The party searches through the hidden workshop under the mansion. What are they building down here? And who’s building it? Inara turns the tide. Johnny files. Tracey senses danger. Derek gives some advice.
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Cast & Crew
- Dungeon Master: Eric Silver
- TR8c (Tracey): Brandon Grugle
- Inara Harthorn: Amanda McLoughlin
- Johnny B. Goodlight: Michael Fische
- Multitude: multitude.productions
Eric: Okay, so the show is about to start, but I want to remind everyone that we have a live show coming up. It is so soon! So soon! If you’re in New York City on June 9th, you can see our faces in person. This is an all new adventure that you cannot experience anywhere else, and you can meet up with the other party people and get hype about Stoneface! What else do you need? So, tell your friends, your family, your gamer bros, your coworkers, the people you only kinda know on XBox Live. Let them know about our live show on June 9th. You can get your tickets now on bit.ly/JoinThePartyLive. Remember, Patrons get 50% off your ticket. That’s bit.ly/JoinThePartyLive. Take it away, Eric!
Amanda: Last time on Join the Party...
Eric: The party escapes from the chaos of the elimination ceremony and hides in their bathroom. As they figure out a plan, Inara remembers some advice from a fellow assassin.
Amanda: Inara’s going to jump up onto the sink and knock three times on the door.
Eric: The secret door leads to a strange attic filled with papers, documents and ledgers, all marked by the same group - the Council of Bright. They also find a project that plays a film from the colosseum from many, many years ago.
Heddy (as the announcer): What another great gladiator match here at Archspire Hideaway! Congratulations to our winner, the Council of Bright’s very own Designation 2457!
Eric: Farther in, they discover a mine cart hooked up to a track that plunges into darkness. Tracey and Inara are ready to go, but Johnny gets carsick. Mine cart sick? I don’t know, he doesn’t like it.
Michael (as Johnny): I am taking us back to the mansion if we do not slow down!
Eric: The tracks lead an abandoned workroom with the door slammed shut.
Eric: And across the far wall are nine warforged, and they all look like you.
Eric: Lions and tigers and warforged, oh my! Let’s get the party started.
[twinkling, calm music with lower, slow strings]
Eric: The first thing you notice about this workshop is that it’s extremely clean. For a secret underground warforged factory, it is so, so, so clean and organized. Every tool has a place and a label. Every cog and gear is shined so that you could see your face in it. And the file cabinets are even alphabetized. The work chair is pushed in.
There are robotic arms, like ones that you might see in a modern car factory- they’re spread out at different work stations around the room, but they’re placed in ways like they’re at rest. Like one looks like it’s leaning on an elbow. Another is just kind of like lolling in the air.
Even the warforged that are lined up on the wall have been cleaned and sanitized to a perfect degree, and they smell a little lemony. The only thing out of place is an empty spot of number seven.
[water dripping in the cavern]
Of the things on the wall, there are different “robots” - so with quotes around them. There are some fully made machines that are in different states of repair. One is just a skeleton suit which is all wood, and one shows off what armoring could look like. One has all these fake organs and eyes that are just like put onto the nervous system. And some look a lot like Tracey but like fresh out of the box Tracey. Like no etchings, no dirt, no nothing. There’s also some exosuits, so it’s like someone opened up a warforged to half, and then the inside, there is a small leather seat and joysticks that are only big enough for a small creature to navigate.
The door that you walked in is on like the left side of the room, and the robots are on the right wall, and all these workstations with everything that I’ve described is just kinda all over the room. It’s, uh- it’s like the size of a bedroom, or a workshop that you might have in a garage.
Michael: All of that fits in this kind of room?
Eric: Yeah, it’s very sort of put together.
Eric: You wouldn’t expect this from a secret under- again, a secret underground robot dungeon.
Michael: That’s why I’m surprised.
Eric: It looks like, um- if like Restoration Hardware was putting together a workshop to build robots, it would look like this. Like everything has its own place, and is optimizing the space which it’s in.
Amanda: Are there a lot of like superfluous like brass decorative tacks on the furniture?
Eric: Yeah, like all over the place.
Amanda: And the weirdly curved arms that belong to really no design school, but just extra?
Eric: Yeah absolutely, and it’s all super shiny, like buffed. And you can see your reflection when you put your face close up to it.
Michael: Am I passively sensing any kind of magic?
Eric: No. No you’re not.
Eric: I also wanna say that, Tracey, your danger sense at the moment is fine.
Michael: And I have one other question.
Michael: Is there like an obvious energy source that like, would be like the spark?
Eric: Sure. No there is not.
Eric: So, Brandon and I have talked about how warforged are put together, and the way that that works and you can put together from the different stations, is that first you make the skeleton out of wood, then you put iron and other metals to make the tendons where everything fits together, and there are tons of gears of different teeth and sizes that attach limbs to each other. There is a bucket, just of sap, which is very important to fill in the cavities of the wood itself, so it doesnt like compromise it. And then there’s kind of like a bucket of just like messed with sense organs, so there's like half an eye, and an ear, and like maybe a liver, or what kind of looks like a liver. And then the last thing would be you need an energy source, but there is no energy source.
And everything kind of fits into different compartments. Like, if you were in like one of these beautiful kitchens like you see in catalogues, like you just pull out a drawer and there's an entire drawer of gears. And then you pull out another drawer, and there’s another one of just like eyes. And there’s like a pile of wood in one- like stacked up neatly in one corner. It’s also like on ‘Chopped’ when they have the food laid out, and it’s like everything is just like stacked.
Amanda: A perfect pyramid of oranges.
Eric: Yes, it’s like that. Like someone put all of this- all of this organization together.
Brandon: Is there a bowl of oranges just for like you know, a dash of color?
Eric: [laughing] There’s a pop of color, of just ora- of, um-
Amanda: A vase of citrus.
Eric: There’s a bunch of lemons, just like in a pail, over to one side.
Amanda: [sounding amazed] They’re always ripe!
Michael: You said that there was like a desk area or a workbench area-
Michael: Like a main section, so is there any kind of documentation or any kind of, you know, readable material? I don’t know if you know this, but I can, uh-
Eric: Read anything…
Michael: Read anything.
