Page 1171 - Illumination Station

19th Jan 2019, 5:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 2
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Illumination Station
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 19th Jan 2019, 5:00 AM edit delete
Can you tell that I'm dying to bring in future-season characters and plotlines yet?

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



FM-96 19th Jan 2019, 5:15 AM edit delete reply
Oh, Jesus. What's up with the font here? The kerning on it is absolutely atrocious.

Looking at this almost gives me a headache.
Guest 19th Jan 2019, 5:47 AM edit delete reply
The image is also 33% wider than normal. Maybe the increased size caused some font issues?
Newbiespud 19th Jan 2019, 8:04 AM edit delete reply
Ah heck, I exported this page with the wrong settings, didn't I? Well, at least that's an easy enough fix.
DragonGeek 19th Jan 2019, 8:07 AM DragonGeek edit delete reply
I blame Discord
TheStevest 20th Jan 2019, 9:27 AM edit delete reply
The software, the character or the album?
Digo Dragon 21st Jan 2019, 4:57 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Why not all three?
Needling Haystacks 21st Jan 2019, 10:28 AM edit delete reply
My answer was gonna be "Yes".
Leonite 19th Jan 2019, 6:05 AM edit delete reply
Honestly there's one pony there I would like to see.

What? I like Starlight.
Steel Resolve 19th Jan 2019, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
I'd like to see her sucked into an eldritch hole and have to fight her way out of Tartarus. Does that count? I'd not saying I wish her ill, but she's not a social pony, she's a bludgeon who deals with situations best when she can use force. Even in her own village force was used to shape every resident to one uniformity.
Toric 19th Jan 2019, 11:15 AM edit delete reply
Sounds like you want her to be the protag in Pony-DOOM
CrowMagnon 19th Jan 2019, 12:07 PM edit delete reply
Honestly, who DOESN'T think that sounds like it would be pretty awesome?
Valtharr 26th Jan 2019, 5:33 AM edit delete reply
Wait wait wait. Guys. Don't you see the obvious here?

A unicorn eager to explore magical phenomena, so eager that she gets in over her head and jumps through a magical portal into an eldritch dimension that is very different - yet also somewhat similar - to the world she came from?

Sunset Shimmer is ready to go, guys!

(what? I genuinely like SunShim as a character, and think there's potential for her to be in this comic)
A Cunning Thief 21st Jan 2019, 9:24 PM edit delete reply
I would indeed like Starlight to be torn to shreds.

I think she's a terrible character. Did you see that episode with Trixie in S8? She was a complete monster and wasn't even blamed for it.
Guest 19th Jan 2019, 6:20 AM edit delete reply
Kind of a shame Trixie was used as one of the crossover cameo characters with Grand Line 3.5. She probably would have been hilarious in this comic's context when it's time to use later seasons' stuff.

Of course the DM might still have her as a NPC, either as a PC-turned-NPC or just a similar character. I'm eager to have my gloomy perspective proved wrong.

Unless I misread something and that crossover was an outside-continuity omake?
Guest 19th Jan 2019, 6:22 AM edit delete reply
Maybe she'll show up as a Discorded boss during the Mane 6 World Tour.

On another subject: is Spike trapped in Ponyville now?
GrayGriffin 19th Jan 2019, 7:23 AM edit delete reply
He showed up in a group shot on the previous page, so probably not. I dunno about 4e, but it also feels like Twilight should have some way to just summon him to her side as well.
Cygnia 19th Jan 2019, 6:45 AM edit delete reply
DiscorDM is inching back towards dickery again, I see.
Marvelous TK 19th Jan 2019, 8:21 AM edit delete reply
Seriously? Where? Warning the party that their plan will bring the villain down on them is not dickish. I'd argue that bringing the villain down on their heads when they start messing around with the magical perimeter of the chaos-bubble they know he's in WITHOUT warning them wouldn't have been dickish because uh yeah that's what'd happen in a game, so warning them in advance is outright a kindness. And commenting on how a plan might interact with their moral alignment? I don't think I've had a GM yet who hasn't done that, even in games that don't have a set alignment system. Where in any of this do you see that dickery? In this page specifically, I'm seeing a more than fair GM.
Jennifer 19th Jan 2019, 8:45 AM edit delete reply
I agree. DiscorDM seems pretty cooperative in this page. Like he's learning his lesson and trying to help get the game going again.
Redwings1340 19th Jan 2019, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
I don't really mind what discord is doing here, it's a reasonable in character action to interfere if the elements stay at the border for longer than he wants, and pointing out the risks involved with bringing in npcs is a fair point.

