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Talking Combat 128: The Doctor is Out

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 128: All Hail The Conquering Heroes!

So this is it… the end of the Dead Suns podcast.

I don’t know how many of you will get this reference, but there’s a scene in HBO’s John Adams, right after the vote to issue the Declaration of Independence, where the delegates just sit there in silence… “What did we just do? What happens next?”.

That’s a little bit how ending this Dead Suns campaign felt – both at the time we played this final session, and now as I’m writing the last episode blog entry. Happy? Of course. We saved the universe from undead conquerors! Can’t argue with that. Sad? Yeah, a little. But the prevailing mood was more like “quiet reflection” on the last two and a half years and What It All Means.

On one hand, it’s just another pit stop in over a decade playing with this gaming group. We end this one, we get going with the next one, and the world keeps spinning around the sun. But at the same time, this was special. In addition to being our first real exposure to Starfinder, it was the game that begat a podcast… the only game where I have a T-shirt of my character… the only game where my NPC companion has a fan club. It feels like the end of something bigger.

Tuttle as a character is one of those characters I’m going to remember many games down the road. I could barely tell you the name of the rogue I ran Emerald Spire with… just some fairly random bird guy. I know my Carrion Crown druid was named Jerryx because that’s one of my go-to character names, but he was kind of an empty suit without any real personality or distinctive features – I basically roleplayed him as “me, but I can cast spells”. But Tuttle is one of those characters that worked: I had a good sense of who he was, and he had the sort of moments that stick in your memory. Goblification of CHDRR. Saving the party with the teleportation puck. Aeon Tuttle. It’s been a fun ride for a character concept I mostly picked because it was different than what I’d been playing.

I’ll also say this: I’m fairly pleased with Tuttle’s epilogue, though I didn’t mean for it to come across as sounding quite so greedy.

When thinking it up in my head, I was approaching it more from the “For Science!” angle than the “Gotta Get Paid” one. Tuttle has always been about the quest for knowledge, and this ancient society had technology that was superior to contemporary Pact Worlds (see also: multi-planet demi-planes, superweapons that can stop fusion in a star, that teleporter booth that zapped Hirogi Mk 1). That “Foundry” was a manufacturing facility and the room of the final boss fight was some sort of library, so I’m thinking there’s a treasure trove of scientific discovery to be found there. And ALL the way back at Level 1, that’s why Tuttle left his lab in the first place… to pursue scientific discovery. But in my mind’s eye, that was actually part of his growth – Level 1 Tuttle probably would’ve been content to grind out some patents and get rich, but Level 13 Tuttle genuinely wants to do good in the world. Being an adventurer changed him for the better.

The only reason I brought money into it is that Tuttle would need some amount of seed money to put a team together to get back to Istamak, and it’s not the sort of thing he’d want to go fully public with by going to banks for loans. He’d have to get a spaceship, hire some research assistants, provide food and shelter (though the locals might be able to help there), setup a basic lab on Istamak. So the initial idea was “make just enough money to enable his life of science and then spend several years sifting through data on Istamak”. Somewhere in there, between explaining things poorly and Steve egging it on, it took on a life of its own and morphed into “Tuttle is going to turn into Jeff Bezos and rule the world from his billionaire castle”.

Of course, it didn’t help that John managed to pick the most diametrically opposed (and wholesome) epilogue story, making me look like a devious backstabber in comparison. Which… I guess on some level I am, but still… don’t like having my nose rubbed in it. John’s going to open a soup kitchen and give all the Kish kids piggy-back rides while I’m robbing them of all their tech and kicking puppies. Lovely.

I liked everyone’s plans, really. Mo’s plan works for him – he’s the world-weary soldier that finally gets to lay down his pike and live the simple life. Bob’s plans to have Rusty become a media mogul seem pretty inspired, though I figured he’d eventually turn to politics and get himself elected Supreme Sovereign of the Pact Worlds. Doesn’t matter if such a position doesn’t exist yet – Rusty will get it created. I like the idea that Hirogi is off to the Roll For Combat multiverse, destined to serve the same role in the Roll For Combat universe that Wit plays in Brandon Sanderson’s books. I do think Steve should lean into it and have a different person play Hirogi every time, though. (Eventually culminating in Gary Oldman, because that dude can play ANYONE). Chris’ epilogue is played a little more laughs, but it was still pretty funny (for a demon). And OK, it’s kind of fitting that Chris would dedicate his post-campaign life to nursing an in-game grievance.

Will Tuttle and CHDRR ever return to the airwaves? I’m certainly not opposed to the idea; I just don’t know exactly when we’ll get around to it. Like Steve, swords-and-sorcery are really my bread and butter, so I want to scratch the Pathfinder Second Edition itch for a bit. But someday, when the Pact Worlds really need them, Tuttle and CHDRR may yet ride again.

Lastly, I know this isn’t really good-bye – we’re still here and playing – but I still wanted to take a pause to tip my cap to you listeners who have come on this journey with us. Yeah, we made it to the end, but so did you… 128 episodes, however many hours of recorded show… that’s a lot of 80’s sci-fi references, occasional rules mistakes, and squirrely microphone issues to endure. We’d still be playing even if no one was listening, but it’s still nice to see the comments and kind words and know that people have been enjoying what we’ve been doing all this time. So thanks for coming on this journey with us, and hope you’re gonna stick around to hear where we go next.

DOCTOR Tuttle Blacktail, signing off.

Talking Combat 127: Roll For Combat: The Movie

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 127: Dancing On The Ceiling

Welcome to the penultimate episode of the journey we’ve been on for the past two-and-a-half years. I’m not going to dwell on that too much this week, because I’ll have nothing left for next week if I do, but it’s still pretty crazy.

Instead, I’m going to start by indulging something that arose in the Discord chat… the RFC Casting Call. Someone in the spoilers channel said they actually wanted to see our Dead Suns game turned into a Netflix series. At the time, I responded with a fairly throwaway joke about not being willing to sign unless Paul Giamatti is the voice of Tuttle, but that short interaction got the old mental hamster wheel turning. So at the risk of going off in the weeds for a few moments, let’s look at the casting for Roll For Combat Dead Suns: The Movie.

First, we’ve established that Paul Giamatti would have to be the voice of Tuttle. I realize Discord isn’t “etched in stone” but I’m gonna follow my initial instincts on that one. In chess terms, I took my hand off the piece. CHDRR? Well, we’ve established that most cinematic robots are British, so it’s really just what flavor of soothingly British voice we want to go with. In which case… screw it: Idris Elba it shall be. I thought about Cumberbatch but he’s already got enough voice work for one lifetime, let’s spread it around some.

