In our second episode, the party continues to explore the gnomish city of Brastlewark. We invite a young baker to make us lunch in his own home as we discuss the circumstances of his aunt’s mysterious death, get into a fight with a street, ponder why a dragon might want to Awaken a dog, and stumble onto literary censorship during attempted theft. Sounds fun, right?

Content notices for this episode include: strong language; light combat violence; discussions of offscreen character death; and implied violence to an Awakened animal as part of backstory.

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; light combat violence; discussions of offscreen character
death; and implied violence to an Awakened animal as part of backstory.

Transcripts for all our episodes are available at our website,

Hello and welcome to Chromythica!

We are a Pathfinder 2E actual play, semi-homebrewed and set in the world of Golarion.

And I am your GM, Esther Wallace.

I use she/her and zhe/zher pronouns, and I am so excited to be with you all today!

Before we dive into today's game, I'm going to ask my
wonderful players to go around and introduce themselves.

Fai: I am Fairuz Rougeaux.

I use she and they pronouns and I will be playing Temerity Vane, our Rogue.

Justin: I'm Justin Brown.

I use he/him pronouns and I will be playing Ember, our Barbarian Oracle.

Alex: I'm Alex.

I use they/them pronouns and I will be playing Professor
Z, a gnomish professor and his contraption, Buster.

David: Hi, I'm David.

I use he/him pronouns, and I play Oom, our party's gnome Sorcerer, who uses any combination of
she, him, or they pronouns and Oom's pseudodragon familiar Nommie, who uses he/him pronouns.

Esther: Thanks, y'all.

So next up is our warmup question.

Here at Chromythica we have the tradition of asking a warmup question each
game to help ourselves get into character and into the world of the story.

And today's warmup question is: how do you know when someone is worthy of your trust?

Justin: Someone is worthy of trust.

If they are good, good people are worthy of trust.

Good people give treats."

Ember, very resolute.

Fai: Just realized that I'd been muted this whole time.

"Someone is worthy of my trust?

Usually if they are my blood relative, that's a yes.

Everybody else....

Hmm, we'll see."

David: So I think for me, it's just something you feel on instinct.

It's you either have it, or you don't and you go through
life, just believing that if you trust people it'll work out.

And if they just seem sketchy or they seem dishonest, then that's something
that you have to just feel for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Alex: For Professor Z it's all about motivation.

It's all about understanding are people working towards the common goal?

And if they're working towards the same thing you are,
then they're probably pretty trustworthy in that way.

Esther: Awesome.

So last time we came together in this story a bunch of different threads of
lives converged in the gnomish city of Brastlewark, which is in Eastern Cheliax,

right next to the country of Andoran in the foothills of the Aspodell Mountains.

For one of you, Professor Z, Brastlewark is the place you call home.

And its many houses of academic research and tinkering are where you call your vocational home.

For Ember, you used to call Brastlewark home and, I
guess you still do, but you've been away for a while.

And so you have only just returned after a long and difficult time away from this place.

You were traveling with Temerity Vane, who is just happy to go and see
the world and what is in it and is taking what adventures may come to him.

Oom, you came to Brastlewark kind of through the hopes that Nommie, your pseudodragon
familiar, might find something of interest at the Festival of Flight and that

there might be information in Brastlewark which furthered your own interests
in your history and in some tasks that you have set out to do in the world.

Oom and Professor Z, you met in line at a bakery in Brastlewark
called Selestine Bakeshop, and were soon joined by Ember and Temerity.

Where, to both of your surprise, Oom and Professor Z, you recognized Ember.

You had both known Ember's previous master, Orianna Selestine, and were surprised in
the case of Oom to learn that Orianna had died tragically about a year and a half ago.

The fact that Ember could now speak was a huge surprise to the group and really came as a shock
to the person working in the bakery, Keturah, who fielded some of your questions, but said that

Tavi -- who is Orianna and her wife Mira's nephew -- might be able to better answer your queries.

So with Ember's guidance, you made your way to Selestine Cottage
on the outskirts of Brastlewark, where you did meet up with Tavi.

And you also found a huge mural on one of the walls of the study of the cottage, which
detailed various locations that it seemed Orianna and now maybe Mira are traveling to, or had

traveled that had some sort of significance to Orianna's work as a druid and as a researcher.

And that is where we left things, in a state of inquiry with perhaps some
tensions rising amongst new acquaintances, but we shall see how this plays out.

So right now you are all in the Selestine home.

Tavi offered to fix you some lunch and you expressed some interest in
looking through the contents of the study to see if you could glean

more information about Orianna's life work and Mira's whereabouts.

So Tavi is going to pull Professor Z aside for a moment as we rejoin the story.

And will just say "Oh, Professor Z, would you be able to join me in the kitchen for a moment?"

Alex: Yes, I will follow him into the kitchen.

Fai: How far away is the kitchen, please?

Esther: Well, in elven distances, probably not that far, the house is fairly gnome-sized, so...

Fai: Great.

I'm listening, that's all.

-- Esther: just a couple rooms away.

Actually, if everybody wants to grab a physical dice really quickly, let's roll a Perception check.

Justin: Yep.

Nat one for me.

Fai: I have a modifier of seven?

Esther: Ember and Temerity, you are both overcome by the fact that you made it.

You made it over the mountains, down several rivers, probably through the woods to Brastlewark.

And it's been a day.

It's been a day.

You're here.

You're with each other.

There's a mural on the wall.

That is occupying all of your attention at this moment.

Justin: "I just remembered, I left a bone outside.

I want to get it."

Ember will go outside, find it -- attempt to dig up a bone
throughout whatever we were supposed to be perceiving.

Fai: I'm just going to look at the mural and be like, been there.

Been there, been there.

Haven't been there...

from there, et cetera.

Esther: So Oom and Professor Z, how did you roll?

David: Rolled a 6 plus I believe my modifier is 5 so 11.

Alex: I got a 23.

Fai: God damn!

Esther: Okay.

Oom, you're, you're also very...

well, describe to me what you are doing right now.

Where your thoughts are?

David: I think it's just also been a long day.

Just, just seeing Ember again, I might actually just watch him bury bones for a bit.

Esther: Fabulous.

Professor Z, you can definitely tell that Tavi is probably feeling a little overwhelmed
right now and is looking back and forth between the dog, the elven tiefling and

the gnome - Oom, that is - with a certain amount of confusion, a little suspicion.

And you get the feeling you're being pulled into the
kitchen as like, 'let's, let's convene for a moment here.'

So you follow down the hallway, there's sweet little stars occasionally
painted on the walls and you, you make your way into the kitchen,

which is stocked with lots of large earthenware pots and dishes.

It's very homey.

And Tavi says, "Professor Z, are you okay?"

Alex: "I'm just fine, but this is a real strange bunch of people.

Do you know what's up with the dog?

It can talk."

" Esther: No, I've never seen Ember talk in my life.

I've never seen a talking dog in my life.

I was hoping you could tell me if you know what's up with the dog.

I mean, I'm happy to see him--

Alex: "No, I wanted to head back to the Tinkering and ask some of my zoologist
friends, but I just thought it wasn't a good idea to leave this, this crew

wandering around with a talking dog and then not being able to find it.

I mean, you know, Brastlewark, it's just -- something like that going missing?

And I, I must, I must understand what's happening here.

This could be an amazing discovery."

Esther: "Oh!"

Tavi looks so relieved.

"Thank you, Professor Z.

It's beyond me.

I'm just a gnome who loves baking things, gettin' my hands in the dough.

I don't know anything about a dog, and what Auntie
Mira is doing, it's, it's beyond my world right now.

If you would be willing to help me find out what is going on with
Ember, make sure he's not would mean the world to me."

Alex: "No problem.

Maybe, maybe I can convince them all that we should head back to the, to the Tinkerings and get
some of my zoologist friends to just understand and, and meet Ember and see what's going on there.

Because I just really think there's, there's something fascinating going on here.

But Ember just really was, was set on coming here."

Esther: "I guess it would make sense if you're a dog - or a person - you want to go home.

I feel at a loss, Professor Z.

Are these people pressuring you in any way?

Should we get the town guard?"

Alex: "I think it's okay.

I, I did try and you know, call for some more of my professor friends, but unfortunately I sent,
I sent, Buster on that venture, you know, Buster's not the most reliable messenger in Brastlewark.

I don't know, I just think if we just get over to the Tinkerings,
that's, that's the right - like, just the other professors involved.

I don't know that the guards are necessary.


I mean, I don't know.

I mean, do you think they've taken things from your home?

Like, are you worried that they're here to...?"

Esther: "I mean, you were here with them.

Did they take anything while you were here?"

Alex: "Not that I saw.

But I was, I was quite taken looking at the map and understanding...

you know, I don't know that Ember understands the map,
but it's just, there's some connection there that I'm...

Esther: "Yeah.

Well, look, I'm, I'm happy if you eat here, but if they want to look around
my aunt's study, I'd appreciate it if you would keep an eye on them for me."

Alex: "Of course, of course.

I mean, you know, like any, any good study, we, we want to make
sure that we don't disrespect your aunt's space and, and her work.

So we'll, I'll try to make sure that they, they don't take anything or do anything
untoward and that we can continue this investigation over at the Tinkerings."

Esther: "Okay.

Thank you, Professor Z.

I don't know how I can thank you enough, and -- well, I don't know elves that well.

This gnome, this Oom, who are they?

I've never seen them around."

Alex: "They just sort of ...glommed - I mean, the, the elf came with Ember, I believe.

And then, and then Oom has just sort of followed.

I don't know.

I don't know what Oom's curiosity is with, with this whole group.

I mean, the, you know, the, the the elf and Ember seem to arrive together.

I get the impression that maybe they've been traveling for a while?"

Esther: "Right.

Well, as long as you and the contraption of yours
and your colleagues are willing to help, I trust you.

And, and you're all intelligent, powerful people.

I'm sure that nothing bad will happen if you're nearby."

He seems genuinely relieved.

Alex: "We'll try to get to the bottom of this."

Esther: "Okay.

I'll just fix up some lunch.

Do you have any preferences?"

Alex: "I would love a little bit of honey tea cake.

Do you have any of your honey tea cake around?"

Esther: "Oh yes, you know I do."

And he will busy himself preparing it and a variety of sandwich-type things.

And actually he'll, he'll sort of escort you out front to where everybody else has gathered
and say, "Look, um I, I don't want to be rude, but I'll just get the food ready to go.

And I've asked Professor Z to, um...

to help find out more about what could be going on with Ember and...

excuse me."

And he's gonna talk to you, Oom.

And he'll say, "How, how exactly did you say you knew my Auntie Orianna?"

David: "We just happened to cross paths at one of the places your Auntie Orianna was visiting and...

well, she was just very nice in speaking with me and also just very nice in
introducing me to Ember back when Ember couldn't talk and it's just been...

it's been a complicated experience, just seeing Ember then and seeing Ember now.

But if I can help in any way, that's really why I'm here."

Esther: "That does sound like Auntie Orianna.

She was always making friends with people in her travels.

Thank you.

I appreciate your offer of help.

Professor Z knows all about the academic types here in Brastlewark.

I'm just a baker, but he'll help you navigate the people you
might want to talk to and the places you might want to go.

And I've, I've asked him if he would help out as a favor to me and the family.

So please, place your trust in him and his knowledge.

I'll go be making lunch now."

He will return to the kitchen and you'll hear plates
clattering, and sort of a knife chopping against a wooden block.

He'll softly hum to himself, a gnomish tune.

Justin: Ember will be sitting, tail wagging, right in
front of the front door, waiting to be let outside.

Fai: But without saying anything...

Justin: Of course not.

This is how you let people know that you want to be let outside.

Fai: "Ember?

Do you need help?"

Justin: "I would like to go outside."

Fai: "Very well."

I will let him outside.

Justin: Sweet!

Ember will bolt through the door and will go hunting for bones.

Fai: [Fai laughs] " Important mission, I think."



Esther: Yes?

