Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Campaign Wrap-up | Talks Machina

Normal
(0)
Difficulty: 0

BRIAN: Are we on the internet?

(cheering)

BRIAN: Good evening, and welcome to a very special Thursday-evening edition of Talks Machina. For

those unfamiliar, my name is Brian W. Foster, and I will be your host for most of the evening.

Tonight, we will be discussing episodes one through 115 of Critical Role: The Adventures of

Vox Machina, with the entire cast of Critical Role. We're going to laugh. We're going to cry.

We're going to wonder why we said what we did tonight on Talks Machina. Porter, do the thing.

[upbeat music]

BRIAN: Welcome back. And welcome to the cast of Critical Role.

SAM: Hi, Brian!

BRIAN: It's like deja vu, isn't it? It's like the first time we've ever done this. Everyone looks so

beautiful and in the holiday spirit. I don't know why because no one's wearing anything

Christmas-related. The spirit of the holidays is among us.

LAURA: She's in green!

BRIAN: Oh, you are wearing green, aren't you?

MARISHA: It's festive.

BRIAN: Well, we did film this on St. Patrick's Day, so. Before we get into discussing all those

wonderful episodes of Critical Role, we do have some announcements on this wonderful Thursday

evening. First up, tonight's episode is sponsored by Hearthstone. Their new expansion, Kobolds &

Catacombs, is out now. Check out the link on the screen to learn more. Also, the cast of Critical

Role did a special Kobolds & Catacombs themed one-shot a couple weeks back, which was super

awesome and fun. Pretty rad. You can actually check that out now on geekandsundry.com if you

missed it. Also, this Tuesday night will be our Critmas episode. So tune in at 7:00pm Pacific for

our special Critmas episode of Talks Machina, where we open gifts sent in for the cast members

and Sam throws up usually about 30 minutes in from public drunkenness.

SAM: Starts throwing up.

BRIAN: Starts. Begins the process of throwing up. It's sad. You were going to say?

MATT: It's a lot of things. I couldn't decide.

BRIAN: Also, there is no Critical Role next Thursday, the 21st of December, but we are pleased

to announce that Critical Role will be back with a brand new campaign starting January 11th. Yes! You

guys have a lot of homework to do and a lot of stats to think about.

MATT: Yeah, yeah.

LIAM: I'll have to figure out how Assassinate works.

BRIAN: Some of you could start learning the rules of the game.

MATT: That'd be nice.

BRIAN: Well, stay tuned to the G&S socials for all those details. So, ladies and gentlemen, without

further ado, let's begin. Now, the way that we have decided to break this up is we're going to

discuss the entire adventures of Vox Machina. However, we know that it didn't begin with

Critical Role. Vox Machina actually began at a home game, which was a version of Pathfinder. And

then for Critical Role it transferred into what you guys are somehow getting away with calling

Dungeons and Dragons. So we have broken up the show into five major arcs, beginning with the

first arc, which will cover episodes one through 23: Kraghammer and Vasselheim.

[musical crescendo]

BRIAN: All right. Our first question for the first arc of the show is for anyone who wants to answer,

except for Matt. This comes from @nerdyscotsman-- Yes it is. You can still say something if you

want. You're just not allowed to answer the question. "Why did you all trust a mindflayer more

"than a holy paladin?"

LAURA: Because we're Vox Machina!

MARISHA: We were such assholes. Yeah.

TALIESIN: She's not a polite paladin.

LAURA: Well, everyone likes the underdog, right? I mean, that's why.

TRAVIS: It's called the Underdark.

LAURA: I mean, he had been, you know, shunned by the rest of them, so we thought he wanted to get

even.

TRAVIS: Plus you guys were super happy about what you found.

LAURA: Yes, very much.

MARISHA: That was a good moment, man.

LAURA: But it didn't mean we didn't trust Kima! We just also trusted (whispers) Clarota. Yeah.

SAM: He charmed us with his handsome good looks.

BRIAN: That's happened a few times over the campaign, I think.

LIAM: We thought he was the diamond in the rough. We thought he was the one, the one that was

different than them all.

BRIAN: Travis, tell me your thoughts. You're shaking your head violently.

TRAVIS: I think I wrote, five weeks in a row on my legal pad, "I don't trust Clarota. I don't trust

"Clarota."

MATT: Before you started chasing people with a mallet? Yeah, sounds about right.

BRIAN: Matt, question for you from Jesse. "Was there anything in the Underdark areas you made

"that the players missed or passed up? Encounters, puzzles, or any other areas of interest?"

MATT: Yeah, there was the dwarven city around-- or the duergar city around the Emberhold, which you

guys managed to circumvent for the most part. That had some possible encounters there and social

elements. Then within Yug'Voril itself, the cavern there, you saw the shimmer of a portal to the Far

Realm.

LAURA: Oh yeah, that's right!

MATT: The Far Realm is the place beyond known space, where weird creatures come from.

LAURA: Could we have gone into that realm?

MATT: If you stepped through. That might not have ended well.

LAURA: And we all would have just died!

TALIESIN: We would have gone so Star Trek or something.

MARISHA: Would we have just died, or would it have been a whole totally other campaign?

MATT: You know in Event Horizon, when they--?

LIAM: Was that in the little side cave where we saw that?

MATT: Yeah, it was around the northern side of the cavern of Yug'Voril. And then there was the actual

city around the pyramid. I had all this stuff planned for you guys making your way through the

city and then multiple layers for the actual pyramid, this upward dungeon crawl into the top

with the battle of K'Varn at the end. And you guys went, "Let's just fly over and drop a giant on

"it!" So, that happened.

BRIAN: Incredible.

MARISHA: That was our little Polymorph trick, right? We Polymorphed the giant and then dropped

it? That was fun.

BRIAN: Such babies then. I have a feeling there's probably a lot of areas where stuff was missed and

they didn't get to.

MARISHA: Plus we had that flying carpet, which I know you just hated.

LAURA: You didn't want us to have the carpet?

MATT: No, I gave it to you guys. And then I took it away. And then I gave it back.

BRIAN: The DM giveth and the DM taketh away. That's a T-shirt, right? It should be. Put Matt

Mercer's face on it and give me 10%. Our next question is for Liam O'Brien, the actor most known

from this show for playing Vax. This is from @animLae. "What info did you get from insight

"checking Keyleth?"

LAURA: Do you remember?

LIAM: I do. I do a little bit, yeah. The DM told me that Keyleth seemed unsure and scared, if I'm

remembering right, and feeling cut off from topside. And it might've been the first time--

Like, the twins, all throughout the home game and the beginning of the show, I think our most common

shared response to a lot of your decisions was, like-- And it was the first moment where I stopped

doing that.

MARISHA: Interesting.

BRIAN: Stopped insight checking her?

LAURA: No, stopped questioning.

LIAM: I don't know. Something about being on the show and the way Matt-- Whatever he phrased into

my ear made me look at your character in a new way.

MARISHA: Aw, felt bad for little derpy Keyleth? Felt a little bad? Just a little? What was the

turning point? I don't think I've ever asked you this question. What was the turning point when you

were like, oh, maybe Vax has a crush-y?

LIAM: It might've been that. I don't know if it was that. It was after that. I stopped being so

snarky 100% of the time, which allowed me to have different, I don't know--

MARISHA: Like every other adolescent male, you stopped being an asshole and then realized--?

BRIAN: At what age do you stop being that? Because I still am that, I'm pretty sure. Travis, you and

I are the prime examples of that. Marisha, save us from Travis's face with an answer to this question

from Synchroraven. "Can you delve into your own and Keyleth's insights on that vision she spoke of

"having when she met the Earth Ashari?"

MARISHA: Okay. My insights?

BRIAN: Your own and Keyleth's insights, if you can.

MARISHA: Well, that was right after I killed the kid. Yeah. The first one.

SAM: You never forget your first.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Because that was also one of the first big character-type changing moments that happened

in our pre-stream game. I remember talking to you about it and you were like, "You should probably

"think about how this is going to affect Keyleth. You snapped a kid's neck." And I was like, aw,

shit. Now I've got to own this. And so she basically was really depressed after that and had

lost herself and had continued on into her Aramente, where she went to the Earth kingdom and

was having a hard time basically functioning or fighting or doing any type of magic or

nature-shifting. So the vision ended up being my way of writing in her own epiphany. And it was

more or less to represent the consequences of inaction. In that vision, I considered her to see

her death. At the time it was so early that it was supposed to be a-- not meaning to be something to

ever come to fruition ever, but yeah. It was supposed to be her lesson to herself that you

figure it out or die.

BRIAN: One of the first of many lessons like that, I think, she was going to have. What was the

biggest difference, switching from the home game to streaming? Did you guys change anything about

your characters? Obviously you changed the ruleset and stuff like that. Was there anything about your

characters in the home game that you didn't want to bring into the stream, or you chose not to, or

that you changed? Or did it pretty much just, smoothly, you carried everything over?

TALIESIN: Yeah, I didn't feel anything.

LAURA: I feel like, that was one of the biggest things when we switched over and we started

filming the show, was we didn't want anything to change from the home game.

BRIAN: It was important to keep that?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Some abilities changed from the systems a little bit. A little bit of re-learning elements

of the classes and stuff like that.

MARISHA: And we changed our name.

LAURA: Yeah, from the S.H.I.T.s.

BRIAN: Biggest regret so far? Changing the name from the S.H.I.T.s?

MATT: Technically, Vox Machina, the name was taken during the ceremony in which Sovereign Tal'Dorei

had a giant parade for you guys.

LAURA: We had a reason for it because we knew we were going to be starting this stream.

TALIESIN: I think we would've changed the name anyway because we were making the noise of, "Do we

"want to be known as the S.H.I.T.s? Because we have to start making a decision." But even in-game we

were like, "Are we the S.H.I.T.s or are we--?"

BRIAN: Did anyone vote to stay the S.H.I.T.s?

SAM: I wanted to stay the S.H.I.T.s.

BRIAN: My man.

MARISHA: Yeah, it ended up being more of an RP thing from Taliesin and Keyleth-- or, Keyleth and

Percy's perspective, because we both were the ones from royalty. I had a goal.

MATT: They were asked, "We're going to present you before the people of Emon as the celebration and

"thanks for you helping us through this difficult time. How would you like to be announced?" And it

was that moment of, "Give us a-- We need to talk."

