Balance – Episode 16: Murder on the Rockport Limited: Chapter Seven

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If our heroes can't stop this runaway train, I'm going to have to find a new podcast to introduce. Is Serial hiring? It's the Adventure Zone!

—The Announcer

"Murder on the Rockport Limited: Chapter Seven," as it appears on the MaximumFun website, is the 16th episode of The Adventure Zone, from the arc which would later be named Balance.

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Full transcript available here.

In the final chapter in the Rockport Limited story arc, our heroes have little time to stop their runaway train from colliding with Neverwinter, potentially ruining some other group's D&D session. Magnus takes a tumble. Merle channels Gary Sinise. Taako does some pretty dope magical stuff.

The Tres Horny Boys have managed to put a stop to Jenkins's evil plans, but are now trapped on a runaway train heading straight for Neverwinter. Jess the Beheader, Angus, and Graham barge into the cargo car ready to fight, only to see the boys coming up with a plan to stop the train.

TAAKO: And that’s the-- my entire plan for how we stop the train.
CLINT: [laughs]
TAAKO: They missed it. I guess they missed it, but it’s really good.
ANGUS: Can you uh, can you start over from the beginning?
TAAKO: [groan] Hatchi-matchi.
CLINT: Well why don’t you tell us your plan and how it competes with his.
TAAKO: We’ll compare. Contrast and compare. They’re bored, they don’t wanna hear my plan again.

Angus tells Taako that they should look for the boys' relic before dealing with the train. Taako picks up the compass Jenkins was using, and, using his Arcane Knowledge, figures out that it's more like a dowsing rod that points to the most valuable items, explaining how Jenkins knew that the relic was on the train. The boys collect their items from the pile on the floor, and, while doing so, find a silverware set and a locked suitcase. Taako tosses Merle the compass, and it leads him to a small monocle on the left side of the cargo car. Seeing as he resisted the thrall of the last Grand Relic, Taako goes to pick it up. As he reaches down to pick it up, the monocle tries to tempt him into using it.

RELIC: Heyyy...Heyyy buddy. Heyyyyy buddy.
TRAVIS: [sleazy voice] You wanna see some DVD movies?
RELIC: Buddy. Hey buddy. Put me on.
TRAVIS: I got all the latest releases.
RELIC: I’ve got all the...I’ve got- I’ve got Jack and Jill 2 starring Adam Sandler.
RELIC: It’s too hot for TV. Hey buddy, put me on I can make...anything, anything you can imagine turn real. Hey buddy, c’mon.
JUSTIN : Okay, I pick up the monocle..
RELIC: Oh yeah buddy, put me on. Put me on.
JUSTIN : With- with the handle of my umbrella.

Taako, having rolled a Nat 20 on his wisdom saving throw, scoops up the monocle with the handle of his Umbra Staff, and throws it into his satchel. After safely securing the relic, Taako's Umbra Staff starts pointing towards Jenkins's wand. It turns inside out like an umbrella in the wind, and sucks the wand up, absorbing its powers.

TRAVIS: And what happens to my Railsplitter, Griffin? Something magical like that?
GRIFFIN : Your Railsplitter...disintegrates.
TRAVIS: [laughter] Oh no!
TAAKO: No, it turned to ash.

Angus says he's glad that the boys have found what they're looking for, but they've still only got 7 minutes before they hurtle into Neverwinter. Taako, thinking quickly, picks up Jenkins's port rod, and orders everybody out of the room.

TAAKO: Everybody out!
JUSTIN: And I, as- as people are leaving I kinda hang back and I’m like,
TAAKO: Okay, now everybody face the forward of the train and really focus on the engineer, what the engine-- like what the engineer’s room looks like.
GRIFFIN: Are you using everybody else’s...imagination?
TAAKO: Yeah I need everybody to go into the, the adjacent car, and just, turn towards the engineer’s car and really focus on it. Okay?
JUSTIN: Alright, has everybody, has everybody, has everybody done that?
GRIFFIN: Yep! Everybody-- everybody moves in there. Are, so, you’ve moved everybody into the dining car. You’re still in the cargo car?
TAAKO: Right, and then everybody face towards the front of the train and really focus on it, okay?
JUSTIN : Okay. Now, while they’re doing that I scoop the remaining valuables into my bag.
CLINT and GRIFFIN: [laughter]
GRIFFIN: Okay, you pick up a, uh, golden tiara, you pick up the silverware set, you pick up the briefcase.
JUSTIN: Nice! Nice! Nice!
TAAKO: Okay, keep focusing! You’re doin’ great.

