Page 1198 - Necessary Banality

23rd Mar 2019, 6:00 AM in School Raze
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Necessary Banality
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 23rd Mar 2019, 6:00 AM edit delete
So yeah, this was a somewhat inevitable outcome by process of elimination... but I'm okay with this reasoning at least. And in my original more-true-to-the-show mapping, Twilight was going to be playing Sandbar. Which might have worked in its own way, and certainly Fluttershy would make an easy Ocellus, and Pinkie Pie Yona... But again, though it took me a few tries to find it, I feel like this mapping fits my interpretation of these characters better with fewer compromises.

I used to be the guy who was all "give me the standard Human / Earth Pony just to spite all you Donut Steels," but lately evidence has shown that my new pattern is "windmill-slam Bugbear PC."

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



Guest 23rd Mar 2019, 6:04 AM edit delete reply
Story time! Tell a story about how you made a human/your setting's equivalent and made it interesting.
Spoony Viking 23rd Mar 2019, 6:14 AM edit delete reply
Well, I like to think most of my characters were interesting on some level, either because of their personalities or their backstories. :-P But if we're talking MECHANICALLY interesting...
Kaze Koichi 23rd Mar 2019, 6:40 AM edit delete reply
Does playing a human in Macross campaign counts? Probably not, because we all chose to play humans. Maybe one was a half-alien and I didn't pay enough attention, but no more then that. No one just wanted to play any aliens for some reason.
albedoequals1 23rd Mar 2019, 9:58 AM edit delete reply
My first (and probably best) character in a pony setting was an earth pony. It was mostly a reaction to everyone else being a special snowflake, but I somehow ended up being the one that knew stuff, the one that could talk to people, the one that solved the puzzles, and the main tank. Not too shabby for a "normal."

Edit: Not just an earth pony, a brown earth pony with no magic tricks. She had a charisma of 7, but I *still* ended up being the face most of the time, because the other players had no charisma in real life, so they all roleplayed as stiff jerks. :p
ZamuelNow 23rd Mar 2019, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
To me, that sounds about right. To me it feels like way too many special snowflake characters try to be different with managing to be interesting. Or at least helpful.
Digo Dragon 23rd Mar 2019, 11:30 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I've played a lot of Earth ponies and made them pretty interesting. Doc is my most famous one; relying on wits and inventiveness to get the best of his opponents.

I had a chef earth pony named Reuben Rye who was comical but really adventurous and often took chances. Seemed like the dice liked it when he did. Plus, he had some ideas on weaponizing food.
DuoScratch 23rd Mar 2019, 11:33 AM edit delete reply
I can't...I've always been something other than human in my games. It has to do with the fact that if I'm going to play a fantasy game, i want to be something as far away from myself as I can. So, non-human, non male usually too.
Winged Cat 23rd Mar 2019, 1:19 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Chao Blan (as in "bland"; that was part of my inspiration). Human, in a Final Fantasy setting where a bunch of other races were possible and used in the party.

This was a primarily naval campaign - Age of Sail + magic - so I made him a carpenter, vital for wooden ships. But he was a ki wielder - think Ryu & Ken from Street Fighter - and did his carpentry with his bare hands. (No splinters!) The campaign did not last long, but for what it did, he was the stoic & practical one. (Not that different from Applejack, come to think of it.)
Wornstone 23rd Mar 2019, 11:06 PM edit delete reply
Honestly, I've had the opposite problem where other races became uninteresting. At least to play.

Every time I was a dwarf, or gnome, or elf. I was -THE- dwarf, or gnome, or elf. I was thrust into situations where DMs and other players expected to play tropes off of me and I just kind... wanted to let my character be themselves? I tried human and it was kind of liberating to not be expected to be the "dour and honorbound dwarf" or the "lol randumb" gnome.
Digo Dragon 24th Mar 2019, 6:52 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Ah yes, the "one-hat" problem with some races. I know of it and it's such a hard trope to fight against.
Solitary Performance 25th Mar 2019, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
I'm sadly no help to that One-Hat race problem, even when I subvert it... one of my longest standing characters is a (now that it's actually legit to do) lawful good halfling rogue... and boy, is he mostly a thief's thief. Open up the big bad's castle? He's probably already got a set of picks best designed for their doors. Disarm an entire kobold's den's trap system? He's on his third tee-shirt from being there and doing that. Convince someone they're getting the better end of the deal by giving him everything for nothing? He's got a couple of those already signed on the OUT box on his desk.
But, by the same tokens, he typically is dual-wielding saps because you never know who you might need to ask questions of later (and it paints him bad to commit wanton murder when he's out and about), and his guild when I'm DMing (and he is, therefor, a DMPC) is a given town's equivalent of WoW-style guards (helpful to point you in the right direction, and are half competent at combat)... so yeah. He's definitely a sneaky rogue, like halflings are expected to be. But he's also more than just the stereotype.
CrowMagnon 24th Mar 2019, 6:42 PM edit delete reply
My current Pathfinder character, Brenna Sloane, would probably count as the "boring" one of the party, mechanically, but I'd like to think I make up for that by investing deeply in her character and background.

