Transcript: 1) Let There Be… Goats?

-TRUMPET FANFARE-

Thanks to the incredible hard work done by Orion, the first episode of The Mortal Path has been thoroughly and utterly transcribed! We are just so overwhelmingly grateful, he’s put so much work into this fantastic transcript, and we’re so excited to be able to share his work with you all. While he plans to transcribe all the episodes, transcription is a time consuming and difficult task, and this is a passion project of his. We’ll be updating the site with new transcriptions as they come, and will be keeping you all updated on Twitter. If anyone is interested in helping Orion write these transcripts, please email us at themortalpath@gmail.com so we can put you in touch!

So, with another HUGE thank you to Orion, we are so pleased to present here:

Episode 1: Let There Be… Goats?

https://themortalpath.podbean.com/e/1-let-there-be-goats/

Created by Yubi, Gary, Kitty and ed.

 

Transcribed by Orion, because he quite likes transcribing things in his spare time, and he likes TMP even more than that. Any corrections to suggest to this transcription should be sent to themortalpath@gmail.com with ‘Transcript Error’ in the subject line.

Timestamps written are approximate rather than exact, so as to avoid breaking up the flow of the dialogue. All attempts at recreating Yubi’s weird mouth sounds are Orion’s own.

Yubi: So, let’s get started. Everybody roll me a constitution saving throw.

Kitty: Oh, what?!

Gary: Oh, fuck!

Kitty: Oh, good! Oh, excellent! That’ll be a five then!

Gary: A six?

Kitty: Oh, no, wait, no! …Yeah, no, a five.

ed: A seventeen?

Yubi: Okay.

Kitty: Oh, fuck off ed.

ed: [sighs] I’m just too const’.

 

Yubi: You are the first to wake up. And you wake up slowly and you wake up and you’re cold. And whatever you’re lying on is unforgiving and hard and not comfortable like a bed and not quite like grass or the ground. You blink awake and you see above you for a minute what looks like the night sky, and then you blink again and you realise that it’s stone. And it’s a cavern with veins of opal and gems sort of sprawled across the rock like galaxies and constellations in beautiful breathtaking patterns. It’s nothing you’ve ever seen before. And as you glance around you realise that you’re lying on some sort of obsidian platform, and you’re all alone in this stone chamber. And opposite you are two doors. One is of a clay brown and one is a pale blue, both wooden doors sunk into the rock.

 

[The Mortal Path’s theme tune (by Rachel Graff) plays for the first time – a quick undercurrent of strong rhythmic drums under a haunting, wordless sung melody in long, minor phrases. It fades to nothingness, then a lone, sad violin leads into the podcast starting.]

 

ed: Uh, I’m gonna check if my horns are still there.

Yubi: Your horns are still there.

ed: Okay, good. I’m gonna… investigate the brown door?

Yubi: Okay. You get up and step off the platform that you’re lying on. It’s almost like the top of a tomb type thing? It’s about your size, there doesn’t seem to be anything underneath it, it’s just a stone, raised little platform. You notice that the ground is sort of covered in this very fine, almost sand-like dust, and you’re leaving footprints as you walk through it. You make your way over to the brown door. It seems like a normal wooden door, but roll me investigation. What are you looking for?

 

ed: Uh, I guess just looking to see if there’s any like… what do you call them… lock things? Or any holes in the door or anything?

Yubi: Okay. You don’t need an investigation check for that. There’s a handle – there doesn’t seem to be any key or lock mechanism.

ed: Alright. Do I have anything on me?

Yubi: You have your clothes, you have your little satchel that you take for travelling. You’ve got your sword at your side, and that’s it. You’ve got pretty much all that you own, but nothing extra.

ed: Do I have my coins?

Yubi: You have your coins.

ed: I’m gonna flip a coin.

Yubi: Okay.

ed: I guess I have to physically do this in the real world.

Yubi: Yeah, go on, flip it. And also, what are you flipping for?

 

ed: Heads is gonna be the brown door, tails will be the blue door – which one I try and go through. It’s tails, it’s blue time!

Yubi: Alright! So you look at the brown door, and then you turn on your heel and you go towards the blue door. Do you open it?

ed: Yep. Gonna just pull that shit straight open. We’re going in.

Yubi: It opens. And you see before you, stretching out, a long corridor. The end disappears into darkness. You can’t tell how far it goes but the walls are much less opulent. There’s still that fine, kind of sand-like powder covering the surfaces and it stretches on into the dark.

ed: I’m just gonna walk down it. Just walk into the dark.

 

Yubi: Okay. You start walking. Natalia, you are next to wake up. You blink awake and above you, again, you see this night sky, these constellations, stars and patterns that you’ve never seen before. And it takes you a second to realise that, again, they’re veins of precious gems and opals set deep into dark rock. And everything is covered in this fine, sand-like, white, crystalline powder. And as you slowly half sit up, you are on an obsidian platform and you are all alone in a chamber. Except that opposite you are two large mirrors. One on the left has a silver frame that is decked out with sapphires embedded into the metal. And the one on the right, right beside it, has a similar silver frame, but is pressed with rubies. And you can see a reflection of yourself in both of them.

 

[~ 5 minutes]

 

Gary: Is there anything else in the room?

Yubi: Glancing behind… Doesn’t seem to be anything. Just two mirrors.

Gary: And have I got all my stuff with me?

Yubi: You do a quick pat down and you’ve got your travelling pack that you usually take, you’ve got your sword at your side. You’ve got pretty much everything that you own.

Gary: Can I investigate the sapphire encrusted mirror?

 

Yubi: The sapphire mirror? Okay. You get up off the platform and you start to walk towards the  mirrors, heading instinctively to the one with sapphires set in it. But as you’re walking forward, your reflection walks forward – but when you stop, your reflections take two more steps towards you. And you realise that although they are reflections of you, they’re not reflections of you. And they both smile at you and they duck their head a little bit in a bow

Gary: I take a step back.

Yubi: They don’t move. Their mouths open and they begin to speak – and it’s your voice, but it’s distorted. It’s filtered through something, it’s almost echo-y like there are three or four voices speaking at once. And they say:

 

Yubi, echoing, soft and higher pitched in an imitation of Natalia’s voice: You seek power beyond mortal means.

Gary as Natalia – it is a higher pitched, well pronounced voice, she chooses her words carefully and deliberately: Yes?

Yubi, echoing: We have heard your voice.

Yubi, normally: And they both reach into their coat and they pull out a very familiar book. One that you found as a child. And they flick it open to the last page which is on warlocks. And they hold it out to you and they say:

 

Yubi, echoing: We wish to offer you a pact. All you have to do is choose.

Gary as Natalia: Choose- choose between what?

Yubi, echoing: Between us, of course!

Gary as Natalia: And who are you?

Yubi, echoing: [Laughs] We are two sides of the same coin.  We are what you could be.

Gary as Natalia: Ah, I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand. You’re me? In the future?

Yubi, echoing: In a sense. We’re what you could become. Shall we show you?

Gary as Natalia: Oh, please.

 

Yubi, normally: They both take another step forward and they both raise their right hand. And you realise now that the one in the mirror with rubies, her hand from her knuckles up to her fingertips is bright red, her skin is bright red. And the one in the sapphires, again from the second knuckle up to her fingertips, her skin is blue. And they both swirl their hands, and from the air, these two gems coalesce. One is this very dark red, almost like a sapphire but more almost like blood. And the other one is blue, and is a deep deep pool, almost like a deep well. And then the one on the left with the red hand bursts into flame. And the one on the right with the blue hand, kshhh, coats in ice. And two mirror-like spectral blades appear.

 

Yubi, echoing: All you have to do is choose.

Gary: Do the blades look the same?

Yubi: They look the same.

Gary as Natalia: And there’s nothing else you can tell me?

Yubi echoing: What else do you wish to know?

Gary as Natalia: Are they just two different colours?

Yubi, echoing: You will see.

Gary: I head towards the sapphire one and then, just before I touch it, I hesitate and I go over to the red, the ruby one.

 

Yubi: Okay. You turn at that last minute and go towards the mirror with the rubies embedded in it. And the reflection there, she smiles wider and a red dot appears on her lower lip. And she holds out the gem. And she says,

Yubi, echoing: Take it. It’s yours.

Gary: I try to touch the mirror?

Yubi: Your fingers touch cold glass – and then pass through. And whatever is beyond this mirror is incredibly cold or hot or biting, you don’t know but it stings. And it’s not enough to make you want to pull your hand back but it’s not like the air around you.

Gary: I continue to try and grab this gem.

Yubi: Okay. as soon as your fingers touch the gem, she curls her hand and wraps it around yours. And you feel this burning pain for a second, and your fingertips from your knuckles to the end of your fingers turn bright red and the gem is left in your hand.

