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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show Edit

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

ALL: (hollering) We play Dungeons & Dragons!

MATT: What even--? Okay. First off, we have our wonderful Ashley Johnson back!

ASHLEY: Hi!

LIAM, MARISHA, and TRAVIS: Yay!

MARISHA: Woo-hoo!

ASHLEY: It's a wild Ashley at the table.

LAURA: We are complete.

TRAVIS: She appears.

ASHLEY: Hello!

MATT: Welcome back.

ASHLEY: Thank you.

MATT: That's our first announcement. Second announcement, our fantastic sponsors and our friends since the beginning of this campaign. D&D; Beyond have returned this week. Sam if you want a few words.

SAM: I don't have much to say. D&D; Beyond. As many of you know, I am running for the president of D&D; Beyond and the campaign continues. I think my campaign has been run great. I have a lot of attention and support from regular Americans and people all around the world and even better than regular people, celebrities have also endorsed me as we saw. But I'm required by law to give equal time to my opponent. So tonight I'm going to turn it over to Liam O'Brien to see what he wants to talk about.

LIAM: Thank you, Sam.

LAURA: Woo!

TRAVIS: Boo!

LIAM: Matt, if I may. I have a vitally important announcement this evening. Let's be frank: over the last several weeks the political landscape around D&D; Beyond has gotten a little clouded. In a race that should be about the issues plain and simple, well again and again we see an election process lost in haze, obscured by cheap gimmicks, third party candidates, and an overall-- do not say that name-- and an overall lack of focus. While my overwhelming lead in the polls should be a comfort to us all--

SAM: Well, the polls can be wrong.

LIAM: Make no mistake. Unlike some, I take this election eminently serious. To that end, in an effort to shine a light on corruption and illuminate any of you still in doubt it does me and the Everlight herself my great honor to formally announce-- (lip flapping) formally announce my running mate on the road--

SAM: There's literally no one you can announce that would have any chance of beating me, but go on.

LIAM: Come with me to D&D; and beyond, Ashley Johnson.

SAM: What?

LIAM: My running mate.

LAURA and SAM: What?!

TRAVIS: No.

LIAM: You all know where I stand.

SAM: This is cheating.

LIAM: Ashley, welcome back. The table top is yours.

MARISHA: Speech!

SAM: She can't, she's not even.

TALIESIN: Equal time.

ASHLEY: Thank you, Mr. President.

TRAVIS: It stings already!

ASHLEY: As a testament to Liam's character and judge of thereof, he's chosen me as his vice president in this campaign. To say I'm honored would be an understatement of my own achievements so I will just say: You're welcome. As Liam's running mate it is only fitting that I drop some running hate.

SAM: What?

ASHLEY: To the people of this great land, this man offers you not only himself, but also myself and what is myself? Well, I can tell you what myself is not and myself is not an alcoholic. Friends, people, voters, we all watched this week's Talks Machina where my running mate's opponent came out in favor of alcoholism. Alcoholism, what is this, 1956? What do you go home and watch Mad Men at night and pretend that's how the world still is? Do you want a candidate with the lily white hands of a man who has never worked a day in his life or someone with hands so seasoned and robust you both imagine them tucking you in at night and strangling your enemies at the same time? There are real issues on the table with this election. Are the people supposed to rally behind a guy who looks like a donkey wearing a Jeff Goldblum mask?

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Oh my god!

ASHLEY: Or a tried and true man of the people with a smile that doesn't make you want to drown yourself in hot goat piss. Oh and this third party candidate, Arsequeef, just wants to sleep with my fiance and my running mate. Right now, yes, we are ahead in the polls, but we may not always have this delicious of a lead, but let's be honest, polls are meant to be ridden. Only one person and that person's recently announced running mate can bring order and structure to the world once more. Those two people that I'm talking about are Liam and myself, just to be clear. So this year #VoteWithYourJohnson--

SAM: Oh shit. This is good!

ASHLEY: And vote O'Brien for president. And that is all I have to say.

TRAVIS: That's-- wow.

LIAM: That's my vice president!

TRAVIS: Wow! I have a compelling, convincing--

SAM: I feel my whole body hurts. I feel like I've been trampled by some sort of livestock.

MARISHA: That roast of Sam Riegel will be on Comedy Central at about 1:00pm tonight.

TRAVIS: Jeff Goldblum mask.

LIAM: That is the best funeral dirge I ever heard.

MATT: Wow.

ASHLEY: You know, it's good to be back.

TRAVIS: Oh, my head hurts, my head hurts

SAM: Thanks, D&D; Beyond. Be sure to subscribe at dndbeyond.com. I think I'm going to throw up now. Back to you, Matt.

MATT: Thank you, Sam. That was distinctly less shark costume this week and I think probably we'll all agree a little better. It's okay take your time, I felt the searing from here. So thank you, D&D; Beyond, of course. Yesterday was the season finale of Pub Draw. If you haven't had a chance to check it out from our fantastic friend and instructor, Babs Tarr's been helming this whole season. We've been able to watch Marisha just catapult her way through.

MARISHA: No, catastrophic's a fine word.

MATT: No, catapult is what I was going to say.

LIAM: Catastrophically catapult her way through.

MATT: Yes, exactly, which is really on brand when you consider it. (screams) Rag doll her way. From a very awesome beginning to an incredible growth of skill this entire time, which has been amazing. You've all had a chance to see it. They had me on it as well to knock off some of my rust. We all drew Gilmore, which is really exciting, my boy.

TRAVIS: Matt, you can't draw for shit, man, and it's crazy.

LAURA: I know, it was really sad to see.

TRAVIS: Like, total amateur hour, bro.

MATT: If you missed it, want to check it out, the VOD is here on our Twitch or you can see it tomorrow on our YouTube. So keep an eye out for that. Also, as a reminder, many of our shows including Talks Machina and Critical Role are available on podcast format-- talk for a living-- on iTunes, Google and Spotify. Look for the black Critical Role logo after searching your favorite podcasting app. To check it out you can go to critrole.com/FAQ for more details. We also have one more week left of our Kickstarter.

TRAVIS: Yeah, seven days!

MATT: Seven days. That's your favorite phrase, Travis.

TRAVIS: I just wanted to keep it on the Kickstarter, can we not make it about The Ring?

MATT: (laughs)

TRAVIS: (groans)

MATT: Yeah, on that note, speaking of which, Sam set the secret stretch goal that if we manage to hit 10 million by the end of this we're going to put all in on filming Travis going through the hauntedest of houses.

TALIESIN: You have no idea.

LAURA: Do we get to go with him, or does he have to go by himself to the haunted--

SAM: There are no rules to this secret stretch goal because it was invented on the fly.

TALIESIN: Can we talk to them about us working the haunted house while he's going through?

LIAM: I don't want to get punched in the face through a rubber mask!

TALIESIN: We go where it hurts.

LAURA: No, it's better if he doesn't know who's behind it.

TRAVIS: I've never struck nor will ever strike a haunted house worker. I am too busy screaming, peeing myself, and hiding in the corner.

LIAM: Pure entertainment.

TALIESIN: You have it coming, too. I'm so excited.

SAM: It's achievable, this goal is achievable.

MATT: Whenever the world gets a little dark and the weight on my shoulders in the morning gets a bit heavy, I stop and close my eyes and reminisce about the times on Halloween Horror Nights that we let Travis go first. It brightens my day immediately.

TRAVIS: We don't need to hit the lights.

LIAM: It's like you have Freddie Mercury with you hitting the high notes.

MATT: It's so beautiful.

SAM: Mariah Carey.

MATT: Anyway, looking forward to hopefully that and no worries if not, but excited to see this Kickstarter come to a close and for us to get cracking on this. Thank you, everybody, who's put in their support to help this become a reality, let alone on the scale that it is. This is incredible. We're still blown away by it. If that wasn't crazy enough, earlier today, we announced that our special campaign end of stream party we're having next week after the game that night is happening, with a very special guest, Joel Hodgson, from Mystery Science Theater 3000, which is crazy. One, because one they were previously the top film media Kickstarter and they've been very supportive and as we waved to them as we barely crossed that line passed. So Joel's coming to support and be a part of this, which is incredible. It's equally crazy because I grew up watching him constantly, so this is really surreal for a lot of us. He'll be there as part of that party after next week's show. For more details, go to critrole.com and to join our campaign critrole.com/animated. We have one merch update from you, Laura, I believe.

LAURA: Yes, I just wanted to let you guys know to keep your eye if you are wanting dice and you haven't been able to get our blue and Wildemount dice set, they should be going back in stock tomorrow. So woo! That's all. I just wanted to let you know.

SAM: What's on your head?

LAURA: Oh this, this old beanie? This is our prototype that we just got in for our Kickstarter, one of our swags.

ASHLEY: It just says Critical Role on the leather.

LAURA: I know!

SAM: The Legend of Vox Machina.

TRAVIS: That's pretty legit, that's pretty hot.

LAURA: Yeah, so I wanted to wear it tonight. It's neat.

TRAVIS, LAURA, and TALIESIN: Yeah!

MATT: I believe that brings us to the end of our announcements, so thank you for your patience. On that note, let's go ahead and bring us in to tonight's episode of Critical Role.

[water bubbling]

[thunder]

[explosion] ♪ Role, Critical Role ♪

♪ Critical, Critical Role ♪

♪ Critical, Critical Role ♪

♪ Critical, Critical Role, roll the dice ♪

♪ The adventure begins ♪

♪ They were always beside you ♪

♪ Your nerdy best friends and the DM to guide you ♪

♪ And they rise from the flames ♪

♪ For the battles ahead ♪

♪ Villains beware because you're 'bout to be dead ♪

♪ They got magic and flair ♪

♪ They got falchions and cunning ♪

♪ They don't see over there ♪

♪ There's a monster incoming ♪

♪ Inspiration is waiting ♪

♪ Rise up, don't think twice ♪

♪ Put up your fate in your hands ♪

♪ Take a chance, roll the dice ♪

♪ Critical, Critical Role, roll the dice, roll the dice ♪

♪ Can you answer the call ♪

♪ Diggin' deep in your soul ♪

♪ As the legend unfolds ♪

♪ Now it's your turn to roll ♪

[fire burns]

Part I Edit

MATT: Hello and welcome back. Last we left off, The Mighty Nein had discovered that an attack on Felderwin back in the Empire had ended with Yeza the husband of Nott from long before absconded and dragged all the way to Xhorhas to the city Ghor Dranas, the previous capital of the Betrayer Gods of the calamity and now the center of the Kryn Dynasty. Traversing the dangers along the way, you made your way across the wastes under the actual crust of Exandria through into the City of Beasts, doing deeds and making allies, eventually gaining a chance to have a conversation and gain some favor with the Bright Queen herself, the center of the Dynasty. Upon which, after a bit of a tussle and a mode of tension, you bequeathed onto her and thus the Dynasty the dodecahedron, the beacon of which you carried for oh so long, which seemingly is an extremely important religious relic within the society. In doing so, you gained quite a bit of favor with this side of the war. You were given the freedom of Yeza and a few medallions to show your status as a friend to the Bright Queen as you are now traveling essentially in enemy lands from where you began and may run into a few situations where others may not be as excited about your presence. You were given a couple of leads for possible work or ways to continue your positive climb within the Dynasty. You were given a place to stay within the Dim's Inn in the Gallimaufry district of the city. You all, after getting some rooms and making some plans for the following day, took a night's rest. You all gradually wake up the following morning, well-rested. Strange to you all that upon looking out the windows, the sky is still dark though you still are fairly certain that it should be mid-morning. You've both already gone downstairs, as we left on last session, had your breakfast conversation and friendship bro hug. The rest of you, what would you like to do?

TALIESIN: Ah.

LAURA: (sniffs)

SAM: I'm sleeping in.

TALIESIN: We're all sleeping in.

MATT: All right, well that was a good game, guys.

SAM: I guess we should all go downstairs and talk.

TALIESIN: I think it's time to have some breakfast and maybe head downstairs. Are you awake yet? I don't know. I hopefully didn't keep you up long.

ASHLEY: No, I'm awake.

TALIESIN: You seem more alert than you've been in a while.

ASHLEY: I do? How come?

TALIESIN: Ah well, I've been trying to give you more caffeine lately, maybe to give you a little pick up.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I've really noticed. I think it makes a difference, adding a little bit more caffeine.

TALIESIN: It's a heavy green tea. It's got a good pickup.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I like it a lot.

TALIESIN: You want some breakfast?

ASHLEY: Yeah, I'm very hungry.

TALIESIN: Let's go downstairs, then.

LAURA: I'm going to take a little bit of time alone in the room since Beau is gone to journal and draw some stuff and let the Traveler know exactly what we've been doing.

MATT: Okay, all right. Fjord?

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: Anything in particular, or are you just going down to join folks?

TRAVIS: Yep, going down for breakfast. Just the use, found some bacon.

MATT: Okay. As some of you begin to head down the stairs, and you guys are finishing your conversation, you glance over and see that Gavin, the owner of the Dim's Inn, approaching the table, wide-eyed and smiling through a bit of tense crinkles in the sides of his eyes. "Terribly sorry to bother you. "Your beasts that were delivered "are scaring away the customers. If you could--"

TRAVIS: Oh, where are they?

TALIESIN: Yeah, we should--

MATT: He points out there and soon as he points you hear (snarling and growling).

TRAVIS: Ooh, right, yeah, the moorbounders.

TALIESIN: We should probably do something about that.

TRAVIS: I think we just let them off the leash and just have them at it. Smash it up a bit around here. No, wrong thing first in the morning? All right, I'm open to suggestions.

LIAM: Is there a place you would recommend us putting them up so that they do not bother the people in the area? A stable of some sort?

MATT: "Your best bet would probably be the Coronas. "Keep them chained up, just not by the front, please."

TALIESIN: If we were to keep them on the premises, is there a particular place that you would most like them to be hidden if you had your pick of?

MATT: "The back, that would suffice."

TALIESIN: Well, we'll take them into the back, no problem. I'm just going to leave a gold coin on the table.

MATT: He snatches it up.

TALIESIN: That's fair.

MATT: At some point in the night, it seems that your moorbounders were delivered and chained to the front exterior of the tavern. The chain wrapped around some of the front porch load-bearing pillars that hold the second floor balcony and two of them are starting to bow a bit from the tension. The three of them are sitting there, curled up in the front pulling at the chains. One of them is biting into the side of it and people are keeping a very wide berth around your creatures.

TRAVIS: I don't know, maybe they should be paying us. It seems like extra security for me.

TALIESIN: Well, I mean, I don't know. I can understand. It does create a certain selective clientele of people who feel comfortable coming within certain distance of a carnivore such as this. Are they carnivores or are they omnivores?

MATT: One of them proceeds to relieve itself in a heaping warm pile right in front of you.

TALIESIN: Oh, he's comfortable here.

TRAVIS: That giant horse panther is definitely a carnivore.

LAURA: I slam open the door from the top of the stairs. Do I see smell Yarnball?!

TRAVIS: Yeah, he's out front. Want to come say hi?

LAURA: Come on, Nugget, let's go!

MATT: Nugget catches up, still recovering from the battle the previous day. A little bruised and dinged up, but comes up and licks the back of your hand. Don't get too close to Yarnball; remember, she will eat you.

MATT: (panting)

TALIESIN: Let's take them around back, why don't we?

TRAVIS: All right, yeah.

LIAM: Walk out front.

MATT: Take them by the chains, those of you who are bonded to one of them. The rest of you, without the touch of their trained master in the immediate proximity, a slight pet to keep them calm. As soon as Fjord emerges, one of them goes (growls).

LIAM: Jannik! Halt dein Mund.

MATT: (sniffing)

LIAM: Gut. Gut.

MARISHA: We spent so much money on something that's going to eat us one day.

TALIESIN: I think it was a good investment.

LIAM: Come.

MARISHA: Speaking on the investment part, going off of what Fjord was saying with security, maybe we could loan them to the local guard or something for a light fee while we're here?

LAURA: I just don't think Yarnball will listen to anybody but me.

MARISHA: Oh, that's right. They eat people, that's right.

TALIESIN: I think maybe if they need people eating-- I think they probably have a system for that. I'm overthinking it now.

TRAVIS: What are we up to this morning?

TALIESIN: Well, we have some errands to run if I recall.

LAURA: That's right, we were going to split up, weren't we?

SAM: Oh we were going to talk to--

LIAM: Library.

TRAVIS: Yeah, library, blacksmith, look for some general groceries.

TALIESIN: Could use a diamond--

LAURA: We could use a diamond.

TRAVIS: Raise your hand if you want to go seek knowledge and look at books and stuff.

SAM: I guess.

ASHLEY: Yeah okay.

MARISHA: Oh, we're the only enthusiastic ones about this.

TRAVIS: That's fine. We're just deciding Who goes where right?

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: Sure.

TALIESIN: I'm more of a shop browsing and a blacksmith kind of--

LAURA: Before you guys leave, if you guys want us to buy diamonds somebody help because I don't think we have enough money to buy a bunch of diamonds and stuff.

LIAM: That is good investment, ja.

LAURA: Who wants to give us all their money?

LIAM: Well, not all of the money.

LAURA: It's a really good thing we're doing.

TALIESIN: It's just better safe than sorry.

LAURA: We can also buy some candy and some pretty dresses if we want to, with their money.

TALIESIN: We could.

SAM: How much does your diamond need to cost?

LAURA: 300?

TALIESIN: Oh no, let's take a look, there's a--

LAURA: There's a bigger one, though, now.

LIAM: I place 20 platinum in Jester's hand.

SAM: Whoa! You need that, we're about to go find books and stuff.

LAURA: Thank you Caleb.

LIAM: Jester is going to take that, if we are going to be exploring this country we don't know what we're going to run into, so that is for the party.

SAM: You need paper and ink.

TALIESIN: I think they're all 500gp, if I remember--

LIAM: We'll figure that out.

LAURA: 300 was Revivify.

TALIESIN: --the size of the diamond.

MATT: Revivify is 300 gold worth of diamonds. 500 for the Raise Dead, yeah.

MARISHA: I hand over 50 gold.

LIAM: That's 250 total.

ASHLEY: I'll hand over another 50.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

ASHLEY: You're welcome.

SAM: How much you need total, 800?

TALIESIN: It would be nice but that's also assuming we're going to find some diamonds.

LAURA: We also put some of our money in.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we've got money ourselves.

LAURA: You're going to give some money too?

TRAVIS: No, I'm coming with you.

LAURA: Oh, that's fun.

SAM: Here I'll give you a hundred gold.

LAURA: Thank you, Nott.

TALIESIN: Everyone's pitching in, that's good.

LAURA: It's a team effort. This is again, assuming that we're going to find--

LAURA: Yeah. But I feel like there's got to be some nice things. You saw the Bright Queen's armor, they've got to have really cool stuff here.

TALIESIN: It was really pretty.

LAURA: I think there were opals on it.

TALIESIN: I like opals.

LAURA: They were so beautiful.

TALIESIN: They were the best.

TRAVIS: Should we meet up at a certain time and/or place?

MARISHA: Back at the inn?

LIAM: Sure.

TALIESIN: Back at the inn and just send a message if you should decide we should meet somewhere else.

LIAM: All right. Who's going with you? Is it you two?

TALIESIN: I'm going with me.

LAURA: And Fjord is coming too.

LIAM: Would you do me a favor?

ASHLEY: I'll go with you guys.

LIAM: You're generally shopping as well then?

LAURA: Sure.

LIAM: Would you do me a favor--

LAURA: Look for some fucking paper?

LIAM: No, we'll take care of that, but a straight razor.

LAURA: Do you need to shave?

TALIESIN: Does he need to shave?

LAURA: Yasha can do it.

MATT: He always need to shave.

ASHLEY: I can always give you another shave again.

LIAM: Well, that's good, you know. You know, for fun once in a while, but I don't want to trouble you constantly and--

ASHLEY: No, it's really no trouble. I actually really like doing it, but I understand if you want to have something a little bit more portable.

TALIESIN: I mean you're very portable. You can walk yourself anywhere you need to go.

ASHLEY: That's true.

LIAM: We'll do that later tonight. Still please look for the razor for me.

LAURA: Straight razor, got it.

SAM: Okay, you know what? Caleb, if it's all right with you I think I'll go with the shopping party as well, because Yeza might need some new clothes and stuff and I can take him along as well.

LIAM: Of course.

MATT: "Some shoes might be good too."

SAM: Yeah, well we'll just go shopping and then--

LIAM: Do you have enough coin?

SAM: Yes, I'm fine thank you.

TRAVIS: What about you buddy, you want to come with the shopping party and make the flip flop complete? Send Caleb out there by himself?

MARISHA: I mean as humorous as that is to me, I'm interested in books.

TALIESIN: It would be best not to send anybody solo anywhere, it's always good to have a buddy.

MARISHA: Buddy system. Buddy system.

LIAM: Buddy system.

MARISHA: Buddy system.

LIAM: Buddy system.

LAURA: Before they leave though I want to talk to you about--

MARISHA: Oh, yeah?

LAURA: I have a really important thing I need to ask of you.

MARISHA: Do we need to step away, are we good?

LAURA: Yeah, let's step away.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: You step away.