Still, twilight and aj are right too, there are other strategies they can pursue before going in. At the very least twilight has spike and can write a letter to celestia, sharing what she's learned and what she thinks should be done. The universe around ponyville isn't so far gone to be useless right now, and I think having some side npc involvement definitely makes sense. After all, the elements aren't the only force in this world who wants to stop discord.
Kereea 19th Jan 2019, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
Yep. This seems pretty normal.
Archone 19th Jan 2019, 5:18 PM edit delete reply
I still don't see that there was a lesson to be learned on his part. As Marvelous TK pointed out, he's being a more than fair GM. And prior to that... again, he was being a fairly decent GM, given that he was setting the foundations for the length campaign. You can't have an epic quest against a Big Bad until the Big Bad has done something genuinely... bad. Which, because the GM is controlling them, means the GM has to cause bad things to happen. (And chocolate rain and even body warping are... kinda tame, compared to what the bad guys tend to do in Pathfinder, Shadowrun... Warhammer 40K...)
Newbiespud 20th Jan 2019, 7:48 AM edit delete reply
Prior to all this, he was being an attack dog towards the group's actual in-and-out-of-character friendship, which was over the line that they weren't in any way prepared for and brought the game to a grinding halt. Both the DM and DiscordGM justified it to themselves the same way - a long-arc Big Bad has to do some really bad things - but that's separating the content from the vector. Intent from execution.

You can be clever and thoughtful on paper and still go about it the wrong way. Take the infamous climax of the movie Batman v Superman. On paper, there's actually a potentially clever turn in the MARTHA! scene (reflection back to when Bruce Wayne's parents were taken from him, making him realize that hatred has turned him into the man who pulled the trigger on his parents), but in execution... hoo boy.
Archone 20th Jan 2019, 11:26 AM edit delete reply
I agree with you, Spud. That's... been my point about Discord GM, in fact. You may have intended him to come across a certain way, but in execution to a number of readers he has been less "arrogant and manipulative problem guy," and more "gaming afficionado with a huge emphasis on roleplaying."

Which is not a bad thing, by any means - when Star Trek: TNG "grew the beard," it was after the writers realized female fans were more sexually attracted to Picard than to Riker. Cue Riker growing the beard and behaving more like a first officer than a "Kirk clone," and cue Picard having more adventures and romantic subplots.
Newbiespud 20th Jan 2019, 11:40 AM edit delete reply
If that's how you see Discord, then I think that reveals a lot more about you than my writing.
Mr Wednesday 20th Jan 2019, 3:59 PM edit delete reply
I couldn’t have put it better.
Archone 21st Jan 2019, 7:58 AM edit delete reply
Uh... Spud? Speaking as someone else who has also done a fair share of writing... if your target audience fails to draw the intended message from your work, you don't want to assume the error is on their end. By which I mean that the last time someone dismissed critique so blithely, it was the director for a TV pilot that had just bombed very, very badly, in what was undoubtedly the most insulting correspondence I have ever experienced. I say "Correspondence" because it was an e-mail to me, as one of his writers. For a show you have never heard of, because they never made a second episode and everyone moved on, largely due to the poor behavior of the director and the producer (who was also the father of the director and had allowed everything to fall apart while he was off in Europe for unrelated business). And yes, that TV pilot included a main character who, in the script used by the director, was presented as sympathetic even after engaging in actions that included violence, threats, and a... genuine air of sexual intimidation (which was more due to the excellent performance by the actor, but which really drove home how bad this was).

