37. Labor Party VII

The party approaches the final labor on the list the Labyrinth of Dawnrise. Every maze has an end, so they have to make their way out. Right? Inara listens to Spirits. Tracey touches the cheese. Johnny walks through the door.

If you want to bring Labor Party into your campaign, head to http://bit.ly/laborpartymodules and pick up the adventure!


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- website: jointhepartypod.com

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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 at jointhepartypod.com.


Amanda: Hi, just wanted to let you know at the top that this episode is emotionally heavy, and some of you may find it intense to listen to. If at any point you prefer to read the transcript instead, head over to jointhepartypod.com. We’ve also released the Afterparty a day early so you can hear us discuss what goes down. Alright, let’s get to it.

Last time on Join The Party…

Eric: [singing to the tune of ‘I Love College’] Yeah, I love college! I love centaurs! Yeah I love cleaning! Yeah I love college! Bow bow! [speaking] The party steps inside the frat, HORSE, where Vanjor the pony centaur is being hazed.

Eric (as Onion): Pledge, we take hazing extremely seriously here. They just kind of do things as favors.

Eric: Their punishment, cleaning the bathroom, but the bathroom fights back.

Brandon: I’m sitting down on the edge of the ramp just sort of looking down and saying

Brandon (as Tracey): This is- this can’t be.

Eric: Like most dirty rooms, tehre is a secret door hidden in teh filth leading into the dark recesses of the building. There, three ancient challenges wait for those who come upon them, but the challenges are so old.

Eric: Johnny, also as you hit the last F, the front of the organ falls off.

Eric: At the end of it, Johnny is tempted by an unlit black candle, and he does what Johnny does.

Eric: As you light teh candle, you feel all of the light, the dim light in the room starts to drain, and it’s like everything is moving towards the candle.

Eric: The last labor awaits. Let’s finish the checklist, and let’s get the party started.

[theme music]

[whistling and forceful wind, footfall on crunching leaves]

Eric: As you walk back to Ze'ol's dome, the weather changes again. And this is close to fall, but this isn't the beautiful picnic outside, wear a nice sweater fall day; this is the wind cutting through your jacket and sweater, crinkling your boots, making your eyes water type of fall day. It's desolate, and the only sound you hear is the crunching of dead leaves below your feet.

It's a long walk from the campus to the dome 'cause Ze'ol, once again, has not given you any sort of bus fare back.

Brandon: Tracey's watching every one of the steps as he takes them, making sure that he's making forward progress.

Amanda: I think Oatcake is nosing at the leaves, but we're bruised and bloodied and just want to get to that last thing.

Eric: It takes a few hours to transverse the city, but you see Ze’ol's dome only a few hundred feet in front of you. And the door, unlike before, is slightly ajar. It seems like someone took a painting and, like, scribbled over it. This beautiful landscape that you're so used to seeing… it looks off.

Amanda: Before we get within sort of earshot of the door, I'm gonna stop and look at my companions.

Amanda (as Inara): So are we gonna talk about this?

[footsteps stop]

Michael: Johnny continues walking forward towards the door.

Brandon: Tracey unsheathes his axe and flips it over, and starts using it as a walking stick, and trudges faster forward.

[footsteps resume]

Amanda (as Inara): Okay.

Eric: As three of you walk up to the door, you don't hear anything inside

Michael: Leading the way, I flip my sunglasses on so I can take look inside before we walk in.

Eric: Sure. You don't see anyone in there. Bridge isn't in there. You don't see the Speaker like last time. Now the compass is floating.

Michael: Sure.

Eric: It's like five feet above the pedestal, and it's spinning lazily.

Brandon: Tracey comes stomping up behind Johnny, kicks the door in, [metal door being kicked] stomps down the staircase, and says

Brandon (as Tracey): Ze’ol let's get this done!

[wind stops]

Eric: As Tracey kicks open the door, you feel the same rush of wind that you do when you usually exit and you go somewhere random. And as you walk through, the temperature changes, and you look around, and you're in a waiting room.

Brandon (as Tracey): What?

Eric: There's a young woman, probably at college-age, sitting at a desk, her face buried in a very, very large textbook. And as you scream, she looks up and says

Eric (as young woman): Aah! I'm sorry it's just ten gold! I can't do anything about the price!

Brandon: Tracey puts his axe away, slowly.

Amanda: Inara comes in with Oatcake in her arms.

Amanda (as Inara): Huh?

Brandon (as Tracey): Uh... I can give you twelve?

Eric (as young woman): I mean, you don't have to. If you have a scholarship, you can just- if you have a scholarship, take it. You can just show it to me… you don't have to yell.

Brandon (as Tracey): I'm sorry, didn't mean to raise my voice.

Eric (as young woman): Thank you, appreciate that.

Brandon (as Tracey): [calmly] Calmly and collected, I'd like to ask. Where the hell are we?

Eric (as young woman): You're at the- I guess I should do the formal speech.

Eric: As you two join Tracey in front of the desk, you get a better look at this young woman. She is a half-elf with short brown hair, with a little ponytail like she just got it long enough to put a ponytail in. She wears very thick glasses, and picks up the textbook, and puts it under her arm as she prepares to give you the speech.

Eric (as young woman): [forced, rehearsed] Hello, and welcome to The Labyrinth of Dawnrise!

Eric: And she makes a sweeping motion with her right hand.

Amanda (as Inara): Ugh!.. I'm sorry, that wasn't to you. It's just a long story … Okay, go ahead.

Eric (as young woman): I mean I have to start- I really have this memorized; I have to start over.

Amanda (as Inara): Sorry.

Eric (as young woman): Is that okay? I'm just gonna start over.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, please do.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, yeah.

Eric (as young woman): Welcome to The Labyrinth of Dawnrise!

Eric: And she makes-

[Johnny coughs loudly]

Michael (as Johnny): Sorry, sorry I just had to cough. I apologize.

Eric (as young woman): I really need to-

Michael (as Johnny): I'm so sorry. It's been like the weather's changing and I'm not feeling all myself. So apologize, apologize. So sorry.

Eric (as young woman): I'm just gonna- I'll just go again, okay.

Brandon: Tracey throws twelve gold on the table.

Eric (as young woman): Oh thank you! Okay let me get through- I really gotta get through my speech. Okay, welcome to The Labyrinth of Dawn- welcome to The Labyrinth of Dawnrise...

Rumors abound of the untold riches hidden within. Whispering voices tell of the numerous puzzles that rest between these walls. Some say the puzzles are impossible! But it's by this main gate you can see all of the students here that have tried to tackle it, and only the best of Dawnrise Academy can conquer the labyrinth.

Will the maze ever be solved? Who is the next to escape? Who is that dastardly looking woman sitting- nope that's. No that's me. Hello! I'm-

As you know, I shouldn't have read that. Hi, I'm Corelia and I will be your guide to the Labyrinth of Dawnrise. Ten gold, just ten gold pieces and you can take your shot here at Dawnrise Academy, where you are the true magic.

Michael (as Johnny): I always knew I was magic.

[light applause]

Eric (as Corelia): That feels kind of… condescending but okay.