LAURA: When you're in the library, I need you to do something for me.

MARISHA: Okay.

LAURA: I need you to draw a couple of dicks in the books, okay?

MARISHA: Okay, okay.

LAURA: Make sure it happens because I won't be there to do it for myself and it's really important.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm. Is this for Traveler Con? You mentioned--

LAURA: Sure, let's say that. Sure, it's definitely for that.

MARISHA: Oh.

LAURA: Also, if you want to to draw some people naked in there or like--

MARISHA: I'll look for the ass trumpeters that are sometimes in the margins and then it will just blend right in.

LAURA: Oh my gosh that would be so wonderful.

MARISHA: Yeah, it'll be great.

LAURA: Thank you.

TALIESIN: I just got that reference, carry on.

MATT: All right, so it's the two of you heading towards the conservatory, the Marble Tomes? The Marble Tomes.

TRAVIS: Meet back at the inn at what time, high 12 o'clock?

SAM: You've got your medallions right? You're two humans on your own, you've got your medallions of protection right?

LAURA: Hmm, that's a really good point.

SAM: The medallions that the Bright Queen gave us.

LIAM: Of course, of course.

SAM: Okay, if anyone gives you trouble have that at the ready. Not in a back pocket, not in--

TRAVIS: Are you listening?

MARISHA: Yeah, what?

SAM: Have that in your front pocket ready to flash it.

LIAM: All right Veth, we have it.

SAM: Let me see it. Okay. You pass. Beau?

SAM: That's a stick.

MARISHA: Oh, fuck. Sorry, I haven't showered in a while.

TRAVIS: What are you doing with a random ass stick in your armpit?

MARISHA: Look, we went down a well, I fought Dairon in the woods.

TRAVIS: Mm-hm. A lot's happened.

LAURA: I think you should probably bathe soon.

MARISHA: Is it bad?

TALIESIN: I think you're fine.

ASHLEY: (sniffs) I don't smell anything actually.

LIAM: I don't smell a single thing.

MARISHA: Okay, let's break.

TRAVIS: Okay, ready... break.

(out-of-sync clapping)

(laughing)

TALIESIN: We're dead.

MATT: Well-oiled machine. All righty.

TRAVIS: Level nine.

ALL: Level nine. Level nine.

MATT: All righty, so you guys part into Rosohna. Where are you guys heading first? What are you looking for?

TALIESIN: I'm trying to find a blacksmith, because I'm still trying to find somebody who can do something with this.

MATT: Roll an investigation check.

TALIESIN: Oh boy, can I get some help with this?

TRAVIS: Can I help him?

MATT: Yeah, you can do it.

TALIESIN: This is embarrassing.

MATT: Are you going to each roll independently?

TRAVIS: Yeah, independently.

TALIESIN: My investigation is sad.

TRAVIS: 20.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: 5. Okay, well be glad that Fjord helped. Half the journey is you taking Caduceus and going, I think it's this way.

TALIESIN: It smells so good over there--

TRAVIS: That's a pottery shop.

MATT: Eventually you come upon--

LAURA: Oh my god!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: It's so big though.

LAURA: You could drown in that.

TRAVIS: Oh my god!

MATT: You know that GIF of Will Farrell trying to drink wine while he's in the moving bed and it's spilling everywhere. One of these days, one of these days.

TALIESIN: I'll see what it says later, on Monday.

ASHLEY: Oh my god!

TRAVIS: That's a special, special boy.

LIAM: That's all yours, Ashley.

ASHLEY: It sure is.

MATT: After what could have been a bit of meandering travel, through your keen eye, you guys manage to come upon a place called the Hammered Call. It's not robust in its size, but it seems well-built and sturdy and you can smell the burning materials that are used to maintain the forge. You don't hear any hammering necessarily at the moment, but it does seem to be a fairly well-constructed smithy. As you approach the front door, there's nobody currently in there doing business, but you do see in the back corner in the middle of eating something, some sort of gray brown material out of a small satchel, a tall and built half-orc. You see a thin chin beard of tough, course black hair bald head, arms covered in tattoos from mid-bicep right down to the wrist, wearing thick leather apron, trousers, no shirt under the vest and is just sweating on the very edges, the interior temperature as the forge was only very recently put to use where he stopped to take his break, so it's pretty warm on the inside. You see him taking a big mouthful of whatever he's eating and he stops, continues to chew and just looks at you all with this very focused eyes.

TALIESIN: Excuse me, friend.

MATT: "Yeah?"

TALIESIN: Are you artisan that operates these amazing devices?

MATT: (grunts) Takes this little feed satchel off and sets it on the side and stands up. Standing up he's pushing about seven foot, he's a very tall bugger, so he's about as tall as you are. Eye to eye. And this guy's been doing a forge for a long time, the immediate comparison of half-orc him to half-orc Fjord, it's a Laurel and Hardy sketch.

TALIESIN: His neck has a six pack, kind of thing.

MATT: Yeah. (accent similar to Fjord's) "I don't think I'm familiar with your kind."

TALIESIN: Honestly, my friend, we don't travel that often, we tend to stay where we are. I haven't seen any firbolgs at all since I've come to this city.

MATT: "Welcome, welcome. Thanks for coming around."

TALIESIN: Oh, it's a pleasure. We've been having a lovely time.

MATT: "So I work here, what do you need?"

TALIESIN: Well, I have a bit of a conundrum really. I have this blade that I came across and sort of-- in, shall we say, spectacular circumstances and I've been trying, hoping as I've traveled across the land--and we have traveled very far-- to find someone who would know how to bring it back to life. It's something I've been knowing that I will find eventually.

MATT: "Let me have a look." He takes it, tattoos are beautiful and intricate.

TALIESIN: Recognize anything on them?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: Ooh, that I can do. 13, no better than that. Oh my god, my numbers now. 19.

MATT: Nice! Just a series of lines that wrap around each other like a soft maze-type design. He reaches out and takes the blade. Underneath the forearm, it looks like there is an actual-- there's a jaggedness to it at times that seems intentional, like it's a shape of something; it's not just a design. It's capturing some sort of not-geometric shape.

TALIESIN: I have a friend who's trying to learn how to tattoo right now. That's some spectacular work you have there.

MATT: "Thank you, I appreciate that."

TALIESIN: If things go well, I may send her around, that's if you're all right with that. I think she would be most impressed.

MATT: "Certainly. She's liable to look, "but it's not something you can really teach. "These are important to my hometown, "so wouldn't recommend her giving them out."

TALIESIN: Oh, no. I think she would just really enjoy seeing them.

TRAVIS: Your hometown? Where are you from?

MATT: Gives you a look over. Make a persuasion check.

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's cocked. 23.

MATT: He looks you over and grins and goes, "Heh, you're inquisitive, runt. I like it. "These tattoos are from a place "in the Greying Wildlands where I grew up. "Boraftkrah. It's a village out there in the Rime Plains."

TRAVIS: Boraftkrah?

MATT: "Yeah. Left home when I felt an urge to travel south, "learn more of my craft. Found the Dynasty "and well, here we are. "These are designs of the nearby Dunrock "on the north side where our village "and our hunting grounds were."

TALIESIN: I think that's a very interesting. This is actually our first day--if you can call it that-- in the city. We've never been here before.

TRAVIS: Yeah, you're a--

MATT: "Where are you all from? "You're asking me my background; I'm real curious now."

TALIESIN: We're everywhere all of us, different places. I'm from a very small temple that's deep in the forests north of the Empire, very far north.

MATT: "That's kind of where I'm from. "What forest do you come from?"

TALIESIN: Well, I mean, I don't know if you've ever been there before, but have you ever heard of the Blooming Grove?

MATT: "Blooming Grove. Can't say I have, sorry."

TALIESIN: It's in the Greying Wildlands.

MATT: "Greying Wildlands is "where I'm from, but there's only really--"

TALIESIN: You've never heard of the Blooming Grove before? Oh wait, wait, the Bone Orchard?

MATT: "That sounds familiar."

TALIESIN: I thought that might. I never got used to that one.

MATT: "Are you saying that's the Savalierwood?"

TALIESIN: Yeah, I recall that's what people said.

MATT: "You live in the Savalierwood?"

TALIESIN: Yeah, if I recall.

MATT: "You're a crazy motherfucker."

TALIESIN: That's what some people have said. That's fair.

MATT: "All right, all right."

TRAVIS: You're so vertically challenged, everyone like you from the... Morathkrah the same, you know, stature?

MATT: "Generally, yeah, we're big. Oh you should see "the full-blooded orcs up there, plenty of them. "They're a little bigger. "Well, one of the clans, anyway."

TRAVIS: Yeah, not as huge down the Menagerie Coast. I'm from Port Damali.

MATT: "Oh, you went and grown up "in some of that human territory."

TRAVIS: Yeah, not too many of us.

MATT: "Explains a lot."

TRAVIS: Yeah, well you do the best with what you've got.

MATT: "Don't be ashamed of that, son."

TRAVIS: No, I ain't ashamed.

MATT: "Look at you, you're mobile. "Me, I hit things real hard, "but I spend most of my day in here where it's "bothering me with the heat. "You've being from the Menagerie Coast, "I imagine you've seen quite a bit, too, in your days."

TRAVIS: Yeah, it doesn't bother me so much.

MATT: "Good."

TALIESIN: Mr. Fjord has saved my life on a couple of occasions, actually.

SAM: Yeah, it's true. He can carry a barrel with only just a little bit of assistance from one of our ladies.

TRAVIS: Okay, disregard my little goblin friend over here. She's excited by big muscular types.

SAM: I've seen it sir, he can lift--

TRAVIS: Many barrels by myself. Unaided. Yep.

MATT: He's stopped paying attention at this point and is looking over the handle and the hilt and the edges, the very bottom part of the broken blade.

TALIESIN: It's intriguing.

MATT: "I mean, the technique used "in the construction of this thing is definitely-- "while we're on the topic--from up north."

TALIESIN: It's what people have told me. I just keep hoping that I'm going to find somebody who knows what to do with it.

MATT: "It's Uthodurnian. "You'd have to probably take it there."

TRAVIS: Luthogurnian?

MATT: "Uthodurnian."

TRAVIS: Uthodurnian. Sorry, short ears.

MATT: "It's where them dwarves and elves live together."

TALIESIN: Good to know. I keep-- That's a place that eventually I hope to go to then or at least find somebody from.

MATT: "Well, if you do, careful on the Rime Plains. "I mean, my folks from my village are just hunting, "surviving, getting by. The northern orcs "and those are beginning to push into the Alps there, "they're a little more bloodthirsty."

TALIESIN: Any advice, one wanderer to another, if we ever come across your people of the best way to keep ourselves properly ingratiated?

MATT: "Square your shoulders and don't bow."

TALIESIN: I can do that.

MATT: "Okay."

TALIESIN: Absolute pleasure.

MATT: "Anything else I can help you with? "Any other questions you got?"

TALIESIN: You wouldn't happen to know where to get a jewel or a diamond? We're looking to buy some jewels if you would know if there's some around town?

MATT: "Hmm, there's probably Fadden's Gems. "I haven't been in there. Not really a gem-wearing person "and to be honest, most of the finer weaponry "with such adornments generally are handled "by the Dynasty internally, so I generally do-- "I'm trained, but I'm not a master craftsmen, if you will. "They don't let us in all the firing forges."

TRAVIS: Jewelry wearing for softer folk. (spits)

MATT: (laughs)

TALIESIN: We appreciate your time and appreciate you taking a moment of your day for that.

LAURA: I come in from inside. What's taking so long--holy moly.

TALIESIN: My friend, who I was speaking of.

LAURA: You're really big.

MATT: "You're really blue."

LAURA: Yes, I am.

MATT: "Yes, I am."

LAURA: I like your tattoos those are really cool.

MATT: "Thank you kindly."

ASHLEY: She's the one that he was talking about. She does really good tattoos.

LAURA: I do really good tattoos, want me to do one for you?

MATT: "I'm fine, but thank you."

LAURA: If you ever change your mind, you know where to find me.

SAM: She's really good.

LAURA: Do you know where to find me? We're staying at the Den's Inn or something. I show him the medallion. We're friends of the Dynasty. We're really cool and stuff.

TALIESIN: Ixnay on the ynastyday.

MATT: "All righty, well, I didn't realize "I was in the presence of such "whatever the word is for your people."

TRAVIS: Yeah, don't judge a book by its cover, friend.

TALIESIN: You've been more than helpful. I'm actually going to tip a gold piece. Time is always valuable.

MATT: "Well, I appreciate that, keeping me company here "in this blasting heat." he puts a foot down in the bellows and the forge flares up a bit, the orange glow fills the chamber a bit and the temperature jumps for a moment.

TALIESIN: Well, when you have a need, you'll be the first we find, thank you friend.

ASHLEY: Wait, what was your name again?

MATT: "Wursh. Wursh the Tapper."

ASHLEY: Wursh, I actually don't think we got your name at all. So sorry, Wursh.

LAURA: I'm Jester.

MATT: "Hi, Jester."

LAURA: Hi.

TALIESIN: Caduceus Clay, of the Clays. Anyway, we should be heading off.

MATT: "What's your name?"

TRAVIS: I leave.

MARISHA: Ooh shit.

MATT: "All right."

SAM: His name's Fjord.

MATT: "Fjord."

SAM: Yeah, Fjord Tough. Have you heard of him or something?

MATT: No, he walks toward the edge and looks toward the door and goes, "Hey, "come here a second, I want to talk to you."

MARISHA: What is happening, what is happening?

TRAVIS: What do you need?

MATT: "You said you grew up in Menagerie Coast, right?"

TRAVIS: Right.

MATT: "'Round hoity-toity human folk?"

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: You walk around like you got something to prove?

TRAVIS: Is that what it looks like?

MATT: "From where I'm standing, yeah. "Because I'm going to tell you something. "It don't matter. "Yeah, we got history. "Some of us, we don't let that blood rule us, huh? "I know you feel the anger there every now and then, "but don't let them define you."

TRAVIS: What blood you talking about?

MATT: "Well, this blood." And he scratches the side of his shoulder and bleeds a bit from his fingernails, they're grimy and you see the coal and dirt and stuff that's got into them. "The blood that we came from. "Don't be ashamed of that."

TRAVIS: They don't look unkindly on our kind where you come from?

MATT: "Hm, don't get too many human folk up north."

TRAVIS: Why'd you come here anyway?

MATT: "Well, I had an apprenticeship up north, "I was trying to go for it, but it's a bit dangerous "in the Alps to get to the sanctum so I headed south.

TRAVIS: Dangerous for someone your size?

MATT: "When you're traveling solo yeah."

TRAVIS: If you had the right folk heading up that way, would you consider heading up there again?

MATT: He looks around the shop. (groans) "Maybe. "Making easy money here, not too bad. "Feeling a little, I don't know, "stifled by all this night, "but you know I'm learning, I'm training. "Look, I don't want to take too much of your time. "I'm just saying. "You walking everywhere with your pelvis forward like that "and looking to start a fight with anybody that calls you "on, well, that attitude, you're going to end up shivved.

TRAVIS: I appreciate you looking out.

MATT: "Just saying. Don't let any of that "bullshit affect you. "Just be confident in who you are. "Don't try and prove anything."

TRAVIS: Try not to let the heat get to you in here. I'm sure we'll see each other again, Wursh.

MATT: "Maybe Fjord. Maybe."

TRAVIS: I reach out my hand. He turns, stops and is like--

TRAVIS: His fingers wrap around.

MATT: Yeah, it's like a-- He heads on inside and he shoulders past you all.

TALIESIN: I don't know how he did that, that was amazing.

LAURA: Did you see how many abs he had?

TALIESIN: I mean even his advice had abs, that was crazy.

TRAVIS: His advice?

TALIESIN: It just like broke through layers of walls with that guy. How did that happen?

TRAVIS: Cool tattoos huh?

LAURA: Really cool tattoos.

TALIESIN: Super cool tattoos. They were very impressive.

LAURA: He's pretty cool.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

ASHLEY: He seemed like a super nice guy.

TALIESIN: Seemed really nice.

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: What else do we need?

SAM: Shoes for my husband.

MATT: "Yes, please."

LAURA: And some diamonds.

TALIESIN: Sundries and gems.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: (as Sol Rosenberg) Do we have any shoes and glasses so that I can have them?

TALIESIN: Let's find some sundries--

LAURA: As we walk I pat his shoulder and I say, don't worry Fjord you have really good abs too I felt them.

TRAVIS: Jester, you don't have to make me feel better--

LAURA: You're taller than me, you're really tall in comparison to me.

TRAVIS: Yep, I sure am. That was just a very large gentleman in there.

LAURA: Yeah, he's pretty big, but sometimes that's not a good thing, sometimes being a normal size is good too.

TRAVIS: A normal size?

LAURA: Yeah, like me that's a good thing--

TRAVIS: I happen to be above average--

TRAVIS: Then somebody's who even bigger than normal like you are is really good too, it's like a nice thing. Shit, help me Yasha.

ASHLEY: No it's okay. You look great.

TRAVIS: I look up at Yasha.

ASHLEY: Yes, you're so close to me in size. Wait, is some of your family as big as him?

TRAVIS: I don't know my family so I don't think so.

TALIESIN: Insight check.

MATT: Make an insight check.

ASHLEY: Yeah, that was an insight check.

SAM: Aggressive move.

TALIESIN: I have been waiting for something. That's a 22.

SAM: Yes.

MATT: 22.

TRAVIS: I don't know who my family is.

TALIESIN: Cool all right.

ASHLEY: You've never known your family?

TRAVIS: Nope, I'm an orphan.

TALIESIN: Really?

SAM: Well, that guy could have been your cousin or something. You don't know.

TALIESIN: I mean I don't see the resemblance, but--

LAURA: He did have an accent similar to yours.

SAM: He did!

TRAVIS: Uh huh, little bit of a difference.

LAURA: Just in the height, but you looked pretty similar in the teeth, nope, your teeth are not, I don't it really didn't look alike, but you had similar accents.

TALIESIN: Find a tree in that hole.

SAM: The accent was a good tell. Yeah, it's true.

ASHLEY: Who raised you then?

TRAVIS: The kids around me I guess, just learned from being around other orphans.

TALIESIN: Wow.

TRAVIS: Yeah, it wasn't a great place. Driftwood Asylum was very--

LAURA: Asylum?

SAM: Like an orphanage?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Driftwood Asylum?

SAM: I mean you didn't even have your muscles to protect you so you had to rely on wits and cleverness.

TRAVIS: I mean to be fair I actually was a bit bigger than other kids when I was younger. Half-orcs tend to grow a bit faster, but yeah, I just tend to get picked on a lot. I'm the only one of me around.

TALIESIN: Driftwood Asylum?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Someone named an orphanage after wood that needs to be somewhere else or really just wants to go somewhere else.

SAM: It's also wood that if you find it, it's nice sometimes, you can make art out of it--

TRAVIS: I didn't say it was a great place.

TALIESIN: Wow.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

TALIESIN: You have layers. I feel like I just learn something new everyday. Where to, captain?

SAM: My husband has been walking around barefoot all day.

MATT: "To be fair, barefoot is a rather common way "that I walk around but where we come from "it's generally a lot grassier."

SAM: He's stepped on many, many rocks.

MATT: "Yeah, there's a lot of them."

ASHLEY: Let's get you some shoes. I hate being barefoot.

TALIESIN: Assuming a lot of this is rocks.

LAURA: Fjord, maybe your mom or your dad was like a halfling or something.

SAM: The average.

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: (sighs) Oh boy. Do I--do we--do I know where the-- (laughter) Is it Morathka?

MATT: No, Borathkrah.

TRAVIS: What is it?

MATT: Boraftkra.

TRAVIS: I'll get the spelling later. Do I know where that is? In relation to the stuff that I know?

MATT: Make a history check.

TALIESIN: Oh my god.

SAM: Roll big, roll big.

TRAVIS: That's a six.

MATT: Never heard of it.

TRAVIS: Too bad, would have been better.

TALIESIN: All right.

MATT: All right, so where are you guys off to next?

LAURA: We need to find a clothing store and then we'll look for a jeweler or someone that will sell jewels.

TALIESIN: Sundries and jewels.

MATT: Okay, cool. While that's happening, I'm going to jump over to these guys here.

SAM: Okay, Empire kids.

MATT: So Empire kids. You end up traveling back to the Firmaments and heading to the Marble Tomes Conservatory, which you had previously seen as you passed by. The beautiful exterior of the various gray and marble stone halls, the towers, and the central complex of the building. As you approach, you can still see the dull green, sometimes orange glows that flicker and alternate in various areas of the interior. As you approach, you do immediately notice that there are a few of the Aurora Watch, the guards and soldiers of the Dynasty, keeping a fairly tight perimeter around the inner courtyard and the approach to the central complex and building.

MARISHA: Let's watch for a second. Yeah. We hang back and watch people come and go for a second.

MATT: Okay. Not many initially seem to be coming and going. It seems whoever's there is there. Five minutes' wait and you do see two drow begin to round the corner. As they walk by, they both look at you guys and slow their gait and inspect you very carefully and then continue walking. They make their way to the front and they both stop one of the Aurora Watch begin talking to them. One of them looks back at you guys and they both enter. That guard goes and grabs three other ones and now four Aurora Watch begin to walk towards you.

