October 2019 - Roll For Combat: Pathfinder & Starfinder Actual Play Podcasts

Celebrate the release of Pathfinder 2e! New Podcast! New Review of Pathfinder 2e! New Review of the Bestiary!

Talking Plaguestone 14: Adventuring Dim Sum

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat: The Fall of Plaguestone, Episode 14: Brix It Up.

Shhhh! I have to type quietly tonight. Don’t want any trick-or-treaters to notice I’m home, as I have no candy to give out. Not a big Halloween guy – I did costumes for a few years when the kids were the right age for it, but these days, I figure part of living in the adult world is the freedom to go to the grocery store and buy a bag of mini-Snickers when you like. They’re an anytime food!

BUT I DIGRESS!

This week, there’s a bit of a logical disconnect at work here. Going by the numbers, this is something like the fourth or fifth episode where the main storyline has been tucked away in a drawer while we work on side-quests. And with not a lot of fighting, either – yeah, there was the ghost from Sir Kent’s storyline, but that’s about it. It’s like Adventuring Dim Sum, and we’re loading up on appetizers! On some level, I ought to find that burdensome and annoying – that’s basically a month we’re talking about, and I’m generally someone who wants to keep things moving and I find combat to be the most interesting part of the game.

And yet, I haven’t really minded that much. Well, that’s not entirely true. As the official stenographer of Roll For Combat, it’s been a little tough to WRITE about side-quests for four straight weeks. But playing it and listening it has actually been kinda fun. Relaxing even.

I feel like a lot of that can be chalked up to the chemistry of different groups and playstyles. If this was the Dead Suns group, I feel like we’d have moved on more quickly or perhaps even blown off the side quests entirely. (I can imagine an exasperated John saying “nah, that’s stupid, we’re not doing this”.) Those guys tend to be fairly goal-oriented and tend to want to keep things moving. This group… I don’t know if it’s the personalities, the increased focus on roleplaying, or the fact that Second Edition is a new game system and we want to slow down and process things a little more, but there’s more of a “stop and smell the roses” vibe to the whole thing. Of course, some of it may also be simple impatience at work: the difference between a campaign that’s been going for two years versus one that’s been going for two months.

So, let’s take stock of where we are – basically I’d call it one-and-a-half complete. Prue seems like she’s DONE-done. The ghost was killed and put to rest, she got a magic sword, Sir Kent seems to be on the path to recovery – it’s hard to see anything left to do with that storyline. Celes is the “half”. Her story is largely wrapped up as well, but there’s still that ceremony that involves talking to the demon – is that the start of a whole other chapter or just epilogue (light roleplay, maybe unlocking the medallion)? Gut says the latter is more likely, just because to keep it going too much longer would threaten to overshadow the main mission.

Then there’s Brixley and Cade. We’ve established what we’re supposed to be doing – he’s teaching the next generation of remorseless teenage assassins, and I’m founding an alehouse masquerading as a church – but there doesn’t seem to be a firm resolution in either story yet, and OK… no PHAT LEWTZ. (I guess Metamon is going to do some crafting for us, but if “enchantments for everyone else’s gear” is the extent of MY reward, you’re gonna hear me get a little salty and break out the big-boy swears.)

What does resolution look like for those two quests? For Cade, he got the swords to his pupil (Peri?) and taught her some moves, so I assume there would be some sort of final test of her skills. Either she has reason to fight alongside us, or maybe there’s some sort of non-lethal duel against Cade as her teacher. For Brixley, I assume I have to get the church up and running to the point where they can hold a service there, and then maybe… I get a boon from Cayden Cailean or something.

Or, given the ribbing Brixley is taking about his fashion sense, maybe I should be hoping for a wardrobe of muted tones. Rhinestones? Disco Brixley? Come on… it’s not THAT bad. I figured he was fey-adjacent and a former noble, so he should dress the part. If I’d known it would become A Thing, perhaps I should’ve put him in a burlap sack and been done with it.

