Page 1329 - Just Say No

23rd Jan 2020, 5:00 AM in Guest Arc: Equestria Girls
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Just Say No
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 23rd Jan 2020, 5:00 AM edit delete
Author: GreatDinn

Guest Author's Note:
"Alternate Title: No Meet, I'm Vegetarian.

It's a bit of a ways into the comic to only now bring it up, but introductions are difficult if handled in game. It's generally a good idea to try and get it done during character creation, but my groups tend to make characters alone, then talk shop at the first session. If the DM doesn't have a really good grasp on the characters thus far, or a really convenient group forming situation, making people meet organically can be a challenge. It's a challenge in real life too, but we won't get into that. Any Story Times about especially successful or unsuccessful in-game introductions? Or ways your group got around it?

Random aside: It was somewhat difficult to find an early image of Rainbow Dash where she wasn't smiling pretty wide. It might be a side-effect of her significantly less screen time in the film, but she smiles more than Pinkie Pie in this!"

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



Digo 23rd Jan 2020, 7:11 AM edit delete reply
I find that integration of the group meet-up into the opening campaign narration is important. And what I mean by that is you should have the party introduction in mind when you pitch the adventure to your players.

One of my best party intros was done for a campaign based on the old series LOST. It started on the beach of the plane crash and each PC was given a description of where they are and what's around them. They sort of knew each other since they were all passengers and they worked together to rescue some NPCs that survived the crash, but couldn't get out of the wreck by themselves. They quickly got to know each other, making up their own stories of their travel plans. Worked great.
CrowMagnon 23rd Jan 2020, 7:21 AM edit delete reply
My Pathfinder group plays Adventure Paths rather than homebrew most of the time, so those typically come with built-in reasons for our characters to be in the same place when a catalytic event takes place to bring them together. Though when we started Hell's Rebels, the DM put just a little extra into how we coalesced at the start.

Story-wise, we all start out separately while attending the same protest. Because my character has a background as one of the city cops before she decided to help oppose the tyrannical police state that had recently taken hold, it was determined that the others had all had some encounters with her in the past. Particularly the cheerful Gorumite (got of battle) Warpriest who had a long history of volunteering to helping the police take down some criminals before being politely escorted back out of town because of the trouble he tended to get himself into the REST of the time.
Anvildude 23rd Jan 2020, 8:02 AM edit delete reply
I'm personally a fan of the 'Everyone was hired to do the same job' introduction. I prefer the 'they all work for a specific Guild' subtype, because that gives good reason for them to continue to work together as well.

It allows for them to have known each other beforehand (like a pair of con artists or something), or have someone completely new show up (the greenhorn). It allows for some characters to have more 'experience', even if they're the same level. And if someone dies, it gives a convenient way for a new character to get slotted in- a new hire by the caravan, or the Guild selected a replacement or something.
Jennifer 23rd Jan 2020, 10:19 AM edit delete reply
I get around it by having them all work for the City Guard. This is also useful because I don't have a real group, just drop-in players. When a crisis hits, the Captain looks around, sees the players, and orders them to handle it. Done. Anyone he doesn't see is obviously in hospital, on sentry duty, etc on the day.
Blyndpwn 23rd Jan 2020, 10:20 AM edit delete reply
I'm currently in a campaign where the opening was someone posted a job that was too good to be true, and all of us had gone to apply. My character is pretty genre savvy, so when the BBEG said she would pay out the exorbitant reward per person if a team succeeded at the job, I noped right the flip out. Now, my character is a homebrew species that looks like a purple striped displacer beast (my first character ever was a displacer, so they have a special place in my heart, and I'm a Lewis Carrol fan, so, basically, I'm playing the Cheshire Cat), and the guy next to me at the table is playing a druid.
DM turns to the druid and says, "As you look around the courtyard, you see a large purple panther."
Druid says, "Awesome! Finally, my animal companion has appeared!"
The druid has a thing for herbs, and manages to convince my character (quite unintentionally) that if I left him alone for more than ten minutes, no jury in the world would believe it wasn't murder. I only had to threaten to bite him four times before he stopped trying to ride me (he's playing a gnome, just for the record).
Wrat 23rd Jan 2020, 10:40 AM edit delete reply
I had a great meetup with another party member once. I was a rogue, he was a sorcerer, and both of us were con artists. We both wound up trying to fleece the same target, struck up a friendship, and wound up becoming co leaders of the party.
Winged Cat 23rd Jan 2020, 10:55 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
These days, I favor a concept called "Session 0".

Nominally, it's there to handle any final details of character generation. That much is true: some players will not have filled out all the necessary details before actually arriving at the first session (the rest of the table would prefer if one's to-hit bonuses were listed on one's sheet before the first in-character scene, rather than waiting until one's first action in one's first combat for one to flip back and forth through the rules to calculate said to-hit bonuses at that time), and sometimes some players may need help making their characters.

