Wednesday, October 29, 2008


It's that time again! I am pretty much out of commission for a while due to essays and exams - always am, this time of year - so no games, no comics.

I am sure all nine of you are upset.

In the meantime, here's a filler comic about an old game of mine. Slightly better context: This is a campaign the players dubbed "Fiendbusters", about living in a Lawful Good theocracy and hunting and slaying devils and demons and such. One guy (frenzied berserker) cuts the arm off a fiend and insists that he should thus get a massive discount on a fiendish graft which will up his damage because it's "awesome"; the graft would have to be done in a nearby evil magocracy which is firmly opposed to the theocracy they work in. The other players objected and he seemed genuinely surprised that what they thought mattered. (Then again, he did spend a lot of time telling them how he could kill the party with his Leap Attacking berserker, and his proposed solution to paladin-types they associated with objecting to the idea was killing them.) The answer, of course, was 'no'.

The hellbred is a story for another time.

I've sort-of typed up some proper blog posts already, but I tend to reject them a lot. I mean, this is mostly just for fun - I'd still be just posting comics regularly on /tg/ if a) I wasn't convinced by pals this was an okay idea b) I didn't take a months-long hiatus when 4E came out due to the trolls and 4E White Knights tearing apart the place - but if I just wrote pages of "DURR... DURR..." I would be getting "geez, die with dignity already!" comments.

The following is an incomplete list of post topics I've rejected over the months.

  • A sequel to “Elves elves elves” in which I wonder what the deal is with crying about the “sissy” generic elves and then ranting about how awesome playing Beardaxe McAxebeard the bearded beer-drinking dwarf fighter is, then imply those who think so are closet homosexuals (we all know this already)
  • A post about people who play evil characters and/or try to control/sabotage/backstab the party in which I wonder how ruining the game for everyone else for fun is supposed to be awesome (the day I wrote this up a much better discussion popped up on a forum)
  • An in-depth discussion with graphs and charts on implementing Darwinian evolution and population dynamics in a magical environment (even I fell asleep)
  • A philosophical treatise on the ethics and morals involved in using the polymorph any object spell to transform inanimate objects into humans and vice-versa (I couldn’t avoid making a transformation fetish or TG joke. Thanks, 4chan!)
  • Statblocks for creatures I have created or would like to create (pending my actually getting off my ass and statting them, or at least the Living Power Word: Disco)
  • A post describing my usual campaign setting (is becoming a post about how my usual campaign setting is annoying me, since I would like it to be more unique but have trouble retconning)
  • A post describing my steampunk campaign setting (words words words, who cares)
  • A post pitching a bunch of other campaign setting ideas I have (the two most fleshed out being basically “grimndark McDonald's” and the other being “Rock-Paper-Scissors is serious business”. Yeah.)
  • Statting Pokemon d20 (Mewtwo is too broken)
  • Why I’m Too Lazy To Run 4th Edition (Why would I want the black-and-white knights here?)
  • Something sarcastic and trollish about social diseases (Bolt tells me I should find something better to do with my free time)
  • Making fun of OotS even though I like it (Rich Burlew scares me)
  • Making fun of Erfworld which I like but not as much (See previous)
  • A post about how lazy I am (I couldn’t be bothered finishing it)
  • Revealing where the title “CR 25 Hypermitotic Dungeon Master” comes from (IT IS A MYSTERY)
  • Posting all the requests several people are entitled to make for that bard thing (maybe if you made any)
  • A post about how much I hate kender (THERE ARE NO WORDS)
I might throw up one of these if I get some free time this week, which I might. Remember what happened last time I said I'd make a post within the week? Don't hold your breath.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Roll Dice, Receive Friends

RAW is one of those things I like to pretend doesn't exist, since most of the time it's a code word for "this is some pretty stupid bullshit I'm doing that goes against the intention of the rules and probably also common sense, so I need to give it a false sense of legitimacy" and most of the rest of the time it means "interpreting the rules in the way that benefits me" and then usually loops right back to the first one.

Sometimes, though, I have to partially blame the rules for being pants-on-head retarded.

Enter Diplomacy.

We all know this one. Someone rolls a "diplomancer", pushes their Diplomacy score up as high as they can get it, and basically throws Diplomacy rolls at everything until they get their way.

Usually there's no effort, so you end up with people saying "I roll Diplomacy!" and hurling dice down in the middle of a heated battle with a unit of orcs, or making a rushed Diplomacy check to try and end the conflict with the pit fiend possessing the party paladin's body and escaping across the planes in a magical dune buggy by telling it you think it's cool.

Yeah. No.

That's normally when I point out the part that says "even if the initial Diplomacy check succeeds, the other character can be persuaded only so far, and a retry may do more harm than good." The rules for Diplomacy are still marinated in concentrated stupid sauce, but at least it's a concession to common sense.

On the other hand, I get enough people going "durr hurr, you're a railroader" without actually railroading anyone, so the rule now has me in an awkward position: That line is basically palming off the problem to me, and now Diplomacy works based on whether I feel like it. It's a hard road to walk, or at least a pain in the ass.

I'm only playing with one diplomancer right now, but we've talked about it and I'm pretty sure he won't try to be a foolhat with it, so we're cool so far. It's not that hard, really: Most people can roleplay well, or at least properly, and it can't be that hard to see where and when Diplomacy can work, right?

Bards still suck.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Error

How do I explain gently and tenderly that you, my not so gentle reader, are not your character? How do I convey the proposition that when writing, I expect to be read by corporeal entities and not by fictional, abstract manifestations of those corporeal minds? How shall I make it clear that the use of the second person pronoun, i.e., "You," was implied to mean the individual whose corporeal eyes might chance to glance upon the screen and make sense of the words being used?

The above, hoity toity as it sounds, has been a carefully wrought collection of nouns, verbs, adjectives and so on, meant to convey an accurate message. The hope would be that through the use of large, specifically assigned words from the English language, they might be less misunderstanding. A vain hope, I'll grant...but being accused of vanity would be the least of recent accusations.

You, the poor, wounded reader who has come to this page and felt much maligned, are the reader of this text. And you, poor reader, are--

No, wait, that's not right.

So, people keep asking me if I've really been DMing since 1980, what with me being so hip and all. Well, no, I was screwing around. Check the comments page on that post.

We'll return to your regular self-important rambling sometime this week.

That is all.