Page 1079 - Fruitful Endeavor

19th Jun 2018, 6:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 1
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Fruitful Endeavor
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 19th Jun 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
Heck with it, it's been a while since the last invoking of Story Time. Any stories about illusions?

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



Digo Dragon 19th Jun 2018, 6:06 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Lt. Rosalina Marie Croix (unicorn combat medic) was inspired after her team captured escaped criminal Chrysalis. She studied up on illusions and changeling magic, training herself to be a good infiltrator. She has managed to fool a few ponies and changelings with her illusion magic, which is a pretty good accomplishment for a unicorn whose cutie mark is in doctoring.

One of her endgame goals is to get good enough with illusions to impersonate Queen Chrysalis and trick a changeling from her hive in order to capture them for interrogation.
albedoequals1 19th Jun 2018, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
Odd choice of screen captures at the end. Showing Discord pulling the strings while saying there is no Discord pulling the strings.
FanOfMostEverything 19th Jun 2018, 7:06 AM edit delete reply
The DM never said there were no strings, just that Applejack couldn't roll to disbelieve. Discord's puppet strings are attached to reality itself.
Digo Dragon 19th Jun 2018, 8:09 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Would that be called String Theory?
Space Jawa 19th Jun 2018, 8:31 AM edit delete reply
More like "String Law", really.
Digo Dragon 19th Jun 2018, 11:23 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
But why would Discord want law?
Hankroyd 19th Jun 2018, 11:45 AM edit delete reply
So he can break it?
Frission 20th Jun 2018, 3:56 PM edit delete reply
That actually makes more sense for his character than you'd think.
Freelance 19th Jun 2018, 12:59 PM edit delete reply
*rubs his face and groans* I'm not going to have to explain the difference between theory and law, am I?

Every time I hear somebody say, "It's just a theory," I want to punch them in the face so heard they're breathing through to back of their skull. Anybody who uses "It's just a theory," has no idea what a scientific theory actually is.
Evilbob 19th Jun 2018, 2:12 PM edit delete reply
Of course you do! And besides, it's good to go against fashion and spread information instead of misinformation.

Besides the confusion is understandable, given that most common definition of theory is a proposed explanation that's still conjectural as opposed to a proposed model that have been proven to be true again and again by various experiments.

This is even more confusing when we think of scientific laws as always being true when in fact a law is just narrower account of a theory.
Jesin 19th Jun 2018, 4:25 PM edit delete reply
A theory is a collection of laws that fit together.
Freelance 19th Jun 2018, 7:15 PM edit delete reply
Scientific laws are a narrow statement about things that are truein all cases. Scientific theories are the facts that explain what we observe.
Gravitational Law: Matter attracts matter
Gravitational Theory: How space warps around matter to pull it together
Evolutionary Law: Decent with inherent variation/modification
Evolutionary Theory: How allele frequency, selective pressures, and the like favor certain traits over others.
Frission 20th Jun 2018, 3:54 PM edit delete reply
Don't forget factoring the definition of Hypothesis into the equation.
Composer99 20th Jun 2018, 2:06 AM edit delete reply
For your own sanity, I really would recommend not going over that concept unless someone is obtusely equivocating between the scientific and colloquial (*) use of the term with serious intent.

Just assume that if someone's using the term in jest that they know the difference and that, in so doing, their equivocation is part of the joke than a genuine lack of understanding on their part.