Next up is Rusty Carter. Bradley Cooper has that same kind of rakish charm that Rusty has, so that’s been my internal picture of him pretty much since we started. It also opens up the option to gimmick-cast Lady Gaga as some sort of space alien to tap into some A Star Is Born nostalgia. And she can supply her own wardrobe, so that’s a plus.

With Mo, maybe I’m being easily influenced by recently rewatching Sons of Anarchy, but I’m getting a Ron Perlman vibe for him. It seems like he could do “world-weary soldier running from his past” pretty well. Perlman might be a little old, but CGI can clean most of that up. Clancy Brown also crossed my mind for similar reasons.

With Hirogi, my first silly thought was to gimmick cast the Hemsworth brothers, so it would be one Hemsworth before he vanishes on Istamak and one when he returns. That’s a long way to go for a joke, though. My second impulse was to make Hirogi more of a martial artist, just to give the combat more different flavors than just pew-pew-pew. (Operatives are theoretically good at melee; Hirogi has just never really done so.) If Donnie Yen was 5 or 10 years younger, he’d be my first choice, but now I’m feeling like Mark Dacascos (most recently the villain from the third John Wick movie, but perhaps more importantly, the Chairman from the American version of Iron Chef) is the way to go here.

That leaves Akiro. I had a little trouble with this one at first. I was looking for someone who was good at “morally ambiguous” since Akiro himself has a little bit of that. Also, someone who might fit the character art. Finally, on the bus home from work, it hit me – James Callis. Who did “morally ambiguous” better than Gaius Baltar? He could even make the beard work, as the later seasons of Galactica proved.

I know it’s a bit of an odd mix: you’ve got some Hollywood A-list at the top end, down to people who haven’t even been on TV in a few years. I thought about going a little more granular and having two versions — the summer blockbuster movie version and the TV version – but I kinda ran out of steam, so you just get one combined version.

Meanwhile… back in the game, the main thrust of this week’s adventure is getting off the ship, while dealing with the continuing weird gravity effects. We’re on the ceiling, we’re on the floor, then we’re floating in zero-G – it almost started to seem like something out of a Warner Brothers cartoon. Meanwhile, Akiro’s gradual robotification (giving the casting choice above, is he revealing himself to be a Cylon?) finally ends, but he’s still hanging on at death’s door.

We do run into a few last-minute surprises, though. First, Hirogi decides to stay behind and finish the job, which… I mean… it seems unnecessary once we’re caught in the gravity well, but OK? I guess he’s got a plan to get out of there at the last minute, but I’m kinda confused about how he’s going to get back out of the demi-plane without a spaceship. Whatever. His character. If he’s got a death wish, I guess that’s his business.

Then we arrive at the escape pods, and we seem to be short one. I thought Steve was going to actually make us choose who to leave behind, but then he bailed us out by letting us double up. Part of me wonders if that was originally going to be the case, but Steve decided not to double up on the noble sacrifice once Hirogi decided to stay behind. I do wonder how long it takes for escape pods to make it back to Pact Worlds space, and if things might get a little ripe in that pod, but still… better than staying here.

Lastly, I have to admit I genuinely forgot about this, but Serovox didn’t actually leave! As we leave this episode, Hirogi gets hit with one final fireball. It’s probably too late to stop the collision, but it might make Hirogi’s escape plan a little dicey.

So… next week is it. We say goodbye to almost two-and-a-half years of this campaign. If you’ve lasted this long, I assume you’ve got one more in you, so we’ll see you next week.

Talking Combat 126: The Rogue Goes Rogue

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 126: Ramming Speed!

OK, so it turns out the secret to making ship combat in Starfinder entertaining is to just give your players command of a Level 20 capital ship and just let them leave smoking wreckage where their enemies used to be. WHO KNEW?

Seriously, I didn’t know while we were fighting, but I went back and looked at the stats of those ships (or similar) after the combat was over, and those two escort cruisers pretty much had NO chance. (Even before Seth decided to just go ahead and ram them.) We had something like 1000 hull points and they were just plinking away, 40 or 50 points at a time. Meanwhile, our main gun was putting out anywhere up to 400, 500 points if we got good rolls, and seemed to be settling in the 300s on average. And once the boss left, we could afford to put 2 or 3 people on guns at the same time.

There’s a little suspension of disbelief as far as getting the guns to shoot at other Corpse Fleet ships, but I suppose there are two rationalizations there. First, they shot at us first. Kinda easy to justify shooting BACK at somebody that already shot at you. But also, we’re (ironically) so far in the future that it’s probably all computerized – there’s probably no window they looking out to see who they’re firing at; they probably just respond to blips on the screen. The bridge tells them to shoot at the target at bearing 027-mark-351 and they do it. I suppose you could spend an hour in this rabbit-hole if you really wanted to – Do they have transponders on their ships? What’s the chain of command if Gunner’s Mate Third Class Poplinski realizes we’re shooting at friendlies?  But screw it. “Fog of war” it shall be.

Meanwhile, the boss makes a token effort to make a nuisance of himself, but doesn’t ever come out from behind his force wall, and then leaves. I suspect that means he’s getting low on spells, and almost certainly that he can’t go invisible again. On the one hand, it’s a little less than satisfying because I’m a completionist and really want to finish the job. On the other hand, a caster who is pretty much out of spells really might not want to go toe-to-toe with a party of five, even if one of them is teetering on death’s door. I suppose there’s still a chance he’s off getting reinforcements, or possibly that he’ll ambush us as we try to get off the ship, but for now… take the “W”, I guess. (It also sets up the possibility we’ll have an honest-to-God nemesis if he and us both escape. Just like Darth Vader’s TIE fighter flopping away into space at the end of Star Wars!)

And then we get to the heart of this episode, where Seth goes loose cannon on us.

Here’s my dilemma. Keep in mind, this isn’t “anger”… more like “70% amused, with a 30% undercurrent of frustration”.

