"A Dungeon Masters Guide to Tanis" aired on December 16, 2015.
HaidaGurl / Veronika Pilman Edit
MK tracked activity on some online bulletin boards related to a search for Xanu, from a contributor named HaidaGurl. While her real name remained elusive, MK traced her profile as belonging to an employee of a used bookstore in Portland called The Lamp Post and Colonel. However, in 2009 she was listed as being hired by the British government for a secret operation that was taking place in the Pacific Northwest.
Nic pays a visit to the bookstore, and while the employee there was new and the rest of the staff were at the festival in Red Rock, Toni was able to pull lists of books purchased by employees around the time Nic specified. Titles of interest--Killing in the Rain, two Charles Forte biographies, Hubbard’s Dianetics, a collection of historical maps of the Pacific Northwest, Sex and Rockets (a book on Jack Parsons), and both the boys’ and girl scouts’ handbooks--were listed as being purchased by one Veronika Pilman. Not knowing how else he might find her, Nic looks her up in the White Pages.
MK's Disappearance Edit
While MK is on the phone with Nic at the top of the episode, she starts yelling at someone to turn around, and it sounds as though her phone drops on the ground. Nic asks the person who picked up her phone to call the police and he also files a report, and upon recalling her mention of a friend who worked for TeslaNova, he contacts them and arranges a meeting at their offices to see if this friend has information on her disappearance. While Nic is waiting in reception before their scheduled meeting a few days later, MK appears and tells him to follow her; they walked back to his apartment while she explains that someone was following her, and that when she tossed her phone and approached them, they ran. MK receives a text from a friend watching her apartment, saying that her home had been compromised. She stays with Nic until her new place is ready.
Nic and Alex next clarify some points that still need examining: why did Karl van Sant believe he could lead Vincent Pardo--as a runner--to health and recovery? What about the short story repeating on Reddit? And finally, what actually might Tanis be? Nic posits that it could be a physical entity that moves around every 400 years and it changes the area surrounding it when it does, that it could be a way of thinking about the darkness of the world and of humanity.
After Nic returns home from trying to track down HaidaGurl / Veronika Pilman, he finds MK looking at an unlinked page on Parzavala's site to some kind of personality test. When Nic suggests digging deeper, MK expresses reluctance in doing so in light of her recent break-ins and hacks, but admits she needs the money.
Meeting with Morgan Miller and Sam Reynolds Edit
Sam calls Nic and asks to meet. Sam and Morgan tell Nic that Karl van Sant was killed because he got greedy in trying to attract people seeking Runners like Vincent Pardo who couldn't afford to go through the proper channels (i.e., Parzavala). And while Karl may have been on Parzavala's watch list for a time, he was obviously eventually moved to their kill list.
Baba Yaga, Dungeons & Dragons, Peter Chenoweth Edit
Nic relates the legend of Baba Yaga, a Slavic goddess first mentioned in 1755 who is often described as a witch living in the forest in a small hut, which is perched on two giant fowl legs.
In 1979, Gary Gygax wrote the original Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide, with the help of Peter Chenoweth, an expert in Slavic folktales who allegedly suggested the inclusion of Baba Yaga to the Guide. Nic plays a recording of Chenoweth speaking with a student, who asked him why he wanted to create a building that was larger on the inside than the outside; when pressed as to the inspiration behind the structure of the building, Chenoweth ended the discussion. Three weeks after the interview, Chenoweth disappeared while camping with his family in Washington. After returning home after three months and having no memory of the time he was away. Chenoweth thought he was lost for hours, not months. Afterwards his family noticed a change in his personality. Chenoweth hanged himself in his family's living room.
Journal Entry Day 3 Edit
Alex reads again from the unidentified journal. The participants on the journey aren't speaking to each other, and the Runner continues to tie red string around trees, seemingly without a pattern. The Zealot expresses having second thoughts, and the writer describes the persistent damp smell, the sound of a distant thrum, and briefly notes the Novelist having a breakdown.
Cult of Tanis Edit
Nic receives an email from a listener with the subject line, "The Cult of Tanis in Marley from Singles on the Coast"; Nic learns that Singles on the Coast was an unaired reality dating TV show that only produced the pilot episode. In the background of one scene, Nic can hear the chant, "There are wondrous things, there are magical things, there are dangerous things. We get what we deserve." Nic left a message with the owner of the property where the chanting seemed to have been coming from.
Recurring Characters Edit
Nic Silver, host and producer
Meerkatnip, information specialist
Morgan Miller, Pacifica author
Alex Reagan, host and producer
Guest Characters Edit
Peter Chenoweth, contributor to Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide
Toni, employee at Bookseller at the Lamp Post and Colonel in Portland
Veronika Pilman (mentioned), researcher and secret operation participant