Page 1372 - Data Breach

2nd May 2020, 6:00 AM in Guest Arc: Equestria Girls
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Data Breach
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 2nd May 2020, 6:00 AM edit delete
Author: GreatDinn

Guest Author's Note: "(Next page, hopefully?)"

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



ANW 2nd May 2020, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
Crazy DM stories
PhantomFox 2nd May 2020, 6:21 AM edit delete reply
Oof, so last page was from insecurity panic and or paranoia.
zimmerwald1915 2nd May 2020, 6:55 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon 2nd May 2020, 7:21 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
That clears up the slight confusion I had. Okay, I can understand SunsetGM having insecurities about being compared to another GM, but suddenly yanking hard right into left out infield is probably not the correct reaction to take with their campaign. :o
The Answer 2nd May 2020, 12:11 PM edit delete reply
I could say it's the stress, if SunsetGM think that no one appreciate her work and when the players seems to have fun, SunsetGM discover that another SpikeGM so is like throwing salt to a open wound when she could think that they could be laughing of her.
Anon 2nd May 2020, 7:01 AM edit delete reply
I'm not following these last two pages.

1) Was Regular!DM just texting or calling?
2)Who did Regular!DM get a lot of texts from?
3)Were the All Caps speech balloons last page texts or Sunset!DM shouting IRL?
4)"You can't just take my-" phone or familiar?
4a)If the answer is "phone", when did Sunset!DM take it? Between pages, or between the next to last and last panel of last page?
4) When did Sunset!DM find out Twilight has been talking to Regular!DM? Right now, when/if she took the phone, or has she known for a while?
Anon 2nd May 2020, 7:11 AM Anon edit delete reply
1. From what I gather, texting.
2. Its implied from Sunset!DM, I don't think Regular!DM knows any of the other players in this group.
3. I'm going with shouting.
4a. I think in this case, it applies to both; since pupper-Spike symbolizes both Regular!DM texting with Twilight and her in game familiar.
4b. I wouldn't be surprised if she suspected and later confirmed it after snatching Twilight's phone.
Anon 2nd May 2020, 7:21 AM edit delete reply
2a) What did she text?
Anon 2nd May 2020, 11:58 AM Anon edit delete reply
Going off Sunset's actions and dialogue along with the few texts we've been privy to from Reg!DM, I'd say anything from panicked messages about how things are going wrong to direct accusations of ruining her game or sending a saboteur.
GD 2nd May 2020, 12:12 PM edit delete reply
I'm sorry for the confusion! That's 100% on me, and something I should have made much more clear over the course of this comic. Lemme set some records straight.

1) No one has made a phone call this game. It's all been texting. I've been using a specific text box for it since page 1. Likewise, I've been using Spike to represent DM and subsequently, phone.

2) Regular!DM got a bunch of texts from Sunset!DM (henceforth MD). I tried to imply that with the hard cut to MD saying "Sunset Shimmer..."

3) MD was shouting IRL. That was using the "DM" speech bubble style.

4) "You can't just take my phone." The implication was supposed to be that when the text was cut off, and that image of Snips and Snails grabbing Spike was shown, MD was swiping Twilight's phone in anger.

5) Sunset saw the open texts to DM just then and put two and two together (though maybe not the right two and two.)

Again, I apologize for this being unclear. That's definitely my failing, and thank you for feeling comfortable enough to ask.

I hope that clarified things.
A Quiet Reader 2nd May 2020, 7:47 AM edit delete reply
Hmm. I just went back to the pages where Twi is texting OG!DM during the break. They don't say anything that could be misconstrued as Twi wanting a game like her normal one, so I'm guessing SS!DM just snatched the phone, saw it was from OG!DM and leaped to a conclusion.

So, how is this going to go down? The takedown of Sunset with lots of arguing between players & SS!DM during the in-game fight, or will they wait until after defeating Sunset in-game to discuss SS!DM's problems?
GD 2nd May 2020, 12:20 PM edit delete reply
I won't get into the next few pages, but you are correct in that SS!DM (henceforth MD), is jumping to a conclusion.

MD isn't reading the full texts, just seeing who they're from, and combining that with some of the less charitable (or charitably interpreted) comments Twilight has made over the course of the game.
Steel Resolve 2nd May 2020, 7:54 AM edit delete reply
Sunnybun, you really don't know what happened the last time Twi was faced with a powerful villain with friends at her back. Get ready for a surprise.
albedoequals1 2nd May 2020, 8:54 AM edit delete reply
Aw. I feel Sunshim's pain. Players using their cellphones at the table are the worst.

