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Talking Tales: Tale 6, Chapter 3, Lizards And Laborers

Jason recaps the events from The Black Lodge Tale 6, Chapter 3: Ducker The Slayer.

This is a weird week in real life, so apologies in advance if I seem a bit distracted.

First, I’ve been a little under the weather recently. Don’t worry, not COVID – though it got rough enough that I took the test and everything. Just garden-variety Seasonal Snot Factory. I’m coming down the back end of it, but still, feel a little ragged around the edges.

Second, it’s back-to-school time. Both as someone who works in higher-ed and as the parent of a school-age kid, things have been a little extra hectic this week. Swear to God, if I hear the word “Zoom” one more time, my eye is going to start permanently twitching like Scrat from Ice Age.

The other thing is I turned 50 this week. I’m not particularly mentioning it to get a free round of virtual applause, but to mention that we TRIED to put together an impromptu gaming session with my very first gaming group – my brother (Jon) and two guys (Chris and Dmitri) that lived on the same street. It didn’t quite come together because of the reasons I mentioned above, but it was still fun to get together on Zoom (OK, I’ll let it slide for this) and share some of the stories of those good old days. Thinking back, I notice that Chris’s character dying in non-heroic circumstances was an alarmingly common thread.

Incidentally, these are also the reasons why my review of the Starfinder Starship Operations Manual isn’t ready yet. I do hope to have it done soon, but it had to push back a little further. Apologies for that.

Meanwhile, back in the world of this game, we have a bit of an inversion of our usual Roll For Combat dynamic. Usually, our shows feature a bunch of combat broken up with the occasional social interaction or mini-game. (See also: Three-Ring Adventure… sometimes it seems like they do nothing but fight on that show.) This time around, it’s all mini-game and social interactions, but this week we have actual combat to break things up a little bit.

Well, the rest of the group had combat. As for me? Between weak enemies, good rolls by everyone else, and being at the tail end of the initiative order, there wasn’t really much left for me to do by the time it was my turn. Truth told I spent most of the combat Photoshopping the GEICO Gecko’s face onto the Lionel Richie “Dancing On the Ceiling” album cover to get a cheap laugh out of our Patreon live listeners. I wear many hats, people. I’m a multimedia experience!

So we defeat the geckos, but surprisingly, they don’t have any loot (well… I mean, there’s Thorgrim’s trident… but that doesn’t really count). That’s actually a little troubling. As I discussed last week, we have about a 30-gold hole in the budget, and I’d been assuming the dungeon was going to hold some treasure that might close that gap. But… nothing.

But then work on the keep resumes and we catch a couple of breaks.

First, a little re-reading of the rules reveals that Nixnox (in particular) can use his Crafting to serve as a carpenter. It’s not a HUGE game-changer – the town does have two carpenters – but it does mean that we can potentially tackle three carpenter projects at once. At least for a few more cycles, that might be necessary as there are carpenter requirements on multiple paths. Now, the real benefit would’ve been if Nixnox could have served as a second mason, but we didn’t get that lucky. Mason remains a critical point of failure… though we did finally finish the rebuilding of the gate, which was the single longest mason task on the board.

The next break came when we finished the gate and put the mason to work on fixing the well, where we found something that might be the treasure bundle we didn’t get from the dungeon. Though… maybe it won’t. It’s a map to gold, but if it’s in Ustalav, it’s not like we can just go take a field trip and grab it. Among other things, that would mean going north into Tar Baphon’s territory. Probably a bad idea. But it’s still worth treasure bundles. So… it’s something good overall, but maybe still not the budget-fixer we’re looking for in the short term.

Meanwhile, Thorgrim continues to have mixed results attempting to convince the townspeople the Pathfinder Society are the good guys. OK, the guys at the forge get along fine with him, and Snake Plissken likes us, but the rest of the residents are mostly giving us the stinkeye. It may be time to put someone else on that duty. Maybe… just spitballing here… someone who isn’t constantly brandishing an opposite-aligned holy symbol in their faces?

And that’s where we leave it this week. Kinda short episode this week. Don’t worry, I do think business picks up again next time. (I know there are interesting things about to happen – it just depends on where Steve cuts the episodes whether it’s next week or two weeks down the road.) So in the meantime, feel free to duck into 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.