Page 118 - Winter Map Up

8th May 2012, 6:00 AM in Dragonshy
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Winter Map Up
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 8th May 2012, 6:00 AM edit delete
A new episode, a new session! Too bad Twilight showed up a little early.

There are new character sheets in play, but they won't be going up on the Cast page until Saturday's comic. I'm still trying to decide whether to display both the Level 1 AND Level 6 versions or just show the most recent one. And how to format them in either case.

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



JohnBobMead 8th May 2012, 6:07 AM Character Sheets edit delete reply
If possible, both character sheets would be nice, with some means of indicating when they change, so those coming into the comic late can see the proper stats. I admit it would be spoileriffic to have both sheets, but no more than having the latest sheet to someone coming in late.
Mejui 8th May 2012, 7:39 AM Sheets and Whatnot edit delete reply
I'd suggest having only the most recent versions of the character sheets up. They're completely unnecessary to follow the story (if the first arc is any indication), just adding a bit of fluff to the backstory of the comic, and having more than one iteration on the cast page would easily confuse new people.
Zarhon 8th May 2012, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
You could do both by letting us browse through their DM's old "character sheet files" (A good DM always keeps backups for personal reference / to keep the players from surprising them later).

You could also divide sheets either by level or session.
DragonTrainer 8th May 2012, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
You could always do what the Comic Irregulars do and have a different section for each arc. I'd suggest having the most recent character sheets up, but also provide a link to older ones, as Zarhon already suggested.
darkwulf23 8th May 2012, 6:10 AM edit delete reply
Will our faithful Twilight stay true to her promise? Or will she give in to temptation to gain more advantage against the DM? Tune in next time, same friendship time, same friendship channel.
darkwulf23 8th May 2012, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
Or just stay on here and talk about random stuff that might not have anything to do with mlp, d&d, or the comic itself. You know, whatever.
DuderSkanks 8th May 2012, 10:28 AM edit delete reply
So, same old same old?
Zarhon 8th May 2012, 10:41 AM edit delete reply
Remember that Pony Watchmen discussion from two pages ago?

Digo 8th May 2012, 6:15 AM Pre-Game Events edit delete reply
So what happens when you're prepping that evening's session and a player shows up early?

This happens pretty often for me actually. Generally I got my prep done the day before, but I like to banter with the early birds and go over the previous session.
You know, review the events, go over any plot info to ensure they understood it, ask for input on how the campaign is going and what I might need to improve/address.

If the party stopped at a town at the end of the previous session, sometimes those that show up early can do any lengthly downtime ideas now. Usually those that are transcribing notes, maps, or building magic items.
Xander Cruize 8th May 2012, 7:10 AM edit delete reply
I don't do a lot of heavy planning because I learned very quickly that players will wreck plans all to heck. If someone shows up early, we usually just chat about characters and such.
Digo 8th May 2012, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
This is true, players are VERY good at derailing plots. :) I always plan light, but I do like to ask my players if they are enjoying what is going on.
My players don't always let me know when they have issues.
Kuroi Tsubasa Tenshi 8th May 2012, 9:14 AM edit delete reply
When I used to still GM, this would rarely happen to me. Earliest player was generally on time, the others a bit late. I usually had anything I thought I needed planned out well in advance (usually at least by a couple days... I was a pretty excitable GM).

In the rare case that people did show up early (and often times when we were waiting on the last couple late arrivals), we'd just talk about whatever. Sometimes it would be catching up on RL, other times it would be the game. Sometimes something totally random they saw on the way over. And like you, if they had stopped in a town, I usually let the early/on time arrivals do downtime stuff (although in their case it was almost exclusively shopping).
Dragonfodder 9th May 2012, 12:17 AM edit delete reply
Generally, because players are so good at derailing stuff, I have the plan in my head until about 15 minutes before the game starts, then I usually make it up as i go. As a player, I'm that jerk that always shows up early to chat :)
Raxon 20th Jun 2012, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
Player: I'm here! Where is everybody?

DM: Oh, we usually meet later. So, how did you like your last session?

Player: Oh, it was fun. A little hectic, and odd at times, but fun.

