Page 1147 - Harmonic Fizzle

24th Nov 2018, 5:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 2
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Harmonic Fizzle
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 24th Nov 2018, 5:00 AM edit delete
I was just a little bit tempted to jump my own rails and fire off the rainbow cannon, only to spend the next dozen pages satisfactorily explaining to myself why that just happened.

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



Jannard 24th Nov 2018, 5:08 AM edit delete reply
The fight between "sticking to the plan for consistency sake" and "I want to have fun! This is MY comic!".

I... would be fine with both I think.
Newbiespud 24th Nov 2018, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
It wouldn't be fun for me in the long run if I went with a story turn that, while unexpected, didn't really make sense to me and completely cut off all the other stuff I wanted to explore.
Archone 24th Nov 2018, 5:33 AM edit delete reply
So... Main GM has just confirmed that he is very much in control of the situation. Discord GM is doing nothing without Main GM's approval.

Also, the ponies in the last panel look so adorable sprawled out like that! They remind me of my little dogs when they sprawl out... Twilight in particular looks like she needs a hug.
MiqoRems 24th Nov 2018, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
Main GM has also confirmed to everyone else, however, that they didn't KNOW they were in control of the situation, which is just as bad- if not worse.
Guest 24th Nov 2018, 6:39 AM edit delete reply
I have to agree. This entire arc is all about how our Main GM has confidence issues in having any control whatsoever, and then calling in a mentor to help create a new episode.

Though I know it can be read multiple ways, the passive aggressive last statement of "I'd want to hear your reasoning though" implies even DiscorDM is getting his kicks in on the Main GM's passive nature, at least to me. So far, his actions suggest he's a GM that flies by the seat of his pants, opening mouth first and thought second even to an old friend.

If DiscorDM is really surprised by this turn of events, it also confirms that the two of them really have not been collaborating much of anything in terms of even a plot skeleton between the two; the idea that both have an idea of how the narrative, however shared, should go.

Another thing that bothers me about this though: We have eight people around a table, each engaged in conflicting debate over how a game is to be played (Twi wants to solve problems, the Mane wants to twiddle their thumbs in side plots that should honestly affect their characters more, DiscorDM just loves to add drama just to watch fireworks, etc)....

Nobody sounds like their having fun, honestly. Sure, they're invested, but as for fun? Even Discord sounds kind of bored these last few pages, as only one player at the table is even trying to engage HIM.

Of course, that's just the impression the dialogue leaves on this old GM.
Rakaydos 24th Nov 2018, 8:12 AM edit delete reply
"If DiscorDM is really surprised by this turn of events, it also confirms that the two of them really have not been collaborating much of anything in terms of even a plot skeleton between the two; the idea that both have an idea of how the narrative, however shared, should go. "

We SAW what the plot skeleton was- go back an read Applejack's wish/curse. But basically, we are firmly into "Improv the details" here, so zapping Discord wasnt entirely off the table.
Digo 24th Nov 2018, 11:45 AM edit delete reply
Agree. Once again the gm is showing what happens when you don't communicate with others, especially a co-gm.
Enigmatic Jack 24th Nov 2018, 6:49 AM edit delete reply

OR, MainGM had just confirmed that they were pretty sure they weren't in control of the situation, given the surprise at the idea of DiscorDM LETTING them run the game their way.
GrayGriffin 24th Nov 2018, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
...we've already been shown that's not true. We know the main GM assumed the Elements were in the maze all along and DiscorDM didn't get approval for it to be a red herring.
ThatGuest 24th Nov 2018, 9:47 AM edit delete reply
Actually the maze seemed to be the product of the GM not knowing what the plan was and thinking they had the answer to the riddle and Twilight was wrong. Which wasn't the case.

I would not be surprised if in her now simmering anger Twilight turned on the GM now. Either for 'sabotaging' them at the finish line for no reason now or for now admitting that they haven't really been trying to GM the whole session and did basically hand everything over to the new guy.
Mr Wednesday 24th Nov 2018, 10:59 AM edit delete reply
Yeah how long has this GM been running? This isn’t their first campaign, I know, but it feels like they’re still working out some of the kinks of their style and preferences.
ThatGuest 24th Nov 2018, 12:52 PM edit delete reply
Uh oh, I just realized this could all also indicate that neither Discord -or- the GM who's supposed to be running it have absolutely nothing thought out after this moment. Like getting a few pages through a script and the rest is blank. If the GM starts to just sputter and stall, having no idea what to do with the story now I could definitly see Twilight, the super prepared and organized member finally losing it.

