After losing their Boros legion escort, the adventurers continue bearing the unconscious body of Elasia to the Simic Zonot. Distrust and Deception bubble to the surface as the team begins to wonder: have they been lied to and played for fools this entire time?
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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
Sound Capture and original Sound Effects by Will Melones
Music by Alexander Nakarada of SerpentSound Studios
Edited by Ned Donovan
Mixed by Haley Rowlands
Brian Judkins 0:01
This week on Encounter Party: catastrophe on the horizon as our players rush to uncover the dastardly plot of Malphus Reed. While transporting the unconscious Elasia, our players once again run afoul of Mr. Alfonso's men. However, something had transformed the goons into monstrous creatures! Bunkered down in a broken train, our players plan their next move, this week, on Encounter Party!
After a grueling battle, we rejoin the four of you hiding inside of a ruined rail car. You can hear the screams of Ravnican citizens that are being torn from their homes. The train might be used as a means of escape if you could figure out how to operate it or if it was wasn't pointing in the wrong direction.
Well, since it's a train engine, we can make it go backwards, right? In theory? If we're in Ravnica, not real world.
Ned Donovan 1:09
Do you know how to drive a train? Is that, like, a skill for anyone?
It can't be that hard, let's try and figure it out!
Oh please, let's. So it's clear to everyone that this engine is made out of a metal called mizzium. Now mizzium was discovered by the leader of the Izzet League, who is the dragon known as the Firemind. The Firemind's real name is Niv-Mizzet and so he names everything after himself. So, the Izzet league, mizzium as the metal. Now mizzium is an amorphous metal, which means that by applying certain stimuli or implementing certain aspects to it, you can convince it to change shape without having to smelt it.
Yeah, but sort of T-1000 in the form of silly putty.
But it is metal, and the Izzet are the only ones who really know how to manipulate it. So as you look at what you're as assuming is some sort of control module for this engine, it's not really laid out in a manner that would be accessible. There are nubs that could be levers, there are wheels that might actually just be plates, like, it's all strangely, there are no...
Ned Donovan 2:19
'Wheels that could be plates' is such a good description!
There are, there are gears that look like they turn but they're actually connected, like it is all incredibly confusing to you and it would be great if your Izzet companion was not shipped away.
Ned Donovan 2:38
To what we think is the destination of this train, right? Do we know this? Do we know where she went? I assumed that she got sent along on another mission.
Lavinia told you that she was detained.
Ned Donovan 2:48
Detained. Are we able to, would the train cars feel secure enough that we could rest within them to get some stuff back and also prep for next day, since it's nighttime?
I mean, the doors are open.
Ned Donovan 3:00
But are they closeable?
Do you think like we can prop them closed? Are there locks on them, from inside?
Or we could post watches?
Ned Donovan 3:07
You can also post watches. I imagine that you could secure yourself in one of these, it is clear that these cars are designed for people to exit in and out from various different entrances. There's two at the front, two at the back of each car. But I think with the, none of the doors are blown off of them. The doors extend outward so they were kind of ripped open when these things came out. But nothing is, is destroyed structurally on the interior. So if you did want to, there's also turned over showcases and bookcases and a lot of material inside that could be stacked and barricaded.
So yeah, I think we should try and fortify the entrances.
Ned Donovan 3:52
Give ourselves the ability for a long rest.
The best that we can and get ready for a long rest. I think we should still take watch.
Ned Donovan 3:58
I can lift things!
Have turns taking watch.
Yes you can.
Ned Donovan 4:03
What's-his-butt doesn't sleep.
So I would say that it takes you guys no discernible time at all to do this because of you.
I can lift things.
Because of the, because of the minotauran assistance. So you guys manage to barricade yourselves safely. Again, there are no windows on these cars. So you just have to manage yourself to the entrances however you wish to do. Who's going to take first watch?
That'd be Lorzatch.
Ned Donovan 4:28
Who's going to, give me a, give me a watch order please.
Ned Donovan 4:31
Okay, so Brevin number two.
I'll go watch 3.
Okay, Fikarra number three. Last watch. Great. Andrew, could you please roll me a d20?
Okay, who's second?
Ned Donovan 4:43
Would you please roll me at d20? A 5? Okay, thank you very much. Who's third?
I am. 16.
Okay, and last.
Great. Ned, you're dead.
You die in the night.
Ned Donovan 5:00
You wake up and you are now a marionette.
Dawn arrives after a long rest as you four sit huddled inside the ransacked train car. Sleep was not so peaceful amidst the broken glass and shattered display cases. Even though the danger has passed, you swear you can still hear the screams of horror echoing in your ears. The only way is forward, however your train is currently pointed backwards. It is now morning. You are in a part of the city you are unfamiliar with. You are still on the rail line but you do have an engine you can't run.
Ned Donovan 5:37
Can't run the engine and we have a passed-out, wrapped-up Elasia. Right?
Ned Donovan 5:43
Elasia. And we have no more Boros guards helping.
And you have no more Boros sentry.
Ned Donovan 5:48
So two of us have to carry Elasia for a walk.
Ned Donovan 5:50
I come help.
I was going to say, like, can I carry her by myself?
Okay. I mean, just like--
Ned Donovan 5:56
I mean, this is the question.
Throw her over your shoulder?
Ned Donovan 5:57
We need to continue onwards to get to the Simic.
