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Three Ring Adventure S2|29: The Chalice From the Palace

Of course when the PCs encounter a nearly impossible “optional encounter”, they charge in, guns blazing.

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!

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The Bird’s Eye View S2|13: All Or Nothing At All

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S2|13: Bring Me a Shrubbery!

Surprise, guys! Frontal assault’s canceled!

Up until the last minute, I REALLY thought we were eventually going to have to slug our way through this mess. That’s pretty much the way it goes with these adventure paths. At its core, Pathfinder is best when it’s a combat simulator, so I figured simulating combat was going to be inevitable. And OK, the part of me that likes combat best of all feels just a LITTLE bit cheated that we’re not going to get to square off with all those enemies. I got fresh doses of poison for the sword-cane and everything!

On the other hand, when you step back and look at it through a lens of “work smarter, not harder” isn’t this solution EXACTLY the sort of way we should be handling problems? In the context of this story, stopping a handful of low-rent pickpockets is nothing compared to stopping a murder cult that’s harvesting citizens for body parts. In cop dramas on TV and in movies, throwing away a little fish to get the dirt on a bigger fish is a CLASSIC technique. And then you add on top a layer that the Skinsaws may decide to kill the Copper Hands for screwing up the bank heist, which makes the Skinsaws a danger to the Copper Hands… The conclusion is logical to a degree that would impress Mister Spock; of course, we cut them a deal to get their information on the Skinsaws.

If there’s ONE thing we didn’t do right here, it’s that MAYBE we should’ve gathered a little more evidence of a crime so we had a little more direct leverage going in. We never really caught them “in the act”, we don’t really have any sort of proof the mechanic is being held against his will (though we strongly suspect it), nor did we mark the goods we turned over, so we can’t even really hit Fayati with “handling of stolen property” or whatever. So maybe we should’ve let things played out a LITTLE further until we had witnessed a specific crime to hold over them. Right now, all we have is a couple of low-level grunts talking shit, claiming they’re big-time robbers. They could easily claim they were just joking.

I think that’s where grabbing the hostage first might have helped, but with 20/20 hindsight I think we made the right call there. Yes, it probably would’ve been pretty easy to get him. We could’ve come in for a general hangout session, I could’ve grabbed the mechanic and cast invisibility on him, and then jetted out the door. If you wanted to make it a little more foolproof, I could’ve brought a scroll with a second cast of invisibility so we BOTH could’ve left the hideout unseen. So yeah… grabbing him would’ve been pretty easy, and then we’d be able to go in with a confession. But then… once someone stole the mechanic out from under them, their base would’ve been on high alert and we probably never would’ve gotten in front of the boss to negotiate. Then we’re back to slugging our way through the building. So maybe it’s best we just went right to negotiation.

As an aside, I’m constantly amused by how much of my thinking is colored by “modern” ideas of police work that probably don’t really carry weight in a fantasy medieval setting. “Does the presence of undead constitute probable cause?” “Did you read him his Miranda rights in Common or Aklo?” “Does the department have a ‘Use of Fireball’ policy for caster officers?” It’s easy to forget that a lot of the nuance and layers of “doing the job right” just wouldn’t exist in a world like this. In a setting like this, it would be more like “see bad guy, drag him or her in, and cast some sort of truth spell on them to fill in the pieces you don’t have direct witnesses to”. But you have to have SOME model for thinking about all of this, so the one we live in day to day is at least a good starting point.

Back to the action. As we sit down to negotiate, the real question is “does the deal make sense to Fayati?” and I think the answer there is yes as well. On one hand, deep down, we absolutely don’t have anything concrete on her, and even what we have on the gang is kind of flimsy so far. But what are her choices here? EVERY cop in the district now knows where their hideout is, has a rough layout, and knows their strength (even down to the weretigers). If the worst should happen and she kills us, the Absalom equivalent of the SWAT team is coming next. We’re just four cadets and the city is FULL of cops. Even if she just refuses the deal and lets us walk out, we’re going to go into “clingy ex mode”… we’ll focus ONLY on her gang, making sure her people can’t earn a dime during the Radiant Festival. And then there’s the Skinsaws – now she’s got someone volunteering to take care of the Skinsaws for her… and they’ll be doing it as law enforcement so it can’t be traced back to her if it fails. If we win, they’re gone entirely; even if we lose, we’re keeping them busy and thinning their numbers to the point where maybe whoever’s left will be too busy to worry about them anymore. And what’s the price of all of this? Giving up some short-term earnings that she’ll have MOST of 90 days to make up, and the mechanic who had MOSTLY stopped being useful after the bank heist went sideways.