 

Gary as Natalia: Is that it? Can I pull my hand out?

Yubi, echoing: Of course.

Gary: I do so?

Yubi: As you pull your hand back, she says,

Yubi, echoing: The price is simple. In the end, you will join us. That’s all.

Gary as Natalia: Join you? Who are you?

Yubi, echoing: We will be you. Or you will be us.

Gary as Natalia: You mean… After a while, I’ll start to speak in riddles?

Yubi, echoing: More than you do so already.

Gary as Natalia: Oh boy. What can I do? What have you given me?

Yubi, echoing: You’ll see.

 

[10~ minutes]

 

Gary as Natalia, sarcastically: Alright then! Thanks for your explaination!

Yubi: Do you pull your hand out of the mirror?

Gary: Yes, yes.

Yubi: The minute you do that, both of them shatter and the glass cascades to the ground and the metal frames, the silver frames, crumple and twist down into lumps of nothing. And you see then suddenly in front of you, two doors. One a very dark red and the other a very dark blue.

Gary: I look down at the two mirrors and say,

Gary as Natalia: Well, I hope I don’t end up quite like that – but alright.

Gary: And I head straight towards the red door.

Yubi: Okay. When you pass through the red door, the gem that you are still holding in your hand suddenly flares hot. And like the time that you took that sword – the magic sword belonging to the guard – electricity crackles up through you, this static touch, that instead of just dancing along your skin seems to suddenly shhhunk, and fade into you.

Gary: I look down at the gem. Is it still there?

Yubi: It’s still there.

Gary: I try and take it with the other hand.

Yubi: You can do that.

Gary: This is very bizarre. I’m just gonna open the door.

 

Yubi: Okay, you open the door and again, you see in front of you a long corridor stretching down, the walls still stone but less opulent.

Gary: I start walking.

Yubi: Okay.

Gary: And as I do, I try and see if I can do some magics.

Yubi: Okay, what are you trying to do?

Gary: I have no idea.

Yubi: Like, what feeling are you conjuring that you’re trying to do?

Gary: It’s dark isn’t it?

Yubi: It’s pretty dark, yeah.

Gary: I try and make some light.

Yubi: Roll me an arcana check.

Gary:  That’s a big fat seven.

Yubi: You feel this swell of energy, this kind of crackling centred in your right hand… But it’s like trying to catch something on the wind, you just miss it, and the power kind of fizzles out. And you know something’s there, but you haven’t quite tapped into using it yet.

Gary: Okay. I’m gonna continue on and hope that either something in here will teach me how to use my things or I can figure them out in safety.

 

Yubi: Okay. Nerium. You are the last one to wake and you blink up to a night sky filled with constellations and stars and things beyond imagination – and then you realise that that’s not actually the night sky, that’s definitely an amazing roof of something made of stone with gems and opals and wonderful things embedded into it.. And you’re cold, and you’re lying on something made of rock and you’re not sure where you are. And as you half sit up and look around and notice that everything’s covered in this sort of fine, white, sandy, dusty powder, and in front of you are two doors. One is an ashy white and the other is a very vibrant spring green.

 

Kitty: I say,

Kitty as Nerium – it is a soft, polite, sweet voice, clearly nervous at this time: Hello?

Echo: Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello?

Kitty: I very quietly stand up and walk to the nearest wall and edge my way around, towards the doors, from there.

Yubi: You do that.

Kitty: I… Which door do I get to first?

Yubi: Uh, if you’re going round left then you get to the white door, if you’re going round right then you get to the green door.

Kitty: I get to the white door first. I… reach out and touch it very delicately to see if it’s solid or what it’s made of.

Yubi: It is. It’s a solid, wooden door.

Kitty: It’s painted?

Yubi: Yep.

Kitty: I suddenly stop and I go back and I check and I make sure that I have my broach.

Yubi: You do.

Kitty: And I have all my general, usual stuff with me?

Yubi: Exactly, you have the stuff that you usually take out when you’re going to do a job.

 

[~15 minutes]

 

Kitty: I sidle across and check the green door in the same way.

Yubi: Painted wood.

Kitty: And… I take a step back, standing in between the two of them, and I look behind me around at the rest of the cave. What do I see?

Yubi: It’s a relatively small but tall cavern. It’s incredibly beautiful. It’s very cold and there’s nothing else here except for that single, obsidian, pedestal-type platform in the middle.

Kitty: I reach out for the green door and I knock very quietly.

Yubi: There’s no response.

Kitty: …no, nothing?

Yubi: Nope.

Kitty: Okay… I try the handle very quietly and just… Poke my nose out.

 

Yubi: The door swings open. Behind it is a long cavern, a long tunnel, of not quite as opulent grey stone that goes into darkness.

Kitty: I can’t see any movement?

Yubi: Nope.

Kitty: I… shut the door quietly again, I go over to the other door, and I do the same thing. I knock very quietly.

Yubi: You don’t hear a response.

Kitty: I open it… and poke my head through.

Yubi: You see a long tunnel. Grey, less opulent rock, going into darkness.

Kitty: I mean… I shut the door? And I sit quietly down in between the two of them with my back against the wall, and I just sort of go, this is a very odd dream. How long do I sit there for?

Yubi: You tell me.

Kitty: Does anything happen?

Yubi: Nothing happens.

Kitty: Okay, it’s cold isn’t it?

Yubi: It’s cold, it’s not very comfy.

 

Kitty: Okay, [sighs] I’ll sit there for probably – I mean, I can wait for a long time! I shouldn’t think… Somewhere between half an hour and an hour, I eventually stand up and I dust the sand off my skirts and I open the green door – again – and I say,

Kitty as Nerium: Hello? Anyone?

Echo: Hello, hello, hello? Anyone, anyone, anyone?

Kitty: And I say,

Kitty as Nerium: I swear, Melvin, if this is something you’ve done, I’ll never forgive you.

Kitty: And I start walking.

 

Yubi: Okay. All three of you walk down these corridors. For Taro, it feels like a very very fucking long time that you’re walking. Natalia, it’s not quite as long. And Nerium, you feel like you’re barely walking at all. And suddenly, the tunnel in front of you opens up and as each of you step into this chamber, all three of you notice two other people stepping into the chamber from other tunnels. What do you guys see? What do you look like?

Kitty: Tell us who goes first.

Yubi: Taro gets there a half-step before.

ed: Alright, so you see a reasonably short, about 5’2, tiefling with indigo skin and long horns that are about a foot in length, they’ve got a slight backwards curve. He’s got short black hair and he’s got big, circular, wire-rimmed glasses but he looks kind of skinny and emaciated. You’ve probably seen tieflings before that look a bit chunkier, but he’s quite skinny and gaunt looking. He’s pretty young, and he’s wearing a rough looking overcloak over a fairly nice looking shirt and some slightly ratty trousers that are kind of worn and wind battered round the bottom.

 

Yubi: Natalia is the next to take a half-step out.

Gary: So you see a 5 foot 2, 22 year old human, or young human, with dusky skin, short brown hair and blue eyes. She looks small but you can’t really tell because she’s wearing – you can’t really tell what’s underneath because she’s wearing black leather armour and a black cape and hood.

Yubi: You also notice, looking at her, that she has a red spot on her lower lip.

Gary: Do I have a red hand as well?

Yubi: You do. You’ve noticed that, so you can see your own fingers are red.

Gary: And I’m a bit red.

Kitty: [laughs] You’ve got red on you.

 

[~20 minutes in]

 

Yubi: And Nerium is the last to take that half-step out.

Kitty: Out steps a halfling girl- well, not quite a girl anymore, she’s about 40 years old, and she’s completely unremarkable. If you were really paying close attention, you might notice that her very plain dress and… overall dress and blouse have been very nicely made and are extremely neat and tidy. And to be honest, as soon as she steps in, as she sees other people, she’ll go,

Kitty as Nerium: Oh, God! Hello! Um, I don’t know how I’ve got here – do either of you know where this is?

 

Gary as Natalia: Are you… another one of them?

Kitty as Nerium: Uh, who’s them? I don’t – I genuinely, I really don’t know how I’ve got here, um, and I’m not quite sure where ‘here’ is.

ed as Taro – he has a confident, humourful voice with a Cockney-sounding accent: Well, I guess we’re supposed to be in some kind of…. Well it looks like a pretty nice chamber, it seems like an alright place. Can’t really tell how I got here, but.. Not exactly an unknown problem for me.

Kitty as Nerium: Really? I mean, this has never happened to me before – are you…

Kitty: Can I see swords? Do they both have swords?

Yubi: They both have swords.

