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Can i publish my masters dissertation

Can i publish my masters dissertation capstone land development inc for money sap crystal reports 2018 30 tage testversion ´╗┐MATT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to this evening's Critical Role, an online game of D&D where a bunch of us voice actors get together to be super nerdy and roll dice. And Sam just got here! And so we're going to send someone to go get Sam. Is someone getting Sam? All right! Great, Sam will be here shortly. Anyway, welcome! So, first and foremost, let's go ahead and get to our announcements so we can get to the game, because tonight is Critmas, which means we're going to be opening a bunch of amazing presents, letters, and stuff that you guys send to us. That'll be coming up soon. So first and foremost, wanted to let you guys know, if you haven't seen on Twitter yet, that the majority of our little merry band of players here are going to be appearing at Wizard World Portland in February. February 19th through the 21st. LAURA: Everybody except for some people. MATT: I know. LIAM: I could skip my daughter's birthday. MARISHA: She'll have another one. LIAM: She's at the point where she'll kind of remember. LAURA: Sam! MATT: It's fine. No, sit right there, it's good. But yeah, February 19th through the 21st, we'll be there doing panels and signings and all kinds of fun stuff. So if you're in the Portland area or want to come out to the Portland area, we'll be there then. Come say hello. Don't waste your twenties, Laura. You know this! TRAVIS: She doesn't know this. MATT: I know. She'll never learn. I do like that you and Ashley coordinated, though, from across the country. LAURA: I know, right!? MATT: That's awesome. LAURA: We're twinkies! ASHLEY: We're twinkies! MATT: But yeah, so guys. Go ahead and tweet at Wizard World and let them know how excited you are that we're going to Portland, because even if you're not able to go to this convention, the more that they see the audience has a need for more Critical Role at their conventions, they might bring us to other parts of the country. This is our trial run with their venues. So tell them how excited you are, and that'd be awesome. Cool. Next up, another convention coming up. Me and Marisha actually will be guests, weekend before that, at the Colorado Animefest in Denver, Colorado. MARISHA: Dick. MATT: What did I do? MARISHA: Not you. SAM: I'm a dick. I'm always a dick. MATT: You are a dick. It's good. It's a good place to be. But that's February 12th through the 14th in Denver. MARISHA: Yes. Valentine's Day weekend. MATT: Yep. We're going to Casa Bonita. We're doing this South Park-style. MARISHA: I'm so excited. TALIESIN: Have you never been to Casa Bonita? MARISHA: No! I'm so excited. TALIESIN: I would say you're in for a treat, but it's so much more than that. MARISHA: Oh man. Cliff divers. MATT: It's going to be great. So, Colorado Animefest, February 12th through the 14th. Come say hello, we'd love to see you. Let's see. Liam, did you want to take the shout-out to The Witness? LIAM: Yeah! There is a very interesting game coming out called The Witness at the end of this month. If any of you played Braid, which was an amazing platformer, but so much more than a platformer, it fucked with your head. That game was made by Jonathan Blow. Jonathan Blow is making another game called The Witness. I'm not going to tell you anything about it, but I'm voice directing, or I voice directed on it. This one, Ashley is in the game, and it was one of the most unique recording gigs I've ever had. I don't really know what I should say, but I think you guys are going to want to check it out. LAURA: I think you've said enough. (laughter) ASHLEY: Said enough! MATT: Boom. Done. LIAM: Wyrmwood Gaming, everyone! TRAVIS: Wyrmwood! LIAM: Wyrmwood Gaming, if you use the code "critrole," you'll get free shipping! Free shipping. MARISHA: So stylish. MATT: Mine says 'storyteller'. SAM: Wyrmwood Gaming? ASHLEY: Completely obsessed with it. SAM: That's not mine. TALIESIN: That's not mine. TRAVIS: Oh, that's mine! MARISHA: That's Travis's! SAM: Ready? TRAVIS: Yep. SAM: Pretend like you're a Dallas Cowboy and drop it. Is this yours? Is this yours? TRAVIS: No, you can keep that shit. (laughter) LIAM: First episode ever, Grog goes after Scanlan. MATT: It was bound to happen. Also, I wanted to let you guys know, it's awesome, we got to donate five thousand dollars to 826LA at the end of last year because of you guys being so amazing. So once again, wanted to say thank you guys for that. That was fantastic and you're awesome. MARISHA: And we're still supporting 826LA, so you can still donate. MATT: Yes! MARISHA: It's still there, you can still do it. SAM and MARISHA: It's still there. TRAVIS: They still be helping kids read and write and play D&D. It's amazing. MATT: It's great. so look and see if there's an 826 in your area and see what you can do to help, participate, even become a tutor. It's awesome. It's great work. So you may have seen this week, Wizards of the Coast launched a new service called the Dungeon Masters Guild, which is one of the coolest things they've done in a long time. They've opened up D&D 5th Edition to an open gaming license. You can now create your own content within the 5th edition system and release it on their website and put it up for purchase, and people can purchase your content. It's a wonderful homebrew community that they've developed that I think really elevates all of us players and DMs and people that want to contribute to the community. So check it out. It's awesome. I'm super excited about it and I've seen so many great homebrew stuff already go up there. They've also opened up Forgotten Realms to people who want to create stuff within the Forgotten Realms. TALIESIN: You should totally put some stuff up there. MATT: I should. TALIESIN: You really should. MATT: I really should. Actually, I'm blown away. I put up the updated blood hunter and the updated gunslinger. I got a full PDF made in the same quality with wonderful art from Joma and Nick Robles. Really excited about it, and you guys should check it out. It's a really good service. So good on you. So, any other announcements you'd like to make tonight? Anyone? Or are we about to start this? TRAVIS: Let's get it on. MATT: All righty. So, to get you guys up to speed with what's happened recently: the party, upon returning from their adventure in Whitestone, had a meeting with the council of Tal'Dorei where they were able to provide information, a witness, and have the guidance of the now no-longer-charmed sovereign, Uriel Tal'Dorei, to alleviate them of any wrongdoing in the Briarwoods' arrival in Emon months ago, and reinstated their membership in the council, dropped the charges that were against them from the city of Emon and the party basically have now become once again lauded and accepted within the city. At the same time, Uriel, going through a bit of an emotional breakdown with his lack of seeming leadership in this whole circumstance. It was discovered that the reason his defences were improper was because there was an individual on the actual council who was a traitor, who'd been working with the Briarwoods and secretly a follower of Vecna from what the documents seemed to say. However, he had fled and the party decided to go ahead and probably do a little better job than the local guard would, find out if he was too far or not. They found that he was still in the city, beneath the city, and happened to correlate his current location with the Clasp, the thieves' guild of the city's current underground base which the party had previously had a few run-ins before. So making their way to the inn that houses one of the secret entrances to the Clasp's hideout, they encountered a band of traveling musicians. Doctor Dranzel's wondrous performance group made their way-- the magical? I'm trying to remember what the actual full term was on that one that you wrote for it. SAM: Oh, their troupe? The troupe name? Oh man, I wrote that three years ago. I have no idea. MATT: I know. I wrote it down in a document that I didn't print out. But I will for future shows. So Dr. Dranzel-- SAM: We'll look it up on the break. MATT: Yeah, there you go. It had a great performance troupe. SAM: Magical Mystery Band. MATT: Yeah, that's the one. And discovered a number of past individuals of Scanlan's performance history as well as a few new friends and got into an epic flute duel of which he threw and in doing so, being a man of his word, gave the remaining gold coins in his pouch to a young gnome. LAURA: Just the worst. SAM: It was worth it. LAURA: Was it? SAM: Well, we'll find out. TALIESIN: It's like a Tom Waits song. MATT: Yeah, with the distraction being successful the rest of the party snuck through the kitchen into the hatch and they had an encounter with the Clasp after calling out to them within their own hideout. Telling them that they were after this fugitive and not planning to do any terrible business in the guild and managed to convince them to let them go about their way and Vox Machina had a showdown with the traitor, Riskel Daxio, within his cell, before he was supposed to be ushered out of the city, given a new name, and essentially be given free rein in the world. The party then beat him down pretty hard and are currently dragging his bleeding, unconscious corpse towards the Cloudtop District to turn him in. SAM: Right. That's right. He's not dead. TALIESIN: It's an unconscious corpse. Which means it's technically-- MARISHA and TALIESIN: Not a corpse. MATT: This is true. I don't know why I said corpse. TRAVIS: Foreshadowing! LAURA: Oh, no. What are we going to do? MATT: A near corpse. He is borderline corpse. LAURA: Mostly dead. Not all dead. MATT: So, as you guys make your way towards the center of Emon, the central wall that surrounds the Cloudtop District comes into view and the front gates that face the southwestern side of the city reveal themselves down the thoroughfare. There you see the four guards that are posted at that entrance notice you approaching and immediately two of them begin to come up to you. And you've interacted with these individuals a few times as your experiences here in the city so far and they've grown to recognize you just by appearance and you guys tend to stroll up as a posse of confidence, which draws their attention. MARISHA: Fucking with my clique. MATT: Exactly. TALIESIN: We're Reservoir Dogging it. LAURA: 'Sup. TALIESIN: Walking really slow. MATT: At this point the sun is setting, it's probably getting close to dusk. You guys stroll up and the two guards approach immediately. "Can I ask you what you're doing here? You've got "someone--" LAURA: We have a present for Uriel. Open the gates. MATT: "Well, what's the present?" LAURA: Are you questioning part of the council at this moment? MATT: "No, if there is business to be done I have to go ahead and put it up the chain of command to "make sure that I'm doing my job so I don't end up being lashed for my--" LAURA: Of course, darling, and you're doing a wonderful job of it. MATT: "Well, I appreciate that and I'd appreciate you helping me do my job, if that's all right." LAURA: We have a present for Uriel. Open the gates. Send it up the chain of command. MATT: Turns around and walks back, the other guy looks back awkwardly and follows him. He gives a couple hand motions and the gates open up to the inside of the Cloudtop District. TRAVIS: He's on the back of the bear, right? SAM: The bear we left at home. TALIESIN: The bear we left in the alley. LAURA: He is with us. What? SAM: Next time. Next time. TALIESIN: The bear is a necessity. (groaning) TRAVIS: We take him inside. LAURA: Wait a minute! TRAVIS and SAM: What? LAURA: Where's Trinket right now?! Why isn't he on the set?! SAM: Where is Trinket? MARISHA: He's in the alley. LAURA: I'm getting him right now. TRAVIS: No, no, no, no. Come on. LAURA: I know where he is. LIAM: Look Sam, what did you do? SAM: This is just like when David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear. MATT: It's just like it. Exactly. SAM: Yep. David Copperfield? Feld? MARISHA: It's amazing because you can like hear her footsteps. It's like a cartoon. TALIESIN: It's like an ad for Atmos Surround, you hear (ticking noises). MARISHA: It's totally like a Pixar intro. TALIESIN: Oh my god. MATT: I'm excited for the prospect of watching this happen right now. TALIESIN: Nothing can go wrong. This is a great idea. MARISHA: No one help her. LIAM: No one help her. TALIESIN: She can do this. MATT: You got this, Laura. You got this. ASHLEY: You got it. You got it. LAURA: Help me. Can you see this? TRAVIS: Nope. LAURA: Travis, move your butt! I've got to get Trinket through! SAM: Travis can move, he's not going to help you. LAURA: Please, Travis. TRAVIS: All right, I'll move. I'll move. MATT: This is a wonderful microcosm analogy for pretty much every session. LAURA: Oh, he's here! MATT: Yay! Well done. LAURA: Totally worth it. Is he good? Is he placed well, you guys? TRAVIS: Sure. SAM: That's a good core body workout. LAURA: Oh my gosh, I'm so strong. MARISHA: This was the best opening of our show. MATT: What's your strength? LAURA: Very low. MARISHA: We should've played our theme music over that. (laughter) MATT: So, pushing towards the central palace, the guards approach once again. These ones a little more stern than the ones you met on the outside of the district. "What's your business at the palace?" SAM: Again? LAURA: We, look, we have a body over this bear! Let us through to Uriel; he's been looking for this man. Super important. MATT: The guards look over at the bear. SAM: They know this man. They should know this man. MATT: "You found Riskel Daxio?" LAURA: Of course we did! MATT: "All right, men!" MARISHA: But don't tell him! It's a surprise. It's a present. MATT: The other guards begin to step forward like, "We'll take it from here." LAURA: No no no. No, you won't. TRAVIS: The fuck you will. TALIESIN: We would like to deliver this personally as we don't know if he has any co-conspirators, so it would be best if he didn't leave our immediate vicinity. MARISHA: And we really want to see his face when he opens it. That's the best part of giving a gift. MATT: The guard raises his hand and the guards stop. "Very well. Proceed inward." Steps aside, the guards separate and you can see they're all looking a little nervous that they basically had their job done for them. It's not going to do well down the chain of command in the very near future. You guys step into the palace, make your way to the main hallway that leads to the central throne chambers. Uriel is not there at the moment. The guards ask you to wait. You wait about five to ten minutes or so before the doors open again and Uriel is hastily walking in, sitting down on his throne. The rest of the council isn't present for this. It's just him currently, and I believe Tofor Brotorus, the female dragonborn on the council, with you guys. So, as you approach, Uriel sits down, his robes swishing about him. "All right, it hasn't been too "long. You requested my presence. And I am here. What do you need?" TALIESIN: Vex, this is all yours. LAURA: Oh, well, not all me. This is all of us. We found your traitor for you. MATT: "Really?" And he stands up and the rest of the guards that came up behind you keep an eye to make sure nothing weird goes wrong, they step forward a few steps and, "Bring him forth. Hold "him. In irons. Chains. Now." And all the guards go and pull him off of Trinket, throw him on the ground face-first. He slaps into the marble flooring of the chamber. TRAVIS: Yeah. MATT: Little bit of blood smeared across the ground as his face glides-- LAURA: Yeah, he's beat up pretty bad, you might not want to-- MATT: "He'll survive." And you can see now there's a look of pained anger in Uriel's eyes at seeing the face of someone he trusted for so long. The guards take the manacles that you guys already had on him and chain his legs together. They put another set of manacles across the back of his arms so his arms are actually held in two places to the back. They lift him onto his knees and drag him up to the very bottom stair that leads up to the central dais where the thrones are on. And he's unconscious, head lolling about. Uriel looks down and, "Wake him up." SAM: Us? MATT: "Someone. I don't care. Wake him up." TRAVIS: I got it! I walk over and I slap the shit out of him. SAM: You may kill him. LIAM: Oh, he's dead. MATT: With a resounding slap sound, Riskel sends a spatter of spittle and blood that coasts across the floor and his head shakes. As he looks up at you, you can see his teeth that were once white now glisten with fresh blood across the entirety of his smile. TRAVIS: Hello, gorgeous. MATT: "Do what you will." He looks up and sees Uriel. "My liege, what would you have of me?" Uriel takes a moment, intensely staring at his face. "For so many years you played me and my "family. You played the people of this city, of these lands. You've forsaken the name of your father "who plucked you from nothing. How? How can you live with this?" Riskel takes a moment, chuckles to himself, this throaty gurgle as he's still trying to breathe through the blood pooling in the back of his throat. "Life is but a stage of our existence. And when you all will die, I will rise "again. For I am his blood." SAM: You are his blood? MATT: Uriel steps back up on his throne and sits down. "Riskel Daxio, you have been found guilty of "treason by the peoples of Tal'Dorei. I command that your sentence of death be held immediately." TRAVIS: Yes! SAM: Sovereign, if I may, can we ask him a few questions before you do what you gonna do? MATT: "Quickly." SAM: He's talking crazy, we should find out why, right? TRAVIS: Who's talking crazy? SAM: He said, "I am born of his blood." What blood? LAURA: Are you one of Vecna's children? Are you one of his priests? Are you one of his-- LIAM: You're the chatty Cathy. Get with the talking. SAM: I don't know what I'm asking. TRAVIS: You never do. MATT: As you ask him that, "There are many parts to our one to him. I'm but his blood, but there "are many, many, different pieces that make the whole." SAM: Where are these pieces located? LAURA: Everywhere. Good answer. MARISHA: So when you say you are his blood you actually mean more literally for once? Is that what I'm getting? SAM: No. TRAVIS: Good question. MATT: His eyes narrow and he looks for a moment almost disappointed in confusion. "Just kill me "now. I grow impatient with this existence." TRAVIS: That's not a problem. Is there somewhere where you would like to go after you die? Or