the front door, by the way, really? What did he look like? I don't know who he was, but--

MATT: From what you can look at, it looked to be humanoid, it was hard to tell at this distance with the little bit of firelight you saw. Hood was down. Short, black hair, looked a bit sallow. Young, but probably looked older than they were--

MARISHA: Kill it! Kill it!

ASHLY: Aww, damn.

MATT: Nah, that would have been cool.

LIAM: It was on my iPad!

MATT: I should have run with it. You’re at the back door.

LIAM: Luck, luck, luck. Is there any gap between the bottom of the door and the floor that Frumpkin could fit through right now?

MATT: There is a very faint bit that a spider could fit though, yes.

LIAM: In you go, buddy. Hold on to my hand, please.

ASHLY: We could do a hand chain.

SAM: You're not with us.

TALIESIN: Aww, damn it.

LIAM: Telepathically, I tell Frumpkin to crawl up the other side of the door and go onto the ceiling.

MATT: All right. Frumpkin is now up, and there is a kitchen.

TALIESIN: Sandwiches!

SAM: What?

MATT: There is a kitchen, you can see there is an oven. There looks to be a bunch of dirty dishes that have just piled up and haven't been washed in a while. There is a path that goes to the right and further down this hallway, and there is a door that leads further in.

LIAM: Nila didn't tell us anything about a kitchen from her--

MARISHA: Yeah, she did.

SUMALEE: No, I did.

MARISHA: The hallway down the right is the one we want to go to, if I remember correctly.

SUMALEE: With the trapdoor.

MARISHA: With the trapdoor, yep.

LIAM: Well, that’s where I will send Frumpkin along the ceiling. Then when he gets to a door, he can go down the door and under, if there is a gap, and then up the door.

MATT: Okay. That's through into this hallway, which currently ends in two more doors. This way and that way.

LIAM: Are all these doors so far the same? They are loose?

MATT: They are loose. I mean, as far small gaps in between, very, very tiny.

LIAM: A half-inch for Frumpkin?

MATT: Yep.

ASHLY: Would I be able to tell him which way to go?

MATT: He wouldn't be able to hear you.

LIAM: I don't hear shit right now. I will send Frumpkin through the next gap.

MATT: Which one? There's two different doors. This way or this way.

LIAM: No, you can't tell me anything. TALIESIN: Here, have a laser pointer.

SAM: Here is a laser pointer, Liam O'Brien.

LIAM: I will do this one here.

MATT: All right. Frumpkin moves into this chamber, which unveils this chamber. In this chamber, you see a dining area of some kind, and you see there are two of the hired guards in the process of finishing an evening drink.

SAM: Was it Phil and the other guy?

MARISHA: Is it Phil?

MATT: One of them is Phil. One of them is the other guy. Looks like they’re having a nightcap.

ASHLY: Are they drunk?

MATT: They've been drinking. You have no idea if they’re drunk. Frumpkin sees the two of them hushedly chatting to one other and drinking from tankards.

LIAM: I will have Frumpkin back away, under the crack.

MATT: Okay. Make a stealth check for Frumpkin because now you are in eyesight of--

LIAM: He is so little. He is so small.

MATT: I know.

LIAM: Just one roll? That's okay. Hold on, everybody. 14. Wait, everything's crazy. I need a different browser window.

MATT: What did you roll?

LIAM: Well, I rolled a 14 but it's better than that, it's 16.

MATT: That's fine. They do not see Fumpkin. They have had just enough to drink where they did not see Frumpkin.

LIAM: (singing) The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

MATT: Frumpkin is going where?

LIAM: Back under that door, and he will peeky-poo under the door he has not checked yet.

MATT: Okay. That leads into another chamber, a hallway, that continues down and then seems to open into another walkway.

LIAM: Yeah, this door. This one here.

MATT: Frumpkin goes and opens that one, which leads into another hallway, a very small chamber, and there are a couple of odd pieces of dried goods in the corners, and a wooden trapdoor.

LIAM: To the bottom.

SAM: Trap door to the bottom?

MATT: Seems to be a trapdoor.

LIAM: Any cracks that are a half-inch wide, big enough for a spider?

MATT: No.

LIAM: I remember this. Okay. That's a wall covered by that paper there that you don't need to uncover, right?

MATT: That is a wall, yes.

LIAM: Back out of this, I know where I am. I will go along the wall here. Frumpkin will crawl on the wall. Oh, you can't see where I'm pointing.

MATT: On the wall over here?

LIAM: Yeah, and crawl around the corner and peek around the corner into that colored spot.

MATT: Okay. Revealing that. It looks, and you can see this has been storage. Because Frumpkin entered, this is all kitchen storage, and looking down this hall--

LIAM: This is too complicated for me to mutter, so I’m not telling everybody this. This is too complicated.

MATT: That is the gist of what you've seen.

SAM: Wow, that’s the whole layout, Frumpy.

MATT: You don't know how much of this will stay.

SAM: Sure glad we chose a spider!

MARISHA: I take back mocking you for your choice.

LIAM: I don't hear anything, and you’re nowhere near me. What I will do is send Frumpkin down this hallway, because I did not go this way yet.

MATT: Turning around this way, you can see the spiral staircase, the very same where you had briefly managed to dodge Lorenzo earlier in the day, heading up to the second floor.

LIAM: I remember this from her stories, so I will continue Frumpkin up the stairs.

SAM: Up the stairs? Oh god, why? Why would you do that?

LIAM: Time is passing, because he's not that quick.

MATT: Right as Frumpkin passes that way, this door opens up, and one of the two guards heads this way. A little sloppy, but turns in.

LIAM: We'll make for the wall at that point.

MATT: “Ew.” He starts walking up, and goes in to try and step on Frumpkin.

LIAM: What does Frumpkin need to do, armor class, right?

MATT: Yeah, what's Frumpkin's armor class?

LIAM: *Zwölf*.

MATT: With disadvantage. That’s 12. It goes ahead and stomps down. That's a hit point.

LIAM: He scurries away-- No, he scurries up onto the wall, up onto the ceiling.

MATT: What's the speed for Frumpkin?

LIAM: 20 feet.

MATT: Okay. The guard is like, "Ugh. Hey, Phil?"

(laughter)

MATT: "What? What's the problem?" "There's a fucking spider in here."

LIAM: There's a bug in this world, and I won't rest until he's dead.

TALIESIN: The most realistic thing I've ever--

MATT: Heads back into the room and comes back with these two metal tankards that are dinged up, and they both start throwing them up to try and smash the spider. With that, the first one misses and (clatters) down the stairs.

LIAM: Matt, I don't know if this will happen in time, but what I tell him to do telepathically, because I should be close enough, 100 feet, is to go in here, through this door that's open, and over the door and down the back, and once he's out of sight, I will poof him out, if that works. They might hit him before it happens.

MATT: Well, the first two slams, or tossing of tankards, clanging loudly, do not hit.

MARISHA: I thought it was going to blow our cover.

LIAM: It's a spider!

MATT: They both turn around and follow like, "Where did it go?", "It's this way!" and they both come back inside the room, trying to follow where Frumpkin went.

LIAM: But he disappears in the back of the door.

MATT: They both look around like, "Shit. Ugh. I can't sleep now with that thing around here. Keep looking." That's the last thing that Frumpkin hears before vanishing.

SAM: Oh boy.

LIAM: That was wild. Okay. Yes. Oh, hi. Again. There's two of them. I pull a wire out and I aim towards my friends on the horses. There's two of them. Six seconds go by. There's two of them on the first floor. What do we do?

SAM: What do we do now? Should we go in?

ASHLY: Do we have any sense if their clanging disturbed anything?

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: Did you see a way to downstairs?

ASHLY: 14.

MATT: You're listening right now. You don't hear anything, but you're also on the opposite side of where anybody else would be. So you have no idea.

LIAM: I saw what the firbolg woman told us about. There is a trap door not too far from us here.

SAM: Why don't we go try to get down to it?

LIAM: (whispers) *Ja*, okay, that's good. We have to be very quiet.

SUMALEE: There may be murderers inside the trap door.

LIAM: Here's what we do. Frumpkin, I take Frumpkin. Oh, there's Frumpkin. I place Frumpkin on your shoulder.

SAM: Yes?

LIAM: You have to go in this door and I'm going to talk into your ear. I'm going to hold Keg's shoulder and I am going to talk into your ear and tell you which way to go to get you to the trap door. Okay, and you have to be very quiet.

ASHLY: By yourself?

LIAM: Yeah, and see if that trap door is open. If it is, you will put my spider underneath and we will see what is going on.

SAM: If the trap door is open?

LIAM: If it's unlocked.

SAM: Oh, if it's unlocked. Okay, got it.

LIAM: Do not go in yourself right away, send in Frumpkin to look. I will be watching the whole time.

SAM: All right.

MATT: Are you drinking to the point of intoxication?

SAM: No, just one big swig.

MATT: All righty.

SAM: Okay, let's go.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Got to pick a lock first, or check the door.

MATT: Make an investigation check on the door.

SAM: 24.

MATT: 24. The door is indeed locked.

SAM: I will try to pick it.

MATT: Go ahead and roll for that. Plus six.

SAM: It was 22.

MATT: That's still enough, anyways.

SAM: That does not work.

MATT: What did you roll?

SAM: It was a two plus whatever I said before, seven.

MATT: No. You fear breaking one of your lockpicks; you remove it.

SAM: I can't do it!

LIAM: It's fine.

SAM: Ooh! Push open the door with your massive strength.

ASHLY: The noise.

LIAM: *Halt*, I cast--

SAM: Can you get us in?

LIAM: *Ja*. I cast Knock on the door.

SUMALEE: I was just looking!

MATT: As you guys are having this conversation, you see Caleb flicker his hands through the air, his eyes focused in a distant stare for a moment. You see this strange blue energy sparkle around the outside of the doorknob and the door opens.

SAM: Wait, did you cast a spell? Oh, oh wow. Okay, that was easy. All right, focus up.

ASHLY: Nott, be careful.

SAM: You care about me?

ASHLY: Yeah.

LIAM: At every turn-- Listen to me. At every turn, when you can go left or right, if Frumpkin, who will be resting on you ear, tickles the inside of the ear, it means go right. If nothing happens, go left.

SAM: Inside-- tickle, right.

LIAM: Tickle means right.

SAM: Nothing, left. Liam eats farts. I'm ready.