Meanwhile, in the main quest, whenever we do get that going again, it sounds like the ranger is going to feed us a lead on the source of the corruption where I assume we find the mysterious V. (No, not Hugo Weaving.) And in the process, we get to learn cool ranger tricks. Well, Cade sounds like he’s going to – not sure about the rest of us.

And that’s where we’ll pick it up next week. Sorry, this week’s column is a little short, but it’s been a bit of a week. Next week, we’ll hopefully get back to the main story and things will pick up a little. Until then, feel free to drop by Discord and join the ongoing merriment and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

Plaguestone 14: Brix It Up

Last week a mysterious Ranger asked the RFC Crew to help investigate strange blights throughout the forest, but before they can adventure throughout the forest, it’s sidequest wrap up time!

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Talking Combat 107: Day Of The Undead

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 107: Beemer Bingo.

I suppose the theme of this week’s episode catching our collective breath before the sprint to the finish. It’s heavy on book-keeping (and heckling each other), with a little bit of tactical assessment of our situation, and light on actual action until the very end.

For a while, I was into distance running. I was really slow, but I ran four half-marathons and one full one. There’s a phenomenon where you get close enough to the end and that you’re going to finish where your body pushes in whatever endorphins it has left and you actually feel better in the final… quarter-mile, half-mile… then you had for the previous miles. This episode kinda feels like the gaming equivalent of that phenomenon. Steve officially took the shrink-wrap off Book Six, we can see the end (one way or the other), and even if we’d been in a bit of a lethargy the past few episodes (other than SRM), we all caught this collective second wind that will hopefully propel us to the finish line.

Leveling for Tuttle this time around was mostly a non-event. I decided to take longarm proficiency because I’ve been feeling a little outgunned and it might be a way to diversify my damage a little. And if I’m being totally honest, the optics of Tuttle with a machine gun are not to be missed. I did briefly consider going with sniper rifles but decided against it for two reasons – first, I figured it might be easier to come by longarm drops than sniper rifles; second, a sniper rifle has that aim component that might screw with my action economy with regard to giving orders to CHDRR. So longarms it is.

CHDRR, on the other hand, gets a bunch of upgrades. Some of them I had no particular say in and may have represented either Steve or John Compton being charitable – CHDRR does more base damage, and his attacks count as magical for the purposes of calculating damage resistances. Can’t really complain about that and it will surely come in handy.

But the big change is the Shock Wave. To quickly regurgitate the statblock, when CHDRR goes into single-digit hit points, he deactivates and blows an EMP pulse that does 1d6 electrical damage per level. 10-foot radius, reflex save for half which will be something like DC 22 (10 + half my level + INT modifier). My initial thinking was that we’re going to be on a tight timeframe the rest of the way, so if CHDRR dies again, there may not be time to rebuild him. So if he dies, make it count for something.

But more recently, I had a thought that this might represent a narrow window to cheat death. If CHDRR is reduced to single-digit hit points but not zero – it’s a deactivation, which may not be the same as total destruction. That implies he could be brought back after the fight through conventional drone heals. But ideally, enemies will stop beating on him if he shuts down mid-combat and not finish him off. So it feels like there’s at least a chance the damage breaks right and CHDRR evades the die-and-rebuild cycle by only being mostly dead.

(Might want to run all that past a rules lawyer though. Maybe “deactivated” and “dead” are the same thing after all.)

The one danger here is friendly fire. There’s no way to directly control when it goes off, and nothing that seems to mitigate damage to friendlies, so I’m gonna have to be careful about maneuvering CHDRR away from my group-mates when he starts getting low on hit points. Otherwise, CHDRR’s final blaze of glory could take half the party with him.

With leveling accomplished, now we turn to the problem at hand, and it’s a doozy. Basically, the Corpse Fleet and the planetary defenses are slugging it out in a massive space battle, and we somehow have to cross that battlefield, take control of the Stellar Degenerator, and destroy it. Though… I don’t really know how we’re supposed to do that.

