Page 109 - Grand Line, Part 9

17th Apr 2012, 6:00 AM in Intermission 1
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Grand Line, Part 9
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 17th Apr 2012, 6:00 AM edit delete
Guest author: DragonTrainer

And that ends this arc! Hope you enjoyed it.

From what I've heard, some more guest pages are currently in the works, but it's uncertain as to whether or not they'll be delivered by the next update. If the worst should come to pass, I'll have some backup content ready to go on those days.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: February 20th.



Drake 17th Apr 2012, 6:07 AM edit delete reply
Well, I guess everyone has relatives like that. I know I have a munchkin-, wait, no, I got nothing, still not an RP gamer.
Zarhon 17th Apr 2012, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
Disregard punchline, acquire daaaw.

darkwulf23 17th Apr 2012, 6:50 AM edit delete reply
Last panel, all together now. D'aaw.
darkwulf23 17th Apr 2012, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
Dang it, someone beat me to the d'aaw.
darkwulf23 17th Apr 2012, 3:53 PM edit delete reply
Ah well. D'aaw.
Kaleopolitus 17th Apr 2012, 7:30 AM edit delete reply
That shy blush could move mountains...
Zarhon 17th Apr 2012, 3:59 PM edit delete reply
This strip in a nutshell:
XandZero2 17th Apr 2012, 8:09 AM edit delete reply
Awww. The ark's over already. I was expecting a few more with the GL characters.

You know though, I've had sessions kind of like this before - where it takes an entire session just to make characters, and it wasn't because of munchkins either. Making characters can be fun in and of itself, especially when you're brainstorming with your buds.

Plus, if you're starting a new party, then you have to try and make the party members synergize too. Wouldn't want a party packed with squishy mages, for instance - or rogues (that seems to be more common in my RPG groups).
Akisa 17th Apr 2012, 9:15 AM edit delete reply
Well a party of squishy mages can work in 3.5. ;p
DragonTrainer 17th Apr 2012, 1:35 PM edit delete reply
Could also work in earlier editions. Case in point, Leaping Wizards. :p
Malroth 9th Oct 2012, 4:26 PM edit delete reply
Actually concidering how much more powerful Casters are in 3.0-3.5 An all wizard party is actually better at everything but in battle healing than the traditional 4 man fighter/rogue/cleric/wizard.
deeman45 17th Apr 2012, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
Ye gods, that last panel...
Qin the Kirin 17th Apr 2012, 9:29 AM edit delete reply
and lost the whole session with the creation of characters. jajajajaja I spend a day like that the time I played Dungeons and Dragons 2.5 for the first time. or when we did our first characters of D & D 3rd. or D & D 4th.
Jet 17th Apr 2012, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
Im using a laptop in work, so I couldnt log on. But I have a story for you guys. Since the theme seems to be "takes forever to create characters", let me tell you about my friends attempt to play Dresden Files.

First, lets introduce the players. Adam is a lawyer by day, veteran and competent (if a little too ordinary) GM. I played in his Shadowrun and Earthdawn games, only one session each time becouse I lacked the time for Shadowrun and I kinda killed my entire team in ED, becouse I didnt really know much about "elements in chests" (long story, other time). He wanted their Dresden Files game to be perfect, and Dresden being what it is, requires making A LOT of backstory. By a lot, I mean:
-creating backstory for each character (detailed)
-creating backstory for team (how they met, how they interact etc.)
-creating potential plot hooks (related to backstory, but elaborated a bit)
-creating entire CITY, with so much details and mysteries that could make Ankh Morpork blush.
I cant say much about players- I know them all, two of them are in my regular Scion group and if anything, they are willing to try it.

...they started making it three months ago. Two weeks ago I heard they were done with all the team making and were waiting for GM to start the damn game already. To this day, the date has yet to be revealed.

But still, they had so much fun making it, that even if they never played they'd still have more stories to tell then a typical DnD group that played a session each weekend for half a year.

