Death & Taxes: Part I

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This Critical Role one-shot was created in collaboration with Zenimax Online. It aired on YouTube on May 26th, 2021. You can access the video here.

Although A Faulty Foundation is one long video, we have chosen to separate it into two parts of transcription, split at the location of the video's commercial break.


MATT: Welcome to this very special Critical Role one-shot experience with our partnership with our friends at Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios for their 2021 release of the Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood. For a little context for those who want to know, ESO has a year long adventure which includes the Blackwood chapter release and also multiple DLCs that unveil the storyline as it progresses, one of which is already out now called the Flames of Ambition. Now, the storyline is part of the Gates of Oblivion overall storyline. Some of you may be familiar with Oblivion or previous Elder Scrolls games. This is part of the ESO diving into that awesomeness of the world and lore and it uncovers the scheme specifically in this of the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon 800 years before the events of Elder Scrolls IV. I'm super excited about this. It comes out-- Blackwood specifically comes out on June 1st for PC, Mac, and Stadia and June 8th for Xbox One, X-Box series X and S, PS4 and PS5, across the board. And you can check out everything right now at Super excited they approached us to do this partially because I've been playing Elder Scrolls for forever. I've played through all the main games, part of the reason that me and Marisha named our bird Dagon was after Mehrunes Dagon.

LAURA: Really? I didn't know that.

MATT: Yeah, it was a combination of Mehrunes Dagon and the classic Mesopotamian deity slash cosmic horror sea god. So a lot of reasons to go with Dagon at that point. But Mehrunes Dagon, we had just finished playing through Skyrim at the time.

LAURA: That's actually why we named Ronin Ronin Mehrunes Willingham. So it's so weird that we have that in common.

MATT: For a brief second, for a brief second I was like--

LAURA: "Oh my god."

MATT: But yeah, anyway, been a long time fan of the series and super excited that we get to play some of this chaos into their world. Apologies in advance, Bethesda, for ruining it. But before we begin, I want to go ahead and do a quick round of our amazing players at the table, everyone go ahead and introduce yourselves starting on this side, Sam.

SAM: My character or myself?

MATT: Yourself.

SAM: Hi, I'm San Riegel.

MATT: And your character.

SAM: Oh, I'm Sam Riegel, and I am playing the character of Slaughter Grimm. Slaughter Grimm the necromancer. What do you need, what else?

MATT: Argonian.

SAM: Argonian, no, but like, what else should I say about--

MATT: That's fine, the rest of it we'll find in the story.

SAM: Okay. My name's-- yep!

MATT: Out of the gate. Taliesin.

TALIESIN: Hi, my name is Taliesin Jaffe and for this fun little romp I'll be playing Mallory Klaxton, and he's a Dunmer sorcerer. So that's where we're going.

MATT: Wonderful. Aabria?

AABRIA: Hi, I am Aabria Iyengar and I'm playing Tavima, your Redguard Templar. Those words all meant things.

MATT: Laura.

LAURA: Hi, I'm Laura Bailey. And today I'm going to be playing an orc named Grelnok Nightbringer.

MATT: Nailed it.

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: Michelle.

MICHELLE: Hi, I'm Michelle Nguyen Bradley and today I'm playing Hoa Sen and I am an Altmer Warden. I almost said Altmer hostess. That's my job. 

MATT: She's not actually joking. Well, there we go. Thank you all so much for joining us for this, super excited to have you. And with that, I think let's go ahead and jump into the narrative chaos that will ensue for our Elder Scrolls one shot here tonight. Let's do this.


MATT: So we begin within the sprawling realm of Tamriel during the historical period known as the Interregnum. No emperor sits on the Ruby Throne at this moment, while war and chaos between political factions ravages the land and divides the people. Rumors continuously spread of dark arcana and clandestine threats growing in shadowed places. But here, within the safety of the Aldmeri Dominion, such matters rarely interest the more common folk like you, who seek to just make a living right now. Now crossing each others' paths as you may have as young sellswords, curious wanderers, or even just happenstance allies, you forced a friendship or at least a convenient business partnership strong enough between you all to match this collective interest in living the less dangerous life and in pooling your gold saved through whatever work you may have done, bloody or not, to purchase a ramshackle hillside inn on the outskirts of Grahtwood called the Dreary Jug. That was the name when you purchased it, you're welcome to decide if that's what you want to keep. The renovations have been slow for the past few months. Since you've acquired this location, the clientele has been a bit sparse, but it's beginning to swell a bit. As tensions rise beyond these lands, you begin to see more soldiers passing through, and with them, more coin. So the prospects are growing steadily brighter. A handful of Bosmer soldiers of the Dominion military are deep in their late night rounds at a far table as one of them suddenly raises a hand towards the nearby waiter, shouting, "Hey! Lizard! Another round of Four-Eye Grog and a big old pork platter for me and my mates if you don't mind."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I'm sorry, I'm sorry, sir. Say that one more time, one more time. I just need to get the order right.

MATT: "Yeah, another round of Four-Eye, Four-Eye Grog? Four-Eye Grog? Yeah, going to get two rounds for the whole table."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Two Four-Eye Grog, yep.

MATT: "Yeah, and a big old pork platter, if you don't mind."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Pork platter? Pork platter. Anything-- do you need extra napkins or any--? I'll just be right back.  Grelnok?


GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Grelnok, we need two Four-Eye Grogs over at table-- the big meaty table over there, and-- oh, Mallory? Mallory!


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Can I come back there?


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: All right. Mallory, we need the pork platter?

MALLORY KLAXTON: Pork's still smoking, it's in back. Well, what do I-- do I say no?

MALLORY KLAXTON: Fine, give me one minute.



SLAUGHTER GRIMM: All right, thank you.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: That was fast.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I just had to pour it.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I guess so, that's how it works. I'm sorry, yes, okay.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: We've been here a couple of months, you should learn this.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I just-- I get so nervous.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Take the fucking drinks and go.




MALLORY KLAXTON: Here's a plate. Apologize to them, it's terrible 'cause they ordered it too early.


MALLORY KLAXTON: They should know better.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I will try to hold all this stuff, and--

MATT: You scoot your way through the dark interior of the tavern. The smell itself a combination of partially-cooked foods, well-cooked foods, and prematurely-cooked foods in this particular instance, splatters of long-dried and semi-cleaned bits of liquor and wine across the stained wooden floor, over towards the front where the open doors are currently ajar to reveal the freshly night sky amongst the trees of the nearby wooded area. You can see leaning into the table, or leaning against the doorway, the bouncer, Tavima.

TAVIMA: I am just looking out into the street and the moment I make eye contact with anyone: You! Come get some food and a drink.

MATT: As you glance out there, and you are on the outskirts of this area of Grahtwood, specifically this tavern definitely corners this area, which is mostly just heavy wood and the path where a lot of soldier footfall and occasional horse traffic comes through. There is one, looks like a farmer who has a satchel on his back and he's wearing a simple leather cap, looks over. "Oh?"


MATT: "Okay, I don't--"

HOA SEN: I run forward. No, Tavima, we talked about this. No yelling, the shouting, use your inside voice. I know you're a partly outside--

TAVIMA: I'm outside.

HOA SEN: Yeah, but you shouldn't-- so. Young, beautiful, handsome wanderer, please come hither. We have warm fires and lovely cold drinks and--


HOA SEN: -- liquors.

MATT: Make an intimidation check, make a persuasion check.

TAVIMA: Oh, it was on a 20 and then it rolled to an eight. 11.

HOA SEN: 14.

MATT: "Okay, I think I'll take my chances."

TAVIMA: Come on.

MATT: "Do you have a place where I can put this down?"

TAVIMA: Here, I'll take it. And I try to lift him and his, yep, come on.

MATT: Releases it and quickly shuffles his way into the-- It's not bustling, per se, but at this point in the evening, there's three tables that seem to have some folk who've wandered in. You expect it to get a little rowdier as the night progresses. But you've you found yourself a comfortable space, settling into the various aspects of the business as you progress. You go over to the the table of Bosmer soldiers.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Here's your plate of food, folks. And here's a couple of grogs, best in town I think you'll find, freshly poured. Also-- and I put my hand on his shoulder-- it's a he, a she?

MATT: The one who's talking to you is a he.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I've read that if you have a personal touch with the person that you're waiting, you're more likely to get a better tip. So it's nice to meet you. Hi, I'm Slaughter. I'm the waiter here. I've been working here for a little while and gee whiz, it's really great. I'm getting to meet all sorts of people here.

MATT: "Go away."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Well, if you need anything, just-- There's a little bell that I put on--

MATT: "The pork's underdone."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I don't-- do you want me to tell the chef?

MATT: "We'll make do."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Good. I don't like the chef. But yes thank you so much, sir. I'll just put my hand on you one more time and I'm off.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Hi, yes, what's up?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: You're a shit waiter.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Well, I'm trying to do better.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Well, I have to. This is my dream. I don't know if I've told you this before because we don't talk a lot. I come from a long line of necromantic torturers. My father was named Massacre Grimm, my mother is Felony Grimm-Lebowitz, my brother is Homicide Grimm and my sister is Agony Grimm. And we've all been a long time family of torturers. We've worked for despots and tyrants and, you know, mainly my mom and dad are freelancers now, semi-retired, but they expected--

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I pass a shot over to him.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Thank you so much. That's very strong. They wanted me to go into the family business, of course, but I just can't with the torturing. It's just too much, you know? It's icky and you get splatter on yourself and the screams of anguish and agony. I just can't, I can't do it. So I'd like to be in the service industry and I'm making a go of it. And I think that what we've got here is really something special, you know?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Yeah, yeah I think this is a really good setup we have.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: How can I be better?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Stop talking. Just don't talk. Don't scare away the customers.

