Page 1072 - No-Fly Groan

2nd Jun 2018, 6:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 1
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No-Fly Groan
Average Rating: 4.5 (2 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 2nd Jun 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
This is why, from a game design perspective, you don't just give players flight and teleportation willy-nilly. Because then you feel compelled to drag out this old chestnut: "Uhhhhhh, this ability would break just about any puzzle I try to throw at you, and any attempt to design around it would be madness-inducing, so... it doesn't work here. Because reasons." And even if all you do is put a wall up, they try to break directly through them anyway.

By comparison, navigating a dramatic improvisational story scene with four rookie self-absorbed actors is easy mode. At least to me.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Discord 2nd Jun 2018, 6:13 AM edit delete reply
I've also remove your strength, so no smashing your way the walls.
And for the pink one, no Pinkie senses.
Pablo360 2nd Jun 2018, 8:32 AM edit delete reply
“Also, DM, I stole your notes.”

“Wait what!?”

“No cheating!”
Digo 2nd Jun 2018, 12:27 PM edit delete reply
What if the GM committed the info to memory?
Specter 2nd Jun 2018, 10:28 AM edit delete reply
Shovels, matches, fire resist potions, dream catchers, ladders, divining rod, fifty pieces of blank parchment with several ink vials and a feather pen, months worth of rations, picks, axes, oil, some kind of pestilence... I have several things that will either help me, or get me killed... I like these odds.
aylatrigger 2nd Jun 2018, 8:52 PM edit delete reply
...That would have made sense for my 34 Strength at level 8 character. But she was a spell caster. ...With spells based off strength. Muscle wizard! (Eldritch Godling in case you are wondering on what class gives the Strength based casting. ...The 34 strength was a mixture of things, mostly her being a huge-sized Noble Monitor Lizard)
Archone 4th Jun 2018, 2:16 AM edit delete reply
Major Alex Armstrong has found the woman of his dreams! :p
Jennifer 2nd Jun 2018, 7:15 AM edit delete reply
Recently I answered a Quora question about DnD puzzles with the following two:

- The party finds itself at a chasm, next to a pile of lumber. Hand the players a sheet of paper and a handful of Jenga blocks. They must build a bridge over the paper, with none of the blocks touching it.

To forestall jumping the chasm, there is an anti-flying charm present and running.

- From Martin Gardner, the party finds itself in a cathedral bell-tower. There are two valuable bell-ropes hanging from the 100-foot ceiling. The party cannot get into the belfry, nor can they climb the walls or levitate. They must climb the ropes and cut both of them without breaking their legs on the way down.

Respondents facetiously suggested Aaracokra PCs or complained that carpentry skills and magic should be allowed and rolled for. I responded with anti-air batteries. Seriously, though, we ended up in a fruitful discussion about the nature of puzzles and how, on the one hand, PC skills allow the players to bypass them, while on the other, they need to remain because they are an important element of the genre.

I suggested using the two puzzles above at low level when the party would not yet have flying spells. Also, neither would be a "do-or-die" situation, they should be bypassable side-quests if the players don't want to figure them out. The second could have cliff-kobolds in the walls for if the rogue and monk insist on climbing the walls - a different challenge but just as challenging.
Greenhornet 2nd Jun 2018, 8:49 AM edit delete reply
For problem one:
Player whips out a spool of thread and ties Jenga blacks together.
DM: "You can't do that!"
PLAYER (Presenting character sheet): "One thousand feet of sturdy rope!"
Jennifer 2nd Jun 2018, 9:51 AM edit delete reply
Personally, I'd allow it - it's a great idea. Though if the first attempt collapsed I'd remove the blocks and the thread from the table.
Winged Cat 2nd Jun 2018, 10:24 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Similar to Greenhornet's solution: for problem two, rope and grappling hook, latching onto what the bell is hung from. Many adventuring parties will have this automatically.

Just last weekend, I was in a Dungeon World one-shot where my rogue had "adventuring gear", its nature to be filled in as the narrative needs. Rope and grappling hook - on an arrow, so I could fire from my bow - was accepted as part of it with no one batting an eye.

If the rope is long enough, the party can tightwalk or cling to the rope, there are raised points on both sides of the paper's area, and the party can fire at a high enough velocity that the arrow could land and they could haul up the rope before it touches what must not be touched, this could work for problem 1 too.
Stephen 2nd Jun 2018, 12:28 PM Yup edit delete reply
That's pretty much how you would do that given what I know. I was actually a combat engineer and worked with the bailey bridge system. People actually have to carry these big heavy rollers to the other side of whatever gap you are bridging so that there's something to catch the bridge and guide it on the other side. And no... you aren't allowed to just walk across the bridge and set them up. That's actually pretty dangerous and will probably get you killed and break the bridge. So I don't know how they would construct a bridge without somehow getting to the other side first.
Jennifer 2nd Jun 2018, 12:33 PM edit delete reply
Stephen: So the way they build it in A Bridge Too Far - moving pontoon 2 to the end of pontoon 1, pushing it in, then moving pontoon 3 to the end of pontoon 2, etc, is not how it's done?

