Balance – Episode 45: The Eleventh Hour: Chapter Five

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I hope our boys have a very big salt shaker!! I don't actually know if salt kills worms! It's hard to think of things to say sometimes! The Adventure Zone!

—The Announcer

"The Eleventh Hour: Chapter Five," as it appears on the MaximumFun website, is the 45th episode of The Adventure Zone: Balance.

Synopsisedit | hide all | hide | edit source

Full transcript available here.

Now that Refuge's destroyer has been revealed, our heroes work together to discover a way to stop it. But how many more attempts will they get at solving this, their most deadly mystery yet? Merle leads the group in prayer. Magnus plays hardball. Taako gets on his diamond grind.

Oopsadoodle — the gang is dead again. They’re back in the white space with the old woman, who looks exhausted, but a little pleased. She says, “You’re getting very close!” and the dudes are back at the Refuge town gate, and we enter…

LOOP 10edit | hide | edit source

For the first time at the beginning of a loop, they jump through the Roswell Exchange. The boys discuss what to do, and the answer is: diamonds. They brainstorm places to find or steal diamonds, before Justin/Taako decides to get a part time job.

They decide to split the party: Taako is going to visit Ren Mol'diira, and Magnus is going to find Sheriff Isaac. 

Help Yourself, Cast Yourself Into Magic Legend, the Taako Taaco Storyedit | hide | edit source

Taako moseys up to The Davy Lamp early enough to see the two purple kerchiefed ruffians. They’re talking shit about the Bubble, and Griffin describes it as “kind of like that scene from Hamilton, The Story of Tonight, but if everyone were just, like, dicks.”[1]

In The Davy Lamp, Ren again recognizes Taako, and this time Taako remembers her (from last loop… while also pretending to remember her from the show in the Underdark). Ren blasts the purple kerchiefed rowdy boys with her rod and she blows the rod smoke off the rod. 

Taako pitches her something: he wants to share what he knows with the people of the world and spread the joy of magicking. He calls her rod use “just a touch sloppy,” and tells her that he’s holding seminars. They’re called Help Yourself, Cast Yourself Into Magic Legend, and he needs payment upfront. He charges her 1 (later retconned to 2) diamond.

Ash, the gambling poncho elf, also wants in on this magic business. Ash knows “quite a bit” of magic going in, so the rate is a little bit different. Taako charges Ash 9 diamonds. After the seminar, Taako promises, they get half of that back. What a deal! Everyone has to promise to be there tomorrow morning because of dawn’s light.

Quarry Story — Merle and Magnusedit | hide | edit source

Merle and Magnus agree to wander on over to the Elder’s Manor. It’s a secure location with a barbed wire fence surrounding it. There are a bunch of padlocks on the door. Travis’s keen DND senses are telling him not to go into the manor yet, so Sheriff Isaak must be elsewhere. Griffin asks them to roll perception: Travis rolls a 1. Magnus investigates: crit. He learns that it has been a really long time since anyone’s been in the manor. 

Instead, the boys decide to investigate the Sheriff’s Office, where the plan is to “grill the shit out of Cassidy.”

Magnus tries to grill Cassidy about the quarry, and she is recalcitrant, until, that is, Merle casts Zone of Truth. Cassidy tells her Quarry Story. After the main diamond seam dried up, she and a small team headed down to the quarry to try and find more diamonds to reinvigorate Refuge and make sure they all had fat stacks when the bubble came down. But the team dug too deep, and they found something down by where the edge of the bubble was: a big nest with a nasty worm.

The nest looked like it had been cut in half by the bubble. The mom- the big nasty worm woke up and tried to attack her friends, but something happened to it where it kind of got stuck. And then Cassidy hit her head on a big rock and woke up in jail. While down there, she saw a shadow of a man with her hands up.

Cassidy is in jail because she is accused of blowing up the Temple, which is ridiculous, she says. It’s probably institutional orc racism, but also maybe because she's the best at blowing stuff up.

Prophecy Time!edit | hide | edit source

Taako goes to Paloma. Strangely, she recognizes him, and offers to skip niceties. Taako treats himself to a small prophecy, a big prophecy, and a scone.

Big prophecy: Taako sees something like a movie being shot in first-person. What he sees are train tracks, with a light cast down on them, and they’re flying toward him. There is a two way junction, and the cart stops. Paloma leans right in, grabs his face, and says “Turn! Right!” in her creepy prophecy voice. 

As she’s apologizing for getting “a little agro” with that prophecy, a second big prophecy unspools itself from the ceiling. It’s different: most of the crystals have a nice light inside, but this one is pitch black, save for some strands of bright red, yellow, and green flashing around on the inside. Paloma looks up and says, “Oh my god, what?” 

