July 2020 - Roll For Combat: Paizo's Official Pathfinder & Starfinder Actual Play Podcasts

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The Black Lodge Tale 5, Chapter 2: Sea Monster Sushi

The conclusion of our PaizoCon 2020 live show with Paizo’s Erik Mona and an interactive studio audience!

Roll For Combat, Tales from the Black Lodge Tale #5 is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Society Quest #3 Grehunde’s Gorget. Our guest-star is Paizo’s Erik Mona.

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The Sideshow S1|21: We Come In Peace, Shoot To Kill

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S1|21: No Mercy For Old Men.

This week, the players attempt to fight Gygax’s First Law of RPG Gravity: combat is (and will probably always be) what the system does best.

Since it’s the eve of GenCon, I’ll give you the ten-cent history: Gary Gygax and his friends (Dave Arneson among them) were into tabletop wargaming (anyone remember Avalon Hill?), and around the time Lord Of The Rings got big with hippies, they decided they wanted a set of fantasy wargaming rules so they could have wizards and dragons and armies of orcs and elves fighting instead of Panzer divisions and cavalry. From there, they borrowed a pinch of what game designers would now consider “legacy games” and decided their commanders were distinct individuals with their own lives between the war campaigns, and then they started sending their commanders on adventures without the armies. That’s what eventually became First Edition D&D.

If you really want to drill all the way into this, I’d recommend checking out Jon Peterson’s Playing At The World. Peterson gets all the way in the weeds with first-person interviews and also by delving into the newsletters and other correspondence Gygax and his collaborators were exchanging at the time they were building this stuff. I’ll warn you the tone is a little dry and “academic”, but it really gives you a full picture of how this whole thing sprang into existence.

Sorry… book plug done. The reason I mention all of this is that while TSR/Wizards and Paizo have made admirable efforts to beef up the “social interaction” side of the game over the last few decades, it can still at times be an exercise in pulling teeth to do anything other than draw weapons and start whaling away. Which is kinda what happened here – the two sides went round and round for about 10 minutes and then we had the moment from the Conan sequel where Conan (played by Rob in this case) says “ENOUGH TALK” and throws a dagger into dude’s stomach.

For the record, sorry Steve, but I was on the player’s side on the dispute with the two guards. If you break it down, the players were offering them a BETTER deal than what they were insisting upon. The players were offering to let them leave WITH their weapons, and the guards were digging in their heels on the idea that they should give up their weapons first? In an area that’s potentially a hot spot for undead activity? If they really wanted to get as far as possible from the ghouls in good faith, they should’ve jumped all over the party’s offer. Frankly, given that there were reinforcements on the way, it doesn’t seem like their faith was that good in the first place. Seems more like they were trying to stall for time and get some help.

Of course, the battle itself is a total afterthought, thanks to Hap critting on a Burning Hands that hits all three targets. Two of the three dead immediately, the other basically on his last legs, and finished off with the next attack. So much for a peaceful resolution, I suppose. Not even a chance to render them unconscious.

Next, we have the fight with the person that we’ll assume for the moment is the boss… at least this time, she’s unambiguously evil – both in her own actions, the defaced holy symbol and in the fact that she’s got a demon riding shotgun. Only much to Steve’s chagrin, we don’t really get to see what she can do: Alhara manages to evade her first big spell, and the melees basically pound her into the ground before she can do much else. Including yet another crit, this time by Rob. Team GM just can’t buy a break tonight.

It’s funny… I had never really thought about it before now, but Steve’s got a point. As a GM, for the story to progress and the game to continue, the GM ends up bearing the burden of losing. Over and over again. Maybe you push the party to their limits, but at the end of the day, you usually end up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. And you can be the most party-friendly GM in the world, and I imagine that would get a little tedious after a while. I mean… the guys who play for the Washington Generals probably take some satisfaction in helping the Harlem Globetrotters put on a good show, but deep down I bet every one of them wants to cut loose one night, play a legit game, and just run the Globetrotters off the court.

In a setting like that, I guess one of the few comforts would be that you get to test-drive different creatures and use powers that maybe the players don’t even have access to. You lose, but you get to lose with style. But if the party lands a crit or two and beats your enemy’s ass in basically one turn… you just get to take the beating and watch the players celebrate.

As an aside, the best one of these I ever participated in was a sub-boss battle in Iron Gods. It was an archer who was going to be taking free shots at us as we worked our way up a winding staircase. There were a few places to take cover, but it was probably shaping up to multiple rounds of misery. But I landed a Hold Person spell, and then Steve failed three straight saves to break free. So while the archer was stuck in stasis, we full-round moved up the steps and coup-de-grace’d the archer without him ever firing a shot. Not very sporting, but effective.

Back to action, the party ties up the witch and does a little healing, which brings up the abstract question of the evening – how effectively can one “tie up” a caster? Now, the easiest of the three to deal with is material components: if you take away their stuff (including their holy symbol/focus item), they can’t cast any spells that require stuff. But that doesn’t take away as much as you would think – a lot of lower-level spells are just Verbal and Somatic anyway. As far as Somatic, the rules explicitly state a caster can’t do Somatic gestures while restrained, so Somatic is meant to be more than “wiggle your pinky”. So on the surface that suggests you could actually tie a caster up pretty effectively. However, that’s assuming you’re some expert at tying restraining knots and or securing them somewhere that would be hard to escape from. If you leave someone unattended while you explore the rest of a dungeon, what’s to say they can’t break free of their bonds and escape to fight another day? I have a feeling we may yet learn the answer to this question.

In the meantime, our party of intrepid adventurers continues their exploration, and basically finish the session by roughing up an old married couple. Nice. For the third straight combat, a crit shortens the fight quite a bit, though at least this time they were explicitly doing non-lethal damage, so they didn’t kill anyone. I don’t usually feel sorry for Steve (rooting for the GM is like rooting for the dealer at a casino), but yeah… 0-for-3 with each fight basically lasting one round was a pretty miserable evening.

And still no sign of the undead that they’re supposed to exterminate. Watch… that’s when all those 20s will turn to 1s. But I guess we’ll find out next week. As usual, feel free to drop by Discord and let us know what you think of the show, but also, if you’re reading this Thursday, I hope you’ll drop by virtual GenCon tonight and check out our live Black Lodge session. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.

