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Agents of Edgewatch S1|20: Welcome To the Party, Pal!

The agents begin to explore the second floor of Hotel Hell and discover a key component to the Murder Inc. operation.

Roll For Combat, Agents of Edgewatch Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Agents of Edgewatch starting with the first book, Devil at the Dreaming Palace.

Don’t forget to join our Discord channel, where you can play games, talk with the cast, and hang out with other fans of the show!

Become a supporter of the podcast on our Patreon page where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. We would also love it if you would leave us a review on iTunes!

Pathfinder Beginner Box Review: Roll Out The Welcome Mat

Make sure to read Jason’s review of the Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook, as well as his review of the Pathfinder Advanced Player’s Guide, Pathfinder Lost Omens: Legends, Pathfinder World Guide, Character Guide, Gods & Magic, Gamemastery Guide, and Bestiary 2.

If you enjoyed this review make sure to check out our Pathfinder Adventure Path: Agents of Edgewatch Podcast and our Pathfinder Adventure Path: Three Ring Adventure.

It kinda got lost in the shuffle, but I received a copy of the Pathfinder Beginner Box under my Christmas tree this year. Now, a week of that “shuffle” was it getting physically lost, as my son snuck it off to his room for a week so he could decide whether to play it with his 5E friends; the rest was more metaphorically lost, between getting back to work after the holidays and the near-meltdown of democracy. But now that things have settled down and my possessions have been returned, let’s open this thing up and see what we’ve got.

I don’t think it’s going to be any big surprise what to expect from a Beginner Box at a high level: it’s an introduction to the game that’s not going to break the bank and in single-box packaging that can sit on a shelf in a gaming store next to Ticket To Ride and Settlers Of Catan. (First action, I pick up a brick. Second action, I throw a brick at your sheep. Third action, Perception check to spot the Robber). It’s designed to draw the interest of the person who has never tried a roleplaying game before and goes to their gaming store asking for “a cup of D&D” because that Matt Mercer fellow is a charming rapscallion.

So even prior to opening the box, I assume you’d get a truncated version of the rules, a (basic) adventure to run, dice, minis, or creature tokens, and I assume pre-gen characters because you’d want to place an emphasis on getting started QUICKLY. Well… there’s that, plus nothing kills enthusiasm for a new game as quickly as the party dying on the second encounter because everyone wanted to be Gandalf.

Oh, and with just enough hint of what the full system could do, to try and encourage players to graduate to the “real” thing if they liked their first experience.

“So how did I do?” he said, opening the box to take a look…

The characters are EXACTLY what I expected. The Beginner Box goes back to Gygaxian basics, providing Level 1 character sheets for the most fundamental Pathfinder iconics: you get a choice of fighter (Valeros), wizard (Ezren), cleric (Kyra), and rogue (Merisel). Their equipment is already bought, the casters’ spells are picked, and the character sheets have a half-page of annotations to help players navigate the sheet (“Hit points? That’s section E”). To be fair, they do also include six blank character sheets in case you have a player feeling bold enough to roll their own (or if you have more than four players), but the pre-gens let you dive in immediately if you like.

The rules are mostly a subset tailored to running the provided adventure, plus a little extra to hint at the possibilities if one chooses to take it further. When I say that – don’t get me wrong. Nothing is changed or simplified… these are the real Pathfinder Second Edition rules. If there’s slimming down, it comes in the form of narrowing the number of choices to make getting started a little less daunting. These are the real Second EditionSpecifically, the Beginner Box divides this into two slimmed-down rulebooks – the Hero’s Handbook for the players and the Game Master’s Guide for (big surprise here) the GM. They’re both in the 70-90 page range (72 for the players, 88 for the GM).

The player book only covers the four Gygaxian classes (fighter, wizard, cleric, rogue) and only as far as Level 3. So, sorry, but no gnome monks on your maiden voyage. Even within that space, they slimmed down the choices so as not to overwhelm the new player, so you don’t get the WHOLE rulebook – there are fewer ancestries, backgrounds, spells, etc. On the GM side, MOST of the book is geared toward running the adventure – 30 or so pages are running the adventure itself and then there’s an equally large section dedicated to monster stat blocks. I didn’t do a one-for-one, but I assume most of these creatures were used directly in the adventure, but again, there’s probably also a few “extras” for the GM who wants to try and create their own content. There’s also a little bit of content about how to adjudicate the rules and even a few pages about how to design your own content, but I feel like they’re MOSTLY expecting people to graduate to the full rules for that.

