March 2019 - Roll For Combat: A Starfinder & Pathfinder Actual Play Podcast

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Talking Combat 077: Salad Shooters

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 077: Feed Me, Akiro!.

This week, we break new ground with Roll For Combat’s first-ever bottle episode!

I would think this is a pretty entertainment-savvy crowd overall, but for those of you not “hep to the lingo” of the TV world, “bottle episodes” are episodes of a TV series that tend to be driven by cost or scheduling issues – they tend to be isolated from the main plot, generally take place on one or two sets, sometimes only feature a subset of the actors. (And they tend to happen in the later parts of the season because that’s when the budget and schedule crunch hits hardest.) Obviously we had the full team (and then some), so the last of those doesn’t apply, but this two-parter kind of fits the rest of the description – it doesn’t really have anything to do with the larger Dead Suns storyline and it takes place in a facility not originally in the adventure path that Steve threw together on the spot.

I didn’t think about it at the time but, yeah, injecting the writer of the adventure path into the main flow of the game… at best it would’ve been kind of boring for him; at worst, it might have put Keeley in a spot where he had to choose between doing the right thing or the spoiler-y thing. So I guess it made sense to shunt the action down a side path for a few shows.

I was a little surprised that Steve chose to bring back Meats and Lasko as characters, but on the other hand, they were well-received on their first visit, and it’s a little bit of an Easter egg for the long-time listeners. I suppose if Thomson and Thompson can keep bumping into Tintin halfway around the world, it’s equally possible that Meats and Lasko decided to infiltrate the same cult we were investigating. Though yes, I’m a little bitter they managed to avoid most of Books 2 and 3 in the process. Lucky bastards probably didn’t have to do any starship combat, either.

The coincidental synergy with Akiro’s origin story is also kind of amusing, though let’s be honest… there aren’t a lot of options when you’re dealing with a section of unexplored space that Pact Worlds people supposedly never go to. By default, they pretty much either had to hitch a ride with the cultists or the Corpse Fleet, and it’d probably even be harder to justify a ship of undead-only separatists hanging out with a couple living sidekicks. Though the whole thing did kind of remind me of one of those Internet clickbait stories where the cops posing as drug dealers and the cops posing as drug buyers managed to arrest each other. Or the 60s Spider-Men pointing at each other. “I’m not a cultist. YOU’RE a cultist.”

I suppose Steve could’ve come up with some other story hook – unexpected drift engine malfunction would also have worked – but whatever. At some point, “They’re Here Because That’s Where The Plot Needs Them To Be” works just fine. Meats… Lasko… welcome to Istamak. Moving along.

So Meats and Lasko have an emergency evac coming, but they have to recover their homing beacon device, which means investigating a creepy lab facility. NOTHING COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG WITH THIS PLAN. I’m immediately on edge at the use of the phrase “xenomorph” – the Alien series pretty much ruined that one for me. So we explore a little and find a science lab and a mysterious button and Mo pushes it because of course he does.

On the broadcast, I sound a little more testy than I probably was. I agree with Bob and John’s general sentiment that pushing the button was going to have to happen to move the adventure forward. Defense will stipulate. But I thought we could spare a few skill rolls to at least prepare for what might happen when the button was pushed. Or even just in terms of self-preservation and tactics, I was hoping to move Tuttle to the back and get CHDRR up front, where we both belong. But nope – let’s do this!

Going in, I was actually thinking a trap – it’s some sort of decontamination system that releases poison gas or something. Instead, it’s Audrey II from Little Shop Of Horrors! And now, I’m up front with the heavy hitters, and it’s hard to even move out of the way because the thing has reach. (Some of it may have also been difficult terrain, too.) I’m not too worried in the grand scheme – we’ve got numbers, and (turn on the meta-gaming sign) I doubt Steve would make an improvised encounter life-threatening. But in the short term, Tuttle is in about as wrong a place as a lightly-armored rodent could be. Yikes!