MARISHA: Did they show any type of credentials or do anything when they went in?

MATT: Nope.

LIAM: Well, I'm pulling mine out from my cloak and I'm just waiting holding it up like my driver's license.

MARISHA: Well, let's just go up and let's just act confident and talk to them.

LIAM: I'm very confident with this. Let's go talk.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: All right, so you guys begin to meet them part way.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm. In that way when you know a cop is walking towards you and you're like, I'm going to show that this is--

MATT: Show that?

MARISHA: That I'm cool.

MATT: Okay, okay.

TRAVIS: I'm excited to learn.

SAM: When a cop walks towards you.

TALIESIN: I know where you're coming from.

MARISHA: I've nothing to hide. It's my, "I have nothing to hide" walk.

MATT: Nothing to hide walk, all right. As you begin to meet them part way, the guards put their hands on the side of where their blades are sheathed. The one that was originally approached puts a hand up and tells you to stop and goes, "Hail, what is your business?"

LIAM: Ja, hallo. I understand this must be a very rare sight in this neck of the woods. Strange as it may seem, we are very welcome guests of the Umavi herself. That can be checked out, of course.

MATT: "Step forward and let me see." Goes and takes it.

LIAM: That's a loaner.

MARISHA: We're just here to do a little research by request of the queen.

LIAM: We are here to see a Professor Waccoh and to peruse the stacks.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

MARISHA: With like assistance, or each, or?

MATT: You're both talking, so you could either both roll it. Go for it. He's looking over it.

LIAM: 22.

MARISHA: Six.

MATT: They're not buying what you're offering, but you manage to smooth it over. They look confused, but they can't really refute the symbols you guys carry. Hands it back over. "All right, well, welcome to the Marble Tomes Conservatory."

LIAM: Thank you, and I can see that this makes you slightly nervous, I encourage you to do your homework. Go check it out. This is for real.

MATT: "Well, I will have to escort you within. "So do please walk ahead of me. "I will guide your path to the professor."

LIAM: Danke schön. And we follow.

TRAVIS: Y'all are going to get killed.

MATT: You guys walk towards the front. There are about 40 shallow steps that lead towards the front of this main conservatory entrance. You can see that it's double doors, which are open currently, these very heavy 10-foot-tall stone doorway doors that are pushed outward. You can see on the outskirts some of these beautiful carvings of some sort of design. You can't really see from this angle based on when they're open, but as you enter the main area, your footfalls hit the smooth marble floors, echo in the interior. It's a very warm, welcoming space in the inside. High ceilings, domed. There is a central chandelier arrangement that is dangling from the top of the 25-foot-high domed ceiling that is a circle of the same similar green baubles that you see glowing within the lanterns throughout the city, but they are arranged in a circle. In the center, there is one that is designed to look like a beacon, but is green and glowing from the inside. It's interesting, the green light here is not a sickly green, it's a warm green. It's hard to describe. The nuances in the color doesn't set you off like a lot of green coloration would. As you enter the main chamber, there is a semi-circle desk. There is a dark elf woman there in robes who is eyes closed currently, meditating or quietly thinking, you're uncertain. Eyes open, looks forward. Her hair is pulled back and bunned tightly. She looks forward confused and the Aurora Watch guard behind puts a hand up. "They are guests of the Bright Queen. "They are looking for the professor. I am to escort them." She nods. You guys don't see her lips move, but you hear a voice in your head go, "Well then, continue." (pats loudly)

LAURA: Ow, that was a hard hit.

SAM: She digs it.

LIAM: Caleb strides ahead.

TRAVIS: (vibrating low pitch)

MATT: The one guard is with you. There's a secondary guard who's behind you guys. The other one has moved up alongside you and a little bit ahead to guide you through the area that you're not familiar with. Towards the left hallway you continue through this bit that goes back out through the courtyard. It's a long, maybe 80-foot hallway. It's about 10 feet across, 20 feet high and it's got some beautiful paintings mural work on the walls, but the center, about eye level for about five feet or so, is just open glass. You can see out into the courtyard around you and it's like walking into a hall that's in the middle of a beautiful garden under darkness.

MATT: As you're brought to the end of this hallway, there's a spiral staircase to your right and a double door ahead of you. The guard brings you to the spiral staircase and leads you up to the interior of some sort of tower or another smaller building beyond the central chamber that you were led to here in the Marbles Tomes. You get up to the second floor and this one section has three doors. The one to the left of you is open and the smell gets you. When you come inside, it has this very nice, soft, incense-type smell like a jasmine or lavender, very subtle. On the secondary floor, the smells that get to you are immediately more pungent. They are citrus-y and metallic and carbon burned, a whole mixture and they seem to shift by the moment. You hear some shuffling around and the guard leads you to this open doorway. "Professor, you have guests who have arrived "looking for you. "Just as a note, they are human, "but they have credentials, so we will be "outside if you need us." This voice goes, "Okay. "So let them in." The guard steps aside and gestures to both of you to enter the chamber.

MARISHA: Do you want to--should I go first?

LIAM: I walk into the room. Hello!

MATT: You step aside. It's this beautiful oval-shaped den or a study. There are some shelves with books around it. There are other shelves that have numerous glass containers that are connected to other tubes and other glass containers and coils of various brass-colored metals and small burners. There is a large circle on the opposite end that is drawn on the floor that has different gems on pedestals, different heights around it. You can see little pieces of paper like scrawled notes that are just left everywhere. It is in disarray. It's beautiful, but a complete scattered sense that this once beautiful chamber was well organized and somebody came in and tore it apart. Immediately as you step into this and look, the smells you were getting are much stronger and immediately your nose crinkles back. The burning, you can feel your nose hairs singeing slightly from whatever thick air or gaseous material is dissipating throughout the chamber. You see turn around as you say hello, a female orc: middle-aged, rotund, in robes and a heavy shawl on, crazy wild lion mane of hair that goes and covers most of her face, they get in front of her eyes. She has some sort of long eye piece like an eye patch, but it's a long tube with a reddish orange glass on the tip. Her jaw is a little bit forward set and you can see one heavy tusk that seems to have curled up and at least pushed or pierced part of the upper lip where now the skin is pushed in. Turns around and looks at you. The one eye here and lifts up the other piece and it slips down a bit and she has to readjust it and it slips down a bit and she takes it off and sets it on the desk nearby. A bunch of papers (blows) to the ground as she does that. She turns back. "I'm so sorry, so sorry. So, um-- "Hi, what's going on?" You've--ah, hi.

LIAM: Undoubtedly strange of course. What are we doing here?

MATT: "A bit, a bit. Yeah, wow. No, step forward please, "I've not really had a chance to-- "Okay, okay."

MARISHA: Do you want to get it? Yeah.

MATT: She leans forward and takes your chin and is looking--like inspecting a horse you're about to purchase, opening your mouth and looking at your teeth and your ears and is like, "Fascinating."

LIAM: Gentle, sometimes she does bite.

MARISHA: (clicks teeth)

LAURA: Ah, I hate that sound.

LIAM: I like it.

MATT: Lifts your arm and moves the wrists.

MARISHA: I flex a little.

MATT: "Oh! (laughs) "They come so taut. "I didn't know that, all right, all right, okay."

LIAM: Thin, but ropey.

MARISHA: I like to keep it tight.

MATT: "Interesting, okay. "And what age would you put yourself at?"

MARISHA: Oh, I'm 24.

MATT: "All right, okay, so still in the prime. You are?"

LIAM: I have no such muscles. I do not bite.

MATT: Go and grabs your chin, lifts up a bit. "Okay, yes, hygiene's an issue--" Not that I mind horribly, but is there a specific point to this?

MARISHA: Just let it happen.

MATT: "Curiosity." Looks inside the jacket a bit and says, "Oh, what are these?" and grabs one of the tomes in the pocket.

LIAM: Oh, here, look at this one. I pull out my spell book and hand it over. This one's a little more private.

MATT: "Interesting. "Huh. (laughs) Practicer the arcane or just a hobbyist?"

LIAM: A little bit of both.

MATT: "Interesting."

LIAM: In fact, hoping to possibly--it's not our main purpose for being here today--but further the hobby. Always, everyday, hoping to further the hobby.

MATT: "Interesting. "Now, ah--I'm sorry, you were here "looking for the professor, right?

MARISHA: Is that you?

LIAM: Are you not she?

MATT: I am the professor, I hadn't introduced myself yet, I thought it was important that I cross that threshold as you're a guest in my chamber here, so.

MARISHA: Sort of put two and two together.

MATT: "Fair enough. I am Professor Tuss Waccoh."

LIAM: Tusk Waccoh?

MATT: "Mm-hmm." "I've been one of the top researchers "specifically in development of engineering "and most recently one of the head designers "of the conflict's war machines."

LIAM: Oh.

MATT: "So, I'm real curious "what a couple of humans are doing here "in the center of the Dynasty. "Where are you both from "and what are you doing here?"

LIAM: That is the question isn't it?

MATT: "Yeah, it's a very unique question that I'd like "you both to answer very honestly."

MARISHA: Have any weapons on you? You going to slit our throats? You want us dead?

MATT: "No."

LIAM: That's not going to happen because we have these, of course. But I understand the question and I am happy to accommodate.

MATT: "Right, yes the umavi. Yeah, no, that's great, "that's wonderful. But seriously, answer my question.

MARISHA: We're from the Empire.

LIAM: We're from the heart of the Empire. Isn't that weird?

MATT: "That's very strange, yeah, very.

MARISHA: You can say we're... dynasty enthusiasts.

MATT: "Oh, dabbling, you've come to dabble in the Dynasty?"

MARISHA: Yeah. We like walking lines and sometimes crossing them.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

MATT: "Love lost with the Dynasty? "You've given up? Are you defectors, are you--?"

LIAM: Have we given up on the empire?

MATT: "Yes, yes."

MARISHA: We're here to maybe gain a little bit more favor of the Bright Queen. I think she might want to utilize us as her own war machines if you get what I'm saying.

MATT: "Oh double agent, huh."

MARISHA: You don't have to say it out loud, it's super--

MATT: "No, that's exactly "what a double agent for the empire would do as well, "so I'm just curious. Just checking all the boxes, "looking for all the angles, I've been here for a while "and I've gotten where I am today by being very curious, "so I'm very curious. That's why I'm asking questions."

LIAM: Are you familiar with any of the people who hang with the Bright Queen in her chambers?

MATT: "I know of the Dens, yeah. No, I don't belong to them, "but I'm important. I do good work for them, "so let me do my thing.

LIAM: Understood.

MARISHA: I like your curiosity. We're curious as well.

MATT: "I can imagine. To come all this way, "after being with the Empire. "That's a lot, some strong curiosity, it's very dangerous."

LIAM: Well, we are not entirely--

MATT: "Would you like something to drink?"

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: "Me too." She walks over and opens up this cabinet and you can see there's a bunch of dark glass bottles and pulls one out, a couple of glasses and seems to be some sort of brackish liquor and pours in a few glasses and sets it over. "Here, here. To new curiosities.

(laughs)

LIAM: I don't drink it.

MARISHA: I drink it.

MATT: Strong, but nice. Smooth. Burns a little. Puts it down. "Ha ha, so. (sniffs)"

LIAM: Yeah, our allegiances are a little fluid, it's true.

MATT: "Okay, so, you're looking for me?"

LIAM: Well, we're looking for a couple of things. One, the Bright Queen herself asked that we see you, we understand that you are looking for a little bit of--

MARISHA: Assistance.

LIAM: Muscle.

MATT: "Oh yeah, yeah I guess I do, mm."

MARISHA: Is it personal?

MATT: "There are layers, there are layers involved. "Nothing you need to worry about."

MARISHA: Well, you can be honest with us, Waccoh.

MATT: "Okay, if you're looking for work, if you're looking "for things to be useful, maybe there's money to be had "and I could write you some more favorable things "because this job would really be of great service "to what we're doing against the empire. "This would be a great way to show your support."

LIAM: That's what we are attempting to do, and trying to learn a bit about our new digs, I suppose.

MATT: "Great, great, great great. Okay. "So, I've been designing a couple new-- --some fun weapons of fairly intense destruction. "So the last batch went out "heading westward and we were going to this new design "over at the steelworks, not far from here "up in the northeast where the Vermaloc "meets the Penumbra Range. "So there's a place called "the Deepriver Mining Camp that's part of "the Steelworks--the Steelworks were built around that "actually when the war began, it's a long story."

LIAM: What's the name again?

MATT: "The Deepriver Mining Camp and it's the "Icozrin Steelworks is primarily "where I'm going to be needing some help "up there. There's-- "It's been on lockdown. "A troop of these giants stormed in and smashed up the place "and killed a bunch of our people "and most of them had to flee to the east "outside of the Vermaloc. "And they're just in a holding pattern."

LIAM: Common or expected--

MATT: "No, it's the first time "it's ever happened, things have been great, "this doesn't make any sense why they would do this. "The giants live up in the mountains, "I don't know why they're sitting pretty in the forest, "sitting right squat in the middle of the work "that I need them to finish so-- "They thankfully had already moved the last batch "and the last war body out, so at least the bloodshed "was minimal and we didn't lose too much of my work. "So that was good."

LIAM: What is the nature of these war machines?

MATT: "That's nothing for you to worry about, just say they're very useful. "The mine that's attached is a vast iron bearing mine, "but also copper, which is pretty rare in these parts "and essential to a lot of my designs. "So now that that's come to an end, that's problematic. "There's also the foreman, Bodo. "He's a right prick."

MARISHA: The foreman who?

MATT: "The foreman, Bodo. "He runs the Steelworks there. "We work together because we have to, "but he's a right bloody thorn in my ass. "I'm sure he's doing his best to try and get this "whole situation taken care of, but one, I don't trust him, "and two, last thing I want is for him to pull this off. "So if you're looking for work I would love-- "Just the two of you?"

LIAM: No.

MARISHA: We've got friends.

LIAM: Big friends.

MARISHA: High places.

LIAM: Strong friends.

MATT: "Go and take down some giants friends?"

LIAM: Definitely.

MATT: "Okay." She gets in real close again and looks at you.

MARISHA: I lift up my abs, Jersey Shore style.

(laughter)

MATT: "All right, all right, all right, "yeah, all right, all right. "So you've got friends you got giant-killing friends, great. "Okay. So I need you guys to take your friends. "I need you to go these steelworks, maybe go "talk to whoever's still around. They probably "have an encampment outside of the Vermaloc "not far from there. And just whatever you do "tell that foreman to fuck off, "get the work done and allow us all "the capabilities to gloat "that we succeeded where he failed."

LIAM: Understood, that sounds very doable.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: "Great, wonderful."

MARISHA: You're a woman who likes coming out on top?

MATT: "Oh, always, it's where--"

MARISHA: Why does this foreman not want to work with you? Is he not--?

MATT: "No, we work together."

MARISHA: Oh okay. Is he not sympathetic towards the war effort?

MATT: "Oh, we're both working for the war-- "look, you can still work together "and still find them a fucking asshole, right?"

MARISHA: Isn't that the fucking truth?

MATT: "Exactly, exactly, it's just--consider it a little "business competition. Sure, he can build stuff. "I design it. Who's better, right, huh?"

MARISHA: Well, I don't want to overstep my bounds, but, I mean, feels like you need someone to build it for you.

MATT: "I need it, but could he build it "if I didn't design it? No."

MARISHA: No, but see, you guys, it's a cycle. You lean on each--it's fine. We'll go kill your giants.

LIAM: Yeah, you know your business better than we do. I would rather speak about recompense if that is all right with you.

MATT: "Oh yes, of course, of course. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. "Okay (excited sounds)." She turns around. There's a chest on the side and she gets down below and-- "Turn around."

LIAM: Turn around.

MATT: You hear some rustling, couple of footsteps over somewhere, something falls. (crash sound) "Oh shit."

MARISHA: I peek over my shoulder.

MATT: Make a perception check with disadvantage.

MARISHA: Okay. That's not good. That's not good across the board. Ten.

MATT: You manage to glance over and you unfortunately missed most of what happened. All you see is her returning to the chest with a small set of keys. She unlocks it, opens it up, starts pulling things out. "(muttering)" Starts pulling out small boxes, pulls out a--

LIAM: Are you emptying a Bag of Holding over there? What is happening?

MATT: "I'm pulling out some things that might be useful for a couple of ex-empire kids that like to go kill giants and shit." And you hear (ping ping). There's a couple of things on the ground, a scattering of knickknacks and she pulls out a few things. "All right, we got, uh--let me see." She dumps out a bag on the table and a bunch of gems just scatter out in a pile: sapphires, emeralds, rubies. All sorts of precious gems some rough, some well cut. It's just-- and she looks at you and she grabs that eye piece and puts it on again and in a matter of seconds seems to do counting in her head, puts both hands down and scoops half of it into her bag and grabs two more. "All right, 6,650 gold-- "Sorry, 8,650 gold worth of gems." Pulls it taut on the table, puts the rest over into a little satchel and throws it back into the side there. It scoots next to the other pile of knickknacks. "Or you can grab a couple of "these interesting fine things."

LIAM: And they would be?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: "I know a few of them. I just collect things."

MARISHA: Are they items--are they magical items?

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Roll high.

MARISHA: Fucking bullshit. 12.

MATT: Okay. You can see there's a couple of (laughs) broken idols made of stone. A lot of it is just general knickknacks and shit, but in the mix there she walks over and starts pulling some things out. She picks up one of the boxes and opens it and, "Ah, there's a little ring here. "I've been told this is quite potent." She sets it aside and she goes and takes-- it's like a broken side sword blade. She goes and grabs a little bauble and rolls it off. She goes and grabs a thick bundle of cloth and goes, "Ah, ah, ah this," and you can see this dark brown globe with red and gold trim. "This also. I'll have to go ahead and "recheck to see what this does "but it's supposedly enchanted. Useful." Sets it up on the table.

LIAM: Mind if I check these?

MATT: "Oh yeah, yeah, you can do that, but I should probably "check, too, so we can both be "on the same page right, right?"

LIAM: Sure.

MATT: She takes her little thing down the eyepiece.

LIAM: I cast Detect Magic.

MATT: The ring, the robe both give off a magical pattern.

TRAVIS: How about the broken sword blade?

MATT: A very, very faint magical essence in the broken sword blade. There is also a staff, a twisting staff that spirals and at the end of it it looks like it's a grasping hand the fingers clawed inward, but it's all wood. That gives off a strong magical aura as well.

LIAM: So ring, staff, faint on the broken sword, and a robe.

MATT: Yes. As she pulls her eye piece down, she focuses for a second and you see this little flash of orange light in the middle of it and she glances back and she goes, "Right, all right "so this ring. It's a Ring of Evasion. "It helps you avoid dangerous things if perhaps "you weren't as nimble to get out "of the way in time. (laughs) "That's useful. This is a Robe of Far Patterns. "If it's initiated, one it helps defend yourself "a little bit more, withstands the blows and cuts "that you might come upon your journeys "in these dangerous lands, but also on the inside, "a little peak, a little peak," and she opens up the robe. "Oh it's just cloth, I guess you have to initiate it, "but I guess if someone gets in your way, "you can give them a little glimpse of places "far and dark and might spook their brain a bit."

MARISHA: Nice.

MATT: "Now you're obviously not supposed "to have all that fun stuff. "You'll know all about that eventually, "won't you, wizard boy? "This staff here (grunts). "This is a Staff of Withering. "This thing's pretty fun. "It can hit something and, if initiated, ooh, it can suck some of that life out of the thing it hits. It's great."

MARISHA and LAURA: (laughs)

LIAM: Did you cover the ring. I can't remember.

MARISHA: The ring was evasion.

LIAM: The ring was evasion.

LIAM: So the ring, robe--

MARISHA: Broken sword blade.

LIAM: Broken sword.

MARISHA: We don't know yet.

LIAM: We don't know.

MATT: It's very faint. It's barely there.

LIAM: Okay, and question to you. Are you offering a pick of one of these or all of these or what is the deal we are talking about?

MATT: "You can pick two of these or you can take the gems."

LIAM: May I discuss this with--

MATT: "Or one and a half "I suppose, if that's what you're feeling."

LIAM: May we have a moment?

MATT: "Yes, please take one."

LIAM: Would you turn around please?

MATT: "It's my room." "I'm not going to do that, but thank you. "You can go--oh, here this will help. This will help."

(laughter)

MARISHA: Do you know that cantrip?

LIAM: Yeah, I can cast it an unlimited amount. I am very tempted by the things she is showing me, but I find it hard to go back to our group with no coin and these.

MARISHA: What if we do take the gems as a down payment and then we come back for an item?

LIAM: Doesn't seem like the deal she was offering us.

MARISHA: I'm counter-offering. I'm negotiating, man.

LIAM: Okay.

MARISHA: I'm just saying, because we've got to come back and report that we've done things right, so we do halves and halves and maybe we can figure out what we want or we can just take items. She said two items.

LIAM: Yeah, that robe and that ring are very tempting to me, but I think--

MARISHA: I mean, I think Caduceus would love that staff.

LIAM: I don't know, I've had trouble convincing you that I'm not an asshole and to go back to our party with nothing in hand for the rest of them does not seem wise to me.