LIAM: You've got it.

SAM: Got it.

LIAM and SAM: Tickle means right.

MARISHA: I do another check to see if I see any movement upstairs.

MATT: You're still keeping tabs on it. I'm not going to have you roll just for consistently staring.

MARISHA: I just want to make sure.

MATT: Okay, you do see a shadow pass by the door-- by the window.

MARISHA: By the window.

SAM: I cast Mage Hand just in case.

MATT: Okay. What do you do?

SAM: I will go through and wait for a tickle.

LIAM: My hand is on Keg's shoulder in case things go to shit.

MATT: To the right is a hallway, an open entrance that goes into a pantry or storage room. To the left is a door that leads beyond the kitchen.

LIAM: Tickle means right; left is nothing.

SAM: Is there a tickle?

LIAM: No.

SAM: I will go straight.

MATT: You're at a door.

SAM: I will try the door.

MATT: It opens, it's not locked.

LIAM: Tickle, tickle.

MATT: You feel a tickle.

SAM: I turn right.

MATT: Make a stealth check, please, because you're now passing within ear shot of--

SAM: That's a one!

ASHLY: No!

MATT: Okay. As you turn the corner, part of your cloak seems to have caught the edge of one of the pots that was layered on the table right here. As you pull through, pots start clattering. You guys watch as this whole stack of pots start pulling off into the kitchen. The door here swings open and both of these figures come rushing in. "Hey, what the hell!" They both pull out blades.

LIAM: I drop it. We're in, go! I walk into the building.

MATT: All right, roll initiative, you guys.

MARISHA: All right.

ASHLY: Oh fuck.

SAM: The rogue blew it.

MARISHA: The rogue did blow it!

LIAM: That’s not what I expected.

MARISHA: Don't die!

ASHLY: Ten?

MATT: All righty. 25 to 20?

LIAM: 21.

MARISHA: Also 21. I'm actually going ahead and roll my d8 with this as well. Plus seven, 29. Sorry, 28.

LIAM: Did the sound of clattering pans clatter outside?

MATT: What do you mean?

MARISHA and TALIESIN: Did we hear it?

LIAM: Did the people outside hear it?

MATT: You guys would have heard it very faintly. Because the door was open, and it did fill what was normally a pretty still evening. That brings us to them. All right. That brings us to 20 to 15.

SAM: 15.

SUMALEE: 18.

MATT: 18, all right. Nott...all right. 15 to ten?

ASHLY: Ten.

TALIESIN: 12.

MARISHA: Wait, who was a 12? You?

MATT: All right, I think that's everyone. Top of the combat round at this moment. Beau, you're up first.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: Hearing this noise, you are on the wall at this point keeping an eye. You guys would probably be at angles here if you maintained patrol and tried to case both sides.

MARISHA: I want to look at the window. Do I see that figure I just saw? Does it seem like the pots and pans got that figure’s attention and they’re hastily moving?

MATT: You saw them move casually past one window and then move quicker past the other.

MARISHA: Okay, where am I?

MATT: You're over here, on the wall.

MARISHA: I'm over there.

MATT: You guys have been on the wall this whole time, so you're right over here. Essentially about that high.

MARISHA: Okay, I am going to-- do I try and make a distraction or run?

SUMALEE: Good question.

MARISHA: I'm going to light one of those firecrackers again, and I'm going to toss it this direction towards the front of the door.

SUMALEE: Yes.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and make a dexterity check.

MARISHA: Natural 20!

MATT: Where directly do you want to aim it?

MARISHA: I want to try and aim it to where it sounds like there's a commotion happening at this front door to draw people this way and not at the back.

MATT: You go ahead and you throw it. It lands. It's going to take a second for it to go off, but it definitely seems to have rolled passed and over in the vicinity just past that corner.

MARISHA: I'm assuming that was my action?

MATT: That was your action, and I'll say bonus action to pull it out, light it and throw.

MARISHA: Okay, I'm going to use my movement to just haul ass towards these guys.

MATT: Along the wall?

MARISHA: Yeah!

MATT: All right. (counting) That's about as far as you can get right there.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: Ending your turn. Caleb you're up.

LIAM: I slap my hand down on Keg's shoulder and I, with a free hand, stick licorice root into my mouth and start chewing and squeeze her shoulder and you are Hasted. And I will-- a couple of things, and I can't find my card right now, but you have a plus two to your AC, you have advantage on dexterity saving throws, and an additional action on each of your turns.

MATT: So you can have four attacks in a single round.

LIAM: You are very fast right now.

MATT: And your movement is twice as much. So you have 50 feet a turn.

LIAM: I start moving into the building, as far as I can, actually. Behind Nott.

MATT: I'll put this on Keg as a reminder. So you move in (counting) right there?

LIAM: By the doorway? Yeah, that's good.

MATT: All right, that finishes your go.

LIAM: Pressing into the wall there, so that people can get by me.

MATT: All right. One of them shouts off, "We got company!" over his shoulder, behind.

LIAM: Oh, that's terrible.

MATT: A natural 19 on the dice. Going to move in here, this one is going to move in as well. They are probably going to move right there. They’re both going to make attacks on Nott.

SAM: Sure.

MATT: The first one is going to be a 13 to hit.

SAM: Miss!

MATT: You duck out of the way. You see the short sword they pull spark across the stone, carving down the side. No impact. The other one uses that moment to try and swing at you. That's equally terrible! That's far worse, actually. That's a six.

SAM: Miss.

MATT: Both of them (whooshing), no effect, but they're both shouting back over their shoulders like, "Intruder! Company!" That finishes their go. Nila, you're up first.

SUMALEE: Should I put my spirit totem now to give us extra strength?

LIAM: That's up to you.

SUMALEE: It will only get within 30 feet around, so Beau would not be covered.

MARISHA: I'm coming into you, though. I'm coming into you guys.

SUMALEE: So when she moves into that-- Nila wants to go inside.

MATT: You move inside. (counting)

SUMALEE: As close as I can get toward the trap door.

MATT: 25, 30. You can get right into that doorway right there.

SUMALEE: Then can I take my Shillelagh?

MATT: Unfortunately, you cannot get close enough to hit them physically. You're too far away from the combat.

SUMALEE: Wait. Within ten feet of one of them?

MATT: Yes.

SUMALEE: Poison Spray.

MATT: All right, Poison Spray. Yeah, that one creatures does, has a ten feet range. Okay. It makes a constitution saving throw. That is a failure with a natural five, so roll damage on that. It is a 2d12, right? Plus 1d12. Does this damage increase as you level up?

SUMALEE: I think so. I wasn't sure.

MATT: A lot of cantrips do. Yes, it does, so roll 2d12.

SUMALEE: One. 11.

MATT: 12 points of poison damage to the one on the left there. All of a sudden, as Nila rounds the corner, extending your hand, this sudden plume of dark purplish-black gas emanates around their face. They begin coughing horribly as it stings the inside of their lungs and throat. That finishes your turn? That brings us to Nott.

SAM: Oh Jesus. I will bonus action disengage, and run through the door that the spider told me to go through.

MATT: Which one?

SAM: The closed one.

MATT: All right, you go to that door. It's locked.

SAM: Locked? Great, I'll go through the other door.

MATT: You can use your action to try and fast pick it, if you like. It's up to you. Because you can do that as a rogue.

SAM: Sure, I'll do that. I'll fast pick.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: Pick fast. 12.

MATT: 12? It holds tight.

SAM: Sure. I have any more movement?

MATT: You have currently 20 feet.

SAM: I will run into the next room, as far as I can get.

MATT: (counting) That puts you right there. That ends your go. It is now Clay's turn.

SAM: Wait, did she give me any bonuses? No, right? Did you do your order of the totem thing?

MATT: No, she did not do her totem.

TALIESIN: Ah man. I guess I'm going to take 60 feet of running to find out what that commotion is on the other--

MATT: You're about there.

TALIESIN: Actually, would I have gone for the front door or-- No, I would have gone for the back. That's what I got.

MATT: Ending your go; Keg, you're up.

ASHLY: Because I'm hasted, can I get right in front of Nila?

MATT: (counting) Yeah, easily. Whoa, you dart past. Nila's standing there--

LIAM: She's got another ten feet.

MATT: Yes, she does. Nila's standing there, finishes the Poison Spray, suddenly there's this blur of speed, plate, and hair as Keg rushes by Nila's side, actually causing the edge of her clothing to ripple up and back down into place. They're both there, right in your face, and they watch as you emerge. They don't even have time to process what you are. You're just a shape and anger, and they're like, "Whoa!" What do you want to do?

ASHLY: I'm going to smack the poisoned one with my battleaxe.

MATT: All right, go for it. First attack.

ASHLY: 17 to hit.

MATT: That hits, roll damage.

ASHLY: Okay, and then 1d8 plus four. That's eight.

MATT: Eight points of damage. (smack) He looks hurt, like between the poison gas and that he's hurt. He's not down yet, but he's looking rough.

ASHLY: Okay, I'm going to smack him again, this time with the warhammer, why not, just for fun. That will be 15 plus seven. I can't do math.

MATT: 15 plus seven? Yeah, 25, that hits. Roll damage.

ASHLY: Then that is 11.

MATT: 11. With that, he's (smack), "What the--?!" Second hit and he goes down like a sack of potatoes.

(cheering)

MATT: He is on the ground, not moving. His friend just sees it, goes, "What?!"

ASHLY: Then I have another action. I'm going to smack him, the friend that's still there. 11?

MATT: 11. This time, seeing this go down, he dodges out of the way and your weapon scrapes across the outside of the door frame, actually cutting a bit into it. You have to pull it out. Still have your bonus action if you wanted to do a fourth attack.

ASHLY: I do want to do a fourth attack. I'm going to try again. 12.

MATT: 12. Unfortunately, he just manages to duck twice. The second time actually gleans off the shoulder, but the armor's too thick. No impact.

ASHLY: Should I do action surge?

SAM: Yeah!

LIAM: No! Tell her nothing!

MATT: What do you want to do?

ASHLY: I'm going to use action surge, I guess. No, I'm not. I have a little bit more movement, right?

MATT: You have ten feet of movement, yes.

ASHLY: Can I get between him and Nott?

MATT: You can move (counting). You can't quite get between the two of them, but you can be wedged into the doorway. If they try to move away from you, you will get an attack of opportunity if you want to take one as a reaction.

