Episode 3 - Murder at the Festival

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The adventurers continue their patrol of the Festival of the Guild Pact. They find themselves drawn deep into a deadly plot, as they try to stop the string of murders before it’s too late!

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Episode Credits

Produced by Play+1 and Charging Moose Media

Based on the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: the Gathering by Wizards of the Coast

Story by Brian David Judkins

Andrew Krug
Eddie Cooper
Landree Fleming
Ned Donovan
Sarah Babe

Sound Capture and original Sound Effects by Will Melones

Music by Alexander Nakarada of SerpentSound Studios

Edited by Ned Donovan

Mixed by Josh Samuels

Special Thanks:
Megan Judkins
Will Melones


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Brian 0:00

Last time on Encounter Party, what began as a mutual punishment turn to terror as a grizzly murder sours the Guildpact festival. Left unsolved, this heinous crime could ruin our players' agreement with the Boros captain. Can they stop the culprit in time? Or will they celebrate the new year in jail? Find out this week on Encounter Party!

As you wearily climb out of bed, you rise to the stirring of the city. Golden sunlight bathes the city in warmth, all none the wiser that such a horrific crime occurred mere hours ago. The new year brings a freshness to the air, one you all would enjoy if not for the sour aftertaste in your mouths. As you don your garments and armor, the Boros sigil flare like manacles over your heart, tethering you once again to the task at hand. Day two brings even more fervor as you notice the more impressive attractions were saved for the back half of the festival. As you shuffle out into the street, would someone please roll me a D6. Ah, you roll a four. Okay, so the first thing you notice as you step out is there's a parade. Early in the morning several guilds have gotten together to celebrate the Third District part of Ravnica. What you see in the front, leading the charge, are a couple of Rakdos performers like some fire dancers, some knife jugglers, some people doing some acrobatics, sort of clearing the crowd, making sure that the procession can move down smoothly. There is a Boros military drumline as part of the parade, one that Fikarra, you're now realizing you've been left out of. There are some Izzet League members who are shooting off some sort of exciting pyrotechnic displays like homemade fireworks and stuff like that. In a little ways down towards the middle of the procession is a large alms-beast, which is an Orzhov beast of burden. It's difficult to kind of explain Orzhov creatures because they have very, sort of, the almost decayed look, gray skin, like they could be dead, or maybe they were dead and they were resurrected.

Andrew 2:14

Ah. Thrulls.

Brian 2:17

But in beast form. It's like a kind of grotesque dinosaur homonculus, if that imagery makes any sense. So atop this thing are seats and purchases where several members of the Orzhov Syndicate are seated and they're waving to the crowd. Now the Orzhov are a wealthy guild, okay. So when they get gussied up for an event, they go all out. Now, technically, the Orzhov guild colors are black and white, but I would say that their language is gold, right? There's so much gold decorating this small cluster that it's like a direct challenge to the sun as to who can be shinier. And crawling all over these guys are their thrulls, which are these, like, purple grayish little pygmies and they all wear golden masks or half masks and they're squealing with such a sickening delight that it's hard to imagine why the Orzhov keep these things as pets. And they are just showering coins into the crowd by handfuls, just dumping gold coins into the crowd. Now the crowd, excited by money, they all rush forward, swarming the parade. It spooks an Izzet pyrocaster, whose firework goes off prematurely, spooking the alms-beast and it just begins rampaging through the crowd.

Landree 3:37

Oh, no.

Ned Donovan 3:38

I would not like to put myself directly and its line of path but I would like to make sure that there's nothing, no one in its line of path.

Brian 3:44


Ned Donovan 3:45

Clearing a path out in front of it.

Brian 3:46

Give me some sort of Intimidation, probably or Persuasion.

Andrew 3:51

Man, if you'd asked me at any higher level...

Ned Donovan 3:56

Non-natural 20.

Brian 3:57

A non-natural 20. I don't think it takes much convincing for the people to go, 'maybe we should GTFO?' This thing is... So the crowd is very sufficiently dissipated. But the people on top of the beast are still in danger. And this thing is crashing into stuff.

Eddie 4:13

So is it, it's like, is it like off running through the...

Andrew 4:13

If anyone--

Brian 4:18

[Alms-beast noises]

Eddie 4:18

Or is it more like, throwing a tantrum in place?

Brian 4:21

It's spooked, it's scared, its tail takes out that old lady, her stand from the other day, the woman who was exonerated from causing problems. She gets punished.

Eddie 4:32

I walk up to it.

Brian 4:33

For being right.

Eddie 4:34

And I say "Calm!"

Brian 4:37

Oh. Nice. Please, what does it need to roll? What is your saving throw?

Eddie 4:44


Brian 4:44

13. Command?

Eddie 4:46


Brian 4:46

Oh, it just like, [alms-beast noise of attention]. And it just kind of stops and stares at you. Like whatever this is, it's more dangerous than whatever I'm afraid of.

Eddie 4:55

"Good boy."

Brian 4:55

The beast is sufficiently calm. Several Orzhov Syndicate members hop down from their perch and rush over to and, "Oh, thank you. Thank you very much. Well done. I appreciate it. Please, take some coinage for your trouble." And press into your hands a single Orzhov gold piece.

Eddie 5:17

"Thank you."

Brian 5:18

Yes. Which you know is bullshit because Orzhov coin is only redeemable at Orzhov facilities. And would somebody please roll another D6 as you continue patrolling the festival?

Sarah 5:32


Brian 5:33

A five. Ah.

Sarah 5:35


Brian 5:36

Everyone, please roll a Perception check.

Eddie 5:38

Oh, by the way.

Brian 5:39


Eddie 5:39

I'm holding my bag real tight.

Brian 5:41


One. That one Orzhov coin. I really want to role play as the next cutpurse is like, 'ha ha, eh, aw...' It's just like one Orzhov coin in there.

Andrew 5:55


Brian 5:55

A 15.

Ned Donovan 5:56


Eddie 5:57

What am I rolling?

Brian 5:58


Eddie 5:59

Okay. It is...

Sarah 6:00


Eddie 6:01


Brian 6:03

You have a negative Perception modifier? You're just like: [noises of aimless wonder].

Ned Donovan 6:10

'There are trees.'

Sarah 6:11

I rolled a 2.

Brian 6:12

You are aware of yourself. Barely.

