35. Labor Party V

Put on your nicest cloak and fanciest shoes - we’re going to the opera. But, uh, why are we going to the opera? Johnny fleshes out his part. Inara won’t show her face. Tracey hates soup.


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- music: brandongrugle.bandcamp.com


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


About Us

Join the Party is a collaborative storytelling and roleplaying podcast. That means four friends create a story together, chapter by chapter, that everyone from seasoned players to true beginners can enjoy. Where else can you get adventure, intrigue, magic, drama, and lots of high fives all in one place? Right here.

After each episode we sit down for the Afterparty, where we break down our game and answer your questions about how to play Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games at home. We also have the Punchbowl, an interview series with people pushing D&D forward creatively, communally and socially. It’s a party, and you’re invited! Find out more atjointhepartypod.com.


Amanda: Last time on Join The Party...

Eric: Ze’ol is having a special discount on labors - 2 labors for the price of one! And all you have to do is tame a cat named Mr. Pickles - except Mr. Pickles is a massive man-eating lion.

The party knocks on the door of the only man who can help them -

Eric (as Vince): [through door] I’m coming! [coughs] I’m coming!

Hello to Vince! He seems totally normal! Vince leads them to the lion’s cave - but a massive thorny maze has grown overnight. Inara makes quick work of the labyrinth, while Tracey gets lost and is attacked by the ferocious lion.

Brandon: I shove my cannon arm into his mouth and fire it.

Eric: Turns out, that works! The lion seems to be a ravenously hungry and cursed Vince. The episode takes a hard left into Queer Eye territory, as Tracey and Johnny clean up Vince’s life and Inara finishes the mission.

Amanda (as Inara): Just to make it look like we did this, I’m gonna get as much fur as I can.

Eric: We promise - this episode won’t be about TV. Much more highbrow. Let’s get the soiree started.

[theme music]

Eric (as Ze'ol): What are you doing? You need to close the door! You’re gonna let all the heat out! Come in, come inside, come inside. None of you are wearing hats. So, how’s Mr. Pickles? How’d it go? How do I know you did it?

Amanda (as Inara): Tracey, got the fur?

Brandon: Tracey upturns the bag and beautiful locks of amazing lion fur fall to the floor.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Oh, you groomed him very well, thank you. I appreciate that. I haven’t seen him in so long, I didn’t know what happened to my pretty cat. I just let him wander around. He’s an outdoor cat.

Michael (as Johnny): You mean the person that you turned into a cat…

Eric (as Ze'ol): Ah-

Michael (as Johnny): And by cat we mean lion.

Amanda (as Inara): And cast off to walk around without any training or self-knowledge or-

Michael (as Johnny): And kill a lot of people.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.

Brandon (as Tracey): By cat you mean murderer… yeah.

Eric (as Ze'ol): We’re throwing the m-word around a lot, aren’t we?

Brandon (as Tracey): I mean it’s not his fault, really, it’s more yours.

Amanda (as Inara): Negligence.

Brandon (as Tracey): Negligence.

Michael (as Johnny): Trickery.

Brandon (as Tracey): Trickery.

Amanda: Is the Speaker here?

Eric: Uh, yes. The Speaker is in the same spot that she was before, and she is still sitting quietly with her hands clasped together on her lap, and has not said anything as you walked in.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Okay, you’ve done half of the labors already, it’s going very well, congratulations. Pat yourselves on the back for me. I’m stuck in a compass, so I cannot do it, only with one of my hands. Get it? Hands? Get it? Of a compass.

[Amanda groans]

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, here’s the deal. We’re going to need some food, some rest, and some supplies to keep tackling the rest of this list. We were very nearly mauled and eaten by this lion, so, you know, it’s been a day.

Brandon (as Tracey): They almost ate my friend Tally, here.

Eric (as Ze'ol): I don’t- I don’t know who that is.

Brandon (as Tracey): He’s a bag.

Eric (as Ze'ol): You’re best friends with a bag?

Brandon (as Tracey): You’re a compass. I mean…

Eric (as Ze'ol): These are all things that are true. Uh, okay, uh you know what I can- I can get you a place to stop, to eat, all those things. Bridge?

Eric: Bridge stands to attention.

Eric (as Bridge): Yeah, how can I- how can I be of service?

Eric (as Ze'ol): Pick the next labor, I’ll send you anywhere you want to go, and Bridge, using his infinite knowledge of Chronopolis will show you a place to [high pitched and fast] nosh before you do the next thing. How’s that?

Brandon (as Tracey): What?

Amanda (as Inara): Huh?

Eric (as Ze'ol): Okay, which labor do you want to do next? Okay, let’s go, okay, here we go.

Brandon (as Tracey): Which one will give me my spell slots back?

Eric (as Ze'ol): Zero of them.

Brandon (as Tracey): Cool.

Michael: Well it is cold outside, so maybe a trip to the opera would be nice.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, go indoors, wear something fresh. I like it, I like it.

Brandon (as Tracey): I’m in! Can I sing?

Amanda (as Inara): Trace, babe, you can follow your heart.

Brandon (as Tracey): Great.

Eric: Bridge hears that you said, “opera” and he starts like patting all of his pockets, like in the front of his pockets, and the back, and he has like chest pockets as well on his guard uniform. And he has his bag and he starts digging through and he’s like

Eric (as Bridge): Oh no, no, no, no. Oh is that- oh is that tonight? I am party to this now, aren’t I? With you bros.

Brandon (as Tracey): You need a date?

Eric (as Bridge): Uh, ok- yeah, I’ll show you. You know, there’s a really good- there’s like a soup place, like a soups and stews place near the opera house. I- I know where to go. Okay. Alright, Ze’ol start up your magical elevator but it’s over land thing. I’ll take them where to go.

Brandon (as Tracey): You’re a god and you use elevators as transport?

Eric (as Bridge): I- eh you know it’s magic. Bridge just doesn’t- he failed out of Trinity school.

Brandon (as Tracey): I feel like it’s elevators.

Amanda (as Inara): Also, why did we walk home through the snow if there are magic elevators around willing to take us from place to place?

Eric (as Bridge): Well this guy over here who has two eyebrows and can’t actually do magic right- that guy- he can only make you go one way. So, he can’t pick us up, he just sends us to where we want to go. That’s why we have to keep walking back.

Brandon (as Tracey): [with a sigh] Yeah, you know, those one-way elevators? Let’s go.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, let’s go.

[plucky music begins]

Eric: The door on the opposite side of the dome opens up [metal door latch opening] and you hear the sounds of a city pour into the dome.

[sound of people walking and talking, vehicles moving]

You hear bikes, you hear cars and motorcycles roaring by, you hear the sounds of hundreds of people talking simultaneously, boots crunching into the new snow, and one particularly loud person hawking the best soups on this side of Concentra.

Eric (as soup vendor): [in the background of the city noise] Soups here! Get your soups here! [continues peddling soups as Eric narrates]

Eric: Yes, that is my spot. The Meaty River.

Amanda: [laughing] No!

Eric: It’s like a 7-Eleven where you’re allowed to bring your own receptacle. So, you can bring your own, like, vases and just fill it up with soup.

Amanda: Yeah.

Michael: This is so sanitary. Before Johnny walks through the threshold to find himself a nice clam bisque, he puts on the sunglasses of the Arcane Eye.

Eric: Okay, so like we did last item, when you walk through the dimensional door that Ze’ol has made for you, it is bound by distance, so you’re going to be able to see like a minute or so of what’s going on in the dome before you are out of reception range for the Arcane Eye.

Michael: Great.

[music ends]

Eric: So, Bridge is leading you three across the street over to his favorite soup shop, The Meaty River, which happens to be right next to this extremely decadent and beautiful opera house.

There’s stained glass windows just covering the entire front. There are two large spires that reach almost through the clouds that are sprinkling a late dusting of snow upon the city, and a late crowd is starting to walk into a opera that is going to happen that night.

Amanda: Do other people look like they were prepared for this change of weather? Are they wearing like sandals with a coat hastily thrown over it, or do they seem like they dressed for winter?

Eric: I think that some people look very unprepared, but it’s like they were going to the opera anyway, and everyone just looks very fancy. It’s like you’re just wearing standard like, “This is my fanciest outfit.” and some people have fur coats, but other people don’t, and they have like snow that’s getting over their ball gowns and suit jackets.

