33. Labor Party III

Love’s labor’s not lost on our party as they confront the god of death Ze’ol. What is the next task they have to tackle? And will it involve hats? Tracey gets jammed up. Inara talks to teens. Johnny tries to sneak.



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Cast & Crew

- Dungeon Master: Eric Silver

- TR8c (Tracey): Brandon Grugle

- Inara Harthorn: Amanda McLoughlin

- Johnny B. Goodlight: Michael Fische

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

- Multitude: multitude.productions


Amanda: Last time on Join the Party

Eric: The Party rides to the edge of Chronopolis, where they watch the weather flip through the seasons. The environment is seriously messed up...

Eric: Inara, as you scramble up to get away from the rose bush, a thorny vine shoots out of the middle of the bush and grabs you by the ankle.

Eric: Like a raging terrible flower monster! Luckily, the party figured out its greatest weakness.

Amanda: Like I don’t know, a plant?

Brandon: I think plants are flammable?

Eric: Everyone continues into Chronopolis, and Tracey realizes he’s heard some of the conversations happening in the town. They’re lines from the Book of Things to Come. That means there’s only one person… or deity who could be responsible.

Eric (as Ze’ol): There couldn't be anything else you could do than sitting here with old Ze’ol, and putting up his feet. Are you cold? Is it cold in here? I think it’s cold in here.

Eric: Ze’ol, god of death and time. The Book of Things to Come flies open and they read the new text on the next page.

Eric: Defeat the rose hydra.

Brandon: Run with the cows.

Michael: Groom Mr. Pickles.

Amanda: Attend the opera.

Brandon: Clean the horse stables.

Michael: Retrieve the golden wool.

Amanda: Complete the Labyrinth of Dawnrise

That’s quite a to-do list. Just add “get milk” at the bottom. Let’s get the party started.

[theme music]

[electricity buzzing and humming noises]

Eric (as Ze'ol): Everyone, please, come in! Sit down! I don’t want anyone to be hurting their feets or anything. Please close the door, please, I don’t want to get a draft in. My head is gonna go all over the place, it’s gonna mess up with my compass-ness so that I don’t know where to point to. Please come in! Sit down. Sit down.

Maria, I haven't seen you since you were this tall. I know you can’t tell because I’m trapped inside of a compass, but you were pretty small at the time when I last saw you. Who has the book? I feel it. I know it’s here. I can’t see it, but I sense it. Who has the book here?

Brandon: Tracey timidly raises his hand.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Ah. Metal boy! Hello.

Brandon: He puts his hand down really fast.

Eric (as Zero Day! No, I saw it! Ehhhhh, come here!

Brandon: Tracey takes one timid step forward.

Eric (as Ze'ol): [high pitched] Ahhhhhhh, come over here.

Brandon: He takes one more timid step forward.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Ehhhh you gotta take another step forward, come on!

Brandon (as Tracey): How do you even know where I am? You’re a compass!

Eric (as Ze'ol): I’m also the ruler of the death world and people’s mortality, and-

Brandon: Tracey takes one giant step backwards.

Eric (as Ze'ol): -and also of time and space and everything else, so ehhhhh come over here.

Brandon: Tracey walks over.

Eric: Alright, the book starts to float out of your hands and again the pages ruffle forward and ruffle back [ruffling sounds] and then open up to the to-do list.

Eric (as Ze'ol): I’ve been meaning to do this for such a long time. You know, now that I have a little more power around here, I thought eh, just start messing around, have some fun! You know.

And it turns out that some people… Maria… don’t like it when I go around and do the things that I shouldn't be doing. So, I guess you gotta clean it up. Oops. Oops. How- how inconsiderate of me as the god of death, time, and trickery to be doing all of these things that I shouldn't be doing. I’m so sorry. You can’t tell but I’m pouting in here.

Eric: The Speaker has her arms folded across her chest the entire time.

Amanda: Inara snorts.

[all giggle]

Eric (as Ze'ol): I feel a little bad. I know I’m flexing my muscles here. I never get the chance, so really, it’s on you all for not caring about me more. If you just came by to the dome more often and just looked around and be like, “Wow, what a great Chronopolis you have! Thanks for the field, Ze’ol. Thanks for all the food and everything.” That would be so much nicer, but okay, I’m gonna give you a chance.

If you all- you big strong, uh… men women and people and everything you have here. If you all just put it back, just put it back, I- I- I’ll make it what you want.

Michael (as Johnny): Put what back?

Eric (as Ze'ol): Uh, everything. All the stuff- the to-do list! I even made you a list! You haven't been using your eyes! I made you a list. If you do all the things on the list, I’ll give you something.

I- okay, I think on three, everybody say- let’s all say, “I’m sorry,” all at the same time. Everybody here. You, Bridge, Speaker, you- my new friends here. Wha- you three. Okay, everybody. All the strong and silent types over there. Everybody’s gonna say, “I’m sorry” on three. Okay. 1, 2, 3. I’m sorry.


I noticed that nobody else said, “I’m sorry”

[all laughing]

Michael (as Johnny): Well, you should be sorry, you’ve caused a ton of chaos here.

Eric (as Ze'ol): What- it’s one of my things. I- I’m sorry that all of you have not been studying me, but sometimes I get-

Brandon (as Tracey): You’re really bad at communicating!

Eric (as Ze'ol): I think- I think you’re all- you’re bad at communicating! You don’t call! So who’s the bad communicator here?

Michael (as Johnny): Trace, he’s right, you don’t call.

Brandon (as Tracey): I tried to write in your book and all you did was-

Eric (as Ze'ol): Who writes in books?! Whoever writes notes in other people's books should be going down to wherever they're coming with me. If you know what I’m saying. Here we go, okay, okay.

Here’s what we’re gonna do- if you all- you- everybody here. If you- ya peoples. If you finish my to-do list, which I know I did it myself but now I need help because I’m a frail old god, please help me.

[Brandon laughing]

If you help me, I can give you something in return. What would the god of time be able to show all of you?

Brandon: You can erase my wrinkles, I guess.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Okay, if you wanna see that, okay- you can ask me a question, and in return I will show you one minute of anyone’s memory. Ooo. Wow. What a good- what a good oooo.

Brandon: Tracey looks over at Johnny and Inara and is like

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] Guys, that’s actually pretty cool.

Amanda (as Inara): [whispering] I don’t know, I thought he was gonna say the future, that seems a little more compelling.

Brandon (as Tracey): Maybe we can- oh, let’s negotiate, maybe we can get a future too.

Michael (as Johnny): [whispering] I think this is too many things for just a minute.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, maybe we get one wish commandment for everything on the list?

Eric (as Ze'ol): Well- eh...

Michael (as Johnny): We’re talking amongst ourselves!

Brandon (as Tracey): Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!

Amanda (as Inara): This is an aside!

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright, Johnny I think you’re the- you wanna do the-

Michael (as Johnny): I am not the right person, unfortunately for this.

Brandon (as Tracey): But you’re the most charming.

Michael (as Johnny): I - not anymore. I have like-

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright, Inara, you’re the second most charming.

Amanda (as Inara): I kind of have a problem with authority figures, so I don’t know if I’m the right choice.

Brandon (as Tracey): Um, should we- Oatcake maybe?

Michael (as Johnny): Oatcake is probably-

Brandon (as Tracey): Oatcake’s really charming.

Eric: Okay, the Speaker stands up and says

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): Okay. hold on. Let’s have everyone take- no one is running into any of your deals here. Who makes deals with the death god? Who thinks that’s a good idea?

Brandon: Tracey timidly raises his hand-

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): No, Tracey!

Amanda (as Inara): I think it’s pretty cool…

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): NO! Ugh.

Define memory, here. What do you mean, memory? Like it has to be in the past? Has to be somebody we know? You have infinite power according to you? What does memory mean?

Eric (as Ze'ol): You know, ehhh forwards, backwards, anytime. In the future, in the past, anybody you know, anyone you might know. I just- I need a name and then I can go from there, how’s that? One, two, three. One for each of you. Whoever wants to participate in this scavenger hunt, errand running thing that I got going. Each one of you gets one minute. Whoever wants to do it.

Amanda (as Inara): Is this the kind of looking at the future that means that I’ll mess up my own future by trying to avoid it?

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, that’s a good question.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh no.

Amanda (as Inara): Sir, that’s not very convincing. You made a whole noise there before it.

Brandon (as Tracey): That was a very long noise.

Eric (as Ze'ol): It’s just the way that I talk. Whether conditions- whether what you do next, that's what I mean.

Michael (as Johnny): Oh, speaking of weather conditions, you should probably fix that before we continue.

Eric (as Ze’ol): I can’t. Once again, I- once all these things are put back together, it’ll be fine.

Brandon (as Tracey): Why do you-

Michael (as Johnny): You almost said you can’t.

Eric (as Ze’ol): Eh, You know once you set some things in motion, you can’t….. [sighs]

Amanda (as Inara): It sounds like you messed up your whole thing just so you could make someone come and fix your whole thing.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Alright, listen. What- this is coming to- a… a… [squeaking] you know, everything's fine. Alright, how about a minute and a half?

Brandon (as Tracey): The noises are getting higher pitched!

Eric (as Ze'ol): A minute and a half memory from whoever you want, okay?

Amanda (as Inara): That’s not really precise enough for us.

Brandon (as Tracey): Why do you want us to do this in the first place? Why should we fix it?

Eric: You can get the sense that this compass is directing everything towards the Speaker.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Because you know, of the thing people-  they don’t really like it and I gotta fix it.

Eric: And the Speaker coughs loudly.


Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): It’s because the balance of the Trinity will be unbalanced if Ze’ol is put in the godly doghouse as it were.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh.

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): I- I haven't talked you three about where I come from.

Brandon (as Tracey): Or anything really.

Amanda (as Inara): Anything at all.

Brandon (as Tracey): You’re pretty vague usually.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.

Brandon (as Tracey): To be honest.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah except like, “Go here now! Uh!”

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, “Fight this thing!” Eh.

Amanda (as Inara): Eh! Eh! “Just one bagel!”

Brandon (as Tracey): “Yeah, it’s like a giant rose hydra but I’ll fight the seedlings, it’ll be fine ah!”

Amanda (as Inara): “Where’s Alonzo? Oh my god I lost him ah!”

Brandon (as Tracey): “Oh my god, ah!”

Amanda (as Inara): “Bye!”

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): You are all hurtful and I can’t believe I’m sharing this information with you, but okay. I’m opening my- everyone I’m just a little closed off, but here’s my opportunity to share more. The line of Speakers all summoned Azamar on behalf of Adamah.

Eric: The compass snorts. [snort]

Amanda (as Inara): I’ve heard of them.

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): Adamah represents all people and people are going about their lives, and just keeping the relationships between every living thing going, so I have a very small sliver of Adamah inside me, it’s what makes me godly.

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s really cool.

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): Thank you, Tracey.

Brandon (as Tracey): You’re welcome.

Amanda (as Inara): Why aren't all meals unlimited always then?

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s a good question!

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): I do not have that much control over all of those things.

Amanda (as Inara): Eh, okay…

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): I’m here to make sure everything in the Concentric States goes smoothly. It has not always gone smoothly, which is why I am here. So if Ze’ol, grandfather time over here [laughing to self].

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] Was that a joke? Guys?

Amanda (as Inara): Sick burn, Speaker.

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): Thank you, thank you.

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] Was that a joke? Oh.

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): If grandfather time doesn't get his act together, then Devar and Adamah are going to take away some of his power.

Amanda (as Inara): Sounds like a you problem, my dude.

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): It is an us problem… my dude.

Amanda (as Inara): [laughing] I made her say, “my dude.”

Brandon (as Tracey): That was really good, Inara.

Amanda (as Inara): Thanks, bro.

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): So, I need to be here to look after the compass, and I need other people to help.

Amanda (as Inara): I’m in. I’ve got something I want to see.

Brandon: Tracey turns to the compass and tries to like shake its hand.

[all giggling]

Brandon (as Tracey): I’m in too.

Amanda: Do you like exert a small magnetic field at it?

Brandon: Sure.

Brandon (as Tracey): Are you gonna help us? What’s the deal?

Eric: The Speaker puts a hand on Tracey’s shoulder and says

Eric (as Speaker Martinsson): The fate of the world depends on you. I need to be here to make sure Ze’ol doesn’t open up any more ridiculousness within the Chronopolis city limits.

Michael (as Johnny): I’ll take two memories, forty-five seconds each.

Eric (as Ze'ol): [sighs] Two memories. Thirty seconds each.

Michael (as Johnny): Two memories. Forty seconds each. Half a pastrami sandwich.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Alright, that’s a deal.

Michael (as Johnny): You can have the other half.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Thank you.

Amanda (as Inara): Alright guys, which of these sounds least dangerous?

Brandon (as Tracey): The cow sounds fun-

Michael (as Johnny): Nope, no it does not.

Amanda (as Inara): Um, yeah, I’m feeling a little cooped up, that could be fun.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah let’s do that- I mean, cows are fun. They're nice I think.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.

Michael (as Johnny): I don’t like to run.

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] I’ve never met a cow.

Amanda (as Inara): Johnny, you can be our spotter. Get it? Cows have spots? Yo, what’s up let’s go.

[all laughing]

Eric: Okay.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Alright, first one, cows. That is a good start. All you have to do is just step out the door, and you gotta get going.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay…

Eric (as Ze'ol): Don’t worry about it. Just go. Get- get on out of here.

Brandon (as Tracey): Any more hints or ideas, or-

Eric (as Ze'ol): See ya later!

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay!

Eric (as Ze'ol): Alright, you got a lot of fight- a lot of- okay! Don’t worry about it.

Eric: On the other side of the lecture hall, there are stairs also leading to other seats, but it kind- it ends at a wall on the other side, and you see that a door is starting to be etched in the wall [sound of drawing on slate] and then just pops out.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Go out that way. Have fun on your first task.

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s not suspicious, let’s gooooo!

Michael (as Johnny): Can we walk?

Brandon: Tracey gleefully skips up the stairs.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Oh, okay.

Brandon: He’s ready to see some cows.

Michael: Johnny casts Blade Ward on himself and follows Tracey.

Eric: Okay.

Michael: That’s a cantrip.

Eric: Okay.

Amanda: As Inara walks past the table with the compass on it, she holds her hand out as if to poke it and then like makes a little, “Howdy do” gesture because she does it at the last minute, and she runs after Tracey.

Eric: Tracey, you open the door [loud industrial door opening] and the outside are beautiful rolling hills.

[birds and crickets chirping]

[bluegrass music begins with plucky guitar and simple drum beat]

Brandon (as Tracey): [yelling] I love this!

Brandon: And Tracey jumps through.

Amanda: Inara plugs her nose and follows.

Eric: The door closes behind you, and you turn around and the door is gone. And you are in the middle of a pasture. And you look back and you can see the big Chronopolis city in the distance, and now you’re just kind of like in the middle of a field.

Brandon: How’s the weather?

Eric: It’s actually pretty nice. It’s holding at like early spring. You look around and there’s a sign planted next to the road in the pasture and you are in Dairy Dells. Dairy Dells is a bucolic collection of ranches on the outside of Chronopolis, so you know how I was talking about the greater Chronopolis area? This is like on the other side of the city for where you entered.

There’s like a bunch of fields around and there's a main street. And there’s some small-town stuff. There's a market and a church and a town hall which is public space and a bank and a post office and all that other good stuff. There’s stone walls that line this main road, and there is nobody on the street because all the businesses are closed.

The only activity you see is around the town hall area. People are setting up tables and posting up decorations. A lot of fanfare happening around the town hall area.

The book flips open to the next page and it says

Eric (as Ze’ol): Eh, you know, head on over to the town hall please.”

[sound of a busy crowd gathered]

Brandon: Tracey skips off towards the town hall. Gleefully.

Amanda: Inara straightens her vest a little bit and follows.

Michael: Johnny grabs a wheat thing, puts it in his mouth, tips his hat, kicks his spurs, and says

Michael (as Johnny): Boy, howdy.

[music fades]

Eric: Nice. So, as you walk up to the town hall you see that everyone is running around trying to get something set up for a party. And it’s pretty big- this is like the entire town hall is plastered with flowers, and decorations, and lights. And there are a lot of cow imagery. There's like decorations that have like a string of cows together, and there are like big signs that have crowns and there's like pin the…

Amanda: Tail.

Michael: Tail.

Eric: Tail on the cow. And there is an older woman holding a clipboard who is directing everybody around. She’s a half-elf, and she’s very focused and she’s yelling at everybody to move a little bit faster.

Brandon: Tracey runs up to her and says

Brandon (as Tracey): [quickly] Hi I’m Tracey what can I do to help this sounds really fun!

Eric (as half-elf woman): Uh, Tracey, Tracey, Tracey, okay, okay- do you know Tracey? Why not- oh, we need someone to help the food trucks come in for the big festival.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yes, I’m so on top of that!

Eric (as half-elf woman): Okay, so just guard- we’re gonna have them pull them back you know, and this is gonna be perfect, just make sure that they don't bump into anything, alright?

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, I’m on it!

Eric (as half-elf woman): Okay.

Amanda (as Inara): How about me? I’m Inara. I’m strong and I’m sneaky. Not subtle.

Eric (as half-elf woman): Uh, let’s see, um- you know, we need more paper plates. Do you have any paper plates? Were you assigned to bring paper plates?

Amanda (as Inara): No. I can like fix stuff or yell at people.

Eric (as half-elf woman): How are we supposed to have a running of the cows if we don't have enough paper plates?! This is crazy!

Amanda (as Inara): Do you want me to go steal some? I mean…

Eric (as half-elf woman): Go- yes! Whatever you have to do. Go steal some plates.

Amanda (as Inara): Alright.

Brandon (as Tracey): So, we know one thing about this town. Morals are loose.

Eric (as half-elf woman): Listen, we need to do whatever we have to do to get this festival going!

Michael (as Johnny): This is udder chaos.

Eric (as half-elf woman): … sir.

[all laughing]

… if you’re not going to help, and you’re just gonna stand there and make puns in my face, please get out of here now. I’m already having enough problems.

Brandon (as Tracey): [in the distance] Back it up!

Michael: I find the other octarians and go sit with them playing chess.

Brandon (as Tracey): Keep going! Too far! Too far!

Eric: Tracey gets run over by a taco truck.

Michael: Takes twenty damage-

Eric: You take-

Amanda: A worthy death.

Eric: You do 15 points of damage, but you get two tacos!

A younger woman runs inside and runs right at the woman with the clipboard. She says

Eric (as younger woman): Alyssa, Alyssa, Alyssa, we have a problem! We have a big problem with the cows- I don’t know- I don't think they're going to be able to run.

Eric: Alyssa looks at the younger woman and says

Eric (as Alyssa): The whole point of the running with the cows...is that we have cows to run with. What are you talking about?

Eric (as younger woman): Well I was just at the Abbott Farm and all of the cows are pretty- pretty sick. They keep jumping all over each other, and they are mooing loudly, and some of them have clawed feet and it’s probably- I don’t know. I didn't do it. I didn't do it in the first place.

Eric (as Alyssa): Clawed… wait. This is perfect. This is gonna be the best running of the cows ever. This is crazy. This is a blessing from on high! Everybody is going to remember this festival that I organized!

Michael: I’m gonna head towards the Abbott Farm.

Amanda: I was planning to break into the General Store, but this seems more interesting so I’m going to run after Johnny.

Brandon (as Tracey): [in the distance] Back it up!

Amanda (as Inara): Trace, Trace, we need you. Come here.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, okay! I’ with you guys!

Michael: As soon as he leaves-

Amanda: The truck just keeps backing up-

[all laughing]

Brandon: Two trucks just crash into each other.

[trucks crashing]

Eric: And they go wooo-wooo-wooo!

[trucks honking]

“Your spaghetti’s in my tacos!”

“Your tacos got in my spaghetti!”

Brandon: And that’s how spaghetti tacos were born.

Amanda: [at the same time] Whoa, they invented the spartaco!

Eric: Okay-

Michael: Ugh, I really wanna vomit now.

Brandon: Now this will be known for two things!

Eric: Okay, so there are signs pointing towards everyone’s respective farms. There’s one for Huckleberry Farms. There’s one for The Champion’s Farm. And there’s another one that points towards Abbott Field.

Michael: We’re gonna head towards Abbott Farm and check out these clawed moo-moos.

[sound of the crowd fades]

Eric: It’s a respectable little farm. There’s a nice little barn. And there’s a house next to it. The main feature of this farm is off to the right side, there is a very large pen of cows.

[cows mooing]

These cows are all dark brown with like small white spots on them and they are like on top of each other. They are pretty packed in there next to each other, but they're also like bumping into each other and bopping each other. They’re a little bit aggressive towards each other, like some of them are like biting and snorting at each other.

And there's a big metal gate which kind of just lets them out onto Main Street, which you are walking on the way out of town. This farm is right off of Main Street. And standing on the sides of the fields are an old ranch hand and a teenage girl who are kind of just looking down at the cows.

Brandon (as Tracey): [in Southern accent] Howdy! Your cows don’t look quite right!

Amanda (as Inara): Also hi, we came from the festival! We’re just checking!

Eric: The ranch hand jumps down off the fence, smooths his shirt down and says

Eric (as ranch hand): Y’all can tell from here these crows ain't right?

Brandon (as Tracey): That one bit that one!

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, and that one’s trying to chew the other ones leg off.

Brandon (as Tracey): That one's got claws!

Eric (as ranch hand): Yeah, well… okay yeah. That was pretty apparent. My- that one's on me, I’m sorry that I assumed.

Amanda (as Inara): What’s the deal, man?

Eric (as ranch hand): Uh, hi- well so-

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, hi! I’m Tracey!

Amanda (as Inara): I’m Inara. This is Johnny.

Eric (as ranch hand): Well, welcome to Abbott’s farm. I’m Ferguson. It’s nice to meet y’all. You’re not from around here. There’s like a hundred people who live in the Dells.

Brandon (as Tracey): Was it my accent?

Eric (as Ferguson): No, your accent is very much on point, actually, I recognize it. Sounds a lot like mine, but-

[all laughing]

Where y’all from?

Amanda (as Inara): Great Green.

Brandon (as Tracey): From the desert.

Eric (as Ferguson): So y’all have never seen a run of the cows before. Well let me tell you, this festival is the greatest thing you could see anywhere in Chronopolis. It’s lovely, and I take pride in my cows here, and I’m just a lowly dairy farmer. Actually, I’m not lowly I’m a highly dairy farmer. That’s the best turn of phrase I can do here.

[Brandon laughing]

Amanda (as Inara): What kind of farmer?

Brandon (as Tracey): There’s no need to be self-deprecating.

Eric (as ranch hand): I take pride in my cows!

Brandon (as Tracey): You should!

Eric: And one cow bites the other cow. Merr.

[angry cow mooing]

So here's what Ferguson is going to explain to you: these cows are used to commemorate a legend around the town of Chronopolis. So this current iteration of Chronopolis is relatively new. Chronopolis has only been around for a few hundred years, but before that it was kind of just a lawless place.

Amanda: Right.

Eric: So according to legend, a milkmaid named Maya* saved the city from bandits. I actually have a poem that I wrote, but it’s very long. Basically, every year, this section of the city, the Dairy Dells reenacts the running of the cows from the poem. Maya lets a bunch of cows run free and it runs over the bandits and all that stuff. City folk and tourists have fun dressing like bandits and running from the cows, which usually just sort of plod along while ranchers just sort of move them forward, and it’s a whole thing. And anyone has only hurt themselves by twisting their ankle.

But this year, the cows have gone mad. They've become super aggressive and they attack anyone who wanders near them. This fence is really not holding them together. Ferguson has been trying to explain to Alyssa who is the organizer of this year's festival that the running of the cows should basically be cancelled. But a lot of people believe that this is a blessing from Adamah, just like Mya received before when she saved them from the bandits.

There is overwhelming support from the townspeople that the event is going to proceed, but turnout is going to be really, really big because this is a big deal. Some speculate that bandits will actually be returning to settle the score on that day, and then the cows are going to save the day because they're super aggressive. Ferguson is really worried that if anyone gets near these cows, then they're gonna get messed up.

Brandon (as Tracey): Phew, Ferguson, you’ve got a gift for exposition.

Eric (as Ferguson): Yeah, well I was first in speech and debate in my high school class. So thank you. Listen, I know these cows better than anyone. I’ve raised them since they were all little calves. They were fine. I- something is going on here and I am not the one who did anything to it.

Brandon (as Tracey): Who do you think did it?

Eric (as Ferguson): Who would mess with cows? We all love cows. Cows are great.

Eric: And the teenage girl goes.

Eric (as teenage girl) [snorts]

Eric: And snorts to herself.

Brandon: She’s wearing a “Cows are great” shirt?

Eric: No, she’s wearing all black. She’s wearing a black T-shirt, and black pants, and black shoes, and she actually has a really tall top hat on that has steampunk goggles on the front.

Michael: Am I passively detecting any kind of magic coming out of that hat?

Brandon: Am I passively detecting any way to get me a hat like that?

Eric: No, no magic hats. Yes, you can buy a hat somewhere.

Brandon: I need to find a haberdashery.

Eric (as Ferguson): Well, I don't know anyone who would be messing around with these cows.

Amanda (as Inara): Has anything changed recently? Any new people? Any new stuff? Any new feed?

Eric (as Ferguson): Well I mean I just do the same thing that I always do. I wake up at five in the morning and I milk the cows-

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, if you could just fast forward through it in your head and tell me if anything is different.

Eric: And the teenage girl goes

Eric (as teenage girl): Ha! Got em!

Brandon (as Tracey): Here’s a good question: They still giving milk?

Eric (as Ferguson): Yeah, I mean it tastes pretty good.

Brandon (as Tracey): It’s fine?

Eric (as Ferguson): It’s chocolate milk now.

Brandon (as Tracey): Was it chocolate before?

Eric (as Ferguson): No.

[Amanda laughing]

Brandon (as Tracey): You didn’t think that was weird?

Eric (as Ferguson): No.

Eric: And the teenage girl is still standing on top- on the fence and she’s trying to poke at the cows and the cows just keep snapping at her

Eric (as teenage girl): Yeah, the only good thing that’s happened to this town in like ten thousand years happened. There’s a new hat shop!

Brandon (as Tracey): Where is the hat shop?!

Eric (as teenage girl): Do you- yeah, that’s where I got my sick hat. Do you like my hat?

Brandon (as Tracey): It’s very good!

Eric (as Ferguson): Hannah Mae, please no one wants to hear about your hats.

Brandon (as Tracey): I do!

Amanda (as Inara): I really do, though.

Eric (as Ferguson): You one of the city folk who come up here now that the hattery up and running?

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, yeah, I guess.

[Ferguson grumbles]

Brandon (as Tracey): I sense a lot of antagonism.

Eric (as Ferguson): I’m just here trying to live my life, and I don't need hats trying to pollute my daughters mind when she should be focusing on cows.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): If I only have these hats I can’t do anything about cows! It’s the only cool thing that’s happening in this town!

Amanda (as Inara): Well we can get out of your hair just as soon as we figure out what’s happening with the cows. And if something changed recently, and that something is like a brand-new shop that came into town maybe we should check it out. Also, do you have any plates? Alyssa really needs them.

Eric: The teenage girl jumps down.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Oh man, are you a real robot?

Brandon (as Tracey): No.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): What? Wait, is that daggers? Do you have daggers?

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Can I touch it?

Amanda (as Inara): No.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Please, what if I’m real cool about it?

Amanda (as Inara): At the end of the day, once the cows are better and we figure out what's happening-

Eric (as Hannah Mae): But cows are dumb. Your daggers: not dumb.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay, let’s do a little- let’s do a little rewards-based incentive learning here.

Brandon: Tracey unsheathes his axe.

[axe unsheathing]

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Oh! The robot has an axe!

Amanda (as Inara): Trace, show her the arm.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): What what what what what what what.

Brandon: Tracey cocks his cannon arm.

[cannon cocking]

Eric (as Hannah Mae): [screaming] Ah! Ah! What? I am literally dead. I am dead. You shot me with that cannon and I am a dead person.

Michael: I cast Spare the Dying.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): You can do magic? There’s magic and a dagger lady! You guys are so cool!

Amanda (as Inara): You can come hang out with us if you show us where the milliner is.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Ah! Dad. Dad can I go? Dad can I go hang out with these people?

Brandon (as Tracey): [imitating Ferguson] Yes you can!

Amanda (as Inara): Oh, weird, huh, okay let's go.

Brandon (as Tracey): Did you guys hear that?

Eric: It sounds like- Tracey, make a Deception roll.

[all laughing]

Brandon: I forgot we had to roll for things.

Eric: Yeah, me t- I was like hey I wonder if they are gonna roll anytime soon.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 14.

Eric (as Ferguson): I did not say that. Can someone look at the animals, please?

Michael: I was gonna do Animal Handling to figure out how these animals are handling this new situation.

[all snickering]

Eric: Okay, you can.

Michael: Boom!

Eric: Do it.

Amanda: And I’ll do Investigation.

Brandon: And I’ll look at her hat some more.

Eric: Good.

Michael: So helpful.

Brandon: Roll for hat?

Michael: Nope.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: I got a nat-20 for a really cool hat.

Michael: Brandon.

Brandon: I actually did get a 19 though.

Eric: Oh, good, use your ba- use your good rolls on this. Good.

Michael: 12 for Animal Handling.

Eric: Okay.

Michael: Just to- I’m not like going in and trying to actually handle the animals.

Eric: Yeah, good so when you go over to the fence one of the cows snaps at you

[loud moo]

and Ferguson goes

Eric (as Ferguson): Yeah, it’s probably for the best you don't touch those things.

Eric: The cows look fine. Some of them have weird clawed feet, but other than that, they’re just kind of like messing with each other.

Amanda: I rolled an 18 for Investigation. Is there anything funny about like something weird in the pen or something weird about the fence or-

Eric: Yeah, that’s actually a good question. So while you were inspecting everything, Ferguson walks up behind you like

Eric (as Ferguson): Yeah, I’m not doing anything different. I give them the same feed, and I like give theme grass to eat, and then we go over to the creek and they drink water. That’s pretty much it.

Amanda (as Inara): Huh, can I see that creek?

Eric (as Ferguson): Yeah, it’s right on the other side of the- the other side of the farm.

Amanda: Alright, well can I investigate the creek please?

Eric: Yeah.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: Oh! That is a… Jesus, that is a 26.

Eric: Hot damn, okay. Ferguson walks you over to the creek which is on the other side of the farm

[babbling creek]

And this is just a slow-moving creek, it winds and bends, and it’s pretty dirty in color. There are tall reeds and there are swarms of mosquitoes. And it smells pretty bad. It’s like acrid odor in the air. You can also go up to the water, you can smell it.

Michael (as Johnny): Does it normally smell like this?

Eric (as Ferguson): No, I mean not this- this is a- I mean I’ve been drinking from it. No, me, I don't’ drink from it. But the cows have been drinking from it for a while.

Brandon (as Tracey): Where do you get your water from?

Eric (as Ferguson): The well.

Brandon (as Tracey): And that’s clear?

Eric (as Ferguson): Yeah.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay.

[all laughing]

Eric (as Ferguson): Yeah, it’s been smelling a bit different, but I don’t- this is the only water source that I have, unless I’m gonna go over to the well each time and pump water for all my cows.

Eric: With the Investigation check you can also look farther up river, and you can see that there is a very large building that you can see the back of.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, hey, Hannah Mae, is that the hat shop?

Eric (as Hannah Mae): I mean that’s not it. I mean, that’s not where I buy my hats.

Brandon (as Tracey): Is that where they make the hats?

Eric (as Hannah Mae): I don’t know, I just buy the hats. It’s cool, I have one that looks like a dragon coming out of an egg.

Michael: Johnny’s walking.

Brandon: Tracey’s wonder senses go off immediately.

Michael: Johnny has left.

Amanda: Oatcake is leaping through the meadow, and we are going to head upstream toward that building.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Oh dad! Dad, dad, dad, dad, can I go with them? Can I go?

Brandon (as Tracey): [imitating Ferguson] No you can’t.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Can I go?

Brandon (as Tracey): Absolutely not.

Eric (as Ferguson): I don’t- that does not sound like me at all.

Amanda (as Inara): No, she should come. What if- what if we need a reason to be there? We can say her hat’s defective.

Brandon (as Tracey): What if we-

Amanda (as Inara): It’s not, Hannah, it’s very cute, good call. I like it a lot.

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] What if we need a distraction?

Amanda (as Inara): Hmm.

Brandon: Tracey says quietly under his breath.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Oh man, I’d be so good. I can do like three things really well. I can run, I can scream really well, and I know stuff about the town. How about those things? Are those good things?

Brandon (as Tracey): You forgot the fourth one: You’ve got a dope hat.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Thanks, I also like my hat. Thank you.

Brandon (as Tracey): Fifth one, you show me where to get one of them hats.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Alright, let’s go- let’s go!

[brief bluegrass-style musical transition]

Eric: Hey, it’s Eric. Have you ever moved somewhere new -- maybe a new apartment, but think smaller, like a new desk at work. Everything is so clean and blank, but it’s sterile and not yours yet. So you find some books or some colored pencils and you start bringing it in. And slowly, you fill up the space. After a while and a couple trips, this desk looks totally different, and you can think, YES, this is mine and now everyone knows it. Welcome to the midroll. I love your incredible hulk bobblehead!

Hey, hi, hello to our newest patrons: Jay, Sonya, Imogen, NewDood, Nicole, Leonie Wetzel, Andrea M, Tom, Emily, Fox, Luke, and Holly! You’re great and special and magic and we’re so happy you’re here. We have a lot in the works at Multitude headquarters, and your support means we can keep doing what we’re doing, so thank you.

We’re also here to bring you the best experience EVER on Patreon. So, earlier this week, we revamped some of our patron rewards!

●      The Party Favor tier is now EXCLUSIVE MERCH. Once every quarter, we'll send you a never-before-released piece of merch. Each piece is totally new and totally cool. And did we say it's exclusive for this tier? We did? Cool, cool.

●      Party VIP is now the revamped CARE PACKAGE. Similar to what we had before, but now it's curated by a different one of your lovely party hosts each time we release. Stick around for that good, good Amanda package. It’s gonna be terrible and you’re gonna be cursed at the end of it.

●      Party VIP has been dropped from 50 to 40 dollars an episode! Aw yeah.

Just check out our Patreon at patreon.com/jointhepartypod and get on it. Remember, you can donate just one dollar an episode and be a part of our Discord, donate two dollars and get bloopers, donate five dollars and you get to read our amazing NPC backstories.

If you’re loving these Labor Party episodes and think, “hmmmmm how can I bring these into my own game?” you’re in luck. I’ve adapted every episode as a playable one-shot! We’ll be releasing a one-shot module alongside each episode and I’m so excited to share with you the work that my gaming collaborators and I have put in. There’s also a lot that we’ve written that don’t explore in this episode, so you can see everything in the module. Head to http://bit.ly/laborpartymodules for your chance to own a piece of JTP for your very own game.

We are sponsored this week by Calm. I have a lot of trouble getting to sleep sometimes. I keep myself up watching Netflix or listen to podcasts, but that doesn’t really work because I’m too busy concentrating to fall asleep. That’s why I’m excited that’re working with CALM, the #1 app for sleep, meditation, and relaxation. CALM gives you the tools you need to live a more mindful life. They have hundreds of hours of beautiful audio like:

●      Sleep Stories -- they’re like bedtime stories for grown-ups! AW HELL YES. A lovely voice just lulling me to dreamland, on a soft and smooth pillow for my brain.

●      And when you wake up there’s a brand new meditation each day called the Daily Calm to get yourself right.

If you sign up now for a premium subscription at calm.com/jointheparty, you get 25% off unlimited access to everything on the Calm app. No one wants microtransactions while they’re trying to snooze! Get started today at CALM.COM/JOINTHEPARTY. That’s CALM.COM/JOINTHEPARTY.

We are also sponsored this week by 20 Sided Store in Brooklyn, New York. This week, friend of the show Connor McLoughlin brought over a new game called Dixit. And my heart felt so full at the end of it. It’s a party game with voting, but you’re not voting on jokes, you’re voting on expressionist French paintings! It’s all about connecting words and thoughts to strange visual art, in a way that’s both calming and fun. I’m heading over to 20 Sided Store as soon as possible to pick up a copy of my own, and you should too! Use the code JOINTHEPARTY in store or online and save 20% off. That code again is JOINTHEPARTY. Check them out at twenty (full word) sided store dot com, or in person in Brooklyn, New York.

Alright, let’s get back to the show.

[musical transition repeats]

[babbling creek, birds and crickets chirping, cows in the distance]

Eric: You get to the large building that Hannah Mae pointed out, and it’s this large concrete industrial factory, and you see windows that are suited over, and there's a large smokestack at the top.

[sound of industrial machines inside]

On the other side of the building, like just stuck to the side of it is a cute French style boutique hat shop that is just all white accents and it’s just Baroque and Rococo as fuck. And on the side of the big building, delicately in gold letters it says, “The Hattery.” I want everyone to make a Perception check.

Amanda: 18. Bah-bah-bah.

Brandon: Do I have to do the first roll when I do this?

[all laughing]

Eric: Yeah, always.

Michael: What kind of D&D question is that?

Eric: It’s always… Brandon…

Amanda: If I don’t like it, can I do it again?

Michael: Brandon what was that- what kind of question… [laughing]

Eric: Brandon, what did you roll?

Brandon: I got a 4.

Eric: Oh my god.

Brandon: Plus 2 for 6.

Michael: I got a 13.

Eric: Okay, Inara, yours was the highest.

Amanda: Yeah.

Eric: You look into the river, and although it’s pretty cloudy you see a pipe going from the back of the factory. It’s like buried inside the ground so you can’t really see it, but inside of the river, it’s large and thick and iron, and if you try to go down there and bend it, you probably wouldn't be able to do it.

Brandon: Now, would a giant robot with big muscles-

Eric: Tracey would also not be able to bend it.

Brandon: Damnit.

Amanda: Gotta shut it off at the source, y’all.

Michael: If I were to grab some of the water, Prestidigitation to clean it, could I then using, because I’m like cleaning it using the spell, discern from doing that spell, perhaps the materials in it that caused it to be impure as I turn it pure?

Eric: You cannot do that, but you can just roll an Arcana check.

Michael: Oh! That makes a lot more sense. I roll-

Brandon: Can Johnny open a chemistry lab real fast?

Michael: Johnny takes out his “My First Chemistry Set” and just lays out a whole table.

Amanda: Takes out a pipette.

Eric: Make an Arcana check, please.

Michael: Arcana or Nature?

Eric: Arcana.

Michael: Arcana?

[dice rolling]

15 + 5 for a non-natural 20.

Eric: Great, okay there is a high concentration of the chemical mercuria in the water.

Michael: And I know what mercuria- mercuria- is?

Eric: You do. If it’s ingested, it makes the person or animal who ingested it hallucinate.

Michael: Hmm.

Eric: And also, there are some other physical side effects that are-

Michael: Like claws.

Eric: Like claws. That are less prominent, but the big thing is that it makes them aggressive.

Michael: [laughing] Less prominent! Claws are really prominent!

Eric: It’s like, “Some side effects- some side effects may include hallucinations, aggressiveness claws.”

Amanda: Chocolate milk.

Michael: I thought the point was you want it for the hallucinations, but the side effects are claws and chocolate milk.

Eric: No, no, no, no.

Michael: Take it for all your hallucinogenic needs! Also claws and chocolate milk.

Eric: No, it makes you-

Amanda: You hallucinate, but so does everyone around you!

Eric: It makes whoever ingests it extremely aggressive, hallucinate, and I guess in animals it makes them kind of grow out claws.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay, guys, so are we gonna sneak into the factory, or sneak into the hat shop and from there sneak into the factory?

Brandon (as Tracey): Maybe Hannah and I should distract everyone in the hat shop?

Amanda (as Inara): Love it.

Brandon (as Tracey): By doing a really cool hat montage.

Michael (as Johnny): Yeah, you know Johnny’s all about them stealth missions. Let’s do this Inara. Go team stealthy.

Amanda (as Inara): Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm-

Michael: And I raise my hand for a high five with the cool young rogue who is respectful of her elders and will high five her elder.

[high five]


Eric: Hannah says

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Oh man, if I knew that this hat shop was like ruining the environment and messing with the cows, I would feel kinda bad about buying the hat, but I would still buy the hat.

Amanda (as Inara): Hannah, capitalism makes moral compromisers of us all. You and Tracey go into that hat shop. Johnny, you come with me. I’m gonna do the sneaking. You do the diversion if anybody sees us.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Oh wait, wait, wait, wait. I know that there are two entrances. There's one-

Amanda (as Inara): Hannah, you didn't know this was the same building as of two minutes ago.

[all laughing]

Michael: We will find the other entrance.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Wait! First of all, sick burn. Second of all, wait- look over there.

[all laughing hysterically]

Amanda: Inara doesn’t look!

Michael: We refuse to look. No one looks.

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] Hannah, do you know what she was saying about the capitalism and like I don’t understand what she’s… alright, let’s just go in the shop. Let’s just go in there and we’ll do our thing. Let’s buy some hats.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): [whispering] Alright, let’s buy some hats.

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright let's’ go.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Alright.

Eric: As Tracey and Hannah go into the at shop, there is a vent that’s like ten feet up, that you can try to pop open and sneak into. There’s also a door for a loading dock, but if you try it, it’s locked.

Amanda: Inara is going to flip up into the vent.

Eric: Okay, why don’t you make a Stealth roll? I don't doubt that you can jump into the vent, but I want to see how loudly you do it.

Amanda: Fair.

[dice rolling]

Well, I got a non-natural 21, so.

Eric: Amanda, how does Inara sneak into the vent?

Amanda: I’m going to climb up on top of the dumpster that is sitting under it.

Eric: Of course.

Amanda: And from there just kind of jump up to catch the vent and pull myself up to my elbows, then shimmy in to my shoulders, and then bring my legs in behind me.

Michael: Before she like shimmies in, I give her a wink and I do two pew-pews with my finger-guns and I cast Guidance, which will mean that the next time she has to do an ability check, she will get to roll an extra d4.

Eric: Great.

Amanda: Yeah, so before I make my way through the vent, I’ll turn around and look at Johnny and say

Amanda (as Inara): [muffled through the vent] Hey, I’m gonna open up the loading dock. Meet me over there.

Michael: Finger guns and I head on over.

Eric: Okay, Inara, you get dropped right onto the factory floor.

[plop of Inara landing on the floor]

[sound of industrial machines]

It’s likes steampunk industrial in there. You see that there are workers who are about your size. They all seem pretty short. But they are wearing these like hazmat suits and these like World War Two-sequel gas masks. Like the ones that just cover your face and just have like long tubes at the end of them.

Amanda: The most terrifying kind, yeah.

Eric: Yeah, and they’re pulling down these big steam cutters and presses that are cutting out these shapes and sharing wrinkles. And they're putting hats in these big cats of green liquid, which you can probably put together is the mercuria, to achieve the perfect amount of stiffness while keeping them very soft to the touch. It’s also pretty ridiculous because these machines are massive, and they just pop out these little tiny hats.

Amanda: Adorable.

Michael: What’s the… breathability situation?

Eric: It’s- yeah, it’s not great down there as you jump down, and I want you to make a Constitution roll.

Amanda: For sure.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: Those gas masks are the scariest things that exist.

Eric: Agreed.

Brandon: Just period.

Amanda: I got a 12. I am going to pull my Shadow Cowl up around my nose to block whatever fumes I can, but I get the sense it’s bad in here.

Eric: Yeah, no one notices you and when you pull the Shadow Cowl up, you feel pretty woozy, and you can’t find the door for the loading dock.

Amanda: Are there any masks or suits hanging around the factory floor?

Eric: You can’t find either of those two things. Like you’re spending much more time sneaking around and you don't have the wherewithal to like navigate the factory floor.

Amanda: Alright, so I know I feel woozy, and I need to get my hands on one of those gas masks.

Eric: Sure.

Amanda: So I am going to kind of drop down from the vent as sneakily as I can and perched as low to the ground as I can be, look around for the closest person to me.

Eric: Yeah, I think there’s someone who’s weari- is sitting with their feet up. It’s like one of the math inspectors to make sure the brims are particularly firm, and yeah it seems like this person is kind of like taking a break at their seat.

Amanda: So, I’m gonna sneak up behind this person with my dagger backward in my hand and attempt to just kind of knock ‘em real quick with the hilt of my dagger.

Michael: You feel the Light’s guidance helping you with this to roll a d4 to help you with that number.

Amanda: Hell yeah.

[dice rolling]

Michael: I feel like I’m doing Guidance wrong.

Eric: No that’s it-

Amanda: So my roll is a 7. What do I add to that?

Eric: So 7 plus 5 plus 4. That’s a 16.

Michael: Yay!

Amanda: Yay!

Eric: Yeah, this person wasn’t paying attention. Yeah, you knock ‘em out.

Amanda: And as quickly and steathily as I can, I am going to rip their gas mask off, put it on me, take off the hazmat suit, put it on me, and put their body underneath the assembly line where no one is going to be looking.

Eric: [laughing] I love it.

Michael: That’s a smart move.

Amanda: Not in danger, under the conveyor belt, to be clear.

Eric: Alright, now that you get your bearings, you feel like you get a better idea of what the factory floor looks like, and you realize behind you, you see a set of lockers and a door.

Amanda: The loading dock?

Eric: It is the loading dock.

Amanda: I am going to surreptitiously just kind of put my hands on my hips, look around, take a look at the hat, kind of like push one away like, “Ugh, not up to speed,” and then walk over to the door and, arms crossed, just lean against it to try to prop it open a little bit.

Eric: Nice.

Michael: I’m hiding as best as Johnny can hide, which is actually probably fine-

Amanda: In loud prints.

Michael: I have some Stealth. And noticing the door open, and seeing someone who’s wearing a very ill-fitting suit- like what should be like tall person but it’s like clearly a short person-

Amanda: Very baggy around the ankles, yeah.

Michael: I’m going to assume it’s Inara. And I’m gonna run in and look through any open locker to see if there’s a gas mask before things get bad for me.

Amanda: Yeah, I’ll point him to that-

Eric: Inside the locker- various people’s lockers, you realize there are hazmat suits of various sizes and you grab one that fits you. We’re gonna go to Tracey. Tracey, you and Hannah Mae go into the actual hattery.

[industrial sounds fade]

Brandon: Ding ding!... [bell rings] that was the bell when you enter a shop.

Eric: Tracey, as you open the door, a bunch of fancy ladies walk by you with big blue bags that have different hat boxes in there, and they just push by you and the team.

Brandon (as Tracey): That was rude!

Eric: And all of them go “Hmph!” and walk by you.

Eric (as hat shop employee): More customers, come on in, come on in!

[“Für Elise” plays over a speaker]

Eric: Standing on top of a desk at the front is a little goblin man and he ahs on a large top hat and a very, very deep blue suit.

Eric (as goblin): Please come in. Look around, find something that you like.

Eric: He hopes down and he gets a good look at you and the teenager and he says

Eric (as goblin): I’m sorry, I thought you two were someone else. I have to go take care of our other clientele, but please, as soon as possible, just buy something and leave.

Eric: And he walks away. So you can see everyone walking around- there are other people in other dark blue uniforms waiting on fancy ladies, and people are just waving to and fro around you. And the goblin goes and sits back down in front of the desk and keeps a wary eye on you two.

Brandon: Tracey storms back over to the goblin and says

Brandon (as Tracey): [in transatlantic accent] That was rude sir!

Eric (as goblin): I’m sorry, I only assume that you are here to rabble and rouse.

Brandon (as Tracey): I will rabble your rouses! That was quite rude!

Eric (as goblin): Sir, if you are just going to bother the people that are running this fine establishment, you can just go and leave without a single trillby upon your head.

Brandon (as Tracey): Sir, I came here with money to spend!

[sound of coins clinking]

Brandon: And I take out my sack of about 700 gold at this point.

[Michael laughing]

Is that a lot?

Eric: No, that is a lot. It’s definitely a lot.

Michael: But you had thousands!

Amanda: Yup.

Brandon (as Tracey): But I will take my money to another establishment.

Eric (as goblin): Wha-

Brandon (as Tracey): If this is how warforged are treated in this part of town!

Eric (as goblin): Oh ex- sir! Sir, sir! I am so sorry! I only assumed- I made an unfair assumption. Please, please- How can I be of service? Our best people- would you like some cake? We have cake!

Brandon (as Tracey): I assume you’re a jerk! But you can help me if you’d like.

Eric (as goblin): Sir, you know me better than I know myself. Please- I am a big, big jerk. How can I be of service?

Brandon: I pulled up a screenshot of hats.

Amanda: A glossary, yeah.

Brandon (as Tracey): Where are your porkpies?

Eric (as goblin): We have an entire porkpie section here!

Brandon (as Tracey): Do you have any stockmans?

Eric (as goblin): Yes.

Brandon (as Tracey): Sir, I need to see your brims. Show me the good brims.

Eric (as goblin): These are all good brims.

Brandon (as Tracey): Show me your finest brims!

Michael: [in transatlantic accent] These are not fine! There are finer you are hiding!

Amanda: [in transatlantic accent] Give me one that’s both bolder and subtler!

Michael: Oh, I like it when they are both!

Eric: And Hannah Mae says

Eric (as Hannah Mae): I want a cool hat!

Brandon (as Tracey): Hannah, Hannah, Hannah, please, please. Your inside voice, your inside sociable tendencies please.

Eric (as Hannah Mae): I would like a cool hat.

Brandon (as Tracey): Much better, madame! Show us your coolest hats!

Eric: Okay, so I’m going to-

Brandon: Montage!

Eric: Yeah, so the entire time that Johnny and Inara are going to do this, no one inside the hat shop will know what’s going on.

[music fades]

[industrial machine noise resumes]

Johnny and Inara, you two are making your way through the factory, but now you’re disguised as what everyone else looks like, so no one really gives you any mind. As you walk through the factory, and pass by all the massive machinery, you see there is a small office in the back of the factory which has a large window in it, and of course, a door into said office.

Amanda: Ooh, a door!

Michael: Into an office, you say!

Amanda: Hmm!

Michael: Hmm!

Eric: And as you look in the- as you look in the window, you see there is a gnome hunched over a desk, and there are hats everywhere.

Amanda: Do we see any “Pull in case of fire” switches or emergency stop switches? Like I’m imagining high school shop and there are like big stop buttons anywhere.

Michael: I would like my religious senses to let me know any kind of divine interference that might be going on. Any kind of like magic from a divine sense.

Eric: I gotcha. I know exactly-

Michael: So, like where could Ze’ol have been messing with?

Eric: I got you, I got you. So Johnny, make a Religion check.

Michael: I can absolutely make a Religion check with a dice.

Eric: And Inara, I guess also make an Investigation.

[dice rolling]

Michael: My Religion is a high number.

Brandon: I’m gonna roll to see how many hats I’ve tried on.

[dice rolling]

Michael: Yes!

Brandon: 6.

Michael: 21.

Eric: Okay.

Amanda: 22.

Eric: Alright, so Brandon, you’ve put on six hats.

Brandon: Yeah!

Michael: Nice!

Eric: Johnny, you are focused on one particular hat in the gnome’s office, It kind of looks like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice hat from.... Fantasia.

Michael: Fantasia, yeah.

Eric: Actually, instead of just stars and moons and a clown-ish sort of way, there are like stars all over the hat. You’re watching the gnome for a little while, and then the gnome grabs the hat and puts it on, and goes back and starts scribbling a little faster.

Amanda: What’s the light situation in that office?

Eric: It is pretty-

Michael: [gasps] I am le shocked!

Eric: It’s pretty dark in there, except for one industrial light bulb which is hanging over the gnome. Inara, you see there is like a big red stop button, but it’s inside the gnome’s office.

Michael: [laughing] A big red stop button!

Brandon: I love how every factory has one of those.

Eric: Yeah, exactly!

Amanda: You have to know what to do!

Michael: Stop the presses! Beh!

Amanda: Know when to fold ‘em, know when to hold ‘em, know when to press the stop button!

Eric: Yes, and it’s under glass of course because you have to lift the-

Amanda: That’s what Kenny Rogers taught us. I notice this big red stop button, and I had taken a clip board earlier, so I am just holding a clipboard and pointing around. And so as I am doing that, Johnny and I put our heads together, and I kind of whisper to him, look at him, give a little nod, and then walk over to a corner of the factory floor where i take off my gas mask and pull my Shadow Cowl over my head.

Eric: As you pull your Shadow Cowl over your head, your hands start dissolving away, and have become less and less corporeal. They become more and more purple, and they turn into Callie’s hands. In the back of your head, you’re like

Eric (as Callie): Oh man, what are we doing? It’s been a while. Who are we gonna murder today? This is your thing, murdering.

Amanda (as Inara): You know, Callie, I think you’re going to enjoy today’s plan.

Amanda: I’m going to sort of float out of my suit, letting it kind of crumple to the floor, and float up into the supervisor’s office. And rise up behind the supervisor, pull my knife out of my belt, and put it against his throat.

Amanda (as Inara): This is a takeover of your factory.

Eric (as supervisor): [scared] Uhhhhhhhh okay. Okay, yes, yes, okay. Yeah, you can have it. It’s not even mine, you can just have it. Okay, fine, Sure. Cool. It’s fine. Yes. Sure, go ahead.

[Brandon giggling]

Amanda (as Inara): I'm Glad you're such a willing participant. Just tell me one thing. Where’d this hat come from?

Eric (as supervisor): Which one? My hat?

Amanda (as Inara): The one you're wearing.

Eric (as supervisor): That’s my thinking hat.

Amanda (as Inara): Who gave it to you?

Eric (as supervisor): It’s mine, I mean, it’s mine. I use it to think and it gives me good ideas.

Amanda (as Inara): From?

Eric (as supervisor): It’s always been mine. What do you mean? What? I use it for science! It’s my science hat! What? What do you want?

Eric: And you look around the room, and inside this room there are calculations written on a chalkboard, there’s like chemicals and beakers and experiments and scrapped ideas, and lots of papers with things crossed out on them and be like

Eric (as supervisor): I’m not- I just- I do research! I don’t know- I’m just trying to make better hats! What o you want? I don't even care! You- Mr. Fancy Pants, he can just have it! He sucks! He’s a terrible boss!

Amanda (as Inara): Who’s this?

Eric (as supervisor): The guy! He runs- the goblin!

Amanda (as Inara): In charge of the hat shop?

Eric (as supervisor): Yeah! It’s not even- I just work here!

Amanda (as Inara): Alright, don’t worry, calm down. You’re gonna get out of here just fine

Eric (as supervisor):  Okay, is it- is we were using owlbears for hats? Was that the bad thing?

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, that is super not good, but the specific bad thing I’m here about is the chemical that you’re pouring into the river.

Eric (as supervisor): What- what are you- we’re not pouring anything into the river.

Eric: You see that there is a vial of the same green liquid that you saw inside the factory.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, that green stuff- that’s no good. It’s having effects on the environment that you guys may not have intended, and we’re going to halt production right now.

Eric (as supervisor): That’s cool! Yeah! I didn’t know- I’m just trying to make a better hat brim. If I could- I just need more time to do that, and I can… What is it doing? I’m sorry! I’m so sorry.

Amanda (as Inara): Bad stuff. You get me the recipe to this chemical right now.

Eric (as supervisor): You know what, I can do you one better. I have an antidote. It’s right there It’s right up there.

Eric: And he points up and there is a bucket that says, “Mercuria antidote” on it and there are very explicit instructions about how to- how to cure it and how to administer it.

Amanda (as Inara): You’re gonna get right on out of here. Run and don’t look back.

Amanda: And I’m gonna grab the hat, I’m gonna press the stop button

[button presses, machines halt suddenly]

and I will briefly make my arm visible to point out of the office.

Eric: Yeah, he starts to scream and just runs out of the room.

Michael: As I start to hear him screaming, I’m gonna do Thaumaturgy to hide the screaming and announce using the most professional voice possible

Michael (as Johnny): [in transatlantic accent, over a squeaking loudspeaker] Attention, workers of the hattery. It’s break time to celebrate the wonderful holiday of the cow running time fun times. Please, leave and enjoy this wonderful holiday In fact, take the next three to eight months off

[Eric laughs]

All paid by your wonderful employers here at The Hattery.

Eric: All the- they don't need to be convinced. All the employees just like pull off their gas- they don’t even wait for anything to stop. They just pull off their gas masks and be like, “Alright vacation!” and everyone just runs out of the factory.

Brandon: Summer break! Homework goes flying everywhere!

Michael: Woo!

Amanda: [singing] No more teachers, no more school!

Michael: [singing] Vacation's all I ever wanted!

Amanda: [joining in] Vacation have to get away.

Eric: A guitar solo starts going in the background like [singing guitar solo].

Michael, Amanda, and Eric: [singing] School’s out for summer!

Brandon: Alice Cooper walks out.

Michael: [singing guitar solo]

Eric: Tracey, as you’re trying on hats, there's like a big window.

Brandon: Um, I currently have on…

[Michael laughing]

Amanda: Good.

Brandon: I currently have on a stormy kromer. Kromer?

Eric: You should get that.

Brandon (as Tracey): Stormy Kromer.

[music within the Hattery resumes]

Eric: You can see just like tons of just workers like in hazmats peeling off hazmat suits and throwing masks up in the air, and the goblin inside is like

Eric (as goblin): Wha-... wait… what's up??

Brandon (as Tracey): Sir, this brim is not fruity enough!

Eric (as goblin): No, excuse me-

Brandon (as Tracey): Please show me another!

Eric (as goblin): No, excuse me I have to deal with an issue-

Brandon (as Tracey): No! No! It is not fruity! I need it to be bold!

Eric: And then the goblin runs out of the office-

Brandon: Tracey Long Arm of the Law to grab him.

Eric: Alright, make an attack roll.

[Michael and Amanda cheering]

[dice rolling]

Michael: Also, I super need that hat.

Brandon: Now, earlier when you said I had to take the roll that I rolled…

Michael: Oh, for fuck’s sake.

Eric: What’d you roll, Brandon?

Brandon: Are you sure that I have to use the thing?

Eric: I do.

Brandon: I rolled a 2 plus…

[Michael snickering]

Amanda: He punches a hole through the glass door.

Brandon: 3…

Michael: Just grabs like a stack of papers.

Brandon: 2 plus 3 for a 5.

Amanda: I’m sorry, he grabs that hat off his head.

Eric: No actually, I know what you do. You fire the Long Arm of the Law, and it just goes far left and busts through the window, [window breaking] and Hannah Mae goes-

Brandon (as Tracey): It didn't need that window anyway! Natural light is beautiful!

Eric: And Hannah Mae goes

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Anarchy!

Eric: And starts pushing over all the hats she can find.

[all laughing]

Brandon (as Tracey): Hannah take all the hats!

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Let’s go!

Eric: She grabs hats and start running out the door.

Amanda: Redistribution of wealth, baby!

Michael: Everything has gone to hell.

Eric: It’s gone to hell.

Amanda: It’s gone to hell… in a hat-basket.

[all cheering]

Back in the factory, I’m gonna grab the antidote, grab the hat and put it under my arm, and run the hell down those stairs to join Johnny.

Michael: I am, as a member of the working class proletariat of this factory, have joined the celebrations, pretending I’ve been working there the whole time, of the bourgeoisie who have not given us this freedom of three to eight months of liberty, and this day off, all paid, and sneak my way out as part of the massive crowd, and make my way out and escape.

Amanda: I’m just gonna hoot and holler and say like

Amanda (as Inara): Man, social safety net am I right?

Eric: Alright, all four of you- in the chaos, all four of you meet up, and Hannah Mae says

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Okay, now what do we do?

Amanda (as Inara): Back to the cows! I got an antidote!

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Alright, let’s go!

[cows mooing, noisy crowd gathered]

Eric: So, you guys run back to Abbott’s Farm where Ferguson is holding back a large crowd. It’s a lot of the people from the factory, and people you saw running around the town square, and the organizer, Alyssa, and the young girl who ran up to her. And everyone is crowded around the cow fields. They're all chanting, “Start the run! Start the run! Start the run! Start the run!” and Ferguson is trying to hold people back like

Eric (as Ferguson): Well, hold on, hold on now- no one should be going inside of there. No one should be messing around with these cows. We can’t do this.

Eric: Alyssa in particular is trying to get up in his face and trying to get this thing started.

Michael: While Inara, Tracey, and Hannah Mae head towards the cows, Johnny’s gonna head towards Ferguson, who’s keeping back Alyssa and her crowd of rambunctious townsfolk.

Eric: Yeah, these are a hundred people who are all dressed up like bandits, so it looks even a little more menacing than it is.

Michael: Johnny, as he’s running through I’m going to dress myself up as a super bandit, like the most bandit.

Eric: Okay.

Michael: And I’m going to get up there, climb on the fence to the top, and start speechify to get them all hyped and distract them.

Eric: What is it? What is it?

Michael (as Johnny): [in Southern accent] Now boy, howdy am I just so excited to start here tonight with this here cow fun time running how fun time happy times! Now, we all know that this year we have been promised some amazing cows. I gotta tell you right now that these cows have been revved up and they are ready to run and chase these bandits out of here. And I’ve gotta tell you that all of us- all of us from the smallest kid over there to the oldest octogenarian over there, we’re gonna have a rambunctious time! R-r-r-r-rambunctious time!

Eric: Okay- you don't even have to roll, this is great. Okay, Inara, you get a chance to read the instructions on the antidote.

Amanda: Yes.

Eric: So, on the third step, it’s, “Have infected victim smell vapor of liquid.” and then four, “Wait.”

Amanda: So, I’ll share this information with Tracey and Hannah Mae.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay, guys what’s the fastest way we can get this to all the cows?

Brandon (as Tracey): Um…

Eric (as Hannah Mae): I can blow on it!

Amanda: Good start.

Brandon (as Tracey): Um, good, Hannah, very good.

Amanda: Yes, and-

Brandon (as Tracey): Um, great, I could load some in a capsule in my cannon and fire it into a big puff of smoke vapor cloud.

Amanda: Let’s do it.

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright, let’s do it.

Eric: Alright, you open it up, and it’s really purple and smoky, and it’s actually you can see there’s a rock-sized chunk of something that is making the smoke.

Brandon: Tracey just grabs it out of the bucket, shoves it in his cannon arm, and since it’s a thunder cannon-

Eric: Yeah.

Brandon: You have both giant sound waves and heat.

Amanda: Mhm.

Brandon: And I aim it towards the pen.

Eric: What do you use for your Artificer spells?

Brandon: Intelligence.

Amanda: We’re into Act Three now.

Eric: Okay, make an Intelligence roll.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 10 plus 2 for a 12?

[Michael laughing]

Brandon: It’s above-

Amanda: All he’s doing is shooting a thing-

Brandon: Yeah, it’s just a thing I can do.

Amanda: It doesn't hit anything, it just has to go up in the air.

Michael: It’s such a not great roll.

Brandon: It’s just a thing I can shoot things out of my arm, it’s just a-

Michael: Why’d you take magic if you have no magic rolling skills?

Brandon: Why does anyone do anything, Fish?

Michael: Fair.

Eric: 10 plus… okay 10 plus 2, you put the purple rock inside of your cannon, and you load it up and shoot the vapor into the air [cannon shoots]

And you shoot out this massive puff of purple smoke that covers the entire herd of cows. And the cows like cough, which is weird because I’ve never seen a cow cough, and you see-

Brandon: You haven’t been around many cows.

Eric: Yeah. They're starting to become more and more docile, and they stop jumping on each other, and they stop chewing on each other, and you see the ones that have claws it just like retracts back to hooves, and you fixed the cows!

Amanda: Hey!

Brandon: We fixed the cows! I place one cool hat on one choice cow.

Eric: And Ferguson says

Eric (as Ferguson): Wait, did you do it- can… can we start?

Eric: And Alyssa is like

Eric (as Alyssa): Can we start already? Can we start the running of the cows?!

Michael: Johnny says

Michael (as Johnny): Ladies and Gentlemen! I present to you the running of the cow time spectacular blah-blah-blah-blew!

Brandon (as Tracey): Johnny, do the fireworks!

[fireworks burst]

Michael: And then I cast all my light-based magics in the air.

Eric: Ferguson throws the gate open and the cows start clomping out. They don’t run, they just kind of like-

Brandon: Yeah, they just kind of idle by, right? Like this is-

Eric: Yeah, they idle down the main street, and you see-

Michael: This was always low stakes.

Eric: And the bandits are like, “Aw yeah!” and everyone’s like jumping over cows and are just like making- doing like bad parkour stunts next to the cows.

Amanda: Some cows stop on the side of the road to eat.

Eric: Yeah. They’re like, “Oh man, I totally stopped that cow!” And they’re just like chewing on some stuff. And Alyssa’s like

Eric (as Alyssa): Well, I think that this is the best running of the cows ever, and all because of me.

Eric: Ferguson says

Eric (as Ferguson): Well, this is the most excitement I’ve had in years around me, and I just want to thank you for helping fixing the cows and for giving my daughter a good time out on the town.

Amanda (as Inara): You know, you’ve got a great daughter there. I’m going to entrust to you guys this bucket of purple stuff that fixes the green stuff, so hopefully the factory’s a lot more responsible if and when it comes back, but if it’s not, I’ll entrust this to you.

Eric (as Ferguson): Yeah, I think that the factory- it seems like the factory’s done for a little while there.

Brandon (as Tracey): At least three to six months!

Eric (as Ferguson): Yeah, three to six months.

Michael: Three to eight months.

Eric (as Ferguson): Tracey, you think you can put this purple stuff back in the bucket for me?

Brandon (as Tracey): Sure can!

Brandon: And I discharge the- what would be the empty shell but is a piece of purple rock.

Eric: Yeah, you try to empty the rock from your gun, and you can’t do that.

Brandon (as Tracey): Uh, how bad do you want this?

Eric (as Ferguson): Not that bad.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, it might take a second. This is embarrassing… uh…

Eric: Brandon, unfortunately, that rock is stuck in your gun, and until you get it fixed, you can’t use your regular gun, but you can shoot out a chemical cloud. But right now, the rock is stuck in there and until you find someone to take a look at it, you cant get it out.

Brandon: Cool. That's fair.

Michael: You have a smoke screen, that’s pretty cool. Not as helpful.

Eric: Hannah Mae goes up to all of you and says

Eric (as Hannah Mae): Aw man, this has been the best day ever. Can I get a high five from everybody?

Brandon: Tracey rears his arm as far back as he can and jumps as high as he can in the air, aiming for her hand.

Eric: It’s a very good high five.

Brandon: Do you guys join in?

Michael: Johnny will respectfully do a handshake as is Johnny’s way.

[bluegrass music begins again]

Amanda: And I am going to teach Hannah Mae a secret teen handshake.

Eric: Nice. As Johnny and Inara are doing respective secret handshakes with Hannah Mae, Trace, you feel the rumble in your bag.

Brandon: I reach in my bag and take out the Book of Things to Come.

Eric: The book does it’s normal thing. It flips all the way to the front, it flips all the way to the back, then opens to the to-do list, and you see slowly, “Running with the cows” is crossed out.

[music continues, then fades]

[theme music]

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 cartograms 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 hello@jointhepartypod.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.