Kitty: They both have fucking swords. Okay, I’m gonna go,

Kitty as Nerium: I don’t wanna cause any trouble. I really, I just would like to know how to go home. You’ve both – are you soldiers of some kind?

ed as Taro: Soldiers? Oh, ‘cause of this. Well, I can’t say I’m a solidier, but let’s just say I know how to use this.

Kitty as Nerium: Right, right, I… I’m an embroiderer. I make dresses. I think I’m in the wrong place, and I shouldn’t be here

Gary as Natalia: That’s very true. You sound very boring. You, Sir, with the sword – do you have any idea where we are?

 

ed as Taro: I can’t say I do. I just came down, saw a couple of doors and I thought, y’know, I’ll just see where it leads me. And it lead me here.

Kitty as Nerium: Two? Two doors?

ed as Taro: Uh, yeah, two doors.

Kitty as Nerium: A white one and a green one?

ed as Taro: Uh, no? No? There was a brown one and a blue one for me.

Gary as Natalia: That’s what I saw too.

Kitty as Nerium: Oh. A brown one and a blue one?

Gary as Natalia: Well, a red – a dark red one and a blue one.

ed as Taro: Not quite the same.

 

Kitty: In the hallway, in this atrium that we’re in, how many entrances are there?

Yubi: There are three – one behind each of you – and then there is one single one leading away

Kitty: Having- can I say that I’ve spotted that?

Yubi: Yeah, it’s right in front of you.

Kitty: Excellent. Did I see where the other guys came from?

Yubi: You see that they came from the corridors right behind you. If you imagine like a circle, you three have come from the top and there’s one then leading down.

Kitty: Hmm… Okay, so it’s not like four points of a compass then.

Yubi: No, it’s like three on top and one on the bottom.

Gary as Natalia: I would think that’s the way we need to go next

ed as Taro: Does look like that, doesn’t it?

Kitty as Nerium: I mean, if you don’t mind, I think – yeah, that does sound like a good idea. Being as you’re armed, do you mind if I just go behind you?

ed as Taro: Alright.

Gary as Natalia: That’s no problem. After you, kind Sir.

Kitty as Nerium: Thank you very much.

 

ed: I’m gonna just start walking towards the… whatever this door is – is it an entrance or is it a door?

Yubi: It’s just an entrance, there’s no doors.

ed: Alright, I’m gonna look confident. Stride down towards that door, let’s go

Yubi: [laughs] There’s no door, it’s just an entrance! [laughter]

ed: Oh, what? [sighs] Doors, entrances… Bullshit.

Yubi: But you start walking with the human and the halfling following behind. And this next corridor almost is much wider and again, the stone isn’t as opulent, there’s still that fine, white powder scattered everywhere. Quite a lot of it on the halfling that you guys have seen, you guys haven’t really touched it a lot but there’s a fair amount on her. And as you start walking-

Kitty: I mean, I did brush myself down quite carefully.

Yubi: it’s quite sticky sand. It’s kind of clinging.

ed: It is sand, right?

Yubi: It’s hard to get off, it’s coarse, it’s irritating, it’s rough and it does get everywhere.

ed: But it is sand right?

Yubi: It’s-… Well, make an investigation check.

Gary: Let’s see, is it cocaine? Three.

Yubi: [laughs] It’s definitely not cocaine.

ed:  Seventeen.

Kitty: Can I as well? Because if it’s stuck to me then I want to know what it is.

Yubi: A three, a seventeen, and…

Gary: It’s probably cocaine.

Kitty: Working out where they are… That would be two.

 

Yubi: Two. Natalia and Nerium, you’re not quite sure what it is – but Natalia, you can see that it’s coating the walls, the ceiling the floor. Nerium, it just won’t fucking come off as you keep trying to brush it off. [laughter] But Taro, you kind of reach out as you knock a little bit off the wall and as you touch it, there’s a crackle to it, there’s like a staticky almost fizzle to it. And as you touch it it’s almost like there’s a spark that jumps from your fingertips into the palm of your hand and settles there. And it almost seems to knock the breath out of you and for a second it’s like those very first few moments when you woke up in Ame Djaral and there was that kind of statick-y feeling as things kind of got sorted out in your head. It’s reminiscent of that. And as you touch it, it’s not sand and it seems to be smoother and it seems to kind of melt into this paste and then as it falls away, it goes back into a dust. It’s nothing that you’ve ever seen before.

 

[~25 minutes in]

 

ed as Taro: This is… strange.

ed: I wanna try and learn what I can from this sand via using one of my spells.

Yubi: Okay, which one are you trying to use?

ed: Identify. Which you touch something for a while and then you learn its properties.

Yubi: Okay, roll me a d20.

ed: Cool. That was a nine.

Kitty: If we’re walking, I would like to be very alert to everything that is around me because I am deeply unnerved and I would like to be… passive perception-ing or whatever you need me to do be doing here.

Yubi: Okay. Duly noted. As you’re looking at the sand, that spark that seemed to settle in your palm, it almost seems to twist, it’s almost like a pain, like you’ve got a little cramp in your muscle. And again, like you’re trying to catch something, trying to catch the edges of a memory or the edges of a dream and you almost catch a hold of it before it just moves out of reach. And the thing that you almost did, you didn’t quite do it but there was a little surge of something. You’re not entirely sure what it was but it didn’t quite catch.

 

Gary: Were there any signs that Taro was doing magic?

Yubi: Roll me a perception check.

Gary:  Fourteen.

Yubi: There is a second where there is almost a static between you. As you’re walking in line, he seems to move his hand and there’s this tiny crackle that goes across your skin. And you get the sense of “hmm?” but you’re not entirely sure what just happened. Whatever it was, it didn’t seem to work entirely.

Gary as Natalia: Wait, what was that?!

ed as Taro: What do you mean, ‘what was that’? I’m just looking at this, this… This dust.

Gary as Natalia: Are you magic?

ed as Taro: No? What’s-… Magic? I haven’t-…

Gary as Natalia: I felt this little crackle.

ed as Taro: Look, I don’t know anything about magic. It’s not my game. Look, let’s just see what we can find out about this place There’s something not right about this dust, but let’s move on.

Gary as Natalia: Okay.

 

ed: I’m gonna keep walking down the… entrance, as we now know it is.

Yubi: [laughter] It’s not an entrance anymore! You’re now in a corridor! Why is basic architecture so difficult?! [laughter] If there’s no door, it’s an entrance!

ed: I’ve got extreme difficulty-… My spatial reasoning is extremely poor apparently!

Kitty: Roll me an architecture check!

ed: Yeah, where’s architecture on here?

 

Yubi: [laughs] Nerium, as they’re sneaking, your ears pick up that the sound is bouncing around the corridors. And you realise that the corridor gets wider and opens up into another chamber, a half-second before whatever kind of gloom seems to be shrouding you guys lifts enough that you see that you’ve walked into a second, large chamber. And in front of you guys is a very wide spiral staircase that curves up and up and up into the darkness.

 

Kitty: Can I tap Taro on the elbow?

Kitty as Nerium: Um, excuse me. I didn’t catch your name before, Sir – would you share your name with me?

ed as Taro: Uh… Just, uh, call me Taro. that’ll do for now.

Kitty as Nerium: Mr Taro, hello. My name is Meredith. I wonder, can you see up there? Because I believe that people of your sort are able to see a little bit further than folk like me? What’s up that?

ed as Taro: I-… Well, I guess I can have a look. I don’t know why I’d be any better at this than you but I’ll have a look.

ed: I have a look.

Kitty: I’d be very much obliged, thank you Sir.

ed: I use my… eyes.

Yubi: [laughs]  your quote-unquote, “eyes”.

ed: These so-called eyes!

Yubi: Your “eyes” see a spiral staircase that goes up into gloom and you can’t see what’s at the top of it.

ed as Taro: Nope! Just looks like it keeps on going up and up and up!

Kitty: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

ed as Taro: You’re welcome? I suppose?

 

[~30 minutes in]

 

Gary as Natalia: So, you’re called Taro?

ed as Taro: Yep?

Gary as Natalia: And what, pray tell, is your name?

Kitty as Nerium: Oh, my name’s Meredith. Merry Burrows.

Gary as Natalia: Meredith. You can call me Natalia, or Nat for short.

Kitty as Nerium: Oh, thank you very much Nat! That’s a privilege! Thank you very much.

Kitty: I’m hanging back to see whether those guys are going to go up the staircase.

Yubi: Okay.

ed: Is there anything else around? Or is it literally just a room with a staircase in it?

Yubi: It just seems to be a room with a staircase. There’s the corridor that leads back from where you came but that’s pretty much it.

Kitty as Nerium: Can I just have a-…I hope you won’t mind, I’m just gonna have a quick look round and see if there’s anything else in here?

Kitty: And I would just like to skirt round the edges of the room, just in case there are trap doors or some other way out?

