Page 346 - E1: Conversion Confusion

5th Oct 2013, 6:00 AM
E1: Conversion Confusion
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 5th Oct 2013, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
Author: Nolan Benson (l3f4y)

Guest Author's Note: "If Equestria was released as a campaign setting, I would assume that the Mane Six would be offered as example characters, so that players who are just being introduced to the game or setting can jump right in. It's a well-balanced party and has a character for every kind of D&D player. And, you know, ponies. But that's just a bonus."

Newbiespud's Note: This is Episode 1 of a five-part series, a crossover with another campaign comic called Dungeon Master Effect.

50 Comments:

Raxon 5th Oct 2013, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Looks promising.
Zuche 5th Oct 2013, 6:58 AM edit delete reply
Yes, it does.

I'm not sure what to make of Dungeon Master Effect. Thus far, it is accessible to someone with no Mass Effect experience, but I'm not feeling a connection with the material. I'm impressed by the creative exercise. I don't think the series has quite found its own voice yet, but experimenting is the best way to get there.

I'm not a fan of the obligatory Monty Python reference, but I think you've put a unique spin on it. Most people just go to a single routine. The mishmash feels much more likely with the tabletop experience, more like the efforts of people trying to be spontaneously funny by recycling someone else's material in reorganized form.

The reaction to hearing Richard's last name just before that was worth a chuckle, though. Quick, to the point, and completely unapologetic. As for the rest, well, hearing the characters try to get a feel for the setting gives me a wonderfully meta impression as I attempt to do the same.

I think one thing that's throwing me off is how dark and heavily shadowed all of the panels are. I assume that the source material doesn't give much in the way of alternative options, leaving your hands tied in that regard. I get a better impression from the strip above and I'm not sure it's all because I'm more familiar with its source material.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to where Morgan l3f4y goes with what's been played out here. What I'm seeing of panel selection and character voice both make it look promising.
l3f4y 5th Oct 2013, 7:15 AM edit delete reply
Yes, as I go on I find that a gritty space opera video game was not the best choice of subject matter. That said, I've never done this before, so I'm hoping I get better as I go along :)
Zuche 5th Oct 2013, 9:43 AM edit delete reply
You certainly seem to have the necessary attitude to improve, so we're back to Raxon's first comment.

On another subject, I'm surprised at how quiet the comment section is this morning.

LET THERE BE CHATTER!
Tatsurou 5th Oct 2013, 9:58 AM edit delete reply
Tatsurou
chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter...

That enough?
Zuche 5th Oct 2013, 1:03 PM edit delete reply
Well, I asked for it, didn't I? Well done, everyone.
Digo 5th Oct 2013, 4:59 PM edit delete reply
Well, for me real life has dealt something of a deathblow to my local gaming group. One of my best friends of some 12+ years passed away a few days ago, and I've had other players lose interest in showing up to the meet so I've had to tie up some lose ends, pack some things away, etc.

Which brought up the thought of character death. I've had a fair share of characters die under my DMing iron fist, but only once has it been because of a bad dice roll. I wonder how many others let characters die from a bad role, or if dice are often fudged so that PCs only die from their actions and not by chance?

Maybe as a story-time kind of meta question- What kills PCs in your games more, the dice or the actions?
XanatosDrake 5th Oct 2013, 10:54 PM edit delete reply
For me most character deaths happen due to players getting bored with their characters. That and unforseen consequences. Like blowing up a city with exploding moss and forgetting that one of the PCs was still in there. His player wasn't there that week so we forgot he was in the city.>_<
Tatsurou 6th Oct 2013, 12:56 AM edit delete reply
Tatsurou
Umm...is it a good or a bad thing that in all the campaigns I've ever played - as player or DM - no PC has ever died?
And that includes the time our DM got extra frustrated and proclaimed "Rocks fall, everyone DIES!"
I replied with "I use my emergency telekinetic shield!"
I rolled a critical success, followed by a critical success on my Telekinetic repulsion.
The DM then rolled terribly on a 'random result' table, resulting in my rolling for damage, and rolling a critical.
Rocks fall, and the BBEG 5,000 miles away dies.
Digo 6th Oct 2013, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
I guess the "good or bad" depends on your view of character death. I've killed one of my characters off from boredom, but I did it in a heroic sacrifice kind of way just so it looked good. :) I had to work with the GM secretly so that I could pull it off without looking forced. :D
TheStratovarian 6th Oct 2013, 6:35 AM edit delete reply
TheStratovarian
First of all, im sorry that a friend and buddy had left you and everyone there.

