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

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The Bird’s Eye View S1|11: Who’d Like To Share Something With The Group?

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|11: The More You Know

Time to throw off the glorious lethargy of a long holiday weekend and write up a review for this week’s show. This week’s episode is a bit of an oddity – it’s not TOTALLY a downtime episode, but we do kind of drop out of character and go into book-keeping mode for a chunk of it. We also TRY to do a little roleplaying, but it doesn’t really go very far. And I think there’s a couple of different reasons for that.

The first is what Steve mentioned in his show notes: the stylistic question of whether you consider yourself the character, or whether you consider yourself the narrator of your character’s actions. Our group – and I generally include myself in this – has traditionally played more from the narrator standpoint. I don’t think either’s wrong exactly, but I think the narrator method DOES tend to move things along a little faster because it’s easier to drop in and out of character to navigate game information that you’d have to “act your way through” in more of a traditional roleplay game. Add up 20 or 30 moments where we just say The Thing and the Extinction Curse group performs The Thing, and it’s not hard to see how our game might move a little more briskly.

The other way to look at it is internal vs. external. I find our group is just as willing to act out interactions with external entities: NPCs and such. Seth in particular really gets into character when it comes to verbally jousting with Steve, but all of us do to some extent. But it’s almost entirely outward-focused. To use an IT analogy, think of the GM screen as a firewall. We roleplay when we’re going through the firewall and interacting with one of the game challenges Steve is presenting. If we’re just talking amongst ourselves, that’s inside the firewall, and we don’t really roleplay that.

(And yes, I’m fully aware that I just took an already-nerdy topic and explained it in terms that are even nerdier. “Tune in next week when I explain Lay On Hands in terms of hard drive defragmentation!”)

So why did I decide to zig when everyone else was zagging this time around? Why did I stay more in character while everyone else was going RP-lite? I’m not nominating myself for any prizes here, but I think part of what’s going on is that listening to the Extinction Curse shows as our designated blogger has me inspired to try and bring a little bit of that energy over to this side of the fence. They sound like they’re having a lot of fun with it, so what the heck – let’s dip into their bag of tricks. I wrote a decent amount of backstory for Basil, let’s see if we can use some of it. Besides, if they’re gonna start dropping pop culture references like “flameo, hotman” into their show, turnabout is fair play.

Well… back to the show, where we’re dealing with a bit of a mixed message. On one hand, we have to go infiltrate a fancy after-hours club, which argues that we should largely stow our weapons and dress for high society. On the other hand, to get there, we have to sneak in through an underground back entrance that basically amounts to a dungeon crawl. I suppose we could have it both ways: wear our fighting gear until we get close and then change into party garb. Times like these, I’m glad to have a sword-cane… works in BOTH settings. I guess if there’s a silver lining to our squishy party composition, it’s that we’re not especially armor-and-weapon-dependent: Gomez is a caster, Lo Mang punches things, I have an innately concealable weapon. Really the only one who might struggle is Dougie: they probably make you check your maul and chainmail at the door of parties like these. But then again, since he’s a rogue, maybe he should be using his dagger anyway.

Speaking of which… this ongoing debate about which weapon Dougie should use continues to vex us. On one hand, it FEELS like the dagger would be the better weapon (or at least SOME weapon with a crit specialization) for Dougie to use because then he gets precision damage AND crit specialization damage against most foes. But then again, thinking ahead to the end of this week when we run up against a gelatinous cube… you can’t always count on those “extra” sources of damage, whereas rolling a bigger die will really never totally fail you. You can either take this as a mild spoiler for next week, or a thing we learned over in Extinction Curse, but anything in the ooze family is immune to precision damage, and they also don’t have blood, so bleeding doesn’t really matter either. And OK, at the risk of providing a veiled critique of our tactics, you can’t get the most out of it if nobody is around to give you flanking, and neither Chris nor I are the most reliable in that regard. Having said all that, sometimes it feels like John is being stubborn for the sake of being contrary… “I’m going to keep using this maul because everyone keeps telling me not to”… or so Dougie can be more distinct from Mister Peepers. I don’t know.

