November 2021 - Roll For Combat: Paizo's Official Pathfinder & Starfinder Actual Play Podcasts

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Three Ring Adventure S3|11: The Alhara Yoyo

Once again we get to play everyone’s favorite game — The Alhara Yoyo! Watch her drop, get back up, and drop again! Over and over again! Fun for the whole family!

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 S3|01: Roll for Crossover

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S3|01: The Tale of Old Woody.

Well, we made it to book 3! And we start things off with our first guest in… well, since the Black Lodge days… as Loren Sieg joins us in the guise of Prue Frosthammer from the Plaguestone campaign.

Now… this whole situation poses some writing difficulties for me because there are some unintentional Malevolence spoilers at play here. Backtracking, we started recording Malevolence with the Plaguestone gang while Rob Pontius was away during the summer. In doing so, I think we figured we’d wrap it up more quickly than we did, and some of it would’ve already aired by the time this show reached Book 3. Unfortunately, real-life intrudes (the unofficial mantra of Roll For Combat) and we haven’t finished (or even started airing) any of those shows, so some of our crossover creates some mild-but-unintentional spoilers for that show. (Either that or we’ll just have to give those tapes the Atari 2600 “E.T.” treatment and bury them in a landfill.)

So this is all preface to clarify what is and isn’t ad-libbed in this session. We’re clever, but we’re not “improvise a restaurant on the fly, with a full menu” clever. As part of her Malevolence background (i.e. “what’s been happening since Plaguestone?”), Prue opened a bar (Spirit’s Spirits), and in RFC’s glorious tradition of building out the food lore to ridiculous extremes, even created a menu for her establishment. (Graphic design included: it’s very Fuddruckers/Red Robin/TGI Fridays.) So all of the food and drink items we talk about were content that mostly Loren (with some help from the rest of Team Plaguestone in places) came up with. I will say the Old Woody variants were largely my doing, though Soul Woody was a collaboration: Loren had the initial idea of infusing a drink with a soul (it was the initial premise behind creating the bar), but either Steve or I decided to add it to the Woody family.

So all of that was pre-created for Malevolence and we re-used it here. But in the moment, the actual decision to bring Loren on and set the bar encounter at Sprit’s Spirits instead of a generic bar was totally done in the moment: once Steve decided we were going out to a bar, Seth suggested we do it at Spirit’s Spirits, and once that was going to happen, we decided to check if Loren was around to roleplay it out. And luckily, she was available, though Steve cut a 5-10 minute out-of-character gap where we had to get her logged in and set up (audio levels, give her the background, etc.)

So I’m saying this to give Loren her due… in addition to the creativity of the menu itself, she got pulled into our game on about 10 minutes’ notice, and she still delivered a great performance that really made this little interlude a lot of fun.

Also, one of our Discord listeners pointed out that Gomez mentions having been to Spirit’s Spirits and having tried the Soul Woody, and asks if that means Gomez actually appears in the Malevolence show. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see about that, won’t we? (Or eventually, the statute of limitations will expire and I’ll just tell you.)

Back to the story, the good thing about Loren showing up and spicing up this encounter is that I might have seriously lost my temper at the encounter with this particular NPC. I get that the harbor cops are supposed to be very laissez-faire and borderline corrupt, but come on… we shouldn’t have to spend 30, 40 gold on booze just to get our foot in the door. I was this close to using our newfound Internal Affairs powers to run her in. We are Starwatch now, after all. On the other hand, I will concede that a foul-mouthed hard-drinking elf is at least a bit of a fresh take on things. Standard protocol for such an NPC would be to make the character an orc or a dwarf. Good to see the fairfolk can party hard in this part of town.

After finally wearing down our quasi-hostess, we get a bit of intel to get started. Turns out there’s a turf war going on between the Jets and Sharks… errr… Washboard Dogs and Diobel Sweepers. The Washboard Dogs are the ones that the survivors of the cultist lair mentioned; this is the first we’re hearing of the Sweepers, so they aren’t directly relevant to our case.