ASHLY: Okay.

MATT: That ends your turn. Back at the top. Beau, you're up.

MARISHA: Okay. Have I heard my cherry bomb go off?

MATT: Not quite yet, because it's on an initiative of 20.

MARISHA: Oh, what? Amazing. Okay. I'm going to move my full speed, my 40 feet. Does it get me in?

MATT: Make an acrobatics check to leap off the wall.

MARISHA: 14.

MATT: 14, that's enough. You get right to the kitchen.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: You're just at the door. That's your full movement.

MARISHA: I'm going to use-- no. I'm going to use my action to move again, to dash.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA:Nope, I'm going to go that way.

MATT: (counting)

MARISHA: Okay. I don't want to peek around the wall; I want to ninja dash around, and I want to get up against the wall, peek, and look for anyone who might be coming around that hall.

MATT: Okay, gotcha.

MARISHA: As I ran by, I went: Psst! To Caleb, to let him know that I was here and going that way.

MATT: You glance over just to see this quick flash of Beau disappearing down the hallway.

LIAM: Blue fabric?

MARISHA: I'm like: I'm going to watch this way. Watch for me!

MATT: Caleb, you're up.

LIAM: Yeah, I should be able to see just over or under Nila's legs or something, that one last asshole?

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: I'm going to do a fastball special, a Fire Bolt, at him.

MATT: Roll an attack.

SAM: Is this Phil, or is this his friend?

ASHLY: Oh yeah, did we kill Phil?

MATT: No, Phil's the one standing.

ASHLY: (laughs) Sorry, Phil.

SAM: Leave him alive! He must live!

LIAM: I rolled a 15 to hit Phil.

SAM: These guys are human?

MATT: 15 to hit Phil, that hits.

LIAM: Oh, *gut*!

SAM: These guys are humans?

MATT: One of them was human, one looked to be half-elf. Phil is the half-elf. You see this younger looking guy--

LIAM: (gasps) I rolled a ten. Out of ten.

MATT: Ooh.

ASHLY: Oh.

LIAM: (whoosh)

MATT: So ten, plus?

LIAM: That's it, it's just a cantrip.

MATT: Right, cantrip, at 5th-level, it does 2d10.

LIAM: Does it? Okay.

MATT: Yeah. Cantrips get better.

LIAM: 13.

MATT: Okay. 13 points of damage. You feel the sudden burst of warm air up under your outfit for a moment, Nila, as this fire bolt goes firing through from between your legs and explodes into the chest of the guard in front of you. (yells) Backs up, and the flames lick up the front of his armor before he pats them out for a second. That finish your turn, Caleb?

LIAM: Part of me really likes the way fire feels. That's it.

MATT: Finishing Caleb's go.

LIAM: Ah, no. I'm going to back up ten feet.

MATT: He's right there. Knock the chair over as you back up. At this point, you guys all hear, echoing off in the distance, (popping). Small firecrackers are now exploding on the outside of the front fortress (popping).

MARISHA: Let's hope this works the way I have in my head.

SUMALEE: Yes! Blow them up!

MATT: Nott, as you were looking off, you see a shape run past and start heading for the door. You see--

SAM: Running past where? Oh, there.

MATT: Past this way, you see a figure make their way to the door, and put their back to it. They haven't noticed you yet.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: As they put their back to the door, focusing on where the sound of those fireworks go off, looks back through the doorway, into the middle of the mess hall, hears this commotion and looks right to you.

SAM: Wait, sees me or doesn't see me?

MATT: *Does* see you. Because you're not trying to hide and it is a lit interior. This is Wohn. This is the female human barbarian that had rushed Caleb before. Previously had a great maul. However, is instead wielding a very familiar two-handed greatsword. Wide blade with runic hilt. The weapon that Yasha had on her--

SAM: Oh, that's right, they had the weapons. Shit.

MATT: However, that's her turn. That brings us to Nila. You're up.

SUMALEE: Okay. I want to get to the trap door.

LIAM: What do you do, mom?

SUMALEE: Yes. I would like to move. Oh wait, he's not dead yet.

MATT: He is not. You can just barely see another individual who appears to be joining the fray across the way. One of the slavers that is responsible for taking your family.

LIAM: Fucking slavers.

SUMALEE: Okay. I'd like to move forward and finish off Phil.

MATT: Okay.

SUMALEE: Sorry.

MARISHA: Mother's vengeance. Fuck you, Phil!

MATT: Are you going Poison Spray, or you going--

SUMALEE: I'm going to use the shillelagh.

MATT: Okay. You step in--

MARISHA: (singing) I can feel it coming in the air tonight.

SAM: (synth drums)

SUMALEE: This is for my son, Asar!

MATT: Go for it. Swing for the attack. Actually, you could, if you wanted to, I'll allow you to move in to flank with Keg. That’ll give you advantage on the attack roll.

SUMALEE: Oh, thank you. 12 plus--

ASHLY: You get to roll one more.

MATT: Plus seven, so that would be 18. So roll one more time.

SUMALEE: 18, or... eh, 18.

MATT: We'll take the 18. So that hits. Go ahead and roll damage. That's a d8 plus four.

SUMALEE: Six.

MATT: All right. Ten points of damage. You rush in (whack!), as you clock Phil on the side of his head, it slams him against the stone wall. He's like, "Ugh!" His eyes rolling within his skull. He looks pretty heavily beaned. Still conscious, but pretty badly beat up at this point. That finish your turn?

SUMALEE: No. *Now* I would like to place my spirit totem. I want to do it as close to the trap door as I can to hopefully protect as many people inside.

MATT: You have no visual, unfortunately, because this door is still closed and locked. All you can see is what's in this room, this kitchen, and this chamber here. You have no visual on the trap door.

SUMALEE: But I know it's there. I know it's there from when I--

MATT: You know where it is, yes.

SUMALEE: I feel like I-- Yes, I'm going to do it.

LIAM: Redrum.

SUMALEE: What?

LIAM: Whatever you want, Sumalee!

SUMALEE: I don't know!

LIAM: I'm being a nerd. Have fun!

SUMALEE: Yes, okay. I place my Bear Spirit Totem.

MATT: Okay, so you're taking the totem.

SUMALEE: This will protect anyone who comes within 30 feet of it.

MATT: For the next minute, yes.

SUMALEE: Oh gosh. All right. Okay, she grabs her smell bag real quick. Hold on!

MATT: Your choice.

SUMALEE: I'm going to save it until next time.

MATT: Okay. Since I actually skipped over Phil's turn, Phil's going to, out of retribution for the attack, swing towards you, Nila, having had no luck against you, and having not even wanting to touch this weird dwarven blur that's just *destroyed* his friend. He's going to swing towards you with the blade. That's going to be a 14? What's your armor class?

SUMALEE: 15.

MATT: 15? Your shield deflects it off the side. No impact. All right. Phil's accepting his fate. Nott, you're up.

SAM: Oh boy. Me against a barbarian? Has she turned to--

ASHLY: Run for sure.

SAM: To see me?

LIAM: No. Stab and disengage.

MATT: She has noticed you, yes.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: She used her turn to move and dash, so had no action yet. But went up against the front door, hearing the sound from outside, and then turned and just focused on you.

SAM: Fuck. I will-- Keg is what?

LIAM: Keg is right there to the bad guy. Am I mistaken?

SAM: Oh, fuck that guy.

LIAM: But I mean, sneak attack damage--

SAM: He's got like two hit points. Fuck that guy. I'm going to try to disable the giant, larger threat than Phil, which probably won't work, but it's worth a shot. I will point at the barbarian and say: Oi, I'm thinking of removing my spine because it's only holding me back! I will cast Hideous Laughter on the giant thing.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: 14.

MATT: 14 wisdom saving throw. That's a natural six. Falls prone.

SAM: Yes!

ASHLY: She's prone!

SAM: I took out the barbarian, guys.

MARISHA: Well, she's prone.

LIAM: I didn't even see the miniature beyond the door. I didn't know she was there.

MATT: She falls cackling to the ground. (laughter) and is rolling on the ground, the blade falling out of her grip for the moment and then she clutches it back to her, rolls with it.

SAM: Oh, she has it?

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: Tight tight tight.

SAM: Cool cool cool. Tasha's: at the end of its turn, it can make a wisdom saving throw. Hold on. Okay. I'm going to get out of there, run past the laughing thing.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: As fast as I can. Oh, not that way, the other way.

MATT: That's fine. (counting)

SAM: Yeah. Do I try to get her weapon or do I keep running? She's clutching it, still, you said?

MATT: Yes.

SAM: So it'd be like a strength check. I'm just going to keep running. Another 30 feet.

MATT: Which direction? Around here?

SAM: Yeah. Well, because I'm still trying to get where the spider told me to go.

MATT: (counting) There you go.

MARISHA: As Nott comes around the corner, I'm just going to go: Hey! Psst!

SAM: Huh? Ah!

MARISHA: (shushing)

MATT: That finishes Nott's go. Clay, you're up.

TALIESIN: Another 60 feet.

MATT: Are you jumping off the wall or going full square on the outer wall?

TALIESIN: I'll jump off the wall.

MATT: Make an acrobatics check to try and land.

TALIESIN: Ooh, that's 14.

MATT: 14? Okay, you fall to one knee, but you get up okay. You don't take any damage.

LIAM: He's just that good.

MATT: (counting) 30. You're just coming up on the outside of the kitchen. The horse is just (snorting).

TALIESIN: Hey, big guy.

MARISHA: "Hey, big guy!"

SAM: This guy!

TALIESIN: How could you be angry at a horse, man? It's not like this is an evil horse.

LIAM: It's Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski.

TALIESIN: It's not that far off.

MATT: That finishes Clay's turn. Keg, you're up.

ASHLY: I'm still hasted, yes?

MATT: Yeah.

ASHLY: Okay, great. So I'm going to smack Phil.

MATT: Go for it.

ASHLY: That is 18.

MATT: 18 definitely hits.

ASHLY: And nine?

MATT: Nine points of damage?

ASHLY: Yeah.

MATT: Phil is down. *Whack* up the side of the head. Phil just crumples to the ground.

ASHLY: Sorry, Phil! I'm going to run. Can I catch up to Nott?

LIAM and ASHLY: 50 feet of movement.

ASHLY: 50 feet of movement.

SAM: Did you see where I went?

LIAM: Bing bang bong bing bong bing bong!

