Page 1102 - Half-Empty Threats

11th Aug 2018, 6:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 1
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Half-Empty Threats
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Newbiespud 11th Aug 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
This has turned out to be another example of some really, really fascinating discussion in the comments. I just have one little tangent to add that's been stewing with me for a while:

It's amazing how much comedy writing is based on unhealthy situations and relationships, isn't it? About pointing out and laughing at the absurdity of, when you get right down to it, crappy (and potentially avoidable) circumstances. Comedy, parody, and satire based on people living their best lives in their best moments is hard to find by definition. Which may explain why it's so easy to succumb and hop on over the fence to drama - because the subject matter was always there; you just forgot to laugh at it, or couldn't muster the energy this time.

Not that I'm trying to pretend that Friendship is Dragons is some kind of high-brow comedy webcomic thing. Goodness no. I mean, look at where we are right now; this ain't funny. Geez.

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



PhantomFox 11th Aug 2018, 6:08 AM edit delete reply
I did have a feeling Fluttershy was bringing some baggage along with her response. And perhaps hit a nerve with Discord DM.
Anvildude 11th Aug 2018, 6:29 AM edit delete reply
Probably why they end up as such good friends in the future. If that is what happens here.
Guest 11th Aug 2018, 7:25 AM edit delete reply
Things aren't really tied to canon in this comic. Discord might just as well disappear without a trace, given how Zecora has essentially vanished as well.
Discord 11th Aug 2018, 6:14 AM edit delete reply
Okay time to deal with.
Okay, there's perseverance, and then there's then there's stubbornness.
You think she would learn after the second try.
Bezerker21 11th Aug 2018, 6:14 AM edit delete reply
And with that I have no sympathy for DiscorDM. That was flat out malicious. It honestly seems like his focus isnt having a fun Tim but "winning" against the players. Thta's not how it should work
Makyura 11th Aug 2018, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
What about the part where he wants it be engaging and tailor-made? Yes, he is pissed to have his trick exposed like that, and may react too roughly.
But he is there to provide a challenge, an special kind of adventure, and a player straight up says that she won't play the game.
Discord GM studied the players and the charchters to provide for a deep RP-challenge that is known as their forte, and yes, one poorly done appempt is mocked and denied.
As all GM he needs the player on board to give as much fun as to have some.

And she kinda shat on both
Mystic seer 11th Aug 2018, 7:43 AM edit delete reply
How is it a challenge if the players can't fight back? What Flutter-player said was aimed Discord the character not the guest-Gm. It not like she was not willing to be discorded, just that she was fighting back the only way she knew how. A good Gm would be fine with their villain being called out and might give the PC a bonus like the Main-Gm did. The fact that DiscorDM took it personally does not say anything good about him as a GM and reflects how he has been blurring between IC and OoC.
PhantomFox 11th Aug 2018, 8:15 AM edit delete reply
My bet is that she used to be in an abusive / manipulative relationship and whereas Discord intended it as a fun challenge, Fluttershy interpreted it as a no-win situation (because of her past?) and fired back accordingly. And then Discord took it a bit personally.
Digo 11th Aug 2018, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
I agree with the seer. DiscordGM was the one that stepped out of line.

I've quit games when the gm can't keep ic and ooc separate, taking things too personal. I think the proper response would be to let Fluttershy win this "round" and come back to her with a different idea.
Makyura 11th Aug 2018, 11:21 AM edit delete reply
How can they fight back? By not giving into their urges. He got them fair and square. AJ did want the truth without even thinking of the catch, and he understood how to make a charchter as paranoid as Rarity fail.

Fluttershy got it right in the fact that he wants them to blame themselves instead of him. But what each of them says actually matters. Hence why he asked Pinkie to come along, because he knew he couldn't trick her.

And there she comes, not even wanting to try, not even wanting to play the game they all agreed to play.

And yes, he blurrs IC and OoC, but it's never been good to make that a hard-cut line. Our char are a deep part of ourselef, and that's not acting. We do not pretend to be charchters that ahve nothing with us. We pretend to live those adventures as close as possible as the chars we made are.

Plus, Discord GM is not a regular DM, but is a villain with GM-like powers. Which isn't the same.
Draxynnic 12th Aug 2018, 6:01 AM edit delete reply
I think it's important to note here that Fluttershy was talking about DiscordCharacter, and was NOT intending it to be an attack on DiscordDM. She might not have said it all in-character, but apart from mentioning the phone, everything she's said about DiscordCharacter is something that it is entirely reasonable for FluttershyCharacter to be thinking in the circumstances. You have a character who has shyness and lack of self-confidence as her character-driving traits going up against a (demi)god, alone. It would be natural for FluttershyCharacter to be thinking that nothing she does matters under that circumstance. (One could argue that it's that very lack of confidence that gives Discord the ability to force the curse through, although I don't think DiscordDM really thought it through to that level, or he might have altered the nature of the curse.)
Aeshdan 15th Aug 2018, 3:28 PM edit delete reply
"How can they fight back? By not giving into their urges. He got them fair and square. AJ did want the truth without even thinking of the catch, and he understood how to make a charchter as paranoid as Rarity fail."