HOA SEN: Actually, I found-- I just butt into your conversation, I kick over another customer. Actually, I found that more talking and lots and lots of direct eye contact is exactly what people want. They say no, but their eyes, they say yes. To me, anyway. So when somebody comes in and they say things like, "Oh, go away," what they really mean is, "I'm hurting inside and I just want someone to talk to."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: See, this is great advice. Hoa, I did the thing that you told me earlier about touching them and I think it really--

HOA SEN: You have to touch their insides.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Don't touch their insides!

HOA SEN: No, I meant--


TAVIMA: I'm behind Hoa right now just making dagger eye contact with the table, like--


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: All right, I'll keep a lid on. I'll keep a lid on it.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I'm going to come running out of the kitchen. Drink, drink. Tavima. Tavima, watch that table over there, they ordered the pork at this hour. I don't trust anybody who does that.

TAVIMA: I'm on it. Tavima just sits down on one of the other tables, just watches.



MATT: You hear some footfalls approaching, two different sets, an odd cadence. You look and see on one side there is an Altmer, or high elf, in fine cerulean clothing, a light brown hair, who looks to be a bit powdered in the face, much more done up than the normal folk that wander through this side, but has a certain kind of-- I don't know, a lifted back to him as he steps in your direction. A little bit behind you see another figure who's currently hitching a horse over by the small side stables. Is a grungy looking, leather cloak-clad female with dirty red hair that just saunters up with a little bit of bag. And as the Altmer approaches, "Ah, is this a place to come for a drink perhaps and a place to rest?"


HOA SEN: Yes, yes, yes! Okay, yes! I'm knocking over chairs as I run to the front door. Hello, hello, yes, fellow Altmer, thank you, welcome to our fine establishment. Where are you coming from today? What is your name? What's your name over there? What have you had to eat today? Would you like to eat something different today? How tall are you, exactly?

MATT: "Let's begin with a table, perchance, and maybe a spot of reddish wine, if you don't mind?"

HOA SEN: Reddish wine, or do you want red wine? We do have reddish wine, but I don't know if it was technically the right--

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: We got blood in the white. It's not quite the same, but.

MATT: "I'll go with what you recommend."

HOA SEN: Yes, we have wine of colors, great. I usher them over to our finest table in front of the fireplace.

MATT: Okay, he sits down to eat. The other individual that came from the horse just sauntered up to the side of the doorway as you're helping him get to his seat ends up coming up right to your area. She rubs her chin a bit. "Can I just grab a seat?"

MATT: "All right." Sits in and picks like a little side area almost like an independent booth. And as opposed to ordering any food, pulls out a bag and starts removing bits of looks like roadside jerky. Just starts chewing it at the table.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I'll just wander over to Tavima. I've forgotten, are we allowing-- are we allowing clients to bring in their own food from outside or-- I don't think Mallory would like that very much.

TAVIMA: You can tell her not to.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I'm staring deadlocked.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I can tell her? That's not my job.

TAVIMA: Yeah, if she gets rowdy, I'll bounce her out, but she seems fine.


MALLORY KLAXTON: Offer her the Plowman Special.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: What is that?

MALLORY KLAXTON: Sausage, sausage roll, fresh potatoes. Some cheese, piece of bread. It's very nice. It's simple, it's rugged.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Every dish you describe sounds like a threat. All right. Hello, welcome to the Dreary Jug. I'm Slaughter. I make super-duper eye contact with her. I'll be your waiter tonight. We have a special, can I tell you about it?

MATT: "I'll just have an ale, thanks."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: It's called the Plowman Special. It's got sausage, potato, cheese, and bread. Can I interest you in that?

MATT: "I'm good. If I could just get an ale, please."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Did you say a nail?

MATT: "An ale, please."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Oh, that would have been-- yeah.

MATT: Her eyes wander as you're talking and you see she's looking around. She's checking the place out, eating some jerky.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: First time-- first time in here?

MATT: "First time, ale, please."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Sure, sure. G, we need an ale! Is that okay?

TAVIMA: That's fun.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Okay, yeah, I thought I'd try it to get some witty banter or rapport going. Didn't work.

TAVIMA: Can I call you G?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Yeah, whatever you want.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: What? All right, I go over, grab the ale, come back. Here's your ale. What brings you to this neck of the woods today?

MATT: "Passing through."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: On your way to? Sounds interesting.

MATT: "Personal business."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Yeah, very interesting.

MATT: "You're a real curious type, aren't you?"

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Do I see any weapons on this person?

MATT: Make a perception check.


HOA SEN: I'd also like to add that from behind I'm going more! Touch, touch, inside.

TAVIMA: No, I think at this point I'm going to come around and just body Hoa and, like, just drop her off in front of the elves where she belongs.

MATT: The other gentleman is sitting there, is taking his cloak off and set it over the chair. And is just gently awaiting his wine's arrival as he looks around the establishment.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Separate tables or the same table?

MATT: There's multiple tables.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: So the fancy gentleman's at one table, the surly person is at another.

MATT: It's like a booth side element, then there's the soldier table near the front.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Soldier table, got it. It's a busy night tonight. I could use some help on the floor.

HOA SEN: Three tables.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'm not even out there. I'm searching for fucking wine.


MALLORY KLAXTON: Slaughter, do you want me to get this one?


MALLORY KLAXTON: I'm going to walk over to the fancy.


MATT: He's in the process of going, like, "So what can you tell me about this place? What's it called?"

HOA SEN: It's called The Dingy-- The Jug of-- The Dirty Drinking Hole. What's the name of this place again?



HOA SEN: Oh, it's that, yes, it's the Dreary Jug, I'd forgotten.

MATT: "Well, I'd recommend perhaps maybe workshopping that a bit, seeing it's a bit challenging to remember and or present. But anyway."

HOA SEN: Wow, do you work in marketing?

MATT: "More or less, you could say."

HOA SEN: Tell me more.

MATT: "Well, um."

HOA SEN: Where did you grow up? Where did you learn how to do marketing? What does marketing really mean?

MATT: "You're new at management here, aren't you?"

HOA SEN: Aren't we all new beings on this beautiful planet that we call, hmm.

MATT and TAVIMA: Nirn.

HOA SEN: Nirn.

HOA SEN: I mean, I think that every place is new and exciting and it's great to learn about every single thing that you can set your eyes upon.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: You just hear a loud crash of glass in the background as I break the bottle over the bar to open it up.

MATT: At this point, as you're helping approach at this point, and you're coming over to get the wine for this gentlemen, the woman in the leathers goes--

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: The surly one.

MATT: The surly one puts the pouch away, downs the drink, and just exits. And muscles past you, like, done to go out into the night.

TAVIMA: Hold on.

LAURA and TAVIMA: Did she pay?

MATT: If you go back and look at the table?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I'll go look at the table.

MATT: There's a handful of gold on the table. It looks paid, it's paid.

TAVIMA: We good?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: It's okay. Was she a good tipper?

MATT: There was no tip.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: There was no tip! I put hands on her.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: That's why there's no tip.

TAVIMA: I'm not allowed to wear a sword anymore, so do you want me to punch her in the back of the head? Like what are we doing?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I don't know. What do you do in this situation? You're the muscle.

TAVIMA: Did you do a--

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I did an excellent job.

TAVIMA: All right, I'm going to follow her out. Like, you need to fucking tip.

MATT: Okay.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: You guys are all on hourlies. I work for tips over here, okay?

MATT: It's a valid point. It's a rough service, food service. I've been there. As you step out and shout that into what is now the the early evening air, the little bit of torchlight flickering on the front porch area off the side of your face, you can just catch her stepping onto the road and turns around, reaches into the pouch, takes a couple of coins, and just throws them onto the ground and keeps walking.

TAVIMA: Cool, I'm not worried about that.

MATT: There you go.

TAVIMA: Okay. I'll wipe them off on my weird, ruffly outfit that I hate so much. Here's your-- it's ground money. Good job.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Thank you so much, I appreciate it. And thanks for the support. I know that I'm not the--

TAVIMA: This is a lot for me. We can just move on.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Thank you, thank you, just thank you. Okay, thank you.


MALLORY KLAXTON: I'm going to take it over.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: There might be glass bits.

MATT: "Thank you kindly."

MALLORY KLAXTON: We have a sandwich platter. It's got cheese, pickle sandwich, cucumber sandwich, curried chicken. I bake the bread myself. Amazing and it compliments the wine perfectly. There may be blood in the bread.

MATT: Goddamn it. "I'll-- perhaps just a spot of the cheese platter, if you don't mind. Is it all on one platter?"

MALLORY KLAXTON: It's a sandwich platter. I can give you cheese and pickle and bread platter. It's going to-- it'll be deconstructed, but that's the Plowman Special.

MATT: "Just bring me the whole thing."

MALLORY KLAXTON: Fine. I go into into the back.

MATT: It's one of my favorite characters you've ever played.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I can make you a Surf and Turf.

MATT: He leans his attention back to you. "Well, I guess best to say is, I'm an appreciator of the entrepreneurial spirit. Businesses has been steadily growing, you would say?"

HOA SEN: Yes, today we've had three-- we have two tables and that's amazing for us. I think we're doing quite well. We're probably-- we're definitely going to make it.

MATT: "Wonderful, wonderful."

HOA SEN: What else brings you to this, our humble little town?

MATT: "Well, my name is Diven." Takes a sip of his wine.

HOA SEN: Just be careful. There's a little-- nevermind.