As Bridge is leading you all into the Meaty River, Johnny, you get a quick look into your sunglasses. So, this is for about a minute, minute and a half. The first forty-five seconds is like it was before. The Speaker was sitting quietly with a furrowed look on her face. It seems like she’s concentrating on something, and then unsteadily, she gets up from one of the auditorium stairs, and she stumbles down the steps while still trying desperately to concentrate on something, and she puts her hand directly onto the compass. Purple light starts to glow underneath of her hand, and then the connection is severed.

Michael: Alright, cool.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: That’s just great information to have. And now I’m off to get a -

Eric: Get a whole thing of soup-

Michael: A river.

Eric: Get a river of soup.

Michael: Into my mouth.

Amanda: A boatload of soup.

[sound of door closing, city noises dull]

Eric: The Meaty River is packed, and you don’t exactly know what day it is, but it’s like everyone needs to get soup immediately, regardless of their wear. Inside it looks like there are people who are extremely unprepared for the snow: people in like short shorts and flip flops and sunglasses, and other people are wearing that but like underneath a really heavy coat.

It is warm in there, but in the way that good soup is supposed to make you feel while you are outside in the frigid cold. There’s only one person working behind the counter, and it seems like they have more arms and hands than they should, but I wouldn’t ask about it.

Amanda: What is the menu?

Eric: It just says, “soup.”

Amanda: Just soup?

Eric: Yeah, it’s actually written on a chalkboard. And it just says, “soup” and then small is two gold pieces and large is three gold pieces, and then below it in Common it says, “Yeah, it’s just soup.”

Brandon (as Tracey): Bridge, why are we here?

Eric (as Bridge): Because it’s delicious, man, and it’s right next to the opera house.

Michael: I’m gonna take the biggest table that’s available, and even if there’s trash on it, I’ll wipe it off the table.

Eric: You absolutely know there’s trash on it.

Michael: Yeah.

Amanda: Gotta bus it yourself.

Michael: I clean that up, and while they all order soup, I’m gonna start making everyone’s outfits for the evening.

Amanda: Yeah, Inara’s already at the counter ordering four large soups.

Eric: Okay.

Eric (as Bridge): [whispering] Tracey, don’t look, but I know that guy looks like a human, but that guys definitely has like six more arms than usual.

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] That’s pretty cool.

Eric (as Bridge): I think that’s pretty cool too. But don’t look at it!

Brandon (as Tracey): Can I get more arms?

Eric (as Bridge): Tracey you’re looking right at the arms!

Brandon (as Tracey): I know, I want them!

Eric (as Bridge): No, stop looking at the arms!

Brandon (as Tracey): I want to have all the arms!

Amanda (as Inara): Guys, go get the table please.

Eric: Bridge and Tracey come over to the table.

Amanda: Before Bridge walks away, Inara’s going to pickpocket him for gold.

[Eric laughing]

Michael: Yes!

Eric: I love it. Alright, make a Sleight of Hand check.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: That’s a nat-20!

[Michael hollering]

Michael: Bah-bah-bah-bow!

Eric: Okay, so you can take as much gold as you want, and what is a thing that you think is on Bridge that you would like to take?

Amanda: A sick pocket-knife that also probably has a little tiny wrench in it to fix his motorcycle.

Eric: As Bridge turns around to get a seat with Johnny, yeah, you just like pluck fifty gold pieces out of his pocket and a very beautiful multi-tool that is rose gold.

Amanda: Hell yeah.

Eric: And you like start popping a few of them open, and one is a small pocket-knife, one is a wrench, one is a comb, one is a granola bar. There’s just a bunch of weird stuff on that.

Amanda: Conveniently, would one of those tools happen to be a file to replace, say, the file that I lost in my awful attempt at picking a lock in the first arc?

Eric: You know what, as you go through all of them, there is a nail file on there.

Amanda: And the nat-20 smiled upon her that day!

Eric: Alright, if you roll above a 10, I will give you the tool that you are looking for, but it has to be like probable that it would be on a multi-tool.

Amanda: Love it. Well, I’m gonna use the gold that Bridge has unknowingly but generously supplied to buy our soups.

Michael: As soon as Inara arrives with the soups, I’ve finished fashioning a cold-weather-appropriate, fancy-opera-night, black-tie-event suits and clothing options for the four of us.

Amanda: So uncannily, Johnny has made the exact kind of outfit that I, Amanda, would love to wear to the opera one day. Some close-cut, tuxedo-style pants with a little stripe going up the side, white collared shirt and a sateen-style high cropped jacket with a long tail. And then the lining of the jacket has little tiny daggers on it.

Eric: Ooo. Bridge just gets a top hat.

Brandon: Tracey is, surprisingly, the most dapper he’s ever been in his entire existence. He has a finely tailored, modern yet reminiscent of old tail tuxedos, made of beautiful Italian wool. Now, he does attach a beautiful gold chain to his pocket watch and put it in his breast pocket. And finely polished shoes. Does wear his cape, kind of dust it off a little bit, but he is also wearing the tuxedo T-shirt underneath.

Michael: Oh, yes, good. Johnny has a matching chain for his pocket watch. He’s wearing a nice crisp white shirt that in darkness has very subtle lights. He’s wearing suspenders underneath his very appropriately full back kimono. It has tails because it’s a kimono. And he is of course wearing shorts. And he’s wearing the nicest pair of sandals and sock combination. Each sock looks like it’s its own tuxedo.

Brandon: [laughing] That’s pretty good.

Amanda: Oh my.

Michael: And it’s a sunhat, but also reminiscent of a top hat.

Brandon: Now, do all four of us have a monocle and a stick, or is it just me?

Michael: I have provided also an item for everyone that Eric will decide if it has any utility. For Inara, there is one of those glasses that she can hold up like the fancy ladies.

Eric: Yeah, opera glasses, yeah.

Michael: Yeah, opera glasses.

Amanda: Those are more straightforwardly named than we expected [laughing].

Michael: Yes.

Brandon: Now, they are telescopic?

Amanda: Yes.

Michael: They are telescopic opera glasses that will help her see. For Bridge, that top hat has a secret compartment for his hooch.

Brandon: And his doves.

Michael: And maybe another item that Bridge might want to keep in there.

For Tracey, I’ve added a lining on the inside and a chain to hold it together. It basically makes it easier for you to whip around in a flourish, making you look a lot more charismatic.

Amanda: Nice, Johnny.

Eric: Bridge opens up the secret compartment in his hat and is like

Eric (as Bridge): Oh man, I’m gonna keep my worst whiskey in here. This is gonna be great, I’m gonna share it with my guest for tonight.

Michael: Oh!

Brandon (as Tracey): Who’s your-

Amanda (as Inara): Oh!

Brandon (as Tracey): You have a date?

Amanda (as Inara): Who’s your guest?

Eric (as Bridge): You know, I think that he is taken.

Eric: And the door slams open, snow and wind rush through the front door, and standing out in the cold with snow all on his boots and in his beautiful golden hair, is your friend, Greg Nectarian.

Eric (as Greg): Bridge! Bridge I’m over here! I’m so erased to see this… [suddenly upset] Oh, fuck you guys.

Amanda (as Inara): Greg, it’s been an age…

Brandon: Tracey’s hand instinctively goes to his axe.

Eric (as Greg): Nooooooooo Briiiiiiidge!

Michael: Finger-guns with lights.

Eric (as Greg): No. No, I’m not- I am not even entertaining this. I’m walking [bewildered laughter] I’m walking away. I’m walking away from this. Bridge give me the tickets.

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright, bye! Goodbye!

Eric (as Greg): Bridge give me the tickets.

Amanda (as Inara): Hey, Greg? Uh, some stuff has changed since the last time you saw us. I don’t know if you talked to Alonzo, but he was…

Amanda: And then I kind of look around and make sure no one’s listening, and kind of lean a little bit closer.

Amanda (as Inara): He was actually imprisoned. And we rescued him.

Eric (as Greg): No. I knew exactly where he was. He decided to bail. He went to, um, Tortipolis, right?

Amanda (as Inara): He tried to and then he was immediately imprisoned.

Eric (as Greg): Probably in Tortipolis. Well, that was his decision to go, and as it comes down to me, I think that when you leave someone for the third time out in the lurch like that, I think that that’s grounds for breaking up and that we’re not together and I don’t have to talk to you guys anymore! Bridge, come on, let’s go!

Brandon (as Tracey): [under his breath] Jeez, what a jerk.

