The colosseum is falling apart but so many questions remain unanswered. Who’s controlling the mud? What the hell is a zoo cube? And where is Alonzo?! Inara goes ghost. Johnny stops the door. Tracey is heroic as heck.
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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
Join the Party is a collaborative storytelling and roleplaying podcast. That means four friends create a story together, chapter by chapter, that everyone from seasoned players to true beginners can enjoy. Where else can you get adventure, intrigue, magic, drama, and lots of high fives all in one place? Right here.
After each episode we sit down for the Afterparty, where we break down our game and answer your questions about how to play Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games at home. We also have the Punchbowl, an interview series with people pushing D&D forward creatively, communally and socially. It’s a party, and you’re invited! Find out more at jointhepartypod.com.
Amanda: It’s Amanda! Very quickly before the episode I want to remind you that we have a live show coming up this Saturday, June 9th 2018 in new York City. It is going to be your opportunity to get exclusive merch, to see our faces in person, to meet some of the people who have guest starred on the show. It’ll be an all new adventure that you cannot hear anywhere else. And you can also meet up with other party people and say hello and put a face to a name.
We are so excited. So please tell your friends and your family, everyone that you know, your coworkers, your lunch lady, the guy at the bodega whose name you don’t know but who you order the same sandwich from every single day. You or your friends can get your tickets at bit.ly/JoinThePartyLive, and keep an eye on our twitter @JoinThePartyPod for a link to the livestream. Alright, let’s take it away.
Last time, on Join the Party...
Eric: The party explores the hidden workshop underneath the colosseum and find some documentation on warforged from the mysterious Council of Bright. But they hear somebody coming...
Eric: 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: It’s P0R0 aka Salmon. Salmon confesses that they stole one of the warforged exo-suits to seem more interesting to the producers, but they weren’t the one who built this thing.
The mud people find the party and pull them into the colosseum for a fight. Johnny grabs the mic to ask Representative Brink why she would do all this...
Eric (as Representative Brink): I’m not doing this! This is the colosseum! I don’t- I can’t control mud, are you kidding? These are just nice boots!
Eric: Representative Brink throws her boots down to Inara, and she realizes these are just regular boots with a secret compartment in the bottom. Inside, there’s a vial of swirling magic mud.
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.
Eric: Let’s get ready to rumble. Let’s get the party started.
[muffled sounds of the colosseum, clear sounds of water running and dripping]
Eric: All four of you land in another pile of mud.
Amanda: Really?! What?!
Brandon: Hold up, wait.
Amanda: I've never experienced mud in my life!
Michael: [mumbling, annoyed] As usual, I instantly prestidigitate myself and my companions to clean ourselves off of the mud.
Eric: Okay, so this isn't the same mud as before, it's different. It's different mud, guys.
Michael: Oh, it's different mud.
Amanda: Oh, good. Oh, we're mud connoisseurs by now. I hold it up and I'm like, "Hmm, it's interesting. The patina on this mud really ..."
Michael: It doesn't matter what kind of mud it is. The prestidigitation cleans us off and we don't have to deal with that.
Eric: Well at your feet, it's- this is like muck. It's like you're walking around in a movie theater and your feet are stuck to the floor. It's like that kind of sticky. Like you don't want to get it everywhere. And if you look down, the earthly muck is everywhere. It is just covered in this- it looks like a basement. Like an actual basement of a really large house. There are support beams everywhere, but- and everything is just kinda like concrete, but you can't even see the concrete over the muck, and it's surrounding you completely.
Michael: What's the light situation?
Eric: It's not great.
Michael: Well then I'm gonna cast my four Dancing Lights friends, Eduardo, Bob, Janice, and Carl to illuminate this underground gross area.
[intriguing music begins with fluttering electronic notes and low strings]
Eric: As you take the-send the four lights out, they spread out all around the room, and they look for purchase. The spots to make the most light is up near the ceiling, and hanging from the ceiling are stalactites covered in muck. As you look closer, the stalactites are some of the contestants that have been knocked out of the Bachelorette Tournament.
Amanda: [shocked] What?!
Brandon: [quickly] Is Kevin Vacation there?
Amanda: All I ever wanted?
Eric: Kevin Vacation is half-covered, all in mud. He's hanging upside down, kinda like a bat
And from his feet to the middle of his torso is covered in this muck. You can see just the face of Sophie, who said she was there for not the right reasons. She was like a lizard folk from the beginning, and she's covered almost to her face. And you see Crews with the bad catchphrases, who you guys thought were dead- he was just like covered up at his feet, creeping up his calves.
You can see Alice is just as covered as Kevin is, and everyone appears to be unconscious, but you do feel like there's another presence in the room. And as you're looking around, you can also see there are just some fully-covered stalactites hanging from the ceiling. And as you're looking around, you get the feeling you're not the only thing in the room.
As you fall down and you all splat into the muck, you see a small tremble through your feet go out into the mud, and the entire room shudders. And then you see the mud ripple back into the darkness. And as the ripple from the other side of the room comes back to you, it starts to rise up like a wave. And out of that wave, you see one oversized hand rise up, composed completely of mud, and then another hand rises up, composed completely of mud. And they clap together, like they're ready to grab one of you. And I want everyone to roll Initiative.
[dice rolling three times]
Brandon: I did good this time, guys, I got a natural 20.
Eric: Tight. Alright. So Tracey, you rolled really well.
Brandon: Tracey starts loading some shells into his arm cannon, turns to Salmon, looks at them and says
Brandon (as Tracey): Some are born warforged, some have warforged thrust upon them. Some decide to be a warforged as, you know a crime, I guess.
Brandon: I flip on my Rage switch
Brandon (as Tracey): But today you're gonna fight like a warforged.
Brandon: And I shoot my cannon at both of these muck monster hands.
Eric: That's the most anime-shade I've ever heard in my entire life, and I wanna give you an Inspiration point.
[Eric singing fanfare]
Brandon: Thank you.
Eric: Alright, make an attack roll.
Brandon: 19 + 4 for 23 for my first attack.
Eric: Yup, that hits.
Brandon: And that one whiffed a little bit for a 7.
