Stephen Glicker, Author at Roll For Combat: A Starfinder Actual Play Podcast

018: Nuthin’ But a ‘Zero-G’ Thang

We start our episode with a partial look at the official character sheet for John Compton’s FrankenCHDRR rebuild. Chainsaw wings? Junk cannon? Tactical razor-bat? Yes, please!

Getting back to the game, the team follows the trail of clues out to the Drift Rock, but their plans hit an unforeseen snag. Once on the Drift Rock, we get our first taste of Starfinder’s Zero-G rules, as well as a more conventional problem – it’s really dark in space. We can’t see and we’re floating around bumping into things… what could possibly go wrong?

This week GM Stephen discusses how to handle really difficult RPG rules (darkness in Zero-G anyone?).

Plus, another winner of the weekly $100 Amazon gift card giveaway! And don’t forget to become a supporter of the podcast at our Patreon page: where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

Talking Combat 017: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes Your Weirder


Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 017: He’s Only Mostly Dead.

So… CHDRR got his upgrades, and this is shaping up to be well worth breaking character.

In particular… THE BUTTON. (Yes, I’m going to use all-caps every time I say it.)

Color me intrigued, but with some hesitation. It sounds like it could do some really cool things (our goblin friends specifically mentioned explosions and acid breath), but I have to believe that it’s also meant as a device of last resort. Not to be too meta-gamey, but I assume if it JUST did good things, it would be too overpowered, so it probably does some bad things too. Also… these goblins don’t seem like the sharpest knives in the drawer, so even from a roleplay standpoint, it wouldn’t be surprising if there are a few bugs in the system.

So as much curiosity is gnawing at me to hit THE BUTTON the first time we enter combat, I don’t want to either kill CHDRR and force a 24-hour rebuild or accidentally wipe the party. You know what they say – “curiosity kills the party”. So it’s killing me to say it, but I’ll have to save THE BUTTON for the rainiest of rainy days. Just know that I want to see what it does just as badly as you do, and I’ll be looking for the right moment.

And yes, I was actually half-serious about keeping it in my cheek pouch and using it like a cyanide capsule.

But hey, let’s not lose sight of the fact that, even without THE BUTTON, we’ve also got chainsaw wings and an extra-spikey bat for a melee weapon! (Does this mean CHDRR now has a Negan Subroutine and is going to start swearing a lot more? Even if not, I might have to roleplay it that way.) I don’t know yet what those translate to damage-wise, but they certainly sound impressive. Some of the other stuff is a little more ambiguous — not sure if the “Murgle parts” or the “laser eye” are going to have any real effect, or if that’s just John adding flavor/aesthetics to his roleplay.

The other major plotline of this particular episode was Rusty’s ongoing battle with Space Rabies. I’m not going to belabor the point about disease… it sucks. I’m more interested in the broader gaming questions raised by the situation.

Being candid, the Eoxian healing packs felt a little bit like Steve throwing us a bit of a life-line, so Rusty didn’t die. I somehow doubt the adventure was written that way, and it felt pretty ad-libbed. (If that WAS in the adventure, that’s some pretty impressive contingency planning on Paizo’s part.)

The first question is a more philosophical “should he have done that, or should he have potentially let Rusty die?” and I think I’m OK with Steve’s choice. Here’s my attitude both as a player and occasional GM. I don’t like giving or accepting outright freebies – it robs the players of achievement and cheapens the experience. On the other hand, it’s an interactive story, and sometimes the GM’s job is to serve the story, not the dice. Hand-in-hand with that, I don’t think the GM is responsible for bailing the players out of their own stupidity, but I sometimes think when the players are making the right calls, and the rolls just go wrong, the GM can serve the greater good by offering at least a CHANCE at Door #2… if he can do it in a way that serves the story well.

