Page 717 - City of Villains, Part 2

25th Feb 2016, 5:00 AM in Intermission 7
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City of Villains, Part 2
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 25th Feb 2016, 5:00 AM edit delete
If you're going to have a "supposed to lose" fight, perhaps the best way to do it is at the very beginning, in a way that helps establish rather than invalidate the players' desires.

Though really, unless you run the RPG by the book and make it very clear you're not predisposed to the players winning or losing, the "supposed to lose" fight is hard to justify. Sometimes it works best when it's a surprise or a blitz, when the time it takes to lose is at just the right balance. Too fast, and it feels cheap and undeserved. Too slow, and the players catch on and feel the despair of waiting for a situation they can't control to end.

However you do it, the worst thing the "supposed to lose" fight can do to your players is underwhelm them.

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



j-eagle12212012 25th Feb 2016, 5:09 AM edit delete reply
SO the players are the villains in this campaign, so who is playing whom ?
Pablo360 25th Feb 2016, 5:24 AM edit delete reply
Follow the speech bubbles, and all will be revealed...
Rainbow Dash appears to be playing Pharoah, Fluttershy is playing Long-Face, and I think Rarity is playing High Heel.
(In retrospect, I probably didn't need to go digging through the archive looking for speech bubbles to compare to figure out that last one)
Derpmind 25th Feb 2016, 5:31 AM edit delete reply
Based on the color of the word bubbles, Fluttershy is playing Long-Face and Rarity is playing High-Heel. Someone who's read the IDW comic might be able to guess who the other four are.
Ref 25th Feb 2016, 8:55 AM edit delete reply
Er... no. High Heel is Twilight Sparkle.
ANW 25th Feb 2016, 5:21 AM edit delete reply
Most of my questions or polls have ether been positive or neutral.
Today however, I'm taking a step back from that, and going down a more negative path.
Have you or your follow players ever had to ban someone from your gaming sessions?
If so, why?
Me: Still haven't played yet
albedoequals1 25th Feb 2016, 9:14 AM edit delete reply
Nope, never had to ban anyone. It helps that I was very timid about setting up the game in the first place, so I only ended up with helpful people from the start.
aylatrigger 25th Feb 2016, 11:06 AM edit delete reply
I had to ban someone kind of? I just couldn't make games that would not get him upset, and I told him so. ...He doesn't like conflict. And that is a major thing in RPGs. How are you supposed to have an adventure without conflict?
ANW 25th Feb 2016, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
I remember you told us about him before, when I was doing the 13 things list a few pages back. Page 714, number 8 on the list.
Rhino_Man 25th Feb 2016, 1:11 PM edit delete reply
A few times. I try not to but it happens. The first was because the person in question was a very discomforting person. He would mooch ceaselessly. he didn't clean and he tried to justify being generally a jerk as "being native". Removed quite quickly.

Another was temporary for not cleaning. once he started bathing I let him rejoin.

Yet another was for blatant theft. Don't ask. It was messy.

Yet another still was a weird one. CIS person. Not the reason but ended up being related. Ended up being a total drama whore. Started insisting that we were discriminating against him/her (it fluctuated very frequently) whenever a DND combat situation ended up with him/her dead or heavily damaged. Yeah. general pissiness followed and then banning.
you know that guy 25th Feb 2016, 1:19 PM edit delete reply
CIS meaning Computer Information Sciences?
Xelmon 25th Feb 2016, 7:33 PM edit delete reply
Naa, since Rhino wrote 'him/her', it's about being discriminated on gender, or what they identify as.

There are people who are extremely sensitive, even to odd looks and such. In this case, I think personality traits just stacked and made for some unpleasantness.
Zilfallion 26th Feb 2016, 2:54 AM edit delete reply
Does not inviting someone to the next campaign count? I don't think my group has ever had to mid-campaign ban someone. But when putting together a new one after the old one finishes or something. Some people may not be invited back based on bad behavior previously or the GM's inability to get along with the player. [GM still complains years later about a specific pair we've dealt with whenever he needs an example about bad players]
TDChangeling 26th Feb 2016, 7:59 AM edit delete reply
Yep, Just recently in fact. The guy was invited by another player, and I kept trying to help him, but he never took the games seriously, and it was always pulling teeth getting him not to use the exact same character every single game. I banned him, and after just last night, where he begged the GM to give him more bullets for his gun in a fantasy campaign (she relented and let him have it so he'd join), he one-shotted her boss, cried when she tried to fudge it to a miss miss, and ruined the entire encounter. So she banned him to.
TheDapperChangeling 26th Feb 2016, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
(Same person, just remembered to log in)
Oh, and this all after he alerted an entire area full of enemies by shooting a random bird the DM had fly by to give us a hint to where the enemies were.
Desparil 2nd Mar 2016, 7:44 AM edit delete reply
Not a hard ban, but we stopped inviting a guy after it became clear he was far more interested in being high on methadone than he was in contributing meaningfully.
Digo Dragon 25th Feb 2016, 5:58 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I think I've had a couple "supposed to lose" fights years ago when I was just a novice DM. Yeah they don't work out well. Now that i'm experienced, I don't incite such scenarios, but on rare occasion the PCs have lost fights from tackling enemies way above their league.