Eric: Okay. Yeah, you hit with the first one.
Brandon: 4 + 6 for 10, plus 1 plus 2 for my Rage, so that's 13 damage.
Eric: So you fire the cannon into the left hand, and the bullets clap as it shoots through one of the arms, and you go wide right for the other arm. It didn't look like it did that much. I'd say you did 13 points of damage, and if you did that to a body, that would've hurt, but it just kinda like- it just happens.
Brandon: My goal is to just either keep them distracted or keep them far enough away from our squishier friends.
Eric: Sounds good. Alright, Johnny, it's your turn.
Michael: I'm gonna put on my Shades of the Arcane Eye, and send up an Arcane Eye up back to the colosseum, just to get a peek to see what's happening there.
Eric: Okay, cool.
Eric: So as you send the Eye up, the crowd is raucous and confused. The event that they were watching has gone totally haywire. But you see that the mud people are still kind of like running around, trying to get everything together. They're preparing something, and Representative Brink is trying to like get the attention of one of them, and they just keep blowing by them. There's still a few of them surrounding the cage that the Zoo Cube was in, and then the head producer, the one with the black hat, looks up and sees the Arcane Eye, and then there's even more movement from all of the mud people.
Michael: So in the meanwhiles, with my regular turn, would you let me do an Arcana check?
Eric: Sure. Do it.
Michael: 16 + 8.
Eric: Oh, hell yeah. Good roll. I would say that there is no source. I think that there's like magic energy flying all over the place. Nothing is centralized. It's all just kinda flying all over the place, and this mud is unstable. The magic is unstable in the room.
Michael: So, if I turned on like a heat vision for instance-
Michael: I'm seeing the magic is just- the mud is like a steady level of magic and there's no one spot that's very red, it's like all orange.
Eric: Yes, but I would also say you would expect there to be a red spot-
Michael: But there’s not-
Eric: -but it's like flying all over the place. Like it's moving and it is not centralized.
Michael: Do- So am I also seeing any kind of magic on the stalagmites?
Michael: Sure. I'm gonna test out the resilience of these things with doing some Eldritch Blast. Pew, pew, pew!
Michael: I'm gonna do one Eldritch Blast at each of the thingamajigs.
Eric: All right, attack roll please.
Eric: Yeah, both hit.
Michael: Excellent. 10 to the lefty, and 13 to the righty.
Eric: Okay. So just like what happened with Tracey, I think that you're leveling a good amount of damage, but like it doesn't look like it's doing that much. This thing, it seems pretty resilient. Inara, it is your turn.
Amanda: So I am still holding the decanter of holy water in my hands, and I'm going to look up around me at the people suspended from the ceiling, like creepy little bats, and say
Amanda (as Inara): Alright, Mr. Sippy, let's do this one more time.
Eric: And the pitcher starts to bubble up. Like it's responding back to you.
Amanda: So I'm going to point it toward Kevin Vacation.
Michael: Oh, of all the options! Alice is there, there's like three Ambroses there, you choose Kevin Vacation, the one that I shot down?!
Amanda: He is burning with a vengeance, and I want to unlock that. So I'm going to point the decanter at Kevin Vacation and say
Amanda (as Inara): Let's geyser it
Eric: The pitcher starts to rumble.
Also this has like flowers on it. It’s like-
Amanda: Oh yeah.
Eric: It's like a nice, decorative pitcher, and it starts to rumble.
Amanda: Oh, I'm being careful. I don't want to chip the porcelain.
Eric: No. And a geyser erupts from the mouth.
[whoosh of water]
How are you going to save Kevin Vacation from falling from the ceiling?
Amanda: I am going to dash over to him and catch him.
Eric: Okay. Make a Dexterity roll.
Amanda: Are you sure it's not Acrobatics?
Eric: I'm sure, because you're not doing sick flips.
Brandon: You’re gonna flip-
Michael: You’re gonna-
Amanda: I'm gonna somersault over to him.
Eric: There you go, now you can do acrobatics.
4 + 9 for a 13.
Eric: Okay, so you shoot the geyser, and it slices through the mud at Kevin's feet, and then Kevin just starts to fall right from the ceiling. As you do cartwheels over- [laughing]
Amanda: Uh, Iomersault, actually-
Eric: You do somersaults.
Amanda: it's way more efficient in terms of tumbling and covering the ground between me and him.
Eric: As you tumble through the muck, you just can't hold on to Kevin Vacation, and like a sack of Bud Light Limes, he falls from the ceiling with a splat in the muck.
Michael: Johnny subconsciously smiles.
Eric: You run over to Kevin Vacation as you do it, and I guess you try to wake him up, and he does not wake up.
Amanda: Alright, Inara is going to shrug…
Continuing to hold the decanter,
[all laughing hysterically]
And pull my Shadow Cowl up over my head. When I pull up the Shadow Cowl, I turn spectral- I become a ghost- and in this new form, I look down and my hands are demonic all of a sudden. They're scaly, they have long nails, and they are Tiefling hands- they're Callie's hands. But I am going to use my spectralness to shoot up through the hole in the ceiling from which we fell, and I'm going to try to talk to Representative Brink. So I'm invisible, I'm incorporeal, but I am able to be heard.
Eric: Okay. This has been pretty far, and I think that Kevin was a little bit inside of the room, like you're not directly underneath the hole anymore.
Eric: So I think that you can fly through wherever you're going.
Eric: And you're making your way to get to Representative Brink.
Amanda: Yeah, I can talk to her on my next turn.
Eric: I would like to say, actually, now that you're incorporeal, as you fly up, you're literally flying through the ground.
Eric: And on your way out, you notice that you see the outdoor bar to your right. So Salmon, inside of the P0R0 suit, they say
Eric (as Salmon): Well, everything I know about warforged I learned from you, Tracey, so I'm gonna do my best.
Eric: They start- they just start running right at the mud hands and try to do a flying tackle into it, and they say
Eric (as Salmon): For robot-kind!
Brandon (as Tracey): [quietly] We’re not robooooooots!
Eric: And jump in a running tackle, and they try to grapple the mud hand.