And I do think it’s a “tough but fair” position that we’d have to leave her enough to save face with the rest of her gang. Here’s why… and it’s something I don’t think we mentioned at the time. Yeah, Fayati will give us the information we want either way at this point, but if she loses control and it’s everyone for themselves… all it takes is ONE of her members deciding to save their hide by ratting us out to the Skinsaws. Then the psycho-murder cult knows we’re coming and either THAT battle gets a lot more deadly, or they pick up and move to a new hideout and we have to start over from square one. So yes, leaving her with enough of a functioning gang to keep her people in line makes a fair amount of sense.

Now if you want to get all fussy, it’s SUCH an obvious win for her that, I suppose there would’ve been nothing preventing the Copper Hand gang from anonymously tipping the law off to the location of the Skinsaws themselves before we were ever part of the story. But maybe that anonymous piece is what makes the logic of the story work – if that tip had just come in off the street, maybe it gets ignored; if it’s the head of the gang telling the now-famed Red Squad to our faces as part of a bargaining session, it’s pretty solid actionable intel.

Even with all that logic staring down at us from above, I have to admit I was still on pins and needles as we were going through it. It was probably the most we’d EVER had riding on a single social check, even dating back to the pre-podcast days. Succeed, and we basically solve an entire section of the adventure path without unsheathing a weapon; fail or crit fail, and we might be facing a multi-episode building crawl, STARTING with the Big Bad.

But success it is. We now know where the Skinsaws are hiding, we get back the money we borrowed to join the gang, we rescue the hostage, and ohbytheway we bypass an entire level. Oops. Granted, we still have to run all this past Captain Melipdra and make sure he’s OK with only getting a couple of hundred gold and a single hostage while the remnants of the Copper Hand continue running around stealing stuff. But I suspect if he’s smart he’ll go for it.

Next week, I guess you’ll meet our new characters, and we’ll start to take the fight directly to the Skinsaw Cult! Let’s do this! 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.

Agents of Edgewatch S2|13: Bring Me a Shrubbery!

Can the Agents successfully negotiate a peaceful resolution with the Cooper Hands? Or will Lo Mang get bored and “accidentally” attack someone?

Roll For Combat, Agents of Edgewatch Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Agents of Edgewatch, and the second book, Sixty Feet Under.

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|28: Better Living Through Exorcise

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S2|28: It’s Been Ateran All Along!

First up this week, I feel like I want to clarify the “Silly Steve” comment from last week since it feels relevant again this week. It’s not that Steve is NEVER silly with us on the Edgewatch side of the house; I think it’s that we tend to compartmentalize things a little more. We kinda “get it out of our system” in the pre-game, and then we’re FAIRLY goal-oriented (except for the occasional pop culture reference) once we start rolling for the evening. With this group, they weave in and out of it a little more as the game unfolds, so there’s more room for Silly Steve to operate. I don’t know if that makes sense at all, but I found myself thinking about it a bit more between sessions, so I thought I’d mention it.

So this week’s dominant theme… sympathy for poor Rob P. for getting struck down by the Bad Dice Gods. You play this game long enough, it happens to everyone eventually, but this week was definitely Ateran’s turn in the barrel. Ateran, the group’s Resident Smart Person, pretty much reduced to the village idiot (at least for this episode) by bad dice.

I think what struck me in particular about this sequence was the inability to escape the spotlight. When you’re on a critical path and HAVE to hit a roll to move the story along, it can feel like an eternity trying to make that roll. It’s like… if you roll a bunch of 2s in combat, eventually the turn passes and you have some time to lick your wounds before you have to try again. If you’re just trying and failing on a single critical-path skill check, as Ateran was doing here, you’re pretty much stuck up on the stage with a  big spotlight on you, failing over and over again with everyone watching. In some ways that’s psychologically worse, even if the in-game consequences of the individual rolls aren’t nearly as dire.

