Episode Twenty

"4-Sided Dive: Episode Twenty"
4-Sided Dive episode
Thumbnail from "4-Sided Dive: Episode Twenty" (4SDx20).[art 1]
Episode no.Episode 20
AirdateJanuary 16, 2024 19:00 PT
Running time2:31:38
Starring
Special guest
Abubakar Salim
Links and related articles
Episode chronology
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"4-Sided Dive: Shard Candy" (4SDx19)
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"4-Sided Dive: Feat Fetishes" (4SDx21)
List of 4-Sided Dive episodes

"4-Sided Dive: Episode Twenty" (4SDx20) is the 20th episode of 4-Sided Dive, discussing up to "Rush for the Bloody Bridge" (3x82) with Laura Bailey, Ashley Johnson, Marisha Ray, and Sam Riegel with host Abubakar Salim.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Cold open[edit | edit source]

Sam opens the episode with the explanation that he was supposed to be the Tavern Keeper, but because the show no longer has any bits (which he relies heavily on), he hands the role over to an "actual host" who "doesn't rely on cheesy gags." Abubakar enters the set to music and applause, and describes the plan for the episode with "live" audience reactions throughout. No game in the C block, just more conversation - new year, new rules!

Instead of the picture frames in the intro holding pictures or clips of the cast members, all frames except for the host frame contain art of characters and locations in Exandria.

What the fuck is up with that?[edit | edit source]

Fey Realm therapy: Sam texted Matt a lot while they were planning the trials. Sam had the idea to have three trials and pitched the topics for each trial (honesty, communication, and trust) as what FCG would want the group to focus on. He then offered two possible activities for each trial, and Matt took it from there so that he wouldn't know too much about what to expect. Laura reads a selection of Sam's brainstorming texts to Matt for the team-building scavenger hunt:[1]

  • Communication - "We could even shut the lights off at the studio." (So the players have to communicate just with their voices)
  • Trust - "Some sort of challenge where the items we need to find are very valuable and the players are tempted to keep them for themselves. Or something where has to dive down into a deep poisonous bog to retrieve an item which they have to hold with two hands, knowing they cannot get back up again by themselves. So they have to trust that their teammates can rescue them or pull them out before they suffocate."
  • Honesty - "Could be a Zone of Truth thing. You can't move to the next challenge until you reveal something about yourself."

Sam says that the honesty trial revealed a lot more than he expected, such as the existence of Chetney's entire family. On a Chetney tangent, Sam says that he really wants to dive deeper into why Chetney seemingly has no interest in reconnecting with his family. Laura feels that Chetney is the heart of the group because he's always checking in on everyone, and Marisha adds that sometimes Laudna will go to him for advice even when it doesn't make the most sense because she as a player wants to hear from Travis.

Back on the topic of revealed truths, Marisha brings up Imogen's disgust at the idea that Delilah is always watching her and Laudna from her place in Laudna's mind. Nobody really knows if she's watching all the time or how much she's able to perceive, though Marisha suggests she could be stuck in Laudna's senses and unable to shut anything out (comparing the situation to a moment from a Black Mirror episode). Marisha also is unsure how many of the impulses that Laudna has to occasionally resist come from Delilah's influence and how many are from Laudna herself, though Delilah hasn't come so far as fully taking over yet.

The shard of Rau'shan feat. Fearne: Ashley and Taliesin both misunderstood the assignment. Ashley says that Matt's description of the shard as a "spark" led her to believe that it was meant to set off a change, which led to her feeling that it was meant for Ashton in order to further his elemental transformation. Other contributing factors to why she felt that the shard shouldn't go to Fearne included the fact that the story arc was more focused on Ashton and also that she wasn't sure if Fearne really needed more fire abilities.

Sam asks if the team-building exercises helped at all with Fearne's anger at Ashton, and Ashley says they did. Most of the anger wasn't even directed at him specifically but at the severity of the situation, as well as the embarrassment of having made such a costly mistake and not knowing what to do in the aftermath. There will probably be a conversation about it sometime.

Marisha describes the failed absorption as a "cautionary tale for isolated groups,"[2] saying that the first red flag for the rest of the group was when Ashton said they would make the attempt separate from the party (indicating that they had some awareness that it was a bad enough idea that the others would prevent them from doing it). The topic of Fearne and Ashton's isolation at the ziggurat during the start of the absorption leads to a discussion about the difficulties of alone time in games like this. Sam says that it's very easy for the fellow players to decide to have their characters check on a separated character who's in trouble, even though sometimes the separated character's player really wants to have that solo moment. Ashley adds on that she was wondering at the time if this was something Taliesin wanted for Ashton, which made her more hesitant to stop it. Laura contrasts the separation at the ziggurat with the solo moments at Isharnai's hut in Campaign 2, where the players really wanted to jump in to help each other but did not because it was important for those moments to stay solo.