Pathfinder Lost Omens Legends Review: Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Make sure to read Jason’s review of the Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook, as well as his review of the Pathfinder Lost Omens: World Guide, Character Guide, Gods & Magic, Gamemastery Guide, and Bestiary 2.

If you enjoyed this review make sure to check out our Pathfinder Adventure Path: Three Ring Adventure and our Tales from the Black Lodge Podcast.

Paizo’s new hardcover, Lost Omens Legends, hits the streets in time for GenCon, and I have to admit it presents a bit of a challenge for me as a reviewer.

Let’s start with the basics of what it is: Lost Omens Legends is an introductory guide to many of the major NPC luminaries of the Golarion setting – political leaders, world heroes, wise scholars, and powerful mages, and so on. If Lost Omens Gods & Magic introduced us to the gods themselves, this book introduces us to the movers and shakers of the material world. Furthermore, there are several overarching stories going on in the current world of Golarion’s Inner Sea, and many of the characters in this book are the central figures of those over-arching stories. The aftermath of the wizard war between Geb and Nex. The ongoing undead threat posed by the Whispering Tyrant, Tar-Baphon. The general society-wide battle over the future of slavery in the Inner Sea region. Lost Omens Legends offers up deeper portraits of the people at the heart of these stories.

So here’s the dilemma…

With any book, there’s always going to be a trade-off between lore and mechanics. Imagine a 1-to-10 scale: a 1 would be all lore and no rules content (“we converted the entire Beatles’ catalog to Elvish so you can use them as bard songs!”) while a 10 would be all rules content and no lore – basically a professionally bound set of Excel spreadsheets.

Generally, my sweet spot tends to be in the 6-7 range. Don’t get me wrong… I like adventuring in a world that feels authentic and lived-in and appreciate the creativity Paizo puts into the campaign setting. But at the end of the day, I like it when my rulebooks have… well… rules. When I look to add stuff to my collection; I want to know what tangible impacts it’s going to add to the game – new monsters to fight, new abilities for my characters to try, cool treasure to find, and so on.

Lost Omens Legends? We’re talking maybe a 2-and-a-half. Yes, they throw in a feat here and a magic item there associated with the various luminaries detailed in the book, but the vast majority of it is roleplay flavor.

Not that that’s a bad thing per se. For GMs, it’s probably a great tool. If you create your own content, there’s a lot of fertile material for generating stories here; even if you’re “just” running existing Paizo adventure paths, a GM can roleplay situations better if they know who the players are and how all the parts fit together at the macro level. And, OK, there’s a subset of players who get into the lore far more than I do and will really enjoy this content for what it is. In short, it probably belongs on someone’s shelf. But if I’m being totally honest, it’s not something I would feel a strong need to own.

Let’s dig into the content a little deeper by using an example: the abolition movement. Slavery was outlawed in the city of Absalom by the acting primarch, Wynsal Starborn. Starborn is acting primarch, but actually wants his bro Ulthun II (previously the Watcher-Lord of Lastwall until it was overrun by the Whispering Tyrant) to take the job, while Ulthun thinks Wynsal should just take the job permanently. The pro-slavery forces are primarily represented by Abrogail Thrune II, ruler of Cheliax, and she’s got the Hellknights in her corner enforcing order. The leader of the most distinguished order of the Hellknights is Toulon Vidoc, who is mostly an ally, but sometimes he and Thrune butt heads because he believes in punishing ALL crime, including some of Thrune’s corrupt underlings. There’s also an underground abolition group, the Bellflower Network, run by halfling siblings Magdalene and Martum Fallows; and there’s even a masked pro-abolition vigilante called the Sapphire Butterfly, a former actress who now attempts to assist the Bellflower Network and overthrow Thrune. One of her gambits is to leave evidence against Thrune for Vidoc to find, so… we’ve even got the beginnings of a “Commissioner Gordon and Batman” frenemies thing going here. Lost Omens Legends gives us character sketches of all these dramatis personae – who they are, what they believe, who their allies and enemies are, and so on.

It’s not ALL Game of Thrones levels of palace intrigue, though. You also have a case like master alchemist Artokus Kirran. Kirran is the inventor of something called the Sun Orchid Elixir, which is basically a potion of immortality. In his story, we learn that he basically produces only six vials of it every year, that each vial sells for 60-80 THOUSAND gold pieces, and that the sun orchids that fuel the thing are fairly rare. He’s not explicitly tied to any particular nation or story, but on the other hand, who wouldn’t want an immortality potion? (Possibly even including really rich high-level players?) So on some level, he can be relevant to any story.

You can see how these pieces can be wielded in the hands of a GM who knows what they’re doing. If your characters are low level, these are probably just abstract names you hear talked about at the local tavern, but as the characters become more formidable, they might actually interact directly with some of these folks. Maybe the Sapphire Butterfly enlists the players to go on a mission to dig up some evidence against Thrune. Maybe there’s rumors of a new source of sun orchids and the players have to go investigate whether it’s true or not – if not directly for Kirran, maybe for a competitor who’s trying to develop their own version of the Sun Orchid Elixir or to corner the sun orchid market and force Kirran to give them a vial. There’s a lot of raw material that can be turned into viable stories by the enterprising GM.

Some of my favorite parts aren’t the people themselves but the little nuggets of “flavor” within a character description. In one of the sidebars for Abrogail Thrune, it mentions that she has a pit fiend named Gorthoklek as an advisor. OK, that’s kinda cool, but where it gets amusing is the rumors that it’s the pit fiend that has to talk Thrune out of HER more extreme impulses. Similarly, there’s Jakalyn, the Blood Mistress of the Red Mantis Assassins. An anonymous messenger turned up requesting a contract on Tar-Baphon himself – you know: a lich and the next closest thing to a god. She imprisoned the messenger and eventually found out the request came from Razmir, so she’s currently deciding between killing Razmir in retaliation, or maybe going through with the contract and killing Tar-Baphon anyway. Gotta respect that level of professionalism.

What sort of hard content is available, you might ask?

First, I will warn you: no stat blocks. It’s pretty clear Paizo doesn’t intend for you to actually fight any of these people. Though, if your party goes full murder-hobo, most of them do come with a class designation, so a forward-thinking GM could probably just assume them to be Level 20 and whip up a character sheet of the appropriate flavor. But if you’re playing official Paizo content, it might be awkward to get a mission from someone you killed six months ago. So maybe just don’t do that, mkaaaaaay?