"You've wasted 3-4 hours of our time harrassing us, mocking us and rubbing all our bad habits in our faces. Then you DM fiat us into losing and YOU DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW HOW TO FINISH YOUR OWN DAMN GAME?!"

It's like one of those spaceballs style parodies where they don't know what to do so they read the script or watch their own movie so they can keep going. Except I doubt Twilight or anyone else is going to find it amusing.
Guest 24th Nov 2018, 7:51 PM edit delete reply
I find this unlikely. Remember the DM plays both Celestia and Spike, and in canon it's the return of her friendship letters that revive Twilight. I highly suspect the basic idea will be that Twilight('s player) just bails because this is frustrating, not fun, and she's a thousand percent done, then the GM has a talk with her, figures out how they effed up, apologizes, and segues into the Spike scene to get the campaign back on track.

Some amount of yelling at DiscorDM may be involved, idk.
Composer99 24th Nov 2018, 12:59 PM edit delete reply
I don't think Twilight will be extra grumpy over the Elements not working here, because she was already pretty certain they weren't going to work.

She's actually kind of read the scenario pretty well: give Discord (the character) an entertaining failure so that they can escape with the Elements, then cure the cursed members of the party so they can come back and prevail.

Indeed, Twilight has so successfully predicted how the rest of the scenario would unfold that newbiespud could skip Twilight's own moment of crisis in the episode if he wanted to.
Luke 24th Nov 2018, 5:44 AM edit delete reply
I'm deeply troubled by the phrase "would you have let me?"

I am not a role player, but I am aware of it, and a watched a game a friend of mine played once, as well as being familiar with fantasy and science fiction. However, I think, based on what I've seen so far of the interactions between them and Discord, that the main Dungeon Master is letting things progress too far, and the Dungeon Master knows it.

I don't think the guest brought in as Discord means any harm, but they are inflicting a lot of it, damaging the dynamic of the group, and seem to be overly enjoying the position of power they have over them. The phrase last time "It has been an honour taking over your world" seems a little too ... on the nose, as it were, as they actually have taken over the players world, not just the characters.

Twilight's player - all the players really - aren't handling it as well as they could, interfering with the other's enjoyment of the game, but everyone taking part is hurting the game, hurting one another's enjoyment. It is clear Twlight's players doesn't like this new dynamic. And the Dungeon Master still felt like the guest would be able to veto anything they said about that. They had modified something the guest did before, true, but that was in direct defence of one of their players.

The continual actions of the Dungeon Master, or rather, their reactions, have been telling. They know this is breaking down slowly, they can see that the players are starting to chafe against the new setup. And they don't feel like they can just overrule the guest without being rude or being overruled themselves.

Maybe I am reading too much into this, but I think that in the end of this session, the group is going to split. Not permanently, but no-one is going to come to the next session, or only a few will. And then the Dungeon Master is going to have to find a way to bring them together again. The guest was brought in to make the game more enjoyable, but no-one from the regular group seems to be enjoying it at all. From telling Apple Jack's *player* to lie, to arrogantly insulting FLuttershy's *player*, to lying to Pinkie Pies *player*, the guest doesn't seem to understand how the group works. I don't blame them, but they need to learn an important lesson too.

Everyone does. And they will.
Guest 24th Nov 2018, 6:48 AM edit delete reply
There is no right or wrong way to play the game. Unfortunately, there are right and wrong players for a specific type of game. People who like to explore new worlds and see new cultures are less inclined to enjoy a story about court intrigue in a city.

This all relies heavily on the GM to know his players well enough to know this though. Sometimes - though we rarely like to admit it as a player - it is more important to just stop a game and admit that some games or plots are not interesting. Maybe they break immersion, maybe they just don't generate interest. And sometimes - though the DM may not like to admit it - that clever idea they had was only clever to themselves.
ThatGuest 24th Nov 2018, 9:50 AM edit delete reply
That happened to me once in a Star Wars game. Session after session we never really got into a firefight and just kept fighting wild animals on unsettled planets. Eventually we all spoke to the GM and told him that we were kinda getting bored just fighting animals in jungles in a star wars game.

......He promptly lost his mind over us critisizing his game and quit in a rage.
Mr Wednesday 24th Nov 2018, 10:58 AM edit delete reply
@Guest, that’s why communication is so important. GM’s are like TV producers: they’ve got to sell players on their ideas and make their game concepts sound fun to PLAY. It’s been interesting to watch that this GM doesn’t seem confident in their own ability to hold the players’ interest.

The best thing they’ve run in this world was really the Gala and all the lead up to it. While the Thieves’ Guild May not have been sufficiently epic for GM, villain-wise, they were tied in to the choices of the characters, and they were a persistent threat, though not the most dangerous.