But that brings up the second question – “what’s it going to cost us?” Knowing Steve, I know that if he DID throw us a life-line, there’s going to be a price to pay. As with CHDRR’s mods, when you get any sort of special boon, there’s going to be some sort of negative to balance the ledger. Reward and risk go hand in hand. Gotta pay the iron price. So I find myself thinking that either the “cost” of the packs will be some sort of additional questing, or that there might be some side effects and Rusty might end up not-fully-human after all is said and done. (Given Steve’s obvious enthusiasm for turning someone undead in his interview with Erik Mona a few weeks back, I think we all know what the answer is going to be. Cue RustyZombie in 3… 2… 1…)

Those were the big themes about the episode, but I also had a couple of smaller things to touch on.

First, I was surprised just how paranoid Hirogi was about the goblins. I mean, they’re goblins. They’re just about the definition of cannon fodder, to begin with, we disarmed them… how much trouble could they really be? I suppose some of that is reflective of how beat up we were, and maybe there are some “goblins are bad guys in Pathfinder” mental residue in his thinking, but I thought he was being unreasonably cautious. I DO think we want to make sure they don’t steal our ship or Gevalarsk’s crate or anything like that (which is why I suggested locking out access to the bridge), but locking them in a room like prisoners seemed excessive. Then again, maybe I’m biased. Because “chainsaw wings”.

The debate about opening Nor’s package continues, and we’re still without resolution. I’m sticking with my guns on this one – while, yes, there’s a chance we’re getting played, we’re supposed to be representing ourselves as professionals, and how would professional couriers in the real world handle it? FedEx might take reasonable precautions (X-ray your package), but they wouldn’t actually open it and examine the contents. It just feels like we should do the same unless there was compelling evidence that the package had been tampered with. A side data point is that we’ve generally been siding with the Hardscrabble Collective, and if the HC guys were OK having this cargo on their ship, we probably ought to be OK with it too.

My last point is not even a gaming observation, but a life observation. Ever say something that sounded completely logical to you, right up until the point when someone says it back to you, at which point it sounds like the stupidest idea in the world? Yeeeeeah…. that was my conversation with Gevarlarsk Nor. “So, we’re on a ship under quarantine where most of the crew probably died, two of our people contracted the same illness that probably killed the crew, and we’d like to bring them back to home-base – KNOWING THEY’RE INFECTED – for treatment.” Yeah, I’m an idiot sometimes.

So this episode was a bit transitional – getting Rusty, CHDRR, and Mo (to a lesser extent) back in fighting shape; checking in with the homefront. Next week, we begin actually to lay out our next steps, and – at the risk of throwing you a spoiler – we actually get to see the full extent of John Compton’s madness with the reveal of CHDRR’s new character sheet. If you’re a CHDRR fan, you’re gonna want to catch that one.

017: He’s Only Mostly Dead


SPECIAL GUEST ALERT! Paizo Organized Play Lead Developer John Compton joins us again this week and unleashes to the Starfinder Universe the Combat Drone/Goblin monstrosity CHDRR Mk 3! (Nothing will ever be the same again.) John also provides instructions on how to win a free Starfinder Skittermander Race Boon! Listen to the show for details!

Also this week, Rusty also finds an unorthodox cure for space rabies… but at what cost? And GM Stephen discusses the craziest GM topic to date – how to kill off a PC without them knowing that they died!

Plus, another winner of the weekly $100 Amazon gift card giveaway! And don’t forget to become a supporter of the podcast at our Patreon page: where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

016: Straight Outta (John) Compton


SPECIAL GUEST ALERT! Paizo Organized Play Lead Developer John Compton joins us this week for a sit-down interview about his role at Paizo and what the organized play program is all about… and then we continue our game, with John injecting new role-playing life into those pesky Space Goblins! John also provides instructions on how to win a free Starfinder Skittermander Race Boon! Listen to the show for details!

Also this week, GM Stephen discusses what happens if you “say yes” as the GM… crazy stuff! (Thanks to John for proving this to be true!)

