Page 1027 - The Enigma Lode

17th Feb 2018, 6:00 AM
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The Enigma Lode
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 17th Feb 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
I'm not the world's biggest fan of the "chessmaster" interpretation of Celestia's character, but I'm 100% on-board for "opportunistic and more than a little devious."


Clifford Snow 17th Feb 2018, 6:20 AM edit delete reply
Who else wants to guess she wants to turn the Thieves' Guild into her own spy network, with Rarity at the head?
DeS_Tructive 17th Feb 2018, 6:57 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, I'm not taking that bet :P
Destrustor 17th Feb 2018, 8:05 AM edit delete reply
She might just be happy about all the wonderful blackmail she just gathered. She's set for at least a few more decades now.
Space Jawa 17th Feb 2018, 8:26 AM edit delete reply
Celestia hijacking the Thieves Guild for her own (hopefully far more benevolent) purposes I was going to guess.

Setting up Rarity as the new head of the Thieves Guild, on the other hand, that I had not considered.
Digo 17th Feb 2018, 12:20 PM edit delete reply
As long as the guild gets paid, they probably wouldn't have an issue. Dunno how good the loyalty rating will be.
Hariman 17th Feb 2018, 3:32 PM edit delete reply
Digo: Plus, most of the members won't know who the real leader is.

Only Isabeau, Garrett, and Imoen (I think) will know who used to be the leader, and they probably won't be hard to convince.

Heck, Garrett will probably be happy for the change, and the other two probably won't take much convincing.

Also, this opens the option of Rarity's boutiques being cover for the Thieves' Guild spy stations and approved smuggling.
Winged Cat 17th Feb 2018, 1:43 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
The players shatter the GM's plot, and then walk right into a plot that writes itself. What better justice?
Jennifer 17th Feb 2018, 3:05 PM edit delete reply
That's what I like to do when I can. The players failed miserably? Take them prisoner; now they can escape, be interrogated or given an out by the guards. They succeeded and wrecked the campaign? What will be the result in the campaign world? They killed the Big Bad? Nature abhors a vacuum, and there are probably many NPCs itching for a piece of his pie... or ready to go after the heroes to collect his debts.
Digo Dragon 19th Feb 2018, 8:25 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
More like stepping barefoot on the shards of the old plot. ;)
You know... 17th Feb 2018, 2:36 PM edit delete reply
And that is how Celestia recruited secret agent Sweetie Drops (A.K.A Bon Bon)
Hariman 17th Feb 2018, 3:26 PM edit delete reply
I think Like na would have time to do that, and could help Rarity manage the Thieves' Guild's transformation into a spy network/crime limiting tool.
Hariman 17th Feb 2018, 5:45 PM edit delete reply
Luna, not like na
The Old One 17th Feb 2018, 3:36 PM edit delete reply
I'd wager Luna gets the nod. She works the night shift anyway, so she's well equipped to deal with folks who are noted night owls to begin with.

Also, she's "not Rarity" so the party can keep cheerfully plugging along without undue "complication"
offroader 17th Feb 2018, 4:00 PM edit delete reply
Yeh Rarity could work Thieves Guild, but managing spy network... I don't think so.
BackSet 17th Feb 2018, 6:59 AM edit delete reply
Well of course she's not. Your the adventurers. It's your job to do all the work.
ANW 17th Feb 2018, 7:15 AM edit delete reply
Story time
Have you ever had to pull someone of the group off to the side and have a little one on one talk?
loyalChaos 17th Feb 2018, 8:03 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, I am not the greatest at making combat encounters. I try to make them entertaining, but not too hard. Unfortunately, one of my players made a very, very good fighting character, and always just steamrolled my fights. It got to a point where I just sat down with her and was like... 'Look, I cnt build entertaining fights for this character. Lets just... Restart. You dont seem to be having fun when you fight my shitty encounters, and I am not having any fun designing them.'
Anvildude 17th Feb 2018, 11:31 AM edit delete reply
Another option would have been to create a Nemesis for their character. A recurring baddy that's designed specifically to counter their proficiencies, at least enough to keep the uber-fighter occupied.

