Page 1012 - It's Just a Phase

13th Jan 2018, 5:00 AM in The Best Night Ever, Part 2
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It's Just a Phase
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 13th Jan 2018, 5:00 AM edit delete
Artist: ChrisTheS

A fair amount of effort went into building Blueblood's abilities, which – other than the Mane Six's power choices – was my main contribution to this sequence. I cross-referenced other monsters of a similar level and role in the 4e Compendium and used their powers as inspiration, and brainstormed a few of my own.

The Alicorn Amulet doesn't have a lot of hard canon to establish it and half the things it did were for comic effect, so there's a surprising amount of room for interpretation. I personally like the idea that there's no universal power set it grants; the Amulet's abilities spring from the foundation provided by the user.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are still open until this arc is finished! Guidelines here.



venseyness 13th Jan 2018, 6:08 AM boss battles edit delete reply
The more I think about it the more I realize how rare truly epic boss battles are in the games I run and play in. There are rough battles, sure, but nothing with big story connotations and cool phases and the like.... Here's a question, what's the most interesting thing you or your DM has done with a boss battle? Some use of the scenery or enemies that's really stood out to you.
Digo Dragon 13th Jan 2018, 11:10 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Some of my old groups knew me for having some pretty involved boss battles.

In D&D, I employed that colossal red dragon "miniature" on the battle map to represent a demigod the PCs were fighting. You know the thing--the one that occupies an 8x8 space on a battle map. The dragon's head/limbs/wings were all separate target-able parts to the body and each one had its own initiative and ability set. It took half a session to battle and the players got to use a wide variety of abilities and powers as each limb was weak or strong to something different (something they had fun testing out).
Mykin 13th Jan 2018, 12:05 PM edit delete reply
Our final boss battle for an FoE game I was in was pretty interesting. Basically the leader of the army of raiders that were attacking our HQ (which really amounted to little more than a few shacks) decided to stop the battle and fight us by himself. Since one of our PCs, named Pyra, was a goddess of death in close combat, the GM had to make the boss a demigod in order to last a few rounds against her. Meaning that the rest of us lowly mortals had to basically deal range damage (which the boss' armor soaked up like a sponge) while Pyra went face to face with the giant earth pony raider. It took the entire session to take him down and we were ecstatic when he finally succumbed to his wounds. At least, until his armor literally threw him up and the "true" owner of the armor stepped forward.

We never truly figured out what his deal was. He was just some earth pony that wandered into town just before the attack happened and he was tending to the wounded from both sides when we first met him. But when the armor started calling out to him, he basically resigned himself to his fate, allowed the armor to teleport onto him, and then declared that he would purify all of us of our hateful and bloodthirsty intentions. Then he struck Pyra's foreleg, turning it white and making her lose all feeling in it, and we instantly understood what "purifying" meant. There probably was more to it than that, but those that were infected managed to pass their will saves every time the boss tried to compel their infected limbs to do something. Not that it mattered much, since his armor allowed him to teleport a ridiculous range so none of us were out of his reach and his attacks hit like freight trains too. It also didn't help that we had basically running on fumes at this point of the battle so there was little we could do to mitigate his attacks.

To this day, I'm still not a hundred percent sure how we managed to pull a victory out of that battle. But man, did we pull it off. Sure, we had to throw everything and the kitchen sink at him, go find another kitchen sink, and then throw that at him, all while everyone was basically at single digits in health, but we unquestionably won that one. A perfect(ly hectic) end to a good campaign.
Digo 13th Jan 2018, 12:55 PM edit delete reply
Dang, hope that wasn't their favorite leg.

Shadowrun, PCs were fighting a boss enemy that was a former Johnson that tried to get the PCs killed. The battle was timed, because the office building they were fighting in was targeted by an orbital railgun system. They were fighting in meat space, cyberspace, and astral. They managed to cancel the orbital shot, but they lost one PC to a face kick by a cyborg ninjas maid.
Mykin 14th Jan 2018, 11:21 AM edit delete reply
@ Digo: It was. But she got better. Eventually.

Also dang, death by cyborg ninja maid. What a way to go.
CrowMagnon 13th Jan 2018, 1:27 PM edit delete reply
In the Carrion Crown AP for Pathfinder, the final boss for one of the books was a Spawn of Shub-Niggurath at the end of an underwater temple. We'd picked up a piece of Mi-go technology along the way that was supposed to be used to make the fight easier.