On one hand, I absolutely respect that it made for a big, fun storytelling moment for Seth to ram the enemy ship and that in general, he’s going all-out for the event horizon to get us there quickly. We’re in the home stretch – swing for the fences! And I can’t really complain about him carrying forward the same plan I started without asking anyone’s permission – it was my idea to start moving the ship to get the boss to focus on me in the first place. On the other hand, the minute the boss left the bridge, the situation was at least temporarily under control – we’d already established that the escort ships weren’t going to be much of a threat – and a little bit of a pause to catch our collective breath would’ve probably been wise. Slow down… do a circle and go back around… whatever.

Instead, Seth goes ahead and rams the ship. It certainly solves the ship combat problem; I’ll give it that. But now we have a running clock to get off the ship, one party member who has to be dragged because he’s ping-ponging back and forth at death’s door, weird shifting gravity effects, and we don’t REALLY know for certain those doors at the “north” end of the bridge get us off the ship… we’re just kind of assuming that to be the case. Don’t get me wrong… it makes GREAT listening. But for someone like me who likes to take time to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, it’s a little bit outside my comfort zone.

I do feel like Steve is the great equalizer here. I think Steve has a pretty good Spider-Sense for that sweet spot where he still indulges players’ choices up to a point, but he also won’t totally let one player take over the game and “ruin” it for everyone else. Let’s say something Seth was going to do would kill us outright. The ship blows up, we lose. That would pretty much flush two years of gaming down the drain, and deep down, I don’t think Steve would let that happen. I don’t feel like he would hard-veto it unless there was no other way: it’s more likely he’d soft-veto it by tweaking the script on the fly and giving the rest of us a chance to mitigate the situation. Don’t get me wrong: Steve is willing to let the group die if we AS A GROUP do something hideously stupid. But if one player goes rogue, I think Steve’s willing to covertly or overtly reel it back in if needed.

Based on his show notes, it doesn’t sound like his response to Seth’s actions was anything that drastic, though. If anything, he just moved up some things that were going to happen later to create some additional drama, and it sounds like we’re still basically in command of our own destinies here; we just have to get the heck off this ship.

Toward the end of the session, we catch a bit of a break as the Rewire Flesh effect on Akiro is set to expire; next time he drops will hopefully be the last time. He’ll still be at risk if we have to deal with more potential falling damage from the gravity shifts, but he has his flight spell to mitigate some most of that. Not gonna lie – I know we do a certain amount of messing with each other, but I was genuinely a little annoyed that Bob and John weren’t giving me a little more help getting Akiro back on his feet. Two main things: a) this would go faster if I stabilized him and a second person poured a healing serum into him and b) unless we get lucky with low or zero-G, there’s pretty much no way I’m going to be dragging him myself. You could argue a little selfishness is in-character for Rusty, but Mo is usually more helpful than that.

And that’s where we leave things for next time… it’s really just a race to get off the ship before big objects go BOOM. Do we make it? I guess you’ll have to tune in next time. Though, I mean, who’s gonna listen to a podcast for two years and then bail at the very final moments? So at the risk of being arrogant, we KNOW you’ll be back here next week… but thanks for listening all this time.

Talking Combat 125: From Hell’s Heart I Stab at Thee!

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 125: Does Akiro Dream of Electric Sheep?

I’m going to be a little self-indulgent and smug this week because after being mostly useless up until this point in the fight, Tuttle kinda gets to have a bit of a hero moment this week.

Since there was a real-life episode break at the same point in the show, I had a week to think the problem over: what, if anything, could I do to change the nature of the fight? Taking control of the ship was what I came up with. As the one mostly-undamaged person in the party, the single most important goal was to get the boss’s intention on me. At a bare minimum, I was hoping it would at least draw some fire so Mo and Akiro could potion up a little and get back on their feet; at most, I was hoping the Big Bad would actually have to come in close and/or turn visible, at which point Mo could get to take some real swings. My biggest worry here is that there’s a third cast of Rewire Flesh with my name on it, but it’s a chance I’ve got to take.

I realize that makes it sound at first glance like a suicide mission, though it’s not meant to be one. Tuttle isn’t that grandiose. I’ll grant that I’m putting a few “last resort” contingencies in there, but I still hold out hopes of getting through this. If we can get the Big Bad down, I can always turn the ship aside and come up with a less dangerous plan. But if the Big Bad appears to be winning, maybe there’s some way of doing the high-tech sci-fi equivalent of putting a toolbox on the gas pedal so they can’t turn the ship aside. Like Khan activating the Genesis device – “from Hell’s heart I stab at thee!”. At least that’s my thinking in the moment.

If I’m being honest, it’s also a mild hedge against the possibility that Rusty might try and make good on keeping the Stellar Degenerator. I recognize he can’t really do that – a capital ship requires a crew in the hundreds, so it’s not like Rusty could fly it solo. But I am concerned about the possibility that we win the fight but then Rusty bluff-checks us into not destroying the thing. Taking this action now, in the middle of combat, also kinda forces the issue on that front too.

So for now, a collision course is the plan of choice. That said, when Steve said I had access to the whole ship-wide computer system, I briefly thought maybe there would be a way to use the ship’s internal defenses in our favor. If you remember a few sessions back, we had those security viruses that let us write ourselves out of the system and redefine who the computer considers to be friend and foe. So at least for the first round I sat down at the command console, I was trying to see whether we could do something similar to target the boss – maybe turn that anti-life ray into an anti-death ray, summon some security drones… heck, maybe there’s a magic dampening field in there somewhere to cancel its invisibility. Except that its invisibility expires anyway… and now we have at least a puncher’s chance at winning this thing (unless it has a second cast of greater invisibility, of course).

And now here’s where things get weird, with a mixed battle of space combat and regular party-based combat at the same time.

First, I have to agree with Steve’s overall decision – I love the choice to mix the two set-pieces together. I feel like the ship combat on its own would have rendered the final fight anti-climactic. You know, like all those fake endings in Peter Jackson’s Return of the King. (You bow before no one, CHDRR!) Interleaving the two battles makes for a far more interesting sprint to the finish.

Second, and I can’t stress this enough… capital ships ROCK. We have something like a thousand hull points, our main weapon does 9d6x10 damage per shot, we also have access to missiles (which we haven’t really dealt with yet)… I don’t know the exact stats of the ships we’re battling against, but as I said, the one shot we fired from the main gun would’ve not only blown through the shields; it would’ve singlehandedly vaporized the Sunrise Maiden. We’re playing in a whole new neighborhood of badassery here.

