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29th May 2018, 6:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 1
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Newbiespud 29th May 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
This is a dangerous stunt for a DM to pull, I feel. For the most part, the player characters are the domain of the players alone, and the most fundamental aspects that bring them the most joy are not to be trifled with at the DM's whim. Taking away those toys by surprise is a quick route to anger.

Frankly, I wouldn't have the guts to do this in one of my games. But here we are, exploring another path.

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



Guest 29th May 2018, 6:27 AM edit delete reply
What's worse is when the DM doesn't think things through.

"Okay... so... Let me unpack this. We all wake up, sans equipment. No roll to discover the kidnapping, or anything. The Monk isn't affected, fine. the Wizard is still able to prepare spells today, and has eschew materials, alright. the warrior is a little hosed without his weapon, but all his feats still work...

I'M A MAVERICK GUNSLINGER. ALL MY CLASS FEATURES DEPEND ON HAVING NOT JUST -A- GUN... BUT -MY- GUN. everyone else can scavenge for a weapon, but I have to find something finesseable to have a chance with my backup feats. Okay, I can do CARD TRICKS without the gun, but seriously?
CrowMagnon 29th May 2018, 6:28 AM edit delete reply
DM: "I mean, what am I supposed to do? Take your legs?"
Speeddemon 29th May 2018, 4:40 PM edit delete reply
Honestly, taking away his legs feels like it would be less punishing. I've played an archer ranger before, and I know if had to choose between losing all my weapons or legs, well, it was nice knowing you legs. For this gunslinger it seems even worse. If he had a gun but no legs at least the fighter would be able to carry him around to let him shoot at stuff.
Guest 30th May 2018, 6:42 AM edit delete reply
Basically, I mostly was using my high dex-score to fake being a rogue (complete with passive-agressive picking up everything that might be useful) that whole delve.

I ended up leaving that game a few months later, as one of the other players thought I was constantly cross with her. I was the only one who wasn't in the room with the rest, and I was triggering a trauma when I muted my mic to eat chips between my rounds.
Digo Dragon 30th May 2018, 6:10 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I think this comic page perfectly expresses my issues with how many systems handle Earth Pony racial traits (i.e. don't really have anything that stands out as uniquely theirs).
cedric13sai 30th May 2018, 7:16 AM edit delete reply
They don't? You'd think things like +1 to STR and/or CON would be standard fare.
Digo Dragon 31st May 2018, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
For systems that do racial stat adjustments, usually all three pony tribes get something there. EPs usually get STR/CON bonus, Unicorns might see a bonus to INT, and Pegasi probably get DEX or even CHA.

What I mean are unique abilities that aren't easily duplicated. Unicorns get spells, Pegasi can fly, and EPs get...? I suppose the show would take a bit of the blame, never really making Earth Ponies stand out in any way (other than Pinkie with her Pinkie Sense powers). And at least some systems will do something useful, for example D&D style systems may give EPs bonus feats and skills, which is pretty good for some builds. But there are systems out there that don't try to define something for EPs, and that's where my disappointment sits.
Tzeentch 2nd Jun 2018, 5:31 AM edit delete reply
Earth Ponies have special abilities though. Their plant growing abilities are unique to them, and I'm pretty sure they are good with plants in general judging by the amount of them working as Farmers and Cooks. Sure it's primarily a Civilian thing rather than Combat but thats just how it shakes out.