DM: Yeah, remember the look on Steph's face where her character was killed by that assassin?

Player: What? That never happened!

DM: Oh, that hasn't- Uh, never mind, forget I said anything! Say, how does delving deep into the dark and less upstanding parts of the city sound? I bet you can't wait to investigate all the unsavory types in the bad part of town!

This, boys and girls, is how you can play with the players, before the game starts. It's amazing how one little sentence let 'slip' can totally unfocus everyone. I know this one from experience, because I've pulled this stunt online in MMOs, and if it works against internet opponents, it will work against people you're talking directly to. Drop a fake spoiler, watch them freak out.
Chakat Firepaw 9th May 2012, 3:57 PM edit delete reply
Easy: Guess who just volunteered to make a snack run. :)
Brainstorm 8th May 2012, 6:23 AM edit delete reply
If you're familiar with the coding (hooray, CSS and JQuery), you could "hide" the Level 1 stats behind toggles/buttons/whatever-your-heart-desires. That way, people only have to look at the stats they want to see... or the most recent stats by default. Can I just go ahead and dissuade you from using radio buttons right here? Thanks.
MAsterweaver 8th May 2012, 6:46 AM edit delete reply
I was playing a pony RP, freeform, and one of the ponies nearly died and turned into a dragon in that order. The other characters were... rather blase about it.
Derpmind 8th May 2012, 6:52 AM edit delete reply
A simple solution would be to have the cast page have links to the different level character sheets and label the links with the page numbers when the new set of sheets come into play.
JordanTH 8th May 2012, 6:58 AM edit delete reply
Winter Wrap Up?

*rubs hands together in glee*

Oh, this is going to be good!
Anon 8th May 2012, 7:06 AM edit delete reply
It's probably only this strip. He said he was going to do Dragonshy after episode 2.
Azureink 8th May 2012, 4:19 PM edit delete reply
Though the author could throw in any scenes from any episodes in order to help visually with the story.
Ranubis 8th May 2012, 7:36 AM edit delete reply
Ah the follies of game time. I always seem to either be like Twili here and get there hours early, or show up half an hour late and find the Minotaur has been conducting 'negotiations' in my absence.
Zarhon 8th May 2012, 11:24 AM edit delete reply
If players being late is a thing, then "The Last Roundup" will be the result of Applejack being two hours late into the session.

AJ: *pant* Sorry I'm late...

RY: Oh! You're here! We thought you weren't coming!

AJ: Train was super delayed due to some drunk and I had to run all the way... What did I miss?

DM: Alright girls, who's going to tell her?

TS/PP/FS/RD: Not it!

RY: Not- oh shoot.

AJ: Tell me what?

RY: Okay, so we were passing time doing random things in Ponyville waiting for you...

TS: You know, quests, errands, personal stuff...

RY: And Pinkie Pie was kinda experimenting with a new lightning-based character...

PP: She just needs to be a teeny tiny bit more optimized... And a bit more accuracy.

RY: Long story short, she and RD then accidentally caused the destruction of town hall...

RD: Not my fault the dice hated me...

RY: So the DM gave the whole party a massive debt to help pay off the damages. So we were thinking what to do, when I remembered your character. We thought by that time that you weren't coming this session, so instead of you doing nothing, I employed my most brilliant idea yet!

AJ: If Rarity touched any of my savings OR messed with any of my farm incomes...

RY: Relax, your money is safe.

AJ: Good. Fer' a moment there I wa-

RY: Although we DID kinda sent you cross-town to enroll into a 'dubious' rodeo contest to pay off the debt for us with the prize money.

AJ: ...

DM: Well, she IS here now and I have no idea how to re-incorporate her like right now. Take a break while I think of something...

AJ: Hmmm... Actually, I might have a good idea for you. Let's talk in private...


RY: I'm going to regret this, aren't I.

Zuche 9th May 2012, 8:18 AM edit delete reply
Thank you, Zarhon. I needed that.
XandZero2 8th May 2012, 8:39 AM edit delete reply
Better to be extra early than extra late.