As to the 2nd, not had anyone die as a dm, but as a player, oh yes, death happens to bad dice (and even good dice) more often than not.

The first, was a part cleric to a natural dual 20 polar ray from a vamp sorc. Not even the half dragon fighter would have been able to live through it. (ive spoken about this before)

Another time, we had a ranger go down to a disintergrate, a rogue to a nightwalker's slay living. A vampire dominate killed two. Bad trap disarms, oh yes. The high stakes dice love to waffle now and then, and its often enough that players often take up luck feats.
Digo 7th Oct 2013, 7:20 AM edit delete reply
Thanks for the condolences. I'm getting myself back together again. Really the harder to deal with issue is that he was the most dependable player in my group. Everyone else has pretty much flaked and stopped showing up so my group is effectively dead.

It's like... it's like if the Mane6 tried taking on a boss without Applejack. Sure she gets the bad rap of being nicknamed the "Background Pony", but lets see the gals win with the elements when 1/6th of the team isn't there. :)
Grey Pennies 6th Oct 2013, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
Am I the only one imagining that to the tune of the Flim-Flam brothers' song?
Letrune 6th Oct 2013, 6:32 AM edit delete reply
l3f4y, I wish to ask if felines would be playable at you too. :D
l3f4y 6th Oct 2013, 9:55 AM edit delete reply
I'm sorry, friend, I don't quite get your meaning.
Letrune 7th Oct 2013, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
I meant if you would make felines a playable race even in such settings. :3
Snarkville 6th Oct 2013, 2:13 PM edit delete reply
It most certainly does NOT look promising. You people are too nice sometimes. This particular comic is hard to follow. I have no idea who the red and green text boxes are, since there aren't any red or green ponies in the mane six. It's implied that the DM is the one who wanted to play the ponies, and yet Rarity's character is the one acting like she insisted on it with her comment on ponies and space marines.

I realize you all love ponies and what they stand for, but being nice about crap only makes the creator not feel like crap. But in the end, you're still getting crap. If you tell them they're giving you crap, however, they'll feel like crap for a little bit, but then later present something better that ISN'T crap, and then everyone wins.
Zuche 7th Oct 2013, 10:36 AM edit delete reply
"You people are too nice sometimes."

Not to ignorant little nobodies who imagine themselves qualified to talk in dismissive tones. Now if you'd been smarter, you'd have understood that I'd based my assessment on what I'd seen of l3f4y's other work and observations on what's worked and the efforts to improve upon what hasn't.

Now while I understand how you might find voice confusing at this point because it has not been colour-coded in the manner to which you have been accustomed, you're clearly overreacting in the style of one who thinks the Magic Word is, "NOW!!" Sure, it could be easier to follow if all you read is this comic, but the author's notes tell the more attentive among us that it's a crossover. If you'd bothered to give that a look before removing any doubt about your position on the folly grading system, you'd know that the colours correspond to characters in that series, not this one.

Sure, it might be easier to keep conversation straight if word balloons matched colours with text boxes, but this isn't rocket science. The green text boxes, Rod, are playing RD. Blue, which we haven't seen yet, is Greg. The amaranth boxes are for Rarity's player. (If she's been named, I've overlooked that in l3f4y's notes. It hasn't proven necessary yet, but a character page might be a good idea for the comic site at some point, l3f4y.) The DM is in yellow. As for the other confusion, nowhere is it indicated that Rarity's player insisted on this. At most, we see her embracing its possibilities, maybe even embellish details on the pre-made character she was given. We've got no space marines here, but the handy little link in "author's notes" covers how those would be relevant with just a glance at the first page. Enough spoon feeding for now?

Now if you're still seeing crap, I'd recommend you try washing your face.
Roberto 7th Oct 2013, 12:51 PM edit delete reply
I'm glad Zuche agrees with me. Snark there is a filthy cunt who doesn't understand how he needs to read the other comic to understand this comic. He's a moron. It's right on the font page and he needs go read that whole comic right now if he's gonna spew crap about this comic over here. I know lots of people who make crossovers with no informative context and just expect you to know all the information. Its his fault for not knowing about the awesome Dungeon Master Effect in the first place.
Markus Fillmore 7th Oct 2013, 12:53 PM edit delete reply
Jesus Christ Zuche. Calm down. Take your head out of the crossover author's ass for a moment and just LOOK at the novel you wrote. Was it really worth spewing THAT MUCH pretentious crap all over someone who is, at best, mildly annoyed about this comic? Seriously mate, drop the white knight act. Go paint or something to calm down, it was NOT worth all that you wrote.
ArticFoxHuntsman 7th Oct 2013, 12:57 PM edit delete reply
Zuche man, i don't mean any offense, but a proper comic, crossover or not, shouldn't need prior knowledge and pages of notes to fully understand whats going on dude. prior knowledge is good for inside jokes, and thats it. an author shouldnt expect people to just know everything thats going on, thats assuming too much.

