Balance – Episode 13: Murder on the Rockport Limited: Chapter Four

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This week, someone reaches their final destination: heaven. All aboard the Adventure Zone!

—The Announcer

"Murder on the Rockport Limited: Chapter Four," as it appears on the MaximumFun website, is the 13th episode of The Adventure Zone, from the arc which would later be named Balance.

Synopsisedit | hide all | hide | edit source

Full transcript available here.

As you might have guessed from the title of the past few episodes, our heroes' journey isn't going to be an especially calm one. Because of all the murder, I mean. Taako mourns the dead. Merle finally plays his part. Magnus does one of the absolute coolest punches ever.

The Tres Horny Boys have just been served a delicious brunch in the dining car by the Rockport Limited's wizard attendant, Jenkins. Jenkins comes back to check in on them and asks if they've given any thought on checking into one of the train's pleasure chambers.

MAGNUS: Jenkins?
MAGNUS: Could I visit your mom’s house?
MERLE : Again.
JENKINS: You could visit. Oh, I see. Is this an actual request or just one of your patented burns?
MAGNUS: Nah, Jenkins, nah. We cool.

Taako volunteers to go into one of the train's most popular pleasure rooms. Jenkins pulls a small, silvery rod out of his robes, and traces the outline of the door frame of a closet in the dining car. He opens the door, and inside is a greenhouse full of lush plant and rich clusters of berries. Jenkins stays behind to keep the portal open as all three of them head into the greenhouse. Taako rolls an arcana check to see what kind of magic Jenkins is using, and learns that it's a form of teleportation magic that's easy to use, as regular teleportation is hard even for most wizards, and extremely limited.

TAAKO: And if teleportation magic is hard for wizards to use, it must be impossible for Jenkins.
MAGNUS : Bing!
JENKINS : Bing, you got me. [groans]

After a nice stroll through the garden, along with Magnus marking his territory, the boys retreat back to the dining car. Angus McDonald greets them as they come out, and asks them what their names are again. They reply with the same names they gave last time.

ANGUS: No, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. What are your guys’ real names?

Realizing that they've been caught, along with being even more suspicious of Angus, Taako casts Detect Magic. With the spell, he is able to detect that the book Angus is holding contains traces of divination magic. After failing once, Magnus is able to snatch the book out of Angus's hands. He tosses it to Taako, who does an arcana check on the book. He discovers that the book has divination magic built into it that allows it to intercept messages transmitted through magical means, and transcribe it into plain text. As Taako opens the book, the last message that was intercepted appears on one of the pages. The page reads:

  • "Leeman Kessler and Co. not who they say they are STOP Uh. Charm magic spell performed at the station STOP Uh, uh, hand over to authorities immediately upon arrival in Neverwinter STOP".

Taako gives the book back to Angus, who tells them to meet him in the sleeper cars. Once there, he fully introduces himself as the world's greatest detective.

TRAVIS: I roll my eyes.
ANGUS: Ok. I mean I— I did detective good enough to see through your horseshit, so I can’t be too bad.

He says to the boys that he was hired by the Rockport City Council to track down a notorious serial killer named The Rockport Slayer, who targets and kills wealthy individuals for their riches and leaves without a trace. The boys try to tell Angus that they're also on a mission, but, due to The Voidfish's influence, are unable communicate this to him. Angus explains further that he believes that The Rockport Slayer is somewhere on the train and that he was the one who murdered the real Leeman Kessler. Taako asks where the message in the book came from, and Angus tells him it was sent down the line by a Tom Bodett, the same Bodett who was charmed by Taako.

MERLE : I knew killing him—I told you-
MAGNUS : Aw, we should’ve killed Tom Bodett!
MERLE : I knew it!

Angus, knowing that some outside force is preventing him from hearing certain words they say, asks them if Leeman was carrying something valuable. Magnus tells him yes, and that it would be extremely dangerous if said valuable item got into the wrong hands. Angus deduces that said item is most likely locked up in the safe in the cargo car.

MAGNUS: Well, that’s not really that impressive. That’s where we lock stuff up, Angus. You didn’t really, like, deduce the shit out of that one.
TAAKO: He wasn’t, he wasn’t showboating.
MAGNUS : Oh, okay.
ANGUS : Yeah, I’m just sort of workin’ with you now.

Magnus tells him that, yes, the item is stored in the safe, but they're still not quite sure what it does, just that it's very dangerous. Angus suggests that they explain to the engineer that they need to get into the safe, but Taako shoots him down and explains that they're not sure who to trust at this point.

