Stephen Glicker, Author at Roll For Combat: Paizo's Official Pathfinder & Starfinder Actual Play Podcasts - Page 3 of 37

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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!

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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!

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The Sideshow S2|09: Making Kids Cry On Their Birthday

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S2|09: A Little Bird Told Me.

Sorry, Steve. You can disclaimer it all you want, but we the listeners have taken a vote, and you’re a monster for ruining Hap’s birthday. AND FOR HAVING THE PROFESSOR YELL AT HER! You’re just lucky there’s still a pandemic, which limits our ability to assemble a proper torch-wielding mob.

And it was off to such a good start, too.

Before we get into the birthday stuff, we started with a little more investigation into the lost compass, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. All we really learn is that it’s probably even older than originally thought, and the bag of holding likely preserved it. That said, I got a little kick out of how excited Ateran seemed to be about digging through historical resources… they’re such a blank slate in some ways, it’s nice to see a little side of their personality that’s not usually on display. Now… I’d criticize Rob T. for saying the wrong circus’ name, but didn’t Rob T. just do that a week or two ago as well? Does ANYONE know the name of their circus here?

Now… on to birthday merriment.

First, we had our second appearance of the Roll For Combat Birthday… ummm… Song? It’s just so gloriously bad that it becomes great. It’s almost like the scene in Elf where Buddy free-forms the “I Love You” song for his dad, but even less melodic. I’d challenge Steve to have some birthday music commissioned, but I think our composer would probably resign in frustration.

For the second birthday in a row, we have gifts that are thoughtful and touching. Matching outfits for Hap and Riley, accessories crafted from fallen opponents, a birthday wish… Though, OK… Cynical Me wants to quibble a little bit about the likelihood of two people assembling 1000 paper cranes in the span of a few hours. SHOULDN’T YOU HAVE TO ROLL FOR THAT? Then again, Cynical Me also wants to suggest that maybe you don’t give benevolent pyromaniac paper products as a present. I mean, that’s basically throwing a big pile of kindling into her trailer. But the Hap liked her presents, especially the origami cranes, and that’s what’s important.

I am curious what the “deeper level” is on which Alhara’s gift resonated. Is it something about Hap’s backstory that we don’t know, or is it from outside the game, and it’s something that resonated with Loren herself? Part of me wants to know, part of me worries it might be something more personal than she really wants to reveal, so it’s probably OK if that’s just her little secret.

Of course, that moment of sentimentality was quickly balanced out by Steve’s “oh, yeah, your heart-warming friendship is nice, but I have the power to give out magic items” present from the Professor. “Friendship is magical, but what’s REALLY magical is a Necklace of Fireballs.” (I’m pretty sure that’s what My Little Pony was trying to say…) It’s a complete power move: it’s like the dad swooping in to buy her an iPhone when everyone else kept it to 50 bucks or less. Having made fun of it, it’s practical as hell, and there’s NO chance it’ll go to waste. Heck, once the party has more money, check back in a few years and Hap will be getting Necklaces of Fireballs like other people get socks.

As far as a birthday every week… ehhhhh… no. I like the birthdays for the party members themselves, but I’m not sure I can sit through a birthday party for some random clown we’ve never spoken of before. And I DEFINITELY can’t sit through the Birthday Song too many more times.

But then we have The Twist. The moment that redefined the back half of the episode.

Should’ve known that chaotic evil wouldn’t stay quiet forever. However he pulled it off, Kalkek managed to summon Riley to his cave and is now holding him as a soft hostage. Riley’s unharmed, and Kalkek seems (for the moment) to be using him more as an insurance policy than anything else, but still… it completely ruins Hap for the rest of the episode. Kalkek’s deal… Riley is willing to vouch for you, but just in case you were getting any ideas, he’s gonna hang out with me until the performance is over.

And ohbytheway, Kalkek also embiggens himself, just to flex on our team a little more in a “shoulda killed me when you had the chance” way.

At first, I thought this might have been a gambit to force a decision on Hap performing – if she can’t control Riley and do an animal act from the wings, she has to perform, doesn’t she? Except Hap takes a different direction and decides that if Riley’s in danger she can’t do anything at all and locks herself in her trailer. Don’t get me wrong… that’s a very human reaction from a roleplay standpoint. But it adds to the problems this first performance is going to be facing.