Eric: Yeah, you go over to the workbench, and there’s a small lamp, a desk lamp. There are no papers out, but there is- it is right next ot the three large file cabinets. So if you wanted to root through there, you could. And it’s all alphabetized if you wanted to go through.
Michael: This seems like a normal file cabinet, i’m not gonna open it and everything's gonna go crazy…?
Eric: No, it says like “A through M,” “M through O,” and then “O through Z,” just like-
Brandon: What a bonkers file system [laughing].
Amanda: M, N, and O are really bulky, huh?
Eric: It’s - there’s “machine” is in there-
Eric: It’s M and it’s Ma.
Eric: Because it’s all machines.
Michael: That’s very fair. I don’t have time to go through all of it.
Michael: If there’s one that I can see that has the most- and if you want me to roll, I’ll roll- but has the most obvious deterioration, as in like clearly this is the one they’ve looked at the most.
Eric: Sure, why don’t you do Investigation?
Michael: Sure. That’s fair.
Brandon: While he’s doing that, can I do a Perception check to see if I see any signs of someone coming and going recently?
Brandon: Or would that be Investigation?
Eric: That would also be Investigation, but you can investigate a different part.
[dice rolling twice]
Michael: I have a 17 to investigate for the most well-worn, used, obvious-
Brandon: I have a 16 + 5 for a 21 for Investigation.
Eric: Hell yeah. Perfect. I’m gonna say Fish, as you just kind of do a cursory glance as you pull open all the file cabinets-
Eric: The top one for B is “Box Scores” and you see even more of these scores that you saw before with Inara, and there are like- all of these different designations have been in these fights.
Michael: Is there- I’m looking specifically for a TR8c or a P0R0.
Eric: No, you don’t see either of them.
Eric: And that’s truth, and because you rolled so high I’ll tell you, it’s not because you missed it, it's like they’re not there.
Michael: They’re not there.
Eric: Tracey, because of your such high Investigation, you go over to the far corner of the room- you have to walk by each one of the skeletons, and on the far right corner, you look up, and there’s a rope ladder that is furled up into a tight bundle, pinned up against the ceiling, and there is like a, um- you’re seeing the other side of a secret door. So it’s like pressed right up against what the ceiling might look like, is like a very small square, that like is the opening of said secret room.
Brandon: As I’m walking over to that rope ladder, I am running my fingers across the different exoskeletons, and kind of feeling the materials, seeing if any of them are warm or cold, and then I get to the rope, and I’m gonna reach up for it. How far away is it?
Eric: Ten feet. You could probably pretty easily grab it with the Long Arm.
Brandon: Yeah, I’m gonna shoot my Long Arm up a little bit. This is the smallest Long Arm of the Law acrobatic stunt that I’ve done.
Eric: [chuckles] It’s just like you- you grabbed a broom and you’re just like trying to hit at it, pull it down.
Brandon: Yeah, I’m trying to show off a little bit.
Eric: I’d say that none of the robots or the exosuits are warm at all. They’re all cold.
Eric: And they all feel like you.
Michael: But missing that whateverness-
Eric: The je ne sais quoi-
Michael: The je ne sais- the Johnny sais quoi that got-
Amanda: Johnny, say whaaaat?
Brandon: Thaaaat was very good.
Amanda: I’m going to be watching the entrance, by the way, as all of this is going on, kind of sticking with Oatcake just inside the doorframe with my Perception focused outside the room.
Brandon: So as I pull down the rope, I take a quick glance over to my companions, and I don’t feel quite comfortable enough to speak any words, but I make sure I make eye contact with both of them, and sort of gesture up to this door at the ceiling.
Amanda: I’m just going to look on silently and give him and encouraging nod.
Michael: Johnny’s going to give Tracey the finger guns and then make a thumbs up appearance of light, and then if possible before Tracey goes up, I would like to see if I can- if there's a file that talks about competitors that are missing, or designations that are not there anymore, or past successes or failures that are just gone now. Any reference to things that aren’t there anymore.
Michael: Or anything close to-
Brandon: Is there anything about the most handsome one in there?
Michael: If there is “most handsome one” I would like to see that as well.
Eric: Okay, sure. I think in M you pull the middle one out, and I think there is a slender section that says like “Missing, Absent and Unknown.”
Michael: I’ll take them both.
Eric: So Johnny, the machines one like I said is very bulky. We’re talking like eighth grade binder overflowing all over the place sort of huge.
Michael: Could I maybe just without looking just take like a random part of it and just stuff it in my bag?
Eric: Sure. I think that you can grab like a folded up blueprint that’s much too large for the manilla folder, and there's kind of like some paper stuffed in there, and just kind of grab it and you can stick it in your bag for now.
Eric: And then do you wanna take the “Missing” folder as well?
Michael: I’d actually like to look at the Missing folder now.
Eric: That sounds good to me. So first of all, I wanna say that everything that you’ve looked through has been stamped in either a watermark or at the top or at the bottom of each document, and it says “Council of Bright” on it.
Eric: Every single one. And I also wanna say that these have been preserved very well, but these are still very old. Like the paper itself is fragile.
Eric: So you have to be careful with looking through- you’re looking through an archive, basically.
Michael: I’m a man of lots of books, and tomes, and old documents. I’m very careful.
Eric: Yeah, you [laughing] you put on your plastic gloves as you go through them.
Michael: I- I- using all my- I have-
Amanda: Actually you use cotton-linen blend, because-
[Brandon bursts out laughing]
Michael: I was about to say a fabric one. I have a lot of fabrics. I would rather just quickly make something using my magics-
Amanda: Plastic is way too harsh, my dude.
Eric: You have your bone folder to keep everything open.
Michael: And I take dthe “Missing” or whatever folder at the desk, and I take a seat.
Eric: Okay. As you pull out the rolly desk chair and you sit down on it and adjust the settings for your lumbar support-
Michael: It’s important. You need to be comfortable while reading. This is something that I didn’t bring up when we were in the competition, that not just you need a library, but you need a good place to sit. It’s very important that you have-
Eric: [interrupting] So when you pull out the desk chair…
Amanda: He’s very old.
Eric: He’s a very old man. He’s shushing himself, he’s making too much noise.
