1. An Oasis of Ghosts Transcript

Transcript by Raina Harper
Kyle
The series you’re about to listen to contains comedic references to death, light adventure violence, and swearing. Timestamped content notes as well as a list of every character mentioned in this episode can be found in the description.

[Music plays, ‘Quest Friends! Hereafter Theme’ by Miles Morkri.]

Kyle
Hello, guests and ghouls! Welcome to Quest Friends! Hereafter, an improvised fiction podcast using the Under the Neighborhood roleplaying system. I am Kyle, he/him, and today I, my four best friends, and some dice are going to tell you a story about a world where the lands of the living and the dead are just a plane ride apart. If those words mean absolutely nothing to you except for fiction and maybe podcast, don’t worry about it. We’re gonna explain all of this as we go along.
That being said, if you’d like a bit of a primer before we get started, we do have an Episode 0 which you can find right next to this in the feed or list or wherever you’re getting this episode. That will go over everything from what is a podcast, what is a roleplaying game, all the way over to the specifics of our system and a little bit of fun insight into the world that we’re playing today. Again, by no means is this mandatory, but if you find yourself confused at any point, I’d encourage you checking it out.
Before we get started though, I am not the only person here today… in your ear, talking about fiction, with a roleplaying podcast. I’ve got four other players with me today. Could everyone go around and quickly introduce yourselves?

Tom
Hi, I’m Tom. My pronouns are he/him, and I will be playing Hilda Miszkiewicz whose pronouns are she/her. She is the guardian who pulls pranks.

Hallie
I’m Hallie, and I will be playing Sparky Malarky, the intuition who investigates. My pronouns are she/her and Sparky Malarky’s pronouns are also she/her.

Ari
Do I say my character’s entire name? I assume I will only say his nickname.

Kyle
[Hushed.] Yes. Please, please, please.

Ari
Do I say his entire name?

Hallie
Please say his whole name.

Kyle
It is up to you, but I invite you to say the whole name.

Tom
We want this, in our hearts.

Ari
Okay. Hello, I’m Ari, pronouns she/her, and I will be playing Aurelio Enrique Hueso Canaca, or Quique for short, who is the opportunist who adapts. Also he—Or, not also. His pronouns are he/him.

[Laughter.]

Tom
It wouldn’t be the first time one of us has figured something out through roleplay.

Ari
It’s true, but I know in this particular…

Emily
[Embarrassed.] I don’t wanna talk about it.
I am Emily. My pronouns are they/she, and I am playing…
[Menacing, echoing.] REDACTED!

Kyle
Finally, I am Kyle, he/him, and I will be your game master or GM today. That means I am playing pretty much everyone and everything else, because the way this game works is that each of my friends here has taken on the role of a protagonist in a story. They are our heroes, more or less, and they are the champions of their character.
It is up to them to tell me things like how their character is feeling and what their character is doing. Then, I as the game master am going to, in turn, talk about the world around them, how the world influences them and how their actions influence the world.
In the moments where we’re a little uncertain about how that would happen, they will roll two six-sided dice and add them together. If the added number is somewhere between 2 and 6, they will fail. The world will not look fondly on their actions. If they roll a 10 to 12, they will succeed. Things will be good for them because of what they did. If they roll in the middle, that’s where the fun stuff happens.
But, I think with that we’re good to get started.

[Energizing western music begins.]

Kyle
The mid-day sun shines on The Valley and, uninterrupted by any clouds, you can sense its warmth with every part of your body. It touches your skin and buries deep, so deep that you could swear the heat comes from within, even if your body no longer makes any. It deepens the color of the orange sand, the copper houses, and even the black asphalt which it rises off of with a gentle hiss.
[Music ends.]
We’re not in The Valley, though. Instead, we’re overlooking it and the small city it cradles from a pass running along one of the nearby mountains.
[00:05:00]
With no wind, the boulders and brush should be deathly still.
[Ethereal Necromon theme begins.]
Yet, there are whispers: A vibration in the bush, a tiny landslide made out of half a dozen golf ball sized rocks, and eventually… on one boulder, right in the center of our view, a ghostly creature silently steps in.
It’s small, no bigger than a microwave, with a furry round body, twig-like legs, and a deer’s face complete with those deer-like big black eyes. This creature which seems to be constantly shaking uses those eyes to survey its surroundings.

Emily (as “deer”)
[Gentle.] Kip-kip… Kip-kip… Kip-kip…
[Music ends.]
[Abrupt, louder.] Kip-kip!

Kyle
The creature’s ears perk up and it jumps out of view as a bush right behind it shakes and two figures emerge from it. Tom and Hallie, tell me, what do we see come out of the bushes? Who do we see? Tell us a bit about them and, most importantly, how are they emerging from the bushes?

[Light, bouncy music begins.]

Tom
Hilda is a kind of short fat 12-year-old white girl. She is right now wearing shorts and a t-shirt and one of those floppy hats you do when you’re out in the woods. She’s got sunscreen and a backpack filled with ‘something.’ Sparky is certain that at least one book has been shoved in there.

Hallie
At least three.

Kyle
What book is most likely shoved in there?

Tom
Well there’s a few.

Hallie
At least three.

Tom
Now, obviously Hilda doesn’t go anywhere without her most prized possession which is Babcia Ania’s Revised Book of Practical Jokes and Clownery, but there’s probably also a general Necromon book in there as well, as well as, like, How To Be Out in the Woods, or The Magical Properties of Forests in… wherever this general region is called, like beyond The Valley itself but bigger, bigger regional stuff. She has, at least for now, a belt with a holster with a deck of blank cards in it.

Kyle
Blank Necrocards, because you are hunting a Necromon which are like Pokémon but ‘ghostly.’ But not like all ghosts, but still ‘ghostly…’

Tom
A very Halloween-themed batch of little cute monsters.

Kyle
But unlike a Pokémon Trainer, you are not in fact hunting without an adult, arguably. Who else emerges from the bushes?

[Music ends.]

Hallie
I was gonna say certainly not, because next to Hilda is a woman who looks to be in her mid-40s, like middle aged. She stands up. Her hair is short and puffy and it is pulled back with a, um… like, they’re headbands but they’re a specific kind of headband. Like a stretchy one, a stretchy headband. She’s pulled it back with a stretchy headband.

Tom
A scrunchie?

Hallie
No! That’s different than a headband. That’s a hairband.

Tom
Okay.

Ari
I know what you mean, but I don't know what that’s specifically called.

Emily
I think it’s just called a stretchy headband.

Hallie
She’s got a stretchy headband and it’s sporty and it’s cool, just like she is, because she’s got cool shades. She doesn’t have a hat because the sun can’t affect Sparky. It’s got no power over Sparky Malarky. This is also why she refuses to wear sunscreen!
[Sparky’s theme, bright goofy music, begins.]
Sparky is otherwise outfitted for a day in the hikes. She’s got little hiking boots and cargo pants. They are pants but they are currently rolled up into shorts because it is very, very hot out and she likes the flexibility of having pants that she can tie up into adventure cargo shorts whenever she wants.
She’s got a little backpack. There’s a laptop sticking out of it. This laptop is her SmackBook Pro. It is her favorite thing. She brings it with her everywhere including Necromon hunting with Hilda.
[Chuckling.] She has a harder time getting out of the bush than I imagine Hilda does. They’ve been there for a while. They’ve been watching this little Necromon for a while, and she was really liking just sitting in the shade.

Kyle
The sun doesn’t affect her, though.

Emily
[Laughs.]

Hallie
No! The sun doesn’t affect her. But that doesn’t mean the shade doesn’t feel nice.

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Hallie
So um, she’s like…

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Flustered struggling sounds.]

Hallie
…and she stands up and brushes the twigs and the leaves and the dirt off of her clothes.

Tom
The slight crunch of her knees after being down on the ground so long.

Hallie
Crack!

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Out of breath.] Okay, Hilda. Okay. This is, um… It’s over there.

[Music ends.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Shoot. I’m sorry, boss. We probably could have gotten it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh, that’s fine. You’re the little Necromon kid, so you know what you’re doing. I’m just, uh…

Hallie
And she hitches her backpack up.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Man, it is hotter than I thought it would be.

[00:10:00]

Tom (as Hilda)
Need any water? I’ve got a canteen here.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Hallie
[Laughing.] She takes Hilda’s canteen and just starts draining it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Ah, thank you. See, you’re already learning. Coming prepared, that’s really, really good. A good journalist always comes prepared.

Hallie
She hands the canteen back to Hilda.

Tom
Hilda does not care that it’s been drained. She is beaming.

Kyle
You can see just a little bit of steam as the noon sun takes the last drop inside of the water bottle and just fizzes it into the air and the inside even starts to shrivel a bit from the heat.

Tom
How dare you? This is a high-quality camping canteen.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Tom
It’s metal inside but the outside is nice and padded so it doesn’t get scorching hot in the heat.

Kyle
Hilda is prepared, damn it.

Tom
You think you can come at me with camping woes? Bring it on, Decker. Do you think my years in the Boy Scouts haven’t availed me for this very moment?!

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Tom
Want me to roleplay doing some two-half hitches for you?

Kyle
Yeah, let’s go. Let’s fucking go.

Tom
A bowline knot?!

Kyle
Okay, so yeah, the sun—the inside of the water bottle is not shriveled up, but it is very empty.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Okay. Okay. We didn’t scare it away, did we? What do we do next?

Emily (as “deer”)
Kip-kip.

Tom (as Hilda)
Um, well… since I can’t really battle it or anything, I either need to trap it close and tire it out or I need to befriend it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I’m guessing you prefer the second one.

Tom (as Hilda)
I mean, if I can.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Okay, well…

Hallie
She stands up a little bit straighter and fixes her sunglasses. Squeezes the sweat out of her hair and lets it pop back up.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Show me what you can do, kid.

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay, okay, okay… You got this.

Tom
Hilda’s going to start slowly walking towards the Pik Pik.
[Necromon theme begins.]
She just extends one hand out in front of her, real gentle, just doing soft murmurings.

Tom (as Hilda)
Hey… it’s okay. I’m a friend. It’s nice to meet you.

Emily (as Pik Pik)
Kip-kip?

Kyle
The Pik Pik slowly puts its head out.

Tom (as Hilda)
Do you want a Necrobiscuit?

Tom
Hilda will pull out this little hard tac looking animal treat looking thing.

Kyle
A little hard tac with an SC emblazoned on it?

Tom
Yes, let’s go with that.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
So it sounds like you wanna do something, and I’m not sure how this is gonna turn out, so it’s time to roll.

Tom
Indeed.

Kyle
The way rolls work is when a player wants to do something and we aren’t sure whether or not it’s gonna succeed, they’re gonna roll. They’re gonna use one of four stats: Hearts, Books, Fierce, Slick. You don’t need to know that much about them, just that they represent, you know, how well someone communicates, Hearts, how much someone can influence in an academic way or a mechanical way, that’s Books, Fierce is just how ready to go-to-town you are, and then Slick is smooth, lying, sneaking out before anyone notices you.
The move we are gonna do… we are gonna do Convince Somebody, because you wanna convince this Pik Pik to be your friend. Because you’re kind of using a more gentle approach, I’d say you’re gonna roll Hearts for this.

Tom
Okay.

Kyle
So you’ll roll 2d6 and then you’ll take whatever your Hearts score is and add it to that.

Tom
I have a +2 in Hearts, so I will add a 2 to my roll. Heart of the cards, guide me!
[Rolls.] I rolled a 10 on the dice, so that’s a 12 with my bonus.

Kyle
Full success!

Hallie
Woo!

Kyle
So, the Pik Pik comes out and it does a little nibble.

Emily (as Pik Pik)
[Meek.] Kip-kip…

Tom (as Hilda)
[Softly.] Hey, hey… that’s nice.

Emily (as Pik Pik)
[Hums contentedly.]

Kyle
When the food is gone, it kinda sniffs around in your hand for a little bit more.

Tom
Hilda will take out another one and say:

Tom (as Hilda)
My name’s Hilda. It’s nice to meet you.

Emily (as Pik Pik)
Kip-kip.

Tom (as Hilda)
I’m glad to meet you, too, Kip Kip. … Pik Pik.

Tom
Hilda did that in character, for the record.

[Chuckling.]

Tom (as Hilda)
I know we’ve only met recently, but would you like to go on adventures?

Emily (as Pik Pik)
[Thinking sounds.] … Kip-kip?

Kyle
It looks a bit confused but it eventually starts sniffing around for more biscuits.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
And it starts sniffing by the cards on your belt.

Tom
Hilda, with gunslinger slow assuredness, reaches a hand down to the deck holster, draws a card out with two fingers…

Emily (as Pik Pik)
Kip-kip?

Tom
…and presents it to the Pik Pik.

Kyle
And this is where I’m gonna introduce a GM Intrusion.

Tom
Oh boy.