Also, I'm surprised the DM is still getting things ready the day of the session. That suonds way too risky to me - and I should know, I tried it for one campaign. It worked out interestingly enough, but ended with a total party wipe out (because the party wiped themselves out).

I'm still trying to get a good grasp of my DM style, but I usually try to go over everything for a session the week before, then read over it again last minute one more time an hour before things truly get kicked off.
XandZero2 8th May 2012, 8:42 AM edit delete reply
And on another note, I have no idea how a Winter Wrap Up D&D session would go...

DM: "Alright everypony, let's sew some fields! Won't that be fun?!"

RD: "You promised me a dragon!"

DM: "And you slayed my epic level campaign!"
Lyntermas 8th May 2012, 9:08 AM edit delete reply
RD: So, no combat at all? How am I supposed to remain invested in cleaning up winter?
DM: Ponies are responsible for changes in weather and seasons. This is a vital process throughout Equestria.
RD: Whatever. It's not like there's any real risk. "Oh no, if the snow isn't cleared out by sundown, then the world is doomed." Please.
DM:...I guess you're right. Take as much time as you like. Ponyville's reputation can't go any lower after all.
RD:...Come again?
DM: Ponyville has become notorious for not finishing Winter Wrap-Up before the first day of spring. Other towns joke about coming here for "the last snow of the season, guaranteed". This has caused the weatherponies in Cloudsdale to be suspected of incompetence.
RD: WHAT!?! Alright girls, we're cleaning up winter RIGHT NOW!
terrycloth 8th May 2012, 11:28 AM edit delete reply
Then use the 'everybody's kung-fu fighting' scene from Lesson Zero to represent Twilight's violent revolution against Mayor Mare to take over Winter Wrap Up.
Zarhon 8th May 2012, 12:00 PM edit delete reply
I wonder how FS will get away with feeding otters turnips during that session.

Also, the whole bird's nest incident.

DM: Okay Twilight, roll to see how good your nest-crafting turns out, -7 due to no magic or relevant skills.

TS: Okay... Natural 1. Of course.

DM: You succeed in building something vaguely resembling a nest. Your familiar compares it to an avian outhouse.

RY: Hold on! Can I roll myself to try to fix her...mistake...and have her help me?

DM: Okay, but due to the terrible roll and the no-magic rule, you'll have to roll a skill challenge and either get a natural 20, natural 1, or three similar consecutive rolls.

RY: Can't I take 20?

DM: Not on a time limit. Okay, 3, that's bad... 15, better... 5, bad again... 2, better roll high... 19, ok your neutral again... 10, no change... 3... You know what, maybe you should roll this one yourself.

RY: Fair enough. This shouldn't take TOO long.

Colin 9th May 2012, 1:06 PM edit delete reply
You just have to know how to pitch these things. :-D
Dragonfodder 9th May 2012, 12:28 AM edit delete reply
As a DM, i usually have a loose idea what I want players to do, but I usually don't put anything down on paper till 15 minutes before-hand. My players often actively seek to run off the rails, so i find that its better for me to lay down the rails as I go.

On a side note, I have my gamma world players currently in a bakery run by a psychotic, pink-haired little girl. There are not-so-subtle hints of what the various cake-themed monsters are made of. I am having fun with it, especially because no one in the party is a brony and probably has no idea where I am full-on hijacking this idea from.
Zuche 10th May 2012, 4:22 AM edit delete reply
You are assaulting them with cake? Well done.
Digo 8th May 2012, 10:41 AM edit delete reply
Which is good advice. One time I accidently flustered the PCs on a door they couldn't open when the notes (that I failed to review first) stated it wasn't locked that way to begin with.
Gomegadon 8th May 2012, 8:08 PM edit delete reply
an unlocked door can never be unlocked, so it's the perfect anti thief protection.
Zarhon 9th May 2012, 10:27 AM edit delete reply
Ultimate thief-proof door: An unlocked door with a rock golem pushing on the side it opens into, with orders to attack anyone attacking the door.

Cue the players going nuts as they fail to open an unlocked door for no apparent reason, not to mention the ensuing chaos when the fighter decides to bash it open.

