In Rome, the crew spends a time trying to get warm enough to properly sleep and heal in a land where there is no night. Azu manages to stay warm enough to keep Sasha from getting worse and not to take damage herself, but doesn't get any rest in the freezing cellar. Hamid, on the other hand, sleeps fine until he is woken by a nightmare that he cannot remember, but he is left with the feeling that they should head toward the worst bit of Rome, in the direction they were originally headed. To his great indignation, he remains naturally dirty and untidy due to fear of a misfiring prestidigitation and attempts (with little success from lack of practice) to clean himself up by non-magical means while explaining the feeling left by the dream to Azu and Einstein. Einstein isn't convinced by the foreboding premonition, but they decide it is their only option. Einstein remembers his mobile stone and tries to call Grizzop, at which point Hamid remembers he accidentally brought it along in the rush to get to Rome.
Since no one but Hamid got any rest the night before, they decide that Einstein being able to teleport and Sasha being awake is worth trying endure elements again and spending a few more hours in the taverna before heading deeper. After a bit of discussion—including what happens to the dead in Rome and Azu learning of Hamid intentionally fireballing himself—they collect Sasha's potion and feed it to her, which brings her back to a confused consciousness. They bring her up to speed.
Hamid and Einstein head outside in case of a miscast and Hamid successfully casts endure elements on the professor. With the success, they discuss options, such as teleporting out and back before heading on, which is quickly shot down by the 50/50 chance of death that comes with it.
Grizzop and Wilde meet with Giffis the gnome, a cleric of Artemis. He casts sleep on Wilde, seemingly successfully. While he crows about it working and Grizzop tries to get information on what is happening to the man, Wilde begins to thrash, as with a nightmare. Giffis hits him with Sleep again, to much the same effect followed by a much too early wakefulness. Giffis and Grizzop have a chat about what may be going on, deciding that someone is likely casting on Wilde repeatedly and constantly. They decide he is too far gone to be capable of doing it to himself. Parasites come up and the two decide they have to check him for entry marks. It is a sign of just how bad he is that, when told to strip, Wilde obliges with zero snark.
Sasha dramatically consents to be magicked and receives endure elements without a hitch. With the guarantee that Hamid would take first watch and with a potion at the ready, Azu also consents to try. On the first try, Hamid's magic flashes purple and flames engulf Azu, leaving her hurt and slightly jaded, but she is determined and knows she needs the rest, so they try again. The second time is successful. Einstein seems to think it will last longer.
Hamid takes watch, hidden in the rubble, while the others rest. A crashing in the city a ways off catches his attention, casting about but not beelining anywhere, but doesn't warrant any immediate action.
Grizzop, convinced that Wilde has a Shackle Worm, grabs a book to convince Giffis. A once over and an uncontested crew cut later, they decide that Wilde is not actually being affected by a Shackle Worm.
While Giffis is out of the room to get something, Grizzop tosses the cut hair and discusses future plans with the exhausted Wilde. Wilde asks about the paperwork that had been collected from the bank vault. Turns out that the collection of ciphers they gave him were relevant that may be the beginnings of a kill switch for the Simulacrum. Being unfinished, they are not yet useful and Wilde trusts no one that would be capable of completing it. They decide that the Cult of Hephaestus may be solid. Wilde warns him against trusting the Meritocrats and then vaguely the rest of L.O.L.O.M.G., thinking he should lay low for a while, which is not taken particularly well.
Grizzop gives Wilde a rough pep talk and asks him to find a way to help the crew out of Rome. He calls on Wilde's duty to the crew and commands him to take care of himself so he can help. He is told that what he is doing is more important.
Giffis and some other clerics confirm as much as they can that there are multiple powerful spellcasters targeting Wilde constantly, from a distance. They put him in cell with an anti-magic crystal to relieve the spells for a time, letting him immediately fall asleep. Grizzop visits Barret's cell, gives him a ultimatum: be useful or die. Upon being told that there is no reason to be useful, Grizzop signs him out at the request of the guard.
The creature in Rome gets closer, so Hamid wakes Azu for backup and heads back outside and hides, using the cloak of elvenkind to blend into the ruble. A raggedly cloaked humanoid figure steps into view and eyes the damage from the fight earlier. Hamid can make out a breastplate with Apollo's symbol on it. It makes its way slowly toward Hamid before being distracted by something out of sight. Hamid gets a glace at a very attractive human face as it take off toward the sound. Hamid, seeing this person calls out to him. He stops for a moment, before casting off his cloak, revealing roughed up but incredibly gorgeous man in golden plate armour who yells some threats before being shushed. He introduces himself as Ed and is invited into the basement.