Abrograil Thrune II has the ability to grant demonic “Thrune contracts”; basically, she’s a mortal who’s entrusted to make contracts on Asmodeus’ behalf. They function as an innate magic item with both a passive and an activated effect. BUT, there’s a few drawbacks. First, Thrune has the ability to override the contract (usually once per day): for example, the Infernal Healing contract triples the healing you normally get from resting, but Thrune can override and prevent any healing from rests for one day. The other is that if you die while under the effects of a Thrune contract, your soul goes to Hell. ALWAYS READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

There’s an alchemist, Kassi Aziril, who’s a “scientific healer”, who has lots of interesting healing gear and feats associated with her. From her, you can get access to vaccines (immunity to a disease from a specific source/creature, +2 to saves against the same disease from different source/creature) and addiction suppressants. You can also get a feat that lets you use Medicine instead of Crafting to craft medical gear and an expansion of Battle Medicine which removes status effects as well as healing damage. The barbarians of Numeria, as represented by Kevoth-Kul, have access to a crafting material called sovereign steel (an alloy of cold iron and skymetal) that has magical resistance properties. There’s also a spy named Avarneus, who has a bunch of medieval non-magical Q-Branch gear: invisible ink, a recording device that etches sound into wax cylinders and can be hidden in a book, a bracelet that can either shoot a single dart or can be expanded into a hand crossbow, and my favorite – a pair of goggles that can pick up the fumes of a particular brand of incense (which you would presumably mark a person you wanted to track with). So it’s not that there’s nothing there: it’s just scattered around and there’s not as much of it as some of us would like.

In general terms, the book is organized alphabetically, though some entries end up being a two or three-for-one: sometimes there’s a secondary character who’s so closely aligned with the primary character that they get included in the entry. The halfling siblings who run the Bellflower Network are an obvious example of this; another would be the aforementioned barbarian Kevoth-Kul, and his sometimes-girlfriend/second-in-command Kul-Inkit. However, there are tools to help navigate. First, each person’s write-up has a little block at the end where they mention what other people you might want to read up on. Furthermore, the end of the book has a very useful mini-index where the relationships of the major storylines are represented visually as flowcharts: Person A is battling Person B; C and D are helping A; E is thinking about joining B; F is waiting to see who wins so they can sweep in and approach the winner with an offer, etc. So if you’re a GM working with a particular story, you can see at a glance which NPCs would make sense to include in your shenanigans and which would be coming out of left field if they made an appearance.

So that’s Lost Omens Legends in a nutshell. It’s certainly not a bad book, I just think its appeal is a little more selective than most Paizo official releases. GMs who roll their own content and people who really get deep into the lore of the Pathfinder world will find this book a welcome addition to their collection; others (like myself) are going to find it a little light on practical application.

Pathfinder Second Edition Advanced Player’s Guide Review: Choose Your Own Adventurer

Make sure to read Jason’s review of the Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook, as well as his review of the Pathfinder Lost Omens: World Guide, Character Guide, Gods & Magic, Gamemastery Guide, and Bestiary 2.

If you enjoyed this review make sure to check out our Pathfinder Adventure Path: Three Ring Adventure and our Tales from the Black Lodge Podcast.

Confession time. As someone who almost always sits on the player side of the table, I’ve grumbled my way through the Gamemaster’s Guide and two Bestiaries muttering “what’s in it for me?” under my breath.

The Advanced Player’s Guide for Pathfinder Second Edition does NOT present that problem. It’s ALL about the players. Five new ancestries, four new classes, a vastly expanded archetype system… for those of us who get so distracted making new characters that they forget to actually play the game – this book’s definitely not going to help that problem at all; in fact, it’ll just make it worse. Now when I say “new”, I suppose we can be honest and say that a veteran of First Edition will recognize most of what’s in here from First Edition, but I’m going to mostly write about everything as if it’s “new”-new since you never know who decided to take the plunge with Second Edition and doesn’t have that background to fall back on.

It’s tempting to skip ahead and start with the new classes since that’s probably the “big deal” to many players, but I’m going to maintain sanity and follow the flow of the book for now. So let’s talk ancestries. I should start by saying two things. First, I’m trying to break old habits and not just reflexively write off ancestries I don’t personally think I’d like (cough-kobolds-cough). We can thank Starfinder for that: I decided to play a ysoki largely as a goof, and Dr. Tuttle Blacktail turned out to be one of my favorite characters ever. But I’m also gonna say that on the POSITIVE side, I can barely contain my excitement that the tengu made the cut here – I LOVED my Bird Buddies in First Edition and can’t wait to roll one. Not so much that I’d get reckless and suicidal with my current Society character (among other things: Steve would probably kill me if he had to get new artwork done), but the gears are definitely turning.

At any rate… let’s take a quick look at each of these.

PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE (ANCESTRIES)

Cat folk (as opposed to “Cat People” which is a more obscure and VERY 80’s David Bowie track) have DEX and CHA as bonus stats and WIS as a flaw, so they’re going to make good rogues, bards, and such. Stature-wise, they’re not a “small” race, but more like elves – on the small, lean side of human norms. One thing that amused me is that they worked the old “cats always land on their feet” adage into the fabric of the character and catfolk take reduced damage from falling. I also like that they have catfolk names and names they use with outsiders that loosely correspond to pet names – so if you want to call your catfolk “Mr. Mittens”… well, that’s just their public name, and they still have a more dignified one for polite catfolk society.

Kobolds are dragonfolk, but runty ones – they actually ARE a small race. Like catfolk, DEX and CHA are their bonus stats, but their negative is CON, so you want to be a little more careful about putting them on the front lines. One thing I noticed about these guys is that some of their feats revolve around people underestimating them or not taking them seriously – for example, there’s a feat called Cringe where you can make an enemy feel sorry for you and pull back on an attack, doing less damage. On the more formidable side, they do have to end up getting access to a lot of dragon-y things – bite attacks, a poison tail, innate magical ability, even a scaled-back breath weapon – as either heritages or ancestry feats. And there’s also a path to be oddly good with snares.

Orcs are… orcs. I suppose once the half-orc heritage existed, it was inevitable that a whole-orc would come along to fill out the roster. Their main ability score is STR, and they (along with tengu) trade not having a second stat bump in exchange for having no flaw. Most of their feats are geared toward toe-to-toe combat, though there’s also a subset of feats that pertain to training beasts, so they might play well as rangers or druids too.