To some of your readers Discord GM may have come across in a certain way... but to many of us (because I'm not the only one to have been posting comments about it) he has seemed like a pretty decent guy who has been incredibly gracious about the way he's been getting treated by these people he agreed to come co-GM a game for. I honestly cannot think of a single person I have played with who would not have gotten up and left the table by this point, if they were in his shoes.
GrayGriffin 21st Jan 2019, 8:13 AM edit delete reply
You keep saying "many of us," but you're pretty much the only person left who keeps saying that DiscorDM did literally nothing wrong the whole time. Even his other supporters are admitting that he's made missteps in his behavior that he should try and correct, even if they are divided on how bad those missteps are and how much he has to apologize for.
Chris 22nd Jan 2019, 10:53 AM edit delete reply
*raises hand*

I'll cop to being one of the "many of us" Archone is speculating about. I largely agree with his analysis of the current dynamic (DiscordDM was brought in to do something specific at MainDM's request, DiscordDM did so, this plan upset one or maybe more members of the party, and now MainDM is implicitly letting DiscordDM take the heat for carrying out MainDM's plan while explicitly undercutting him in front of the party). I have almost entirely stayed out of the comments section for months (granted, I wasn't commenting all that much before then, either) because the conversation felt very toxic to me WRT character analysis. And although it's mostly been other readers to date, Spud's seeming attitude that "if you don't agree with my interpretation of my characters, that is wrong, and says something (presumably negative) about you" is... really, really not encouraging in that regard.

I get that Archone can be frustrating to argue against, insofar as he's very much set in his interpretation. But it's really depressing to those of us who are reading the character interactions pretty much the same way he is how any comment from him for the past half-year has inevitably triggered a half-dozen commenters to break out the pitchforks. And please don't tell me it's a "two-way street" or something; in this thread, the closest thing to an "attack" on Archone's part has been his comment to Spud:

"You may have intended him to come across a certain way, but in execution to a number of readers he has been less "arrogant and manipulative problem guy," and more "gaming afficionado with a huge emphasis on roleplaying.
Which is not a bad thing, by any means"

Which I read as a explicative <i>compliment</i>, to which he has received responses including the aforementioned "that reveals a lot more about you," as well as Spud strawmanning his explanation for why MainDM comes off to him in a worse light than DiscordDM and snarkily adding "Heh! Interesting. <i>Noted.</i>", and Mr. Wednesday accusing Archone of acting "crappy," being a "very bad listener," and explicitly calling <i>me</i> (i.e. people who feel these comment pages are too toxic to have a discussion in) out for not being willing to debate him every Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday.

(P.S. to Wed: you do, I hope, understand why I don't really want to have a discussion with someone who's using my lack of commenting as a cudgel to beat another commenter over the head with?)

I don't intend to go back and re-litigate every single comic for the last half-year, but I hope it's clear why I'm not comfortable sharing my opinion around these parts these days. I'll go back to keeping my mouth shut (there's a reason I didn't post until after the next comic came up), but FWIW, I do exist.
Newbiespud 21st Jan 2019, 8:46 AM edit delete reply
There's that argumentum ad populum again.

Writer-reader interaction is a two-way street. Yes, the way I've written Discord leaves him open to be just a little more sympathetic than I intended by people who side more with the GMs' plight than the players', which is where we got this long, loooooong discussion.

But by now I've already learned that lesson from this whole experience in the comments section. What's being revealed more here is how sympathetic you personally find Discord, and what lengths you'll go to not just defend your position, but normalize it.
Archone 21st Jan 2019, 6:59 PM edit delete reply
...Yes. I do find him sympathetic. He was asked by someone he considered a friend to come spend his time and energy helping to GM a campaign for people he didn't even know. His friend then provided him with all the necessary information to customize the adventures for the players. Three players in particular showed considerable enjoyment during the session. One lashed out at him as a surrogate for an abusive person in her past. One gave the game a chance rather than reject it out of hand. And one... got very angry and started lashing out at her fellow players, becoming increasingly abusive towards them. After which, the GM apologized... to her, and now appears to be scapegoating the friend he invited, and to whom he provided all that information, signed off on all the ideas, and specifically requested a villainous NPC.

