The party starts pulling at the threads of the Bachelorette tournament and they might find more than they were expecting. Tracy doubles back. Inara kickflips. Johnny slows down.
- Check out Treks and the City in any podcatcher!
- 20 Sided Store, the best indie game store in Brooklyn, NY. Check out their inventory and events at twentysidedstore.com, and use code JOINTHEPARTY for 20% off your online or in-person order!
Find Us Online
- website: jointhepartypod.com
- patreon: patreon.com/jointhepartypod
- twitter: twitter.com/jointhepartypod
- facebook: facebook.com/jointhepartypod
- instagram: instagram.com/jointhepartypod
- tumblr: jointhepartypod.tumblr.com
- merch: jointhepartypod.com/merch
- music: brandongrugle.bandcamp.com
Cast & Crew
- Dungeon Master: Eric Silver
- TR8c (Tracey): Brandon Grugle
- Inara Harthorn: Amanda McLoughlin
- Johnny B. Goodlight: Michael Fische
- Multitude: multitude.productions
Amanda: Last time on Join the Party...
Eric: The party tries to wrangle a Nightmare, a demon horse summoned from a small figurine. Inara and Johnny quickly toss their rings around the neck of the flying beast, and Autumn has another agenda.
Amanda (as Inara): [whispering] Get off of him! You can’t kill him!
Eric (as Autumn): What are you talking about? I already did.
Eric: Later that night, Representative Brink sends some contestants packing, with the final rock of love given to Tracey.
Eric (as Representative Brink): Tracey, do you want to stay in this competition?
Brandon (as Tracey): I can take it or leave it.
Eric: But it seems that the eliminated aren’t sent home, when Alice is pulled down through a muddy portal that opens in the floor. Through all the commotion...
Eric: An arrow comes out through the hole, hits the top of the back patio roof, explodes in a burst of light, and the floor closes.
Eric: Secret secrets are no fun. And you should share it with everyone so you can figure out what’s going on with these mud people. Let’s get the party started.
Amanda: The second the mud hole closes up, Inara is going to grab Johnny by the arm, give Tracey the ‘come with me’ thumb over the shoulder, and head right up to their room, to the private bathroom to talk about what’s happening here.
Eric: As you’re running away, everyone's screaming, fighting off mud, like it’s chaos, and it slowly fades as you’re running through the hallways of the house.
Amanda: So the three of us are going to cram into our private bathroom and shut the door behind us. I’ll sit on the sink. I assume Tracey stands in the tub which is probably the biggest area available.
[sound of water dripping rhythmically]
Michael: I’ll take a seat on the- on the toilet BUT I’m not actually doing anything. Relax.
Amanda: And Oatcake will lay on the bathmat to turn her belly up to the sky and like rub her little back on the bathmat and clean off the mud.
Brandon: Aw, Tracey’s jealous. He wants to lay on the bathmat [chuckling].
Amanda (as Inara): Uh, so guys, what is going on? Where is Alonzo?
Michael (as Johnny): I think in whatever dungeon, or- or prison holding cell, or space they have down there. Wherever down there is.
Brandon (as Tracey): Did you guys see anything down there in that hole?
Michael (as Johnny): Just one of Alonzo’s arrows.
Amanda (as Inara): No, just the arrow, yeah. Who did you guys talk to before the whole competition, flying-Nightmare, sick Grind Machine times?
[all pause then laugh]
Brandon (as Tracey): That was the full title of the competition, wasn’t it?
Amanda (as Inara): I mean, I don’t know what they’re gonna call this- this situation in the announcements, but that’s what I would call it.
Eric: Cut to the video version of that and it says, “Cool Teen Grinds to Representative’s Heart” as the lower third.
Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, there’s definitely something funky going on here. I… you know that girl Autumn who looks just like me? Kind of uncanny?
Brandon (as Tracey): Oh! That’s what she looks like! God, okay. I just put that together.
Amanda (as Inara): She told me that there’s some kind of, like, way to summon other people in the house. Some kind of like secret channel. And I don’t know, it sounds suspicious to me, but there’s something going on here and we’ve gotta get Alonzo and get out.
Michael (as Johnny): How do you summon other people in the house? What- what are you talking about?
Amanda (as Inara): She said to knock on the mirror and somehow that would summon her. I don’t know why she wants to meet, I dunno what she wants to talk about, but it sounds kind of suspicious to me.
Michael: Can I identify magic time happenings in this bathroom?
Michael: 16 for Arcane check.
Eric: Heh, okay. What do you wanna know?
Michael: I want to know more about this magical talk-to-and-meet-up-with-people-through-bathroom-mirror times, and perhaps if that 16 roll was good enough, if we can attempt to reach specific people.
Eric: Sure, I think that you climb over Inara to get to the mirror.
Michael: Sure, I don’t even ask though.
Eric: No, you just push her out of the way.
Michael: It’s very rude. Do I use my sunglasses to help in any way?
Eric: [chuckling] Yeah you put them on like they’re- like they’re a magnifying glass.
Michael: Very good.
Eric: Yeah, the mirror is not magical.
Brandon: Does it take like a couple inches off your waist, is it that kind of magic?
Eric: Yeah. It, uh-
Amanda: Well… your favorite assassin got a crit fail on her Investigation check.
Michael: So you tried to shove me aside to see what happens, but you-
Amanda (as Inara): Who’s that girl in the mirror?!
Michael: You slip, fall and your hand falls into the mirror-
Amanda (as Inara): Ah!
Amanda: I’m gonna stab the mirror.
Eric: Inara loses object permanence!
The only thing you remember, even with a 1, is that Autumn told you to knock three times.
Michael: So since I’m still there, can I Investigate the-
Amanda: Someone has to. Apparently it’s not me.
Eric: Someone… yes. Sure.
Eric: Tracey’s like, “Wow I can’t believe they put a clawfoot tub in here.”
Michael: I got a 14 + 4 for an 18.
Eric: Okay. There is a false back to this mirror and it’s rigged! With a password.
Brandon: And a bottle of ibuprofen [laughing].
Michael: Oh! Oh! Oh!
Amanda: Four years expired.
Michael: Can I loot the medicine cabinet? That’s attached to the thing?
Eric: [laughing] Sure. I think that at this point with you two all up on the mirror, you’ve removed like the actual mirror portion, and you see that there is a- just a door- like a very small mirror-sized, vanity-sized door-
Eric: -that has a latch. And you tried to open it and you can’t.
Michael: Which is why we have to do some sort of password, however, you didn’t answer my previous question other than “Sure.” Can I loot the medicine cabinet that’s attached to the mirror? What do I get?
Brandon: Give me things, dad!
Michael: Give me! [in child-like voice] I want medicina!
Amanda: I want more!
Eric: I want you to make a Nature check.
Michael: Oh, that’s an 11.
Eric: In the medicine cabinet, there are cotton swabs, and tiny Alonzo-themed band-aids.
Michael: That’s... perfect.
Amanda: [whispering] Yesssssssss.
Eric: There’s a mason jar filled with blue leaves.
Michael (as Johnny): May I put one of these Band-Aids on Oatcake?
Amanda (as Inara): 100%, man.
Michael: I would like somewhere where she would be okay with it, so probably the back of the collar, so it can also stay there for longer.
Amanda: Yeah, agreed.
Amanda: Not be itchy, pull on the fur. It happens.