I also think Steve raises an interesting question: when, if ever, do you step in as GM and overrule ridiculous dice luck? On one hand, the dice are supposed to be fairly close to absolute. On the other hand, you’re still trying to serve a story, and at some point, bad dice luck can really screw up the story side of things. One or two bad rolls can be kind of funny, but at some point, if it just keeps going, it honestly gets boring and detracts from the action. It’s not advancing the plot, it’s not creating an interesting moment, it’s just generating busy work.

First, I don’t think the GM should ever do it in the “house’s” favor. If players get a hot streak or the monsters get a cold streak, just let them have it, and if you need to balance things out, add a little to the next encounter to compensate. It’s one of those things where you as the GM control the game, so there are places where you have to be the bigger person. In the case of the players getting bad luck… I still don’t think you want to fudge the dice often – players do count on the dice to “tell the truth” and there can even be fun found in salvaging a bad situation – but I do think if you’re starting to lose the table and the story is starting to grind to a halt, I do think fudging a roll for the sake of getting things moving again can be the lesser of the two evils.

Meanwhile, I’m also salty this week because of the appearance of the redcaps.

Now, it wasn’t the voice. I actually enjoyed Steve’s redcap voice. (Especially listening to the show on 1.5 speed. Took on a whole new life that way.) I even enjoyed the Redcap Voice contest at the end of the show, and kinda wish the Robs had participated as well.

No, my salt comes from bad memories from the Edgewatch campaign. As Loren (I think) mentioned, our Edgewatch group faced ONE of these guys, and it nearly tore us to pieces, even with us figuring out the trick with the hat fairly early in the fight. Then again, the circus crew also had four levels on us – we faced ours at the tail end of Level 3, and here they are at Level 7. I mean, that’s a 20% edge in getting and avoiding crits, and that’s even before adding any additional bonuses from four levels of improved gear. You’ll note that the redcaps still hit pretty hard, but they either never or rarely critted; I think our redcap critted us two or three times. That absolutely makes a difference – the difference between “mortal threat” and “mild enough nuisance that the GM can give it a cute voice”.

On the other hand, the fact that we faced it first means for once we’re in the rare position where I have inside knowledge the circus group didn’t have. In this case, I’d like to point out that removing the redcap’s hat has TWO benefits. The first, which WAS mentioned, is that the hat grants the redcap fast healing, so taking the hat away prevents that hit point recovery. What wasn’t mentioned was that the hat ALSO increases their damage, so they take a -4 penalty to damage rolls if you get the hat off their head. (Not to be smug, but Basil got that off an Expeditious Inspection in Round 1, and Lo Mang grabbed the hat in round 2 or round 3.)

(Also: quick rulebook detour. The main difference between “fast healing” and “regeneration” – both heal hit points at the start of the round, but regeneration also keeps the dying condition from going past dying 3 while it’s active.)

Eventually, the redcaps are dealt with (OK, one got away, but that’s not a huge problem) and Ateran FINALLY gets some good rolls and finishes consecrating the graves. Now it’s decision time. There’s at least one more door in the section of the temple they’re in, and there’s actually a whole section unchecked. But the various fights drained the party’s resources, so we decide to wrap it up and head back to the circus. We have brief reunions with “Dad” (yay!) and Gibzip (boo!), and it looks like we’re going to get some Level 8 characters next time we meet.

(BTW, I think I figured out what bothers me about Gibzip. If any of you have watched the show Big Mouth, Gibzip reminds me of Tyler, the incompetent hormone monster who replaces Maurice for a few episodes. SOOOO annoying. Both of them.)

So next week, I assume we’ll get to meet our Level 8 cast, and they’ll go kick down that last door that Steve seems WAY too excited about. 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.

Three Ring Adventure S2|28: It’s Been Ateran All Along!

This week the gang plays a game of werewolf, and it was Ateran all along!

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 S2|12: The Enemy of My Enemy

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S2|12: Just Call Me Fancy Dan.

Welcome to Flying Without A Net, Week 3. The good news is we’re finally managing to make some progress infiltrating the Copper Hand Gang. The bad news is the path forward is still a little murky, but by the end of the episode, we’re starting to see some lights at the end of the tunnel.