It doesn't MATTER that he's an "egotistical know-it-all." Their behavior towards him has in fact been worse than his behavior towards them.

Also, it's not "argumentum ad populum." Others have expressed similar sentiments about Discord GM... they've since grown silent, likely because anyone who dares suggest he's not a bad person runs the risk of being pounced on by multiple persons eager to denounce them (particularly the two who jumped in just now... as they regularly do). But if you only want comments from people who will repeat praise in an echo chamber, just say so.
Newbiespud 21st Jan 2019, 7:39 PM edit delete reply
Wait wait wait. So your position boils down to "Everyone else got a round of apologies, where's one for Discord?! When will this grave injustice be corrected?!"?

Heh! Interesting. Noted.
Mr Wednesday 21st Jan 2019, 8:19 PM edit delete reply
Ok, Archone, I wish we could agree on this. We don’t. Oh well. It’s fine. You’ve never acknowledged that my actual opinion of DiscorDM was different from your imagined concept of my opinion. You’ve consistently acted persecuted, or like anyone who disagrees is some kind of monster for not kowtowing to you. There’s been a lot of anger generated in this debate, but you’ve taken it more personally than anybody else.

I am sorry you haven’t gotten exactly what you wanted out of this arc. I really dislike your assertion that the more vocal of us have simply bullied off the people who used to argue on your side. It’s crappy of you to say that the only explanation is that we’re mean and they’re afraid of us. It might just be that there’s no fuel left in this argument. Because honestly, you sought this out. Things had settled down for a while there.

The last several months have made for hard reading. The group has been tense and angry for a long time. Can you blame us if we don’t immediately trust DiscorDM after that?

As for addressing the baseless accusations of bullying and echo-chambering, here goes nothing: anybody who agrees with Archone, and feels that DiscorDM is getting too much flak, say so. Right here. Respond to this comment. Do so and I’ll say hello! You won’t regret it. No pouncing, just come state your opinion. It’s time we put this stupid pointless debate in the past and make peace. The deal is: don’t be a jerk and I won’t be a jerk back. Sound good?
Free 21st Jan 2019, 10:27 PM edit delete reply
@Mr Wednesday Alright. Fine. If DiscorDM's antagonist status (not Discord, "attack dog" DiscorDM) needs to be propped up by author's notes and comments down here, then that comes back to an error somewhere in the writing of this arc. Thus far, the comic on its own has not convinced me Discord is deserving of the treatment he is receiving and I am probably more sympathetic to him than, say, Twiggles, for example.

Ta da. At least one other person exists who doesn't think Discord is the worst thing ever. Begs the question how many more there are. How many more don't WANT to come down here and comment because it's *exhausting* trying to keep up with some wild argument-debate-persuasive essay for two to three days when all you wanted was to read a pony comic. I am personally more inclined to let things play out and then form an opinion after a nice long think on it. I'm a fairly…passive person in that way, and coming down here? This is just too much energy–negative energy, at that! Ya'll get so worked up sometimes and I just don't want it. I'm here NOW because…well, apparently half the context for the conflict happening isn't IN the comic, so I'm trying to understand a bit better *what* I apparently missed that the author was trying to impress upon me that will make whatever is playing out right now taste less bitter when I *think* we're supposed to be feeling *better* and I am just not.
Free 21st Jan 2019, 10:37 PM edit delete reply
Edit: Although, let me add…It's not that I am not convinced DiscorDM is meant to be the antagonist. He's made his errors, he's done some obviously not-cool things in the course of all this, and I can SEE word selection for him in the last few pages has been polished up. I understand how I'm *meant* to be feeling, and with added context outside the comic, even a general idea of WHY. I just…am not, and since I often have problems of my own trying to convey what I want others to understand in a story, I'm trying to pin point where the disconnect between intention and comprehension happened. *Why* I'm more sympathetic to the GM side of things (which is the Bad here) than the player side (which is Good…?).
Mr Wednesday 21st Jan 2019, 10:40 PM edit delete reply
Hello! Thanks for taking the time!