I think you owe snarkville (lol what a name) an appology. and I think he owes the author of this, l34f or whatever it is, one too.
l3f4y 7th Oct 2013, 2:24 PM edit delete reply
Love and tolerate, right, guys?

Zuche and Roberto, thanks. Snark and Huntsman, your points have been noted - but that's the benefit of hindsight, huh?
Starphoenix 7th Oct 2013, 10:23 PM edit delete reply
I find your commentary more distressing than snark's, Zuche. There's something to be said about criticism in this, I'm sure.

I for one, was somewhat confused trying to read the comic. Not everyone invests the time to look for crossover information, even if it's linked. The venom in the post was quite honestly irresponsible and needlessly argumentative. Snark may have been able to word it differently, but some stabs need to be taken. Personally as a Writer, I want honest feedback and not just molly coddling. Snark called them on a perceived problem. The author may take that however they will. I doubt lefay's going to cry themselves to sleep over an internet comment, but they might take something else away. There wasn't any bullying, so you rushing to defend was odd, to say the least.
Tatsurou 8th Oct 2013, 9:01 PM edit delete reply
Tatsurou
I would like to just make this point about what you're saying.
At this point in this story sequence, they appear to still be introducing characters. In which case, the dialogue matched by color is more important than who's who at this point, wouldn't you say? And it was certainly amusing as long as you didn't try to construct a full story arc out of 6 panels.
Guest 7th Oct 2013, 11:32 PM edit delete reply
I would have appreciated some indication that the green text boxes go with Rainbow Dash's white bubbles, and the pink text box goes with Rarity's white bubbles, if this is indeed the case. As it is, coloring the boxes makes it more confusing.
Also, and this may be a harder issue to deal with, the dialogue is paced too quickly. Rarity is able to interpret "...um..." as a reaction to the girlyness of her character description and address the issue half a panel later, or what seems like the very next breath after her character description. This is crammed between the story introduction and a throwaway joke that for some reason the page is titled for.
The use of spacer or "beat" panels would help us readers understand the conversation flow.
Jannard 8th Oct 2013, 3:50 AM edit delete reply
First off, my condolences Digo. Hope the Will Save rolls favorably for overcoming grief and you can start basking in good memories.

As for some of the last bits of discussion... The combination of mild insults, unnecessary snark, blunt sarcasm and constructive criticism muddled by poor wording (by this little community's standards, at least) all call for some measure of moderation. And I mean from you all, not some admin overgod. Moderate yourselves guys, no need to be passive-aggressive, much less to escalate.
Chatter 5th Oct 2013, 10:02 AM edit delete reply
chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter
chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter
Blues 5th Oct 2013, 10:14 AM edit delete reply
Chatter chatter... chatter?
Tarith Averin 5th Oct 2013, 12:05 PM edit delete reply
Chatter chatter chatter, gossip gossip... Crap, I think I got that last bit wrong.
Malroth 5th Oct 2013, 1:33 PM edit delete reply
If the guy wants to try to invent a new pokemon by drumming up support in a webcomic comment section let him
Jason Shadow 5th Oct 2013, 4:14 PM edit delete reply
Jason Shadow
Pssst. Hey. Hey, you. Come closer. I've got something to tell you...

Closer...

Closer...

chatter
Digo 5th Oct 2013, 5:01 PM edit delete reply
Ponies can be real fun to play in a campaign. You're small and you don't have hands, so coming up with ways to manipulate your environment is interesting. Makes you think a bit!