I think Steve captured the essence of this well in his show notes. In a way, this whole part of the story is a negotiation between the party and the GM. We have the broad strokes of what we want to do, but since it’s not combat, it’s a little unclear how that fits under the umbrella of the rule: both the Paizo rulebook and the rules of being an Edgewatch officer. On a rulebook level, a lot of it comes down to when do you use actual skill rolls vs. when is it just a couple of people talking. On the Edgewatch side, the most relevant question seems to be how far we’re allowed to go astray from being law enforcement officers to get into the gang. It all comes down to throwing ideas at Steve (in character) and seeing what things he’ll let us do, and what other places we’ll have to find a different way to come at the problem.

Before we get into all of that, we do get a nice little moment of levity when Gomez uses Intimidate (successfully) against our boss. At first, I thought this was a little cheesy, but the more I thought about it, not every social context is built the same, and not every Intimidate roll has to be making someone run away in terror. I suppose getting a person in a superior position to soften their tone a little could also be a legit use of the skill. Still, at the moment it was happening, I thought Seth was out of his damn mind, and I was just hoping we wouldn’t get dragged into latrine duty along with him.

Speaking of moments of levity, let me talk about “Fancy Dan” for just a moment. I’m willing to admit that’s about 30% me just screwing around and being silly. Confession time: me entertaining you listeners starts with me entertaining myself first. It got an internal laugh in my brain, so I rolled with it. Having said that, I also felt like a) Basil would’ve learned his lesson about using his real name when we went to the party Jeremin Hoff was throwing (especially if his name got into the papers because of the bank heist), and b) the best lies contain just enough to make it easier to stay in character. Basil comes from money, so playing a pretentious elitist thief is easier to pull off than playing a down-on-his-luck ragamuffin type. Hence, “Fancy Dan”.

So we’ve been recruited to steal or otherwise procure 50 gp worth of loot. Just to put that in perspective, 1 g was the day-labor rate in that one Society game where we rebuilt the keep, and can also be a good day of Earn Income. So using $10/hour (to work in round numbers), they’re basically asking us to swipe about $4000 each. That actually seems like a reasonable amount in the context of a big tourist event. If I were to try to steal $4000 in some random shopping mall, that would be one thing, but if I were to try and steal $4000 during Mardi Gras or Super Bowl weekend, or in Times Square… there’s a lot of full wallets to grab in a setting like that.

Still, we’d rather not ACTUALLY steal citizens’ real money, so we ask the department for help. The good news is they’re willing to “loan” us the funds from the fantasy equivalent of the evidence locker; the bad news is we’re on the hook for it, so we’re technically operating at a loss for the moment unless we can recover it later. But hey, it’s good enough to get us into the gang, and that sheds some light on a few things.

First and foremost, a frontal assault is going to be VERY dangerous. The first level, it’s just grunts. But that second level, we’ve got a basilisk, weretigers, and elite guards, and a high probability to bleed encounters. We could end up in a running fight where we don’t even have time to take a 10-minute rest, much less a full rest. And then if we get to the top level, that’s a total unknown: who knows WHAT sort of threat the boss poses or how many bodyguards she has? So what we’ve learned so far is that “frontal assault” looks like an even worse idea than we originally thought.

Second, we gain further information about the hostage that explains the clockwork resources used in the bank heist. The hostage they mentioned earlier turns out to be some sort of tinkerer who makes mechanical devices and presumably made the construct with the drill and the keys. One major question resolved. The good news there is he’s near the door, so he’s actually fairly low-hanging fruit if we want to get an easy win. If we could create a distraction, I could slip in there, hit him with invisibility, and walk him right out the door. Of course, if the hostage disappears, security tightens and we might blow our cover, so we have to pick our spot to do it.

Lastly, and perhaps most interestingly, we uncover a rift between the Copper Hand and the Skinsaw Cult. It turns out the Copper Hand is almost as scared of the Skinsaws as they are of the police at this point. (Among other things, that’s why they’ve hired extra were-tiger muscle.) The alliance has always been an uneasy one, and now that the bank robbery went sideways, it’s possible the Skinsaws may get rid of the Copper Hand as allies and turn them into parts for more of their undead creations.