MATT: "A bit granular. There's a bit of a grain--"

HOA SEN: Oh, it's a specialty of the vineyards nearby, I think.

MATT: "Curious, notes of iron. Well, I'm an Aldmeri representative out of Elden Root. I assume you've all been rather forthright in your taxes to the Dominion in these trying times?"

HOA SEN: Yes, Slaughter does all the math.

MATT: "Well, I'll be curious to see your ledgers, please."

TAVIMA: It was a threat.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: It's a tax man.


MATT: "Yes, please, if you don't mind. Just to keep everything forward and upright. These are times to be showing support for the Dominion that is keeping you safe."

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'll be right back. I'm going to go to the back and I'm going to find some papers and I'm going to--

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: -- write some numbers and some lines on it.

MATT: Okay, while you're doing that anyone else is doing anything?

TAVIMA: I mean, do you have paper? Like, can you prove who you are?

MATT: "Well, of course I can." He reaches into his-- he reaches into his little breast pocket and pulls out this really nice scroll that somehow he's kept immaculate while pressed within his breast and unfurls it and shows it to you. And indeed it says it says Diven Leson, the Aldmeri tax collecting individual. There's a very unique lengthy title, but it seems as far as your experience with formalized Dominion paperwork to be forthright.

TAVIMA: Cool well, we'll get those-- I'm going to-- No. She just walks away.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I bring it back out. There we go. You'll see there on line five it says-- that, it says taxes.

MATT: Go ahead and just roll a general-- you can choose dexterity or intelligence check.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: What do I got here? What are we looking at? Yeah, we're solid on both these numbers. Don't know who rolled for me, but woof. Oh, I wish I would have gone off the table 'cause it landed on a two!

MATT: All right, so--

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Wait, no, plus one.

MATT: There you go, so three.


MATT: So three. So that was just for the assemblance of the papers you made in the back, which are-- you know when a child makes a really cute drawing and the parents put it on the fridge. If they made a ledger that they saw their dad do on tax day, it's in a similar realm. I would like you to also make a deception check for me, please.



SLAUGHTER GRIMM: So that's a four.

MATT: It's a four. "Ahem. I-- really don't want to make a scene here, but are you to tell me that you've just presented to an official of the Dominion fraudulent documentation of your income for a new business such as this?"

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Well, I wouldn't. Those papers were just here when we moved in. I just thought that that's what--

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: This is a new business, sir, where we've just started out and, as you know, many establishments like ours fail within the first six months. So we're still getting on our feet. Haven't worked out the books correctly yet, but Hoa over here is on it.

HOA SEN: Oh, I was supposed to-- I thought you were.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: We have a plan, we have a plan and we just haven't enacted it yet. But we're working on it. What is the deadline for pay-- for payment?

MATT: "This establishment is number of months behind, I believe, from the previous owner."

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Oh, well, that-- that's why.

MATT: "But as per Tax Code 13AA underscored, within the Dominion itself, new proprietors are to carry over any existing debts from previous proprietors."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: They didn't tell us that

TAVIMA: That doesn't feel good or fair.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I walk over with the sandwiches and put them down. I'll be taking the tips on this one. What are we all doing here?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: There's a bit of a paperwork--

HOA SEN: We owe taxes, or something.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: How much do we owe?

MATT: I could tell you if you gave me a proper ledger.

HOA SEN: Well, if you don't know how much we owe, then why?

MATT: "Then perhaps you would need somebody to look these up for you and that is quite a bit pricey."

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'll go find a ledger.

MALLORY KLAXTON: You've lost the chicken curry sandwiches, and I just take--

MATT: "I want that chicken curry sandwich, thank you."


GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'm going to look through all the boxes that have been like covered and stuff, try to find a ledger.

MATT: Make an investigation check.




MALLORY KLAXTON: Oh, you've already got--

TAVIMA: I'm back there helping, yeah. And just the whole time I'm not really helping you look as much as I'm like, are we just going to just kill this guy? Are we're just going to-- we're going to-- yeah, okay, I just wanted to be on the same page.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Oh, oh. Investigation?

MATT: Yes.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Wow. 14, fuck-- no, 16.

MATT: 16, there you go.

TAVIMA: Teamwork.

MATT: Looking around, you find scraps of some notation of shipments that were brought in and you've kept a few pieces of paperwork that, you know, receiving drinks and food materials and just generally in and out going income. But you're also very new to this as a collective and you've not kept the best notation. So you're a little bit of a loss. Like it's a little frustrating and a learning as you go, unfortunate circumstance.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I just bring out all the papers that I could find and hand it over to the guy.

MATT: As you're back there searching and figuring this out, both of you, he begins to stand up and walk about the establishment as the soldiers finish up their meal and rowdily leave, and one of them begins to complain like, "Oh man, I'm feeling a little weird." And they make their way out into the night. And begins looking around. "Well, this is quite a collection of wines here on this rack."

HOA SEN: Oh yes. That one's red. That one is sort of a lighter red. That one is white? It looks clear to me, though, so I don't know if that's called-- maybe it's called a clear wine. Maybe that's a special thing.

MATT: "Hmm. He puts it within a bag.

HOA SEN: Oh, actually we, sorry, but we actually need that to sell and make money, so that we can pay our taxes.

MATT: "Oh, of course, of course. I understand. You should probably order some." And begins to slowly walk around over towards the edge of the bar and glancing about. "Some fine silverware is here as well."

HOA SEN: Oh, it's actually some silverware we found when we got here and it was quite dirty and we just-- we just cleaned it, but it's probably not worth anything. It looks like it's probably like trash silverware, really. I won't even call it silver silverware, more like metal prongs.


MATT: "Yes?"

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Hands off the goods.

MATT: "Hand over your taxes."

MALLORY KLAXTON: I'm going to walk over. It's a sample of our smoked pork on the house and walk away.

MATT: He takes a bit of it.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I wouldn't eat the pork at this time of day. I'm sorry, sorry.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Just let it happen.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Okay, go ahead.

MALLORY KLAXTON: We have a smoker in the back.

MATT: Make a deception check.


MATT: Yeah.


MATT: He goes, "Hmm."

TAVIMA: We found papers. Look at the papers and--

MATT: Begins to thumb through them a bit, glancing up, giving each of you eye contact as he does so. "These are rather incomplete. It would be a shame to have to return empty-handed."

TAVIMA: I don't want to do something. You're the elf, talk to the elf. Make an elf deal.

HOA SEN: Not all elves know each other. Okay, so well, what are we talking about? How much money--

TAVIMA: They're like immortal. I feel like they know each other.

HOA SEN: How much money are we talking here to appease our absence of some papers?

MATT: "Well, I mean to alleviate an intrusive inspection of the entire operation here at the-- is it the Dingy Hole you called it?"

TAVIMA: I'm going to go write that on the chalkboard.


HOA SEN: Yes, that is the current name.

MATT: "Perhaps a deferment fee of about 300 gold would be--"

HOA SEN: Oh, oh, oh.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Do we-- what's our-- do we have that much?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Mm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

HOA SEN: I think we have like maybe five gold. But we need that money to pay for the food for tomorrow. How about a bunch of birds' nests? I can ask some of my friends to bring them in and you can use them to decorate your front lawn. I can get you about 20 birds' nests by tomorrow morning.

MATT: "This grows tiresome. I've been sent here to do a collection. Now, either I'm going to collect or I'm going to have to return here with more men. I'm giving the opportunity to keep business flowing as it always has flown. Now, are we doing this the easy way or the hard way?"

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: What do you want? We ain't got your money.

MALLORY KLAXTON: How much would it take for you to flow?

MATT: "As I said, 300 gold."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: What if-- what if we got it for you tomorrow?

MATT: "Well, I'd already be on the road back."


TAVIMA: I mean, how many men do you got? Because I don't know. We should just explore all of our options. Yeah, right?

MATT: "Is that a threat?"

TAVIMA: It is, yeah. I'm the bouncer, can't you tell?

HOA SEN: Yeah, she's really scary.

TAVIMA: I'm very scary.

MATT: "I can tell."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Have the soldiers already left?

MATT: The soldiers have left. It's pretty much-- at this hour, it's just you and the tax collector.


TAVIMA: Well, here's the thing, the way I see it is in this very empty tavern, there's five of us and the one of you right now. So I would like to have a conversation about a deferment plan, because I don't know if you're necessarily going to be able to get to your soldier friends to come back and continue this conversation, so we should just have it now.

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

TAVIMA: No. 13?

MATT: Thirteen's not bad, not bad. You see him get a little rustled and he's like, "Look, I-- business is just going as it's always been. Do not hold it against me. I'll come back tomorrow."

TAVIMA: Good man. You should stop eating the pork.

MATT: He touches his stomach a little bit. "Well, good evening, then," and he struts his way out of the establishment and is gone in the night.


TAVIMA: I didn't get in a fight!

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: That's great, but not a victory. We still owe this gentlemen 300 gold and you can bet that he'll come back with reinforcements of some sort.

MATT: You hear knocking


TAVIMA: Are we still open?

HOA SEN: Okay, okay! I open the door.

MATT: Outside, you see him currently nailing a piece of paper on the front of the tavern, which says, "This property is no longer in business for the time being by order and decree of the Aldmeri Dominion."


GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: How are we going to get the money if we can't even--

HOA SEN: I take some chalk from under my cape and I just write, "But we'll be back just as soon as we can!"

TAVIMA: Ooh, silver lining. And I add it to the board for names.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: The Silver Lining?


MALLORY KLAXTON: That's really good.

MATT: Make a perception check.

HOA SEN: Okay.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I still like Dingy Hole.

