In our fourth episode, the party dines at Chez Z and ponders the wisdom of exploding a construct over dinner. Then, we make an excursion into the foothills to spy on a secret observatory, roll terribly, and discover some mysterious metal figures guarding a moonlit path. Everything is fine and dandy, and we’re sure that when we go back we’ll encounter nothing of note on this road to a forbidden observatory!

Show Notes

Welcome to Chromythica, an semi-homebrewed actual play Pathfinder 2E tabletop campaign set in the world of Golarion. Join Game Master Esther Wallace and friends as they play a Barbarian, a Sorcerer, an Inventor, and a Rogue fated to sway the destinies of dragons and the course of history...

For updates and sneak peeks, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr @Chromythica, or visit our website at  

This episode was recorded and produced on unceded Lisjan Ohlone land. We give our great respect to the Lisjan Ohlone and the Indigenous peoples of all the places that you, our audience, are tuning in from. The lands that we are on have always been and will always be Indigenous lands. For more information about how you can support Lisjan Ohlone land reclamation, please visit 

Chromythica Team Members: 
Justin Brown (Ember): Artistic Director 
Fairuz Rougeaux (Temerity Vane): Producer & Creative Director 
Alex Rudy (Professor Z): Technical Director 
Esther Wallace (GM): Creative Director, Lorekeeper, and Executive Producer  
David Yamashiro (Oom Gildrose): Production Advisor

What is Chromythica?

Two gnomes, a tief-elf, and a talking dog walk into a bakery. This is their story.

Chromythica is a Pathfinder 2e actual play campaign about belonging, community, and the process of making meaning out of complex situations. Come for friends having boisterous fun, stay for the journey we go on together!

Esther: This episode was recorded and produced on Lisjan Ohlone land.

To learn more about Lisjan Ohlone land reclamation and rematriation
efforts, please refer to the information in our episode description.

Content notices for this episode include:

strong language; potential references to offscreen cruelty to an Awakened animal as part of
character backstory; in-universe references to non-traumatic instances of a neighborhood

burning down and someone getting stuck in their home for a few days with low food rations.

There are also references to forest fires.

Hello, everyone.

Welcome back to Chromythica.

I am so excited to have y'all here and to play again.

My name is Esther Wallace and I'm the GM of this game.

And I use she/her and zhe/zher pronouns.

Fai: My name is fairuz Rougeaux I will be playing the role of Temerity Vane, our Rogue.

I use she and they pronouns Temerity uses he/him

Justin: I'm Justin.

I am going to be playing our barbarian, Ember I use he/him
pronouns and Ember is a dog and uses he/him pronouns.

David: Hi I'm David.

I play Oom and Nommie, I use he/him pronouns Oom uses, any combination
of, uh, she/her he/him they/their And Nommie uh, uses he/him pronouns

Alex: I'm Alex, I use they/them pronouns.

I'm playing Professor Z, an academic who uses he/him pronouns and invents
things like his contraption Buster, which is the steampunk sidekick he has.

Esther: Okay.

So our warm-up question for today: how do you determine
when it's worth it for you to get involved in a conflict?

Justin: [low voice] "I fight against bad people.

And I fight to protect good people.

I care nothing for money."

Fai: [Arabic accent] "I fight all of the necessary fights, and some of the fun ones."

David: "I don't always fight because it's worth it.

Sometimes you just have to get involved because you have a feeling that it's the right thing to do.

And hopefully it works out.

But even if not, part of just making any change for the
better is, is being willing to be involved in the conflict.

And hoping that something good comes out of it."

Alex: Professor Z...

gets involved in conflict when it is likely to bring
him what he perceives to be like, fame and glory.

So he's, he's all about doing things because that's what at least
gnomish society might expect of him to, to become bigger and better.

Esther: All right.


last time we gathered, you found yourselves seeking more information about Ember,
the mysterious circumstances of Orianna Selestine's death, and Ember's Awakening.

And you had found a book from Orianna's study that had a passage of text kind of mysteriously
censored that you suspected may have had to do with a dragon and the Whisperwood.

And you determined that you wanted to see if there was someone in Brastlewark who would
be able to help you uncensor this text and find out more about what might be going on.

You enjoyed a wonderful dinner of Shepherd's Pie at Lilyfrost Inn and Tavern where you
also met a gnome named Miv, who is totally wonderful at playing the mountain dulcimer.

And that is a fairly unusual instrument, and you encouraged them
to make some money doing that while patrons were eating dinner.

You, the next day, visited the Convocatia Mysterium to see if you could gather more information
about this censored text, because it is the institution for Divination magic in Brastlewark.

And the chair of Convocatia Mysterium, a gnome woman named Indigo Pollentwig,
requested that you demonstrate your capacities for the divinatory arts.

You each impressed her, whether it was through detecting patterns in smoke,
gazing into orbs, looking at star charts, or reading cards -- very skillfully.

And she agreed to help you discover what lay beneath the censored text.

She also told you that such censoring is typical of the agents of House
Thrune, and the text revealed more information about the Green dragon

Athervox, who is the daughter of the famed dragon astronomer Gartheris...

spelled like "Garth" as in Garth Brooks and "Eris" as in the Goddess
of Discord, and that Athervox is rumored to live in the Whisperwood.

After you gathered this information, you made your way to find Professor Z's colleague
Wolfbert Rumblebelly, a gnome professor who loves the natural world and animals.

Oh, and Indigo Pollentwig also mentioned to you that maybe you
should keep this information about Athervox, um, a little...

subtle for the time being.

That it, it might, if it's displeasing to the agents of House Thrune,
make life uncomfortable for you if you shout it from the rooftops.

So you tracked down Wolfbert Rumblebelly in a city park, looking at a squirrel.

And when you asked him about Athervox, he became visibly agitated and nervous.

You managed to convince him to share with you that King Drum Thornfiddle
doesn't want information about Athervox leaking to the public.

Scholars in Brastlewark are told not to research her, speak her name, or visit her on fieldwork.

Wolfbert asked you, Professor Z, if you thought it was odd that since there are hubs of study
for so many different fields here in Brastlewark, there are no real draconic experts here.

And while discussions of dragons aren't explicitly banned, this
field of research isn't funded in the way other areas of study are.

Wolfbert told you that Gartheris, Athervox's father, it's rumored loved studying
the stars and pointed out there is a project of King Drum Thornfiddle's that

is being built in the foothills of the Aspodell Mountains outside the city.

It's not affiliated with any of The Scholarium institutions, which Wolfbert finds a little strange.

If he had to guess, he would say it looks like some kind of facility to observe the heavens.

You were left to mull this over, and Temerity in particular came up
with several involved theories about how everything might be connected.

You seemed to conclude your next step might be checking out the observatory.

It's getting late in the day and you've had a pretty full day.

So it's probably about 4:00 PM right now.

What might you like to do next?

Oh, I should mention it's also Oathday, which is fake Thursday.

Our version of Thursday.

Fai: Well, first of all, I dearly wish I remember the
tangents that I went on last time because I don't.

I know that I really felt like I was onto something.

Like, I was really riding the wave and I was there.

Justin: My recollection is that you drew the connection between an-- a torrid
affair, of Athervox with your queen, which you then hypothesized that ended and then

Athervox came over here to Brastlewark and was currently somewhere in the palace.

And the reason for the more recent

Fai: Oh, and eating a lot!

-- Justin: acquisition of, of baked goods, was to sate to the
appetite of this creature for this new torrid love affair.

That was my recollection.

Fai: Okay.

When you say my queen, you mean like me as an elf?

Justin: Yes.

Not, not, not Fai's queen

Esther: Queen Telandia Edasseril of Kyonin.

Fai: I would like to state for the record that I stand behind all of that.

A thousand percent.

Let's continue.

Justin: I assume we have kind of moved away from Wolfbert at this point?

Esther: Yeah.

He's, he's probably scuttled off looking behind him a little
anxiously and making his way away from the group of you.

Justin: That seems reasonable.

Ember will address the group.

" I think we should go to this observatory, but observatories are places
for looking at stars and there are no stars now, perhaps we should wait."

Fai: I forgot it's still what?

Around what time?

It's afternoon?

Esther: It's 4:00 PM, yeah.

Fai: Out of character, my question is: is this something y'all want to do like, tonight?

Justin: I would be fine, Justin would be fine going now.

Ember just thinks that observatories are only useful at night.

Fai: Well, I guess the other question is: do we want to do it now or do we
have more pressing questions before we-- or should we do a little more research

before we go storm up that place and get ourselves potentially arrested?

Justin: Ember will chase a squirrel as we discuss.

I have a hunch that, since this seems to be like a secret project, it might be
kind of tricky to gain useful information about it through conventional means.

Fai: That's fair.

Alex: Like just asking questions and we're not going to get anywhere?

Justin: I think we'll only make people suspicious if we do that.

David: Gotta Scooby-Doo it!

Esther: It depends on your rolls...

Justin: Yeah.

We're level two.

Fai: I was like...

when you said 'depends on your rolls,' I'm like, that's a great question!

Just because Ember is a dog doesn't necessarily make him the Scooby!


Justin: I suppose...

But yeah, I think it'd be reasonable.

I-- one thing we could do is we could scope it out
during the daytime to get, like, a sense of the layout.

Alex: That sounds good.

I mean, it's 4:00 PM anyways, so I feel like, depending on, I dunno what,
uh, what latitude we're at and whether we use daylight savings time...

if you could give me our GPS coordinates, Esther, and the solar cycle in this world, too...?

Justin: The atlas, shall we...?

Alex: [laughs]

David: So while our astrophysicists determine how dark or light it is, I was just going to
suggest, we just look at ordinary foot traffic and how busy it gets at each period of time.

Justin: Pshaw...



[cast laughter]

You know what's not on this map?

The equator.

There's no equator on this map that you can't see...

Esther: I can't even see the map!

Fai: That we can't see?

[cast laugther]

Justin: That's not helpful

Alex: Are we sure that the thing we're on is a round planet?


Justin: Yes.

Fai: I was about to call Alex and Professor Z the Velma,
and then they started saying all this Velma shit...!

Esther: Whether you personally know and believe Golarion is round, I don't know.

I'm willing to have you decide that for yourselves or roll it depending on what you would like.

But I will say yes, it is -- it is known that the planet is round...

It gets dark around 6:00 PM.


[laughs] And what was Oom gonna look at?

David: I was going to suggest we look at ordinary foot traffic and how busy it gets.

If they are constructing things, presumably the people constructing it leave at some point.

Fai: When you say constructing, is the observatory
already in existence or is it, is it an ongoing project?

Esther: Hmm.

Temerity you came into the city from a different direction.

Let me think what I would like to ask you to roll for this...

I guess just, just Perception.

Fai: Secretly or unsecretly?

Esther: Unsecretly.

Fai: Okay...


Esther: It's a little difficult to say.

Fai: Okay.

Esther: You probably would have noticed at some point, while walking around
the city, that there is like a, a structure on one of the foothills to the

north of the city, but it's, it's difficult to say what the progress of it is.

Fai: Is it known to the people who, who live here, like Professor Z?

Would that be known?

Esther: I mean, Professor Z, if you would like to roll...

roll Society.

Justin: Also in, in case anyone is curious, Brastlewark is a latitude of 39.2863.

Fai: [whispering] That means nothing to me...