Now, the Sweepers are intriguing; it’s a gang primarily made up of rogue alchemists. So they’re naturally into all sorts of illegal substances, and I assume if we go up against them, they’re going to have decent magic at their disposal. I don’t want to say they’re “stylish”, but they at least have some sort of aesthetic going on with the red bandanas

The Washboard Dogs, on the other hand, turn out to be some pretty serious unintentional comedy, as the artwork of the sample gang member looks like a demented newsie or badly-confused house painter. Seriously: go check the Discord channel. This is another one of those places where encounter scaling gets a little unintentionally silly because these guys are implied (by our place in the story) to be Level 8-10 type guys… which makes them more powerful than enemies like the ochre jelly and the skinstichers, and on par with the ceustodaemons and the golem. FANCY A CRIT, GUVNAH!?!?!

We also get a little bit of backstory of the feud between the gangs: the leaders of the two gangs USED to be friends in the same gang, but when they got busted by the cops, Maurrisa Jonne (leader of the Dogs) ratted out Bloody Berleth (leader of the Sweepers) to save herself. So now they hate each other, and that’s led to war between the two factions.

Speaking of this backstory, I’m feeling like there’s something I want to work on going forward as a playstyle thing. Since I have a high INT and all these knowledge skills, Basil tends to be the smart guy who receives the lore dumps. I feel like when Steve gives me exposition to share with the party, I want to read it a little less and roleplay it a little more like Rob P. does on the Three-Ring Adventure show. Rob P. actually roleplays out what Ateran knows in character; I just read the text Steve throws in the chat, and I actually want to try doing it closer to Rob’s way going forward. Of course, since this episode was recorded sometime in September, you may not hear any change for a while, but it’s on my agenda to start doing so.

So… I guess the question moving forward is “how do we use what we know to our advantage”? Surely we don’t just do the same thing we did with the Copper Hand gang and try to infiltrate, do we? That can’t possibly work twice. Do we try to catch a couple of Washboard Dogs in the act and shake them down, since we know they operate down by a known bridge? Is there some way we can use the conflict with the Sweepers to get access to the Dogs – an “enemy of my enemy” thing?

I guess that’s the part we’re going to hash out next time, so join us for the big throw-down with Hell’s Chimney Sweeps. 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 S3|01: The Tale of Old Woody

ATTENTION NEW LISTENERS: We here at Roll For Combat recognize that jumping into an existing podcast can be a daunting task, especially one like this that involves an unfolding story. To help newer listeners out, we’ve prepared a brief synopsis at the start of this episode that will catch you up on the story so far. Give it a listen, and you’ll be ready to join us, all caught up ready to jump right into the podcast and start season three. Enjoy the show!

The Agents have successfully defeated the horrific monster known as The Skinner, but it turns out that she was only one of a larger evil group, and she was the least powerful member. The game is afoot!

Roll For Combat, Agents of Edgewatch Podcast is a playthrough of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Agents of Edgewatch, and the third book, All or Nothing.

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|10: Feats of the Feet

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S3|10: Assurance is Magic.

It’s Black Friday, so time to stay inside and avoid humanity as much as possible. But I’m going to wait until all three parts of the Beatles documentary are out before I watch that, so I guess I’m catching up on writing today. THIS IS THE WAY.

I’m just going to warn you that this week’s column is a little more of a collection of random esoterica. It’s a battle episode, but a battle that didn’t run to completion, so it’s hard to evaluate as a finished product. There were a few moments I’ll come back to within that, but it’s a little hard to evaluate how effective things were when you’re still in the middle of it.

So we start with the show notes. I think the main takeaway I had from Steve’s dissection of the rules is that we’ve just gotten tremendously better at game design overall, perhaps with a detour into how much computer-based gaming has influenced the evolution of pen-and-paper games.

If you think about it, the first versions of D&D were not much more than a series of best guesses designed to duct-tape some fantasy lore onto traditional tabletop wargaming. We’ll create a rule and if it feels fun, we’ll leave it in there. If it’s not working, we’ll change it or throw it away. Even up through 3rd Edition and 3.5, formal game design was starting to become a Thing, but the majority of choices were dictated by feel and by the inertia of what came before.