(*) Which is a perfectly acceptable use of the term outside of scientific practice, I might add.
Digo Dragon 20th Jun 2018, 4:48 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Yeah, it was meant as a joke about the puppet strings. Some people need more chill. :3
Freelance 20th Jun 2018, 6:27 PM edit delete reply
Sorry; simple text makes it hard to tell what's sarcasm and what's sincere.
Tempestfury 20th Jun 2018, 3:25 PM edit delete reply
... so I'm guessing you really want to give MattPatt of the Game Theory fame the beating off his life?
Freelance 20th Jun 2018, 6:28 PM edit delete reply
*Eyes nailbat laying off to the side.* I'm... gonna have to plead the fifth on that. X)
Blyndpwn 19th Jun 2018, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
My group is currently climbing a tower that looks like an Obsidian Stalactite. Except! We keep seeing everything in it as plain stone and bare rock. It changes in blinks, so we see this constant flickering, and it's driving us nuts.
Departure_Dave 19th Jun 2018, 7:09 AM edit delete reply
That sounds like z-fighting textures.
Discord 19th Jun 2018, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
Now it's safe to call me a non-poison puppet master.
BackSet 19th Jun 2018, 6:36 AM edit delete reply
I have no idea what that means.
Discord 19th Jun 2018, 6:50 AM edit delete reply
Someone here hasn't seen a certain ninja.
Digo Dragon 19th Jun 2018, 7:02 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Well they wouldn't be a ninja if you could see them.
Classic Steve 19th Jun 2018, 7:29 AM edit delete reply
I'm guessing a Naruto reference.
Hankroyd 19th Jun 2018, 11:45 AM edit delete reply
True ninjas don't wear bright orange clothes...
Freelance 19th Jun 2018, 1:00 PM edit delete reply
Well, you're in luck. Kankuro wears all black as he manipulates his ninja puppets.
BackSet 20th Jun 2018, 5:32 AM edit delete reply
I didn't know you were an Anime fan discord. Sounds like someone has hidden depths.
BackSet 19th Jun 2018, 6:38 AM edit delete reply
Hmmm... you know, I'd be interested in seeing how the crystal empire arc might go. I assume twilight learning the darker magic in order to get into the room with the crystal heart would be twilight's player minmaxing to learn magic she shouldnKt be able to learn otherwise.
ThatGuest 19th Jun 2018, 7:13 AM edit delete reply
One time a member of my party decided they were going to bother my character in their room and harass her. So I picked up a chair and threw it into one of the two back corners and got lucky and hit the real one hiding invisibly. "How did you know I was using an illusion to talk to you and waiting for you to be distracted?" Me: "Because I know you're a little *****."
Classic Steve 19th Jun 2018, 7:33 AM edit delete reply
I wonder if this will be the only FiD arc with Discord. It'd be hard to get the players on board with the plot of "Keep Calm and Flutter On," and any other means of bringing Discord back, especially as a non-villain, would beggar belief.
Dragonflight 19th Jun 2018, 12:16 PM edit delete reply
It might be possible if the metagame reason is that the guest GM character actually *enjoyed* the one-shot, and wants to game with them some more. And when the GM says that he'd only allow it if the player toned it down somewhat and tried to fit in more, KCaFO was what they came up with.
Speedy 19th Jun 2018, 8:59 PM edit delete reply
Or maybe the main DM gets sick and brings him in for a replacement? He ends up being over-the-top and has the players declare him a bad DM without the restraints of the regular DM around and demands he leave, which leads to him realizing the fun he had and mellowing out some to appease the group.
Aeshdan 19th Jun 2018, 7:33 AM edit delete reply
One of my favorite story arcs of all time involves a group of characters in an early edition of D&D, who were forced to sign a treaty, an actual, real-life, treaty between the players and the GM, to prevent the use of illusion spells from destroying the game.

You see, there was a critical flaw in the illusion rules. If a player said he or she "disbelieved" something, and that something was an illusion, they got a save to see through the illusion. The problem is, "disbelieving" was not an action, there was no penalty if you were mistaken, and if one player failed the others were still free to try. End result: As soon as the characters walked into the room, each player would individually state that his character "disbelieved" every single thing in the room.

Thus the Treaty: A blanket ban on any form of illusion not obviously illusory (so you could still use Mirror Image because anybody could see that there were images coming in and out of you, or Blur because it was obvious that you were magically blurry).
Hankroyd 19th Jun 2018, 11:53 AM edit delete reply
My players would have lost that idea very rapidly.