- Helen: "I just have to accept that all the choices are bad choices, don't I, I think?"
- Alex: "That's not true, you can make good choices, but I'll punish you for them."
- ―[add context]
- Alex: "Unless you’re willing to risk a prestidigitation, I’m assuming you’re still tattered and slightly burned and stuff."
- Ben: "The greatest indignity!"
- Bryn: "Ohhhhh, I mean how badly wrong can prestidigitation really go?"
- Ben: "Hamid pops."
- Alex: "Sasha dies for Hamid’s vanity."
- Ben: "He really was a Bertie after all."
- Hamid: "I don’t cast prestidigitation, I get a hand mirror and a comb out of my bag of holding and make some attempt to at least not look terrible."
- Alex: "How do people live like this?"
- ―[add context]
- Hamid: "I think I know where we need to go?"
- Einstein: "And how is that, exactly?"
- Hamid: "My dreams."
- Einstein: "Oh, that’s not sinister or foreboding at all. I’m sure that has no ramifications whatsoever."
- ―Hamid dreams that they should be heading toward the bad part of Rome.
- Einstein: "Hello!"
- Bryn: "The one in my bag makes a noise."
- Einstein: "Hello! Oh the signal is terrible!"
- Hamid: "Uh, Professor, that’s here now."
- Einstein: "Oh, that was very silly, you should have given that to Grizzop."
- Hamid: "We were in such a rush and we didn’t realize he wasn’t coming with us til the last second really"
- Einstein: "That’s fine, that’s fine."
- Azu: "It’s not fine."
- Einstein: "No, no, but sometimes you say, “that’s fine” you feel better, you know?"
- Azu: "I don’t think that works."
- ―Einstein reaches into his pocket and tries to use the mobile stone that he has for Grizzop.
- "Lead the way, spooky knowledge man."
- ―Albert Einstein
- "Are you telling me you aimed a fireball at yourself? Please don’t do that again."
- ―Azu, talking to Hamid.
- Alex: "You’re so keen to name, here name a character. Go, what’s the healer called?"
- Ben: "Giffis."
- ―Grizzop meets with a cleric of Artemis.
- Giffis: "Yeah, okay, cool, let’s try this."
- Alex: "Tries to cast sleep on Wilde. Wilde is out of it."
- Giffis: "Another success! Giffis strikes again! The crowd goes wild! Giffis! Giffis! Giffis!"
- Grizzop: "Yes! Brilliant! You’ve successfully cast sleep on someone."
- Giffis: "Yes, I have."
- Grizzop: "Great, but do you know what is going on? As I said, when I found him he was facedown and he was bleeding from the nose and ears."
- Alex: "Giffis opens his mouth to speak at which point Wilde starts crying out and thrashing"
- Grizzop: "That’s bad."
- Giffis: "Huh...Sleep!"
- Alex: "Wilde goes quiet."
- Giffis: "Heyyyy!"
- Grizzop: "He didn’t wake up, he was having a nightmare!"
- Giffis: "Now he’s not!"
- Grizzop: "Wait...five, four, three, two one."
- Alex: "Wilde starts crying out again."
- Grizzop: "Giffis, stop mucking about."
- Alex: "Wilde wakes up, eyes wide open."
- Giffis: "Okay."
- Wilde: "Hey."
- Grizzop: "So, magic ain’t working either."
- Wilde: "Hmmm....that’s interesting. Sleep doesn’t work, huh?"
- Grizzop: "Yeah, at least we tried. Now we know something more about your condition."
- ―Giffis tries putting Wilde to sleep magically.
- Grizzop: "Parasites? What if there’s something in him? He was bleeding wasn’t he?"
- Alex: "You finally get an insight into how bad Wilde is."
- Giffis: "Right, Wilde. Strip off."
- Wilde: "Yeah okay."
- Alex: "Stands up and starts taking his clothes off."
- ―The cleric of Artemis inspects Wilde.
- "You words I can’t say on this family friendly podcast!"
- ―Bryn, to Alex
- Grizzop: "A shackle worm then, he’s got a shackle worm. Get the shackle worm out. It’s probably in his brain. Wilde! You’ve probably got a worm in your brain."
- Wilde: "What?"
- Giffis: "Thing with shackles is there’ll be an entry mark somewhere."
- Alex: "And he just starts examining Wilde’s body."
- Ben: "I will also start examining Wilde’s body."
- ―Grizzop and Giffis check to see if Wilde may be suffering from a shackle worm.
- Alex: "There appears to be no entry wound. Giffis starts having a look inside the ears."