And trust me, I heavily hint at the power level of a major boss encounter if I think a TPK will be nearly assured. Still, some PCs do like that "going out in a blaze of glory" moment... well, maybe just a blaze in the case of certain dragon encounters. ;)
Winged Cat 25th Feb 2016, 11:16 AM edit delete reply
Not too long ago, the DM for a campaign I'm in set up a "supposed to lose". Unfortunately, it was so blatantly obvious (we were all on the ground, with enemies all around us, weapons pointed at our heads) that the only IC thing to do was to not even try, so we'd be in better shape to deal with the consequences. The DM's narrative depended on us trying and failing.

Worse, what PC actions had been done to avoid getting into this situation were ignored - not "dice rolled, impossibly high DC failed to meet", not "explanation given for the no-sell", but flat-out ignored by the DM.

It was pointed out to the DM that he'd gone so overboard, that the narrative he was trying to set up could no longer happen. There was no reason for us to act and much reason, ICly and OOCly, for us to do nothing. (OOCly, this extended to one player asking to be prompted when the cutscene ended and the game resumed, and then excusing himself from the table.) That was when we took session break; by the next session, the DM agreed and modified things to skip past the no-longer-viable narrative point. Even with the modification, the DM had to openly fudge rolls to avoid a TPK on the third session of what is supposed to be a long campaign. (The PCs are apparently intended to reach at least level 15; we were still level 1.)
Digo Dragon 25th Feb 2016, 1:20 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Yeah, that's a long way to go. Don't need the TPK. ^^;

Sucks about that situation, when you really can just do nothing.
SRP 26th Feb 2016, 12:28 PM edit delete reply
"in the case of certain dragon encounters"

All encounters a dragon encounters, if Digo runs them! :P
Bken Gr 25th Feb 2016, 6:56 AM edit delete reply
Our gm once set up a "supposed to DIE" situation at beginning of campaign (it was a setting with easy resurrections). I still remember his face when not only had we survived, we also killed a boss many times more powerful (we also discovered that mages are OP in this setting).
Winged Cat 25th Feb 2016, 11:19 AM edit delete reply
I've had "supposed to die" happen, first session of a campaign. Of course, the whole point of the campaign was that we were to be wandering the lands of the dead, and the DM told us beforehand that we would be dying in the first session.
Digo Dragon 25th Feb 2016, 1:22 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I was in a group that did that. We were supposed to lose, yet by the skin of our teeth we survived, thanks to good timing of the team cleric healing and the other party members rolling well to attack and lay in the damage. Too bad we didn't have a mage for that. Could of used some buffs.
Jarimor 25th Feb 2016, 2:26 PM edit delete reply
Once, in a savage worlds game, we were playing using the fantasy companion.

the lich we ended up fighting was taking forever (a FOUR HOUR real time combat) and the gm ended up saying that we could keep playing IF we died.

his reasoning?

we killed the raised warlord in under one turn and then began wailing on the lich. and he wasn't even that powerful!

it was only after that we started to roll well (within five min of that we won, much to our dismay).
Ladyofthelibrary 25th Feb 2016, 8:24 AM edit delete reply
A friend of mine shared the story of how his character did the impossible against an opponent there was almost no chance of defeating, a god. Said god caused harm to come to someone my friend's character, a psychic, cared about. He proceeded to fire everything he had at the god...and one-shotted it. The DM for that campaign no longer allows psychics in his campaigns...and he's infamous for allowing anything.
Nixitur 25th Feb 2016, 8:25 PM edit delete reply
Frankly, if a GM decides to put stats on gods, then that's their own damn fault. If it has HP, we can kill it. That's just how RPGs work.
Of course, it depends entirely on the setting. In some settings, the killing of gods might actually make sense, but even then, the GM should totally be able to say "No, your attacks don't do jack." if he deems the player characters to simply not be strong enough.
Really, unless the campaign specifically asks for gods to be killable by mortals, they shouldn't be.
Ladyofthelibrary 26th Feb 2016, 5:55 AM edit delete reply
That incident was just the culmination of the psychic being ridiculous. This friend kinda has a rep for things going insane in campaigns he's involved in, like the one where he unmade the world by touching a mirror or the poison pizza incident.
Specter 25th Feb 2016, 9:59 AM edit delete reply
I have a technical "supposed to lose" story I guess.