Kyle
Essentially, a GM Intrusion is when I cause something bad to happen. As a GM, I can do two kinds of things: I can do soft moves or hard moves. Soft moves are things where I kind of set up something happening and they have to respond, so it’s something like “oh no, there’s an avalanche. You better run.” A hard move is “a rock falls on your head.” It just… something happens.
A GM Intrusion lets me do the latter. It lets me do a hard move. What Tom gets in response is Adventure Points or AP. Tom can use AP for a variety of things. They’re essentially boosts that he can give himself. It’s a little bit of a reward for taking this thing. But Tom isn’t the only one who gets an AP, he gets to give one to someone else. So Tom, who do you give your other AP to and why?

[00:15:00]

Tom
I feel like I have no choice but to give it to Sparky in this instance.

Hallie
Thank god.

Emily
[Giggles.]

Kyle
You get this GM Intrusion because you three aren’t the only ones there. Before I describe what happens, I have a question for one of you. Ari, how would Quique go about hunting a Necromon?

Ari
Um… I mean, he would just stalk it from behind and try to catch it. I guess he has maybe a little net. He doesn’t know how to “catch” Necromon, so he’s just trying, like… [Laughs.]

Tom
You’re just gonna stuff a little deer in a sack and carry it away?

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
I assume he wouldn’t know how to catch it. Right?

Kyle
Probably not. So Hilda, you’re about to interact with this Necromon when, whoosh, just a giant comically-sized net swings down and misses the Pik Pik, but the Pik Pik just scurries off.
[Tense musical sting begins.]
This figure emerges from the bush that the Pik Pik was also in, and Ari, tell me what we see.

[Music changes to rambling ghostly music.]

Ari
You’ll see a tall skeleton emerge from the bushes that is wearing a beret and glasses and a little safari kind of vest, which is not what he usually wears, but for now he needs something a little bit lighter. Also, yes, he as a skeleton is not in fact affected by the sun, literally, unlike Sparky.

Hallie
Wow.

Ari
But he likes his beret, so he is wearing his beret. He is affected by poor sight which is why he is wearing his glasses despite being a skeleton. So that is what you would see as you see this figure trying to catch this thing.

Kyle
So within the span of a second…
[Music ends.]
Necrocard comes out. Net comes down. Pik Pik runs. Skeleton pops out of bush.

Ari
Really slowly, like “oh, did I get it?” He wants to really slowly, like a little spider thing except it’s just—

Kyle
So just like the top of the skeleton head with the glasses just like—

Tom
Sliding into frame.

Ari
I was thinking the entire figure, it’s just really slowly rising up.

Kyle
That sounds like a fucking horror movie.

Ari
Yeah!

Kyle
We just see his shadow rise on this small child.

Tom
Hilda’s gonna look up and say:

Tom (as Hilda)
Hey, what the heck? That’s not how you’re supposed to interact with Necromon. You gotta treat them with respect.

Emily (as Pik Pik)
[Scared.] Kip-kip. Kip-kip. Kip-kip!

Ari
Quique is gonna try his Intimidate Child Strategy that has sometimes worked.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
Patented ten-step process. Look at this book I wrote. How to Intimidate a Child and other—

Ari
Casually approach. Casually intimidate child.
So, he’s gonna try to rise even higher in his posture and be like:

Ari (as Quique)
This is a forbidden area, child, and I have permit to be in here. If you don’t want further complications, I advise you go back home and let the professionals handle this maneuver.

Kyle
How to Intimidate a Child. I have a permit! I know rules! Scatter!

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Sir, this is a national park.

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Tom (as Hilda)
We stopped at the visitor center on our way up here. I have a map.

Kyle
It’s the kids’ map. Actually no, Hilda has the full map. Sparky has the simplified kids’ map.

Hallie
I was gonna say. I just—yeah.

Ari (as Quique)
Well, kid, despite it being a national park, there are sometimes areas that are protected particularly for specific scenarios. This is one such area. Don’t mind scattering and doing whatever things kids do nowadays which isn’t to be in this place.

Tom (as Hilda)
Well too bad for you, we are professionals, and kids these days like Necromon!

Tom
She’s gonna point for emphasis at the Necromon, strike a little pose.

Ari
Quique will be like:

Ari (as Quique)
We? I only see one of you here. What do you mean “we?” Is there another kid that I should scare away?

Tom (as Hilda)
Boss?

Hallie
From the side of the screen, Sparky sticks her head in and goes:

Kyle
To add a little bit of flavor to this, Sparky, you come in holding the Pik Pik in your arms.

Hallie
Ha! Yes, I like that so much more than what I was gonna do. So she comes in with the little Pik Pik. It’s kind of squirming to get out of her arms.

Tom
Wriggly little deer.

Kyle
Yeah, just vibrating and going “mmm.”

Hallie
She just casually adjusts her arms, angles her head sideways, and then lowers her sunglasses.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Quique? Is that you?
[Laughter. Silly music begins.]
Well Quique, I haven’t seen you since… well probably just yesterday. But it’s been a while!
[00:20:00]
How are you? Are you, are you, are you wanting to, um… You look ready to talk.

Hallie
[Laughing.] Looking at Quique’s butterfly net standing in the middle of this park next to the child that she is with.

Ari
He’s gonna hear ‘is that you’ or whatever, all of that dialogue, and he’s just going to jump.

Kyle
Slasher sting plays, just that DING!

Ari (as Quique)
[Startled.] Sparky, is that you?!

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Smug.] It certainly is. I know that you love running into me. It’s your favorite thing.

Ari (as Quique)
I do not! [Grumbles.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
That’s why you run away from me all the time, so you can keep running into me again!

Ari (as Quique)
If there is something that I heavily dislike it’s to run into you. Why are you holding that thing? It is, as I explained to this child, that little salt shaking thing is in fact property of Quique, who is me.

Emily (as Pik Pik)
[Shakily.] Mmm…

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
He’s going to reach for it, maybe try to capture it with the net.

Hallie
At Sparky?

Ari
Yeah.

Hallie
Sparky doesn’t step backwards. She just angles her body so that the Pik Pik is slightly out of Quique’s reach.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Quique… you have even less knowledge of the law than I do. Don’t pull one over on me. I’m pretty sure it’s, um, it’s actually, uh… Hilda, Hilda.
[Stammers.] What does the map—? Is this ours now? Yours? I picked it up. That’s the legal—

Hallie
Then she kind of elbows past Quique dramatically, showing off the Pik Pik but in a way that he can’t quite get to it.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
The Pik Pik goes “mmm” a little more.

Emily (as Pik Pik)
[Long and drawn out.] Mmm…

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Technically, the Pik Pik is nobody’s until we get it inside the card.

Tom
Hilda’s gonna show off some of the blank Necrocards.

Tom (as Hilda)
You either form a bond with, or capture when they’re tired, a Necromon in the Necrocard, and you sign your name on it, and—

Ari (as Quique)
[Dismissive.] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.

Ari
He’s going to go and reach and try to grab the card from Hilda as she’s talking, like ‘yeah, these are the cards.’

Tom (as Hilda)
Hey!

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Yelps.]

Tom (as Hilda)
That was my allowance!

Kyle
This one I won’t count as a GM Intrusion, mostly because I put the Pik Pik in Sparky’s arms already, but…

Emily (as Pik Pik)
[Low “mmm” hum grows into a fierce growl.]

Kyle
Because Necromon are like Pokémon but kind of ghostly, right? But they also have another thing in common with Pokémon. They have elements. This microwave-sounding, microwave-sized Necromon…

Tom
[Amused.] God damn it.

Kyle
…has the same element as a microwave. The Pik Pik bursts into flames!

[Fire crackles.]

Hallie
[Smiling.] Well good thing that doesn’t affect Sparky! She is not affected by the sun or radiation.

[Lighthearted chase music begins.]

Kyle
And rushes off!

Emily (as Pik Pik)
[Long screeching hum.]

Kyle
If you’re gonna chase it, I think we need to make a competitive roll to chase.

Hallie
Yeah, I wanna chase it.

Tom
Oh yeah.

Hallie
We’re all chasing it.

Ari
Same.

Tom
This strange skeletal man is not going to take my first Necromon from me.

Kyle
The way player-versus-player conflict works is, basically, you’re all gonna roll the same move. Since you’re responding to the sudden action of a Necromon catching on fire and running, I would say we should roll Take Action. Take Action, you roll Fierce and that’s the roll that you do when you chase after something, typically.

[Players roll.]

Tom
Ooh, not my strength…
A natural 12.

Hallie
Hey~!

Kyle
So Tom gets a critical success. What did you roll, Hallie?

Hallie
I got a 10.

Ari
Nine.

Hallie
[Banging on her desk emphatically.] First roll! First roll! I beat Ari! Hey! Maleta!

Kyle
So, you succeed above and beyond, Tom. You are chasing after this Necromon. Describe how you beat everyone else.

Emily (as Pik Pik)
[Long screeching hum.]

Tom
Hilda is normally not good at this sort of thing, but she sees a log poking up like in an almost ramp over a little gulley and just runs up the log and jumps the little gap and uses this as a shortcut to be ahead of the Necromon and everyone else. Then, she plants herself like a tree in front of it, legs spread shoulder-width, arms wide out, and just says:

[Music ends.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Hey! Hey friend. It’s okay.

Kyle
Meanwhile, two adults (thud, thud, thud). An adult woman and a fucking skeleton are chasing after you. I’ll say you’re essentially against the mountain. You went over the gulley and then you kind of grabbed and rolled into the mountain. Sparky is able to stop in time, so she stops. Quique, you got a mixed success, so eh…

Ari
Where does the bullet hit?

[Laughter.]

Kyle
You go a little too far and you skid.
[00:25:00]
Suddenly the ground beneath you is no longer there. You run past Hilda into a little crevasse right next to her and you slip on some leaves on the ground and suddenly there’s a hole beneath you. You’re able to grab in time, but you are hanging on above the hole with both hands.

Ari
He’ll just scramble up or try to scramble up the hole.

Tom
Is Quique able to get up safely? Because Hilda will try to run over and give him a hand if need be.

Hallie
I’ll do it conditionally.

Tom
Oh dear.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Ah, Quique, looks like you’re in a bind. Oh, you know, it would be a shame. I could help. I am in an easy position to help, but if only I had guarantees that you would answer my interview questions later.

Ari (as Quique)
Oh, well it’s such a shame because I really need no help from you, Sparky. I can get out of here just fine.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
He’s just gonna try and scramble up.

Kyle
Hilda’s already helping you up. That’s the benefit from Tom’s 12. You don’t have to roll on getting up. Hilda is just helping you.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Chiding.] Hilda.

Ari
Even if she pulls him a little, as soon as it’s not needed he’s going to let go and go out the rest of the way himself. He’s not going to say thanks at this.

Hallie
Sparky gives Hilda a disbelieving look.

Hallie (as Sparky)
The first rule of journalism is you don’t intervene unless they give you something in return.

Tom (as Hilda)
Sorry boss, I just kinda wanted to help. I felt bad because, if we hadn’t been chasing, nobody would be in danger.

Tom
Hilda’s gonna set down the Pik Pik.

Ari (as Quique)
Well, I happen to actually know more things about the rules of journalism than Sparky over here. I practically taught her all I know.

Tom (as Hilda)
Wait. Really?!

Hallie (as Sparky)
You’ve taught me nothing!

Tom (as Hilda)
[Excited.] You never told me, boss.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I don’t—

Ari (as Quique)
Yeah!

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Stammers, grumbles.] Oh my god.

Ari (as Quique)
There’s this hidden rule.

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh my gosh!

Hallie (as Sparky)
What? What?!

Ari (as Quique)
There’s this hidden rule of journalism that—

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Stammering.] A hidden—There’s no… What?

Ari (as Quique)
[Composed.] Just hang on. Hang on, Sparky.

Tom
Yeah, Hilda is rapt attention to Quique right now.

Ari (as Quique)
Listen. If there’s anything I know about journalism it’s about the secret author rule which is that, if you ever cause some potential accident to something you did and then you help or feel like you help somebody out of that predicament, you also need to give some sort of compensation to that person. You see? For instance, that little salt shake thing over there.

Kyle
Ari, take a GM Intrusion.

Hallie
Sparky’s fucking furious.
[Laughing.] She’s giving Quique a far more withering look than she gave Hilda moments earlier.

Kyle
Yeah Quique, take a GM Intrusion. Who do you give the other AP to?

Ari
I’ll give it to Hilda for believing my story.

Hallie
Damn it. Damn it!

Tom
I thought you were about to say as a bribe.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
So Quique, you go and you point to the Necromon. As you turn around, it’s no longer there and instead is halfway on its jump down to the bottom of that little pit.

Emily (as Pik Pik)
[As if falling.] Kiiip! Kiiip~!

Kyle
No, it can jump. It can do big jumps. It is fine. It is doing this of its own volition.

Emily
[Laughs.]

Tom
I wasn’t entirely sure. I assumed that’s what you were going for, but the way you described it at the end almost made it sound like “and the Kip Kip is falling past you just out of reach.

Kyle
The Kip Kip is fine.

Tom
Okay. That’s important.

Kyle
But it is definitely going down that pit, which isn’t a flat drop but it’s a very steep incline.