TAAKO : Listen. Look at us. We’re three grown men trusting a baby with the secrets. We’re not professionals--
ANGUS : I’m not a baby! I’m f-- I’m a-- I’m a-- a--eight- What-- How old--? I’m ten-- Did I say how old I was last time?
MERLE : Ten.
ANGUS : Ten it is!

Angus enlists the help of the boys in finding the Rockport Slayer. Suddenly, a shadow breezes past the window to the sleeper car, and a high-pitched shriek echoes from the front of the train. The boys and Angus head towards the noise, and, once there, they see a pool of blood oozing from a closed door that leads to a space between the sleeper and passengers car. The boys rush in, and lying on the floor is a dead body. It is wearing robes and is missing both its head and its hands. More importantly, it is wearing a shimmering, rainbow bowtie.

CLINT: Jenkins!
TRAVIS: We should have appreciated him while he was alive!
TAAKO: [sobbing] If only you used one of your spell slots to defend yourself.

Also in the room is a drink cart, which totally won't be important later. Across from Jenkins's body is an unconscious Graham. As Angus handles Graham, the party investigates Jenkins's body. Magnus checks to see if Jenkins still has his magic rod, and discovers that, not only is the rod not there, the body seems to be holding no belongings. Taako checks the stump where Jenkin's head should be and sees that whoever, or whatever, cut his head off did it very neat and clean. In contrast, when Merle investigates, the hands were removed more sloppily, and there seems to be no sign of a struggle. Angus tells the boys that they need to get Graham to a bed, but stops and tells them not to move when he notices something above them. With a flick of the wrist, he produces a hand crossbow and shoots a bolt at the ceiling. Suddenly, a giant crab-like creature appears and starts attacking the boys. Angus grabs Graham and pulls him out the room while Magnus and Merle stay behind to fight. Taako, on the other hand, cheeses it out of there along with Angus. Magnus, realizing he has no weapons, cheeses it along with Taako.

MERLE : You guys really want to run away. You don’t want to fight.
TAAKO : I have no-- We have no--
MERLE : You have magic! You have offensive magic!
TAAKO : Yeah--
MERLE : I have offensive magic!
TAAKO: I wanna tell you a story about the time that there were three ogres, right? And then one of them hit me so hard I almost died. You were sitting up in some sort of weird laser, just shooting flasks willy-nilly, and Travis was ripping the arms off of robots, and I got punched so hard I almost died! I’m not gonna go toe-to-toe with a crab while you’re armed with a terrible Scottish accent, and Travis doesn’t even have his shield! I’m out! I mean-- Did I say Travis? I mean Leeman Kessler.
TRAVIS : Nope!
TRAVIS : Wrong all the way around!
JUSTIN : Er, good enough.

[Money Zone]

The boys return to the passenger car with Angus, and they shut the door behind them. Unfortunately, this does not deter the monster, and it blasts through the door. Everyone rolls initiative. Merle rolls a 19, Taako rolls an 11, and Magnus rolls a 10. Merle goes first, and he sees that Jess the Beheader is also in the room with them, having come out of her room to see what was making all that noise. Merle uses his turn to cast Shield of Faith on the party. The crab monster scuttles up to the three of them and swings its claws at them. The first swing misses them, thanks to Shield of Faith, but the second swing rakes across Taako's chest. Taako, in return, casts Levitate on the crab and tells Magnus to knock it out of the train. Magnus complies and uses his Phantom Fist to punch it out of the nearest window. It almost works, but the crab digs its claws into both sides of the window, keeping it from flying out. Magnus uses Action Surge, and punches it again, this time succeeding in pushing it out of the window. Because the train is going through a tunnel, the crab is scrapped against both the walls of the train and the tunnel. Unfortunately, this does not kill it, and, using its mouth, it rocket propels back into the train not long after.

GRIFFIN: Yeah, and he is bloody, and he is further down the train, and that was pretty fucking radical.

[Theme Tune Plays]

The Money Zoneedit | hide | edit source

Sponsored by Audible.

Sponsored by Nature Box.

Personal message for Sophie Manfaat Cannon of the Kent Manfaat Cannons, from Matt: Happy approximately your birthday. Since moving to Hong Kong, life has been smelly and entertaining. You're the most adequate acquaintance a boy can wish for. Can't wait to see you when I visit London in November. I will bring your other birthday gift: my magnificent presence. P.S. Come to Hong Kong kthxbai

Featured NPCsedit | hide | edit source

Featured Locationsedit | hide | edit source

  • Rockport Limited

Referencesedit | hide | edit source

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