38. Labor Party VIII

The party realizes that doors don’t always lead where you think they will. Tracey flays a strawman. Inara takes a third option. Greg breaks the hold.


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- music: brandongrugle.bandcamp.com

Cast & Crew

- Dungeon Master: Eric Silver

- TR8c (Tracey): Brandon Grugle

- Inara Harthorn: Amanda McLoughlin

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

- Multitude: multitude.productions


[shimmering tone]

[deep, distant inaudible voices becoming more clear]

Michael (as Johnny): Now you’re calling, and I don’t know if I’m ready. Wait, wait, wait.

The Undying Light: Yes?

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

The Undying Light: Getting better.

[voice resonates and fades]

[low hum of the auditorium]

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

Brandon (as Tracey): Ze’ol, we're done! This is over now.

Brandon: And I slam my axe down on the table. [sharp slam of axe]

Eric (as Ze'ol): Oh hey! I couldn't - thank you I didn't see you come in. Please - cmoe-

Brandon (as Tracey): End this now! We’re done!

Eric (as Ze'ol): I don't know - I don't know what youre talking about!

Brandon: I take a swing at the compass.

Eric: Okay. Make an attack roll.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: Is a 4 good?

Eric: A 4 is not good.

Brandon: That’s actually a 10 total, but you know.

Eric: That;s still not good. Tracey, I want you to make a Strength saving throw.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: Is a 12 good?

Eric: Tracey, as you take a massive swing at the compass, the Sawbone bounces right off.

Brandon: Tracey’s hit with a little recoil and sort of tries to recompose himself.

Eric: Yeah, you're knocked back and you're on your butt.

Amanda: I step forward and put a hand on Tracey's shoulder, and look nervously behind me and say

Amanda (as Inara): Let Johnny out. What’s happening here?

Eric (as Ze'ol): Which one of you are Johnny? I don't… it’s hard for me to keep any of you apart.

Amanda: I run over to the doors and try to push them open.

Brandon: Tracey’s following right behind Inara.

Eric: They're actually sealed, like you push against them and they don't have any give.

Brandon (as Tracey): Inara, step back!

Brandon: And Tracey starts chopping away at the doors with his axe.

[wood chopping repetitively]

Eric: It feels like you're chopping away at nothing. You're just taking swings of an immovable wall.

Brandon: At this point, it’s mostly just catharsis and he keeps swinging.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Oh okay - hey, hey this is my - you don't come into people’s houses and kick over their things -

Brandon (as Tracey): Ze’ol, I will fucking kill you!

Eric (as Ze'ol): You know what, let me check my own personal notes - you, according to me, God of Death, can’t do that, but thank you for playing. I appreciate it. You got great moxie, I appreciate - why don't we all just sit down and take a second. First of all, I should be saying thank you -

Amanda: Inara throws a dagger at the compass.

Eric: Yeah, why don't you make an attack roll too?

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 13.

Eric: Inara, make a Dexterity saving throw.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 9.

Eric: Okay, Inara you toss the dagger at the compass.

Amanda: I hurl the dagger convincingly and truly at the compass.

Eric: You hurl the dagger convincingly and truly at the compass, and it flies a little bit to the right, but as if the compass itself has a gravity of its own, it whips it back at you and catches you in the leg. You take 6 points of damage, but I know that you have Uncanny Dodge, so you only take 3 points of damage.

Amanda: I do. Just a flesh wound. Just a scratch.

Eric (as Ze'ol): I said everyone just take a second, if you don't want Maria - she looks pretty hurt doesn't she? I think everyone should just take a second and stop throwing things and hitting things at your friend Ze’ol here… and take a second -

Brandon (as Tracey): [fiercely] You have exactly thirty seconds to tell me what you did with Johnny and what you did to The Speaker.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Who - what -

Brandon (as Tracey): One.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Johnny -

Brandon (as Tracey): Two.

Eric (as Ze'ol): You know what, I do - he looks familiar if I remember in my headspace. I haven't seen him. I haven't seen him anywhere. I didn't do it. I didn't. Why don't you talk to the other two, the pointier sides of the Trinity here? I am just trying to take care of myself.

Brandon (as Tracey): Point them to me, I’ll take them down too. Let’s go.

Eric (as Ze'ol): That sounds bad. You should not do that.

Amanda (as Inara): Our friend is missing. We’re not very concerned about your feelings right now. Guy in the room behind us - behind those doors there was a giant fire. What is happening? What’d you do to the Speaker?! That’s not helping!

Eric (as Ze'ol): The Speaker? She’s fine. Maria’s fine. I feel a little cooped up. I’ve been in this compass here, trapped here for hundreds of years. I’m not even attached to the rest of my body. Now wouldn't you forgive an old man for just wanting to take a walk around the park to feel like himself again?

Amanda (as Inara): No!

Brandon (as Tracey): Nope.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Ah well, you know I thought that would work.

Eric: The two of you feel the air shift. It’s this imperceptible thing inside of your stomach, or Tracey, you feel it in your joints. Something is different. Like it’s more open. It’s like you were in a house and someone opened a window and there’s an opportunity here. Maybe it’s the wind, or bugs flying inside, but it feels different. And the compass stops spinning.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Oh. That’s interesting.

Eric: The compass lowers on top of the pedestal, and you two see a shadow step out from the compass. It’s pulling itself from inside, and as it moves slowly down the steps from the pedestal it’s like it’s weaving itself into existence, from dark into matter and color and form.

[discordant strings play]

Standing in front of you after a couple hundred stitches is what kind of looks like an older human man. He’s wearing a slouchy cardigan, a well-worn button down shirt, some slacks, and some loafers. And as he takes steps towards you, down from the steps of the pedestal into the main area of the auditorium, his shoes clack [echoing, sharp clacking sound] like high heels on hardwood. When he steps, everyone knows.

The strangest thing about this new man is his face. It’s kind, but almost kind. Like he’s always on the brink of pitying you. His face is mostly taken up by heavy horn-rimmed glasses, and you don't know if he needs them or not, but it has the weirdest effect of magnifying his eyes. They're golden and they are constantly looking in all directions. When he talks and looks around the room, he keeps one eye on both of you, while the right one spins around noticing the scene.

The old man stretches and he says

[strings abruptly end]

Eric (as Ze'ol): [distinctly without his prior accent] Oh that is so much better. Now I can talk to you face to face. Hello. It is so nice to meet you. I’m Ze’ol, God of Death and Trickery and fun and also Time. I know I should never forget time. Thank you for doing my to-do list. I appreciate that so much. I just didn't - I didn't have time! I was locked in there. What was I supposed to do? So thank you.

I have not seen your friend Johnny. I don't know where he is. It’s not me - for once it’s not me. Everything that we need, everything you’ve done, thank you. You have my Trinity Blessing.

Eric: Mockingly, he makes the sign of a triangle and his left eye flicks between you two while the right one keeps a steady look at the Speaker on the ground.

Eric (as Ze'ol): You’ll always have luck. You will never, ever be late for anything. You have my blessing. So you're fine, just go. Just go.

