Jason recaps the events from The Black Lodge Tale 1, Chapter 4: You Be Heroes!
And just like that, our first Black Lodge game is in the books! I hope you all are enjoying things so far. I have to admit, the shorter stories with more immediate payoff is kinda nice.
We start this week’s episode with something that is likely to become a recurring theme for this crew – the wonderful world of overcomplicating simple issues. OK, except Mister Peepers. Mister Peepers is the opposite of over-complicating things. Mister Peepers is a force of nature.
To briefly back up and look at all of this from a metagame level: Society games are meant to be quick play-throughs. They’re meant for conventions or other sorts of short-play formats, so there generally aren’t going to be a lot of complex dilemmas, double-crosses, and such. In a convention setting, there’s just not time for that sort of thing. So at a meta-game level, Society games tend to be pretty face-value – people and things are what they seem to be on first inspection.
Also, Society games also tend to have a main story and side quests – basically “stretch goals” for the adventure. And this guy seems like a perfect “stretch goal” for the adventure – killing the croc, fully exploring the sewer, and beating the zombie brutes were the main quest. This guy is pretty much the definition of one of those “extra” goals.
So we have a fairly simple dilemma in front of us: we’ve got an undead prisoner, but a fairly coherent one. In a “the enemy of the enemy is my friend” sense, if the Dagonites locked him up, that probably means he’s a good guy. He’s also got 500-year-old information about one of Absalom’s most venerable families to share, which would be fairly valuable to the Pathfinder Society… you know, the folks who sent us down here in the first place.
Now if this were an adventure path, maybe he’s gonna double-cross us and attack us if we release him. But this is a Society game, so… sitting here listening to it, it seems like a no-brainer that we take him with us. And yet we manage to bog that transaction down for SEVERAL minutes before we finally come around to what now seems like an obvious conclusion.
If there’s a silver lining to our indecision, it’s that we decide to finish searching the complex for one last suggestion as to what we should do, and we end up finding the kinda-sorta deed to the playhouse. Which means we could basically give the goblins ownership of the playhouse, which will double-dip positive rep with the goblins – we killed their beast AND got them a permanent home.
After finishing our search, sanity finally wins out, we spring the undead guy, and head back toward civilization. We decide to disguise him using the nasty disguise beret we found, which makes a certain amount of sense. I still don’t know how we’re going to explain the appearance of an extra party member to the goblins, but it’s still to the greater good that he appears to be a normal human rather than a crusty 500-year-old undead. But, if we’re giving the goblins title to their home, are they really going to care? Probably not.
We row back across the cove, navigate back through the sewers and show up to finally find the other party of adventurers that we’ve been expecting to stab us in the back all this time. And they ARE stabbing us in the back, at least morally speaking: trying to take credit for our original kill of the huge croc. For a moment, I still thought this was going to end in combat – especially with Chris and Seth shit-talking the other party – but nope, instead it’s a social encounter to convince the goblins we’re telling the truth, and the deed kinda breaks the tie in our favor. We have a tooth, they have a tooth, but we have land ownership. CHECKMATE! “We be heroes”, as the man says.
So there it is. Team Black Lodge is 1-0 in Society play, and now we move into the post-game. As Steve says, this is something that tends to get short shrift in convention settings – the endgame at conventions tends to be running past your timeslot and someone else needing the room. But we have time to give it a little room to breathe.
First, we have Fame Points and Reputation Points. They’re related but different concepts. The main difference is that Reputation Points are accrued with the various factions within the Pathfinder Society whereas Fame Points tend to be applied within the world at large. It also seems (or at least that’s how it worked in First Edition) that most Reputation rewards are Boons you can slot for individual adventures, whereas Fame Points unlock lesser benefits, but ones you can cash in while a scenario is happening – for example, if you need a sage to translate a scroll written in a different language, you can use Fame Points to find someone to do it for you.
Next, we have downtime. I’m in the middle on downtime – on some abstract level, I like the idea that our characters exist and have lives between adventures. But at least at Level 1, the benefits are barely worth doing it. Especially if you fail your roll and get paid a few copper pieces for a week’s work. Ugh.
Lastly, and this is specific to our show, Steve drops a few hints about the Black Lodge itself through tavern interactions. As we’re doing this, I’m trying to strike a balance – the Black Lodge seems kinda secretive and not the sort of thing we should be blabbing about to total strangers, but as a character, I’ve also been envisioning Nella as a fairly simple trusting sort. (It takes all sorts in Pathfinder Society!) In this case, I was trying to play it close to the vest out of the gate, but once the lady showed that she already knew something about the exploding bird, Nella couldn’t quite bring herself to lie to the lady’s face. At least that’s what I was going for there.
So next week, we start our next adventure for the Black Lodge. New scenario, new special guest, new shenanigans. Hope you’ll come back and join us. 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 show. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.