Episode 17- Hubris

As the group exits the temple and leaves Pike, Scanlan remembers the potion he purchased from Gilmore.  He quickly downs it, and begins to feel a strange rumbling in his stomach.  He sneaks back into the ruins and relieves himself in a corner.  The pile of droppings begin to glow a faint blue color.  Happy with himself and what he thinks is a poohlantir (or possibly a crapstal ball), he heads back to join the group standing near a large statue of a bearded man.
The statue stands atop a large, blocky fortress.  There are two large stone and iron doors that lead to the interior of the building, and large braziers have flame spewing up from them in the darkness of the town.  Tiberius takes a few minutes and recognizes that this is a likeness of the god Kord, who is a patron of fighters and strength, as well as storms.  This section of the town appears to reflect much of the temple before them, being largely stone and iron.
Vax asks a pair of passers by, and they confirm that Tiberius was correct.  This section of town in referred to as the Braving Grounds, and is dedicated to becoming stronger each day.  They tell them of various traditions within the area, including The Crucible.  A fighting arena just outside the Bellow’s Respite, made specifically for gladiator style combat.  They walk in that direction, as seeing a huge crowd gathered Grog takes off running as Keyleth cries out to him to stop, but he is already well ahead of the group.  As Grog reaches the edge of the pit, he sees a large woman felling her opponent in the ring.  She climbs out to a mass of cheers and hoots.  A robbed man tells him that the woman is called The Siren.  He makes a note of it mentally, wanting to find her later.
Grog asks for a fight, as the bookie looks him over and sizes him up.  Vex says she’ll bet 500 gold on him.  He agrees to put Grog against one of their proven fighters against him, and the bookie calls out Kern the Hammer, the reigning champ of The Crucible.  As the group attempts to give him some slight advantages, the people who run the arena put a very quick stop to it.  As Kern makes his way to the ring, the crowd quiets.  Standing six and a half feet tall, the Half-Orc looks heavily scarred and has been given and given out multiple beatings in the past.  As Scanlan tries to slip Grog a potion, the bookie stops him and asks the Goliath if he’ll be fighting or pussying out.  Grog rages and leaps into the pit, and we turn over calling the fight to Tommy Maddigan, 1920’s radio guy.
Ladies and gentlemen do we have a fight for you tonight.  Newcomer Phillip has jumped into the pit tonight to face the Hammer, defending Crucible champ Kern.  As they square off, Phillip gives a mighty roar, which Kern returns.  The Champ charges at the behemoth, throwing a three punch combo.  The left misses, but the right-left combo makes contact with the big guy right in the gut.  He laughs and shrugs off the blow, as the challenger thrusts a foot forward.  Kern sidesteps it, but does see the haymaker coming as a meaty right hook connects with the Hammer’s jaw.  A second blow follows, landing squarely.  It looks like this Phil kid came to play tonight folks!
Kern grins, shifting his jaw back and forth to try and realign it.  He fires an uppercut that slams under the chin of the giant, and follows it with a cheap shot to the nethers with a knee.  Phillip appears annoyed at the shot to his manly bits, and charges forward slamming the champ to the ground.  Pinning him down, he slams a huge bald head into his face.  Bleeding from his nose, Kern grabs the sides of the big boy’s head and slams his own face into it twice.  His third shot is blocked, and the tattooed terror drives a pair of elbows down into the champ’s face, slamming his head into the ground behind him.  He catches a third elbow drive, and uses the momentum to push the larger man off him and gets to his feet.  Both are staring each other down, as Kern winds up for a haymaker.
But it’s a feign!    He kicks him in the breadbasket instead, doubling him over.  Phillip squats down, and fires up a knee, but at the last minute throws out a punch.  He follows it with a double jab combo, sending blood spewing from the Hammer’s mouth.  He’s breathing heavy now, but drives head first into the midsection he’s been working this whole fight.  Phil takes a head to the belly, then is thrown to the ground as kicked square in the ribs.  The Hammer has turned this one around and looks like he’s gotten control of this fight.
Whining on the ground, the challenger suddenly tosses a handful of dirt into the eyes of the onrushing Kern, who is blinded.  Pressing his advantage, Phillip jumps to his feet and full kicks the Hammer in his nails twice, as the crowd gasps and nearly falls to the ground.  With one hand on his bruised manhood, he uses the other to wipe away the grim from his face.  This is a slobberknocker if we’ve ever seen one here folks.