HOA SEN: Nat 20.

MATT: Natural 20! For a total of?

HOA SEN: Was it investigation you said? 22.

MATT: All right, so as he begins to trounce off and get onto his horse and begin to make his way off as you write the chalk bit, out there alone, listening in the night, the crickets in the night, the occasion distant owl sound.

MATT: And you know, the occasional the feral wildlife goats that also ate the pork, apparently.

MATT: You hear this strange Like heavy impacts and rustling. With a natural 20, it seems to be coming loosely from behind the tavern and inn and to the right side of the structure.

HOA SEN: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. I come back into the tavern. Everyone, I think there's a large creature, perhaps, behind the tavern. Should we go investigate?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I reach behind the bar and grab my battleaxe off the--

TAVIMA: Sword time?

MALLORY KLAXTON: I get the stick.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I've got my notebook in case anyone orders anything.

HOA SEN: I reach above--

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: How do you know it's a creature?

HOA SEN: Um, it sounds-- you know it might be a big cow that escaped but I think it's something-- it's something very large and heavy. So it's either a cow or something more dangerous I just--

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Whatever it is, I want to get violent right now.

TAVIMA: Thank you. And I'm going to go like run into the back and go grab all my stuff like, yeah! Shield and sword.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Just don't-- just remember though, if our establishment gets sort of a reputation for, you know, being deadly or whatever, people might not come.

TAVIMA: I think if we put sawdust down and like, it would be like an expectation and then it would be like a destination thing.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Oh, like it'll be dangerous at the Dingy Hole or what are we calling this place?

TAVIMA: Dingy Hole, but I will also add

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: "Silver Lining"'s real nice.

TAVIMA: -- Night Goat to the list.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I feel like Silver Lining creates too many expectations.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I liked the "jug" part of the Dreary Jug, honestly, so I was thinking either Rum Tum Jugger or Jugs the Way We Are.

HOA SEN: Oh, I like Jugs the Way We Are because then it implies that the way we are is perfect, and like jugs themselves, are a vessel waiting to be filled with experiences.

TAVIMA: And blood. And a little glass sometimes.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: But we can come back to it.

TAVIMA: It goes on the board, I put it on the board.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Okay, okay, okay.

MATT: All righty, as you all gather your things, Mallory, frustrated to see that the sandwich platter that you prepared has been largely untouched by the individual that left.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Grabbing a couple more--

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Yeah, I grab some pickles and eat it off the plate. This is really good.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Yeah I'm very proud, this is-- I was very excited about adding this to the menu. Been working on it.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Just eating the sandwich with the battleaxe.

MATT: Yep, just chewing as you go out there. As you all begin to step outside of the tavern, immediately you see there's one weary traveler who had just pulled up on his horse goes, "Oh, I'm sorry are you closed?"

TAVIMA: Little bit.

MATT: "I'll come back," and he rides off. And about that point, you guys can begin to hear the same-- It's like a heavy impact and a dull, almost breaking sound. But it's repetitive.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Should we all go together or split up and go around the--?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I feel like just marching straight to it.


HOA SEN: Yeah let's stay together, it's a little spooky.

TAVIMA: Can I try to recognize it? Like what the sound is?

MATT: Sure, make a perception check.

TAVIMA: Different die. Oh my god, worse. Nine?

MATT: Nine. You've heard the sound of splitting wood before. Kind of sounds kind of like that, maybe? Like someone's chopping wood, making firewood, maybe?

TAVIMA: Wood splitting? Someone chopping down a tree, at night?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: It doesn't sound that scary, though.


MATT: You still trailing on that with your keen Altmer ears, it's over in the direction of the meat curing shed.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Is that shed ours or--

MATT: It is your shed. It is part of the establishment, it came with it.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: So Mallory was just out there?

MATT: Correct.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: All right, well, let's go.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Someone's in the meat curing shed?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Something in the meat curing shed.

HOA SEN: Oh yes, we wouldn't want anyone to disturb Mallory's artwork in there.

TAVIMA: Do you want to go first or do you want me to go first? Oh my god, thank you, you get the next one. Cool, and I'm going to go up and yeah I'm just going to-- shield up, and then go and open the door.

MATT: Okay, as you approach and you go for the keys on your side because, as you know, for an establishment where the food is your business and you're not keeping somebody on watch because that'd be ridiculous for the small clientele you have, the shed is kept chained and has a lock on it. You approach and can see the chains are just on the ground and the lock is broken and--

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Someone's stealing our meat!

MATT: The door is slightly ajar. And you can now hear louder it is definitely the sound of something impacting and splitting wood.

TAVIMA: Mallory, just quick check, any chance you were just very sloppy the last time you came out here?


TAVIMA: Respect, all right.

MATT: As part of this conversation, I'd like you both to make stealth checks, please, because you're having this careful conversation in fair proximity to the source of this noise.



TAVIMA: Mallory!


TAVIMA: Oh no.

MATT: So four and 20.

MALLORY KLAXTON: ... at that restaurant, but carry on. The sound stops.

MALLORY KLAXTON: On the count of three, we open it. One, two--

TAVIMA: I open on two.

MATT: Okay.

TAVIMA: Maybe it heard, I don't know.

MATT: You open the shed, and it's a sizeable shed for a lot of the storage that's done in here. You see the hanging hams and hemlocks and various other pieces of curing and salted meats. And some of them have been placed off to the side. Towards the back, hiding up against the wall you see a shadowy figure, currently clutching to their chest what looks to be your pickaxe, which you keep in the nearby tool shed. And the back end of the inside of the shed is currently partially broken and busted through. The minute you take in this scene, the figure notices you making eye contact and goes, "Ah, stupid s'wit!" and drops the pickaxe. And immediately goes for something beneath the cloak. I need you all to roll initiative.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: This is so hard to run a business.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Why all the terrible rolls today?

TAVIMA: Oh my god!

MATT: So 25 to 20? 20 to 15? 15 to 10?




MATT: Okay, who has the higher dex of the two of you?

TAVIMA: Plus one, or 12.

HOA SEN: 12 also.

MATT: So you guys get to pick who goes first.

HOA SEN: You can go first, I'll support.

MATT: All right, Tavima then Hoa.

HOA SEN: Killing it.

TAVIMA: Killing it.

MATT: Then Slaughter. All righty, ten to five?



MATT: All right, Mallory and Greln. So as soon as this door opens, the figure shouts that curse under their breath and leaps out towards you. With what little bit of moonlight's coming through you just see a hood and cloak and a flash of dirty red hair. As the figure darts towards you and then suddenly is gone. What's your armor class?


MATT: What's your armor class?


MATT: 16. You feel something impact the back of your armor and try and slip through the plates and you spin around and feel it scrape off to the side as the individual seems to have vanished from sight and appeared behind you mysteriously. The rest of you who are getting ready for this, you see this of darkened smoke and the cloaked figure that was previously in your establishment appears and is attempting to stab Tavima in the back. However, you pull back and knock the blade out of the way at which point, the figure turns and looks and sees all the rest of you right there and says, "S'wit!" And that's going to go ahead and finish her turn.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: This was the surly woman?

MATT: Correct.


TAVIMA: She did tip.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Should had given her some pork.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: She did tip, she's fine by me.

HOA SEN: Maybe we shouldn't have made her tip.

MATT: All right and actually, no, as part of her turn, the bonus action is going to go ahead and is going to mark you.


MATT: Yeah.


GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: It's because you're so annoying.

MATT: Finishing their turn--


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I'm courteous.

MATT: That's going to bring us to Tavima, you're up.

TAVIMA: I see her mark Slaughter and I go: Okay, same. And I would like to use Sun Fire.

MATT: Oh shit, okay.

TAVIMA: Yeah I'm going to cast Sun Fire. So I'm going to spend two magicka to blast an enemy with-- Wait, no, hold on. No, sorry, I want to use Backlash.

MATT: Backlash, got it.

TAVIMA: So yeah, an expanding beam of sunlight to doom an enemy and she has to make a DC 15 con save.

MATT: You've got it. That is going to be a fail with a 14. And Hoa, you're on deck.

TAVIMA: Four points of fire damage and they're doomed until the end of the next turn.

MATT: You've got it. And while they're doomed, you deal additional bit of damage when you hit them. Great, so that's your bonus action.

TAVIMA: So can I attack with my--

MATT: You can.

MATT: Oh tight, so I'm going to attack with my longsword. Let's do it. Nope, 12.

MATT: 12, they're quick. And while the flash of light hits them and you can see this like faint tingling burn that is now curling around their shoulders and they're trying to pat it out they see you swing towards and they pull back and just duck out of the way. Just misses the face by inches. And you can see now that that feral energy as they're beginning to feel momentarily surrounded by the rest of you. But no, that does not hit, unfortunately.

TAVIMA: I'm done.

MATT: That finishes your turn. All right. Hoa, you're up, and Slaughter, you're on deck.

HOA SEN: Is anyone within five feet of the enemy? Or are we all within five feet?

MATT: I'd say no. The only person who's directly within five feet would be Tavima.

HOA SEN: Don't want to hit you, okay.

TAVIMA: Eh, live your dreams.

HOA SEN: I'll do an easy thing. I reach behind my cape and you see my eyes turn blank white. No one hurts my friends! And I pull out my ice staff and I go for a melee attack.

MATT: Go for it.

HOA SEN: So that's going to be 14 plus three is 17.

MATT: 17 will hit, go ahead and roll damage on that.

HOA SEN: All right that's--

TAVIMA: She didn't actually hurt me, but go off.

HOA SEN: Maybe she hurt your feelings, I don't know.

