Page 1117 - Check Please

15th Sep 2018, 6:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 1
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Check Please
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 15th Sep 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
So, luck being with us, very soon should be the grand finale of my current campaign, Tales of New Dunhaven. From there, it'll probably be back to trying new systems I haven't run before in the form of SpudShots, maybe even mini-campaigns.

But I've never asked: For those of you who've follow my tabletop podcasting content like Fallout is Dragons, what do you want to see? I've already mentioned the concept for FiD 2.0 / Playthrough 2 / FILE 02 back in Story Time 1000, but it's been a while since I've gotten some feedback on the whole actual-play-podcasting side of things.

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



ChaoticBrain 15th Sep 2018, 6:07 AM edit delete reply
What's going on in the first panel? Is everyone staring in silence or something?
Spiritgun 15th Sep 2018, 6:10 AM edit delete reply
I think it is a sign that other conversations are going on but neither of the characters on screen notice them.
Zetsus 15th Sep 2018, 6:29 AM edit delete reply
I took it more as them being dumbfounded at DiscordDM's getup. He seems like the kind of guy to actually put on a butler suit and serve pizza for shits and giggles.
GrayGriffin 15th Sep 2018, 7:07 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, the color pairings match the conversations in the previous pages.
LordIce 15th Sep 2018, 11:53 AM edit delete reply
Could it be that the other conversations are occurring, but muted, so we can focus on this one? We already saw that PP and TS 's players are having a chat just before this moment.
Hankroyd 15th Sep 2018, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
Or it is an awkward silence.
DMDiscord wanting to talk but not knowing how to start the conversation.
SomeGuyNamedDavid 15th Sep 2018, 3:02 PM edit delete reply
The alt-text labels it as "(distant conversations)".
GrayGriffin 16th Sep 2018, 2:53 AM edit delete reply
Wait, there's alt-text?
Winged Cat 16th Sep 2018, 12:56 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
I see no alt-text here. I even viewed the page source - nope, nada.

I am viewing this on . Should we look elsewhere for the alt-text?
coder65535 17th Sep 2018, 6:26 PM "Alt"-text edit delete reply
It can be found on the RSS stream. It's not actually alt-text, but part of the <description> tag.
Dragonflight 17th Sep 2018, 8:12 PM edit delete reply
And on a completely *unrelated* note, I wasn't really paying much attention to what GrayGriffin's avatar looked like, so what I *thought* it was until I looked at it was a cyclops with a giant duck bill.

I'm not sure which would have been funnier. :P
Discord 15th Sep 2018, 6:23 AM edit delete reply
As you can see, I do have a heart of gold.
It's just buried deep under the obsidian.
Very thick and durable obsidian.
But it's there.
FanOfMostEverything 15th Sep 2018, 6:25 AM edit delete reply
Gold under smoked glass? Sounds about right. ;)
Greenhornet 15th Sep 2018, 9:08 AM edit delete reply
You HAD a heart of gold, but you pawned it!
MooseImperium 15th Sep 2018, 11:19 AM Re: Completely unimportant language misuses that bug you edit delete reply
GrayGriffin 15th Sep 2018, 7:06 AM edit delete reply
...before anyone says anything, it's very obvious from the last two lines that Fluttershy's player doesn't seem that happy about this. Also, note that DiscorDM didn't actually apologize, despite the use of "too" by Fluttershy's player.
Guest 15th Sep 2018, 7:21 AM edit delete reply
"If I had been thinking straight, I'd have softened the blow. Are we ok to continue?"
GrayGriffin 15th Sep 2018, 7:40 AM edit delete reply
And what do you mean by paraphrasing his words? There's still not a single apology in there.
Guest 15th Sep 2018, 7:49 AM edit delete reply
In what bizarre alterverse is an admittance of error and acceptance of fault *not* an apology?

The words "I'm sorry" are only that: words. They carry a meaning, and that meaning is the above. If the words are uttered without that meaning, then they aren't an apology.

I would take what was said there as a more sincere apology, than if he were to simply say the words "I'm sorry." Apologies are defined by intent, not by adherence to some pre-defined protocol.

... Such persistence to pedantry is only obnoxious, and ignores intent entirely. For something like that, I wouldn't blame the other person at all if they withdrew what was otherwise a sincere statement.
reynard61 16th Sep 2018, 9:10 PM edit delete reply
"In what bizarre alterverse is an admittance of error and acceptance of fault *not* an apology?"

You haven't been keeping up with the current political scene, have you...
ChaoticBrain 15th Sep 2018, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
@GrayGriffin: He's saying that he recognized that he was in error, with the implication that he won't let it happen again.

Not all apologies have to literally contain the word "sorry".
Guest 15th Sep 2018, 7:48 AM edit delete reply
Admitting that you did a mistake and apologizing for it is not the same thing.

It's the difference between "I dented your car" and "I'm sorry I dented your car."
Nixeu 15th Sep 2018, 8:14 AM edit delete reply
Except that's not the case here. The difference is closer to that between "Crap, I dented your car, here's the insurance information/money to pay for it, won't happen again" and "I'm sorry I dented your car". Both are pretty clearly apologies. The person admits they screwed up, does what they can to mitigate things, and all that jazz. Only one has sorry in it, though. Of course, in this case, Discord-DM can't exactly pay for the dent, but he did make the implication that he'd be willing to do whatever Fluttershy needed to keep the game going, possibly including reversing the curse, even if FS didn't take him up on it. That's part of the "we okay to continue" thing.
Borg 15th Sep 2018, 8:26 AM edit delete reply
I'm not sure he reached the level of "Crap, I dented your car, here's my insurance information." A proper apology contains an admission of guilt and a statement of regret. "Crap" can be a sufficient statement of regret, depending on the situation. But I'm not feeling the statement of regret in anything DiscorDM said.
Lethologica 15th Sep 2018, 10:07 AM edit delete reply
This is not an apology. An apology isn't about what you would have done if you were your best self. Nor is it about the nobility of your intentions. Least of all is it about reframing the "situation" to diffuse blame at the first opportunity. An apology is about admitting fault for actions that hurt someone else, expressing contrition for the harm done, promising not to inflict that harm again, and possibly offering restitution to redress the wrong. DMcord did at most one of those things, if you squint at his words until "admitting fault" pops out.