Brandon (as Tracey): Inara, we gotta get the Speaker out of here. At least now we have a target.

Brandon: Tracey cocks his cannon arm [gun cocking] and takes a shot at Ze’ol.

Eric: I want you to make a Wisdom saving throw.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 7.

Eric: Tracey, you take a shot with the powder balster, and you shoot out confetti.

[single party-blower sound, confetti falling]

Amanda (as Inara): This sounds less dramatic now given the confetti, but the Speaker is coming with us.

[Eric and Brandon laughing]

I don't understand why you're laughing.

Eric (as Ze'ol): It’s good. I thought it was funny. I thought it was good. No, I’m gonna - I hear you, I appreciate it, but you know, old men like me we are just stuck in our ways and I’m gonna say no.

Amanda (as Inara): You were born like 25 seconds ago, which by the way, how did that happen? There’s no such thing as something for nothing.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Oh you know, the window is open.

Amanda (as Inara): Does that mean-

Eric (as Ze'ol): You two, oh mmm.

Eric: You feel invisible hands feeling the sides of your faces.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Mmm-

Brandon (as Tracey): Touch me again and I’m chopping your hand off.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Oh, mm you’re so cute. I’m gonna go. If you want the Speaker, come and get her.

Eric: And Ze’ol comically stoops down with his hand on his back like he’s an old man. He wraps his right arm around the Speaker, and picks her up like a kid taking a basketball home with him.

Amanda: I’m gonna run toward him.

Brandon: Tracey’s gonna flip on his Rage switch, axe in hand, next to Inara, and try to tackle him down.

[dice rolling]

Amanda (as Inara): I got a 17 Acrobatics.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 16.

Eric: Okay. you two surge towards Ze’ol and the Speaker is within your grasp, and as you two both reach out to grab for her, they're not there anymore.

Eric (as Ze'ol): [echoing] You know it’s not that easy, come on.

Eric: And Ze’ol has moved three feet to your left with the Speaker still underneath his arm.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Well, follow me I guess.

Eric: And he reaches back and twists his wrist like he’s opening a door behind him, and then suddenly there is a door behind him. It’s wooden, it’s forgettable, it’s like you're walking into a tavern somewhere. He opens it up [door slowly creaking open] and then takes two steps back, waves to both of you and the door slams shut. [door shuts]

As the door closes, it floats to the back of the auditorium as if it fits into the wall of the dome. And then it multiplies. Then there’s a second door to its right, and a third one to its left, and one above. And then they start multiplying, and then there's four, and then there’s 8, 16, 32, 64, hundreds and hundreds of doors all over the inside of the auditorium, covering every single inch of the roof. And they start to shuffle. [echoing shuffling sound] They switch back and forth and back and forth and some overlap. It’s like someone is sorting a card trick you know you're going to lose, but you can't help but bet on anyway. And they all shift and shift and shift.

Amanda (as Inara): S- stop!

Eric: And the doors stop.

[shuffling stops]

Brandon: Tracey sits down.

Amanda: I turn back toward the doors we came through, that Tracey tried to chop down. I am gonna rattle the handles as hard as I can and see if I can open it.

Brandon (as Tracey): What’s the point?!

Amanda (as Inara): I have to see what happened!

Eric: Inara, you put all of your strength behind it, and you just fling them open and they crash between the sides of the buildings.

[wooden door slamming open]

Amanda: I definitely fall down on my butt.

Eric: Outside, it’s fall, it’s cloudy, it’s fine. People are walking around Chronopolis like nothing happened. They're starting to get used to the new weather. So you see that people have every sort of clothing on their arm. People are always carrying a hat, and a coat, and sandals, and shorts. Everyone's just kind of going about their day.

Amanda: I’ll close the doors behind me and turn back to face Tracey.

Brandon (as Tracey): I don't know what to do here.

Amanda (as Inara): Do - [sighs] I [sighs] … if… if he were gone, don't you think we would feel it? Maybe he’s just… somewhere else?

Brandon (as Tracey): I don't feel anything. There’s no point to this. There’s no point to what we just did. We did a bunch of bullshit, lost two of our friends.


Amanda (as Inara): I mean if … I’d rather not lose both. If anyone knows where Johnny may be it’s The Speaker.

Brandon (as Tracey): [softening] Yeah, that’s a good point.

Amanda (as Inara): Let’s just burn these doors one by one until we find the one that goes somewhere.

Brandon: Tracey plants the head of his axe into the ground and uses it to stand up, and goes to the doors one by one and starts chopping them down. It’s the most machine-like he’s ever been. It’s efficient; he doesn't lose any stamina, and he has a singular purpose in mind, the most singular purpose he’s had in a long time.

Amanda: I’m gonna stand on the chairs and the lecture hall tables to reach up to the second layer of doors and just work my way around the room. Open them, check, and if nothing’s there, slash an X into the front of the door.

Eric: As you make your way to each door, each of them just kind of look cloudy. Every single one you choose is just that: cloudy nothingness.

Amanda: When I finish the second row I’m gonna call over to Tracey and stand on his shoulders to try the third.

Eric: More of the same.

Amanda: Seeing that I’ve done all the doors within relatively easy reach, I’m gonna climb down, watch Tracey go back to do the same ones again, and pull the Shadow Cowl over my head. So I’ll float up to the very tippity-top of the dome and seeing more of the same, I slowly spiral my way around the dome, working from the top to the bottom.

Eric: Alright, you’ve opened all of them. They all look pretty much the same.

Brandon: I’m gonna do a ritual Detect Magic and see if any of that - it’s just everywhere isn't it?

Eric: It’s everywhere.

[Amanda laughs]

Amanda: As I’m flying around, I’m going to try to look for what I think Johnny would look for and do a Religion check.

Eric: Okay.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: And I’m gonna do an Investigation check as well, to look deeper at these.

Amanda: I got a 15.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 10.

Eric: Okay. Yeah, with a 10, I’m sorry, Detective Tracey, but you can’t suss out anything here. With a Religion check of 15, you think back to any sort of religious instruction you’ve ever had in your entire life, thinking about if you remember anything about Ze’ol.

You remember a bunch of mythology stories where he’s kind of like a half-trickster and he puts on this disguise of an old man to trick people into doing what he wants. And you remember three things about Ze’ol from these stories about him.

One, he loves to put on this old man disguise because it makes people seem more vulnerable so he can take advantage of them when he wants to. The second thing is Ze’ol loves jokes and he loves laughing at his own jokes. The third thing is because there’s only three gods in the Trinity, they have a pretty wide domain, so anything that has to do with time and space and the way that the universe moves is up to Ze’ol.

Amanda: Inara tickles a door.

[Brandon and Eric laugh]

Brandon: Does that do anything to you?

Eric: You know what, make another Religion check.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: That’s a genuine nat-20. And I’m gonna just scritch the door on the right hand side of the door frame at like shoulder height.

Eric: Okay, that doesn't do anything because you're tickling a door.

Amanda: Right.

