Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|18: Doom Service.
Welcome back to Agents of Edgewatch, as we spend our second episode unraveling the mysteries of the murder hotel. As we left off last week, John had managed to stumble upon a mimic unawares, and combat was about to begin. Part of me still feels like John should’ve had a fighting chance of detecting it with his always-on radar, but I guess a creature that happens to look like furniture is not technically a “trap”. Or to be fair, maybe Steve gave him a roll “behind the screen” and he failed. Oh well.
The good news on the mimic is it’s not especially sturdy. It’s only got a modest amount of hit points, no particular resistances that we know of. If we can put damage on it, it’s not that tough an opponent. Of course, the big complicating factor is the adhesive properties – not only do they give us flat-footed, but it can also deprive us of weapons if they get stuck to it. (See also: my poor sword cane.) If this fight went three or four rounds, it might have reached a point where Lo Mang would have to stay there punching it while the rest of us went for coffee.
(OK, I guess technically Gomez and I have cantrip-level magic we could also have thrown at it, but still… it’s lucky we front-loaded the fight and got out quick, or that could’ve gotten messy.)
So… we prevail and force the creature to surrender. I have to admit I was a little surprised that they’re intelligent creatures, but sure enough… they speak Common, and their flavor text mentions that they sometimes like to talk to their prey. So in terms of the monster’s abilities, it’s legit. So I suppose it comes down to how you feel about surrender in general. In most dungeons, I know it’s kinda common to just MurderHobo your way through it. I think in this campaign it fits the tone; we’re “the cops” so some of the bad guys will take their chance with the law rather than resist until we’re forced to kill them. Especially since the mimic hints that it was originally brought here somewhat against its will. Doesn’t TOTALLY cancel out killing and eating a bunch of people, but maybe justifies not killing it outright.
The big news is what this does for our investigation. Preface ALL of this with two caveats: 1) I’m not a cop in real life, and 2) the law in Absalom does not necessarily work the same as it does in the real world. But the interrogation of the mimic creates something of a break in the case, as we have a real honest-to-goodness witness and probable cause. In other circumstances, a locket could’ve been left behind by accident. Even the trapdoor could MAYBE be dismissed as some sort of housekeeping thing – they drop the linens down a chute to be cleaned or something. But now we have the mimic giving us a confession that Ralso and Pratchett are feeding it victims. BAM! Case… officially cracked.
Now, here’s where we also get away from “real” police procedure, because in real life this is the place where we would get a formal warrant, and like 40 or 50 cops would swarm the place. But that doesn’t make for a good adventure (Roll… For… Traffic Control!), so I guess we’ll continue to investigate ourselves.
We are at a bit of a crossroads, though. Do we take Ralso into custody, or do we keep investigating rooms? The argument in favor of nabbing Ralso is the “fire in the rear” argument: if you leave this person to create havoc, she could attack us, escape, destroy evidence, or any number of bad things. On the other hand, do we believe there are innocent people in danger? If THAT’S the case, maybe that takes a higher priority.
For the moment, we decide to do one more room, and the universe finds a way to convince us we made the wrong choice, as Dougie and Lo Mang have their brush with death, flying guillotine style. In 20-20 hindsight, there probably ought to have been some sort of air traffic control as far as the number of people who could work on the door simultaneously; OK, MAYBE you let one person work it from each side, but Gomez and I jumping back and forth probably wouldn’t fly in the real world. I don’t pick a lot of locks, but I would think it would be more effective to let one person focus in and work on it until it was done.
(I also had that sort of old-school slapstick comedy image of Gomez or I poking John’s lockpick out of the lock on our turn, and then him poking our lockpick out on his turn. Lather, rinse, repeat.)
So we get our guys back safely, thanks mostly to some crappy rolls on the guillotine’s part, and that convinces us that maybe we should get Ralso in custody so she can… among other things… tell us which rooms have the traps in them. As a side debate, Seth comes up with the idea of having the mimic (for the record, I am neither trying to spell nor pronounce that name) either help fight the guillotine blade, or watch over Ralso while we investigate further. This is one of those ones where I kinda disagree with his idea, but not strenuously so: I’m willing to go along with it because it might make for a fun show, and I don’t want to pee on Seth’s corn flakes.
But for the purposes of this column, I’ll state my objections. I know Seth slapped an intimidate on it, and because he critted it’s supposed to last a week. But almost every charm/compulsion-type effect has a “unless you ask it to do something that would get it killed” escape clause, and fighting a giant flying razor blade would seem to qualify. Even watching over the witness is a stretch… it’s a LITTLE more palatable since it’s more of a “supporting” request that doesn’t put the mimic in direct danger, but it’s also a little immersion-breaking on police procedure. If a gang robs a bank and one of the robbers gets left behind, they generally don’t ask a teller to hold a gun on the guy they caught while they chase the other culprits. But I’d be willing to let this one slide a little in the name of good gaming.
However, when we get downstairs, the idea of having the mimic watch Ralso is moot: she’s not at the front desk. Oops. We begin to pick some locks to get back into the office area, and that’s where we’ll be picking it up next time. As always, feel free to drop by our Discord channel and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.