But then the thing in the middle that really changed the game – figuratively and literally – was the rise of computer-based RPGs. I think the digital world offered two major changes. First, the market moved faster and had more competitors, so innovation generally came faster. Second, the nature of computing – your “GM” was a dumb box of electronics you have to write a bunch of really explicit rules for – made for a pretty efficient gatekeeper for “these are the things we can solve with rules” and “these are the things that either we CAN’T solve, or aren’t worth the coding effort/money to solve”. The interesting thing is that the latter bucket refined the (excuse the obnoxious consultant term) use-case for what tabletop RPGs could offer that computers couldn’t… the places where a human GM playing with human players at a table could really shine.

So all the good stuff about feedback loops and reinforcement and really TIGHT rulesets that a CPU could understand made their way back to the tabletop world, but with a better understanding of where the dividing line between codification and the human element lived. 4E was probably a bit of a misstep in that sense, but 5E and now PF2E have done a much better job of capturing that distinction, and our games are better for it.

That’s my theory anyway. End of soapbox.

The other rabbit hole that I threw myself down this week was the question of movement speed. It came out of the debate about whether Hap could fly back to town or not. So I sat down and crunched numbers. The average humanoid movement speed is about 25’ per action, which is 12.5 feet per second. If you hand-wave the stamina as sustainable and crunch the numbers, that works out to about 8.5 mph. Having done a little running in my younger days, that’s definitely a brisk run, but not “champion marathon runner” fast (in the pre-pandemic sports world breaking the two-hour mark was the big deal, which would be in the ballpark of 13 mph).

Although… working backward to carry this thought exercise further, that means that something around a 40’ movement speed gives your character a pretty solid chance of winning next year’s Boston Marathon, and if you can pump it up around 80’, they could challenge Usain Bolt in the 100-meter dash.

Now, while I was already being pedantic and obsessive, I wondered how fast one could move and still be on one’s guard – that is, being able to do active Perception checks and such. I used the Step as the model for this: if you’re able to move 5 feet and protect yourself from an attack, you can probably move 5 feet and look for traps or listen for approaching enemies. Converting THAT to a land speed, you get something a little less than 2 mph, and that feels right… it’s a pretty slow walk. That’s like treadmill-on-cooldown speed where you’re having to exaggerate the slowness of your steps to avoid walking into the bar at the front.

Of course, the point of ALL of this (yes, there was a point… don’t look at me that way) is that yes, Hap has PLENTY of fly speed to get to town and back, even if she stops and rests periodically. All so we can get another round of restaurant-based humor in the form… I mean “phorm”… of Phoebe’s Phried Phish.

When Hap gets back and the team rests up, we enter the temple, and we almost immediately get into combat with a roper. (Or are there two? I got a little turned around and honestly wasn’t sure.) If you’re not listening to both shows, we had an encounter with a roper in our Edgewatch game, but we mostly avoided fighting it. We took a round of attacks and then turned it into a social encounter, buying it off with shiny trinkets. (It helped that it was guarding a non-critical part of the dungeon and there were other ways to go around it.)

The first question raised is “how DO you trip a stalagmite?”. I guess I always thought either ropers couldn’t move at all, or at least it was a fairly secure suction-cup thing, but whatever… I guess trips work on anything. If you don’t obsess about feet and just think of it as “DEX-based knockdown” there’s probably some way to make it happen.

The other interesting issue raised by the roper was the tentacles being their own entities with their own hit points and ACs. I’m fine with that as a rule, but it does seem like it raises some questions, or at least requires a few clarifications. The one obvious one is that if they’re separate targets, they should ALL be affected by AoE: Hap hasn’t had a chance to really test that yet, but I suspect it’s coming. It’s also worth asking whether they take up space while they’re extending and retracting (or when they’re extended to grab someone). Taking the most obvious case: if they reach out and grab someone at the end of their 50’ range, does that mean there’s 50 feet of tentacle available to attack? Is the tentacle enough of a separate entity to trigger attacks of opportunity as it’s extending, or does it not count since the base creature didn’t move? Does the tentacle itself obstruct movement through squares if it remains extended? Could an extended tentacle be used, for example, to block a corridor so the party couldn’t escape?

I guess we’ll figure out the answer to some of these questions next week. Or maybe Hap will just nuke everything and they’ll go unanswered. An equally likely outcome. Either way, hope you’ll join us. 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 S3|10: Assurance is Magic

The RFC Crew barely survived last week’s marathon combat, but now they actually have to go into the tower and face the true horrors.

