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53: The Call of the Wild

As the end of the Sulfur Night truce approaches, the party’s only way out is through the back door – or is it?

Game Master: Sean Howard
Players: Carter Siddall, Michael Howie and Marisa King
Story Consultant: Laura Packer
Game Consultant: Stephen Smith
Music and Sound Design: Eli Hamada McIlveen

Content Warning: impending war, siege, rocket attacks, cave-ins, poisoning, self harm, body image issues, big parental feelings.

LAST TIME…

Fast-paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on The End of Time and Other Bothers:

SEAN (AS YOUNG REGINALD)

Wha—I’m—falling! Falling! Aaaa! Aaa…

Reginald falls to the ground with a thud.

CARTER (AS BLATHOXIL)

Greetings, little one.

SEAN (AS YOUNG REGINALD)

My name’s Reginald.

CARTER (AS BLATHOXIL)

Then the trainer will… train the trainer… ohhh, my head hurts.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Incoming!

SEAN

You hear the sound of thousands of dog-sized flying scorpions.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Isn’t there another way out of here?

SEAN (AS GROWN-UP REGINALD)

Snowball would know.

SEAN

And you all turn and look… and Snowball the dragon has collapsed to the ground.

CARTER (AS BLATHOXIL)

I chose to stay in the book so that the force in the back of my head wouldn’t get out into the world.

SEAN (AS ZIGGZAWUL THE SCORPION)

Take me to your leader!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that’s me!

SEAN (AS ZIGGZAWUL)

Zzz! It is the Sulfur Night! We will not attack on this day.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you have any antidotes for your poison? How do you administer it?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It says “through the bum”.

SEAN (AS GROWN-UP REGINALD)

Was he supposed to go in with it?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

He likes to commit.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So these are the special sulfur cakes…

There’s a squelch and a popping sound as Zzuzz the scorpion transforms.

SEAN (AS ZZUZZ THE SCORPION)

Whoa! Hoo hoo hoo hoo!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

And now you look like a golden retriever!

SEAN (AS TEENAGE REGINALD)

I’ve grown up quite a bit, huh?

CARTER (AS BLATHOXIL)

(choked with emotion)

Maybe I was… meant to raise a son.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Happy Sulfur Night, Blat! Welcome back!

CARTER (AS BLATHOXIL)

So, uh… I raised Reginald and ultimately killed him.

SEAN (AS GROWN-UP REGINALD)

Um, hi Blat.

CARTER (AS BLATHOXIL)

Oh.

Hi Reginald.

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

SEAN

It’s early morning. It’s that period where everything is quiet, except for the sound of snoring scorpions.

CARTER (AS A SCORPION)

(high-pitched cartoonish snoring)

Snrrrk… hee mee mee mee mee…

SEAN

One of our crew is a little hungover but awake, deep in a cavern next to an equally-slumbering-fitfully dragon.

CARTER (AS SNOWBALL)

(low-pitched cartoonish snoring)

Snrrrk… hurr murr murr murr…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snowball.

Snowball.

Snowball, it’s Darcy.

CARTER (AS SNOWBALL)

(loud, convulsive snorking)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Are you… ooh, that does not smell good.

Snowball, are you… Are you gonna wake up anytime soon?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Hrmmmm.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snowball. Snowball!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

(sleepily)

Hm! Hrmm… peanuts…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You sound so different when you snore.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

What? Oh, very sore.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How are you feeling?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I’m sore in a very strange place.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, right. We had to administer some medication. It probably has left a little bit of… an unpleasant feeling.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Hrmmm…

I’m gonna go back to sleep.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, you can’t go back to sleep. You have to wake up.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Peanuts…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snowball, we have to get out of here. The scorpions are about to attack.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

(drifting off again)

Just… hm… go out the back. Out the… back.

(yawns)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah. No, we know. So there’s a very small hole out the back…

Marisa falls silent, trying not to laugh. Mike bursts out laughing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snowball, we need your help to get out of the cave. Can we get out the back? You know this cave better than anyone.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yeah, there’s a small exit…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wait, then how do we make it bigger? How can we get you out? How can we all get out?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

It’s not very large.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, it’s not.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

(still mostly asleep)

You have to really squeeze. A small rodent could maybe get out. Yeah, I’ll try. I’ll just go out the front.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The scorpions will attack you. You’re in this position because the scorpions poisoned you and we just barely saved your life.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Ugh. Very tired.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Couldn’t you use your ginormous tail to smash a bigger hole that we could all get through?

Come on, Snowball, wake up!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

(mumbling)

Peanuts….

