Page 1158 - Ties That Bind

20th Dec 2018, 5:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 2
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Ties That Bind
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 20th Dec 2018, 5:00 AM edit delete
I'm a big fan of Angel in Panel 4 shrugging at the reader in this sequence, like, "I don't know why she's tied up on this page. Maybe it's a metaphor. You figure it out."

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



Discord 20th Dec 2018, 5:16 AM edit delete reply
I would make a joke, but then old Newbie here would tie, bound, and gag me before releasing nine cats at me.
Kereea 20th Dec 2018, 5:30 AM edit delete reply
I'd offer my dog to protect you, but he's going to just accidentally spook the cats while trying to be friends. He's not really a guard dog, he just doesn't speak cat. Or dog, sometimes. But he's fluffy!
Blyndir 20th Dec 2018, 5:52 AM edit delete reply
I have some cat replant I'd be willing to sell for cheap. The only real downside is it attracts bears, so, you know, forewarned.
Digo Dragon 20th Dec 2018, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
GM: "Wait, where did you get that rope to tie yourself up?"
Applejack: "HOW did you tie yourself up?"
Fluttershy: "Um, the internet?"
Ganny 20th Dec 2018, 6:36 AM edit delete reply

GM: "Wait, where did you get that rope to tie yourself up?"
Fluttershy: "Applejack."

<Flutterjack intensifies>
Winged Cat 20th Dec 2018, 6:14 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Alternately alternatively...

GM: "So, why are you tied up?"
FS: "Well, I asked if Applejack wanted to rope me into this, and one thing lead to another..."
TS: "Uh huh. And Applejack, you were carrying rope because...?"
FS: "She and I were going to..."
AJ: "Nothing to do with the game, honest! She just, ah, wanted me to demonstrate some things once the game was over."
GrayGriffin 20th Dec 2018, 10:11 PM edit delete reply
So if we have Flutterjack and Twinkie already...guess Raridash is the only possible ship left.
Toric 21st Dec 2018, 9:03 AM edit delete reply
Oh ye of little imagination...just because somepony's already been shipped doesn't mean the size of the ship can't increase. Also, bold of you to assume that the DM can't be shipped with anypony. XD
GrayGriffin 21st Dec 2018, 10:12 AM edit delete reply
Look, there's a pleasing symmetry in the Mane Six being divided into three equal ships, that's all I'm referring to. Of course polyships are also very nice, but I'm starting from basics here.
Mr. Guy 20th Dec 2018, 8:34 AM edit delete reply
Call me jaded, but Fluttershy appears to be very manipulative here.

First the obvious hyperbole, 'he's right I'm a terrible person' which is an exaggeration of what Discord said to both invalidate his criticism and work as a fishing ploy for validation from the group (which she promptly receives). I've never seen or met anyone who calls themselves awful in front of their friends who isn't seeking affirmation that they aren't, especially when they don't repeat the statement after the group disagrees or explain why they think they're awful.
Second, the 'annoyed that I saw exactly what he was doing and fell for it anyway'. She's shifting the blame for her actions to him. She acts like Discord tricked her into being a jerk when DM explicitly said she had control over the 'no filter' curse and Discord even gave her another out with the 'destabilized curses'.

Discord is no saint, but Fluttershy's words here, especially that first bit, are all too reminiscent of some manipulative people I've had the misfortune of knowing.
Guest 20th Dec 2018, 10:52 AM edit delete reply
Well, manipulators often say what sincere people would, for different purposes.

The situation would probably appear differently if we could hear the tone and the other social informations that are hard to convey with written dialogue only.
Mr Wednesday 20th Dec 2018, 11:06 AM edit delete reply
Well since you asked.

You’re jaded.
Dusty the Janitor 20th Dec 2018, 11:39 AM edit delete reply
It doesn't have to be manipulative. A lot of people do just have really bad self esteem issues and legitimately hate themselves.

And somehow, I think telling somebody who already hates themselves that they're 'being manipulative' when they're trying to air out their emotions, maybe get some support, will only make it worse.

Perhaps, in a sense, it is manipulative. If they're airing out their emotions specifically to a trusted group of friends so that those friends will offer them support, then you could argue that's manipulative. But if the feelings behind them are genuine - they really do feel like a terrible person in the first place - then I'm not sure it's even a bad thing? As long as they're being honest and genuine about their deeper emotions.