Emily
[Chuckling.] Started doing the frantic microwave sounds again.

Ari
Quique will start running towards it again while also telling Hilda:

Ari (as Quique)
Alright. Remember that secret rule. It’s extremely important for when we finally catch this thing. Okay?

Ari
Then he’s just gonna go at it.

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay!

Kyle
Alright, Quique’s down a pit.

Hallie
[Laughs loudly.]

Emily
[Delighted.] Once again!

Tom
Is this really happening to us this early?

Ari
I mean, he’s not jumping to the pit exactly. I thought that the Kip Kip’s legs or something were like—

Kyle
Oh no, it’s tiny. It’s six feet down. You gotta go down in the pit with it.

Ari
Oh no, then he’s not jumping at the pit. He was just gonna try and grab it.

Tom
Oh, I thought Quique was just gonna be like “well I can get down there just fine” and just bones-shamble down the pit.

[Laughter.]

Ari
I guess he could, but he’s not…

Kyle
He’s got too much self-respect.

Hallie
Sparky might jump in though because I would like to use my Spelunking skill. I realize this isn’t a cave, but I chose this skill and it’s close to a cave.

Tom
I can’t believe one of Hallie’s skills was very relevant, actually.

Hallie
Surprise!

Kyle
It is. It is very relevant. Unfortunately—

Hallie
What do you mean, unfortunately?

Kyle
Because we don’t have hit points or anything, and I’m not gonna 127 Days this or whatever the name of that movie was…

Tom
What the fuck, Kyle?

Kyle
Yeah, you go down the pit fine. You don’t gotta roll.

Hallie
Yeah! Spelunking. As Sparky spelunks down this pit, she waves goodbye to Quique.

[00:30:00]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Another secret rule of journalism is that I’m better than you.

Hallie
And then continues going down the chasm.

Ari (as Quique)
That is not even a rule. You don’t even know what rules are.

Hallie (as Sparky)
It’s just a fact! I get them confused sometimes.

Tom (as Hilda)
Um… sir? Mister? We should go down there and help out boss. I don’t think it was safe to just jump in there. We should have used the rope instead.

Ari (as Quique)
You have a rope?

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah. Yeah.

Tom
She’ll pull a rope out of the backpack.

Tom (as Hilda)
I wasn’t sure how steep it would be, so I thought maybe a rope would be nice.

Ari (as Quique)
Alright. You can go first. Just remember that this also counts as helping. You can write down your accumulating helping things to me in the future.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah!

Tom
She’s gonna note that down in a notebook. “Helped skeleton. Do not know his name yet.”

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
It’s like helping an elderly person across the street. Helped a skeleton down a pit.

Emily
Do we have debt mechanics? Because if we didn’t, Ari has created them.

Tom
Time to redesign the entire system, Kyle.

Kyle
So, Hilda makes her way down and then you follow, Quique?

Ari
Yes. Quique follows. He’s just gonna wait, like:

Ari (as Quique)
How’s everything looking down there?

Ari
Just to make sure it’s not like poisonous weird things in there. Sending the kid first.

Tom (as Hilda)
I mean, it’s kinda dark, but it’s fine. Just rocks.

Ari (as Quique)
Alright, I can handle rocks.

Ari
Then he’s going to tie the rope on top and jump his way down.

Kyle
Immediately, you feel something squishy at your feet, something soft and moist which you would not normally find in the desert.

Ari (as Quique)
Hey kid, I don't know what your conception is of rocks, but last time I checked they weren’t squishy.

Tom
Uh… is there like moss or something down here as well?

Kyle
That’s exactly what there is.
[Stream SFX begins.]
At your feet, a little bit of dew clings to clumps of moss. An ethereal blue light courses like veins through gaps in the moss, and that light seems to go further into a cave. You can see the little Pik Pik running off.

Emily (as Pik Pik)
Kip-kip. Kip-kip. Kip-kip…

Hallie
Am I down there? Is Sparky down there, or…?

Tom
I imagine Sparky has run ahead of us by this point.

Kyle
Were you waiting for them or were you running ahead?

Hallie
I’m running ahead. I’m keeping up with the Pik Pik. I’m getting that because for some reason this will prove journalism to Quique.

Kyle
Alright, yeah. You see Sparky…

Hallie
Booking it! Spelunking!

Kyle
…Terminator 2 running as fast as she can after it.

Ari
Quique, seeing the Pik Pik and Sparky running, is gonna be like…

Ari (as Quique)
There it is!

Ari
…and then just run towards it as well, trying not to trip on the moss.

Tom (as Hilda)
You need Necrocards! Agh!

Tom
Hilda will also run after them with cards.

[SFX ends.]

Kyle
You run in… and it’s cool. Not cold, but cool.

Ari
Cool? Does it have like sunglasses and, like… eyy?

Tom
“Oh yeah~”

Ari
“Eyy! Oh yeah!” The Kool-Aid man is here.

Hallie
[Laughing.] He’s been here the whole time. He’s been here—

Kyle
Alright, we’re gonna do it different here. That is tubular. This is not tubular, this is cool, like a nice refreshing drink.

Tom
But we’re in a cave, right?

Ari
[Grinning.] I am so sorry.

Tom
Because if we’re in a cave, it is tubular in fact.

Kyle
[Pushing forward.] Inside of this tubular and cool, but in the temperature and geometry style way and not, like…

Tom
Hallie’s fucking gone.

Kyle
…the personality way. This was a beautiful piece of prose I had written here.

Emily
[Restrains giggles.]

Ari
Would you say it was a “cool” piece of prose?

Hallie
[Fights back laughter, trying to breathe and speak.]

Kyle
But I’m just gonna cut it to say, from a temperature point of view, it is cool. Not cold, but nice and refreshing.

Ari
Like a Kool-Aid. Sorry.

Kyle
Yes, it’s like drinking nice refreshing Kool-Aid. That’s how it feels… to Hilda and Sparky who have warm bodies, but not to Quique because he is dead and so he does not have warmth on his bones.

Ari
Or on his heart.

Hallie
[Fighting for composure.] The Kool-Aid Man doesn’t have bones.

Kyle
Anyways! There’s also a bunch of fucking trees in here and shit. The trees are cool in the cool way because these are trees from like the Midwest, not the kind you normally find in the desert but the kind you would find in the more temperate environment. The reason you can see all this is because there is that vague ethereal blue light that seems to be running through this place and bouncing off of the green of the trees.

Tom
Hilda is just very distracted by this shiny blue light. She forgets all about everything else for a moment.

Tom (as Hilda)
[To herself.] I gotta figure this out…

Tom
Unzips the backpack, pulls out a book of witches and what they do.

Kyle
So you take in these trees, and your surroundings, and you venture further into the cave.
[00:35:00]
As you do, the light glows and grows, and eventually in the middle of this subterranean oasis you find a lake, unmistakably clean yet absolutely opaque.
[Mysterious and magical music begins.]
This light emerges from the lake, flows through the trees and emerges back towards it like the flow of a river. When it comes back to the lake, it waits along the lake’s top forming an impenetrable white mist.
From this mist emerges the shapes of dozens of creatures; a small faceless bear with legs, arms and a body that are all soft and spherical in shape, a cat with two heads and a single pair of legs between them, pocket sized owls that just run out like Olympian joggers.
These creatures and many more form in the mist as strings of blue light, but as they leave they take on more detail. The bear’s steps shake the earth, the cat’s black fur hides it from sight, and the owl doubles in size as feathers emerge and cover its skin.
But you don’t notice them. You don’t notice the new Necromon. You don’t notice the Pik Pik running into the mist and taking on the shape of that light. You don’t even see Sparky standing there staring in the lake. Because you’re too distracted, consumed by some beauty that cannot be seen or heard, only felt, as the ‘cool’ courses through your body again, starting at the tips of your fingers and your toes before spreading everywhere else, removing all that was warm.
[Music ends.]
Sparky, you find yourself in… What’s your favorite grocery store?

Ari
[Smirking.] Is it Fresh Thyme?

Hallie
I’m trying to think of a name that isn’t that, Ari.

Ari
Thyme Fresh?

Hallie
Hang on.

Kyle
Out of Thyme.

Hallie
Out of Time!

Tom
God damn.

Hallie
It’s out of everything all the time.

Kyle
But thyme is spelled T-H-Y-M-E.

Hallie
It is constantly out of everything.

Tom
No spices whatsoever.

Kyle
Constantly out of most things, but the stock of this place, relatively… you’ll occasionally get something.

Hallie
Yeah.

Kyle
So, you walk into Out of Thyme. You go about your regular things. You know, you go to find the oranges, gone. You go to find the microwave dinners, gone. You go to get a smoothie from Steve at the smoothie bar.

Hallie
That’s the only reason I keep coming back.

Kyle
Gone too.

Hallie
No!

Kyle
In fact, even though you could swear you can hear the crowd around you… the space is empty.

[Creepy ambient music begins.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Hello?

Kyle (as ???)
Hello?

Hallie (as Sparky)
That’s not what my voice sounds like.

Kyle (as ???)
[Mocking.] That’s not what my voice sounds like.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Do you have any rutabagas?

Kyle (as ???)
[Sinister giggle.] Do you have any rutabagas?

Hallie (as Sparky)
I didn’t like that laugh.

Hallie
I can’t tell if that was you laughing or if that was part of the…

Kyle (as ???)
[Smirking.] Rutabagas. Rutabagas…

Hallie (as Sparky)
Okay, this is just insulting.

Kyle
You look over and you can see that the rutabagas are empty, out of stock.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Breathy.] Not again.

Kyle
But then the door to the back storeroom opens up.

Hallie
I go into the back storeroom.

Kyle
You go into the back storeroom and you hear more of those whispers, different voices. Occasionally one of them will do the little (sinister giggle).

Hallie (as Sparky)
You gotta stop that. It’s real creepy.

Kyle (as ???)
It’s real creepy!

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh, that was worse.

Kyle (as ???)
That was worse!

Kyle
You continue to go down these halls. You see behind you, they have everything. They have the oranges, they have the microwave dinners, and there’s a whole line of Steves in front of a whole line of smoothie machines.

Hallie
[Grinning.] I only needed one.

Kyle
But you go to the section you care about.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I’ll come back for you later, Steve.

Kyle
The rutabagas.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Emotional.] The rutabagas…

Kyle
In the center of the rutabagas, the place that has always been empty, always been missing… you see one solitary rutabaga on the shelf.

[Music ends.]

Hallie
In bewilderment and almost disappointment, Sparky reaches out really slowly, not to pick up the rutabaga, just to poke it.

Kyle
Slowly. Slowly… Just poke it with the tip of your finger?

Hallie
Yeah, like to make sure it’s there, it’s real, and that it’s a vegetable and not a toy.

[Tense musical sting begins.]

Kyle
You poke it and nothing happens.

Kyle (as ???)
[Giggles.] Just kidding!

[Dramatic climactic music begins.]

Kyle
And suddenly a few images just flash through your eyes. You see a tower reaching into the sky. You see fierce Necromon battles, giant creatures.
[00:40:00]
You see a patchwork sewn-together hand grab a rutabaga, and a string of yarn hair, and you just hear whispers, different multiple voices say:

Kyle (as ???)
Protect the rutabaga… or the world ends.

[Music swells and carries into the announcements.]