What is it that feels bitter? Perhaps we can help each other out here.
Mr Wednesday 21st Jan 2019, 10:56 PM edit delete reply

I think the real origin of this conflict comes down to clashing philosophies on the question of What Makes a Good Game. Much of that depends on answering the question of what a GM is supposed to do—create challenges? Test the player’s skills? Describe cool places and awesome vistas? There’s plenty of room for disconnects in trying to answer that question.

DiscorDM has demonstrated great skill in creating immersive experiences which blend the line between player and character, and that’s great. The issue that some of us took (the issue highlighted by Spud’s attack dog description) is that in this case, he did so at the expense of another important GM skill, namely, managing the player’s enjoyment and emotions.

In my view, the best GM’s are flexible. They take into account what their players are feeling, because the goal is for people to have fun. And if the group is getting frustrated, in an OOC way, then to me that’s a sign that things are going wrong, and the best course then is to admit it and adjust it. The good news is that this is now what DiscorDM is DOING. I’d say it’s better he tell them it’s not going to work, than roleplay Discord stopping them and taunting them some more. Same effect, lighter touch.

As the comic developed, I ended up altering my original opinion, seeing that DiscorDM wouldn’t have done this is Main GM hadn’t asked him to, and I didn’t like seeing what I interpreted as a GM punishing players for derailing their plot, so I was glad to see Main GM take responsibility for the idea.

This is because I GM more than I play, and frankly prefer it, so I hold these representations of GM’s to a high standard, one higher than to which I hold the players. I judge more harshly, because I’m comparing against my own actions.
Free 21st Jan 2019, 11:23 PM edit delete reply
@Mr Wednesday Mm, how to explain…without writing an essay…Perhaps it's because Discord feels like an *easy* target out of our selection of three possibilities: DiscorDM, MainGM, and Twilight. He's an outsider to the group brought in by their one mutual friend…to be antagonistic towards the others. Honestly, though? Nothing he did felt…malicious, and I can't say the same for the other two: this was MainGM's plan from the beginning to do to their own table, and when faced with a challenge she couldn't wiggle out of, Twilight started snapping at her friends and trying to force them to play her way. And yet! A quick apology later, all is well and all parties are forgiven, character development is had…except…

I dunno. It doesn't feel…good. Like, this group of friends quickly forgive each other pretty much because they're familiar with one another and understand that, yeah, they have their quirks and today might have been a bad day…but they're still friends in the end and choose their redeemable qualities over whatever behavior they displayed this session. DiscorDM…doesn't have that, except with one person, who hasn't really stepped up for him and it hasn't been adequately explained *why*, or why his mistakes are being treated as worse than anything anyone else did or didn't do other than the fact that they're friends and he…isn't? Or perhaps it's because he isn't exactly sorry about it…Mm.

Yeah, see, this is why I sit and think until it's over and I can reflect on the arc as a whole. So much missing context.
GrayGriffin 21st Jan 2019, 11:00 PM edit delete reply
...I don't really think you need Word of Spud to see that DiscorDM was being an "attack dog." If not in those exact words, it felt pretty obvious from the pages where gray!Twilight talks to the GM, as well as the previous pages where DiscorDM and the GM talk OOC.
Archone 22nd Jan 2019, 9:47 AM edit delete reply
Not even remotely what I said. Interesting misinterpretation. Noted.
Mr Wednesday 21st Jan 2019, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
You’ve been the only one to carry it this far, Archone. You’ve especially proven yourself to be a very bad listener. This debate has been like pulling teeth, mainly because of that. Oh, and your tendency to go on these tangents and resort to fallacious arguments and insults when you aren’t getting your way.

Anyway, there are others who saw a different version of Discord (or DiscorDM, I know how much that distinction means to you). I’m willing to admit that with my extreme opinion, most people were probably better disposed toward him than I was. I remember there would be other people arguing for DiscorDM in the debate threads but mainly I remember you, Archone. This “silent majority” type group you’re talking about can’t be proven unless its members choose to voice an opinion. In the absence of that kind of proof, it’s hard not to interpret this (as Spud put it, argument ad populum) as you just spinning a yarn.