Have successfully plundered everyone's valuables, Taako heads to the dining car and tries to create a portal to the engineer car by using the magic rod on the door to the cargo car. Unfortunately, he rolls a 2 on his intellect check and instead creates a sort of squiggly cartoon version of the engineer car.

CLINT: Oh, like the Ah-Ha video!
JUSTIN: Yeah like the Ah-Ha video.
GRIFFIN : Yeah, you have basically created the Ah-Ha video but it’s in the engineer’s car.
CLINT: [Singing] Take….on….me!

With only four minutes left until impact, Taako makes another attempt at creating a portal. This time he rolls a 19, and they successfully make it into the engineer car. Taako asks if anyone knows how to stop a train, and Graham, who's been training his entire life for this, volunteers to give it a shot. Graham tells everybody to hold on tight and grabs the brake lever. However, the lever doesn't budge, and, to his horror, Graham realizes that, like the safe, the levers are also locked to Hudson's handprints. Seeing as they destroyed Hudson's hands when they defeated the flesh golems, and with only three minutes left to spare, the boys are forced to come up with a new plan entirely.

CLINT: Is it possible we can disconnect the locomotive from the rest of the train?
GRAHAM: Yeah, but the locomotive is still gonna hit Neverwinter and it's gonna cause a lot of damage.
CLINT: Have you met us?
JUSTIN: That's some other D&D game's problem.
CLINT: Yeah! Let 'em fix...
GRIFFIN: HAHA!! Wait a minute, wait a minute: "You have safely brought the princess back to her chambers in Neverwinter after besting the nineteen dragons of the Horrid Rim and- OH FUCK, A TRAIN!!! OH MY GOD NO A TRAIN JUST RAN INTO- Oh, God, no. Oh Jesus."
JUSTIN: I'm just living out my lifelong dream of reenacting the end of Silver Streak. It's all I've ever wanted.

Now down to two and a half minutes, Taako takes the port rod, heads to the entrance to the train, pops open the door and hangs outside of it. At first, he has the idea of using the rod to create a portal on the gate to Neverwinter and sending the train to Phandalin, but, thanks to Travis's input, decides that Jenkins's garden is a much better place to send it.

TRAVIS: Okay. Done, fuck it. You know what? I trust you Taako. I lay my hand on his shoulder.
MAGNUS : I trust you.
TAAKO: Okay. Excellent.
CLINT : I lay my- I lay my hand on his hip and say:
MERLE : That’s as high as I can reach.
GRIFFIN: And then you dip. He dip. We dip, we dip.
ANGUS : These are all really great goofs, but we’re gonna hit the gate in one minute.
MAGNUS: Be cool Angus, for one second! This is a teambuilding moment.

Now only 50 yards away from Neverwinter, everyone decides to jump off the train, while Taako stays behind to create the portal. Angus is reluctant to jump, so Taako pushes him off the train. He rolls a good distance away from the train, but, luckily, only loses a couple of teeth. Angus sits up and gives them a thumbs up, and Magnus jumps off next, making sure to tuck and roll so he won't get damaged.

GRIFFIN: Acrobatics check!
TRAVIS: I rolled a 45!
GRIFFIN: Nope, that’s not a number.

Magnus rolls a 12 and suffers 2 damage. Unlike Angus, he does not sit up and give a thumbs up. Jess jumps off the train effortlessly, lands on her feet running, and stops completely, like a cat. Taako notices Magnus's unconscious body and asks Graham if he has any spell that could heal him. Graham tells him that he could give it a try.

TAAKO: Great, that’s good enough for me. Bye.
GRAHAM: Okay. Well, I just wanna say I’m really proud of you.
TAAKO : Okay good.
GRAHAM: And I just wanted - I just want you to know that -
JUSTIN: I p- I push him off the train too.
GRAHAM: [Fading as he falls off the train] I just want y- I just want you to know, that I wanna be like you somedaaaay!

With Graham gone, the only people still left on the train are Merle and Taako, and the two of them decide to jump off the train at the same time. Taako rolls an 18 on his acrobatics check, landing gracefully. Merle, on the other hand, rolls a 14, taking five damage. As Taako lands, he points the port rod at the gate to Neverwinter, and, having rolled a 24 on his spellcasting check, uses it to create the portal to Jenkins's garden.