Sarah 6:14

'Like oh my god, I have hooves. I am a lady minotaur.'

Landree 6:18


Brian 6:21

13. Okay, so I'm sorry, Eddie, what did you roll?

Eddie 6:25


Brian 6:26

And you rolled a 15 as well. Okay, as you guys kind of are looking around the crowd, this issue just happened. You kind of catch something from an alleyway that sort of, if you go straight back into an alley and then that alley bends, you can kind of see something just hanging out from around there on the floor. Ned, what did you roll again?

Ned Donovan 6:48


Brian 6:48

A 23 is good enough to notice that whatever it is, it's lying in blood and it is red.

Ned Donovan 6:55

The blood?

Brian 6:57

The object.

Ned Donovan 6:58


Brian 6:59

The object itself is different red than the blood is what I meant to say.

Ned Donovan 7:03

Copy. Yeah, got it. I was like, when... Is there non-red blood? Is that a thing I need to start looking for?

Brian 7:10

Sorry, the blood itself is not red. The body is red.

Ned Donovan 7:16

Copy. Thanks. I'mma head down the alley.

Brian 7:21


Ned Donovan 7:22

Maybe not at a full speed in case there's something down there that might attack me.

Brian 7:26

Your Perception is high enough that there is...

Ned Donovan 7:29


Brian 7:29

Eerily quiet.

Ned Donovan 7:30

So that's when the Perception would be needed. So anyway, I'm going to go down and I would like to quick, investigate, just like quick passive perception, investigate the body. What do I see? Do I recognize--

Brian 7:42

It's a torso.

Ned Donovan 7:43

It is a torso, armless, legless, headless?

Brian 7:45

Armless, legless, headless.

Ned Donovan 7:47

With not-red blood?

Brian 7:49

In a pool of darkened blood. That's just about black.

Andrew 7:53

And the torso is red?

Brian 7:55

The torso is red.

Ned Donovan 7:56

Like clothed in red, or is red?

Brian 7:58

It is a goblin torso.

Ned Donovan 8:00


Brian 8:01

You see a goblin torso.

Ned Donovan 8:03

I would like to investigate the torso without disturbing too much of the crime scene.

Brian 8:07

Give me an Investigation or Medicine.

Andrew 8:11

Lorzatch will assist.

Ned Donovan 8:11

21 on Investigation.

Brian 8:13

Were you at the site to assist Skyx when he was being strung up?

Ned Donovan 8:19

No, I was there but I wasn't one of the people.

Brian 8:22

But you were present.

Ned Donovan 8:23

I was present.

Brian 8:23

You have seen him.

Ned Donovan 8:23

Yes, I was there with Skyx.

Brian 8:25

This is the dismembered body of Skyx lying in an alley.

Ned Donovan 8:27

Skyx! Insert cue sad music.

Andrew 8:30


Sarah 8:30

You killed Skyx?

Landree 8:30


Brian 8:35

You rolled on the D6.

Sarah 8:36

Don't you put this on me.

Ned Donovan 8:36

How dare you Sarah?

Landree 8:45

You murdered Skyx!

Sarah 8:46


Landree 8:49

Sarah murdered Skyx!

Ned Donovan 8:51

So, beyond noticing it's the dismembered body of Skyx...

Brian 8:55


Ned Donovan 8:55


Brian 8:56


Ned Donovan 8:56

Very loudly.

Brian 8:57


Ned Donovan 8:59

Is there anything that would suggest a culprit like again, a footprint, anything like that? Or is it again, surgical, clinical, clean?

Brian 9:07

Surgical, clinical cleanliness.

Ned Donovan 9:09

Copy. And how wide a radius does the crime scene seem to cover?

Brian 9:15

It seems to, it covers just enough as the blood could possibly leak out.

Ned Donovan 9:21

Got it. But there's not like a spray?

Brian 9:23

Nope, it's just oozing like somebody turned on a faucet.

Andrew 9:27

23 for Investigation, we got anything else in this alleyway? As far as clues, material evidence, aside from the obvious dismembered torso of Skyx, and an alley full of goblin blood.

Brian 9:27

And it just dripped out of the body.

Ned Donovan 9:27


Brian 9:46

Again, eerily clean, somebody who very clearly was probably fast enough to not leave any evidence. But this is the second person you have found like this.

Andrew 10:00

"We have to consider the possibility that this is a demon."

Sarah 10:05

That's bad.

Andrew 10:05

"What we know from the enchantments in place at the Leg End is that whatever or whoever did this has structures that can lacerate and remove the parts of a humanoid body, almost instantaneously, integrated enough to not trigger the enchantments at Leg End."

Ned Donovan 10:24

But we saw that with the biomechanical arm thing. We don't know that it's a demon as much as it could be another construct-style appendage.

Andrew 10:32

Yeah, that could be.

Sarah 10:34

The theater! The theater that he works at! We need to go to that theater! Skyx works at the theater, we could, took him to the theater, the theater where to go, and the Rakdos goes, they perform--ears. We need to go to the theater.

Andrew 10:46

But what connection exists between that theater, a murder at a tavern, and now this dead body?

Eddie 10:53

The theater is the only thing we know about this goblin.

Ned Donovan 10:56

That's true. We know more about Skyx than we knew about the other guy.

Sarah 10:58

The other guy could have been there.

Investigating Skyx could help us learn about the other guy.

Andrew 11:02

That's really the only lead we have.

Ned Donovan 11:05

Quite literally.

Brian 11:06

Are you heading into the theater row?

Eddie 11:08


Brian 11:09

Okay, so the adventurers, very confusedly, stumble down the Theatre Row, not sure what they're looking for. But you do manage to find the theater that you dropped Skyx at. As you march down towards that theater, you happen to notice that the theater across the street has a very vibrant and very exciting-looking advertisement that says 'Fire Circus' with a pattern that may be similar to the one that you are holding.

Sarah 11:42

We need to check the theater across the street.

Brian 11:44

There looks like there is a bit of a tear on the banner.

Andrew 11:47

Did the banner dismember a person at the tavern?

Sarah 11:50

I think what it is, is, and this might be a little far-fetched, but what could, it could be is the gentleman torso who was killed could have been at the theater that Skyx was at and saw the advertisement across the street and it was more interested in going to that one than the theater that Skyx was at. And Skyx was thinking about going to that theater because that theater is going to have more business. And it's the owner of the theater that Skyx was working at!