It’s worth noting that a lot of the vehemence is gone. Case in point, I haven’t seen anything from ThatGuest in a while, and he was always DiscorDM’s angriest critic.
Wulfraed 21st Jan 2019, 10:33 AM edit delete reply
It's been too many years, but I vaguely recall that the actor playing Riker had spent the inter-season (filming, not running) gap playing some part in a civil war film, and had grown the beard for that role -- and kept it when they restarted filming of TNG
Troubleshooter 20th Jan 2019, 10:37 AM edit delete reply

If no one has fun playing the session, then DiscordDM needs to learn a lesson in how to run games more smoothly.
Hankroyd 22nd Jan 2019, 3:51 AM edit delete reply
Well, to be fair I mostly agree with Archone.

I stopped talking about DiscorDM a while ago, because I tsaid everything I have too and didn't want to repeat myself again and again...

DiscorDM did his thing, he mastered the way he, apparently, always mastering. Alas, it wasn't the kind of thing the players liked much.

He never intended to ruin nor steal the campaign nor to cause real distress to the players.

I guess TS player is as much to blame than DiscorDM, she forgot it's a game. And when she was unhappy, she was very very unhappy to the point that the game has to be stopped.
Fluttershy's player didn't like this stuff too, but even so, she played the game.

So yeah, the GM apologies to TS player ... I'm not that shocked because TS apologized too and acknoledged her 'control issues'.

Again, there was no death, no broken glasses (Tom was caught on time), no everlasting grudge, no 'this was a crappy session let's forget it' retcon ... it won't be their best RPG session but that's all. It wasn't a ruined session by that stoopid jerk Discord Guy nobody knew nor wanted except the GM.

@Newbiespud: Maybe I'm a little Discodic too, as GM I taunt both my players and their characters, rejoicing and laughing when they fail ... until of course the end of the scenario where they, usually, won and can have the last laugh on me. So for me, the Discord's attack on players ... it is my normal saturday.

I, with Archone, am the minority here. But as said, if we don't see things the way you think we should, maybe it is not entierly our fault. Maybe, just maybe, the writer has some too with an unclear message. Maybe ...

In conclusion : I don't care if you wanted to make DiscorDM a jerk or a nice guy or whatever. I care I enjoy reading you and having my own vision of the characters, even if it isn't the one you wanted me to have.
That's what I left this discussion weeks ago and will do it again, now I showed Archone isn't the only one thinking DiscorDM did nothing wrong and the blame is more on TS player than him.
GrayGriffin 22nd Jan 2019, 4:00 AM edit delete reply
I think you just said something very important-it's a "normal Saturday" for your players. This is not a normal session for the Mane 6 players. It's perfectly natural for them to feel personally attacked by this completely different form of DMing. As a matter of fact, the discussion threads have repeatedly discussed the fact that springing DiscorDM on the group as a surprise was a big mistake and things might have gone better if he was introduced in a different manner or went about things differently.
GrayGriffin 19th Jan 2019, 7:24 AM edit delete reply
Aw, shut it, Discord. Bet if they decided to just leave it he'd be taunting them about "leaving Ponyville to rot" just as much.
Archone 19th Jan 2019, 5:24 PM edit delete reply
Yes, he could indeed shut it. And then he could just let them act on that plan before informing them of the consequences he never warned them of. As opposed to... giving them advance warning (something few GMs ever do without volition, and which some won't do even after you've rolled a Knowledge or Detection check) and even graciously conceding a point (of course that was with the Main GM, who has absolute authority under the Zeroth Law... but Discord has given every indication that he'd be equally gracious in acknowledging similar points made by players).

...Though Discord is wrong about one thing. He's saying "Good-aligned" as if nobody told him what's written on Rainbow Dash's character sheet under "alignment."
Toric 19th Jan 2019, 10:06 PM edit delete reply
The trick here is that the session isn't over. Discord is still the villain, and is still mixing in-game and meta tactics.