And Elusive was a great capital-letter Villain: snide and irritating with enough power to back up his personality. And he was just powerful enough—not every bad guy is worth breaking out the elements for.

Main GM doesn’t seem to realize how good the stuff up above was, and hasn’t been able to articulate the different tone they want to any of the players.
ThatGuest 24th Nov 2018, 12:41 PM edit delete reply
Plus they seem to suffer too much from coming up with grand ideas but never giving the players a reason to care about them. You can make the most awesome giant castlevania type dungeon but if you never give the players a reason to actually care about it or go there they're not going to give a damn and probably ignore it.

Honestly I've always kinda disliked the GM, especially with how much they bitch about the players never traveling this vast world the developed, but never give the players a reason to leave in the first place. If they'd been venting to me about the Nightmare Moon debacle I'd have said.....

"Well it's your own damn fault for not only keeping all the elements right there in the starting town but also expecting them to not figure out a plot that anyone who's watched a cartoon about friendship since the 80s would have seen coming a mile away. If you wanted them to go on an epic world spanning quest for the elements, then you should have scattered them to the corners of the freaking globe. Instead of just put them over there on the catering table and politely asking the party to ignore them."
Guest 24th Nov 2018, 2:10 PM edit delete reply
Really? That's what you'd say to *your friend* who poured a lot of time and work into a creation of their own and got the courage up to share it with other people, and even when it didn't go the way they wanted, took the "defeat" gracefully and were prepared to literally just drop all the work they did because the players were clever enough to logic their way to the win early? This GM has *already demonstrated* humility and awareness of their shortcomings, that's why they brought in their mentor–to give their players an experience they felt they couldn't deliver on their own, a *challenge*, and disguised it as bringing in this zany OP Big Bad for a session. Sure, there was probably more to their reasons, like teaching their players they can't "win" tabletop, and their execution has been…spotty. ONE bad session, though, and all you want is to shove their face in their mistakes that they already moved past and tell them off? I guess that's easy for you to say since these are just characters in a webcomic and the GM is The Faceless, but you're implying you would actually say that to a *friend* who is struggling to learn a skill when all you've lost is, what, a couple hours of your time?
Archone 24th Nov 2018, 2:15 PM edit delete reply
Thank you, Guest.

This has been my position throughout the entire story arc, in spite of what I've been accused of believing. These are all friends sitting around a table, playing a game. The GM brought in a friend to join them... just as Rainbow's player brought in a friend during a previous arc.

There are no bad guys here. There is no individual in this arc that we can point at and say, "ah hah! THIS is the bad one! This is the one who is at fault, the one who is EVIL!" There's just a bunch of friends playing a game. None of them are perfect, but who is?
ThatGuest 24th Nov 2018, 3:03 PM edit delete reply
Gracefully? They tried to repackage and reuse it twice in a row and threw a fit when Twilight derailed their parasprite version. There are clues that they still have a stick up their butt about it and this whole arc looks like another attempt to copy/paste their first adventure. Just replace nightmare with discord. And yes if one of my friends made it and was complaining about the party breaking it, I'd tell them that they did really half ass it so things probably weren't going to end well regardless.

They haven't moved on, in their discussion with Discord it seemed clear they were still at least a little bitter about the first adventures and brought Discord in as a ringer so that they could -finally- force the party's hand into doing what they wanted. They kept saying "I want this, I want that." That's their problem, they're too focused on the game -they- want to play. Not the party.
Guest 24th Nov 2018, 4:40 PM edit delete reply
@ThatGuest True, they haven't totally dropped it yet and it might still be a slightly sore subject, it's almost like the GM has emotions of their own, but have they ever taken a win away from the party because they didn't get what they wanted or didn't like the way the party got to the solution? Not that I can recall, personally. My whole point was more about your wording, though, and the way you would supposedly treat someone you consider a friend because they've made a few mistakes or did something you don't like. It confounds me why you seem to be actively rooting for Twi to lose her temper, when I can't think of one moment where yelling at someone over a game has ever produced positive results instead of just taking a moment to walk away (without flipping the table), which has the same stopping effect on a bad situation.