MATT: That is important.

HOA SEN: Oh goodness, that is an eight plus eight, that's a 16, and I'm going to use my bonus action as an expert hunter to use one stamina and add 1d10 damage.

MATT: Slick.

HOA SEN: Yes, that's 18 plus-- where's my d10, come here. Five.

MATT: Great, so it's--

HOA SEN: 16 plus five is 21 total damage.

MATT: Whew! All right, so out of nowhere, the extremely socially engaged hostess, which up to this point, in mostly a business relationship, seems to just with absolute anger mark this antagonistic force that showed up and with a resounding crack upsides her in the temple. And for a moment you watch the back foot begin to give as she begins to stumble and then catches herself almost losing a sword and then props back up into space, looks back over the shoulder and growls towards you. All righty, does that finish your turn?


MATT: You got it. That brings us to Slaughter. Mallory, you're on deck.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I call out to the figure: You had a quick meal, but you forgot dessert! And I will pull out a skull from my belt.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: And I will use one magicka to infuse it with magical fire. And I will go and I'll throw the skull at our patron.

MATT: Go for it. The patron looks at you-- growling, looks towards you and goes, "What?!" Surprise across the face.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I roll to hit with spellcasting, 12 to hit?

MATT: 12 does not hit. Surprised as they may be, she sidesteps. And the skull just swings by, glancing off of your shield with like a magical spark and rolls to the ground a few feet away.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Does it come back? It does, it returns to my hand. Oh no, on a success it returns to my hand. I don't know what happens on a fail.

MATT: It's just, it's rolled away. You have to go retrieve it now.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: No, I need that!

TAVIMA: Slaughter, do you want me to-- do you want me to-- I'm sorry, do you want me to--?


TAVIMA: Just start slowly leaning down.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I guess that's my turn-- although, who's up next?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Do you-- do-- does Mallory-- Do you have like things to chop or cut with or are you--

MALLORY KLAXTON: I have a stick.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: You have a stick, but you're more of a magic thing?

MALLORY KLAXTON: But I have a stick. I'm going to hit them with a stick.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: You're going to hit him with a stick?


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: All right, sure. I will use as a bonus action, Hungry Scythe where I can infuse a melee weapon with necrotic energy. So I will do that on-- I'll just point at your stick and go--

MALLORY KLAXTON: Your parents messed you up, man.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I'm eager to serve.

MALLORY KLAXTON: They really did a number on you.


MATT: All right, Mallory, you're up.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I'm going to use my bonus action to cast Crystal Weapon on my now infused staff.

MATT: All righty.

MALLORY KLAXTON: And I'm going to take a swing.

MATT: Go for it.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Ooh, 19 to hit.

MATT: That'll definitely hit.

MALLORY KLAXTON: So that's a-- I should have probably put the correct dice aside. That's-- what did you give extra?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I think I read it wrong, it doesn't do anything to your weapon it just heals me. But it's still cool, it's glowing purple and black.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: It heals you when he hits?



MALLORY KLAXTON: That's seven damage.

MATT: Seven damage, you got it.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I wasn't hurt, but I feel great.

MALLORY KLAXTON: That's a-- their AC is down by two.

MATT: Indeed.

MALLORY KLAXTON: 'Til my next turn.

MATT: You got it. So as you arc towards it, the staff turning this rocky, jagged, crystal outside you spin it and you watch this purple-ish necrotic energy almost like screaming through the air as you swing it wide, it impacts. Ooh, that's a tingle.

TAVIMA: A little B-12 shot.

MATT: Yeah.

MALLORY KLAXTON: What did you get me into?


MATT: Does that finish your turn man?

MALLORY KLAXTON: Yeah, that's everything.

MATT: All righty, with that, brings it to Grelnok, your turn.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'm going to strike out right away with a venomous claw straight at her face.

MATT: Out of the gate, okay.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Out of the gate, going for it.

MATT: Go for it.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: What do I roll, what do I do? What do I do?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: What a world, what a world.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Is that-- I add my modifier, my weapon modifier?

MATT: Yeah, your proficiency and your strength, which would be plus five total.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Okay. Nope, wait, proficiency, nope.

MALLORY KLAXTON: The AC is lower, so you never know.

MATT: What'd you roll?


MATT: Nine, as you angrily streak outward, just putting all of your fury into this claw strike, this woman, this roguish figure who has been bludgeoned back and forth a bit now ducks low and the shadows seem to almost gather and coalesce for a second. As you swing outward, suddenly she's just not there where you thought she was and she's ducked out of the way in an instant.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'm going to keep using my momentum and spin all the way around and bring my axe around and swing low like where it seemed like she ducked.

MATT: Go for it, take the axe hit.


MATT: "That's the plan, honey."



MATT: No, all right, so yeah, that misses.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Cool, that's all I got.

MATT: All righty, finishing your turn. At the top of the round now, the rogue once more shakes her head a bit and goes, "This isn't how it's supposed to go." First, let's see if this comes back.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I don't want to roll anything because it's going to roll well when I don't care. All of these are--

MATT: Turn instead towards you who got the heavy hit as well. And is going to go ahead and bonus action mark you instead and goes, "We're going to dance." And is going to go for a multiattack against you.

HOA SEN: I really love dancing. My eyes flip back for a second. Dancing's really wonderful.

MATT: Right as you get the end of that "Dancing is really wonderful"-- It was like one-- or sorry, two, natural 20. So that's a natural 20 hit with a shortsword and a 10 with a dagger. Does the 10 hit?

HOA SEN: Oh, 10 does not hit.

MATT: Okay, but you do take... Plus an additional... 14 points of slashing damage from the crit plus the additional damage from being marked by this figure. She is intent and furious. And after doing that strike, sees that you're not going down, she is surrounded and goes-- Is going to go ahead and try and start backing up towards the shed once more and begins glancing towards the back wall where the damage has been impacted. That would put her within melee to you four, actually. So all of you do get an attack of opportunity as she begins to get dart towards the back of the shed.

TAVIMA: Do I get one?

MATT: Yeah, all of you who wish to take it gets a--

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Four meaning me or Hoa?

MATT: No, sorry, the four who made melee attacks. You threw the skull from a distance.


MATT: What was it?


MATT: That hits.

TAVIMA: Yes. Eight points.



GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I think it's because I've got my Jester dice out and they're like, don't.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: They don't like this character.

MATT: I know. "I don't belong here."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Should've gotten a whole new set of dice.

MATT: You get one hit.

TAVIMA: Yeah, eight points of piercing damage.

MATT: Eight points of piercing damage.

TAVIMA: Oh wait, hold on I get my 2d4 right, because of--

MATT: Yeah, because of Backlash.

TAVIMA: Dope, add another four to that.

MATT: How do you want to do this?

TAVIMA: Sweet, she goes away and I go: No, no, no. And I was leaning down to pick up Slaughter's skull and I just sort of like slash back and I want to catch her, like, behind and hamstring her and bring her down and just stand up and step over her as she bleeds out. Here you go. Don't kill our wall.

MATT: As she's like trying to crawl forward.

TAVIMA: Stop moving.

MATT: And the light just goes out of her eyes.

TAVIMA: I forgot to ask--

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Should we ask questions?

TAVIMA: We should have asked her what she was doing in the wall.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: My parents would have been-- They would have said like, "No, you always torture first before--" That's their whole thing, I should've remembered.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Can't you, like, bring her back or something? Isn't that what necromancers do?

TAVIMA: Oh yeah!

HOA SEN: Or talk to the dead?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I can throw a skull at her.

HOA SEN: Oh, okay.

TAVIMA: I mean, you might as well.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I'm going to go inspect the damage to my beautiful shed.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: What was she doing in our shed?

TAVIMA: So many dice.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Are you really swapping out all your dice right now?

MALLORY KLAXTON: Of course she is.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Those are both good, okay.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Hold the show. Hold the show, Laura has to swap out all of her dice.

MATT: It's entirely on brand. I don't know why you're surprised by this, Sam. Okay, so while you all are taking a moment to breathe your stamina and magicka come back. You go over and inspect your wonderful shed. And indeed the back wall, a lot of the wood planks that make up that section of the interior have been splintered and broken back and left the back of the hill behind it that it's built against. Though, where you've always expected upon its acquisition was just rock, there is a faint crevasse. There is a broken opening that leads deeper into the hill behind the shed that is now exposed by the damaged wall.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: It's just a hole in the shed?

MATT: Like a crack that leads deeper into the hill beyond it.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Into the hill.

MATT: Indeed.




SLAUGHTER GRIMM: A hidden cavern.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I didn't put this here.

HOA SEN: And you're sure it's not a secret meat-- I'm just coughing blood-- cavern. I need to take a nap.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Oh, are you in--

HOA SEN: I'm just going to take a little shorty-short-short rest while we-- you investigate.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: We heal on short rests, is that how it works?

MATT: If you want to take an hour-long short rest, you can totally do that.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I don't need the short rest, so I'm going to slowly clear the debris to see if we can get easily into this.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'm going to help.

TAVIMA: I'm looting the body.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and make an investigation check.

TAVIMA: No. It's a six, just a six.

MATT: Just a six, okay.

MALLORY KLAXTON: We're really ... this round, aren't we?

MATT: The armor is ruined. The last strike that you gave just carved through the leather plates and it is, you know, aside from like maybe some visual perspective, it's not going to give any additional protection to anybody anything more than what you already have, at the very least. There is a shortsword and dagger that they were carrying, you can pocket those if you like.

TAVIMA: I'll take the dagger.

MATT: There's a set of thieves' tools.