Fai: Some DM questions.

Esther: Yes.

Fai: I believe, but I'm not certain that last time we talked about,
we talked about going through her study and all of that, right?

Esther: You did, yes.

Fai: Can you please give me a refresher as to what the study looks like?

Is the study here?

What's the layout situation?

Esther: So I would say there's the front door, which opens into a small parlor living room area.

It's, it's quite homey and cozy, like knitted throws on a little couch and all the furniture
is gnome sized, except one like, larger-being-sized chair, human elven size, roughly.

And then there's a little hallway-- off one side are a couple of rooms with closed doors.

You guess they might be bedrooms.

And then at the very end of the hallway, there's a sort of squarish room, windows opening
to the trees outside, with a large back wall with no windows, on which the mural is.

And so the mural is-- it takes up basically the whole space of one wall.

It's a giant painting of -- kind of like a continental map, with many, many locations.

Got the little silver stars, silver half moons, and then a large red sun in one spot.

And last time you learned that the stars indicate Orianna had traveled to a place.

The moons indicated that she wanted to travel to that place.

A star and a moon means she's been there and she wants to go back.

And the red sun was the place of Orianna's death.

And that Mira is the one who generally painted things, is the muralist.

There were also a couple of small desks and some bookshelves, various scrolls, various tomes.

Didn't seem to be any like, signs on the shelves that this,
this one is herbalism, this one is evocation that kind of stuff.

So you would have to go through the books to see what's there.

Fai: But we did get permission from her nephew to do that.


Esther: You did, yes.

Fai: Okay.

Well, that's what I'm going to be -- I'm just going to be kind of
looking through that stuff to see if there's anything of interest that

catches the eye, that seems pertinent to the situation, et cetera.

Esther: Yeah, just-- roll me please, a secret Perception check.

You gather pretty quickly that there are a lot of volumes on topics like healing
herbs, plants, a few introductory and sort of advanced guides to various creatures.

You gather it would take you a while to go through these, but they're going to be more
specific, like: Things You Might Meet In The Wild, Druid Primer 101 and 201 kind of a deal.

With that roll, it'll take you a little while, probably until Tavi has lunch ready.

And you will be able to find a book on the subject of ley lines,
but it'll take you longer to read it and gather information from it.

So if you'd like to come back to that after lunch, I would say you would
need another roll after that to see what kind of information you get from it.

Fai: Cool.

Thank you.

What else, lads?.

David: I think I'll spend a bit of time just watching Ember bury bones for a bit.

And then I'd actually like to also go to the study specifically looking
up the Whisperwood, just because it was Orianna's place of death.

I'd just like to know more about it.

Esther: Okay.

David, can you remind me what Lore Oom has trained?

David: Nothing of value for this?

[laughter] Let me double-check...

Unless Arcana matters, I guess?

Esther: Not quite for general information, I'm afraid.

So, I think that will be a Nature roll.

Just, you just want to, like, remember what you might know about the
Whisperwood or figure out what books here might have information on it?

David: Ah, yes.

Esther: Okay.

So roll me Nature, secretly, to determine what you might know.

And then, I actually think I'll just-- another Perception check to see what books you could find.

David: Sounds good.

Esther: So you recall from your studies growing up in Hermea
that you have heard of a wood in Cheliax called the Whisperwood.

It seems to be a little bit of an infamous place, and that was reinforced by Keturah's
reaction to talking about Orianna's place of death, and the reactions you've heard thus far.

Seems to be a place that is regarded as at least a little dangerous for folks
without a certain degree of battle prowess or magical means to wander into.

You are familiar with the fact that it is rumored to have a powerful connection
to Hell, as do many places in Cheliax, but the Whisperwood especially.

And you don't recall much more.

You do find a book on ah, forests of Cheliax and, and famous archeological sites.

Probably two volumes, which you gather it will take you a little while to
make your way through and find out the information that's contained therein.

I think it would be a good topic for after lunch.

But you do think that these two books in particular will
be able to help you learn more about the Whisperwood.

David: Sounds good.

I guess I will be doing some reading, too.

Alex: I think I will turn to Temerity and say " So, what are you hoping to find?

I mean, I, I'm just, you know, really curious and I was hoping to take Ember to meet
my, my friend who is the, you know, one of the premier zoologists at The Tinkerings.

But, uh, what do you hope to find here from the books and materials of the study?"

Fai: "Well, really, I'm just casting a wide net.

I want to see what's here so we have little bit of a basis of understanding.

I'm unsure as to whether we're going to seek her out
directly or stay here in town and hope that she comes back.

So really I'm just trying to make myself useful.

And, you know, I have to admit I, I, I like a mystery.

How about you?"

Alex: "I, I think a mystery is a great sign of a, of a new discovery.

I just, I'm just not sure because I, I feel that there's so much mystery in, in Ember.

And is it not strange to be wandering around with a talking dog?"

David: "What's wrong with a talking dog?

Again: Nommie talks.

I mean, he doesn't talk very often, but he talks."

Alex: "I didn't --I don't think there's anything wrong with a talking dog.

I just think it's, it's fascinating.

Is Ember under some magical enchantment?"

David: "What are you hoping this zoologist is going to do?"

Alex: "Just to understand and to, you know, maybe he could help jog some of
Ember's memories or, or, help us understand what might cause this to happen?"

David: "So, like, experiment on him?

He's not like a test subject.

He's, he's a dog with feelings and values"

Alex: "Who said experiment?"

Fai: "Oom, if, if you don't mind, I think that the difference between, for instance,
Ember and your friend Nommie is that Ember was not able to talk, and then he became able.

But a creature like your friend probably has always been able to talk.

So I believe that he thinks it is strange that Ember could not talk, but now can talk."

David: "Nommie couldn't always talk, though.

Like, I had to work hard to give qualities to Nommie
to give Nommie more independence and more abilities.

I can't really explain it.

It's just something you feel, but through, through just that-- that's basically what happened.

And so I don't see why it's, it's strange that Ember gained more abilities.

I mean...

Orianna was very powerful.

Maybe there was some lingering connection there or any
number of other reasons why Ember could have talked.

I don't think it's necessarily..."

Alex: "Exactly.

That's why I wish to talk to, to an expert who can help us understand Ember and help us understand
what sort of magic might be behind a crea-- you know, allowing a, a, a dog to talk all of a

sudden, especially since Ember doesn't seem to remember the set of experiences that led to this."

David: "Well, I just want to know what you're hoping this, this expert's going to do.

Are they going to run tests on Ember or something that we should
ask to Ember directly instead of just trying to decide it for him?"

Alex: "Who would run tests on an animal?

No, I was just hoping to introduce Ember to, to my friend, Professor
Vonner, because he, he knows this field and this area of research

and finding a good, strong expert seems like the way to go with it.

I don't pretend to know why a dog would suddenly gain the ability to, to speak.

I'm just curious.

For strange happenings in Brastlewark, I think that we should rigorously academically investigate
what is going on in case there's something to be learned, and in case we can harness something."

David: "Well, as long as Ember thinks it's an okay idea."

Esther: Everyone roll...

secret Perception check.

Fai: That's, that's an expression.

That's a series of expressions going across your face right there.

Esther: Everyone will notice that about halfway through this conversation-- well.

You, you would notice, the noise from the kitchen is lessening a little bit.

It seems like plates are being set out.

It tapers off and you will all see Tavi clearly attempting
to be subtle, and then realizing you all see him.

And he's, he's listening with a certain expression on his face as this conversation
unfolds, and he is going to turn to Oom and say, " you certainly have an interest in Ember."

David: "Yeah, I mean, I've, I've always had an interest in Ember.

Ember's just always been...

there's just always been something about him that's been magical.

And so I don't see any difference now that he can talk.

I mean, I trusted him when he was with your Auntie Ori, and so I still trust him now."

Esther: He looks extremely suspicious.

"Ember, are you sure you know this person?"

Fai: Isn't Ember outside?

Esther: Oh, I was assuming he had come back in.

[laughter from cast interspersed]

Justin: Have I found the bone yet?

Fai: It's been a while!

Esther: It has been a while.

I will say that in like

Alex: What's the DC and the Perception check for finding the bone?

[laughter from cast]

Esther: Ember rolled the highest.

So yes, Ember has definitely found a bone.

Justin: "I found it!"

Ember will be sitting, tail wagging, with a bone in
his mouth, waiting at the front door to be let in.

Esther: Sitting outside the open front door?

Justin: Is it open now?

Esther: Yeah, I, I assumed it was, it was open the whole time.

Justin: I -- okay.

Then yes, Ember will traipse back in very victoriously with a bone in his mouth.

Esther: "Pardon me, Oom, it's just very suspicious to me that my Auntie Ori never talked about
you, you show up here questioning the person that I have asked to see what is going on with Ember.

Pretending you seem to know my aunt...

it's just all very suspicious.

The dog shows up...

he's never talked before..."

Alex: "And you don't want to investigate what's going on!

I mean, it's just, this is a puzzle worthy of figuring out, right?"

" David: I just, I mean, I'm okay with it if Ember's okay with it.

I just think that it's strange that-- I just don't know what you want this zoologist to do exactly."

Alex: "Ember

Justin: "Is zoologist a friend?"

Alex: "Yes.

My friend, I would really like you to meet him.

I think he might be able to, you know, understand and help you think through some things."

Justin: "I would like to meet this friend.

Alex: "Well, shall we have lunch and then head off?"

Is lunch still being offered or where are we in the lunch

Esther: Lunch is still being offered.

Tavi just looks, like, extremely suspicious of Oom, a
little suspicious of Temerity, but slightly less so.

Fai: I mean, Temerity's kind of a strange guy.

Probably don't, see a lot of dudes that look like that.

Esther: Probably, though he does live in Cheliax.

He does live in Cheliax and in Brastlewark, so...

Fai: Yeah

Esther: "Yes, lunch is still being offered.

Please, come come sit down."

There will be a lavish spread of honey tea cake, light sandwiches, various vegetables, some,
some lovely roasted mushrooms and greens, various cured meats, if you would like that.

And you're welcome to eat and ask Tavi any lingering questions you may have.

Justin: Ember is a good dog and will wait for everyone to finish before he begs for scraps.

Esther: "Do you eat people food now, Ember?"

Justin: "I eat food."

Ember does not understand this question.

Fai: Esther, in the time that Ember and I have traveled together, what...

I've seen him just eat whatever, or, you know, like, does he hunt?

What, what does a dog that's not quite wild eat?

Justin: He can hunt.

I, he was initially wild, actually.

And he's very, he's very used to hunting for his, his food.

So, like, you would...

he's a very typical omnivore.

He will eat whatever.

But yeah, probably prefers meat.

Fai: Okay, cool.


[ Fai laughs] If Tavi is looking perplexed or whatever, I'll probably just kinda come in and say that.

"You know, I've been, I've been traveling with Ember...

He is able to speak, but he's, he's still a dog.

So there's some concepts like human, like--" Did he say human food?

He didn't say human food, they're not--

Esther: People...

Justin: People food.

Fai: "There's concept like, like people food that I don't think really translates.

He eats whatever he can eat.

You know, meat sometimes, you know, pastries, trash.

Sometimes I have to like make him not eat a pine cone.

Convince him it's not good for him.

He's a dog."

Justin: "Pinecones are not for eating?"

Esther: "How about a nice multi-grain bun?"

Justin: "I like bread."

Esther: He will hand you a multigrain bun.

Justin: I will eat a multigrain bun.

Fai: I -- I do have some questions for Tavi.

Esther: Yes.

Fai: But they're all gonna be about like, baking.

It's going to be very much like, "You know, I spent a year learning all
you can learn about doughs and breads, and really what I learned was...

there's so much more to learn!"

You know, just kinda talking and being friendly, but also
seeing if there's anything about, about like, bread I can glean.

This dude got secrets!

I know he does!

These cakes are great!

Esther: Roll Diplomacy.

Fai: Certainly.

I can't see what that is yet.

Show me, show me.

Oh, that wasn't great.


