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In order to make these transcripts as accessible as possible, each one is produced in four formats: as an online post for access convenience, in a word document with a low vision friendly font (Veranda), in a pdf with a dyslexia friendly font (OpenDyslexic), and a low contrast blue on black pdf as an access option for people with migraines (Veranda).


Writing Alchemy Collaboration 2 – Pandora Files: The Case of the Missing Hope

[Happy, bouncy, electronic music plays.]

Fay Onyx: This is a special collaboration episode that was created for the 2019 International Podcast Month event. This diverse and inclusive event is all about celebration, building community, and sharing our love of podcasting. I highly recommend checking it out.

[The bouncy music fades out and creepy, suspenseful music starts playing as the teaser for The Redacted Files starts.]

ASER: Shadowy conspiracies, ravening beasts, the cold embrace of the void. These are just some of the dangers awaiting those who stand between the innocent and the multitudes ready to destroy everything we believe in. And the way our heroes roll, whether it’s Warhammer 40,000, Delta Green, Numenera, or any number of other games we’ve tried, they’ll probably encounter these dangers sooner rather than later. Join us at The Redacted Files dot com.

[The suspenseful music cuts out as the teaser for The Redacted Files ends and the teaser for Writing Alchemy begins.]

TOBI: It’s more like she’s gonna cut in front of you in the lunch line [FAY laughs] and pretend nothing happened.

[Bouncy music with a cheerful and mysterious flute melody starts.]

FAY: Writing Alchemy is a storytelling podcast that centers intersectional characters, including a fairy tale series that combines humor and magic with serious topics, and a tabletop role playing series about the adventures of disabled and mentally diverse heroes. Check out Writing Alchemy at, or subscribe on Stitcher, iTunes, or Google Play.

[The bouncy music fades out as the Writing Alchemy teaser ends.]

JONN: Hi, this is Jonn, welcome to International Podcast Month. We’ll be playing a game using Forthright, called Pandora’s Dream. With me, I have Fay.

FAY: Hi, I’m Fay Onyx, and my pronouns are ze and hir, and I’m going to be playing Salvinia, who is a nixie. And one of the things that’s going on for her, and she’s got she/her pronouns, is that she can perceive, like, all of the different possible outcomes of different actions. So kinda like perceiving potential features. And sometimes this is overwhelming for her. And sometimes it’s helpful. And she finds it the most overwhelming in social interactions, particularly with talking. So she has some pretty intense social anxiety. But she’s also very determined. And she’s all about trying to prevent injustices from happening to others.

JONN: Also with us is Whitney.

WHITNEY: Hi, my name is Whitney and my pronouns are she/her. I’m going to be playing Frecka. And she is a werewolf based on the archetype of the Big Bad Wolf. She is- mostly wants to be a soft, forest-gardening wolf drinking tea, but then people like to come and tromp. And she doesn’t have a lot of patience and maybe has a couple anger issues. So she’s trying real hard to be friendly and deal with people, but sometimes it’s very difficult. So she’s super interested in like, justice and making sure that the good right gets served. She’s like hella Gryffindor, let’s be real. [FAY and JONN laugh]

JONN: I’m Jonn, he/him, and I’ll be the GM. I’m gonna start by giving an introduction of the world. Welcome, all, to the lands of Tome.

[The Tome theme, a slow, eerie, but beautiful track featuring violin and other string instruments, begins playing.]

JONN: The land lost amongst the clouds, a world as vast as it is diverse. These lands are the manifestation of the collective imagination left to run wild. Here in Tome, [transcriber’s note: pronounced tohm] medieval towns, desert oasises, and fairy tale kingdoms can be found. Alongside them: forgotten ruins, sprawling metropolises, and cities of the future. The inhabitants are born from the minds of the visitors to Tome. Some visitors come infrequently, while others spend a great deal of time here. They go by many different names, come from many different places. They are called storytellers. And Tome is where storytellers come to imagine.

You are part of a secret organization that finds its home here in Tome. The organization is led by a woman that’s both founder and namesake: Pandora. Pandora’s members are a collection of infamous and misunderstood folklore creatures. As members, you’re expected to have learned the moral of your stories and joined to make Tome a better place. Your mission is to protect Tome from the creatures who want to end the telling of stories and unmake Happily Ever Afters.

[The Tome theme fades out and is replaced by noir detective music, a jazzy piece with bass, drums, and finger snaps and a relaxed, yet dark, tone.]

JONN: A detective contacted Ms. Pandora with a request for a private meeting at his agency. Having failed to piece together the case on his own, he reached out to Pandora on the behest of his client. Like most detectives, he was hard boiled with a chip on his shoulder. Unlike most, he was smart enough to recognize when he was in over his head. Ms. Pandora placed the task in your capable hands. Your team is to meet with the detective and figure it all out. It was time you paid a visit to Grimm & Noir.

Grimm & Noir greets all its guests the same, offering cold wind gusts and a colder drizzle. The endless rain is enough to depress even the most cheerful of mood. You find yourself cast in the same sepia tones that cling to the near featureless surroundings. You’re buzzed into an old brownstone apartment building, ascend to the top of a flight of stairs, and stand before [an] office door.

Text painted in bright red on the door’s opaque glass panel reads “Humpty Dumpty’s Detective Agency.” [FAY laughs] You enter into the office, and you are greeted by Humpty Dumpty himself. “Come on in. My name is Humpty Dumpty.” He holds a hand out to the wolf.

WHITNEY: So Frecka is average size. She’s probably about 5′ 7″, built like, almost like a power lifter. She’s stocky. She’s definitely muscular. Holds herself really centered. You definitely would like her to have your back in a fight. Her eyes are a yellow green. And she usually, even when she’s on cases, is wearing well broken-in jeans and probably a flannel shirt with a cool jacket over that has a ton of pockets for everything she needs.

FAY: So she’s in uh- a human looking person at the moment. Is that true?

WHITNEY: Yes. Yeah, she’s, she’s in her human persona right now. When she–

JONN: Oh, okay.

WHITNEY: Oh, yeah. When she becomes a wolf, she is- oh, I guess her hair color is sort of a sandy blonde with some dark brown. And so when she takes her wolf form, she’s mostly browns and gold with a little smattering of black across her spine.

[Noir detective music ends.]

FAY: Cool.

JONN: So here in Grimm & Noir pretty much everything is washed out in monochrome. But there would be a one distinctive feature that would be like a splash of color. What would that be for, for you?

WHITNEY: Ooh. Probably her eyes.

JONN: Okay, so Humpty Dumpty shakes your hand and then extends a hand to… Sylvia?

FAY: Salvinia.

JONN: Salvinia. Thank you.

FAY: So Salvinia is humanoid. She’s about five feet tall, and she’s a little bit, looks a little bit like a frog. So she’s got webbed hands and feet. And she’s got pale, grey-green skin that has darker olive stripes and patches. And she’s got long hair that looks like water weeds. And another very distinctive feature is that the clothing she’s wearing is made out of living water plants that have been woven together. And she’s got a large bag of- that’s just jammed full of all sorts of things with her. And so she’s going to take Humpty Dumpty’s hand and, and shake it, and she’s just gonna say, “Salvinia.”

JONN: He pauses as if he is expecting, like, more. [FAY starts laughing] And then when he realizes–nothing. [JONN starts laughing too]

FAY: She will take her hand back. Nervously. Like, “Okay.” [laughter stops]

JONN: “Well, please sit down.” [He] extends a hand towards two chairs that are sitting on one side of a desk. He circles around the desk and sits down in his chair.

WHITNEY: Great. Frecka takes the chair that’s closest to the door, makes sure she can see both the door and any other potential entrances.

FAY: Salvinia sits in the other chair.

JONN: So as they’re looking around for… there is actually a door off to one side towards the front of the office. It’s basically- the office looks to be like a two- probably as a two room. But beyond that door is a small waiting room area that’s currently closed.

It’s like, “Well, the reason I’ve asked you here is my client asked that I get in contact with Pandora. I’ve kind of run into a dead end here, and I’m hoping that involving you all will make a difference.” And he just hands you a manila folder. Hands, uh, [to] Salvinia.

FAY: Oh good, because Salvinia wanted that folder. [WHITNEY laughs] She takes it and immediately starts looking through it.

WHITNEY: And Frecka’s like, trying to see. Crane her- crane her neck and being like, “Hey, what is it? Tell me the things.” [FAY laughs]

JONN: All right, so you get to the manila folder, and it looks to be reports of several authors that have gone missing from their homes. You gonna take the time to read through everything?

FAY: Well, it kinda depends. Is Humpty Dumpty just sitting there while we go through the folder?

JONN: Yeah.

FAY: Okay.

WHITNEY: That’s fine. I’m happy to say, “So while my compatriot takes a look through the file, can you give me a quick overview of sort of what you found and sort of the, the oddities of the case where you’re hitting the wall?”

[A new piece of noir music begins playing. It is a jazz piece with a mysterious feel and features the bass, drums, and piano.]

JONN: Well, the oddities are that each of the victims were taken from their home, and their door was left wide open, for whatever reason. Nothing was stolen from the home, but they just simply disappeared. And it was odd to see the door thrown wide open. Now, something he points out is there’s a little baggie that looks to have some sort of thread in it that was in the manila envelope.

FAY: Oh yeah? What’s the thread look like?

JONN: So you look at the thread, and it looks to be a cluster of thin threads. If you do a skill check, you may derive a little more information about it.

FAY: Oh, she’s ready to do that skill check. [WHITNEY laughs]

JONN: Okay, but let me give you the rest of the infor- were you gonna look and check that out before looking through the rest of the envelope?

FAY: Well, he’s talking about it, so I think she’s gonna be staring at it.

JONN: All right, so give me a skill check. The way it works is you roll a D20. On a seven or less, you have a setback. You won’t- it’s where you don’t get any information. From eight to fourteen, you have an exchange where basically, you’ll get information, but you may not get all of the pertinent details. Or it’s something that takes you a long time to accomplish.

From a fifteen or higher is a win, where you basically get all the information you can have. So from fifteen to twenty. If you have a plus one or higher, or plus two in this case, you potentially can get a twenty-one or a twenty-two. In which case, you would also earn yourself a boon. And a boon is like a token that you can use to spend to give you some benefits. We’ll cover that when we get to it. Each one of you starts the game with one boon. All right.

[The sound of a single die rolling.]

FAY: Cool, so I rolled a twelve, and I have a plus two. So that’s a fourteen. So that’s, I believe, that’s the highest possible partial success? [FAY and WHITNEY laugh]

JONN: Yes.

FAY: Oh well. At least it’s not a failure.

JONN: Yeah, there’s that. You spend some time looking at the thread. It looks to be… definitely spider silk. It’s something that- it’s usually difficult to differentiate that between, say, caterpillar silk or maybe some other creature. But you can, you can tell from certainty- with your- from your experience, that this is definitely spider silk.

FAY: She’s got a lot of experience with animals. So yeah, she’s- so I think she’s going to show the bag to Frecka and whisper in Frecka’s ear, [whispers] “It’s spider silk.”

WHITNEY: Hm, interesting. If I roll, can I try to smell it? I don’t know if it’ll tell me anything, but I’m a wolf, so I’m gonna smell it.

JONN: Since you are a wolf, I’m gonna say that you can smell it because that is something you can do in- well just, you know, you can corroborate that it is definitely spider silk.

WHITNEY: Cool. Do I smell anything else? Like, can I roll to see if I smell… I don’t know, perfume or anything like that on it?

JONN: What you also smell is maybe a little dust.

WHITNEY: I sneeze. A lot. And I’m like, “Yep, spider silk, but good lord.” [sniffs] All right.

JONN: All right. You go through the rest of the manila envelope?

FAY: Mhm.

JONN: Alright, so in going through it, you also find that there were a handful of reports a loud wailing the night one or two of the authors went missing. There looks to be thirteen authors in total, including Loren, who he points out- Loren’s home was the one that had the spider silk. But also, in addition to that, there was reports of damage to one of the gutters outside of her home.

[The mysterious noir music ends.]

FAY: So what’s, what’s this person’s name?

JONN: Loren Hope.

FAY: Loren Hope.

WHITNEY: So what you’re saying is that Loren Hope is our best lead, since we have the most amount of evidence around her disappearance.

JONN: Correct, and also he mentions that that’s also who his client came to him to get his help with. He says that the client’s actually in sitting in the waiting room, if you would like to talk to her.

FAY: Salvinia looks at Frecka to respond.

WHITNEY: Absolutely. All right, so Frecka looks back and nods and says, “Sure, that would be great. I’d be happy to talk to the client.”