The adventure itself (“Menace Under Otari”) is a fairly basic starter adventure: just a generic two-level cave complex full of stuff to fight and treasure to find. Kinda reminiscent of the classic Keep On The Borderlands, but on a smaller scale. And yes, the Beginner Box includes a two-sided flip-mat AND cardboard creature tokens for running it. There is some general setting information about Otari, but it’s largely optional: a GM could just drop players off at the mouth of the cave and be playing inside of five minutes if they wanted. On the other hand, not only is the setting information for Otari there; if you DO continue on to full Pathfinder, there’s a 4th level adventure called “The Troubles In Otari” where you can level up and use your characters from the Beginner’s Box directly in the next adventure.

Something that I have to admit I didn’t expect: the Hero’s Handbook has a section that basically amounts to GM-less play for the starter adventure. It gives a solo player the option to run the adventure in the style of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. You go to a numbered entry, read the description (which is the text the GM would normally read), possibly fight a monster, and then choose from available options that send you to the next entry in the chain. “Open the chest, go to #32. Put the amulet on the altar, go to #41.” I didn’t have time to do it for the purposes of this review, but at some point, I might try and run through it just to see how it goes.

One thing I found kinda handy – and may steal for our regular game – is a set of reference cards for the players. The front contains information that an experienced player would already know (what the symbols for the various actions look like, rules reminders of the consequences for rolling a 1 or a 20, etc.) but the back contains descriptions for many of the most common statuses, which is pretty evergreen stuff. My only complaint is the text on the back is kinda small because they had to fit a lot of info, but Paizo is not responsible for my Old Man Eyes.

And yes, you get a starter set of dice. Not much to say here, except that they eliminated the d100 (which I’ve noticed rarely gets used in 2E anyway), and they’re mercifully color-coded. As someone who even now occasionally reaches for a d8 instead of a d10 or vice versa, being able to tell your novice player “no, the BLUE one” makes things a lot easier. In fact, a little bird told me this is one of those “why did no one think of this before?” moves, as dice confusion is cited fairly often as a complaint of new players.

There was one extra-credit question I asked myself. The default assumption here is that the “beginner” is someone who has never played a roleplaying game before. But I also asked myself whether “beginner” would be useful for people who had played other role-playing games but this was their first exposure to Second Edition. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I think someone who was already into roleplaying games and knew the basics would rather have the full set of rules available to them out of the gate. My feeling is that they’d find playing three levels of four classes limiting and start bumping their head on the ceiling pretty quickly. The Beginner Box is a LITTLE cheaper than a Core Rulebook, but you’d get more longevity out of the latter.

Let’s briefly be gauche and talk price. I normally don’t dwell on this sort of thing, but since the Beginner Box competes in a broader space as a gaming product, I figured I’d mention it. The Beginner Box retails on Paizo’s website for $40. Personally, I think that’s tremendous value when compared to some of these hardcore German board games that are running $100 or more. You’re going to be able to squeeze multiple multi-hour play sessions out of it, and that’s before you get into its value as a gateway to a whole new style of gaming. It’s even pretty good value just evaluated as a Paizo product – you’re getting pieces of the Core Rulebook AND Bestiary 1; and the flipmat, creature tokens, and such are all reusable. It’s really just a question of how quickly you’d bump your head on the ceiling. Which is why I go back to what I said earlier: if you KNOW you’re committing to 2E for the long haul, or if you’re going to play a LOT and burn through the content in a few weeks, skip it and go straight to the full rulebooks. But if you’re dipping your toes or are likely to play at a more casual pace, it’s a pretty good way to start.

In closing, if you’re a longtime fan of tabletop roleplaying games, how could you NOT love the Beginner Box? I mean, if you think back to old-school red box D&D in the 80s, that was basically a beginner’s box before we had the terminology, and it drove people like me into a lifelong appreciation for this game. If the Second Edition Beginner’s Box captures even a fraction of that energy and bring some new faces to the table, it’s a worthy addition to Paizo’s product line.

The Sideshow S2|07: It’s Hap’s World, The Rest of Us Just Live In It

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S2|07: Path & Body Works.

Consider yourself warned. The next few weeks are gonna get weird.