Eric: As you pull out the desk chair, you stretch out your legs to, um, get you know a full proper upright sitting at the desk.
Eric: And your feet kick up against something. And you look down and there is a solid oaken chest underneath the desk with a big old lock on it.
Michael: I bring the chest up onto the table so that the side where- not my reading area. You know, I need a good reading area if I’m gonna sit and read, like it’s important to have your space. Anyway, I’m gonna get Inara’s attention and motion her over so that she can take a look at what she’s good at, and I can take a look at what i’m good at.
Amanda: Yeah, and I’ll walk over and I’m going to pull my lockpicking set out of my pack, sans one file, and attempt to lockpick it.
Eric: It’s been so long, how do you use Thieve’s Tools?
Amanda: Well, there is the curved implement and then there is the straighter implement, so you stick the straight one in then you put the curved done on top of it and you try to sort of move the tumblers of the lock up and down until you feel them click. So-
Eric: And you shake it all about?
Amanda: Uh, no. You don’t do that or the ‘Hokey Pokey.’
Michael: Yeah, if you shake it-
Brandon: That’s counterproductive.
Amanda: Very inefficient to turn yourself around when you’re trying to unlock a lock, my dude.
Eric: Okay, so-
Michael: And then mechanically, she just rolls?
Eric: I think you just roll for it and you add your Proficiency bonus. It’s your Dexterity plus your Proficiency bonus.
Amanda: Nat 20.
Eric: Oh my goooood.
Amanda: [yelling with joy] Yes!
Amanda: I am redeemed!
Brandon: Everything’s comin’ up 20s.
Michael: There was a trap, and you just undid the trap.
Amanda: Eric looks so dismayed.
Michael: Or he’s just proud of you.
Eric: I’m s- [sighs].
Brandon: [singing] We just broke his game!
Amanda: [joining in] We just broke his game!
Brandon: We just broke his game!
Amanda: We just broke- we just broke! We just broke his game!
Michael: That was gonna activate like three of the things, we were gonna have to fight ‘em all, and instead we’re just gonna have a pleasant time.
And I’m so excited to have a pleasant time.
Amanda: This arc is just-
Brandon: We’re gonna have tea.
Amanda: This arc is just a casual romp.
Michael: This is just casual time-
Brandon: There’s cucumber sandwiches.
Michael: That minecart was the casual express.
Amanda: It was a game, and now we get to go to the spa.
Eric: This is wild. Sometimes they are traps that you need to deal with, and you’re just like- Inara’s just like [humming innocently] boop-ba-doop-ba-doop.
And then just like pop- she like was the Fonz. That’s what you did! You’re the Fonz and you hit it with your hand and then it just popped open.
Amanda: That’s correct.
Eric: Oh my god, and then the lock just like- the lock’s like, “no after you ma’am please!”
Okay, have you ever seen a slow motion video of a water balloon popping?
Eric: So you know when you- when it pops, the water stays in the shape of the water balloon? So you were so sneaky with this, it’s like you popped it open, and inside is a decanter. Is a nice like little pitcher with a handle on it, and you see the water’s like flowing from the pitcher, and it’s staying in the shape of a chest and it’s just not moving. It is static.
Amanda: Like it’s frozen in ice, but it’s water?
Eric: Yes, like it’s still liquid. Like you put your finger in and it’s still like liquidy and wet. It’s like it’s suspended. Inara, this is the Decanter of Holy Water, and it basically just creates water when you tell it to. You can use three like power words on it. One is “Fountain” that just kind of bubbles like a water fountain and creates up to five gallons of water. One is called “Geyser” which produces 30 gallons of water that would have gushed forth in like a 30 foot long geyser, and then does damage if you get hit from it. And there’s another one that you can set it to like trap mode, where it just- if you open it up incorrectly, it just kind of continuously flows and like drowns said person. But you can just choose a new power word for it. Like anything that involves water, you can set this to do a thing. I also wanna say that the water is holy, so holy would be extra bad against like infernal, and zombies and stuff. And maybe other stuff.
Amanda: I’m going to put my hands on my hips, sort of cock my head to the side, and say
Amanda (as Inara): Mister Sippy?
[Eric and Brandon laughing]
Michael: Now we have two states, by the way. We have two states.
Brandon: Wait, wait, wait, she broke the silence of this room with the words mister and sippy. Beautiful.
Eric: And the water goes back inside the pitcher, and the pitcher is empty.
Amanda: I am going to roll the pitcher up in my spare tunic and put it in the top of my pack.
Eric: Cool. Johnny, do you wanna- are you still- you wanna read the “Missing” stuff?
Michael: So the “Missing” one yeah.
Eric: Sure. Um, this is pretty small. It’s like a few sheets. They’re talking about three warforged that- they were all chalked up to malfunction. There was one about a warforged attacking its handlers, one warforged that just disappeared, and one warforged that exploded.
Michael: The one that disappeared- can I read more into it, and if it has a designation number, is it possible that I could find that designation file within the-
Eric: The thing is is that it probably had a name, but it’s that… it’s just kind of wiped in here.
Michael: Sure. It’s redacted. It’s a failure. They don’t wanna even acknowledge it.
Eric: Exactly, like there’s one thing that was like, “Oh this exploded. Too much energy.” and there’s one that like freaked out. And all these things, they didn’t really look into them.
Eric: All of the reasons are like kind of like the bullshit like American government like failed sort of things that you would expect.
Michael: But also- but also like why if you have so many resources that you can just keep making these invest on trying to fix a problem. It failed, you learned from it, make a new one, you don’t try to fix it.
Eric: Exactly. They didn’t really do a good autopsy on what happened.
Michael: Sure. Sure.
Eric: I would say that the one that exploded was because it was overheated by its energy source, and there again are sort of like vague on the energy source itself, but it seems like if you put too much into it, it explodes.
So while you two are dealing with the desk, [excitedly] Tracey, your danger sense goes off.
Brandon: This is the first time you’ve been excited about my danger sense, and I’m very worried.
Eric: Yup. And it’s going off above you.
[intense music begins with shaky electronic melody over two beats]
Brandon (as Tracey): Everyone look out! Everyone back away! Get out of the door!
