Page 176 - Mission Debrief

18th Sep 2012, 6:00 AM
Mission Debrief
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 18th Sep 2012, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
It's a good thing this adventuring group has a close relationship with their authority figure. The tales of their exploits are small and manageable this way. The longer an adventuring party is away from civilization, the more ridiculous and unbelievable the tale they have to tell when they return. And if your DM is running a town full of skeptics... *sigh*

98 Comments:

Raxon 18th Sep 2012, 6:01 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Generic suggestive and disturbing comment involving the characters.
Umiyuri Papaeyra 18th Sep 2012, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
Umiyuri Papaeyra
Rebuttal using cuteness.
Oblivious 18th Sep 2012, 6:06 AM edit delete reply
Oblivious
C'mon, you can do better than that.
Digo 18th Sep 2012, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
Witty self-depreciation comeback.
Raxon 18th Sep 2012, 6:22 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
I haven't made a meta comment in a while. It's good to shake things up. Especially when you shake em juuust right. Yeah baby, that's the good stuff.
Zuche 18th Sep 2012, 6:26 AM edit delete reply
There is to be no shaking of babies.
Raxon 18th Sep 2012, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
You'll be my baby, won't you?
Zuche 18th Sep 2012, 7:00 AM edit delete reply
Not even if we were Eddie Money and Ronnie Spector.
Raxon 18th Sep 2012, 7:22 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
I can wear a wig, and be your Eddie Murphy.
Zuche 18th Sep 2012, 7:26 AM edit delete reply
Does that make me Dan Akroyd or Nick Nolte?
Raxon 18th Sep 2012, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Tell you what. You can be Dan Akroid. I'll be your John Belushi.
Zuche 18th Sep 2012, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
You know, the only part of that movie I've ever seen was when Carrie Fisher pulled out the rocket launcher. That's enough to sell it for me.
Umiyuri Papaeyra 18th Sep 2012, 6:01 AM edit delete reply
Umiyuri Papaeyra
...I think somebody pulled Rarity's muzzle down a bit there.
Raxon 18th Sep 2012, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
... Nope, too easy. Moving on!
Kaze Koichi 18th Sep 2012, 6:12 AM edit delete reply
Yes, what DO we learn about friendship?

- Never split the party.
- Never go in high-level raid unless you have full party.
- The missing person is always the one the party needs most.

Did I miss anything else?
Straw Berry 18th Sep 2012, 6:23 AM edit delete reply
- It's not what we did, it's how we did it that counts.
- From this day on, the DM gets the furthest spot away from Fluttershy's player.
Raxon 18th Sep 2012, 7:14 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
- Rabbits and dragons are incompatible species, and no amount coaxing will ever win us that sweet hybrid.
Lyntermas 18th Sep 2012, 7:37 AM edit delete reply
Lyntermas
-The DM should hope for a campaign-length quest, but prepare for a one-shot.
-Roleplaying is the path to victory. Every time.
Exile 19th Sep 2012, 4:49 PM edit delete reply
Wait I have a half dragon awaken rabbit. Does that mean my character doesn't exist? ; ;
Guest 18th Sep 2012, 10:08 AM edit delete reply
-When all else fails, turn on the DM.

...Wait, that came out wrong.
Destrustor 18th Sep 2012, 5:05 PM edit delete reply
Destrustor
-Do not, under any circumstances, piss off Fluttershy.
-Do not, under any circumstances, piss off her player, either.
Colin 19th Sep 2012, 2:06 AM edit delete reply
- Intimidate can be used in new and interesting ways.
- Druids are scary when they're roused.
- You're often carrying the "load" for a very good reason.
Raxon 19th Sep 2012, 2:47 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
"-Druids are scary when they're arouse."

Fixed that for you.
Digo 18th Sep 2012, 6:13 AM edit delete reply
Traditionally, when I'm the Dungeon Master, I hand out EXP at the beginning of the session. The only time I tally the points at the end of a session is when I know the players are going to level up (And for some reason I fake reluctance to give EXP). I always encourage them to update their characters in between sessions so as to save time.