Yubi: Roll me an investigation.

Kitty: Good, ‘cause I got a two on that last time so I’m really glad.  Uh, that would be a thirteen.

 

Yubi: Okay. You don’t see anything different about the stone or the floor or the walls but as you pass by the corridor that you’ve just walked down, you can see the end of it. As in, it goes back maybe 20, 25 feet and ends.

Kitty as Nerium: Um, now I realise that, Mr Taro, that you are not a magic user, and I think, Nat, there’s a possibility that you may be. Something very funny is going on with this corridor. Um, look.

ed as Taro: Ah. Well. That’s not- well, that doesn’t seem particularly normal to me.

Kitty as Nerium: Well, I mean… We can’t go back? Is that properly blocked or is that just an illusion? Or what’s happening there?

Gary: Does it look like it’s back to the main chamber where we’ve just been?

Yubi: No, it looks like it goes back only 20 or so feet as if it’s like a short little corridor, and then it just stops.

Gary: Huh. I’m going to walk towards the end of that and I’m going to try and touch it.

Kitty: I’m going to watch her doing it.

Yubi: Okay, you try and touch it and it’s stone. It’s solid, sandy stone, like what you’ve got all around you.

Gary as Natalia: Hmm. Well, I hate to say it guys. There’s no way of getting out that way.

ed as Taro: Well, doesn’t look like we’ve got much choice then.

 

ed: I’m gonna just start climbing the stair thing.

Kitty: I’m gonna scamper after Taro. At this point I might scamper, given my unfortunately brief pace, I’m gonna try and scamper so that I’m in between the two of them.

Yubi: Okay, so it’s Taro, then Nerium – sorry, Meredith – then Natalia. Taro, you get four steps up and and all the stairs just disappear into a smooth staircase. Into a smooth slide. Everybody roll me dexterity saving throws.

Kitty: What?!  

Gary: Sixteen.

ed: Eight.

Kitty: Twenty.

ed: Oh no, wait, that was ten, sorry. Not eight, ten

Yubi: Taro, you slip. Your foot just goes under you and as you kind of skid backwards, Nerium, you see it happening and you dodge out of the way. And Natalia, you who have just kind of got on the staircase manage to move back enough and kind of half catch the back of Taro so that he doesn’t quite fall flat on his face. And you guys all skid back to the beginning and the stairs – shhhk – return into stairs.

 

ed as Taro: Huh!

Kitty as Nerium: That’s not normal! That’s not meant to happen!

Gary as Natalia: No, I believe it isn’t.

ed as Taro: That’s pretty odd. This seems like it was what we were meant to start doing. But… Huh.

Kitty: Is there a railing to the stairs?

Yubi: Yeah. There’s a railing.

Kitty as Nerium: I mean, I’ve got an i-… I don’t know if this will work.

Kitty: And I go over and I attempt to hand-over-hand along the railings to see if I can pull myself up without using my feet.

Yubi: You start doing that. It’s very difficult to do that. And you get maybe three times your height from the ground and you realise it’s a long way to go to do that

Kitty as Nerium: Um, I mean, this might work! I don’t wanna stay here.

ed as Taro: I think that seems a bit too risky for my liking. I’ve not got quite the upper arm strength.

 

[~35 minutes in]

 

Kitty: I’m gonna keep going.

Yubi: Okay, roll me a constitution check.

Kitty:  Uh, that’s a ten.

Yubi: You get about one rotation and your arms start shaking violently.

Kitty: And I look up, how many more rotations are there before it starts to disappear into the darkness?

Yubi: It goes up into the gloom.

Kitty: But how many until it’s in the gloom?

Yubi: Okay, you’ve got about four more rotations before it sinks into the gloom.

Kitty: Okay, I might start coming back down then.

Yubi: Roll me a dexterity saving throw.

Gary: Natalia’s going to get ready to catch.

Kitty: Oh, that’s a nat one.

Yubi: A nat-..? Yeah, you kind of go, “hmm, there’s a lot of shaking- hurk!”

Kitty: Wheee!

Yubi: Because Meredith suddenly drops. Roll me a dexterity roll to catch her.

Kitty: Helter skelter!

Gary:  Thirteen.

Yubi: Yeah, it’s not… You get a foot to the face and you get an elbow to the collarbone, but you manage to catch this halfling before she smashes into the ground.

Kitty as Nerium: Oh my God, I’m so sorry! Thank you very much Nat!

Gary as Natalia: That’s absolutely fine.

Kitty as Nerium: That wasn’t such a good idea. What are we gonna do?

 

ed: I’m gonna take a step onto the first step of the staircase and just kinda stand there.

Yubi: It stays as stairs.

Gary as Natalia: Maybe if you try one at a time?

ed: Okay, I take the next one.

Yubi: It stays as stairs.

ed: the next one?

Gary: This is going to be a long episode.

Yubi: [laughs] You get to the third one. Dexterity saving throw. The stone shhnks back in and turns into the slide.

ed: That is a twenty one.

Yubi: You catch yourself this time. You just skid back on your heels and hit the bottom.

ed: Do I look cool?

Yubi: you look really cool actually.

ed: Nice. [Kitty laughs] I did that on purpose.

Kitty: I didn’t do mine on purpose.

ed as Taro: Well, look, so far it seems we can’t get past – well, not on my own anyway.

Kitty as Nerium: Well I can’t because I’ve tried and it went straight back into slide.

Gary as Natalia: I want to look around and see if anything behind us has changed again.

Yubi: Nope, it still seems the same.

 

ed: What were we like when we were going up the first time? Like, what order did we go in?

Yubi: You went: Taro, Meredith, Natalia

ed: But did we all go up on the same stairs at the same time?

Yubi: Nope, you went one after the other.

Gary as Natalia: Ah, let me try.

Gary: I go for the first step and just keep going until it-…

Yubi: You get three stairs up and this time you’re kind of expecting it so you manage to catch yourself, you don’t need to make a dexterity saving throw. And you skid back down.

Kitty as Nerium: I wonder… I woke up in a big empty-… Sort of like a cave and there were lots of sparkly things in the walls and I was on a stone block, and then there was like, two doors – one was white and one was green. And behind both of them there was like a long, empty corridor, and I went through one of them and I kept going and-…

ed as Taro: Yeah, what’s the point?

Kitty as Nerium: And I got to the room where I saw you guys. Is that what happened to both of you?

ed as Taro: Yes.

Gary as Natalia: Yes, exactly.

Kitty as Nerium: Oh, okay.

 

ed as Taro: Alright, well. We’ve tried getting up on our own. How about this – why don’t we try doing it at the same time, moving up each step?

Kitty: Is it wide enough?

Yubi: Yep, it’s a wide enough staircase to do that.

Kitty as Nerium: Okay.

Gary as Natalia: Let’s give it a shot.

Yubi: Okay, you guys start climbing the steps. You get to the third one. And as you all step on the fourth one, they remain as stairs.

Kitty: [gasps]

 

Gary: That’s some next level, magical team-building shit right there.

ed: Yeah, that’s fucking… Take that back to the office. [laughs]

Yubi: D&D synergy exercises.

ed: Yeah, we did it.

Yubi: I absolutely did not google team-building synergy exercises, not at all.

Gary: I have literally done this exercise on a RAF trip.

ed: I haven’t done this exercise, I was using the power of my brain!

Kitty: Oh, God, really?!

Yubi: Well done, you get a whole gold medal.

ed: Thank you very much. I’d like to thank my Mum, my Dad… [laughter]

 

Yubi: You guys start climbing the stairs and as you’re climbing them, keeping in step, they stay as stairs. And after about three rotations-

Kitty: I mean, there’s like five flights of these stairs. There’s no chance that any of us might misstep at any point is there?

Gary: Shhh. Don’t give God ideas.

Kitty: God has that idea.

Yubi: You’re going carefully enough that that doesn’t happen. But after about two and a half, three rotations, you guys are suddenly at another chamber and it didn’t seem very long at all, actually, when you were climbing it.

 

[~40 minutes in]

 

ed as Taro: Huh. This is like the opposite of that bloody hallway I walked down earlier.

Kitty as Nerium: Why?

ed as Taro: Well it took me about an hour! I could’ve sworn…

Kitty as Nerium: Did it?! Oh, that’s interesting ‘cause that’s different to mine! Because mine was only very short.

ed as Taro: Huh.

Gary as Natalia: And mine as well, not long. Not an hour.

ed as Taro: Well I guess I’m being punished. Anyway, what’s going on here?

Gary as Natalia: Punished for what?

ed: What do we see? I wanna look around.

Kitty: I take a careful step away from Taro and listen to what his answer is.