Amanda (as Inara): But that’s not all. Before the day started, we were looking around the patio, and there’s definitely something sketchy about the bar out there. The bartender just kind of like came up out of the mud, and I think that might be somewhere we can get down into wherever they’re holding Alonzo.
Michael (as Johnny): And Tracey, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but I’ve been a little more aggressive than normal.
Brandon (as Tracey): [pauses] ...What?!
Michael (as Johnny): Well remember that time I pretty much murdered two people?
Brandon: Tracey thinks…
Brandon (as Tracey): Hey, everyone. Hold on. Pause. Pause.
Eric: Oatcake holds up two of her paws.
Brandon (as Tracey): I need to step out for a moment.
Brandon: And Tracey steps out. Because Tracey just remembered he has a bug in his ear.
Amanda: Oh no!
Brandon: And he needs to get rid of this thing immediately. So I’m gonna place the bug on like the windowsill, so hopefully the ambient noise will make sure- make it seem like I didn’t drop out of my ear.
Eric: Make a Sleight of Hand cleck.
Brandon: 9 + 1 for a 10. I just wanna take the mud bug- which is what I’m calling this from now on-
Eric: That’s good.
Brandon: -out of my ear slowly, and then place it carefully on the windowsill so there’s some ambient noise- so it sounds like I’m moving, and then return back to the bathroom.
Eric: Sure. Yeah, I think you do that successfully.
Brandon: Yay me! Tracey does a little high-five to himself.
Michael: Or at least to your knowledge.
Eric: Yeah, to your knowledge you did that successfully.
Brandon: He still feels great!
Eric: [imitating Tracey] Tracey feels great!
Brandon: And I return back to the bathroom and I say
Brandon (as Tracey): Unpause.
Amanda (as Inara): You alright, bud?
Michael (as Johnny): Tr- Tracey, we’re going to have to talk about manners. That was… that was kind of rude-
Brandon (as Tracey): [cutting off Johnny] So I, um, so I’ve had a producer in my ear this whole time.
Amanda (as Inara): What?!
Brandon (as Tracey): I don’t know if you know, I said like, “beep boop” sometimes. I don’t normally say that, you know?
Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, I thought you were just like leaning into the image, you know?
Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, okay, yeah no I very much hate that. But there’s this producer, and they promised me some things, some secrets about me, and they said if I play along nicely I would get some information, but I don’t think… stuff’s starting to break bad, so I don’t want them to know what we’re talking about here. So I put it out on the windowsill over there.
Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, I don’t think nice is working anymore.
Brandon (as Tracey): No, I don't think so either.
Michael (as Johnny): Well, I’m glad you took care of that, Tracey. Anyway, as I was in the middle of a sentence, I went a little aggressive. I’m sorry about that. I found out with Inara that the gym’s kind of a little weird magical zone of influence bad times.
Brandon (as Tracey): Like more than normal?
Amanda (as Inara): Some kind of charm. It’s not good. It makes people way more aggressive than normal.
Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, so we’ve got the arrow, we’ve got the gym, we’ve got a mirror. We’ve got this bug... and a bar?
Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.
Michael (as Johnny): This sounds like a joke in the making.
[Amanda and Brandon laugh]
Amanda (as Inara): So, a robot, a dad, and a flip teen walk into a mud house…
Michael (as Johnny): There’s a bug and an arrow, and a weird gym.
Brandon (as Tracey): Oh yeah, also guys the Red Throat Gang is here. My bad, I’ve been working with them.
Michael (as Johnny): What?!
Amanda (as Inara): What?!
[Eric cracking up]
Amanda (as Inara): Tracey!
Brandon (as Tracey): Look, look, look, it’s all good. There was two Red Throats in a trench coat. I’m- I’m kind of surprised you guys didn’t realize this!
Amanda (as Inara): No, I was too busy being tackled by Autumn by the shrimp pyramid!
Brandon (as Tracey): They said they wanted Chad to win, and if we could get Chad to win, they would sort of bring this place down.
Michael (as Johnny): I feel conflicted, because Chad is ultimately the best human I’ve ever met.
Brandon (as Tracey): Human...
Amanda (as Inara): He really is. He’s like the model for all of us.
Michael (as Johnny): And he deserves everything in the world.
Brandon (as Tracey): He does. I think he should win.
Michael (as Johnny): But now I don’t want him to win.
Brandon (as Tracey): No, I definitely want him to win.
Michael (as Johnny): So you are aligning yourself with the Red Throat Gang?
Brandon (as Tracey): So here’s- here’s my thought. If we can get Chad to win, we can get the Red Throat Gang to create a spectacle. While that is happening, we can find a way down into the dungeon, rescue everyone, save everyone, and get out of here.
Amanda (as Inara): Trace, we know that the Red Throat Gang loves to kill people though. Who knows what that spectacle would mean.
Brandon (as Tracey): Here’s what we can do: double cross ‘em.
Michael (as Johnny): Here’s my problem, Tracey. I’m tired of this game. I know you’re also frustrated. I actually think you’re enjoying this a little bit, Inara, and that’s totally fine because-
Amanda (as Inara): I mean, listen, if Brinksy can’t have me, she can’t have anyone.
Amanda (as Inara): I’m not really in favor of letting this game finish-
Michael (as Johnny): You’re not here-
Brandon (as Tracey): Games are fun! Games are fun! I love it!
Michael (as Johnny): You’re not here to make friends and I totally get that, but since we’re already friends maybe we should focus on- now that we know where Alonzo is and that’s the whole reason we came here, we should try to get there as quickly as possible and stop playing this game.
Amanda (as Inara): Uh, let’s try this.
Amanda: Inara’s going to jump up onto the sink and knock three times on the door.
Eric: Okay. I think you knock three times hard on the door and on the third time, your knock echoes somewhere on the other side, and the latch on the secret door clicks open, and the door slowly opens up.
Michael: What’s the light situation?
Michael: I’m gonna send out some fun happy time lights.
Amanda & Michael [at the same time]: Dancing Lights.
Amanda: What are the names of the orbs?
Michael: Carl, Bob, Janice, and Eduardo.
Eric: Writing that down… Carl, Bob, Janice…
Brandon: You had like hundreds of thousands of years of history to choose three people-
Eric: Four people.
Michael: Four orbs.
Brandon: Four people, a quartet-
Michael: I send Eduardo into the-
Michael: I send Eduardo into the poorly lit passage.
Eric: Sure. It kind of looks like a chimney. It’s a very narrow tunnel that’s going directly up, and there’s a rope ladder that’s hanging down through the tunnel.
Brandon (as Tracey): Guys, think about this. If this goes where we think it’s gonna go and we rescue everyone, what’s gonna happen at the end? We’re just gonna show up and they’re gonna throw us all in the dungeon? This is not a plan. This is just a stop-gap solution.
Amanda (as Inara): But the thing is, Trace, that if all of Tortipolis sees that they have the champion locked away, that’s not gonna be good. They’re not gonna let that happen. The game’s gonna end somehow.
Brandon (as Tracey): But you’ve met how he’s been received at every other city-state so far. It’s not great.
Amanda (as Inara): Things seem really bad here, but you could be right. What do you think we should do?
Brandon (as Tracey): I have faith that the people here in Tortipolis don’t wanna be ruled by an autocrat in muddy boots. If we can bring this down and make a big splash, we can end this. This is how we bring peace to this city-state.
Amanda (as Inara): The Red Throats almost killed Alonzo.
Brandon (as Tracey): I know.
Amanda (as Inara): I’m gonna go up this ladder.