MATT: (counting) You have ten more feet. You can't quite get to Nott, but there's a laughing barbarian on the ground.

ASHLY: I could dash, right?

MATT: As an action-- no, you've already attacked.

LIAM: She's on the ground, though, and she is out of it so you could fucking Goodfellas the *shit* out of that woman.

ASHLY: All right.

MATT: Up to you.

LIAM: Or whatever. Whatever you want.

ASHLY: Okay. Yeah yeah yeah. Oh, I feel bad! I was kind of friends with her back in the day. Okay, we'll do it.

MATT: So the dwarf moves into there.

ASHLY: I teabag her for roughly 15 minutes and then I-- hastily. All right, here we go. Fuck.

SAM: I think you may get advantage because she's prone.

MATT: Yeah, it's advantage on the attack.

ASHLY: Oh, okay, great. 11.

MATT: 11? No.

MARISHA: Is her AC down?

MATT: Nope. The first attack, you go to swing and she rolls over from the laughter and just hit the ground. The stone cracks from the impact.

ASHLY: So I have two more actions.

MATT: Yeah, because that was your second attack. Then you have your extra attack, and then you have a bonus attack.

SAM: Oh my god.

ASHLY: I'm hasted, right?

MATT: That's how you have an additional attack. So you have two more attacks.

ASHLY: Try again. So 20?

MATT: 20 definitely hits.

SAM: Still advantage on the attack, right?

MATT: Yep.

TALIESIN: Roll again in case you crit.

ASHLY: Okay, no, 20, and then--

MATT: All right, roll damage on that.

ASHLY: Ten.

TALIESIN: Is it an auto--

MATT: She makes a saving throw.

TALIESIN: I mean is it advantage?

LIAM: It is advantage, but it's not an auto crit.

MATT: What is the DC? She rolled a 14.

SAM: 14.

MATT: Yeah, that spell has faded.

SAM: Oh no. But you can still attack one more time

MATT: She's still prone and you get another attack, if you like.

ASHLY: Okay.

LIAM: Get that motherfucker. Get it get it, girl, get it get it.

ASHLY: I don't get advantage anymore, right?

MATT: You still have advantage, she's still prone.

ASHLY: Oh, she's still prone, okay.

SAM: Fuck you!

ASHLY: 14?

MARISHA: Barbarian, 14?

MATT: 14 does not hit. It misses by one.

SAM: Those dice are terrible!

MATT: I'm sorry. However, you are just a frightening display of in front of her.

ASHLY: Now I'm going to action surge.

MARISHA: Ooh! Yaaas, girl, yaaas!

ASHLY: Shit! All right, 17!

MATT: That does hit.

ASHLY: Oh my god, Jesus Christ almighty. 11 damage.

MATT: 11 points of damage, all right. You have one more attack from the action surge.

SAM: Another one?

ASHLY: Oh fuck yes, okay. Come on, baby. 20!

(cheering)

SAM: It took six attacks!

ASHLY: So what happens when I crit?

MATT: Roll your dice and double it.

ASHLY: Double the dice. So then that's five--

MATT: That's ten. Ten plus your modifier.

ASHLY: Ten plus my mod-- 14.

MATT: 14 points of damage.

ASHLY: But then I roll--?

LIAM: What is it normally?

ASHLY: A 1d8 plus four.

MATT: You rolled a five, you double that to ten and then add the four. So 14 damage on a single hit. With that one final burst of interior strength and adrenaline kicks in and you slam twice into the body of Wohn on the ground, the wind knocked out of her. Her eyes go wild for a second before focusing on you, the anger and hatred brewing in her face as her brow furrows. That, I believe, is all you can do on your turn.

TALIESIN: Do you have a little bit more--?

ASHLY: I've got ten more feet of movement? (laughing) Okay, I'm going to try to get away from her. I'm going to go--

LIAM: Zip!

ASHLY: You know I'm going to go back.

SAM: Yeah!

SUMALEE: Love it!

MATT: She does get an attack of opportunity on you, swinging from the ground towards you. She is prone so she has disadvantage on the attack roll, but she's going to try. That's going to be 14?

ASHLY: No, doesn't hit.

MATT: Yeah. It clangs against the back of your armor and you manage to get out of the way.

ASHLY: Whoa!

MATT: Top of the round is Beau!

MARISHA: Okay, where's Nott? Nott's over here?

MATT: Nott's right there on the other side.

MARISHA: I'm going to run around.

SAM: I fire three crossbow bolts.

MARISHA: That was my 40 feet?

MATT: Oh, 40 feet sorry.

MARISHA: I have 40. No, I'm getting to Nott.

MATT: There you go, that's your 40 feet.

MARISHA: I go-- (laughing)

SAM: Hey girl!

MARISHA: Holy shit!

MATT: By the way, in the background still (fireworks exploding).

MARISHA: I did that.

SAM: Have you been treating Caleb well?

MARISHA: What? Do you need to get to the thing? To pick the lock?

SAM: Yeah I think it's around that way? I don't know.

MARISHA: Okay! I think I know where it is. I scoop up Nott.

SAM: (yells)

MATT: All right, you're not quite against-- you're ten feet from Nott right now.

MARISHA: Slap fight!

MATT: That's your full movement. You have to use a dash action if you wanted to try and you move at half speed carrying Nott.

LIAM: There's nobody to attack.

SAM: I have free will and I could follow you. Just say, “Follow me.”

MARISHA: But then we have to wait until your turn. Or I could just scoop you up and drag you a little bit and go that direction!

MATT: What are you going to do?

MARISHA: I'm going to do that! I'm going to dash.

MATT: You dash. That's five--

MARISHA: Come here!

SAM: (yells)

MATT: (counting) There you go. So you get Nott about there.

SAM: Thanks.

MARISHA: I'm going to spend-- do I want to do this? Yeah, I'm going to spend a ki point to do that thing that makes me move fast. Step of the wind, yes.

LIAM: Cocaine.

MATT: (counting) You manage to drag Nott to the door.

MARISHA: Can I open the door? Is there enough room?

MATT: It's locked.

MARISHA: Locked. Okay, it's through this door, though!

SAM: How do you know?

MARISHA: Because I ran by it earlier.

SAM: Oh, okay.

MARISHA: I remember from Nila describing it. I took really detailed notes.

MATT: Caleb.

LIAM: Oh, my turn?

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: Oh jeez louise. Okay, I'm going to move forward, back towards where I see Nila in there.

MATT: Ten, 15, 20.

LIAM: That's as far as I can go?

MATT: No, you can go two more steps if you want.

LIAM: I'm going to go towards Keg.

MATT: 30 right there.

LIAM: Yeah, and I may do nothing, but--

MATT: Damn, this new iPad is eating it on the music.

SAM: What happened?

MATT: I think it's just slow. The old one disappeared and I have to get a new one.

SAM: Disappeared, like was stolen?

MATT: I can't find the bag. It's fine. Don't worry about it.

LIAM: DM, can I dance back and forth like this and see what I can see through that doorway? Can I see this one?

MATT: If you wanted to go there as opposed to there, I'll let you stand there. You can just barely see somebody on the ground.

LIAM: Oh look, there's somebody laughing and giggling on the floor.

MATT: No longer laughing.

LIAM: Fire Bolt.

MATT: Go for it, roll for the attack with disadvantage.

ASHLY: Big money!

LIAM: That is a 13.

MATT: Unfortunately strikes the stone ground and bursts into fire. No effect.

LIAM: Done and done.

MATT: Ending Caleb's turn. (Wohn screams). Runs up, charging angrily, is going to reckless attack. Is going to attack twice with her greataxe against you with reckless, so it's with advantage on both attacks. The first attack is a natural 20. All right, so that's a natural 20 on the first one. Second attack is a natural 19 plus seven. So yeah, she hits you with both. First one's a crit.

ASHLY: Jesus Christ all right.

MATT: That's cocked. That is going to be 12 points of slashing damage for the first hit. The greatsword ends up striking across your chest, the impact sending you back and Haste disappears.

ASHLY, MARISHA, and SUMALEE: No!

LIAM: Wait, why? What?

MARISHA: Because she has Yasha's--

MATT: She has Yasha's sword and dispelled it.

LIAM: (gasps) You motherfucker, Matthew Mercer. We will have words about the rules that exist.

MATT: Then swings back with a second strike towards you and impacts.

LIAM: Wow.

MATT: That's going to be 13 points of slashing damage. The second strike against you with the greatsword, the flash of white energy, you see the runes on the hilt suddenly spark and that adrenaline in your body suddenly fades and your body becomes super lethargic and you are stunned for your next turn.

ASHLY: I'm stunned?!

MATT: The Haste has faded and your body is drained.

LIAM: It's dispelled, but the stun still happens?

MATT: As soon as Haste ends, your body--

LIAM: That's some bullshit, Matthew.

MATT: That's how it works, that's the downside of the spell, man!

LIAM: Whatever you say, but still that's some bullshit.

ASHLY: So I just can't do anything on my next turn.

MATT: Next turn you can't do anything.

LIAM: Yeah, it's wasted.

MATT: Nila, you're up.

SUMALEE: Okay.

ASHLY: Oh man, I'm going to get *rocked*.

SAM: Don't worry, you have a totally squishy wizard standing behind you. He'll protect you.

(laughter)

SUMALEE: That's what I'm thinking. I'm thinking yes, the wizard will protect Keg.

SAM and TALIESIN: Sure.

SUMALEE: I've got to go toward the trap door. Can I go through that door?

MATT: Currently, you walk up and try the door. It's locked.

SUMALEE: I don't have the strength to (grunts)?

MATT: Make a strength check. Roll a d20 and roll your strength modifier.

MARISHA: Come on firbolg!

SUMALEE: 17?

MATT: Plus?

SUMALEE: Two!

MATT: Plus two? 19? You force your shoulder against it and it doesn't give. The feeling and the sensation of knowing your family is nearby surges in your body and you pull back a few more steps and then charge in. With one aggressive (yells), the door flips open. The actual handle itself breaking and snapping on the wood.

ASHLY: It's like a mom lifting a car.

MATT: Essentially. With a 19, that's exactly what it is. That door is now open and you step through and join the rest of them.

SAM: (yells)

MARISHA: No, Nott, no!

SAM: (yelling) Do you know Pumat Sol?

(laughter)

SUMALEE: Can I still cast or can I do a bonus thing?