Its even shown in the Pre-Sisters era, with the Earth Ponies supplying the majority of the food as their third of the stalemate. Which implies something about them makes them much better farmers than a Unicorn or Pegasi doing the same job.
Discord 29th May 2018, 7:15 AM edit delete reply
Oh Ms. Color-palette, you just had to try and cheat.
I'll have to take away some abilities from you girls.
Can't have you two flying away. Say bye bye wings.
You two are too sharp. Let's get rid of those points.
Let's get rid your strength, and the pink one's craziness.
No more cheating, or I'll take more away from you.
Winged Cat 29th May 2018, 10:55 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Unfortunately, taking away the pink one's craziness may be impossible even for you. (At least as of this page. Maybe in a later page.)
BackSet 29th May 2018, 12:51 PM edit delete reply
Taking away the pink ones craziness is like taking into account every contingency that could ever happen with time travel. In other words, impossible.
Discord 29th May 2018, 3:29 PM edit delete reply
I ment her physical warping powers.
BackSet 29th May 2018, 5:09 PM edit delete reply
Oh that? That’s even harder? Her powers don’t have an in story explanation. And the writers sure as hell didn’t give her those. Those are legitmate, crazy, fourth wall breaking meta powers.
PumpkingKnight 29th May 2018, 7:55 AM edit delete reply
Needling Haystacks 29th May 2018, 9:16 AM edit delete reply
Always felt a bit like Discord was cheating here himself. I mean I guess he's the villain at this point and can get away with it, but rather than designing a problem accounting for their abilities, he just messed with their abilities. That's a bit lazy, isn't it? :P
Winged Cat 29th May 2018, 10:55 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
And thus we know Discord to be the villain in this arc.
Needling Haystacks 29th May 2018, 12:35 PM edit delete reply
True. I suppose it's that his claim that they were cheating typically goes unchallenged in canon and fan works that rankles a bit. *shrug*
paradoxical 30th May 2018, 5:37 AM edit delete reply
I always thought that his claim of Mane 6's cheating was that the only rule of the game was "It's my game, so I win!"
Digo Dragon 30th May 2018, 6:12 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Pretty much. To Discord "Fair" is where you go to buy funnel cakes and ride the ferris wheel.
Platonix 30th May 2018, 10:55 PM edit delete reply
"I am the God of Chaos, so I will solve this problem by making the six of you more uniform!"
Needling Haystacks 31st May 2018, 10:20 AM edit delete reply
...Never thought about that, Platonix, but that is amusing. :P

To the rest, that's true, I meant I kind of expected one of the Mane 6 to call him out on it is all.
Greenhornet 29th May 2018, 9:42 AM edit delete reply

Pretty much an old trope:
DM: "The deputy says you're all under arrest."
PLAYER 1: "Oh no! Is this a scenario involving the corrupt small town lawmen?"
DM: "Not at all, they are totally dedicated to their jobs and the strict enforcement of the American justice system."
PLAYER 2: "We're screwed."
Evilbob 30th May 2018, 12:09 AM edit delete reply

The AMERICAN justice system, you say? Sure, it'll be a tougher cookie to crack then Venezuela or Afghanistan, but it's no Norway or Sweden, PLAYER 2. Let's start lining our ducks up... be wealthy enough to hire the best lawyer money can buy vs public prosecutor, motion to dismiss case as frivolous, dismiss evidence on inadmissible on technical grounds, change to friendlier venue, appeal and counter-litigate the small town's finances into submission, have connections to get executive pardons, etc etc etc.

Unless you mean "we're screwed" in that this might stop being a normal adventuring RPG and possibly turn into a really convoluted Ace-Attorney type legal-RPG game. Yeah, possibly. lol.
Curse of X 29th May 2018, 1:32 PM edit delete reply
You suffer the Curse of X, until you manage to take it, you will be penalized or you can't do X thing

Surely, it's not that uncommon, right?
HappeeEevee 29th May 2018, 2:11 PM edit delete reply
It would be ballsy for the DM, but sometimes forcing the players to think outside their character sheets can be good for them. In one of the games I'm in right now, my character (the rogue) just got hit by Prismatic Spray and the percentile dice rolled like a 2... my character is literally in hell right now. Not sure how I'm getting back, but at least I'm sneaky, right?
Philadelphus 29th May 2018, 3:03 PM edit delete reply
Heh, Pinkie's reaction. Nice one.
Guest 29th May 2018, 7:17 PM edit delete reply
This page led me to a conclusion as to what I think will be the overall path of this arc. Right now we have the DM and Discord being particularly railroady, for lack of a better term. They've brought in an entire new DM to be a cruel villain, nixed a change in location that showed actual thought and insight on Twilight's part, and are now taking away the special attributes of the players to make the challenge work. I expect that we'll see that theme continue throughout these episodes, particularly when it comes to Discord's manipulations of the Elements. It's entirely possible that the players will refute Discord's arguments out of game, but will have to act brainwashed anyway due to failing Will saves, with or without DIscord "cheating". As such, Twilight's freak out in the last part won't be about how she's lost faith in her friends, but that she's lost faith in the game due to the DM and Discord being so wrapped up in making a campaign-wide villain that they made the game not only unenjoyable, but downright unplayable. This will lead to a "Heel-Face Turn" on their parts, hence the Friendship Report montage, and as a sign that they understand, they decide to let Twilight and the others do their thing, leading to Discord being sealed and his "player" potentially leaving the table to reevaluate how to make the character interesting without using him as a railroading tool. But those are just my thoughts on this. What does everyone else think?