Yubi: You guys see, in front of you, a corridor – but the rock here is different, it’s pitted in places. And you can see, stretching out, that the holes and the dents and the kind of scraping look of the rock becomes more-… Not jagged but more uneven. More pitted, more like volcanic rock if any of you have ever seen volcanic rock. And less like the smooth corridors that you’ve seen before. And you all notice this just as Natalia says, ‘for what?’

ed as Taro: Well, y’know. It’s karma, right? I’m just… too lucky. Now let’s keep going.

 

Yubi: Okay, you all start walking and as you start walking, these holes start getting bigger until they’re like little tunnels branching off from the rock. And the colour changes, it’s less gray and it’s getting more of like a sandy, yellowy orange. All of you roll me a perception check, please.

ed:  Thirteen.

Yubi: Thirteen.

Gary: One.

ed: [wincing] Oooh….

Kitty: Eight.

ed: I’m doing so well today. I’m the champ of rolling in this game. [Yubi laughs]

Gary: Yeah, the other two of us aren’t doing so hot!

 

Yubi: Natalia, roll me a d4.

Gary: Two.

Yubi: Two.

Gary: Two.

Yubi: Your hand suddenly burns and as you shake it out, suddenly in front of you, this really bad imitation of like… a pony? Or a goat? Appears. And flickers really wobbly and then, tssnk, disappears.

ed as Taro: Oh shit, the fuck – what?

Gary as Natalia: What the shit?!

Kitty as Nerium: How did you do… th-…

Gary as Natalia: I, I… My hand, it just… I don’t know! I don’t know!

Kitty as Nerium: Wait, what’s- what’s the matter with your hand? Have you hurt yourself?

Gary: Now, does it just look red as in red skin? Or is it like ruby-encrusted red?

Yubi: It looks like you’ve dipped your hands in vermillion paint up to the knuckles. From about your second knuckle all the way to your fingertips are red.

Gary as Natalia: Uh, I just woke up like this.

Kitty: Hashtag… [laughter]

Yubi: [laughing] Flawless… [Kitty laughs]

Kitty: Sorry!

 

Gary: I try and feel the magic that just went through me, and try and do it again.

Yubi: You do it again, and this time it flickers more certainly into a goat – definitely a goat.

ed as Taro: Oi, stop that shit. What the fuck?

Gary as Natalia: Well, I… This is very strange, I didn’t-… What? When did this happen? I can make goats?

Kitty as Nerium: I mean, just now, you just did it. Why are you making goats?

Gary: I make it stop. And then goat again.

Yubi: And it goes. You have minor illusion now.

Kitty: Why a goat?

Yubi: Well, I went for a horse, and then I thought, “minor illusions are minor – a horse is really big.” [laughs] So I was like, “what looks like a horse, quick?! Goat.”

Gary: I make a tiny horse.

Yubi: A tiny horse.

Gary: I make Betsy, my childhood horse.

Yubi: Betsy, your childhood horse, appears. It’s not a good imitation.

 

ed as Taro: How is it you can just do that?

Gary as Natalia: Something in my fingers! I don’t know!

ed as Taro: Do you reckon… Can I do that?

Gary as Natalia: Give it a shot!

ed as Taro: Alright. I’ll give it a go.

Yubi: Roll me a d20.

ed: Fourteen..?

Yubi: You do that.

ed: Oh shit!

Yubi: The exact same goat appears [Gary laughs], there is a burning, tingling spark that goes from your palm to your elbow. And kind of – ffwpchnnk – back out and this pony appears.

 

Kitty: I’m gonna try it!

Yubi: Nothing happens. [laughter] You just wave your hands…

ed: You don’t even get a go…

Kitty: I go,

Kitty as Nerium: Goat…! Goat…!

ed as Taro: It’s alright, I’m sure you’ll get it. I don’t know what this is but I’m sure you’ll pick it up.

Kitty as Nerium: I don’t know what I’d do with an imaginary goat anyway…

ed as Taro: I dunno!

ed: I do another goat.

Yubi: Another goat appears!

ed: Another goat. Yess…

Kitty: Hold on, doesn’t it replace the previous one? You can’t have two going at the same time.

Yubi: Yeah, yeah. Both of you are standing in this huddle just making goats appear and disappear and appear and a pony appear and not appear.

Gary:  I try and run my pony into his goat.

Yubi: They pass through each other like clouds. There’s a little bit of five foot movement. They move very little amounts. [Gary laughs].

 

[~45 minutes]

 

Kitty: I’m going to turn around and I would like to run my hand over the pitted yellow walls. Are they less sandy than they were previously?

Yubi: They are a little bit less sandy but what strikes you is that they’re quite warm.

Kitty: And it’s getting warmer? Because it was very cold at the beginning.

Yubi: It’s getting warmer. It now feels like a normal temperature. You haven’t quite noticed the cold slipping away until you suddenly-…

Kitty: Is it getting lighter?

Yubi: It’s not getting lighter, but it’s less gloomy. There’s less of a haze.

Kitty: I mean… What does that mean, Yubi?

Yubi: It’s still low-light but it’s less difficult to see details and things.

Kitty: So it’s getting a bit lighter.

Yubi: It’s the difference between having your glasses on and a little bit off, but nobody’s turned the lights on or off.

Kitty: Okie-doke, cool, cool, got you.

 

ed: Have I noticed any change?

Yubi: In what?

ed: In the light levels.

Yubi: Yeah. So as you are making these goats and ponies appear and disappear in just absolute… awe and delight, I guess? I don’t know your emotional states over your ability to do this.

Gary: I’m delighted.

Yubi: Delight and…

ed: I’m kind of concerned I think? Vague concern.

Yubi: [laughing] Vague concern. You, Taro, have the feeling of the hairs on the back of your head just prickle. A little tingle of something.

ed as Taro: Look, I think something’s… Something’s coming. Something not quite right.

Kitty: I’m going to press myself back against the wall and look around.

Yubi: You don’t see anything.

Kitty: I stay with my back against the wall and wait quietly.

Gary: I go to the centre of the corridor.

Yubi: Okay. Nothing seems to happen.

Gary: I start walking forward.

 

Yubi: Okay. Are you guys following?

ed: I’m gonna have a quick look around.

Kitty: I mean, I’m going to follow and say,

Kitty as Nerium: Are we leaving the goats here?

ed: I assume they’ve vanished right? Or do they just hang out?

Yubi: They disappear. The minute your con- I think it’s a concentration spell – so the minute your concentration is off them, they go..

Kitty: Oh, okay!

Gary: Poof.

Kitty: I follow.

ed: Yeah, I follow but I wanna be looking around and my squinty eyes going like, ffffwoooo….

Gary: My hand’s on my sword.

 

Yubi: All of you roll me another perception check.

Kitty: [sighing] Oh, jesus…

Yubi: Really, Natalia? Oh boy.

Gary: Yep!

ed: Eleven.

Yubi: Okay, eleven, and…

Kitty: Oh, hang on. Seven.

Gary: I’m just gonna change dice.

Yubi: Okay, Natalia, the one.

ed: Nice.

Yubi: “Nat one”, it works. [ed cheering] You jinxed yourself! You cursed yourself.

Gary: Yep! I did! I need them “Nat twenties” now!

Yubi: Natalia, roll me another d20, please.

Kitty: Very distracting goats.

Gary: [laughs]

Yubi: Was that a nat twenty? … That’s a one?!

Gary: That’s a nat one.

ed: That’s a very cursed dice! You should just skip that one!

Kitty: What, again?! On different dice?!

Gary: Yep.

 

Yubi: [laughing] Okay! You, kind of still feeling the magic, it’s almost like… when you blow on your palm, it’s that pressure but you can’t see anything. And you’re kind of trying to get to the shape of it, the feel of this magic and you… trip. You just trip on a jutting piece of rock. Make me a… [Gary laughs]. No, it’s a nat one, you just take damage, mate, you just fucking fall. Where’s my… Oh we’ll be kind and give you a d4. Oh, you take four points of damage. In front of all of you, Natalia just suddenly – kkbmp – hits the rock. There is a cut…

Kitty as Nerium: Are you alright, Nat?!

Kitty: I will try and help Nat to her feet.

Yubi: Her face is cut, there’s blood dripping down her cheek.

Kitty as Nerium: Oh, sweetheart! Oh, that doesn’t look good!

Kitty: And I will pull a hankie out and rub it.

Yubi: Make me a medicine check.

Kitty: Yep. Fifteen.

Yubi: You’re pretty good with a hankie. [laughter] You know how to…

ed: Interesting.

Yubi: You know how to dab at a cut, you see it’s not too deep, it’s just a little shallow graze. You’re used to seeing people coming home with scrapes and grazes like that.

Kitty: [breathes deeply]. Yep.

 

Gary as Natalia: Thank you Meredith.

