Bedtime stories to help grown ups fall asleep in the deep, dark night.
This episode will transport you off on a dreamy steamy journey on a carousel of good sleep.
Episode 965 – Progress Tower | Land of Tomorrow Ep 8
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and friends beyond the binary, and my patron peeps, it’s time for the podcast you help put…that you help…be here so it can put you to sleep, patrons. What do you say we get on with the show?
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake, whether it’s thoughts, things on your mind that you’re thinking about, feelings, so anything emotionally coming up for you or that’s there or that appears. You say hey…that happens to me a lot. You say, where’d you come from? Oh yeah, we’ve joked about that before, like sliding into DMs. My feelings slide right into bed with me. I say well, I thought I tucked you away.
That’s what my…here’s an idea, free idea for any companies out there; I think only some place like Stark Corp. or whatever could come up with this, but I started using a weighted comforter in December…January of whatever, the two years that were connected to one another. But here’s one; what if you had a comforter lined with something…I guess you wouldn’t want to keep out feelings. You’d say well, you could. You could say everybody…all those feel…hey Joy, can you get in here with me? Hey Serenity, can you pop right in here? Oh boy, let’s get cozy. I guess this is…this shows that I’m not fully well-adjusted ‘cause you know, there is space to say hey, come on in, Anger. Don’t worry, Grouch. Are you an actual feeling? Maybe I could get in bed with Oscar the Grouch.
I’d say, can you leave…I don’t want to know what’s…I guess…are you like some sort of…are you like a hermit crab or something, whatever’s below the garbage can? No, ‘cause I’ve seen your feet before in that famous…that one Sesame Street…the one Sesame Street movie I wrote that it was never released; Oscar Goes for A Walk. It was not a classic film. Oscar’s Long Walk. It was just a movie about Oscar walking, ‘cause that part I saw in some movie. I think that was called…was that called…was that Big Bird’s Movie? Big Bird’s Walking? Big Bird Walks Around Town? I don’t know. Oh, sorry, I’m supposed to be making a sleep podcast.
So, if it’s feelings keeping you up, it could be physical sensations, changes in time or temperature, or someone trying to invent something then going on a tangent about Oscar the Grouch, then realizing they needed to get back to their original tangent and hoping they remember to. But whatever’s keeping you awake, I’d like to take your mind off of that. What I’m gonna do is I have a safe place here. I’m gonna smooth it, I’m gonna pat it, I’m gonna rub it down. Wow, for a second I thought we would have feelings-proof blankets. I realize that’s one of my tendencies. Then I said well, maybe we don’t want feeling…maybe we want a permeable…a layer…a feeling-permeable layer. But you know, I guess I mistakenly dreamed of…this is where you see the podcast even in the intro’s gonna have some growth.
I say well, and I’m talking to myself, too. Say Scoots, I realize you want a comforter, kinda like…the whole idea of the weighted comforter is the thing they give you when you’re getting your teeth looked at with the teeth camera. I know you’d want one that would be…we’d say can you line that with something that keeps out my feelings? But we know that all your feelings need to be called in and hugged. That’s really the secret, which it is. But in this case, you don’t have to do that. That’s the purpose Sleep With Me does. So, what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night. I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents. I’m gonna go off-topic, all to keep you company and take your mind off of stuff while you fall asleep.
Now, if you’re new or…if you’re a regular listener, man, how many times have I…how much Oscar the Grouch fiction…I don’t think I’ve ever gotten in bed with Oscar the Grouch on an intro before but now, we’ve achieved that, finally, and a…the grouchy part of me. But oh, so oh, if you’re new…oh, if you’re new, this podcast is very different. I just wanted to tell you that right up front. It can be…it doesn’t necessarily work for everybody, especially right away. Here’s a couple things to know; one, it’s okay not to like this show or it might not work or it’s okay to be doubtful or skeptical. That’s a really normal way to arrive at this podcast. So, I don’t want to really put your feelings at ease but much like I was trying to do with myself, like if you’re having those feelings or you’re not sure, just give this show a few tries and see how it goes.
You don’t even have to be open-minded. You could just be barely curious. You say well, I don’t know about this podcast and your creaky, dulcet tones. I’d say yeah, that’s fine. You don’t have to be open-minded about it. You could just be…but I’m curious that you’re really never gonna get to the point? I say well, I barely get to…I get to more of the nubs. I don’t get to any points. But I get to those nubs ‘cause I have a nub on the back of my head, the famous nub. That’s where the podcast magic comes from. Really, I do. Some people do have a nub. Some would call it a nubbin but I call it a nub. If I wore a baseball cap a lot, it would keep it on there ‘cause it would be right where…the plastic part of the baseball cap would go right under my nub. It’s vestigial.
I wish…I guess…I don’t know what would be there ‘cause you would say well, I really wouldn’t want anything vestigially on the back of my head but…’cause yeah, I say well, what would vestigially be back there? Someone would say some extra brain cells. I’d say well, maybe there was. That was where they connected the interesting…my ability to hold court. I had that…it was vestigial, so it’s not there anymore. Okay, so…oh, this podcast is very different. A couple other things to know; this is a podcast you don’t really listen to. You may have figured that out already. You just kinda barely pay attention. It works best if you just listen, like almost like you’re listening to rain or fuzz or wind.
You say okay, well, it’s not exactly…that’s…I’m kind of…I’m slightly more interesting than the wind or rain, unless you’re some sort of rain…unless you’re a meteorologist and then even then I say that you probably want some time off. You say yeah, meteorology is who…I’m a…I’m…that’s who I am during the day. During the night I’m a fan of meteors, believe it or not. I’m into a different kind of meteorology; with actual meteors. I’d say well, you’re…hopefully one day you have a meteoric rise to meteor fame when you dis…I don’t know. Is that possible? Well, no. My dream is riding a meteor across the sky. I know it’s not realistic but I do dream of that. Oh, that’s interesting.
