Page 1081 - Plan Means Keikaku

23rd Jun 2018, 6:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 1
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Plan Means Keikaku
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 23rd Jun 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
"What if Applejack used the Grove of Truth to get an accurate preview of the whole rest of the season premiere?"


"What if Discord was counting on that?"

Also, hey! I actually did some screencap manipulation for this! Other than turning the occasional panned shot into an extra-wide image, I mean. It's been a long-standing rule of mine to maintain the creative limitation of sticking to the source material as closely as possible (mostly because I'm bad at teh Photoshops), but this was a simple and worthwhile exception.

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



Discord 23rd Jun 2018, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
The question being is: what was the past, and what was the future?
BackSet 23rd Jun 2018, 4:27 PM edit delete reply
Neither. Time is an illusion. Can I get a medal now?
Robin Bobcat 23rd Jun 2018, 7:29 PM edit delete reply
"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." - Ford Prefect
Guest 23rd Jun 2018, 11:41 PM edit delete reply
"Pants are an illusion. And so is death." - Huu
BackSet 24th Jun 2018, 4:57 AM edit delete reply
Confound this lack of a like button!
Captain Snark 24th Jun 2018, 7:59 AM edit delete reply
I thought time was a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey... stuff.
Needling Haystacks 25th Jun 2018, 2:00 PM edit delete reply
Captain Snark:

At least in as much as it lacks a rigid form. But it's not homeomorphic to a 3-sphere so it's not a 'ball' in that sense. And it's hard to call it 'stuff' when it's more of a dimensional manifold. Actually, there are discontinuities, so it's not even really a manifold.

You know what, the first one was better. :P
Bacchante 24th Jun 2018, 2:00 AM edit delete reply
Time is a tool you can put on the wall,
Or wear it on your wrist.
The past is far behind us;
The future doesn't exist.
Balrighty 23rd Jun 2018, 6:22 AM edit delete reply
I ... think? ... I get what Discord's doing here. He gives Applejack all this intel while the other players are in other rooms. She is therefore honorbound to not reveal the intel to the other players, and her unwillingness to explain, even if she allows herself to explain why she can't explain, is the wedge?
Digo Dragon 23rd Jun 2018, 6:58 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
But if this was seen in character then it isn't really metaknowledge. Not sure why Discord thinks this is a brilliant plan. AJ's player is savvy in meta too, so I'm going to guess he/she isn't familiar with the player well enough to see that flaw in the plan.
Dreok Crushedthroat 23rd Jun 2018, 8:30 AM edit delete reply
As a possible plan, he could be counting on her sharing the info. He doesn't actually have to curse her into Dishonesty, he just has to convince the other players shes cursed, and they'll think her meta knowledge is a lie.
Digo Dragon 23rd Jun 2018, 9:49 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
That makes some reasonable sense. I can see that plan being the way Discord is taking it.
ThatGuest 23rd Jun 2018, 9:38 AM edit delete reply
Basically Applejack has to lie and keep her mouth shut so she doesn't ruin the entire game session by either telling everyone what's happening or hijacking the session and forcing everyone to do what she says because she knows how to win.
Jannard 23rd Jun 2018, 10:33 AM edit delete reply
I see a couple possible courses:

AJ becoes unreliable for her companions by way of Discord twisting the info.

AJ feels honorbound not to tell due to the fact it would risk ruining the session.

AJ gets so embroilled in trying to guess what discord meant with "all acording to plan", she sabotages herself.

Cannot think of any other options... yet.
ZhonLord 23rd Jun 2018, 3:57 PM edit delete reply
It's quite simple:

"If you haven't broken up, cheated, or ran". CHEATED being the optimal word here. If AJ exposes any of discord's plan that's cheating. If she doesn't lie, then she plays into his hands and he automatically wins the game. But if she DOES lie, then she STILL plays into his hands and accepts the curse.

Either way she loses, but if she accepts the curse and goes for lying her tail off then she at least has a chance to pull back later.
Hankroyd 24th Jun 2018, 5:27 AM edit delete reply
I don't get it ...

It was Applejack (the pony) that asked the question in game, not AppleJack's player IRL.
The answer was given by Discord to a pony, not by a co-DM to a player.

So ... I really don't understand why this should be considered as meta-knowledge ... Discord just told his plan, go for it and use it, girl !
ZhonLord 24th Jun 2018, 6:41 AM edit delete reply
Again, if Applejack the character reveals Discord the character's plan, then she's cheating at his maze game. Cheating causes him to win automatically and they won't get the Elements. Lying is the only alternative, which gives him what he wants. Either way he's beaten her.
Hankroyd 24th Jun 2018, 8:31 AM edit delete reply
OK, but I fail to see how this would be cheating.

