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Agents of Edgewatch S2|31: I Have a Bad Feeling About This

The Agents forgot one last piece of unfinished business – rescuing the Captain and fighting the undead, ooze, dark tapestry monstrosity that is holding her hostage. What could go wrong?

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!

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The Sideshow S3|06: The Dogs and Pony Show

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S3|06: Golarion Ninja Warrior.

OK, so it’s circus week. Did NOT expect that.

I thought “check in on the circus” was going to be a simple “stop by, give Marcel some orders, go back out on the road for a few days” thing. I didn’t realize we were actually going to put a performance together. And a performance under new rules, at that.

First, Steve said that going in, two people really wanted to do the circus and two wanted to move on. I am ABSOLUTELY 100% certain Loren was one of the ones who wanted to do it – she LOVES stuff like that — and I’m about 85% sure Rob T. was one of the move-ons. I just don’t know who the second enthusiastic one is. I feel like it might be Vanessa going in, but Rob P. kind of has a “still waters run deep” thing going on where it’s hard to get a read on what he’ll decide to dig deep on.

So let’s talk about the circus subsystem a little bit. Now I should caveat here: normally, I’m VERY much a “you shouldn’t complain unless you’re also going to offer a solution” person, but I don’t really have an answer here. But what I do have is a deadline and a word count, so I’m gonna wade in anyway.

It always struck me that there were two major issues with the existing system. First, the “secondary” activities tended to feel like busy-work and didn’t add a lot to the gaming experience – Roll… For… Buying A Larger Tent! The act of putting on the show has always been the sizzle on the steak. The second was that the system incentivized going all-out until you hit a certain point, at which point shifting gears and playing it safe became the smart play. Once you got the Anticipation and Excitement needles lined up where you wanted them, you were almost just better off just ending the show there than trying to do anything else. It seems to me that the ideal system should have you going all-out for the best performance possible; if you weren’t doing so, something was off about the incentives.

So I think Steve’s choices are a good first-pass at addressing those two concerns. No more secondary tasks was an easy obvious fix, and the circus performance is now basically pass-fail. The second problem could still be an issue if you have really good rolls for the first few acts and “run up the score”, but it’s a first attempt. Time will tell if those are the RIGHT fixes, but they do address those areas.

So we begin. First of all, I chuckled at Steve dropping them on the same map from the Escadar camp. In my brain, I started imagining a scenario where Kalkek snuck aboard their ship and followed them to Cortos. Wouldn’t that be entertaining?

I also love that Mistdancer turns out to be such a freakin’ diva and the whole back and forth with Darius. If you think about it, it was probably a little unrealistic that you could grab 4 or 5 acts from the other circus, drop them into the existing lineup, and NO ONE would have a problem with their stage time. So it seems fitting that somebody would’ve complained. That it was the FLYING HORSE is just the cherry on the sundae.

So we begin the show with a tent full of shoonies, and first up is Alhara’s obstacle course. (OK, this seems well-thought-out, maybe she’s the other one who wanted to go all-out.) Now, I realize Golarion is a world without ambulance chasers or medical waivers, but should we really be risking audience lives on this venture? Couldn’t the clowns do it or something? Or hell… send in The Artist Formerly Known As Jellico Bounce-Bounce: Vanessa’s looking for a reason to kill him off anyway.

And as the performance moves along, none of the audience members die, but we begin to establish the theme of the evening – good performance, weak finish. Not enough to ruin the whole show, but enough to be annoying.

Rob T. takes the helm as Matchstick Flynn, and manages to ad-lib a pretty good show, though again… botches the ending. And then Mistdancer ups the ante by failing entirely. Man, she’s going through a whole character arc, isn’t she? Will she experience growth and come back stronger next time? Will she have a Top Gun moment where she has to grip Goose’s dog-tags before she tries to perform again? Will Darius lift her spirits by proclaiming that he’d fly with her anytime?

So, the circus is beginning to come off the rails a little, and Hap’s up. Hap’s performance is a fun little thing where she starts to pull in some of her original bardic inspirations (haven’t seen that in a while), and it starts to lift the overall score up. We’re finally moving in a positive direction, just in time for the big finale.

Mammoth Lady actually seems to do pretty well. Dude. She can lift her mammoth. Who doesn’t want to see that?