So... sounds to me the PCs here are getting at least one level. :D
Straw Berry 18th Sep 2012, 6:24 AM edit delete reply
Pinkie Pie's answer to the DM's question in the next to last panel: Oooh, I know! A PARTY!
Ranubis 18th Sep 2012, 6:29 AM edit delete reply
Ranubis
...ok, a comic commentary on how outlandish an adventuring party's tale can become over time? Man, both our Pony Tales campaign and the RL D&D campaign I was in last spring have to count for this.

D&D was bad enough, with us going to bring back two runaway teenagers and ending up gaining the favor of two Fey deities, but Pony Tales? Pfft, it's just been cray cray.
Lyntermas 18th Sep 2012, 7:26 AM edit delete reply
Lyntermas
The main trick is to relate the adventure in small chunks over time. Relating it in episodic chunks can make your story believable, introducing a progression of events. If you try to tell the story all at once, you get this.
Karilyn 18th Sep 2012, 8:18 AM edit delete reply
Karilyn
I don't get it. We're captured by Changelings. Missing for 2 weeks. And then we return and say that we killed Queen Chrysalis and escaped. Why does nobody believe us?

Newbiespud wasn't joking about the town of skeptics. It's definitely stretching believability just how disbelieving everypony is :P
MirrorImage 18th Sep 2012, 9:09 AM edit delete reply
MirrorImage
Congratulations, you've become the Equestrian equivalent of the drunken farmer who claims he was abducted by aliens.
Karilyn 18th Sep 2012, 9:23 AM edit delete reply
Karilyn
But there were witnesses!

And we brought back the corpse for science!
LoganAura 18th Sep 2012, 9:31 AM edit delete reply
LoganAura
*Solar Flare pulls out the Corpse*
Everypony but the party: MASS HYSTERIA.
Oblivious 19th Sep 2012, 5:59 AM edit delete reply
Oblivious
We also recruited one of her subjects during the flashback session last night. This can in no way hurt our cause...
Cain 19th Sep 2012, 7:13 AM edit delete reply
Cain
half of you were trying to adopt her as a child. This nowhere near to the Romeo and Juliet in the Feyworld campaign, this is way beyond it.
LoganAura 19th Sep 2012, 8:09 AM edit delete reply
LoganAura
Hey, Mirage is a FORMER subject :P
and now you have an actual changeling rather than INky in your party.
You're welcome there guys XP
Dr Blight 20th Sep 2012, 3:09 AM edit delete reply
Dr Blight
Where is this happening? Can I read?
CJT 18th Sep 2012, 10:20 AM edit delete reply
One of my character's patron's stock lines has become, "If anyone else told me this story, I'd say they were drunk". Every so often we get a reminder of exactly how much weirdness we've become accustomed to that everyone else hasn't. Reporting the most recent event will almost certainly get the same reaction ("we recovered EvilGuy's armour that went missing a while back; his undead shade was inhabiting it, which means it probably literally walked away").

As for tales that grow in the telling, it turns out that on the scale of a 13th level character's budget, propaganda campaigns are actually quite affordable. My character has started two so far. If you need to sway the hearts and minds of the people towards your goals, never underestimate the power of handing skilled storytellers and minstrels large amounts of cash (for the greater good, of course).
Digo 18th Sep 2012, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
Anyone care for more "Great & Powerful Trixie" quotes from my Superhero adventures RP?

Harmony: "We need evidence that these people are evil."
Trixie: "They walk on two legs, they're evil."
Jimmy: "Thanks, Trixie."
Trixie: "You're welcome." :D


Jimmy: "There's just no explaining the Great & Powerful Trixie."
Trixie: "Nope. ...wait."


Trixie: "Turns out Trixie's feeling of not wanting to go with your plan did not go unfounded."
Mason: "I didn't know you weren't used to horsenip."
Paul: "That smells like Marijuana to me..."
Mason: "Shut up."
Trixie: "Next time we listen to the woman's intuition."
Jimmy: "You're a mare, not a woman."
Trixie: "And that's why you're single."


