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The Bird’s Eye View S3|22: Catch Me If You Can

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S3|22: Flurry of Misses.

We have a lot to unpack this week, but first, the absolute briefest of movie reviews.

Everything Everywhere All At Once. Go see it. That’s the review. (Among other reasons, because it’s really hard to review without spoilers.)

As we get into the action of this week’s episode, you can really sense the tone shift a new week brings – both for the party as a whole, and for me in particular. It’s almost like one of those Snickers commercials: toward the end of the previous session, I was ready to throw my computer out a window. This week, I’m much more my normal mostly-unflappable self.

Part of it was just starting fresh in a new week, but part of it was seeing the tactics start to come together. The thing is, last week, I had reached the conclusion that our melees (Dougie and Lo Mang) needed to start grappling to change the dynamics of the fight, but they hadn’t gotten there yet. And I didn’t want to come right out and TELL them to do that, because being told what to do is one of my pet peeves. As we get into this session, they’re finally starting to put it into effect and it’s starting to feel like progress.

In an unexpected turn of events, Gomez gets in on the action as well, summoning his arboreal reaper, which also goes after her Fortitude saves. If you find a weak spot, might as well make the most of it: Franca can dodge everything we throw at her, but she’s just not THAT strong, and the dice finally start to lock in on that advantage. So the reaper can drain her vitality every few rounds, and that proves to be remarkably effective for a summoned creature. PROGRESS IS BEING MADE.

The thing with the staff was a little weird. It almost feels like Steve wanted to give us some of the encounter loot so that we could use it against Franca, but then realized you can’t use staffs without attuning them first, so a staff drop would be useless in this fight anyway. Skipping ahead to the end, it does turn out to be the next level of fire staff, which was on my purchase list anyway, so that’s nice. But for this fight and the upcoming boss battle… we missed our chance.

So the fight continues on for a while, with the balance of things slowly shifting in our favor. At first, we’re landing the grapples but not the damage, which at least starts to restrict her offensive options a bit because she can’t do anything that involves movement. Once we’re landing grapples AND damage, the path to victory starts to emerge out of this mess… it just takes a little while to get there.

And then finally… she’s down. After a little bit of wound-licking, we do a brief interrogation, and she’s more than happy to tell us where the bomb is. I wasn’t surprised she didn’t have it on her, but I assumed it might be a search or chase mechanic to find it before it went off. CUT THE BLUE WIRE! But no. It’s actually much worse than that. Oggvurm, the gladiator champion is working with her, and has the device. So if we want it, we’ll have to (as the saying goes) pry it from his cold dead fingers.

So yeah, we’ve got one more fight in front of us, and it’s against someone who feels like he’s going to be even more powerful than Franca. I mean… I don’t have his statblock in front of me, but come on. A gladiator champion? That’s not going to be some Level 10 you roll over in three rounds.

And that’s why – let’s take a little bit of a swim in the deeper waters – I decided to put the Evil Nasty Poison in my sword cane.

We had a discussion about this on our Discord channel. Some people offered me the “out” that the badge would convert it to non-lethal damage, but I wasn’t even thinking about that. I’m willing to assume my actions were taken with the full knowledge that it could be lethal.

I’ll be the first to admit it’s a kind of morally ambiguous move, and I will say I’m a little disappointed my tone was so cavalier at the time. I kinda wish I wasn’t so happy-go-lucky about committing a potential war crime of my own in trying to stop this guy.

However, here’s my argument in favor of doing it.

The first argument is a little meta-gamey – I highly suspected the poison I had (DC 19 cytillesh oil) would’ve basically been useless against a boss-level foe. Basil might not know the specific numbers, but I feel like he’d know his tools well enough to realize that cytillesh oil wouldn’t be enough to bring this guy down. And the second related argument is that equipping it is not the same as using it; at this point, I’m just giving myself options in a situation where we’re already running low on resources. I don’t want to decide halfway through the fight that I need the bigger guns and try to put the poison in my cane up while this guy is actively whomping on me. Now, it’s ready to go, even if I get a bout of conscience and never use it.

And OK, it EVEN popped into my head that if there’s an antidote to this stuff, maybe us having it and using it as weapon might be a way to tease that out a bit. Maybe he’s not afraid of the poison when he’s in control of how it’s released, but maybe if he knows WE have some of it, that changes his tune.

But I think the big thing is exigent circumstances. This guy is going to try and set off a catastrophic event that will kill hundreds or even thousands of people. To my way of thinking, we’re in “you stop him, HOWEVER you have to do it” territory. The simple fact is the poison has a better chance of landing, and if it does, it’ll do some significant damage. So this one time, I’m telling the badge to shut it and going with the morally-gray choice. At the risk of being overly serious about a game, if they took Basil’s badge for this, he could live with it.

But as we’re summoned forth to the fight, I’m almost immediately realizing it may not get reach that point anyway. As we arrive back in the arena, we see a few things that ALL favor me hanging back and plonking with the bow anyway. First, the battlefield is a wide open area with clear sightlines. Second, Oggvurm has bodyguards, so it may be best to stay out of flanking situations. Lastly, and probably most importantly, it turns out the device is pumping out clouds of poison in aerosol form. SOMEONE will probably have to enter melee range at some point, but… “Asps. Very dangerous. You go first”. Add all of that together, and that poison may stay in its cane anyway if I never get close enough to use it.

So the table is set, next week we’ll see if we can save the city of Absalom yet again. 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.