Episode 5: Consequences

The time has come for the Agents to confront Elama. Will they be able to stop her and the black-armored man, and save Neverwinter from draconic destruction?

Episode Transcription

Consequences

[[Intro Music Plays]]

[[Slow background adventuring music plays after the intro]]

[Jordan]:  “Hello everyone, and welcome back to Agents of DAMNED, our let’s play DnD podcast featuring myself, Jordan Roman as your sometimes benevolent, often malevolent dungeon master!  And as always I am joined by-”

[Caitie]:  “Caitie!  Your darling and loveable, hateable Saithe.”

[Christina]:  “Hey guys, I’m Christina and I’ll be playing Winterra.”  

[Drew]:  “And I’m Drew and I’ll be playing the good doctor Arlo Agon.  I didn’t know we were going to make up little monikers…”

[Jordan]:  “Yeah I didn’t realize y’all were stealing my thunder but that’s cool.”

[Caitie]:  Jokingly  “Go fuck yourself”  

[Drew]:  “Hey, I’m Drew and I’m going to be playing cool Jordan, he’s like Jordan but way cooler.”  

[[All laugh]]

[Jordan]:  “That’s impossible. I am maximum cool.” 

[Drew]:  “He is just like Jordan but like sunglasses and a leather jacket and like he rides a motorcycle.” 

[Caitie]:  “Jordan I’ve known you since highschool…there’s nothing cool about you.” 

[Jordan]:  “Hm, I’ll remember that comment.”

[[Caitie laughs more]]

[Jordan]:  “So, you guys are actually in quite the interesting predicament.  You are at the end of what is your first job with the agency.  But a lot has happened on your first job, so I think we could all do with a recap. 

Last time, the Agents found themselves in a dire situation with Milo caught in a deadly explosion.  Bardon was the first to run to his side, but Arlo was close behind and managed to stabilize the halfling to health.  Milo still needed to rest, so Arlo went to talk to Bardon while Winterra checked the nearby tracks to learn that Elama and the stranger in black armor had been here.  However, the stranger appeared to have since left the stronghold.  Arlo attempted to console Bardon, and in the process learned that the mysterious stranger was an unknown figure, even to Bardon. After Milo had awoken, he informed the Agents that he would be unable to aid them in securing a route in the stronghold.  However, he did tell them a story before giving them a map to the fortress. A story that held a hidden message shared only with Saithe through the subtle language of thieves’ cant.  With their newfound knowledge, the Agents departed into the stronghold.  Once inside, Arlo cast ‘detect magic’ to reveal a number of magical traps scattered throughout.  With Saithe serving as a scout the group managed to navigate the labyrinth and solve the riddle to unlock the door to the treasure room.  Reveling in the success of their exploration, the group makes their way into the treasure room to finish their first job as Agents of DAMNED.”            

[[Music stops]]

[Jordan]:  “So, as we pick up where we last finished, with you guys having just heard the door to the treasure room open, and you guys are still in the small library room. What do you guys do?

[Saithe]:  “Let’s approach the stone door!”   

[Christina]:  “Winterra suddenly goes like-”

[Winterra]:  “Oh, wait!  I forgot something. Um…”

[Christina]:  “And she does that thing with her fist where she puts it into the palm of her hand.  She’s like-”

[Winterra]:  “There were tracks outside of the stronghold, um – it looked like a set of female tracks and a set of male tracks.  I’m going to assume that the male tracks were our mysterious man, and the female tracks belong to Elama…Elaba…Elama, whatever her name is!  And yeah..that is-”

[Saithe]:  “Elphaba!”

[Winterra]:  “Um, but the weird thing is – the guy’s tracks left, and the girl’s tracks didn’t.  And we haven’t run into anyone down here.  So I just think that’s weird, and I forgot to mention that earlier, but I just remembered it.  There you go.”

[Arlo]:  “Win-Winterra…  Did-did we go through this entire thing in what could have clearly been an ambush, and you just now remembered to tell us that?”

[Winterra]:  “Shhhhhh.”

[Christina]:  “And she starts walking away.”  

[[Christina giggles throughout Arlo’s next part]]  

[Arlo]:  “Don’t sh,  Don’t ‘Shhh’ me!  Don’t just walk away, I- I just- I mean, Aw, Bahamut.”

[[Christina and Jordan full on laugh]] 

[Jordan]:  still laughing “Oh god. Okay-”

[Saithe]:  “I’m surrounded by incompetency.”        

[[Adventuring music starts back up]]

[Jordan]:  “Ah.  So you guys make your way over to the doorway to the treasure room and sure enough the large stone door has moved.  As you make your way down you find yourselves in not a full treasure room but it’s modestly full.  There’s some statues in there, some more chests, some piles of gold.  Obviously there’s still plenty of room for all of the stuff that you guys brought.  However, leaning against one of the statues across from you guys is in fact Elama.  She looks up and sees you all and is noticeably taken aback by all of your presence.”

[Elama]:  “I have to admit.  You are not the ones I thought I was going to meet down here.”

[Saithe]:  “I take it you were expecting Milo.”

[Elama]:  “That would have been the logical option.  So where is he?”

[Saithe]:  “Yeah, well unfortunately he got blown up.”

[Arlo]:  “Yeah, one of your traps got him.”                             

[Jordan]:  “She is immediately taken back by what Saithe says-”

[Elama]:  “WHAT?  What do you mean he was ‘blown up’!!?  How!?” 

[Saithe]:  “You heard me. There was a trap at the entrance.  Milo is the one who got caught in it.”

[Elama]:  “There’s no explosion trap by the entrance, what are you talking about?!” 

[Winterra]:  “It was a magical trap, it was different from the one he expected to find.”  

[Jordan]:  “She looks down in contemplation for a second and then almost seems angered by some sort of a weird revelation that she’s had.  And she just mutters something to herself quietly.”

[Saithe]:  “You didn’t know.” 

[Elama]:  “No.  I didn’t.”  Pauses  “Is Milo okay?”

[Saithe]:  “Yes.  Arlo was able to save him in time.” 

[Jordan]:  “She breathes a very deep sigh of relief on that one.”

[Elama]:  “Oh thank god.”

[Saithe]:  “Elama.  What does he have on you?”   

[Jordan]:  “She averts her eyes from you and says-”

[Elama]:  “I can’t answer any questions about that.  I have a favor to ask of you all.”

[Arlo]:  “Elaba I don’t think you’re really-”

[Saithe]:  “Okay.”

[Arlo]:  “-in a position to be asking favors.”

[Saithe]:  “Arlo.”

[Elama]:  “Please, please just-”

[Saithe]:  “Listen to her.”

[Elama]:  “Please just.”

[Saithe]: “What is it?”

[Elama]:  “I need you all to turn around, go back outside, take Milo, and leave Neverwinter.  Make sure he doesn’t come back.  Take him somewhere safe, I don’t care where.  Just, he can’t be here.  Please.”

[Saithe]:  “Elama, we can’t do that.  We can’t risk the lives of everybody in the city.  Our position here isn’t just to stop you.  It’s to protect all of the innocent lives that are in danger due to what this monstrous man is putting you through.  Whatever he has on you.  We can help.  That is one of our many jobs.  I can tell.  I can see in your eyes, in your body language – you don’t want to do this.  You don’t want to be here.  So how can we help?”

[Jordan]:  “She looks down again, as if she’s contemplating.  And then she looks up one more time and says-”

[Elama]:  “This is not something that you all can handle.  I know you’re trying to help.  So I am going to ask you one more time.  Please, take Milo, and leave.  There is no turning back if you don’t.  And I need him to be safe.”

[Saithe]:  “We can’t do that.”

[Elama]:  Sighs heavily  “Yeah…can’t say I’m surprised.  I had a feeling you guys were all good people.  In a way I guess that’s also kind of the downfall here.”

[Jordan]:  “And she shifts her foot and steps on a switch.  And immediately the stone door leading in closes, and a metal grate in front of it shuts down.  Effectively trapping all four of you in there.”

[Winterra]:  “Mmmmmm…”

[Elama]:  “Alright.  If this is really the way that you guys want to do this, then here is how this is going to work.”

[Jordan]:  “And she looks up at all of you, you can see now, there is more of a determination in her eyes than there was before.  At first there was only fear but now she seems ready for something.”

[Elama]:  “Unfortunately, given the way my circumstance is, the only way I can tell you all anything, is if one of us doesn’t leave here alive.  Now, we’re all trapped in here.  There is a way out, but as long as I am alive you all will never find it.  And I’m not about to walk out of here with three people who know the truth.  So, for now, I’ll tell you what I know.  Afterward, we’ll settle…that.”  Sighs heavily again  “And I can tell you right now, you’re wrong about my situation. He doesn’t have anything on me. It’s not like he’s blackmailing me with information.  You all fought him, you know what he’s capable of.  He’s simply threatening me with my life.  And I know there is nothing I can do to stop someone that powerful.”

[Arlo]:  “Then you’re a coward.”

[Elama]:  “Only because Milo raised me that way.”  

[Arlo]:  “Milo…Milo wept when he found out that you had betrayed him.  You betrayed your home, everyone who ever gave a damn about you…just to save your own skin?  Is that what you’re telling me?”

[Jordan]:  “She takes a step back as you say that Milo had wept, and after your whole spiel, she looks up at you and says-”

[Elama]:  “You’re not a thief.  I wouldn’t expect you to understand this.  But when I first joined the guild, Milo taught me a very important lesson.  He told me that a thief’s number one duty always is to himself. To make sure that you get out of any situation, by your own life.  Now, I’ll admit I didn’t take too kindly to that one at first – I agree it seems cowardly.  But…there’s a reason.  Back before the Thieves’ Guild became more of a…official government facility, an official recognized ‘guild’… that same code of honor, if you can call it that, was still in place but for more purely selfish reasons.  But Milo decided to run with it, to take that idea and make it more noble, more honorable.  The Thieves’ Guild exists for the sole purpose of bettering the lives of those less fortunate than those who are not.  It can’t function, unless it has members.  And if everyone dies, there is no Thieves’ Guild.  And everything falls back into the control of the rich and powerful.  Milo taught me to make sure I always escape with my own life, before the lives of others, including himself.”

[Jordan]:  “And she trembles as she says that, you can tell that is not a sentence she likes saying out loud for any reason. But she looks back up at you and says-”

[Elama]:  “So that way, no matter what – there is always a living member of the Thieves’ Guild and we can rebuild.”

[Arlo]:  “You are willing to kill an entire town.”

[Elama]:  “I’m not a coward.”

[Arlo]:  “I don’t see how you-”

[Elama]:  “Not in the way you believe.”   

[Arlo]:  “-can rationalize you being the good guy in this situation.  What’s moreover…the man who you admire so much, would be dead, by your actions.  By your fault.  You are guilty of this.”  

[Jordan]:  “She looks down and sort of chuckles to herself and says-”

[Elama]: “I don’t recall ever saying I ever viewed myself as a good person.”

[Winterra]:  “Why…does he want to bring this dragon to Neverwinter?  What’s his goal?” 

[[Creepy music takes over in place of the slower adventuring music]]

[Elama]:  “The destruction of Neverwinter, I don’t know any more.  That’s all he ever told me. I don’t honestly know that he has an end goal.  Every time he talked about his ambitions, about seeing Neverwinter burn to the ground, he never mentioned any sort of-  he never mentioned the next move.  Nothing that came after that.  He just…laughed.  His sickening, sickening laugh.  And he always looked like he was so…happy… just with the thought of it.  All the innocent people who would die. I don’t know if he even has an end goal – I think this man, if you could even call him that, is just the purest form of a monster.  You’ve all fought him, you know what he’s capable of.”

[Winterra]:  “When…when was he trying to…to kind of make everything happen?”