Brandon (as Tracey): I’m gonna wait here. Will you come back and tell me what you find?
Amanda (as Inara): I will. Johnny, you wanna come with me?
Michael (as Johnny): I’m gonna send Eduardo with you here.
Michael: This is a legitimate problem, now, And now I have to write their names down.
Amanda (as Inara): Who’s Eduardo?
Michael: I send one of my Dancing Lights- Eduardo, specifically, the one who’s already in there, and I am gonna move in under the rope ladder in case Inara needs help and can call for help.
Brandon: Is Oatcake chillin’?
Amanda: Oatcake is on my little backpack harness.
Amanda: DM, what do I see?
Eric: So you climb the rope ladder, and it’s about 10, 15, 20 feet long, and you climb up, and up, and up.
[dripping sink from bathroom begins to fade]
It’s really dusty in there. It’s not a hard climb, you just kinda shimmy, shimmy your way up. And you didn’t know there was a third level to the mansion. I guess from the outside it just looks kind of big and stately, but there’s no stairs that go up. And you hoist yourself up at the top of the tunnel.
[music plays: snapping, echoing beat with mellow, fantastical tones]
And this is like an attic. It’s cramped and it has a low ceiling and it’s super dusty. You can see pink insulation poking out of the top of the ceiling, and there’s just boxes everywhere. Boxes and boxes and boxes that have been taped up, all super dusty. And there’s also a projector that’s been pushed over a box and just kind of like laying on its side.
Amanda: I’m gonna walk over to the projector and pick up whatever film or slides I see cast off next to it.
Eric: Uh, yeah, there’s a film inserted into the projector. You don’t know if it works or not.
Amanda: I want to pull it out and hold it between the Dancing Light and my eyes so that I can try to see what is on the images.
Eric: Okay, you pull out a little bit of the film and there's like three frames one after another. It looks like the colosseum that you’ve just been in, and there’s a cheering crowd in the background, and it looks really similar to what you saw before. There are banners everywhere and there are two big monsters that are fighting. One has like five different faces that are all on like different necks. It’s like they’re all going out and jumping out and trying to jump at this other fighter.
At first it looks like a monster to you, but you take a closer look, and it’s humanoid, and it’s standing, and the person is covered in metal. It looks like someone put metal plating over every single part of someone's body. There could be a person in there, maybe. And the person is holding a sword and trying to stab it at the five-faced monster. And everyone's cheering. On the banners hanging down, it’s not Representative Brinks’ face carved into a mountain like you saw in the colosseum before. It is a five pointed star with like a glint off of it. You see banners for that all over the colosseum. Like just in this one shot you cant see one to the left one to the right, and one right in the center.
Amanda: I am going to cut open the box nearest to me with my dagger.
Eric: And it’s just like tons of papers and folders. You push them aside. It’s like no one’s touched these papers in years. Some of them are molding over, others are just like caked in dust. In this box you opened up are box scores. It’s like stats. There are all of these names that you don’t recognize on the far left corner, and then there are all these numbers to the right of them that seem like they don’t make any sense with each other. One column has like numbers in the thousands, one column has like a lot of zeros but some people have like ones, and twos, and threes. And more on the other side.
And then above it says, “Name, race, kills, dodges, fights, excitement” and all of those are on level one to ten, and then at the bottom there’s like analysis of this box score, like “Trogar, really bloodied the majority of the people and everyone got super excited about it.” And then at the bottom on every single one of these papers and in the box scores, it says, “The Council of Bright” at the bottom.
Amanda: I’m gonna flip through a few of them to get the gist.
Eric: Every single one of these is stamped with “The Council of Bright” at the bottom and they’re stamped with the five-pointed star.
Amanda: I’m gonna close the box and kind of back up toward the rope ladder where I came in. I think I put my back against the wall so I have a good view of the attic around me.
Amanda: And take Oatcake out of my pack and say
Amanda (as Inara): Girl, do your thing. Is there anything interesting around here, in this plane or another?
Eric: Why don’t you roll Animal Handling?
Amanda: 15 + 1 for a 16.
Eric: Okay, I think Oatcake sniffs around all of the boxes, and she just like goes one after another and kind of just ignores it. And there's like a pile of boxes that are all leaned against the far wall, and she just nudged it open, and it looks like there’s a door leading somewhere else behind them.
Amanda: I’m going to go over to where Oatcake is, put her back in my pack and shove the boxes to the side so I can try to open the door.
Eric: Door just opens. It wasn’t locked. It wasn’t even stuck.
Amanda: Is it similarly dusty, or does it look used?
Eric: It looks used. And you open the door and it opens up, and there’s another dark hallway.
[water dripping constant and slightly unsteady, echoing]
And as you listen for what’s just like at the end of the hallway, you can hear like the dripping of water. And as the water drips, it hits the puddle, and the puddle echoes in all directions.
Amanda: I’m gonna cup Eduardo between my hands so that the light is somewhat dimmed, but enough to see by, and walk forward cautiously through the hallway.
Eric: As you walk through the hallway, the temperature starts to drop. And you open up into this massive cavern. With like the little light that’s around, it starts to catch these rocks that are planted all over this cavern. It's the rocks that Representative Brink gave people in the elimination ceremony.
Amanda: Like in their raw form?
Eric: Yeah, you’re in a mine.
Eric: And right in front of you is a mine cart. And this mine cart doesn’t run on rails. It doesn't have wheels and a railing system. It’s like two pieces of smooth rock on top of each other, and it just kind of is sitting there.
Amanda: Is there a track?
Eric: Yeah, and there's a track that leads just somewhere else. It goes off into the darkness.
Amanda: I’m gonna try my best to see where the mine cart goes while still kind of staying right in the doorway I came from, and whisper
Amanda (as Inara): [echoing in the cavern] Autumn?
[echoing, gleaming tone plays once]
Eric: Let’s cut back to Johnny and Tracey. Who wants to do something?
Brandon: Brandon raises his hand.
Eric: Alright, Brandon, what do you want to do?
Brandon: I’m gonna try to slip out the door that has opened…
[Michael groans heavily]
Eric: Alright, make a Stealth check please.
Brandon: I’m so glad you gave me this good good dice, Fish. I got a 16 + 1 for a 17.
Eric: Alright, so Tracey, you try to sneak out the door, and Johnny still notices that you do that.
Michael: You do a good job sneaking, I just do a good job noticing.
Michael (as Johnny): Tracey! Where are you- where are you going- Tracey?
Brandon: I walk out the door, and I grab the bug that’s on the windowsill.
Eric: And in your ear the producer says
Eric (as the producer): [fuzzy, through the earpiece] Hey, Tracey! Tracey, where are you? Um- the three of you- you’re not outside at the ceremony anymore. What’s going on?
Brandon (as Tracey): We need to talk. Where can I meet you?
Eric (as the producer): Oh! Okay, yeah we can do, um, [muttering to self] I mean there’s some people out there and we can divide enough and I’ll just go… [speaking clearly again] Okay, Tracey, you’re gonna be on camera, but we can get you in the interview-
Brandon (as Tracey): Alone. I need to meet you alone.
Eric (as the producer): Hmm.
Brandon (as Tracey): Let’s go to the skybox.
Eric (as the producer): You know Tracey, we’re not allowed in the skybox.
Brandon (as Tracey): Alright, I’ll see you there in 15.
Eric (as the producer): [laughs] Tr- how are you going to get there? We’re like the entire transportation, what are you talking about? How about you come to the interview room? I’ll beam you up right now.