Eric: 3. 2...
Brandon: And I run to the door.
Eric: Tracey, you wanna pull them towards the door?
Brandon: If I feel my danger sense, that doesn’t happen that often, so I wanna bail out of that situation immediately.
Eric: Okay, are you doing it just by yourself, or are you grabbing them?
Brandon: No I’m yelling at them and grabbing them as I go towards the door.
Brandon: Maybe I turn the light off.
[Amanda and Eric laughing]
Eric: Okay. I want Tracey to make a Strength roll to pull you guys, and I want you two to make Stealth rolls to get down.
Amanda: Non-natural 20.
Brandon: Yo, we are killin’ it on these rolls today. 15 + 3 for 18.
Eric: Hell yeah, okay. So as the hatch in the ceiling opens, Tracey yanks Inara and Johnny by the back of their clothes, and-
Amanda: And I grab Oatcake by her collar.
Michael: And I recall my lights back into the lantern.
Brandon: And I’m sad that I don’t have a pet friend.
Eric: And Tallahassee is still a bag.
Michael: Eduardo, Bob, Janice, and Carl are back with me.
Eric: Okay, Tracey grabs you and pulls everyone outside the door. And I think with your Stealth rolls, you three are able to like Scooby-Doo peek from outside of the door without being seen.
Eric: Tne hatch opens and you see one metallic foot come down the rope, and then the other metallic foot come down the rope, and stepping down is P0R0. And P0R0 grabs the lip of the hatch and closes it behind them. They furl the rope ladder back up, and turn towards the desk. And the desk has the open chest on it. And P0R0 goes
Eric (as P0R0): [human voice, distinct from usual robot voice] Oh shit.
[melody finishes, music stops]
Eric: Hey, it’s Eric. There’s so much uncertainty when you buy clothes online. Is it really this color? Is it really gonna fit me? How green is too green. But when that weird, squishy package finally arrives, the idea of clothing is concrete. You can compare your new jeans and shirt and socks to all the pieces you have in your closet and drawers. And yes, it slots right in to your wardrobe. This is gonna go so great with everything I own, thank you. Welcome to the midroll. This short-sleeve pink madras button-down fits me, and I’m going to wear it tomorrow.
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Alright, let’s get back to the show.
[water dripping in cavern]
Eric: It’s as if the robot is being split in twain, and the chest plate opens up with a pneumonic hiss
[hiss sound] and a gnome with bright dyed red hair hops out and goes over to the chest.
Eric (as gnome): Shit, no, wh-
Eric: And is like freaking out. And immediately closes the chest and puts it back underneath the desk, and puts the seat back in its proper place in the desk, and then goes into the filing cabinet and starts straightening things around.
Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] Uh, hey guys, what do we wanna do here?
Amanda (as Inara): [whispering] I think we should get some answers.
Brandon (as Tracey): Johnny, do you wanna charm him, or do you want to-
Michael (as Johnny): [also whispering] Well, it comes down to-
Eric: You guys are very blasé for seeing a gnome come out of a robot.
Michael (as Johnny): I mean it just sounds normal to me.
Brandon (as Tracey): Who is this fourth person?!
Eric: I’m Derek, the dwarf bard who’s been part of your party this whole time.
Eric: Do you not remember me?
Michael (as Johnny): Of course, Derek, you were the best man at my wedding.
Amanda (as Inara): Derek, who could forget you and the bucket of wine, man? Classic, classic Derek.
Michael (as Johnny): That was definitely you.
Brandon (as Tracey): Who the fuck are you?!
Amanda: Oatcake’s peeing on his foot.
Brandon (as Tracey): I mean… we- we knew this was gonna happen, right?
Michael (as Johnny): Maybe we do- we charm the pants out of whoever this is with brute force.
Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.
Michael (as Johnny): As in we hold-
Brandon (as Tracey): Good cop, bad cop situation?
Michael (as Johnny): Yeah, good cop bad cop. I’m a great cop. I might be the best, but you-
Brandon (as Tracey): I was actually a cop.
Amanda (as Inara): I shot a kid.
[Eric bursts out laughing, all chuckling]
Michael (as Johnny): Inara, why don’t you stay out here, and if you have to intervene- like we make it seem like there’s only two of us and then surprise! There’s three. Like you know- the- you’ll come from the shadows, you might be useful for whatever shadowy biz you do.
Brandon (as Tracey): You’re very scary.
Amanda (as Inara): Let’s do it. Thank you, Tracey that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.
Michael: And then Tracey and I come in and we-
Brandon (as Tracey): Alright, Johnny, do you wanna go in first? We’ll go together. Ready?
Amanda (as Inara): Hold on, hold on, hold on. Johnny should go in first. If Tracey’s there I think this peron’s gonna get really mad.
Michael (as Johnny): Oh yeah, hold on that’s a bad-
Brandon (as Tracey): That’s a good- that’s a good point. We’re bad at problem solving, guys.
Eric: Inara, you also have a hood that turns you into a ghost.
Brandon (as Tracey): Derek, what the fuck, I told you to leave!
Michael (as Johnny): Derek, get out of here!
Michael: So I go into- stand in the center of the doorway. I shoot my hands out, and on four corners of the room are four lights. And I walk in confidently going
Michael (as Johnny): Well, howdy stranger, how are you doing today?
Brandon: You just gotta project confidence, you know.
Amanda: Oh yeah.
Brandon: To get the job you want.
Amanda: That’s Dale Carnegie’s eleventh lesson, actually. Is how to charm your-
Brandon: Gnome friends.
Amanda: Gnome friends.
Eric: How to charm friends and influence monsters?
Um, because you- you’ve created a light show behind [laughing] to startle a person-
Michael: Just everywhere.
Eric: Everywhere! The gnome like jumps two feet in the air-
Eric: And like falls backwards against the file cabinet and like pushes themselves up against it, and tries to slam it all like
Eric (as gnome): [gasping for breath] Oh. [in fake robotic voice] Johnny! I am so glad you are here! I- I was not expecting to see you here. Beep boop.
Michael (as Johnny): What’s wrong with your voice?