Vanessa plays Namor and does pretty well also. As an aside, I think Vanessa should’ve had Fish-Boy perform Hap’s act IN ITS ENTIRETY, but using water. That would’ve been hilarious.

And now it’s Ateran’s turn, and OK… Rob P. is clearly the other person who was loaded for bear because he’s got a whole thing written out. NOBODY JUST AD-LIBS “CARDAMOM” OFF THE TOP OF THEIR HEAD. I love the visuals of his performance, with a smoky rendition of their adventures so far. Very imaginative. And then… again, botched ending… not enough for the audience to know it, but enough to Ateran off internally.

But when the smoke clears (literally and figuratively), it’s a successful performance. The mostly-shoony crowd leaves happy, our team will make some money, and their reputation will grow for next time. Good job!

Meanwhile, not much happens with the main storylines. The entity that’s been haunting Vandy doesn’t return, and we learn that maybe there’s a MILD connection to people who got in trouble with the law or people who were generally assholes, but it’s not really enough to call a lead. (Do we have a version of the Punisher that’s turned off by bad manners instead of crime?) So I guess we’ll get back to that next week after the tents are packed up for the next town.

(Also as an aside: during the part where they were talking about visiting four different cities, I proposed that the merch site needs a “Circus of Wayward Wonders” tour shirt with different cities and dates. Always loved tour shirts just because they were artifacts of THAT particular show; you could even point to it on the back of the shirt and say “yeah, I was at that one”. But we probably need to wait for a few more dates, because right now it would only have like, 3 or 4 entries.)

So next week, we’ll get back to our main mysteries. Maybe Vandy’s stalker will show, or maybe our team will head up to Matten Cleave and check out the first tower. Maybe both! I’ve given up trying to guess at this point. 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 see you next week.

Three Ring Adventure S3|06: Golarion Ninja Warrior

After listening to a ghost story from their host, it’s time to get back to business… show business!

Roll For Combat, Three Ring Adventure Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Extinction Curse, and the third book, Life’s Long Shadows.

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|30: Cleanup, Aisle… Everywhere

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S2|30: Roomba of Blood.

This week’s a bit of a weird week on Roll For Combat because… I’ll be honest… I barely remember any of this happening. I had been under the impression we won the big fight and pretty much immediately retreated to safety, but clearly not; looks like we had almost 90 minutes of checking bodies and exploring the final room or two on this level. The Roomba Of The Damned? I LITERALLY forgot ever running into that thing, though once it actually started playing, the lightbulb went on in my head. I suppose I’ll just blame it on endorphins or something. We’d just had a running battle that stretched over multiple sessions; as you might have picked up, it was a little stressful.

The good news is we’ve now OFFICIALLY cleared the upper level. The last room has been explored – that turned out to be DoomRoomba – and nobody else responded to the alarm. The BETTER news is we got a little bit of advance scouting of the lower level done as well; partly thanks to the open grate over the blood pool, partly thanks to Gomez’s endless supply of mephits. We now know that the Skinner is in the central area, and the area to the west that the mephit explored holds a humanoid and a couple of Skinstiches. (Presumably, that’s the area marked as the Sewing Room on the map.)

Though, OK… pet peeve time. I feel like I have to point this out. A large part of the big running battle happened pretty close to the grate we just used for recon. You know… the grate with holes large enough to see through, and the grate that was enough of a walking hazard that Lo Mang had to roll a skill check to cross it. You’re telling me NOBODY down below heard the sounds of the battle… or of the alarm going off? That seems a LITTLE dubious. I guess she could’ve been out of the room during the battle and then come back in, but that would represent some pretty convenient timing. Though in my personal headcanon, I’m choosing to believe that the Skinner chooses to have some Enya playing in the background while she takes her blood baths, and that’s why she didn’t hear anything. Sure, she’s a remorseless serial killer… but she needs to decompress too. Murder and flaying are hard work.

As we proceed with the loot round-up, the most interesting prize is that we officially find Frefferth’s chain. So we should be able to cross that quest off the list; we just don’t know if there would be one more fight involved in doing so because one more fight might be one fight too much in our present condition. If all we gotta do is put the chain back on the statue, cool. If putting the chain summons Horse-Boy for one more battle… it’s dicey. So I think we’re going to have to defer, even if it might be really nice (and maybe lucrative) to get it taken care of.