are you going to wake up right after you die? MATT: "I guess we'll find out." MARISHA: Yeah, and are you going to wake up like a baby so we have like 20 years before we have to worry about you again? LAURA: Or are you like a zombie, straight, straight away up and at 'em? TRAVIS: He might come back as like a dog. MATT: "Please, please, kill me now. End this paltry existence." LAURA: What if you come back as like a fish and then you're screwed and stuck in the water? TRAVIS: Yeah, or like a penguin, so he's like a bird that can't fly and he can only swim. LAURA: And he's stuck waddling around. That'd be so sad. LIAM: Uriel. As thanks for bringing you this gift, we need to run Grog out once in a while. Might he have the honor of removing this shitstain from the world? LAURA: Unless, of course, you'd like to do it yourself. MATT: Uriel contemplates for a moment. "He's at your disposal. I only ask that you do it soon and "in my sight." SAM: Are you sure there's no more useful information we can get from this man? LIAM: So, Riskel, Grog can do it kind of quickish or take a very long time. I've seen him do it. TRAVIS: And I start stretching. LAURA: Digit by digit. LIAM: You can be sent on your way to whatever asshole you think you're going to, but he can make it very uncomfortable. LAURA: He could strip you of all your limbs and leave you hanging. Not dead. LIAM: I once saw him kill a man with his taint. SAM: With his own taint. MATT: Roll an intimidation check. TRAVIS: The taint intimidation. LIAM: So juicy. LAURA: Ew! TRAVIS: Like balsamic vinaigrette. TALIESIN: I've wanted to make this pun my entire life. LIAM: Intimidation, you said. Oh, hell, I'm using Luck in case I can do better. No, 17. TALIESIN: He taint intimidated. Got to get it out of my system. I'm so sorry. MATT: You can see his eyes begin to roll back in his head. "Do what you must." Begins to fade back into unconsciousness. LAURA: No, no, no. Wake up, wake up, wake up. What's the marble? What's the little ball? What's it do? MATT: "I don't know what you're talking about." LAURA: Oh, then you're not very knowledgeable, are you? I guess Vecna didn't tell you of his plans. Not very important. Blood? MATT: "The deal with my master is power through not knowing. He is the one who knows all. The fact "that he keeps it from us means that he trusts us." LAURA: That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. LIAM: All right, Grog, take off his little marble please. SAM: Wait, wait, wait, wait. We're not going to get any information out of him? TRAVIS: Well, maybe we should have Pike cleanse his blood so he won't come back after he dies. LAURA: That's a good idea! Pike, why don't you bless him? Why don't you make him holy? MATT: His eyes dart around for a moment with a look of sudden curiosity and worry. ASHLEY: Oh, I think that would be fun! MATT: "That's not possible." LAURA: Yes, it is. Sarenrae could always use new servants. Right, Pike? ASHLEY: Yes, of course! TALIESIN: I've seen her regrow a foot. It's amazing. MATT: Deception check. LAURA: Aw, okay. Ooh, which one? All right. All right. LIAM: The good one! LAURA: Aw, that's not the good one. 11. Do I get advantage because Pike is helping? MATT: Because she is helping with it and she is the source of it, I'd say sure. Go ahead and roll with advantage. LAURA: Haha! That's much better. 23! MATT: 23. Okay. You can see now at this point, his breathing is quickened and he's swallowing more regularly. There's a look of sincere nervousness in his eyes. "His power is great. There is nothing "this paltry little child of a being can do to keep his will from his promise." LIAM: Oh, you shithead. ASHLEY: Well, maybe we'll just give it a try. TRAVIS: Do it! Do it! ASHLEY: Okay, well, I'm going to walk over to him. Just stay still. It's better on the light side, so hold on. TALIESIN: It worked for me. It was really quite an experience. MATT: "Master have mercy." TRAVIS: You're looking in the wrong direction. LAURA: I mean, do you know-- Unless you have something to share with us. Do you know of his awakening? TRAVIS: We could just let you go to him. LAURA: Do you have any details? Something that could lead us to him? Your god of secrets? LIAM: No, he's too strong. Fill him with holy light, Pike. Do it now. LAURA: You're right. And then he'll help us for sure. ASHLEY: Yeah, because maybe he'll remember and tell us. LAURA: Yeah. ASHLEY: Okay. Wait. Am I doing Greater Restoration? MATT: If you want to. It's whatever you want to try. ASHLEY: Let's try it! MATT: Okay! So as you pull out your symbol of Sarenrae, your metallic clinks of your feet across the sparse marble flooring. You approach as the symbol glows. You can see in Pike's eyes, her pupils go white as the energy of Sarenrae's holy blessing begins to spill out the sides. At each step, Riskel begins to twitch and pull away. He's glancing about, looks towards you, Grog, with a look of "please, have pity." As Pike reaches out to touch him, he goes, "I know little. It is the "nature of his being. The ritual was once attempted before. I know not if it worked. I was not there. "You rushed in. It was not time. " LAURA: What did it need? What would have made it time? MATT: "The Winter's Crest. The festival marks a time where the barrier between the realms is thin. "Where the magic ley lines across this world cross and swell. You forced our hand. I was not there. I "do not know the answer and I hope it was enough." LAURA: It probably wasn't. SAM: Are there plans to attempt this at the next Winter's Crest that you know of? MATT: At this point you can see now this look of despair hits his eyes, and then resolve. He goes from this fearful moment to the realization that he has already expressed more than he should. But hopefully it's not too much to fall out of the favor of his lord. And a smile creeps across his face for the first time since this whole thing and he grins. "It is time." And he leans forward and puts his neck out. LAURA: Vecna's going to be so pissed at you. MARISHA: Have we tried to Restoration him first? SAM: Oh, yeah. She didn't do it yet. MARISHA: She didn't do it yet, right? MATT: Did you want to cast the spell on him? LAURA: And then we'll kill him! MARISHA: Yeah. ASHLEY: Should I do it? SAM: Why not? We'll see what happens. LIAM: So I crouch down, take two fingers and I get him by the nostrils and pull back the top of his head and say, "Do it, Pike. Pour in your holy light right in his mouth. Give it all to him." MATT: Pike, as you reach forward, you take the Sarenrae symbol and you jam it into his open mouth. As it does-- yeah, just like that. A burst of divine light comes spewing out the sides, and you see him choking on some unseen force. MARISHA: A holy dick. MATT: Probably a combination of him swallowing his own tongue, but as you pull the symbol back, completing the spell of restoration, you can see the energy pour through his body and he's shaking out of fear. His eyes begin to roll back, and from the sound of it he's actually swallowing his own tongue. LAURA: Oh! Did it kill him? Did Greater Restoration just kill him? MATT: He's choking. TRAVIS: Hold on. Hold on. And I stick my fingers into his mouth and I grab his tongue and pull it down to-- LAURA: Oh gosh, this is so terrible. LIAM: This guy's an asshole! LAURA: I know. I know. TALIESIN: That's a big hand to get in there, man. That's really uncomfortable. LIAM: He earned this grief. MATT: You hear Uriel's voice behind you say, "Enough. Get it over with." (laughter) LAURA: Sorry. Sorry. SAM: All right. Good try, Pike. That was really good. LAURA: That was really awesome, Pike. TRAVIS: Nobody else has any other questions? TALIESIN: Just keep it clean so we can burn everything afterwards. ASHLEY: Wait, what happened to him? TRAVIS: I take out Craven Edge, and I step back, and with a huge swing aim right under his trin. LAURA: Trin? MATT: Trin. As the blade is drawn from Grog's back, you can see it draws this trail of shadow behind it almost through the slow arc as he rears it back for the swing. As the blade with a flash, impossibly fast, arcs its way across Riskel's throat, you can see his eyes open up with a sudden realization as the moment of pain and death hits him. Then a smile draws across his lips as the head slowly rolls back. The blood then gouts out with the last pumps of his heart. His body slumps forward, the guards holding him as they can, spilling a pool out in the center of the floor. LAURA: Oh jeez, Uriel. MATT: As this happens, Grog, you feel this wave of exhilaration. This almost ecstatic pulse of joy comes across your body. This sense of taking his life with this blade, the first time you've really actually used it, was delightful. TRAVIS: I've got goose pimples. Was that good for you guys or what? SAM: I don't know if you should be smiling this much. You just killed a man. Have a little respect. TRAVIS: Yeah, but he was evil. Not happy time? TALIESIN: Quiet happy time. MATT: Uriel stands up. "Guards, have this mess cleaned. Burn the body. Thank you very much." TALIESIN: Really quickly, have we looted the body already? LAURA: I feel like I did, didn't I? When he was in-- MATT: You did, you already looted the body. MARISHA: We did. We already got the skull with the missing eye. TRAVIS: Can I turn to the side and go, how was that? MATT: You hear the voice creep up and say, "Now we see eye to eye." TRAVIS: I don't see you anywhere? (laughter) MATT: The aura of the shadow from the blade retracts, and the blade becomes an onyx blade. It appears to have rescinded his presence. TRAVIS: He's shy. LIAM: I'm sorry, but it's like The Odd Couple. (laughter) SAM: Craven Edge and Grog! ASHLEY: Oh man, I so badly want to fix that sword to save Grog, but at the same time, I don't! (laughter) SAM: Sovereign? MATT: "Yes?" SAM: You know, I know we just talked earlier today and everything, but it feels like we should get some sort of reward or something for capturing this guy, doesn't it? I mean is that impolite to ask? TRAVIS: We did do it pretty expediently. SAM: It was the same day, wasn't it? MATT: "It was." And he sits there for a second and nods his head. "Very well. We were prepared to put "out a bounty for his arrest, and I feel it would only be fair to provide you with this bounty." He snaps his fingers. A guard comes up and he whispers to him for a second. As he walks away, "You will have a sum of 5,000 gold pieces delivered to Greyskull Keep this evening." SAM: Thank you. MATT: "I appreciate it. Now please, be on your way. I have business to attend to. Thank you very much." TALIESIN: Good evening, your lordship. MATT: He gets up and walks away. TRAVIS: 5,000? LAURA: Feel like it could have been more, honestly. Whatever. TRAVIS: Really? It's a lot. LAURA: Should I add that now, or should I wait until it actually gets delivered? SAM: Probably when it gets delivered. It could be intercepted and stolen on the way. TALIESIN: A lot could happen. TRAVIS: Why would you even say that? Why would you even put that out there? LAURA: What should we do? Should we go home, then? SAM: I suppose so. It's been a long day. We've taken damage today. We should go home. ASHLEY: Yeah. We should go heal. TRAVIS: Wasn't there something we were going to do, though? MARISHA: What time is it? MATT: By now, the sun's probably set, and so as you step out of the palace, you look up at the skyline. Little plumes of clouds throughout, but you can see the distinct bright oranges and purples of sunset have taken, and to the far east, you can see the dark blue of creeping night. LIAM: How long has the sun been down? MATT: It just set. It's heading toward dusk. LIAM: Who wants to get a drink? MARISHA: Yeah! SAM: We were just in a tavern all day. MARISHA: Yeah, but that was work. TRAVIS: We weren't really drinking. We were pretend drinking. We could be real drinking. MARISHA: Were we supposed to be pretend-- yeah, sure. LAURA: Now the door incident really makes sense, if some of us were really drinking in that tavern. TRAVIS: That, or we just hate doors. Let's go get a drink! TALIESIN: I'm all right with that. SAM: Same tavern? ALL: No. MARISHA: Let's go to old faithful. Where's old faithful? MATT: Old faithful, technically, would be the Laughing Lamia, which is where you guys originally stayed when you first came to Emon. TALIESIN: Let's do faithful. TRAVIS: Or do we want to branch out? MARISHA: Find a new place? TRAVIS: Yeah. Taste some new ale! TALIESIN: Let's start a pub crawl. TALIESIN and MARISHA: Pub crawl! LAURA: I like it a lot. TRAVIS: You are a smart one. LAURA: What's the closest pub here? MATT: Who's leading the pub crawl? SAM: Wait, hold on. (high-pitched cries) I'm Yelping it. (laughter) SAM: No? TALIESIN: I feel so much better for every terrible thing I've said. Oh my god. LAURA: That was the worst one you've ever said. (laughter) LAURA: You're going to lose experience points for this. TRAVIS: I feel like my intelligence went down one. MATT: There's no ruleset for reverse inspiration. But I'm going to start looking into designing that. LIAM: The entire party's intelligence goes to one. TALIESIN: You get a 1d10 bonus against a roll versus him. It's to knock him down a peg. MATT: It's like the fate chips system. It's great. Okay. So who's heading the pub crawl? TALIESIN: Am I heading the pub crawl? SAM: You don't know this town. Who knows this town the best? LAURA: None of us know this town. MARISHA: I mean, it's technically our town. We should get to know our city, you guys. TALIESIN: All right. I'm walking in a direction. MATT: All right. Go ahead and make an investigation check. TALIESIN: All right. I'm going to use a different die because it's funnier that way. That's an eight. LAURA: Oh, good. TRAVIS: You can't really do this wrong. MATT: You'd be surprised. (laughter) MATT: Over the next couple hours, you meander a while through Abdar's Promenade, there are a couple dives, but the clientele doesn't seem very jovial. LAURA: This is the worst pub crawl ever! This took two hours? MATT: Yeah. You find about four different establishments, but most of them appear to be less of the "party hardy" crowd and more of the "my life sucks, I need alcohol" crowd. TALIESIN: Scanlan? Scanlan? I feel we need you. I'm still recovering my spirit here. SAM: All right. Do you need me to yelp it again? All right, I will roll an investigation. TALIESIN: It couldn't hurt. SAM: All right. Let me talk to some people and see if I can find some things. Investigation? 18. MATT: 18. Chatting around-- SAM: Where's a good place to go? I'm looking for a speakeasy. Something off the beaten path. MATT: Something off the beaten path. Word of mouth type place. Okay. Let's see. LAURA: Oh! I like that he's checking out his Yellow Pages. LIAM: Matt's thinking about all the battle maps he drew over the last week, and we're doing a pub crawl. TALIESIN: It's like, "Fine. We're doing a pub crawl." MATT: Hey, man. Nothing wrong with that. SAM: Or just a place that comes highly recommended. TALIESIN: Or poorly recommended. MATT: So, you eventually hear about a place called Howarth's. Howarth's. MARISHA: Like H-O-A-- MATT: Howarth's. LAURA: Have we been to Howarth's? LIAM: He just made it up. We've not been there. MARISHA: Like Woolworth's, but Halworth's? MATT: Sure. ASHLEY: Like "Hogwarts" without the G? MATT: I guess you'd say. Howarth's. When you get there, it appears to be more of a textile business, but from what you've heard, it's more a business that runs the front, and then the real company is in the back. LAURA: Nice. TALIESIN: Textiles and beer? MATT: Yes. TALIESIN: Okay. MATT: So as soon as you guys approach, the guy who's running the front, who's this weaselly-looking, mousy gentleman in his late 40s, thin John Waters mustache, gives you a nod and says, "I take it you're not here for the-- yeah. Just around the corner. Back room." Points you over. As you guys walk in, there's a pretty happening establishment in here. There's a harp player on the far edge of the room on the stage, who's playing a very beautiful piece. Even though she's just playing the harp, it's almost emanating the sound of multiple instruments. There's probably about ten or so people in here. It's not extremely crowded, but everyone in there appears to be rather upper crust folks that either have descended from the Cloudtop District to rub shoulders with the less elite of the town and a few wealthy merchants. It's a pretty decent place for rabble rousers who have some coin to spend. TRAVIS: That's us. SAM: Let's get a round, shall we? LAURA: Yeah. Oh, I would say you could buy, Scanlan, but you have no money. SAM: You gave me a thousand gold. LAURA: I did, so you have enough to buy for everyone. SAM: I'm feeling generous. I'll buy us a round. MATT: All right. You guys get a round of drinks. You look over the events of the previous weeks. You chat amongst yourselves and you meet a few individuals in the establishment and make a few friends. Overall, it's a pretty decent way to finish a rather long day of more work than you had originally anticipated. As the buzz begins to wear off and the evening draws to a close, you guys find yourselves getting a little hungry and this place is pretty much solely a bar experience, as opposed to a straight pub, and it's probably pushing close to 11. SAM: Should we go home? MARISHA: No! Guys. The evening is our-- what do they say about things like that? The evening is our oyster. Right? Isn't that what they say? LAURA: Sure. ASHLEY: Yeah, close. MARISHA: What? ASHLEY: No, I said it's pretty close. MARISHA: Oh, thank you, Pike. Let's stay out all night. Come on. LIAM: Come on, old man! MARISHA: We can see the sunrise. We never do this. We never take time for ourselves. LAURA: Oh no. Keyleth's been day-drinking and night-drinking. MARISHA: I have. SAM: She's that girl. MARISHA: Come on, you guys. LIAM: I'm walking up to the barkeep and I say, Hi! LAURA: Oh god, that's so loud. LIAM: We need to keep drinking, but also eating, so where's the closest place to do that? MARISHA: Yes! MATT: "At this hour?" And the gentleman who's talking to you now, his chin appears to have been broken at some point in his life so as he talks the jaw swivels from side to side in an awkward, old Disney cartoon way. It's hard to really put into words. His hair is spotty in places, it's thinning in the front, but he's well-dressed. It's one of those things where the outfit does not match the persona. But he looks over to you and, "Well, sir, at this point in the evening, food "might be a little hard to procure, unfortunately." LAURA: Oh, really? MATT: "As far as I know." MARISHA: Guys, there's got to be like some street vendors. Come on. TALIESIN: I'm going to find the most interesting, boisterous clientele in the bar and I'm going to approach them. TRAVIS: Yeah, we getting in a fight? TALIESIN: No. LIAM: Not yet. MATT: Okay. Go ahead and make a perception check. TALIESIN: Thank you for that. Yes! That's much better. 