MARISHA: Well, we're coming back in hand with a job.

LIAM: Pro bono, if I come back with stuff.

MARISHA: Well, we know where the stuff is. Can take the gems now because we know gems are good, potentially come back for stuff at a later time. Does that make sense?

LIAM: It's a simple plan, sure.

MARISHA: I don't know.

LIAM: No, I mean, I want the stuff, but it just doesn't seem wise. Let's take the gems. We'll take the gems.

TRAVIS: Take the stuff!

LAURA: Take the stuff and maybe-- (pigeon cooing) You don't keep the stuff, maybe. (cooing) Maybe show everybody in the group all the stuff and we decide who gets it later.

TRAVIS: The pigeons out here are crazy.

TALIESIN: Shoo shoo shoo.

MATT: "Sorry about that. So--"

MARISHA: Maybe we should ask about the down payment thing.

LIAM: Sure. We have a couple of questions. My associate will start.

MATT: "Fire away."

MARISHA: We're very intrigued by your menagerie of offerings. However, it is hard to make an educated decision based on the current amount of knowledge that we have. So would you be, my fair lady would you, professor woman of deep knowledge--

LIAM: How about Professor Waccoh?

MARISHA: --be interested in a down payment of some gems and then maybe we come back for an item of our choice in the future or trade more work for more of those items?

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

MARISHA: Super my strong point.

TALIESIN: Eventually it's got to roll well.

LIAM: This is the one. Get that 20. Get that 20.

MARISHA: You saw it again, you witness it every time. It was almost a 19, but instead it's a two, no, it's a three. Six.

MATT: She goes, "See, there's this thing where I just met you "and you're humans and already in a strange place "with me personally. So giving you things "before you've completed a job puts "me in an uncomfortable position. So if that's something "you want to do, that's possible, but we'll have to add "a few more fiddly aspects of this deal, if you understand."

MARISHA: Oh are we not walking away with these?

LIAM: Tell us more about that robe, please.

MATT: "Oh the robe. "Unfortunately, I'd have to attune it "to even show you, but if you were to," and she takes it and throws it over her shoulders and opens it up on the inside. It's a dark black velvet, but in a way that consumes all the light. Like a Vantablack type of a thing where it just looks like absolute darkness. "If someone were to come at me with a punch, "not that they'll actually hit me, I'll kick your ass, "but, you know, try to--

MARISHA: Wait, I'm getting mixed signals. Do you want me to come at you?

MATT: "Pretend you're going to come at me like an attacker."

MARISHA: Okay, I pretend in a very basic drills karate 101 way. And huh!

MATT: She like lifts the coat and vampire-wise and nothing happens. "But if you're attuned to this "something'll happen and it'll scare them off, maybe."

LIAM: Scare them off?

MATT: "Yeah."

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: "Give them a glimpse into mind-bending realms where--"

TRAVIS: A-look at my balls!

MATT: "--shapes are strange!"

(laughter)

LIAM: Maybe there is a middle ground. How would you feel about say doing a third of your gems there and one of these items?

MARISHA: I thought it was half the gems and then one of the items?

MATT: "That sounds like a great deal, I can take that."

MARISHA: No, he's confused on Xhorhasian math. We're still--you guys are on metric system and we're not there yet on the Empire, so--

LIAM: So is it half and half?

MARISHA: Yes.

LIAM: Okay.

MARISHA: Are we making this deal now and we're going to come back for it later? Hang on. Marisha to the DM for a second.

MATT: Yes, you're making this deal at the moment.

MARISHA: Is it, are we making the deal and then we're going to go complete it and then this is the reward we get when we come back?

MATT: Correct, yes.

LAURA: So you don't have to choose now.

MARISHA: Do we have to choose now?

SAM: Don't send Nott and Jester in. They're the worst at this.

LIAM: We know. We almost all died.

MARISHA: Doing pretty good, considering.

SAM and LAURA: You're doing great.

SAM: Keep it up.

MARISHA: I thought we were doing half-- from Marisha to the DM--I thought we were doing a down payment thing.

MATT: There could have been if a persuasion check--

MARISHA: Right, had I not rolled a three.

MATT: I know, it's okay, it happens.

TALIESIN: A lot.

MARISHA: I will fucking pimp slap you.

LAURA: It was him.

MATT: It was Taliesin.

MARISHA: Oh shit!

SAM: I'm just over here, minding my business, worrying about my doomed campaign.

MARISHA: Sorry, the shade is just normally from you.

TALIESIN: It was shade towards your dice; it wasn't you.

TRAVIS: The offer still stands. She can still pimp slap you.

MARISHA: You deserved it at some point in your time.

SAM: For sure. Absolutely.

LIAM: Well, we'll figure this out later.

MARISHA: Yeah, we can we decide when we come back with the rest of our team?

MATT: "Sure, sure."

MARISHA: Cool.

MATT: "Hey, I'll tell you what, tell you what. "Step forward a little bit. "If you're having a hard time deciding, "I'll throw a little something extra in. "If you can creatively figure out a way "to embarrass the shit out of the foreman for me.

LIAM: Oh we have a ringer for that.

MARISHA: Uh huh.

MATT: "Okay. "Just a little addendum, not necessary, "job's not dependent on it, but if you do this for me, "I'll look favorably on the reward."

MARISHA: Public embarrassment?

MATT: "Oh preferably."

MARISHA: Okay.

LIAM: Deal.

MATT: "Thanks."

MARISHA: Can I borrow one of your books for a second?

MATT: "Why?"

MARISHA: I just want to demonstrate the public embarrassment.

MATT: "Okay, yeah, like empty or do you want?"

MARISHA: Whatever.

MATT: "Oh, well, just sure."

MARISHA: You have a pen?

MATT: "I have ink, here."

MARISHA: I draw a dick in the margin.

MATT: "That's a--"

MARISHA: But think on a bigger scale.

MATT: "Yeah, preferably something more involved than that. "I don't see how that would necessarily embarrass him."

LIAM: Just an appetizer, just an appetizer. On a related note, I have another question. I was led to believe by our patron, the queen herself, that we would be able to peruse the stacks here at the Marble Tomes. Is that possible? We are trying to learn a little more about our new home and better understand our footing here and what we are doing for the Dynasty. It was discussed and--

MATT: "I'm sure it was discussed." "I'm--(laughs nervously)

MARISHA: How about when we come back?

MATT: "Do some good deeds. "Show me that you can be trusted and do this fine thing "for the goodwill of our conflict and then we can discuss, "maybe. Just understand there is a wide variety "of various bits of information that is kept here, "some of which is very, very classified, "so can't just let you walk around grabbing what you want. "Perhaps there can be approvals that can be put, "depending on what you are researching--

LIAM: We have friends in very high places.

MATT: "Of course, no, and as do I so we can talk later."

LIAM: Understood. Well, we have the deal.

MATT: "A deal is done, great, thank you." Reaches out and grabs. Her fingers are long and boney and cold to the touch, but she's smiling the whole way that one big tusk pushing up into the cheek.

LIAM: I have a good feeling about this relationship.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

MATT: "I hope so, good luck, good luck, go."

MARISHA: Fuck Bodo, am I right?

MATT: "That's right. (laughs) I like you. Jury's out. "I like you. All right, great, "go do stuff Thank you.."

LIAM: Time to go draw some dicks, let's do this.

MARISHA: I did it, though, I got in the dick! Do you think Jester will be proud?

LIAM: Yeah, that's a start.

MATT: You guys walk out you hear the door (creaking). She's staring with the one eye peeking through. Closes. The Aurora Watchman is there. "Did you get everything that you need?"

LIAM: We got a taste, we'll be back. Thank you.

MATT: "Of course."

MARISHA: What was your name?

MATT: "Desmond."

MARISHA: Nice to meet you Desmond. Okay, bye.

LIAM: I think he has to walk us back through all those hallways again. Would you lead the way please?

MATT: "Right this way." Leads you back where you came, eventually escorting you back to the outside of the main courtyard of the Marble Tomes Conservatory.

LIAM: All right. Well, that went about as well as I expected.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LIAM: Let's go find the other assholes.

MATT: Come back to you guys. We'll say, for the sake of the ease of shopping for clothing and shoes, for a meager price of five silver, you manage to acquire a fine heavy pair of shoes that sit well on Yeza's feet, a nice cloak and coat that seems to definitely seems to be an upgrade from the tattered outfit that he's kept since he was imprisoned.

LAURA: Is there a particular fashion here? Do the style of clothing look different than they do in the Empire?

MATT: Yeah. Well, as far as the Dynasty and the drow, there's definitely hints of elvish elegance, but a lot of the cuts seem to be a lot more geometric, hard angles. It's interesting; elements of it remind you of how angular some dwarven designs are, but they go from curves into angles. So yeah, it's unique. That's for the drow. As you guys are traveling around, you also notice beyond the dark elves that you see, which is still the majority of the populace here in the center and the other goblinoids and ogres and beasts and the occasional giant you see that comes through, a hill giant that wanders, you only see one as you're traveling through the Gallimaufry-- you also see a couple of dwarves, but not the typical dwarves. These are gray-skinned; either dark, jet black or bright red auburn hair, pale eyes. It's unique. You've not quite seen dwarves like this and you only see two in the streets as you wander through, rare in comparison to a lot of the other folk here.

SAM: Yeah, I see.

LAURA: It's different than I've ever seen before.

SAM: Everything here is a bit different, yes.

MATT: You pass by a place called Turmin's Tinctures and Tonics, right next to Fadden's Gems, which is where you're heading.

SAM: Turmin's Tinctures--

MATT: Turmin's Tinctures and Tonics.

LIAM: Stay turnt.

SAM: Were we supposed to get Caleb some paper or something?

LAURA: No, he's going to get it himself.

TALIESIN: Caleb said he was going to take care of that himself.

SAM: All right, get your gems.

LAURA: We need gems!

MATT: You come in barreling. It's a small chamber. It's maybe eight-foot by ten-foot. There isn't an elaborate need to show off many gems and even so, most of the interior, is comfortable. Stained woods. It's the general purple wood that you've seen used primarily through most of the things in Xhorhas, but it's stained even darker. Grooves are cut into it and gold cord is pressed into the grooves to give this nice trim around the different pieces of furniture. There are two long glass cases that have all these different cuts of gems and pieces of jewelry that are set and on display with a faint series of small glass globes about the size of a gold piece that are set inside giving an inset glow. On the opposite end, you do see one woman, a dark elf who seems to be napping at the moment or at least is like eyes somewhat closed leaning back in a chair. Her hair is a little tangled and long, but really nice robe. Looks to be a little older.

TALIESIN: You enjoy waking people up, I figure you can.

LAURA: Mm, mm-hmm, I go up and I tickle under her chin.

MATT: Okay. As your hand goes up, a hand catches yours. "Do not mistake this for sleep, darling."

LAURA: Oh, were you not sleeping?

MATT: "No. Can I help you?"

LAURA: Yes, I would very much like some gems, please. As my hand's caught.

MATT: "What kind of gems?" She's still holding onto your wrist.

LAURA: Like, you know, pretty ones, like diamonds and stuff.

TALIESIN: (clears throat)

LAURA: Diamonds?

TALIESIN: Diamonds.

LAURA: Specifically diamonds.

MATT: "Well, we have a few."

LAURA: As she lets go, I tickle her.

(laughter)

MATT: She bats you away. She begins to show off these small diamonds inset into amulets and rings. There's an actual tea saucer that has gems. It's a beautiful porcelain. It's a very upper scale--

TALIESIN: That seems extravagant.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I don't know.

LAURA: We actually don't need--

TALIESIN: Settings.

LAURA: Yeah. We just the need loose gems.

MATT: "How many?"

LAURA: Like 800 gold worth of them.

TALIESIN: Specifically--

LAURA: Oh, they need to be one solid one, a 500 and a 300ish.

TALIESIN: In about that clarity.

LAURA: Something nice, you know.

TALIESIN: If you have anything.

MATT: Let me double check here.

LAURA: It could be a princess cut or--

MATT: It doesn't have to be a single one.

TALIESIN: Really, it could be just--

MATT: It says, "diamonds worth."

LAURA: It could be handful of little shitty ones, whatever you think.

MATT: Raise Dead has to be a diamond worth at least 500, but for Revivify, it can be in a grouping.

TALIESIN: So one 500 gold piece diamond and maybe 300 gold pieces worth of assorted.

MATT: "Very well I will look." She turns around, but keeps an eye on the rest of you.

LAURA: Also, if you ever, like, if you're trying to cut your diamonds and stuff and one shatters because you cut it wrong or something and it turns into dust, do you have anything like that, maybe?

MATT: "No."

LAURA: Okay, just wondering.

MATT: "I am very careful with my cuts."

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: "Anyway," and she produces a fairly decent sized well-cut clear diamond. It's about that big or so. It would be the equivalent of 5-600 gold just looking at it or this is how she presents it.

LAURA: That's really nice.

TALIESIN: Is that giving me the feeling that that will do what's necessary?

MATT: Yeah, it's thin, but it's a wide piece there.

LAURA: It's not like a CZ or something, you're not trying to fuck us over.

TRAVIS: Are those words?

LIAM: A cubic zirconia.

TRAVIS: A CZ.

TALIESIN: Seesaw?

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

MATT: Make a perception check with your vast knowledge of diamonds and jewel craft.

LAURA: Yes. Eight.

MATT: I mean, it's a diamond.

LAURA: It's really pretty, it's a good diamond.

TALIESIN: It is very pretty, it's got a lot of sparkle.

MATT: There's a scattering of a few others and she goes, "All right, for these together "that would be 850 gold."

LAURA: Cool cool cool. Uh!

SAM: (laughs)

LAURA: This is--the Bright Queen gave us this. We're--she likes us a lot.

MATT: "I can see that, yes."

TRAVIS: Jesus.

LAURA: If you happen to, you know, treat us nicely we could tell her that you're pretty cool and stuff. We have a good line to her.

MATT: Make a persuasion check with advantage.

SAM: Advantage.

LAURA: Woo.

LIAM: Because Laura is so charming.

LAURA: Oh.

(groaning)

TALIESIN: You are being punished.

LAURA: Eight plus five is--

SAM: 13.

LAURA: 13, double eights.

LIAM: This is the side that shoots exploding arrows at their dying friends.

(laughter)

MATT: "Well, you see I've already cut quite a few gems "for a number of the Dens."

SAM: I'm not saying anything and everybody is hating on me.

MATT: Oh buddy, no.

SAM: It's okay.

MARISHA: He started it.

TRAVIS: You suck.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I feel my sympathy vote shifting now.

TRAVIS: Clever ploy.

LAURA: Oh shit.

LIAM: Don't be fooled by the donkey in the Jeff Goldblum mask.

MATT: "I have done quite a few jewelry settings "for the Bright Queen and many Dens at the top."

SAM: I will pimp slap you.

MATT: "So I have the pull I require but thank you. "The deal is at it stands."

LAURA: Okay, 850 then, that works for me. Here you go then.

MATT: "Thank you.

TALIESIN: Do you have all the money?

LAURA: Yeah I guess, I guess so.

TALIESIN: I like that the word "fuck" just fell into your dice jail.

MATT: Somebody mark off what you spent.

LAURA: "Fuck" just fell into this dice jail, literally. "Fuck." Okay, mm, yes, 850.

MATT: All right, so you have your diamonds.

TRAVIS: So Taliesin, 250 to help.

LAURA: I thought yes, you want to give, like-- no, it's hold on, I have to--

LIAM: What a journey.

LAURA: We have 400 from other people, so if you were to give 100, and then I'll give 100.

TALIESIN: I'll give 100.

LAURA: That's brings us to 700. And then you already gave some. Did I mark everything?

SAM: You did.

LAURA: Yeah give me another 50, Fjord.

LAURA: I'll give another 50 as well, so I'll give 150.

MATT: All righty. "Is that all that you require?"

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I think so.

LAURA: Unless you got straight razors here or something?

MATT: "No."

LAURA: Did you make the Bright Queen's awesome armor? There were opals on it, were there opals on it? I saw them.

MATT: "Those were not mine."

LAURA: Oh. It's too bad. Because it was pretty cool.

MATT: "Thank you for your patronage. You may leave."

TALIESIN: We're making friends.

LAURA: Yeah.

LAURA: You have a very soft chin. I say as I leave.

TALIESIN: Wow. We now know who the big bad of this season's going to be.

MATT: Marking that down.

TRAVIS: Who has a soft chin now?!

TALIESIN: The dungeon master will remember this.

TALIESIN: Other than trying to find a razor, just general razor and potions I guess but I mean--

LAURA: That's next door probably.

MATT: You can check.

SAM: Yeah, while they're in there, me and Yasha will go next door and see if there's any potions. Are you with us, Fjordy?

TRAVIS: Nah, I'm with them.

SAM: Okay, we'll go next door and check the potions.

MATT: The two of you head into Turmin's Tinctures and Tonics. You can see the wooden sign outside is dangling and as you push through the front door it hits a bell that's like (ringing). You look inside. A whole series of very strong Sephora-like smells competing. There are two rows on each side. It's a long building, it's maybe 10 feet wide and about 20 feet down the way, but there are all sorts of dried herbs and plants and roots and things that are hanging up there that are probably creating a lot of the scent, but even then it seems very strong for things that have maybe been dried out this long. There are small dishes that contain oils in them that also are emitting strong smells. You can see all sorts of vials that are crystal and glass that are all arranged with little labels in front of them. Into the back of the chamber, you see standing there, arms crossed, another one of these dwarf figures with the even gray skin, permanent scowl on the face, these almost pupil-less white eyes looking toward you. The hair is a deep set red maroon color. It's parted in the center and this puff of red for a beard and he just looks out and he goes, "So what you looking for?"

SAM: We're here looking for some potions.

ASHLEY: Yes, hello.

SAM: We're new to the city but we're excited to meet its locals. This is my husband, he's never been here before.

MATT: He pokes out from his-- "Hi."

SAM: Do you have any healing potions or any other useful potions for adventurers?

MATT: "Oh, we've got all sorts of useful potions. "Look about yer side this way. We've got ones for virility, "as you say you've got your husband. "We've got ones that give you strength of spirit, "we've got ones that give you better dreams, "some with shiny hair." Yeza goes up and starts inspecting one and is like, "These are pretty poorly made. "What's your distilling process, just out of curiosity?"

ASHLEY: Useful, useful.

LIAM: Alchemy shade.

SAM: I think we're looking for more of the advanced potions.

MATT: "Well, these are advanced, what are you thinking?"

ASHLEY: That just seems a little tame for what we're looking for.

SAM: Yes, not sort of meta medicine, but actual medicine.

MATT: "I know what you're talking a--come this way, "come this way. More behind-the-counter shite."

ASHLEY: Behind-the-counter stuff, yes.

MATT: He pulls out this two tiny, tiny glass vials that each have a chain on the end with a piece of leather. It looks like it can be wrapped around a belt loop or something. He's like, "Something a little more wild you said, right? "Now these here these will give you the drive "of a fucking rhinoceros, if you know what I'm saying."

(Marisha sneezes)

MATT: Bless you.

MARISHA: Sorry, I was laughing--

LIAM: I got a little spray.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: First three rows man, There's a warning on the door.

MARISHA: I'm sorry.

ASHLEY and SAM: The drive of a rhinoceros?

MATT: "You wanting more wild you said right?"

SAM: Yes, please.

MATT: "Right, yeah."

ASHLEY: What happens when you have that?

MATT: "Oh it gets you all worked up and you just go all night long.

SAM: It's specifically for fucking or is it for anything?

MATT: "Is that not that what you're asking about?"

SAM: Oh no, we're adventurers but not that kind.

ASHLEY: I think I might have steered you in the wrong direction.

SAM: We're not on a sexual journey of awakening or anything. We fight things.

ASHLEY: What's the other one, since we're on the subject. I'm curious about what the other one was.

MATT: "Well, it's the same. I have two."

TRAVIS: Double shot.

SAM: You don't want one of the partners to have it because otherwise it would be like (screams).

MATT: Yeza goes, "Can I see one of those real fast?"

SAM: Oh yeah, here. I'll give him my magnifying glass. Check it out.

MATT: He goes--

TRAVIS: Aah! Three hours!

MATT: He goes like, (sniffs) "Thank you."

SAM: What is it?

MATT: "It's petal tonic. It's water."

SAM: Oh. I love this guy.

ASHLEY: He's the best.

SAM: No thank you, Turmin, I presume.

MATT: "That's me, I'm Turmin."

SAM: No thank you. Do you have anything that could heal someone?

MATT: "I got some healing potions--

SAM: Imbued with special powers, perhaps?

MATT: "Well, of course, who do you take me for?"

SAM: But not just sex power.

MATT: "...We've got some."

(laughter)

SAM: Whatcha got?

MATT: "Fucking goblins, I swear."

SAM: I've got a chemist with me so no fucking around anymore.

MATT: "Oh, you got a chemist." Glances over and Yeza's like, just gets behind you and hides.

SAM: I'll take care of you baby.

MATT: "Is that a halfling?"

SAM: Maybe.

MATT: "And a goblin?"

