Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat: The Fall of Plaguestone, Episode 25: Have Fun Storming the Castle!
I feel like since Steve addressed the “where we go next” question in his pre-show commentary, I figured I’d start this week with a little more of an explanation why I decided not to do Extinction Curse. Full disclosure: Steve offered me a slot to keep the merry Plaguestone band together, but I wanted to chime in on why I passed.
The first and simplest answer is time. Between Plaguestone (soon to be Extinction Curse), Dead Suns (soon to be Whatever Follows That), and my home game, I’m playing three times a week, and I’ve come to the realization that’s my saturation point. I absolutely wanted to do Plaguestone and get in on Second Edition as soon as possible, so I didn’t mind burning the candle at both ends for a few months. But now that some of that new gaming system smell has worn off, I think two games is more my comfort zone.
As to why Plaguestone is the one to go, I think that gets into the style of game Extinction Curse is going to be. I mean, it sounds like a GREAT concept for an adventure. Don’t get me wrong. But Steve is hoping that Extinction Curse will take the roleplaying tone that started with Plaguestone to the next level, and… I’m not going to say that’s not me, but it takes a great deal of effort for that to be me for a full three-hour session. Perhaps more than I’m willing to commit. I’m the guy that breaks out in song when someone says a phrase that fits a lyric, or gets lost in Dad Jokes for five minutes, or stops to philosophize about which Hollywood actor would best fit the NPC we’re talking to. Plaguestone eventually reached a happy medium where we let some of that slide, but if the intent is to take that to the next level in Extinction Curse, I’m not sure my Benevolent Assclown persona fits there. So… “this above all, to thine own self be true”. Granted, Hamlet’s “own self” was a deranged murderhobo, but it’s still good advice.
This is not to say I’ll have zero involvement in the new show. As Steve said, I’m currently planning to write a… Talking Circus?… which will be interesting because I’ll be writing completely from the listener’s perspective for the first time. (I listened to the Pathfinder one-shot where everyone died, but never got around to doing a write-up because that’s around the same time all the hardcovers came out.) I also wouldn’t rule out showing up as an NPC at some point. Heck, if life circumstances change, maybe I’ll pull a Seth and jump in halfway. But for now, I’ll be watching from the sidelines.
OK, enough about the game we haven’t started yet. We still have this one to finish. And this week, we do the initial planning for the assault on Spite’s Cradle.
First thing: I didn’t do all the math, so this might be wishful thinking, but I find myself wishing Prue had taken a stab at reverse-engineering potency crystals so we could make more. If you remember, you can figure out how to make a magic item by breaking it down into its components. I didn’t run the math to determine how hard it would be; I don’t know if we have access to the proper ingredients to make more, but a few more One-Round Superhero Crystals would rock right about now.
We also split up all the bombs and potions. The only real footnote here is that bombs are considered martial weapons, so Brixley is actually the most effective bomb-thrower in the party. But that also goes against the idea that he’s supposed to be up front being a meat shield. So I don’t want to just take ALL the bombs, in case I’m stuck in melee and can’t use them, but I do grab a few, just in case. If the battlefield unfolds in such a way that it’s effective for me to be artillery, I’m totally willing to not get punched repeatedly.
When we reach Spite’s Cradle, we start with reconnaissance. I’m smiling internally because this is something our Dead Suns group is absolutely not known for, unless you think John getting impatient and throwing a door open counts as “reconnaissance”. I have to admit as I was re-listening to this, I didn’t really appreciate the full gravity of the situation – there was a scenario where Cade might’ve gotten caught, and been stuck fighting multiple orcs behind a barred gate the rest of us couldn’t get through. (And then once they’d filled Cade up with stabby-holes, could’ve climbed up on the palisade and started shooting arrows at the rest of us from relative safety.) So this could’ve been the shortest ride to the finish ever if Cade had screwed up a roll or two. Somehow I didn’t really appreciate that in the moment and was mostly just impatient to get on with the fight.
Fortunately Cade did not screw up his rolls (at least not the most important ones), and we got a decent picture of the enemy complex. Only two visible orcs in the courtyard, but there are two structures flanking the valley behind the wall – a true building on the northwest side, more of a thrown-together hut to the southeast. At this point, I’m feeling like the hut may just be a guard shack (maybe just for the two in the courtyard, or maybe there are more guards inside) and the structure is the actual villain lair.
Though this is Paizo we’re talking about… definitely more than two orcs.
So now we have to figure out how to get in. Very generally, we’re going to go with “Forest Moon of Endor” gambit – hide our true numbers, do something to get the guards to open the gates, and then rush it. Minus the AT-ST, of course. (Could Prue reverse engineer one of THOSE?)
At first, I was a little disappointed the group didn’t go with my plan of using Ember as bait, but thinking back on it, it was actually kind of a weak plan. If the orcs were under strict orders to hold their posts, a random fire-kitty prancing around outside their perimeter might not have been enough to get them to investigate. Especially not when Vilree’s been parading weird beasties past them for months, if not years. They’d probably be like “Yeah, yeah… fire cat. Third one this week. Hey Gorth, remember the one that ate your favorite boots?”
So I guess we’re going with that old standby: “I Have A Prisoner”. If it was good enough for Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, it’s good enough for us. The classics never truly go out of style. On the plus side, we do have a partially maimed, menacing-looking half-orc, so we’ve got a natural advantage in the guard department. I’m just not thrilled that Brixley has to be the prisoner. Even faking it, my pride is wounded by the idea of being fake-captured. But I can’t stealth into position like Cade, we don’t want a plan that puts our squishy caster (Celes) up front, so… A Prisoner Is You. Deal with it.
I don’t know if it worked exactly. They didn’t exactly seem to be buying what she was selling, but it got them to open the door open enough for Prue to rush it the rest of the way. It felt kind of like the scene from the second (lesser) Conan movie where the bad guy is doing his little speech and Conan yells “ENOUGH TALK” and just throws a dagger into the belly of a dude wearing some of the most improbable minion armor in movie villain history. Vision obscuring mask, skirts that could tangle my lower-body movement without providing any protection, absolutely no center mass protection? WHERE DO I SIGN UP?
(Then again, Conan is basically nekkid, so maybe I should just leave such complaints at the door.)
Sorry… I digress. (See, this is why I can’t be in Extinction Curse. I’m telling you…) The doors are open, we have a foothold, and now we have to fight our way in… and that’s where we’re going to leave it for the week. Come back next time and find out how many secret orc reinforcements were hiding in wait for us, and see if we survive. While you’re waiting, feel free to drop by our Discord channel or other social media, and join the ongoing festivities. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.