On the other hand, as we gather up loot, we get a reminder – a heavy, bricky reminder – of the fact that we haven’t found Gubs yet, and now we have the realization hanging over our heads that we might have accidentally killed him in the Grand Melee. I mean, if the presence of his stuff means he hung out in this area with all the other cultists… that’s not a good sign, right? Thinking back to our conversation with Dannicus, the idea was that if we shouted for him, he might switch sides and join us, and we kinda forgot to do that. If you want to go meta, I didn’t see his name on any of the human NPC tokens, but then again, the guys that came out of the sleeping quarters didn’t even have names, they were just “cultists” or “initiates” or something. So it’s still possible Gubs was one of those guys. In which case… oops?

There’s still also the lower level, so maybe he’s down there and not all is lost. On the other hand, I also feel like joining a cult that chops people up to fill a blood pit for their boss is the definition of a “make your bed, lie in it” situation. I’ll feel bad at having not completed the task, but… 3 outta 10, 4 outta 10 max. Especially now that he dropped a pile of bricks on us from (maybe) beyond the grave.

The other thing we had to deal with this episode is the sheer amount of stuff we have to pull out of here. It’s actually pretty rare when you’re able to fill up an entire bag of holding — I’m actually impressed. My immediate frame of reference was the sled from The Grinch That Stole Christmas, so now I have this image of Lo Mang in a Santa suit (pantsless, of course!) carrying a huge bag with a Christmas tree sticking out the top. If we wish to further the imagery by tying a single antler to Gomez’s head, I wouldn’t complain much. (Also… if this isn’t the RFC Christmas card, we riot.)

So now, FINALLY, we get out of the dungeon, dragging our rescued prisoners along with us. Sure, we still have challenges to clear – rescuing the captain of the Graycloaks, dealing with the horseman, and clearing the lower level – but we definitely earned our paychecks today.

Though spending our paychecks is another matter. If there’s one thing I REALLY want, it’s a property rune to add some elemental damage to my bow. I’m starting to really love archery, and adding some additional damage and effects would take it to a whole new level. I’m probably leaning toward frost, because critical hits would apply slowed, and taking away even ONE enemy action per turn would be fantastic. Unfortunately, my gold tops out in the mid-300s, and all the elemental damage runes start at 500g. And it’s a little too much to borrow the difference – if I were 10g short, that’s one thing, but 100g short is a little too big a gap. So… next time.

Of course, there’s the other unspoken thing: will we level? We have to be getting pretty close since we took out an entire level – not just the Grand Melee, but the otyughs, the spider, and the initial batch of guards in the lookout post. Having said that, not only did I probably jinx it, but the Frefferth quest was the thing that made us come up short. But hey… can’t level if you’re dead.

So next week, we’ll come back, finish any shopping we might want to do, and figure out what order to attack these remaining tasks in. 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|30: Roomba of Blood

After clearing the top level of the catacombs it’s time to spend all of that hard-earned gold!

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 S3|05: The Haunt for Dead October

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S3|05: Breakfast, Period.

I feel like I should start this week’s column with a warning. I feel like this has the potential to become a little whiny, because this week’s episode happened to touch upon multiple pet peeves about this game in the same session. So apologies in advance if the tone is a bit too oppressive.

So… let’s get right into it.

Haunts. Ugh.

I will agree with what Steve said in his pre-game comments. I absolutely get what they were trying to do with haunts. Religion and Occultism are traditionally kind of under-used skills in the grand scheme. Every once in a while, you get to identify an object or recognize a name, but they can sit on the shelf for a while between uses. So haunts were an attempt to create a “puzzle” that could be solved with those particular skills; a supernatural thing that’s LIKE a trap, but not exactly a trap, because there’s no physical mechanism. So far I’m right there with Paizo – sounds like a really cool concept at first glance.

But the idea tends to fall on its ass in implementation, where haunts seem to combine the worst elements of both traps (the fact that it’s concealed or otherwise surprising, and the fact that it generally can’t be destroyed by conventional means) and combat (persistent damage over multiple rounds, something that keeps coming at you until it’s dealt with) into something that’s mostly just a pain in the ass, without providing nearly enough entertainment value.