Or an alternate version: An unlocked door with an illusion of a room behind it (it's actually a gelatinous cube). To get into the actual room it's connected to, you have to lock the door and walk through the door (it turns into a passwall when locked)
Digo 9th May 2012, 11:57 AM edit delete reply
Wow, that's pretty evil!

...I like it.

I think the most memoriable locked door I threw at the party was the infamous "Knock Knock" door. I might have mentioned it before, but just in case:

It was a huge set of double-doors with an elven face carved onto the whole thing. The nose ring served as a door knocker.
There was a sign written in Elven, Common, and Undercommon to knock first before proceeding.

Any form of knocking on the door (or even just saying "Knock knock") brings the door to life, at which point it responds with "Who's there?"

The point was to tell it a knock knock joke and it would open to a bonus vault with some minor (but useful) magical treasures. After some 2 hours of real time the party gave up because they could not get the concept of telling it a knock knock joke. They took it way too seriously, expecting some kind of formal greeting or password. XD

After the session I told them what it was that they kicked themselves for it.
magewolf 8th May 2012, 10:20 AM edit delete reply
to paraphrase a fouding father:

friendship is dragons is proof yhat celestia loves us and wants us 2 be happy.

the gest comics were good but ah feel like they were diet coke and this is coke classic.

nemryn 8th May 2012, 10:58 AM edit delete reply
I say, put the Level 6 sheets up on the main Cast page, and stick the earlier Level 1 versions in Extras or the FAQ or something.
Bronymous 8th May 2012, 1:11 PM edit delete reply
Just put up the new stuff, their level 1 stats are basically irrelevant now anyway.

Its always good to show up early, as it has a few advantages. Chief among these is that you can bounce ideas off of the DM and see what sticks, allowing you better preparation when the session starts, or more long term in upcoming sessions.

And if you're in my group, god help you if you don't show. You'll come back next session to find half of your gear "repurposed", all of your gold donated to the good of the party, and your character suddenly having lost several levels and/or body parts in sacrifice to someone else's shiny new epic weapon.

True Story.
Jason Shadow 8th May 2012, 4:26 PM edit delete reply
If that's what the rest of the party does to your CHARACTER when you're not consciously controlling him, I'm sure glad they don't know where you sleep in REAL life...
Digo 9th May 2012, 11:59 AM edit delete reply
No kiddin! I'd be sleeping in a safe box if that were the case. :)
Dfield 8th May 2012, 10:35 PM edit delete reply
Actually a dwarf without an arm seems like not the best idea
Bronymous 9th May 2012, 6:41 PM edit delete reply
I believe a Dwarf with one arm uncontrollably giving away his money is known as a "Slot Machine".
Dfield 11th May 2012, 6:53 PM edit delete reply
You, my good sir, winned as many internets as it's possible
Cerulean Starlight 8th May 2012, 5:12 PM edit delete reply
Oh, I saved the character sheets a long time ago, in case you would change them some day. It'd be great if you kept them; I think they do enhance the comic. If you want to move old sheets from the cast page, you might consider placing links to the images in the author notes of the first strip in which they come into play.
darkwulf23 8th May 2012, 7:12 PM edit delete reply
Have someone who has never read this before read the entire comic. If he says he needs the level 1 character sheet, then keep it. Otherwise, just pick the option that is the easiest to do for yourself.
Dfield 8th May 2012, 10:30 PM edit delete reply
Brace your vocal cords, Winter is coming
darkwulf23 9th May 2012, 10:15 AM edit delete reply
For whoever told the story of the Warforged that doesn't understand free will, thanks for that idea. I hope you don't mind but I actually stole that idea for a play by post site for character creation. Everyone will probably know him as Andrew, but he won't understand why everyone doesn't call him by his proper identification serial tag. Four el Slash el Dee arr Three Doubleyou.
Kaze Koichi 9th May 2012, 3:05 PM edit delete reply
I vote for keeping lv 1 ones.
Stairc 10th May 2012, 2:04 AM edit delete reply
Newbiespud! I remember this happening several times in our game. =)
deeman45 14th May 2012, 10:10 AM edit delete reply
I forgot how freaking adorable Twilight is in her Winter Wrap-Up gear...