Page 42 - Plotting and Scheming

12th Nov 2011, 5:30 AM in Friendship is Magic, Part 2
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Plotting and Scheming
Average Rating: 4.5 (2 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 12th Nov 2011, 5:30 AM edit delete
Whoops, about half an hour late.

Speaking of times, I've just noticed that the site's time doesn't account for Daylight Savings Time, which ended very recently. But changing the site's time can only be done retroactively, which means everything gets set back one hour.

So for now, the timestamps on the comments are going to be an hour ahead of my actual time. Just a heads up.

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



BadHorse 12th Nov 2011, 6:45 AM edit delete reply
Wait, so does that mean you're in Alaskan time?
BadHorse 12th Nov 2011, 6:46 AM edit delete reply
Oh wait, I got it. Pacific, but reading now as Mountain.
Sidnoea 12th Nov 2011, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
Oh man, what a terrible pun.
Sidnoea 12th Nov 2011, 7:36 AM edit delete reply
And of course by terrible, I mean great.
Arachnos 13th Dec 2011, 2:31 PM edit delete reply
And then the party got hit for 1d4 damage.
AstroTrain 12th Nov 2011, 8:02 AM edit delete reply
The first session is almost all railroading in my experience. Mind you, that isn't always a bad thing. It tends to give the group focus.
OnTheMoon 12th Nov 2011, 8:28 AM edit delete reply
In my game, we now have to roll 1d20 for puns. You have to get above a 13 in order to say a pun, and if you roll a natural 1, you get a penalty to your next pun roll.
Alpharius 12th Nov 2011, 8:34 AM edit delete reply
You shouldn't PUNish them like that.
Newbiespud 12th Nov 2011, 9:48 AM edit delete reply
Oh boy.
Valence 15th Nov 2011, 4:57 AM edit delete reply
One time I punned so hard that the DM put me in the maximum security Punitentiary. I broke out with the help of Al CaPun.
Guest from 2014 26th Nov 2014, 8:15 PM edit delete reply
This comment wins.
Thud 12th Nov 2011, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
Honestly I think this is why there are so many combat focused players in DnD. The feeling of control is better under the combat mechanics PCs can use any resource available to accomplish their aims and the DM doesn't generally have a Queen, an Archmage, an Inquisitor, or a Guard Captain breathing down the PCs' necks stifling creativity.

The trap a lot of DMs fall into (myself included) is thinking they need to have a perfect and inviolate position for the NPCs to dictate terms from. When in fact it's probably better if the party does occasionally burst onto the scene and do things their way.
MirrorImage 12th Nov 2011, 9:32 AM edit delete reply
Which is why for my campaign's first session today, the Goblin Leader they face will be script-reading his "come and get me" speech and will be completely oblivious to the incoming party for the first half of it.
Wild Heart 12th Nov 2011, 9:37 AM edit delete reply
As a GM, I love it when players let my villains monologue.

I love it even more when they either pay no attention or interrupt him. They always get extra XP if they do it in a hilarious fashion.
Norgarth 12th Nov 2011, 10:33 AM edit delete reply
I had an idea a few months back that worked like this:

Big Villian: "You are to late heroes! In mere moments the time of the prophecy will arrive and I will become all powerful! Tremble befo-"
Evil Minion: "Excuse me, Sir. There's a problem."
Villian: "This had better be important, I'm in the middle of gloating."
Minion: "There was an error in the calculations. The Event isn't until next month."
Villian "..." *eyebrow twitches, looks at Heroes "Time to leave."
banjo2E 12th Nov 2011, 10:48 AM edit delete reply
I think that part of it is also the fact that there are very few classes whose out-of-combat abilities are better than their in-combat ones. Just look at Fighter.
MirrorImage 12th Nov 2011, 5:08 PM edit delete reply
4th Edition is very much a game based around fighting, with minimal storytelling aspects. That being said, a Bard and a properly trained Wizard can each be effective Roleplaying characters through the use of Rituals and Cantrips. The running joke with my Wizard is that any time we got into a chase scene, I would start broadcasting Benny Hill through liberal use of Ghost Sound.
Azureink 12th Nov 2011, 10:43 AM edit delete reply
I find it interesting that the "Social Rogue" is advocating the glories of combat over more roleplaying.

