Page 123 - Ghost of Villains Past

19th May 2012, 6:00 AM in Dragonshy
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Ghost of Villains Past
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 19th May 2012, 6:00 AM edit delete
Referencing old NPCs or dungeon traps can be a great way to mess with players you've run with for a long time. If the players who know what you're referencing will expect certain things from your copy-and-paste, you can subvert that and exploit their metagaming by changing it up.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: February 20th.



darkwulf23 19th May 2012, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
So Angel is a little demon Imp incarnate. Nope not surprised. Still love the little guy, putting your hoof down notwithstanding.
Ember_Glow 19th May 2012, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
Now all Angle needs is a cold pop and he will be a true creature of the underworld.
Anon 19th May 2012, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
I do wonder why familiars and animal companions are even created in this comic... as seen with Spike in ep1, they don't get to come along on the adventure. I mean yeah, it makes for a few funny strips now, but you can only ditch a familiar so many times until the excuses become old.
darkwulf23 19th May 2012, 6:57 AM edit delete reply
Well they do have an entire episode dedicated to everybody's pets. We could say that is mane six's familiar day. But I see your point though, why have a familiar that you are not going to use?

Speaking of which anyone want to script that role play go ahead.
Chakat Firepaw 21st May 2012, 5:58 PM edit delete reply
This is the main reason why Pathfinder gives most classes that have a companion animal a non-animal option. Of the three exceptions, one even lets you do the whole 'vanishing pet' thing that OotS sometimes makes fun of.
MirrorImage 19th May 2012, 7:29 AM edit delete reply
Depends on how you play the familiar. The always-at-your-side-henchman style of familiar is good when the characters don't stay in one place for very long, but a familiar really is just a glorified pet (because lets face it, that's what a Guard Dog is as well). But when each of the characters has their own home and their (mis)adventures rarely take them more than a day's travel away from it, it becomes a case of "Why should Angel be riding on my shoulder 24-7?"

You have to admit, walking around with a snake familiar coiled around your neck 24-7 is going to get you strange looks wherever you go. Of course, the DM could also just come around and say "Nope, Angel is being stubborn and refuses to join you today."
darkwulf23 19th May 2012, 7:48 AM edit delete reply
My mage has a lesser air elemental possessing a fairy puppet (a marionette that can move on it's own). Whenever we are in a town I usually role play him going off and doing his own thing in detail. It was so much fun my group got into it as well and started describing the epic adventures that he would face while we are talking to the inn keeper about the cemetery being haunted because a necromancer is disturbing the dead.
darkwulf23 19th May 2012, 10:26 AM edit delete reply
Anyway the created back story was that he is Sir Maple of the silver twine, a chivalrous knight who quests on behalf of his beloved princess Dolly and seeks to slay the dreaded purple stuffed dragon, Snaggletooth. He has a rivalry with a teddybear named Huggems the cad, possessed by a lesser earth elemental. Sir Maple wields a masterwork Wooden Spoon, a +1 pot lid and has a loyal and faithful mount that he rides into the heart of battle, (the mage). Needless to say my group loves him.
MirrorImage 19th May 2012, 12:45 PM edit delete reply
And then there's the familiar one of my friends used that literally made us all go "wtf" each game.

At Level 1, he picks his druidic familiar (which means he can conjure it at will within so many squares)as a serpent. He claimed that he could use that serpent (at Level 1) to control a character for the turn. To put that in terms, he claimed that he had an At-Will, no saving throw, no attack roll, Dominate effect. It was hilarious for a little bit, until the DM finally went "Ok, wait a minute, let me see where you'll pulling this stuff from."

We don't know where he was pulling it from, but he claims it was from official sources.

Then, of course, I ended up taking a flaming skull as a familiar with similarities to... I believe the character is "Bob" from Dresden Files? (My only knowledge of that series is the Strange Friends / False Masks fanfictions) The story behind that is that our characters managed to unseal an ancient evil (at Level 1 - always with the Level 1s) that sent the world to hell. We end up discovering the disembodied possessed skull of the leader of the now-extinct local wizards guild, and as we level up to 2, I throw out a random question of "Hey, if he's traveling with us anyways, can I take him as a familiar?"
Altirian 5th Aug 2022, 9:19 AM edit delete reply
Ah, another fan of The Dresden Fillies.
BoringUglyPinkEarthPony 20th May 2012, 3:36 PM edit delete reply
'Of course, the DM could also just come around and say "Nope, Angel is being stubborn and refuses to join you today."'

