Page 80 - Gold Star Effort

9th Feb 2012, 6:00 AM
Gold Star Effort
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 9th Feb 2012, 6:00 AM edit delete
Surprise! It's a triple-length page this time!

This webcomic requires me to go through the show at a crawl, forcing me to observe every line and composition in excruciating detail. And yet, every so often, I still find myself thinking, "Dang. This show is good."


Snapplebloom 9th Feb 2012, 6:39 AM edit delete reply
I don't know much about 4E, but 20 hp on a level 1 wizard?
Karilyn 9th Feb 2012, 6:43 AM edit delete reply
Welcome to 4E. If you check the cast page, you can see their character sheets. HP is somewhat more forgiving than in older editions.
Ink Stream 9th Feb 2012, 6:43 AM edit delete reply
Oh that's just 4e. I'm sorry but I like my wizards to actually be squishy, not meatier than a third level fighter.
Thud 9th Feb 2012, 6:52 AM edit delete reply
But a third level fighter has like 29 hp at level 1, by level three he's added 12 for a total of 41.

He's way beefier than a level 1 wizard.
Essex 10th Feb 2012, 11:59 PM edit delete reply
I prefer my first level Wizards to be able to survive getting ambushed by a housecat ;)

Seriously. Look up the stats. Houscats are deadly to unsuspecting Wizards.
Snapplebloom 9th Feb 2012, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
My bad, so used to older versions, didn't know it is 10 + Con score
Ink Stream 9th Feb 2012, 6:46 AM edit delete reply
Me too. I'm used to a first level wizard being undone by a single average melee attack.
Akouma 9th Feb 2012, 7:52 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, Wizards are still SUPER squishy by comparison to the front-line classes, it's just that the HP numbers and powers are closer to "1st level in an MMO" than "first level in an older D&D edition."
Kiana 9th Feb 2012, 8:48 AM edit delete reply
Also, Wizards still have piss poor AC in 4e. While they no longer die in one hit, they will rapidly bleed out if they aren't careful. One hit? Tolerable. Two hits, really pushing it... You get flanked or cut off from the other players? Your ass is grass.
Boden King 9th Feb 2012, 9:20 AM edit delete reply
Tell that to the Wizard in my party. The man wades into combat with me every time. It's a miracle he hasn't died yet.
Digo 9th Feb 2012, 6:22 PM edit delete reply
I'm in a 3.5 game right now and we've nicknamed our wizard "Stabby McWizard". He never has the right spells memorized for the encounter so he just charges with his masterwork dagger.

He's surprisingly lucky with the attack rolls. :D
shadowoftruth 13th Feb 2012, 10:58 AM edit delete reply
I once D'M for a mid level 4e party where the wizard started out in full plate mail, focused around defensive magic (In 4e there is no Spell failure). He had shown me his character sheet before the campaign but I completely missed the point of his build.
Imagine my surprise as a DM when (due to shear luck) the wizard wins the initiative and his first words are "I charge the wolves", and none of the wolves could touch him.
From then on the party dubbed the wizard "Tanky Tank" and the paladin allowed him to be the main defensive wall. (He had 39 AC at 11th level with feats and could jack it up into the 50s by popping all his spells)
MirrorImage 9th Feb 2012, 9:25 AM edit delete reply
Depends on the build, honestly. They don't have 'piss poor' AC, but it's certainly not front-line tank AC either. In 4E, AC is determined by either your Dexterity or your Intelligence, whichever is higher and assuming you're not wearing Heavy Armor. Since wizards use Intelligence as a primary stat, they do have "ok" AC (a min-max'd Wizard would typically walk away with 14 or 15 AC at Level 1 - 18(+4) Intelligence Score / 20(+5) if they get a Racial Bonus).

As for Hit Points, everything needs to be taken into consideration, including healing surges. Unless you're building a Summoning Wizard (whose secondary stat is Constitution), most Wizards will walk away from first level with 20HP and 6 healing surges (1 healing surge heals you for 1/4 max hp), so they have a "total hp" of about 50. Fighters, on the other hand, are liable to walk out of first level with 28+ HP and at least 10 healing surges ("total hp" - 98). So when you take into account all of that, wizards are still very squishy in comparison.
Kiana 9th Feb 2012, 9:36 AM edit delete reply
'Piss poor' is being used based on RELATIVE AC here. Wizards still have the lowest AC out of most of the classes. At level 1, an enemy Soldier has a +6, I believe, bonus to hit. Most enemies have +4. That's still about a 50% chance of every attack hitting a wizard.