Ned Donovan 11:50

The banner did it!

Brian 12:26

What's your intelligence modifier?

Sarah 12:28


Eddie 12:29

Me too. "Good idea!"

Brian 12:35

There is, there is a Rakdos performance banner that says 'Fire Circus.' And there looks like there is a tear in a part of the banner.

Ned Donovan 12:45

Does the piece of cloth fit the banner?

Brian 12:48

Would you like to check?

Ned Donovan 12:49

Yeah, for sure.

Brian 12:50

So, Brevin, as you produce the piece of black and red checkered cloth, and you approach this Rakdos banner, you grab hold of the banner, as if to try and match the pieces to see whether or not it came from this, and it does. But in doing so, the banner sort of unfurls a little bit more, and you realize that what you thought said 'Fire,' based on the crimpling of the banner, there's actually more to it. And as the banner sort of droops down and unfurls to its full length, it very clearly says 'Murder Circus.'

Ned Donovan 13:25

'Murder Circus.'

Brian 13:32

It says 'Murder Circus.'

Ned Donovan 13:35

I'm just going to put this out there.

Sarah 13:37

Oh this is not good.

Ned Donovan 13:38

This is the kind of thing that should be banned in Ravnica.

Brian 13:41

That is the opinion of a Selesnyan.

Ned Donovan 13:43


Andrew 13:45


Brian 13:46


For those of you whose characters are old enough to remember...

One of you. In history, you would have heard the tale, very recently, within the last 70 years of when the demon Rakdos reawoke and saved the city from like a massive kaiju attack. The Cult of Rakdos is mostly in control of mining and smelting within the world of Ravnica. They also manage a great deal of day labor and cheap labor. On top of also controlling a good portion of the entertainment areas of Ravnica that is sort of balanced with the Orzhov who controls some of the more seedy aspects, prostitution and the like. The Rakdos are given free rein to have these performances based on the rules of not only the Guildpact, but also because attendance is voluntary, although it is not unheard of to hear people being kidnapped and forced into these performance. A common trope within the Rakdos is, 'it's not fun and games until someone loses an eye.' And now just a quick word from one of our sponsors.

Andrew 13:52


Brian 14:56

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Eddie 15:25

I say we check out this murder circus.

Ned Donovan 15:28

I think that's the most metal thing I've ever heard.

Sarah 15:32

Like, while it's going or like before it happens?

Ned Donovan 15:35

I mean, like two people have been murdered, so...

Eddie 15:37

We need to see what's going on.

Landree 15:38

I think the circus is happening.

Ned Donovan 15:40

Yeah, there's been some murder.

Landree 15:41


Sarah 15:42

Maybe by healing the banner we've made it all stop.

Brian 15:47

The banner's not healed. They just don't--

Ned Donovan 15:48


Brian 15:49

Would we like to proceed inside to the Murder Circus?

Ned Donovan 15:53

Generally speaking, no, but...

Andrew 15:54

Maybe not before we report what we've found.

Ned Donovan 15:57

Yeah, no, I agree.

Brian 15:59


Ned Donovan 15:59

Let's not what into a murder circus before telling the authorities.

Andrew 16:02

Because here's the other thing: this is protected by the Guildpact.

Ned Donovan 16:06

By the murder of other guilds?

Andrew 16:08

If it is true that a Rakdos cultist broke in and murdered someone, not as part of a performance, this could be prosecuted.

Brian 16:20

Justicar, would you please make an Intelligence check with advantage?

Eddie 16:26


Brian 16:29

Within the boundaries of law, if they did commit a murder outside of their leased property, that is straight up murder. They are not protected by the Guildpact simply because they're a cult that enjoys murder.

Eddie 16:41

"I will not sit idly by while these cultists commit murders around my city. Justice will be done."

Andrew 16:50

"Nor am I asking you to. The only thing we need to consider is if storming a protected bastion of the Rakdos Guild is a stark violation of the Guildpact and puts us in even deeper--

Eddie 17:05

We are not storming.

Sarah 17:08

I knock on the door.

Brian 17:09

It's not a door. It's a cavity, like it's opening into the theater. There's not a, there's just, there's just an open entry way that you can go in, and inside you can hear...

Sarah 17:20


Ned Donovan 17:20


Brian 17:22

Give me a Perception check.

Landree 17:24

Oh, one.

Sarah 17:26

I rolled an 18.

Brian 17:27


Ned Donovan 17:28

Nailed it. Wait--

Brian 17:29


An 18 with your minus two?

Sarah 17:31


Ned Donovan 17:35

You nat-20'd?

Sarah 17:35


Brian 17:36

You nat-20'd? Great. So it's not very difficult to hear that there is activity going on inside but it is not a performance. There does not seem to be people in there, any sort of practicing going on. There's a couple of people laughing and joking. There's the sound of some metal maybe a little bit here and there. But there is, there is no evident performance going on. Right now.

Sarah 17:58

If we go in and ask that maybe, a, if they're missing any of their performers? Might that be a good idea?

Ned Donovan 18:07

I can't see why not. I mean, I can see why not. But I'm here.

Brian 18:11

Then you hear a very loud scream.

Ned Donovan 18:16

God damn it.

Andrew 18:17

And in we go.

Brian 18:20

It is the same scream that you heard in the tavern.

Ned Donovan 18:24

She back? Let's go.

Eddie 18:26

I run to it.

Brian 18:26

As you guys rush in to the circus of murder to try and understand who or what could possibly be repeating this scream, you enter to see a circus ring. There's sand on the floor. There are two red and black spiraled struts that shoot straight up towards the ceiling, over which a tight rope is stretched. Sitting and working in the middle of this ring are a couple of Rakdos performers, each specializing in different details. One of them is breathing fire. One of them is juggling knives. The other one is doing some sort of chain escape trick. A quick glance around after being immediately surprised by this Rakdos setting, you can see what looks to be the tied-up form of Elazia dangling from some sort of contraption over a massive vat that is at least glowing enough to make her frightened to be hanging there. Above her is a platform of which stands a Harlequin in Rakdos colors with his hands outstretched with two wooden crosses that you would carry in as marionettes. And he kind of sees you and goes, "Ooh, welcome to this show, boys and girls! Please meet today's prize performers!" And sort of magically, seemingly out of behind him, these two marionettes sort of dance out in front of them. These marionettes are all limbs and no torso. They are one male, one goblin; just dangling limbs in the rough shapes of these humans, as he sort of can magically manipulate them outward, away from his body.