It’ll be interesting to see how the workload breaks down between the two fights. We’ll need at least one person to pilot and one to fire guns, though technically there’s an unmanned workaround for Piloting that lets you drift straight forward without doing any special moves. So really, we could put everyone on guns if we needed to. Also, since we’re planning to destroy this ship along with the Stellar Degenerator, we probably won’t need any Engineering or Science… the ship’s only got to last 8-ish rounds. I’ll probably stay on the ship side of the house since I’m mostly useless in the party combat, and it seems like Hirogi wants to get some ship combat in too. (To be fair, beyond his in-character rationale, Seth hasn’t had a chance to do starship combat; he probably just wants to get a feel for it.) I feel like Mo should stay on the boss since he’s likely to be the heavy hitter if/when the boss ever comes out from behind the energy shield. I guess that just leaves Rusty and Akiro, though Akiro is walking a tightrope at death’s door and might not be participating in either.

Since you can’t see the map, we’ve got about a 32-hex “sprint” to reach the demi-plane, with the two escort ships between us and our goal. I didn’t cheat and look up their stats or anything, but I feel like they’re going to have a tough time stopping us, especially if we’re doing 300+ points of damage per hit. I get John’s point about just setting this ship to self-destruct and letting the planetary defenses win, but I suppose you can kinda hand-wave that as “well the Corpse Fleet will just summon more reinforcements and come back and finish the job later”. Or other parties will hear about it and send fleets of their own. Best to finish the job now – though if we can win both the boss fight AND the ship battle, maybe we can just pull up at the demi-plane and shoot the Stellar Degenerator with the ship’s weapons instead of crashing into it.

And that’s where we’ll leave it for next time. A newly visible boss on the wrong side of an energy field (like Darth Maul in the final fight from Phantom Menace), the ship slowly “hurtling” toward destiny, and for better or worse, the stalemate is broken. As always 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 time.

Talking Combat 124: Head Like A HAL9000

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 124: More Machine Than Man

As promised for a few weeks, this is the episode where things start to get a little shaky. And while John may be totally cool with a party-wipe to end this thing, I want Tuttle to live. I’m stubborn that way.

The very mild good news of this episode is that we finally beat down the remaining adds, and I got the other door locked so either no more adds will show up at ALL, or they at least have to take the long way around to get to the bridge. So now it’s just us and the Big Bad.

Unfortunately, that’s going wrong in just about every way imaginable. And the hidden reason is the boss doesn’t have to beat the whole party to put us in an unwinnable situation, he just has to beat our top two guys. It’s like losing the queen in chess – the game’s not OVER if the other side takes your queen, but it gets a lot tougher to win.

Right now Akiro is the only one who can see the boss, and he just got hit with that Rewire Flesh spell, which is proving to be NASTY, for reasons I mostly went into last week (Cliff’s Notes: no action needed to sustain + save only does half rather than removes it). As this episode ends, I think he’s out of stamina and into meat. And also running low on spells. Mo, who is our best overall damage-dealer, is chugging potions to stay up because he took the brunt of the damage from tanking the adds. He’s also flat-footed and mute, adding an extra layer of difficulty. And now we find out the boss has some sort of fast-heal. Lovely.

To return to that chess analogy, Mo and Akiro are the queen and a rook. If they go down, we gotta find a way to win with a knight (Hirogi – can do big damage situationally, but the boss is likely to save against his trick attack) and a couple of pawns (Tuttle and Rusty). So THAT’S the urgency – in a few rounds, we might “still” have three guys up, but it’s likely to be the wrong three guys.

I wanted to address some of Steve’s commentary about retreating and waiting for the spells to run out. I can only speak for myself, but I felt like we were doing a lesser version of that. Maybe not a full run-and-hide, but if we could get the adds down and just make it us vs. the boss, we could maybe spread out around the room, try to get some people healed up, and wait until the invisibility broke. If there’s one saving grace about fighting this boss, it feels like it’s not wired for big bursty damage. It’s not some melee who’s going to run in and full-attack for 50 points; it’s just going to bounce around the room lobbing fireballs (several of us have DR vs. fire) and chip away at us, and wait for that DoT to take Akiro down. The DoT doesn’t seem to be going anywhere whether we flee or not. And those corrosive hazes move slowly, so they should be easy to avoid. So the real trick is to not bunch together and give up 2-3 characters’ worth of explosive blast damage at a time. Admittedly, that’s a little more difficult when we’re trying to pass potions between us, but it’s not unworkable.

So it’s not a full tactical retreat, exactly. But it is a strategy of trying to minimize the boss’ strengths long enough for the battlefield to equalize a little. To metagame a little, we’re on round 9 or 10, and a boss is going to be at or above the level of the party, so 13-15th level, maybe? Maybe with all of these adds, the boss might be a little lower? Optimistically, we only have to wait it out a couple more rounds.

The thing we don’t know is whether it has a second cast of greater invisibility… if that happens, I don’t know WHAT we do. Die gruesome deaths, probably.

While we’re talking about invisibility, I did want to offer a mild rules-lawyer on that invisibility, in particular how it interacts with the corrosive haze. Even if you’re invisible, your interactions with objects in the world are not. If you open a door while invisible, people see the door opening. If you threw a sheet on top of yourself while invisible, people would see the sheet just fine. So I feel like there ought to have at least been a CHANCE to see the outline of a person in the corrosive haze – even if it was a really high-DC Perception roll or something. Think the Predator effect from the movie. Then again, to give Steve’s interpretation a fair hearing, a fine mist isn’t walking through a waterfall or even rain; it’s microscopic. If it’s a foggy day, can you really see individual droplets of fog displace when someone moves through them? We’re not living in the Matrix here…

So that’s where we end this. I feel like there are still possibilities for pulling this out, but we gotta come up with something that at least changes the nature of the fight. And for me personally, I should be trying to make Tuttle as inviting a target as possible. I don’t have a taunt ability, but honestly, for these next few rounds… I’m wracking my brain for a way to get the boss to focus its attention on me. I’m probably the least useful offensive character, I haven’t taken much (any?) damage, and I even have DR10 to fire if I have to eat a fireball. I don’t want to die exactly, but if it helps the team regroup, I should be wearing a sign that says “HIT THIS MOUSE, WIN A STEAK DINNER!” or something.

And guess what. I have an “or something”. But you’ll have to wait until next week to hear what I come up with. While you’re waiting, feel free to drop by Discord or other social media, let us know what you think of the show, and join the ongoing merriment. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

Talking Combat 123: Resistance is Futile

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 122: You’re Locked In Here With Me!

