The Sideshow S3|08: Think Outside the Bag - Roll For Combat

You can download the Battlezoo Bestiary PDF NOW and preorder the hardcover book at!

The Sideshow S3|08: Think Outside the Bag

Jason recaps the events from Three Ring Adventure S3|08: Nobody Expects the Alhara Inquisition!

Sorry, dear readers… a little late this week. I was a little bit under the weather earlier in the week and have been playing catch-up ever since, while also still operating at about 85 percent.

This week, we offer our salute to unorthodox tactics on Roll For Combat, as our team pulls all sorts of interesting tricks out of their collective hat, starting with the continuing bag of holding exploits from last week.

It’s funny… on at least two occasions, Loren asked Steve if he wanted to get into it about the bag of holding. She didn’t get a chance to, but I have a few questions.

First… how big is the aperture of a bag of holding? Are we talking coin purse or potato sack here? I know the extra-dimensional space on the INSIDE is big enough to accommodate a humanoid but is the opening big enough to stuff said humanoid in there in the first place? Or is this going to be like trying on skinny jeans where Darius gets in up to his meaty thighs and gets stuck? This seems to have been somewhat glossed over.

Also, what’s the experience like being inside an extra-dimensional space? OK, we’ve established there’s air in there, so a character won’t die, but that’s a pretty low bar. What about the mental strain of being inside a really freaky sensory-deprivation tank?

For a real-world example, there’s an anechoic chamber at a place called Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota. It’s a room that has so much sound-deadening material that the ambient room noise measures negative decibels. It’s so quiet you can hear your own heartbeat. It’s been reported that the longest anyone’s ever been able to stay in it was 45 minutes, and some people LITERALLY have trouble remaining standing because the lack of noise is so disorienting.

And that’s just sound deprivation. With the bag of holding, there’s no light, unless you brought it in with you. No ambient noise. Even if you have light, there may not be any other objects to look at or judge distances against. Heck, you may not even be experiencing gravity or having any surfaces to rest against… you may just be floating there. I feel like it might be – excuse my French – a bit of a mind-fuck, and the realist in me would want the players to make a saving throw that they don’t get REALLY disoriented. (Or, given this show’s fascination with the scatological humor… poop themselves.)

But whatever. Our heroes aren’t going to be in there that long, so we’ll hand-wave it. So we begin Attack Pattern Delta, and things start to go awry almost immediately.

First, we have Alhara coming out of the bag earlier than everyone else, thereby exposing herself as the only target for attacks for the majority of the first round. The early bird gets… a face full of acid and javelins, apparently.

And then one of the xulgaths gets a lucky shot in and knocks Hap out of the sky.

For a second I actually thought Hap was in serious trouble. But two things. First, fall damage, in general, isn’t THAT bad in Second Edition: half the distance fallen over 5 feet. So a 30 foot fall is only 15 damage, which is really just an extra attack’s worth. Second, Hap has a feat that lets her take an extra 20 feet off the top, so for her purposes, it was a much more modest 10-15 foot fall. So… Hap stubs her toe and we move on.

Just as a thought exercise: if you think about it, to die IMMEDIATELY in a fall, you’d have to fall (roughly) 4 times your hit points in distance. You need to get twice your total hit points to trigger the massive damage death rules, so to get twice your total hit points, you’d have to fall four times your total hit points in distance. However, I suppose it wouldn’t have to be an insta-kill; you could fall enough to go below zero and just not stabilize in time. So OK.. TWO times your hit points could kill you; FOUR times your hit points automatically would. Moral of the story? Stay away from 200-300’ cliffs, kids.

(Sorry… how high are these aeon towers again?)

After the early hiccups, the team regroups and we come to the unsung hero of the episode, wall of fire. Wall of fire is shaping up to be a rockstar. In our Edgewatch campaign, Gomez makes a lot of use of flaming sphere, but it’s really kinda wimpy because it only does damage on the caster’s turn. So the one thing you’d really LIKE it to do – restrict battlefield movement – it doesn’t really do.

But wall of fire? Oh does it ever restrict movement. Full damage if you go through it at all. AND as an added cherry on top, concealment from one side to the other, which saved Ateran’s bacon on at least one occurrence already. (But ohbytheway, no concealment for Hap. Genie-kin powers… ACTIVATE!)

And then we get to the best part ever: Darius throwing xulgaths THROUGH the wall of fire, off the platform. I have to admit I had the biggest smile ever while listening to this. First, there’s just the physical imagery of Darius picking up a xulgath and just tossing it 30-ish feet; I assume the feat name “Whirling Throw” implies it’s like an Olympic hammer toss where Darius spins around a few times before launch. So it’s already a hilarious picture. But then I also love it when you get stacking damage from multiple sources – oh here’s 4d6 from this, and another 3d6, and another 3d8 because screw you, that’s why.  It’s like hitting up the toppings bar at a frozen yogurt place: “you want Reese’s Pieces too… screw it, let’s have some Reese’s Pieces!”.

For the record, in a transparent attempt to appeal to a younger demographic, this technique will now be known as “Darius’ Yeets Of Strength”. That’s right, I speak fluent Young People.

Now, we’re having fun and all, but the bad news is this is all barely scratching the surface. There are 10 xulgaths, and they’ve each got a lot of hit points. Hap managed to fire off a fireball that did a net 200+ points of damage, and it’s still only kinda scratched the surface. So although we’ve had a little fun at the xulgaths’ expense, it’s still a touch-and-go question who’s actually going to win this fight.

And that’s where we’ll pick it up next week, with the conclusion of the big brawl. 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.