I gotta get to this…I gotta get back to this sleep podcast, otherwise I have a lot of…how come they…I guess I could look it up but yeah, isn’t strange that…is it spelled like a meteor…meteorologist sounds like meteor…so, would you be an amateur meteorologist? You’re a professional meteorologist during the day but…I’m sure the study of meteors is called something else. You’d say well, I’m a quasitonatrist. Really? Is that someone who works with eye-glasses in the eighth dimension? No, I study meteors. Meteorology was already taken by weather people. I’d say really? What was that called, a quasitontologist? ‘Cause I got something I could…you sure you…is there anybody who’s an expert at helping me see in more than two…three dimensions? Hello? Okay. So, this is a podcast you don’t really listen to.
It’s also a podcast that doesn’t really put you to sleep. I’m here to keep you company [00:10:00] while you fall asleep, not to actually put you to sleep. I’m here to take your mind off of stuff, to keep you company, to be your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-cuz, your bore-sib, your bore-bestie, your bore-bruh. That’s my job and that’s why the shows are over an hour, is so you have plenty of time, so you don’t look at the episode and be like, how am I gonna fall asleep in twenty minutes? Or what am I gonna do then? You say well, at least Scoots will be here to keep me company whether I’m awake or asleep. So, if you can’t sleep, if you’re going through something or you can’t sleep on a regular basis or you need something to wake up, or you just need something to keep you company while you’re getting ready for bed as part of your wind-down, that’s what I’m here for.
I’m not really here to put you to sleep; I’m here to take your mind off of stuff and then you fall asleep whenever. So, that’s different, a podcast you don’t listen to, a podcast that doesn’t put you to sleep even though it’s a sleep podcast. The other thing that can throw new people off is the structure of the show. Show is structured kinda very deliberately but it’s flexible. That’s the beauty of podcasts and podcast apps; you can listen…you don’t have to listen to them in any order, you could set a sleep timer, you could start it when you want it, you can move it around, you can smooth it, you can pat it, you can rub it down, you can say a podcast in a podcast app.
But, oh, so the structure of the show; the show starts off with a greeting, friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and roleplayers everywhere so hopefully you feel seen and welcome or that, you know, that’s what I’m trying to achieve, sometimes unsuccessfully, but that’s the goal I strive for. Then there’s business and listener support, and that’s one of the ways we’re able to be here for you for free twice a week, then there’s an intro. The intro goes from minute six or minute eight-ish to minute twenty or so and it feels like I go on and on and on for some people but really, for…it’s…the idea of the intro is to introduce the new people to the show but also for everybody — new listeners and regular listeners — to give you some wind-down, some distance from the day, and to ease you into bedtime.
So, if you’re new, this kinda…say okay, this…when’s this show get started? I say well, it’s kinda always started. It never starts at all. You say, is that like a cone? I’d say I don’t know. You mean with a cone with a K-A-O-A-N or whatever? I’m not sure. That’s a good question. Did you hear earlier when that person was a fan…they were a meteorologist during the day and a meteor fan at night? That’s like, the…I mean, I wish that person would have stuck around…oh, they’re a figment of my imagine…wow. I have figments of my imagination that are more interesting than me. That’s weird. Somebody put that on needlepoint because that’s…holy moly. I don’t know if I should feel great about that or I should take a breather. But you say, what’s the name…what would you title your 500th autobiography, the story of your life?
Figment…the…well, I guess I would put that in parentheses; (My Story). I’ve got…Figments of My Imagination Are More Interesting Than Me. I actually…that one’s fascinating. You say what time of day…tell me about your life as a meteorologist and then tell me about your life as a meteor fan. Are there any…I’m sure there’s a band called The Meteors. I wonder if you’re into them. So anyway, oh, so structure…oh, so we’re still on the structure. So, the intro goes on and on and on. So, some listeners skip it; 3% of listeners, currently. A few thousand people listen to story-only episodes on Patreon but most people either listen as they’re getting ready for bed or as they’re unwinding and then some people are falling asleep during the intro, so kinda see what works for you as you become a regular listener.
You can always adjust. There’s always online conversations going on. More and more people are just listening as part of the unwinding process or the winding down process and as part of their bedtime routine doing other stuff versus just strictly falling asleep to the show. But there’s no wrong way to use the podcast. If you fall asleep in thirty seconds, that’s great. If you wake up in the middle of the night and listen, that’s great. Some people listen all night. So, just kinda see how it goes. So, that’s the intro. Then there’s business between the intro and the story, again, to keep the podcast free. Then there’s a story. Tonight it’ll be our episodically modular series Journey Into the World of Tomorrow where friends play a roleplaying game, and then there’s thank-yous at the end. So, that’s the structure of the show.
The reason I make the show is twofold; one, I’ve been there tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep, and I know how it feels out there in the deep, dark night, and I know what it can be like to dread bedtime and for it to be something that’s…doesn’t feel good and if I can keep you comforted or give you some solace or be a friend in the deep, dark night, that gives me big purpose because I know what it’s like there. While I might not know exactly what you’re going through, I have a general idea of what it feels like. That’s one part of it. The other part of it is you do deserve a good night’s sleep. You do deserve a port in the storm, a place of respite, something you could feel good about and wind-down to.
If you get the sleep you need and you are more well-rested, your world’s gonna be a better place and that means my world’s gonna be a better place, and that’s important to me. It’s important for me to say that over and over again, every single episode; you deserve a good night’s sleep. You really do. I know it’s not easy and I know it doesn’t always feel good when you can’t get…and you can’t get it all the time, I know, and it doesn’t feel fair to any of us that struggle with sleep. But I hope I can provide it. Now, the thing is, this definitely…the show does not work for everybody. I’m not everybody’s cup of tea. Some people…this is a very different show, so it just works for the people that it works for, but give it a few tries.
There’s also sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou with a list of other sleep podcasts and sleepy stuff that you could check out, but I really hope I can provide something and help you get the rest you need and deserve. That’s why I’m here. I really appreciate you coming by. I work really hard on this show. I yearn and I strive. I really want to help you fall asleep, and here’s a couple ways I’m able to be here for you twice a week.