Trixie: **Picks up an assault rifle from the security guard she dropped earlier** "THE FUN HAS BEEN DOUBLED!!"


Jimmy: "You took almost no damage. Does Trixie have bullet-proof nudity?"
Trixie: "Trixie IS wearing a vest, you know." :p
Mason: "Trixie has 'saddle bags'." ;)
Zuche 18th Sep 2012, 7:09 AM edit delete reply
For some reason, the security guard with the assault rifle weirds me out the most. That's not even standard issue for armoured car personnel. Then again, I used to work for a subsidiary of a group called Rentokil (originally a pest control company... and that just makes it sound worse).
Digo 18th Sep 2012, 11:52 AM edit delete reply
I suppose there is a need of some context. See, the building we broke into was the staging ground for a dangerous cult that wants to summon a big Cthulu-ish demon to Earth. We're attempting to stop this.

I guess that in turn means the security forces here aren't real guards but goons of the cult, heavily armed to fight off Super Heroes like us who are expected to eventually show up. :)
Zuche 18th Sep 2012, 1:59 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, that seems much more reasonable. It's like bolt cutter training or something.
CJT 18th Sep 2012, 10:25 AM edit delete reply
Please tell me there's a central repository of these Trixie RP quotes. There's another fan in the Pathfinder group I play with that would be amused.
Digo 18th Sep 2012, 11:53 AM edit delete reply
I have a LiveJournal account I put them all in, though I'm behind on indexing the quotes in one keyword.
CJT 18th Sep 2012, 1:54 PM edit delete reply
Google turned up your OotS forum post with these quotes, but not your LJ.
Digo 19th Sep 2012, 6:29 AM edit delete reply
Ah, here I'll share:

digoraccoon.livejournal.com

Easy way to find the posts is to look at the post titles by calendar month and find all the "Trixie Lulamoon vs the World" posts. They should be public enties. :)
CJT 19th Sep 2012, 11:03 AM edit delete reply
Thanks!

It's entirely possible that we've met online in passing. I roleplay a housecat with an affinity for sunbeams and Nerf weaponry.

RL is less likely, but I did do a couple of presentations at FC in past years. They're actually letting me do the "building Rainbow DashBot" panel this year (at the cost of presentations I think are more interesting, but still).
Digo 20th Sep 2012, 5:39 AM edit delete reply
Possible yeah. Sunbeams and nerf weapons sounds familair and I can't think of that being a common combination in most parallel dimensions.
Zuche 18th Sep 2012, 6:56 AM edit delete reply
Putting the DM's final comments in bold was a nice touch.

RD's final comments make me glad she doesn't submit the regular report.

Dear Princess of Expeeforquestria,
Can we get a real challenge again? I missed the week with the hydra, when everyone else just ran away, and that zebra witch encounter was a complete bust. I won't even go into what went wrong with the plot we were supposed to foil at that Grand Galloping Gala thing.

Anyway, I found this dragon-horse thing in your notes. That could almost be cool. Could we face a couple of those next time?

Your loyal (haha) bearer of awesome,
Rainbow of Dash
Digo 18th Sep 2012, 7:04 AM edit delete reply
Your totally awesome RD letter makes me sad she doesn't ;)
Raxon 18th Sep 2012, 7:20 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
"Well, ladies, because you requested it, I'm bringing you a real challenge now. Behold, Discord, the herald of the far realm, has awakened from his slumber."
Zuche 18th Sep 2012, 7:45 AM edit delete reply
Discord as Nyarlathotep has potential. It makes the Far Realm a bit cooler too.
Zuche 18th Sep 2012, 7:46 AM edit delete reply
Judging by the responses it's received, I'm now wondering if she did send it after all.
Lyntermas 18th Sep 2012, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
Lyntermas
My loyal weatherpony,

What an interesting perspective you have. Most of my other subjects would believe that the relative peace of Ponyville, especially given its proximity to the Everfree Forest, was a blessing rather than a curse.