Brandon (as Tracey): No cameras.
Eric (as the producer): No cameras.
Brandon (as Tracey): Beam me up… muddy?
[players applauding the joke]
Eric: You get sucked up through the ceiling, and you’re back raised up on the edge of the colosseum, and there's one mud person with a like a black beret on.
[voices of Tracey and the producer echo gently through the empty stadium]
Eric (as the producer): Tracey, what do you- what do you wanna tell me? What dirt do you have, bud?
Brandon (as Tracey): I have information. You have information. Let’s trade.
Eric (as the producer): Okaaaaay. I mean you already kneeeeew that I have information. Whaaaat do you have for me?
Brandon (as Tracey): I know people who are trying to blow this game up from the inside out, and I know places you don’t know about, and... if you help me, I’ll help you.
Eric (as the producer): Tracey, you’re gonna have to give me a little bit more than that.
Brandon (as Tracey): You’re gonna- you go first. We’ll do a trade for trade.
Eric (as the producer): Again, Tracey, you are living literally inside of a mansion in which we kind of control everything. If there was a room that we didn’t know about, that is- that would be crazy.
Michael: Did you just roll without announcing what it’s gonna be?
Brandon: I tried to roll a Persuasion, I got a 1 [laughing].
Eric: There we go. With a 1, you just blurt out part of your info.
Brandon (as Tracey): [quickly] Have you looked in the bathroom? There’s a mirror with a secret passage behind it!
Eric (as the producer): There’s a secret passage in the bathroom? Which one?
Brandon (as Tracey): Um… I’ll tell you which one when you give me some info yourself.
Eric (as the producer): Okay, well I’m gonna [muttering] let’s see I can make an educated guess… [more clearly] well I guess we’ll just send everyone into all of the bathrooms, and that’s fine...
Okay, you know what, Tracey, you did a good job telling me things that I need to know, and I really appreciate that. You’re much better than you were in the beginning of this tournament. Alright, well I want you to do something for me. The thing that I know about you is somewhere outside of the mansion, and maybe your thing and my thing are directly related. So, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to keep the bug in your ear, and I want you to go through this secret passage, and you’ll probably find what you’re looking for there. Go through there, keep going, tell me what’s at the end, and you’ll probably find your thing in there.
Brandon (as Tracey): What do you want? Why are you even here?
Eric (as the producer): We’ve always been here. We don’t want much.
Brandon (as Tracey): Does it bother you that you're being bossed around by someone who is… I don’t know, literally has you on her shoes?
Eric (as the producer): Tracey, if you think that we’re the ones being bossed around, then you have absolutely nothing on us. Go through the hole. Tell me what you find.
Brandon (as Tracey): Give me fifteen without your people coming.
Eric (as the producer): Sure, I’ll keep them from going. One of the Ambroses can get drunk or something. We’ll film it.
Brandon (as Tracey): I’m gonna kill you at the end of this. I hope you know, right?
Eric (as the producer): [amused] I’d like to see you try. See ya later!
Eric: And Tracey, you start to sink back through the ground.
[low, faint, horn-like melody plays]
Amanda: Hey, it’s Amanda. I don’t know about you, but my brain gets so stuck on songs. I’ll listen to the same one dozens of times on repeat, sometimes for weeks at a time. It helps distract the overactive part of my brain that needs something to gnaw on. It relaxes me, in a way, so I can let the rest of my mind wander or relax in peace. This is the moment when you hear a new song for the first time, and know that this will be your next jam. Welcome to the midroll. We have a sick bass track.
Welcome welcome welcome to our newest patrons, Ina, Tim, Carmelann, Adam, and Caitlin, and to Neon, Siren Queen of Baking, who upped their pledge! Over in the warmly-lit living room that is our Patreon, we’re just shared the EXCLUSIVE map of Fidapolis we have commissioned from our friend Sunmi. We are so SO SO excited about it. We keep looking at it. Like I made it my phone background, it’s so beautiful. And it’s our supporters on Patreon who made this commission possible! And if you want to help us reach our next goal, which is a fully illustrated e-book of Eric’s NPC backstories, head over to patreon.com/jointheparty to pledge as little as $1, and help keep the show going and growing.
We are sponsored this week by 20 Sided Store in Brooklyn, New York, whose co-owner Lauren Bilanko is our resident Master, Dungeon Master. Each month we bring her one of our listeners’ questions about games and GMing and games. Today our question is: “My players ALWAYS split the party. Always. No matter what we’re doing. We haven’t had a dungeon crawl so it never gets into dying territory, but someone’s eyes always ends up glossing over when the other people go do their thing. Do I need to kill someone to put the DM fear in their hearts?”
Lauren says: “I would definitely start by talking to your players out of game to find out what compels them to want to split off. Then try to work more of that intrigue into your main story arc by creating situations in the game where you intentionally want your players to split up and investigate. That way, when you need them to come back together, they will, and you won't have to be worried about them going off when you least expect them to. Your players decisions need to matter, there needs to be consequences - good or bad - to every action or decision they make. If that means that a character needs to die, after being warned repeatedly not to do something and they did it anyway, well then so be it.”
Harsh but kind, Master Dungeon Master! Find new tools to bring your party together—or keep them apart—at 20 sided store dot com, or visit them in person in Brooklyn, NY. Either way, you can use our discount code, JOINTHEPARTY, for 20% off. So head over to twenty (full word) sided store.com and use our discount code JOINTHEPARTY, all one word.
We’d also like to shout out one of our favorite podcasts, Treks and the City. Much like the real play D&D podcast world, there are a heck of a lot of Star Trek podcasts out there. But not many of them are hosted by two women comedians, and only this one talks about fashion, cats, and gender politics. This is the kind of stuff I want to hear when listening to podcasts about TV shows. Treks and the City is hosted by Alice Wetterlund and Veronica Osorio! This podcast is funny and smart, and it brings that feminist perspective that I personally really want to see in discussions about sci-fi. Veronica and Alice watch Star Trek: The Next Generation episode by episode, talking about plot and Star Trek tech, but also fashion and facial hair and what happens if you have to go to the bathroom in the Holodeck. And if that’s not enough, they’ve had some seriously amazing guests, like Rhea Butcher and Paul F Tompkins. If that sounds like it’s up your alley, check out Treks and the City on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your shows.
Now, let’s get back to the show.
[slightly faint horn plays a brief melody]
[echoing, steady dripping begins again]
Eric: So, Johnny, what are you doing?
Michael: So, after Tracey doesn’t respond to me asking him where's he going and what’s happening-
Michael: And I’m also realizing that my Dancing Light has reached, or is reaching the end of its radius, and the fact that I can’t hear Inara, I’m going to go up the attic. I’m gonna close the secret passage, and I’m gonna go up the ladder, activate the remaining three of my Dancing Lights to get a good view of the place. Am I able to see the door open from that, or-
Eric: You are in the same room that Inara was in before, this attic-
Eric: It’s dusty.
Eric: Lots of boxes.
Eric: One of the boxes has been pushed over and I guess there’s a projector. I guess Inara righted and looked at a little bit, so I guess put off to one side. The door is open.
Eric: In the back, like it’s not a secret anymore.
Michael: So I’m gonna walk in the direction of Inara and I’m gonna close the door behind me, so I can at least hear if someone comes behind me.
Michael (as Johnny): [echoing] Hey, Inara, everything okay up here? What is this place?