As we reach the end of the episode, we begin to work our way toward the party, when Gomez’s greed gets the better of him and he goes running right down a hallway into a gelatinous cube. Still one of my favorite monsters of all time, by the way – there’s something about the contrast of being so unlike any sort of normal lifeform, but that it still has the wherewithal to form itself into a sensible geometric shape. I think what I like is that it was one of the first creatures that really got outside the Tolkien box of dragons and humanoid bad guys, and took things in a strange new direction.

So next week, we fight a gelatinous cube! Cool! If you want a sneak preview of how that might go, the Extinction Curse crew fought two of them a few weeks ago, so go listen to those episodes or read the right episode of The Sideshow. While you’re waiting for next week’s episode, feel free to drop by Discord or other social media and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.

Agents of Edgewatch S1|11: The More You Know

The agents get a chance to rest and plan for their next stop – a costume party!

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|38: Gone In Six Seconds

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S1|38: Moaning & Sloshing.

I wanted to start this week by wishing all of our American listeners as happy a Thanksgiving as this whole COVID-19 situation is letting you have. Me, I’m going off the Turkey Day grid this year: I already have a fairly small family to begin with, and my parents didn’t want to take any chances, so… me and The Boy are just gonna have a grilled cheese sandwich party or something. And no, that’s not me fishing for sympathy… I think the idea of appreciating the good things in your life is more important than what food you stuff your face with, so I’m good. That and it’s still the first day of a five-day weekend from work.

I also wanted to drop a quick show note which might be a little duplicative if you read both columns. Specifically, I wanted to mention that the holiday season makes our recording schedule a little weird this time of year. We still have material in the can, so there’s no danger of running out of new episodes, but if you’re one of our Patreon subscribers who likes to listen live – be warned that recording sessions tend to get moved around or even canceled outright as the holiday season kicks into high gear and people have scheduling conflicts.

So we have a combat-focused episode this week, with a pair of combat encounters as we work our way to the end of Book 1 of the adventure path. The first is more of a cannon-fodder fight that’s made a bit more challenging by an environmental hazard; the second is a sub-boss with humanoid intelligence, spells, and other toys that will challenge the party.

The highlight of the first part HAS to be Hap’s feather fall assisted dive into the pit to get a better shot at all the enemies. The only thing that was missing was a robust singing of “I Believe I Can Fly”. I kinda get where Loren was coming from: if she was likely to take a hit anyway, might as well do a crap-ton of damage while doing it. And sure enough, at least one of the grothluts crit-failed its save, meaning Hap was able to basically one-shot it. Still, the best part was the sheer audacity of the move – you don’t usually see your clothie diving headfirst into the most dangerous part of the battlefield. There’s a scenario where she doesn’t do enough damage, all the grothluts just drop back down into the pit and eat her for lunch, and no more Hap. (Also… one does wonder on a roleplay level, will Alhara and Ateran scold her for doing that as much as they scolded Darius for using The Mark?)

Speaking of Alhara, it was nice to see her get a chance to really make use of her character’s skills in interesting ways. There are times when I think Alhara’s Swashbuckler build gets a bit of a raw deal – the last few battles have been these kinda static in-place slugfests, which Darius is built for but Alhara is not. (Or at least not as much.) Here we get to see her make use of her mobility skills, using the pit as a weapon and even chucking one of the bad guys into it. I feel like the complex battlefields give Alhara a chance to shine that we haven’t seen in a couple of episodes. Very refreshing.

Luckily, Hap’s dangerous stunt turns out to be OK, as the party takes care of the rest of the grothluts before they can dine at the Hap Buffet. A quick rest to heal – what shall we call “a rest that’s as many short rests as it takes to heal up?… a “flex rest”, maybe? – and it’s back to exploring the remaining rooms.