Laudna and Delilah: Nobody really knows if there have been repercussions yet from Laudna finding comfort in Delilah after the failed absorption. Laura says Imogen knows something was off with Laudna when the group found her, but there hasn't been an in-game conversation about it. Marisha says that, similar to Imogen having to actively block out other people's thoughts, Laudna has to put conscious effort into repressing Delilah's influence, and Sam mentions that at this point in the story there are a lot of character stressors building up. Laura suggests that maybe there could be a moment in the final fight where the characters could completely let loose and use the dangerous aspects they repress to their advantage.

Character stressors & bad impulses: Sam explains that the things FCG does to help the party can cause their stress levels to increase, taking on other peoples' pain until it reaches a breaking point. Abubakar feels that the idea of players having to roll against themselves as well as against the environment is very interesting and accurate to reality, and Laura says that it feels like everyone created characters who work against themselves. Sam brings up that characters in previous campaigns have been flawed, but most of the current characters are actively compelled to do things that are harmful to themselves or others.

Sam uses Fearne's habit of stealing as an example, and Ashley says that she's more hesitant to lean into that now out of worry that it will be another day-ruining decision. She feels like this might be growth for the character, but Sam disagrees - he feels that true growth wouldn't be Fearne repressing her urges (though this shows an increased level of maturity for her), but being able to do the things she wants and needs while being honest and owning up to her mistakes.

Nana and her deals:

The race to Ruidus:

The Spreadsheet of Inquiry: Round 1[edit | edit source]

Because this show has no more bits at all, the Tower of Inquiry is now the Spreadsheet of Inquiry. Questions are read by Dani Carr from a Google Sheets document instead of being pulled from the usual tumbling tower.

Ruvi: As an actor, what part of your character is the juiciest to dig into? Was it something you added intentionally, or did it arise organically in play? Additionally: How do you collaborate to facilitate those situations while in game?1:01:31

  • Sam: Feels that you have to come in with some stuff, otherwise you'll be floundering, but the juicy bits you have at the start don't (or at least shouldn't) last long; they're not as good as what develops organically over time.
  • Marisha: Enjoys not just relationships, but also exploring tension within those relationships.
    • Sam and Ashley also enjoy having conflict in the game to contrast with their discomfort with it in real life.
    • Laura is the opposite - hates conflict and fighting in both real life and in the game.
  • Abubakar: Prepares just enough to get a character started, and prefers to discover things about the character in the moment as time goes on. Also feels that it really helps to play with a group who will go along with organic character development and support that.

Luke.Calhoun on Instagram: Throughout the campaigns, there are various plots and subplots that player characters and non-player characters choose to become a part of, what are the determining factors for you when deciding whether or not to pursue any of these threads?1:07:11

The Deep Dive[edit | edit source]

Ashley: How does Fearne feel about Chetney taking a deal with Nana? How would she feel if she knew Orym had taken a deal as well?1:16:35

She hasn't really seen the consequences of deals going wrong, so she thinks it's fantastic! From her point of view, someone making a deal with Morri means that the person likes her Nana as much as she does.

Laura and Marisha: How are Laudna and Imogen feeling about the state of their relationship right now? Delilah is once more part of the equation and Imogen is more drawn to Ruidus than ever.1:18:36

Marisha is very excited, especially since previous in-game relationships have all been very positive. Sam has concerns about how such a relationship dynamic (one person being able to hear the other's thoughts all the time) would ever be able to work out.

Sam: How is FCG feeling about the Changebringer after the conversation in Whitestone? He seems to trust her less now.1:20:36

He definitely trusts her less, but despite acting cagey she hasn't actually done the party wrong or led them astray. Also, it's not exactly a great time to look around for other options.

Marisha: Despite Laudna's own nerves about their chances on Ruidus, she was the one encouraging the others about the moon and encouraged Fearne to take the shard. Is this Laudna's resilient optimism coming to the forefront again?1:23:46

It's a mix of optimism, chaos, and a bit of the hunger for power she has in the back of her mind.

