The Bird’s Eye View S3|04: Daemons And Detainees - Roll For Combat

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The Bird’s Eye View S3|04: Daemons And Detainees

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S3|04: You Don’t Understand Superior Tactics.

Welcome to the Great Holiday Slowdown! We’re done recording shows for the year, though Steve’s already got the episodes edited and they’ll still be posting regularly. I don’t know about the other guys, but I work at a university, so my work’s done for the year… so I’ll be pulling myself away from my streaming and videogame backlog to write these wrapups. (Caught up on Wheel of Time, but Season 2 of The Witcher got temporarily delayed by a spur-of-the-moment desire to re-watch some Tennant-era Doctor Who.)

I don’t really have a lot to add to Steve’s show notes, but I’ll toss a few observations.

I mostly agree with Steve’s point about “scheduling your fun” with one slippery-slope admonition. You never want something you’re doing for fun to become TOO much of an obligation, to the point where it becomes more like a job. That hasn’t happened with this, but that spirit literally KILLED World of Warcraft for me. If you wanted to do anything in WoW, you had to commit to 3-4 hours, 2-3 specific nights a week, or you’d either (shitty guild) get kicked out of your guild entirely, or (good guild) fall way behind your friends and be unable to play with them until their alts were ready to do the dungeons. At that point, just keeping up the pace necessary to participate felt like having a second job instead of a way to enjoy downtime. So schedule your fun, yes, but if you’re so scheduled that your hobbies are starting to feel like work, you’re doing it wrong. Again, I don’t think we have that problem here – we’re good about taking the occasional week off if people need to recharge.

Ironically – and our live listeners know this – we almost have the opposite problem. Since ours is a group of friends who have known each other for years (in some cases, decades), we have an issue with getting sidetracked. We sometimes get too far into the “weeds” of the overall friendship, BSing about movies, fantasy football, and other stuff. Officially we start at 8 pm. I think our unofficial record for the latest start was something like 9:15 or 9:20, though that’s from memory… I don’t sit around with a logbook tracking this stuff.

Mondays became our day mostly by process of elimination. Even going back to pre-podcast, there’s never been much enthusiasm for playing on weekends, Chris traditionally raided in WoW two or three nights a week, I had a home game on Fridays, and I think (at least pre-COVID) John was going to an in-person board game night at his local gaming store, so Monday was just the day that worked for everyone. (I actually think it was Wednesdays for a while, and then Chris switched guilds and his raids were on different nights.) In the COVID era where everyone’s forced to be a hermit — and also now that Chris got tired of WoW — we have a bit more flexibility, but that usually only applies to short-notice re-schedules: we pretty much try to keep to the same day if at all possible.

So that’s it for Steve’s show notes; on to this week’s show.

Going in, it is interesting to watch Seth and I (in particular) wrestling with the issue of how to apply modern morality to a fantasy-themed police force, insofar as we don’t have any actual charges on Gord. Yeah, his sister’s a known criminal, and he may be indirectly involved if his sister is bankrolling his antiques fetish. But technically we don’t know he’s done anything wrong: in modern parlance, we don’t even have a WHIFF of probable cause on the guy. So it’s one thing to go ask Gord a few questions, but literally grabbing him and holding him in a cell to get his sister to come talk to us… that’s kinda like kidnapping, isn’t it? You can hand-wave it and just say “they didn’t have probable cause in the Dark Ages either” and I’m sure a lot of gaming groups do. But it’s also naïve to think that stuff like that might not still be happening in the real world, whether it’s parts of the US or in other countries. If the notion of the law snatching up someone’s relative to use as leverage is considered “the Dark Ages”… it’s not entirely clear that we’re not still there.

And this is why I felt like Paizo made the right call continuing to release this adventure path, even after the calls to cancel it, so close upon the real-world events regarding George Floyd. Taking a pause was a good call in the moment. Taking a second look at the content to make sure you weren’t glamorizing police excesses… totally a good call. But art and entertainment can illuminate and spark conversation and that can be constructive rather than destructive. Here we are talking about what constitutes justified detainment of civilians by law enforcement in between dice rolls to see if my made-up bird-person stabs stuff with his sword-cane. You don’t get that with backgammon.

So moral qualms aside, we’re gonna go grab Gord because that’s kinda what the story requires of us. Going into this encounter, I certainly expected we would face combat. I assumed either Gord’s sister would have assigned him some bodyguards, or the owner of the boat would turn out to be some sort of underworld tough… black-market antiques dealer or something. (Belloq from Raiders, perhaps?) Did not expect to have to fight a daemon, though.

The fight starts out tolerable at first… yeah, the daemon has greater mobility than we do, but it’s not that hard to hit, so we’re at least putting damage on it. But that fear effect really had the potential to alter the battlefield with two of us wasting multiple rounds running away and coming back, leaving Lo Mang and Gomez hung out to try. THAT could’ve gotten messy, but we caught some good luck on dice rolls and they were able to stay in the fight until Dougie and I returned.

But then I get turned aside again, as Basil notices Gord (presumably) trying to sneak away from the fight while invisible, in a boat. This left me with a quick decision to make: standard TTRPG logic suggests you never split the party, but we really HAVE to. If we leave the daemon to chase Gord, it’s either taking free shots at us while we chase him, or killing random dockworkers. If we let Gord run while we finish the daemon, it’s likely Gord gets away and this whole episode went for naught.

So I go after him. I’m a LITTLE worried a one-on-one encounter could get messy but then again, if this guy was a decent fighter, a) he’d probably be a more prominent member of his sister’s gang and b) he probably wouldn’t have felt a need to summon a daemon to cover for his escape. Also, at the risk of metagaming, we’ve had a few examples already of abstracted chase sequences, and this quickly began to feel like one of those.

So off we go, and it turns out I have the right skillset (including flight, to avoid ground-based obstacles) and luck (a natural 20) to end up capturing Gord. Now… full disclosure… I feel a little disappointed that I didn’t roleplay the encounter with the Cayden worshipers a little better. Hell, I PLAY a Cayden worshiper (Brixley) in our other game; I really should’ve just offered a free round to whoever captured Gord. Who at that point really WAS a wanted criminal, since… you know… setting a daemon loose on the docks is a crime and all.

With the daemon dealt with and Gord in custody, we retreat, but not to the Docks, but to Starwatch. We just got read chapter and verse about how corrupt the Docks district is and how they ignore everything that doesn’t directly impact commerce; we’re not holing up THERE with our prize prisoner. Better to retreat to relative safety and force Big Sis to come to us.

So OK… maybe the circumstances of his capture are a little suspect, but we’ve got Gord in custody and we’re safe back at the ranch. Next week, we either see if he himself can tell us anything or (even better) if holding him kicks over the rock his sister’s hiding under and we can get a sit-down with her. Hope you’ll be back here next week for that. In the meantime, 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.