Travis and Teresa had a baby! We're so excited for them, but we're also very excited for YOU! Because you're about to hear a live episode we recorded in Boston this past July that turned out super, super great. Thanks to everyone in attendance, and to all our listeners for sticking with us during Trav's leave of absence!
In continuity, this episode occurs between The Crystal Kingdom and The Eleventh Hour, presumably sometime after Ep. 40.
CHAOS STADIUM a.k.a. Fantasy WrestleMania Edit
Chaos Stadium is an old building reconstructed into a fantasy wrestling ring. Huge stands full of hard-core fantasy wrestling fans surround a hexagonal ring, with a catwalk in the shape of a hashtag (#hashtagshape) hanging from above.
Magnus is to be Jess's partner in the ring, Merle is to act as their manager, and Taako is their eyes in the sky (shaking his little tush on the catwalk).
- Magnus is I'MORKŌ (it's Elvish for bear), with his Bear Mask from Petals to the Metal, dressed in a half furry suit with a breast plate. The breast plate has eleven nipples.
- Merle is PINSTRIPE, dressed in a sleazy pinstripe suit with a lot of chains.
- Taako is TUFF GREG, a persona that's a little meta, so bear with him. He's dressed exactly like a member of one of the crew of Chaos Stadium, 100%.
Taako sneaks into the locker room -- where the weapons are being stored -- and uses Knock to open the locker. He casts Leomund's Secret Chest to create an exquisite chest that can be hidden on the ethereal plane and places all the weapons inside it. Then he takes an elevator up to the catwalk while the others enter the ring.
Angus, with nothing to do, heads into the stands to eat a giant pretzel.
BATTLEFEST SUPREME! Edit
A microphone lowers from the catwalk and our adventure officially begins! The announcer introduces everyone to the very appreciative crowd. Jess remembers to tell them, "we're heels!"
Jess and Magnus (and Merle) enter to the sound of jeers. Jess is eating it up, tossing paper mache heads into the crowd and calling her soul-bonded axe to her... only to bury it in the entrance ramp. Magnus jogs down the ramp after her, doing some half-hearted rawrs and "kind of doing claw motions."
Merle, not to be outdone, does Fosse hands and grapevines down the ramp.
Taako has cast Arcane Eye above the crowd, but doesn't see anything suspicious. Up on the catwalk, he meets Gerald the catwalk boy who runs the spotlight. Gerald makes trouble and resists being charmed, so Taako casts Gust of Wind, blowing him "safely" toward the crowd. The crowd, having rolled a collective 14 on a dexterity saving throw, manages to catch him. Sort of. Taako a.k.a. Greg runs the spotlight to announce the wrestlers.
Their opponents, by secret fan vote, are:
Let the battle begin!! Edit
Before getting into it, Griffin reminds everyone of their objectives. Magnus (and Jess) must beat Jeff Angel, Death Man, and Moonbeam. Merle is in their corner, offering healing/support or jumping into the action if he wants, and Taako is on the catwalk, dealing with security guards and also maybe an assassin. Great. The gang rolls initiative.
The order: Merle, Jess/Sabine, Magnus, Death Man, Jeff Angel, Moonbeam, Security Guards, Taako.
Merle casts Aid to Magnus, giving him 5 extra hit points and healing him up to full health.
Jess and Sabine run at each other and begin trading blows with lighting speed.
Magnus mades like he's running at Moonbeam with the intention of stiffarming him, but pulls back at the last second to bounce off the rope and come at him from behind. Unfortunately, with an 11, Magnus just sort of bounces off. For his second attack, Magnus jumps on Moonbeam's back and covers his eyes.
Death Man spear-tackles both Moonbeam and Magnus, and they are both laid out.
Jeff Angel waves a hand in front of his face and disappears.
Moonbeam stands up and gets on top of Magnus for a pin. Magnus wants him to hold off, saying "Wait, let's get this old man first!" That's not how this game works -- it's 4 against 2, and Moonbeam says, "No. I feel like I should listen to you, but no."
Up on the catwalk, the security guards approach Taako and say "Catwalk Gerald said someone matching your description threw him off the catwalk. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?" Taako replies, "You got me!" and holds out his hands in front of him. "Take me away, boys!" They do that.