Eric: But you hear very faint snickering-

[echoing, creepy snickering coming from all directions]

Coming from a door directly on the ceiling.

Amanda (as Inara): I knew it. Of course it would be the most annoying door. Tracey?

Brandon (as Tracey): Did you find something? Did the tickling work?

Amanda (as Inara): I think it did. And I think it’s the door on the ceiling.

Brandon: Now do I need to roll an Insight check if she’s lying to me?

Eric: [laughing] If you want to!

Amanda (as Inara): Doesn't matter if it worked or not. I think it’s the one right above.

Brandon (as Tracey): Let’s go kill this guy.

Amanda (as Inara): Can your arm reach?

Brandon (as Tracey): I think so. Let’s do it.

Amanda: I’m gonna scoop up Oatcake under one arm and float on up to push open the door on the ceiling.

Brandon: And Tracey uses his Long Arm of the Law to shoot up and Batman his way up to the door.

Eric: Cool. It smells like dirt.

[wind blowing, rustling leaves]

You look around and you are in an open field. You’ve never seen this field before. It’s sunny, it’s kind of warm. There’s a breeze blowing through the tall grass, and it stretches in all directions.

And in front of you there are 20 scarecrows. Each of them are numbered with a big red number right in the middle of its chest, and all of them look like Ze’ol’s face. They have two wonky golden eyes with some fake glasses drawn on.

Brandon (as Tracey): This is just egotistical I think.

Amanda (as Inara): [groans] As if one wasn't enough.

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright, let’s get through these things as quickly as possible.

Amanda: And I’m gonna run over to the scarecrow marked ‘3’ and slash its chest open.

Eric: Okay, you slash the scarecrow open, and this one was full of straw. The head sloughs off.

Amanda (as Inara): Trace, you go right, I go left.

Brandon (as Tracey): Done.

Amanda: I’m gonna run over to the scarecrow marked ‘1’ and slash it’s chest open.

Brandon: And I go over to the scarecrow marked 20 and start slashing.

Eric: Okay. Tracey, I want you to make a Wisdom saving throw.

Brandon: My best skill!

[dice rolling]

Whoa! 17!

Amanda: Ooh!

Eric: Okay! As you are about to slash at the scarecrow, you feel a wave of fear wash over you, but I guess you're just so angry and just so pissed at the situation, that you shake it off.

Brandon: Yeah, I’m still raging.

Amanda: You're still raging, yeah.

Eric: So make an attack roll.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 9.

Eric: [giggling] You’re also so pissed that you just whiff, and you turn your back to the scarecrow and you feel two sharp claws dig into your back.

[dice rolling]

Does a 21 hit?

Brandon: No… yes.

Eric: Does an 11 hit?

Brandon: No it does not.

Eric: Okay, you take 4 points of damage.

Brandon: So it is halved because it is not psychic damage.

Eric: Okay.

Brandon: So hey Amanda?

Amanda: Yeah, babe?

Brandon: I have 17 hit points.

Amanda: Okay.

Eric: Brandon, I need you to make another Wisdom saving throw.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: That’s a natural 20.

Eric: Oh hot damn! That might be your first one.

Amanda: [making megaphone noise] Bah-bah-bah!

Brandon: I’ve gained a lot of Wisdom -

Amanda: He’s smarter, better, faster, stronger.

Brandon: My perspective has changed.

Eric: You’re surprised by the claws in your back, but you don't care. The next time you have to roll a Wisdom saving throw, I’ll give you advantage. How’s that?

Brandon: Oh that’s great, thank you.

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

[dice rolling]

Amanda: Oh, 19!

Eric: Okay, you look over and you see that there is now- one of the scarecrows is now on top of Tracey and is clawing at his back.

Amanda (as Inara): Tracey!

Amanda: And I’m gonna run over and try to stab the scarecrow in the back.

Eric: Okay.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: I got a 17.

Eric: You rip -

Amanda: Stab it in the back and then rip my knife towards me.

Eric: Yeah, and just straw spills out and the scarecrow falls to the ground. There are 17 left.

Amanda: None of them is looking more or less scary than the others?

Eric: No, they all look exactly the same.

Amanda: As I kind of dust my clothes off from the straw that has blown into them, I’m gonna look over at Oatcake and say

Amanda (as Inara): Hey girl, any hints?

Eric: Oatcake puts her ear up to listen, and she sniffs, and she listens, and she starts to walk over to the middle of the pack. She sniffs around and as she’s walking around, she then suddenly looks at 15, and yelps suddenly, and she scampers out of the crowd of scarecrows and start digging a hole just in the field.

Brandon: Let’s just start slashing the other ones.

Amanda: Alright.

Brandon (as Tracey): Inara, I’ll hit 19.

Amanda (as Inara): I’ll do 13, but let’s skip 15 for now.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, I think so.

Amanda: I will adopt a defensive position and very delicately slash at 13.

Eric: Okay.

Brandon: And I will chop as hard as possible without thinking about it.

[Amanda laughs]

Eric: Okay, Tracey, you slice the head off of number 19 and it’s fine. Inara, you take your dagger and you stab into 13, and you hear the really faint laughing-

[faint, creepy snickering on all sides]

And you look up and it’s coming from this scarecrow.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, Tracey?

Eric: As you pull your dagger out, hay spills out into the open field and so does a door. The same door that you saw before tumbles out of the scarecrow and kind of fits into the ground below you.

Amanda: I jump backward and land on my butt and hands.

Brandon (as Tracey): How did you do that?

[Oatcake grumbling, whining]

Amanda (as Inara): I’m sorry, girl, but we have to go.

[more whining]

Amanda (as Inara): I’ll keep you close, how about that?

Eric: Oatcake blinks into your arms, cowering.

Amanda: I’m gonna move the Shadow Cowl from around my neck to around my torso and tuck Oatcake into it so it’s like a baby sling.

Eric: Nice.

Amanda (as Inara): Ugh, Trace…

Brandon (as Tracey): Let’s do it.

Amanda (as Inara): Let’s go.

Amanda: I’m gonna plug my nose and jump in.

Brandon (as Tracey): I’m following Inara.

Eric: Alright, you two are falling for a second, and you land in mud.


[applause, crowd cheering]

Brandon (as Tracey): Good, great, good.

Eric: And you hear the screaming of a massive crowd and you look around and you're back in the Bachelorette Tournament arena.

Amanda: Inara plugs her ears and says

Amanda (as Inara): Just a dream. Just a dream. Just a dream. Just a dream. Just a dream.

Eric: You hear feedback from the PA system and you're anticipating the voice that you heard the entire time, but it’s somebody else.

Eric (as Ze'ol): [over PA system] Welcome back to the Bachelorette Tournament. I’m so glad that you could make it here. I think everyone is having a very good time.

Amanda (as Inara): Objection!

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

Eric (as Ze'ol): Okay, well hey if you have strong feelings, I’m standing right here.

Eric: You look around, and you are on a raised platform. It’s about the size of a football field, and on the other side of the raised platform is Ze’ol. And he’s waving to you and he’s still holding The Speaker under his right arm.

