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

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Three Ring Adventure S1|30: Alhara: Warrior Princess

Can our heroes cleanse the Erran Tower and restore life to the land? No idea, but they better hurry as they have to put on a show in a few days!

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.

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 on our Patreon page 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 Bird’s Eye View S1|02: Training Day (And Night)

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|02: Delicious Dubious Delights.

We passed a bit of a milestone over the weekend: Saturday marks the three-year anniversary of our first “real” episode of Roll For Combat. If you want to get nit-picky, Steve put up an introductory post earlier in the month, but the 26th was the first time we assembled the group for Episode Zero of the Dead Suns adventure.

In other times, I would’ve probably made some smart-ass joke about being surprised because I didn’t think it would stick for more than three months. And I guess that’s still kinda true. But at the same time, the whole COVID pandemic situation has made me a bit more reflective. Your mileage may vary, but things have generally sucked in big ways and small for the last six months or so, and we’re all looking for our little pockets of normal. For me, it’s been getting back into Magic The Gathering (online), and listening to one of my favorite musicians (Rhett Miller of the Old 97s) do acoustic shows over the Internet. Today, I’m feeling humbled that our show can be that thing for those of you who are listening, even if it’s just for an hour or two a week. So thanks for being here and making us part of your little pocket of normal.

OK… that’s as wholesome and sincere as I can be in one sitting. On with the show.

We begin this week on our first “real” patrol – it kind of feels like the bar brawl was kind of a bottle episode: a low/no-stakes test to introduce the team to each other and see how we work as a team. (I also feel like that was “supposed” to end in a non-lethal fight, but that may just be me making assumptions.) Our first encounter of the patrol is breaking up a fight between two goblin food-cart vendors that turns into an impromptu safety inspection. And Basil gets to use his investigator abilities to save the day, noticing the danger of the potential oil fire and dousing it before it can cause major damage.

I’m going to dig in a little bit on the rules here because there are actually TWO different Investigator abilities that could’ve applied here, and I’m not 100% sure which one Steve used. The first is the “That’s Odd” class feat. It’s a class feat that lets the investigator notice one thing out of order in a room or location. Any “flavor” of Investigator can take it, but the Empiricist gets it automatically. But here’s the confusing thing: “That’s Odd” is actually automatic and Steve mentioned a roll. (And to be fair, I mention a roll as well when explaining it later.)

So either there wasn’t supposed to be a roll and we’re still getting the hang of things and learning how this stuff works… or maybe it’s possible Steve got a little confused with the investigator’s OTHER class ability, Expeditious Inspection. That one allows me to do a Seek, Recall Knowledge, or Sense Motive as a free action once every 10 minutes. That one requires a roll, and I would assume I would’ve had to declare I was looking around (unless it’s just assumed I’d be assessing the situation). The “once every 10 minutes” restriction does seem like it’s more geared for in-combat use. So I’m not sure which feature Steve was intending to apply here, but I’ll take it either way.

Out of character, one thing that amused me about this interaction was the 40g fine… but for a very specific reason. I was just listening to the Three-Ring Adventure, they’re basically at Level 4, they’ve been playing for like 3-4 months, and their reward for the fight they just finished was (wait for it)… 50g. So basically, we got almost the same amount of money for our first mission out of the barracks. Maybe some of that is compensation for the fact that we won’t be getting loot in conventional ways, but still… that’s a lot of money for Level 1 characters.

Next up, we have a fairly quick fight against some skeletons. A crit put Lo Mang on the ropes a little bit, but other than that, it wasn’t too much of a challenge. First things first, I love the roleplay flavor that the occasional digging-up of undead is a public works nuisance along the lines of a broken water main. That cracks me up and I’m actually imagining us on casual traffic detail – “road’s closed… skeletons! You’re gonna have to go back down two blocks and go around to the right!”. But more importantly, we have the great mystery of “What Exactly Is Dougie?” and the related question of “what is ‘Kapow Damage’”?