Kyle
Just like death, announcements come for us all.
[Chuckling.] Hi, I’m Kyle. This is the announcement break. What the hell?
Normally I would start with just saying “hi, welcome to the announcement break,” but that’s also how we begin each episode, so I thought we gotta have a different intro for the announcement break. But this is it, this is the announcement break. This is the space for announcements.
And I do mean announcements, not just ads. Don’t get me wrong, we might have moments where we encourage you to check out things that we’re either giving out for free or things like Patreon or merch or something like that, or we might have promos for other shows and projects you’re interested in, but you aren’t gonna sit down and listen to us talk to you for five minutes about Casper mattresses. Despite the name overlap, they won’t respond to my emails.
So! What I want to talk to you about today is I want to give a couple of credits to the folks who work on our show that you won’t be listening to and then walk you a bit through the description, the section typically underneath this episode in your podcatcher or wherever you’re listening to this.
So, in addition to the five of us on our show, there are three folks who are going to have their hands in pretty much any episode you touch. The first one is Miles Morkri or @milesmorkri on Twitter. Miles is the artist who we commissioned to create our theme song which you’ll hear at the beginning of every episode.
You’ll also, for every episode, probably see our icon, our artwork. That artwork was done by Mandy Robertson or @mightymeller on Twitter, and then finally, the transcripts are done by Raina Harper or @Raina_MoonSage on Twitter.
I just wanted to take a moment to shout out those three folks because they have such a substantial impact on this show, so it’s important for me to let you know from the very beginning that, even if you won’t hear them, they are important contributors to the show and your enjoyment of it. If you’re interested in checking any of them out, you can find links to their stuff in the description.
Let’s talk about that description a little bit. So again, the description is the place typically below the episode where there are lots of words. The first couple of words you see are gonna be like a description from a TV show, you know. I haven’t written the one for this one yet, but it would probably be something like “two people and a skeleton go on an adventure but find they’ve bargained for more than they’ve… bargained for.” Again, I haven’t written it yet, but you’ll have that first.
Underneath the spoiler-free description of the episode you’re gonna have a list of content notes. These are all the things that I thought might be relevant for somebody to know as well as timestamps with them. For this episode for example we have one “ew, this food is gross” joke and “oh man, this thing caught on fire,” that already happened, and “oh man, we got very loud.
I felt those things were important to note down, so I have them listed in the description along with the timestamps for when they happen. If you see something without a timestamp, that means I think it’s pretty ubiquitous. It’s a core part of the episode that appears so frequently or such a frequent undercurrent that I can’t really put specific timestamps for it. It’s just a big part of the episode.
Underneath the content notes you’re gonna have the character list. The character list goes over pretty much any proper noun that I think is important for the adventure. That might include characters, it might include places, it might include organizations like ScubaCorp or important concepts like Necromon.
Underneath the character list you’re gonna find a link to the transcript. That one is, if you’re listening to this on the day it releases, not there right now. We’re a little bit behind on transcripts. I tend to get episodes done right before they release, so I need to create a bit of a backlog before we can actually get those transcripts releasing on the same day as the episode. Eventually, they should be coming out same day of episode but it might not be there right now.
Underneath those things you’ll have any other notable links that I shout out in the announcement break such as the credits that I mentioned earlier I would put down there. Underneath that you’ve got a link to Under the Neighborhood which is the roleplaying game we use in the system. I actually made it specifically for this podcast. Under that you’re gonna have social media links. If you use Twitter, we’ve got a Twitter. We’ve got a Tumblr. We’ve got Facebook. We’ve got Instagram. Finally, beneath that you’ve got the music credits.
And that’s the description! As well as your first announcement break.
[00:45:00]
Thank you so much for listening to this break and the episode as well. I hope you’re enjoying it. Our next episode, Episode 2-1: Hilda’s Rival will be releasing on Monday, April 18, but if you’d like additional stories, podcasts, or behind the scenes videos, you can find them at Patreon.com/QuestFriends. I will see you there.

[Jazzy ghostly music carries out of the announcements.]

Kyle
[Laughing.] Quique, you are in the lake.

Ari
Yep.

Kyle
It’s a lake. There is this blue light, I guess, and a fog and Necromon are coming in and out of it, and that’s like kinda neat-o I guess. But you don’t “feel” anything. It might be because you’re dead, it might be because you’re dead inside, emotionally. Inside and outside? Who knows?

Ari
Both. Both is good.

Kyle
[Laughs.] You see that both Hilda and Sparky have stopped. Sparky has taken a few steps into the water, leaving her belongings at the ground, and Hilda in fact has taken off her backpack and set it by her side. It doesn’t look like they’re going for a dip, though. You can tell in their faces, they don’t look like corpses, but that is the closest thing I can think of comparing them too, because it looks like their souls have left their body.

Ari
Oh god.

Kyle
You’re dead. You’re one of the dead. When you’re living, soul, body, different things. When you’re dead, it’s one and the same. So, your soul? Here. Your bones are here, it’s all here and good. But them? It looks like they’re going on some fucking trip or whatever, man.

Ari
Quique’s gonna sigh really deeply. He’s going to make a quick check. So, there’s a bunch of Necromon in there. I assume the Pik Pik is far gone in the thing, right?

Kyle
The Pik Pik has gone further into the fog. It’s either been absorbed into it or it’s just further into the lake, one of the two.

Ari
Okay, so he is not visible. Okay, so Quique will glance to where he knows the Pik Pik went and then back to them and then back to the Pik Pik and then back to them, sigh again.

Ari (as Quique)
Ugh, I don’t actually hate you that much.

Ari
Looking at Sparky, and trying to pull her and the kid out of the lake. If he can’t take both at the same time, he’ll try to take Sparky out first and maybe then Hilda.

Kyle
Aww, Quique~

Ari
Actually no, Hilda first, because kids first, you know.

Hallie
[Laughs.] I was gonna say, put your mask on before the child’s or whatever.

Kyle
I won’t have you roll for this. Hilda is taking her first couple of steps in and you’re able to pull her back because she’s not resisting much, but she keeps trying to take a few more steps into the water. She’s not knocked out of it.

Ari
If there’s, like… Did Hilda have just the one rope or does Hilda have several spare ropes in her backpack? Because I’m thinking that Quique can try to tie them to a specific place and then look for whatever is happening.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
How many ropes would Hilda have, Tom?

Tom
I don't know. On the one hand, Hilda might have more, but Hilda might only bring one long rope. She’s trying to be prepared but isn’t carrying an entire armory in there. I almost want to leave it to chance, but I don't know if this is right for a move.

Kyle
You know what, I’ll give you something other than a rope, mostly because you’ve already made the interesting decision of who to go after first, so we can play off of that.
[Comical investigation music begins.]
You look around. You don’t see a rope, so you start looking for other things you can pull from. You start to notice there are little bits of clothes here. It looks like someone had been raptured almost. You see shoes and pants and shirts and stuff.

Ari
Oh god.

Kyle
All of them are completely empty, there’s nothing in the pockets, but the closest ones you see—and you actually see an awful lot of these—is you see a couple of white lab coats emblazoned with the logo SC. These are the logo for the organization ScubaCorp which makes the Necrocards and similar Necromon-related things.

Tom
I’m so pleased.

Kyle
Those are super-long, super-durable, white trench coats, so you could, with some time, probably tie those together and use those to attach Hilda to a tree or something.

Ari
Okay, perfect, so he does that. Then he goes after Sparky.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
Yeah, so, you go to do that but when you get out there she’s disappeared into the mist.

[00:50:00]

Ari (as Quique)
Ugh.

Kyle
You actually can’t find her right away when you get inside of the mist, so I want you to roll me to Understand. Understand is when you take in your surroundings, read something challenging, figure out a monster’s weakness, tell what’s in a room.

Ari
So to like perceive, basically? Is that like Books?

Kyle
Yep, it’s Books.

Ari
Okay.
[Drops dice.] Ah! Sorry, that’s not…

Tom
Do you perceive this shit, Trucy?

Ari
Do you perceive this shit?

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
[Rolls.] That is an 8.

Kyle
An 8 is a mixed success. You—

Tom
Who do the fairies claim, Quique?

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
You go and you eventually find Sparky. By the time you get to her it’s about probably up to halfway up her stomach by the time you get out there.
It’s pretty heavy. As you rush out, you actually see a few other bits of clothes and stuff rush out. You see another pair of shoes, another pair of shorts, although these ones still have the valuables attached. They still have things like wallets and ID cards and occasionally Necrocards attached to them.
You wade past all these and you see Sparky who, for better or for worse, is seemingly still okay.

Ari
As he’s trying to pull her out, he’ll just be like:

Ari (as Quique)
You’re lucky that there’s only one person I hate enough that I would let this happen to, and it is not you.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
However, while you are able to successfully find Sparky, you can’t find your way out.
[Laughing.] And that is the end of the first episode.

Ari
[Startled.] Oh, okay, well… alright. I wanted to use my It Was A Long Con, but I guess that’s not a thing I’m going to be using if it’s the fucking end.

Hallie
[Cackles.]

Kyle
No-no! Go ahead. Go ahead! Go ahead, use your ability.

Ari
Okay.

Kyle
Alright, It Was A Long Con. Tell us what this ability does, Ari.

Ari
Once per adventure you can immediately follow up a failure or mixed success with a full success explaining that the failure was all part of the plan. The failure already exists, right? So Quique can still not find his way out. Like, that’s a thing.

Kyle
Yeah. You’re still lost, but being lost, that’s part of the plan.

Ari
Yeah… Well, I didn’t think too far ahead. I just wanted to do a long con when I rolled a mixed success. Uh… I think even if Quique can’t find a way, he was purposely looking for maybe a place where the shore—because it’s a lake, so if it gets shallower meaning that it’s going to go to coast, even if it isn’t necessarily where he came from, he was looking for a way to find something shallower.

Kyle
You walk in any direction, eventually it’ll get shallow. It might get deep first, but like…

Ari
Yeah. He’s trying to figure out if there’s a place where he can still step versus he can no longer step and things like that. He also was going in the direction where one of the Necromon cards were from whoever-the-fuck. You mentioned that there were some.

Hallie
Ha!

Kyle
Yeah!

Ari
He’s still on his mission. He wants these people to be fine, but if he finds that thing, that kid said that cards were somehow part of it, so maybe.

Kyle
Yeah, you follow. You can see one of the Necrocards is going out in a certain direction. You follow them off to shore. When you get out, there are still the trees, there is still the blue light. Hilda doesn’t seem to be anywhere to be found. Once you take a few steps out of the water, Sparky snaps back to it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Get off my rutabaga!
[Stammers, shaking it off.] Quique?

Ari (as Quique)
You know, don’t mention it, except do, but I may or may not have saved your life. So, uh, just check that for later. Maybe that will mean that you won’t ask me anything later. We’ll talk about the details. I left that one kid tied up in a tree, I don't know exactly where, but I think that, if we walk around the perimeter of this lake, we’ll be able to find her again. She was kind of out of it. You were sort of out of it. It’s a long story too.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Why’d you take my rutabaga?

[Sparky’s theme begins.]

Ari (as Quique)
I have no idea what you’re talking about, but then again I never do, so let’s just walk in the perimeter of this lake.

Hallie (as Sparky)
God, you have never satisfactorily answered a question, Quique. Why did you take my rutabaga?

Ari (as Quique)
Because you ask questions like this. How do you want me to satisfactorily answer any question if they are along the veins of where’s my whatever that thing you mentioned is?

Hallie (as Sparky)
It’s a rutabaga. It is a vegetable. It is constantly out of stock and I finally had one. It’s constantly out of stock at a store that’s constantly out of stock. That is how out of stock that is.
[Exasperated, more to herself.] Something there… God! Oh, I had it, I had it! Ugh…

Ari (as Quique)
Probably if we go around the perimeter of this lake we can find your whatever-baga thing.

Kyle
Your bagel?

Ari (as Quique)
Your bagel thing. Your bagel fruit.

[00:55:00]

Hallie (as Sparky)
It’s a rutabaga! It is a rutabaga, Quique. For god’s sake, okay.

Ari (as Quique)
Right, right, the bagel. Just—

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh, and Hilda. You said that—Where’s Hilda? Where is Hilda?

Ari (as Quique)
Weren’t you listening? See, you were talking about your bagel thing and weren’t even listening that I left that kid tied up on a tree.

[Music ends.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Why?!

[Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]

Kyle
So Hilda, along the same lines of Sparky, where I asked what her favorite grocery store was, what is…? I suppose The Valley only has one library, The Valley Public Library. Tell me a bit about it. What’s it look like?

[Library ambience begins.]

Tom
So, it is a two-story building. It’s got this big round glass window on one side, like higher up, more along the second floor. The most notable thing is there is a big paper machete tree which is kinda merged with a little background painting over on sort of a nook on the ground floor. It’s mostly in the children’s book section, but there’s some young adult stuff around it. Not that Hilda’s a kid, over in the kids’ book section.
But there is a really cool big tree over there and it’s really pretty. They’ve done artwork on the floor around it and stuff all leading up to this fun-looking tree.

Kyle
You find yourself standing and looking in front of this tree again. It has less color. Everything seems to be a bluish-white tint. You might tell that it looks a bit different similar to how Sparky noticed that things were a bit off but didn’t get that she was in some ethereal space.

Tom
Dream logic~

Tom (as Hilda)
Um… what was I doing here? Why did I walk into the room…? A book? Must be a book. Why did I need a book?

Tom
Hilda’s wandering the bookshelves trying to remember what she’s doing here.

Kyle
You wander the bookshelves. You see a couple of books, nothing too substantial. You see a couple of talks about the Hereafter, the ghost world… you know, a couple of books for kids about that. There are alphabet books, little kids’ books with things on Necromon. There’s one that’s all about possibility, so like See Spot Run but it’s like “if.” If Spot Runs, then, cause and effect, teaching that kind of thing.
[Necromon theme begins.]
As you’re looking through, a window opens up and a breeze comes in and it shakes the branches, and almost like a tree’s leaves in fall, a couple of them fly off and, blown by the wind, blow out a stream through the door, out of this space and into the library proper.

Tom
Hilda will follow, not really sure still what she was doing here or why, but she’ll wander out into the library and in amongst the thick old-people books.

Kyle
Just like it would appear to a child, these appear insurmountable, infinitely high, infinitely long, knowledge that spreads out to all possibilities. You follow the paper machete things, and as you do you hear whispers again but not the imitation echo whispers that Sparky heard.
These are more the voices almost of Necromon, single names repeated backwards. All of them continue to speak but eventually go silent as the paper machete drops right in front of one of the shelves. You can see in between all these books with all these titles a single hardcover book without a title.

[Music ends.]

Tom
She reaches out and tries to touch it.

Kyle
You grab the book. You pull it off the shelves. Tom, describe what this book looks like.

