Shard Candy

"4-Sided Dive: Shard Candy"
4-Sided Dive episode
Thumbnail from "4-Sided Dive: Shard Candy" (4SDx19).[art 1]
Episode no.Episode 19
AirdateDecember 5, 2023 19:00 PT
Running time2:38:16
Links and related articles
Episode chronology
"4-Sided Dive: Anxiety Game Gauntlet" (4SDx18)
"4-Sided Dive: Episode Twenty" (4SDx20)
List of 4-Sided Dive episodes

"4-Sided Dive: Shard Candy" (4SDx19) is the 19th episode of 4-Sided Dive, discussing up to "Fractures" (3x78) and "The Mighty Nein Reunion: Echoes of the Solstice" (OSx54) with Taliesin Jaffe, Matthew Mercer, Marisha Ray, and Travis Willingham. Matt was the host, and the guests played a modified version of Candyland.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Cold open[edit | edit source]

In the spirit of giving, Matt will get to interview the players as the DM instead of them asking him for answers. Scrooge Matt appears in the middle of the opening monologue to heckle Regular Matt over all the holiday nonsense.

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

On the spark of Rau'shan: How did that go, and how did they get there in the first place? Taliesin likens the thought process to being in an escape room and trying to free a puzzle that you think is stuck, but you end up breaking it by doing so. Both he and Ashley were on the same page where everything made perfect sense until it suddenly didn't. Travis asks what the point was where they realized that things were going wrong; Taliesin said the moment he realized he would be making a total of ten rolls.

The conversation between Ashton and Fearne and the attraction between the two comes up, and Taliesin says that the moment someone like Ashton finds a "gremlin partner" is the moment that "everything goes really horribly wrong."[1] In addition to the gremlin energy, he says there was a lot of hubris involved as well, which led to interesting parallels between Ashton and their parents.

Matt says that the experience was interesting for him as a GM because when planning, he has to try and consider what seven different characters might do in response to the things he sets up, and he did not anticipate that a character would take all the warnings as a challenge. In Ashton's defense, he believed that the thing that everyone told him not to put inside himself would be the thing that would fix him. Marisha points out that all Ashton really needed to do was to awaken the dormant shard of Ka'Mort within them, but their self-loathing stretched the logic to needing to unite the shards within their body. Taliesin agrees with this point, saying that Ashton saw this as an opportunity to see how much was taken from them and become strong enough to enact revenge on the people who wronged him, which was followed in the aftermath by the realization that they might not have been robbed in the way they thought and might actually have been spared a worse fate.

The conversation turns to Matt's reactions as the absorption process went on, especially the nonverbal communication happening with his facial expressions. Matt says he had forgotten about the Ring of Temporal Salvation and was worried about potentially killing another of Taliesin's characters, and Marisha mentions how both she and Travis were at a loss for what to do since neither Laudna nor Chetney had any abilities that could have helped. Taliesin says that he actually had a backup character prepared, pointing out, "You have a kitchen fire, you buy a fire extinguisher."[2]

On navigating inter-party conflict: Travis says that, first things first, players should draw a line between their character and themselves to set expectations for other players. There are decisions that Travis' characters make just to reveal things Matt has prepared for the players, or they do something, because Travis thinks it's a great narrative choice, but the choice has negative consequences affecting his character/other player characters. Matt adds that the players should ensure that there is still trust and comfort between players in the direction of the in-game inner party conflict. Even playing together for a decade, the cast continues to check with each other when pushing boundaries.

When experiencing Taliesin's decision in "Fractures" (3x78), Travis at first was slightly angry, but then, seeing the whole picture and setting all the biases aside, it became "juiciest thing ever". Others express that they experienced something similar during that episode.

Taliesin says he gave Ashton a trait that tormented him for decades and he was glad to let it go. The "Fractures" (3x78) was therapeutic for him.

On the Mighty Nein live show: Travis says it was extremely loud and nervous to look in the direction of the crowd of 10 thousands of people, and kep his focus on the cast. For Matt, the stage lights for so bright that he saw a black void instead of the crowd. When the crowd laughed, Matt says, it translated into a terrifying cackle. Travis feared there would be a disconnect with this large of a crowd, but it wasn't. The crowd was remarkably silent during an emotional Caleb moment.

Daniel Sloss' character beat the record for the shortest guest appearance, beating Spurt. Matt expected him to die fast, since the one-shot was ran for 20th level characters, but thought the death would be more dramatic than a disintegrate trap.

Just when they should've wrapped up the show (in 11:00 PM), Fjord proposed to Jester. Travis decided to do it, after Laura asked him before the show, if Fjord and Jester were married.