Amanda (as Inara): I don’t know, Johnny, just come here. Come here. It's really weird.
Eric: And Johnny, I think that as you walk into the room, you see how like reflective even the raw versions of this stone is.
Michael: So you would say that just by my mere presence, the light situation in this room infinitely got better?
Michael: I lighten the world up-
Michael: With my presence.
Amanda: Johnny, um, becomes level 8.
Michael: Johnny becomes level infinity.
Brandon: Johnny ascends.
Amanda: Johnny grows wings! Oh! He’s a celestial!
Michael: Johnny’s just the-
Brandon: [excitedly] He’s been Kevin Vacation the whole time!
Eric: So it’s really- it’s embedded just like all over this cavern, and when the light hits it you can see it becomes like five different colors. It’s like red and blue and green and purple and blue.
Eric: In this cavern, we’re talking about rocks here.
Eric: And everything is just like patterned with this stone. You don’t see any mud here.
Michael: Oh, interesting.
Eric: Like, it’s not muddy, it is like solid and stone.
Eric: So I’ll give you that, now that the two of you are here. I mean, it’s still one mine cart and no wheels, stone on stone.
Michael (as Johnny): What do you want to do? Do you want to head back to the attic and do some more poking around?
Amanda (as Inara): Sure.
Michael: So we walk back to the attic area and- are there any boxes that are conspicuously less dusty or is there a box that is extremely the most dustiest as if it were the oldest?
Eric: I would say that none of them are more dusty than the other. What I would say is that the projector is less dusty because Inara messed with it. And she opened it up and stuff.
Michael: I’m gonna take the projector, because I love light, and you know, movies and things like that. I’m gonna place it in a way that it aims towards a flat surface, and then I’m just gonna send one of my Dancing Lights into one of the receptacles of the projector and start like whirling it to start playing the film and watch the film.
[projector begins whirling]
Michael: And I would like to also, using thaumaturgy add some like fun sound effect music like theming for this particular film.
[old-timey comedic silent film music plays]
Eric: You send one of the Dancing Lights into the, like the battery pack-
Michael: Specifically Janice.
Eric: Janice [laughing] Janice gets sent into the projector, and you start to crank it, and then like it starts to like take over because you put the energy source in it, and it starts with a title card. And the title card says, “Training Video #323: Five-faced monster versus Designation 2457.”
Inara, this is what you saw before. You see this five-faced monster that’s kind of trying to snap- it’s kind of jerky, because remember it’s on old film, but it’s like trying to attack this metalled humanoid figure, and the metalled humanoid figure has a sword. And like you just kind of see them fight for a while. There’s just like a lot of biting, and then this metal person tries to kind of like juke and jump around the monster, and there's a lot of paring with the sword, and then at the end of it, you know like in classic Hydra sort of way like all of the necks get like all twisted together, and then the metal person stabs the monster, and then the crowd goes wild, and the monster goes “Rawwww.” And the metal person is cheering, and jumping up and down, and waving at the crowd. And then you hear the voice of the announcer again. And the announcer says
Heddy (as the announcer): What another great gladiator match here at Arch Spire Hideaway! Congratulations to our winner, the Council of Bright’s very own Designation 2457! Everyone, stay ready and stay bright!
Michael: Can I roll for history to see if the Council of Bright- anything pops in my head?
Amanda: This is Oatcakes first movie, so she is entranced.
Michael: Yeah, I’m not gonna remember. That was only a 9.
Eric: Yeah, okay. Nothing comes to mind immediately, but Johnny grew up in like a monastery with like a very deep library.
Eric: There’s a much younger Johnny that has dug through all the like forbidden books. It’s like ‘Encyclopedia of… Weirdness.’
Michael: My favorite one.
Eric: [laughing] Yeah.
Amanda: Not for you, son! Put this away.
[music stops, but projector continues whirring]
Eric: Yeah, no that’s like- literally what happens if you see like a menton of like the Council of Bright and then one of your masters closes the book and says
Eric (as master): Son, you’re not allowed to be in this part of the library! Go back to bed.
Michael: Eh I didn’t have my Invisibility Cloak that day, so it’s a shame.
Eric: It catches in your brain, but that’s it.
Michael: Eh, I’ll try to think about it later.
Amanda: Can I tell if this was recent? Like by the clothing people are wearing?
Eric: That’s a very good question. Why don’t you roll History as well?
Michael: Ooh, by the clothing, I like that.
Amanda: 16 + 2 for an 18.
Eric: Great. I think that you play it again, and this time you’re like standing directly in the path of the projector, and you’re just trying to look as closely at like the background audience as possible.
Amanda: Oatcake licks the wall.
Eric: It’s a little far away to recognize like people’s actual fashion choices, but you do notice that everyone is wearing the same color. Have you ever looked in like- at a sports game, where it’s like they have a white-out game?
Eric: Where like everyone is intentionally wearing white? Or like everyone’s intentionally wearing dark blue, or purple, or whatever the team color is.
Michael: Electric yellow.
Amanda: Like they give them a poncho or something to wear?
Eric: Yeah, it’s like that.
Eric: But this isn’t like people are wearing a T-shirt on top of their clothes, it's like everyone is wearing like the same tunic. And the tunic is all white. It looks like it’s washed out, but when you get really close, everyone is wearing the same white tunic. I would also say, I guess, Inara, it’s like out-moded. Like people don’t wear tunics now. It’s like you’re trying to look at like a Shakespearean play where like they’re putting on a doublet.
Eric: It’s like everyone is wearing like, legit like peasant tunics.
Eric: Alright, let’s go back to Tracey. Tracey, you spawn outside of the bathroom. What do you wanna do?
[projector sound fades]
[sink dripping steadily]
Brandon: Tracey’s gonna open the bathroom door, walk over to the toilet, take the mud bug out of his ear, flush it down. Then walk over to the mirror and knock three times.
Eric: On the third knock, you hear the knock reverberate through adn the door opens again.
Brandon: Tracey walks in, closes the door behind him, starts scrambling up the rope ladder, blowing his help horn to announce his presence.
[projector sound begins again]
Amanda (as Inara): We’re right here. We’re right here, Trace.
Michael (as Johnny): Tracey, you- Tracey that really-
Amanda (as Inara): We’re right here.
[Tracey blowing excitedly through the help horn]
Michael (as Johnny): Oh- Oh god, Tracey-
Amanda (as Inara): Tracey- oh god.
Michael (as Johnny): That hurts my ear. That-
Amanda (as Inara): Okay, cover your ears-
[Tracey blows the help horn again]
Michael (as Johnny): You know, I am literally an indeterminate age, this hurts so much.
Eric: Yeah, and the projector stops as soon as Tracey blows his help horn.
Michael (as Johnny): Tracey, everything okay?
Brandon (as Tracey): We got fifteen minutes. Let’s go.
Michael (as Johnny): Oh-oh-okay. Uh-
Amanda (as Inara): Uh, okay so here- there’s a film- a guy that looks like you-
Amanda: And Inara’s gonna rewind the projector to the point that we see the metal-covered man, and let it play for a few seconds.
Heddy (as announcer): Designation 24 [fading and warping as though played slower] 57
Michael (as Johnny): Tracey, do you know anything about like why things that kind of look like you are here?
Brandon (as Tracey): That’s crazy! 14:43!
Michael (as Johnny): I don’t know what this countdown means, but there’s-
Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, it’s a death countdown. We’re gonna die in fourteen minutes if we don’t move.