Instead, my tengu alchemist character decided to explosively overclock a bank of Mi-go consoles we found in the summoning room in order to destroy the whole place. The end result was a race to get back to the entrance while we fled from the Spawn, the rush of water flooding in, and a few Mi-go that we hadn't taken out on the way in.

It was chaotic, tense, nearly got my character killed, and one of the most memorable encounters my group's ever had.
albedoequals1 13th Jan 2018, 4:23 PM edit delete reply
I think the most interesting boss battle I had was one that the players didn't realize was a boss battle until after it was over. The boss and her minions had joined the party to help each other get through a tough dungeon. The party was feeling a bit guilty over their mercenary reasons for doing the quest, and the boss was going on and on about the orphans the whole time.

When they got to the artifact at the end, the boss and one of the players simultaneously made a grab for it and a fight ensued. The boss got possession of the item and then teleported out, leaving the players thinking that they had double-crossed a goodguy.

They didn't know any different until they scried on her later and saw her bragging to her evil cult, hehe.
Winged Cat 14th Jan 2018, 12:43 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Define "interesting".

Would that be the battle in the Pokemon game I'm running now, where a few trainers and their pokemon - basically, a squad of infantry - taking on a Bolo/Ogre style giant cybertank, and winning? (In part by guessing its weakness, without having read the source material.)

Or the Final Fantasy style campaign where the PCs ventured somewhat through the personal madness of 9 elemental gods as a build up to the boss battles, and then at the end, they faced down the elemental spirit of gravity in a multi-stage (multi-form) battle that only ended when one of the PCs used their ultimate power to kind of smash the init order and its back-and-forth?

Alternately, some war hawks taken on through social combat during a sci-fi campaign's final session, to prevent an interstellar war that would have involved detonating planets and converting stars into wormhole endpoints. One jaw-dropping reveal after another (for scale: the bit about one of the PCs becoming the messiah of one of the major galactic powers only rated about the middle of this exchange), courtroom shenanigans that Phoenix Wright might recognize (such as the speaker of the war party being arrested for charges from high treason to many counts of crimes too evil to list here to one count of assaulting a child; granted, that "child" was a well-disguised android, arguably the most dangerous person in the room, and that "assault" was an accidental collision that pushed the android about as much as a light breeze), and so on.
Scint 14th Jan 2018, 3:47 AM edit delete reply
In our Kingmaker game, there was an ancient blue dragon trying to push us out of our kingdom (homebrew setting - the Stolen Lands were called such by the dragons who use the region as essentially a chessboard). We allied with a local silver and some other dragons to oppose him, so the fight against him took place mostly in the air, two party members riding each ally dragon until he finally landed for the meleers to be able to chip in.

...then the archer hit the blue with an arrowhead filled with liquid rod of wonder and turned his blood to sapphires. He lasted a few rounds after that, bleeding gems every time he was struck. Not a fight we're like to forget soon.
DeS_Tructive 14th Jan 2018, 5:11 AM edit delete reply
Since my games are usually run in a modified Storyteller's system (Word of Darkness), there's not much room for large tactical depth in combat, it's more about the descriptions and scenery.
That being said, one of the most epic "boss battles" we had was in our superhero group. The technopath was attempting to take control of the (8km long) space station from the AI/Supervirus before it used it's armament to nuke half of Europe. (mass drivers ftw) The scene ended with the team leader taking on diamond form, to cover him, and the rest of the team tossing their armour over them, then dashing wildly through the core to take down the laser pop-up turrets before they drilled through the armour, the leader and the technopath.
If that description sounds chaotic and frantic, then I managed capturing the feeling of that fight.
Aeshdan 22nd Dec 2018, 7:46 PM edit delete reply
My most interesting boss battle would definitely be the time when *I* was the final boss. Basically, this was an ATLA game, with the premise that a brand-new Avatar and his four bending tutors (I was the Fire tutor) get teleported into the distant past. My character gets corrupted by the ghost of Princess Azula (who I would later find out was my distant ancestor), but I play along with the party until we get to the final scene and I grab the cosmic energy thingy that was supposed to go to the Avatar. At which point the ghost of Princess Azula fuses with me, and I turn into a final boss with multiple turns (basically, I would take a turn using my own abilities, then the GM would have Princess Azula's ghost take actions with some weird powers he'd given her).
ChrisTheS 13th Jan 2018, 6:46 AM edit delete reply
Full-res shots here.
albedoequals1 13th Jan 2018, 11:14 AM edit delete reply
Heh, Blueblood's out of allies, and he wastes a turn trying to make one PC move? Yeah, he's toast. He's already doing better than my worst boss fight, but it's going to be a humiliating loss all the same.
ChrisTheS 13th Jan 2018, 11:46 AM edit delete reply
The bolt storm was his standard - approx. 20 lightning damage to 25 squares. The allure power is a minor action, and would work pretty well for ensuring that a certain purple wizard couldn't drop a fireball on his head, if it actually managed to hit.
Archone 13th Jan 2018, 11:26 AM edit delete reply
Oh crap... the GM and all the players are female, right? I'm just wanting to confirm this, because it reminds me of some stories I've heard about asshole male GMs who not only throw rape into their campaigns, but tell players, "your character enjoyed it, so you don't get a saving throw" or things like that.

