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The Bird’s Eye View S3|18: Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S3|18: Backstage at the Big Show.

I’m gonna start this week with the briefest of tabletop-adjacent reviews. You are hereby ordered… OK, more of a suggestion, maybe… to check out Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands if you’re also a video gamer. It’s a D&D/Skyrim-type game set inside the world of the Borderlands series (basically the premise is Borderlands characters playing a TTRPG to kill time after crashing their ship), and it’s a cheeky-but-affectionate send-up of all of our favorite TTRPG tropes. The only “bad” news is that it’s still ultimately a shooter with guns as the primary combat mechanism, but they managed to replicate most of the other TTRPG trappings, with magic filling the role that consumables might otherwise have played. It was enough fun that it ate up a good chunk of my weekend, so… my suggestion is to pick it up or at least watch a more complete review and see if it’s something you might be interested in. If nothing else, it’s far less frustrating than dying over and over in Elden Ring.

OK, that’s over with. On with the show.

I’m not going to go back and rehash last week’s battle too much more, except to mention one thing Steve touched on in his show notes. Flight. Steve mentioned that this battle could end up a lot different if we fought from the air, and… I should mention that I did consider it. Taking the fight vertical and plunking away with the bow from 50 feet in the air was certainly an option, but I rejected it for a few reasons.

First, this is going to be a single-day scenario, so I only get to use flight once. I have a general vibe that I want to save my flight for the final bomb encounter, especially if we get in a situation where emergency evac – ourselves, the bomb, victims — is involved. As frustrating as this fight is, it’s supposed to be non-lethal combat so let’s not waste one of our best hole cards.

Second, I’m not going to fully math out the numbers, but it’s iffy how effective it would’ve been. I get 5 minutes of flight, so… 50 rounds. Each round, I’d have to save one of my three actions just to stay in the air, so I’d have two actions to work with. Meaning two attacks that would do fairly minimal damage, or one Strategic Strike attack that might get precision damage if it hits, and probably only crits on a Nat-20. So, if the rest of the party starts falling, would I really be able to grind down four of them all by myself? And that’s the best case, assuming they don’t have any attacks that work at range. Or that they wouldn’t be clever enough to threaten to kill the rest of the party if I didn’t come down and fight. If they’re smart, they might also be ruthless too.

Also, Steve did give us that warning about playing to the crowd, and I figured flying up high and shooting arrows would’ve come across as cowardly and made for poor spectacle. I don’t know HOW losing the crowd might have hurt us, but I didn’t want to take the chance.

But whatever. What’s done is done. We lost, but it’s only a temporary inconvenience and a mild bruising of our collective pride. Time to get back to the meat-and-potatoes of our investigation.

I should mention, you’ll notice that some of my actions carry the assumption that we’re dealing with an airborne release. I have no special inside knowledge here, it just seems logical given the physics of the thing. If you set off a bomb that worked based on direct contact or ingestion, it would only affect the small number of people fairly close to the detonation, so I assume the general mechanism is to make it airborne to infect as many people as possible. So when I’m looking for places to get up high and let the wind carry it, it’s not like I cheated and read ahead in the adventure; it’s just a product of growing up in post-9/11 world where speculating about “dirty bombs” became dinner-table conversation for a few months there.

OK, that got a little dark there.

So we wander around… not having a lot of luck at first… until we get a possible sighting over at the animal pens. We arrive on the scene, and my first impression is “OK, something’s gonna break out of a cage and we’re going to have to fight some of these”. But fortunately that doesn’t happen.

What DOES happen is a big pile of poop. Because of course it does. It’s more evident on the circus side where they deal with animals more regularly, but this show has a track record: if Steve can make us interact with poop in some way, he will. This time, Gomez draws the short straw and has to help the head game-keeper dig through a bunch of dung to help her. But the payoff is a further lead: that Franca likes to hang out with a bunch of lizardfolk gladiators.

So we go look for those dudes. There’s another “OK, these cages are going to bust open” interaction with the trollhounds, but it’s another false alarm, and Basil finds a sorta-secret door that leads into the lower infrastructure of the stadium. And a Norgerber mark to give us a bread-crumb that we’re on the right trail. (I suppose that also firms up the theory that Franca is in league with them and not some rando who happened to stumble on the device.)

So we explore what amounts to the prehistoric locker rooms. For a long time there was little of note, though the various references to running water and hydraulics made me briefly consider that the device was going to involve a water-based release. But nope… it’s just part of the ambience; the pipes are old and out of service. Finally we stumble on a room with a standing pool of water, with a ring in the center. John briefly forgets he’s not playing Mister Peepers anymore and charges out into the middle of the room, and the proximity alarm goes off. Lizardfolk off the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow.

And 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.