TRAVIS: It was Pike, Scanlan, and Grog were the ones who were like, "That's a good name. We'll

"keep it that way."

TALIESIN: And it was the two of us who were going, "Absolutely fucking not."

LIAM: There is a little bit of a historical record of it, though, because there is that video

floating around of you breaking the news to us. And your question after he finishes telling his story

is, "Do we have to change our name from the S.H.I.T.s?" And you have Travis from off going,

"No deal! No deal!"

MATT: Yeah, that might've been right around that same time when all that went down.

BRIAN: That's hilarious. Matt, question from TiamatZX. "What ultimately made Clar-ah-ta turn on

"the party?"

MARISHA: Clar-ah-ta?

BRIAN: I'm joking. Remember earlier when I asked for the correct pronunciation so that I could do

the opposite? "What ultimately made Clarota turn on the party? Was it already planned or was there a

"chance he wouldn't, only for his free will to be overridden by the Elder Brain?"

MATT: It would've had to have been a lot of work to try and appeal to Clarota and convince him that

his separation from the Elder Brain and his people is a permanent thing and now he could accept new

society, new friends. But that would've taken a lot of role play.

LAURA: He's like Hugh in Star Trek, from the Borg! I loved Hugh.

MATT: Kind of, I guess you could say! But it would've taken a lot. It was possible, but because

at the time it was, well, he'll help us and then push along! For him, it was just survival. I mean,

him even allying with you guys was purely out of your initial social confrontation with him and

being like, "Whoa, we're okay! We're not going to hurt you!" And he's like, "Okay, I can survive

"with these guys. I will convince them I'm a friend. They will take me to where I want to go

"and maybe, if I free my people from this influence and free the Elder Brain from the influence of

"K'Varn, they'll take me back."

LIAM: And you've got to imagine being linked into that Elder Brain system probably feels real good.

MATT: Oh, yeah. Well, an alhoon, which is an illithid who has arcane capabilities like that, is

shunned forever, and is told you can never be part of the Elder Brain connection again. It's like

being unplugged from your hive mind. And so for him, once he reconnected, it was-- yeah. There was

no coming back.

BRIAN: It's like when I left Scientology. Taliesin...

TALIESIN: You left?

LIAM: You think when you left. You think.

(laughter)

BRIAN: Oh, man. I cannot wait just to see the art of Liam's beard. Every time Liam grows a beard,

Tumblr goes insane. It's the best. I spend way too many nights on there looking up all the fanfic of

Liam's beard. Taliesin, question for you from @JoustingJose...

(laughter, cheers)

TALIESIN: Solid name.

BRIAN: "Did Percy worry about 'flashing' his name, knowing that the Briarwoods were still around? How

"come the Tal'dorei council didn't connect him with Whitestone, having heard that he is a de Rolo?"

TALIESIN: He was flashing-- again, Percy spent almost the entire game in the midst of an intense

nervous breakdown. And he was specifically flashing his name almost like running around

saying, "I'm Superman!", looking for Lex Luthor. So he was kind of trying to put feelers out there

to let people know who he was and what was happening. Whitestone... I feel like they knew

that he came from Whitestone. I just felt that news of what had happened in Whitestone hadn't

really processed through the kingdom.

MATT: Yeah. Everything that happened to the de Rolos was kept close internally. Information got

out about the Briarwoods currently running the space, there was that the de Rolos got very ill,

the family all died off, and these friends came to power to continue their legacy. And that was the

story that was suffused throughout Tal'Dorei, beyond the city's limits. So whenever they heard

"de Rolo," either they think, "Well, he's crazy," or maybe he's a relative. But they weren't very

politically connected.

TALIESIN: They wouldn't even necessarily know that... who knows the name of the royal family of

Nova Scotia? Unless you need to.

BRIAN: Well, Sam does. Right? It's the Berkin? The Berchins...

SAM: Scotians.

BRIAN: The Scotians. Ah, yes.

TALIESIN: The New England Scotians.

SAM: Daryl and Hannah Scotian.

MARISHA: Wait, Daryl and Hannah?

BRIAN: That's what he said!

TALIESIN: Daryl and Hannah. That's pretty fantastic.

LIAM: Just a skosh.

TALIESIN: Yeah, it was intentional, and he was fine whether people believed it or not. It was

more for him than it was for anybody else, just to build himself up into this notion of a superhero.

BRIAN: Yeah, absolutely. And it worked.

TALIESIN: Too well.

BRIAN: Too well, yeah. Ashley! Stay awake with an answer...

(laughter)

BRIAN: Thank you for joining us right after a very long day working on ABC's Blindside. See that

every Sunday at 2 p.m. on CBS. Make sure to watch that show. Ashley: this question comes from

VexMeUpBeforeYouGoGo.

(laughter, singing along)

BRIAN: "I don't think you ever went into detail about what Pike had been doing on her time off,

"just that she was on the seas. Can you elaborate on that for us?"

ASHLEY: Oh, boy. Well, I knew that after... I guess when we found out that when we were going to

start streaming the show and after Pike had died in our home games, I had talked to everybody about

wanting to have Pike be a little bit stronger and get a little bit more strength, so when she was in

battle she could fight and offer a little bit more to the fight than just healing, which is still

important. So I think-- this is a roundabout answer, but I think I wanted her to spend some time at sea and

on the Broken Howl and on a boat just basically doing simple boat work. Getting her strength.

BRIAN: Maybe some of you guys know this, but Ashley lived on a boat for a while as a kid, so

she knows her way around a boat, too.

MARISHA: I didn't know that!

BRIAN: Yeah, they lived on a boat for a little bit, out in the marina. She knows how to tie a

couple different... Windsor knots? I don't--

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Can you do a monkey's fist? That's my favorite knot.

BRIAN: I'm terrified of water. I'm not allowed to go anywhere near the boats.

TALIESIN: You sprout more Brians if you get wet, is that it?

BRIAN: I wish! Set up a franchise, take over, then host all the aftershows. Ashley, was there more

you wanted to add to that, or do you feel--

ASHLEY: That's pretty much it. Honestly, it was one of those things where when we knew we were

going to be on the stream, I was like, Okay, this was what I wanted to have done on my time off, and

because of my background on boats, I was like, "Let's make her a little bit of a sailor!" But

honestly, I don't think she had a very exciting life on the boat, other than getting pretty

swole.

LAURA: How'd you get the scar, though? You had a scar on the boat.

SAM: Yeah, the scar!

ASHLEY: Was the scar from that time?

LAURA: Yeah!

ASHLEY: I thought I'd already had it!

LAURA: No!

SAM: Also, didn't you fall in love with some dude on the boat?

ASHLEY: No!

SAM: Oh.

MARISHA: She fell in love before, and then went on the boat.

LIAM: Next question...

SAM: I didn't know that. Get to the good stuff. Forget the boat stuff, Brian, get to the love

stuff.

BRIAN: We're going to get there, we're going to get there. I don't want-- the people will tune out

the second they get those answers, so we're going to tease them a little bit. Because that's why

people came here. Laura, question for you from @frankelstein_. "Constantly Percy had to craft

"more bullets, but never did we see Vex fletch arrows or go out and buy them. Why was that? Was

"it just an assumed-between-episodes thing? And if so, why not the same for Percy?"

LAURA: No, that happened before the stream. We just had--

MATT: Well, two reasons on this. One, bullets don't exist in this world, really, outside of

Percival and eventually some elements, so you have to make them. There's no other way to get

them. Whereas arrows, you can buy them anywhere. But even before the stream happened, once you guys

got hold of a Bag of Holding, you went and bought... I think it was a thousand arrows and

just threw them in the bag.

And at that point, I was like, "All right, don't worry about it. We're fine."

LAURA: I think towards the end of the campaign you were like, "You may be running low on arrows."

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: "What?!"

MATT: But yeah. At that point they were so cheap, and you guys had enough money in the bank that it

was like, "I'll just not have to worry about this ever again."

BRIAN: Liam, you touched on this earlier, but @shardee asks, "You've said before that the first

"time Vax realized he had feelings for Keyleth was during a moment in the Underdark. What was that

"moment?"

LIAM: Well, I don't really know. The ball might have started rolling from that whisper. I think

that's probably likely. But I don't know where it happened. I do remember-- what's going on, Laura?

SAM: She's picking your nose.

LIAM: (exaggerated sneeze)

(laughter)

LIAM: I do remember the months, though, playing the game and having that secret. It was a home

game, it was a secret. I wasn't thinking of telegraphing it or leaving breadcrumbs or tipping

anybody off. And I didn't know if I was going to admit anything, so I thought, "Well, I'll just do

"the little things that I'm doing here, quietly, and then either someday spill it or not." And I

wasn't going to let anything out as soon as I did, but when that thing with the Briarwoods happened,

I thought he was gone. So I was like, "Well, he's dying. So I'm going to let it out here. Oh, he's

"not dead. Uh--" (sucks in a breath) And I'll pull it back in.

MARISHA: Plus, you know, Kash kind of beat you to the punch a little bit.

LAURA: Yeah, he did.

LIAM: Sure, and again, still had all that stuff brewing in my head for months after the Kash kiss,

and didn't want to show my hand.

TALIESIN: Kash kiss.

SAM: Good reality show.

BRIAN: Supposed to be Cash Cab, yeah.

MATT: (announcer voice) Season three of Kash Kiss, on TLC.

(laughter)

BRIAN: You might have just gotten your job as the narrator.

MATT: Oh, God. Yes.

BRIAN: Travis. Question for you from... (mispronounces) Myrnorunshot? Whatever. "We never

"heard about Grog's mother? Did he know her at all? Is she dead or alive?"

TRAVIS: Oh. Grog has no idea Yeah. I mean, Grog's idea of family, I think, growing up, was just his

father, Stonejaw Strongjaw...

(laughter)

TRAVIS: ...and like the herd. The herd was the family as a whole. And in my mind, the Herd of

Storms was just kinda like, free love, man. You just hook up with who you hook up with, and then

you get kids, and then you just teach them how to fight, and send them out into the wilderness, and

they eat a deer with their bare hands, and then... you just move on to Tuesday. Yeah, he just never

really... I don't think he ever really figured out who Mom was, and I don't think it was until he met

Pike and everything and understood what a loving, nurturing, caring family was about that didn't

involve knuckles in your face, that he might have even started to wonder, "Hey, who gave birth to

"me, and why did I never have a nurturer?" It never really occurred to him.