This is, naturally, in contrast to somebody who actually doesn't feel any remorse, doesn't feel like they're a terrible person, and calls themselves such to get sympathy points. That kind of person is awful

But for the former case, It'd probably just make things even worse to call somebody who genuinely needs support because they genuinely hate themselves "manipulative," given the extreme negative connotations of the word.
Guest 20th Dec 2018, 11:53 AM edit delete reply
I think the big difference here that makes this not (intentionally) manipulative is that she believes her friends when they tell her it's okay. Manipulators would double down on the "everything is my fault" etc because their goal is to be the center of attention, not to apologize in any way.

I don't read the "fell for it anyway" line as pinning the blame on Discord; rather, she's taking responsibility for the way she acted, and explicitly saying that Discord's intentional manipulation isn't an excuse on her part.

But it's also really easy to fall into this kind of "I'm a terrible person" behavior, especially if you have any sort of mental health issues. It takes a conscious effort on my part not to do that, because I spent so long with severe untreated depression that I trained myself it was the truth, I was horrible, etc. I think it's very in-character for Fluttershy to struggle with that, and with scrupulosity in general. I'm not saying it's justifiable, but it is understandable, at least to me.
Archone 20th Dec 2018, 1:10 PM edit delete reply
I wouldn't call it manipulative, I'd call it projectionism. She's projecting her guilt onto Discord. Discord DID make her confront her true nature, yes - but the point Discord was pressing upon her was the real Fluttershy is actually... a pretty cool person. Extremely intelligent, competent, and capable. It's not Discord's fault that whatever abusive jerk came before him did such an impressive job of convincing Fluttershy that being intelligent and perceptive were faults to feel bad about.
Tempestfury 20th Dec 2018, 3:15 PM edit delete reply
Inteligent, competent and capable? Most curious Archone, why do you think Discord thinks of Fluttershy like that?
Spud at Work 20th Dec 2018, 3:28 PM edit delete reply
DiscordGM to Fluttershy: "...All that pent-up rage and contempt."
obscurereader 20th Dec 2018, 9:37 PM edit delete reply
@Archone, Not sure about the bit about Fluttershy projecting guilt onto Discord (Her sigh followed by, "I'm sorry for... everything." in the penultimate panel on this page seems to indicate that most of her guilt is directed at herself, with the bit about being annoyed being more self-reprimanding and along the lines of 'I should've done better,' than blaming Discord!GM or Discord the villain character) or the bit about Discord!GM/Discord the character forcing Fluttershy to "confront her true nature," (since the way all the characters have been acting this arc, OoC and IC, doesn't really strike me as normal/their "true nature," as it were - primarily cause of the giant clusterfuck of new factors thrown at everyone involved and the Chaos God Curses), but I'm pretty sure it's clear we kinda disagree on this kind of stuff.

I will agree that Discord isn't responsible for any previous abuse given to Fluttershy, if there is any (I'm severely doubtful that this comic would have one of the characters be a victim of abuse, but I also feel it's largely ambiguous as to what happened in Fluttershy's past and that there are definitely pages that can be taken as evidence, so that's a possible interpretation if nothing else). However, I will say that if (and this is a big if on my part) Fluttershy was abused in the past along the lines you presented, it's totally on Discord!GM for digging it up again through his fit and subsequent curse, even if it was unintentional.

I do think that Fluttershy is "Extremely intelligent, competent, and capable.", but moreso due to her previous arc showings in the comic (ex: The Epic Dragon Intimidation, Hurricane Fluttershy, the Breezie arc, and bonding/leading the Palace Animals at the Gala) rather than anything during the Discord arc.

