Page 1093 - The Price Just Might

21st Jul 2018, 6:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 1
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The Price Just Might
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 21st Jul 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
I must admit, I'm slowly realizing that an aspect of my writing in this arc is about catharsis as a GM, too. Who doesn't want to confront their players with their flaws (in an educational way) and knock them down a peg from time to time?

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



Cygnia 21st Jul 2018, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
Confront my players with their flaws?

All the time.

Unfortunately, one of my players is too self-absorbed to ever listen to the lesson.
Discord 21st Jul 2018, 6:04 AM edit delete reply
I'd say something about diamond dogs and diamonds, but those that would get the joke are a Rarity.
Poo Shoe Woo! 21st Jul 2018, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
Oh, that bloody pun....
Digo Dragon 21st Jul 2018, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Stole my pun from the previous page. Discord is out of original material. :3
BackSet 21st Jul 2018, 8:03 AM edit delete reply
Oh snap! He got you there D!
Discord 21st Jul 2018, 8:17 AM edit delete reply
Please, like you're the first one to come up with that pun.
A matter of fact, I think I did that joke in the real show a season or two back.
BackSet 21st Jul 2018, 9:32 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon 21st Jul 2018, 11:05 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
That was Applejack actually, in I believe Season 3 episode 2.
Hankroyd 22nd Jul 2018, 8:16 AM edit delete reply
Discord and Applejack are the same character ????
What a twist !
Jellybean 21st Jul 2018, 6:14 AM edit delete reply
I like what you've done with each of these scenes so far.
Chimerat 21st Jul 2018, 8:28 AM edit delete reply
Oooh... Rarity is my least favourite of the Mane Six in the show mainly because about 80% of her "generous" deeds are for her own benefit in the end. [Making new dresses for her that she can put on a fashion show and increase her personal fame, for instance.]

This shall be quite fun to watch. Mwahaha and so on. ;p
Anvildude 21st Jul 2018, 9:34 AM edit delete reply
See, she's one of my faves. She's got this whole Noblesse Oblige thing going on- sure, she's working for her own benefit, but it's not purely so that she, alone, can have nice things and be comfortable. It's so that nice things and comfort can exist and be given to _everybody_. Now, she runs into trouble sometimes, when what others believe to be nice things and comfort differs from hers, but her whole being is about making everything, for everybody, better.

It's a more subtle expression of her Element than most others, which is what I like.
BackSet 21st Jul 2018, 12:47 PM edit delete reply
This is unrelated, but...

Do you tend to drop Anvils, Anildude?
Chimerat 22nd Jul 2018, 8:08 AM edit delete reply
That's a good point.

I suppose she is getting a bit better at realizing that Generosity can extend past physical things. At least in some of the newer episodes.
Guest 21st Jul 2018, 10:32 AM edit delete reply
That's really just good business sense though, isn't it? Giving so that you can give more, then give more, then give more. It's a never-ending feedback loop of generosity.

Generosity, if raw, just leaves you destitute. Generosity, if tempered and refined, benefits everyone.
Digo Dragon 21st Jul 2018, 11:06 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
In my case, I don't like Rarity so much as I love her voice actress who plays her hammy-ness so well.
Ishidan 22nd Jul 2018, 2:18 PM Tabitha edit delete reply
Tabitha St. Germain really is a treasure, isn't she. And remember, she also voices Luna, Granny Smith, Muffins, Aloe, Photo Finish, Mrs. Cake, and Flurry Heart, and that's just the recurring characters.

Yeah, we could have a spa day episode starring nothing but Tabitha in the booth, but on the screen we have A Living Goddess, The Town Elder, The Hostess With the Mostess, The Baby, The Spa Owner, Snacks Ordered and Delivered, and Souvenir Photos.
Needling Haystacks 21st Jul 2018, 12:15 PM edit delete reply
Wasn't the show her friends' idea? It's been awhile since I watched that episode.
Chimerat 22nd Jul 2018, 8:06 AM edit delete reply
No. Twilight wanted her to fix her dress. Rarity refused, insisting she must replace it, and then decided to make Applejack a dress too, when she showed up.

Then she decided to do a dress for all of them and have a fashion show to show them off.

At which point the stress she put on herself to make the deadline for her own fashion show as put on her friends being too picky. It was an...odd episode. Though I did like the music in it.
Needling Haystacks 23rd Jul 2018, 9:24 AM edit delete reply
Oh right, there were 2 shows. The others insisted on the second one after Fluttershy un-modified the dresses.

