40. Hunting Party I

When the Speaker calls, you answer. The party tries to put together the puzzle of the stars and the Centering, even when danger looms in the background. Inara holds the leash tighter. Tracey stops traffic. Kohl cuts a promo.


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Find Us Online

- website: jointhepartypod.com

- patreon: patreon.com/jointhepartypod

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- tumblr: jointhepartypod.tumblr.com

- music: brandongrugle.bandcamp.com

Cast & Crew

- Dungeon Master: Eric Silver

- TR8c (Tracey): Brandon Grugle

- Inara Harthorn: Amanda McLoughlin

- Kohl: Julia Schifini

- Creative Contributors: Connor McLoughlin, Heddy Hunt, Julia Schifini, Mischa Stanton

- Multitude: multitude.productions

About Us

Join the Party is a collaborative storytelling and roleplaying podcast. That means a group of 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: Last time, on Join the Party...

Eric: Ze’ol is finally captured and he’s not a god to go back on his word. With their chance to look into the past, present or future, Tracey checks in to see what happened to Johnny. And Inara -

Amanda (as Inara): I wanna see the Centering.

Eric: Ze’ol also brings a movie that they weren’t expecting, a look into what Alonzo has been doing sequestered back at the castle. The ethereal unicorn who was guarding Alonzo freaked out, destroying his room, and attacked him when he tried to help. In his anger, he gathered a white-hot aura around himself, and disappeared through a portal, and the penultimate star went out.

Eric (as Alonzo): I cannot believe this! I am just trying to help! I did everything that you told me to, and no one lets me do anything around here! I am the Champion! Let me do something!

Eric: Finally released by Ze’ol, the party regroups back at Kiko Castle with a battered Speaker in tow. New year, new party, same great dice rolling. Let’s get the party started.

[theme music]

Eric: Tracey and Inara are at the Speaker’s side. She’s facing the slowly darkening sky and she is getting herself into a comfortable position to look at you both straight in the eyes. And she says

Eric (as The Speaker): I haven't been clear with you. I think you should ask me some questions.

Brandon (as Tracey): Man, that is the understatement of the millennia… millennium?

Eric (as The Speaker): I have literally - I have - Tracey… I have literally almost died.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh right.

Eric (as The Speaker): You should be kind to your new friend. We’re such fri- I even said Tracey, which is your nickname, and look at how familiar we are.

Brandon (as Tracey): Sure.

Brandon: I pat her on the forehead.

Eric (as The Speaker): Thank… thank you.

Eric: Tracey, while you're patting her on the forehead, you feel bad. Your danger sense- it’s like someone’s ringing a triangle, but they're like two miles away, and it feels like it’s getting closer, and just Brandon and Amanda, so you know, I’m putting five minutes on the clock.

Amanda: [laughs] Oh god.

[music begins with regular, foreboding bass drum]

This is the worst thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

Brandon (as Tracey): [hurried] Um, Speaker? We have like less than five minutes. I need you to tell me every single thing, please don't ask why I know this, but please just tell me every single thing you know about every single thing now in less than five minutes. Please now go.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, yeah, yeah like given your recent mortality and reckoning therewith, you know that you have a limited time on earth and why not just get to the information that we should know right, right, right now.

Brandon (as Tracey): Totally!

Brandon: Trace takes out his ax.

Eric (as The Speaker): I don’t… excuse… I’m -

Brandon (as Tracey): Please go faster! Please go faster!

Amanda (as Inara): What do we have to know?

Eric (as The Speaker): I know- I know everything. Please ask questions.

Amanda (as Inara): And we know nothing, so let’s start with the most secret information, the kind that if someone whispered it you'd be like, “Oh no, how’d they find that out?” Tell us that information.

Eric (as The Speaker): Okay, I guess we’ll start… w

'll start there. Um, I guess we'll start there. Um, well it was - I guess only …

Brandon: Tracey rubs his forehead.

Eric (as The Speaker): It was a few …

Brandon (as Tracey): Uh-huh! Uh-huh!

Eric (as The Speaker): It was a thousand years ago.

Brandon (as Tracey): Uh-huh! Uh-huh!

Amanda (as Inara): Doesn't matter when really unless it’s relevant.

Brandon (as Tracey): Skip to the good part!

Eric (as The Speaker): Oh no, it’s important - that’s - oh this is - this is juicy stuff, Tracey. A thousand years ago, the Centering, it turns out, was actually - I guess we’ve lost quite a number of… [to self] I don’t know. How should I begin? There’s just so much…

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, so like who do we need to be scared of? Who do I need to kill? And then like who fought each other and how do we like stop everything from happening? And then maybe Ze’ol, how do I kill him? And -

Eric (as The Speaker): You can't - you can’t kill a god-

Brandon (as Tracey): Well that’s what everybody keeps telling me, but I’m pretty sure there’s a way, so like tell me everything you can know in like - I’ll give you 45 seconds.

Eric (as The Speaker): I - listen, there’s too much - there is truly too much to say. Well, do you know why the stars are there?

Brandon (as Tracey): No.

Amanda (as Inara): No!

Eric (as The Speaker): Well the star, it’s a prison - it’s an astral prison keeping away the greatest enemy that has every befallen our land.

Brandon (as Tracey): Is that Ze’ol?

Eric (as The Speaker): No, no.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh.

Eric (as The Speaker): No. Abs- no, Ze’ol is -

Amanda (as Inara): Well that’s not good news.

Eric (as The Speaker): The Centering - it was a collection of people coming together. It really was a centering of our world.

Amanda (as Inara): I see, because peace can’t be achieved unless there’s a common enemy.

Eric (as The Speaker): Well, when you say - yeah, when you say it like that, it sounds-

Brandon (as Tracey): Who was the common enemy? Who was this person? Thing?

Eric (as The Speaker): They- it was a they - like a collective. Well both a singular and a collective, “they.” The Council of Bright as we- as it called itself -

Amanda: Tracey and Inara lock eyes.

Eric: Tracey, it’s now down to 2:30 in your head.

Brandon (as Tracey): [rushing] Okay, so the Council of Bright made warforged apparently or something about that, but like -

Eric (as The Speaker): Well, yeah. Tracey, how did you know? Only I know - How did you know that?

Amanda (as Inara): It was an attic, very dusty, lots of boxes, some projectors, very surprising, great technology, anyway we know about the Council of Bright.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, not as dumb as I look. Let’s go forward a little bit faster, so they made warforged, blah, blah, blah-

Eric (as The Speaker): Well the Council - the Council of Bright - well longer than a millennium ago, the Council - longer than a millennium ago, everyone in the world was fighting each other, just constant war, a Dark Age where we didn’t - recorded no history. It was nothing.

We couldn't - everyone - I say we, I mean the lineage of all of us couldn't keep our weapons off of each other, so this prophet, or the self-described prophet came down, named themselves the Council of Bright to judge all of us and brought the first warforged, what we would now call warforged into our world, and so warforged -

Brandon (as Tracey): So are they back? Are they back now? Is that what’s happening?