On one hand, I do think we want to take advantage of the confusion of the battle to do… SOMETHING. I just don’t know yet what that something is. If we wait until one side or the other wins, it’s going to be us and our ship against the remnants of either the Corpse Fleet or the planetary defenses, and I don’t like our odds in either of those scenarios.

If we just take the Sunrise Maiden and try to charge across the battlefield to reach the Stellar Degenerator first, that seems like a suicide mission. Even if we made it, without the AI autopilot helping, I don’t think four of us can fly it anymore. And even if we could, I feel like the Corpse Fleet could put a pretty healthy boarding party together. So I don’t think the frontal assault is happening.

I think – particularly when you consider Rusty’s transformation into an undead character – a subterfuge play is the way to go here. Somehow infiltrate the Corpse Fleet and do… again, SOMETHING. Getting a small Corpse Fleet ship would at least let us get across the battlefield undetected, but doesn’t get us past the planetary defenses. On the other hand, could we get aboard the capital ship and do something sneaky? Is it even possible to take command of a capital ship with four people? Could we use the capital ship to destroy the rest of the Corpse Fleet? Could we use it to destroy the Stellar Degenerator? Right now, it’s helping to take out planetary defenses but if we could somehow trick the crew into shooting the Degenerator, that might get interesting. Or if things get really dire, maybe we could crash the 6-mile-long ship into the 12-mile-long ship and destroy both. It’s still got a fair amount of uncertainty, but it’s better than just charging blindly into the no-man’s-land between two competing forces and hoping for the best.

Of course, the wild card in all of this is how far we can trust Rusty, who’s been making noises since Book 3 or Book 4 that he wants to keep the Stellar Degenerator for himself. Even if we get through ALL of the above hurdles and get the Stellar Degenerator under control, we may have an intra-party squabble to resolve. But for the moment, we need him and he needs us, so we’ll jump off that cliff when we come to it.

So we head back to where we left the Sunrise Maiden, where there’s good news and bad news, and they’re actually both the same news – there’s a troop of Corpse Fleet soldiers waiting at the landing pad for us. If we can get past these guys… well, there’s the first part of our plan, a Corpse Fleet ship waiting to be commandeered. The bad news: the aforementioned 1000 hit points worth of bad guys to deal with.

Annnnd… we’ll pick it up there next week. Come back next week join us for what’s likely to be a knock-down, drag-out slugfest. Ideally, we’ll emerge victorious; if not, I guess Book Six is going to be REALLY short. While you’re waiting, feel free to drop by our Discord channel and other social media: let us know what you think of the show and join the merry-making of the RFC community. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

107: Beemer Bingo

ATTENTION NEW LISTENERS: We here at Roll For Combat recognize that jumping into an existing podcast can be a daunting task, especially one like this that involves an unfolding story. To help newer listeners out, we’ve prepared a brief synopsis at the start of this episode that will catch you up on the story so far. Give it a listen, and you’ll be ready to join us, all caught up ready to jump right into the podcast. Enjoy the show!

This week we start the final book of the Dead Suns Starfinder Adventure Path, and the prospect our grand adventure coming to an end has brought new life to the entire cast. Jokes are told, players rip on one another, and a new game is invented at Chris’s expense. It shall be glorious!

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!

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Talking Plaguestone 13: Pints and Piety

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat: The Fall of Plaguestone, Episode 13: The Spirit’s Spirits.

For me personally, this week was a bit of a change of pace. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it the Brixley Show, but this week’s action was more in my wheelhouse after a few weeks of mostly riding the bench. Brixley finally gets his side quest, and the main plot starts to come back into focus. If it sounds like I’m complaining, it’s not meant to be that – we each got a side quest, and it just happened that Brixley’s ended up being the last to come together. I figure if we had prioritized the enchantment runes and gone to visit Metamon earlier in the proceedings, I’d have been done and someone else would be batting last; it’s just a byproduct of the order we chose to tackle tasks in.