But... male or female GM, the way Elusive is being portrayed strikes me more as a parody of such things. "He's so seductive and charming... magically so! Because without the magical glamour he's a creepy sleazebag. Roll for initiative and enjoy beating the crap out of him."
Guest 13th Jan 2018, 3:07 PM edit delete reply
> "your character enjoyed it, so you don't get a saving throw"

Um. no. That's disgusting, and breaks a BIG rule of GMing... You don't dictate the PCs. /IF/ your character does X, then Y result.
Guest 13th Jan 2018, 5:21 PM edit delete reply
Forced rape in-game? That sounds like those GMs are trying to fulfill some fantasy or another and pretending it's part of the game. Which crosses all kinds of lines: namely, even in roleplay you don't bring such things to the table unless everyone is on board with it.
BackSet 13th Jan 2018, 5:51 PM edit delete reply
That's disgusting! What kind of messed up jerkass would do that. It breaks the biggest rule of GMing and is kind of morally gray too.

Anyway: pretty sure the players are female. Not sure about the GM though.
Hariman 13th Jan 2018, 11:04 PM edit delete reply
There are some gamers that don't understand boundaries, or good taste when it comes to jokes/joking/humor/references in game.

I know because I've dealt with people who, while not anywhere near as bad as the "forced rape and your character enjoyed it" disgusting bs, was still bad enough that it leaves me disgusted with the DM who pulled the joke.

I'm not going to explain the joke, but it was a rather juvenile and foul joke, as you might be able to guess.

On a brighter/happier note, I don't think Friendship is Dragons will get much closer to that level than it already has.

Blueblood/Elusive is going to get his ass kicked in, and the worst that I think could happen is that the party gets hosed by some REALLY bad rolls and Luna/Celestia bail them out.

But, you know, that likely requires some REALLY horrid rolling, and terrible decisions.

And we've only seen Rainbow get bad rolls, with good decisions all around. ;D
BR549 14th Jan 2018, 6:03 PM edit delete reply
I honestly wonder how many of those stories are actually *true*, and how many are "see? Roleplayers are sexist asshole slobs!" parables.

(Not to say there aren't asshole GMs who would do that (statistically, there have to be), but...)
hariman 15th Jan 2018, 12:44 AM edit delete reply
Sadly, enough of them are true to make the stereotype. It doesn't help that certain OFFICIAL Living Greyhawk mods, published for official play by Wizards of the Coast, had some really foul content.

Like the half fiend Dryad who wasn't really a threat... but was interested in any male in the party currently playing... in "that" way. And if a party member accepted the dirty offer, their next adventure would begin with them at half non-lethal damage, with an "embarrassing itch".

Or the murder mystery about a several years old murder, where it turned out the judge who was in charge of overseeing the investigation was the secret lover of the woman who had been killed years ago... who didn't want the affair revealed because she didn't want the public backlash of being a judge that was sleeping around and having an affair.


Both a lesbian love affair, that lead to murder, and the option to sleep with a horny dryad. (And said Dryad might only have been interested in characters with high charisma, not just males. I can't remember, as it's been a while, and I don't remember the mod's name.)

Is it any wonder the nerdy perv who plays D&D stereotype stuck?

The adults in the room are as bad as the teenagers!