Except that when Fluttershy did exactly that, he got angry at her. Running away and refusing to say anything that might be used against her is not only a legitimate tactic when faced with the equivalent of Discord (especially since there's always the chance that he *does* need permission to curse them, or at least that refusing such permission will weaken the curse), it's so characteristically Fluttershy a tactic that I have a hard time imagining any other she could have used. If the plot requires Fluttershy to be cursed, *da zer da*. But in that case, DDM has to *admit* that there was nothing Fluttershy could have done to avoid the curse.
DuoScratch 11th Aug 2018, 9:43 AM edit delete reply
I love how all of you want to interpret this as "someone stepping over an imaginary line," when it's not the case at all. Discord was rough, but he didn't pull anything an ordinary GM could pull. He made a character that likes to play tricks, but when push comes to shove, DOESN'T NEED THEM to do his thing, and that's exactly what happened. Fluttershy is also way outta her depth when dealing with a different GM style, since if I'm remembering right, this is her first game ever. She's only used to one GM style, and Discord's personal assault style seems to trigger her, or at the very least, strike her in a way that is off to her.

TL:DR Sometimes, no one is to blame, it's just a crappy situation.
Freelance 11th Aug 2018, 2:00 PM edit delete reply
Sometimes, that's just how DMs work. And for that matter, how beings of godlike power work. I onetime made an off the cuff remark about Vhaeraun in his temple--wasn't even said IC as my character wouldn't even know anything about him in any way. But the DM still rolled percentage to see if big-V noticed, did so, and placed a curse on my character, gender bending him that lasted until a couple months after we returned to the surface, no saving throw allowed.

Long story short, don't get on a god's bad side.
Bezerker21 11th Aug 2018, 8:06 PM edit delete reply
My problem with discord here isnt how he made the curses or even how he manipulated people, that's what a villain does and he is a villain with the power of a DM. My problem is when he took something he thought got outsmarted and instead of rolling with it and adapting he decided to punish Fluttershy for it. On top of that, his comment about "see how the like the real you" really set me off, I've met people who say that kind of shit before, and they were the reason I used to have massive self esteem issues. Which honestly makes me unreliable. I just hate that. I dont hate the arc, just discord which isnt a bad thing.
Needling Haystacks 13th Aug 2018, 8:56 AM edit delete reply
Bezerker21: Yeah I had a problem with that line, too. It seemed a wee bit too close to an OOC thing.
Tarrangar 13th Aug 2018, 1:28 PM edit delete reply
Well I guess this was a case of mutually hitting hot points, I'm guessing Discord has been gotten a lot of shit for railroading, some of it maybe justified, but some of it probably due to Players, who just call railroading, if he don't throw his plot out the window twice a session, due to them deciding that they suddenly want to planeshift for an adventure in the Plane of Water, when he had spent many hours writing up an engaging Underdark adventure, plotting out different happenings for all the paths, writing up a dozen different potential plots depending on their choices, and then they decided the Underdark was boring after the first encounter, and wanted to Planeshift to the Plane of Water, and when he told them they couldn't that they all got pissed off and called it railroading.

Okay probably not precisely that, but I think DiscordDM has bad experiences with unsubstantiated accusations of railroading, and so Fluttershy's accusation really pissed him off, which caused him to actually railroad, because it's one thing to derail his plot, it's another to refuse to play and accuse him of railroading.

So yeah I think this is a case of 2 people hitting the others hot buttoms.
Bojangles 30th Sep 2018, 12:36 PM edit delete reply
I know you probably won't see this, but anyone going through the archives: This is missing what the DM was hinting at.

Fluttershy was not trying to defeat Discord or DiscorDM. She was trying to defeat her own inner self.

DiscorDM has her pegged. That "inner fire" is what she fears. She's afraid to let it out. Part of this is to teach the players lessons about their flaws. Pinkie Pie to see that she can have fun pretending to be serious, Applejack to stop metagaming so hard, Rarity to let adventure happen instead of trying to be in control, and Fluttershy to speak her mind every once in a while. He's not trying to "win." This was tailor-made, and it's entirely possible is anger was for show in order to help bring out that "inner fire."
Bojangles 30th Sep 2018, 12:38 PM edit delete reply
Something to add: Making Fluttershy think it was her own fault might actually go against the entire goal, so it's entirely possible he made it so obvious so that she wouldn't blame herself. At least, not as much. She's bound to blame herself at least somewhat.
Rainbow Dash 11th Aug 2018, 6:26 AM edit delete reply
Looks like one of the gardeners left a wooden shovel here.
Dig under and I won't get zapped.
Just to be safe I'll start here in the middle.
Ok here we go.
Hey no zapping.
Got you this time Discogkfpcocp.
Ow, what.
"The ground 1 hoof down is also electrified"
You got to be kidding mefgzkbfykhf.
"How many times do we go over this? Touch sign get volted."
Guest 11th Aug 2018, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
Comedy is suffering and humiliation, with good timing.