Ratfolk, also know as ysoki, are smart and nimble (DEX and INT), but STR is their flaw stat. They make good casters, rogue-likes, and such. Their feats are an interesting grab bag – some underground/dungeoneering type skills, a lot of skills that take advantage of kinship with regular rats (able to speak with normal rats, the animal messenger spell, even an ability to disguise one’s self as a regular rat, etc.). And then there’s the cheek pouches: ysoki can store items in their cheeks for easy access, which is moderately useful (it’s generally only an item of Light Bulk unless you take additional feats) but it’s GREAT roleplaying flavor to be able to, say, stash a wand in your mouth to sneak it past guards.

Lastly, we have my personal favorite, the tengu. I don’t know… I’m just attracted to the idea of bird-based humanoids. Their bonus stat is DEX, and like orcs, they trade lack of a flaw for their second bonus stat. Now, tengu are generally flightless, but you can take the Skyborn Tengu heritage that gets them the equivalent of a feather fall ability, and there are feats you can take to get more of a full flying form at higher levels. They also have a smattering of electricity-based feats and have an affinity for swords, such that normally-exotic swords like katanas and temple swords are familiar to them. Annnnd… oh dear… I’d better move along before Nella starts wandering precariously close to cliffs.

Now, when I say there are five new ancestries… that wasn’t quite the whole story.

SWISS-ARMY SCIONS (VERSATILE HERITAGES)

The Advanced Player’s Guide also introduces us to the concept of Versatile Heritages. You know how half-elf and half-orc sneak in the side door as human heritages? Well, imagine heritages that can be applied to ANY ancestry in place of a “normal” heritage, and that’s what a Versatile Heritage is. Now, veterans of First Edition will recognize these as additional First Edition races, so by a First Edition measuring stick, there are five more choices we didn’t have before. We’ve got Changelings (part hag; also usually but not exclusively female), Dhampir (mortal spawn of vampires), and Planar Scions (aasimar, tieflings, and duskwalkers – half-angel, half-devil, and… we’ll come back to what duskwalkers are). So instead of just being “a Tiefling” you can be a “tiefling human” or a “dhampir catfolk”.

At first glance, I’ll admit I was a little thrown by this. Over the years, I had a Tiefling rogue I was kind of fond of (though he mostly appeared in computer-based games like Neverwinter Nights), and my immediate knee-jerk reaction was “why is Noem being reduced to a second-class citizen”? But then I thought about it, and as a roleplaying mechanism, it may actually be more powerful this way. Those separate ancestries like aasimar and tiefling have always kind of been “half-something”, so acknowledging that a) lets you be more flexible about what the other “half” is and b) lets roleplayers really dig into how they wish to identify. One Changeling might want to deny their hag side and blend in as an elf; another may proudly be “yeah, my mom was a hag, catch these hands… errr… claws!”; a third may not really be in touch with either “side” of themselves and just feel like some oddity set loose in the world. In some ways, I feel like it’s a more versatile roleplay tool than just saying “if you’re part vampire you’re cut off the other half of what you are and the vampire-ness becomes your entire identity”.

I also wanted to stay on Duskwalkers for a second because of the lore: they’re the one entry here that’s not “half-something”. Their background gets into the mythology of Pharasma and The Boneyard. Sometimes the guardians of The Boneyard (psychopomps) can’t decide what to do with a soul after death: reincarnate it into a new form or send it on to its final destination. In a select few cases, they basically punt the decision and bring it back as a Duskwalker. Think of it as an earthly enforcer of the cycle of life and death – they’ve got lots of little perks that make them effective against undead. But of course, they’re also outsiders, including gray or blue skin that makes them look half-dead, so you’re giving up “fitting in with society” to make that happen.

OK, we’re almost up to the new classes, but before we get there, there are a few smaller sections to cover. I hate glossing over, but we have a lot to cover. We have a few new ancestry feats for the Core Rulebook ancestries, a few new common backgrounds (in a very Sweeney Todd twist, the “Barber” background gives you Surgery Lore and the Risky Surgery skill feat), and perhaps the most interesting concept: Rare Backgrounds. These are backgrounds that are a little more exotic and require a GM consult before taking. Some of them have more powerful benefits than your normal skill bumps, but some also come with drawbacks as well. The most intriguing one I saw here was the Amnesiac – where you don’t actually know your character’s own backstory but the GM does. That’s evil, and I love it.

WELCOME TO THE CLASSY CLUB (CLASSES)

OK… we’re here. New classes. Obviously these aren’t TOTALLY new because they conducted a playtest, and even within our show, we’re actually using the playtest version of two of those classes. But here they are… the final versions, released into the wild.

First, we have the Investigator. I’d describe it as a little bit of rogue, a little bit of alchemist, and a LOT of stuff that is skills-based that doesn’t really fit ANY of the other classes. Everything flows off the concept of Investigations and the core skill “Pursue A Lead”: think of it as an intellectual Smite target. Once the Investigator is on an active case, they start getting bonuses to rolls if it’s related to the investigation. On the combat side, it can make the Investigator’s attacks more effective in fights related to the investigation; in skill challenges, the Investigator becomes more effective at things like Sense Motive, Perception, and other “detective-y” skills. In combat, they’re never going to be mistaken for a front-line fighter, but they do have some alchemy skills and they have class tools (“Devise a Stratagem” and the “Strategic Strike”) that they use their Intelligence to attack with precision damage that increases as they level. But let’s be blunt: the Investigator is context-heavy and depends on your table’s campaign style. If your campaign style is primarily straight-up dungeon crawls, the soft skills mostly go to waste and it’s hard to see it filling much of a role unless your GM is REALLY generous about what constitutes an “investigation”. But if you’re doing campaigns that get into roleplay and palace intrigue and solving mysteries, an Investigator has a GREAT flavor and a really interesting toolkit for those.

The Oracle, at its heart, is a Charisma-based divine caster. Lore-wise, it’s a divine caster that doesn’t serve a particular god, but rather serves universal “Mysteries” like Battle or Flames. In addition to a general repertoire of divine spells, an Oracle has specialized “revelation spells” related to their Mystery which they can cast from a separate pool of focus points. The good news is those focus points regenerate every short rest, so you have almost-constant access to some pretty powerful tools. The bad news is you have to manage the downside effects of those spells, which can get pretty severe, and never totally go away until you take a full 8-hour rest. Just to pick an example, your Flames oracle starts with a “vision” of flames that just makes it hard to see past 30 feet, but if their curse gets all the way to the Major level, they generate a 4d6 flame aura (actual fire, not “holographic” flames) that damages friend and foe alike, and also damages themselves for 1d6 per round… unless they use one action each turn to actively suppress it. In addition to all of that, they also have a package of class feats that focuses on ties to mystical knowledge – some of the classic metamagic feats like Reach Spell and Widen Spell, things like a premonition that lets a party member roll twice for initiative and take the better result, or an always-on Detect Magic ability.