Our second fight begins with what appears to be a hostage situation, but what soon turns out to be – based on the powers it uses — a succubus sub-boss (assisted by a few wolves). Yes, I checked, they can take on “normal” humanoid form, so the lack of wings shouldn’t be taken as a deal-breaker. And thanks to Darius being a little too gullible, we finally get our first exposure to the “drained” condition. For the record, Drained gives you a minus-X penalty to CON checks AND removes X times your character level’s worth of hit points, both from your active hit points and from your max hit points (X being the level of… drainage?). And the Drained condition only goes down one step per LONG rest, so… that could’ve gotten pretty brutal. And may yet, if this battle has a Round Two.

However, halfway through the fight, the succubus offers to parley and dump some plot on us, which leads to an interesting standoff. Most of the party seems willing to talk, but Hap refuses to stand down (but also doesn’t attack), so on the creature’s next turn, she casts Dimension Door and gets the hell out of there. (She “yeets” herself, as the Young People say.) This also triggers a bit of a rules debate as Alhara had a readied action to attack if she tried to cast a spell, and it SEEMS like she should’ve been able to take it.

This brings us to this week’s episode of “Keywords Mean Things”. Yes, Dimension Door is an innate spell for a succubus, and in fact (mild spoiler) a succubus has two versions of it. It’s got both a 5th-level single cast and a 4th-level cast that’s at will. Neither “innate” nor “at-will” modify the action mechanics of casting a spell – it still has verbal and somatic components. “Innate” just means you have that ability even if you don’t otherwise qualify for it, and that it doesn’t consume a spell slot. “At will” just says how often you can use it – the default is once per long-rest, but an “at-will” ability can be cast every turn if you like. But none of that seems to change the fact that Dimension Door is a two-action spell with a visible “tell”, so I would’ve given Alhara her action. For what it’s worth.

Mechanically and/or thinking ahead to a possible rematch, this also means a succubus can bop around anywhere within a 120-foot radius as much as they want (well, once per round because of the three-action economy), and once per long rest, they can do the one-mile getaway. There’s also something else that’s kind of “interesting” about succubus encounters, but I won’t mention it for now in case it turns out to be relevant in a future episode.

(Speaking of rematches, did we ever find that ghast that escaped from the druid hermitage?)

But that’s where we end the episode… losing out on a possible information dump, and the unsatisfying feeling of a win that wasn’t really a win. That can be frustrating as a player, even if chasing off a bad guy kinda counts as a win and Steve tends to give us credit for beating the encounter, in terms of loot and experience. Not only do you lose that sense of achievement, but you find yourself looking over your shoulder, hoping that missing bad guy isn’t going to pop up as a reinforcement in a future fight. Unfinished business sucks.

It also picks a little bit at the edge of the eternal debate about how smart to make NPCs when it comes to self-preservation. The mechanics of adventures tend to go smoothest if you just have creatures fight until death (or CLEAR surrender, if they need to dump plot exposition), but sometimes it just defies common sense that an otherwise-intelligent creature would just stay and get pounded into the ground when it explicitly has tools to escape that fate. Especially in a case like this where the party is offered a surrender and doesn’t trust the creature enough to take it. So, sometimes the GM has to let the bad guy do the “right” thing and figure out how to fix the mechanics of it (lost experience, missing information, etc.) later.

But we’ll see what happens with that next week. For this week, go enjoy your face-stuffing. 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.

Three Ring Adventure S1|38: Moaning & Sloshing

There are only a handful of rooms left to explore, but those remaining are emanating terrible sounds.

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|10: The Art Of The Deal

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|10: We’re Sending Somebody In To Negotiate!

Since I don’t know how many people read one column or the other, or even both, so I wanted to start by wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving in advance. I know it’s likely to be a little rough and scaled-back this year because of all this COVID stuff happening, but I do hope you have some good things to celebrate and some good people in your life to celebrate it with. (And if you happen to read both columns, you’ll get a bonus dose of positivity on Thursday. Ain’t nothing wrong with sending out more good vibes into the world.)

