Page 1172 - Prison of the Mind

22nd Jan 2019, 5:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 2
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Prison of the Mind
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 22nd Jan 2019, 5:00 AM edit delete
Speaking of DM hubris, there's new RPG livestream/podcast content coming down the pipe, hopefully launching this coming Sunday. Multiple campaigns, in fact, under the broad heading of "Spudventures." The first is a short FATE mini-campaign that I'm running, and I'm also later playing in a 5th edition dungeon-crawl with a bit of a twist. More info on those things as they approach and solidify!

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



Randonimity 22nd Jan 2019, 5:27 AM edit delete reply
As a reader, I find one of the slightly confusing aspects of the comic is that the IC and OOC divide between what the characters say and what the players say is not immediately clear. The base "assumption" is that things being said in word balloons are always "in character", except there are so many panels where it's more of "out of character" discussion occurring.

This lack of separation/distinction reminds me of what a DM did to my friend during his very first game. Friend's PC (level 1 warlock, fairly squishy, still learning the ropes) gets downed by some zombies and Friend is sad that he's "dead."

The more experienced players assure him that he's just down, he can be brought back up and continue with the game. The cleric heals him while the others deal with the zombies.

Friend declares "Thank god!" in relief, because it's his first game and his first time getting downed so he still hasn't fully differentiated between being "dead" and "unconscious."

DM goes "Do you say that in character?" with this smug smirk.

Friend just seems confused but hesitantly goes "Y-yes?"

DM declares that the zombies hear him make a declaration of gratitude to "God" and they swarm him, ignoring the other PCs and killing Friend's character. All the while DM has this self-satisfied smirk on his face.

Friend doesn't play with that DM anymore.
Digo Dragon 22nd Jan 2019, 6:17 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I sometimes have the IC/OOC confusion in a game I'm running, so I'll ask which is it of the player. I don't blame your Friend for not wanting to play after an incident like that though. I never take satisfaction if a player's character dies in my game, even if it is by their own action. I see characters as investments and why would I be happy to see a failed investment?

Anyway, hope your Friend has better experiences and stays around.

Also, I love your avatar. Where is she from?
Randonimity 22nd Jan 2019, 7:24 AM edit delete reply
Friend thankfully gave D&D another shot mostly because, in his own words, he didn't know any better than what a GOOD sessions was supposed to be like and his close friend assured him the zombie session was NOT a good session. He ended up playing in our Dragonheist campaign and he said the difference between them was immediately apparent.

@Tempestfury, albedoequals1, Khyrin - That DM is infamous in our gaming circles that it reached the point that no "veteran" wants to play under him and a lot of players don't want to play WITH him. I have no personal experience with that DM but a couple of my other friends have played under him and they confirm the vindictive nature of his DMing.

@Digo - Hee, thank you! She's my pony OC Sea Whip. I made her back when I was super into FiM but my spark for the show dimmed since Equestria Girls aired and the shoujo-limbs-proportions just turned me off completely.

@Hankroyd - Agree to disagree with liking the confusion. As someone who got into RP via PbP, it was super important that ooc/ic is distinguished because it results in a LOT of drama otherwise. Not to mention text does NOT convey tone and a sarcastic/teasing turn of phrase can be mistaken to be sincere/snide, especially if the reader is the charitable sort and vice versa.
Digo Dragon 22nd Jan 2019, 8:19 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
That shirt Sea Whip wears for a bit reminded me of original Star Trek uniforms. She looks like she'd be a badass space explorer. :D

Yeah, my spark for the show has dimmed as well. I feel the show has run its course for the most part. Maybe it should have ended on a high note, taken a short sabbatical ,and then start fresh with a new premise. One with 100% less skinny human doll characters like Equestria Girls.
Randonimity 22nd Jan 2019, 9:10 AM edit delete reply
@Digo - It's supposed to be something of a "chest armor" as she was originally conceptualized for a parallel dimension version of Equestria but with a sci-fantasy setting. Whip's the on-board scientist/mechanic looking for her mentor who disappeared under questionable circumstances.

I never got around to finding a game for her nor did my enthusiasm for the show stick around long enough for me to write a story for her.
Digo Dragon 24th Jan 2019, 5:01 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Ah, shame that your idea didn't get used yet. Maybe there's opportunity in the future to revisit, if you still have the desire to RP as a pony.

While I've not kept up with the fandom much anymore, I still find the concept of playing a four-legged intelligent talking magic-horse fun (much to the chagrin of my local group, yet intelligent talking gorillas and tigers with science degrees are ok?)
Tempestfury 22nd Jan 2019, 9:34 AM edit delete reply
In my experience, OOC and IC are in entirely separate threads.
Tempestfury 22nd Jan 2019, 6:18 AM edit delete reply

What an asshole.
albedoequals1 22nd Jan 2019, 6:34 AM edit delete reply
Since when are zombies religious? And specifically atheist zombies? I call BS on that, regardless of setting.
ZamuelNow 22nd Jan 2019, 7:43 AM edit delete reply
While I can see undead creatures focusing on a cleric or someone invoking God due to hating/fearing divine power, the GM was still being an absolute jerk.
Balrighty 22nd Jan 2019, 8:38 AM edit delete reply
Hmm, seemed more to me like the DM was having the zombies react to the character saying anything, thus revealing they were conscious, rather than specifically caring about a statement about "God".

Still a jerk move, though.
GrayGriffin 22nd Jan 2019, 9:39 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, but ignoring the other PCs, who were presumably also moving around and saying stuff? Definitely a dick move.
Winged Cat 22nd Jan 2019, 10:15 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
@ZamuelNow That's ironic if so. Who should religion-hating zombies go after: someone who just thanked God for being revived, or the actual cleric who just displayed divine powers (and thus demonstrated being the direct agent of the God being thanked) by performing that revival?