Next up we have the Swashbuckler, which Vanessa Hoskins is playing in our Extinction Curse show. How best to characterize this? Half rogue, half bard? A rogue with 38 pieces of flair? Essentially it’s a nimble DEX-based fighter that uses skill-based moves to generate “panache”, that both has passive benefits and can also be used to power other abilities and finishing maneuvers. Mechanically, it’s reminiscent of the rogue in World Of Warcraft, except that panache is binary – you either have panache or you don’t. The default finisher you get at Level 1 applies precision damage, but you can also use finishers that stun, apply bleed damage, or other effects. The class also has a general focus on movement – Acrobatics is a core skill and several feats combine movement and attack into a single action – and a lesser focus on luck, where you have abilities that let you roll twice and taking the higher result.

Lastly, we have the Witch, which is also represented in our Extinction Curse show by Rob Pontius’ Ateran. Like the Sorcerer, the Witch can originate from any of the sources of magic – you’d think occult would be a natural fit, but Witch backgrounds are varied enough that you can have a Witch of any of the four magical traditions. The Witch has a couple of interesting features. First, the Witch’s familiar is basically a living spellbook – it holds the Witch’s full array of spells, from which the Witch selects the day’s specific choices, and it can learn new spells from reading scrolls or talking to other familiars. There are also several class feats that allow Witches to “beef up” their familiar in interesting ways. Second, the Witch’s main class feature is the Hex spell: these are usually (but not always) sustained spells that the Witch can cast and sustain over multiple rounds to enact various effects on friends and enemies. Less “Big-N-Boomy”, more “stand there and watch the bad guys melt away”, though they can certainly still have a few big bombs in their conventional spell arsenal. Like some of the other caster classes, Hexes run off a pool of focus points instead of spell slots, so they can be replenished through short rests.

The section on character classes closes with a brief revisit to the classes of the Core Rulebook. Most of this is just adding a few extra class feats, and… everyone’s going to have their own favorites. I personally kind of like the Druid’s Verdant Weapon, which is a seed that can grow into a weapon of the Druid’s choosing and then shrink back down. That’s pretty damn cool, flavor-wise. But two things stand out. First, sorcerers get a few new bloodlines – genie, nymph, psychopomp, and shadow. But perhaps more interesting, the Champion class finally puts a stake in the ground on evil champions – the Tyrant (Lawful), Desecrator (Neutral), and Anti-Paladin (Chaotic). Obviously evil characters should be used with caution in general and can’t be used in Society play at all, but it’s a welcome and necessary addition to the overall fabric of Second Edition.

There’s also a very brief section that adds a few new familiars. Not much to say here except that a “Spellslime” is now an option. If you don’t think my next caster is having a slime familiar, you don’t know me very well. I SHALL CALL HIM “SQUISHY”, AND HE SHALL BE MY SQUISHY!

But look, we’ve arrived at the stealth star of this book – a dramatic expansion of Archetypes.

WELCOME TO INNER COAST CUSTOMS (ARCHETYPES)

Up until now, “archetype” in Second Edition had mostly been synonymous with “multiclassing”. There were a few fairly specialized archetypes in the Lost Omens World Guide (Hellknight, Red Mantis Assassin, etc.), but most of those had fairly specific entry criteria. But with the Advanced Player’s Guide, the world of archetypes is DRAMATICALLY expanded and takes it in all sorts of interesting and flavorful directions. (Though in fairness, four of the entries are the multiclass archetypes for the new classes we just discussed above.)

The Beastmaster, for instance, provides an easy way to bolt an animal companion onto any character. Is it going to be as dynamic as a ranger that specializes in the bond? Of course not. But if you want a monk who happens to have befriended a giant toad (guess whose kid is re-watching Naruto at the moment?), it’s an option.

Or maybe you want to be a cleric that just happens to be REALLY good with a shield. The Bastion archetype has you covered – it’s JUST shield-related skills, such as adding block to characters that wouldn’t normally have it, the ability to treat a shield hand as a free hand for the purposes of casting spells and retrieving items, and so on. One of my favorites is the Medic: it gives you things like increased healing on Treat Wounds, the ability to use Battle Medicine a second time on the same ally, the ability to combine a Stride and a Battle Medicine into a combined action, and at Level 16 you can even try to raise a recently-dead (three rounds) teammate solely with healer’s tools.

It’s not all optimized for combat, though. You can also be an Archeologist, where you can get access to a few information-gathering spells even if you’re not a caster, you can use Society to decipher writing, and various Knowledge and Lore bonuses are available. Or you can be a Celebrity (Golarion has Instagram influencers?) – which can give you benefits earning income, can modify certain persuasion-based checks because people are drawn to you, and such.

I should mention that some of these are gated in one way or another so that it doesn’t turn into a free-for-all. For Eldritch Archer, for example, you have to already be an Expert with some sort of bow, and it isn’t even an option until Level 6. Dragon Disciple doesn’t have a level gate but does require some sort of draconic influence – a draconic sorcerer, a dragon instinct barbarian, or a kobold with the dragonscaled or spellscaled heritage. So this isn’t just “everyone can be whatever they want” anarchy – there’s some degree of thought about who should be walking around with some of these abilities. There’s a general restriction that if you go into one archetype, you have to put at least two additional skills into it before you can do another, so you can’t do some ridiculous thing where you mix-and-match from six different archetypes to make a complete Franken-character.

It also feels like a system that’s really easy to extend as needed. Want to make… I dunno…. a blitzball player from Final Fantasy X? Create an archetype that has some water-breathing and swimming skills, maybe a few ranged attack bonuses, and you’re basically an honorary member of the Besaid Aurochs. Minus the Tidus Laugh, which you have to supply yourself.

