Stephen Glicker, Author at Roll For Combat: Paizo's Official Pathfinder & Starfinder Actual Play Podcasts

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Agents of Edgewatch S1|25: Pork Lo Mang

With the addition of Special Agent Sharky the Mimic joining the watch, we also add a special guest to play Sharky. This week we welcome Bob Markee back to the cast!

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

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

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The Sideshow S2|12: New And Improved

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S2|12: Fruit Scroll-Ups.

I’m going to start this week’s column with something of a personal note. Both because Steve mentioned it being Episode 52 and because it came up in a side conversation elsewhere. Confession time: I miss playing with this group. Because the fact that it’s been a year of Three-Ring Adventure means it’s ALSO been a year since Plaguestone signed off.

Don’t get me wrong. I still think it was the right call at the time. I was a little burned out at the end of Dead Suns and couldn’t see myself doing two shows at the time. Now, had I known COVID was going to do what it did and lock us indoors for a year, that might’ve changed my answer, but… that’s 20/20 hindsight, I suppose.

And I also freely admit I’m not as into the roleplaying as the rest of this group is. So in that sense, for the RP-forward show this is trying to be… I think the show is better without me than it would’ve been with me. Alhara and Ateran would be trying to advance their relationship with a tender moment, and I’d be the doofus dropping quotes from “The Office” into the scene like an asshat because that’s what I do. “This above all to thine own self be true…

All that said, I DO miss playing with these folks and I’m pretty sure I would’ve enjoyed playing with Rob P. for the first time as well. It’s a different dynamic from the Edgewatch group, but equally fun. Yeah, we’ve had Vanessa make a few appearances on the Black Lodge show, and we still have other opportunities to interact with each other (most recently, bumming around Valheim). But… yeah. Sometimes I’m reminded it would’ve been fun tagging along for this ride in particular.

OK… gotta say it. If nothing else, at least I would’ve played a non-human. My one continuing criticism of the show is that it’s a flippin’ circus… where weird is the coin of the realm… and half-elf is the most exotic party option they could muster? THINK OF THE T-SHIRT POSSIBILITIES.

So basically what I’m saying is that I may or may not be quietly shadow-leveling a Leshy (playtest) Gunslinger with a trick-shot act just in case an opportunity for a cameo arises. “They call me… The Salad Shooter (cue Morricone-inspired musical cue)”.

All right, now that I let that moment of sincerity run on too long and ruined it with jokes, back to the action.

First, we have the OFFICIAL revelation of our Level 6 heroes. Since I’m mostly action-driven, I’m staying with Alhara’s Attack Of Opportunity as the big news of the day. I miss Attacks of Opportunity so much. Though to be fair, I found Vanessa’s enthusiasm about taking circus lore genuinely infectious. I can appreciate that she sees the opportunity to dig in on the circus/RP side of Alhara, even if I’m just rooting for Reaction-Based Stick-Hittery at the end of the day.

The lore thing in general is interesting. It’s pretty powerful IN the right campaign. Think about it: it’s a skill where you get to automatically/retroactively level it up to Expert when you take it; that’s a potentially powerful thing. Look at Ateran IMMEDIATELY putting their newfound Aroden Lore to work within the same episode. The problem is, there aren’t a lot of campaigns/character concepts where you know a specific area of lore that’s going to continue to be game-relevant all the way through, while other stuff with more rubber-meets-the-road benefit is also hanging around out there.

Speaking of practical benefit… Basil is TOTALLY stealing the idea of an 8-hour Longstrider spell now that he has a Level 2 spell. I didn’t TOTALLY follow what Loren was trying to do, but it sounded like she was trying to filter Longstrider through her elemental powers to gain almost-unlimited Fly access? Do I have that right? Which… I’m not surprised there was a loophole she was missing. Based on other character builds they’ve been playing around with, they don’t seem to like to give out “free” flight until at least the teens.

After level-up, the next order of business is checking on the Kinder, Gentler Jellico Bounce-Bounce. (Though still neither kind nor gentle enough for Alhara’s liking.) So I guess he’s not as creepy as he used to be, but he might need to take a break and get back in touch with his old act because the malevolent spirit was doing the heavy lifting on his previous act. Personally, I have 10 bucks that says his new act is going to SUUUUUUUUCK. And possibly involve puppets. That’s my prediction, anyway.