Amanda (as Inara): [exhausted] We're really tired, sorry. Not you, us. Long day, longest day any... hi, I'm Inara, this is Oatcake, that's Tracey.

Brandon (as Tracey): I'm just gonna lay down.

Eric (as Corelia): Okay.

Brandon: Tracey lays down.

Eric (as Corelia): Well I mean, you have your- this is your block, right? Your time block?

Brandon (as Tracey): Um, yes?

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah…

Eric: Corelia puts down the big textbook and picks up a clipboard and flips through it and says,

Eric (as Corelia): Yeah, I have 'out of town adventurers' written here for-for 11 a.m. and I guess you have this for- and you can start any time within like thirty minutes, but we have other people coming through so... I thought you would know. This was much more of a formality.

Michael (as Johnny): Oh, I mean we know but if you could remind us. What are we looking for exactly?

Eric (as Corelia): I'm just a student; this is my work study. So I’m not-

Michael (as Johnny): Oh sure. Yeah, yeah.

Brandon (as Tracey): What's your major?

Eric (as Corelia): I'm a speak speller; that's my major.

Amanda (as Inara): C-Cool.

Eric (as Corelia): Yeah, I do magic by saying things out loud. I'm not very good yet, which is why I'm doing this work study job…

Brandon (as Tracey): I felt the magic when you gave us that speech.

Eric (as Corelia): That's really nice. I've actually spent a lot of long time memorizing this thing, and I'm really glad you came through but you don’t look like- you three don't look like college students.

Amanda (as Inara): We're like students of the world, you know? Like students of the road. [Eric laughs]

Like learning all the adventures that life has to give us, just really firsthand. We can't be hemmed in by a classroom, man. Hi, I'm Inara.

Michael (as Johnny): I’m a continuing learner.

Brandon (as Tracey): Is like two thousand years a cutoff for age or...?

Eric (as Corelia): No, I mean adventurers come through in here, and it's kind of a continuing learning experience. Welcome sir, I know you might have frequented some of our- the lovely things here at Dawnrise Academy, getting your magic on straight, 'Where you are the real magic!' … They really drilled that one into me. But you know adventures come through here all the time just to conquer the labyrinth, so I assume you're here for that, too.

Amanda (as Inara): How often do they succeed?

Eric: Corelia scrunches up her nose and says

Eric (as Corelia): I cannot tell you because I am put in the responsibility, I need to uphold the mystery that is The Labyrinth of Dawnrise.

Eric: And she does another sweep of her hand.

Brandon: Tracey hops up.

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright let's just do this. I'm done.

Brandon: And he takes out his axe.

Brandon (as Tracey): Let's go.

Eric (as Corelia): Okay.

Michael: I place ten gold on the desk.

Eric (as Corelia): Thank you.

Michael (as Johnny): Is there like a pamphlet, or instruction sheet? Do I sign a waiver?

Brandon (as Tracey): I'm not signing anything.

Eric (as Corelia): You don't have to- no one has to sign anything. You just gonna go on ahead and good luck, you'll be fine.

Amanda (as Inara): Are most people usually fine?

Eric (as Corelia): Some people are fine.

Amanda (as Inara): Cool.

Eric (as Corelia): There have been a lot of successful people. Adventurers come here through all the time. It's a little harder for students- this is kind of like our graduation ceremony here.

But as adventurers walk through, it kind of depends. You know, the rooms are always changing so no one ever does one... It's procedurally generated by our magicians here so, you know, everyone has a different experience.

Amanda (as Inara): Last question: did there used to be a kind of like round lecture hall here? Little weird compass thing, kind of dinged, kind of ugly, on pedestal? Scary woman?

Brandon (as Tracey): Have you talked to a really big jerk guy? You know? You'd know.

Amanda (as Inara): You know the one.

Eric (as Corelia): It sounds like I do not know who you are talking about.

Brandon (as Tracey): Did he- did he tell you to say that?

Eric (as Corelia): I don't know who you're talking about.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay cool.

Brandon: Tracey takes out his other axe.

[Eric and Amanda laughing]

Amanda (as Inara): Let's just get this done.

Eric: On the far right wall, there's like a sign-in sheet, like a big poster and you kind of see different people's names who have done this before, if you feel like putting your names in there.

Michael: Do we recognize any of the names?

Eric: Yeah, you recognize Autumn's name is on there, which is super weird.

Amanda: Really?

Brandon: Huh.

Eric: But the other people-

Michael: What was her time?

Eric: It's very varied, so Autumn's time was like three days, four hours, and twenty-two seconds. But other people did it in weeks, but other people got DNF. One person did it in ten minutes, which was weird.

Brandon:  What was their name?

Eric: It was Olfgar.

Brandon: Olfgar.

Eric: It was just Olfgar. But there was Stavina.

Michael: Sure, and what was their time?

Eric: Two days, two weeks, and two minutes.

Michael: In that order it's written out.

Amanda: Oh wow.

Eric: There is another one for Lucinda Bellaforte, who wrote her name in very loopy script. And she said, "Enough," and there's check mark next to it, so I guess that was fine. And a bunch of other names, just kind of regular adventurer names like Steven and Chelsea. One person is named The Moonrise.

Michael:  How'd The Moonrise do?

Eric: Pretty well. Twenty-four hours, five minutes, thirty-six seconds.

Brandon (as Tracey): Corelia, is there any like locks we need to know how to do? Or like, any... you know, like pre-advanced knowledge that you give people? Just like, do I need to expect getting actors? Or like...

Eric (as Corelia): Okay. I guess. I mean, these aren't hints, it's just kind of telling you the structure. So, like I said before, it's procedurally generated, so everyone kind of gets a different room no matter what.

You walk into this really bright, like, before-chamber. And as you walk in, then on the door you see- there's gonna be a sign above each door, and it's gonna flip through different symbols, and that's supposed to give you a clue about the type of challenge you're about to undertake.

Amanda (as Inara): And we have to go in all them to beat it?

Eric (as Corelia): No, no, no, it's gonna finish when you finish. So you're just gonna keep walking through and then eventually there's gonna be a door with- you know, I'll just tell you. There's gonna be a door with a sunrise on it, and that's the one you're gonna notice. That's how you know you finished.

Amanda (as Inara): Dawnrise...

Brandon (as Tracey): Dawnrise…

Eric (as Corelia): ‘The magic was inside of you,’ you got it…

Michael (as Johnny): And the magic was inside of us.

Eric (as Corelia): The magic was inside all of us, yeah.

Michael (as Johnny): Okay.

Eric (as Corelia): So that's how you know; if you see a sunrise door, you're done.

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright, which way? Which door?

Eric (as Corelia): There's only one.

Brandon (as Tracey): That one?

Eric (as Corelia): No that's the one outside.

Brandon (as Tracey): What about that one?

Amanda (as Inara): The big one, Trace. Big one.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, okay.

Brandon: Tracey walks towards the door.

Eric: Okay. So you walk through the ornate front door, and you are in a totally white room except for another ornate door that's right in front of you. And it's gold, and purple, and like super etched and everything.