But this may be the opportunity that we were looking for. If they’re afraid of the Skinsaws, get in good with the gang by offering to take on the Skinsaws for them. Think about it. As… Ollo, I think said… the gang is the little fish here; we want the murderous cult, and I’m sure the gang wouldn’t mind throwing a few disposable newcomers who just joined at the problem. So maybe we offer to deal with the Skinsaws for them – it feels like a win-win. We get their intel on the cult (location, numbers, etc.) and curry favor with them; they get someone who’s willing to take on the fight for them without losing any more people, and they can even deny we were members if we lose.

And as an added bonus, we get to stay on the right side of the law because we’re attacking the cultists rather than robbing innocent civilians.

Well, I think that’s what we’re going to be selling anyway. The trick now will be getting it in front of the boss and selling it, and that’s what we’ll look at doing 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.

Agents of Edgewatch S2|12: Just Call Me Fancy Dan

This week the Agents are becoming comfortable as Copper Hand Gang members, perhaps a bit too comfortable.

Roll For Combat, Agents of Edgewatch Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Agents of Edgewatch, and the second book, Sixty Feet Under.

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|27: Rock, Paper, Fireball

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S2|27: Between a Vrock and a Hard Place.

Welcome to Roll For Combat, Beach-Bum Edition. That’s right, I’m writing from vacation this week. (The Patreons who stopped by for our Malevolence game already know this.)

The bad news is you might get a rather fragmented column this week, as this is getting written between trips to the beer cooler. The good news is you get a book recommendation as bonus content: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (the guy who did The Martian). I can’t give you a plot description because the whole plot is an unfolding mystery where our protagonist doesn’t even know their own name at first, but both space and science (both are right on the cover, so no big spoiler there) hijinx are involved.

Sorry, where was I? (Other than getting another beer.) Right, this week’s episode.

First, we have the occasional emergence of Silly Steve, which we don’t see very often; or at least not in extended bursts. Now, Steve’s not a humorless person by nature, but for whatever reason, he tends to run a pretty tight ship when running his games. If I were to hazard a guess, I think it’s more just a function of having the game, the recording tools, possible stuff going on in the background at home, and everything else to keep an eye on, so he usually doesn’t have the TIME for frivolity. But here we get jokes, silly voices… the whole nine yards. Savor these moments, listeners. They don’t come around too often. Though I have to say that is one of the nerdiest earth elementals I have ever heard. I expect a gravelly Vin Diesel voice from a creature made of living dirt; I don’t expect our party to be beaten to death by something that sounds like my 11th-grade math teacher.

Speaking of which, I loved the implied theme of this battle, with Darius squaring off against his own evolved Pokemon form. Rock-based powers vs. actual rock! (Or is Darius a Machop/Machoke who happened to be given some stone-themed TM’s? Needs more awkwardly nerdy research.) But the stone-vs.-stone theme of the fight was carried off quite nicely.

Unless you’re poor Alhara, of course. I’m starting to feel bad for poor Vanessa… she’s just been a magnet for creature attacks these last few fights, as Alhara gets dropped once again. To some degree, it’s nature of the beast: out of four people you’ve got two squishes who have no business being on the front lines, so of course, Alhara is going to be targeted quite a bit. But it would be nice if a few of them missed and she came out of a fight with more than 10 hit points left.

I realize we’re out of order since the shawl was loot from the previous room, but I have to admit I’m with Loren on the Azlanti shawl. SELL, SELL, SELL! I’ll concede Comprehend Languages is a valuable tool to have, and I even think Rob/Ateran is right that they’re GOING to run into Azlanti at some point down the road. However, with 700 gold pieces, you could buy DOZENS of scrolls of Comprehend Languages and still have plenty of change left over. Just sayin’.

Unless… and I literally just had this thought as I’m writing it… if the plan is to keep the shawl long enough to LEARN Azlanti through the Multilingual feat (can be any language you “have access to”) and then sell it… I can get down with that. Best of both worlds – money AND fluency – as long as you don’t have other plans for the feat.

Note that I’m kinda handwaving the temporary hit points, but I feel like a) Ateran shouldn’t be taking a lot of hits anyway, and b) most of the creatures at this point of the game are gonna blow through those hit points in one shot.