In addition, I do not think that Discord was intentionally pressing upon her that idea that Fluttershy's true self is "Extremely intelligent, competent, and capable." - looking back on page 1102, the context was more about Discord/Discord!GM (hard to tell which here at this point, cause it switches from DM textboxes to IC Discord!speak rather seamlessly and easily) being pissed at Fluttershy figuring out the game he was playing rather easily and/or taking her IC roleplay the wrong way. The quote in panel 3 after declaring the curse (which I've quoted before but will repost here for reference: "Let's see how your friends like the REAL you without that cute facade to wash things over!"), specifically the "cute facade" bit, seems to imply Discord/Discord!GM is angry and thinks Fluttershy is faking her kindness to make others like her more, and that the "REAL you" is much nastier/manipulative (which, weirdly enough, could be used as evidence for Discord!GM/Discord the campaign character projecting onto Fluttershy his more manipulative/nasty tendencies, if you're one who finds Discord!GM and/or Discord the campaign character detestable), and not "a pretty cool person." like you're saying.
obscurereader 20th Dec 2018, 10:05 PM edit delete reply
Also, something I forgot to properly address/connect what I was saying to the rest of the comment chain - I'm not sure this page with Fluttershy and her interactions with the others really counts as manipulation?

Going back to Mr. Guy's first comment of the chain, the obvious hyperbole could legitimately be taken as Fluttershy's judgement of herself after playing her character's curse out the way she did, rather than be exaggerating anything Discord said - after all, on page 1136, Fluttershy says, "I... guess I just get more mean. Based on what I've been saying... It seems that's who I really am..." to the questioning/disbelief of Twilight and the visible silence of Main!DM, which would imply Fluttershy genuinely thinks she's a terrible person and beating herself up over it.

In addition, pointing at the "annoyed that I saw exactly what he was doing and fell for it anyway" bit on its own kinda ignores the previous panel's dialogue from Fluttershy of, "I'm sorry for... everything.", which to me looks as upfront an apology for her actions as you can get and contextualizes the annoyance mentioned in the next panel as being directed at Fluttershy herself, not Discord - to go back to my previous comment, it's much more like she's reprimanding herself/wishing she'd done better and hadn't been a jerk rather than her shifting the blame to Discord (especially since, as Mr. Guy pointed out, "DM explicitly said she had control over the 'no filter' curse and Discord even gave her another out with the 'destabilized curses'.", so any fault of Fluttershy being a jerk would be on her, and it seems like she knows and acknowledges it).
Guest 21st Dec 2018, 2:55 AM edit delete reply
That's not what Discord was pressing upon her. At no point did he anything to show her she was "actually... a pretty cool person."

EVERYONE in-story note that Discord has been acting like a jerk. Yes, they aren't blameless either, but trying to pretend Discord has been trying to be a positive influence who's somehow been misunderstood because there are other abusive people in Fluttershy's life is borderline insulting to all the readers' intelligence and reading capacities.

DiscordDM has been playing a villain. He deliberately created a situation that would put Fluttershy-the-character in a no-win situation, wihch is a legit thing to do. But when Fluttershy-the-player saw right through it with her intelligence and perceptive nature and had Fluttershy-the-character tell Discord she won't play his game, DiscordDM got ANGRY. Genuinely angry. And he tried to *punish* Fluttershy's intelligent and perceptive reaction to his mindgames. DiscordDM even admitted he was wrong later.

Seriously, please, don't try to present someone getting angry and retaliatory after being foiled as "lol he was trying to show her she's awesome, but someone else convinced her it was bad".
Archone 21st Dec 2018, 3:12 PM edit delete reply
Aiming this at Spud, because he apparently replied:

...I've known a lot of people who have been victims, been oppressed, been bullied, etc (and yes, one of those people was me). The result is indeed a lot of resentment, anger, rage. Especially when the victims know the bullies are essentially acting out of a sense of their own inferiority and a desire to feel superior to someone... especially when that knowledge brings with it the realization that the victim must be cleverer than the bully in order to perceive such knowledge.

So yeah, I understand how Fluttershy feels. And I can see that Discord GM recognizes Fluttershy as someone who was a psychological punching bag in her past. Which leads to the conundrum: if Discord GM sees Fluttershy like that and is acting maliciously, then not only is he being a bully, but Main GM invited him into the game because he thought well of Discord GM. Which speaks poorly of Main GM. Which is why I'm trying to give Discord GM the benefit of the doubt. (Because I've also had the VERY good fortune to know people who deal with bullying victims with honesty and pragmatism. The real solution isn't to protect victims from bullies. The real solution is to teach the victims how to stand up for themselves, and then step back and watch the show)
Guest 21st Dec 2018, 3:59 PM edit delete reply
Discord admited he screwed up when getting angry at Fluttershy, and MainDM admited he screwed up by giving Discord the instruction to go full mindgame, and no matter how in high regard he held Discord he was surprised by the outburst as well.