In some places, this is called fanfic. Here in Poland, we call it "prep time for RPG".
Aekiel 17th Apr 2012, 3:16 PM edit delete reply
Part of the fun of the Dresden Files is the back story, and trying to tie your characters into it/build your city around it can be immensely pleasurable. The one game of it I've played ended up with all of the players being much more attached to their characters than usual; to the point where we actually mourned when our Norse True Believer died. He was one badass preacher.
Azlan 17th Apr 2012, 9:39 PM edit delete reply
Indeed designing the back story and building the city is quite awesome, that is how we ended up with a dragon running a burrito shop.
Zuche 17th Apr 2012, 4:04 PM edit delete reply
Thank you. I didn't get this story at all until you explained it. Not getting it wasn't bad, but this helps.
xuincherguixe 17th Apr 2012, 10:03 AM edit delete reply
Optimization is a tricky issue in D&D. Well. Less so in 4th.

Not all classes are at the same level, and certain choices are superior to others. A lot of people complain about munchkins, but what happens when you end up with a character that doesn't get to do anything fun?

As I've said in previous strips I don't think that how the grand line crew is necessarily wrong. They mostly seem to be playing on the same level. That is "abuse the rules." Mostly in the sense of making characters that are extremely effective in combat.

I'm a fan of making characters while in communication with the rest of the group. Potential problems can be resolved, and you can make stronger, more adaptable groups.
Bronymous 17th Apr 2012, 10:10 AM edit delete reply
Called it! Finally! 1 for, like, 1000, but at least I got 1!
Bronymous 17th Apr 2012, 11:09 AM edit delete reply
Why does twilight seem to have terrible resolution compared to the rest of them? Her eyes and mane are all pixel-y, especially last panel.
darkwulf23 17th Apr 2012, 11:17 AM edit delete reply
Maybe it's the color scheme. With twilight having the darkest coloring out of all of the mane, her design flaws might stand out more.
Vegetalss4 17th Apr 2012, 1:47 PM edit delete reply
Her resolution appears to be the same in the pictures where both Twilight and somepony else is there.
Therefore my hypothesis is that the difference is due to how much of each picture was cropped out of the original show and possibly enlarged to fit the strip
darkwulf23 17th Apr 2012, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
Anyone heard anything about D&D next? From what I heard is that they are going to do two different things for character creation.

First, the builds will go back to focusing on four different roles, physical damage, attack magic, defensive and healing magic, and skill focus, or fighter, wizard, cleric, and rogue. Every other class will branch off with a combo of different focuses, like a paladin will divide his focus in healing and swordplay, and ranger will have a focus between weapons and skill. Basically, what they did in the past.

Second, instead of the background only there to add flavor and a boost to skill points, it will instead be a key element on character build, and allows different powers and weapon's training. Like a fighter who has an archery background will have a higher emphasis on archery with his powers. That way the character for one person won't be the same as for another person.

Anyway, how does everyone feel about that change? Also, has anyone else heard of any new designs for the new DnD?
xuincherguixe 17th Apr 2012, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
Sounds like an improvement, though I don't hold particularly high hopes for it being my kind of game.

One of the things I liked about 3.5 is how extremely dangerous wizards are even if they don't take any blast spells. And I rather like that the optimum way to play a wizard is through situational awareness. Instead of throwing a fireball around, duck behind a corner, cast fabricate, and make yourself your own secret door. Wait for the enemies to run past you, then pop out and get in a few cheap shots with a crossbow.

I didn't spend seven years getting my PhD at Hogwartz just to be an energy damage dispenser dagnnabit!
darkwulf23 17th Apr 2012, 12:29 PM edit delete reply
Yea but the problem with the old style was that certain classes once they reach a certain point ended up doing everything while everyone else was mopping up. That's why 4e put so much emphasis on balance.