Eric (as The Speaker): Well I-

Brandon (as Tracey): Are they gonna try to recruit me?

Eric (as The Speaker): I don’t know - no one can recruit you, Tracey.

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s very true. Do I need to be worried about my brethren? Are there more of me is what I’m asking.

Eric (as The Speaker): There was. I don't know now. Now I -

Brandon (as Tracey): I thought you knew everything!

Eric: Tracey, you have one minute in your brain.

Eric (as The Speaker): I don't know if there's any more.

Brandon: Tracey looks at Inara.

Brandon (as Tracey): We gotta go!

Amanda (as Inara): And why were there nine of them in that - in that castle, house plans for the Bachelor?

Eric (as The Speaker): I don't.. What is that? I don't know.

Amanda (as Inara): What do we need to know. You are equipping us with the tools we need to make this- them stay or go or whatever.

Eric (as The Speaker): Well okay, the stars in the sky, I guess with all of the stars going away, that’s - I guess we can all say it’s bad-

Brandon (as Tracey): What happens when the last one ends?

Eric (as The Speaker): We don’t- I don’t know! I can only - it’s not good. It’s bad.

Amanda (as Inara): Well, how do we put them back?

Eric (as The Speaker): Well, how are the stars going away?

Amanda (as Inara): I think it’s when Alonzo does his magic.

Eric (as The Speaker): What magic?

Brandon (as Tracey): He has a lot of magic when he- he’s like - his thing spins-

Eric: 10 seconds.

Brandon (as Tracey): -and then magic stuff happens.

Amanda (as Inara): He stops time, and- what do we need to know?

Eric (as The Speaker): Well that- I don’t know. That-

Brandon (as Tracey): Do I need to kill Alonzo?

Eric: Four, three, two-

Eric (as The Speaker): I don’t - no! Don’t do that!

[alarm ringing]

Eric: You hear an extremely loud explosion.

[booming explosion, followed by electronic action music]

It rattles the ground, and you hear the clatter of footsteps, and it feels like it is four floors up.

[rattling of many footsteps on stone]

Brandon (as Tracey): Inara, I think that was the thing.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, no this is about as bad as I expected.

Brandon (as Tracey): Maria, are you good to stand up? We might need to move.

Eric (as The Speaker): You still need to call me the Speaker.

Brandon (as Tracey): Well, you called me Tracey, so I think we’re on equal footing. You good to move?

Eric (as The Speaker): That’s true, they’re both - I can come-

Eric: She tries to stand up, and she falters as she takes her first step.

Amanda: I’m gonna grab her by the elbow, look her in the eyes, and say

Amanda (as Inara): Is there anyone here trying to advance this cause? Is there anyone trying to sow seeds of darkness and dismay? Not Red Throat Gang type stuff, like bigger stuff.

Eric (as The Speaker): I- I don’t - I don’t know how the astral jail works. I - someone in my lineage put it together and I’m… I - I don’t know. If something is getting out that’s not - the Council of Bright could be back.

Brandon (as Tracey): I think we need to talk to your friend and good pal, Adamah.

Eric (as The Speaker): I guess he’s more - he’s like a friend in the way your dad is your friend.

Brandon (as Tracey): I don't need your life story.

Eric: You hear another rumbling explosion and now the clattering of pots and pans.

[booming explosion followed by clanking metal]

Amanda (as Inara): This is more like a situation where your parents are like, “Inara, if you're ever out with your older cousins in the forest, and they give you some moonshine, and it’s like more moonshine than you thought it was, and you’re starting to have hallucinations maybe, instead of just hiding and falling down in the forest and sleeping there and never coming back, you yell out. You go, ‘Dad! Hey! It’s me! I messed up! I did it! And I’m sorry.’”

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, that’s an experience that I get.

Eric (as The Speaker): I also-

Amanda (as Inara): And then your dad comes and rescues you. That’s what we need to do right now. Doesn't matter if Adamah is your friend or Adamah is your dad. We need him right now.

Eric (as The Speaker): I don’t - that is not an experience that I’ve had in my life.

Brandon (as Tracey): No, remember when we did that in the forest when we were like thirteen and it was all good?

Eric (as The Speaker): I was thirteen so long ago.

[Amanda laughs]

Eric: And now it’s metal falling, like clattering.

[metal scraping and banging together]

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, we need to go. I need to figure out who’s getting hurt, I need to figure out how to stop it, and also I need you to go talk to your good friend, the god person!

Eric (as The Speaker): I’ll go to the - I’ll go to the… I’ll go to the terrace and see the best that I can from the top and talk to my… father? It’s weird saying it like that-

Amanda (as Inara): Run with the metaphor, Maria.

Eric (as The Speaker): My dad, I’ll go talk to my dad…

Eric: Okay, what do you do?

Brandon: Tracey and Inara wanna find what the threat is, and who’s getting hurt, and how to stop it.

Amanda: Yeah.

Eric: Okay, so you guys take the stairs, and you hoof it up four floors, and as you get farther up, people start streaming past you.


Brandon (as Tracey): Hey what happened? Hey what's going on?

Amanda (as Inara): What’s going on?

Brandon (as Tracey): What can we do?

Eric: They're just pushing past you being like, “I don’t get paid enough for this!”

Brandon (as Tracey): I don’t get paid at all, how can I help?!

Eric: Yeah, as you are running by, you realize that they are wearing white and black like the waiters’ uniforms y’all stole at the wedding.

Amanda: Oh, this is going toward the ballroom?

Eric: Mhm.

Amanda: Oh…

Amanda (as Inara): Tracey, use the horn! Call our friends!

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, okay!

Brandon: And I start blowing the help horn very loudly.

[help horn sounds]

Eric: Okay, I want you to roll a Charisma roll.

Amanda: Especially toward the window, where, I don't know, our friend Stoneface might be.

Eric: We’ll see.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: That is a 19 + 0 for a 19.

Amanda: Ooh.

Eric: Okay, good to know, so you blow it and you hope against hope that someone is gonna show up.

Brandon: I have faith in my friends, so I don't hope, I know.

Eric: Okay, you run up there and even in all of the mess and the destruction, this room looks very familiar to you. And it’s dark and bare and there’s no decorations, but there are windows every five feet as you might recognize, and you would see a sunset coming through the far window. This is the ballroom that Greg and Alonzo were first married at.

What’s different about this is there is one source of light that is illuminating the entire room. It’s harsh, and it’s searing, and you have to cover your eyes when you first look at it. And it’s coming from a person. And the only thing that’s similar to the wedding and now is that Alonzo’s here.

Brandon (as Tracey): Hey… hey Alonzo?

Eric: He’s like kicking pots and pans that got stuck to his foot on the way out, running out of the kitchen, and you can see there’s smoke coming out of the other room as well. On the far side of the room, on the left, there is a massive burn mark and there is an arrow stuck in the center of it.

Amanda (as Inara): Alonzo, what happened? Are you in danger?