And home campaigns can be worse, especially if the members of the group you've joined have senses of humor that "hold nothing sacred".
BackSet 15th Jan 2018, 8:46 AM edit delete reply
Damn that's weird I guess. It's not terrible but it's kind of disturbing. Maybe they should have just released more tomb of horrors type stuff so the stereotype would be that gamers are gluttons for punishment and GMs are monsters.
Hariman 15th Jan 2018, 11:33 AM edit delete reply
Ironically, the same Living Greyhawk region that included the secret lesbian love affair DID have a prevalence of character killing/highly difficult mods.

So, outside of the Core mods, the killer GM mentality was there.

Then again, that killer mod mentality was partly the gluttons for punishment, and partly due to utterly horrible mod writing.

Some mod writers did NOT understand the encounter tables by level, and crossed a second table of appropriate challenge ratings to put level 12 challenge rating encounters against parties around level 6 or 7.
Tempestfury 15th Jan 2018, 1:06 PM edit delete reply
Honestly, the lesbian love affair actually sounds like it would have been fascinating to roleplay through.
hariman 15th Jan 2018, 4:29 PM edit delete reply
But there was almost no roleplay involved. The mystery was such that the reveal at the end was the female judge going "Okay, I admit it! It was me! I was her lover and her murderer and I covered it up too!" in the most tawdry "LoL! Lesbians!" way possible.

And it got exactly that reaction from the guy who had the dirtiest mind in the group. Which, coincidentally, was also the only guy in the group who had his character take up the half fiend dryad on her offer.

Also, personally, I'd rather have not dealt with the love affair being the issue in the mod at all. It would have been less tawdry and more interesting had it been over a botched case or something else instead, at least to me.
Hallan 15th Jan 2018, 9:39 AM edit delete reply
Forced rape in a game? "Your character enjoyed it, so you don't get a saving throw"??

I would leave the game, not ever return, and likely bar the person from my life unless I got one hell of an apology. Absolutely reprehensible.
Wulfraed 14th Jan 2018, 7:48 AM edit delete reply
Well... Rarity's response could have gone the other way, after the "allure"...

"He's got me right where I want him" <bash>
Torquelift 14th Jan 2018, 8:59 AM edit delete reply
Not when there's a wizard on the field! Only *you* can prevent friendly fire.
Needling Haystacks 14th Jan 2018, 12:07 PM edit delete reply
Now that I think about it, going along with it for a kick to the groin would be a pretty standard response... but horses are not structured properly for that to work in this case, so on second though never mind. :P
Wulfraed 15th Jan 2018, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
A unicorn horn to the throat, OTOH...

Probably too bloody for this series.
McRandom 14th Jan 2018, 8:57 PM edit delete reply
Ah...I finally caught up. A both happy and sad occasion...
Cliff Robotnik 14th Jan 2018, 9:12 PM edit delete reply
For me? Starswirl the Stubbled fighting Princess Celestia's elder Brother Nocturne in the "Void Before the World".

it was a MLP game set in Pathfinders, and the only Relivent PC is Starswirl so I'll focus on it and the Setting for Context:

In this setting, before... recent developments killed it... was set over 1000 years Before the show, and had the framing Device of Discord telling the CMC and Twilight how things "Really" went down...

Basically, Alicorns rules Equestria, and fought the Qoatl race(and their Empress) for control of the Sun... the Rulers at the Time were King Noctilucent and Queen Andromeda... below them was a Royal Court and Race of Alicorns, including their Three "Children", Celestia, Luna, and Nocturne.

(In context of this story, Alicorns are exclusively MADE, usually from exceptionally skilled members of the other Tribes, against their will, memories erased)

Earth Ponies were at the VERY BOTTOM of the Social ladder, with Pegasi in the middle and making up the bulk of the Military, and Unicorns as the Nobility...

Starswirl was a EARTH PONY by the name of Harvest Moon, who invents Wizardry as a Foal, making a Spell Focus out of Horn-shavings(Sharp was in style) from a Unicrn Salon, and by Adulthood was a key figure in the mysterius Sunny Skies Rebellion against the Alicorn oppressors...

(the Twist is Sunny Skies was actually Luna in disguise >:D )

Anyway, when the Rebellion started to be waged in the Open, Starswirl engaged Nocturne in Battle Polymorphed into a Dragon for Anonymity and intimidation(as Dragons were one of the ONLY races standing against the Alicorns in terms of power), accepted to Cheese Nocturne out by using a variation of the "Portable Hole/Bad of Holding" Trick... but fucked it up, and got sucked up with Nocturne...