You look above the ornate door where you're about to start, and it's like watching an indecisive person use an Etch-A-Sketch. It's like you see a few lines of something, and as like someone's erasing it away. And then you see another line- maybe they're like curving off to the right, and then it gets erased away. And you see two lines that are going straight up, and it gets erased away.

And now these lines are starting to come together, as if someone is literally drawing it and it is the shape of a snake.

Amanda (as Inara): Oh good…

Michael (as Johnny): I love snakes.

Brandon (as Tracey): I don't want that one, y'all.

Eric: The ornate double doors open wide.

[water dripping slowly, breathy creeping string tones]

So as you peer inside now, this is like a regular dungeon. But it's very detailed. It's like someone created a room that was supposed to look like a dungeon. There's windows with bars on them, and there's a skeleton off to the side, but that skeleton may or may not be fake.

Amanda (as Inara): Aw guys, memories!

[Brandon laughs]

Amanda: I'm gonna tuck Oatcake to my chest and peer in to make a Perception check.

[dice rolling]

Five plus five for a ten.

Eric: You guys see a statue, a very large statue, like bigger than Tracey, what it- kind of looks like a human man on the other side, and he's standing in front of another set of very large doors. There on the left, there is a smaller door with bars in front of it.

Michael: Which could be set dressing, but probably is not.

Brandon: Tracey taps the tip of his axe on the floor twice, spins it in his hand, and walks boldly in.

Amanda: Yeah, I'm gonna kind of pull my Shadow Cowl a little bit closer around me, make sure it's ready to go if I need it, take out one dagger, set Oatcake down and tell her

Amanda (as Inara): Stay close.                 

Eric: As you walk into the door, the double doors behind you slam shut, [metal doors closing] and you hear the creaking of metal, [metal creaks] and you turn to your left and the cage bars are lifting up.

Amanda: Oh no.

Eric: And those doors open, and you see a massive snake head slithering out of those doors. The snake slithers around on its body, taking in the room around you, not looking directly at you. But this thing is fifteen feet of just green and gray scales, and you can see there's like a fine powder on top of the snake as well, coating the back part of its scales. The snake slithers around and it looks at the skeleton that was so finely placed to the left, and the skeleton turns to stone.

I'm gonna roll a d4 and if I roll a 4, the snake gets to go again as a lair action. But if I roll a one, that's gonna be Amanda's turn; if I roll a two that's Fish's turn; and if I roll a three, that is Brandon's turn. Okay, 1! This is Amanda.

Amanda: I am going to pull the mirror patch off of my cloak, and hold it out in front of me.

Eric: [surprised] Oh, damn! Okay.

[all burst out laughing]

Alright you pull the patch off of your cloak, and the patch gets bigger and weightier in your hands, and it turns into a very heavy hand mirror.

Amanda: Great. I'm going to hold it out in front of me, and advance toward the snake. Slowly, cautiously! I'm keeping the mirror in front of the snake's head and I'm kind of looking under it and around it to track its movements.

Eric: Make an Investigation check.

Amanda: 6 + 5 for an 11.

Eric: The dust all over the snake, you realize is stone dust.

Amanda: Okay.

[dice rolling]

Eric: 4! This is the snake's turn. The snake looks up at Inara and, for a second, it realizes what you're doing. It almost recognizes the glint of glass and puts two and two together.

Amanda (as Inara): Dammit.

Eric: Then it slithers up to you and is gonna try to take a bite.

[dice rolling]

Well. I rolled a nat-1! [laughing]

It's starting to look at itself, but it rolled high enough to avoid its own gaze, so it looks up at the mirror and shakes it off a little bit and flicks its tongue in and out and goes, "Tsssss," and it slithers away from you.

[dice rolling]

So this is Fish. Johnny, what do you do?

Michael: I'm going to place my hand on Tracey's shoulder, who has the least amount of health, and cast Resistance, which will get him a d4 to add to a saving throw of his choice.

Eric: Alright cool, I'm gonna roll again.

[dice rolling]

So it's a 2, so now that's gonna go to Tracey. Tracey what do you do?

Brandon: Tracey's going to take out his axe and, staring only at Inara's feet, rush over, turn his back so he's back-to-back to Inara, and in sort of tandem lockstep, have his ax ready and ready a movement, and whisper in Inara's ear,

Brandon (as Tracey): Get me close enough, I'll take its head off.

Eric: Hot damn. Alright, let's go.

[dice rolling]

Alright I rolled a four, but since I know that this thing is self-conscious that is its disadvantage so I'm gonna roll again.

Amanda: Aww!

Michael: [laughing] Self-conscious is it’s disadvantage!

Amanda: No... snake in puberty.

[dice rolling]

Eric: I rolled a 1. It's Inara again.

Amanda: I am going to continue holding the mirror out and cast Mage Hand to whack the snake on the back of the head.

Eric: Okay, do an attack roll.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 8 + 7 for a 15

Eric: Okay, so what does it look like when you slap it?

Amanda: My cartoonish Mickey Mouse hand…

[Eric laughs]

-walks through the air on two fingers like in "Fantasia", sneaking hilariously, like it's taking pratfall steps if you know what I mean, and winds itself back and then backhands the snake, and then skitters back away towards me.

Eric: Okay.

Amanda: I'm hitting it on the back of its head so that it whips to see what did that and, instead of seeing something, it will see my mirror.

Eric: And it's gonna look back in the mirror. Okay, I'm gonna make another saving throw. Oh beans.

Brandon: That's very good.

Michael: That's very good.

[dice rolling]

Eric: [laughing] Alright well. Well, here's what happened.

Amanda: Oh no!

Eric: The snake looked in the mirror, saw its reflection, and this time, it wasn't self-conscious. It took in its entire snaky form. You see, like someone is slowly shading down the basilisk, turning it gray, it's like it's desaturating the color, and with its open mouth you see even its tongue turns to a dark obsidian and this basilisk has turned to stone.

Amanda: Yay!

Michael:  Nicely done. I wanna take a look at this dude statue guy.

Eric: Investigation.

Michael: Yes, please. 13 Investigation.

Eric: Okay, so you notice two things about the massive statue. One is that this thing is huge and immovable. That is one. It is like- there is no way for you to squeeze by it to get to the door. The second thing you notice is that you look up at its eyes, and it has very human eyes. The statue is all metal, but its eyes are a very soft blue..

Michael (as Johnny): Hello statue man. We've bested your snake.

Eric: The statue does not say anything.

Michael (as Johnny): Ah, not a talker, eh?

[All chuckling]

Eric: In the far distance you hear a rimshot.

[Brandon laughs]

Amanda: Out of my pack I am going to bring out Mr. Sippy and Oatcake's water bowl and whisper

Amanda (as Inara): Fountain, but small fountain.

Amanda: And try to just catch a little bit of water in the water bowl just to fill it a bit.

Eric: “Small Fountain” I think gives you enough of a stream of water fountain and you can catch-

Amanda: Yeah, I don't want it to get it everywhere.

Eric: No you can catch a little bit of water in Oatcake's-

Amanda: Alright, then I'm gonna cut it off and I'm going to bring the bowl up under the statue's hand to dip his fingers in the water and see if anything happens.