She is in some sort of induced stasis.
Ned Donovan 6:03
Like she's not waking up.
Coma-esque. She is being preserved until you guys reach the compound to give her the medical attention she needs.
Ned Donovan 6:11
Do we have any idea how far away from the compound we are?
You were intended to make it late into the night the night before.
Ned Donovan 6:17
And we got ambushed in the evening right before night.
So we're close then.
Ned Donovan 6:22
Great, well, I think we carry and go to the Simic compound.
Okay. You trudge along the rail line for, we'll say about another hour or so, but it doesn't take long before this massive wall comes into view that bisects the city. Hanging from the wall are the serene blue and green banners of the Simic Combine. Now the Simic is a guild that specializes in medicine and water treatment for the city of Ravnica. They are notorious biologists in sort of a Frankenstein-type sense and you can often see their creations roaming the, the streets and skies of Ravnica. The rail line itself ends abruptly a short distance from the wall. The area is littered with stacked timber and I-beams and other sort of building supplies that suggests that construction is not ended, it's just stalled. Yes?
At any point in the distance we've covered, would we have noticed a feature in the tracks to allow a turn or a repositioning of the tracks?
No, it is a straight line.
It is a straight line.
Ned Donovan 7:33
No switches, no turns.
A line you have now reached the end of. And it does not enter into the compound. So there is a towering gate in front of a gorgeous motif of shell spirals and driftwood, this sort of beautiful curvature. Astride the gate are two reliefs of merfolk, each that are pouring water out of jugs. They are actually fountains and they're pouring thin streams of water down into two foot pools on either side of the gate. So there's a lot of merfolk motifs. The, the Simic Combine is mostly made up of merfolk. In Ravnica they're a little bit different, so they, they have legs in Ravnica. The merfolk in Ravnica are more like fish people rather than what you think of as like mermaids, but the Simic are very aquatic-based guild. The walls themselves are covered in algae and lichens that are feeding off of the damp air. It's all a very Neptunian experience as you approach and behind the wall you can definitely hear the drowning roar of a very, very large waterfall.
Are there any sentries posted?
There are none on the outside of the gate.
Ned Donovan 8:48
So there's no one that greets us in any way.
Not, not in front of the gate.
Ned Donovan 8:52
So then I think we knock on the door, we're here to see this Combine. We knock on the gate.
You knock on the gate and on the door, the design were there looks to be like a pearl is actually a portal and it opens up and this big fish eye just sort of leers out at you guys, waiting for you to initiate.
Ned Donovan 9:09
Hey, Lennox, as the Azorius, you want to take this one?
I will show him my credentials.
"We are here to seek medical help for this woman. We have been sent."
"And what is wrong with her?" You can hear the distinct sort of gurgle resonating below the vocal cords of this man.
"We're not entirely sure, sir. But we unfortunately need to find a way to wake her, for she might have information that we need."
"Where did you come from?"
"34th District, sir."
"Of the Boros Legion?"
Ned Donovan 9:42
And we were sent by Lavinia. This is a Azorius, Azorius member who might have information they need but unfortunately she has been taken badly and they have her in an induced state until we could get here to get her some help.
He very rudely stops paying attention to you about halfway through that explanation and focuses directly and only at Lennox in this very 'you're going to flash a badge of authority, but do you come to a Simic stronghold.'
"Sir, Lavinia has sent us here to get medical attention for this woman."
"And Lavinia is who?"
"She is the boss." Of the Azorius.
Ned Donovan 10:22
She's our Maze Runner.
"Oh." Now the maze runners are essentially celebrities at this point. Everybody paid attention to this, they know who this is. So the Azorius Maze Runner.
"We're not here on behalf of any specific guild. A Miss Lavinia is convinced that the woman who is currently comatose has information that could be detrimental to all of Ravnica if not discovered."
"And how did you get here?"
"We traveled here along the rails. We were set upon on the way here."
Ned Donovan 10:54
Seven of our comrades are down.
"We survived but several of our comrades..."
"I was going to ask why you didn't have a Legion escort."
"We did have one."
"They were all killed unfortunately."
Ned Donovan 11:04
"What do I need to be worried about before I consider letting you in here?"
"Absolutely nothing, sir."
I assume I'm still like covered in blood. Maybe? No?
Yes, you were. Well, it depends on if you cleaned yourself up, but in the middle of that rail car, maybe not an option.
Right. "Can you, oh dear, I'm not, oh, god. Am I contagious?"
Ned Donovan 11:27
I mean, there are--
"Am I contagious?"
Ned Donovan 11:29
"We were beset upon--"
Ned Donovan 11:30
"By creatures we had met previously who were now seemingly controlled by a force we don't understand. To say that we aren't necessarily being followed by something dangerous would be a lie."
"Sudden dental and ossific hypertrophy accompanied by a discoloration of the skin."
Andrew, this fishman looks at you with absolute hatred and out of nowhere just says, "You have a great deal of gall coming to us like this, under-citizen."
"Sir, we mean no respect."
"I am not talking to you, legionnaire."
"I'm talking to the one whose people continue to assault us on nearly a nightly basis."
"Might I say that he has proven, proven himself an ally to our cause."
"Is he in your custody or is he on his own guild's accord?"
"Right now, he is under my custody."