MATT: You can do a bonus action thing, yes, but your action has been used to break through the door.

SUMALEE: Okay. Now I'm going to protect the three of us, at least the three of us for now. Unless I get Caleb too with the bear spirit totem.

MATT: You could drop it there. As a matter of fact, everybody except for Keg and Clay.

SUMALEE: Ten extra hit points, advantage on strength checks.

MATT: Ten temporary hit points.

SUMALEE: Temporary hit points, advantage on strength and saving throws.

TALIESIN: Is it anybody who steps into that field now, or is it just whoever's in the field when it drops?

MARISHA: Advantage on strength and what?

SUMALEE: Saving throws.

SAM: Wow.

LIAM: On all saving throws?

MATT: When the spirit appears, so you guys do not get it, unfortunately.

TALIESIN: Okay, so you're still fucked. Goddamn it.

MATT: So ten temporary hit points to Caleb, Nila, Nott, and Beau for the next minute.

LIAM: The hit points are phenomenal.

SUMALEE: I could've done the hawk because of what happened with Molly I--

MARISHA: No, this is great. You're great.

MATT: That ends Nila's turn. Nott you're up.

SAM: I'm going to try and pick this-- is the door locked? Did we try the door? Did you try the door?

MARISHA: I did.

MATT: The door is locked, yes.

SAM: Okay, I will Mage Hand pick the lock as a bonus action.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Terrible, 13.

MATT: The Mage Hand doesn't have the delicate touch.

MARISHA: You have such bad luck with this.

SAM: I know. Action! I will also try to pick the lock. Worse.

LIAM: Oh no! Come on!

MARISHA: This is how Molly died! You trying to pick locks!

SAM: I know! I don't know what's wrong with me!

LIAM: Maybe if we offer Taliesin's new character in exchange for our lives, we can get out of this.

ASHLY: No one's gotten attached to him yet, right?

SUMALEE: I have! Nila has!

MATT: I kind of have, too.

TALIESIN: I can roll another one.

LIAM: You know you want to roll a halfling sorcerer, come on!

MATT: So that's your action and your bonus action.

ASHLY: I'm attached, too.

SAM: That's all I can do, right? I can just move.

MATT: Yeah you can move, if you wish to.

SAM: There's nowhere to move, so I'll hang out by the door, maybe try to tuck behind someone bigger than me?

MATT: Okay. Clay, it's you and the horses. What are you doing?

TALIESIN: I'm going to run in the door.

MATT: 15, 20.

TALIESIN: Okay, that's what I see? There's an open door. I'm going to the open door.

LIAM: We just destroyed the door.

MATT: 30. You're so big, this was not designed for his firbolg form.

TALIESIN: Hey, guys.

MATT: That's your movement.

TALIESIN: I don't see anything. I'm going to keep running.

MATT: (counting) You walk into this chamber and you see everybody else. You also see this weird spectral bear spirit that seems to have apparated in the center of this hallway that looks at you and goes (bear growls).

TALIESIN: Hey. Can I see the barbarian through the door?

MATT: You can! You glance over and take in the scene. That's your movement and your action.

TALIESIN: So I only have a bonus?

MATT: Correct.

TALIESIN: Hold on. I'm learning how this works. I can cast Healing Word.

MATT: You can, yeah.

TALIESIN: On you.

SAM: Phil?

TALIESIN: Yeah! No, on you, of course. I see that this is going down and I'm going to cast a quick Healing Word. That's--

MATT: A d4 plus your wisdom modifier.

TALIESIN: 1d4 plus my wisdom modifier.

SAM: A cleric who likes to heal? This is amazing.

TALIESIN: Six points immediately to you.

ASHLY: Okay, thank you.

LIAM and MARISHA: Okay, okay, okay.

TALIESIN: All right.

MATT: That's your turn?

TALIESIN: Yep, that's everything I've got.

MATT: Keg, you're up.

ASHLY: Well. Oh, I can--

MATT: You can't do anything because you're stunned.

ASHLY: I'm stunned! Fuck, I forgot. Never mind!

MATT: That's the end of your turn. Top of the round, Beau.

MARISHA: Oh! Okay, it's me.

LIAM: (singing) Welcome back.

MARISHA: Shit! What's the quickest way through? Can I get through everybody and go this way? Yeah, I'm going to do that. Excuse, me. Sorry. Pardon me. Excuse me.

MATT: You're still 15 feet from Wohn.

MARISHA: Okay, can I step back a few feet? I don't want to go that full movement, maybe on top of the table. Can I get on top of the table?

MATT: If you want to be on there instead, yeah.

MARISHA: That's cool. I want to gauge it right over Keg's shoulders and throw two darts.

MATT: Okay, you're going to attempt to ricochet off of her armor. Go for it.

MARISHA: Over top of her shoulders to the giant barbarian behind her? Hopefully?

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: Or ricochet, whatever's the coolest.

MATT: I'm just embellishing for fun. Why not?

MARISHA: Yeah!

MATT: We'll see if it works.

MARISHA: Okay, first one: 17?

MATT: 17 hits. Actually, you have an advantage, technically, because she was doing reckless attacks last turn.

MARISHA: 13 on the higher one. That's a 20.

MATT: That hits. First one hits.

MARISHA: What do these do? These do a d8 damage? These do monk or do these--?

MATT: These are the--

MARISHA: These are the-- no, these still do 1d4, right?

MATT: These are still darts, they're modified darts. You would need to get daggers or things that are considered monk weapons to do additional damage.

MARISHA: So the first one is crap. That's five damage.

MATT: Five damage. Second one, with advantage still.

MARISHA: My second one. 21.

MATT: 21 hits. Roll damage.

MARISHA: Ooh, that's better. Eight damage.

MATT: Five and eight. As you're there, getting your brain back in the space and the strength returns to you. You look up at the time the barbarian is pulling back for another round of blows, the giant blade still crimson with your own blood. These two serrated blade-like discs into her chest from over your shoulders. You glance over quickly and see Beau waving to you through the doorway.

ASHLY: I don't need to say it, but Keg is aroused.

MATT: All righty, that finishes Beau's turn. Caleb, you're up.

SAM: (singing) Lady boner!

MARISHA: I just give a wink.

SAM: Clang!

(laughter)

LIAM: Wow. I have a joke, I'm going to keep it in my head. This is all going much worse than I intended it to, so I am going to tug on the glove and I'm going to slap it and send out three--

SAM: Is that the fly?

MARISHA: Fucking fly!

LIAM: Get him. Beauregard, you're the monk. Scorching Ray, three times on the barbarian. First one is shit.

MATT: Well, technically, you don't have advantage. It's advantage on melee attacks, not ranged attacks, but it's fine.

LIAM: Second is a 15. First is total shit, second is a 15.

MATT: 15 hits.

LIAM: Third is better than that.

MATT: So two hits.

LIAM: That is eight for the first and eight for the second.

MATT: Nice! Oof. That'll be enough. How do you want to do this, Caleb?

MARISHA: Yes!

LIAM: I have had very bad luck with people's skulls, so I am going to send the fire into her thighs and legs and burn the bottom of her torso and even the center of her being, her stomach, and make it burn in upon itself and harden in blackened crust.

SAM: Ugh!

MATT: She screams out in pain, the flesh itself burning black instantly and cracking as she falls to the ground screaming. The voice slowly thins out into a faint (death rattle) before expiring. Need you to make a wisdom saving throw, Caleb.

SAM: Wisdom saving-- oh, his father.

LIAM: That's a 13.

MATT: 13. You take a moment, and push through, and keep your wits about you.

LIAM: That's the first time I did that. First time I did *not* go into a state.

SAM: Wow.

LIAM: (breathing heavily)

MARISHA: Beau turns around to Caleb and goes: Damn, Caleb.

MATT: The firecrackers have ended. Silence comes over the fortress.

SAM: Nobody else is coming?

MATT: None that you see or hear.

LIAM: Stay alert. We're not done here.

SAM: Go back to lock-a-pickin'?

MATT: Go for it.

TALIESIN: I'm going to walk over to you and give you some healing.

ASHLY: Oh, you are the best!

MATT: DC is getting higher with each.

SAM: 15.

MATT: Total of 15?

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: It's not going through. This is a very intricate lock. It's obviously protecting a lot.

SAM: Nila, I need you!

SUMALEE: Can I muscle my way through?

LIAM: Wait for me.

MATT: Make a strength check, if you want to. You still have advantage on the strength checks because you're a bear for the time being.

MARISHA: Do it! Yes! Okay, one more. Do a second one.

MATT: Roll it one more time.

MARISHA: That's better?

SUMALEE: No.

MATT: The door is too strong. This one is actually reinforced and seems to-- knowing what it's hiding-- designed to be the strongest door on this floor.

LIAM: Nott, wait for me.

TALIESIN: 12 points to you.

SAM: Come, quickly!

ASHLY: I follow too.

SAM: Everyone stand back! Caleb's going to do a thing.

MARISHA: I'm going to watch this front door and make sure no one else comes down the steps.

MATT: Over here?

MARISHA: No, here.

SAM: (stammering) Get the sword!

ASHLY: Oh, the sword? I'll grab the sword, then.

MARISHA: Yeah, get the sword. Sword in the haversack.

MATT: Grab the sword. You pull the sheath off her back and slip it in the haversack.

TALIESIN: Anything else worth checking?

MARISHA: What?

LIAM: Attune to the sword.

MARISHA: No, I'm putting it in the haversack.

ASHLY: Before I leave, could I investigate--

MARISHA: It's Yasha's sword.

ASHLY: --to see if I see anything else worth taking?

MATT: If you'd like to. It takes a moment for you to rifle through her stuff.

ASHLY: I'll do that. What is that check?

MATT: Investigation.

ASHLY: That's a 14.

MATT: 14? Okay. You manage to find about 38 gold pieces in the pouch that she keeps on her side. You find another pouch that is a bunch of dried meats that have been salted and smoked, like a jerky. You also find another pack that has teeth in it. Just a collection of teeth. Different sizes, different ages.

ASHLY: No keys or anything like that?

MATT: No keys.

ASHLY: Okay.

TALIESIN: I'm going to start walking to any of the dead bodies and-- or the unconscious people who are not technically dead yet.

MATT: They've bled out.

TALIESIN: Oh, they bled out? All right, I'm going to start using Thaumaturgy to start cooking them away in a big pile of mold and mushrooms.