Eric: He turns to look at you, and it doesn't look like him anymore. It’s like whatever energy is fueling him at the moment, it’s not him as a person, it’s something else entirely. I don’t think you’ve ever seen Alonzo so angry. He’s holding his bow and he has just a fist-full of arrows in the other hand.

Brandon (as Tracey): Alonzo! Alonzo. Hey! Hey it’s me! Your buddy! Your old pal, Tracey.

Amanda (as Inara): We were so worried. We’ve been through so much. Come, let’s hang out. Let’s talk.

Eric (as Alonzo): [with more force, deep echo] Oh yeah, I remember you guys. You two left me in that room that I was being protected by a unicorn. And then ended up just destroying all of my shit! Hello! Great to see you! I was just coming back to get all of my stuff, and then I’ll just be gone again. So I’ll see ya later!

Eric: He takes an arrow from his other hand and starts to load it into his bow.

Amanda (as Inara): In our defense, we had to, and also we brought back your husband.

Brandon (as Tracey): Cool arrows.

Eric (as Alonzo): Thanks, you wanna see what they do?

Eric: Hey Tracey, what’s your AC?

Brandon: 16.

Eric: Okay.

[dice rolling]

Hey Inara, what’s your AC?

Amanda: 14.

[dice rolling]

Eric: Oh cool. Okay, while still holding this fist-full of arrows in his other hand, he still manages to nock one in the bow, and he lets it fly.

[arrow whooshes by]

And it flies right over Tracey's head, and Tracey, as you watch it go by you, you see that it takes a hard left, and then another left, and then turns all the way back around, and it hits Inara in the back shoulder. And Inara, you take 8 points of damage.

[Inara scoffs]

Brandon (as Tracey): Alonzo, that is not acceptable. You do that again, I will cleave your hand off.

Eric: He nocks two arrows in the bow and says

Eric (as Alonzo): Cool! That sounds great for me! Just cross this chasm. I’m right here, dog.

Brandon: Tracey slams his ax on the ground [ax hitting floor], goes into a Rage, and barrels towards him.

Eric: Okay, let’s do a Dexterity contest to see who goes first.

[dice rolling]

Eric: I got a 12.

Brandon: I got a 16, unfortunately.

Eric: Ay, there you go. Congrats, first time you’ve rolled well before. How do you wanna do?

Brandon: I wanna dash over there as fast as I can, and then I’m going to slam my ax right into his arm.

Eric: Okay.

Brandon: And I’m going to recklessly attack, so that means I get Advantage on my melee attack.

Eric: Dope.

Amanda: No recks to be given here.

Eric: [imitating “Disturbed”] Oh-ah-ah-ah-ah.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 10 + 9 for a 19 on my attack roll.

Eric: Yeah, you hit.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 3 + 5 for 8 damage.

Eric: So what does it look like as you swing into your friend, Alonzo? Your friend who likes you and you've saved from so many countless adventures.

Brandon: I think because I’m attacking one of my friends, there’s a little bit of coherency I have with my Rage, and just before I actually swing my ax down on his arm, I twist the handle in my hand, and use the blunt edge to just try and knock his hand down.

Eric: Nice, that explains your 8 points of damage.

Brandon: Yeah.

Amanda: Not retroactively.

Brandon: Weird.

Eric: Very good. Very good. I think Alonzo’s a little surprised that you even - that you went at him, and especially that you actually swung. He takes a step back and says

Eric (as Alonzo): Yeah, alright, yeah, let’s do it. Alright, let’s go. Let’s go. Right now.

Amanda (as Inara): Alonzo, we don't wanna do this.

Eric (as Alonzo): It sounds like you do.

Amanda (as Inara): I super don’t. If you remember, we had a very touching ride back from Tortipolis together. And I wanted to bring you, and the Speaker would not let me. You didn't want to come. You didn't want to let me.

And I’m here. I am back. I’ve suffered, and I brought Greg here. I’ve put your interests over mine every time. And I need a friend right now. I thought that was you. And I still believe it is. I know that you're hurt and I’m sorry, but we need to talk.

Eric (as Alonzo): I’m done talking. I've been waiting to talk this whole time. We went to so many cities and all we’ve done is talk. So thank you, thank you for reminding me of our road trip. That was great. Because I have something that you might remember.

Eric: He puts his arrows under his arm and sticks his hand into his pocket, and he pulls out a ziploc bag, and it looks like it’s filled with other Ziploc bags. And he opens up the other ziploc bag and says

Eric (as Alonzo): Swarm of locusts.

[locust swarm]

Eric: And pouring out of this ziploc bag are hungry, gnashing locusts that start flying right at your face. I’m gonna roll again.

[dice rolling]

Dope, your thing is 16 right?

Brandon: Mhm.

Eric: Alright, I got 16. Brando, I want you to make a Charisma saving throw.

Brandon: Everyone knows it’s my favorite skill.

Eric: He’s so good at it, which is what I like.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: Now, is a 2 good?

Eric: A 2 is not good.

Brandon: Oh.

Eric: Brandon, I want you to take 9 points of damage.

Brandon: So it’s halved because I’m raging.

Eric: Okay.

Brandon: Oh no I’m so scared, I have 92 health points.

Eric: Oh no that’s so bad. As the arrow connects with your chest, [thwop of arrow] you’re just getting sucked out of the world, just like there's a vacuum on your chest which is just pulling you through a hole. And then you look around, and you're not in Kiko Castle anymore. It’s just all blue mists and fog all around you. And you feel like someone’s laughing at you.

Brandon (as Tracey): Ze’ol?! Ze’ol?!

Eric: The laughing gets louder.

Brandon (as Tracey): I’m gonna chop your head off!

Eric: Inara, you’ve got a swarm of locusts coming at you. What do you do?

Amanda: I do… I think I’m gonna pull trust ol’ Mr. Sippy out of my pack and go all geyser on their asses.

[rushing water]

Eric: Okay.

Amanda: Their many small asses.

Eric: The multiple tiny asses of these insects. Why don't you make an attack roll?

Amanda: 10 + 4 for a 14.

Eric: Okay, let me look up the AC of a bunch of tiny asses.

Amanda: [laughing] What’s the AC of a gnat?

Eric: So it turns out they’re some wet tiny asses. So what happens?

Amanda: I think that the moisture makes their wings less effective, and so they kind of crumple to the ground. Not dead, because I don't want to kill any animals if I don't have to, but they are definitely waterlogged and sort of like twitching around in a bath on the floor, and not able to fly at me.

I kind of use the geyser to do a wide hit at all the ones coming at me, but then narrow it down to try to blast exactly at the bag to knock it out of Alonzo’s hands.

Eric: Oh yeah, I like it. So I think that you definitely knock down the insects, but the rest of the stream goes towards Alonzo, and he just takes one step to the left, and it splatters against the wall.

Amanda (as Inara): So come on, I believe you mean business, but we don't have to do this.

Eric (as Alonzo): Again, I can only reiterate more that I think that we do. Also, I don't think Greg’s here. I think you're a liar. It sounds like you're lying - when I hear it, it sounds like you're lying to me. Everyone lies, especially about Greg, especially Greg. I think you're lying to me.