Esther: What does that mean?

Fai: Yeah!

[laughs] Mind you, I don't even know what la-- where I'm at.

Alex: Oh, that's a, that's a -- [laughs]

Esther: Ah, would you like to re-roll that?

Alex: Meh!

Esther: Okay!


This whole thing sounds strange, curious certainly.

For all you know, that could be a summer home of King Drum Thornfiddle.

You've never heard of any kind of observatory being built
in this location and it's baffling that you haven't.

Like honestly, why hasn't the King been consulting you if he's been up to this?

Fai: So is it reasonable for me to infer -- for me, ME, not Temerity -- to infer that Professor
Z, as a longtime resident of this city, if this was an establishment, if this was a place that

had just always been part of everything here, Professor Z would more than likely know about that?

Alex: Yeah.

Fai: So it's reasonable to infer...oh wait, I don't know what you rolled, nevermind.

So it's question mark to question mark...?

Esther: It does seem reasonable that as someone who is very involved in the
academic community, Professor Z would have known about a new institution.

Like, if it was all above board and popular, and a
lot of people knew about this, like he, he would know.

Fai: Okay.

So the vibe is: this, like everything else with the King here, is suspicings?

Esther: To you, yes!

Fai: To me.

Is anybody else...everybody else is?

Are we on the same level?

That vibe is weird, and therefore we want to know?

David: Yeah.

I believe your conspiracy theory.

A hundred percent.

Fai: Okay.

Love that for you.

Love that for all of us.

Alex: I think Professor Z is less conspiratorial, but starting to feel more and more
like he was left out of some secrets or something like that, if that makes sense.

Like, it's distressing to him that there are things he
doesn't know about the academic community in Brastlewark.

Fai: Okay.

Let me ask you something to take us back into character.

Is it clear to us that it's distressing to you?

that you haven't been consulted?

Alex: So, Professor Z as we're learning more and more of this stuff is becoming...

like at first it was like, "oh, there's something curious there."

And we're somewhere in between, "Oh, there's something curious there,"
and really huffing and puffing because should've known all the inside

details, but we're maybe only halfway to the huffing and puffing.

Fai: So there's a, there's a vibe in the air.

Alex: There's a vibe in the air.

Fai: But you're not stomping your feet?

Alex: No, not yet.

Fai: Okay.

' Preciate it.



So we are still currently where we met and intimidated this dude into telling us the truth, right?

Esther: You are still in a city park in the Palace District.

Fai: All right.

All right.

Justin: Did Ember catch his squirrel?

Esther: I don't know!

Roll Survival.

Justin: Sure.

All this matters is whether he will come back happy or sad...

I think he's coming back sad.

Esther: He tries really hard.

He is the most sneaky of hunters and the squirrel completely
notices him as he is lying low in the grass inching forward.

And it bolts into one of the nearby hedges.

And you launch yourself at it as it takes off.

And your little muzzle gets stuck in the hedge and it's mildly unpleasant.

The squirrel chitters at you in what seems to be mocking squirrel laughter.

And you do not catch it.

Justin: Ember will return to the party with like little
thorns on his nose, his snoot, looking kind of dejected.

Fai: I'm going to help him pick those out.

And while I do so, will say to the others, "What do you think our next steps are?"

David: "So do you know any places that we might be
able to talk about this without people overhearing us?

Preferably maybe someplace with food."

Alex: So are we looking to go back to like the, the Inn or the Tavern that we had dinner at or...

Fai: Or are you trying to get an invite to Professor Z's
house and see what kind of wild nonsense is going on there?

David: Well, I was assuming that a tavern could potentially have us be overheard too.

So maybe someplace even quieter?

Fai: Takeout.

David: Takeout!

I mean, yeah, or we could go back to the Tavern and eat in our rooms.

That's cool too.

Justin: We can head out onto the hills and like, have a picnic by the observatory.

That seems reasonable.

Alex: "You're all welcome to come to my house.

It's a bit of a mess.

So, uh, you know, I don't know if we can find a flat surface on which to eat.

Mostly it's just Buster parts, but...

we could make do."

Fai: You presented me with two creep and eat options, the latter of which is
more appealing to me, 'cause I'm desperate to know what Casa Z looks like.

"Well, if we're concerned about privacy, perhaps your home might be the best choice."

Alex: "Sure, sure.

Let's head off to my workspace."

Fai: You live pretty close to the bakery or whatever, right?

Alex: I believe so.

Esther: Yeah.

You live fairly close to the bakery.

Probably a couple of blocks away in one of the little twisting alleyways of Brastlewark.

So you all want to make your way there?

Fai: Yeah.

Maybe go grab food from the bakery and then head to yo house and hash this out?

Justin: Is the bakery still open?

Esther: That's a good question.

Fai: Oh, that's a great question.

Well, I guess we'll just keep our eyes peeled for the food along the way and get something?

Esther: Professor Z, you would know there is a fine
establishment, the Featherstone Inn, which does serve food.

They serve takeout to a certain level of clientele, but you need to have some
cachet say on the level of King Drum Thornfiddle to, or, you know, a fine spread

for an academic colloquium or a conference to really get takeout from the Inn.

But it's possible you could, you could talk some folks into it.

Alex: Given that knowledge Professor Z would just say, "I don't know where to get takeout.

What's takeout?

What is this concept?"

Justin: Can I find some garbage?

Esther: For what purpose are you searching for the garbage?

Justin: For takeout!

Esther: Okay...

Justin: Ember knows how to find food in cities!

Esther: Roll Survival?

Justin: K.

I know all the garbage!

Esther: Yeah!

You sniff around and your wonderful nose instincts take you in the direction
of someone's home, and like back around the back side of their home.

And it's curious, in Brastlewark there are homes that appear on
grass that's almost like halfway in the middle of a major road.

This park-like atmosphere pops up in a place you wouldn't really expect, and there are homes on it.

And it could be, like, right by a major street, or like intersecting a couple of them.

And your nose takes you to one of these like, grassy areas with little cottages on it.

And you find someone's compost pile...

and like, what are you most looking for in your garbage?

Justin: I would like a turkey, but you know...

Esther: You might not find a whole turkey, but you might find like, some...

some Cornish hens or, uh, some squab or chicken carcass that's been nicely roasted.

And you, you find a carcass of a fowl of small size and there's still
some meat left on it and you'll be able to like, get it in your mouth.

Justin: Cool.

I will bring that to the party and say, "I have found the food to take out."

With like half a chicken carcass in his mouth.

Fai: "Anybody want to take this one?

Or shall I?"

David: Nommie may try actually to share it with Ember.

Justin: Join me in my eating of garbage.

Fai: Wait...

is that happening or nah?

David: It's going to happen if no one says anything quickly!

Justin: Ember is happy to share.

Esther: This little red pseudodragon is like looking hungrily.


Fai: "I mean, you know what, for the two of you, I think you found a beautiful
meal, but maybe we should go and find different food for the rest of us.

Very well done, Ember, very well done."

Justin: "I can find more food."

David: "Maybe we can find something, something better for you."

Fai: I think he's livin'...

I think he's thriving!

Justin: My best life.

Fai: But as for me, if and when it happens, sure.

But if I have a choice, I think Temerity will choose non-garbage food.

No judgment, no disrespect, but we a little bit bougie over here.

David: How good does this garbage smell to

Fai: You know what, that's a great question!

[Fai and David laugh]

Justin: --rolled pretty high!

It might be really good garbage.

Esther: How good does the garbage smell to Oom?

David: Yeah.

From an Imprecise Scent standpoint.

Esther: I mean, good.

But like it's been eaten of most of the meat people would
normally -- like, it was, it was ready to be composted.

It smells like it was nicely roasted with some herbs and a dry brine, and then largely consumed.

And now it's been in a dog's mouth for a while.

Fai: That's the even more concerning part, probably.

Pour moi.

David: It's sterilizing though, right?

Justin: Anyway, we could probably get the food and head back to Professor Z's place...

Fai: Do we want to go through the whole affair, or do we want
to fast forward to food has been procured and we are there?

David: Yeah.

Let's, let's find takeout.

Esther: So do you want to make a series of rolls to find takeout?

Or do you want to, like, find a restaurant or an inn, go in, order something...

what would you like your process to be?

Justin: Ember's content.

David: What is that?

Like, a Secret Society?

Just to see if anything looks like it would give us takeout?

Esther: Yeah.

Oom, you you could roll secret Society.

Fai: Can I do that as well?

Esther: Yeah.

Fai: I'm not from here, but, well, we'll see.

Esther: You would get the sense that there are establishments in
town that would be happy to sell you food and have you take it out.

It does seem like Lilyfrost Inn is a known quantity, and
so it could be a fine idea to go back there and get food.

But you could also branch out...

Fai: Let us do that.

To the Lilyfrost!

Esther: Yeah, you can make your way back there.

You wind your way through various streets and notice once again, how there doesn't seem
to be any kind of identifiable grid like there are in so many cities in many of your

travels, but especially in Cheliax, which tends to have this very Infernally-influenced,
orderly layout of many cities, particularly towns and cities that are new construction.

And Brastlewark...

feels like maybe there was a plan to have the city structured in circles...

and that just completely fell apart.

It's like a, a force of creativity has exploded all
over that plan, and it just completely messes with it.

You'll be going down a wide road and then it'll narrow and like, just take you to
someone's house and you'll have to cut through a yard and see, like, towering architecture.

And someone's like building a house in a curve wave-like shape over
onto their neighbor's house and it looks like on the verge of collapse.

Like gnomes out on the roof, hammering things or indoors with
windows open, cooking delightful-smelling dinners, or occasionally

little explosions, and then excited chatter after the explosions.

It's a very lively place and everything is painted in bright, vivid
colors, sometimes colors that would seem to, to clash in other places.

It's just completely like, a feast for the eyes.

But you make your way back to Lilyfrost Inn and Tavern in the River District.

As you go inside, you hear the sounds of a mountain dulcimer and Miv is once
again on the little stage-like area with a cap out in front, playing some

songs and singing a ballad, a folk ballad about a gnome and their wanderlust.

Fai: I have a question...

Just as you were giving that, giving us that beautiful,
amazing description of this beautiful, amazing city...

my question is, have I ever been to a city anything like this before?

Or is this completely-- like, this is completely its own thing?

Esther: Roll Society for me.

It doesn't have to be secret.

Fai: All right!

Esther: You...

haven't been to a city quite like this.

You've had a lot of experience traveling to very distinct places.

But certainly in Cheliax your experience is of towns that are, are more orderly
and expected, and that are either very in line with like House Thrune and Infernal

order, or even in a city like Kintargo, which used to be a part of Cheliax during
your lifetime and is now it's, its own thing in the country of Ravounel, it's called.

It's a little more free spirited and artistic, but nothing like these colors and the
variety of architecture and buildings, whole series of buildings that seem interconnected

and built upon to the point that something might come crashing down any moment...?

Nothing like that.

It's a very unique place.

Fai: Super exciting, right?

Esther: Yeah, it is.

It is super exciting.

It's fascinating.

Fai: It's the most charming thing!

I think Temerity is very much in love with this city.

This is wild.

It's incredible.

There's stuff happening everywhere.

You don't know what's going to happen when you turn a corner.

This is Temerity's SHIT!

Esther: And none of the gnome residents seem terribly surprised by this.