"What am I not being told here? You march up to our gate with someone I do not know, warning us of an enemy I do not know, flashing a badge that has no authority here. This is not Simic business. Why are you wasting our time?"
"Sir, I don't think his badge of authority was necessarily meant to be meaning of authority over you. I think it was more of an identification for him. And possibly habit."
"I'm a man of the law."
"All we seek is help reviving this woman."
"And what happened to your Legion escort?"
Ned Donovan 12:59
"I'm, I'm sorry. Was I not talking? They were beset upon by an enemy I have now warned you by and either killed or taken away."
"We found a train car several miles back. But something happened to it. Everyone on the train car was somehow transformed into ravenous beasts. They attacked us, killed our Legion--"
"And this train looked... how?"
Ned Donovan 13:22
"Mizzium engine, writing on the side?"
Ned Donovan 13:26
"Wait here," and the portal just slams shut. And he just disappears. And it's like a solid 10 minutes of you guys sitting around waiting; whether or not you've just been abandoned outside this gate, if anybody's coming back. But eventually you do hear a bit of a commotion from behind the gate. There are some mechanisms and some large pieces shifting from inside the gate. And then with a heavy groan, this massive portal into Zonot #4 just groans open and, and the minute that the doors kind of separate you, this, the sound of this massive waterfall just rushes out to meet you guys. And there are a pair of merfolk sentries who come rushing forward on these weird grotesque biology experiments. And they are mostly crabs. They're like these very, very large crabs, but they have shark heads and they're being ridden, they're kind of snapping at you. [clacking noise]
And if their claws aren't keeping you at bay, the, the merfolk that are riding them have these really, really long coral spears and you guys are kind of herded inside the zonot. And one of the things you notice quite immediately as everything opens up in front of you is this isn't just a singular facility. It's not just the zonot alone. There's actually a sizable chunk of Ravnica that's walled off and within Simic guild control. There, there are neighborhoods, there are large factory complexes, this is, this is like a sizable guild territory. And you are shoved down this, this sort of entry promenade on your way to the zonot as the crab-sharks are sort of poking and prodding you guys down the lane and you look to your right and you see the large fish-eyed merman who greeted you at the gate is currently embroiled with another Ravnican citizen who seems to be taking all of his attention. This Ravnican is an older male, probably mid-60s, very frail of frame and face, but he's very sharply dressed in sort of a casual way. Very nice slacks and shoes. He has a nice vest, a pocket watch. He himself is wearing a nice pair of glasses. He has white hair, like gray hair, and a rather illustrious mustache that, that sweeps around his face and then back up to his ears. But he as, as sort of frail and clean and pristine as he is, he seems about as flabbergasted is a man of his stature could possibly be and he's all but shouting at the merman, just this, "My engine? Oh, good heavens, what has happened to my engine? What is everything going on? Why is no one talking to me?" And you can hear that sort of nonsensical rambling as you guys are herded back down the pathway. Let me provide you with a map.
Ned Donovan 16:13
I love maps.
So you guys will enter here on the south end where you see that the Boros line has ended. And this is the gate where you just came in. And so you guys are down here. And the major feature here is obviously this massive hole in the middle of Ravnica, this is a sinkhole, and you can hear and now see this massive waterfall, which is actually an underground river that has broken over the sinkhole and is now pouring down into that hole. Down there is where the zonot will be. So a Simic zonot is basically an upside-down skyscraper that is going down into the water. So a large portion of it is underwater. And because it is marine, it is organic, so it sort of grows down into the water rather than is constructed. But that's not the only thing that you see here. As you look to the northeast sort of above the waterfall you can see a neighborhood, there's residential buildings there, perhaps a few shops, clearly where people within the compound can reside and make this a permanent place of residence. On top of the waterfall you can see structures and engineering mechanisms that suggests that the Izzet have in fact built a hydroelectric power plant here and then a little ways down you can see a pump station and then on the far end of the compound again that's probably a good mile and a half outside your view is this massive towering structure and even though it is a little bit of, little bit away you can very clearly see the banners and sigils of the Izzet League proudly displayed.
Ned Donovan 17:55
Didn't Captain Farland tell us or tell me that the power plant was leased by the Izzet?
Ned Donovan 18:02
Great. So it's an Izzet power plant that is being leased into the Simic area?
The reverse. The Simic are--
Ned Donovan 18:10
Leasing land to the Izzet.
Ned Donovan 18:12
Yeah. Okay. Great.
Yes, the waterway systems are controlled by the Simic.
Ned Donovan 18:15
Copy. Thank you.
Because inside a well of water is uninhabitable to anybody but them and so they have claimed it.