Specifically, Brixley has an opportunity to convert some portion of the town to followers of Cayden Cailean if he plays his cards right. It’s totally a seller’s market – the town’s dreary and run-down so it could use some divine inspiration, but religion’s been getting the stink-eye since the “curse” started, so there are no other churches in town at the moment. There’s even an abandoned church ready to be claimed and re-purposed for the task. And, OK… getting ahead of myself and/or metagaming, could there be a boon in the works as a reward for doing this? It seems like starting a new branch and converting an entire town might curry some favor with the Big Drunk In The Sky. At the very least, maybe Metamon would be willing to give us a home-team discount on moving those runes around. One can only hope.

We also get to move a little further in the main storyline as we meet a ranger, Noala, who had already been investigating the rise of the Crazy Critters from her end and wants to compare notes with us. Not gonna lie – when she first rolled up with a cart full of dead wolves, I thought she wanted to fight us for killing the poor fluffy animals. It sounds like she has a lead on where the corruption is coming from, and going a step further, she also offers to teach us ranger-ly ways if we want to learn them. Cade seems the most immediately intrigued by her offer, but we’re all considering it to some degree.

First, let’s talk about the mechanic in general. I really like the potential of this, and I am curious to see how it plays out in the wild. It’s always been a little weird that skills advancement is so structured that the ONLY place you could pick up new knowledge is from your level-ups. The idea that knowledge exists out in the world and can be shared and gleaned from actual story interactions is a welcome addition to the game and opens up exciting possibilities. Also, how many times has it happened that you meet some cool NPC that can do all sorts of amazing stuff, and you think to yourself “boy I wish I could learn to do that!”. Well… now – in certain circumstances – you can.

Whether Brixley is going to bother with ranger training… still deciding about that one. On one hand, gnomes have a fey connection to them, so as a roleplaying choice, it wouldn’t be a total immersion breaker to learn some woodland skills. Also, while Brixley isn’t as DEX-based as Cade, he’s not really a hulking tank either. And of course, Lore skills come under the heading of “more is better” – might as well learn everything you can. Never know when it might come in useful.

If there’s a downside, it’s that we might not actually be able to use the skills we learn. My understanding is that the skills we learn might be “ranger-flavored” general skills that anyone can take, or they might be actual class-specific skills. If it’s the latter, it’s fairly unlikely I’m going to make Brixley a paladin-ranger just to get one skill, even a really good one. So I suppose it will come down to what else is going on and how much time the training takes and what the trade-off would be (if any). If it’s truly free time, why not? If it comes down to an either-or of doing the ranger training or working on “my” church, I’ll probably just skip it.

Despite being a little more Brixley-focused episode this week, it was actually a pretty short episode overall and I’m a little under the weather, so I’m gonna call it there. They can’t all be three-volume treatises. We’ll be back next week to keep banging away on sidequests and hopefully move closer to finding a source of the corruption that’s killing the town. While waiting, feel free to drop by Discord or other social media and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

Plaguestone 13: The Spirit’s Spirits

This week it’s Brixley’s turn to get into the sidequest game when a simple crafting request turns into a holy quest! Also, Prue & Cade’s pub gets one step closer to completion.

And don’t forget to join our Discord channel, where you can play games, talk with the cast, and hang out with other fans of the show!

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 106: A Stephen By Any Other Name

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 106: Crush! Kill! Destroy!

If you’re gonna have a super-sized episode of Roll For Combat, that’s how you do it, I suppose. Special guest, big boss fight, crazy cliffhanger… it’s almost like the season finale of a TV show, except we get to come back next week and do it all over again!