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton! Eggerton, are you awake?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(mumbles)

Peanuts…

Wha—what? What?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, get over here. I need you to annoy someone awake.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But I was dreaming about candy-covered peanuts.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, it’s always like that with you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, not always. I mean, normally it’s fairy cakes. So this is a little bit of an aberration and I feel like I need to spend some time considering what my subconscious is trying to tell me—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, come closer to Snowball, but keep talking. Come closer. Come over here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So I’m just trying to figure out, though, I mean, like, is the candy-covered the part? Is the peanut the part? Am I saying that I’m, you know, all fat and wasted calories on the inside but delicious on the outside? I don’t know what I’m saying. Oh, hi, Snowball.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

(snoring)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Snowball’s asleep, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snowball, how can you put up with that? Wake up!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Hrm, candy peanuts….

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Snowball knows what I’m talking about. Candy peanuts! That’s the way of the future—maybe that’s a business opportunity.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Crunchy….

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

The End of Time and Other Bothers: an improvised fantasy role-playing game set in the world of Alba Salix. Your Game Master is Sean Howard, with players Michael Howie, Carter Siddall, and Marisa King.

Episode 53: The Call of the Wild.

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Is Blat awake yet?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(shouts)

Blat, are you awake?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah! Dahh! Oh!

(coughs, then, in his usual voice)

Ah! Hey! I’m back!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wow.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, thank heavens. I had a terrible dream that I became a minion of evil once again. I had that very annoying voice and for some reason I had a child and—oh my heavens, he was sleeping beside me.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Oh, sorry. Um, was I spooning you? I didn’t mean to… um. Let me just, uh, I’ll just, uh… I’m gonna go check on the scorpions.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(near tears)

Oh, my beautiful perfect boy was spooning me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, Blat, Blat, we need you to—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So many feelings!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We need you to pull it together. There’s a lot going on. Not just—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You don’t understand. You’re not a mother like Eggerton and I!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(tearful)

I just… the first time that they en masse try and defend you from an invasion of demons is just, it’s so beautiful. And to see this moment with Blat really brings those memories flooding back to the front…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I didn’t know my heart could grow so big!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I know. Let it out. Let it out, Blat.

Blat and Eggerton collapse in fits of crying.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’re all gonna die.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Okay, Darcy, I’m ready to use my tail.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Excellent! Come on!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I just don’t think this is gonna work. We need something with, like, claws, like a burrowing creature. It’s, it’s quite a ways.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I might be able to help…

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I’ve been waiting.

MARISA

(consulting her character sheets)

Can you just give me twenty minutes?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Where did those pieces of paper come from?

Laughter.

MARISA

What the heck… what can I morph into?

MIKE

Introduce the montage music for Darcy sitting cross-legged and going through a bunch of paperwork.

MARISA

Yeah.

(hums a melody)

I actually have a Burrow here, but I didn’t learn Burrows, so I don’t have Burrow.

CARTER

So you don’t have Burrow.

MARISA

That would’ve been really helpful.

Laughter.

CARTER

So when you said you had burrow, that’s not true.

MARISA

I “gain the ability to create a passage large enough for a normal-sized human to use.”

MIKE

Excellent.

CARTER

That would’ve been super handy right now.

MARISA

That would’ve been super useful.

SEAN

It’d be nice to have a checkmark next to that.

MIKE

You could become a weremole.

MARISA

Okay. Yeah, that would be a good idea. Oh, a weremole. Good idea, Mike. Okay, sorry, let’s go back. Sorry. Ahem.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, actually, I might be able to help with that. I think I have the ability to, to transform into someone who could burrow us out of here. Are we all ready to go?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Do you have—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(tearful)

Snowball, Snowball, I’m sorry to interrupt…

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Oh, no.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But me and Blat were talking. And… do you have kids?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

…No.

MIKE AND CARTER (AS EGGERTON AND BLAT)

Ohhhh!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You haven’t lived! We’re all gonna die, and neither of you know the beauty it is to have children!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

They were snuggling this morning, even though he’s all grown up!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh God! We have such little time together. We’re making it count now.

(sniffling)

MARISA

And as all this is happening, I transform into a giant mole right in front of everyone.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(high-pitched squeaking)

Hee meep! Eee mee sheewee!

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

I can’t understand her anymore.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s hard to stop crying once you start.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(toothy tutting sounds)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, that’s kind of rude!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(annoyed squeaking)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I guess I have looked at you as a daughter figure too, but you know… that doesn’t mean that you’re gonna be a part of what we’re experiencing.

MARISA

And a large stringy tail whips Eggerton across the face.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whuh!

Okay… so maybe I misinterpreted one of those words.

MARISA

And then I head for the back of the cave, and I start scratching away at this small hole to make it bigger.

SEAN

Do you have a checkmark next to Burrow on your sheet?

Laughter.

MARISA

No, I don’t, but I’m a mole, so it’s just the natural ability of a mole!

MIKE

It’s just the scratching part sounds ouchy.