And general agreement on that being an unacceptable move on the GM's part, to any player but especially to a new one.
Khyrin 22nd Jan 2019, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
Seriously, that DM shoulda been blackballed. Permakilling someone's first character with that ████████ and a self-satisfied smirk? I would and have walked away from a table for that level of ████ery.
Hankroyd 22nd Jan 2019, 6:56 AM edit delete reply

I like the confusion between in and out of character.
We never see the players, and I find funny that everything said is said by the ponies, even OOC.

Reminds me of The Gamers: Dorkness Rising in some way. And given the previous RPG webcomic I read (DM of the rings and Darth&Droids), it's obligatory :)
Hankroyd 22nd Jan 2019, 6:58 AM edit delete reply
That doesn't change the fact that while IRL there must be some rules about what players can discuss OOC ... being a jerk because some Newbie is ... well ... new to the game, sucks.
Archone 22nd Jan 2019, 9:55 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, when you have a player who is new to the entire experience, that's when a decent GM - or a decent person - takes the time to guide them and work to provide a positive first impression.

(Hell, it would have been better to direct the new player to play something like a fighter or barbarian, to start. Not just because they're durable, but because they're SIMPLER. Something easier for a new player to work with while they're learning about the game)
Wulfraed 22nd Jan 2019, 10:23 AM edit delete reply
Heh... at least I'd had a few months of RuneQuest before my GM decided to introduce AD&D to the group...

My first AD&D character was an illusionist -- and managed to die while crossing a stream and slipping off the log!
Winged Cat 22nd Jan 2019, 10:21 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
If DiscordDM is like this out of character, I wonder if Rarity's player will want to talk with him outside of the game about other stuff. (Perhaps with Fluttershy's as wing, only to see the two of them start bonding, until eventually Rarity's player gets jokingly accused of matchmaking and does not deny it.)
Guest 22nd Jan 2019, 3:02 PM edit delete reply
Why would the player of this comic's Fluttershy want to spend time with DiscordDM?
GrayGriffin 22nd Jan 2019, 6:20 PM edit delete reply
Yeah. She's repeatedly been shown to be uncomfortable around him, and her decision on how to move on was literally made on whether or not he would be there, with her relieved that he wouldn't be. Stop matchmaking these two, please. They're not show Fluttershy and Discord.
Troublshooter 22nd Jan 2019, 7:20 PM edit delete reply
Every times he's come up, she's been uncomfortable.
HappyEevee 22nd Jan 2019, 9:31 PM edit delete reply
Looking forward to the upcoming arc! :D
Balrighty 22nd Jan 2019, 11:02 PM edit delete reply
So... it's very interesting, and also interesting, and the story about the planted uncle is interesting, too?

(I shouldn't, but I will anyway.)

Pray tell me more about these vegetable family members.
GrayGriffin 22nd Jan 2019, 11:45 PM edit delete reply
I'm just trying to figure out which other comments it's assembled that phrase from. The other spam comments have at least been referencing gaming/dragons.
Newbiespud 23rd Jan 2019, 8:39 AM edit delete reply
Gotta say, the recent changes ComicFury made to the backend have made dealing with recent spam comments a lot easier.
Redwings1340 23rd Jan 2019, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
"As long as we got our agency and some options that make sense"

Well said aj, that's where the vast majority of sessions break down in my mind, when the player feels the gm doesn't provide this. People like having options, and people like being able to picture the session going on around them.

As a dm it's so easy to get caught up in telling your own story that you either fail to provide these options, or fail to communicate them effectively, and that's when players start asking why they're even here. Im sure every dm has made this mistake before, it's a very easy one to make, and it's one to guard against constantly.
Toric 23rd Jan 2019, 8:20 AM edit delete reply
My group has picked up a habit over the years of hanging around an extra half-hour to an hour after the game to talk, catch up, and strategize depending on the game. After a particularly heavy session or faced with a particularly intricate problem, we like to discuss our options going forward, revisit tense or exciting moments, and ultimately just blow off steam. Not everyone stays, and people have places to be. But it's a nice way to touch base after some hectic gameplay.

I'd kind of like to see at least a few of the players linger (as some like Rarity and Twilight have done in the past). I don't know that they need to talk about the game. They've kind of said the things they wanted to on that score, though the DM is still down on themselves. I think just a little bit of normal socialization after wrapping up might be a refreshing palette-cleanser for the evening.
Drop the character 23rd Jan 2019, 2:14 PM edit delete reply
So... Anytime when you or your friends need to ask someone to 'drop the character' after the game?
Lethologica 23rd Jan 2019, 2:25 PM edit delete reply
It's fun to speculate about the nature of Discord's discomfort in the last panel. Some combination of:

(a) "Drop character? I don't want to do that! Being in character is safer..."

(b) "Drop character? I thought I already did that. Are you saying you can't tell the difference? Did I not do a good enough job distinguishing my behavior from Discord's?"

(c) "Drop character? This is who I am. Why do you think it's just an act? Is it because you don't like my 'act' and want me to be different?"

(d) "Drop character? What, because you say so? Oh, yes,sir,
Lethologica 23rd Jan 2019, 2:28 PM edit delete reply
(Accidentally hit post)

(d) "Drop character? What, because you say so? Oh, yes, sir, I'll drop character. Should I dance for you next?"

(e) Other

I lean towards (c), but the comic leaves plenty of room for interpretation.
Balrighty 23rd Jan 2019, 3:05 PM edit delete reply
I was thinking something close to B, myself.
Newbiespud 23rd Jan 2019, 8:31 PM edit delete reply
Some unequal combination of all of the above.
Guest 23rd Jan 2019, 6:38 PM edit delete reply
The expressions actually make it come off more as A to me.