Balance – Episode 25: Petals to the Metal: Chapter Eight

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This episode is a regular stunt spectacular! Don't try this at home kids, unless you happen to live in the Adventure Zone!

—The Announcer

"Petals to the Metal: Chapter Eight," as it appears on the MaximumFun website, is the 25th episode of The Adventure Zone: Balance.

Synopsisedit | hide all | hide | edit source

Full transcript available here.

This episode is basically a self-contained Fast and the Furious movie, if that film franchise incorporated actual arcane magicks, rather than just "movie magic." Magnus does some risky jumping. Merle takes a tumble. Taako summons a new best friend.

That's good eatin'!edit | hide | edit source

When last we left our heroes, Magnus and Merle were hanging off the side of a broken fish bowl with a blue spotted octopus. Magnus and Merle climb up on top of the body of the tank and pulls the octopus up with him. Despite Taako's advice, he does not eat the creature. Travis throws the now baby octopus at the drivers, even though they are in an enclosed tank, because, as Griffin says, "It might spook 'em."

It does not. The octopus suction-cups onto the windshield, and then they turn on the windshield wipers. The octopus goes flying off the right side of the vehicle, its safety bubble deploying on the way down.

Taako checks in with the guys on the gumball mobile. Magnus encourages action (unsurprising), while Merle begs not to be hurt (again, unsurprising). Hurley says she has a plan, and encourages Taako to aim for the treads. Taako casts Magic Missile on the front wheel. The third Missile unbalances the thread on that wheel, and the wagon starts to shudder.

Hurley yells to Magnus and Merle to get ready to jump, then cuts the wheel hard to the right. The Ram is coming toward the Battle Wagon at jumping speed. Travis and Merle get ready to jump. Magnus almost grabs Merle to carry him, but after asking "Can you jump, dawg?" with his eyes, decides to let Merle jump on his own. They talk about the best way to do this for a while. Travis rolls a 19, and Clint...

Critical Miss!edit | hide | edit source

That turns out to be a terrible decision, as Clint rolls a 1. Magnus effortlessly floats through the air, like a leaf, while drinking a cup of tea, and grabs on to the safety rail upside down, without spilling a drop. Merle, on the other hand...

Merle is upside down in bullet time, having jumped way too early and not far enough, and it looks like he's going to land in front of Hurley's Battle Wagon. Taako focuses all of his mental energy and focus and casts...

Phantom Steed!!!!!edit | hide | edit source

Suddenly, our hero, Garyl, the spectral horse-like creature, appears with a perfectly tonal whinny. He's a beautiful unicorn with a rainbow horn, and he appears just under/over Merle, who sticks out an arm and does a ring-around-the-rosy around his neck. Merle clings to the magnificent beast's mullet as it bounds away from the wagon, just in time for Hurley to ram into the already-damaged wheel tread.

The tank careens wildly out of sight into the dust cloud. Momentarily, a massive explosion erupts from the dust cloud. Three horns sound; five opponents remain. With a hiss, she says it was an accident, so... "that'll be unpacked later." Taako offers her a cool spot to hide the bodies, much to her confusion. The Rams finally emerge from the dust cloud, speeding at Garyl-miles-per-hour. The Raven's winged longboat is not fair ahead, with the cliff a mile beyond. Travis takes a moment to thank Griffin for his gripping narrative, who modestly says it's the players who make the magic in him; Justin reminds everyone that Lost once seemed pretty good, too.

The bestial roar is not Klarg this time!edit | hide | edit source

From the dust cloud emerges a gigantic armored (roaring) boar pulling a chariot, and a mysterious floating shipping crate. Magnus really really really wants to jump on the chariot, but this is a stupid game and he must wait his turn.

Merle continues riding Garyl, granting him full movement. They decide to go and mess with the boar chariot, and Merle casts Guiding Bolt on the connection between the armored boar and the chariot, which has very little effect other than making the truss glitter with a dim light.

Magnus aims his short bow at one of the boar operators, but Travis instead decides to delay his turn.