I mean, it's just another day.

Like I could mention that when you fought the Cobbleswarm, there were
folks who gathered around and kind of were like, oh, what's going on here?

But nobody seemed alarmed by the chaos of all that.

It was kind of like, "oh, it's just another day in Brastlewark."

And like, "we'll see, we'll see what's going on and how these people handle it.

'Cause that's going to be interesting!"

But it didn't seem to rise to any kind of level of alarm or distress.

It's like, "Ah!

It's Toilday."

Or Wealday, as it were.

Vivi Lilyfrost is working.

She looks a little busy.

It's like...

dinnertime is picking up.

but there are certainly some other serving people at the inn
and they would be able to help you if you want to order food.

David: Well, if Ember has his heart on like, some form of poultry that's turkey-ish
or Cornish hen-ish, if they have something that's pure meat, that'd be good.

Justin: With a bone would be nice, but yes.

A turkey leg or chicken leg would be sufficient for my needs.

Esther: We'll say you get a chicken leg, a -- a of variety of dinners, which you can
describe to me what you would like to eat, or we don't have to do that, either way.

But once the food is brought out to you and you've made it clear that
you would like to take it away in some way -- and there's probably like

small baskets that are available for you -- what would you like to do?

And where would you like to go?

Fai: We're gonna go to Z's house, right?

Let's go up there and hatch some conspiraties, lads!

Esther: It'll take you about fifteen minutes to walk back to Professor Z's house.

Evening is falling in the city; there's music out -- like straining from one window to another, or
sometimes like a fiddler out in a public square and people dancing, families eating dinner together.

And you will arrive at Professor Z's house, which...

Professor Z!

Describe your abode...

Alex: So you come in -- I mean, it's cluttered to all get-out.

Like, things built everywhere, books piled on tables...

there's probably some furniture, but it's not really
obvious where the furniture is versus the stuff.

So there's stacks of things, there's like paint cans, that kind of
thing, just around everywhere, pots, pans, all that kind of stuff.

There is, like, some evidence that maybe, y'know, way deep in there there's some cabinetry.

And then at the back, there's like a door that goes in -- think of
this as like a, like a one bedroom apartment kind of size thing.

But just with every nook and cranny filled with everything and the door to the, like,
bedroom is open and you can see in there and you can see that it's -- the bedroom, there's

a cube taken out of the corner because it was like sort of built onto somebody else's house.

So there's just weird architecture going on, with like the exterior of somebody
else's house kind of jutting in as if it had been shoved in the tiny little space.


And it's just, it's all a mess and a disaster.

And if we want to put the baskets of food down, we'll have to put them somewhere.

And Buster trundles in and finds a corner and just makes themselves at home among
all of the bits and bobs that were probably also at one point part of Buster.

Justin: Ember will set his little doggy bag down on the floor
and try to like maneuver his nose into it to get the turkey leg.

Alex: Professor Z, in an effort to be hospitable will sort of clear off areas on what now appears
to be a workbench, although it might just be a stack of boxes and tool sheds and things like that.

And, you know, move some, some greasy equipment out of the
way so that there's enough space for us to put things down.

There are no chairs, though.

It's sort of like we're putting things down around a work bench and we can all stand there.

Fai: Temerity will aid you if aid seems appropriate and/or necessary.

Alex: Professor Z will hand Temerity various things, like a wrench, and
then a book, and then a lantern and they will have to go in various places.

And none of the places that Temerity can find to put them are stable.

Fai: Temerity is a dextrous lad!

Trying to put a lantern -- and then the thing wobbles.

And so then I get the coffee cup and then put it on the other thing.

And then hopefully -- but it just keeps wobbling, but then I'm like [makes face]...

it looks like a safe wobble?!

And I move on to the next thing.

Professor Z keeps giving me things before I've found a place to put the last thing.

So just...

Just Doing My Best: The Temerity Story.

David: "So does this home double as that workspace you mentioned earlier?

Can I see Buster explode?"

Alex: So, Buster is more like shutting down automatically when Buster gets to Buster's spot.

So there's -- not likely to explode, but there are the occasional puff
of steam and creaking as Buster settles into what is clearly Buster's...

I don't know.

Parking spot, home, corner...

Esther: Dock...

David: "Like you mentioned you mentioned that he could like explode on command, right?

Can you make him explode now?"

Alex: "Oh, I think it would be a little bit bad to have Buster explode in the house.

Like I've done that before.

And it usually takes me a couple of hours to climb back out of the piles of things and re-sort
through everything and sort of get it back into a state where I can find my way around.

So I try to not, you know, do anything that might explode
Buster, say, when I'm, when I might be late for a meeting.

Sometimes I do it late at night and then I just end
up sort of sleeping in here among the piles of things.

And when I get up in the morning, I can kind of make my way out, but it can be a little difficult.

So, you know, I'll just be careful for now.

'Cause I wouldn't want us all to be trapped in here."

Fai: "I wouldn't want to eat any of Buster's necessary internal...


Alex: "Oh we don't eat Buster.

This one time, a couple of years ago, I accidentally blew Buster up and
then, everything sort of collapsed around me and the neighbors weren't home.

So I was kind of stuck in the house for, you know, a couple days.

I got pretty hungry, 'cause I don't usually keep much food around the house.

I'm not really much of a cook at all.

I couldn't get out the front door, so I just sort of had to survive.

You know, I had a couple of crackers around and eventually I got Buster
built well enough that he threw me out the window of the bedroom.

I landed in the street and then I came and got my friends
to, you know, help me, uh, get the workshop back into shape.

But like, we don't, we don't really want to do that now, I don't think.

I think that would just be -- that wouldn't be the dinner experience you're looking for."

David: "I mean, I don't think we would get trapped.

I think Ember and I could burn our way out.

I mean..."

Alex: "Oh no, no, don't do that.

This neighborhood is relatively new.

And so it hasn't burned down yet.

And you know, once it's 10 or 15 years old, at that point it's
okay to just burn it to the ground and we can all start over.

But for now, there's still a lot of novelty here.

We don't really, we don't want to start over yet."

David: "Okay.

Um, what's the best place to have Buster explode?"

Alex: "Oh, I mean, if I were to try and do it on purpose, I think I would go
to like one of the meadows on the outside of the city, although not during

the dry season, because you know, you don't want to start a forest fire.

That would just be really bad.

But honestly, I don't know how that would go because every time I've thought like, "oh, I should
take Buster out to one of the meadows and explode him," he, he explodes on the way there anyways.

And so, you know, I can recommend some of the cobblestone streets, but, that would be...

that's -- also, I don't know.

Some gnomes, they don't really mind it.

And some, they find it a little bit rude to just wander in with an exploding machine.

I've done it in the office several times too, but then it's a real disaster.

You can never find your papers again after that."

David: "Maybe later we can find a good place to have him explode."

Alex: "Trust me you'll, you'll see Buster explode."

David: Sounds good.

Fai: I'm just gonna eat my food while all this happens!

Justin: I think Ember will have a little difficulty
with the doggy bag, but eventually he'll get there.

David: We can help you!

Fai: Yeah.

I don't think any of us is going to leave you to struggle, bro.

David: We understand the difficulties of not having opposable thumbs.

Justin: It's so hard.

"So are we going to the observatory?"

David: "What do you think is the best time to go that we wouldn't be observed ourselves?

Has there been a lot of construction lately?"

Justin: "Observatories...are for nighttime."

Alex: What would I know about the like, daily routine of all the academic institutions?

Is there a time when all classes get out or colloquia happen or something like that
that I would know about that would be relevant to like, what time the observatory--

just in a general academic sense, not that the observatory specifically...?

Esther: There's rotating colloquia, but usually they happen on Toilday and Oathday.

There was, there was a colloquium on Wealday, too.


So the Scholarium's colloquium happen on Wealday, probably in the early afternoon hours.

There's a span of time.

It's like a mini -- a mini conference from like 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, sometimes; like
every once, one Wednesday a month and the others are just like regular colloquium.

The other institutions might rotate them, kind of like a Tuesday/Thursday, Toilday/Oathday schedule.

Fridays are entirely devoted to-- Firedays in this
universe -- to your research as are, oh god, what are Mondays?


Is also a research-heavy day.

So it just kind of depends, but you would suspect that coming and going would happen
earlier in the morning, and then commute out from an institution would happen like,

4:00 to 6:00 PM if there's family gnomes or gnomes with like, strong social ties, but if
somebody is like, burning the midnight oil, they could be in the office a little later.

Like there's, there's a rhythm and yet gnome schedules
are so chaotic that it's kind of hard to predict.

Did that answer your question?

Alex: Yeah, basically I wouldn't have a time to suggest then, right?

Like, I don't..

Esther: Yeah.

You, you would guess that if you wanted to like, measure traffic patterns, you should maybe
like, watch the road up -- the path up -- for a day, and that people might go up in the mornings

if they're coming from the city and come back in the evenings if they are constructing it.

Now, if they're observing, it might make sense if they did it the other way around.

But you, you were certainly not aware of like, another institution that
holds colloquium outside of any of the, the Scholarium affiliated ones.

Fai: "It sounds to me like our best bet is to do our homework first.

I don't think it would be good for us to try to bust in without any information.

So perhaps we spend a day or two observing, getting the lay of the land, and whatnot.

Does that make sense?"

Alex: "Sounds good to me.

I mean, I don't really know much about this, uh, observatory."

"I'm kind of surprised.

I would have expected to really hear about it in the, you know, in the Scholarium."

Fai: "All the more suspicious if you haven't heard, right?"

Alex: "I mean, suspicious...

or maybe one of the many other academics is really onto
something and is getting special treatment from the King.

But that just, that would be really unfair.

I just, I can't imagine that.

I don't know.

It's all, it's all a bit strange."

Fai: "Is it normal for the academics to get special treatment from the King?"

Alex: "Well, I mean academics as a whole, yes.

We're all here for the knowledge and the curiosity and the discovering of new things.

And so I just, I was kind of surprised that I haven't heard of somebody
talking about how they were going to go and build a big observatory.

That just seems like the kind of thing -- buzz of the academic departments.

And then, Wolfbert being a little bit skittish about it.

Like, people are keeping more secrets than I thought.

I just really thought that, you know, everybody was here to really do their academic research."

Fai: "Tell me, Professor...

my experience of education is very informal.

I don't have a very thorough understanding of how you work.

Is it normal for researchers to keep secrets if they've
come upon something special or is this the way it works?"

Alex: "Well I, I guess, what do we really mean by normal in this case?

Like sometimes you might keep something a secret if you haven't finished figuring it out.

And then when you finish figuring it out, you go to
a colloquium and you present your master discovery.

And so sometimes people are a little bit secretive of those things.

They don't really want to get scooped, but I, I have trouble imagining that a whole
observatory is really a secret that you'd keep because you're worried -- I don't know.

It just doesn't make sense to me.

You know, that just seems like the kind of thing where, in this
town we celebrate the construction of new academic institutions."

David: "But in this case, they're hiding things, right?

So if King Thornfiddle doesn't want us to learn more about
this and we're trying to observe, and we take too many days...

my worry is that we'll run the risk of being spotted observing this place and that
we might only have one shot at really getting in and seeing what we want to see."

Justin: "Secrets are for bad people."

Alex: "Gnomes are curious.