We start this episode with an act of SUPREME BETRAYAL AND TREACHERY!

Yes, I’m talking about the fact that The Voiceover Guy no longer says “and his drone CHDRR!” when introducing me. What the hell, man? We’ve still got five people coming out of the basement and onto the Internet instead of six, but you had time to do CHDRR dirty like that? I’m lodging a formal protest with… well, whoever one lodges those sorts of protests with. The World Court at The Hague? Judge Judy? WHERE IS MY JUSTICE?

Sorry… rant over.

At any rate, after two weeks of “we got this”, here’s where we finally reach the “maybe we don’t got this” portion of the fight. It hasn’t gone bad yet, but it feels like it’s teetering on the edge of bad.

The main thing is that the lion’s share of our damage has gone onto the two biggest damage dealers, so if they drop, the rest of us don’t have the firepower to take the boss out ourselves. (And in fact, we can’t even SEE him.) Mo and Akiro are the big guns – we know this. Hirogi is pretty good when he lands Trick Attack, but if he doesn’t land that, his damage output becomes kind of ordinary. Rusty and Tuttle though are pretty much support characters. If we have to take something out… well, maybe we should just let Rusty try to talk us out of it at that point. Or swear loyalty to the Corpse Fleet and ask for Australia as the price for our help. (Sorry… Gene Hackman turned 90 recently, so he’s been on the brain.)

In a normal battle, we’ve found ways to spread that out a little so the enemy “wastes” some of their damage on me and Bob (another way in which CHDRR might have been useful – clogging lanes and soaking up attacks). Or at least it’s one Big Bad Squaring off against Mo and the rest of us chop down adds. In this combat, the three of us really haven’t been getting hit, except by the secondary damage (the acid sphere or standing too close together and getting caught in an Explosive Blast).

And that’s the other thing that stands out about this fight. There’s a lot of “extra” damage being brought to bear. Explosive Blast isn’t a lot of damage at this level, but it hits multiple targets. Basically the equivalent of endless grenades. The acid damage isn’t a lot of damage, except that it gives you a 10-point kicker even after you’ve moved out of it.

But the poster child for that is the Rewire Flesh spell. Again, 3d6 per round isn’t a huge amount of damage in any one roll. But it’s a nasty little bugger because it’s basically free fire-and-forget damage for double-digit rounds. There’s no action needed to sustain it. A save only halves it; nothing short of Dispel Magic negates it (and I wasn’t paying close attention to Chris’ rolls, but the save seemed like it was in the 15ish range). It’s internal damage, so any sort of externally-focused damage reduction is useless. So even if the “average” damage on the spell is only 11 or 12 points per round, that’s a constant drain while the caster can go on about his business casting other nastiness. To which Chris is also now more susceptible because he moves slower and is flat-footed. That spell didn’t really leap off the page when I first looked at it except that it had gnarly “flavor”… now, I’d be hard-pressed to roll a caster that DOESN’T take that.

And then there’s that other door. I hinted at doing so last session, but this time I really am going to go lock that thing. I have nothing guiding that decision beyond a) general symmetrical dungeon design, and b) the fact that we really can’t handle another round of adds. We have to start making a dent in the boss. Since we’ve already seen the admiral, the captain, and their Mister Worf (Gatecrasher), I don’t feel like there would be a boss-level monster in the other room, but even another helping of undead monks would arguably push us past our limits. If we’re not there already.

Now, as Seth points out, they might still be able to go back out into the main lobby and re-enter through one of the other doors, but… first things first. If it becomes a race to lock the other sets of doors, I think we can win that one because there’s two of us and we’d have the shorter route to the remaining inner doors.

I don’t know how I feel about Steve giving us such an overt hint about the See Invisibility ampule. There’s probably some absolute level where he probably shouldn’t have done that. If we didn’t study our characters well enough, that’s on us, and if we die… I guess we die. But I do think it’s worth mentioning that this fight was being recorded during the holidays, and there was a two or three-week break around Christmas. So it really was more than a month since we had gotten that piece of loot, so maybe the little hint was warranted. I suppose that’s for you as the listener to decide – cheesy or not? Though for the moment, it isn’t cheesy until we benefit from it.

As we end this week, the adds are down or pretty close to it. If I recall correctly, there’s still one undead monk that’s been hit for at least 100 or so damage, and there might still be a second add whose overall status I’m a little fuzzier on, but that’s it. If we can get those guys down and start working on the boss as a team, there’s still a window to win this. Not to metagame too overtly, but if he’s a caster, that should mean he has fewer hitpoints than your average Big Bad. But it’s going to be a race against time, and that’s where we’ll pick it up 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!

Talking Combat 122: Admiral on the Bridge

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 122: You’re Locked In Here With Me!

Well, we found the boss. Or, maybe more accurately, the boss found us.

Up to a point, this fight has been going pretty well. I didn’t like losing CHDRR so early, but he did almost 100 points of damage in his swan song, and we actually made pretty quick work of the initial force opposing us (Gatecrasher plus the two monks). Plus, it was a cool storytelling moment.

But… now we have a flying invisible caster to deal with, who’s basically Mirror Universe Akiro. Which is probably the one thing our group doesn’t have an easy fix for. Mo (in particular) is great at stand-up fights – if he can see it and hit it, he can kill it. But so far, Akiro is the only one who can actually see the Big Bad, as see invisibility only works on himself. As one of our listeners pointed out on Discord, we do have a see invisibility spell ampule (basically a potion) we got in the last fight, but for now, we don’t remember it (and I think it’s in Akiro’s possession anyway.. the one guy who doesn’t need it).

I’m going to at least partially plead scheduling on this bout of forgetfulness – at some point during this final fight, we broke for the holidays, and didn’t play for like 2 or 3 weeks. So part of it is as simple as we forgot about the ampule because of the long layover. And/or we got that ampule right at the end of the session when people were starting to mentally pack it in until next week – the “cool” treasure was the four items in the display cases, and the ampule just got overshadowed.

Interestingly, there’s a rules-lawyer I should’ve thought of but didn’t think of until I was re-listening later: the Stinkeye. Just as a reminder, Tuttle has temporary Sense Through Vision (basically X-ray vision) in one eye as an after-effect of using the Stitch Spider. At first I thought I could’ve pleaded that Tuttle might detect a difference in density – that his Sense Through was going through additional material in the spot the lich was in – that maybe might merit a chance to see the edges of the lich or something.