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: "Kinky. "Now." Yeza goes, "I don't like him." "Got a few things here all right." He goes and handles up here. "Okay."

ASHLEY: Oh my gosh.

ALL: Oh!

LAURA: Oh Ash, you haven't seen these.

ASHLEY: No!

LIAM: These are healing potions.

LAURA: Matt made them himself.

ASHLEY: No way.

SAM: He has no life.

MATT: "Got four of these basic ones here and one of these "greater types here for sale, if you're interested. "And I've got--no you wouldn't want that."

SAM: Hey, you're looking at a goblin with a halfling over here. We'll want anything you got.

MATT: "Well, maybe in case any of you are feeling a bit ill," and he pulls up this other vial that has this weird, swirling deep teal color to it. "This here will cure what ails ye. "Immediately cleanse the body."

SAM: Of like poison, disease?

MATT: "Poisons, whatever's locked up your muscles, "all sorts of fun stuff."

SAM: It's like it will restore you, sort of a thing?

MATT: "Something flashes in your face "and you lose your eyesight. "Brings it right back."

ASHLEY: Yeza, can you just look at it real quick?

SAM: Yeza, do your thing.

MATT: "I don't mean to intrude upon your place of business, "I just--" He watches, Turmin leans forward. "Mm-hmm, go ahead. Check, little one." Yeza goes forward and uncorks each of the potions. The greater one, swirls it around. Picks one up, takes it, puts it down. "Thank you Turmin--Mr. Turmin," and gets behind you and whispers in your ear, "They all seem pretty legitimate."

SAM: Thank you. How much for everything?

MATT: "Ah, you want the whole package, I see? "Well, let's see here." Looks at this there. "It'll be 1,000 gold--"

SAM: Aw, fuck!

MATT: "For the elixir of health."

ASHLEY: For just the one?

MATT: "For that one."

ASHLEY: For the teal one.

MATT: "Aye."

ASHLEY: We probably don't need that then. What about the rest of them?

MATT: "Oh, you're going to be real sad when suddenly "you find yourself turning to stone, maybe."

TRAVIS: Or paralyzed or blind or--

LAURA: We need a restoration.

MATT: Yeza leans in your ear, "I don't think it cures petrification."

SAM: Oh, thank you.

ASHLEY: What about for everything? Yes, if we got all of these things. If we're just feeling a little crazy.

MATT: "That would be 1,700 gold pieces."

ASHLEY: 1,700 gold pieces.

MATT: "700 for all the healing potions."

SAM: Including the greater one?

MATT: "Including the greater one."

SAM: Okay, and 1,000 for the teal.

MATT: "For the Elixir of Health."

ASHLEY: I mean I don't really have any money. I haven't been here to collect.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I don't think I've been putting money in your profile.

ASHLEY: I do have money. I have a little money.

TALIESIN: You have a little money.

SAM: If we wanted to we could buy them all, but we'll just one of the smaller and one of the greaters and that's it.

MATT: You watch as the boisterous grin fades a bit, deflates. "Right okay, well--"

SAM: How much is that?

MATT: "That will be 550."

SAM: 550 just for one of that and one of that?

MATT: "Aye."

ASHLEY: Wait, does that break down correctly?

SAM: That doesn't, the math is terrible.

ASHLEY: This Xhorhasian math is so weird.

MATT: These are 50 each.

SAM: They're only 50 and those are 500?

MATT: "Aye."

SAM: Wow. Maybe the math does break down.

ASHLEY: What if we just pay 500 for both of those?

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

ASHLEY: Hey, it's my first roll.

TALIESIN: Welcome back.

ASHLEY: Oh, okay, hold on. Oh shit, it's minus two. 15.

MATT: (sighs)

ASHLEY: Turmin, where are you from?

MATT: "From here. Well-- "Yeah."

ASHLEY: Where specifically if I may ask?

MATT: "Here. "I grew up here."

ASHLEY: You grew up here?

MATT: "Well, I grew up in the Shadowshire and then eventually came--

SAM: What's that? Shadowshire, what is that? What does that mean?

MATT: "Are you not from around here?"

SAM: I am, but my husband's not.

MATT: "Apparently."

SAM: He wants to know and he's too shy to ask.

ASHLEY: He's too shy to ask.

MATT: Yeza's like, "I think that's "near where they were keeping me."

SAM: Oh, it's down under?

MATT: "Right."

SAM: Are there many more of you down there? Is there a whole civilization?

MATT: "Are you going to take it or go?"

ASHLEY: Did you say it was 500 for the both?

MATT: "It was until your friend started peeping up."

LAURA: Oh no!

TALIESIN: The best.

LAURA: It's rain on Sam night.

SAM: That's all right. I have the comfort of my imaginary husband.

(laughter)

MATT: You feel a hand squeeze your shoulder.

SAM: Baby, at least you still care for me.

LIAM: Well, it only took four years.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Okay, we'll take the greater and the--

SAM: You want the greater?

ASHLEY: No, should we just get a bunch of the smaller ones?

SAM: All the littles, all the littles.

ASHLEY: We're going to get all the little ones.

SAM: Ignore the big, sorry, all the littles.

MATT: "Fine, fine, take it."

ASHLEY: 200?

MATT: "200 gold."

SAM: I've got this, Yasha, you don't have any money.

ASHLEY: I do have some, actually. I have more than I thought I did. I'll put in 100.

SAM: Hey, that's great.

TALIESIN: Should we distribute these accordingly? Who needs one?

SAM: I do, I need two.

TALIESIN: A lot of people don't have one at all.

ASHLEY: Oh my god, these are great!

TALIESIN: Aren't they great?

LAURA: Aren't they cool?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: You get one. That one--

MARISHA: I still have one.

MATT: "You done?"

SAM: Yeah, I think we're done.

ASHLEY: Yes, I think we're done. Thank you so much, Turmin. Oh wait! These herbs up here are any of them--

SAM: While she says that, I'm going to steal something.

ASHLEY: These ones over here, are they good for tea?

MATT: "That over this way?"

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: What are you going to steal?

SAM: What do I got, what's my options?

(laughter)

MATT: All right, he's pulled, he's taken the greater potion away, he's put that away. There is the potion of health, the 1,000 gold one, but that is literally right in the middle. It's possible, but it's going to be a high DC.

SAM: Poor. Yes.

LAURA: You could roll really high, though.

MATT: Around the chamber, there's all the various vials that are labeled for--

SAM: Bullshit vials.

MATT: I mean, you don't know what they do necessarily. Some of them might be, some of them might not be.

TRAVIS: Get some dick juice, go for it.

MATT: It's up to you.

ASHLEY: Get the dream one.

SAM: Yeah, I'll try for the dream one if it's around, if he indicated it with--

MATT: It's a few feet behind. You could begin to meander that way as you're leaving and try for it. It's up to you.

SAM: I want to do something right now while he's distracted.

MATT: All right. Well, you have the two small crystal vials.

SAM: Of rhino sex?

MATT: Rhino sex, sure.

SAM: I'll go for those.

TALIESIN: Good call.

MATT: Go ahead and make a dexterity check with your proficiency modifier.

SAM: Uh-huh, with proficiency, with sleight of hand?

MATT: Sorry, with sleight of head, this isn't proficiency--

SAM: 27.

MATT: Both of them gone.

SAM: Okay.

MATT: Like so fast he doesn't even remember they're there. "I wouldn't recommend that for tea."

ASHLEY: No, okay.

MATT: "No it'll burn through "and you'll probably pump out most of your insides "from your ass."

ASHLEY: Oh, I don't want that. Do you also happen to have-- what is this called?

SAM: A straight razor.

ASHLEY: A straight razor?

MATT: "Why, you buying?"

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: "I mean, I could sell you that."

ASHLEY: How much?

MATT: "Two gold."

ASHLEY: One gold.

TALIESIN: Wow.

MATT: "Deal."

SAM: 50% discount, amazing!

TRAVIS: A straight razor's one gold.

LIAM: Right, here's $300.

SAM: Thank you, Mr. Turmin.

MATT: He goes and leaves for a second. About a minute passes and then he comes back after rummaging and produces the straight razor and hands it down.

ASHLEY: Thank you very much.

MATT: "Thank you."

SAM: Let's get out of here.

ASHLEY: We're going to go. Good-bye, Turmin.

MATT: "Good-bye."

SAM: All right, we're going to find you fuckers.

TALIESIN: We have all had a day.

MARISHA: Pick up paper on the way, I guess. You want paper?

LIAM: Yeah, I want paper. I thought we were going to get some at the library. I thought I could work that angle, but it did not come up. Let's get some paper.

MATT: Yeah, we'll say for the purposes of ease that you're able to pick a paper that you need to.

LIAM: High quality paper and--?

MATT: Yeah, you can get some high quality paper and ink. Probably not--no, you could probably in the Firmaments. Not far from the Marble Tomes Conservatory, you can find some. So as much paper as you're willing to purchase of high quality that you need. You can do that.

LIAM: Danke.

MARISHA: So many floating days.

LIAM: I'm going to do 200.

MATT: 200, go for it.

MARISHA: They all float, don't we here?

MATT: All righty, so as you guys gather up to reconvene to discuss what you've done, what you need and what the next plotting and plan is for your venture, we'll go ahead and take a break, since we're pushing 9:00.

SAM: Exciting action. Critical Role.

MARISHA: Shopping episode.

MATT: It's a shopping episode. You guys wanted to do some shopping.

SAM: Got rhino sex.

ASHLEY: Just came back right in time.

TALIESIN: Welcome to the shopping episode.

MATT: I was like what would this guy have? Then I remember walking into 7/11s and they have all of the--

TALIESIN: The Five-Hour.

MATT: Or the pills like for virility. I'm like, this guy probably had those.

TALIESIN: Pills for brave power.

MATT: All right so. We'll be back here in a few minutes. Before we leave, we do have our Wyrmwood Giveaway. Tonight is the cherry tabletop dice tray. This beautiful little piece here with leather on the inside. That will go on to one of our lucky winners. The keyword tonight is "reunion."

ALL: Aw!

SAM: Ashley.

MATT: Enter the keyword once into the chat. More than once you'll be disqualified and once again only in the US and Canada, excluding Quebec. We'll be back with the winners soon when we come back, so we'll see you in a second.

Break Edit

[peppy pop music]

♪ You've got perfect warlock, her weapons and supplies ♪

♪ But you need a place to track your stuff ♪

♪ 'Cause you're so disorganized ♪

♪ You click open the webpage ♪

♪ You heard about on Critical Role ♪

♪ And now you're ready to kick some butt ♪

♪ In that mineshaft full of gnolls ♪

♪ It's D&D; ♪

♪ It's D&D; Beyond ♪

♪ Yeah D&D; ♪

♪ D&D; Beyond ♪

♪ You got your stats, you've got your swords ♪

♪ And you've got your invisible wand ♪

♪ It's D&D; ♪

♪ D&D; ♪

♪ D&D; Beyond ♪

MARISHA (VO): Dearest husband, the indications are strong that we shall soon set sail for Darktow perhaps as early as next Thursday and lest the rolling oceans separate our player characters a wave too far, my loins urged me to compose a line conveying the true depth of my eternal love for you. No one ever promised that the tempest-tossed life of a pirate would be one to defy death. Husband, my love for you is deathless, memories of all the bliss we've enjoyed in other's arms crowd the eye of the my mind, making it difficult to fill the 100 rich pages of this faux leather journal of the Cobalt Soul. So elegant and regal that the Knowing Mistress herself would bless her greatest thoughts within its trusting confines. If I do not return from Darktow, which I've circled upon this exquisite 24 by 24 inch map of the Menagerie Coast created by the cartographic genius that is Deven Rue, never forget how much I love thee. For when my last breath escapes my lungs like the salty ocean bile that spills forth from Fjord's lungs I shall whisper your sweet name one final time and know that if the dead can come back to this Earth to drift in secret around those they love, I shall forever be with you: a spectral nautilus to the cove of your heart. Gimme dat butt, Liam O'Brien.

MARISHA: Gimme dat butt, Liam O'Brien. Oh!

[regal classical harpsichord music]

LIAM: (sighs) (sniffs) Oh, she's been reading my journal. Son of a--Friendship over.

TRAVIS (VO): Last time on Yee-haw Game Ranch.

BRIAN: Today, we're playing New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. This one's a lot of fun and one of my favorite new games. It's weird. I thought we'd get a new friend this week joining us. Normally they interrupt or are ready whenever we say game, but I guess there's no new.

TRAVIS: Apparently, it just fell off.

BRIAN: No new critter today.

TRAVIS and BRIAN: I guess we topped out.

BRIAN: Well, let's grab the—

BRITTANY: "Did someone say game?"

BRIAN: Holy fuck.

BRITTANY: "Holy fuck is right. It's me, T.N.Tina."

TRAVIS: No.

(laughs)

BRITTANY: "Now boys, I know Ruby told you about the prophecy "and Tet'nus Terry mentioned the rift, "but how much do you honkytonks actually know about the war?

BRIAN: Um—

BRITTANY: "Long ago."

TRAVIS: No.

BRITTANY: "Before the rift."

TRAVIS: Oh god.

BRITTANY: "The gameverse was whole. "It was a beautiful utopian world where critters "and humans played games together in harmony, "but not all critters are good and one in particular "had a distaste for the union of species. A feline warlock known as Bast'alar rose to power and caused turmoil between humans and critters.

TRAVIS: (wheezes)

BRIAN: A magic cat?

BRITTANY: "Shut up, fool! "This ain't a bit. You know I pick things "out of my teeth that are bigger than you. "Now shut your yap." "I'm talking to the chosen one.

BRIAN: Jesus, you're mean. Wait, but if Travis is the chosen one, what does that make me?

BRITTANY: "A liability." (laughter) "I said it, you heard me. "Play the games, turn the wheel, "heal the rift, "and look to the stars, the stars!"

TRAVIS: What the--?

BRIAN: The stars.

TRAVIS: What is this one?

BRIAN: Don't take my!

TRAVIS: Ooh, I have like a cape. Look at me, I can do stuff!

BRIAN: You can fly, congratulations.

TRAVIS: Oh, I can float and shit! Fly, oh no, run, run.

BRIAN: You need to jump up, though, you need to jump. No, you didn't do it! Dude, I need you. Hold on, okay. Dude.

TRAVIS: I did it. And you fucked it up.

BRIAN: I was about to say--

TRAVIS: I don't even know what I did, I'm just pouting and holding my head because you're yelling at me.

BRIAN: I'm not.

TRAVIS: Until you learn to talk to me as a responsible brother and partner in this endeavor, we don't have to talk anymore.

BRIAN: I'm putting together--

TRAVIS: Nope, la la la la.

BRIAN: --a plan! Him that other guy is just going to sprinkle jizz all over us, magic jizz.

TRAVIS: Why is it always Skittles jizz?

BRIAN: There's a Scanlan in every world, my friend.

TRAVIS: Really, come on, come with the game--

BRIAN: Eyes closed, here we go.

TRAVIS: Did you get it?

BRIAN: It went behind me. All right here we go.

BRIAN (VO): Last time on Talks Machina.

SAM: Matt is so good, I trust him so much. I bet we could have a meaningful goblin/halfling sexual session together, like just describing it, where the characters are giving and taking, honoring each other's pleasure, just being there for each other in any sort of position that they feel is the right--

MATT: You thought the Kern battle was epic from campaign one.

SAM: Oh yeah.

MATT: This would be a one on one duel.

BRIAN: Oh no, Liam, I'm so sorry.

MATT: You weren't supposed to hear that, Liam.

BRIAN: Liam, you were not supposed to hear that.

SAM: This is going to be so awkward later at bedtime tonight.

TALIESIN: You remembered to talk about the notebook, right?

BRIAN: Jesus Christ, Taliesin, we just talked about the notebook.

TALIESIN: Okay, because I didn't see you talk about the notebook.

BRIAN: I gave it away for GIF of the Week.

TALIESIN: But did you talk about it?

BRIAN: I talked about it, I smelled it. We showed it to New Greg. We showed it to Steve. We showed it to Old Greg.

TALIESIN: Yeah, no okay, as long as-- that's good.

BRIAN: No, it's fine. Thank you, Taliesin.

TALIESIN: No, I just wanted to make you know.

DANI: You actually look really nice in that light.

TALIESIN: Thank you, thank you very much.

BRIAN: Just bring us some of that cake you're baking out there whenever it's done.

TALIESIN: I just wanted to make sure you knew how to do your job.

BRIAN: Yeah, no I don't, but--

TALIESIN: Yeah, you'll get there.

BRIAN: Thank god.

MATT: Thank you, buddy.

TALIESIN: Bye.

BRIAN: So many quality control people here. Yeah, go get him.

MATT: I was hoping someone was going to step in. I'm glad that worked out, yeah.

BRIAN: The D&D; pantheon.

[phone ding]

BRIAN: Max are you--what kind of a fucking show? (laughter) Chris Willmott's going to drive his car through the goddamn wall in a second and go, "My bad, gang!" (laughter) That's all the time we-- What?

SAM: Oh my fucking god.

TRAVIS: Sorry, my wallet is in there. Somewhere I think it's--

BRIAN: If that baby walks in here in five minutes--

MATT: I can help you!

SAM: So much yee-haw.

MATT: Oh it's right over here. I found it, there it is, there's your wallet, it's in your pocket.

BRIAN: It was in your pocket the whole time. Who would have known? Are you good?

TRAVIS: Are y'all doing anything?

MATT: Not any more.

BRIAN: I was just about to compliment Sam and I've changed my mind, so I'm glad you walked in. That's a good shot.

SAM: That is a new table.

TRAVIS: When does Talks start?

BRIAN: It's going to start probably in like-- tell me the top three you would never say if we were live on Talks Machina.

TRAVIS: Well, I'd probably--hey, Steve.

BRIAN: Ignore the red light above that camera and instead--

TRAVIS: Sorry sorry sorry!

BRIAN: Fetch me another drink.

(snickers)

TRAVIS: Oh my god!

MATT: What the hell?! This is ridiculous.

TRAVIS: You guys are crazy. We did it, you did it, $8.8 million. That was our final stretch goal for the Legend of Vox Machina you are getting all ten episodes of this animated series.

SAM: The full Briarwoods arc.

TALIESIN: Oh, Whitestone!

SAM: The campaign still has two weeks left to go.

TRAVIS: Yeah, 13 days left.

SAM: Anything past this just gets added into the budget of the episodes to make them cooler to make the animation more amazing, to make the fight sequences that more--

LAURA: More fighty.

TRAVIS: We're going to pump it full of all the effects, all the colors, all the fight moves, all the everything.

MARISHA: All that vocal talent.

LAURA: And we get to play a game DMed by Ashley.

TRAVIS: That's right. Unlocked Ashley's one shot, finally after three and a half years.

MATT: Yeah, it's about time.

SAM: You guys have defied all the expectations and surprised the world so thank you so much. And thanks for surprising us and for being awesome.

LIAM: You guys are unstoppable.

TRAVIS: Yeah, keep spreading the love. We love you guys more than anything. This is a dream for us and you have made it a reality, so thank you so much. We'll see you guys in 14 days.

(cheering)

TRAVIS: Bye, you guys.

[dramatic drum music]

[dramatic old movie music]

DANI: (sighs) I just want to watch my Critical Role.

TALIESIN: For your consideration, this is the face of a critter who's craving their Critical Role content. But for that sanctimonious shipper, time misled them like a trip to the Feywild and now they have come face to face with existential dread, a fear of sardonic spoilers. Let us lead them across the bridge into a realm of bright shadows where even if one misses the live viewing of their favorite program they can still watch it on demand if they bear the mark of a Twitch subscription to the channel. That mark, a mysterious sigil of emoticons made by the sage, Arsequeef. In this land of shadow known as the Twitch Subscription Zone, no shipper, fanficcer, or please name my kitten litter Critter has to feel like a bitter fritter. And so ends another meandering digression, a complicated parody promo down an indistinct highway to the region we call The Twitch Subscription Zone. Subscribe, Twitch Prime subscribe, gift subscribe, subscribe.

[dramatic old movie music]

You should check to see if you've left the oven on.

[dramatic orchestral music]

Part II Edit

MATT: Hello everyone and welcome back. First before we get to anything, we have our winner of the giveaway and the winner is HitmanUPS.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Yay!

MATT: Congratulations, HitmanUPS,. We'll get that Wyrmwood to you ASAP.

LAURA: Speaking of Wyrmwood, can I just point out the fucking dice jail that they made for me!

TALIESIN: It says something on the bottom.

SAM: It's custom made for Laura Bailey.

LAURA: It is and they put The Bailey Brig on the bottom.

LIAM: Put him in a Bailey Brig!

ASHLEY: This is so great.

LAURA: I know, it's so cool!

ASHLEY: The Bailey Brig.

SAM: It will get used a lot.

LAURA: Yeah, it already is.

ASHLEY: It's pearly.

TALIESIN: Is that zebrawood?

LAURA: That's the one that I originally wanted for the--

TALIESIN: It's shiny.

MATT: That's awesome.

TALIESIN: So pretty.

MATT: All right then, guys. You all make your way back to the Dim's Inn to convene and discuss what has transpired. One by one, you've all found your way back to it. You can hear the occasional growl and low guttural bark from the back alleyway. Somebody walking by looks in and continues onward, not used to seeing moorbounders this far into the city probably, if at all. Nevertheless, you all find yourselves together at the Dim's Inn.