...And healing surges aren't as much of a factor if the party forgets to buy potions. Which my party seems to do quite a lot... Apparently not even realizing how every character /I/ build (for myself or for them) has at least two healing potions. =\
terrycloth 9th Feb 2012, 2:29 PM edit delete reply
With leather armor proficiency and the feat for staff defense (to go with the staff of ruin that it seems like every 4e wizard ever uses), wizards can have a pretty good AC if they care.
Bronymous 9th Feb 2012, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
All of that^^^^^^^ is why I play 3.5.

Though honestly, I still couldn't tell you how to calculate all of that in 3.5 anyway. I still have to poor over a Handbook for hours to build a character.
Kiana 9th Feb 2012, 1:13 PM edit delete reply
And if I know what powers I want, I can create a character in 4e in about fifteen minutes.

I prefer the system where fighters aren't completely replaced by the cleric and druid by 8th level.

I still appreciate 3.5, I simply don't prefer it.
Akouma 9th Feb 2012, 1:28 PM edit delete reply
Likewise, I prefer 4e BECAUSE of how much simpler it is compared to 3.5 and other previous versions. Honestly, all of my experiences with 3.5 (which were all before I ever picked up 4e) left a kind of bad taste in my mouth. Everything seemed a lot more complicated than it needed to be. I've tried Pathfinder, however, which is basically 3.75 in essence, and that had what I DID like about 3.5, except much easier to comprehend.
Burke 10th Feb 2012, 12:19 PM edit delete reply
If you want crazy first-level Wizard AC in 3.5, make a halfling with 20 Dex, (AC base 10, +5 for Dex, +1 for small size), cast Mage Armor (+4 armor bonus), Shield (+4 shield bonus), and Reduce Person (improves size bonus to AC by another +1), and get the party cleric to hit you with Protection from Evil (another +2 deflection). AC 26 for a wizard at 1st level.

Of course, the down-side is you've cast most or all of your 1st-level spells in one batch, and that Shield spell only lasts one minute at 1st level.
Bronymous 10th Feb 2012, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
See, I started with 4e, but none of us knew what we were doing. Then we found a few people to help us out, but they played 3.5, and its been like that ever since. Im sure 4e would be great, if anyone I knew ever felt like trying it out.
Derpmind 9th Feb 2012, 7:27 AM edit delete reply
I can't wait for NMM's victory speech.
Deadpan29 9th Feb 2012, 8:27 AM edit delete reply
I'm curious to see how the DM will fudge the "spirits of the elements". Because Rainbow Dash hasn't shown any particular signs of loyalty in this.
that guy 9th Feb 2012, 8:36 AM edit delete reply
rainbow dash has show a lot of loyalty.... to herself at least.
Azureink 9th Feb 2012, 8:39 AM edit delete reply
You mean: "How Twilight will explain how each individual represents an Element of Harmony."
Kiana 9th Feb 2012, 8:46 AM edit delete reply
"She's loyalty because... um... That's the only element left out of the six. And she didn't kill us when she had the chance!"
Azureink 9th Feb 2012, 8:41 AM edit delete reply
Also, 1 HP means... LIMIT BREAK!

Or Desperation Attack.
Kiana 9th Feb 2012, 8:45 AM edit delete reply
Oh yes, 'fancy that.' That's code for "I did that on purpose, so you better make this good."
leafia6 9th Feb 2012, 9:00 AM edit delete reply
So I guess my "Elements of Harmony taking 6 consecutive 20 rolls" comment is going to be correct? Spiffy.
Kiana 9th Feb 2012, 9:41 AM edit delete reply
Naaah. Skill challenge. We know a 19, for sure, passes. Not sure about a 14, as it got interrupted. At level 1, Twi has +10. Which means on a roll of NINE, she succeeded.

And most skill challenges are "X successes before Y failures"... Pinkie has +9 Arcana... Rarity has +2... But as a bard, Pinkie can Inspire Confidence...

Basically, it may be a Hard skill challenge, but that still means the PCs decent, though not stellar, odds. They'll have better odds if they can sub in Religion for the check, too.
Derpmind 9th Feb 2012, 10:14 AM edit delete reply
Why does it have to be a super-complicated skill challenge? If Twilight really does bring out the cheesy lecture on why the party has the spirit of the Elements of Harmony, then shouldn't that super-roleplaying count for way more than any dice-rolls?

I mean, Twilight didn't come up with that on the spot or anything. The Lauren Faust totally knew that her players matched the Elements, it's so obvious! It's not like party was supposed to go on an epic quest all over Equestria for the entire campaign, right?
Kiana 9th Feb 2012, 1:15 PM edit delete reply
...That's not super complicated. Twilight just got three successes. Most skill challenges cap out at five successes. That means TWO MORE successes, before two failures, equals "We win."

As I mentioned, two characters have rather good arcana bonuses.