SAM: Ugh! What the fuck is wrong with you?

SUMALEE: He's just returning the bodies to their natural state.

TALIESIN: Aw, it's nice to have someone who really understands. It's the process.

SUMALEE: I understand.

SAM: Caleb!

LIAM: I will find Nott. Have you done everything that you could here?

SAM: I'm sorry I couldn't get it open. I tried, and I made noise, and I should've drunk *more,* is what I should've done.

LIAM: We all should've drunk more. It is no shame on you. I place my hand on the trap door--

MATT: Not on the trap door, the door that leads into it.

LIAM: The door is locked?

MATT: The door is locked, yeah.

LIAM: I place my hand on the door and I cast Knock.

MATT: (click, creaking) The door opens.

SAM: He's so amazing!

TALIESIN: Pretty good, yeah.

LIAM: I'm going to walk through and find that trap door that I've already seen through Frumpkin's eyes.

MATT: All right. You go to the trap door.

SAM: Is it open? You want me to check it for traps?

LIAM: Yes, please.

SAM: All right. I'll go check it for traps. That's a 28. No, 26.

MATT: 26? It is trapped.

SAM: There's a trap!

MATT: From the underside of it.

LIAM: I back up about 15 feet out of this little cubby.

MARISHA: From the underside.

SUMALEE: So if we open it, it will--

MARISHA: It'll hurt them.

SAM: Back up everybody, out of the room, and I'll reach my mage hand around.

LIAM: A reach around.

SAM: A reach around. Give it a little tuggy with the reach around. Just pull it. Pull it. Just tug it until it explodes. Just reach around and tug it until it explodes. Just keep on working it! Might have to use the other hand for a while, that one's getting tired, Matt!

(laughter)

SAM: Wait for the explosion!

MATT: Roll for reach around.

(laughter)

SAM: What am I rolling?

MATT: This is still another thieves' tools check, so still plus seven.

SAM: Okay. 22 this time.

MATT: 22. That'll do it.

SUMALEE: Explosion!

LIAM: Your mother watches this show, right?

MATT: You manage to just lift the trap door enough to slide your hand underneath. There is a trigger cable underneath that has been set into a hook. Right before it pulls taut enough for it to snap, you grab it, lift it up, put it onto a shoulder. Using the cable, you pull it back until you find a piece of rock off to the side and hook it to it to where it maintains the tautness. You find another metal ring that is designed specifically to hold the trap when it's not set. It does not go off. The trap door opens, and there is a staircase that descends to a lower floor.

SAM: See? Just easy as that.

LIAM: Is it open?

SAM: It's open. Let's go in.

LIAM: Open it. No. I hold up Frumpkin, I place him on the edge of the trap door, and send him scrambling under to look.

MATT: Okay. Make a perception check for Frumpkin.

MARISHA: I'm still watching this front area.

LIAM: 15.

MATT: 15? Okay. Frumpkin descends slowly down the stairs. There's a faint bit of torchlight in there. You hear whimpering. A few voices faintly whimpering. Inside the chamber-- I can show you, actually.

SAM: Wait, what? No, you had the *upstairs* built, Matt, you didn't have the downstairs built. That would be too much.

MATT: I'll be right back.

(groaning)

SAM: Guys? D&D Beyond.

LIAM: We learned so much.

SAM: We've learned so much about-- Hey Taliesin, welcome back to the show!

TALIESIN: Thank you, it's great to be back.

MARISHA: Will you show off your shirt? It's a little squishy.

TALIESIN: It's a little squishy.

SAM: "New character, who dis?" Aw, that's great!

LIAM: Last week, Taliesin was hanging like Tom Cruise in a Mission: Impossible movie just above the table waiting to drop in, and we all thought it would happen near the end of the episode, but it didn't. It didn't. How does it feel to finally let that little bit of rope cut and be in the game again?

TALIESIN: I've got to say, it's been a little nerve wracking coming in as someone new. It's very interesting.

LIAM: I like this guy.

TALIESIN: I like this guy, too.

MARISHA: I like this guy a lot.

ASHLY: He's awesome.

SAM: His voice is sexy.

ASHLY: He had such a great intro.

LIAM: I like pink more than purple, if I can say.

TALIESIN: I like it all, so I'm a fan.

MARISHA: Do you really like pink more than purple? Like, as a person?

LIAM: Yes.

MARISHA: I can't tell if you're lying to me or not.

LIAM: I like pink a little more than purple.

TALIESIN: I was very happy with the pink mohawk. It was a very good mohawk. It was black-light reactive.

ASHLY: Really?

SAM: Oh, Matt's back!

MATT: So hi guys. Frumpkin slowly descends the staircase, and you can see a rack that is bolted into the wall that has chains hanging from it, a few other sets of manacles, a few torture implements: long metal things that are hooked at the end, brands. There are a few spaces that are currently empty where tools probably would normally hang, and there is another door that leads to a chamber beyond, and that's where you hear the whimpering coming from.

LIAM: What I don't like about this is that the asshole was sleeping upstairs and we don't know about that at all, but I send Frumpkin along the ceiling and through-- that looks like a barred gate.

MATT: As Frumpkin looks within, you can see another chamber. You can see another hired figure, at least the same cloaked individuals you had encountered before, same attire, who is currently sitting at the back, up against the wall, and is looking in the direction of the door expectantly.

LIAM: I will attempt to send Frumpkin over his head along the ceiling stealthily.

MATT: Make a stealth check for Frumpkin. Frumpkin also noticed there is a cage in the corner that contains two figures in there. Looks to be two humanoid figures.

LIAM: Humanoid, that's it?

MATT: With that perception roll and the low light, it's hard to tell. One appears to be larger, one appears to be smaller.

SAM: Yasha and Jester,

LIAM: I'm going to keep going and you said roll--

MATT: Make a stealth check.

LIAM: Very good, that is a 19.

MATT: Okay. Unnoticing, he sits there waiting, arm against the wall. Frumpkin slowly makes his way through this hallway, it bends off on a corner around the side. Frumpkin continues beyond and it curves around another corner here. There is an archway that leads into another room that has two more cages that contain-- each cage contains another figure. The figures in there appear to be slumped down and either unconscious or sleeping.

LIAM: Yeah, he pauses, he's looking for green or blue or goth.

MATT: Here?

LIAM: *Ja.*

MATT: You see Ruzza and Protto, two more members of The Iron Shepherds that are currently waiting there with their eyes towards the entryway expectantly. It seems that they have been notified of your presence.

SAM: How?

MATT: I don't know, maybe the loud firecrackers going off right above?

TALIESIN: What do they do, those two? What do those two do?

SAM: They're bad. One's a magic person.

LIAM: So would Frumpkin be on the edge of that gate?

MATT: Frumpkin would be here.

LIAM: I rolled a 19 last we checked and that was 20 seconds ago.

MATT: As they're both standing there waiting, Protto, the little halfling sharpshooter creep, glances up and goes, takes his shortbow and--

LIAM: Do I see this?

MATT: Pulls it off his shoulder. Mm-hmm.

LIAM: (popping)

MATT: Yeah, that's the last you see.

LIAM: There are more people down there. This is the x-factor we spoke about.

MARISHA: How many?

LIAM: I saw two down there, correct?

ASHLY: Three, right?

MATT: One in that chamber and then two in there.

LIAM: Right, but I mean in that last room.

MATT: In that last room it was two.

LIAM: And I did not see Lazlo, so he could be upstairs.

SAM: Lorenzo.

LIAM: No, it's Lazlo, I'm pretty sure.

(laughter)

LIAM: I didn't see *el boogie* down there so he could be upstairs or downstairs, is what I'm saying.

SAM: But then you saw some prisoners?

ASHLY: Dwelma's dead, we just beat the barbarian, Protto and Ruzza are down there, that means Lorenzo is upstairs, unless he's--

SAM: Or somewhere.

LIAM: We do not know that. We know that there is one random shithead and two more beyond that, and I did not see Lorenzo or Lazlo or Larkin.

ASHLY: Lorenzo.

MARISHA: So he's either still upstairs or deeper, further.

LIAM: Yeah, he's either behind us or down below.

MARISHA: Or he's not here at all and he's at the bar that he likes to hang out at--

SAM: The Trench.

MARISHA: Called The Trench. Fuck you. So close, I was almost there.

SUMALEE: What about prisoners?

LIAM: *Ja,* there were some people in cages, but I did not get a good look at them through my spider's eyes.

SAM: We can't close this door that Nila just exploded, but we can put up some sort of person to watch so some of us can go down there and snoop around and maybe kill that one guard that you spotted.

LIAM: Here is what I think: We have a bit of a bottleneck here at this trap door, if they want to come up they have to deal with us, *ja?*

SAM: Yes.

LIAM: So if the majority of us wait at this trap door and I send my spider upstairs to see what's going on, to see if our friend is up there, we can learn about upstairs and if anyone pokes their head out of that door they're going to lose it.

ASHLY: That seems like a good plan to me.

LIAM: Let's keep figuring things out.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: All right. So are you sending Frumpkin upstairs?

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: Any ideas, Mr. Clay?

TALIESIN: Well, I mean, could just ask him to open the door. The ruckus has stopped and obviously, someone won this fight.

MARISHA: We have the trap door open though, right?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

SAM: But the gate down there?

TALIESIN: I can do that if you like.

MARISHA: How about, everyone get ready?

LIAM: Close it quietly, and if anyone has a look around--

TALIESIN: I can just go down and ask. I was going to mention, I do look like a guard right now.

MARISHA: You do. So do I. We still look like guards.

TALIESIN: I'm grabbing a little muck, putting it on my face, getting all. I can just go down if you like.

MARISHA: Why don't we bring this guard up here to us?

LIAM: Wait, it's true, you look like one of the guys upstairs, you could go down and tell them. But, well, you are putting a lot on the line for people you've just met tonight.

TALIESIN: Yeah, it's okay.

LIAM: Yeah?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MARISHA: Why don't we handle this guard first, and I go, here, lift up the gate. Lift up the trap door.

TALIESIN: I'm going to go down.

MARISHA: You're going down?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MARISHA: You don't want to bring him up, okay?

MATT: So you go ahead and descend the stairs into this chamber.

LIAM: Simultaneously, Caleb will slap his hand down on Keg's shoulder and send Frumpkin on the ceiling or on the first floor, towards the stairwell at the front of the building.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I'm going to go down with Clay, but just at the stairs, since I also look like a guard.