Ashley: What was it like for Fearne to go off on her own in the woods of Whitestone? Did she consider leaving Bells Hells or did she just need some space?1:25:11

Fearne is uncomfortable with showing emotions, so she just needed some space. She didn't know how to handle all the tension, so she left to cool off and came back trying to pretend that everything was fine. This also comes back to her childhood with Nana, where all her companions were weird little creatures that would come along whenever she was lonely instead of peers she could talk to on equal footing.

Sam: With the successful group bonding, does FCG feel like they are getting better at therapy? How does he feel about having his memory taken by Nana Morri?1:31:54

The therapy session spanning two episodes was by far the best therapy FCG has been a part of. The main issue is that because of the memory wipe, he doesn't know how much was form his input and how much was Morri; he hopes at least half of it came from him.

Marisha: Did Laudna consider reaching for Pâté for comfort when she was in Delilah's grasp? How does she feel about her familiar now that he can actually talk to her?1:36:10

Laudna had Delilah around for much longer than Pâté, and Pâté isn't as much of a conversationalist. He's effectively an extension of Laudna's own subconsciousness, so talking to him is like talking to herself whereas talking to Delilah is like talking to an actual other person.

Laura: What was it like for Imogen to trust her friends as they guided her during Nana's test?1:37:57

It was great.

Laura: How does Imogen feel impersonating her mother or leaning into being Liliana Temult's daughter at the Key?1:38:20

She's very nervous about it. She doesn't even really know her mother at all, and the only memories she has of Liliana are occasional vague images of looking up at her as a child. She feels very conflicted about who Liliana actually is because she spent her childhood seeing her mother's voice in her dreams as a comfort and protection, then discovering more about her brought up questions of whether she was a bad guy or maybe even a double agent secret good guy, and then in the big battle at the Key she didn't do anything at all to help the party's cause. After all that, Imogen has come to terms with the idea that her mother is actually a villain, and then when she goes to commune with Predathos she hears her mother warning her not to do it. Maybe there's a subconscious part of Liliana that still understands the danger Predathos poses to the people who embrace it, so what does that mean for her now that Imogen has fully embraced her power?

The Spreadsheet of Inquiry: Round 2[edit | edit source]

Evelyne G.: If given the opportunity, do you think your character would rather meet their past or future selves? And why?1:42:22

  • Sam: Past, to find out who they were and if they can more than what they were built for or if they should just embrace their purpose.
  • Ashley: Either one, maybe future. She knows her past, but also the future scares her.
  • Marisha: Past, to meet an unburdened younger Matilda.
  • Laura: Future, to know if she goes bad or not.

friendly.local.hag: What is the most fascinating aspect of Exandria's world-building to you? (e.g. myths, legends, geography, fauna/flora, culture, etc.)1:45:23

  • Sam: The complexity of how everything fits together. The flora and fauna is related to the history, which is related to the gods, which is related to wars, which is related to past campaigns, which is related to the Calamity, which is why a flower is named after a god that the group hasn't heard of yet but will probably learn about in three years.
  • Marisha: The way time moves in the campaign and doesn't stand still if the characters wait around too long, and also how everyone in the world feels like a whole person with depth beyond being just an NPC the party may run into once.
  • Ashely: Expanding on what Marisha said, being able to feel the history of places the party visits - the Barbed Fields and their spires are a point of particular interest.

More Tankard Questions[edit | edit source]

Because there are no more bits on this show (absolutely none), they will be answering the rest of the questions in a typical Deep Dive conversation format.

Abubakar: What accessory would your character secretly have?2:03:43

  • Ashley: Fearne has several long braids that she has cut from people's hair. Also teeth.
    • This prompts a long diversion into talking about teeth and tooth-fairy traditions among the cast.
  • Sam: A dildo. There were plans early in the campaign to have him enjoy different types of motor oil, but that was dropped and replaced with eating coins. He also has a lot of baking equipment and sourdough starter.
  • Laura: Her scarf.
  • Marisha: Bones and scissors.

Outro[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The drink special on the chalkboard during the Twitch countdown was whiskey. Just plain whiskey.
  • This episode does not have a secret word, in keeping with the "no bits" theme. The paper Dani held up with the secret word during the countdown claimed that it was "farts" before it was destroyed by a producer.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Episode Twenty" (4SDx20) at 5:09.
  2. "Episode Twenty" (4SDx20) at 18:32.

Art:

  1. Thumbnail from "4-Sided Dive: Episode Twenty" (4SDx20). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.