They need to take a break though. If the GM's not having fun, nobody is having fun.
The Old One 2nd May 2020, 9:25 AM edit delete reply
As a Pathfinder player, I'm going to debate that point. Since nearly everything for PF can be found in the online SRD, it's an invaluable resource at the table, even if you have to use your phone to look stuff up.
You are absolutely correct that doing something other than game-related stuff disrespects the GM who spent their time writing something to hopefully entertain folks and the players who came to play. That said, I was once chastised for looking up the names of yoyo tricks for a one piece character that used an attack yoyo so I'd have functional attack names.
albedoequals1 2nd May 2020, 2:42 PM edit delete reply
I'd contest that looking stuff up is also a problem. If you didn't learn something from a knowledge check or from previous events, looking it up on the PFSRD is basically cheating.

Edit: I am talking specifically about players looking things up during the session, not before or after
Combattic 2nd May 2020, 6:47 PM Valid things to look up in the PSRD. edit delete reply
Details of my feats.
Details of my spells.
How do you grapple?
it's not my turn and I want to do some planning on what I'm going to buy next time we're in a large enough town.
Kuraimizu 3rd May 2020, 2:26 AM edit delete reply
Looking up rules isn't cheating, as long as the players aren't reading the campaign book,
any other rule book is fair game, and required reading for playing the game.
Especially the SRD, Players handbook, or DM guidebook.
also you can't be expected to remember everything written in every rule book.
it's literally why any good DM and serious players keeps books on hand to look things up.

as long as the players aren't meta-gaming their role playing
and they act out the characters based on what that character knows
and not based on what the players know, it isn't against the rules.
Draxynnic 4th May 2020, 1:29 AM edit delete reply
Eh, I'd say it's also pretty poor form to start looking up the statistics of the monster your fighting, unless you really aced the Knowledge check and the GM gave you permission.

Any rule pertaining to your own character, summons, and so on, sure!
StrykerC 4th May 2020, 2:56 PM edit delete reply
Not only is it poor form, I can't tell you how many arguments I've seen because "X monster can't do that." After a certain point any dm will start homebrewing stuff, and honestly the more someone tries to use the monster manual and treat the book as a strategy guide for a video game the sooner the dm starts doing it.

Honestly for me the only core rulebooks the players should be using during the game are the phb and any side book that pertains to their character. There is no reason for them to need access to the MM aside from to rules lawyer and the same goes for the dmg.
Sydney 5th May 2020, 2:18 PM edit delete reply
Jannard 2nd May 2020, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
B-but they weren't usint their cellphones at the table. Twi just started hearing notification after notification, so she apologized and ignored her phone. Afterwards, when it was clear it would be persistent, she still did the right thing, trying to check out what was going on with the messages out of concern.

It was also the first time it happened, since up until now it had been all texting on breaks. Not to mention it's extremely rude to do what Sunset just did, for all she knew, it could have been messages from her mother trying to inform her that the cat was ill or something!
BackSet 2nd May 2020, 10:03 AM edit delete reply
Okay, I've lost track of the story now.

So... Sunset!GM is mad because Twi is not only being called but being called by Main!GM. So she decides the best idea is to *not* give Twi a chance to explain herself even though she's obviously trying and just kind of freak out. Maybe it's because I'm the kind of guy who's easier to talk over, forcing me to listen to explanations whether I like it or not but this seems kind of insane.
Anon 2nd May 2020, 11:44 AM Anon edit delete reply
Try looking at it from SS!DMs pov; she's worked really hard on a setting and story, albeit these are based on a friend's notes about their own campaign, but SS!DM still put in enough work to feel some ownership. So she runs a few sessions and gets the feeling that her players aren't exactly having fun, so calls her buddy, who happens to be he main comic's DM. Reg!DM sends Twilight because, going off info from SS!DM, maybe Twilight can help this party get into the game more. While actually accomplishing that, Twilight also inadvertently does her normal thing of derailing/sidestepping the plot path SS!DM had setup. SS!DM is watching what she thinks is the total destruction of what she had setup at the hands of someone she thought she could trust. Yes, she's panicking and feeling betrayed, that's precisely why she's interpreting the situation wrong. Is it still mostly her fault, yes, but it's also completely understandable, given the current context.
Anon 2nd May 2020, 10:08 AM edit delete reply
Under no circumstances here should anyone roll for initiative.
Anonymous 2nd May 2020, 10:47 AM edit delete reply
Aww man, poor... well, everyone! Seeing Sunset!DM have this kind of reaction is a really keen insight, for me. It is a bit dramatic, admittedly, but I find that it adds human depth to her. At the outset, we thought she was mostly an insensitive DM who thought her players' confusion and inaction was all their fault. While that part of her is still true, it's more apparent now that she's also dealing with some kind of insecurity. She's worried that the players are confused and passive because they *don't like her, or her game.*