Amanda (as Inara): That makes me really sad because I’m not.

Amanda: And I’m just gonna stand there with my hands on my hips.

Eric: Okay. Alonzo nocks two more of his arrows in his bow. He levels the arrows at you and says

Eric (as Alonzo): This is - I mean, this is just easy. Is this really how you want this to go? I can do it. I’ll do it right now.

Amanda (as Inara): I want you to have to live with yourself if this is what you want to do. If this is how you want this to go, I’m not gonna stop you. I’m tired of stopping you from self-destructing.

I’m here. I’m being honest. I’m not manipulating you. I’m telling you how it is. Because right now there are problems much bigger than you and me, and I need all the help I can get to try to fix them.

Eric: Alonzo pulls his bow back and Inara, you hear a loud thump.

[thwop of the arrow]

Eric: And there is an arrow one foot in front of you in the ground. And for a moment, you hear Alonzo’s real voice, the one that you remember who is just excitable and happy to see you.

Eric (as Alonzo): I think I’m the problem.

Eric: Alonzo fires another arrow at the wall [thwop] and it turns into this swirling portal of clouds and lightning. He takes one last look at you and runs in.

Amanda (as Inara): Alonzo, wait! I can help!

Eric: He’s gone. The portal is still there, though.

[music fading]

Amanda: I’m gonna look around, and not seeing Tracey, I’ll scoop up Oatcake, grab the arrow out of the ground, and jump headfirst through the portal.

Eric: Right before you step through the portal, you hear a loud pop [popping sound] behind you and Tracey is standing behind you, holding his ax above his head.

Brandon (as Tracey): Alonzo, there's another way we can do this. You can die.

Amanda (as Inara): Alright, come with me!

Brandon: Seeing Inara over in the portal, he rushes over.

Eric: Alright, you wanna jump through?

Amanda: I’m totally jumping, I’m not even-

Eric: Yeah do it!

Brandon: You wanna take a picnic instead and just bail?

Amanda: You wanna like go to a spa? Have a little self-care day?

Brandon: Yeah, that sounds nice.

Amanda: Play with that stick and Oatcake and the dimensions. That’d be nice.

[Eric and Brandon laugh]

Brandon: Eric, we’re done.

Eric: Yeah.

Brandon: Thank you sir, it’s been a pleasure.

Eric: Alright, that was the last episode. There is no name for this arc.

[Brandon laughs]

Okay, yeah, let’s fuckin’ jump through. Let’s do it.

[industrial-sounding music]

You’re falling through nothing. It is just clouds and dark. And the portal closes behind you. Glass crashes into the ballroom [glass breaking] and Stoneface with five bombilates following him are flying through.

Eric (as Stoneface): Ay, where's this guy? I wanna take him! If someone messes with my friend Tracey, I wanna take him out right now! I’m gonna do it! I got my crew with me! Hey… where’d everybody go?

[music stops]

Amanda: Hey, it’s Amanda. I don’t know about you, but I never really got into New Year’s Eve. My ideal night is being asleep by 10 rather than partying into the early morning. But sometimes, you step out of your comfort zone. You put on your nice shirt, have a daring late-afternoon coffee, and listen to your pump-up playlist. And then, shockingly, you have a nice time. And you start your year thinking, huh, maybe there’s more to life than I thought at first. Welcome to the midroll.

Hey, Hi, Hello and welcome to our newest patrons: claire, mary, chris, kya, stacy, anne, dan, liam, mack, semi human99, Magnetus4, Mikaela, Skyler, Hufflepuff Hilary, Lauren, Joey, Charles, Raul, and Eric. You are kicking off the new year in the best possible way: supporting work you love with your human dollars. If you’d like to join their ranks, please pledge to support JTP at patreon.com/jointhepartypod.

It’s a new year, a new arc, and a new adventure for all of us at Multitude. We’re hitting the road with a whole lot of Multitude live events! We have two shows in Seattle before PodCon, several panels at PodCon itself, and several of us will be performing at the Listen Up festival in Portland this February. Go to multitude.productions/live for your tickets now! And sign up for our newsletter so you’re the first person to know when new events are announced. And there will be new events.

We’re sponsored this week by 20 Sided Store in Brooklyn, NY. And it’s time for our informative gaming segment Master Dungeon Master with Lauren Bilanko! This week our question is: “What do you suggest for binding together a group of adventurers who don't seem to share a common thread or mission in their backstory?”

“Bring the adventurers together through the story's plot. Allow the players to bond over the situation they are about to overcome together. Draw out the adventurers individual goals while considering the party goals. For Example: In the opening scene of the D&D Starter Box adventure, Lost Mines of Phandelver, an NPC asks the party to deliver a caravan of goods from one town to another. I ask each player to describe how they know the NPC or found out about the job, what the cargo is they are transporting and why. I continue to ask questions until the players come up with a common thread and mission surrounding the job. Then I begin the adventure.”

Thanks, Master Dungeon Master! Pick up dice, props, and dice bags for your new players at twenty sided store dot com or in person in Brooklyn, NY. Use our discount code, JOINTHEPARTY, for 20% off. That’s twenty (the full word) sided store dot com and use our discount code JOINTHEPARTY.

And now, let’s get back to the show.

Eric: Brandon and Amanda, roll Perception checks.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 14 + 2.

Brandon: 18 + 2 for 20.

Eric: Okay.

Amanda: Ooh.

Eric: You are falling, and falling, and wind is rushing by your heads. And it’s - you're falling for so long that you kind of get bored of the falling. It’s like I guess we’re just still falling.

Brandon: Tracey checks his pocket watch like

Brandon (as Tracey): It’s been like-

Amanda (as Inara): You know I’m pretty happy with how we handled that. I think it could have been a little better maybe in the beginning, but -

Brandon (as Tracey): I think I got a little - did I get a little violent?

Amanda (as Inara): You know I love you babe, but I think you may have just jumped a little bit to the final- final engagement-

Brandon (as Tracey): I did, I did do that.

Amanda (as Inara): Somewhere in the middle perhaps to experiment, but-

Brandon (as Tracey): Well, maybe. Well can we workshop it later?

Eric: As-

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, we’ll play it back.

Eric: [laughing] As you two are falling, you see a light below you and it’s like a hole that’s getting wider, and wider, and wider as you get close. And you two fall flat on a paved street. You don't take any damage, but you two crash-

Amanda: Whoa! A change!

Brandon: I was gonna say ow, but this is just pleasant.

Amanda: Huh.

Eric: No it’s just unfortunate, you’re like damn.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh! A sidewalk!

Eric: So you just fall and you hit with a loud oomph. [thump] And the first thing you hear is an extremely loud horn right in your face.

[car horn honking]

[Amanda and Tracey gasp]

Eric (as car-driver): Hey! Get out of the way! What are you doing laying in the street here?

Brandon (as Tracey): I’m sorry! I’m sorry!

Brandon: And I gather myself up and push Inara out of the street.

