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The Sideshow S2|36: A Wheely Bad Time

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S2|36: Wheel of Misfortune.

I’m going to start this week’s column with confession time. In a fit of silliness while listening to this episode, SOMEONE… I won’t mention who… went and registered the domain name for “”. You know… just in case we ever need some nefarious “RFC After Dark” shadow site. Or, more realistically, just for the sheer joy of forcing such a domain name to exist in the world. “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

(Though, note to self: set up a Siri reminder for early August of 2022 to cancel the auto-renewal. Five bucks for a sophomoric joke is fine; $20 to renew it starts to get a little skeevy and probably lands me on some sort of watch list.)

So we still don’t QUITE get to the boss encounter this week, but we’re making progress. I’m not meaning to fixate on Mistress Dusklight SO much, but I REALLY want to see her get what she deserves. I’m a little surprised at how invested I am, honestly. I know on some gaming level it’s just “OK, she’s the final boss encounter for this book”, but some combination of Steve (since I know he ad-libbed some things) and the writers have made her a genuinely horrible person and a solid adversary for this story.

This week, though, it’s the WHEEL OF DOOM. It’s a pain-in-the-ass hazard that basically just throws out a different magical effect every round. Nothing TOO heinous, but a giant waste of both time and resources. On the other hand, it’s a wonderful chance to roleplay… particularly for Vanessa, who first got struck with “incoherent babbling” and then by being made aggressively hostile. Now, this is one of those times where I appreciate this show and acknowledge they bring something different to the table than we do. For us Edgewatch folks, it’s all rules – OK, that’s the status effect, -1 to hit, moving on. But acting it out, and interacting with other characters in that altered state proved to be a lot of fun.

Though I have to admit: there were times where it felt like a FINE line between roleplaying and using the excuse of the curse to unpack some shit. Particularly as it pertains to Alhara charging into rooms and getting smacked around by people. Some of that banter felt like Vanessa getting shit off her chest. Didn’t expect her to get so salty with Ateran, though. They’re doing their job and keeping those heals coming; it’s not their fault the dice rolls suck.

One thing that struck me is that this is the first week I really FELT the knowledge gap between me and the Patreons who watch live. I don’t listen to the shows live – mostly, I want to preserve the pristine listener experience, but also, Sunday nights are usually my free night to do other stuff. And usually, I’m able to ignore the “extra” Patreon chat. But this week, I saw a few people giddy with excitement that we had reached the Wheel of Death, and I’m sitting here in my cluelessness wondering why. Since I’m a player in all the other games, I’m used to being the one who knows things, not the one who has to wonder. I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS.

The other that struck me… and let me preface by saying that I KNOW it might be a stupid idea… is why didn’t they make more of an effort to attack the wheel itself. I think the answer is it’s probably got all sorts of hardness and magic resistance and would be a waste of time, but had I been in that scenario, I would’ve wasted a round of attacks trying it out. It was noticeable enough that I found myself yelling JUST HIT THE WHEEL at one point. Even magic stuff breaks if you hit it hard enough.

So our team eventually overcomes the wheel. Sorta. More like they decide to stop messing with it and go a different way, through the main tent. And that leads to our second main encounter of the session, as we meet Evora and Gigi.

Not to be too jaded, but the minute Steve said Evora was a new hire the gang didn’t know, I assumed that meant there was a chance to peel her away as a new performer. You figure the only ones who are going down with the Dusklight ship are the lifers; most people would either be happy to be rid of her, or at least would just see which way the wind was blowing and join with the up-and-comers. So despite Evora’s tough talk when they first entered the tent, I strongly suspected this wasn’t going to make it to combat.

Which is kind of a shame, because it would’ve been interesting to see Darius and Evora square off in hot monk-on-monk action. DAMN IT, NOW MY MIND IS IN THE GUTTER TOO. I blame Rob T. for all his jokes about “mountin’ stance” and “sparring and sparring”. The good news is that if y’all start writing creepy fanfics, we now have a place to put them –!

I also went on a bit of a journey when it came to Gigi the mammoth. At first, I was actually getting annoyed at the gushing praise from our party members. IF YOU LIKE THE MAMMOTH SO MUCH, GET A GODDAMN ROOM. I think when Hap speculated about her fire powers igniting the mammoth fur, I mentally started to make a joke about the rack of mastodon ribs from the credits of The Flintstones. But then I looked at the artwork, and OK… it’s legitimately adorable. If you’re going to have a mammoth act in your circus, OF COURSE she should have little pink bows in her mammoth fur. THIS IS THE WAY.

So… crisis defused, and the Circus of Wayward Wonders has added TWO new performers (maybe three if the sprite comes along with the pegasus) to the mix. I’m even starting to wonder if this is all prelude for leaving the circus motif behind in Books 3-6 and having our characters just become straight-up adventurers the rest of the way. Do a thing where “with all these new acts, and Papa Varus running the show, we can make do without you… go save the world.” I guess we’ll see about that further down the road.

So after adding Evora and stealing some spotlights, our gang heads toward the final confrontation… but make one last stop along the way: the oubliette. It turns out it’s actually an attraction, so presumably whatever’s in there will be something horrible and shocking. Predictions (in no particular order):

  1. Mistress Dusklight somehow recaptured Kalkek.
  2. She threw Papa Varus in there.
  3. More tentacles.

I guess we’ll find out which one it is 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 time.