As the crowd acquires popcorn, Kern drives a shoulder into the Goliath’s midsection, then gets to his feet and bites down on his shoulder, taking a section of flesh from him.  Screeching in pain, the big guy returns the bite, chomping down on the face, and rips off a big section of the upper lip from Kern, who howls in pain.  As he does, he takes a ham hock fist into the throat as he chokes on the blood flowing down the back of his neck.  Doubled over in pain, the mighty man from the mountains calls out “Oh yeah” and delivers an elbow to the back of the head, reminiscent of Machomn Ransavage, dropping Kern to the ground.  
On the ground, the champ uses it to his advantage and sweeps both legs out from under the big guy.  He scampers on top of him, showing him why they call Kern the Hammer.  Not deterred, Phillip slams both hands onto his ears, making Kern shake his head sending blood spattering everywhere.  The second blow is deflected, as Phil delivers a double fist blow to the solar plexus, knocking the wind from the champ.  He rises up, trying to stomp on his opponent.  He dodges the first and the second, before delivering a slam into his face.   This new kid is giving Kern the fight of his life!
Massive hands shoot forward, grabbing the Kern’s head as he looms over the bald behemoth.  He tries to gouge out the eyes, but the champ moves dodges it.  Phillip uses his legs, shoves Kern forward, and drives an elbow right into what’s left of the champ’s nose.  Trying to end the fight the Hammer drives a double fisted blow down, but misses to the side.  A second lands square in the chest, cracking bone.  As he tries to deliver the third he’s tossed aside, and the Goliath gladiator gets to his feet.  How these men are standing is beyond this announcer folks.  I’ve seen GROUPS of men not take this kind of beating.
Phillip charges forward, stomping a foot down onto the knee.  The first one snaps the knee, as Kern lets out a howl of pain.  Phillip follows it with a second kick to the other knee, dropping the champ to his knees.  Now down, Phillip taunts the champ, and slams a knee right into his face and dislocates his jaw.  
As the crowd sucks the air out of the arena, the champ’s eyes roll back in his head for a moment, and they all think the fight is over.  Hands shoot forward, and the champ drives his head into Phillip’s face.  He blinks and steps back as Kern gets to his feet, and with the last little bit of energy he has throws a massive fist, which connects with the Goliath’s jaw.  His head spins, he stumbles, and falls face down in the dirt.  The crowd erupts in cheer, as Kern manages to make his way to the ladder, barely able to get out.  A fight for the centuries folks!  Come back for our next fight!  Back to you, narrator guy!
Beaten and bloody, the group helps Grog into the tavern next to the Crucible.  As he enters, Grog gets a standing ovation from all those inside as the barkeep gives him an ale.  He also tells him that they have a brothel on the third floor, where he also can indulge himself free of charge this evening.  While the others take a room for the night, Grog does his best to satisfy a woman in his broken state before passing out in a pool of… something.  
The next morning everyone wanders downstairs and dives into breakfast.  Grog, massively hungover, stumbles down as well.  Tiberius knocks away the ale that has been given to him to start his day, then asks for water for him.  Vax convinces him that this wah-tur is a clear form of alcohol that goes down super easy.  Around breakfast, they discuss what course of action to take.  Some suggest following Keyleth to the fire tribe of her people.  Others make note that they have a large sum of money awaiting them in Kraghammer.  As they debate, Grog fishes a piece of flesh from his pocket, and realizes that it is the remains of the upper lip of Kern.  He tucks it away for later use, possibly making a necklace.  Before they can decide on a course of action, something huge slams into the wall on the far side of the city.  Horns of alarm begin to blare, as people rush out of the tavern.  Tiberius casts fly and heads in that direction as Vex, Vax, and Percy jump on the carpet and head towards a pair of bolt throwers atop the wall.  One of the Bastions tells them that over the last few weeks, a hydra has attacked the wall, seemingly testing it for weakness.  They managed to get a few bolts into it, but not enough to fell it.  It fled back into the forest after putting a crack in the wall.  He glances over the wall at the Vesper Timberlands, telling them that it went that way.  As they debate whether or not to follow it, Grog heads back into the tavern to ask about The Siren.  He gains little info about her, other than she works for the Slayer’s Take from time to time.
As they gather near the wall, Tiberius casts fly on Grog, Trinket, and himself as the others jump on the carpet and head out over the wall into the forest.  Tiberius is shot a few dirty looks for casting the magic, as the group basically tells those looking off as they head into the thick, deep woods.  Vax flies the carpet low to allow Vex to use her knowledge of tracking to follow where the creature went.  As they work their way through, they come upon a giant primate that has been torn asunder and partially eaten.  Keyelth takes a minute to look it over, and realizes that not all of the wounds are from the beast who ate on it.  It appears that something killed the beast first, then left it for the hydra to eat.