Michael: Oh, that's certainly gonna work out in their favor, I'm sure. For a fact, this will work out in their favor. They will be able to grapple this mud hand that has come out of the ground without a problem, I'm 100 percent sure of it. There's nothing in my mind that would say that this is a bad idea for this random person to do.
Eric: Well here's the thing. Salmon, in their anime-ass mech suit, is able to wrangle the mud hand.
Eric: Just holding them down, and I guess there's still mud like covering them, and the fist is still trying to like surround them, but it’s like they're holding- trying to hold two of the fingers behind the hand, and they're like doing their best to hold it down.
Brandon: Let me tell ya, Tracey's heart's already big... grows three more sizes.
Amanda: Your food compactor's now half the size though, 'cause you had to shrink it to compensate.
Brandon: Eh, that's fine. Worth it.
Eric: So it's now the mud's turn. And the left hand is now trying to fight the grapple off.
Hot damn! Alright. The mud is rolling very poorly and P0R0 is kicking butt.
Brandon: I am so proud of my little warforged buddy.
Michael: I'm a little upset by all this, I'm not gonna lie.
Eric: The left hand is still struggling against the robot, and they are currently stuck and grappled with each other. And the right hand is gonna try to slap at Tracey with an open hand.
Brandon: Bring it on.
Eric: Well I rolled a nat 20.
Brandon: [lying] That does not hit...
Eric: Weird. So I'm gonna roll for damage.
So I rolled 23 damage for that, but since you're raging, you get half.
Brandon: Would you say that you bludgeoned me?
Brandon: I would say that.
Eric: I mean it's bludgeoning damage, yeah.
Brandon: Cool, so what's half of 23, it’s an odd number-
Eric: And I round up, so that's 12 damage to Tracey.
Brandon: Yeah, um, that's like a bruise. Tracey mistakes this for a high-five, and is like
Brandon (as Tracey): Cool, yeah!
Eric: Here's the thing that's worrisome, though. While P0R0 is grappling with the left hand, the mud that was holding Kevin up at the top of the ceiling then starts to shift itself. It coagulates, and comes down off the ceiling and down the wall, and goes back with the big muck puddle, and then a third hand rises up. And then tries to grab the mech suit from grappling its mud hand friend.
And now P0R0 is grappling two hands at the same time.
Amanda: Yes! Our buddy!
Eric: Just like both of them.
Brandon: I've never been prouder of anybody. I am out of this team, and I am now on Salmon's team.
Amanda: It's not even Inspiration, this is just Salmon rolling really well.
Michael: I don't like this. I still don't like this.
Eric: That mech suit is very strong, guys. [laughing] I cannot understate- overstate how strong this thing is. The warforged suit is holding both thumbs, like it's thumb-wrestling both at the same time. And it's winning! It's wild.
Johnny, from your Arcane Eye, you can tell that the cage from above is open.
Michael: Oh great.
Amanda: [dryly] Oh great, that's exactly what we need right now.
Eric: And they're pushing the cube down into the hole.
Michael: Hmm, fascinating. So apparently, P0R0 and Tracey can just hashtag handle it down here. I want to Misty Step up there to prevent this from happening.
Eric: Uh, okay, if you're gonna go up there in the middle of Initiative, why don't you use your point of Inspiration and roll a Dexterity to see if you can stop the Zoo Cube from getting pushed down?
Michael: Got it.
And a 19 + 3. Boo, boo, boo, boo!
Eric: Alright, so how do want to stop-
Michael: I don't want to be near this thing though.
Eric: You can try to stop the cage.
Michael: Oh, no. Me, Michael, I don't want to be near this thing.
[Eric and Amanda laughing]
I would- if possible, you know when a cage door swings open, it needs that area where it swings open to be unimpeded for it to swing open. I'd like to stand right at the thing, right at it, so like when it swings open it just hits my body, I'm like, "Nah."
Brandon: Are you just Johnny Doorstop?
Michael: I'm Johnny Doorstop because I'm not messing with that.
Amanda: Johnny B. Doorstop.
Michael: I will take the damage of that.
Amanda: [singing] Johnny B. Doooooooor...
Amanda and Brandon: Stop.
Eric: [laughing] Okay, now here's the thing, Johnny. This is your first good look of the Zoo Cube. This ooze is twice the size of Chad.
Michael: Ah, that’s not bad.
Eric: It is huge.
Amanda: It's just like it's human size.
Michael: Yeah, I'm sorry, what do you mean it's twice the size of Chad? What does that mean?
Amanda: That's weird. That's weird to choose a random human-
Michael: Why would you choose-
Amanda: -to measure your ooze in humans. Why would you do that?
Michael: Yeah, hold on, I don't understand this. This is very odd.
Brandon: This is like a ten-foot human size?
Eric: This is a 15 by 15 foot cube.
Eric: And there's ooze, it's just undulating from all sides, and when you stop the door to the cage-
Michael: [excited] It ripples.
Eric: It does ripple
and the ooze ripples back. There are the claws and angry face of a giant badger, snarling at you.
Amanda: Eric, what's the smell situation?
Eric: It's not great. And the badger's gonna try to snap at you through the bars of the cage.
Eric: I'm gonna give it Disadvantage because it's in a cage.
Do you get hit 9?
Michael: No, I got 13 Armor Class.
Eric: Okay, so the badger tries to swipe at you with its claws [badger growling, snarling] and it gets stuck in the bars, and then it tries to snap at you with its terrible, terrible, gross jaws, and it just- again it gets caught in between the bars. But this one is very close to you, you can smell it.
Michael: I'm disgusted by it. I don't like badgers, I don't think. Badgers live in the dark, Johnny's not a huge fan of that.
Eric: A bunch of mud people notice that you're around, and now I've added the mud men to Initiative.
Michael: Cool. Great.
Eric: Great. We're going back to Tracey.
Brandon: Yo, that's me! I'm going to take my greataxe, scream loudly, and go into battle with my Salmon friend.
Eric: What does it sound like when you scream loudly?
Brandon: It sounds like
Brandon (as Tracey): [screaming] I feel greeeeeeeeeeeeeeat!