Eric (as gnome): Oh J- Johnny, there’s nothing wrong with my voice, I’m just detective P0R0, here to- [no longer in robotic voice] Oh, I’m… I…
Michael (as Johnny): Yeah, you’re not in the suit, buddy.
Eric (as gnome): I’m not in the suit am I anymore-
Michael (as Johnny): No, you’re not in the suit at all.
Eric (as gnome): Uhhhhh… I- I… hmm...
Michael (as Johnny): How about we do this all civilized-like? Hi, I’m Johnny.
Michael: And I reach out my hand.
Eric (as gnome): Hi, I’m…. Salmon. The gnooooome.
Michael (as Johnny): That sounds fishy.
Eric: [imitating rimshot] ba-dum-ch!
Michael (as Johnny): So why are you pretending to be a thing you aren’t?
Eric (as Salmon): Wait, I would like to respond in kind. Where is my pitcher of water? I need that. That’s important to me. Can you please give it back?
Michael (as Johnny): Well I oughta tell you, I don’t have it. When I came in here, I- I wanted to know one thing and one thing only. How do you keep an underground cavern secret hideout like this so clean? You know, I’m constantly Prestidigitating things clean, and it’s tough, you know, especially in a cave-like environment. Also, what are you doing? Just what are you doing?
Eric (as Salmon): Uh-uh- okay I will answer those questions in turn. First, uh, it’s a lot of cleaning solution and hard work. Elbow grease.
Michael (as Johnny): What’s your favorite brand?
Eric (as Salmon): Um, Lysol.
Michael (as Johnny): Sure, sure. I’m a Fabuloso guy myself.
Eric (as Salmon): Oh, you can only get those in specialty markets. I just go for the regular stuff they have in the supermarket. Let me move forward. Okay. Well. You can tell I am not a warforged…
Michael (as Johnny): [sarcastically] What?!
Eric (as Salmon): Yeah, and the maintenance that it takes to keep one of these old things going- it takes a lot. I start belching smoke by the end of the day after all of the running and jumping, then song and dance that I do. So I come down here and I clean th- the suit- the exosuit. And then I clean everything else. And it keeps me- helps me unwind. Because it’s-
Michael (as Johnny): That doesn’t really explain why you’re doing this.
Eric (as Salmon): Um… Would you believe me if I really wanted to marry Representative Brink?
Michael (as Johnny): No. Not at all.
Eric (as Salmon): [sounding strained] Because that’s the reason…
Michael: I’d like to roll Insight.
Eric: Okay, go ahead.
Michael: Um, I only got a 7, so I believe him.
Eric: Yeah, you believe him. He’s like
Eric (as Salmon): Yeah, can you- I dyed my hair red, and I got a- I tried to pierce my nose, and it didn’t really work.
Michael (as Johnny): I’m sorry?
Eric (as Salmon): I wanted- I wanted to be famous on TV and marry a famous person. And I figure- when I came in, I saw that there was everyone which was kind of like prettied themselves up and dyed their hair, and there was a guy with wings! That was crazy! Kevin Vacation! I can’t step up to that guy. So, um-
Michael (as Johnny): Don’t worry, no one can now.
Eric (as Salmon): That was dark. You’re a dark person. Um, and I- well, okay, okay I’ll tell you- look, let me make a deal. I will tell you everything I know about this place if you promise not to tell the mud people.
Michael (as Johnny): Oh, don’t worry. I’m not a fan of the mud people myself, so yeah, go ahead. What’s up? What’s the dealio, yo? I’m a cool hip...
Eric (as Salmon): Okay, so I really wanted to I wanna win, and I was messing around in the- in the gym. I was trying to like bulk up a little bit right before the challenges, and I- I yeah I got like really angry all of a sudden and I picked up these weights that were like twice my size and I threw them. And I don’t know what happened, and they kinda clanged- like you know everything is like linoleum on the floors here, and the clang was strange. And I kind of got my fingers underneath and I popped this open and no one was looking and I snuck down here. And it was so dusty. Oh, my allergies were the worst. And I had to clean it all up because I can’t be around that much dust, and I- just kept going and I pulled this sheet off of all these things, and it was robots! Warforged!
I- so I figured that there wasn’t gonna be another warforged around so I- I kinda hopped in one of these skeletons, and I came down as a gnome that nobody would notice and I came back as a warforged that came out of nowhere! And I walked up there and one of the- one of the mud people came up to me and said, “Hey, where did that gnome go?” and I said, “I don’t know where he went. I am just PR0. Robot. Beep boop.” and they were like, “Oh man, robot! That’s great!” and they thought it would be better television, and I guess they just kind of let me- let it go.
Michael: Can I get an Insight if this story he’s telling is the truth?
Eric: Okay. This story is true. This guy, he did it to- did it to be famous and get to be with Representative Brink. But the stuff about the producers not knowing about this place seems a little…
Michael: Like Salmon.
Eric: Like Salmon, yeah.
Eric (as Salmon): Johnny, I need you to tell me... Where. Is. The pitcher?
Michael: Well, pitcher this… imagine a world where someone else has that pitcher. Hey, Tracey, Inara, why don’t you come in here?
Brandon (as Tracey): Johnny, that was terrible.
Amanda (as Inara): Come on, Johnny.
Brandon (as Tracey): Hi, I’m Tracey, and I don’t appreciate you impersonating a warforged.
Amanda (as Inara): Hi, I’m Inara. What will you give me to get your pitcher back?
Michael (as Johnny): Pitcher. This. Pitcher this...
Amanda (as Inara): Johnny…
Brandon (as Tracey): No, we got the pun that was, ugh.
Amanda (as Inara): Johnny.
Amanda: Oatcake’s gonna sit on your foot.
Michael: I’m gonna pet Oatcake for a while.
Eric: Good. Good. That’s good.
Amanda (as Inara): Um, hi duplicitous friend. What will you do to get this pitcher back?
Brandon (as Tracey): You shared a room with us, we were polite to you!
Amanda (as Inara): You shared our bathroom!
Brandon (as Tracey): This is how you repay us?!
Eric (as Salmon): [in fake robot voice] Oh, Tracey, it’s so strange to see you, I was… beep boop.
Brandon (as Tracey): Yeaaaaaaaaah…
Amanda (as Inara): No, no, no.