Esther: He nods along enthusiastically.

It's clear he has a great passion for his life's work and his, his aunt's life's
work, but he will not divulge to you any family secrets or secret recipes.

Just encourage you that what you've learned is, is correct, and to keep experimenting on your own.

And "You know, just, if you put a little flour and water together, wherever you
are, you can ferment something new from the little critters that live in the air.

And it's really all about you experimentin'.

I can't give you my secrets or my aunt's secrets.

You got to do it yourself."

Fai: "Hmm.

These are wise words.

Wise, wise words."

" Justin: There are critters in the air?"

Ember will try to bite air.

Esther: "You can't see them.

They're little, very little.

Invisibly little."

Justin: "I will def-- I will defeat them.

Do not worry.

I will protect you."

Esther: "Oh, no, they, they're friends, Ember.

They're friends.

They make the bread good."

" Justin: I will not fight the critters in the air.

The critters are friends."

Esther: "Before you're on about your work, I wanted to
say if Ember would like to stay here, he's welcome to."

He will stop there.


Justin: "I would like to go with Professor Z."

Esther: "All right.

That makes sense.

I trust him to take care of you while you're here."

Alex: "I was thinking I should be off to The Tinkerings.

You know, it's been quite the morning, but I was really expecting to be in the office this morning."

Esther: "Before you go, is there anything you can tell me about the way Auntie Orianna died?"

Justin: "It was a bad day.

There were...

there was mist and there were people in the mist.

And there was fighting.

And then things went badly.

Then the Friend Dragon showed up.

And then the Bad Master came.

And then the Bad Master took me away."

Fai: Uhhh, question?!

This is a question from me to Justin, I guess.

Have I heard about this dragon part before?

Justin: I don't think it's something he would have brought up just out of the blue.

Fai: Well, I think when I asked you what happened to your master,
you basically told me it was a bad day and kind of stopped there.

Is that, does that sound right?

Justin: Yeah.

Fai: Okay.

"Ember, did you say a friend dragon showed up?"

" Justin: Yes.

The friend dragon showed up.

The friend dragon asked me what my name was.

The friend dragon didn't talk much."

Fai: "Was your friend dragon a big dragon or a small one?"

Justin: "Was a you-size dragon!

It did not look like a dragon."

Fai: "It smelled like a dragon?"

Justin: "Yes.

It smelled like smoke and death."

Fai: "...but it was your friend?"

Justin: "It was a friend."

Fai: "Were you able to talk before the dragon?"

Justin: "No."

Fai: I'm gonna look around at everybody like, hey, hey, hey!

We gettin' somewhere!

David: "Was this friend dragon a friend of Orianna, too?"

Justin: "The Friend Dragon did not come until Orianna was dead."

Fai: Esther.

Esther: Yes?

Fai: Uhhhh, What am I rollin'?




Esther: I would actually say Religion, if you have Religion.

Justin: I do.

I have Religion.

Fai: I'll, I'll try it?

Esther: What would you like to know is, is a better question for me to ask first?

What are you trying to ascertain?

Fai: Oh, several things.

a) I want to know this is the kind of creature that I've ever heard of.

It sounds like a magical creature, which is why I was thinking Arcana,
but obviously it could just be, you know, extraplanar or, you know,

evil or good or some kind of other shit that I don't really understand.

I guess I'm just trying to sift through the Rolodex and
the memory banks and see if anything sounds like anything.

Is this a magical awakening?

Is there something else?

What was that Friend Dragon?

It didn't look like a drag- it's probably in people shape.


Justin: Fortunately, Ember is colorblind.

Esther: Okay.

So let's start with an Arcana roll.

Fai: Okay.

And then just go down the list?

Esther: Yeah.

Fai: I'm going to Hero Point it.

'Cause I want to know.


That was not, I mean, that's fine.

Justin: Much better than the last one.

Fai: It was better than the last one, but I might as well not
have rolled cause it's not like if it was better than Alex's.

Esther: So Temerity and Professor Z: dragons are neither one of your
areas of expertise, but you both been around long enough, enough places,

enough ways: you do know that some dragons have great magical power.

You do know that some dragons, rumor has it, can take the form of humans.

As of something specific about the Whisperwood and dragons?

Mmmm, much harder to say.

There were rumors of dragons everywhere.

You know, you can get people to say a lot of things.

So nothing particularly ringing a bell.

I will say for Professor Z, you have the idea that there are a few
people in Brastlewark right now who might know more about Draconic Lore.

Wolfbert Rumblebelly, who's also an expert in, in animals.

There is your mentor, Alcinora Fifewinder.

And there is the chair of The Scholarium, Parmenius Revenill, who -- you feel like
they might be good people to ask if you want to know about dragons specifically.

Alex: I was about to ask if I should roll knowledge or Lore:
Academia to figure out who I should talk to about this.

Is that the answer to that question?

Esther: I actually think you don't even need to roll for that.

Like, you would be familiar enough with these people
specifically that it would be like a good, um, good gut feeling.

If you want to know, like, scholars worldwide or people who might show
up at the Festival of Flight, then I will have you roll Lore: Academia.

Alex: I think at this point, I'll say "Ember, I know many experts on dragons.

Would you like to talk to an expert on dragons?

Maybe we can understand this, this dragon more.

Justin: "Friend Dragon is a friend.

What else is there to know?"

David: Would Draconic Lore let me know anything about
like, what types of dragons might be in the area?

Esther: Oh yeah.

Roll some Draconic Lore.

Fai: Oof!

David: I would like to re-roll this!


Esther: Okay!


Oom, you're not terribly certain.

There's rumors of a lot of the metallics in Cheliax at various times,
specifically about a hundred years ago or a little more, not quite a hundred

years ago but going on that during the initial rise of House Thrune.

They've been very involved in some Chelish rebellions: Coppers, Brass, Bronze.

But there's also been rumor of a couple of Green dragons.

It's just a little difficult to narrow down right now.

Is there something you wanted to ask about this particular story and Draconic Lore?

David: I guess, "Ember, is this Friend Dragon a dragon you've ever seen before?

Or was this the first time you saw this dragon?"

Justin: It was the first time I ever saw this person, right Esther?

Have I seen them since?

Esther: Not that we've discussed.

Justin: "I have not.

I had not seen them before and I have not seen them since.

But I would like to meet your friend, Professor Z."

" Alex: After we finish lunch here, let's -- let's go meet some of my friends.

I think, I think several people can help us understand here."

Fai: When you said the Bad Master, is that the, is that the guy that know is that Vroth'rien?

Justin: Yeah, that's Vroth'rien.

Fai: Okay.


Esther, please continue.

Esther: I was just going to ask if there was something
else Temerity he had wanted to investigate/roll for.

Fai: I...

so like, you know, I came from the weird woods and
I have a couple of fey friends or whatever, right?

So like, my question is, does that sound like that
kind of weird thing or some other kind of weird thing?

Esther: 'I came from the weird woods and I have a
couple of fey friends' -- that's a great - [giggles].


Fai: I mean, that could kind of be about me, too, but still...

Esther: Gonna have you roll Nature for that one.

Fai: Okay.

It ain't good, but we'll see...

[ frustrated noise]

Justin: You are on a roll!

Esther: Would you like to reroll it or would you like to keep it?

Fai: I'm going to keep it.

Esther: Okay.

Fai: This is a great honey cake and weird shit happens all
the time, but great honey cakes don't happen all the time.

Justin: Natural 1 for 2.

Esther: What I'm gonna say is...

it's a great honey cake.

You also start thinking about all the various revels you've been to in the weird woods...

in a lot of woods.

You start thinking about your satyr friends, and then you start thinking about
your friend who you used to drink wine with, who you haven't seen in a while.

The mind wanders.

Fai: "I should go home sometime."


Esther: So Tavi will happily engage on the subject of baking, will look
surprised and a little bit alarmed as Ember talks about Friend Dragon and the

Bad Master, and is just going to whisper: "So this Friend Dragon, it was a...


But a dragon...?

Like in a-- a person type of body?

A humanoid body?

But a dragon."

Justin: "Yes.

It was a person-shaped dragon."

Esther: "This is far beyond me.

By all means Professor Z, take 'em to your friends and see what you can work out.

I just hope Aunt Mira's okay, wherever she is."

David: Would I think a dragon transformed into a person was weird?

Like, Mengkare's probably transformed into a person before, right?

Esther: You know, it's possible.

You usually actually see Mengkare in his dragon form.

But you definitely know it's a thing that especially the more powerful dragons can do and are
known to do both to avoid alarming people and to manipulate people, depending on the dragon.

David: Got it.

Esther: Well, when you're ready to wrap up lunch, Tavi will let you keep the books you have.

Fai: Oh, wonderful.

Esther: Is there anything you wanted to ask him in particular?

Fai: I have a question for you first, Esther.

Esther: Yes.

Fai: He's young?

Esther: It's a little difficult to say a gnome's
precise age, but he looks on the younger end of things.

Fai: I'm just like this -- this dude is a gnome.

He needs to get used to seeing weird shit, 'cause he's going to live for a long time.

So bro, brace yourself!

Or your ass is going to get Bleached if all you care about is baking!

Esther: [laughs] Do you

Fai: But that's just me, not Temerity.

Esther: Do you say that to him?

Fai: I mean, I've noticed that he's tripping about Temer-- about Ember, right?

Esther: Yeah.

He, he just seems a little overwhelmed.

Fai: You know what?

That's not none of my business to be telling people that they
need to worry about Bleaching if they don't change their lives.

He's probably like 20.

I'm-- I'm not going to say anything.

You know, I'm not going to say nothing, I'm not gonna say nothing.

His Auntie died.

He -- there's, there's a lot of stuff going on.

He's found...

he's found his solace in baking and in rising doughs.

And that ain't none of my motherfucking business, so.


Thank you.

David: Yeah.

I kind of wanted to ask him about the Whisperwood, but if he looks
really freaked out, I'm going to, I'm going to let it go for now.

Esther: You might get the idea that there are other
people who would know more about the Whisperwood.

Fai: But if you want to know about sourdough, he's yo man!

David: I also totally forgot.

I have Expert proficiency in Lore now, at Level 2.

Esther: Well, I might suggest that we take a brief break.

and then come back as you make your way into town.

Justin: Ember will rebury his bone.

Esther: So as we come back, Ember will rebury his bone.

Justin: Somewhere else.

Esther: Lunch will be tidied up.

You can be on your way into Brastlewark.

Anything you want to do as you leave?

Fai: Thank this poor frazzled kid for his kindness, pretty much.

That's it.

You know, thank you.

We're sorry about everything that's going on with you, but your honey cakes were ooooh!

Esther: He seems genuinely grateful.

Fai: He's probably just genuninely grateful we're getting the fuck out his house, but I'll take it.

Justin: Ember will say, "You are a good gnome."

Esther: "Thank you, Ember.

You are a -- a good dog."

And you hear sort of like, muttered in Gnome, a prayer as
he closes the door, like, "Oh, please let that be true."

[cast laughs]

Fai: I don't speak that language until next level, so I'm chilling.

Justin: I speak one language and that's it.

Esther: For the two gnomes who can speak Gnome, you hear his little prayer.

So it'll probably take you a good 10 to 15 minutes to get from
Selestine Cottage down the way you are going to go into Brastlewark.

You'll head South along the main road, so you'll pass the building called The Scholarium on the way.

If you'd like to talk or do anything as you make your way there, let me know.

Justin: I would like to keep a nose out for things to eat, even though we just ate.

Esther: Uh, roll Survival.

Justin: 21.

Fai: It's not going to be a pine cone, probably.

Esther: Tell me what sort of thing you're interested in eating.

Justin: Meats would be good, 'cause I haven't had meat in a bit.


I'm going to be smelling for meat.

Esther: As you make your way--

Justin: Squirrels or rats or anything would be fine, but also

Fai: Did you say BATS?!

Justin: Rats.

Fai: Oh.