Initially, when John didn’t use weapons I just assumed we had two monks in the party. In our Episode Zero, when Steve mentioned it would mostly be non-lethal damage, John and Chris BOTH sorta perked up at the idea of rolling monks. But then it started to seem like the lack of weapons was more of a roleplay thing, since once the fight was over, John seemed interesting in acquiring something. So maybe he’s got some sort of code of honor where he’s only going to use weapons he got from bad guys.

So OK… Dougie is clearly some sort of melee. Casters don’t wade in and start punching people. Fighter seems iffy because if I had access to all the weapons and armor in the game, I’d be equipped with something. There’s “roleplaying”, and there’s “wasting the core strengths of the class you chose”. I guess maybe Champion is a possibility and the fight was too quick to see his class ability? Maybe an odd strength-based rogue or swashbuckler build? Again, we didn’t see any evidence of panache, but it was a quick fight. Rogue seems most likely based on the fact that flanking seemed to trigger the bonus damage, but I guess we’ll find out as the show continues. (Totally out-of-character, I know John tends to like “keep it simple” characters, so doing another rogue would also fit with that.)

Our third encounter of the shift is a public disturbance call, as a teenager has barricaded himself in a merchant’s shop and won’t come out. It turns out he’s an apprentice whose mentor Kemeneles had some low-level bad blood with the shop owner, so when Kemeneles went missing, the kid just assumed the shop owner was responsible. We get a little bit of intimidation from Gomez, which doesn’t really fly, and then Basil tries more of a Good Cop take and rolls a Nat 20 for the success and has a new best friend for life.

As we sort through this, it becomes pretty evident the kid is just grasping for straws – Kemeneles might be in genuine trouble, but it’s pretty clear the shopkeeper isn’t involved. On the other hand, the kid did trash the store pretty good while he had locked himself in there. In this case, talking the shopkeeper out of pressing charges seems like the right call.

But that brings us to what might be the most interesting long-term dynamic of this adventure path – we have limits on what we can do and there’s a point past which we’re not supposed to go. If we were “just” adventurers, we’d be free to take a break from our patrol and help the kid out. But that’s not our role – we’re part of a larger team and our job is to report the situation back to our superiors and get back to work.

After that, we have a little debate about what to do about the kid and… OK, with 20/20 hindsight, Seth was right on this one. I DO think on a meta-game level, the shop owner was offering to take the kid in just to keep him somewhere safe while we did other things, and maybe we’ll come back to that one later. But on a more reality-based level, you wouldn’t just leave an unattended minor with someone who MIGHT still have ill intent, so taking him back to the local station was the better call.

I thought maybe Steve would wrap it up here… BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. We’re up to encounter #4, as we end up engaged in a chase with a mysterious cutpurse. I have to admit I like the chase mechanic overall – it’s something different and a nice way to create action set-pieces while making use of skills other than pure combat. I still think Steve should’ve made the fruit cart a cabbage cart as a salute to Avatar: The Last Airbender, but other than that, it was a lot of fun. We catch up and combat ensues – she’s kinda hard to hit, I end up getting pummeled a bit, but Lo Mang, in particular, takes care of her pretty well (Gomez, having fallen behind during the chase portion, misses most of the fight.) And it’s another feather in the cap of Red Squad, as she’s fairly prolific in her thievery.

And surely we’re done for the day? We’ve finally earned a cold beer at the barracks, right?

Sigh.

Of course not. There’s an animal breakout at the local zoo. ARE YOU SERIOUS? Granted, they weren’t all combat encounters, but that’s FIVE different problems we’ve had to deal with on our first day on the job. And Job #5 starts with a cockatrice, which… if you’ve listened to Three-Ring Adventure, you know those are nasty – you fail a save, you get the Slowed condition, which starts costing you actions. Brutal.

The cockatrice charges! And that’s where we fade to black for the week. As always, feel free to drop by our Discord channel or other social media and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.

Agents of Edgewatch S1|02: Delicious Dubious Delights

It’s the first day of the Radiant Festival and the RFC Crew are assigned to walk the district to better learn the various neighborhoods and beats. Time to meet the locals!