BRIAN: Yeah, interesting.

ASHLEY: I forgot that was your dad's name.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Stonejaw Strong...jaw!

TRAVIS: To be fair, I didn't make that-- did you make that? Did I? I did make that name up.

MATT and SAM: You made it up!

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's right.

MARISHA: But I think it was before you had a last name, right?

MATT: No, because he had a last name, but I think when he made up the name of his dad, they weren't

using last names a lot in the game. He said it once at the beginning, and it never came up for a

long time, and so then Stonejaw came out, and eventually the two points connected and marvelous

times were had.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's right on course.

LIAM: And we had to go deal with Stonejaw--

TRAVIS: That's right, you dealt with him when I wasn't there! That's right.

LAURA: Yeah, we had to deal with--

TRAVIS: Thanks for that. He was a bitch.

(laughter)

BRIAN: Thanks for that help all those years ago. Matt, something that a lot of people wanted to

know, from Shandraa: "Who was the anonymous person who took out the contract on the rakshasa?"

MATT: Oh! Interesting. That would have been, I believe, one of the members of the Arcana

Pansophical. Which member was it?

TRAVIS: I don't know what he just said.

MARISHA: That was most definitely a thing in our game. That definitely was a thing.

(laughter)

MATT: I've mentioned it a couple of times, but the only person you've really dealt with from the

Arcana--

LAURA: Was the guy with the purple hair, right? Was he Arcana Pansophical?

MARISHA: Yeah, we've dealt with a few people from it.

MATT: Yeah. Well, Allura's a member.

ALL: Oh yeah!

LAURA: Obviously! (laughs)

MATT: So was Drake Thunderbrand and a few other people. But it was one of the members there. And

the idea was they were working on developing some sort of a portal that connected to the Hells and

they needed demon parts and they'd found there was a rakshasa that was in the space of the area, and

was kind of a twofer deal. Weed it out and also harvest parts from it that I could use as part of

this ritual. Not really understanding or caring that whoever killed it would be locked into a

cycle of revenge with whoever it was. But that's why you pay people to do it for you, because now

the vengeance isn't on you!

BRIAN: Absolutely.

MATT: Oh, mages.

TALIESIN: Money well spent.

BRIAN: I have to say we are going back not just a long ways in time, but a long ways in the journey

of these characters and I'm surprised at how well everyone's doing with remembering a lot of this

stuff!

MATT: So are we!

BRIAN: I didn't want to send everybody the questions beforehand because, you know, the FCC

and we've all seen Quiz Show. Popular 1994 film directed by Robert Redford.

Now Matt, you brought up Allura a second ago. MishapMaster13 says, "When Kima was introduced, was

"the relationship with Allura already planned out, or did that evolve in response to the party and

"the community?"

MATT: No. That was part of the character's plan to develop them, as far as a past history. I didn't

know if it was going to become a reconciliation, or like we once had a fling, but now we're just

friends doing our own thing. And the first time you guys even heard of Kima was maybe the second

session when you were looking for Grog in Westruun. And back then I was like, she would have

had this past history with this mage character I'll introduce down the road during the campaign.

But when I developed the whole Underdark arc I was like, Okay, they're still good friends, they still

care about each other even though their lives are separate, and then that reunion was what

re-sparked it. You guys retrieving Kima, and the idea of losing one another on her pilgrimage was

what began to rekindle that process for the two of them.

BRIAN: Did you have any idea that those two characters would become as beloved as they have

been to the fan base?

MATT: No, I had no idea! And once again, you don't know what to expect, what magical combinations of

characters and people make for good storytelling, and what people will cling onto. And they became

as important to a lot of other people as they were to me, as it progressed. I didn't expect them to

be so impactful to me, either. You know, Allura eventually became, as we all realized, a

self-insertion into the story at times. And yeah, it was cool to just watch it evolve.

BRIAN: Yeah.

LIAM: Gosh, I mean, two shopkeeps are beloved on this show, Gilmore and Victor.

BRIAN: Yeah, that's true.

LAURA: Good ol' Victor.

(laughter)

BRIAN: Marisha.

MARISHA: Yes.

BRIAN: Question about Keyleth's antlers. Before I get to that, did you ever have any idea that that

would be such a thing? That that would become such an iconic, sort of--

MARISHA: No, not at all.

BRIAN: Well, Smokeontheraze wants to know: "Keyleth has had the antlers since day once and

"never took them off, sometimes getting defensive about them. Is there a story behind the antlers?"

MARISHA: She had a circlet, in our home game. She had a circlet that I kind of looped into-- was one

of the last relics from her mom and her Ashari tribe that she took with us-- or, with her. You

get what I'm saying.

And then Kit was the one who drew it as the antlers. I told Kit, I was like, She's got a dope

circlet. And that was about all I told Kit. And then it came back with antlers, and I was like,

Oh, I love this!

LAURA: Yeah. So much of the original characterizations came from Kit. Like the

feathers? That wasn't me, that was her.

BRIAN: Oh, interesting.

LAURA: All these little things that ended up becoming so--

BRIAN: Iconic.

LAURA: Yeah. With our characters.

LIAM: Yeah, a lot of little things came up just by chance or from art, and then we wove them

backwards in time into the story. So much happens by accident. And that's the magic of the game.

BRIAN: Taliesin, did Percy have glasses in your mind, or was that--

TALIESIN: Uh, yes. Yes he did, although they weren't quite as complicated as when Kit came out

with the four-lens. That was like, oh wow, that's wonderfully complicated and impractical, I love it!

(laughter)

BRIAN: Makes for such cool cosplay, though, and art. Matt.

MATT: Yes?

BRIAN: Ickulus wants to know: "I believe you mentioned that the Thunderbrands were supposed to

"end up as allies or a bigger part of the story if the initial encounter had gone differently. What

"did we end up missing there?"

MATT: (laughs) Yeah, the Thunderbrands I designed to be kind of an ally in the journey into the

Underdark. The idea is when you converse with them, there is a story with a family member who is

lost in the Underdark, and if you guys had brought it up and discussed with them, like we're going down

there, it's dangerous, can you be of any aid, they would either provide some equipment and possibly

send somebody along with you who would be kind of a guide into the Underdark. One of the

Thunderbrand mages.

LAURA: Oh man!

TRAVIS: Liam would have probably killed that--

(laughter)

LIAM: No no, that lost relative went on to be the nothic that I shanked underground.

(laughter)

MATT: Yeah, you eventually found the necklace that was part of that thread, which was eventually

returned to House Thunderbrand. But yeah, instead of that, you guys and Tiberius-- and once you guys

walked out to the front of the house, and attacked their wards with spells, and then got in their

face at the door, and then Scanlan turned invisible and snuck inside for no reason, and--

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's right!

LAURA: That was the first time you went invisible!

TRAVIS: You went invisible and we were like (screams).

MATT: So that thread didn't continue (laughs).

BRIAN: Yeah.

LAURA: Wow.

MATT: But yeah, it would have been just, like, an alliance that would have led to some possible

bonuses in equipment options and possibly an ally to guide you through the Underdark, but...

LAURA: Damn.

MARISHA: Whoops.

LAURA: I wonder how many times we've fucked that up. Like, different relationships, huh?

TRAVIS: Every week?

TALIESIN: Every week.

MATT: (laughs)

LAURA: A lot of times.

BRIAN: Every single time.

TALIESIN: Every week is a friend we never will make.

LIAM: Next campaign will be better, next campaign will be better.

OTHERS: Sure! (laughter)

TRAVIS: We'll get it all right.

BRIAN: We're going to be saying that for the next couple of weeks. Matt--

LIAM: Optimized, our combat decisions will be optimized.

SAM: Yep.

MATT: Sure...

LAURA: Next campaign, still a bunch of dicks!

BRIAN: Streamlined!

MARISHA: Yeah.

BRIAN: After we roll initiative everybody knows what they want to do. Matt, Payattention007

asks--

(laughter)

BRIAN: "How did a sphinx come to be hidden beneath Vasselheim?"

MATT: That's an interesting point. So, Ioun and the Knowing Mistress and the following there is a

belief that knowledge and the dissemination of knowledge is of paramount importance to elevate

and teach people about history, about lore, about truth. And when she was wounded and when her

following was largely culled during the Calamity, and then shortly after the Divergence, they had to

go into hiding. So the followers of Ioun outside of the Cobalt Reserve, which are like the most

prominent members of them but they are well protected by the governments, including Osysa,

they had to go into hiding and in doing so kind of-- I imagine almost like those truth groups

that find secret information and then disseminate it to the press: this is the truth about this, and

kind of reveal and whistle-blow certain things. That's kind of how a lot of Ioun's followers have

to work in society. Because if they reveal themselves, there are a lot of darker elements that

will hunt them down and try and destroy them. Followers of Tharizdun, the Chained Oblivion, and

other individuals that want to see this wounded god eventually taken away. So Osysa has long been

an agent of Ioun's will and they needed a bastion of that in Vasselheim, and so the creation of the

Slayer's Take was all a cover, in a way, of ingraining that within Vasselheim society. And

Osysa needs to stay hidden to be that heart of the information network for the followers of Ioun in

that part of the countryside of Issylra.

BRIAN: Can you believe he holds all this in his head?

(murmured agreement)

TRAVIS: That just blows my mind.

BRIAN: Watching Travis's face I'm like yeah, that's how I feel, that's how I feel.

(laughter)

BRIAN: Last question for this arc and then we're going to move on. Matt, from Telepickups, "Where

"was the other Horn of Orcus, and could the players have found it?"

TRAVIS: Good question!

LAURA: Wait, can we know that? We can't know that!

MATT: Actually, you shouldn't know that, because it's still in the world!

LAURA: Ah!

BRIAN: Oh, wow.

MATT: There might be some questions that I can't answer because they might-- and I'm not saying

they will pertain to the next campaign, but they might. The other Horn of Orcus does exist in the

world, as there are a number of other artifacts and vestiges that--

LAURA: It's underneath Dalen's Closet.

MATT: Yeah. It's right in the sand there. It's two feet deep, some kid's going to find it on

vacation.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Just need a metal detector. Beep beep!