And I like that in an RPG.
Olon. 5th Oct 2013, 5:41 PM edit delete reply
Until the unicorn figures out there is no minimum limit on what you can push, and invents nuclear weapons with telekinesis. And molecular manipulation at levels of transmutation of materials. Related, I am no longer allowed Telekinesis.
Grey Pennies 5th Oct 2013, 8:26 PM edit delete reply
Me neither; although not for the same reasons. I figured out there's no limit on speed; unicorn bullets! Do I need to be able to see what I'm manipulating? Grab some organs! What's that? Shrink ray? Cool, I can fly! It's also good for long-range pick-pocketing, lock picking, puzzle solving... basically anything requireing manual dexterity can be done with telekinesis, only from a nice safe 30 feet away.
Anvildude 5th Oct 2013, 6:12 PM edit delete reply
Actually, any character with a disability is a blast to play. Try a campaign where you're blind, or can't hear.
Digo 5th Oct 2013, 7:51 PM edit delete reply
Oh yes, very much agree! I've played a blind boxer, an illiterate escaped convict, a thumbless tribal primitive, and a character with a terminal illness measured in days.

The first two survived their respective campaigns quite well.
Malroth 5th Oct 2013, 8:58 PM edit delete reply
Hey in Call of Cuthulu being blind is a perk
ShadowDragon8685 5th Oct 2013, 11:31 PM edit delete reply
ShadowDragon8685
I'd think if you were playing an MLP-style pony, you'd be able to manipulate things with your hooves and mouth, even if you were a pegasus or Unicorn. At least, if the GM wasn't mean.
Digo 6th Oct 2013, 6:35 AM edit delete reply
I guess it depends on the GM. When I ran a two-session quick adventure with GURPS, I only handed out minor penalties to fine manipulation like using certain small tools or reaching into a small hole to get something out.
Dragonflight 6th Oct 2013, 11:42 AM edit delete reply
Bear in mind, in MLP, they cheerfully ignore otherwise impossible stunts, which allows ponies and pegasi to manipulate objects with hooves without any observed difficulty. Unicorns may have the greatest dexterity with telekinesis, but the others don't seem to be having any real problems, either.

An RP based on a concept like that would have to have a pretty casual GM, who just handwaves away minor details because the story is more important.
Digo 7th Oct 2013, 7:21 AM edit delete reply
Yo. :D
Zuifan 5th Oct 2013, 10:55 PM edit delete reply
So I guess concepts like pet stores aren't a thing in D&D? Because I can't think of a reason why a ranger couldn't physically take some coins to a pet store and buy a dog besides the rules saying you can't have an animal companion.
ShadowDragon8685 5th Oct 2013, 11:33 PM edit delete reply
ShadowDragon8685
Depends on the setting. In Ye Medieval Times, pet stores didn't really exist as such. You want a dog, you go find a farmer who has a bitch that's expecting and negotiate for one of the pups. This could be very cheap, ranging from "Please, take two," to a few coins, depending on whether (a) he needs the pups himself or for his kin, and (b) how much of a sucker he wants.

Either way, nothing except an obstreperous GM saying you can't use the Handle Animal rules to have a perfectly mundane animal companion.
l3f4y 6th Oct 2013, 9:53 AM edit delete reply
You can buy a trained animal to carry you into battle or fight alongside you for a few hundred gold. Unfortunately, mundane warhorses and guard dogs don't scale too well with vorpal scimitars and Maximized Disintegrates.

In our game, we usually have around 6 PCs and at least one NPC at any given time, so we tend to stay away from adding more combatants to the initiative count if it's not a class ability.
Draxynnic 6th Oct 2013, 5:24 AM edit delete reply
How well balanced it is depends on the interpretations. Newbiespud's group is fairly balanced, and works for the story and for making a balanced party, but there are other interpretations.

A friend and I discussed it for Pathfinder at one point before finding FiD. Now, Twilight's obviously a wizard, Pinkie Pie a (spoony) bard, Fluttershy a druid, and Applejack is... well, strength-based. I think we were looking at a maneuver-based fighter or monk, though.

However, what we came up with is storm sorceror for Rainbow Dash, and (gem)stone oracle for Rarity.