Like, honestly, how in the world could you look your friend in the face and rip them a new one instead of sitting them down and explaining exactly what Mr Wednesday has pointed out–the things they did *right* and *why* they were right. This isn't some stranger at a random table for a random game, this is your *friend*, which is what I'm trying to emphasize. Maybe not best friend, but someone you've spent time with and gotten to know. At the moment, I think it's obvious the GM lacks control and finesse, they don't know how to create the game they want AND make it in a way their table enjoys and want to play. They are *learning* and they make mistakes, and they're going to KEEP making mistakes until they understand WHY they are mistakes. Yelling and tearing someone down will never produce the improvement you want.
Mr Wednesday 24th Nov 2018, 3:18 PM edit delete reply
Guest, I think the issue is really that the GM isn’t so graceful as you’re suggesting.

Consider the following: the GM ran a long, satisfying arc, but still was still nursing the loss of the original campaign. The GM brought DiscorDM in to bring a threat that would “require a campaign’s worth of effort”, without realizing that they had just delivered that. Yeah, the Gala arc was short compared to some campaigns, but it told a complete story. It got the players deeply engaged in the world, and so it was better. All the awesome ideas in the world don’t mean a thing if they don’t hit the table, and the GM needs to learn to ease up a bit. Writing a game means coming up with interesting images and situations, and linear plotting, which this a GM likes to do, hardly ever works,

The issue is, the GM has always had an IMPLICIT idea that the game is about world-spanning heroics where these mortal wielders of power go up against god-level threats, but this idea doesn’t match the EXPLICIT reality of the game, and it doesn’t match the expectations of the players. Remember the end of Dragonshy, where AJ talked about how the GM was going to epic and ignoring the ponies? That’s an example of the disconnect.

While I’m thinking about that, I’ve been wondering for a while what the relationship is between GM and AJ. If I didn’t know that DiscorDM was the mentor, then I’d say AJ got our GM into the hobby. I think some of the GM’s dislike of being outsmarted is starting to show (then again, nobody likes being outsmarted), because the players this arc seems to have really targeted are AJ and Twi, who are the best at working the GM and working the system, respectively.

Archone raises a good point about how no one person is the singular source of the conflict here. Expanding on that, it should be possible to assess everyone’s behaviour and see how we got to this point. At its best, it can be analysis instead of judgement.
Archone 25th Nov 2018, 5:31 PM edit delete reply
I'm not saying that no one person is the singular source of the conflict. I'm saying that this is a game played by friends. I'm saying that Main GM decided that he needed assistance to give his players a challenge and adventure worthy of their time, and so he called upon his mentor. I'm saying that his mentor decided to ignore stats and mechanics in favor of pure roleplaying.

And I'm saying that I do not expect this to end with anyone doing a tableflip and walking out... MAYBE Twilight, MAYBE. But if so, she'll return and they'll make up and a lesson will be had. Though to be honest, I think the lesson will be learned in the next few chapters, about how she needs to work in harmony with her teammates, like the paladins working together to form Voltron.

...For bonus points, I'm predicting that Discord GM will come back in a future arc having a friendship and/or romance blooming with Fluttershy's character. (And just for the hell of it, if this comic runs long enough, I predict that at some point Discord will GM a game for a few characters... a game within the game. The GMPC GMing a game for a couple of PCs)
GrayGriffin 25th Nov 2018, 6:38 PM edit delete reply
Considering Newbiespud has explicitly said he's not going to be using Discord redemption episodes for future comics, I think your idea is dead in the water.
Archone 25th Nov 2018, 11:39 PM edit delete reply
Oh? When did he say that?
GrayGriffin 26th Nov 2018, 5:18 PM edit delete reply
In the comments for page 1114.
Archone 27th Nov 2018, 2:37 PM edit delete reply
I just checked... not seeing it there. Not seeing ANY comments by Newbiespud for 1114. Are you sure that's the right page number?
obscurereader 27th Nov 2018, 4:26 PM edit delete reply
So, I think what GrayGriffin is referring to is the author comment where it states, "It's a break from the story of the in-game session, so you know what that means: Pulling sequences from episodes I'm almost definitely never going to use! Hooray!", combined with the fact that NewbieSpud pulled a screenshot of Post-Reformation!Discord from an episode in a season with Twilight as an alicorn in panel 4.

Course, not sure if all Discord episodes + episodes featuring Alicorn!Twilight are barred, or if it's just Alicorn!Twilight episodes banned or what - the quoted comment by Newbiespud in full is a bit ambiguous as far as I can tell - could just be that particular episode that won't be covered, idk.
Tempestfury 24th Nov 2018, 3:33 PM edit delete reply
Arrogantly insulting Fluttershy's character? Where? Where on earth did the Discord DM do that? There was that one time where the took Fluttershy's little breakdown as a rant against him as a DM, instead of against Discord specifically, and he didn't react well. But he apologized for it, a bit off-handedly perhaps, but he DID apologize!