A trap is generally finite. It triggers, does its damage… but then it’s generally served its purpose. MAYBE if it has charges, it’ll get a chance to do it twice before you get the hint. But if you get hit a second time by the same trap, that’s also you as the player paying the Stupidity Tax. Combat does a lot more damage and lasts until it’s dealt with, but you generally know what you have to do to beat it. And unless it’s immune to ALL the damage types you can throw at it, you’ve got SOMETHING in your toolbox that will get you there. Also, if you see or hear an enemy coming, it is POSSIBLE to avoid a fight, though in the words of T’Challa… “we don’t do that here”.

But that’s the thing about a haunt. Can’t see it coming. Can’t avoid it. Can’t damage it (usually). And you can’t stick around and figure it out because it’s beating down on you like a creature would while you’re thinking about it. So instead of being a fun puzzle, it becomes an annoying “no-fly zone” in the middle of your area map that you have to avoid until you stumble across some sort of hint for how to deal with it. (And frankly, if it’s not relevant to the main story, sometimes you just avoid it and move on entirely.)

Though OK, in the case of THIS haunt, “can’t see it coming” wasn’t really true. If there’s a lit candle in a triple-locked room in an abandoned farm that’s otherwise collapsing… maybe you don’t just go waltzing casually into the room? Just spitballing here.

So Darius entering the room sets off the haunt, and that summons a ghost, who starts ranting about… well… it’s kind of a word salad. And that brings me to my second pet peeve: Proper Name Vomit.

There’s this phenomenon – Vanessa kinda touches on it at one point – where a LOT of stuff gets thrown at you, particularly when you first reach a new section of the story. Here’s 15 NPC names and 8 location names; figure out which of these are important. And there will be a “quiz” later insofar as two or three of these will be mentioned four sessions later and you’ll have to remember why you kinda-sorta remember hearing that name.

Now, the dismissive “git gud” answer is “take notes”. And believe me – we generally try to. But a) sometimes the info dump is a firehose and it’s just too much to get down in its entirety, and b) even if you write it down, you never know which pieces are really going to be important. It is true the authors of these adventures usually leave a few bread crumbs for the single biggest “Next Item On The Agenda”, but they don’t necessarily do the same for secondary entities. So maybe “Brogdor The Unjust” SOUNDS really important at the time, so you write his name down, and it later turns out he’s the local cheese merchant, and the reason he got his nickname is the townspeople are WAY too dramatic about the price he charges for Havarti. Meanwhile, you didn’t really take any special note of Pig-Farmer Ted, and Pig-Farmer Ted happens to be the connection to the Big Bad because the Big Bad likes bacon almost as much as Darius does and Pig-Farmer Ted keeps him supplied.

To tie this back into the story we’re talking about here: this wealth of information to process means that even now, I’m STILL trying to sort out who screwed over who. There’s the angry ghost guy… and the Night Lady… and Minnesota Twins’ legend Rod Carew is involved somehow… but the real takeaway seems to be that Opper Vandy is a shady character because the ghost is ranting about him accepting “blood money”. So it’s back to town to talk to him some more.

I like how this encounter played out. In particular, the “give him enough rope to hang himself” approach of playing selectively dumb about what they had learned and seeing how Vandy reacted to the pieces they did know… that was a cool approach. I think it works better than a direct confrontation because it’s not as adversarial and maybe you get something you wouldn’t get if you go in swinging and they put the shields up right away. WE’LL MAKE COPS OUT OF YOU YET.

(And OK, I was amused that Darius has a “sitting casually, while still being ready to punch someone in the face” mode. He’s a man of contradictions, that one.)

Through this confrontation, we come to learn that Vandy is “shady” with a lowercase S, rather than “Shady” with an uppercase S. The good news is he’s not murdering people to bump up his numbers for the funeral business, which was the original concern. On the other hand, he did take out a loan and slow-walked paying it back until there was no one left to pay it back to. I feel like maybe it’s still TBD how hard he REALLY tried to find an heir – that part seemed a little too convenient/self-serving – but still, we’re firmly in white-collar financial crimes here, not the sort of evil the xulgaths represent (or the sort of evil we’re dealing with over on the Edgewatch side of the house). And certainly, even if you still think Vandy is a little crappy for doing what he did, it’s certainly unfair to take it out on the townspeople to get even with him.