Since those acts clearly showed the characters has a unstable mental state I would have ruled after a while that any failure to the 'disbelief check' would jave make the character see something real as an illusion. With more and more malus as the character's mental state goes down.

So, after a while, the characters would live in an world that for him is entierly imaginary and fake ... thinking that maybe himself wasn't real ... but maybe some else in a real world.
Winged Cat 19th Jun 2018, 1:43 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
"Epic level magic doesn't actually exist. +5 swords don't actually exist. So clearly, you don't actually exist."

"You don't have the Will save to disbelieve me."
Frission 20th Jun 2018, 3:58 PM edit delete reply
Smart. Choosing to try to disbelieve an illusion should be something that happens once in a rare while when they're actually in play, and they get a clue that something's amiss.
Aeshdan 17th Nov 2019, 12:10 PM edit delete reply
Wouldn't have worked in this case. This group had a very heavily antagonistic player/DM relationship: It was functional, everyone liked it, but in order for it to work both sides had to stick rigidly to the stated rules. For the GM to change the rules like that would have destabilized the whole group dynamic.
Freelance 19th Jun 2018, 12:54 PM edit delete reply
As a matter of fact....

Near the end of our gaming group, we were all rather experienced players, so our DM would throw monsters at us that were above our weight class, just to see how resourceful we were. This includes him throwing a mummy at us while we were only level one.

In this stretch of the campaign, I was playing a LG Fighter/Illusionist Gnome. The DM sent a dragonne to harass the town we lived in. To make it at least a little bit fair, the dragonne was already hurt (probably what led to the attack in the first place), but our party still had to deal with it while only level three (Dragonnes in 2nd ed. have nine HD). I came up with the bright idea that since dragonnes are highly territorial and antagonistic , I could distract it by making an illusion of another male dragonne. As it was only an illusion, it couldn't damage it, but I could make feints at the creature while in turn it would be too busy swiping at the "interloper" to pay much heed to the peashots the arrows that managed to even damage inflicted upon it. Only when it was near-death did it realize its precarious position, and it fled, leaving very few casualties in its wake.

This led to our party gaining a fair bit of notoriety because, as I said, we were punching up and still winning.
Binary Toast 19th Jun 2018, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
Reminded of our party mage, in a campaign some years back. Oddly enough, he was an illusionist. Sadly don't remember many specifics, but the two incidents I'm thinking of went something like:

"Is that a group of adventurers, laying in ambush? Naaaah, looks like a stand of trees to me."

"Now hear me out, we *could* follow this letter to the spy's meeting place, and ambush whoever he's meeting... Or I could magic myself to look like him, and go meet them."
BackSet 19th Jun 2018, 4:04 PM edit delete reply
So when I finally manage to outdiscord discord can I get a reward?
Story Time 19th Jun 2018, 5:40 PM edit delete reply
When you can't roll or don't know what to roll... Any story like that? That the player know it's a trap but can't roll to evade the trap or escape from it?
Jaakusan 19th Jun 2018, 6:08 PM edit delete reply
Was playing an online game in the ruined future of a different campaign I was in. We were moving through a deserted city, trying to avoid monsters and find some information, when we found a clue about a hidden cache of weapons and probably the information we needed. The cache was in a pocket dimension... created by a high level illusionist. The entire thing was an illusion. The only way to get into the pocket dimension and retrieve everything was to fail the save and believe the illusion.
Bed Head 19th Jun 2018, 6:40 PM edit delete reply
An (unfortunately) recurring one in my Pathfinder games is Mammy Grawl from the adventure path Rise of the Runelords. Usually when folks are targeted by Phantasmal Killer or a similar spell.
Bed Head 19th Jun 2018, 6:41 PM edit delete reply
And before anyone asks, no it doesn't matter if the character ever heard of Mammy Grawl before or not. Fear of her seems to be universal.
Joe the Rat 19th Jun 2018, 8:53 PM edit delete reply
Illusions... I think my favorite was one on the party cleric, who had died several sessions ago, but nobody noticed.