Alright everybody, it’s Scoots here and we’re talking about Season 1…I forgot what I was recording. So, this is our new episodically modular series, or somewhat new. Actually, if it’s new to you, this could be the first episode you listen to and you’ll be fine ‘cause we’re gonna catch you up on everything, or the characters are. This is our ongoing episodically modular series. It’s called Journey Into The Land of Tomorrow. Somewhere in another time, somewhere I guess possibly in our future, there’s a group of friends playing a Dungeons and Dragons module, maybe after the existence…so, based on the rules of DnD Fifth Edition called…they’re playing a module or a game called Journey Into The Land of Tomorrow and by the power of the fanfiction fantasy machine, I’ve just been able to get…even though this audio doesn’t exist in our world, in their world it does.
Now, Doc Brown and all the…and the physicists and the anthropologists all said don’t do it, Scoots. I said, it’s to put people to sleep, so I got to. I said, it’s fiction. It’s all imagination based on the rules of DnD 5E. So, if you’ve…if you’re not familiar with that game or anything that I’m talking about, don’t worry. This is gonna be…this will be — and I’ve already gotten a lot of feedback — oh, this is gonna be so sleepy. You could sleep right through it. But I promise you that there’s good characters that you don’t…you’ll barely need to listen to, familiar…they’re gonna be in a place that may be familiar to some of you whether you’ve been listening to the podcast for a week or your whole life.
So, without further ado, our Hollywood announcer just arrived via Zoom but I…oh, I also forgot I was not saying that he was arriving via…before this, I didn’t say he’s coming by Zoom because the magic of radio or whatever. Plus, it’s…we actually…I have him put a…well, anyway. I don’t want to get into it but he has an electric Uber driver that drives up his Zoom. So, he still goes on the drive from LA here; he’s just sitting at his desk at home [00:20:00] but it’s electric, so it’s not wasteful. Someone’s actually getting a great wage to do this, thanks to Antonio Banderas. The ladies, the gentlemen, the boys, the girls, the friends beyond the binary, Scooter gave you a peek behind our curtain but take a peek behind this curtain because it’s time for a journey into The Land of Tomorrow. Rolling your dice, goodnight, yeah.
Thanks, Antonio. Did you know some of the listeners gave me a blanket with you from your Oscar-nominated role? I did. I saw you in my…wrapped in my visage. Yeah, I was loving that. Did you see me when I twirled? Oh, no, but maybe you could twirl for me later. Maybe. Alright, that’s Antonio Banderas and this is Journey Into The Land of Tomorrow.
Alright everybody, hey, it’s me; the DM. We gotta get caught up on…I think Grenada of Darmok, it’s your turn to recap and do the place-making for your party. Speaking of parties though, before we get started, and I had a…I didn’t…I had a pretty mellow weekend. I know we don’t…I guess I’m breaking character. I didn’t know if anybody else did anything this weekend. I mean, I had something. Anyway, Grenada of…I guess, yeah, why don’t you get started? Everybody’s just looking at me. Thank you, my…leader of the game. I’m Grenada of Darmok. I know you asked me what did we do this weekend; well, I was Grenada of Darmok. I stay…I’m known as a character in some parts of the realm and when I was sleeping last night as a character in the game, I was thinking well, if I had a weekend or I lived in a world where I worked…I don’t work five days a week because I am an entrepreneur, you would call it.
Some might say I’m nimble of finger and…but I am a member of a guild. I have a…believe it or not, people say it’s the Thieves Guild. They say all this stuff. I say well, I still have a paid membership. It is a trade and a professional association. Just because you don’t view it as a professional…doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been professionalized. But that is I, Grenada of Darmok. I work for Lord von Chill. You may…he may call me his sidekick or his assistant but I’m here to support his effort to lead this party or co-lead it, depending on how you define that. Lord von Chill hired me before this adventure. Lord von Chill, a fighter of great renown, from a family of great renown, with hair that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned before; could I say it’s stunning? Because it is.
Also because he wrote that down for me to say…is Lord von Chill, at Lord von Chill’s side and role of a leader but also at…who I would want to have at the head of our party is Zell, a fighter of…and a warrior from a much simpler background, though that’s not said with any passive-aggressive mentionings. It’s just that…as a contrast to Lord von Chill. Powerful, brave is Zell. Rounding out our party we have our healer, our nurse, our Florencian nurse Eleanor who was just reunited with her goddesses, the three Florences, or reconnected with them. But don’t say oh, just a nurse; Eleanor is also a critical component of…whether it’s battle at a distance or close up. Someone I’ve come to rely on and trust even though I haven’t got to know Eleanor particularly well, except for that birthday party.
Oh, sorry, that’s…if I was thinking of what we would do on the weekend, I’d say that our party maybe got together to blow off some steam. But we didn’t because we are currently resting. But first, I need to cap out…the person from our party we really know the least about, a character that is not quite an NPC because they are a member of our party, represented by the…a little bit confusing but our magic-user, Emwatta, an acolyte but powerful and reliable, though quiet and soft-spoken as well. Emwatta, and yes, as a group, we are a party of adventurers. We’re here in The Land of Tomorrow, a land in a former theme park that years and years ago, when the before-time became the next-time, it…this park closed and sat empty for years and years and years.
We’ve been tasked on coming here because of…from what we understand, there’s a source of powerful magic or a portal to another world of powerful magic somewhere hidden in this land. It is our task to find that portal and to close it, and right now we’re trying to find the components we need to close the portal. We are in the Happy Halls underneath The Land of Tomorrow, the utility corridors. We’re in the clinic sleeping, and our…we have the doors closed, we’ve healed and rested, we’re all at full power. Also, we went through what we stocked. I’m just looking at my notes here. We have two major kits or three major…oh, I don’t know, three major kits of med kits.
Three or four more basic ones, five first aid kits, and then one big time…so, we have those to carry us through when Eleanor can’t heal us or to supplement Eleanor’s healing. We also have one piece of the staff we’re supposed to assemble and we know we need the staff part of it. We have the gem and then the headpiece that will hold the gem. The gem is pointing…well, we don’t know where it’s pointing exactly ‘cause we’re underground. Technically, I guess according to the lore of the theme park, we’re on the first level. Above us we have a sealed-off from our end door that we’ve listened at, or maybe we haven’t and maybe I’ll do that now. Do we hear anything? You don’t. As a DM, yeah, you didn’t hear anything. Did you say that you…your characters had a party? Did you say that? No, no, no. We were resting.
