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Talking Combat 111: Getting The Band Back Together

Jason recaps the events from Roll For Combat, Episode 111: Who’s That Knocking On My Door?

So now you know!

I have to admit, I’ve been excited, and even a little relieved, to finally reach the Big Reveal. The relief is that I didn’t slip up and tip off the return of Hirogi in some way – either here or over in Talking Plaguestone. I’m not oblivious enough to mention Seth by name, but a “five” party members instead of “four” or a “Hirogi” instead of “Akiro” could’ve slipped past the copy editors. (Which… when I turn my column in at 11 pm on the night it’s due, basically amounts to “running it through a spell-checker”. Maybe.)

I do feel like I should be honest and admit something: if we’re being totally honest, I got a little bit of accidental advance warning, though I didn’t recognize it as such at the time. A few nights earlier, we were playing Plaguestone, and I had logged in a little early. While waiting for that game to start, I saw Seth’s user handle (which I happen to recognize from Facebook) and Steve talking in a separate channel. So I actually knew Steve was doing something that was going to involve Seth. BUT… given we were about to play Plaguestone, I assumed he was going to be a Plaguestone NPC. And when he didn’t show up, I just assumed either we didn’t hit that part of the story yet and either filed it away for the following week, or I just forgot about it entirely. Little of both, probably. It never dawned on me that he could be getting Seth ready for a Dead Suns appearance, so in that sense, I was as surprised as everyone else.

But I suppose I should’ve been a little more prepared. In general, Steve has been teasing big things as we finish up the adventure path, so new guests and/or a return of Hirogi (or at least finding out his fate) should’ve both been somewhere in the list of possibilities. I know one of you listeners suggested doing a bottle episode with Hirogi and that always appealed to Steve; it was just a matter of logistics not coming together to write something and play it. And yes, Steve HAD been priming us for a return of Meats and Lasko (the Jay and Silent Bob of our entourage) – seven schedules get hard to coordinate, so he has to pull back the curtain a bit on stuff like that. But this was definitely not on the radar.

As Steve mentioned, I don’t personally know Seth… mostly just through the gaming anecdotes, the other guys have told about him. I used to travel for work, and sometimes when in NYC, I would join these guys for D&D. So while yes, I can technically claim I’d gamed with Seth a non-zero number of times before this, I’d be lying if I said I know him prior to this.

That’s OK though because I know Chris, and Seth’s doing an EXCELLENT job of replicating Chris, isn’t he? Almost a little scary. As Steve is going back and giving you all the history of this, and I’m hearing how little advance prep Seth did… I’m even more amazed that Seth is pretty much playing Hirogi almost exactly as Chris would’ve played him. Greedy… arrogant… self-preservation streak… that’s our boy! I find myself wondering if I could replicate anyone in the party that well. Maybe Mo… just get impatient and start opening doors and running into rooms, and then complain when all the creatures in those rooms attack me and I start taking damage.

(Kidding. Sorta.)

Moving forward, I’ll admit I’m a little curious how this will affect the party dynamic. First, you’ve got Seth playing a character that used to belong to Chris. Is that going to stoke any rivalry between the two? (Oh who are we kidding… of course, it will.) Is Seth going to rub Chris’ nose in his success after Chris grew frustrated with the character? Is Chris going to still try to take credit for anything good Hirogi does? How will that play out?

More generally – as Steve alluded to with his “poor Jason” comment — it’s another layer of pre-existing relationships being thrown into the mix. I want to be careful not to overstate it I don’t feel “left out”, I don’t resent Seth’s presence… none of that clique-y teenage drama. The next five Talkings aren’t going to be me writing bad, pouty poetry. But it is true that I’m already the George (Harrison, not Costanza) of the group, and now we have another extrovert rules-lawyer joining the fray, and one with a bunch of pre-existing history and in-jokes with everyone else but me. It’s all positive and I look forward to it, but I do think I might have to up my game and play my character a little more aggressively to keep up as we bring this adventure path to its conclusion.

I also feel like mentioning that at this point, I REALLY don’t care about sharing loot or anything that mundane. Right now, I want to finish the story. If an extra body gets us to the finish line alive, the more the merrier. I’m a little worried we may have another member of Team “Sell The Stellar Degenerator For A Profit” which may turn the endgame into a Mexican standoff within our own party, but we’ll jump off that cliff when we come to it.

Of course, lost in all of this was a fairly perfunctory combat session before our rescue. Four on one, no particular special abilities; between Bob handing us a surprise round and Mo rolling well on damage rolls, it was an express-aisle butt-whipping. Not much to be said about it except “nice hammer for Mo”. As a flavor thing, I love the idea of the suffocation chamber.

Hirogi’s rescue kind of swallowed up the rest of the episode, so next week we pick it facing roughly the same predicament we were facing last time. I think we’ve established we need to get to the command deck to do whatever it is we’re going to do, but we still need to figure out how to get there and still need to get some better degree of computer access so we can access maps, remove countermeasures, and such. But now we’ve got one more guy to help us do it! Feel free to drop by the Discord channel or other social media and let us know what you think of all of this, and we’ll see you back here next week. Thanks for listening!