But, it looks like we’re actually going to back-burner the haunt and helping Vandy, and take a look at the closest aeon tower instead. Perhaps a little passive-aggression there? “It turns out you’re kind of shitty, so we’re going to go off and deal with other stuff rather than help you.” But also, it does feel like fixing the tower would help the whole town, while solving Vandy’s problem would just amount to cleaning up his mess. So maybe that’s the right call.

Before I close, I don’t want to just whine about stuff. The phrase “LOL” is overused, but I did have a good chuckle at the start of the episode at Loren’s reaction to another 10 minutes of restaurant-themed shenanigans. “All right, so this is happening, I’m going to go get a water out of the fridge.” If you turn your speakers up high enough, you can actually hear her eyes rolling. Though she almost missed Vanessa’s on-the-fly songsmithing, which was also excellent. Makes me think… if we’re ever feeling REALLY ambitious, maybe we’ll have to do a musical episode one of these days.

So… tower next week? Or will something else happen? I mean, it just feels… incomplete… like there’s still another shoe about to drop. Maybe I’m feeling like there’s a chance that setting off the haunt and learning the truth might change the parameters and cause whoever’s messing with Vandy to up their game. So… OK, our team WANTS to go to the tower next week – that’s their stated goal – but I don’t totally discount another round of dealing with the skeletons in Vandy’s closet either. As we wait to see, 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 S3|05: Breakfast, Period

After exploring all the lunch and dinner locations at Matten Cleave, it’s time to investigate the best breakfast establishments! Oh yeah, and investigate a farmhouse or something.

Roll For Combat, Three Ring Adventure Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Extinction Curse, and the third book, Life’s Long Shadows.

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|29: Flank Me? No, Flank You

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S2|29: Violetta, You’re Turning Violet!

Well, this week on Roll For Combat, we’re done with the Big Fight, but not done fighting. That’s right, we decide to take one more room, and it’s almost the death of us.

I will say, even going back and listening weeks later, the decision to continue feels defensible. On multiple levels.

The first is that there’s someone screaming and we’re cops, and if we retreat to rest, that person may be dead by the time we get back. (And even if not, they spend 8 more hours enduring pretty horrible suffering.) At the end of the day, helping people is part of the gig, and if someone’s in need, we should act. And OK, it’s not one of the Graycloaks because they’re all accounted for at this point, but should we pass on helping someone because it doesn’t check a box on the quest list? I don’t think so.

The second reason, as I briefly mention, is a feeling that if there were enemies to the north, they would’ve come down and joined the Big Fight. Now, as one of those 20/20 hindsight things, maybe we should’ve factored in the possibility that the screams drowned out the alarm and the bad guys in there didn’t hear it. (Later on in the fight, we notice they’re wearing moss earplugs, so there’s your answer.) But let’s be honest: we were thinking that since nobody came out of that room during the fight, this would just be cleanup and freeing a prisoner or two.

And that’s the other thing: we also know from Dannicus’ map that the room with the screams is basically all that’s left on this floor. I think if we clear this room there’s ONE other room we hadn’t visited, and it seemed fairly unimportant (the room marked “Processing” if you have access to our Discord and look at the map he gave us). So we knock this out, that’s an entire level cleared. (I’m also not counting going “up-river” and dealing with whatever is polluting the stream.) Is that just a touch metagamey in assuming that everyone stays in their rooms and doesn’t wander around and that nobody from the lower level would ever visit the upper level to see what’s going on? OK, maybe just a touch. But it did seem like finishing the level would represent a good solid place to end the infiltration for the day.

However, the one thing we DIDN’T count on was that the person in this room was one of the sub-bosses. To be fair, there was nothing on the map that would’ve given it away in advance – it wasn’t labeled “Violetta’s Lab” or something handy like that. But once the battle-map was revealed, the name of the NPC and the creature chained to the wall gave it away, because Dannicus had described Violetta as a) the second-in-command, and b) the person in charge of making the weird flayed creatures.

So yay. Our “stretch goal” fight is against a sub-boss. That’s fun.

Now, I notice one of the single biggest things that determined the flow of the fight was who controlled flanking at any given time. Lo Mang got himself up into the far north-east corner of the room, so he was the one person who could never be flanked, but the dice turned him into a non-factor: he didn’t hit much, but he didn’t get hit much.