Unfortunately, due to the "hand-off" of the Elements of Harmony, you may very well get your wish. You will soon be facing a dangerous foe: a Trickster God who likes to use mind-controlling spells.

Don't call hax.

Yours, Princess Celestia
Zuche 18th Sep 2012, 7:38 AM edit delete reply
"Don't call hax," was a nice touch.
Digo 18th Sep 2012, 11:54 AM edit delete reply
It was a perfect touch. :D
Colin 19th Sep 2012, 2:08 AM edit delete reply
*sinister chuckle*
Derpmind 18th Sep 2012, 7:11 AM edit delete reply
Panel five:

RD: "Rarity, what are you looking at?"
Keystone 18th Sep 2012, 7:46 AM edit delete reply
Digo. That's awesome. Pure and simply awesome.
Zuche 18th Sep 2012, 8:02 AM edit delete reply
A DM running a town full of skeptics sounds like it would lend itself to the Hot Fuzz scenario.
Guest 18th Sep 2012, 9:38 AM edit delete reply
That would be an awesome end game. You have the players fight through former allies and familiar settings, such the tavern they pick up rumors, or the marketplace.
The Guest 18th Sep 2012, 11:03 AM edit delete reply
I had a DM go in the opposite direction. The central Hub Town had been hosting adventurers for decades and had pretty much seen it all. They accepted the wildest tales without so much as a blink and had plans in place for everything from Elder Gods to Dimensional Rifts to Evil Cultists. The DM took great pride in revealing that, while the party was away, the town fought off even worse threats than the players, to the point where we would try to pull off the craziest shit just to top the town- only to be outdone every damn time.
Guest 18th Sep 2012, 11:24 AM edit delete reply
I'm totally stealing that idea from your DM.
Raxon 19th Sep 2012, 2:57 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
In that case, it's time to pull out all the stops.

I would suggest killing Hastur, chopping off his man thang, then gift wrapping it and having it delivered to the Lady of Pain, complements of Thor.

Because starting a war between two of the most powerful deities in existence for fits and giggles isn't something that could ever come back to bite you in any possible way!
Zarhon 18th Sep 2012, 1:26 PM edit delete reply
Zarhon
A fun twist to add to the whole "town of skeptics" thing is to make the whole town a race of creatures that are already unbelievable as it is, whilst still remaining complete skeptics. Or making them stubbornly not believe in something blatantly common for the setting.

For instance, a town of friendly ghosts that don't believe you when the party informs them that there's a zombie invasion underway.

Or a city inhabited by dragons, minotaurs, elves, dwarves and gnomes to dismiss evil fairies and hags as "superstitious tales".

Or a town of atheists that refuse to acknowledge the party's cleric/paladin as anything more than jesters.
CJT 18th Sep 2012, 1:38 PM edit delete reply
The "Feet of Clay" Discworld book had an interesting take on your atheism idea. According to the book, there don't tend to be many atheists on Discworld, because it's the kind of place where gods go throwing bricks through atheists' windows.

I won't spoil the scene. The whole book is a fun read.
Hennith95 18th Sep 2012, 10:14 PM edit delete reply
I've actually run into arbitrary skepticism before, although it wasn't the entire town.

Our party was set to have a few sessions' worth of adventures in the hub city that may as well have been the capitol of the entire world. Adventurers were coming and going all the time, the greatest centers of learning were all there, and just about every single race that could act civilized was represented. NPC characters of much higher levels than ours were just walking around the city.