Brandon: And then I'm gonna take a big swing with my greataxe at the one on the left that he is arm wrestling. Thumb wrestling.
10 + 3 + 2 for 15.
Eric: Yeah, that hits.
Not much, but 3 + 3 + 2. So 8 damage.
Eric: Yeah, you do 8 damage. You take a swing, and much like you would expect a sharp thing to go through a pile of mud, you make a slice in the side, and then more mud just kind of fills in where the slice happened.
Eric: P0R0 is holding both of them up while you're kind of like hacking at the side. I like that. So Johnny, the mud people noticed where you were.
Eric: And their Initiative goes before yours.
Eric: So two of the mud people,just kind of run at you, try to body slam you down to the ground. One of them got an 8, and one of them got a 13. What's your AC?
Eric: Okay, so one of them just whiffs you entirely, and the other one finally gets to put its whole muddy self on you, but only does 5 damage. The mud itself is unstable. It's like instead of getting hit with a full snowball, it's like it’s starting to just like crumble around you. They're not holding together at all.
Eric: And the third mud person is trying to get around you to open up the cage, and is gonna try to shove you out of the way.
So I got a… a 4, and these things are just not solid enough to get you out of the way. And now it's Johnny's turn.
Michael: So you would say that these creatures are in front of me, basically?
Eric: Which creatures? The mud people?
Michael: The mud people.
Eric: Yes, I would.
Michael: Excellent. I'm going to cast Burning Hands on them, [sound of whooshing fireball] which is a nice little cone of fire coming from my hands.
Brandon: Oh god.
Eric: Okay, so they all ... What are they doing?
Michael: They are doing a 15 spell save DC. I am like- passive as much with the cube as possible. I don't want to mess with the cube, the cube and I are friends.
[many dice rolling]
Amanda: Cubes are friends, not food.
Brandon: You don't want to badger the badger?
Eric: I got a 19, a 13, and a 5.
Michael: So a creature takes 3d6 damage on a failed save, and half as much on a successful-
Eric: Alright, so why don't you roll those?
[dice jiggling in Michael’s hand]
Michael: And I get to add charisma because fire or radiant.
Michael: 10, 14, so 17 damage to the guy who rolled a 13 and to the guy who rolled 5, and then it's round down, so it's 8 damage to the guy who rolled 9.
Eric: Okay, I would say the two who failed their save, when you blast them with fire, like they're in a kiln. They turn into-
Michael: Aw, they turn into figurines and I can keep it?
Amanda: They become statues?
Eric: They do, they become statues.
Michael: How big are they? Can I have one?
Amanda: Statue friends!
Eric: They are the size- No, they are your size. But I will say that-
Amanda: Ooh, for a patio!
Eric: When they turn into clay, they also start to sparkle, and they have the red and the yellow and the green and the blue, and they start to look like the rocks that you guys got.
Michael: My wonder senses are, uh… are happening.
Eric: But the other mud person got out of the way enough from your cone, and only got a little bit, so there's like one arm that's terra cotta with the sparkle.
Michael: Ooh, nice.
Eric: And it looks like a nice accessory piece. But it's still coming at you.
Michael: I'm going to maintain my position, which I know is in the way, like I'm still in harm's reach of the badger, but-
Michael (as Johnny): Representative, you want to come and help me, or are you just gonna stand there while your citizens are- flee in terror?
Eric: The Representative is over by the purple chair, and is trying to push it over or looking underneath it and around it, she's looking for something on the ground.
Eric (as Representative Brink): Yeah, I'm trying to figure something out, my people are fine, thank you.
Michael (as Johnny): Okay, just so you know, the contestants that didn't make it are like hanging, dying down there, and the mud's just completely taken over, so hopefully you can like take control of this situation. And think of the kids when you're done with all this because we need proper literacy programs so that this wouldn't happen and they could be entertained by things that aren't colosseum fights!
Eric (as Representative Brink): Wait, they're down ... Where are they?
Michael (as Johnny): You know that hole that just appeared there?
Eric (as Representative Brink): Yeah.
Michael (as Johnny): Yeah, so there's apparently this whole dungeon thing, and they're just hanging out. Literally.
Eric (as Representative Brink): I hate that.
Michael: Me too, that's why I got out of there. [laughing]
Eric: Alright, it's Inara's turn.
Amanda: I am going to continue my flight up through this passageway and go over to Brinks and say
Amanda (as Inara): [speaking quickly] Uh, hey, Representative, it's me, Inara. You can't see me, I'm a ghost. I'm here though. What are you looking for?
Eric (as Representative Brink): Wh- g- Come on! Okay, I can deal with mud people, but there are ghosts around here too? I can't. No, no, no, no, no. You're dead? What is happening?
Amanda (as Inara): No, no, just for a minute, see?
Amanda: And then I'm gonna briefly flicker from audible to visible, and just wave at her for a second.
Eric (as Representative Brink): Ah! There's a devil who's trying to talk to me!
Amanda: And then I'm gonna flip back to audible.
Amanda (as Inara): No, it's me, it's a long story, it's just temporary. W-What are you looking for? How do we stop this?
Eric (as Representative Brink): I- um- so like when you [sighs] ahh...Okay, [muttering to self] I'm talking to a devil, I'm talking to a devil, it's fine, it's Inara, it's Inara, she's cute, it's Inara, Inara.
Amanda: Inara blushes fiercely, invisibly.
Michael: But no one can see.
Brandon: Or do you just see the red, the ethereal redness?
Eric: Or do you just see the blush?
Amanda: The air heats up slightly.
Eric (as Representative Brink): There's a way to call, when you call people up into the purple chair, there was a way that they came up from the ground, and I don't know where it is. It’s like a secret- there's a secret around here, it was like a chute, and I can't figure it out. It must be sealed over by the mud.
Amanda: Can I roll Investigation to see if I notice anything out of sorts?
Amanda: Big money, big money.
Eric: Okay, there's a crease like right behind the purple chair, but you don't know if that's just like part of the arch that they've made for it, or if it's a secret passage.
Amanda (as Inara): Uh, I see something behind the chair.