SEAN

Okay, so… Darcy the weremole goes to the back where there is a, basically it starts as like a two-foot hole, but it gets narrower and narrower and is starting to scurry and scratch. And will be able to create a tunnel for a small weremole, or maybe an Eggerton in a different form, but not the current, beautifully pudgy form…

MIKE

Are you trying to suggest something?

SEAN

Nope.

So there’s a lot of dirt spraying up, quite an awesome amount, spraying back out as the mole begins to burrow.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s a lot of dirt.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So… I’m just going to die with a dirty shirt on once again, is that what’s happening? Wonderful, thank you very much.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

I do have a good dry cleaner I could connect you to.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Is the dry cleaner here, in the cave?

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

No.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, that was a good attempt, son. I appreciate that the dry cleaning has certainly taken effect with you too. It’s important to have a good dry cleaner!

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

I do like to have a nice crisp crease…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, you’ve never looked better… oh, my boy!

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Oh don’t, don’t cry…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh God! I’ve passed on so many lessons…

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Dad, don’t…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

He called him Dad!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I heard it! I heard him say it… I didn’t want to make a thing of it.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

(breaking into tears too)

It’s been so long…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Just let it out. Just let it out, let’s all hug. Let’s all hug and cry.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(frustrated squeaking)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

From my point of view it’s only been a few minutes, but still, I get it, I get it!

Blat, Reginald and Eggerton are wracked by more sobbing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Meep! Geerp!

MARISA

And this mole face peers out of the hole as if scolding everyone still standing there.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I’m going to go help, you two take the time you need…

SEAN

There’s a skittering sound.

SEAN (AS A SCORPION)

Zzzz! There you are! Zzzmmm… Oh, I’ll be more quiet, I have a bit of a headache. Ughhh…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s been a bit of a wild night, Scorpion.

SEAN (AS A SCORPION)

We are beginning!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Zuzzz… Zizz…

SEAN (AS A SCORPION)

Zizzamoov.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re Zizzamoov?

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV THE SCORPION)

I’m Zizzamoov?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m sorry, the Zizzz, it’s a family name, right? So it’s hard for me just to really fully make sure I get them all correct. You look a lot like Zizzamizz and I just don’t want to—

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

I wish—I’d like to speak to one of these other crying people.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, they’re busy though, so they’re having a moment and it’s important for us—

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

We are beginning! The war begins—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, we’ve got like 22 minutes still.

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

No?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Look at your timepiece.

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

What?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, your timepiece.

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

Here, come with me, I’ll show you my timepiece.

SEAN

And he snags Eggerton and drags him to the front.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hwulp!

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

There, the sun rising now over that crest.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that crest?

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, I thought we were talking about the mountain. We’re on mountain time here.

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

No. We begin.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, no, no, that’s not what we agreed to! You said when the sun rises. You didn’t say at which point of the sunrise and I added in the mountaintop. So you have to give us, I think it’s now like 19 minutes, then you can attack.

Why don’t you all just get together, have some water, flush out some of the party, make sure everyone’s okay—

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

60 seconds! They were good things you made. 60 seconds! Here, help me get… help me get Harryzmmmm launched now that he’s got fur and four pads…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, so what do we do?

Buzzing wings.

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

Watch his tail, it’s quite strong. Just help him get lift. There we go, there we go. Off you go! There’s Zeemart.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, he’s flying!

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

50 seconds!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

How is he flying though? He’s a golden retriever—

SEAN (AS ZIZZAMOOV)

45 seconds! Zzzzz…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Is it like the panting? The panting somehow releases something that allows them? Or is it the tail wagging?

SEAN

All of these scorpions are launching into the air and the black mass is forming outside the cave.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Look at them all go!

Okay, well thanks for coming, everybody! Remember to rate and review our party, tell other scorpions and dogs about it, let them know cave parties are where it’s at. Thank you, we are The Sixty Keys, and hope you have a great day, everyone! Bye!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(now recovered from crying)

They’re coming back, aren’t they?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, they’re starting to form a, like it looks like a big spear or something they’re forming maybe? I don’t know.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, well we’ve got a free moment here, why can’t we just go out the front then all together and maybe we can get away before the tip of the… spear gets here?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, oh, here, I’m gonna throw a rock—

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

They’re very fast.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m gonna throw a rock and we’ll see, right?

He throws a rock. A scorpion hits it in midair and smashes it to bits.

SEAN (AS A SCORPION)

Zzzzzow!

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

They’re very fast and very poisonous. I was able to hold them a bit when we closed down part of this entrance… but there are thousands of them.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, let’s see how, uh, Moley Darcy is doing!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(feeble squeaking)

Hee mee mee…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’re tired already?! You’re not even having to go through the emotional withdrawal of being a first time parent!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

There’s a lot of energy that gets tied up when you have to care for other people, Darcy. Or Mol—Do you prefer Dole or Marcy? What are we gonna—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(annoyed squeaking, then chomping sounds)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hey, hey, hey, hey, I need those toes. All right, I will come help. Okay? I’ll, okay, what’s a good thing? I can change too, remember, everyone. So, what’s a good form for me to take? I just feel like I’m not as good at Marcy or Darcy or Dole here. What are we, did we come up with a name? No?