I don't see how you'd give them the benefit of the doubt, or why you would. One miscalculated his capacity to tank the cutting words directed at the in-game villain, the other miscalculated how people would act and react. They screwed up, it doesn't make them malicious.
Archone 22nd Dec 2018, 12:29 AM edit delete reply
@Guest "They screwed up, it doesn't make them malicious."
That's literally been my position the whole time... or at least, the latter half. Whether or not they screwed up is debatable, but to assume maliciousness... that's the part I'm having trouble swallowing.
Guest 22nd Dec 2018, 12:55 AM edit delete reply
That they screwed up isn't debatable, unless you assume they and everyone else is lying when they are admitting the pair screwed up.

As for maliciousness, Newbiespud directly said DiscordDM doesn't understand how he's hurting people because he turned his empathy to minimum for the role, and MainDM is aghast at what transpired.
redwings1340 20th Dec 2018, 8:37 AM edit delete reply
Poor Fluttershy :(

Self loathing depression is the worst thing. You can have all the supportive friends in the world, but when your mind is telling you that you suck, it just doesn't matter. Even the "I'm sorry for everything" here is probably an apology for... well... everything. Fluttershy doesn't know what she needs to apologize for, and what she doesn't, because in her mind, everything about her is terrible.

Based on her conversation with discord, I felt like she probably was abused in her past, and this conversation is more evidence for that. :(

This character trait of Fluttershy will continue to be a factor long beyond this session, this isn't just something that goes away. It just gets managed, and its so hard.
Randonimity 20th Dec 2018, 11:01 AM edit delete reply
I had a really long response all typed out about how I relate to Fluttershy's player so hard and how my self-deprecation and self-loathing is some weird twisted justification for the constant stream of suicidal ideation in my head.

But no one wants to read that so I'm just going to say I hope Fluttershy's player gets the support she needs. It's going to take a lot of unpacking and processing to deal with it in a healthy way.
Mr Wednesday 20th Dec 2018, 2:14 PM edit delete reply

You are a wonderful and deserving person. It’s brave of you to share what you did.
Dragonflight 20th Dec 2018, 7:15 PM edit delete reply
Seconded. I've been dealing with dark depression my entire life. And it never gets any easier. What most people who don't deal with it don't get is that you can't just "choose to feel better." It doesn't work that way. Even if you don't know *why* you feel depressed, you just *do*. During that time, everything everyone else says is a lie, and all the songs and stories are just a farce told to stupid and gullible people.

The hard part for anyone feeling that way is to force through it. Everyone has their own way. Mine is to listen to upbeat music. The most played CD in my car (when I last had one,) was a travel CD with all the Equestria Girls singles on it. Every time they came out with another movie, I made another disk with more music on it. The *relentlessly upbeat* music, promising that it *isn't* a lie, really kept me going.

In the end, the most powerful method I have is simply the knowledge that I've felt that way before, and have always been able to walk out of it again after. Knowing I've done it before helps with doing it again.

But it never gets any easier. And the emotional whipsaw never cuts any less.

In the context of this story, I suspect the moment Discord realizes just how much *pain* Fluttershy carries around with her, he'll start investing a lot more in her as a person, thus beginning the Fluttercord dynamic.
Archone 21st Dec 2018, 12:14 AM edit delete reply
Question for Redwing, Randonimity, and Dragonflight. I am someone who has dealt with a lot of depressed people, been there for them during their dark periods when, as Dragonflight put it, "everything everyone else says is a lie." Where they not only believe they're terrible people, but when I try to tell them otherwise they essentially gasp and cry out, "oh, NO! That means... oh no, that means you really think I'm even WORSE than I thought I was!" It's... frustrating. I care about these people a lot, and it's very, very difficult when they're suffering and I do not know what to do.

My question is: what CAN I say/do to help during such periods? When things are that bad, when things are that dark, when the frickin' Sword of Shannarah couldn't convince them of the truth, what do I do?
TheStratovarian 21st Dec 2018, 1:18 AM edit delete reply

Be there for them. Sometimes its with laughter and light.

Sometimes its with an ear to listen to them vent, and when done, a hand up out of the pit.

Others, its a friendly face and doing to distract and let them ignore the little voice screaming.