[Elama]:  “He only contacted…came in contact with me about a week ago.  It hasn’t been that long since. He wasn’t anticipating this was going to happen anytime soon, he just needed to make sure that things… stayed the way they were.  Dragons don’t usually get attracted to these things terribly quickly. Probably still another month or so until something like that would have even happened.  But he told me it was my job to make sure it stayed that way for long enough to attract the dragon in the first place.  And until you guys showed up, I was able to do just that. But…obviously that’s no longer the case now.  In a weird way I’m almost relieved.”

[Saithe]:  “Why didn’t you reach out for help?”

[Elama]:  “And do what? What help could I get against this man?”

[Arlo]:  “I mean, there’s literally an entire organization dedicated to order, of which we are members.”

[Elama]:  “And how well did you handle him exactly?”

[Saithe]:  “But we have the power and ability to bring more people in.”

[Elama]:  “It doesn’t matter how many people you have.  You’ve seen what he can do!”

[Saithe]:  “I’ve also seen children, parents!  I’ve seen happiness and love throughout this city.  Why would you want to ruin that?

[Elama]:  Despaired “YOU THINK I DON’T KNOW THIS!   YOU THINK I’M NOT AWARE OF EVERYTHING I AM THROWING AWAY?  THIS IS MY HOME DAMMIT!!  I’M WELL AWARE OF WHAT’S GOING ON, OF WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.  HAVE YOU THOUGHT FOR EVEN ONE SECOND WHAT THIS IS EVEN DOING TO ME? HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS?  I’m not happy that this is happening!  I HATE this!!  More than anyone, I HATE THIS.  But I can’t do anything.  All I have- is what Milo taught me.”  

[Jordan]:  “And you can see, just as Milo did when you told him of Elama’s betrayal, she’s also now welling with tears.”

[Elama]:  “I don’t know much on this man, I can’t tell you a lot.  But what I can at least give you, aside from his sick intentions, is a name.  He goes by Ash. That’s all I know about him.  If you can find some way to prove me wrong, show me that this man can be taken down.  Then I’ll be able to rest easy.   But as long as it’s in my hands then I have to do what I can to protect the Thieves’ Guild. As Milo told me to.  I’m sorry.”

[Jordan]:  “And she steps on another switch and a black smoke fills the room.  And as it fades, Elama has vanished.  Everyone, roll initiative.”  

[[Faster paced medieval music takes over from the creepy music]]

[Caitie]:  “23.”

[Drew]:  “15.”  

[Christina]:  “11.”

[Jordan]:  “Top of the order, that is going to be Saithe.  As of right now she is completely hidden, you guys have absolutely no idea where she’s at.  You would have to roll a perception check to try and find her.”

[Caitie]:  “Perception check!  15!”  

[Jordan]:  “It’s faint, but you do manage to catch a pile of gold that seems to have some of the coins at the bottom scattered in a way that you don’t remember them being scattered, and you figure she is likely hiding behind that.  For all intents and purposes she still has full cover, so you can’t actively see her, but you pin her down.”   

[Caitie]:  “Gotcha.  Saithe is gonna hold action for now.  She wants to try to hold her promise to Milo – to spare her.  But she is going to point her out as inconspicuously as possible to her teammates. And she’s also going to- Arlo you know a little bit of sign language, right?”

[Drew]:  “A bit.”

[Caitie]:  “Okay, she’s going to sign to you in as plain and simple terms as she can, if you know any knock out or sleeping spells.”

[Jordan]:  “Roll intelligence to see if you comprehend that because that’s too complicated to just get for free.” 

[Drew]:  “That is a 10.”  

[Jordan]:  “You just manage to get the basic idea that she’s asking for.”

[Drew]:  “Arlo thinks for a second and then nods his head.”

[Caitie]:  “Alright, so at this point, now Saithe is going to try to draw her out. And like run towards – not like directly towards the gold but like at an angle.  But she-”

[Jordan]:  “You’re trying to work your way around?”

[Caitie]:  “Yes.”

[Jordan]:  “Are you trying to do so stealthily or are you just as it?” 

[Caitie]:  “Stealthily.” 

[Jordan]:  “Alright, roll a stealth check.”

[Caitie]:  “22.”  

[Jordan]:  “Where’s Saithe, can’t see her?”   

[Christina]:  “Hah.”

[Jordan]:  “Alright, I’d say that you’d be able to, unless you want to try to be a little bit more blatant about it, you can work your way to the point where she’s at three quarters cover.”

[Caitie]:  “Yes.”

[Jordan]:  “So you can see her but she’d have like a plus five to her AC because she is still like mostly covered by the gold.”

[Caitie]:  “Perfect.”

[Jordan]:  “Okay.  Anything else or is that it for you?”

[Caitie]:  “I’m gonna hold action.”       

[Jordan]:  “Okay, Arlo you up!”

[Drew]:  “Alright, so she pointed out where she is, right?”

[Jordan]:  “You guys are aware of the pile of gold she is hiding behind yes.”

[Drew]:  “Alright, how far away is that from me?”

[Jordan]:  “30 feet just to reach the gold.”  

[Drew]:  “Alright, I’m going to cast hold person.” 

[Jordan]:  “Do you have to have line of sight for that?” 

[Drew]:  “Umm…oh yeah I do need to be able to see her nevermind.”

[Jordan]:  “Yeah then no.”  

[Drew]:  “Guiding bolt does not specify.”

[Jordan]:  “Then I have zero objections, go for it.”

[Drew]:  “Schway.  Oh hohohoho-”

[Caitie]:  “We don’t want to kill her fam!”

[Drew]:  “That’s a crit.  That’s a crit!  I didn’t agree to shit!”

[Jordan]:  “Um I mean yeah.  Yeah that is in fact a critical hit so how many dice do you roll again?”

[Drew]:  “4d6 normally.”

[Jordan]:  “Okay good – this is that spell.  Awesome.  Okay, so 4d6 is…that is base 24 damage, plus your modifier, plus whatever you would roll on it. Okay, so just real quick for the audience at home to explain how I do crits, instead of just doubling the dice you roll. I take what would be the second set of dice so since he’s doing 4d6 he would technically roll 8d6, I take half of that and then just make it max.  So that would be the 4d6 is 24 and then he just rolls normally otherwise.  He just gets that free maximum total added to it.  So that way he never has a flop of a crit.”

[Drew]:  “Yeah so that’s 15 plus 24 for the crit.”

[Jordan]:  “Oh is that all.” 

[Drew]:  “Oh, and before the end of my next turn she is glowing with a mystical dim light.  And we get advantage on attack rolls made against her.”  

[Jordan]:  “Cool.  Um so this goes straight through the pile of gold and just knocks her into the nearby wall.  And some of the gold also kind of melded into the attack, and it just fucked her sideways. She is not looking good.” 

[Drew]:  “Can I as a free action perform the signature Arlo move of flashing my badge whip crack sound effect and say like-”

[[Whip crack sound effect]]

[Arlo]:  “By the order of DAMNED, you are under arrest.  You keep fucking around I’m going to fuck you up.”  

[Jordan]:  Chuckles  “Winterra, you’re up.”     

[Christina]:  “Okay, so she’s glowing now right?”

[Jordan]:  “Oh yeah fully.”

[Caitie]:  “Wait I have a question.”

[Jordan]:  “I have an answer.”  

[Caitie]:  “My hold action – I can do that at any time, right?”

[Jordan]:  Regretfully  “Oh my Christ.  Yes.” 

[Caitie]: “Okay, cool.  So um, before I was at three quarters, how close am I to her now?”  

[Jordan]:  “Her cover has been literally destroyed, she does not have cover anymore.”  

[Caitie]:  “And she’s highly injured.”  

[Jordan]:  “Very very – 39 damage at y’alls lev- like how would you feel about 39 damage?”

[Christina]:  Chuckles  “Not good.”

[Caitie]:  “Oooooh.”

[Drew]:  “Um, I wouldn’t.”

[Jordan]:  “Yeah – exactly.  So she ain’t doing great at all.”

[Caitie]:  “Great!  I’m gonna jump her ass and put her in handcuffs.” 

[Jordan]:  “Uh – roll a grapple.” 

[Drew]:  “We have handcuffs?”

[Jordan]:  “As far as I’m concerned she’s restraining her, I’m not gonna…so she’s still very heavily dazed by this one, and in that moment you manage to get over to her, and you wrap your tail around her securing her very firmly and she is not able to react in time in order to weasel her way out.  So you have restrained her.”

[Caitie]:  “Handcuffs bitch!”  

[Jordan]:  “Again, I’m going with Drew on this one, y’all don’t have cuffs.  I’m letting you use your god tail to do this one.”

[Caitie]:  “Wait wait, waitwaitwait!”

[Jordan]:  “What?!” 

[Drew]:  “Actually wait, she’s a bounty hunter she might have shackles.”  

[Jordan]:  Long pause  “Oh shit.”   

[Drew]:  “Aw shit!  You just got cuffed!”

[[Christina and Caitie excitedly murmur in the background while Drew beings singing ‘Bad Boys’]]

[Jordan]:  “Yeah.  Yeah she’s cuffed.”           

[Caitie]:  “What you gonna do!  What ‘cha gonna do when they come for you, bad boys bad boys!!”

[[Drew laughs]]

[Jordan]:  Exasperated  “Okay.  It’s technically still Winterra’s turn and she does still have health remaining, would you like to do anything in addition?” 

[Christina]:  “I feel like everything I was going to do keeps changing because of what was going on so um…give me one second!” Giggles

[Jordan]:  “What you mean you weren’t prepared for this whole thing?” 

[Christina]:  “I had to change – like literally every time someone did something I had to change what I was trying to do because I was gonna ‘Entangle’ her if that didn’t work.  Um…but that did!”      

[Jordan]:  “Oh, you mean you also had to adjust everything you thought this fight was going to be based on the whims of the others?  Crazy that.”   

[Christina]:  “She’s still conscious so I would like for her to make a Wisdom saving throw, with advantage.” 

[Jordan]:  “Um, she passed.”

[Christina]:  “Okay.  I was attempting to ‘Charm Person’ her…”

[Jordan]:  “Just trust me on that one, she passed.” 

[Christina]:  “Okay, I am gonna walk up to her, and like still get close to her, and I’m gonna be like-”

[Winterra]:  “We want.  To help you.  We promised Milo that we would spare your life, and I don’t want to have to go back on that promise.  Let us be able to provide the proof that we can band enough people together and go against this guy.  And do it as a group and for the safety of your town. So that you don’t have to give up everything that you’ve lived through.”

[Saithe]:  “You don’t deserve what this man has put you through – Elama.” 

[Winterra]:  “I know what it’s like to lose people close to you.  And I’d never wish that on anyone. Let us help you, please.”

[Jordan]:  “Roll persuasion.”

[Christina]:  Quietly  “That’s a 2.”  

[Jordan]:  “Yeah…not gonna do it.  She just looks at you and says-”

[Elama]:  “I already told you.  If I thought there was any chance of stopping him I’d have done it already.  You can’t stop him.”

[Jordan]:  “Soo.  The first thing she’s going to do is she’s going to attempt to break the grapple with Saithe. You manage to keep a pretty solid hold on her.”

[Caitie]:  “Sweet.”

[Jordan]:  “Saithe, what you got?”  

[Caitie]:  “She’s gonna turn her around to look at her.”

[Jordan]:  “Okay.”

[Caitie]:  “And, she’s just gonna – she’s gonna look at her – up and down, just for a minute, gonna size her up and then she’s gonna say-” 

[[Music changes to another slower adventuring tune]]

[Saithe]:  “If there’s anybody in this room that understands the pain of going through the inevitability of… of being unable to stop their attacker, it’s me.  Do you think that I want to smile my whole life?  Do you think that I want to be happy like this?  Trust me, I don’t.  I hate this.  I hate you.  For what you’re putting Milo through.  I am not a joyful person.  This isn’t me, this is a curse.  And I can’t break that curse unless I find the person that put it on me.  Now just because of that person, is damn near unbeatable, and trust me, he is.  Doesn’t mean I’m ever going to end the search to end him. And I am not going to end the search to end Ash.  And I am NOT going to sit here and allow you to drag yourself into the dirt, and give up. You don’t deserve that. You don’t deserve to put on a smile and pretend like everything’s okay.  You don’t deserve to be me.  What you do deserve is a second chance, I’m gonna make sure you get that. I will ask for leniency – you are under arrest, you will have to go through trial, but I am going to stay at your side and make sure I keep my promise to Milo.”