Eric: Interesting. Okay, so you bring it over there and you see that the fingertips are changing from this very dark metal into stone.

Amanda: Into stone?!

Eric: Mm-hmm!

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, guys? This is not going as planned.

Michael: Would this person, being all stone, be lighter than if he were all metal?

Eric: You know, that's a very interesting thought and I think he would.

Michael (as Johnny): Now that that snake's gone, why don't you just hit him with the full geyser?

Amanda (as Inara): Alright, Trace you mind?

Brandon (as Tracey): Do it!

Amanda (as Inara): Geyser.

[water gushing]

Eric: Okay. You douse the entire statue with the holy water, and you can see that the metal is flaking away. It's almost like it was contained in a metal shell, and underneath is the same stone that the basilisk is now, and the dust all over this room.

Amanda: Does the statue wake up? Does its eyes change?

Eric: Nope. Its eyes go from regular human eyes to just stone. This is a totally stone statue.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oopsy doopsy. Oopsy doodle! Whoopsy!

Amanda (as Inara): Ummm… Sorry…

Michael: I mean it was a procedurally generated statue.

Brandon: Yeah this is not a real statue, right?

Amanda (as Inara): Yep. Yeah let's keep telling ourselves that. Let's get out of the way guys. Trace?

Brandon: Tracey takes the brunt of it on his shoulder and pushes it as hard as he can. Is he successful?

Eric: Yes. I'm not even gonna make you roll for it. You push the-

Brandon: Such a strong boy.

Eric: I know, you're such a strong, strong robo-boy. You push the statue over and it smashes into a bunch of pieces [stone clattering to the ground] and the doors behind the statue open up.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, guys? Let's move on.

Brandon: Tracey kicks the doors open. [metal doors opening]

Eric: Hey it’s Eric. What was the first time you realized that pants didn’t have to have a button? Maybe it digs into your stomach or it just doesn’t fit around your hips. Then you go out and realize that there’s pants totally different from jeans your whole life changes. Leggings! Jeans that are kinda sorta leggings! Joggers! They’re all available for you. This is the midroll. You can be different. I have a drawstring.

Special thanks to our newest patrons, Heather, Tanya, Sarah, and Kaya. You are joining the ranks of everyone here on Patreon and we are so, so so, thankful that you can be here with us. If you want to be a part of all of the fun we have on Patreon, please go to patreon.com/jointhepartypod.

If you are loving these Labor Party episodes and think, “Hmmmmm how can I bring these to my home and play them in my game,” you’re in luck. My creative collaborators and I made the labors from this arc into playable one-shots! You can download the modules you loved the most, or all of them, along with an introduction from me and an editor’s note from Connor, who adapted these into module form. Head to http://bit.ly/laborpartymodules, all lowercase, spelled the American way, for your chance to get a piece of JTP for your very own campaign. That is bit.ly/laborpartymodules.

We are sponsored this week by Happy Leather Co, a business run by husband and wife T.J. and Alana Skidmore. They have just launched a Kickstarter for their customized leather items. They make mouse pads made out of leather. They make valet trays made out of leather (which you can put your keys and wallet in when you get home), and they make books with a personalized leather strap! That is so much leather and it is all so pretty. This stuff is really lovely, and they have tiers guaranteeing shipping before the holidays.

T.J. and Alana sent us some samples with the JTP logo on it. And you haven’t lived until you put a beer down on a logo of your podcast to keep the condensation from ruining Brandon’s coffee table. It is very nice. Go to http://bit.ly/happyleatherco to back their Kickstarter. Or, if you’re listening after November 2018, use that same link to head to their shop! The internet is amazing and so is leather and so is the Happy Leather Goods company.

We’re also sponsored by 20 Sided Store. We picked up the book for World Wide Wrestling RPG and we are so happy we did. I have this new fascination with wrestling as the blending of game and reality, so tackling my newfound interest with a game is exactly what I wanted. And it may inform some new characters in the coming arcs. Who knows? Who can say? You can pick a new book or game or dice or anything 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.

And finally, we’d also like to give a shout-out this week to one of our favorite other Actual Play podcasts, ‘The End of Time and Other Bothers.’ This is an improvised fantasy roleplaying podcast set in the beautiful world of Alba Salix. It may be one of your other favorite audiodramas. It’s a tale of flightless fairies, half‐demons and cafeteria line workers, dystopian empires, magical waterfalls and mysterious books. And somewhere there is the end of time, but they’ll get to that at some point. If you lvoe actual plays like Join The Party, you’ll definitely love ‘Other Bothers’ so go check them out in the podcast app of your choice and follow them online at Twitter @otherbothers, use the hashtag #otherbothers, or subscribe at otherbothers.com. We see you Sean, we see you Eli. Go check ‘em out. Alright, let’s get back to the show.

[metal slams]

Eric: Hey, you beat the first one!

Brandon: Ay!

Eric: Good job!

Amanda: Might've done a murder...

Eric: Okay so you're now in a similar antechamber; it's all white. You hear the same erasing, and scribbling, and erasing, and you look up. It gets almost done drawing the shape of a skull, and then it erases it all. And then it draws a big chunk of Swiss cheese, and the door opens. And it's super sunny outside again. I don't know if you can see what's going on outside, but this looks like a pretty inviting room. This one is tiled with linoleum tile.

[old-timey jazz playing with static]

Amanda: The most horrifying material!

Brandon: A true horror show! The scariest room so far!

Eric: There's even a classic kitchen light-appliance hanging from the top of the ceiling, and in the middle of the room is a massive mousetrap.

Amanda: Oh beans.

Eric: It is nearly the size of a catapult, and of course there is a big chunk of cheese on a little weighted platform.

Brandon: Hey Eric?

Eric: Yeah.

Brandon: Is my danger sense going off?

Eric: I mean there is- it's literally a mousetrap, yes. The other really interesting thing about the cheese is that it's a dark purple.

Michael: Hmm.

Amanda: Intriguing.

Brandon: Is it moldy or is it just purple?

Eric: No, it looks real good. The cheese itself is just super purple.

Amanda: What else is around us? Are there any kitchen things? Is it blank walls besides the windows? What else is there?

Eric: A wallpaper full of roosters in different formations and like, sitting, or standing, and pecking at stuff. You also see to your right and there's the matching set of doors for the other side.

Michael: And there's no other set of doors?

Eric: Nope.

Brandon: Is there any impediment in front of those doors?

Eric: Nope.

Brandon: Tracey walks forward.

Amanda: Inara follows, trying to look without getting too close to the mousetrap.

Michael: I'm gonna walk just through the threshold and then kind of pause.

Eric: The doors close behind you, [metal doors closing]

and Johnny, as you lean back against them, they're not moving.

Brandon (as Tracey): Do you guys wanna set off the trap, or... we just start yelling?

Amanda (as Inara): Uh... yeah, might as well.

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright.

Michael (as Johnny): That seems like some holy material over there.

Amanda (as Inara): Johnny that was a really cheesy joke.

Amanda: And then Inara casts Mage Hand. I am going to backhand the cheese. Two for two, let's see how it goes!