No two are often right, but friends help. And its often up to you as a friend to really figure out the puzzle to let that fugue state go on by when you open up the box. And just air it all out.

It hurts a little less, but it gets better for them each step of the way.
Guest 21st Dec 2018, 11:09 AM edit delete reply
@Archone well, not many people want to hear it, but sometimes you can't help. Not for lack of trying or lack of care, but simply because the person doesn't WANT to be helped or isn't READY to be helped. We all go through periods where we kind of just have to work through things and trying to hurry that process along just adds pressure and makes things difficult, leading to a blow up or breakdown. People who are angry don't just calm down when they want to, for example. When I'm in the worst of it, I keep to myself instead of forcing other people to put up with me because I'm old enough and have been through my particular pattern enough times to know the worst WILL pass, but for the moment, I just need to feel these things, think these thoughts, and then try to let it go when I'm ready to move on. I don't make myself do more than I can actually manage, even if it means passing on stuff I would have loved to do because I need what mental energy I have to get my actual work done. It's not fun, it's not productive, it's just part of my life. I'm not someone who developed depression suddenly or after some major event, I've been this way for as long as I can remember and it'll never really leave me, so my experience is probably different than most people's and I cope differently. Everyone does.

Sometimes, it's also better to just not feed into their behavior and interact with them more or less like nothing has changed without drawing attention to their shift in behavior, kind of like Strat is saying. You just be their friend and be there when they're ready for your company, without taking it personally if they want their space or letting them twist your words to beat themselves up with. Talking about it all the time is *exhausting* for everybody; for the person dealing with the behavior and the person thinking those thoughts. I have one particular friend who, honestly, I kind of avoid speaking to when I'm in a really good mood because he *loves* having someone to talk to who "gets it"…but now that's what I associate with him; being depressed and anxious and hopeless, and sometimes, I am NOT up for it. You don't want your entire relationship with a person to revolve around their condition; you're not their therapist.
Fallowsthorn 21st Dec 2018, 12:35 PM edit delete reply

Use this method with caution, but depending on the person, you could try agreeing with them.

Essentially the problem is that you're reading through a script that goes in a horrible circle and just makes everyone feel worse. The more you try to insist they're not a terrible person, the more the depression whispers that you don't mean that, you're just being nice, you're so kind to pity them, etc.

So. Break the pattern. Agree.

Them: "I'm a horrible person!"

You: "Sure are."

Them: "What?" (Note that even if they genuinely believe down to their core that this is true, a deviation from the script will probably startle them out of it. Depression is really bad at improv.)

You: "I'm tired of arguing with your lack of serotonin. Maybe you are as terrible as you say. I still don't care. I'm your friend, warts and all. I like /you/, not some magical ideal person I'm waiting for you to become. So. Fine. You suck, and I still like you. So there. What now?"

This is kind of like walking away from a dog to get it to come to you. In the best case, they'll reverse the script without realizing it and start coming up with reasons they don't suck. Most likely what will happen is they flounder a bit. It does require a bit of a delicate touch, because if you phrase it as "I know you think you're awful" then you're just continuing the script with a minor variation: they explain why they suck and you explain why you don't think that and they remain convinced that they've somehow tricked you or whatever.

The next time it happens, interrupt. Derail. The minute they say, "I'm terrible, how do you put up with me," immediately say, "Yep. Still your friend, though. Not interested in listening to some asshole be mean to my friend. Why don't we [insert activity you both enjoy]?"

IMPORTANT: only do this if it's actually become a pattern. If it happens once or twice, it's just venting and they probably need some good old-fashioned encouragement. If it happens over and over (and over, and over), nobody's getting anything out of it, least of all them.

ALSO IMPORTANT: this will not fix the problem. At best it will give you an opening to say, "Hey, you seem kind of down on yourself, I don't think that's normal or healthy, would you be willing to talk to a professional about it?" There is no magic bullet that solves depression, or if there is it's medication, therapy, and time. Lethargy may make it very hard for them to make the initial appointment and follow through, so if you can help with that do so as cheerfully as possible and ignore anything along the lines of "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea" or "How could this possibly help."