[Jordan]:  “Okay, so as you do that, and as you say what you say, she looks at you and actually does give off a bit of a smirk.  And says-”

[Elama]:  “You guys really are good people.”

[Saithe]:  “Don’t insult me.”    

[Elama]:  “Take care of Milo.”

[[Music changes again to a slower and sadder medieval tune]]

[Jordan]:  “And on initiative 20, a lair action goes off.  She shuffles her foot and steps down on a switch, and a poison dart comes out of the wall and shoots her right in the back of the neck.”

[[Christina gasps]]

[Saithe]:  “Hey Arlo…”                                         

[Arlo]:  “Oh, yeah, poison.”

[Jordan]:  “Arlo you go over there…and you are not entirely sure what exactly she put in herself, you’re not sure if it’s because of the nature – because of how much damage she’d already taken or if it’s just where the dart hit.  But it killed her instantly.”

[Drew]:  “Arlo kind of looks up and is like-”

[Arlo]:  Sharp intake of breath  “Yeah um…this is beyond my uh, my pay grade.”

[Saithe]:  “Yeah… yep yep yep…thank you Arlo.”  

[Caitie]:  “Saithe removes the shackles from Elama and then she is gonna take off her cloak and wrap Elama in it, respectfully.”

[[Music stops]]

[Jordan]:  “So as you do that, Elama’s own cloak slips off. And you notice that it’s not actually an ordinary cloak.  It almost looks like it has magical properties to it. Upon closer inspection you realize it is actually an item known as a portable hole.  Think of it as a more limited bag of holding that takes the form of a piece of cloth, in this case fashioned into a cape.”

[Caitie]:  “Neat.”    

[Drew]:  “I guess Arlo reaches in there and looks into it.”

[Jordan]:  “Inside you find what looks like another key.  Um, but this one is actually a little bit different. It is actually a – this is yet another magic item – called a chime of opening. It is a hollow metal tube about a foot long and weighs roughly a pound.  You can take an action to strike it, pointing at an object within 120 feet of you and it is immediately unlocked and opened.  It has a total of 10 uses and after the 10th time it cracks and becomes useless.”

[Saithe]:  “There’s our way out.”  

[Jordan]:  “Yeah let me rephrase that.  You have something that does 9 uses as you make your way out.  

[[Somber music plays]]

[Jordan]:  “So as you guys resurface, having officially secured the route – do you bring Elama with you?”

[Caitie]:  “Yes.”

[Jordan]:  “Okay, so you come out, Elama’s body in tow.  Bardon is actually the first one to spot you guys, and he walks over and says-”

[Bardon]:  “Did you manage…to secure… Who’s that?”   

[Saithe]:  “I’m genuinely sorry.”

[Jordan]:  “Bardon’s eyes go wide as he realizes exactly what has happened.”

[Caitie]:  “She places her gently in Bardon’s arms.” 

[Jordan]:  “So you actually see Bardon, he’s actually facing away from Milo right now, Milo is still resting.  He actually carries Elama over to a wall and sort of like rests her against it and says-”

[Bardon]:  “Milo is my friend.  I’ll be the one to tell him what happened. You all shouldn’t have to burden yourselves with this, it’s… Just tell me this.  Did you try?”

[Winterra]:  Voice shaking  “We did everything we could.”  

[Jordan]:  “Bardon turns back to you guys and says-”   

[Bardon]:  “Head back to town.  Take the teleporter.  Go back to your base. As far as I’m concerned here your job is done.  You’ve done what you’ve came here to do.   Let me…handle things with Milo.  And…it’s probably best for everyone, if you three in particular, don’t come back here for awhile.”

[Arlo]:  “What’s that supposed to mean?”        

[Bardon]:  “It means exactly what you think it means.  You’re dismissed.”

[Christina]:  “Terra, before we like do anything, reaches into her bag and pulls out the letter that was meant for Milo.  And she says-”

[Winterra]:  “Before we go- this was on his desk.  And it’s very recent.  This- this seal.  It might have some words in it, that may help.” 

[Jordan]:  “He takes the letter and looks at it and he looks kind of surprised when he sees it and is like-”

[Bardon]:  “This is…her handwriting.  I’ll see that he gets it.”

[Christina]:  “And Terra just nods.”

[Jordan]:  “He returns the nod and walks over toward Milo contemplating how he’s ever going to manage to break the news to him.  You all make your way back to Neverwinter in a far more somber mood than you did the first time.  Nothing really happens on the way back – no goblins, no bandits, just silence.  You make your way onto the teleporter and you head back home to HQ.”  

[[Somber music is replaced by the creepy music]]

[Jordan]:  “Off in the distance, entirely unknown to any of our Agents, we see the man that we now know to be Ash.  Staring into a bottle with a globe at the end as it turns foggy.  Initially it held Elama’s image inside, but it faded.  He takes a deep breath and says-”

[Ash]:  “Well so much for that one.  I do wonder though…”

[Jordan]:  “And he pulls from his pocket a gold scale.”

[Ash]:  “Let’s see what this so-called ‘DAMNED’ is really all about.” 

[Jordan]:  “He drops the scale into the bottle and the fog begins to shift once more as he stares deeply into it as an image is made clear.”

[[Mysterious creepy music stops and is replaced with jauntier adventuring music]]

[Jordan]:  “Regrouping with our Agents, they manage to make their way back to DAMNED HQ.  And while it definitely could have gone better, ultimately it was still a successful mission.  You did manage to do exactly what you had set off to do. As you guys do get back, you wind up at the teleporter room – Oudart is there once again however you notice that three other teleportation circles also activate at the same time and you see three other groups of people also arrive at the same time as you guys.      

The first of these groups is a trio containing a human, a tiefling – a female tiefling and a male human, and then a lizardfolk. The second group consists of a silver female dragonborn, a male shifter, and a male albino tiefling.  The last group consists of a halfling, a svirfneblin or a deep gnome, and a goblin.”

[Drew]:  “Shorty squad.” 

[[The other three snicker]]

[Caitie]:  “Fair enough.” 

[Jordan]:  “So they all step off of the teleporter and they look at you and the human from the first group is the first one to speak up-”

[Human]:  “Oh!  You guys must be new, I don’t recognize you.  Is this your first day or?”  

[Arlo]:  “Just uh- just coming back from our first mission actually.” 

[Human]:  “Ah.  Oh!  I see, you’re – I know which ones you are!  Um you’re-”  snaps fingers “-don’t tell me don’t tell me, um… ARGO!”       

[Arlo]:  “Uh…nope. Arlo!” 

[Human]:  Under his breath  “Damn.”

[Arlo]:  “Close but no cigar.”           

[Human]:  “Sorry about that.  Name’s Harven.  This is actually my team, the tiefling here is Hope-”

[Jordan]:  “She smiles very shyly and gives you guys a wave.”

[Harven]:  “And this here is Vyth.”

[Jordan]:  “And he points to the lizardfolk and says-”

[Harven]:  “We actually make up team Divine Shield.  We’re another group of operatives here.”

[Drew]:  “Arlo hears that name he’s like-”

[Arlo]:  “Aw, that name is way cooler than ours, we – god dammit.” 

[Jordan]:  “So then the other group that you guys see, the dragonborn, shifter, and tiefling walk over to you guys and the dragonborn says-” 

[Silver dragonborn]:  “Ah it’s nice to meet you!  I’m Rhelynn, this is Forngal Midday, and 7.”

[Jordan]:  “She points to the shifter and tiefling respectively.”

[Rhelynn]:  “We are uh – team Second Chance!” 

[Arlo]:  “That one’s less cool.”

[Rhelynn]:  “Oh…o-okay…”

[Drew]:  Laughs  “Nah I’m joking.”

[Arlo]:  I’m just messing with ya there buddy your team name’s plenty fine.”

[Jordan]:  “Ah, and then you feel a tap on your leg as the halfling is there and is like-”

[Halfling]:  “Hi!  My name’s Fridahn!”

[Jordan]:  “Points to the goblin-”

[Fridahn]:  “This is Niffun.”

[Jordan]:  “And then he points to the svirfneblin”

[Fridahn]:  “And this is P!  We are the Friday Night Fun Pals!” 

[[Christina dies with laughter]]

[Arlo]:  “You see I was gonna pick that exact same god damned name!!” 

[Fridahn]:  “Ah no, she wouldn’t have let ya do that one, we already got it!”  

[Arlo]:  “Man Friday Night Fun Pals would’ve been great.” 

[Fridahn]:  “Ah no, it’s pretty great with us.”

[Arlo]:  “You guys look like you guys can really party.”

[Fridahn]:  “Oh you would not even imagine.”

[[More of Christina cracking up]]             

[Jordan]:  “And then over, for lack of better terms an intercom, but it’s more of just like a magical thing, you guys hear-”

[Raiann]:  “Will the Agents please report to my office for debriefing.”

[Jordan]:  “And you guys obviously recognize the sound of Raiann Delmiriv, the head of the DAMNED organization.”

[Drew]:  “Alright, I guess we make our way over to her office.”

[Jordan]:  “Most of the other members of the team kind of wave you off, primarily Harven, Fridahn and Rhelynn who seem to be the heads of their own respective teams.  They’re kind of the ones who do most of the waving. Everyone else like, they’re not distant but they just don’t seem quite as invested for a lack of a better word.”

[Christina]:  “Hm.”

[Jordan]:  “So you guys make your way over there and oddly enough you guys just outside the door see Orilo – the goliath who serves as the chef here.  And he appears to be carrying a small teacup. He takes note of you guys and says-”

[Orilo]:  “Ah, hello there.  I suppose you’re here for your debriefing then.”

[Saithe]:  “Yes.” 

[Orilo]:  “Did the mission go well?”

[Saithe]:  “It probably could have gone better.” 

[Orilo]:  “Well first missions are often rough. Hopefully I’ll be able to cheer the director up with this-”

[Jordan]:  “And he kind of like lifts the tea cup up a little bit happily.”

[Orilo]:  “If you’ll excuse me I-”

[Saithe]:  “Please tell me that’s booze.” 

[Orilo]:  “Oh no, she doesn’t drink.”     

[Arlo]:  “She doesn’t drink!?” 

[Orilo]:  “No, the director is actually a very formal woman, believe it or not. Despite her attitude she tries to conduct herself in the most professional means possible.  You may notice, she also never swears.  She’s a…little proper like that.  That does not mean she will not yell, so probably let me go first so I can give her this.”  

[Jordan]:  “And he does like a surprisingly gently knock for a goliath, and then you hear from the inside-”

[Raiann]:  “Come in.”

[Jordan]:  “And he opens up and seeing Orilo first you see Raiann breathes a HUGE sigh of relief and says.”

[Raiann]:  “Oh thank GODS.”

[Jordan]:  “As you guys walk in you take in the office once more and see that it is largely unchanged from last time but you do note you are able to get a better idea on it this time since you-”

[Drew]:  “Since Jordan actually wrote down some stuff about it.”

[Jordan]:  “Um, eat a dick.”     

[[Drew laughs]]

[Jordan]:  “So as you all noticed last time there is still the high vampire, otherwise known as a vampire lord off to one side, along with the exoskeleton of an umber hulk and a basilisk corpse.  All of which have been stuffed appropriately.  To the other side there is a beholder corpse and a large chimera that has been turned into a rug.  Up above you see the giant dragon skeleton that you saw before but one of the more notable things is actually a series of four pedestals that are mounted behind Raiann’s desk.  Each of those pedestals features the head of a giant. In order there is a fire giant, a frost giant, a storm giant and a cloud giant and beneath each of them is the originally noticed flaming nunchucks in addition to a katana that appears to be giving off an icy mist, a warhammer that gives off a light hum, and a crossbow that seems to be emitting a soft pink smoke.  