I'm banking on Twilight's speech about the true Elements of Harmony giving a circumstantial bonus. =3
Chris 9th Feb 2012, 9:52 AM edit delete reply
Am I the only person who thought of this when I saw panel 4?
BadHorse 9th Feb 2012, 10:25 AM edit delete reply
thinking of this, actually
Ranubis 9th Feb 2012, 10:58 AM edit delete reply
Panel 3
NMM: "And now you will die, puny wizard! LIGHTNING STRIKE! ... And I missed. Really? I can't even smite a prone pony now?

Ah well, it's not like she can attack me now, that would be - ok, who put the mind of a barbarian in the body of a wizard?"
Bronymous 9th Feb 2012, 11:24 AM edit delete reply
A GENIUS, thats who. Because that means somewhere out there is the body of a Barbarian with the mind of a wizard, and Celestia help you if you run into that on a bad day.
Akouma 9th Feb 2012, 11:32 AM edit delete reply
To be fair, being prone does grant bonuses to avoid being hit by ranged attacks, assuming the lightning wasn't an area thing. NMM shouldn't beat herself up over missing a smaller target.
MirrorImage 9th Feb 2012, 1:45 PM edit delete reply
Ehh... A wizard, not necessarily, but god help you if you find a Barbarian with ungodly amounts of Wisdom. Intelligence means he knows facts (like how spells work). Wisdom means he has common sense and battle strategy. God help you if you find a Barbarian who can hit hard and knows how to do it strategically.
Dragonflight 9th Feb 2012, 11:32 PM edit delete reply
Reminds me of a joke character I rolled up once in 3.5 on a lark. Conehead the Librarian. A barbarian with all the usual combat advantages, but all his skills in Knowledge, Literacy (which I had to pay double for,) and calligraphy. He was surprisingly fun to play.
Shikome Kido Mi 9th Feb 2012, 11:32 PM edit delete reply
Eh, if it's a complex strategy, especially if it requires planning or forethought, that's still Int. Wisdom is good for common sense tactics, though. And when you're a Barbarian you probably only need common sense, on the fly, reactive tactics if they're good ones.
timemaster 13th Feb 2012, 4:25 PM edit delete reply
Q: what you call a barbarian with the mind of a wizard
A: Master chief and Cortana
Bronymous 9th Feb 2012, 11:26 AM edit delete reply
I have no viable comments on the comic itself... except maybe Twilight's Tail in the bottom left panel.
sorakun555 9th Feb 2012, 5:17 PM edit delete reply
This was actually really intense o-o Weird how a different approach to the exact same story would make such an impression. Just so you know, I have not been disappointed throughout this entire comic!
Davlamin Foechuckle 9th Feb 2012, 6:53 PM edit delete reply
I just really wanted to say that the work you have done with this comic is absolutely phenomenal. You do so well to capture the intricacies of a great D&D group while incorporating characteristics of the characters of MLP. Whenever I have a free moment, I always have to check to see if you have released another part of the comic, and I am never disappointed when you release another one. They are always very funny, and very interesting. There is so much I think I could say about your work, but I am not sure if I can put it all into words. But, I can't wait to see how you end this adventure and where you start the next adventure if you do.
Akouma 10th Feb 2012, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
To save you some time, the comic updates on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. However, feel free to check during your free moments anyway to have a chat with the rest of us!
Trivial 9th Feb 2012, 10:03 PM edit delete reply
Hmmm... Looks like the DM doesn't even care anymore that AJ and Twi are talking to each other from quite a ways away.
sjosten 9th Feb 2012, 11:04 PM edit delete reply
That would be hilarious in-universe.
Twi: YEAH!!!
NMM: I can hear you y'know.
NMM: Is Intelligence the dump stat for the whole party?
Shikome Kido Mi 9th Feb 2012, 11:33 PM edit delete reply
... Pretend Applejack was asking Rainbow Dash to make a light to signal Twilight where she should run to in order to rejoin the party if the DM asks.
Kiana 10th Feb 2012, 3:00 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, it would be weird in-universe, but since Twilight is a new player you can understand the DM letting that slide. =P
Bronymous 10th Feb 2012, 11:43 AM edit delete reply
Or, based on how things are working in favor for the DM, one could assume they are playing according to HIS plan (for once), and doesn't want to mess it up by forcing them to think up another plan.
Quietkal 10th Feb 2012, 12:02 AM edit delete reply
All these natural 20's. I always end up rolling terribly in combat, shooting the other people in our party, then rolling high on skills that don't really matter (Fletching for example). -.-
CommandoDude 10th Feb 2012, 1:29 AM edit delete reply
In 4e, encounters that include skill challenges in them limit skill checks to 1 per turn (and they usually take a minor).

So basically, Twilight was sitting there with the elements for 5 rounds.
Iscelces 10th Feb 2012, 5:06 AM edit delete reply
That's a very good point, which raises the question: What was NMM doing for those rounds?

