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Ep. 34: The Crystal Kingdom - Chapter Six

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Hey gang, I've got to keep my voice down because I just put the... spooky kids to bed. Anyway, enjoy the episode! It's the Adventure Zone!

—The Announcer


Synopsis Edit

Can our heroes achieve a competent victory against three relatively unkillable foes? More importantly: Can they do any sick stunts while doing so? Taako conjures up the ultimate terror. Magnus has a public service announcement. Merle faces a crystal conundrum.

Taako and Merle have been grabbed by the tardigrades’ probisci, and Merle manages to wriggle free. Taako, Merle, and Magnus have all rolled sixes for their initiative rolls, which does not bode well for them.

JUSTIN: Yeah, I have a +7 to Acrobatics.
GRIFFIN: You’re a fucking flip wizard!

Merle, who rolled again, goes first and casts Spirit Guardians. A slightly different spell than the one that summoned Della Reese, this one creates a bunch of little spirits that flutter around him in a sphere of about 15 feet. They all look like Roma Downey. The tardigrade that had grabbed Merle gets blasted with radiant damage by these Romas, after failing a wisdom check. Nonetheless, the tardigrade bites Merle for 12 points of damage. Taako’s tardigrade has grabbed him with its tongue, and it also bites him for 15 points of damage. Meanwhile, the third tardigrade shoots a hunk of black tar-like spit at Magnus, hitting him with 19 points of poison damage.

The Flip Wizard goes next. Before casting a spell, Justin educates the other members of the party on the resilience of tardigrades: they can survive a few minutes at 151 degrees Celsius, thirty years at -20 degrees Celsius, and a few minutes at 1 Kelvin. He then taps into the tardigrade’s nightmares and casts Phantasmal Killer, which projects a manifestation of a creature’s deepest fears.

GRIFFIN: This thing makes a noise, because like you said they’re unkillable, just emotionless monsters. This thing makes a noise that makes you think that the Satan that Satan’s afraid of just appeared in front of it.
JUSTIN: And who is it he’s dreaming of? Why it’s none other than Johann August Ephraim Goeze, his discoverer.

Taako yells, “Enjoy your taste of Taako!” while the tardigrade pushes away from him in terror. The second tardigrade is also haunted by Johann, and its head explodes.

Magnus grabs a fire extinguisher by him and uses it to propel himself through the air, and cannonballs into the tardigrade attacking him. He then throws the fire extinguisher at the two tardigrades and shoots it with his crossbow, blinding them with fire cream. He then chastises Lucas for failing to remove the door from his discarded fridge, citing an episode of Punky Brewster.

Merle throws Boyland's hand axe into a tardigrade’s mouth, but it flies too slowly in zero gravity to do any damage.

CLINT: Everybody else gets to think outside the box…
GRIFFIN: No you can think outside the bun all you want, Taco Bell, you just gotta do the shit good.

Merle dodges the tardigrade’s tongue, which shoots past him and sticks to the fridge door. The other tardigrade spits acid at Taako, wounding him for 14 points of damage. Taako casts Thunderwave, and the tardigrade near Merle’s Roma Zone hits the wall and dies. Magnus grabs the one remaining tardigrade and throws it in Merle’s direction. However, it passes its wisdom saving roll, and is not wounded by the Romas'. Travis calls it a “Smart Water bear”, which everyone acknowledges as a very clever play on words. Magnus uses Commander’s Strike to direct Merle to make a weapon attack. They all argue for a moment over whether or not Merle has an axe (Spoiler: he does.), and Merle ultimately hits the tardigrade with his warhammer, finally killing it.

CLINT: Let’s not gloss over the fact that we just won a battle... ‘cause that doesn’t happen all the time.
JUSTIN: No, usually a much better-equipped woman has to come in and save us.
GRIFFIN: All three tardigrades burst open and a million baby tardigrades swarm around–
TRAVIS: Now they are eggs and it takes 14 days for the eggs to hatch.

The four leave this Fizzy Lifting Room into what looks like the main lobby of the lab, which is not yet crystallized. There are several airlocks leading into other parts of the lab, and some appear to be powered down. They can hear banging and chopping coming from behind a hatch leading to the Thermal Regulation Chamber, which is iced over on this side as well. Killian and Carey yell to them that they’ve been unable to get through, so Magnus begins chopping the ice from the door with his axe and Taako casts Fireball to melt it.

Merle hears a voice behind him. It sounds like Pan, calling his name, and no one else seems to hear him. Merle looks behind him to see a rift open in the air, with a crystal slowly passing through it. Pan urges him to grab the crystal before it hits the ground, and he does. Just as Merle grabs it, he hears a different voice go, “Well this is gonna be a lot easier than I thought!”. There is a sound like a light bulb shattering, and the crystal explodes into tiny splinters. Merle feels a sharp pain in his hand, replaced by a strange numbness, and sees that a few slivers of crystal are sticking out of his palm. His hand, and then his lower arm, is slowly turning into crystal. Merle turns around and calmly asks NO-3113 to “check this shit out”. Travis immediately wants Magnus to chop off Merle’s arm.

JUSTIN: I don’t think you should decide he wander this earth as a one-armed man.
TRAVIS: No, but I want you to know that Magnus, in character, is screaming “Lemme chop it off”.

Griffin gives Travis advantage on this roll, given Magnus’s history of arm-removal. Merle, not seeing a better option, agrees. He screams, “Why did Pan lie to me!” as Magnus brings “Merle-Splitter” down on his arm, then immediately passes out. Killian and Carey make it through the door at this unfortunate moment.

MAGNUS: Step two: somebody heal him.
NO-3113: I don’t have any of my med spray!
MAGNUS: Aw, shit.