Ned Donovan 18:21
So the four of you are led through this compound with Elasia in tow and it's still the early morning hours. So there is a great deal of hustle and bustle as everybody's getting started for their day. There are Simic guild members everywhere. And you can, you notice that there are some racial distinctions within the Simic guild. You see pretty exclusively that there are obviously a lot of merfolk, vedalken, and elves. But, Andrew, these are not Devkarin elves, okay, these are not undercity-dwelling elves. These are some other distinction. And then there's a fourth group that looks really strange because they look like they used to be elvish or they used to be vedalken. But they have like weird growths on them, or some of them have gills, or some of them have like extra arms. Some of their arms are like crab arms. And you're starting to notice that the rumors are true that the Simic do actually experiment on living biological creatures in an effort to sort of artificially evolve them. And your led along this sinkhole, which you're now noticing is a good mile in diameter. And as you look down, you can see the zonot growing downward into the water, like big, gigantic pieces of kelp. And you're shuffled inside the zonot. And again, this is a Simic facility. So it's all very marine in design. And there are no straight lines anywhere, every room, every facility, every compartment looks almost like a bubbling, like a boiling bubble was frozen right before it was about to pop. And there seems to be tanks of liquid everywhere. But it is a medical facility. So everything is very clean. Everything is full of protocol. There's a great deal of pomp and circumstance as, as you guys are kind of led through the lobby down into a particular area of the zonot and you're coerced, if not shoved into this side waiting room. And as the door opens, which is sort of more like a, like a wet iris, it just sort of slips open. And you can see in this rather comfortable, very hospitable waiting room is your vedalken companion Zenia of the Izzet League just sitting there hanging out. And behind her through the window, you notice that you are already underwater.
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Ned Donovan 21:09
Ned Donovan 21:11
Where have you been?
"Just been hanging out."
Ned Donovan 21:15
"Yeah, where have you all been?"
Ned Donovan 21:18
"Why are you so bloody?"
"I killed something. With my mace."
As you guys kind of get shuffled in, you see a medical professional who comes in behind you and says, "I've been told that someone here needs medical attention. Is this correct?"
"Please, yes, sir."
"And what is wrong with this woman?"
"We're not entirely sure."
"She does have horns, though. But I think that they're, you know, particular to her breed of..."
Ned Donovan 21:45
Oh, hey, not, not her.
"I think we're referencing the woman who is unconscious in her arms."
"Oh, I see."
"Afflicted by something that's rendered her unconscious and uncommunicative."
"She seems to be in a deep state of shock."
For whatever really offensive reason, you are getting straight up ghosted by these people, Lorzatch, they can't even fathom acknowledging your presence here. Like it is disgusting that they even have to listen to the sound of your voice.
Are there other sentries in the room?
So there are two sentries, the one on the left barely turns his head, not even the full way around to look at you and just gives you this icy stare that suggests the next time you dare ask a question, their response is going to be physical.
Lorzatch will wait until the medical professional has what he needs and then talk to one or both of the sentries.
Okay, let me give a second for the medical professional to ask a couple more questions. "Is she stable?"
"Is she alive?"
"She is alive."
Ned Donovan 22:49
"She has information about a case that is being tried by the Azorius that they fear threatens the fate of Ravnica as a whole. And she's the only one with the information."
"I see. Please release her to me, I will go consult the master biomancer. And I'm sure she will want to speak with you immediately."
"Um, may I please come with her as--"
"Absolutely not." It is so, it is so almost annoyingly academic that the way that they just kind of addressed everything, as if life is nothing more than a beaker, like they just, social contact between them is just not something that they're picking up on. He absolutely will not let any of you out of this room for the moment. He says, "I cannot let you leave until the master biomancer speaks with you."
Ned Donovan 23:36
"Can you send a message back to District 34?"
"And what would you like me to tell them?"
Ned Donovan 23:41
"Tell Lavinia of the Azorius that we made it, that we're here, and that are patient is under your care now."
"This is to the barracks at the 34th?"
Ned Donovan 23:49
This would be to the Maze Runner of the Azorius.
"The Azorius compound is all the way in the 10th District at the Promenade. It's very far away."
"She's currently at the 34th District building."
"Oh, I see. Yes, I will send a messenger right away."
Can I roll a Persuasion to be like, 'are you sure you won't let me stay with her?'
Yes, please do.
Okay. That would be a lot.
Yeah, that's like a 22... 24.
24. That's amazing. He looks at you so sorrowfully. And you finally see an actual bit of connection between him for the first time and he says, "Oh, you actually care about this woman." He says, "I will do the best I can. But at the moment, I cannot have you and your fur..."
"Inside a facility that I will be taking for her but I promise--what is your name?"
"Fikarra, I will find the biomancer and tell her specifically that it may be in her best chance for recovery if she has someone she knows near. I cannot make that decision for her. I will tell her immediately."
"As for the rest of you, please remain comfortable. I'm sure the master biomancer would like to speak with you." You get to little bit of space. You wanted to pick a fight, or not necessarily. But yes.
Lorzatch will ask one of the attending sentries.
"What is the nature of these nightly incursions?"
I need you to roll either a Persuasion or Intimidation check just to be able to get them to engage with you.
An 11. I think 11 is enough for them to kind of look at you and like acknowledge your presence and give you this like really sassy like, it's not a verbal command. But it's a look that is like, 'what are you even trying to do right now?'
Continually stonewalled, Lorzatch walks back inside of the room and takes a seat.
"Lorzatch. I noticed you've been frustrated by the way they're treating you. And I apologize that you are going through this, but I will ask you, let me speak. Because I don't think your presence here is very welcome."
"I don't know if they like you very much either."
Gestures broadly, the men may try his best.
You guys do get a brief amount of time here, the equivalent of what would be like a short rest. If anybody needs to have dialogue, catch up with each other before you can expect some sort of official audience.
Ned Donovan 26:15
"So, Zenia, I'm still confused why you're here, specifically in this room that we were just heralded into?"
"Well, I think because it's, there's so many nice things to look at for me."
Ned Donovan 26:25
"How did you get here?"