Esther: So as you make your way into town, away from the outskirts of town and like in,
toward the city, you will smell someone's scraps that have been set out in their waistbin.

And it smells like there's some half-eaten sausages there.

And you do find them, and they smell really good.

Justin: I'm going to eat those sausages.

Esther: Also as you make your way into town, someone will brush past you.

It seems they're headed the opposite way and there's nothing terribly remarkable about this person.

They don't smell like an enemy.

They do smell a little odd.

Like there's something on their clothing that smells like deep earth.

It's very strange.

You're not sure how you know that.

Justin: Smell like deep earth.

Esther: Yeah.

Like the sensation when you've dug a really good hole and you smell the earth,
but-- if you've ever been with Orianna into a cave, which you probably have...

Justin: Like petrichor or something.

Esther: Yeah, like petrichor.


like the air of a cave and the earth of a cave would smell.

a little strange.

Nobody else has smelled like that in this city.


Justin: Hmm.

Ember will just remark as he is like, pulling the half-sausage out of
the garbage can as we all go, he'll go: "That person smelled like earth."

Fai: Esther?

Esther: Yes.

Fai: Do gnomes bury their dead?

Maybe this guy's an undertaker for all I know.

Esther: That's a really good question.

It depends on the gnome.

Fai: Great answer.

Esther: Yes and no and it just depends on the gnome.

David: With Imprecise Scent, do I understand what he's talking about?

Esther: Well...

David: I don't smell the same thing?

Esther: Ember also has Imprecise Scent, right?

Justin: Yeah.

Esther: Yeah.

I'm going to say you do.

I don't know how many caves Oom has been to in their life, but you would
smell someone who just smells kind of different than run- of- the- mill gnome.

David: Yeah.

I'm going to guess not that many caves.

Esther: So you probably wouldn't get petrichor, deep earth kind of a thing.

Just, just this person smelled kind of interesting.

Justin: I would like to keep following Professor Z, though.

Fai: Yeah.

I don't think I have any reason to be surprised by Ember telling, saying what somebody smells like.

He's always talking about what something smells like.

Esther: Fabulous.


Well, you will make your way into town.

And before too long, there's going to be a fork in the road that opens up before you.

One is going to like, part of the road is going to keep circling around in
what looks like a semicircle off towards the general direction of the river.

And then one fork is going to keep heading South and kind of at varying intersections
of these roads, there's like, a couple of paths that branched off from it to the North.

But they cut through some, like areas of grass that are
kind of oddly placed otherwise in the middle of a street.

Like, you really get the sense navigating the city that someone tried
to impose order on it at its construction and order will not be imposed.

Like, there's grass where there normally wouldn't be, but there,
there are roads that sort of make a kind of logical sense.

And yet they've been intercut with other little
paths and seem to have been recobbled here and there.

Like you can see mismatches in the stone.

It's just like the place is almost constantly changing.

But you do see one large imposing building probably on
your right as you're coming down from like the North.

And it will say in letters carved into the stone in Gnome and Common "Scholarium".

And then across from it, like at the intersection of one of the forks, the point of where the
sort of triangle area comes together, you see another building, which is quite different in style.

The first one is tall and imposing, kind of like an English country manor.

And the second one is like a little bit lower, a little bit longer.

Got a lovely red roof, and made of wood, not stone.

Looks a little cozier.

And it reads, again in Gnome and Common, Symposae Vokaris.

You can tell this is a busy road, it's wide in the middle.

There's like, a statue of a gnome.

She appears to be like holding a staff of some kind in
one hand, book in the other, cutting very imposing figure.

Normally there would be a lot of people milling about this area, Professor Z.

And there are, but they all seem to be like standing to one side
as a couple people are like, whacking some stones with staffs.

There seems to be some kind of commotion.

I'm going to go ahead and bring you to a map

Justin: Which direction are we coming from?

Esther: You're coming from the North You see -- this is
actually going to be really hard to see, and I'm sorry.

They don't have, in the Bestiary, an emoji for this yet.

It's not in the Bestiary, so I couldn't buy it, and what I had appropriately blends in.

It's actually very hard to see, but you, you see this figure over here with
this little staff, and a couple other people who are just not a part of

the map, like, beating some stones that seem to be moving with something.

And then these folks over here are bystanders, are kind of like shrieking and also
giggling and like, half-interested in a collection of little stones that are about

right here, that seem to be like, scattering themselves towards people and then back.

You can actually see a mouth come out and like, bite at someone's ankle and then recede.

It just seems like there's a commotion going on.

Justin: Do they smell like enemies?

Esther: They smell like rocks.

Justin: I don't know what to do with rocks.

Rocks don't usually attack me.

Esther: You can also see a couple of little like,
green slimy-looking figures flitting about this statue.

They will become more visible in a moment.

This figure by the door who, Professor Z, you recognize as the chair of
The Scholarium, Parmenius Revenill, says: " Well, don't just stand there!

Some fools brought these things to Colloquium, and then they've gotten out of hand.

Help me!"

What do you want to do?

Alex: Is Parmenius saying that to us directly?

Esther: Yeah.

He sees you, Professor Z, and Buster like, clanking along and he's like, "Z!

Make yourself useful!"

Very, very much in his gruff nature, you would know.

Alex: "What fool brought these to Colloquia?"

Esther: And he's like, got this staff and he's just
whacking a little rock and he says, "Now is not the time, Z!

I'm busy!"

Justin: Ember will ask Z, " Are they enemies?"

Alex: "Apparently!"

Justin: Then I would like to Rage.

Esther: Oh yes.


Everybody -- you are invited to Rage and then go ahead and roll Initiative.

Justin: Initiative.

Fai: Are you kidding me?

Justin: Wow.

Fai: Now is when I, when I come through?

I'm gonna fight a rock with a fuckin' dagger?

Alex: I didn't end up on the turn order because I had the wrong token selected.

David: Sorry, me too.

Esther: Did Ember roll a 24 or 12?

Justin: 12.

Esther: And Oom rolled an 8?

David: Yes.

Esther: And...

Z, what did you roll?

Alex: 17.

Esther: Okay.

Justin: Oh, I see them now.

Esther: You do?

Justin: Oh, dear.


Esther: Hurray!


Can you see that?

Justin: One?

There's one here.

Fai: Yes.

Justin: Oh, dear.

Alex: Ohhhhhh...

Justin: Those really blend in.

Esther: I know, they really blend in.

It's kind of perfect because they're supposed to really blend in,
but it's deeply annoying as someone who's trying to see a map.

Fai: I'm not in the turn order, but does it matter?

Esther: It does matter.

What did you roll?

Fai: 26.

Esther: Nice.

All right, let me put you in there.


So Temerity, you are up first.

Fai: All right.

I mean, we've been asked to help.

I am a helpful kind of dude.

So like, what the fuck am I supposed to...

can you tell me what this Ooze looks like?

Esther: It looks like a tiny little person that's
kind of made of goo and just dripping goo and ooze.

It's got wings.

It's like, greenish -brown, um, cackling as it like, has sort of darted back and forth to terrorize
people on the edge of the crowd, like dripping goo onto them, tweaking their nose and some stuff.

Fai: Okay.

Well, I am just going to approach because I do not have enough movement to do more than approach.

Justin: You should have plenty...

Esther: I think you should.

Justin: Yeah.

Fai: I mean, I'm a -- I I've got, I'm like 30 feet.

That's like, 40 something away.

Esther: You can, you can move twice and then hit it.

Fai: Oh, 'kay.

Then I will do that.

Justin: Yeah.

You can Stride your full speed with one action.

Esther: Yeah.

Justin: And you've got three actions.

Fai: Okay, cool.

All right.

So about there is good, yeah?

Esther: Yeah!

Fai: Is that too close?


Esther: That's good.

Fai: We'll just go ahead here.




Like that.

Is that right?

Esther: You may need to go one closer, actually.

Fai: That's kind of what I was wondering.


Esther: If you, if you step into this square

Fai: Like, right on that?

Esther: That's perfect.


Fai: Cool.

Uh, I guess I'm just gonna take a swipe at it with a dagger and see what happens

Esther: Go for it!

Fai: To me and it.

Esther: Let's see.

You kind of take a dagger, you swipe at it, but it goes wide.

Fai: Well...

Esther: It cackcles!


Esther: Yes.

Fai: How RUDE!

Esther: Anything you would like to say before you end your turn?

Fai: I would like to say, "Does anybody know what the hell this is?"

And then that's my turn.

Esther: Okay.

Alex: Can we roll something to understand if we know?

Fai: I should have done that before approaching it, but who said I'm a smart boy.

I'm just a boy.

Alex: Stab first, ask questions later.

Esther: It'll be an action to try to Recall Knowledge about it.

So you'll have to wait for your turn to tic around and then use that as one of your actions.

But yes, you absolutely This thing in front of you that's
dripping, Temerity, it's just going to grin and say, "Ah!

You're not bad with that thing!"

Actually, what languages do you speak?

Fai: I speak: Common, Elvish, Abyssal, and Sylvan.

Esther: You don't understand a word of that.

It gibbers something at you.

And then it is going to try to use its breath weapon on you.


And it's going to use a 15 foot cone.

Temerity, roll me a Reflex save.

Fai: Very well, allow me to figure out where that is.

I'm sorry.

Reflex is under what?

Esther: In your character sheet, it should be like, in the middle, under your AC.

Fai: Oh, okay.

I see.


Saving throw, Reflex.

Probably not good enough.

Wait a minute.

I'm a Rogue!

Don't I have -- do I get a plus two or nah?

Justin: Nimble Dodge is for when you're being attacked with a Strike.

Esther: Yeah.

Fai: Oh, a strike.

Not a--

Esther: Not a, not a breath weapon.

Fai: Alas.

I tried it!

Esther: That is unfortunately not enough.

So you are going to take 2d6 poison damage.

It rolled a three.

Fai: Okay.

Esther: You can take that.

And it now -- lucky for you -- can't do that again for another 1d4 rounds.

Fai: Aha!

Esther: It rolled max.

So that's used up.

Fai: Ahahaha!

Esther: And then it's just going to like, fly in circles around you, Temerity, giggling.

Fai: I don't like that.

Esther: For its next action, before it flies giggling, it will try to hit you.

And this I think Nimble Dodge will apply.


Does a 21 hit you?

Fai: A 21 hits me, but my AC is 19 and Nimble Dodge is plus two.

But that still beats it, right?

Esther: That still hits you.

Fai: Okay.

Esther: This thing packs a punch!

Like, unexpectedly for a tiny little creature hovering in the air!

And you are going to take eight damage from that hit.

Now it'll circle you like, once.

I will just say it uses it's movement to move in a circle around you, laughing.

That is its turn.

The other one is going to see that Parmenius called out to you as a group,
and it's going to use some of its movement to move towards the rest of you.

Yeah, it'll fly right to the middle of you, right next to Ember.

And then it's going to try to do the exact same thing.

Ember, Oom, and I think I'm going to need Professor Z to roll this save as well.


Everybody roll me a Reflex save.

Justin: 21.

Esther: Oh, that definitely succeeds.

You're fine.

Z and Oom, not so much.

You are also going to take 2d6 breath weapon -- and it also, well, it rolled a four.

So you each take four points of poison damage.

That was all of its actions.

Professor Z.

It is your turn now.

Alex: Okay.

I'm going to...

I'm going to command Buster to help out.

So what can Buster do?

Buster can go and just like, try and whack at this thing...

with his arms?

Fai: How many arms does Buster have?

Justin: I drew him with one.

Alex: Buster can go whack at this thing with his arm.


So Buster's going to, Buster's going to whack at the thing with his arm.

That would be Unarmed Strike.

Esther: Yes.

I don't think that's going to hit.

Buster raises an arm.

One of Buster's appendages and...


And it just goes a little wide.

And so Buster moved, attacked, and that was it thus far?

Alex: Buster gets two actions, right?

So Buster moved and then attacked, and that was that's it for Buster.

That was one of my actions, and I have two more.

Esther: Right!