Since we’re talking about the holidays, I wanted to also start this week with a general show note. This is the time of year where our recording schedule gets a little sporadic because of the holidays. Both episodes have plenty of material in the can, so the broadcasts will continue without interruption – no worries on that front. But for those of you who subscribe to the Patreon and listen live, things can sometimes get a little weird between now and the end of the year. Sometimes we move the shows around during the week; occasionally we even cancel entirely. Happens pretty much every year. It is known, Khaleesi.

This week, we finally resolve the hostage situation at the Dragonfly Pagoda, and rather than a big boss fight, it’s more of a chance to talk our way through the situation, with Gomez taking center stage for the first part, and Basil getting a little bit of work in the second half of the episode. We finally make our way to the non-crazy kobold (Shirek) the site manager mentioned when we started all of this.

Now, I haven’t really looked at Gomez’s character sheet, so I don’t know for certain, but it feels like Seth and I kind of split the “face of the party” duties depending on the context. As a sorcerer, I’m SURE he has a higher Charisma score than I do, so he’s likely to do better with the pure social skills like Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate. So I think in a GENERAL setting, Seth probably gets first crack at things. But I think there are a few contexts in which Basil would shine. First, Society is an INT-based skill and I also have the “Political Scion” background from the adventure path, so when it comes to mingling with fancy-folk, I might actually be able to do a little better than him. Also, if it’s an interrogation setting and we need to get specific information that’s being withheld, I have my Investigator’s “spider-sense”, which might let me notice a few things and offset a few points in Charisma. (And at higher levels, I can take feats that double-down on that.) If we really need someone to apply a little muscle, we’ve already got Lo Mang for that. Dougie… eh, he can go get the coffee.

So we get up to the top of the pagoda where the hostages are being held, and it’s Seth’s time to shine. And I have to admit, it’s nice to see this side of Seth as a neat little window to get to know him better as a person. I’ve gamed with him, I’ve gotten a sense of his taste in pop culture, but this was a chance to see him in a different context. I was really impressed by how quickly he came up with different angles and counter-arguments and navigated the negotiations. I mean, I never in a million years would have come up with “third-party mediation”.

That said, I do think the scenario as a whole teetered on the edge of “out of our pay grade”. We KIND of negotiated a plea bargain on the spot which would normally be the role of judges and lawyers and added a labor negotiation as a cherry on the sundae. Those don’t seem like normal “beat cops” tasks. But if the Lawbreaker Badge didn’t throw a tantrum, I guess we were allowed to do it. Also, if you’re totally rigid about what cadets fresh out of the academy should and shouldn’t be doing while unsupervised, this could run the risk of being the most boring adventure path ever. Sometimes you gotta bend “reality” for the sake of story.

As you hear in the episode, I got a little turned around – I thought the missing stonemasons WERE the hostages, and that rescuing them from the kobolds closed out this little chapter. But it turns out that we had to take care of the hostage crisis before we were even able to begin our investigation of the other situation. My bad there.

So, back at the station, we got to do more of an interrogation, and as I mentioned above, this turned out to be a better chance for Basil to take the lead. Though it actually turned out that my Society knowledge ended up being as useful as my investigative skills, as the next breadcrumb is a speakeasy-type establishment run by Jeremin Hoff, an influential but mildly shady character. So it sounds like our next stretch of adventure is going to be more of a social encounter, and one where Basil may be in clue-gathering mode. So I’m excited.