Kitty as Nerium: You’re welcome, Nat. You be careful, you wanna watch where you’re putting your feet

Gary as Natalia: I just… magic hand!

Kitty as Nerium: It’s very good…

Gary as Natalia: I’ve got a magic hand!

Kitty as Nerium: You weren’t able to do that before, then?

Gary as Natalia: No! Never!

Kitty as Nerium: Okay..

Kitty: I’m gonna quietly try and go “goat!” and flick my hand again.

Yubi: No, nothing happens

Kitty, dejectedly: Okay, that’s fine.

 

Yubi: You all start walking again. And the corridor is opening up and the holes in the rock are sort of getting bigger and bigger and it’s almost like you’re in a tunnel drilled through, like honeycomb or something of that nature. Until suddenly it opens up again in front of you into this chamber where the floor is solid but the walls and the ceiling seem to be full of holes and tunnels and chambers. And there is a second as you all step out when you see, just off to the side, a protuberance of rock. And then it moves and you realise that it is not rock at all but it is some sort of creature, and as it pulls back from the rock, it is covered in bumps and rolls of flesh of some sort – and it’s white except it’s got thousands, a myriad colours, all over it. Almost like when you close your eyes, all the colours that appear there, flashing all over it. And as it turns to you, I’d like you all to make me a wisdom saving throw.

 

[~50 minutes in]

 

ed: Uhh, that’s a six.

Gary: Eighteen.

Kitty: Mine was eighteen.

Yubi: Eighteen! Two eighteens and a six. Alright.

Kitty: [laughs] Ha ha ha, Taro.

Gary: That’s the highest roll I’ve made in this entire adventure, including the fifteen minute oneshots. [Kitty laughs].

Yubi: Yeah, that’s, uh… You’re now hitting it. Both Nerium – Meredith – and Natalia, you both take a half-step back and fear – fwoomph – into you, and it ebbs just enough for you guys to go, “okay! Okay, here’s danger, here is the danger!” Taro, you’ve never really faced a danger like this that you really know of. You have a memory here or there of a Xendachi getting real mad, or being in a perilous situation. But nothing enough to build an experience from. And you are stunned into fear for a moment. And – [rolls dice] – as this creature turns towards you, you feel this almost drawing of something in you being pulled out. And you take two points of psychic damage as cold terror just crushes down your spine. [posh voice, as a slow drum beat starts under the dialogue] And I would like all of you to roll me initiative please! [Kitty gasps] That was Fiona Bruce, with ‘D&D’! [Gary laughs] Anyone above sixteen?

Kitty: Yep, sixteen.

Yubi: Sixteen, and?

Gary: Eighteen.

 

Yubi: Eighteen. So. Okay! [Cymbols crash in the music as drums and brass and quick-paced strings play in an urgent battle tune starting properly underneath the dialogue] Natalia, you are up first. This creature, ten foot tall easily, pustulous appearance, seeming to be moving independently of itself; you see suddenly a sort of vestigial mouth, almost tentacles, almost something probing. And it moves towards Taro who has frozen in fear.

Gary: Did the fear thing seem like magic?

Yubi: Yes.

Gary: I’m going to run forward and try and stick it.

Yubi: Okay, make an attack roll.

Gary: Twenty two.

Yubi: You hit. You dash forward the fifteen or so feet that it is in front of you, pulling out your blade and you two watch as Natalia expertly – fwooo – carves it across the side of it. Roll me damage.

Natalia: [rolls dice] … That was the wrong die. [Yubi laughs] Woah! Twelve points of damage.

Yubi: You watch Natalia flick her sword and just sever this huge part of it. And as it separates, it falls and the second it hits the ground, pssshh into the sand. Nerium, you’re up.

 

Kitty: I am going to reach into the pockets of my skirt and pull out my dagger and fling it.

Yubi: Where are you flinging it? Like, at the creature?

Kitty: At the creature.

Yubi: Okay, roll me… First of all, just roll me a d20.

Kitty: Seven?

Yubi: Okay, and roll me your attack roll.

Kitty: Fifteen.

Yubi: Fifteen? Your dagger sinks into it. Roll me damage.

Kitty: Ooh! Eight points of damage.

Yubi: Eight points of damage… You fling your dagger out in just panic and fear and it sinks into the creature and you can see that it’s done damage, and it almost seems to stagger back. And there is a second of silence before you hear in your brain, the sound that can only be described as despair. And it’s different for each of you but it is a clawing, gutting sound. It moves forward and it moves around Natalia – you can take an attack of opportunity.

Gary: I’m not sure I want to if this feeling of despair-… I’m gonna wait.

 

[~55 minutes]

 

Yubi: It goes past you and Taro, you see it suddenly – parts of it, lumps of its flesh almost seem to stretch and reach out. Make me a strength saving throw.

ed: Uhh, okay! Playing to my strengths here…

Gary: Sorry!

ed: That’s a nine. No, a seven! Seven. Plus and minus are not the same thing.

Yubi: [battle tune continuing underneath with more brass fanfare] It suddenly has you in its grip and it pulls you close and there is this overwhelming flood of emotion. Every single emotion that you have ever felt slams into you one after the other, every instinct you’ve ever felt, everything that’s happened in your brain is suddenly there, this overwhelming rush. And you take… One point of psychic damage.

ed: Okay…

Yubi: Taro, it is your go.

 

ed: But I’m grabbed, right?

Yubi: Yep, you can try and break the grapple.

ed: Yeah, I don’t like this. I very much don’t like this. I’m gonna attempt to break the grapple.

Yubi: Make me a strength saving through.

ed: Ugh, I love strength. That’s an eight.

Yubi: An eight? You don’t manage to break that grapple. Roll me a d20.

ed: A nine?

Yubi: You, again you feel the same spark that happens when you’re about to cast that- that little goat-pony that appeared. It wells up almost like it’s gonna push out, and then it just fizzles at the last moment as another wave of emotion crashes into you. And I think that’s your turn.

ed as Taro: Hey, I’d really like it if we could not be here!

Yubi: Natalia.

 

Gary as Natalia: Hey, you. I was gonna go easy on you but get off… him. [Yubi laughs]

ed: Fighting words, fighting words!

Yubi: [laughing] Fighting fucking words.

Gary: I then yell,

Gary as Natalia: Hey, fuck you!

Gary: Cursing him, and run forward and try and attack again.

Yubi: Okay! So what does your curse do?

Gary: I get extra damage, I crit on a nineteen, and if the target dies, I get some health back.

Yubi: Okay. So, what does your curse look like? What happens when this magic… And this one feels, it doesn’t feel as gentle as the illusion magic. This one is darker and this one seems to flow almost through the bones of your arm and your fingers rather than along the skin.

Gary: So as I say, “fuck you”, it comes out in not my voice.

Yubi: Mmm, very cool.

Gary: And so I go,

Gary as Natalia: Hey!

Gary in a deep, gravelly voice with echo: Fuck you.

Yubi: [laughter] Oh, shit!

ed: That’s awesome.

Gary: And I think that’s it. I don’t think that you can see anything.

 

Yubi: Okay, you guys hear these layers and echos suddenly to Natalia’s voice – enough, even Taro, to shock you out of your [whimpering] “aahh!” Where you look over like, “huh?!” Make your attack roll.

Gary: Eighteen.

Yubi: It hits. Roll me your damage.

Gary: Six.

Yubi: Okay. So you see, suddenly Natalia’s blade, again, carve into the side. And what does it look like when you cut into it when the curse is there? Does anything happen? Is there magic, or..?

Gary: So I think as my sword – which is a colichemarde

Yubi: Colichemarde… [laughs]

Gary: Yep. As it cuts in, you’ll see these black shadows spring out from the sword and go into it.

Yubi: Okay, you see this fwmmph of energy that seems to burrow deeper inside it. And again you all feel this horrible screeching despair, pain in your heads as the hit takes. Nerium. It’s your go.

 

Kitty: I mean, that was my dagger… [laughter]

Yubi: Do you only have a single dagger?

Kitty: I only have one dagger! I mean, you know, it’s for self defense! I’m a seamstress!

Yubi: One moment. [rolling] Okay, so as Natalia’s blade cuts into it…

Kitty: I’ve got some small sewing scissors! I’ve got some embroidery scissors but I don’t wanna get that close!

Yubi: As Natalia’s blade cuts into it for a second time again, this slice of flesh drops and as it hits the ground again, psssss, into the sand, and your dagger bounces along the stone and clatters next to your feet, ‘cause I rolled a fucking nat twenty on this dice.

Kitty: To my feet? Nice.

Yubi: To your feet. ‘Cause I rolled a nat twenty which is…

Kitty: I’m gonna scramble for it and throw it again.

 

Yubi: Okay, roll me a d20. And please for the love of God, get over ten. But also don’t lie to me.