Here’s the thing. I don’t get a lot of spoilers for Three-Ring Adventure; in fact, I actively try to avoid them when possible. I want my listening experience to be as pure and close to yours as it can be. But the two RFC teams don’t operate in a vacuum from each other, things slip from time to time, and from what I understand, birthdays are about to become a Bit Of A Thing. So the tone of this episode, as well as the focus on what would normally be considered side content, is probably going to carry on for the next several episodes. For better, for worse… maybe a little bit of both.

For this week, at least, we’re off to a solid start, with an episode that hits on a little bit of everything. Ridiculous comedy hijinks? Tune in for the Darius and Hap Show! Want to explore an unfolding mystery? We’ve got Hap learning more about her mysterious origins, and the possible danger Madame Dusklight might represent to her. Romance? Somehow we manage to drop Ateran and Alhara’s first (and second) kiss in there. And yeah, we even throw in a few cheap dick jokes for good measure.

As an aside before we get into it, this is one of those shows that illustrates the difference between the two Roll For Combat podcasts. Over in the Edgewatch show, if we had a week to kill, we’d pretty much just declare it killed and move on to the next real action point in the story. So an episode like this… I’m not going to say it would NEVER happen, but the odds would be against it. We might do free-form silliness for 5 or 10 minutes, but never an entire episode. And I sometimes wonder if we’re missing out. Truth told, as much as I’m an accomplishment-driven gamer at heart (clear the dungeon, get the loot… lather, rinse, repeat), sometimes I wish we made a little more room in our schedule for stuff like this.

Nevertheless, I’ll vent frustration about my own show on my own time. Back in Escadar, the team’s got time to kill while the campsite is cleared, and Alhara’s birthday to plan.

If there was a single highlight that crystalized the whole episode, it wasn’t anything the players did. To my mind, it was actually Steve just giving up halfway through, and letting the players just take it wherever they were going to go with it. I don’t mean that in a gloating “Hah! They broke the GM!” way. It’s just impressive when the GM abandons whatever he had planned the session just because he wants to be a listener and see where you’re going with it.

And credit due here: Loren did the lion’s share of the work this week. Yes, everyone had their chances to shine, but Loren was really on fire. On the spot ghost stories, a dramatic heart-to-heart with Dad, hitting some great comedy beats with Rob T. trying to get the mortician to carve free weights instead of a gravestone, and she even gets credit for some out-of-the-box thinking on the greater barghest problem. It took material that could’ve amounted to tedious wheel-spinning and made it far more interesting than I would’ve thought it could be.

In terms of things that impact the greater plot, it’ll be interesting to see if Hap’s efforts with the barghest bear any fruit. And, OK, getting him a suit of clothes and inviting him to be part of the camp was something I NEVER saw coming. But at the same time… incredibly in character. OF COURSE a teenager who sometimes feels like a bit of an outsider and who feels a kinship with animals is still going to try and befriend the “animal” that’s been mistreated. Is it going to work, though? Going by the Bestiary, barghests are chaotic evil, but still… does Chaotic Evil mean you’re not allowed to have friends? Even the Joker has Harley Quinn. Especially when that friend suffered at the hands of a common oppressor?

Heck, maybe Kalkek can become the Drizzt Do’Urden of greater barghests who turns out to be good at heart. Note to self: it’s clearly time to start on a franchise of 42 “Hap and Kalkek” books, so I can be as well-known as R.A. Salvatore. Including one book that delves entirely into barghest politics back on their home plane.

It’ll also be interesting to see how Hap’s origin story changes the dynamic of the circus performances. Can she still risk performing now that she’s got this “escaped specimen” shadow hovering over her? No pressure, but she’s one of the circus’ best acts… can they even afford to sideline her? Or does she find the confidence to just say “screw it” and perform anyway? Does revealing Hap’s powers trigger some larger conflict between the two circuses, and if so, what does that look like? (Please oh please let it involve dance-fighting like the “rumble” scene in West Side Story). This is all so intriguing. And on top of that, we still want to learn what, exactly, she is. Somebody swab some DNA and rush it off to 23andme.

It does create a bit of a plot hole one could drive a truck through if one was so inclined. If you were the Professor, trying to protect Hap from Madame Dusklight trying to reclaim her, why would you draw attention to her abilities by training her to perform in the circus? Couldn’t she have just been a cook or something? JUST SAYIN’. Then again, as the old saying goes, the show must go on. If you’ve got a golden goose on your hands, it’d be pretty hard to keep eating tofu omelets.