Ned Donovan 20:15

Skyx, no!

Brian 20:16

Let's roll Initiative!

As you guys saddle up for this fight that is about to begin, anyone within earshot can clearly hear this sort of very strange, loud, mechanical click, and you see Elazia drop just a little bit of space. And the marionette is like: [maniacal laughter]

There are three circus performers in front of you. One is juggling knives, one is holding a torch, and one is now spinning chains.

Ned Donovan 20:49

Was it clear with a click came from?

Brian 20:51

Behind, so, outside the ring is still kind of in dark. It's, it's sort of overlit, like: [sound of high-power lights igniting] 'Welcome to the show.'

Ned Donovan 20:58


Brian 20:59

So wherever that mechanism is, it is behind that platform and that vat.

Ned Donovan 21:04

Got it, thanks.

Brian 21:05

We ready?

Sarah 21:06

I'm ready.

Brian 21:06

First up: Zenia.

Landree 21:08

Um, okay...

Brian 21:09

I will say that the, the...

Ned Donovan 21:11

Is it clear how far she fell? Like, does it feel like there's a time limit we can easily discern? Like, 10 clicks 'til she's in the vat? Is there, like, any kind of... Know what I mean?

Brian 21:19

Based on the judgment that you have seen her fall? I would say that she fell about 25% of the distance she was in between here and there.

Ned Donovan 21:27

So like a potential four clicks if it were to go all the way.

Landree 21:30

I cast Chill Touch at the Harlequin guy.

Brian 21:34

Now, do you need to be in range?

Landree 21:36

It's 120 feet.

Brian 21:37

Oh, okay.

Landree 21:38

Yeah. 15.

Brian 21:40

Okay, a 15 does hit.

Landree 21:43

Okay. For six points of necrotic damage.

Brian 21:45

For six points of necrotic damage. You are throwing this spell?

Landree 21:49


Brian 21:49

You can see that, as you throw the spell, the way that his marionettes seem to be sort of dancing is one of the marionettes almost just sort of like voluntarily, like, 'ooh!' kind of throws itself in the way and takes the spell full-on.

Landree 22:04

Damn it.

Brian 22:05

And the marrio-- the, the Harlequin is very quickly like, "Oh, oh." Like, 'oh shit,' like, 'this was going to be sweet. I was just going to sacrifice this but, oh, if they keep throwing spells like this, I'm not very happy about that.'

Landree 22:18


Brian 22:18


Sarah 22:21

So... Yeah, I guess I'll just straight up tackle the person in front of me, who was, I think, the fire guy?

Brian 22:27

It is the fire guy.

Sarah 22:29

Okay. That is a 25.

Brian 22:31

Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Sarah 22:34

Okay. That's eight.

Brian 22:35

You stab him with the horns for eight damage. Okay, he's been non-sussed. But he's laughing. Full on stabbing with your horns and he seems to think of it as a joke.

Sarah 22:46


Brian 22:49

Brevin, you are up.

Ned Donovan 22:51

Okay, well, I am going to run actually to the exact same attacker.

Brian 22:57


Ned Donovan 22:58

I am then going to, yeah, right. Just attacking that same attacker. I'm going to long sword attack on that same person.

Brian 23:07

Yes, please. He looks at you. "Oh, you as well."

Ned Donovan 23:10


Brian 23:11

Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Ned Donovan 23:13

And three.

Brian 23:13

Three damage.

Ned Donovan 23:14

I'm then going to Action Surge. And I'm going to... I can take one additional action, right?

Brian 23:21


Ned Donovan 23:21

So then I would like to Dash to the platform.

Brian 23:25

Okay. You will receive an attack of opportunity.

Ned Donovan 23:27

I know. Okay.

Brian 23:28

Yes. So you will get attacked by this gentleman here. 15?

Ned Donovan 23:34

18's the Armor Class.

Brian 23:35

18 is the Armor Class, so he misses. He kind of has like a weird trumpet horn thing anyway, so he's like [noise].

Ned Donovan 23:43

I want that face enshrined.

Andrew 23:46

Gets poked in the teeth with the mouthpiece.

Brian 23:48

"Glad to see you're getting into it." They're up. So...

Andrew 23:52

He's at the platform?

Ned Donovan 23:53

I'm now on the platform.

Brian 23:53

Well, he's, yeah, he's at the stairs in front of the marionettes. So the first thing that lines up is this trumpeter, this fire breather that you have kind of ignored, kind of turns to you and is like, 'great,' almost as if he doesn't need to deal with you, and then turns directly to you and says, "How about a hot kiss?" And just--whoosh--blows through this horn and just bro-- just fire, everywhere.

Sarah 24:15

No barbecue joke? I'm disappointed.

Brian 24:25

It is actually a 30-foot cone. So it will hit everyone, I believe.

Ned Donovan 24:31

Does that mean--

Brian 24:32

Everybody within the cone, make a DC 13 Dexterity throw.

Eddie 24:35

I made it.

Andrew 24:37


Landree 24:38


Sarah 24:38

Ooh, 22! Nat 20.

Brian 24:43

So you all made it?

Andrew 24:44


Brian 24:44

Good. Then you get half damage. You each take three points of fire damage.

Sarah 24:50

Eh. Rude.

Eddie 24:50


Brian 24:54

The knife thrower looks at you three in the back and decides, maybe you need to come in and be a part of the show. So, they are, the knife thrower has three daggers, which he's going to throw, one at each of you.

Ned Donovan 25:05

Did it come back to him, or is it, at least he's not disarmed.

Brian 25:08

He's got like a ton of them on his body.

Ned Donovan 25:10

Bolero of daggers.

Brian 25:12

Yes. So...

Ned Donovan 25:15

Bandolier was the word I wanted.

Brian 25:16

Andrew, with Lorzatch, is a 19?

Andrew 25:18

Yeah, that hits.

Brian 25:18

Zenia, is a 14.

Landree 25:20

Damn it. Yep.

Brian 25:23

And Lennox, Eddie, is a three.

Eddie 25:25


Brian 25:26

Is a three. So, for those of you who took damage, let's see here. Andrew will take four piercing damage and, Zenia, you will take two piercing damage.