Eric (as Greg): Excuse me? Do you have something to say? Tracey, do you have something to say?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, I said you’re being kind of an unapologetic, unempathetic jerk.

Michael: Johnny is going to stand in between them, pushing Tracey back a little bit.

Brandon (as Tracey): [shouting] I don’t’ think you know what Alonzo’s going through!

Michael (as Johnny): Greg, I’m sorry that we are the last people you want to see here. We are not here to interrupt your opera. We are here on business for the Realm, and we will do our best to not get in the way of you and a lovely evening with your friend, Bridge. Here, takes a complimentary soup.

Michael: And I hand him my soup.

Eric (as Greg): I ate… at home.

Michael (as Johnny): Well then, here’s an apple for you to munch on-

Eric (as Greg): Why do you always fucking have apples?

Michael (as Johnny): I am trying to keep the peace here.

Michael: And I hand him the apples that have been mysteriously sliced into convenient pieces and put in a little baggy so that he may enjoy during the opera.

Brandon: With some peanut butter!

Amanda: With a little lemon juice to help them from browning?

Michael: Absolutely with a little bit of lemon juice.

Amanda: Tight. Tight. Uh, while Greg is mystified by these apple slices, hopefully, Inara’s going to slide up to be next to Johnny and say to Greg

Amanda (as Inara): Professional to professional here.

Amanda: And then holds up a finger so that Greg does not object to that like he probably wants to-

Amanda (as Inara): What is the deal with Ze’ol? What’s up with that guy?

Eric: Greg stops being angry for a moment and just is extremely confused.

Eric (as Greg): Like the third god of the Trinity? I mean, I don’t know him personally, he’s kind of just like a deity that’s responsible for death and stuff… I- what?

Michael: I like that our tactic has been to confuse him out of anger.

[all laugh]

Michael: But also, it seems like-

Eric: As Greg’s about to open his mouth again and continue to scream, the door slams open again, and you hear a high-pitched voice from behind you say

Eric (as voice): Does anyone know how to sing? Anybody? Anyone in this soup place know how to sing?

Brandon: Tracey raises his hand.

Michael: Johnny immediately lowers Tracey’s hand.

Eric: I’m going to roll.

[dice rolling]

Oh, I rolled extremely well for Perception, good.

Eric (as voice): Oh, okay, you raised your hand! Good, good, good, good.

Eric: You hear very quick steps run up to you, and there is a halfling woman with her hair in like four braids and she looks very put together and very done up, and she is sweating and looks extremely nervous.

Eric (as halfling): Can you sing?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah!

Eric (as halfling): Can you stand on stage?

Brandon (as Tracey): I can stand on a stage!

Eric (as halfling): Wait, can your friends sing?

Brandon (as Tracey): Uhhh… I don’t know. Um…

Michael (as Johnny): [coughs] I believe I have the black lung.

Brandon (as Tracey): Johnny here can talk real good, and I bet Inara can sing.

Eric (as halfling): Oh my god- no way! Wait, you’re Johnny, Tracey, and Inara!

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah… who’s asking?

Brandon (as Tracey): Maybe?

Michael: Hesitant finger guns…

Eric (as halfling): Inara! You left Representative Brink by herself! You guys are from the Bachelorette Tournament! No way! Oh my god, this is perfect. I can’t believe I ran into you. Why are you at the Meaty River? Nevermind, nevermind.

Brandon (as Tracey): I’ve been trying to figure that out for an hour.

Eric (as halfling): I’m having a huge problem and I need you three to help me.

Brandon (as Tracey): What’s happening? What’s going on?

Eric: Inara, I want you to make a Perception check.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: That is a 15.

Eric: As you’re listening to the halfling woman excitedly remember you from the Bachelorette Tournament, you see Greg is pulling Bridge out of the door. Bridge waves to you from the front door, but they’re already out by the time that you notice.

Eric (as halfling): Okay, hi. Okay, let me introduce myself. Hi. God, I can’t believe I-

Eric: And she looks down at her watch and says

Eric (as halfling): Ah! I have thirty minutes! Okay… Hi. I’m Paige McKell. It’s really nice to meet all of you [hurriedly] Oh my god I can’t believe I’m meeting you all on the worst day of my life. Okay, I am an apprentice here at the opera. I am assistant director to the whole thing, to the Chronopolis Opera House-

Brandon (as Tracey): Cool!

Eric (as Paige): You know, I’m actually putting on a show tonight. I got one night to put on-

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, congratulations!

Eric (as Paige): Thanks! And it would usually be good, but um I need three people to fill in for really important, minor, but important roles at the Opera House for tonight’s performance, which is tonight.

Brandon (as Tracey): What happened to the three people…?

Amanda (as Inara): We’re in.

Eric (as Paige): Nice. Yes, nice, nice.

Amanda (as Inara): Inara’s just grinning.

Eric (as Paige): Okay, cool, um-

Brandon (as Tracey): Did they die? What happened?

Eric (as Paige): They all- yeah, they all got super sick at the last minute, like two days ago.

Amanda (as Inara): What?!

Brandon (as Tracey): Did they eat the soup from this place?

Amanda (as Inara): Uh oh.

Eric (as Paige): I mean when everyone got sick, I didn’t have any understudies because this is like my thesis show. So, I had to turn to magic, and I know some magic. Usually I can just make illusionary copies of people. These are really small roles, so you can just fill it in. Only one of you really has a line, but instead-

Brandon (as Tracey): Dibs.

Eric (as Paige): Okay, good to know. But instead of- Okay, well instead I summoned a strange terrible creature from another plane.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh.

Amanda (as Inara): Say what now?

Eric (as Paige): A strange creature from another m=plane came in through my magic. For now, I’m calling them The Muse because they usually stay invisible but then occasionally they come out of the shadows and they’re translucent and look like glass. And their legs don’t really- they don’t really have legs, but they have three-fingered claws. And it’s so weird. Oh yeah, because everything is super artsy around here, there’s a hollow space where the heart should be.

Michael (as Johnny): So, you tried to do illusory magic which is illusions, and you conjured a demon not even from the nine hells-

Eric (as Paige): No, from an entirely different plane.

Michael (as Johnny): You just-

Eric (as Paige): The Plane of Artistry is what all of my actors keep telling me, but I tell them that the thing that dropped all the lights on our dress rehearsal is not just an artistic thing of my own imagination.

Brandon (as Tracey): This is uh… this is quite the pickle.

Eric (as Paige): They’re attracted to the art. They haunt the Opera House, or they haunt me, or they haunt the actual opera itself. I don’t- I don’t know how to explain it. I just- I need three people, and there’s no one, like C-level celebrities to show up in an opera for tiny roles and that would be really great, and I would really appreciate it!

Brandon (as Tracey): I think I’m B-level. I…

Amanda (as Inara): Uh-

Michael (as Johnny): No.

Amanda (as Inara): Again, with the costume idea, just really not being this face on a stage would be great.

Brandon (as Tracey): Can I be the star?

Eric (as Paige): Yeah, actually, you know what, Inara, I have the perfect thing for you. No one will see your face at all.

Amanda (as Inara): I’m down.

Eric (as Paige): Okay one. Tracey, I know you’re definitely in, you’re gonna be perfect for this one line you have to do.

Brandon (as Tracey): It’s the most important line of the whole show?

Eric (as Paige): … Yes.

Brandon (as Tracey): Great.

Eric (as Paige): I’m gonna say yes.

Brandon (as Tracey): Great, good.

Eric (as Paige): Johnny, I will donate everything I’m getting paid to child literacy if you just do this please.

Michael (as Johnny): Okay, but what’s your light direction situation?

[all laughing]

Have they thought about-

Eric (as Paige): It’s good. It’s good. I promise it’s good.

Michael (as Johnny): Okay, fine.

Eric (as Paige): Okay, god, everyone you’re coming with me.

Eric: And Paige pulls all three of you by the hand out of the Meaty River to the stage entrance of the Opera House.

[door closes, sounds of the street disappear]

As Paige pulls you in, she is letting you know what the opera is. This is called, “The Lamentable Farce of the Princes.” I want everyone to make a History or a Performance check to see how much you know about the play.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: I think Inara’s cousins might have seen this when they were touring a big city before coming back home, because I actually rolled an 18 on History.

Eric: Oh, hell yeah, good.

Michael: Johnny in his fantasy high school was absolutely one of the supporting actors in this. He got a 16.

Eric: Okay, cool.