As they do, Taako casts mislead and turns invisible. At the same time, an illusory double of Tuff Greg appears in his place. Now invisible, Taako opens the Umbra Staff (with Feather Fall) and jumps off onto Moonbeam, landing on him and knocking him off Magnus. Taako then hightails it out of the ring.
Taako leaves his illusory double with programming. Tuff Greg chatters incessantly, saying state of the world things about the weather and sports and soda, no matter what any of the guards ask him. Taako did not teach him to listen.
With his Arcane Eye still operational, Taako sees a dark figure in a chameleon cloak on the catwalk above.
Back to the top of the order! Before he goes, Jess turns to him and motions under the ring while mouthing, "Under the ring!" Merle checks under the ring to find a ladder! He uses it against both Moonbeam and the invisible Jeff Angel, knocking him out of invisibility.
Jess has Sabine pinned.
Magnus picks the ladder up to swing it at Moonbeam, and whiffs it. He comes in for a second attack and... whiffs it again. He uses his cunning action to run away.
A challenger enters! Edit
Griffin makes Magnus make a saving throw, which he passes. A dart flies by his neck and sticks into the ring. It vanishes almost immediately. Magnus makes a perception check to tell that it came from "above."
Meanwhile, Death Man tries to stop Jess from pinning Sabine, and Jeff Angel flies up in the air with a kick and comes down on Magnus.
Moonbeam looks like he's about to run at Magnus, then sniffs the air, runs over to invisible Taako and grabs him, knocking him out of invisibility. He reaches up to smack Taako, and then pauses, saying, "Taako! What the blazes are you doing here?"
Klarg is very excited to see Taako, even offering him some of his new tea backstage, until his brain goes zzt! and he's back into angry!Klarg mode. He suplexes Taako for 28 points of damage. Meanwhile, Tuff Greg is prattling on with the security guards.
Taako casts Cloudkill, which produces a toxic sphere of yellow-green fog, at the figure on the catwalk. They fail, and take damage, but its their turn next and they cast Gust of Wind downward, towards the ring. It hits everybody (though, thanks to a heckler, Merle has advantage and is safe).
Taako takes even more damage. Sabine gets pinned by Jess, who takes damage but manages to stay on top. Jeff Angel goes down. The crowd disperses, scattering. And the shadowy figure falls into the ring. It's Marie!
So it's not just... Fantasy Wrestlemania? Time for some exposition Edit
Marie introduces the gang to the plot, telling them that she represents the war god Tempis and is desperately trying to stop Garrigos from rising from the underworld. Garrigos is an old, long forgotten god, patron of raiders and wanton violence. The Order of Tempis received a missive that an ancient cell of the Cult of Garrigos had survived and was operating out of Neverwinter. She tracked them to this place.
She shoots a dart at a banner, and Merle recognizes the sigil behind the banner as the sigil of Garrigos. It is five arms folded in a circle holding scimitars.
The cell is attempting to resurrect the Avatar of Garrigos by having a wanton marauder slay the four champions of the land. The championship is actually a ritual of revival! Chaos Stadium is an old temple of Garrigos and the perfect place to resurrect the foul god.
Brock Thickstone was involved in the plot, which is why Marie assassinated him. [FFWD through plot because fighting took a little while]
There's a tremor, and through the cloud (like they've been there all along) appear 5 humongous red arms with massive clawed hands along the outside of the ring. They're slamming down and trying to pull a body out from the depths.
One pillar falls and nearly hits Angus, who is holding a big pretzel and wearing a Jeff Angel tee shirt. Magnus launches off the ropes to grab him (and also rip his tee a little). The only other person in the crowd is Merrick, sitting in a comfortable chair behind the announcer's table. He draws a dagger across his belly, ripping open his robes and revealing a dark orb.
The orb is dark and swirling with red. He's laughing with malice and relief. Jess grabs Sabine and Jeff Angel and pulls them up the ramp. Death Man runs away.
Taako reaches into his cloak to pull out a small exquisite chest. It's their weapons! A hand reaches down to hit Taako, but Taako casts Bigby's Hand and astrally high fives it back to hell.