Fortunately, sheer numbers do win out. I luck out in the early rounds and Steve chooses different targets, leaving Tuttle alone for the most part. That lets me get out of immediate danger and lets me get CHDRR into position to join the fray. And wouldn’t you know it… after a few rounds of combat, the Yellow One gets the Glory of the Kill™! We don’t keep spreadsheets or anything, but tends to be some low-key bragging rights about who gets the formal kill-shot, even preceding the days of the podcast. But it’s even more of a cause for celebration now because Tuttle’s not built for combat, so it happens less frequently in this campaign. ALL HAIL CHDRR THE CONQUEROR!

So from there, the hunt will continue next week, but I’m actually going to echo Steve and make this a short post this week. Similar to Steve, I have stuff going on in real life: nothing bad (actually mostly good stuff) but it’s been a little hectic. Next week, we’ll finish up our Meats-and-Lasko hijinks, and I promise to be more long and rambling for you guys. In the meantime, feel free to drop by the Discord channel and join the ongoing merriment happening over there. See you next week.

077: Feed Me, Akiro!

Just when you think things couldn’t get any weirder, Paizo’s Jason Keeley (and author of The Ruined Clouds) and “friend of the show” Rob Trimarco are back and playing the same characters from Episode 28! How on earth they managed to end up in the middle of nowhere and need help from the RFC Crew … you’ll just have to listen to find out!

Don’t forget to enter our free trip to PaizoCon 2019 contest. Not only do you get a free trip to PaizoCon, but now you get to join in a private game of Grimmerspace, created by co-author Sean Astin!

Just head on over to the contest entry form to enter, and then make sure to check back on the April 23rd podcast to see if you won!

And don’t forget to become a supporter of the podcast on our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/rollforcombat where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. We would also love it if you would leave us a review on iTunes!

Talking Combat 076: Akiro The Just, You’re My Hero

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 076: The Slug Defense.

The theme of this week’s episode is “Let’s get to know Akiro”, followed shortly by “This Akiro’s pretty good, isn’t he?”

Last week we got to meet Akiro and get his backstory, but the great unanswered question was – what does he bring to the table in a fight? Spiky armor is cool and all, but does that mean he’s a front-line fighter who can absorb some of the beatings Mo has been taking? The lack of a melee weapon would argue otherwise. As would the fact that, at a player level, Chris rarely plays characters like that – Chris is fond of his hit-and-run attackers.

The first thing we learn is that Akiro is a caster but a Technomancer rather than a Mystic (which had been my first thought). Upon further review, that pendant that popped out last week was probably just his focus item, not a holy symbol. We the players pick it up as the combat unfolds when he casts his trusty holographic image and magic missile. You guys accidentally pick it up earlier thanks to a mild spoiler from our trusty voiceover dude. Oops. But yeah… he’s a spell-slinger. At a meta-level, it’s nice to finally have some magic in the party – only took 75 episodes. No, I’m not really counting Tuttle’s Technomantic Dabbler feat. Comparatively speaking, that’s a party trick.

Even with that revelation, there’s still the gear to account for. Neither longarms nor heavy armor are standard kit for a caster, so is that how he used his feats or is it a dip into Soldier? I will say in Pathfinder, Chris was pretty fond of the one-level dip. I think in one of our campaigns he actually dipped TWO different classes along with his main. He’s into weird unorthodox builds – not even necessarily min-maxing; I think he just likes very particularly tailored characters that can do exactly what he wants them to do.

Me, I pretty much prefer pristine single-class builds. I think I have this sense that if you don’t do it early, it becomes less appealing as you level because then it’s “do I want Level X abilities for this class or Level 1 abilities for the other?” Around the same time, I took that Technomantic Dabbling, I was actually considering just dipping a level of Technomancer, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it for exactly that reason – “do I want this pretty decent Mechanic trick, or do I want to cast Magic Missile once?” I also get seduced by the high-end abilities, which doesn’t make a lot of logical sense since I think the highest campaign we’ve run in recent memory only got out to the mid-teens.