I mean, we partied when we had that dance, but are you asking as Emwatta? Because Emwatta was resting. Emwatta, I guess…maybe if we did kind of party to celebrate Lord von Chill’s name day, it was…Emwatta slept through it. So we did, yeah, I guess we had a little party. But we didn’t want to wake Emwatta up. Oh, okay. Wait, so what did you do at the party? Well, I was gonna listen at the door. We played a game, we danced, we had some ale, and laughed a lot. A lot of laughter. Really bonded our characters together, so I guess…well, we just didn’t think…well, did you invite…did you invite Emwatta before…to the party? Well, I don’t know if the DM can ask those kind of questions. Okay, then I’m Emwatta. I’m wondering why you didn’t invite me to the party.
Well, it wasn’t kinda…it wasn’t planned out like that. It was more like spur of the moment after you were asleep kinda thing. Well, what if I wasn’t asleep? Did you ask me if I was awake? Indirectly; we said let’s not make too much noise and have too much fun and wake Emwatta up. But we should really listen at the door. But, I’m sorry. I guess, Emwatta, I’m sorry we didn’t wake you up and invite you. It’s just…here is the thing; we didn’t think you wanted to go. You’re very quiet and insular and we kinda didn’t…[00:30:00] when we planned it out, we just kind of thought…we didn’t plan it out. I mean, that’s what I meant. How come no one’s else’s…it’s your thing, Grenada; you take it. So, thanks, Zell. So, we just didn’t think to invite…wake you up because we didn’t think you would want to go anyway.
Then we were planning it and then we said…we didn’t…there was never a moment where we said don’t invite Watta; don’t wake Watta up. I mean, we said that and we did afterwards say well, I feel kinda bad Watta missed out on this party, so that’s why I’m saying I’m sorry. But we also said well, Watta probably didn’t want to go. Anyway, I don’t mean to be a stickler but I’m really…I’m fully…full health, so I really want to listen at this door. I’m rolling my dice. With my bonus, that’s sixteen. Okay. Moving on then, I guess. Sixteen; you don’t hear anything. Okay, party, this is Grenada of Darmok; I think that I should open this door and then we should kinda slowly proceed. What does everybody think? Yeah, that’s good, that’s good. Let’s proceed for sure. Okay, anybody? Okay, so I’m gonna open the door.
It has one of those air duct or whatever you call it, submarine-type wheels on it. Okay, you’re not strong enough…you didn’t roll. You’re not strong enough to open it. Okay. Could I have some help from the stronger characters? Sure, I’ll…Lord von Chill here; I’m happy to help you, Grenada of Darmok. Now, did we open the door? Moving…keeping moving forward with this adventure. Sure, we’ll just move right forward. You did open it and it opens up. Then above that is a hole cover which also will take some strength to lift up, probably Lord von Chill and Zell; I’ll just tell you since you want to move on so quickly. Okay, Zell, let’s get this open just a little bit. Maybe just a tiny crack at first, as quietly and as…can we do it…try to do it quietly? Okay, you successfully get it quietly open just a crack. Okay, so we listen at it.
Okay, you listen at it; you hear…wind is whipping through so you really can’t hear anything other than the wind. Like, a strong wind or it’s just the way the wind is going? Wind doesn’t feel super strong. It just happens to be how the wind is going. Okay. Can Zell and I open it enough so that Grenada of Darmok could just squeeze through to observe what’s going on above us? Can we see anything? You could see blue sky and the sides of some buildings but not much else. Okay, we’ll open it more, then. Okay, you open it enough for Grenada of Darmok to go through. Okay. It’s Grenada of Darmok; I’m gonna go through. First, I’m gonna scout with my head and see if there’s anything and then I’ll look out, but as…with as much stealth as I can possibly achieve. Okay. So, wow, okay.
Well, I didn’t think you’d roll that high, but…so, you easily use your stealth. You get your head out and your body out of the hole but I don’t know, somehow you really are stealthy so you look around. The first thing you notice is that you’re on the exact…not the exact opposite side of the park you were already on, or the land, but you know, there’s the main thoroughfare of The Land of Tomorrow and on what would be considered the…I can’t even…the left side of the park, the left side of the land if you were walking into it, that was where the encounter where you first started your adventure…but you’re about two…you’re at the end of the building that had other things in it from…so, you’re on that side of the…you know what I mean? DM, you’re really having trouble. But yeah, I get what you mean.
So, if I look across the main thoroughfare, I could see the buildings for Buzz Tomorrow and Steam…Journey Into Steam, the Steam Journey, or Steam…World…Wonders of Steam or whatever. Yeah. If you look to your right, that’s…you see those buildings. Okay, and then if I scan the rest of the land…well, if you look further to the right, you see the entrance to the park, or the entrance to the land that you came in, and beyond that you just see some overgrown brush and stuff. You can’t see much in that further past the bridge into the Journey of The Land of Tomorrow…into The Land of Tomorrow. You can’t really see, other…you see on your side is a boarded-up…the building is boarded up. It had windows.
You see a sign that says…describing the…it’s like a punny version of a store, Future Sundries or something. Then to your left you see a couple of kiosks, the Mountain of Space; that’s further along. I don’t know, the kiosks are kinda in your way, so you can’t…other than the Mountain of Space, seeing in that direction you can’t see anything. Then to your right is a big, open plaza and then further off behind that, you can see rising up what was known…gonna be known as Progress Tower which was a theme tower that was never completed. Okay. Anything else I’m seeing? You see kinda the infrastructure for the transit…the fake transit system they had there which was just more for entertainment and relaxation. Those tracks are…go above you and kinda through the land.