This whole city is about studying and understanding different things.

I feel, I don't know.

I've just never really felt like there's things that are sort of off-limits to my curiosity.

You know, you, you wander down the street sometimes, and there's a, a funny-looking
animal sitting on the side of the road and everybody stops and takes a look at it and

somebody sketches it and then you, you keep going until you find the next new thing.

You know, somebody, somebody has brought a whichtamagig and you look at the
whichtamagig and it wanders around and it whacks people on the forehead.

And that's fascinating too.

You just never know what you're going to find.

So it's all about studying and learning and discovering new things."

David: "But we have the ordinary and we have what happened with your friend, Wolfbert Rumblebelly.

Normally, wouldn't he be curious about this stuff?

And here he is skittish and he wouldn't really tell us anything."

Alex: "Yeah, what's gotten into him?

I don't understand.

Like secrets -- secrets on this level just don't seem normal."

Fai: "It's not normal in your society for people to hoard knowledge.

They share it.

They celebrate it."

Alex: "Well, I don't know about society as a whole, but certainly in Brastlewark
we're a city founded for curious exploits and interesting academic undertakings.

And so yes, people have done some mysterious things in the past, but it's not like, I don't know.

If somebody had built an entire other Scholarium institution, but wasn't willing to talk about it.

Like, no, they'd be talking about it.

They'd be telling us all about this amazing thing.

They'd be announcing who the head of the new department was.

And here, you know, I know absolutely nothing about it.

I've never heard of it."

Fai: "And your friend is worried and skittish.

This does sound more and more suspicious."

Alex: "Oh, definitely.

Something strange is afoot here.

And then with Ember returning, all of the strange things are coming together and I
can't help but feel that there must be some connection, something we can figure out."

Fai: Very well, let's approach this as academically as we can.

Where shall we begin?"

Alex: "Well, if this were truly an academic enterprise, we'd go and we'd read a few papers
and we'd bring them to tea the next morning with all the professors at the Scholarium.

And we'd discuss the papers and see if anybody has any other
theories, but I don't know if that's really the right approach now.

I mean, maybe we should, consider ourselves more in the anthropological vein.

We can go and just, observe the passing by and make notes,
make a detailed survey of what we think is important."

Fai: So the question is: if we're going to go spy on this place for a while beforehand?

And if so, how, right?

That's what we're trying to figure out right now?

Justin: It's in the hills, right?

Esther: It is, yes.

Justin: Does this area have a lot of like foliage, underbrush, or is it more like barren?

Esther: There's a mixture.

I would say on some of the lower levels, there's a mixture of underbrush and trees.

And then as you get towards the top, there are some bare crowns.

Justin: It might be plausible for us to just, you know, find a
good spot that's sort of overlooking the traffic and park there.

Fai: Would it be noticeable if we're parked together or should we just, should we sort of
like, divide the party and disperse to different places so that we can get a broader view?

Justin: I would probably be fairly not strange...

as just a wild dog.

So I could presumably, you know, just be around that area.

Fai: So what you're saying is that you can do a lot of the footwork because you're
just a dog and nobody's going to really be like, "what's this dog doing here?"

Because dogs just live their little dog lives and do what they're going to do?

Justin: Yeah.

That sounds reasonable.

You're a Rogue!

[chuckles] So I imagine you could be quite stealthy.

Fai: Ideally so.

We'll see how the rolls roll, but is that what I'm designed to do?


Will I accomplish that?

Question mark.

Let's see, bébés!

Justin: We can only try.

Do we want to go this evening or do we want to sleep on it?

Fai: It's conceivable that we could do a little bit of pre-creeping this evening.


Well, how far -- I don't really understand how far of a far, anything is.

You know what I mean?

Justin: Literally on the opposite side of the city.

Esther: It's on the opposite side of the city and a little ways outside it.

Fai: Yeah, but like how big is the city?

Esther: It would probably take you, about forty-five minutes to an hour of walking,
depending on how fast you go to get from one side of the city to the other from

where you are now --which is like fairly south-- to the north side of the city.

And then, maybe another half hour, forty-five minutes to get to a good place to spy...

you, you would guess.

You're not exactly sure.

Fai: I think it's reasonable to do that tonight.

How about you?

Justin: Yeeeeah!

Fai: Let's do some pre-creeping.

How's everybody's eyesight?

Justin: Oh.




Esther: Yeah, does anybody have darkvision?

Fai: Moi!!

Justin: I don't even have low-light vision.

The nice thing is that if you light everything on fire, you can see things.

Fai: We got to get you some doggie goggles.

Alex: I've got low-light vision too, so.

Fai: All right.

Well, that means that by our powers combined, we should be fine.


Alex: Professor Z would be all for this plan, but doesn't really, I don't know.

Is not in tune with being subtle and sneaky.

So, you know, would be kind of likely to bring Buster along and go clanking around places.

Fai: So maybe we could encourage Professor Z to leave Buster behind?

Justin: No, no!


Strong disagree!

Fai: Okay.

Well as the Rogue, it is my solemn duty.--

Justin: We just need a ruse

Fai: --to argue that if we're going on a stealth mission, we
should not bring the fucking broken washing machine with legs.

Justin: We just need a ruse.

If we have to, we can dress up Buster as a tree.

David: Three gnomes in a trench coat...

[cast laughter]

Esther: Can you think of any reason why someone might
bring a collection of instruments to an observatory?

[cast laughter]

Fai: The fact that the music came in with like a [sound effect] boop!


At that moment...

Justin: Oh I

-- Fai: was chef's kiss!

Justin: I like this thought actually.

I like the idea of basically being like, "oh, we're here
with the, you know, whatever instrument for the observatory."

Buster carrying, like, you know, a bunch of lenses or whatever.

Fai: Okay.

Well, hmmm.

Alex: It's definitely something you could convince Prof Z to do.

Prof Z is more likely to just wander up with Buster
and be completely honest because he has no, uh...

Justin: Tact?

Alex: Yeah.

Limited tact.

Very limited tact.

Justin: I think we should...

at least for the night, I think we should just go and poke around.

It's probably less likely to be an issue.

I mean, if we run into guards, we set them on fire.


That's the easy thing.

David: We're the heroes, right?

[cast laughter]

Justin: I am a dog.

My sense of morality is not that complicated.

Fai: I'm not going to protest if you want to bring your
big-ass, clankin'-ass machine on a stealth mission, but.

Let's see what happens.

If we die, we die, right?

Justin: Ember will finish off his chicken bone and
is going to wag his tail and like, paw at the door.

Fai: Let me...

before we go, friends, let me just get a bit of clarification.

Professor, what exactly will you say if we run into somebody who asks you why you are here?"

" Alex: Oh, I want to learn about the observatory."

Fai: "Well, here is my concern, friends.

Seems to me as though this is a stealth mission.

Now, in a stealth mission..."

Alex: "Well, why?

We just want to learn about the observatory."

Fai: "Okay.

Let's do this.

Due to the fact that the observatory has been treated with such secrecy,
one can extrapolate the information that it is not simply as easy as walking

up and saying, "Hello, just tell me everything about the conservatory!"

Because if that was the case, then the whole city would know about it already.

It would have already been a matter of discussion at one of these -- I
don't know symposia, whatever these words I don't understand are -- one

of your gatherings that you have, the intellectual gatherings.

Surely, if it was that simple to get in, somebody would have
already brought it to your attention at such a gathering."

Alex: "You're right.

It's strange that I haven't heard of it, but I just feel like that must be an oversight.

The king, you know, I'm pretty sure he kinda likes me.

He was part of my appointment process to the Scholarium.

And so I just, I feel like it just must be an oversight that
they haven't really advertised this new program they've got."

Fai: It's perfectly sensible that it might be an oversight.

However, an abundance of caution might serve us in case it
was not an oversight and it's something much more suspicious.

You are a very smart individual.

Perhaps it's premeditated that you don't already know what's happening here.

Perhaps they don't want you specifically to know, because if they
invite you in, then you're going to look around zoom, zoom, zoom!

Figured it out!"

Alex: "Well, you're right.

Wolfbert was quite uncomfortable with our questions, but I really didn't expect that.

And that's why I just thought that I would wander over
to the observatory and just ask them what was going on.

I mean, it's all one academic to another.

I guess you're saying you, you think it might be a little bit dangerous?"

David: "I mean, it went beyond uncomfortable, right?

Like we literally heard about things disappearing, right?

Names disappearing from books.

If the King wants these names to disappear, how likely is it to make us disappear...

if we get caught?"

Alex: "That's a good point.

That's a good point.

Well, you know, I, I suppose if that happened, I would just press the
little remote button for Buster and we'd all have a little bit of a...

percussive exit."

Fai: [laughs loudly]

David: "If we're bringing Buster with us, maybe he might be useful as a distraction.

He could conceivably go in a way where we want them to notice.

Is Buster sentient?"

Alex: I don't think so.

I think Buster is like, you can vaguely give Buster commands and
Buster sort of does them, but it's, they're not sophisticated.

I don't know.

I think of Buster as having the, like, sophistication and commands that
those little drones you can buy have, where you can be like "go to this place

and hold your position" or "come back to me" or "circle me a whole bunch."

Like Buster can do all that.

David: So if he like, explodes and we couldn't recover him, would it be
like a huge emotional thing or would it be like he's meant to do that?

Alex: If we couldn't recover him, it would be an emotional problem for Professor Z.

Like if Buster were taken away completely, yeah.

Justin: Okay.

Good to know for our planning.

Esther: I will say that the mechanism by which you can explode
him in combat, you are able to piece him back together.

Alex: Or I was thinking like, if I sent him into the observatory, the gate closes behind him,
and then he blows up, I can't get in to get all the pieces and that, that eliminates it, right?

But I've definitely blown him up before, and like in the, you know,
ship of Theseus sense, this might be the fourth or fifth edition to

Buster, but just one part has been replaced at a time as he blows up.

Fai: Okay, here's my concern.

And I can tell you this as me or I can tell you as Temerity.

But Buster presumably is a little bit-- what's the word I'm looking for?

Everybody knows Buster's yours, bro.

If we go

Alex: Yeah, Buster's very conspicuous

-- Fai: conspicuous!

Buster is conspicuous as fuck.

Literally everybody in this whole goddamn town knows that Buster belongs to Professor Z.

So using Buster as a distraction works, but it also like, outs us.

Or at least Professor Z.

Alex: "If we just want to go sneaking around, I'm a little bit uncomfortable with all the
sneaking around, but if that's what we really want to do, I'll just leave Buster here.

Uh, Buster can...

collect some more fuel while he's sitting here and charge up.

Fai: That is -- as your party rogue -- that is my recommended course of action.

However, you may all decline my recommended course of action, and I will gladly go along with it.

That's cool.

I'm just putting it out there.

Alex: "That seems perfectly fine with me.

There's clearly something really strange going on here and, you know, I
would just really love to ask them about it, but if you think that's a really

bad idea, maybe I'll trust you for a bit and we'll just see how this goes.

Like clearly something suspicious is occurring."

Fai: "I'm glad to hear this.

I think for the sake of your safety-- I'm a stranger.

I can leave this city, disappear, they'll never hear from me or see me again.

This is your home.

They could destroy you if there is something sinister going on.

If there's nothing bad happening, great!

If there is something bad happening, well, better safe."