We also have a brief interlude where we upgrade the circus itself with a larger tent. More seats, more anticipation, more money… it does seem like the next logical upgrade. I suppose the danger is that it could turn around and bite them in the ass if they don’t hit the new anticipation goal. More seats + missed anticipation = more EMPTY seats, or something like that. I did think it was odd that the Prestige would max out after one performance… maybe I don’t understand the system as well as I should, but wouldn’t that argue in favor of skipping Escadar and heading for a bigger town? Did the writers expect our troupe to fail more and arrive here with less Prestige in the first place? Or will there be ways to raise the Prestige cap while they’re here? Not going to lie: there are times when I still find some of this stuff a little confusing beyond “big numbers are better”.

The interlude with the locket was… interesting. Am I the only one who got similar vibes to Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty, or is that just me adding my own layers? Mentally, I’m putting them in matching red, blue, and green robes just to further the effect. The big payoff here was finding the location of the entrance to the Moonstone Hall, but we may get additional payoff down the road – both on the locket and on Hap’s origin story. Mermaid fountain in the wood-workers’ district. Which is always kept under guard. Innnnnnnteresting.

Aside: Kat… YOU. NEED. TO. CHILL. Much as I approve of things getting a little silly, I’m a little leery about this date tonight.

One general question: did we ever get any interaction with Aives? At some point we need to get more information about why he switched, what his act might be going forward, and such. I remember them talking about meeting him, but if it happened, I must’ve missed it or it didn’t make much of an impression either way.

As we end the episode, the team does a little bit of quick recon on the entrance to the hall, and then we reach an emotional cliffhanger (if such a thing exists) as it’s time to meet Darius and Alhara’s father. And that will be where we’ll pick it up next time. 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|12: Fruit Scroll-Ups

After a semi-successful show, it’s time to get back to business and find out more about this mysterious 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!

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The Bird’s Eye View S1|24: Take A Literal Bite Out Of Crime

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|24: You’ve Got A Friend On Me.

My internal chronometer was thrown off a little by this week’s episode. I generally thought we jumped in more quickly, and SPECIFICALLY, I thought we had a special guest performer for Sharky from the moment we ventured into the basement. So some of the column I was writing in my head will have to wait for next time. Oh well.

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but the big thing this week is Steve allowing us to take a long rest and level up. Strictly speaking, it’s not rules-compliant, but it is what it is. The usual ebb and flow of Pathfinder generally assumes an adventuring party that can proceed at its own pace; it’s a system that just doesn’t always handle being on a clock gracefully. And it’s not just the “cops” setting or even a Pathfinder issue; it was even an issue to a lesser extent back in Dead Suns as well, where we had infiltrated the enemy flagship and then holed up in a storage closet for 8 hours.

But what are the other options, really? The realism of the campaign breaks down entirely if you just shut down a hot pursuit for 24 hours (imagine being on the tail of Ted Bundy and just deciding to take a day off…), and if you “call for backup” and let other officers help you, your party members are relegated to supporting actors in their own story which doesn’t make you feel very heroic.

So Steve came up with the best compromise he could, which means we’re level 4 and fully rested. Really the big change for Basil was bowing to reality and taking Battle Medicine – that gives us a few chances to make those heal scrolls and potions last a little longer. I also took a wizard archetype feat that will EVENTUALLY give me first, second, and third-level spell slots… but for now, just a single first-level spell. So… add one blast of Color Spray to my arsenal.

Incidentally, this character is REALLY forcing me to rethink how I analyze spell choices. To summarize, the wizard archetype gets two spells (though they can still learn spells from other sources), and can only have one slotted at each level. Somewhere in the teens, there’s a feat you can take to get an additional spell slot, but for now, one spell per level is all I get. Under those constraints, I’m pretty much choosing for utility. I’m not going to say ZERO offensive spells, but I’m looking at stuff that hits multiple targets or has a duration or SOMETHING that makes it stand out over a single-target ping. In the grand scheme, a spell that deals 20 or 30 points of damage is a drop in the bucket, but if I can give Dougie and Lo Mang flat-footed for multiple rounds, that has legs. At later levels, I may even move toward non-combat options like Invisibility, Comprehend Languages, and other tools that will help the investigative side of the house.

But for today, Color Spray it is. USE IT IN HEALTH.