Even the simplest joke is about making a fool of the characters, or of the audience, by subverting their expectations, or of the joke's teller, by self depreciation.

Laugh is all about defusing the tension.

It's not a problem, though, but it should be acknoedged.
FanOfMostEverything 11th Aug 2018, 8:25 AM edit delete reply
Often the case, yes. A lot of comedy boils down to tragedy plus distance, whether that distance is physical or temporal.
Needling Haystacks 13th Aug 2018, 8:57 AM edit delete reply
FanOfMostEverything: t*c = d. If anyone gets that. :P

Of course, everyone knows the most important rule of comedy is...
The Old One 11th Aug 2018, 12:26 PM edit delete reply
"Comedy equals tragedy plus time, so when you do the math, it's actually really funny"

(I probably butchered that, but you get the idea)
Draxynnic 12th Aug 2018, 5:41 AM edit delete reply
The definition I've seen is that comedy is threat without danger. Laughter defuses the situation once people realise that there's no actual danger. Surprise triggers this reflext because surprise often subconsciously starts the response to threat before the subconscious realises that there's no threat in the surprise.

Suffering, humiliation, and such fit this definition, because if you're removed from events by them happening to other people or in the past, the danger isn't there. But you don't NEED suffering, humiliation, or tragedy for humour.
albedoequals1 11th Aug 2018, 8:36 AM edit delete reply
Well said, Spud. I've seen a lot of things that started out as comedy (RWBY) start taking themselves too seriously and turn into dramatic crap. I think it's a humility issue. Writers think there's more prestige in writing non-humor, even if humor is what they're good at. I'm glad you've stuck to what works for so long, and your runtime speaks for itself.
Tempestfury 11th Aug 2018, 8:46 AM edit delete reply
... RWBY? A comedy? RWBY? A comedy?

We are talking about the Rooster Teeth production that Monty Oum was a bit part in the production, focused on four different girls with superpowers fighting against mindless monsters that are attracked to the fear, pain and suffering of humans and seek to kill them all, right?

Because whilst the first seasons of RWBY were more light-hearted than the latest ones. They were NEVER a comedy.
albedoequals1 11th Aug 2018, 12:26 PM edit delete reply
RWBY was never very well-written, but while it was still funny, they could be forgiven for that because it was all in good fun. Now that they want to be treated like a grown-up story, I have no choice but to hold them to the same standard as other grown-up stories, and they fall far short.
Pablo360 11th Aug 2018, 8:54 AM edit delete reply
My experiences have been the opposite - when something that starts out comedic ends up going to far darker and more serious places, as long as it doesn’t lose its heart along the way it can be the most meaningful work of art while still being funny at times. El Goonish Shive, Order of the Stick, hell, even cartoons like Steven Universe and Hunter x Hunter to an extent, all benefit from slowly taking themselves more seriously, just in a more considered and measured manner.
Guest 11th Aug 2018, 10:24 AM edit delete reply
There's an unspoken talent to good comedy. It and drama are two different beasts, and take different skillsets to handle.

I think that's the part that trips people up. They take what they know of drama, but don't see how it applies to comedy, and so they think there's no depth to it. The two just work on different levels.
Bezerker21 11th Aug 2018, 7:54 PM edit delete reply
Honestly it depends. I do think RWBY lpst its comedic value, which sucks some, I still like it but I get why people dont. At the same time comedies can get serious, so long as they don't lose the comedic core. It's hard to pull off, but the marvel mcu does it quite well, the plots are incrediblyserious and often dark, but they do their best to keep comedy in them. Hell even infinity war had some great jokes.
Capn_Boxers 11th Aug 2018, 8:40 AM edit delete reply
Damnit Discord.

You proved her right. Regardless of whether or not she struck a nerve, you shouldn't have cursed her.
Evilbob 11th Aug 2018, 8:42 AM edit delete reply
Well played, tying the show reactions together with the RP reactions.

Unfortunately, this type of drama where an underlying misunderstanding results in offense-taking and fun-killing in games happens from time to time.

Whereas Fluttershy's player may have meant what she said in-character, in a confrontational manner with Discord-the-character, it's all too easy for it to be misinterpreted as "You're a shit GM. Your railroading is stupid. I refuse to play along and work together with you to make this game fun."

This misunderstanding is only heightened by the fact they're both new to each other, without a solid working relationship to smooth over misunderstandings and reduce conflict.
terrycloth 11th Aug 2018, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
That's... how I took it? I'm not sure how you could possibly take it any other way.
Vegetalss4 12th Aug 2018, 3:49 AM edit delete reply
Of course from Discord-the-GM's reaction he revealed that he actually deserved every word she directed at Discord-the-character to be directed at him.

Because his railroading is stupid, and basing an entire plotline on heavy railroading is shit GMing.
Needling Haystacks 13th Aug 2018, 9:00 AM edit delete reply
I'm now picturing Fluttershy taking a page from mr. Welch's book and making "Choo choo" sounds. That would fit with 'no filter', right? Though how in-character that would be is iffy.

It wouldn't be terribly sporting, either way, but it would be funny.
Evilbob 14th Aug 2018, 9:08 AM edit delete reply
@Vegetalss4. Dude. Tone it down, wouldya?