Big prophecy, reloaded: Taako sees two visions side-by-side in this black cloud: the left one looks like an ocean made of bubbling tar with a black sky above it, with some stuff moving around beneath the surface of the tar. On the right is just a gray world covered in ash that is completely barren and lifeless. 

Paloma seems like “A Baker Possessed,” whereas before she’s just been a little out of it. Her prophecy, read out in her spooky prophecy voice: 

  • In the future, you will be offered a terrible choice between two options that will determine the fate of reality itself. In this moment of crisis, remember: There is always a third option.

Small prophecy: You are close to your goal, but you are missing what you need to break the barrier. You will need divine intervention. You will find it at the Temple of Istus.

Temple Regroupedit | hide | edit source

Roswell is confused because their instructions came from a previous loop. Magnus tells Roswell to go find Isaac, and then meet them in the temple in 20 minutes. He says that the bank should be closed, and Roswell can tell them it’s a bank holiday… Hug Day. Roswell says, “That tracks,” and they leave to go find Isaak.

The gang heads to the temple of the Goddess Istus, which is in complete ruins. The temple still has some recognizable features: a collapsed steeple, a clock with its hands pointing at 7:15 (an “innocuous time,” Griffin says), and a doorframe that still stands despite the rest of the temple being knocked down.

Merle rolls a religion check that gives some backstory on Istus, and then leads the group in a prayer, which… does nothing, but a breeze does blow through, and blows some of the dust up from the floor. A small, white piece of cloth starts to blow around, Forrest Gump-feather-style, toward the cave.

Magnus follows it, and all of them go with. They arrive at the cave, which is on the Plateau. [Explosion o’clock!] Magnus goes barreling in, as is his wont. In a pool of lantern light, he sees the shadow of a man reading a book, and then the lantern light goes out.

More skeleton than man? More man than skeleton?edit | hide | edit source

Magnus tries to say hello, but when that doesn’t work, Merle casts some light by casting the spell on his joke amulet, and it beams light forward, and it looks really cool. In the light they see some barrels, one of which has a lantern on it, and a cart, and a rug with a book and a skeleton.

Merle reads the book; it’s a Caleb Cleveland, Kid Cop novel. [JUSTIN: Aren’t those Angus’s favorite books? Angus is the skeleton!? Noooooo!! How’d he get here?]

Magnus starts to reach into the skeleton’s pocket, and the skeleton shuffles and makes a little “eugh” noise. Taako shakes it, saying “Give us your secrets!” Luca animates to tell them to stop and gives the boys the what-for, calling them hooligans.

Magnus asks if he’s one of the Brothers, which takes Luca aback. He asks if they are there to stop the bubble, and he agrees that that’s a good idea, saying, “Time is sick in Refuge.”

Merle asks about his brother. Luca replies that Redmond is interested in taking the bubble down through brute force, but that Luca thinks they should trust in Istus to bring the bubble down. Luca offers to help the brothers ask for divine help from Istus, but they would have to get Redmond. Taako says, “Yeah, sure, but not in this loop” and soon after the world ends at the stroke of noon.

Just sleeping?edit | hide | edit source

In the white space this time, the old woman is lying on the ground, face down. Magnus tries to move to her, but before he can, is sucked back to the town gates.


The Money Zoneedit | hide | edit source

Featured NPCsedit | hide | edit source

Featured Musicedit | hide | edit source

Featured Locationsedit | hide | edit source

Quotesedit | hide | edit source

Get a job, ya dang hippieedit | hide | edit source

  • 3:25 JUSTIN: I was kind of hoping that we would have found a diamond by now. Because we need at least a little more guidance. We definitely know what’s destroying the town, but we don’t have the faintest clue what to do about it.
  • 3:34 TRAVIS: I had the inclination to go try to talk to Isaac finally [more about talking to Isaac]
  • 3:37 GRIFFIN: I will say this re: diamonds: they are the currency in this town. So you don’t have to find them in a mine, in the same way that you don’t go to the U.S. Treasury to get dollar bills from the printing press.
  • 4:00 JUSTIN: You want to get a fuckin’ part time job? What do you want?
  • 4:06 CLINT: [laughs]
  • 4:07 GRIFFIN: I wouldn’t hate that.
  • 4:10 JUSTIN: Okay, I’m going to get a part time job.

What’s the exchange rate like?edit | hide | edit source

  • 10:26 REN: I would pay anything, how much is it? Are you kidding me?
  • 10:29 TAAKO: How much-? This is a weird question, but how much is a diamond? How many is that? Is that… good?