And then things go from bad to worse. Not only do we have a hostile takeover effort from the Celestial Menagerie, attempting to use both carrot (double your pay) and stick (unspecified bad things will happen) against the Wayward Wonders folk, but someone snuck in and made the animals sick. AND the clowns are out after coming down with Clown Lung. (As a nod to our Edgewatch show, someone needs to check and see if any of them have a build-up of black goo at the mouth. Maybe there’s the connection that lets our cops show up to investigate!)

If that wasn’t bad enough, the cherry on the shit sundae comes in the form of the Professor losing his temper at Hap and yelling at her for neglecting the animals. I’m not criticizing Steve – it’s a TOTALLY valid roleplaying choice. It’s their first show in Escadar, the Celestial Menagerie is screwing with the Professor’s business… I have ZERO trouble believing he’d be incredibly stressed in that situation and might snap. But it just makes Hap’s bad day even worse, and I felt genuinely sad for Hap at that moment. Poor kid.

Look, I know I’m making a lot of jokes about how mean Steve is, but I’ll also say it’s pretty inspired insofar as it subverts people’s expectations. We’ve had almost three straight weeks of LA-DI-DAH niceness; it was a good idea to break that up a little. And somehow I never thought it would be Hap’s celebration he’d mess with. The flip side argument to “Steve is mean” is that nothing TRULY bad has happened, but it shocked everyone out of their complacency a little. In that sense, I do give Steve credit for zigging when we thought he would zag.

So as we end the episode, we’re about an hour from showtime and almost everything’s in meltdown mode. The only GOOD news is that Fidget is available (and in a real-world show note, it sounds like Loren will play her with Hap sulking on the sideline). But everything else… I guess we’ll just have to see, won’t we? But that’ll be next week. For now, 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|09: A Little Bird Told Me

The show must go on, but before the show, it’s time for another birthday party! This time it’s Hap’s birthday and everyone brought a present, including an unexpected guest.

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|21: A Redcap In The Hat

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|21: You No Take Candle!

It’s the Murder Hotel, Week… oh jeez, I don’t know. 23? 24? Seems like we’ve been here forever.

We start the episode with a bit of a bait-and-switch, as all signs pointed toward us tackling the basement this week, only for most of us (cough-not-me-cough) to bail out at the last minute. There’s a LITTLE bit of added context that either got left on the cutting room floor or that maybe we discussed offline later. I think the thinking within the group was that the basement would be a single room. The Mad Scientist’s Torture Den or something like that. Once we went down there and realized there was going to be a whole additional floor, we decided – and maybe this is a little meta-gamey – that a floor that ends in “a few more rooms” is better than a floor that very likely ends in the Big Bad of the entire first book.

The other part related to escape routes, or lack thereof. If there’s an escape route in the basement, then Pratchett and Ralso can basically leave when they want. They may even be already gone. If there’s no escape route in the basement, they’d pretty much have to come back up this staircase… through us… to get out again. Meanwhile, if we go investigate the basement, anyone still on the 2nd floor has free rein to escape or attack us from behind. So one way or the other, the threat on the second floor began to feel like the more urgent threat, while the basement is either contained, or they’ve already escaped.

So… back to exploring the second floor it is.

First, I’ll note – as a continuation of last week’s discussion – we start the episode getting Devise A Stratagem wrong and using it (incorrectly) with spell attacks, but have a better feel for it by the end of the episode. I HOPE we finally have this down for good.

Our first room of the new (east) wing is the viper fight. Honestly, that fight was so quick and Basil’s role was so limited, that I pretty much forgot it happened at all. Not much to say about it. Hi, snake. Bye, snake.

Next, we FINALLY… and this feels like a big deal to me… get to rescue some live victims. I’ve been a little frustrated up to this point because while we’ve amassed TONS of evidence, we haven’t caught any bad guys and we haven’t rescued anyone. No thwarting of crimes, just documenting what happened. Yes, we evacuated a few customers, but it FEELS like those customers weren’t in danger anyway, for whatever reason. It feels like only certain guests were targeted and the old halfling lady and the dwarf family were never in real danger. But the list of 20ish people who are officially missing… it’s been a little demoralizing that we haven’t had a chance to prevent anything yet.

But now we have live prisoners… after we beat them up, non-lethally. The gnome is one from our “general” list: Lyrma Swampwalker. She’s a gnome from Vidrian who came to see the fair. The other is a blast from the past – Kemenels. He’s the mage who went missing back in Episode 2 – we never formally met him, but his ward (whose name I didn’t capture) was the kid who was trashing the alchemist’s booth at the fair. So we were aware of his existence and our story crossed his before, even if we never met him directly. Naturally, they’re a little freaked out and don’t trust us, so we have to subdue them, but that’s two live victims saved! I didn’t think I’d have this sort of reaction, but it honestly feels good to rescue someone from this hell.