Now here’s where it gets problematic. The “safe” place for Dougie would’ve been up against the north wall on the other side of Violetta. However, that’s right where the monstrosity was chained up to the wall, and nobody really wanted to risk standing right next to it. So instead of taking the straight flank along the wall, he took the diagonal flank; however, that left him exposed out in the middle of the room. So one of the two cultists was able to get in flanking on him. In my case, the room was too small for my bow to be very effective; I would’ve been eating a -2 unless I positioned myself WAY down in the far corner and ONLY shot at Violetta no matter what the adds were doing. So I tried to position myself between the two adds, so that if I missed Strategem on one, I could just switch targets to the other one.

So the early flow of the fight is that Lo Mang and the boss mostly missed each other, and while Dougie and I did beat down one of the cultists, Dougie took a beating that then dropped him. I moved up to take his place and keep the flank alive, but then that put me in the Flanking Box as well, and pretty much the same thing happened to me – only we didn’t put nearly as much (well… ANY) damage on the second cultist in the meantime. So Dougie is still JUST getting back on his feet and I drop.

And keep in mind, as a meta-game interlude, I think I had JUST listened to the Three-Ring Adventure show where Darius had momentarily died. So I was REALLY nervous about going down WITH persistent damage ticking on me because that’s ultimately what “killed” Rob. Unlike Darius, I still had my Hero Point, so I did have a do-over he didn’t have, but it was still a tense situation because that was all still in the back of my mind. And I believe I might have even started discussing what my next character should be with the Patreon chat.

And then a funny thing happened… in the form of a giant mushroom summoned by Gomez. This REALLY shouldn’t have worked, but it did… marvelously so. First, and most immediately, it reset the flanking dynamics – it provided an extra source of flanking for us, and took up the square that would be most useful for them to flank anyone. But then – the REALLY unexpected thing – it actually managed to crit Violetta, which… I don’t know how what percentage of her damage it did, but emotionally, it changed the tone of the fight and made it feel winnable again.

And from there, the corner was turned. The mushroom blocker bought us the time we needed to re-orient and heal up (a little), and we were able to grind down both the remaining cultist and Violetta fairly shortly after that. And FINALLY, this level of the dungeon is clear. All that’s left is to dispose of the poor monstrosity on the wall; I wished there was something we could have done for it, but it was one of those situations where Steve USUALLY tries to say yes, so if he’s giving you flat “no, that won’t work” answers, you know it’s not meant to be.

So that’s the upper level of the cultist lair. I don’t feel like I’m revealing any great state secret by admitting that we’re DEFINITELY getting out of here and resting up. We’re basically out of resources, and to do ANYTHING more would mean going down to the lower level where the big boss is. In the words of Simon Cowell, “that’s a no from me”. So next week, we rest, regroup, and hit it again.

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|29: Violetta, You’re Turning Violet!

After what seems like months, the Agents have finally nearly cleared the first level of the catacombs. But there is one room left, and there’s something horrible is behind that door.

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 S3|04: Shovel Knights

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S3|04: Stuck in the Middle With You.

Welcome back to the conclusion of the fight against the…. BU-LETTE, BU-LAY… yeah, we’re gonna get into this a little. Part of me says this is a lot of effort to expand on something so trivial; another part of me feels like exploring minutiae like this is EXACTLY why this column exists.

So, there’s a video – if you Google search “Tim Kask bulette”, it’s likely to be the first hit – where Tim Kask discusses the original creation. (And it’s only like 3 minutes long, so not much of a commitment.) And throughout the video, Tim pronounces it BOO-LEY. So if your worldview starts and ends with the artist’s intent… well, there you go. Skip down a paragraph or two; we’re done here.

Having said that, I’m pulling out my “I Took French V In High School” card and dissecting this a bit. I think Kask is just wrong on the French. First, it sounds like he half-assed the name as a bit of a joke. The creature started out as “the bullet” in the early play sessions because it just charged at people and knocked them over. But then they decided to class it up the same way some people refer to Target (the department store) as TAR-JAY. So I get the feeling is he didn’t think about the actual French, he just went for “fancy and French-sounding”.

So here’s the thing. The double-T construction “-ette” represents the hard T sound. As in “baguette”. Or “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”. (That’s right, I’m dragging Edith Piaf into this. Rolling out the big guns.) The “ay” sound is generally represented as “-et”. As in “bidet” or “Robert Goulet”. (And as a lesser observation, one of the main uses of “ette” is to denote a SMALL version of something, and one thing you’d never describe a landshark as is “small”).