Legaleseedit | hide | edit source

  • 13:33 TAAKO: I do just have to say, my lawyers — this is funny, it’s going to sound like a joke, but — my lawyers have told me to say that if there isn’t a tomorrow, this is null and void. But! Of course there will be a tomorrow, right?? 
  • 13:46 REN: Yeah, that’s a weird thing to even… to even bring up. 
  • 13:48 TAAKO: For sure, for sure. Listen, everybody start working on your magics and I’ll see you bright and early, let’s meet up here! Tomorrow! 

Happy Danceedit | hide | edit source

  • 18:40 JUSTIN: They probably pass me on the way, and I’m like, juggling diamonds and like shaking my butt at them. Like, I’m done.

Cassidy is in the ZONE OF TRUTHedit | hide | edit source

  • 20:54 CASSIDY: Okay, I feel compelled to now tell you my story. My Quarry-Story is what I call it. I don’t call it that, I’ve never told my Quarry Story, why would I-
  • 21:00 MAGNUS: Okay, can you just-
  • 21:00 CASSIDY: Why would I need a catchy name for the Quarry Story?
  • 21:05 MAGNUS: Okay, just… go ahead and do that, please.

Bork??edit | hide | edit source

  • 24:53 CLINT: Is that the Bork voice?
  • 24:55 GRIFFIN: Uh, yes, so you come inside, and there’s Paloma…
  • 24:57 TRAVIS: Wait, hold on. You know her name’s not Bork, right?
  • 25:01 GRIFFIN: What?
  • 25:03 CLINT: Is it Ba-jork?
  • 25:04 GRIFFIN: Okay, see, I just agreed to what dad said without really processing what it was that he said, and what he said was the name Bjork as Bork.
  • 25:12 CLINT: Yeah. You gotta watch that shit, Griffin.
  • 25:14 GRIFFIN: I was almost an accomplice in that heinous act. 

Taako doesn’t “nibble”edit | hide | edit source

  • 27:32 GRIFFIN: So as you sit down and are nibbling away at this scone…
  • 27:33 JUSTIN: I am not nibbling away. Near as I can tell this is the first time I’ve eaten in two years. There is no nibbling to be done. Travis got to eat a magic stone, I think once, and that’s it.
  • 27:45 TRAVIS: No, yeah, and I’m all full up for the next two years. 

JUST like church campedit | hide | edit source

  • 48:15 TRAVIS: I would like to step into the middle of the ruins, and then I would like to close my eyes and quietly say a prayer to Istus to guide our fate.
  • 48:23 JUSTIN: Um…
  • 48:24 CLINT: Isn’t that kinda my gig?
  • 48:25 JUSTIN: Yeah, I would say that maybe you should let the, uh, the priest do that.
  • 48:27 GRIFFIN: Why don’t you all do a quick group prayer.
  • 48:29 ALL: Okay 
  • 48:30 TRAVIS: Can we hold hands?
  • 48:30 CLINT: We hold hands…
  • 48:30 GRIFFIN: You hold hands…
  • 48:34 JUSTIN: Kay, perfect.
  • 48:36 CLINT: Just like church camp. Um…
  • 48:39 TRAVIS (singing): Our god! Is an Istus god!
  • 48:43 GRIFFIN: Okay, uh…
  • 48:47 MERLE: O! Holy Istus, hear the plea of us, your earthbound servants, as we try to keep all hell from breaking loose in this lovely town… that’s kinda… shitty looking…
  • 49:02 TAAKO: And please cure my friend’s voice, so that he sounds…
  • 49:06 MERLE (in character voice): And then, beam down upon us…
  • 49:07 MAGNUS: It’s a miracle!
  • 49:08 MERLE: …your fate— your fate-changing… beams of power, and just… love us. And let us love each other. Amen.
  • 49:20 JUSTIN: God, that was powerful. 
  • 49:26 GRIFFIN: Um, a… Nothing happens. 

And this rag was just dancing with meedit | hide | edit source

  • 50:24 GRIFFIN: And you can see [the rag] in the distance, flying towards the cave. 
  • 50:26 TRAVIS: I follow it.
  • 50:27 GRIFFIN: Just… Forrest Gump-style?
  • 50:28: TRAVIS: Yup. 
  • 50:29 [TRAVIS sings a theme song]
  • 50:35 TRAVIS: Wait, no, that’s Hook.
  • 50:37 CLINT: Run, Magnus, run!
  • 50:40 GRIFFIN: So are you all going to the cave?
  • 50:41 JUSTIN: Probably, yeah.
  • 50:42 CLINT: Not as fast as Magnus. 
  • 50:43 GRIFFIN: I do love Magnus chasing things—it’s one of my favorite things from this game—and now you’re just chasing a rag that is flying through the air.
  • 50:56 TRAVIS: And I want to be clear— I’m doing it full-on kid-trying-to-catch-a-butterfly-style. Like, arms akimbo, running, so happy.

