Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S1|23: Kill It With Fire!
How’s that for cutting it close?
This week we have to deal with the continuing dilemma of how far to push ourselves. We begin the episode with Ralso trapped in the attic as far as we know. I guess she could be a rogue and be an expert climber, but at first glance, it didn’t seem there were any windows up in that attic. In fact, I thought there was some discussion of piling furniture in front of the door and just leaving her there. Maybe I’m remembering it wrong, or maybe Steve cut that bit for time, but I could’ve sworn it came up as an idea.
But basically, we’re ALMOST out of healing. Even going into the battle, Seth had no spells left and was down to one or two scrolls. I’ll admit I don’t remember who had or hadn’t used their badge at that point – I think I used mine, and I kinda remember Lo Mang using his. There are still a few uses of Battle Medicine left, but that can be unreliable especially if you’re trying to patch up someone who’s already unconscious. You do more damage to someone who’s already out, you apply another level of Dying.
But we decided to go for it anyway. I think there are a few things at play. Part of it is that we already let Ralso out of our grasp once before; we don’t want to lose track of her again. But also, this room literally represents the LAST above-ground room – if we clear this, then the basement is all that’s left. And as I discussed last week that situation feels less volatile: if there’s an exit through the basement, “they” (presumably Pratchett, maybe some henchmen?) have now had a couple of hours to escape. If there’s no basement exit, we now seem to control the only access. One way or the other, we reach a point where the situation can be compartmentalized and we can plan our next move. Also, nobody articulates it, but I think we’re thinking that we blew through her dolls pretty quick; no one SAYS it, but we’re all kinda hoping Skeleton Girl can be dispatched similarly quickly.
Though before we do, we decide to recon the room for treasure. And we find Ralso’s diary which sheds some light on her role in the crimes, and also provides an unexpectedly bleak and kinda sad “origin” story. Curse you Paizo, for making me feel sympathy toward a sub-boss!
Turns out that while Ralso was never a fully upstanding member of society, there was a point at which she was trying to walk a fairly straight path until she was taken advantage of by worse people. From there, her sister died (the animated skeleton in the attic), and her life fell apart from there. It’s unclear how many murders she personally committed, but she surely can’t feign innocence, and the peepholes were primarily for her benefit. So… definitely enough of an active accessory to give her whatever Absalom’s harshest penalty is, whether that’s death or life in the Underwater Swamp Prison.
As an aside: I wonder what the proportions are between “Ralso wanted to pretend her sister was still alive at all costs” vs. “Pratchett did this to use her own guilt and sorrow to control her even further”. Later on during the fight, we hear the skeleton telling Ralso “it’s your fault I died”, so it doesn’t seem like a particularly benevolent relationship. I mean, Ralso still deserves to fry given the sheer number of people they’re likely to have offed, but are there some mitigating circumstances here?
We also find a note about a bank robbery planned for next week that Ralso was offered a chance to participate in, but declined because the other people involved were too crazy even for her. That seems like a WONDERFUL breadcrumb for our next case… but we have to survive this one first, don’t we? For the moment, tuck it in the pocket and keep moving.
Finally, after almost an hour of subpar healing rolls, we’re ready to resume the attack. Huzzah!
The battle ends up being a bit of a mixed bag. Actually, the skeleton sister isn’t THAT tough once you get past her aura, partly because Gomez still has a few “harm undead” tricks left in his bag. But what is concerning is that we’re having a heck of a time actually hitting Ralso herself. I don’t know if the cramped quarters of the attic are causing issues, or it was always difficult to hit her and we just didn’t notice it while we were still downstairs. But we’re struggling to put damage on her, and she… well… isn’t having the same problem. In fact, she’s critting quite a bit. Dougie and I both take turns on the ground as the fight progresses, and Lo Mang is pretty low as well. Heck, at one point, I get revived just in time to get knocked out a second time. Now, I still have my Hero Point if the worst should happen, but we’re still one… MAYBE two turns away from disaster when we finally get Ralso down and win the fight.
And that’s where we end the week. “This house is clean”! Well… the above-ground portion anyway. We still have to tackle the basement, and are faced with the same problem we had taking on Ralso, only now we’re completely out of healing SCROLLS too, and (meta-gamey) I assume Pratchett, the boss, is likely to be nastier than his lieutenant. And there’s that ochre jelly too.
Now, this is a conversation that’s going to continue into next week’s episode, so I don’t want to get too far into it here, but the gist of it is this. The roleplaying of a “hot pursuit” doesn’t play nice with the “long rest” model of Pathfinder. The writers of this AP did the best they could trying to make it fit, but at some point, you’re pretty much FORCED to take a long rest, which you don’t usually get to do when you’re hot on the trail of a mass-murderer. (As a lesser aspect of this, the “right” answer for the last 3-4 episodes has been “call for backup; have every Edgewatch agent in the city swarm the place”, but that doesn’t square with us being the heroes of the story.) And I think we’re pretty much at that point now, so how do we proceed in a way that feels like the game mechanics aren’t eating the story for lunch?
So that’s where we’ll pick it up 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.