The way to read Discord's remarks with more consistency to his previous actions is to deter the players from playing any way but what he (and the DM) want them to. He's not warning them to help them, he's warning them to keep them from TRYING. This is evidenced by the tone he takes when he makes the "good-aligned" comment, which is clearly meant to discourage the npc research through emotional/moral appeal. The characters who suggested it ARE good-aligned, or at least value good objectively. Where it can be argued the warning is the product of wrapping up the session, the second comment is at its most harmless aggressive snark. As a player, when I get a direct warning from the GM, it's just as likely because they don't WANT me to do something as there being solid mechanical reasons I wouldn't have thought of. Being criticized for my alignment just for sounding out an idea that is only unreasonable if someone takes it a specific way doesn't strike me as the behavior of a friendly DM. That kind of jibe is more appropriate from another player at the table than the one who controls the universe your character is in.
Archone 19th Jan 2019, 11:12 PM edit delete reply
No, Discord is not the villain. Or should I say, Discord GM is not the villain. Discord GM is the GM. Discord NPC is the villain. There is a difference - the NPC wants to foil the protagonists, but the GM wants them to have an enjoyable and challenging game.

That's the point that keeps getting ignored here - the GM is much the code of a video game. Every enemy the player confronts, every challenge, every obstacle, every vendor and quest giver and NPC, they're all provided by the GM. But the goal is not to make the game unbeatable, the goal is to create a fun and challenging adventure to leave the player feeling that it was time and money well spent.

Now yes, there are times when a GM wants the players to follow a certain path (because that's the path the GM has actually PREPARED for, and if the players go in a different path then the GM is forced to scramble to accommodate that). But... reminding the player of a good aligned character that deliberately exposing NPCs to hazardous situations is morally questionable behavior is literally the kind of gentle nudge that gets described in sourcebooks as generous but fair GMing (I'm particularly thinking of a bit in the AD&D 2nd edition Player's Handbook, where the sample GM discourages the party's cleric from going off on a solo adventure by stating that "your superior has been feeling uncomfortable with you missing so many services. He makes a lot of harrumphing noises and looking at your holy symbol meaningfully.")
GrayGriffin 20th Jan 2019, 2:20 AM edit delete reply
You realize I'm referring to Discord-as-NPC, not DiscorDM, right? I've been separating them. I realize the villain is supposed to taunt the heroes, this is just a good-natured jab back and pointing out that there is no "absolutely good" way to handle it.
Archone 20th Jan 2019, 11:30 AM edit delete reply
No, I don't realize that. You've been mixing them up a fair amount in your posts. And as I said, this wasn't him taunting them, this was him saying, "that might not be a good idea." Which qualifies him as "nice GM." Also, as "GM who would not do well with the classic AD&D stuff."

(seriously, I've read some of the old modules. One had a crashed spaceship with a storage closet filled with mold. No way to detect what's on the other side, but if you open it then whoever's in front of the door gets killed instantly. No "X damage," no "saving throw to survive." Just "laugh in the player's face and tell them to roll up a new character.")
Lethologica 20th Jan 2019, 12:13 PM edit delete reply
Discord obstructing the party's investigation is fine.

The creative ethical reinterpretation of Applejack's suggestion is not what I like to see, because any action can be interpreted like that given sufficient lack of charity. In this case, the uncharitable part is assuming the researchers have neither agency nor competence, and thus the party asking them to help = the party handing Discord fodder for his games.

That said, DiscorDM acknowledges this point readily enough when the DM makes it (by giving the researchers their own considerations and incentives), so it's nothing serious.
GrayGriffin 20th Jan 2019, 5:36 PM edit delete reply
Um, what? Yes, I've used the Mane Six's character names as metonyms for their players, but I've constantly been referring to DiscorDM as DiscorDM. I refer to him as Discord on page 1161 in an edit, but that was in a rush and the comment already referred to him as DiscorDM before. And once on page 1115, but that's hardly "a fair amount."

Unless you're talking about page 1117, where Tempest accused me of never having watched the show after I pointed out the in-show context of the panels on that page, and literally all my comments about "Discord" were referring to Discord as he actually is in the show.