20. MATT: Okay. As you're glancing about and you're talking to the bar, and the rest of you guys are finishing a round of drinks, you are looking around-- LAURA: I just remembered 5,000 gold is being delivered to the keep. SAM: Don't worry. We have servants. MARISHA: We have servants. It's fine. TRAVIS: Drink more. MATT: So you glance towards the door and an individual walks in that definitely matches the expectation of what you're looking for. A familiar individual. A gentleman of purple-gold trimmed robes, a darkish complexion, a tied goatee, and a smile on his face. And it suddenly makes complete sense this is the kind of place that Gilmore would go to drink. (cheering) MATT: As he comes strolling in, he has a smile on his face. You can see a bit of sweat on his brow. He's had a long day and is in a rush here, looks over, and immediately sees all of you there. "Well, isn't this the luckiest day for me!" TALIESIN and MARISHA: Gilmore! LIAM: Look at this motherfucker right here! MATT: "Vax'ildan!" He runs up and grabs you and (kiss kiss). LIAM: Oh, I lift him. I lift him in the air and twirl him around and I put him down on a bar stool and I give him a playful slap on the cheek. Not that hard, but like. How are you? It's so good to see you! God, you look good. MATT: "You as well, my friend, you as well." MARISHA: Gilmore! Gilmore. What are you drinking? We're buying. What are you drinking? MATT: "Oh, obviously whatever she's having." LIAM: Do you have any food? They don't have any. MATT: "They don't have any. They would not serve food here. No, it's a finer establishment." LAURA: Where can we go for food, Gilmore? MATT: "Um." And he thinks for a second. He reaches back into a small satchel he has at his side and he pulls out a little pouch. He opens the pouch, and he reaches out and he pulls out a small wooden domino, like in size. "If you wouldn't mind clearing some of these tables for me?" SAM: Oh sure, sure. Grog? TRAVIS: Not a problem. Stand up, you lot! MATT: (laughs) Unnecessarily knocking over the drinks off the table of one of the nearby individuals, but they don't argue with the goliath. TRAVIS: It's clear. (laughs) MATT: Takes apart some room. He gives a nod over to the bartender, who you can see there's been a rapport here, so he's like, all right, I'll allow it. He tosses the wooden domino on the ground for a second, whispers something under his breath, does a hand gesture, and it suddenly extends into a wooden table. Into a familiar sight. This is a Heroes' Feast. (cheering) SAM: Gilmore! MARISHA: These things are not cheap. ASHLEY: Gilmore! MATT: You can see in his other hand the gem-encrusted chalice from the middle of his pouch dissipates in the arcane energy. He says, "Well, I figured it was a special occasion." LAURA: Darling. SAM: Wow, Gilmore, this is too much! Really. This is amazing. You're such a kind, generous soul. MATT: "Actually, I've gotten word that you've been spreading the wonders of my brand, though--" TRAVIS: (laughs) That's true. LAURA: Everywhere we go. MATT: "That's not true, but you've been doing it a bit, which is more than I expected, to be honest. "So I appreciate that, I really do." SAM: Not only that, we've, I don't know if word has reached you yet, but in Whitestone we're working towards establishing a Gilmore-themed library for the people with your name attached to it. MATT: "Well." SAM: Something respectable for a change! MATT: "Oh, I don't know about that. I've still got to finish building my shop in Westruun, but when "that is done, I'll be more than happy to look into it." SAM: If you need any help, count on us. MATT: "Whitestone. Whitestone. Hmm. Place has been kind of dour as of late." LAURA: Up-and-coming. I tell you that much. TALIESIN: Really turning around. Really turning around. LIAM: You can turn a coin and do right by the world. They are in need, and that place is going to explode, I'm telling you. Can I get another drink, please? MARISHA: They're even changing the name, they're making it more hip, it's going to be called WhiSto now. It's great. Just shortening it. TALIESIN: Another for her as well. SAM: She's had one drink. MARISHA: This is great. TRAVIS: When do we tell her that's a Shirley Temple? (laughter) MARISHA: Look, it's been fermenting for a while. TRAVIS: So hammered off this cherry juice, you guys. (laughs) MATT: So as the drinks continue to flow, you guys swap stories, you converse. The evening is drawing closer to like the 1:30-2:00 in the morning, at this point. Most of the other patrons have filtered out of the bar. The Heroes' Feast, after finishing being consumed, itself has reverted back down to the wooden domino, which is a different enchantment to what you're used to. Your more druidic, divine-based Heroes' Feast you summon out of the actual element. This is almost an implement or a focus he uses for the spell each time. It's a different way of getting the same effect. Interesting to you, not being an arcane caster. But nevertheless, as it winds down a bit, you guys are all finding yourselves settling in. LAURA: Can I sit down and talk to Gilmore for a moment? MATT: Of course. MARISHA: And Keyleth gets up and moves and sits next to Vax. MATT: Okay. SAM: I go and challenge Grog to a dart game. TRAVIS: Yes. LAURA: Gilmore? MATT: "Yes, my dear?" LAURA: We ran into a really weird thing in Whitestone, and I bet you know some shit about it, because you know shit about everything. MATT: "Weird things in particular, is that what you're insinuating?" LAURA: Kind of, yeah. MATT: "All right, fair enough." LAURA: Vecna? MATT: The moment you say that, you see his jovial exterior harden for a second, and his eyes close and he goes, "That's a strange name to bring up this late in the evening." LAURA: Bad news bears, right? MATT: "Yeah." LAURA: Yeah. Yeah. I kind of almost died. (laughs) Because of him, I guess. MATT: "Almost is better than actually, so congratulations." LAURA: Thank you. But yeah. There's a spinning ball of death, really. An orb that sucks things into it. It's black. It's underground. We don't know what to do with it really and I'm kind of worried, I guess, about it. MATT: "Spinning black orb of death..." LAURA: They were trying to wake him up, but they said it was too early. They did it before Winter's Crest. MATT: He thinks for a second and says, "The only orb of spinning death I'm familiar with is a "Sphere of Annihilation, but those are generally a bit larger than what you're describing to me, at "the very least." LAURA: Well, I feel like maybe they wanted it to get bigger? I don't know. Oh! Oh! There was a hand, and an eye, and-- MATT: "Those generally follow around the phrase 'Vecna'." LAURA: Oh, really? MATT: "I don't know too much other than what I've been told historically, and bits of information "that I've picked up through the years. Vecna..." And he thinks for a second, he starts looking about if anyone else is near the table, you guys are off and throwing darts. TALIESIN: I'm listening in. MATT: Okay. TALIESIN: Pike, I don't know where you are, but I assume you're still-- ASHLEY: I'm listening. I'm listening. MATT: Okay. "Vecna. He has many names historically. The Archlich. The Whispered One. The "Dying King. The Lord of the Rotted Tower. The Undying King. Gods like titles, it seems. A bit "arrogant, in my opinion. From what I heard, he was born a mortal. Used his capabilities to attempt to "cheat death in every way possible, and then once that was acquired, naturally went on to the next "great endeavor: becoming a god. He attempted to ascend six hundred years ago. But in that time his "cult expanded across the rebuilding civilization. Nearly achieved it until it seemed that the "remnants of good in society went and followed him to his place of worship and thwarted his ritual. "He was slain, but as you've seen, when entities of such power get to a certain point, death is but a "hurdle. You have enough individuals that believe you're a god, that willpower is strong enough to "keep you enduring. So his influence exists and has for many years. I don't know if he's a god per se, "not yet, but there are those that treat him as such, and that in itself is dangerous because that "means he's probably still out there. And I'm pretty sure he's very interested in finishing what "he couldn't before." LAURA: What was he-- Just trying to be a god, is it? MATT: "That's all I've heard. Not a scholar of the religious rites, and for the most part a lot of "his history's been, well, destroyed and kept secret. It's his bailiwick." LAURA: It's his thing. Well. MATT: "But anyway. If you've indeed come across any of this foul business, I recommend you stay "far away. Far away! Bad news." LAURA: Bad news. MATT: "Yes. Anyway, sorry, dour subject. Didn't mean to bring the mood down on that one." LAURA: Don't worry. It helped. Helped us. SAM: Well, it's been a fun night, guys, but I'm tired of letting Grog beat me at darts. TRAVIS: You really suck. I don't know if it's because you're so tiny-- SAM: They put the dart board so high on the wall! TRAVIS: Yeah, but you put darts in two people's arms, I mean, are you really that-- SAM: Well, one of those people was giving us the stink-eye. TRAVIS: That's true. He squealed out like a little girl, too. SAM: But we should go home. MARISHA: What? SAM: We should go home. MARISHA: Noooo. SAM: Keyleth, please, don't be this way. We'll go out again tomorrow. It'll be fine. MARISHA: You say that now, and then tomorrow some crazy person will show up at our door and want us to do something crazy and then we'll never have a free night again. SAM: I'm super old. Let's go. TRAVIS: You know what's really cool to do at the end of the night actually that will make you be there for the sun coming up, is if you do four shots of firewater in a row. MARISHA: What? TRAVIS: Yeah. It's a thing. It reinvigorates you, but you got to do them back to back to back to back. SAM: I do hear that cures the hangover. TALIESIN: I was going to encourage. No. I'm going to encourage this now. I think this is a great idea. TRAVIS: Listen, listen. Only because I'm identifying with your need for revelry, why don't you and I go do four shots back to back to back to back? MARISHA: Let's do it! MATT: As you guys stand up and walk away, Gilmore looks to you and goes, "I like her much better "this way." MARISHA: Gilmore, I love you too! TRAVIS: Actually, you stay here. I'll bring it to the table. And I go and get the shots. MATT: All of your drinks for the evening are paid for, Gilmore takes care of the tab. LAURA: Oh my gosh, Gilmore! ASHLEY: Gilmore! MATT: You come back with the shots-- ASHLEY: Oh wait, I want one, then! MATT: All right! Pike gets a shot. TRAVIS: Nine shots. Ten shots. MARISHA: She said two shots. She wants two shots. TRAVIS: Oh, two shots? MARISHA: She wants two shots, and so wait, are me and you doing the two and the-- TRAVIS: That's ten shots. MARISHA: Quadruple? TRAVIS: Yeah, quad. LAURA: This is the stupidest thing ever. TRAVIS: What? She wants to see the sunrise. She'll totally be up for it. TALIESIN: Let it happen. We're all going to learn a valuable lesson. TRAVIS: Yeah. It's amazing. I come back with ten shots. MATT: All right, so who's drinking. One shot? Four shots. LAURA: And she's getting two. TRAVIS: And two for Pike, so 11 shots. MATT: All right. I need constitution saving throws from all four of you. TALIESIN: Do we get a constitution bonus from the Heroes' Feast? MATT: Not a constitution bonus. TRAVIS: I don't want it, anyway. MARISHA: (laughs) Don't want it anyway. Oh, that's not good. TALIESIN: Oh, wow! MARISHA: Eight. Total. TRAVIS: 14. TALIESIN: 16. MATT: Pike, what'd you get? ASHLEY: 18. TALIESIN: 20. I'm so sorry, 20. MATT: Okay. So, Percy, you take your shot. It burns down. You're fine. Pike, bam, bam. The little gnome takes it in her gut, grins, wipes the edge of her chin, looks over to Grog with a bit of a challenge look on her face. Grog, you look over to Keyleth and both of you guys start slamming down the line. As you hit that fourth one, you can feel the burn on the inside. You, a little bit of that Heroes' Feast begins to creep up, and you get that acidic, you know-- TRAVIS: Salsa? MATT: Have to stop a little bit, take it back down, but you're good. TRAVIS: Little mild salsa? MATT: But you're good. You kick it back. As soon as you open your eyes, you're like-- You look over across the way and all you see is Keyleth, her expression go from a big smile, to neutral, to a worried frown, looking to the door. SAM: She's going to-- She's going to take hit points. MARISHA: I got to go outside. I got to go outside. LAURA: I got her. I got her. MARISHA: I got to-- no, no, no, no. TRAVIS: No, she's got to stay! SAM: Vax! Vax! Hold her hair back! Hold her hair back. TRAVIS: We should pick her up and carry her around the bar. LAURA: Help her out. LIAM: I need to stay here. TRAVIS: (laughs) Come on, Keyleth! LAURA: I'll go help her out. TALIESIN: We've got her. We've got her. MATT: All right. What are you doing, Pike? ASHLEY: Wait. Okay, I want to help Keyleth out because she's-- yeah. Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead. Hold on. Go ahead. MATT: Okay, so as you guys all-- MARISHA: Pike, tell me a story! MATT: As you guys drag Keyleth outside-- Scanlan? You're staying? SAM: I'm not going near that shit. MATT: All right. Vax is staying, and Pike? You're staying? ASHLEY: Yeah. MATT: All right. As this is happening, Gilmore sits up and begins to finish off his drink. "Ah, "it's good to see friends." SAM: You too, Gil. MATT: "Well." LIAM: You aren't going, are you? MATT: "It's getting very late. I've only been back a few days and I have a lot of business to attend "to in the morning." LIAM: I'm sure you do. Could I borrow your ear for a few minutes? MATT: "Certainly. It would be my absolute pleasure." SAM: You want some privacy? LIAM: In private. MATT: "Oh. Far be me to stand in a way of a private conversation." And he stands up for a second and walks over to the far table in the corner, right by the stage where the harpist was playing but is no longer on the stage. He sits down expectantly, waiting. LAURA: Can I watch this conversation from the doorway? MATT: Well, if you guys are-- the doorway leads into the textile portion, so if you guys aren't leaving the place entirely-- MARISHA: Well, I figured we were just outside the door. TALIESIN: If you want to hang by the textile, I've taken her all the way out. LAURA: I'm just going to hang out and watch in. MATT: Okay. Keyleth, make another constitution saving throw. TALIESIN: This should be fun. MARISHA: No, that one cursed me before. That one was bad. Let's do this one. Oh, that's better. That's better. 18. MATT: Okay, you do manage to make it all the way outside of the building before you Druidcraft all over-- (laughter) TALIESIN: All right, go! Oh, not on the jacket! LAURA: No, that looks terrible. That looks terrible! Don't do that. Don't do that! That looks really bad. LIAM: Giffed for eternity. It's the internet, you can't take it back. It's there forever. MATT: It's there forever. All the Percyleth shippers now having a field day. All right, so. MARISHA: I'm so sorry. TALIESIN: It's okay. MARISHA: I'm so sorry. TALIESIN: I know. You'll be even sorrier in the morning. It's all right. MARISHA: Grog said it would make me stay up. TALIESIN: It's okay. It's okay. MATT: As you sit down. "Yes, Vax'ildan, darling?" LIAM: We've known each other a long time. MATT: "Yeah." LIAM: Long time, yeah? And I have a lot of love for you. You are an amazing man. MATT: "Well. Not disagreeing with you there." LIAM: That is part of your charm. I don't even know what I'm saying. I feel I need to be honest with you. There's no question you and I have danced around each other a bit in the past few years, and I have been curious. MATT: "Well. Curiosity is the spark of arcane pursuits and knowledge. Among many other things." LIAM: I've come close many times to going further than I have. You are a charming man. But I respect you very much. And I need to tell you that I can't do the dance anymore. I am in love with someone I don't think loves me, but all the same, it wouldn't be fair to you to think that we might dally, and I don't want to be a liar, so I won't be. MATT: "Well, I certainly appreciate your honesty, and, well, I would be lying if I didn't say I was "a little disappointed, but at the same time, the heart wants what the heart wants, and I've enjoyed "our flirtation. Perhaps our paths aren't meant to be quite so entwined. Such is the flow of fate, my friend." (sighs) And he gives a little sigh of digesting heartbreak a little bit, but, you know, there's a nod to him of understanding and acceptance, and he looks up to you again with that whipcrack of a Gilmore smile and says, "I wish you luck. The path of an uncertain heart is never an "easy one, and should you ever need an ear to bend or a shoulder to cry on, well, you know where I "am, and if I'm not there, you know how to get hold of me." LIAM: I reach out, hand behind his head, and I say, you are a beautiful arcane bastard, and I kiss him full on the lips. LAURA: Vax getting all the kisses. LIAM: I pat him on the shoulder. Thank you. MATT: "Now you're just being a tease." (laughter) MATT: He takes his cup, which is empty and holds it up to the last drop. It puddles out. (sighs) "Good night to you, Vax'ildan." LIAM: Good night, Gil. MATT: Walks out into the night. As Gilmore walks by you guys, he looks over at Keyleth and goes, "Get her some water." TALIESIN: Oh, yes. MARISHA: Why does my mouth keep producing saliva? TRAVIS: Yeah, I'll get her water. I'll get her a little jug of the firewater. It'll wash out her mouth. ASHLEY: Can I cast Lesser Restoration on her? MATT: You can. ASHLEY: All right, let's do it. LIAM: Cure alcohol poisoning? ASHLEY: Just to give her still a little bit of a buzz. To just take the bad part out of it. MATT: A proper use of divine magic! TALIESIN: You can't divine the sad out of alcohol. I don't think that works. LIAM: Can Pike follow us around all the time everywhere for the rest of our days? MATT: Pike is the best wingman. MARISHA: Pike, Pike, I missed you so much. ASHLEY: Come here, come here. MARISHA: I'm sorry, you guys. I'm so sorry. MATT: Keyleth, as Pike embraces you, the warmth of her hug is also matched with the warmth of the divine energy that briefly flows through your body, and for a second you feel as if you're weightless, and the nausea is gone. The drunkenness is still there, and