And then ohbytheway, those crazy kids Ateran and Alhara finally got together. Say it in unison: AWWWWW. I don’t suppose it has any larger plot implications at the moment, but it’s still nice to see. As someone who felt the “will they or won’t they” dithering had gone on a little long, it’s nice to see them take their relationship to a new level, and it’ll be interesting to see where that takes things. Of course, even then, we had Loren sneaking in with a dick joke about Ateran being “stiff”. Don’t go changin’, Loren.

So… yeah. As odd as it is to say, nothing of great plot importance happened this week, but our intrepid band actually found a way to make it fun anyway. So let’s see what they can do with it next week. As always, feel free to drop by our Discord channel and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.

Three Ring Adventure S2|07: Path & Body Works

The heroes have successfully cleared the forest (sort of) so now it’s time to relax and throw a birthday party?

Roll For Combat, Three Ring Adventure Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Extinction Curse, and the second book, Legacy of the Lost God.

Don’t forget to join our Discord channel, where you can play games, talk with the cast, and hang out with other fans of the show!

Become a supporter of the podcast on our Patreon page where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. We would also love it if you would leave us a review on iTunes!

The Bird’s Eye View S1|19: I Spy With My Little Eye

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|19: The Dougie Shuffle.

Welcome back to the Bird’s Eye View. Sorry this is a day late, but as I mentioned in Discord, Monday was a bit of a bear at work, and then we had an Edgewatch play session in the evening, so my window for writing this just got swallowed up.

I was thinking about Steve’s comments about the rogue/thief class, and I think he’s covered a lot of the history pretty well. But I do have a few loose ends.

Part of what I would argue is that thanks to archetypes, the 2E system is flexible enough that not every class has to have a distinct role to fill out of the box. It’s OK that some of them are just roleplay variations on a higher role like “healer” or “agile melee fighter”. I think the choices you get to make – both within the class and through the use of Archetypes – let you define your own niche within the party as you go. If you don’t have a tight sense of purpose at Level 1, it’s OK because you find it as you go. (Also: if even one of you is humming “Purpose” from Avenue Q in your head now, my work here is done.)

If I have a frustration with rogues, it’s that it seemed like – at least in First Edition – their sneak attack ability, which was their signature class skill – was a little TOO situational. First was the battlefield itself. Between difficult terrain and attacks of opportunity, it often proved difficult – sometimes even impossible – to maneuver into position to make use of Sneak Attack. Then, after you went to all the trouble to do it, half the time the creature would have some ability that would render it immune to sneak attack damage anyway. The lower emphasis on Attacks of Opportunity in 2E helps with the first part of that; not sure about the second, though we’ve been running into a lot of oozes lately. Read into that what you will.

The other thing… and this is more of an idle thought than anything: I wonder how much (consciously or subconsciously) rogues got redefined by their treatment at the hands of MMOs. If you think about it, it’s really hard to implement traps and secret doors in an MMO setting, so MMOs compensated by giving them all sorts of additional combat skills (poison, stealth that basically amounted to invisibility) making them the main mobile two-weapon fighter. This often included redefining rangers as primarily a ranged DPS class to “clear the field” for rogues. I wonder if some of that seeped backwards into tabletop RPG thinking and people stopped including traps in adventures because MMO rogues might have been their first/main exposure to the class. Like I said: just an idle thought.

But this is all theory. Back in the world of the Dreaming Palace, Basil and Dougie have things pretty well covered on the trap front. I’m letting Dougie take the lead because he’s more tanky, but I took an Investigator feat that gives me the same change to auto-detect traps as well. (I can’t even imagine being in the Three-Ring Adventure crew and not having a trapfinder in the party. Oof.) As a result, this week’s episode ends up being unintentionally boring, and our moment of highest drama is arguing with the dwarven family about whether we can kick them out of the hotel.

This once again gets into the realm of “Artistic License Law Enforcement” (ALLE). I get where Seth is coming from and on some absolute level he’s correct: in a situation like this, you probably wouldn’t just release people on their own recognizance. We don’t know who might be working with the killers, or who might have been potential targets, or who just picked this place out of a hat and truly ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Heck, even if they’re 100% innocent, you’d want to get statements about anything they might have seen. But then again, if we were following proper law enforcement procedures, we’d have called for backup a LONG time ago and this place would be SWARMING with cops. At some point, you suspend enough belief to make the story work, so that we can continue to be the heroes of the story. In this case, that means hand-waving that these guests don’t represent a threat and sending them off to enjoy the fair. So… OK. Go have a funnel cake or something.