And yes, I'm pretty sure sarcastically saying "very responsible, very Good-aligned" is much more "taunting" than being a "good GM." You realize he could have communicated the same thing without sarcasm, right?
Archone 21st Jan 2019, 7:41 AM edit delete reply
"You realize he could have communicated the same thing without sarcasm, right?"

...This... would be an excellent example of what I mean. You're jumping on HOW he said something and choosing to interpret it in the worst possible sense. That, btw, is prejudice - literally, "pre judgement." Guilty until proven guilty. Especially since the way you phrase your statements about his use of sarcasm involved a small degree of... sarcasm, on your part.
GrayGriffin 21st Jan 2019, 7:46 AM edit delete reply

I don't know if I should even keep trying to discuss this when you're determined to take everything people say and run off in random bizarre directions with it, but sarcasm would be me saying "oh yeah, sarcastically mocking the players is totally a sign of a good GM." To be clear, this is an example. I am not actually saying this.
ANW 19th Jan 2019, 8:14 AM edit delete reply
I just realized something.
Where are going to live during this time?
Twilight's library is in the middle of this mess.
Rarity can't get to her shop.
Pinkie's room is next door to Discord.
Who knows what might have happened to Rainbow's cloud home.
Fluttershy and Applejack might have gotten lucky, but I don't think they can safely stay there, what with their new neighbor around.
GrayGriffin 20th Jan 2019, 2:21 AM edit delete reply
Well, if we are bringing in Starlight, maybe she'll have the Equal Village as her headquarters and they can stay there after solving her issues?
zimmerwald1915 20th Jan 2019, 6:48 AM edit delete reply
On the road and under the stars. Adventurers do it all the time.
Digo Dragon 21st Jan 2019, 4:59 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I'm sure there's a Manger 6 along the road somewhere to rent rooms. :3
Tempestfury 19th Jan 2019, 8:16 AM edit delete reply
DiscorDM is showing his potential here. Sure, he's shutting down the ideas that are being fielded to him, but one of them was done politely and respectfully, whilst the other one, whilst snarky, isn't exactly dickish behaviour.

Plus the quip from CelestiGM and DiscorDM's agreement is chuckle-worthy for sure.
DuoScratch 19th Jan 2019, 4:44 PM edit delete reply
Oh comes the true Villain...and they just got a handle on the Discord situation...
Kaze Koichi 20th Jan 2019, 7:13 AM edit delete reply
Oh, great. Discord's arc is going to drag forever, just like Gaia tickets' arc.
Archone 20th Jan 2019, 11:32 AM edit delete reply
Eh... Gaia's Tickets were actually a bunch of separate adventures joined together. It was a pretty good way for Main GM to handle things, really. "You have to go forth and claim a bunch of MacGuffins... one at a time. Each one requiring a successful adventure, each one bringing with it valuable XP for the climactic sequence."
GrayGriffin 20th Jan 2019, 5:37 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I have to admit to being a little frustrated at realizing that "nearing the end of the arc" actually meant "nearing the end of the first part of the arc."
obscurereader 20th Jan 2019, 6:44 PM edit delete reply
Couldn't agree with you more, GrayGriffin. Couldn't agree with you more.

Least Discord!DM himself and Discord the character won't necessarily need to show up for most of it, hopefully?
Randonimity 22nd Jan 2019, 4:59 AM edit delete reply
@Kaze, Gray, and obscure - Same. Hard same regarding Discord's arc. The pages without him were a breath of fresh air.
Story Time 20th Jan 2019, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
Stop! Before we face the final boss, let's investigate the effects of what the final boss did.

Any story when the players just stopped to investigate instead of fighting?
HappyEevee 20th Jan 2019, 5:54 PM edit delete reply
Now I want to see the adventures of those two NPCs trying to sort out Discord's chaos... but this conversation shows good progress, polite discussion, and self-restraint on everyone's part, yay for moving forward with the game! :D
Guest 21st Jan 2019, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
Oh no...