However, I do agree with Rarity and Applejack's players. Seasoned roleplayers always enjoy the control that combat gives them over the DM.
Akoum 12th Nov 2011, 1:11 PM edit delete reply
If you're really looking to derail the campaign and generally be a nightmare for your DM, but out-of-combat, be a Bard. Bards are basically the only class in 4e that is really incentivized to actually talk and do things out of combat.

Real Example: I'm running a campaign, and my sister's character basically made herself the leader of the group by being the one with the best Diplomacy and Bluff checks. (It's a fairly social campaign where that actually matters.) They wind up falling in with the Drow as they prepare for war against another nation, so most of their time is spent with Drow. So what does she, the Bard, do? She takes a feat (or something, I haven't really checked what it is just what it does) that lets her roll twice on all her social skills against anything Fey. She has a +14 Diplomacy right now, and gets two rolls against the people she interacts with almost every session. Because of this, she has the vast majority of the Drow nation as her personal thralls if she really wanted. Thankfully she doesn't.

But yeah, Bards are kind of crazy like that in settings with a strong social element.
xuincherguixe 12th Nov 2011, 1:19 PM edit delete reply
Railroading varies by system. Some systems even make it quite difficult for the GM to railroad. [url=""]Fate[/url] for instance is one of these. Most of [url=""]World of Darkness kind of goes both ways oddly enough. Some of the abilities are so abusive it becomes next to impossible to prevent characters from ruining the game, but some of the metaplot demands that events happen certain ways.

I'll be joining in a [url=""]Mage:The ascension[/url] game soon, which I'm looking forward to. That game practically is screaming at you to break it. Those who are interested can just read the wiki, but the short version is that you apply points in nine different fields, which reflect your mastery of them. How does dominion over space sound? Or Energy? Or Matter? Or Time.

If there's a potentially broken ability, this game probably has it. Time travel, bringing back the dead, selective control over space, the ability to create matter of any type you want... it's honestly kind of hard to believe if White Wolf wanted you to play it seriously to begin with.

[url=""]Shadowrun[/url], the game which I have the most experience with varies too. It's abusability varies by edition. You play hired criminals in that one. Right from the start there's the assumption that you're going to break rules to begin with. Railroading kind of goes against the spirit of the game here.

[url=""]Call of Cthulhu[/url] is from a rather brutal era of games. The modules are all extremely railroady. Although GMs will vary here, the source material sure does like to put you on a train.

And then take that train off a cliff.

Forced plot lines and characters so fragile they may as well be made out of tin foil? Yeah. Not a combination I much care for. Still, it was one of the first games in which a library card is more likely to wear out than your shotgun. It was important in the evolution of the medium.

Sure there's plenty of other fine systems out there, but I have no opinion on them. The main issue though as always is the game master. Remember! Only you can prevent railroading.
Staff Sarge 12th Nov 2011, 7:20 PM edit delete reply
And then you have systems like Don't Rest Your Head or Big Motherfucking Crab Truckers, where the whole point is there is no railroading- you're in a situation, and you can do whatever you want. Requires a GM that can improv like a mofo though.

Also applies to the poni versions- Don't Rest Your Hooves and My Little Motherbucking Freelancers.

*Ignore copy below, I herped the derp with replying*
Alpharius 12th Nov 2011, 9:31 PM edit delete reply
Are people recognizing Big Motherfucking Crab Truckers as a legit system now? FFS it's 1 page.
Wild Heart 13th Nov 2011, 6:14 AM edit delete reply
The problem with breaking the game in Mage is that it often causes you to break the universe too.

Which is hilariously meta sometimes.
Azureink 14th Nov 2011, 11:42 PM edit delete reply
The problem with Mage is that if you do any of that magic within witness of an ordinary person, you end up destroying the section of existence you occupy. As the collective unconsciousness against magic is so powerful that to put it in question invites the unmaking of reality.
Maklak 17th Nov 2011, 7:37 AM edit delete reply
So pump prime as high as you can. Reality is overrated anyway.
xuincherguixe 12th Nov 2011, 1:26 PM edit delete reply
Fiddlesticks. Thought that's how html tags would work here.