Does that mean DMcord is inherently evil and awful and so on? No. But if this is a test of character, he failed it.
Kereminde 15th Sep 2018, 11:05 AM edit delete reply
Two different concepts here, apologies and forgiveness. They do not necessarily exist together, nor should they always be linked. An apology should not always *require* forgiveness to be returned, nor should it be necessary to be given an apology to forgive.

It should also be noted there are apologies which are only technically apologies which contain no contrite feeling, admission of fault, or intent to fix the offending behavior which brought an apology to being considered proper.

From working retail, it is incredibly normal for people to "apologize" (in all the proper forms of it) because it is expected of them and not mean it, merely because it is How Things Are Done. And it is at the same time incredibly normal for someone to "accept" that apology without any of what is considered polite.

This can be seen as well outside of such environments and is incredibly common in . . . shall we say, highly public places of discussion, where an apology is not made to be sorry . . . but to save face. And an acceptance of it is done not because you accept the apology for an apology but to allow someone to save face in that fashion.

These days? A "proper apology" is meaningless in and of itself. What matters is the attitude behind it.

No, DiscorDM is not apologizing. Fluttershy's player, however, is (apparently) forgiving him anyway. This is much more important than whether or not the words "I'm Sorry" were issued by DiscorDM.
terrycloth 15th Sep 2018, 12:52 PM edit delete reply
Um... an apology is at most two of those things. Promising not to do it again is the important one. Admitting fault is only appropriate if you were at fault, which isn't always the case when you hurt someone.

Empathy and redress are nice but entirely separate.
Wordy Guest 15th Sep 2018, 3:57 PM edit delete reply
I think that one of the key features of any apology worth saying is actually being sorry. That is not quite the feeling I’m getting from discorDM here. It feels more like “I’m sorry that you don’t want to play with me, please continue playing with me anyway?” Maybe “I’m sorry but I didn’t do anything wrong, please play with me”. I don’t see any implication that he is actually planing on changing any of his behavior from this sort of apology nor that he thinks he should feel that he needs to change. And while you may not think that is a part of a good apology, it is part of being sorry.

Actually this made me think of one of the best examples of what “I’m sorry” means.

Over all I don’t think that DiscorDM thinks what he did was wrong, just poorly done and main DM’s idea was better. I get the impression that DiscorDM is used to running much more hardball games generally. When he discussed his actions with main DM he brought attention to how he wasn’t trying to kill any of the players characters. This from a game where not a single being with a name, PC, NPC or primary antagonist has died. So he gets that he made a misplay in how he approached her refusal play, but he doesn’t think what he did was wrong just that he got overzealous with playing his character and didn’t do as well as he should, hence the lackluster apology.
Tarrangar 16th Sep 2018, 3:43 AM edit delete reply
More, if we hadn't both been provoking the other I wouldn't have blown up, sorry for that do you want to continue?

I don't see why you have to cast Fluttershy as the innocent victim, they both fucked up, not just DiscordDM, and while he don't say the word sorry, this is clearly an apology.
Anon 15th Sep 2018, 3:40 PM edit delete reply
I also note, as I squint hard enough to break rocks between my eyelids in an effort to find any fault for which I can justify the most hateful of erections, that he didn't even literally say "I accept your appology" as you are morally obliged to do when someone else says sorry! Truly Evil personified.
Lethologica 15th Sep 2018, 6:56 PM edit delete reply
@Kereminde: I think Fluttershy's forgiveness and DiscorDM's apology are both important. Fluttershy's forgiveness has implications for how she will treat DiscorDM moving forward, but the quality of DiscorDM's apology also has implications for how he will behave going forward. There are two relevant attitudes here, and the issue is not whether DiscorDM says the words "I'm sorry," it's what attitude is implied by his actual words.

@terrycloth: DiscorDM didn't promise not to do it again, so by your choice of criterion he did not apologize. What follows, then, is purely academic.

Surely we need only consider at-fault apologies in this instance. Indeed, if we're talking about no-fault apologies, "promising not to do it again" is also far from mandatory, because there isn't necessarily anything you could or should have done differently in the first place. That's WHY it's not your fault. Some languages use different words for these different kinds of apologies, and it makes a great deal of sense, because their natures are different and ought not be confused.

If we properly limit ourselves to at-fault apologies, as should be the case here, then admitting fault and promising not to repeat the offense are both necessary.

Contrition is central to a genuine apology. Why does someone admit fault and promise not to repeat the offending action? It's supposed to be because they regret the harm they have caused - because *they are sorry*. If that is not present, the sincerity of the apology must be suspect.

This is also why apology includes a possible element of restitution - and I emphasize that I describe it as possible, not necessary. When someone *can* do something to redress the harm they caused, sincere regret demands that they *do* do something. If I steal a dollar from someone, returning a dollar to them is part of my apology for the theft. If I don't give the dollar back, what kind of apology is that?
GrayGriffin 16th Sep 2018, 2:56 AM edit delete reply
Not responding to anyone in particular, but I'd like to add about the comments about an apology involving a promise not to do it again-if anything, he promises to continue being manipulative. Which is admittedly part of his job in this particular case, but it doesn't involve any promises to try and watch his temper in future or have the normal DM there to check and balance him.
Winged Cat 16th Sep 2018, 1:14 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
To me, a sincere apology consists of, at a minimum:

* Stating, in your own words, what you did wrong, to confirm that you know your error.