BRIAN: Yeah, just a retired guy with a metal detector. At the end of each arc, we're going to

give some CritRoleStats that cover the whole campaign, given to us by our friends at

CritRoleStats. Up first, we're going to talk about rolls. The total rolls for the campaign: 10,819.

MATT: That's crazy!

MARISHA: The fact that they counted them! How?

BRIAN: And they all have real jobs and real lives. It's not like they're just sitting at home doing

all this. They're just really smart. Total nat 20s including Doty's Matt crit, 548.

TRAVIS: Damn!

BRIAN: Nat 20s. Yeah. Taliesin only cheated on a few.

TALIESIN: Only a few.

BRIAN: Total nat ones. Do you think it's higher or lower than nat 20s?

LAURA: Lower.

SAM: Way lower because some of us--

LAURA: We have advantage and Luck.

BRIAN: 497 versus 548. It's really close. What was that, Liam?

LIAM: You get to reroll things. What was it? Burning a grit or something?

MATT: He gives himself advantage on attack rolls.

LIAM: That's still rolls.

MARISHA: He eventually critted on a 19.

MATT: You did have Indomitable where you can reroll saving throws as well.

LIAM: So Luck is all-purpose, but that was like a more-limited version of.

BRIAN: Per player. Let's look at the most nat 20s. Oh no. Top two. Vax: 107. Percy: 104. Beat you by

a few. Most nat ones: Vex. 76!

LAURA: Oh shit, really?!

TRAVIS: That's what you get for having all of those fucking dice! Time to cull the herd.

BRIAN: Followed not too far behind by her delicious brother with 61. Yes.

LIAM: They walk alike, they talk alike.

MARISHA: You guys are rolling a lot more, too, because you have three attacks. Right? Or do you

have two attacks?

ALL: Attack, attack, attack, attack, attack.

LAURA: Dagger, dagger, dagger, dagger.

BRIAN: That is all the time we have for the Kraghammer/Vasselheim arc. We will now move onto a

big fan-favorite arc of the show, episodes 24 through 38. This arc saw our heroes dealing with a

darker, more sinister and more personal beings than they'd ever faced before: The Briarwoods.

[musical crescendo]

BRIAN: All right! Briarwoods! Let's get into it.

TALIESIN: You made it weird, man.

BRIAN: We're going to discuss the Briarwoods arc now.

TRAVIS: Fill in the story from what happened before that.

BRIAN: No! Nope! Let them wonder. Matt, question from @saraheliz135. "What was Seeker Asum's plan to

"investigate the Briarwoods before Vax threw a wrench into it?"

MATT: He was trying to find some sort of proof that they perhaps didn't have the political power

for the promises they were making to build the bridge between the Shearing Channel and

Wildemount. The whole ordeal of the dinner was this meeting of the strange, mysterious, and somewhat

secluded Whitestone society and the Council of Emon in hopes to bridge this gap with the

Briarwoods who represented interests from Whitestone. They seemed to have connections and

boasted a lot of knowledge of Whitestone, political connections. Asum was reading something

off about them. He was trying to seek some element of proving or catching them in a lie about them being

able to do so, and as such, save the Council from anything negative. I don't think he really knew

how deep it went, obviously. He didn't trust that their politics were in line.

BRIAN: Interesting. Threw a wrench in it.

LIAM: Oh well.

BRIAN: Oh well!

LIAM: Great episodes.

BRIAN: Vax's got to Vax. Travis, question from Mike Garcia. "How close were you to murdering Liam

"when you destroyed the pencil? How close was Grog to doing something more regrettable to Vax? Cask

"of ale destroyed close?"

TRAVIS: Wow. Well, Mike, that was a pretty hot moment, shaving ole Groggy's half-beard while he

was asleep. That was a new level. The mechanical pencil bends to rage really easily. That kicked

off months of me trying to get you back, actually.

LIAM: But it wasn't the beginning! It was a midpoint!

TRAVIS: It was a new echelon. A new world order had started. That's when I realized how damn

slippery you are because I could never get my damn hands on you to do some shit! I kept trying to pants

him or trip him or whatever, but I kept failing. It was pretty gnarly.

BRIAN: Liam, what was that like on your side of things?

LIAM: I don't think I realized in the game how furious Travis was.

TRAVIS: Could you not feel the 100 degrees Kelvin pouring off of my person?!

BRIAN: You couldn't feel the leg violently shaking under the table as all the violence went to that leg?

TALIESIN: Trucks going by all the time.

LIAM: It was magical, I figured it would just come back! He'd already fucked with my shit plenty of

times. I thought it was just tit for tat. I was wrong.

BRIAN: Matt, question from @settiai. "Just who was the woman in her late 40s/early 50s that Percy saw

"with his nat 20 roll in 'The Sun Tree', the one with the wolves outside Whitestone?"

MATT: That was a hunter. That was a denizen of Whitestone who was out hunting with the wolves at

night. If they had seen you, it could have been either an opportunity for you to learn things

about the city and its current state, as opposed to wandering in and figuring it out as it happens.

Or if it went poorly, someone who could try and escape and go back and relay information to the

Briarwoods in hopes of not being killed or getting some possible favor with the overlords. Out of

fear. They weren't a follower or a toady. They were just a person who lived there and wanted to

survive and would have done so if they didn't feel you could help them.

BRIAN: Interesting. I know.

LAURA: That woman's haunted me for a while, actually. I think about that one a lot.

TRAVIS: Really?

LAURA: Yeah.

BRIAN: Is she wreaking havoc in your guest bathroom and doing all kinds of stuff in your

house? Liam, Zombie_Caddies has a question for you. "I actually cried when the Briarwoods killed

"Vax, with his last thoughts going through his head being his friends and Kiki. What was your

"inspiration for that moment?"

LIAM: For making that happen? I thought I was out just like I thought I was out in the Raven Queen's

tomb. There were things that I wanted-- the game, because we were playing it so often, it was already

evolving heavily. I hadn't worked up the gumption to say anything in the story to Keyleth. So I was

like, I'm getting it out here. Also at that point, it was starting, but Vax's world was still 98% his

sister. I don't know, it was just a chance to vomit out my inner monologue before exiting the

game, I thought.

BRIAN: Yeah. You did a great job.

SAM: Good vomiting.

LAURA: Great vomit.

BRIAN: It says that on his CV. Professional vomiter. Question from @argentumlupine for Sam.

Sam! Thank you for coming!

SAM: Hi, guys! I was late.

BRIAN: He's so close to Ash in my eyeline, that every time I go to ask him a question, I just want

to look at her.

TALIESIN: We all have that problem.

ASHLEY: Hey!

BRIAN: I like to see her on a screen. Hey! Sam, what tipped you off that Percy's gun needed to be

destroyed?

SAM: Because he did crazy shit with it all the time and weren't you marking things off the gun at

that point?

TALIESIN: Yeah, but--

SAM: That's weird! Scanlan is not very perceptive, not very wise, so it took a long time to realize

that something was wrong with it. I think, Matt, was there a roll associated? Did I ever insight it

or something?

MATT: There may have been and I don't recall the specifics of that.

TALIESIN: There was a roll to get me to give it to you, which I was not pleased about.

MARISHA: Wait, did he use Friends?

SAM: I did.

MATT: I'm pretty sure you figured that out on your own. I don't think I made you roll to figure that

information.

SAM: It was pretty apparent. I sat next to Taliesin for most of the campaign, so I feel like

I saw him more, but I guess I didn't.

LIAM: There's also no mistaking Taliesin/Percy's utter shock and dismay at that happening. It was

not manufactured, it was real.

TALIESIN: I was not happy! Don't do this, please don't do this!

SAM: I did not think that he would be upset with me at all! I thought I was doing him a big favor,

getting rid of the bad thing! And he'd be like, "Aw, thanks, Scanlan!" No! He hated that!

MARISHA: He would have done that himself way sooner!

TALIESIN: Built it in a fucking barn! Two mystical elements involved! Nope. Nothing.

LAURA: How much did that gun cost?

TALIESIN: It was priceless and I never managed to build another one!

LAURA: I know you didn't! You were magic weaponless the whole rest of the game!

TALIESIN: Because it was impossible to recreate!

SAM: I just thought it was a good gun, I did not know it had any of those things associated with it!

TALIESIN: So pristine. Two magical elements welded into-- oh lord!

MARISHA: And you were going for the trifecta. Yeah, you were going for it.

LIAM: That tesseract thing, you can make another one of those, right?

(laughter)

TALIESIN: But it was cursed, apparently, so there was that.

MARISHA: Would there have been any other way to break him from that?

MATT: The only way to break it would have been to physically kill Orthax. Go to where Orthax would

reform in the Abyss and then destroy him there. Or destroy the implement in which the curse had bound

him in, so honestly it was the better choice.

TALIESIN: Orthax is still out there, though.

MATT: From what you know, yeah.

TALIESIN: Yeah? Cool. All right.

BRIAN: Matt, are you keeping track of some of this stuff from the campaign, since the new campaign is

going to be set in the future of the current world? Are you having to keep notes of what-ifs,

and are you trying not to tie the two too closely together?

MATT: Well, both. Well, now, yes. I don't want the new campaign to tie too strongly to this campaign.

I want it to be its own thing. I want the story to be something wholly unique and new and not feel

like it's living in the shadow of or trying to connect directly to the last game. It's a very

different part of the world. There will be choices that were made and things you guys did in this

campaign that have affected the world and will effect elements down the road, per se. But I don't

want it to be a continuation directly, I want it to feel new and different. So I'm keeping track of

it all for my own internal consistency, and for answering questions for people who are playing

their own games in Tal'Dorei and beyond, but that's my idea.

BRIAN: Okay, that makes sense. Matt, actually, if you could, Arthur Ornelas asks, "Could we get a

"little insight into Sylas and Delilah and the life choices they made that led to Vecna. How much of

"that was Tal's notes and how much was your brain?"

MATT: Taliesin, you just told me the Briarwoods came and murdered your family.

TALIESIN: I tried to hand you nothing I wouldn't have known. Everything I gave you about Whitestone

was all. I remember you specifically going, saying like, if you have anything else to add, do it now.

MATT: Yep.