And lying to Pinkie Pie's? Lying to Pinkie's Pie? Where on earth has he flat out lied to Pinky Pie!?!
Troubleshooter 24th Nov 2018, 8:19 PM edit delete reply
...During their respective curse scenes? ARe you not reading the comic?
Discord 24th Nov 2018, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
♪Well, Well, Well♪
♪Who do have here♪
♪Twilight huh, oooh I've been waiting♪
♪Elements not going the way you think?♪
I go on, but a certain law would bug me.
Mr Wednesday 24th Nov 2018, 3:54 PM edit delete reply
♪ The bearers of the Elements must right now be set free! ♪
♪ Release them all at once or you will have to deal with me! ♪
Discord 24th Nov 2018, 6:22 PM edit delete reply
♪Talk talk talk I'm telling you, this deity's going nowhere♪
♪If I were you, I take a hike, there's chaos in air♪
Mr Wednesday 24th Nov 2018, 6:47 PM edit delete reply
♪ It’s over! You’re finished! You’ll never get away! ♪
♪ You? Equestria’s new king? That’ll be the day! ♪
Discord 24th Nov 2018, 7:03 PM edit delete reply
♪She mocks me, she taunts me, I don't which is worse♪
♪I might fall to pieces if I don't die laughing first♪
Mr Wednesday 24th Nov 2018, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
♪ What’s this,ma trick? I’m not impressed! You’re bad and now you’re tall! ♪

♪ It makes it all the more worthwhile to see a giant fall! ♪
Discord 24th Nov 2018, 7:17 PM edit delete reply
I think we messed up here.
Want to try again early Tuesday?
Same game different song?
Mr Wednesday 24th Nov 2018, 7:47 PM edit delete reply
I’m game if you are! For off the cuff, I think it went pretty well!

Odin vs Discord: rematch!
Discord 24th Nov 2018, 8:36 PM edit delete reply
I was thinking more
Dr.Finklecord Vs. Twilight Skellington
Mr Wednesday 24th Nov 2018, 9:04 PM edit delete reply
That’s what I thought you’d say!

I’ve got a lot of names, after all! What’s one more?
ChaoticBrain 24th Nov 2018, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
Wait, why wasn't Rainbow added to these panels?
Guest 24th Nov 2018, 6:50 AM edit delete reply
I like to think she went to grab a soda.

And that's the excuse for why the elements fizzled out.
Rastaba 24th Nov 2018, 6:52 AM edit delete reply
I was wondering that as well, like if that’s going to prove to be a point or if Newbiespud simply just didn’t get to it, and she is just meant to be assumed as off panel.
Redwings1340 24th Nov 2018, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
If I had to guess, newbie was just in a hurry to get this page done when he did it and didn't have time to add dash in. Considering dash is the least cursed among them right now, I have to assume her element is working at the moment.
Newbiespud 24th Nov 2018, 8:04 AM edit delete reply
Couldn't find a vector in poses that worked.
Enigmatic Jack 24th Nov 2018, 9:48 AM edit delete reply
Curse those poses!
Digo 24th Nov 2018, 11:48 AM edit delete reply
So you are... oppose'd to posing?
ThatGuest 24th Nov 2018, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
Should have just taken a shot of mega friendship rainbow Dash and put it in as poorly as possible. Like, upside down with another image near her cut off in photoshop.
ChaoticBrain 24th Nov 2018, 6:39 PM edit delete reply
Well if Newbiespud ever decides to make a Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff style spin-off comic, I'm sure those will be the first ideas to go in.
ThatGuest 24th Nov 2018, 10:23 PM edit delete reply
"I have to go now, Cloudsdale needs me." *vwoop* (Rainbow Dash died on the way back to Cloudsdale.)
Discord 26th Nov 2018, 1:36 AM edit delete reply
The one piece of chaos that I actually loathe.
Toric 26th Nov 2018, 9:25 AM edit delete reply
I might contend that spam creates chaos, but is a product of order. It is deliberate, purposeful, and sometimes targeted. It has an expected result and goal. Sure, some spammers are trying to create chaos, but the spam itself is an assembly-made lump of boring, predictable commercialism. Unless there's actual theft or security threats involved, spam is mundane.
Archone 26th Nov 2018, 10:27 AM edit delete reply
We talking about the junk e-mails or the canned mystery meat?
kgy121 26th Nov 2018, 3:33 PM edit delete reply
HappyEevee 26th Nov 2018, 10:13 PM edit delete reply
"Have you got anything without spam in it?"
"Well, Spam-Egg-Sausage-and-Spam, it's not got much spam in it."