Alex: "Oh, I really doubt it's that bad.

But if you insist, we'll do it your way for at least tonight.

If we don't figure anything out, tomorrow I'll just head over to
the King's academic minister and, and ask him what's going on."

Fai: I will have an expression

[cast chuckles]

-- of holding the fuck out of my tongue because I have won for now.

And tomorrow's battle is tomorrow's battle.

"Very well.

I'm glad that you accept this.

It's all a concern for your safety."

Esther: So the plan, as I understand it, is that the four of you, without
Buster, are going to make your way into the foothills tonight to see

what you may see, and then decide on how to act on that information.

Justin: Yes.

Esther: Okay.

I say we take a break and then do that after the break.

Fai: Great.

Justin: Sounds good to me!

Alex: Sounds good.

Esther: All right, friends.

So as I understand it, the plan is to make your way toward the hills tonight...

gather what information you can.


So you're leaving Buster behind.

Who is leading?

Justin: Ember will lead.

Esther: Ember, do you know how to get to where you want to go?

Justin: Of course not!

Fai: Is it still daylight?

How long have we spent chatting over food and

-- Esther: it's definitely late twilight.

Fortunately for you, the moon is going to be bright tonight and you
don't have a lot of light pollution, so the stars are helping you, too.

But it's getting toward nighttime.

You're also in the city right now.

So there, there are like streetlamps and such--

Justin: Okay.

Esther: --that have been lit and light coming out of homes and institutions and stuff.

So yeah, you can make your way through the city pretty well.

I would take either a Survival or a Society check from Ember.

Justin: Survival it is.

Do you want this secret?

Esther: Yes, please.

Fai: I don't know how much this is actually going to help, but can I roll...

I guess Society to see if like wherever he goes, if he's
going in the general right direction, I will follow.

But if he's not, I would like to gently steer him into what is.

But if I'm wrong, then who knows?!

Esther: [laughs]

Justin: I do not see a secret Survival option.

My modifier is five if you want to roll it.

Esther: Okay.

You know, I think since you were the Survivor of the group, I maybe didn't make one.


Justin: [laughing] I am the Survivor...



Esther: Okay.

Well, it's going to take you a little longer than it normally might.

But you will have a sense for going the correct direction.

You just probably get a little sidetracked by the smells of like, dinner
and dessert, and interesting groups of people making noise, but he

does -- uh, and did Temerity roll this Society check for that purpose or...?

Fai: That's a previous one.

Let me go ahead and roll a new one.

Do you want it to be secret or nah?

Esther: Yeah.

Fai: Society, right?

Esther: Yes, Society.


Ember seems to be going in totally the right direction.

Fai: Great.

I'm going to follow him confidently.

Justin: Will get sidetracked by more garbage and be like, "Ah!

I've found it!

More chicken!

Wait, we were looking for an observatory..."

Fai: Does anybody who lives here want to check up on us or are we just gonna take this
whole trip for however long in whatever direction me, a stranger, and a dog think is right?

David: Gonna follow this dog!

Justin: To the ends of the earth!

Fai: You're gonna follow that dog into hell, aren't you?

David: Yup.

We're just, I'm just going to follow this dog to wherever he wants.

Justin: More chicken!

Esther: Professor Z, you, you would recognize they are going roughly the right direction.

Just a little bit roundabout, a little distractedly.

You'll, you will like go northwards, probably north and then east from
Professor Z's house to loop up around the city and get to where you want to go.

And you will pass by close to Convocatia Mysterium and Academica Juratio.

And actually, Professor Z, as Ember is sniffing around the compost
pile or the waste bin outside one of these institutions and like, some

people's houses that are nearby, you are going to hear a familiar voice.

And someone's going to say, [haughtily] "Oh, Z.

I didn't expect to see you out this late.

You can be such a homebody."

And Professor Z, this is your -- a fellow academic, shall
we say: Chaunsey Krixelmazz, Chair of The Tinkerings.

A fellow academic longtime rival.

Fai: Krixel...?


Esther: Krixelmazz, Chaunsey Krixelmazz.

Alex: "Ah, Chaunsey.

How's it going?"

Esther: "Well, you know, Z, it's going very well indeed.

Since I took over The Tinkerings, my career is simply
taking off to heights I never could have imagined before.

And how's it going for you?

How is your research with your little contraption?"

Alex: "Oh, well Buster's doing quite wonderfully, but you know, I'm here with these people?


my friends, I guess?!

Uh, wandering around.

But what have you been working on lately?"

" Esther: Oh, well.

May I not be introduced to your friends?"

Alex: "Oh, of course!

This is, this is Oom and this is Temerity and this is Ember."

Esther: Chaunsey will say, "Well, it's very nice to make your acquaintance.

I am Chaunsey Krixelmazz, Chair of The Tinkerings, a very fine institution in town.

Oom and Temerity and the dog, Ember...

And what is your business in Brastlewark.

Are you researchers?

Are you academics?"

David: "Well, I'm here mainly just to see the Festival of Flight and everything leading up to it.

It's been quite an adventure so far."

Esther: Uh, Chaunsey sort of looks you up and down and says, " Well, my
institution will be displaying various flying contraptions of our own invention.

I hope you will come by our booth and our demonstrations.

It's really wonderful to, to make your acquaintance, Oom."

And then seems to take no further notice of you.

Like, you're not actually a person who has anything important to offer me, so we're good now.

And turns toward you, Temerity, and says, "And, and you?

What could bring you to our city?"

Fai: "Temerity Vane, at your service.

I'm only here because my friend, the dog, is from here and I was escorting him back.

It's a magnificent city you have here."

Esther: "Isn't it, though?"

Fai: "I've never seen anything like it before.

Absolutely enchanting."

Esther: "I'm so flattered.

I have done much to help achieve what Brastlewark has
become, and I'm so flattered that you would think so.


Well, I really must be going."

And like, kind of does the same thing to you.

Like, clearly you're not offering me much.

And turns back

Fai: I got a GM question for you.

Esther: Mmhm?

Fai: I want to know what the vibe is.

I like is

Justin: Me too!

Fai: Is the -- okay.

Here are my several questions that I would like to put to you.

Is the vibe, is the antagonism between these two, one-sided or not?

Like, are, are they pointed?

Like, are they antagonistic towards Z, who doesn't notice, or is it a both ways situation?

Are they actually important or are they high on their own farts?

Are they hot or not, et cetera?

Justin: I just want to know if Chaunsey deserves being set on fire.

That's the only thing I want to know.

Esther: So I think one of those is going to be a secret Perception
roll for Temerity, and one will be a secret Society roll.

And for Ember, I guess, roll empathy?


Secret Perception.

[cast laughter] And it'll kind of be up to Professor Z to inform you about what the dynamic is

Justin: Oh, I'm gonna

Esther: --coming from Professor Z.

Justin: I'm gonna ask!

Esther: Okay.

Fai: If I, Temerity, am looking at you and looking at them and
looking at you and looking at them and watching whatever, I'm taking

all this in, what am I-- what's the vibe that I'm getting from you?

And then Esther can tell me what I can, what if anything I can get from them, from Chaunsey?

Does that sound right, Esther?

Esther: Yes, though I can just tell you, you find them both extremely hard to read.

Fai: Damn!


Esther: You're not quite sure what this vibe is.

They could both be very antagonistic towards each other.

Chaunsey could just be out to get Professor Z.

It's, it's really hard to say.

Fai: Society-wise?

Esther: You get the idea this guy is really into himself.

And like, if he's the Chair of The Tinkerings, that's a legit position.

He's probably got a fair amount of authority in the Scholarium circles and he's really into himself.

He thinks he's hot shit.

Justin: Is he about to become hot shit?

Esther: Ember you, you definitely-- so I, I will say
you would get feelings from Professor Z with your roll.

It was quite an intuitive roll.

So, Professor Z, take that as you will, that it was quite intuitive.

Ember, you would get from Chaunsey that Chaunsey is
fairly disdainful towards Z and is enjoying this.

Like is kind of enjoying, like -- this might be a lot for a dog, but


Justin: Yeah.

[Esther and Justin laugh]

Esther: Disdainful, disdainful, like you're not getting the vibe that he's
aggressive and is gonna like start a fight in the street or something like that.


Justin: Unpleasant.

Esther: Unpleasant, yeah.

Justin: Okay.

I can work with unpleasant.

Alex: There's a combination of wanting to impress and also being like jealous-annoyed.

Justin: Okay.

Once he leaves, I would like to have a brief word with Professor Z.

Esther: Well, he's going to say: "Z, are you excited about the opportunity?"

Alex: "Which opportunity are you talking about?"

Esther: "Oh!

Tosh, my boy!

The opportunity.

Do you mean to tell me you don't know?"

Alex: "I'm not sure what opportunity you're referring to."

Esther: "Surely you know, that the king has been in correspondence with a very,
very wealthy individual who is going to be at this year's Festival of Flight.

And the rumor has it, that this person -- very
mysterious -- might be willing to fund an entire institution.

I would think that anyone who is really in serious
consideration for such a thing would have been told.

Oh, Z!

How embarrassing!"

Alex: "Oh, I'm sure it was just an oversight."

" Esther: Yes.


you know, I might be able to let some gossip slip, if you want it.

Out of the goodness of my heart, I am so invested
in your tenure here and your, your academic success.

We've come up together, Z.

And I would hate to see your star falter before it's even taken off."

Alex: "Well, what do you mean?"

Esther: "Ah, you know what they say about the King and how many decades it
takes before one is out of the running completely to lead one's own institution.

One would hate to see such a thing happen to one's...


Alex: I'm at a little bit of a loss for what Z would actually do in this situation.

Probably just fall silent.

Justin: Ember will snarl.

Esther: This gnome sort of says, "Oh!

I don't do well with aggressive animals since Wolfbert
brought that squirrel to bit me.

I'll be going.

Do, um, come see me and well, when this individual arrives, I
will keep your name at the top of my mind for recommendations.

Ta-ta now, Z."

He will move off into the night rather quickly.

He gives sort of one backward glance at Ember and hastily moves away.

Justin: I would like to use Intimidating Glare.

Esther: Oh, okay.

Justin: That was not super intimidating.

[ laughs]

Esther: Can you roll the feat so I can remember exactly what it does?

Justin: Oh, Intimidating Glare.

It just lets me Intimidate without speaking.

Esther: Right.

Is there a DC that's involved?

Justin: It would be the Will DC.

It's just, it's a typical Demoralize check.

Esther: He doesn't seem terribly Demoralized.

Justin: I'm not suprised.


Esther: Just wants to move away fairly quickly.

And does so.

Justin: That's fair.

Ember will say to Professor Z, "He...

makes you upset.

Is he a bad person?"

Alex: "He's not a bad person.

I just find it a little...

[sighs] [sighs a second time] I guess it's...

they keep passing me over."

Justin: "People who make people upset are bad."

Alex: "No, no, I don't think it's quite that.

I don't think it's quite that.

My time will come."

Fai: Esther...

Esther: Mmhm?

Fai: Does Chauncey appear to be older than Professor Z?

Esther: No, not really.

Fai: Is there any way for me to, without asking Professor Z how old he is, determine that?

Like, can I get a ballpark or...?

Esther: You've known some gnomes in your time.

Roll Perception.

Fai: Okay.


Esther: Yes.