The Power of... Friendship? Edit
Magnus attacks Merrick and sends the orb flying. Angus catches it, beginning a game of keep away. Merle catches it, dithers for a bit (should they eat it?), and then tosses it to Marie.
"Magnus," she says, "I really like your costume. It looks really cool and I think it's well-developed and fits your character." The orb glows less, and she explains that only the opposite of wanton violence will halt the ritual.
Taako grabs the orb and tries to compliment himself. "All my spells were really great tonight," he says, and the orb stays just as bright. He tries a different tack.
"Angus. That was fuckin' great," he says, and as Angus basks in the glow of his first-ever compliment, the orb dims to half its original brightness.
- Magnus catches it. "It's been a pleasure fighting you, Klarg. You are a worthy opponent."
- Klarg, still full of rage, responds. "I know, I'm big and huge and you've almost killed me so many times doing things for you..."
- Magnus: "But I know you have a good heart."
- Klarg: "No! I don't!" BZZT "Thank you, Magnus, it's really nice to hear you say that."
Magnus throws him the stone.
- Klarg: "Since the day the three of you came into my life, my life has been enriched..." BZZT and he goes to attack Taako. Taako dodges.
Merle casts... Zone of Truth! Edit
It works. When confronted with having to tell the truth, even mean Klarg has to be honest about his feelings. He loves the gang and considers them his friends. Magnus tells him that they met his family in Lucas's lab, and they would welcome him back with open arms.
The orb turns into black smoke, the hans shrivel, and a banner flutters to the ground like in the original Jurassic Park. A Battlefest Supreme Champion belt clatters to the ground, and Magnus puts it on. Jess comes back out and says that they should fight for it.
Rocky 2 freeze frame! Edit
END OF EPISODE!
The Money Zone Edit
Sponsored by MVMT Watches.
Sponsored by Nature Box.
Tabletop Champions: @tabletopchamps [transcribe]
Message to Keene from Jer and Richie. [transcribe]
Featured NPCs Edit
Featured Music Edit
Jeff Angel's entrance music
Featured Locations Edit
- Chaos Stadium
It's a ladder Edit
- CLINT: What kind of magic does it have?
- GRIFFIN: It can get you up higher, like a super-efficient levitation spell.
- KLARG: Taako! What the blazes are you doing here? As I live and breathe, Taako! What are you doing here?
- TAAKO: Well, I was invisible, and now I'm not, so thank you for that.
- KLARG: I'm sorry, I thought I smelled your beautiful musk.
- TAAKO: And indeed you did! Very perceptive.
- KLARG: I just wanted to clear the air, as the last time we saw each other you made me jump off a motorcycle, onto a tank, into a laser. I just want to say: I understand why you did that. And I'm not angry.
- TAAKO: Good to see you.
- KLARG: It's very good to see you. I have some new tea backstage that I'm very excited about.
- TAAKO: I'm sorry-
- KLARG: I also have something I want to-
- GRIFFIN: And then he stands up straight and suplexes you.
It's Angry Klarg and he just suplexed Taako for 28 points of damage Edit
- KLARG: You made me jump off a tank and get shot by a laser!
- TAAKO: True! Taako earned that one. Guilty! I'll grant you that suplex for free. Don't do it again or I'll literally die.
Tuff Greg is a chatterbox Edit
- JUSTIN: The programing I left him with: he is chattering incessantly and saying the most banal, like, state of the world things. Literally every word out of his mouth, constantly, because I didn't teach him how to listen, is just like-
- TUFF GREG: So, crazy weather we're havin', huh? That's how Greg sees it anyway. You guys going to that Padres game later on?
- SECURITY GUARD: No, stop, listen, we have to ask you questions-
- TUFF GREG: You guys are great, I love being here with you, do you guys have any soda?
Taako casts Cloudkill Edit
- TAAKO: I got that fart touch!
- TAAKO: That's my boy! That's my boy! My beautiful magic boy!
Klarg is honest about his feelings: Edit
- I just love you guys so much. I've never had a friend before and I know that you've taken advantage of me a lot but I can also sense the good in you. And I just want to say, I think you're the best dudes I've ever met... and do you want to go take a trip to Fantasy Aspen with my, my dad has a cabin up there...