Brandon: I think one of the manuscripts and books and things that were in the library when Tracey was a quote-unquote “kid” was this script, because he rolled a 20 for the History.

Amanda: Bah-bah-bow!

Eric: Wow!

Brandon: Non-natural.

Eric: That’s fine.

Amanda: Still better than normal, bah-bah-bow!

Eric: Okay, this is a classic opera, so it’s entirely possible that you read this. Okay, so all of you actually rolled really high, so I’m going to read what I have written here, and Tracey, you are going to get Advantage any time that you do an action that pertains to the play.

Brandon: Hell yeah.

Eric: Okay, so this is called “The Lamentable Farce of the Princes” by Wanda Spellstave and it is a tragic comic operetta. It is about two princes, Samson and Sebastian who are secretly lovers despite their families’ rivalry. They are commanded to resolve their ancestral feud by entering a deadly duel. Whichever son remains shall rule flee the city.

What follows is three and a half hours of narrow misses and misdirections as the princes do everything in their power to avoid the battle. The play ends in a dramatic confrontation where each of the princes takes a sleeping potion to make their families think they died. The factions end their feud, and when the princes wake, the reunite and lead the kingdoms into a new dynasty.

So, Paige turns to you first and says

Eric (as Paige): Inara, I know you don’t want to be on stage and no one wants to see your face, so I have the perfect thing for you.

Amanda (as Inara): What?

Eric (as Paige): You’re going to be the back half of a manticore.

[Brandon and Michael laughing]

I think the costume will fit you perfectly.

Amanda (as Inara): Great.

Eric (as Paige): You’re gonna do so good.

Brandon (as Tracey): You’re gonna kill it!

Eric (as Paige): Just don’t break up with anyone on stage.

Amanda (as Inara): Paige, that’s hurtful.

Eric (as Paige): Johnny, okay, Johnny, you are so loyal and so like defensive and you fight for things- you’re gonna be a loyal bodyguard that never leaves Sebastian’s side.

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] Does he have to say anything, Paige?

Eric (as Paige): No, no lines.

Michael (as Johnny): Oh, okay.

Eric (as Paige): No lines, I promise.

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering again] Does he also have to fight anyone? Because that also might be a problem.

Eric (as Paige): No, you just have to stand there and look cool.

Michael (as Johnny): I’m gonna look cool or tough?

Eric (as Paige): Tough, you’re gonna look tough.

Tracey, this guy right here.

Brandon (as Tracey): Ay! That’s me!

Eric (as Paige): Tracey, so you’re going to be an old bar-

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] Sebastian, Sebastian, Sebastian, Sebastian…

Eric (as Paige): No, we already have- he’s already taken.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh.

Eric (as Paige): You’re going to be an old barkeep whose only line is, “I’ll get the door.”

Brandon (as Tracey): [enthusiastically] I’ll get the door!

Eric (as Paige): That’s- okay, work on that one, but-

Brandon (as Tracey): I’ll get the door… I’ll get the door.

Eric (as Paige): That’s better. Okay-

Brandon (as Tracey): The door, I’ll get thee.

Eric (as Paige): [sighs] Okay.

Eric: So here is-

Brandon (as Tracey): [very low] I’ll get the door.

Eric: Er, I’ll get the door.

Brandon (as Tracey): Err, I’ll get the door.

Eric (as Paige): That’s good.

Brandon (as Tracey): Was that good?

Eric (as Paige): I like that that’s very good.

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s good.

Eric: Okay, here’s how this is gonna work. They play proceeds through four acts. Each act is a short scene where one or more of you guys are going to act and keep the show going ro stop the Muse from doing what the Muse does. You can track the audience’s enjoyment on a scale of one to ten. We’re going to start at five and then I have an audience favor table that I’m going to keep track of.

Amanda: Uh oh.

Eric: Each time you succeed in keeping the show going, you can keep the enjoyment level where it is, but you can do fun things on stage or make Performance rolls and Social rolls to try to boost the audience’s favor.

So, everyone is getting ready around you. There are actors looking for their props, there are stagehands, stage manager yelling at everyone to get into position. Johnny, you note that there is a guy that looks exactly like you doing the lights.

[Brandon and Amanda laughing]

It’s super weird.

Michael: I’m about it.

Brandon: Tracey’s looking for his eyeliner. He can’t find his eyeliner. Where’s his eyeliner?!

Eric: So as Paige is trying to direct everyone, she’s also trying to summarize the play at the same time. So, in the beginning, the families order the duel, but both princes claim their opponent is too weak to fight them and they need time to become worthy, so their family gives them a week to prepare.

And Sebastian’s evil uncle plans to take control of the family. He forces Sebastian to join him in sneaking into Samson’s castle at night and plans to kill Sebastian as soon as Samson is defeated. Samson’s best friend, a Tiefling named Murdertino, recounts Samson’s last relationship with a centaur. Paige goes through a ton of criticisms about this scene, calling it problematic, especially as it’s viewed through a modern lens, but Samson defends his actions as an early form of inter-species advocacy.

Samson’s friends all get into a fight at the tavern and Murdertino bites someone’s thumb off. Sebastian then consults with a monk blessed by the four elements, but it’s just a crash joke for blowing wind and using wind magic. It’s pretty funny but no one really gets it unless you do it right. And then the princes unite in secret and visit three alchemist witches who gives them an obtuse and moralizing speech relating their feud to two geese fighting over stale pie crust.

[Amanda laughs]

So, at this point, Paige is like

Eric (as Paige): Okay, does everyone get it?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yes.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, yeah, duel, love, fighting, yeah, it’s good.

Eric (as Paige): That’s a very good summary, you should be an English teacher one time.

Amanda (as Inara): Paige…

Amanda: And then I just stare at her.

[all laughing]

Eric (as Paige): Okay, it’ll be fine, I got too much in my head and I really shouldn’t have been talking about interspecies stuff for so long. I just really love this operetta really much. So, you all need to get in your costumes. Tracey, there is an apron that you can just throw on. Johnny, actually what you’re wearing is fine. You look pretty good. And Inara, I need you to get into costume.

Brandon: Tracey snickers.

Amanda: Inara backs away toward the dressing room staring at Tracey the whole time.

[Brandon laughs]

Michael: I’m gonna provide one of my Dancing Lights to Inara so that she can see while she’s in the… butt.

Amanda: Thank you. It’s Janice.

Michael: It’s Janice.

Eric: Okay, so you go into your dressing room, and there is a very, very tall man with a big black bushy beard and he turns around and you realize who this is. This is an acclaimed theater actor. And his name is Louis Knight Daniels. And he’s gonna be the front of your manticore.

Eric (as Lewis Night-Daniels): Ah! You have come to be the other half of the manticore! Welcome to the beasterly realm. I have been eating nothing but bugs for the last three weeks, and I appreciate that you have done the same amount of preparation.

Amanda: Inara, uncharacteristically thinks for a moment before acting.

[Brandon laughs]

And then just does a little half bow, half courtesy, and just nods sagely at this actor. And then points at the butt, which is hanging up by suspenders, and walks over to put her feet in the feet.

Eric (as Lewis Night-Daniels): That’s exactly what I like to see. We need to become one and the same. I am the front quarters and you are the hind quarters, and together we are the full manticore that threatens the castle that is the main crux of the beginning of the operetta!

Amanda: Inara sort of bows slightly at the waist, puts the suspenders over her shoulders, and stands there.

Eric (as Lewis Night-Daniels): Ah, spoken like a true hind quarter, saying nothing.

Amanda: Inara is pinching herself very hard.

[Eric laughs]

Eric: Okay, so while Inara is getting ready, Paige looks out through the curtains to look at the audience. So, the audience is at a five, this is a scale of one to ten, and at a five, the audience is just chillin’ watching the show. They’re silent but neither excited nor bummed out. And Paige peeks out through the curtain and she says

Eric (as Paige): Nooo, oh I knew this was gonna happen, but I can’t believe it’s still happening today. This is real. This is real.

Eric: She looks at Johnny and Tracey and she says

Eric (as Paige): Okay, so my professor, Professor Carriage, she’s the dwarf woman right in the third row.

Eric: Johnny and Tracey, you look out and you see this dwarf woman who has a sour look on her face and a very fancy braided beard.