And that could be entertaining of itself, depending on the behaviour and attitude of the Nemesis.
Teatime42 17th Feb 2018, 11:22 AM edit delete reply
With every character I make I remind the gm that they only need to talk to me to have me rebuild it if there's too issues with it.

Props loyalchaos, for knowing your limits, and working with the player causing you issues. Too few gms do that.
Guest 17th Feb 2018, 9:42 AM edit delete reply
i mean, she's got over a millennium of experience and the time to wait out plans that take generations if necessary. It would be weird if she didn't play at least a little chess.
Guest 17th Feb 2018, 10:38 AM edit delete reply
wait if the desk was invisible... then how...
Teatime42 17th Feb 2018, 11:18 AM edit delete reply
The papers on top weren't, in hindsight not the best design decision.
Teatime42 17th Feb 2018, 11:24 AM edit delete reply

She found it with her shins, middle of an empty room was maybe not the best location.

(Honestly though, I bet she has constant truesight of some variation, wait, changlings, nvm, she doesn't XD)
Striker2054 17th Feb 2018, 12:05 PM edit delete reply
Plot Convenient True sight. Only on when the writers need it.
Digo 17th Feb 2018, 12:18 PM edit delete reply
Screw Truesight, I like the shins of furniture finding theory and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. :D
Winged Cat 17th Feb 2018, 1:47 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Yeah! She's laughing to conceal the pain!

Or, "I'm giddy because of all the painkillers I took because of exactly how I found the Invisible Desk. I figured I should check his office, but I didn't imagine it would be out in the open."
Hariman 17th Feb 2018, 3:34 PM edit delete reply
The image of Celestia barking her shins and falling over the desk is hilarious.
ANW 17th Feb 2018, 1:46 PM edit delete reply
Maybe the desk could only be assessed with Blueblood's magic.
She knew where it was, but couldn't get into it without knowing who he was.
When she found out, she copied his aura.
Allowing her to get the documents she was searching for.

What do you guys think about my theory?
BackSet 17th Feb 2018, 2:06 PM edit delete reply
Are we sure it wasn't just a figure of speech and not an actual invisible desk?
Digo Dragon 19th Feb 2018, 8:28 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
They're playing in a setting of magical pastel ponies. Invisible desks sound like a real marketing strategy. :D
Striker 2054 17th Feb 2018, 12:04 PM edit delete reply
Shadow Broker!
offroader 17th Feb 2018, 12:23 PM edit delete reply
Oh no. You think Liara managed to spread her influence to DnD Equstria. That's scary.
Hariman 17th Feb 2018, 4:09 PM edit delete reply
Someone needs to commission a drawing of Rarity and Liara sharing a brohoof/brofist.
Dragonflight 18th Feb 2018, 7:00 PM edit delete reply
Better yet, Liara as a pony, checking herself out in front of a mirror while asking Rarity how the assimilation of the Thieves' Guild is going, and wow how she *loves* her new look...

With Rarity mentioning that it's *so* much easier with VI support and Liara's skills. Oh, and she has a lovely idea for an evening dress which will go *perfectly* with Liara's new look.
Cliff Robotnik 17th Feb 2018, 3:52 PM edit delete reply
So instead of a Chessmaster, she's a Master of Xanatos Speed Chess? :P
offroader 17th Feb 2018, 3:57 PM edit delete reply
Nah. Probably more like Xanatos Slow Chess. She's immortal alicorn. Any problem she encounters will be solved sooner or later. She just needs to wait enough. In this case she probably just struck the target of opportunity.
offroader 17th Feb 2018, 4:05 PM edit delete reply
Just a thought if comics is going to follow timeline of the show then next chapter is going to start with Twilight doing EPIC CRITICAL FAILURE on Epic level spell reawakening the Spirit of Chaos that Luna and Celestia saved the world from. (strips 797-801)
Hariman 17th Feb 2018, 9:36 PM edit delete reply
Nah. Discord's release will happen after a slow buildup of disharmony, probably triggered by something small at the end.

Or maybe one too many other Villains will cause enough chaos to set him free.

