The audio for this episode is a little off.
Sasha, Hamid, and Azu are in Rome with Einstein and Ed, about to begin rescuing hostages, but we begin with Grizzop, who is still in Damascus, having just left the temple of Hephaestus. He then returns to the temple of Artemis, where a guard outside of Barret's cell hands him a big piece of paper. According to Barret, the chassis in the factory in Damascus were being shipped to the Shoin Institute on Okinoshima Island off South Honshu in Japan. Barret has given directions to Shoin and advises not to let anyone know they’re getting there ahead of time, and to “bring your swimming trunks.” Grizzop thanks Barret, who replies with a thumbs up. His maths have spread across the cell.
Grizzop finds Wilde in a less central office than before, wearing the anti-magic cuffs around one ankle. Grizzop reports on his trip to the temple of Hephaestus and hands Wilde the sheet from Barret. Wilde says he’ll send some people to the Shoin Institute ahead of the party, while Grizzop goes to Rome. Wilde has a lead to get Grizzop to Rome, but Grizzop will have to pursue it himself and not mention Wilde: it’s a group of Harlequins in Damascus. Wilde gives Grizzop their address, and says that if Grizzop gets to Rome and they make it out, he’ll be waiting for them near Atsugi, the nearest town to Okinoshima. However, he’ll have a backup team ready in case they don’t make it. Grizzop reminds Wilde to pick the things up from the temple of Hephaestus.
We jump to Rome and the party’s plan to save the hostages. Sasha’s going around the back to secure the hostages while everyone else distracts near the front of the building. Hamid warns the paladins that while they’re distracting, he’ll probably need to lie a lot; Ed objects to lying, but Hamid says that it’s okay if he lies, but not Ed. Einstein holes up in a gatehouse at the base of the hill. Hamid and Azu discuss whether the kidnappers will be expecting them. Hamid attempts to check in with Sasha via the mobile stones, but a voice that’s not Sasha just chants Latin.
Back to Grizzop, who’s making his way to “the seedy part of Damascus,” which is largely deserted. The address that Wilde gave him turns out to be an empty bar with boarded windows and no name. Grizzop knocks on the door, and no one answers. He notices someone observing him from the opposite building, but they disappear when he calls out to them. When no one responds to his further knocking on the door, he shouts “here to see the Harlequins!”
At the end of the alleyway beside the building opposite, he sees a thin, dehydrated, short, and scraggly-looking human in a hat who is terrible at being subtle. Grizzop runs after them and catches the human at the end of the alley. They don’t speak English, but they’re panicking. Grizzop pats them down and finds a handwritten note in Arabic, a cheap knife, and a sealed wax cylinder, which is locked with a cypher. Grizzop smashes it on a wall, and smells acid; something in it is dissolving.
Grizzop pulls out a cup, casts create water over it, and gives it to the human, who drinks it and is subsequently much more affable to Grizzop. Grizzop leads the human to the front of the bar, where Grizzop hammers again on the bar door. The human indicates he wants more water, so Grizzop casts create water over the cup again. The human leads him around the side of the building, to what might have been a beer garden at one point, but is now full of detritus. The human gestures to broken bedding, which leads to a trap door, gives Grizzop his cup back, and indicates the importance of the handwritten note. Grizzop goes down the trap door.
We start with Sasha, who’s around the back of the building. She decides to climb up to the top of the building and work her way down. It’s an easy climb to the roof, where she finds a massive domed skylight, though the glass is gone; she can see most of the inside of the building from there, as well as the surrounding area. She learns the layout of the area, realizes how enormous Rome is, and sees some large flying creatures in the distance. She also notices that the they’re in the epicentre whatever destruction occurred — though the building she’s on is more intact than most of the buildings surrounding it, further off in the distance, there are some less-destroyed buildings.
Sasha peeks her head over the edge of the dome. She’s overlooking an atrium, in which there’s a broken, discoloured mosaic across the floor. Upon it, there are four robed figured with bowed heads standing in a circle at the centre of the mosaic. In the centre, there’s some magical vibration “wibbly-wobbly” that’s hard for her to make out; it’s expanding and shrinking. All four figures immediately look up at her and give a big cry. She drops a bomb into the “wibbly-wobbly”; it doesn’t go off. Instead, Sasha sees a new “wibbly-wobbly” appear between her and the original “wibbly-wobbly,” but this one’s warmly and brightly coloured and made of beautiful patterns. She’s fascinated by it.
From their position outside the villa, Hamid, Azu, and Ed hear the scream from the centre of the building, and run towards it. Azu and Ed enter the villa first; they see a long atrium, with large pillars at the front, and the dome and robed figures described earlier. From this angle, the “wibbly-wobbly” is a tear in the world, about 10 foot high by 3 feet wide, whose shape is vibrating randomly. One of the figures is facing the rift, looking upwards with a hand outstretched, creating the glowing pattern between the floor and the ceiling. All of the other figures are gone.