* Stating how you intend to avoid repeating the mistake - and if it is one you can redress (not all are), how you intend to redress it.

Nowhere in that does the word "sorry" appear. Way too often, I have seen "apologies" that consisted almost entirely of "I'm sorry" and meant "I'm sorry you're offended". I get that many people want to hear that s-word (I have tried leaving it out when I apologize because I wanted to appear sincere, but that seems to have backfired), but to me it just falls flat.

Kereminde's point about ritual and insincere apologies is a good one. If anything, DiscordDM would have been better served in the last panel by explicitly forgiving Fluttershy after she apologized.
Klimpaloon 15th Sep 2018, 9:15 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, DiscorDM still feels like he’s gaslighting. He’s admitting fault, yes, but he’s also in the same breath trying to justify his actions and is quick to spread blame around. His goal seems to be to extract an apology out of Fluttershy’s player—which he only barely gets and he seems offput by her lack of kowtowing to him.
ThatGuest 15th Sep 2018, 2:34 PM edit delete reply
It's entirely possible that Discord doesn't act out of malice, he's just an egotist and doesn't quite comprehend that people don't enjoy things because -he- likes it. That first and second panel made me picture Discord waiting for everyone to comment on how good his game was but instead everyone else just got up looking confused, annoyed or pissed and walked off without even acknowledging his existance, leading to him being confused why no one seems to have liked his obviously perfect adventure so far.

So Discord still might be a bad GM, just more insensitive than malicious.
Lethologica 15th Sep 2018, 7:09 PM edit delete reply
To me, the first two panels seem clearly a prelude to Discord's interaction with Fluttershy. The second panel in particular is certainly Discord contemplating said interaction with some trepidation. Discord recognizes that there is a matter to settle with Fluttershy, arising in part from he himself not doing something he should have done, and he takes unprompted initiative to address it. He doesn't do a good job of that, but the mere fact of the attempt suggests that he's not insensitive to the issues he creates.
Digo Dragon 15th Sep 2018, 9:52 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Answer to Spud's Question: What drew me to the podcasts was the original FiD pony campaign.

Following a group of characters over a long-term period allows me to get invested in the characters and story. The Spud one-shots were nice, but there wasn't enough to get invested in. ToND was a bit better as there are several sessions, but the length of downtime between them and switching between groups meant I'd just wait a while and then binge-listen to the recordings.

I also enjoy the characters being ponies, because they're fun and interesting to see in situations outside the made-for-young-kids show.
albedoequals1 15th Sep 2018, 12:33 PM edit delete reply
The flip side of that is that getting invested can get frustrating. Fallout is Dragons was really interesting, but when OoC drama caused players to leave, it soured everything that came after.
Digo Dragon 16th Sep 2018, 10:35 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I don't disagree with the ooc drama. It does sour things, although it isn't something that can usually be predicted. The group did the best they could to work around it and that was professional of them.
Mykin 15th Sep 2018, 6:53 PM edit delete reply
I agree that the extended downtime between sessions really hurt ToND in the long run. But I did enjoy everything else about it, including how self contained all the sessions were. That made it easier for me to share it with friends when a longer running game with 80+ hours worth of sessions to it would be a harder sell. Not to say that I'm against long running games. Far from it. I'd love to have the same kind of attachment to the FiD crew that a lot of other people seem to have with them. It's just finding the time to conquer that playlist that's getting in the way of that.

Anyway, to directly answer Spud's question: I wouldn't mind a FiD 2.0 (I'd imagine you will shake it up a bit so those that have watched it the first time around will have something new to look forward to) or something similar to that. Or maybe keep the setting but move the timeline further down into the future where something worst has moved in to wreck havoc in Dragon's Maw. Either way, I'd like to take a shot at joining a FiD 2.0 once you nail down what system you want to use for it. I also really liked the Spud One-Shots too. It gave some of us a chance to play an RPG without making that big of a time commitment to it.

But if I have to pick what I'd really want, I think I'll lean more towards another long campaign of any kind.
Sidnoea 15th Sep 2018, 12:12 PM edit delete reply Fluttershy a floating head in panel 3?
Vegetalss4 15th Sep 2018, 1:35 PM edit delete reply
No, if you look carefully around the bottom of her right hairbang you can just barely see her neck.
Tempestfury 15th Sep 2018, 3:38 PM edit delete reply
On the one hand, he is more than happy than happy to admit that he's made mistakes there, and tried to explain himself.

On the other hand... I do feel like there's something... missing.
Wordy Guest 15th Sep 2018, 5:13 PM edit delete reply
I’m getting increasingly frustrated at my own constant evaluation and re-evaluation of discorDM so I thought I would take a step back and look a little wider at this whole idea, setup, thing that we have here.

The first we see of this idea is our one page of conversation with Main DM and DiscorDM. Main DM (who is now Larry because I’m done writing without a name for them (yes I know we don’t have confirmation of wether Larry is a he or a she but I don’t care anymore)) is asking discorDM for help with playing discord as a malevolent force with the power of a DM. DiscorDM is eager for a chance to be, I Larry’s words “cunning, devious, and ruthless”, but discord isn’t his idea. Also we see that Larry has been talking with DiscorDM about his game, as we see DiscorDM bring up Elusive’s plot line. This shows that DiscorDM and Larry are by all appearances genuine lone time friends, which I think leads to the single biggest, possibly insurmountable problem with how this has played out. But we are to that yet.