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|34: Done With the Dungeon

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S2|34: We Have Such Sights to Show You.

Hey, everyone! Yes, I’m still here. Didn’t win the Powerball and change my identity, nor was I trapped in a freak avalanche. It was one of these things where I didn’t get to my column for a first few days because I had a lot of work stuff to get done before going on vacation and was tired after work; and then once vacation started, I down-shifted into vacation mode a little too hard and fast. I realize that’s a lot of words, to sum up, “I was a lazy-butt”, but here we are.

But I’m back, and it’s time to wrap up Book 2. The Skinner is dead, and we’ve just got a few more rooms to clear out… oh wait, maybe she’s not. I guess I was a little surprised we hadn’t killed her since we were in lethal mode for the whole rest of the dungeon, but I suppose Steve had his reasons for that, which we’ll get to later. But we summon our army of Henchmen Who Have Been Cops Much Longer Than Us But Are Surprisingly Useless to take her into custody and continue exploring.

In addition to a bunch of fairly “normal” loot, Dougie gets the doubling rings, and… those strike me as a pretty nice little magic item for a dual-wielder. Level 1 potency and striking runes are not that big a deal (about 100 gold between the two), but +2 potency and greater striking are in the neighborhood of a thousand gold each. And this 50g magic item literally gives you the equivalent of a copy of EACH for free if you have a first one – so there’s potentially a window where you can get 2000 gold of economic value out of a 50g magic item. And ohbytheway there’s no cap on how powerful the replicated runes can be, so yes, you can replicate +3 potency and major striking with the same entry-level ring (providing 40 THOUSAND gold of value). The ONLY restriction is you can’t replicate property runes unless you get the more powerful version of the ring. I can’t believe I had to talk him into keeping this.

First up, we stop by the prison and free the remaining (living) prisoners. Not too much to report here, other than the general observation that I must’ve stepped away from the computer for part of this because I didn’t remember it well at all. The one tangible development here is that it does give us some bread crumbs for starting Book 3, as the prisoners mention being attacked in the Docks district by a(nother) gang called the Washboard Dogs. Presumably, we’ll circle back around to that once we formally start the next book.

Next up, we find the Norgorber statue and add another magic weapon to our collection, and Dougie performs a little mild temple desecration in the name of the law. I thought it was kind of strange to have an encounter-less room, but now that I think about it, there haven’t been a lot of opportunities for treasure, so maybe the writer decided to throw in a loot room just to beef up the treasure content.

Then, we finally have our final kinda-sorta battle, though it’s cut short by Mobana surrendering halfway through. I have thoughts on this. On one hand, part of me wonders if this was Steve having had his fill of dungeon crawl and wanting to wrap things up. Or maybe even just a cut-for-time, so the session would end at 11. Yes, we could’ve taken another 20 minutes to slap her down, but the outcome wasn’t in any serious question.

On the other hand, it does kinda make sense on a storytelling level. Not EVERY minion is required to go down with the ship, especially once they’d have to know the leader is “dead”. If you look at the layout of the dungeon, since we hadn’t come down the ladder, we would’ve HAD to come through the Skinner to get to her room, so that means she’d have a general sense that the Skinner (and the complete upper level) had been dealt with. So if you’re a mild-mannered psychotic dress designer confronted with cops that probably killed your boss and plow through your minions like they were chopping firewood (what can I say, we’ve gotten pretty good at killing skinstiches at this point?), are you really gonna throw yourself in front of that? Probably not. So no Mobana fight. Oh well.

The good news is that while surrendering, Mobana gives us some more bread crumbs for the next phase of the adventure by confirming the existence of the Twilight Four. Turns out that the Skinner is one of FOUR crazy Norgorber weirdos trying to destroy Absalom, and in fact, she’s the weakest/lowest of the four. Not information we can do much with, but it does lay out the overall scope of the problem moving forward. One down, three to go. (Though there’s one more book remaining that Twilight Four members. Going REALLY metagame, does that mean there’s someone else leading them?)