...and ended up in "The Void Before the World"...

Nocturne had Power over the Element of Darkness and the Nature of Entropy, which basically made him God there, while Starswirl was just a Earth Pony Wizard(tho level...11 i think at the time?)...

Now, i made it clear OOC that the reason Discord knew everything he was saying, because he was THERE when t all happoned, and it was here where the PC learned why...

He was Starswirl.

And tho Starswirl was being Erased by Existence by Nocturne(now calling himself The Void, which he now Embodies)... they were outside of Time and Space, allowing Discord, IN THE PRESENT, to Intervene with a Snap of his fingers, Flipping Starswirl and The Void's Stats around, causing The void to be Destroyed... and as Such, Reality exploded into Existance around Starswirl, as he had Infinite Stats at the moment and was trying not to Explode... sooo he decided to EXPEL his Power out(Returning to his Normal Level)... but Forming the Power into Six Points, that he manipulated to shape Reality around... his Reality, the one he could later be born into...

These Six Points were the Elements of Harmony...

....How did he get back to his time you ask?

He found a Blue Box had appeared, and a certain Brown Stallion was showin' Big Mac and Derpy the Beginning of Time, and asked to hitch a Ride much to the Stallions surprise.

No one had any complaints whatsever. >:D i miss my old group.
Hallan 15th Jan 2018, 6:01 AM edit delete reply
Deadlands setting, playing a canine-human hybrid creation of mad science named Ace, wielding a mad sci melee weapon (called the Grav Hammer) that utilizes gravity waves to enhance its power and range. The party is spread out across three small powerboats strung out in a rough line thanks to tinkering mad scientists boosting two of the boats' engines, all chasing a siege-weapon-equipped submersible down a river in hopes of catching and stopping it before it can reach water deep enough to dive and get away. The siege cannons on the submersible start firing- they're not designed for hitting fast, small targets like the powerboats, but if they do, that boat is going to have a Very Bad Day. Ace, on the lead boat, steps up onto the gun mount in the bow, cranks the Grav Hammer up to max power, and sets in a batter's stance.

Siege cannon fires. Ace swings. I roll the dice (and then roll several more thanks to Deadland's "exploding" dice mechanic), and the players and DM gape at the results.

Cannon shell is returned to sender, demolishing the sub's engine and (unknown to us) starting the sub sinking. Ace, the Grav Hammer, _and_ the gun mount he was standing on tear loose from the bow of the boat thanks to action-reaction and go skipping across the water like a hurled stone to be picked up by the (relatively slower) third boat.

The incident became known as "the Ace of Diamonds."

How Ace got back into the action from the third boat is another story, for another time. :)
Hariman 15th Jan 2018, 4:31 PM edit delete reply
...Did getting Ace back into the fight involve hammering the water behind the trailing boat hard enough to launch him onto one of the front ships, or the submersible?
Hallan 15th Jan 2018, 9:39 PM edit delete reply
Getting the third boat up to the submersible would have taken too long. The other two boats had made it there already, and the sub's defenders were starting to swamp the rest of the party in numbers without the party tank to keep the party squishies from getting drawn into melee.

Ace's return to the fray thus involved unlatching his backpack from the antigrav harness to which it is attached (thus letting him carry more than the rest of the party combined), dialing that antigrav up to max, yanking a mad science rocket launcher out of the backpack, flipping it around to face the wrong way, then getting a running jump and firing the rocket, using the recoil of the launcher (and another hefty helping of dice luck) to land him right in the thick of the combat on the submersible like a fuzzy-furred thunderbolt, turning the tide back into the party's favor.
Hariman 15th Jan 2018, 9:55 PM edit delete reply
Heh. I figured it was something crazy awesome, that involved using something as a catapult or other booster. ;D

Also, I believe that qualifies for the trope "Dynamic Entry"!
Dusk Raven 16th Jan 2018, 4:01 AM edit delete reply
"I personally like the idea that there's no universal power set it grants; the Amulet's abilities spring from the foundation provided by the user."

Pretty sure that's how the One Ring worked, too... just as the Alicorn amulet also seems to mentally bind its wearer to it...