TAVIMA: Thieves' tools, yeah.

MATT: The only other thing you find-- with that roll-- it's okay-- is a crumpled, somewhat stained note that you see tucked into one of the belt pouches along with about 25 gold pieces.

TAVIMA: I toss the note and I hand the gold to you. Better tip.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Oh, that's very nice of you. We should split this, though.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: We should keep it to pay the tax man.

TAVIMA: Oh, we're going to need it for the tax guy.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Yes, that's true.

TAVIMA: I was trying to do a call back to the--


HOA SEN: Since I'm laying on the floor taking my--

TAVIMA: Oh, it was a note. Go back to pick it up.

HOA SEN: I was going to say since I'm laying on the floor, taking my rest, I just go and grab the note. And I just hold it up. Can someone else read this? I'm a little sleepy. I toss it to one of y'all, there you go.

MATT: All right. So as you were cleaning the debris, you're taking a short rest everybody who wants to, who needs to, you can use your--

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I was helping to clean the debris so this should really be Slaughter.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Oh, okay, I'll read the note, I guess.

MATT: Okay.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Is it in a language I can comprehend?

MATT: Yes, it is.


MATT: In the common tongue here it reads, "Scout if you lack the brass, but payment in full awaits should you find what lies at the heart of the ruin. My searches point to one of the disparate hills in Grahtwood, likely forgotten. Seek a masked entrance and be wary of Daedric dangers or unwanted interests. Locations such as these are generally meant to keep something out, or something within." And it's signed "Lyranth."

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Lyranth. So me, Sam Riegel, knowing all the Elder Scrolls Online lore, do I recognize any of those names?

MATT: Not at all. Not in the slightest.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Even if I did know the Elder Scrolls Online lore?

MATT: You might have, but Sam Riegel and the character you portray in this have no idea who that is.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Cool, cool, cool.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Who's Derek Danger? Does anyone know that? That name sounds really familiar.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I relay this all to my business partners and colleagues.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Does it say the actual amount?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: The amount that they would get if they succeed?


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I turn it over, any amounts?

MATT: No amounts on this note, no.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I assume it's more than 300 gold, though.

TAVIMA: Who is it signed by?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Derek Danger? No, I don't know.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Lyranth, I wrote it down and everything.

TAVIMA: Does it look-- like, looking at the signature. I peek over Slaughter's shoulder. Does it look at all like--

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Watch out, my shoulder's really pointy.

TAVIMA: It's very pointy, I cut myself little bit on your cheek.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: When I-- when I'm using my pen to write down notes and stuff, I just put it up here. Like I can just stick it on a quill, whenever I want.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Does that mean every time you make contact with a patron, there's like spines so it's just, ow.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Oh, I didn't think about that but, yes, yes, I've got needles all over my body.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Sorry, go on.

TAVIMA: No, you're good. Does it look at all like the signature from the official documents from that awful elf that we saw earlier?

MATT: Make an intelligence check, if you don't mind.

TAVIMA: Oh no! Why do we have to make a roll about it?


TAVIMA: Eight, it's eight.

MATT: Eight, okay. I mean, the handwriting is fairly good. It doesn't seem like as fancy and presentory as that note, maybe. You don't recognize or can't really find any through line to it, but it's nice handwriting.


MALLORY KLAXTON: Cursive's a lost art.

TAVIMA: It really is.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I'll keep the note for later.

TAVIMA: Ah! You've got to start putting orders on you.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Did you check her boots?


GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: There's always money in the boots.

TAVIMA: Oh! I go back and yank off the boots.

MATT: Okay. You do find 45 additional gold pieces.

TAVIMA: Shut up! Genius.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Does she have a clay pot? I usually find something in a clay pot. Sorry.

TAVIMA: Does anyone want boots?

MALLORY KLAXTON: The only joke I have.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Did she have better boots than us?


MATT: Her boots are pretty slick. For as-- It's interesting. For as dirty as she presented herself from the exterior--


MATT: -- the actual interior of the cloak, the armor, the weapons, very well-made. Definitely putting on an appearance.


GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'm pretty tall, my feet are pretty big.

TAVIMA: You should just try it on, just--

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: They don't, they don't fit. They fit you?

TAVIMA: Nah, nah.


TAVIMA: Do you want to try the boots on?

HOA SEN: I'm still laying on the ground, bleeding a little bit. Well, I think--

TAVIMA: I just lift her leg up and just like--

HOA SEN: These are very nice boots, which to me it seems to mean that she was hiding her appearance. Perhaps she was a rich person in pauper's clothing for a reason. I don't know what that reason is, but maybe she's hiding something.


HOA SEN: And there's probably gold in the hills. Take a nap.

TAVIMA: She went to sleep. I'm just going to put the boot on her.

MALLORY KLAXTON: She'll be happy when she wakes up with the boots.


GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I just want you all to know, I'm rusty, we've been in that bar for a while. Obviously, I'm a much better fighter than what you just saw.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: You're a fantastic barkeep. You make an amazing drink. I've never heard anyone come into our establishment and order something that you did not know how to make without even looking it up. You're incredible. Why do you also have to be an amazing fighter? You're a great bartender.

TAVIMA: Okay, I like where that started, but if you want to also be a good fighter, how about this? The next time I have to fight someone and bounce them out, I'll go behind the bar and you can do the murder part. And you just keep it up, just yeah.


TAVIMA: Got to stay loose. Yeah. But what you said, too, both the things.


GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: By the way, I don't know any of those drinks, I literally make them up every time.


MALLORY KLAXTON: Did you not know that?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: No, I've been-- I get lots of questions about the drinks, and I tell them that they're wrong, that they've been taught wrong.

TAVIMA: Good job.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: You've made a liar of me. That's why I get terrible tips: I'm lying to the customers all the time.

MALLORY KLAXTON: That's not why you get terrible tips.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I'm going to go just close up the-- It seems like we're going into this creepy tunnel, right?

LAURA and TAVIMA: Yeah, yeah.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I'm going to go close up the restaurant, take out my towel and just sort of wipe down the tables and just make sure all the doors are shut nicely.

MATT: You got it.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: After I'm done with all that, I just look into the dark restaurant and say: We'll be back.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: We'll be back.


MALLORY KLAXTON: Some of us, some of us will be back.


MATT: I like your confidence. All right.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I'm an optimist.

MATT: While you're doing all that and you're all getting yourself arranged for whatever this mystery is, begin pulling apart and opening the space to get a little more traversable. You finish-- You're taking your short rest. You can go ahead and use your hit dice to do some healing, if you'd like.

HOA SEN: I did that, I--

MATT: All right.

HOA SEN: I got my healing a little bit. I'm 16 out of 21 now. It's fine.

MATT: There you go--

HOA SEN: I'll be fine.

MATT: That's fine, you're fine.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Are we allowed to restore our magicka and stamina?

MATT: Yes, yes.

HOA SEN: Elder Scrolls Online is going to yell at us.

MATT: Your stamina, your magicka.



TAVIMA: Dang it!

MATT: They restore--

MALLORY KLAXTON: I ruined everyone now.

MATT: -- when you have a moment to get a breath. Yeah, after combat, you got it.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: ♪ We play Elder Scrolls Online! ♪

MATT: All right, you gather yourselves. Anything else you want to do?


TAVIMA: I think I got bored waiting for Hoa to wake up, and I'm just like shaving a little bit. I'm trying to subtly shave little bits of pork, while Mallory's not looking.

MALLORY KLAXTON: You don't have to be subtle. I pull out, just start carving off some jerky.

TAVIMA: Oh, thank you.

MALLORY KLAXTON: There's also some cheese sitting in the corner. I also use this as a cheese house.

TAVIMA: Thank you.

HOA SEN: I wake up, I'm covered in bits of cheese and pork because I'm laying there.


MATT: Nice boots, too.

HOA SEN: And I'm nicer boots, and I'm just like: Oh, a feast, great, okay. Are we going into, am I carrying this for us, these snacks. Oh, are these trip snacks?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Just put them in a bag, ugh!

MATT: And with that final hit, the wood cracks back and you can see now, this can probably fit one at a time with this entrance with a narrow squeeze, especially for the taller of you, but there is already even just this bit of an odd warm air emitting from the interior.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: What's the smell like?

MATT: Make a perception check.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Okay, I'll roll. I'll roll a dice.

HOA SEN: What is going on over there?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I rolled five. I rolled two and added three, for a five.


MALLORY KLAXTON: Oh, like allergies, I take it, you can't really smell anything.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Shaking off the dust, shaking it off!

MATT: Weirdly, the physical action of striking this, the adrenaline gets pumping and sometimes your sinuses just begin to swell up a bit. And so you're a little clogged and congested and not get much of a smell.


MATT: Sorry.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I feel like this does possibly put another vote in for The Dirty Hole, so.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: The Dirty Hole, as the name of our establishment?


MALLORY KLAXTON: It does kind of, and here we are.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: It was Dingy Hole, but--



SLAUGHTER GRIMM: The Dirty Hole's pretty good, too.


MALLORY KLAXTON: This is where my brain goes, yeah. We have a pit now. We do, we have our own pit.



HOA SEN: Oh, The Dirty Pit, that's a good one, too.


HOA SEN: I take out a piece of paper.


GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: We should keep track. I'll go, I'll go in.

TAVIMA: You want to go first, yeah.

MALLORY KLAXTON: You're first.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'll duck through.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Are you sure? Because the rolling.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: You know what? If something takes me, I deserve it, at this point.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I'll go next.

MATT: All right. One by one, you all slowly begin to step within the dark, mysterious, unknown crack in the hill that descends in the earth below. As the camera pans past to see the gored body that's been left out in the open, unhidden.