First of all, props to Stephen Radney-MacFarland (SRM, from here on out to avoid confusion with “Our Steve”) for coming on and playing the boss for us. It’s certainly not that Our Steve does a bad job of running the game, but it’s always nice to have somebody come in and mix things up a bit. Especially someone with a personal connection to the source material who can throw in an extra spoonful of the author’s original intent.

Speaking of mixing things up, one stylistic difference I noticed is that SRM had a much more direct approach to combat than Our Steve does. Steve tends to play “fancy” in combat – I don’t know if it’s a sense of theater to make a better show, or wanting to play Vulcan 3D chess, or that Steve is just genuinely curious to see what all the special abilities do, but he’s very much about getting into the deep crevices of the enemy statblocks. Lots of positioning, lots of using special abilities. SRM, on the other hand, was much more about getting in faces and doing full attacks – there’s an unsentimental streak to him. Then again, some of that may have just been making use of the available tools – we know from our pal Rusty that Envoys tend to not have a lot of extra tricks, and a dip in Soldier wouldn’t have changed that much. And the robots were likely pretty simple security drones. So maybe this is just a Keep It Simple, Stupid fight, and would’ve played out much the same no matter who was driving.

Speaking of those drones… time for the other call-back to previous episodes. A few episodes back I mentioned there was one thing we mocked that turned out to be useful, and one thing we forgot about entirely.

The “thing we forgot about entirely” was the Sovereign Helm. Remember that? It’s a helmet that allows the user to assume limited control over technological constructs. It’s only a round-by-round thing (move action to use, and then a move action to maintain control) and once they make a save, they’re immune for 24 hours, aka the rest of the fight. But being able to make the robots shoot at each other or at the big boss might have been a fun little game-changer.

Then again, as I’m writing this (and looking up the item for reference) it also dawns on me that using the Sovereign Helm would’ve come at the expense of issuing commands to CHDRR. Or, I could’ve issued commands to both, and then I wouldn’t have been able to attack at all, which… while it would’ve been kind of a cool Professor X moment controlling an actual multi-robot army, would’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul in terms of total damage. So maybe it wasn’t the great lost opportunity I thought it was, or at least maybe someone else in the group should’ve been using it, even though it superficially seemed to be a Doctor Tuttle item.

The one thing I forgot about this fight until re-listen is how close CHDRR came to buying the farm. Yep, he literally finished the fight with 1 hit point. Again, I think the main culprit here was SRM’s more direct fighting style. Steve tends to go after the players first, and while he doesn’t ignore CHDRR entirely, CHDRR is usually only hit by area damage or, sometimes he ends up a target when Mo chickens out and leaves him up front by himself. So I’ve gotten in the habit of parking CHDRR near the front (but distant enough to mitigate area attacks) and picking adds off as best I can. (In these situations, my optimal play is looking for a chance to set up the line effect on his Junk Cannon.) SRM, on the other hand, was having none of that and gave CHDRR a good pummeling pretty much from the start – I moved CHDRR up into Standard Supporting Position, and SRM’s response was “have a few punches in the face”.

If you want to get cynical and meta-game, the boss battle at the end of an adventure path would’ve been a fine time for one of CHDRR’s noble sacrifices, but I’m glad it didn’t come to that. Based on how the episode ended, it’s unclear if I’d have the full 24 hours needed to rebuild him, and I don’t think we want to go through Book 6 without my trusty sidekick.

While all that was going on, we also got to witness Mo’s jetpack heroics. Full disclosure: I also had a jetpack and briefly considered going airborne as well – first as a flanking maneuver to get behind the boss, and then I thought about joining the chase. But a few things held me back.

First, I was a little worried about the possibility of the jetpack suffering a critical failure and falling to my death. So… #1, Cowardice. Second, by the time I thought about doing that, the drones were starting to overrun us (and CHDRR, in particular, was showing a lot of red), whereas Mo was basically locked in a 1-v-1 with the boss, and seemed to have his situation reasonably well in hand. Staying put seemed like a better use of my efforts. Third, I kinda realized that if events unfolded such that it came to any sort of mid-air grapple, I’d be TOTALLY screwed – I put a +2 bump in STR to manage encumbrance, but I’m not a grappler by nature. So I pretty much decided that was Mo’s situation to take care of and stayed on the ground.