"basing an entire plotline on heavy railroading" is NOT shit GMing. Some campaigns (eg solving a murder mystery on the Orient Express) might literally be that. You just need to make sure everyone's on the same page with congruent expectations.

Bad GMing can occur when the GM tries to have fun without regard and at the expense of the players. Likewise, bad players happen when they try to have fun without regard and at the expense of other players and/or the GM.

If you don't like the GM's style or campaign, you can always talk with him or her and see if y'all can work something out where both of y'all can have fun. Maybe the GM needs to work on his/her improv skills. Failing that, you can always amicably leave the game.

But if you're going to be extremely critical and actually endorse harsh language like "shit GMing", I think you should reevaluate if you might not be a major contributor to the problem as well.
Tempestfury 11th Aug 2018, 8:47 AM edit delete reply
Hmmm... alright. So Fluttershy wasn't meaning to call out the guest DM more than she was calling out the character of Discord... but it seemed she messed up on how she came across as that, and the guest DM took it rather... personally.
Digo Dragon 12th Aug 2018, 2:50 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I think the mess up is on Discord's player, not Fluttershy's player. Flutter's player tells it well enough on the previous page, and here she's trying to explain where Discord's player misinterpreted her, but Discord-player shuts her down before hearing it. If D's player won't even talk it out, then there's where the problem lies.
HappyEevee 11th Aug 2018, 9:15 AM edit delete reply
Welp, both of them handled that pretty badly. DiscorDM should probably have just let her go uncursed here (because she clearly doesn't want to play) or phrased things so she thinks she has a curse when she actually doesn't.

Either way, it looks like FS's player, reacting to someone in her own past, took her frustrations out on DiscorDM, who in turn is taking out his frustrations on her for refusing to play at all. The sad part is this could have been a really fun session if everyone had just relaxed a bit and not started taking stuff personally.

Probably the wisest thing the regular GM could do at this point is to end the session for the night and have everyone come back the next week when they're cooled down and have talked things over so they're ready to play again.

Because it looks like some things are going to be said which will make it difficult for this group to game with DiscorDM in the future... which is a shame as the guy is clearly going out of his way for them (doing a lot of research on the game/players, coming in costume, bringing props, tailoring stuff to each player/character) buuuuut he let himself get provoked by FS's player.

So yeah... as a gamer, I'm disappointed DiscorDM let himself get provoked so easily (and he'd been doing so well, up to this point) but as a reader, I'm terribly impressed by the choice of screencaps and how beautifully Newbiespud is working this plot into the stills from the original show. Can't wait for more updates!
Hankroyd 11th Aug 2018, 4:49 PM edit delete reply
DiscordGM is a sore loser... in a game where winning or losing is not the point. I guess he is missing a point here.

I wonder if RD will be so pissed off at him she will just say 'screw you, I'm outta here until you stop co-dm-ing'.
Mystic seer 11th Aug 2018, 8:24 PM edit delete reply
I could see that happening. Kinda hope it happens too.
Evilbob 11th Aug 2018, 10:00 AM edit delete reply
I also have a serious grievance against people who complain about railroading where none may actually exist.

While there are legitimate cases of improper railroading (GM not having done the requisite preparations, refusing to entertain alternative ideas, etc) I feel there are also times than players simply bring up "railroading" because things aren't going the way they want exactly the way they want it.

Many GMs are all too aware that sometimes the chain of consequences and likelihood of possibilities that occur within their world may preclude certain actions from being successful. This becomes even more true when in the beginning there are many possibilities but you make decisions that progressively narrow your choices to the point it does feel like railroading (LordSephleon's comment [first comment] also merits some reading). And while GMs definitely do pull their punches and intentionally try to avoid getting into certain situations, sometimes it just happens. Definitely one of those cases where communication is key. Might have to spend 2 hours post-Catastrophic-Failure just talking like they did or even better, being able to do it preemptively. (Yeah... I'm kinda a sucker for Matt Colville videos. He definitely does a really good job helping GMs, especially newbie GMs, get better at their craft).

Regardless, GMs work their butts off trying to make things engaging and fun for the players. Like, a LOT of work. And usually, for free. So show your GM some love.
Guest 11th Aug 2018, 10:36 AM edit delete reply
Even as one of those annoying players who can be all but expected to take things outside the box, I don't mind at all when a GM tries to bring things back in line.

I've tried running a game before. Still am, in fact. The problem with going off the rails is that you're doing something the GM didn't anticipate, and likely doesn't have material for. So they have to BS something up on the spot, then endure the complaints of how everything feels unplanned and unfinished, because that's exactly what it is.

At the pace some players can move, a GM won't often have time to plan for more than the next encounter. So when everyone's like "hey, let's just bugger off from all this and see what's happening in this other, completely different city," well... not everyone's all that good at improv.