But I digress. Back to Not Hirogi, and our fight with the snake. Akiro’s gun is pretty interesting – 1d20 for damage. Never seen anything like that in Pathfinder. Not saying it doesn’t exist – in fact, given all the material that’s been released, I suspect it’s out there in the back pages of some supplement somewhere – but that’s my first time seeing something with big damage swings like that. Personally, I would find that sort of weapon infuriating, but it’s probably the perfect weapon for Chris. Again, a reflection of our styles as players – Chris likes big risk and big reward, I’d rather dish out the same reliable damage every round. I’m feeling like the Rounders analogies are writing themselves here – I’m Johnny Knish, and he’s… Mike McD? Worm? Teddy KGB? All I can say for sure is that in the game of Starfinder, healing serums are the fucking rake.

So other than Rusty getting somewhat aggressively hugged by the snake, we sail through the first encounter relatively unharmed. A fight where no one went past stamina points! That’s crazy! And then we go into the “Maze of Ghosts” which turns out to be some sort of weird holographic museum. I got vibes of Hersheypark or Epcot (or the Hall of the off of it). Only Mo decides to be a goof and walk through the holograms, and… time to fight again.

On one hand, very little we’ve fought since landing on this planet has been that threatening. On the other hand, incorporeal. (groan) But as the battle unfolds – and I don’t know if you can really tell this without the battle-map – but it seemed like the holographic guy was tethered to within a certain range of his projector, so it seemed like we could get to a point where we could avoid it or just grind it down from range if we had to. Mo, in particular, was being stubborn about staying within range and slugging it out, but the rest of us were not really in any danger. So again, once we got a sense for its limitations, it wasn’t really that tough of a fight.

So we take care of business – two relatively easy fights in one episode! – and arrive at the alien equivalent of Disney’s Hall of the Presidents, where we get another audio recording that sheds a little light on the puzzle of the security codes. It sounds like we need two codes, which we then take to the central security office to get the actual code we need to get into the temple. Got it? Good. That’s where we’ll pick it up next week.

As far as Steve and Perram’s tip, I don’t GM a lot, but I can agree with most of what they said from the player perspective. I definitely co-sign on using a small starter adventure (Society or otherwise) to test your character before you take it out into the wild. Or heck, even just whip up a mock combat and run it yourself and see how it goes. Sometimes that character idea you love on paper just doesn’t work in the real world, and it’s much better to find that out when the stakes are low.

Alternatively, on those rare occasions when I do GM, I tend to allow free re-rolls until Level 2. Sure, it breaks immersion a little bit, but I’d rather have players enjoying the game and playing something they like than stuck with a character that doesn’t work for them.

The thing from the player perspective I wanted to dig in on just a little bit is how much to coordinate character builds within the group. On one hand, if you don’t coordinate a little bit, you could end up with a group composition that’s going to have a lot of trouble performing. Imagine a party of four cloth casters running out of spells after one battle. On the other hand, I do think you can overplan, and strict adherence to “we need a tank, a healer, a caster, and a rogue” can suck all the fun out of things on a couple of different levels. First, strict adherence to an “ideal” composition almost always leaves at least one player playing something they didn’t really want to play. Second, up to a certain point, sub-optimal groups can actually be fun. It can be a neat puzzle to figure out what you’ve got to work with and how to make it work with the situations at hand. You know… like running a Starfinder campaign with no healer and no magic.

Also, in a dynamic particular to our group, Bob tends to be a little more secretive in his character builds. He usually has some roleplay wrinkle to his characters, so he doesn’t WANT to just lay his character sheet on the table and say “here’s what I can do”. The gradual “reveal” of the character over the course of the campaign is part of what he enjoys.

Personally – and perhaps this speaks to my nature as an altaholic – I’ll whip up two or three characters I wouldn’t mind playing and then choose one based on what the rest of the group is doing, rather than locking in on a single concept. For this game, I actually had both a Solarian and a Mechanic ready to go, but I decided to go Mechanic because the drone dynamic interested me, and because I hadn’t played a skills monkey character in a while. That was also a byproduct of my Dads-n-Kids game, where we’d let the kids pick their builds first and then fill in gaps in the party around them.