Winged Cat: And if the ropes go through a (small) hole in the ceiling to the belfry rather than being hung from a hook?
Jennifer 2nd Jun 2018, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
Or if you don't want evidence left behind? You could use a carefully aimed grappling hook, but how are you going to get it down afterwards? Or it's your only hook and you'll need it later?
Stephen 5th Jun 2018, 7:56 AM A bit different. edit delete reply
I'm referring to a situation where that isn't really possible. The use of pontoon assumes that the pontoons will be close enough to the bridge to offer support. With this chasm requiring a bridge that tells me that the sides of the chasm are incredibly tall and steep. The reason I assume this is that if this ISN'T the case and given what we know there is no reason to have a persistent structure after we cross then I wouldn't build a bridge. I'd build a raft. Even if the current is strong a raft with that thrown grappling hook secured at both sides (far end with the grappling hook, near end tied to a tree or soemthing) to serve as a guideline to keep the raft from dripping too far would be faster and arguably better than an entire bridge.
Zeeth 4th Jun 2018, 7:05 PM edit delete reply
Getting people to the other side of a ravine or river in order to build a bridge? Why not start with a crane?
terrycloth 2nd Jun 2018, 9:56 AM edit delete reply
Any party that leaves without finding and looting the anti-flying charm is doing it wrong.
Pablo360 2nd Jun 2018, 10:24 AM edit delete reply
They find the anti-flying charm, and it's being maintained by a powerful demilich, whom the players convince to cast aside his evil ways and become a tea-taster. However, this angers the president of the local tea-tasting union, setting in motion a massive plot that is definitely not the DM's method of changing the world arbitrarily so that the player's actions suddenly play into the plot he had previously prepared…
Stephen 2nd Jun 2018, 12:19 PM Huh? edit delete reply
Valuable bell-ropes? I actually looked this up and it is a thing. A thing tied to the clapper of a bell... but the thing is the only way I can see this as "valuable" is the spliced end connected to the clapper. If they're going to cut them then they remove the splice. So they turn very valuable special rope into regular rope. Bad puzzle. My suggestion is instead they need to climb the ropes to get to a higher level of an old castle that has a bell tower because all of the stairs they have found have collapsed. I even looked them up. They're fairly cheap unless they're handmade or something.
Jennifer 2nd Jun 2018, 12:34 PM edit delete reply
For whatever reason, the ropes are valuable. Perhaps they are made of some inherently magical substance, or are spliced with gold thread?
you know that guy 2nd Jun 2018, 2:20 PM edit delete reply
For the bridge: there's always the classic leaning tower of lire, but this wouldn't support people walking on it.

For the ropes: what are they attached to? If there's a pulley up there, the answer is easy.
CCC 3rd Jun 2018, 11:07 PM edit delete reply
Mage Hand.

...what? Nobody said I couldn't levitate a sword!

...okay, okay. So. We send the meatshield up with a sword, and we have the healer standing near the bottom with a Wand of Cure Light. Falling damage isn't *that* much.
Dinn 2nd Jun 2018, 7:55 AM edit delete reply
What do you mean rookie, Spud.
I take offense to that.
Guest 2nd Jun 2018, 10:09 AM edit delete reply
The "self-absorbed" part is completely unchallenged, however. ;D
albedoequals1 2nd Jun 2018, 8:14 AM edit delete reply
This scene is very different because of the D&D component. In the show, Twilight and Rarity without their magic are still as strong as earth ponies, as carrying Tom demonstrates. In D&D, when you take away the wizard's magic, all you have left is a peasant in pajamas. Even if you know the wizard will completely break your encounter, you can't simply take away all magic or you're effectively benching one player.
Kaze Koichi 2nd Jun 2018, 9:29 AM edit delete reply
I once made the same mistake by taking the group's weapons. They were not happy about it.
Evilbob 2nd Jun 2018, 9:42 AM edit delete reply
I'd like to think they actually aren't as strong as Earth ponies, but that when Discord took away their wings and horns, he didn't steal their magic, so it simply re-manifested itself in the way that Earth pony magic manifests.

Speaking of magic-stealing, rewatching the Tirek episode, I realized that the raw power of all the princesses combined is pretty much equivalent to the magic of of ponies in Equestria + Discord combined (since Tirek basically had none when he escaped)... That's some serious raw magic power... The same amount that can make nuclear-explosions or equivalent power (based on the resulting mushroom cloud). Oh the joy of rewatching things!
Rathonje 2nd Jun 2018, 11:46 AM edit delete reply
I'm not sure a direct power comparison like that is valid. There may have been inefficiency in the power transfer from ponies to Tirek. To me, this seems implied by the seemingly minor power growth he undergoes when he drains the powerful entity Discord.