You think too small.
<GM> Angel refuses to come with you until you make him a super fruit salad dessert. With a cherry on top.
<Fluttershy> I don't have any cherries, but I can't possibly go on a quest without my Angel...
<Rainbow Dash> Oh Celestia, ANOTHER side quest for Angel?
MirrorImage 21st May 2012, 7:46 AM edit delete reply
GM: And within the final boss's treasure hoard is a single Cherry.
RD: A cherry? Really? I eat the cherry and storm out.

-3 hours later-
RD: Fluttershy, use Angel to kill that guy.
FS: Oh, I would... but, Angel won't listen to me right now unless I make him a super special salad with a Cherry on top, but I don't know where to find a Cherry.
PrincessSpectra 19th May 2012, 7:45 AM edit delete reply
Oh, Rainbow, Angel thrives on your suffering. ^_^
The MunchKING 19th May 2012, 8:00 AM edit delete reply
The MunchKING
When I heard "Imp" for some reason I thought of the Little green guys from Final Fantasy 3 (SNES).
Sailorleo 25th Jun 2014, 6:02 PM edit delete reply
Which were actually kappa, intentionally mistranslated for the same reason FF'3' is misnumbered (assuming you meant Final Fantasy 6, as that was the first one with green 'imps').
Mr. Brony 19th May 2012, 8:02 AM edit delete reply
In my experience, people with familiars sometimes forget they have them, especially if they're of the passive stat boost variety instead of the more actively helpful kind. In that case, it makes sense that they don't show up all the time. The players just forgot they were there XD
Anon 19th May 2012, 9:43 AM edit delete reply
Case in point: Vaarsuvius and Blackwing.
redwings1340 19th May 2012, 6:18 PM edit delete reply
I just had a cat in the campaign who was really important to me, and I was excited to need to protect him throughout the game, but he basically never appeared. After a while I started leaving him at the place we were staying at while I was away because I realized that the adventures were dangerous and I didn't want him to die. It was kind of boring, but he never really came into play.
Urthdigger 21st May 2012, 3:48 PM edit delete reply
I think I really surprised the party of a big campaign I was in by reversing the roles. 99% of my roleplaying was done via my familiar (Who was basically some amalgamation of Daxter from Jak & Daxter, Max from Sam & Max, and Chamo from Mahou Sensei Negima). My poor wizard pretty much only existed to cast spells in combat.
Ace the Eagle 28th Mar 2013, 3:27 PM edit delete reply
Had a game where I had some traveling conman capture our mage's familiar because it was a rare specimen.
Couple sessions later in a rich highclass city. A little girl's pet had to be stolen so our mage had her familiar.
It was hilarious all the spells failing the depression. Man I enjoyed that.
MinkofSnow 28th Mar 2013, 3:33 PM edit delete reply
She was not a rare specimen she was a pure white mink except for her etes and nose. With magic...
And what little girl? She was freakin 24! And the ruler of that city. Anyways she added my mink to an army of familiars we had to eliminate her for the session.
Mr. Brony 19th May 2012, 8:08 AM edit delete reply
Now that I think about it, that may be what happened with Tank and Owlouisious (sp?). They got them for the passive stat boost and never had cause to use them again! I also imagine RD's Find a Pet episode would center around her getting something that offers a defense bonus or some kind of unique effect rather than an even higher attack, like the hawk or falcon would probably grant.
Dragonflight 19th May 2012, 8:17 AM edit delete reply
Sometimes, familiars can be the only thing keeping the party alive.

In my ongoing campaign, I modified magic items so that they weren't all just the boring, "potion, ring, staff" variety. You could have random, non-standard items behaving like potions or rings. A common theme was using small tokens which could be used to activate spells or potion-effects. Think of any anime with dramatic spellcasting for an example of what I'm talking about.

Anyway, the PC's had early on in the campaign something like six familiars in the party. And they had picked up magical tokens which acted like cure lights. I also applied the house rule that a person reduced to 0 hits or less didn't die until the end of the round.

So every time a player dropped to the ground, their familiar (or someone else's familiar) would dive into whatever container was handy for a cure light device, and slap it on the critically wounded PC.

It became so much of a joke that we had several sessions we referred to as the "Legion of Super-Pets," which was all about what the pets were off doing while the PC's were taking it easy in a tavern somewhere.
XandZero2 19th May 2012, 9:12 AM edit delete reply
All of the super-pet shenanigans sound like a fun way to make pets important (or hilarious in any case) - but another way I've seen people utilize pets is for plot development.

-Say, if a player forgot about their pet, well then the GM would make that pet wonder off, and when the player remembered they actually had that little doggie, the GM would say something along the lines of -

"Oh, you can hear a faint scratching, scraping noise coming from up that old, rickety flight of stairs in the obviously haunted house... You can only assume that MUST be Fido (what else could it be, right?). Do you wish to investigate?"