So I went back and read the text of the effect, and it’s actually blocked by “energy fields and sufficiently dense materials”. So, missed opportunity or not? It SPECIFICALLY mentions wall of force, so if I had used the Stinkeye, I would’ve actually seen the wall of force in a bit of reverse X-ray vision. More importantly, it’s also blocked by “force fields that grant temporary hit points”, so if that lich had any sort of shield on him, that might also have blocked my Stinkeye and given me… I don’t know, a lich-shaped negative-space outline? Or, would any of his other spells have tripped it? Granted, if I’d been able to see him, I still wouldn’t be able to do much except wimpy gun damage or chucking grenades at it, but it’d be better than nothing.

(Checked with Steve. He said no, the lich didn’t have a force field. So… wouldn’t have mattered. But I thought it was an interesting digression.)

Meanwhile… reinforcements arrive from the Ready Room, including the named vesk captain Mo has heard of. Again, not an insurmountable bunch, but it ratchets the challenge level up a notch or two, and we probably need to take care to split them up so they’re not all pounding on Mo. The real danger here is that paralysis effect – remember from the train station that paralysis = free coup de grace’s, and that could turn this fight into a shitshow in a hurry. Still, some good saving throws here, a timely crit there, and we’re still hanging in there.

Speaking of good saving throws, I snuck a look at the rewire flesh spell the boss cast, and it’s nasty stuff: 3d6 damage each round (save for half), flat-footed, half-speed, and a -2 penalty to DEX saves. And one round per level so… I dunno… 13, 14 rounds? If/when I get around to playing a Technomancer, I’m definitely grabbing that one.

The arrival of reinforcements from the back left also brings up the possibility that reinforcements could come from the back right door as well – hello, symmetrical “dungeon” construction! Depending on how the flow of the fight goes, I’m going to burn a round or two to run over to that door and try to seal it so bad guys either can’t go in at all, or AT LEAST have to go around the long way and give us a few more rounds to dispatch the current batch. I’ll wait to make sure Mo has things in hand, but sealing that door might be a more effective use of my time than a few rounds of Pew-Cubed.

This brings up a meta point about the blog itself. The next few episodes represent an interesting writing challenge because we begin and end in the same battle. Which is not to say there’s not interesting stuff in each segment, but there’s a potential for overlap and repeating things. There are going to be callbacks to previous parts of the fight, and there may even be a few places like this where I talk about strategy for future parts of the fight. No overt spoilers, but a little bit of “here’s what I was thinking of doing next at this point in the fight”. I just wanted to acknowledge that the blog will be a little fluid about episode boundaries, but I’ll try to avoid spoiling anything outright.

So we end Fight Night, Round Two in roughly the same place as before – pretty good shape on the adds, NO plan for dealing with the boss, unless Akiro can somehow solo him. If you want to delve into the metagame, greater invisibility lasts one round per level so if we wait him out and can stay alive… 13, 14 rounds… we might get a target to shoot at. But that’s easier said than done. Hope you’ll rejoin us next week – you stuck with us two years, don’t leave now! – and see how this goes. While you’re waiting, feel free to drop by our Discord channel or other social media and let us know what you think of the final fight so far. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week!

Talking Combat 121: Everything is Deader with CHDRR

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 121: Die, Robot.

I have some mixed feelings about this episode, as you can imagine.

First, as a brief aside, I’ll back Steve up that none of this was scripted. Here’s the thing: even without intimate knowledge of the tool, I’ve noticed D20Pro DOES have seem to have some mode where Steve can approve/change/override dice rolls. Mostly Steve uses it to adjust for damage modifiers, and in our PF2 game, the version we’re using doesn’t handle crits quite right with the multi-attack penalty. But when Steve puts a hold on a die roll, there’s a noticeable delay, and that “01” was in my dice window the second I clicked it. So unless he’s got some next-level D20Pro Blacksite add-on I’m unaware of that was hacking my client in real-time, that roll was legit.

On a storytelling level, I think it’s fantastic to have CHDRR go out in a blaze of glory, and even more generally, I like it when big, crazy, unexpected things happen. Paint-by-numbers combat is boring; having something out on the skinny end of the bell curve happen livens things up. So on that level, this was very cool.

And OK, pulling back the curtain a little, Steve sent me the results of the roll by text, but with the understanding that I wasn’t allowed to say anything until he gave me the cue that it was happening. So for MOST of that time, the rest of the group was getting ready, I was sitting there thinking “you poor bastards, you have noooooo idea”. It added a layer of amusement to sit on that secret for a bit. It was like having one foot behind the GM screen for a few seconds.

But… there’s the real consequences of it, which are not trivial.

First, there goes half my offense and my designated bodyguard for the rest of the fight. If you haven’t picked up on it in the past two-plus years, Tuttle is not some offensive juggernaut; take CHDRR away, and he may very well be the wimpiest member of the party. Also, fighting without CHDRR is kinda boring – there’s no real choices to make. So now I gotta do the final fight of the whole game with the least effective, least interesting version of my character. Won’t that be fun? I pretty much have to hope the fight as a whole is entertaining because my role is not likely to be.

Second, in one fell swoop, it undid my plans for The Button. Before all this happened, I specifically wanted to rules-lawyer a better Button for the final fight, and Steve gave it to me. As I said, the main reason I haven’t used The Button more is it costs me (and therefore CHDRR) a full-round action, which hasn’t been worth it for the random effects it generates. But if the Button activation is a move, or even better, a swift? That’s worth doing. I was preparing to be a button-pushing fool – certainly as many times as my intelligence allowed, and maybe even keep going after that. Now? No Button either.

The third thing is that other than the randomly-typed damage and d8s instead of d6s for damage, that was basically the same effect CHDRR already has installed in the form of the Shock Wave (which kicks in when he hits 10 hit points). So somewhere out around Plan G or Plan H on my list of internal scenarios was that if CHDRR got down around 20 or 15 points, I was going to send him on a suicide mission out into the middle of a group of enemies. Including, if needed, shooting him myself to detonate the EMP. (Preferably with a single tear trickling down Tuttle’s cheek. I had this all planned, I’m telling you…) So the coolness of dealing 49 damage to each foe was slightly undercut by the fact that I could’ve let CHDRR fight for a few rounds, let him get whittled down, and then done pretty much the same thing myself as a conscious choice.