"Oh, they just brought me here."
Ned Donovan 26:30
"I couldn't quite tell you."
"Where you questioned?"
"I wasn't. I was, I was asked a couple questions about Elasia."
"And the Boros brought you here?"
Ned Donovan 26:42
"And you haven't done anything since you left our our company at the, at the murder circus?"
"Oh, well, I thought quite a lot."
Fought or thought?
Ned Donovan 26:53
Oh, not fought.
"No, no, no, not, not fought. I've been thinking quite a lot. I've had a nice beautiful full day. Thank you so much for asking."
Ned Donovan 27:01
I'm going to remain confused.
"You didn't run into anything bad on the way here?"
"No, it's been perfectly pleasant."
Ned Donovan 27:07
"Good to see you. Welcome back."
"It's nice to see all of you as well. I haven't spoken for quite some time."
She may believe, she probably took an indrik, which is like a two-story-tall llama that is used for transportation.
I want a two-story...
Ned Donovan 27:20
Yeah, they're great.
Ned Donovan 27:26
Okay, Boros are jerks. No offense.
No no, they are. It's all good.
Ned Donovan 27:30
"Well, I mean, maybe it was a test to, um..."
Ned Donovan 27:36
"You're the only one who works for them. What are they testing me on?"
"Listen... his boss was the one that showed up and told us we had to do this!"
Ned Donovan 27:43
"That's fair. I blame both of you."
"Oh, and then did us the wonderful favor of binding our fates with one spell that threatens to kill all of us."
Ned Donovan 27:51
Oh yeah, if ever we need to lie, uh, Zenia, you may have to be the one or else we are in trouble.
"Oh, I need to lie for us?"
Ned Donovan 27:57
"If there's a lie that's needed, it might have to be you."
Well, no, we just can't lie to each other.
Are you guys to, yes, are you going to explain-- just to really the rules of your spiritual bonds, you cannot lie to each other and you are also like held accountable to each other.
Ned Donovan 28:13
To each other, for sure.
For crimes, which was Lavinia's sort of--
Ned Donovan 28:17
Sword thing that went through my arm.
It was, it was a goading force to make sure that you all show up together.
Ned Donovan 28:24
In a really quick nutshell, we met the Maze Runner of the Azorius, they told us we had to go on a secret mission with seven Boros legionnaires to bring that unconscious Elasia here. We then found a train, that train was full of what could be classified as zombies in other situations. They murdered seven people.
"Please refrain from calling them 'zombies.' They don't resemble the word."
Ned Donovan 28:46
They resemble something that is horrifying and involves maybe weird life caricature-ness and now we're here.
"I'm curious to know: why are you so bloody?"
"Well, there was a head that kind of exploded from a mace, so it just kind of got blood everywhere. That's kinda what happens."
"Should we be concerned about any kind of infection now that she's obviously been exposed?"
"Oh no, I wouldn't think so. Not unless you consumed any of it?"
What exactly is going on is not necessarily prevalent but you probably have observed her enough to know that there hasn't been any changes to suggest anything fast-acting.
"Did they mention, by any chance, that the deceased in question include among their number one Mr. Gato, AKA the Mustache Man?"
"There was no mention of Gato."
"Well, he's quite deceased now."
Okay, so as you guys are catching each other up and possibly confusing each other even more, you hear the iris to the holding room open up and standing there is a very tall, very pristine, almost angelic merwoman who glides into the room as if she swims even on land and she's, she stands well above all of you, even you, Fikarra, and she takes a moment to kind of address all of you and when she speaks, she has this melodic siren voice that, that suggests she's never in a hurry for anything but she's very deliberate about everything. So she takes you all in and then addresses you, "I am Vizarra, master biomancer of Zonot 4. When this Izzet League member came into my facility, I suspected it was an internal matter, but now that I see the Boros and the Golgari, I'm growing quite concerned. If it wasn't for the Azorius and Selesnyan enclave, I would suspect something truly underhanded was afoot. I will give you the courtesy if beginning this conversation."
"Madam, we are here to seek medical help for this woman. And we're here because this woman was abducted by Rakdos cultists. We were able to save her but she is in catatonic state and we believe that she has information that could help us save Ravnica from possible dire harm."
"And you are acting on your own?"
"We are acting--"
"Members of opposing guilds?"
"We're acting under the order of Lavinia."
"The Maze Runner."
"Yes, I believe she's one of the Arbiters. You are acting under her authority?"
"Unlikely. In fact, I know you're lying." And with a long spindly arm, Eddie, she just reaches out toward your wrist and grabs that invisible chain that Lavinia had strung between the four of you and she just delicately pulls it away as if it were a spider web and you hear this inaudible 'tink' as all the links just sort of fracture and dissipate into the air and she kind of rubs her fingers together like there's something sticky on it and goes, "Dimir magic. Disgusting."
"The shadow guild."
But she was, it was--
"To have infiltrated the Azorius--"
"You have been given a tongue. Feel free to use it."
"Does anyone else here have a better understanding of how their voice works?"
"My apologies, ma'am. We were, she came under the guise, or he, it, we were under the belief it was the Azorius. We were sent on, to give equal representation through all the guilds as to not seem threatening so we could get help for this woman."
"How did you recognize the illusion?"