Of course, lashing out through the game is not the mature or best response... but spite is a very human emotion. ^^;
Jannard 2nd May 2020, 11:30 AM edit delete reply
While I agree we can surmise (and only surmise, not confirm) a good chunk of this GM's behaviour stems from insecurities, she's still being, at least on this scene, one hell of a dick. She took the phone away from a player, read her text messages, and got passive-aggressive (or, even more passive-aggressive) after the fact...

That's a hell of a lot of red flags. I mean, bullies also often have a lot of insecurities, but they're still bullies.
Jannard 2nd May 2020, 11:34 AM edit delete reply
That said, I do still feel bad for her. Only slightly less bad than for the rest of the party.

I have, however, loved the whole "party discovering they could just play the game in an entirely different way and they liked that more than the original premise", but at that point it would probably have been best for everyone (including Sunset) to just put the campaign to an end and play something that from the outset was more aligned with their newly discovered preferences. Sunk cost fallacy makes for campaings extending way beyond their expiration date... But I guess that's also a lesson that has to be learned :)
hankroyd 2nd May 2020, 12:11 PM edit delete reply
Whooa, that page hit me hard, the 3 last panels were difficult to go through.

Grabbing some else's phone - especially someone you barely know : Big No-no.

Freaking outbecause you saw something that wasn't meant for you : Big No-no, too.

Even if it wasn't RPG related, I was in her place 20-ish years ago ... I learnt the two lessons above the hard way. Depression and insecurity made me act like that, lost a few friends and be only in speaking term with some of of them years later...
I have to admit that overreaction and losing ability to think straight is the logical step. So the Sunset reaction is realist... a little too much, even...
Aponymous 2nd May 2020, 4:11 PM Ooof edit delete reply
This guest arc has been a brutal unfun slog for about... 40 pages now? It feels like such a bad take on all of the players as characters, the GM is openly terrible and abusive (not to mention invasive), the entire thing just isn't written very well... And now it's boiling over into an even worse version of the conflict than we already had around the table, with no positive ending in sight except for maybe "and then this GM never ran a game again and lost all their friends, the end". I'd assume the guest author hated EQG and maybe even FID itself, if we hadn't been stuck here for going on 60 pages that felt like 600.

If somebody had asked me in 2019 what the worst possible way to represent Equestria Girls in an RPG setting was, I wouldn't have had an answer. Now I do, and that makes me pretty sad. This sucks.

Also, as a final note: This isn't specifically in response to the latest "twist", if we can call it that. I've been biting my tongue and holding back this comment for all of April, but it finally got to be too much with no upturn in sight. What a chore.
GD 2nd May 2020, 6:22 PM edit delete reply
Sorry you feel that way! If it helps, there's not that many pages left.

Thank you for your patience.
Anna 3rd May 2020, 12:30 AM edit delete reply
GD, I just wanted to chime in with reassurance that this isn't everyone's opinion! I for one am really enjoying this arc, as a look at some of the mistakes new DMs (and players) make, & am still hoping for some kind of positive resolution.
CrowMagnon 3rd May 2020, 7:28 AM edit delete reply
Agreed with Anna. The Anon's feelings are valid, but not universally held. I think you've been doing a great job here.
MechaDitz 3rd May 2020, 9:14 PM edit delete reply
As someone who has experience playing with and gming for people new to roleplaying, I think that this has been a pretty accurate representation of how a game can go south, though I can't say I've seen a full sunset meltdown. I can understand why someone might not enjoy it because it can feel like a looking at your awkward teen phase, but from a narrative pov I think it's an important story to tell. So thanks for all your hard work so far.
Free 2nd May 2020, 8:29 PM edit delete reply
So, we're runnin' out of movie screencaps here and getting close to the end, which means there are only a couple of directions this can go. Kind of like when a movie has dragged through the middle way too long and there's only, like, 15 minutes left and we still haven't reached the climax, so you get whiplash when the pace suddenly picks up.