TALIESIN: Yeah. I didn't know anything about them so I didn't write anything about them.

MATT: Which I think is a great tool for players when you're creating character backstories. Write

in as much as your character knows because it gives the DM room to create in that space and

surprise you and, you know, create things behind the scenes for them. It's like, in this

perspective, with the Briarwoods, I'd created a scenario where they were not like super powerful

lord and lady in the Dwendalian Empire, but they had some renown, some power, some connections, and

they existed a comfortable life out there. She was a lesser mage, working with an academy out there,

and her husband had gotten sick. The disease that had begun to take him they couldn't find a cure

for, so she went out to try and find a way of curing it, trying to find somebody who could

concoct a means of doing so, and did, and returned too late and he had passed. She was so

distraught by it that she began to just delve into her meditation, delving into her magics, trying to

find something to stop him, just screamed into the Astral Sea her fury, and a voice whispered back.

And it said, "I can help you." And that was Vecna. She didn't know that at the time, but these

whispers started to come to her in her dreams, and began to give her elements of information. And in

her grief, she began to just follow them blindly, and eventually it led her to one of Vecna's old

laboratories, with an old servant of his that forgot his name for ages. He's so old that he

doesn't know his name, just kind of this undead servant, this powerful creature that watches over

it, and that's where she found, through the whispers, the rites of vampirism. And he was

like, "I can give you the secret to bring your love back to life, but then you owe me. You're

"mine." And so she said, "Whatever it takes." The resurrection of Sylas as a vampire was a fraction

of Vecna's power that tied them to him.

LAURA: That makes them even cooler!

TRAVIS: We shouldn't have killed them.

LAURA: No.

MATT: However, because of her toying with necromancy, which is outlawed in the Dwendalian

empire, and people were seeing her acting weird, she was pursued, discovered to have been toying

with necromancy, and there was a hunt out for them both. They were both arrested, they got away, and

there was a hunt to find them and have them executed. And so they fled the Dwendalian empire,

went to the Menagerie Coast, which is where Port Damali is, which is kind of like the last major

port town on the way western to Tal'Dorei, and that was where they ran into Ripley. And Ripley

had her own thing she was fleeing from and they both were like, hey we're both fugitives from the

Dwendalian Empire with really no direction, let's work together. And that's where they had heard

about this place of Whitestone, and they began to talk and get in with the family and began to make

these trips from Port Damali to Whitestone to build a relationship with them, to take their

guard down. Made some alliances there, turned some people who worked in the castle with this whole

plan of just completely gutting this family that had, for the most part for their own intention,

cut themselves off from the rest of the world politically so no one would really know or care if

they went missing or died.

LIAM: Not gonna lie, I wouldn't mind playing in their campaign.

TALIESIN: Weird note on the Briarwoods, also, in my head when I wrote them for myself I gave them

no supernatural elements whatsoever in my head. But I was reminded of a married couple from New

Orleans. There's an old ghost story in New Orleans, that they do on the haunted house tour of

a house that had a fire, and when the fire brigade went in they went upstairs and they just found

disastrously mutilated bodies of people who were obviously kept alive for way t-- were still alive.

Like a torture chamber of just awful and weird. And as they were trying to figure this out the

rich couple just got into a coach with their stuff and left and were never seen or heard from again.

They were just out. And I find it interesting that they kind of had a similar, like, "Later,

"we're out of here."

MATT: Yep, that's kind of how they done it. That's funny, I didn't know that.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah, I'll find the story, it's a really big New Orleans ghost story.

BRIAN: My parents had a similar story.

TALIESIN: Explains a lot.

BRIAN: It does! Laura, @GloriaRokicki would like to know, "Did Vex have feelings for Percy at this

"time, and how did watching this darkness bloom in him affect her?"

LAURA: Oh yeah, the "Darling, take the mask off." That was definitely starting around then. I don't

know. I think it attracted her to him more. How fucked up is that?

(laughter)

BRIAN: Got a nice fist in the air for that one.

LAURA: Yeah. Sorry.

MARISHA: Was it like a, "Ooh he's broken, I can fix him!"

LAURA: "I can help him!" No, it's just like, edgy.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Amazing.

BRIAN: Thoughts?

TALIESIN: He didn't know the voice in his head was real. He literally thought it was-- He was in the

midst, again, it was a very nervous-breakdown-y reality for him. His hair went shock white, he

woke up on a boat in shock for months, and just didn't talk to people until he did. And yeah, the

dream he thought was just--

LAURA: I mean, smoke came out of his body!

TALIESIN: Well, that was the first time that it ever happened though. That's the thing, is he had

had some weird dreams and was like, "I'm going to build this weird thing." But it had not connected

that that was actually a real thing at all until that point. It had just been like, "maybe I'm just

"having a really bad time."

LIAM: Also, can anybody correct me if I'm wrong, I don't remember any whiff of any of that from the

home game at all. It just percolated under the surface until we started the show.

MATT: Even the story that Taliesin gave me was just, he had a dream where some dark entity showed

him how to make a gun. And that was it. And the way I developed it was Orthax was not going to

begin to manifest itself until the moment of possible vengeance arose. The minute that he

allowed that fury to see someone who he intended to kill before him as part of his list, that was

when the demon would begin to manifest itself. So it didn't until the Briarwood arc.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah, no. It was entirely possible from what I handed. I very specifically was like,

if you decide that that isn't anything, it doesn't have to be anything, it could have just been-- had

a weird dream one day, woke up, and built something awful.

BRIAN: Yeah. You seem not too attached to some ideas. I know you've mentioned that before on the

show, where there's some stuff where you leave it to Matt's discretion. Do you guys all feel that

way? I know you get uncomfortable when I say this, but because Matt is like a one or two star DM out

of ten or whatever, do you find that it's easier to trust him with stuff, does that make sense?

LAURA: Well that's half the fun, is going halfway with it and letting him take the rest, because you

don't want to know all the mysteries, you know? The fun is discovering it.

BRIAN: And he's going to also spin it into a beautiful story with a bunch of different layers

and things too, as we're learning.

MATT: It gives me the opportunity, and like anybody out there who has DM-ed a game can agree with me--

BRIAN: Don't look at me.

MATT: --gives the opportunity for the DM to play--

(laughter)

MATT: --gives the opportunity to collaborate on the backstory element, too, and surprise the

players. That's the thing. It's really cool as a player to play through a game and not have all the

answers to your own story, and then to have things surprise you and change your perspective, and then

it becomes more intriguing to you as a player. So the more you outline, the more you detail

specifically the elements of your history as a character, the less you have to look forward to

to surprise you down the line, in my opinion.

BRIAN: You guys have to be so excited about the prospect of sort of hitting the Etch-a-Sketch and

starting again with that.

SAM: It's going to be so exciting. Nerve-wracking. The first session is going to just be us--

LIAM: Who are you? Who am I?

SAM: Yeah, like why is Travis talking like that?

(laughter)

TALIESIN: (Swedish Chef voice)

TRAVIS: (high-pitched voice) I will speak with this--

LAURA: See, he's joked about this multiple times. I think it might actually be honest.

TRAVIS: (high-pitched voice) Hi-ya!

BRIAN: 115 more episodes of Travis talking like that? Marisha, question for you from

Blangadager--

LAURA: That's awesome.

BRIAN: I know, it's great. "Considering where Vox Machina was at during this time point, had Vox

"Machina continued to kill with extreme violence without concern of moral consequence, would

"Keyleth have left the party?"

MARISHA: That is such an extreme way of putting exactly what they were doing. It's very accurate.

She was. I had a weird crisis with Keyleth for a little bit. For a while, I was like, I can't stay!

What I am I doing here? Your friends will be the first people to drag you down. They're bad

influences.

MATT: I remember you talking to me about that. We were discussing what would happen if you decided

to go that route. We were like, well, Keyleth just leaves and you make a new character. And maybe

she'll come back, maybe she won't.

MARISHA: And also at that time, I think it was about that time I kept repeating: I have to

continue my Aramente. I feel like I'm just dicking around at this point. I still have work to do. I

got to go. You were also going through a character-- there were a few character crises.

LIAM: I'm real glad you didn't make a new character.

MARISHA: Yeah, me too. I mean, Keyleth was pretty boss there at the end. I almost left.

LAURA: Pretty freaking boss.

MARISHA: Respect the antlers. (laughing) Practically goldfish.

BRIAN: Matt, this is a really interesting question from TheOodSigma, "What would have happened if

"they had left Ripley in the cell?"

MATT: Ripley probably would have either found a way to escape or once the Briarwoods were freed you

would have to go back down to deal with that. But the minute she had any chance of escape she would

have, or probably try and work her way into your wiles. If she was purely unable to escape the

prison and you knew who she was, and you had defeated the Briarwoods, and Whitestone was yours

once more and you just had her prostrate in a cell with no weapons, and you intending to murder her,

she would have done everything in her power to be as sly and convincing that she was as used as anyone

else. As Cassandra was, and to get in your good graces and the first chance she had to abscond

with any of your technology, gone.

BRIAN: Wow. Really?

LAURA: What a bitch.

TALIESIN: I imagine her as the evil version of the librarian character from The Mummy.

MATT: That's a good point of reference.

TALIESIN: The psychotic Joker version of that character.

MATT: Yeah, very much so. Definitely.

BRIAN: The Brendan Fraser Mummy franchise or the newly minted-- now Matt, follow-up question for

you-- watched it on a plane, as God intended-- this is from Maxvsthegames, "What happened with

"the bodies of the de Rolo family? Were they buried or did Vox Machina end up fighting their skeletons

"in the streets of Whitestone?"

MATT: No. To get a little dark here-- No. The Briarwoods, in order to cement their rule, they

needed to instill absolute fear of fleeing or any sort of rebellion. So you don't just murder the

family, you leave them in public as a sign. So those bodies you saw hanging from the Sun Tree

weren't the first to hang from that tree.

TALIESIN: I had that vibe.

MATT: In fact, I never got to tell you, because it never came up and nobody would have told you at that time, but

when you saw the Vox Machina hanging from the Sun Tree, those were almost the exact same arrangement

as Percy's family were after Whitestone.

TALIESIN: I assumed. I like the way you think.

LIAM: Can you imagine Percy 30 years in the future being an old, happy fart and just going out to the

window and seeing beautiful Whitestone, beautiful tree, and just the invisible imagination of that.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah. Never gone.