The music box is an INTERESTING magic item in terms of flavor, but unlike the doubling rings, it doesn’t seem like a very useful one. Or at least it’s REALLY situational – I could actually see a situation where you’d set it off as a distraction to confuse enemies and screw up their perception checks while you do something else. The deafened condition isn’t THAT challenging in battle – it creates a minus on initiative checks, and forces a flat-check on anything that has an auditory effect, but deafened doesn’t seem to prohibit casting spells, so it’s not even a caster-killer. The downside is that whatever it does do, it does to EVERYONE – there’s no discerning friend from foe – so unless you bring earplugs, it’s going to have the same effect on your own team that it has on the bad guys. And ohbytheway, it’s also generally clumsy to use since you have to carry it in both hands to position it, and then have to set it down on a flat surface to activate it. So… really situational magic item or 250 gold (sell price)? Yeah, we’ll take the money.

The remainder of the dungeon crawl is mostly just refreshing our collective memory of how awful these guys were. Lots of creepy horror vibes – body parts, skinning rooms, people’s personal effects, and treasured possessions tossed in the trash… all that stuff. I have to admit I liked the ongoing meltdown Seth was having Gomez endure as we explored, and I was a little sad he kind of ended it at the end of this episode and doesn’t seem like he’s going to explore that idea long-term. A scarred Gomez could be an interesting variable going forward.

With the dungeon cleared, we go back to town and pretty much end the episode with a final interrogation of the Skinner. Functionally, we didn’t get anything new; I was hoping we’d get a more concrete lead on one of the Twilight Four, but really we just got the same breadcrumbs we got earlier – Twilight Four, Washboard Dogs, Docks district. Sounds like our next stop on the Absalom tour is the Docks.

What we didn’t get enough of was emotional closure, and I’m saying this as a compliment. Great story by the authors and great roleplay by Steve. Once again, I’m amazed at how emotionally invested I was in the situation. I really wanted the Skinner to FEEL something about the fact that she lost – you notice I made two or three attempts to go for the emotional dig, including the guilt play about her dead family – and she just didn’t bite at all. If I had to compare it to something, it felt reminiscent of the scene in The Dark Knight where the Joker is in custody and still acts like he has the upper hand on Batman, and I found her lack of concern equally infuriating.

Speaking of Batman, I didn’t make the connection while we were playing, but as I was re-listening this whole Skinsaw cult thing has echoes of Batman: The Cult. It was a run of the Batman comic where a bad guy – “Deacon Blackfire” – created an army out of Gotham’s homeless that he ran out of an underground lair in the sewers. One of the central plot points that’s driving the comparison in my brain is that Blackfire was (or claimed to be) hundreds of years old and retained his youth by bathing in a blood pool. It’s a decent story, worth checking out.

So next week (OK, at this point… later this week) we’ll start into Book 3. A new part of the city. New challenges to deal with. No new level, but let’s not get greedy… we did just get Level 9 before the Skinner battle. 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|34: We Have Such Sights to Show You

The Agents are nearly done with the catacombs of horror, but they have one room left to investigate, and it’s a doozy.

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|09: Big Hero Schticks

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S3|09: This is Ateran!

People, we need to talk about this bag of holding thing a little bit more. It’s like… REALLY broken.

I did some calculations. Even if you used the smallest bag of holding, you get 25 bulk, which means 250 items of light bulk. So, even if you filled it with 1d6 flasks, that’s a possibility of 250d6 damage. And OK… for grins, I also calculated the worst “Mother Of All Bombs” Bag of Death: the largest bag of holding is 150 bulk, meaning room for 1500 flasks, and the high-end flasks do 4d6 each… yeah, that’s SIX THOUSAND d6 worth of damage that you could potentially deploy with a single action. I LOVE THE SMELL OF XULGATH IN THE MORNING.

I mean, now I want to try it JUST to see Roll20 try to roll 6000 dice without crashing. Some men just want to watch the virtual tabletop burn.

If there’s a single saving grace here, it’s probably that the economics of the tactic doesn’t scale well. Even the cheapest flasks are 3 gold each, and they ramp to 10, 250, and 2500 gold each time you add a die of damage. To give you some numbers, the hypothetical entry-level BoH I created above would cost 750 gold to prepare; the ridiculous “Fat Man and Little Boy” version would cost a paltry 3.75 MILLION gold to fill to the brim.  Even doing a more “realistic” version where you load like 10 of the cheap bombs into a bag… that’s still gonna cost you 30g for something that’s like… maybe 2 fireballs worth of damage. And that’s assuming a) they all hit, and b) the target doesn’t have damage resistance.