"Ah, there is no illusion. It is simply truth magic. Dimir spies use it all the time. They think they can infiltrate us so cleverly. You've had microbes on you since the moment you walked in here. Our research is quite safe. For, you see, all magic has a smell. And a taste. Azorius is quite bland. Izzet magic is quite sour. But Dimir magic is simply revolting."
"Have you examined the woman that we placed under your care?"
"She is being examined now. We will take our time and be thorough. Still, the question remains. Three of your guilds have a great deal of investment on my property. So I will ask you again: why are you here?"
Ned Donovan 33:18
"I'm getting real tired of people assuming I'm lying to them. So I'm going to say this one time, regardless of your stature. We were sent here on authority and we are not here to lie or cheat and I take grave offense to the idea that that would be anything to do with my care."
"I don't. I quite understand your suspicion because the authority we were sent under appears to have been a false one, one perpetrated by a Dimir operative. She has every right to be most suspicious of us."
"Which could be why the Selesnya were so easily manipulated into rupturing your own guildhall and severing the Guildpact in the first place. So from my standing, I have five different members of five different guilds who walk in here on the leash of a sixth. You're all very concerned with my zonot, with your rail lines, and your wars. The time for being coy is now over."
Ned Donovan 33:51
"An Azorius agent brought the one, why wouldn't an Azorius agent not send the other? A whole lot of people are getting tricked if this is Dimir magic, or the Azorius are working with the Dimir, which is a question for my justicar here."
"I've told you what I believe to be true."
"What we all until quite recently believed to be true."
"And quite honestly I'm just curious to know how she is."
"I am very concerned about their safety as well."
"I'm most concerned about your guild, Devkarin. It's a surprise to see you above ground."
"It's a surprise to hear of nightly incursions. I'm afraid this is rather the first I've heard of it. And I would ask humbly--"
Make a Wisdom saving throw, please.
Make a Persuasion or Intimidation check.
Yes. "Has this one been with you for long?"
Ned Donovan 35:14
"About as long as all of us have been together."
"Which has been how long?"
Ned Donovan 35:17
Two days? Three days?
"I see. So you would not have been with the last attack. Are you truly so oblivious to the actions of your guild members below?"
"We cover rather a lot of ground."
"The Golgari Swarm are formulating actual raids. They're trying to bore into the base of our zonot from under the earth. We knew the Boros and Izzet were having their rail disputes. Imagine our surprise to find a third guild involved, unwilling to handle things diplomatically. We've had to defend ourselves several times a week."
"I will say that that seems rather unusual of us. How would you characterize these reclamation parties?"
"Devkarin? Trolls? Gorgons?"
"I believe trolls are the main perpetrators."
"Although they do carry a number of that insectile race, the kraul? Yes, your fungal and undead approaches are not quite to our taste. Impressive, but life-threatening. You tread dangerously close to Guildpact violation."
"Wait if you, your guild is trying to make a rail car, why wouldn't they just go around the Izzet lands or further below them?"
This particular spot was... Ned, do you remember before I exchange about why this spot is so important?
Ned Donovan 36:42
It is the the culmination of where the Izzet line would cross, the Boros line would cross, and potentially the Golgari and whoever gets it means the other one would not be able to cross effectively blocking them from their goal.
It's a major strategic blocking point where you can advance your goals while at the same time completely cutting off your opponent.
Ah, okay. So I'd probably know that.
And it would go through a third party guild's property, which means that they would be completely protected because you wouldn't be able to assault, say, the Boros or the Izzet directly, you would have to pick a war with the Simic. So you end up picking a war with two guilds over as much land as you see on that map. And now it seems like, according to her line, that the Golgari are trying to get in on this major block as well. "I will afford to you this. Please remain here and make yourselves comfortable. I will inform you when our examination of this Elasia is completed."
"I will have food brought and you will be taken care of. Please do not consider this a prison. But for the time being, and for the sake of our patient, please remain out of the way."
"We appreciate it. Thank you, madam."
"You are as welcome as I can make you. Is there any other information you require before I leave?"
"I realize this may be a question that seems a bit silly because you're so good at what you do. Is there any way we may be of help?"
"I really don't suppose a Boros legionnaire has a background in science nor do the rest of you. As for your Izzet companion, we tend not to commingle with their kind. They study the inorganic while we study life. That matters."
"Well, if there is anything that our group may be more attuned to, please let us know if we can assist."
"You can remain here. Thank you."
Is the master biomancer the foremost authority in Zonot 4?
In Zonot 4, yes, she is the foremost authority. So each guild has its own hierarchy, right. So like we met Lavinia and she's pretty high up in her guild so in the science-based guilds, which are the Simic and the Izzet, their higher up ranking, one of the ranks is the master, so for the Simic you have master biomancers and then for the Izzet you would have master researchers within their given colleges.
"Thank you very much for your time, master biomancer."
Yeah, she doesn't really acknowledge you but she gives a polite bow to the room and then just glides out with that awkward motion that land based mammals can't really seem to reproduce.
"That was fine."
Lorzatch is obviously displeased, and his face is changing a number of different colors as he tries to get comfortable in one of these strange biomechanical chairs.
Without much effort that you notice that her assistant has stayed. She's just sort of hovering around the area for anything that you guys might need.
Her assistant is also a mer-person?
All of the people that you have seen in this particular zonot are either merfolk, or they are some sort of biologically altered elven race.