Amanda: And I'm going to flip the pitcher, point it toward the floor, and say
Amanda (as Inara): Geyser!
Eric: The water shoots out of the pitcher again, [sound of water rushing] and it pushes a lot of caked-over mud that was painted over, and as it blasts through, it’s like there's a tunnel leading down and then a sharp right.
Michael: It's funny because all the Representative sees is water just appear out of thin air.
Eric: It’s like you see the top of a pitcher, and it's just like psh!
Amanda: I need to go back and check on my friends, so I'll just say to her
Amanda (as Inara): Alright, go figure it out. Try to bring some help up in here. I don't know what's happening with the mud, but we have to rescue these contestants, so I'll see you down there in the dungeon.
Eric (as Representative Brink): Okay, bye, ghost-devil-Inara...
Amanda: I am going to fly back down the passageway, casting a worried glance over at Johnny as I do so, and use one hand to take the Shadow Cowl back down as soon as I touch the ground.
[fluttery electronic noise]
Amanda: Hi, it’s Amanda. Do you ever see somebody, on the street or at the mall, and think, damn, you’re absolutely rocking it today! And as you walk toward one another you think to yourself, oh my god, do I say something? Do I not? Would that be weird? Uhhh I dunno? But then you decide, you know what, life is short. Kindness is always welcome. And so you compliment that stranger—and their face lights up. That was the perfect thing to say and they really needed it today. This is that feeling. Your eyebrows are absolutely killer.
Welcome to our newest patrons, Michael, Alicia, Podfather David, Kaitlyn, Sarah, Alex, Zoey, Lloyd, Elissa, Cody, Chemicult, and Sarah, who upped their pledge. You are a late-spring garden with huge colorful flowers that don’t set off anyone’s allergies somehow. This week on our Patron-only Discord and Snapchat group, we’re celebrating Pride! We got selfies, we got kitten photos, we got recipes for killer lemon cake. You too can show off your pets and meals and crafts by pledging as little as $1 at patreon.com/jointhepartypod. Your support is what lets us keep doing the show. Period. We couldn’t do this without you.
And speaking of Pride, we have some new merch! You can get “Be Gay and Do Crimes” swag in shirt form, tank top form, notebook form, even tote bag form. And, you know, we love tote bags. It’s never been a better time to let everyone know that your alignment is chaotic queer. Head on over to jointhepartypod.com/merch to get some of your own.
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. Today our question is: “One of my players REALLY wants to play a home-brew class that they found online, but it is way overpowered and broken. How do I keep things balanced without beating up the fun?”
Lauren says: “I had a DM that used to always say "trust me with your fun". D&D is about creativity, and rules are actually in place to help guide that creativity. A homebrew character can be awesome when it is created with a specific home campaign in mind, but taking one from someone else’s campaign and inserting it in yours can be challenging. So work closely with your player to create a new character. Ask them to think about what top two ability stats and skills they want. From there you can reskin any race and class in the handbook to create a homebrew that is appropriate to your campaign.”
Thanks, Master, Dungeon Master! Head on over to twenty 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.
Now, let’s get back to the show
[electronic note plays again]
[muffled sounds of the colosseum, dripping water]
Eric: Great. All right, we're back to Salmon. Salmon is going- has to try to grapple the mud hands.
Yeah. Salmon [laughing] Wildly, the gnome in the warforged suit just still is holding on to these two mud hands. It's crazy.
Brandon: This is the greatest battle that Tracey's ever been a part of.
Eric: It's great! And then the mud, one of the hands is gonna try to grapple them back.
The left hand that you guys started with finally gets a hand around P0R0 and crushes them in the grasp. The mud around it starts to cover the mech suit, and it starts to pull the mech suit down.
Brandon (as Tracey): Salmon!
Eric (as Salmon): I warforged as best as I can!
Eric: Tracey, both of the other two mud hands try to slap at you, and the first time the mud felt like an entire wall was hitting you. And these times, as the hands try to hit you, it wobbles for a second, and you just pass through.
Brandon: I think Tracey's taken aback.
Eric: Back up on the surface-
Michael: Surface world.
Eric: In surface world, the cube is gonna try to turn itself over.
Michael: Ah, good. Let's see what new fresh hell awaits.
Brandon: Do you roll a D6 to see which animal is face up now?
Eric: Well it’s gonna- it has to do it to himself.
Michael: I feel bad for this creature. That's why I don't wanna fight it. I was about to do a-
Eric: The cube is trying to turn itself over as its action, and it can't
Eric: and the badger is just clawing at the-
[sound of cage rustling]
Amanda: I'm picturing a little turtle on its back, but the legs are too small.
Eric: Yeah, it's definitely similar.
Michael: This is an unfortunate creature.
Brandon: Is the animal on top an upside-down turtle?
Michael: Roll for upside down turtle.
Michael (as Johnny): Creature, as soon as this is over, we will find a way to make sure you are free and less in gross pain.
Eric: And the badger just claws at the cage and goes [Eric making snarling noise]
Michael: I toss it an apple.
Eric: It e- It eats it. And then goes [making badger snarling sound]
Michael: Okay, that's fine.
Eric: It is Tracey's turn again.
Brandon: I am going to dash over to Salmon and try to grapple the hand away, try to pry them apart.
Eric: Sure. So their grapple, it's a strength contest.
[Michael and Amanda shouting with amazement]
That's a natural 20, because Tracey is so inspired by this battle that he is not going to let Salmon be taken by some mud creature.
Eric: God, I rolled really high. Shit. [laughing] Yeah, Tracey, what does it look like, pulling your robot friend out of the muck?
Brandon: Heroic as hell.
[Michael bursts out laughing]
Eric: You wanna give me a little more? [laughing]
Michael: So descriptive, I feel like I'm there!
Eric: It's just like tight as hell!
Amanda: It's heroic. Looks like that!
Brandon: I think this is the most in-control Tracey's ever felt in his Rage mode. I don't think he's in control, in any means, but this is the most dire need that he's needed to attend to. So he sheathes his great axe, dashes over as fast as possible to the mud hand, and uses all of his might to pry each finger off of Salmon, and then sort of uses the side of his elbow to push him out of the way while he's still grappling with the hand.