The three of us are currently in a contest to get in to this prestigious guild (each player having their own reason for doing so). It explained to us at the very beginning of this campaign that we weren't going to get in the guild, because the premise of the game is to make our own guild.

We have yet to reach this point (currently trying not to die in giant stone tower to get a trophy), and I am perfectly ok that we won't get in the guild. I'm just happy that it was explained that we don't have to risk everything for nothing, and lose our characters unnecessarily (though the DM does make a good job making seem like we might die horribly anyway).
ChrisTheS 25th Feb 2016, 10:14 AM edit delete reply
We had a 'supposed to lose' encounter in a Star Wars game, which everyone knew about ahead of time (they were all supposed to get frozen in carbonite so we could fast-forward the game to the Legacy era), and yet when we actually came to do it, everyone seemed to have forgotten that it was coming up and got annoyed at me for not letting them win the clearly telegraphed no-win situation.

This is why I now only run games that have some sort of 'compel/intrusion' mechanic actually written into the rules, so I can bribe them into cooperation.
LegendofMoriad 25th Feb 2016, 11:12 AM Godmoded vs Actual Gods edit delete reply
I've come into a scenario that I think works for the "supposed to lose" scenario. I'm running a Pathfinder game of insanely-overpowered PCs, and so the stakes are higher. The friendly, helpful NPCS are all at least CR 20, up to CR 50. That alone should tell you how broken it's gotten.

So with characters this powerful, what could possibly stand against them? An Eater of Worlds. I created Galactus on a multiverse scale. Her minions are creeping into the world, to see if it is ready to be eaten. Her Harbinger (who really isn't the silver surfer expy that this write-up will make him sound) has been attempting to warn the inhabitants to flee, while still preparing for her arrival.

The party finally got a glimpse of her, thanks to a debacle with the Deck of Many Things. They know they're outmatched, even with all our strengths. My goal is for them to find some clever means of turning her aside, rather than fight her head on.

In the end, my goal is not a fight they are "supposed to lose" but rather a fight that they know to avoid, because they would lose.
Guest 25th Feb 2016, 3:24 PM edit delete reply
Huh, in a PBP game I'm playing right now, the plot really got kicked off when our characters died, so our GM put out a lot of hard hitting monsters in our path, making the first death a real surprise. But in the battles themselves, the GM was perfectly fair, rolling the dice and allowing us to escape however we could. Of course, when the GM threw us a bone by sending a second monster to fight the first on, all but one of the remaining players decided to engage the new monster. (By that point, we knew death didn't mean rolling up a new character, so we were less cautious than we might have been) The last player made it surprisingly far dodging monsters and hitting and running. But eventually, fell to a group of sharks. It's been pretty fun so far, both playing and watching.
Xelmon 25th Feb 2016, 7:41 PM edit delete reply
I... Oddly enough haven't encountered any, the GM's have been overall fair for the most part. Poor tactics and rolls were most often the culprit.

On the other hand I saw a lvl 5-8 campaign like that, it had several "supposed to lose" fights in them in the form of "The Baddy Got Away". It was meeting #4 or 5 where it turned into the final show-down.

Most of the setups were in *social* settings though, so especially early campaign you could more-or-less diplomacy through it.
That said, it was also obvious that you could become chopped liver rather quickly.
Digo Dragon 26th Feb 2016, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
If I need a villain fight where the "baddie got away", I tend to use clones, following similar rules to making a Homunculus. This way if the PCs end up overpowering the baddie I don't lose my BBEG too soon. And if it's destroyed, it takes time to build another so the PCs have a realistic chance of finding the real dude. I try to limit the number of times I use this in campaigns to no more than 2. Mostly to deliver messages "in person" to PCs.
Someone 26th Feb 2016, 10:36 AM edit delete reply
What about a setting where illusion/clone is not applicable though?
Specter 26th Feb 2016, 11:30 AM edit delete reply
Twins or other people who look suspiciously similar?
A Joe in the Bush 26th Feb 2016, 5:08 PM A Joe in the Bush edit delete reply
Can someone explain to me why Long Face/Fluttershy is saying it's Ironic? I Don't get it.
Xaran Alamas 27th Feb 2016, 2:06 AM Equestria Girls/Magical Mystery Cure edit delete reply
Sorry it's not entirely relevant to the current story but I recently re-watched Equestria Girls and it got me wondering about how you might be able to use caps from that in the comic. One idea that somewhat appeals to me is using it to tell a story about the players (effectively using the EQG versions for the players) but I'm not sure how well that'd work as Spud's previously said he wanted to leave details about the players themselves somewhat vague.

I ALSO re-watched Magical Mystery Cure recently (before EQG, I'm going chronologically!) and it occurs to me a fun setup for that could be the players swapping characters/classes for a session and the chaos that would ensue.