JONN: He gets up, goes to the door, opens it, and says, “Come in. Pandora’s here.” Out walks a long-legged bird with [an] owl’s head and long- like wide wings spread- span kinda curled up around her, in the same sepia tones that everything else here is taking except for a fiery red mane around her neck. She introduces herself as Binesi and offers a wing.

WHITNEY: Frecka reaches out and shakes it and says, “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Frecka, one of the detectives from Pandora.”

FAY: Salvinia shakes the wing [and] just says, “Salvinia.”

JONN: “Oh.” She… after finishing greetings, she goes into explaining that, “Yes, um, I appreciate you looking into this. I’m very concerned about Loren’s disappearance. I, I feel terrible. I was supposed to be seeing her the day she went missing, but I had to turn around ’cause I got caught out in a rainstorm. I mentioned this to the King’s Men.”

And this aside, the King’s Men are the, effectively, PD of Tome. What you probably know about them is they’re grossly incompetent [WHITNEY and FAY laugh] for the most part, but they’re- they, they mean well. Except for, you know, any type of- most of the tasks that come their way, they are not able to accomplish unless it’s small-time. You know this about them.

WHITNEY: Excellent. So knowing that, I roll my eyes when she says she talked to the King’s Men about it, but I try to do it… quasi-respectfully. [FAY and JONN laugh]

JONN: Okay. [All three laugh.] So she said-

JONN (as Binesi): I had mentioned to the King’s Men that something was missing. It was the dream catcher I had made for her as a, as a gift. She is, after all, was my creator, and I had- I made it especially for her. It’s not anything particularly expensive, but it was missing from her room.

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Hm. That’s certainly odd, and we’re so sorry to hear that, you know, your creator’s gone missing. This must be very hard. And we, we appreciate you coming to us so we can help you. We’ll see what we can do for sure. Was there anything else out of place or odd that you happened to see when you were there?

JONN (as Binesi): No. Everything… I mean, other than the door being thrown open, I- there was nothing else missing. It was- it was particularly odd for it to be missing because it’s mostly made of sticks and yarn and a bit of twine. I wouldn’t have thought it would be valuable to anyone.

WHITNEY: Hm. Frecka makes a, a mental note of it. There’s so many things that go bump in the dark, so she’s gonna keep that… tucked away.

FAY: Quick question from me, the player. Did you say that there was a sign of struggle at this house?

JONN: No, there, there wasn’t any sign of a struggle. [FAY: Okay.] It was odd. It’s like, the door was definitely open. It wasn’t broken in; it was thrown open. The… damage to the gutter was like the only damage, but it wasn’t- didn’t appear to be a sign of struggle. Just damage that Binesi pointed out was not there before.

FAY: Damage to what?

JONN: One of the gutters outside of Loren’s home.

FAY: Ah, damage to the gutter outside.

WHITNEY: Yeah. Um, and also quick question as player: who discovered she was missing? Who found her? [FAY: Yeah.] Was it Binesi in the morning? Or have, have the authors that have gone missing, have they been discovered by neighbors or something like that?

JONN: Between the various authors, they’ve been discovered by different people. Sometimes by neighbors, sometimes by other family [or] visiting friends. [WHITNEY: Okay.] Binesi is who discovered Loren missing. So when she got there, she tells you, when she got there, the door was open. It didn’t seem like anything else was disturbed. But she was just absent, and she should have been there as far as she knows.

WHITNEY: Yeah. So I guess my question is, she said that she was supposed to be there, so was she just late for their meeting? Like, delayed? Or was it like the next morning she came by to say she was sorry for not having been around the night before?

JONN: Well, the night before she was just paying her a friendly visit. She went by the next day. [WHITNEY: Okay.] And that’s when she discovered the door was open. So I guess, officially, it wouldn’t have been considered a missing person until the day after that, when the king’s guard would have come to investigate.

WHITNEY: Great. Thank you.

JONN: That answer your question?

WHITNEY: Yes. Salvinia, in- in your looking through of the manila folder, have all the disappearances been overnight?

JONN: Yes. All the, all the authors disappeared at night.

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Okay, interesting. Binesi, do you know if there’s anybody else who could have been a threat to Loren that may have stopped by? Or if she had mentioned any, I don’t know, any, any new people or oddness in her neighborhood? Did she happen to mention anything like that in the couple days prior?

JONN (as Binesi): Um, no. I haven’t, I haven’t seen anything. There- she was behaving normally as far as I knew. [WHITNEY: Okay.] Maybe… I think she may have mentioned having trouble sleeping, but that’s not completely un-normal. As you know, authors do spend a lot of time writing when they come here. [WHITNEY: Mm.] So I assume she would have been there writing. That’s what- that’s as far as I know, she told me she would be doing. It was unusual for her to not be there, but definitely unusual for her door to be left open like that.

WHITNEY: “Absolutely. I can see how that would be disconcerting.” Um, Frecka leans over to Salvinia and says, you know, “Is there anything else you want me to bring up?”

FAY: Uh, so at this point, can we see what else Salvinia can glean from the folder that she’s been looking through?

JONN: Okay, so most of the information you can glean has been given, but I’ll go over all of it together now that you’ve pieced everything.

[A slow, mysterious jazz track with a vibe melody, occasional drums, and a slow bassline begins playing.]

JONN: Uh, the authors have been found missing with their doors thrown open. There was the sounds of loud wailing from several of the authors–not all of them, but several of the authors–when they went missing. Loren’s home had damage to… a gutter outside, which was unusual, but definitely was something that happened between the time that Binesi last saw Loren and the day of her disappearance. And you found silk that appears to be from a spider.

FAY: Mhm, and there’s no signs of a struggle?


FAY: And a personal item was taken for this person?

JONN: Yes.

FAY: Were personal items taken from anyone else’s homes?

JONN: Nothing that’s been reported. [FAY: Okay.] Nothing’s been reported missing. [FAY: Okay, okay.]

WHITNEY: And what about the proximity of each of these disappearances to each other? [FAY: Yes.] Does there seem to be a pattern? Is it the same neighborhood? Different neighborhoods each time? Does it say?

JONN: Unfortunately, in Tome, distances aren’t… normal. [WHITNEY laughs] So there isn’t a pattern to… Is it from the same area? It hasn’t been from the same locations. Like, the authors are all located in different places in Tome, generally, based on the sort of writings they do. [WHITNEY: Right.] And so there was no pattern- discernible pattern.

WHITNEY: ‘Kay. So it’s pretty random as far as- it’s not like they’re going in a circle around the city where they would live. It’s really sporadic. [JONN: Mhm.] Okay.

FAY: Who is the most recent one that was taken?

JONN: Um, Loren.

FAY: Okay, so that is our freshest lead too. And what is, how often does this kidnapping happen? [WHITNEY: Yeah.] Like are we talking once a day, like some new person disappears, or are we talking like a week goes by and then a new person…

JONN: It’s mostly sporadic. It can, it can be anywhere from, like, a week or two to maybe a month, but all of them have happened within, like, a two-month period.

FAY: Okay.

WHITNEY: So all of them have happened within the last eight weeks. [JONN: Mhm.] And again, there’s no pattern to timing, either. It’s… catch as catch can.

FAY: Or something like that, yeah.

WHITNEY: Or something like that. Yeah.

FAY: Yeah.

WHITNEY: And I’ll say back to Binesi, like, “Thank you for your help and for the information. We’re gonna work with Detective Dumpty here, and we’re gonna see what we can do to get your friend back. And please keep us appraised if there is any further information that you have or that comes to light.” I hand her my business card. It’s very fancy.

[The slow jazz music ends.]

JONN: Okay. What does the business card look like?

WHITNEY: It’s pretty simple, I think. It is a, mm, deep purple card. And it has a very simple print. It just has, it just says Pandora, and it has a… phone number. And I just say, “Tell them this is- the information is for Frecka. We will be in touch, and please take care of yourself. Again, we are so sorry to hear about your friend.”

JONN (as Binesi): Oh, thank you. Anything you can find out, I’ll appreciate it. I’m, I’m very hopeful now that I know that you are involved with this. Thank you so much. And she uses her wings to hold- to like, do like one of those- like a handshake. [WHITNEY: Yep.] Give you a warm handshake, and wraps her- them back around herself and leaves the office.


FAY: Mmkay.

JONN: So at this point, since you’ve collected enough clues, something you can do is an investigation roll. Basically, the investigation roll lets you try to piece together the information you’ve collected. Or potentially, if you’re looking, like, in a organized fashion to discover clues, you can also do it there. I think in this case, you having a series of clues at your disposal, you could make a investigation check to try to discern something from it.

WHITNEY: Awesome. Um, and is there a modifier for that? Or is it just a straight roll?

JONN: It’d be a skill check.

WHITNEY: Oh good, so it’s a straight roll for me. [proudly] My plus zero stats. [laughs and then briefly pauses] All right, I’m gonna, I’m gonna roll.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: Eighteen. I will take it.

FAY: Sweet.

JONN: That’s a fairly decent roll. That’s a win- um, so what you, what you’re able to discern is, you talk to each other about the information you have and what you found, and piece together that, “Oh, well, since Binesi mentioned that it had rained the day before, and the gut- the damage to the gutter, and the fact that you found spider silk. You look through the files and you’re able to figure out that- you see that-that spider silk was actually found in the bushes outside of the home near… where the gutter was damaged. You suspect that the culprit may have been trying to climb the side of the home when rain caused them to be washed off of it into the bushes?

WHITNEY: Interesting. So they were pushed, basically, they slipped off the roof. [JONN: Mhm.] Fascinating.

JONN: There’s a nursery rhyme that sounds pretty much like that and is the same M.O. of a particular, uh, creature [that] you know to be a bit of a thief–the Itsy Bitsy Spider.

WHITNEY: Hot damn.

JONN: As the nurse- song goes, Itsy Bitsy Spider climbed up the water spout.

JONN and WHITNEY: Down came the rain and washed the spider out. [both laugh]

WHITNEY: Excellent. That, that’s delightful. Thank you. [everyone laughs together]

JONN: With that knowledge, you don’t know–this doesn’t seem to corroborate what the wailing sound–or why the door would be thrown open, cause that’s definitely not the, the Itsy Bitsy Spider’s M.O. But you gather that if you’re gonna find anything more, you’re gonna have to track down this likely thief.

FAY: Okay. Do- how does one track someone down in this world?

JONN: Well, there’s any number of ways you can do it. You could potentially use- like, talk to his contacts to try to figure out where they’re at. Um, most likely, it’s gonna end up being a talk check. Like, you could go- use a resource, like, you do work for an organization that potentially could find information, or provide you a means to look up that information.

So how you approach it is kind of up to how you would- your- you think your characters would do it. So if you would hit the streets talking to people, you do that. If you would be more of a research[er], you might be able to go back to Pandora’s office and try to figure it out. Or do some combination of the two.

FAY: Well, I know which one Salvinia would prefer. [FAY laughs] [JONN snorts] You say there’s books?

WHITNEY: Let’s see. I do have- one of my boosts is gathering information from the rumor mill. [FAY: Mhm.] [JONN: Okay.] So it may be… I don’t know if it’s prudent to go back, see what we can get from Pandora to like, aim us in the right direction of where I can then investigate the rumor mill.

FAY: Oh, that makes a lot of sense. Trying to narrow it down with Pandora’s resources and then going for the locals.

WHITNEY: Yeah, yeah. I figure, you know, if we’re- if we’re an investigative source, we will probably–I hope?– have files on these folks. And maybe just like last known whereabouts of the Itsy Bitsy Spider, and then we can start, start there.

FAY: That sounds good.

JONN: Mmkay. All right, so who’s doing what?

FAY: Salvinia is going to go through the records section of Pandora, looking through that for like, the last known location of the Itsy Bitsy Spider or other location information.

JONN: Locations aren’t always the same. Like you’re here in Grimm & Noir. As soon as you came here, everything became a monochrome of browns, and like sepia tones, and literally the location is a single street.

[The Tome theme begins playing. It is still slow, eerie, and beautiful, but this time it grows increasingly ominous over time.]

JONN: Some locations could just be a single building. It could be an entire city. It could be a street like this, or it could be like a festival. It could be- the- the forms that these locations take can vary wildly. In Pandora’s case, it is a single corporate-looking building. As you enter into the office, you see engraved in the glass the symbols of Pandora, which is basically a box, a three-dimensional box with the door- with the lid lifted open and the words, “Pandora.” You go into the office and go back to your desk, where it’s track lighting and like, the worst nightmare of anyone who worked in, like, the eighties or nineties.

[The Tome theme fades out.]

FAY: [amused] Oh no!

WHITNEY: [laughs] So- so a cube farm hell, basically.