the buzz is still finding its way through your system, but not as heavy as it was before. You come a little more conscious of yourself, and when the warmth fades, you feel much more in control of your current state of your mind, your well-being, and the contents of your stomach. MARISHA: Holy shit. What kind of shots did you give me, Grog? TRAVIS: The weak stuff. Yeah. I think they call it regret? SAM: Peach schnapps. LAURA: Goldschlager. TRAVIS: Goldschlager. Jaeger. Lemon citron vodka. MARISHA: (groans) ASHLEY: Oh man, I love this game. LAURA: Should we go home? SAM: Let's go home. We've left our mark here. TRAVIS: Does Keyleth lose the benefits of the Heroes' Feast since she retched it all over the ground? LAURA: Oh my gosh. MARISHA: Why would you ask that question? TALIESIN: That's such a dick question to ask. MARISHA: My body absorbed the process and the calories. MATT: It had been a few hours, or probably about an hour since the initial feasting, so she's had enough to maintain the effect. But the gentleman who owns the establishment is probably not going to be very happy in the morning when he has to clean up. MARISHA: I made it outside. LAURA: Kick some dirt over her puke. LIAM: It's just twigs and berries, anyway. MATT: You guys make your way back to Greyskull Keep. As you approach the front gate of your establishment, you see Cordell and Shayne keeping their evening watch over the gate. Cordell shouts down to the rest of you guys, "You've got guests waiting for you!" LAURA and SAM: Oh, shit. LAURA: How long have they been here? MATT: He looks to Shayne. Shayne looks to him, counts in her head. "I think probably at least two hours." LAURA: (splutters) How many times have we told you? Don't let guests in when we're not here! MATT: "They had your permission." LAURA: Oh, jeez. Who is it? MATT: "Oh, it's a bunch of them." SAM: Oh, it's my friends! This is why I wanted to come home! LAURA: Oh, Jesus. MARISHA: The party keeps going! Cordell! Cordell, open another bottle! MATT: He looks over at Shayne, who goes, "Don't do that, Cordell." MARISHA: God damn it, Cordell, we pay you! SAM: It's okay, ignore her. Let's go in. MATT: The gate opens. You guys come inside, and you find, as you enter the keep, the smell of a recently cooked meal is permeating the air of the keep. You hear laughter and a little bit of music in the distance. LAURA: At least they're having fun. MATT: And as you walk towards the eating chambers, the central feasting area on the bottom floor of your keep, there indeed you see your recently discovered friends. LAURA: Is that little-- is it a halfling teenager that was picking pockets at the bar? Is he here? MATT: He is, yes. LAURA: Can I walk up to him? MATT: Yes. Samson right now, by the way, is asleep on a table. It's way past his bedtime. He's on the edge there. LAURA: I nudge him awake. Hey, Sticky Fingers. MATT: "Hello, miss." LAURA: Hey. So I saw you at the bar, getting things off of people pockets. Off of people pockets? MATT: "They told me they wouldn't miss them." LAURA: No, it's totally fine. I don't care. You haven't done that here, have you? MATT: "No." LAURA: No. MATT: "No, not unless he tells me to." And points to Dr. Dranzel, who at this point has been like, "Scanlan! Finally." (chuckles) SAM: Lovely to see you. MATT: You can see now, there's three bottles of wine they've been drinking that are open and about. SAM: Did you bring those? MATT: "No! But they were provided, and I'm not one to not drink when it's not provided." SAM: Well, thank you. MARISHA: Oh, good. Cordell! Cordell, I'm sorry. You opened wine, and I yelled at you. I'm sorry. MATT: Cordell's at the front gate. MARISHA: Oh, I figured Cordell walked us in. MATT: No, they're up on the front gate. Keyleth is talking out to nothing. MARISHA: Thanks, Cordell! Thank you! MATT: The Lesser Restoration didn't have quite as strong an effect on reversing the alcohol, but she's not puking, so that's good. MARISHA: I'm still drunk. SAM: Doctor, thank you for coming over and bringing the gang. It's so great to see you again tonight. MATT: "Oh, you guys as well." You can see the rest of the people are watching. Zed's fallen asleep. Eselmyr's in the back corner, watching everyone. SAM: Is that the singer? MATT: Yeah, she's the older, mature elven woman who's keeping an eye. Kaylie is there, sitting next to Dranzel, and Kent Plucker has a lute he's (musical note) on. "Well, come! Sit. "Unless it's too late in the night, I have a conversation I'd like to have." SAM: Oh, please. Lay it on us. Anyone want to go to bed? MARISHA: No! MATT: (chuckles) "I like her!" TALIESIN: Yes, but let's do this anyway. SAM: All right. Laina, bring around some meats! Wait, we already ate. LAURA: We already ate. We're fine. We're so full. SAM: All right. Laina, go back to sleep. MATT: (laughing) She looks tired. She's like, (whimpering) "More meats? Okay. Is it all right if "I go to bed?" ALL: Yes. MATT: "Sleep well. Glad you made it home safe." She wanders back off, bags under her eyes. Dr. Dranzel waves you all in. "So, that little proposition that we talked about at the bar "earlier today? The old man who didn't need his fortune?" MARISHA: Oh. MATT: "Allow me to elaborate a bit in a more private setting, if you don't mind." LIAM: More private than our house? MATT: "This is the more private." LIAM: Ah. Cin-cin, everybody. Cin-cin. SAM: Is that lipstick on your face, Vax? LIAM: Maybe it is. I don't know where it would have come from, though. This is a land of magic and mystery. Who knows? MATT: As Dranzel holds out his mug, he goes, "Now, when we arrived to come play the Winter's Crest "festival here in Emon, one of my contacts, we'll say an old client of mine last year in Emon, right "around the same time mentioned a peculiar thing. Apparently, a wealthy lord here vanished about a "year ago. His estate was sold to a private collector. Apparently, this collector keeps his "name off the books, and he couldn't really find out any information about who he was or what his "business is, but he acquired the entire estate. People were curious as to what his business was, "as the previous individual was rather well known and the circumstances rather dubious in "disappearance, but I don't know really how that all went together. Anyway! This older collector "was fairly active at this estate until a few months ago. The windows have darkened and stayed "as such. No furniture touched, the interior elements unpacked or moved. Just went away. So I'm "thinking either this fellow has kicked the final bucket, met his end, or is off on some extended "business trip, leaving his acquisition and all of its contents ripe for the picking. Problem is, we "can't get into the Cloudtop District. Kent and Kaylie have tried numerous times. Almost got "arrested." And you can see, Kaylie gives a nod with her shoulders, shrugging. "Still got a few "things to learn, apparently." LAURA: Did you try winking? MATT: "It's the first thing I threw out there, dear." He goes back. "So, seeing as how you folks "have got some pull in the town, I was thinking you could either find a way to get us in quietly, "carefully. Let us do our work, give us some tips on the best way to stay out of sight. Or you could "go in, grab a few things, come back here with the spoils, and we'll take our cut." His eyes look over to you. "I get the feeling that this kind of work is not unfamiliar." LAURA: It's certainly things we've done in the past. SAM: Didn't we discuss this and assume that this is a house we'd been in once before? LAURA: Are we talking about General Krieg's house, or are we talking about the guy that we first came into his house in Emon, remember? The diplomat. TRAVIS: We don't know either way. SAM: Do you know who used to reside there, Doctor? MATT: (sighs) "The name escapes me." SAM: What about a position? MATT: You do recall, the Cloudtop District was not at your disposal when you first came here. SAM: So this is a new place? LAURA: It's probably General Krieg's place. MATT: Possibly. LAURA: Rage-looting. MARISHA: Yeah, we found the lair. TRAVIS: Down in the dungeon, there was the demon. LIAM: Teleportation device. LAURA: It could be a different house. TALIESIN: This was a while ago. LAURA: Does it sound like General Krieg's place? Did you get a description of the place? MATT: "Yes. Red brick building, iron fence surrounding the outside--" LIAM: That's it. LAURA: That's like every house, though. MATT: Actually, no. Most of the houses there have various colors. Krieg's was built more utilitarian and was very minimalistic in its interior decor. In fact, most of it seemed unused from what you saw, other than the manservant that lived there. The house, for the most part, the bedroom, everything that you searched, seemed like it was barely touched. LAURA: Because he was a dragon. TRAVIS: Yeah, he was a fucking dragon. LAURA: Was that his house, that he's describing? MATT: It seems pretty damn close to the description that you recall. LIAM: If we were to be interested, it's true that you are pointing us in the direction of this place, but we would be doing all the work. We would need a very high percentage. MATT: "I'd previously discussed a 60-40 split." LIAM: I know that's what you said. I said high. MATT: "70-30." LIAM: 80-20, or I'm not doing shit. You can send him in. SAM: Hey. This is my friend. MATT: (sighs) "A tough bargain, but 80-20 it is." MATT and LIAM: (spitting noises) MATT: "All righty." LAURA: We haven't agreed to it. MATT: "You just did!" LAURA: We agreed to give you a cut if we go in. MATT: "Fair enough." LAURA: Here's the thing. If you haven't noticed, we have a keep. An embassy. We're known around town. We're council members. We can't go stealing things from people's houses. MATT: "Well, that's unfortunate. We'll have to find somebody else." TRAVIS: Well, hold on. He made a deal with you. If he doesn't do it, we'll find somebody that will. He's a man of his word, and we'll back it up. You don't have to do it. SAM: You know, Vex, we have sort of told the sovereign that we are interested keenly in the security of this area, and if this is an unsecured house, we could just be going in to try to secure it. TRAVIS: Excellent point. MATT: "See? Thinking of the people. That's the Scanlan Shorthalt I know." TRAVIS: And remember, there were dangerous things in that house. We can make sure that it's safe now, protecting the, you know-- SAM: Yes. God forbid a child wanders in there. TRAVIS: God forbid. LIAM: We're not talking about breaking into a living man's home. Krieg is gone. Krieg was a dragon. LAURA: And then it was obtained by somebody else, who you don't know who it is. MARISHA: Oh, are we talking about General Krieg? LAURA: He was so dreamy. Do you remember him? MARISHA: He was so dreamy! MATT: "Krieg. I've heard that name. I think that may be the gentleman." MARISHA: Oh, you know Krieg? MATT: "Well, I don't know him." TALIESIN: Perhaps we should at least take a look to see if there was something else down there that was dangerous. TRAVIS: She said fine! I heard her. She said fine. SAM: Let's do this. Tomorrow, we'll set off to do this. In the meantime, we invite you to stay at our keep. Drink of our wine, eat of our food. MARISHA: Yeah, more wine! SAM: Please, make yourselves at home. MATT: "Is this not the greatest bard to have lived?" SAM: (chuckles) Yes. TRAVIS: We think so. SAM: Thank you. MATT: "Scanlan, you humble us all. We're happy to do so. And thank you very much for your fine "hospitality." TALIESIN: You humble us all by comparison. LAURA: We have one room, in addition to what we stay in. Would all of you be staying in the same one, or would you want to stay in the temple? SAM: We have a couple of rooms. LIAM: We have a dungeon. SAM: Our dragonborn room is available now, and as well, we have a dungeon. TRAVIS: I'll stay in the dungeon. They can stay in my room. SAM: I have a rather large bed, if Kaylie would like to take that. I could sleep on the floor. That's fine. LAURA: You invited them to stay because you want to bone Kaylie? TRAVIS: What, are you really cock-blocking right now? LIAM: Did you just say that out loud? TRAVIS: Are you cock-blocking in the keep? MATT: As you're saying this, Kaylie is watching this with a smirk on her face. "Well, I'm not one "to turn down a soft bed for an evening." TRAVIS: Yeah! Can't wreck that game! (laughter) MATT: Dranzel glances over. (laughs) "Good luck." TALIESIN: We can also put some beds out in the workshop which has now been vacated. SAM: Grog, carry some beds around. MARISHA: How long are you guys staying? MATT: Zed sits up, the large, bearded gentleman. He's like, "I'm happy to sleep here. This is fine "by me. Just give me a flat surface." He goes over to one of the tables and-- SAM: Is that Zed the drummer? MATT: Yeah, he's the drummer. SAM: Okay. TRAVIS: Why don't you invite the little pickpocket to sleep with you? So you can keep an eye on him. So he doesn't steal stuff. Where are you going, perv? LAURA: Where are you going, perv? (laughter) SAM: Let's all turn in, shall we? TRAVIS: Let's turn in! MATT: All right. LAURA: I'm going to stay up and keep an eye on the doors when they go into their rooms and make sure they actually stay-- actually, no, I'm going to go find Jareth. MATT: Jarett, you mean? LAURA: Jarett. MATT: It's been that week. ALL: Aw. TALIESIN: I shove Keyleth into her room. MARISHA: (slurred) Good night, Percy. TALIESIN: Good night. MATT: You guys all find your way to your rooms. You arrange beds for those who need it, for the most part down in the dungeon area. A couple of rooms are crowded with other folks, except for Kaylie, who is following you, Scanlan, with a bottle of wine and two glasses. LAURA: Oh my. LIAM: Oh dear. LAURA: She's going to rob you blind. MATT: As you all go to your various rooms, Kaylie pulls out the chair and the table at the far end of your bedroom. Sets down and begins to pour glasses of wine and sits across. You guys have drinks and begin various conversations about-- (flute music) (laughter) MATT: She's that good of a flute player. She asks you about your history and your travels and how you met Dr. Dranzel, and everything. SAM: I tell her all the best parts, and leave out the naughty bits. MATT: "Interesting tale." SAM: Kingslayer. MATT: "Right, right." SAM: Leader of the rebellion. MATT: "So you've said, a number of times, aye." She drinks a little bit more of the wine, sets it down. "I guess I should tell you a bit "more about myself, then." SAM: Yes, please, I'm fascinated. MATT: "Well, I grew up in Kymal, mostly, before moving to Westrunn to train at the College of the "White Duke. Finest of the bards, he was." SAM: Yes, yes he-- MATT: "My mom gave all her savings to put me up there. Now, I only joined the troop about six "months back. It was my third year at the Duke's when the good doctor came through and, well, I "seized the opportunity. Now, to be perfectly honest up-front, I've already heard a bit about "your tales, Shorthalt. (chuckles) The Charming of the Pauper Prince, your rendition of the Summer "Sunder, the Cliffs of Dagger Bay. I've been hoping our paths would cross." MARISHA: (laughing) Wait-- TRAVIS: You're not there, Drunky. LAURA: You're drunk, go to sleep. MARISHA: (wheezing) Cliffs of Dagger Bay! Go ahead! MATT: Dagger Bay's just a place. MARISHA: Yeah? (laughter) MARISHA: Go ahead. LAURA: (laughing) What? SAM: Well, I'm flattered, and, you have quite talent for-- quite a lot of talent for just been playing with the troop for six months. I was impressed by that. MATT: "Thank you very much. You know where I've heard most of these stories? "My mother, Sybil." SAM: Who? MATT: "Sybil. A fine gnomish lass, it was some years ago, she came across a smooth, "silver-tongued flautist who blew through like the wind and disappeared." (gasping) MATT: "Took her innocence with a promise, then vanished just as suddenly. Left her a child to "raise on the income of a quilter, she did. Now growing up, I heard tale and tale of your musical "feats as my mother took on a third job to support us through bad harvests, just south of Silvercut. "Being the only tiny, female fair folk in such a rural town means being preyed upon, so "I learned to use a blade quickly, and to wield my charm just as viciously. Seems that runs in the "family, aye?" SAM: I-- oh, I-- (laughter) MATT: "I practiced. I stole. Lied about my age and eventually paid my way into the Duke's College so "I could find you. Prove you a scoundrel." At this point, you see her stand up, and she begins to draw a small blade from her side. SAM: She's going to fight me! MARISHA: Oh my god! MATT: Her face is hardened and still as she stares at you. You see a slight tremble in her hand. "This day, Scanlan Shorthalt, I beat you at your own song. Now I come to take your dignity. Now "take up your sword." TRAVIS: (whispering) Holy shit-- SAM: First of all, Kaylie, it's so wonderful to meet you. MATT: "Don't try that with me." SAM: I didn't know! Listen, I have my faults, for sure, but (stammers) I didn't know that you existed! I would have, I would have come to visit, I would have come to meet you-- how can you fault me for something that I did not know about? MATT: "Do you even remember Sybil?" SAM: I mean, could you describe her a little more detailed? (laughter) MATT: Make a wisdom check. Roll a d20, add your wisdom modifier. SAM: Okay, wisdom? Which is a negative two. 16. MATT: 16. You vaguely recall Sybil. She-- golden hair, very eager to escape her simple beginnings, and very clingy very quickly. You jumped out of there very fast, from your perspective. SAM: Ah yes, Sybil. She was passionate, intelligent-- (laughter) SAM: She really, lot of-- hands-y, sort of, I mean, I think I remember her quite well. And she was a wonderful person, and you should be honored to have such a wonderful person as your parent, and not someone like me, because I was a scoundrel, you're right. MATT: "You are a scoundrel." SAM: I have been, in past moments in my life, a scoundrel, I've-- MATT: "Do you even realize you nearly invited your daughter up to sleep with you?" (laughter) SAM: I mean... MATT: "You don't care." SAM: I feel like I wouldn't have let it go that far? I-- MATT: "You have no boundaries. You take what you like and you keep walking on. You trick folk. Now "draw your blade." SAM: I don't want to fight you, if that's what you're insinuating. Listen, I know that I've made mistakes in my life. I've admitted as much before, and I don't know why I'm this way. I must need to do a lot of soul-searching to come up with an answer, but there is a woman who I love very dearly and who I would do anything for, and I'm trying to be a better person. I haven't been to a whorehouse