Eric (as car-driver): Get out - what are you doing? People don't know how to walk in this city anymore. What is this? Get out of the way! I don't wanna run you over.

Brandon (as Tracey): Sir, we’re out of the way, just continue on.

Eric (as car-driver): Eh, get outta here!

Eric: And you look and you are face to face with an extremely large motorcycle. There isn't anything like this in our world, but let’s say someone made a deluxe, luxury motorcycle, one that like could hold two people comfortably with like a bench seat and with three wheels.

Brandon: Now I did just imagine a yacht with two wheels.

[Amanda laughs]

Eric: Yeah like that's pretty close.

Amanda: Because I was picturing a Smart Car but steampunk.

Eric: Actually, that’s closer. Amanda’s is closer. And you look around and there's a lot more people honking behind them. You are just in the middle of a street and there is traffic that is backing up behind them.

[cars honking, traffic]

Amanda: Yeah, we’re gonna move back to the side of the road.

Eric: Yeah, you back up into like a small park, like one of those just little squares in between streets, and you see that more motorcycles are screaming past you. This is a bustling city. The tallest buildings you've ever seen, and it seems like everyone wants you to get out of the way, and there is metal just everywhere.

Tracey, I think that you notice that in the front of every single one of these motorized vehicles you see in every single shape, and size, and construction of it, you see the same orange glow that you recognize from all of the mechanics that you've seen in your time in the Concentric States.

Brandon: As Tracey gets bumped on the street by passersby, he’s like

Brandon (as Tracey): Guys, okay, okay. Guys okay! I’m sorry! Oh my god!

Amanda: Yeah, and Inara’s never seen anything like this before.

Eric: Pedestrians keep trying to just like walk around you.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay! Okay! Just relax!

Eric: And one of the pedestrians stops Tracey to be like

Eric (as pedestrian): Wait, are you that guy?

Brandon (as Tracey): No.

Eric (as pedestrian): You’re not?

Brandon (as Tracey): What?

Eric (as pedestrian): That’s what a celebrity would say.

Brandon (as Tracey): Eh-

Eric (as pedestrian): I recognize you from somewhere!

Brandon (as Tracey): Eee!

Eric (as pedestrian): Were you on…

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh look, it’s this way. Bye!

Amanda (as Inara): Sorry, important things over there. Ah! Oh! You missed it! Oh no! Oh, get out of there.

Eric (as pedestrian): What? Where?

Eric: They turn around.

Amanda: And I yank Tracey, and we try to find some kind of tree, or post, or bench to stand by.

Eric: Okay.

Brandon: Yeah, Tracey hides behind a stop sign.

Amanda: He thinks it’s really gonna work. It’s red, your cape is red, we’re ready.

Brandon: Brilliant.

Amanda: Foolproof plan.

Eric: Very good. Okay, you are in just a small park. There’s a little bench underneath some trees, and there's a little very small green area kind of in the middle of everything, but there is a really large crowd just 100 feet to the left of you taking up the majority of this park.

[din of a nearby crowd]

Brandon: Do they have signs? Are they chanting anything? Do they look focused on a single spot?

Eric: Yeah, they're all focused on what's going on on the inside. Everyone's shouting, and it sounds like there are two distinct voices that you hear on a megaphone that seem to be coming from the inside, and everyone is cheering or booing depending on who is speaking.

From the inside, you hear an extremely familiar voice scream into the microphone.

Julia (as Kohl): [through a megaphone, with some “boo”s throughout] Tremble, foolish mortals! The devil and her minion have arrived! Shake! Shake in your seats, your fear feeds us. We will take this sacrifice you give us this evening and the glory my minion brings into battle shall make us even more powerful. Cry! Boo! It sustains us!

Eric (as Alabaster): [robotic voice, more monotone than Tracey] That’s right, she is so dangerous. My master. Go! She’s so evil.

Julia (as Kohl): [aside] You did good.

Eric (as Alabaster): Thanks, I am trying my best.

Eric: There’s a scuffle over the microphone and you hear someone else grab it, and then the crowd starts to cheer.

Eric (as man): Oh yeah, no one is going to take down Gordon Lighthammer, the light of the east and also of the west. This devil does not deserve to sustain in this place. I won't allow it. Not anywhere in the Concentric States, but not especially with my fans here in Infropolis!

Eric: Everyone starts cheering like, “Yeah! That’s where we’re from! Infropolis!”

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): Give it up one more time for Infropolis!

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, Infropolis!

Amanda (as Inara): That’s where I send all my tax returns!

Eric: And then one side of the crowd goes, “Light!” and the other side goes, “Hammer!” “Light!” “Hammer!” “Light!” “Hammer!”

And they all take their -

Brandon (as Tracey): Light! Hammer! Light! Hammer!

Eric: And they all take their forearms and start banging it down, of course it’s the hammer stomp.

Brandon (as Tracey): Inara, I don't know what’s happening, but I’m very into it.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, Trace, buddy, I want you to really take a deep breath.

[Tracey breathing deeply and rapidly]

Amanda (as Inara): Like longer and deeper each breath.

[Tracey slows down breathing]

Amanda (as Inara): There we go. Getting there. Because remember that time that you almost messed up a workshop because you saw a brethren there?

Brandon (as Tracey): Um, which workshop?

Amanda (as Inara): I mean Kohl’s.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, which one’s Kohl again?

Amanda (as Inara): Where I got this great cloak from.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, Kohl, right, yes. That workshop.

Amanda (as Inara): Horns, purple…

[Eric laughing]

Brandon (as Tracey): There’s a lot of workshops I’ve messed up.

Amanda (as Inara): Um, I’m afraid that they're here.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh.

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): This technology is obviously tearing Infropolis apart! We’re allowing moral decay to come and bring this evil enemy, and in two days’ time at the Superdome of Infropolis, brought to you by Barney’s Berry Sweets…

Brandon (as Tracey): [yelling] That seems short-sighted!

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): I’m gonna take this abomination down who’s been generated by the forces of evil!

Brandon (as Tracey): Do you have any samples of the candy, or-? Why are we even here?

Julia (as Kohl): The devil and her beloved, the adversary Alabaster hate Berry’s Barnum Sweets!

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): No! You can talk about my clothes. You can talk about my hammer! You can talk about the people who live in my city! But don't you dare ever talk about the sponsor!

Julia (as Kohl): Going for that cheap eat.

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): Isn't that right? [chanting] Berries! Berries! Berries!

[Tracey and Inara join in chant]

Amanda: We’re gonna creep around the edge of the crowd to try to glimpse these speakers.

Eric: Inara, I want you to make a Dexterity saving throw and I’m gonna give you Disadvantage.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 9.

Eric: 9, okay. Yeah, you put Oatcake on your head and your shoulders.

Amanda: I would think I clutch her to my chest to be like

Amanda (as Inara): I’m sorry, I have a dog, excuse me.

Amanda: I want to like draw attention.

Eric: Everyone in the crowd lets you through because you're a tiny adorable elf girl with a dog.

Amanda: True.

Eric: You finally get a full sense of what's going on. I also think Tracey if you're just like pushing people aside.

