Page 1082 - Lie Projector

26th Jun 2018, 6:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 1
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Lie Projector
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 26th Jun 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
Going through the "Discorded" bits was always going to be a massive challenge to portray as a tabletop thing. These are not good things to be doing to your players – forcing them to roleplay a 180-degree flip of their characters. Roleplaying compulsions and mind control in a tabletop game takes a delicate touch, but in TV, these things are always unmistakably blunt.

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



BackSet 26th Jun 2018, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
Ha! I am first! I can outdiscord discord before he even posts.

Let's see... tell a paradox. That's how we solve this.
albedoequals1 26th Jun 2018, 6:21 AM edit delete reply
GLaDOS: "This statement is false! Don't-think-about-it-don't-think-about-it..." :P
BackSet 26th Jun 2018, 6:29 AM edit delete reply
I would kill for a like button.
Flame_Warp 26th Jun 2018, 9:55 AM edit delete reply
Uhhhhmmmm...true. I'll go true.
Hankroyd 26th Jun 2018, 11:19 AM edit delete reply
Apparently it's a paradox ...
False, then ?
█████ 27th Jun 2018, 2:54 AM edit delete reply
Those poor, poor frankenturrets.

They couldn't handle the paradox.

BackSet 27th Jun 2018, 1:58 PM edit delete reply
Which means their smarter than Wheatly. Boom! He's gonna need some fire dousing foam.
Makyura 26th Jun 2018, 6:12 AM edit delete reply
I'm really likong what your doing so far with Discord.

Five years ago, i thought that doing the Discord arc would be both too hard and misfit the DnD universe, but you played it perfectly.

And it's not even finished, i'm really hyped!
BackSet 26th Jun 2018, 6:19 AM edit delete reply
Personally, I'm just waiting for when Spud takes the canon discord event and throws it completely off the rails.
Godzfirefly 26th Jun 2018, 7:45 AM edit delete reply
I'm curious how he handles Fluttershy, now. Considering Discord got impatient with her in the show and forced the effect on her without her ever actually compromising her Kindness.
Needling Haystacks 26th Jun 2018, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
Godzfirefly: Hmmm, yeah, true. I can see Rarity (trade curse for wealth... but part of the curse is 'illusion of wealth'), Rainbow Dash (slight tweak from the show: she gets to actually go fight stuff... but again an illusion is part of it), but I'm having trouble with Fluttershy, and actually Pinkie Pie as well...
Boris Carlot 26th Jun 2018, 8:55 AM edit delete reply
For Fluttershy, I could see him trying to trick her, she goes "nah" and he just plain asks her politely to play along OOC.
PhantomFox 26th Jun 2018, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
I'm thinking she's so terrified she doesn't even fight it. "Has eveyone else been cursed?"
"So far, yes."
"Oh, I don't stand a chance. Go ahead and get it over with"
Winged Cat 26th Jun 2018, 11:40 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
That, or she smiles and goes along with it of her own volition - believing that Discord and the GM will have to keep it a secret.
DeS_Tructive 27th Jun 2018, 2:17 AM edit delete reply
What if he does nothing at all to Fluttershy?
He's kind to her, but none of the others will believe she hasn't been flipped, so they won't accept her kindness for what it is.
Wouldn't that be the most devastating inversion?
Discord 26th Jun 2018, 6:31 AM edit delete reply
Back, back.
The worst thing about writer's block, they hunt in packs.
Carnivorous packs.
And it looks like Newbie is on the menu.
So why am I stopping them?
They stop writers from stirring the energy.
Energy doesn't move, chaos cannot be form.
No Choas, no Discord.
And not in the harmoniously way.
BackSet 26th Jun 2018, 9:32 AM edit delete reply
Damn! I can't say anything because I've already said my piece in my attempt to outdiscord you!
The Old One 26th Jun 2018, 10:09 AM edit delete reply
By all things Scottish, that was brilliant!
TyrantViewer 26th Jun 2018, 4:36 PM edit delete reply
Do writer's blocks have use then as pack animals? Is their meat tasty, is their hide useful, and would using any of it help or hinder the writing process?
Discord 27th Jun 2018, 6:31 AM edit delete reply
They're more like parasites then anything.
Those dumb enough to eat them loses their creativity, for life and/or unlife.
Take a look at the pointy one you call Puppy Tails.
Guest 26th Jun 2018, 6:32 AM edit delete reply
Does spouting a bunch of really obvious lies to establish that she's lying count as revealing that she can't tell the truth?
Speedy 26th Jun 2018, 3:37 PM edit delete reply
Would Twi be able to tell it was truth denial? She could also chalk up her inability to tell a truth to chaos-induced insanity, or maybe she got replaced by a doppelganger.
TyrantViewer 26th Jun 2018, 4:38 PM edit delete reply
It doesn't matter, the curse isn't to lie but to not reveal the truth, so she can't do anything obvious enough to have someone guess the opposite because that would be revealing it.