And we’re already getting close to Level 3! I’m a little surprised at how fast we’re managing to plow through the first two levels. Certainly in terms of game days – this is day TWO in-game time – but also in terms of show episodes. I went through my blog posts and tried to figure out how far along we were by Episode 9. We were Level 1 in Black Lodge, but that’s Society, so you level differently anyway. Not sure that’s a fair comparison. Plaguestone was also at the tail end of Level 1 – we fought Hallod in Episode 9, and would’ve leveled right after that. In Extinction Curse, I believe they had reached Level 2 – it was the battle against the demon that came down to Ateran’s last spell cast. I even went back to Dead Suns, and… OK, totally different game system, but Episode 9 was where we leveled up to Level 2. Yet, here we are, well past Level 2 and may hit 3 soon. Crazy.

The other exciting development is getting 50g apiece for the day’s work. I know Steve is abstracting a few things, but still… that’s a LOT of money for how low-level we are. Though… we’re also burning through consumables at a painful rate too, so it evens out. Not sure how well the “party full of squishies + no healer” party composition is going to work in the long haul, but for now, we live to fight another day.

And that’s just what we’ll do. Next week, we go undercover in the world of high-society dark-money social clubs. I have a strategy for how I’m going to approach this baked into Basil’s backstory, but I think I’ll save that and talk about it next week when we arrive there. In the meantime, 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|10: We’re Sending Somebody In To Negotiate!

It’s time to finally negotiate with the kobolds and the streams are crossed as real-life experience intersects with RPG experience.

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|37: Make Your Mark

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S1|37: Teacher, Mother, Secret Lover

First, I’d like to state that not only would I have “gotten” the “Kung Floor Fighting” joke, I would’ve sung along and added another few bars. “They fight it out while reclining?” Just Sayin’.

There’s really one big story in this week’s episode… the return (and upgrade) of Darius’ mark. If you remember, the last time it made an appearance – the final fight in the druid hermitage – it gave Darius a dose of what one would assume was barbarian rage. Punched a hole in a dude. Kept punching him after he was dead, in fact.

This time around, The Mark decided to make its presence known with a bit more grace and subtlety, as Darius turns invisible in the middle of combat. And it was first class invisibility, not coach, where he could attack and remain invisible, which proved to be VERY useful. Sneak attack damage out the wazoo.

(quickly dons Ziggy Stardust makeup) “Ch-ch-ch-chAAAAAAANGES!”

So the question that naturally comes out of this: how does The Mark work? Does the power change with each use, or is it evolving from one static thing to a new static thing? Do its powers just come from combat classes, or might he get spell-like abilities on some future usage? Is the ability chosen at random or does The Mark have some sort of sentience that decides what the user needs at the moment? Is Mama Varus watching over the proceedings or is that just how it manifests in Darius’ brain? Heck… is Darius secretly a Pokemon, and he’s evolved to his next form? DARIUS is now DARIOSUS!

If you think about it, there does seem to be some intelligence behind The Mark. Last time, Darius was going one-on-one, and it was the late stages of a fight the team had pretty much in hand, so pouring on damage and finishing his opponent off was the priority. This time, Darius was facing multiple foes and pretty beaten up, so something that got him out of harm’s way was a higher priority. So… was it just the dumb luck of Table 13.2, Subsection B, or is there something tactical at work here?

BUT… it’s clearly not all tactical genius – or even all benevolent – as one of the side effects of The Mark is a desire to go fight the Invisible Stalker for the Invisibility Heavyweight Belt. In a bit of a comedic moment, the invisibility expires shortly after Darius enters the room, and Darius luckily gets out of the room again before the probably-very-confused Invisible Stalker pounds him into a pulp. I was kind of looking forward to that fight, but it’s probably for the best that it didn’t happen. Otherwise, the rest of the party might have had to wait for the smell of Darius’ corpse to overpower all the other smells in the dungeon before they learned of his fate.

After the fight, there is a bit of an intra-party kerfuffle about whether Darius should’ve used the power or not, with Darius basically taking the “I’m gonna do what I have to do to keep us alive” position, Ateran and Alhara expressing a little more concern/skepticism and Hap mostly siding with Darius. As a mostly tactical player, I’m firmly on the side of using any tool in your arsenal to stay alive, but I do appreciate the team playing around with the roleplay a little.