[Christina]:  “Hm.”

[Drew]:  “Hm.” 

[Jordan]:  “This is where I’d drop mic and style on you fuckers if I didn’t think my mic was more worth it than that.”

[[Christina chuckles]]

[Caitie]:  “I love it.”  

[Jordan]:  “So Orilo walks up and puts the cup onto the desk and says-”

[Raiann]:  “Please for the love of all that is good tell me you brought Espresso.  It’s going to be a long day. I’m going to need it.”  

[Jordan]:  “And Orilo smirks and says-”

[Orilo]:  “But of course.”

[Jordan]:  “And he sort of like turns to his left and pokes at a little bag that was hanging off his shoulder and says-” 

[Orilo]:  “Alright little friend, time to do your thing.”

[Jordan]:  “And you notice the bag rustles a little bit.  And after a moment a little brown dragon actually emerges from the bag and crawls down his arm over to the coffee cup – it then sort of stands on its hind legs, it’s…like for a dragon it’s very small.  It’s about the size of a rat.”  

[Caitie]:  “I need it!!”

[Jordan]:  “It sort of takes a deep breath-”  Imitates baby dragon breath sound “-and shoots like a little splash of something into the drink.  It then crawls back up Orilo’s arm, back into the satchel and sort of nuzzles itself back in.”

[Christina]:  “It’s so cute!”

[Caitie]:  “The small!!”

[Jordan]:  “And then Orilo slides the cup back over to Raiann who picks it up, takes a big sip and just the most soul touching sigh of relief you’ve ever heard.”

[Raiann]:  “Gods bless. That’ll be all Orilo.”

[Jordan]:  “He nods, and then turns around and he gives you all a nod on the way out and leaves.  So as Raiann enjoys her coffee she puts it down, sets it off to the side and says-”

[Raiann]:  “So, your first mission. To my understanding it ended in overall success.  Would you agree with that one?”

[Arlo]:  “Yeah.  We overall got it done and nobody important died.”          

[Raiann]:  “Well that’s always good to hear. Ehh… Of course, because this is your first mission we do believe in opting for a bit of a peer review on this just to make sure everything goes well.  I’m sure you understand it’s more of a formality and all that. So I think we’ll start off with the first issue I have which is…” 

[[Her hands SLAM on table causing various items to clatter and she ROARS]]

[Raiann cont]:  “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU IDIOTS.”     

[Jordan]:  “I need all of you guys to make a charisma saving throw.”

[Christina]:  “Oh great.”  Nervously laughs “That was a 14.”

[Drew]:  “That is an 18”  

[Jordan]:  “Kay.”        

[Caitie]:  “19”

[Jordan]:  “So…Winterra-”

[[Drums begin beating in the background]]

[Christina]:  Expectantly “Uh-huh.”  

[Jordan]:  “You are deeply spooked by her sudden outburst and you now find yourself under the effect of the fear spell.”

[Christina]:  “Yep so she audibly whimpers. Like a bear cub would, yep.”

[Jordan]:  “Mhm.  So she looks at you all now noticeably pissed and says-”

[Raiann]:  “You may have succeeded in your mission but your conduct was nothing if not reprehensible.  Explain yourselves immediately.”  

[Christina]:  “So I believe from fear I would like to try to leave.  Isn’t that correct, is that fear wants to make you want to get as far away from the person as possible?”  Nervous giggle

[Jordan]:  “For this particular instance it’s more just you don’t want to piss them off, like you are afraid of what they do but no I’m not going to make you actively try to leave.  That would be a terrible idea.”

[Christina]:  Still nervous giggling “Okay I just want to make sure.”

[Jordan]:  “Would anyone like to speak up or do I get to keep going?”

[Caitie]:  “I’m trying to like think about how Saithe would respond to this.”  

[Jordan]:  “Okay.”

[Caitie]:  “She’s kind of really sassy, and I’m trying to like not…”

[[Jordan laughs]]

[Caitie]:  “Like I really want to be like, ‘okay, but listen up okay, like…’ “

[Jordan]:  “You’re free to, I’m not stopping you.  You may not want to do that but y’know.”

[Caitie]:  “EXACTLY YES. See, Caitie says ‘no, nonono, don’t do that.’  But Saithe says, ‘yeah, doidoitdoit’”

[Jordan]:  “Let me put it to you in perspective on this, I find that when you’re in these situations the best thing to ask yourself is what would my character do?”    

[Caitie]:  “That’s fair…”

[Christina]:  “Winterra, is actually going to say like-” 

[Winterra]:  Soft Spoken “Um, I don’t understand what I did wrong and could you help me understand..?”

[Raiann]:  “Oh, so none of you understand where your shortcomings were on this one?  Well, perhaps this will help enlighten you.”

[Jordan]:  “And she grabs a piece of paper off of her desk and shows it to all of you.  And admittedly she is a little far away from you guys, so you can’t fully make it out; however, you can make out enough to see that it starts with: 

‘Dear madam Delmirev,  I am writing to issue this formal complaint against the associates you employ that refer to themselves as the Agents of the DAMNED…’ 

It then goes on to list an EXHAUSTIVE number of complaints and is signed very noticeably at the bottom by one Captain Bardon Stillsnow of the Neverwinter Guard.”      

[Raiann]:  “Ringing any bells???!”

[Chistina]:  “Winterra just looks over at Saithe.”

[Caitie]:  “Saithe is trying sincerely not to laugh.”

[[Drumbeat music stops]]

[Jordan]:  “You just barely manage to go unnoticed.  That being said, she does turn to you noticing Winterra’s little glance over and says-”

[Raiann]:  “I suppose your friend is right on that little look she gave.  You after all are the biggest offender on this one.  So tell me, Saithe.  What exactly is it in your field of experience, your worldly knowledge and wisdoms, that led you to believe that THREATENING AN ARMED MEMBER OF THE LOCAL MILITIA WAS IN ANY WAY AN INTELLIGENT IDEA? “

[Saithe]:  “Well!  To be completely honest ma’am.  He was entirely infuriating.”  

[Raiann]:  “Oh!  HE was infuriating?  How so?!”

[Saithe]:  “He seemed to have some trouble answering direct questions.”

[Raiann]:  “Hm.  That’s interesting that you say that because according to this it says that after you had accused one of his closest friends and one of the most highly regarded officials in the city of conspiring to do something highly illegal, you gave him no time in order to assess the situation and instead decided to harass him the entire time.”

[Saithe]:  “If I remember correctly, we told him about information we directly received.”  

[Raiann]:  “What was your exact wording?”

[Saithe]:  “Between all of the hullabaloo of yesterday and now I can barely remember what I had for breakfast.”

[Raiann]:  “Well oddly enough, he remembered.  And I believe his seeing on it was that you told him that the Thieves’ Guild – and specifically Milo, had been knowingly hoarding the treasures that they were supposed to be sending out and after he said he knew for a fact that was not the case admittedly yes while still taking it in he does mention that I’ll give you that one.  He does go on to say that after he was prepared to bring you over you proceeded to threaten him.  And, as an action you repeated twice. ”

[Saithe]:  “I’m not exactly a people person. So I will accept responsibility for my actions on that one.”  

[Raiann]:  “Oh of course you are.  But that’s not even your worst offense, believe it or not.  Care to guess what your worst one is?”

[Saithe]:  “Continue.”

[Raiann]:  “You understand the nature of our job, yes?  To prevent calamities from happening and therefore to ensure that the world keeps on spinning as is, yes?”

[Saithe]:  “Absolutely!”

[Raiann]:  “Then why do you think it is a good idea to publicly speak about a dragon attack as if it was impending?” 

[Saithe]:  “I did no such thing ma’am.”      

[Raiann]:  “Oh?  Did you not!?”  

[Saithe]:  “No ma’am.”  

[Raiann]:  “So at no point including when you were speaking in the Thieves’ Guild did you say, quite loudly, as he makes known, that you were trying to avoid a KNOWN DRAGON ATTACK.  Something that you repeated in multiple instances.  All of it, PUBLIC.”

[Saithe]:  “In all fairness ma’am – I can’t control the volume of my voice.”

[Raiann]:  “The volume isn’t the problem it’s the proximity to innocent civilians who are prone to panic!”      

[Arlo]:  “If I may interject for a second ma’am.”

[Raiann]:  “Do so.  With caution.”   

[Arlo]:  “So if you could enlighten me, what was the procedural training on how we should ah… handle situations like this?  Like what was our instruction?”

[Raiann]:  “Did you ever consult the book I gave you?”

[Arlo]:  “It’s an entire book.  And you sent us on a mission roughly minutes after we’d been you know, comin on through.  Now I understand that Saithe didn’t unders- didn’t, er- handle everything the best way.  And I’ll take partial responsibility for that.  But-”

[Raiann]:  “Well you’re right about that one.  You’re on this list too.”

[Arlo]:  “And what, pray tell, have I done?”

[Raiann]:  “Well in this particular instance what he decided to point out was how you harassed him about not knowing about a possible medical condition that has never been heard of before.”

[Jordan]:  “She turns back to Saithe.”

[Raiann]:  “Which by the way, we have no medical records on you for anything of the sort which means you either lied to us on your medical records or you lied to him about being infected with some unknown disease he couldn’t have possibly known about.  So which one was it?  And why did you feel so complacent in this obvious farce doctor?”

[Arlo]:  “Well, medical condition carries a wide range of definitions there.”

[Raiann]:  “So what’s her condition that forces her to smile?  Do you know what her condition is?”

[Arlo]:  “It appears to be some manner of curse.  The exact cause of which I cannot discern without further testing.”

[Raiann]:  “Funny, I wouldn’t refer to a curse as a medical condition.”

[Arlo]:  “Well you’re not a doctor.”     

[[All gasp in shock followed by a pause]] 

[[Drum beats start back up]]    

[Jordan]:  “She walks from behind her desk and gets very close to you.”

[Christina]:  “Terra is about as small as she can possibly make her body right now.”

[Raiann]:  “I understand you have very limited experience with this one…doctor. So let me ask you this.  What is your familiarity with authority?”

[Arlo]:  “I have a…relative familiarity with it.”

[[Another pause from Raiann]]

[Raiann]:  “Funny.   Because in my experience, those who have an understanding of authority tend to RESPECT IT. Now if I were you, I would sit down, take my lumps on this one and shut your mouth. Regardless of the circumstances, all of you, with the somehow exception of Winterra, managed to act in a way highly unbecoming of our organization.  Yes.  I sent you out a little early.  I will admit that, that is a fault of mine and I am not acting like it is not there.  However.  I asked all of you to come to this organization with the understanding that you understood what it entitled to a basic degree, such that you all didn’t act as CHILDREN. Is that so much to ask and expect from people working here, doctor?”

[Drew]:  “Arlo kind of looks off for a second and then says-”

[Arlo]:  “You know.  I don’t even think I know where my quarters are here.”

[Raiann]:  Still fuming  “That was going to be settled today.”   

[Arlo]:  “Well you can let me know when you figure that out.”

[Drew]:  And Arlo walks out of the room.”  

[[Winterra gasps and Arlo is met with the sound of a locked door]]

[Jordan]:  “The door is locked.”

[Caitie]:  “Nice try though bro.  That was good, that was cool.”

[Raiann]:  “Doctor? I don’t know what type of a fool you take me for.  But I assure you; if you do not change your attitude and shape up, you are either going to be in for one of the most miserable or one of the shortest times here.  And I leave that choice to you.  Now you can either try and walk out again, and expect that you will be doing so never coming back here.  Or you can take your seat.”

[[Drum beat music stops again]]

[Drew]:  “Arlo takes his seat but does so huffilly.”  

[Jordan]:  “Raiann walks back over to her desk and sits down, takes a GIANT sip of that coffee that she had and then takes a deep breath.”