The DM encouraged us to find lodging and jobs for our characters. My ranger found a position making bows and arrows at one of the many weapon shops. She's not the type of person who likes to leave people hanging, so she informed her new employers that she was part of a group of adventures who might be called on to do some adventuring on short notice. Pretty standard in this city, I'd think. What do the weapon shop owners think? They find the idea of her being a (level 12!) adventurer is far too unlikely, and choose to believe that my character has a second job in the red light district. Thanks, DM. Thanks a lot.
sunbeam 18th Sep 2012, 1:37 PM edit delete reply
I just realized...The DM is specifically implementing Twilight's friendship reports...
On the one hand, this seems like the sort of person who likes to encourage roleplaying fluff at every opportunity, in any way possible...
On the other hand, this is the guy who developed backstory for a cursory random encounter that the PCs might not have even found. He never does anything without a reason.
Does anyone else think he just added an integral overarching plot point without anyone noticing?
What for?
HMorris73 18th Sep 2012, 11:41 PM edit delete reply
Well let's see, where did those Friendship Reports end up playing a vital role...?
sunbeam 19th Sep 2012, 4:17 PM edit delete reply
Yes, Discord is the blatantly obvious possibility. I'm trying to come up with something ridiculous that never happened...maybe something involving Spike sending all those scrolls at once...
Destrustor 18th Sep 2012, 3:34 PM edit delete reply
Destrustor
"yeah we almost released Tarizdhun by blowing up a good chunk of the planet's crust, but it's all good now."

We actually really said that once. The god we said that to decided he'd rather believe we were liars.
ManeFyre 18th Sep 2012, 4:13 PM edit delete reply
I have for some time pondered on taking up Tabletop RPGs. What do you need to get started, and how long does it take to 'get into it'?
sunbeam 18th Sep 2012, 4:33 PM edit delete reply
It depends an unbelievable amount on the game you choose to play.
You'll need pencils, various dice(again, it depends on the system), the internet with access to safe torrent sites, a functioning printer, and a group of 2-5 other people/friends who are as crazy as you are. You need to be certain that you won't throttle each other mid-session...too much.
My suggested method:
-find a group of people.
-choose a game/edition/module you'd all like to play. Start by choosing a preferred setting (do you want to play a steampunk setting? or an old-fashioned fantasy game? or something we call D20 modern, which is the fantasy setting in, say, 1920. They even have Superhero games at this point)
-go online and ask people for Table-top games that are good for beginners who don't have much money who want setting x. This comment zone is a good starting place. The Giant in the Playground Forums would work too.
-You'll get plenty of suggestions, unless you went with something really esoteric. I'd just pick a suggestion at random and look up "[suggestion] player's handbook free download." This should find you a free download of the basic handbook of whatever module you're using. Said handbook should have basic rules for combat, social interaction, etc. it will also probably include a character sheet, the other integral part of a module. If not, just search "[suggestion] character sheet free download."
From there things should be reasonably intuitive. Just choose someone to be the Dungeon Master/Story Teller/Campaign Creator and try things. Sometimes they'll work.
For the record, it helps to have 1 or both of these two people:
-Someone with previous experience with the system.
-Someone with a good memory who likes reading sourcebooks who can learn all the rules and explain them to everyone else.

Personally, I'd suggest a Pony Tales Campaign, especially if all your friends are bronies. Even if not, it's very easy to adapt to non-pony games. I think you can more or less just remove the Cutie mark rule and outlaw monster races. Either way, it's stupendously easy to understand, pick up, and play. The sourcebook is...lessee...Here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LaHX_aeWrw5643u040zqovePyesWI5KAXgkoHEqDazQ/edit?pli=1
I really hope I didn't intimidate you there. I've just never gotten to explain something like that before and exposition excites me. So I might've overdone it.
I did manage to avoid forcing you to play D&D 3.5 though. So that's progress.
ManeFyre 18th Sep 2012, 4:44 PM edit delete reply
Thanks a lot, sunbeam. (No intimidation, don't worry)
I know some people that I can possibly get a party with, and where I live there's a 'geekstore' (D&D, mangas, tabletop games) or whatever you call it, and I think they have an own game club.