Alex: My our original plan was to walk towards the old dude who came out of The Scholarium.

Esther: Parmenius.

Alex: Parmenius.

But he's, he's in between us, right?

So I think instead I'm just going to attack the thing that decided to be right in front of me.

Yeah, maybe with my short sword.

Esther: Ooh!

The damage could have been better...

Alex: The damage could have been better.

I guess...

I could use a, can I use a Hero Point?

Esther: Yeah!

Alex: But then do I have to reroll everything?

Or can I just reroll the damage?

Esther: You can just reroll -- No, you have to reroll the attack.

Alex: Okay.

Esther: Alas.

Alex: I mean, it made contact, but it's only going to do one damage, right?

Esther: Yeah, but that is, that is one better than none.

Alex: That's true.

Esther: But yeah, you can reroll it.

Alex: Okay.

Hey, party, do you think I should reroll that or not?

Justin: I would keep it.

Fai: I would keep it because you don't know if you're going to get the attack if you reroll it.

Esther: Yeah.

Alex: Okay.

We're going to keep it.

Justin: Prefer one to zero, so...

Esther: So you've done one damage and that was your last action?,

Alex: I have one more action, don't I?

Esther: You do.

Alex: 'Cause I, I commanded Buster and I did something with
the short sword, so I could, I could stab with the dagger.

Esther: Yeah.

You do take a penalty for that.

Alex: Oh, because I'm doing things with both hands?

Esther: No, because it's your second attack.

Alex: Oh, okay.

I don't know if there's anything else for me to do though, right?

Esther: You could move away.

If you wanted to roll and see if you know what it is, you can also do that with an action.

Alex: Okay.


Maybe I'll do that.

Like Knowledge: Nature or...

Esther: Um...

Alex: Knowledge: what?

Esther: Yeah, I think it's actually Knowledge: Nature.

Actually, no, Arcana is better for this.

Roll me Arcana instead.

Alex: Alright.

There you go.

There's Arcana.

Esther: Much better!

Yeah, yeah, yeah.


You recognize this creature as what is called an Ooze Mephit.

It actually brings back some rather unpleasant memories for you, Professor Z.

They're slick in many senses, in addition to the slime and goo that drips off of them.

They are known to be flatterers who will try to weasel their
way in to people's lives and then just wreak havoc and mischief.

They aren't actually the most intelligent of creatures.

So usually their plans can wind up going awry like this, but you would guess that maybe some
of your colleagues were, were flattered by them and thought they could collaborate in some way.

And this wasn't the best of ideas.

And having brought them to Colloquium, now the creatures are wreaking a little havoc.

But yeah, you can identify them as, as Ooze Mephits.

And that is your turn.

So you can all watch with great interest as this series of rocks just starts
like leaping a little bit and rumbling, like the cobbles themselves are moving.

And it's gonna move towards you, Professor Z.

It's going to take a bunch of its movement.

And then, it will be next to all of you and I will need a Fortitude save from Professor Z.

And I think just Professor Z actually.

Yeah, just Professor Z right now.

Alex: Exciting.

Esther: Not bad ,Professor Z.

Let me roll a thing real quick.


Not good enough.

So thankfully that was not a critical success, but you are so shocked
by the sudden appearance of these rocks, you fall on your butt, prone.

You are grappled.

That is its turn.

Ember, you are up.

Justin: My first action, I would like to Rage.

And then for the rest of my turn, I want to take the
Sudden Charge activity, which lets me Stride twice.

So I will stride to here.

And then I will get to, because I end next to an enemy, I get to make a Strike.

And I will do that.

And I will spend a hero point to roll with advantage.

So I'm gonna roll once with my actual die and once with this.

That's an natural 17.

Are we going to do...

natural 19 on the actual die?

That's not bad.


Esther: That's not bad.

And that is, in fact, a crit!

Justin: Then that's 28 points of damage as-- so Ember will bounce across the battle, seeing
Temerity in peril, letting out howl, and as he heads over that way, his paws leave little, like

scorches in the, on the cobblestones and he will tear around and rip into this Ooze Mephit.

I'm also flanking it.

So it's 29.

Esther: Let's just say you don't exactly have to worry about how much damage you did
because as you describe, you tear this thing fucking apart and it explodes into goo.

And the droplets just kind of rain down all around Temerity.

It's a little gross and greasy, but you can fix yourself up later.

Fai: Didn't the cloud...

wasn't that kind of slimy, too?

So I'm not exactly pristine right now.

Esther: You're not alas.

Ember, you destroy this thing.

Justin: Huzzah.

Esther: Congratulations.

And that was, that was your turn.

Justin: I will give a little triumphant awoo.

Esther: Are you gonna actually awoo for us?

[ Justin: gravelly voice] "Awoo."

Esther: Awesome.

Oom, you and Nommie are up.

David: Sounds good.

I will shoot the other ooze-looking thing with Magic Missile.

Fai: Woo.

Esther: Nice!


David: And I will use all three actions for that.

Justin: You rolled max damage?!

Esther: Max damage!

Fai: On all three?!


But I mean, great, but HOW?!

Esther: Damn.

The missiles impact the middle of its little slimy chest and as it's like
cackling [cackles] it just [sound effect] explodes into ooze everywhere.

You've taken this thing out, Oom.

And that was your turn.

It falls to the ground, goo, and it's, its form no more.

Temerity, it is once again your turn.

Fai: Okay, This guy in front of me is dead, right?

Esther: Yes.

Fai: Can I see the rocks?

Esther: Yeah, you, you could, you would be able to see rocks.

And I can ping them for you.

They're basically all around Professor Z, like...

Fai: Okay.



I see.

I would like to use part of my term to tell Ember that he's a very good boy and thank you.

And while I'm making my way to Professor Z I will give
Oom some appreciative finger guns, 'cause that was dope.

And I'll -- I guess I'll just make my way back?

So it's right, like there, right?


That's an occupied space.

Esther: Yeah.

That's an occupied space.

Fai: Okay, so...

does this look fine?

Esther: Yeah.

So this square right here looks good.

Fai: I'm going to get like, close enough to see what's going on.

I, you know, I'm a little injured, but so's my pride.

So I'd like to make...

I guess, I mean like what, how are you going to stab some rocks?

But I'll give it the old tiefling try!

With a dagger.

Esther: Oooh.

Fai: I'm about to dull my blade on this bitch, damn.

Esther: That does hit.

Unfortunately they seem to be a little resistant to, to the kind of damage a dagger does.

Fai: That's that seems about right.

But it was worth a try.

Esther: It was worth a try.

Fai: These are new people.

I don't need them to think that like -- they might think
I'm, I'm not very useful, but at least they'll see me try.

Good enough.

Esther: And that was your final action?

Fai: That's my final action.

Esther: Okay.



You are up again.

Alex: I'm going to ask-- well, so I'm grappled, so I can still command Buster though, right?

Like, I probably can't--

Esther: Yeah, you can still command Buster.

Alex: So I'll just move Buster

And then I think Buster will in Buster's you know, incredible effectiveness
and intelligence, try to whack the rocks with Buster's appendage.

Esther: Okay.

Alex: I mean, I guess the other option is Buster could try to
explode, but I think just whacking the rocks is probably a better,

Esther: Nice!

That will hit.

What kind of damage is that?

Does Buster do...

Bludgeoning damage?

Piercing damage.

So they do appear more affected by this attack.

Some of them start to scatter a little bit and they're moving a little less cohesively.

Alex: There are no other actions I can take while I'm grappled?

Because I've only commanded Buster to do things.

Can I try and become un-grappled?

Esther: Yeah, you can.

So the really nice thing about this system is I don't have to look at the flow chart of
what happens when someone gets grabbed in battle, but I don't keep it all right in front.

In my mind, actually, Justin, if you know it, you can just tell me.

Justin: If you want -- you roll either Athletics or Acrobatics
against the DC of the, of the swarm as an escape check.

It does count as an attack for the purposes of multiple attack penalty.

Alex: Okay.

Esther: So I would say, roll whichever one is better for you.

Alex: They're both zero.

Esther: Okay!

Alex: So it's going to be, it's going to be great!

But I, I feel like I would be trying to like, squirm my way out.

Esther: Yeah.


Alex: Like...


Esther: Technically, you're on your butt right now, so...

Alex: Yeah.

Justin: If your Unarmed Attack modifier is higher, you can also use that.

Esther: It probably is.

Alex: I think it is, yeah.

So I can just roll Unarmed Attack, then?

I'm gonna do that with a physical dice.

That's 15, including the modifier.

Esther: You actually manage to get yourself up and shake the pebbles off.

Alex: All right.

Esther: You are no longer grabbed.

What would you like to do with your one remaining action?

Alex: Flee?

Esther: Okay.

That seems, that seems very fair.

Um, you can move yourself.

Alex: Uh, I think I'm going to go there.

I'm trying to go towards the other professor, but not through the rocks.

Esther: It is going to be their turn after you and
they are going to move towards Oom and Nommie next.

So they're going to get Oom, Nommie, and Buster here.

And they are going to do the same thing and I will need a...

Fortitude, DC is 10 plus whatever your Fortitude modifier is, right?


I need to know that from Oom and Buster, I guess?

Alex: Buster has a 6 modifier for Fortitude?

Esther: Okay.

So that would be 16 for Buster?

Alex: Yes.

Esther: Okay.

David: Nommie uses the same as Oom's, so they're both 16.

Esther: All of you got the exact same thing...

and that is not enough.

So alas, you all now have the Grabbed condition!

And that uses two actions.

So that is its turn.


Justin: Ember would like to see the pebbles attacking his friends, and
he would like to use Sudden Charge again, and is going to come to here.

And he is going to pounce on them and attempt to do the thing of just like,
using both front paws to like, stamp down the rocks as his Unarmed Attack.

I'm not actually gonna use Wolf Jaws for this, I will just use his
typical Unarmed Bite, but I do get a plus two because I'm Raging.

I'm going to reroll that with my next Hero Point, cause that was a Natural One.

Esther: Wow.

Justin: That's much better.


I, I'm doing the whole spectrum here.

Natural 20!

Esther: So that is definitely a crit.

Justin: It was 9 points of damage cause I'm Raging.

So that's 18 bludgeoning damage.

Stomp the rocks!

Esther: With that...

the rocks fall still.

It's hard to say rocks die, but they disperse-- they seem to be
ground into smaller components and everything calms down a little bit.

There's like a murmur in the crowd around and some
applause and shouts and gnomish of "Oh, the excitement!

The excitement!

Oh, fabulous!"

And people seem very invested in this fight.

Then they start to go about their business and everything comes down.

You see Parmenius, who has also seemed to deal with the rocks that were surrounding
him, brushing his clothes off and sort of grumbling, "Oh, I can't believe it.

The fools!"

What would you like to do now?

Justin: Ember would like to look up at Oom, who is right
in front of him and say, "I have defeated the rocks!"

And is like, tail wagging, is like, clearly expecting praise.

David: "That's a good boy."

[laughs] I will definitely give him praise and pets.

A very good boy!

Took down two of them by himself!

Justin: Go figure the Barbarian would be good in combat!

[cast laughs]

I am being praised.

Esther: For those of you who don't know him, the appearance on this map may be a little deceiving.

Parmenius looks kind of like gnome or a dwarf here.

He is actually a kobold; a green kobold with a staff, with kind of this orange
sphere on top, wearing long purple robes that kind of trail behind him a little bit.

And he's just brushing the dust off shaking some little pebbles out of the bottom of the, the robes.

And then he will look up and say, "Z!

Good show.

Wasn't expecting you to drop by Colloquium today."

Alex: "I wasn't expecting this mess out front.

What happened?"

Esther: "Oh, well, these fools from Obscurae or Vokaris or something, they
were researching -- I don't know, it could have been the Tinkerings -- it's

hard to keep track of who's doing what in this blasted system.

Ah, you know, they were flattered by these things -- thought they would be interesting
research partners, or subjects, or some such -- and they brought them to show off.