Source: severe untreated depression, ages 10-21. Also Captain Awkward, who's a great resource for disrupting unhealthy patterns.
Fallowsthorn 21st Dec 2018, 12:39 PM edit delete reply
Meant to add: they'll beat up on themselves until the cows come home, but they'll probably be very reluctant to say anything bad about you. If you flip the script so that by denigrating themselves, they're insulting you/your judgement, this can also jar them out of it.
Redwings1340 21st Dec 2018, 2:55 PM edit delete reply
Adding on to everyone's comments, i think a key to this is avoiding getting in to an argument over whether your friend is a good or bad person. If the argument is over whether they're a bad person, you're arguing with depression over something undefinable. You can't win that battle. The depression manages to twist everything in to self depreciation.

Something I try to do a lot is to make statements that represent myself and my own subjective opinion, so I can avoid saying anything that can be twisted in to a negative. I enjoy hanging out with this person, I enjoy their company, I appreciate them being in my life. You can't prove that they are good, you can't prove other people like them, but you can prove your own feelings towards the person, because you're the only person who can possibly know that. Depression may accuse you of misinterpreting the truth, but its harder to accuse you of lying.

Another thing to mention here is that a lot of the time theres not much you can do other than be their friend. Suggesting a silver bullet solution is more likely going to be harmful than good, especially if you phrase it in a way that assumes they've never heard it before. Your friend has probably heard it all before. If you do want to suggest something, ask them what they are doing to manage the condition first.

I'll usually gladly talk to you about how I'm trying to manage depression/anxiety, but there's nothing more annoying than someone going "you should go to therapy and excercise more." congrats, you've solved depression, I'm free, it's all over now, nobody's ever said that to me before, yayyyyy... Yeah, no, you don't have the solution, I don't have the solution, and the only way we can get closer to the solution is by listening to your friend and being their friend while they figure it out. I'll accept and appreciate suggestions, but never assume there's a silver bullet that will solve it all, or that you're the first person to say something. You're probably not.
Composer99 20th Dec 2018, 10:21 AM edit delete reply
Excellent use of screen caps from "Putting Your Hoof Down", I must say.
Archone 20th Dec 2018, 1:17 PM edit delete reply
I have to say, I'm a little... concerned, about what Newbiespud had the main GM put there in the last panel.
Fluttershy: "Annoyed that I saw exactly what he was doing and fell for it anyway."
Applejack: "We all did."
Main GM: "Especially me."

Why is Main GM referring to Discord GM's actions as if they were some kind of nefarious plan that he tricked Main GM into allowing? Main GM called up Discord GM and ASKED him to do this sort of thing. He specifically said, "I need a villain." Discord GM delivered. Hell, except for Twilight's frustrations the rest of them were having fun (last page had Applejack and Rarity both admitting to enjoying it... Rainbow isn't there, but she openly declared it to be awesome at the time).

So I'm getting a little concerned... is Newbie twisting things? Because if Main GM is claiming that Discord GM "tricked" him into going along with things, that's sounding a lot like medieval folks talking about how evil and bloodthirsty butchers were... while going to the butcher and specifically requesting cuts of meat from said butchers.
Spud at Work 20th Dec 2018, 3:25 PM edit delete reply
DM already admitted that DiscordGM has done exactly what they asked him to do, hence the guilt that drove them to raid Pinkie's hidden emergency coolers.

This is them saying (perhaps inelegantly) not that they were tricked, but "I was no fool; I saw and on some level understood how bad things were getting, and I let them continue anyway."
Wordy Guest 20th Dec 2018, 4:03 PM edit delete reply
While applejack liked rarity’s performance, I don’t think it accurate to say she was enjoying DiscorDM’s take on villainy. In fact she doesn’t seem to have a terribly high view of him at all.

“Look, discord basically put a big ol’ puzzle box in front o’ me and Ah fixated on that the whole game. And while Ah can certainly curse him out for manipulatin’ me like that... ... Ah shouldn’t have let that puzzle box stop me from... y’know, being a team player.”

(Underlining mine).

I don’t threaten to swear at people who are making me happy. And I don’t think applejack is that in-depth a roll player to swear at a fictional person for upsetting her and her player friends.
Archone 21st Dec 2018, 12:11 AM edit delete reply
I wouldn't call a puzzle box a bad thing, per se. That sounds as if Applejack is (rightly) blaming herself for allowing the lovely and captivating puzzle to stop her from working with the rest of the team. Kind of like a goalie who lets the other team get a bunch of free shots because a fan called out about rare pokemon and the goalie grabbed their fun to play Pokemon Go... during the football game.