TRAVIS: What the fuck, man? The power of Christ compels you. Get out of here.

TALIESIN: It's a very blood-laden family to begin with. At some point, I'll write a little bit of

the stuff I've scribbled down. It's just one more ghost story for that bloody castle. There's a

lot of them. It's highly appropriate for Whitestone.

BRIAN: D-Roll me away, baby. Hey, Ashley? Cure our darkness with a 9th-level--

MARISHA: I thought that was the handle at first.

BRIAN: No, I wish. The handle is much better, and it's SerPounce_a_Lot. "Is Pike's ability to astral

"project across great distances to help her friends a sign that she is special to Sarenrae?"

ASHLEY: (high-pitched) Um.

(laughter)

SAM: Or just a sign that you live in New York for most of the year.

ASHLEY: I would like to think that that's the reason why, but I believe it's because I live

across the country. So I know Matt found a way around that, which I'm so thankful that he did.

And here I am, still an astral projection.

BRIAN: But at least you're in high definition.

ASHLEY: A high-def astral project!

LIAM: She brought Sarenrae's faith back to the continent, didn't she?

MATT: She was one of the main figures that began to restore the knowledge of the experience.

BRIAN: Okay, okay. I can't not say it when I hear it. It's one of those things; when I hear it, I

say it. Matt, FrostDragon85 wants to know, "What would have happened if Lady Briarwood's ritual

"succeeded?"

MATT: It did. She succeeded the ritual, but she didn't know what she was looking for. Like all

things piecemeal with Vecna, she was told to prepare all these things to succeed. And when it

succeeded, it triggered the siphon, which became this tiny dot that did nothing from her

perspective. And so she went from "All right, this grand ceremony!" to "That's it? We failed." It was

too early, they were pushed to do it, and they were already afraid it wouldn't have functioned,

but the idea was they succeeded entirely. And if you guys had prodded it enough over time, began to

delve into the research and make that a big point, you might have discovered that it was a successful

ritual, but the fact that you didn't made it more fun for me to play in the background anyway. As

far as Delilah was concerned, it failed, but when she was killed the first time and then recovered

in her clone body and began to reconnect with the whispers of Vecna, Vecna was like, "No, you did

"good. And now to move onto the next one, now to prepare for the next siphon to be triggered." And

so that was the background progression of her arc while you guys were battling the Conclave and

everything.

BRIAN: It stresses me out that it's so layered and involved because you guys have to face a whole

other campaign, and he's even better now than he was at coming up with this stuff. I'm just trying

to make you guys nervous and scared. Travis, Lizlevelup wants to know, "Percy gave Grog Craven

"Edge in this arc (episode 36). When you first got given the card, what did you expect from the

"sword? Did you have a "what have I done" moment when you read the card fully?"

TRAVIS: Oh, man. I didn't even know what a sentient weapon was, I had never even heard of

that. He just described it as some big, gorgeous greatsword, and I was like, "I can wield that,

"I'll take it." And Percy's reaction of reading the first few lines of the card and showing a little

dismay having just been cured of his current curse, I was like, "Give it to me, it'll be fine." So when Matt

started talking, it was a total shock. Reading it was only half of the story. What did we have to

do? Identify, or we had to do something else--

MATT: You had to attune to it to reveal it all or Identify it in advance.

TRAVIS: Yeah, the rest of that card is super important. That's a big part of it. So I think he

was enjoying this new friend that talked to him and helped him shish-kebab people really well.

BRIAN: Turned out great. Talk about no strings attached. Matt, question from Jessie Lewis. "How

"did you intend for Vox Machina to get out of the acid chamber?"

MATT: I didn't. No, there were a number of ways. They could have attempted to focus all their

strength towards the residuum wall that was blocking them off. They could have tried to block

up or destroy the chutes in which the acid was being delivered to the chamber and bought some

time. I believe the way you got to the button--

LIAM: I used the Cloak of the Mountebank.

MATT: Yeah, the Mountebank to teleport through. There was a way of opening the door, but it was

elsewhere in the chamber. There was a possibility of waiting for the Briarwoods to leave and then

fiddle with the buttons, but... kind of jumped the gun on that one.

LIAM: Yeah, I thought I was hitting the door open button.

MATT: No, you were not. But that, once again, wonderful D&D moment.

LIAM: Yeah, that was a rug yank moment.

MARISHA: How did we end up getting out of that?

MATT: You didn't. The rest of the campaign is a dream!

BRIAN: It's kind of like that TV show about the plane crash and the island. Sam. Cast True

Resurrection on your career with an answer for this person. Oh, it's also Blangadanger back for

you! "Had Scanlan learned of his daughter before Kaylie confronted him, what would he have done

"differently?"

SAM: Say that again, I wasn't listening as is frequent with this show.

BRIAN: People talk. "Had Scanlan learned of his daughter before Kaylie confronted him, what would

"he have done differently?"

SAM: Not try to get with her?

(laughter)

BRIAN: That's all the time we have for tonight!

SAM: I don't know, probably would have run away from that information. That's scary information,

and not seeing her in the flesh, if he had just heard, "You got a daughter out there, she's

"looking for you," he'd probably be like, "Let's go to another town."

BRIAN: I have a tendency to not ask a lot of questions when I'm drunk.

LIAM: Don't Try to Get With Her: The Scanlan Shorthalt Story.

BRIAN: And the problem is that if she resembled him, he would be even more attracted to her

because she--

SAM: I feel like that was part of the problem.

BRIAN: That was part of the problem. Taliesin. Gornuk23 wants to know-- can you believe there's

23 of them? "Who was the final, unnamed barrel on the List meant for?"

LIAM: Reveal it.

BRIAN: This is the episode where you can reveal everything.

TALIESIN: I think it's going to be slightly disappointing. It was not meant for him, which I

know a lot of people thought it was for himself. It was his acknowledgement that the List was not

the end, and his acknowledgement that the minute he started this, that this was going to be an

unending cycle of awful. And so that barrel was meant to be a fresh start for a brand new List.

And it was going to be once you hit that, it was, "They're all dead, it's time to find the next six

"people, and this is who you are now." I know I've said this a lot and people hate it, but I want to

make this clear. The reason I give Percy a lot of crap is because when he started building this

thing and going on a revenge run, he was acutely aware of what he was doing. There was no surprise,

and the first time he saw a gun in the wild, it wasn't, "Oh no," it was, "That went a little more

"slowly than I expected." He was expecting Ripley to have guns, he was expecting all of this to go

horribly wrong because he knew it would. And so he was like, "I really want to kill these six people,

"and I'm excited to help thousands of other people in my lifetime die this way as well. It's

"worth it. Trade done." And that was the line of, "I know what I'm becoming, I know what I'm doing,

"and I'm doing it anyway even though it's really dumb."

LAURA: He was a pretty bad guy.

BRIAN: He was. What does it say about you for falling in love with him? Laura, question for you

from Buzzrock1. "How did Vex get Vax's snake belt back?" Do you remember?

LAURA: How did his snake belt go missing in the first place?

LIAM: It went missing when I--

TRAVIS: Threw it at the--

LAURA: Oh, I went and flirted with the guards. I talked to Matt about that--

SAM, LIAM, and TALIESIN: Classic.

LAURA: Yeah, I went and flirted with the guards and got it back for him.

MARISHA: Was it one of those cases where you saw one of the guards wearing the belt and you were

like, "Dude, for real?"

LAURA: I think there was a lot of winking involved.

MATT: Yeah, it was a lot of, "Hey, I lost this thing, could you please go get it for me? Please?"

And he went, "We'll see."

LIAM: That physical belt buckle is sitting on my treasure shelf.

LAURA: I saw another snake belt this weekend and I almost got it for you. I was like, "He doesn't

"need another snake belt, now it's going to be another sort of thing." It was a really cool snake

belt though! If I hadn't gotten you the other one, I would have got you this one.

BRIAN: We had a few questions about Cassandra for this arc. We only have time to get to two of them,

but Matt, from Tilia-cordata. "If he had failed the saving throw, would Percy have been forced to

"kill Cassandra? Had you always planned for her name to appear on the gun?"

MATT: I had planned if they had encountered her... yeah, I guess I did always intend for her to

appear on the gun based on the encounters as they were going to reveal-- unless there was some way

in which they met Cassandra, they had snuck into the castle and came across her room beforehand and

managed to break her of her cycle of mental abuse with the Briarwoods-- possibly it could have been

averted but for the most part, it was designed to be one of those crux moments where it's a point of

showing Percival how deep this terrible choice and deal he made can go.

BRIAN: Somebody had asked what would have happened to Percy had he shot everyone on the list

including Cassandra. What would have happened to Percy?

MATT: Oh, six more names would have appeared.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

MATT: Yeah, which is why I think it's so interesting that you say that because I didn't

know that. And the intent of Orthax's revenge curse is that it's continuous. Once you've made

that deal, you take those six names out, well now there's six more people you have to kill. And if

you don't have anybody you need vengeance for, let's go find people.

TALIESIN: Percy wouldn't have even blinked. He would have been right into it.

LIAM: What would have happened if he had blinked? What if he had tried to fight that deal?

MATT: That was when the will contrast comes. The List is still there, the creature is always there. It just

means that if it lost the current battle, it would bide its time and come back stronger again until

eventually he loses the will to resist.

LAURA: Go Scanlan.

SAM: I knew all of that.

(laughter)

BRIAN: Marisha. Our final question for this arc is for you from RaibDarkin. "It was during this time

"that Keyleth made two of her most impressive moral stands. The first: refusing to have Vox Machina

"send the young roc to Whitestone, and the other by refusing to let the skeletal army overrun it.

"Is this where she began to realize she could be a leader?"

MARISHA: Oh. No. Probably not. 100 percent no. No, she was still suffering from crippling

self-loathing. Yeah, just no. She still didn't believe in herself and still was dealing with

insecurity issues. It took her awhile. I think Keyleth still didn't fully believe it until she

was getting that mantle put on her over in the final ceremony. I remember one of the bigger

turning points of stepping up and making sure she was a leader was the kraken fight. I put a lot of

responsibility on Keyleth and conversely myself for not stepping up and forcing a better plan on

us. It was my task that almost got everybody killed. We almost TPK'ed that one, and we could

have done that way better, and I think that was when she was like, "Oh, once again, those moral

"lessons of inaction. Someone's got to fucking herd cats."