And how the hell did you get a PhD at Hogwarts, it's a boarding school, not a university.
Bronymous 17th Apr 2012, 3:38 PM edit delete reply
Ooh, somebody didn't get accepted.

But yeah, at high levels, every class will eventually become a one-man party, combat-wise. But thats why the game differentiates between regular and epic-level campaigns.

As for the new system, I like the idea that backstory comes into play, but honestly whats the difference between "my fighter used to be a hunter so he's good with a bow" and "my fighter is good with a bow. He also used to be a hunter"? And I prefer having a huge selection of classes, even if they are mostly similar, if only so I can say I'm playing a different class and style than what is normally played. It's about a players personal perspective on what he wants to be doing, and that feeling of "I can do and be anything, I don't have to be limited by my title." Though, whether they actually follow through on that sentiment or not is yet to be determined.
darkwulf23 17th Apr 2012, 3:52 PM edit delete reply
If Dnd follows its tradition, then the background benefits will probably be the same as the alignment system. It is only a guideline unless you treat it as a straightjacket.
xuincherguixe 17th Apr 2012, 10:53 PM edit delete reply
To me my idea of balance isn't so much that everyone is equal, but that everyone is contributing something.

4th edition's answer to this is to reduce the depth of play. Negotiation, Computer Hacking, Extortion, Money Laundering these all become things that are out of scope.

Hey, maybe I want to play a game where the players are all in the Yakuza or High School?

Granted there are other systems that are probably better for organized crime and high school drama, but at least D20 made an attempt at making adaptable rules. How are you supposed to get that memo from the guy who hates your guts using 4th edition rules? Beating him with the water cooler is probably going to get you fired anywhere but Goldman Sachs.
Zuche 19th Apr 2012, 4:39 AM edit delete reply
You'd get the memo through cooperative storybuilding and use of skills. You can bypass a lot with 4E mechanics, turning the whole thing into a single die roll, but good DMs can make an evening or two out of such things if that is what the players want.

The 3E Player's Handbook noted that alignment was not a straitjacket, an observation long overdue. It's well past time to state the same thing about die rolls and powers.

Vulpis 27th Jul 2012, 8:21 PM edit delete reply
Oh hey, that sounds like a job for GURPS. :-)
Vulpis 27th Jul 2012, 8:20 PM edit delete reply
He's a hunter--so not only is he good with a bow, he has some skills in survival, simple traps, lore on plants, tracking ability..
xuincherguixe 17th Apr 2012, 10:27 PM edit delete reply
Huh. Maybe that's why I can't seem to get a job listing it on my resume. Excuse me, I need to have some words with the faculty.

Those words being "avada kedavra".
darkwulf23 17th Apr 2012, 10:35 PM edit delete reply
Don't worry about the phd, just say you graduated from wizard school. With any luck you will work your way up to "The Wizard That Did It."
Chakat Firepaw 17th Apr 2012, 8:57 PM edit delete reply
From some of the stuff that has leaked out it looks like they are going back to 2ed AD&D and making yet another fork. Part of the reasoning seems to be Wizbro's hatred of the OGL[1], which would come into play if they worked from a 3.x base.

[1] Even though it doesn't allow people to do much that they couldn't already, as found in the lawsuits _TSR_ lost back in the 80s.
darkwulf23 17th Apr 2012, 10:19 PM edit delete reply
Personally, I'm just irritated that I dumped a couple hundred dollars in source books and they are all ready changing it. While we're on the subject of Dnd next, what changes does everybody want to see?
Bronymous 17th Apr 2012, 11:08 PM edit delete reply
That's what you get for paying for things you could just download illegally. Or if that doesn't suit you, copy the files from a friend who downloaded them illegally.

I want to see Spellcrafting. Maybe its just because Skyrim didn't have it, but I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to develop a system that lets you build and cast your own spells for varying effects, within reason of course. I know there are times I've been faced with a problem and thought "why hasn't anyone developed a spell for this".

