The Bird’s Eye View S1|13: Hello Darkness, My Old Friend - Roll For Combat

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The Bird’s Eye View S1|13: Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|13: I’m Attacking the Darkness!

Well, let’s start this week with a discussion of shield, since Steve called me out by name. You know what… I’m willing to accept the criticism as valid. I’ll throw myself on the mercy of the court since I just got my wizard abilities this level and I’m using the spell for the first time, but he’s right… I should know what my spells do. Especially since I have so few of them.

I think I got a little turned around because there’s casting the shield, which is an action, but then there’s blocking a blow, which is a REaction. I think one of two things happened; either I momentarily got those two tangled up in my brain, or maybe I figured since shield was only a one-action spell, it made a little sense to have to raise it to be the separate (second) action that almost every other spell seems to have. So… fine. Learning curve.

Of course, there’s a second smaller mistake we made that I just noticed on re-listening. There’s a place where I take like 5 attacks in a row, and I use the shield spell to block the fourth attack because I was pretty low on hit points. Well if you want to get technical, that block should’ve expended the shield since it only has a hardness of 5, so the shield should not have been available for the final attack. I don’t think it would’ve made a difference, but still… we’ll get this right as we go forward. Promise.

Moving on… I’m getting worried that this “secret” underground passage is turning out to be so well-trafficked. We’ve got a gelatinous cube, ghouls, and now not one but two different groups of humanoids just loitering about. I mean, I don’t want to put on my metagame hat, but I’m starting to worry that we’ll have to expend all our resources just getting to the club, but then if we face a combat encounter IN the club, we’re gonna be so screwed. I figured MAYBE one fight, just to keep us on our toes. But this is turning out to be a full day dungeon crawl, isn’t it?

We actually start slow this week, with some healing and then a non-combat interaction with a group of ysoki produce merchants. Excuse me? I mean, I know the existence of the undercity is supposed to be a thing, but it’s still a little weird that you’ve got produce merchants just hanging out down here. And they just HAPPENED to stumble upon the ghouls? Something seems off about this whole interaction. But this gets into the whole “are we adventurers or are we on a mission” vibe? Lacking any real crime to investigate, we probably ought to just move on and get to the party right?

Well… maybe not, as we stumble on our next combat encounter (#3 for this part of the adventure, for those of you scoring at home). I don’t get a sense of exactly what creatures these guys are supposed to be – smallish feathery humanoids… but not fellow tengu because I suspect Steve would’ve made a bigger deal of me being attacked by my fellow countrymen.

And they can cast darkness… or maybe they have it as an innate ancestry ability. Oh, crap.

Darkness is one of those things that’s either hit or miss. If you’re playing an ancestry with darkvision, the base version of the spell is almost trivial, and even the heightened version of the spell just grants concealment. But if you didn’t take that darkvision, the real sizzle to the steak is that darkness overpowers ALL non-magical light sources and even magical ones of the same level or lower. Adding insult to injury, this seems to be the one party where we haven’t taken light as a spell. Technically, I have access to it, but I didn’t equip it because I didn’t have time to take a long rest and change out my spells. So yeah… we’re TOTALLY in the dark now.

As an aside, I’m usually paranoid about darkness because of a bad Emerald Spire experience. There’s an entire level of that dungeon that was both shrouded in magical darkness as well as almost entirely difficult terrain, and it was awful. Ever since that game (also playing a tengu, coincidentally), I usually either take some sort of darkvision or at least Blind Fight. Somehow this is the ONE character where I didn’t bother doing that because I expected most of our adventures to be above-ground. Sigh.

Looking at the battlefield, you have the map in front of you, we came south down a staircase to a T intersection; at least two of the bad guys were to the east, but one went to the west, and the darkness seemed like it was centered at the bottom of the stairs. Based on what parts of the map we’d already come from, the east seemed like it was mostly a dead end, and the west would be the way we’d want to go to proceed further. I thought about going west and trying to get out of the darkness, but once Dougie and Lo Mang went east, I decided I’d rather stay with the group, even if it meant piling into the darkness even further.

Now… at the risk of giving Steve ideas, I thought there were a couple of places where he could’ve actually made this more challenging by throwing in the risk of friendly fire. There were a couple of times where we were maneuvering past each other, and it’s questionable whether we would’ve known if it was a good guy or a bad guy who was standing next to us. Lo Mang was off by himself in the corner of the room so he was fairly safe, but Dougie and I crisscrossed more than once. I suppose you can hand-wave that and say we were able to know friend from foe by sound or that we knew their relative position by responding to where the attacks came from. But if Steve wanted to be cruel, he probably could’ve had us start attacking each other a few times by accident.

The other thing that was a little nasty was that “flashbang” effect when they died. I mean, having them do damage when they died would’ve been worse, but still – the blindness effect meant that even if you managed to stumble out of the darkness, you STILL had all the same penalties. That came into play toward the end when the last enemy was outside the darkness, but I couldn’t see him anyway.

We finally get the fight under control and finish them off, when we get our first hint that things weren’t quite what they seemed. One of the people we’re fighting asks if we’re with them… implying that the rat-folk and these guys had some sort of business deal that went sour, and maybe the ysoki weren’t the innocent produce vendors they pretended to be. But again… is that something we should really be looking into right now when we’ve got something like 20 missing persons to investigate?

As we end the episode, I think the vibe within the group is to at least figure out how much more dungeon we have left to explore. I think once we get a sense of how close to the finish line we are, maybe we could go back and deal with the ysoki, or maybe we just let them slide and continue our mission. So for now… back to work. And that’s where we leave things for this week.

I don’t really have much to say about the potential return of Bob Markee, except to confirm – in the words of Seinfeld – “it’s real and it’s fabulous!” I don’t want to say much: first because it would involve spoilers, but also because if you’re NOT on the Patreon, it might be a little while before you get to hear him. So we’ll talk more about it when it gets closer to happening. That said, I don’t know how long he or the character he’s playing is going to be with us, but it is nice to have him back… Bob adds an interesting dimension to the group and is a lot of fun to play with.

At any rate, next week, we resume our journey and HOPEFULLY finally get to join the party. (But maybe not… always fuzzy how Steve cuts these episodes.) Feel free to drop by Discord and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.