In the short term, it doesn’t seem like much is accomplished: too little information to really form a hypothesis. But it does open up some opportunities to shuffle the roleplaying deck down the road. In particular, the Darius-Alhara brother-sister dynamic has always been one of the cornerstones of the show, so it’ll be interesting to see if the disagreement over The Mark tests that at all. (And OK, I’d actually be curious if Vanessa is folding jealousy into her reactions or if it’s just concern about the origins of The Mark – is there a part of her that’s actually MAD that Mom may be talking to him and not her?)

As a sorta-related aside to the whole story of The Mark, I’d like to mention that I’m a complete weasel. The first time I heard about Darius’ mark is roughly when we were making our characters for the Edgewatch show. So I won’t tell you what it specifically is, but I wrote at least one supernatural character hook into Basil’s bio so that if Steve wants to give me something similar, he has a ready-made parking place for it in my backstory. Not subtle, I realize, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. WHERE’S MY MARK, STEVE? (Then again, we are something like 4 or 5 months behind them, so… patience, padawan.)

We get a few little light-hearted moments toward the end of the show. As far as a voice for Csillagos, I’m going with vintage 80s Bobcat Goldthwait. I’m weird that way. As far as the debate over Darius’ healing, I don’t recall his heals being memorably bad, but maybe that’s one of those things where you feel it more intensely when you’re in the party. I mean, the thing about John rolling 1s and 2s in our Dead Suns game was absolutely a real thing and I remember that perfectly clearly.

Lastly, we have one more reminder that the dungeon is still unstable as the party gets bounced around by a rogue gust of wind. So… earthquake, room getting real hot, sound of lightning, now wind gust… we’ve got some sort of elemental situation going on… don’t we? I guess we’ll find out precisely what that is soon. Perhaps as soon as next week, since it seems like we’re running out of territory to explore. Whatever it is, probably best to do it quickly before the whole place caves in on their heads.

So, join us back here next week, when we’ll potentially put this dungeon to bed and get back to circus-related merriment. 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.

Three Ring Adventure S1|37: Teacher, Mother, Secret Lover

Darius once again decides to summon powers from his mysterious tattoo, but things don’t quite go as expected.

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|09: Taking Friendly Ire

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|09: Double Secret Difficult Terrain.

This week’s theme actually plays off an off-hand comment that came up in the group chat during our Among Us session. We had Loren from the Extinction Curse show; Seth, John, and I from this show, and a few of our Patreon listeners just BSing while we waited for more people to join the game. We were discussing what we like about the various shows, and I said something – half-joking, half-serious – to the effect of “even though our group’s been together longer [Edgewatch], you guys sound like you guys actually like each other better [Three Ring Adventure]”.

Now… don’t read too much into that statement. It was mostly meant to be a commentary on their roleplaying ability – that they really sound like a family unit that’s known each other for years, while there are episodes where we sound like a table thrown together at a convention. But there’s also some truth buried in there when it comes to the competitive dice-rolling side of the game. We tend to be a competitive bunch looking to squeeze every last advantage out of our characters, and SOMETIMES that creeps into evaluating (and giving the stink-eye to) choices our teammates make. That doesn’t translate into personal animosity outside the game: we’re totally different people bullshitting about movies for the 20 minutes before the “cameras” roll. But in-game? Yeah, it can get a little salty at times, and this episode felt like one of those times.

First, there was the whole back-and-forth with Seth’s readied action. I don’t know if you could tell, but I was actually kinda low-key pissed at that. Because if Seth stepped out of the way, guess who was going to be the next most logical attack target? Yours truly. I deflected with humor, as I often do, but it’s like… your “tactical brilliance” is to basically let me eat the attack for you. GREEEEEEAT. And then John did a similar thing which might have been harder to visualize on the map: I moved into the room to potentially give him flanking with the spider, and instead of taking advantage of that, he backed off to crossbow range and shot at the spider. Again, leaving me hung out to dry as the only person in melee range. No major harm done, but it was a little frustrating.