Ned Donovan 39:51
Did we get the name of the assistant?
I was just gonna, unless you want to.
Ned Donovan 39:55
"Hello, if we're going to be in a room together for a while, it'd be nice to have names. Who are you?"
Her name is Zavi.
Ned Donovan 40:02
She seems very young and eager to please, perhaps maybe a bit embarrassed by the coldness of her master biomancer. The Simic are very cold and in an, not inattentive way, but they are just sort of aloof, but she's at least pleasant. Not dismissive.
Ned Donovan 40:18
Zavi, is there anything you can tell us about what, what in god's name is going on right now?
"In regards to what?"
Ned Donovan 40:23
"Pretty much anything, it's been a whirlwind couple of days and it feels like the only people who seem to have any idea of what is happening isn't the five of us."
"Well, the compound is spend under a great deal of pressure recently. What can I say? The rail wars just sort of taking a chunk out of everyone in Ravnica."
Ned Donovan 40:41
"Did they tell you why we're here?"
"I am the biomancer's assistant, my job is to do as she bids. She asked me to stay here and look after you."
Have I interacted with her during my day?
Okay, I'm familiar with her. Okay. Okay. Thank you.
Probably. She's, she's probably been just pleasant.
You two are probably friendly to each other at this point. She doesn't seem to, she doesn't seem to be bothered that you're from the Izzet. But she does sort of reiterate things that you've already heard that she says, "Well, many of your guilds are trying to gain access to our land to continue rails and I've heard the biomancer speak all the time that the Simic just aren't really a part of this problem. We already have access to the waterways and the oceans. We have no need of public transport. We have our own."
"Out of curiosity, does the name Mr. Alfonso mean anything to you?"
"What can you tell me about him?"
"Mr. Alfonso is a wonderful man. I spoke to him yesterday."
"Has he by any chance been asking about his engine?"
"We passed him on the way in."
"Would you believe he had a train and half of it went missing?"
"Can you believe it?"
"What does he look like?"
"Oh, well. He's human, unmodified," which you get the sense is more of a derogatory statement, than sort of an acknowledgement. "An older man, I suspect for human age."
Ned Donovan 42:06
"Any guild alignment that you know of?"
"Oh, no, no."
"I don't suppose there'd be any chance of you summoning him here, would there?"
"From my understanding the biomancer's business with Mr. Alfonso is over."
"I mean, he hangs out every once in a while, but he really has no need to call on the Combine anymore."
Ned Donovan 42:25
Is he here now?
"He's still within the zonot. Yes."
"Would there be any way we could have a parley with him?"
"Because we happen to--"
"We did find half of his train. It happened to be full of what used to be his former people. I don't suppose you're aware of any mutagenic serum that would induce such features as claws and fangs?"
"If I see him again, I will certainly announce you, but for now, I'm under the interpretation that you were meant to wait here for Master Vizarra."
"If you're asking about this facility, we do not deal with humanoids. We're specifically an aquatic creature research facility. And we lease the land of the waterfall to the Izzet for the hydroelectric power. If you're asking if we modify people, that's not our facility." She's not really even offended by the question. She's just sort of offended that they could possibly be wasting their time doing something other than what they do here.
Can I ask as, as far as like the doors out of this room?
There's two. Yes?
Yes. So you are currently in the room to the right, sorry, those are not rooms. Those are tanks filled with fluid. There are two doors that lead out that sort of, you know, arc that you see.
There, there are two doors that lead into that little foyer and that is the entrance out.
Ned Donovan 43:40
And there are two separate little rooms here.
Ned Donovan 43:42
Are we locked inside?
Ned Donovan 43:45
We haven't really tested to find out.
Well, I mean, at the moment, you're all in the room on the right. Zavi's there sort of in the doorway, that door is open, the door behind her is closed. And you did see as the biomancer entered and exited that there are sentries outside that door.
You're being protected. "Do you know Mr. Alfonso?"
Ned Donovan 44:08
"Never met him. Ran into his goons, though, twice now."
"Oh, he's a great guy."
Ned Donovan 44:12
"His goons are less great."
Ned Donovan 44:14
"The men he sends to kidnap people and then try to kill us with."
"I think you have the wrong man that you're talking about. Mr. Alfonso is a very nice man and a scholar."
Ned Donovan 44:24
"We would love to talk to him to clear up this misunderstanding."
"Well, if I see him again, I'll certainly know that you--"
Ned Donovan 44:31
"Could we send a sentry to get him?"
"I don't think the biomancer would like that very much, but I could carry a message with me if it was ever to see him again."
"Is Mr. Alfonso in some sort of trouble?"
Ned Donovan 44:38
"Could we make sure that you were to see him again? Could we send you with a message? We're not looking to wander the zonot. We understand our rules. But we would like to talk to Mr. Alfonso, and we do find it pressing that we get to him immediately."
"No, in fact, we're worried that we are and we want to clear the air."
"I see." Give me some sort of Persuasion check please.
Ned Donovan 45:02
That is a natural 20. So a 22.