The remaining figure flees down the corridor, away from Ed and Azu. Ed charges the “wibbly-wobbly” and disappears into it. Azu swears, and decides to follow the fleeing figure. Another figure appears and yells at her, and she gets tunnel vision for a moment, but shakes it off.
As Hamid enters the room, he briefly tries to figure out what the tear is — it’s too complicated for him. However, he can tell that the pattern in the air is a well-cast hypnotic pattern that has been used to incapacitate someone on the roof. He’s surprised that both this spell and his earlier mage armor went off without a hitch, despite them being in Rome.
The pattern goes away, and Sasha sees Azu and Hamid, and the figures gone.
- Lydia: "I just realized, he’s put us in the most dangerous place and then, with him being Alex, putting two of the most favorite NPCs with us is basically a threat."
- Alex: "Oh look at you! Look at you being good at GMing, yes, good."
- Ben: "Ransom note to the audience. Up those Patreon pledges or Ed gets it!"
- ―Ed is in Rome.
- Wilde: "If you do make it to Rome, and if you all do make it out, I guess I will be waiting for you in, I don't know, near Atsugi I guess, that’s the nearest town to...yeah, okay, I’ll do that."
- Grizzop: "Good. Have a backup team."
- Wilde: "Yeah, I might do that."
- Grizzop: "Yeah. Right, well I’m gonna go see some Harlequins. Don’t forget to pick the stuff up from the Hephaestus lot."
- Wilde: "Oh, yep, I wouldn’t worry about that. Okay…"
- Grizzop: "Then I won’t. Bye!"
- Wilde: "Travel safe?"
- Grizzop: "Probably not. Bye!"
- ―Grizzop departs, to find a way to Rome.
- Ed: "Oh, no, you can’t lie, that’s evil, that is. Lying’s bad."
- Hamid: "I know, but this is for a very good reason."
- Ed: "No, no, no, you see, I covered this, I covered this, right. Thing is, is you can’t do bad things for good reasons, cause when you do that the good reasons end up being bad things, yeah."
- Azu: "Depends on the virtue that you’re using."
- Ed: "Oh, no I’ve got loads of virtue, yeah, but you can’t lie, cause that’s not..."
- Hamid: "Yeah, you can’t lie. But I’m allowed."
- Azu: "He’s not a paladin."
- Alex: "Ed may have a dump stat and it may involve Sense Motive. He takes a moment and then he gives you the big grin of a lightbulb going on in his head."
- Ed: "Oh, no, right yeah! Yeah!"
- Hamid: "But that’s why it’s important, if they ask you questions just try not to say too much, cause you’re not allowed to lie, so you have to let me do it."
- ―Ed can't lie.
Dice rolls and Mechanics
- Hamid makes a successful Bluff check of 26 to convince Ed that he is allowed to lie
- Grizzop makes a successful Perception check of 14 to see somebody watching him
- Grizzop makes a Fortitude save of 20 to catch up with the person he is chasing
- Sasha makes a Perception check of 20, a Stealth check of 34 and a Climb check of 25 to climb into the villa
- Sasha makes a Perception check of 28 and a Knowledge (local) check of 31 to survey the surroundings from the top of the villa
- Sasha makes another Stealth check of 34 to look into the atrium, but seems to be noticed
- Sasha drops a bomb into the wibbly-wobbly, hitting with an attack roll of 12 but the bomb doesn't go off
- Sasha rolls a Will save of 10 and fails
Initiative: Hamid (21), Sasha (9), Ed, Azu (7)
- Hamid: see a dark entrance to a building up an avenue. He moves 20ft forward and casts mage armor on himself, giving him +4 AC.
- Sasha: Sees a new “wibbly-wobbly” appear between her and the original “wibbly-wobbly,” but this one’s warmly and brightly coloured and made of beautiful patterns. She’s very interested in it.
- Ed: Runs towards the middle.
- Something happens that no one can see. The pattern in front of Sasha gets bigger. Something else happens.
- Azu: Runs after Ed, and sees inside the atrium.
- Hamid: Cannot see into the room yet, because there is something weird going on with the light so that he can’t see inside rooms until he’s in the doorway. Hamid double-moves.
- Squizzard: Turns, sees Ed and Azu, and flees down the nearest corridor, behind the pillar, out of sight.
- The pattern still appears to be moving.
- Ed: Uses the Charge action towards the “wibbly-wobbly” and disappears into it.
- Sasha: Sees the pattern approaching; she’s pretty sure it’s god.
- Azu: Swears in orcish, and tells Hamid what happened. She double-moves towards the remaining figure. Another figure appears, and their readied action goes off: it screams at her. She makes her Will save (21).
- Hamid: Moves so that he can see the room. He assesses the bottom “wibbly-wobbly” with a Spellcraft check (24) with penalties, but it’s too complicated for him. However, he can tell that the pattern in the air is a well-cast hypnotic pattern that has been used to incapacitate someone on the roof.
- Azu: Makes another Will save (30, with a natural 20).
- Sasha: The pattern goes away, and she sees Azu and Hamid, and the figures gone.