That was a weird episode... they clearly knew what they wanted (...well, except for Rainbow Dash), but that wasn't 'fashionable' so in the end THEY had to change. The real conflict should have been trying to tie personal requests into a show, now I think on it. Had it not been for that, they'd have been happier with the modifications.
GrayGriffin 22nd Jul 2018, 5:16 AM edit delete reply
And??? Pinkie Pie only throws parties because she likes doing it, Fluttershy is only nice to animals because they help her with her chores, Applejack is only honest because she's bad at lying. See? You can twist almost any of the Mane Six to make their element seem selfish and bad.

Go sit on a tack, Rarity is awesome and she's absolutely a good representation of generosity.
Greenhornet 21st Jul 2018, 8:36 AM edit delete reply
Wow, she resisted for all of five seconds.
Guest 22nd Jul 2018, 2:53 PM edit delete reply
True to the show, then.
Night Writer 21st Jul 2018, 9:34 AM edit delete reply
I'm reminded of the days when I ran Hackmaster, when I tried to create a party of evil counterparts to my players' characters, designed to play off the players' flaws and quirks (this is long before the Order of the Stick and the Linear Guild existed).

For instance: One player had kind of a man-whore paladin, and took advantage to the class' immunity to disease if you get my drift. So I created a female villain who was also a lycanthrope (which is a curse, so not subject to paladin immunities) to try and infect him.

Unfortunately, not all of the players took the bait, the group never fully fell for the machinations of their evil counterparts, and player drama ended that group before I could steer them back.
MardukGKoB 21st Jul 2018, 10:03 AM edit delete reply
Knocking them down a peg - also known as giving them enough rope? I'm basing a campaign around it.
Guest 21st Jul 2018, 10:35 AM edit delete reply
That's a whole lot more clever than I thought it'd be. Technically, if she was playing true to her element, she'd be okay with giving the big horking diamond to her enemies.

If she's not okay with giving the diamond away to anyone who needed it - anyone at all - then she has no right to her element. Turning her own roleplaying against her.

That is CLEVER. I like. Well, from an outside perspective, at least.
Needling Haystacks 21st Jul 2018, 12:17 PM edit delete reply
If an enemy would use it to hurt someone, that's not generosity.

I see it as more of a meta-meta-gaming thing. Her character/element would take it and give half to the poor (after reasonable expenses) (2 Oots references in the same thread!), but she knows it's a trap... actually her character should also know it's a trap, come to think of it.

Anyway, consequently there's now a meta-game manipulation of the diplomancer's role. It's clever.
Akouma 21st Jul 2018, 9:00 PM edit delete reply
So one of my players in Genius absolutely NEVER listens when people point out his character's flaws. Basically, his character straight up betrayed the party. The bad guy had created an evil dystopia on Mars, and everyone in the party consciously chose to fight against it because it was wrong even though the bad guy was an old friend. All except one. This guy walks right into the bad guy's office, gets a textbook "this is my evil plan, come join me and together we can rule this puny world" speech, and then goes "yeah okay." (To be clear, this evil plan was to create a society where all Geniuses were first-class citizens and everyone else was second-class and basically slaves. It was NOT a controversial, nuanced goal that should have divided the party.) He eventually turned around and came back to the good guys, but not because he thought the bad guy was evil. No no, he explicitly still liked the bad guy better, wanted that plan to succeed, but just threw a tantrum because the bad guy's bodyguards hadn't gotten the memo that he was on their side now and demanded to know who he was.

Whenever the other players point out that he's a serial betrayer who can be trusted about as far as he can be thrown, he instantly shoots back that "the villain was right and you all should've joined US."
HappyEevee 22nd Jul 2018, 4:58 PM edit delete reply
I can't count how many Rogues I've played with who think they're duty-bound as a Rogue to steal from, lie to, and betray their own party. When you say anything to their players, they say "But my character is a Rogue - it's what s/he would do!" And there's no convincing them otherwise. Sigh.
Daioni 21st Jul 2018, 9:22 PM edit delete reply
I think some people confuse generosity with selflessness, generosity means the willingness to give things of value to others, selflessness is doing so with no expectations. Rarity shows to be very willing to give to others, yes it is usually accompanied with some benefits for her, but that is the difference between being generous and being selfless.

The same applies in actual friendships, yes, it’s nice if a friend is willing to give you something without expectations, but that is not a requirement, friends ask each other for favors, sometimes in return for something they have done in the past, or multiple favors done over a period of time. Being generous is the willingness to give, which is also give and take, and a friendship can be damaged if one person gives then is turned down when asking for a favor in return, as they can feel taken advantage of.
Guest 21st Jul 2018, 11:50 PM edit delete reply
Guessing time.