Which isn't quite what's happening in the comic. Discord GM just got a little pissy when things got more personal than he was expecting, and got too involved in the roleplay. Which is pretty ironic.
Perfectdoll 11th Aug 2018, 6:00 PM The few times I've DMed... edit delete reply
...I've gotten around this by planning segments of interactions, rather than a whole 'line' the characters are meant to follow. Say that they're in a town and trying to sleuth out their new 'adventure' and there's several places where they can opt to go to find info/gear/etc (or none) after getting the basics of it.

Those places are optional and if they do visit, they'll find out things that will influence their decisions (possibly), but if they don't, they might not have a helpful piece of info later (like Person 1 at Place A knows a rumour about an unguarded approach to the Dungeon they're headed for).

Same with encounters out in the wild, you can have characters going along path A and have a gnoll ambush planned 'five mins down the road' but they suddenly veer off onto path B... Where you have nothing planned, except the players doesn't know that, so the gnoll ambush turns into something of an unplanned attack 'cause their scouts noticed the party took another path and they had to rush to get to the proper spot for their no-longer-quite-an-ambush. Or just drop the ambush wholesale on Path B. The party will likely never know the difference and you can still use your planned encounter.

...I hope what I'm saying makes some amount of sense. x)
Kereminde 12th Aug 2018, 7:09 PM edit delete reply
"(Yeah... I'm kinda a sucker for Matt Colville videos. He definitely does a really good job helping GMs, especially newbie GMs, get better at their craft)."

I like him too, he does a great job of presenting his style and what he thinks are good GM tools and thoughts. And while he may slide into rambling, he's always worth listening to.

I don't subscribe to the same interpretations as him on a great many things, however. There's a lot of times when he goes deep into something and I want to just sigh, pull up a drink and try to discuss where I take another path at a split in the road. I don't have an example on me, mostly because it's the minor details where I wind up disagreeing with his style.

But that's fine, for a couple reasons. Every GM has their own style and interpretation of how to do things, after all, and this is what makes a difference worthwhile for players to try others out.

I also don't GM (or have the time to) anymore. So it's perfectly fine for me to suck at it :)
Kyu 11th Aug 2018, 12:40 PM edit delete reply DiscordDM and Fluttershy have a previous history or..?
Golden_Glass 11th Aug 2018, 1:56 PM edit delete reply
Nah, they have previous history with other people, and are projecting those people onto each other. Fluttershy's talk in the last comic refers to a classic abusive relationship; Someone hurt her, and then blamed her for it.

Discord...I'm guessing that he's been gaslit pretty hard. Probably had an authority figure tell him that he was acting badly when he did things that were actually completely reasonable.
Kyu 11th Aug 2018, 2:33 PM edit delete reply
Makes sense. Not to mention, DiscordDM seems pretty burnt that Fluttershy didn’t want to “play” his game after the work he clearly put into it. Could have a history of rejection as well.
Azhrei Vep 12th Aug 2018, 4:46 AM edit delete reply
The 'through the door' bit probably didn't help things any, by removing any kind of nonverbal cues from the equation. Makes it a LOT easier to misinterpret things when you take significant elements like that out.

Just look at any internet argument that got started because a few people mistook sarcasm for truth due to lack of tone or expression to clarify.
Freelance 11th Aug 2018, 1:53 PM edit delete reply
I have a working theory that humor is all about the absurd, whether it's pointing it out (such as a lot of stand-up--watch Bill Engvall's "we got the stone" as a prime example) or inserting it it into the mundane (think of movies Leslie Neilson partook in during his comedy days, or Mel Brooks' filmography). It's why movies that're rather dramatic is some form install some sort of comedy relief, like how Gimli became this in the LotR movies: by focusing the humor onto one particular character, you're able to bypass a great portion of the absurdity in the periphery running through the rest of the movie.

It's probably why a lot of horror movie series leave that genre as well as it rolls on. Horror focuses on the fear of the unknown, but as they continue, there's more and more known, and couple this with the need to up the kills, be it body count or style. That leaves them to turn into black comedies as just how people die become more inventive, and thus, more absurd.

It's also why comedy can have a hard time transferring from culture to culture: They each have their history, their turns of phrases, their touchstones... their references. If they don't know what to expect, then why should they react when the unexpected happens instead, either?
Sapphire 11th Aug 2018, 3:01 PM edit delete reply
Honestly my biggest problem with all this is it feels like at some point they took on a GM vs. Players thing. Tabletop games are supposed to be about the GM and Players working together to create a story. Except now it feels like DiscorDM was brought in because the GM wanted to 'beat' the players and teach them a lesson for being able to complete his previous ideas so easily.

That... isn't what DMing is about. It's bad DMing, honestly. They're good at the game and have some bad meta-habits, so? Talk to them about it, don't try to screw them over and teach them a lesson. And if they're beating your challenges too easily, well, shit, man, just make harder challenges. Adapt to your party, don't try to force your party to fit a mold you want.

Honestly, I can't wait for this arc to be over because I really dislike it. It feels out of place compared to the older ones.