Roll For Combat, Agents of Edgewatch Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Agents of Edgewatch starting with the first book, Devil at the Dreaming Palace.

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 on our Patreon page 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|29: Staffmaker, Staffmaker, Make Me A Staff

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S1|29: Coulrophobia.

First, note the general title change: “Talking Circus” is now “The Sideshow”. Consider it fallout from the start of the Edgewatch show. I decided to call the recaps for that one “The Bird’s Eye View” because I’m playing a tengu in that game, and from there the wheels kept turning and I came up with a new name for this one. “Talking <Blank>” was getting a little old anyway.

So… back to this week’s action. I have to admit, I feel a little underwhelmed by this week’s episode.

Given the title and the big splashy picture, I thought the initial meet-and-greet would be a little more… bloody? I guess I thought we’d be getting right into the circus performance and see what sort of things Evil Clown Energy could bring to the show.

Not that the squirming and audible discomfort that resulted was BAD, mind you. It was kind of funny to watch everyone (except Hap) process their unease at the new member of the troupe. (Somehow Ateran’s dead stare was actually my favorite initial reaction.) But given that I thought we’d be counting up severed limbs or something, general awkwardness was a bit of a letdown.

But hey… file this away for now: I feel there’s at least a 15 percent chance that a year from now, Jellico will turn out to be a serial killer in Book 4 or Book 5, and this whole interlude will be whole new levels of embarrassing in hindsight.

On the other hand, delving deep into New CHDRR’s legacy pleased me greatly. I’m not above a little bit of ego… having my robot creation from Dead Suns (or a version of it) make its way into the new story was pretty cool. Of course, it’s going to take on its own life here, and I’m not going to have any hand in that, but it’s still neat.

Back on the circus front, I think it makes a certain amount of sense that the Professor would hire Jellico (and vice versa). From Jellico’s standpoint, it’s not like circus performers in a fantasy medieval setting would have guaranteed multi-year contracts or anything, and depending on the notoriety of the two circuses, Jellico might be more of a featured act in this circus. (Or again, maybe Jellico is a serial killer on the lam and he changes circuses every few months to evade the authorities. Still on the table.) Meanwhile, looking at it from the Professor’s side, adding Jellico would definitely raise the quality of the Professor’s roster AND he’d be taking a performer directly from a competitor. But mostly it just makes for great storytelling. Why have a boring old animal act or something when you can have a creepy-ass clown? And the fact that it’s a bit of a wild card act the players have no control over is compelling.

The other major theme of this episode was the shopping trip, and that spawns a few interesting side conversations.

First, put me down with Vanessa… I don’t generally enjoy roleplaying out shopping trips; I’d much rather just put a list together and get on with things. Having said that, some of the banter with the priest was entertaining, so it wasn’t a total waste. I guess I’d take a middle ground here – if shopping is somehow interesting to the story, then sure… play it out. But at some point, it really is just book-keeping, so better to just get it over with and move on to more interesting things.

I do think, as Steve points out, there’s value to doing it at the table, though, because you want to avoid the two extremes. At one end, particularly when resources are scarce, you don’t want to “waste” money by multiple people overbuying the same resources. On the opposite end, you don’t want to do all of your shopping in separate bubbles, and then get back to the table and realize nobody bothered to buy… say… healing. So I do think there’s value to kicking ideas around at the table in a semi-live setting. But in our game, we’ve been fairly successful doing that in chat and email, so maybe it doesn’t have to be “live”-live.

The other thing – and this is going to contain a VERY mild Edgewatch spoiler by comparison – is watching availability become an issue. In Edgewatch, we’re right in the heart of Absalom. Our group can pretty much buy whatever we want – we kind of liken it to New York City, where you can run to a CVS at 3 am and buy what you need. Out in the sticks, you’re much more restricted in what you can craft, as this group is finding out: half their shopping list vanishes because the local shops just don’t have anything that fancy.