Lucas, through the Stone of Farspeech, yells at them to bring Merle to the medbay, which is nearby. They pick him up and dash to the airlock, as the room turns to crystal. Chunks of crystal come together to form a golem, with Merle’s arm becoming part of this monstrosity. Taako consoles an unconscious Merle that he has plenty of arms to choose from.

They pass through a decontamination chamber into the medbay and meet Lucas, who has a bloody bandage on his head.

LUCAS: What did you do to that dwarf?!
TAAKO: Well, you see, you needed us to give you a hand...

Killian, who has lost all patience with this dude, picks up Lucas and yells at him that his lab sucks. The others convince her to put him down and not destroy him immediately so he can help Merle. They set Merle down and Lucas gives him a shot of something which slows the bleeding. Merle wakes up somewhat as Magnus explains what has happened, defending his reaction in chopping off his arm. He then admits that he went into Lucas’s room and saw the magical compact, and demands answers.

Before answering, Lucas gives a note to Carey, and directs her to find Jamie Green and tell her to get the listed supplies. He puts a bandage on Merle, and begins mixing some concoction in a petri dish. He explains that he was working in the lower levels of his lab when one of his robots attacked him. He fled to the medbay, and became trapped there by the crystal monster.

CLINT: Hold on, I just wanna say one more thing. Hello, beloved listeners of The Adventure Zone. It’s me, Clint McElroy. Please write in and drastically protest the treatment of your favorite dwarf cleric in this episode. Thank you.
TRAVIS: Listen, we’ve had a lot of fun here today, but I really wanna just drive home the point– take the doors off your refrigerators before you throw them away.
LUCAS: Hey everybody this is Lucas, a fictional character. I do wanna step outside the goof for a second and tell you; for real though, the thing about the refrigerators, that one was on me, and if I had taken it off I’m pretty sure Merle would still have both of the arms. I’m not sure how it’s connected but hey, siding doors. Have you seen that movie? Anyway, later. This is me, Lucas, on the Sliding Doors council.
JUSTIN: Hi, this is Justin McElroy. I’m an actor, who plays the role of Taako on The Adventure Zone. I just wanna say, I don’t feel like I really did anything that funny this time around, but hey, you get ‘em next time, I guess?

Money Zone Edit

Message from Evan Jones, who wants you to start your your family adventures together at Together Tales: This is a story about a dungeonmaster dad who decided story time could use a little more adventure and created Together Tales. Together Tales is a collection of interactive books that parents bring to life for kids age 7-12. Each Adventure Kit includes a book split into chapters, along with treasure hunts, digital games, cute coincidences and clues that put your child at the center of each story. togethertales.com

Personal message for Kathleena Kruck Esquire, from Mario: Thanks for being an amazing friend and DM. I wish I could keep you in Chicago, but wherever you go this year I know you'll be a zealous advocate for those in need and have fun doing it. Thanks for making me listen to The Adventure Zone and MBMBAM. Happy birthday!  McElroys: Would Magic Brian and/or Garyl please wish her a happy birthday?

For Fergus, from Glen: Happy Eternal Candlenights, baby brother! You've already got the D&D sourcebook, so the next best gift is well-wishes from Griffin on one of our favorite McElroy podcasts, plus the chance of your name possibly being used in-game. Our shared brotherly nerdiness brings me joy and is now stitched into the fabric of podcast history. Garyl lives!

Featured NPCs Edit

Featured Locations Edit

  • Lucas's Lab

Music Edit

Quotes Edit

Lucas Learns a Lesson Edit

TRAVIS: Griff, does the refrigerator still have its door on it?
GRIFFIN: Yeah, sure.
TRAVIS: Okay, well I chastise Lucas heavily; Never throw away refrigerators with a door on them, I learned that from Punky Brewster.
LUCAS: Okay but we’re not really afraid of like, babies playing Hide and Seek up here or whatever–
MAGNUS: Well were you afraid of a crystal creature, because that happened.
LUCAS: I guess you’re right. You know what? Point for Magnus.
MAGNUS: Do I have advantage now?
LUCAS: Yeah, in future arguments with me you have advantage.

Axe-gate: Edit

CLINT: I’ve got Lil’ Choppy, my real axe.
GRIFFIN: I don’t know how many times I have to tell you, you don’t have an axe. You’ve got that battle wrench...you got your battle wrench, you got your warhammer–
CLINT: I have an axe, I’ve had an axe from the beginning!
TRAVIS: No, I have an axe!
JUSTIN: ...Nah, I think Dad has an axe.
CLINT: Alright, I’ll hit him with my warhammer, but we will discuss in the off-season.
TRAVIS: We’ll talk about it in the Zone Zone.
GRIFFIN: You had an axe... and we’ll talk about just like, how loosey goosey you are with your belongings. C’mere Scuttlebuddy! Bye, get on that train to hell! See you later. Axe, oh axe, I found you, I love you, bye, I threw you in that monster’s mouth and turned you into shit–
CLINT: And I’m gonna get an apology in the next episode from you, because I am right and you are wrong–
GRIFFIN: That seems very unlikely.

Glistening Fishlifters Edit

LUCAS: Help me put him up on this table. Magnus, use your big, strong, arm-removing arms.
MAGNUS: --Fishlifters
LUCAS: How ironic that your big, strong, arms are only good at one thing, and that’s removing other people’s arms.

No elaboration needed Edit

MAGNUS: Why was your arm turning to crystal, what happened?
MERLE: God lied... God lieddd to meee... you have the prettiest eyes...
MAGNUS: Okay, yes I do, but focus up– what do you mean God lied to you?
MERLE: I’ll say it a different way... Godddd lieeddd to meee...
MAGNUS: (to Lucas) Well there you have it!

References Edit

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