Amanda (as Inara): Anyway, that’s all you had to see in here, just a guy who looks like you killed a monster- maybe long ago, maybe not, who knows? Let’s go. This way. There’s a minecart.
Brandon: Tracey looks at his pocket watch again and just grabs the whole projector.
Amanda (as Inara): Uh, cool, this way.
Amanda: And so Inara, Johnny, and Oatcake with Tracey behind them are going to proceed through that hidden-ish attic door, we run down this hallway with the Dancing Lights above us, and into the rocky cavern.
[water running in the cavern begins again, unsteady but constant]
And Inara and Oatcake are going to jump into the mine cart.
Michael: What-n- is there any indication that me getting into this cart is at least not gonna kill me?
Also, is the cart even functional? I’m sorry, I know mine carts have this assumption that you can get in one and you just go and it’s all happy-
Amanda: [giggling] That’s how all mines work.
Michael: But that’s literally not how minecarts work.
Eric: Alright, this mine cart has an emergency brake, and it is currently on.
Amanda: Inara is sitting in the mine cart looking at everybody like
Amanda (as Inara): [excited] Guys, guys, it’s a ride. It’s a ride!
Brandon: I’m already in the cart.
Michael: Before I get in the cart, I’m casting Blade Ward to protect myself if anything negative and damaging happens. I’m casting it just on myself.
Michael: And I get in.
Michael: And since I’m the last one in and I don’t really want to do this, I pull the emergency brake off.
[faint music begins with long breathy notes]
Eric: Okay, here’s how this works. There are a few different speeds that you can do. You are stopped at the moment, and you can go slow, medium, fast, and then over that is fast and out of control. Every round, you can either lean into this hill, which makes you go one step faster, you can stay as you are, or you can use the emergency brake to try to slow yourself down. We’re gonna do this in Initiative rolls. Each round, you guys are all gonna roll a Perception.
[deeper bass notes join the music]
Think of it as like a constant trap. On a certain initiative, something is going to happen, and you need to do the amount of Perception to, like, avoid it. Then those who notice roll Initiative to see who reacts first to the feature.
Johnny, as you let the emergency brake go, the cart slowly goes forward, and it starts with a small screeching sound as it starts to move.
[electric melody joins the music]
Michael: Even as it moves very slowly, Johnny’s life starts to flash before his eyes.
Eric: Of course. And immediately, you guys take the dive down the first part of the track, and it goes down and forward, and you are just going pretty fast. Do you want to lean into it, do you want to stay, or do you want to try to slow down?
Michael: So we’re at the level called ‘slow’?
Eric: You’re on the speed level called ‘slow’.
Michael: I am going to constantly be advocating that we stay at the slow level.
And anything that causes us to go faster we attempt to slow down.
Amanda: Inara and Oatcake are going to be leaning to go faster until we reach the level ‘fast’ and I don’t want to go above that.
Brandon: Tracey’s going to be leaning into ‘fast’ until he literally just falls out of the thing because he’s going too fast.
Michael: Johnny is going to murder both of his companions and make this cart go as slow as possible.
Eric: I mean, it seems like it’s two against one, so for this round you guys are gonna go faster. So you are now up to the medium speed. Everyone, roll a Perception check, and I’m gonna give you all +2 because you have the light on.
[three dice rolling]
Amanda: 5. I’m having too much fun.
Eric: ALright, Tracey and Inara, you guys don’t notice what’s coming up next. You’re having too much fun leaning into the speed. Johnny.
Michael: If I’m the only one that takes damage, I’m gonna come across this table…
Eric: No! You get to see- you see the ob- you’re the only one who sees the obstacle. And because you are so out of your mind, you are just concentrating for something that will make you feel better, and you see some glowing coming up faster up ahead. And it’s like on a rock wall to your right, and there are some mushrooms that are glowing and drawing you to light. And you feel very attracted to them.
Eric: And you want to reach out. And I want you to roll- I want you to roll a Wisdom-
Michael: You’re literally punishing me right now.
Eric: I want you to roll a Wisdom saving throw.
[Michael sighs deeply]
Amanda: I love it.
Michael: [muttering to himself] For fuck’s sake.
Eric: Okay, with a Wisdom 10 you are like drawn to these mushrooms. You need to grab them as you’re speeding by. And I want everybody to take 6 points of damage. Because as Johnny reaches out to grab the mushrooms, these are electrified, and it kind of like- it travels through your body and shocks everybody. But Johnny you have a fistfull of these electric mushrooms and they’re glowing, and these have a shocking property. And they-
Brandon: You won’t believe what this property is!
Eric: It’s Shock-It!
Amanda: Bop it! Twist it!
Michael: Do I still have them, though?
Eric: Yes, you have a fist full of them.
Amanda: Pull it! Eat it!
Michael: I’m going to grab from my pack-
Amanda: Eat it!
Michael: -A bunch of paper-
Brandon: [deeply] Eat it!!!
Michael: -wrap it into the paper, and put it into my bag.
Eric: So here’s what happens with these glowing, shocking mushrooms. I think when people interact with it, either eat it or touch it for the first time, they get 2d6 shock. You fly past the mushrooms and you all get ssssssshocked. It’s going to another downhill. Do you guys wanna go faster?
Michael: I’m going to attempt us to slow down.
Eric: Johnny, do you want to lean back or do you want to try to pull the brake?
Michael: I lean back.
Eric: Okay. You guys are going faster. You are now at fast. Everyone please make a Perception roll with +2.
[three dice rolling]
Amanda: Nat-20, my friends.
Brandon: 12 + 4 for 16.
Michael: 8, so which means I’m probably also gonna get punished again.
Eric: Alright, with a 20-
Amanda: Natural 20, sir.
Eric: A natural 20-
Michael: You take…
Eric: Alright, Inara- I don’t know, you’re just like invigorated by like the roller-coaster-ness-
Amanda: Hell yeah.
Eric: Or the shocking you’re just like, “Ahhh!”
Amanda: This is like God’s skateboard.
Eric: So with a natural 20, you can see that like about 30 feet ahead of you, you’re coming to like an overhang of rocks. And like one of the rocks ahead of you is starting to crumble off of it.
Amanda (as Inara): Uh, hey guys, there is a giant stalagmite or stalactite, I forgot what that name was in geography, gonna crash down on us when we pass down under it!
Brandon (as Tracey): Johnny was it stalactite or stalagmite?!
Michael (as Johnny): Well, you see, the name-
Amanda (as Inara): Tracey, your shield?!
Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, right!
Brandon: And Tracey takes his shield out and covers all of us with it. Kinda hunker down on top of us.
Eric: I like it.
Amanda: Like a cute little Tupperware lid.
Michael: As he does that, Johnny starts to explain the etymology of stalactite and stalagmite to the team. We will presume that happened.
Eric: Nice. Tracey, what’s your AC with your shield?
Brandon: Did I say 16? I mean 20,000.
Eric: Okay, Tracey, I want you to make a Dexterity saving throw as well.
Amanda: Big money.
Brandon: Ay! I got a 19 + 1 for a 20!
Eric: Hell yeah! Alright-
Brandon: Not a natural 20.
Eric: Okay, as the rock falls, it starts to crumble, and all of you are bracing yourself for impact. You hear a “womp”
[loud crashing metal noise]
Coming down on the shield, and none of y’all take damage. In fact, Tracey was so dextrous, he actually was able to keep the rock held up there, and you guys get a piece of rock. You get a piece of this glowing, glittering rock, and you are able to- so all of you have that.