I think Discord's curse for Rarity will be no more complicated than her not being allowed to tell the others why she's desperately guarding a rock and refusing to be separated from it.

And the reason she's doing that is because he said he'll give it away to her enemies if she doesn't keep it with her, because that would show she didn't want it.

... If he even needs to go for the curse. Assuming he doesn't just go full RP mastermind and engineer a situation where she voluntarily doesn't tell anyone about why she's trying to keep the rock, with it being perfectly in-character.
Cliff Snowpeak 22nd Jul 2018, 6:12 AM edit delete reply
Or maybe Tom really *is* a giant diamond this time, but has a glammer cast on so he *looks* like a rock. Her curse could be that she can't tell anyone what he actually is.
Guest 22nd Jul 2018, 6:52 AM edit delete reply
Aha! And the glamour is there so her enemies don't think to steal it!
Vegetalss4 22nd Jul 2018, 3:08 PM edit delete reply
I think there'd have to be more to it, because well Rarity carrying around a giant rock for reasons she won't explain really isn't the sort of thing that would be annoying or divide the characters.

It's the sort of thing that would make them go "huh, weird" and before ignoring it and possibly even forgetting it simply because it wouldn't get mentioned a lot
Ishidan 22nd Jul 2018, 2:07 PM So say we all edit delete reply
So, did you all catch Rarity's Battlestar Galactica reference in yesterday's episode?
Needling Haystacks 23rd Jul 2018, 9:27 AM edit delete reply
I caught a few references to various things but I don't remember that one specifically I'm afraid.
Emmerlaus 22nd Jul 2018, 3:08 PM edit delete reply
Confronting a player with their flaws should be done with a warning first. What Discord did to AJ was not ok in my book. I dont like being forced to roleplay my character in a certain way. At least for Pinkie, he convinced her to play along.

Personnaly, my most deranging flaw depend of how invested I am in my character. Thats also why I always roleplay the same things too. Some players see it as a fklaw so I have to explain to them that if I use old build, Im less invested and I can accept a character death or something bad happening more easily.

I have also a hard time to not be vindicative against NPCs who screw us over. Not the players as a good talk can solve the issue, Im talking about deliberatly evil/annoying and untouchable NPCs. Im not enjoying myself when the GM throw this at us...
Malroth 22nd Jul 2018, 3:30 PM edit delete reply
Applejack cheats, openly and brazenly, and then acts like it's how the game is supposed to be played and then marginalizes those without enough genre/game skill as if they're playing wrong. She deserves a lot more correction than the slap on the wrist she's getting here.
HappyEevee 22nd Jul 2018, 5:05 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, our two main GMs are not afraid to call us out at the table and make us take actions back if they're based on knowledge our characters couldn't reasonably have. It's annoying sometimes, but overall we know it's better for us as players and it forces us to think more about our characters and become more creative.
obscurereader 22nd Jul 2018, 11:29 PM Confusion? edit delete reply
So, this might be just me not remembering examples over the course of the entirety of Friendship is Dragons, but... When exactly has Applejack cheated brazenly and acted like it's how the game is supposed to be played? Personally, I only remember her relying on her ability to read people more often than not - sketchy, but not technically wrong (and as I understand it, backed up mechanically - hence Element of Honesty).

I find it kinda concerning when I read the comment section for the last dozen or so pages and see commenters saying the Friendship is Dragons players "deserve" the stuff they're going through somehow... when as far as I'm aware, they've largely been really damn good players and, when they screw up, they've been reprimanded for it in the past or felt guilty enough about it to want to make up for it (ex: the Party of One arc + the Zecora arc - though the latter is moreso a gming issue iirc). In addition, I find the blind faith in Discord!GM to be... odd, given how ambiguously I feel it's been played so far (cause right now he seems like he could either end up being a Trickster Mentor to the group, a Malicious DM, a Troll, some combination of the above, or something in between, and it hasn't quite been properly elaborated on/revealed yet).

Granted, I might be biased in favor of the players here due to my... previous experiences with dms who pull these kinds of stunts, but I still find that mindset - that the FiD players "deserve" everything and have reaped what they sowed - worrying. Little too close to blaming the victim here for comfort (partly because I don't really understand how they're being problems here and can't think of evidence off the top of my head - can someone explain this too me please?).
Capn_Boxers 23rd Jul 2018, 3:57 AM edit delete reply
I can't speak for everyone, but as a DM the FiD players have a lot of traits that would annoy me if I were running a game with them.