Eric: I love that. That's great.
Eric: It was very heroic, and everyone's like, "Oh, wow!" But it's just Salmon, so Salmon's just like
Eric (as Salmon): Oh, thanks, Oh- Beep, boop, thank you so much!
Eric: But it's the mud's turn again. All three of the hands back up and dive into the muck all around them. It comes out looking like a hive with shards on three different ones of these hives.
Brandon: Like a beehive type of thing?
Eric: It looks like- Yeah, it looks like a beehive crossed with a mace.
Brandon: That is scary as hell.
Eric: Yeah, so I need you and Salmon are gonna make Dexterity saving throws.
Brandon: Uh, I want everyone to remember how heroic I was last turn.
Michael: You were so heroic.
Amanda: Okay, okay, so noted.
Brandon: And how well I rolled last time.
Michael: And I'm sure nothing you did here ...
Brandon: Picture that in your head.
Michael: It's all I'm picturing. There's nothing-
Amanda: That's what we'll remember you by.
Brandon: Remember, 'cause I got a… a crit fail. Crit fail.
Eric: Here's the thing. Salmon also did very poorly and rolled a 4, so…
Brandon: If we do something, we're gonna do it together.
Eric: Yeah, the hive like explode [sound of explosion] and the shards shoot towards the two warforged. Salmon takes 12 points of damage, and Tracey, you're gonna take 27 points of damage.
Michael: Ooh, mama.
Brandon: Piercing. Thank you. So that's halved 'cause I'm in a Rage.
Eric: It's half 27, so you're taking 13 points of damage.
Brandon: Thank you. It tickled.
Eric: Inara, I would also say that the mud that's covering the other contestants, you're seeing it's starting to creep down. So like Sophie's face is totally covered, and the more recent one, like Crews, is starting to creep farther down his legs. Of course, they're passed out so they don't notice, and also the three other ones that are on the farthest wall that are totally covered in mud, they're starting to color red and yellow and blue and green.
Eric: Johnny, it is your turn. There's more mud people swarming towards you.
Michael: Oh good.
Eric: And if you really wanted to see the head producer, the head producer is also moving towards you.
Eric (as the producer): If you want to make your final stand, that's fine, that's great TV for me, but let's make sure it's going to the right side.
Brandon: God, what a dick.
Eric (as the producer): You already did what you had to do. You destroyed the heart. Can you just finish this?
Michael (as Johnny): What do you mean, I destroyed the heart?
Eric (as the producer): What do you think?! You think that this 27-year-old is controlling a millennia-old power? You're crazy! All of you are so stupid, and you're ruining my show!
Michael (as Johnny): Well I'm sorry that I ruined your show, you're just ruining people's lives, and the lives of the many children who could be reading instead of watching this drivel.
Eric (as the producer): There are no children who need to read! We have figured out that in Tortipolis our literacy rate is very high! The Council of Bright is not going to stand for you running all over their plans.
Michael (as Johnny): Eh… For a Bright Council, you look a little muddy there.
Michael: And I’m going to… [laughing]
Eric: I want to scream. Your DM wants to scream here. I am so angry.
Michael: So I'm going to use Prestidigitation to create an illusory fire that looks similar to exactly how the Burning Hands before looked like in my hands, and I'm going to say
Michael (as Johnny): If you think that I could only spit verbal fire, you should stand down and just tell me what's going on and how to prevent all those people you have trapped down there from dying.
Eric: I'll give you Deception with Advantage.
Eric: The head producer says
Eric (as the producer): Hold on… Okay, whoa whoa hold on.
Michael: And I'm holding the fire.
Eric (as the producer): Hold on, everyone take a step back, let's not do anything kiln-hasty. Wh- Everything's falling down anyway, fine, what do you- what's your problem?
Michael (as Johnny): What do you mean, I destroyed the heart, and what do you mean, everything's falling down?
Eric (as the producer): That kept everything going. We kept it hid- there was- the heart of the mud was hidden in the boots. The boots were supposed to make people- whoever wore them was supposed to make them think they could control this terrible, evil power, but really it was just us the entire time. We finally pulled one over on those heroes. And we've been able to stay for this long.
Michael (as Johnny): You're like the worst villains I've ever heard of.
Eric (as the producer): We're not [grumbling] We're not... If you think that making the whole world better than these stupid city-states is evil, fine, I guess we're the villains then.
Michael: You said it, not me. You said it, not me. There we go.
Eric (as the producer): City-states- Ugh, fine, yeah, so we’re just all- everything's gonna fall apart in two minutes, and that's fine. We're all die, they're all die. It's fine for me! Everything's gonna fall apart. The mud downstairs is just gonna destroy everything, all of the mud that's holding this whole colosseum together is gonna fall apart, Archspire Hideaway is going to stay where it is, but everything else, fine. If you want it like this, you can have Tortipolis... But you can have the ruins.
Michael (as Johnny): Great. Sounds good to me. By the way, do you know where Alonzo is?
Eric (as the producer): Yeah, he’s covered by- yeah, he's in the mud. We're mud people. What did you think- Where did you think he was?
Michael (as Johnny): So what kind of like motivated you to get into television? I know it's like a very distinct career choice.
Eric (as the producer): Well, it all started when I first saw 'Wheel of Fortune' on television.
Michael (as Johnny): Oh, totally.
Eric (as the producer): [yelling] It's controlling governments! That's what it is!
Michael (as Johnny): Oh, that's a shame, I was totally on board with that 'Wheel of Fortune' thing. Well, it’s been a- I would say it's been a pleasure, but it hasn't.
Michael: I then turn the Prestidigitation of a fire into a real fire and cast Burning Hands on all of the friendos that I've made there.
[fiery explosion sound]
Eric: You just toast them all.
Michael: Before the producer's hat gets toasted, I'd like to pluck it off its head and put it on top of my sunhat, so I'm wearing a double hat now.
Eric: You have a black beret on top of a sunhat?
Michael: Ooh, yes.
Amanda: That's fancy.
Michael: I'm gonna secure the cage door so it stays closed.