Brandon: Yeah, what do they do when a giant magic robot comes through the crowd?

Eric: Well they-

Amanda: Well, you are following my wake so-

Julia: They think you’re in cosplay.

Eric: Yeah, people are not fazed by you.

Brandon: Oh great.

Eric: Yeah, you're just a big guy trying to push people out of the way.

Brandon: I’m like,

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] Hey, do you have candy? Hey, do you have candy? Hi, do you have candy?

Eric: Yeah, exactly. So, Inara you push to the front and you see everything that’s going on. You see Kohl actually, yeah Julia, what’s going on?

Julia: So Kohl still has that same black leather duster that you first saw her in, but the bottoms seem like they're almost on fire, and she’s got this really intense purple and red eye makeup going on that looks great from a distance, but really close up it looks terrible.

Amanda: Okay, good.

[Eric laughs]

Eric: And you also see Alabaster, do you have any sort of markings for him? Or he’s just sort of chillin'?

Julia: He has a mask on.

[all laughing]

Brandon: He has a mask on?!

Amanda: Aw!

Julia: It’s made of like dark red leather.

Brandon: Aw that’s so cute.

Eric: It’s very good. I’d say Inara, you try to place Kohl’s massive friend made out of just totally chromed up shield metal-

Julia: It looks a little burned in places, but it’s clearly makeup.

Amanda: Aw!

Eric: That’s good. Bigger than Tracey, and this massive dude has a glowing orange reactor core in the middle of their chest. And the other guy, Gordon Lighthammer, he carries an oversized unwieldy hammer. He has long hair that reaches to his shoulders, but as everyone started shouting he tied it into a tight bun on the top of his head.

His look is like a cross between what we understand as Special Forces and like steampunk. It only covers his chest and his legs up to the calf, but it’s all like chunky-ass metal, and very angular, and has lots of like rivets on it. In the middle of his chest is also metal-worked, a crude shape of a hammer.

Amanda: It’s like a Forever 21 designer had to work with materials in a scrap yard.

Eric: Yeah. he’s also a little bit older than you would expect, and he keeps pandering to the crowd. Like at one point he goes

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): When I say “Info” you say “Opolis!” Infro!

Eric (as crowd member): Opolis!

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): Info!

Eric (as crowd member): Opolis!

Brandon (as Tracey): Could I borrow your hammer?

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): No!

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay!

Eric: So-

Brandon (as Tracey): You should always ask for what you want.

Amanda: The crowd cheers.

Eric: So Inara, as you push to the front, Lighthammer is pandering to the crowd, and he’s getting high-fives from everyone in the circle and then he stops at you. And he looks at you in the face, and he gets really close to you and says

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): Why do you have my dog?

[Brandon laughs]

Eric: And the crowd is screaming around you, and you're not sure if he actually said it, because he said it in a regular voices. You two are the only ones who heard it.

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): If this is part of the thing, this is not funny. I thought- I thought Lucius was gone.

Amanda (as Inara): This is Oatcake. She’s mine.

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): I mean I guess this is the bit. This is a bit. This is messed up from Creative, but I’ll just go with it. Okay, alright. So-

Eric: And then he backs up, and with one meaty hand, points at you and says

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): Oh, I guess that the evil forces has taken my dog away as well, but now Lucius has finally come back to me!

Amanda (as Inara): Tracey, let’s get out of here.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, let’s go.

Amanda: I’m gonna take my cape and close it over my chest to make sure Oatcake is hidden, turn and try to force my way out of this crowd.

Eric: I’m gonna do Sleight of Hand to try to grab you, and I think you’re gonna do straight up Dex to try to get away.

Amanda: Okay.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: I got a 12 + 3 for a 15.

Eric: I rolled poorly. So Lighthammer tries to put a meaty hand on your shoulder, but you pull away, and you lose in the crowd. Kohl, you as soon as this start you recognize Inara.

Julia: Alright, I’m gonna nudge Alabaster

Julia (as Kohl): Buddy, let’s go.

Julia: And they dash in between Lighthammer and Inara.

Julia (as Kohl): Oh, you've discovered my plan! My minions of darkness are working you at all angles, Lighthammer.

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): No! Not my dog! I love my dog! The dog is the only thing that helped me get over the death of my wife and the leaving of my other wife.

Julia: Alabaster puts a hand forward to stop Lighthammer from moving anywhere further.

Julia (as Kohl): We’ll settle this for the dog!

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): Oh, it’s a canine match!

Julia (as Kohl): It’s a canine match! You’ve got it!

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): Canine match! Two days from now! Winner gets the dog; the loser has to leave town! And I can’t imagine a better town than Infropolis!

Brandon (as Tracey): [unenthusiastically] Infropolis…

Julia (as Kohl): We’ll see about that!

Julia: And then Kohl casts Darkness.

Eric: Okay.

Julia: And both of us have Dark Vision, so we’re gonna go into the crowd and grab Inara, and Tracey, and Oatcake, and we’re gonna run.

Brandon (as Tracey): Inara, this is really dramatic, I don't know-

Amanda (as Inara): Kohl, you're on my side right? This is Oatcake, you know she’s my dog?

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah, I know. We’re good. How you doin’ by the way? Everyone good?

Amanda (as Inara): I’m good, I’m good. Do you like my haircut?

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah, it’s really good.

Amanda (as Inara): Thanks.

Eric: As you run through the darkness and run out into the city, you hear

Eric (as Gordon Lighthammer): No! My doooog!

[crowd sounds disappear]

Eric: Kohl takes you back to the apartment that she’s renting in Infropolis. What’s it like?

Julia: It’s pretty fancy, which is surprising because wrestlers do not get paid a lot. I would say it’s like maybe a duplex, pretty modern looking, a lot of sleek furniture. Definitely not as cluttered as her old workshop was.

Eric: I like to think that you have a suitcase where you just have your on-the-go tech-shit. Like you have a mech suitcase where you have just odds and ends-

Julia: A lot of drawers just pop out.

Eric: Yeah, exactly. There is like just a bolt-cutter that’s just sticking out.

Julia: sometimes you need one.

Eric: Yeah, you never know.

Brandon (as Tracey): Uh, hi this a some really cool apartment, and I don't-

Julia (as Kohl): Thank you.

Brandon (as Tracey): There was something about all the thing, and the place, and the people, and Infropolis, yeah yeah. But also like hi, who is this?

Eric (as Alabaster): Hello! I’m Alabaster! It’s nice to meet you!

Julia (as Kohl): It’s Alabaster! You kinda met him before.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh I vaguely remember Alabaster. Alabaster how you doing- Hey Alabaster, come here. Come here.

Eric (as Alabaster): Okay!

Julia (as Kohl): Alabaster, you’re good. You're good.

Eric (as Alabaster): Okay!

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] Can I - hey, Alabaster hi.

Eric (as Alabaster): [loudly] Hello!

Brandon (as Tracey): Shh, shh.

Eric (as Alabaster): Okay.