That was in a Call of Cthulhu RPG - and let me assure you, that scraping?

-It wasn't the dog.
Darkblade 20th May 2012, 4:50 AM edit delete reply
You brought a dog to a CoC campaign? That's just asking for tragedy.
Digo 20th May 2012, 6:14 AM edit delete reply
I'm only mildly familiar with CoC, but wouldn't the dog at least warn you that something odd was nearby by it's barking?
MirrorImage 20th May 2012, 7:04 AM edit delete reply
Only if the dog was still with the party.
Eva 21st May 2012, 12:29 PM edit delete reply
A cat is really what you want in CoC. Based on the fiction they're loyal, sensitive to the Mythos, and loud as hell when it's around. ;)
Raxon 21st Jun 2012, 8:12 PM edit delete reply
A dog will only warn you about the horrors closing in if it's still a dog.

Sweet dreams.
Crimson Doom 19th May 2012, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
I *love* RD's expression in the first panel, because it's *exactly* my reaction to idiocy, except I'm a little more facepalm-y. Not that I think RD is justified with that reaction here, because this is a *roleplaying* game, not a "kill everything and take their stuff" game. You want that, play Munchkin.
I don't have any particularly interesting familiar *stories*, but one of the players in a campaign I'm starting today is a kobold druid with a Deinonychus as his animal companion. Not exactly a familiar, either, but it definitely turns heads.
kriss1989 19th May 2012, 9:49 AM edit delete reply
We have ONE familliar in our 4E campaign. The infamous "Eyeballs!" raven of "Hey there primitive tribesmen, we're here to steal your sacred relic!" and "Wow this Count has some nice stuff, lets steal it!" infamy.

P.S.: The PC that owns the Raven is providing all the dialog. ALL of it. It's like a magical flying talking indestructible bad decision factory. *cries DM tears of joy*
Akouma 19th May 2012, 9:49 AM edit delete reply
One of the few things I enjoyed about the "Beyond the Crystal Cave" season of Encounters was that you could take a theme that would give you a fey animal companion. I was running around with a blink dog, which let anything next to it teleport to anywhere else next to it. This also can be combined with familiars and animal companions, and my class got a familiar for free.
Steel 19th May 2012, 10:00 AM edit delete reply
heh in the Old Pathfinder game the Rogue kept getting attacked by Mimics in the early days. The one time that really sticks witht he group was the time she was attacked by a dresser that looked like it was filled with Designer clothing. "It was VERSAUCHIE" still brings a smile to my mug
Stairc 19th May 2012, 10:59 AM edit delete reply
*laughs* So Angel is now the spiritual equivalent of Torrin or the Boulder Room in our campaigns?

Oh, Newbiespud, did you hear that Torrin is back?
Erin Palette 19th May 2012, 11:17 AM edit delete reply
Erin Palette
Karrot? Is that a DBZ reference?
Vynnton 19th May 2012, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
Might be a WoW reference. It was one of the random names you could get for your imp. This undead warlock that I knew had it and was rather embarrassed by it, at least ICly.
The Guest 19th May 2012, 2:09 PM edit delete reply
I played a Beastmaster Ranger once with a wolf companion. I RPed the wolf as a separate character and eventually, split him from the ranger. The DM let me rebuild the ranger as a normal ranger and the wolf as a rogue, so I ended up playing two chars.

The wolf developed a reputation as a BAMF after one battle, during which he'd parried an orc's battle axe with a dagger.
magewolf 19th May 2012, 2:16 PM edit delete reply
ah had a cat in a 3.5 game that was gteat.

ah was a mage and had a custom bag of holding.(dm wasent gunna let anyone have a b.o.h. but ah did what aj did with the farm.)

the cat rhode in mah cloak and when ah needed sumthin from the bag the cat would grab mah pocket watch and use it as a repell rope and jump in the bag.
it would then use the rope 2 climb out with the item.

that was one of the simpeler things that cat did.
Kindulas 19th May 2012, 2:30 PM edit delete reply
On the topic of familiars not being an average familiar, my talking cat has been a great help. Resurrecting a party member, designing our boat (with her likeness as the figurehead, at my out of character suggestion), knowing the password to the teleporter out of the terrible dungeon of an organization we soon discovered she used to run until she was usurped by an unlikely man named Jarod.

...Who was working for Torrin Silverfern...