One other thing that I had forgotten in this conversation is the implication that Larry intends for discord to be an antagonist for the long term, witch is not a problem itself, but also plays into the big problem here.

Now I haven’t ever played with anything like a two DM setup, much less with one being directly antagonistic, but I’ve seen some people comment on here saying that it can work. I believe that, but I also feel that it would definitely be another layer of complexity, and that not every group would be able to handle that, or find it fun.

With all that said what I see as the biggest problem with this idea and setup is quite simple.

Larry needs to talk to his players.

If this goes perfectly, then This will be a very big change in how the game is going to be played for quite some time, and there are quite a few ways it could mess up. This size of change, basically starting a whole new game with new rules, is the sort of thing you need to talk with your players about. Just because Larry is DM doesn’t mean that he get to rewrite all the rules. (Well it sort of does but bear with me). If he wants to try and run an adventure with a more serious villain, with a more ongoing challenge and world spanning conflict, then all he needs to do is ask his players. These people are pretty reasonable, I don’t see them saying no to a change of pace if that’s the direction Larry wants to go. And even if they didn’t want to, they’re having fun with the roll playing and like this world the way it is, do you think they will have a better time if you jump them with it and just start like that anyway?

This is compounded by not only telling them about how we’re going to be playing what might as well be a completely different game, but not introducing any of the players to DiscorDM, and not having DiscorDM get to know any of the players himself. Now Larry has been telling DiscorDM about this campaign he’s running and presumably the players playing in it so I can see were the mistake was made. Larry obviously thinks very highly of DiscorDM so he may think that DiscorDM will have no problem with the players, and DiscorDM has had all of Larry’s stories to get an impression of what the players are like, so he probably feels that he’s got this pretty in the bag. The problem again, it that the players don’t know this guy from adam. Up until now none of them knew anything about DiscorDM, and they still don’t really know anything about him as a person at all. Playing with a DM is putting a tremendous amount of trust in them to play fair and play fun, and asking that of someone based solely on a second opinion is a lot to ask. Furthermore, having it thrust upon you with no warning further amplifies the worry about who this is.

The third miscommunication problem here is that nobody here knows the s is a big arching campaign they’re getting into. I know that after I had forgotten the comment about discord being a big arc villain (gimme a break it was like 6 months ago) my initial reaction was “okay well we have this stranger here to play this weird character, Larry wouldn’t get someone to come in regularly without checking with us, this must be a special one session thing”. They don’t know what the deal is here, and they don’t seem like the type to find prolonged confusion to be fun. In fact as basically as soon as discord shows up twilight’s player is thinking this will be no fun and that “there better be some very fulfilling catharsis at the end of all this”.

So clearly the biggest problem is how Larry and DiscorDM have failed to talk with the players, and I’m going to put most of that on Larry. This is his game and by now he should know better.

That isn’t to say that failure to communicate with the players is the only problem, but I think most of the other problems could have been addressed or removed if there had been more taking.

The other big problem with this whole operation that isn’t communication problem is discord, more specifically the idea and execution of his character. As an all powerful enemy with no demonstrated limitations to what he can know or do, and who cannot he harmed by any means beside one in universe artifact, which he already secured off screen, it seems inexcusable for him to lose to these heroes. He has won, and all he needs to do to stay won is to not give the one thing that can hurt him to the one group of people who can use it. He has the entire rest of the world, and everyone in it to play with. Even if he wants to take the time to try and break and play with the bearers specifically, he has nothing to gain from giving them the real elements to try and fail to use. He already has the ability to make any of them see anything he wants so why give them the real elements when he could take five lockets one chain and a dress up tiara and make the bearers perceive then to be the elements. It wouldn’t be fair to the players, but as a character consistent with the world he exists in, he has no reason not to do so.

If you think about it enough, any loss on his part will need be predicated in him allowing it to be, which robs the players of the catharsis of winning despite their opponents best efforts. For discord to work as a game antagonist, and be fulfilling to triumph over, our players will need to have some reason to believe that discord’s power has limits. This would theoretically be provided by Larry as Co-DM but with one exception he has done none of that, and the one time he did he was immediately worried about how this wasn’t what he thought this would be like. To me this indicates that Larry isn’t ready to be in charge of being in charge of his personal hero of a DM, limiting what he can or cannot do. I get the feeling that Larry thinks that his hero is such an amazing DM that he can have him show up and then everything will go amazingly. But the way this is set up, Larry is going to have to be the one in charge if our heroes will have any hope of winning.

I was going to go into my ideas for making discord work in a D&Dish setting, but it isn’t really relevant how I would do this in Larry’s place. All told I think a lot of what’s going wrong with this adventure can be laid at the head of Larry, but I don’t mean to absolve DiscorDM of responsibility. While he may not have been the person to think of the idea, he certainly had a part in its realization, and has been the one playing it beyond what even Larry thought was fair.(see the conversation about rarity) I also don’t get the feeling that he knows what will be fun for these players as well as he thinks he does. All told, this seems like a bad idea executed in the worst way possible.

P.S. I’m looking back at this and thinking that I might be coming off as being overly negative about this story and I wanted to clarify. I think that Larry and DiscorDM are doing a bad job with this adventure, but I think newbiespud is doing an amazing job telling his. The fact that I could write this much on this is a testament to how impressive this story is. The only think I worry over is the wait to get the next piece. So write on newbiespud! We all aware your latest page.
Guest 15th Sep 2018, 7:04 PM edit delete reply
You're thinking way too damn hard about what is objectively a simple thing:

The core principle of any apology is communication. The core principle of forgiveness is understanding.