As we explore the hotel, we find some more potential evidence. The suitcase PROBABLY belongs to one of the stonemasons, if we had anyone who could read Tian Xia. (Ah, remember when smarties pretty much got a new language every level?) There’s a bucket of dried blood; presumably more than you’d normally have to clean up in the course of running a hotel. And if we could figure out how to use the recording device from the devil room, we’d probably have some snuff-film footage in our possession. And then there’s the peepholes. Like… a creepy amount of peepholes. Enough that this place probably ought to be closed down even if there hadn’t been a bunch of murders here and we were just dealing with garden-variety peeping toms.

At this point, our new destination will be to find the basement – between the chute that goes to Ochre Jelly Land and the weird gap in the fireplace, there’s clearly SOMETHING going on down below. It’s just a matter of finding the stairs that lead there. I do wonder if there’s any significance to the “old building vs. new building” distinction – if the fireplace is in the old part of the building, shouldn’t the stairs to the basement be as well? Or could John be right… could the entry be outside? (Though… if the entry to the basement was outside, that means whoever’s down there would have ample opportunity to just flee entirely.) Also, there ARE a few dead spots in the first-floor architecture; it’s at least POSSIBLE there’s a stairway or ladder that’s a passthrough from the upper level to the basement. So we’ve got a few options for exploration.

Lacking a definitive best choice, we decide to explore the second floor a little bit. Maybe find some more evidence, get any other remaining guests out of the hotel. The second floor is a bit more chaotic but appears to be all guest rooms. We find a +1 healer’s tools (nice!), another trapped room – this time a gas trap – and then we find a pretty nice room with a jacuzzi that turns into next week’s combat, as the statues near the fireplace come to life.

And that’s where we’ll leave it for next time. As always, feel free to stop 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.

Agents of Edgewatch S1|19: The Dougie Shuffle

The agents continue to battle their way through an array of sadistic traps and torments, and peepholes?

Roll For Combat, Agents of Edgewatch Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Agents of Edgewatch starting with the first book, Devil at the Dreaming Palace.

Don’t forget to join our Discord channel, where you can play games, talk with the cast, and hang out with other fans of the show!

Become a supporter of the podcast on our Patreon page where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. We would also love it if you would leave us a review on iTunes!

The Sideshow S2|06: No Animals Were Harmed In The Making Of This Podcast

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S2|06: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Hap Scorned.

For a short episode, this week had a fair amount of interesting stuff going on. A near-death experience for Riley, possible new additions to the circus… for an episode with a single, fairly easy fight, a decent amount of stuff going on.

First, put me down for a hearty HELL YEAH at the idea of Riley wielding a weapon in his mouth like Zoro from One Piece. In fact, go all the way with it and make it a katana.

At the front and back ends of the episode, we have the ongoing question about what to do about Kalkek, the greater barghest. One of the most interesting aspects of this is that Hap clearly has her own ideas that she’s choosing to not share with the rest of the party (as evidenced by delivering breakfast to the beast). For the moment I love it… but we’ll see where it ultimately leads.

It can be tricky to manage competing agendas within the party. On one side of the equation, it creates drama and generates interesting story moments above and beyond what’s already in the adventure. At the risk of being a little chippy, it’s also a way for the players to assert control even over the GM’s story… as long as it doesn’t reach the point of dysfunction, where it’s impeding the party’s ability to accomplish goals and/or just dragging the FUN of the game down a black hole. It’s a fine line to walk, but I think this group has earned the trust to see where they go with it.

At the end of the session, the overall plan on the barghest is to either kill it, convince it the townspeople would band together to kill it to try and scare it away, or try to convince I to relocate to the abandoned keep, which is even further away from human contact. Now, they’re welcome to try what they want, but personally, I don’t get the sense the townspeople scare it; if anything, they represent a nice little snack. However, I think Steve was dropping a hint – perhaps intentionally, perhaps not – about Madame Dusklight… that the beast is scared of her. Maybe you could leverage that against the barghest…. just tell Kalkek that Madame Dusklight figured out where he is and it’s time to go.

Of course, there’s also the 20/20 “full knowledge of the rules” answer which still exists: a barghest that’s manifested on the Material Plane generally just wants to get off this plane. So maybe help it do that. But in-game, they haven’t gotten that much information on barghests yet. Ateran got a LITTLE information during the fight, but they haven’t gone back and done a deep dive.

