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Episode 1906: Entitled Goose Claim

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In games where you can be surprised by sudden combat, and end up at a temporary disadvantage if unprepared, naturally the players want to be prepared at all times. They'll open an innocent looking door prepared for combat. They'll walk around a corner prepared for combat. They'll sit down for a campfire meal prepared for combat.

All this constant wariness takes a mental toll. If players insist in being "ready" for combat at all times, you can assess concentration penalties for any other activities, such as casting spells, riding horses, or walking around without stumbling into lamp posts.

This can backfire slightly when the players insist they were totally prepared for combat with a lamp post.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

These thugs look familiar. Almost like a group of people we've seen before. And they were also in a surprising situation. I wonder if the Sand People will get mentioned next comic.

Being prepared for combat is great and all, but that's not quite the same thing as being ready for an incoming attack. Ready for combat could mean you expect to get into a fight very soon with someone or something. Ready for an incoming attack would be different as you'd know where an attack was coming from. Pete should really know the difference here, and probably put more points into Notice next time.

Geese are no joke if they decide to attack you, but they're not that bad really. At least from the gaggles I've encountered while walking, they prefer to get out of the way. The few that don't are easily encouraged to do so after some arm waving and shouting. It would be different if there were nests nearby the paths of course, but most animals are dangerous when their young are in danger.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

Is this a case of Rey getting ready for battle with the happabore, only to find herself in combat with kidnappers? And is the constantly broken antenna going to be an ongoing running gag for the entire movie?

Geese. Geese. Do not underestimate geese. Especially Australian geese. Everything is nastier Down Under. :-)

As a GM, you can always use some sort of fresh encounter with unexpected combat to keep your players engaged. Whether this is a good thing or not is a different question. Too much combat can be considered overdoing things. In some sense, this is where the "only one encounter while traveling from place to place" rule comes from. You want to make your game more about where you are going, then what you have to go through on the way to where you are going. Sir Poley has wonderful blog articles on this topic, see parts 1, part 2, and part 3.

In this case, the "what you are going through" actually seems to be what the game is about, so this is probably the equivalent of a scripted encounter. At least, as much as anything can be scripted with this group of players. I mean, other than Jim's eventual death. Even if you don't know how, you know it's coming.

So what if someone sicced a gaggle of geese on the Spanish Inquisition? (You didn't expect that in this commentary, did you?)

Possible title: Are they inquisitive Spaniards?

Transcript

GM: <roll> Suddenly a thug throws a sack over BB-8 and another grabs Rey!
BB-8: Oy! Not on the antenna!
Rey: Hey, what?!
GM: You were taken by surprise.
GM: And by the shoulder.
Rey: I just said I was preparing for combat!
GM: Against what? You don’t know if you’re even in the same location.
Rey: Hmm. That is technically true...
GM: Here’s the battle layout.
Rey: We are in the same location! I was definitely prepared for combat!
GM: ... With a farm animal.
BB-8: I just got that fixed!
Rey: Have you ever tangled with a goose? My guard’s up all the time.
GM: Uh-huh.
Rey: Always. Expect. Geese.


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Published: Sunday, 18 October, 2020; 02:11:18 PDT.
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