SAM: That's amazing, what you just told us about your encounter at the library.

MARISHA: Right, I told you you'd love it.

SAM: Wow!

TALIESIN: Could you repeat some of that? I wasn't paying attention.

SAM: And the dick and you drew the dick, too.

MARISHA: I drew a dick, I only got one dick in.

LAURA: You didn't have a lot of time.

SAM: It's all we can ever hope for.

LAURA: Maybe someday you'll get more.

ASHLEY: Caleb, I got a straight razor for you.

SAM: Oh Caleb, she's been carrying that straight razor around in her pocket.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

SAM: Ah ah.

TALIESIN: Pass the mime.

LIAM: Oh, that is sharp and not real. Thank you very much.

ASHLEY: You're welcome.

LIAM: Perfect. But you're still going to give me one more traditional shave.

ASHLEY: Yes.

LIAM: For old time's sake.

ASHLEY: I would love to.

LIAM: All right.

ASHLEY: Yeah, but now you can just spruce it up in between--

LIAM: After today.

ASHLEY: --with your sharp... shaver.

LAURA: Which of the items do you think we'll take?

MARISHA: Well, I don't know. The staff seemed fancy for someone like Caduceus, the robe seemed fancy for someone like Caleb and the ring seemed fancy for anyone.

LIAM: Anyone.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Wow.

SAM: Do we have to decide now?

MARISHA: and LIAM: No.

SAM: But we have to go on this mission?

MARISHA: She wants us to kill some giants.

LIAM: Kill some giants and humiliate a rival.

MARISHA: Foreman Bodo.

TRAVIS: How many giants?

TALIESIN: Four men named Bodo.

MARISHA: She didn't really specify how many giants, I think it's going to take a bit of a stakeout.

ASHLEY: Wait, what was the other item, though? You said there was a--

LIAM: There was a robe, a ring, a staff with a withered claw at the top there was a broken sword which we don't know anything about.

MARISHA: And that's it.

ASHLEY: Okay.

SAM: That would put us in better favor with the Dynasty.

LAURA: But it would also ensure that a lot more Empire people would die, right?

SAM: Why so?

LAURA: Because she's making war machines.

LIAM: Well, so is the competitor.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LIAM: It is true.

SAM: It would unlock knowledge, right? We were told that she and the library contain knowledge about the Dynasty?

MARISHA: The library looks like it contains a lot of really awesome information.

SAM: That we could use.

TALIESIN: We're in a new ecosystem and we have to adapt.

MARISHA: She understandably didn't fully trust us.

SAM: So far our best option. Well, our most powerful ally potentially is this Bright Queen.

LIAM: Yes, war is going to be made regardless, with or without us, and the hope is to use what we learn here on our new friends to enact some sort of change at home.

SAM: Then we have to keep playing this game.

LAURA: We have to kill some fucking giants.

MARISHA and SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: What kind of giants? Fiery ones, like the ones we saw underground? Because those were serious, you guys, I don't think we could kill those.

MARISHA: She mentioned them normally staying up in the mountains and in the hills and then they would--

LAURA: So hill giants.

MARISHA: I think so and then for some reason they're in the middle of this forest where their thing is. What's it called? A mining camp. What's it called?

TRAVIS: Deepriver Mining Camp.

LIAM: You're the note person.

TRAVIS: Shaft.

MARISHA: Shaft. Mining shaft.

TRAVIS: That's the shaft.

LIAM: The Deepriver Mining--

LAURA: It's a big shaft. It's a big one.

ASHLEY: Did she say what forest?

MARISHA: The Vermaloc?

LAURA: Is that a lake, like loch like lake?

LIAM: The Vermaloc and the Penumbra meet.

ASHLEY: That's where all the purple wood comes from.

TALIESIN: Really?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I'd like to see that.

TRAVIS: The purple wood that we see around here so much?

ASHLEY: Comes from those forests.

TRAVIS: ♪ Purple wood ♪

ALL: ♪ Purple wood ♪

SAM: Well, should we set out? What time of day is it?

MATT: At this point, if you guys know how to travel, you'd gather it's probably early afternoon from all of your shopping, though it is still dark.

LAURA: I wonder if it's dark over by the forest or if it's light. We would leave the pocket of night.

TALIESIN: You would know.

LIAM: I don't know that I would.

LAURA: Yasha might know.

LIAM: Looking at the giant bubble of darkness around here.

MATT: You're not sure.

LIAM: I know what time it is, but I don't know what the properties of what they're doing.

MATT: Correct. It looks night.

TALIESIN: Well, if we're going to be taking off, I would recommend then what would possibly be the right thing to do is to load up some travel, travel some food, water, some basics, maybe some slightly less conspicuous clothing and something warm.

LAURA: Go buy some new dresses.

TALIESIN: And leave first thing early in--I miss the sun.

LIAM: Once we've slept, yeah, once we've slept.

ASHLEY: I feel like it's only dark here. I've never been here before, but I heard that this place was always dark, but just here.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: By design.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LIAM: Well, that's what we'll do, what Caduceus has suggested, unless anyone has any objections. We can make sure that we are ready in all the ways that we need to be and sleep a predetermined amount of time.

TALIESIN: Pack, sleep, and head out first thing in the morning.

MARISHA: Clothes shopping.

LAURA: Let's go buy some clothes. We don't have to play it out, but we just want to buy some new clothes.

MARISHA: We do it.

MATT: You guys can purchase for each of you an outfit of the Dynasty, a general piece of clothing, unless you want to spend a little extra. The general outfit will cost each of you given your status and the object you carry, the medallion, I'd say about a gold piece each.

SAM: How about for the extra?

MATT: The extra? Three.

LAURA, SAM, and MARISHA: I'll go extra.

TALIESIN: Man, why even bother? Then just some sundries so that we don't have to have food spells up all the time.

MATT: Yeah, you can get supplies. Like I said, the food here is heartier and is less colorful, but you know how to spice and flavor things of a vegetative nature.

TALIESIN: If I buy everything I need for-- how much travel is this going to be?

LIAM: I also, just to remind you, I have this jar from inside the happy fun ball that is full of these little bobas and these will feed you for a day.

TALIESIN: We have a jar of boba?

LIAM: They are beads of nourishment.

SAM: Oh!

TALIESIN: Good to have it.

LIAM: That's a lot, it's like a gumball machine. What's a gumball machine?

LAURA: And the bobas will feed us for a whole day?

LIAM: Yes.

LAURA: One boba?

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM, LAURA, TALIESIN, and ASHLEY: Wow!

TRAVIS: What else do we have that we've forgotten about?

SAM: Probably a lot.

LIAM: Manacles, I have some very special manacles, yes.

TALIESIN: For the purple wood, let me know-- I can't help it, goddamn it-- how much to just enough provisions for like ten days if that seems reasonable?

MATT: Ten days worth of provisions for the entire group?

TALIESIN: So I can keep everyone well fed.

SAM: We have boba.

TALIESIN: If we want something other than boba.

ASHLEY: How much boba is in there?

SAM: Who doesn't like boba?

LIAM: Let's say that's 400 boba.

TALIESIN: Whoever guesses the correct amount of boba--

MATT: I'd say--

TRAVIS: Wins an ice cream party.

MATT: For all of you, it takes about two gold to feed the group per day on just modest meal costs. Like for the entire group, not each for the entire group.

LAURA: Oh oh oh.

MATT: So for ten days, put yourself at about 20 gold.

TALIESIN: I'll just put it at 25 for slightly better stuff, just higher quality just to have it.

MATT: Sure, yeah, I'll allow it.

SAM: Prosciutto.

LAURA and MARISHA: Some brie!

LIAM: Charcuterie.

LAURA: Oh, I just flashed back to our brunches.

MARISHA: I know, I want it so bad!

TALIESIN: Got it.

SAM: There's nothing preventing you from having brunch together.

LAURA: I know, but D&D; brunches?

MARISHA: Remember D&D; brunch? Lox and bagels and--

LIAM: For one of our games, we should have lox and bagels at the table.

MATT: All come in our pajamas and do like a Thursday night brunch.

LIAM: A throwback.

MATT: That'd be pretty fun.

LIAM: A throwback night.

MATT: I'd like that.

LIAM: Wear pajamas.

MARISHA: Pajamas! We could our nerdy head gear that we sometimes did. Or I did.

TALIESIN: We'll do a throwback.

SAM: All right. We're going to rest, shop for awesome outfits.

MATT: Cool, you get yourself some food, you're taking a full night's rest?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I think leave in the morning.

LAURA: Yeah, leave in the morning.

MATT: Okay. Outfits are purchased, food is purchased, you guys have your provisions and the things you believe are necessary for this journey. If you want to ask around to get an idea of the distance you're traveling, it's a little over a 60 mile journey.

MARISHA: Ooh.

SAM: That's not bad. We have these moorbounders.

LIAM: Not bad.

MATT: With the moorbounders traveling at max pace, it'll take you just over a day, so a day and change of travel to get there. Which isn't too bad.

TALIESIN: Max pace might be, let's be gentle.

MARISHA: Medium pace?

TALIESIN: I want to-- Stop it.

(laughs)

TRAVIS: Unless the Dynasty had a transportation circle they wanted to let us use or something.

LAURA: But we have moorbounders.

TALIESIN: I want to take a look at the surrounding area. I'd like to get a sense of where we are and what this place looks like.

LAURA: You can ride Yarnball. You can ride with me, Fjord.

SAM: Yeza, I think you should stay here.

MATT: "I am, uh," and you see he looks conflicted for a minute. He goes like, "I'm-- "I don't know where you're going and it sounds dangerous "and I'm definitely not as skilled as you at these things and your friends. "I also really hate being alone right now. "So I don't know what to do."

LIAM: What if you had some pets? Would that be different or the same?

MATT: "That could help. "You have pets?"

LAURA: Well, I do have Nugget.

MATT: "Can I--can I--"

LAURA: Of course you can, he's very friendly.

MATT: Reaches out to pet Nugget and Nugget suddenly goes, "Huh?" and vanishes. He's like, "Oh," and it appears next to him and is licking his hand (slobbers) "Oh, oh gosh, that helps, yeah."

LAURA: Um.

LIAM: She has a weasel as well.

LAURA: Why are you offering up all my awesome pets?

SAM: It's my husband! He's lonely; give him your weasel!

(laughter)

LAURA: Sprinkle.

SAM: This is a ferret.

LAURA: No, it's a weasel.

SAM: It's the same thing.

LAURA: You have to keep him next to you all the time, you have to keep him on your neck because he needs it for warmth.

MATT: "Okay, I can try that."

LAURA: Feed him whatever you're eating. He likes the crumbs of all sorts of things.

MATT: "Okay, hi."

LAURA: And--?

MATT: "Sprinkle."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "I mean, whoa whoa whoa!

(nervous laughter)

LAURA: He pees on you, be careful.

MATT: "Yeah, I see that. Okay. "Well, that's better.

TALIESIN: We'll check in, too.

LAURA: Yeah, don't let Nugget blink away too much, okay? He needs to stay near you.

MATT: "How do I that?"

LAURA: You say...

SAM: She's not trained it at all.

LAURA: You might want to train him a little bit. I forget to train--

SAM: Maybe that could be a project for you.

MATT: "Yeah, sure, I've never--"

LAURA: I think I told him to poof or something I can't remember what I told him to make him blink. Blink, maybe I said.

SAM: There's a magic word.

MATT: "I'll see what I can do."

LAURA: Try stuff that sounds like blinking, and he'll figure it out.

MATT: "Okay, I've never had a pet before."

LAURA: I'll have to look into my journal and I don't-- I'll send you a message if I remember, okay?

MATT: "Yeah no, that's great."

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: Taliesin's losing it.

TALIESIN: I'm not okay over here.

SAM: Here, take this dagger and I have a second dagger, put that under your pillow, just in case. Yes, don't leave this room; I'll have food sent up here.

MATT: "Okay."

SAM: Before we go. Can you please call Old Lady Edith and just make sure our son is okay?

LAURA: Of course. I wish you would have had me do it last night, but cool.

SAM: Sorry, I don't know magic works.

LAURA: Yes, you do!

SAM: I do.

LAURA: Okay, I'm going to send old lady-- why can't I just send it to Luc?

SAM: I don't want to him to be scared.

LAURA: I can send something really nice.

SAM: You'll say something like, "Me and your mom are going to go fight a giant."

LAURA: I won't say that.

SAM: All right, go straight to Luc then.

LAURA: Really?

SAM: Sure. Be nice.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: Don't say holla.

TALIESIN: You me on this?

TRAVIS: Yep.

TALIESIN: Okay.

LAURA: Hey, Luc! It's the blue lady you met that one time. I'm with your mom and your dad. They love you. They're cool and okay.

SAM: Are you okay?

LAURA: Are you okay? (laughter) Too, though? Yeah, I think that was a good amount, yes?

TRAVIS: Are you okay, too?

TALIESIN: I forgot.

MATT: "I don't know where this is coming from, but hi. "Wow. "Hello? "I don't hear you anymore."

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: "Are you there?"

SAM: Oh god.

MATT: "Hello?"

TALIESIN: What is happening tonight?

MATT: "Blue lady? "Blue lady, I can't hear you--" It just cuts off.

(laughter)

LAURA: He sounds like he's pretty good.

TALIESIN: Sounds like the kid who opened his closet that one time and there was a fucking troll in there and the rest of his life he knows something happened even though it was gone when he went to check again. Never okay again. I'm not saying that happened to me.

LAURA: He's alive and he sounded really healthy and stuff.

SAM: Okay, good.

TALIESIN: Just scarred for life now.

SAM: All right. Don't die. Stay here, stay safe. We'll be back in three days.

LAURA: Maybe four.

SAM: Three! One to travel, one to kill, and one to come home.

TALIESIN: Two to travel, two to kill, two to get home.

SAM: And then when we get home (clinking).

ASHLEY: Oh.

MATT: "Oh. "It's just powdered water."

SAM: I know.

(laughter)

MATT: "Well, good luck, guys. Be careful. "I'll take care of--ah, it's tickling. "I'll take care of your pets, Ms. Jester."

LAURA: Oh!

MATT: "And I ask you guys take care of yourselves--oh boy."

ASHLEY: We'll take care of Veth. We'll make sure nothing happens to her.

MATT: "Thank you. "These knives are pretty cool."

TALIESIN: You leave him with a bit of money, too, I assume?

SAM: Sure sure sure, here take 20 platinum.

MATT: "Ah! What have you--?"

SAM: Sorry. 10 platinum.

MATT: "I'm in the wrong line of work. "Okay, well, bye."

SAM: Let's go.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: "Veth?"

SAM: Huh?

MATT: "Be careful, okay?"

SAM: I'll take care of them.

MATT: (quietly) "Love you."

SAM: (muffled through cough) Love you, too.

MATT: He closes the door.

(creak)

LAURA: Did you always not say I love you very loudly?

SAM: I just don't want to say it in front of you guys because you'll make fun of me.

LAURA: What if we die when we're out--

SAM: I said it--

LAURA: --and you never said it again. You should go back in there and tell him how much you love him. Go on in there right now!

SAM: (yelling) I love you!

MATT: "Ah!" You hear the daggers (metal clanging) hitting the ground.(barks)

(laughter)

SAM: I feel better.

MARISHA: Look at you, you sensitive lot.

TALIESIN: That was beautiful.

MARISHA: That was good.

SAM: Let's go kill something.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: All right, you gather up your moorbounders, calm them down, kick the chains off. They are still prepped for riding. What's the riding arrangement here?

TALIESIN: We've got Clarabelle. Anybody who's feeling pretty confident. She's a little all over the place but all right.

ASHLEY: I'll give it a try.

TALIESIN: All right.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Yeah. You're with me.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LIAM: Jannik is angry and likes to kill.

MARISHA: I'll be on Jannik.

TRAVIS: I'll go with Yarnball.

SAM: Yeah, I'll stick with Yarnball too. That sounds fun.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: All righty. So as you all mount up, where are you going?

SAM: Did she tell us where to go?

MATT: She didn't.

SAM: Fuck.

MATT: She said northwest towards where the Penumbra Wildlands hits the... ...where the Penumbra Range hits the Vermaloc.

SAM: We're going to ask for directions on the way.

LAURA: Oh no, do you have to go through the Ghostlands?

MATT: You ask around and you do. There are two roads that are well guarded: one that heads northwest and one that heads northeast. You want to take the one that goes to the northwest.

TALIESIN: We'll take the one least traveled.

LIAM: Are we turning past--clothes was bought already? Like we're saying that already happened?

SAM: Do you have some specific clothes?

LIAM: No, but--

TALIESIN: We'll figure that out later.

LAURA: What? You don't want to describe your clothes?

LIAM: I just bought a cloak. A cloak to cover the clothes I already have.

LAURA: I bought a fucking dress.

SAM: As did I.

LAURA: (gasps) Nott's wearing a dress?!

SAM: Took off all that shit. I don't need that shit around here.

LAURA: What about your mask?

SAM: No, I don't need that here.

LAURA: Oh my god.

SAM: Around these parts, I'm fucking beautiful.

LIAM: We've got to do this, then. That trick you used make windows open and close, you do all kinds of things with it. Can you make this lather? Can you lather this?

LAURA: It's not like that sort of thing. I can make it sound like you've got bugs in your ear.

LIAM: (sighs) Uh.

MATT: (laughs)

LIAM: Does anyone--Caduceus, do you have any soap?

TALIESIN: I do not have any soap. Well, actually, hold on. Let me--I haven't looked in my bag in a while. I mean technically... hmm.

LIAM: I tell you what I'm going to do. I take one of the bobas out of that jar and I mash it up and I just--

TALIESIN: Actually, I have enough of a tea set that I can probably turn that into a lather with--

LIAM: My beard's already full of boba.

TALIESIN: Never mind. That's beautiful.

LIAM: Yasha--

LAURA: That's so nourishing.

LIAM: If you would, please.

ASHLEY: Yes. Would you like me to use--?

LIAM: Would you shave me, please?

ASHLEY: Yes. With the sword or do you want me to try with the--?

SAM: No, do the sword.

LIAM: Oh, you want to do a little razor?

ASHLEY: I've never done it. I feel more comfortable with the sword.

LIAM: I know. I think we should do it with the sword, just--

ASHLEY: Yeah, okay.

LIAM: Just one last time.

ASHLEY: One last time.

TALIESIN: And Cure Wounds on the ready.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: Ready?

LIAM: Oh yes.

ASHLEY: Lay down. I go to town.

MATT: Okay. Once again, I'll remind you: it's a greatsword. It is heavy.

LIAM: Just go slow.

MATT: It lacks the--you can get towards the tip, and by holding it, jam it into the nooks and crannies. I will ask you to roll a dexterity check for me.

ASHLEY: Okay. Okay. Uh-oh. (laughter) Wait, hold on, I feel like I have advantage on dex for something.

MATT: Your dex saving throw is, but not dex check.

ASHLEY: This is not a saving throw. Eight.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Get a tusk hole.

SAM: Remember Van Gogh?

(Matt laughs)

MATT: There is a-- at first, it's a little scary, but you've been here before and it's comfortable. Then there's the first (slicing). Oh that kind of hurt, but it's going to happen. (pained noises) Oh, that's warm.

LIAM: Oh god.

MATT: There's bleeding. You nicked him right in the ear and there's about an inch long gash that's bleeding.

LIAM: Yeah, maybe the straight razor's the way to go.

MATT: You take a point of damage.

LIAM: Okay. I'm feeling a little faint, I'll be right back. And I stumble off towards the water closet and I do my best to stop the bleeding. Ten minutes goes by before you see me again, but before I come back, I take out the straight razor and it hurts, but slowly shave away the entire beard clean.

MATT: Okay yeah, you take the time for it, manage to do so. But you got half of it. I mean, that's good.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I got a good amount.

LIAM: I also unwrap my arms and take those and throw them on the ground and rejoin the group.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: I remember and I rush into the room with Yeza. Home!

MATT: "What?"

LAURA: That's what you tell Nugget.

MATT: "Okay."

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: "Home?"

LAURA: Home.

LAURA: Nugget, he's home. Just for now.

MATT: Make an animal handling check.

LAURA: (hums) Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

SAM: Yeah sure, that's fine.

LAURA: About as good--11.

MATT: 11, okay (pants).

LAURA: Oh, you're so cute! I love you.

MATT: (pants)

LAURA: Yeza, really, try to do something with this dog. Like, why haven't you trained him better already?