[Raiann]:  “I can see now that what I had in mind for you all was slightly lacking.  This is something I was planning on doing regardless; however, now I see it is not out of your benefit but out of necessity.   Each of you is going to have some personal tutelage from one of the experts that we have here.  Winterra, while you were the one who did perform the most exceptionally on this job as far as far as maintaining your own composure, and not acting out in a way that is unbecoming and unprofessional, it is also my understanding that you lack the common knowledge that is typically associated with one who lives a more modern city life – I do not mean that disrespectfully of course.  As such, I will be sending you to the archives to take some time with Bookworm and Orilo – to serve as translator –  in order to get you up to speed on some of the more…social norms and some things you can expect in society going forward.”

[Christina]:  “Winterra nods.  Very quickly.”  

[Raiann]:  “Arlo. It has become increasingly apparent to me that you lack any common sense as far as social skills are concerned.  As such, I’ll be sending you with Aelar.  He is quite well familiar with how to handle himself in situations of all variety with all manner of people, and I am sure – that though it may take some time, he’ll be able to rough out a few…areas of requirement.

And as for you – Saithe.  Despite being someone so well acclimated with hiding and keeping yourself out of the public eye, it appears that you also have a knack for making yourself the center of attention at some of the least opportune times.  As such, I’m going to be sending you to the one person here who is perhaps better at keeping out of public eye and hiding in plain site, than anyone I have ever met. So I hope you’re ready to spend some time in the general store.  Because you get to work with one Rick Slavenly.”

[Christina]:  Aghast “Oh no.”  

[[Drew laughs continuously at Catie]]    

[Caitie]:  “Bitch.  Oh you cunt.”  

[Christina]:  “Oh no.” 

[Caitie]:  “Oh my lord.”  

[Jordan]:  “Oh I’m sorry, did you think the only consequence to y’all’s stupid shit was I was going to yell at you for a little bit?  Oh nono.”

[Caitie]:  “Uggggh.  I hate you.”

[Jordan]:  “Oh nonono.  I believe in punishing you guys for bad decisions.  Sometimes not in the way you think.”   

[[Gentle piano music plays]]

[Jordan]:  “So I think we’ll go in order that they were assigned.  So Winterra- you find yourself in the archives. Bookworm and Orilo are both there.  Since you are the only one who can’t understand Bookworm outside of just basic body language, which makes for poor conversation, Orilo is there to help provide some translation. You see he’s also set up some coffee cups and sort of looks to be receiving you-”

[Orilo]:  “Please, have a seat.”

[Christina]:  “Winterra takes a seat.”  

[Orilo]:  “So, we understand that you’ve been having some difficulty understanding how things go in city life, or life outside of the forest?”

[Winterra]:  Sighs  “Y-yeah.  It’s…different. Even more different than I think my parents could have prepared me for. And that’s saying something.”  

[Jordan]:  “You see Bookworm do some hand signs and then Orilo says-”

[Orilo]: “She’s – Bookworm wants to tell you that she actually had a similar experience.  As I’m sure you’re undoubtedly familiar, firbolg are also natural forest dwellers.  So when she joined DAMNED quite some time ago, she also had a hard time acclimating. So hopefully she will be able to teach you through her own experiences what is and is not considered a social norm.”

[Winterra]:  “Well, I appreciate anything you can offer.  What…um…what’s the first thing you wished someone would have told you?”  

[Jordan]:  “So Bookworm kind of looks up curiously and strokes her chin for a little bit to think about it.  And then does a series of hand signs and then Orilo says-”   

[Orilo]:  “She wished she had known that it was more acceptable to ask others for help than it is commonly expected in the forest.  I’m not sure how your tribe was but for firbolgs, while it is common that they do live in a grouped society, they also do not normally interact with people outside of their own clan. So…Bookworm here had a hard time trusting others when she first came out.  Though admittedly, her experience was a little…unique.”

[Jordan]:  “And as she says that you see Bookworm kind of nudges him on the side like to tell him to shut up.”

[Christina]:  “Yeah, Winterra kind of snickers a little bit at that, just trying to make some assumptions about what maybe would have happened and-”

[Jordan]:  “To be clear – just to be clear when I say that, she did not look amused.  She looked like she was upset that he had done that.”

[Christina]:  “Oh!  Okay, um…Winterra kind of like…doesn’t snicker, that’s probably the wrong way… that kind of like nervous laugh I guess that someone would do where they’re still kind of talking through a situation where they’re like-haha, ohhh, interesting.”

[Winterra]:  “Well, I mean everyone leaves the forest for their own reason.  I’m sure yours was just as important.  But you’re here and it sounds like-”   

[Jordan]:  “As you – okay, as you say that I want you to roll an insight check on that one.”

[Christina]:  “Okay…um…22!”

[Jordan]:  “She looks sad when you say that.” 

[Winterra]:  “Oh.  I’m- I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…upset you, um…”  Sighs 

[Jordan]:  “She sort of waves her hand off as if to say it’s okay.  But you can tell it’s not something that’s easy for her to talk about.  You have reason to suspect at this point that it is not the same reason you left.”

[Christina]:  “Gotcha.” 

[[Winterra sighs]]   

[Christina]:  “Winterra just sighs, like that and she kind of like looks around at the entirety of the library and just kind of takes it in for a second. She just kind of like looks back to the two of them and says-”   

[Winterra]:  “Well…I mean I know – basic things.  Um, my father – y’know always grew up in the forest.  My mother had a little bit more of the information about you know, how city life worked.  But, to be fair to her, things change pretty quickly it seems like.  So what she could teach me, I don’t think is the same as it is now. Um..and I don’t think from city to city it stays the same but if there’s anything I can learn more about, or be taught about, that is most beneficial for any of the areas around here… y’know anything you can help with…would be good.”

[Jordan]:  “So as you say that she kind of like seems to cheer up a little bit, and gives you a little soft smile.  And she nods, and then Orilo says-”

[Orilo]:  “Very well then, let us begin.”  

[[Music switches to uptempo flute music]]

[Jordan]:  “So now we cut over to Arlo.  You have just arrived at the blacksmithing area and unlike the first time where you were kind of largely ignored,  Aelar notices you pretty quickly almost as if he was waiting for you.”

[Aelar]:  “Ah hello there, Arlo!  Dear please, come on over.”

[[Caitie and Christina laugh]]

[Arlo]:  “Oh shit I forgot about that.”  

[Jordan]:  “You forgot – you forgot which part, that Aelar is a homosexual or that he thinks you’re hot?” 

[Drew]:  Laughs  “That he thinks that I’m hot and that I deliberately flirted with him to get cheap armor.”  

[Jordan]:  “Actions!  Consequences!  I’m one of the few people that actually implements that philosophy.”

[Drew]:  “So Arlo just kind of awkwardly like-”

[Arlo]:  “Hey there – uh, old buddy old pal ol friend of mine.  How’s it going?”   

[Aelar]:  “Oh, better now.  So, from my understanding you seem to have erhm…issues with people, or at least talking with them and reading a situation. Does that sound about right?”

[Arlo]:  “Uh- you could say I could stand to improve on that a bit better.  Yeah.”

[Aelar]:  “Hm, well if you could learn to interact with people the way you flirt you might actually do alright.”

[Arlo]:  “I-I have no idea what you’re referring to.  I have never once done any of the flirt.”

[Jordan]:  “He puts his hand on your chest very softly and is like-”

[Aelar]:  “Doctor.  Please.  I’m not stupid.”

[Jordan]:  “And so he kind of walks over to a separate room and says-”

[Aelar]:  “Please, follow me.  We’ll go into my workshop.”

[Arlo]:  “Alrighty.”

[Jordan]:  “So you go in there and it’s – essentially like a sewing room but it does also have things for like leatherworking and some degree of like metal work.  But it’s primarily, it seems like it’s primarily meant for clothing and fabrics and things of that nature.  He sits at a little workstation and there’s a smaller little stool for you to sit on and so he says-”

[Aelar]:  “So what part of the social interaction is it that’s giving you so much trouble?”

[Arlo]:  “So um, when you want to speak to a person and then you want the words to sound good, how do you do that?”

[Aelar]:  “Ahhh, I think I see what the issue is here. Your problem is that you seem to lack a certain amount of grace in articulation, does that sound about right?”

[Arlo]:  “Yeah, I need some uh-  some ‘ticulation there.” 

[Aelar]:  “Oh I’m going to have fun with this.  So the first thing you need to realize is that the way you say things, isn’t always the most important.  What really matters is the heart of your words, the meaning that you’re trying to convey.  If your only issue is knowing more words, like articulation, can you say that for me?” 

[Arlo]:  “Yeah ‘ticulation, I said it.”

[Aelar]:  “We’ll work on it.  The best way to do that would be just reading books!  Things of that nature, expanding your vernacular; but, I also have a feeling your issue more lies in not necessarily your…choice of words, so much as it is your ability to convey their meaning. For example, now this is something I just heard through the grapevine and by the grapevine I mean from the boss lady herself, I understand that the debriefing didn’t go terribly well and you took it…poorly, for lack of better words, what was going through your mind there?”

[Arlo]:  “Well uh- if I’m being honest, I found the situation a little bit unfair.  She threw us out there with very little direction and absolutely zero training – I mean I’m not a stranger to authority or any kind of a structured system I mean that’s…that’s kind of been my whole thing before now but…I dunno, the whole idea of dressing someone down just because you very clearly outlined your expectations for ‘em and they didn’t meet ‘em. There were no clearly outlined expectations, she just kind of yelled at us for stuff we couldn’t have possibly known not to do.  And I’ll be the first to admit that there were some goofs that might have been better handled but y’know, cheese and crackers lady, like y’know calm your stees.”

[Aelar]:  “Hm.  Well that’s something that’s…that’s another important factor of communication is your audience.  Look, I understand, I’ve been yelled at by the director so many times I’ve lost count, I’ve stopped keeping count. But, you need to understand when she does that it’s not necessarily because she’s mmm…  It isn’t because she feels as though you are unworthy or anything like that or even necessarily because she’s mad – she is but, it’s because she sends us out with the expectation.  She holds us to a higher regard and so when things don’t go the way she expects, it’s the only way she knows to lash out.  Tell me – did you know that she herself also has a little bit of experience with the military?”

[Arlo]:  “Um, that I did not actually.”

[Aelar]:  “Well does that change anything for you?”  

[Arlo]:  “Well – I’m more of a fan of judging people by their actions and character and I haven’t known her very long so I can’t really – can’t really say I guess.” 

[Aelar]:  “Well then by that logic can we not say she was just doing the same thing?  I’m not saying this to try and say that you were wrong for feeling the way you were.  I want to be clear on that one.  I’m just trying to tell you that when it comes to communicating with people, even people who can be a little difficult to communicate with, you sometimes do need to be able to see things from someone else’s perspective.  Just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean you can’t still understand it.  Lord knows if I had understood that-”

[Jordan]:  “And he cuts himself off as he’s saying that like realizing he was about to say something he did not want to.”   

[Arlo]:  “Ooh, ooh, ooh, that’s a secret, tell me!” 

[Aelar]:  Flustered  “No no no, we – we’ve only known each other for a little bit, it’d be a bit awkward.” 

[Arlo]:  “Aw c’mon, I mean like uh-”  Clears throat “C’mon there buddy, you can tell ol’ Arlo.  I mean who am I gonna tell?” 

[Aelar]:  “You mean besides literally anyone here?” 

[Arlo]:  “I’m still too new here to know anyone, I couldn’t possibly tell anybody anything.”

[Jordan]:  “Roll persuasion.”

[Drew]:  “An 18, minus 1, so 17.”                   

[Jordan]:  “Beautiful.  So he says-”

[Aelar]:  “Well, I suppose- can you flex for me?”   

[Arlo]:  “I’m gonna flex, but not for you, just because I want to.”

[Aelar]:  “I didn’t say it had to be for me.”  