So yeah. I’m sticking with BU-LETTE, because I didn’t read the entirety of the goddamn Little Prince in French for nothing. And Tim Kask can m’attraper à l’extérieur if he doesn’t like it.

So anyway, as this episode started, things were looking a little dicey for our friends, but one also got the sense the party was approaching this fight with one hand behind their collective back. So the theme of Part Two was of taking this fight more seriously and rolling out the big guns: Ateran and Hap start dropping the big spells on the remaining bulettes while Darius and Alhara are busy handing out piggyback rides.

This is at least a minor pet peeve for me, insofar as even a small creature is still a substantial entity. For comparison, try to imagine running and fighting and whatnot wearing an 8-year-old kid as a backpack. I guess you could do it, but it seems like it would be tougher than it’s being sold as here. Though, I suppose it generally passes the Rule of Cool; Alhara doing her wuxia wire-work with a passenger and Darius chucking pug-people into trees is literally Things You Don’t See Every Day. So might as well just roll with it. Embrace the strange.

Besides, a bulette can apparently jump 50 feet in the air now, so that kinda evens out. I have to admit I was a little irked on Loren’s behalf on that one; if I’m reading the bulette’s stat block, it doesn’t seem like the bulette should’ve been able to get anywhere near her. The base vertical leap is 3 feet, and you can get that up to 10 feet with High Jump, and then the bulette has “powerful leaper” which can get it to 20 feet on a critical success, but that’s still WAY short of how high Hap was. It was only one attack and the party lived, but still. Think Steve got that one wrong.

Meanwhile, courtesy of Ateran, we finally see our first ever (unless I’m missing something) death effect in Second Edition. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, death effects were a lot more common in earlier editions of Pathfinder and D&D; hell, our boy Gygax LOVED them. But that’s the thing. They’ve been de-emphasized for a reason, and that reason is it’s a lot to risk on one roll of the dice.  One bad die roll and your day is ruined; no further discussion. Even on the GM side of the screen; one successful death effect and your encounter you meticulously planned out is in tatters. Personally, I like having a fighting chance to cheat death. Though I will say, Hero Points didn’t exist in First Edition, and those do represent a possible balancing force for death effects… as long as you still have one.

However, in this case, the bulette’s saving throw is WAY too high. But that’s OK because even the failed version of the spell does a bunch of damage and basically terrifies it out of the fight.

Eventually, our heroes win the battle, and it’s time to wind down. Only two of the five original shooneys survived, but the remaining two are sufficiently grateful and give our team a magic shovel as part of their payment for saving 40 percent of them. I’m torn: Min-Maxer Me immediately wrote the shovel off as “can’t use in combat, sell it”, but Roleplayer Me kinda likes items that fill niches and add interesting flavor to the game. But hey…. we’re dealing with ghosts and graveyards, maybe they’ll have to dig up a body or two before this is all over, and who’s gonna be happy they have a magic shovel then?

Oh, and indirectly, part of their reward will be packing the house the next time the circus performs, so that’ll be handy. (Right. The circus. Almost forgot about that.) Perhaps Darius’ pug-flinging can be part of the show as well.

So our party arrives at Matten Cleave and settles in, and… gather information? Rest and recover? Head right to the Currew Farm? No, IT’S TIME TO ADD TO GOLARION’S RICH RESTAURANT LORE. And look, I genuinely like the creativity that goes into all of this, but do they all have to be alliteration-based? Can we mix in some Bob’s Burgers-esque puns or double-entendres? Creative misspellings that add a different meaning? Parodies of real-life restaurants? Or is this alliteration thing an edict passed down from Wynsal Starborne himself?

“Your name is Samuel? I hereby decree that your restaurant will serve either STEAKS, SALADS or SAUSAGES.”

“Well… what if I want to serve fresh fish?”


(And then an advisor whispers in his ear that salmon is also a fish, and lo, a compromise is reached. And Franklin’s Fresh Fish quietly removes salmon from the menu, just to be safe.)

As we reach the end of the episode, I assume we’ll head out to the Currew Farm, though I’ve got a little birdie telling me there may be a little more hobnobbing and information gathering to do. And it may even involve singing. So you’re gonna want to come back next week for that. 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.