Balance – Episode 22: Petals to the Metal: Chapter Five

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I certainly hope none of you are allergic to PICKLES! Because our heroes are in one. It’s the Adventure Zone!

—The Announcer

"Petals to the Metal: Chapter Five," as it appears on the MaximumFun website, is the 22nd episode of The Adventure Zone, from the arc which would later be named Balance.

Synopsisedit | hide all | hide | edit source

Full transcript available here.

Our heroes attempt a sneaking mission to retrieve a vital Battlewagon component, and end up doing something ghoulish that they'll have to keep secret forever. Also, a beloved character returns. Merle saves his heals. Taako grows a third eye. Magnus clefts.

Double Your Little Jerry Pleasure, Double Your Little Jerry Funedit | hide | edit source

We pick up right where we left off, with the booth guard and Little Jerry (Taako) approaching Little Jerry (Little Jerry). Taako’s got a plan, though. He says, “Holy shit, an impostor!” and casts Sleep. Little Jerry immediately falls to the ground, asleep.

Little Jerry (Taako) tries to bluff his way into lifelong friendship with the Booth Guard (nicknamed Heartless Hank?), but the Booth Guard it suspicious. He asks Taako what his name is. Taako rolls for perception, but it turns out gang members don’t generally wear name tags.

Griffin makes Taako take off his headphones and gives the name to Travis and Clint: “Barbara.” Little Jerry (Taako) attempts to tell Barbara his name, but instead guesses his own name — Taako — and immediately casts Magic Missile. Barbara is staggered by the four bolts of light, and a fight begins.

Merle is first in the order. He hauls off and hits him with his Warhammer, which he has named Smoosher. Unfortunately, it’s a total whiff. Smoosher smooshes nothing but air.

Magnus decides to attempt to “cleft him in twain” with Railsplitter. It doesn’t quite chop him in half, but deals 16 points of damage but it definitely, definitely kills him. They all suddenly remember (thanks to the DM) Lt. Hurley’s request that they not kill anybody. Magnus clarifies that he meant “cleft him in twain” non-lethally. Merle asks if he has time to heal him, which he does. But they decide to talk it over (in character) to figure out what to do, and the decision is a) disappear the problem, b) NOT by eating him (MERLE), c) dispose of the body, but not in an extra dimensional hole. Maybe in a well? An open grave? A pig farm? A corn field? Griffin points out that they’re only two blocks away from the edge Goldcliff’s cliffs.

The trio carries the body to the edge of the lovely Goldcliff cliffs and Taako offers to say a few words. Those words are, “We should check his pockets.”

Inside his pockets they find a key, 300 gold coins, and a picture of his family, who are all holding swords and look a little fantasy racist. They chuck him over the edge, and that’s mission accomplished.

The Pesci Warsedit | hide | edit source

The party makes their way back to the front entrance to the Hammerhead base. They try the key on the booth, which opens the door. They solved the booth puzzle! Inside there is a large lever that says “Gate Control,” and a button that says “Door Control.” The door pops open.

They get into the Hammerhead HQ, which is a courtyard with three buildings. One of the buildings is a big garage and has people inside, with sounds of general mechanics coming through the door. One of the buildings is a very small garage. The third building is a plain cinderblock barracks looking thing that is later revealed to be a barracks.

The trio try to sneak over to the small building, but Merle just sneezes. Regardless, nobody sees them. The interior of the garage is a mystery — it looks like a place someone might store a prototype engine, but it also might just be chock full o’ dogs. Nobody in the party can pick locks, but Magnus uses his vehicle proficiency to deduce that this garage is probably where the nice prototype battle wagon is parked, while the other garage is the communal workspace.

Taako casts Clairvoyance to project himself inside the building to take a peek around. He can see what looks like a tank. It’s a battle wagon that resembles a tank: it has three rows of sharp teeth, mounted above which are two enormous cannons, and then inside of the mouth of the tank is a large, spiny, and very violent-looking grappling hook. Above that is the driver’s cabin of the tank, and mounted above that, it looks like there’s another shielded compartment.