[Drew]:  Laughs  “Arlo does a small flex.”

[[Christina starts laughing]]

[Aelar]:  “Hm.  Ahhh – I’m feeling more talkative already.  Truth be told, I’ve had some experiences with lack of communication and lack of understanding myself. It’s where I realized the necessity of it.  Once upon a time I thought I had found everything I wanted – a wonderful man to make me happy, a great job – but alas, I failed to see the reality of the situation and he was simply taking advantage of my skills and by the time I realized it – it was too late.  He’d already betrayed me and I’d found myself coming from a place with everything to having nothing.  If not for the organization then I probably would still be scraping by with nothing.  Truth be told, it’s why I seldom really give people anything more than just face value.  Also – just in case you were wondering about that one, that does in fact mean that while I am – and I will acknowledge that I know this – an aggressive flirt, you don’t have to worry, I’m not interested in anything more than just admiring from afar. I don’t trust people enough to let them in that far anymore.”

[Arlo]:  “I can respect that. And I do apologize for flirtin’ with you to get cheaper armor.  That was er… ungentlemanly of me.”

[Aelar]:  “Don’t worry I knew exactly what you were doing. I just find that it’s fun to play the game sometimes you know?”

[Arlo]:  “Hey, fair enough.”   

[Aelar]:  “Just do me this one favor.  Not just with the director, but with anyone going forward – try to see things through their eyes. And maybe you’ll find that communicating with them becomes just a little bit easier.  Do that for me?”  

[Arlo]:  “Mmm.  I suppose I can try.”

[Aelar]:  “Good lad.”

[Arlo]:  “See things through their eyes…”  

[[Uptempo flute music changes to more beat heavy woodwind music]]

[Jordan]:  “And now we cut over to Saithe. Saithe you stand outside of the still concerningly wet general store, I imagine extremely apprehensive about walking in, knowing what grim fate awaits you.”

[Saithe]:  “Eh, might as well get over with it.”

[Jordan]:  “So as you walk in but of course, Rick Slavenly is there, he takes note of you and says-”

[Rick]:  “Why hello there!  Welcome to Rick Slevenly’s Corporeal Oozes!  I’m Rick Slavenly!”  

[Jordan]:  “And Lil’ Rick pops out once again and says-”

[Little Rick]:  “And I’m Little Rick!”

[Jordan]:  “And in conjunction-”

[Rick]: “How can we help you!?”

[Little Rick]:  “How can we help you?!”

[Saithe]:  “We’ve met before actually. I’ve bought some of your health potions.” 

[Rick]:  “I know.  I’m very familiar, I do that for everyone when they walk in. It’s professional!”  

[Saithe]:  “Fair enough!  So I’ve been placed with you, I’m sure for a reason.”

[Rick]:  “Ah yes, being able to hide in plain sight.  Truly there is no one better than myself!  I’d be long dead if I couldn’t!”    

[Saithe]:  “That’s…!”  Pauses “…Very likely!”  

[Drew]:  “I’m just imagining all the towns that Rick Slavenly has gone to but he can’t go to anymore because there was just an exchange where someone was like: ‘Hey man be honest with me, is this cum?’ and all he said was ‘Mmmm’ and now he’s not allowed there anymore.”

[[Jordan and Caitie chuckle]]

[Jordan]:  “Um, so Rick Slavenly takes notice like-”

[Rick]:  “You know, I can’t help but get the subtle feeling you don’t believe that I am capable of blending in.”    

[Saithe]:  “No, I fully believe that you can.  It’s like you said, if you weren’t able to, you’d probably be dead by now.”        

[Jordan]:  “Little Rick actually kind of cocks his head a little bit, as if he’s thinking and then taps Rick Slavenly on the side and just says-”

[Little Rick]:  “I don’t think you told her!”

[Jordan]:  “And then Rick looks confused like,”

[Rick]:  “What are you talking about of course I told her, I told all of them when they first showed up, isn’t that right?”    

[Saithe]:  “Ah…?”

[Jordan]:  “Rick Slavenly like looks, like he cocks his eyebrow to himself and he’s like realizing to himself.”

[Rick]:  “Oh my God I didn’t tell you did I?  Huh, that’s weird, normally I’m a lot better about that.  Could you do me a favor dear and back up a few steps?”

[Caitie]:  “She backs up a few steps?”

[Jordan]:  “As you take the last step, a giant red mass plops down in front of you from the ceiling.”

[Drew]:  “Ruh-roh.”

[Jordan]:  “And you can tell this is a giant very powerful ooze monster in front of you.  But more than that, you notice that there is a single line, like a tendril going off behind the counter.”

[Christina]:  “Oh my God.”

[Drew]:  “Are you fucking serious?!”

[Jordan]:  “And Rick Slavenly walks out from behind the counter and that tether is going up his coat.”

[Christina]:  Reiterates “Oh my God.”  

[Jordan]:  “He puts his hand on the ooze and says-”

[Rick]:  “Meet my real form!”  

[Drew]:  “NO! Absolutely not!”

[[Jordan laughs]]

[Christina]:  A third time in disbelief “Oh. My. God.”  

[Saithe]:  “Why am I not entirely surprised?”

[Rick]:  “Tell me dear, how familiar are you with ‘Oblex’?”

[Saithe]:  “Not very!”

[Rick]:  “Oh, well!  That’s what I am, I’m actually what most people would qualify as an ‘Elder Oblex.’  You see, my race is actually unique in that whatever humanoid species, and in some other cases non humanoid, any sentient creature that we absorb, we can then create a physical clone of as long as it’s tethered to us!  I just take this form so I can blend in.”  

[Saithe]:  “Interesting!”  

[Rick]:  “Isn’t it!”

[Saithe]:  “Quite actually, yes.  Would you mind if I got a closer look at your true form?” 

[Rick]:  “Sure, go ahead!  I have no secrets!”

[Caitie]:  “Okay, so she looks him up and down and she kind of walks around him, she pokes him a few times-”

[Jordan]:  “As you look at him you see that there seems to be a bunch of stuff floating inside of his main mass and it almost looks like there’s a bunch of… skeletal remains inside of him.”

[Saithe]:  “Oooh, I see.  You pull things inside and digest them.”

[Rick]:  “Indeed.”

[Saithe]:  “So, why did she send me to you though?  I understand that you are definitely very good at hiding in plain sight.  It’s actually quite fascinating.  But…I’m failing to understand what you can do to help me do the same.”

[Rick]:  “Well obviously I can’t teach you from the same point of view as an ooze, seeing as you’re not one, and don’t try and trick me and tell me you’re not ‘cause I’d know!  I’m pretty sure what she wanted me to teach you was how to take what you want and mmm… not!”  

[Saithe]:  “Wait what?”

[Rick]:  “For example, well let me be clear, the form that you see before you is actually one of the first people I ever interacted with.  I’d even call them my first real friend!  You see, he met, this is actually the body of a man who I knew a good several hundred years ago, and I was actually oddly sociable for an ooze.  That did get me in a lot of trouble.  There’s a lot of towns that Elder Oblex and other varieties of my kind are not terribly welcome for.  Mostly because I made myself too known.  But this gentleman here kind of gave me a bit of a run down on how to avoid doing that kind of stuff.  So I think what she wants is me to impart the same knowledge on you!”     

[Saithe]:  “Oh, okay I see.  I definitely understand and identify with the er…well with the not being wanted part.”

[Rick]:  “Yes I was kind of surprised to hear that you were the one coming towards me.  I would have assumed it would have been the big scary guy.  He doesn’t seem like he can hide terribly well.  But if you have a hard time trying to not do things that get you noticed and acting on them in inopportune times, there’s truly no better person than me!”

[Saithe]:  “Install your wisdom upon me!”  

[Rick]:  “Very well then!”

[Jordan]:  “And he rolls up his sleeves and every weird thing that now implies.”

[Rick]:  “Let’s begin.”

[[Music stops]]

[Drew]:  “I am discomfort.”

[Caitie]:  “Wait-”

[Jordan]:  Snickers  “Good.”

[Caitie]: “Yeah now I’m even more ‘discomfort’ about the term ‘ooze babies.’ 

[Jordan]:  “Why, because now you know he is an ooze?”

[Caitie]:  “Those are his babies fam.  It’s been sperm all along. We’ve been joking about it but it’s been sperm all along!” 

[[Christina and Jordan both laugh]]

[Drew]:  “This just makes Rick Slavenly even more the feeling of ‘bad touch.’”

[[Silence for a moment as Jordan composes himself]]

[Jordan]:  Still gleefully “It’s a gift-”

[Caitie]:  “I want to die.”

[Jordan]:  “Don’t worry, that’s all I’m doing to you guys for that particular interaction.  But you guys still had things that you wanted to- get to some down time stuff!”  

[[Upbeat agency music plays]]

[Jordan]:  “Any of you guys wanting to go first on that one?”

[Drew]:  “I’ll go first if no one else really wants to.” 

[Jordan]:  “Alright!  So Arlo, this one is not scripted, what are you doing during your free time?”

[Drew]:  “I’m going to go back to the director’s office.”

[Jordan]:  “Alright, so as you head over there do you knock to alert your presence?”

[Drew]:  “Yeah I knock on the door.”    

[Jordan]:  “Alright, you knock and you hear-”

[Raiann]:  “Come in!” 

[Drew]:  “Alro kind of just pushes the door open and kind of like slowly enters and is actively avoiding eye contact.”

[Jordan]:  “She looks up and notices it’s you and says-”

[Raiann]:  “Oh.  Hello doctor.  Anything I can help you with?”

[Drew]:  “Arlo is standing against the door like avoiding eye contact and he’s like-”

[Arlo]:  Mumbles a quiet apology

[Raiann]:  “Speak up I can’t hear you.”  

[Arlo]:  Mumbles a slightly louder apology

[Raiann]:  “If you’re just here to waste my time please leave.  I’m quite busy.”

[Arlo]:  “I’m sorry I was a dick earlier!”   

[Raiann]:  “Oh!  I…um…  I wasn’t expecting that.  Please, come in.”

[Drew]:  “Arlo comes in and is more polite this time and is like-”

[Arlo]:  “May I…may I sit?”

[Raiann]:  Still surprised “Please…do.”  

[Arlo]:  “I er…I talked things over and though we didn’t fully see eye to eye on everything I do understand that your…your job’s a tough one.  And uh…just as I got I got a bit stressed out there and the fact that we were trying to make sure an entire town didn’t get wiped out, you’re doing that on a, y’know a 15 times, 20 times, 100 times scale…on the daily.  And I didn’t uh…I didn’t think about that.  So for that I am…sorry.”   

[Raiann]:  “I do appreciate you taking the time to…to come and do this.  So often I find that people aren’t willing to own up to their mistakes.  So allow me to do the same.  I admit, I should not have sent you all out on that job as soon as I did.  I will admit it is…it was more intended as a routine check up; however, because of how circumstances were I was unable to provide you all with the adequate training.  In reality I probably should have waited, we still had some time before the possibility of a dragon showing up was even possible.  Though based on the report I received from you all, it appears that may have still been more of a necessity than even I realized.”

[Arlo]:  “Hm.”

[Raiann]:  “Please understand, I don’t mean to come off as more prudish than I really am. I understand I can be difficult sometimes.  But as you said, what I have to deal with is extremely difficult.  I just need to know the people that I work with are going to be able to perform as I need them to, to keep the world safe.  I did not mean to put you all in a difficult situation, and for that you do have my apologies.”     

[Arlo]:  “I figure we can…if you are willing to and if you’re alright with it we can kind of take this as a…I suppose an opportunity to start over.  Have a pleasant working relationship going forward.” 

[Raiann]:  “Hm.  I would actually like that.  After all, there’s not very many other people here who actually share in my own military background. So, I must admit I’m looking forward to being able to exchange war stories with you.”