Now, I suppose the enterprising GM could just handwave their way out of it by saying that alchemical bombs are naturally inert and have to be activated as part of the attack… like pulling the pin on a grenade. Or one could imagine a scenario where some of the flasks collide with each other in transit and detonate before they reach the target, so you can never get full damage. There are certainly other ways to defuse this bomb (pun fully intended), but I do think the money is going to put the brakes on it more than anything else will.

Back in the world of what actually happened on the show this week, this was an interesting situation. There was kind of a “darkest before the dawn” dynamic happening because the team did a lot of damage and got everything softened up and READY to drop, but nothing actually DID drop. So the attacks were still coming in droves, and Hap and Alhara (in particular) were really close to death’s door. But then it felt like things really changed within the span of a single round – the enemies started missing, and the bad guys finally started dropping, and all of a sudden, the whole complexion of the fight changed. It really went from “could this be a TPK?” to “not sure what the big deal was?” in the span of one or two rounds.

One thing this battle reminded me of is how fun fights with a vertical component can be. Aside from conjuring pleasant images of the 3-D chessboard from Star Trek, it injects a little more of a tactical element and forces characters to use skills they might otherwise not use. Darius’ throwing skills are a prime example: it’s not that they aren’t useful at other times, but the extra dimension of throwing bad guys off the platform – either doing more damage or at least taking them out of the fight for a few rounds while they run back up – added a fun element you don’t see when people are just squaring off in a generic room. Mobility, in general, makes things more interesting.

The other interesting thing about this week’s episode is it really was some of the most… theatrical… action we’ve had on this show.

I don’t want to say combat gets stale, but a lot of combats are fairly by-the-book. Square off, roll your dice, do your damage… next turn. Here we had all sorts of shenanigans that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Hollywood movie. We already discussed Darius throwing xulgaths off the raised platforms a little bit last week: this week we got that nice moment where the xulgath tries to throw him over the edge, and he gets to reverse it and show the xulgath how it’s done. Ateran – probably not anyone’s most likely choice to win a physical altercation – manages to get a timely die roll and avoid getting shoved off a platform as well. Alhara pulling out her 18th weapon of the fight – the great pick we’d all but forgotten she had – and critting one of the xulgaths. And perhaps the best of all… the timely re-emergence of Riley the Pocket Pup. I had almost forgotten Riley was there, and he shows up at what almost had to be the last moment to save Hap. The goodest of goodbois strikes again! It just felt like this fight had a flair for the dramatic, and it made for a more entertaining listen than usual.

Of course, good theater also includes a touch of dark comedy, mainly supplied by Alhara’s ongoing battle with persistent damage. What was that… AT LEAST four or five rounds she couldn’t get rid of it? Two or three was funny, but by the end you just wanted Steve to let her off the hook and have it go away on its own.

As we end the episode, the team FINALLY survives. Alhara FINALLY gets rid of the various persistent effects, Hap finally extracts herself from under a dead xulgath, and the team has to decide where to rest. They’re in no condition for another fight if the xulgaths send reinforcements to check on this group, but they’re also not really in much condition to fight anything if they get ambushed on the way back to town. Pick your poison, I guess. (I’m just realizing that’s a poor choice of words given Vanessa’s fun with persistent damage this week.) The team decides to rest here in the xulgath camp, and that’s where we’ll pick things 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 S3|09: This is Ateran!

The RFC Crew is… losing? They better get organized quickly or they’re going to end up as Xulgath food.

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|33: Skinner? I Barely Know Her!

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S2|33: Oh-Oh, Here She Comes.

So OK. One paragraph about the Skinner, 1300 words about Skyline Chili. BUCKLE UP!

Kidding. Though I will mention Skyline has a weird thing where they use cinnamon or nutmeg or something, so even though it’s not sweet, it pushes some of the same olfactory buttons as a dessert food. It’s kinda weird. Then again, it’s also been like 15 years since I tried it, so… take all that with a grain of salt.