The gang checks behind Door #3! They discuss Merle using Clairvoyance, but that’s ultimately unnecessary because the building has windows. Magnus pulls Merle on his shoulders. There are rows of bunkbeds, some lewd posters (eugh), and there are three ruffians hanging out, two awake and one asleep.

Taako tries the door and it’s unlocked. Merle casts Silence inside of the room and everything goes super quiet. They decide to start popping the chests open, throwing clothes in the air like the Great Gatsby. They find a bunch of clothing that seems to be a Hammerhead uniform, aka disguises. There’s a montage of the three of them getting dressed in their resplendent costumes.

They wander over to check out Big Garage. They all decide to waltz right in with confidence, singing Greased Lightning. They attract a LOT more attention than necessary, and Taako introduces them as the new recruits. Everyone gets back to work.

Altogether there are three battle wagons and five Hammerheads inside. Two Hammerheads are working on a smaller battle wagon than the tank. One ruffian is a paper pusher sitting at a desk, and two other ruffians are messing with a sixth figure in the room. The sixth large figure is not wearing the Hammerhead uniform and is being roughed up by the ruffians, one of whom is regular-sized Jerry/Jareeeeee. It’s REALLY hard for Magnus not to run over and stop him.

The ruffian at the desk sits up and addresses Taako, who still looks like Little Jerry. Little Jerry (Taako) tells him that he brought the new recruits — two of them. There’s some hesitation about splitting winnings. 

Magnus wants to build rapport using his vehicle proficiency to say something intelligent and helpful about the battle wagon. Double gears — why didn’t the Hammerheads think of that? 

Little Jerry (Taako) encourages Jerry to show Magnus the Core, as he’s some sort of Honda Merlin.

The metal helmeted figure gets very agitated at the sight of Magnus and Merle, growling and shaking his chains. Taako asks if he’s met this cat before, which is hard to say, but he is kind of hairy through the eye holes. The prisoner passes out, and Little Jerry (Taako) tries to go outside to change him.

Merle asks who he is, and the answer is “a rare import… from out of state.” The Hammerheads paid a pretty penny for him. They try to figure out who it is using a form of 20 questions until Taako figures it out: it’s the Bugbear, Magnus’s Hugbear. It’s KLARG!!

[MAGNUS: I’m gonna have to punch.] [EPISODE ENDS!]

Featured NPCsedit | hide | edit source

The Money Zoneedit | hide | edit source

Sponsored by Nature Box.

Message to Mikey, person from Heather, person: To my favorite husband. You are my Garrus Valkarian, and I wanted to wish you a happy anniversary on our favorite podcast on the Citad- I mean, on the Maximum Fun Network. Here’s to the rest of our lives testing your reach and my flexibility. Sorry this message is so late, I guess we’ll have to change the date of our anniversary. 

Message to Brian and Tristan from Cat (Kat?) and Gerbil: Hey Brian and Tristan, happy birthdays from The Adventure Zone. Even though we moved away, you’re still our best friends and we always love to see you during our games. Here’s hoping for many more years filled with dungeons, dragons, robots, creepy old ghosts, fuzzy animals, and the gang.[1]

Message to Jen from Malcolm: I love you lots. Here’s to five years of marriage and many more to come. Each year we’ve been together you’ve filled in the parts of me I thought would be missing forever. Congratulations, you’ve solved my heart puzzle. 

Featured Locationsedit | hide | edit source

Goldcliffedit | hide | edit source

  • Temporary Goldcliff Militia Outpost
  • Little West End of Huntington
  • Hurley's Garage
  • Hammerhead Headquarters

Quotesedit | hide | edit source

Magnus has spell cards too! Punch, kick, etc.edit | hide | edit source

[4:35] CLINT: Do you not have a headbutt card?
[4:39] TRAVIS: Magnus would never risk his moneymaker.