JONN: Right.

WHITNEY: Love it.

JONN: And- and you sit down at your desk where your computer is, because this is a setting that is slightly more high-tech than others, and so you actually have a computer that you can connect to a database.

WHITNEY: Thank god.

JONN: But it’s like, slow and unwieldy. It’s like a mainframe.

WHITNEY: [chuckles] Um, quick question. Do we take the manila folder with us? Was it- was that given to us, or is Humpty holding on to it?

JONN: He’s read through all of it. He gave it to you- gave it to you along with everything else. And like the, the baggy with the thread of the spider silk in it.

WHITNEY: Cool. I’m gonna look at the spider silk. What color is it?

JONN: It’s clear.

WHITNEY: Oh. Okay.

JONN: I mean, it’s a little gray-ish, but it’s- for the most part, it’s a clear thread. [WHITNEY: Okay.] With it bunched together the way it is, it kinda gives it like a gray-ish tone, but it mostly takes on the color of the surface that it’s sitting on.

WHITNEY: I see. Okay, I was thinking it was like, woven spider silk, like a cloth. Not like this spider left it behind.

JONN: So imagine if like it was webbing that was crushed together.

WHITNEY: Yeah. I’ve got it now.

FAY: How thick is the spider silk? Is it- are we looking at… definitely a bigger than garden variety [laughs] spider? Like we’re talking a big spider, right?

JONN: Well, what you can tell from the spider silk is no, it’s- it’s fine thread. It’s like, very strong. That’s probably the only reason that it was even able to survive as long as it has. [FAY: Mmkay.] But it’s a fine thread, so you imagine that it’s- definitely seems like it’s stronger than like, spiders’ webs in the real world. But here it’s…

FAY: Okay. So Salvinia’s gonna start going through the computer database, and I’m guessing that’s a skill roll? [JONN: Mhm.] Okay, dice. Or die, I guess.

JONN: If you have anything that seems like it may be appropriate? Probably not in this case, but…

FAY: Not in this case.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Oh dear. [WHITNEY: Oh noo!] She rolled a one. [WHITNEY laughs] Or I rolled a one, I guess. That’s gonna be a failure. [laughs agion]


JONN: So now, this is something to keep in mind, that you do get two boons. Well, each one of you have a boon at the beginning of the session, for which you can spend if you would like to turn that setback into an exchange.

FAY: Eh, we’ve got other ways to track down this information. I- I think I’ll save the boon for now, but it’s good to keep in mind.

WHITNEY: I’m gonna try to ask one of our co-workers if they know anything. [FAY laughs] Why not, right?

JONN: So first you spend a bunch of time on trying to get information, but really what happened is that it’s been a while since you’ve been in a database, and your password expired. [WHITNEY laughs] And so you spend time sending emails trying to get [FAY: Oh dear.] your password reset so you can actually get into the database to look for information.

FAY: How frustrating.

WHITNEY: [laughs] Alright. Well, Frecka’s seeing that poor Salvinia is starting to tear her- her wet… webby hair out. [FAY laughs] And she’s like, “Oh, that’s not good.” And also, she’s losing patience because it’s taking so fricking long. [FAY: Mhm.] And she knows that Salvinia doesn’t like it when she throws her computer out the window, so she’s gonna go see if she can talk to a coworker.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: Oh, I rolled a twenty.

FAY: Nice!

JONN: Oh, nice.

WHITNEY: This is brand new dice. I think I love them.

JONN: All right. So you rolled a- you rolled a twenty. So it just so happened that in the lounge, one of- one of your- one of your coworkers, the Sphinx, happens to be in the office. They’ll be very frustrating to talk to because they constantly answer your questions with questions.

FAY: Oh dear. [laughs]


JONN: But—

WHITNEY: Oh, this is gonna go well. [laughs]

JONN (as the Sphinx): You’re looking for a spider?

WHITNEY (as Frecka): I’m looking for a specific spider and also their known accomplices.

JONN (as the Sphinx): And which specific spider is that?

WHITNEY (as Frecka): The Itsy Bitsy Spider?

JONN (as the Sphinx): Ah, the one that went up the water spout?

WHITNEY (as Frecka): [said quickly] Yes, that’s the one. That one, that one right there. Do you happen to know anything about this one?

JONN (as the Sphinx): [slowly] I… do know something about them. Are you familiar with the Fable City Sprawl?

WHITNEY: Yes, I sure am.

JONN (as the Sphinx): [slowly] Excellent, then you should know where to find them. Well, let me tell you about it.

JONN: And it like- so you spend the next twenty minutes, but by the time it’s over, you have… a location where you can find the Itsy Bitsy Spider. It’s the- the Old Watering Hole in Fable City Sprawl.

WHITNEY and FAY: [almost simultaneously] Okay.

WHITNEY: I’m gonna go ahead and say that Frecka has maybe accidentally partially turned into a wolf by the end of this conversation. [FAY laughs] If nothing else, her claws are certainly biting into her palms, and she’s gritting her teeth and looking at the wall with that like, Arrested Development stare. [FAY: Mm.] And she says, “Thank you so much for your help. Uh… bye now!” and then runs away.

FAY: Oh dear. [all laugh]

JONN: Salvinia, as you’re being asked for the third time for your credentials, [FAY sighs dramatically] [FAY and WHITNEY both laugh] you have- multiple things happen. One is you see yourself getting up, pacing. You see yourself throwing the phone across the room. And then you see, uh, Frecka walking in and telling you, “I know where the Itsy Bitsy Spider is.” And then you have right now your reality of being asked for, yet another time, for your employee ID because they seem to have typed it in wrong.

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Hey, Salvinia. I know where we can find the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Let’s go.

FAY: You see the kind of face expression of “Mhm. Awesome.” [FAY and WHITNEY laugh] And I think Salv- Salvinia just like, hangs up the phone.

WHITNEY: Oh, poor baby. Frecka’s already like halfway down the hallway and is like [FAY laughs] really hitting the elevator button, as if, if she hits it a million times, it’ll come faster.

FAY: [laughing] Oh no! That annoying the incessant button pushing. [FAY and WHITNEY laugh]

JONN: So you head to the Fable City Sprawl.

[The Tome theme fades in, slow and eerie, with a hint of ominous beauty.]

JONN: The Fable City Sprawl is an expansive metropolis and the largest city in Tome. The city’s architecture is a clash of old and new styles: quaint village homes overshadowed by massive skyscrapers, the metal monstrosities themselves dominated by Fable’s towering canopy of trees. The sprawling city’s dense population is an eclectic mix of humans, animals, and anthropomorphic creatures. Your team chases down a lead that has brought you to the heart of the sprawl. You enter a part of the city that is an admix of trash littered streets and vibrant neon signs. There is a buzz in the air as preparations are underway for one of Fable City’s favorite pastime–illegal street racing.

FAY: Oh! [FAY and WHITNEY laugh]

[The Tome theme fades out.]

JONN: You navigate your way through the growing crowd of spectators and down the street to the front of the spider’s Old Watering Hole.

[A suspenseful, bouncy jazz piece featuring bass, trumpet, electric piano, and cymbals begins playing.]

JONN: So you enter into a bar that seems to be packed with race fans [who] are having a drink, yelling and acting kind of rambunctious. And this is a place that probably’s not great for either of the two of you, but…

FAY: [FAY and WHITNEY laugh] Rowdy crowd. Mhm.

JONN: Yeah.

WHITNEY: Mhm. The incessant press of humanity. Love it.

JONN: And as you walk in, Frecka, the crowd kind of goes quiet. And they all kinda stare and look at the infamous wolf.

FAY: Okay, I think Salvinia is officially hiding behind Frecka right now.

WHITNEY: [laughs] Frecka just sighs a little bit, and she heads for the bar.

JONN: Mmkay, so after a uncomfortable dozen or so seconds, the crowd goes back to its normal loud, rambunctious behavior, and you approach the bar. A, um, elk-like humanoid creature is cleaning a glass when you approach.

JONN (as bartender): What can I do for you?

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Can I get two of… your local on-tap, whatever that is.

JONN (as bartender): Sure, one second.

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Thank you.

JONN: And it- he goes to make the local, which is two… beers. They’re kinda pungent, but that’s okay. It has lots of alcohol in it–explaining the pungentness. [JONN and WHITNEY laugh]

WHITNEY: Excellent.

FAY: Salvinia’s not even gonna touch hers.

WHITNEY: It’s alright, it’s just for holding.

FAY: Salvinia’s definitely not holding it. She’s not doing what was expected. It’s just sitting there next to her.

WHITNEY: Fair enough. That’s alright.

JONN: Okay.

WHITNEY: Um, so Frecka goes- you know, passes some coin over and says thank you. And says, “We’re looking for a friend. Have you happened to see the Itsy Bitsy Spider anytime recently?”

JONN: The bartender kinda goes a little stiff.

JONN (as bartender): I don’t want any trouble in my bar.


JONN: But, but he then kinda points towards the back.

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Thank you so much, sir. [FAY laughs] So we head towards the back.

JONN: As you make your way back to the back of the- the bar, you see a round table with three large creatures with their back to you as you approach. One lion, one bear, and one tiger.


JONN: As you approach, the bear takes notice of you and kinda taps the shoulder of the lion, who turns, throwing an arm over the back of the chair to turn and look at you. Looks at you like, [in deep voice] “Are you going to join the game?”

[The bouncy jazz music ends.]

WHITNEY (as Frecka): What’s going tonight?

JONN (as lion): Well, there’s a hundred-dollar buy-in for poker. Are you gonna join the game or not?

WHITNEY (as Frecka): I’m playing.

FAY: Oh great.

JONN (as lion): Excellent.

JONN: The bear gets up, grabs another chair, and the lion slides his chair over. And they place a, place the chair right between you and the bear. And as the lion moves, you see that there is a fourth player… a tiny spider that’s created a web-like harness holding- holding cards.

FAY: I see. [laughs]


JONN: And it stands up momentarily, tips forward in what you can you guess must be some sort of introduction-like greeting, and then settles into its web-like harness that’s covering the back of the chair and the, most of the table.

WHITNEY: All right.

JONN: The lion explains all of the rules to the game and the minimum bid and everything else. And you play a game of cards. So how do you approach this game?

FAY: Well, my character can perceive multiple futures. [WHITNEY laughs] [FAY joins in laughter] I kind of think this is more of an ethical problem for her than anything else. Yeah, so she’s particularly into, like, justice. So I think when she plays the card game, she’s probably just gonna to aim to neither gain nor lose money ’cause she can perceive the future. [WHITNEY and FAY break into more giggles]

JONN: Mmkay. So since you can see the future but you’re specifically trying not to win or lose, I’m gonna say that if- I mean, effectively, if you get a setback, you’re probably gonna have won by accident. [everyone laughs]

FAY: Okay, let’s see how Salvinia does.

WHITNEY: I love everything about this.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Sixteen plus two, so that’s an eighteen.

JONN: Yup, so–

FAY: So she is very successful at neither winning nor losing, which I’m sure is perplexing everyone else at the table because that’s not typical. [FAY and WHITNEY start laughing]

JONN: You play for a while. You manage not to either win or lose, but unfortunately, the lion, the tiger, and the bear are not having the same sort of luck. And so, by the end, half the pile is sitting next to you and the other half is sitting next to the Itsy Bitsy Spider. So they become mostly spectators to this epic game of cards.

FAY: [Laughing] So she’s winning anyway? She’s trying so hard! [everyone laughs]

WHITNEY: Do uh- do I need to roll for card playing, or are we good?

JONN: Well, if you’re- if you’re working together the- I’m gonna just treat you as like- Like y’all can take turns on it. So since you went now it’s gonna be Frecka’s turn to play. So it’s like effectively the three of you left in the game. [WHITNEY: Cool.] Most of the money is sitting by the Itsy Bitsy Spider.

WHITNEY: Good, I guess Frecka’s gonna try to talk to the spider, keeping it casual, but…

JONN: Okay, what are you saying?

WHITNEY: I mean, I definitely want to start off with just you know, building rapport, but then seeing if they’ve heard about these kidnappings and stuff like that. Like ease, ease into that to hear if they’ve heard about that or know anything about it.

JONN: Okay. You start talking to them, and for the most part, the- you notice that the lion does the lion’s share of the talking. [FAY and WHITNEY chuckle] And he’s like, “Yep, I heard about those. This is terrible, but you know, it’s not a lot we can do about it. King’s Men can’t figure it out. Not sure what I’m supposed to do.”

WHITNEY: Does the spider do anything when the topic is mentioned? Like do they start getting agitated or anything like that?

JONN: Okay, now give me a talk check.