Also I hate Discord and wish he never came back after his first two episodes. Good job on making as insufferable as he is in the show, though, he is well written to be so recognizable Discord as a normal human.
ThatGuest 11th Aug 2018, 5:28 PM edit delete reply
I think it's pretty clear at this point that the real GM is starting to regret this. And given how Discord is acting now I'd say he's dropped the fascade and is pretty clearly taking advantage of their inabil
ity to deal with confrontation.
Guest 12th Aug 2018, 7:08 AM edit delete reply
Actually, the entire thing started out as a GM vs. Players thing. Remember, the GM asked for DiscorDM to come and handle things and agreed to give Discord in-story the powers that he has. The GM did admit that they wanted to have the party face a real villain since their last gambit with Nightmare Moon didn't go at all as planned.

I think a large part of the problem is that the main GM has lost confidence in their abilities to GM. There has been a lot of the party going off the rails and all they can see are the things that could have happened that went wrong, not the fun that the players are having. I can understand this; creating a story is hard and any storyteller may have problems with control.

But I also think we're all jumping the gun on a few things. Don't forget, we don't have the whole story yet. Maybe the GM will talk with the DiscorDM in a few minutes. And we don't know what happened in DiscorDM's past that made them react the way that they did. We're jumping into speculation without having all the information, and the only way we'll know the truth is once the story itself is completed.

I know that you believe this is bad DMing, and maybe it is. But I do think there needs to be some give and take between the players and the DM. The DM shouldn't always have to bend over backwards to accommodate the players. There needs to be give on both sides for a healthy game and relationship. It shouldn't ever be only on the DM to change. That implies that only the DM is doing something wrong. (And this is from someone who has never DMd in her life.)

Could the GM have talked about it with their players, sure. But then we wouldn't have this storyarc at all. What we can do is wait to see how it plays out.
ThatGuest 12th Aug 2018, 3:38 PM edit delete reply
I'm only really speculating, that's oart of the fun of commenting as things unfold. I'm looking forward to seeing how things are revealed later down to line but like I said, I've been through a similar situation before so I'm just using my own experience to make my guess.

As for the DM and Discord being friends that could possibly be wrong. You'd be amazed with how long I've seen people allow toxic DMs and players to remain around them before realizing how bad of a person they are.
Sapphire 12th Aug 2018, 7:25 PM edit delete reply
I've always viewed the GM of a game as being the one that needs to be the most adaptable, especially when they're doing a game for a new group of people. Since it seemed like they didn't do a real session zero, that kinda increases. They need to know and suit the tastes and gameplay styles of their players so everyone can have fun.

Player can adapt, too, but you can't expect them to do anything without talking to them and explaining what the problem is, which the GM didn't, so they can't complain too much about how the players play. Especially since the prior moments of complaints came off as exaggerated and silly rather than serious upset.
SliderEclipse 11th Aug 2018, 4:16 PM edit delete reply
Well, I can admit I was wrong last comic. I did not expect Fluttershy to be acting in character all all back there so props to spud for that twist. Now I can only imagine what's going to happen with Rainbow Dash.
Mystic seer 11th Aug 2018, 8:41 PM edit delete reply
My guess? Leave the game OoC after DGM make a mean spirited crack about Flutter-player or something along those lines.
ThatGuest 12th Aug 2018, 2:37 AM edit delete reply
I actually think it'd be amusing if we actually didn't 'see' the interactions with him and Dash and just see her leave angry and then Discord comes back with a black eye and a swollen lip.
ThatGuest 11th Aug 2018, 5:20 PM edit delete reply
Discord just tipped his hand. One of the players actually did what he alluded as the right thing to the others and cheated her out of her victory. Fluttershy wasn't acting terribly here, she had just figured out his trick and wasn't going to bite. It's not that she was taking the fun out of it, she was just not blindly walking into an obvious trap.

If you ran into a sealed demon in a dungeon who said you should let him out and refused to, that's not taking the fun out of the game. That's just not being an idiot. Frankly I wish I had more players like FS.
Archone 11th Aug 2018, 5:34 PM edit delete reply
I have to say, I'm actually sympathetic towards DGM here. He came in with an adventure he not only tailor made for them (this is clearly not some box module he pulled out), but with lots and lots of preparation made (he even pulls out balloons and other props).

As she said in the first panel, she didn't mean it to come across as a snide dismissal of his hard work... but remember the episode where Fluttershy attends a seminar from Raging Bull and ends up being a bully towards her friends. Just because she's been a victim doesn't mean she can't hurt others. Entirely unwittingly... so we'll see how this goes. Still not seeing him (or her) as a bad guy.
ThatGuest 11th Aug 2018, 6:18 PM edit delete reply
Fluttershy did what was supposed to be the right thing though. This arc has been about rubbing the player's negative traits in their faces and punishing them for it. He probably assumed FS would be a timid doormat but instead she decided to stand up for herself and reject his trickery......and he punished her for it.

It's clear this wasn't 'tailor made' for them to have fun. It was tailor made to make them miserable and to screw with them at their expense.
Guest 12th Aug 2018, 12:44 AM edit delete reply
Agreed Archone. While there is a lot of foreshadowing for an eventual DiscordGM is a bad guy reveal, it is not conclusive yet.