I think that’s all we have for this week. Next week, we resume our search for the keycode that will get us into the Temple of the Big Bad. I will pre-warn you that there is a small possibility next week’s Talking will be late – I have friends and family coming into town, and that’s going to make for some weird scheduling. Or perhaps I’ll pre-write it, and it could be really early, but have nothing to do with the week’s episode (“Page 93, and now he’s in an extended digression about Charo’s guest appearances on The Love Boat”). Think of it as the literary equivalent of Akiro’s new gun – big risk, big reward. In the meantime, feel free to drop by the Discord channel and join the ongoing merriment, and good luck to those of you entering the PaizoCon contest. See you next week!

076: The Slug Defense

Welcome to the team Akiro the Just. He’s a literal offspring of demons, he’s got skulls and spikes all over his armor, but he says he’s a good guy. SEEMS LEGIT.

Also, we’re giving away a free trip to PaizoCon 2019 and you can finally enter! Oh yes, and we just added a grand prize. Not only do you get a free trip to PaizoCon, but now you get to join in a private game of Grimmerspace, created by co-author Sean Astin!

Just head on over to the contest entry form to enter, and then make sure to check back on the April 23rd podcast to see if you won!

Finally, this week on Roll to Assist, Stephen and Perram (from the Know Direction Podcast) discuss steps you should take when starting a new campaign.

And don’t forget to become a supporter of the podcast our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/rollforcombat where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. We would also love it if you would leave us a review on iTunes!

Talking Combat 075: New Crew Revue

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 075: Into the Hirogi-Verse.

And now we know what happened to Hirogi. Well, at least the broad strokes of it.

As a player, the big question for me was how much of this was pre-planned. Neither Chris nor Steve told us this change would be coming, so it really was a genuine surprise to Bob, John, and myself. Obviously though, if Chris had a new character rolled up and ready to go, it was pretty clear some sort of coordination had to be involved.

That still leaves some moving parts. Did Chris specifically know the chamber would do something to Hirogi (which would explain his eagerness to jump in), did Steve leave it open-ended and say “make a new character and we’ll fit him in somewhere”, or was it one of Bob Ross’ “Happy Little Accidents” that Chris was ready for a change right after jumping into the healing chamber? From Steve’s post-episode game notes, it sounds more like the second or third: maybe Chris expected that the chamber would change Hirogi SOMEHOW, and in discussing what that change would be, a totally new character became the gameplan.

I also don’t know if at a meta-level, patching some additional skills into the party was part of the equation. I notice Akiro conveniently speaks and reads Kish, so some of that push-and-pull where three different people hold different aspects of communication in their hands goes away. (Or just flat-out replacing the fact that Hirogi is the only one with the pidgin language skill because the remainder of the adventure would be unworkable without it.) As far as class, I’m assuming he’s some sort of caster since Chris has admired magic-users from afar for a while now – the holy symbol would argue Mystic – but maybe he took a dip in Soldier to get better weapon and armor feats. (That’s totally a Chris move… be eligible for as much loot as possible.). I guess we’ll just figure it out together over the course of the next few episodes.

I will admit that Steve’s wrap-up admission that Hirogi is eventually going to return counts as new information. We’ve never discussed Hirogi’s ultimate fate; it was just kind of assumed he’s gone. So for Steve to admit Hirogi will likely be coming back later… that’s actually news to us. SPOILER!

(That doesn’t rule out that Hirogi will come back as an enemy boss that we have to kill. Just Sayin’.)

Why did Chris want to take a break from Hirogi? Just from my impressions sitting at the table with him, I think Chris felt Hirogi was kinda one-trick pony, and even though his trick went from “too hard” to “too easy” once he could take-20 on Trick Attack, it still didn’t make him a more dynamic character. Even on the skills side, Rusty has the social interactions covered; Tuttle has the technical stuff… there wasn’t really a niche that Hirogi clearly delivered better than anyone else. Mayyyybe culture checks? Oh, and Piloting, I guess, though Chris doesn’t seem to enjoy space combat much.