Plus, we have the results of the closing tagline contest and the first winner of the weekly $100 Amazon gift card giveaway! And don’t forget to become a supporter of the podcast at our Patreon page: where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

015: Take It To The Bridge

Arceon Bridge

The team continues their investigation and finally reaches the Acreon’s bridge, but it’s a bad day for Tuttle – CHDRR 2.0 ends up in a bad spot, and the team’s grenade-throwing skills reach new lows.

Also this week, GM Stephen discusses the why there should almost always be a roll when something risky is attempted – for both PCs and GMs.

Plus the launch of a brand new contest where we will be giving away $100 every week! And don’t forget to become a supporter of the podcast at our Patreon page: where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

Talking Combat 014: Use Caution When Opening


Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 014: Crate Expectations.

After two straight sessions of dealing with space dogs, it’s refreshing to get back into explore mode. But we start with a lively debate about what to do about the mysterious crate.

Full disclosure: either that debate went on a lot longer and Steve edited it down, or it just felt like it went on a lot longer at the time – I have this recollection of it going on long enough that I had to get a new soda halfway through.

I won’t rehash the arguments in their entirety, but the choice boils down to: do we hide behind plausible deniability, deliver what we were asked to deliver, and let the consequences flow downstream; or do we take some responsibility and open the box, even if that might risk losing our pay and/or making our current benefactor mad with us? Are we by-the-book professionals (“You are fully licensed and bonded by the city, aren’t you, Mister Plow?”) or follow our ethical compass, perhaps in the name of serving a greater good, but perhaps torching a perfectly good gig?

Partly as a personal choice, part as a roleplaying call on Tuttle’s part, I’m currently on the side of “FedEx or UPS wouldn’t open up your package; why would we?” Tuttle wouldn’t want some random person looking through his research, so he’d probably come down on the side of doing the job he was asked to do. (Falling back on alignments, upholding a morally ambiguous contract sounds like a pretty Lawful Neutral take.) Having said that, I still acknowledge there’s something shady about having us smuggle a package off a ship under quarantine that doesn’t sit right. I don’t get a sense that Gevalarsk Nor is Evil-with-a-capital-E, so I’m not really worried him trying to wipe out Absalom with space plague, but I’ll concede that Rusty and Mo’s concern is at least generally valid.

I totally didn’t expect Hirogi to be the one to side with me, though – Chris tends to be all about exploring anything that might be a source of loot, so I assumed he’d want to dive right into the crate. I would’ve thought he would have been the advocate for “lock CamBot in a closet, bust the crate open, steal the contents, and then claim it was empty.” One of life’s little surprises that he’s on my side.

The exploration reveals no further akatas (thank goodness) but still plenty of signs of their presence. And… we find the flamethrower. Don’t worry, people; I’m going to be lobbying hard for CHDRR to get the flamethrower at some future date. It makes tactical sense since he’s usually near the front of the fight, but let’s be honest… “CHDRR With A Flamethrower” is one of those phrases like “Hobo With A Shotgun” that just has to be willed into reality. I’m not worried about it right this second because our primary foe is flame-resistant and it only has enough ammo for two shots, but long-term… it’s gonna happen, even if I have to get petulant and buy a second flamethrower to make it happen. (“I’ll make my own flamethrowing drone… with blackjack and hookers!”)

Somewhat overshadowed by Dog Metal Nuggets and dreams of flamethrowing drones, we also find our first concrete signs that we may not be the only humanoids left on the ship: locked doors, signs that some of the other cabins have already been searched. Is that a rival crew scavenging or looking for answers? Survivors who managed to lock themselves up somewhere to wait for help?

Annnnnnd then Mo takes a laser to the face. A crit, no less. If there is a survivor, apparently it’s the kid from Home Alone.