On a related note, what does everyone think the best system for Friendship is Magic would be? Teleporting Unicorns aside, I don't think Dungeons and Dragons is the right one for it. Too combat focused.

Not that it isn't the right one for Friendship is Dragons.
David 12th Nov 2011, 1:35 PM edit delete reply
Dunno about what the "best" system would be, but according to the About page they are indeed playing (a slightly custom-modified version of) D&D 4th edition.
Torg 12th Nov 2011, 3:56 PM edit delete reply
Well, aside from the various rulesets written specifically for ponies...maybe Toon?
MirrorImage 12th Nov 2011, 6:58 PM edit delete reply
That Savage Worlds rulebook that someone made for ponies is pretty good. The combat in it is relatively straight forward, and can even include verbal sparring, as opposed to hoof-to-hoof combat.
Staff Sarge 12th Nov 2011, 7:17 PM edit delete reply
And then you have systems like Don't Rest Your Head or Big Motherfucking Crab Truckers, where the whole point is there is no railroading- you're in a situation, and you can do whatever you want. Requires a GM that can improv like a mofo though.

Also applies to the poni versions- Don't Rest Your Hooves and My Little Motherbucking Freelancers.
xuincherguixe 13th Nov 2011, 4:51 AM edit delete reply
I'm probably going to hell for this... but how about ponies with ?

DB 13th Nov 2011, 9:52 AM edit delete reply
I went with a stripped-down version of Open D6 for Pony Tales, myself. It works beautifully.

As for links using the furshlugginer BBCode commands: don’t put in the quote marks. Yes, I know, best practices in modern HTML include demarcating URLs with them, but BBCode dates back to an earlier, ruder time.
Alpharius 13th Nov 2011, 11:21 PM edit delete reply
D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder have vast, intricate skill systems, and I think unicorn magic is well represented by vancian casting.
Masterweaver 14th Nov 2011, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
I've actually made pony tmplates for BESM 3E. Granted, I just love the versitility of BESM, as it has a decent combat system, loads of abilities for non-combat situations (as well as a few that are combat-based and some that could go either way), and uses points instead of levels or classes.
Happyrich12 12th Nov 2011, 2:02 PM edit delete reply
Personally, I've been using a little system called Pirates vs. Ninjas.

Just give a missing limb penalty for your non-unicorns (no thumbs, but that probably wouldn't be necessary in a pony-centric setting), and you can fluff the flavor text of any move to fit your needs.
YamiNekoTsuki 12th Nov 2011, 3:51 PM edit delete reply
I've found the opposite to be true.

But mostly because half the group takes anywhere from five to fifteen minutes for their turn.
Angus 12th Nov 2011, 5:23 PM edit delete reply
I daresay once they get into the Everfree Forest things might start taking a slightly less direct path. Sometimes a little railroading is needed in order to set the scene and give all the players the knowledge and stuff they need to continue, and experienced players should know when it's appropriate to stay on the rails or jump off them. If this were my game, the players will have seen all that they needed to see to get everything going, so from then on it would be all up to them (with maybe the odd nudge if they're not sure what to do next).
MirrorImage 12th Nov 2011, 6:14 PM edit delete reply
Though you must admit, one of the best ways to railroad a party is with a simple, unwavering path.