Planning the one-shot, Matt wanted it to be related to the Might Nein narrative (Trent Ikithon) and tie it into the third campaign (apogee solstice), but since it was set before the current events of the third campaign, the events of the one-shot couldn't affect the campaign narrative too heavily. Matt describes Trent Ikithon#Behind the Scenes for his one-shot's encounter with the Mighty Nein. The got an unexpected turn, which worried Matt, becaue they had to finish the show by 11:00 PD, and made had to figure out ways to keep the pace going. Nevertheless, they delayed a little bit and had to pay a fine.

They liked how the Mighty Nein worked together at 20th level. Marisha says the cast had two or three test battle at 20th level to prepare for the one-shot.

The Tower of Inquiry: Secret Word[edit | edit source]

Kewky C.: There have been a lot of callbacks and connections this campaign for both the players and the characters, from past PC cameos to guests choosing to come on as characters with surprising connections to the current PCs. Has there been a specific guest or cameo that stuck out to each player? — pulled by Travis, 42:29

The cast like the connection that grew between Percy and Ashton. At the latest episode, Vex'ahlia was in Emon attending to the council's matters. Marisha hopes they run into the other Might Nein members. Matt sees Keyleth's mother Vilya as an Ashari diplomat who assists and represents her daughter and the Ashari people.

What the fuck is up with that?: Matt interviews the players[edit | edit source]

Matt gets to ask everyone else questions and doesn't have to answer any himself.[3]

  • How y'all doing?
  • What's surprised you the most so far in the campaign? The appearance of Ludinus Da'leth. Learning about Ludinus' master plan of luring Vax'ildan to the Tishtan site and turning him into a power source for the Malleus Key. Taliesin was impressed when Matt pulled out a secret room in Castle Whitestone Taliesin didn't know about.
  • What do you still want to explore in Exandria and why? More Shattered Teeth and other parts of Issylra. Ocean depth and underwater nations. Other Aeorian sites marked on the map. Crater and a circle of statues on the Eiselcross.
  • If you were the DM when Otohan Thull had cornered the party, what would you have done? Taliesin doesn't backseat DM. Travis would've taken one of the their heads to prove a point. They wait when Bells Hells will fight as efficiently as the Mighty Nein.

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

Savannah: If your character was on Rumblecusp pre-Mighty Nein, what would they sacrifice to Vokodo? — Taliesin, 1:03:37

McRaeWrites: As an artist, what fulfills you the most creatively? What sorts of stories, plots, or big choices are you passionate about? — Travis, 1:06:52

  • Matt: Making big, dramatic choices as opposed to playing it safe. Also good occult horror stories, and things that break the expected format for the media being written.
  • Taliesin: Asking questions that don't have answers, not knowing what the answers will be and figuring them out, and stories about things outside his areas of knowledge.
  • Marisha: Seeing the final product after the work and chaos of production.
  • Travis: "Goosebump" moments - the moments of emotionally satisfying payoff after being invested in something for a long time.

Portfan: What if anything do you have at the table from a previous campaign? Is it a superstitious item or a sentimental one? — Marisha, 1:12:56

  • Marisha: Her "don't-fuck-me-Gil" dice
  • Travis: The one metal d20 from the Grog live show
  • Matt: The underwater mine dice he uses for special rolls and a few dice from his very first set
  • Taliesin: A pen made from bullet casings that Travis and Laura had gotten him for Christmas

The Deep Dive[edit | edit source]

Matt: You've introduced two other characters who have their eyes on Fate (Nana and Evontra'vir) - how do the two of them differ from each other and from the Matron? What do all three think of each other?1:15:44

Many powerful creatures have fate related abilities, since the possession of such powers can be game changing even in small amounts. The Matron and Evontra'vir are aware of each other, and there is a possibility that Evontra'vir encountered the Matron before her accession to godhood. Matt explains the scale of their abilities to manipulate the fate using a threads of fate analogy: the Matron is the main weaver of the threads who oversees and alters the skein of fate in its entirety; Evontra'vir grows in the middle of the weave — unable to intervene into the weave directly, but having a good observation point above all the skein; Morri is a fate "voyeurist", occasionally watching individual strings of fate and, when nobody looking, pulls on them. All of them don't have a common ground.

Taliesin: Ashton got some advice from Percy about making amends after mistakes. Did you expect to talk to Percy? What was it like getting advice from your own character?1:19:20

Taliesin expected to be lectured by Vex, but the encounter with Percy was unexpected. Before the start of "Fractures" (3x78), he felt that Vex would have been more disturbed by Ashton's actions than Percy.