(Also, as it turns out, Mo’s haste circuit was a difference-maker I didn’t have anyway. Given the head start the boss got, at best I could’ve kept pace and maybe fired from a distance, but I don’t think I ever would’ve caught up. Or, maybe I might have gained 10-20 feet per round if my “Fleet” applied to all movement forms, but then we’re getting into the jetpack only having 20 rounds of charge.)

Anyhow, we finally end up winning the fight and return to Moon Six to clean up and destroy the Stellar Degenerator, only nothing’s ever that simple because, of course, it isn’t. I wasn’t as vocal as Chris, but I also thought the AI’s plan sounded a little sketchy because the first few steps of using it and the first few steps of destroying it sounded like they’d be the same plan. Some of this is 20/20 hindsight, but wouldn’t it have been easier to induce some sort of system overload that destroyed the ability to open the gate at all, which would leave the Stellar Degenerator safely sealed in the demi-plane? Or is it just “too many redundancies/beyond your technical capabilities” and move on.

So we go with the AI’s plan – Rusty because he wants to steal it for himself; the rest of us because we don’t have a better idea – and everything shortly goes to hell. Literally and figuratively. The long-forgotten Corpse Fleet returns (though if you’ve been reading these columns, I’ve been WONDERING when they’d show up again), dropping a huge fleet into the system, and at roughly the same time, the control system gets all hosed up so we can’t close the demi-plane again, leaving the Stellar Degenerator free for the taking. And the AI that was going to help us fly the SD into the sun disperses itself into the planetary defenses. So we can destroy the Stellar Degenerator – all we gotta do is traverse an entire enemy armada, and then pilot it into the sun without the AI’s assistance. Oh is that all?

But hey, we’ll be Level 11 when we go on this suicide mission, so we’ve got that going for us.

Luckily, this isn’t TV so you don’t have to wait six months to find out; just come back next week, as the adventure resumes in Book Six. While you’re waiting to feel free to drop by Discord or other social media; give us your feedback on the show or just join the RFC community. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

106: Crush! Kill! Destroy!

After years of chasing down leads, exploring strange planets, and encountering horrific encounters, the RFC Crew finally faces the leader of the Cult of the Devourer! Plus, we have special guest and author of The Thirteenth Gate Stephen Radney-MacFarland joining us this week!

Oh yeah, and it’s our largest episode to date as well. Check it out!

And don’t forget to join our Discord channel, where you can play games, talk with the cast, and hang out with other fans of the show!

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 Plaguestone 12: Dude, Where’s My Sidequest?

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat: The Fall of Plaguestone, Episode 12: The Cade & Prue Variety Hour!

We start this week with a dispatch from our Department of Random Weird Stuff. I was running a little behind this week and had a fairly small window in which to listen to the show, so I experimented with listening to the show at 1.5x speed for the first time.

Two observations. First, Manic/Flustered Celes gets even more manic and/or flustered when sped up. I highly recommend it. We really need to find a way to just record Vanessa that way all the time. (Then again… I am also easily amused, so your mileage may vary.) Second, Sped-Up Steve sounds even more gleeful and bloodthirsty when trying to kill us. It’s almost like he’s in a barbarian rage, albeit a weirdly cheerful one. Oddly, Cade, Prue, and myself don’t really sound that much different. Maybe we’re actually slow-talkers in real life and speeding up the playback just gets us to socially-acceptable speeds.