That's it. There is nothing else to it.

Person A says: "This is what I was trying for, but that isn't how it worked out, which isn't what I wanted. That other person did the thing I should have done if I wasn't letting my issues control me. Is it okay if we keep doing this the way the other person suggested?"

At its heart, that is an apology. It is a communication of the intent behind one's actions, which itself stemmed from the observation that one's actions didn't lead to what was intended.

That... that's it, dude. He apologized. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that, because both characters understand where the other is coming from. Mostly because they're both guilty of the same thing.
Lethologica 15th Sep 2018, 9:06 PM edit delete reply
The apology doesn't seem to be what Wordy Guest is focused on. I would also say that I disagree with your characterization of apology and forgiveness - the central principle of apology is *contrition*, the central principle of forgiveness is *acceptance*. With that said, communication and understanding are much more central to the process of *reconciliation*, which is arguably what is happening here, so that's fair.

I do agree with Wordy Guest's description of the structural issues with the campaign setup. The antagonistic figure is too big a surprise and has too few limitations, and that largely falls on regular!DM. Rarity's conversation with regular!DM gets at the former issue, while Fluttershy's reaction to DiscorDM (while not necessarily the best response) gets at the latter.
Wordy Guest 16th Sep 2018, 3:27 AM edit delete reply
I'm sorry, but I don't think you actually read my comment. This comment is not about discorDM's apology. I Have a comment about that up in the replies to GrayGriffin, but this comment is about the idea and execution of this portion of the game as a whole. I understand my comment was rather long and I'll try and be more succinct in the future, if possible.

Edit: to be clear I am responding to Guest. I wish this comment section was better about sorting replies to replies, so your reply was indented off of the reply you are replying to as opposed to being grouped with all the other replies, including the one you are replying to with little to no indication as to witch reply you mean.
DuoScratch 15th Sep 2018, 10:28 PM edit delete reply's nice that he apologized, but something about this feels off, as many have already noted. It's too fast, and he's rushing the conversation on. I can see a couple reasons for this.

One, he's not too good at social niceties, and is simply flubbing hardcore on his apology.

Two, and this is the worse one..., He's a method GM, and the game isn't necessarily over for him during breaks. Which means, he could be setting up things for the game, while everyone else is on break...

Of the two, I'm hoping for the fore, but the latter could be a possibility, and that's scary. I've played with method GMs before, and the experience can be...not nice.
aerion111 16th Sep 2018, 12:01 AM edit delete reply
If FiD 2.0 has the balance fixed, that has my vote 100%. But in general, I'd just like to see your brilliant players shine. Like, make sure there's not a second Javolt-like character (even he was fun whenever he wasn't being abrassive and awkward, but that was frequent) and give them room to do fun and clever stuff. The exact system probably depends on which players you can get ahold of.
Archone 16th Sep 2018, 3:30 AM edit delete reply
A couple of things...

I believe that there are three types of apology. It doesn't matter what words you use with the apology, what matters is the actual intent.

Type 1: "I did something that I acknowledge was wrong, and I hurt you by doing so. I am sorry for both."

Type 2: "I did something that I do not think was wrong, but I hurt you by doing so. I am sorry for that."

Type 3: "I'm making noises with my mouth until you accept it even though I couldn't care less."

What DiscordGM offered her is a type 1 apology. He just emphasized: The regular GM made the call I should have, and my intent was to make this FUN, not to upset you. Fluttershy's player responded with: I accept your apology, and I admit that I overreacted due to past experiences that you are in no way responsible for.

That being said... there's so much hate towards DiscordGM here. I mean outright prejudice (literally: pre-judged as guilty until proven guilty). The imagery used depicts Discord as being nervous and awkward about approaching Fluttershy, and the text bubbles include the pauses of someone who is trying to find both the proper words as well as the courage to say them. And STILL people are saying, "no, he's gaslighting, he's a total jerk and he didn't apologize at all and he clearly doesn't regret a thing."

For crying out loud, he's a GM. He's SUPPOSED to give players a challenge. Instead of providing a Tomb of Horrors style "half the party will die by the end IF they make a lot of lucky rolls" adventure, he's giving them something imaginative and tailor made to the individual players. He did this at the request of the regular GM, and with the other players genuinely intrigued and finding things interesting, and one player in particular (Pinky) absolutely thrilled to be a full collaborator in DiscordGM's plans.
Wordy Guest 16th Sep 2018, 4:39 AM edit delete reply
I think you may be putting words in fluttery’s mouth with the whole past experience thing. While the implication is certainly plausible, I don’t think it’s been solidly confirmed, and she could just as well be apologizing for unintentionally hurting his feelings by not being clear enough with her in character accusations.

I also think that one important part of apologizing is what you are sorry for, and in this case I’m not sure if he saying “I’m sorry for hurting you” or “I’m sorry for not doing my best as a DM”. And while apologizing for not being the best DM you can be is fine, that isn’t the problem with how Fluttershy’s curse was applied.

I also think that one of the problems that is getting DiscorDM hate, is that providing a challenge is the job of a DM, but he was not entrusted by any of the players to do so. He was entrusted by Larry, but none of the players came tonight to play with DiscorDM, they came to play with Larry. And while he and Larry have worked hard to provide a challenge, they don’t seem to have made of it fair, or even give the illusion of fairness.

When you play with a DM you are trusting that they have made something to challenge you, that has a chance of failure, but also has a chance of success if you’re smart and inventive. With this setup, someone we don’t know providing challenges that could be seen as unfair (I still have strong negative opinions on what happened with pinkie) the trust that the adventure has a win state is strained and could be broken.

