Page 793 - Dark Horses, Mission 6

20th Aug 2016, 6:00 AM in Intermission 8
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Dark Horses, Mission 6
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 20th Aug 2016, 6:00 AM edit delete
Author: ChrisTheS

Guest Author's Note: "I recently replayed Dark Forces, and of all the puzzles in the game, the prison turbolift one was the most frustrating for me (you have to activate the lift, run around into the access space behind it, squeeze into a crawlspace, open a door, and jump out onto the top of the elevator BEFORE it reaches its destination). I honestly don't know how I managed to beat it when I was a kid, because I've never had a high tolerance for video game difficulty. In a tabletop game, of course, you have more freedom to solve problems with high explosives.

"Characters from 'Star Mares':"

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



Digo Dragon 20th Aug 2016, 6:55 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Ugh, game puzzles that are tied to some kind of timer can really kill the pace of an otherwise decent game. I remember back in the original Monkey Island game a puzzle that required you to grab a mug, fill it with a grog drink that was acidic, and then run out to the prison so you can pour it on a lock. It required a good bit of trial and error timing because the drink will eat through that mug and you gotta start over with a new mug otherwise.
ChrisTheS 20th Aug 2016, 8:22 AM edit delete reply
That one was tough, but for a real momentum-killer, try the snake puzzle in 'Curse of Monkey Island' (the one that requires you to know that ipecac is a purgative, which is not exactly what I'd call common knowledge).
Digo Dragon 20th Aug 2016, 9:54 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Oh yeah, that snake puzzle took me like... well I don't remember but it was long enough that I was pretty much just clicking on everything in my inventory until something happened. XD
Hymn 20th Aug 2016, 10:53 AM edit delete reply
You know the funny thing is, I DO know ipecac is a purgative. Because another game used ipecac too. It was a game where you paddle down the Amazon river, meet people along the way, sometimes do some quests, trade with people, learn about the rain forests and the history. You're given some ipecac early on, and straight up told it makes you vomit.

One guy you meet was an asshole and kept taking all your stuff. So you give him so ipecac and trick him into eating it, and then run for it.

Wish I remembered what the game was. It was a fun little thing back during middle school.
JohnBobMead 20th Aug 2016, 12:39 PM Amazon Trail, perchance? edit delete reply
Might that game have been "Amazon Trail", made by the same company as did the "Oregon Trail" games? I never played it, so I don't know for sure, but it sounds possible.
FanOfMostEverything 20th Aug 2016, 5:02 PM edit delete reply
It was definitely Amazon Trail. Freaking conquistador got what he deserved.

(Yeah, time goes a little wonky in that game.)
Dusk Raven 20th Aug 2016, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
That sounds exactly like a puzzle in a survival-horror game called Obscure. Except then they at least had the justification that the cup was Styrofoam. I also don't recall it being that hard - the person I was watching beat it on the first try.
Jennifer 20th Aug 2016, 6:48 PM edit delete reply
I bogged down on one level of Fire Warrior that required me to hit a self-destruct and then escape the ship. No matter how many times I tried, even mapping the way there, I always got lost on the way back and was still aboard when it went off. Worse was the fact that it had set save-zones, so I had to repeat the whole thing every try.
Akouma 22nd Aug 2016, 11:39 AM edit delete reply
I remember once in the larp I staff for me and another staffer came up with a timed puzzle. Basically the players were filing into a very narrow room (so narrow they could only go single file), and at the other end was a large statue with its eyes open. Every 30 seconds, its eyes switched from open to close or vice versa. It was literally just red light green light, because if its eyes were closed and you moved you got teleported outside the building. (Yes, closed. The statue was made by a trickster god deliberately avoiding logic.) The players took 20 real-time minutes figuring this out and when they finally realized that they had to move when the eyes were OPEN they felt so stupid. We all had a good laugh about that one afterwards. And then the Strength 8 character picks up and steals the statue for future convoluted schemes. For reference, this is based off World of Darkness where unless you're exceedingly high level your Strength is capped at 5.

Oh, and there's also the most hilariously mean puzzle I've ever seen, this one courtesy of web series Unforgotten Realms. Basically players walk into a room with nothing but a single button on a stand in the middle of the room, and the door disappears behind them. There's a spell preventing teleportation out. As soon as they enter the ceiling has spikes pop out and begins slowly descending. Hitting the button resets the ceiling, but it immediately begins descending again and no exit appears. If the players let the ceiling descend so low it almost touches them, it stops and the original entrance reappears as well as a new exit to progress. We recycled that trap for the same encounter as the statue in the larp. Watching a room full of ten people argue about whether or not to let the ceiling drop on them where one or two will just hit the button out of fear no matter what and had to be actively restrained was amazing.
FanOfMostEverything 20th Aug 2016, 7:15 AM edit delete reply
Heh. Reminds me of a friend's first time DMing. He tried to use a Zelda-style dungeon, forgetting that lockpicking is an entirely valid action in Pathfinder. Then someone shot an arrow at the big bad during his monologue.