Digo Dragon 26th Jun 2018, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Yeah I dislike forcing players to play out radical shifts in their character personality. I generally don't utilize many instances of Charms and Compulsions. Last time I have it was something like the BBEG charming the fighter and asking her to not attack so that the BBEG escapes. The fighter then changed targets and beat up the BBEG's minions.

As for AJ beating this compulsion, perhaps she could find a way to use code in a subject shift. Sorta like talking in Thieves Cant where discord doesn't see it. Just a matter of Twilight's player picking up the clues.
Needling Haystacks 26th Jun 2018, 8:50 AM edit delete reply
There's something to be said for that, of course, but one could look at this as a roleplaying exercise. I mean it is just a game, and in principle were they especially unhappy with it they could roll things back to the previous session. I've heard tell of groups doing this sort of thing.
Digo Dragon 26th Jun 2018, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
While they could roll things back if players are unhappy, I know from experience (both sides of the table) that once you reach the point of PC unhappiness where you need to roll things back, the damage to the player's trust lingers like a ketchup stain.

Part of of the risk here, is that Discord's player gets to just dictate what happens to the characters. Such a thing could only be pulled off by players open to having their characters run outside their control.
Needling Haystacks 26th Jun 2018, 11:51 AM edit delete reply
Hmmm... Yes I can see where that could be an issue.. I seem to be better at brushing things off as 'just a game' than some of my friends, but that wasn't always the case.

Tabletop RPGs have always been too much of a time sink and too hard to schedule for me to get into, so my experience is with other sorts of games. The few times I have played the players weren't really the sort to immerse themselves in their characters.
Digo Dragon 26th Jun 2018, 1:37 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
With my old group, I had the curse of always being the GM because no one wanted to take the role. Thus, my players could brag about their accomplishments or that such-n-such character reached a really high level. But me? I didn't have that.

So, the rare times someone did offer to run a game, I would pour hours into writing up my characters. I'd have elaborate histories 2-3 pages long, with defined family trees and summaries of each member in the immediate family that influenced my character. I was completely invested and would immerse myself in the game out of excitement to actually accomplish something seemingly mundane like have a D&D character reach 4th level. So, of course I would be protective of my characters to get the most out of the experience.
Anvildude 26th Jun 2018, 6:32 PM edit delete reply
I get that, totally. Though, in my case, it was that I kept joining games (either in-progress or starting up) that wound up dissolving before the characters even went up more than a level or two (almost never due to problems- just, people not showing up or whatever).

Then I started playing with my current group, and finally, FINALLY my goal was reached- A Character I played actually reached the end of their story arc.

It was Kilgal the bucket-listing Elderly Dwarf, and he managed to go out while shoving an Immovable Rod up the gullet of a Glass Worm, allowing the rest of the party to escape (we were low-ish level). It was EPIC in the best way. But the best part was, it was a completed story.

Similarly, the next character, Lazare, a really, REALLY nasty piece-of-work elfboy, was SO horrible to everyone that he got poisoned to death- to my incredible delight.

I like this group because I get to actually play out entire character arcs, to unforseen ends. And that's WHY I play in the first place. Otherwise, I'd just write.
Anvildude 26th Jun 2018, 6:27 PM edit delete reply
And that's why Discord ISN'T a player, but a Co-DM. It gives them the authority to DO things like give un-breakable curses or completely upside-down the setting. And it's a situation that very clearly can then be rectified by not playing with that different DM.
Enigmatic Jack 26th Jun 2018, 8:35 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, that's probably my biggest problem with this arc... thus far, I've been enjoying it less than previous ones just because it seems that the Discord-DM is only there to try and get the PCs to go against character. While I don't have an issue with co-DMing or having someone control a powerful antagonist to add more flavor to the game, Discord-DM was basically brought in specifically to mess with the players as a reality-changing antagonist. That's great in a cartoon, and there's a lot of wiggle room for a Big Bad with that sort of power... but he's not just a villain. He's a DM. And despite various jokes and comments to that effect, I don't think a DM should ever be in a position to actively antagonize players as a way of forcing them to game in a certain way.
Digo Dragon 27th Jun 2018, 3:54 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I gotta agree there. I remember one such example years back where our party was fighting some undead and the fighter wanted to use a healing kit to stabilize another PC that fell to the attacks. The GM overrode their action saying that the fighter should be hacking the undead with anger and vengeance in mind, not healing an ally who was dropped by them. The player ended up leaving the group.
Needling Haystacks 27th Jun 2018, 8:37 AM edit delete reply
Enigmatic Jack:

Hmmm, yeah that's a point. Perhaps I should say wrt my previous comments that this sort of thing can work WITH THE RIGHT GROUP, but if you're not pretty darn sure they can roll with it, it'd asking for trouble.