JONN: This check will be raised. So you’re more, in this case, trying to get like- read their body language.

WHITNEY: Uh, fifteen.

JONN: Okay, so you have a win.


JONN: It like nearly drops one of the cards out of its little webby- webbing when it kind of catches it, you can definitely tell it like went a little bit rigid when you start talking about it.

WHITNEY: Well, that’s damning. But how do we talk to a spider? [laughs]

FAY: Well again, Salvinia does speak beast tongue, so Salvinia can… might have to do this. [laughs]

WHITNEY: Sorry, Salvinia.

JONN: Yeah.

FAY: But right now we’re in a poker game. Salvinia definitely does not want to do this at a poker game.

WHITNEY: Okay, so let’s- can we wrap up the game?

JONN: Yes, you can. I guess the goal is, are you trying to win or let the Itsy Bitsy Spider win?

WHITNEY: What do we think?

FAY: So Salvinia is a bit overwhelmed. I think what’s gonna happen is Salvinia is gonna want to throw the game because again, Salvinia doesn’t want to end up with money. So I think Salvinia’s gonna, like, try to lose everything but the hundred Salvinia started with. [laughs]

WHITNEY: A-a-and, and what Frecka started with. Walk away with two hundred.

FAY: Yeah, yeah. The original- Salvinia’s goal is to basically walk away with exactly as much money as they started with, which I think should be pretty easy.

JONN: So I’m gonna say that since you’re trying to do that, that’s gonna be even difficult for your ability to see multiple futures. [FAY and WHITNEY laugh] ‘Cause you are dealing with the behavior of other multiple things, [FAY: Yup.] as well as the probability and logic of cards. [FAY: Yup.] So I’m gonna say- it’s gonna be a straight roll in this case.

FAY: We’ll see how this goes!

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: Fingers crossed.

FAY: Oooh. I rolled a five, so that’s a seven.

WHITNEY: [softly] Noo.

FAY: Is that a mixed success? Or…

JONN: Yeah, so that’s a mixed, mixed success. So-

WHITNEY: [energetically] We will take it.

JONN: The spider’s goal was to win, and your goal was to break even. I’m going to say with the setback that you’re gonna lose half of your earnings ’cause you’ve reached a point where you either had to play this hand and win all of it or let that money go.

FAY: Sure. Okay, well, that happens. I’m sure we can put that down on the expense account, yes. [laughs]

WHITNEY: [joins in laughter] I wanna say, I lo- I wanna know what our item- our line items are for expense reports after this. I feel like I should write that up.

FAY: My goodness.

WHITNEY: Two beers, not drunk. Bribery. Gambling.

JONN: So after the… spider puts down all the cards, and makes up some webs and kinda crawls on it like rast- raster graphic style and leaves a message saying “Good game.” [FAY: Cool.] And drags the pouch of coins that’s at least ten times its size off the table. And it like falls with a thud, and then it slowly drags its winnings towards the front door.

FAY: [laughs] This is the perfect time to get them alone.

WHITNEY: Are we following this spider and its ill-gotten gains?

FAY: Yeah. [WHITNEY laughs] So Salvinia is going to follow after the spider and say, “Uh, um, so we, um, spider! We- we need to talk to you.”

JONN: The spider’s dragging the bag behind it, and it like, let goes for a second. And like, does this tilting, looking you up and down, and then does the same thing in the doorway. It creates a spider web with a message saying, “You’re not getting your money back.” And then it, like, collects up the web. [FAY: Oh!] And then starts pulling on the sack.

FAY: Oh! Indignation starting. [JONN wheezes in laughter] It’s- [FAY starts laughing too] Okay, so Salvinia’s like, “It’s not about the money. We need to talk to you about the water spout.”

JONN: And when you do that, it completely lets go of the sack and turns around and bolts out of the door into the crowded streets.

FAY: Okay.

WHITNEY: All right!

FAY: It’s a chase scene.

WHITNEY: Duh nuhnuhnuh, duh nuhnuhnuh!

FAY: Okay.

WHITNEY: All right, so Frecka is coming up behind you. She sort of was like, “All right, peace,” closed out, and saw that last bit as she was walking up. And so, you know, scoops up that bag of gold.

FAY: [wheezing laugh] You’re going for the bag of gold rather than the spider?

WHITNEY: I mean, on her way.

JONN: Priorities.

FAY: On her way. I getcha.

WHITNEY: I’m assuming you’re running. [FAY: Right.] It’s there. I’m not gonna just leave it in the street. It’s evidence. [FAY and JONN laugh] I am a thorough detective, thank you. [FAY: Okay then.] So I shove it into the- one of the many awesome pockets in my jacket, and I guess we are on a chase scene now.

FAY: Yeah.

JONN: You bolt through the door after the spider into the-

[A Brazilian-carnival-style percussion track with a driving feel begins playing.]

JONN: -massive crowd of spectators. Uh, you lose sight of the spider only for a moment. And then when you catch wind of ’em, you see that it has somehow lodged itself on the steering wheel of the Hare’s racecar, and in the window, it has stretched a spider web that says “See ya, suckers.” [WHITNEY snickers] As it pulls on a thread that puts the hammer down, and the Hare’s car races off.

[The sound of a revving car engine followed by the sound of screeching tires.]

JONN: [WHITNEY laughs] And as it pulls off you see on the other side of it another vehicle with kanji that spells out “the tortoise.” It has [a] glowing undercarriage. And a tortoise is, like, lounging next to one of the wheels and, like, kinda laughing at the hare as his car peels off down the street.

FAY: Like, as the spider first started running off, Salvinia immediately started shapeshifting, so I’m gonna spend the boon to do the shapeshift immediately. [JONN: Mhm.] And I’m thinking I’m definitely gonna go for fast. [JONN: Mmkay.] And probably unusual locomotion so that I can fly. [JONN: Mmkay.] So I think I’m gonna go for like, a hawk, [JONN: Okay.] and so she’s flying after it already.

JONN: All right, so you’re flying in pursuit of a spider- the spider. [FAY: Yup.] Frecka, what are you doing?

WHITNEY: Quickly doing the math in my head and realizing that, even if I switch into wolf form, I can’t go as fast as a car. So I… sprint and slide up to the tortoise and [go], “Hey, give me your keys.” And I sort of flash my fake Pandora badge or whatever.

JONN: [The tortoise] sees the badge and gives- hands over the keys.

WHITNEY: “Thank you so much.” And I jump in and gun it.

[The sound of a car peeling off with a revving engine and screeching tires.]

JONN: And you race off in pursuit of your friend, who is now a bird, and the spider.

WHITNEY: And I am swearing colorfully while in the car.

JONN: [laughs] So you’re chasing after- the two of you are chasing after a spider down a long straightaway and eventually into a sharp turn and are racing through the night–the Fable City night–past bright signs and people all beginning to cheer ’cause they believe the race has started. [FAY and WHITNEY laugh]

FAY: Oh no. Here we go!


JONN: You’re racing after the spider So at this point, it will be a skill check. How are you catching up to the Itsy Bitsy Spider?

FAY: So we’re each going individually, right?


JONN: Yes. We’re now in Initiative. The way Initiative works is… first the PCs go. Then the- the NPCs go. And then the PCs go. For each person on each side, they have to go one- everyone has to go on their side before someone can go a second time.

FAY: Okay.

WHITNEY: Yeah, so I think it makes sense for Fay to go first since–

FAY: Yes, since- since Salvinia’s ahead. [WHITNEY: Yeah.] Okay, so Salvinia is going to basically use her skill at flying as a shapeshifter to get above any hazards, and also get a good vantage point from which to follow that car and use her speed to go fast. So being fast means that any speed-based chase checks are raised. So let’s see how this goes.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Oh! Good thing I have that because that was a four plus two, so a six. So that’s going to be raised to an exchange. [laughs]

JONN: You rise to a higher vantage point. And as you’re going through the city, like, the spider makes a sharp turn between two skyscrapers.

[The sound of tires squealing.]

JONN: You nearly lose ’em, but you’re able to stay on its tail, but you weren’t able to gain ground. But you didn’t lose any either.

FAY: Oh good!

JONN: So unfortunately, flying is helping you; however, Frecka is not benefiting from it. [WHITNEY laughs] And the spider, like, slows just enough to spread webbing all over the road behind it.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: I don’t like that at all.

JONN: He’s able to get some webbing on the ground, but unfortunately not enough to really slow you down. [WHITNEY: Hell yeah.] Frecka?

WHITNEY: I am continuing to try to keep the Itsy Bitsy Spider in my sight and staying in the car for now. So I don’t have- I don’t have any specific, like, speed checks?

JONN: No. I mean, you’re just still in a skill check.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: Um, rude. That’s a three.

FAY: Oh no!

JONN: When the- when the Itsy Bitsy Spider rounds the corner to go between the skyscrapers, you try to make that same turn, and you spin out the vehicle.

[Sound of tires swerving followed by sound of a car hitting metal with a hollow thud.]

JONN: And end up cutting out your engine.

WHITNEY: All right. Well then, um… well, I will probably shapeshift and start sprinting. [JONN: Mmkay.] But that’s for my next turn.

JONN: Um, the Itsy Bitsy Spider will try to, uh- seeing that it’s being chased by a hawk of some sort, turns on down into what looks to be a underground passage. Like effectively, like, hops the tracks and tries to go down into a subway.

FAY: Okay.


[The sound of a die rolling.]

JONN: It manages to hop the tracks-

[Short, repeated bursts of squealing tires that indicate a swerving car.]

JONN: -but it almost lost control of the vehicle, like, several times and had to slow down.

[After one final long squeal, the noises end.]

JONN: You were able to get low enough to stay on its tail as it starts driving down a subway track [FAY: Oh god.] into the underbelly of the city.


FAY: Oh, oh, Salvinia is getting so indignant. Oh my goodness. [WHITNEY laughs] So this is like, Salvinia’s turn to see if she can catch him?

JONN: Yup.

FAY: Come on, dice.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Give me something good. Ooh, I rolled a ten, and I am still using speed. So she’s, you know, dodging and going fast. And so that should be raised from a mixed success to a full success, I believe.

JONN: You’re able to keep pace with the spider as it comes out of the tunnel and hops tracks, unable to shake you, and turns into an alley.

[A squealing tire noise plays.]

JONN: As you enter into the warehouse district of the sprawl. It abandons the vehicle, and you see it scurry into what looks to be a old abandoned warehouse.

FAY: Okay.

WHITNEY: Thanks. I hate it.

FAY: She’s going in. She’s going after the spider. Since she’s caught up she- can she try to cut the spider off from getting into the warehouse?

JONN: Yeah.

FAY: Right, so what kind of check would that be?

JONN: So this would be, you can make a s- an attack check to try to pin him and prevent him from moving.

FAY: Okay. Here we go.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: So it’ll be a mixed success.

[Percussion track fades out.]

JONN: You will be able to pin the spider. But because it’s an exchange this Itsy Bitsy Spider does get to try to exploit. [FAY: Mhm.] Basically you tackle him, and he then shoots webs that kinda wrap you all up. And so you’re grappled with the spider.

FAY: We are grappled in the alley. All right. Uh, so is Frecka gonna catch up with us at some point? [FAY and WHITNEY laugh]

JONN: It’s easy for Frecka to track you. So it’ll probably be- the next round, Frecka will get there.

WHITNEY: I’m going fast. As fast as I can.

JONN: Now it’s the Itsy Bitsy Spider’s turn. It will try to bite you.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

JONN: And rolls a setback, [FAY and WHITNEY laugh] which means you get to deal your damage to the Itsy Bitsy Spider.

WHITNEY: Hell yeah.

FAY: W- what are my options with that? ‘Cause I don’t want to hurt this person. I want to question this person.

JONN: Well, so in Forthright, luck represents your will to fight. [FAY: Okay.] So it’s still a fight check, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be… [FAY: Ohh!] I mean, it can be a fight or talk- but it doesn’t have to be “I stabbed it” for it to lower- reduce their luck. It’s, you use the same harm roll in any of those situations.

FAY: Okay, so I’m eroding their luck, which is their capacity to escape.

JONN: Yes.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Only a three.

JONN: That- that makes it, um, your turn.

FAY: Oh right, Salvinia’s turn. So you know what, I’m gonna- I’m gonna do a stern lecture. She is really mad.

JONN: And their goal is to… with the stern lecture, is to what?

FAY: To convince this person to stop trying to run away and tell us what he knows.

JONN: Okay. The talk check will be dropped, but if you succeed, they will stop trying to struggle with you.

FAY: Yeah. Well, this is gonna be interesting. I do have setback protection on this because she is indignant and she is lecturing them on their duty to the rest of society to help us. [laughs]

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Okay, so I rolled a fourteen. So… I think… She has setback protection, so that’s pretty much an exchange. So it’s become an exchange.