Kitty: Uh, eight. Sorry. Eight.

Yubi: Okay. Again, you throw it in a panic and your dagger – make me an attack roll…

Kitty: Sixteen.

Yubi: Sinks into it. Roll damage. [weird accent] Ryoll yer dyamage!

Gary: Rawll dyamage!

Yubi: Rawwl yer dyamage! [Orion’s note: I’m sorry, I have no fucking clue.]

Kitty: Not as good this time – seven.

Yubi: Well, that’s pretty good, don’t knock it.

Kitty: Well, I… Yeah. Better than it could be.

Yubi: That’s literally the damage you do as a level seven wizard in pathfinder, so y’know. Let’s not be ungrateful.

Kitty: I mean, I’m a shitty level seven wizard in pathfinder though, so… [laughs]

 

Yubi: That’s your own fault. [laughter] Anyway, the dagger…

Kitty: I’m learning! [laughter] I’m a student, a baby child!

Yubi: [laughing] The dagger sinks into it and again, this cry of pain as it gets this second wave of damage. It’s starting to look not very good. You see again these tentacles going out towards Taro’s head and they touch along his cheeks and they sink into the top of his head. Make me a wisdom saving throw with disadvantage.

ed: Ah, jeez. Alright, one sec.

Yubi: Yeah, it got ya. Got ‘em!

ed: Well, it’s not gonna be worse than that! Oh wow, those are some good numbers! That is a five. I got a four and a five, so… Woohoo…

Yubi: Okay. You take three points of psychic damage and you are paralysed for your next turn. You are stunned for the next round.

ed: Oh great. This is going so well.

Yubi: You’re doing great, my guy. [laughs]

Kitty: I think considering that in the initial oneshot to see how it works as a group, and nobody could hit Brover Dose…

Yubi: Yeah, exactly, this is revenge. I would like you to roll me another d20.

ed: Okie-doke. That’s a sixteen. That’s more palatable.

 

Yubi: Okay! That’s better. As you feel these tendrils sinking into the top of your head and you feel this kind of fuzziness in your brain, there is a second of terror that hits you. That everything is going to be taken away again, or changed or stolen or somehow these last few remaining things are going to be gone. And that magic jumps from one hand to the other and back and into both your shoulders and down through your elbows and out your arms and there is this… [explosion noise] of thunder as you cast thunderwave out from yourself. So roll your damage – it makes a… something saving throw?

ed: It makes a constitution saving throw.

Yubi: I wish I would stop rolling behind my microphone. Okay, well it’s an eight. Which I think is probably less than your spell DC.

ed: I think that fails, I don’t even have to check that. I know that’s a failure, yeah. Okay, so…

Yubi: Roll your damage.

ed: It takes two d8… Let me just check that this is in fact a d8 – yep.

Gary: Uh… Guys…

ed: Oh, yeah, that’s each creature in a fifteen foot cube.

Gary: Yep.

Kitty: Yeah, I was gonna say. So what save is it?

ed: Let me just check…

Yubi: I believe it’s thirteen. I was gonna get to that, but we can do that now.

ed: Yeah, it’s thirteen.

Gary: I do not make that save.

Kitty: I do not make that save

ed: So should I roll for each of you or give you all the same? It makes sense for it all to be the same, right?

Gary: It’s the same.

Yubi: You roll 2d8.

 

ed: It’s a six. Six thunder damage and you’re pushed ten feet away from me. If there’s any other objects, they get pushed away as well also. [Gary starts laughing.] Everything gets pushed away ten feet.

Kitty: Are you unconscious, Natalia?

Natalia: Now, what happens in 5e at zero HP?

Yubi: Okay, so!

ed: Oh my God… [Yubi laughs] Oh, I’m a bomb!

Kity: Gotta love those area of effect spells in small, enclosed spaces.

ed: A bastard, living bomb!

Yubi: So! As you watch Taro for a second almost go limp, his eyes roll back before he suddenly looks with ferocious energy, and there is this earth-shaking [explosion noise] of thunder and you guys – before you can even move out of the way – this shock-wave is slamming into you and sending you ten foot back. And Natalia, as you stagger, you again lose your footing and you go down to the ground, you hit your head and you are unconscious. For now, you are unconscious. Nerium, you stagger back and you scrape against the rock that you’ve been on and that is where your damage really comes from, from that pushing back. And the creature is now ten foot away from you Taro but you are still kind of stunned on your round so that’s all you can do on yours. Natalia, death saving throw, please.

 

Kitty: Oh good.

Gary: Uh, okay! Alrighty then! Fifteen. [Kitty sighs in relief.]

Yubi: You make it. And as you hit the ground, this cloud of white sand ‘fffhhhhhh’s over you and as you sink into blackness, you hear this twin laughter. This kind of giggling, chortling laughter. And you feel this little touch inside your head and little voices go,

Yubi, echoing: Not yet. We didn’t mean now.

Yubi: And your eyes open and you are prone but you are at 1HP on the ground. And your mouth is full of this kind of claggy, pasty white sand.

Gary: Is the creature dead?

Yubi: No. Oh, wait, how much damage did you do?! Sorry.

ed: Six.

Yubi: Six. It is looking very bloody, but it is not dead yet

 

[~1hr 5 minutes in]

 

Gary: I spit out the sand and things. And I say – apparently unprompted,

Gary as Natalia: Don’t laugh at me, bitches!

Gary: And stand up and try and stab it again.

Yubi: Okay, make an attack roll.

Gary: Twenty four.

Yubi: It hits.

Gary: Seven damage.

Yubi: Seven damage. [Whistles] So close. Alright, you carve off this other great lump of it, and this time again it’s looking really bad and again the second lot hits the ground, explodes into this cascade of sand and again, Nerium, your dagger skitters out toward you and it is your go.

 

Kitty: How far away is my dagger?

Yubi: [rolls] Ah, that’s a fifteen, so it’s about five foot away from you.

Kitty: Oh, okay. I will scamper and grab it. I will back up a bit and then throw it.

Yubi: Roll me a d20. Just, a straight d20.

Kitty: Thirteen.

Yubi: Okay. So, as you throw- make me an attack roll.

Kitty: Uh, seventeen.

Yubi: There is a second where everything goes quiet around you and you can see this part where there is still black shadow writhing under its skin. And you aim right for there. And as you fling your dagger into it, roll me your sneak attack.

Kitty: Yay! That’s a d6, isn’t it?

Yubi: It’s an extra d6.

Kitty: That’s a five.

Yubi: Okay, which is a total of?

Kitty: Eleven.

Yubi: Eleven. So, your dagger goes straight into where the shadows are and comes out the other side and there is this moment where your dagger is wreathed in shadows as it passes through and the shadows – fwwoo – disappear. And the creature is still for a second before it all pppshhhhhh into dust, on the sand.

Kitty: That is exactly how I wanted to do that.

 

Yubi: And you are out of initiative. It is a-dead. [battle music fades into solely drums]

Gary: As some of those shadows dissipate, some of them come back towards me and I start to heal a bit.

Yubi: Okay, take your healing.

Kitty: I’m gonna scramble for my dagger.

Yubi: You get it. It’s covered in white sand

Kitty: I’m gonna brush it off as best I can. I mean, y’know… the back of my frock is trashed… And I’m kind of mostly looking at Natalia at this point, because she did a weird voice, and then she talked to some people who weren’t there, and there’s some shadowy stuff going on.

ed as Taro, high-pitched in confusion: Uh, h-h-hey… Wh-What…?! Uh, uh, what?!

Gary: I’m gonna walk towards Taro and, wiping my nose which I’m imagining is pretty bloody at the moment-

Yubi: Yeah, you’re a mess.

Gary: -I hold out a hand to him,

Gary as Natalia: Are you okay?

ed as Taro: Uh… I… hope… so…?

Gary as Natalia: Great.

Gary: Then I punch him.

 

Yubi: [laughs] Okay! Make me an attack roll.

Gary: Nineteen.

ed: Yep, that hits.

Yubi: Make 1d4 damage-

Gary: Three.

Yubi: -plus your strength.

Gary: Oh, fuck. Forgot about that, oh jesus, five damage.

ed: I’m knocked the fuck out. I’m out cold.

Yubi: You just-… [laughs] With your…

Kitty: At this point, I’m gonna say, “Nat!”

Yubi: With your bloody fist, the very edges of your fingertips still curling with shadow magic and dyed bright red, you slam your fist into this very shaken tiefling’s face, and his eyes cross and he crumples to the ground unconscious.

Kitty: I mean, I would… There are tunnels around us, right? Lots of holes. I’m hiding.

Yubi: Okay. Make me a stealth check.

Kitty: Yeah, I don’t know if the bad shadows went into Natalia and maybe she’s the monster. Twenty three.