[sound of locking cage]
Michael (as Johnny): t's been a pleasure, badger
Michael: And I'm gonna run off to the precipice of the hole and yell down
Michael (as Johnny): Guys, we need to get everyone to Archspire Hideaway immediately. Everything's gonna collapse in like ... Now.
Brandon (as Tracey): We gotta help these people out, they're hanging up on the ceiling!
Michael (as Johnny): Yeah, I know, but I literally can't get back down there.
Brandon (as Tracey): Just go, we’ll get it.
Eric: Johnny, as you crawl in there, you hear clapping, [echoing sound of single person clapping] and then Johnny, you hear over the PA system
Heddy (as announcer): The Council will judge you all! It will come for you. And you cannot stop it. We kill where we wish and none dare resist. Our armies dredge the land to our liking and those who oppose us are not in the world today. We laid in wait, but we are ready to rise again. We are ready and strong, strong, strong [evil sounding laughter]
Eric: And there's like maniacal laughing happening, and it's like someone then takes the microphone away. [squeaking microphone] It's Noto Oto.
Eric: And she speaks over, and she says
Eric (as Noto Oto): Johnny, Johnny, we're here for you. If you just say the code word and we can get everybody out. We just want your guidance. We have what you need.
Michael (as Johnny): How do I know you're not with the Council?
Eric (as Noto Oto): Johnny, I offered to help you the first time. If we can't find the Undying Light to light our way, what do we have?
Michael (as Johnny): Your terms are awful. You should hire a contract lawyer.
Eric (as Noto Oto): That's you. We need you!
Michael (as Johnny): I really don't like papayas.
Eric (as Noto Oto): [sighs] Alright, we'll take it.
Eric: The sound of a microphone just being dropped, [squeaking microphone] and then it's just like- it’s just static over the PA system. While this is happening, and the voice over the PA system is shouting, everyone starts to clear out of the colosseum. It's like chaos out there. People are running over each other, there's a stampede, just forcing their way to the exits.
Michael (as Johnny): Remember to tip your waiter, make sure you let the elderly out first, don't panic, everything's gonna be fine. Just go to, y'know, not here. Just get out. Just get out of here.
Michael: And I'm gonna walk towards where the chair was, but not go down that tunnel yet.
[sounds of the colosseum stop]
Eric: Sure, okay. It's Inara's turn.
Amanda: I am going to turn the decanter toward the three fully-encased people who are about to ossify, and try to geyser them from the feet to cut them off the ceiling.
[sound of rushing water]
Eric: Okay. Why don't you roll a Dexterity roll, and depending I'll see how many of them you hit with one geyser shot?
Eric: And I'm also gonna roll.
Amanda: 17 + 6 + 3, for 26.
Eric: Holy shit, okay, yeah, you knock 'em all down. What does it look like when you shoot all three of these?
Amanda: You know how when in action movies, people have this like slow-mo ripple of firing a machine gun, and all their arm and shoulder muscles are rippling, but in a like sexy way?
It's that, and I'm making what I hope is a fearsome but still sort of compelling sexy face.
Eric: Yeah, you shoot down all three. The one on the left and the one in the middle crash to the ground, and they shatter. [shattering sound] And there's just pieces of rock and mud, and you can't really tell what was in there in the first place, but they're just shattered.
Amanda: So no people inside?
Eric: You don't see any people inside.
Michael: Or they've been fully ...
Eric: The third one drops to the ground, [shattering sound] and the top shatters, and you see a very recognizable flop of black hair, and it's your friend, Alonzo.
Michael: You think we forgot about him, but cha boy Alonzo's back! Bra-bra-bra!
Amanda: Oatcake is going to bound over to him and start licking his face.
Eric: [laughing] Make an Animal Handling check.
Eric: Okay, that's important for what I'm about to do. It's just Alonzo's face that's revealed when the stalactite fell to the ground, and even though Oatcake is trying to lick his face, he doesn't wake up.
Amanda: I'm gonna leave her to do that, and I wanna try to keep the pitcher going, so I am going to look at it and say
Amanda (as Inara): Mr. Sippy, I need a flood
Eric: Okay, I'll give you that you've imprinted on it “Flood,”
And I assume that flood is just like, go until you say stop.
Eric: Okay, so that's gonna be your third power word for Mr. Sippy.
Eric: Tight. I love that. It's Salmon's turn.
Eric: Salmon is going to try to punch more of the mud and just try to do some damage, and truly, it's just like punching mud, you’re just like making splashes go up. The ripples in the muck itself is starting to unform, so it's like even less corporeal than it was before. It's like you're trying to stomp in a puddle at this point. You're just trying to splash it out. It's now the mud's turn.
Brandon: Tracey's so proud.
Eric: And now six hands emerge from the muck, and they are unhappy with everybody around. So there's gonna be two to all of you. It's gonna be two to Inara, two to Tracey, and two to Salmon. Let’s start with Tracey.
Eric: Alright, I rolled a nat 20 and an 18.
Brandon: Doesn't hit- either one of them.
Eric: Great. So that's gonna be 28 damage, but you took 14, and now you're gonna take
Just three more.
Brandon: Okay, this one was a little bit more than a bruise.
Michael: What's your health at?
Michael: Ooh, that's not great.
Eric: Salmon took six damage, Inara, you're gonna take- You got hit once, you take 6 damage.
Eric: But you have that dodge, right?
Amanda: I do. I have Uncanny Dodge.
Eric: So you only take three damage.
Eric: So for all of these, it's like the hands are just flailing wildly. Like they're not trying to grab anyone anymore, they're just trying to hurt you as you’re on your way out.
Amanda: Mr. Slappy.
Eric: So all of these are like waves. [laughing] All these are like mud waves, like you're in the ocean and waves are breaking over you at this point. So Tracey, you got hit with the brunt of like some very large waves. Salmon slash P0R0 got out of the way of one of them, but then got hit by another, and Inara, I don't know if you have some experience jumping through waves, but it's just like you- you're like at Jones Beach and you just jump through it and gracefully land on your feet.
Amanda: Thank you.