In fact, this sets the table for a discussion of crafting. Crafting isn’t really THAT great in Second Edition, compared to First Edition. In First Edition, it was a flat 50 percent off for crafting your own items, so there was a clear and immediate benefit to doing it. And GENERALLY, the roll was shrugged off as automatic. In Second Edition, you need to pay 50% upfront, and the other 50% (or some portion of it) is dependent on how many days of downtime you can afford to spend. So if you have unlimited time (between adventures, for example), yeah, you could approach that same 50% cost. But if you have to craft something quickly, you pretty much end up paying full price. At the point of “I need this now so we can continue the adventure”, there’s no discount at all.

Here, with Ateran, we start seeing the one place where crafting is still useful – counteracting limited availability. If you’re in a place where you are trying to get a rare item that’s not available in stores, you can still possibly find more common ingredient items and craft it yourself. At that point, getting it at full price through crafting still beats not getting it at all.

The one remaining thing that stands out about this episode was Csillagos learning the spell by eating the scroll. I have to admit that one slipped by me when I was reading the Advanced Player’s Guide. I remember the part about familiars being able to trade spells by talking to them, but I missed the part about scroll-eating. That’s fantastic. Though if I ever make a Witch, I’m going to make my familiar be a picky eater. YOU EXPECT ME TO EAT THIS? IT’S NOT EVEN SEASONED PROPERLY.

As we end the episode, it turns out that there are five days until the circus performance, so it looks like the new plan is to go to the xulgath tower and deal with that situation first. So I guess Jellico’s first show will have to wait. Back to dungeon crawl… now with dinosaurs! While we’re waiting for next week’s episode, feel free to drop by our Discord channel or other social media and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

Three Ring Adventure S1|29: Coulrophobia

Everyone loves clowns, right? Especially those carrying rusty hooks, blood-soaked bags, and miniature skulls. Everyone loves a clown!

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.

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 on our Patreon page 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 Bird’s Eye View S1|01: Last Call For Tavern Brawls

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|00: Welcome to Agents of Edgewatch! and Agents of Edgewatch S1|01: The Mean Streets of Absalom.

Welcome to the first installment of The Bird’s Eye View, our weekly Agents of Edgewatch recap column – the “Talking” thing felt like it was getting stretched a little thin, and I’m never one to pass up a quality play on words. (You’ll also note that we changed “Talking Circus” to “The Sideshow”.) This one’s going to be a little longer than usual because I’m going to circle back to a few Episode Zero thoughts as well as covering the first “real” episode.

I wanted to briefly touch on, but not dwell on, the real-world backdrop here. I know some people gave Paizo a hard time for writing an adventure path that featured law enforcement that happened to release right when the George Floyd incident happened and protests started. Some people even felt Paizo should have canceled Edgewatch entirely. I’m not going to tackle that decision – it’s already been made and it’s beyond my non-existent pay grade anyway. I’m going to talk about our decision to go ahead and play it.

First and foremost, I trust Steve’s judgment as a GM. He read the adventure path and he says it’s a really good story, and that the police aspects aren’t THAT central to the story once it gets rolling. In a way, being members of the local gendarmerie is almost a MacGuffin – it’s the thing that puts our characters where they need to be for the dungeon-crawling to happen. Also, Steve has a good feel for what makes for fun gaming and he knows what we like as players, so if he says we’ll like it… that’s a relationship forged over years, even decades, saying we should play this thing, and I trust that.

I also think at the end of the day, it’s up to each gaming table to figure out what their own ethics are. And OK, we have a little more responsibility since we have an audience, but it still comes down to the people we choose to be and the values we choose to reflect. Sure, SOMEWHERE in the Pathfinder landscape, there are going to be some tables that will think it’s clever to Bad-Cop their way through this adventure. That’s not us. We generally like being the good guys, and so we’re going to play this thing FAIRLY straight up. Our characters might get a little weird around the edges, but evil is just not who we are. Heck, me personally? I tried to play a run-through of Mass Effect where I chose the “renegade” option in every dialog, and I quit an hour in because I didn’t like that my character was turning into an asshole. Much as I chafe at the label, I’m Lawful Good to the bone; maybe Neutral Good on a whimsical day.