Larry and DiscorDM have in essence stated a new game, with new rules without asking the players if they want to play. And while pinky and rarity are having some fun role playing it for now, twilight is getting very frustrated, Applejack is feeling punished and Fluttershy has managed to get under DiscorDM’s skin through a misunderstanding. when we see how this isn’t working for the players, it’s easy to start looking for what is wrong, and DiscorDM is an easy target, being to both the players and character and outsider who showed up and started messing with things. We as readers are inclined to agree with them and share their views, which is only compounded by how very into being a villain he is.

Now some of the hate on DiscorDM is unfair as you have said, but I still think he deserves some chastising over working this with Larry on this whole thing.
Archone 16th Sep 2018, 1:51 PM edit delete reply
Your response - and the responses to your response - only further reiterate my point. (Also, did they ever canonically establish that the main GM's name is Larry? That's interesting... that's my father's name)

There's still a return to "but he's still doing something wrong. We'll figure out something to blame him for, even if we have to stretch to rationalize." Your reasoning is "he didn't specifically use the phrasing "I am sorry for X, Y, and Z," and also the main GM didn't consult his players before bringing in Discord GM and so we'll put the blame on Discord GM instead of main Gm."

GrayGriffin declares that this is "literally Discord manipulating Fluttershy" as if he were a cult leader or a charismatic sociopathic schemer. Full bore "He's a horrible person, why doesn't everyone else acknowledge how vile he is!?"

Let me turn it around. Imagine yourself in Discord GM's shoes. Someone you are aware idolizes you has asked you to do a thing for some of their friends, the thing that makes them idolize you. No pressure there, right? You show up, giving it your all. One of them reacted badly due to past experiences. Now you're feeling uncomfortable and nervous because you just met this person and your attempt at an awesome performance bombed with them. So during the intermission you approach them to try to fix things...

...How are you going to feel? And how would you want people to treat you in this situation?

(For extra credit: how would you feel if you found out that someone, who wasn't even involved in the whole affair, had immediately made a snap judgement and declared you a horrible person?)
Wordy Guest 16th Sep 2018, 2:40 PM edit delete reply
Main DM is explicitly not named Larry I just got tied of them not having a name in my wall of text up there and picked Larry because I’m annoyed with how they are handling this bit.

Also I think Larry is the most to blame for this fiasco, and that he has unintentionally set up his friend to have the absolute worst possible first impression imaginable. I don’t think DiscorDM is an irredeemable villain or anything, but I think he has some flaws that are being magnified by this role he is playing.

The problem I had with his apology was not his wording it was his intention. He can fraze it however he wants, so long as his sentiment is sincere. And he may be trying to do just that, but I can’t quite get over how quick he is to justify and redirect the problem. Sometimes apologizing means taking the time and saying I was wrong, even if you weren’t the only person wrong. Again I don’t think he is a bad person, but I don’t think he is doing a great job here, and I think the whole thing should end with the players sitting down with both Larry and DiscorDM and asking exactly how this started and who thought it would be a good idea.

To answer your question as to what I would do, I would ask my friend who idealizes me if I could meet his players befor they had me DM for them so I could make my awesome custom personalized adventure on not second hand information. Then if something went wrong I would apologize and try to make sure that I knew what I had done wrong, and that I had not hurt the players feelings. After that I would ask them if they felt comfortable continuing the adventure, and how she was feeling overall.

I’m not sure what GrayGriffen is talking about with the context and the manipulation in this seen. I’m genuinely at a loss.
Archone 17th Sep 2018, 3:19 AM edit delete reply
Wordy Guest - Good answer, though half of it doesn't apply to the question posed. Assume you had already come into the situation, you weren't allowed to meet the players beforehand (probably due to schedule restrictions/time constraints or something), and so the screwup has already happened and now you have to deal with it. (Yes, I know it's like that stupid trolley problem where "find a third option" is ruled out in order to force a choice. Sorry about that)

I feel that Discord GM has indeed made a sincere apology - he explained what his intentions were, and that he's going to try to do a better job of it. And asked "are we alright to continue?" because he's well aware that he had upset her. So he's established that he both knows that he did something wrong, and that he hurt her feelings by doing so. And that he's going to try to do better (not to "never ever do that again," because "that" would be "the game itself." But to handle it with a greater respect for her sensitivities).

Also, Fluttershy's player did something as well - she apologized in turn. Because she recognized she had done two things that were wrong. One: she allowed her past trauma at the hands of someone else (call them "Abuser") to influence her opinion of Discord GM. Discord GM has never met Abuser, was unaware of the existence of Abuser, and it is unfair of Fluttershy's player to lash out at Discord GM for the actions committed by someone else. And two: her method of lashing out was to deliberately attempt to sabotage the game that Discord GM put so much effort into creating. That would be like a fighter character's player rolling for initiative and attacking an important NPC during a plot critical encounter involving diplomacy rolls, thereby derailing the GM's campaign, and also ruining the fun for the players who were actually involved in the roleplaying experience. So she acknowledged: I shouldn't have let my personal issues allow me to treat you badly, and I shouldn't have attempted to sabotage the game you came here to provide for our entertainment.

So... neither one is a bad person, they both apologized, and now they have pizza. ^.^
GrayGriffin 16th Sep 2018, 7:24 PM edit delete reply
The only word I used was "manipulate." You're the one who added "cult leader" and "sociopath" to that. All I'm saying is in that scene Discord wants Fluttershy to defend him and he's taking actions meant to further that goal even if he is not 100% sincere about them. Considering right after this he floods Applejack's farm because he believes he has succeeded in making Fluttershy willing to promise not to use her Element against him I don't get why this is a point of contention.
Archone 17th Sep 2018, 3:06 AM edit delete reply
Yeah... again, GrayGriffin is going out of their way to see things that are not there. Discord GM is looking to smooth over the emotional distress of a player during a session of a GAME. This isn't some depraved scheme that will end with one or more characters in therapy. This is a bunch of friends whose GM brought in a special celebrity GM for even more fun during their GAME.