TAVIMA: This was a dupe, let's try.

HOA SEN: That was in the shed.

TAVIMA: It's our shed, it's our corpse.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Oh, should we at least dress it up like it's a piece of meat that or that's--

HOA SEN: Oh god!

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: -- that's curing.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Just to make sure it's in the shed. It's in the shed, right? It is in the shed.

TAVIMA: What, do you want to bring them in the hole? I'll come back out of the craw and just drag it into the--

MATT: There you go.



TAVIMA: Wedge it in there.

MATT: All righty.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: We should shut the shed, make sure the shed is--?

TAVIMA: Oh, yeah, okay, hold on. Should I lock us in? Is that weird?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: No, just close the door.

TAVIMA: Okay, cool.

MATT: Okay.

MATT: You begin to squeeze through the cracks, and the opening descends further and further to meet with a wider tunnel. Odd, ancient architecture carved somewhere between rock and root. Simple at times, but detailed and other worldly at others. There's some things strange and unfamiliar about the space you've wandered into. You can see this arched, stone-carved ceiling aperture above you. You can see faint details and even the natural cavern floor here at times seems to have a smoothed, intentionally set pattern to it. To the left a ways up, you can see there is a double door, and to the right it continues to spiral subtly downward and out of sight beyond the wall.

HOA SEN: Well, there's doors, or we go darker down, down this darker hole area here? What seem safest?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Do we have any sort of torches or anything, candles?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Oh, did we grab any of that from the-- Shit!

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I didn't bring any candles.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Hold on, now I'll run back to the tavern.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: You'll run back.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'll run back to the tavern and grab us some of our lanterns.

MATT: Okay.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Come running back.

MATT: As you run back, your lantern's on, and now you see the wonderful architecture--


MATT: -- in front of you in detail.


TAVIMA: Yes, ooh. We missed it the first time.

MATT: Two of you, you can decide, you can make either a history or religion checks as you get more detailed glances at the interior of this walkway.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Anyone, anything?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Are any of us good at anything?


HOA SEN: I'll do a history check.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: You guys can do it.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I'll do a religion check.

MATT: All righty, two of you.

TAVIMA: I'll admire the architecture with G-Money like--


HOA SEN: Oh, 16, 17, 18, total.

MATT: 18.


MATT: 16, great.

TAVIMA: Corinthian.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Fine Corinthian leather.

MATT: Elements of the columns and shapes of the interior, and the iconography that you can occasionally see carved in the elements give you the sense that some of this intentionally or alluding to something beyond Nirn. Certainly Daedric in nature, something that whispers of the void of Oblivion and other darker spaces beyond the natural world.

HOA SEN: This is some really spooky stuff down here where we are heading, maybe Slaughter's family might know something about it. It seems like there are dark powers at work here. So if we want to continue for the money to keep the tavern alive, we should do so, but there will probably be peril, I think.


MALLORY KLAXTON: It's between this and the tax collector. I'm okay with this.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: We're partners in this establishment, and we do things together, so yes, I'm with you.


HOA SEN: Okay, let us go forward then.


HOA SEN: Light the way.


MALLORY KLAXTON: How big are these doors?

MATT: These are about 20 feet tall and roughly nine to 10 feet wide, and it's double door set. So total about almost 20 feet tall, 20 feet wide between the two of them. Heavy, heavy lock mechanism across the front of it.

TAVIMA: What if we took these from here and put them at the front of the Dingy Hole?

TAVIMA: Upgrade.

MALLORY KLAXTON: That would really class the place up.

TAVIMA: Right?

HOA SEN: They're beautiful, but scary, and I guess if we're going for scary--

MALLORY KLAXTON: And we could call it the Double Door.



MALLORY KLAXTON: That's not very good.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Can I see any kind of lock that you can--? Does it open? Can we unlock it?

MATT: You do see what looks to be two heavy, metallic-set handles, brass in coloration like a full foot, top to bottom bolted into each side. Do you go and give a tug?


MATT: Not moving, solid in place. Make a strength check, if you'd like.

TAVIMA: Let's go.

MATT: You want to help out?


MATT: All right, so take it with advantage or you both roll independently.

TAVIMA: All you.

TAVIMA: I knew what I said as I said it. I'm so sorry.


HOA SEN: Gosh.


MATT: 12.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Best roll of the night.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: It is my highest roll so far.

TAVIMA: It's getting better.

MATT: That's good, it's trending upward.


MATT: They do not budge.


MATT: Not a single bit of movement. No sounds, no creak, no scrape, they are solid.

TAVIMA: Does it look like there's a lock it-- like a lock mechanism anywhere on it?

MATT: You could make an investigation check, if you'd like.


MATT: Because that's what you were requesting.

TAVIMA: Three!


TAVIMA: I look.


MATT: They look pretty solid.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: -- are doing pretty shit.

TAVIMA: We're doing great. I just throw the thieves' tools at Mallory, like, I don't know, just-- do something.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I'm not-- you're better with tools than I, I assume.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Eh! I'm going to take a look at this lock, see if I can figure out anything about it.

MATT: Are you attempting to inspect it, or are you attempting to unlock it?

MALLORY KLAXTON: I'm going to try and unlock it.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and roll a dexterity check. Are you proficient with these tools?

TAVIMA: There's no lock.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Yeah, there's not even--

TAVIMA: There's not a lock?

MALLORY KLAXTON: No, I'm not proficient.

TAVIMA: I was very careful.

MATT: Just roll and make a dexterity check.


MATT: Here's my question to you. Do you think that you would be proficient in thieves' tools?


MATT: Then no, then you just roll a dexterity check.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: But you're a cook, you got, like, knife skills.

HOA SEN: Knife hands.

TAVIMA: What are lock picks, but tiny spatulas for a lock.

HOA SEN: Hmm, mm-hmm.

MATT: Valid point.



MATT: 17.

MATT: You do begin to see facets of the door that have a locking mechanism ingrained within it, and you begin to fiddle with these tools that you are assuming would be functional in this, and you feel pretty confident in your ability to manipulate the interior of this lock. You hear a click. And a second click, and then it sticks. You feel like you're close, but it didn't quite, didn't quite-- it's a very, very tough lock.

MALLORY KLAXTON: I mean, I'm feeling-- I'm feeling-- I don't know if I could take this any further, I'm not sure.


HOA SEN: Maybe--

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I was just going to say, is there anything else around the room, any other markings or--?

MATT: Aside from just the interesting architecture, not much in this walkway other than just the other path that continues to curve.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: There is another path though.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Yeah, maybe we just try the other path.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Maybe we can circle back.

HOA SEN: Maybe we'll find a key over there or-- someone could just have dropped it somewhere really noticeable.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Am I just going to leave these lock picks in, or am I going to give it one more--?

TAVIMA: No, you keep trying. And I'm just on the other like door handle--

MATT: Just shaking.


MALLORY KLAXTON: I'll take one more stab.

MATT: All right, do it with disadvantage.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Okay, that's--


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I inspire you.

MATT: You're partway through here. You're partway through, but--


MALLORY KLAXTON: Disadvantage.

MATT: Yes.



MALLORY KLAXTON: I rolled an 18 and a 20.


MATT: Damn, okay.

TAVIMA: Hey, dice, you can roll that high, too.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Yeah, listen little.

TAVIMA: You just got to want it, buddy.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I mean, I'm going to be kind to you, look. This guy's--

MALLORY KLAXTON: Hey, dice, we're grading on a curve here, you really--

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Hold on, which is better, my intimidation or my persuasion? Listen, you little bitches.

MATT: So as-- you've fiddled with a lot of pegs once or twice in your past, long, long ago, an old past you'd like to forget. And it's not so much the lock picks as much as, this is a very large locking mechanism, an old one, it seems. And as you begin to see it and why it's caught, it's not because the lock picks aren't getting there, it's because it's just a very detailed, intricate lock, and there's just enough room for a finger to get in there. A terrible idea, a terrible idea, but you see a tiny hook on the inside that you think seems to be connected.


TAVIMA: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Yes, yes, of course. What are you going to do, not do it? Of course you're going to do it.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Do I have anything I can use for this?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: What about that sausage? One of the sausages.

TAVIMA: What about the--

MALLORY KLAXTON: You have some cured meat--

TAVIMA: --extremely spiky waiter next to you.

MALLORY KLAXTON: So I'm going to try and wrap some cured meat around it in a little, and used that as a pull.


MATT: Because you are a cook and you are an experienced handler of cured meats. Yeah, yeah, you rolled high on lockpick, sure. The meat begins to give ever so slightly and you get nervous, the beads of sweat are dripping down your forehead as everyone is tense. Looking forward, the dust is in your nostrils and you're shaking and shaking and you pull, and you feel it splitting, splitting, but just enough tension for that little metal hook to go tick. And as it does-- The doors open and reveal a wide staircase that descends further and deeper down beneath the hill.





TAVIMA: Something, something ham-fisted.

HOA SEN: It was a very good idea--


HOA SEN: -- to bring all of this extra meat with us.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Yeah. I take a little.

TAVIMA: Ooh, you eat the lock meat?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: You know why, you know why? Because you waited until it was pork o'clock, you know. You waited until it was the time. You did good.

MALLORY KLAXTON: It has to have time.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Yep. So we're going down there, we're not going to go down the other winding, twisted path.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Well, I feel like we should at least see what-- like give a little peeksies around the corner and see what it is.

TAVIMA: Good call.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Eh? I'll give a little peeksies around the windy path.