Eric (as Paige): Yeah, she’s really hard on me, but I know that she just thinks I can actually do really well and make a difference here. But she’s a very strict judge of performance, like if I don’t do well here, I mean I could suck. They can reject me. I’m gonna have to do another two years of grad school and I don’t have the money for that [getting worked up] and I don’t wanna be an academic for the rest of my life, and this is gonna be so bad! This is gonna be so bad!

Brandon (as Tracey): Hey, hey, hey, Paige. You’ve got the Jailbirds on your team.

Eric (as Paige): That doesn’t make- is that your team name?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, you got the Jailbirds. Watch this… I’ll get the door. I forgot the line was that it?

Eric (as Paige): No, that’s good. That was good.

[all laughing]

Eric: Johnny, as Tracey is pacifying Paige, you look over and you see that sitting next to Professor carriage is Greg and Bridge.

Michael: Cool.

Eric: So, Johnny, I think that when you opened the curtain you accidentally opened it too far and you stepped out. People think this is like a theatrical creation.

Michael: I’m going to do an acrobatic dance to warm the audience up to the show.

Eric: I like it.

Amanda: Johnny, you’re so old.

Michael: I’m so old.

Eric: Here’s what happens. You do your acrobatic dance, and it’s so archaic that people think it’s like from the timeframe of the actual operetta. So, people in the audience start clapping, and they’re like keeping time. They’re like, “Go, go, go, go” and someone in the back is like, “This is so exactly what the time period is!” And you can also see that Greg sees you on stage and is like

Eric (as Greg): What is this guy doing?

Michael: I wink at Greg.

Eric: [laughing] No! He’s just open mouthed and pointing at you. And we are going to start at a six. Because you warmed up the crowd.

Brandon: Ay!

Amanda: Nice, nice.

Michael: Something that normally happens at an opera.

[all laugh]

A warm up.

Eric: And Paige then pulls you by the back of your coat like

Eric (as Paige): What are you doing?!

Eric: Inara, you come out attached to the front of the manticore because Louis Knight Daniels wants time with you like in the actual costume.

Amanda: So, we’re waiting in the wings.

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: Attached, next to Paige. And I am still not saying anything.

Eric: So, as you three are standing next to Paige, the orchestra is starting to warm up and you have like a few minutes before the opera is about to start. And Paige is like visibly nervous. She is like shaking and bouncing up and down. The actors have left props around and the stagehand is cleaning up back there. And a stagehand is whistling. And Paige takes like five minutes to just flip out at the stagehand, because everyone knows that it’s bad luck to whistle in a theater, and she just jeeps nailing that home.

So, I want you three to make Perception checks.

Amanda: Well, I got a nat-20.

Michael: 7.

Brandon: 15 + 2 for 17.

Eric: Okay, Inara, with your nat-20 you notice that a prop that the stagehand hasn’t picked up yet is a small silver ring, and while the stagehand is whistling, the ring is still, but as soon as the stagehand stops whistling, the ring begins to spin.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, Paige?

Eric (as Paige): [yelling] And that’s why no one should be whistling backstage! It is totally against superstition. What do you want?!

Amanda: And I am just going to point at the ring sitting on the side table.

Eric: Paige turns to it, and stops herself for a moment and says

Eric (as Paige): Yeah, I think the Muse is here tonight.

Eric: And she runs over and grabs the ring.

[orchestra warming up, then fading]

Eric: Hey, it’s Eric. I am changing the structure of the midroll because have some very important news for you. ITS FALL. YES. FINALLY FALL. That means cinnamon in everything, pumpkin patches, sweaters and cardigans and long pants and heavy socks and boots, pets in silly costumes, watching Hocus Pocus 10 times in a month, pumpkin pie, did I sweaters already? OH flannels! And blankets! It’s a wonderful season and this is a wonderful break. Welcome to the midroll. I’ve mulled some cider for you.

HELLO  NEW PATRONS: JJ, MusicalToad, Kristen, Dylan, Thomas, Vince, Brett, Gareth, Scot, Stina, Anna, Louis, Hannah, Ban, Carter, and Drew. You’re all magical and wonderful and your hair all looks great. Amanda and I have both started out podcasting journeys full-time and your support is part of the reason we can follow our dreams. Thank you thank you thank you. If you want to have your name read out loud, or maybe have your name integrated into the campaign as an NPC, you gotta join the patreon. I’m prepping for the NEXT arc after this and I need some character names! Head on over to patreon.com/jointheparty, and for as little as 1 dollar, you can join the party.

We are sponsored this week by Calm, the #1 app for sleep, meditation, and relaxation. CALM gives you the tools you need to live a more mindful life. This isn’t a one-size fits all mediation - these can precisely fit into your actual life. Just like you wouldn’t use a sledgehammer when building a dollhouse, you wouldn’t try to tell yourself to just CHILL if you had a relationship issue.

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We are also sponsored this week by 20 Sided Store in Brooklyn, New York. We heard Lauren’s recommendation for HOUSE OF DANGER last episode, a D&D-type board game that keeps the adventure but cuts down on time and prep. So we picked it up and played last weekend and we love it. It’s a true combo of modern board games and the classic choose-your-own-adventure games, and you can tell that the game isn’t taking itself too seriously. We worked our way through the game in a few hours, but our path only hit 30% of the adventure inside. We’ll def replay this in the future. And you can play and replay all your favorite games at 20 Sided Store! 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 come or in person in Brooklyn, New York.

Alright, let’s get back to the show.

[orchestra warm up plays again]

Eric: So, the play begins. After an opening song from the chorus, the princes share a private song and a tender kiss. And since you’re at a 6, one person all the way in the back goes.

Eric (as audience member): [distant, off to the left] Aw yeah!

[all laugh]

Eric: As they are tenderly kissing, they’re interrupted by one of Samson’s attendants who announces that they must attend a meeting arranged by their parents. And Paige whispers in Johnny’s ear

Eric (as Paige): Alright, Johnny, you’re on. Just look cool and tough. That’s it.

Michael: I stroll in.

Eric: Okay, so Johnny, you’re standing in the corner looking at everything while the attendant is like reprimanding one of the princes. I want you to make a Perception check.

[dice rolling]

Michael: A 16.

Eric: Okay, so from the other side of the stage, you see the rope that holds the curtain together is starting to move by itself. In fact, the rope is slithering around like a snake, and then it rears back like it’s about to strike. What do you do?

Michael: So, I want to walk towards it to intercept its path. Now, when you act, all movements need to be purposeful. So, I’m not just randomly walking, I am walking there because as the bodyguard, and you know, he’s worried about many things: his mortgage, his time at home-

Amanda: Gotta really find that motivation, man.

Michael: But he knows that if he does a good job this week, he can get that promotion. I want the two princes to take Samson’s attendant more seriously, so I’m going to intimidatingly walk on over and in the meantime also step on the rope.

Eric: I want you to make a Performance check for looking intimidating, and this is like your stage action.

[dice rolling]

Michael: Just confirm that that is a nat-20 - can someone?

Eric: Goddamn, okay. So, Fish, you’re playing this for laughs. So, what does it look like when the guard is over-the-top intimidatingly -?

Michael: You know when you put your hands on your hips and then you’re walking raising your shoulders up and down?

[all laughing]

Just being like “Hmm, hmm, hmm. I’m a strong angry person. Hrm, hrm.”

I shouldn’t be talking, but I loudly am going

Michael (as Johnny): Harumph, harumph, harumph.

Eric: So, the attendant is like

Eric (as attendant): The princes need to be taking this on their best behavior.

Michael (as Johnny): Harumph, harumph, harumph, harumph, harumph.

Eric: And the attendant looks behind him and is like, “alright…”

Michael (as Johnny): Harumph.

Michael: And I time that last harumph and step on this rope to prevent it from further moving.

Eric: Okay, that’s awesome. So, the audience is laughing at Johnny, so I’m latching this up to a seven. And I want you to make a Dexterity roll, but I will give you Advantage.

[dice rolling]

Michael: Well, I’m glad you gave me Advantage…

[dice rolling]

Because I rolled originally a 4, but now I got a 19 + 3 for a 22.

Eric: Alright, while everyone is distracted by the laughter and the attendant gathers the attention of the crowd again, the rope tries to lash out, but you are standing like on the snake’s abdomen if it was a snake, so it tries to lash out, but it does not get the length far enough, and it just like falls to the floor.

Michael: When it is time for us to exit stage right or left, I will swiftly pick it up and move it offstage.

Eric: Alright, there you go. Very good, Johnny. Act One is done.