JONN: So they stop trying to bite you, but they are now trying to untang- untangle themselves from the web that they accidentally wrapped around the both of you.

FAY: Okay, so basically Salvinia- all the while, Salvinia’s saying, “How dare you try to get away from us? We are members of Pandora. We are here to fix this. Do you know how important storytellers are to our- to the entirety of Tome? And all you’re doing is running away. You have information. We have identified you as being at the scene of one of these crimes. You will tell us everything you know!”


JONN: Okay, so while you’re doing this, um, Frecka shows up at the- and you see… a spider and- the spider and a hawk trying to separate themselves as the hawk is sternly [FAY and WHITNEY: giggle] talking to the spider.

WHITNEY: Ahh. But because she’s a hawk, I can’t understand her, right?

JONN: Uh, no.

FAY: Very stern squawking.

JONN: Unfortunately.


FAY: It’s very stern.

JONN: Yes, the Hawk is squawking in a language that the spider can understand because… animal- beast tongue.

WHITNEY: Hand waving. Magic. Yeah. One, amazing! Two, Frecka rolls up and it’s just like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” [laughs] Uh, and she looks to see if there’s any way that she can get in and help cover Salvinia’s… attack? Whatever she’s trying to do? Um…

JONN: So, what do you want to have happen?

WHITNEY: Well I’m trying to figure that out. [JONN: Okay.] I’m currently a wolf. [JONN: Mhm.] I could put the spider in my mouth, but that would probably not be good for anybody involved. Fay, what was the question you were gonna ask?

FAY: Well, I was just wondering, since you have- if you wanted to help with pinning the spider, you could potentially try to manipulate the webs.

WHITNEY: Oh okay, that’s a good idea. So my question, I guess–out of character–is if I’m also in beast form, so I’m a wolf, can I understand beast talk?

JONN: I mean, you know, for the sake of this, it’s not- it’s not worth it to nitpick it. Yes, you can understand her.

WHITNEY: Great, so I’m hearing Salvinia yelling, and that’s how I know that things are going super well. [FAY bursts out laughing] And so I see that the spider is doing whatever and so I go up to help make sure that the spider is contained.

JONN: Okay. Alright.

WHITNEY: So yeah, put, put down- hold down that web, make sure that it’s- it can’t get away.

JONN: Okay. So you can hinder it maybe, like, you pounce on it. Maybe put a paw down on it. [WHITNEY: Yes.] So it will be like a fight check to try to pin it.

WHITNEY: Yes, I very carefully, because I’m a large [FAY laughs] wolf and do not want to squish the spider, [JONN: Okay.] use my paw to restrain it.

JONN: All right, so–

WHITNEY: Hell yeah! I got a seventeen.

JONN: Oh yeah, definitely! You pin it with one of your paws and it’s effectively not able to flee. And you’re- And Salvinia is able to shift off of it, since you’re pinning it, and work on getting out [of] the spider webs. At this point, because a very large wolf has the spider pinned, it’s going to give up on trying to run- run away. [laughs] But it looks very frightened.

WHITNEY: I grin at it toothfull- toothily.

JONN: So, you have captured the Itsy Bitsy Spider.

FAY: Go team!

WHITNEY: Go team!

FAY: Salvinia is still shouting, by the way.

JONN: [laughing] Okay.

WHITNEY: Amazing. [giggles]

FAY: She’s very frustrated. “We are not here to hurt you. We need the information that you have so that we can end- you know, deal with the situation and fix it.” [laughs] And she’s just going on and on. [laughs]

JONN: Okay, so after this goes on for a few more minutes. And once you calm down a bit, you- you realize that it still needs to have a spider web to communicate back with you.

FAY: Okay. But imagine it can do basic communication, right? So, like, I guess she is gonna say, “Will you cooperate?”

JONN: It shift slightly under the pining paw and gives you an indication that it- it’s willing to communicate.

WHITNEY: Since I don’t understand what’s happening. I growl a little bit when it moves.

FAY (as Salvinia): Oh. Oh. Um. Uh, uh, uh! Frecka, I think it was just saying, “Yes.” It- it can’t- It’s a spider, so it doesn’t use words, like verbally.

WHITNEY: I relax just a fraction.

FAY (as Salvinia): I think we might need to give it just enough space to- to use webs to communicate.

WHITNEY: Frecka leans down and goes, does a little quick little like growl, being unhappy about it, but like very carefully un-pins, but like keeps her paws close, just in case.

FAY: Yeah, we’re basically surrounding this spider.

JONN: [It] goes into, like, the corner ally and like spins up a web and in the same format that it did before it does like the whole almost zig- like side to side thing until it forms words that say, “I can’t tell you anything. I will be in danger.”

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Danger, from whom?

FAY (as Salvinia): We are here to stop the source of that danger. Tell us so that we can stop whoever is threatening you.

JONN: And so that will be a talk check.

FAY: All right. I think Salvinia’s got her- is still in stern indignation land. I rolled an eight. So that’s a exchange. She’s basically explaining Pandora’s witness protection program and other stuff that Pandora has in place to prevent informants from being injured or harmed.

JONN: Okay. It goes back over the spider web. Somehow the words change as it passes over it- the web. It says, “I’m going to need that in webbing.”

FAY: [sighs dramatically] I suppose that means we need to take the Itsy Bitsy Spider back to the headquarters.

JONN: Mmhm.

FAY: Okay!

WHITNEY: I’m fine with that. Will- will they come willingly?

JONN: Uh, yes.


JONN: They will come with you willingly. And after you- you head back to the Pandora office and [chuckles] get all of the proper p- p-web work completed the Itsy Spits- the Itsy Bitsy Spider is willing to talk.

WHITNEY: Excellent. And I’m sure Salvinia is gonna be like all over that paperwork stuff. So while that happens, I have taken the sets of keys from the cars that we “borrowed.” [FAY laughs] And I have sent them back to the bartender at the bar we were at, at the Watering Hole. And it just says like, “With thanks for Tortoise and Hare. Good luck next time.” [FAY laughs]

JONN: Alright, so you- [laughs] you do that, and uh-

WHITNEY: [laughs] S- sorry about the webbing. I don’t know. [FAY laughs]

JONN: At some point in the future, you’ll get a thank you- [laughing] a nice thank you note. And another one that’s full of expletives. The nice thank you know came from the Tortoise and the expletive one came from the Hare [WHITNEY chuckles] who was not happy about having the entire interior of his car reupholstered, because there were spider webs all over it. [both WHITNEY and JONN laugh]

FAY: Well, we weren’t responsible for that part. It’s kind of ironic, actually. That’s not the car that we- we even took. [everyone laughs]

JONN: The Hare is not known for being reasonable. It’s after you’ve completed all the paperwork and returned the keys to the vehicles and regroup. The Itsy Bitsy Spider is willing to talk.

[Relaxed, but suspenseful jazz music starts.]

JONN: And the Itsy Bitsy Spider tells you that they were being coerced by the Mara.

FAY: Uh, can you spell that?


FAY: Okay.

JONN: They were told that, that they would be next if they didn’t do the job, and also mentions that they- their job- the job that they were given was to steal the dream catcher from outside of Lauren’s home. For what reason the Itsy Bitsy Spider does not know.

FAY: Mkay!

WHITNEY: Interesting. We will need to do skill checks about the Mara, I guess. But I wonder if it was to catch bad dreams, if it was protection from them.

FAY: Hm. That is interesting.

JONN: You want to give me that- the skill check for Mara? Both of you can make the checks. Since you’re in the Pandora office, you have all the available resources you had prior.

FAY: Skill time!

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: Love that.

FAY: Uh! Not another one. This computer system hates me. It must be that.

WHITNEY: [laughs] Geez, all right. [FAY laughs] Let’s see if I can back you up.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: Thirteen.

FAY: Well, that’s helpful. I wish I could roll successes when I’m doing this. Oh my goodness.

JONN: You’re able to log right into the database. It’s still super slow, cuz, you know. It’s the- the Pandora office is eighties/nineties based. But like all eighties/nineties based locations, they had systems from the fifties and sixties. [laughs]

WHITNEY: [whispers] Jesus.

JONN: But you were able to pull up information on the Mara. The Mara is a nightmare. [WHITNEY: Ah-ha!] It’s- there’s not a lot of information known about it. But what is known is that it usually comes after creatures in their sleep. And often those people end up disappearing.

What happens to them no one really knows, but it’s like one of those stories that’s been passed around. And is a story from multiple different locations in the world. And because this is a story- nightmares are story that’s so common in the- in the imaginations of authors, the Mara’s a fairly powerful creature- being.

[The suspenseful jazz music ends.]

FAY: All right, well, we have a suspect!

WHITNEY: Ding, ding, ding. Awesome.

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Well, friend, spider. Is there anything else you can tell us? How did they contact you? Do you know where they’re headquartered? Do you know who might be able to tell us that?

JONN: The Itsy Bitsy Spider was visited in their dreams by the Mara.

WHITNEY: Well, that’s not terrifying or anything.

FAY: [sighs dramatically] Yes, a little hard to track down.

WHITNEY: But do- does- do they happen to know anything?

JONN: The Itsy Bitsy Spider doesn’t know anything, but you would’ve gotten more information when- from your research into the Pandora’s database. Because Pandora has a lot of information on creatures that are considered to be bad. Mostly because they look at- they consider that both a place for recruiting, and a lot of the creatures they have to deal with are the creatures from scary stories.

WHITNEY: Awesome.

JONN: So you get a actual location. The Mara is a powerful enough being that it has manifested its own domain.

FAY: [sarcastically deadpan] Awesome.

WHITNEY: [also sarcastic] Oh, good.

JONN: It’s called the Mare-Pine Woods.

WHITNEY: Cool, cool, cool.

FAY: Well, I guess we know where to go.

WHITNEY: True. And Frecka is a fan of woods. So hopefully that’s nice for her.

FAY: Cool.

JONN: So you know who your nee- who has- most likely has been kidnapping the author from all the information you’re able to collect. And you have a location of where they are. All that’s left is to go save the day.

FAY: Before we head out, Salvinia is going to leave a full report for everyone else in case we don’t return.

JONN: Okay. [FAY starts laughing] That sounds- that seems reasonable.


FAY: A sound practice. [everyone laughs]

WHITNEY: And Frecka’s gonna send a note over to Humpty Dumpty to say, “Hey, here’s what’s up. Again, if we don’t return, this is where you can find our bodies. Godspeed.” [FAY and JONN laugh]

JONN: Okay. So… Are you- do you head toward- head to the Mare-Pine?

FAY: Yeah–

WHITNEY: Yeah, I mean, do we- do we need to rest first? Can we just assume we’re resting and then head off?

JONN: Well, if- when you lose luck, you recover it at the end of the scene. [WHITNEY: Mkay.] So, if you- if it’s- story-wise, you have been working this case for a day, so if you wanted to rest and go during the day- the next day, that’d be perfectly- that makes perfect sense. I can imagine that going there at night probably isn’t…

FAY: Noooo! We’re gonna go during the day when it’s weaker, I think.

WHITNEY: Yeah. I’m aligned with that plan.

JONN: Alright. [chuckles] Are you ready to head to Mare-Pine? Or you wanna do anything before?

FAY: I’m kinda thinking I’m gonna start out in some sort of animal form that’s useful. So, um…

JONN: Well, you want me to describe things and then you can decide what animal form you take?

FAY: [slowly] Sure.

[A slow, droning synth track with an ethereal melody begins playing. It has an ominous and eerie mood.]

JONN: The plains stretch to the horizon covered in patches of brown, occasionally broken by a copse of sickly evergreens. Swaths of open plains have been trampled flat, mottled with blackened hoof prints. The air carries a mixture of hard to describe sweet, smoky, earthy scents. A vast herd of horses graze near a distant cluster of trees, the only signs of animal life on this dreary plain.

The scene is dominated by the ominous black spears jutting into the sky: the dark pine trees which compose the Mare-Pine Woods. Darkness infuses the air around the Mare-Pine.  Each step towards the tree line envelops you further in shadows. Wicker baskets sit at the edge of the woods, brimming with scarlet red apples. Horses gather here to snack on the fruit–fruit that appears to shines brightly, in stark contrast to its surroundings.


FAY: So there’s no, like, obvious place like a castle or something that’s like, “Go here!”

JONN: No. Unfortunately, it looks to be a half mile of- stretch of forest of, like, look- looking jagged- Like jagged pines that are, kinda, jut up in the air. So there is no- didn’t look to be a castle or tower or anything. But it appears just to be a forest, but there are horses that seem to be grazing on this odd red fruit.