Eric: You're gonna backhand the cheese?

Amanda: I sure am!

Eric: I want you to make an attack roll against the cheese.

[Amanda laughing]

Brandon:  Hey Eric is that something you ever thought you'd say in D&D?

Amanda: This is what my digestive system does every time I eat cheese. It's like, let's try- oh- no- oh- oh- oh...

Michael: Did you have a Lactaid? That's a +3, but if not...

Brandon: Make a Constitution roll!

Amanda: Oh no, our DC's 1.

[dice rolling]

Michael: Oh, nice.

Amanda: Well friends, that's a 19 + 7 for a 26 against the cheese.

Brandon: That's a good number. What is the DC of cheese? What's the DCheese?

Eric: So, what do you want to do to the cheese? Do you just want to-

Michael: You want to melt one side of it so it's creates that like-

Eric: It's the- it’s armored cheese.

Amanda: You wanna just slice it in nice curds?

Eric: So what do you wanna do to the cheese?

Amanda: Still funny.

Eric: Just disturb it?  [all laughing] Do you wanna push it off? It's very funny, but I need to know what it is so we can move the game along.

Amanda: I'm intending to agitate the cheese. I want to be, as if a predator, going to nibble at the side of it, I just wanna like slap its wet top.

Eric: Okay, Inara, as you disturb the cheese, you see the Mickey Mouse hand float over to it, and you do a very dignified poke of the big piece of purple cheese.

Amanda: That's the way you gotta do it.

Eric: And you see it move six inches to the right, and the cheese starts to change color.

Amanda: Oh no.

Eric: It goes from a deep, deep purple to a bright American cheese orange. And you all hear squeaking. It's not just one mouse.

[squeaking and rumbling in the distance]

Amanda: Oh no.

Eric: You see a rumbling from the light fixture above, and the squeaking is getting louder, and louder, and louder. All of a sudden, the light fixture bursts off [glass breaking] and terrible, sharp pink-tailed, nasty, potbellied rats start pouring out of the ceiling. I want you all to roll for Initiative.

[squeaking intensifies]

Michael: I'm assuming we need to protect the cheese.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 19.

Michael: 22.

Brandon: 16.

Eric: Okay, so this swarm of rats continues to pour from the ceiling and they're gonna go first. They don't lunge at you to attack. They grab the cheese, and they are sprinting towards the windows. They use a Dash action so they are all the way at the wall. Also, there are more rats pouring from the ceiling.

Amanda: Naturally, naturally.

Michael: So, I'm going to use, for the first time ever, Flaming Sphere.

Brandon: Ooh!

Amanda: Oh no!

Michael: And I'm going to cast the Flaming Sphere specifically where the rats are falling through the hole, so the rats, instead of falling into this room, eventually drowning us in rats, will fall into this Flaming Sphere, disintegrating them.

Eric: Holy hell! So, you create a sun [fiery whoosh] and you put it in the light fixture and it smells so bad.

Amanda: Oh no, why you gotta bring smell into it?

Eric: But the swarm of rats is not growing. Inara, it's your turn.

Amanda: I'm going to give Johnny a thumb's up, tuck Oatcake into the front of my tunic, and run over to the other set of doors to investigate and see if we can open them.

Eric: Okay. Inara, you push on the doors and they're locked.

Amanda: Alright well, I'm not sure what else to do so I'm going to pull my Grind Machine skateboard out from the skateboard section of my backpack 'cause of course I have a skateboarding backpack, and hop on it, and skim across the sea of rats over toward the cheese.

Eric: Okay, you've already used part of your movement to go over to the door, but you get a little bit more movement from being on the skateboard. So now you're like grinding on top of the rats but you cannot get to the cheese yet.

Amanda: I'm on my way.

Eric: Alright, Brandon it's your turn.

Brandon: Tracey sits down on the ground, lays out his bag of Tallahassee, says

Brandon (as Tracey): Let's play.

Eric: Your bag is now the fearsome gator known as Tallahassee.

Brandon (as Tracey): Hope you're hungry, Tally!

Brandon: And I point him toward all the rats.

Eric: Oh no. So Tallahassee scrambles along towards the swarm of rats and he's gonna try to yum-yum eat 'em up.

[dice rolling]

Michael: Nice.

Brandon: 16!

Eric: Alright so 16 + 4, that is a hit; and I want you to roll a d10.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 6

Eric: Okay that does 8 points of damage to the rats. He ate up about a third of the rats.

Brandon: He's a hungry boy!

Eric: He's a very hungry boy.

Amanda: Oh, good boy!

Brandon: I should feed him more often.

Eric: But the rats are still running away with the cheese.

Brandon: Do they slow down though, 'cause then they have less members?

Eric: No, it was the back third of the rats.

Amanda: Aw, just stragglers?

Brandon: The ones keeping up the-

Michael: The rat tail?

[all groan]

Eric: Ugh. Okay, so now it's the rats’ turn.

Michael: It's the rats’ turn, so on this turn many of them who are falling through the hole are burning to their death in a sphere of fire. I'm just reminding everyone that that is happening, because it's the worst thing that could possibly be happening.

[Amanda giggling]

Brandon: Can you imagine wanting cheese so bad, and then you fall into a sun?

Amanda: I mean, yeah.

[all laugh]

Eric: So the rats are streaming down. I'm gonna do a Dexterity saving throw to get around the sun. I'm gonna say it's a DC 15, how's that?

Michael: It damages them, but that's it.

Eric: Yeah okay, so we got a 9. So no more rats have flooded through the thing.

Brandon: Oh god this is so gross.

Eric: I think a few rats are going to peel off and try to annoy Johnny, so they're gonna try to bite you and I think if you get bit you lose your Concentration.

Michael: That is correct.

[dice rolling]

Eric: Well! I rolled a two.

Michael: Can I tell you? That that beats my- no, no-

Eric: No it doesn't beat it.

Michael: On this beautiful sunny day, as my two friends are having some good times with rats, I feel little bites, like mosquito bites, on my feet but it does nothing.

Eric: Another bit of them peeled off, and now it's only half the size that it was before, so now we're looking at a smaller rug.

Michael: Oh this is math problem. So a third went away, but then half went away?

Amanda: So it went from like a living room rug to a bedroom rug.

Eric: Yeah. Inara, the rats get out from underneath you on the Grind Machine, and they're starting to climb up the wall to the window; and they're trying to hold onto the cheese as they do so.

Amanda: Alright well I am going to attempt to grab the cheese away?

Eric: Yes. [laughs]

Amanda: How high is it up the wall?

Eric: Right now it's about five feet up.

Amanda: Alright, I'm going to switch directions and instead of going toward the cheese, I'm gonna do a little arc around it toward the back of the room, and then back around, trying to pick up some speed and then jump off the Grind Machine to somersault through the air, attempt to grab the cheese, and land hopefully on the Grind Machine.

Eric: Okay, so why don't you do Acrobatics and then we're gonna figure out if you grab the cheese.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: It's a nat twenty on my rose gold metal die!

Brandon: Oh my god!

Michael: Nice! Nice!