Travis: Chetney knows what it is to lose control and endanger others. Does he truly believe that he can control himself at all times, despite having fought Orym and Fearne in the past and bitten F.R.I.D.A. recently?1:21:21

Chetney still does not know how to be consistently in control of himself. He wasn't expecting the absorption to go bad. Travis says Chetney and Ashton share the same level of blind curiosity and disregard for consequences. However, Chetney still figuring out, if Ashton would own his mistake, when his curiosity would bring harm or run from them. That's why Chetney highlighted that Ashton was there the next morning and didn't run away.[4]

Marisha: Laudna has seemingly reverted to who she was just after waking up, even calling herself Matilda. What can you tell us about her mindset right now? Are you worried about how this might affect her relationship with Imogen?1:24:11

Marisha says that Laudna doesn't have a high emotional intelligence to have instruments to deal with the trauma of the past events. She has arrested development, wandering aimlessly and alone for decades. The past two or three years she was with Imogen, slowly integrating into society. The fact that at that time Delilah gathered her strength and returned to her prime didn't help Laudna. Laudna returned to her child-like state.

Matt: Did Pike lie when she said that she couldn't feel anyone else but Laudna after her resurrection?[5] Or was Delilah so diminished that Pike truly couldn't feel her?1:26:57

Pike couldn't sense Delilah, because the spirit of Delilah was so diminished and her aura was so faint that Pike couldn't find a difference between the two.

Taliesin: Did you/Ashton have any inkling that Fearne had a crush on Ashton before she revealed those feelings to Chetney? What went through your mind when you heard that?1:28:03

Ashotn didn't believe could have a crush on them. Ashton thinks that it is impossible to feel affection for the, since Ashton themselves cannot find anything lovable about their character traits. "Love is adorable or ignorance".

Travis: Chetney was very gentle with Fearne, trying to make sure she was okay. What was going through your mind while comforting her, and what would Chet have done if she hadn't been amenable to his words?1:29:40

Luckily, Chetney took away the harness in case his reassurances weren't convincing enough, and Fearne decided to run off with the harness and did something reckless.

Marisha: How did Laudna feel meeting Gwendolyn de Rolo? What was going through your mind throughout that interaction?1:31:02

Marisha thought that a spooky girl of Whitestone (Gwendolyn) would like another spooky girl of Whitestone (Laudna), but instead Gwendolyn was intimidated by Laudna. It did upset Laudna. Since the start of the campaign she wanted to be nice to children, because she loves them, which greatly enhanced the devastation from Gwendolyn's reaction, confirming for Laudna that she not only appears as a monster, but she is a monster, because of Delilah.

Matt: What is it like having Nana and Allura meet? They both know of each other what has Nana heard about Allura?1:33:18

As a part of her position in the Arcana Pansophical, Allura researches the folklore and arcana of the world. Matt assumes she probably read about Morri in books while studying in the Alabaster Lyceum or heard spooky tales about her. But didn't think about her deeply. Morri most likely didn't know Allura beforehand, but she has an ability to take a glance at a person and suddenly read a part of their history. It was the first time the cast saw Allura shaken a little bit.

Taliesin: Ashton told Laudna that he has never had a doll before. How do they feel having received such a personal gift from Laudna? What does he think about her suggestion to embrace his inner child?1:35:40

Taliesin assumes toys were rare in the Greymoore orphanage, since it's a liability and a target on the back of the toy's owner. Ashton didn't own any. They also don't have an inner child in them.

Travis: It's been some time since Chetney trained with the Gorgynei. What exactly was the boon that you received from that experience? Did anything change for him mechanically?1:36:51

While in the werewolf form and has a certain amount of hit points, Chetney can choose to enter a blood frenzy rage, but it is dangerous to his allies. When misses on an attack in this state Chetney has advantage on the next attack. Travis hasn't yet found the right time for it.

Marisha: Why does betrayal hurt Laudna so much? Is it because of how Delilah has linked betrayal to being alone again?1:38:00

Marisha assumes this is the case, because Laudna is the most trusting and vulnerable to betrayal. When her radical trust backfires on her, she takes it extremely personally.