YOU’RE THE REST… AROUND (THE REST OF THE BOOK)

The remaining chapters are comparatively short, but we’ll take a brief look at them. First, we have some new Feats for the taking, and I’ll just toss you a couple of quick favorites to give some of the flavor. First, there’s Lead Climber, which allows a good climber to basically use their skill to make it easier for people that follow them – set ropes, point out handholds, etc. Pilgrim’s Token is a nice simple Level 1 Religion feat that gives you a token that breaks initiative ties in your favor. But my favorite is Risky Surgery, a diabolically amazing Medicine skill – you do an additional 1d8 slashing damage to the patient, but then you get a +2 on the Treat Wounds, and if you succeed, it becomes a critical success.

The next chapter is spells, and there’s really two parts to this. There’s a solid 14 pages of new additions to the main spell lists, and there’s some fun stuff there. I will say it’s mostly lower-level additions – just skimming, I saw ONE 7th level spell, and only a handful higher than 5th. My personal favorite here is “Vomit Swarm” where you basically shoot a cone of bugs out of your mouth that sting people in its path for 2d8 of damage. The other half of the spell chapter contains the focus spells which is almost entirely the new content presented in this book – Oracle revelations, Witch hexes, spells for the evil champions, and the new sorcerer bloodlines. Other than that, there’s a HANDFUL of monk, bard, ranger spells, but the vast majority of this part is enabling the new classes. At the end of the chapter, we add a surprising number of rituals – from a fairly low-level ritual called Heartbond, which allows two people to know each other’s rough location (distance and direction) through a two action concentrate; to Clone, which basically prepares a clone of a character’s body which the character’s soul can use as a new home if the original character dies. (Annnnnd… we’ve officially crossed the streams with Altered Carbon.)

Last, we have a brief section on items, magical and otherwise. The non-magical items seem mostly like they exist to enable the new content of this book – lots of detective tools and a few exotic swords for tengu to play around with. Though… I gotta say… two magical words: “sword cane”. The magic items were a nice mix: personally I liked the Earthsight Box. It’s a box full of sand with dwarven runes, but if you activate it, the sand forms into a 3-D tunnel map of everything in 60 feet in any direction. It’s not explicitly stated, but since it reveals tunnels and “voids in the earth” when underground, it sounds like it might also be a decent secret passage detector.

But anyway… that’s the Advanced Player’s Guide. I just gotta say I really loved this book. Not just in a superficial “I’m a player, give me toys to play with” way… though, yeah, also that. But I think what really leaps out to me is that the things I appreciated most are NOT the things I expected to like going in. New classes, new ancestries… of course it’s going to be fun to play around with those. But things like Versatile Heritages and the expansion of Archetypes really made the light bulb turn on and started to really show where Second Edition is going as a system. I think you’re definitely gonna want to add this one to your bookshelf. That aasimar tengu pirate isn’t just gonna roll itself!

Three Ring Adventure S1|21: No Mercy For Old Men

Are the RFC Crew murder hobos or simply “cleansing the corruption?” You decide!

Roll For Combat, Three Ring Adventure Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Extinction Curse starting with the first book, The Show Must Go On.

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!

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Talking Tales: Tale 5, Chapter 1, The People Have Spoken

Jason recaps the events from The Black Lodge Tale 5, Chapter 1: Water Water Everywhere.

This week’s Talking (and probably next’s) is going to be a bit weird just because of the circumstances… it’s a review of a live show some of you have already heard live, so I’m more self-conscious than usual about telling you things you might already know.

I suppose I’ll start by pulling back the curtain a little on the pre-game, and get into what, if anything, is different about doing a totally live show like this? I think there are two major things, and they’re both fairly positive changes.

First, when you’re in a live setting like this, you’re very aware of being “on the clock”. You’ve got a window you’re supposed to fit the show into (even if there was no one on after us, you still have to expect that some people planned for three hours and might need to bail when the clock hits 3:01), and you also know in the back of your head that Steve can’t go back and take out the dead spots and make you sound more interesting than you are. (Take a starting-to-be-tedious 15 minutes of discussion and boil it down to a tolerable 8 or 9). So some of the Paralysis By Analysis and 10-minute rulebook digressions tend to fall by the wayside. For our group, that’s huge.

The other is: I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I see comments flying by in the chat and other indications of a live audience, I’m much more aware of the need to “entertain” with my character choices. In a normal session, where maybe we have a couple of people on the Patreon chat, it’s not like I don’t care AT ALL, but I do tend to play tactically first and foremost. Fairly by-the-book, make the “right” decision whether it makes for good podcasting or not. In a setting like this, I tend to open things up a little more and do the thing that will make things happen – good, bad, or indifferent.

I have to admit Erik Mona gave a fantastic summary of the previous adventure… we probably do need to hire him to recap all our adventurers as Vortaris. That said, I ended up finding the chronology a little hard to keep straight in my brain – at the time we recorded this, we had played the first Vortaris adventure, but it hadn’t “aired” yet. So he had to summarize that one, but without actually spoiling anything major. So we’re talking about that one in the future tense, but also in the past tense, and frankly, my brain started to overheat trying to figure it all out. It was like that one scene in Spaceballs when they were watching the VHS tape of their own movie. “So when’s it going to be now?

I know it’s probably unrealistic given Erik’s busy schedule, but I find myself hoping we get to see more of Vortaris down the road. I find there’s “different” in a way that’s interesting and “different” in a way that’s just annoying or contrarian – “I’m just going to mess with other people in the name of ‘roleplaying’ my character” – and I think Erik has a good feel for where that line is.  Or… I was only half kidding: maybe Vortaris can be the villain of an adventure down the road once he assembles his undead army.

So the adventure begins with a mission debrief and then we’re off on the high seas (yet again – poor Nixnox). As with a lot of these Society adventurers, the game starts with a low-stakes social interaction, in the form of the card game. That tends to be a by-design feature. If you think about the role Society occupies, you figure these get played pretty often at conventions, sometimes with tables full of strangers. Jumping right into battle before you know who’s a grizzled veteran and who’s sitting down at a table for the first time might get people killed, so you give them a non-lethal activity to get to know each other first.

Two things – other than John’s supernaturally good luck — struck me about the dice game in hindsight. First, he figures it out right at the end, but Chris spent most of the game misunderstanding the rules – he was thinking you just had to get 12 or over when it had to be EXACTLY 12. So he was going aggressive and making bigger bets than the odds warranted because he thought any suitably high enough third roll would be a winner. Right at the end, he figures it out, but… oops. The second thing I noticed is that if you didn’t win on the opening roll, a 6 was the sweet spot for the first roll because it gives you two outs on the third die – a 1 gives you 7 and a 6 gives you 12. Any other roll would only leave you with 1 win condition – a 2-5 could go for 7 but not 12; a 7-11 could go for 12 but already overshot 7.