And, and then, you know how people are collecting rocks in this town.

And they never bother to see if they're sentient or alive or might cause trouble later!

No, no, no.

And I don't even know if the rocks were one of ours, they
could have come from anyone, always building things!"

You get the idea that this kobold is just a little...

a little salty, perhaps, about the rate of change of a lot of things in Brastlewark.

Alex: Need we bring it up to the Senate?"

Esther: "Bah!

Tosh, my boy!"

I'm not gonna say what I was gonna say...

[Palpatine voice] "I am the Senate...

I am the Academic Senate!"

By the way, you know, this guy kind of, is the Sen-- no-- not really, but he is the chair
of the Scholarium, which oversees all of the magical academies in Brastlewark and kind

of has a say in a lot of the other loosely grouped together labs, places of inquiry.

He's a big deal.

He's one that you've been trying to impress for quite some time.

Your mentor Alcie, actually is one of his Vice-Chairs of
the Scholarium and a couple of the other institutions.

But he's noticed you; is good.

And he doesn't seem to be terribly pissed off at you; also good.

Fai: It's a banner day for Z-oh here!

Um, can I interrupt for just a moment to ask Esther a couple of DM questions, please?

I'm stuck on this rock thing.

He was talking about rocks, like it's normal for rocks to be sentient!

And every time I meet a rock, I need to like, ask it its name.

Can you expand upon this?

Does, does that seem weird to Temerity?

Cause it seems like-- it seems weird to me.

Esther: Well...

Temerity did grow up in the weird woods.

Fai: Exactly.

Esther: And Temerity's seen some weird things.

Whether Temerity would have come across sentient ro-- okay.

So, sentient may have been a bit of an overstatement.

They're clearly not an ordinary rock.

Fai: All right, cool.

Esther: Yeah.

You probably think this is a little weird, but like not the weirdest thing you've ever seen.

Fai: Yeah.

This is like super low level.

Okay, cool.

Esther: Yeah.


Fai: Thank you.

Please continue.

Esther: Yeah.

So, what would you all like to do next?

Alex: I would say "So I -- I think I'm on the cusp of a, of a whole genre of discovery.

Come meet the dog Ember over here.

I think you'll find Ember fascinating."

" Esther: A...

a dog?

Z -- I'm sorry, my boy, I'm sorry.

I really don't have time to meet a dog.

And not that I don't like them, it's just--"

Alex: "Ember come over here.


Justin: Ember will pad his way over and say, "Are
you the friend that Professor Z wanted me to meet?"

Esther: You see a look of great interest begin to cross his face.


Well, my boy.

Z, I didn't know you had a familiar."

Justin: "I am very familiar!"

Alex: "This is Ember.

Ember, uh, I, I knew for a long time at the bakery.

But Ember has just begun to learn to speak.

And there's, there's something amazing about this, this transition.

And I, I think there's a lot to be learned here.

Many papers will be published about Ember."

Esther: "Just begun to learn to speak, you say?

You're not -- you're not studying the Arcane Arts now, are you Z?"

Alex: "Well, I'm studying any arts that will, change, and, and--" But I don't know.

What am I, what would my response to that be?

Esther: You would understand that he's asking if Ember is
your familiar specifically in the way that Nommie is too Oom.

Alex: Yeah.


So I think I would explain: "No, no, no, no.

This isn't a creation of mine.

Ember is a friend of mine."

Esther: "Come."

He's going to motion you inside this -- all of you, inside this large building.

And you can pass through these large oak doors, heavy beams, to this cool stone building.

He, he will take you up a central flight of steps and then around.

You'll see many gnomes inside, sort of in a state -- actually
like, still whacking at some of these Ooze Mephits.

There's like, ooze spraying everywhere.

And he, he seems to pay this no mind at all and is just going
to lead you up a series of staircases into a large office space.

Justin: As we pass by, I would like to set one of the oozes on fire.

I will cast Produce Flame.

Esther: I do believe their AC was lower than that.

So yes.

Justin: A 21?

Esther: You will, you will succeed.

It'll burst into flame and sort of squeak.


Justin: He will do the thing where he will like wag his tail,
get really, get back and then bark a little like, burst of flame.

And then the thing will light on fire.

Esther: Actually Parmenius is going to stop and say, "Hmm, come to my office," and continue on.

You will be ushered into a large room, many bookcases along every wall, a huge wooden
desk with actually kind of like a, a larger human/ elven/ humanoid size chair that this

kobold sort of has, has stacked a booster seat on and a little set of steps to go up to it.

And his desk is covered in like, books and scrolls and quills with ink pots.

There's many, a couple of little like chez lounges in this
office and some other chairs of various gnomes size, human size.

You get the idea this guy is used to a range of visitors.

He says "Sit down, sit, sit, sit.


Justin: Ember will sit.

"-- Esther: is something you don't see every day.

So: dog can produce flame.

It can talk.

Why don't you tell me this story?

All of you."

Alex: "Well, I mean, as I said, I, you know, this is a new adventure for me, but maybe
Ember and the elf Temerity here can help explain how, how they came out of the woods."

Fai: "Well, I didn't meet Ember in the woods.

I met him elsewhere.

We had a little bit of an adventure of our own.

There was this asshole.

It's a thing.

But when I met him, he could already talk and he told me that he, his Master, a
druid, passed away--" he seems a little delicate about it still, you know, "-- and,

you know, as we just learned, he has a Friend Dragon who arrived and after
that dragon came and asked him his name, he could speak, is what I understand.

Ember, does that sound right?"

Justin: "That is all correct."

Alex: "I was taking them off to the Tinkerings.

There's some draconic experts over there that I really just,
you know, thought, thought we should get some, some opinions on.

My mentor and Professor Wolfbelly?"

Esther: Wolfbert Rumblebelly.

Alex: Wolfbert Rumblebelly.

Wolfbelly for short.

Esther: I will tell you, you would know this guy may be the draconic expert in Brastlewark.

Alex: So, okay.

So, so then I'll rephrase that then.

I didn't, I didn't realize that.

This is definitely something that I would know, though.

I would say, "Yes well, you know, I was going to take them over to the department of draconic
studies at the Tinkerings, but you know, maybe you have more insight you can give us.

Because, you know, that's just, that's the regular department
and you know, you're the real expert in this field."

Esther: Roll me Diplomacy.

He's just gonna, like, chuckle a little bit and say, "He certainly knows how to butter me up.

Doesn't he?"

Justin: "I like butter."

Esther: And he's actually gonna look at you, Oom and Nommie,
and say, "Have you not found a draconic expert here?"

David: Well, I'm going to assume that he's more, more of an expert than I am.

Esther: "I don't believe I know you.

Who might you be?"

Talking to Oom.

David: "We're just along for the ride, honestly.

I just saw Ember again after a really long time, and it's just been quite a journey."

Esther: "Hmm."

He sort of regards you, and then he takes a closer look at Ember.

"This dog.

Orianna Selestine.

Am I correct in remembering this dog is Orianna's dog?

So you are telling me...

well, she and I didn't collaborate much, but I knew her and her work.

She would occasionally take advantage of our libraries here.



So you are telling me that when Orianna had her unfortunate accident, you met a dragon?"

Justin: "I met Friend Dragon."

Esther: "Friend -- what was Friend Dragon like?

Describe him if you can."

Justin: Ummm.

Ember will describe Friend Dragon primarily by scent, which
is going to be, "They smell of smoke and fire and death."

Do I remember any other particular scents about this individual?

Esther: I think we've settled on smoke, fire, and death.

Justin: Yeah.

I think that those are where we settled.

David: Do different-- Sorry, this is out of character, a DM question.

Do different dragons have different smells of fire to me?

Esther: I would imagine so.

David: I'm going to try to work with, with Ember then.

See if we can, figure out the exact description of fire.

Fai: Icy fire.

Cold fire.

Justin: Yeah.

I'm not sure how we would convey this to one another.

Um, but I, Ember is certainly happy to try.

David: Yeah, I'm going to try to describe the different types of fire to the best of my ability.

So yeah.

Are we, are we talking yes, like a spicy fire or electrifying fire?

Like what are we--

Justin: I assume that the closest thing that I have-- right, Esther?

Is that it's like practically like crematory fire, like,
kind of human ash would be the closest thing I've got, right?

Esther: Crematory fire is a good one.

So if you've ever just smelled like fire in a forge or in a, a very hot bonfire.

It, it smelled like a very pure form of fire, as well.

Kind of like with a, I guess, a little patina of crematorium?

But, just a very raw fire scent.

Justin: Okay.

Not at all, like, like incense or something.

Esther: No, no.

Justin: Just very.


David: Would either, yeah, Draconic Lore or Genealogy allow me
to, sort of, backtrack the scent to either a category of dragon?

Or to either that, or work with the, um, you know, the foremost expert to figure out...

if I described, you know, the types of dragons and the smells?

Esther: You can certainly roll either one of those you would like, or you can ask Parmenius.

Both work.

David: Can I try to use my own, I guess, Knowledge by rolling and ask him at the same time.

Esther: Yeah.

David: Like to sort of describe-- Okay, I think that's, that's what I'll do.

Esther: He will listen with interest as this conversation unfolds.

I would say, Oom, it's very interesting.

This seems familiar to you.

Especially in your readings about red dragons.

This, this sort of aura of pure fire.

There's something that, that seems familiar to you personally, in a way you can't even articulate.

Like, almost-- it's like an ancestral memory versus anything you've learned in a book.

And Parmenius will say, "Well, this is curious.

You must know, I would not describe myself as a draconic scholar in general.

I have many areas of interest, but it's something I take
an interest in because of my ancestry, you could say.

Many kobolds do.

And so I know a fair bit, but what is it exactly that you
want to know about this, this dog and his Friend Dragon?"

David: "I guess the main thing that we're trying to figure out is really
just anything that would be most helpful to Ember in his journeys.

It just seems that there's some sort of connection between him and this dragon, and it
might help us figure out what happened to both Orianna and tracking down just everything."

Esther: "Hmm.

Well, again, it's not my foremost area of study.

There might be some people coming to the Festival of Flight who could tell you more,
but what I can tell you now is: it would have had to be a very powerful dragon.

I'm guessing, my boy--" and he, he looks, and he sort
of looks over some spectacles-- like this-- at Ember.

"You were not aware in the way that you are now, before you met this friend, I take it.

You could not speak, you could not think on your own in the way that you do now.

Do I understand?"

Justin: "I did not speak to anyone before this friend."

Esther: "Well, it would have to be a powerful dragon to awaken someone.

Not that they-- they could, it's possible-- but, ahm, one way to
make an animal aware in this way is to do a certain kind of ritual.

It requires some herbs and a particular amount of gold,
depending on how powerfully you are trying to awaken them.

It is possible.

A powerful dragon is capable of that."

Then he's going to study you a little bit more, like peering over these glasses,
sort of muttering to himself a little bit and making some hand, movements.




There's also powerful magic.

Some advanced users, whether they are more Primally connected, or Arcane or any of the other
elements of power could use to achieve this effect -- would have to be very, very powerful, indeed.

Experimental magic, spontaneous magics -- you are in the right place, the right time, right
combination of elements, things that are very hard to duplicate, hard to know what happened.

Outside of that, the mind starts to turn to powerful entities,
powerful beings, elemental beings, demigods, the fey.


It's always unclear why a dog would be of interest to them, but they can work in capricious ways.

'Tis a mystery, isn't it?"

And he's just going to kind of keep examining Ember.

"I don't know what purpose a dragon would have in Awakening a dog."

And he sort of looks at you all expect-- like, this is
an obvious question that everybody should be asking.

Fai: "Perhaps Ember is a very special dog."

Justin: "I am a very good dog."

Fai: "I agree with my friend.

I agree."

And I pat him.

Esther: "Do you know where this occurred?"

Justin: "It occurred in the misty place, in the bad forest."

Fai: Did we establish that it occurred in the Whisperwood?

Esther: I believe you have.


Fai: Okay.

"It happened in the Whisperwood."