So it’s our second week of Sidequest Spectacular, and basically we’re at the point where everyone now has one but Brixley. Now that Cade gets his quest to teach the teenager to fight, it also retroactively brings a clearer focus to the Sir Kent/undead subplot. When we first met Sir Kent, I thought maybe he was part of the main plot – that the “undead” he saw was going to turn out to be Hallod’s hideout, and he was a breadcrumb for that. Now, it’s clearer to see “oh, hey that’s Prue’s sidequest, and it looks like everyone is getting one”. So selfishly, I’m spending a good chunk of this episode in low-key “what about MEEEEEEE?” mode, but I figure we’ll get there. I give it another episode or two – then I go on strike.

I could pout and point out that Brixley is equally capable of teaching the girl to fight – also short, also uses a finesse weapon – but my combat strategy depends on hiding behind much better armor and a shield (which she doesn’t have), so maybe it’s for the best that she learns from the squishy guy who can dodge a blow. Also, I would’ve been a train wreck at trying to sneak the swords past her mom. HERE ARE YOUR SWORDS, MA’AM (clank-clank-clank).

I enjoyed listening to the middle stanza where we cool back at the inn because it represents a general loosening up of the gaming group. I think the first few episodes, we had to figure out our dynamic and get to know each other a bit. Speaking only for myself, I had never played with Vanessa before, I had done ONE session with Loren (one of our Starfinder Society one-shots), and a few more sessions (plus gaming live at PaizoCon) with Rob. So while there was no directive to act a certain way, I think there’s a natural tendency to dial back a little when joining a new group until you figure out other people’s playstyles. To the extent that making a bunch of Dad Jokes about ghost-themed bar drinks is the official “over the hump” signpost… cool.

And in saying that, I don’t want to abandon quality roleplay and turn this adventure into my tight five at H.P. McChuckles. (NOW HERE’S THE THING ABOUT ORCS… AM I RIGHT, PEOPLE?) I genuinely LIKE that this is something different than the Dead Suns group and we do things a different way. I fully admit I swim in the shallower end of the role-play pool, but I do like giving it a shot. But that ability to get silly for a few minutes is still something I like about the hobby in general, so it was nice to finally hit that level of goofiness in a way we hadn’t before – or at least not for an extended period.

The tail end of the episode revolves around the Sir Kent storyline, and eventually, a fight against a ghost. As I listen to that fight, I’m somewhat struck by how good our luck was on that one. First, we generally had fairly good party composition to deal with an incorporeal creature. We had a melee who could create magical attacks (Prue), and we also had a caster (Celes), though the ghost died before she got a chance to go on the offensive. And if we’d really needed it, we had a talisman available as well, which could’ve given someone a round of magic weapon. But then some of it was also getting lucky with rolls – the creature rolled really low and missed all of its attack rolls, and then Prue rolled close to max-damage to make it a one-hit fight. I don’t get the feeling we would’ve been in danger of a TPK, but that could’ve gone a lot worse than it did.

In fact, in our gaming past, it HAS gone worse. Back in the pre-podcast days, our Carrion Crown game got seriously waylaid by our inability to hit incorporeal. I think we spent 2 or 3 sessions because we didn’t have the tools for the job. I was a druid but most of my spells were utility spells, Bob was a Pally, but Smite doesn’t bypass incorporeal, Chris was a caster but also mostly utility – one cast of Magic Missile was all that he had to deal with incorporeal. In fairness, it wasn’t “just” incorporeal, there was also an element of phasing through walls to avoid taking hits. But the principle remains: incorporeal can suck if you don’t have the right tools for the job.

But that was then, this is now, and the one big ghost is no match for Prue’s many little ghosts. How it connects to Sir Kent and where we go from there? (And whether Brixley gets a quest of his own?) I guess we’ll have to find out next week. Until then, feel free to drop by our Discord channel and… tell us what you think of the show, share your best ghost-themed mixology ideas… whatever you like. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.

Plaguestone 12: The Cade & Prue Variety Hour!

After focusing on Celes last week, it’s time for Cade and Prue to get into the side-quest business with the Cade and Prue Variety Hour!

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