Familiars can be utilized as great RP pieces. I might need to get my next character a familiar juat cause that's a trademark of mine now. That cat was the focus of my character until I fell in love with a dragon ("Friendship" is not dragons for me folks).
Colin 19th May 2012, 3:38 PM edit delete reply
Tiny and stabby... You based him off Belkar, didn't you?
The MunchKING 19th May 2012, 5:26 PM edit delete reply
The MunchKING
Not the far more obvious, Bun-bun??
Crimson Doom 20th May 2012, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
Well, if it *was* based off of Belkar, that certainly explains why he was so irritating. Seriously, I don't know how anyone puts up with the guy.
Anon 20th May 2012, 1:36 PM edit delete reply
It's a "love to hate" thing.
Crimson Doom 21st May 2012, 5:39 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
in-comic, I mean. I know Roy's reasoning, and Durkon and Elan are too nice to even think about it, but knowing Vaarsuvius before his recent character development, it's a wonder that Belkar hasn't been Disintegrated yet.
Anon 21st May 2012, 1:39 PM edit delete reply
There was the whole "Explosive runes experiment" a while back, and Vaarsuvius seemed to have really fun doing that. I always saw Vaarsuvius as neutral but leaning more towards evil. Causing someone you don't like to not being able to take five steps without getting an explosion to the face is much more fun than just disintegrating him.
Crimson Doom 22nd May 2012, 5:26 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
Normally, yes, but when someone turns me upside-down during meditation and puts a jar of hornets on my legs, my first instinct is still Disintegrate. Blowing up stuff in people's face is funnier when they can't fight back.
Anon 22nd May 2012, 7:33 AM edit delete reply
Some respect for Roy? He is, after all, the leader of the group and in Origins it was shown that V actually respected his intelligence.
Copper Hamster 19th May 2012, 9:01 PM edit delete reply
Had a Wizard by the name of Zookertanmalsitar Igneon Taritami Harkzoland III. (Gnomes, gotta love 'em) He took a splatbook prestige class that eventually converted him into an extra planer being based on his elemental specialty, fire. (He essentially became a fire elemental. He could swim in lava and laugh in the face of a red dragon's breath weapon. However it had a few downsides, in fact it bit us in the BUY SOME APPLES once when this lich threw an AE banishment type spell (forget which one) to get rid of these summoned critters the Cleric had out... and I failed my save and suddenly the party loses it's mage as I'm now on the elemental plane of fire!) At some point during the prestige class you are allowed to summon or exchange your familiar for a fire elemental. I had an owl for a familiar since first level, and really didn't want to replace it but it didn't really work well with what Zook was capable of. So we houseruled it. The DM applied a modified elemental template to the owl. So my owl, which also had this insanely long name but was referred to as simply 'Flare' for brevity, becomes a tiny phoenix-owl.
(Yes, my gnome named his brown owl 'Flare'. Do you have a problem with this? The druid did... he preferred 'Rat breath'. Though it was kind of a compliment. We had a low level arch nemesis wizard that had this rat familiar and... well...)
Anyway part of his thing was that he wasn't quite as fireproof as the elemental, but if he died to fire, normal or magical, or chose to self immolate, he would come back at my command. (it was a full round action to 'resummon' him).

Good times.

Hmm another cute one:
We ran a short, silly campaign once where we picked tiny creatures and applied class levels to them. Then defended our fellow forest dwellers against evil, etc etc... The two best characters were the rat druid that took a housecat as an animal companion (wut?) and the barbarian tree sloth. My rogue toad was not very good...

EdgeOfOblivion 19th May 2012, 9:07 PM edit delete reply
My only real memorable familiar was Gloaming, an owl who belonged to Isaac, my Force Missile Mage sorcerer in an evil campaign.

She was mostly memorable because the party's barbarian happened to be very distrusting of arcane magic, and made repeated threats against her and/or Isaac's lives. She occasionally threw things at the owl, tried to knock her out of trees, brought cats to camp, and otherwise made a point of letting us know that we lived only at her whim and that we would die well before she did.

Of course being the nihilistic, Tharizdun-praising nutjob he was, Isaac was happy to trade threats in return.

One of the most classic lines from that entire campaign was after a round of trading barbs, the barbarian ended it with, "Mark my words, one day I will have birdy pot pie." The rest of us were stunned silent for a few moments before busting into laughter.
HopeFox 20th May 2012, 12:25 AM edit delete reply
I know my old Shadowrun GM used to throw Bob and Carl the security guards into every game he ran for us. Even if it was Mage: the Ascension, or Dungeons and Dragons.
Digo 20th May 2012, 6:12 AM edit delete reply
Ugh, I hate copy-n-paste villainy. One of my players offered to run an Oriental Adventures D&D game so I expected a fantasy Japanese style campaign full of interesting oriental lore.