Brandon: I thought at first you were just like, “you get a rock!”
Brandon: Like cool, thanks.
Michael: It’s this large-
Amanda: Our catapult is loaded.
Michael: -mineral stone deposit thing?
Eric: Yes. Also, now that you’ve all taken on weight and you’ve grabbed this, you slow down, and you are now down to medium speed.
Amanda: Obviously I’m gonna lean forward to go faster.
Brandon: Can I dump the rest of it off?
Michael: I will attempt to grab as much of the glitteriness as possible.
Brandon: Yeah, I assume we all got some.
Michael: You dump everything that isn’t the glitteriness?
Brandon: You’re just trying to slow us down! That’s what you’re trying to do!
Michael: That’s… [sighs]
Brandon: Tracey heaves his shield off of everyone and dumps the rest of the rock off. And then leans forward to go fast.
Eric: Okay, so they- these two want to lean forward. Johnny, do you want to pull the emergency brake to slow down?
Michael: So do you think that maybe because of what he did, he doesn’t get to count as a lean forward because if anything he- he counts as a slow down because of what just happened?
Brandon: You mean when I specifically leaned forward?
Michael: Whatever, doesn’t matter. I’m going slow, they’re going fast, we’re still going faster-
Eric: You wanna- you can pull the emergency brake.
Michael: I’m not pulling the emergency brake, because if it breaks and we actually have to brake at some point, it’s gonna be bad news.
Eric: Okay, everyone please make a Perception check. You are going fast.
Michael: It’s a +2 still?
Eric: Yeah, +2.
[three dice rolling]
Michael: Which is honestly bad for us…
Brandon: 16 + 4 for unnatural 20. Non-natural 20.
Brandon: A supernatural 20.
Amanda: A supranatural 20.
Eric: Okay. Tracey, while Inara and Johnny are squabbling with each other to try to figure out-
Amanda: We’re hypnotized by rocks!
Eric: -who’s going faster-
Michael: Nope, I’m just freaking out. I will make that clear. I’m just freaking out.
Amanda: I’m hypnotized by my rock.
Eric: What does Johnny sound like when he’s scared?
Michael: I’m not gonna…
Eric: Give me a scream.
Eric: Give me a scream. Why not- give me a Johnny scream.
Brandon: [quietly chanting] Scream. Scream. Scream.
Amanda: [joining in, whispering] Scream. Scream. Scream…
Michael: Okay, hold ON! Give me a second to-
Michael (as Johnny): [screaming] Can we please just slow down!? PLEASE can we just slow down?! This is not the speed we should be going at! This is not a good speed! Can we just slow down a little bit?! Please can we slow down? Can we slow down? Ahhhh this is not a good speed. This is a bad speeeeeeeed! Slow down!
Amanda: [imitating Johnny] I will pull this cart over, so help me God!
Michael (as Johnny): I am taking us back to the mansion if we do not slow down!
Amanda: We will turn right around if you and your sister can’t agree on who gets the Happy Meal toy!
Michael (as Johnny): We will all become mud people! I swear to God we will all be- I swear to Adamah and the Undying Light and the Shadow and whatever! We will all become mud people!
[Eric and Brandon laughing hysterically]
Michael: Is that what you wanted? Did I give you what you wanted?
Eric: That’s exactly what I wanted!
Michael: Okay, glad you got what you wanted.
Eric: Oh my god, so while that’s happening, which I love, Tracey, you try to ignore the two people who are squabbling behind you. You look forward and you see two massive jaws coming out of the track ahead of you.
Brandon: Like organic? Like flesh and… bone?
Eric: Make an Investigation check.
Brandon: 16 + 5 for 21.
Eric: They’re stone jaws. They’re ornamental.
Brandon: Oh, cool. That’s- I wanna say this is the first time in 26-5-ish episodes that I detected something.
Eric: It’s very good.
Amanda: I’m very proud of you.
Michael: That’s legitimately true.
Eric: This could be- this could have been bad.
Michael: Good job man.
Amanda: That’s real character growth.
Brandon: Thanks. Am I worried?
Eric: Well, now you know they’re not stone-
Brandon: Oh! Hey Eric!
Brandon: Are my danger sensors going off?
Eric: No, you’re not because you realize they’re stone, and you’re fine.
Eric: How do you feel about the ornamental?
Eric: Do you tell them that it’s fake?
Brandon: Tracey turns around and he goes
Brandon (as Tracey): I feel great about the jaws!
Eric: And you two look up, and you see the jaws.
Michael: Do I have a heart attack or not?
Amanda: Inara’s going to stand up and throw a dagger into the middle of the jaws.
Brandon (as Tracey): That was… okay… I should have been more clear. We’re fine.
Eric: Probably, Amanda roll an attack.
Amanda: Uh, that’s a 19 + 2 + 6 for a…
Michael: Hold on, if I may at the same time while you do this- I’m going to sheleighleigh which is an instant action, my quarterstaff, and attempt to knock off one of the teeth so I can get it for my own.
Because it’s a nice stone! And it looks good and I want one of the teeth! So maybe you’re doing the same.
Eric: I think you don’t even know it’s a stone- you’re just like, “Oh look! Teeth!” and then you hit at it.
Eric: Because Tracey said nothing about stone-
Michael: He said nothing about it, I just want a tooth.
Eric: Okay, so you’re doing a attack roll-
Amanda: I rolled a 27 attack, so…
Amanda: I wanna throw a dagger at the bottom of a tooth so that it pops up and I can grab it as we pass over.
Michael: That’s why I wanted to say first, so that we’re on the same page.
Amanda: Thanks, dad.
Michael: We’re taking the two buck teeth. We want the two middle teeth.
Amanda: The two front teeth.
Michael: The two front teeth of the top.
Amanda: All I want for Christmas is the two front teeth of this rock shark.
Michael: And we’ve basically rolled the best we could that wasn’t a nat-20, so DM how are you doing?
Eric: That’s exactly what happens!
Eric: That’s weird. I was gonna say that, and then that’s what happened.
Brandon: And then it came out of their mouth.
Eric: So you guys now, you two both have stone teeth.
Michael: And it’s the same kind of stone, right?
Eric: Yeah. Okay, um, would you guys like to go faster?
Michael: I’m sorry, we are currently at the fastest sped where there is some semblance of control, correct?
Eric: Yes, you are at- you are going fast.
Brandon: Is this the medium speed?
Eric: You are going fast.
Michael: I’m going to have these two fools answer first.
Brandon: So there is a faster than fast?
Brandon: Now how fast- how many levels of fast is there?
Michael: No- the- the-
Amanda: I’m know that Tracey’s going to lean forward, so I’m gonna lean back.
Michael: Going any faster than this level, Brandon-
Brandon: Yes, dad?
Michael: And Tracey-
Michael: Gets us to an uncontrollable level of speed where the cart could falter.
Brandon: Eric, would you say that I weigh more than both of them combined?
Brandon: Okay, good, then I lean forward.
Amanda: We lean back.
Eric: Okay. You guys are going fast, and you are- you’ve taken the final like slope down and there’s a straightaway for a while, and in a very sort of cartoonish way, about 30 feet in front of you, there’s a sign that says, “Bridge Out.”
Eric: And there’s-
Brandon: Is it like comically hanging a little bit askew?
Eric: Of course, and-
Michael: Do we notice the sign?