Tom
The book is interesting because like you said it doesn’t have a title on it. It doesn’t have any wording on it, but it looks like it should. It has one of those beveled sort of brown and very dark green covers. There are grooves and bits where flat parts are raised out or sunk into the cover just ever so slightly. There’s what looks like a small gold plate set into the front side of the cover down towards what would presumably be the bottom but no writing, no markings on it at all.
It looks as though there is some sort of ribbon tucked into the center of the book as a bookmark and it’s attached to the spine of the book itself. The pages seem ever so slightly askew. It never seems to be perfectly lined up, there’s always something that seems twisted or at a slight angle.

Kyle
What does Hilda do with this book now that you have it in your hands?

Tom
Hilda’s going to open it slowly.

[Hopeful storytelling music begins.]

Kyle
You open the book and you get a story, not written out to you.
[01:00:00]
There may be words written out on the pages, but you couldn’t tell because you visualize them and you sense them and you smell them and you hear them more than you would otherwise. It’s a cacophony of strange and whimsical things. You see things like a world that looks like it’s made out of cubism or something like that. You see a gothic architecture world full of 50 different variants on Batman.

[Thunder booms. and Kyle grunts “I’m Batman” a few different ways in the background.]

Tom
Brooding goths.

Kyle
You hear the rain on this gritty cyberpunk world, and you go through worlds and worlds and worlds and worlds and worlds, and beneath them all… a void that swallows all.
[Music changes to evil, methodical piano music: [REDACTED]’s theme.]
As you stand on the precipice of this void of which nothing known exists beyond, you look back and you see a hallway with doors that extend out infinitely. The doors stretch out and they stretch wide and they turn into this long, giant smile that looks like a perfect parabola. As this smile reaches its apex, a slashing shadowy wing comes down on you… and where you get to the book you notice that, in the center, a handful of its pages have been ripped out.

[Music ends.]

Emily (as “book”)
[Curious.] Rekoob… Rekoob?

Tom (as Hilda)
Hey. Are you okay? Did someone hurt you?

Kyle
From the sides of the book—It’s six legs, right?

Tom
I think so, yeah. Should we specify that the legs are supposed to be like folded pages as well?

Kyle
Yeah. Six little crab-like legs emerge and then start rapidly shaking as if something is being held upside-down.

[Ambling comedic music begins.]

Emily (as “book”)
[Struggling.] Rekoob!

Tom
Hilda is gonna set this Necromon down on the ground, right side up.

Emily
The little book is going to bump up against Hilda’s shin.

Tom (as Hilda)
Hey, hey… you okay?

Tom
I’m just gonna try to pet the spine a little bit.

Emily
He will allow this.

Kyle
[Chuckles.] As you pet this book, little ribbons that look like eyestalks emerge from the front of his binding and pop up and start looking around.

Tom (as Hilda)
I don't know what you are, though.

Emily (as “book”)
Rekoob?

Tom (as Hilda)
Well, you call yourself “rekoob,” so, Boo… Oh! Booker! You’re called Booker.

Emily (as Booker)
[Affirming.] Rekoob!

Tom (as Hilda)
Nice to meet you, Booker. Are you lost? I think maybe I’m lost, too. I don't think I’m supposed to be here right now.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob?!

Kyle
He notices that you aren’t supposed to be here. This isn’t a space for living children.

Tom
[Shiver-chuckles.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Um, if you want, we can try to find our way out together.

Emily (as Booker)
[Flatly.] Rekoob.

Tom (as Hilda)
I’m choosing to take that as a yes.

Emily
[Whispering, smiling.] It was a yes.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Come on, friend.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
And after some searching, you wake up tied to a tree on the shores of this beach.

Tom (as Hilda)
What the F?

[Laughter.]

Kyle
That was the cutest thing, Tom. That was so cute. It was SO cute. A 12-year-old, “I did a bad swear. Sparky will be proud of me.”

Ari
I’m glad I made the situation way worse by doing this now.

Kyle
I’m so fucking proud of you. Yeah Tom, you’re stuck in a tree. You’re tied to it.

Tom
Yeah. Hilda’s squirming around trying to, like—

Tom (as Hilda)
Ow…

Ari
Can I also—Well, I don't know if I can retroactively say this, but I have a move called Adapt where I can hold a skill and I can specify during the adventure what my skill is. Can it be skill at tying knots?

Kyle
Yeah.

Tom
Just to make it more difficult.

Kyle
Yeah.

Hallie
Just to make this worse.

Kyle
Yeah, so you’re tied real well. What thing did Quique remember about knot tying that helped him out?

Ari
He remembered when he had to be a substitute scout leader for one of his nephews. The nephews and the other little tiny scouts taught him how to tie knots very well.

Kyle
[Laughing.] They taught him how to tie knots!

Tom
That’s fucking incredible.

Kyle
And they’re scouts, so that’s the shit they know.

Ari
Yeah.

Kyle
Alright, yeah, so you’re tied real good to this tree, Hilda.

Tom
Hilda’s gonna first try squirming around just to see, (struggle sounds), can I worm out of this… and finding that impossible is going to try and be like:

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay, okay, okay. Calm down. Think. Think. What have I got? I’ve got handkerchiefs, water bucket, balloons, um…

[01:05:00]

Kyle
You look down and you can see that all of your stuff, at least the stuff in the backpack, is spilled out probably a ways away from you.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Grumbles.]

Kyle
Amongst those things, you see Babcia Ania’s Revised Book of—is it Jokes and Clownery?

Tom
It is Babcia Ania’s Revised Book of Practical Jokes and Clownery.

Kyle
[Stammers.] So you see Babcia Ania’s book, in between—

Tom
[Laughs.]

Ari
[Giggles.]

Kyle
What?

Tom
Nothing.

Ari
I just love that you didn’t say the full title.

Hallie
—’s book!

Kyle
—in between the teeth of a Necromon that looks a lot like a possum…

Tom
[Chuckles.]

Kyle
…but like a possum skeleton.

Tom
[Startled.] Oh.

Kyle
So it will be like a possum skeleton except instead of skin it’s got random bits of trash that it’s picked up.

Tom
Oh~!

Kyle
Bits of fabric, random wrappers, things like that. In between its teeth…

Ari
Aw, that’s so cute.

Tom
A trash panda!

Kyle
…is Babcia Ania’s book, and it stares at you, and it books it!

Tom (as Hilda)
No. No! No, stop it!
[Grunts.] Okay. Remember: magic, escape tricks, pranks. Rope?
[Strained.] I don't know if I’ve ever tried something like this before. Oh god… Ugh.

Tom
Hilda’s trying not to panic and trying to remember any prankster methods for escape tricks. It’s at least tangentially related.

Kyle
Yeah. It sounds like you want to use your descriptor, Pulls Pranks. What you can do for your move for Pulls Pranks is you can spend 1 AP, one Adventure Point, to have a single-use item related to pranks or whimsy suddenly appear. If this item relates to a move, roll with advantage. In this case I would just say, if you want to use this descriptor, you can just get out of it with whatever prank item you have.

Tom
Okay. Hilda, continuing to think about stuff, is like:

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay. Okay… Pranks. Pranks. What do we do? What do we do? Um… Uh… Exploding balloon!

Tom
She looks around for this, sees it on the ground next to her, and just tries to stretch out a foot to be like:

Tom (as Hilda)
[Straining.] Eh, come on… Eh! Nudge it back.

Kyle
Misses, misses, misses… and you put your foot on it, and it does the thing where you apply enough pressure that it slips out from underneath you, but it was folded over on its end. So, when it curls open, you know the (flapping fart-like exhale sound) things that balloons do?
[Flight of the Bumblebee begins.]
The balloon just (whistles), just flies all around before… What does an exploding balloon do? Is that an actual thing?

Tom
No, I made it up. It’s a balloon that explodes. It’s gonna blow up. it’s going to explode the bonds.

Kyle
Okay—before nestling in between your rope and just (burst sound) exploding in such a way that pulls the rope all out from you and it all falls to the ground.

Tom
Like, it’s not super dangerous, it’s mostly for startling people.

Kyle
Essentially, it is a latex jaws of life and you have just freed yourself.

Tom
Somehow this description makes it feel worse, but sure.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
[Chuckles.] You’re free, Thomas.

Tom
I’m free.

[Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]

Kyle
Alright, Quique and Sparky. You are back at this pass. Since we last left you, you’ve actually run across some skeleton possums of your own. Not the same one Hilda saw, but they’re acting similarly, rummaging through the pockets and bags that have washed up on the beach while saying ”tarledoib, tarledoib!” Because this species of Necromon is called a Boidelrat.

Tom
[Amused.] The Boidelrat?

Hallie
[Smiling.] Boidelrat!

Kyle
It’s called Boidelrat. That is the name of that Necromon.

Hallie
That’s so cute.

Ari
Is that the only Necromon that can be seen in the vicinity?

Kyle
You see a few flowing in and out. Um… Yeah, Quique, I would say you can find a Necrocard at your feet.

Ari
Well yeah, Necrocard, but are there any—

Kyle
A Necrocard with a Necromon in it. You can find one.

Ari
Oh! Okay. What Necromon is it? Is it a Dik Dik? A Kit Kit? A whatever.

Kyle
A Pik Pik?

Hallie
Pik Pik!

Kyle
You can either roll for that or you can give me some AP to sweeten the pot. If you wanna give me an AP, I’ll let it be a Pik Pik.

Ari
Sure, I can do that, I can give you an AP.

Kyle
Yeah, you see a Pik Pik.

Ari
Okay, then Quique’s gonna pocket it.

Kyle
It’s even better. It’s a Shiny Pik Pik, so it’s a holographic card.

Hallie
Ha!

Ari
Perfect. Alright. So Quique’s gonna grab it.

Ari (as Quique)
My job here is done. Alright Sparky, you can do whatever you’re doing. I’m just going to get out of here.

Ari
Actually, he’s not going to say anything. He’s just going to leave.

Hallie
Um, well…

Ari
He’s gonna grab it and (clap), like “my job here is done,” and try to find the—

Kyle
Thump!
[Energetic swingy music begins.]
That is when a book closes in on the card,
[01:10:00]
because the Boidelrat that had the book opened its mouth, opened the book, and slammed the book closed on the Necrocard with the Pik Pik in it.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
And you see this Boidelrat run off, followed by a young child. Actually, I’ll give you a GM Intrusion for that.

Tom
Yeah, that deserves a GM Intrusion.

Kyle
You take 1 AP. Who do you want to give your other one to?

Ari
Uh, Hallie.

Hallie
Yes, yes, yes! Two AP! While that was happening, Sparky was looking through the pockets to see if the Boidelrat happened to leave anything good behind. Did the Boidelrat leave anything good behind?

Kyle
Do you wanna give me 1 AP or roll for something?

Hallie
Yeah, I wanna give you one of my AP.

Kyle
Okay. What do you want?

Hallie
I don't know. I, oh… I want, um—

Kyle
How about this? You get a ScubaCorp ID Card, Level 1, lowest clearance.

Hallie
Yes. I want a ScubaCorp ID Card, Level 1.

Kyle
Alright. Actually, because you got the other AP too, it just snatches up the card. It’s got the book, the ID Card, and the Necrocard.

Hallie
No! You can’t do me like this. You can’t do me like this! What the fuck, Kyle? What the fuck, Decker?

Kyle
[Laughs.] And it runs off.

Tom
The Boidelrat’s a little motherfucker.

Hallie
As it runs off, Sparky yells:

Hallie (as Sparky)
You can’t do me like this. You can’t do me like this!

Ari
Quique’s already running towards it.

Tom
Creepy CGI skeleton run.

Ari
[Smiling.] Yes.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Here they go.

Kyle
Alright, so you all run. When you hear a voice, do you run faster or slow down? When you hear a human voice.

[Music ends.]

Tom
Hilda doesn’t slow down.

Hallie
I don’t slow down.

Ari
Yeah, Quique doesn’t slow down. If anything, he will try to accelerate in case it’s another kid trying to steal this card.

Hallie
Right? You don’t get my thing.

Tom
You know what’s worse than death? A child. No…

Kyle
Alright, so you hear a voice from around the corner say:

[Sinister villain music begins.]

Kyle (as ???)
[Raspy.] Ah, my precious Boidelrat, what have you brought—What the fuck?!

Hallie
[Laughs.]

[Music abruptly ends and changes to silly ghostly music.]

Kyle
And you all just turn the corner and you see this skeleton with a long dark beard. It’s just a long dark neckbeard. He is covered in so many different patchwork robes. He’s got a couple of ScubaCorp trench coats, a couple of other trench coats. Some are closed, some are open, some are just hanging off of his shoulders super dramatically. They’ve got duct tape all over them and you can see he’s got duct tape keeping together some of his bones as well.
He jumps up and almost drops the thing in his arms before gathering them together. In one arm he has not the Boidelrat you chased. You can see that one actually ran off. There is instead a Boidelrat that is dressed like… like a poodle? It’s this possum but it’s got these big clumps of fake hair on its torso and on its butt and on its little tail.