The problem here is what insight we have into the group makes it seem like while they are pretty close knit and thus unlikely to have their friendships ruined forever, at least one of the players (Fluttershy) is NOT likely to take this whole scenario well. AJ seems to almost relish the challenge, I expect Rarity will be the same, and I don't think RD will care that much either way. Not sure about Pinkie Pie or Twilight, though.
CCC 26th Jun 2018, 7:01 AM edit delete reply
Hmmmm... so she can never *reveal the truth*. Not even by implication. No fancy footwork with double-negatives, no carefully coded messages, no "accidental" slip-ups.

Nasty. Having all that meta-knowledge, *in-character*, and not being able to reveal it.

But - there is a gap there. AJ can't *reveal* the truth - but she can still *use* it. She knows that Discord's plans rely on the group fracturing, that he intends for them to be unable to work in harmony. Even if she can't warn them, she *can* play peacemaker; and, in service of that, she *can* employ falsehoods (including false compliments, flattery, etc.) She can't reveal the truth - even by implication - but she *can* "reveal" lies that will help the group, and she *can* work to sabotage Discord's plans on her own behalf.

Hmmmmm. Challenging, but not, I think, insurmountable.
Needling Haystacks 26th Jun 2018, 8:48 AM edit delete reply
Hmmm, true.

Were it not for the fact that the comic can't get too bogged down in minutiae, I'd expect a robust discussion on what constitutes 'revealing the truth.'
Winged Cat 26th Jun 2018, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
That's what these comments are for.
TyrantViewer 26th Jun 2018, 4:52 PM edit delete reply
I think that is what the DM's are going for, the issue is that Discord is favoring going after the weakness of the RL players, I think things will get pretty heated at the table when everyone groups up again because Discord stirred things up- and he will be too into things to calm things down until the regular DM rp's the letter thing and sets things towards an IN character resolution and Twilight twigs on to how to break teh curses

As for why I think things will go this way, Applejack could use her metaknowledge to help without telling the truth but I think the player will trip up trying to get around her restrictions and miss the loophole to help without direct meta-knowledge usage.

Huh if they do go after everyone's IRL flaws as players then this could play out like that one naruto campain comic- the first session was Kakashi giving them the bell test and was an illustration of how they all were being jerks as they all tried to game the system and break the game, so the inexperienced GM had the regular GM use an even more broken character Kakashi, to show how trying to break the game instead of play it can ruin the fun.

By Making applejack confront her use of metaknowledge and forcing her to RP this is a chance for her to grow as a player- I bet every curse will have similar opportunities, Pinky will be forced to face how her antics can grate on other people, Rarity on how her greed creates LITTERAL burdens for her and her friends, Dash's tendency to rush into things will be the catalyst of the whole thing going down hill, and Fluttershy (in contrast to her cannon behavior) will have her passificity turned against her as she becomes the only one to be cursed without actually being tricked and her "curse" will be a way to try and get her used to more aggressive RP. And then Twilight will end up seeing how she needs to devote some effort to optimizing for the team to cover up weaknesses not just boost her own character- maybe she even earns just enough RP exp to level up to get what is needed to help her friends.

I am so looking forward to what is going to happen!
Bartimaeus 28th Jun 2018, 12:24 AM edit delete reply
Honestly, my competitive streak is telling me the easiest way around this 'curse':

Blatant cheating.

The means is simple. Figure out who in the party is most likely to metagame. Have your character tell them the absolute truth, or have your player tell their player the truth. You'll get yelled at by the DM, and everyone will agree that their character didn't hear that. But since that player is the most likely to metagame, they should still ACT on what you told them and let that inform their character's actions.