I will say that as a roleplaying thing, Steve’s point about how easily we accepted Akiro was valid; maybe it was a little meta-gamey on our parts. If you think about it if we find a guy with all the external trappings of a cultist, would we really so easily accept him so quickly as part of the group just because he can produce a Starfinder signal and knows who Chiskisk is? Heck, even if he’s superficially legit, we’ve seen Wrath of Khan… somebody ought to at least look in Akiro’s ear for Ceti Alpha V bugs. But I think we collectively just rolled right into “well, Chris is playing him, so he’s a good guy” mode. For that matter, we probably didn’t really “mourn” or otherwise do enough to try to recover Hirogi. Tuttle did the equivalent of a half-hearted press of CTRL-Z, and then it was basically “ok, he’s not here anymore… moving on”. Probably a missed roleplay opportunity.

Speaking of roleplay… how about a round of applause for Steve’s sound effects? During the initial session, that was just Steve talking in his normal voice. He added that in post-production, so when I went to listen to the final podcast to write this week’s column, I heard that for the first time, just like you did. Pretty cool.

As an aside, my mind is now racing with possibilities. Now that he’s done it once, Steve could replace ANY NPC with guest voice talent! Jason Keeley! Random listeners plucked from the Discord channel! MORGAN FREEMAN! (He’s right, you know…)

The other major development of this episode was the discovery of the ability crystal. I still haven’t decided yet – I had Tuttle put it in his backpack to sleep on it – but I am strongly leaning toward keeping it.

The Argument For: First and foremost, I was thinking of buying one on our last shopping trip anyway, but it would’ve taken up almost all my credits. Also, I feel like Tuttle takes a back seat on most loot anyway. Most of the time – particularly for weapons and armor – I let the other guys go first. But this is skill monkey stuff, where Tuttle earns his keep. Lastly, Mo and Rusty already have Mk2 crystals, so it’s a 50-50 between me and Hir… Akiro… and Chris just got a whole new character. If you want to go there, it’s also a roleplaying thing that we wouldn’t immediately give the new guy first dibs.

The Argument Against: new character or not, Chris doesn’t have a lot of gear; maybe he deserves this one. And/or where did Hirogi fall in the (informal) loot rotation – would it have been his turn if not for the character switch? Also, 23 INT starts to feel like overkill… do I really need THAT much? Gotta give those computers a fighting chance!

Before closing, I’d like to spare a few moments to discuss Steve and Perram’s Roll To Assist.

Steve’s point and Perram’s point – though phrased differently – talked about the same basic concept. “Stealing” control of the story. For the players, it’s doing things outside the box of the GM’s expectations; for the GM, it’s fudging rolls to keep the story in the lane you’ve created for it. And I think those go hand-in-hand – the goodwill you build by allowing one pays for the occasional use of the other.

I do subscribe to the general Nixonian belief that “if the GM does it, it’s not cheating”. The GM knows the game, they know what the story needs, and if they sometimes need to tweak to bring things in for a satisfying conclusion… OK. That to me is benevolent cheating. It’s like lying to your kids to set up a better surprise on their birthday.

But here’s the thing. If you’re going to exert that control occasionally, the collaborative nature of this hobby we all love suggests that you should occasionally let the players do it too. If they try something that’s a little outside the box and it’s not quite what you envisioned but still a basically reasonable request given the nature of their characters and the tools they have… as Perram said, let them have the win. You can always move things around to accommodate it. If they bypass the cool boss you wanted them to fight? Put him somewhere else in the dungeon. If they don’t meet NPC A, give that knowledge to NPC B. And so on.

I think where games fall apart, is at the extremes, where GMs either exert total control and give the players no agency… or where they just let the players do whatever they want and everything becomes arbitrary. I think a gaming group has to have both to survive and thrive.

Well, that’s about it for this week. Next week, we get to see Akiro in action (I think), as our pursuit of the cultists continues. While you’re waiting for that, feel free to stop by Discord and join the ongoing merriment – join the PaizoCon contest, take a guess at Akiro’s class, and generally check out the scene, man. We’ll see you next week.

SP09: Interview with Paizo Developer Ron Lundeen, Again!

If you enjoyed this interview make sure to check out our weekly actual play podcast where we’re playing through the Starfinder Dead Sun’s Adventure Path. And make sure to enter our free trip to PaizoCon 2019 contest! Check out full details here!

Welcome to another special edition of the Roll For Combat Podcast where we sit down and talk with Paizo Developer Ron Lundeen – again!