MATT: "I literally just got the weasel from biting my ear." The door closes as you leave. All right, freshly shaven, freshly perturbed Yeza. You guys got freshly hit volume. You gather your pack of moorbounders (galloping). You're used to horseback, where it's a steady thing. This is (bounding) It takes you-- It's a very unique process of heavy bobs and impacts. It leaps and runs like a panther from edge to edge. It's a lot of springing and catching, springing and catching with respect to the roads and streets. It makes it way through the Gallimaufry. You watch as buildings and lights, the green glows, the red glows, everything just whooshing by. These creatures are not common to this part of Xhorhas, so people in the streets turn around and watch you just whiz by. The Aurora Watch look out and go, "What?" and you guys just cruise past. Eventually, heading further north you make your way out of the Gallimaufry into the Coronas. The Coronas, you now see, are the poorer area of the city and where a lot more of the non-drows seem to live or at least are coming towards. You can see large stacks upon stacks of goblin domiciles that look rickety and ready to fall over any minute. You can see heavy mud/clay homes that are built for ogres and other such goblinoids that have found a place here. You can see the exterior walls that mark the barrier between the Coronas and the Ghostlands. As you skirt around to the left to find the nearest pathway out, eventually you come across the first main gate that exits, what you assume to be the road that exits to the direction you need to travel. Heading out of the front gate, as you bound up into the front area. It looks to be then Aurora Watch are there keeping the gate closed at the moment. As you all begin to approach, some pull out weapons like swords and have spears at the ready and they raise a hand in the defensive position. "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" One of them looks out to all of you. "What is your business? "Where are you going?"

MARISHA: We're running an errand for Professor Waccoh.

MATT: "You're heading out this way?"

SAM: We're going to--where are we going to?

MARISHA: The Deepriver Mining Camp.

SAM: Is that this way?

MATT: "Aye." What you didn't see at the top of the wall are two folks in each side that have these large heavy wenches and they begin to (wheels turning) and you hear the chains grow taut and begin to grind upward towards unseen gears and the doors begin to open outward. The first thing you see before you is this nice, solid, hard-packed earth road, maybe 20 feet across side to side. It just continues forward. Beyond that, you can see an endless horizon of broken ruins: structures, buildings, towers, other walls, and hooked spires all crumbled, broken, burned, and charred. Everything seems to have a layer of black carbon dust across it. You can see twisted bits of metal that are mostly covered by ash and soot that's still and just rest amongst. This is an ancient war ground that has long since been slowly overtaken by the falling of rain, mud, and other weather that has come through and rusted or eroded what remains. You can see along the way, pairs of Aurora Watch just patrolling the edges of the road. Right beyond the wall as you step out on the outskirts, pressed up against the wall you can see collections of tents and stick huts and folks that either haven't made their way into the Coronas or are trying to find a way outward to build a homestead on the outskirts. As the gates open, you can see about a half dozen or so goblin children rush out to see and they watch quietly as you all make your way out before the gates close behind you. Cold wind picks up, pushing your hair back a bit. Chills running down your spine; you can feel the goosebumps across your skin. Looking out, what would be mid-afternoon looks like it's the pitchest dark midnight. The faint hue of white moonlight is gently causing the outlined rim of these structures to be visible from your standpoint. The road just continues onto an endless pass into the horizon. Your moorbounders take off, picking up speed. You can hear the heavy (pants) with each leap and foot fall, the dust and dirt collecting by it. Probably Clarabelle would be in the back. Occasionally the clouds of dust and ash get kicked up brush past you and you guard yourself. It gets in your eyes a bit and you have to wince a bit and clear it out.

LIAM: Jannik, schnell.

MATT: You guys continue moving forward, eventually coming to an even ground of you traveling alongside each other at the same pace. You catch off in the distance-- you swear a couple times, you glance over towards the ruins and you faint lights spark.

TALIESIN: Eyes of the Grave.

MATT: What's the range on that one?

TALIESIN: 60 feet.

MATT: 60 feet. Too far away, unfortunately, initially. You see just a light and it's gone, and you're like, "Oh, that's strange," and you look off this way and you see another.

TALIESIN: There's a lot around us.

MATT: You continue on.

TALIESIN: Hmm.

MATT: Keeping your eyes peeled, you focus forward but are attending all of your brain power towards your peripheral, looking for any other sign of shifting or movement. You do see some creatures over to the right of you. You look at them. You can see a group of about a dozen or so, a mix of mostly bugbears and a handful of goblins. You see them rummaging through some leftover ruins. They have a little cart and they're throwing things onto it. It looks like they're scavenging essentially what they can find in the vicinity. Moving on, and just a moment later, you see emerging out of some of the ruin here, a pale blue glow and a female figure that drifts out of the ground.

LAURA: Hey Fjord?

TRAVIS: Hmm.

LAURA: There's a ghost.

TRAVIS: Where?

LAURA: Over there.

MATT: You glance over and you straight-up see a spectral female that is drifting through a stone wall.

TRAVIS: Nope, no, that is a humanoid jellyfish.

LAURA: It was really pretty. Keeps your eyes forward.

TALIESIN: That's so sad.

MARISHA: Why?

TALIESIN: It's just here and unconnected. It's sad to be unconnected. I wish I could do something.

MATT: A little ways ahead, about a quarter mile or so, you can see another faint glow and some of the guards, some of the patrols are rushing towards it. As you get closer, you catch up with it quickly. It looks like one of these entities has wandered into the road and the guards have rode forward with silvered spears or some sort of weapon designed specifically for the protection of this trek. They manage to pierce its ethereal shell and it dissipates.

LIAM: Is that one of the floating lights or like a humanoid form?

MATT: This one, it looks to be a more humanoid form before it dissipates.

TALIESIN: Does it dissipate, would I know if they're banishing it, or is it gone forever, is it just--?

MATT: Roll a religion check.

TALIESIN: That I can do. 15.

MATT: 15, you're not sure of the nature. Some undead, it's temporary. Some it is a permanent dissipation.

TALIESIN: I couldn't quite tell.

MATT: You were unable to tell for this one, it could be either. You do know that it is possible that some--

TALIESIN: There is weird stuff going on around here.

LAURA: Can we slow down enough to ask the guards: What kind of spears do you use for the ghosts?

MATT: "These are anointed."

LAURA: Oh.

MATT: "Keeps them at bay, off of the path."

TALIESIN: We're travelers, and I hope you don't mind the question: What happened here?

MATT: "Do you not know the history of this land?"

TALIESIN: Not this part of the history, no.

MATT: "This is one of the final battlegrounds "when the gods still walked the Earth. "This is one of the places the Betrayers "were brought to their knees and banished."

TALIESIN: And these spirits?

MATT: "These were the many, many thousands, ten thousands, millions, I don't know, "that were destroyed "in the culmination of that battle."

ASHLEY: What are you doing to them?

MATT: "Keeping them from harrying you as you travel, "wandering too close to the city."

TALIESIN: I'm surprised the city hasn't expanded this far out yet or tried to do something to retake this land.

MATT: "The city was once much smaller, but it's slowly "building out, but it is a process."

TALIESIN: Are they still building out or?

MATT: "As they go, yes."

LAURA: They said it's been a while since they added a new gate or a new wall or a new thing.

TALIESIN: Oh. Do you know how long it's been since they've built a new wall?

MATT: "Not off the top of my head, no. "I just run the street patrol."

TALIESIN: Well, thank you so much for keeping us safe.

MATT: "Good luck."

LIAM: We are traveling out to Deepriver, it's a ways, can we expect guards like you along the way the entire time?

MATT: "Only until you get out of the Ghostlands. "Our patrol only goes to the perimeter and back."

LIAM: All right. Thank you.

MATT: "Of course," and he turns around, a strange glance towards the clean-shaven human, not a common sight that passes them by on these main roads this far east. Continuing your journey, bounding further down the road, still seeing the occasional (poofing). For an instant, you think you see a large one loom up, a figure that's fainter than others you've seen, but the shape is larger. It seems to resemble a slow-moving wave, like a hand or something that curls over a ruin before it dissipates in the mist. The mist is heavy the further out you go. You can see the tops of the ruins, but a lot of the area seems to be fully encompassed by this low-hanging fog that obscures most of the floor. About, let's say, six or seven hours of travel, the ruins give way and you find yourselves in an open field now.

LAURA: It's still dark?

MATT: It's still dark, and now it should be dark. You have officially hit nighttime, so no idea if the transition has occurred yet or if it will, but you're now mid-evening, pushing, I'd say, 10 o'clock-ish. You're making your way further and further down the road, heading in that direction. You push until about midnight or so. You've now been going for, I'd say, close to eight hours. Your moorbounders are starting to slow a bit. You can hear (wheezes) of fatigue.

LIAM: I round Jannik about and stop the group. This is quite a ways, camp for the night?

LAURA: Are we out of the Ghostlands?

MATT: You seem to, from a visual standpoint, to be most likely out of the Ghostlands.

LAURA: I just want to make sure that Yarnball is safe when we're in our little tent thing.

SAM: I think Yarnball can take care of Yarnball.

LAURA: She's pretty sweet.

TALIESIN: I think they'll be all right. I'll do a little check to make sure everything's okay.

LIAM: How long are the moorbounders from end to end?

MATT: End to end I'd say, head to tail, they're about 16 feet, maybe. Like 14 to 16 feet, yeah.

LAURA: Big boys.

LIAM: They're not coming in.

ASHLEY: That's a big boy.

TALIESIN: No.

MATT: Yeah, they're like riding bison, like slick, lean bison.

SAM: Is there a place around here with wreckage or rubble or something that we can camp around, or is it just all open?

MATT: Currently, from where you are standing on the road, it is open. It is just cracked, packed dirt and rock, occasional bits of dried brush and scrub bushes around. While there is definitely the low fog--mist seems to have permeated the vicinity based on the temperature and time of night and added element of moisture--the ground does not appear to slick or muddy. It's pretty dry here.

LIAM: Well, why don't I set up the dome a little bit off the road?

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: The moorbounders can sleep around it.

SAM and LAURA: Mm-hmm.

TALIESIN: That works. I'm going to push another Eyes of the Grave while we're walking around. I'm going to see if anything pings.

MATT: Okay. You concentrate and focus around you. Seems to be pretty safe.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: You guys manage to set up camp that evening, using your hut to keep the camp safe. The moorbounders hold a perimeter and you take a night's rest. Uneventful, off the road. When the morning comes, it is light.

SAM and TALIESIN: Hey!

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: Yay!

MATT: The sky is still clouded, there is no direct sunlight. It is still a fairly gray sky, but it is a lighter sky. It is a day and it's been a little bit.

LIAM: The dome is somewhat filled with the sound of Frumpkin purring heavily, making biscuits in Jester's clothes in her sleeping form.

LAURA: (gasps) (laughs excitedly) Hi! I scritch the ears.

MATT: (meows)

LAURA: Don't tell Caleb. And then I give a little bit of pastry to Frumpkin.

MATT: (sniffs)

LAURA: Yeah. Cool. Caleb, can I keep Frumpkin forever?

LIAM: Ja, what?

LAURA: Yes. Good morning!

LIAM: Good morning.

LAURA: Good morning!

SAM: Morning!

LAURA: Good morning, everyone!

MARISHA: Morning.

ASHLEY: Eh.

TALIESIN: Good morning.

SAM: Was there any more specifics about where this giant was?

MARISHA: In the mine.

TALIESIN: Talk to people in the mines, I'd imagine.

SAM: Are there people in the mines?

TALIESIN: There are people at the mines.

SAM: Oh, okay.

MATT: It's a chilly morning. Little bits of nearby dried brush have a faint layer of frost across the top of them, giving them a slight grayish white hue.

LAURA: Ooh, I bring out the little rod of hand warming that we got in the-- Is anybody cold? Does anybody need a little hand warmer?

TALIESIN: I never say no to that. That's good. Does it do feet too?

LAURA: Here you go. You can hold onto it, it warms your hands up. It's nice.

MARISHA: Oh, it's good.

LAURA: Pass it around.

MARISHA: Mm, mm.

TRAVIS: I'm good, thank you.

MATT: The moorbounders are out they're waiting. There appears to be a mostly picked clean carcass of a large wolf that is mostly just blood-slick bones and some torn fur. All the moorbounders, the front of their mouths are caked with red. They

(teeth licking), their eyes bugging out the side.

(slurps)

LAURA: Nice, good job, buds.

ASHLEY: You got a snack?

LIAM: Who's a good apex predator?

MATT: (growling)

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Let me see if I can leave us a little patch of something growing in whatever's left.

MATT: Easy enough to do. You use your cantrip to decompose. The moisture from the morning especially makes it easy to be conducive to this. A faint bit of a soft, reddish moss begins to grow around the areas where the visible wounds are across the flesh.

TALIESIN: We'll know when we come back.

LAURA: Oh, good call.

LIAM: All right, well, let's make hay while the sun shines, shall we?

SAM: Woo hoo!

MATT: You continue on the path. (bounding) No more guard. The morning air is welcome. As it rushes past, it is still cold, though. At the pace you're going, you're having to pull the hood up and trying to not immediately frost the front of your face, but it does get warmer as the morning progresses. Eventually you see what you assume to be the Vermaloc, the edges of it, as the Penumbra Range, which is a dark gray black mountain range begins to--to the left of you-- give way to dense canopy of deep reds, maroons, oranges. It's a forest of perpetual fall. The leaves vibrant, red, earth tones. What bits you can see as you get closer to it, the trees, the ones you can see in the tree line, are about 12 feet up the canopy's beginning. Even thin on the outside of the tree line, the actual trees are smooth, purple bark.

MARISHA: These the trees you were talking about, Yasha?

ASHLEY: Yes.

TALIESIN: Beautiful.

ASHLEY: Yeah, it's beautiful.

LAURA: Have you seen these kind of trees before?

ASHLEY: Yes, I have, but just the end of this forest. I've never been up this high.

LAURA: But you lived kind of close?

ASHLEY: Uh, close enough.

SAM: Were you an arborist?

ASHLEY: I don't know if I know what that is.

TALIESIN: I know what that is.

SAM: A tree scientist?

ASHLEY: Well, if I don't know what it is, I would assume that-- I wish I were. That sounds very cool.

SAM: You lived right around here?

ASHLEY: Not around here, no, further south.

SAM: This is your home.

ASHLEY: Oh. I put my hood up and just tuck.

MATT: You guys get closer and closer until eventually you and you pick up first because-- actually Jester, Caleb, Beauregard, and Caduceus all can see there's some lazy trails of smoke that break the gray skyline ahead of you. and above. Following those down, you can see a cluster of tents or cloth abodes of some kind. You can see little elements that look like small, temporary domiciles.

TALIESIN: It's clean smoke, not "Oh god, something has just caught fire"--

MATT: It's clean smoke. Yeah, it's like white gray.

MARISHA: This could be the mine.

TALIESIN: Could be the mine. At the very least, it's a--

LAURA: (like Gimli) A mine!

(laughter)

TALIESIN: At the very least, it's somewhere to rest for a spell.

MATT: As you get closer, you begin to make the details of it to see a host of tents, workers and soldiers.

SAM: Hey.

MATT: They're settled haphazardly upon the hard, rocky floor of this valley. The somewhat disheveled folk pile their tools on the one end and their weapons on the other. You can see the presence of Aurora Watch soldiers is minimal. As you get close, you can see about 14 or so soldiers with a hundred plus miners, smelters, forge workers and other worker folk. Do you approach?

LIAM: Why don't you introduce us?

TRAVIS: To who, the miners?

SAM: Yeah, we need to know where these giants are, someone's got to ask.

TRAVIS: All right. Do we spot a more sizable tent amongst them?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: 13.

MATT: Yeah, as you begin to approach, the moorbounders slowing down a bit, there are definitely people glancing off and seeing you approach. Once again, moorbounders aren't common this far east, and so people stop what they're doing. They're like, "What is going on?" It's still a commotion. You do see one tent that is larger than the rest. It looks a little damaged. It looks like part of it is shredded and has been stitched shut. Quick patchwork job, but it is larger than most. You guys approach on moorbounder back. One of the Aurora Watch guards looks out and sees you begin to approach and darts towards the tent and then comes back out with two of the other Aurora guards. You see an older drow. He's male with shoulder-length hair and a goatee that looks a little scraggly. He has hard facial features, he's a bit plump. You can see dirt and sweat dappled around the corners of the face. Otherwise, seems to be well kept and clean. He's dressed in a standard tunic, nice pants and he seems to be wearing quite a bit of jewelry compared to the rest of the folk here. He approaches with the rest of the Aurora Watch guard. He looks over. "Can I help you? Can any of you "please tell me what you are doing here?"

TRAVIS: We're here to see the foreman.

MATT: "You've found the foreman."

TRAVIS: Oh.

MATT: "What is your business here?"

TRAVIS: Good for you. We've been sent here on behalf of Professor Waccoh.

MATT: "Oh really, by the professor?"

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: "Well, that is fantastic. Wonderful, even. "Why did she send you here?"

TRAVIS: I love your enthusiasm. Apparently you have a giant problem.

MATT: "Well, there is a problem, but I do not know "if it is necessarily one that you seven could necessarily--

SAM: We're giant killers. We've killed giants before, we can kill this one.

LAURA: So many giants, that's our specialty.

MATT: "Really? That is very difficult to believe. "I mean no offense, but--"

MARISHA: Jester, pull out the heart.

SAM: Oh boy.

MATT: "What am I looking at?"

LAURA: See this sludgy heart?

MATT: "I see it, yes. You brought it and put it in front of me."

LAURA: It's from a giant monster. I put it back in the bag.

(laughter)

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

SAM: Don't look at it too long.

LAURA: It's real sludgy. God dang it.

SAM: Oh boy.

LAURA: Ow ow ow!

MATT: He goes, "Oh! Ha ha, very scary, "that monster you killed, "I guess, maybe. (laughs) And how do you intend "to kill these giants, if I might be so curious?"

TRAVIS: How many are there?

MATT: "Are you the leader?"

LAURA: Yes, he's our captain.

SAM: I mean, no.

LAURA: He's our really strong, really smart captain.

TRAVIS: For someone who's on the chopping block, you ask a lot of questions of the privileged favorites of the Bright Queen.

MATT: "Chopping block, not at all, we are merely awaiting--"

TRAVIS: We? I'm talking about you, friend. You have not done a very good job here and we're here to fix it for you.

MATT: "I--"

TRAVIS: I would stop talking if I were you. How many giants have you seen in the past month?

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

LAURA: Roll better!

TRAVIS: 27.

LAURA: Oh shit!

TALIESIN: I love you.

SAM: Better than a one.

LAURA: A little bit.

MATT: He goes, "Oh." The guards actually look over like, "Oh shit!" He's like, "Well, there was an unfortunate--"

TRAVIS: Sorry?

MATT: (louder) "There was an "unfortunate incursion of what we count to be "about seven or eight giants. "They came down from the mountain without warning, "stormed into the middle of our mining encampment "as well as the Steelworks and began to just toss "and destroy. We fought back valiantly, lost many men, "and escaped with our lives "and a good amount of our equipment."

TRAVIS: What do you have to show for this encounter?

MATT: "We have sent word to Rosohna."

TRAVIS: How many did you kill?

MATT: "We have not killed any yet, "because we are awaiting reinforcements--"

TRAVIS: You are wearing a lot of jewelry for someone that does not--

MATT: "I have earned this."

TRAVIS: If you raise your voice one more time, we might just have to take you back with us. (laughter) You don't get to talk anymore. Anybody else can point us in the direction of these giants so we can help you keep your job?

MATT: "Ahem." The other guards look at each other.

TALIESIN: Captain Fjord.

TRAVIS: Yes?

TALIESIN: Perhaps also if there are some witnesses to the actual event who were of sound mind to perhaps see what kind of giants these were and if they were armed or otherwise, if they seemed to be interested in something in the mines.

TRAVIS: Foreman, did you manage to keep any of your workers alive?

MATT: "Yes, there are many around--"

LAURA: He told you not to talk anymore.

TALIESIN: I think--

TRAVIS: You can point.

MATT: He points to the rest of the entire grouping of people around.

TRAVIS: Hm. Tell you what. Since my lieutenant over here is tired of hearing you speak, why don't you go find someone that can give us a first hand account of what happened. Now.

MATT: (coughs) He turns around and walks away all the--

TRAVIS: We're supposed to embarrass him, right?

MARISHA: Yeah, I feel like that counts.

SAM: We're supposed to--

LAURA: Yeah, yeah!

SAM: Oh.

MATT: The three Aurora Watch standing there, taken aback by this looking at you like-- Eventually he returns with another one of the workers in the vicinity, younger. You see an orc, maybe in his late teens, early 20s, has a bit of a wound on his shoulder that's currently bandaged up and he looks a bit bruised. Hair is long and over one eye and dirty approaches and goes, "Hi, what is there a question?"

TRAVIS: How you doing, son?

MATT: "Answer the man."

TRAVIS: Could you tell us what happened to you?

MATT: "I, yeah, we were all working as we normally do "and then there was some loud crushing, grinding noise "and over the wall these big gray giants "started storming past the outskirts of the outpost "and they started just yelling. We tried to fight them back and they started stomping. "They hurt and killed a few people "and we hurt a couple of them, but they were-- "We just grabbed our things and ran "and they've been there for well over seven days, "eight days now and we're just supposedly, right?" Looks over to the foreman. "Waiting on more soldier reinforcements." "That is correct and had we not sent most of our "recently nearby forces west to the front lines, "we would have more available to help in this endeavor, "but I am certain they are coming. Thank you." The orc turns around and heads back.

ASHLEY: So you did not fight them, you ran?

MATT: "There was the fighting, "but we have soldiers intended to keep things at bay "like the spiders and the other creatures that "exist in the forest. We weren't expecting "that many giants out of nowhere to attack. "We didn't have the means to defend ourselves."