The rest of the Hell's Rebels group are a homeless oracle, a vishkanya brawler, and a Gorumite warpriest who can shift into a half-man/half-boar at will. By comparison, Brenna is a LG ex-cop cavalier using the Constable archetype.

As mentioned above, I kind of went a little overboard with her background. Raised by a grifter who was the big fish in the small pond that was her neighborhood until she was twelve, she was taught to follow in his footsteps until a gang decided to take over the neighborhood. Her father figure fled as soon as things got dangerous, but Brenna insisted on staying to fight, only to get caught by the gang when she tried to set a trap because she was a child and didn't actually know what she was doing.

At that point, she was rescued by a police officer who ended up adopting her, and Brenna grew up to join the police and use her knack for deceit to go undercover. Then, when the campaign villain took over her city, she decided that her oath to protect the people was more important than her badge.

Mechanically speaking, I also differentiated myself from the rest of the group by putting a lot of focus into grappling. Combined with the cavalier's "challenge" ability, she's undefeated in sparring matches with the other party members thanks to being able to hog-tie them in two rounds with decent rolls.
Naimah 24th Mar 2019, 7:09 PM edit delete reply
The most interesting Human character I've ever made was Geist, a 16-year-old mute sniper, who lived alone in a post-apocalyptic city before the party found her. Playing her was tons of fun, considering she didn't know any form of sign language, and just had to get by on gestures and shooting things.
Balrighty 23rd Mar 2019, 6:39 AM edit delete reply
"Brave enough to be borin'". Anyone else flashing back to that one episode of Home Improvement where Tim stands up to the Binford executive for Al Boreland, the man who "dares to be dull"?
Rastaba 23rd Mar 2019, 6:59 AM edit delete reply
Brave enough to be boring. I like that! Someone go make a meme out of it! I am being 100% serious, as I honestly think it is a pretty ingenious way to put it.
TheStratovarian 23rd Mar 2019, 7:48 AM edit delete reply
I don't see that as brave to be boring. I see that as I have my reasons for playing what I do, and i'm using that to justify them.

But I get some folks want to play what they want. I am that way with anything that generally offers flight, even if its not optimal.

I just note the fact of directly opposing the gm here by attacking rather than redirecting. Not a bad tactic, as it works here.
Digo Dragon 23rd Mar 2019, 11:34 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
This could apply to classes too. The healer/cleric/medic is often thought of as the boring class, but you can often turn it around and be the indispensable member of the team if you put together the right buffs and skills.
Winged Cat 23rd Mar 2019, 1:22 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Seconding Digo's reply. I've made a healer a party centerpiece. (Alex, who I recall describing a few comics ago so I won't repeat it here.)

Also, a certain Webcomic did that in epic form. So it's definitely possible.
Cyborg7221 23rd Mar 2019, 1:26 PM edit delete reply
It's weird that that's the common perception, because the way I see it most support classes actually have pretty great roleplaying hooks. Most Clerics are inextricably tied to a deity, and consequently a worldview likely at odds with the rest of the party. Played properly, a Cleric can act as the moral center of the party, a source of knowledge and wisdom to guide them on their quest; much like priests in real life. And, of course, their existence in the campaign world poses some interesting questions for philosophically and theologically inclined players and gamemasters to chew on. Druids get all that, plus a cool Miyazaki aesthetic, and as this comic has already pointed out, Bards are just so flexible! I'm 90% sure my next character will be an Elven Loremaster, a Bard cast as an Elrond type who focuses more on knowledge and healing than performance and social checks.

Honestly, to me, the Fighter is the most boring class in terms of playstyle. They mostly just hit things, get like two skills, have the highest AC thanks to armor proficiency, and that's the entire class. 4e made tanks more interesting with the Mark mechanic and various powers to choose from, but honestly even then in my games the Fighter was usually someone more content to sit back and watch, occasionally rolling dice on their turn than someone who would actively engage in the tactical or roleplaying aspects. Or, at worst, just a DMPC to shore up the party in combat. Which is ALSO weird, because Fighters are perhaps the most ubiquitous in the fantasy genre of literature and film, with infinitely varied backstories and archetypes. It's kind of a shame that the oversimplified mechanics seem like such a turn-off; there's a lot of unrealized RP potential there.
TheStratovarian 23rd Mar 2019, 3:04 PM edit delete reply
Yes, ive done this in a 5th campaign atm, playing a healing wizard (Life Theurge)

And so far, is the parties only full caster. 11th level atm. (Started 5th) And the only other person with any magic at all.

The rest of the party is Barb, Rogue, Fighter, Paladin, Monk. And not one interest in that. They are happy to hit things.

The character had saved the fighter, helped save the kobolds whole tribe, renegotiate a place for them to live. Has usurped the barbs family attentions on one person in a grand ceremony. Actually had the ceremony spell cast on them in game and purely dynamically by another pc. (Look around to how rare this is.)

And is the parties current transportation, safety, and the only person with an intelligence above 10.

Its been fun to play. Without question. And I just wish I wasn't so frustrated on other items with that game.
terrycloth 24th Mar 2019, 1:17 PM edit delete reply
I haven't heard people call them *dispensible*… it's just that giving buffs and healing people is boring.