Landree 25:38

Oh, great. Okay.

Brian 25:39

And then the third performer, who's been juggling his chains, kind of stares you down, Fikarra, and goes "I want to keep you for myself," and just whips both of these chains at to you. He has a multi-attack, which he will attack you twice.

Sarah 25:53


Brian 25:55

And, sorry, he is going to move one space forward but no more because he has a reach of 10 feet. And then he is going to, as these chains sort of come towards you, you notice that, oh, there's like razor blades on these chains, like they're actually chain-link razor blades.

Ned Donovan 26:10

Barbed wire?

Brian 26:12

Not barbed wire, like linked together razor blades.

Ned Donovan 26:14

Oh shit.

Brian 26:14

Yes. The first one is a ten, the second one is an eight. He's probably the least skilled of the people in the room now. Lorzatch, you're up, my friend.

Andrew 26:23

Lorzatch is going to move up to these other folks. He's going to activate his spores and, as a bonus action, is going to cast Healing Word on Fikarra. And Fikarra is going to heal seven hit points.

Brian 26:42

Okay, so. The Harlequin dances his two marionettes and they sort of dance at you, Brevin.

Ned Donovan 26:49


Brian 26:50

The marionettes sort of dance at you and cackle as through Skyx's mouth, the Harlequin's voice comes out and just sort of giggles in that very pathetic goblin voice that you heard him have and just says, "You're never going to save her in time!" Please make a Wisdom saving throw.

Ned Donovan 27:11

That's not great for me.

Brian 27:12

As you have been mocked viciously.

Ned Donovan 27:14

Fucking asshole. Oh, we're doing fine here. It's a 21.

Brian 27:18

Yes. Okay, so you are completely fine by that. But what you do see, also, after that spell cast is a another marionette surprisingly appears directly to his right that looks to be the limbs of what possibly could be some sort of Orzhov Syndicate member.

Ned Donovan 27:37

Ah, quick Perception check: is that being controlled by someone other than the Harlequin?

Brian 27:43

You can make an Investigation check on your turn. Lennox, you are up.

Eddie 27:44

Lennox steps into the room and casts Guiding Bolt.

Brian 27:49

Guiding Bolt!

Eddie 27:51

At asshole controlling the marionette.

Brian 27:53


Eddie 27:55


Brian 27:56

Uh oh! He kind of giggles.

Eddie 27:58

Wasted spell slot.

Brian 28:00

"Someone needs a little bit of practice!" So after you have missed your Guiding Bolt and the Harlequin is mocking you sarcastically, you see Elazia click--

Ned Donovan 28:11

Another 25%?

Brian 28:11

She has dropped about a third of the distance that she was from there to the vat. Top of the order. Zenia.

Landree 28:18

I cast False Life on myself.

Brian 28:20


Landree 28:20

For an additional eight temporary hit points.

Brian 28:23

And that gets you temporary hit points.

Landree 28:26

I'm up to 13.

Brian 28:26

Great. You are up to 13. Would you like to move for any reason?

Landree 28:30


Brian 28:30

Okay. Fikarra, you are up.

Sarah 28:33

I'm going to attack.

Brian 28:34


Sarah 28:35

And Bardic Inspiration, giving it to Brevin.

Brian 28:37


Sarah 28:38

Rolled an 18. So that's like a 24.

Brian 28:40

Your attack lands.

Sarah 28:41


Brian 28:41

Please roll damage with your mace.

Sarah 28:43

Going to, yes.

Ned Donovan 28:46


Sarah 28:46

Going to be nine.

Brian 28:47


Landree 28:48


Sarah 28:48

And then Bardic Inspiration to Brevin.

Brian 28:51

Nine damage. Looks like it's just about to put this guy down. Like he's, like, again, you keep making these attacks that you're surprised, like, don't immediately kill this person. And maybe with just a touch more experience under your belt, you might be able to close this a turn early.

Brevin, you are sufficiently inspired. What would you like to do?

Ned Donovan 29:13

I am going to... This is what my turn is going to be, in all.

Brian 29:17


Ned Donovan 29:17

Going to rush past the marionettes.

Brian 29:18


Ned Donovan 29:18

Going to use the long sword to go after one of the hands holding a cross.

Brian 29:23

Okay, based on the narrowness of the stairs, only one of them will get an attack on you.

Ned Donovan 29:28


Brian 29:28

Which will be the Skyx --

Ned Donovan 29:29


Brian 29:30

--marionette. So if you would like to move past them into the space where you can attack the Harlequin--

Ned Donovan 29:35

Yes, that's exactly what I would like to do.

Brian 29:37

Skyx will make an attack on you.

Ned Donovan 29:38


Brian 29:39

A 15.

Ned Donovan 29:40

18 is my armor.

Brian 29:41

18 is too high for that tiny little dismembered goblin. So you move past him up the stairs. You now find yourself face to face with the Harlequin.

Ned Donovan 29:51

And rather than going directly for the Harlequin, I want to go for the marionette thing.

Brian 29:54

In his hand?

Ned Donovan 29:55

Yeah, the thing controlling the, the creations.

Brian 29:59

Are in his hand.

Ned Donovan 30:00

Yes, I would like to use my sword to try and take that hand off.

Brian 30:03

Okay, so you have two options. The marionettes are clearly determined by side.

Ned Donovan 30:09


Brian 30:10

So as you're facing him, his right hand, to your left, would be controlling the goblin Skyx, and then his opposite hand will be controlling the man who you know nothing about.

Ned Donovan 30:19

The man seems, would suggest to me to be a stronger, so I would go for the man.

Brian 30:23

Okay, please make a Strength roll.

Ned Donovan 30:25

With Bardic Inspiration.

Brian 30:27

With Bardic Inspiration.

Ned Donovan 30:28

So that is a 26.

Brian 30:29

Oh for the love of-- Oh... Good. You manage to sort of dodge in, give a flick of your wrist with the sword, you whack his hand and he kind of loses the cross immediately. As it leaves his hand, the marionette of the man, who you do not know, just great crumples into the sand.

Ned Donovan 30:50


Brian 30:50

It is now the cultists' turns.

Andrew 30:53

Which ones?

Brian 30:54

Ah. They're all going to act, which, does it matter?

Andrew 30:57

The flame thrower and the chain man.