Next up, we have Riley’s brush with death, courtesy of the thunderstone trap.

The first thing is, it came perilously close to triggering the “massive damage” insta-death – Steve didn’t remember the exact number, but he said Riley had something like 50 hit points. If he had 40 or less, 80 would’ve been enough to kill him with no further interventions. It’s easy to forget that animal companions tend to be a little weaker than PCs – lower saves, fewer hit points – so that was a real bullet dodged.

For the record, we actually dealt with this during the Plaguestone campaign, but the various death rules DO apply to PCs “and their companions”. In that game, we had a moment where Ember dropped and we needed a ruling on whether she was just dead-dead or I could use Lay on Hands to bring her back, so we’ve done this research already. So yes, things like casting stabilize and the dying condition… all of that applies equally to Riley. Interestingly enough it’s GM discretion when it comes to bad guys and NPCs. I think that’s more story-based: “if it makes the story more interesting to let the NPC live, you can allow it, or if you want the NPC to be permadead and move on, that’s fine too”.

So Riley lives by the narrowest of margins, but he’s at least temporarily deaf, and he’s still pretty banged up even after some healing. So Hap is on the warpath when they soon encounter the people who likely set the trap – a trio of ysoki. At first, it looks like another fight might ensue, but the standoff turns when Darius mentions the circus that he can’t remember the name of, and it turns out the main ysoki, Fidget, is a juggler who uses fireworks as part of her act. This defuses the situation with three-fourths of the party – it turns out the ysoki were just protecting themselves from Kalkek – but for poor Hap, Fidget’s act just adds a layer of professional jealousy to her anger about Riley’s injury. At the other end of the spectrum, Ateran actually finds kindred spirits in Fidget’s brothers, who are both alchemists, and they spend some downtime talking shop.

The party then explores a little further on the way back to camp, which leads to… well… we’ll call it a fight, but really it ends up being a chance for Hap to blow off a little steam. Centipede swarms? Meet fireball. You lose. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that Riley gets back in the game, helping to finish off the swarm that the fireball didn’t quite kill. GOOD DOG! Darius punches bugs, Alhara adds some AoE with alchemical fire, and Ateran finishes the fight off with a crit from Old Reliable (aka Telekinetic Projectile).

Ateran also hones their comedic talent with “turns out the log is not safe”. Well played, Rob.

After the centipede “battle”, the party returns to camp, spends a little while debating the Kalkek situation a little further, and that’s where we’re going to leave it for this week. Next episode, maybe we get back to circus business? Or do we finally resolve the Kalkek thing? Guess you’ll just have to come back next week to find out. As always, feel free to drop by our Discord channel and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.

Three Ring Adventure S2|06: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Hap Scorned

The forest is nearly cleared and everything was going so well until someone makes Hap angry … you wouldn’t like Hap when she’s angry.

Roll For Combat, Three Ring Adventure Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Extinction Curse, and the second book, Legacy of the Lost God.

Don’t forget to join our Discord channel, where you can play games, talk with the cast, and hang out with other fans of the show!

Become a supporter of the podcast on our Patreon page where you can help us while unlocking fun exclusive rewards for yourself!

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. We would also love it if you would leave us a review on iTunes!

The Bird’s Eye View S1|18: …But You Can Never Leave

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|18: Doom Service.

Welcome back to Agents of Edgewatch, as we spend our second episode unraveling the mysteries of the murder hotel. As we left off last week, John had managed to stumble upon a mimic unawares, and combat was about to begin. Part of me still feels like John should’ve had a fighting chance of detecting it with his always-on radar, but I guess a creature that happens to look like furniture is not technically a “trap”. Or to be fair, maybe Steve gave him a roll “behind the screen” and he failed. Oh well.

The good news on the mimic is it’s not especially sturdy. It’s only got a modest amount of hit points, no particular resistances that we know of. If we can put damage on it, it’s not that tough an opponent. Of course, the big complicating factor is the adhesive properties – not only do they give us flat-footed, but it can also deprive us of weapons if they get stuck to it. (See also: my poor sword cane.) If this fight went three or four rounds, it might have reached a point where Lo Mang would have to stay there punching it while the rest of us went for coffee.

(OK, I guess technically Gomez and I have cantrip-level magic we could also have thrown at it, but still… it’s lucky we front-loaded the fight and got out quick, or that could’ve gotten messy.)