With the upcoming release of Pathfinder Second Edition, Ron and I had a lot to discuss! Not only did Ron write The Dead Roads, the first book in the new Pathfinder Adventure Path, The Tyrant’s Grasp, but he’s directly shaping the drastic changes to the world of Golarion. Find out from Ron the horrific changes coming to the world of Golarion and what else to expect when Pathfinder Second Edition is released later this year. Check it out!

And don’t forget to become a supporter of the podcast our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/rollforcombat where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. We would also love it if you would leave us a review on iTunes!

075: Into the Hirogi-Verse

Last week Hirogi threw caution to the wind and stepped into the “chamber of renewal” after Tuttle believed he fixed it. As to what comes out, well, you’ll have to listen to find out!

Also, we’re giving away a free trip to PaizoCon 2019! Listen to the episode for full details on the contest and how to enter!

Also, this week on Roll to Assist, Stephen and Perram (from the Know Direction Podcast) discuss how to handle a gaming session when all your plans go wrong.

And don’t forget to become a supporter of the podcast our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/rollforcombat where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. We would also love it if you would leave us a review on iTunes!

Talking Combat 074: Who’s the Lab Rat Now?

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 074: Healthcare Beyond the Pact Worlds.

Well, I did not expect that. But then again, maybe deep-down, I did.

When Tuttle stepped in to work on the alien healing contraption, I figured getting it working properly for the Kish was the big win, and that maybe we’d set up as an emergency heal-of-last-resort device. I didn’t actually think we were going to use it at that particular point in the story. I more envisioned that if we get some weird space disease we can come back and try it then.

But once Steve started talking about how it might bump your stats or add levels, I wasn’t that surprised to see Chris jump in so willingly. Chris is always into big risk, big reward when he plays. If it’s 50-50 that the machine will give him three levels or turn him into a puddle of translucent goo, he’ll take that bet. So when Chris got in the machine, I think our collective reaction was “of course he did”.

(Also, I think some of it was just saying yes to the strangeness as I did with letting the goblins rebuild CHDRR. Rusty got turned undead; I got CHDRR… it wouldn’t surprise me if Chris did it just to see where the story goes.)

As Steve mentioned, Bob tends to be the opposite. Well… let me refine that a little. Bob is very improvisational on the social interactions/roleplay side, but when it comes to character builds and the nuts and bolts of combat, Bob is more of a percentage player, and I don’t think he would’ve risked it.

I feel like John would’ve passed more because he’s reached a comfort zone with Mo. He knows who that character is, and he likes him that way. I think change – good or bad – would take Mo in a different direction than he’s currently going, and I feel like John is content to stay the course.

For me, I felt like Tuttle would have had to decline as a roleplaying thing. He’s a scientist; he wouldn’t put himself in that machine unless he either knew exactly what it would do or unless there was no other choice. (Though, as a scientist, he’s quite happy to put another willing volunteer in there and see what happens. Knowledge is its own reward.) Different campaign, different character? I might have jumped in on that.

Looking more generally about my playstyle, I think if I have a weakness as a player, it’s that I over-compartmentalize the game and tend to check out a little on the parts my character isn’t good at. Tuttle doesn’t have good charisma and isn’t good at “face of the party” skills; I think sometimes I’m guilty of punting and saying “Bob can handle it” when maybe there are opportunities to chip in around the edges that I don’t identify quickly enough. In a different game, I might have high charisma and do “face of the party” stuff but blow off skills challenges. I could claim it’s roleplaying, and sometimes it is, but other times it’s just disengaging rather than doing a bunch of dice rolls I’m likely to fail.

If I’m being honest, dealing with the Kish in the waiting room was probably one of those moments. Rusty had the face skills, Hirogi was the one who could actually speak the language (or at least his pidgin version of it), Mo at least looks physically intimidating. Tuttle didn’t really have an obvious role to play, and I probably fell into “wake me when there’s a computer to hack” mode instead of going into “yes, and…” mode and figuring out some way I could chip in.