Also, I think they should take a hard look at revamping AC. It just doesn't make sense to me that a nimble elf rogue who would be quick and agile wearing leather gear is easier to hit than a Plate Armored tank of a fighter. The player should be able to choose dodging and weaving vs. letting the armor take the blows.

Then again, they may have already done that in 4e and I had no idea. But even if they did, they should still do it in the new system.
xuincherguixe 17th Apr 2012, 11:47 PM edit delete reply
I generally don't like piracy. But I find it hard to justify buying all of these D&D books. Most of them are quite dull.

Shadowrun sourcebooks on the other hand are *awesome* I keep wanting to buy a few even though I don't even play the game. That's how much the game has drawn me in. Also, Catalyst Game Studios needs the money a lot more than Hasbro.

PrincessSpectra 18th Apr 2012, 7:46 AM edit delete reply
You do realized D&D is Wizards of the Coast, not Hasbro, right? (Unless one of them bought the other at some point and I just missed it, but I doubt that...)
Zeeth 18th Apr 2012, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
Hasbro did indeed buy WotC a few years ago, after WotC bought TSR and then followed the "oversaturate the market" model of publishing yet again. The way you maintain your revenue stream with a durable good is to provide new options and be patient with your releases.

But I understand releasing new editions of old, high-value collectibles. At some point new players can't get into the game; the fanbase only grows so far in each generation, and long-term players can beat newbies every time. New editions refresh the market and allow new players to compete on more-even terms.

Variations of the previous paragraph occur in RPGs as well as CCGs. Mostly in terms of "This older system has tons of players who've made books full of house rules for it, so why don't we just rebuild it with the house rules included? That way there's more balance in the game, and less material overall for newbies to assimilate, making the game easier to get into and play."
xuincherguixe 18th Apr 2012, 12:48 PM edit delete reply
... Yeah. About that. It kind of did happen.
Zuche 19th Apr 2012, 5:11 AM edit delete reply
Er, nimble characters tend to fare just fine defensively. Heavy armor AC only pulls ahead once you equip a heavy shield, which is a hindrance any time you need a free hand. As you advance in levels, the nimble character has more ways to boost AC.

It's also worth noting that Reflex is the second most commonly targeted defense, and that the non-AC defenses tend to be targeted more frequently at higher levels.
AABaker 19th Apr 2012, 5:45 AM edit delete reply
Oh, they've done that in 4e. See the Swordmage class for reference. I managed to make a swordamge with only leather armor, a one handed weapon and no shield.
And she has 21 AC, which is usually plate mail territory. To top it off, the character was a Gnome.
Raxon 16th Jun 2012, 10:15 PM edit delete reply
@BronymousI love the idea of spellcrafting. I had an idea for an AOE magic missile spelled that just spams it in a certain direction, with something in the area of 30d6 per target in a 90 degree cone. since magic missile goes through armor and obstacles, I would indeed roll to see if I killed anything in adjacent rooms, and the levels above and below us. High level spells for the win!

I'm not big on pirates, I prefer monks. Then again, the last monk character I made was some race in the 3.5 PC race book with four arms, and the agility and strength to back them up.
Vulpis 27th Jul 2012, 8:24 PM edit delete reply
In other words, split it into avoidance and resistance--the nimble mage tends not to be hit that often, but when he is, he tends to take a good chunk of damage. Meanwhile, the Tin Can Fighter can't dodge very well..but when he does get hit, most of it is soaked by the armor rather than hurting *him*.
xuincherguixe 17th Apr 2012, 11:33 PM edit delete reply
4th edition did do a few things right. Martial classes aren't completely outclassed by wizards in combat anymore.

I'm not holding my breath for Hasbro producing a game I have any desire to give hundreds of dollars in order to play.

D&D wasn't ever really my game, but my current DM is running things more on the level that is. If I was to disrupt the supply lines of the Goblin army, I would inflict penalties to morale and weaken them. That would have a game effect.