This page reveals that Fluttershy had been talking IC about Discord and not DiscordGM, however her words did hit a nerve. Fluttershy Player's reaction to apologize for the unintended hurt is a good reaction.

So DiscordGM is either a GM that is not thinking perfectly due to a misread and being hurt by a miscommunication, OR they are a badGM that misread and is being hurt by a miscommunication. In either case their reaction here was less than ideal (cooler heads and 20/20 hindsight saw better possible reactions) but it is not enough to distinguish which possible DiscordGM we are reading about.

Personally I am suspecting DiscordGM is being a bad player but I await the final evidence.
Draxynnic 12th Aug 2018, 5:50 AM edit delete reply
I think the real proof will be how DiscordDM acts OUT of character. A quick aside from DiscordDM assuring FluttershyPlayer that all of that was "in-character" and that she'd actually done the right thing would go a long way here.
ThatGuest 12th Aug 2018, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
Considering that Discord isn't even trying to feign being nice anymore, even to the DM, especially with his sharp "WHAT??" to her when she tried to interject I feel like it's becoming more and more clear that Discord isn't in this to run a game. He just wants to get a cheap laugh out of making everyone unhappy and ruining the DM's game, possibly out of jealousy and spite.

I'm starting to think that Discord used to run games that the DM was a player in but eventually the group fell apart because likely Discord was an asshole game runner and only cared about tormenting his players. He felt insulted by everyone 'critiziing' and 'abandoning' his game, then learned that one of his ex-players has been running her own game which while a bit sloppy has been going well and is generally the exact opposite of the games he ran.

This pissed off Discord something royally and he takes this game as an insult directed at him because it's the opposite of what he used to run. Now he has an opening to ruin the game and this group to show them that they aren't better than him.

This all sounds crazy, but I had to deal with this exact scenario in real life with an asshole DM who thought exactly like this.
Mystic seer 12th Aug 2018, 7:44 AM edit delete reply
I wouldn't say Discord's that bad. Its more like he's so obbsessed with tricking the players that he isn't really thinking of this as collabitive effort but rather as a personal challenge. Which is why he got so mad when Fluttershy didn't fall for the bait. I do think he can run good campaigns in the right setting albeit brutal ones, but he is in a situation that encourages his worst attributes. I do think he and the GM are generlly friends, (else why would she call him?) and he will realize his mistakes by end.
Archone 13th Aug 2018, 4:03 PM edit delete reply
I don't see his "what??" as being mean in the slightest. Just shocked and caught off guard; he's the co-GM and the head-GM just overruled one of his own rulings. He's trying to give them a fun and exciting time, something suitably epic. And even then the head-GM points out to Fluttershy's player that it seems as if it wasn't really HIM she was trying to "beat" there. Implying that Fluttershy's player does indeed have issues.

Plus, even the head GM's overruling was less a "no that's not happening" and more a "let the player decide how much she wants to roleplay this, so it doesn't get too uncomfortable for her." Still not seeing anyone as the bad guy here, just three people with three different viewpoints who are working together to have a fun game.
Guest 11th Aug 2018, 6:19 PM edit delete reply
...why is it necessary for Fluttershy to have been in an abusive relationship to see through Discord like that? Basically everyone reading the comic knew what Discord was doing and I doubt all of us were in abusive relationships. You guys are making weird connections.
Lethologica 11th Aug 2018, 8:16 PM edit delete reply
"I get the feeling it wasn't really *him* you were trying to 'beat' there."

It wasn't *necessary*, but it did fit, and this line (with Fluttershy's agreement) basically confirmed it.
Ganny 13th Aug 2018, 10:52 AM edit delete reply
Its actually noted in the Dragon arc that Fluttershy and her mother don't have the best relationship. I wonder if she was referencing that?
Rico 14th Aug 2018, 12:36 AM edit delete reply
Because we're doing Loss now.
Aeshdan 11th Aug 2018, 6:25 PM edit delete reply
For me, I think the clincher here is Discord's line about "Let's see how your friends like the REAL you". That really seems to say that he sees Fluttershy's kindness as just a mask, an act to manipulate others. He cannot comprehend the idea that she might actually be a nice person.

Which is why he failed in his manipulation, he understands the others, but he doesn't understand Fluttershy *at all*.