It does pose logistical challenges, no question about that. Going all the way back to Gygax, the heart of the D&D/Pathfinder combat system is “kill evildoers to get experience, take their treasure to buy better gear, progress to more powerful challenges”. Well… that system breaks down if you’re supposed to be representing the law in a city setting. Townspeople aren’t automatically “evildoers”, or they’re low-grade evildoers that belong in jail, not dead. And cops shaking down people for their money was pre-Jim Gordon Gotham City behavior. So if you wade in with standard tactics, you’re a thief and a murderer, and become exactly the sort of thing you’re supposed to be preventing. But if you don’t replace that mechanic with “something”, you don’t get experience or loot, so how will your characters progress and move the story forward?

Enter the Lawbreaker Badge, our table’s solution. It’s basically (to use modern terminology) a body-cam on steroids. It de-lethalizes your attacks automatically (unless you’re fighting something explicitly evil like the undead, in which case you can turn it off and do real damage). It decides what the legal penalties of a crime are, so you’re just there to collect the fine and take the person to jail if needed. It even provides a little bit of help in the healing department, with a single use of Lay on Hands. I figure if magic can create a portal to another freakin’ dimension, it can create a device that does those things. (Technically the rules of the AP de-lethalize the attacks, but the Lawbreaker Badge creates an in-game explanation for how it happens.) As far as loot? That’s a little trickier but still manageable. We get a “cut” of the fines, and sometimes there are items lying around with no clear owner that we’re allowed to keep. But if we tried to write a bunch of fake parking tickets to make money or just took someone’s stuff without an underlying crime, the Lawgiver Badge would shoot those down, so there’s no incentive to create a crime that isn’t there.

So that’s the system, now on to Basil Blackfeather.

I knew going in I wanted to play a tengu next time we moved to a new game – they’ve been one of my favorite races going back to First Edition, so once they were part of the Advanced Player’s Guide, it was a matter of “when” rather than “if”. (I can neither confirm nor deny I considered getting reckless and killing off Nella in the Black Lodge game to make it happen quicker.) I wasn’t AS sold on Investigator until we chose THIS adventure path, though. As I’ve said in my APG review, Investigator might not be a great fit in a traditional dungeon crawl – they’re a little squishy, and some of their investigation tools might go to waste if you’re just kicking down doors. Having said that, in THIS scenario, they’d be great. Police work is all about unraveling mysteries: figuring out who’s telling the truth or lying, looking for things that are out of place, and such… if there’s an adventure to try an investigator, this is probably the one.

I will say, though… while the dice logistics of an Investigator might be a little daunting, as a CONCEPT, I’m interested because Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite fictional characters ever. I re-read the Conan Doyle stories every few years just because. And the Empiricist build, in particular, IS Holmes walking into a room and noticing three different things that are out of place. It’s not a perfect fit because Holmes is MOSTLY a solo act (Watson and Lestrade aside), and Pathfinder is a team setting, but I still love the idea of a Holmes “gentleman detective” archetype.

ASIDE: Jeremy Brett of the 80s Granada/BBC series is the definitive Holmes and the floor is closed for discussion. RECLAIMING MY TIME! The Cumberbatch version is pretty good for a modern take. The Downey movies turned him into a Victorian superhero and the Watson relationship became “mismatched buddy cops”, so… meh. Never saw the American one with Lucy Liu as Watson. The sleeper here is Without a Clue with Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine. It’s an early-90s comedy that plays around with the idea that Watson (Kingsley) is actually the brains of the operation and he hired Caine (basically an out-of-work actor who’s a complete idiot) to play Holmes because it made the stories sell, and now he’s tired of his creation but can’t move beyond it because the public loves Holmes. (Add another entry to the RFC Virtual Movie Queue!)