And then the other thing that threw a wrench in the works – but this is more normal party shenanigans – was John (in particular) running out into the middle of the room. Chris did too, but he at least went for a corner and got out of the way of the blast. I don’t know why John was getting testy with me… what else did he think I was going to do with a drone that had just turned into a giant bomb? Waste all that beautiful damage? I do understand why John didn’t want our free round to go to waste – Mo’s all about getting in people’s faces and smashing them – but thanks to John moving in, I had to angle CHDRR away from the direct center of the group to avoid clipping Mo, and as a result, I only hit 2 of the 3 bad guys.

Aside from the spoiler-y fact that we just finished recording this week, there are a few in-game hints here and there that this isn’t the whole fight. Right now we’re fighting the brute and two of the same monks that were in the outer chamber which doesn’t seem like a final battle on its own. Additionally, as Seth points out, the main guy is muscle and doesn’t seem like command material. These guys aren’t some pure warrior race where they just put the biggest strongest dude in charge; they’re undead, so I’d expect someone with brains running the show. This guy seems more like a security guard. We also know that logs mentioned a captain AND an admiral, and the captain was identified as a Vesk general Mo had heard of – so even if the brute is one of those two… we’re missing one. And then there’s that force wall Mo ran into: the brute isn’t likely to have that power, and it didn’t seem like the monks could do anything like that in the previous fight. So where is that coming from? There are also multiple doors leading to other areas – is the “bridge” really a bridge complex where we have to clear multiple rooms?

All good questions and I’m sure we’ll find answers – whether we want to or not. But we still gotta clear what’s in front of us first, which we’ll continue to do next week. While you’re waiting for that, feel free to drop by Discord – among other things, Steve posted the complete list of CHDRR Button effects on the “spoilers” channel. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week!

Talking Combat 120: Does It Come With A Gift Receipt?

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 120: The Five Stooges.

It’s a bit of a short episode this week as this is basically the last fight before the Big Bad, and it made for better storytelling to let that unfold at its own pace next week. So instead, we finish off what turns out to be a fairly straightforward fight against the monks, and we break down a bunch of pretty cool loot, a lot of which goes unused anyway.

The fight… well, for ONE glorious round you see the potential of the monks, as they corner Rusty and land four attacks on him. So there’s a multiverse world where they catch a party unawares and put a good thumpin’ on them: imagine the party that doesn’t do advance recon and just starts walking right down the middle and lets the monks descend on them from both sides, possibly with surprise. So I’m going to give Seth another round of attaboys for phasing into the room and tipping us off to their presence.

On the other hand: that alarm Seth set off. Still not sure what the full ramifications are there. No new reinforcements joined the fight, but that doesn’t mean SOMETHING didn’t happen. Does it mean more reinforcements are on their way, or is it more just “we lose any chance at a surprise round because the bridge knows someone’s outside”? It’s one of those things I’ll probably ask Steve in the post-game, once we know how it all turns out. In other words, if we TPK, I’ll want to know how angry we should be at Seth. (Kidding… but kinda not.)

Speaking of angry: RULEBOOK WARS!

On a rules level, Steve was correct about the doshkos. The basic unpowered doshkos are indeed unwieldy, but of the advanced ones – basically, anything that’s battery-powered and has typed damage – does not have that keyword. And Paizo is pretty careful about keywords, so that’s pretty much got to be intentional.

More generally, there are two more general principles that pretty much put me on Steve’s “side” on this one.

First, Keep the Game Moving. The amount of time you spend on a rules decision ought to be inversely proportional to the importance of the situation. If the death of someone’s character hinges on a rule interpretation… by all means, stop the game and make sure you get it right. But a between-battles ruling about whether you can take a full attack with a weapon… decide something and let it go. Or… figure it out while you keep playing, which is ultimately what happened. (Perhaps without getting all chippy about it.)

Second, maybe it’s a little self-serving and cynical, but If The GM Gives You Something Good, Take It. I suppose you have a responsibility to be fair and speak up if you know the GM’s making a mistake and you’re getting an advantage you don’t deserve, but if you’ve spoken up and the GM rules in your favor, you don t have to keep arguing. Applying to this situation, John wasn’t wrong to initially call it out, but at some point… take the doshko and enjoy.

As an aside, I use the same principle when it comes to paying for drinks – ask once, if someone else is buying, don’t ask again. Saved me a lot of money over the years.

The rest of the loot… well, first I’m glad it’s not animating and attacking us. That’s certainly a plus. I was still kind of concerned the mist was some sort of creature that was going to attack us. At least it’s not that. As loot? It’s interesting stuff, it’s got cool undead flavor, but it turns out to not be all that useful to me personally.

The eyes, in particular, are possibly my favorite thing we’ve run across in terms of flavor, except that but they happen to confer two benefits I already have access – darkvision is a ysoki racial ability, and the scouting function basically works the same way as the mechanic’s Scoutbot ability (minus spending a Resolve point).

The worm and the warlock stone are basically Mark 3 ability crystals, which… that’s pretty nice, but I don’t think you waste something like that on a secondary ability, and I’m not sure bumping Intelligence up really does me much good at this point. My primary skills are in the +25-27 range, I already know pretty much every language spoken in the Pact Worlds and then some… It’s something I would probably consider if we were to play another adventure path beyond this one, but for a final battle for this one… might as well give it to Mo for more damage.

Besides, one of the two had the same problem as the Flux Fig – it took an hour to apply and I’m pretty sure we don’t have an hour to work with. Much like the ability crystal, the Flux Fig is something I might consider to freshen up the character if we were to keep playing, but even if it didn’t come with a cooldown, I’m not sure I would want to muck with my character right before the final fight. I mean, I’m barely making some of these Computers checks as it is; imagine if I change to a dumb race and lose points in Intelligence. To say nothing of the fact that “Blacktail” would be a silly last name for someone who no longer has a tail.

Of course, there’s also a rules-lawyer issue I thought of while re-listening: Steve said constructs and outsiders are immune to the effects. Since Tuttle is now part aeon, that probably means it wouldn’t work on me anyway. So I eagerly await Mo taking it and becoming a fellow ysoki… if for no other reason than to visualize a ysoki trying to wield a doshko twice his height.

So this is it. As Steve mentions in the show notes, we’re basically at the threshold of the final fight. For Realz, as the Young People say. I’m glad Steve slowed John down a touch on throwing open the door because this does seem like one of those fights we might want to make sure we’re ready for. I don’t PERSONALLY have a lot of buffs, but I could at least use one of my uses of Miracle Worker to give my weapon a bonus for 10 rounds, maybe pre-push CHDRR’s button once or twice since he has a few buffs in his arsenal.