Applejack metagames constantly and undermines the immersion you're trying to build as a DM. I wouldn't call it cheating, but it is a bad habit and seeing it come back to bite her with Discord's is cathartic.

Pinkie Pie is a bit too wacky and I'd like to think that Discord is teaching her restraint rather punishing her.

Rarity thinks very highly of herself and forcing her to be a bit ridiculous is good for her. Nobody should take themselves *too* seriously.

Fluttershy needs to be more assertive as a player, and though we haven't seen the curse in this comic it will likely be along those lines given the episode content.

Rainbow Dash needs to learn ways to approach a problem other than mindless aggression. I have no idea what her curse will be, though.

Twilight is too used to getting her own way and easily wrecking plots. I leave my players room to approach a problem, but I don't let them get away with much of the stuff Twilight does. Either their regular DM doesn't make contingency plans or needs to develop a spine. Twilight needs to learn that she isn't always right; for example the opening of this arc where is convinced that the Elements have been hidden in the Castle of the Two Sisters and acts offended when the real answer is pointed out.

Nobody wants to see them hurt, but as a DM it would be very nice to see them learn a lesson and become better players.
DocBeard 23rd Jul 2018, 8:39 AM edit delete reply
Well I don't think they're being punished. The GM is frustrated with the campaign because the girls keep going off the rails in a way that's more frustrating than refreshing; again, look at Twilight's metagaming at the beginning. GM's getting sick of her plucky know-it-allness.

Applejack consistently uses out of character knowledge to not just further her character, but to commentate on the game, influence other players, and outirght tell the GM how to run her game. Clearly Applejack is an old friend who played with the GM before she took a turn at game running, but that kind of consistently bad behavior is, yes, asking for something like Discord's curse.

A curse, I'll remind you, Applejack walked right into because she couldn't say no to insider knowledge about the game. She couldn't followed her instincts and said no to the evil apple demon oracle, which means the curse wasn't forced on her at all, it was an in game consequence of her in game action.

To put it another way, you're bringing your bad experience into the game here. DiscorDM's avoided all the real red flags of a tyrant; he's willing to compromise, is contentious of players's feelings (if Applejack had said "I'm uncomfortable with this." we have no reason to believe he wouldn't have worked with her for some other set up like he did with Pinkie), he respects that it's CelestiGM's table and takes her advice on running the game despite clearly being a mentor to her, and goes out of his way to make sure Rarity, someone he doesn't know OOCly, is comfortable with the one on one.

tldr; The curses aren't punishments, they're challenges for the group to overcome, and Discord's gone out of his way to be a polite guest GM despite his villain role.
Randonimity 23rd Jul 2018, 1:00 PM edit delete reply
Definitely seconding obscurereader's perspective. Reading a lot of the comments be about "taking the players down a peg" is concerning at best and alarming at most. I've only been playing D&D for less than a year and have been DMing for even less time so maybe that explains why I'm not as "frustrated" at players going off the rails. The overall atmosphere I'm getting from the comments section is "As a player I need to play how the DM wants me to play like some sort of actor in a prodution, as opposed to weaving a story together based on the character I created interacting with the world the DM made."

I'm kind of glad I started playing before this arc because this would have turned me off from the game.
HappyEevee 23rd Jul 2018, 6:29 PM edit delete reply
Don't worry, sooner or later you'll get players at your table who wreck your story, the other players' fun, and everybody's feelings just because they're bored, aggressive, or insensitive. Or you'll get a DM who will screw with the party, not just as a temporary plot device, but because s/he really just wants to make the players uncomfortable. If you've only had good, fun games with people you know and trust, you really won't understand a lot of the frustration that long-time players who have been in multiple campaigns / groups that went down in flames have been through. That doesn't necessarily make them "more right" or "better gamers," but a lot of long-time players have had some pretty bad experiences in gaming with jerk players/DMs and I think that's what a lot of comments here are about.

The girls in FiD are not that bad, but they have some habits that could lead to worse player behavior down the road. Players who have seen a little bit of meta-gaming lead to a lot of hurt feelings are a lot more wary of players who meta-game without concern. Players who have seen a Drama Llama consistently hog the spotlight and leave everyone else out, to the point where players are leaving because the whole session is just the Drama Llama going on about their super-awesome character, are jaded and suspicious of players who spend too much time hamming it up, describing their character's actions, and complaining that the game rules should bend to their character's decisions because the game "is all about the players."

