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The Sideshow S1|28: Killer Clown from Outer Space

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S1|28: Dinosaur Fort.

Oh sure, Steve. Mess with my rhythm. Put all the best stuff in the last 10 minutes of the episode. BE THAT WAY.

That’s OK. I’m going to roll with it and discuss the end of the episode first and then go back to the beginning later.

Let’s start with the creation of the CHDRR Multiverse since I had a very small supporting part to play in that. So I guess this also serves as a bit of a confession: my listener experience was not 100% pure, and this on one occasion, I had some inside information. Though in my defense, this happened so long ago that I had honestly forgotten about it until now.

Way back in the Pre-COVID Beforetimes, when Three-Ring Adventure was either just starting or perhaps even before it started recording, Steve told me there would eventually be a construct member the circus serving as a laborer and handyman, and asked me to come up with a CHDRR-esque acronym for it. The ends were easy: “Clockwork” fell right into place as the “technology” word (thanks, steampunk genre!) and one of the multiple definitions of “Roustabout” is literally “a circus or fairground laborer”. (Also the title of a 1964 Elvis movie.) So I had the concept of “technological laborer” locked in pretty quickly. From there, it was just a matter of filling in the middle bits. Though OK… I cheated and reused “Dynamic” for the D-word.

So yes, Three-Ring Adventure now has its own CHDRR, and I helped supply its name. Having said that, now I’m back to a fresh slate like the rest of you and I’m curious to see what CHDRR is here to do. Will it be beating up drunks during the shows? Is it possibly going to be a source for crafting requests? Could they even find a way to use it in the act? I find myself curious.

But admittedly, nowhere near as curious as I am to see how the addition of Jellico Bounce-Bounce changes the dynamic of the circus show. Now look… one could make the case that a town that’s already been traumatized by marauding wild animals and psychotic druids probably doesn’t need a “dark, edgy” clown act, but from the Professor’s standpoint if you can steal an act from your closest competitor to help grow the show… why wouldn’t you? So Alhara will be sleeping with a dagger under her pillow and one eye open for the foreseeable future… you wanna succeed in this business you gotta have a thick skin!

Also, I don’t know if Steve’s voice for Jellico is an overt homage to Mark Hamill or just one of Bob Ross’ Happy Little Accidents, but I fully support it either way. Now if they hire a female clown assistant who keeps calling him “Mister J.”, that might be a little too on the nose. Though I also volunteer to play said female assistant. And if hired, I fully intend to call Ateran “Bats” at every opportunity. (Bateran?)

I also like the idea that their circus is going to kick off a potential holy war based on an idle promise they made two months ago. “Yeah yeah, we’ll do a show to help you rebuild.” So now they’re all set to do an Abadar-themed show with a Gozreh worshiper as their special invited guest, right after that Gozreh worshipper’s former buddies went crazy and attacked the town. THIS CAN’T POSSIBLY END POORLY. Stay tuned for the red-band version of the next episode where Jellico Bounce-Bounce practices his knife skills on poor Harlock.

Meanwhile, all of that kind of overshadowed the fact that our intrepid adventurers reached Level 4! I think the most interesting thing here was the renewed focus on healing as both Darius and Ateran put resources into the healing arts – Darius’ skills will be more for reducing after-battle downtime; Ateran’s healing will help more in combat. I felt a little bad for Vanessa that Alhara had to spend Level 4 cleaning up the differences between the playtest and the final release version of her character, but at the end of the day, she’s still roughly where she planned to be with Alhara, so no real harm done I guess. Just felt like opening presents when you already knew what they were going to be. And Hap… a lot of moving parts and swapping spells, so it’s hard to see how it’ll play out until we start fighting again.

Speaking of which… I guess it’s not the end of Book 1 yet, but if it’s any consolation, we’re gonna get some freakin’ DINOSAURS before it’s all over. It’s kinda funny to think how that dynamic works – in a fantasy setting, dinosaurs barely register as interesting compared to, say, dragons. When you’ve got a giant flying lion with an eagle’s head and wings, a big lizard OUGHT to be No Big Deal. But in the real world, a dinosaur is probably the closest thing we can imagine to a fantasy creature, so it’s almost hard-wired that we still react with that same level of childish wonder, even back in the game world. (I was at that PaizoCon where they announced dinosaur form as an “oh look here’s a sample spell” part of Second Edition, and Steve’s right… when they put the page up on the projector, the crowd went NUTS.)

I have to admit I didn’t totally follow Harlock’s lore dump, but it sounds like some of the town’s recent woes are tied to the corruption of special stones that led to prosperous harvests, mild weather, and other druid-y things. And the investigation of that is going to lead to a community of xulgaths (formerly known as troglodytes), who buddy around with dinos the way humans integrate dogs and farm animals into our lives. So our party of adventurers is going to head off to their lair as soon as they finish doing their circus performance.

And that’s basically where we’ll pick it up next week. On one hand, going by dice math, the show should be better than ever before now that the party is another level higher; on the other hand, there’s all sorts of weird energy in the air between the addition of the killer clown and the awkward religious overtones. So I guess we’ll meet back here next week and see how it goes. As always, feel free to drop by our Discord channel or other social media and let us know what you think of the show. THIS week, I’ll also throw in an invitation to check out the Episode Zero of our Agents of Edgewatch show that’s launching… well… today. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.