"The pony's disappeared! Ah, she's by the elements. I'll just taunt her."
"One success?! Meaningless!"
"Uh, two successes... That... Could be problematic."
"Three successes?! Oh hell no! NOT IN MY ENCOUNTER!!!!"
terrycloth 10th Feb 2012, 11:49 AM edit delete reply
The teleport was a readied action for 'just before NMM hits me', so turn one was wasted charging in the wrong direction.

Turn 2, she casts (or uses arcana to) trace teleport, and feels stupid because she could have just turned around and looked.

Turn 3, she's racing back across the room but she charged for at least one full round so she doesn't get there until turn 4.
techogre 10th Feb 2012, 7:45 AM edit delete reply
It hasn't come up in a while, but you can down shift your actions. This lets you convert your Move and Normal actions to Minor actions. It lets her get three rolls in. Well, I would allow it anyway. Also, could have been a corner case where the DM said it was a 5/0 skill challenge, rolled in one turn? I don't know.
Akouma 10th Feb 2012, 11:16 AM edit delete reply
I know that when I'm DMing I let my players make up to three skill checks in a turn if they're willing to give up their move and their standard to do it. It really speeds up what is otherwise just sort of busy-work.
TDR 10th Feb 2012, 5:14 AM edit delete reply
By goddess a level 1 wizard with 20 hit points? what the heck is her con / feat spread?
Pan Rysownik 10th Feb 2012, 5:51 AM edit delete reply
Search this site and you shall find answers.
Starcloud 10th Feb 2012, 8:58 PM edit delete reply
The cast page has character sheets for all the Mane Six.
Beard 10th Feb 2012, 6:39 AM edit delete reply
This is a pretty great page. Couple of pages. However you want to call it.
techogre 10th Feb 2012, 7:40 AM edit delete reply
To me it looks like her body is twisted around. She's very flexible.
D&D FAN 10th Feb 2012, 11:03 AM edit delete reply
Twilight a level 1 wizard has 20 hp?!?! dammmmn man she must have a constitution of 42 AT LEAST! HHHHHAAAAaaaa... i have no life
terrycloth 10th Feb 2012, 11:46 AM edit delete reply
Real answer: It's 4e.

Pathfinder answer: She has a con of 14 and two racial hit dice for being a pony. Unicorns are only d6s though. 8+6+5+1 for wizard being her favored class = 20.
Bronymous 10th Feb 2012, 11:48 AM edit delete reply

Sorry, I had to do it. My inner-Anon overtook me for a second.
Kaleopolitus 10th Feb 2012, 2:20 PM edit delete reply
You are excused... Because you are awesome.
Chris 10th Feb 2012, 8:58 PM edit delete reply
As funny as watching all everybody get confused about hit points is, it also kind of makes me sad. Since the ponies are playing 4e, Twilight will never know the anguish of rolling a 1 for hit points at first level (AD&D, son! And none of this "second edition" crap, either), nor will she suffer through four levels of hiding in the middle of the party and being completely ineffectual. But neither will she ever have the joy of getting that fireball spell at level five, and discovering that she can essentially insta-kill entire armies with a single spell.

Oh well, I'm sure 4th edition has its own joys (I've never played, but I assume it does), but there's something special about the 1e wizard going from useless to universe-destroying over the course of a long campaign.
Kiana 11th Feb 2012, 12:14 AM edit delete reply
Oh god, rolling 1 for your first level. >.<

3.5 had a rule where you had the maxed roll at first level, but still. A couple levels of rolling a 1 sucks. Worse is when you're a barb and roll low a couple levels in a row...
Lyntermas 10th Feb 2012, 4:01 PM edit delete reply
GM: The Elements are faintly glowing, and slowly getting brighter. but NMM could notice them.
Twilight: Gotta think fast. Uh, NMM, what's so great about nighttime?
NMM:What? How dare you question the sanctity of the evening? The beauty of the stars and moon? The calm serenity of...
GM: At this point, the Elements are glowing brightly, with sparks jumping between them.
NMM: What? No!
Twilight: Ha. I defeated the final boss all by myself.
GM: The words "all by myself" reverberate around the room. The Elements immediately go back to their inert state.
Derpmind 10th Feb 2012, 11:31 PM edit delete reply
I hereby nominate the above for best post. *Crickets*
Kaleopolitus 11th Feb 2012, 5:17 AM edit delete reply
I second this!
*One less cricket*
Ranubis 11th Feb 2012, 7:38 AM edit delete reply
Third! Nothing like using pride to distract the Big Bad. Of course, one can't let that go to one's head either.
timemaster 13th Feb 2012, 4:28 PM edit delete reply
Q: what you call a barbarian with the mind of a wizard
A: Master chief and Cortana
timemaster 13th Feb 2012, 4:51 PM edit delete reply
oh yeah and I also nominate the above post for best post