I have to admit, the trap surprised me. I don’t know if we’re getting rusty, traps just aren’t as common in the sci-fi setting, or if maybe the setting of a hospital gave us a false sense of security (seriously… who booby-traps a hospital?), but totally didn’t see that coming. I’m guessing the cultists set this up when they were here, but as a minor story point, I’m confused how the Kish got past it without setting it off, if they supposedly came after the cultists.

The ensuing argument about short rests… I mean, ultimately both sides had a point, but it was kinda pointless in its net effect. On one hand, if you do a social encounter that lasts multiple hours and doesn’t involve physical exertion, you’d assume there’s sort of an implied rest in there. On the other hand, we are functioning adults and responsible for our own characters – if we didn’t say we took the rest (and explicitly spent the Resolve Point), it’s a fair position that it’s not Steve’s job to baby us.

I hadn’t taken any damage, so I didn’t really have a stake in this particular back-and-forth, but I’m vested in terms of knowing what the policy’s going to be going forward. My initial read was that I would’ve made us eat our mistake if I was GM’ing, but that’s just me.

I suppose there were two lesser mitigating factors. First, should the answer change if some of the damage happened a week ago in a prior session? It’s one thing to forget the damage that happened 10 minutes ago, but some of that damage had happened the previous week in real time. (Counter-point: maybe we spend some of that pre-game time we spend BS-ing about poker looking at our character sheets.) Second, it is true that Stamina Points are buried a little bit in the tool because they had to wedge them into an existing framework. If you look at the top level, it just shows hit points and you may appear to be at full health, but then you have to drill down two levels to see your Stamina Points.

(Yes, I know. “Waaaaaah! I have to click a mouse twice!” First World Problems #881.)

Well, whatever. Steve decided what he did and we move on. One more big fight – other than they hit a lot harder than the Kish, still not a tremendously difficult fight – and it’s time for Hirogi’s Date With Destiny….

… which we’ll find out about next week.

Before I wrap up, I’m going to briefly chime in on the question about favorite character races. If we were starting a new campaign today, I would probably choose either the Contemplative (aka “Brain-In-A-Jar” race) or the Kalo (the underwater fish-people race). The former is fairly obvious; it’s a giant brain on a wee little body. Endless comedic potential. The Kalo… I guess it’s just that I liked the artwork, maybe wrapped up with some residual love for Abe Sapien from Hellboy. Fish people rule! One more choice I wanted to mention was the ghorans from Alien Archive 2. I didn’t think the race itself was especially unique – basically a plant-based humanoid – they have my favorite racial backstory: they’re plant people created by a druid thousands of years ago to be “perfect” beings, but part of their perfection was TASTING perfect, so they were hunted almost to extinction because they were so damn tasty.

The Uplifted Bear? Not a huge fan. Wake me when they uplift otters, red pandas, or penguins.

Well, that’s going to be it for this episode. Obviously, you’ll want to come back next week to see what happens to Hirogi. (We know you’re curious. Don’t deny it.) Will Hirogi become the perfect hunter and become even more insufferable than before? Or did he screw up and ruin his character beyond repair? Can’t wait to find out! In the meantime, feel free to drop by on our Discord channel or other social media, make your predictions, and join in the fun. We’ll see you next week!

SP08: Interview with Pathfinder and Starfinder co-creator, James L. Sutter

If you enjoyed this interview make sure to check out our weekly actual play podcast where we’re playing through the Starfinder Dead Sun’s Adventure Path. And make sure to enter our free trip to PaizoCon 2019 contest! Check out full details here!

With the surprise announcement yesterday of the second edition of the Pathfinder lineup, we had a chance to sit down and talk with the co-creator of the Pathfinder and Starfinder Roleplaying Games, James L. Sutter.

We discuss James’s latest release, the first book in the Starfinder Dawn of Flame Adventure Path, Fire Starters, and what to expect when adventuring inside the sun! We also discuss several other topics from James’s long career including editing Erik Mona’s classic Age of Worms adventure, The Whispering Cairn, crazy times during the Starfinder rules creation, what he’s working on for the second edition of Pathfinder, what he’s been doing since he left Paizo, various book recommendations, and much more. Check it out!

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