Then suddenly, before you see it, you feel the earth start to shake and you see then crossing the open plaza that you had looked at before, the steam…one of the steam giants but it looks even bigger than you remember it. It has a top hat and glowing steam eyes and it’s going and it’s definitely…it seems like it’s patrolling. Okay, well, I’m gonna go back down and hide, then. I observe for as long as safe and then hide. Alright, yeah. You just observe and it’s…just seems to be…you’re able to observe it without being seen and you see that it’s patrolling the plaza on a somewhat consistent back and forth basis. Oh boy, so I’ll tell…I tell everybody in my party about that. That’s not good. Where’s the gem, Watta? I have it. Okay, could I use it or could you go up and then keep an eye out for that steam giant?
But could you see where it’s pointing, ‘cause I didn’t…I don’t think we discussed that. Sure; you could go up there and use it to kinda…it’ll just light up more and more and glow like a heartbeat when it’s pointed in the right direction. Okay, so, I’ll do that with as much stealth as I can, first making sure that the distance…the steps of the steam giant are getting less instead of more. Okay, so you go up, you wait a little while while it feels like the steam giant’s walking away. You go up, you just see the steam giant’s head disappear as it goes off to the left behind some of the kiosks because of the…your viewing angle. Then you use the gem and it seems to be pointing…as it grows…its pulsating is at its highest and strongest point when it’s pointed towards the Progress Tower. Okay.
I’m gonna go down and…but I think we need to make a quick decision since we got this cover open. So, what does everybody think? Okay, I think we need to head to…this is Zell; I think we need to head to Progress Tower. Does anybody know anything about Progress Tower? What do we know as a party or do we have any materials about Progress Tower? So, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you DM, but can we see who has history? Let’s do a history roll and then if we have anything on us. Okay, you don’t really…you have the map, so the map shows [00:40:00] Coming Soon: Progress Tower. It was supposed to open…parts of it were supposed to open pretty soon, including a spinner attraction and a swing-based attraction, and then a hydrolator-type…like a fake elevator-type attraction. Okay.
Do we need to know anything more from history? Emwatta, can you roll for history? Yeah, I can. Okay, so yeah, what I know is that…so, Progress Tower is the combination of two visions of the future. The original creators behind the theme park had something called the Carousel of Progress which was open for a long time. They also had this vision for some sort of Progress City and they also had a need for more attractions in this land, and they also wanted to get this idea of hotels within the theme park. Some sort of ultra-modern version of the future that was more based on reality, and so what they decided to do was this thing called Progress…the Progress…they were just calling it Progress Tower.
So, what Progress Tower was gonna be was an actual tower that had a hotel within the theme park, or that had theme park access and theme park views. They had kinda put it…they have two other more modern…semi-modern buildings a little bit off a ways. They were called contemporary. So, they built it so it wouldn’t block the firework views for those two buildings but within the Progress Tower, not only was it gonna have the hotel but it was gonna have three attractions as well as a queue built into the tower. So, they were built on top of one another within the tower, alongside the hotel, not only for space but for drama. So, partially up the ways was a spinner ride. Like, the most famous one was the Elephant of Fun where you…for kids. You just sit in it and it goes in a circle.
They were gonna have two of those that ran independently just to service more people an hour on what would be the fourth or fifth floor of the hotel. Also, if you were checking into the hotel, you would just get access to these rides which was pretty cool. But so, that ride was there. It was just cool ‘cause it’s a lot of…it was gonna…it was; the hotel part was not completed. But so, that was there. Then a few flights above that was an outdoor swing ride and it was the largest outdoor swing ride ever constructed. First time something like this was built as a part of a tower around a central column. Like, the kind of swing ride you’d go on an old fashioned theme park, like the swings were on a chain and everything, but it just fit a lot more people and it had this way of going up so you could load one group of people.
I don’t know; this was in the process of getting completed. Then above that but also down the base of it was this elevator drop attraction that…that was to be opened. They were still…they didn’t reveal a lot of it but they had another elevator drop attraction and this was supposed to be way more fun. That was already fun, so people were like well, that’ll be interesting, I guess. Will it take away from the other attraction? No one knew because it hadn’t opened. But that went all the way up to the top, and then of course there was gonna be stuff at the top for the hotel. Okay. That’s a lot of information. Thanks, Watta. So, do we…okay, so we have to get over there but the steam giant’s searching or patrolling. This is Eleanor; what if we sneak…could we sneak up and get onto the transit thing? Those tracks?
Is there a way for us to get up there without being seen and use that as cover? ‘Cause I remember looking at that and saying well, that looks like some…I remember looking at it from the other side of something could be up there keeping an eye on us, because it has a roof. I mean, it’s open on the sides but it looks like it had a lip where we could…could we crawl along a track without being seen by the steam giant? I like that plan. I think we should try that. Okay. So, what is your plan exactly? Okay, I think this should be the plan ‘cause I’m nimble and quick; I think we should break up into two groups. Me by myself, I will go out, I will wait. It seems like…I’ll try…what I’ll try to do is observe the steam giant and then I’ll relay that to you. Then when I see the steam giant walking away, I’m gonna run.
I’m gonna use…I have a rope and a grappling hook. If I don’t see a ladder, I’m gonna try to climb up there and do it as quietly as I can and as fast as I can. Then I will give a symbol…a sign back to all of you because you…I’ll try to find a place where you could see me if I’m successful. If I’m not successful, I think this giant…steam giant is probably…we should probably play that by ear but maybe just keep going on the mission. I’ll try to run; I won’t try to engage the steam giant even if it sees me. But I also will run away from Progress Tower. You should proceed. Okay, that’ll be the back…if the steam giant sees me, I’ll create a distraction and all of you head to Progress Tower. I’ll try to get my way back there. Okay, that sounds like a good plan to me. You’re very brave, Grenada of Darmok. Okay, so can we do that, DM?
So, yeah, it seems like you’re really able to plan stuff out ahead of time sometimes as a group, but sometimes you just have spur of the moment stuff, huh? I don’t understand. Never mind. So, you observe the steam giant. The steam giant is moving in a regular patrol pattern, so when the steam giant starts to walk away, you’ve already estimated the time you have which is actually a decent amount of time. You run over to the nearest part which is just a…it’s not very far because it runs down the middle of the thoroughfare. You throw your grappling hook; you’re able to climb up. Wow, you really get good rolls, too. You climb up no problem. Also, you notice two stanchions down…actually, even further out of the way, maybe even totally out of view of the steam giant is a ladder, a service ladder.