So… we prevail and force the creature to surrender. I have to admit I was a little surprised that they’re intelligent creatures, but sure enough… they speak Common, and their flavor text mentions that they sometimes like to talk to their prey. So in terms of the monster’s abilities, it’s legit. So I suppose it comes down to how you feel about surrender in general. In most dungeons, I know it’s kinda common to just MurderHobo your way through it. I think in this campaign it fits the tone; we’re “the cops” so some of the bad guys will take their chance with the law rather than resist until we’re forced to kill them. Especially since the mimic hints that it was originally brought here somewhat against its will. Doesn’t TOTALLY cancel out killing and eating a bunch of people, but maybe justifies not killing it outright.

The big news is what this does for our investigation. Preface ALL of this with two caveats: 1) I’m not a cop in real life, and 2) the law in Absalom does not necessarily work the same as it does in the real world. But the interrogation of the mimic creates something of a break in the case, as we have a real honest-to-goodness witness and probable cause. In other circumstances, a locket could’ve been left behind by accident. Even the trapdoor could MAYBE be dismissed as some sort of housekeeping thing – they drop the linens down a chute to be cleaned or something. But now we have the mimic giving us a confession that Ralso and Pratchett are feeding it victims. BAM! Case… officially cracked.

Now, here’s where we also get away from “real” police procedure, because in real life this is the place where we would get a formal warrant, and like 40 or 50 cops would swarm the place. But that doesn’t make for a good adventure (Roll… For… Traffic Control!), so I guess we’ll continue to investigate ourselves.

We are at a bit of a crossroads, though. Do we take Ralso into custody, or do we keep investigating rooms? The argument in favor of nabbing Ralso is the “fire in the rear” argument: if you leave this person to create havoc, she could attack us, escape, destroy evidence, or any number of bad things. On the other hand, do we believe there are innocent people in danger? If THAT’S the case, maybe that takes a higher priority.

For the moment, we decide to do one more room, and the universe finds a way to convince us we made the wrong choice, as Dougie and Lo Mang have their brush with death, flying guillotine style. In 20-20 hindsight, there probably ought to have been some sort of air traffic control as far as the number of people who could work on the door simultaneously; OK, MAYBE you let one person work it from each side, but Gomez and I jumping back and forth probably wouldn’t fly in the real world. I don’t pick a lot of locks, but I would think it would be more effective to let one person focus in and work on it until it was done.

(I also had that sort of old-school slapstick comedy image of Gomez or I poking John’s lockpick out of the lock on our turn, and then him poking our lockpick out on his turn. Lather, rinse, repeat.)

So we get our guys back safely, thanks mostly to some crappy rolls on the guillotine’s part, and that convinces us that maybe we should get Ralso in custody so she can… among other things… tell us which rooms have the traps in them. As a side debate, Seth comes up with the idea of having the mimic (for the record, I am neither trying to spell nor pronounce that name) either help fight the guillotine blade, or watch over Ralso while we investigate further. This is one of those ones where I kinda disagree with his idea, but not strenuously so: I’m willing to go along with it because it might make for a fun show, and I don’t want to pee on Seth’s corn flakes.

But for the purposes of this column, I’ll state my objections. I know Seth slapped an intimidate on it, and because he critted it’s supposed to last a week. But almost every charm/compulsion-type effect has a “unless you ask it to do something that would get it killed” escape clause, and fighting a giant flying razor blade would seem to qualify. Even watching over the witness is a stretch… it’s a LITTLE more palatable since it’s more of a “supporting” request that doesn’t put the mimic in direct danger, but it’s also a little immersion-breaking on police procedure. If a gang robs a bank and one of the robbers gets left behind, they generally don’t ask a teller to hold a gun on the guy they caught while they chase the other culprits. But I’d be willing to let this one slide a little in the name of good gaming.

However, when we get downstairs, the idea of having the mimic watch Ralso is moot: she’s not at the front desk. Oops. We begin to pick some locks to get back into the office area, and that’s where we’ll be picking it up next time. As always, feel free to drop by our Discord channel and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

Agents of Edgewatch S1|18: Doom Service

The agents continue to explore the tortuous halls of the Dreaming Palace and discover a near-endless supply of traps and terrors.

Roll For Combat, Agents of Edgewatch Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Agents of Edgewatch starting with the first book, Devil at the Dreaming Palace.

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