Gary: That beats my passive perception by a small fourteen.

 

Yubi: [laughs] Nerium is suddenly gone, and you are standing there-

Kitty: Who’s Nerium?

Yubi: Sorry, Meredith [Kitty laughs] is suddenly gone and you are standing there with a bleeding, unconscious Taro.

Gary: I want to reach into my backpack, open up the water skin, and then dump it over his face.

Yubi: Okay, make me a constitution saving throw, Taro.

ed: Alright. That’s a ten.

Yubi: You guys- I love you, but you are making me dick around with the rules of fifth ed so that I don’t actually TPK you all on your first encounter. The water hits your face Taro, and you come to, blinking at 1HP with your nose just stinging.

Gary as Natalia: Don’t you ever do that again.

ed as Taro: Do-… What the fuck, do what?!

Gary as Natalia: That magic shit you just did.

ed as Taro: Look, I don’t know any magic! I don’t know what you’re talking about.

 

[1hr 10 minutes in]

 

Gary as Natalia: You… You just…! You just blasted me! And that thing! And – wait, where’s Meredith gone?

ed as Taro: I thought you did that.

Gary as Natalia: No, it was you!

ed as Taro: You sure?

Kitty: Can I make a perception check to see if I hear this?

Yubi: You absolutely hear this. You haven’t gone far. You’re just, like, round a rock.

Kitty: Okay, I’m listening real hard.

Yubi: Yeah, you hear all of this.

ed as Taro: Look, I’ve never done anything like that before. I don’t think I could do that. Do you want me to try again?

Gary as Natalia: Please, no! Wait- actually, yes, just wait for me to move.

ed as Taro: Alright.

Gary: I scuttle away about thirty foot.

Yubi: Do you have any spell slots…? Yes, you do, you’ve got two. You only used one thunder wave.

ed: I’ve got two.

 

Kitty: Am I about as far away as Natalia is?

Yubi: Mhm. Are you gonna try and cast it, Taro?

ed: Yeah.

Yubi: You reach out in front of you and again there is this spark of energy that travels, this time less frenzied, more controlled, that loops around your arm and there is a [explosion noise], a second wave. But once it’s done, there’s an after-twinge of pain. Like when you run too far, when you push your muscles too far. And you get this oof feeling of, ‘probably not going to be able to do that again for a while’.

ed as Taro: Alright! That’s… new!

Gary as Natalia: [Exhales heavily] Just… I think… It seems like we both have some new… moves. Some new power. Let’s be very careful with it. Okay?

ed as Taro: Well it doesn’t look like I’m doing anything like that for a while. Feel a bit… Bit worn out. Now where’s Meredith gone?

 

Kitty: Uhh, are they facing me or not?

Yubi: They’re probably looking round the chamber at this point.

Kitty: I will sneak out at a point where they can’t see exactly where I was hiding.

Yubi: Okay. Yeah, you’ve got- you can both roll perception, but… Yeah, try it and see if you can beat a 23.

ed: I don’t. [Yubi laughs]

Gary: No.

Kitty: I sort of sidle in behind them both and go,

Kitty as Nerium: Is everybody okay?

Gary as Natalia: Oh, we’re peachy.

Kitty as Nerium: I mean, you don’t look it, with the best will in the world, love.

ed as Taro: I mean, I’m pretty bruised.

Kitty as Nerium: Yeah. Um, does anybody know what that was?

Gary as Natalia: Not a clue.

ed as Taro: No

Kitty as Nerium: Good. Right. Okay.

Gary as Natalia: I hope there isn’t any more of them.

Kitty as Nerium: Yes, so do I.

 

ed as Taro, in a sing-song voice: Well, let’s not think about that! Let’s leave – now!

Kitty as Nerium: Yes.

Gary as Natalia: Yes.

Kitty as Nerium: What a good idea.

ed: Where’s an exit? What the hell? Is there an exit here?

Yubi: I don’t want to make it really complicated for you ‘cause I know that you’re having a bit of trouble with architecture tonight. [laughter] So I want you to imagine like, a circle and that there are two lines coming from it, and you’ve come in one line into the circle and in front of you, you see another passage that goes away. A passage is like a big chamber, but a tunnel.

ed: So it’s like a door, but…

Yubi: It’s like a door but without the component-…

ed: Without the bit in it.

Yubi: Exactly, it’s a bit-less door. You see in front of you a bit-less door.

ed: A bit-less door.

Gary: That’s my new band name.

 

Kitty: I would like to look at the two travelling companion I appear to have been saddled with, who have both recently recovered from unconsciousness, and say,

Kitty as Nerium: Tell you what, why don’t I go first this time?

ed as Taro: I mean, if you want to.

Kitty as Nerium: Yeah, just… maybe try and be quiet.

Kitty: And I’d like to go first along the corridor. And stealth it.

Yubi: Roll me a stealth check.

Kitty: Yup. [hisses] That’s not as good guys, sorry. That is a.. Hang on, thirteen.

Yubi: Is anybody else stealthing it?

Kitty: I fucking hope so.

Gary: Uh, yep.

ed: Alright. I guess we are.

Gary: Nat twenty.

Yubi: Nice. [Kitty quietly cheers]

ed: Uh, yeah, stealth is… Dext’rity.

Yubi: Yep. It’s your dextremities.

ed: Ooh, speaking of natural, I got the other one!

Yubi: Oh, good.

Kitty: Oh, bloody hell.

 

Yubi: Taro, are you a mumbler, a singler or a whistler?

ed: I’m a whistler I think.

Yubi: Alright, as Taro brings up the rear, blood still kind of dripping from his nose, there’s a little jaunty tune, a little… [Yubi tries, and completely fails, to whistle three notes] That was the worst whistling I think I’ve ever done in my life. That was so bad.

Kitty: [imitates blowing and making crunching noises into the microphone.] Taro does have blood in his nose, to be fair.

Yubi: [laughing] It’s like that Peppa Pig thing, I’m gonna hang up on all of you. I can’t actually whistle! [everyone laughing] Um, Taro is just whistling a little, doo-doodoo-doodoo, ‘let’s get out of here’ little tune… [Tries again to whistle] That’s still terrible.

 

[~1hr 15 minutes in]

 

Kitty: Meredith stops in her tracks, turns round and says,

Kitty as Nerium: Mr Taro? I’d be really grateful if you could maybe stop doing that. We need to be quiet, please.

ed as Taro: Well, I have had a minor breakdown. If I wanna whistle I’m gonna whistle.

Kitty as Nerium: On the other hand, you also said you wanted to get out of here quickly without running into any more of those.

ed as Taro: I’ve considered your opinion, and I think that’s fair. Let’s go. [Yubi laughing.]

Kitty as Nerium: Thank you very much, I appreciate that.

Kitty: I carry on stealthing.

 

Yubi: You guys head through this corridor where the chambers in this rock get smaller and smaller, the pitted surface becoming smoother, until once again it opens into this large space. It’s the biggest chamber you’ve seen yet and in front of you, you see three stone pedestals – very light gray, slate pedestals. You see in the middle, Meredith, on the little platform, two wooden chests. [The theme music starts with the solo violin as before] And the other two platforms – there’s nothing on them, they’re just empty platforms. Peering over her shoulder, Natalia, you see on the right pedestal, two wooden chests. And the one in the middle and the one on the left, there’s nothing on them. And Taro, peering again around the both of them, you see on the left hand side, two wooden chests on the pedestal, and nothing in the middle and nothing on the right. [The theme music starts up proper with its quick drumbeat and plays out the same as the starting music, ending once again with the solitary violin line]

 

ed: Doo-doo, doo doo…

Kitty: Yay!

Gary: Woohoo!

ed: Well done, we did it.

Kitty: Well done for nearly dying!

ed: We genuinely both almost died.

Yubi: You genuinely nearly TPK’d.

Gary: Both friendly fire.

Yubi: Yeah, both friendly fire!

Gary: We TPK’d each other.

ed: What does TPK mean…?

Kitty Can I just say, we very nearly did actually – because at the point where we-…

Gary & Kitty: Total party kill.

ed: Oh.

Kitty: The point at which Nerium decided to go and hide, she was actually thinking, oh God the shadows went into Nat, she’s been possessed and I nearly fucking did that, I guess… [laughter] But no, no, I can’t do that to God… I’m just gonna hide…

Yubi: Three go in and one comes out.

Kitty: Exactly. “I win! I won D&D!”

Ed: I didn’t realise the tutorial stage was a death match [laughter].

Yubi, imitating movie trailer narration: In a world with no magic, the only one victorious is the one without magic…

Kitty: It’s the one who embroiders flowers for a living. Yup.

 

[END OF EPISODE 1]

 

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