Eric: Jesus.

Brandon: All the rats die.

Amanda: Woo!

Eric: You have Sleight of Hand- you have advantage on the Sleight of Hand check to pull the cheese out of the rats’ hand. I'm gonna contest it.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 19 + 4 for a 23. I'm not lying, it's the rose gold dice.

Eric: I rolled lower than that, so Inara you now have the cheese in your hand. It is a little soft. Even as you do your sick flips through the air and you land back on the Grind Machine, all the rats turn to you and go, "Tss!"

Amanda (as Inara): See ya suckers!

Amanda: I am going to make eye contact with Tracey and toss that cheese like a sack of flour over to my friend Tracem.

Brandon: Like a sack of cheese.

[Amanda laughs]

Eric: Alright so Brandon, how do you want to grab it out of the air?

Brandon: I'm just gonna shoot my Long Arm of the Law out.

Eric: Okay, let's just do a attack roll against the cheese.

Brandon: I assume the DC is very low.

Eric: It's not bad.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 11.

Eric: I think with an 11, you grab it out of the air and you reel the cheese back to you. What do you wanna do with it?

Brandon: I'm gonna start dashing towards the other end of the room with the double doors.

Eric: Alright, it's now the rats’ turn again. I'm gonna do another Dexterity saving throw to get around Johnny's sun.

[dice rolling]

It is, again, lower than 15 so more rats are just getting burnt to hell. The rats use their Dash action to run at Tracey.

Brandon (as Tracey): Tally, keep 'em off me!

Eric: Tally tries to snap at the rats but they're making a wide berth; they are just focused on Tracey.

Michael: While I'm concentrating my Kamehameha fire burst of the sun, roasting up some delicious rats-

Brandon: Why do you gotta describe it every time?

[Amanda laughs]

Michael: 'Cause that's what's happening! And we need to be reminded. I'm gonna peel my eyes away for a moment and try to do an Arcana check and see if I can recognize any kind of magic-ness happening with that trap that the cheese was originally sitting on.

Eric: I got it.

Michael: I rolled a 16.

Eric: With a 16, you realize that a spell has been triggered and it's Conjuration.

Michael: Okay. I yell to Inara,

Michael (as Johnny): Could you check out that trap over there? 'Cause I think that's kind of what's causing all these rats to appear. You know, the giant rat trap? It's probably causing the rats.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, sure?

Amanda: So I will loop around on the Grind Machine back toward the trap, glancing nervously overhead at the sun [all laugh] and do an Investigation check to see if I can trigger this trap without getting a hand chopped off.

Eric: Alright, do an Investigation check.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 14 + 5 for a 19.

Eric: You take a look at the base that the cheese originally was on, and you see that it's weighted, and you look underneath it and there is a stone tablet with a rune on it that is now glowing. Imagine like Indiana Jones, you know with a sandbag on it.

Amanda: Uh-huh, right.

Eric: Once, whatever the weight is is disturbed on the platform, you look down and there's this rune that is glowing purple because it is no longer weighted down.

Amanda: So it's like the mousetrap has been set off and I have to put it back to not set off?

Eric: Exactly.

Amanda: Okay. So, I am going to bring the heavy unrefined rock from the mine, and put it on top of the mousetrap.

Eric: Yeah, when you put the rock back on the mousetrap, you look down and the rune is now totally covered, and the rats that were running at Tracey stop and they sit back on their hind legs.

[squeaking stops suddenly]

Amanda: Ugh that worse.

Brandon: [singing a jingle] Tally eats them. Tally eats 'em all!

Eric: You just want him to eat them? Yeah alright. Tally the alligator eats all the rats.

Amanda: I look towards the doors. Any movement?

Eric: Yeah, you look over at the doors and the doors open. And Tracey's still holding this cheese.

Amanda: Drop it and run!

Brandon: Tracey takes a bite of the cheese, a victory bite.

Eric: I mean, you don't have any taste buds. So it just kind of tastes soft.

Brandon: It's a pride thing.

Eric: It just tastes soft in your mouth.

Brandon: I give a little bit to Tally as a reward for their good work and pat them on the head and say,

Brandon (as Tracey): Playtime's over.

Eric: Tally turns back into a bag. You look inside. It doesn't smell great in there.

Amanda: So I'll dismount the Grind Machine and stride into the antechamber.

Brandon (as Tracey): Does anybody want this cheese or like...?

Michael (as Johnny): Nope.

Amanda (as Inara): No Trace, I don't trust it.

Brandon: Alright, I chuck it across the room.

Eric: You guys walk into the antechamber once again. It is the same totally white, totally blank room. If you look down, you can see you've tracked a little bit of stone dust in from the first challenge. You look up at the door, and it doesn't draw anything for a little bit.

Brandon (as Tracey): Come on! We're waiting!

Eric: It's like the door is thinking.

Amanda (as Inara): A-Are we done?

Brandon (as Tracey): Give us that Dawnrise!

Amanda (as Inara): It’s like, if there's nothing in the first five seconds you get the period free, right?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yes!

Eric: And above the double doors, now you see that something is drawing. At first it's a very rudimentary picture of bird, and then it crosses it out, and makes it a lot more detailed and really gets its plumage and its beak correct. And you see that this is the picture of an eagle, and the doors open up.

Michael: What's the light sitch?

Eric: Light situation is very good inside.

Michael: Okay.

Eric: In fact, as the doors open up, you hear cheering and yelling and excitement, [large crowd cheering] and people are cheering your names.

Brandon (as Tracey): I don't trust this.

Brandon: Tracey takes his ax out and walks in.

Eric: You're back in the original room that you started.

Amanda: The waiting room?

Eric: Yeah, you're back in the waiting room.

[crowd chattering in the background]

You see Corelia; you see Corelia's desk and all the chairs and the signup sheet over on the right. But you see Corelia, and she's standing and clapping, and a bunch of other people who you haven't seen before are holding balloons and have streamers and there is a banner that says, “Congratulations!"

Michael: Can I do an Arcana check before I enter this room?

Eric: Sure.

[dice rolling]

Michael: 9 + 5  for a whatever that is.

Amanda: 14.

Brandon: 14.

Eric: What are you looking for?

Michael: Can I determine maybe a source in the room?

Eric: I wanna say it's not... it's not magical. You don't feel magic in there.

Michael: Hmm…

Eric: And there's the big ornate double door on the far wall. Corelia comes up to you.

Eric (as Corelia): Oh my god, congratulations! I'm so proud! I can't believe you guys did it. Wow, record time. That is amazing.

Amanda: I'm gonna poke her arm with my finger.

Eric (as Corelia): Oh, excuse- Inara, congratulations! Great job! I'm so happy for you.

Amanda (as Inara): Are you secretly an eagle? Which one of you's the eagle?

Brandon (as Tracey): Which one of these people do I have to kill to go forward?

Eric (as Corelia): I’m not-

Amanda (as Inara): Do we have to trap it? Net it?

Eric (as Corelia): No, these are all the people who've done it before.

Brandon (as Tracey): Is it you?

Amanda (as Inara): We know we're not done.