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

Lesley B.: If your character found themself in a Freaky Friday situation with another character (current or past, PC or NPC), whose life would they most enjoy trying on for a while, and what do you think would ultimately make them want to go back? — Travis, 1:40:34

  • Travis: Would inhabit Planerider Ryn for the "lesser qualified planerider" experience. Would return to himself because of the "lack of power."
  • Marisha: Would inhabit Lady Vex'halia or Lady Allura so she can wear pretty dresses and go to fancy events. Would return to herself because she doesn't want all the responsibility and bureaucracy they have to deal with.
  • Taliesin: Would inhabit Keyleth for power, health, and a (seemingly) great social life. Would not voluntarily return to his own body, but would end up causing problems and would have to leave Keyleth's body.
  • Matt: Essek would inhabit either someone who he could lay low in and avoid the attention of the Kryn Dynasty or someone who couldn't be harmed (or both).
    • Travis suggests Grog as the ideal candidate, and Matt agrees

Misty_Moonstone: Throughout your characters' adventures as a group, what event has granted them the most insight into what it means to act as/be on a team? — Matt, 1:47:02

  • Taliesin: For Caduceus, Fjord at Kravaraad with the reforged sword
  • Marisha: For Laudna, retrieving the spark and then fighting Ludinus in the volcano
  • Travis: For Chetney, the moment after Dorian left and the feeling of wishing he could have stayed

Questions during Candyland[edit | edit source]

Guest answers questions if they landed on certain squares on the game board.

Taliesin: How is Ashton feeling about their parents and repeating the mistakes of their father?2:02:16

Real bad! He did something stupid because he didn't know them and never considered the idea that he would have turned out worse if they had survived.

Travis: Chetney bonded with Gwendolyn over breaking windows and sticking it to the man. How much does Chetney's love for children influence him? Considering his main joy in life comes from making toys for kids.2:08:40

Seeing children makes him think back to his own childhood and how much simpler and happier everything was back then. He also believes that deviousness like Gwen's is something to be nurtured, so sometimes you just have to "put rocks in the hands of people that are going to throw them through windows."

Matt: What's the deal with Otohan and Liliana? Are they friends or are they more than friends?2:09:41


Matt: Why did you choose those specific people to appear at the war meeting? Did you consider bringing in Vex, Pike, Gilmore, Scanlan, or anyone else?2:10:06

Everyone there was present because they were readily available, able to get there quickly, and interested in participating. Cassandra was there because she's an important part of Whitestone and would have been present for such a meeting, but wouldn't have had the kinds of responsibilities pulling her away that Vex does. Pike and Scanlan likely would not have been interested in the planning, but would probably be there to help once plans have been made. Same for Kima.

Taliesin: Did Ashton consider leaving? Or were they determined to stay no matter what?2:12:05

They considered seeing whether or not Bells Hells would leave, since that's what their last crew did.

Marisha: What was it like to be in Delilah's old lab and encounter the ghosts of Delilah's evil? Laudna even allowed the ghosts to attack her to vent their frustration.2:16:57

She (Marisha) was almost expecting the encounter to be darker with the ghosts being Laudna's parents.

Marisha: Why did Laudna want to make a doll OF Ashton FOR Ashton? What would you have done with it if you hadn't given it to them?2:24:07

Marisha didn't know what she was going to do, so she just went along with Matt and built on what was happening in the moment. When Delilah called Ashton a child, Laudna interpreted that as meaning that she should make a toy because children like toys, but Marisha didn't know when she started if Laudna would end up giving it to them or just destroying it in her frustration by the end.

Marisha: If you could play Keyleth now, what would she do? What would her first order of business be?2:30:56

Try to fix Vax, but she knows she has responsibilities and so she can't just make her way to the Outer Planes and demand the gods fix everything.

Matt: How well did Delilah know Ludinus, considering she was once part of the Cerberus Assembly? What does she think of him toying with the gods?2:31:45

Matt refuses to answer because it may come up in the campaign.

Travis: FCG is going to have the group do a scavenger hunt as part of their bonding time. Is Chetney intrigued by the group activities? Could woodworking be a group bonding activity? Maybe painting wooden toys?2:34:07

Everyone's bad at it and he's great, so there wouldn't be much group bonding. However, he would help hold people's tools while they work.

Outro[edit | edit source]

Scrooge Matt reappears, proclaiming that the ghosts he played a one-shot with have showed him the true meaning of 4-Sided Dive - no more bits or games, no more cold opens, no more googly-eyed broomsticks.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The drink special on the chalkboard during the Twitch countdown was "Primordial Shard (on the rocks)".
  • The secret word is "T. Rex"

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Shard Candy" (4SDx19) at 0:57.
  2. "Shard Candy" (4SDx19) at 11:03.
  3. "Shard Candy" (4SDx19) at 46:35.
  4. "Fractures" (3x78) at 2:58:36.
  5. "A Dark Balance" (3x38).


  1. Thumbnail from "4-Sided Dive: Shard Candy" (4SDx19). 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.