Page 1489 - Too Clever By Half

30th Jan 2021, 6:00 AM in A Canterlot Wedding, Part 2
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Too Clever By Half
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 30th Jan 2021, 6:00 AM edit delete
I'm the writer, obviously, but I'm still kind of amused by the character growth of the other players referring to Twilight as a scheming derailer and Twilight not even batting an eye at that, nor anyone else.

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ANW 30th Jan 2021, 6:06 AM edit delete reply
I'm trying to remember how many rails she removed.
There was of course the original plotline.
I can't think of any others.
ZhonLord 30th Jan 2021, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
I had a fan-comic written out a while back where Rainbow Dash uses the Sonic Rainboom offensively as a massive sonic attack against a dragon invasion. She basically solos an entire wave of enemies with it, and her final comment is "WOOOO, I PULLED A TWILIGHT!"

Sadly I never got the time to actually make and submit anything more than the script, but that punchline seems very relevant right now XD
A Quiet Reader 31st Jan 2021, 3:44 PM edit delete reply
Would you ever consider finishing it? That sounds like it would be very cathartic to read.
BackSet 30th Jan 2021, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
There was the time she derailed the campaign without even being in the same room.
Draxynnic 30th Jan 2021, 6:39 AM edit delete reply
It is, after all, practically the JOB of the wizard to out-think the rails, make the laws of physics curl up and cry, and completely demolish whatever the DM has set up through a well laid plan and a few carefully chosen spells.

Done right, it can be just as satisfying for the DM as the players. It just shifts the challenge from the players bashing their way through a hard-fought climactic battle, to treating it like a puzzle to find the best way to trivialise it. Just need to make sure that the puzzle is more complex than "Mass Fly and nuke the enemy from above because the enemy has no means of dealing with flying opponents" or "hit them with a generic area movement-impairing effect and blast them from range because the enemy has no means of dealing with that".

Some of the most memorable encounters, on both sides of the screen, are the ones where someone comes up with a plan that utterly trivialises what was supposed to be a significant combat encounter. Big combat encounters are a dime a dozen for experienced players. The well-laid out plans where the time spent planning pays off by rolling over the opposition, however, or even when there's still some spanners thrown in the works but the plan still gives the players a big advantage over where they'd be otherwise... *chef's kiss*
Aname 30th Jan 2021, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
It is SO hard to strike that balance between trivializing a challenging encounter, and not undoing the party's efforts.

Mad respect to anyone who can pull this off even a few times.
Cliff_Robotnik 30th Jan 2021, 6:42 AM edit delete reply
That feel when a PC actually remembers that running/Surrendering are both options in their tool box, to he used and abused whenever the appropriate situation presents itself...

I do get WHY PCs refuse to run, sometimes... It feels like a loss even more then losing a fight... Even tho, in theory it would increase your chances of living, it feels WAY worse then standing and fighting.

I myself have a... Probably sort of warped view on courage and fear, that I've been told is wrong and weird AF, that explains why -I- hate running from a fight... It's a cowardly thing to do, and Bravery/Cowardness is a Binary, one or the other, thing... If you feel fear, you are a coward, and can likely never truly be brave, tho overcoming you coardly nature is praise worthy, it does NOT make you BRAVE, as you are still afraid... Not until a time where you feel absalutely no fear, will you be "Brave".

And as I play as a PC primarily as a form of escapism and power fantasy, dealing with my actual IRL cowardice, or ever playing a human, really has no appeal to me... As I am playing to be what I am not, so having to make my Character a coward in order to retreat feels really, really bad... Sadly, everyone I know that DMs is obsessed with Underdog Stories...

But all that nonsense and objectively wrong personal beliefs aside, I understand that such things can be used in a way completely divorced from it, as part of a greater plan or scheme... As in what Purple Smart does here, she has a plan, and surrender puts her where she needs to be.

Feel free to roast me for my terrible, but legitimate, view ion bravery.
CCC 30th Jan 2021, 8:11 AM edit delete reply know, I can think of *so many times* in fiction where the moral of the story has been the incorrectness of that binary view of bravery, in so many different genres. (Asterix and the Normans includes that moral; it also turned up in Smallville, and even Order of the Stick discusses it at one point).

But let me summarise the main points of the argument against it.

Let's say that Superman faces a guy with a machine gun. No kryptonite is involved, the bullets can do absolutely no harm to him... one can imagine Superman yawning with boredom as he strolls up the the villain, grabs his gun, crunches it down into a lump of metal... Superman is in absolutely no danger, and thus feels not a hint of fear. Is that bravery? It's certainly not cowardice. He didn't run. But I'd say it's not bravery, either. There was quite literally no danger to him.