If the game hasn't collapsed in disarray from the DM ejecting you, you can let events resolve normally from then on. But either way, you haven't LOST.
Needling Haystacks 28th Jun 2018, 12:53 PM edit delete reply
...Potential way to game this further is to tell the truth in a way that their character would absolutely not believe but the player would. Thus in-character you're still role-playing the curse. Tricky to do, but it could work: establish that the character is lying about everything, then tell the exact truth. The characters should assume the character is still lying... but the meta-savvy player would not.
Scintilla 26th Jun 2018, 7:18 AM edit delete reply
I wonder how leading she can make her *questions* before they're considered implications?
CrowMagnon 26th Jun 2018, 7:42 AM edit delete reply
So, there was a time not too long ago when my character got mind-whammied by an enemy we were hunting. We thought we were as prepared as we could be at the time to protect ourselves from it as soon as we could tell we were getting close. We were NOT prepared to get casted at from behind an illusionary rock wall, which is why I suddenly got a PM saying "You are now dominated."

As bad as that was, it was also sort of a fun challenge to see how well I could play it. So from that point on, up until it sprang its trap and the rest of the party figured out what was going on, I did my best to roleplay it as close to how my character normally acts while also following the instructions I was given. When my friend's character started questioning why she was going along with what she was told so easily, I did have her react more forcefully than usual, going like, "do you trust me or not?"

I did feel a little bad about that one because after the fact my friend admitted that for a bit there, he had worried that HE had been the jerk in that scenario. But it worked out in the end, the mind-whammying was revealed when our enemy sprung its trap, and we managed to beat on it enough to make it retreat. Then we smoothed things over and we learned a valuable lesson about not putting too much trust in a single character's word when mentalism is involved.
Richard 26th Jun 2018, 8:21 AM edit delete reply
I'd make like discord stole my voice -- which is a lie and hence something I'd be allowed to do.
Needling Haystacks 26th Jun 2018, 8:47 AM edit delete reply
I called it! :P

Newbiespud did think around my double-speak idea, though in retrospect it was a little too obvious.
Emtu 26th Jun 2018, 9:18 AM edit delete reply
I'm really looking forward to Fluttershy's part. Hers was my favorite in the original, because she's the only one Discord didn't truly defeat.
darkgloomie 26th Jun 2018, 3:15 PM edit delete reply
Considering Fluttershy player's reaction to the new GM, them not trying at all to trick her is totally doable.
dziadek1990 26th Jun 2018, 11:10 AM edit delete reply
And here I wondered how will he make this curse fun for her.

I forgot about the option of giving somebody a "fun challenge" instead of a "hopeless situation".

For some reason I assumed anything that forces a player to act a certain way would always be unfun...

...huh, I realized that this whole "dishonesty and gaslighting" thing could TOTALLY leak into the Real World and damage the relationship of PLAYERS instead of just their chars', if executed the right (or rather the bad) way.
Mystic seer 26th Jun 2018, 4:20 PM edit delete reply
Honestly, I am just waiting for "Discord" to take this too far.
TyrantViewer 26th Jun 2018, 4:58 PM edit delete reply
I think it will end up being the players that start taking things too far, this whole approach is targeting the Player's weaknesses vs teh character's and I think the GM's will continue to do so- see my post above under CCC for elaboration- and Discord's thing will be not noticing when his meta bending RP ends up actually hurting the Player's feelings, or geting too in character and pushing past it- then the regular GM will help Twilight and confront the Discord player and then things will calm down. I think it can be a great opportunity for all the players to grow however
Guest 27th Jun 2018, 1:16 AM edit delete reply
"How am I supposed to beat that?"

Oh, Applejack, it's simple... you aren't.

You know, while a DM just arbitrarily making you lose is a bad thing, I don't think players thinking they'll always arbitrarily win is a good thing either.

There IS such thing as "too big a challenge". If you're lvl 5 and there's a Pit Fiend in front of you, The DM shouldn't make the Pit Fiend weaker/dumber just to make you feel good when you have your PC charge without thinking (though there are legit reason for weakening a monster, "PCs acted dumb" isn't one of them).

Here, the Mane 6 are fighting a god. A spirit so powerful and tricky Celestia was terrified.

I think AJ and probably a few of the others got waaaay too used to winning.

Almost a shame the Flim Flam Brothers got used already, they would have made good rivals for the "does my background/business help me here?" side of AJ. She needs regular challenges keeping her on her toes.
DocBeard 27th Jun 2018, 11:57 AM edit delete reply
I think, ultimately, these players have been asking for it a little. Between AJ's repeated attitude problem, Twilight's campaign derailments and doing things behind the DM's back, and Rarity's motivation crisis making the whole game about her for like a year...

Yeah, normally, you don't want to go too far with mind-warping stuff, but turnabout is absolutely fair play, and considering how secure the players were, I think this group needs a shake up. I really hope the moral of the story isn't the DM was wrong for wanting to do something fun for them for a change and really challenging the players.
Needling Haystacks 28th Jun 2018, 12:53 PM edit delete reply
A LOT depends on how Fluttershy is handled.