Next up is the recruitment of Sharky, which is another bit of rule-bending that I’m just going to chalk up to “good radio”. On one hand, Sharky DID critical fail against Seth’s intimidation, so that DOES mean he’ll be pretty compliant. (Strictly speaking, Gomez “controls” him for a week now.) On the other hand, I still think asking it to risk life and limb to go fight creatures would represent a greater danger than anything Seth’s intimidation implies, so maybe Sharky should get a new save or something.

The long and short of it is that one can come up with a rules reason why it’s a dumb idea, and I wouldn’t even argue it too strenuously. But from a standpoint of making things FUN, it’s an absolute winner. It introduces a new dynamic to combat, it makes the party a bit more survivable, and as you’re going to hear next week, it lets us bring some old friends back into the fold for a visit.

So for the immediate future, bring it on. The Avengers have a Hulk; we have a mimic. Though Basil’s going to be keeping one eye on him the whole time.

Which brings us to a little bit of a dilemma. You’ll remember a few weeks back I wrote about feeling a little frustrated about the teasing at Basil’s expense. (The jokes about the fingers resembling worms.) Yet this week, I was pretty much doing it to myself: jokes about Basil “tasting like chicken”, jokes about Basil being distracted by shiny objects. So what’s the difference that makes this time OK?

I think it comes down to two things, though maybe they’re two aspects of the same basic thing. First, I think most of the teasing was about my character’s actions, not the character itself. Setting aside Basil, another thing I’ve noticed about when we tease each other is that it’s usually based on things we DO: Chris always demanding healing, John playing a tanky character, and then complaining about having to actually trade blows and take damage. In this case, I CHOSE to play Basil as wary of Sharky’s intentions; that was a roleplaying choice on my part, so I can’t really fault other people for then reacting to that roleplay choice as they see fit. If their response is to pile on and make jokes about Basil looking like a good snack or whatever… I kinda invited that reaction. Also, I think there’s something about self-deprecating humor… it’s easier to laugh along with something when you’re making the jokes yourself.

So we head down into the basement – for real this time – and we face off against the pickled punks, which has the feel of a classic “stretch your legs at a new level” fight. Paizo tends to put these fights in their adventures; they know roughly when people are going to level, so they usually give you a fairly easy fight out of the gate to figure out how the new tools work before throwing anything too difficult at you. The punks don’t hit that hard with their initial attacks, and don’t even have THAT many hit points (a little more than a one-shot, but most of them didn’t last more than two hits); the only real danger there is the persistent damage if you leave them attached for too many rounds (or get too many of them on you at once). But we manage the fight fairly effectively, and it’s pretty much a walk in the park.

So… the rest of Murder Hotel’s Inner Torture Sanctum is going to be that easy too, right? Please?

Guess we’ll find out 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… with a very special plus-one!

Agents of Edgewatch S1|24: You’ve Got A Friend On Me

It’s time to level up and enter the basement of the Murder Hotel, but with the help of an unlikely new friend.

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

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

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

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

Three Ring Adventure S2|11: They Blinded Me With Science!

The Celestial Menagerie is making fools of the Circus of Wayward Wonders in front of a packed audience. It’s time for some unconventional thinking.

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

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

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

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

The Bird’s Eye View S1|23: Grab My Sister And Whisper, “Yo, This One’s Dead”

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|23: Kill It With Fire!

How’s that for cutting it close?

This week we have to deal with the continuing dilemma of how far to push ourselves. We begin the episode with Ralso trapped in the attic as far as we know. I guess she could be a rogue and be an expert climber, but at first glance, it didn’t seem there were any windows up in that attic. In fact, I thought there was some discussion of piling furniture in front of the door and just leaving her there. Maybe I’m remembering it wrong, or maybe Steve cut that bit for time, but I could’ve sworn it came up as an idea.

But basically, we’re ALMOST out of healing. Even going into the battle, Seth had no spells left and was down to one or two scrolls. I’ll admit I don’t remember who had or hadn’t used their badge at that point – I think I used mine, and I kinda remember Lo Mang using his. There are still a few uses of Battle Medicine left, but that can be unreliable especially if you’re trying to patch up someone who’s already unconscious. You do more damage to someone who’s already out, you apply another level of Dying.