Hallie
[Delighted.] It’s been groomed.

Kyle
In the other hand you can see he’s got the book and the two things in it.

Tom
This is the joke book, right?

[Music ends.]

Kyle
The joke book.

Tom
Specifically? Okay.

Kyle (as skeleton)
[Grumbly.] Agh—Huh?

Tom (as Hilda)
Hello, sir. Sorry to interrupt you in your, um… home? Maybe.

Kyle (as skeleton)
Yeah, this is my home. What of it?

Tom (as Hilda)
Those things you’re holding in your hand there. Those are actually ours. I think the Boidelrat just sort of snatched them up after we walked into the cave.

Kyle (as skeleton)
They’re in my hand?

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah.

Kyle (as skeleton)
It is in my hand?

Tom (as Hilda)
Yes.

Kyle (as skeleton)
It is mine.

Tom (as Hilda)
No.

Kyle (as skeleton)
This is my book.

Tom (as Hilda)
No…

Hallie (as Sparky)
You sound like Quique on that one.

Ari
[Smiling.] As this exchange is happening, Quique is gonna try and reach for his beard and pull it.

Ari (as Quique)
There’s a reason why I haven’t let my hair grow.

Kyle
Roll me a Sneak. Roll me a Sneak. That’s gonna be Slick.

Ari
Slick, okay.

Tom
I was ready for Quique to just deck this… [Laughs.]

Kyle
Bonk!

Hallie
Get set to get decked!

Ari
[Rolls.] That is a 7.

Kyle
That is a mixed success. It slips out and you grab it…

Ari
So just the beard slips out alone without anything else?

Kyle
I was gonna say, no, you got the card, but no, you grab his beard too. His beard just slips off.

Ari
Oh, that’s what I wanted to do.

Kyle
So you have the beard and the Necrocard now.

Ari
Okay.

Kyle
And you just feel a bonk on your head from the other book.

Kyle (as skeleton)
What the hell is this? Give me. Give me back my beard.

Ari
Is he still holding the things from the other people?

Kyle
Yeah, he’s still got the book. He slapped you on the head and he’s like “give it back.”

Ari
He’s gonna look at Sparky.

Ari (as Quique)
If I get whatever the heck you’re trying to get there, will you stop asking me things?

Hallie (as Sparky)
… Maybe.

[01:15:00]

Kyle (as skeleton)
Are you just talking like I’m not here?

Ari (as Quique)
Maybe is not good enough.

Ari
Then he’s just going to walk away with the beard and the card.

Kyle (as skeleton)
Are you just talking like I’m not here? I am here.

Ari
He’s going to drop the beard at him, like maybe throw it at him and walk away, because maybe is not good enough.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Excuse me.

Kyle
He’s gonna grab the beard.

Kyle (as skeleton)
You can’t just come here and take my things and then leave.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well you know, technically they’re our things, so…

Tom (as Hilda)
That book has my name in it.

Kyle (as skeleton)
No, it’s mine. It’s in my hand. This is my thing. We went over this.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yes, and I was going to tell you you’re wrong, that’s not how the law works, and I definitely know about that because I know more than Quique.

Kyle (as skeleton)
You speak of the law! I made the law! In Tsarvia, I was the law! I can’t have you just walking off like that.

[Sinister villain music begins.]

Kyle
You see a couple of pairs of beady red eyes emerge from where you were as a few of the Boidelrat block your path out. You notice they start surrounding everyone.

Ari (as Quique)
Listen. This card is now on my hand, so according to your rules that we’re following now, sir, it would make this my card. Therefore, tell your little pet things to step away.

[Music abruptly ends.]

Kyle
[Chuckles.] He stands there and thinks for a second.

Kyle (as skeleton)
Well, you got a good point there.

Ari (as Quique)
I do?

Kyle (as skeleton)
I cannot argue. Your reasoning is sound. It is valid.

Ari (as Quique)
Sure is.

Kyle (as skeleton)
But, come-come, I can’t be such a rude host.

Hallie (as Sparky)
You had no problem seconds earlier.

Kyle (as skeleton)
Stick around! Would you like a glass?

Kyle
And he grabs a goblet of water that’s just completely, utterly rancid, like completely muddy. Extends it. No one takes it, he throws it back.

Kyle (as skeleton)
Or something to eat?

Kyle
He grabs meat that the smells are things beyond Gordon Ramsay’s worst nightmares.

Kyle (as skeleton)
Or perhaps a commemorative mask.

Kyle
And he pulls out a wooden mask of himself. It looks like the Majora’s Mask masks of just his face.

Kyle (as skeleton)
Actually, I must keep that one close.

Kyle
And he puts it back.

Kyle (as skeleton)
Please, make yourselves at home.
[Sinister villain music returns.]
You are right. Whoever has things is the owner of them, and…

Kyle
As the rats close in a little bit.

Kyle (as skeleton)
…I think you have more things that I want to be mine.

Ari (as Quique)
Can I offer you a counter point, sir?

[Music ends abruptly.]

Kyle (as skeleton)
Well, you are an honorable skeleton like me. You understand the way of the things.

Ari (as Quique)
We—You know, we… yeah. Listen. A good host also recognizes when a guest wants to leave your home, so if you truly want to be a good host to me, wouldn’t you say that you would allow this certain guest to go on his merry way?

Kyle
[Amused.] Roll me Persuade Somebody. You’re gonna use Books because you are trying to speak the logic of reason to him.

Ari
I have a skill in Non-Deceptive Persuasion.

Kyle
Yeah, absolutely. Roll with advantage. What that means is you’re gonna roll three dice and add the rolls of the top two.

Ari
[Rolls.] Okay… Oh, what is this? Ooh, that’s not great. Uh… 3.

Kyle (as skeleton)
You make a good point. You make a good point… is what I would say were I some commoner fool. I held the best banquets in all of Tsarvia! And you’re going to tell me what a good host does? Do you not know who I am?!

Tom (as Hilda)
No, we do not, sir.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I was just about to ask, actually.

Kyle (as skeleton)
[Gasps dramatically.]

Kyle
He does the dramatic gasp when you put your hand to your chest.

Kyle (as skeleton)
[Measured.] Let me illuminate you. Hit it!

[Swingy, musical-like music begins.]

Kyle
He points to a Boidelrat which just starts banging on some drums.

Kyle (as skeleton)
You, my dear guests, are in for a wonderful treat. You are about to be stolen from the untamable, the unstoppable, the unkillable… Rasputin!

[Music ends abruptly.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Flatly.] No. No, you’re not gonna do a musical number.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
But I, uh… I worked very hard on it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Fine. You can go ahead, if you wanna live your life this way, but nobody respects it.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
No, no!
[Sighs heavily.] The moment is ruined.

Kyle
He sits down in this throne that is just an easy lounging chair.

Tom (as Hilda)
I was thinking. Since we are in your home, we might offer a little trade.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
Little trade? Rasputin prefers gifts, but he will humor children.

Tom (as Hilda)
I can do better than a gift because I have magic.

[01:20:00]

Tom
She’s gonna do little jazz hands to emphasize this.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
You have magic?

Tom (as Hilda)
Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And, I can do better than a gift because I can teach you my secrets. I need that book you’re holding to explain it properly, but you can learn to do all sorts of illusions. You can inconvenience your enemies. Mm-hmm!

Kyle (as Rasputin)
What? Are you saying Rasputin cannot read book? Rasputin can read book. Look, Rasputin is reading book Page 1, 2, 3…

Kyle
He looks down at your book and he frowns.

Tom (as Hilda)
Anyone can read the book, but it’s not very clear because Babcia Ania had a very peculiar way of explaining things.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
Yah, peculiar indeed.

Kyle
He opens the book and he shows it to you. You see a bunch of ripped pages in the middle that weren’t there before.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
How am I supposed to read this?

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh… That’s—

Tom
Hilda looks to see if there are little ribbon bookmarks in the spine.

Kyle
There are.

Tom
Aww.

[Silly sneaky music begins.]

Kyle
They’re starting to curl out a little bit as he’s speaking.

Tom (as Hilda)
Well you see, like I said, it’s a special trick to read the book. I can’t show it to you unless you hand it over to me first. But then, I can teach you much better secrets.

Kyle
Are you planning on teaching him magic?

Tom
No, this is a lie.

Kyle
[Smiling.] Roll me Convince Someone using Slick. Roll me to lie.

Tom
This is a lie. Alright, then in that case my choice is committed. I’m gonna use my Declare Guilty power.

Ari
Oh god.

Hallie
Yes!

Tom
I declare that Rasputin—privately, in my head—is a threat to myself and those I care about. For the remainder of this adventure, I take +1 ongoing whenever my actions oppose that character. Actually, clarification for +1 ongoing just in a general out of character sense. Does that mean it applies each time I do things?

Kyle
Yeah. You can get benefits where you roll higher or lower. There are three kinds. There is forward, forward means on your next roll. There is ongoing which means until the effect ends, so on this one it’s until the end of the adventure, anytime you go against Rasputin you get an extra 1 to your roll. Then there’s hold, so if I say hold 3 that means you can use something 3 times.

Tom
Okay. Well, that cancels out my -1 from Slick, so this is just an even roll. Heart of the cards, guide me.
[Rolls.] That’s an 8.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
That’s a mixed success.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
I… Trickery.
[Tragic guitar music begins.]
You know, the tsar in Tsarvia… They were all tsars, that’s why it was Tsarvia. But the head tsar, he kept all of his knowledge of trickery and clownery to Lexi and Annie. Rasputin wanted to know trickery! Why can’t Rasputin? Because Rasputin is not child? Are we all not children at heart?

Kyle
As he is speaking, the book continues to transform. With a yell of…

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob~!

Kyle
…the book bites into Rasputin’s hand which splays open causing the book, or more accurately Booker, to fall onto the ground at your feet. But he’s not as spritely as he was before. You can tell by the drop. He tries to pick himself up a little bit and falls down.

Tom
Hilda’s going to drop to a knee and pat Booker’s spine.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Gently.] Hey. Hey… It’s okay. I’ll keep you safe.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Projecting.] This is just the first of many tricks that I can do with this book. You see now?

Kyle (as Rasputin)
What the hell is that? What is that?

Tom (as Hilda)
M-Magic.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
That is no magic.

Tom (as Hilda)
The magic of—

Kyle (as Rasputin)
Rasputin does not know pranks, but Rasputin knows the dark magics. That is neither. That is—

Kyle
You hear a little…

Kyle (as Boidelrat)
Tarledoib. Tarledoib!

Kyle
…and the little Boidelrat that’s dressed up like a poodle speaks to Rasputin.

[Sinister villain music begins.]

Kyle (as Rasputin)
Yes, that is right, my precious Raspoodle. That is Necromon.

Tom (as Hilda)
Well, would you believe me if I said that one of your other rats has the book I was talking about with the tricks?

Kyle
You can see the Boidelrat start encroaching in on you, closer and closer.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
I want it.

Emily (as Booker)
[Bracing.] Rekoob.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
That is mine.

Tom
As the Boidelrats advance, Hilda will jump out in front of Booker, arms out wide, legs planted wide. She’s got nothing, nothing left in the backpack, doesn’t even have her precious Babcia Ania’s book. She’s just gonna yell at the advancing Boidelrats.

[01:25:00]

Tom (as Hilda)
Stay back. Don’t you dare come close.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
What, protecting a Necromon? It is useless Necromon. Look at it. It cannot even stand. This is not even as beautiful as my Raspoodle. It is not strong, it is not beautiful… Why?

[Music hits a high point and ends.]

Tom
Hilda’s gonna grab a rock and fling it at Rasputin.

Emily
[Delighted.] Throwing a rock at him?!

Tom
Not like very effectively, just like throwing a rock at him.

Hallie
I will say, if Hilda does that, Sparky would immediately follow up with a second rock.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Nice one, kid, but your throw sucks. This is how you throw a rock.

Emily
[Giggling.] “This is how you throw a rock at people. I’m an expert.”

Kyle
His head—

Tom
I wanna see Sparky just baseball a rock right into him.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Have you ever broke a window? This is how you do it.

Ari
I also was thinking that Quique was gonna kick the possum so it could be like a joint effort.

[Giggling.]

Kyle
You (kicking impact sound), it (hisses and snarls).

Tom
The adults are just gonna fight a bunch of possums.

Kyle
You hit him, both, and his head falls back and flumps behind the sofa and into the cushions. Suddenly, you just see a shadow illuminated by the light of a possum just (whoosh), of a Boidelrat just flying through the air.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
[[Stammering and grumbling.] What?!

Kyle
The body without the skull starts reaching in and it pulls out the head.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
[Angry muffled sounds.]

Tom
While this is happening, Hilda’s gonna grab Booker and run.

[Frantic comedic chase music begins.]

Kyle
As you all run, the head gets pulled out of the cushions. The skull turns to you and the rest of the body shrugs.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
Get them!

