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The Sideshow S2|25: Take a Look, It’s in a Book

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S2|25: Wonderous Feather Healing.

First things first: that’s right. We’re putting the Plaguestone band back together. I figure since that show includes three-fourths of this group (plus me), it’s more relevant to talk about here than in the Edgewatch column.

I don’t remember the exact genesis of the idea, though I know the first murmurings about doing a new show were a joking suggestion about doing an April Fool’s show with really goofy characters. (I was kicking around a pixie barbarian with anger management issues.) That didn’t really come together because it reached a point where we would’ve had to put the whole thing together on three days’ notice on a weekend where Steve had travel plans. But the idea of doing something else percolated for a little while, and over the course of another few weeks, coalesced around a return to the Plaguestone crew. I think from there, it was a question of Steve finding an adventure that would work and finding some time in the schedule. The story part I’ll leave for when the show starts airing, but the schedule part came together with Extinction Curse having to take a few weeks off anyway. Seemed like a good time to start recording.

I won’t say much about the show itself because I want most of it to be a surprise when it airs, but I’ll set the general expectation that it’ll be along the lines of a single adventure (30, 40 episodes maybe?) rather than another 6-book adventure path. When will it air? Not exactly sure… that’s probably more on Steve’s side… how fast we can put episodes in the can, how fast he can edit, is he going to bother with new artwork, and other logistical stuff like that.

Meanwhile, back in the world of Extinction Curse, we have a fairly straightforward combat, followed by a lore-gathering session in the Moonstone Temple’s library. Or at least what’s left of it after the xulgath caster sets off a fireball in the middle of it.

The first thing that jumped out at me about the combat is that it wasn’t that long ago that a babau was a spine-tingling threat; now, it’s basically a speed-bump. I suppose some of that comes from leveling up and being a little stronger, but also, part of it was being able to cut loose because it was the first fight of a new day and they had full resources. It seemed like Hap and Ateran, in particular, went right to their bigger guns early in the fight, including Ateran’s Enervation spell that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before.

I do find myself wondering a little bit about that fireball. Is there a chance the xulgath was trying to destroy evidence or was it just about putting as much damage on the party as possible? I think it’s the latter, if for no other reason than if there was a breadcrumb that was needed to progress in the story, I doubt the writers of the adventure path would let it be anything that would be easily destroyed. “Well… sorry, Books 3 through 6 are canceled because a trash mob destroyed the map! I guess the world’s going to end.” Also… it’s a xulgath… it’s probably arrogant and thinks it can kill any surface-dweller. It probably wouldn’t worry about destroying evidence because it thinks it would win anyway.

The combat isn’t really the big thing this week, though. The big fish here is Ateran’s research.

To summarize, even the own accounts say that yeah, Aroden took the stones from the under-dwellers. (I’ll hold back on using the word “stole” for now. Three sides to every story – two sides, and the truth, which is usually something in the middle.) He did leave ONE stone in the underworld, as his show of mercy, but he spread the other five out around the land and infused them with his own power, which is part of what makes the land thrive. The book also reveals a mountain sanctuary Aroden ran the show from. And in terms of driving the story from here, the party can reset the stones by gathering the reflections, going to the mountain temple, and forming Voltron. (The one with the lions, not the one with all the cars and trucks.)

My glib thought is that each side has a base, and there are towers spread out around the country, so we’ve walked into a RP-heavy League of Legends game. Darius top, Ateran mid, Hap and Riley bot lane, and Alhara jungling!

My other thought is that the xulgaths may have figured out a way to do the evil Bizarro version of that same process. Maybe if THEY get the aspects and go to the temple, they can corrupt the stones, or something like that. The fine details remain to be worked out, but it kinda works out to two sides pursuing the same MacGuffin with opposite goals for it if they get it.

I did think it was a nice roleplaying touch that Hap still wanted to use this library to look up information on her elemental ancestry while all this was going on. Ateran’s already on the case for saving the world; why not do your own side research while you have all these books at your disposal? Of course, as a natural caster rather than a “book-learning” caster, it’s not necessarily up her alley… and asking Darius to help is probably about as useful as asking Riley, but it’s the thought that counts. But in the end, she does find Alternate Planes For Dummies, so that’s something to build upon.

Then we have the spell scrolls. Spell immunity is kind of nice, but it’s the rare spells that intrigue me most because they’ve both got circus applications. First, we have favorable review, which forces people to say nice things about a performance. The trick there would be to find the RIGHT people to cast it on; I doubt you can cast it on enough Joe/Jane Citizens to singlehandedly get the crowd to go nuts, but does Golarion have Instagram influencers? The pyrotechnics spell seems like it would be circus-useful as well, because it adds “flair” (for lack of a better word) to an existing fire act… can adding fireworks to Hap’s act or the Flambonis squeeze a few extra points out?

I assume there’s still a room or two to be cleared since Uthadar is still whining about how the temple isn’t cleansed yet, but I admit I’m a little fuzzy on the map at this point. The map is available on the Discord channel, and I can piece together what SOME of the rooms are – I THINK the upper right corner of the map is the part they haven’t visited yet – but getting fully re-oriented would involve going back and re-listening to the entire Moonstone Temple arc focusing almost entirely on compass directions, which… let’s be honest, sounds like a drag. At some point, this is a blog, not a research paper; I’ll just be comfortable with my wrongness.

So next week, we get back to the fighting, and one of these times they’ll finally clear this place out. Maybe it’ll be next time, maybe it won’t, but I guess we’ll find out together. As always, feel free to drop by our Discord channel and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.