A few other minor notes. I was torn on “Blackfeather” as a last name. Half of me felt it was just an uninspired rehash of “Blacktail”; part of me felt like the callback to Tuttle and having some linkage to that first character was actually kind of a fun thing. “Continuity” if you’re an optimist; “branding” if you’re cynical. I’ll let you listeners decide. And the artwork… DAMN! I’ve been mighty impressed with the artwork for all the shows, but this one was… (chef’s kiss) and is now serving as my personal FB avatar. My initial thoughts to Sheppi were basically “the Jeremy Brett version of Holmes + Hamilton, and a fancy sword-cane is his main weapon, but a bird”… and damn if he didn’t capture it. The only “change” we had to make from the first pass was that the color was fairly muted, so the pants became a little bluer and the flower was added. I will say that Basil’s father became a tobacconist in my backstory BECAUSE of the pipe, so… kinda cool how the art actually influenced the character. I did veto the idea of a tophat, though. Seemed impractical in a combat situation. Sorry?

One last thing before we get onto the first episode: I have to admit to just a touch of last-second buyer’s remorse when the Magus playtest came out. I’ve always liked the magus as a class (Spells AND armor? What’s not to like?) so if we hadn’t already started recording, I might have re-rolled, pulled an Alhara, and done the “play a playtest Magus and clean it up when the class goes live”. But the train had already left the station, so Investigator it is!

OK… so let’s get started. After a bit of lore dump, we get our initial assignment as part of Red Squad (as well as a brief nod to Reservoir Dogs implied in the visible disappointment of the members of Brown Squad and Pink Squad). We also get introduced to our stereotypically hard-boiled desk sergeant, who dispatches us on our first mission — to deal with rowdy tavern patrons. That’s gotta be a sly wink toward the trope of getting your first adventure by “meeting at the tavern”, right?

As I’m listening, I have to admit I’m not happy with the early character choices I made on Basil. Too foppish and out of touch, too much Brixley. I took the Political Scion background (it’s one of the backgrounds that comes with the AP), so yes, he’s supposed to be from a well-off/influential family, but I wanted him to be a little more grounded. For the moment, I’ll chalk it up to first-episode jitters, and hope it zeroes in on what I really want him to be.

So we arrive at the Tipsy Tengu. After surveying the scene, I decide to go ahead and confront the dwarf. Now, on a purely practical level, I’m PROBABLY not the best party member for this task — it’s probably Lo Mang or Dougie. But there were two impulses at work. First was just wanting to get in and do something. This is a pretty active “act first, think second” group and if you don’t decide on an action quickly, someone else will. But I’ll admit there was also a little bit of practical sentiment at work; if you send a fighter-type over, it’s almost like throwing down a challenge, so maybe sending a calming presence over would be better.

At that point, we go around the room. John deals pretty effectively with the pickpocket, though if there was a formal skill check, I must’ve missed it. Chris draws the most hilarious interaction, dealing with the party member who was just WAY too drunk and ends up vomiting on him. (As well as the party member who was inconsolable because they lost their familiar.) And then we come back to me… but not really because then Seth takes over negotiations with Bolar.

On one hand, I’m not going to lie; I was a little frustrated I didn’t get to finish what I started. But actually, I’ll give Seth credit: I was almost out of ideas and ready to look for an opening to zap him with Electric Arc (I have it as a tengu ancestry feat, not a formal spell), so Seth’s solution of telling him to do his drinking somewhere else was actually a pretty good compromise. We didn’t REALLY want to fight these guys and take them to jail, but this was clearly the wrong room for them. Furthermore, even just getting them outside if there WAS going to be a fight would’ve been a positive development because it would’ve limited collateral damage. Once we do, they calm down, we’re able to get them to accept the fine, and we’re on our way back to barracks for our next mission. As well as a power-wash for poor Lo Mang. The next day, we’ll be going on our first formal patrol of the festival grounds, but that’ll be where we’ll pick it up next time.

I also did want to briefly talk about the fate of the Black Lodge. In the short term, yes it’s going on the shelf. As players, we don’t really have the bandwidth for two shows, and Steve would have challenges on his end managing three shows. Steve also mentioned on Discord that he’s a little short of adventures that would make for good listening experiences. So… for now, we’re going to roll with Edgewatch. We may come back to Black Lodge here and there – it might turn into a thing where we’ll play one here and there when we have extra time, rather than a third regularly-scheduled show. The ultimate plan is still TBD, but it’s not the intent to give up on it forever, because we know some of you do like Society play and the special guest players are still a lot of fun. But in the short term, Edgewatch takes center stage.