Rumplestiltskinedit | hide | edit source

[9:11] BARBARA: [threatening Taako with a dagger] What’s my name?
[9:13] TAAKO: [as Little Jerry] Listen. We go back a long ways.
[9:18] BARBARA: No we don’t! We go back two months! Now, my name, or I’m going to gut you. I’m going to gut you like a fish.
[9:29] TAAKO: [as Little Jerry] Your name, of course, is… Taako. Psych! That’s just mine. Say my name!? [JUSTIN: I cast Magic Missile]

And his name is still unknown:edit | hide | edit source

[13:57] GRIFFIN: And he… falls to the ground.
[13:59] TAAKO: No!
[14:01] GRIFFIN: What’s wrong?
[14:01] TAAKO: I never even knew his name.
[14:02] CLINT: Barbara.
[14:02] TAAKO: Yeah, I’ll never know!
[14:03] CLINT: It was Barbara.
[14:04] TAAKO: I’ll never figure it out. It’s lost to time!
[14:10] MAGNUS: It says right here in his wallet: “I Am Barbara.”
[14:12] TAAKO: Listen. I’ll use process of elimination. It’s clearly not Taako. So that’s one name down.
[14:20] MAGNUS: We’ll put that on the tombstone.
[14:25] TAAKO: Let’s start with Aaron. That’s at the top: two A’s.

They could have brought up Trent, just sayingedit | hide | edit source

[14:40] TRAVIS: Oh, I meant that non-lethally.
[14:45] GRIFFIN: You said ‘cleft him in twain,’ sir!
[14:49] TRAVIS: Yeah, I meant non-lethally.
[14:52] GRIFFIN: If you can describe to me how you cut somebody in half surviveably-
[14:55] TRAVIS: With my words.

To Heal or Not to Healedit | hide | edit source

[15:39] TAAKO: Okay, first off: let me own this one. This is on me, all right? This one’s Taako’s. But… it seems like we should… heal… him… because if he dies, we need Hurley on our side. Now there is one other option. Maybe we just disappear this little problem. She didn’t say anything about these guys wandering off, you know. Wandering off and no one ever hears from them again. She didn’t say anything about that, right?
[16:15] MERLE: Good point.
[16:17] MAGNUS: We might need those heal slots.
[16:20] TAAKO: We might need those heal slots; we’re definitely not gonna need a corpse.
[16:26] MERLE: So you’re saying we eat him.
[16:27] TAAKO: No! What?
[16:28] MERLE: No, wait, no, I-
[16:30] MAGNUS: Stop recommending that, Merle!
[16:35] TAAKO: Who said anything about eating?
[16:35] MERLE: Kidding. Kidding!
[16:35] TAAKO: We just need to, like…
[16:38] MAGNUS: Is there an extra dimensional hole we could use?
[16:39] MERLE: Oh, if only one of us had one of those spells.
[16:42] TAAKO: Wait, okay, you’re not gonna burn a heal, but I’m going to burn a spell slot. How about you take an extra dimensional shovel and dig a fuckin' hole? How about that? How about that thing I said? That’s an option. Lazy bones.

Ashes to ashesedit | hide | edit source

[19:36] TAAKO: Life giveth and life taketh away, I guess.
[19:33] MERLE: Well, life giveth and we taketh away.

Schrodinger’s Battle Wagonedit | hide | edit source

[33:10] TAAKO: Well, guys, good news/bad news. Bad news: tank. Good news: not dogs.

Referencesedit | hide | edit source

  1. In response to this Jumbotron message, Griffin says, “How did you know? That’s the next story arc. It’s going to be full of robots, creepy old ghosts, and fuzzy animals. But no dungeons or dragons. I have a very strict anti-dungeon, anti-dragon policy here on The Adventure Zone.” Check out The Crystal Kingdom for robots (that Magnus pulls the arms off), fuzzy animals (Hugbears), and possibly creepy old ghosts (what is that singing light? Who is Russel Brand Ghost?). The gang is obviously there as well.
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