TRAVIS: And we almost got rid of Tary.

LAURA: So close.

LIAM: Such a strong, decisive leader moment at the end of that though, when you chose to get out with

as many as you could, and the way that you did it.

BRIAN: So foreshadowing of later leadership qualities, which probably were there the whole

time, but needed to be fermented, and you needed the experience and the trials.

MARISHA: I forgot about that. That was probably the exact turning point, that moment.

BRIAN: Anything else from the Briarwoods arc that you guys want to talk to Matt about or ask or ask

each other?

MARISHA: I have a question. Had I not rolled a natural 20 when I stuck my hand into the ziggurat,

anything under the natural 20, what would have happened to Keyleth?

LAURA and BRIAN: His eye twitched!

MATT: A natural 20 was pretty close to what you needed, or a high roll. I think the DC was an 18

to try to resist the impact. You saw what happened when they put anything through it. That would have

been Keyleth. She would have gone through, taken a shit ton of damage, and either died, or if she

survived, thrust out into the Shadowfell, seriously jacked up on the outskirts of Thar

Amphala. And you would have found a lot earlier what the Vecna tie-in to the story was, and it

would have changed a lot of the story at that point if Keyleth had survived. I can't recall the

exact amount of damage, but the average was somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 to 150

damage.

LAURA: You didn't have that many hit points at that point.

MARISHA: No, not at all.

TRAVIS: Ain't none of us coming in after you.

MARISHA: No one even knew I was down there. Everyone was asleep and I didn't even tell

anybody. You would have woken up and Keyleth would have been gone.

TALIESIN: That would have been dark and weird.

MARISHA: How crazy would it have been it if I would have come back like Robin Williams in Jumanji and

come back 20 years later and I'm like, "The shit I've seen!"

LAURA: What would have been crazy is we would have gone to Thar Amphala and then we would have fought

you undead.

MATT: Few things would have been more fucked up in the game-- I thought about it afterward-- than

having the success of this arc and then your character, out of curiosity, dead. And then me

having to tell you, "I'm sorry, Keyleth's gone, and they don't know where you are."

SAM: We would have been like, "Did we say something? Grog, did you say something?"

LAURA: Maybe this is too much for her. I don't know!

MATT: And if that was the case, then whatever new character that would have come along would have

progressed from there. And when you finally got into Thar Amphala, there would have been an undead

Keyleth probably under Vecna.

TALIESIN: That would have been so fucked up.

BRIAN: I would have been so into some undead Keyleth art for sure. Speaking of damage, our next

round of CritRoleStats for the Vox Machina campaign is about damage. The party together has

dealt a total of 50,074 damage. The most damage taken? Who do you think took the most damage?

SAM: Vax. Oh wait, maybe Grog.

BRIAN: The answer is Grog with 5,646 damage taken. Who do you think dealt the most damage though?

TRAVIS: Keyleth.

BRIAN: Okay, Keyleth is your guess. Anybody else?

LIAM: Yeah, also Keyleth.

SAM: Pike!

LAURA: Maybe Vax?

BRIAN: Well, you're correct. The answer is Grog. Most damage dealt: 10,038. My man, that's right!

LAURA: And we dealt 50,000, that's so much percentage of our damage dealt.

BRIAN: Damahge. Yeah, stanima. That concludes our round of questions for the Briarwoods arc. Let's

move on to discuss episodes 39 through 83 and the dangerous alliances, questionable party decisions,

the items of power and mystery that led our heroes into the path of the Chroma Conclave.

[musical crescendo]

All right, we will now discuss the Chroma Conclave. Beginning with Matt Mercer. Question for you from Hadley

DiForti, "During the Conclave attack did you plan who you would kill off for story purposes or did

"you roll the dice on their fate?"

MATT: I decided what made more sense. The Sovereign I wanted to die because I wanted it to

be a transition into the Council, the Republic of Emon and Tal'Dorei, and I wanted it to be a

central figure that had previously become the highest ally you had attained. To have them

slaughtered immediately would be one of those giant wind out of the sails, you're on your own

type sensation. I decided on that and I thought of which members of the Council would be the most

brave and resolute and probably throw their lives away in trying to attack this unassailable force

that had just arrived. So I decided on those based on what the narrative made sense for.

BRIAN: Interesting, seems like a good choice. Liam, question for you from @CommanderClay. "Would

"Vax have left Vox Machina if the Chroma Conclave had not attacked?"

LIAM: That's interesting, I'm not sure I know the answer to that. He definitely wouldn't have left

without his sister. I think the challenge and the fun of it would have been having to come up with a

reason despite-- it was similar to your moment. The way I thought of it was, I'm really going to

have to do some tap-dancing to figure out why I'm still here. I think he would have been conflicted

and dealing with it. I guess eventually it would have reached a breaking point. There was a lot of

butting heads at that time in the lead-up, too, and I think part of it was off the stupid prank war. I

don't know, and I often get questions like, "What would have happened if this hadn't happened?" I

don't know, that's the fun of this game.

MARISHA: Would you have ever gone with him? Would you have ever left with your bro?

LAURA: Yeah. If he talked me into it, I would've left. I would've fought him about it. But if he

made that decision and he was going to go, I would've gone with him.

BRIAN: Interesting, sounds like family. Matt. Question for you-- why does everyone laugh when I

say something nice?

TALIESIN: It's so surprising and out of character.

BRIAN: Matt, @coelki_king asks, "Did Vox Machina bring the dragons down on Emon because they messed

"with the orbs or did this event just happen to coincide with that?"

MATT: No, the event just happened to coincide. The plan that the Conclave was still intending to

happen, it was still geared towards the conjunction set upon by the Winter's Crest and

Thordak's escape from the Fire Elemental plane-- this was all long-planned by Raishan and the

council. However, because you had been noticed through the orbs, it gave a face, so now there was

an element of recognizing who you were, these meddlers to a certain extent. When you did arrive,

when you did confront certain members who may have been aware, it also put you on Raishan's radar

very heavily, which led to Raishan finding information very quickly, ascertaining your

location in Whitestone once things had gotten a little rough with the Conclave, and trying to find

a strong position going forward.

LIAM: May I ask a follow-up question for Matt? Was it always your plan from when we were at home to

get to that, and playing every six weeks, would we have gotten to that Conclave attack this weekend?

MATT: Probably, yeah. It was my plan when I introduced the orbs and I introduced Krieg and

Brimscythe, that was all going to be a lead up to the attack of the Conclave back then. I intended

that to be an event down the road, and that was the tease to it. But going at the pace we were

playing at home, we would have gotten to that by about now.

BRIAN: Yeah. Taliesin, question from Heather Johnson. "What was Percy's plan to take out Grog

"in the workshop over the skull? He seemed very sure of himself in a tight space with a raging

"goliath."

TALIESIN: My thoughts were several. A, I can give him disadvantage on every attack, every round, and

B, I know what is in every one of those bottles, and I had a working kiln. I thought I had enough

stuff around there that I could have had him bathed in acid, knee-deep in sodium, and probably

set on fire pretty quickly and kept out of his reach and kept keeping back, pushing back, and

giving him as much disadvantage, blinding him. It would have been keeping lots of status effects.

TRAVIS: See, I heard a great comparison on el Twitter, which was the Game of Thrones fight

between the Mountain and the Sand Viper, staying on the outside and all of that stuff until I get a

hold of you and then I squish your head like a pumpkin.

TALIESIN: I was of the opinion I could probably ride that out a long while.

LIAM: I love Freddie, he is a darkly fascinating character. I think Grog would have turned him into

a skid mark.

TALIESIN: Kept that skull away from you, man, didn't I?

(laughter)

BRIAN: Matt, question about everyone's favorite NPC from @coelki_king, "How close was Gilmore to

"dying before Vox Machina found him under his shop?"

MATT: He was really close. It was a choice, it was whether or not you pursued the treasure, the

money, gold and items that had been shifted away from the Clasp and looters, or go directly for

Gilmore. And you had that choice, Vex and the rest of you, as you were looting your way through, and

the idea was going to be if you chose to go for the money, for the treasure, Gilmore would have

been dead when you found him. Mind you, you could have possibly Resurrected him, or not, depending

on what the timing was, but that still would have been the knowledge going forward that you were

responsible for his death. It was meant to be one of those crux choices of learning what it meant in

moments of crisis to fight against your own greed and self-serving ideas versus the greater good

and/or friendships you made.

LAURA: But we did it!

MATT: You did it!

TRAVIS: We saved him.

LIAM: I also think it's important to say that the last time we had dealt with death was way back

before it was a show. We were in our home game, and it was that and then Vex dying in the tomb

were our first real brushes with death in the game, so we didn't know how likely it was. We

didn't know the rituals were this strange thing-- I thought it was just this one-time thing that

happened for that moment, I didn't realize it was going to be this mechanic that you implemented

into the game, so both finding Gilmore and when Vex went down, at least for me, I was like, "Oh my

"god, this is the end, it's all over!" And when I went unconscious, too. And we got more used to it

as a game mechanic. I don't want to say we got used to it because every time was rough, but it

was very new and unsettling in the beginning.

MATT: Good.

BRIAN: Yeah, just what you want to hear. Laura, question for you from Kuributt. "What did Vex find

"under Gilmore's bed when he sent them to Marquet?"

LAURA: Oh, have we not answered this before?

BRIAN: I don't believe we have.

LAURA: Oh, man! I found a bunch of love letters from Gilmore and his first boyfriend.

BRIAN: Oh really? That's awesome.

LAURA: So that's why I didn't tell anybody, I just put it back because it seemed like, okay,

this is personal. It was a good confirmation though that we were actually in Gilmore's bedroom.

Because up until that point, we didn't know for sure.

TRAVIS: When did something being personal ever kept you from snagging something?

LAURA: It was letters, what good was it going to do? If it had been letters gilded in gold, I would

have kept them. But they were just letters.

LIAM: Was there a name for the old beau?

MATT: Oh, for his original--?

LIAM: That she would have found on the letters?

MATT: I believe it would have been...

LAURA: I don't remember that.

MATT: I don't think I told you the name at the moment. But it would have been--

BRIAN: Taryon Darrington.