in months! That's a big step for me. A bit step. I know that sounds callous and crude, but I've tried to be a better person. If you're here to fight me, I'm afraid you're going to be terribly disappointed, because I will just let you kill me, if that's what it takes. I didn't know you existed, and my heart is breaking a hundred times now for not knowing it. Every year that you've been alive is a year I could have been a better person and known someone who could have made me a better person, and I'm only sorry that I didn't know it. If there's anything I can do for you from now on-- if you are truly my blood, I will, because among my many faults, ego is certainly one of them, and knowing you're part of me makes me love you even more. (laughter) MATT: Make a persuasion check. With advantage, for that speech. SAM: Persuasion? LIAM: With advantage! SAM: It won't matter. MARISHA: Is there a manipulation check? SAM: 32. TRAVIS: No shit, it won't matter. LAURA: Oh? She rolled high, too. SAM: Oh, shit. She's big. MARISHA: A bard. MATT: As she stands there with her blade out, staring at you, you can see the veins in her neck tensing. SAM: I slowly unbutton my shirt and show her my chest and say, "Stab me right here, if you'd like, "and I will not resist. You've earned it. Take me." MATT: You see the tear begin to roll down her cheek as her jaw clenches. (grunts) And she thrusts forward-- -- and rolls a natural one. SAM: A natural one? LAURA: Aw, a natural one. MATT: As she goes to strike towards you, even in that moment, her will falters and the blade falls limp. It hits your chest, and you feel the piercing of something pushing into your flesh, but no more than maybe half an inch, as there's no real force behind the blade. As the hand releases her weapon, it clatters to the ground as her momentum carries her arms around your shoulders. ALL: Oh! MATT: As she holds you there, her tousled, short pixie brown hair, you can feel the wetness across the back of your neck, and you hear her voice trembling in your ear say, "Why? Why can't I do "it? All the years building up to this and I have the chance, and I can't do it." SAM: I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry that you're going through this, and I'm more sorry that you're going through this by yourself, but I think deep down you're a Shorthalt, and there's something that you have that's connected to me and I to you, and perhaps I misread that as some sort of-- ugh-- icky attraction, and I apologize, but I've known for a while now that something is missing in my life, some sort of focus, and some sort of moral compass. Maybe it's just arrived at my doorstep? MATT: You say that and her arms tense for a minute, involuntary, trying to pull you closer, then they relax, and she steps away, averting her gaze, keeping her head down. She bends down and picks up her blade. Doesn't sheathe it, just holds it limply at her side. She begins to walk to the door. She opens the door and looks back at you, her eyes finally meeting yours. You can see the wet stains across her cheeks. "You're still a scoundrel. It's what's kept you alive this long. "In some ways, it's what's kept me alive this long. I've got a lot to think about. I'm going to go for a "walk. (sighs) I need some fresh air." And she closes the door behind her. SAM: I sit for a moment and think about everything, try to remember more about Sybil. MATT: There's a lot of faces blurring, this is-- You worked your way through a lot of Tal'Dorei in those days, you-- SAM: Yes. She was, she was. Yes, I think, yeah. She wasn't that giant. No, she was. Okay. And I have a very restless night thinking about everything. MATT: Okay. And with that, we're going to go ahead and take a bathroom break. We'll be back here in five minutes. LIAM: Amazing, amazing! MARISHA: So good! You. MATT: You avoided a showdown in your bedroom. SAM: With my daughter! MATT: She was ready to. We'll be back here real fast, take this, a quick break, quick as we can, because we have a lot to get through before we get to Critmas. We'll see you here in just a few minutes. TALIESIN: Damn! LAURA: That was awesome. [break] TRAVIS: Balls. MATT: Welcome back, everyone. So before we get back into this crazy little Maury Povich show episode, we have a chatroom winner for our giveaway, which is awesome. Congratulations to dr3vvn45ty, you are our winner for this evening's chat room giveaway, congratulations! (cheering) MATT: You're going to get awesome art and a cool package of games and stuff, it'll be really awesome, so congrats. All right, so. Jumping back in. The morning comes around, consciousness comes to all of you, you-- LAURA: I had, in the night I had gone to find Jarett. MATT: Oh right, Jarett, sorry. LAURA: Just to tell him to keep an eye on the rooms and everything. Because, you know, I'm sure they're all great people, but-- I know they have some shady practices, so. I just want to make sure that-- SAM: That's my daughter you're talking about, by the way. TRAVIS: We don't know that yet. MATT: "I'm happy to take care of this for you." He loads his crossbow and plops himself down at the edge of the hall where he has a view of every single door at the south end of the keep. And he's, like, perched and ready. All right. You guys come to consciousness the next morning, more hungover than others, depending on the individual. Come down, breakfast has already been prepared and waiting. (laughs) Poor Laina's been trying to keep it warm for you, and part of it's already being eaten by your guests, who, half of them fell asleep in the actual dining room. Nevertheless, all of you come down. Scanlan, you eventually come out of your confused reverie. Not a lot of good sleep throughout the evening and Kaylie never came back throughout the night. SAM: Mm. Is Dr. Dranzel around? MATT: Yeah. As you head down to the main dining area, Dranzel is there and he's a little hungover himself and enjoying the remnants of his meal. Poor Laina is not designed to produce breakfast for over 11 people in a morning. SAM: Old friend, a quick word. MATT: "Yes. Good morning, Scanlan." SAM: Good morning-- Well, morning to you as well. Did you know? MATT: "About?" SAM: Did you know? About the girl? MATT: "What did she do?" SAM: All right. MATT: "What did she do?" And you can see, he looks a little worried now. He's checking his pockets. SAM: Does he seem-- Can I insight check him? MATT: Yeah, make an insight check. SAM: Does he seem genuine? Oh, boy. (laughter) SAM: Three. MATT: Three. Seems pretty genuine. Yeah, he's hard to read beyond hung over and mildly confused. And you spent a lot of time with him, so you know his demeanor pretty well. But yeah, he seems genuinely like (stutters) "If she's done anything wrong, let me know. She's part of my troupe. I take "responsibility for her." SAM: No, no. She's a fine player and a fine, upstanding person, and you should take special interest in her. She's a good one. Please, if she continues on with your troupe, take good care of her, all right? MATT: "Of course. As long as she keeps bringing in the change and doesn't piss me off, I think we're good." SAM: She might. All right. MATT: Takes his hat and puts it on, finishes his breakfast. LAURA: Can I check around? Look around the keep and make sure-- I mean in the general area and see if anything's missing? TRAVIS: So paranoid. LAURA: Seriously, I do not trust these people. SAM: Where's our five-thou? LAURA: Yeah, where is our five-thou? Did it get delivered? MATT: It never got delivered. LIAM: Oh shit. MATT: I mean, who are you asking? LAURA: I'm asking the guards at the front if anybody came from the keep, from Uriel. MATT: Okay. Cordell and Shayne are now changing over into the next morning staff. As they're getting their stuff together, the morning staff would be Kendrick-- SAM: Natibe? MATT: -- and Natibe, yes. You took notes. SAM: I wrote them down, it's not a big deal. LIAM: You pulled a rabbit out of a hat. MATT: But yeah, as they're changing over, you walk over and ask them. And Shayne goes, "Yeah, no, we "had a messenger come by and drop something off for you guys." LAURA: Where is it? MATT: "Well, we gave it to Erwen and he brought it inside, but you guys weren't home." LAURA: What did it look like? MATT: "A small wooden thing, right?" LAURA: Where did Erwen put it? MATT: Cordell's like, "Yeah, it was like a small wooden case." LAURA: Where did you put it? Where did you put it? MATT: "Erwen took it in." LAURA: Where's Erwen? MATT: They both look at each other. "Look, our shift's over." LAURA: Just tell me where the fuck Erwen is. MATT: "Probably inside the keep! I don't watch your little old man-servant. I'm sorry. I'm "supposed to watch the front of the gate." LAURA: Fuck. I go inside to find Erwen. MATT: Okay. Erwen, who's dressed up in his proper servant attire now that he has to entertain guests. His hair is slicked back and is a scoop of a balding male dome. "Yes, Vex'ahlia. May I be of "service to you this morning?" LAURA: You look wonderful today. MATT: "Oh, you." LAURA: Box, box, box, where did it go, box? The box that came last night. MATT: "Oh! Oh yes! No, there was a delivery." LAURA: Yes. MATT: "I was looking for you all, but no one was home. So I asked around if anyone had seen you and "your guests said that you would be coming and that they would hold it for you until you arrived." LAURA: Our guests did? SAM: (laughing) Shit. LAURA: Our guests did? I go storming into the breakfast area. Dr. Dre! SAM: Dra. LAURA: Dr. Dra. Hey! MATT: He's stood up and put his hat on. "Ah, yes!" LAURA: Yes. You had the best night's sleep here, I bet? So comfortable? Lots of wine? That box, give it to me now. MATT: "Oh! (laughs) Yes, we were making sure that it wasn't pilfered by any untrustworthy types. Of "course, of course." LAURA: That's so kind of you. MATT: "We're more than happy to help. You being such fine hosts to us, it's the least we could "do." And he leans over to Kent. (murmurs something) You can read lips. LAURA: I can read lips. What did he say? (laughter) MATT: As he leans over, he says, "Kent, you better go get the box." LAURA: Okay. MATT: "Right, okay." Steps away, runs up to the guest room that they were staying, comes back down carrying the small chest. LAURA: Thank you so much! I open it up and count it. MATT: Okay. (laughs) It'll take you a little while. It's a lot of coin. You get, for about the next 30-ish minutes or so, you're counting through and you're starting to get towards the bottom of it and you've gotten to about roughly the 3,500-4,000 gold section, before Kent comes up to you behind and takes a small satchel and empties it into the chest as well and goes, "And that as "well, sorry. Keeping it separate, so in case--" LAURA: In case we got robbed. MATT: "Right, you wouldn't lose everything." LAURA: That's so kind of you. MATT: "Thinking ahead." LAURA: What nice friends you have, Scanlan. SAM: Well, you know. LAURA: They're so giving. SAM: They're cool. TRAVIS: How was last night, huh? SAM: Ugh. TRAVIS: Pretty wild? Thank god the walls are made of stone! MARISHA: Have we all come downstairs or are we all sitting around-- MATT: You've all, eventually, come downstairs. SAM: Let's just say I struck out, all right? TRAVIS: You? Struck out? SAM: Yeah, it's fine. TRAVIS: Maybe I should have a go at her, then. SAM: No! No, no, no! She doesn't like our kind, she's-- TALIESIN: What is 'our kind' supposed to mean? SAM: She's off-limits. I saw her first. TRAVIS: Wait, wait, wait. Are you in love? SAM: Yes, you could say so. TRAVIS: Holy shit. TALIESIN: Did you hear that, Pike? MARISHA: No, I don't think she did. (laughter) ASHLEY: Did I hear what? (laughter) LIAM: Scanlan said he's in love. LAURA: With someone else. MATT: He said he's in love. ASHLEY: Can I insight check him? Because it was awfully quiet in your room, Scanlan. LAURA: It's normally so loud (laughs). ASHLEY: Normally so loud. Insight check. 18. MATT: Were you being honest? SAM: I think maybe. MATT: Yeah. No, Scanlan seemed pretty honest, if guarded. ASHLEY: Okay. Okay. MATT: At this point, Dr. Dranzel is like, "Speaking of which, where is Kaylie? I haven't "seen her all morning." SAM: I don't know. She ran off last night. But we should find her. MARISHA: You scared another one away? SAM: You could say that. MARISHA: Oh, Scanlan. I kind of liked her. SAM: Your breath is disgusting. (laughter) SAM: Disgusting. Get a root, do something with it. It's disgusting. MARISHA: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Actually, what happened? SAM: That's fine. Ask Pike. MARISHA: Pike, what happened? ASHLEY: Oh, it's fine! We had so much fun and did shots of fire-something. TRAVIS: Water. Fire water. ASHLEY: Grog's idea. MARISHA: Grog. TRAVIS: What? TALIESIN: You had a very good time. TRAVIS: You were very passionate. You were like, "I need fire water," I said, "okay." MARISHA: That sounds like something I'd do. TALIESIN: And then we planned to investigate a house and possibly pilfer. MATT: "Yes, yes!" MARISHA: Wait, we did what? SAM: Yes, we're going to go do that today. TALIESIN: We're going to investigate a house. MARISHA: No, what was the second word you said? TALIESIN: Possibly. MARISHA: The third word you said? TALIESIN: Pilfer. MARISHA: That one. TALIESIN: Yes. MARISHA: Well, what, what? SAM: It's a bad guy's house, so it'll be fine. MARISHA: Whose house? TRAVIS: So you remember when we went to General Krieg's house? SAM: We'll explain on the way. MARISHA: Wait! LAURA: Don't worry about it, Keyleth, we'll talk about it on the way. TRAVIS: Yeah, it's all good. We're making sure the city is safe from the house. It's empty. We're going to make sure it stays empty and safe. TALIESIN: Last time we were there, things attacked us, so we're going to double-check. MARISHA: Yeah, the dragon that we provoked. So, you know. TALIESIN: Mysterious things have been happening, though. MARISHA: What do you all want in the house? TALIESIN: Nothing. TRAVIS: Yeah. MARISHA: What do you all want in the house? SAM: We don't know. We don't know what's in the house. It's a mysterious thing to be happening in this town. MATT: "Yeah, just an investigation." SAM: We're going to check it out. We won't do anything untoward. MARISHA: This sounds like nothing we would ever agree to. Ever. We would never agree to investigate a house with nothing. TRAVIS: Well, somebody said that they were afraid that bad things were coming out of it. MARISHA: So we're now going to go into a house with bad things coming out of it. And we don't know what these bad things are. What did we agree to, Percy? Percy, what did we agree to? TALIESIN: We-- MARISHA: Percy, tell me. TALIESIN: We agreed to take a look inside this house and if there was anything valuable we would liberate it. MATT: "And while you guys do that, we'll wait here and eagerly keep an eye out for Kaylie and--" SAM: Yes, please do. And keep a good eye out for her. MATT: "Sure." SAM: And if you have a gig tonight-- Do you have a gig tonight anywhere? MATT: "Not this evening, no." SAM: All right. You can use our place as a base of operations, but please try not to steal anything else. MATT: "I wouldn't dream of it, Scanlan." SAM: Well, you would dream of it. You'd absolutely dream of it. Just don't do it. MATT: Tips his hat a little. "Understood." LIAM: Maybe we could pay Jarett a little overtime. LAURA: I fully, fully intend-- MATT: And as you turn and look over at the door, Jarett's there with his crossbow, still over on the side, looking in. He glances over. LAURA: Thank you. SAM: All right. Let's go check out this house. TRAVIS: Yeah, let's go. MARISHA: No. SAM: You want to stay and take a look after these people? MARISHA: Maybe. TRAVIS: Okay. SAM: Well, no need to be coy, stinky. MARISHA: I'm not going to go stealing from some house-- SAM: We're not stealing, we're investigating. MARISHA: -- when you guys aren't even giving me all the information. LAURA: Maybe if somebody wasn't so drunk last night, they would've had the information. TALIESIN: That's very fair. MARISHA: Well, maybe if I didn't have friends who were such douchebags. LAURA: Oh. Well. SAM: She is the worst drunk. TRAVIS: And we leave. MARISHA: I didn't even get to see the sunrise. LAURA: Aww. TALIESIN: I'll make sure you see a sunrise. Now come on. We need you with us anyway. MARISHA: No! TALIESIN: To keep us honest. MARISHA: Percy. Pike! ASHLEY: Well, I think we should just go. TRAVIS: Yes! ASHLEY: You know, how about we just go? You could wait outside just in case something happens. MARISHA: Vex. LAURA: I don't want to steal anything either. TALIESIN: We should take a look. MATT: At this point, Zedd, the rather rotund drummer, has finished eating his breakfast. He's got bits of egg in his beard. He spins around and goes, "You're more than welcome to stay here with us." LAURA: Yes, she is, because it's our house. MATT: "Right." TALIESIN: The faster we do this, the faster they leave, at the very least. MARISHA: I don't even know what we're doing. TALIESIN: It'll be fine. We'll explain it on the way. MATT: Grog leaves. TRAVIS: Who else is coming? SAM: I'm coming. LAURA: Trinket follows before I do. TALIESIN: Trinket's coming. MARISHA: Trinket is a bear. TALIESIN: Yes. A wise bear. LAURA: Keyleth, seriously, I don't want to steal anything. I want to find out why these-- They can't hear me, I'm whispering to her. TALIESIN: I think we're already on our way, aren't we? LAURA: We're walking. I want to find out why they want to get into the house. That's all. Something shady's going on. LIAM: The last time we were there, something looked at us through things on the wall. Right? So it knew where we were and we fled. We have no idea what we left behind. We left in a hurry. TALIESIN: And the new owner has also left in a hurry. MARISHA: Okay. Let's go. LAURA: We're keeping things safe. TRAVIS: No, we should stay, we shouldn't go to the house-- Yeah, let's fucking go! MARISHA: We're keeping things safe. Vox Machina. Woo, let's go. MATT: All right. TALIESIN: It's tough being the good one. LAURA: I don't like them at our keep. SAM: We're taking the bear or leaving the bear? LAURA: We're fucking taking the fucking bear! SAM: All right, let's go. (laughter) SAM: Just a simple question. LAURA: That's my whole fighting fucking thing is I have a fucking bear. That's the whole point of the class that I took. I keep the bear. LIAM: What kind of classes? Have you been going to night school? LAURA: Yeah, classes. You know, writing, creative writing. LIAM: Emon Community College. LAURA: Yeah. I'm learning things, every day. LIAM: Everyone says words. I don't know what all these words mean. What's a douchebag? TRAVIS: We can remember how to get back to that house, right? MATT: Yeah. TALIESIN: Just skate over that one. MATT: You guys make your way towards the Cloudtop District. You're allowed through the gates and you find your way across the central residential area to the far northeast side of the district. This is further away from the palace, within viewing distance from Allura's tower, which still stands over the entirety of the district, like this looming monolith. Currently empty and cold as she's over in Whitestone for this investigation. However, you do come across the familiar site of General Krieg's homestead, the one you infiltrated a little over a year ago. It looks like it's a little dilapidated, but strangely enough, for a person who's purchased this estate, there wasn't much attempt to try and beautify it. The ivy has overgrown the bottom of it. There is still the iron gate around it. It is currently closed and there are no guards posted around it. It looks empty and vacant and dark in the windows. It's about noon. LIAM: Have a look around? LAURA: Yeah. Go around the back. MATT: Okay. You guys scoot around to the back side. Anything in particular you're looking for? LAURA: Any signs of life? LIAM: Anyone around? Watching? MATT: Perception check. For those who wish to look around. LIAM: 23 for me. LAURA: One. TRAVIS: Five. TALIESIN: 16. MATT: All right. We have Percy and Vax glance over. You take about five minutes or so paying very close attention to any sort of possible movement or light within the building. Nothing. It is dark. It is motionless. The windows are closed. It's a dark interior and you can't really make any details out of the inside from this point, because it is so closed off. Some of the curtains have actually been drawn shut. But not all of them, a few of the windows are open. LIAM: What about around the house? Outside the house? MATT: Outside the house? The grass, the lawn that surrounds this-- LIAM: Or surrounding buildings. MATT: Surrounding buildings. There a number of other homes as well, but this area is the more upper class, upper crust aspect of Emon. A number of various manors and rather decadent buildings. Each building has its own color scheme, its own architecture. Each thing is trying to be distinct and different in this microcosm of the societal space of Emon, where most of the gold passes through. They have their own worries about presentation. Which is interesting, because in the middle of all these very beautiful homes, you have General Krieg's home, which is pretty basic, red brick, utilitarian and sticks out like a sore thumb by comparison. Or doesn't stick out at all by comparison, because it's so normal-looking. TRAVIS: I like it. LAURA: Can I ask you guys, before we do anything, maybe it would be best to tell the guards that we're investigating a disappearance? We've heard things about the house and we need to check inside. SAM: What guards? MARISHA: I agree. LAURA: It's obviously shady if we go sneaking in, but if we say, "We're going in the house, because "we worry for it," then it's okay. TRAVIS: Should we tell them when we go to the bathroom, too? LAURA: Maybe, Grog. SAM: We're above them in rank. TRAVIS: Yeah. MARISHA: But the guards have the ability to call higher authority on us and we don't want people-- TALIESIN: Are there any guards that we can see right now? MATT: Glancing about, there are none in your immediate vicinity. You're not that far from the Citrine Garrison, which is the centerpiece of the higher military folk. And they do have their own guard station about. You're about a ten-minute walk from the palace, which has a number of guards throughout, and you do have some patrols that come through the city. But in the middle of the day in the Cloudtop, it's not as pressing a place for guard presence. So you haven't seen any immediately around you. But I'm sure if you wait for the next 15-20 minutes, one will probably come your way. LAURA: I mean, they probably have a key to General Krieg's place. We can just barge on in. SAM: Well, it's owned by someone, isn't it? Someone deserted it. LAURA: Did somebody buy it after him? SAM: Yes, it's private property. LAURA: Oh. SAM: You're being very prudent. TRAVIS: Yeah, we'll totally wait here while you go tell the guards that we want to go inspect something. SAM: We're better at this than them. Let's go do what we do. Right, Trinket? MATT: (bear noises) As he growls into your ear. LAURA: No. SAM: How can you resist that? TALIESIN: If we come across a guard, I'd be happy to inform them of what we're doing. MARISHA: Why don't we at least do a little bit of pre-planning? Do we need like a warrant for something like this? TRAVIS: Oh, fuck that. I walk up to the door and knock really loud. LAURA: There's a gate around the outside. MATT: There is a gate. TRAVIS: I thought we were around the back. MATT: You guys were around back. There's the gate, which is about-- the fence itself is about seven feet tall with little metal impaler spikes on the top. TRAVIS: I'll hop over that. MATT: All right. Go ahead and make an acrobatics check. SAM: Hop check. TRAVIS: 15. MATT: Okay! Okay. You deftly avoid falling upon one and spearing your manhood, thankfully. As you grab the edge, (grunts) loftily heft yourself over the top of the gate, landing within the other side of the browning yard that hasn't been well-kept. TRAVIS: Hmm. You might want to tell the guard I'm walking on the yard. Let them know I'm going. And I go off towards the house. MATT: Grog walks away from you guys towards the house brazenly in the middle of the midday sun. TALIESIN: Grog, that rhymed! Well done! LAURA: Anybody want a peanut? MARISHA: I stand next to Vex, irritated. LIAM: And during that whole exchange, I've been changing cloaks and putting on the red one. Great. MATT: Okay. LAURA: Subtle. So stealthy now. LIAM: I don't need to be subtle, I'm just standing around, you guys are arguing, he's making a fool of you, I'm just changing my cloak. I have 17 cloaks. SAM: Do you bring around one of those like-- MARISHA: Wardrobe racks? SAM: Yeah, rolling wardrobe racks LIAM: Yeah. It's on wheels, it's on wheels. It's functional. TRAVIS: It bobbles on the cobblestones. MATT: You're going, "Shh! Follow me." (squeaking sound) (laughter) LIAM: They smoosh up to about the size of a cabbage. It's really all right. LAURA: So you have a very wrinkly red cloak on right now. LIAM: You know what? Never mind! I think, what I think is that Grog and Pike should lead the way, stealth in, pick all the locks, and I think everything will go really well. TRAVIS: That's a great idea. LIAM: I'm going to hang back. I think that's the way to go. MATT: Grog, you're already at the front door. TRAVIS: Brilliant. Boom, boom, boom. SAM: Grog just knocked. MATT: You guys hear in the distance (knocking) as Grog's fist is now hitting-- TALIESIN: Walking to the front gate. MARISHA: You know, I could Skywrite that we're here in the sky again. MATT: Nobody answers the door. TRAVIS: There's no answer at the door! ASHLEY: Can I try picking the lock? MATT: Do you have lockpicks? MARISHA: She's going to literally try picking the lock? Yes! ASHLEY: Do I have a lockpick? LIAM: I take Pike by the hand and go: here you go, chum, and I slap down my set in her hand. MATT: Vex appears seemingly out of nowhere and slaps his lockpicks-- LIAM: I'm Vax. MATT: I'm sorry, Vax. So, Pike. I've gotten much better at that. MARISHA: It happens to everybody. MATT: Pike, you want to try and pick the lock? ASHLEY: Yeah. MATT: All right. Go ahead and roll a d20 and add your dexterity. SAM: I'm going to inspire her. MATT: Okay, go for it. SAM: With a limerick. LIAM: There's no way this is not good. SAM: All right, I'm going to inspire her. There once was a gnome with a mace. Who had an adorable face. She never would bed me, but I hope she won't forget me. 'Cause oh how I do love the chase. ALL: Aw! MATT: That is a real easy d10 inspiration die for you, Pike. MARISHA: That's a panty-dropper, as Sam would say. MATT: So go ahead and roll a d20, add your dexterity modifier. ASHLEY: Okay. MATT: Which is what? ASHLEY: So in addition to the 20? MATT: Yeah, well, what'd you roll? ASHLEY: I rolled a six. MATT: Okay. Then what's your dexterity modifier? ASHLEY: One. MATT: That's a seven. Now go ahead and roll a d10 and add that to it. ASHLEY: Okay. I rolled a nine. ALL: Oh! SAM: That helps. MATT: All right. Wow. Okay, that puts you at a 15, which is actually directly the DC of the door. ASHLEY: Wait! 16! 16! MATT: Even better! LIAM: Everybody, meet your new rogue. MATT: Yes. With the rattle of metal plate, the untrained eye, and a couple times you hear the metal (creaking) beginning to bend as she, having no previous experience really with lockpicks from what you know, you're afraid she's going to break your toolset. However, she's picked up a few things while she was at sea with, you know, more of the swashbuckling brigades over the western shores, and much to your surprise, she (click, opening sound). The door opens and the dark interior of the home is at your disposal. SAM: See, this is our problem. We've been approaching doors without Pike! We need Pike! TRAVIS: I reach down and high-five Pike. LIAM: She pushes massive statues, she unlocks all doors. TRAVIS: I stick my head in the door and I go: hello? Is anyone home? ASHLEY: I give his pick back to him. And I say: it was just luck, Vax. LIAM: Shut up, baby. I know it. TRAVIS: I lean back and I go: there's nobody answering from inside. Vex, you might want to go tell the guard no one's inside. LAURA: Asshole. I feel like we have a blessing of Sarenrae though to go inside. MATT: As you step into the home a little bit, the first thing you notice is the smell. Immediate, pungent scent of decay hits your nose. The source is not in immediate visual range and you can't really tell what type of decay it is, but it's a definitively terrible smell, and one that permeates the interior of the foyer. Foyer. TRAVIS: It smells like roses inside. TALIESIN: I'm coming in. MATT: All right, you come in. It's an experience as you guys walk in, it catches you off guard and you stand, the main foyer open before you, the only light currently within the interior is the bit of sunlight that's bouncing in from the front open doors and a few of the windows in the distance. To your left is a dining room, there's a big red carpet in the center of the room, there's tapestries put all-- actually, the decor in here is much more garish than you recall. When you were last here it was very simple, it was very minimalist, and you got the impression that the house for the most part was not being lived in outside of the servant. You recall there was a passageway across from the foyer that led to a gallery and that which had the-- TALIESIN: The trap room, the little portal in it. MATT: Yep. The false wall in the back. LAURA: Oh right. Behind the tapestry, right? TALIESIN: Let's find the source of the smell. LAURA: Trinket is actually really good at sniffing things out, so maybe he can lead us to the smell. ASHLEY: Good boy. MATT: Trinket comes sniffing up. (sniffing sounds) Go ahead and make a perception check for Trinket. LAURA: Okay. It's too much, it's advantage because of his smell. MATT: True. TRAVIS: Wow, those sucked both times. LAURA: Shut up. Shit, they do. 16? SAM: Oh, that's good! LIAM: Enough to open a door. MATT: Okay, so Trinket sniffs through, steps into the center of the foyer, pushes past the carpet into the middle of the dining room, and looks up at the table and as soon as you look over, Trinket growls for a moment and you see there on the center of the dining room table is a meal set up. Drink, food, but is completely molded over to the point where parts of it have bloated and spilled off and liquid has-- the putrescence has spread across part of the surface. TALIESIN: Oof, I throw the gas mask on. MATT: It's been there for quite some time, you don't know quite how long. SAM: Free food, Grog. TRAVIS: I know, it smells pretty good in here. LAURA: Is there dust on the ground? Has it been that long? MATT: Yeah, you check down, you put your finger across it, and it is a little dusty. It's not been an extremely long period of time but there is a layer of dust. LAURA: Is there anything changing the dust? Is there any tracks in it or anything? MATT: Currently from what you can see, no. MARISHA: Have we all entered? MATT: You've all begun to walk into the foyer, yes. TALIESIN: Let's search the upstairs first, see if there's a body or otherwise. MARISHA: Oh god, this isn't helping with the hangover. LIAM: Does the smell get more intense at the food? MATT: Yes, the smell gets more intense as you enter the dining room. SAM: Oh, so it's the food. LIAM: I almost can't smell you. MARISHA: Can I Druidcraft the table and take like the decaying food and maybe, I don't know, grow some flowers out of it, try to make it look nice? TALIESIN: Compost it? MARISHA: Try and compost it, yeah? MATT: Sure. You take a moment and concentrate and use your Druidcraft. The fungus begins to reform and more mushroom-like spores begin to appear out of it and sprout from the current festering mass. Whereas once was a nasty spore cloud-based fungus, you've now converted almost into a colored mushroom-type presentation LAURA: Don't eat it, Grog. TRAVIS: What? MATT: It'll probably lessen the stench over time, but no immediate effect as the smell has been hanging here stagnant for quite a while. MARISHA: It's like a big old terrarium now TRAVIS: So it's a big old house. Can we like split up and get it over with? SAM: Split the party. MARISHA: Split the party! TALIESIN: We've all got earrings, let's start checking rooms and we'll get to the room that we know is iffy last. SAM: Okay. So wait, we're checking all the rooms that are probably okay? TALIESIN: Yes. I'm going to start upstairs, check the bedrooms. LIAM: You mean the not okay part being the teleportation room? SAM and TALIESIN: Yes. MATT: What's up, Pike? ASHLEY: Can I cast Spirit Guardians to be around us? MATT: You can. What is the duration on that one? ASHLEY: Ten minutes. MATT: Yeah, you can do that. LAURA: Nice. MATT: So, as you guys are walking in, Pike clasps her holy symbol and closes her eyes for a second and you begin to see these almost glowing orbs, like these ghostly entities that begin to swirl and follow around you. Similar in the spirit stuff of Pike's form when she was alongside you guys in Whitestone. Who's heading upstairs? SAM: I'll go upstairs with Percy. TALIESIN: Sure. TRAVIS: Anybody else? LAURA: Sure, I'll go upstairs, too. MARISHA: Is there a downstairs? Like a cellar? MATT: The downstairs would be the path that you found last time. LIAM: And that's it? MATT: You didn't inspect the rest of the house at that point. LAURA: There's lots of downstairs rooms. TALIESIN: We should remind everyone you are immune to poison, you are immune to cursed, you've got a bonus on wisdom saving throws, and plus 1d10 temporary hitpoints. MARISHA: That's from the Heroes' Feast? SAM: Poison, charm-- what was it? TALIESIN: Curse. MARISHA: Let me remember them all. TRAVIS: All right, well, you guys go upstairs and we'll clear out this floor before we go anywhere else and we'll wait for you to come back down. MARISHA: I'll stay on the middle floor. I'll be team middle floor. MATT: Okay. As Vex, Scanlan, and Percy head towards the stairway, they step across the red carpet in the center of the foyer-- I need all three of you to make a dexterity saving throw. LAURA: Oh, I didn't say perception, shit balls. SAM: Dexterity, huh? MATT: Correct. LAURA: Natural 20! MATT: Nice. TALIESIN: 24. SAM: 12. MATT: (laughs) Okay, as you all step across, there's a sudden smell of-- you've smelled it before-- it's the fresh strike of a lightning bolt or something that has burned in the atmosphere. You look over at Percy and both of you feel this slight bit of tension and energy in the room and you dodge out of the way. At which point, suddenly, there is a burst of force energy from the center of the room that surrounds Scanlan, blasting him in the process and you feel like you're lifted off your feet but instead of being thrown upwards, you slam into what feels like a roof that's far too low for the one you've seen. You go ahead and take 16 points of force damage and you land (impact) on the ground, prone. You look up around you and there is a cage of arcane force energy right now that is holding you in place in a ten by ten foot area. (crackling). LIAM: They didn't make it out of the room, right? This is in the room that we're all in? MATT: This is in the foyer. You guys just now went, "All right, we're doing this, go!" (impact) It's not even two steps into your plan. MARISHA: So we're all still there, we can see him? MATT: Yeah, you all see Scanlan currently now trapped in this force cage. TALIESIN: Full on Ghostbuster-ing. Don't mime, don't mime. SAM: Well. MARISHA: Hang on, hang on. Let's just leave him for a minute. Let's just leave him. Can we leave him? I can fix this. I could fix it, (whispers) but why don't we leave him? MATT: Scanlan, roll another dexterity check SAM: Oh shit, it's closing on me, isn't it? Natural 20. MATT: Okay. You can see the cage itself, its unstable energy occasionally arcs across like a Tesla coil and you manage to dodge out of the way and you can see now this cage not just holds you in place, but it also perpetually tries to damage those who are captured. MARISHA: Oh, I feel a little bad. I'll let him out. Dispel Magic. SAM: Oh! You've got that! MARISHA: I did today. MATT: As Keyleth waves her hand now the entire force cage vanishes into the air. SAM: Did you guys see that? I was like in an aquarium. MARISHA: It was kind of fun to watch, I'm not going to lie. TRAVIS: Yeah, you were like a dick in a box. SAM: More of a globe, but yeah, no, that works. (laughter) ASHLEY: Oh wow. LIAM: Wow. SAM: (singing) Step one. Let's go. TALIESIN: Gently checking for traps as we go up the stairs. SAM: Thank you Keyleth, I take it back about your breath. MATT: I will say for the purposes of this, everyone roll an investigation check. SAM: Everyone who's going upstairs? MATT: Everyone roll an investigation check. This is investigation. TALIESIN: Natural 20. SAM: 28. LAURA: (laughs) 14. MATT: Okay. The three of you going upstairs: you find no further traps, you go through the rooms on the top floor. You find that where previously most of them were empty, a lot of them have been furnished now but most of the furnishings have been untouched, like the house was being set up to be almost like a summer home or a side home, but no signs of life; everything seems to have the same layer of dust you found on the floor in the foyer. There is no real wealth being kept here, 'cause I know that's