The twins head off ahead of the group, making their way out of the clearing and further up the path into the deep woods.  Vex manages to spot movement, and waves the group into position around a large pool of water, where a scaly creature is drinking.  Everyone slides around, getting into a good position to attack from multiple directions.  
With everyone in position, Keyleth uses wall of stone to create a ramp for Vax to run up.  He darts forward, stabbing it repeatedly.  Tiberius lets loose a chain lightning, bouncing it off the hydra and through the water it is standing in.  Vex fires an arrow and misses wide, while Scanlan lets a lightning bolt loose which zaps the creature, blowing one head off, as a stump flails from the pain.  Percy maneuvers the carpet over the pond, and fires the pepperbox, which misfires and jams.  He curses and stuffs it into the holster as he tries to unhook Bad News.  Grog charges forward, and slams a pair of blows of his axe into the neck of the best, almost cutting through it.
Tiberius uses telekinesis to slam a pair of heads together, then wraps them together to stun it for a moment.  Vex pulls out her huge explosive arrow Percy made, and as she goes to fire it accidentally sets it off, blowing her onto her ass and taking a section out of the tree behind her.  Stunned, she sends Trinket in to attack, and he takes a huge swipe, ripping a section of the beast’s scales away.  Scanlan casts Bigby’s Hand, his now go to spell for combat, and manages to punch off another head.  As this happens, another group shows up.  One woman casts hold person on Percy, stunning him.  A Cleric charges forward, as do a Tiefling woman with a greatsword, a ranger wielding dual swords, and a heavily armored fighter.  They are yelling about rule breaking and ‘their mark.’  As the woman misses twice, Grog taunts her as he hacks a huge section of the neck and spews blood onto her.  Vax follows that hit, and jams all of his daggers into the thing, carving a line down the neck of the head nearest him.
Keyleth uses the open area in the canopy of the forest created by the cleric and calls down lightning onto the hydra, the force adding to the cracks in the wall around it.  Tiberius unleashes a pair of fireballs, not seeing three of his teammates behind the massive beast.  The hydra takes the blunt of the damage, but enough makes it through to hit Grog, Vax, and knocking Trinket off the stone wall and he lands unconscious.  
The human fighter steps forward as the creature falls, asking them what they are doing.  He tells them they have a contract on the beast, and they have effectively screwed him and his team out of it.  He identifies himself  as Aldor of the Slayer’s Take.  The mage tries to calm everyone down, but the twins are having none of it.  Aldor tells them that the contract they have is magically binding, and there’s no way to fake it.  The cleric steps forward, an older Human, and tells them that they can all report to the Slayer’s Take and resolve this issue.  The new group harvests parts of the dead hydra, then the groups head back to town and into a section that Vox Machina have yet to see called the Quad Roads, as well as the temple called Erathis’s Crown.  As they weave through a large outdoor marketplace, they finally arrive at a large wooden lodge.  They enter the structure and Aldor explains the situation to Martin, the Halfling who is in charge of paying out contracts.  He tells them that if they are allowed to take the pledge by the Headmaster, his wife, they can avoid issues with the laws of Vasselheim.  He talks to her, and she asks to see the scags that broke the contract.  
He ushers them down a hall and into a large office or study.  Leaning against the desk in the room is a Tiefling woman, Headmaster Vanessa Cyndrial.  She tells them that they are going to be placed on a trial basis with the Take, and should they complete a single contract they will be given full membership.  They agree to the trial contract, to avoid going to trial and possible jail.  As part of the trial, she divides them team into two groups and adds a pair of would-be members to each team.  Team One, consisting of two new female adventurers (played by next week’s guests Mary McGlynn and Felicia Day the next two weeks) includes Vex, Grog, Scanlan, and Percy.  Team Two of Vax, Tiberius, and Keyleth, plus two prospective men (played by guests Wil Friedle and Wil Wheaton for two weeks, two weeks from now).  She laughs at the twins attempts to get her  to change her mind and waves them out of the room.  The trial begins in the morning, and they have three days to complete it.

Bodycount: 1 hydra, almost 1 Trinket, Overlord’s pride as he had to become Pengulord due to 5k subs
How do you want to do this? Tiberius, with a double fireball/telekinesis combo breaking away one head, slamming it repeatedly into the body of the main creature itself.