MATT: Okay. So you stay at the stairs there, Beau.

MARISHA: Yep.

MATT: All right. As you glance through, Clay, you can see the faint light in here, you can see the figure's walking up to the cage, eyes still trained on the door.

TALIESIN: I'm just tapping on the doors. All clear. We got one, it's Keg. We'll handle it. I'm going to head back upstairs.

MATT: Make a deception check.

TALIESIN: All right.

MARISHA: Does he have advantage?

MATT: No. It's allowing him to do one--

TALIESIN: That's cocked.

SAM: That was cocked.

MATT: I saw it.

TALIESIN: 18.

MATT: 18?

TALIESIN: I'm going to start heading back up.

MATT: "All right, I'll get back to work."

TALIESIN: We could use your help up here if you got a second.

MATT: "I'm going to finish up." As you turn around and begin to ascend the stairs, you begin to hear a child beginning to scream.

MARISHA: I tap on the bars with my staff, and I go: Wait man, Phil, there's something wrong with Phil, I think he really needs our help. Fucking Phil, am I right?

MATT: Make a deception check.

LIAM: Roll fucking high, Marisha.

MARISHA: I'm not gambling for torturing children.

LIAM: Oh my god.

(cheering)

MARISHA: 21!

SAM: Fucking Phil.

LIAM: Phil, am I right?

MATT: He pulls back, you can see there's a heated spike that's orange at the tip that he pulls out of the cage. He goes (growling).

TALIESIN: I'm going to head upstairs.

MARISHA: I hate it when Phil ruins torturing hour.

MATT: He steps back towards the table at the back and sets it on there, where you can see there are other implements laid out. He comes back to the cage and goes, "I'll be back later," and comes to the door where you are.

MARISHA: I step to the side, let him unlock the door.

TALIESIN: I'm heading up.

MATT: Opens the door.

TALIESIN: As I head up through the trap door, I'm like, get ready everyone, just when he comes up, and just walking a little way past.

MARISHA: I go: Just follow him.

MATT: Steps up the stairs, makes it up through the hatch.

SAM: Everybody--

MARISHA: Go!

MATT: Everybody, make an ambush round. He was not expecting that.

LIAM: Caleb is not here; he is in the spider.

MARISHA: First, you celebrate.

MATT: Oh, shit. Is this on your shillelagh? What are you doing with this?

SUMALEE: Yeah!

MATT: Okay.

ASHLY: 19.

SAM: 15.

LIAM: Spidering.

TALIESIN: Never done this before. 17 plus something.

MATT: Yeah, you all hit. What are you doing?

MARISHA: Oh, I don't think I hit.

MATT: Nah.

MARISHA: 12.

MATT: All right, roll your d8.

SUMALEE: D8 is--

MATT: Eight-sided.

SUMALEE: Six.

MATT: That's 12 plus four, 16 points of damage. Whack! Upside the head as he dizzies off from that point, immediately going into Keg, roll damage on that one.

ASHLY: Six.

MATT: Six damage, and carved from the battle axe.

TALIESIN: Is it just a straight 1d6 plus nothing?

MATT: What are you using?

TALIESIN: I was using the staff.

MATT: It's a 1d8.

TALIESIN: Oh, it's 1d8.

MATT: Yeah, because it's a quarterstaff.

TALIESIN: Eight.

MATT: Plus your strength modifier?

TALIESIN: Seven, because I have my strength modifier-- no, eight, just because I have no strength modifier.

MATT: Crack! And then--

SAM: Is this a surprise?

MATT: It's a sneak attack, yeah.

(gasping)

SAM: Seven plus six, 13, plus-- I've been adding wrong. 18.

MATT: Yeah, that'll do it. He comes up and immediately-- and falls to the ground, barely conscious, looking up, his face bloodied and the crossbow bolt jammed into his shoulder and past the rib and he's having a hard time breathing.

TALIESIN: Oh, no. Just going to turn him into mulch. That’s okay.

(laughter)

MATT: You watch as Clay, hushing as he just slowly pushes his face in with his fist repeatedly.

TALIESIN: I'm going to drag him. We got another suit, if anyone wants one.

ASHLY: Well Nila, you can disguise yourself, right?

NILA: Yes.

ASHLY: We could have two guards.

MATT: Caleb, what are you doing?

LIAM: Frumpkin is still climbing towards the stairwell up and I am computing everything that our druid friend told me about the stairs to see if Big Man is asleep in his room.

MATT: So you coast around here--

SAM: All the maps!

LIAM: (singing) So many maps!

MATT: Make your way through, down this hall, to the bedroom where you had seen was Lorenzo's room, not present. Crawls over to the next bedroom, two beds. Not present.

LIAM: I tell you what I'm going to do.

MARISHA: This fucker's not here.

LIAM: I'm at the top of these stairs. Boy, it's hard to say because the map is gone, but I think what I will do is I’ll drop out of Frumpkin for a moment and I have 30 feet of movement, so I will walk 25 feet towards those stairs.

MATT: Toward the stairs where Frumpkin was?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Yeah, towards the second floor.

MATT: All right. You're at the base, essentially, or near the staircase that leads up and out to this little stair.

LIAM: Oh wow. If I'm able, I will stand on my own and go back into Frumpkin and wait because he is far ahead of me, Frumpkin, and my friends are mostly behind me, but I'm okay.

MATT: All right. What's everybody else doing?

SAM: The gate's open.

SUMALEE: I want to go down.

ASHLY: I feel like I want to stay with Caleb, in case.

MATT: Okay, so Keg is staying up with Caleb.

ASHLY: Is that cool with you, Caleb?

SAM: I'll go with you, Nila.

LIAM: I can't hear that.

MATT: Nila, you head down.

ASHLY: Well, I'm going to stand behind you, in case.

LIAM: Oh, that's great.

SUMALEE: Come join us.

TALIESIN: I'll come down with you, that's fine.

LIAM: Do I feel you next to me?

ASHLY: Yeah, maybe I put my hand on you?

LIAM: Do I? If I feel the dwarf next to me, I would use a free hand to jam some licorice back into my mouth and start chewing furiously, anxiously. I'm so scared of everything, and cast Haste again, into the dwarf.

ASHLY: Tight.

MATT: Okay, so you have one minute before that spell goes away.

LIAM: One minute, *ja*. I know. You are again on methamphetamines.

ASHLY: Perfect.

MATT: Okay. As you enter this lower chamber, you come in with a fair light. You look over on the table and there are the implements there. You step out and there is a moment where you touch your foot to the ground, and something gives way. You see a cable that was run through the ground quickly whip up the air and you glance up to see heavy netting that contains a bunch of broken brick and stone that falls down from the center of the chamber. I need both Nott and Nila to make dexterity saving throws, please.

SAM: We're not still under the influence of any sort of thing?

MATT: It only lasts a-- nice.

SUMALEE: 21.

SAM: 11.

MATT: 11. That's a failure on your point. That is eight points of bludgeoning damage to you, four points to you, as this pile of stone fills the corner. You guys manage to step off to the side and pull yourself out of the rubble, but you get the sense now that this room is definitely trapped and there is definitely an awareness within and deeper of your presence. Nila, as you recover from this, you glance up and see the cage in the corner that you had passed when you first entered and you see a hand hanging off one of the metal bars-- a tiny, familiar hand: a bit of fur that covers them and vanishing into the faint, grayish-blue tint of what is Asar's hand.

SUMALEE: I want to go to him, to touch him-- but I want to make sure that there's nothing that is going to trigger something else.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

SUMALEE: Oh! I'm so nervous! 19?

MATT and MARISHA: That's cocked.

SUMALEE: (groans)

MARISHA: Yeah, sorry. It was almost good.

SUMALEE: Eight.

MATT: Plus?

SUMALEE: Plus my, which check?

MATT: Investigation.

SUMALEE: Nine-- oh, no, minus one. Seven, shit. Should I use my luck point now?

LIAM: No, your luck is dead.

MATT: No, she didn't use it last time, she saved it--

LIAM: Oh, you saved it! (inhales)

SUMALEE: I have to.

MATT: All right, go for it.

(groans)

LIAM: Oh, no! It's a one!

SAM: Kid's dead, let's go home.

MATT: Well, you still pick the one you want to, so you go with the previous one. You don't have to go with the one. Pretty sure that's how the luck feat works, right?

LIAM: That's right. Whatever one you want.

MATT: From best you can tell, there is nothing; no contraption adhered to the cage. It's just a cage. You come up close and look inside. You can see Kitor, your partner, is slumped in the back of the cage, unconscious. With what little bit light is in here as you focus-- you have darkvision, so you can see in his unconscious face he is still breathing, but there are wounds and scrapes. You look and see Asar, who is awake, who is currently holding a burn puncture right in his abdomen. He looks up to you, the sweat dripping down his face, and goes, "Mama? Mama!" and leans up to the cage and puts his hand over the outside of the bar and reaches out for you with the other hand and entwines his fingers. "Mama, you came."

SUMALEE: I'm here. Mama's here. I want to heal them. Can I heal them?

MATT: If you have a heal spell, yeah.

SUMALEE: I have Healing Word.

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: (quietly) I don't like it.

MATT: What's your healing word to your son?

SUMALEE: (quickly reading under breath)

MATT: What's the word you say that heals him?

SUMALEE: Oh, what's the word I say, I'm sorry.

MATT: What phrase? It's up to you.

SUMALEE: Be well. Be well, my son.

MATT: Roll a d4.

MARISHA: That's pretty good. It's three.

SUMALEE: Three? Did that count?

MATT: Sure, I'll let it. It's all right.

MARISHA: Plus your wisdom modifier.

MATT: I think it's a plus four? Yeah, okay. Looking really hurt from whatever injuries he's sustained, you watch as the injuries slowly close up and he breathes a little heartier again and looks at you with a renewed smile, his hand still entwining your fingers, and says, "Mama, I want to go home."

SUMALEE: I'll bring you home. We're going to get you out of here. I grab that cage and try to pull it apart as much as I can.

SAM: Let me try to unlock it.

(laughing)

MATT: Well, make a strength check, just for the hell of it. Because life gets weird.

MARISHA: While this is happening, can I come and watch this corridor.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'm going to come in the corridor as well.

MARISHA: I'm going to suck up against this wall and look to make sure no one is coming around that hall while this is happening.