Now imagine the same scenario again, except the villain has kyptonite bullets. Suddenly, even Superman is in danger. Being Superman, of course, he tries to deal with the villain anyway; but now, because there's danger, it's undeniably an act of bravery. And *yes* he's scared. Those kryptonite bullets can kill him; being scared is only sensible and reasonable. (In fact, one could certainly argue - and I would argue - that not being scared in that moment is completely inhuman.)


Yes, there is courage in being able to stand unflinching in front of something scary. There is courage in keeping the quaver from your voice and the shiver from your limbs. A complete absence of fright is delusional, not courageous; courage is when you can do that *despite* being scared.
albedoequals1 30th Jan 2021, 8:24 AM edit delete reply
Sorry, but that is not legitimate. Bravery is, by definition, doing something you are afraid to do. You are mixing it up with fearlessness, which is being not afraid. Cowardice is not the act of feeling fear, it is the act of letting fear control your decision.
albedoequals1 30th Jan 2021, 9:47 AM edit delete reply
To give specific examples: Twilight Sparkle is brave. Rainbow Dash is a fearless coward. 90% of the time, Dash feels no fear at all. She can do clearly dangerous things with no emotional distress. However, when she is afraid of something, the fear paralyzes her and she curls up in the corner and freaks out. Twilight is afraid of lots of things, but when the chips are down she (sometimes) forces herself to do what she thinks is best in spite of her fear. A brave person and a fearless person will often make the same decision in a dangerous situation, but the fearless person is more likely to do something stupid out of stubborn pride because they don't have fear giving them viable alternatives.
zimmerwald1915 30th Jan 2021, 10:51 AM edit delete reply
"However, when she is afraid of something, the fear paralyzes her and she curls up in the corner and freaks out."
That is also Twilight's post-character-development characterization.
Architect Ironturtle 31st Jan 2021, 1:32 AM edit delete reply
As comprehensive as those arguments are, it's pretty clear here that this guy knows his view of courage is completely wrongheaded and is either unwilling or unable to change it. He called it an objectively wrong personal belief, so that knowledge is even explicit. If you want to help him, logic isn't gonna be the way to do it. He has to find the root of this poisonous philosophy, where the idea came from in the first place and weed it out.
Cliff_Robotnik 31st Jan 2021, 7:13 AM edit delete reply
That source is "not being wired quite right", as I tend to try to subconsciously fit(force) the world into binaries, as in up/down, yes/no, win/lose, good/bad, coward/brave, good-video-games/Tetris, is how I see the world.

I've actually come a long way in realizing this is generally a incredibly narrow, flawed way of thinking, and understanding... Well everything the others have mentioned, but I am just saying that's how my brain auto-sorts information... In all honesty me even sharing any of that last post was due to sleepiness and a in-built need to over-elaborate when retelling stories to make sure everyone has full context.

The warm fuzzy part is D&D is a major part of how I worked through my disabilities as good as I did... A lot of weird grey nuance comes up in the lives of an adventurer, and there is almost always a third option, and various l else if victory and defeat... And sometimes a low can lead to a bigger win, down the road.

The topic, again, is a part of this, a surrender is likely going to put Twilight where she needs to be to pull some bullshit, which means it is just a step tiaras a greater win in the long run, but me circa 10 years ago(god I feel OLD) , would only see it as a loss, and nothing but a loss...

Needless to say I saw "Heroic Sacrifices" as absalutely retarded, but now?

Literally last night I nearly sacrificed my level 3 ranger ass to hold a magic-oracle-walking-stick up to reveal to a Gnoll tribe(that I wish to Uplift) that their "Chief" was a doppelgänger that murdered the actual chief, and was having then recklessly attack human settlements for some evil plan we've not figured out yet... she lived, but was willing to die for the cause, which was my point.

I need to stop commenting at 9 am I ramble like a mofo.
A Quiet Reader 31st Jan 2021, 3:50 PM edit delete reply
Thank you for providing further clarification. I'm glad you found a healthy way to work through this and have been able to look at things another way.
albedoequals1 31st Jan 2021, 7:44 PM edit delete reply
I agree that, as written in fiction, 90% or more of "heroic" sacrifices are indeed absolutely retarded. There is almost always a far better option, and the writers just use a sacrifice strategy to get rid of characters they're tired of writing. A heroic sacrifice doesn't have to be stupid, but most of the available examples are.
Cliff_Robotnik 2nd Feb 2021, 2:51 AM edit delete reply
The campaign in question is a fairly open-world "Hex Crawl" of a campaign in the earliest days of humanity, humans have yet to discover magic, and humans mostly exist exclusively in this one moderately sized region almost completely surrounded by either the mountains or sea... Which is good, because this is "Era 0" of the DMs setting, which is when all the real freaky nightmare shit existed, which get rarer as the Era's passed, aswell as magic "settling" and become more and more rare...