probably what you're looking for. It looks like whoever had intended to, this collector, hadn't quite gotten to the point of wanting to move any of their fortune, their masses, into the upstairs area. LAURA: All right. MATT: But it has been largely untouched for a number of months. SAM: So we go down. MATT: Now what did you roll? MARISHA: I rolled 14. LIAM: Oh, 11. MATT: Grog? TRAVIS: Oh, 11. MATT: Pike? ASHLEY: 13. MATT: Okay. You guys take a little while to pore through the kitchen, you find a basement, you open the latch and go down and look throughout and it smells mildewed down there, but from general dampness, almost like recent rainy weather soaked into the ground soil there and was left to mildew a bit. You don't find any other signs of life, looking about all the rooms. You find the music room, there's the main living den area; mostly it's almost like a showroom like everything was set up but then never had the chance to actually host anyone or someone to actually live there and enjoy it. MARISHA: Are there any further signs like the feast of people leaving in a hurry? That seems like someone was here and left really fast? A suitcase, or--? MATT: From what you can tell, the meal that was prepared, the pots and pans and stuff that were used to cook it are currently in a small basin that carries a little bit of still water that's been slowly evaporating over time with bits of dried food crusted around the sides. The meal itself appears to have been abandoned not in haste, there's no signs of a struggle, the fork is still resting partially in the now mushroom fungus-covered pile. Even getting near it you're still like (disgusted grunt) but there's no previous sign of a struggle. ASHLEY: How big was the feast? MATT: It looked like it was just made for one person. TALIESIN: Interesting. TRAVIS: Are there any, like, sculptures? Or pieces of art downstairs? Or desks? MATT: Actually, there are a number of rather garish tapestries around. A number of them are of different animals running and hunting and chasing, not in a very beautiful way, but the kind that you'd, you know, find at an airport. TRAVIS: Like the Denver airport? MATT: You know, like Kinkade "Burst of Light." TALIESIN: Wow, you paint a picture there. MATT: Yeah. They're all thematic and similar and none of them seem to have any other theme other than whoever ordered them seems to like animals. TALIESIN: No historical acts, no mythology, nothing like that? MATT: No, not in this current setup. MARISHA: Can I Detect Magic on any of them? MATT: Okay, you scoot through and using-- do you have Detect Magic memorized? MARISHA: No. I wanted to arcane it. MATT: Then make an arcana check to inspect and see if you see any signs of-- MARISHA: I'm not good at it. LIAM: Still mildly hungover. MARISHA: Yeah, still really hungover. 14. MATT: 14. Going from place to place, nothing seems to jump out at you as enchanted or any sort of arcane nature. The only room you haven't inspected yet is the hallway across from the foyer, the one that led into the original gallery room and then into the hidden-- TRAVIS: The funhouse. SAM: Let's all go. TRAVIS: Should we check the fucking carpet? MARISHA: I say yeah. LAURA: Yeah, teleportation circle. Remember there were a shitton of traps before we got to it. MATT: What's up, Pike? ASHLEY: Can I do a religion check to see if there's any Vecna stuff here? LAURA: Yeah, smart move. MATT: Yeah, make a religion check. ASHLEY: 20. MATT: Okay. Looking about and keeping this in mind, you don't see any sort of religious iconography. Any of the artwork, any of the small knickknacks that are throughout the den, nothing here speaks of any sort of religious connotation, or at least whoever has decorated this place did so purely out of visual aesthetic choice. So yeah, nothing catches your attention in this room. ASHLEY: Okay. MATT: All right. SAM: Let's go. Who's going first? Pike? ASHLEY: Sure! LIAM: Pike then Grog? MATT: All right. Pike, Grog-- what's the rest of the marching order here? LAURA: Trinket, then me. TALIESIN: Then me. MATT: Then Percy. TRAVIS: Does Pike get a cloak? MARISHA: I guess me. SAM: Then Vax's wardrobe rack, then me. LIAM: No, it's got to go behind, I have to pull it behind. MATT: All right. So-- ASHLEY: Do I get that invisibility cloak again? LIAM: No. (laughter) MATT: All right, you guys step through, it's a short hallway and it leads you into a 20x80 long room, and here you do see a number of tapestries, and there are the ones that were left previously, actually. This room has not really been touched much since you came in when Krieg currently lived here. You can see these tapestries are much older, these ones depict more mythological moments. One of them shows the elemental creation of existence. It's almost like a biblical-type very artistic representation of the creation of the different planes. You've seen it done before-- MARISHA: Is that the same one that was here last time? MATT: Yeah. Yeah, same one. There are a number of small cylindrical platforms that rise up in the center of this room. You see on the first sets a series of bronze busts of a particular man wearing a cloth wrap, a headpiece. His features are still nondescript. There's a lot of detail in the clothing, in the neck wrap and the head wrap. But when it comes to the actual features of the face it's very simple and plain. LIAM: Not enough to recognize anything. LAURA: Kind of like a god of secrets? MATT: No. I'm actually going to ask you guys to roll a history check. SAM: 22. TALIESIN: 26. LAURA: What is this, history? MARISHA: 20. LAURA: 21. MATT: All righty. So, glancing at this, the three of you-- you don't recognize the face at all. And the best that you can recall is there have been tales in a far-off continent called Marquet, which is a largely desert landscape. The few bastions of civilization that exist in this desert, there is one central town, referred to as Ank'Harel. You've never been there. You've heard of it. And it's this little oasis in this center of this vast desert. LAURA: Oh! Oh! Wait! MARISHA: Yeah. LAURA: That's where Riskel was going to go. MATT: It's also where Jarett is from. SAM: Jarett's a mole, kill him. MATT: And you've heard that the city has been lorded over and run in a very benevolent way by an individual referred to as J'mon Sa Ord. The city has existed for about 400 years, and since its existence has been run by J'mon Sa Ord. People don't know if he's human, what he is. But he's apparently lived that long. LAURA: How long? I didn't hear because I was writing. MATT: 400 years. MATT: But the most that you've heard about J'mon is: human, but his features are hard to make out. Like even to look into his face still seems like you can't focus. LIAM: That doesn't sound good. MATT: That's as much as you can assert. And those thoughts come to you three and you see this bust, these series of busts that seem to depict this individual, and to the best of your knowledge that's probably an artist's depiction of J'mon Sa Ord. Which you've never seen in Tal'Dorei. Or anything of this type of construct. LAURA: But we know that that's where Riskel wanted to go as well. I want to pull out the symbol of Vecna that I took off of Riskel and-- MATT: Okay. MARISHA: I feel like we might've-- I feel like that's not also the first time we've heard of Ank'Harel. LAURA: Well Jarett's from there. MARISHA: I feel like even before then, like a long time ago. LIAM: Can I check for traps while they're talking? MATT: Sure, make a perception check. MARISHA: Marquet is the continent? Correct? MATT: Correct, yes. MARISHA: And Ank'Harel is a city within the continent. LIAM: 20. MARISHA: It's like a desert continent? The whole continent is like desert? MATT: Desert and mountains. MARISHA: So it's like Australia? MATT: (laughs) Looking about, there are no traps in this room. It looks to be pretty clean, pretty clear. Also, you see on the pillars there are a few other things. There is a golden tea set made of pure gold on one of the pillars. There is a mostly-- and very old-looking set-- not complete set of ivory-carved dominoes. There's a human skull-- humanoid skull-- doesn't quite look human. It looks elongated and the teeth are sharpened. Looks almost elvish. But one eye socket has an uncut rough emerald embedded in the socket. MARISHA: Which one? MATT: The right socket. SAM: That's straight-up Goonies. This place has been pilfered before and no one took that. TRAVIS: I go over to the dominoes. TALIESIN: I'm going to examine the skull. MARISHA: I'm going to help Percy examine the skull. MATT: Okay, are you just taking a look at it? TALIESIN: I'm taking a look at it, I'm checking to see if it's attached to the-- it's sitting on a column at the moment? MATT: It's sitting on one of the columns, yeah. It's part of the collection. TALIESIN: I'm seeing if it's attached at all and very gently turning it if I don't see any-- MATT: As you reach out take it and its weight and you lift it off the cylindrical pillar-- TALIESIN: I was just going to turn it. I wasn't quite going to lift it yet. MATT: As you turn it, it turns freely. TALIESIN: All right, I give it a little lift. MATT: You lift it up off of the pillar and on that. As you do that... nothing happens. It is in your hands. However-- SAM: Everyone dies. MATT: Yeah. It's heavier than you expected it would be and-- TALIESIN: Oh god, it's going to talk to me, isn't it? MATT: There's a part of you that-- like a slight cold chill runs down your spine. TALIESIN: A recognizable cold chill, or a brand-new cold chill? MATT: No, just like every person has that little part in the back of their head that says, "This "probably isn't a good idea, but whatever." (laughter) TALIESIN: I hate you so much! MATT: So, you're holding it in your hand, what do you want to do? LIAM: You're like a magnet for evil. TALIESIN: I'm a little evil magnet, I know. I'm checking, is the emerald set into the socket or is it removable? MATT: It's set in the socket, actually, and the emerald-- go ahead and make a perception check. TALIESIN: All right. Natural 20. MATT: All right. Glancing into the socket, you can see the emerald is actually set within the socket. It is set with meticulously jewel-crafted gold inlay that actually almost looks like a very deepset filigree that binds it within the socket itself, like it's very deliberately placed. The craftsmanship of the very, very fine gold filigree, and yet the uncut nature of the emerald, seems strange and as you inspect the emerald itself, it seems almost like while the gem itself is stationary, there is the ever-so-faint image of movement within the gem. Almost like a freshly disturbed pond, like a slight ripple of the surface of water, there is just ever-so-slowly shifting within the gem. TALIESIN: I think I've found something evil. LAURA: Maybe you should not be touching it. MARISHA: Yeah, can I do a nature check to see if I can recognize what kind of skull it might be? MATT: Sure. MARISHA: 17. MATT: The skull does not come from any beast that you are familiar with, you've not encountered a creature of this physiology, and it definitely doesn't come from the realm of nature from your understanding. LIAM: Pike, don't you think you should have a look at it? ASHLEY: Yeah, can I give it a-- what do you see inside the gem? TALIESIN: It's like a ripple, almost like a pond that's just gently disturbed. Oh. I have a thought. MARISHA: What? TALIESIN: This is precisely the sort of awful thing that I would design if I wanted a way to look into a hallway. I'm going to place it back on the column, facing the wall. MATT: Okay. SAM: Pike, do you want to look at it further? ASHLEY: Yeah, can I give it a look? I want to look at the tea set too. LAURA: I know, I want to go look at the tea set. LIAM: Let's look at the evil skull first. ASHLEY: Can I do a check? MATT: Okay, so what are you trying to check about the skull? ASHLEY: I don't know, like if it's-- I don't know. I don't know what to check. TRAVIS: If it's evil? LAURA: Is that like an arcana check or--? MATT: Well, it depends on what nature you're trying to ascertain of the skull. Are you trying to figure-- ASHLEY: Yeah well I want to check if it's evil, but I don't know. It seems like it is. LIAM: I mean, we've been talking about-- MATT: There are spells called Detect Good and Evil. LIAM: -- some fucknut with one eye. I feel like-- SAM: Oh, it's Vecna? MARISHA: It's the left eye. He said it's in its right eye. LAURA: Still, then its left eye is empty. ASHLEY: I have it, I have it, I have it, I have it! Let me do that. MATT: You have it memorized? ASHLEY: Yep, it's right in here. MATT: Okay. All right. So. As per the spell, let me get the rules up here real fast. Because the question comes up often, if you want this app on your phone, it's called Fight Club 5. On the iTunes store for free. You have to do some updates and uploading of your own, you can find information on the web on how to do it but that way you know and stop tweeting me. I don't mind, it's fine. All right, so. Detect Good and Evil. Evil and Good. All right, so. You take a moment and you focus-- by the way, this is a concentration spell, doing this will get rid of your spirit guardians. ASHLEY: Okay. I think that's okay. I think-- that's fine. MATT: Okay. So as the orbs that have been rotating around for the past, you know, it's been about ten minutes, they probably would have faded anyway, gently dissipate, you focus your intent on the skull, and this object, while it is not a desecrated object per se, there is an essence inside that does not strike you as moral. There is something about its very nature that does give you pause. You are unable to ascertain the nature, given the fact that you would have to take some time with it to really do so, but you get the feeling that there is some power within it, but probably not the kind that is very fortuitous for someone of your persuasion. ASHLEY: Okay. I think it's bad. TRAVIS: You think it's bad? ASHLEY: Let's have it face the wall. I don't want it looking at us. LAURA: Can I go take the top off the tea set and look inside? MATT: Yeah. You go ahead and take the top off the tea set and look inside; it is empty, it is polished, and the light that comes in as you open the top just refracts the image from the outside of the tea set, and it's just beautiful craftsmanship. The actual gold itself is very smooth on most of the tea kettle, and all the cups themselves all have very very intricate scrolling on them that have been handcarved in; it's a beautiful set. This is like a royal gift. This is something that, you know, people who trade across political boundaries use to, you know, send goodwill to the other side. This is probably worth quite a bit. LAURA: Is there any stamping on it to like show who it's from or anything like that? MATT: You look on the bottom and it has the initials L.M. LAURA: L.M. L.M. L.M. TRAVIS: Love, Macna. MATT: The street cousin of Vecna. TALIESIN: I would recommend that if we are going to... purloin things, we should do it on the way out rather than the way in. LAURA: Oh. Yeah, definitely. TRAVIS: All right, are the dominoes just like on a table? MATT: Yeah, some of them are set on the side, there's a stack, and then a few of them are set up-- it's literally placed in like a nice presentational like QVC style "turn it and look at all the cool dominoes" type. TRAVIS: I grab the table and I shake it. MATT: Okay. All the dominoes (scattering sound) scatter and fall off the sides, (clatter sounds) and clinking on the ground, some of the ivory chips a little bit on some of the corners. ASHLEY: Grog. MATT: Nothing bad seems to happen. TRAVIS: I think it's evil. I reach down, I pick up one of the ivory die. MATT: It stands there, cold, against the very well, you taste it. As your tongue touches the ivory of the domino, it tastes somewhat salty. TRAVIS: I believe it tastes like a domino. LAURA: Okay, can we go look at the teleportation thingy now? SAM and TALIESIN: Let's go down. MATT: All right. You guys make your way to the far back wall of the room and there is that same tapestry that you saw before, it depicts a large storm cloud that is roaring over the cliffs. SAM: I'm just going to peek behind the tapestry. LIAM: There's a door behind there. MATT: You open up the tapestry and it's just a flat stone wall. SAM: Okay. Nothing there. TRAVIS: Are you sure? SAM: I lick the wall. MATT: Okay, as you lick the wall your face (wind sound) passes through the wall. (laughter) LAURA: Isn't that the same doorway we found before? MARISHA: Yeah, we've already done this once, you guys, let's not be crazy. SAM: I forgot about that. Where'd my face go?! TALIESIN: It was just like this last time, except there was brunch. That's all I remember. MATT: As your head passes through, you look about and you can see stairs that descend for about 40 feet into darkness. LIAM: All right, I grab Scanlan by the scruff and pull him back and then I start in. And I grab my sister by the ear behind me and start pulling her down. MARISHA: So wait, wait. There's the, there's still the tapestry in front of it? MATT: Yeah, there's a tapestry in front of it, yeah. MARISHA: Can I take the tapestry off? The wall? I want to like take it and put it over my shoulders and jump a little. SAM: Like make it a parachute? MARISHA: Yeah. See if-- LAURA: Is it flying? MATT: Okay, as you take the tapestry and you put it around, you grab on the ends of it and you jump in the air, it jumps with you and lands with you. It's a very heavy tapestry. Most tapestries, the amount of craftsmanship that goes into it, the material-- this one in particular, it falls very very heavily against the wall and doesn't really gather any air or-- TALIESIN: In her defense, the last time she tried this, it did fly away. It's not a flying tapestry. MARISHA: Yeah. I just thought I'd try. LAURA: Maybe just put it over top of that skull and keep it hidden for now. MARISHA: Okay, I take the tapestry and I put it over the skull. MATT: Okay. As you throw the tapestry on top of the skull-- MARISHA: Oh boy. MATT: Nothing happens. TALIESIN: Such an asshole! MATT: It's just fun to mess with you guys. All right, so you guys progress down the stairway? LIAM: Perception check, perception check, perception check. LAURA: Oh god, really? LIAM: 20 for me. TRAVIS: 19. LAURA: One! MATT: Delight. Glancing in the next room, and this is a small chamber you guys have seen before, it's about 30 feet across, on the far end there is a small, circular stone platform about six inches thick that has deep inset runes carved in a circular pattern across it. It's less polished than the ones you've seen at the Lyceum in Emon, but it is definitively the last