Brandon (as Tracey): Do you think you can hit him with a dagger, or is it too far?

Amanda (as Inara): Too far.

Eric (as Ze'ol): All you have to do is get through my extremely amazing trap that I’ve set up.

Eric: And you look up, and the entire length of the platform form you to Ze’ol there’s like an overhang and it’s covered in spikes.

Amanda: Classic trap. Love it.

Eric (as Ze'ol): I don't think - I don't think I did it right.

Brandon: Is there anything in front of us or to the side of us?

Eric: Sure, it’s pretty much just this raised platform, but to your right, kind of in the same area where the big purple throne was in the Bachelorette Tournament arena, something is covered by a sheet.

Brandon (as Tracey): I mean, what the hell, right?

Brandon: And Tracey blows his help horn.

[horn squeaking]

Eric: Okay. This is very funny. As you blow the help horn, the sound bounces off all of the walls of the arena, just careening back into your ears. It is so loud. And you hear a familiar voice.

Eric (as voice): Oh my god, is that Tracey? Tracey stop blowing that goddamn horn. I swear to god, I am already locked up in this freaking chair and I have to listen to your sa- you’re the only people that can help me here?! I cannot believe it.

Brandon (as Tracey): Um…

Eric (as voice): You don't even know who I am?! This is Greg. This is Greg. Hello.

Brandon (as Tracey): Goddamnit.

Eric (as Greg): Where am - why is there a sheet on top of me? Who’s cheering?!

Brandon (as Tracey): [quietly, stunned] This is supposed to be the help horn -

Eric (as Greg): I’m helpful sometimes! Help me! Nwo you have to help me!

Amanda (as Inara): Ugh, fine.

Amanda: I’m gonna duck as low as I can and try to run kind of hunched over toward the platform.

Eric: Yeah, as you try to get off the platform, you bounce off like it’s an invisible wall.

Amanda (as Inara): [annoyed] Ow.

Brandon (as Tracey): Well, I guess Greg you're stuck… Alright, that solves that problem.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Wait you - oh, excuse me? I thought this was gonna - you just ruined my whole thing. Alright, fine.

Eric: Ze’ol waves one hand and the sheet flies up, and sitting in the big purple chair is Greg, your friend.

Brandon: My pal.

Eric: Your big friend pal. And next to him is a big dial. Think of this like a thermostat. It is currently turned all the way to 100, which is the highest it can go, and then there is a 0 marking right in the middle, and then it can be turned down to negative 100.

Brandon (as Tracey): Greg, you know what the deal is with that, or -

Eric (as Greg): No.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, can you reach it?

Amanda (as Inara): Who got you here?

Eric (as Greg): That’s what I was gonna ask you. Whenever anything bad happens to me, it’s always you two.

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

Eric (as Greg): Wait... there’s usually three of you.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, let’s talk about it later. Let’s just say that seeing you is not the worst thing that happened to us today.

Eric (as Greg): Sick burn, thank you.

Amanda (as Inara): How do we all get out of here alive?

Eric (as Greg): I was gonna ask you - I dont - I dont know. I was walking over to - I was gonna come over to talk to you guys in the dome, and now I walked through the door, and now I’m here sitting in this chair.

Brandon (as Tracey): Hey Greg, can you still whistle?

Eric (as Greg): Uh… yeah? Yes. I am very good at whistling, yes.

Brandon (as Tracey): Seems like there might be a good target across the way there.

Eric (as Greg): Who is that?

Amanda (as Inara): He’s like from the bedtime stories - you know, Ze’ol? Laughter, death, apparently unnerving eyes and cool cardigan.

Eric (as Ze’ol): Yeah, that sounds pretty - that’s a pretty good description of me, I appreciate it.

Eric: And the entire crowd cheers.

Amanda (as Inara): Not the point, Ze’ol.

Eric (as Ze'ol): It’s always the point.

Eric: Gregg starts to whistle and he’s having trouble maintaining a note. It’s like he’s out of breath.

[breathy whistle]

Eric (as Greg): I can’t. I - I don't know what’s going on. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Brandon (as Tracey): [annoyed] Alright, we’ll save you this time like we always do.

Eric (as Greg): That’s - wha-

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay you're the one trapped to the chair, shut up for a second. Inara, what do you want to do?

Eric: And the dial starts turning from 100 down to 0 and you are feeling - you know when you're on a roller coaster and you start going faster and faster downhill? You feel airy, like you feel lighter. And then the dial starts going faster and faster towards negative 100, and you're starting to float directly up into the spikes.

Brandon (as Tracey): This isn't how I thought it would go. Okay.

Brandon: Tracey shoots his Long Arm of the Law down and tries to grab some part of the platform.

Eric: Okay.

Amanda: And Inara's going to grab right onto Tracey’s leg.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: That’s not bad… 13?

Eric: Inara, make a Strength check to grab onto Tracey.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 13.

Eric: Okay. Tracey, you shoot your Long Arm of the Law and you grab onto the side of the platform. You're held on for now, and Inara, same to you.  You're clinging to Tracey’s leg. You're looming about ten feet below the spikes.

Brandon: I start reeling my arm in and yell to Greg -

Brandon (as Tracey): Greg, any ideas or are you just gonna like sit there?

Eric (as Greg): I’m stuck! I cant move!

Brandon (as Tracey): Sounds like an excuse to me!

Eric (as Greg): No I cannot do anything. What am I supposed to do?!

Brandon (as Tracey): I don't know, I thought you were this powerful bard or whatever.

Eric (as Greg): I am! I am a super powerful bard!

Eric: He purses his lips in a whistle once more,and you hear a clarion call of whistling. [sharp whistle] It’s direct and it cuts through all of the noise of the arena. And from Greg’s pocket, you see this shimmering gold arrow lift out and dive straight towards Ze’ol.

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s what I’m talking about!

Amanda (as Inara): Go Greg!

Eric: It speeds towards him, going fast and faster, ignoring the gravity pull that is on you two. Inches away from his googly eyes, it stop.

Amanda (as Inara): No! Little more!

Brandon (as Tracey): Just a little bit more - why’d you stop?

Eric (as Greg): I didn't do anything! I - I need to keep whistling! Schwooo!

Eric: And then he goes back to whistling.

[Brandon and Amanda giggling]

Amanda: Schwoo!

Eric (as Greg): Shut up!

Eric (as Ze'ol): You know that’s - that’s cheating. That doesn't count. I’ll give you a few points for trying, but that doesn't count. I really wanted to see you get caught in the spikes, though. Guess we don't always get what we want.

Brandon (as Tracey): We all want to see you on the spikes too!

Eric (as Ze'ol): Good burn. Tracey, you are so hurtful to me. Why do you do this?

Amanda (as Inara): Ze’ol, don't you want to just tell us dumb stories about when you were young? Can we all sit around and have like dinner and cabbage and things and you can tell stories about when you were younger, and freer, and milk was cheaper, and all that stuff.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Okay.

Brandon (as Tracey): Movie tickets were a nickel, and maybe I chop your head off a little bit!