After the dice game, we get our first real test, and it’s a skills challenge. The bad news for Nella is that none of the things she could be doing are things she’s all that good at. A 14 DEX means a +2 for Acrobatics, but that’s canceled out by her armor penalty. Fortunately, though, Nat 20 saves the day!

The dynamic of having the crowd vote on things is something new we tried this time out, and it ended up being kind of fun way to introduce some randomness into the situation. I’m not sure I would want the vox populi deciding on anything that was truly life or death, but for something silly like the card game or even the storm, it adds a nice little dimension to things. It does tend to reward the players who play… flamboyantly?… so at least early on, I wasn’t getting many votes because Peepers and Vortaris were getting the lion’s share of the positive attention, but those are the breaks. File it away as a learning opportunity for next time. WIN THE CROWD, MAXIMUS!

As we end the first half of the adventure, we roll up to the shipwreck that’s the destination of our mission. I don’t know about anyone else, but I felt like it had “trap” written all over it, which is why I decided to hang back a little when the boarding party went aboard. And sure enough… MOLD. I was expecting something more humanoid, but that’s certainly an option.

And that’s where we’ll pick it up next week. Thanks for listening (potentially TWICE in this case) and we’ll see you next week.

The Black Lodge Tale 5, Chapter 1: Water Water Everywhere

Coming to you live from PaizoCon 2020, a rebroadcast of our live show with Paizo’s Erik Mona and an interactive studio audience! Also featuring the greatest recap of all time!

Roll For Combat, Tales from the Black Lodge Tale #5 is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Society Quest #3 Grehunde’s Gorget.  Our guest-star is Paizo’s Erik Mona.

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!

The Sideshow S1|20: Blood-Red Carpet

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S1|20: The Wind And The Waves.

Well, it finally happened. We all joke about COVID-19 making so life so weird and time so fluid that you can forget what day it is, but this week it actually happened to me. I went out to walk the dogs this morning, started thinking about my day’s schedule and where I was going to fit the final polish of my review of the Advanced Player’s Guide, and the brain kicked in: “Yesterday was Thursday, weren’t you supposed to write a Talking Combat?”.

Oops.

So… no, I wasn’t donating a kidney or fighting crime dressed as a giant bat; I just forgot what day it was. My bad.

So this week we pick up with the “assault” on the hermitage, though it starts out fairly pleasantly, with Hap knocking cheerfully on the door like she was the local Girl Scout troop on a cookie run. And then Druids-But-Not-Druids start swinging on them. How uncouth!

First, let’s discuss this whole “it turns out they’re not really druids” business. I’m sure it might feel to some of our listeners like it was a bit of bait-and-switch to have Ateran complaining about druids for weeks and then it turns out it’s really some combination of “priests” of unknown abilities. But it’s not something I’m going to lose a lot of sleep over.

First and foremost, this feels like one of those things where there’s the brand and the generic concept, like someone who refers to every soda as a “Coke”. There is the Pathfinder class called the “Druid” and that means specific things in terms of game mechanics. But there’s also the layperson definition of a “druid”, which is “Do they have some sort of magical power and screw around with plants and animals? Then they’re a druid.” If you’re some sort of farmer who sees a spell cast once or twice a year, those two might as well be the same thing. So if it helps square the circle in your brain, imagine that the bumpkin townspeople don’t really know the difference between a “druid” and a cleric who happens to be wearing a green cloak and acts chummy with the local squirrels.

Having said that, I will say that Second Edition kinda blurs the lines on this stuff a little, anyway. Thanks largely to the implementation of the sorcerer as a class that can choose from any of the schools of magic. If you duck your head into our Black Lodge campaign, we have my character Nella (an actual druid) and Seth’s character Nixnox (a primal sorcerer) and they have a LOT of overlap in their spell list. I’m sure they’ll grow into more distinct entities as they get more into their signature powers – for example, right now I don’t use Wild Shape because it’s largely useless in combat at low levels – but we had a Level 1 fight where Seth and I were both casting the same spells: Produce Flame and Heal. If some random townsperson was watching from afar, they might think we were both druids too.

It actually dawns on me that, intentional or not, this could be a way to combat metagaming as a GM – let your NPC’s be wrong about stuff occasionally as a way to throw the party a curveball. As players, we’ve gotten into this routine where – unless it’s specifically a “palace intrigue” story and we’re given hints to expect deception – we accept our missions from the NPCs and just assume everything they tell us is accurate. But strictly speaking, there’s no reason it HAS to be. I suppose you’d have to factor in the experience level of the “quest-giver”: I’d expect the head of a local Pathfinder Lodge who’s been adventuring for 20 years to have better intel than the drunk guy on the corner stool of the local pub. And you’d want to limit how far you take it – you don’t want to have the party waste an entire session lost in the wilderness because the NPC didn’t really know where the bandit camp was. Creating some “fog of war” through selective misinformation? Cool. Derailing entire sessions and wasting people’s time? That’s a quick way to kill a game.

So the fight gets going, and I think what struck me was the style – it was basically a battle of knock-out punches. Mostly big swings for big damage on both sides, which led to a pretty quick battle. Normally you end up chipping away (or outright missing) a lot more – this fight felt like those YouTube videos of Russian slap-fights where they just take turns slapping each other as hard as possible and see who drops first. Unfortunately, in this case, the first to drop was Alhara, but the last of the (presumably) barbarians was close behind, so no long-term harm done.

On a roleplaying level, I’m interested to see where Loren takes Hap with this increased reluctance to actually harm people. We always bake in the assumption that adventurers are true believers – committed and fired up to go do good and right wrongs (or at least fired up to go make money); it continues to be fun to see someone who’s actually kind of ambivalent about the whole adventuring experience. One of these days, I’d want to take that to its ultimate conclusion and try playing a full pacifist – buffs and heals, no offensive abilities whatsoever – but it would probably have to be with a different gaming group. I think the members of the Black Lodge group would probably shoot me out the airlock if I ever tried something like that.