MATT: Around the winding path, okay. It continues to spiral down. You're not quite sure how far it can go. Do you continue to follow it?

TAVIMA: Bend your vision.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'll go, like, a little bit further, like 20 more feet.

MATT: Okay. You continue to curve around that way, and you see it begin to open into like a subterranean chasm space. There is about a 25-, 30-foot wide break where beneath the hill, you start getting into this dense, dense bedrock period, and there is just a wide chasm that carves through, maybe about 30 feet high up from you and 70 or so feet down. With just your lantern light, you have no idea how deep that chasm is. And it looks like there is, or was at one point, some sort of a stone land bridge between here and the opposite wall in which there is a slight shelf and another opening that continues onward, but whatever there was that connected these two has crumbled beneath.


MATT: But it could be traversable with a little bit of ingenuity.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'll go back and tell the others. There's a big cave with a drop, there's a bridge that broke. I say we take the stairs.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: I agree. I agree, I mean, they had these doors, they're locked, it seems important. This is the way to go, yeah?


HOA SEN: Yeah, you would lock up a treasure, you wouldn't-- Yes, you would lock up a treasure.

MALLORY KLAXTON: And just put it at the end of a cave.


HOA SEN: Plus, I don't think any of us can jump super far, right?

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: We're not very good at anything.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: We are restaurateurs.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: This was right behind the bar the whole time.

TAVIMA: Right?


HOA SEN: It's very coincidental that we need money, and we found it right away.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: But also, it could be a selling point.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: You know? Like-- Come to the Dirty Hole and if you spend a certain amount, you get a quick tour of--

HOA SEN: Oh, like an escape room thing.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: -- the dirty hole.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: An escape room is a great idea.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: It's like a theme restaurant now.

HOA SEN: I love it.

MALLORY KLAXTON: On board with this.

TAVIMA: This is very good.


TAVIMA: And now it makes sense to call this the Dingy Hole. Yes.


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: It's a theme restaurant.

HOA SEN: Well, it's not-- it doesn't have to be dingy, we can make it really nice in here, put lights up and it could be like the--


HOA SEN: A Really Nice Hole.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: A Really Nice Hole!


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Come to our really nice hole. Take a look!

HOA SEN: It sounds better than "dingy" to me.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Take a look at our really nice hole.

MALLORY KLAXTON: A Hole in the Hill.

HOA SEN: It's nice and exciting and you must escape from it.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: We're still workshopping, we're still workshopping.

HOA SEN: I write it down.

MATT: Write it down.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: We move into the room, yeah?


MATT: Okay, so these stone stairs begin to-- they're the same width as the entryway. So you have 20-foot wide stone steps that just descend further into darkness. Who is going first? Where is the marching order for this?

TAVIMA: Do you want to go first?


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Again, okay, sure.

TAVIMA: Are you feeling confident?


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Maybe-- right, sure.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: I'm going to keep an eye out for any traps on the ground.

MALLORY KLAXTON: How's your darkvision?


MALLORY KLAXTON: All right, I'll also join then.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: What does it say that?


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Oh, I guess I don't have it, then.


HOA SEN: Oh, I have darkvision, I forgot.

TAVIMA: I'll bring up the rear.

MATT: All righty. So you're keeping an eye out?


MATT: Perception or investigation, your choice.





MATT: All righty, so. The stairs continue down 50, 60 or so feet before evening out to an archway standing 15, 20 or so foot tall space comes to a gradual point, and then it opens up into a wider hall beyond. As you're all stepping forward, you glance down looking at the floor, and right beyond the archway there is a faint smear of long dried blood that is just faintly visible on the stones beyond.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Hey-o, we got blood.



MALLORY KLAXTON: Is it wine blood or just normal?


MATT: It's still wet.




GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Normal, it's normal blood.

MALLORY KLAXTON: That's weird.

HOA SEN: Can I do a nature check to see what kind of creature's blood it is?


MATT: Yes, you may.

TAVIMA: All right, all right!

HOA SEN: Oh, that's very good. 17 plus four, it's like a 21.

MATT: Nice. Humanoid, some sort of humanoid blood.

TAVIMA: Is it a bird?

HOA SEN: No, it's not a bird, that would be terrible. It's actually a person who is down here.


HOA SEN: A human. I quite like birds. But that means that someone is here, has beat us to this area.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: How is that possible? We just discovered the hole into this place.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Maybe they came up from the other tunnel.


MALLORY KLAXTON: Yeah, maybe. But they would have had to open--

TAVIMA: What if they just live here?

HOA SEN: Or they came from around the back.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Or they just live here.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Maybe they just live here.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Or there's multiple entrances, we don't know.

MALLORY KLAXTON: Or they have the key to this door.


TAVIMA: What's up with this smear? Is it just across and then stops? Does it like trail off in a direction?


MATT: Well, as you kind of-- because you rolled pretty high. The smear was you first glance. And as you all come in and inspect and do your moment of checking in on it, the group is about to move forward and instinctually you put your hands out and you realize the smear continues on beyond the archway to the wall on the side where you see, there is against the stone wall an impacted crater cracked where the stone is broken and there is a crushed body that is just completely inverted and bloodied and ruined, pushed into a long, probably multiple-impacted indent.


MATT: You do not see what did it. But the blood trail continues and spatters across.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: If I look up, does it look like a pendulum would have swung and crushed something, like--?

MATT: You glance up in the other space and put the lantern up and you can see there is a chain affixed to the wall above, and on the opposite end there is a massive rock, about four feet across that is currently just ratcheted and ready to go. And glancing down over where that blood smear is. You now glance and see the stone work right beyond the arch for about two feet is just ever so slightly raised against the surrounding stone.

TAVIMA: Tight, cool cool cool.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Do not step on this.


MATT: At this point, you also hear a grinding sound.

HOA SEN: Oh-oh!

MATT: Behind where you came.

TAVIMA: Oh, beans.



TAVIMA: It's an escape room.

MALLORY KLAXTON: That makes sense.

HOA SEN: It's an escape room!

MALLORY KLAXTON: We already have one.

TAVIMA: We already did it.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: This is super cool.

TAVIMA: We're going to have to do a lot of insurance paperwork.

HOA SEN: At least it's already set up, that's really nice. Not too much renovation.

MALLORY KLAXTON: You just make everyone sign a waiver, you can get away with anything.

TAVIMA: There we go.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Can I see what looks like a safe place to put our feet?

MATT: About two feet beyond that, you hope, take a little hop.


TAVIMA: You're going to, you're just going to--


TAVIMA: Oh, buddy, oh.

MATT: All right, you watch as Grelnock goes, hup! And does a little jaunt over those-- that little platform area and land on the opposite side, your feet hit the stone. And as they do, nothing happens.

TAVIMA: Hey, next time we can throw a skull or something. I'm just, woo.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Ooh, that would have been smart.


GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Make a leap, we're fine.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: All right, I'll run and leap.

MATT: One by one, you all begin to leap over, make it comfortably to the other side and dusting yourself off, glancing about this larger... chamber. That at first glance, it's odd. You see signs of... not dungeon, not dingy, trapped torture space, much to your family's chagrin, but just some broken tables and seats like a common room. Some stools, and shattered dishware on the ground, some bent or broken tools amongst the fallen shale. Like a sealed underground living space left to ruin. There are two corpses dressed in dark shifty gray leather that are sitting on far ends of the room away from you.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Are they old corpses, new corpses?

MATT: They're a ways from you. Do you want to go inspect?

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Yeah, but keeping an eye out for any trapsies.



MATT: Okay, well, make an investigation check, or perception, your choice.

TAVIMA: Can I assist?

MATT: If you'd like to.

TAVIMA: I'm waiting for you.

GRELNOK NIGHTBRINGER: Oh, I'm just going to roll my-- Okay, give me, okay. Ah!


SLAUGHTER GRIMM: You're getting better and better.


MATT: Nice!

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: Do you think it started bad and is getting better and better, and we'll--

TAVIMA: Please don't.

SLAUGHTER GRIMM: -- go back around again?

TAVIMA: No, no, no, no, no.

MATT: You're an asshole. So yeah, you glance forward. You do not see any traps in the pathway to these bodies. And as you approach and pushing past some of the long-dusted, forgotten signs of life that have since been left still and alone for some time, you approach the bodies, and at first glance they're not smashed by traps. There is all manner of slash marks across them. Gashes, heavy wounds and chunks missing, ragged, broken chunks, bitten, pulled off. And as soon as you notice that, a sound catches your ear.


MATT: And you see now glancing up lantern ahead, in this open room there are some alcoves set off to the side where some small benches were set once, some shelf space where some books may have once been set that are now been removed. There are signs that this was once probably a comfortable subterranean vault-like space, as well as three doors in this room. There's one on the eastern side way from you, and a north side on the left, the south side on the right, but in one of these alcoves on the side, you watch as massive, clawed, leathery hands pull around the corner. The light hits black, pupil-less, dark, marble-like eyes The light hits black, pupil-less, dark, marble-like eyes that glisten against the light as a... Nine-foot tall, hulking, crocodile-like humanoid, with a long gnarled snout filled with teeth-- Looks right at you. And goes into a full run.


MATT: That's where we're going to take a break.

MATT: We're going to jump into this combat here in just a moment.


MATT: But in the interim, stay tuned, and we'll see what the next half of this story has to tell about the Dingy Hole, the Dirty Hole. The Dreary--

HOA SEN: Very, very clean--

TAVIMA: Nice hole.

HOA SEN: A very nice hole.

MATT: The Very Nice, Very Good Hole.

TAVIMA: A very nice hole.

MATT: There you go. We'll see you guys here in a little bit.

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