Brian 31:00


Andrew 31:01

Both get to make Constitution saving throws.

Brian 31:03

Okay, we can start with them. That's fine. The chain guy is a nine and the fire guy is a four.

You'd think Rakdos cult members would have higher Constitution. Are you giggling?

Ned Donovan 31:18


Brian 31:18

Into the mic while I'm complaining?

Ned Donovan 31:20

He is giggling into the mic. Yes. That's exactly what is happening.

Andrew 31:23

Both take six necrotic damage.

Brian 31:25

Oh, for real? Well, that fire breather is dead. He is just dead.

Landree 31:31

Duh dead duh dead.

Brian 31:33


Ned Donovan 31:33

Does the crowd go wild?

Brian 31:36

The chain wielder, who is a little upset, so...

Andrew 31:40

"Are you under the weather?"

Brian 31:40

What is this ability that we're using with? What is it?

Andrew 31:44

Halo of Spores.

Brian 31:45

Halo of Spores. So they kind of get geared up, ready to do another strike and just a cloud kind of waves over them, and you see them kind of [sniffing] kind of breathe in and get kind of dizzy like a murdered cave troll, and the fire guy takes a big breath as if to try and breathe some more fire at you guys, but it's just not going to come out and as this breath just sort of chokes inside his cavity, he just [gasp] and then just falls down to the floor as little wisps of pollen leak from his orifice.

Sarah 32:16

Does that affect me too?

Andrew 32:17


Brian 32:18

The, the blade wielder or the, the chain wielder is clearly put off by whatever this is and goes, "Oh, I'll show you now with my whips!" and then kind of whips them around very violently. He seems less confident than before because that first attack-- everyone in the circus is doing so well. But he kind of came up short. So he's going to swing both of his whips at you, Andrew, the first one is going to be a 11 and the next one is going to be a five. This dude sucks so much and he does like the most damage. He just, he's just-- [angry flailing]

Ned Donovan 32:57

Love you boo boo.

Brian 32:59

"Oh, I've failed my teachers."

Andrew 33:00

"I'm sorry. Are you feeling woozy?"

Brian 33:07

Now I'm creeped out. Okay. The, the knife wielder though is pretty upset at the three of you up there in the front. So one attack is going to go to Fikarra, which is an eight, and then two other blades are going to come at you, Lorzatch, this one is a two and a four. Great. Challenging combat, everybody. Please, please continue. Lorzatch, it is actually your turn. So.

Andrew 33:38

Lorzatch takes both blades to the flailing knifeman. I'm sorry, chainman. Does a 20 hit?

Brian 33:48


Eddie 33:52

He says, exasperated.

Brian 33:55

This guy, like, the Rakdos don't wear armor.

Ned Donovan 33:58

They want to die.

Brian 33:59

Yeah, no, they're like giggling every time they get hit. Although spores are not funny to them. Getting stabbed and cut and stuff is fine. But the spores are not enjoyable.

Andrew 34:08

19 damage.

Brian 34:10

For the love of everything. All right, how does it happen?

Andrew 34:13

He catches a chain link with his dagger, flips it around so that the razor blade wraps around his head. You get to watch the filaments start growing in between and spreading out of the lacerations in his skull before he pulls and splits his cranium in two.

Landree 34:32


Eddie 34:32

[grim laughter]

Brian 34:32

Oh my god.

Landree 34:32

That is pretty.

Brian 34:36

Awesome. Okay, so--

Ned Donovan 34:38

Landree, I learn more about you every day.

Charisma save.

Brian 34:39

The Harlequin, he's now looking directly at you and is, Brevin, and is starting to lose enjoyment in this performer, and he's like, "No, no, no, you're not playing correctly! Be gone, back to the seats!" and he kind of puts a hand up and gives a big flash of, sort of red light that emanates from his hand. Please give me a Charisma saving throw.

Eddie 34:59


Brian 35:07

Just Ned.

Ned Donovan 35:08

What is my Charisma?

Brian 35:10

You're okay.

Ned Donovan 35:12


Brian 35:13

An 18. Man, you're rolling like crazy. Whatever he tried to do, you are a man on a mission. And he says-- crap.

Landree 35:24

And he says, 'crap.'

Brian 35:27

"No no, why won't you listen? You're just ruining the fun!" Lennox, you are up.

Eddie 35:34

I run up to this abomination and I bring down my mace.

Ned Donovan 35:40


Eddie 35:41

On its head.

Brian 35:42

On Skyx the marionette?

Eddie 35:44


Ned Donovan 35:45

Oh no.

Eddie 35:46

That's plus... [strange noise while Eddie does math]

Brian 35:52

This is a really, this was a really aggressive play they got less confident as the dice hit.

Eddie 35:59

Plus five.

Brian 35:59

Plus five.

Eddie 36:00


Brian 36:01

Well it's plus five. I don't know what the actual number is. You rolled a seven. A 12 hits.

Landree 36:06


Eddie 36:09

[satisfied chuckle]

Brian 36:09

Barely hits.

Eddie 36:11

Four points of damage.

Brian 36:12

Well, it is sort of just a collection of limbs.

So as you kind of bring your, even though the determination is there, even though you're like, 'I'm going to free you from this horrible fate, my little goblin,' you kind of come down and swing but it's just kind of limbs that just sort of part ways and just sort of flop around.

Ned Donovan 36:15


Sarah 36:29

You get a little less confident when Skyx looks you directly in the eye and one little tear just comes out of his little dismembered goblin face.

Landree 36:40

I thought he doesn't have a head?

Brian 36:41

No, the head is there, but he is dead.

Landree 36:43

Oh, the head is there.

Brian 36:45

He's dead. There is no, there is no emotion. As you see this-- yes, sir.

Eddie 36:50

Are they undead?

Brian 36:50

Are they undead? No, they are--

Ned Donovan 36:52

Are they constructs?

Brian 36:53

They are animated limbs. They are the limbs of these people that are now being flopped around like marionettes. After your less than effective swing of your mace, you see Elazia tick down a mere half the distance from where she was to this vat and you're quite confident, if something isn't done immediately...

Eddie 37:17

I look around--

Brian 37:18

There's not going to be anything to retrieve.

Eddie 37:20

--the room for like a lever or...

Brian 37:21

The contraption is attached to the top of the platform. There is, there is a chain suspending her that goes up somewhere towards the roof of the theater--

Eddie 37:30

Like where he's standing?