Brandon (as Tracey): Can I call you Ally? Or Baster?

Eric: Uh, those are terrible nicknames.

Eric (as Alabaster): No, friend. They just call em Al. You can call me Al. Do-do-do-do. Do-do-do-do.

Brandon (as Tracey): Al, well first of all, robots don’t go “Do-do-do,” just-

Eric (as Alabaster): I guess I do.

Brandon (as Tracey): Robot 101, well no. Are you being treated okay? Everything good? You feel like you have free reign? You can do your own actions? You can live your own life? Make your own decisions? Go wherever you want whenever you want to? Eat whatever you don't want to eat?

Eric (as Alabaster): Do you eat? I never eat.

Brandon (as Tracey): No I was confused.

Eric (as Alabaster): Because I don't have a stomach that would help me for eating.

Brandon (as Tracey): Right, yeah.

Eric (as Alabaster): Do you eat?

Brandon (as Tracey): I do, but it's more just like for appearances, you know?

Eric (as Alabaster): Cool, I will try that.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, keep your voice down a little bit.

Eric (as Alabaster): This is as low as I can go.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, okay. You good?

Eric (as Alabaster): Yes!

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay…

Eric (as Alabaster): Your questions were complicated, but I understand what you are trying to get at. You and I are different. I work with Kohl, we are very good friends. It sounds like you are the adventuring type. And that’s good. I’m glad. I am good, I promise.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay…

Eric (as Alabaster): I realize that I did not modulate my voice at all, but that’s as good as I can do. You're gonna have to believe me. I need to get more toned. Ha. Tone.

Brandon (as Tracey): [fake laughter] A-ha. A-ha.

Eric (as Alabaster): You don’t seem comforted at all.

Brandon (as Tracey): No, I do not.

Eric (as Alabaster): The best I can say is-

Brandon (as Tracey): You seem to be under indentured servitude currently.

Eric (as Alabaster): I do not think that. I am here, and I am happy about it. We do fun things, Kohl and I.

Brandon (as Tracey): Do you ever play catch?

Eric (as Alabaster): All the time.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay.

Eric (as Alabaster): I can throw really far.

[Eric and Brandon laugh]

Tracey, I appreciate the care that you have for me. Honestly, it’s very nice. No one has ever asked me these questions before. It’s complicated. It seems like you and I are different. And that’s okay.

Brandon (as Tracey): Look, all I’m saying is if you need me to break you out of this joint, I’ll break you out of this joint.

Eric (as Alabaster): Ha, I will think about that. But I think I’m okay.

Brandon (as Tracey): Offer stands, from today and forever on.

Eric (as Alabaster): Cool, cool. Thank you.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay.

Eric (as Alabaster): But seriously, she’s very nice.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay.

Eric (as Alabaster): We’re like partners.

Brandon (as Tracey): If you ever need a pal, I’m also here.

Eric (as Alabaster): You can call me Al. That’s how we know we’re friends. Do you have a shortening for your name?

Brandon (as Tracey): It’s Tracey.

Eric (as Alabaster): What’s your full name?

Brandon (as Tracey): Tracetopher.

[Amanda laughing]

Eric: The Speaker’s outstretched on a roof and she’s like

Eric (as The Speaker): I knew it!

Amanda: In the arms of an angel!

Eric (as Alabaster): Good! I hope you come to our wrestling match in two days. We can give you good seats.

Brandon (as Tracey): Is there gonna be some of that candy there, or…

Eric (as Alabaster): Probably! The sponsor definitely brings a lot of candy.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay. I mean maybe? I don't really know- we were in the middle of something with our friend, and we ended up here, and last time I met you guys, I kicked over a plant. So things aren't great. I need to get back to-

Eric (as Alabaster): Oh that was when I wasn't alive yet.

Brandon (as Tracey): You remember from then?

Eric (as Alabaster): Well, Kohl told me. Of course, I wouldn't remember from when I wasn't alive! Ha-ha!

Brandon (as Tracey): Ha! Um… yeah, we need to get back to Fidapolis like as soon as possible.

Eric (as Alabaster): Oh, that’s on the other side of the country.

Brandon (as Tracey): Great. Do you have arrows with portals?

Eric (as Alabaster): What?

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, no I didn't think so. Alright. I’m gonna turn 135 degrees this way now.

Brandon: And Tracey turns away.

Eric (as Alabaster): Okay, bye.

Julia: Al follows him because Kohl hasn't told him to stop following him.

[all giggling]

Amanda: Inara is sitting in the first place she could find. I think it’s like a decorative plexiglass entrance chair.

Julia: Probably.

Amanda: That’s definitely not for sitting. But she is just there with Oatcake in her lap just kind of looking in her eyes and petting her face.

Amanda (as Inara): Is it true? Did I take you? Are you someone else’s-?

Eric: Oatcake poofs behind you and lands on your bag, and she roots around in there and she pulls out the boxing gloves.

Amanda: I turn them over in my hands searching for some kind of sign.

Eric: On the inside, it says on the little tag, “Property of Gordon.”

Amanda: I drop them like they are made of acid.

Eric: Oatcake just jumps on them and then just starts chewing on one of the gloves.

Amanda (as Inara): Kohl, I- this… I don't know where Oatcake was from before I found her, but she’s become mine. You need to win this match.

Julia (as Kohl): Okay, well I mean that’s kind of fair, Blink Dogs they kind of just show up and go away sometimes. That’s just the nature of the beast.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah. That’s true.

Julia (as Kohl): I would love to win the match. I don't know the results yet though. I don't get to decide if I win the match or not.

Amanda (as Inara): Well yeah, I mean I understand that it’s up to you and Lighthammer, I guess-

Julia (as Kohl): No, no, no buddy. So the wrestling we do, it’s not real…

Brandon (as Tracey): What?!

Julia (as Kohl): Alabaster, do you wanna come back over here now please?

Eric (as Alabaster): Sure, hello.

Brandon (as Tracey): You don't have to do what she tells you to do!

Amanda (as Inara): It doesn't matter. I don't care, just tell me, can you win or not? Can we make you win?

Julia (as Kohl): I would have to talk to Creative and find out if, first of all I didn’t even know they were doing the dog thing, so we gotta find out what their storyline is, and then we gotta see if we can convince them to go our way.

Amanda (as Inara): Who’s Creative can I threaten them?

Julia (as Kohl): I mean, they're just a bunch of nerds, so I guess?

[Brandon laughs]

Amanda (as Inara): Even better! I just don't know what to do. I’ve lost my only friend-

Brandon (as Tracey): Hey!

Amanda (as Inara): That isn’t Tracey.

[all laugh]

I was about to say that.

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s better I guess.

Amanda (as Inara): And Alonzo is no longer on our side. Or something, or he’s confused, or - he came through the portal before us. Did you see him? Was he in the park?

Julia (as Kohl): I- no I was working, so I didn't really see much. I didn't see you until Gordo pointed you out.

Amanda (as Inara): I need a hand! I need help! I need someone!