teleportation circle you took to the cavern that housed General Krieg where you had your encounter. LIAM: And the last time we were here, I found a safe path through. Do I remember it? MATT: Correct. You actually distinctly recall the pattern, to the best of your ability. LIAM: Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right. MATT: Now I want you to go ahead and make a wisdom check. MARISHA: You have advantage. No, wait, that's saving throws. Never mind. LAURA: Use Luck. LIAM: I could use Luck, yeah. 20. MATT: 20. Yeah, you recall the exact pattern through. Leading the way, stepping from stone to stone to stone, you guys following his pattern, you manage to make your way, all of you, including Trinket who has to (bear grunts). MARISHA: He remembers. MATT: Guide you through. You make your way all the way across the room to the teleportation circle, and this is the end of this portion of the hallway. What do you wish to do? SAM: Do we step onto it? How does it work? LAURA: I don't remember. TRAVIS: I think we just run ahead. LAURA: Wait, does it look like there's been anybody in here since we left? MATT: Go ahead and make a survival check. SAM: Survival? LIAM: Jeepers. LAURA: What in the (popping sound)?! That's my third one of the night. TRAVIS: Can I do that one too? I can survival stuff pretty well. MARISHA: Can I assist Grog in finding if our footsteps were the last ones out? MATT: True, I was giving this more as a means of giving the trained tracker a better look into this. I'll give you a simple perception check as you're not quite sure. TRAVIS: That'll be way worse. LIAM: Worse than a natural one? MATT: But with Keyleth's help that will give you advantage. TRAVIS: 11. MATT: It's hard to tell. This room itself is pretty dark, the little sconces that hold this low flicker of eternal arcane light, they're just gently flickering on the sides of the walls, in the low light it's hard to make out any details of the ground and for the most part the stonework here seems unchanged. LAURA: We suck. TALIESIN: Are we going onto the teleportation pad then? LIAM: But I think we assume we're walking into trouble. SAM: Trouble is our middles names. MARISHA: Well, let's think of what happened last time we were here. SAM: There was a dragon, there was some loot. TRAVIS: There was a bunch of gold. MARISHA: There was a bunch of gold and there were three eyes in a wall-- LAURA and MARISHA: Saying they were coming for us. SAM: Did we crack one of them? MARISHA: We did crack one of them. One cracked. LAURA: They all cracked. MARISHA: But, wait weren't the-- SAM: Maybe they've reformed. MATT: There were four orbs and then one eye showed up in one of the orbs and then all four cracked. TRAVIS: Can't we send like a probe, can't you make a little person? A little fake little person? SAM: I can make a fake person to push something or lift something, but he won't be able to-- TRAVIS: He can't take a magic ride? MARISHA: These aren't the same gems that were holding Uriel's family, those were different. LAURA: No. These were dragoneye things. LIAM: These were palantirs hanging in a wall where another dragon somewhere peeked through and was pissed off. LAURA: Let's do it! Let's go through! Pow! MATT: Okay. As each one of you step on individually onto the platform, there's a brief moment of the wind beneath your stomach being lifted and you feel those butterflies hit as suddenly your imagery shifts and immediately you find yourself standing on a similar platform elsewhere. As you step off, as you feel force pushing you forward, as each individual starts appearing behind in rapid succession, immediately you notice the air change to extremely cold. MARISHA: That's right, it was in the mountain cave. MATT: Looking around you can see there, directly near you, there are a few stalagmites with a little layer of snow and ice on it and there are a couple patches of ice that have solidified on parts of the floor. Across the way you can see immediately a large portion of the entire tunnel has collapsed. There's just piles of just rocks and stones that have filled about 60 to 65% of what was previously General Krieg, or as you found the name to be, Bonescythe-- Brimscythe, sorry. Brimscythe's chambers. All the rocks have crumbled onto where the dragon hoard that you were rage-looting before, currently resided now just held beneath the boulders and rocks. SAM: Get rid of those rocks? MARISHA: I might be able to. MATT: There are pockets of the cave that are walkable. To the left it ends to where the boulders and rubble had fallen, to the right it continues outward towards the outside of the mountain where you guys recall stepping to the edge of the precipice, and you notice that this mountain was very,very high up in the mountain range somewhere in the world where there was just ice and snow-capped mountains as far as you could see into this valley of high crags. MARISHA: Well if I recall, it wasn't too far from Stillben right? Because Keyleth recognized it as her home mountains? Like two hours? MATT: You recognize it as the Cliffkeep, which is the large mountain range to the north of Tal'Dorei which contains Kraghammer, the very south base contains Gatshadow, and it's where the Umbra Hills leads up into-- You don't know where in that range, it's a huge mountain range, but it's in that range. LIAM: Is there any sign of the pile of gold that Grog started rage-looting? MATT: Make a perception check. (sings) Make a perception check. SAM: Everybody? MATT: Everybody who wants to look around. LIAM: 23. TRAVIS: 18. Oh mine is-- Oh, 18. LAURA: 17. SAM: 20. MATT: Percy. Keyleth. TALIESIN: Nine. MARISHA: Natural 20. MATT: All right. The combined vision of you three, glancing about, you see there are scattered bits of gold and silver occasionally visible around the floor, but they're all independent and probably thrown about during the scuffle or the collapse. You guys notice there are bits of dragon bone trapped beneath the rocks. Exposed elements of these bones appear to be scraped and already sundered by somebody harvesting the remains, the long-decayed remains, of Brimscythe. You also notice there are two tunnels to the north and south side of this chamber across from where you guys entered. They're smooth, about ten feet in diameter, and both carve into the heart of the rock. MARISHA: Can I do a nature check? TRAVIS: Umber hulks? MARISHA: Yeah, don't those fuckers do that type of shit? 20 total. MATT: 20? Okay. The way these tunnels are created, and you've seen umber hulks and things of that nature carved through, there is a rough aspect to that digging and burrowing process where the earth itself has an uneven, you know, a general purposed direction, but is in itself a very haphazard just grab and tear what's in your way type form of burrowing. These are round and smooth. MARISHA: No scratch marks, claw marks? Almost seems mechanical type of-- magical? TALIESIN: I'll assist in that perception check. MATT: Okay, you guys can do that. LIAM: And none of us remember them from our past visit? MATT: No. In fact, one of them is burrowing through the actual rubble on the north side by where the hoard was buried. LAURA: (gasps) No! TALIESIN: All right, taking a look. That's-- MARISHA: How can you tell? TALIESIN: Because it's the flat. 13. MATT: Okay. As you step up and look about the rubble, the best you can make out is parts of the rock, and you know, the rock here has been set since the collapse of this side of the tunnel, there are a series of scratch marks across the set stones and rocks here. Meaning that something large has rummaged through the rubble here. Something with bladed or clawed appendages has been here and has very viciously or hurriedly attempted to find its way through the rubble. You also notice there is, to the immediate left and northwestern side of this cavern, a small alcove that just disappears into the wall out of sight. MARISHA: That wasn't there before? Or was that one there before? MATT: No, that was there before, yeah. LAURA: Does it seem like this could have been made by a dragon? These scratch marks? MATT: You and dragons-- LAURA: Favored enemy. MATT: Yeah, as your favored enemy, make a-- LAURA: I'm scared of all of my d20s right now. MARISHA: Roll good. MATT: Make a nature check. LAURA: A nature check? MATT: With advantage because it's a dragon. Dragons are magical entities. This would be more arcana. LAURA: Plus two on dragon checks. Arcana?! MATT: They're magical entities. I'll give you either/or. What did you get? LAURA: I rolled a 16, but I get plus two on any investigation for dragon info stuff. MATT: Okay. These marks across could very easily have come from a dragon, a very large one. You also notice that there are elements of the rocks amongst this rubble, that there appears to be soot and singe marks across it. LAURA: Are dragons known for digging, or are there certain types of dragons that are known for digging? MATT: There are a couple that can burrow and dig through rock and stone. In particular, the blue dragon, the one that you guys defeated in here, can burrow naturally, as can the white dragons. They're natural burrowers, though not the most intelligent of the chromatic dragons. You also know that some of the metallic dragons also, like the brass dragon is a burrower. MARISHA: Would they be capable of making the smooth tunnels? MATT: Not that smooth. Those come from something else. You inspecting the alcove? TALIESIN: Yeah. MATT: As you look inside the alcove, immediately you see in the shadow and what little bit of light is coming from the outside part of the tunnel, and it is pretty obscured here. I would recommend putting a torch up if you have one. TALIESIN: Yeah. MATT: Okay, you spark up a torch. You inspect the inside of this alcove and immediately you see the reflection of the light across the surface of something. Something humanoid standing there in wait. TALIESIN: Whoa! And I back up and draw. MATT: You draw your weapon and aim it. What you can see, as you take a moment, is an older man, wrinkled in face, eyes open, mouth agape in fear, his arms out before him, back to the wall on the inside. Frozen solid. TALIESIN: I found something! I'm inspecting him as best I can, frozen solid. TRAVIS: Did you do that? TALIESIN: No! No, I found this. MATT: Investigation check. TRAVIS: That's cold-blooded. TALIESIN: 14. That's a terrible pun. MATT: It's hard to tell what may have frozen him. The temperature here is very cold. He may have just frozen to death, but his face, his expression leads you to believe that this was more a moment of duress. More immediate than a slow, subtle, over time. TALIESIN: What is he wearing? MATT: His clothing is very, very well-made. There is embroidery across the sleeves and the base of these robes. He appears to have jewelry on him. He has not quite a Fu Manchu, but a mustache that extends beyond here. The hair is braided and goes to his lower back. He is human, hunched, and that's about the most you can make out at this visual state. SAM: Does it look like he might be my son? (laughter) MATT: The resemblance is uncanny. No. On top of being purely human and no one you've ever recognized, no. SAM: I suspect everyone now. LAURA: I wonder if he's the owner of the house. MATT: The northern tunnel, the smooth tunnel as you bring your torch over, whoever's inspecting the north one. LAURA: Sure, why not? MATT: You don't have to, but as you guys look up, having low-light vision helps in this circumstance, as well. You can see a little bit of a glistening. As you peer into the smooth tunnel ahead of you, you can see that where the rock was burrowed through, a portion of it has opened up a pocket, and there's a small fountain of gold spilling into the tunnel. SAM: A fountain of gold? MATT: Not like a perpetual-- it looks like whatever tore through here, gold pieces that were buried as part of the collapsing tunnel were exposed and spilled into the tunnel. LAURA: Bag of Holding! TRAVIS: What, I have it. SAM: It's a Scrooge Dragon. TRAVIS: I go over and put it under the gold. I open up the Bag of Holding. SAM: Wait. Why are we here? Why have we come here? MARISHA: Yeah, and remember last time we did this? SAM: Are we just getting as much money as we can and leave, or are we trying to kill something, or are we trying to seal this place off? Why are we here? MARISHA: I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm with Scanlan. TRAVIS: There's gold! LAURA: We should definitely take that frozen man. SAM: So is our mission to take money and leave? TALIESIN: No. There's a frozen man. We actually have a mystery. We have to deal with this. LAURA: Wait, Ashley. I can't hear her. What did she say? ASHLEY: The frozen man is obviously dead. MATT: The frozen man is very dead. LAURA: Oh, he is? He's dead dead? TALIESIN: He's dead dead. He might be the owner of the house. ASHLEY: Did I freeze? LIAM: Pike, you're frozen. SAM: But we can still hear you, so keep talking. MARISHA: Because they said he was an older art collector, gray-haired man, right? MATT: What elements of the individual that you've heard about does match some of the description of this individual. ASHLEY: I'm sorry. I would like to see if I could cast Speak With Dead and ask some questions. MATT: Okay. SAM: We might have to unfreeze him first. LAURA: Maybe not. MARISHA: I can maybe do that. TALIESIN: Torch-heating the face. MARISHA: I'll light up my fire hands and start melting, just his face. ASHLEY: Melting around his mouth. MATT: The spell does require the corpse to be able to speak, so you would have to thaw him. MARISHA: Thawing. MATT: Okay. It's going to take you a little bit, but using your simple druidic powers. You're using cantrips, essentially. Or your fire hands. Yeah, so it'll take you a little while, but you begin to thaw the corpse. What's everyone else doing? LAURA: We're trying to get the gold out from the wall. TRAVIS: We're not yet. LAURA: I'm trying to get the gold out from the wall. SAM: If you're going, I'm going with you to protect you because god knows Trinket won't. TALIESIN: I'm keeping an eye on the south. MARISHA: I can Move Earth and we can move around earth. LIAM: Out of curiosity, I'm going to carefully make my way towards the mouth of the cave and see if there's anything problematic out there. Perception check the whole way. MATT: You guys step along. You go with Vex into the tunnel. You're watching the south area as they pass you, and you're currently thawing. Is Trinket coming with you guys, or is Trinket staying with you in the tunnel? LAURA: He's going to be with us in the tunnel. MATT: Okay, cool. And you're with? SAM: I'm with Vex and Trink. MATT: You start scooping the gold, and you can see now, some of this appears to have been taken. Someone has been through here and it looks like there has been some attempts at looting this area. It looks like someone has already pulled in here, and there's an empty pocket there, but you start pulling gold out and scooping it into the Bag of Holding. As you guys are walking away, you feel this lurch in the floor. LAURA: I stop. SAM: Wait, that's not us. LAURA: Can we feel it? MARISHA: Can everyone feel it? MATT: All you guys begin to feel this vibration in the ground. LAURA: Okay, maybe we should stop. SAM: Faster, faster! LAURA: Just pause for a second! MATT: It gets louder and more violent. You see the coins on the ground beginning to rattle and move. LIAM: Perception roll to tell if it's an earthquake? SAM: I think because we touched this gold-- MARISHA: Nature check? MATT: Make a nature check. MARISHA: 19. MATT: It feels like an earthquake. MARISHA: (shouting) Earthquake! Get to the archways! (quieter) Find a bathroom. MATT: As the shouting has happened, towards the center of the room, the ground explodes. There is a blast of shrapnel shale that bursts in the vicinity. No one is immediately there, so none of you are harshly impacted, but you see erupting from the ground a large form begin to burst out of the ground. LAURA: I hide. SAM: Pike! Ask the dead guy who it is. MARISHA: Because Pike and I are by the dead guy, right? I take Pike and back her behind the dead guy, and we're hiding. MATT: Okay. You guys see this form now in the low light emerge. Ten, 15, 20, 25 feet up, this long, cylindrical mass curves up and begins to shift. As it does, like a giant arm, it twists around and stares at the room, and what you see before you is this elongated wormlike structure where a giant mouth opens up with rows and rows of sharp teeth on the interior of its toothy maw. Deal with it! It's the perfect circumstance for the term. As you see strands of saliva pull apart and you see a very hint of color beneath the dark surface, a deep purple tone to its thick segmented hide. MARISHA: We've fought one of these before, right? MATT: No, you have not. LAURA: We have not? I hide. I hide in my cloak. TALIESIN: That's a big bag you've got there. (groaning) MATT: And that's where we're going to leave tonight's session. (yelling) LAURA: Oh no! MATT: So next week, we're going to pick up with that chaos. LAURA: Ash, you have to be here next week, too! SAM: What the fuck is a purple worm? LIAM: Put that thing away. Put it back in the bag. ASHLEY: I don't think I'm working next Thursday. TALIESIN and MARISHA: Yay! ALL: Fly home! MATT: We'll all pitch in. I'm kind of serious. SAM: Hey, chat room, buy her a ticket home. MARISHA: Don't! Don't do it. They're too nice. MATT: Don't do that. We'll pick up at the start of this encounter next Thursday. Things with tremorsense are fun. LAURA: How much gold did we get, though, before it cocked up? MATT: You'll find out. You haven't had a chance to count. TALIESIN: We'll finish looting that once we've cut this thing up into little pieces of sushi. MARISHA: Man, Matt knows us really well. We walk into every fucking everything. LAURA: You know, sometimes you just have to. TALIESIN: We don't walk away. MATT: That's what adventure is! LAURA: You've got to. TALIESIN: It's a series of bad decisions. MATT: You really don't have to, but it was an option. SAM: (singing) Danger lurks behind you. ALL: (singing) There's a stranger out to find you. What to do, just grab onto some-- MATT: (singing) Critical Role! ALL: (singing) Whoo! MATT: All right, that happened. Cool, we're going to get set up for Critmas, guys, so we can all get to sleep at hopefully a decent hour. Give us a few minutes to set up. We're going to go off for a little bit, but we'll be back here as soon as possible when we're ready to go. We'll see you in a second, guys. [end of transcript] national archives canada dissertations New York University, West Village, Manhattan.

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