WHITNEY: How punny are these creatures? Are they literal night mares? Are they horses?

JONN: Yes, they are.

FAY: Mm.

WHITNEY: Yeah-ha! I see you, villain.

FAY: I think I’m gonna go for a form that gives me acuity, so my character is gonna get better hearing and sight than a human. I think I’m gonna go with “Strong like bull.” So, that means she can do feats of strength. So I’m guessing if we’re gonna go for that… You know what, maybe she’ll turn into a big horse. [laughs]

JONN: Okay.

WHITNEY: I love it.

FAY: A favorite form for nixies in mythology, anyway. Mythology is full of creepy horses. [laughs]

JONN: Yeah, they like spiders, horses, and serpents a lot.

WHITNEY: Thankfully, they’re fairly universal, but you know, terrifying and murderous. So that’s good.

JONN: [laughing] So what about, um, Frecka?

WHITNEY: Well, Frecka’s only form that she can take is a wolf. And that might not do us very good right now; that might spook the horses. And we’re not trying to sneak around, right? We’re trying to actually get their attention.

FAY: I don’t know.

WHITNEY: [laughs] Maybe we should have a plan.

[The slow, droning music fades out.]

FAY: Eh. I mean, maybe. I don’t know how much planning going into an unknown location we can do.

WHITNEY: Yeah, true. Well, I guess what’s, what’s our goal? Do we want to address the horses? Do we want to see if there’s other people we should be talking to?

FAY: I don’t know. There’s a lot of horses. Maybe we should just like, sneak around them and see what else we could find. There’s, there’s a lot of them. They’re probably not nice.

WHITNEY: [giggles] Okay. So I’m not sure- what, what are the rules for shapeshifting?

JONN: There isn’t any roll to shapeshift. [WHITNEY: Cool.] You- you just change shape. It will be action.

WHITNEY: Okay, so I am gonna, I’m gonna swap into my wolf form. [JONN: Mmkay.] And I am going to use my masquerade boost. So- which means that it’s still gonna be a skill check, but it’s the “Don’t be suspicious” skill. [FAY: Okay.] People, it makes people not only not realize I’m there, but like actively not, like, want to look at wherever I am, but they don’t realize it.

JONN: Well, it’s more of they notice, and then they’re like, “Oh no, I pretend like I didn’t see you ’cause you’re scary.”

WHITNEY: I’m fine with that too.

JONN: Okay. As you’re getting closer to- preparing to try to sneak in, because of both of your acuity-

[Slow, creepy music featuring bass, piano, and violin fades in.]

JONN: Both of you will notice that there appears to be shadowy-shadow-like creatures that are carrying more of those baskets full of apples to sit at the edge of the woods, and then turn around and head back.

FAY: Salvinia thinks we should follow the shadow creatures. So she’s gonna kind of point with her nose and kind of be like, you know, kind of gesture and be like… and start sneaking as best she can in her current form after the shadow creatures.

WHITNEY: Okay. Frecka’s following.

JONN: All right, so that’ll be a stealth check. Since you’re sneaking.

WHITNEY: [singing] Don’t be suspicious. Don’t be suspicious.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: [groans] That was a two. That’s not gonna be a success.

WHITNEY: [There is a small ding, like something hitting glass.] Oop!

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: That’s cool, cuz that’s a skill check, right? [JONN: Yes.] I have a bright, shiny five.

FAY: Okay. Well, we failed together. [FAY and WHITNEY laugh]

JONN: Okay, so as you’re approaching one of the like- you see one of the horses nearby, like, ear pop up and, like, turn a little bit. It see[s] you and starts to canter over and starts to kinda, like, like- sniffs at you and starts brushing up against you. Like, trying to get your attention.

FAY: Ookay? Is this, is it saying something specific in beast speech?

JONN: Um, it seems to be some odd attempt to greet you, but as soon as it makes contact with- you make contact with each other, you get this image in your mind. And… it’s a… looks to be a, like, man rocking back and forth in the middle of a fire. Like it looks to be- seems terrified. And the moment it breaks contact with you, the image disappears.

FAY: So, what do you mean by in the middle of a fire?

JONN: Like they’re surrounded by fire. I’m sorry.

FAY: Okay, so they’re… they’re… Okay. So at this point, Salvinia is going to just go up to another horse and like, touch them with her nose.

JONN: You- you go to another horse and touch them with your nose, and another image appears in your mind. And this time, it’s a- looks to be another, a man in a uniform that looks like the King’s Guard, having his badge tore off the front of–

FAY: Okay… Salvinia has reached a conclusion. These are the victims of the Mara, and they are trapped in nightmares, their worst nightmare or something. She is going to go back to her companion, and in beast speech, communicate this information that she has gleaned plus assumed.

WHITNEY: Frecka goes, “Oh good. They’re horses. Now what?” [laughs]

FAY (as Salvinia): They got turned into horses. I don’t know why. Maybe ’cause the Mara is a horse?

WHITNEY: Okay. So with that, do you wanna check any of the others? Or do we wanna say, “Okay, now we know where our victims are. Let’s go find the shadowy people because they’re clearly linked.”

FAY: Yeah. Uh, Salvinia is up for following the shadowy people.

WHITNEY: Let’s do it. Frecka really wants to hit something, so she’s into it.

FAY: Salvinia wants to right this injustice.

JONN: So after about two or three shadow creatures come out with fresh baskets of bright red apples, [FAY groans then laughs] they set them down, and more horses come and start munching at them. They turn to go back into the woods, and you follow behind them. I’m gonna need to get another skill check for stealth.

FAY:  [laughs] Let’s see how- [WHITNEY and FAY laugh] A raw D20 roll with only a plus two is not…

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Oh, there we go! Seventeen.

JONN: Okay, so you’re able to follow them fairly easily.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: All right, I got a thirteen.

JONN: Unfortunately, after traveling a ways by following the shadows, one of them takes notice. Unfortunately, stealth, checks were not created equal. [WHITNEY laughs] So the three that you’re trailing behind don’t- they don’t even notice you’re there. But then another shadow lunges from the shade of one of the black-barked pines.

[The slow, creepy music fades out. A new slow, creepy music track starts. This piece features guitar, percussion, and synths starts. The percussion gives it an aggressive, suspenseful feeling.]

FAY: Okay. [WHITNEY: All right!] It’s fightin’ time.

JONN: We’re in initiative. When the shadowy creature like, la- lau- launches its attack, it lets out a baleful wail as it claws at- at you, drawing the attention of the other three.

WHITNEY: We found the Mara! [FAY: Yeah.] Well, if they’re the ones that- if there was screaming before each of these victims disappeared, I’m gonna go ahead and say these are our dudes.

FAY: They’re involved, that’s for sure. Let’s fight ’em! [chuckles]

WHITNEY: Yeah! Let’s fight ’em!

JONN: All right. So because you’re being taken by surprise, they’re going to get to act first.

FAY: Sure.


JONN: These creatures are minion. And they’re going to act as a single group, all right? Acting like a single group, effectively. Instead of rotating through attacks, they make one collective attack, getting bonuses for every additional member of that group. [WHITNEY: Oof, okay.] They will claw at you with their shadowy claws. Yes, good storytelling right there. [WHITNEY and JONN laugh]

WHITNEY: Listen, it’s effective. I don’t like it. I’m not excited about it. It’s gonna hurt and be terrible. So good job. [laughs]

JONN: Right. I’m sorry, which one of you rolled a setback?

WHITNEY: Oh, it was probably me.

JONN: Okay, Frecka’s being attacked.

WHITNEY: Of course I am.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

JONN: They rolled a, uh, sixteen. And because it’s four of them, that’s plus three plus their attack. They get a win. Actually, they get a win and a boon.

WHITNEY: [softly] Nooooo.

JONN: Unfortunately. So, damage.

FAY: Yeah.

WHITNEY: Well, I don’t like that.

JONN: For two whole damage- harm.

WHITNEY: Okay, I’ll take it.

JONN: But I’ll actually- they’re gonna spend their boon to increase that to a seven.

WHITNEY: [sighs frustratedly]

FAY: When can I use my fighting stance?

JONN: Uh, since the both of you only have a single fighting stance, it’s assumed you’re always in it. It’s only when you get a second fighting stance that you need to worry about not being in it.

FAY: Right, but how do I use it? Because mine is Guardian. So I intercept harmful attacks to allies.

JONN: Okay, so if you’re next to each other, you can intercede and take half damage.

FAY: Right. Um, which seems like an appropriate time to halve damage. Would that be three? Do we round down?

JONN: Uh, yeah, it would be round down.

FAY: Cool, okay.

JONN: So you would take three harm.

[The aggressive, suspenseful music stops playing.]

FAY: So no! No, this is my fighting stance. I’m a guardian. So I push you out of the way.

[A mystical, mysterious, and suspenseful track featuring synths and percussion begins playing.]

FAY: Right at the last moment. [WHITNEY: Oh!] And because they didn’t see me, they didn’t know I was coming. And, um, I only get hit by part of it, though, because I was interceding.

WHITNEY: That is very cool!

FAY: So you take zero and I take a minus- a three damage.

JONN: Now it’s one of the two of your turn.

WHITNEY: Okay, do you want to go or do you want me to go?

FAY: I think it makes sense for you to go, since I just interceded.

WHITNEY: Sure. I’m gonna, I’m gonna, gonna bite one of them.

JONN: Okay. That’s a fight check.

WHITNEY: All right, um…

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Sweet!

WHITNEY: [laughs] That’s a nineteen.

JONN: Okay, that’s a win.

WHITNEY: It’s gonna be for eight damage. [JONN: All right.] The jerks.

JONN: You badly injured one of them.

FAY: Excellent. [sighs]

WHITNEY: Frecka has tasted blood. It’s gross, but she’s pleased.

JONN: Now it’s their turn, and they’re going to attack the interceding horse.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

JONN: Oh man, I hope I don’t roll like this all night. Well, I’m rolling- I rolled a win, [FAY chuckles] but I only did three damage. [FAY: Mmkay.] So that’s good.

FAY: Mmkay. Mmkay. So… another three damage.

JONN: And now it is Salvinia’s turn.

FAY: Okay, so I’m gonna attack right back. I’m gonna give a big kick to one of them, I hope. So let’s see how this goes.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Ugh, dang it! Yeah, so that’s a six. That sucks.

JONN: Okay, so that is a setback. [FAY: Yeah.] So they deal, they deal their damage; you don’t deal your damage.

FAY: Okay.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

JONN: And they deal six damage to you.

FAY: Ugh, okay.

JONN: All right, now it’s their turn.

[The sound of a die shaking begins.]

JONN: As they move away from you, and then another shadow comes in to claw at your hindquarters. Another one goes after Frecka.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

JONN: And that’s gonna be an exchange. Are you in- interposing this time?

FAY: Oh no, I’m getting kinda low kinda fast. Um, I think I’m not gonna do that this time.

JONN: All right, so Frecka takes eight damage.

FAY: Oof.

WHITNEY: Brutal. That’s all right.

JONN: Yeah, since that was an exchange, um-

WHITNEY: Now she’s really mad.

JONN: Frecka, you get to deal damage back.

WHITNEY: Ooh, really?

JONN: Mhm. Well, that’s one of the options here. You can exploit. When you exploit, there’s a couple things you can do: you can counter attack, which is deal damage. Reposition–move to a better position. Change fighting stance, which is not really applicable here. Take advantage by deciding to forego the damage to take a boon. Or you can create a hinder. So, damage might be the best choice here, since you hit pretty hard.

WHITNEY: I think so.

JONN: But those are the options ’cause sometimes collect- taking a boon is worthwhile because you can then use it later to bump your checks or lower a check, [WHITNEY: Right.] so from an attack.

WHITNEY: I’m gonna hit ’em again.

JONN: Okay, so roll your damage.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: Hell yeah! Eight more damage.

FAY: Sweet!

JONN: All right, you take one of the shadows out. As you bite through it, you tear through shadows, and wisps fly apart and slowly fade out of existence.

WHITNEY: Love it. Also, because of my fighting stance, any harm I deliver beyond what’s needed to defeat a single target can be applied to another target.

JONN: And as you rip that one apart, another one shrinks back from you in terror. And their, their morale obviously taking a hit from the violence, so how you tore apart the first shadow,

WHITNEY: I like, growl and make a small howl. [JONN: All right.] And dig in more. And I’m like, “Let’s go!”

JONN: All right, this now is one of your two turns.

WHITNEY: Oh, I think it’s my turn.

FAY: Sure.