It is not…doesn’t go all the way down, so you maybe need to use your grappling hook there for your team. Okay, so I’ll do that and I’ll sign to my team…the rest of my squad. I guess I can’t…so, I’ve signed to you where I am and how to get there. Okay, we’ll try to sneak down there. It sounds like we have even better chance…we’ll wait until the best time to go and then we’ll proceed. Okay, you proceed. Emwatta does stumble but the steam giant’s moving so slowly that you still manage to get there, climb up the rope, climb up the ladder, and now you’re pretty much hidden from the steam giant if you crawl.
From where you are, the transit separates to a left and a right track and the right track heads towards Progress Tower but into some kind of darkness a little bit, ‘cause…oh, you already know from the history that this transit used to kinda circle through and it would circle around the old Carousel of Progress, but now it was gonna have a view of the lobby and the spinner ride and also be a part of…another showpiece for the hotel, just something cool to look at, but it was gonna…it was a way to sell people on the hotel even though it was really expensive. Okay, so we’ll crawl towards the darkness as stealthily as we can, and head in that direction. As you proceed, you notice there’s something about the darkness that — I guess Emwatta would say it — there’s something about that darkness that [00:50:00] makes me want to roll the dice and…I don’t know, that darkness is magical.
I can tell you that from here. Oh, thank you Emwatta, for letting us know that. Can we just do a gem check of where in the Progress Tower the thing might be? Yeah, I’m checking the gem now and it is towards the top of the tower. Oh, great. I suppose we’ll have to go into the tower, I guess, to find our way to the top. So, it’s a magical darkness. Watta, do you have anything…another way to determine anything else? I can tell you that it’s a powerful spell and I sense something else but I’m not exactly sure. That’s more based on my intuition roll that there’s something there, right at the edge of the…right inside the darkness. It’s something that’s draw…my intuition’s not sure how to feel about it. It feels interested. Oh, okay. Interesting.
So, we have magical darkness, we have a steam giant patrolling, we have the gem telling us we need to go to the top of Progress Tower. Anyone have any ideas? Yeah, this is Zell; I think we should get closer. We should decide who’s best to investigate what Emwatta’s sensing on the edge of the magical darkness. So, who has the most charisma? I think that’s you, Zell. Why don’t you and Watta go? I’ll go with you since…the three of us go. What if we just all…? No, maybe I should go by myself. I’m seeing…my intuition can…is…that’s a good roll. Yeah, I’ll go by myself because…just in case, but stay close. Okay, so yeah, your intuition was right, Zell, to go by yourself. You get closer to the magical darkness.
You can’t see anything but you could definitely sense there’s something or someone there by your intuition, watching. Okay, so I say hey, I know you’re there watching us, wondering if we’re…what we’re doing here. We’re not…we’re…I’m just curious about…you seem to be shrouded in some sort of magical darkness. I don’t know why you’re putting the darkness that way. I don’t know if maybe you’re hiding from that steam giant but if you crouch down like us or you’re small like us, it can’t see you because of the angle of the roof…or the canopy of this. We’re really only here looking for something. Maybe you could help us or maybe we could help you. Okay, due to your charisma, you start to hear some sort of…kind of mechanical and, you know, noises that you’re already familiar with.
You see two characters crawl out of the darkness and they’re crawling like you instructed. They’re dressed; they’re both kind of…look like humans, human animatronics. They come towards you and they’re headed towards you in a slow, deliberate way, crawling to stay out of view of the steam giant. Okay, why doesn’t everybody move closer just in case? Hi, I’m Zell. I’m here; I’m looking for something that I think is on the roof of this tower. Do you live in this tower? Were you part of this tower? Yeah, hi. We’re aunt and uncle and yeah, we used to…you don’t…do you really want to go in there? Well, you might know something that I don’t, but I don’t know if I have a choice to go in there. I’m in a party…I’m with a party of adventurers.
Those are my friends behind me and yeah, we’re trying to go in there to find something that we think is on the roof or up top of the tower. Is there a way to get up there? Yeah, there’s a way to get up there but I don’t know…we got…we left because we didn’t…we were always the aunt and uncle. We were always a joke when it was…so, once upon a time, we used to be a part of a rotating theatre show. We were both part of the humor relief. As things changed and we went from passive to active, we stayed on those roles and as the mothers and fathers and the grandparents and the kids…they were more the stars of the show. They still kinda acted like we were punchlines, the two of us, so we left. Then they…this…I don’t know.
They started…we started…we would listen and they were always saying that someone was gonna come to take part of their…this magical rod or something. That’s what gave them the magic power. It’s our parents, to be honest with you. That’s when they put the darkness spell on, but the good thing about the darkness spell is that giant can’t see us. That giant started walking around. But we just live up here. Okay, could you tell us where the giant…where that magical rod is? Does that…Watta, does that sound like what we’re looking for? It could be. Where’s the magical rod? Well, the magical rod’s up on…the parents have it, the grandparents, my parents; they have it up on the roof. It’s a rod for when the sky makes lights at night during the rain. That’s when the rod has the most power.
Oh, so it’s a lightning rod. Okay. Could a lightning rod be a staff that we’re looking for, Zell? I think you wanted to ask me, Emwatta, but yeah, it could be. So, Emwatta here; I just had a question for the aunt and uncle. So, you were a part of a family unit, kinda like being a part of a group. But you weren’t respected by the other members of that group, it sounds like, that they didn’t really respect you. Exactly. Wow, that must have been tough. It was so tough. We had…we said we don’t…we’re not gonna live in this tower ‘cause they said we could live anywhere in the tower we want. The kids decided to live…the kids and the dogs decided to live together and the mothers and fathers decide…well, some of the dogs live with the mother and father and then the grandparents, they said we’ll keep this tower protected if you keep it clean.