So that’s my extra-long Episode 0 + 1 combined recap; thanks for reading along. While you’re waiting for the next episode to drop, feel free to drop by our Discord channel or other social media and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

Agents of Edgewatch S1|01: The Mean Streets of Absalom

It’s graduation day at Edgewatch Academy, as a new crop of rookie officers take to the streets. But this group has a special mission – to protect the people of Absalom during the Radiant Festival, a once in a generation celebration that just might attract once-in-a-generation mysteries. Welcome to the first episode of Roll For Combat, Agents of Edgewatch Podcast!

Roll For Combat, Agents of Edgewatch Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Agents of Edgewatch starting with the first book, Devil at the Dreaming Palace.

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 on our Patreon page 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|28: Killer Clown from Outer Space

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S1|28: Dinosaur Fort.

Oh sure, Steve. Mess with my rhythm. Put all the best stuff in the last 10 minutes of the episode. BE THAT WAY.

That’s OK. I’m going to roll with it and discuss the end of the episode first and then go back to the beginning later.

Let’s start with the creation of the CHDRR Multiverse since I had a very small supporting part to play in that. So I guess this also serves as a bit of a confession: my listener experience was not 100% pure, and this on one occasion, I had some inside information. Though in my defense, this happened so long ago that I had honestly forgotten about it until now.

Way back in the Pre-COVID Beforetimes, when Three-Ring Adventure was either just starting or perhaps even before it started recording, Steve told me there would eventually be a construct member the circus serving as a laborer and handyman, and asked me to come up with a CHDRR-esque acronym for it. The ends were easy: “Clockwork” fell right into place as the “technology” word (thanks, steampunk genre!) and one of the multiple definitions of “Roustabout” is literally “a circus or fairground laborer”. (Also the title of a 1964 Elvis movie.) So I had the concept of “technological laborer” locked in pretty quickly. From there, it was just a matter of filling in the middle bits. Though OK… I cheated and reused “Dynamic” for the D-word.

So yes, Three-Ring Adventure now has its own CHDRR, and I helped supply its name. Having said that, now I’m back to a fresh slate like the rest of you and I’m curious to see what CHDRR is here to do. Will it be beating up drunks during the shows? Is it possibly going to be a source for crafting requests? Could they even find a way to use it in the act? I find myself curious.

But admittedly, nowhere near as curious as I am to see how the addition of Jellico Bounce-Bounce changes the dynamic of the circus show. Now look… one could make the case that a town that’s already been traumatized by marauding wild animals and psychotic druids probably doesn’t need a “dark, edgy” clown act, but from the Professor’s standpoint if you can steal an act from your closest competitor to help grow the show… why wouldn’t you? So Alhara will be sleeping with a dagger under her pillow and one eye open for the foreseeable future… you wanna succeed in this business you gotta have a thick skin!

Also, I don’t know if Steve’s voice for Jellico is an overt homage to Mark Hamill or just one of Bob Ross’ Happy Little Accidents, but I fully support it either way. Now if they hire a female clown assistant who keeps calling him “Mister J.”, that might be a little too on the nose. Though I also volunteer to play said female assistant. And if hired, I fully intend to call Ateran “Bats” at every opportunity. (Bateran?)

I also like the idea that their circus is going to kick off a potential holy war based on an idle promise they made two months ago. “Yeah yeah, we’ll do a show to help you rebuild.” So now they’re all set to do an Abadar-themed show with a Gozreh worshiper as their special invited guest, right after that Gozreh worshipper’s former buddies went crazy and attacked the town. THIS CAN’T POSSIBLY END POORLY. Stay tuned for the red-band version of the next episode where Jellico Bounce-Bounce practices his knife skills on poor Harlock.