Brandon (as Tracey): No, no, no.
Michael (as Johnny): They’re offish. Salmon. Because they’re a fish...
Michael: I go back to Oatcake.
Eric (as Salmon): Okay… So pleasantries are out of the question?
Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, kinda- kinda burned that bridge, bud.
Brandon (as Tracey): I mean, pleasantries are always- good manners are always a- appropriate…
Michael (as Johnny): You know, I feel like people don’t honor the pleasantries and politeness of society…
Amanda: I’m going to hold my hand out and say the word
Amanda (as Inara): Thaumaturgy.
Michael (as Johnny): What’s that do?
Amanda: To try to silence you.
Michael (as Johnny): That’s not how that-
Michael: I’m just gonna play with Oatcake.
Brandon: I’m gonna- I’m gonna-
Eric (as Salmon): Oka, wait, wait, wait. Okay, I’ll give you- I’ll give you… uh, a trade.
Eric: And the gnome like pats themselves down like they're looking for something, and the gnome was wearing deep cargo shorts because it’s hot in the exoskeleton. They reach into one of the pockets of their cargo shorts, and pulls out a vial. And it has a red ribbon wrapped around it. And Inara, this is your lycanthropy potion. So do you remember back a few sessions ago...
[all in unison, making a sudden realization]
Brandon (as Tracey): Alright, what did you steal from me?
Eric (as Salmon): Nothing…
Brandon (as Tracey): I will- I literally have a gun for an arm. What did you steal from me?
Amanda: And before Tracey finishes speaking, Inara has moved with a dagger in her hand to hold it up about an inch from the gnome’s throat.
Eric: Make a Dexterity check.
Eric: Okay. You definitely get it all up in their face, but they’re not like moving to like do exactly what you want.
Amanda: So with my knife against their throat, I’m going to say
Amanda (as Inara): Why is this pitcher so important to you?
Eric (as Salmon): If you- if you let me go, I’ll tell you. Uh…
Brandon (as Tracey): Now, Inara, there will be no murdering today, this day.
Brandon: As I cock my gun.
Amanda (as Inara): I don’t grant favors to thieves, bud.
Amanda: And I would like to roll Sleight of Hand to steal the potion from his hand.
Eric: Cool, okay. Make a Sleight of Hand check. It’s gonna be pretty difficult, but I’ll give you advantage because you intimidated him before this.
Amanda: Uh, nat-20!
Amanda: [Amanda squealing with delight] Wooooooo!
Brandon: This is the good roll, everyone-
Amanda: Cha-girl graduated rogue school!
Brandon: Mark your calendars. This day- this day should be celebrated as the Good Roll Day.
Michael: Inara has done two legit super amazing rogue things today.
Amanda: Let me at ‘em. Where’s the final boss? Meet your maker.
Brandon: March 21st, 20 of the 18th. Let’s do it… I tried to make it Ye Olde but it didn’t work.
Michael: That’s not how that-
Amanda: Not Flip Day, but Roll Day.
Brandon: Roll Day.
Amanda: They go hand in hand.
Michael: Rogue Day.
Amanda: Rogue Day. Forevermore. On this day, you steal things from people you love. And hate.
Eric: Inara, you snag the potion out of their hand, and you also stick your hand into their other cargo pants pocket, and you pull out the Book of Things to Come.
Brandon (as Tracey): [angrily, through his teeth] You son of a…
Amanda: And I’m just going to press it against Tracey’s chest so that he can hold it and hopefully calm a tad.
Michael: I’m going to step in between Inara and Salmon.
Michael (as Johnny): Inara, Tracey, you have your belongings back. Salmon, tell me this. Why did you take my companions’ things? Why do you think it’s cool to do that? And why is this pitcher so important?
Brandon (as Tracey): Would you steal a car?
Eric (as Salmon): Okay, uhhh, I stole them because I’m not… I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to win. Um…
Michael (as Johnny): Okay, you know what-
Brandon (as Tracey): That’s weird, I-
Eric (as Salmon): And I also like things-
Michael (as Johnny): I’m really like. I’m just, you know, I don't know if you remember this, but a person who was in this competition annoyed me earlier, and his wings get clipped so to speak, so how about you speak plainly with us, sir. If not, I’m gonna have to get my Eldritch on.
Eric (as Salmon): Okay, I know- I know that it’s not a good- it’s not a good excuse, but I just take things. It doesn’t matter. I- I’ll be the bad boy of this season.
Michael: Could I get an Insight check?
Eric: I’m going to tell you this is all mot- this is all true. They just really want to be famous.
Michael (as Johnny): So you know nothing about this room, nothing about these warforged, and nothing about the documents here?
Eric (as Salmon): No, uh no, no, no, no. I just found it. I wanted to- t-t- I haven’t seen anything about robots since things in the Centering. I- I- [stuttering] What would you do if you saw cool stuff and you thought it would make you look cooler?
Michael (as Johnny): And-
Eric (as Salmon): That’s what I would do-
Michael (as Johnny): But I-
Eric (as Salmon): These aren’t mine. I’m not the Council of Bright. Do I look like the Council of Bright?
Amanda (as Inara): Hang on. Do you know what’s cooler than winning a game?
Eric (as Salmon): What?
Amanda (as Inara): Refusing to play. We need to get out of here. These people kidnapped our friend. Clearly you stealing our stuff, I’m gonna let that one slide if you agree to help us bust the heck out of here.
Eric (as Salmon): Uh… yeah, I mean- I don’t know… I guess the only thing you can do is use the- use the decanter. I mean, it’s Holy Water, it really just kind of cuts right through the mud people. I don’t know that there’s a way to like- to bust out. I haven’t tried doing it on like actual- the walls or in the colosseum, but I mean any time they’ve- I’ve gotten mud on- on the chassis, I just kind of like clean it off and the mud just goes all the way away. It must do something to the mud people.
Amanda (as Inara): If that works and if you help us out and don’t compromise our mission, I will return the pitcher to you when all is said and done and we have our friend back.
Eric (as Salmon): Okay- y- uh, I mean as long as you guys don’t stab me, or shoot me, or pull me apart or whatever warforged do.