On an unrelated note, are there any good webcomics similar to FiD out there?
Destrustor 18th Sep 2012, 4:59 PM edit delete reply
Destrustor
Well there's always the one who started the whole "campaign comic" genre, Shamus Young's "DM of the rings".
Very witty and fun to read. It got me hooked on the format and made me look for others, eventually leading me here to the ponies.
sunbeam 18th Sep 2012, 5:01 PM edit delete reply
DM of the Rings(Lord of the Rings)...
I think the One Piece version is simply called The Grand Line...
Darth(s?) and Droids is the star wars version...
Dungeons and dragons themed comics:
Order of the Stick
Anti-Heroes
Those last two are less funny if you don't know the rules to D&D 3.5. Order of the Stick especially, but Anti-Heroes has some moments that fall massively flat if you don't know a few important bits of information.
CJT 18th Sep 2012, 9:35 PM edit delete reply
Taking up pen-and-paper gaming is much, much easier if you join an existing group, rather than starting from scratch without anyone sure what they're doing. At minimum, the person running the game should have a bit of experience (tried the "running a game without knowing the game" bit many years back; it didn't turn out well).

The most important part of gaming is finding a group with a playstyle you enjoy. The comic does a good job of highlighting the different types of gamers: most of the party likes roleplay but doesn't pay attention to backstory, the DM loves backstory but also railroads things a bit, and Rainbow "Chaotic Evil" Dash just wants to beat things up and get experience points for it. You _can_ have a good game with varying styles of players in one group, but it helps if they're at least all on the same page as to what the game itself will be like.

Once you've found a group, ask to sit in on a session to watch. In-person works best, but you could get a good taste for how things go by asking to sit in on play-by-chat games like the one stairc is running, too.

Then, ask the DM to let you play an NPC (non-player character; background type) for a few sessions. If they die, or if they and the party part ways after that session or a few sessions down the road, no big deal; it's a trial run, and the character is already made for you.

After doing that, you'll have enough of a feel for how the rules work and what types of characters are possible, to be able to come up with your own character concept and have the DM walk you through character generation for a permanent character.

D&D is usually the first game system most people are introduced to, and Pathfinder (a fork of D&D 3.5) is also popular, but the advice given above applies to just about any system. The rules influence the types of character that are possible and make some playstyles easier or harder to run, but they're really secondary compared to finding a group whose playstyle you like, and campaign concepts that you find interesting.

Enjoy!
sunbeam 19th Sep 2012, 6:28 AM edit delete reply
A word of warning about D&D (3.5 especially):
The completed editions (which may or may not include 4th edition at this point) are some of the most expansive gaming systems out there. From the prestige classes to the variant mechanics to the entire campaign setting of Faerun, there is so much to see and so much to do.
The flipside being that the mechanics are RIDICULOUSLY complicated. So be careful if you find a group of new players trying their hand at D&D 3.5, and probably Pathfinder too (I haven't played it, can't say). Expected some very truncated sessions and some weird moments of Out of Character Jealousy because some people grasp the mechanics sooner than others. 4th edition is easier to grasp, but in my sincere opinion allows for much less lateral thinking, which is the heart of every memorable campaign moment.
Zuche 19th Sep 2012, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
Lateral thinking has not been restricted by 4e. The mechanics are very accomodating to the question, "What if I...?"
sunbeam 19th Sep 2012, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
What about within a combat encounter? It always seemed to me like there was simply a greater emphasis on freedom in 3.5. It was more the sort of game where you could just say "I cut the rope," or "I use prestigiditation to seal off his carotid artery," as opposed to the whole concept of combat powers that just feel like they're there purely for combat.
Kiana 19th Sep 2012, 2:55 PM edit delete reply
"I cut the rope" is entirely possible in 4e. In fact, because of the grid based combat, it's easier (in my experience) for a DM to set up for the eventuality. "If the chandelier falls, it hits characters in these squares here."
There's also acrobatic tricks and other such rules that allow for a break from strictly rigid combat. Again, it depends on the group and the DM, but it's quite possible.

As for "I kill a man with a cantrip"? Uh, there's a reason CoDzilla existed and Wizards were quadratic to the fighter's linear. Without Powers to form a baseline that makes all classes feasible, half the classes would be nigh useless after 4th level.