TALIESIN: Since I still look like a soldier, I'm going to be willing to be a little visible on the corner.

MARISHA: Yeah, actually, we both look like soldiers. We block this corridor, looking like soldiers.

MATT: Okay, you move into the corridor?

MARISHA: Just backs to that corridor in this room.

MATT: Like this?

MARISHA: Yup, like we're watching-- guarding this room together.

SUMALEE: Strength check, 19 plus two.

SAM: Wow.

MATT: You begin to (strains)-- and you watch as Nila's arms pop with the muscles filling with adrenaline and emotion as the metal bars bend ever so slightly. Just enough to maybe fit Asar through-- not your mate. You pull them just enough and you reach through and he pulls his way, and you help him grab his shoulder, and slowly you pull your son free from the cage and into your arms.

SUMALEE: (sobs) I hug him again. I want to go, I want to run. I don't know what to do. I look inside and see if there's any way that I can pull further to get Kitor out too.

MATT: The bars have gone as far as they can go, and you continue to pull, the emotion in there. Your strength is waning from the physical exertion of getting even that bit of the metal open.

SUMALEE: Can I heal him? I know he has powers to help himself out of here if I heal him.

MATT: You can try, yeah.

SAM: While she does that, I'll try to jimmy the bent lock.

MATT: Go for it.

SAM: Yeah, that's a one.

(laughing)

MATT: Sam!

MARISHA: You're supposed to be good at this!

MATT: Buddy...

SAM: You ruined the fucking lock!

(laughter)

SAM: You bent it!

SUMALEE: You can't blame the mother!

MATT: Roll for Healing Word.

TALIESIN: Just for my own giggles, I'm going to cast Detect Magic really quickly, because this place is giving me the creeps.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I have an auto-thing I can do apparently, which is nuts.

MATT: I'm going to need a new iPad. This thing is crashing and falling apart the whole night. Great job.

SAM: I'm going to look around for keys or something. Just around the room.

MATT: All right. Make an investigation check.

SAM: That's a one.

ASHLY: Oh my god. You need to use a new one.

MARISHA: Did you just roll two ones in a row?

MATT: Sam, we're not making money for charity. You can slow your roll here, buddy.

SAM: 826LA, guys!

SUMALEE: Do I roll this for--?

MATT: Yeah, to heal.

TALIESIN: I'm going to cast Detect Magic as a racial trait, which apparently is a thing you can do.

SAM: Wow.

TALIESIN: Firbolgs are amazing.

SAM: Any magic?

MATT: In the immediate chamber?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: Focusing on this, you don't sense any immediate magical auras within the chamber.

TALIESIN: All right. How about within 30 feet. Am I getting a ping?

MATT: Nothing that you can see in the immediate area, no.

SUMALEE: Five.

MATT: You watch as Kitor (rouses). One eye is swollen shut, the other opens a bit, and you watch as the swelling slowly goes away from that eye. It's still purple from the outside, but the swelling has diminished from the healing effect of your spell, and he looks up. "My mate." He looks down at his hands and looks out and sees that Asar's been freed, and he looks out at the strange crew-- looks towards both of you and (gasps).

SUMALEE: It's okay, they're safe. They came to help. Can you get out?

MATT: "Help me."

SUMALEE: How? Tell me.

MATT: He stands up in the cage; his hunched form is crammed in by this cage that was not designed for his firbolg body. Nevertheless, he reaches out and grabs the bars where you had started. "On three: one, two, three-- (strains)." He's going to go ahead and make a strength check with advantage. That's a natural 17... and a natural 19! I love it when it works for the narrative!

(laughing)

MATT: That puts it over 20. Both of you together (strains), and one of the bars comes off on one side. He gets in quickly and puts his shoulder in and pushes against the other, and that bends off to the side, leaving just enough room for him to push through. It takes a minute and you're helping him and grabbing his elbow, and the two of your together-- You feel something pop in his shoulder, but it's just enough to get his body to wedge out of the space, and he comes back out of it and embraces you-- the other arm limply hanging at one side, but he takes you in his hand. He looks down at his son and looks over at the rest of you, tired. Still, amongst the trauma he has suffered, there is a pride and a silent strength to him-- very much similar to that you've seen in Nila. "I do not know by what grace you've come to us, but thank you."

MARISHA: Well, we relied on your mate here. Couldn't have done it without her.

SAM: Yeah, she's quite impressive.

MATT: "That she is," and pets the back of your head.

MARISHA: Now, if I was you, I'd run.

SUMALEE: What about your friends?

MARISHA: You have a child with you. You need to get him out of here. He's suffered enough. We've got it from here.

SUMALEE: Thank you.

MARISHA: We wouldn't have gotten this far without you.

SUMALEE: Clay?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

SUMALEE: We'll go back to your temple. Will you help these people-- will you help these friends?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I like what's happening here. Here, come on. Give me a hug.

SUMALEE: Nila gives him a big hug.

TALIESIN: Some tea for the road. I've got a bit of it left.

(laughing)

SAM: Is it already steeped, or is that just the--

TALIESIN: No, it's just loose leaf.

SAM: Oh, okay.

TALIESIN: It's not a bag. It's just loose leaf.

MATT: Kitor picks up Asar and throws him over his shoulder, now standing in his full form, just below the ceiling of this chamber-- taller, even, than Clay. "Thank you. Let's go home."

TALIESIN: See you soon.

MARISHA: We'll see you later.

SUMALEE: Oh, before I forget. Nila wears a necklace of six red feathers. Four of these feathers were people from my tribe who were taken: one for Kitor, one for Asar, one for Duma, and one for-- oh, shoot. So emotional, but I know it-- Duma and Masag. Masag was one of our strongest. They took him too, and Duma was the little one that Jumnda mentioned. One feather was for me, for leaving my tribe to find my family, and I took an extra one because I thought I would find friends who might help me. I will give it to you. I undo the feather, pull it off; it's a perfectly intact red feather. I don't know who will take it, but if you ever need our help, you can come to the temple. If, by chance, we're not there-- but only because one of us would go back to check on the others of our tribe-- we'll be in the Crispvale Thicket. Just go where the moss is the thickest, and I'll be there. Thank you for everything. Thank you so much.

MARISHA: We'll find you again, Nila.

SUMALEE: Thank you. Let's go.

MATT: "Good luck."

SAM: Bye.

MATT: You watch as the three of them, given a second chance at life and freedom, step through the door where you entered and vanish up the stairs, the heavy footfalls dissipating as they grow further and further from you. The two of you, who have been focusing-- that point, the Haste spell having coursed into your body-- glance behind and see as the family steps through the kitchen door and exits. There's only one path left to find the others that were taken. And that's where we'll leave tonight's game.

SAM: (groans)

TALIESIN: This was the *best.*

SUMALEE: Thank you guys so much!

ASHLY: Sumalee!

MARISHA: Sumalee!

SUMALEE: You guys *rock!*

MATT: Thank you for playing with us!

SUMALEE: This was such an amazing experience.

MARISHA: One red Nila feather.

TALIESIN: (as "The Twelve Days of Christmas") Five gold coins!

LIAM: I have so much murder in my eye right now.

TALIESIN: I love this color, by the way, that we're getting right now. That's lovely.

MATT: It's a fun one, yeah.

ASHLY: That was beautiful.

MARISHA: That was so amazing!

SUMALEE: Thank you guys for having me!

TALIESIN: You were so much fun!

MATT: Thank you for coming. You were amazing.

SUMALEE: Thank you guys. This has been mindblowingly fun. It's so easy to get into with all of you guys being so-- embodying your characters so well. It just is so easy.

MATT: It's the best game. It's the best game!

SUMALEE: I had so much fun. Oh my gosh.

MARISHA: You were the softness that we needed--

ASHLY: Desperately.

MARISHA: --in our group. Desperately.

LIAM: What do you mean?

MATT: Everything fits so well into place.

MARISHA: She was the Charmin bear, and we were like... rocks? I don't know, that's all I got.

LIAM: Things are really bad in the Mighty Nein when Nott is the soft member of the group.

MARISHA: That's true!

MATT: Yeah. Aw, man, we get to pick up this next phase at GenCon.

SAM: We're going to be doing this live next time?

MATT: Apparently, yeah.

SAM: Holy moley.

MATT: This is where we got to. Oh man.

TALIESIN: Exciting!

MATT: Oh, boy, that's going to be fun.

LIAM: See player characters killed *live* in Indianapolis!

TALIESIN: Are you not entertained?!

SUMALEE: Seriously, thank you for introducing me to this game. I mean it.

SAM: You were so great.

SUMALEE: Now I understand why people that I know play this game--

LIAM: Sumalee. Sam and I were talking about bullshit before the beginning of the game, and I forget the context but he was talking about you and I said, "No, she's never played. She played one practice game before this," and Sam's brain went (explosion).

SAM: You were so great, so confident, so much great roleplaying. Amazing.

SUMALEE: I learned from you guys. I learned by watching you! Yeah, I played one... what do you call it, a one-off? It was a three hour one-off.

SAM: With Matt?

SUMALEE: No, a dear, dear friend of mine, Tom Lommel, ran-- he pulled in some friends so I would have some sense, because I didn't want to-- he was like "your first game is going to be on Critical Role? You need to come over and we'll play one practice round."

MATT: No, you've been so great, thank you for joining us, seriously. And for bringing a character that I think all of us are absolutely in love with.

SUMALEE: And now there's a firbolg! I feel like leaving--

SAM: Passing the torch.

MARISHA: Passing the torch!

MATT: Well. On that note, let's go ahead and close tonight's game--

SUMALEE: Oh, was all that-- that was all recorded?

MARISHA: Yeah.

SUMALEE: Oh, we're still on?

MATT: Yeah! No, we're still on.

(laughter)

SUMALEE: I thought we were done!

MATT: No, we're still going!

SAM: We're still on the TV.

LIAM: No no no, we're not. They cut the stream. Tell us about your politics.

SUMALEE: I totally believed you. I was like "Oh, wait, are we?"

MATT: Aw. Thank you so much for joining us; you're amazing. I've been wanting to have you on for a while, so I'm glad we could make it work.

SUMALEE: Thank you so much.

MATT: A pleasure. We pick up this live at GenCon next *Friday,* at 6:00pm Pacific, 9:00pm Eastern. Super excited for that. Until then, guys, have a wonderful week, we love you, and is it Thursday-- or *Friday* yet? Good night!

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