I wonder how Newbiespud will adapt the Discord arcs.
offroader 18th Feb 2018, 1:17 AM edit delete reply
Well that's boring. But possible.
Hariman 18th Feb 2018, 2:22 AM edit delete reply
I'm sure Spud will find a way to surprise and entertain us. ;)

My guesses are just that. Guesses.

So... We might get a much more chaotic Discord than before, or we might get a swerve almost no one expected.
Solitary Performance 17th Feb 2018, 9:25 PM edit delete reply
This strip and the comments on it reminds me that my normal home city setup for a game tends to have my LG halfling thief/rogue in charge of a more benevolent thieves' guild. Sure, shady stuff happens, but you have most everything above-board and in the graces of town's high level patrons (Sorc/Dragon Disciple and Paladin/Monk), or else you risk not doing business in town. (Those two patrons are also my characters from past games)
Archone 18th Feb 2018, 2:35 AM edit delete reply
Perhaps her plan is to do... nothing. And make it clear that she's doing nothing. "Just walk away. We'll all forget ANY of this happened. You were never thieves, you were never in a guild, I never found the proof. Just... walk away, and live the rest of your lives as law abiding ponies..."
Hariman 18th Feb 2018, 5:26 PM edit delete reply
I think it's more fun seeing a future Sassy Saddles as a confused "former" thief, having to run a dress shop with Rarity, to go "legit".
Fire Flyer 18th Feb 2018, 10:14 AM edit delete reply
*Considers Spud's interpretation* ...Okay, yeah, I see what you mean.
Truthkeeper 19th Feb 2018, 2:06 AM edit delete reply
Season 1 pit the epic boss fight in the premier, it made sense for the finale to be an epic social challenge.
Guest 19th Feb 2018, 3:01 AM edit delete reply
I agree, Celestia's plans have too many points of failure to be a real chessmaster. Like, how could she be sure Twilight would figure out the Elements in time to stop NM? How did she plan for the friendship lesson letters to snap Twi out of discording when that whole scenario wasn't planned in the first place? And if she really thought Flutters could leash Discord, would she really have put so many contingencies in place in case it didn't work? She doesn't plan ahead, she backplans; she's hoping for one particular outcome, then stuffs in as many failsafes as she can so the loss isn't too catastrophic in case it doesn't work out.

I'll buy opportunistic though, just not that she plans ahead. Random schoolkid has improbable power levels, ends up with a talent for magic, full stop? Divert some time and effort into that one and see what comes of it. With some luck, you get a shiny new court mage and a pet dragon for the military. Oh hey, wunderkid dug up one of several doom prophecies and thinks something should be done about it immediately? Toss her in the general direction of "magical artifacts that can solve this shit if conditions are met", give her a list of names that meet those conditions and some arbitrary reason to interact with them, oh and a pile of books with the answer to the current predicament in case she gets stuck and needs it spelled out in plain English.

That's basically the script of the first four seasons, with the exception of Chrysalis and her changelings. But those were such an outside context problem, and goes to show what Celestia is like when she *doesn't* have a plan running at the time and isn't aware of her enemy.
Guest 19th Feb 2018, 3:03 AM edit delete reply
Alternative interpretation: Celestia is a betting mare, and running Equestria is just one long horse race for her.
Dusk Raven 20th Feb 2018, 3:22 AM edit delete reply
The most well-written Chessmasters in fiction always have cases where they fail, largely because of things they can't predict or information they don't have.
Dragonflight 19th Feb 2018, 5:22 PM edit delete reply
It occurred to me while watching "Equestria Girls: Friendship Forgotten" that Celestia's *real* power might be knowing where to go to find the solution. During the MLP movie, she knew the solution could be found by traveling to find the Queen of the Hippogriffs. She also knew that trusting Twilight and her very brand-new friends would save her sister. And in the new EqG movie, she knew that the answer would be found in the restricted section of the Canterlot Library, even though she didn't actually know what it was.

It seems like her greatest ability is to divine where the next step is. Although because she doesn't always know what the step *after* that is, she tends to play her cards close to the chest, and pretends omniscience as much as she can get away with.
BR549 20th Feb 2018, 1:35 AM edit delete reply
So...what you're saying is that Celestia has Path to Victory?