Fai: [laughs] You're going to be like, he is five hundred years old.

You know this to be fact.

Esther: It's really hard to say.

It's hard to guess at someone's age.

Fai: Okay.

Well, I'm going to have some discretion and not outright ask in this scenario.

"I'm sure your time will come, Z.

It seems like you have a lot going on for you and you aren't as un-- you aren't unpleasant.

Like that one is."

Alex: "Well, he can be, you know, a little difficult.

But it's, it's all about the discoveries you make."

Fai: "Has he made such discoveries as to justify the fact that
he suffers from what we in my culture call 'fart intoxication'?"

Alex: [laughs] Esther, I need...

whatever facts I might know here.

Esther: You feel that Chaunsey flattered his way-- flattery was helpful.

He flattered the right people.

He did the right things.

He had the support of the palace and some other senior academics.

And you know, whether he was the most deserving person
ever is debatable, but he certainly played the game well.

Fai: But he...

does he has the skills to pay the bills or is it all...?

Esther: He has the skills.

Again, like maybe not the most deserving person ever, but he can build things, yeah.

Fai: Can he build things better than Z?

Esther: Well, Temerity would not know this.

Fai: Let me ask.

"Z, being as honest as you can, do you think that you are a better builder than he is?"

Alex: "Well, yes.

I mean, I think I'm, I'm relatively under-recognized in the city for that though.

It's unfortunate."

Fai: "It is unfortunate.

Well, along!"

We're not there, right?

Esther: No, you can keep making your way there, though.

Justin: Ember will continue leading the way as we--

Fai: --we just got interrupted on our way to be called a group of dirty scrubs!

Esther: [laughs]

Fai: Essentially?

Esther: You were rather rudely interrupted, yes.

You'll have fairly uneventful time making your way
through, through the city and up into the foothills.

You hear some lingering hammerings and chatter coming out of The Tinkerings,
which is this loose assortment of buildings in the north of the city.

And you see many lights on in what's called The Aerie, which
is a collection of buildings also like toward the foothills.

And you'll probably take one of the paved paths that leads towards
The Aerie, which is the collection of building of the foothills,

I should say, that focuses on flight and mechanics of flight.

And you can take one of those paved paths, which is also probably lit.

And then it'll take you about probably an hour and a half from where you currently are to really
get into any kind of position near the observatory or drawing near a path that would lead up to it.

Ember, roll me one more Survival check.

Justin: Ugh.


Esther: Yeah.

Justin: Okay.


Esther: Right.

I forgot.

I have to roll it for you.

Yeah, you-- once you are out of the city and the bouquet of smells, of food waste
at least, is a little bit dissipated it's very clear to you the path you must take.

And you navigate through the underbrush or, or towards the clearest part of the
trails -- that it seems like there's trails from like a cart track, it's very

easy to follow as you draw near to the foothill that the observatory is on.

And you're able to guide the party there easily.

Justin: Let my nose lead the way.

Esther: So is anybody else doing anything as you, as you make your way?

Like, looking out for people...

trying to be stealthy...?

Fai: I'm trying to be stealthy and look out for people and
make sure that I think that he's going in the right direction.

Esther: So start by rolling a secret Perception check.


You think he's going in the right direction and while you, you notice, at first just
people, it seems like, going about their business near their houses, which are on the

outskirts of the city, or probably working in The Tinkerings or The Aerie, roll me Stealth
next and I will tell you what else you might notice as you get near to this foothill.

Oh, okay.

You Temerity, I'll say, are like, kind of out front with Ember and you eventually
see that there's a couple people on the path ahead of you a little ways and

you could get close to them, close enough to overhear their conversation.

There's, there two gnomes with a little cart that is being drawn by a pair of goats.

One of them is saying: [ deep sigh] "I took on this project because I was
excited about it and never had anything -- the opportunity to make anything

like this before, but I don't know how much longer I can take this."

And the other one says, [light Long Island accent] "Now, Aelfric, I know it's been rough, but
I think if we just stick it out, eventually we'll be able to talk about what we're doing here.

Don't you think?"

And the one who is apparently named Aelfric says, "I don't know, I-- all this clockwork,
all this tinkering, and these instruments, we take them up there month after month.

What for?

I'm frustrated.

He can find someone else to do this work for him.

If we can't talk about it and get this credit, I'm out."

They're continuing up the road.

They don't seem to notice you.

Fai: As soon as I can hear people talking, I'll turn to everybody who's behind me and
kind of give them a hold on sign so that we won't be overheard approaching any further.

And then I'll just listen to all of that and at a low voice, relay it to everybody.

"So there's definitely secrets happening here.

And ones that people are upset about."

Justin: We should follow them."

Alex: "They sounded like students."

Fai: "Do you know a student named Aelfric?"

Alex: "I don't believe I know them personally, but I just, I don't know.

They sounded like students."

David: "Why did they sound like students to you?"

Alex: "Complaining about a research advisor is a time-honored passion of a student
who hasn't yet learned to really appreciate the education they're getting."

Justin: Because they sounded like reasonable people in an academic context...

David: And they weren't getting any credit for their work!

Fai: "You know, they were concerned about getting credit for the work.

You're right.

You're right.

Very wise, very astute."

Alex: "Exactly.

Many, many apprentices at The Tinkerings can be a little bit ungrateful
for, you know, the opportunity to learn from the great masters."

Fai: "Did you have to, to evolve past being ungrateful?"

Alex: "Well, I spent years training, with various different academic
advisors and, you know, it was a difficult process over time, but now

that I've achieved faculty status, breakthrough is, is really coming soon.

But it takes that level of faculty understanding to be ready to make breakthroughs."

" David: So do you have students, too, that are
ungrateful about the work that they have to do for you?"

Alex: "Well, not at the moment.

I don't have any research assistants right now."

David: "Shocker."

Fai: Was that Oom, or you?

David: [laughing] That was Oom!

That was -- this was all Oom!

Fai: Just checking!

Lil spicy!

But, you know...

Alex: Professor Z is just not going to have heard that.

Fai: Whether or not he heard it, he didn't hear it?

Alex: Yeah.

Fai: [cast laughs] All right, all right!

Justin: Ember will continue following these cart people.

Fai: "Should we follow these people?"

Justin: "I will follow them."

I'm going to pretend to be a dog.

Alex: "I mean, if it were up to me, I'd just wander right up to them, but I don't have Buster.

So I'm a little, you know, unsure on my feet."

Fai: I mean, okay.

I'll, I'll follow a little behind Ember.

I don't want to give him away as not just some random dog.

So I'm gonna, I'm going to utilize Stealth and Perception as best I can to creep on
these folks without being obvious about the fact that I am creeping upon these folks.

David: I'd like to look around more generally, just to see if anyone
is watching us or wondering if any of us look especially strange.

Alex: Prof Z is just gonna generally follow Temerity, but not as silently as Temerity.

Esther: Okay.

So, Oom, I need a secret Perception check, and Professor Z, I need a secret Stealth.

Justin: Do I need to roll Deception to more or less pretend that I am just--

Esther: Yes.

-- Justin: kind of a lost dog following--

Esther: Yes.

-- Justin: these people?

Esther: Roll me a secret Deception check

Justin: Yeah, I figured.

I figured.

Oh, this is going to be bad.

Esther: Yeah.

[horrified laughter] None of y'all have rolled very well.


And Temerity, I didn't ask for a roll, right?

Fai: I don't think so.

Esther: I think you're, still Stealthing and you were Stealthing very well.



Fai: Okay, well, can Z see me?

How well am I Stealthing, is the question...

Esther: It's unclear, because [laughs] If you would like to Hero Point any of these rolls

Justin: Nope!

Esther: I just want to let -- okay.

Fai: Okay.


Justin: Whatever happens, happens.

Fai: Yeah, whatever happens, happens!

Esther: A large root seems to present itself to Professor Z's
feet, and his feet become acquainted with this, this large root.

And he goes down in a tumble, perhaps crying out for the, um, absent Buster.

It makes quite a commotion on that Natural 1...

Fai: Oof.

Esther: [laughs]

Oom, you take in the beautiful stars and as you first begin looking
around, you take in the beautiful stars and, um, remember like, the

vision you saw of a dragon crying and it, it speaks to your heart.

And then you hear Professor Z fall down and you turn around to see Professor
Z, like sprawling on the ground or dusting himself off, one way or the other.

And Ember, you've trotted up to these, um, these two gnomes and
their two goats, just pretending to be a regular dog who's lost.

They turn around and see Oom kind of looking, looking to the sky
and then looking to Professor Z, who has, uh, loudly tripped.

And then they look at you and one of them says "What's going on?!"

Justin: I will whine as though begging for food.

Esther: [light Long Island accent] "Excuse me, folks.

Um, you may be in town for the festival, but you're really not
allowed on this path and your dog shouldn't be up here either.

We're going to have to ask you to, to please leave.

This is private, private Thrune land."

Fai: Can -- are they addressing me?

I don't know if they can

Esther: No.

Fai: I don't know where -- okay, they can't see me.

Esther: No, they're addressing Oom and Professor Z, who they may have mistaken for a couple.

It's not clear.

Justin: They've got a cart, right?

Esther: Yeah.

Justin: What is on this cart?

Esther: Various piles of metal, large metal objects.

Justin: Are any of those small and detached enough that I could grab one?

Esther: Yes.

Why not?

There, there is a small enough piece of metal that you would be able to, uh,
grab it as it's like hanging off the back of the cart and get it in your mouth.

Justin: I will do that.

Esther: Okay.

The other one says, "No!

No, no, no, no, no!

I worked so hard on this!


Please call-- have your-- drop!


Sit and drop!"

Justin: I'm going to do this thing where, you know, like how, when you're
trying to get a thing away from a dog and they just kind like, bound

away and then turn around and like stare at you and wag their tail?

I'm going to do that in the direction that they're going.

I am making the most distracty-est distraction I can.

Esther: Okay.

Well, one of them, the one who seemed to be named Aelfric, Temerity, is going to
take off running after Ember, like just begging you to, to please give it back.

The other one is going to turn to face Oom and Professor Z and be like, "What gives?

Folks, you need to call off-- call off this dog, please."

" David: We don't control him.

He just does what he wants to do."

Esther: This gnome gives you a

Justin: I am a force of nature!

-- Esther: very confused look.

"Well, I don't think that's gonna fly here.

Um, you need to be able to have him on a...a leash if he's just going to do that.

Not to tell you how to train your pet, but..."

Like starts stumbling over words and then turns to Professor Z like, appealing.

" Is there anything you can...


Alex: "He's not my dog."

Esther: "So the two of you...were walking out here under the moonlight following a random dog?"

Alex: "We, we were, we were just, we were just exploring."

Esther: "I'm sorry.

I'm going to have to ask you to leave one more time.

And if not, I'm going to have to call for backup.

This, this area is off limits to everybody, but, um, yeah, people who have
special permission to be here from King Drum Thornfiddle or House Thrune."

Alex: "I didn't realize there were so many off-limits areas.

I just, you know.

This is Brastlewark.

We just, we explore."

Esther: "I'm sorry.

You're from here?"

Alex: "Of course.

Where else would I be from?"

Esther: "I thought maybe you were comin' into town for the festival.

This is off limits.

Ah, what's your name?"

Alex: "Oh, well.

Well I-- I'm Professor Z."