The exploration of the hall continues, and we find an abandoned xulgath encampment. That’s a bit alarming. Could there really still be hundreds of xulgaths lurking around, waiting to attack the town? Or was this more of an excavation party, and once they got into the Moonstone Hall, the bulk of them left. Either way, it’s a little unsettling that Escadar now has an express lane to the Underdark right in its town square.

It’s almost TOO MUCH room to digest at once – though I assume they’ll have to return at some point and investigate further – so the party moves on to the next room.

Next, we have a minor rules question, and I have to admit I’m siding with Vanessa on this one. For someone who relies on leaping into the fray as her go-to opener, I think checking the area in front of the door should’ve been part of the action of opening the door. If you still want to apply line-of-sight and lighting effects to that and saying she couldn’t see what was lower in the room, that’s fine, but literally looking down at the floor five feet in front of you shouldn’t be a separate action when it’s part of a signature move you do almost every combat. I look at it as “we open a door; 90 percent of the people would look straight ahead at eye level, a swashbuckler will look at the terrain immediately in front of the door in case they gotta leap into action”.

Completely random thought: three disturbed graves, three babaus. Coincidence, or is that where the xulgaths got the raw materials? (Or did I count wrong… also possible. We are talking about almost six weeks’ worth of footage now.)

So Alhara leaps into action, bounces off a triceratops flank, and… proceeds to trip it. That was a little unexpected. I’m not going to argue the feat itself – at the risk of giving away a mild Plaguestone/Malevolence spoiler, I think I gave Brixley that same feat, so I have a vested interest in legitimizing it – but I do wonder if maybe a quadruped should’ve received a bonus compared to a biped. I mean, four legs are more stable than two. Even the good people of IKEA know this. (This is not an invitation for you people to come at me with your three-legged FNURDSSONs. I’ll hear none of it.)

Nevertheless, the captain turns off the Suspension of Disbelief light, Alhara trips the triceratops (also sending the rider off to the corner of the room), leaps back out, and Hap nukes the whole room. JUST LIKE COACH DREW IT UP ON THE BLACKBOARD. Seriously, although there was some serious dumb luck getting from A to Z, they kinda ended up landing on perfect tactics. Not only that but at least one xulgath crit-fails and dies immediately.

Now the fight is really on. I did appreciate the moment of levity of “if it’s got artwork, of course it’s a boss”. Though… lots of stuff has artwork and lots of stuff hits hard. Really, it’s more like: “does the artwork contain unsettling amounts of green and/or black miasma, possibly forming skull shapes?” or “does the artwork depict the creature actually killing Pathfinder iconics?” or… OK, ”does the artwork depict the creature riding a triceratops?” is pretty legit. We’ll allow it.

But the fight itself actually proves to be a little easier than the fight against the earth elemental – in part because the caster nukes his own mount – and soon enough, one more room has been cleansed. And then we wrap up with the minor cliff-hanger of the week: that one of these bespoiled graves belongs to Uthadar himself, and that’s why he’s so insistent that there be a cleansing.

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.

Three Ring Adventure S2|27: Between a Vrock and a Hard Place

Are we drunk this week? I don’t know, but it sounds like we were drinking in this week’s episode. Oh yeah, and the gang continues to explore Lower Moonstone Hall.

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 S2|11: Smooth Criminals

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S2|11: Ol’ Jack Always Says… What the Hell?

Welcome to Week 2 of fumbling around in the dark for the plot hook here on Roll For Combat. We know WHERE the bad guys are and we know the rough shape of what we need to do. But our favorite option – kicking in doors and killing stuff – has been removed from the menu (for now), so we need to find a new way to crack this nut. And that puts us in kind of an unfamiliar place where we have to roleplay our way to a solution.

I think Steve makes a good point in his show notes. It’s not that anyone in this game CAN’T roleplay. I just think the group as a whole is very goal-oriented, and if we can’t see how something ties directly to moving the story forward, we don’t have much patience for it. I think that’s a fair assessment of us as players. There would probably be no room for an extended “Hamlin’s Hots” segment on our show.