Eric: All three of you do. The track continues about like 50 feet forward, but also like 30 feet down. I will tell you right now, you have plenty of speed to make it across the chasm. What do you all wanna do to try to like stunt your way across this chasm?
Michael: My sick stunt will be to try to focus my entire body and movement to try to make it so that when we do hit the ground again, slash the rail on the other side, we safely land onto the railing so that we don’t fail. That’s my sick stunt.
Eric: Cool. Good.
Brandon: Sorry, I fell asleep. What was that?
Michael: That’s the dad answer and I’m the dad.
Eric: That’s Johnny’s action.
Michael: And that’s literally Michael’s action too, because-
Eric: What would you like to do to try to make yourselves do this? I’ve got- I have Johnny’s.
Amanda: I’m gonna pull the Grind Machine out, lean toward the front of the cart with my hand gripping the front edge, look at Oatcake, say
Amanda (as Inara): You know what to do.
Amanda: And then as we launch off of the track, I am going to launch myself forward, do a barrel roll in the air, holding my skateboard to my feet like a snowboarder, Oatcake is gonna blink on top of me, and then blink back into the cart as we hopefully safely land on the other end of the track.
Eric: Okay… great. Good.
Amanda: And my goal, to be clear, is to land on the Grind Machine in the cart.
Eric: Okay, I got that.
Michael: Johnny’s literally too old for this shit.
[Brandon and Eric laughing]
Eric: What’s Tracey doing?
Brandon: Tracey sees the beginnings of this sick stunt from Inara, so he wants to add some- some flavor to it. And how do you add flavor in good old skateboarding? You do some turns. You do some- some rotations!
Eric: Oh no…
Amanda: You do. You do.
Brandon: So as we’re just leaving the ground, Tracey’s gonna shoot his Long Arm of the Law so it attaches to the like track and then let's go just enough to get a little bit of a rotation started…
Brandon: And then we do, I don’t know, should we say a 1080?
Eric: Alright, Inara, I want you to make Acrobatics.
Michael: I’m just gonna take damage.
Eric: Tracey, I don’t even know what you’re doing.
Brandon: Oh, I use Strength to move a creature up to 15-
Eric: Okay, so use-
Eric: Why don’t you make just a straight Strength, and Johnny, I want you to make Con.
Amanda: 10 + 9 for a 19. Grind Machine strikes again. Flip Day Part 2: The Flippening.
Amanda: Flip Day Part 2: 2 Flip 2 Be…
Michael: 13. This campaign is ageist.
Brandon: I got 9 + 6 for 15.
Eric: Oh, yeah. Here we go. Okay. this is lovely. I want to imagine this scene: Inara’s on her skateboard, Tracey’s spins the cart around for- I think with a 720- you get two full rotations. And Johnny, I think Johnny does not vomit himself.
Michael: [not amused] I’m wonderful that that’s what I get to contribute. That’s-
Eric: And you are-
Michael: -just so great, and I feel so good in my heart. And stomach. That I don’t throw up.
Amanda: Maybe your eyebags get a little bit illuminated.
Michael: You know what, I age an extra year.
Michael: This maneuver has aged me an extra year, how’s that? Boom. Done. Aged an extra year.
Eric: But here’s the important part is that you all landed.
Eric: It is a very good land. You nail it and you get like 10,000 points.
Brandon: Is there a judge with just like… a card somewhere?
Eric: At the bottom of the screen you see it’s like- it’s like “720 Cart Trick!” and you just get 10,000 points.
Eric: The track just goes straight on for about 100, 200 feet, and you slowly grind to a halt at the end of the track.
[electric-sounding music stops]
I don’t think any of you have like been able to track your orientation necessarily, and there is a steel door in front of you with like one of those vault type of handles.
Michael: While these two fools are high-fiving or whatever the youngin’s do, I get out of the cart-
Amanda: We’re dabbing.
Brandon: [excited] Oh my god, I was gonna say dabbing!
Michael: Collapse to the ground, open up my book, and start like reading passages to myself, and like- I’m not kissing the ground, but like pretty much yeah.
Eric: You’re just like an evangelical dad at like Six Flags.
[Michael sighs deeply]
Brandon: You guys wanna go to Six Flags?
Eric: I definitely- I wanna go to Six Flags.
Brandon: Alright, me and Eric will go.
Michael: They have Dippin’ Dots!
Eric: I feel like this is the part where like the 17-year-old comes on the speaker and says
Eric (as 17-year-old): [squeaking through speaker] Everyone please get off the ride for the next person to get on. Thank you for coming to Six Flags and riding the Mine Cart Challenge!
Brandon: Tracey immediately jumps out of the cart and runs to the door, and starts trying to turn the door.
Amanda: I’ll put my pack on, put Oatcake in it, and follow Tracey.
Eric: Tracey, make a Strength roll for me.
Brandon: 4 + 3 for 7…
Eric: Cool. Yeah, you try to put your whole might behind turning this thing, because just like, you think it’s ancient or you think like it’s stuck, but like it’s actually loose. The handle just like spins quickly in front of you.
Brandon: I’m still acting as if it took a lot of effort.
Eric: Oh, of course.
Eric: It creaks open. Do you wanna go in?
Brandon: Can I see anything in there?
Eric: No. It’s- it’s dark in there.
Michael: I was about to ask the light situation. When he opens the door, is there like a gust of wind like the air pressure’s changed? Like it’s not been opened in so long that like a whoosh of air would happen?
Eric: That’s actually interesting, and I think this goes along with what Tracey did. You kind of expect that this like a sealed door and it’s like an airlock situation, but it’s actually fine.
Michael: Hmm. I’m gonna send Eduardo in in a very soft light color. Eduardo, one of my Dancing Lights. I’m gonna send Eduardo in.
Brandon: As the light enters the room, Tracey follows behind it.
[music with pulsing, heart-beat-like bass and piano]
Eric: Tracey, you push the door open to follow the light inside, and… the light of the Dancing Lights reflects off of metal. Some of it’s rusted, but some of it can still catch the light of the ball that’s floating around. And you see Artificer equipment, and wrenches, and hammers, and old bowls that used to be- had like liquid metal in it.
And you’re looking over at the workstation, and you turn over to the right, and across the far wall are nine warforged, and they all look like you. Some of them have their chestpiece open, that it’s large enough for someone to climb in. Some of them have smaller pieces that are open just looking for energy or like a battery pack, and as you count there should have been ten, but number 7 is missing.
Eric: Join the Party is brought to you by Brandon Grugle, Amanda McLoughlin, Michael Fische, and me, Eric Silver. I’m your host and game master; Brandon edits, mixes, and scores the show; Amanda manages our community and our digital life; and Michael archives, manual-checks, and cartographs our world. Special thanks to our creative consultants Connor McLoughlin, Julia Schifini and Heddy Hunt.
Michael: The party doesn’t stop here! The day after every episode comes out we publish the Afterparty, where we sit down to discuss what just happened and learn what could have happened. Send us your questions anytime.
Brandon: Join our community online by following @jointhepartypod on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We’ve also got every episode up on our website, jointhepartypod.com; and you can email us questions or stories anytime at email@example.com.
Amanda: If you’re enjoying this ride as much as we are, help the show out by subscribing to us in iTunes and leaving a quick rating. For even more Join the Party goodness, check out our Patreon. Just a few dollars will get you access to drawings, character backstories, bloopers, and so much more at patreon.com/jointhepartypod.
Eric: We’ll see you in two weeks. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.