We continue our search and are starting to narrow things down, and there’s only a few rooms left, but the next encounter proves to be one of the most challenging (as well as one of the most gruesome). The redcap. Not gonna lie: this encounter worries me.

I’ve mentally categorized things into four levels of encounter difficulty. “Should be easy unless luck REALLY abandons us”, “fair fight”, “challenging fight”, and “OK, this is a legit chance of party wipe”. I’m feeling like the redcap represents a legit Level 4 fight. The boot attack is about average for an encounter at this level, but the fact that he can attack while moving gives him efficiency with his three actions. The scythe, on the other hand, is nasty: over the course of the fight, it reveals itself to be a d10+10 base damage, and it also has another d10 of deadly damage on a crit. So even hitting with that is nasty, and if he crits, it starts getting into one-shot territory… certainly for me and Gomez, maybe for Dougie and Lo Mang as well. And oh, he’s also got an undetermined amount of fast healing as long as he’s wearing his little hat.

Fortunately, an Expeditious Inspection reveals the trick with the hat… if we can get the hat off his head, it at least cancels the fast healing, so that becomes the immediate focus. After a few tries, Lo Mang finally has the stats to get it done, and this fight becomes a little more tolerable.

And then we end the episode with an interesting bit of do-over, which ties into Steve’s pre-game point about trusting your GM. The redcap initially appears to roll enough damage to put Dougie down. So I use my turn to get him back on his feet – I figure we need to pour damage on while Lo Mang has his hat, and we need Dougie and his maul for that. But then Steve remembers that the redcap’s hat has a secondary property – without the hat, he also suffers a -4 on damage rolls. Take away those points, and Dougie should’ve lived, and I shouldn’t have had to spend my turn healing him. So Steve rewinds the tape and goes from there.

I think whether intended or not, this kinda reflects our group’s philosophy on GM mistakes. If a mistake occurs during a fairly easy fight, we might just blow past it and figure it out later. “Oh, remember two fights ago… turns out the bad guy WASN’T immune to fire, and that spell should’ve done more damage. Have a hero point!”. But when death, or even a dramatic shift in the balance of a battle, is on the line, we definitely make sure to get it right, and Steve’s not even opposed to rewinding the game to get those moments right. This time, since we’re talking about the party’s main damage dealer dropping, this is one of those ones Steve needs to get right, and he did so. And that’s pretty much what we players have reached a peace with as well…

Now that’s not to say we never argue with Steve. Actually, to tie it back to Steve’s pre-game point, I think we’re more likely to argue the matter of “opinion” cases when we have a pet idea we want to sneak through. We tend to operate in the gray areas of “well, the rules don’t really say anything about using the spell in this way… what do you think?”. In his pre-game, Steve says that as a GM, your opinion is never wrong, and on some pass-fail level that’s true – at some point, the GM is the final arbiter of the rules. But that also carries with it the assumption that you at least let your players make a case to convince you otherwise, and maybe you sometimes change your mind if they’re compelling enough. And as always, the Rule of Cool applies: sometimes you should say yes if it creates a memorable story moment, rules be damned.

But in this case, we’re just rewinding a couple of turns of combat. And as we leave this week’s action… we’re hanging in there. Gomez is furiously trying to keep the heavy hitters on their feet, we at least took the redcap’s healing away, and hopefully things are taking a turn for the better. From my personal perspective, now that the redcap’s damage is a little less, I’m pretty close to full health, so I may have to go against my build and try to draw some fire so Chris and John don’t have to take the full beating. Or at least get in there and help set up flanking. When the redcap could easily one-shot me, I was a little leery. Now that it’s a fair(er) fight, an extra blade just might be the difference between victory and defeat.

But… we’ll find that 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.

Agents of Edgewatch S1|21: You No Take Candle!

As the agents enter the basement of the Murder Hotel they get a really bad feeling they are in over their heads.

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|08: The Frog Leg Incident

Who’s ready for a birthday party! It’s Alhara’s birthday and everyone is invited!

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|20: Welcome To the Party, Pal!

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

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

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

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

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

Three Ring Adventure S2|07: Path & Body Works

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

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

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

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

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

Agents of Edgewatch S1|19: The Dougie Shuffle

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

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

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

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

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