It was certainly educational for my friend. The concept was sound; he just hadn't accounted for the greater flexibility afforded by the medium. He's now running a freeform campaign online that all participants are enjoying.
ChrisTheS 20th Aug 2016, 8:26 AM edit delete reply
It really ought to be a standard rule that big bads are entitled to monologue. After all, most players would find it really rude if the goblins overran their camp while they were holding a two-hour-long (out-of-character) planning session.
albedoequals1 20th Aug 2016, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
That's a great idea. I'm going to look for a chance to use that.

By the way, I love Blue's face when Maple is holding her up.
aylatrigger 20th Aug 2016, 9:12 AM edit delete reply
But that would mean my players would find out that killing said Big Bad is illegal! Or they would remember that they were trying to ask for help from the Big Bad instead of killing them... Or they would realize that killing the Big Bad might start a war...

I do not write monologues for the big bads at all.
Digo Dragon 20th Aug 2016, 9:55 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I leave monologues on pre-recorded messages. For some reason my players will listen to that more often than the actual boss.
albedoequals1 20th Aug 2016, 11:59 PM edit delete reply
Not monologues, I meant I wanted to make goblins raid the players' camp while they were distracted.
ChrisTheS 21st Aug 2016, 1:28 PM edit delete reply
The number of times I've been tempted to go "OK, so while you spent the last FOUR HOURS planning every possible angle of attack, a scout spotted you and warned the enemy, who ambushed you as soon as you poked your noses out to implement your super-duper-foolproof master plan."

In our Deadlands game (in which I'm just a player) I often exchange eye-rolling looks with the GM as everyone else spends ages and ages and ages formulating plans that we all should know from experience will work as intended for approximately half a round.
Winged Cat 22nd Aug 2016, 1:10 PM edit delete reply
I will admit to, on occasion where I am strapped for plot, letting the players get into this (so long as all players are participating) and that's most of the session...buying me another week to come up with plot, and they've laid out their intended plan of attack for me. So long as everyone is having fun doing it (players withdrawing and just being silent for the whole conversation is something to watch out for), no skin off my nose.

It's even better when this is all done ICly, and the PCs really are unquestionably taking a few hours to plan something, when they realistically have that much time. In a session I ran just this past weekend, the PCs were at midday, and planning for shenanigans after a sunset-ish appearance they had to make to avoid attracting suspicion. (Cover stories work so much better when they are not blown at the first opportunity.)
Isenlyn 23rd Aug 2016, 12:53 AM edit delete reply
Hey, half a round is pretty good.
We once made up a plan from what we gatered of the enemy team. Turn out we completly mistook everything the DM had thrown to use. But he played along, so the plan went south before it even begin.
Yep our plan worked exactly for minus one turn because we got embushed. XD
Dusk Raven 20th Aug 2016, 8:37 AM edit delete reply
Wow, Fluttershy's player must have really had it with the last disguise attempt to get all snarky like that...
ChrisTheS 20th Aug 2016, 10:28 AM edit delete reply
It involved a trash compactor.
Classic Steve 20th Aug 2016, 3:54 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, was that supposed to be Applejack?
ChrisTheS 20th Aug 2016, 5:44 PM edit delete reply
In hindsight, I probably should have swapped the players for Maple Leaf and Gracenote. I put the character creation comic together in a bit of a hurry, so just went with the most obvious parallels.
Someone 20th Aug 2016, 11:01 AM edit delete reply
Oooh, Bonk Pony cameo! Neat! And she didn't get Bonked this time around!
ChrisTheS 20th Aug 2016, 12:48 PM edit delete reply
Blueshift doesn't always get knocked out ("but when she does...")

The two of them are walking Dark Forces jokes anyway, so I'd be remiss by omitting them :)
Winged Cat 20th Aug 2016, 11:36 PM edit delete reply
As you noted in the comic they're from, she thought she would see the stars. And she does get to see stars, a lot...just not the ones she expected.
Someone 21st Aug 2016, 1:45 AM edit delete reply
I'm pretty sure that was Redshift's backstory.
ChrisTheS 21st Aug 2016, 1:21 PM edit delete reply
Blueshift's is similar, but her bad luck is a lot more self-inflicted.