Going back to the ready-action thing, John speculated a little to the effect of “why you wouldn’t just do that all the time?”. And at first glance, it does seem handy to have a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card for a single attack. I can think of a few downsides, though. First, the battlefield might not be conducive to it tactically; it pre-supposes walls, doors, or other cover that you could move behind to avoid the attack entirely. To pick a counter-example, if you’re fighting in a wide-open meadow, there’s nowhere to hide and at best maybe you can add a -2 range increment.  Second, paying two actions for one action you may or may not use is a pretty steep trade. But most importantly, the enemy still gets three actions on their turn. Even if you do that fancy avoidance maneuver on its first action, it still has two more and can still adapt to your new position and pummel you in other ways. So maybe that tactic isn’t the big I WIN button it might seem like at first glance.

The fight with the spider-lady unfolded in a reasonably straightforward fashion – again, kobolds themselves have NOT that much of a problem whenever we can take traps out of the equation. But then at the end of the fight, we had another little squabble about whether to leave rounds, with Seth… rage-drinking?… a potion just to assert ownership over his turn. This was also the thing Steve mentioned in the show notes: I feel like maybe Steve cut some bickering because three of us REALLY wanted to drop out of rounds and heal, while Seth REALLY wanted to stay in rounds for some reason and I recall the debate lasting longer than that. But… no harm done, I suppose. I just didn’t want him to waste the potion until after we’d burned up our free resources first.

FINALLY we get to take our short rest, and I get to test out Ward Medic for the first time. Reminder: that’s the one that lets you heal two different people in the same 10-minute interval. It’s a nice little feature, and (sneak preview) it’ll get even better down the road when I can pair it with the Continual Recovery feat that lets you drop the cooldown from an hour to 10 minutes. In the here-and-now, I managed to fail on one (me) and succeed on one (Gomez), but I wasn’t down all that far, so it wasn’t the end of the world. Especially if it’s still just kobolds the rest of the way. I figure if there’s another boss-level kobold in the final fight, I’ll pop a potion or use my badge ability.

Speaking of “the rest of the way”: as I listen to this episode, the one thing I wrestle with was whether we were supposed to deal with the bloodseekers to the south or not. This is one of those places where adventurers would have different priorities than officers of the law with a specific task to accomplish. Adventurers would do it in a heartbeat. Experience is experience, loot is loot. As a member of the local constabulary, it’s a little more muddy. On one hand, they’re still a threat to the general public safety and should be dealt with; on the other hand, the hostage situation is still the higher priority and I’d hate to lose hostages because we “wasted” resources on what amounts to a side encounter. The bloodseekers seem like the sort of thing you could call in the reserves on later – whatever the Absalom equivalent of Animal Control is. (Of course, based on the menagerie battle, WE might be Animal Control.)

Lastly, I’d like to go all the way back to the show notes and mention that whichever one of our listeners came up with the John McClane/Die Hard analogy to justify taking a short rest… you’re my new favorite. The real question is did you know I have a soft spot for Die Hard references, or did you get lucky? I mean… you can’t possibly have missed three years of me saying “SEND IN THE CAR” every time I sent CHDRR forth into melee on the Dead Suns show.

So finally, as the episode draws to a close, we’re finally sorted out and ready to make our final “assault” on the kobolds holed up in the head of the dragonfly structure. I’m still holding out hope we might get through this with negotiation – that once the battle leader is dead, cooler heads will prevail. On the other hand, if the kobolds still want to get jumpy, we can handle that too… just need to do a better job checking for traps.

So that’s where we’ll leave things for next 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|09: Double Secret Difficult Terrain

What happens when half of your party wants to keep fighting and the other half wants to rest and heal? Mayhem!

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.

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