Okay, so anyway, so if I just, what’s good, like chipmunks, chipmunks dig a lot, right? They dig and hide their nuts. So I would—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(expressive squeaking)

Hee mee! Mee mee.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Bigger? Bigger… a big chipmunk?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

He mee mee merrr.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Like even bigger than that? Okay, what about… well, no, I can’t become a bulldozer. Those are from Balgomar, they’re made of metal. I can try, I don’t know what’ll happen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

He mer mee meem.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex. You’re doing T‑Rex arms? They can’t dig with those. They’re too short.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(thoughtful squeaking)

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

While they figure this out, Blat…

(draws his battle axe)

Would you do me the honour of standing with me in the entrance? We can at least buy them some time.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We’re going to go out with a magical bazooka in our hands. That’s my boy.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Well, an axe in mine, but yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Bazooka.

SEAN

Nothing happens.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ahem. Sorry. After effects of the party. Ugh! Don’t know what was in the punch.

Bazooka.

SEAN

Nothing happens.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bazooka.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Um, I can stand in the—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ba-zoo-ka.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

I can, I can do it—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bazooka.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

I can buy us the time.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Baaaaa-zooka.

SEAN

And you hear a whisper in your ears.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Kazoo-baaaa.

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

Do you need help, Defender?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just wanna use the ability that I’ve had for the past few years! Just trying to call up my mystical weapon that I was able to do long before you showed up in the back of my head.

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

I’ve given you new abilities, Defender.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, but don’t I have to be all dark and…?

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

No. I’ve told you. You can be whoever you want to be.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…I don’t know if I want to be that particular Blat. I like the old Blat, with the ability to call up a metal tube that made things explode.

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

I see.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

If, if that’s all right with you. I mean, I think you liked having that particular Blat as your defender.

Didn’t you? I think you’d be lying if you said no!

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

Very well.

SEAN

Reginald is walking towards the front with his large battle axe unswung from his back, and is standing, planting his feet in the doorway—the entrance.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Come on now. I have to go help my boy, so I’m just going to say it one more time and everything’s okay, all right? Okay, so here we go aaaand…

Bazooka.

MIDROLL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Music sting.

ELI

It’s the beginning of the middle of The End of Time and Other Bothers.

ELI

Hi everybody, it’s Eli here with the announcements this week.

Sean is off travelling and I am here with the grumpy dogs. You might be able to hear Ms. Mae van de Wag snoring in the background.

So first off, we’re back for the fourth time? I don’t know how many times it’s been. We’ve begun recording again after many weeks off due to Omicron and then moving house and then moving our studio and office all at the same time. You might have noticed that the room sounds different in this episode because we’re now recording at our new headquarters. We’re going to have a bigger announcement about that very soon. There’s a ton left to do still, but I’m really grateful to be recording and producing again.

Which reminds me, we’re also going to be switching to releasing an episode every three weeks, mostly due to my schedule, trying to do production on several shows at once, plus writing, setting up the new space, I want to go back to making more bonuses for our patrons, all that good stuff, while Sean is hard at work on the network and on day job stuff—it’s a whole lot.

So we’re trying to keep everything in balance. But thank you so much for your patience. We’re really glad to be back to telling this ridiculous story and we hope you like it.

All right, that’s it from me. Toodles!

Music sting.

MIDROLL: RHINOCERI

Knocking at a door.

SEAN

Michael?

MIKE

Yup.

SEAN

I don’t know if we can do that next scene.

MIKE

What do you mean we… you don’t know if we can do it.

SEAN

We just had a few complaints from the people playing the dog/scorpion.

MIKE

But we fed them, didn’t we?

SEAN

Yeah, no, no, it’s not about that.

MIKE

They enjoyed the puppy chow.

SEAN

Because the script keeps saying “rhinoceri” and they don’t know who’s the rhinoceri, who’s the dog, who’s the scorpion.

MIKE

But see, that’s the humour.

SEAN

Also, Marisa doesn’t like it.

MARISA

I hate it.

MIKE

Oh, hey, I didn’t see you there.

(whispers)

I thought you were going to tell me when she was going to be at our meetings.

SEAN

Well, you don’t come to our meetings, you just sit in your trailer. So we’re bringing the meeting to you.

MIKE

Yeah, but you should have just opened the door—“By the way, Marisa’s here.”

MARISA

I lurk in the shadows.

MIKE

Yeah, that’s why I want the… anyway!

SEAN

I think Marisa has a good point. I think they should be allowed to be a dog if they want to be a dog or a scorpion if they want to be a scorpion.