I think this was a twofold failure. First, I think the idea that there were survivors kind of took over and we got a little too eager to be heroic rescuers and should have been a little more cautious about the first closed door we encountered on the entire ship. But also, we haven’t really run into a trap yet, so I think we kind of underestimated that as a possibility. In the fantasy setting, you tend to see certain situations as potential trap locations. In a sci-fi setting, maybe we’re not quite as familiar with the warning signs yet. Also, it doesn’t fit as easily into the genre – you can’t exactly build the traditional 10-foot spiked pit into a spaceship. Well… not easily, anyway.

So Mo survives (just barely), and to add insult to injury, no actual people to interact with, and the stuff the trap was protecting wasn’t even that useful. A couple healing serums that don’t even make up for the damage Mo took, med patches that might help with Rusty’s disease, and we get our introduction to fusion seals… through a fusion seal that… only works on one weapon in the entire galaxy, which we don’t have anyway? Are we reading that right?

I will say the system itself seems pretty cool. I think the idea of doing away with plus-es in favor of special abilities is pretty neat and I LOVE the idea that you can move your seals from one piece of gear to another if you find one you really like. But the idea that a seal only works on a narrow range of weapon levels – I get the concept (I suppose it’s not that different from gem slots in WoW), but I worry it might lead to too many situations like this one where you can’t find the right combination of seals and weapons, and you might end up with too much stuff you can’t use. But maybe this will be the exception, not the rule, and future seals will be more useful.

And that’s where we have to leave it for this session. Rusty is still stuck with space rabies, and Mo is covered with soot and grill marks. We’ve still got one more closed door to deal with before heading toward the bridge. Will we find survivors? New enemies? Will Rusty succumb to space rabies, forcing us to take him behind the barn and shoot him? Stay tuned to find out.

As always feel free to join us on social media and join the conversation? What do you think we should do about the Eoxian crate? What do you think of the fusion seal system? Who (or what) should CHDRR light on fire first? Drop us a line and let us know your thoughts; and as always, thanks for listening.

014: Crate Expectations

the crate

The team discusses the pros and cons of opening a huge box on a quarantined spaceship filled with rabid space dogs, they slowly explore the rest of the Acreon, and somebody learns a painful lesson on checking for traps.

Also this week, GM Stephen discusses the awesome responsibility of a GM and how their power as the narrator can shape the game, and how PCs must also be responsible for their role in the story.

Plus new contest information! And don’t forget to become a supporter of the podcast at our Patreon page: where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

013: Hair of the Dog

Dead Suns Akatas

The team tests the theory that the best cure for space rabies is fighting more space dogs. Rusty and Hirogi haggle over gun rental rates, Tuttle fakes his way through Grenades 101, and Mo tries to come up with an appropriately heroic name for his weapon.

Also this week, GM Stephen discusses “taking it easy” on PCs when starting a new gaming system and is it better to kill a PC outright or just horribly maim them for life?

Plus more contest information! And don’t forget to become a supporter of the podcast at our Patreon page: where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

Help Roll For Combat Name Their Skittermander!


The guys at Roll For Combat are about to start playing some Starfinder Society and we managed to get our hands on a Skittermander boon (listen to future shows to learn how you can get a Skittermander SFS of your own!). We need your help in naming our Skittermander character.

Check him out! Isn’t he cute! Wouldn’t you like to hear a rough voice of one of our regulars playing a cute little Skittermander?

If you have an idea for a name for our Skittermander, please send your Skittermander name to:
. You can also enter your Skittermander name here as well. If you name is chosen, we’ll send you a custom Roll For Combat t-shirt and use your name on the show! Good luck!

012: Who Let the Dogs Out?

Akata Battle

The team boards the Arceon and gets a rude welcome from the new inhabitants, a pack of what can loosely be described as space dogs. Rusty’s ability to stay out of the thick of the fight finally runs out, and the team has their first encounter with Starfinder’s new disease system. That’s right… space rabies!

Also this week, GM Stephen discusses how to best prepare for large encounters with multiple creatures with unique abilities.

Plus this week we announce the start of a brand new contest! And don’t forget to become a supporter of the podcast at our Patreon page: where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!