Julia (as Kohl): Okay, let’s just take a breath for a second. Why don't- Rusty can get us some drinks. Rusty?

Brandon (as Tracey): Is that me, or -?

Julia (as Kohl): Not you.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh cool.

[wheels squeaking]

Eric: And you hear the squeal of a single wheel, as- imagine like a soup pot on a wheel.

[all laugh]

Amanda: Aw!

Eric: With like a smiley face with a computer eyes smiley face on it-

Amanda: No I love that!

Eric: Like

Eric (as Rusty): Hello! My name is Rusty! I can help you with anything you need in Infropolis. I know everything about this place!

Brandon (as Tracey): This is an abomination…

Eric (as Rusty): Hurtful.

Julia (as Kohl): He has feelings!

Eric (as Rusty): I do.

Amanda: Oatcake licks Rusty on the side.

Eric (as Rusty): Cute! I can tell you anything, and I can also get you some drinks.

Brandon (as Tracey): What kind of drinks?

Eric: A slot opens up from Rusty’s torso and out comes any various beverages.

Brandon: Pineapple juice?

Eric: Yeah.

Brandon: Cranberry juice?

Eric: Yeah.

Brandon: Cran-apple juice?

Eric: Pft. No.

Amanda (as Inara): Rusty, have you seen a certain prince, Alonzo Kiko?

Eric (as Rusty): Sure, let me scan all of the news. Scanning. Scanning. I don't actually have to say scanning-

Brandon (as Tracey): I can do that too, it’s fine-

Eric (as Rusty): I just figured it would put people at ease.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, I can do that. Scanning.

Julia (as Kohl): How’s it working?

Brandon (as Tracey): I’m not… I’m not doing anything.

Amanda (as Inara): Thanks, Rusty. You seem like a good friend.

Eric (as Rusty): Thank you, please rate me five stars.

Amanda: Oh no.

Eric (as Rusty): Okay, I saw some news. People have seen the prince somewhere in Infropolis.

Eric: The screen that used to have his face then turns into a picture of a newspaper, and it flips through, and it gets to like page 6, so the gossip column says, “Prince Alonzo of Fidapolis out on the town by himself.” But all of the photos are from the side, and it’s just like the silhouette of Alonzo with this really bright aura around him.

Amanda (as Inara): Oh great, uh…

Brandon (as Tracey): This screen’s really lo-def, can you like sharpen it maybe?

Eric (as Rusty): Enhance!

Eric: And it gets a little bit clearer.

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s better I guess…

Julia (as Kohl): Quick question for you both, since when does Lonzo glow?

[Tracey and Inara sigh]

Is that a new thing, or…?

Eric: Star wipe, Kohl was caught up to basically what’s been going on since you saw her last.

Amanda (as Inara): I was sure to tell her in excruciating detail how helpful the gay cloak has been to me on my journey.

Julia (as Kohl): Oh, I’m so glad.

Brandon (as Tracey): And that’s how I did not kick over any more plants.

Julia (as Kohl): I’m very proud of you Tracey.

Brandon (as Tracey): Thank you.

Brandon: And Tracey bows.

Julia: Kohl courtesies.

Amanda: Alabaster claps.

Eric (as Alabaster): Yay, what are we doing?

Julia (as Kohl): We’re doing great, buddy.

Amanda: Oatcake does a giant yawn, so hard that she bonks her nose.

Julia: Aw!

[Eric laughs]

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah, guys, I gotta be up pretty early tomorrow. I gotta cut some promos, and do some press work, and you know that kind of stuff. This makeup doesn't do itself.

Amanda (as Inara): Do you… this looks pretty spacious and stuff. We don't really know where we are, didn't know we’d be here today in this different city, somewhere far away. Do you mind if we crash here?

Julia (as Kohl): Yeah, I literally have two extra bedrooms, so-

Amanda (as Inara): Oh wow, there’s two of us.

Brandon (as Tracey): I don't really sleep well, or at all… do you have any books I can read while you guys are sleeping?

Julia (as Kohl): Uh, yeah. Hold on.

Julia: And then she goes over to her luggage and hits a button on the side and another drawer pops out of it, and it’s just almost a bookcase.

Brandon (as Tracey): And is one of them maybe like an owner’s manual for Alabaster and Rusty or…?

Julia (as Kohl): Um, yeah. Hold on.

Julia: And she pulls out two books and they're both really thick tomes with kind of a burnt metallic outside.

Brandon (as Tracey): Good.

Eric: But like everything in terms of robotics, it’s all in Ikea drawings.

[all laugh]

Julia: With no actual words.

Eric: Yeah.

[metallic, industrial electronic music plays]

Eric: Finally, Inara and Tracey, you can sleep. Well. All of you are in your rooms. The sheets are a little scratchy, and Kohl makes a note to write that on the review of this apartment after she leaves.

Kohl, you try to imagine Alonzo angry, and then you laugh because you can’t really think of it. And then you try to imagine Alonzo glowing, which is even stranger. You flip through these two images of what Alonzo could be but couldn't as you drift off to sleep.

Tracey, it’s weird seeing a book that looks like you but isn’t you, and you're comparing Alabaster to you, and something just doesn't seem right.

Inara, you try to get to sleep, and you put Oatcake on the floor, and every time you do, Oatcake scrambles backup and tries to sleep on top of you. By the third time, you just can’t deal with it anymore, and you let Oatcake climb onto your chest and snuggle up and put her big doughy face right where your neck meets your chest. And you can’t imagine that this dog belongs to anyone else.

[music fades with a piano melody]

And she snores real loud.

Amanda: I love her anyway.

[theme music]

Eric: Join the Party is co-produced by Brandon Grugle, Amanda McLoughlin and me, Eric Silver. Special thanks to our creative consultants, Heddy Hunt, Connor McLoughlin, Julia Schifini, and Mischa Stanton. Our visual design is by Alyson Wakeman, the art mom, and our transcripts are by Nicolle - with two Ls - Siegart.

Amanda: The party doesn't stop here. The day after each episode comes out, we publish the Afterparty, where we sit down to discuss what just happened, learn what could have happened, and answer your questions.

Brandon: You can keep the party going by following @jointhepartypod on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We’ve also got merch, music from the show, and transcripts for every episode on our website jointhepartypod.com. And you can email us at hello@jointhepartypod.com.

Eric: For even more Join the Party goodness, check our our Patreon. By becoming a patron, you get access to a wonderful community in our Discord, exclusive merch, character backstories, bloopers and so much more. That’s at patreon.com/jointhepartypod.

Brandon: Another great way to help the show is to recommend Join the Party to a friend. Get them caught up fast by sending them the link to our start page, which contains the beginner episodes for those new to D&D and our plot recaps, at jointhepartypod.com/start.

Amanda: Join the Party is a founding member of Multitude, an audio collective and consultancy. Type “Multitude” into your podcast app to subscribe to the fantastic other shows in our collective, HORSE, Potterless, Spirits, and Waystation. Or ind out more about us and access our resources for podcasters at multitude.productions.

Eric: We’ll see you in two weeks. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.