I invented bear traps and was able to catch a troll in one while I shot it with poison arrows before sending it unconscious and hacking it's head off and burning it.

We pulled a coup on a goblin tribe and brought an evil druid in for questioning. The authorities took off his restraints and gag because there was no proof that he was an evil druid and it's highly likely that he's casting spells when no one is looking plotting the demise of civilization.

That kind of game should be something that's supportable in D&D Next. Everyone is a Ninja. Literal or Figurative. Yes even the Paladin.
Zeeth 18th Apr 2012, 7:53 AM edit delete reply
Bleah. You should be able to play any RPG at all for under $50, necessary sourcebooks and dice included. Throwing hundreds at a system that's only really good at one or two things is... kind of a waste. But I'm not exactly a GURPS fanboy, either, though that's a bias toward simplicity. I really, really, wish Guardians of Order was still around and publishing BESM.
Bronymous 18th Apr 2012, 10:44 AM edit delete reply
The thing about online piracy is, its not piracy. Piracy involves the use of force or threats of force to take something that belongs to someone else for your own gratification.

Online piracy is utilizing the copy-ablility of online content to share it with literally anyone who wants it. No violence, no threats, no real crime past copyright laws, and as long as they are penalizing people worse for that then for actual murder, than I don't feel bad about doing it.
xuincherguixe 17th Apr 2012, 11:36 AM edit delete reply
Bronymous 17th Apr 2012, 3:39 PM edit delete reply
You know you could just delete that, right?
Zarhon 17th Apr 2012, 3:54 PM edit delete reply
But then the awesome avatar vanishes as well!

Also, got an avatar of my own finally.

Bronymous 17th Apr 2012, 4:06 PM edit delete reply
I love that pic.
xuincherguixe 17th Apr 2012, 10:24 PM edit delete reply
Somehow I missed the text that said "remove".

Which I won't do because the response was amusing.
gravelmill 17th Apr 2012, 3:31 PM edit delete reply
Panel 2 is funny because...

Earth ponies: good at growing food.
AJ's cutie mark: apples.
AJ's job: farmer.

Pegasi: control the weather.
RD's cutie mark: a cloud and a bolt.
RD's job: weatherpony.

So, in panel 3, Twilight apologizes to two ponies who are just as guilty as she is. She did get the Element of Magic on top of her race and special talent, however.
Zarhon 17th Apr 2012, 3:55 PM edit delete reply
Rainbow Dash would rather have an axe on her butt though.
Zuche 17th Apr 2012, 4:11 PM edit delete reply
Better than a warhammer for a pegasus. They'd be calling her Thunder Thighs.
Zarhon 17th Apr 2012, 5:25 PM edit delete reply
Come to think of it, a warhammer cutie mark pegasus would be the completely OP for a pony RPG. It's a non-lethal negotiation tool, universal tranquilizer, throwable, lightning-cloud infusable, gravity-acceleratable (e.g. dropping it from 300 feet above, or reaching sonic rainboom speeds as part of your surprise attack with it).

Not to mention it would allow the use of hammerspace and MC hammer slide (Perform skill checks).
Archaeopteryx 17th Apr 2012, 7:57 PM edit delete reply
War hammers are not remotely non-lethal. One is basically hitting someone with a giant hole-puncher.

They tend not to be very throw-able either.
Azlan 17th Apr 2012, 9:42 PM edit delete reply
If you consider cartoon physics, than the argument holds weight. Though it can work for BESM, light-hearted Hero system games, and similar genres.