The boar chariot pulls up to Hurley’s battle wagon, and the rider with the crossbow takes aim at Magnus. A big ol’ crossbow bolt catches Magnus on the shoulder, but it only does eight damage. The rider with the scimitar readies an action. The boar, who also gets a turn, decides to attack Merle and Garyl, but misses.

What exactly is Garyl?edit | hide | edit source

Let’s all take a break for some table talk to figure out exactly what, and how strong, Garyl really is. Travis pitches that Garyl is an extension of Taako’s spirit. He’s the bold, cool, calm, collected part of Taako’s spirit, so all of his hit points are the same as Taako’s. (Kind of like his Patronus.)

Back to the Race!edit | hide | edit source

Magnus jumps OVER Garyl and onto the chariot. The charioteer with the scimitar swings at Magnus and just manages to cut some gum off the bottom of Magnus’s shoe. Magnus uses riposte to hit the charioteer, who stumbles back and hits the other charioteer, which steers the boar away from Hurley’s battle wagon.

Magnus is feeling really strong (thank you Strength of Bull and also Redbull) and wants to throw scimitar-guy off the chariot. [Clint makes a really good “Redbull Gives You Wings” joke that goes unacknowledged. Clint, I’m acknowledging you now.] It works, and the scimitar guy flies off, his bubble deploying. Magnus’s second attack fails, and he is pretty astonished by failure.

Meanwhile, from the dust cloud, a massive, massive battle wagon emerges. It’s the Hammerhead Shark Tank! Oh no!

Merle moves Garyl over to the chariot and casts Spiritual Weapon at the charioteer. The weapon looks like a big tennis racket with a waffle iron on the front of it, and it’s real hot, so it’s going to leave an impression on his face. He does 20 (?!) points of damage, sending the second charioteer flying.

Hey, who wants bacon?edit | hide | edit source

The loss of its teammates has enraged the boar. Magnus wants to grab the reigns, but it’s not his turn. The boar lets out a roar, but it’s not his turn. It’s actually Taako’s turn, because he was left out of the rotation. Taako casts Fireball on the Boar and delivers a really dope line. The boar catches fire briefly, and it looks like a stiff wind could knock it over.

The crate is actually a Transformeredit | hide | edit source

The walls of the crate fall away to reveal a big flat bed, with a component up front that allows the driver to control it. Three cricket-masked humanoids are riding on the flat bed, two with hand axes and poles (the better to vault with, my dear) and one with a glowing purple orb. The two with hand axes both manage to leap onto Hurley’s battle wagon, and the one with the purple orb points a finger at Taako.

Taako fails his wisdom-saving throw and… he’s been dominated. He takes his safety harness off and takes a flying leap off the back of Hurley’s battle wagon. Hurley shouts, “NO!”

BUT! All is not lost. Taako is snatched out of the air like a foul ball and placed into the sidecar of… Klarg's motorcycle. He says, “Wow, that was a close one, wasn’t it?”

Money Zoneedit | hide | edit source

For AJ from Andy: Remember that time we were playing D&D and you were wrapping up an epic-two year campaign? You impressively wove your words describing the destruction of the god killing emerald sword and I interrupted you with a monstrously beautiful 8-second-long fart. Well, this is my public apology to the best DM ever. Thanks for the heads up on this podcast.

For Amy from Charlie: Happy birthday, darlin’! I’m still absolutely delighted by your interest in D&D and can’t wait to start our campaign. May the grace of Bringbrong lead our Jerf-quest on to glory. Hopefully the shitty peanut doesn’t piss all over your headphones before you have a chance to hear this. I love the hell out of you, Ames, let’s keep having fun together.

For Tiny Amy from Mike! [exclamation point important]: Congratulations on the triple occasion of your birthday, your new teaching career, and your first D&D session as the DM! I am sorry that my character spent most of that game with a psychoactive frog in his mouth. Hopefully that is one challenge you will not have to face in the classroom. Good luck.

Featured NPCsedit | hide | edit source

Featured Locationsedit | hide | edit source

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