I mean, it would be cheating if she rushed to the other rooms to warn the four others while discord is busy with the fifth ... but if she waits until they are together again the prevent the loss of her friendship by explaining what Discord has done to them, that won't be cheating, right ?
ZhonLord 24th Jun 2018, 10:39 AM edit delete reply
It's cheating as surely as trying to pass through the hedge walls would be. Knowing something and acting on it are two very different things.

Think of any board, card or tabletop game you've played that involves randomized or hidden results. In poker, someone acting on the knowledge that they're about to draw a specific card unless they're card-counting masters, is cheating. In D&D, preparing to be attacked by a gelatinous cube when you haven't even made any rolls to detect it, because you saw the DM's notes over their screen, is cheating.

If you try to play on something you aren't supposed to know, or on something that's going to occur (whether it be telling others or acting on it in any way), then you've broken the game's rules unless using a mechanic built in to allow it. It's rigging the deck, it's bypassing the mechanics and checkpoints. It's. Cheating.

And Applejack's fallen into this same trap. She can't act on the knowledge because it wasn't supposed be known. She can't tell others because she, in-character Applejack, is not supposed to know what he, in-character Discord, is trying to do with this maze. He's given her an in-character cheat sheet and is now waiting for her to use it so he can CALL OUT the cheating, like leaving out bait for a thief and then using a video camera to catch their face for criminal records.
Hankroyd 24th Jun 2018, 10:56 AM edit delete reply
Still not sure about this.

The ponies don't know Discord's plan, but nowhere in the rules it is said that Discord's plan should remain secret.

Let's say someone asked "What will be the next monster I will fight?" and the pool showed a Gelatinous Cube. It won't be cheating to tell the party to prepare to fight that specific monster. It's not peeking to see the GM's note, it's gaining an intel by a legitimate mean.
Stephen 26th Jun 2018, 5:59 AM Just one problem... edit delete reply
... and it will probably be the situation's resolution. The knowledge he just gave her is no longer meta-knowledge. She didn't peek over the screen. He offered her character a wish in game. She wished for this knowledge. He then gives it to her in game using that pool. Doesn't even show her his notes. It is no longer meta-knowledge. It is now in character knowledge. He has called it meta-knowledge though, and there is the trick. This is meant to convince her that she cheated; that she didn't earn it. As a result she'll punish herself until she has that moment she realizes that getting the knowledge was all in character.
Digo Dragon 25th Jun 2018, 5:15 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
That was my thinking as well. If Discord convinces the others that AJ is lying about that knowledge, maybe I can see it not working out.
Dakkath 25th Jun 2018, 12:19 PM edit delete reply
"AJ gets so embroilled in trying to guess what discord meant with "all acording to plan", she sabotages herself."

That's my guess. He's messing with the player's head, not the character's.
TyrantViewer 25th Jun 2018, 12:41 PM edit delete reply
Discord never said he wasn't going to curse Applejack- So he might and then the fact that she does know his plan won't matter, and is an in character penalty toward her wanting to share the info

Or he is just setting it up so that any bit of this meta- knowledges she shares will be disregarded because by the time everyone meets up, most of them will be cursed already-

Either that or the Cheating thing, I like the Cheating theory becaus that fits as a different plan from canon that meshes with the meta style of this story
█████ 23rd Jun 2018, 6:39 AM edit delete reply
But Applejack saw all of this in-character, didn't she?

There's no reason for her not to pass this knowledge on.
cyborg7221 23rd Jun 2018, 7:07 AM edit delete reply
Maybe Discord's maniacal laughter gives her the impression that sharing the intel would just be playing into his hands? Of course, she'd be severely overthinking it, but that's kinda the point.
Freelance 23rd Jun 2018, 9:50 PM edit delete reply
Overthinking and trying to use meta-knowledge is how AJ fell so far behind in the running of the leaves session. All according to RD's plan. .... Too bad RD was too busy laughing to capitalize herself.
PhantomFox 23rd Jun 2018, 7:25 AM edit delete reply
The knowledge comes at a cost. He's going to trick them into accepting a curse. Guess what the cost is. No way AJ was going to resist getting meta knowledge for any price.
Guest 23rd Jun 2018, 7:48 AM edit delete reply
Ideally, the knowledge itself would be the price. If not, then I'd have to call this Discord fellow something of a cop-out.
Hariman 23rd Jun 2018, 2:12 PM edit delete reply
Will the others trust AJ once she's back with them and trying to convince them that Discord just gave her the whole plan?

Will the others even manage to resist the trickery of Discord before they reunite?

And more importantly, how will they keep from tearing their actual friendships apart under the stress their pony game friendships are being put under?
ThyLordQ 23rd Jun 2018, 9:31 AM edit delete reply
She's got the info, in character, sure. But what could she actually do with it? They're already separated, and bound to be cursed. She has the meta knowledge in character, but how much good can that do her when the point of this particular section is entirely RP.