Eric: The Zoo Cube, all of the beasts inside of it are trying to push against the cage, and they just can't break out. At this point, you see that, near around where Alonzo fell, you see another trap door above you open up, and you see Representative Brink pokes her head down, and says
Eric (as Representative Brink): I did not know this was in here! This is disgusting!
Amanda (as Inara): Come here, we-we need help! These people are getting consumed by the mud, and Alonzo, I don't know if he's waking up or not. That- that- Oh, that's Alonzo, that's our friend, he's really nice, we've gotta save him like right now.
Eric (as Representative Brink): Uh, okay I mean I have a lot of other people here with me.
Eric: And like all of the people who were from the Bachelor Tournament are like sticking their heads in. Chad then like fills up the entire space, and he's like
Eric (as Chad): Hey guys, I'm a human. I have an axe and a sword. I can help you fight.
Brandon: Tracey yells
Brandon (as Tracey): [yelling] Today you're all warforged!
Amanda (as Inara): And the person to save the most fellow contestants wins! Let's go people. Cut 'em down, bring 'em up!
Eric: Chad like slorps his way through there and lands with a splat.
Amanda: Like a human. You don't do that?
Eric: Everyone gets a hand on the ball here. Chad like grabs people as they jump down from the top and they try to pull people down through the mud. The entire time, Representative Brinks is trying to just apologize. As everyone gets pulled off the ceiling, more hands in the muck start to form. And just like they're trying to go at people, but it's just watery at this point, and unformed, and it's glitchy.
Mischa as an aarakocra flies up and pulls people off the ceiling, and cradles Alice as they fly them back down to the ground. All the Ambroses work together to get the other Ambroses off the ceiling. Chad is- keeps trying to help however Chad can, but of course, an ooze does not do well in the mud. There's a triple-tied, like knotted thick rope that's hanging from the escape hatch in the ceiling, giving people hand-holds. And you can see Autumn's extremely long hair dangling down as she puts her hand out to pull people inside of Archspire Hideaway.
Amanda: As that's happening, I'm also going to activate the flood mechanism, [rushing water] this new trick that I've taught my holy water decanter.
Eric: As the water starts to flood out, the mucky hands start to dissolve into it.
Brandon: As these hands are dissolving and slightly unforming, me and Salmon- and Schultz has joined us, we are just chopping away at these hands heroically, stopping their advance from the rest of the contestants as they escape.
Michael: Equally as heroically, Johnny has now made his way through the tunnel and into the Archspire Hideaway to the bar, and is fixing enough drinks to help fortify those who have just gone through this experience. You know, he's making everyone some mulled wine buckets, and as people start queuing back into the mansion from the dungeon, I'm handing them their heat-resistant wine bucket, and those who are still muddied, directing them into the pool to clean off.
Eric: As you try to get people into the actual pool, the water does not clean them off.
Michael: Seeing that it doesn't work, I'm gonna drain the pool so that they at least have a place to triage and hang out and hypothetically one day, when Inara gets back, she can fill it up with water. Has Alonzo made it back? Has he been escorted up?
Eric: Yeah, they've like hand-over-handed everybody who's covered in mud, and I think that Alonzo is last, because they don’t- nobody knows who this guy is. The water below is really starting to fill up this whole cavern, and every so often you see like a mud hand reach out and try to gasp its way out of the water. [flood sounds stop] I think everyone has made it back into Arch Spire Hideaway, and you guys are hanging out around the pool.
[sound of crickets outside]
Amanda: I'm not hanging out. I'm springing into action. And I'm going to turn the decanter on its side so that the flood function continues to fill now this empty pool. [flood begins again] And people who are encased in mud, we can dip them into the pool, and try to start dissolving that encased mud to get them freed.
Eric: I like it. I think that as people- certain people start to wake up, they're groggy, but they're definitely still aware. When Kevin wakes up, he's like
Eric (as Kevin Vacation): Oh man, that was such a great party. I missed all of you. What happened? Did I win? Did I win the game?
Brandon (as Tracey): Yes, Kevin, you won.
Eric: You dug Crews in, and Crews wakes up and looks at you and says
Eric (as Crews): [coughs] ...Did I do that?
Brandon (as Tracey): Crews, no, you didn't do that. You're safe now.
Amanda: And Oatcake is licking everybody's faces who are still not yet awake. I like to think that she picks up an apple and places it in Crews' mouth so that he can't talk anymore.
Eric: Well, I think that you get Alonzo in the pool last. And all of the mud that was hardening around him, the red and the blue and the yellow and the green that was shimmering off, it's like it… glittered off of him. And as Alonzo wakes up, like he’s- he's watered, he's soaked. But you can see he has like battle gear on. Like he looks dressed like a soldier, an archer for that, he has the fletcher's mitt, his quiver of arrows is still on his back, and he looks like he's an adventurer, just like you guys.
He finally wakes up, and he sits up in the pool, and he splashes around and says
Eric (as Alonzo): I am the champion and I can take care of all- What? Where am I? Tracey, Johnny, Inara, who are ... Why are we here?
Brandon (as Tracey): It's okay, you're safe. Just… we have you now.
Amanda (as Inara): There w- okay, so- there was a caravan, there was quicksand, then we fell a long time, there was a- a cube full of animals, there was a colosseum full of mud, there was a house, there's a weird gym. We got really aggressive, lots of bars, lots of mud, lots of other people, and we're on a TV show, and I definitely was going to win until I sacrificed myself for you, Alonzo, so what happened to you?
Eric (as Alonzo): I don't know. I rode all the way here, and I came to Tortipolis, I guess then there were these mud things and they were going towards me, and then my medallion glowed, and then there was fire, and that's all I remember.
Eric: And as Alonzo's telling this story, his medallion then starts to glow again. It's starting to turn and shift and spin like you guys saw at the wedding the first time. And as the medallion glows and spins, and spins, and spins, around you, you see the mud people coming out of different rooms in the mansion, stomping in a line. [sound of military-like marching] And then they're in three lines of 10- 30 mud people are now standing in front of Alonzo in the pool. And they don't move.
[three echoing guitar chords]
And then Alonzo says
Eric (as Alonzo): Um… everybody sit.
Eric: And all the mud people sit.
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.