But they always wanted to ask me if I was gonna go in the bathtub and stuff like that. So yeah, we didn’t like it anymore. Yeah, it was a family group that we felt like we were a part of. We never felt like we were a part of it. We always felt like outsiders. You know how that feels, Watta? I do know how it feels. You thought you were a part of the group but then you realized you were an outsider? Yeah, that’s…okay, can…sorry, this is Grenada here; it sounds like we’re getting…we need to focus our conversation on the present moment and not the past whether it’s recent or distant past. So, here’s the thing; we need to get to the top. Could you tell us how to get in there or what’s waiting for us? You know, if there’s some sort of quid pro quo, let me know.
This is Zell; I just want to say Grenada, you’re doing a really good job of leading the party today. Thank you, thank you, Zell. I appreciate that. But go ahead, uncle. Yeah, there is; so, we would make a deal with you. If you can get the ride back working…we’d love to ride the ride. I guess the steam giant might chase us but it…I don’t think the steam giant could catch us if we were riding…if you could get this ride going, that would give us something to do because we’re operational. Or if you could just clear out the Tower of Progress, because…of all the people that weren’t nice to us. Okay, well, it’s all darkness. [01:00:00] How would we find our way to get to the top of the tower? Have you been to the top of the tower? We have, before we left.
We were originally part of the queue and then we all…that was when we were passive, because they took the old theatre ride and made it part of the queue show, different generations of our family at different time periods in history. Then after you went through…that was for the whole queue as you split up and then you went in to split up into different rides ‘cause it was always a line. I don’t know, it was just a way to…anyway, ‘cause then people could go on all the rides if they wanted. But so, it was kind of like a pre-show type thing. Then the grandparents, they wanted…yeah, they found the rod of power or whatever. But so, yeah, recently they made this darkness but you could go in if you just stay against the wall on the left side.
Where we live, you go past where we were sitting around and if you keep going, eventually you’re gonna find a door and if you open that door, then you’ll go through a hall and there will be some stairs and then a door. Don’t go through the door but when you’re facing the door, go left…right and then you’ll go down another hall and then you’ll run into a set of double doors. Then you go through those double doors…oh wait, yeah, I guess I’m mixed up. I think you gotta go up three or four flights of stairs, not just one set of stairs. But yeah, once you go up the stairs, then there’s a door. Don’t go through the door at the top of the stairs. Go down the hall through that door. What would happen if we go through the doors at the…the door at the top of the stairs? I think it’s just…there’s…I don’t know, nothing.
There’s nothing there. But if you do that, if you go through the double doors, on the other side of the double doors is where all the kids are. That’s where that spinner ride is, and I’ll tell you that the kids are gonna be waiting for you to deal with you all. Okay, this is Grenada; I really need to get in some…this has been a…I know we’re getting close to our time as our adventure for the week’s gone. I feel like we’ve gotten sidetracked a little bit, so I think we should follow…I just want to trust my gut. Everybody, we should follow and we should just try to get up where those kids and…kids are. But they’re animatronic kids that are probably gonna be against us. Is that what you’re saying, uncle? That’s what I am saying. Is there anything else? So, is the ride functional or is there…?
Oh, yeah, so the magical darkness doesn’t extend out past…so, the spinners…the little ships you could go in, those are outside of the darkness of the ride. Okay, so they would…does anybody have any brainstorm? Okay, so if it’s what I’m picturing, maybe we could climb out onto the attraction. Do the kids…so it’s like, the sons and the daughters from the shows, do they have…if they were gonna try to stop us or get in our way, do they have anything that they could use at a distance? No, they don’t. If they get…if they give you a hug or something, you’d be…they would kiss and hug you, you know what I mean? But they don’t have anything, no.
Okay, so this is Zell; if we can get out on the attraction out of the magical darkness, then we could get them out there and we could just use our distance, and we would…does that sound doable? It sounds doable to me, Eleanor. What about DM? Okay, so you want to follow the path that this character’s led you…told you, then when you get…go through the double doors, try to get to the outside…to outside of the magical darkness, then use your distance to advantage against the…if these kids from the ride, the animatronic…fake child-age animatronics are gonna come for…come try to hug and kiss you with an agenda. Yeah, yeah. Okay, okay, let me see.
So, you go through the darkness, you’re going through the magical darkness but it’s…you proceed just like the character has said, proceed out, go through the double doors. Oh wait, wait, before we go through the double doors, should we come up with a distraction? Zell, is there any way…or Watta, is there any way to find the edge of the magical darkness and head in the right direction or should we distract them? Are they…can we pause at the doors and then come up with a plan? Okay, so yeah, we’ll…we…this is Emwatta; we pause at the doors. I don’t know what spell I could…maybe detect magic and then I…would…I guess that kinda…since I’m the DM, this is kind of a tough…okay, I’m gonna use detect magic and yeah, I can tell that when we open the doors, it’s about three hundred feet off to the right that we need to get to.
Okay. This is Grenada; but can we listen in in the room? Yeah, you hear teenage voices and middle-school-age voices, kids arguing and playing games. Okay. This is Grenada; I have an idea. So, it’s to the right three hundred yards. I’m really good at keeping my sense of place. This was an idea we already floated. We go into the room as quietly as we can. All of you head to the right, out of the magical darkness. I will play a game called Hello Find Me which is a game we used to play in Darmok. Very fun game. We would play it in the water particularly, and everyone would close their eyes except for the Hello Find Me person. I don’t know if these characters can see in the magical darkness but the uncle and the aunt could not…maybe; I think we forgot to ask them.
But so, let’s assume the kids can’t see in the magical darkness which makes…doesn’t make any sense but maybe it makes sense. I’ll try to create a distraction ‘til you can get out of the magical darkness, then as soon as you do that, all of you start saying Hello Find Me. That’s when I’ll know to go silent and try to get to you as stealthily as I can. Now, if the kids in the…they…if they can see, then I’ll just need…well then, we gotta get them out, otherwise we won’t be able to see them unless Watta could counter the spell somehow. Yeah, I can’t counter the spell. It’s a powerful one. Okay, so that sounds…does that sound like a plan? It does sound like a plan. This is Zell; can I just say…so, we will all go into action but Watta, can you use that thunderwave, too? Yeah, I can use that.