Also, there are three reasons why it's a point of contention. 1: the comic explicitly does not follow the structure of the show; the images used from the show are placed into new storylines with radically different characterization (the prince in the show is not the head of a Thieves Guild, for example). 2: even within the show's storyline your grasp of the event timeline is flawed; Discord doesn't do the flooding thing until a later episode in a later season, and that's right before realizing Fluttershy had already beaten him by giving him the one thing he had never had (a friend). And 3: your headcanon is not automatically the only correct interpretation just because its your head and your canon. The only reason to assume that Discord GM is the bad guy is because of the prerequisite assumption that there has to be a bad guy in the first place.
GrayGriffin 17th Sep 2018, 4:45 AM edit delete reply
Okay, hell, I think we're getting mixed up on what's "in comic" and "in show context" here. All my replies in this thread are referring to "in show context," because Archone started out talking about the "imagery" in these panels. And then Tempestfury claimed that I was reading the episode wrong and Archone assumed my discussion about show context was a 100% match onto comic context.

If we're going to talk about comic context, I still think he's being slightly manipulative, in that he wants Fluttershy to keep playing first and foremost and her emotions are secondary to that. I've actually had a fairly good GM who unfortunately valued "everyone keeps playing" over "everyone actually enjoys themselves." There, is that settled?
Archone 17th Sep 2018, 11:07 AM edit delete reply
Uh... no? Because you're still implying that he doesn't care about her emotions and whether or not she's enjoying the game, that "her emotions are secondary." Even as multiple people point out the errors in your claims. There is no manipulation. There is no dismissal of her emotions. There is a nervous and mutual apology by two decent people who both admit they went too far.

I've also had a few GMs who valued "everyone keeps playing" over "everyone actually enjoys themselves." The last one responded to my request that we discuss things after the session with "okay, let's talk about it RIGHT NOW," followed by gaslighting, yelling at me for raising my grievances (the way he had specifically insisted that I do), and then did a table flip and the campaign ended. There was never an apology, just an unending insistence that he was the victim and I was being mean by... complaining about his behavior. Compared to that, all we've seen of Discord GM is that he's very enthusiastic about GMing, that he can be a bit dramatic, and that he's more than prepared to admit when he did something wrong.
GrayGriffin 16th Sep 2018, 5:13 AM edit delete reply
The context? The context of these panels is literally Discord manipulating Fluttershy into being on his side so that she'll defend him against her friends.
Guest 16th Sep 2018, 1:27 PM edit delete reply
I have no idea how you came to that conclusion, and I'm honestly looking for it.
Tempestfury 16th Sep 2018, 3:04 PM edit delete reply
@GG... what.

Did... did you even... WATCH that episode?!
GrayGriffin 16th Sep 2018, 4:38 PM edit delete reply
Yes, I did? At that point he's still manipulating he, bor at least thinks he is and isn't conscious of the fact that he actually sees her as a friend until he nearly loses it.

He literally has an evil grin in the last panel. I don't see how this is so hard to understand.
Lethologica 16th Sep 2018, 9:23 PM edit delete reply
Gray Griffin, I think I see the problem. The problem is that you're using this as your source:

But the actual source is this:

In *this* universe, DiscorDM is addressing an issue that came up during the campaign session (albeit not as well as he could/should), not manipulating Fluttershy into acting on his behalf. You can tell because his closing ask is to consider the matter between them settled, not to get Fluttershy to do anything proactive. His grin is for having settled the matter (as he understands it), not for an evil manipulative scheme that has yet to be portrayed in any way.
GrayGriffin 17th Sep 2018, 4:46 AM edit delete reply
Right. And there's plenty more, much more friendly smiles in the episode that could have been used. The choice of an obviously manipulative grin is very telling.
Wordy Guest 17th Sep 2018, 5:34 AM edit delete reply
Okay this is ridiculous. This reply chain is almost unreadable. Why do replies not indent when you reply to someone's reply. We have at least one conversation referencing a comment that is below it and after two other comments by the same person. There is no way to tell how this conversation played out without carefully reassembling a timeline from the post dates, or some manor of forensic reconstruction after reading all of them.
Lethologica 17th Sep 2018, 11:30 AM edit delete reply
I generally just put new comments at the bottom of the chain and count on referencing names to establish context. Having posted in forums a lot, it's what I'm familiar with.

@GrayGriffin: The sinister grin is of course present. However, you're reading a much more specific meaning from it, when the text itself is taking a substantially different tack.

Rather than being manipulative, it's much easier to read DiscorDM here as self-centered. In this reading, DiscorDM feels like this has been a great session, on the whole, but there's one niggling thought in the back of his head saying, didn't the quiet one and I have a flare-up? Regular!DM even had to step in. Does that make me a bad DM? That thought makes me uncomfortable. I need to deal with this so I can be satisfied that I'm a good DM.

That's why DiscorDM takes the initiative to address the issue, but also takes pains to excuse himself - "I totally would have done the right thing normally" - and defend his intentions. He's trying to apologize, but because he's motivated by his discomfort rather than Fluttershy's, he makes it about himself rather than about her. And he's relieved when Fluttershy decides to share the blame - that means he can write it off as just one unfortunate situation, and not a predictable product of his button-pushing behavior.