Uncle Luca’s Bathroom Reader

  • 52:31 MAGNUS: Hello?
  • 52:33 GRIFFIN: There’s no response.
  • 52:35 MAGNUS: Now don’t be like that. I’m sorry I caught you reading. I won’t make fun of you, I promise. 
  • 52:39 MERLE: He wasn’t sittin’ on a toilet, was he?
  • 52:40 MAGNUS: Ohhhhhh hate to see that.

What is life, anyway?edit | hide | edit source

  • 55:13 TRAVIS: Is it.. alive?
  • 55:14 JUSTIN: Well, it’s a skeleton. 
  • 55:18 TRAVIS: Yeah, but we’re in D&D where there’s like centaurs and ghosts and shit. So, like. 
  • 55:25 JUSTIN: Fair point.
  • 55:27 TRAVIS: Sometimes skeletons move around and sometimes you’ve gotta fight ‘em. 
  • 55:29 JUSTIN: Hey, Griffin, is the chair alive? It’s D&D, you know.

Gotta check under the rugedit | hide | edit source

  • 57:12 TRAVIS: There’s a rug in the cave?
  • 57:13: GRIFFIN: Yeah.
  • 57:14 TRAVIS: I check under the rug.
  • 57:15 GRIFFIN: You find a trap door to— no, there’s nothing under the rug.
  • 57:16 JUSTIN: Does the skeleton bit him? Because it’s alive?
  • 57:17 TRAVIS: Skeletons! Move in this game! And sometimes you have to fight ‘em, I’m not making this up, Justin, I don’t wanna [exasperated sigh]
  • 57:20 JUSTIN: Carpets can fly, read your Aladdin.
  • 57:23 TRAVIS: Suck my butt. 

Gotta check them pockets

  • 57:27 TRAVIS: Are there any pockets in the robe? What’s the deal with the amulet? 
  • 57:32 GRIFFIN: Yeah, there’s pockets in the robe. [Pregnant pause]
  • 57:38 TRAVIS: I find some receipts.
  • 57:39 GRIFFIN: You reach into the pocket, and as you do… you can’t tell if you just disrupted it and knocked it over, but it moves. And you hear a “Eugh.”
  • 57:45 TRAVIS: SEE??

Merle casts…edit | hide | edit source

  • 57:55 CLINT: I have a spell to cast.
  • 57:57 JUSTIN: Uh-oh. I hope that skeleton is ready to spill its secrets.

Taako just does itedit | hide | edit source

  • 59:43 TRAVIS: Something was in this room and moved, dropped the book and turned off the lamp. There’s no other exit to this room.
  • 59:53 JUSTIN: Uh… I grab the skeleton and shake it and say
  • 59:55 TAAKO: Give us your secrets!
  • 59:56 LUCA: Okay, okay stop stop stop stop stop
  • 59:58 TRAVIS: SEE??? Suck my butt, Justin.
  • 1:00:03 GRIFFIN: Was that in-universe?
  • 1:00:04 TRAVIS: Yeah.
  • 1:00:05 MAGNUS: Suck my butt, Taako. 

Tres Hooligan Boysedit | hide | edit source

  • 1:00:28 MERLE (out of character voice): What is your name?
  • 1:00:30 LUCA: What is your name, hooligan?
  • 1:00:32 MERLE (in character voice): I’m sorry, what is your name?
  • 1:00:33 LUCA: What is YOUR name, hooligan?
  • 1:00:41 MERLE: I’m Merle, the hooligan.
  • 1:00:42 MAGNUS: I’m Magnus, the hooligan.
  • 1:00:43 TAAKO: I’m Taako. You’re alive. I don’t believe it. There’s egg on my face. You don’t know how big of a- I guess you are, you heard the whole thing.
  • 1:00:48 LUCA: I did! You really ding-donged this one up. 
  • 1:00:49 TAAKO: Yeah, I really stepped in it. But good news is I’ll be dead soon.
  • 1:0050 LUCA: What?
  • 1:00:52 TAAKO: So, tell us your name.
  • 1:00:54 LUCA: My name is Luca! 

Referencesedit | hide | edit source

  1. Imagine this but much much more dickish.
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