(FYI: I'm American, but I refuse to call it "soccer." Especially since American football is... well, I'm not a fan. And it's not even played with the feet...)
GrayGriffin 21st Dec 2018, 1:40 AM edit delete reply
...why are you ignoring the actual underlined part of the quote? The part where Applejack mentions wanting to curse DiscorDM out?
Subhumanoid Guest 21st Dec 2018, 3:47 AM edit delete reply
Because the puzzle wasn't a puzzle, it was never anything more than a distraction. There never was a solution other than to endure it until DiscorDM was satisfied it had hindered her long enough, or metagame it and accept whatever punishment DiscorDM had for her. It's less like she got distracted by Pokemon Go, and more like the other team 'accidentally' dropped their playbook where she could get it, but every play in the book could work on its own or as a feint.

It's actually a trick a lot of GMs will use; an unsolvable puzzle that is only 'solved' when the players have put enough work to feel 'right', or if they manage to bend the rules enough to impress the GM. Closely related is the trick of changing the solution if the PCs hit it too early or too easily (or if the 'wrong player' solves it), or using a solution that makes no sense to anyone who isn't psychically linked to the GM. Or, in extreme cases, gives players a choice of bad options with no way to survive (that is why I never played D&D with my brother again). Note: overuse of these tactics can KILL your game.

Applejack doesn't seem to view the puzzle as 'lovely and captivating' anymore, since she stepped back she seems to see it as a trap meant to use her to hurt the party. And given that two-thirds of the party were subject to similar traps, she likely sees DiscorDM as the sort of person who gets off on causing drama, or the sort of GM who encourages PvP (personally, I consider a PvP mentality in a tabletop RPG to be a strong deal-breaker).

DiscorDM separated the players and had them spending part of their gametime sitting alone waiting for his attention (I've been in games like that; I hated them). Then he sowed the seeds of inter-group conflict and frustration. Quite frankly, I would have a hard time finding any good in a session like this.
GrayGriffin 20th Dec 2018, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
The main GM has repeatedly been shown to be surprised by DiscorDM's decisions in how to run the game, but go along with them anyways. So yes, he "fell for it" in a sense.

EDIT: Whoops, missed that Spud already responded to you. Also do you have any proof of this "medieval folk talking about how bloodthirsty butchers were" claim? It honestly feels like a complete non sequitur here.
Guest 21st Dec 2018, 3:00 AM edit delete reply
If you're concerned that the AUTHOR is twisting things because the new developments don't fit your interpretation of a character, perhaps it is time to question your interpretation of the character rather than the author twisting things.
Archone 21st Dec 2018, 4:00 PM edit delete reply
@Guest, I've read plenty of webcomics and novel series that went seriously south because the author decided to change things up for personal reasons("Sinfest" comes to mind). Hell, I still remember reading Robert Heinlein's last book, "To Sail Beyond the Sunset," which is a beautiful autobiographical account by Maureen Johnson, a very sweet, good hearted and matronly woman that everyone adores. EXCEPT... for the bit where she starts talking about suicide, and it becomes Heinlein's voice coming out of his derailed character, saying things that... pretty much anyone who has ever dealt with people with depression will know is completely wrong (btw, thanks to those who gave me the advice. I've tried some of it in the past... but... we do what we can, for those we care about).

Hell, there's an entire TV tropes page about how this sort of thing can happen (warning, look at your peril and prepare to say goodbye to the next few hours, it's TV tropes after all):
Heck, they even mention the infamous "Metroid: Other M" example under "Video Games." The one where Samus Aran is turned into a helpless damsel who gets terrified of monsters she has repeatedly killed in the past, and with huge Daddy issues (And this was done by the series' original creator). So yes, I'm a little concerned.

@GrayGriffin I just spent a VERY frustrating period searching with both Ecosia (which I favor for moral reasons) and Google (Because Ecosia wasn't cutting it), trying to find examples of the origins of the saying, "The man who eats meat is as guilty as the butcher." I'm having trouble even finding examples of the saying. Which is odd as hell. I even found examples of butchers being ostracized in other cultures (the
Burakumin of Japan worked as, among other things, butchers. Also the Cheonmin of Korea - also persecuted and discriminated against, even as they did the dirty and unpleasant jobs).