(P.S., Newbiespud, sorry if I ended up hitting the nail on the head and spoiling your plans. Just wanted to show my appreciation for the comic, and no matter what, I'm going to keep reading! This is honestly my favorite campaign comic as well as one of my favorite webcomics period, and you do a truly fantastic job. Awesome work!)
James 30th May 2018, 3:06 AM edit delete reply
Had a DM running a game at Level 20, Mythic 10 bring the King in Yellow himself into things. It demanded our servitude, but my Chaotic Good Cleric of Cayden Cailean was like, "Nope. My deity will protect me." So it waves its hand and severs my character's connection to the Divine, which of course being a Cleric basically turns me into a Level 20 Warrior. So I'm looking at the DM like, "OK, so... Cayden's gonna investigate, right? Cuz one of his most powerful servants on this plane just got cut off full stop." And the DM's like, "Nope. You're on your own, I want the others to have to win this without your buffs and healing. Oh, is your weapon a mythic artifact?"

"NO. I'm a caster build. I have like a +5 Holy Mace. But it's not an artifact or anything. Plus, my mythic path was Heirophant, and my source was my deity, soooo..."

"Oh. Well, shit. Um, you're welcome to stay and listen?"

"Nah. I'mma go grab some food. Lemme know how many rounds go before they get TPKd. Next game I call Fighter."
Khyrin 30th May 2018, 6:46 AM edit delete reply
I'm the gunslinger above. I would have punched him. a Gunslinger losing her gun is one thing... Severing someone's class features entirely? FOUL!
Guest 30th May 2018, 8:52 PM edit delete reply
That was the plot of the second Gamers movie.
paradoxical 30th May 2018, 5:39 AM secret proponent of master race edit delete reply
I never figured Pinkie to be a proponent of unicorn master race thingie.
SilverShadow4 30th May 2018, 2:11 PM edit delete reply
I've taken my PC's weapons before, but it was only to unsettle them. With a little exploration and no risk of unprovoked combat, they found them again easily. Outside of combat I try to inconvenience the party as a whole or not at all because I want to avoid singling anyone out. I try to improv if something goes worse than I planned for it to or if I made a mistake, but sometimes sh*t just happens. I don't go out of my way to screw my players over.

Except that one guy, but he was really asking for it!
Archone 30th May 2018, 6:33 PM edit delete reply
This makes me think of a really cool rule from Mutants and Masterminds. The GM has the right to forcibly put the PCs in any situation they choose - including "we begin with you guys waking up to find yourself tied up, naked, and with ominous laughter from your enemies who have you in their deathtrap" or "while X is en route a sudden ambush instantly results in X being captured and taken to the big bad's lair." BUT... in exchange the players are given one or more Hero points to spend as they see fit. Things like "automatic 20 on a roll" or things like that.

My problem is when a GM accepts characters into a game and then says, "here is a situation where that character is completely useless." Dude, if you KNOW that your campaign calls for no magic spells or a total lack of coinage as currency, then it's on you to vet your players' characters and tell them, "that's not going to fit my campaign, try something else."
Needling Haystacks 31st May 2018, 10:26 AM edit delete reply
Annoyed I didn't think about this until the next comic was up, but there was a video by Puffin Forrest about a similar concept: Having to keep inventing weird ways to force a group to, say, climb a tower (It's covered with magic slime so you can't wall climb... and rods that shoot lightning if you try to fly... and an anti-teleport field). Then eventually the group gives up because clearly it's too much trouble. :P

Of course that ignored the obvious solution to 2/3 of those problems: Put it BELOW ground. Flying and climbing won't help you there!

Here, though, that would have left the problem of the horns... also it's not very colorful by default, but if you were to paint the walls a bit... Just watch out for that fourth wall.