Esther: He looks extremely interested.


Well, I couldn't tell you exactly who or what did it, but
that's an area the wise might want to stay far away from.

I think perhaps my friends, you would be tangling with the powers of Hell."

Roll Perception, secretly.



Temerity, Professor Z, and Ember, you sense that he is being sincere
in what he's telling you, and there's a lot he's leaving unsaid.

You can see wheels turning in his mind and there are things he is not saying.

Fai: Is he a professor?

I don't know if we've actually gotten a proper introduction.

I can't remember.

Esther: He seems to know Z, so he sort of waved you all in.

You would gather that he's probably some kind of professor.

Fai: Okay.

Well, I'm just going to-- "Professor, is-- are you a professor?

I assume."

Esther: "I am a professor.

I am Chair Parmenius Revenill of The Scholarium."

Fai: "A pleasure to meet you.

I'm Temerity Vane.

Have you been to the Whisperwood?"

Esther: "Hm!


Fai: Is he telling the truth?

Esther: Well, that would be another Perception check.

Fai: Secret or not secret?

Esther: Secret.

Fai: Perceive!

Esther: It's hard to say.

You think he probably is.

Fai: Okay.

All right.

"Professor, what's your area of expertise?"

Esther: "Well, I have studied various arcane magics.

You could say, I'm a bit of a Universalist."

Fai: "In your experience, is-- it's possible but not normal for a being to awaken in this way?"

Esther: "Indeed.

There must be, usually, some sort of purpose.

This one--" and he's going to like gesture to Nommie" -- I am assuming has the power of speech."

David: "Yeah, he doesn't talk very often, but he can speak."

Esther: "And you have a magical bond.

Do you not?

He helps you hone whatever power you must have."

David: "We have a friendship, yes."

Esther: "Yes, this is a common form of relationship.

The magical user can channel the ability to speak through their familiar.

Awakening an animal is different.

There is usually a purpose to it.

You must want to.

It, it is rare in my experience that it would spontaneously happen.

As I said, it is ah, perhaps a matter of being in the right place, right time, right
magical energies, but such a thing is very difficult to duplicate, difficult to explain.

My guess would be that someone did this for some purpose.

There was some ritual involved."

David: "When, when a magical awakening occurs, is, is there usually a tie
in the same way that it would be with a familiar or is, is it different?"

Esther: "Not necessarily.

Perhaps the creature might feel a certain loyalty to
the one who awakened them, but not necessarily a tie."

Fai: Just for my own information: Nommie, a pseudodragon...

is a pseudodragon, like a regular-ass terrestrial animal, like a
dog is, or is it not like a fey kind of creature sort of thing?

I'm just trying to see some stuff.

I've just been thinking about this since Oom brought it up earlier
cause I'm like, homegirl, apples and oranges is what you're here.

But I want to know if, if they're they are apples and oranges or if they're just apples.

Esther: So there are less regular-ass terrestrial beings that can take the form of little dragons.

Pseudodragons are a tiny form of dragon that are as
regular-ass terrestrial beings as most dragons are.

Fai: Okay.

So it's an -- it's a normal thing that exists but is not necessarily as normal as a dog.

Esther: Yeah.

Fai: Okay, cool.

Thank you.

Justin: Ember is, is currently pondering that comment about Hell
and, like, is running through the definition of Hell in his mind.

Is just saying like, "Hell is a place with fire and smoke and death."

And is just thinking about that.

Esther: Does he say that loud?

Justin: Sure.


I'm going to say, "Hell is a place of fire and smoke and death."

Esther: "Who told you this?"

Justin: "That is what the word is, so I know it."

Esther: "So you haven't been there, is what you're saying?"

Justin: "No, but this word has been used to describe me before."

Esther: "Who said this of you, your dragon friend?"

Justin: "No, the Bad Master.

He called me hell hound."

" Esther: And who is the Bad Master?"

Fai: "He's the asshole I told you about.

His name is Vroth'rien.

He's an elf and an asshole and just all around not a good guy.

I helped liberate Ember from his clutches.

And maybe I liberated another couple of things from his house."

Esther: "So you are admitting to me that you are a thief?"

Fai: "No!

I -- as a matter of fact, I'm very skilled in cultural reclamation.

And I was merely there for Elvish artifacts, but I met Ember and he was very sad.

And he's -- and when I attempted to let him out, he spoke to me.

And so I knew that, well, obviously he really, really needs my help.

Not just regular needs my help.

I was going to let him go because of the guy, but, you know, and he was very sad.

It's, it's a story, but I think perhaps he just called him a Hellhound because of the fire?"

Esther: "Hmm.

This one will require more study, more careful study.

And you all intend to get to the bottom of this, it seems?"

Fai: "Well, I'm curious about it, but really I'm just trying to reunite him
with his master's wife, because he has a ring for her and he's my friend.

So he had something that he needs to have a done, then we do it.

When it comes to why he can talk, I mean, we live in a magical world.

Everything weird happens all the time.

A talking dog -- he's a nice dog, he's not doing anything wrong...

that is good enough for me.

But yes, I do like a mystery.

But you know, find out now or find out in 500 years...

who cares?"

Esther: "Hm.

Well, this matter intrigues me.

I will see what research I can do.

Though I am a very busy man, and they'll have me
running around everywhere like a -- a -- never mind.

In what few hours, a peace I have to pursue my own projects, I will see what I can tell you.

You are welcome to go to all the various places and
use their libraries; Z can take you anywhere you want.

People may ask you to do a few favors along the way in exchange for the access to
their information, but that shouldn't be a problem for a group as skilled as you.


Curious, very curious."

Fai: He's curious.

Esther: "Why would a dragon ... want to Awaken a dog?"

He just sort of strokes his chin, the scales on his chin while looking at Ember.

And he'll occasionally like peer over his glasses at Ember.

Just say "Curious.

Z my boy, this could be quite a breakthrough if you get to the bottom of it."

Alex: "I know.

I think there is much further study to do, though.

Can you recommend any literature I might've missed in this area?"

Esther: Ah, he's going to look at you and say, "You do know how to butter me
up, Z, but do you think I have time to do an entire literature review for you?"

Alex: "Is there not one of your students who could, who could provide something?"

Esther: "Well why don't you ask Alcie?

She's your mentor!

I'm sure she has time.

She's a Vice Chair.

She doesn't possibly understand the rigors of my schedule.

You could look through my bookshelves and see all the various literature reviews on the topic.

I don't have time to produce one for you, boy!"

Fai: "Thank you for your help.

We can tell that you're a very busy, very important man.

It's very kind of you to set aside this time for us.

And you know, if we find out anything interesting, we'll come back and let you know."

Esther: "Hmm.

I will be checking in with you in the next few days as best I can.


In the meantime, avail yourselves of the Scholarium's resources and -- ah!

The scholar -- newcomers, do you know of what I speak?

Ah, the Scholarium!

This building is the headquarters of the various institutional
networks in Brastlewark, the areas of Arcane study.

You will find centers of learning for mmm, ah, all of the major schools.

And then you will have the Tinkerings, The Clockworks, the Aerie, the various alchemical
labs -- they're always blowing things up -- they are all affiliated with the Scholarium.

And I am the Chair of the Scholarium.

Various funds that come in, I help delegate them, I coordinate meetings...

all this busywork distracting from my life's work in Arcane Studies.

I won't bore you with the details, but yes, avail
yourselves of whatever resources you deed in Brastlewark.

And if anybody gives you any trouble about it, just tell them that Parmenius
said that you could do them favors or something and send them back to me.

We'll, we'll work out the details later."

And then he just sort of scratches a scale behind his ear and uh, is starting to pick up a quill.

Fai: "We appreciate your assistance."

I know when I'm being dismissed, so I'm going to go ahead and kinda start heading out.

Justin: Ember will follow Temerity and say "You are a good kobold" on the way out.

Esther: He just says, "Hm!


Alex: "Thank you so much for your time."

Esther: "Z, my boy, keep this up.

May not be passed over next time.

Good work."

He sort of like, collegially pats you on the shoulder.

Alex: Professor Z kind of huffs and walks out.

Esther: "And you...

I'm not sure exactly what your magic stems from.

What, what was your name?"

David: "Oom."

Esther: "Impressive work you did out there with the, the missiles...

watch you with interest.

Welcome to Brastlewark."

And then he looks down and starts scribbling something.

David: I'll nod and follow Ember.

Esther: So...

it sounds like Temerity may do some Medicine checks to heal his wounds post battle, and then the
party's interested in finding a library in the building you're in right now, or going somewhere

in Brastlewark like, to a library and doing a little research and then probably calling it a day?


Temerity, roll Medicine.

Fai: Yeah.

Esther: Do you have a Hero Point left?

Fai: I do.

Esther: You could Hero Point that.

Fai: Eh.

I mean, I'm probably okay.

I'm just going to be reading all day, maybe.

If I get killed in an alley, it's my fault.

Are you suggesting that perhaps I should consider doing that?

Esther: No, no, no, no, no, no.

You're going to be fine.

You didn't critically fail.

So you don't take damage.

Fai: I didn't injure myself by trying to look at my own wound?

Esther: Yeah, you just don't help yourself either.

Fai: Like I'm trying to look at a bruise and then you turn around and I
have my own dagger sticking out of me, and I'm like, "I don't know, guys!"

Justin: Bloodletting!

Who knew?

Esther: So where would you like to go to do this research?

Fai: I'm assuming that the different libraries have different focuses.

Is that, is that correct?

Esther: They do.

They do indeed.

Fai: And what's the, what's the focus of the library we're currently in?

Esther: It's probably the most general facility there is.

So lots of, kind of like introductory books or research interests
particularly to the people who, who work there in positions of leadership.

And they probably actually have a whole wing on like leadership studies.

Fai: Very cute, but probably not necessary for us in this scenario.

Esther: No.

So Professor Z will be able to tell you...

there will be alchemical libraries in what is called the
Boomrupt District repositories of like formula and stuff.

At the Clockworks you will find more manuals on like clockwork and the
Tinkerings is just a general inventors' sort of, collaborative area.

So like, those will be more topical in that way.

There are specific Arcane repositories that are listed on the map and Professor
Z could tell you which areas of magic they're each going to represent.

Scolaris Obscurae -- and I will try to ping these on
the map-- deals with Enchantments and Illusion magic.

Academica Juratio deals with Abjuration and Conjuration.

Salon Chrysalia deals with Transmutation magic.

Colloquium Virmor deals with Necromancy.

Convocatia Mysterium, deals with Divination.

And Symposa Vokaris, which is right across the street from you, it deals with Evocation magic.

Fai: Okay.

'Well, as far as I'm concerned, I would like to start with the
book that I currently have that I borrowed, so I can read anywhere.

Professor Z, if you have a suggestion as to where you might like to go, I'd be happy to hear it."

Alex: They were all schools of magic though, right?

Esther: Yeah.

These particular libraries.

Fai: What...

okay, so the ley line stuff that I'm going to be studying?

What umbrella does that fall under?

Esther: That's a good question.

So you probably get the vibe that Orianna was kind of
the person in town who knew the most about this subject.

Though -- like, like in terms of nature and like the Druid-y primal elements of it.

If you want to ask about that, you're going to have to find a druid.

If you want, like, a wizard's take...

oh my god.

Fai: Well, here's, here's a question: the ley lines are -- they pretty much affect all magic?


Esther: Yes.

Particularly like, for Orianna's research, you would have gotten the vibe particularly
like, primal outbursts, like kind of natural, natural areas and rituals specifically.

But yeah, they, they can affect all types of magic.

Honestly, maybe the place you are would be a good place to start.

The Scholarium.

Fai: Kinda general?

Esther: Yeah.

Fai: Okay.

Maybe, uh, make ourselves a little, little base of knowledge to build upon?

Alex: Yeah.

Fai: Oom is probably the most magically knowledgeable of us, presumably.

Justin: Certainly not me.

Fai: What were the books that whoever who wasn't me took...


David: Uh, I took the books on the Whisperwoods.