RPGs are all about working together - the players and the DM having fun, yes, but also agreeing on the rules and boundaries within which they will have that fun. The DM needs to respect the players and the players also need to respect the DM. If either side starts running roughshod over the other, the game is going to have problems.

In FiD the DM has been having some trouble with the players meta-gaming and messing with the campaign just because they can or they want to show off. No one is saying the players need to be sock puppets for the DM, but they do need to respect the DM more and try to work with her. After all, the DM is the one putting her own time and effort into creating and running this homebrew game for them.
obscurereader 25th Jul 2018, 12:24 PM Overdue Response edit delete reply
Wow, thank you all for the responses! It's nice to hear what people are thinking.

So, disclaimer, part of why I brought up my own personal biases is because I wanted to acknowledge that they might be influencing how I'm viewing the arc... In part because I feel like that's what's going on with people seeing flaws in the pc's and generally siding with the dms, just in an opposite direction. Not gonna go any further than that, just wanted to raise that possibility just in case people might not have noticed that.

I definitely get having problem players - personally just had more issues with railroady dms more than problem players since, well, I tend to be a player rather than a dm (and honestly, if I ever tried dming again, I kinda feel I would welcome the general zaniness that comes with the FiD players, but the last time I dmed an original campaign I goofed, made lots of rookie mistakes such as not planning things well or giving good rp time, and caused a tpk due to personal issues with one of the players who I just couldn't get a long with and he couldn't get along with me. I fully take responsibility for what happened there.).

Thing is, imo, part of the general... unsettling nature of this arc comes from the lack of OoC communication here between the players and the dm (evidence being the general issues between Twilight and the DM with the failsafe spell + the riddle + the dm wanting to force a big bad). Like, forgetting any and all biases for a moment and accepting that there are issues with both the players and the dm and their general habits/behaviors for the sake of argument... As a person playing a game with other people, if you have a problem with someone in the game OoC, you should take it up with them OoC rather than target their OoC flaws in-game imo.

Targeting the flaws can be an easy way of pissing people off or hurting feelings and all that jazz, and doesn't really explicitly explain to a person what the issue is (like, for instance, with Applejack's curse thing, it's entirely possible for her to either figure out a way to beat it ic or to double down harder on the metagaming OoC because she can't see a way to beat it ic and doesn't want to hurt the other players OoC, or to take some other option rather than learn what the dm wanted her to take away from this, whatever that may be - which just exacerbates any existing problems even farther). More than anything, talking to a player or a dm out of game about issues with them, specifically, is a way to show respect to them as people - screwing with anyone in game because of their OoC behavior is kinda just a dick move in general and misses the point of playing the game IC (especially, imo, from the dm side - say what you will about douchey players, but at the end of the day the dm places a hard limit on what they can do due to how tabletop rpgs are organized - it's a lot easier to mess with people when you're the house with all the cards, as it were). Granted, players doing this to the dm is generally not a good thing either, and people in general make poor decisions when angry or frustrated (which is why sometimes IC targeting due to OoC behavior and vice versa happens anyway), hence why this is a thing that goes both ways for players and dms - you can't have a game if the people playing the game can't have fun together, after all (as the comments here have said previously).

Like, players need to respect that the dm invested time and effort into the campaign, but the dm also needs to acknowledge the players are also investing time and effort into the campaign too, and they all need to be able to trust one another to not screw each other over to make this work, if that makes any sense - unless, of course, screwing each other over is the point of the campaign or something.
Guest 24th Jul 2018, 6:21 AM edit delete reply
Reading the comments, I'm reminded of my opinion the DM needs to learn how to say "no" more consistently. Sure they occasionally shit down the players when they're going too far, but "be fair" and "let the players' good ideas shine" doesn't mean "let your players get away with stuff you think they shouldn't".

Like with the whole "actually, rolling a 18 then a 19 then a 20 means that Rainbow is accelerating because it's as statiscally improbable as rolling 3 20s in a row" thing, or the "suddenly find a betting ring that never existed before because you roll a 20" thing before.

I thing the DM might have taken the "don't railroad" advice the wrong way.
Aeshdan 17th Nov 2019, 12:28 PM edit delete reply
Ok, this whole sequence strikes me as Rarity being kind of foolish. Why shouldn't she take the diamond? Discord hasn't demanded any kind of price in return for it, there's no curse on it (that she knows of at this point). Given the information Rarity has at this point, there is literally no reason not to take the diamond (except encumberance), and if it sticks around after Discord's defeat she could do a lot of good with that kind of money. You can't give what you don't have, after all...