The Sideshow S1|26: Probability 1, Alhara 0 - Roll For Combat

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The Sideshow S1|26: Probability 1, Alhara 0

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S1|26: Hungry Like The Wolf.

First of all, I would like to lodge a meta-complaint that the Three-Ring Adventure podcast is now casually dropping movie recommendations into their show. INFRINGING ON OUR TERRITORY, SERIOUS ROLEPLAYERS. THIS AGGRESSION SHALL NOT STAND!  (Truth told, I’m not worried… I shall be reclaiming my pop-culture crown either this week or next week. Two words: song parody.)

As we start this week’s episode in earnest, I have to be honest: I don’t believe in luck, I believe in math.

Look… rolling two Nat-20s in a row is RARE, but it’s not impossible. If you want to get technical, it’s a 1-in-400 occurrence. OK, that sounds large, but if you think about it: we’ve been doing these shows for almost three years now, over however many combats… it was bound to happen eventually. Heck, back-to-back 1’s are still out there on the horizon somewhere. Unless we’re talking about John Staats’ healing rolls, in which case it’s happened OVER and OVER and OVER again, and will continue to the end of time. Because the Healing Gods clearly hate John. We know this.

I will say I don’t think Nat-20 crits are any more common; I think the problem is that crits, IN GENERAL, are more common in Second Edition, and some weird little grounding wire in our subconscious still equates that to Nat-20s even when someone’s critting on a 14 or 15. So we get left with this vague after-impression that Steve is rolling a lot of 20s, when the sad truth is that we players probably just need some better gear.

None of which is any help to poor Alhara this week. Whether it’s Steve’s lucky last name or the law of large numbers, Alhara pretty much ended up as a bug on fate’s windshield this week, getting dropped by back-to-back crits. Oof. Sometimes, it’s just not your day, so you limp through the session and pour yourself a stiff drink after. Or… given that she also got pummeled in the previous fight against the smoky-cats… probably during.

Fortunately for Alhara, the rest of the party managed to hold their own and make reasonably swift work of Clarissa the Evil Druid and her zephyr hawk. No near-miss with a party wipe this week. And yes, we finally bump into an actual druid, much to Ateran’s chagrin.

It’s kinda funny that we’re still having this druid-priest-whatnot conversation. If you think about it, there are very few places where everyone does exactly the same job. OK, maybe on an army base, you have a little bit of that where even the person running the PX is also a solider. But the point is that there’s really nothing that says everyone who lives in a hermitage has to be a druid. I mean, my day job is IT work for the department of engineering at a college – that doesn’t mean I have an engineering degree. Nor do the people who work in the Einstein’s Bagels down in the lobby, much as it would be amusing to have them break out a whiteboard and debate thermal coefficients for optimal heating of my morning snack.

I think the idea of single-class enclaves is probably one of those things we inherited from MMOs. Games like WoW and EverQuest tended to have a place where all the people of your class congregated, so you could go train your skills, get quests, buy equipment, and such with a minimum of aimless wandering. And to make it obvious who you were supposed to be talking to, THOSE little establishments tended to be all of whichever class you were looking for, down to wearing similar outfits. (“Would you say I have a plethora of paladins?”) But it’s hardly the norm for real life. So OK… it’s been a largely druid-free druid hermitage so far. We’ll just have to deal with it.

After the team gets Alhara back on her feet, they make an effort to force Clarissa to Explain It All, but she’s not having it. She’s evil… the best they can get out of her is she wanted to make super-critters that could defend themselves against evil humans, but that’s just Evildoer 101. So they thunk her on the head again and lock her away, part of their growing collection of evil cultists. Kudos to Ateran for NOT aruda voldik-ing her into next week I guess. We’ll chalk that up as personal growth. (And yes, since the players have decided that aruda voldik is its own verb now… I’m swimming with the current.)

We also get a little bit of Hap bonding with the wolf that the party rescued. Are we potentially going to see Hap go full animal companion at some future point? Though frankly, if she does do so, I’d put my money on the freakin’ BEAR. Just sayin’. Now, it used to be one would have to take the druid multiclass archetype to get an animal companion, but with the release of the Advanced Player’s Guide, there’s something called the Beastmaster archetype, which basically lets you graft an animal companion onto ANY character. You don’t get all the bells and whistles of a true druid/ranger bond, but if you just want an animal following you around, the APG has you covered.

Speaking of which, did it sound like Steve was hinting they’d level up if they took a long rest before doing the final room? He did seem to be drifting toward that “you feel stronger, more powerful…” thing he does when the party levels. But the party chose to play it straight – Vanessa’s bad day aside, they’d only fought two fights that day, and it was the very last room. So they decided to go for it.

Idle thought before the final room… whatever happened to the ghast from about three episodes back? Did it just run away and find a new lair? Is it going to be an additional enemy in the final room? I’m still kinda curious about that.

We’ll find out the answer to that next week, but we at least get the setup this week. The boss seems pretty straightforward… mean warrior lady with two pet lizards. Druid? Ranger? Some special one-off NPC they created just for this? The layout of the room is what gives me pause – environmental hazards out the wazoo. We’ve got two weird chasms – one filled with water, one filled with whirling winds, but both look fairly deadly if you fall into them. I believe the word “bottomless” was kicked around, wasn’t it? And bridges that I’m sure won’t be rickety or easily damaged at all, right?

So the stage is set for the final fight… which we’ll get into 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.