But we decided to go for it anyway. I think there are a few things at play. Part of it is that we already let Ralso out of our grasp once before; we don’t want to lose track of her again. But also, this room literally represents the LAST above-ground room – if we clear this, then the basement is all that’s left. And as I discussed last week that situation feels less volatile: if there’s an exit through the basement, “they” (presumably Pratchett, maybe some henchmen?) have now had a couple of hours to escape. If there’s no basement exit, we now seem to control the only access. One way or the other, we reach a point where the situation can be compartmentalized and we can plan our next move. Also, nobody articulates it, but I think we’re thinking that we blew through her dolls pretty quick; no one SAYS it, but we’re all kinda hoping Skeleton Girl can be dispatched similarly quickly.

Though before we do, we decide to recon the room for treasure. And we find Ralso’s diary which sheds some light on her role in the crimes, and also provides an unexpectedly bleak and kinda sad “origin” story. Curse you Paizo, for making me feel sympathy toward a sub-boss!

Turns out that while Ralso was never a fully upstanding member of society, there was a point at which she was trying to walk a fairly straight path until she was taken advantage of by worse people. From there, her sister died (the animated skeleton in the attic), and her life fell apart from there. It’s unclear how many murders she personally committed, but she surely can’t feign innocence, and the peepholes were primarily for her benefit. So… definitely enough of an active accessory to give her whatever Absalom’s harshest penalty is, whether that’s death or life in the Underwater Swamp Prison.

As an aside: I wonder what the proportions are between “Ralso wanted to pretend her sister was still alive at all costs” vs. “Pratchett did this to use her own guilt and sorrow to control her even further”. Later on during the fight, we hear the skeleton telling Ralso “it’s your fault I died”, so it doesn’t seem like a particularly benevolent relationship. I mean, Ralso still deserves to fry given the sheer number of people they’re likely to have offed, but are there some mitigating circumstances here?

We also find a note about a bank robbery planned for next week that Ralso was offered a chance to participate in, but declined because the other people involved were too crazy even for her. That seems like a WONDERFUL breadcrumb for our next case… but we have to survive this one first, don’t we? For the moment, tuck it in the pocket and keep moving.

Finally, after almost an hour of subpar healing rolls, we’re ready to resume the attack. Huzzah!

The battle ends up being a bit of a mixed bag. Actually, the skeleton sister isn’t THAT tough once you get past her aura, partly because Gomez still has a few “harm undead” tricks left in his bag. But what is concerning is that we’re having a heck of a time actually hitting Ralso herself. I don’t know if the cramped quarters of the attic are causing issues, or it was always difficult to hit her and we just didn’t notice it while we were still downstairs. But we’re struggling to put damage on her, and she… well… isn’t having the same problem. In fact, she’s critting quite a bit. Dougie and I both take turns on the ground as the fight progresses, and Lo Mang is pretty low as well. Heck, at one point, I get revived just in time to get knocked out a second time. Now, I still have my Hero Point if the worst should happen, but we’re still one… MAYBE two turns away from disaster when we finally get Ralso down and win the fight.

And that’s where we end the week. “This house is clean”! Well… the above-ground portion anyway. We still have to tackle the basement, and are faced with the same problem we had taking on Ralso, only now we’re completely out of healing SCROLLS too, and (meta-gamey) I assume Pratchett, the boss, is likely to be nastier than his lieutenant. And there’s that ochre jelly too.

Now, this is a conversation that’s going to continue into next week’s episode, so I don’t want to get too far into it here, but the gist of it is this. The roleplaying of a “hot pursuit” doesn’t play nice with the “long rest” model of Pathfinder. The writers of this AP did the best they could trying to make it fit, but at some point, you’re pretty much FORCED to take a long rest, which you don’t usually get to do when you’re hot on the trail of a mass-murderer. (As a lesser aspect of this, the “right” answer for the last 3-4 episodes has been “call for backup; have every Edgewatch agent in the city swarm the place”, but that doesn’t square with us being the heroes of the story.) And I think we’re pretty much at that point now, so how do we proceed in a way that feels like the game mechanics aren’t eating the story for lunch?

So 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.

Agents of Edgewatch S1|23: Kill It With Fire!

The good news, the Agents have found the innkeeper Ralso! The bad news, they also found the innkeeper’s undead sister!

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

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

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

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

Three Ring Adventure S2|10: The Laugh Factory

The Circus of Wayward Wonders finally gets to perform for the residents of Escadar, but then things go from bad, to worse, to horrible. And then things get really bad.

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!

Agents of Edgewatch S1|22: Crit Fishing

The agents are running out of rooms to explore, and they still haven’t found where the innkeepers are hiding… yet.

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

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

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

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