Kyle
We are going to start a confrontation! The way a confrontation works is you have a clock that you need to fill and the villain has a clock they need to fill. Each of you is trying to get a thing done. Once your clock fills, you are going to succeed at your thing. Once their clock, the monster clock, fills, they are gonna get their thing successfully.
Because you ran a little bit before he had time to respond, I will say that your clock is 3 and his is 4. His goal is to catch you and get your things. He wants Booker, ID Card would be nice… You know, if you have money, he could use some money, honestly. Your objective… you can tell me what it is. I assume in this case it would be just to escape. Or do you have a different goal? Because your goal could be to punch every single Boidelrat.

Tom
I was assuming our goal would be escape right now since we have the main things we wanted.

Kyle
Okay. So right now you are running away. There are a swarm of Boidelrat chasing you. I would say you’re probably in the trees right now. You’re making your way back to the lake, that’s where you are. What are you going to do to try to get away?

Hallie
So there’s nothing like a barrel to tip over and fill and make it harder for them to chase us, but I want to do something to that extent.

Tom
There could be a barrel down here.

Hallie
In the mystical forest lake area?

Kyle
There’s a lot of garbage around.

Hallie
I wanna sprinkle the garbage and make it harder for the Boidelrats to follow us. That’s what I’m doing. I’m giving Hilda tips while I’m doing it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Occasionally grunting as she creates obstacles.] Okay Hilda, when you’re being chased you want to make sure to obscure the ground they’re chasing you on and you can put obstacles in their way, because that way it makes it a lot harder for them to catch up to you. I’ve done this a lot.

Kyle
Yeah. You are going to spill a bunch of garbage?

Hallie
Yeah. I’m spilling a bunch of garbage. Would that be Take Action or would that be a different thing?

[Music ends.]

Kyle
Let’s do Take Action, because it is a pretty fierce thing to do to just throw things around.

Hallie
This is pretty aggressively physical, pretty direct.

Kyle
You’re not being methodical about it.

Hallie
No, I’m just…

Kyle
You’re just picking up shit and throwing it.

Hallie
Yeah. I don’t want the possums to get me. Alright, I have 0 in Fierce so that’s… Ba-bloo!
[Rolls.] Four!

Kyle
That is a failure.

Ari
Wait, I have a question. Can I use my Loaded Die? Because I know at the beginning I rolled a mixed success, so I want to use Loaded Die…

Kyle
Absolutely! So, Loaded Dice is a move where Ari rolls at the beginning of the adventure and stores the result, which for this adventure was I believe a mixed success. She can then replace any roll with the one she did at the beginning of the session. Typically you have to declare moves before rolling. This move is one of the exceptions.
So Ari, how did you somehow set things up ahead of time so that things would go from kind of bad to okay? Mind you, the context here is Sparky is lagging behind, slathering everything with garbage.

Ari
Right, to trip them up and stuff.

Kyle
Yeah. So how did you load it so that Sparky won’t succeed but Sparky will at least not fail?

[01:30:00]

Ari
Hmm… I’m trying to think. I want to say he’s maybe throwing something but accidentally, not necessarily something on purpose, that adds to the things that Sparky had but also can make Sparky trip. Maybe he grabbed a bunch—like, he has the one card he needs and that’s in his safe pocket, but he grabbed a lot of other stuff when he tried to get the cards and stuff. So there’s a lot of Necromon cards that aren’t the Pik Pik.

Hallie
[Grinning.] I choose you!

Ari
And they’re just falling down as he’s running.

Hallie
And you!

Ari
Because there’s just too much loaded weight. Like, what is this trash I have? I don’t need this. And then throwing it out.

[Ghostly chase music begins.]

Kyle
[Chuckles.] Yeah. So, the Boidelrat are catching up and they’re gonna get you because Sparky’s just so behind, laying out garbage. And they’re following—Sparky left a trail of breadcrumbs for them. It looks like they’re gonna catch up, but then you hear a voice from around the corner say:

Kyle (as Rasputin)
What the hell are you doing? Don’t grab trash, grab Necromon cards. They are more valuable. Except for that, I like how that coat looks. Please get that coat back for me. I would like that coat, please. And that hat.

Kyle
What happens if you roll a mixed success? Both clocks fill.

Hallie
Yay.

Kyle
You are now chasing along the side of the lake and they are eventually catching up with you. They’ve thinned out a bit but not substantially enough that anything has changed.

Tom
Hilda is going to, because we are in a position of trash where bits of confetti and shredded balloon and whatnot are around, Hilda is going to quickly try to set a little snare for the possums.

Hallie
Ha!

Ari
Aw.

Tom
Basically like a stretched-out rubber band catapult but it’s like a lot of confetti and shit piled in it. Would I be able to use Take Action to do this? Because it’s gonna require quick and decisive work to set this up.

Kyle
I would say for something like this it would be probably closer to Keep Your Cool because you have to do something methodical.

Tom
God fucking damn it.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Tom
Well shit. Alright. Does this count as acting against Rasputin? Do I get my +1 ongoing?

Kyle
Yeah. Anything you do is acting against Rasputin.

Tom
Okay.
[Rolls.] That’s a 5. Total failure.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
Yeah. You’re tying it. How are you failing to keep your cool? To, like, maintain…

Tom
This is extraordinarily scary. Hilda has never in her life been attacked by a swarm of Necromon in a cave led by a deceased man.

Ari
[Amused.] A deceased man.

Tom
And the adults are not doing a good job of reassuring her right now, because everyone is running for their lives.

Hallie
Okay, well…

Tom
And that’s not their fault, but Hilda is freaking out. She’s not keeping her cool, and the snare won’t set, and eventually she has to just abandon it and keep running again in despair having lost a lot of time.

Kyle
So you abandon the snare, you run away, but you do hear an “ah,” like a sound behind you, and we see a skeleton leg in the snare. Quique has to jump back a few feet, reattach his leg, and catch up with the rest of you.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
[Smiling.] God…

Kyle
You have 2 more to fill. He has 2 more to fill. What are you gonna do?
[Whimsical ghostly chase music begins.]
At this point you are running back. You’ve made it a way through the trees. The light is illuminating around you. It is pulsing. The Necromon in the vicinity are kind of chasing along. It’s like a stampede running along beside you, but the real stampede is behind you.

Ari
So the leg thing gave Quique an idea that, you know, doesn’t always work because he has to time it properly, but he’s gonna try to take his arm out and shape it like a boomerang and throw it at the possums so that it’s kind of like a bowling thing and then it goes back to him. I don't know if that’s a thing that can be made, but I don’t have any other idea.

Kyle
[Reluctant, grinning.] Roll me a Take a Swing. You’re going to hit somebody.

Ari
[Rolls.] That’s a 7.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
Alright. You go and you throw it at them and they catch it. Then, they start fighting over your arm in their teeth like dogs.

[Laughter.]

Ari (as Quique)
Well, it doesn’t always work. It was a longshot.

Kyle
You’ll get that arm back, eventually, somehow, but it’s not gonna be on-screen. Both of your clocks fill by 1. This next turn, you will escape or he will catch you. This is your last action. You each have one left.

Hallie
Okay. Does anybody have any idea how we could spelunk our way out of this?

Ari (as Quique)
Aren’t you the expert?

Hallie
[Laughing.] This is me, Hallie, asking you. This is me asking the players!

Ari
[Laughing.] Oh, I thought that was Sparky. I’m so sorry.

Tom
I’m so mad because that was such a perfect Quique line, too.

Ari
I thought that was…

Kyle
As Quique says that, Sparky, you find yourself—

Tom
Yeah, Kyle’s gonna edit that into a Sparky line now.

Hallie
Motherfucker!

Tom
[Grinning.] It’s happened again.

[01:35:00]

Kyle
You find yourself at the cave. So, you’re there at the bottom. There is the rope.

Hallie
I’m gonna…

Tom
I think we can frame a climb like this as spelunking-adjacent because it is climbing in a cave.

Hallie
The problem is that it only allows me to get up faster, but I don’t want to try to slow down the possums again because that didn’t work the first time.

Tom
I think we can just say that you’re showing us how to do it faster.

[Peppy 80s exercise music begins.]

Hallie
Can I just be like a hustle teacher?

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Claps.] Alright. Alright. Quique, I know that you’re just bones but you have to do it this way. Hilda, Hilda, no, widen your stance a little bit, honey. There you go.

Ari
I can argue that helps him go faster because he doesn’t want to hear Sparky saying all of these things.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
You see, Quique? I am the expert. You gotta listen to me.

Ari
He’s trying to go faster to lose whatever she’s saying so he can just get out of here.

Kyle
We do have helping rules, but that would be more if Ari was like “I’m going to climb” and you were like “I’m going to help.” Because that’s not what’s happening, your roll is encouraging everyone else, the closest approximation we have is Help an NPC – Heart. Since you are basically being a motivational teacher, I would say that would be what you would roll with.

[Music ends.]

Hallie
I would roll with Heart?

Tom
I’m glad we’re gambling our lives on one Hallie roll as well.

Hallie
Hey! Because of my wildcard stat load-out, I have +2 in Heart.

Kyle
And you get advantage because it’s Spelunking.

Hallie
Yeah. Yeah I do! Yeah I do. Here I go. Spelunk!
[Rolls.] Malata!

Ari
I think that just means two sixes.

Hallie
It’s two sixes!

Tom
Oh thank god.

Kyle
It’s a critical success! Okay.

Hallie
It’s two sixes! I got the good one! I got malata!

Kyle
I wasn’t sure if it was a critical success or—

Hallie
It’s a critical success! It’s two sixes! I got a good. That’s my new… Yeah listeners, malata!”

[Earthquake SFX begins.]

Kyle
As the swarm gets behind you, the blue light completely disappears and instead you just see a tunnel filled with Boidelrat. How do you get out?

[SFX ends. Action, spy-like music begins.]

Hallie
Oh man. Um… So, Sparky’s showing Hilda and Quique how to climb, and they’re doing great because she’s just doing such a good job of being the coach or whatever. Sparky, she’s climbing up after them, a little bit under them, but as she’s doing it she’s just winding the rope up behind her because she’s good enough at spelunking and cave climbing that she can do that passive-aggressive move while she’s also being a badass and climbing up beneath them.
While she’s doing it, I want her to do a little salute down to Rasputin, because she’s getting… Fuck you, Rasputin. That’s what that means.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
What are you saluting for? We’re coming up as well, just—
Annie, not so close. Where is Raspoodle? Where is Raspoodle?! Lexi, Maria, Tatiana!

[Music ends. Earthquake SFX begins.]

Kyle
He is screaming at these Boidelrat as they slowly rise. It’s just a bunch of Boidelrat rising up the tunnel.

Hallie
[Into her hands, delighted.] Oh my god.

Kyle
But eventually they get too tight at the top of the tunnel, and where there was a hole, instead there is just a flat surface full of packed up Boidelrat.

[SFX ends.]

Hallie
[Delighted.] Fucking possums.

Kyle
And then a single skeleton head poking out.

Hallie
[Laughs.] Can I smack it with my SmackBook Pro?

Ari
[Amused.] SmackBook Pro.

Hallie
Just for fun?

[Impact sound.]

Kyle (as Rasputin)
Ow! I mean, I do not feel pain, but emotionally… ow.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah, I don’t care.

Hallie
She’s gonna orient herself the way that she did when she climbed out of the bush earlier except now it’s way worse because this was spelunking being chased by Rasputin and an army of possums. She turns around and goes:

Hallie (as Sparky)
Okay. I think they’re stuck. So, uh, thanks to me…

Hallie
She looks at Quique while she says that.

Hallie (as Sparky)
…we can get out of here.

Hallie
Then she’s gonna go up to Hilda and take both of her shoulders and gently steer her back towards wherever her van is. I assume she drove in her van here.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Okay. Okay. I think we did good. Did you get—Is that a… Are you okay?

Tom (as Hilda)
[Sniffles.] I don't know. I think so. I…

Tom
Hilda’s gonna be trying to pet and stroke Booker’s spine but is also sniffling.

Emily (as Booker)
[Concerned.] Rekoob?

Tom (as Hilda)
[Growing tearful.] I’m sorry, Sparky. That was really scary and I lost so much stuff down there. I don't know how I’m gonna explain this to my moms.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh Hilda… Just a part of journalism. You lose stuff, all the time.

Tom (as Hilda)
But it was a lot.

Hallie (as Sparky)
It’s okay. It’s okay. Listen, just tell them, um… You’re not bullied at school, are you?

Tom (as Hilda)
Well, not yet, but—

Kyle
[Laughs.] School hasn’t started yet.

Hallie
[Laughs.] Because Sparky’s immediate go-to was like “just tell them the school bullies stole it.”

Hallie (as Sparky)
Alright. Just say you let me borrow it. I am borrowing your school books… for research.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Pondering grumble.]

[01:40:00]

Hallie (as Sparky)
What else did you lose? We can replace whatever you lost. It’s fine. You didn’t lose any cards, did you? Because I think that Necromon really likes you.

Emily (as Booker)
[Assertive.] Rekoob.

Tom (as Hilda)
Are you okay, Booker?

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob.

Emily
Booker’s like… When he realized that Hilda was upset, he started kind of snuggling up a little more. He feels kinda bad, seemingly, for a book.