GRIFFIN: Okay, you see in a flash, uh, the train platform of Neverwinter disappear, uh, and in its place, uh, you see a lush garden. Uh, the train goes into it. Uh, you hear a cacophonous smash as the, uh, the glass, uh, container of the greenhouse comes smashing down. Uh, you see, uh, greenery just sort of go flying, uh, colliding with the back of the gate and just sort of stopping in midair and falling to the ground. Uh, and the train goes through, and as the, uh, container of the greenhouse is destroyed, uh, the spell shuts off, and with a loud pop, uh, the spell is interrupted and the train has vanished.
TRAVIS: Can I just say you guys, way more successful than our last one. We didn’t destroy a city or anything.
CLINT: Except for the damn garden!
TRAVIS: FUCK--Fuck Wankins’ garden. I don’t care about that dude.

Having just saved Neverwinter, Taako instantly starts trying to cover up his previous thievery by pretending that the items he stole were still on the train. Angus starts to worry, as he was transporting his grandfather's favorite silverware set, that Taako stole, to him as a death-day present. Magnus comforts Angus and tells him that maybe he'll get lucky and his grandfather will long dead once he gets there.

JUSTIN: Um, Griffin, can you say something about how we solved your train mystery?
GRIFFIN: Oh, yeah-- I mean, you actually did solve my--my murder puzzle. You-you-you have literally, uh, for once, solved my Puzzle of . . .
CLINT: --Murder! . . .
GRIFFIN: Of-- You’ve solved my train puzzle.
CLINT: Yeah!

[The Money Zone]

The boys suddenly remember that Magnus is near-death, so Merle goes to him and casts Spare the Dying. The spell stabilizes Magnus and brings him up to 0 hit-points. With Angus, Jess, and Graham in tow, Merle and Taako carry Magnus back to the train platform so he can get some rest. Once there, they are greeted by a crowd of people who are shocked by just having witnessed a fucking train disappear. The Neverwinter Militia run up to Angus, who produces a badge and assures them that the boys are with him. As Angus deals with the militia, Jess turns to the boys and, as thanks for their help on the train, offers them free entry into her next match. However, Magnus has other things on his mind and asks her if her soul-bound ax is a thing that can be taught. To his disappointment, she tells him that it's something he'll have to figure out on his own. Also, it'll probably be too heavy for him to hold.

MAGNUS: Well, you know what, Jess? Thanks so much, we’ll see ya later.
JESS: It was super nice to meet you guys, though.
MAGNUS: You can piss right off.
TAAKO: Jess, can I ask you one favor?
JESS: Yeah, hit me.
TAAKO: When you tell people the story of what happened, and they ask if I said anything cool when Jenkins got knocked off the train, can you just tell them I smiled and said, “Huh-- No ticket?”
CLINT: Ohhh, that’s good!
TAAKO: That’s good, right? Tell them I said that.
JESS: Yeah.
TAAKO: If--When you tell the story, okay?
JESS: And this- this technically came out before Indiana Jones in like, the timeline of this fantasy history--
TAAKO: So I guess I made it--that up.
JESS: ...Yeah.
TAAKO: I invented that. Tell them I invented that. If you go like, past a trademark . . . place . . .
JESS: Just have them trademark your dope catchphrase.
TAAKO: Trademark it. That catchphrase, yeah.

Jess takes off, and Graham walks up to the boys to tell them that he'll write a report about this entire experience, believing that it might be the ticket that lands him a job working for the Rockport Express. Merle makes the suggestion that he should probably leave out the part about destroying an entire train. He also asks for the boys' contact information, so they can keep in touch.

TRAVIS: I hug Graham, and whisper in his ear,
MAGNUS: Let us be as two ships passing.
GRAHAM : I guess you’re right, I guess the best friendships that you make in this world are the ones … that just … come to an end. [Laughs] Just come to an abrupt--
MAGNUS: We’ll always remember you ‘til three episodes from now, when we can’t remember anything but “Juicy Wizard.”
GRAHAM: That’s fine. That’s my name.

Having been totally rejected, Graham heads off into the crowd, never to be seen again. Angus finishes his conversation with the militia and heads back to speak with the boys. He thanks the boys for their help on the case, and gifts Merle with the compass Jenkins was holding. Travis recalls that they were supposed to get Pringles for their roommate, Robbie, and Angus, almost on cue, pulls out a can of Sour Cream and Onion flavored Pringles and gives it to them. He tells them that he was holding onto them as a train time snack, but forget to eat them. In return, Taako hands him three forks from the silverware set he stole.

ANGUS: Thanks. I was really, I was really--you got me really excited that you rescued the whole set, ‘cause I think--honestly I think if I just show these three forks to my grandpa, he’s just gonna get angry.
TAAKO: Listen, kid, I’m not a magic worker, okay?
TRAVIS: ...Wait--
TAAKO: Well, I am, but--technically speaking, I am in fact a magic worker, but, uh... I’m busy.