To be fair, though, those combinations are ones we came up for in order to capture their essences without relying on racial powers to fill the gaps (when, strictly speaking, Rarity's gemfinding spell and Dash's weather manipulation could easily be racial rather than class features).
Brickman 6th Oct 2013, 5:42 PM edit delete reply
I'd say the flight is definitely a racial power, though Dash obviously sunk a few feats or points or whatever into it. Same with basic telekinesis. The weather thing is probably at the least an ability you have to pay for; I could see arguments for it being racial or being class-based with a rule earmarking it as a pegasus ability anyways. We don't really know how powerful it is, other than we know ponies of all stripes can reliably survive getting hit by a lightning bolt (enough that she used it on allies as a prank). The gemstones... eh, the only way I can see things making any sense is if the rulebook says "Unicorns are allowed to make up one or two noncombat spells related to their cutie-mark at DM discretion."
aerion111 6th Oct 2013, 7:09 PM edit delete reply
aerion111
Eh, the racial power would probably just be an x/day spell of a rather low level (up to 3, maybe?)
You couldn't do Twilight like that, but you're not supposed to; Even up to level 3 is way overpowered for a race, in my opinion, since most DnD races are meant to be relatively minor compared to class and level; If you took various DnD races and trained them similarly, you're SUPPOSED to end up with similar end results, which you wouldn't with MlP-races.
It makes more sense to me that they're simply re-flavoring standard class-abilities in the context of them being race-such-and-such, and using a voluntary restriction to stick to their core concept (unlike ordinary characters that will simply be BAD outside the concept)
Draxynnic 8th Oct 2013, 5:26 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, like I said, we were looking to capture their essence without relying on racial characteristics - so, for instance, a character that was able to fly needed to be able to get some means of flight in their class (we were pondering, if we could find enough like-minded people, to create a themed party based on the Mane Six for Pathfinder Society and break the brains of some poor GM that got us at a convention). Assigning stone oracle to Rarity meant that a) she got access to the ability of stone oracles to see through earth, sand and stone and b) as the incarnation of Generosity, we didn't think her acting as a support character would be, well, out of character.

If using custom races, then I think it's pretty clear that the ponies are going to be more powerful than regular races. Even Fluttershy, known for being a weak flyer by pegasus standards, is able to hovor indefinitely while taking 10, which is an ability that normally isn't available until at least level 5, and for balance purposes, what the other pony races get should aim to be as attractive an option as pegasus flight.

On unicorn magic specifically - as a comparison point, gnomes get three 0th-level and one 1st-level spell as standard, each usable once per day. Taking into account the above comment, it'd probably be fair to give them mage hand at will to represent unicorn telekinesis (possibly upgradable with feats) and at least one other level 0 spell usable multiple times per day - and to match pegasi having basic permanent flight, you could probably afford giving them much more. Feats could be used to grant more spells, but for unicorns such as Twilight Sparkle and Trixie that have focused on magic, it'd be more appropriate to give them a spellcasting class - possibly with an alternate racial trait that trades their unicorn magic with giving some improvement to the magic they get from their class.

To cover things that Rainbow Dash have done, though, you're either going to need spellcasting or to open up that feat chain to nonunicorns. While all pegasi have abilities to influence the weather and generate lightning strikes (note, though, that the usual prank lightning bolt is quite small - it probably wouldn't be unreasonable to treat it as something like 1d6 + 1/2 level nonlethal damage), Dash seems to have it to Control Weather levels, and the Sonic Rainboom is probably best represented as a spell of some kind too (and something that clearly most pegasi can't do). So either she's taken a lot of feats in developing her abilities, or she'd be better represented as something with at least some spellcasting. Since none of the Mane Six really seem to get into a lot of melee, stormborn sorceror really does have a lot of what you'd expect from Dash in one package between spells and class abilities, and the occasions she does get in close could be represented by "I have touch spells and I'm not afraid to use 'em."
Wyvern 7th Oct 2013, 6:06 PM edit delete reply
Yes, flight is a racial ability for pegasi just like ponykinesis is a normal thing for unicorns. Unicorns can also get special knacks related to their cutie marks, as noted for Rarity's gem finding spell. It's not nearly as obvious what earth ponies get; if I were DM I'd give them bonuses to Strength and Constitution, and it's said they're good at dealing with plants and animals, so however the system handles that.

Weather control is probably a skill or something, learned only by pegasi, but that's not a game breaker. (Fluttershy is a pegasus but doesn't do weather stuff.) Similarly, only unicorns do fancy magical spells.
Toiski 14th Oct 2013, 10:02 PM edit delete reply
I'd see the ponies working well as an addition to "Dungeons: The Dragoning 40,000 7.5th Edition" or whatever the subtitle is. It's a mashup parody RPG system by "White Wizards Workshop". They have races and exaltations, both of which contribute more to the initial state of a character than his ir her class (except meybe for spell schools). I've been thinking of making a pony-themed 'scourcebook' for D:tD for some time, but I haven't gotten around to it.