WHITNEY: Rad! I’m a’ hit ’em again! [FAY laughs]

JONN: Okay, go ahead. [WHITNEY laughs] Sounds like a good plan.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: Uh, sixteen and… so it was sixteen and then six damage.

JONN: The one that shrieks back- [chuckles] shrank back from you is- was off balance. And you take advantage of it by pouncing on it and rending it, destroying the second shadow.

WHITNEY: Awesome. Just an idea: do we want to destroy all of them? Or should we try to, um, contain one to get answers?

FAY: Well, considering how dangerous they are, um, Salvinia is just going for destroy. But, I mean, we’re in the heat of battle, so kind of whatever happens, I think. [WHITNEY: Okay!] If this is an idea that Frecka has, like, she can totally go for grappling one or something.

WHITNEY: That may be what I try to do, or at least hit it to, hopefully do a partial hit, get it scared of me. And then, like, try to pin it. [FAY: Sure.] Maybe that’s what I’ll try to do for the next one.

FAY: So I guess next it’s the shadows’ turn?

JONN: Yep. One of the two remaining tries to circle around with its partner to try to make a- an attack against Salvinia.

[The sound of a die shaking and then being rolled.]

JONN: And got a set back.

FAY: Nice! Does that mean that I get a boon? [WHITNEY chuckles] ‘Cause I get to choose, right? I get to choose how I exploit it.

JONN: You get to choose- You can choose between the counterattack, getting the boon, repositioning, and creating- putting a hindrance on them.

FAY: I want a boon because that’s how I shape shift. So I’m gonna take the boon. [JONN: Okay.] And I guess now it’s my turn, so I can attempt to attack. [chuckles] So I’m gonna… aim another big kick at the one that just missed me.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: And roll better? [anguished groan] Not roll well.

WHITNEY: Oh noooo. [laughs]

FAY: It’s, like, it rolls over these big numbers and it settles on the five. I don’t know. And I’ve got a six, so that’s, yeah.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Unless I wanna spend the boon to raise it up to a exchange. You know what, I think I might just do that. I’ll- I’ll raise it up to an exchange. [sighs and whispers] Uh! Back to zero.

JONN: Okay. Roll your damage?

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Eight!

JONN: Okay!

WHITNEY: Woohoo! Love that.

JONN: You, um, how do you kill that one? Kinda like kicking him?

FAY: Yeah, yeah, she’s been kind of kicking at- at the- them. She’s, so she like spins around and kicks at the one that just went after her. And um, her hooves just like shred right through it.

JONN: Those shred right through it, and as you pull your rear legs back, there’s two big hoof prints right in the middle of it. And it kinda like fades away into nothing, leaving one shadow remaining.

FAY: Mmkay!

WHITNEY: That is deeply satisfying.

[The sound of a die shaking begins.]

JONN: And it will also attack Salvinia as she finishes off the other shadow, as it takes advantage of the opening.

[The mysterious, suspenseful music fades out.]

[The sound of a die rolling.]

JONN: And rolls an exchange. [FAY: Okay.] For six damage.

FAY: And I get to roll damage against it?

JONN: Mhm.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: That’s three this time.

JONN: Okay, so it’s Frecka’s turn.

WHITNEY: All right, so we’ve got one–

JONN: One remaining shadow.

WHITNEY: One spooky buddy left? [JONN: Mhm.] She’s going to bare her teeth, like, a little taunting, cuz she’s big mad at this point. [JONN: Okay.] [laughs] And you know, attack.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: Cool. Cool. Cool. That was an eleven- oh wait, no, that’s a thirteen.

JONN: All right, that’s an exchange.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: Ooh, nine damage.

FAY: Oh my goodness.

JONN: You take six damage as it claws at you. I guess I’ll let you describe it, since you finished off the last one. How did you–

WHITNEY: [laughs] Excellent! So like, it clawed me because I went at its neck and I grabbed it. And I shook my head and clawed at it, and then I threw it away as it started disintegrating.

JONN: This last desperate attack: it clawed at you, left itself open, and then suffered.

WHITNEY: Serves it right. Stealing people. Hurting my buddy. Rude! Oblivion for you.

JONN: And you’re left in the small clearing inside the Mare-Pine Woods. Alone save for the baskets of toppled over apples.

FAY: [sighs] I suppose now we don’t have any shadows to follow. Oh well. Is our luck regenerating at this point?

JONN: Luck always resets after combat ends. [FAY: Okay.] Or after the scene ends, depending on the situation.

FAY: Mmkay.

WHITNEY: All right.

FAY: So Salvinia is gonna look around with her keen senses to try to figure out where we should be going next, because these, these don’t seem like the people who are in charge. These seem like the people who were carrying out the orders.


JONN: Yes. So, you look around you using your senses, and you- you pick up the scent of several of these shadows. They were just seen to be toying at, picking up trees- picking up, picking apples off of the- the odd apples that are growing on pines, which is bizarre yet appropriate, [WHITNEY: Yeah.] and collecting them. [FAY laughs]

WHITNEY: I’m really glad that I didn’t suggest that we taste one. [FAY laughs] Now that I know that they’re growing on the pines. [WHITNEY and JONN laugh]

FAY: So wrong!

JONN: I was- part of me like hopes- was hoping someone would eat one. But then part of me was like, “I hope not,” at the same time. [everyone laughs]

FAY: Salvinia is not eating those weirdo apples. Those are clearly bad news.

WHITNEY: If it does make you a little happy, I did consider it. [FAY and JONN: laugh] And decided against it.

JONN: I appreciate it.

WHITNEY: [laughs] Let’s see. I’ve got… Yeah, I’m looking around too to see if there’s anything, anything I can see. Like are they- is there a center place that when they… go further? Or is there anywhere else that looks like a well-worn path that we could potentially follow? [FAY: Right.] I will… hope and pray that, you know, my plus zero doesn’t set us back.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

WHITNEY: Hm! Sixteen!

JONN: Yeah, you were able to find what looks to be a burning hoof marks that lead further into the woods.

[Creepy music begins playing again.]

FAY: Not at all ominous.

JONN: No, not at all.

WHITNEY: Excellent. [FAY laughs] So since I’m in wolf form, I’ll just like move my head and sort of sneeze or whatever to get her attention. And be like, “Let’s go,” and start trotting down the path.

FAY: Okay! Off we go.

JONN: [You] follow the trail to where it appears to be a clearing. As you get closer to the clearing, you see that there appears to be a lake with a small island of land sitting in the middle. A toppled-over tree is the only path over to the land. There you see what looks to be a cre- creature with… wild hair, grooming what- one of the thirteen horses that are on the small island as it feeds it [stammers] those scarlet red apples.

FAY: What’s the creature look like?

JONN: It looks like a, um, older-looking- you can’t really tell. Androgynous person? Human? With hair that’s kinda ju- just wild and going out everywhere. It’s like knotted up. They’re- some of it’s braided; some of it’s wildly stuck together. [FAY: Okay.] And they’re mumbling words to the horses as they groom and feed the- feed them.

FAY: Okay.

WHITNEY: Okay, I’m gonna shapeshift back.

JONN: Mmkay.

FAY: Uh, quick question. As agents of Pandora, when we encounter, like, entities like this that are clearly doing wrong, what’s our main objective? Are we supposed to kill them? Are we supposed to capture them or what?

JONN: I mean, your objective is to stop what they’re doing. That’s your, that’s your first objective. [FAY: Okay.] If it requires harming them, if it’s necessary, yes. But if there’s any other choice, [FAY: Mkay.] that would be preferable.

FAY: Okay!

WHITNEY: Okay, so let’s subdue the Mara.

FAY: Okay!

JONN: So this is- it’s one of those things that, it’s left up to the agent to figure out how best to deal with the situation. But the goal is for whatever they’re doing- is to be stopped.

[Creepy music slowly fades out.]

FAY: So I’m kinda thinking that- that Salvinia is going to- this- this is an island in a lake, right?

JONN: Yes. So imagine, like, in the middle of the forest, there’s like a lake that’s kind of like a ring around what- couple of- like a large- It’s not like a huge island. You can see the entire thing from where you’re standing. There’s plenty of room for the thirteen horses to move around and graze, but it’s not, like, an enormous island.

FAY: Mmkay.

WHITNEY: And you said there was like a tree that you could use to get over to it?

JONN: Yeah, there’s a collapsed tree that runs from the woods out across to the lake.

FAY: Oh, that’s not necessary. Salvinia’s getting in that water.

JONN: Alright.

WHITNEY: Yeah well, Frecka’s not, though. [laughs]

FAY: Yeah. Well, I mean, you could ride on her back or you could walk over the tree. Your choice. [WHITNEY: Hmm.] It’s water. She’s going for it.

WHITNEY: I’m going to err on not getting my pants wet because fighting in wet boots is not fun.

FAY: Salvinia is already in the water. Going across. [JONN laughs]


JONN: All right, so…

FAY: [laughs] In her horse form still. [WHITNEY laughs]

JONN: Okay.

WHITNEY: Frecka’s gonna take, uh… take the log route.

JONN: Okay. How are you approaching the situation?

FAY: We- we’ve- it’s- it’s- we’re on the island now, right? [JONN: Mhm.] Okay, so we have a dripping wet horse [WHITNEY laughs] and a now human-form Frecka. So Salvinia’s gonna just look at Frecka and kind of nudge Frecka forward as the talker.

WHITNEY: [laughs quietly] Yeah. So I guess Frecka says, “Oi. Mara,” and gets her attention. Its attention.

JONN: The Mara turns around to see who’s speaking and is like, “What’re you doing here? Why are you in my forest?” [Transcriber’snote: when speaking as the Mara, Jonn uses a deep, somewhat distorted voice.]

WHITNEY (as Frecka): We’re here to bring home the people that you’ve stolen. We’d like to do it without any fuss. And we would appreciate your, uh, cooperation.

JONN (as the Mara): There’s no people here, only the horses.

[The Mara theme, a dreamy, mysterious track featuring synths and piano, begins playing.]

JONN (as the Mara): My horses.

WHITNEY (as Frecka): I think that your grasp on the word “my” and “horses” is suspect. We know that those horses were once people, including one named Loren Hope.

JONN (as the Mara): Yes, one of them. That is true. But we can both agree that horses are better than people. And they’re better this way.

WHITNEY (as Frecka): I won’t disagree for the first point, because sometimes horses are better than people. But on the second, we will have to fundamentally disagree. These people were taken from their homes against their will and they need to be returned to their original form. And we’re happy to take them off of your hands. But this cannot continue.

JONN (as the Mara): And why should I do that?

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Well, there will be consequences.

JONN (as the Mara): [Laughs tauntingly] Consequences? From who? YOU?

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Us, our agency, the rest of law enforcement and society. How many people could you really stand against? An entire town? The entirety of Tome?

JONN (as the Mara): [tauntingly] Law enforcement? Most of the horses are the King’s Men. In fact, all of my horses are all the king’s men. [FAY sighs dramatically] Well, except for these, of course.

FAY: I think at this point, Salvinia is going to pipe up because she, she’s angry again. And that’s when she talks. [laughs]


FAY (as Salvinia): We’re from Pandora.

JONN: Alright, so I’m gonna have you roll a talk check.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: C’mon, dice. Okay, that’s a twelve! That’s an exchange.

WHITNEY: I’ll take it. Good job, babe. [laughs]

JONN: Then the Mara continues, “Well, Pandora, I don’t want to have to deal with you. How about this? You give me a reason to give them back that’s better than the reason I have for having them. And then we can make a deal.”

FAY (as Salvinia): [slowly] Why do you have them?

JONN (as the Mara): I like horses. [suppressed laughter] Very much. I don’t like people very much. And if these authors spend all their time as horses, they will write more stories of horses. And I will have more horses.

FAY (as Salvinia): They can’t write stories of horses if they are always horses.

JONN (as the Mara): Of course they can. They are only here to imagine, but when they go back to where they come, they will write stories about horses because they will spend their time here as horses.

FAY: Uh, quick out of character thing. [as JONN laughs] They can’t go back while they’re trapped here as horses, right? [JONN: No.] Part of the issue is they can’t write.

JONN: Right. That is part of the issue. [WHITNEY: Right.] Like, like authors come here when they’re imagining. And when they’re not, they’re not here. But being trapped as- in these forms, they’re effectively stuck. [WHITNEY: Right.] So yes, there is a flaw in the Mara’s logic. [JONN and WHITNEY laugh]

FAY: And they’re, they’re stuck as [in] they can’t go back or they’re stuck as in their imagination is so limited that they’re unable to write?

JONN: Effectively, they’re stuck in a state where… if you only came here to imagine, but the only thing you imagined was your nightmare and you could not leave it. That’s where they’re at.