And incidentally, I really don't see how Fluttershy's refusal to accept blame for the curse ruins Discord's "tailor-made" scenario. He's still free to curse her as he likes, and that curse can still be whatever tailor-made curse he thought up earlier.
Mystic Seer 11th Aug 2018, 8:50 PM edit delete reply
It doesn't. What it does do is ruin the challenge (and "fun") for HIM of exploiting her weakness. Thus his anger is purely selfish as he seems to see's the game more a personal challenge then a group pastime.
Guest 12th Aug 2018, 6:46 AM edit delete reply
This is not a case of Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, Fluttershy's player was viciously savage in disseminating Discord's - or the DM's, and I remain unconvinced that this is all "just a misunderstanding" - approach considering the player's prior performance.
Mystic seer 12th Aug 2018, 7:23 AM edit delete reply
What about the players prior performance?
Mystic seer 11th Aug 2018, 8:21 PM edit delete reply
Welp..that happened. Seems the Main-Gm has just relized they opened pandora's box.
Digo Dragon 12th Aug 2018, 2:51 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Well this whole thing started as Main-GM's idea, so he needs to grab the reins and put things right before the session continues down a slippery slope.
AJ 11th Aug 2018, 8:43 PM Humour edit delete reply
In regards to the unhealthy situations, personally I subscribe to all humour is derived from misery. Slapstick is someone being put in physical pain. Most skit comedy is someone getting annoyed/frustrated. Puns are often intended to make someone cringe. The only "comedy" I know of that isn't derived from misery is knock knock jokes, and it's up for debate whether those fall under the definition of comedy.
The Doctor 11th Aug 2018, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
I am sorry. So, so, sorry. of chaos? yeah, have fun with that...*runs back to the TARDIS* allons-y!
DeS_Tructive 12th Aug 2018, 4:46 AM edit delete reply
Nice analysis, Spud.
I had an encounter this week that mirrors your sentiment:
I wore a this T-shirt with a mega-cute Lemming hanging itself and the slogan "Suicide, how cute."
An elderly woman approaches me and asks me what "cute" means (reminder: I'm in Germany). I translate it for her and she gives me a blank stare "Suicide isn't cute. I lost my daughter to suicide."
It took me a lot of self-control to step down from being triggered and flipping out. I somehow managed to explain to her that while I'm sorry for her loss, everyone has to deal with suicide and depression differently. I choose to do so by laughing it in the face whenever I'm able to.
I wish I was a better person, and didn't find it necessary to tell her that I've been on anti-depressants for the last fifteen years or I would have perhaps ended it all ages ago.
Lionhero 12th Aug 2018, 5:43 AM New here edit delete reply
I think people saying what the Discord DM is doing is railroading is not accurate(at least in my opinion). Yes techinally it is but sometimes parts of a story has to take place for the plot to work. If DnD was a Batman movie and instead of Bruce's parents being shot Bruce tackled the robber then Batman and thus the story would never happen. Some DM allow full open story where the player can go completely of the rails, but I think it is a legitimate form of DMing to have the story start on rails, then open up. Discord DM is simply starting off railroading, he will probably open up the story after the "prologue" is done.
albedoequals1 12th Aug 2018, 1:51 PM edit delete reply
Your Batman scenario is a perfect example of how RPGs are supposed to work. If you're playing a game as young Bruce, then it hasn't been decided what happens to his currently-living parents. The possibility that maybe they don't die is the whole point. If you want a predictable story with one person deciding everything that happens, watch a movie or read a book. The core concept of roleplaying games is that everyone playing can potentially change the story, and nothing is decided until everyone has had a chance to act.
Lionhero 12th Aug 2018, 2:33 PM edit delete reply
Ok ignore my batman point. My main point was that sometimes a game needs to start on rails for the story to get going and then open up from there.
Lethologica 12th Aug 2018, 5:32 PM edit delete reply
I feel like in a fair portion of those cases it might be better just to make the rails section part of the background and start wherever player agency begins.

That aside, there's a rather different question that needs to be asked: what makes you think this is Discord!DM's prologue? According to him, he's already on the cusp of the coup de grace. That's not typically a feature of a prologue. Which makes sense, because we already had something that looked strikingly like a prologue earlier.
Lionhero 12th Aug 2018, 6:02 PM edit delete reply
I disagree i think in some cases on the railscan be good and it's not always better to start the game when player agency starts (though it is better most of the time). but your point about this not being a prologue is a good one but despite that I can't help but think it is an extended prologue hidden as character interactions. (which is dishonest from the Discord DM side, but not necessarily bad if it's purpose is to make a great story)
Lionhero 13th Aug 2018, 9:38 AM edit delete reply
only pay attention to the part about what I think the Discord DM is doing. Sorry to be annoying
Archone 13th Aug 2018, 4:00 PM edit delete reply
That makes me think of a Shadowrun module's advice to the GM on what to do if the players refuse to take the job. "Get up from the table, walk away, and enjoy the rest of the convention."

Seriously, the whole point is to go have an adventure. The GM NEEDS you to cooperate and take the baited plot hooks in order for there to be an adventure.
Aeshdan 15th Aug 2018, 3:35 PM edit delete reply
True, but that's not what we're angry at him for. If his plot really does revolve around all the players getting cursed, then fine. But in that case, he has no justification for getting steamed when Fluttershy figures that out.
Lionhero 13th Aug 2018, 9:37 AM edit delete reply
ignore the first part of my post (it seems when I wrote to ignore it was deleted can someone give an explanation)
holycannoli 13th Aug 2018, 10:19 AM edit delete reply
You know, panel 3 poses the question: Does Discord even have a spine?
HappyEevee 13th Aug 2018, 1:03 PM edit delete reply
Why would a god of chaos need one? Spines just get in the way of breaking the laws of physics. :)
RuBoo 27th Nov 2019, 5:06 PM edit delete reply
Oh, I agree, this ain't funny... It's hilarious! Watch the baby tantrum! Heeheeheehee!