[Arlo]:  “Haha, yeah I’ll admit that does sound like a…whole lot of fun there.  So, if’n ever you have a bit of time in between jobs, in between running this whole organization here I’d love to sit down with you and I guess kind of chat things out a little bit.  Hell maybe you can show me some of your…your moves you’ve picked up over time. ”             

[Jordan]:  “She kind of gives off a little side smirk with that one and is like-”

[Raiann]:  “You mean with the nunchucks?”

[Arlo]:  Feigning ignorance“Whaaat! I hadn’t even thought about those…”    

[Raiann]:  “Please, doctor it’s literally the first thing you pointed out when you stepped into my office the first time.  And believe me, I remember a first impression.”  

[Drew]:  “I’d just like to say that he’s been kind of glancing at them now every now and again because they are still on the wall.”

[Raiann]:  “Would you like to see?”

[Drew]:  “Arlo is literally shaking with anticipation, he’s like-”

[Arlo]:  “If…if that’s alright with you, I would not want to pressure anything…” 

[Raiann]:  Amused  “No no, like you said, new beginnings, right?”  

[Jordan]:  “And so she stands up and takes off her outer robe, and you can actually see that what she wears underneath like her official DAMNED uniform is actually more akin to like what you would expect some sort of like stealth ops or even what a martial artist to be wearing.  One of those like, the shirt would like goe around the back of the neck with an open back to allow greater flexibility, that kind of stuff, baggier pants, etc.  And so, she grabs the nunchucks and then almost the second they leave the wall, she starts twirling them around with the grace and expertise like you have never seen.  The flames dancing as the trails left behind them.  It almost looks as if the director herself is being engulfed in flames. And yet they follow the nunchucks with almost dancer-like grace.  She works her way over towards you doing the most masterful form you have ever seen, and then ends with a swipe down, mere inches from your face the flames licking your snout.”

[Christina]:  “Why do I feel like this interaction as a fight sounds way more sexual than it should?” 

[[Music stops]]

[Caitie]:  “It really does!!  It sounds SO sexual!”     

[Drew]:  “It does kind of…”

[Jordan]:  “I am NOT trying to do that.  That is an ACCIDENT.”  

[Drew]:  “I was trying to think of something to say that didn’t immediately lean into that and I was like, ‘Yeehaw?’”

[[Christina busts out laughing]]

[Jordan]:  “I…I apologize for that.  That is not my intention.”

[Caitie]:  “But like, I’m only imagining, Arlo is wearing armor right?”

[Jordan]:  “Yeah, I assume.”

[Caitie]:  “Tink”

[[Drew and Caitie laugh]]

[Drew]:  “Should I roll for tink?”

[Jordan]:  “NO ABSOLUTELY NOT.  Jesus- Raiann is at least as old-”

[Caitie]:  “ROLL FOR TINK!”

[Drew]:  “Okay I’m rolling it, I’m rolling it!”

[Jordan]:  “No no no no no!!”

[Drew]:  “I’m rollin’ it!”

[Jordan]:  “Listen. Raiann is at least as old as your mother.”

[[Drew rolls a d20 in the background]]

[Christina]:  “No no no!  And it’s not even my brain for him towards Raiann, it’s towards the nunchucks.”

[[Caitie is still dying of laughter]]

[Drew]:  “Okay, wait!  Wait, wait!  You don’t know if Arlo is a MILF hunter or not!” 

[Jordan]:  Mostly serious but still lighthearted “I am NOT okay with this anymore.”   

[Christina]:  Trying to save the disaster she started  “No! So what I meant was like, I imagine it towards the nunchucks not towards her, like…”  

[Drew]:  “Also I rolled a 16.”

[[Caitie has been laughing so hard she starts coughing]]

[Christina]:  “…imagine towards the nunchucks so like he’s not even got a hard on for the lady it’s for the nunchucks!” 

[[Christina can’t hold it together anymore and joins in laughing]]

[Jordan]:  “Oh so like Andrew is.”

[[Caitie resumes laughing as there is a beat of silence]]

[Drew]:  “Hey.  Hey.  Nunchucks are cool.”

[Jordan]:  “I’m not saying they’re not.”

[Drew]:  “They’re objectively badass.”

[Jordan]:  “Would you like to continue this scene without making this awkward?” 

[Drew]:  “I did roll a 16 for boner.”     

[Jordan]:  “Cool we’re ignoring that, move on.”

[Drew]:  Laughs  “Alright, let’s keep going.” 

[[Music resumes]]

[Jordan]:  “So she sort of like…I don’t think sheathed is the right word, but tucks it in under her arm.  The flames don’t seem to bother her at all like when she does that. And she looks at you and says-”

[Raiann]:  “Tell me.  How much actual combat experience do you have?”    

[Arlo]:  “If I’m being honest I’ve only got about a couple…let’s say like about like a year, year and a half worth of actual combat time.”   

[Raiann]:  “Hm, not a lot then.  Is the only thing you know how to use that hammer of yours?”        

[Arlo]:  “Ah, well – I can fiddle around with most things that’d be considered like, y’know regular type weapon.  But like, yeah mostly it’s the uh – the hammer here.”  

[Raiann]:  “Well then.  Your chief issue was that I sent you out woefully unprepared, yes? Then I believe it is my job as your boss to ensure that when you go out next, you are adequately prepared.  I have already given you the assignment of working on your own social skills with Aelar. However, if you wish independently I can perhaps…bestow upon you some of the skills I’ve acquired over the years with any of the weaponry that I have learned.”

[Caitie]:  “Tink!  Tink tink!”           

[[Christina giggles]]

[Drew]:  “Yeah you’re not doing a very good job of making this sound non sexual.  I’m gonna say that right now.” 

[[Caitie, Drew and Christina all laugh]]

[Jordan]:  “Can we stop addressing it?”

[Drew]:  “It’s like-”  Imitates a feminine voice “- oh Arlo you’re going to need to stay after class.”

[[Caitie laughs harder]]

[Jordan]:  “I SAID NONE OF THAT. I’M OFFERING YOU WEAPONS.”

[[Drew joins Caitie in more laughter]]

[Jordan]:  “I can rescind all of this if you don’t-”

[[Christina also joins in laughing]]

[Christina]:  “I’m sitting here with my face in my hands like ‘Oh. Oh my.’”

[[Jordan sighs aggressively]]  

[Drew]:  “We’re going to need to throw in a bass line or something like,”  Imitates bass sounds

[Jordan]:  “I am absolutely not doing that.  I refuse!”

[Christina]: Trying to compose herself “Oh…”

[Drew]:  “Wait, wait!  Jordan, if I-”

[Caitie]:  “Oh boy…”

[Drew]:  “If I make it for you!?”

[Jordan]:  “No.”  

[[Drew laughs more]]

[Jordan]:  “No! I am not… Answer her damned question so I can move on I have other shit I need to still do!  God!”

[Arlo]:  “I would be very happy for that, thank you for offering me this opportunity.”

[Raiann]:  “Very well then.  Let’s begin.”       

[Jordan]:  “So here’s what you get for training with Raiann. Of the four weapons I mentioned earlier: nunchucks, katana, war hammer or crossbow – the first two count as club or longsword, she has an associated skill that she can teach you with any of those.  And you get to pick which one you want.  And you’ll also get like one of those, with the exception of like warhammer because you already have one.  You will not get the elemental bonuses that hers in particular have.  But they are still pretty fucking powerful abilities.         

[Drew]:  “Hm… so you said warhammer, nunchucks, katana, and what else?”

[Jordan]:  “Crossbow.”    

[Drew]:  “Crossbow…I gotta tell you it’s in between nunchucks and katana.”

[Jordan]:  “Those are my two favorites.”  

[Drew]:  “So nunchucks are cool as hell… katana makes a little bit more sense thematically for a cleric to be like…I think it’s more of a sword so it’d make more sense but like…”

[Jordan]:  “Arguably!” 

[Drew]:  “But then, just imagine the satisfaction of him like ‘ Ah the cleric is here…Watchow!’ and he just smacks the dog shit out of you with just nunchucks.  Just…imagine how baffled you’d be.”

[Jordan]:  “Yes, but I also don’t consider half of the stuff you’ve done to be thematically in line with a cleric.”

[Drew]:  “Whaaaaat…I’ve been a model cleric I don’t know what you’re talking about…”  

[Jordan]:  “I cast backwards chair.”

[Drew]:  Laughs  “I’m sorry, you’re telling me that the cleric would not be the perfect archetype for ‘guy trying to be the cool youth pastor?’”      

[Jordan]:  “I imagine paladin for that because I feel like that would be way more aggressive of a tactic.”

[Drew]:  “I imagine paladins would be like the ‘DARE’ guys who try to do the whole scared straight thing-”  does a gruff voice  “-and then if you take even one drug you will die!” 

[Jordan]:  “You know what, that’s fair!  I’ll give you that, that’s fair!”

[Drew]:  Continuing with the fake stern voice “I knew a guy who smoked a weed and then he caught fire.” 

[[Jordan and Drew laugh]]

[Jordan]:  “A weed…”

[Drew]:  “Um, I gotta go with the nunchucks.  We’ve been chasing this dragon for too long, all the puns intended.”  

[Jordan]:  “Okay so you – you’ll be able to secure yourself a set of nunchucks – which again for stat purposes are a club, which is a d4 of bludgeoning – from Morgran and you now have access to ‘ki.’”

[Drew]:  “What!” 

[Jordan]:  “You have as many ki points as your level in the mission prior.  So you have three ki points and you have access to the skill ‘fiery onslaught.’  You can make a bonus action attack, specifically with the nunchucks, this is independent of your cleric skill, and you have access to Flurry of Blows.  But you can stack Flurry of Blows for an additional ki point.  Each ki point you spend past the first one results in a point of exhaustion. That is immediately applied before the attack roll.”

[Drew]:  “That’s pretty freaking metal.”

[Jordan]:  “I take care of my boys…and girls!  Speaking of!  Which one of you is next?”

[Christina]:  “Um, I’ll go next!”      

[[Soft but upbeat piano music plays]]

[Jordan]:  “Okay so, what is Winterra doing to enjoy her downtime?”

[Christina]:  “She is in the library!  She is very much engrossed in all of the books and things that are in there. And she’s really fucking intruigued by water animals.  And she would like to learn more about them please.”

[Jordan]:  “Like specifically things that have like a swimming speed or things that would be found in the ocean?”

[Christina]:  “Um…hm.  Like anything that could be found in or around the water.  So not even necessarily that has a swimming speed, she’s just intrigued by aquatic animals because it started when she saw the jellyfish and she was like, ‘What the heck is that?’  So she’s just trying to learn more about um, terrain that isn’t just forest terrain.  So along with that would be water animals and creatures?”  

[Jordan]:  “Can I just say that I love how much the starting point of this was Big Betty’s.”

[Christina]:  “I knew the moment she saw a jellyfish that she-”

[Jordan]:  “That makes me so happy.”

[Christina]:  “Her brain is just like a loading screen like that ‘dot dot dot, what?!’  I mean, she’s been obsessed with that thing ever since she saw it. Just ‘ what, what is that, why is that, how does it do?’ Because she wants to eventually have that possibly in her arsenal of options to do.”

[Jordan]:  “Alright, very nice.  Okay so, I don’t know if I have a way to make this quite as flashy or interactive as I did with Arlo unless you want to talk with Bookworm or something.  Or would this be more of an independent study?”  

[Christina]:  “Mmm, I think more of an independent study.  This would be one of those things where you’d see someone in the library like frantically looking at things and you’re like ‘don’t…don’t talk to them, they’re uh, they’re doing their own thing and I think if I do they might bite me.’”  

[Jordan]:  “Alright, so this one would be a little bit faster then, so here’s what you get for this one.  Any creature that would fit within that particular area is immediately at, like you can access for the wild shape or your summons.  In addition, any time you are in such an area you get advantage on all stealth, perception, survival, and nature checks.   And, you can take one non beast creature found within that region, with my approval, and add it to your wildshape arsenal!”

