Page 1555 - For Worse and Better

3rd Jul 2021, 6:00 AM in Magical Mystery Cure
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For Worse and Better
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 3rd Jul 2021, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
If you trust your players to be invested in telling the best story for everyone, and you're willing to put the final experience above your prototype plans, then they can be a great guide.

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

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12 Comments:

aerion111 3rd Jul 2021, 8:49 AM edit delete reply
aerion111
It feels... Strange, how suddenly the group seems more real. Like, this is the sort of stuff writing advice would directly tell you to leave out. The sort of mess that happens in real life, but can be safely cut in a story unless it is absolutely vital to the message.
Even these 'campaign comics' usually come across as using the gaming group more as a framing device. So when there's suddenly a real (fictional) group, it makes me wonder 'why isn't the group more real, more often, in this genre?'
Cliff_Snowpeak 3rd Jul 2021, 9:53 AM edit delete reply
I think it's because FiD is telling an original story. Most Campaign Comics are simply retellings of the original works that they are based on, with the Players, their personalities, and their motivations backfilled to justify the actions of the Characters already present in those original works. Here, the Players are the driving force of the story, and as such, the Characters are unrecognizable, when compared to canon FiM. This isn't a story about "The Mane 6 if they were a D&D campaign;" this is a story about several original characters whose PCs closely resemble the Mane 6.
NoGentleman 3rd Jul 2021, 10:04 AM edit delete reply
If i had to wager a reason, there are a few, but the most prevelants ones would be as follows.
For one, many of these comics tend to be adaptations of pop media and attract mostly fans of the original franchise. These people usual come to these to see a fun new take on their favourite franchise and straying too far away from that by focusing too much on the group instead of the original franchise might alienate certain people who came because that.
Second reason is escapism. Many people have already too much issues handling these kind of thing in their own social circles and don't really feel the need nor want to read about another group's struggles.
Thirdly is that these kind of things can quickly spiral out of control if not handled properly, and drag on for far too long and take up too much space in the narrative. Some other d&d webcomics, who had real life issue encroach on their narrative to varying level of success, are grandline 3.5 with their currenty abusive boyfriend subplot and the steven universe one with their entire evil lawfirm trying to take over your game plotline.
Matiekay_13 4th Jul 2021, 12:09 AM edit delete reply
Matiekay_13
I think the FIM vibe for quickly resolving interpersonal problems via The Power Of Friendship really helps *this* comic be suspenseful without being too scary - you *know* they'll fix the problem in an entertaining way, so it counts as escapist/wish fulfillment IMO.
cyborg7221 4th Jul 2021, 7:44 PM edit delete reply
Maybe the missing component in most CCs is the simple question, "What type of person would want to play this character, and why?" And same with GMs- "What kind of person would plan this kind of campaign, and why?" Most of the time, the players have the exact same personality as the characters, or they're just generic gamer stereotypes, and that might be why they seem to fall flat. The trap seems to be the idea that the story is already written, so all you have to do is add the narration and dice rolls.

I have another theory to consider, too. There are three basic types of Campaign Comic creators:

-A may be an experienced gamer, but not much of a writer when it comes to non-collaborative narratives with a fixed structure. So while the presentation of game rules and gamer culture may be accurate, the original "player" OCs might not have the depth one would hope for. It's more about the parody and fan service. I'm pretty sure most campaign comics would fall into this category.

-B is an aspiring writer, but has little to no experience with gaming. So you may end up with bombastically absurd portrayals of gaming culture, but ALSO a table full of well-rounded player-OCs with a compelling metagame story that complements the story they're creating as a group. Or you'll just end up with a flat story that's even worse because the writer doesn't know what the different dice are for. I've seen both- D&D Aangvanced for the former, and as for the later I remember a Naruto one- Shinobi & Shuriken, I think it was called? idk.

-C is both a writer AND a gamer, so they're extremely passionate about both aspects of the craft, connecting knowledge of mechanics and gamer culture to their authorial skills in order to create something truly compelling. Like Darths & Droids, and of course, Friendship is Dragons.

As with anything, I think it comes down to both skill set and intention. Are you more focused on superimposing D&D rules onto the story to create wacky hijinks? Are you focused on altering the canon narrative to create something new? Or are you seriously trying to do more than that?
Human being 3rd Jul 2021, 9:47 AM edit delete reply
Oh no! Pinkie fell for Lyra's silly conspiracy theory about "human beings"...
Digo 3rd Jul 2021, 12:52 PM edit delete reply
One GM's trick to get their players to do half the world building work. :3
Videocrazy 3rd Jul 2021, 4:13 PM edit delete reply
Videocrazy
In canon, I've suggested that the reason (or at least one of the reasons) the Mane 6 sans Twilight are so bad at their jobs is because none of their jobs are about their cutie marks. Well, Pinkie Pie's mostly is, but not the others.

Applejack: Cutie mark represents the bonds with her family. When she realized that the farm is where she belonged, with the rest of her family, that's when she got it. It's the family farm, sure, and she works the farm because of that, but it's not about farming. Pinkie Pie hated the farm life and actively went out on her own. Aside from the fact her family farmed rocks, not plants, she's focusing on the farming.