TRAVIS: Well--

MATT: "You say you were "sent by the professor, correct? Is--heh. "She thinks you can handle this better than we could "and I'll tell you what. If you manage to do this "and make it under the banner of Den Icozrin, "bring me along when you return, and tell her "that to her face, I'll beat her offer "with an additional 20% whatever she's paying."

TRAVIS: I like what you're wearing around your neck. I'll have that.

MATT: "Do we have a deal?"

TRAVIS: I said I'll have that.

MATT: Make another intimidation check.

TRAVIS: 16. 17.

MATT: 17, he's like--

TALIESIN: Thaumaturgy in the eyes. They start to go a little cloudy.

TRAVIS: Mine do?

TALIESIN: Yeah. Asshole.

MATT: He grasps at his necklace and is like, "I don't know where the professor found such thugs, "but you do not want to mess with Den Icozrin, all right? "I'm offering you a chance to make more money. "Now, based on how you've arrived, "it appears to me that you are sell swords, yes?

SAM: Sure.

MATT: "I can pay you more."

LIAM: Jannik strides slowly up to this man's big tent and Caleb leans over and says: Piss. And Jannik's back leg comes up and a stream of urine starts running down the side of his tent.

TRAVIS: You've been out here for an awful long while. You seem to think that you're still in good favor with your Den, is that appropriate?

TRAVIS: Make a deception check.

TRAVIS: 19.

MATT: 19? "I, what--"

TRAVIS: Such a long way information can get lost so easily.

MATT: "You're bluffing. "You're bluffing, no. "25%."

TRAVIS: Keep the necklace. You'll need it, all right, let's get started.

MARISHA: Let's go.

MATT: "Good luck."

TRAVIS: You don't need to be wishing us good luck. And we walk away.

MATT: As you guys turn the corner you can see about another 20 or so of the nearby folk who have just been waiting around. They're not working. They can't do anything here, so they're just sitting and talking and biding their time have all gathered nearby to watch these last few moments of involvement and as soon as you guys meander around the corner you hear a voice go, "Well, what are you doing? Scatter!" Some muttering and voices and--

SAM: That was impressive.

LAURA: Wow.

SAM: Very impressive.

LAURA: That was the most intimidating I've ever seen you be.

TALIESIN: That was very nice.

SAM: How do we kill seven giants?

TRAVIS: Oh, we're still doing that part?

SAM: I think we have to now.

TRAVIS: I was just focusing on the embarrassing part.

SAM: You did that perfectly.

LIAM: It's just the cherry on top, we do have to take care of the giants.

TALIESIN: Perhaps take a look at the situation. Also, gray giants, I don't know what kind of giants.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I mean, probably should have gotten more details and all that.

TALIESIN: I think that's what we were going to get.

LIAM: Yeah, but you put on a very good show back there. I don't think we want to--

ASHLEY: That alone.

LIAM: Jiggle that, yeah.

MARISHA: We can scout and just watch for a minute.

LAURA: Maybe we can talk to the giants and make them hate each other and then they'll fight each other and then they might--

SAM: Also, they want something specific that we could help them get. I don't know.

LIAM: They also might be dumb as rocks. We'll have to find out.

ASHLEY: Do the gray giants sound familiar to me at all?

MATT: You've not encountered them in your time. You haven't spent your time in the vicinity of a place that might house these. You've spent most of your life in the Iothia Moorlands far south of here and you've not encountered a gray giant necessarily.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I don't know what the hell that is.

TALIESIN: We're going to need some intel, some proper intel then. We're going to need to take a look at these things firsthand, maybe get a sense of how big they are. I don't know what they want.

TRAVIS: Do these moorbounders track? Scent?

LAURA: Yarnball? Do you track?

MATT: (slurps)

TALIESIN: I can ask.

LAURA: Oh yeah!.

TALIESIN: Hey Yarnball. I know: weird. If you smell something that we're looking for, like a creature, could you tell where the creature was just by smelling it? Seems pretty positive about that. That's super cool.

SAM: We don't have anything that smells like the creature that we want.

TALIESIN: We're going to be hunting some very dangerous things, but we'll--

MATT: (snorts)

TALIESIN: Yeah. we'll make sure that you get a taste of something.

LAURA: Can you fight? You want to fight giants with us? Ah, I think that's a yes.

TALIESIN: They don't actually know what you're saying.

MATT: They have no idea what you're saying.

LAURA: Oh, ask if they want to fight giants with us?

TALIESIN: Want to fight some giants?

MATT: (growling)

TALIESIN: They don't know what giants are. Never seen one before. They have no context in the--

TRAVIS: Do we want to head over to the direction of maybe some destruction and try to pick it up?

SAM: Let's do it, let's do it.

TALIESIN: Let's go see if we can get a look at these things?

TRAVIS: Yeah, let's go there.

SAM: I'm ready to kill.

MATT: All right. First off, what's the marching order here?

TRAVIS: Yarnball's in the front.

LAURA: Yarnball in the front! Fjord in the front, I'm riding behind Fjord and then--

SAM: That's Fjord, Jester, and Nott on Yarnball in the front.

TALIESIN: We'll be in the middle.

ASHLEY: Caduceus and Yasha in the middle.

TALIESIN: I'll be keeping my eyes fucking peeled.

MARISHA: Guess we'll take the rear.

TALIESIN: Well, that seems very reasonable.

MATT: You guys begin to you skirt around the outside of this cluster of displaced workers and miners. Apparently, based on what just happened, you can see a number of them are following the perimeter and watching you guys leave, both curious, and some being like, "Oh shit." Till eventually you break the tree line heading westward into the Vermaloc. Did you have something?

TALIESIN: I just had a thought. Do we want a guide? Do we want a miner who maybe knows the mines to quickly show us if there's anything we're going to miss? They can send them back before this fighting starts.

TRAVIS: Sure.

TALIESIN: Just before we leave camp. I'll do the sweet sell. Before we head off, is there anyone who's feeling particularly brave? There might be a little coin in it for you. We don't need a fighter, we just would love somebody who has a particular understanding of the territory, maybe somebody who really feels like they know the mines. We're not ask you to guide. We're going to try and keep you out of the way. We just we would love somebody who really knows the land.

MATT: This motley crew of characters look amongst each other. A lot of them seem relatively shellshocked, or at least not interested in going back to whatever transpired. One of them steps forward. You see a hobgoblin, which--I would say from your experience--a unique--orcish in stature in the fact that it is tall and is broad, but a wide nose, a deep reddish brown skin, darker red hair pulled in a loose ponytail in the back and just general clothes and steps forward and goes, "I'll help for coin."

TALIESIN: Sure, is everybody just out of curiosity, do you all feel that this--what's your name, friend?

MATT: "Derman."

TALIESIN: That Derman is a fine representation of the best of what makes a fine miner in this community?

TALIESIN: Seeing if everyone seems like they like the guy.

MATT: They all laugh, he's like (shushing).

TALIESIN: Yeah, there's coin involved and we'll try and keep you out of--hmm.

MATT: "I ain't no dummy."

TALIESIN: Oh, no. you're very fair. How does, let's say-- This is dangerous. I suppose four gold now and four more on completion?

MATT: "Deal. "All right, am I riding on one of your beasts?"

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LIAM: We have room in the back.

SAM: How about the middle one?

LAURA: Can't they ride with him and her?

ASHLEY: Yeah, you can get in with the middle of us.

MATT: "I'll walk."

TALIESIN: We're going to be kind of fast.

MATT: "Who's guiding you?"

TALIESIN: Touché.

LAURA: You're going to be kind of slow.

TALIESIN: Lead on.

MATT: He goes and grabs a satchel. He's kind of ballsy for a worker here.

TALIESIN: I'm into it.

MATT: Throws it over his shoulder and begins to lead you guys into the Vermaloc. A slower pace than you were hoping for, but nevertheless, that's what happens when you have a guide that apparently doesn't want to ride with you. This is certainly not like any forest you've ever seen. The thick leaves and canopy is about ten, 12 feet off the compost, heavy forest floor is comprised of a vibrant net of deep reds, oranges, and maroon leaves sprouting from smooth-barked trees of purple wood. Heavy roots bulk at the base of the tree about four feet off the ground, then spring outwards, some leaving tiny entrances to small hollows that are shaded within and below the tree. It's like a hidden chambers. The foliage and the tall brown red ferns that clutter the vicinity and the space are occasionally broken by bright yellow flowers that poke through in these large clusters. You can see jutting rock formations occasionally like somebody had punched a section of the earth beneath and sticking up like so many large heavy monoliths that are naturally formed. The air has a strange mix of fermenting mulch and a sweet perfume and it's eerily quiet and beautiful. Yasha, you've been in this forest before, though around the other side of the Penumbra Range and the furthest southern area. Your memory of this forest generally at this point isn't clean. It's usually more web-tattered.

ASHLEY: Ah.

MATT: You're like, "This nice that it's a little more clear," especially as you go deeper and deeper. Quietly, your hobgoblin guide begins to continue leading you through. I would like all of the moorbounders to make stealth checks for me, please, since they're the ones who are actually journeying forward.

LIAM: I'm throwing up Mage Armor, too.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Oh, I ruined everything. Does a moorbounder get an extra bonus to stealth or?

MATT: It should on the sheet that I gave to one of you, it has the moorbounder stats, you should have it.

LAURA: Ah yeah, dexterity plus zero.

TALIESIN: So just a straight--

LAURA: Straight roll.

SAM: I don't have to roll.

TALIESIN: Well, that's better than it could have been.

LAURA: 14.

TALIESIN: Nine.

LIAM: 17.

MATT: Okay. Universally, it balanced out to be fair. You continue to push forward for about 25 minutes or so at this pace, 30 minutes until eventually the hobgoblin stops and going to the side of this path glancing past one of the trees goes, "There, up ahead." You turn around the corner. You can see there's a bit of a clearing that's been cleared in the center of the Vermaloc here. The canopy gives away and sunlight is coming down through the lush red top. You see the outside of a fort. You see tall purple wooden planks that are set vertically, side to side roped together, sharpened to a point near the top. You see a gate. You see this long wall that encompasses and fills the entirety of this clearing. You see, from this perspective, one tower that's prominently towards the front, towards the left of the gate and one that's a little further back. Just the top of it peeking these watch towers that are part of the exterior of the entrance to the Steelworks, as he points out. You can see it's a bit in disarray. There's a couple of packs that are just strewn and left around on the ground, scattered on the outside of the gate near you. You can see some rocks that are sitting on top and there's sections at the very top of the wall where the wood's broken a bit and it suffered some damage from something. Make a perception check Caduceus, Jester, and Caleb, if you don't mind.

SAM: Come on, Laura Bailey.

TALIESIN: Ugh.

LAURA: Whoa. Oh, natural 20!

TALIESIN: Thank god.

ASHLEY: Yes.

TALIESIN: 11.

LIAM: Nine.

MATT: Okay. While you guys are all glancing forward--

LAURA: This was a really shitty roll.

MATT: You notice you can see the errant batches of logs and tools left outside. You glance up over the perimeter way the gate doesn't permit entry. You see two heavy, gray stones floating past the top of the fence, gently bobbing and then one of them bobs out of view. Then one lifts up over the edge and you see a pair of eyes glance over. You realize, at this point, this is one of these giants looking over the perimeter, glancing around. You're guessing at this distance, you don't know quite know how tall the wall is, but it looks like it stands and can look over the wall. All of you hold your breath as Jester points this out. The moorbounders (growling). The giant scans the nearby tree line. Scans past you guys again and fingers come off of the edge and turns around (thudding) and dissipates behind. From the vanishing point over the top of the wall, you can no longer see them, but you see there are apparently at least two at this immediate juncture that are visible within the interior.

SAM: Now there's a gate, but it's not open or anything?

MATT: There's a double gate maybe about ten feet tall, five feet wide, to each door side that is currently closed to you.

TALIESIN: Ten feet tall, all right. Six or seven--wow.

MATT: You see some heavy rocks or stones that either the fort was built around or placed there push up against some of the wall.

LAURA: They're really big.

TRAVIS: Two of them right?

SAM: We promised to kill them all and we told everyone we're giant killers. What's our play here?

TALIESIN: I'm going to need a little more information from our friend.

LIAM: Do we want to skirt the entire perimeter of this place?

MARISHA: Remember Lorenzo's hideout?

SAM: Mm-hmm.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MARISHA: It's that, but with giants.

LAURA: I don't--yeah.

MARISHA: One at a time, lure them out. Try not to take them all at once.

TRAVIS: Maybe we should make one of them work for us.

SAM: Can we do that?

MARISHA: Can you do that?

TRAVIS: Maybe more than one.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm, think you can take those two? Have them get us deeper inside? If I had to guess, these two are patrol, watching the borders and the boundaries and there are more on the inside.

TALIESIN: Let's come into the tree line a little bit, a little bit closer just so we're not quite as close.

MARISHA: We also have to assume--why are they here? Do they have a leader, is there like a king troll? Giant, whatever? Is it on the inside?

LIAM: I think that we should make an effort to go around this entire place and see if we can spot anymore and then I like your idea, I could also turn one into a skunk if need be.

LAURA: Oh hey, I could do that, too. That's a really good idea, Caleb.

LIAM: They are probably not that bright.

TALIESIN: Real quick, friend, if you can do me a favor-- and I grab a stick off the ground-- you think it's possible to draw a little map of what it's like in there?

MATT: As you can see, he's visibly shaken by the proximity of the giants and is like--

TALIESIN: I'm going to back him away from that end of the forest a bit.

MATT: His eyes are peering that direction. His mouth is slightly agape. He takes a stick and draws. You can see on the nearest side to you, he points out, is the Steelworks. The shape of the Steelworks is like an open--like a hexagon that is carved-- the top of it is carved out of. He says, "The Steelworks were built onto the mining encampment. "It was affixed to it when the fighting began "with the Empire. Originally it was just a mining camp, "so it's tacked on."

TALIESIN: Gotcha.

MATT: Then he draws the actual mining camp, which resembles a large trapezoid that evens off and there's a perimeter fence around the mining encampment, which is further west of here and then this Steelworks here is a partial perimeter fence that meets two different sides of the mining encampment.

TALIESIN: Is this is the only way in, or is there any other way?

MATT: "This gate is the front gate, but there are "the rest of the wall is closed off. "There is one other gate on another side, but."

LAURA: I could make a gate for us anywhere we want.

TALIESIN: That's true. If you could just magically step through the gate anywhere is there anywhere that you would recommend people appear if you wanted to be sneaky?

MATT: "There would be maybe--"

TALIESIN: On this thing that you've drawn on the ground, if we were going to sneak in and if the fence was no object?

MATT: "There is a "there is a blacksmith installation "a little ways south "and further on the way down it has about a ten feet "space between the wall and the actual building, "that would maybe allow you a bit of a quiet entry."

TALIESIN: I'm excited by this plan.

MATT: "That is up to you. I am--"

TALIESIN: Could you just put a little X on this crude thing.

MATT: "Yeah," marks it a bit.

LIAM: To this point here, this blacksmith to that point there, where we're seeing these two gentleman with their stones, how far apart are those two points, would you guess?

MATT: "A few hundred feet."

LIAM: A few hundred feet okay.

TALIESIN: I feel pretty confident about everything we've gotten.

SAM: Do we do a circuit first and then go there? Should we do a two-party circuit.

LAURA: Do it crazy, crazy stealthy, though because those giants they can see over the wall.

TALIESIN: Do we do it on foot?

LIAM: Leave the moorbounders.

SAM: Leave them.

TALIESIN: If you wouldn't mind, well no, you can't take care of the moorbounders. Let's bring the moorbounders a little further into the forest, maybe.

SAM: Oh yeah, away from--

TALIESIN: I think that you've done plenty.

MATT: "I do too, I'm good, I'm done."

TALIESIN: Here is five for you, thank you. We really appreciate it.

MATT: "Thank you," as soon as he gets the gold, he turns around and quietly begins walking back where he came.

SAM: (crossbow loading)

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Only if it's a head shot.

SAM: All right, let's split up and go around.

TALIESIN: How do we want to split this?

TRAVIS: I'll go right.

MARISHA: We'll go left.

SAM: We'll go right down the middle.

TALIESIN: No.

SAM: No wait.

LAURA: No, we'll go right.

ASHLEY: I'll go left.

LIAM: Oh boy.

TALIESIN: Are you going right or left?

LAURA: Maybe I should go right, you go left so that we split the clerics.

TALIESIN: As long as we split the clerics, we should be fine.

SAM: All right.

MATT: All right, so who's going left? Okay, and then you three going right? Okay, stealth rolls for your beasts please. Oh, you're going on foot. Right, so stealth rolls for the troop.

LIAM: Super cocked. The most cocked of any I have ever rolled.

MARISHA: Finally, a good roll.

TRAVIS: 13.

MARISHA: 27.

LIAM: 12.

SAM: 32.

LAURA: 17.

TALIESIN: Oh no, five.

TRAVIS: Come on, Ashley, stealth check, come on.

MARISHA: Classic.

SAM: It's your specialty.

ASHLEY: I rolled a one.

MARISHA:

(cheering)

TRAVIS: Oh, she's back!

MATT: Okay. You guys begin to disperse. As you guys are quietly stepping forward, what you didn't notice, Yasha, was eating in the hollow by one of these trees as you're stepping by appears to be a small, gangly, possibly diseased beaver or wolverine-type creature. You just step on its tail and it (screams) and it attacks your ankle and you kick it off off to that side. You look back at the rest of the group, you just hear (pounding).

MARISHA: Hide! Get down!

SAM: Just their half of the party, right?

MATT: This is like a minute after you guys split, so you're a little ways away, but not that far. Yeah, you guys heard this.

MARISHA: Is there anything that we can all duck and cover nearby, like nearby tree line?

MATT: Yeah, you all think you've ducked and covered.

LIAM: Right, the stealth rolls already happened.

LIAM: The stealth rolls already happened.

MATT: You all hide and you watch as two of them look over.

SAM: Oh boy, oh boy.

MATT: One of them (grumbles) turns around and walks back. The other one goes--

MATT: The head ducks down.

LAURA: How far away, how far away?

MATT: From where you are right now, I'd say you're eyeballing about 60 feet.

TALIESIN: I'm getting ready to run because I know what's coming.

TRAVIS: They're both about 60 feet away?

MATT: No, the other one is further back.

TALIESIN: I'm waiting for it.

MATT: It chucks a large stone that's heading right for Yasha.

SAM: Welcome back, Ashley Johnson.

MATT: That is going to be a 24 to hit.

ASHLEY: Oh yeah that definitely hits.

MATT: Okay. As this large stone hits the ground before you, dirt sprays in your direction. As you try to pull back, it rolls and slams into you, sending you ten feet back. Your head is ringing from the impact. This is going to be 25 points of bludgeoning damage and then you have to make a strength saving throw to me.

ASHLEY: Okay, do I have resistance to bludgeoning? I'm just--

MATT: You're not raging, so you don't.

ASHLEY: That's right, okay. What did you just say to do? I'm sorry.

MATT: Make a strength saving throw for me, please.

ASHLEY: Make a strength saving throw.

TALIESIN: Oh yay. That's cocked.

ASHLEY: Natural 20.

MATT: It hits you and as opposed to falling onto your back, you dig in your heels, grinding back about three feet. You manage to to stop the rolling of the boulder in place and it comes to rest. That hurt, and you can feel the blood rushing from your nose, it might be broken. As you look up over the edge, you can see the giant looking right at you and its fingers curl back and it backs into the fort. It knows you're here. That's where we're going finish tonight. (groaning) Pick up on this next week.

SAM: Jesus.

ASHLEY: So much for stealth mode.

MATT: Sometimes you can get around it, sometimes you can't.

LIAM: ♪ There are big tall terrible giants in the mine ♪

MATT: Welcome back!

(laughs)

TRAVIS: Welcome back, Ash-o-lee!

(cheering)

ASHLEY: Yay!

MATT: Oh man. We're jumping back into it next week.

LAURA: Oh man.

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

TALIESIN: I'm so excited.

MATT: Ah man. Well, yeah, wow. We're going to jump into this for the end of our Kickstarter campaign, yeah. Because it's next week.

LAURA: Oh man.

TALIESIN: I'm ready. We know nothing.

SAM: We're doing a brunch next week or no?

LAURA: I mean, should we?

MATT: We can, but whatever we're wearing we have to wear for the after party.

TALIESIN: Oh wow.

MARISHA: Oh right.

LIAM: That'd be interesting.

SAM: Sure.

MATT: Travis is not.

LAURA: Maybe we shouldn't have mimosas before the after party. Let's save the brunch for another day.

MATT: We'll save the brunch for something else.

TALIESIN: We'll do it for like something another like a one-shotty thing.

MATT: Sounds good. Well, thank you, guys. Ashley, welcome back. We missed you. So glad to have you back.

ASHLEY: So glad to be back!

TALIESIN: Oh my god.

MATT: We'll be back next Thursday to pick up where we left off and close out the Kickstarter campaign. Oh man. In the interim, thank you guys so much for coming along with us tonight as we play. We love you very much and is it Thursday yet? Good night.

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