Before leaving, Angus hands the boys a business card that only says "Angus McDonald", and tells them to drop a line if they ever need his help solving a mystery. With all loose ends tied up, the boys head to the Neverwinter Clinic to heal up. Justin suggests OOC that they spend some time working on character voices for Magnus and Merle. After some discussion, Travis goes with a deep, gruff voice for Magnus, while Clint settles on a Creepy Youth Minister voice for Merle. In the game, the boys decide that it's time to leave Neverwinter, and they use their bracers to call down a sphere. A sphere flies down and they get in.

GRIFFIN: Okay, you are floating back toward the moon, back over the mountains, uh, you can see the- the Teeth below you, you see the Letterman’s Basin, uh, below you, uh, it’s another beautiful scene. Uh,you’re floating up, it’s midday as you’re moving up. Uh, up, up, up, over the clouds and as you penetrate the cloud layer, uh -
CLINT: The credits start to roll.
GRIFFIN : The credits start to roll, soft accordion music is playing, uh, and uh, you -
CLINT: [Singing] Que sera, sera….

They make it back safely to the Bureau of Balance base and are welcomed by Avi. He leads them to the Director's office, and a heavily armed guard wheels up another lead ball for them to put the Grand Relic in. Taako puts the monocle in the lead ball, and, like last time, the relic is wheeled into another chamber, where it is destroyed by beams of light. The Director explains to the boys that the relic that was just destroyed was called the Oculus and that it had the power to turn anything created with illusion magic into something real.

MAGNUS: But that sounds great!
TAAKO: It really - it sounds awesome.
THE DIRECTOR: It’s really great - unless you use it to conjure an illusory army or some sort of illusory dragon
TAAKO : Still sounds great. Very great.
THE DIRECTOR : Or an illusory black hole.
MERLE : Not seein’ a downside.
MAGNUS: But - but we could’ve used that for so much good!
THE DIRECTOR: You cannot use the Grand Relics for good. They-- their power overwhelms and inevitably leads only to evil.
TRAVIS: Uh Griffin, in case you’re wondering, this is the scene at which, uh, we start to plant the seed of like oh, twenty episodes from now when Magnus like splinters off and is like “We can use these for good”. This is the beginning of it.
GRIFFIN : Oh, I see I see I see.
CLINT : Yeah, this is the endgame, we’re setting the scene for the endgame.

After that bit of possible foreshadowing, the Director calls forth Davenport, so that the boys can get their well-deserved pay. Davenport brings a silver tray with three Gashapon tokens on it, and a sack containing 2100 gold pieces.

TAAKO: Woooo!
MAGNUS: And how much is the stuff in Taako’s bag worth?
THE DIRECTOR : What, uh, what - sorry, what?
MAGNUS: The stuff clanking around as we walked around town?
TAAKO: That’s my CPAP machine.
TRAVIS and CLINT: [Lose it]
TAAKO: And I’ll - thanks for bringing it up though. It’s really nice. Wow, what scumbags you are, huh? Guy’s got one fallibility, gotta rub it in his face.
CLINT: And here’s the bad thing, only one of us actually uses a CPAP machine! Why am I laughing?
TAAKO: It’s not funny.
GRIFFIN : It’s pretty funny.
CLINT: Alright, then in that case no perception check, let him keep it.
JUSTIN : I don’t mean to pick on you Dad. Once I get started it’s hard to stop. It’s like a runaway train!
CLINT: Ha! High five!
JUSTIN: High five! Freeze frame! How much longer? Are we done?
CLINT: [Laughing] We’re done.

[Theme Tune Plays]

The Money Zoneedit | hide | edit source

Sponsored by NatureBox.

Sponsored by Plaid Hat Games.

Personal message for Foley, from Annie: Little Bear, the last eight years have been an amazing adventure. Thank you for marrying me, and here's to the rest of our lives together. I declare my love the best way I can: publicly, through a McElroy.

Personal message for Lizzie Lincoln, from Matteo Irvin: Happy belated birthday. I am overjoyed to have you in my life. You are an amazing actress, a wonderful cook, and my best friend. You make me laugh more than anything in life, and seeing as how you first showed me The Adventure Zone, that makes you responsible for about ninety-eight percent of my happiness. I can't wait to listen to this episode with you. I love you!

Featured NPCsedit | hide | edit source

Featured Locationsedit | hide | edit source

  • Neverwinter

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