MIKE

That’s just chaos! We’ve got 300 extras on the set right now—

SEAN

No, we actually have two. That’s the other problem. They have to keep jumping between costumes and that’s a lot of work. So, you know, we just need them to be one or the other because then we can do the CGI where we duplicate them.

MIKE

Why don’t we just bring in more and then we can actually have the ones that are scorpions and the ones that are dogs?

MARISA

He doesn’t understand budget, does he?

SEAN

No. Maybe if we didn’t have to keep bringing in actual fairy cakes made by fairies, we’d have more money for extras.

CARTER

Hey guys, I heard all the extras were cutting into the pretzel budget, so I just asked them to leave.

SEAN

That’s it! Scene’s over!

MIKE

Yeah, so I think this all just means we need people to go to Patreon, right? Like, that’s where we were really circling in a broad way.

CARTER

I like pretzel money.

SEAN

Help us get more scorpions, more pretzels, and more fairy cakes from Michael by going to patreon.com/albasalix.

MIKE

Also golden retrievers at otherbothers.com.

That one was logical!

Laughter.

Music sting.

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

SEAN

I don’t know how to describe the sound that Eli’s going to put here, but it is as if black metal plate armour clanks down all over Blat’s body to where he’s got a fully armoured jacket. There’s a black bazooka that’s quite large with a sigil etched into its side that glows. And the last thing to appear is a helmet and visor over Blat’s face. And he is all in black.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, so this feels like a bazooka—

Blat’s visor slams down halfway through his sentence, muffling his voice. He manages to open it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

—but I can’t quite see—

(the visor opens again)

Oh! Okay….

(visor shuts)

Oh, there it goes again.

(visor opens)

Okay, so I gotta hold it up…

(visor shuts)

Oh, there it goes again. All right, so—

(visor opens)

—up with one hand, and then I…

(visor shuts)

Oh, it’s down again. Son? Son? Are you… Okay, is this the back of the cave?

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Just follow my voice.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Sorry, boy…

Rapid beeping sounds.

SEAN

And suddenly in your goggles lights up and you see as if you can see everything in the cave in outlines. Everything is outlined.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(still muffled)

Oh! Okay. So nobody has skin anymore. Is that normal? Does everyone feel like they still have skin? Because I don’t see anyone’s skin.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

I have skin. I’m here. I have your arm.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, okay. That’s good. So this is the front of the cave?

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

No, a little to your left. There.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, all right. Just point me towards light.

SEAN

There are now a thousand little red squares that seem to be following all these things flying around in the air and it says “Locked.”

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, son. So do you see scorpions or do you see squares?

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

I see a lot of scorpions.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, I see a lot of squares. Do you think maybe the squares are the scorpions? And the scorpions are the squares?

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Are they flying in the air?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh… yes, they do appear to be in the air. They’re just sort of floating about. I’m going to assume that’s what that means?

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Yes, I think those are the scorpions.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, so I’m just…

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Nothing else is flying in the air.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, very good. Well, I just don’t want to destroy a cloud or something. Can you do that with this new thing? I don’t know. Evil works in evil ways.

Okay, so I’m just going to do what I usually do and we’ll see if it makes the problem go away… and pull down on this thing!

Click.

Prog rock, with plenty of bleeping, electronic sounds.

SEAN

And the lock goes red. There’s a tone that echoes through the whole cavern and all of a sudden there’s the sound of… it must be hundreds of missiles firing in all directions. And we are now using the new Morrigu power Necrotic Wave.

CARTER

“Necrotic Wave: Darkness surrounds you, flowing across your body at all times. You pull the darkness inward, almost returning to normal, and then release it in a massive necrotic wave that ripples outwards, eating at anything living within a 60 foot radius. Roll +Wisdom…” Oh, that’s not good.

“On a 10+, you deal 1d12 damage on all living creatures within range and consume the souls of all that are killed.” Oh God.

“On a 7 to 9, you deal damages above, but you take one hit point in psychic damage for every creature killed.”

I don’t know how much psychic damage I could take because I don’t know how much psychic abilities I have. All right, so my Wisdom is… well, it’s not terrible. It’s a 12.

SEAN

What’s your plus on it?

CARTER

Oh, that’s a zero. I’m still surprised that it’s that high. You know, I don’t have a negative on my plus.

SEAN

So roll 2d6. You need another d6.

CARTER

All right, so let’s see here.

SEAN

Grab another d6.

CARTER

All right, I’ll grab another d6.

SEAN

We haven’t done this in a while.

CARTER

No. Rolling? What do you think this is, a role-playing game?

SEAN

So I will say that you have directed it because of the use of the bazooka, so it’s everyone in front of you and the range has increased in that direction as a cone.

CARTER

(rolling)

All right, so it looks like we want a 10… a 10… a 10… a 10… A 12!

MIKE

Nice!

SEAN

Okay, so roll your damage.

CARTER

Okay! Everybody gets… a 4.

