Balance – Episode 14: Murder on the Rockport Limited: Chapter Five

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Can our heroes solve the greatest mystery of all: love? Also, murder? Let's find out in the Adventure Zone!

—The Announcer

"Murder on the Rockport Limited: Chapter Five," as it appears on the MaximumFun website, is the 14th episode of The Adventure Zone, from the arc which would later be named Balance.

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Full transcript available here.

The game is afoot! The game of murder-solving, I mean. The game of Dungeons & Dragons has been afoot for a while. Magnus finds unorthodox uses for furniture. Taako practices his interrogation techniques. Merle becomes a robot mom.

The Tres Horny Boys are in the middle of a fight with a giant enemy crab. After knocking it out a window, the crab has propelled itself back onto the train and is now residing a couple cars down from their position. All three run, or, in Taako's case, limp pitifully, towards its current location. They move back to the room where they found Jenkins's body, only to see that the room, the body, and the drink cart have been incinerated by the crab monster. They make it to the sleeping chambers, where they see the crab floating in the air, impotently trying to regain its bearings. Restarting the fight, Merle casts Healing Word on Taako, who regains 11 hit points. The crab is up next, and it stabs its claws into the ceiling, points its mouth at the party, and shoots a column of flames. Luckily, the boys jump into their sleeping chambers and are able to avoid the blast.

TAAKO: Guys? Guys? That was our first moment of competence. I hope you all remember.
MERLE: Holy crap!
MAGNUS: High fives all around.
CLINT : And we miss.
JUSTIN : And we miss. We miss the high five. [sound of hands clapping]
MERLE : Ow! Right in the face.

Taako pokes his Umbra Staff outside the door of their room and casts Melf's Acid Arrow. He rolls an 11, so only a bit of acid splashes onto the crab monster, doing 4 damage total. Magnus takes a chair from the room they're in, and runs towards the crab, clobbering it for 10 damage. This attack manages to loosen it from the ceiling, and the crab is back to floating aimlessly through the hallway. All of a sudden, Jess the Beheader comes in and sprints towards the crab. She does some sick jumps off the walls, Ong Bak style, and cannonballs towards the crab. An ax appears in her hands, and she does 29 damage, slicing the crab monster in half mid-air.

MAGNUS : I did 29 damage punching it out a window, it’s not that big a deal guys, alright? We all do 29 points of damage!

Magnus asks about Jess's ax, and she tells him that it's soulbound to her.

MAGNUS : Can I have it?
JESS: Oh no, absolutely not, cuz it’s not soulbound to you!
MAGNUS : Well could we soulbound, like is it like a, like we, blood brother kind of thing, where like we cut our palms, shake hands, and then I can use it too?

Jess tells Magnus that, being a pro wrestler, she is very intrigued with his chair usage skills, and gives Magnus her ax. He takes it, and it reappears back into Jess's hands. After a good laugh, Jess asks for Magnus's name, and, having given up on the whole fake name thing, tells her his real name. Merle tries to cover for him by saying that Magnus is his stage name, but Magnus shuts him down.

GRIFFIN : I am just—I just want to say, when I was writing this- this mystery chapter, how certain I was that the three of you were not going to be capable of introducing yourselves to the characters I was creating. And you have fulfilled that prophecy, just with flying colors.

Taako, assuming that anyone's suspicious at this point, asks if Jess has any specific reasons for being on the train. She tells them that she's heading to Neverwinter in order to do a hype tour for an upcoming match against Greg the Leg-Cutter. After listing off the possible suspects and murder victims, the boys leave to go and interrogate Graham.

[Money Zone]

The boys and Jess make it back to the passenger's room where Angus and Graham reside. After deciding as a group to give up on the whole fake identity ruse, Merle casts Zone of Truth on the room. Magnus attempts to smack Graham awake.

GRIFFIN : Mmkay, you smack him as hard as you can, and he says—
TRAVIS : No, I didn’t say as hard as I can, I smack him… 20%.
GRIFFIN : Okay, uh… just 20%? That’s still h—
TRAVIS : 20%.
GRIFFIN : That’s hard enough to kill some things.
TRAVIS : Okay, 5%.
GRIFFIN : Okay, 5%, you shatter all of his teeth and—
TRAVIS: With my left hand. With my left hand.

Having "awoken" Graham, the boys decide to play good adventurer, bad adventurer, and neutral adventurer. Taako, playing good adventurer, asks Graham if he saw anything when he walked in on Jenkins's dead body. Graham tells them that he saw the body when he left the passenger room to go and see if he could have another round in the pleasure chamber, and, all of a sudden, he faints again. Magnus, playing bad adventurer, smacks him again, this time at 6.5% strength.

GRAHAM : Whoooaaa!! That smack hurt 1.5% more than the last one, how—what are you doing to me?
MAGNUS : You don’t get out of this by passing out, Juicy.
JUSTIN : Well statistically speak—I- I mean, not to quibble, but if- if it was 6.5%, it would hurt a little over 20% more than the one before it, because the one that preceded it had been five…
GRAHAM : Well I took an estimate—I took an educated guess at what 100% of his smack would feel like, and so…

Merle, playing neutral adventurer, asks Graham if he would like a cup of coffee. Graham says he would, but, due to the fact that the drink cart was destroyed by the crab monster, declines. Magnus looks at Graham and asks how long he was in the passenger's car before he left for the pleasure chambers. He says 20 minutes, and that Jess was also in the room with him. Magnus asks Graham if the shriek they heard earlier came from him.