I'm not looking forward to poor Sunny winding up in a puddle of tears *because she ran a goddamn round of adult make-believe poorly* and lost her temper instead of addressing the problem openly because none of these people can just talk to each other. Now, whether it's going to be SunnyGM or Shim Sham crying, not sure, but either way, Twi's gonna come out of this the hero bestowing her gracious wisdom upon the misguided because I don't see any of Sunny's friends coming to her defense in the upcoming confrontation, mostly because they have about as much relevance to the plot of this comic as they did the actual movie (ie, none…which is kind of on the source material. Hasbroooooo…!).
Free 3rd May 2020, 6:11 PM edit delete reply
Oh! I also had a thought in regards to the comic itself and issues with presentation of whatever is going on. See, half the problem with the communication of what's happening is just par the course for using characters to represent players within AND outside the game. For example, on this page, Spike stands in for DM, but he's also Twi's player's phone. On the previous page, Shimmer's goons grabbing Spike was supposed to be code for Sunny actually grabbing said phone, but then…we also have her in-game GMPC threatening familiar!Spike, after having been grabbed by said goons…Now, we have Spike being released back to Twi as representative of Sunny giving her her phone back…except, familiar!Spike is still technically being held hostage and it's going to be weird if we have to backtrack because Shimmer hasn't actually backed down yet and we still have an entire demoness sequence, though I suppose it's possible this is all about to get retconned away if they work things out irl…or, as some are uncharitably hoping, the players will abandon the table and it'll never NEED to be resolved.

Unfortunately, this is just kind of a consequence of the entire style of this comic that has made it difficult to always follow what's going on, who's speaking as who, what's a metaphor for irl and what's in-game…When you only have screencaps to work with, it's inevitable one will run into confusion of this sort and people will walk away with different interpretations of what's happening. Having not worked with this sort of thing myself, I don't necessarily have much advice for it, but maybe someone else will have more insight?
Spoony Viking 3rd May 2020, 4:57 AM edit delete reply
Last page needed a dialogue box or something in the panel with Twilight standing dumbfounded with empty hands; something like Sunset exclaiming "Give me that phone!" or similar. That would have made it clearer she took Player!Twilight's phone.
Scissors Rock Paper 3rd May 2020, 5:13 AM edit delete reply
I blame Storytime
TransientPoe 3rd May 2020, 5:12 PM edit delete reply
If someone grabbed my phone like that in the middle of the game, I'd get up and leave on the spot. Especially if it was someone I don't know and doubly-especially if it was in retaliation for me *receiving* texts. This is no longer a bad DM being taught how to run a game that both they and their players would enjoy, this is an abusive jerk forcefully taking people's property.

I've been kind of so-so about this arc the whole time, since the inter-player drama is the part of FiD that I like the least. But at this point, the only satisfying conclusion for me would be everyone walks away from the table and Sunset reevaluates her priorities. In real life, this group would be over. Not necessarily everyone leaves the table over, but this group would never meet up again, and if the other players weren't already friends, they probably wouldn't really talk to each other again.
Jannard 3rd May 2020, 6:23 PM edit delete reply
I'm not sure about the whole "group would surely disband forever in real life", although that could be me having too much faith in the toxic bonding power of Geek Social Fallacies.

I do think however that the whole phone-taking bit and later apparent meltdown (not to mention the passive-aggressive vibes along the whole arc) are both very bad signs. I mean, I've known people who had done things on those lines and then learned better, but I've also known some (maybe most of those) that just had outbursts like that every so often, and very few had the patience to remain friends with that kind of person.

Then again, I do understand the perspective of those who think SSDM's frustrations are understandable (I don't understand those who think they're *justified*, like, at all), but there are limits to everything, even love and tolerance, at least for most people.

Now, I agree with you about the inter-player drama being the part of FiD whose treatment I like the least, at least on average. I find it tiring. Not boring, just tiring, like it weighs on me. And this is a whole extra dimention of that.
TransientPoe 4th May 2020, 2:39 PM edit delete reply
In the games that I've run and been involved in, I've seen groups dissolve over less. An experienced, veteran group would have a long discussion, but ultimately would probably have enough built-up goodwill to push through this (although whether they included the DM or not in the next campaign would be up for debate). But with a group of new players, this sort of toxicity is the sort of thing I've seen push people away from the game and make them give up on roleplaying altogether.

Even with an experienced group, though, this kind of temper tantrum would end the campaign, and probably the setting. With so many game systems, settings, and stories out there, most people just don't want to go back to one they've done before, especially one with real-world awkwardness tied to it.
CliffRobotnik 15th May 2020, 5:48 AM edit delete reply
"-Or i will knock over this statue with my 90 pound body!"

God I miss totally legit recaps...