Meanwhile, all of that kind of overshadowed the fact that our intrepid adventurers reached Level 4! I think the most interesting thing here was the renewed focus on healing as both Darius and Ateran put resources into the healing arts – Darius’ skills will be more for reducing after-battle downtime; Ateran’s healing will help more in combat. I felt a little bad for Vanessa that Alhara had to spend Level 4 cleaning up the differences between the playtest and the final release version of her character, but at the end of the day, she’s still roughly where she planned to be with Alhara, so no real harm done I guess. Just felt like opening presents when you already knew what they were going to be. And Hap… a lot of moving parts and swapping spells, so it’s hard to see how it’ll play out until we start fighting again.

Speaking of which… I guess it’s not the end of Book 1 yet, but if it’s any consolation, we’re gonna get some freakin’ DINOSAURS before it’s all over. It’s kinda funny to think how that dynamic works – in a fantasy setting, dinosaurs barely register as interesting compared to, say, dragons. When you’ve got a giant flying lion with an eagle’s head and wings, a big lizard OUGHT to be No Big Deal. But in the real world, a dinosaur is probably the closest thing we can imagine to a fantasy creature, so it’s almost hard-wired that we still react with that same level of childish wonder, even back in the game world. (I was at that PaizoCon where they announced dinosaur form as an “oh look here’s a sample spell” part of Second Edition, and Steve’s right… when they put the page up on the projector, the crowd went NUTS.)

I have to admit I didn’t totally follow Harlock’s lore dump, but it sounds like some of the town’s recent woes are tied to the corruption of special stones that led to prosperous harvests, mild weather, and other druid-y things. And the investigation of that is going to lead to a community of xulgaths (formerly known as troglodytes), who buddy around with dinos the way humans integrate dogs and farm animals into our lives. So our party of adventurers is going to head off to their lair as soon as they finish doing their circus performance.

And that’s basically where we’ll pick it up next week. On one hand, going by dice math, the show should be better than ever before now that the party is another level higher; on the other hand, there’s all sorts of weird energy in the air between the addition of the killer clown and the awkward religious overtones. So I guess we’ll meet back here next week and see how it goes. As always, feel free to drop by our Discord channel or other social media and let us know what you think of the show. THIS week, I’ll also throw in an invitation to check out the Episode Zero of our Agents of Edgewatch show that’s launching… well… today. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

Agents of Edgewatch S1|00: Welcome to Agents of Edgewatch!

This episode will give you a quick rundown of the Roll For Combat, Agents of Edgewatch Podcast (a playthrough of the Agents of Edgewatch Adventure Path), introduce you to the players, their characters, and what to expect on each show.

Whether you are brand new to the show or a long-time listener, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to best experience our podcast and what to expect each week!

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Basil Blackfeather

Basil Blackfeather is the eldest son of one of Absalom’s more noteworthy tengu families. His father Mortimer started the Sylvan Bounty Tobacco Company and parlayed an intriguing blend of pipe-weed and a gift for well-spun tales into a career in local politics; his mother Annabelle – the Honorable Annabelle Duskwing – is the arbiter criminals most fear appearing before. While not of noble birth, the Blackfeather house is one with a finger on Abaslom’s pulse and a curiously influential connection of friends.

Basil’s older sister Eleanor got the green thumb… talon… of the family and runs the farm where the Sylvan Bounty grows its tobacco crops. (The less we speak of his younger brother Linus, the better. That one’s a troublemaker.) Basil, with a keen mind and a knack for observational skills, was drawn to his mother’s law books, but flavored with a young boy’s fascination with mystery and investigative work. Some say Basil’s mother encouraged this behavior by letting Basil read the files of tricky cases the authorities were having trouble; there are even whispers that a few criminals were brought to justice thanks to the lad’s eye for detail.

As we meet Basil as an adult, he is enrolled at one of Absalom’s most respected law colleges, but Basil’s friends have noticed an increasing restlessness: a desire to do more than burn candles into the late-night reading books. And then, at a break between terms… Basil’s dorm room starts to show signs of having been vacated, as a “B. Blackfeather” appears on the enlistment sheet for the newest Edgewatch recruitment class…

Basil Blackfeather is played by Jason McDonald.