Eric (as Ze'ol): You know what, that sounds - I would love that. When I was a boy -

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh my god kill me.

Amanda (as Inara): I’d really prefer not to be floating for this. And also I think The Speaker would really enjoy it.

Eric (as Ze'ol): The world was new. And it wasn't mine.

Eric: He reaches back and another door shows up behind him. He opens it, waves to all three of you, and closes the door.

Brandon (as Tracey): [screaming] Fuck you!

Amanda (as Inara): Come on! Not again!

Eric: You hear the whistle change pitch [another sharp whistle] and the arrow comes flying back towards Greg, and it stabs right into the dial, and you feel yourself slowly lowering towards the ground.

Amanda (as Inara): Alright, Greg, that’s what I’m talking about!

Brandon (as Tracey): Thank you.

Eric: The crowd then goes from cheering and now they are just confused, and now they're loudly booking all of you.

[cheers transition to hollers and booing]

Amanda (as Inara): Come on, you're not even real! Go home!

Eric (as crowd member): You go home! I cant believe you broke Brinks’s heart! Oh!

Brandon (as Tracey): Boo yourself!

Eric: The dial sparks and has a very, very small contained explosion [small poof] and Greg falls out of the chair.

Amanda: I’m gonna run over.

Brandon: I’m gonna follow Inara.

Brandon (as Tracey): Greg, you alright, bud?

Eric (as Greg): You know for the fir- [breathes heavily] for the first time, I don't think this is your fault.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, that’s a good observation.

Amanda (as Inara): And you know what, for the first time, we need your help.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah we do.

Eric (as Greg): Cool, cool, cool. Yeah let’s do it. Let’s go.

Brandon: I offer my hand for a handshake to Greg.

Eric (as Greg): I don't know - I assume you guys have cool secret handshakes, I don't know.

Brandon (as Tracey): No, it’s just a handshake.

Amanda (as Inara): We can make one up when we win.

Eric (as Greg): I like that.

Eric: And he grabs your hand.

[audience booing fades]

Amanda: Hey, it’s Amanda. If I was going to write an anecdote for this midroll, I think I would just describe the feeling of putting out something that I am so nervous about and getting only the most generous, kind, loving, supportive responses in return, so I just wanted to take this moment on behalf of Eric, Brandon and me to thank all of you who have listened, who have sent us support. It’s a moment for the campaign and for the show, but it’s one that we are working through and we couldn’t ask for a better audience. We are here for you and we know that you are here for us.

So welcome to our beautiful cohort of new patrons! Tabby Cat, Dawn, Tyler, Marco, Francis, Jeff, Haley, Angel, Alli, Natasha, Jimmy, Nick, Ciara, Svenja, Rebecca, Leah, Ali, Oisin, Eri, and Sharon. Welcome. There’s some mulled cider in the kitchen—booze optional! We’re so glad you’re here. This is a sprawling operation to run, and your support on Patreon is the income we can count on that powers the engine and keeps it going. We want to keep making this show for a long, long time, and we could not do that without our members on Patreon. And now, we have a Multitude channel in our Discord for live-blogging new releases of the other fun-time-pal shows on Multitude! Join us every Monday to discuss the latest antics on Potterless or HORSE, every Wednesday to sob about our newest favorite deity on Spirits, and alternating Fridays to celebrate wigs, good and bad, on Waystation. That’s at patreon.com/jointhepartypod.

I also wanted to remind you that you can now bring the Labor Party module into your home game. Eric and our creative collaborators have adopted every labor from the Labor Party arc into a playable one-shot and we’re releasing the whole thing as a bundle at http://bit.ly/laborpartymodules. This is your chance to get a piece of JTP in your very own campaign. And it has some bonus content that we didn’t even get to in the episodes, so you’ll definitely want to check it out. That’s http://bit.ly/laborpartymodules.

We are sponsored this week by Calm, the #1 app for sleep, meditation, and relaxation. There’s a lot going on in the world, and in our lives, so Calm is a little oasis that I need in my life. I listen to their soundscapes when I’m answering email, losing myself in thunderstorm or ocean noises. I use their stories to get to sleep, especially the train ones. Ugh I just love trains. And I’m getting better at practicing mindfulness, all because of the gentle encouragement Calm gives me. So whether you are looking for a daily meditation topic, or specific meditations based around issues like anxiety, stress, focus and relationships, Calm is the place to be. Try out their premium subscription at calm.com/jointheparty, which will also get you 25% off a Premium plan. That’s unlimited access to everything on the Calm app at calm.com/jointheparty. One more time, calm.com/jointheparty.

Our other sponsor this week, as always, is 20 Sided Store in Brooklyn, New York. Co-owner Lauren Bilanko is our resident Master, Dungeon Master, meaning that each month we bring her one of our listeners’ questions about games and GMing. If you have a question for Lauren, send it our way! Email, tweet, or Discord message us anytime. Today our question is short and sweet: “None of my friends want to play D&D with me! What do I do?”

Lauren says: “Find out what your friends like and write a D&D adventure themed in that genre. Keep the rules light and bring on the fun! Focus on imagining what the characters look like and helping the players figure out what their character would do in a given situation. Don't worry about the stats on the character sheet until there is an opportunity to fail. If they still don't want to play, try meeting new people.”

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

And now, let’s get back to the show.

[large crowd booing]

Eric (as Greg): How do we leave? The way I walked in is not -

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah doors -

Amanda (as Inara): Not there anymore? It happens.

Brandon (as Tracey): Doors aren't really doors here.

Amanda (as Inara): More like a metaphor.

Brandon (as Tracey): A meta-door.

Eric (as Greg): Nice. Nice, good joke.

Brandon (as Tracey): Thanks.

Eric (as Greg): It’s dire times when I think your jokes are funny.

Amanda (as Inara): Well, Greg I think we’ve gone after Ze’ol and another fresh hell waits us each time. So I guess that’s what we are gonna do.

Brandon (as Tracey): Our main goal is to take his head off of his body.

Amanda (as Inara): Like totally off.

Brandon (as Tracey): Completely off.

Amanda (as Inara): Ideally, if the cardigan doesn't get bloody, I would take it home.

Brandon (as Tracey): I would wear it as a trophy,

Amanda (as Inara): That’s really a secondary goal.

Eric (as Greg): So again, who is that?

Amanda (as Inara): That’s the god of space, time, trickery, and something called pastrami.

Eric (as Greg): Well I’m gonna kill Bridge.

Amanda (as Inara): I mean, I don't disagree with you, but what specifically did he have to do about this time?

Eric (as Greg): Bridge didn't tell me - he said that everything was fine. He said you guys were here for - I should have known, he said it was military flag orientation.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, watch my semaphore.

[Amanda and Eric laugh]

Amanda (as Inara): LIsten Greg.

Amanda: I put my hand up on his shoulder.

Amanda (as Inara): Bridge was trying to protect you probably by lying to you, or saving you from the truth, or trying not to make his problems your problems. Honestly, we’ve done the same thing. We did the same to Alonzo. And it’s not working anymore.