[all clapping]

Alright, this is Act 2, Scene 4-

Amanda: To be clear, I am standing in this costume sweating this entire time.

Eric: [laughing] Well, don’t worry Inara, this is your scene. Now in Act 2, the princes have been ordered to kill each other. With Sebastian and his evil uncle, they sneak up to the Samson castle at night, but they are ambushed by the family’s manticore. There’s a fog machine with fog that’s rolling in, and then you hear from the front, Louis Knight Daniels goes

Eric (as Lewis Night-Daniels): [roars, somehow with an accent]

Brandon: Truly inspiring.

Amanda: I put my hand over my mouth to stop from laughing.

Eric: And that’s when Paige slaps the manticore on the hind quarters, which happens to be your face. And you two tromp out. The uncle pipes up and says

Eric (as uncle): Ah, this is a manticore! It has the face of a human, but the body of a lion, the wings of a dragon, and the tail of a scorpion. The most fearsome creature ever to be seen in the five [singing the words] Concentric States.

Brandon: From the side of the stage, you hear Tracey go

Brandon (as Tracey): [gasps]

Amanda: Aw!

Eric: The uncle is very talented. He played Iago.

[Brandon laughs]

Louis Knight Daniels is really going at it. He’s trying to be as threatening as possible even if his costume looks a bit ridiculous. So, he’s doing the role or he’s like clomping around. The funny thing about the hind parts is that you are standing in the lion’s hind quarters and you’re hunched over, and there’s actually a little lever to move the scorpion tail around.

Amanda: Oh, a little rudder.

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: Good, good.

Eric: He has like a lever of his own to control the wings, so the wings are also flapping at the same time. And Inara, I want you to make a Strength check.

Amanda: Well good think I’m a strong little rogue, huh?

[dice rolling]

Well, um, as they say, every rose has its thorn, and every crit win has a crit fail. I got a 1.

[all laughing]

Eric: With a crit 1, the handle just flies out of your hand. The rudder is just wildly flapping from left to right and left to right. The audience on stage and Tracey and Johnny from the wings notice that the manticore’s tail is actually starting to curl and point towards you like a scorpion, and it swipes at all of the actors on stage, including like its body, and both you and Louis Knight Daniels take six points of damage.

Amanda: Alright.

Eric: But don’t worry, Louis Knight Daniels is a consummate professional, so he just continues on, but you know that this tail is out of control.

Johnny, while you’re back offstage, Paige looks you in the eye and says

Eric (as Paige): You’re supposed to be in this scene!

Michael (as Johnny): I know, I was just checking in with you that you knew I was supposed to be in this scene.

Eric (as Paige): Okay, remember, you’re supposed to be super drunk, so just play it as such, okay?

Michael (as Johnny): I can do that.

Eric: Paige pushes you as you stumble backwards onto the stage.

Michael: I take out a bottle that looks alcoholic and I start swigging it as I drunkenly walk out on stage.

Brandon: And in that one action went all of his hopes of promotion and wealth and supporting his family.

Michael: Oh yes, I forgot.

Eric: That’s very good.

Michael: I forgot the bodyguard’s whole-

Amanda: We’re three layers of character deep here.

Michael: Yes.

[all laughing]

Eric: Alright, so Inara and Johnny, I want you to roll for Initiative. Johnny, I’m going to give you Disadvantage because you have to act like you’re drunk.

[dice rolling]

Michael: Fascinating.

Amanda: I got a 5.

Michael: 13.

Amanda: This dice has turned on me.

Eric: This tail rolled very poorly, so drunk Johnny goes first.

Michael: Great. This bodyguard is drunk, so he’s not fully aware that this manticore is attacking him.

Eric: Okay.

Michael: However, I can sneakily cast sheleighleigh on my bottle of hooch.

Eric: [laughing] Okay.

Michael: So, I know use magic stats when I hit.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: So I’m using an attack roll with my spell attack bonus, so that’s a nat-20.

Eric: Come on!

Amanda: It’s there! I see it!

Eric: Gee whiz! So, Johnny, do damage, and you’re going to do damage only to the tail.

Michael: Okay great. I got a 9. 9 damage to just the tail.

Eric: Just the tail. You rolled a nat-20 though, so you double damage, right?

Michael: AY, I yes.

Eric: Okay, so you do 18 points of damage.

Michael: Yay!

Eric: You are just a strong beefy magic boy.

Michael: Mmm, magic is what’s strong.

Eric: So, I guess like you wheel around wildly in your drunken state.

Michael: Purposefully.

Eric: Purposefully. But it’s really for you to like to get an extra running start to early smash down on the tail, and yeah, you really smash this thing super hard.

Amanda: You know guys it really is the most effortless actions on stage that take the most preparation and concentration.

Eric: Right.

Michael: So, I’m adding sound effects with these hits, and I may have even snuck in a blood pack to burst with that second hit.

Eric: [laughing] Yeah, the audience is loving it, but now it is the manticore’s turn, and although the tail is damaged, it is not out, so the tail is focused on Johnny now.

Michael: Sure.

Eric: And it shoots three spikes at the wheeling, drunken bodyguard.

Michael: But as a drunken master, I definitely will dodge these.

Eric: Well, we’ll see what happens.

[dice rolling]

That’s a 12.

Michael: Does not hit.

[dice rolling]

Eric: That is a nat-1.

Michael: Does not hit. Hurts itself.

[dice rolling]

Eric: And that is a nat-20.

Michael: That will probably hit me.

Eric: Okay, so the first two, Johnny, you were able to drunken master out of the way, but the third one hits you right in the chest.

Michael: Oh, that’s gonna hurt me.

Eric: You take 10 points of damage.

Michael: Cool. I’m at 48 out of 70.

Eric: Yeah. The audience gasps when you get hit, because they’re really come around to the drunken- to the bodyguard.

Michael: But I think that the drunken- the performance is actually really good, because this bodyguard is trying his very best and now he is [dramatically] injured! Blood coming out of him! Because of the blood packs, Johnny as the bodyguard falls prone on his back with a flourish, making sure that in case the actual spike did not hit one of his blood backs, he will nudge it so that it bursts open with a lot of effect, and does another

Michael (as Johnny): Harumph!

Michael: As he falls back.

Eric: [laughing] It’s very- it’s funny. Inara, it is now your turn.

Amanda: Inara’s going to pull her daggers from inside the pockets of her tuxedo pants that Johnny thoughtfully included- those special, special side pockets of the tuxedo that everybody has, and comes to rely on-

Brandon: There’s on in the cummerbund which is weird.

[Amanda laughs]

Amanda: And hopefully surprisingly, I don’t know if this Muse expects an attack from inside its own butt, so-

[Eric laughs]

She’s going to punch up inside the hollow apparatus of the tail and slash her daggers in like an x-shape.

Eric: Okay, you can make an attack roll and then add your Sneak Attack damage, and then after that we’re going to see how Stealth fully you did that so that the audience can tell whether or not a knife went out through the costume.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: So, the attack roll is a 17.

Eric: That hits.

Amanda: So, the damage is a 4 and a 5.

Eric: Okay.

Amanda: Plus, I got a 9 on my Sneak Attack bonus.

Eric: That is 18 totals in damage. Sweet. Okay, so now let’s roll to see how stealthfully you did that.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: That is a 14.

Eric: Okay, so with an 18 damage, that is enough to drive the Muse out, and really do a number on this manticore prop tail. You have defeated the Muse in the manticore butt.

[Michael singing fanfare]

Eric: Great job!

[Amanda singing fanfare]

And I think that with a 14, you did it upstage enough that people didn’t see the knives coming out of the butt, but you definitely did damage to the costume, and you definitely sliced the manticore tail off as well.

Michael: As it’s falling off, I use my foot to kick it up and have it angled as if it was still impaled into me from when I, so nobly this bodyguard, took the hit, and then while holding it, I’m gonna wait til the lights go down to sort of scooch off.

Eric: Yeah. By the end of the scene, the manticore runs after the evil uncle, and Sebastian says

Eric (as Sebastian): Exit, pursued by manticore.

Eric: And everyone runs off and the lights go down.

Michael: How did the audience like our little fight?

Amanda: How did they like the unscripted killing of the guard?

Eric: How much-

Brandon: Such a horrible, horrible, end.

Eric: How much-

Amanda: It’s such a metaphor for society!

Eric: How much- hold on! I have a measure for this!

Brandon: He was so noble and was brought so low before his death.