I think Applejack's curse was laid out before she ever got inside.
Malroth 23rd Jun 2018, 10:29 AM edit delete reply
To be fair, Applejack's character has been abusing Metagame Knowledge for FAR too long and really needs a good kick in the pants to get her to tone it down a bit, this could be good for her in the long run.
Achtungnight 23rd Jun 2018, 10:42 AM edit delete reply
I keep telling my wife there are Things Woman Was Not Meant to Know. She insists on learning them at her peril.
Whatmesage 23rd Jun 2018, 12:21 PM "Sometimes, knowing the truth comes at a cost" edit delete reply
That cost being she gets the knowledge at the price of the curse. Saw that one coming a mile away.
LordIce 23rd Jun 2018, 1:34 PM edit delete reply
Okay, I see now. Applejack's player, who is irritatingly obsessed with meta-play, is being given the big reveal. However, by telling her Discord is planning on her knowing it, he is tying her meta-gaming in a knot. By trying to predict the game based on meta-knowledge, she may play into the plot itself! It wouldn't work on me, but it might work on her.
BackSet 23rd Jun 2018, 4:29 PM edit delete reply
So... are they going for a TPK or what?
Infected Genes 23rd Jun 2018, 5:04 PM edit delete reply
Infected Genes
I dont see how that could possibly of helped Discord

I mean I am a fair strategist as well when it comes to my games so I tend to make more strategic characters too and this would of pretty much given me the game.

Two rounds tops id give it. (my characters are level 1 at the moment too)
HappyEevee 23rd Jun 2018, 9:01 PM edit delete reply
Not necessarily... to begin with, your characters would still be separated and the others would have their curses before your character saw them again. Just running through everyone else's encounters would be way more than two rounds. Next, this would only give you Discord's current plan; there's nothing to stop him from discarding it and making a new one after this encounter. Also, you would be fixed on countering the plan he'd just revealed and could easily miss anything new he added based on his knowledge of your new knowledge. Since there's no way your character could defeat Discord in a fight at this point (you need the whole party and the Elements) there's nothing you can do to stop him from cursing the rest of the party before you get to share the meta knowledge with them. Then you're left trying to get them to believe you and actually work together while they're all cursed. So really this doesn't hurt Discord as much as one might initially think.
Needling Haystacks 25th Jun 2018, 2:12 PM edit delete reply
I personally have 2 gameplay modes. One where I'm hyper-analytical and try to work out how to win, and one where I just do whatever seems the most fun and see what happens.

Ironically, solvable games I tend to go for the latter. Take chess. Most casual games I'm too far ahead of the opponent, so playing seriously makes the game a boring curb-stomp. However, serious games I'm so far outmatched that were I to play analytically I'd just get crushed. Ergo, my best play is actually to play weirdly and hope they're caught off guard. It's only worked like twice but those were opponents I otherwise would have lost too (and one time it was a draw in the end).
Guest 23rd Jun 2018, 7:53 PM edit delete reply
"All according to plan." I'll admit I imagined him saying that while wearing a headset.
NexAngelus405 23rd Jun 2018, 7:54 PM edit delete reply
Damn, I forgot to login before posting that.
Fangren 24th Jun 2018, 11:04 AM edit delete reply
Oh, I think I get what's gonna happen... Applejack knows exactly what to do, but cannot share it with the others until they've been cursed. And the others will have every reason to assume that Applejack has been cursed to, and thus have no reason to believe what she says - and in fact they may even do the opposite, 'knowing' that AJ can't be trusted.

Which means that AJ's player will have to lie in order to act on the information she's gained.
Needling Haystacks 25th Jun 2018, 2:08 PM edit delete reply
Some posters are forgetting the last strip. She was told there was a cost to getting an answer, but asked anyway. Thus she's already accepted the curse, which I assume will be lying (to keep with the episode).

She will thus not be able to tell his plan directly. Instead, she'll tell blatant lies to cue the others in to that being her curse, then attempt to tell Discord's plan indirectly by lying about it. However, I suspect this will be confounded by the others not quite getting what she's laying down, either too caught up in roleplaying their own curse or, in Twilight's case, too caught up in figuring out everyone else's curses.

This assumes of course that Discord is not a 'competitive' GM: That is, his goal is not to 'win' in-game but to push the players to expand their RP abilities by getting them to play against type. He actually hopes they'll figure it out and 'win' in-game, but get better at the game in the process. This would work well with a few later appearances where Discord is something of a trickster-mentor (albeit a selfish one with a warped sense of values... basically Q).
Guest 26th Jun 2018, 1:57 AM edit delete reply
It's not meta-knowledge, the plan was revealed in-character. Maybe Discord meant "the only way for this to be useful is if you tell the others OOC, you can't because you're in separate rooms" or the like.

I mean, all the other players will know about the whole curse thing soon enough (except Twilight, because Discord doesn't want to bother with her), so the only advantage Applejack could get, but won't be allowed to, would be to tell them in advance so they can prepare/not fall in the trap.
Needling Haystacks 26th Jun 2018, 8:43 AM edit delete reply
I just noticed the title... :P