Brandon (as Tracey): It hasn't really worked out for us so far.

Amanda (as Inara): I’m gonna tell you what’s going on and we really, really need your help. So sorry about the leg, all that.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, sorry about that.

Amanda (as Inara): Didn't mean to remind you of it, oops.

Brandon (as Tracey): How’s that doing by the way? Good?

Eric (as Greg): It’s fine, yeah…

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay.

Eric (as Greg): [softly] You buttholes. This is the first time you apologize though so…

Brandon (as Tracey): We were buttholes. I was a butthole.

Eric (as Greg): No. I was the butthole.

Amanda (as Inara): Listen, everyone has a butthole.

[Amanda giggles]

Eric (as Greg): We’re all buttholles. I think we can all agree we’re buttholes.

Amanda (as Inara): It’s the one thing that unites us.

Eric (as Greg): We all have buttholes. Tracey do you have-

Amanda (as Inara): Refocus.

Eric (as Greg): Okay, hello. They're all booing. It’s very hard to concentrate.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay, here’s the deal. We got here, saw the compass, Ze’ol, seemed friendly, seemed fine, Speaker was there like, [in mocking voice] “Oh I don't know what's the problem, oh gah” -

Brandon (as Tracey): She’s in dire distress, don't make fun of her now.

Amanda (as Inara): Gallows humor, Tracey come on. Ze’ol gave us a bunch of things to do. We did all the things. Some of them were fun, some of them were boring. One of them was the opera. Otherwise, never would have been there. Obviously, ran into you, now here we are. Bygones, Bygones Great. Soon as we finished, last room of the last challenge, Johnny didn't come back.

Eric (as Greg): Johnny… didn’t… what do you mean he didn't come back?

Brandon (as Tracey): We don't know. He just didn't come through the door.

Amanda (as Inara): We don't know, but he was talking to the Shadow a lot, and then something changed. Something let Ze’ol out of that compass.

Brandon (as Tracey): He took down a huge monster all by himself. It was kind of scary.

Amanda (as Inara): It was really scary. And he kind of let us go before -

Eric (as Greg): So he’s… is he in the - I don't understand is he… I don't understand. He’s in the labyrinth still?

Amanda (as Inara): Or something. Something changed and something let Ze’ol out. I don't know if it was knocking the Speaker out, if Johnny did something or the Light of the Shadow. I don't really know, but we do know that he’s not here, and if he could be I know he would. So -

Brandon: We’re gonna chop Ze’ol’s head off.

Amanda (as Inara): And get the Speaker back and try to put that son of a bitch back where he came from.

Eric (as Greg): Okay, so we’re just gonna like kill a god?

Amanda (as Inara): That’s the idea.

Brandon (as Tracey): Sounds about the whole of it.

Eric (as Greg): That sounds like something you two would do, and for once I’m here for it. Let’s go. Let’s go, what are we - let’s go!

Amanda (as Inara): Greg, I want to welcome you to the Jailbirds, only we said that back when there was a very serious threat against your life - also seems like you’re not very happy with your boyfriend right now, so welcome to the …

Brandon (as Tracey): Friend circle?

Amanda (as Inara): Jail mice!

Eric (as Greg): Okay, we’ll think of a better name later. Let’s go!

Amanda (as Inara): Alright!

Eric: All three of you barrel through the door

[audience stops abruptly]

And you hear … nothing. Well, you hear something but it’s way quieter. You hear the dripping of water.

[water dripping moderately]

You’re back in the dungeon of Kiko Castle.

Amanda (as Inara): Son of a bitch.

Eric (as Greg): Why are we in the dungeon of Alonzo’s house?

Brandon (as Tracey): Look isn't this - you've spent a lot of time here. Is there an easy way -

Eric (as Greg): What do you - where do you think - in here?!

Brandon (as Tracey): No not here.

Amanda (as Inara): No, no, no not what he meant. Also funny story, something that embarases us - you’ll really like it - this is where we met! Tracey and me!

Brandon (as Tracey): Aw so sweet!

Amanda (as Inara): Got arrested for kind of stealing in the market, don't worry about it.That’s where Alonzo found us. That’s why you’re alive! Ending with a happy memory.

Eric (as Greg): C-cool?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yaaaaay…

Amanda (as Inara): Yaaaay…

Eric (as Greg): But where’s the rest of the castle?

Amanda (as Inara): I don't know. It seems like places we’re embarrassed to be is where Ze’ol is making us go, so -

Brandon (as Tracey): He thinks it’s funny I think.

Eric (as Greg): Huh…

Brandon (as Tracey): You spent a lot of time here. Is there an easy - is there a trick to the lock? Is there…

Eric (as Greg): I would, but there’s no door.

Eric: So you look around and you're in a jail cell, but instead of the door that is usually in a jail cell, it is just more bars. So you're totally locked in. You also look outside the jail cell and you don't see anything. It’s just more of the smoky nothingness.

Brandon: Tracey sticks his hand outside between the bars.

Eric: It’s weirdly cold.

Brandon: Okay.

Brandon (as Tracey): You know how in stories there’s always - there’s some cowboys that get locked up and there’s always a phony bar just in case of emergencies kind of thing?

Amanda: Ooo!

Eric (as Greg): Okay.

Brandon (as Tracey): Is that a thing here?

Eric (as Greg): I mean… try it?

Brandon (as Tracey): You live here!

Eric (as Greg): You act like - one no I dont, two, I dont time in the cell. Again, I don't spend any time in the… cell?

Brandon (as Tracey): What do you guys do for fun?!... Oh?

Eric: And Greg looks up, and from the ceiling, you see that a clock pushes out from the ceiling.

Amanda: Oh.

Eric: The face of a pocket watch. And it’s at 30 seconds.

Eric (as Greg): Do you think that’s important?

Brandon (as Tracey): Seems like it might be.

Brandon: Tracey starts tapping on each of the bars with his axe handle.

Eric: They all ring true.

Brandon (as Tracey): Well…

Eric: Then from the center of the room, a pedestal with a big red button sits in the center.

Brandon: Man that’s hard to resist.

Eric (as Greg): What do we do now?

Eric: And the timer starts.

[timer ticking]

Brandon (as Tracey): Well, uh, okay, so…

Amanda (as Inara): Oatcake, this is your moment. Go!

Amanda: And I point toward the pedestal.

Eric: Oatcake blinks over to the pedestal and goes poof, and she lands right on top of the pedestal and pushes it down. The clock on the top resets to 30 seconds.

[ticking stops]

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, so Oatcake stay. Does she know stay?!

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah. [to herself, mocking] Does she know stay...

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay.

[dice rolling]

Amanda (as Inara): Oatcake, come back!

Amanda: And I hold out my arms.

Eric: Oatcake blinks back into your arms, and the timer starts again.


Brandon: I pick up the stool. Does that do anything? Is there anything underneath the stool?

Eric: No.

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, okay fine.

Amanda: And I rip the door patch off of my cloak.