GRAHAM : I don’t remember shrie—I have a pretty gravelly, mature…
MAGNUS : Graham…
GRAHAM : ...masculine voice, so I don’t think, uh…
MAGNUS: Grahaaamm…

Merle, now playing mom cop, returns with some Andes mints and tells Graham to answer the nice men. Graham tells the boys that the last time he saw Jenkins was just a few minutes before his murder. He was doing drink service, and, after he was done, went to the back of the train. Magnus asks Jess if she can corroborate Graham's story, seeing as she was in the passenger's car with him. Jess confirms that everything Graham has said so far is true, and tells them that, yes, the shrieking they heard did come from Graham. Taako, finally noticing the elephant in the room, asks Jess the Beheader if she was the one who killed Jenkins.

JESS: Of course I didn't.
TAAKO: Okay.
JESS: Do you—do you— do you adventure on your free time? No! I only behead people when I need to, or when I’m being paid to do it, for entertainment.
MAGNUS: To be fair, living is the greatest adventure.
JESS: ...I guess!

Taako asks if Graham ever did go into one of the pleasure chambers. Graham says he did not, on account of fainting due to seeing a dead body. Graham faints again and Magnus smacks him at 7.2% strength, popping his jaw out of place. The pain causes Graham to begin screaming uncontrollably, so Merle casts Cure Wounds. Graham's jaw sets back in place, and he recovers 13 damage.

CLINT: Okay, and I grab the front of Magnus’s shirt, and I say,
MERLE : Come on, man! Come on, we’re not getting anywhere with this approach!
CLINT: Was that good? Was that good?
GRIFFIN : That was really good.

The boys narrow the possible suspects down to Hudson, so they head down to the engine car. Magnus knocks on the door to the car, and Hudson greets them through a megaphone-like system above the door. They inform him that Jenkins is dead, and ask for access to the safe so they can secure their weapons. Hudson tells them that he cannot allow them into the safe, especially with a murderer out and about. Hudson asks how Jenkins was killed, and they tell him that he was beheaded, behanded, and burned up.

HUDSON : It seems like the person on the train that goes by the name “The Beheader” might know something about that!
MAGNUS : No, we asked. We asked.
TAAKO: We did. We asked, she’s—
HUDSON : And what, she just said “no, it wasn’t me,” and y’all were like, “cool”?!
MERLE : She has a corroborating witness for her alibi.
TAAKO : Well and there was a magic spell cast on her, so.
HUDSON : [sigh]

Hudson refuses to come out of the engine room until the train reaches Neverwinter, and, after some attempts to reason with him, hangs up on them. The boys realize that, seeing as it wasn't on his body, the murderer is probably holding onto Jenkins's magic rod. They make it back to the passenger's car and command everyone to turn out their pockets. Graham's pockets contain the Andes mints that Merle gave him, while Angus's contain his hand-crossbow, Book of Interception, and a detective tool-kit.

CLINT: So basically the whole “turn over all your weapons” only applied to us.
GRIFFIN : What do you mean?
CLINT: Kid’s got a crossbow! And, what’s-her-name can summon an axe!
ANGUS: A very, a very well-concealed crossbow!

Jess is the only one who refuses to turn out her pocket, so Taako does an investigation check to see if there any stains, damages, etc. on her person. He rolls a 12 and sees no blood stains or signs of damage on her armor. Taako casts Detect Magic but senses nothing out of the ordinary. Seeing that none of their fellow passengers has the rod, the boy head for the sleeper cars. Before leaving, Merle winds up the Scuttlebug item he got from Fantasy Costco. It imprints on Merle and drops a tiny, round nodule out of its butt. It instructs Merle to place the nodule in his ear. Merle complies, and, suddenly, all sound in the room is amplified. Scuttle Buddy climbs up to ceiling and sets up shop in the space between the ceiling and its light fixture.

GRIFFIN : And then, uh, in your ear, Merle, you hear,
SCUTTLE BUDDY: [buzzing that sounds like “I love you!”]
MERLE : I love you too, Scuttle Buddy.
SCUTTLE BUDDY: [giggle-buzzing]
CLINT: [to the tune of “My Little Pony”] My Scuttle Buddy, my Scuttle Buddy...
TRAVIS: Um, Scuttle Buddy will be available in all Toys “R” Us stores by November 1…
GRIFFIN : Collect them all! There’s 800 Scuttle Buddies. Each one costs $16.
TRAVIS: See if you can tell the difference!
GRIFFIN : You can’t, they’re very, very similar.

[Theme Tune Plays]

Money Zoneedit | hide | edit source

Sponsored by NatureBox.

Sponsored by Plaid Hat Games.

Featured NPCsedit | hide | edit source

Featured Locationsedit | hide | edit source

  • Rockport Limited

Quotesedit | hide | edit source


Referencesedit | hide | edit source

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