Fai: So it might just be time for us to, to post up in the
library and spread out at the desk and read through some stuff.

And Ember would be kind of bored, I guess.

It might be a lot of interesting things to smell in corners of the library.

Justin: Absolutely.

This place smells fascinating.

Esther: I'm sure.

Fai: It's a library for you too, buddy.

David: If Ember wants to learn how to read, we, we can work on that as we study.

Fai: I did say that I would help Ember learn to read, but I wonder
if maybe these are not the books to start to learn, to read with.

Esther: Almost certainly not.

Justin: I think he's gonna have a lot of difficulty with actual like, normal print and books.

Esther: Temerity's going to research leylines, Oom is going to research the
Whisperwood, and is Professor Z gonna research anything in books right now?

Alex: Maybe animal enhancements or something like that?

maybe something about dragons.

Esther: Okay.

You will easily be able to find some books about dragons and about like
animal awakening, magical animals, transformation, that kind of stuff.

so let's start...

let's start with Oom.

That's probably the easiest in some ways.

and you will get a plus two circumstance bonus to each of these rules because you're in a library.

Start by rolling Nature.

David: That seems fitting.

I know nothing upon Nature.

Esther: It takes you awhile to get through this first book.

What you gather is that the Whisperwood is a forest in Cheliax.

And it's a little to the west of Brastlewark like, a
hundred miles or so maybe a little bit more than that.

And that's about it.

Takes you about an hour to feel like you, you maybe already knew that.

And that...

that's what you're going to get.

David: Sounds good.

Esther: And then did you want to research something specific in the Whisperwood?

David: Yeah, I was, I was curious if there's any cross-references
for dragons that have affiliations with the Whisperwood.


That was, that would probably be the main one.

Esther: Okay.

This one's going to be Society.

Or Arcana.

Honestly, whichever one...

I think, I think Society is probably a little more apt in fact, but I would take Arcana too.

David: Society's fine.

Esther: Okay.



This one...

You spend a long time, probably like another hour or so, pouring through some pages.

And while you, you find reports of various monsters lurking in the Whisperwood, and a lot of
rumors of, like, a portal to Hell there, you don't find explicit references to a dragon, except...

there does look like there's a footnote that has been possibly purposefully obscured in this book.

It's like a fragment of a sentence that says, "... and while there has been rumor of the dragon..."

and then the name has been rubbed out.

And there was, like, an asterisk next to this and the footnote has also been obscured.

It's interesting.

Fai: Well, that's mysterious!

David: Are there any librarians nearby or anyone that I could talk to?

Esther: Oh yes.


David: Okay.

So yeah, I guess if I have remaining time, I would try to
find one of the librarians and ask about the, footnote.

Esther: What do you ask exactly?

David: I guess whether either they have knowledge of who I could consult
about the scratches or if they themselves know, if there's anything I could

cross-reference to figure out what the context of these footnotes are.

Esther: There's a gnome with vibrant violet hair,
and some glasses like on the, the bridge of her nose.

And she says, "Hmm, well, Hmm.

It's very curious.

I, I don't know who would vandalize a book in my library of all places!

In the Scholarium library!

It could've come to us pre-vandalized, you know, we do get rare volumes from time to time.

But this one doesn't seem particularly rare to me.

I really couldn't tell you.

I certainly didn't do it!

I'm offended that someone would try to obscure knowledge in this way.

I don't know who it could have been.


We must put up signs."

She seems really flustered by this.

" I just don't know who could have done such a thing!

As far as dragons and the Whisperwood, it's not my exact area of expertise.

But aren't there sort of all kinds of monsters in that dreadful place?

I certainly wouldn't want to go there alone.

I spend my time with books!"

Uh, not getting a lot of super helpful information.

She is willing to, sort of do some librarian research and try to cross-reference for you.

David: "Are there any sister libraries that might have a copy of the same book?"

Esther: "Oh, well, um...

there might be.

Just let me consult my ledgers here and I'll get right back to you."

Justin: Isn't that book from...

Esther: It was from Orianna's house.

Justin: Yeah.

Fai: Ohhhh.

Is it obvious to us that you're like, you're not concealing this, right?

You're kind of like, 'Oh, this is --- let me ask a librarian!' sort of thing?

David: Yeah, yeah.

I'm not, I'm not concealing this.

Fai: Okay.

Um, Esther, is it vandalized in such a fashion that it's fully unreadable or could
like - if somebody hella perceived it, would it be possible to maybe look through the light?


Esther: Why don't you try it?

Try hella Perceiving it.

Secretly, please.

Fai: I would love to hella Perceive it.

I perceive nothing is what I'm getting from your face.

Esther: It's really difficult.

Like, maybe if you had some super good light and a
magnifying glass and some kind of good luck spell.

Not right now.

Fai: Okay.

All right.

All right.

All right.


Esther: It also looks very deliberate.

Fai: Interesting, interesting.

Here's a sidebar DM question as well.

If I if I, um, wanted to like, send my mamas a letter or something, is that supes expensive?

Esther: I guess it depends on the kind of message you want to send.

If you want to send them a letter, no.

If you want to send them a magical message, yes.

Fai: Yeah.

I figured that much.

That's outside of my range, but you know, a letter I might be able to do.

All right.

All right.

I will volunteer to everybody, "If it comes to it, my mother has many
connections, perhaps she might know -- I could send her a letter and see

if, if she has any information about dragons and about the Whisperwood."

I love this music.

[ And then I'll just go back to my book.

About leylines.

David: So how, how, how much would the cheapest letter cost, just out of curiosity?

Esther: You know, I didn't know you were going to ask me about letters.

Fai: I know.

I love to throw stuff at you apparently.

Esther: Almost certainly less than a gold, which would be really expensive.

You'd have to like, get a really nice bird, really expensive courier service.

I mean, it depends on how far you're...

where are your mothers right now?

Fai: That's a great question!

They're probably in one of the woods.

I don't think they're in Greengold right now.

I think they're either in Crying Leaf or the Barrowood.

Esther: They're probably in the Barrowood.

Fai: Okay.

Esther: That would be a pretty cheap letter.

Fai: Okay, great.

Esther: Yeah, like maybe a few silver, I would say, but like that,
even that -- it's, it's within Cheliax it's it's pretty doable.

Fai: Okay, great.

David: Roughly how long would it take to like, both deliver and receive a letter?

Esther: Couple of -- a few days max.

David: Few days?

Esther: Yeah.

Fai: All right.

All right, all right, all right.

Esther: The postal system here -- like, it would get there pretty easily.

Fai: Cool.

Um, I think that might be a, an additional area for us to investigate, because
it's entirely possible that, one of my moms has been there looking for stuff.

Has been there, culturally reclaiming.

Esther: You want to research the ley lines?

Am I correct?

Fai: Yes, correct.

Esther: Okay.

So I can, we could start with Nature, and then I would -- actually,
I think I'm going to ask you to roll Occultism for more specific.

Fai: Okay.

Start with Nature...

and Occultism, much greater.

You see why I was gunning for Occultism earlier!

Esther: I do, I do.


So to help me shape my answer to you, what specific information are you looking for?

Like specific answers to questions?

Fai: That's a great question.

'Cause I was just kind of like, I'm going to read this book and see what it teaches
me, and if any of the things that it teaches me seem applicable to our situation...

But if anybody wants to help me narrow that down into an actual question, I'd love to hear comments.

David: Wait, so you're trying to figure out...

Fai: I got this book about ley lines.

And we know that the, that the map that was painted on the wall had a lot to do with them.

Is that correct, Esther?

Esther: Yes.

Fai: Were the ley lines represented on the map?

Esther: Some of them were.

So what, what you can gather is that not every leyline has been mapped.

A lot of major ones have been.

And yeah, you would have, we'll say you would have seen some
ley lines traced on the map, like through a few locations.

And I can, I can do that on the copy of the map I sent y'all.

Take me a little bit, but I can do it.

Fai: Would any of those coincide with the Whisperwood like, around where Ember's situation occurred?

Esther: Oh yeah, definitely.

Fai: Naturally, naturally

Esther: It's actually a rich with ley line kind of a spot.

But again, the book will tell you, not every ley line has been thoroughly mapped or discovered yet.

Some of them are fainter than others, both in terms of magical energy and power they put forth.

And in terms of like, the kind of mapping that has been done.

Other questions about them?

Fai: Okay.


Let me try to word good.

Do the ley lines...

are they just variably magical or does there seem to be concentrations
of certain kinds of magic at certain points on the ley lines?

Esther: A little bit of both.

In fact, there's some debate in the scholarly communities about this.

There are definitely certain places on certainly lines that seem to
have ties to a particular plane or a particular type of magical energy,

but it doesn't necessarily span the whole line for some of them.

And for others, it kind of does.

It's kind of like, yeah, that one's especially attuned to
Hell, kind of the whole way across, it'll make it easier.

The closer you get to a certain point on it, that is like attuned to a specific plane or place,
the easier it is to like, evoke that energy or travel to the place or something like that.

There's lines for which you could be far away on that particular
line and it'll still like, help you attune a little bit easier to it.

And some seem rather entirely random.

Fai: Are the ones in the Whisper...

was it Whisperwood?

Esther: The Whisperwood.

Fai: Were the ones in the Whisperwood particularly Hell oriented?

Esther: Yes.

Fai: Okay.

All right.

We're getting maybe somewhere.

We're getting some informacions, that's something.

I think that's what I have for now.

Justin: Ember would like to, um, hunt for rats in the library.

Esther: Okay.

Hunt for rats in the library.

Justin: Yes.

Esther: Roll Survival

Justin: 22.

Esther: You don't smell any rats.

Justin: Stalking around looking for, you know, snacks or, or rats or anything.

Fai: Things of interest.

Esther: I mean, there probably would be some waste somewhere in the library
that you could get into like a trash bin and get some bread out of it.

Justin: Is there like a kitchen anywhere?

Esther: There, there's certainly like a little faculty space.

People bring their lunches, set some things out.

There would be some food out there.

Justin: If there is an unattended lunch, I would like to steal it.

Esther: There is an unattended meal, yeah.

It's like a salami sandwich.

Justin: Yeah.

I want it.

I'm going to, because I know this is naughty, I'm going to sneakily go and grab the sandwich.

Esther: Yes.

Roll Stealth?


Justin: Sure.

I'll roll Stealth, I don't have Thievery.


Esther: Well, one moment.

Poor you!

They rolled a Natural 20.

Fai: Not their sandwich, not today!

Esther: The Librarian comes in and sees you, like, paws up on the
counter, mouth open about to go for it and says, "Oh, very naughty boy!

A naughty dog, indeed!

How dare you come in here and steal my sandwich!

Oh, a terrible, terrible!"

And sort of just starts clicking, like [tongue clicking sounds]

Justin: Ember will like back away, like whining, like head down.

Esther: "Out, out!"

And she's like gonna shoo you out back towards the party.

Justin: He will, he will find his way back to the party and he will be rather dejected.

" Did not get my sandwich."

Fai: [laughs]

Esther: On the note of the denied sandwich...

Fai: Ember...

Esther: Shall we leave it here?

Justin: Sure...

Fai: I think that's the, I think that's the right place.

Esther: Okay.

To wind down: favorite moments from today?

Justin: I'm halfway in between just like, you know, going around
like crazy in the fight with my first Rage and the denied sandwich.

Pretty in between those two.

Esther: The denied sandwich is pretty good.

Alex: Denied sandwich is pretty great.

Fai: I think the denied sandwich might've been the winner.

[cast laughs] but I also like, I also liked Tavi praying to himself after we left.

That poor kid.

He's had it rough.

I'm sorry I judged you, my dude.

Whomst am I?

I think, I think, I think that was, I think the sandwich was the real winner though.

It's going to become a running theme, Ember's quest for a sandwich.

Esther: Hashtag denied sandwich...

Justin: One day, one day I will get a sandwich.

Esther: Thanks so much for tuning into Chromythica and being in this story with us.

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