It may have 'less freedom', but it's less freedom for the sake of ensuring everybody has a chance to contribute and have fun, rather than having the game boil down to "The cleric, the wizard and those other two or three guys that follow them around."

Don't get me wrong, I like 3.5, I just feel the "4e doesn't have as much freedom/discourages creativity!" argument is invalid, since the system only has a stronger rules foundation to build on: There's nothing in it that says "You, turn off your imagination, it won't be needed for this exercise." Trust me, I'm running a campaign where magical ponies are pursuing a mystery related to time travel and dark gods, and only one of those things is strictly supported by the rules. It works out rather wonderfully.
Zuche 20th Sep 2012, 10:34 AM edit delete reply
Since 1e, I've told players to take comfort in knowing that the suggested prestidigitation trick doesn't work. I've also reminded them that if a given loophole could be exploited, it would have been done many times already, starting a long time ago. Rule abuse is not creative.

Cutting the rope is as much as an option now as it's ever been, even if the same optimization crowds that gave you the 3E Pun Pun or the 1E dual-lance wielding drow cavalier on a unicorn will tell you it's a poor use of an action. While your powers might have only specific applications, they do not define your limits. A system is not limited just because the hammer in your toolbox doesn't work so well for measuring time, removing splinters, trimming nose hair, roasting pork, making telephone calls, delivering babies, writing letters, or... you get the idea.

The really cool stuff happens whenever players step beyond powers. Forced movement attacks may be the best way to clear a chokepoint, but they're nowhere near as cool as watching someone try to force past enemy lines. The rules say you can't normally move through an enemy's square, but the Acrobatics skill allows for the attempt.

In 3e, you could do the same with the Tumbling skill, avoiding attacks of opportunity, but you had to be trained. In 4e, you don't avoid the opportunity attack, but training is no longer a requirement to make the attempt. Which gives you more freedom? The same goes for 3e's Disable Device vs. 4e's Thievery. In the former game, most classes can never disarm a magical trap. In the latter, anyone can at least make the attempt. Eventually, even the least skilled person in the party can reliably deal with the sort of trap that gave the expert grief back in the early days.

In 3e, you are free to pick the feats and classes and spells to make certain tasks possible. In 4e, such choices serve to make such tasks easier instead.

In my 4e games, players have attempted to use a tyrannosaur's head as a springboard (unsuccessful, but close), hurl a lit brazier at nearby enemies (successful, if you don't count the unfortunate ally it hit), attacked with bookcases and rugs and ale kegs. They were not always well suited to such attempts (the brazier was a very lucky moment for the halfling cleric involved) and that drives home my point. Freedom is not defined by what the optimized PC can accomplish, but what the ill-suited PC can attempt with some hope of success.
Kiana 20th Sep 2012, 2:26 PM edit delete reply
Well said, Zuche.
L-Ganon 18th Sep 2012, 5:31 PM edit delete reply
It's almost scary how loudly I can hear "Duh! Tally the XP!" in Rainbow Dash's voice.
Kiana 19th Sep 2012, 2:43 PM edit delete reply
And it. Is. Adorable!
Malroth 18th Sep 2012, 8:12 PM edit delete reply
DM: The person who writes the sappiest letter to Celestia Gets the Most XP because they obviously learned the most.


Rainbow Dash: I wuv everybody!!!!
Raxon 19th Sep 2012, 3:05 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Fluttershy: I, um, I have this letter, as written by Angel, if that's okay.

Everyone else gives up and goes home.
Malroth 19th Sep 2012, 6:54 PM edit delete reply
Angel: Dear Princess Celestia I will devour your soul and the souls of all the other ponies. All will tremble before my cute fluffy might. Signed AngelBunny
Kiana 19th Sep 2012, 5:54 AM edit delete reply
Hm, been a while. Strange things happening while off adventuring, eh?