If you're talking about buffing yourself up and taking an active part in combat... well, if I'm playing a cleric and do that I get yelled at. "You're the healer! Don't take risks!"

Bards have it just as bad. Our bard complains about being useless despite giving us +5/+5 in most fights.
Rakaydos 25th Mar 2019, 3:17 AM edit delete reply
Looking back at the last couple games, I've actually been playing to "Laid back combat monster."

Not all that great in social situations, though they honestly try, and when a combat is thrown our way they try to get it over with as quickly as the game system allows.
Digo Dragon 25th Mar 2019, 5:35 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Buffing/Healing is sometimes boring, but the thing most people forget when they're swinging at +Yes to hit and +Awesome to damage is that their victories are often built on the foundation of a good healer/cleric working with them.

I've had my healers thwart TPKs. Doc one time broke the rails in a fight where our party was supposed to lose and get captured because he was able to keep healing/buffing party members so they could keep fighting the monster.

Always remember to give your party healer/cleric props. Be their friend and they will buff you long time. :3
obscurereader 25th Mar 2019, 3:57 PM edit delete reply
I will never completely understand why some people say that healing/buffing is boring - like, I don't put too much stock into the tier systems regarding Pathfinder/DnD (been curb-stomped too much playing as a wizard or other spellcaster classes to think they're Gods among Men or whatever, especially given a lot of people I've played with favored martial classes over spellcasters and the games I was in tended to reflect that), but the whole reason Clerics/Buffers/Wizard type characters are generally highest-tier in those ratings is that their magic makes them versatile at, well, making everyone else more awesome and able to do their things even better than they already could, whether that be by utility magic that lets the party get to the big bad(s) (ex: Fly or other movement options to get up to higher elevations where big bad(s) are at the moment) or classic buffs that are bread and butter for a good reason (ex: Haste, Heroism, Protection from X and its variants, Summoning to aid the party as meat shields/flankers, most options of which make the party more efficient at killing things or not dying). Not to mention that it's entirely possible to build in a way that lets one buff and do other things (ex: Bards in 3.5 if built right can do anything a player puts their mind to, and quite a few options lead to being good at buffing as well.).

The primary reason I can think of as to why some people would describe support/buff/healing-type characters and what they do as boring is if those people simply weren't interested in trying to do buffs in the first place - like, that's fair if someone as a player doesn't want to do that, but that doesn't mean it's not an interesting or engaging playstyle that can save people's bacons and act as force multipliers when done well... (Hell, while specializing in healing spells isn't considered "optimal" iirc, healing spells still are recommended through magic items and keep people alive, so they're nothing to scoff at either).

(Tl;Dr - Support Characters are the backbone of the party imo, never ever take them for granted ever.)
Aden 26th Mar 2019, 12:37 AM edit delete reply
terry, is that 5e? because if so, tell your bard friend to take another look at their possible spells... There is serious potential for OP in the 5e bard...
Warlock 23rd Mar 2019, 9:32 AM edit delete reply
It's easy to slam baseline humans; After all, it's a roleplay. You can be whatever, whomever you want. So why not be an alien or elf or whatever?

But, at the end of the day, when you need to infiltrate the Imperial Base for the secret plans to the army's new ground vehicle, or to infiltrate the cult of the guise, or whatever, sometimes that bland pick pays dividends in so many useful ways. Sure, the other superheroes are able to break out of their handcuffs, but it's not like the mooks ever searched the 'normal guy' for lockpicking tools, or paid him attention for picking their keys.

And, if you're literally the token bland person, you literally are not bland anymore, because your use will come up in unexpected ways.
GrayGriffin 24th Mar 2019, 8:25 PM edit delete reply
I mean, "bland" and "unique" are all matters of framing. It'd be interesting to have an RPG that fluffed "normal humans" as being a rare, exotic race, and see if that ends up with more people wanting to play them.
Hariman 23rd Mar 2019, 1:15 PM edit delete reply
Well... you DO need a grounding element in a cast of crazies.
Digo Dragon 24th Mar 2019, 6:57 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
My healers all have several ranks in "Cat herder" for that very reason. Seems like they are often the main driving force that keeps the party from stalling out in one place.
Clutched 23rd Mar 2019, 8:44 PM edit delete reply
I've just realized you're getting into parts that I haven't seen. Guess I have to catch up on the show finally.
Steeve 23rd Mar 2019, 11:49 PM edit delete reply
ok so we have
AJ as Sandbar the Earth Pony
TS Ocellus the Changedling
Pinkie as Silverstream the Hippogriff/Seapony
Dash as Gallus the Griffon
Rarity as Smolder the Dragon
and Fluttery as YAK DISPLEASED
Arci 24th Mar 2019, 6:04 AM edit delete reply
I haven't played enough of... well, anything really. To have a "normal". But I can say at least that when I play something "different" it's because I want to, not because it is different from everybody else.
Mr_Some1 24th Mar 2019, 10:28 PM edit delete reply
While I wish AJ chose something more interesting, and someone else took the earth pony, I respect her reasoning. This seems like the kind of choice she would make.