MATT: Tie it all together. No, it would have been another Marquesian boy, and I would have had to

come up with a name on the spot.

LAURA: Purvan.

MATT: No, we're going to leave that name to the annals of history to never be brought up ever

again.

BRIAN: Next question. Matt. Crepuscularious wants to know-- I haven't been in Latin for a while. Do

they have Latin class? "Matt, what were the horrible possibilities the team sidestepped with

"Kashaw's resurrection of Vex? Was invoking Vesh as much of a razor's edge as it appeared?"

MATT: Vesh, the threat and the belief that Kashaw holds in Vesh, was very powerful. And Vesh is a

dangerous entity on the scale that you guys were dealing with at the time, definitely. I don't

think it was so much a razor's edge, but it would have piqued her interest. Essentially, an entity

that had been, for the most part, kept at the shadows and primarily focused on Kashaw's journey

would have been forced to turn an eye to Vox Machina and meddle in those affairs. And in a

weird way, the deal with the Raven Queen circumvented that. So much of the story changed

the moment that Vax stepped forward. The Raven Queen's tomb, the thought had approached me of

having Vesh appear in that circumstance, but because it was the Raven Queen's tomb, I think she

would have overridden that circumstance and what little glimpse Vesh would have had would have just

piqued her curiosity. She wouldn't be able to be there or exact any sort of immediate strange

occurrence. It's hard to look back in the moment because some of that was improvised, some of it

was just trying to feel it out. Yeah, Vesh isn't necessarily a god, though she likes to put herself

in that form and say that she is. Kashaw definitely believes she is, but she's not a god.

BRIAN: Okay, interesting. Practically gods. Ashley, question for you from TheHollyPhoenix.

"How did Pike feel knowing that going and getting her armor probably made the difference between

"Daxio being destroyed and not?"

ASHLEY: Uh.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: You know, I think very happy about it. What am I trying to say here? I would say it's a

good thing, always a good thing.

LAURA: Wait, so we went and got Pike's armor and Fort Daxio got destroyed? What happened? I don't

remember.

BRIAN: There was a choice, right? Between going and getting your armor probably made the

difference between Daxio being destroyed or not. That was the Chest Piece of Gloriousness.

MATT: Plate of the Dawnmartyr.

BRIAN: Thank you.

MARISHA: I like Chest Piece of Gloriousness.

TRAVIS: You used it a billion times.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Getting that was huge. I mean, I don't know how many times that I went unconscious

in battle after that, but--

LAURA: A lot.

ASHLEY: A lot. And, you know, getting that vestige was such a huge part of Pike feeling important in

battle. Getting the courage to go out and be in the middle, and knowing that it would be okay if

she got knocked out a couple times, and she'd be fine.

TRAVIS: (as Grog) It is not okay if she gets knocked out!

MARISHA: Hey, Ashley, can I ask you a question?

ASHLEY: Yes.

MARISHA: What does the banner behind you say? Because it looks like it says "boobs are magic."

ASHLEY: Books are magic! But both are true.

SAM: Can I ask you a question? Who was the guy you were in love with?!

BRIAN: Hey, we're going to get to that.

SAM: We are?

BRIAN: You can ask her. I want you to ask her instead.

ASHLEY: Sorry, I initially was trying to figure out what question you were asking, Brian. Sorry.

SAM: She's ignoring me.

BRIAN: Did you hear Sam's question to you?

ASHLEY: Oh, I did. I'm just not acknowledging it.

(laughter)

BRIAN: Matt Mercer, a question for you from someone with three names, Stephen David Dugan...

LIAM: Can I ask a connected question to the armor, to Matt? Senokir's box?

MATT: We're also going to get to that.

LIAM: That's later? Okay.

MATT: I hope we are! I hope we're getting to that!

LAURA: Is that a later arc? Or is that the same time?

BRIAN: Fucking let me do my job! I will get there, goddamn it! Matt, Stephen David Dugan wants to

know-- you guys are keeping Stephen waiting-- "How did Kevdak come to have the Titanstone Knuckles?

"What were his aspirations beyond being a dragon's lackey?"

MATT: I envision he got the Knuckles by beating to an absolute bloody pulp the previous owner. It

could have been a chance meeting. It wasn't something that he sought. The previous owner was

moving through the countryside in Tal'Dorei, got waylaid by the Herd of Storms, and unexpectedly

was bludgeoned to death, and took them, and once connected with these gauntlets, was like, "Oh. I

"can rise to prominence in this." Kevdak was not the leader at the time, and then brutally worked

his way up to become the person helming the Herd of Storms. This would have been a young Kevdak. He had no

aspirations beyond that and just expanding the herd, and taking what he wanted. Once the Conclave

came and destroyed most of what was society, protected society, at that time, that was when he

saw the opportunity. Like, "These guards cannot repel us. They are disorganized. They are focused

"on this other foe. Now's the time for us to finally live like kings." That was when he

convinced the herd to charge Westruun with him. They were unprepared for them, with a smaller

number of very focused and very powerful warriors, and a populace where much of their guard had been

slaughtered or scattered, they carved right into the heart and center and took over the city. That

was when they made the deal with Umbrasyl, in which case at the time, he was like, "I will work

"with you." But of course, once you have that taste of power, and having the gauntlets as long as he

did, he fully saw himself down the road destroying Umbrasyl or bending Umbrasyl to his will, and then

being, like, Dragon King Kevdak. I don't know if that would have ever happened, but that's

definitely where he saw himself. It was a fast power ramp in his mind of where he wanted to go

once he saw what he could do.

BRIAN: Wow. So no dragon lackey for long.

MATT: No, not for long with that scenario.

BRIAN: Ashley, you had a question for Matt. What was that?

ASHLEY: What's in the box?! That is the one question that I had this whole entire evening.

BRIAN: She told me before the show. I told everyone, if you guys have questions for Matt or

questions for each other, interject, those are the most important ones. Ash was like, "I have one

"question, and it's 'what's in the box?'" What was in the box of Senokir's wife's ashes?

ASHLEY: Yeah, it still drives me crazy. And when we were coming back for the last part of the

wrap-up, and when we all met up and were like, okay, this is what we did in our time off for the

last games, I was going to go look for the box and I forgot to tell you that when we were all in to

figure out what we were doing. We started the game, and I was like, "Shit!"

MATT: Do you really want to know, Ashley?

ALL: Yes!

SAM: Another, smaller box.

MATT: Practically. No, it was his wife's ashes. He was completely, 100 percent honest.

TRAVIS: Ah, no kaiju! No nothing, growing out of the tree!

BRIAN: Was it the voice that made you guys uneasy? For me it was the voice.

LAURA: He had that weird, like... (uneasy noise)

MATT: Not every NPC is out to fuck you.

SAM: He was so squirrely and weird!

LAURA: I liked him. I really liked him.

TALIESIN: He was one of my favorite NPCs.

MATT: Oh my God, I don't know where he came from.

TRAVIS: You almost desecrated a grave, Ashley.

ASHLEY: I still don't believe you.

TRAVIS: Can't let it go! Yes, he is real.

TALIESIN: He made the jewelry I gave everybody.

LIAM: It's the other Horn of Orcus. That's in there, man.

BRIAN: Liam. CainhurstCrow wants to know, "Were you intending to multiclass into paladin before

"the events of the Raven Queen's tomb?"

LIAM: I was strongly considering it. I hadn't made up my mind, but I was leaning that way, because I

was already forming this new branch of friendship with Pike, and being fascinated with the things

that she did, and I was feeling like such a-- the same Vax who was saying, "What the fuck are we

"doing here? This is stupid. There is no purpose to our lives," he saw that in Pike. First, people

were like, "I think Liam's going to go cleric!" and I was like, "Nah. This is just part of the

"story." But then I started believing it myself. And then, when everything... eh.

MATT: Yeah, because you'd even strapped a symbol of Sarenrae to your hand at one point. You

were starting to push that direction of a faith follower of Sarenrae.

LIAM: And without dragging everything out of the store, rough time in my life, and when that

happened, I remember we had a meeting. The group got together like a week later, and I was not

happy about how that went down.

LAURA: You were so mad.

LIAM: I wasn't interested in the armor, I didn't want the armor. With everything going on for me, I

was like, "This is so heavy, on top of my heavy." And it turned into this, I don't know, I wouldn't

trade it for anything at this point. But boy, it was a tunnel.

MATT: I'm sorry.

LIAM: No! None of us know what we're doing.

MATT: It's just where the narrative went. I didn't expect any of that to happen. I didn't expect you

to die, I didn't expect there to be a ritual, I didn't expect it. And it was one of those things

where because it was in the Raven Queen's temple, it would be any place where she would reveal

herself as part of this ritual, or an image of herself, an avatar of herself. And then when you

made that decree, it was like, "Oh. She'll accept." This changes the whole direction of the

character and where that story for you was going, on just one series of chance moments.

LIAM: Follow-up question. Fate-touched. Always going to be a thing, or do you think that just

sprang out of that moment?

MATT: No. To be perfectly honest, I decided on the fate-touched thing because I knew you were going

through some hard stuff, and I wanted to give some little special light to you.

SAM: Oh, Matt!

MATT: I didn't know when it was going to come up...

BRIAN: Oh, buddy. Don't go under there.

LAURA: I saw spiders.

BRIAN: Wow, that's really special.

MATT: I didn't know when it was going to come up. I thought it might be more of a late-campaign

reveal, like once things got more epic in scale, and you were working with divinity, someone would

recognize and point that out, and would be like, "Oh!" But that moment made complete sense, when

you made that decree to the Raven Queen. And with her being the purveyor over fate, I was like,

"Well, this is the moment where it would come up."

LIAM: This fucking game.

LAURA: I have a similar follow-up question. Are there any more cookies? Because I really want a

cookie.

BRIAN: You can go get them at the break.

LAURA: Yes!

BRIAN: You can absolutely have cookies at the break. Travis: "During the Kevdak fight,"

CainhurstCrow wants to know, "did you initially go in thinking you could win head-on against Kevdak?

"Or did you always intend for Vox Machina to come into the fray?"

TRAVIS: I had no idea. I just know I wanted to face him head-on to start with. Even if it was

going to go south super fast like it did, I just wanted to get an idea.