Of course, there could be inefficiency in the princesses' power transfer to Twilight as well... Not too much, considering she was able to so dramatically affect the celestial bodies. But then, we don't know how much of a princess's power is used in the moving of the sun/moon, do we?
Needling Haystacks 4th Jun 2018, 9:16 AM edit delete reply
I read a theory once that the sun and moon themselves are not moved, but rather a shell of aether ('light medium') around the planet, at least for the sun. This is based on the assumption that their solar system is heliocentric. There's actually evidence in both directions (there's a heliocentric orrery in one episode, but on the other hand they consistently speak of 'moving' the sun).
Pablo360 2nd Jun 2018, 10:25 AM edit delete reply
That's the one situation where splitting the party is less of a headache. Still a headache though.
Winged Cat 2nd Jun 2018, 10:26 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Unless it's the kind of wizard who can completely break your encounter even without magic.

It's possible Twilight is just that.
Digo 2nd Jun 2018, 9:19 AM edit delete reply
Eh, pit traps are kinda overrated. Hollow doors filled with alchemist's fire that burst into flames when the party tries to bash the door in is where it's at.

I mean, according to Grimtooth anyway. :3
Evilbob 2nd Jun 2018, 10:18 AM edit delete reply
I dunno. Grimtooth seems to be a big fan of Exit signs and other contraptions too.
Winged Cat 2nd Jun 2018, 10:34 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Oh, hey, someone else who's read Grimtooth!

I'd seriously consider doing a traps-focused campaign, if I thought my players would enjoy it. Alas, you can only do so much before the PCs just turtle up and grind through everything, focusing on acquiring new invulnerabilities as their level-up power selections - and playing a PC whose power is just to No Sell everything, with no unusual active abilities, can get boring quick.
Torquelift 2nd Jun 2018, 12:11 PM edit delete reply
As a rogue player that once survived a trap-heavy dungeon, let me tell you that rolling a three search checks for every door and one on EVERY 5-foot square gets old really bloody fast.
But that doesn't mean I won't do it out of spite.
Anon 2nd Jun 2018, 12:29 PM edit delete reply
You don't even need traps to extend a session like that. One of ours was GMing his campaign, we had to break into a temple of some sort or another to try and beat someone to the Hand of Vecna. Opening the door was messy enough (if we hadn't been poking it with a stick, our wizard would have been very short-handed the rest of the campaign), so when we saw the featureless dark tunnel on the other side we immediately started assuming the worse.

It took us over a half-hour of experimenting and careful prodding to get more than 500 yards in. Ultimately, the only special thing about that tunnel was it was longer on the inside than the outside structure would allow. That's it, no pit traps, no spiked walls...
Digo 2nd Jun 2018, 12:31 PM edit delete reply
Oh I hate when dungeons have so many traps like that. I always f she the approach that if there are people/monsters living in the dungeon, then they'd only trap the vital parts cause otherwise all it takes is on night of heavy drinking and the entire tribe gets lynched on their own home.

...Oh, I should write that idea down for later.
Kaze Koichi 2nd Jun 2018, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
Puzzles? Are you joking? Who want that?
If I wanted to solve some tabletop puzzles, I'd buy a game of 15.
Guest 2nd Jun 2018, 2:46 PM edit delete reply
"Uhhhhhh, this ability would break just about any puzzle I try to throw at you, and any attempt to design around it would be madness-inducing, so... it doesn't work here. Because reasons."

This is actually only a problem if you aren't already going full-bore into the madness. If the players minmaxing is a problem, that means you haven't made things complicated enough for them.
So... Any story about how the GM put a puzzle or a labyrinth that need the use of intelligence or something to complete only to be resolved easy by a way the GM did not expect?

For example breaking the walls of a labyrinth, breaking a puzzle, using a magic trick, etc.
Hariman 2nd Jun 2018, 11:40 PM edit delete reply
...I am now picturing this as Judy Dench's D&D group, with John De Lancie as the Guest DM.
Freelance 3rd Jun 2018, 12:55 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, one campaign I played a maedar--that's a male version of the medusa. One of their abilities is to essentially allow them to pass through rock and stone. After accidentally bypassing one dungeon about two rooms in, suddenly there were a lot of protections in caves and the like to prevent such.
PumpkingKnight 4th Jun 2018, 4:20 PM edit delete reply
I think I'm gonna like this Discord almost as much as the real one
Newbiespud 4th Jun 2018, 10:58 PM edit delete reply
I love how this sentence can go in either direction, really.
Kaze Koichi 5th Jun 2018, 3:57 AM edit delete reply
Nothing can beat real Discord! Why are there people that still insist on using Skype?