OK, already went way too far afield with this. Getting back on track… we’ll start with the show notes. Steve makes an interesting point about having encounters ramp up as a storytelling mechanism and one thing I thought about that he didn’t mention. It dawns on me that it’s also a nice mirror of how players usually handle encounters, primarily because of resource management. Unless it’s the rare “only fight of the day”, you almost never open with your big guns – you usually have a round or two of feeling out the enemy, figuring out what it’s weak to, conserving your big stuff until you’re really sure you need it (and making sure it’s not immune to it, either). So as players, you’re ALSO building to a climax where you keep your big daily powers for when you really need them.

Like… you know… Basil being able to fly.

Sorry, I lied to you. I DID get something cool at Level 9. Basil took Soaring Flight as his ancestry feat, which gives me 5 minutes of true flight (not just feather fall), once per day. So basically one combat, or a short non-combat situation. I was just being dramatic so I could spring it at the right time. Call it a taste of the theatrical. (Also, I didn’t tell my groupmates either. I wanted them to be surprised too.)

Now, this wasn’t just Lo Mang-esque cowardice; there was a method to my madness. First, the whole “lollipop” battle map represented kind of the worst of both worlds for my fighting style – the enemies had gotten within 30 feet (the volley distance on my bow) and there was nowhere to back up to re-establish minimum distance. On the other hand, the front line was pretty congested, so getting in there with my sword-cane would’ve been tough. Also, I did have the thought that maybe the Skinner’s ability to use the excorions as healing potions MIGHT have a range limit. So if I could drag one down the hall after me, maybe she couldn’t use it to heal. So… there may have been a little bit of cowardice involved, but it was TACTICAL cowardice.

It’s probably worth reviewing the general rules for flying while we’re talking about it. If you’re climbing, it basically functions as difficult terrain and it takes twice as much movement to cover the same distance. On the other hand, you can descend twice as fast – 10 feet of descent for 5 feet of spent movement. The one thing that we got slightly incorrect is that you don’t have to land at the end of every turn; it’s just that (per the rules) “if you’re airborne at the end of your turn and didn’t use a Fly action this round, you fall”. So that sounds like you just need to use at least one of your three actions to maintain flight – if you were flying and did three attacks, you’d go splat. (Well, Basil doesn’t because he also has his tengu feather fall, but YOU would.) And there is also a hover action, which is just a fly action with a speed of zero.

If I’m being honest, I probably got the descending phase of my move wrong – I think I was supposed to go straight down instead of diagonally – but I would’ve only been off by 5 or 10 feet on the back end, and it wouldn’t have affected my attack on the Skinner at all. At worst, I should have ended my turn not-quite-as-far down the corridor. Not a huge mistake; chalk it up to first-time jitters. (Speaking of which, I was so excited about flying for the first time that I forgot to also use my reaction to try and poison the Skinner with my sword cane. Though… I assume she’s got a crazy fortitude save anyway, so I don’t think I really lost much on that one.)

Of course, the real story of this fight was Lo Mang breaking out the Mother Of All Hero Points to escape the Skinner’s chains. The funny thing is, I had JUST talked myself into the idea that her chain attacks weren’t that bad – I think the most she had hit for prior to that point was 30-some on a crit on Dougie. But that wrap-up ability the Skinner has is just brutal, and if she’d used it on me or Gomez, it would’ve pretty much ended either of our days. But Lo Mang… for all the times we make fun of Chris, he actually came through big on this one, rolling the natural 20 on Hero Point roll. I suppose we didn’t get a ruling on whether he actually broke her weapons or just escaped the grasp, but considering we finished beating her down before she got her next move, I’m not sure it matters that much.

And OK, I want to give Dougie his due as well. Critting off my Shared Stratagem and then having his sword re-apply flat-footed so he could land a SECOND dose of precision damage was kinda badass. TACTICS!

So the Skinner is down and dealt with. We’re not QUITE done with the cultists yet; there’s still a room that houses the lieutenant known as “Mobana the Stitcher” (I assume that was the room the earth mephit investigated when it went down the ladder from the sleeping area) and a few other rooms to be checked. But the big boss is done, and we didn’t really use that many resources doing it. (Heck, Tyrroicese was tougher, if you want to go there.) So, I feel pretty confident that we’ll be able to finish up the Skinsaw Cult on this trip into the catacombs.

Buuuut it won’t be this week, as Steve makes it a short episode. So I guess we’ll come back to it 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.