As far Steve’s description of the Big Bad being an A+ boss… I’m not going to go there yet. Steve can share what he wants to share; I’ll leave my reactions until we’re actually in the fight, and that’ll be for next time. While you’re waiting, feel free to drop by our Discord channel or other social media and let us know what you think about the show. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

Talking Combat 119: Me, My Seth, And I

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 119: Interview with the Undead.

Welcome to another edition of “The End, But Kinda Sorta Not The End, But You Know What We Mean”. We’re certainly in the final sprint, and it’s heavily implied at a metagame level that whatever’s left is the amount of combat that can be fit into one long rest (3 or 4 fights, maybe?). But if we’ve got a minion fight and more doors to open and the guy who’s been talking to us on the comms isn’t visibly evident, that probably means this isn’t THE final fight. So hang in there. We’re getting there.

Of course, when we talk about The End, I’m probably the person least affected by resource management – with one huge exception. Ammo isn’t an issue; if we run into something that we have to shoot 50 or 60 times to kill it, we’re gonna lose. I have plenty of resolve points (something like 14). Presses of CHDRR’s button work off my INT modifier (it’s something like 3+INT or 4+INT) so I’m close to double digits on that. The only truly limited-use ability I have is my Miracle Worker (+2 to hit and damage for a weapon), of which I only get two uses. The one big exception is CHDRR himself – if CHDRR “dies”, it takes 24 hours to rebuild him, which would put him on the bench for the rest of the adventure.

Stepping back a little, I was a little caught off guard that I ended up being the one to chat with the Big Bad – Rusty tends to do all the talking for the party, so it’s an unusual position for Tuttle to be in. I suppose I was trying to convince the Big Bad that we were more of a diversion and were distracting him from a bigger problem so he’d keep reinforcements away from the command center, but he didn’t seem to be buying it. On the other hand, I don’t really know that there was anything to be “bought” – we get so locked into thinking every interaction is an active plot point and a chance to roll some dice that we forget that some interactions are just about storytelling. I think that’s what was going on here: I don’t think there was anything here that would influence the outcome (unless we did something REALLY stupid); I mostly think Steve was setting the table and ratcheting up the suspense by letting us know that the Big Bad is both Big and Bad enough that he doesn’t consider us much of a threat even as we’re marching into his inner sanctum. “Sure, come on to my bridge, take control of my ship. Let me know how that works out for you!

Also, somewhere in this bit of pre-game, Chris drops a Mandalorian reference – that’s how you can tell we’re catching up to current. Our cultural references finally have a foot in the 21st century. Now I feel like I’ve got to throw in a current events Easter Egg every time we record so the astute listener can figure out when we were taping. It’ll be the podcast equivalent of taking a picture holding today’s newspaper. “Tuttle takes out a tactical baton and bangs on a trash can to let his teammates know the computer is online”.

We weave our way through ship security – it’s just like Star Wars, only instead of trying to get to the hangar and get OFF the ship, we’re headed for the heart of it. When we reach the command deck, we even start out with some semi-impressive tactics, as Seth phases through the wall while stealthed (I didn’t know he could do that!) and gets us the lay of the land – it’s kind of an antechamber with some glass display cases, and bad guys hiding behind the display cases. So far so good. Though that probably means we have another warm-up fight and then the real final fight in one of the rooms beyond.

Aside: I wonder if the items in the display cases represent a last dose of general-purpose loot, or are actually items that would be specifically helpful against the Big Bad. I feel like they’re almost certainly treasure; I just don’t know if they’re going to turn out to be specific treasure or general treasure. OK… there’s also a 2% chance they Voltron together to form some sort of monster – you’ve got a skull and spine, a severed hand, a spear, and a mist-filled helmet. I mean… there’s also a chance that mist is like… ghost ectoplasm that will join together with the other stuff to form an incorporeal centurion. This isn’t Ghostbusters; it doesn’t have to be green. So, OK… PROBABLY loot, but be wary if the grunts try to open any of the display cases during the fight.

As combat starts, all indications are that these guys are melee dominant – they’re described as both “undead monks” and solarians, both of whom are more effective in close than at range. So for once, Chris has the right idea: I fire up my jetpack and get airborne. I don’t know that I’m going to spend the whole fight in the air – might want to conserve some for the boss – but at least until we get a better sense of how hard they hit and how hard they are to kill, might as well stay comparatively safe.

We get off to a strong start – Mo lands both halves of a full attack, one for a crit, and puts up 100 damage right out of the gate. So it’s a bit of a good news/bad news situation – they have a decent amount of hit points, but they also don’t seem to have anything special in the way of resistances. We tend to thrive in fights like that. Ask the dead ellicoths.

But then Seth… oh Seth. Sweet summer child. Seth puts himself in early running for the “What The <expletive> Were You Thinking?” award by trying to open one of the side doors. I mean… that’s LITERALLY one of the first thing we tried to teach the kids in my Dads-N-Kids game – don’t split the party, don’t bleed encounters. Annnnd, of course, he sets off an alarm. Now look… I don’t mind people acting on their own, as long as they’re able to articulate how what they’re doing helps the party achieve some larger goal. This? Maybe I’m just not a very smart person, but I just don’t see how this possibly helps us. Or even how it WOULD have helped us even if it had worked perfectly. We’ll see what happens, but if THAT’s how we end up losing, I’m gonna be a little pissed.

The remainder of this episode unfolds mostly in our favor. The good news is that we get one of the four monks down – establishing them at around 130-140 hit points. And at least so far, there’s no evidence Seth’s gaffe has brought reinforcements down on us. The bad news is the bad guys do have a ranged attack option, though we made our saves and avoided the effects… this time. (They can also see Akiro while invisible, but that’s mostly his problem.) If they can hit at range, staying in the air may not be the I WIN button I thought it was. Don’t feel like having something go wrong and take a bunch of falling damage, so I’m probably going to conserve battery, land, and try to use CHDRR or the display cases to shield myself from melee.

And that’s where we pick it up next week. We have a numerical advantage, we know roughly how much damage they can take, and it feels like we should be OK as long as Seth hasn’t brought the entirety of the Corpse Fleet chain-of-command down on our heads. Join us next week as we continue our push toward the command center and see how it all turns out. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week!