Instead the GM ripped off *EVERY* villain in my last D&D game, changing only a few of their races. Everything else was the same and it led to one huge metagaming mess.
We stopped playing that campaign after about a month.
The Guest 20th May 2012, 3:27 PM edit delete reply
So you were expecting a game with Sum Ting Nu, and got something old and something borrowed? Man, you must have been something blue when that happened. No wonder the engagement was called off.
Digo 20th May 2012, 6:00 PM edit delete reply
**Animated gif of Citizen Kane Clapping**
Honestly, that was an awesome reply.
Innisa 20th May 2012, 6:17 PM edit delete reply
Oh goodness yes, my DM has a wizard he always brings back into a campaign. Whether it be in the medieval world, Avatar world, MLP world, or even the one time we tried a Star Trek world, Bu the Wizard would always make a return.
Digo 22nd May 2012, 5:39 AM edit delete reply
A friend of mine has a certain military general that always shows up as well in any genre.
JR Klein 24th May 2012, 7:33 PM edit delete reply
Pay no mind to the man behind the DM screen.
Solario the Visored 21st May 2012, 8:28 AM edit delete reply
Don't you ever dare laugh as Angel hops by,
For you may be the next to die. >:|
Qin the Kirin 21st May 2012, 8:44 AM edit delete reply
jajajaja more of less, Angel bunny, remember me, the character of one friend of mine. a Halfling Thief, infamous as the name of Chafeoj, (on Spanish chaparro, feo y ojete). Squat, ugly and Jerkass XD.
Dwarfofdorf 21st May 2012, 12:41 PM This seems familiar... edit delete reply
This reminds me of the time the person in my party who's always a Mage persuaded the GM, after witnessing my phoenix familiar own a minor boss, to give him have a flame sprite companion in the next campaign.

The next campaign we did was a water-based campaign where we were all merfolk. And yes, the GM remembered that, and yes, the poor Mage could only use his familiar when we visited the surface. Which we did twice in the whole campaign. Fun.
Urthdigger 21st May 2012, 4:10 PM edit delete reply
So, I have a story involving both a familiar AND referencing old NPCs.

So, in a campaign I DMed, the players have managed to piss off most of the other cities by siding with a group of animal/human hybrid bioweapons (Think lycanthropes basically. Or furries) that a magical research institute made, rather than destroying them. They eventually come to one of the few towns that's not hostile to them, and get a meeting from the duke, who has heard of them.

They march in to find the duke, who is obviously a half-celestial, and his celestial weasel pet. He mentions he's heard of the party's recent adventures, and after confirming the facts, he dismisses his guards so he can talk in private. Then the weasel speaks up.

It turned out the weasel was Sakeek from my old campaign (This one taking place a couple hundred years after that one), with a take on the ending (the old campaign hadn't ended yet) that had the entire party sacrifice themselves to save the day, but my wizard used epic level spell shenanigans to transfer his familiar bond to his own familiar, essentially making him his own familiar so he got the benefits such as long life and his prestige bonus of speech, but wouldn't die when the wizard did. It also turned out he was behind the whole mess.

Being the sole survivor of the legendary heroes, he inherited the floating city town which later became the town the party was in now. However, being a foot tall animal didn't get him a lot of respect, which became a major problem with trying to rule the place. He wound up marrying a musteval, having a son, who later had a kid with a a human girl. His descendants were the ones to sit on the throne, but he kept ruling from behind the scenes, disguised as the family pet.

However, he wasn't exactly happy with this. He had contacted the research institute to try and create a hybrid race, with the hope of having them used for utilitarian uses (servants, builders, messengers, etc.) so people get used to animal people, so he could actually show his face in public instead of pretending to be a non-sentient. The research institute had told him the experiment had failed a decade ago, and he was completely unaware they had kept experimenting with the focus on making bioweapons. He also had some serious issues with their methods (which involved kidnapping humans to create the first generation of any new race), so he wound up joining the party to take down the research institute and stop the experiments.

So, yeah. I made a call back NPC the key cornerstone of an entire campaign.
kriss1989 21st May 2012, 6:54 PM edit delete reply
Not only that, a callback NP familiar.
Dwarfofdorf 21st May 2012, 10:47 PM edit delete reply
Not only that - it was the familiar of an NPC!
Urthdigger 22nd May 2012, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
Actually, in the original campaign it was MY familiar, I was simply a player in the previous campaign.
Xelmon 6th Jul 2013, 2:10 PM edit delete reply
*Chuckling at "Karrot", and the players opinions*

OOOOoohhh god, I'll have to use that some day! XD