The one exception here is Seth. I feel like Seth doesn’t mind jumping the tracks and going for a roleplay wander. Look at the food-festival escapades with Sharky, just to pick an example. Since I mentioned Hamlin’s Hots, if you traded one of us to the Extinction Curse cast, I suspect Seth would probably fit in best as a roleplayer because he embraces the weird a little better than the rest of us do.

And while we’re at it… I know sometimes I oversimplify the circus people as “the roleplaying show”. But that’s not to imply the Extinction Curse people are better at the combat/tactics side – at most, we’re just more efficient. Loren has a show where she talks in-depth about the rules with Luis Loza of Paizo. Vanessa’s written content for Paizo. Push comes to shove, they can math with the best of them. So if I ever sounded like I was suggesting otherwise, consider this a formal acknowledgment to the contrary.

So here we are, swimming in the deep end of the roleplay pool, and investigating the flophouse. The front desk clerk is surprisingly straightforward that the Copper Hand gang uses his establishment as a base of operations, but this isn’t like the murder hotel – he doesn’t seem to be an active participant in their schemes. He just takes whatever they pay him in rent and keeps his mouth shut. (Sorta… he did come right out and tell us they own the upper floors.)

It seems like our cover story waffles back and forth a little on being adventurers vs. potential recruits, although Seth drops Percen Droan’s name, which seems to commit us to the recruiting path – random adventurers wouldn’t know to drop that name. But after going back and forth, Seth settles on being, basically, Jack Burton from Big Trouble In Little China. Not metaphorically… literally, right down to lines from the movie. Despite the presence of a sentry presumably warning people upstairs that we’re coming, Gomez plows his way toward the upstairs to get in on “the action”. Whatever that is.

And surprisingly, it works. Or maybe unsurprisingly. Some of this is my baggage because it’s still a little hard to process a goblin as the “face of the party”. But Gomez does have a high charisma and access to most of the social skills, so going off the printed page, he’s the best person for the job. (Basil has Diplomacy and Society on his side, but not Bluff and Intimidate.)

I will admit my one contribution was motivated by some combination of boredom and annoyance that my suggestions were mostly being ignored. When the guard looks at the paper and it’s about the bank heist, and I threw in that we were recruited for that and passed… yeah, that was just a fit of wanting to do SOMETHING. Though like I said, mentioning Percen Droan seemed to commit us to the “recruit” story, so I was trying to enhance that.

So we get in, and we play various games of chance for a while, and then it’s time to make a decision. Do we try to expand our foothold by snooping around, or do we take what we got and come back another day? We gained some basic trust from the gang members, and we know that the 2nd floor is for the troops and the upper floors are for the bosses and VIPs.

I was firmly in “don’t push our luck” territory on this one. There are SO many ways a stealth excursion could go sideways… even WITH invisibility. If you get another one of those guarded rooms and the door swings open on its own (because it was really invisible Dougie), that’s STILL going to attract attention. The worst-case here isn’t just “then a fight breaks out”, it’s “Dougie gets caught far enough away that we don’t know he gets caught. They outnumber Dougie, and then get the drop on us while we think he’s still safely stealthing around the place”. And either way, our cover is blown and we have to start from scratch.

Meanwhile, if we play the long game, we know they have to leave the hideout to earn, so there are a couple of ways we could exploit that. One is to go with them, help them (up to a point), and gain enough trust that they give us access to other parts of the building. The trick there is that we’d have to be careful what level of crimes we’d participate in: this whole thing comes undone if we get put in a position where they ask us to kill someone. Alternatively, if we watch the hideout and get a sense of when a large number of them are out, maybe we still attack, but we do it when we’ve got more of a numerical advantage. Maybe there’s a combination of the two strategies where we go with them to their jobs, arrest them to thin out their numbers, and then go with a frontal assault for the upper floors.

Ultimately it comes down to either screwing up and being forced to fight on whatever terms the dice give us, or choosing to fight on terms we dictate. And I think since time isn’t a HUGE factor here, I think we choose the latter. So I guess for the next few days, we get to be gangsters-in-training. Nobody tell the Lawgiver Badge. Or Basil’s mom, the judge. She already doesn’t know about law school; this would break her heart. So let’s let that be our little secret.

That’s all we have for this week; come back next week, and see how our efforts as hardened criminals turn out. In the meantime, 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.