Brian 37:31

It goes up towards where the roof of the theater is and winches back down to a contraption directly behind her up on the platform, that is now sort of being straddled by that Orzhov marionette.

Landree 37:43

Like right here?

Brian 37:44

Yes. Top of the order. Zenia.

Landree 37:48

I cast Chaos Bolt, aiming for the, his hand, the motherfucker's hand.

Brian 37:55


Landree 37:55

Okay. Please, please, please, please, please. So that is 19.

Brian 38:03

Yes. Please roll a D20.

Landree 38:05

Well I already rolled. That was my D20.

Brian 38:07

I know. Please roll another D20.

Landree 38:08

Another? Oh! That would be an 18.

Brian 38:13

Okay, you are well in control of your magic for this round.

Landree 38:17

Fantastic. So, uh, so I'm aiming for that, I did it. So I get 2D8. So my first one was--

Brian 38:25

So, so just to be clear,

Landree 38:27


Brian 38:27

Targeting an attack with a spell is not possible.

Landree 38:31

Oh, okay.

Brian 38:31

So if you grapple a character or making like a weapon strike, you must have an opposing Strength check.

Landree 38:39


Brian 38:39

In order to disarm, so whatever you're doing must, must be a Strength-based action.

Landree 38:44

Oh, I can't aim a spell.

Brian 38:46

No, but you can just like light him up.

Landree 38:48

I can? Okay, then I'll just light him up, please.

Brian 38:51

Like, it's not... you can just kill him. As an option.

Landree 38:55

I would like to light him up. So my first number, it's only two points of damage, but it's fire.

Brian 39:00

That's fine. So you--

Andrew 39:02

No, it's, sorry, that's 13 points of damage.

Landree 39:04

Is it?

Andrew 39:05

Yeah, 2D8 plus one D6? You rolled 13 points of damage.

Landree 39:09

I thought the D8 was just me getting to pick.

Andrew 39:12

No, that's damage.

Landree 39:13


Brian 39:14

No, you just choose.

Landree 39:15

Oh, fantastic.

Andrew 39:16

It is...

Brian 39:17

So she rolls...

Andrew 39:17

... quite good.

Landree 39:18

Yeah! That's gorgeous! Okay. Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. So 13. Thanks everyone for your patience.

Brian 39:18

Yeah, so that's a lot different. Thank you for the clarification.

Landree 39:25

Yes. Thank you.

Brian 39:26

So you light him up with a great deal of fire and he starts immolating, kind of, there's rules about catching fire, but he certainly takes a big wave of fire. And he seems to shower in it. He's like, "Yes! Finally, someone is enjoying this show!" It is clearly damaging to him but he doesn't... They're crazy. He seems to be enjoying it.

Landree 39:54

And much as Landree was confused about the damage, Zenia was a little bit like, 'Great! Look at what I did.'

Brian 40:04


Sarah 40:05

Okay, I'm going up to the, so, walking up to the bat and, you know, I'm just going to Thunderclap. Sorry guys.

Ned Donovan 40:12

Let's do it.

Brian 40:13


Sarah 40:14


Brian 40:14

And if they fail, they get pushed, right?

Sarah 40:16

Yep, they fail, they get pushed.

Brian 40:17

They take damage either way, but if they faill, they get pushed 10 feet?

Sarah 40:20

Yeah, I'm sorry. It's Thunderwave, not thunderclap. So, wave of thunder's force...

Brian 40:25

I'm sorry, I'm assuming you meant Thunderwave.

Sarah 40:27


Brian 40:28

You want to attack them.

Sarah 40:29


Brian 40:29

And if they failed their rolls, they get pushed.

Sarah 40:31


Brian 40:32


Sarah 40:32


Brian 40:33

Love it.

Sarah 40:34

All right. It's a Constitution saving throw.

Ned Donovan 40:36

On me too?

Sarah 40:37

On everybody.

Brian 40:37

Each creature within a 15-foot cube originating from you.

Ned Donovan 40:42

I'm definitely in there.

Brian 40:43


Andrew 40:44

Yeah, everybody except Lennox over here.

Brian 40:46

What's the, what's the number?

Sarah 40:49

The CON save's 13.

Brian 41:02

So you unleash this wave of thunder in desperation, gotta save this woman, and the thunder reaches out and slams into the Harlequin. But it also catches your companion Brevin full on in the side. The two of them get thrown off the back of the platform. And you hear them land with a thud but they're both behind there somewhere. You see the dangling marionette of Skyx, damaged slightly, but it's still kind of dangling there. But it doesn't look like it's physically intruce, intruding anything. The marionettes of the Orzhov Syndicate member who is currently sort of like at the contraption has not moved, reacted at all. It's still just, still just wiggling and jiggling.

Sarah 41:41

Sorry Brevin.

Brian 41:42

Brevin, you're prone.

Ned Donovan 41:44

Yeah, I'm definitely prone. So I was going to try and do something to help what's-her-name, but I am no longer in a capacity to do so. So I am going to do the old action movie roll-and-stab. We're both on the ground behind the platform. I'm going immediately for the jugular.

Brian 42:00

You are just right on him.

Ned Donovan 42:02

Yeah. So I am, straight attack while he's--

Brian 42:06

With advantage.

Ned Donovan 42:06

--prone. On him.

Brian 42:08


Ned Donovan 42:10

It was a 21 and a 18, so 21.

Brian 42:12

Both are good. Choose the one you like.

Ned Donovan 42:14

I like a 21. Feels nice to say. It is a 9.

Brian 42:18

A 9?

Ned Donovan 42:19


Brian 42:20

So please describe this horrible mangled grapple as this guy goes down.

Ned Donovan 42:24

So we get blown off the back of a stage and it doesn't feel great. We land in the sand and we're both sort of like, like recovering and I realize that my sword is right at my hand and I grab it and I roll over and I put one arm at his chest and I shove the entire thing through his head, digging into the sand on the far side.

Brian 42:43

So as you kind of shove the knife into you, he, he, into him, he's still looking at you and laughing and giggling as it goes in and just goes [sinister laughter] "What a finale." [death rattle] And then just sort of like dies in your hand. You guys at the front of the platform do not see what's going on but you do suddenly see the marionette of Skyx just sort of fall to the floor and the marionette of the Orzhov Syndicate member just sort of dissipates into nothing. It was simply an illusion. There is the dagger thrower who is still at the end of it. He goes, "Fat lady hasn't sung yet, folks," and kind of [sound of drawing knives] brings out some daggers. He is going to throw them at Fikarra.