Brandon (as Tracey): Do you have to die?

Eric (as Corelia): I don't know what you're talking about. You guys are so silly. Oh congrats, I mean you guys did it in only a few hours. I know time moves a little bit stranger in there but congratulations! It's so awesome! All you have to do is go right through that door and you win! You're off and you get all of the prizes and treasure and stuff.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh-uh.

Brandon (as Tracey): Where's the eagle?

Eric (as Corelia): What eagle? I do not know what eagle you're talking about.

Amanda: Can I roll Insight or Investigation?

Eric: Yeah, you can do an Insight check.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: Well, I think Inara is overwhelmed by the beauty of that small ponytail because I rolled a nat-1.

Eric: Oh no. Yeah, you wish that you had gone to college and had this experience. And Corelia's thanking you- you feel like you just got an A for the first time.

Amanda (as Inara): I didn't even know what an A was and I got one.

Eric (as Corelia): You are so great! I could learn so much from you three. I've seen so many adventurers. Now let me introduce you to everybody.

Eric: As you look around it's like

Eric (as Corelia): Hey there's Davina.

Eric: There's a dwarf with a beard who waves to you.

Eric (as Corelia): Oh yeah, there's Chelsea.

Eric: And Chelsea is an aarakocra who is flying and holding one of the banners up. You even see in the back, you see Autumn. And Autumn is standing on a chair and cheering for all three of you.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay, is definitely a dream.

Eric (as Autumn): Inara! Inara, come over here. Inara we have so much to talk about, I haven't seen you in so long! Listen, you gotta tell me- you need to tell me, did you end up making out with the Representative? Like, if you kissed Brinksy you gotta tell me.

Brandon: Tracey shoves Corelia.

Brandon (as Tracey): What are we doing here?

Eric (as Corelia): I'm telling you, this is the end.

Brandon: Shoves her again.

Eric: She stumbles backwards, but she stumbles backwards so that she's facing you.

Eric (as Corelia): Hey, Tracey! I'm just trying to say congratulations. Everyone here is just to congratulate you. Just go through the door and you're done. You can stop doing this.

Amanda (as Inara): [gasps] What's that?!

Amanda: And I point across the room.

[Michael bursts out laughing]

Eric: Alright, roll- I think that's straight up Charisma, huh? Alright, straight up Charisma.

Amanda: I got a 17 flat.

Eric: She turns around, and you see that there is a thin strand of red ooze trailing from her back, and it's trailing to the far wall into the door.

Eric (as Corelia): What is it? I don't see anything behind me.

Amanda: I make eye contact with Johnny and Tracey.

Brandon: Tracey unsheathes his axe, hulks it on his shoulder, steps forward, and shoves her again.

Brandon (as Tracey): What are we doing here, Corelia?

Eric (as Corelia): Nothing! We're just trying to get you through the front door.

Brandon (as Tracey): I'm gonna swing if we don't stop playing this game.

Eric: And everyone starts moving closer and closer towards you.

Amanda: Inara uses her dagger on the red strand.

Eric: Make an attack roll against the red strand.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 7 + 7 for a 14.

Eric: You try to stab at her with your dagger, but the red ooze moves a little bit to the right and you miss it.

Eric (as Corelia): Come on, let's just go through the door and you'll be done.

Eric: And everyone starts getting closer and closer towards you.

Brandon (as Tracey): We're done with this

Brandon: And he takes a giant swing at Corelia.

[dice rolling]

11 + 6 for a 17.

Eric: Okay so with a 17, you connect. [axe hit] You hit her in the right shoulder, and you've attacked people with axes before; you know how it feels. But this ax goes in and it's just like, gushy. It's soft and it's slimy and it has a lot of give. And as you pull your axe out, instead of where blood may be, it's just more red ooze.

[looming string notes playing]

Michael: Hopefully it's caught off guard. Over Tracey, I set my hands out and cast Burning Hands, and in fact, I'm going to cast it as a level three spell. You're doing a Dex saving throw. 15 is the spell save.

[dice rolling]

Eric: I rolled a 7, so it takes full damage.

[dice rolling]

Michael: Ooh, not too shabby. 27 damage to this room of imposters.

Eric: What does it look like when you do Burning Hands?

Michael: So, it's like I'm conducting an orchestra and instead of beautiful musical notes, fire comes out of my hands, out of the fingertips, and spreads throughout the room towards all of these people.

Eric: So Johnny, you unleash this wave of fire-

[‘woosh’ followed by crackling of fire] and I think all of the people standing in front of you scream a terrible high-pitched scream-

[high-pitched, inhuman sounding screech] -and they all lose their form.

They all shiver and shake and they all turn back into red ooze. The doors fly open, and red ooze fills the entire doorway. It shakes and shivers and is trying to swat the fire off of itself but it's not just ooze. Inside are gaunt, terrible screaming faces. And they're all coming right towards you.

The Burning Hands also has set everything aflame. The banners-

Michael: The door.

Eric: The door, everything, and it's reaching out toward you.

Amanda: Balloons are popping one by one.

Eric: You start to hear the screaming in the back of your head, and I want everyone to make a Wisdom saving throw.

Michael: This would be a charm-based spell so we have advantage.

Eric: Okay, so the elves here get advantage.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: Aw.

Amanda: I got a nat-20.

Michael: 16 + 6.

Eric: Okay.

Brandon: Tracey's so wise. I got a 6.

Michael: Plus anything or...?

Brandon: It was 7 – 1.

Amanda: Aw, baby.

Eric: Johnny, Inara, you hear the screaming in the back of your head but you're more concerned about everything on fire and what the hell that thing is. Tracey, everything goes kind of cloudy. You can't walk, you don't really know what's happening, you don't know what's going on. It’s like you don't even have control over your arms and legs anymore. Roll a d10.

Brandon: I got a 4.

Eric: Tracey, you can't move your arms and legs, you can't talk; you can't do anything.

Brandon: I think the gravity and weight of the situation is sort of all coming down on him at once. He's done a lot of things in these rooms that he isn't necessarily proud of and not sure why he's doing that. And he's sort of retreating back into himself.

Eric: And you hear, and you cannot get that screaming out of your head. Johnny, Inara, what do you want to do?

Amanda: Inara does not know what to do. I'm just gonna pull out Mr. Sippy in case we end up needing to fight the fire from coming nearer to us but I'm just holding Oatcake close to my chest. I back toward Tracey, 'cause I see that he's not moving and I look at Johnny to see what he's gonna do.

Michael: Good fire management has you ready to do something in case things getting out of control, but you're in control now, because you have a way to deal with things if it goes bad.

Amanda: At least I think I do.

Michael: At least you think you do. I'm actually gonna start walking in towards the main ooze. Its tendrils are dealing with themselves around me as I'm walking straight into the middle towards it, and I'm going to cast Burning Hands again, which is a DC fifteen Dex save throw.

[another gust of fire, large fire continues blazing]

[dice rolling]

Eric: Even though it's distracted by the fire, it manages to avoid some of the blast.

Michael: It's gonna avoid probably the brunt, but let's still do some damage to you.

[dice rolling]

I got 15 damage.