Point of playing a game is to have fun, right?
Bronymous 17th Apr 2012, 11:12 PM edit delete reply
What do you mean, "Not very throw-able"? Any Barbarian over level 1 could toss a warhammer, at varying effectiveness. Plus, the Throw Anything feat lets you literally throw anything. Any weapon becomes ranged, only penalty is distance.
Kaleopolitus 18th Apr 2012, 1:52 AM edit delete reply
... Throw the cheese?
Crimson Doom 18th Apr 2012, 5:56 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
Cheese-throwing? Well, if the only penalty is distance, then that might actually be a feasible strategy. Just don't throw away *all* of your food supply.
Or you could go with the classic Fastball Special. Easier on your food supplies. On the other hand, you may get the Fighter mad at you. Hmm.
Kaleopolitus 18th Apr 2012, 6:36 AM edit delete reply
I see you don't know the reference.

You are now enlightened.
Zeeth 18th Apr 2012, 8:09 AM edit delete reply
They obviously didn't use a big enough wheel of cheese...
McBehrer 18th Apr 2012, 1:01 PM edit delete reply
I got the joke.

Edd Gould was best pony.
Akisa 18th Apr 2012, 7:39 AM edit delete reply
Nah with enough Strength anything is throwable, just look at the Hulk. He throws tanks! ;p
Zarhon 18th Apr 2012, 1:22 PM edit delete reply
Depends on the type of hammer to be honest, and how well it spins mid-flight.

If it's one of those short-handled, light, one-handed hammers, I don't see why it wouldn't be throwable in the same manner as a throwing axe.

If it's a sledgehammer or two-handed warhammer though, those are more or less impossible to throw properly, due to the length of the handle and the weight of the hammer's end preventing it from spinning properly.

You could throw it like a pike though, but that would be severely limited in range/flight duration, unable to pierce due to being blunt, and do limited bludgeoning damage.

Bronymous 18th Apr 2012, 10:21 PM edit delete reply
Isn't the general purpose of a large hammer to cause blunt force trauma anyway? Besides, between magic, feats, and possible rolling of a natural 20, I don't think the physics behind it are much of an issue.
Bludgeon 18th Apr 2012, 1:50 PM My experience edit delete reply
I was once playing as a dwarf in a sort of steampunk-era fantasy world.
A fighter, while we were fighting a six-storey clockwork spider thingy, ran out of throwing axes. So he grabbed my war axe, which was still strapped to my back , and actually threw ME at the war spider thing. I was too speechless to object, as was the DM. He rolled for where I hit. I landed in the main gear linkage and my armour was literally jamming the gears up, which made the spider fall apart. It also turned me into a mush with a consistency approaching pâté. The GM went into a sulk because we were supposed to run away and kill it later.

I didn't say anything for the rest of the session.
Zarhon 18th Apr 2012, 3:43 PM edit delete reply
Dwarves: The throwing axes of D&D.

Which coincidentally means that gnomes/halflings can be used as ninja shurikens.

Also, all this talk about hammer-ponies and nobody mentioned Mjôlna?

I'm surprised Nat hasn't picked her as a character.

Ranubis 18th Apr 2012, 9:38 PM edit delete reply
Ah yes, dwarves do seem to be the go-to improvised thrown weapon of D&D. My paladin Davven has been thrown and punted so many times I'm beginning to lose count.
Cain 25th Apr 2012, 8:10 PM edit delete reply
About 4 at last count, with once being used as a makeshift club.
Guest 19th Apr 2012, 4:39 AM edit delete reply
Hmmm, pâté... *drools*
Guest 19th Apr 2012, 5:46 AM edit delete reply
Dwarven* pâté
Ranubis 18th Apr 2012, 9:36 PM edit delete reply
Heh. Heh heh. Ha ha ha. HA HA HA HA HA!

Ok, sorry about that. Great comic and awesome work, just had to get my reaction to my group's D&D session out of my system. I swear, tonight's story tops the wererat incident easily. Will post tomorrow, let's just say it involves chainsaw weapons and DM frustration.
Malroth 25th Mar 2013, 11:11 PM edit delete reply
You know their characters stats and class choice diddn't seem that bad, just sort of overboard on the flaws for feats thing