Listen, Watta, I’m sorry we didn’t wake you up. We just didn’t really…we really didn’t think you wanted to go to the…we really just didn’t…we didn’t un-invite you to the party. We just didn’t think you had any interest at all in going, so then we didn’t factor it in, so I’m sorry we didn’t wake you up for the party we had in the clinic. That’s fine. Okay, let’s do our plan though, because it’s…we almost have to…everybody’s gotta go home in a little while. Okay, so you head in…you head through the doors. The doors do creak as you open them and you hear the kids and the things hear that, and they have…just so you know, they have excellent hearing. So then, everyone rushes off to the right to try to get out of the magical darkness as Darmok says Hello Find Me very loud…very loud, I say it, to cover the tracks.
So, Darmok…okay, and then I’m just gonna roll for initiative for everybody. It’s the Janies and the Jayces, so there is Janie…there’s three of each. They all have two things, like the uncle said; a hug and a kiss. [01:10:00] So, the overall initiative for this whole thing is gonna be Janie, Janie, Jayce…so Janie 1, Janie 2, Jayce 1, Grenada, Watta, Zell, Janie 3, Jayce 2, Jayce 3, Eleanor, and LVC. That kinda happens as everybody’s running. Janie 1 and 2 do manage to hug you, Grenada. Jayce…oh no, Jayce does not manage to kiss you. Is that right? Yeah. So, you manage to get out of their embraces but it comes at a cost of eight and seven. Okay, well, on my turn…then I’m next in the initiative. I’d go back against…and we’ll just do them in order, everybody, even though we didn’t establish that.
I’ll go after Janie 1 even though it’s…can’t see. Okay, you successfully do that. Eight plus…is that right? Oh, no, I’m gonna use my second. Right. Can I use a sneak during that? You can. Yeah, so eight plus five, plus five more…or no, so yeah, you do that successfully. Okay, and then I’m gonna…how…have they gotten to the…? Yeah, now they’re saying hey, come and find me. Also, Watta’s about to do thunderwave, so you probably want to…okay, so I’ll run to the right as far as I can. Okay, then Watta does thunder and let’s see, it goes…what do we got? Janie 1; eight. Janie 2; eight. Jayce; eight. Four, four, four. Okay, so half eight, half four. Great. Then Zell, you’re…wow, Zell rolled a twenty. Also, Grenada…between the thunderwave and Grenada, Janie 1 is gone. Then Zell rolled a twenty, so…with a longbow.
That’s…Janie 2 is now gone. Now, Janie 3 does manage, actually…like, so you all climbed up on the things but they’re already out of the dark, so you’re on these spinner rockets, plastic rockets, but they’re not that low. They’re low enough that you have a slight advantage but not that much of an advantage, so Janie 1 actually gets in a swingy-poo on Zell; eighteen. Let’s see, Jamie…or Jayce 2 and 3, they don’t manage to do anything. Eleanor; two. LVC, you get a nineteen and that’s enough with your jav to take out James 1. Okay, then we got…so, next up first round is Grenada. What are you doing, Grenada? Okay, I’m gonna get into wherever…whoever’s going after Zell. Oh no, they’re gone, huh? James…Jayce 2, I guess; is that who’s up next? Or what about Jane 3? Okay, which one?
Whoever’s James…Jayce…Janie 3, because that’s who’s next on the list. Okay, so you successfully…seventeen, so you successfully…that’s it for Janie 3. So, what do we have left? Two of the Jayces, right? Yeah. Okay, I’m gonna do another thunderwave just because this is already…okay, successful. Then Zell, you go and who are you going after? Whoever’s next, one of the two Jayce…Jayce 2. Okay, you successfully take out Jayce 2. Jayce 2 does not manage…and Jayce 3 do not manage to get anything in. Eleanor; four. Lord von Chill; 1. Okay, next round. Grenada; five. Watta, are you gonna do another spell? No. I’ll do just…oh, I don’t have any…could I lean in and…can I jump down and help Grenada? Okay, you can. Okay, you successfully…I lost track of my own notes but Jayce 3 is all that’s left. Is that right?
Okay, Jayce 2 is…or Jayce 3’s in a bit of trouble but does manage to get another thing in on Grenada. So, Grenada’s really low. Then Eleanor; twenty, so that’s it. Eleanor…so, you’re fine. Everything’s fine except…let me see, so all of them are taken out and Watta used three…oh, yeah, so three spells. Grenada’s down to four and Zell, you’re down five. Okay, this is Eleanor; I’m gonna use one of the…what are those? The second tier, ‘cause that’ll…what are you missing? I’m gonna use one of the major health kits on Grenada ‘cause that’s forty-four, so that should put you right back where you were, right? Yeah, so that’s almost at full health; that restores forty-four…eight plus four; twelve hit points, yeah. Then let me use a first aid kit on Zell. That’s just four plus one, right? So, three. Is that right? But can I roll?
Oh yeah, go ahead. Oh, you did get a four, so five for…so, Zell’s back. Yeah, so you’ve cleared out the kids. You’re in…out of the magical darkness though to proceed you would have to figure out where you’re proceeding, but I guess we do have to break. I do have to…so, let’s all…why don’t you all just rest in your little rockets? Well, you can’t have a full rest. You could have a short rest and we’ll reunite together again soon. Goodnight.
[END OF RECORDING]
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- The Meteors (Band)
- Back to the Future
Notable Talking Points:
- Is Oscar the Grouch a Hermit Crab?
- Why Wasn't Em Watta Invited to the Party?
- The Darkness is Magical
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Hi, you can call me Scooter.
Drew Ackerman is the creator and host of Sleep With Me, the one-of-a-kind bedtime story podcast featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Buzzfeed, Mental Floss, and Dr. Oz. Created in 2013, Sleep With Me combines the pain of insomnia with the relief of laughing and turns it into a unique storytelling podcast. Through Sleep With Me, Drew has dedicated himself to help those who feel alone in the deep dark night and just need someone to tell them a bedtime story.