"So after we beat the evil alicorn, she cursed us, turning us all into fillies!"
"Fillies, hm?"
"...We got better."
"I see."
"Oh, and then this unicorn filly appeared in front of us, claiming she's our child from the future... Even though we're both mares."
Kiana 19th Sep 2012, 6:00 AM edit delete reply
Oh, and that's not even counting going to ponyville, falling asleep, having a collective dream where everypony is human, waking up on a train... And later, there was a castle-outside-space-and-time.

I run very strange campaigns.
Theo 19th Sep 2012, 11:57 AM edit delete reply
I really should see about joining your campaign, or one like it. :)
Kiana 19th Sep 2012, 3:11 PM edit delete reply
Well, you have a solid grasp of English, so you'd be appreciated.

Though the campaign has been in a slump, lately. I tried a different approach for a string of side quests (specifically, having the players come up with plot points and events they'd like to explore with their characters), but that... didn't work in. No one really cared. One guy said he 'had an idea', but despite claiming that, he never discussed the idea (or even told me what it was) in two weeks.

Most of my players are almost TOO 'go with the flow'. They don't seem to care what I throw at them, so long as they get to play something. =\

But here: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/pastures-ponies Note that most of the information is out of date... But feel free to send me a private message on Obsidian if it strikes your fancy.
Kiana 19th Sep 2012, 3:22 PM edit delete reply
Dear Celestia... I haven't updated the adventure log in a YEAR. I'm a terrible DM...

*sigh* I have a log of pretty much every session in html format. I need a way to Zip them up and upload them somewhere.
kriss1989 22nd Sep 2012, 7:22 AM edit delete reply
kriss1989
Huh, that reminds me. One of my players characters was the father AND mother of a incarnation of Death. Her name is Lilly.
Mr. 0 19th Sep 2012, 3:23 PM edit delete reply
Of course they wouldn't gain any levels; they accomplished the mission without slaying the dragon. How can you expect to level up without rolling a few heads?
Whoa... the word "level" is, like, symmetrical when it's all in lower case... whoa...

Malroth 19th Sep 2012, 6:51 PM edit delete reply
One Sci-Fi campaign I implemented a system where people gained XP for failing skill rolls in critical situations, I've never seen so many defrosted cavemen trying to make Engineering rolls and protocol Droids charging screaming into melee in all my days.
CJT 20th Sep 2012, 12:47 AM edit delete reply
I'm not sure about 4e, but 3.5 and Pathfinder both have a clause to the effect that you just have to defeat the enemy, not kill it. Tricking or intimidating or diplomancing your way past the dragon would still get the XP, under those conditions.

That said, if I were the one setting that session up, the dragon would be part of the landscape (a puzzle boss), rather than an "enemy".

Which folds back to the other nice thing in 3.x (and probably other editions before it; memory is foggy). A hefty chunk of the XP award - and maybe even most of it - can come from things like "goal accomplished" and "XP award for good roleplaying". The Pathfinder game I'm a part of has goal XP as its primary advancement mechanic most of the time. Dropping a big enemy is just a bonus in the sessions that it happens.

This varies quite a lot based on DM, but after the Nightmare Moon incident, I'm pretty sure the XP track will be tightly regulated and railroaded going forward.
HopeFox 20th Sep 2012, 1:53 AM edit delete reply
Imagine Rainbow's player's face when Princess Celestia demands that they all start submitting friendship reports.

"We get extra XP for these, right?"
Valron 11th Oct 2012, 10:15 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, we've had a few unbelievable moments in our Legend of the 5 Rings game. The best example would probably be the time we went into a forest known for it's connection to animal spirits to figure out why the spirits were suddenly acting violet and such. It ended with us discovering an ancient temple built and inhabited by the extremely rare and secretive Naga race. We then proceeded to kill the giant lava naga monster that was sealed in the temple. Fortunately, the monster was what was causing the spirits to act strange, so everything went great after that. The other half of the team (we had been split up at the time) couldn't believe what had happened to us at first. That story is currently my character's favorite piece of bragging rights.
Digo 10th Oct 2015, 4:13 PM edit delete reply
This is my favorite thing