Tom
[Chuckles.] She’s gonna snuggle back with Booker.

Tom (as Hilda)
I don’t wanna lie to my moms. Would you mind coming to talk to them with me, Sparky?

Hallie (as Sparky)
… No.

[Laughter.]

Hallie
Whether that is “no, I wouldn’t mind” or “no, I’m not going” is unclear. To Sparky as well as anybody listening.

Tom
Hilda looks on in confusion. She’ll just sort of wipe away definitely not tears and say:

Tom (as Hilda)
You were really brave back there, Booker. I’m sorry I didn’t give you a chance to show your stuff.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob.

Emily
He says, in agreement, that he’s cool.

[Magical friendship music begins.]

Tom (as Hilda)
You don’t look so good right now, but do you wanna come with me? I can help you get back on your feet.

Tom
She’s gonna pull out a Necrocard.

Tom (as Hilda)
Wanna be my Necromon?

Emily (as Booker)
[Affirming.] Rekoob.

Tom (as Hilda)
Alright, then we have made a pact.

Kyle
In response, the book starts to shine with that bluish-white light. The ribbons go back in and the pages furl back into regular legible pages. In front of you, instead of Booker, you have Babcia Ania’s book, but the light stays there for a second because, as we said, every Necromon card has to have your name written on it. On the front cover, the blue light fades around the little sticker that your Babcia had you put on it that says “this book belongs to Hilda Miszkiewicz.”
And, as you all get up and ready to go, today’s adventure, while harrowing, seems to be—

[Music ends abruptly.]

Kyle (as man 1)
[Loud and boisterous.] Now wait just one second before you go anywhere!

Kyle (as man 2)
[Loud and raspy.] Yeah, wait one second! Wait one second! One second! One second!

Kyle
From out of fucking nowhere these two men appear.
[Loud clumsy music begins.]
They’re wearing khaki shorts, sunglasses, and these Hawaiian aloha shirts. One of them is an extremely muscular man, he looks like an upside-down triangle, while the other one has more of the 40s dad bod. He looks like a pear with the stomach and the ill-fitting mustache. You know, the Magnum P.I. look. The muscular one says:

Kyle (as man 1)
[Boisterous.] Sorry to stop you there, little lady, but we got a dangerous crime scene here, so if everyone will just stay calm for one second.

Kyle (as man 2)
[Aggressive.] Stay calm! You all gotta stay calm for one second!

Kyle (as man 1)
One second, everybody! Okay? We got a dangerous criminal in these parts.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well that’s interesting.

Hallie
Sparky’s already getting out her little notebook.

Kyle (as man 1)
Yeah, dangerous criminal around these parts, but don’t worry, the Undertakers are here.

Kyle
Both of these men take out these badges that are clicked onto their belt and have the little pull-on thing on them. They take out their badges which are for the Bureau of Intermortal Enforcement, or BITE for short.

Kyle (as man 1)
I’m Ron-13!

Kyle (as man 2)
I’m Ron-12!

[Hard rock Ron Squad theme begins]

Kyle (as Ron-13 & Ron-12)
And we’re the RON SQUAD!

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Now, just stay there a little bit. We got a dangerous criminal here. You may have heard of him. Rasputin. Dangerous guy, dangerous guy, but don’t worry, we’re here to take care of it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well then, you’ll be happy to know we already have.

Kyle (as Ron-13)
That’s a funny joke, ma’am. That’s a funny joke. You’re funny.

Hallie (as Sparky)
That’s true, I am very hilarious, but no. He’s over there.

Kyle (as Ron-13)
You don’t need to act brave around me, ma’am.
[Hits his chest.] We’re here to take care of everything. Alright? Alright.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Uh-huh…

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Hey, Ron-12!

Kyle (as Ron-12)
Yeah, Ron-13?

Kyle (as Ron-13)
You find him yet?

Kyle (as Ron-12)
Well, it was pretty tough, but uh… got him.

Kyle
You can see his arm—his hand is around Quique’s arm.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh for god’s sake.

Tom
Which arm?

Kyle
The one he has.

Kyle (as Ron-12)
You Rasputin! You aren’t gonna threaten anyone with your dangerous tax evasion ever again!

Hallie (as Sparky)
Tax evasion?

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Tax evasion, the most dangerous crime.

Tom (as Hilda)
That’s what they get you on.

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Identity theft is no joke.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Okay, um…

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Which, that’s not what tax evasion is, but they’re brothers… like us! The Rons!

Kyle (as Ron-12)
We’re not actually brothers, but like, brothers in blood. In blood!

Kyle (as Ron-13)
I mean, nah… In bond. Brothers in bond. That’s what we are. Ron Squad.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well, uh, um…

Ari (as Quique)
Do you even have a, you know… I don’t think a picture is relevant in this sort of situation.

Kyle (as Ron-13)
We know what a skeleton looks like.

[01:45:00]

Ari (as Quique)
Is every single skeleton in Necropolis Rasputin?

Kyle (as Ron-13)
No! Rasputin’s got a beard, of course—

Ari (as Quique)
Yeah. Got you there, didn’t I?

Kyle (as Ron-12)
Hey Ron!

Kyle (as Ron-13)
What’s that, Ron?

Kyle (as Ron-12)
I found him!

Kyle
You can see the other Ron, Ron-12, has already left you. He’s already left your side and he’s now actually found actual Rasputin.

Kyle (as Rasputin)
Unhand me. Those things were not legally mine, just metaphorically mine.

Hallie
[Giggles.]

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Don’t worry. See? Ron Squad, looking out for you.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Looking out for us?

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Looking out for you. Ma’am, we just took a dangerous criminal off the streets. You’re welcome.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Uninterested.] Okay, um, yeah, uh-huh… Congratulations.
Could I get, um, uh… Your names were Ron-13 and Ron-12?

Kyle (as Ron-13)
[Excited.] I’m Ron-13! That’s Ron-12.

Kyle (as Ron-12)
I’m Ron-12! That’s Ron-13.

Kyle (as Ron-13)
They had to start numbering us because there were too many Rons.

Kyle (as Ron-12)
Too many Rons!

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Too many Rons.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Too many Rons. Okay. Too many Rons…

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Yeah. Uh-huh.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah, and um… who is your supervisor?

Hallie
That came out way too Sharon.

Tom
[Laughing.] Sharon!

Hallie (as Sparky)
And you report to whom?

Kyle (as Ron-13)
We report to John.

Hallie (as Sparky)
To John.

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Yeah, poor Johns.

Kyle (as Ron-12)
Too many Rons. Too many Johns.

Kyle (as Ron-13)
Yeah, Johns, they go all the way up to 117.
[Chuckles.] Alright, you have a fun day there, little lady. We’ll be on our way…

Hallie (as Sparky)
Okay… Okay.

Kyle (as Ron-13)
[Trying to be smooth.] …having made you safe.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah. Where’s your office at?

Kyle
And they’re off.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Projecting.] Where’s your office?!

Kyle
They’re off.

Hallie (as Sparky)
They’re worse at answering questions than you!

Ari
Oh, he’s gone. He didn’t stay.

Hallie
[Cackles.]

Ari
He was already gone. I was going to say that he was gone, he grabbed Quique, and I’m like I guess he dragged him back because he was already gone. I was gonna even justify like he’s not here in this tender book moment. He doesn’t have any reason to stay.

Hallie
[Delighted.] This tender book moment. Seeing Quique’s also gone, Sparky just screams.

Hallie (as Sparky)
AGH! Okay, you know what? It’s fine. It’s fine. Um… Hilda, honey, we will go to, um… Let’s—Do you wanna go home first? Do you wanna come for some Laterade?

Tom (as Hilda)
Snacks would be nice, yeah.

[End of adventure music begins.]

Kyle
So, Quique goes to do something with his new holo foil Necromon far, far away from you, and you two go off to talk about Booker and the adventures you had today, as the Ron Squad tries getting Rasputin out, or as much of him out as they can, from inside the Boidelrats.

Hallie
Gross.

Kyle
But you, your moms, and the Rons aren’t the only ones who are gonna be aware of the events of today’s date, because in the corner we hear the little whir of a security camera pointed towards the hole with the letters S and C emblazoned on them.
[Music changes to oppressive ambient music.]
Somewhere else, in some room, a figure sits in a chair and taps his fingers. Someone else, some employee in the white ScubaCorp trench coat, walks up to him and says:

Kyle (as employee)
[Flamboyant.] Oset! Great news~! We found the Necromon.

[Ghostly credits music carries out to the bloopers.]

Kyle
And that’s the end of the session.

Hallie
I’m so hyped.

Tom
Ron Squad.

Hallie
Ron Squad.

Kyle
Out of character, this is the Necromon you are trying to catch. It is just a dik-dik, or a chevrotain. It’s called a Pik Pik though because dik-dik sounds—

Hallie
Bad.

Kyle
Yeah.

Ari
I’m so glad you made that a Necromon because that thing is already a Necromon.

Kyle
It doesn’t have any Chihuahua features, but I combined it with the Chihuahua in that it’s always shaking even when it’s not afraid.

Ari
I mean, you don't know if the dik-dik isn’t always shaking. It’s so small.

Kyle
Fuck, you got me there. Mark one for Ari, 13 minutes into Episode 1.

Ari
I got an AP! Actually, I don’t think I did.

Hallie
No, don’t give—

Kyle
[Laughs.] No, Ari did not get an AP. Don’t worry. You will have lots of opportunities.

Hallie
“APportunities.”

Ari
“Hopper-tunities.”

Kyle
Fuck, Opportunity Points would be a good term, but OP doesn’t sound super great.

Hallie
That doesn’t sound good, yeah.

Tom
HP.

Ari
Hopper-tunities.

Tom
Yeah, that’s what I thought. I thought that was the pun you were making, Hopper-tunity Points.

Hallie
Oh!

Kyle
Hopper-tunity Points. Agh!
Tom and Hallie, I asked you to describe your fucking characters.

Tom
You did. You did.

Hallie
I was waiting for Tom to go!

[01:50:00]

Tom
I was very distracted by everything that was going on. So, um…

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Ari
I kind of want to save this maybe as a future video thing, because the face Hallie made of expectation, like “you better give it to me.”

Hallie
[Laughs.] I’m the only one here. It’s mine!

Ari
It was an exquisite face.

Tom
That is definitely a Patreon video, the face Hallie fucking made, when it’s like “who do you give the AP to.”

Emily
My parents are gonna love that!

Hallie
No~! Why would you say that?

Tom
Get clowned on, Hallie.

Hallie
They don’t get to—No…

Emily
They love you.

Hallie
I do not wish to be perceived! Except that I allow myself to be filmed.

Tom
The desire to be known yet the horror of being perceived.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Tom
Look, this is peak “casually approach child.”

Kyle
Yeah.

Ari
It is peak “casually approach child.”

Kyle
Out of a bush that I was hiding in for minutes at a time.

Hallie
With a net!

Hallie (as Sparky)
Quique? Is that—?

Hallie
That’s not my voice.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Quique? Is that you?

Hallie
That is also not my voice but I’m sticking with it.

Tom
Gotta be breathier. “Quique?”

Ari
[Laughing.] That sounded so British.

Hallie
Is it British?! God damn it! Okay…

Kyle
Sparky snaps back to it.

Ari
Well, that’s good, because otherwise Quique was going to do this fucking prisoner situation where he would try to tie Sparky to him so that she doesn’t wander away as he tries to find a way back to Hilda. So I’m glad. He was about to thinking how to do that, so he’s even going to be like “oh, thank god.”

Kyle
You give a mouse a Necrocookie. It was right there.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
If you give a maus a Necrocookie.

Hallie
Maus!

Kyle
It’s “if you give a mouse a cookie” combined with the fascist mouse book, ‘Maus.’

Tom
[Distraught.] No~!

Kyle
If you give a maus a cookie.

Ari
Oh no.

Tom
No, please. Don’t do this.

Tom
I’m so glad that Rasputin just lives in a fucking cave with his trash possums.

Hallie
Yeah, with his little possums.

Tom
“What have you brought me, my precious?”

Hallie
Collecting ScubaCorp jackets!

Tom
Christ.

Hallie
I love it so much.

Tom
What an incredible thing you’ve done.

Hallie
Holy shit.

Tom
I love this Doofenshmirtz Rasputin.

Hallie
[Delighted.] Doofenshmirtz Rasputin!

Tom
And his fucking possum army.

Ari
He’s pretty great.

Kyle
Also, I’ll say Booker does—just so Hallie doesn’t lose it, Booker does have the ID as well. That dropped with him.

Hallie
I was fully gonna be like “jokes on you, I don’t give a shit,” and walk away once Hilda had her stuff.

Emily
Booker is chewing on that a little bit.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I knew it!

Hallie
That doesn’t have to be the ending line. That’s how Sparky responds.

Kyle
I was just very proud of the line “protect the rutabaga or the world ends.”

Hallie
Save the cheerleader, save the world.

Kyle
That’s what I was thinking! Save the cheerleader, save the world. Save the rutabaga, save the world!