Brandon (as Tracey): Well it’s definitely not saying “beep boop.”
Eric (as Salmon): I thought that that’s what they do- that’s what robo-
Brandon (as Tracey): [annoyed] Nope. Not even a little bit!
Eric (as Salmon): So robots don’t go beep boop.
Brandon (as Tracey): Nope! We’re also not robots, we’re warforged.
Eric (as Salmon): So warforged don’t go beep boop.
Brandon (as Tracey): Nope!
Eric (as Salmon): Huh, uh… okay, uh, yea- um, sure.
Amanda (as Inara): Alright, bud. This is gonna go down in the morning.
Amanda: And I’m gonna look at my friends and say
Amanda (as Inara): When we go down for the breakfast buffet, we are gonna try to get out of here, and you- what- what’s your name? Is it Sal-mon? [pronouncing the “Sal”]
Eric (as Salmon): Salmon, yeah.
Amanda (as Inara): That’s really?
Michael (as Johnny): Yeah, Salmon.
Amanda (as Inara): Do- do you have a nickname, or?
Eric (as Salmon): S-Salmon.
Amanda (as Inara): Oh. Okay.
Brandon (as Tracey): It’s not Sal?
Eric (as Salmon): They just call me Salmon.
Brandon (as Tracey): It’s not…
Amanda (as Inara): Not Sal? Not Sam?
Eric (as Salmon): No, it’s Salmon, don’t worry.
Amanda (as Inara): Oh. Okay.
Eric (as Salmon): Listen. Don’t worry. I think that if we just stay here, we’ll be totally fine, because the mud people definitely don’t know about this place.
Eric: And Tracey, your danger sense starts to go off.
[music with rumbling bass and intense, muted electronic melodies]
Brandon (as Tracey): Guys, I think we gotta go. I’m gettin’ the robo shivers.
Eric: And it’s coming from above. Salmon tries to hop back into the robot suit, and it starts to close around them as you guys start to scramble or just brace yourselves, and you see the hatch from above on the ceiling open up, and Representative Brink sticks her head down and says
Eric (as Representative Brink): Hey guys, what are you doing?
Brandon (as Tracey): What are you doing?
Eric (as Representative Brink): [higher pitched] No, what are you doing?
Brandon (as Tracey): [higher pitched] What are you doing?
Eric (as Representative Brink): [even higher] What is this?!
Brandon (as Tracey): [even higher] Who are you?!
[all at once]
Amanda (as Inara): Where are we?
Eric (as Representative Brink): I’m Representative Brink!
Brandon (as Tracey): Who am I?!
Eric: And as Tracey says, “Who am I?” just torrents of mud
[gushing flow of mud] start to flow down through the open hatch. It just- it swallows all four of you up.
Amanda: I’m gonna grab the pitcher out of the top of my pack and say
Amanda (as Inara): Miiiiister Sippy!
Eric: You shoot the water out, and it just parts the mud like the Red Sea.
Michael (as Johnny): How about we talk without getting ourselves all muddy, Representative?
Eric (as Representative Brink): I’m not-
Eric: And she’s trying to shout over the torrent of mud and be like-
Eric (as Representative Brink): [shouting] I’m not doing this! I don’t-
Michael (as Johnny): Well then-
Eric (as Representative Brink): -control the mud!
Michael (as Johnny): Then tell whoever is, because we’re not gonna play nice until then.
Eric (as Representative Brink): Th- I don’t know who’s doing this! Is- it’s the colosseum!
Eric: And with that, I think the geyser lasts for six seconds, and the mud starts to fill in the space that the water was parting. And all four of you get swept up in the mud flow. You’re turned up and down, you don’t know which way is up until the mud flow stops
[gushing mud stops]
And you hear cheering and clapping
[colosseum sounds: cheering, chanting, noisemakers]
And you are back in the colosseum. And it’s a night game. There’s like fake stars projected up into the sky, and there are stadium lights on, like placed all around the colosseum. You hear the crowd cheering wildly again as you start to tumble down a steep slope, and you stop covered in mud at the bottom of a pit.
Michael: Well I’m gonna Prestidigitate myself clean.
Michael: And I’ll do the same for my companions.
Amanda: Thank you.
Michael: And Oatcake for suresies.
Brandon: What do we see?
Eric: Well, it’s just a hundred foot circle in all directions with the mud walls on all sides. And you hear the voice of the announcer again. It says
Heddy (as announcer): Ladies and Gentlemen, we had to speed up our game a little bit faster than we thought. It seems like some of our players don’t want to follow the rules, so we’ve done a little bit of cheating on our own.
Eric: At the lip of the pit, you see a very large cage, and there's hooting and growling and all of these different sounds- there's a roar at one point. All of these different animal sounds at the same time. And the announcer continues
Heddy (as announcer): We were going to let them tussle with one monster, but we decided to do six. Enter the Zoo Cube!
Eric: And the cage opens, and you see this massive shimmering sloshing wiggling cube. As it starts to roll out of the cage, you see that each side of the cube has a different beast attached to it.
Amanda: Good lord.
Brandon: Is one just the butt of an animal?
Amanda: I was gonna say, are they attached at the butt? Is it like coming out at the torso?
Eric: No, it’s like the front half of all of the animals like sticking out, and then like sometimes they can switch depending on like where the cube is related to each other.
Eric: The other thing is that you can still see all the things that you saw in the colosseum. The press box is still up at the top. You can even see the ledge where you did the original interviews. And the purple and gold chair has been moved to its original spot, but it’s like up on top of the mud pit. It’s like on a little like platform outside of the mud pit area.
Michael: So I’m gonna Thaumaturgy because they haven’t given me a mic yet. And I’m like
Michael (as Johnny): Our announcer here would have you think that we’re cheaters who don’t want to play by the rules, but you know, I don’t think there’s much rules when it comes down to mud. It can change its form, change its shape, do whatever it wants really. Doesn’t follow any rules that I, Johnny, know. And I care about the education of our children!
Amanda: I’m going to step forward and toss one side of my cloak over my shoulder, put my hand on my hip, and say
Amanda (as Inara): Would cheaters have a dog this cute?
Amanda: And then hold Oatcake up on my shoulder.