SEAN

So, yeah, there’s just a series of explosions as one giant just becomes a cloud of explosion debris and hundreds of them are just vaporized and hundreds more are colliding. You just hear a lot of skittering and screeching… and then you hear a war cry go up as they begin to basically in three fronts charge, zooming in towards the front of the cave.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(muffled)

Okay, so there’s still a lot of squares. Do I… can I get a confirmation?

SEAN

And that’s when you are both hit in the chest by one after another after another, and Reginald is there swinging, and you guys need to roll Defy Danger. I’ll let you roll for both of you. How are you trying to defy?

CARTER

Uh… Pray that my new armour that’s speared on my body does the trick.

So that’s an 8.

SEAN

Okay, so yeah, I will say you are thrown backwards and so Darcy and Eggerton, suddenly you’re just, there’s this impact as this fully suited knight with strange, I picture it as like a motorcycle helmet on, hits the wall and slumps down and that is Blat. Reginald is still there and swinging like mad.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, Blat, now do you think that a pleather tree beetle is a better digger than a rat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Pick something large, you idiots.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But that’s hard because a rat can be pretty big, but it can be pretty small and then the beetle, I mean in the larval state, they’re tiny, but then they get to be, you know.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Become a rhinoceros!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What’s a rhinoceros?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You know, a rhinoceros.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(warlike squeaking)

Mee mee mee!

MARISA

And suddenly this weremole comes running out of the tunnel right towards one of these scorpion critters and jumps up as high as maybe a weremole can jump, just to try and bring one down.

SEAN

Yup. Okay, you bring it down. Roll 2d6. Do you need another one? There you go.

MARISA

That’s a 10.

SEAN

Plus Strength or Dex—doesn’t matter, that’s a success. Yeah, what do you want to have happen?

MARISA

I just grab… Ideally, if this is a really good roll, I do a sort of a spinning thing where I end up taking out a few in the air down with me just on the ground.

SEAN

Yep, I would say you snag one that was about to take out Reginald from behind, spin around, take hold of one more and throw them back out into the others heading out the front.

MARISA

So like a bowling ball effect kind of thing.

SEAN

Yep. Cool.

MIKE

I am going to try Shapeshifter. I’m going to turn into a rhinoceros as I understand them.

SEAN

Now, we never determined if Eggerton actually turns into the thing or just believes he turns into the thing.

MIKE

So the sheet says, “When you call upon the spirits to change your shape, roll +Wisdom. On a 7+ you experience the glory of shapeshifting and believe you are the chosen creature.”

MARISA

Right, but do you have the powers of the chosen creature?

MIKE

Doesn’t say anything about it at all.

SEAN

Does anything matter beyond belief, Marisa?

(laughs)

MARISA

Well, that’s a question for our time.

SEAN

Yes it is.

MIKE

So that’s an 8.

SEAN

Okay, so tell us what Eggerton does.

MIKE

So Eggerton starts to turn and charge. And you hear and feel the gathumping of giant hooves… and then through the dust of these hooves you see a golden retriever emerge with a big horn, and start charging at the scorpions.

SEAN

Okay. Roll 2d6.

MIKE

That’s an 8.

SEAN

And you want to use a Dex or a Strength bonus?

MIKE

Well I have zero of both.

SEAN

Okay, so that’s an 8.

So I think you see a golden retriever charge forward, impact a whole bunch of scorpions. There’s a lot of confusion because they are confusing, I think, that golden retriever with Zizzup… and then the golden retriever disappears with a yelp off the edge of the front of the cave cliff.

MIKE

Whaa!

SEAN

Okay, Blat you are slumped down. Reginald is doing everything they can at the front of the cave.

CARTER

Do we need to roll for Reginald?

SEAN

Yes.

MARISA

Why would you ask? He was doing okay.

Laughter.

MIKE

No, Reginald just kills all of them. It’s fine.

SEAN

Reginald is spinning around, blade flashing, they are backing up a bit. There’s been a bit of confusion with this giant weremole and Zugzung losing their mind and now having a horn.

And Blat, you are sitting at the back of the cave. Well, I think you are actually probably up against Snowball. And it’s just all chaos up in front of you and there’s a two-foot diameter partial tunnel out.

MARISA

It’s been widened a little!

MIKE

Think two and a quarter.

SEAN

Two… all right, so let’s say 20 centimetres, is that helpful for everyone?

MIKE

That’s smaller than 2 feet. A lot.

SEAN

(laughs)

CARTER

Blat points the bazooka, or whatever it is to be called now, at the two-foot wide hole and fires.

Silence.

SEAN

Okay, roll 2d6.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Don’t worry, everyone! I know what to do!

CARTER

8.

SEAN

So… I would say the good news is, you see—there’s some targeting errors, like the red things are moving all around—but then it fires and it hits the hole, which is pretty close.