Eric: Okay, so as you pull on the patch, it starts getting heavier, and heavier, and heavier in your hand. And once it’s fully  off, you are now holding a cold, metal doorknob in your hand, and it’s attached to a very large metal door.

Amanda: I’m gonna lean it against the wall and pull it open.

Brandon (as Tracey): Greg, if there’s a time to trust us, it’s this. Let’s go.

Eric (as Greg): I mean, shouldn't we wait for the timer to go down?

Eric: The timer is now at 10 seconds.

Amanda (as Inara): Super no!

Eric (as Greg): No, we’re not gonna wait for it?

Amanda: And I step through the door.

Eric (as Greg): I don't know, the timer - Tracey we should just do it.

Brandon: I push Greg through the door.

Brandon (as Tracey): Trust me, this is how trust works!

Eric (as Greg): Argh!

Eric: And the door slams as the clock clicks down from 1 to 0. [ticking stops] You slam open the metal door on the other side, and you tumble into green.

[sound of many animals chirping, calling]

Actually it just looks green because all three of you are standing - are covered by these massive leaves. You push this massive leaf aside and you see leaves everywhere, and it is hot and sweaty, and you are in a dense jungle. Even Tracey somehow is sweating through his carapace.

Brandon: Just the sap trickling out of my pores.

Eric: Exactly. And you hear Oatcake barking ten feet to your left.

Amanda (as Inara): Girl when did you -

Amanda: And I look over to my left.

Eric: Oatcake is sniffing a baby lizard. Or well-

Brandon (as Tracey):  Hey don't eat that lizard!

Eric: Well, it’s bigger than a lizard. It’s the same size as Oatcake.

Brandon (as Tracey): Uh…

Eric: It has a big, blocky head,  short little stubby arms, and a squat body that gives it about the same size as Oatcake, and it has big gold eyes made only larger by glasses on its face.

Amanda (as Inara): What do you want this time, Ze’ol?

Eric: The baby lizard thing goes, “ah.”

Brandon (as Tracey): I’m gonna chop its head of real fast, is that…?

Amanda (as Inara): Um, one quick try.

Amanda: I cast Mage Hand and hold the lizard up by its tail.

Eric: Make a Dexterity roll.

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh good now I’ll be able to chop its head off easier.

[dice rolling]

Amanda (as Inara): Not quite, Trace.

Amanda: 21.

Eric: Okay, unfortunately I rolled higher than you. It moves its tail deftly away and it goes off running into the bush.

Brandon: Tracey goes off running after it, cleaving the jungle with his axe.

Eric (as Greg): Wait, Tracey! Where are you going?

Brandon (as Tracey): We gotta get Ze’ol!

Amanda (as Inara): This is kind of how it works. Come on, Oatcake

Amanda: I’m gonna scoop her up and point Greg after Tracey so that I can be the caboose of the party.

Eric: Got it. You're chopping your way through the brush, thirty, forty feet, you run into something hard. Kind of looks like a massive tree, but you realize that this tree is scaly and has pointed clawed toes and is attached to a larger body.

Brandon (as Tracey): Uhhhhhhh…

Brandon: And Tracey looks up.

Eric: And you're looking right in the face of a Mama Tyrannosaurus rex.

Brandon: [higher, louder] Ahhhhhhh- guys!

Eric: And sitting on top of its head is the baby Tyrannosaurus rex with the googly eyes. The T-rex roars right in Tracey’s face. [loud roar] What do you do?

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright guys, I can distract the big one if you guys can like - do you have some snacks or food or something? Maybe get the small one away?

Amanda (as Inara): Greg do you know any lullabies?

Eric (as Greg): Uh - I can…

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s a better idea!

Eric (as Greg): I can try. I can try?

Eric: Who wants to go first?

Amanda: Greg.

Brandon: Greg.

Eric: Greg’s gonna go first? So Greg is going to -

Amanda: Cha-boy, my best friend. Namesake of my firstborn.

Eric (as Greg): Okay I can… I think I can do it.

Eric: And Greg opens his mouth and start to sing. Floating in front of the face of the Tyrannosaurus rex is this twisting pattern of colors, weaving through the air.

Amanda: I cover Oatcake's eyes with my hand.

Eric: It appears for a moment and as fast as it came, it disappears. And I’m gonna make a Wisdom saving throw for the T-rex.

[dice rolling]

It has a negative 1 to Chrisma because it’s a dinosaur, but it got an 18, so that’s 17, that beats Greg’s Charisma saving throw, so the T-rex just roars directly in Greg’s face [loud roar] and he’s like

Eric (as Greg): I tried my best! I tried singing! That’s what I do - the singing!

Amanda (as Inara): Alright, Jailmice huddle!

Brandon (as Tracey): Are we decided on that? I don't know.

Amanda (as Inara): I’m rolling with it for now. Okay. I am going to climb up these trees really sneaky, hang out at that branch above the head and try to just scoop him up.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, do you need some rope? I’ve got a lot of it.

Amanda (as Inara): Can't hurt.

Brandon: I give Inara some rope.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay, I’m just gonna blow my help horn and try to keep his attention away from you.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah try to keep in the same place and not paying attention to stuff -

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah exactly.

Amanda (as Inara): That isn't what you're doing.

Brandon (as Tracey): Right.

Amanda (as Inara): Cool.

Brandon (as Tracey): Cool.

Amanda (as Inara): Greg, you got this? Great try.

Eric (as Greg): Why is there a Tyrannosaurus rex here?

Amanda (as Inara): This is what our lives are like.

Eric (as Greg): I hate it!

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah us too.

Eric (as Greg): Okay.

Amanda (as Inara): I hope this helps you understand our experience from a more empathetic place. Okay cool, ready on three - on three… um… Ratpack?

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay…

Eric (as Greg): Okay I like it.

Amanda (as Inara): One, two, three.

All: Ratpack.

Brandon: Tracey runs towards the dino, blowing his help horn.

Eric: Alright, we’re going to do contested Charisma again.

Brandon: Oh good. The two most charismatic beings.

Eric: I know a Tyrannosaurus rex and Tracey.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 14?

Eric: I also got a 14.

Brandon: Oh, tie goes to the runner.

Eric: Tie goes to the runner.

Amanda: In this case, literally.

Eric: Ah!

Brandon: Ah!

[Brandon and Amanda giggling]

Eric: So you're running away. As you're blowing your help horn, [horn squeaking] the T-rex looks towards you and is focused on you.

Brandon: Great.

Eric: Inara, make a- start by shimmying up the tree, and that’s gonna be Acrobatics.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 14.

Eric: Okay, yeah it’s a tree. I think you can climb up it.

Amanda: Definitely.

Eric: Okay. So it is now the Tyrannosaurus rex’s turn. So the T-rex is looking at Tracey trying to follow with its eyes.

Brandon (as Tracey): Come on! Over here! Look at me big fella!

Eric: and on top of the T-rex you head the tiny baby one saying

Eric (as Ze’ol): [high pitched, squeaky] Ehhhh, are you sure about that?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah!

Eric (as Ze’ol): Okay!