It's actually rather worrisome. That's a classic saying that is more relevant than ever, given how often people will "feed" on the bloodshed done by someone else, to someone else, but where nobody can see it and so we can all pretend it isn't really happening.
GrayGriffin 21st Dec 2018, 4:34 PM edit delete reply
...I have literally never heard this phrase before in my life until you mentioned it. Are you sure it isn't a PETA slogan or something?
Archone 22nd Dec 2018, 12:47 AM edit delete reply
I am ABSOLUTELY SURE it is not a PETA slogan. It is a very old saying that dates back to when Europeans began to leave the countrysides to live in towns and cities (i.e. a seguing from the feudalistic farming lifestyle to the urban lifestyle). When they lived on farms people had to butcher their own animals, but in the city few people have time for that (though they might have kept a pig in the yard to turn table scraps into bacon/ham/sausage/chitlins/pork chops/ribs/kidney pies/etc). The shift had begun towards more specialized labor. On the farm you had to do your own butchering, sewing, cheesemaking, beermaking, chutney and jam making, etc; in the city you were more highly compensated for more specialized work; you did your job and then often as not went to a tailor for clothes, to a butcher for meat, a baker for bread, etc.

So people became distanced from the act of killing what they ate... no longer raising the animals and then killing them and acknowledging where their meat came from... and the scapegoating and projectionism began. Butchers were described as being miserly. Greedy. Prone to cheating people, putting their thumbs on the scales (a trick where you gently place your thumb on the scale while weighing out the amount being sold to a customer. Thereby bumping up the price by a few ounces' worth. So that's the origin of another old saying, "putting their thumb on the scales," to refer to authorities showing bias). It got so bad that the butchers began to counter by saying, "if you buy our meat, you're on the same moral level as we are."

It then became a common saying to describe the hypocrisy of expecting other people to get their hands dirty on one's behalf and then scorning those who did the dirty work. The types who talk tough, but expect others to follow through. The Robespierres.
Guest 22nd Dec 2018, 12:58 AM edit delete reply
I've studied that time period a bit, and I've never heard of that saying being a thing.
Subhumanoid Guest 21st Dec 2018, 7:30 PM edit delete reply
This is not a case of the author retconning events. The reactions we're seeing in the comic are only a surprise if you decided DiscorDM was the real hero and the PCs were going to love the session he 'helped' with. If you were expecting DiscorDM to run a bad game session, there was a lot of foreshadowing to pick up on.

I will concede one thing, DiscorDM's introduction in the castle was a great scene which showed to some extent why he is so well regarded, but even before then, the scene where the MainDM recruited DiscorDM was an attempt to change the tone of the game in a big way, which is always a huge gamble.

No one is perfect in this scenario, but there was never going to be a version of this in which the PCs fell to their knees and kissed DiscorDM's feet for such a wonderful session. Perhaps it would have worked in your group, but this was never going to fit the group we've been following.
Guest 22nd Dec 2018, 1:01 AM edit delete reply
This. DiscordDM's methods and flaws were obvious, unless from the perspective of someone who think he's going to be amazing and is willing to ignore them for this thought's sake (like the DM did)
GrayGriffin 22nd Dec 2018, 2:21 AM edit delete reply
I wouldn't even call it "foreshadowing." It was pretty obvious even before the halfway mark that the game session wasn't going well, no matter who you want to blame it on.
DuoScratch 20th Dec 2018, 5:10 PM edit delete reply
I don't buy it...not completely. And that's really all I have to say about that.
Mr Wednesday 20th Dec 2018, 6:10 PM edit delete reply
What’s there to buy?
THE OTHER GUEST 20th Dec 2018, 8:08 PM edit delete reply
Lots of stuff, but while I don't know what DuoScratch isn't buying, I'm personally waiting for all the After Christmas Discounts to roll in for the things I want.
Guest 21st Dec 2018, 6:32 PM edit delete reply
So, now someone tries to make Dadh admit she did something wrong, which creates conflict because (this session) she did nothing reprehensible?
Needling Haystacks 22nd Dec 2018, 12:17 PM edit delete reply
What are these screencaps from? My memory is a bit fuzzy on this.