And you see it start to enlarge, in a part of it. The explosion shoots you backwards, sliding towards—you bump into Reginald in the front as the cave begins to collapse all around you.

Everyone needs to roll 2d6. Defy Danger.

MIKE

I’m not there.

SEAN

You’re not there? You’re outside the front.

You, by the way, are going to take roll 1d6 for damage on the fall.

MIKE

5.

SEAN

Wow.

Okay. You tumble, you hear yelps as you bounce your way down the slope a little.

MIKE

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

MARISA

Okay, I rolled a 7.

SEAN

So I will say that you barely miss a large boulder coming down. But for some reason, the shock, you are no longer in form.

MARISA

Oh, I’m back to Darcy.

SEAN

You’re back to Darcy and the whole place is coming down around you.

What did you roll, Carter?

CARTER

…3!

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN

You don’t see Blat.

You need to roll 2d6 for damage. Though you will—you have 2 Armour right now.

CARTER

Cool.

SEAN

Holy s——. 9. So you take 7 damage. So that’s somewhere on your sheet, is damage. Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snowball! Snowball, you need to get up! You need to get up and find Blat! And also I think Eggerton might be falling to his doom.

SEAN

Snowball is at the back of the cave.

MARISA

That’s why I’m yelling.

SEAN

The scorpions have retreated a little. They’re just not sure what’s going on. Just this explosion of rock out of that cave. And you hear Snowball. They sound worried.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I can’t move.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What? Has something fallen on you?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

It’s just tight. You need to call for help.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Who am I going to call?! There’s nobody here!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

The wild.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The wild?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

You have to do it now, Darcy. You need help. We need help.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay….

SEAN

Blat, you’re in darkness.

CARTER

Blat checks the bazooka.

SEAN

You can’t quite reach it. It’s like you’re being held down. It’s like something. There’s a crushing weight on you but it’s not crushing—it’s like your armour is holding it off but it’s this intense. You can’t move.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(winded)

Well, I don’t see any of the little red squares. So it looks like I saved the day!

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Son?

Eggerton?

Darcy?

I can’t move, yet… I am not being crushed.

Oh, this is death!

SEAN

(laughs)

OUTSIDE

SEAN

Eggerton. You bounce your way down the front of the slope, you and a couple of scorpions, sometimes lifting up, sometimes dropping you.

You come to a rest. You see an extremely devastating explosion. The whole front of the cave explodes outward. Rock hits you. It hurts, flinging in every direction. All of the flying scorpions have pulled back.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh… I need to get a press release out, quick!

SEAN

And you hear Darcy shouting inside and then silence.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh no, okay, I gotta get up there.

MIKE

Am I still in rhinoceros form?

SEAN

You appear to still… I believe you believe you are still in a rhinoceros form.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hold on, wait, wait, oh I know, okay—

MIKE

I am going to use Spirit Tongue and call out to the other golden retrievers who have been flying around and not part of the attack.

SEAN

The ones you transformed? Yeah they have been chasing rocks. They are all running around chasing all the rocks that exploded out.

MIKE

Yeah, they are all chasing…

SEAN

A couple are trying to eat them.

MIKE

(laughs)

“It’s a hard cookie!”

SEAN

They are golden retrievers. Yup, okay…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

My friends! My rhinoceros friends! Come help me! Come to me and carry me to the explosion!

SEAN

And you see a bunch of flying golden retrievers with spiky dangerous tails zooming down towards you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Excellent! Okay, now come in and I will… can we pause and maybe make a sled? I’ll just get 12 of you—

SEAN

One of them licks you in the face.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh thanks! Oh, that’s… that’s burny. That is a little burny. Oh they are poison, ha ha, I forgot they’re poison. Okay, okay—

SEAN

Another one wags and jabs you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, ha ha, ow, my kidney. It’s okay. It’s okay. A little perforation never hurts.

Okay, so here’s what we’re going to do. I’m gonna just get the three of you to stand in a row. No, you… In a row. Sit.

SEAN

And one runs around.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, no, you over here, over here. Oh wait—

SEAN

The one licks you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ow! Ow! My other cheek! It’s fine. Okay, no, just come over here—is that a squirrel?

SEAN

Boom! They are all dragging you down across the rocks.

Wild barking fades into the distance.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aaaaugh!

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

SEAN

Darcy. You are in the cave. Reginald has come over and is knelt down.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Are you okay?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m okay but we have to get out of here. Everything is coming down.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

The scorpions are still out there. They are just, they are not attacking right now but they’re there.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well it’s the only way out now isn’t it? The whole rest of the cave is collapsed.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

I can’t find Blat.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And we don’t know where Eggerton is and Snowball says he can’t move.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Oh, I know where Eggerton is. There—he’s running after a squirrel. On all fours.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Of course he is. Of course he is.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(in the distance)

We’ll get the bastard this time!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you know where, what’s happened to Snowball?