Yeah, she's actually now incredibly concerned. She seems like she knows him on a personal basis. And is, "Yes, I, I will make an actual effort to see if I can find Mr. Alfonso and communicate that he might be in an incredible amount of danger. I also will speak to the biomancer and allow her to understand that perhaps there is more at stake here than she's willing to take on in this particular compound. Again, please make yourselves as comfortable as you can. And we will fetch for you when we are ready." And she kind of flitters out into the room. She just kind of scurries out in a bit of a hurried manner. Atypical to what you've seen so far about the Simic guild members. You are now alone in a room. It's quite comfortable. There's some kelp you can eat, some water. Looks very clean.
Ned Donovan 45:54
I have a question. Now that we're alone. And I'm sorry, Zenia, you were not there. Did she just say that we got Dimir magicked?
"Oh, the question now is not if we've been deceived, but for how long?"
Ned Donovan 46:07
And by who? And how many people were deceived? We know that Lavinia was either a fake Lavinia or a deceived Lavinia and I'm not sure which is more terrifying.
I'm deeply concerned that I handed her that orb.
Ned Donovan 46:20
You gave her the sphere.
"Well, we do know who can tell us at least something about what that might be."
Ned Donovan 46:26
Ned Donovan 46:28
Second question: is Mr. Alfonso Dimir? And is this fourth train a Dimir train? Is it rich people or is it horrible, awful, sub... What's the word I'm looking for?
Ned Donovan 46:41
Yeah, subversive people.
That's why I'm at the head of the table.
Ned Donovan 46:44
Thanks. I'm also at the head of the table just--
No, you are at the foot of the table.
"I'm sorry. Did you want an answer to this? Because these all seem wildly rhetorical to me at this point."
Ned Donovan 46:53
Great. Does anyone have any idea what's going on? We have four trains and we thought it was rich people but now we have a rich dude sending not-zombies after us. And--
Ned Donovan 47:02
You're so welcome. And I'm a little worried that we just got Dimir'd and we might have been being Dimir'd.
"What if my entire life has been a lie? What if, what if the Dimir are actually controlling the Boros? And it's actually the Dimir Legion and the captain isn't really the captain--"
Ned Donovan 47:19
This is a good question: who, what happened to the Boros dudes, they got led on by this too.
"Oh my god, I'm a traitor to my legion."
"Several of them were killed by mutants, if that's any consolation."
Ned Donovan 47:34
No. It's not. At all.
"I'm curious to know. I was also brought here by a woman named Lavinia."
Ned Donovan 47:40
"You were brought here?"
"This would have been yesterday?"
"What time of day? Yesterday?"
It would have been slightly more before. You would have been, you would have been--
Ned Donovan 47:55
So Zenia left us before we went to bed that night.
Yes. So Zenia never made it back to the compound with you. She was detained somewhere else. And then on the same day that you left, she was brought here. So she has been here about a full day, whereas you guys just arrived this morning.
Ned Donovan 48:14
So, uh, did she walk you in here?
No, she would have delivered her to the front.
Ned Donovan 48:20
So they saw Lavinia deliver her here.
Ned Donovan 48:24
That's a question. Didn't tell them we were coming, one, two, they haven't mentioned the fact that we've brought her up like 30 billion times.
"This is a separate concern entirely but we need to be prepared for the fact, the possibility, that the woman we delivered in a catatonic state--"
Ned Donovan 48:42
Some kind of subversive plot?
"Could be a ticking time bomb."
Ned Donovan 48:45
She's the weapon.
Ned Donovan 48:46
"She could be the catastrophe."
"She is not, I don't think she's the weapon."
"And why don't you think that?"
"Just from, from reasoning, from my experience with her, she doesn't seem as though she is being utilized in that way."
Ned Donovan 49:03
She's currently comatose and has been put in that way medically by the person we all know as Lavinia.
"A pre-cognitive mage who had no firm memory--"
Ned Donovan 49:12
But we only she's a pre-cognitive mage because of the deceptor.
"True. We can trust that either."
Bet you she didn't see that one coming.
"I give the minotaur Inspiration."
And on that note, all of the lights go down and alarms start ringing throughout the zonot.
Ned Donovan 49:51
I would like to knock on the door and open it up for the, see what the sentries are doing.
So there is a great deal of noise happening on the other side of this mucous membrane that is your door and through all the shouting and the order-giving and the alarms you can barely make out one of the sentries as he kind of shouts through the door to you, "Please stay where you are!" And the chaos is starting to really get to you guys as the alarms sound and it's not like sirens, it's whatever aquamarine life would consider to be an alarm so there are like streaks of bioluminescent lights flashing everywhere and it's really an assault on the senses.
So it's basically an underwater rave right now.
It, yes, except not one you're enjoying
It takes a little bit of time for you guys to kind of just sit in there and wonder and question what in the living hell could possibly be going on.
Ned Donovan 50:45
Did we lose our weaponry when we...
No, you still have all of your gear, that was never taken from you. As you guys begin to sense the panic of the entire zonot you do take a moment to go through all of your things and make sure you're prepared for whatever is about to come through that door. And through the door it comes and the mucous membrane opens up and there standing alone is master biomancer Vizarra who has lost all sense of composure and everything just hangs on her a lot heavier than you saw before. And she just glares at each of you with this horrific panic and says, "What have you done? What have you brought here?"
On the next Encounter Party! Something unspeakable has come to Zonot 4! It's so horrific, we won't speak about it! See you next week, on 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 Haley Rowlands, music by Alex Nakarada of SerpentSound Studios. Special thanks to Megan Judkins, Marcus Thorne Begala, and Will Melones.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai