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The Bird’s Eye View S3|01: Roll for Crossover

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S3|01: The Tale of Old Woody.

Well, we made it to book 3! And we start things off with our first guest in… well, since the Black Lodge days… as Loren Sieg joins us in the guise of Prue Frosthammer from the Plaguestone campaign.

Now… this whole situation poses some writing difficulties for me because there are some unintentional Malevolence spoilers at play here. Backtracking, we started recording Malevolence with the Plaguestone gang while Rob Pontius was away during the summer. In doing so, I think we figured we’d wrap it up more quickly than we did, and some of it would’ve already aired by the time this show reached Book 3. Unfortunately, real-life intrudes (the unofficial mantra of Roll For Combat) and we haven’t finished (or even started airing) any of those shows, so some of our crossover creates some mild-but-unintentional spoilers for that show. (Either that or we’ll just have to give those tapes the Atari 2600 “E.T.” treatment and bury them in a landfill.)

So this is all preface to clarify what is and isn’t ad-libbed in this session. We’re clever, but we’re not “improvise a restaurant on the fly, with a full menu” clever. As part of her Malevolence background (i.e. “what’s been happening since Plaguestone?”), Prue opened a bar (Spirit’s Spirits), and in RFC’s glorious tradition of building out the food lore to ridiculous extremes, even created a menu for her establishment. (Graphic design included: it’s very Fuddruckers/Red Robin/TGI Fridays.) So all of the food and drink items we talk about were content that mostly Loren (with some help from the rest of Team Plaguestone in places) came up with. I will say the Old Woody variants were largely my doing, though Soul Woody was a collaboration: Loren had the initial idea of infusing a drink with a soul (it was the initial premise behind creating the bar), but either Steve or I decided to add it to the Woody family.

So all of that was pre-created for Malevolence and we re-used it here. But in the moment, the actual decision to bring Loren on and set the bar encounter at Sprit’s Spirits instead of a generic bar was totally done in the moment: once Steve decided we were going out to a bar, Seth suggested we do it at Spirit’s Spirits, and once that was going to happen, we decided to check if Loren was around to roleplay it out. And luckily, she was available, though Steve cut a 5-10 minute out-of-character gap where we had to get her logged in and set up (audio levels, give her the background, etc.)

So I’m saying this to give Loren her due… in addition to the creativity of the menu itself, she got pulled into our game on about 10 minutes’ notice, and she still delivered a great performance that really made this little interlude a lot of fun.

Also, one of our Discord listeners pointed out that Gomez mentions having been to Spirit’s Spirits and having tried the Soul Woody, and asks if that means Gomez actually appears in the Malevolence show. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see about that, won’t we? (Or eventually, the statute of limitations will expire and I’ll just tell you.)

Back to the story, the good thing about Loren showing up and spicing up this encounter is that I might have seriously lost my temper at the encounter with this particular NPC. I get that the harbor cops are supposed to be very laissez-faire and borderline corrupt, but come on… we shouldn’t have to spend 30, 40 gold on booze just to get our foot in the door. I was this close to using our newfound Internal Affairs powers to run her in. We are Starwatch now, after all. On the other hand, I will concede that a foul-mouthed hard-drinking elf is at least a bit of a fresh take on things. Standard protocol for such an NPC would be to make the character an orc or a dwarf. Good to see the fairfolk can party hard in this part of town.

After finally wearing down our quasi-hostess, we get a bit of intel to get started. Turns out there’s a turf war going on between the Jets and Sharks… errr… Washboard Dogs and Diobel Sweepers. The Washboard Dogs are the ones that the survivors of the cultist lair mentioned; this is the first we’re hearing of the Sweepers, so they aren’t directly relevant to our case.

Now, the Sweepers are intriguing; it’s a gang primarily made up of rogue alchemists. So they’re naturally into all sorts of illegal substances, and I assume if we go up against them, they’re going to have decent magic at their disposal. I don’t want to say they’re “stylish”, but they at least have some sort of aesthetic going on with the red bandanas

The Washboard Dogs, on the other hand, turn out to be some pretty serious unintentional comedy, as the artwork of the sample gang member looks like a demented newsie or badly-confused house painter. Seriously: go check the Discord channel. This is another one of those places where encounter scaling gets a little unintentionally silly because these guys are implied (by our place in the story) to be Level 8-10 type guys… which makes them more powerful than enemies like the ochre jelly and the skinstichers, and on par with the ceustodaemons and the golem. FANCY A CRIT, GUVNAH!?!?!

We also get a little bit of backstory of the feud between the gangs: the leaders of the two gangs USED to be friends in the same gang, but when they got busted by the cops, Maurrisa Jonne (leader of the Dogs) ratted out Bloody Berleth (leader of the Sweepers) to save herself. So now they hate each other, and that’s led to war between the two factions.

Speaking of this backstory, I’m feeling like there’s something I want to work on going forward as a playstyle thing. Since I have a high INT and all these knowledge skills, Basil tends to be the smart guy who receives the lore dumps. I feel like when Steve gives me exposition to share with the party, I want to read it a little less and roleplay it a little more like Rob P. does on the Three-Ring Adventure show. Rob P. actually roleplays out what Ateran knows in character; I just read the text Steve throws in the chat, and I actually want to try doing it closer to Rob’s way going forward. Of course, since this episode was recorded sometime in September, you may not hear any change for a while, but it’s on my agenda to start doing so.

So… I guess the question moving forward is “how do we use what we know to our advantage”? Surely we don’t just do the same thing we did with the Copper Hand gang and try to infiltrate, do we? That can’t possibly work twice. Do we try to catch a couple of Washboard Dogs in the act and shake them down, since we know they operate down by a known bridge? Is there some way we can use the conflict with the Sweepers to get access to the Dogs – an “enemy of my enemy” thing?

I guess that’s the part we’re going to hash out next time, so join us for the big throw-down with Hell’s Chimney Sweeps. 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.