But more importantly, it is about party generation. The GM asks the players how their characters know each other. The very beginning of the plot is revealed to help facilitate ideas, but there is no in-character action yet: that is reserved for Session 1.

For example, if there is a guild involved, the guild can introduce them to one another before - possibly minutes, possibly a day or more before - the guild goes into detail about the particular mission they are hired for. At another extreme, the details of how a party just met before the first scene, or will meet during the first scene, can be negotiated so as to result in a party that will be cohesive, rather than a bunch of strangers who will quickly go their own ways. More often, this process results in characters who have known each other for months or years - not necessarily everyone having met everyone before the first scene, but each PC is linked in somewhere in the chain.

If party generation goes quickly, such that at least 1/3 of the allocated session time remains, then perhaps an abbreviated Session 1 can be done, but this is not required.
Mabbz 23rd Jan 2020, 12:00 PM edit delete reply
I had a game where we were all playing Warhammer 40k Orks. Specifically, the ship we were on crashed, and the PCs were the only survivors. Naturally, the first thing that happened upon crawling out of the wreckage was a short fight to see who would be in charge. Which I would have won, if we hadn't decided out of character that killing a PC during the introductions would be a bad thing...
Mabbz 23rd Jan 2020, 12:25 PM edit delete reply
And on the flip side, was an annoying experience I had. I'm a fan of starting with an establishing character moment. I was playing a former criminal upper class lady with a very self centred outlook, and a talent for illusion magic. We were all meeting at a tavern, so I decided to demonstrate the kind of character I was playing by pretending to have been pickpocketed, and playing on the innkeeper's sympathies to try and get a free room for the night. My character didn't need the money, she just likes playing people.

Then another player does their opening moment. They decide that a random urchin chose that exact moment to actually pick my pocket. They catch the thief and hand me back my coin purse, revealing me as a liar.

I'm a little annoyed, but I figured nows a good time to show another aspect of my character; they're very prideful. I drop a few coins from the purse on the floor, using some illusion magic to make them look like rocks, and claim that's just a fake purse I keep to protect from thieves. Worth noting that the money I've just discarded is worth more than the room. My character doesn't care about the money, but she hates being made to look like a fool.

Then the other player decides that obviously all businesses would have an anti-magic rune to prevent magical counterfeiting, which makes sense to some degree, but there's no way my character wouldn't have known that without making my character look even more stupid. But now our little scene has gone on too long so I'm not allowed to change my response.

The scene didn't have any real bearing on the rest of the game, but it did annoy quite a lot.
Guest 24th Jan 2020, 10:01 AM edit delete reply
Most memorable was when we were all naked. The game started in public bath house with the party and an NPC all sharing a hot bath. Some of the PCs knew each other but not all. Almost the entire session was conversation among ourselves and the NPC. Several hours IRL, meeting each other, talking local politics with the NPC as a way to learn the setting, and getting hired by them to go after some bandits. Then off to grab arms, armor, and well clothes before dealing with said bandits in the next session.

In my group we almost always try to have a preexisting link to someone else in the group. Helps smooth the party working together and also lets people more naturally expand on their character.
Color 24th Jan 2020, 2:53 PM edit delete reply
Did anyone notice that Twilight line of color in her hair, in the last vignette when she is turned, is not there?
jdb1984 27th Jan 2020, 11:36 AM edit delete reply
It's there. Just hard to see. And it's almost completely hidden because of perspective.
Morinth 24th Jan 2020, 5:58 PM Morinth edit delete reply
I've got one! We were doing a school for mutants thing with a homebrew system and our GM started us off in detention together. Instead of forming some kind of Magical Breakfast Club, half of us immediately snuck out of detention. The entire party remained separated until the end of the game, three hours later. Not a super fun time.
Kereea 25th Jan 2020, 4:09 AM edit delete reply
In our latest game, we each did a solo session with the other players helping out with the new honor-based luck mechanics (higher honor score equals lower stats, but more chances to modify d20 rolls to help friends or hinder enemies).

The solo sessions then all collide at the end--the Bard teamed up for traveling with the theater troupe my Walrock works for to get wagon escort for the injured people she recued, then the ranger's session ended with her and her ally crashing into us as we crashed into bandits, and then the Paladin (a dim Warforged we are to imagine "is running on REALLY old Windows") just kind of wanders into the fray because after his session his patron pointed him in our direction.

Then the paladin's patron told him to stick with the ranger, who's out for Revenge against an evil cult, and my warlock and the bard joining up because the warlock's patron was interested in the ruins they were heading to and the bard is just looking for adventure.

We're now dealing with shenanigans from multiple factions who want to return the world to "they way it should be" and a reality warping book in the mix that nearly killed by chaotic good butt when I went to open it (my warlock was convinced she needed it to save the bard, thinking just reviving her would leave the book-based curse in place) and then the Paladin'a patron forced him to force us to give it to a deva. My book-loving little kenku was MAD at him for a little while for that, tho the paladin's player got a ton of RP XP for how well he played and handled the directive.