DM: "This path leads to the encampment of the holders of the McGuffin."
Torg 13th Nov 2011, 3:28 AM edit delete reply
"Well, if this path is really that important, I think it deserves to be paved. I go back to town to get some asphalt."
MirrorImage 13th Nov 2011, 7:54 AM edit delete reply
...I'm going to keep that one in my repertoire of witty one-liners, if you don't mind.
kriss1989 12th Nov 2011, 5:57 PM kriss1989 edit delete reply
...but Rarity, that's not a all.
BadHorse 12th Nov 2011, 8:02 PM edit delete reply
Exactly! I would like somepony to explain to me exactly how that qualifies as a pun.

probably tell me it's ironic or something
Izabdai 12th Nov 2011, 9:28 PM edit delete reply
RPGs are played on tables.
kriss1989 13th Nov 2011, 9:33 PM kriss1989 edit delete reply
The original use of that phrase was for gaming tables, when games would turn in favor of the person that was losing. There is NO pun, this is the origin of the phrase, throwing dice on a table. Admittedly the original was gambling, but still. Throwing dice on the table and who's favored changed. That's the original meaning of the phrase.
Linden 13th Nov 2011, 2:05 PM edit delete reply
Actually it is a pun. Technically, it's a recursive pun. Rarity's pun heavily relies upon the knowledge that DnD is a table top game.
Torquelift 14th Nov 2011, 5:56 PM edit delete reply
i kinda figured the 'tables turning' was originally about gambling, not roleplaying, considering how much older the former is.
Newbiespud 15th Nov 2011, 2:40 AM edit delete reply
Linden's on the money. Tabletop gaming! Tabletop RPGs! Anyone?

The gambling origin contributes to the meaning of the phrase itself ("Our luck will change"), but doesn't contribute much to the recursive pun.

Who says we can't have highbrow humor 'round here?
Izandai 15th Nov 2011, 9:41 AM edit delete reply
The fact that this is a Role-Playing Game. The highest brow of humor permitted here by tradition is the witty comment, and those are rare. Mostly it's puns and Monty Python quotes.
DB 15th Nov 2011, 10:12 PM edit delete reply
And let us not forget all the charts and (ahem) tables so prominently featured in so many RPGs, including all the various favors of D&D.

. . . Everypony who remembers “Chartmaster”, raise a hoof.
Masterofgames 21st Mar 2012, 2:05 PM edit delete reply
Actually, I believe "The tables will turn" refrences this.

Think of a chessboard. It is late in the game. One side has lots of peices, one has very few and is about to lose. The losing player somehow gets the winning player to look away from the board. The losing player then grabs the board and flips it around. Behold, a turned table!
TechPony 12th Nov 2011, 8:18 PM edit delete reply
I'm a fan of FATE myself. I like running the social "combat" like I would a physical combat. But, that's just me.
Blaizokaran 12th Nov 2011, 9:15 PM edit delete reply
-_-; Okay, really, this is starting to get painful.

...And if someone follows that up with "Don't you mean PUNful?" or some such variation... Class is in session, Gibbs-style.
Alpharius 12th Nov 2011, 9:29 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, all these bad jokes stink, It's getting rather PUNgent in here. I'm going to PUNt the next person who makes one.
DracoS 13th Nov 2011, 4:21 PM edit delete reply
I will happily act as a pundit and report on these developments.
The Red Mage 13th Nov 2011, 8:56 PM edit delete reply
I've been running a Mouse Guard game, and I really like the amount of power it gives to the players. Actually granting them the oportunity to make the story and having the GM react to it.
Masterofgames 27th Nov 2011, 1:22 PM edit delete reply
People, people! How could you have missed the most obvious pun of all?

Rarity should have said "The STABLES will turn."
Medinoc 31st Mar 2012, 11:00 AM edit delete reply
Indeed, I was surprised it didn't come up.
TaraSwanwing 13th Mar 2012, 6:46 PM edit delete reply
Okay, here is a wonderful, beautiful instance of the player coming up with something far-fetchedly brilliant in combat.
The hobgoblin paladin (who has been reincarnated as a celestial dwarf) has this spiked shield he's been dieing to use, and we're being attacked by this bunch of scary wolves after being assaulted by a tree. Several of us are incapacitated or wounded. The odds are down.
What he has at his disposal:
a fallen tree
a spiked shield
So he goes out on the end of one of the springier branches, has another player hold it back, and he freakin' launches himself into the air. With his spiked shield below him.
I wonder what the wolf thought as it saw this shadow cross its gaze, as it looked up into eternity, into the spiked shield of an angry dwarf.
The GM decided to let the rules slide for once because it was so freaking awesome.