Esther: "Great.

All right.

Professor Z, I'm going to ask you one last time, please exit this area and
if you don't do that, I'm gonna have to report you to the palace guard."

Alex: "To the palace guard?!

We were just out on a walk in the fields."

Esther: This person is really no-- seems like no-nonsense.

And they, they yell " Aelfric, I think we're gonna have a situation!

You may want to get things ready!"

Yeah, they, they seem to be very serious.

Alex: Professor Z is going to look at Temerity now, sort of trying to look for a cue.

Esther: I don't know if you knew where Temerity is, Temerity Stealthed very well

Fai: I'm hidden

-- Esther: and you rolled a natural one.

Fai: I have yet to out myself from these trees.

David: Is he -- does he look in like a general direction?

Alex: Yeah.

Look at the direction I came from!

David: That could be the absolute opposite direction!


Alex: Yeah!

Looking around, looking for somebody else to step up and say something.

Justin: Ember has forgotten why we're here and is
just now currently intent on playing with this thing.

Fai: Are you just still running or what?

Justin: YEAH!

[laughs] I haven't stopped!

Fai: You're having a -- you guys are playing a game, aren't you?

Justin: Yup.

Fai: I'm going to continue to pretend to be invisible
just in case I need to like, follow this person anywhere.

But I guess that's information that you guys don't know.

So maybe I should have kept it to myself.

I'm sorry.

I mean, you could always, you know, call to me in the trees and see if I say anything.

Alex: Well, so after looking around for a little bit, I
think I'll be, I'll say Oom, "Where did everybody go?"

David: "Well, wait, wait.

Let's pull back a minute.

We don't want this to be a situation.

Maybe you could just explain to us which areas are off limits and we can back up."

Esther: "Pal, I'm telling you.

This, this whole path up this particular foothill -- and the
structure on top of this foothill-- this foothill is off limits.

You can go climb one of the other ones.

No problem.

You can go bother the people at The Aerie, no problem.

This path and this foothill and the thing on top of it?


David: "Okay, well, we're, we're sorry.

We didn't realize that this foothill was so important.

Why is this one foothill so important?"

Esther: [sighs] "You would have to ask King Drum Thornfiddle.

I don't know."

David: "I mean, well, you seem like an important person since you were so protective of this place.

Maybe you could just share a bit with us?"

Esther: Roll Diplomacy.

Fai: Oh, I hope your Diplomacy's good!

Esther: [appreciative sigh] "You know, it's been a long time
since I heard someone like, recognize the work that I'm doing.

Let me tell you, the King does not appreciate what we do here.

And I'm grateful that like, now you seem to understand,
that you do appreciate what we're doing here.

Cause like, sometimes I got a lot of questions about it, you know?"

Like, they seem to have experienced an unburdening and almost miraculous change of mood.

"You know, it's, it's rough.

We take these things week after week, month after
month, year after year, to the top of this foothill.

They use them up there for various purposes.

Nothing ever seems to get finished.

You know, we're not allowed to share our tinkerings or our research, our process with anyone.

So we're not getting credit for it.

I mean, my career is important to me, and keeping the colors bright is important to me.

And the recognition is all part of that.

You like to be recognized for the work you do.

And it's frustrating when we gotta come up here under cover of darkness.

There are things I would rather be doing, you know what I mean?"

David: "Absolutely.

It's, it's so unfair to have your credit stolen from you."

" Esther: You get it."

David: "So, so what exactly are you, are you doing?"

Esther: [long sigh] "It's some kinda observatory.

It's House Thrune and the King's pet project.

I couldn't tell you why.

Ugh, they don't share those details.

So, um, we just make parts for telescopes, I assume.

Uh, sometimes for the gears of the whole place and we bring them up here.

And they try 'em out, we make 'em according to the specifications.

Sometimes we have input into that process and then we see
if they work or not and, ah, lather rinse repeat, you know?"

David: "That's really cool.

So what kind of input do you give?"

Esther: "Well, ah, mostly design.

Like, does it seem to be working engineering-wise?

Does it seem to be working design-wise?

Are people able to look through properly?

Are there any hitches in operation?

We make a lot of prototypes, test them out...

you know, it's, it's all very complicated actually."

David: "Well, I'm sure it's too complicated for me to understand, but, the professor here
might be able to -- I don't know if he can-- Professor, do you know anything about telescopes?"

Esther: In character or out of character?


David: In character!

[laughter] I know that Alex knows a lot about telescopes...

Oom is doubtful that Professor Z knows anything about telescopes...

[more laughter]

Alex: Yeah, I don't know if Professor Z knows anything about telescopes.

Esther: It's fair to say no...

David: I don't know if That Guy would say no.

Alex: Yeah, I think Professor Z though is just a little bit sort of,
out of sorts from having, you know, tripped and fallen on his face.

Justin: Esther, I would like to use an Ancestry Feat.

Esther: Yes!

Justin: I would like to use Dig Quickly.

Esther: Dig Quickly?

Justin: Yes.

Esther: What would you like to use Dig Quickly to do?

Justin: So Dig Quickly allows me to dig a small pit and throw out, I believe it is a...


I kick up a cloud of grit in a direction of my choice, in a cone.

So I would like to do that in the direction of the person following
me, and then put the item in the hole that I dig and then cover it.

Esther: Okay.

David: Can we see him still?

Or is he like far enough away that like, we can't see this happening?

Esther: You're beginning to go up a path that's like,
kind of got some switchbacks on it and some overgrowth.

So I'm going to say you probably can't see it happening.

Fai: Is Ember faster than the guy who's chasing him?

Justin: Probably.

I'm pretty speedy.

Esther: I would imagine so, yes.

Fai: You might be able to actually conceal this thing
and then come back and put them out of sorts or what?

Justin: We shall see what Ember does.

I have no idea at this moment--

Fai: You're a dog, so yeah

Justin: Ember might be like, oh yeah, I was supposed to find the observatory.

Esther: Ember you, you Dig Quickly and you're able to drop this, and
then so you, you dig it and you kick up a cloud of grit at the person

following you, right, so they're, they're a little bit hampered.


What do you do next?

Justin: Ember will will -- after, you know, burying the thing that he
got of, you know, his own rightful effort-- he will remember that he was

supposed to be finding an observatory and try to keep finding that observatory

Esther: Okay.

Roll Perception.

Justin: Yeahhh!


Esther: Yes.

Justin: Oh nooo, wish me luck.

Esther: Well, fortunately, luck was very, very, very on your side.

You, you begin to round a corner, like up this winding path, and you smell metal.

And then you, you're able to hear these like, movements that are very clank,
clank, clank, but unlike Buster who is maybe like a comforting clank, clank

clank, and some like jangley sounds of loose bits, this is just like clank clank.

And then it, it sounds like, you know, something taking a stance.

And you are able to make out in the moonlight and the
starlight, two large metal forms that look like suits of armor.

And then like a distance behind them, but gleaming in the
moonlight, one more large metal form on this pathway up the hill.

The suits of armor that they all have weapons.

Justin: I assume that they do not look friendly?

Esther: They do not look friendly.

Justin: I was about to say, I don't think they look friendly.


Ember will take this in and sneaky-sneak his way back.

Esther: So you want to sneak?

Justin: Sure.

Esther: Roll me some Stealth!

Justin: Some stealth we got!

Esther: They don't seem to notice you.

Justin: Sweet.

I will sneaky-sneak my way back past a, I imagine, frantically-digging Aelfric.

Fai: How far away is the non-Aelfric person who's talking to Oom and Z from their cart?

Esther: Um, they're right next to it.

Fai: Oh, okay.


All right.

I will remain quiet.

Justin: Why be sneaky?

Just take the things you want!

Fai: [laughs]

Justin: It clearly works!

Fai: And then bury them somewhere where the person is going to find them immediately?

Are you planning to go retrieve that or did you just, it's gone now?

It's-- no longer exists, you went to find the observatory, et cetera.

Justin: I don't have the biggest attention span.

Fai: [laughs]

No, I mean, it's relatable as fuck is what I'm saying.

All right.

I'm going to continue to be quiet and if I'm able to...

how close am I to this cart?

I want to know if I can see any, like, if I can identify any of the objects that are in the cart.

Esther: You're in the trees somewhere?

Fai: Yes.

Esther: You're probably at least like 20 feet away from this cart I don't know, like uh...

roll Perception!

Why not?

Fai: Okay.

I mean, 20 feet is still well within view and I have darkvision, but I don't know what I rolled, so!

Esther: There are some like, covers over a lot of it, like the ends are sticking out and, from
what you can gather of like, the shapes that the sheets are masking, there may be a couple

of like, large gears and several different kinds of rods of various lengths, metal rods, and
some long, like cylindrical-type objects that are kind of maybe in the shape of telescopes...

Fai: So nothing outside of pretty much what I just heard him talking about?

Esther: Yeah.

Fai: It all lines up.

Esther: It all checks out, yeah.

Fai: Okay.


I'm just going to see if this conversation that Oom's having continues to go anywhere.

David: "So, you know, you all are obviously doing some very important work and
while we don't control the dog, we really are sorry he took your telescope thingy.

We definitely want to help you, but we understand if you need to kick us out.

But if it's not too much trouble, could we like...

follow you for a bit?

Maybe like, see if we can get the dog to give it back
to you so you can continue doing your important work?"

Esther: "I appreciate it.

I think it might be more difficult for us if you follow us up here.

We can always make another one, I don't think he got
anything horribly important, and Aelfric took off after him.

It's just best we, we part ways.

We can forget this incident happened.

It's all right."

David: "It's just that, you know, it's such a beautiful
night and all, and we just want to be able to help.

If there's any way, I mean, someone as important as yourself could give us permission to just...

see whatever it is that you're comfortable with us seeing.

And if not, you know, we can go back down."

Esther: Roll Diplomacy once more.

"You're good.

And I appreciate that.

But, uh, I'm not that important.

And, um, I really think it's best if you're going on your way."

David: "Okay.

Well, sorry again, that the dog took your telescope thingy.

If we ever get it back, is there a way we could return it to you?"

Esther: "Nah.

[incoherent noises of denial] Don't worry about that.

Enjoy the Festival of Flight.

Enjoy your time here.

Enjoy getting to know this friend of yours even better and I don't know what...


Good to meet you all.

Let's be on our separate ways."

He will turn around and start urging the goats forward.

Fai: I'm going to wait until he's some ways away before I emerge out of the trees.

Esther: Ember you can be getting back around this time.

And you can probably hear Aelfric in the distance say, "Oh, it's here.

I've got to wipe it off now, but I think it's all going to be alright."

You can hear them continuing up.

Justin: Ember will pad up to Oom, like kind of excitedly and be like, "I made a distraction."

David: I'll pet him.

"Good boy!"

Justin: [chuckles]

David: It's a good boy!"

Justin: [chuckles more]

" I found the place.

It is guarded by big metal people."

Fai: Hmmmm!

"Ember, when you say big metal people, can you mean
big like me or a little bit bigger than me or very, very big?"

Justin: "They were bigger than me."

David: "Professor, is it normal for guards to be big metal people?"

Alex: I don't think so?

Esther: I would actually say you would know that in Brastlewark it's not unusual
for someone to have, say, a clockwork construct or an animated object do guard duty.

Alex: So it's not surprising that, that there's some constructs around here?