Pinkie Pie: Actually has the appropriate Cutie Mark. Talent for spreading joy, she does that by planning parties. Still, one does not directly correlate to the other; there are different kinds of parties (like the Grand Galloping Gala) and spreading joy isn't the goal of all of them. If Fluttershy was focusing less on making the audience happy and more on entertainment (in the same way a sad or horror movie can entertain without bringing happiness or joy), it makes sense her attempts would fall flat. This is admittedly the a bit of a stretch.

Fluttershy: Cutie mark represents her ability to speak with animals (and more broadly, her love for them). She uses that talent and natural affinity to care for the animals, but she had to learn the best ways to do that; it's not as though she suddenly had perfect veterinary knowledge. Rainbow Dash had to be convinced to adopt a pet, and did it in perhaps the most asinine way possible. She's learned how to care for Tank, but not for animals in general; suddenly being able to talk to them isn't going to help that.

Rainbow Dash: Following the weakest argument is the strongest, most clear-cut. Her cutie mark has nothing to do with managing the weather; it's just the job she has while she tries to get into the Wonderbolts. Sure, she can clear the skies quickly, but that's for using her talent for speed. Of course Rarity, with none of the appropriate skills, is going to fail horribly at managing the weather.

Rarity: She has a cutie mark for prospecting. Gems, specifically, and arguably 'prospecting' for beauty in anything. She designs because she can use the gems she finds as materials and because she enjoys creating beauty, but that's not really what her talent is about. Designing and sewing is creating from scratch, not seeing the beauty in what already exists and refining it. So, naturally, Applejack doesn't have any special edge in sewing dresses. Her down-to-earth practical nature conflicts with it.


Now, I do think that they could use the swapped talents in their old jobs effectively.

Applejack: Talent for prospecting, skills of a farmer? At a minimum, being able to find gems to get extra cash for the farm. More broadly, I think it could be used for quality control. She could look at trees, possibly even seeds, and see which ones are the hardiest. Which ones produce the best-tasting fruit. Which ones produce the most fruit. Finding the best traits among their crops and fostering it. Basically, selectively breeding to improve them overall, and possibly even cross-breeding for new, better apples.

Pinkie Pie: Talent for family bonds, skills of a party planner and general pony person? Plan family get-togethers. Reconcile two members of a family at odds with each other. Bridge together more distant lines, like the Apples and Oranges.

Fluttershy: Talent for spreading joy, skills of an animal caretaker? Cheer up depressed animals. Be an animal therapist. Nobody said the joy had to be spread to ponies, specifically. Or, do both: find animals that want to perform and showboat, run an animal troupe. Bird choir, like what she did in the first episode. Monkeys on the trapeze. An aerial checkpoint race with various birds. Let the ones that want to perform do so, amaze the people that come to watch.

Rainbow Dash: Talent for speaking to animals, skills of a weatherpony? Early warning system. Animals can be really sensitive to changes, and RD could use that to head off dangerous weather changes before they become an actual problem. Even discounting places like the Everfree Forest, that needs to be watched because the weather there is (un)natural, it's simply not possible to monitor everywhere all the time.

Rarity: Talent for speed, skills of a designer (and, given her sketches, artist)? Prototyping. Come up with a design, try several iterations until she finds whatever works best. Or maybe an artist? There's more than one kind of speed. Speed and skill combined to be a wonderful painter, or perhaps a playwright. Maybe even a novelist? You get the general idea.

...Why, yes, I have thought about this off and on for about eight years now. How could you tell?
Kaze Koichi 4th Jul 2021, 5:14 PM edit delete reply
This works in the story, Characters have their lives, they can't swap them by swapping talents.
HOWEVER
This doesn't work for roleplay session. I am an experienced player. I played males, females, heroes, villains, knights, cowboys, space marines... With exception of a very few roles that I flat-out refuse to play, I'll take that character sheet and rock it even better then they did. Mechanically, it can be that I am not going to get all details and need some pointers. But from roleplay perspective, bitch please. Sign me in. (I'm actually tempted to have my group pf players go through this).
Your scenario will only work in a group of newbie players, that only know how to play one role. Or with a player that constantly playing characters of the same time, refusing to try anything else... wait, you let Twi to go off the hook, so this isn't a problem.
Guest 4th Jul 2021, 7:32 PM edit delete reply
It would work with players who aren't as experienced as you. And judging by your impressive resume, almost everyone is less experienced than The Great And Powerful Koichi.
Kaze Koichi 8th Jul 2021, 4:18 AM edit delete reply
Where did you find my resume and who do I need to torture to get it back?
GD 4th Jul 2021, 10:46 PM edit delete reply
Cool! I hope it goes well for you if you try it with your own friends. But everyone's different, and as the previous page said, this sort of thing is gonna be more fluid for some people than for others. I know I personally would have some trouble trying to quickly process the idea that "My entire skill set and current life are directly pulled entirely from someone else, but I didn't live their life, so I wouldn't actually be them, but with so many different parts of my past changed, I wouldn't exactly be me either." Feels like a real nature/nurture problem to try and settle right at the beginning of a session.