Eric: Okay. It's distracted by the fire and it is still angry and screaming. Inara do you wanna do anything?

Amanda: Looking at Tracey again, I've never seen his eyes so vacant. I'm going to look around the room again for some kind of exit.

Eric: Make Perception check.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 17 + 1 for an 18.

Eric: So, one of the banners, you've realized was kind of massively oversized and said "Great Job" on it is just totally up in flames, and you see that there is another set of doors in the left corner, and above those set of doors is the sunrise.

Amanda (as Inara): Johnny! Johnny I found an exit, let's go!

Michael: I turn back and I look to see Inara clutching Mr. Sippy, and Tracey still unmoving. I give her a shrug and then I'm gonna cast another Burning Hands onto the ooze.

[gust of fire]

Michael (as Johnny): Just get him out of here towards the door; I'll hold this back!

Eric: Brandon, make another Wisdom saving throw.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: Is a 7 good?

Amanda: Aww.

Eric: A 7 is not good. Brandon, roll another d10.

Brandon: 3.

Eric: It's like someone has short circuited your brain, and all you hear is the screaming and the face of all those gaunt skeletons stuck inside the ooze.

Michael: I turn back and see that Tracey tried to struggle to gain control, and did not gain control, and I'm going to continue moving forward trying to end the ooze with another Burning Hands.

[gust of fire]

Eric: The ooze is still trying to pat itself down, get the fire out, but one tendril is extending towards you and it's going right towards your face. And once again you hear the extremely loud screaming in the back of your head. Make a Wisdom saving throw, and you have Advantage 'cause this thing's on fire.

Michael: Great

[dice rolling]

That is a 15 + 6 for a 21.

Eric: It reaches its ooze out to you, and you feel like the strand is coming to you in all directions, like on all sides of your head and even inside of you. You bat it away with another fiery blast, and it can't get inside your head.

Michael (as Johnny): Inara! Get him out of here!

Michael: And I'm gonna keep advancing.

Amanda: I am going to use the fountain function in Mr. Sippy and hit Tracey in the face and see if that helps him at all.

Eric: Yeah, Tracey make a Wisdom saving throw and you have Advantage this time.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 19 – 1 for 18.

Eric: Yeah, you no longer hear the screaming and it's like you're getting booted back online. And you look around and everything is on fire; Johnny is advancing with terrible flaming hands onto this same screaming faces you saw in your brain.

Amanda: The moment he unfreezes, I am pushing him toward the door.

Amanda (as Inara): Tracey, I got an exit! We gotta go.

[looming strings transition to ethereal tones]

Brandon: I don't think anything is registering with Tracey so he's just following the one voice he recognizes.

Amanda: I'm going to lead Tracey as fast as I can through the double doors.

Michael: I'm gonna finish this guy off, or at least get him distracted enough that I can also run through the doors. I give him my signature double-guns with little bits of fire coming out of those as I walk my way over through the door.

Eric: The strands of ooze reach out towards you and they're covered in flame. They do not have the strength at this point to reach through the door.

With the flames licking at your heels, you start to walk through the Dawnrise doors. But now, inscribed above them, is a lantern.

[fire fades]

Johnny, you're expecting to see the end with Corelia's desk and all your friends. The white room is similar; there's really nothing there. But, it's not a room at all. There's not a door or walls or ceiling. And you realize, this is the same place where you were when you died fighting the Bone Whale.

[ethereal tones and piano notes play]

The Undying Light: I’m Sorry Johnny, I can’t afford to leave you alive.

Michael (as Johnny): I- uh, wait, where am I?

The Undying Light: You know where you are.

Michael (as Johnny): It’s just a thing I feel I had to say. I’m at your house. What I don’t know is why I’m here.

The Undying Light: You lit the candle, Johnny.

Michael (as Johnny): I know, I thought I was supposed to.

The Undying Light: You can’t resist lighting candles.

Michael (as Johnny): You know I can just go back there, right? See my friend, the centaurs, walk through the broken puzzles, and just turn it off, be on my way.

The Undying Light: Johnny B. Goodlight, every life has a purpose. Your first one was to find yours. Now this one, the one that I’ve given you is to fix.

Michael (as Johnny): And I’m super grateful for all of that. And I’m doing that. Melding the Light and the Shadow together, going out and teaching the people and I need to get back to doing that. You know, out there?

The Undying Light: I don’t think so. The number of divine boons you’ve gathered, you’re more ethereal than person at this point. You don’t belong on this mortal coil anymore. [pause] I suppose from your silence you believe this is a punishment. Johnny, you are the perfect candidate to stay here.

Michael (as Johnny): [defiant] Stay? What do you mean stay? There’s nothing here. I’m just- it’s just floating light and nothing. I like my perpetual old man body, and socks with sandals, and infinite apples, and how easy it is to make friends. And I just got a ranch. I finally have a place of my own, I’m not giving that up.

The Undying Light: One said you had-

Michael (as Johnny): And Tracey! Tracey, what do I do? How do I tell him? Can I reach out to him?

The Undying Light: I think that-

Michael (as Johnny): He’s gonna turn around and see that I’m gone. Come on, let me pop down there for a couple of days and I-

The Undying Light: Enough! Adamah’s hand is trapped by Death himself. The Council of Bright is beating down my door. The Champion is lost, you had to stoop to controlling his wishes to get him to fall in line. You’re no longer the servant of the Light. You’ve made that clear over the last months. You say you’re the leader of all, a prophet of the Light and the Dark. Well, lead. If you care about balance, then you must balance.

Michael (as Johnny): The compass. It’s a prison.

The Undying Light: Yes.

Michael (as Johnny): And Ze’ol wants out. He’s trying to switch with the Speaker. And I have to shut the door.

The Undying Light: That’s correct.

Michael (as Johnny): Can I just for a second…

The Undying Light: He will understand. He’s an understanding sort.

Michael (as Johnny): If you say so, then it must be true.

The Undying Light: So? Let’s go.

Michael (as Johnny): Now?

The Undying Light: Time is not a concept I use on a regular basis. So I’ll say yes. Now.

Michael (as Johnny): I was lost in so many ways. In the forest, at the monastery, in my thoughts. I wanted a sign, something to point me in the right direction. Something to tell me that I was doing good in the world. When I found those books on gods outside the Trinity, the Light called to me and I ran to it. I followed and I read, and I prayed, and I wished, but it was just hope, right?

I would have given anything for a real relationship with you. When they gave me the lantern, I couldn’t believe it. You were real, not a divine I made up in my head. Now you’re calling for me and I don’t know if I’m ready. Wait, wait!

The Undying Light: Yes?

Michael (as Johnny): What’s the light situation?

The Undying Light: [laughs] Getting better.

[shimmering, high pitched tone]

Eric: Inara and Tracey, you walk through the door at the end of the Labyrinth. You’re expecting Corelia to get up and greet you with handfuls of balloons and streamers, but you walk through the door and you’re back in Ze’ol’s auditorium. The compass floats angrily in the air, the Speaker collapsed on the ground. You look behind you at the closed doors, but Johnny isn’t coming through them.

[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.