DiscorDM being self-centered is a straightforward and powerful explanation of his behavior in this strip. In comparison, I don't think the manipulation interpretation measures up. The idea is that DiscorDM is manipulating Fluttershy to defend him against future party antagonism, right?
But that doesn't explain why Discord is seeking out the most antagonistic player so far as his defender, rather than enlisting someone who responded better to him - Pinkie or Rarity, for starters - in his defense *against* Fluttershy's potential future antagonism. Nor does it explain why DiscorDM doesn't actually try to get Fluttershy to do anything.

So why the sinister grin? I know I said it was for settling the matter, but as I construct this self-centeredness reading, a different answer occurs to me. I think DiscorDM is playing to type. I think he really likes the persona of the clever, enigmatic, sinister, hammy antagonist, and pops into it for a bit of social armor. You know, I can absolutely imagine DiscorDM putting on his Discord face when he says "I'm trying my hardest to entrap you all," or letting his "Ohoho, yes" slip into Discord sinister-chuckle territory. Even if I bought the manipulation interpretation, I would find it rather less plausible that DiscorDM is *actually* grinning evilly *while* supposedly manipulating Fluttershy to her face.

So yeah, I too find this strip to be very telling. But I don't think it's saying what you think it's saying. DiscorDM the self-centered isn't necessarily behaving better than DiscorDM the manipulative, and both would likely reopen this wound in the future, but the former is a lot less malicious.
TT 16th Sep 2018, 4:10 AM edit delete reply
Hm, so;
"I should have realised you were uncomfortable and no longer enjoying yourself sooner.", and "Can we proceed as we were, or do you need any further adjustment from me?"
But not, "I went too far and I'm sorry for that". We generally expect the recognition that you made someone uncomfortable come with an apology. But realistically, it quite often does not. And that's not actually 'bad', so much as viewing the issue in a different way and trying to resolve it accordingly.

I like to be logical and focus on outcome - the activity basically - so *I* like what DiscorDM has done more than if he had just given an apology. He's acknowledged his playstyle made her uncomfortable - the implication being he'll try to adjust to do better - and asking whether Fluttershy needs anything else from him for them to continue playing together. It gives her the opportunity to state whether there's anything in particular he needs to avoid, change, or even for her to say that she doesn't think she can work with him and they can try to come up with a solution. It focuses on how to correctly PREVENT any future incidents. If you're thinking logically and want to activity to continue, this all makes perfect sense.

But if you think with your EQ more than your IQ, you recognise that its not just the activity from before that made Fluttershy uncomfortable - it's DiscorDM himself as the instigator. It's not just that A Thing Happened, it's that YOU Made The Thing Happen. DiscorDM's response is about was how to prevent the feelings brought on by the activity from reoccuring, not offering remittance for the incident that has already occurred. the feelings caused by being around the person. *Making it up to someone* is what an apology is actually about.

Instead, lack of apology places DiscorDM in the position that it looks like he's acknowledging the outcome, but absolving himself as the source. I don't know if that was his intention. I suspect it's that he doesn't think the argument was a big deal that needs a more explicit apology, and what he thinks the big issue to resolve is is that Fluttershy enjoys the game from here on in.
Kereminde 16th Sep 2018, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
Possibly because he doesn't intend to be part of it after this, and take this whole arc (session or multiples) as merely a "guest-spot". That seems to be part of the motivation in his behavior is knowing he is here for a short time, not permanently, and wanting it to be *memorable* and fun.

An issue is what he perceives as fun may not mesh with at least one of the others.

Some people have GMs who are like Mercer (

Some who are like Colville. (

And others have one like Chris Perkins. (

Finally, there's those like Lauren Bond. (

None of these examples are bad, but I would wager making Colville GM an episode of Critical Role would be received poorly. So would siccing Lauren Bond on Acquisitions Inc.

Is it possible to be a good GM and still serve up a bad experience? Watching sessions recorded on the Internet says "yes", it is entirely possible to have a session turn out very bad and have no way to fix it without simply trashing things and coming back next week.

And on the flip side - yes, it is possible to be a terrible GM and still run a good game. It's why I retired from trying that myself.
HappyEevee 16th Sep 2018, 8:38 PM edit delete reply
I think you've hit the nail on the head here that one of the main issues is DiscorDM just isn't meshing well with this particular group.

I think it's part personality, part playstyle, part this specific session (he's here to play the annoying villain who screws the world up so they have to fix it) and part lack of communication (the players weren't warned about him or this session) and part simple in-game frustration as the players are having to suddenly react to a whole bunch of new circumstances in and out of play.

I think people would be less worked up about DiscorDM if we'd seen anything of him before his introduction to the table, like him and the GM talking about it beforehand, or if we were getting any of what he's actually thinking or feeling. So far all we're seeing of him is what the players see, which gives us a severely limited viewpoint to consider him from.

Honestly, I do expect we will find out he's not a particularly bad guy even if he has some issues and while he may never mesh well with this table, I think we'll see him periodically interacting with the players. Sometimes tables and GMs just don't work well together and I think that's what's really going on here; neither the table nor DiscorDM is completely wrong or right, they just have different approaches to gaming and it's causing friction.

It's pretty easy to have friction at a table without any one person being "the bad guy." There's one gamer I play with sometimes who I can get along with when he's a GM, but not when he's a player. I have another friend who's a great gamer but a terrible GM. Another friend is okay when he's under the tight rein of one of our more strict GMs, but with a more lax GM, he consistently backstabs and sabotages the party to everyone's frustration.

Tables are delicate organic entities and sometimes people, campaigns, and systems simply don't work, through no particular fault but that they just don't go together.
TT 18th Sep 2018, 1:05 AM edit delete reply
" wanting it to be *memorable* "

I think that's -exactly- the factor I wasn't able to quite find, yes.