For our big Rules Question Of The Day, you can count me amongst those who thought Battle Medicine and Treat Wounds were the same basic thing and belonged on the same timer. Honestly, I thought Battle Medicine WAS Treat Wounds, just FASTER. I didn’t really get the distinction that Treat Wounds was more of a multipurpose ability. Cue that NBC “The More You Know” graphic…

So once the fight is resolved and everyone’s back on their feet, we resume exploration and free the mayor. It’s a little fun here watching Steve navigate the terrain of what the mayor would and wouldn’t know based on how long ago he was kidnapped; I think I caught at least one slip-up and Steve had the mayor mention something from the second circus performance. Or he said, “people are talking about it”… so, wait… your captors went into town and checked out the circus and then talked about it when they got back? I’ll put it this way: even if Steve got it right and I mis-heard it, that’s what I’m going with now. I’m now imagining the master druid of the enclave rolling their eyes and saying “FIIIIIIINE, you can go to the circus tonight. But you have double shifts next week!”

The exploration continues, and we end the action this week at a Big Ominous Door. What’s behind it? REAL druids? The creepy clown from the other circus? A storage room filled with bacon where Darius will give up his adventuring and live out his days? I guess we’ll find out next week. As always, feel free to drop by our Discord channel and other social media and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.

And yes, next week’s Talking will be back on Thursday. Promise.

Three Ring Adventure S1|20: The Wind And The Waves

The RFC Crew finally enter the Hermitage but quickly discover that something is very wrong and that they are not welcome.

Roll For Combat, Three Ring Adventure Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Extinction Curse starting with the first book, The Show Must Go On.

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 Tales: Tale 4, Chapter 3, Last-Call Free-For-All

Jason recaps the events from The Black Lodge Tale 4, Chapter 3: New Spell Who Dis?

I start this week with a bit of personal but game-related news.

Back when the pandemic hit, our Dads-N-Kids game pretty much went on hold, and (without putting other people’s business in the street) a couple of the people had bigger fish to fry in their quarantine situations, so we didn’t try and take it online or anything. It’s just on hiatus for now.

So… I’m intrigued to learn that thanks to COVID-induced isolation, my son and his friends from school decided to try their hand playing D&D online, completely unprompted by me. (Yes, D&D. They’re doing 5E because that’s the system the kid who’s GM-ing knows). I figured even though we’ve been doing the online gaming thing for years, I’d resist the urge to helicopter-parent and leave them to figure it out for themselves unless The Boy specifically asks how to do things. So in an interesting bit of happenstance, they’ll probably be conducting their Session Zero by the time you read this.

I’m very pleased to have raised a second-generation gamer; having said all of the above, if they start a competing podcast, I’m dropping his ass off at the bus station.

At any rate… back to the conclusion of this “short” adventure. (And yes, I love how that got the biggest laugh of the entire session.) As we begin, I think we have 3 or 4 “real” enemies, and then I think we’ve only pacified one section, so most sections also have “general mayhem” to deal with. Two of our party (Nixnox and Vortaris) have decided on the “run and hide” strategy, leaving three of us to handle most of the fighting. And they’ve been getting pretty lucky with their rolls on Thorgrim in particular, so despite their low levels, they’ve put some decent damage on us.

What Steve said about the party being split up was mostly true, except maybe for me and John – we were generally no more than 10 or 15 feet from each other at any given point. If you look at the bar as a clock (with two “extra” sections that we never entered sticking out the top of it), John and I were basically bunched up where the hands were at twelve o’clock, Thorgrim was off around 10 or 10:30, Nixnox was down around 8, and Vortaris bee-lined out of the bar along the 3:00 line.

The interesting dynamic for John and I is that we were fighting around the boundary of three different sections, so depending on where the flow of combat took us in any given round, we’d quite often be fighting in different sections. And tactics magnified that: Peepers just tended to get the nearest enemy’s face regardless of what the underlying section conditions were, whereas unless someone forced the issue, I tried to use ranged attacks and stay in the safe section(s) as long as possible. If I moved at all, it was generally in the direction of the door. Later, once the fight was a little more under control, I tried to start pacifying sections to create a way out for Thorgrim and Nixnox, but early on, I was content to play it safe.

Speaking of which, I know John got annoyed at me for using my heal on Chris and not him, but there was a method to my madness. First, Chris had taken more damage – he was in “one more good hit” territory, whereas John was only about halfway down. Second and more importantly, Thorgrim was deeper into the room, so if he dropped, we’d have to go further in to retrieve him, whereas if John dropped, I could battle medicine him the very next time my turn came up. Also, fog of war, I wasn’t sure whether Thorgrim or Nixnox had the document at that point, but if there was a chance Chris had it, I wanted to keep him on his feet.

Arguably the highlight of the session – and I have to admit I forgot it happened – was Vortaris pacifying one of the sections (the front door area, basically) while in rat form. I like to think all these drunken rough-and-tumble pirates were secretly terrified of rats, and the mere sight of one caused them to flee in panic like elephants anecdotally do. (At least that’s what happens in old Warner Brothers cartoons, and we know those are completely accurate, right?)

If you want to get technical, Steve probably shaved a few rounds off the end, but it would have been busy-work at best – there were no more active enemies, and there was a pacified path to the door for all five of us. It really would’ve amounted to us either crawling really slowly out the door three actions at a time, or making a bunch of Dex rolls to avoid slipping. Nixnox in particular would’ve faced a LONG slog over slippery floors to get out. I’m not sure that would’ve added much entertainment value to the show, so… moving along.

I suppose the big development of the postgame is FINALLY succeeding in an Earn Income check! Nella’s Nature Tours finally turns a profit! I went into the session fully intending to hold the line – I wasn’t going to let myself be humiliated again for 2 days’ worth of copper. But somewhere during the course of it, I figured it was a win-win from a show standpoint – either the running gag continues or I finally break the streak, whereas nothing happens if I just go to the bar and wait for the story to be over. So I decided to go ahead and roll, and there you go. I did it for you, the fans.

So where do we go from here? As Steve said, we have two in the can, but one of those is the live show from PaizoCon. On one hand, it would seamlessly continue the Vortaris Chronicles and it might be nice to present a cleaned-up, properly-edited version of that one; on the other hand, I assume some of you listened to that one live already so it would be a couple of weeks of already know what’s going to happen. Or we could go with the NEW-new show, but that’s a full adventure, not a quest, so that’s another 4-6 episodes.

I’ll leave you all to think on that until next week. While you’re thinking, feel free to duck into Discord and check out the ongoing general mayhem. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.