Michael (as Johnny): They would want to sentence this dog to death, and us beautiful, amazing people who are here for the Representative, and for your entertainment. They would have us die at the hands of this grotesque creature who they probably made like this, didn’t consent to it. Whoever is running this show should face us themselves instead of hiding behind the glitz and glamor.
Where is the accountability here? Where is the accountability of mud when it can slosh around? Are any of you here voluntarily? Do you enjoy the mud? How about we get some sky and some light? How about we get some education for our children?!
Amanda (as Inara): Where’s my one-on-one date?!
Eric: Alright, I want Johnny and Inara to roll Performance and the higher- and we’re gonna take the higher one of you two.
[two dice rolling]
Amanda: Uh, 7.
Michael: There we go.
Amanda: We’re a little bit disoriented.
Eric: Okay, Johnny, you think that you’ve been doing this like really great speech, but it’s like you’re a little off from being thrown around my a mud torrent.
Michael: And I’m- I’m lower, I’m kind of out of sight a bit. I totally understand.
Eric: It’s not like- it doesn’t project as well, and I think at one point someone-
Michael: Yeah, the acoustics- it’s definitely the acoustics and not what I was saying.
Eric: Oh, absolutely.
Michael: If it comes down to anything, everything I did was correct.
Brandon: There just happens to be a dead spot right in front of you.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Michael: Yeah, it’s just a shame.
Amanda: Mud’s a really good insulator.
Eric: Johnny, you see a fishing line come down from the edge of the pit. It’s like in a little basket.
Eric: And inside is a note.
Eric: And you open it up.
Eric: And it says
Eric (as Noto Oto): Dear Johnathan, I appreciate everything you’re doing for this wonderful competition, and I’m willing to help you.
Michael: And the children?... this is a note not a conversation.
Eric: It’s a note not a conversation.
Amanda: Johnny just reads and says, “And the children?”
Eric: And you like scan the rest of it and it says nothing about the children in there. And it’s like
Eric (as Noto Oto): John, I think that we can do well for you here in Tortipolis, and whatever you’re spreading with this Light is something that me and all of these patrons would love to take on as our own. Once you get out of this terrible mess, please spend some time here on Tortiplois and teach us the way of the Light.
Michael: And is there anything in the basket?
Eric (as Noto Oto): At the bottom of this note is a password. If you say the password loudly, then I’ll know that you’re committed to staying underground for two weeks under my care as you teach us how the Undying Light works, and works through us, and how we can do it for our own benefit. Johnny, this is a binding contract, and you would not want to go against the password. Honorably yours,
Eric: And then there’s like a drawing of someone going“peace,” and then at the bottom it says
Eric (as Noto Oto): Noto Oto. The password is papaya.
Michael: Casting Dancing Lights, I’m gonna shoot up a like thumbs up, which isn’t the password, but it’s a like affirmation that I received this message and I’m trying to send my goodwill that I’m considering this.
Eric: Great, and the fishing line quickly gets pulled back up, and then it comes back down and there’s a microphone attached to it.
Michael: And I’m gonna take the microphone and go
Michael (as Johnny): Where is the Representative who leads this, uh, city? Where is Representative Brink who would send us to our death when all we want to do is spend time with her?
Eric: Representative Brink steps over, looks over the side of the pit. And-
Amanda: How does she look? Like her expression.
Eric: She looks confused, and I guess a little bit pained.
Eric (as Representative Brink): I- I didn’t... I didn’t want this to happen! I just thought that you guys wanted some entertainment.
Eric: And she like motions out to the crowd.
Eric (as Representative Brink): If I- if I knew this was happening… I’m not doing this! This is the colosseum! I don’t- I can’t control ud, are you kidding? These are just nice boots!
Amanda (as Inara): Hey- hey Brinksy! Can I borrow your boots?
Eric (as Representative Brink): Uh…
Amanda (as Inara): Trust me. Trust me on this one.
Eric (as Representative Brink): Uh, yeah I guess so? Uh…
Amanda (as Inara): Toss ‘em down!
Eric: Brinks like sites back on like a non-muddy part, and takes off her boots and throws them down to you.
Amanda: I’m going to put them on.
Eric: They’re some boots that are a little bit big on you. They help you run through the mud.
Amanda: I still have the pitcher in my hand from when we got swept up in the mud torrent.
Amanda: And I’m going to kind of upturn it and say
Amanda (as Inara): Fountain.
Eric: Yeah, and the water dribbles down out of the pitcher, and it just cleans the boots totally off, and again you see the tiny compartment on the bottom of the boots.
Amanda: Can I open it?
Eric: Yeah, give me a Dexterity to pop it open?
Amanda: Uh, 9 + 6 for a 15.
Eric: You pop the secret compartment open, and inside is a very small jar. It’s like it’s a fusion of the rocks that you found underneath, and the mud itself. So it’s like someone is doing a laser light show inside of a mud puddle. And it’s just shaking and rattling inside of the jar.
Amanda: I am going to make eye contact with Johnny, toss the mud jar up in the air, and say
Amanda (as Inara): Blast it, baby.
Michael: I’m gonna channel the lantern and the Undying Light and cast Eldritch Blast as a Level 3 spell, focusing the Light into the spell, and try to get as cleansing of an Eldritch Blast- I get two shots- at this vial as possible. I hold the Book of Light in one hand at my chest, and raise my quarterstaff that has the lantern attached to it at the vial as it’s flying through the air, and cast Eldritch Blast out of the lantern itself.
Eric: Johnny, as you hold the lantern up, you hear the voice of the Undying Light say
Mischa (as the Undying Light): You are moving along your path. Keep going. Even when it is dark, keep going.
[slow, bright brass notes begin]
Eric: And just the brightest light blinding and devoid of color, just pure unadulterated brightness shoots out of the lantern and just blasts the vial and it explodes. And it vibrates- even in your muffled pit, it just vibrates and vibrates throughout the entire colosseum. Even the stadium lights around you seem to get brighter as you cast this. Everyone in the audience including Representative Brink shields their eyes, then the vial is gone.
And everything is still for a second. And then the ground underneath you starts to rumble, and the mud loses its shape, becomes liquidy, and all four of you start to fall.
[single low piano note]