[Christina]:  “One non beast creature and add it to my wild shape with your approval…okay!”

[Jordan]:  “Yes.  So you can look through, find something that normally is not accessible to you through wild shape, because wild shape is only beasts, and that is added to your wild shape.”

[Drew]: “Nice!”

[Jordan]:  “So you have a water creature you can now turn into.” 

[Christina]:  “Okay!”

[Jordan]:  “Get back to me on that whenever you find it.”    

[[Music changes to upbeat flute]]

[Jordan]:  “Alright, and that leaves Saithe!  What were you going to be doing?”  

[Caitie]:  “She’s gonna go train in the uh…the training space! Close hand and crossbow.” 

[Jordan]:  “So you’re doing that for a little bit, kind of working independently on your shortsword and now dagger skills, as well as improving your crossbow aim.  Deep down, even though you’re kind of grateful it happened you also remember Winterra’s sort of backhanded comment about how you missed earlier when you were hypnotised and that kind of got to you.”

[Caitie]:  “Yeah…”

[Jordan]:  “And so while this is going on, after a little bit you notice someone in the corner of the room is staring at you. It is none other than Little Rick.”   

[Saithe]:  “Oh!  Hi little bird bud!  What’s up?”  

[Little Rick]:  “Why hello there!”

[Jordan]:  “And he waddles on over and he pulls out a piece of paper and a little quill and starts writing on it.  As you remember from kenku they can’t speak independently without stringing together words and phrases that they’ve already heard.  And this guy can only speak things he’s heard from Rick Slavenly specifically so he’s kind of at a huge disadvantage on that one.”

[Drew]:  “Bumblebee from the early ‘Transformers’ movie rules.”

[Jordan]:  “But worse somehow.  Because every station is Rick Slavenly.” 

[Drew]:  Dismayed “Oh.” 

[Jordan]:  “And you see on the little paper he writes down ‘Your form is wrong.’”

[Drew]:  “Oooooooooo.”

[Saithe]:  “What do you recommend?”

[Jordan]:  “And as you say that he sweeps your feet and you fall flat on your ass.”  

[Saithe]:  “Huh.”

[Jordan]:  “And so then he writes down on the paper and it says, ‘footing bad.’” 

[Caitie]:  “She stands back up and corrects her form and looks at him expectantly.”

[Jordan]:  “He kind of cocks his head a little bit and then looks surprised and then points in a direction behind you.  Like he looks very worried.” 

[Caitie]:  “She turns behind her.”

[Jordan]:  “As you do that he jumps on top of you and covers your eyes. 

[[Drew and Christina laugh in surprise]]

[Saithe]:  “You have a very odd way of training, Little Rick.”  

[Little Rick]:  “You need some help!”  

[Saithe]:  “Fair enough!”

[Jordan]:  “Yeah so this is his backhanded way of offering to help you get better.  So here’s what you get for this one.  I may come to regret this decision but…I’ve signed my dues.  You may take the skills of the appropriate level from ANY rogue subclass other than your own Arcane Trickster.”

[Caitie]:  “Ooooo!”

[Jordan]:  “But it has to be of a level appropriate to your own rogue level.  So any of the starting rogue skills that is not your current one you may take.”

[Caitie]:  “Ayyyye.”

[Drew]:  “I’m excited about these things that we’re getting but I’m also worried about the things that you’re throwing at us now that we have these things.”

[Christina]:  “Mhm.”

[Jordan]:  “Oh good you realize the catch.”

[Drew]:  “It’s like wow we got all this cool gear!  Cool cool cool, coolcoolcoolcool – tarrasque.”

[Christina]:  Laughs “Oh god.”

[[Drew and Jordan also laugh]]

[Jordan]:  “No no no.  Not yet.” 

[[Music shifts from upbeat to more mellowed out/dramatic music]]

[Jordan]:  “You guys do your own independent things, you guys manage to get better as you go along and you spend the next couple weeks, almost about a month without any work.  Just kind of going about improving yourselves doing your own remedial lessons with people and focusing on your own stuff like your own side training.  One particular night, we find the Agents sleeping in their room, as they always do… You guys share a room, this is common for all teams within the organization, and we specifically cut over to Saithe.

As she starts stirring in her sleep she suddenly wakes up and sits up in her bed having just had the nightmare again.  Same thing as every other night.  As always, she checks to see and she is in fact still smiling much to her own dismay.  As she kind of gathers her thoughts and looks around a little bit, Saithe you notice something.”

[Caitie]:  “Mmm?” 

[Jordan]:  “There’s something off about the room this time.  Near the door leading in, there’s a small black cat, with a rather interesting looking collar that has three blood red gems encrusted on it, and each one looks like it has a fire dancing within it.”

[Caitie]:  “Okay.”

[Jordan]:  “Sort of crawls its way over to you and hops up onto the bed and nuzzles up on you a little bit. “

[Caitie]:  “Aw, well I can’t resist a cat.  She’s obviously gonna like pet it.  And examine the collar.”

[Jordan]:  “Alright, so you pet it for a little bit, you look at the collar a little bit closer and as you touch it, something seems…wrong.  You look over to your allies in bed and they’re not moving.  Not like they’re dead, but as if they’re frozen in time.  And then, almost instantly before you a figure appears.  A tall nearly eight foot creature.  The likes of which you’ve only seen in the darkest of nightmares.  It is covered in a black cowl with bleached white skin and red veins clearly seen from underneath.  It’s arms are long and lanky, hugging the bone on the inside with long creepy fingers and claws that stretch out nearly half an inch from the fingertip.  Its face is maybe the most horrid of all, its teeth look like the makings of a demonic shark’s mouth with blood dripping from each tooth and down his face.   His eyes are blood red and look like they’re piercing into your soul. He has dark black horns that shoot out and crawl back up underneath the hood – so you can’t fully see but you get that feeling of utter dread looking at this horrid creature.  And it says-”

[Nightmare creature]: Has a demonic voice “Hello my dear. How long I’ve waited to meet you at last.”

[Saithe]:  “Oh.  Oh boy.  I’ve been waiting on this day for awhile.”

[Nightmare Creature]:  “Ah.  So you remember the pact, yes?”

[Jordan]:  “And for whatever reason Saithe you have a memory flash before your eyes.  This was from so long ago it almost seems impossibly far away. You were still a little girl, maybe only five years old standing outside a cave on the outskirts of the town you grew up in.  Despite how much you like to say it all the time, you actually were still born on the material plane.  You stare inside the cave, looking scared as you see your parents bound and gagged before a great fire.  And standing behind them, are your grandparents. 

With dark crooked knives, pressed against their throats they mutter in some dark language that only you can understand as infernal.”

[Grandparents]:  “Dear Lord, we offer you this sacrifice.  Take their bones so you might invigorate our bodies.  Take their blood so you may empower our souls.  Take their very lives so you may grant us time immortal.  We beseech thee, our Lord ASMODEUS.”  

[Jordan]:  “And as they say it the knives slide across your parents throats.  The blood spills onto the fire as their corpses fall.  And you run.  You run far, far away.   

This was one of many moments in your life that changed you.  And that name has rung in your ears ever since.  You know who this is.”

[Saithe]:  “What do you want from me.”

[Asmodeus]:  “I am simply doing what I must.  Repaying a debt.  After all, you inherited it from your grandparents.”

[Jordan]:  “And when he says this you remember another memory.  One that happened a bit later on.  You – after the event when they killed your parents – you swore to yourself that you would make them pay.   That your grandparents would die the same brutal death that they did.  And after years and years of teaching yourself the means to kill, you made it happen.  They died, with looks of horror on their face as they screamed to their Lord, who seemed to abandon them in their time of need.  

Back in the present time, Asmodeus looks at you and says-”

[Asmodeus]:  “When you killed them.  I had yet to fulfill the debt I owed them, granting me fresh life.  And in doing so, you inherit their debt.  However, you inherit one more thing-”

[Jordan]:  “And he motions to the cat.”  

[Asmodeus]:  “This is one of four gifts you are owed. The other three are resting on the cat’s collar.  This creature is bound to you now. If ever you need my power, call on one of the three boones you are yet allowed and you shall receive my blessings.  I look forward to working with you in the future, dear sweet Saithe.” 

[Jordan]:  “And he vanishes.   Time seems to flow normally again and you are left in the dark with this strange cat. Bearing the damned legacy of your family that you thought you had left behind so, so long ago.    And that is where we shall pause our tale for now.”

[Caitie]:  “Okay but you’re just gonna like give me a-”

[Jordan]:  “Leave it there?  Yeah fully.”

[Caitie]:  “-give me a pet all of a sudden, you’re not even going to ask if I wanted it…”

[[Christina giggles]]

[Caitie]:  “Like I have five cats already fam.”

[Jordan]:  “This one’s fictional though, it’s fine. Also, DO NOT-”

[Drew]:  “All of a sudden the demon shows up and is like, ‘Hey, here’s a cat.  Fucking deal with that.’ then just-”                      

[Jordan]:  “Hey kid, want a kitty?  Opens trench coat.”

[Caitie]:  “Jesus Christ.” 

[Drew]:  “Hey kid this cat’ll give you superpowers.”

[Jordan]:  “Thank you all so much for listening!    If you enjoyed what you heard then head on over to our patreon over at patreon.com/agentsofdamned where you can check out our exclusive three part after show – it’s actually one big thing but it’s covering episodes 3, 4 and this one, 5 – because of an audio mishap on our end, that’s our bad. But yeah, you can catch that, hear our thoughts on the end of the Thieves’ Guild arc as well as catch the next episode a whole week early so you can hear what’s the deal with this weird cat I just kind of dropped on them all of a sudden.  

[[Adventuring music cuts out]]

Of course we also have other social media, we have facebook, twitter, and instagram – please feel free to follow us on those, give us a review on iTunes and just share the show with someone you think will like it.  Or just troll ‘em with the show, I don’t care, just spread the word let people hear this funny shit man!  

But we got plugs!  If you need help with any sort of graphic design type work then you need to visit ‘Black Feather Graphics.’ Whether it is custom logos, apparel, what have you, they are the people for the job!  Independent freelance graphic artist, their portfolio is online and it is amazing.  They helped us out with our logo for the show and they’ve helped me and other people out with a ton of – other people I know – with a bunch of other great projects.   Really good, check it out blackfeathergraphics.com.

If you’re in the Charlotte area and you’ve got a sweet tooth that craves cheesecake and cheesecake related goods then ‘Just Cheesecakes by Tina Rose’ is where you need to go.  They have all manner of crazy cheesecakes, they’ve got an oreo one with oreo crust, yes you heard me, oreo baked into the crust it’s amazing!  They’ve got one with Butterfingers with Butterfingers baked into the crust.  They’ve got ones with fruits on them like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, whatever you want, they can do it. If you’re one of those basic boys that just likes vanilla or just basic ass cheesecake then they can do that too!  It’s all amazing, just check out ‘Just Cheesecakes by Tina Rose’ on Facebook and give them a call. 

But of course, after that you’re going to need to work all that off.  Drew, what you got for them?”

[Drew]:  “What I got for them is ‘Kinetic Concepts Fitness’ a personal training service based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, check out our instagram, ‘KineticConceptsCLT’ you know, same name –  we’ve got scientifically tried and true training methods that are personalized to you and your needs and they are especially, especially helpful during this time you know of quarantine and social isolation where we’re kind of all stuck in our houses and apartments and all that kind of good stuff there.  We always promise ourselves during times like this that we’re going to make some self improvements and work on some long held goals and for any of those goals that involve health and fitness you can come talk to your boy!  We’re doing virtual sessions and all that good stuff to get you right back on track.  Either working on stuff that you’ve been trying to get done before this whole shutdown happened or you know getting your start while you’ve got the spare time to work on it.”

[Jordan]:  “Alright well, that’s gonna do it for us for this week so until then, bye!” 

[Christina]:  “Byyyyye!”

[Caitie]:  “Bye guys!”

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