FAY: Right. Okay. [WHITNEY: Right.] That’s not good. That’s a pretty serious case of writer’s block, I think. [WHITNEY laughs] Okay.

JONN: And so effectively, every time they try to imagine something, it’s being a horse trapped on an island with- in a nightmarish forest.

FAY: Right. Okay, well, Salvinia is ready to start in on another lecture. Does Freya want to get anything in edgewise before Salvinia lets loose her lecture? She’s taking a real deep breath. [laughs]

WHITNEY: [laughs] So, Frecka’s starting to lose her patience a little and she goes, “That line of logic makes no sense. But here’s an idea. These people are authors. You want them to create horses. Authors often will write things of their own design, but one can also commission authors to write things that you wanna see in the world. So I think that it would probably be better and you would get better horses, better quality horses, horses that actually want to be here, if you returned these thirteen. And we could have our office commission a series of books about horses. Who do things. And therefore, we would be able to free these people and let them live their lives, but also add more horses to the world.

JONN: The Mara looks like they’re contemplating the idea.

JONN (as the Mara): How I wouldn’t- but won’t I have less horses that way? I’m sure I would. This way, I know I have horses. The other way I have to hope I have horses.

FAY (as Salvinia): I mean, [WHITNEY: I mean…] there’s- there’s plenty of places with horses. I mean, you could just visit one of the places that has lots of horses.

JONN: Right, it’s gonna be a talk check. [WHITNEY laughs]

FAY: Okay.

JONN: Because you’re talking about the Mara’s favorite topic, it will be raised.

[The sound of a die rolling.]

FAY: Oh wow! I rolled a nineteen. That means I get a boon, doesn’t it? Or- I cou- No, this talk not… [groans].

JONN: Yeah.

WHITNEY: Whatever, a nineteen is great!

FAY: It’s still great.

JONN: [laughing] Right.

WHITNEY: Love that. Love that.

FAY: Raises don’t take it past win, right? [JONN: No.] You don’t get a boon. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Oh well, that’s fine. Um, so basically, Salvinia’s gonna to talk about what she thinks is the appropriate, fair way to handle the situation. Which is that there’s, let’s see, I’m guessing there’s probably, like, some sort of… space. Like the whole Black Beauty series was giant, and there’s multiple other prominent horse serieses. So there’s probably just, like, an island where horses are running wild. And then there’s probably some other place that has stables and things, for all of the stable-focused genre. [FAY and JONN laugh]

WHITNEY: There are so many seasons of My Little Pony.

FAY: Oh yeah, there’s probably a whole-

JONN: Oh! [laughing]

WHITNEY: There are so many horses!

FAY: -My Little Pony land as well. [WHITNEY laughs]

JONN: You’re gonna solve this problem with My Little Pony! I love this! [WHITNEY and JONN laugh]

FAY: Okay… What- Equestria! That’s what it’s called.

JONN: [still laughing] Equestria.

WHITNEY: Yes! There’s a whole land called Equestria. And some of those can even fly!

FAY: So basically, Salvinia starts talking about, like, so if you want to spend time with horses, the most appropriate thing to do is to go down and visit Equestria, or Black Beauty Island. And- and so she’s gonna start describing all of these places. And that’s the appropriate way to get horses and hang out with horses without getting into trouble.

JONN (as the Mara): Hmmm. And so I give you these authors and you’ll do that for me? I can go to these places?

FAY (as Salvinia): Certainly [you] can go to these places.

FAY: Quick question, out of character. [JONN: Yup.] Is it hard to get to- are different places hard to get to? Is it kind of like an issue of, like, this entity was maybe just trapped in their own genre and just didn’t know these other places existed?

JONN: I mean, it’s, it’s more of a- that there are so many different genres stories that no one entity would know all of them. So they probably know the adjacent genres [FAY: Ah, okay.] more actually than they would know something that’s very different.

FAY: Sure, okay. So in that case, Salvinia is going to say, “Yes. If you give us these authors, then we will give you a map to some places that have horses, so you can go spend time with horses.”

WHITNEY: But Frecka’s gonna jump in and say, “This is for visiting and for friendship. They need to stay in their homes, just like you need to stay in your home. So please make sure that you respect their boundaries and their wishes, but they will be excellent horse friends, and you’ll get to see new places!”

JONN (as the Mara): But I get to keep the King’s Men, though, right? They make very good horses.

FAY: They do make good horses.

WHITNEY: You know, I’m not motivated to have them turn back. [JONN and FAY laugh] I’m not gonna lie, I would be fine with this compromise. [WHITNEY joins in the laughter]

FAY: Um, so Salvinia is really big on injustice. And so Salvinia says, “While they’re in horse form, they’re trapped in their nightmares, right? Like they’re-”

JONN (as the Mara): Yes, yes they are.

FAY (as Salvinia): So yeah, no, we- we can’t do that. I mean, if they were just turned into horses, that’d be fine- I mean, there’s some consent issues there, for sure. But we can’t- we can’t–

WHITNEY: Yes, the living nightmares thing.

FAY (as Salvinia): We can’t leave them trapped in nightmares, I’m afraid. But I will say that you’ll probably get more enjoyment out of engaging with people who are not trapped in nightmares as horses? Actual horses, I find actual horses a lot more fun to talk to than people, personally. People are, like, so hard to talk to a lot of the time. But horses. Horses are just… they’re easier.

JONN (as the Mara): Okay, I suppose. I want the map first before I give you the- the horses. You have a deal.

WHITNEY (as Frecka): How about we get the authors first? And then we exchange and then we get the other half of the horses?

JONN (as the Mara): Fair enough.

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Excellent! And if it helps, once we turn the King’s Men back, I think it would be fair to ask them if some of them would prefer to be horses, and then it can be a consent thing. But you have to be okay if they say no. Is that all right?

JONN (as the Mara): [sighs] Okay, I can do that.

WHITNEY (as Frecka): Excellent. Thank you.

FAY: Power of consent! [FAY laughs and then JONN joins in]

WHITNEY: Listen, friendship and consent are magic! [everyone breaks into laughter] Alright, so I pull out a map from one of my many magical pockets. And I hand it over- well, are you still a horse?

FAY: Uh, I’m still a horse. Yeah, yeah.

WHITNEY: Cool. So I have it open and I-

FAY: I mean, I feel like that’s helping me win this conversation. [laughs]

JONN: It is.

WHITNEY: I feel like you’re correct. Um, so I hold up the map and nudge you and hope that you point out the horse lands that you know, and I’ll mark them on the map.

FAY: Mmkay.

JONN: And so, the Mara will take that and explain to you like, well, once they stop eating the apples, it’ll be after some time they’ll turn back. Effectively, the apples were keeping them asleep, and then while they were asleep, they were- couldn’t wake up from the nightmare they’re in. [FAY makes a shuddering sound] Which allow the Mara to keep- turn them into a horse.

FAY: [whispers] Okey-dokey. [laughs]

WHITNEY: So question. [JONN: Mhm.] Are the apples themselves just like, soporific apples? Or are they nightmare-inducing apples? [JONN: Um.] Because if the Mara wants some like, extra cash, she can turn those apples into, like, a sleeping pill? That she can a- that she can sell for people who have insomnia. And maybe that’ll help her get some friends. [FAY laughs]

JONN: They’re- they’re not in and of themselves nightmare-inducing [WHITNEY: Okay.] other than where they grow at.

WHITNEY: Okay, then scratch that.

JONN: As long as you don’t let them know that they came from a dark forest with a nightmare- of a nightmare. I mean, they’ll probably be fine.

WHITNEY: Alright. Well, we’ll leave the encounter as “friendship and consent is magic” and not “let’s lead the Mara into a new entrepreneurial franchise.” [FAY and JONN burst into laughter and then WHITNEY joins them]

JONN: All right, so you, like, get what you set out to accomplish, and you resolve the- the case of the missing authors [FAY: Indeed.] I mean, the epilogue can be that after all this is over, you, like, started a lucrative [FAY snorts] sleeping… [FAY and JONN laugh] like restful sleep…

FAY: Apple business.

JONN: Yeah.

WHITNEY: Oh my gosh! Oh, I can totally see this. It’s like you’ve got one of those little, like, potion bottles, and it has, like, a horse on it, obviously. And it’s like “Sleep well.”

FAY: [laughing] It’s apple extract. You just take a couple of drops under your tongue and go to sleep. [breaks into laughter]

WHITNEY: Yeah, exactly. It’s a tincture. No known side effects. It’s fine.

FAY: It could just be apple juice, honestly.

JONN: No snake oil.

WHITNEY: It’s humane. It’s organic. It’s vegan! [JONN laughs] Cruelty-free.

FAY: [laughing] Sort of.

WHITNEY: [laughing] Sort of.

FAY: Currently cruelty free since…

JONN: [laughing] Alright, so at this point, I think we’re- we can close the story with the Mara being- has started his own Brony fan club. [everyone laughs]

WHITNEY: Phenomenal!

FAY: Okay.

JONN: Some of the King’s Men decide to stay as horses because, you know, their nightmare probably was sitting at a desk day after day for the rest of their lives. And they’re like, you know what, being a horse ain’t so bad. [laughs]

WHITNEY: I mean, full legit.

FAY: How many of them decide to stay? [WHITNEY chuckles]

JONN: [laughing] Maybe like a dozen or so, maybe two dozen?

FAY: Goodness. [WHITNEY: Oh! That’s-] Well, as long they’re not trapped in nightmares in the process of transformation. That’s kind of the most important part there. [WHITNEY laughs]

JONN: No. Well, they’re- they’re able to find a more humane way to become horses.

FAY: That’s good.

WHITNEY: [whispering] Oh my god. Oh my god, I love it.

JONN: Horse-mane way. I don’t know.

WHITNEY: Oh no! [JONN and WHITNEY laugh] Excellent. I love it.

FAY: I’m so glad I chose a horse form for this. [ongoing group laughter]

WHITNEY: [in a high-pitched voice] Me too! Me too. That was just…

JONN: When you chose the Nixie I was like, oh my god, this is gonna be great. I love this. [laughter dies down]

All right. So thank you for joining me as we explored the world of Tome. I hope everyone had fun. We’re gonna go around the table one more time. We’ll start with Whitney this time. You can tell us, uh, where people can find you and other projects you’re working on.

WHITNEY: Yeah, so my name is Whitney Johnson and you can find me on Twitter at EditrixW. Hit me up. I work in developmental editing, as well as just talking about stuff. In general. Lots of media stuff. And I’m a voice actor, um, appearing currently in Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services, The Nuclear Solution, and Take the Mass Pike, with some more coming up.

JONN: Right. Fay?

FAY: Yeah, so my name’s Fay Onyx. I’m most active on Twitter, where you can find me at writing_alchemy. I’m also on facebook at, and the main place to find all of my creative work is I have my own podcast. It’s a actual play podcast where we play various kind of one shots and shorter games. And basically, it’s people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and divergent minds playing characters who have disabilities, chronic illnesses, and divergent minds, because there’s just not enough authentic representation of disability out there and disabled heroes. So that’s what we’re doing, is we’re making some, some disabled heroes.

I also have a whole bunch of resources, specifically around accessibility in tabletop role playing games. And I’m working on my own game system as well, which is a very, kind of humorous, rules-light system called Magic Goes Awry. So you can check out my website if you wanna find out more about that.

JONN: And I’m Jonn. I was your GM for the evening. You can find me on Twitter at sleypy, s-l-e-y-p-y. I am a player in- on the podcast, TRF podcast, and I play the character Dust the superhero on Heroes of Cypher.

WHITNEY: Thanks so much for having us.

FAY: Yeah, thank you so much! This is a-

JONN: Thank you for joining! I was really excited to run this game. I- when I was selected, I was super happy.

FAY: Yeah.

WHITNEY: Well, it’s super fun. [FAY: Yeah.] Gotta love playing a redeemed villain. And it was great playing with you both.

FAY: Yeah, it was an awesome setting and a great game.

[Outro music, a laid back jazz piece that features bass, vibraphone, and drums, begins playing.]

JONN: Audio editing was done by Therin Stapp, whose work you can find at Fay Onyx put in the music and sound effects. Music was from Kevin MacLeod at Sound effects were from Detailed music and credits can be found in the show notes, along with links to the game system and all the awesome podcasts that were mentioned here.

This episode was a special crossover one shot created for International Podcast Month, which is happening right now this September. You can find episodes from a variety of podcasts, blog posts, and more at Follow International Podcast Month on Twitter at PodMonth. And please use the hashtag IPM2019 to comment on this episode and any other special International Podcast Month feature.

[The laid back jazz music plays for about twenty more seconds, then stops.]


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