One, two, three. [sound of flying daggers]

Sarah 43:33

Hold on a second let me get my surprised cow face.

Brian 43:37

I have an 18, a 19, and a 21.

Sarah 43:43

Well gee. I think all of those are gonna hit.

Brian 43:46

All of those hit?

Sarah 43:47


Brian 43:47

Let's get ready.

Sarah 43:49

Gosh dag nabbit all to heck.

Brian 43:51

Yeah, he really was like, 'oh, now that you're not paying attention.'

Landree 43:54

Oh god.

Brian 43:56

So, you will take a total of 9 piercing damage.

Landree 44:01

Could have been worse.

Brian 44:04

Daggers, or, throwing knives, aren't...

Andrew 44:06

How you doing?

Brian 44:06

...super dangerous.

Sarah 44:08

I'm at half. So.

Landree 44:09

Oh. That's not so bad.

Brian 44:10

Not bad.

Sarah 44:10

Yeah. No, we're good.

Brian 44:12

Okay, Lorzatch, you have a turn.

Andrew 44:16

And Lorzatch moves 25 feet to stop the contraption in its tracks and do his best to fish...

Brian 44:24

Please make an Intelligence check or a save, or, Strength check, whichever one you would prefer to do.

Andrew 44:30

That'll be an Intelligence check, folks. In which I am proficient. Hell yeah, buddy. 10.

Brian 44:37

A 10. You can clearly identify that this is a simple lever. It is not hard. The, the Rakdos. The Rakdos, I would say a 10 or above you're pretty okay. Like they're not known for being clever. It is really just a simple winch.

Andrew 44:56

Cease it from cranking down any further.

Brian 44:58

Great. As you grab it, you do manage to activate the winch. But you do take seven piercing damage from razor blades that were hidden in the handle. It would have been great if somebody was close to zero hit points. As kind of a last giggle. So the winch has stopped. Elazia is dangling, still screaming at you.

Ned Donovan 45:21

Kind of surprised the dagger throat didn't try and take down that rope.

Brian 45:23

You guys can see Brevin sort of getting up from the back, and can kind of ascertain with some of the blood on his face that...

Sarah 45:31

It's real gross.

Brian 45:32

'I got him.'

Andrew 45:35

Is it possible to take a bonus action to reach out?

Ned Donovan 45:40

And touch faith.

Brian 45:42

Yes. The, as you guys clearly kind of managed to salvage the situation, the final Rakdos performer has somehow managed to dissipate into the shadows. And you can hear a giggling that just sort of persists.

Eddie 46:01

Son of a bitch.

Brian 46:02

He's not a major threat. He's clearly, simply just a performer. The Harlequin was obviously the person orchestrating this, but you have managed to save Elazia from a bubbly watery death. As you bring her down, you guys get a chance to collect yourselves, except it isn't long, once again, until the Boros legionnaires show up to investigate.

Wojek officers storm the theater. They all have their swords drawn and you guys are held at bladepoint as they start demanding explanations for whatever the hell just happened here. You see the two wojek officers from last night's murder scene are among them and you hear that all-too-familiar sigh of disappointment that is starting to follow you guys wherever you go this weekend. There is nothing like the professional courtesy that Jeau gave you after your tavern brawl. In fact, the wojek are a rather mean-spirited bunch. Zenia, the wojek officer, the female from last night who was talking to Elazia with you, sees you right away, and the moment she spots, you she storms over to you, grabs you, puts you in manacles and you are led away from the rest of the group. For reasons I'm sure you understand based on the note I gave you. As for the rest of you, you see your Izzet companion just sort of taken away, zero explanation, and you are practically pushed all the way back to the barracks to be confronted once again by Captain Farland. Captain Farland is even more distressed then you saw two days ago as the final hours of the festival draw to a close. He is just leering at you from under his brow and takes every other breath to try and figure out whether or not he should just string you up from the palisades. "I cannot believe how stupid of an idea of this was. I have several dead Rakdos. I have an Izzet mage in custody. I have this Elazia woman who has been kidnapped, and now I have two disfigured and dismembered corpses. Why exactly should I be happy about this?"

Ned Donovan 48:08

Because there aren't four?

Brian 48:11

He, he gives you a really dirty look. "I was not aware the Selesnya had such a smart mouth."

Ned Donovan 48:20

They don't like me much for that.

Brian 48:21

"Would someone, by the angels' grace, explain to me why you marched into a Rakdos circus and murdered the lot of them?"

Eddie 48:31

"We discovered a dead body outside and heard a loud scream coming from inside."

Brian 48:31

"And what about the man from the tavern?"

Eddie 48:40

"We found the rest of his parts inside the circus."

Ned Donovan 48:43

And the person who screamed was the same woman who screamed when the first torso was discovered.

Brian 48:51

"I see. Well, this is a complicated matter. Still, it seems as if you did spend a great deal of effort trying to do what it is we agreed on. I, however, am in a difficult position. I'm embarrassed to say I am unable to keep up my end of the bargain. You see, the Azorius are on their way here. They caught word that one of their own is involved in this mess. I suspect they mean you, justicar. They will have authority once they arrive here and I will not be able to protect you from what is about to happen." And his sentence kind of cuts off halfway through as he stares past you deep into the barracks and you hear a little bit of a commotion happening towards the door, and you see far Farland's eyes widen just a second before resetting into a stern gaze. And he speaks to you but not at you as he says, "In fact, it looks like it's too late for you even now, because that is the Azorius maze runner."

On the next Encounter Party! The Azorius authorities have entered the ring, taking an interest in the recent murders. Is Lennox Brightburne to blame? Will the courts be easier to manage than the military? And who is this mysterious Maze Runner? Find out on the next Encounter Party!

Encounter Party is produced by Play+1 and Charging Moose Media. Based on the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: the Gathering, created by Wizards of the Coast. Sound capture and original sound effects by Will Melones, edited by Ned Donovan, mixed by Josh Samuels, music by Alex Nakarada of SerpentSound Studios. Special thanks to Megan Judkins, Marcus Thorne Bagala, and Will Melones.