Fai: In the realm of normality?

Justin: Presumably expensive.

Esther: You would know that you'd have to have some resources behind affording
this, but it doesn't seem out of-- it seems reasonable given the kind of

money that often comes to the academic institutions in Brastlewark and to the
King and to -- if House Thrune is involved, they have the ability to do that.

Fai: Okay.

I need another refresher on what exactly House Thrune-- like they're not the monarchy.

The monarchy is separate.

Justin: House Thrune is the main Chelish monarchy.

Fai: Okay.

Esther: Yes.

Fai: But this guy made his little deal so that he could be
King here, but nobody knows the circumstances of the deal.

And this is why I was having a Charlie-connecting-the-yarn
moment about everything because that's supes suspiciosos!

Esther: Yes.

Fai: Right?

Esther: Yes, that is it.


Fai: Okay.



Okay, great.

Got it.



"So basically we're finding more and more suspicious information
about this alliance between House Thrune and the local King.

Is that right?

Should we head back?"

Alex: "Well, I, you know, I, I had a little dust-up there."

Justin: "We should see what's in the observatory.

We came here to do that."

Fai: "Well, Ember, the professor has, has had his brush with,
um, danger tonight, I think, and he's been very brave for it.

But we've already done that and we've discovered that they work at night.

So it would be smart for us to come back not at night, when they're not working."

Justin: "But observatories are for nighttime.

I am confused."

Fai: "This is true.

But if, if the observatory is used at night, then if we go there at night, we will be caught.

But if we go there not at night, then maybe we're a little bit less likely
to get caught and a little bit more likely to find out some information."

Justin: Ember looks confused, but -- for a bit and then just says "You are smart."

Fai: "Thank you."

Justin: He just wags his tail.

Fai: "You did a very good job.

That was a wonderful distraction you made."

Justin: "I am a good dog."

Fai: "You are a great dog.



David: "Yeah, I think it makes, it makes sense for us to go back for the night."

Alex: "Yeah."

Fai: "Z, do you feel safe going home by yourself or would you like to stay with us?"

Alex: "Oh, I'd, I'd like to head home for the night."

Fai: "Okay."

Justin: "I could sleep here, if that would be convenient, and keep watch."

Fai: Here where?

Justin: Like on the path to the observatory.

Fai: Ohhhhh.

Justin: I'm a dog, I don't need, like, a bed.

Fai: Would that be, does anybody think that would be helpful?

David: "I just, I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to, to Ember.

I think it's appreciated, but he's already made himself known.

We don't really...

I don't want him taken."

Justin: Okay.

We can go back.

Fai: Ember, I think you're better with us than away from us.

If anything, if we split up, you should go with Professor to make sure he gets home safe.

If we're worried about his safety."

Alex: "Well, once we're in Brastlewark, I'm not worried about my safety, but
you know, that just was, it was quite the brush with that tree root there!

That thing almost, you know, jumped out and killed me."

Justin: Ember is, looks dead serious and says, "I will protect you from the trees."

" Alex: Well, thank you Ember!"

" Fai: Well, now we have nothing to worry about."

David: "Trees are generally afraid of fire."

Fai: That's true.

That is true and fair.

Esther: It'll probably be about midnight by the time you each get back to wherever you're
staying for the night and you could maybe sleep in a little later than usual tomorrow.

It will probably be a chunk, whatever you decide to do next.

So this could be a good stopping place for now.

Justin: Good.

Fai: That works for me.

Alex: Sounds good.

Esther: All right.

We will leave it that Professor Z and it sounds like
Ember get back to Professor Z's house, and are able to...

either find a surface to sleep on or not, I guess.

And Oom and Temerity can make it back to Lilyfrost Inn.


Um, as you're going in, Miv will be closing down their set for
the night as people are emptying out of the Tavern and going home.

And they'll say, [Appalachian accent] "Oh!

Y'all were out mighty late tonight, huh?"

Fai: "You know, there's always adventures to be had in a city like this."

Esther: "Oh, most definitely.

What'd you get up to?"

Fai: "Exploration.

Did you know..."

and I'll just start bullshitting about like the places where the, you were describing
earlier, like where the thing goes curvy and the building goes wobblies and like, places

where you turn and you thought that there was a path, but really it's somebody's house.

But if you're lucky they're going to invite you into their house and you
could have lunch with them, and I'm just going to on and on and on, on

that kind of tip and not talk about the shit that we're actually doing.

But everything I'm saying is legit.

'Cause we did do all of that.

Esther: "Yeah.

I, uh, I like wanderin' around this town.

I ain't never really been in a place with this many of my own, my own kind before.

Uh, and it's pretty neat to see.

I mean, I've been to some little gnome villages here and there, little, little towns,
little cities, but uh, ain't, ain't never been one like this and it is mighty U-NIQUE.

I'm mighty interested.

I've been wanderin' around this circular kind of
spiral park, and, I, I'll be here for a little while.

So I'm excited to find all these places you've just so kindly told me about, Temerity.

Say, did you know that there's this weird place up in the hills they won't let you into?"

Fai: "Where's that?"

Esther: "Oh, well, when I was coming here, you know, I just like to go all around and I've
been through the hills before, so I just reckoned I might walk up and see what was there.

And they was these, um, these big, old hulkin' things, they wanted to keep me out.

And some people come down after a while and said I hadn't no business there.

And I thought that was mighty curious, but not wanting to
get myself into anything, I didn't, didn't get into anything.

Just came on into town."

" Fai: Miv, how big were the big hulking things like, like my size or
like bigger than me a little bit, or like very much bigger than me?"

" Esther: Aw, well, um, a little bigger than you, I would say.


Little bigger than you."

Fai: I'm gonna flex.


"It's like a construct or a person in, in, in mail armor or what?"

Esther: Roll Diplomacy.

Fai: Ugh!

That wasn't good!

I would like to Hero Point that!

Thank you.

Much better!

Esther: That's much better.


Justin: Convince them to give into that curiosity.

Esther: "Well, I will admit I've come across a couple things like that in my travels before.

And, um, since I'm alone this time around, it's not that I don't think I could take 'em.

It's just, it's kind of going to be kind of a pain, and I had the
dulcimer with me and, you know, nobody else to look out for it.

And I'd hate to lose that, but yeah, you fight animated armor like that, it's a whole time.

And I think they may have had somethin' else with them.

You know, somethin' that can do a little more damage, as it were.

Well, I would want to be with a group of people if I were going
to take it on and really try to see what's happenin' up there."

Justin: You don't say.

Fai: What was the thing I was going to ask, I forgot
'cause I got so distracted by that, Miv's whole thing.

David: We'll just be just distracted lowkey checking out Temerity flexing, right?


Fai: [laughs]

"Were they, were they rude to you?

It was very scary, they seemed like they would, they would hurt you if you didn't leave?"

Esther: "Oh, I mean, it didn't frighten me, but yeah, I guess if I were
a little less traveled, little less worldly, it would have been scary.

Yeah, they, they didn't want me there.

And, um, these people were, were coming down and they suggested I leave
and told me all this stuff about it's the King's property and House

Thrune's mountain or little foothill of a mountain or something like that.

And I just thought it wasn't worth it right then, right then and there."

Justin: [whispers] Join us...

Fai: "You mentioned that, that this is a very unique city for your kind.

Do you know anything about the founding of it?"

They seem like the kind of individual who might know a little bit of gossip here or there.

They've been places!

They've been in the foothills!

Esther: "Yeah.

I'm a little familiar with some of the, the word around it.

Now the word is the, the person in charge here, the King, Drum Thornfiddle, made some
kind of a deal with House Thrune to be able to be called King and suchlike and have this

city kind of, kinda under the protection of House Thrune no, no enmity between them.

Nobody knows exactly what kind of deal it was.

And it was founded about 60 years ago I believe."

Fai: "There must be interesting theories though."

Esther: "Uh, well, the thing is nobody, nobody really, really knows.

I mean, there's lots of gossip, but nothing that seems, mmmm, too likely, you know what I mean?

Like King Drum Thornfiddle sellin' his soul to Asmodeus.

I mean, why would he really need to do that?

Like they're, they're all in some devilish pact together, and I wouldn't know.

But there's all kinds of rumors like that.

They all made a devil pact.

They, um, all want to start a war with Andoran and Brastlewark
was founded to be like, the lookout tower, as it were.


Rumors like that."

Fai: "Do you, do any of those rumors have credence as far as you're concerned?

Do any of them...

which one do you like best?

Which, what's your favorite theory?"

Esther: "I like to think the King might be a bit of an opportunist.

Takes the opportunity he gets to see what he wants done, done.

And, um, apparently what he wants done is to make a place of vast
boundless curiosity and, uh, well, that's interesting isn't it?"

Fai: "It's very interesting.

What do you think he had to give into return?"

Esther: "Oh, I don't know.

I wouldn't know.

It's possible he give his soul or something like that.

But it's possible, he just done a favor for House Thrune and, and I mean, this, this
place that ain't accessible and everybody says it's the King's and House Thrune's.

I mean, maybe it has something to do with that."

Fai: Esther, this is a GM question unless it needs to not be.

What was this, this area 60 years ago?

Was it a city that got scooped out or it was just a place and they kind
of cleared some of the foliage and said, here's your city, go to town?

Esther: Yep.

Just rural land, near a river in the foothills of some mountains.

Fai: Okay.

In the foothills of some mountains in Kings Thrune's?

Esther: Her Infernal Majestrix, Abrogail Thrune, in her...


Fai: Her Infernal Majestrix.

What a dope title!

David: "Have you heard any rumors about what they might be doing up in the foothills?"

Esther: "Aw...

building some kind of facility that's about what I know."

Fai: I think that's pretty much all I've got for this person, right?

Actually that's not all I've got for this person.

"Miv, if you don't mind me asking, you said that you were alone this time around.

Are you missing someone?"

Esther: "Oh yeah.

My, my group of friends.

You know, we all kind of scattered after the last time we went out and, uh,
it's been a while and uh, I just thought, I, I want to be on the road again.

I love traveling.

I love seeing new places, meeting new people, and it's time
to go out, even if they're all busy with their life things.

So I set out on my own."

Fai: "You, you have a thirst for adventure, I think

Esther: "I do.

I do that."

Fai: "Well, if any adventures come upon me, perhaps I'll invite you along."

" Esther: Well hey, if you want to go um, see what's going
on up in 'nem foothills, count me in if you need backup."

Fai: "Perhaps so.

A good night to you!"

Esther: "You too, you, you have a good evening!

Sleep well now!"

Fai: And we will retire, I think.

Esther: They pack up the dulcimer and head into their room too.

All right.

Let's leave things there for this time.

Fai: Are you going to ask the question?

Esther: I, I will ask the question.

Uh, what was your favorite moment today?

Fai: Alex was my favorite moment today!

Justin: Absolutely.

David: Absolutely.

Fai: Alex was today's MVP and I would like to thank them.

Beautiful performance.

Justin: I loved the entire discussion about what happens
when Buster has exploded inside of the house That was great.

Fai: I don't even, like, I got lost somewhere and was just like
weeping with laughter as Alex continued on and on and on...

Justin: It was really delightful.

Fai: And it was, it was dearly, appreciated and needed today.

So thank you!

Esther: Thanks so much for tuning into Chromythica and being in this story with us.

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