Thanks to a little negotiation with a psychopomp, his familiar/holy symbol/zombie squirrel was unknowingly pulling triple duty as a sort of phylactery. So he got himself killed, but hung around. With an illusion that he was still, you know, not a desiccated corpse.

Best part, the cleric didn't realize it either, and was somewhat geased to ignore things like not having a heartbeat.

This little deception went on for about TWO YEARS of play. The entire time, I was noting everything vaguely biological the player did or didn't do. He never specifically said he'd eaten at meals, or taken care of other functions... so he didn't.

It took him being stabbed in the heart during a Cluedo session before folks realized some of his "performance issues" are a bit more profound.

I like to play a long con on these things. They still don't know the weird elf is actually Gith.
Anna 19th Jun 2018, 11:46 PM edit delete reply
Picture the scene: our party are in pursuit of some cultists, and we've just hired a ship to follow them across the sea. This leads to some discussion over whether the ship's captain is trustworthy - the cult are already aware of us, so what if it's a trap and she's one of them?

A little while earlier, we managed to learn the call sign that the cultists use to identify each other. So on the first night out of port, my trickery cleric uses Disguise Self to look like not-a-party-member, approaches the captain, and gives her the first part of the call sign.

Turned out the captain well recognised the cult's call sign... and was vehemently opposed to having cultists on her ship. This led to my still-disguised cleric being tied up on the deck, with the NPC inquisitor being summoned to torture me for information on the cult. Oh, and did I mention that this was a low-magic setting where most people viewed magic with superstition and fear? Dropping the illusion only made matters worse...
HopeFox 20th Jun 2018, 1:14 AM edit delete reply
In a D&D 3.5E game I ran with a homebrew Neolithic setting, the party fought a goblin wizard while they were following a huge herd of wild buffalo. The goblin cast a spell to create a wall of fire, which both spooked the buffalo and made the party scramble to avoid being caught in a savannah grass fire, which would have been deadly.

The fire, of course, was a Major Image spell, because even a crazy goblin wizard wasn't going to set fire to the savannah. So it served as an excellent distraction for the party. The funniest part was that the party's wizard missed the Spellcraft check to identify the spell being cast by just 2, so she couldn't tell if it was Wall of Fire or Major Image.
Lightning Flicker 20th Jun 2018, 9:40 AM edit delete reply
Ooooh, it's been a while since I've commented!! Illusions, huh? Well, a few years ago, my DM decided to throw a more.... Deadly version of Discord at us. Funnily enough, this story isn't about the fight against him, it's about the magical loot. My character got a seemingly normal hairbrush. I knew there was no way it was normal, so I, playing my first character ever after only about three sessions, did the obvious thing and shrugged and started brushing my hair. Turns out, the brush created an illusion, making the person who used it look like whoever they were thinking of at the time for a little while. The DM killed us all only a few sessions later because this was meant, not to be a long running campaign, but a trial for those of us who were new, which was almost all of us. However, we weren't given the option to keep any of our stuff, even if we kept our old characters. So I made a new character and started searching for that brush. Tried to be discreet about it, but I wasn't good at that yet. DM got pissed about me wanting something cool and unique like that back and shoved my new character, a fairy, in a jar. Wouldn't have killed him to just tell me knock it off, rather than completely incapacitate my character like that, but eh. I'm over it.
aylatrigger 20th Jun 2018, 10:10 PM edit delete reply
I once gave my party a huge pile of gold coins...that had been illusioned to look like fake coins (the chocolate variety). They decided they needed to take the pile to a high enough level mage to break the illusion.

Next session, they go into a town, hear rumors about a probably evil mage in a tower nearby. They spend their time fighting random encounters and guards, and eventually make it to the tower's top...and then kill the mage. I then commented how they had originally planned to ask the mage for help...