- Giffis: "Wilde, we may have to shave your head."
- Alex: "Wilde just gestures vaguely with his hand."
- ―Giffis continues inspecting Wilde.
- Alex: "Wilde’s just there, his curls in his lap."
- Grizzop: "I’ll get rid of them for you."
- Ben: "I throw them away."
- ―Wilde is shaved by Giffis
- Alex: "He reaches into his clothes, which are on a different chair, cause he’s still there, no clothes, just a haggard wreck of a man, plucks out a leather wallet and hands it to you."
- Grizzop: "Right."
- Ben: "I’ll rifle through it."
- Wilde: "So what you may have there is the beginnings of a kill switch. Which is good news, we need that."
- Grizzop: "Great. Hand it off to your best engineering men."
- Wilde: "It’s not finished."
- Grizzop: "That’s why you would hand it off to your best engineering people. Oh, no, except they might’ve been infiltrated by the Cult of Hades."
- Wilde: "There you go."
- ―Wilde hands plans for a kill switch to Grizzop.
- Alex: "Wilde just stares blankly at Grizzop. There’s a bit of a shift where it goes from...it’s an attempt at withering but slowly just stretches out until you realize he’s just gone blank at you again."
- Grizzop: "Look, if you die, what do I do?"
- Alex: "Kind of sits up, slaps his face a bit."
- Wilde: "You need to find someone in the Hephaestus lot that you trust with that."
- Grizzop: "Okay."
- Wilde: "If they can’t make it, they’ll tell you who can."
- Grizzop: "Right."
- Wilde: "Get that thing made, and stay away from the Meritocrats now, something’s wrong there, I don’t know."
- ―Grizzop asks Wilde what he should do with the plans.
- Grizzop: "Get them out of Rome if you can."
- Wilde: "I can’t."
- Grizzop: "Well, try. You’re a clever man with a lot of connections. If I can keep going, you can keep going."
- Alex: "Wilde sort of stands up. Starts putting his clothes on."
- Grizzop: "No, not now!"
- Wilde: "Why not?"
- Grizzop: "Because Giffis might have an idea, he’s not just run off...you...sit down."
- Alex: "Wilde sits back down."
- Grizzop: "Cause if you just go and try and do stuff, you’re just going to die, and then you’ll be no use to anyone! I want you to be useful, so you sit there, you get yourself healed, and then you help the people that you are supposed to be handling, who have gone into Rome because the individuals that you didn’t know had infiltrated the Meritocracy have taken people very dear to them. And they've gone to try and get them back. And we can’t abandon them."
- Wilde:: "Sure. But you need to know that what you’re doing is more important."
- Grizzop: "Yeah, that’s why I’m doing it. That’s why you’re doing the other thing, if you live."
- Wilde: "Thanks Grizzop."
- Grizzop: "Now just shut up and try and conserve your energy. And don’t even think about making some sort of witty quip."
- Alex: "He just kind of sits there and fiddles with his hands a little bit."
- ―Grizzop lectures Wilde.
- Alex: "You see for a moment that they’re clearly wearing underneath the cloak a cuirass or breastplate of some kind with the symbol of Apollo on it."
- Ben: "You! You! It’s not!"
- ―A familiar face runs into the party.
- Alex: "So the figure in the middle of the street tears off their cloak, revealing a bright, golden breastplate. And just stands there and then loudly and clearly goes."
- Ed: "You! Evildoer! I will find you and I will vanquish you! I have traveled a thousand leagues and I will travel a thousand more before I am vanquished by the likes of you! Have at thee and die fool! Oh, hello."
- ―Edward Keystone appears in Rome.
Dice rolls and Mechanics
- Azu: Fortitude save 19 to survive the cold, and heal check 15 to keep Sasha warm enough not to get worse.
- Hamid: 9 on a Rome is awful Will save, for his nightmare. Does regain spell slots and hit points because of residual endure elements.
- Sasha: Is fed a potion of cure moderate wounds, rolls 15 taking her up to 8 hit points
- Hamid: Casts endure elements on Einstein and Sasha with no Rome-is-terrible side effects. Casts endure elements on Azu, with a Rome-is-terrible of a nat 1 makes it blow up in her face, she takes 6 damage. On the second try, the Rome-is-terrible gives a positive side effect and causes the spell to last an undefined time longer.
- Hamid: Perception check of 15 brings movement out in the city to light.
- Hamid: Stealth check of 20 to hide from the creature.
- Hamid: Perception check of 30 to perceive the stranger, reveals Apollo armour
- Grizzop: 11 Perception on looking for Shackle Worms turns up nothing