Amanda: Paige did some real innovation here to this old play.

Eric: How much damage did everyone take?

Michael: I took 10 damage total.

Amanda: I took 6.

Eric: Okay.

Brandon: I took zero.

Michael: But I did some really cool stuff.

Eric: We’re gonna knock this up one. The audience really loved that fight, especially because in a lot of productions, the manticore doesn’t actually fight, it’s just kind of like a metaphorical battle. So good job guys, and now you are up to an 8. The audience is having a great time.

[players clapping]

We are now moving forward into Act Three. This is the famous scene at the tavern. So, as the lights go down in Act Three, Scene Two, Paige goes up to Tracey and says

Eric (as Paige): [whispering] Alright, Tracey, do you remember your line?

Brandon (as Tracey): [appalled] Do I remember my line?

Eric (as Paige): [through teeth] Tracey, what’s the line?

Brandon (as Tracey): How dare you insult me with such a a question!

Eric (as Paige): You still are not telling me what the line is.

Brandon (as Tracey): I have the line- the line is in my blood, it’s in my veins.

Eric (as Paige): You don’t have either of those things.

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s an assumption you are making, and I will have none of it. We are over, this conversation is done.

Eric (as Paige): Tracey, what’s the line?

Brandon: Trace stares ahead at the stage.

[all laugh]

Eric: Okay, so here’s how this scene goes: Samson is at a tavern with his friends when Sebastian walks in. Samson spends the scene convincing his friends that they are not seeing Sebastian, by singing the cadenza, “Thy drink has been blinded, so let’s look to our glasses.” But before Sebastian can come in, the old barkeep gets to answer the door when Sebastian knocks, and then you give your only line. Okay?

Brandon: Got it.

Eric: So, during the blackout, Paige leads you by the hand to behind the bar. The other actors are set up at tables all over the stage, and you look around- it looks a lot like the Giant Mistake in there.

Brandon: You know, it’s funny you say that, because I was going to say Tracey, when he was meditating before he went on stage, he decided to take his inspiration from his good buddy and bartender Hephaestus. So, he’s rubbing his forehead a lot I guess.

Eric: [giggling] You get bangs. You bring a bucket from the prop room.

Brandon: Uh-huh.

Eric: Alright, I like it. The bros are hanging out onstage and they’re talking to each other, and then you hear a knock at the door.



[Tracey clearing throat]

Brandon (as Tracey): [low-pitched and grizzly] I’ll get the door.

Brandon: And Tracey does a nice flourish with his arms and then sashays over to the door.

Eric: [laughing] you can hear Paige offstage go

[Paige sighs deeply]

So, you walk over to the door and-

Brandon: On the way back, Tracey does a little ball-step-change on the way back to the bar.

Eric: Well, it’s funny that you mention that, Brando, because when you try to open the door.

Brandon: I’m sorry, I’m bartender from now on. I don’t know…

Eric: Bartender Brando.

Brandon: Just bartender.

Eric: Old bartender.

Brandon: There you go.

Eric: When you try to open the door, it’s stuck.

Brandon (as Tracey): Alas!... sorry [clears throat]

Michael: Oh no adding lines!

Eric: No more lines!

Michael: Oh no!

Brandon: Tracey jiggles the handle, realizes it’s stuck, and says

Brandon (as Tracey): [speaking in grizzly voice] Alas, the door is stuck.

Brandon: And tries to rip the door off its hinges.

Eric: Okay, so Johnny and Inara, I want you to make a Perception check.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 18.

Michael: 6.

Eric: Okay, Johnny, you’re still congratulating yourself on how good of a job you did in your first two scenes.

Michael: That seems on brand.

Eric: Yeah. Inara, as you’re getting out of the manticore costume, you realize that the actor who’s playing Sebastian- he’s swatting at his costume, and it looks like his costume is changing. Like it’s being moved around by invisible hands.

Amanda: I’m going to run over there and say

Amanda (as Inara): [whispering] Hey, what’s the problem? Can I help?

Eric (as Sebastian): [struggling] I can’t- I’m not doing- I can’t- it won’t get off of me! Stop, I need that! I need that!

Eric: And it’s like his shirt is being pulled up over his head, and his shoes are being untied.


Brandon (as Tracey): I must get this door off the hinges!

Eric: You went Scottish that time, that’s good. Tracey, make a Strength check.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 14 + 3 for 17.

Eric: I rolled an 18. So, you try to pull it open-

Brandon: Oh, that seems like you’re lying, though.

Eric: … I show Brandon the die…

[Brandon laughs]

You try to pull the door open, and right now you are just shaking it on its hinges and it just will not open.

Brandon (as Tracey): The guest is too shy and does not want to enter the premises!

Eric: So Inara, right now the actor playing Sebastian is just trying to keep the costume from just going all over the place. What do you do?

Amanda: I am going to tell him to hold still and take out my dagger to very carefully- with the base of it, the hilt of it, try to hit the hands that are pulling it away.

Brandon (as Tracey): Friends, accomplices! Someone come help me welcome our guest to board!

[Eric and Amanda laughing]

Eric: Okay, are you-

Brandon: So, I’m calling some of the actors, the extras open to try to help me pull the door open.

Eric: Okay, so the actor who’s playing the other prince, Samson, comes over and is like

Eric (as Samson): Ah, bartender. Ye old bartender friend…

Brandon (as Tracey): That is me, sir!

Eric: He’s not very good at improv.

Eric (as Samson): Ye old bartender friend, I’m sorry that you’re having such a hard time opening the door. Let me help you.

Brandon: And I whisper under my breath

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] It’s actually stuck, please pull hard.

Eric (as Samson): [whispering] Alright, I guess we can do it together.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah.

Eric: Okay, so we’re going to do another one, and I’m going to give negative of the Muse this time.

[dice rolling]

Okay, what’d you roll?

Brandon: Uh, I rolled a 9.

Eric: Okay, so I rolled a 13, but even with my subtraction, it still beats the 9.

Amanda: Hearing this commotion, Inara’s gonna as she is trying really hard to like swat away the hands, cast Mage Hand.

Eric: Okay.

Amanda: And try to make sure the door is unlocked and try to open it from the inside.

Eric: Oh, that’s interesting. So Inara, I want you to make a Dexterity roll to try to swat the hands away.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: That is an 18.

Eric: And for Mage Hand I want you to do a Strength roll, but I’m going to give you Advantage because the Muse is not expecting it to open from the other side.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 16.

Eric: I rolled a 4.

Amanda: Well even your tiny little friend is stronger than that.

Brandon: Tracey doesn’t know this is happening, so on stage he turns to Samson and says

Brandon (as Tracey): Ah, even your own strength can’t open this door! Thankfully, we need firewood anyway!

Brandon: Tracey pulls out his axe and gets ready to chop the door down.

Eric: Oh god, and the audience is freaking out, Samson is freaking out.

Alright, so with an 18, you are able to slap away the invisible hands that’s messing with the actor that’s playing Sebastian, so he’s able to smooth it out as best as he can. And with the Mage Hand, you push open the door from the other way, and the door suddenly bursts open as if someone was holding it and let’s go, and the door hits both Tracey and the actor playing Samson. And they both fall backwards.

Brandon (as Tracey): [in Southern accent] Now, Samson, I was not expecting this door to open on its own, sir!

Eric (as Samson): [whispering] Why is your accent changing? Stick to one!

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] Is it changing?

Eric (as Samson): It is! It’s changing!

Brandon (as Tracey): I thought I was doing this one the whole time!

Eric (as Samson): No. Get off stage! Get off, get out of here!

Eric: And he pushes Tracey off of him.

Brandon (as Tracey): [in English accent] Well, I think I’ve had quite enough for this evening.

Brandon: And Tracey is just sort of like in cabaret fashion, just raising his axe up and down as he kicks offstage.

Eric: [laughing] Okay. As Sebastian walks in, the drinking song begins with a trill of flutes and peppy fiddles, and Inara, you see that as the door is going to swing back closed, but as soon as the music starts, the door stops moving.

Amanda: Making sure that Tracey is alright, doesn’t look harmed, he’s just holding his axe and probably talking about the scene that just happened-

Brandon (as Tracey): It was really good, right?

Amanda: I am going to-

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah yeah yeah!

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay!

Amanda: I give him double thumbs up, and then I am going to run around the back of the set to find Paige.

Eric: Paige has her head in her hands

Eric (as Paige): I don’t even know if you remember that one line- why did he keep changing accents?!

Amanda (as Inara): Listen, Paige, this Muse seems to come when there’s no music playing, so I don’t know, maybe if we keep music playing somewhere, it won’t come back.

Eric (as Paige): That is a very good idea… Okay, um. If you run in the prop room, there are spare instruments in there. You can go grab one and see if it will keep the Muse at bay.

Amanda (as Inara): You got it, don’t worry.

Eric (as Paige): Okay, you getting ready for the final scene? It’s coming up. Act Four is almost here.

Amanda: Inara’s going to run to one of the other doors at the back wall of the set into a hallway with a carpentry shop at one end and a paint closet in the middle, and dressing rooms down at the end, and there is a door that is slightly ajar, it looks like the lock is unlocked and it says, “Props. Do Not Enter. I mean it.”

So Inara runs in and there are barrels of swords and rows and rows and rows of lanterns and hats and canes, and in one corner there are musical instruments. She grabs the first few that she can hold, which are a lute, a flute, and a little tambourine.

[Eric laughs]

And on her way out, she also grabs a helmet for a suit of armor to wear onstage.

Eric: Good. I like it. So, the audience is like confused. You guys lose one. You’re now down to 7.

Okay, we are now in Act Four, Scene Five. This is the final scene, the final confrontation. Sebastian and Samson are forced to duel in front of their families. Each one drinks a sleeping potion in secret and pretends to be killed by the other’s sword. They both die, and the families lament their death.

So here all three of you are onstage. Paige is trying to force all of you on to stand there, we’re not going to even talk about the fact that you died in the middle of Act Two, it’s fine.

Michael: I found bandages to make it look like I’m all bandaged up.

Amanda: So, I found these guys in the wings and gave them the instruments.

Eric: Okay, the scene starts to ramp up, and the sword fight happens and both of them die. And the two princes fall into each other’s arms. You see from offstage, Paige is freaking out. She’s pointing to the audience, and you see that three rows in, Professor Carriage is climbing over Greg and Bridge to get up and is trying to leave through the back. In the quiet of the serious scene, you can hear the locks on all of the doors click shut, and you see as Professor Carriage walks to the back, the carpet from behind her starts to raise up and whip backwards, keeping her from walking to the back exit.

Michael: As if it were just part of the scene, Johnny’s gonna start playing and cues his two compatriots and fellow actors to start playing a lamenting but hopeful song that fits the mood of this sad death of two princes.

Amanda: yeah, Inara’s going to hit the tambourine really somberly with a minimum of rattling. [Eric laughs] Just trying to give that like solid beat.

Brandon: Tracey’s playing in the key of B.

Eric: Okay, I want all of you to make Performance checks.

Amanda: 16.

Michael: 18 + 4 for a 22.

[Michael and Amanda laughing]

Brandon: … I stop playing the flute.

Michael: The flute breaks.

Eric: Oh no. Tracey, what’d you roll.

Brandon: Well first I rolled a 3 and I was like “Don’t worry, I have Advantage.” Then I rolled a 2.

[Eric laughs]

Eric: What’s the sound that you make with your flute with a 3?

Brandon: Um [blowing air, sputtering]

Michael: But we’re playing nicely.

Eric: You two are playing very nicely. But with a 3, it’s still distracting onstage, and I think you catch the attention of everybody onstage. They all look at you. The rug starts to settle down. It’s definitely not pushing Professor Carriage back anymore, but Professor Carriage is still trying to sneak away into the back of the opera.

Michael: Johnny starts singing a song about how rude it is to leave in the middle of a performance.

Eric: Johnny, you really want to sing a song about that?

Michael: I’ll sing a song about-

Michael (as Johnny): [singing] Isn’t it nice to watch a performance in its entirety? Isn’t it rude to just leave midway through. Isn’t it nice to just keep watching and stop being rude. [Tracey sings backing beat] Just sit your butt down and sit and watch the show. Bum-be-dum-ba-bum.

Brandon (as Tracey): Bum-bum-ba-dum-ba-dum.

Eric: [laughing] That was a very good song, Johnny. You know what’s interesting, is that the Professor hears you from onstage and turns around and says

Eric (as Professor Carriage): Excuse me, I really just have to go to the bathroom, I’m sorry. Let me go to the bathroom.

Michael (as Johnny): [singing] That’s why adult diapers were made. La-la-la-la-la-la.

[Brandon laughing]

Intermission was the time to pee, do not go pee right now! This is the climax of the show, why don’t you sit right down and watch the rest then pee your pants la la la la la!

Eric (as audience member): Yeah, sit down! This is the climax, I paid good money for this!

Eric: People in the audience shout down the professor. The professor then walks back to her seat, and you hear all of the doors unclick. Paige starts to calm down and is not like visibly shaking anymore. The actor who has the final speech then steps forward and gives this beautiful speech about families coming together and love being the thing to conquer all, and two princes being able to find each other no matter what the political turmoil is. And you look over and Greg is like crying into his hands, and Bridge is like patting him awkwardly on the back.

Amanda: With his giant parrot wing?

Eric: Yeah. And then the two princes wake up and everyone just goes, “Hey! It was all okay!” And then there’s a wedding and the play ends.

[plucky music beings]

Amanda: With our music boisterously scoring the moment.

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: I don’t know what the music director is doing during this-

Eric: Just angrily looking at you.

Brandon: They’ve just broken their baton and quit.

Eric: You guys did the thing!

Amanda: We did it!

Eric: You did the opera!

Michael: How’s the- what’s the applause sound like?

Eric: It’s very good! You guys-


[players cheering and shouting]

Brandon (as Tracey): Awesome bartender!

Amanda: Woo!

Michael: See you at the Tony’s!

That bodyguard deserves a lot of accolades, also the singing was hot!

Eric: Okay, so everyone comes up and does their bow, the actors who have bit parts and then the more substantial actors and the character actors, and then the two actors who played both princes come out to roaring applause. Paige then pushes all three of you out on stage and you all get your chance to bow in front of the audience. Everyone is cheering with huge enthusiasm. Johnny has become like a special character in their hearts, so they cheer even though he died. And then Louis Knight Daniels tries to come out with you again, because he wants more applause, and he then starts to stand in front of Johnny and-

Michael: I thank him.

Brandon: And then Tracey rushes out in front of everyone and courtesies with his apron.

Eric: That’s nice. And then Paige comes out and takes a long-deserved bow, and the audience is cheering wildly for her.

Brandon: I put Paige on my shoulders.

Eric: All the cast cheers for Paige, and wholeheartedly is happy to have been at her operetta. And at that point, the audience starts to file out and goes out into the cold winter night. Professor Carriage runs up to the stage and says

Eric (as Professor Carriage): I’m sorry I had to leave, I really had to go to the bathroom, but the- the opera was lovely. You did such a good job. I’m going to recommend you to the board. You passed with flying colors. Thank you for this wonderful rendition. I wouldn’t have thought of this and you’ve done it in such a colorful way, and I know that you’ve dealt with quite a lot here.

Eric: Paige is a mess. She’s crying. She’s like

Eric (as Paige): I’m gonna pass! I’m gonna pass grad school. Thank you, everybody!

Brandon (as Tracey): Paige, you deserve it.

Amanda (as Inara): Doctor missus queen Paige, we are very proud of you.

Eric (as Paige): That’s me. That’s me.

Eric (as Professor Carriage): Extremely proud.

Brandon (as Tracey): Is there an after party? Will there be an open bar?

Amanda (as Inara): What is the snack situation?

Eric: Yes, yes, and extremely.

Brandon: On the way out, Tracey grabs a couple of playbills to have as proof.

Eric: Nice, good idea.

[music ends]

As you three are walking out, you turn around, and all of the lights are going out except for the one glowing ghost light in the middle of the stage and hovering around the ghost light is the Muse. It swirls around the ghost light a few times, takes one sweeping bow to an empty audience, and disappears back to its own plane.

[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 cartographs our world. Special thanks to our creative consultants Connor McLoughlin, Julia Schifini and Heddy Hunt.

Michael: The party doesn’t stop here! The day after every episode comes out we publish the Afterparty, where we sit down to discuss what just happened and learn what could have happened. Send us your questions anytime.

Brandon: Join our community online by following @jointhepartypod on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We’ve also got every episode up on our website, jointhepartypod.com; and you can email us questions or stories anytime at 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.