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

I think he’s still in the back of the cave.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. I think I can get him. I’ll do my best.

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Okay. I’ll stand watch here at the front.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. This isn’t going to be pretty. Here goes.

MARISA

And I back up to one side of the cave and I run really hard towards the other side of the cave, and I run smack into the wall, which I assume will damage me in some way?

SEAN

Yeah. Okay. Roll a 1d6.

MARISA

That is a 3.

SEAN

Okay.

MARISA

So I take 3. And that fills my Rage meter which turns me into, I guess—

SEAN

I think your Rage was probably… You probably could have argued your rage was pretty high at this point.

MIKE

I like that you felt the need to run face first into a wall though, just in case.

MARISA

I need more Rage!

SEAN

I feel like Darcy did that to let off a little steam and rage, you know?

MIKE

(laughs)

MARISA

I need more Rage!

All right so… I transform into a huge grizzly bear, and because I have the ability Unstoppable—it’s similar to Burrow in that I can spend Rage to smash through anything that stands between me and where I wish to go.

SEAN

Okay.

MARISA

So I’ll spend some Rage, just like 1 Rage now. And I move towards the back of the cave, going through any of the rubble that stands between me and Snowball and it’s just all being thrown back. And what do I find?

SEAN

You feel a rage like you’ve never felt.

MARISA

Okay. I know that rage.

SEAN

Yeah, I want you to let us in on what is going through Darcy’s mind right now.

MARISA

My mind right now is just blank with redness. Once I’m in the grizzly bear form, there’s just red being seen, as I just plow through everything in front of me with this very narrow focus to get to the dragon. And there’s really nothing else on the periphery or anything. Just a really narrow-minded… but nothing else is happening because it’s all a ball of rage. So it’s just directed in one way.

SEAN

And you feel Snowball’s thoughts in your brain.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Finally. Now call.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Call who?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Call everyone who must answer you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You mean Eggerton and Blat?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

No.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t know what you mean!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Just do it. Demand them here.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Gaaaaah!

MARISA

And this huge bear roar goes out—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(huge, echoing)

ROOOOOAR!

Dramatic music.

SEAN

It echoes across the land. It’s like a wave of energy. It actually moves you a little, Blat, lying on the ground.

It causes all the golden retriever/rhinoceroci to pause and all turn towards the cave entrance.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ruh?

SEAN

And then all of the rhinoceri begin baying, including Eggerton I assume.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aroooo!

(starts coughing)

SEAN

And I think it feels good to make the call, Darcy.

But then in the pause, you hear it answered: First, once, a sound like a pack of giant werewolves off in the distance but also something—you feel it. And then you feel, deep beneath you in the earth, not that far away, something really large… no, it’s not large, it’s a lot of them. Some kind of burrowing creature, responding to your call.

And it happens again and again. And you feel them all converging towards your spot.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think I called them…

MARISA

…I say in my head to Snowball.

SEAN

And that’s when Snowball’s giant head bursts through the rock in front of you.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

You did. And I answer.

SEAN

And Snowball bows his head to you.

And that’s where we’ll end it today.

Silence.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Did I save us?

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

The End of Time and Other Bothers, with your Game Master Sean Howard and players Marisa King, Carter Siddall, and Michael Howie.

Dialogue editing by Michael Howie. Transcription by Michael Howie and Marisa King. Music and sound design by Eli Hamada McIlveen. Story consultant: Laura Packer. Game consultant: Stephen Smith. Supporting producers: Ren and Becky Arenivar.

If you enjoy the show, check out our Patreon. Supporters get access to our Trove bonus material and an invite to our wonderful fan community on Discord. Look for the Patreon link at OtherBothers.com.

OUTTAKE: A WAY OUT

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

(sleepily)

Just… hm… go out the back. Out the… back.

(yawns)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah. No, we know. So there’s a very small hole out the back…

Marisa falls silent, trying not to laugh.

MIKE

(bursts out laughing)

Don’t break!

CARTER

We’re better than this, everyone! We are better than this.

MIKE

Don’t break!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’ve discovered that there’s a way out the back, but…

Marisa cracks up, and the whole table dissolves into laughter.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I hear there’s parking… entrance at the back.

MARISA

(laughing)

I can’t say it now! There’s no way to say it!

Okay! Ahem.

MIKE

I wasn’t even looking at you that time.

MARISA

I know. I know. Okay.

(collects herself—then starts laughing again)

No, I can’t do it. Someone’s going to have to leap in here. Because “rear”, “back”…

SEAN

(giggling)

MARISA

Oh, God. Okay. All right.

CARTER

All right. Whew! Professional.

MARISA

Bring it together. Professional.

Beep.

MARISA

Wait, but how do we make it bigger? How can we get you out? How can we all get out?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

It’s not very large.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, it’s not.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

You have to really squeeze…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?

Everyone starts giggling again.

MARISA

See, we can’t do it!