Eric: And the T-rex opens its mouth and unleashes a torrent of ice directly at Tracey.

[roar and whoosh of ice]

Brandon (as Tracey): Good.

[Amanda and Eric laugh]

Eric: Alright, you need to make a Constitution saving throw.

Brandon: Oh actually that’s great.

[dice rolling]


Eric: Okay, with a 17, you take - it’s supposed to be 40, but you saved so you take 20, and since you’re raging you take 10 points of damage.

Brandon: God… alright I’m down to 7 hit points.

Eric (as Ze’ol): Yeah, I thought it would be fun, yeah to give it ice breath. Is it fun? It’s fun for me. I’m having a fun time.

Brandon (as Tracey): I. am going. To chop. Your head off.

Eric: You're covered in ice and all of the jungle around you -

Brandon: Half covered.

Eric: You're like a quarter covered in ice, but everything around you is just like a winter wonderland. It’s now your turn.

Amanda: I am poised above the T-rex’s head, clinging onto a branch, shrouded by leaves. And I am going to hang onto the branch with my knees, with my legs interlocked above it, and swing down to grasp the lizard in my hands.

Eric: I love that. Start with the Stealth roll, then.

Amanda: Alright.

[dice rolling]

Hey, money, money.

That’s a 13 + 8 for Stealth.

Eric: Oh yeah you got that.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: And then a 9 + 4, 13 for Sleight of Hand.

Eric: Okay, as you reach out ot try to grab him, he then leans forward to get a better look at the frost-covered Tracey, and he just slips right out of your hand.

Brandon: Tracey’s going full cowboy. He’s going to keep on his help horn. While he’s doing that, take out his rope, make a quick lasso, and try to wrangle this here dinosaur down to the floor.

Eric: I think you know how to make a knot. Alright, why don't you make a ranged attack against it.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 12.

Eric: Yeah, you try to make a lasso and you try to wrangle the snout of the T-rex, but it catches it in the air and just bites through.

Brandon: That’s rude. I spent a lot of gold on that rope.

Eric: So Greg is going to start singing again, but this time it's like the baseline of ‘In The Jungle’ and he’s trying to conjure a vision of a lion to be afraid of in Ze’ol’s head. So Ze’ol’s gonna make an Intelligence saving throw.

Brandon: Do you think a T-rex is afraid of a lion?

Eric: Weil Ze’ol might be afraid of just something roaring in his face.

Amanda: Or taunted by the fact that we are best friends with Vince now.

Eric: That’s true.

Brandon: The scary part is that we lost his friend and now they’re ours.

Eric: Sometimes friendship is the scariest phantasmal force. Inara, from above you're watching the baby T-rex try to stay on top of the T-rex’s head, and you see him look around and his golden eyes are moving in all directions. He loses his balance on top of the T-rex and he tumbles down off of the T-rex, right into Greg’s arms.

Amanda: Yeah!

Eric (as Greg): I got you! I told you I could do things!

Amanda (as Inara): Good job Greg!

Eric (as Greg): Show us the next door! Where does it - let me go home!

Eric: And Ze’ol tries to shake out of Greg’s hands but he can't.

Brandon (as Tracey): Hold him, I’m gonna chop his head off!

Eric (as Ze’ol): No! That is not how this - that is not how this goes down.Do you want to see what’s waiting for you on the other side? Fine.

Eric: And Ze’ol again reaches back with his tiny T-rex arms and reaches for another door and throws it open, with his tiny T-rex legs kicks Greg in the chest, and lands on the ground, and he’s back to his old man form

Eric (as Ze'ol): [returning to old man voice] Alright fine - come in. I’ll show you what happens next.

Eric: He backs into the door.

Brandon: Alright, Tracey follows after him, axe in hand, thirsty for his blood.

Amanda: I give Greg a “after you” arm.

Eric: You walk through the doro and the jungle disappears.

[chirping stops]

And for once, it’s quiet. It is so quiet. You look around. You Are floating in darkness. And slowly, it starts to light up with stars. All you see in every direction are stars. Or it’s what children think stars are. They are golden orbs spinning and twisting in the middle of nowhere.

In front of you, you see one star glows a mild purple. It’s missing something, like there should be stars around it, but it’s not. You start to float closer, and closer to it. And Inara, you hear Ze’ol in your head.

Eric (as Ze'ol): You are a taker of death. I know you are. Just stop this. Come with me. There’s more to your life than what’s here. I can help you. Things are breaking on the horizon. We can’t stop it. So let’s go do something else. Let’s clean up the underworld.

Eric: Tracey, you also hear Ze’ol in your head.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Tracey, I didn't touch Johnny. He left you. That wasn't me. He made his choice. I’m just an old man trying to stretch his legs. You cant stop what’s coming. You should know. You should know what's coming. You were here the first time.

Eric: And Greg’s hearing something as well.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Greg. Oh sweet, sweet Greg. You have no idea what you're doing. Go home. I’ll make it fall again, I promise. Let Alonzo go. He’s not here for you. He’s failed already. It’s nothing. It’s fine. It’s nothing.

Eric: In each of the three of your heads, you hear,

Eric (as Ze'ol): Don’t touch the star. Don’t. The door is behind you. Don’t touch it. Just go home. Just go home.

Amanda (as Inara): I’m touching the star, guys!

Brandon (as Tracey): I’m gonna touch the star, and then I’m gonna chop your head off, Ze’ol.

Eric (as Ze'ol): I figured that’s how this would go.

Brandon (as Tracey): Greg, you with us bud?

Amanda: I’m gonna hold out my hand.

Eric (as Greg): I… Alonzo… I can’t help him.

Brandon (as Tracey): Who?

Eric (as Greg): Alonzo, he’s gone.

Amanda (as Inara): No he’s not!

Brandon (as Tracey): No he’s not.

Amanda (as Inara): He’s with a really big unicorn, and I promise I couldn't even make that up.

Eric (as Greg): No, he’s gone. I gotta go - I need to go home.

Amanda (as Inara): Greg!

Eric (as Greg): I can’t help him.

Amanda (as Inara): Greg!

Amanda: I’m gonna take his face in my hands and look him in the eyes.

Amanda (as Inara): Whatever Ze’ol said, it’s the opposite. He’s a liar, he’s a manipulator, and he is not a friend. I know we’re not quite friends yet, but I think you know that I’m real and so is that warforged friend. So is this puppy. And i know it’s uncertain and I know we failed so far, but he’s scared of us. That’s why he’s trying to tear us apart. And the bravest thing of all we can do is try.

Eric (as Greg): Okay…

Brandon (as Tracey): We’re with you, bud.

Eric (as Greg): I … I’m gonna touch the star.

Amanda (as Inara): Touch the star, Greg. Touch it!

Brandon (as Tracey): Reach for it!

Amanda (as Inara): Touch it!

Eric: All three of you reach for the purple star gleaming in the darkness. And as you reach toward it, all three of you in your heads hear.

Eric (as Ze'ol): It’s not you I’m afraid of.

Eric: And everything glows a piercing violet.

[theme music]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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