Meaning if I died, odds of me coming back was unlikely...

However the golden rule of the campaign was "Higher Risk, Higher Reward", and this entire plot was a absalute ass-pain that started with our other Ranger solo-ing a entire gnoll foraging party(via sniping eight of the nine members, from nearly 500 feet away, at night, with none cept the last one standing noticing) cept for one survivor we captured , to learning how to communicate with him via fucking pictionary, to out bigass plan to liberate and uplift the Gnoll tribe our new friend, Mr.Wuffletush, belonged too, which required a bigass plan involving drugging half the tribe with meat to make half the gnoll pass out, allowing us to sneak into the tribe after our friend, whom Gnolls now view as amazing cuz they all thought he died, and he came back, super well fed, with super strength(from a magic Yoke we found in a different Storytime), and food(Gnolls like food), gathering up his tribesmen as he went to reveal to the Gnolls Shaman that their Chief was a doppelgänger(which are WAY more badass then standard here), which we, and Wuffletush, learned from a magic question answering stick we found(same place we got the Yoke)...

Our leader, a "Warlord" fighter, had the genius idea of me just running up to the shaman, and using my stick, asking it the same question that originally showed us the chief was SUS.... Hence me needing to hold the stuff as the vision played out... Me and Mr.Wuffletush both nearly died, but we survived, the Shaman(and his summoned Witherlings, which were the tribes previous Chiefs as some sorta ancestral guardians thing turns out) turned against th chief, when the rest of the tribe arrived they we ULTRA confused,until the fake chief too, enough damage his illusion started to fade, getting him absalutely swamped by action economy...

Getting to the Chief and shaman, while trailing Wuffletush Cliff_Robotnikas the hardest part, one bad roll would of ruined everything, as we wanted to minimize gnoll casualties so that we may recruit them... And the only one that died that day was the SUS AF Chief... and one knocked out wolf our fighter nearly Jojo'd to quiet when it spotted them, but it survived still...

Wuffletush now sees us as his new Pack, as we seeming saved him, fought him to communicate via dirt pictures(Earth Words), we eagled the "Faceless Tribe" they were working with could of VERY EASILY of replaced any of his tribe, prove one did, and then helped him destroy the bastard...

The tribe see Wuffletush and his new Pack as Bug Damn Heroes. Saving them from a tricky foe... Now we intend to educate and teach the Gnolls to join our maybe-empire, in exchange for their shaman teaching us how to Magic...

Just felt like sperging the full context. :P
Anvildude 30th Jan 2021, 10:35 AM edit delete reply
I, as a DM, am honestly kinda sad that surrender is such an unused tool in the players' toolbox. So many great situation in storytelling are started with the characters captured, in the dungeon of the bad guy. And the boost you get from being the ones initiating that capture through planned surrender are enormous- things like secreting away lockpicks or preparing the correct spells- and those situations where equipment is limited are, especially in 5E, a great chance for some characters to really be able to show off. Monks, Barbarians, or those races with Natural weapons that can't be disarmed, or Rogues or skill Bards or ones with certain backgrounds, who are great at turning bad situations around.

And forcing those situations is SO DIFFICULT.
Borg 30th Jan 2021, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
To stress a different part of the issue than the other responses, fear exists for a reason, and never feeling it makes you a fool, not brave. (Specifically, it makes you a dead fool.)

Fear is the most primal expression of your self-preservation instinct, and if you shut it out completely you'll inevitably miss when it's 100% right to tell you that you're likely to die. Sometimes your fear will misread a situation that isn't actually dangerous, and sometimes there's an important reason to do something even though it is dangerous, but the only way to distinguish those cases from the cases where you need to stop is to listen so you know what your fear is telling you.
Jennifer 30th Jan 2021, 9:43 PM edit delete reply
"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear."
-- Mark Twain
Cliff_Robotnik 31st Jan 2021, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
See, i consciously know that's right, and operate based of that, but my idiot brain still says "No, courage is the opposite of fear, to have courage you can't have fear".

Ollanius Pius was probably afraid to stand up to Horus, to buy the Emperor time, but he did it anyway, without hesitation... Even tho my former take on bravery/cowardice still fit in this story.
Jennifer 31st Jan 2021, 8:48 PM edit delete reply
The thing about Ollanius Pius is that he didn't buy the Emperor any time at all. He could do literally nothing to stop or delay Horus.

But he stood up anyway.

I'm looking forward to how the novels show his iconic moment.
Cliff_Robotnik 2nd Feb 2021, 2:52 AM edit delete reply
He made Horus waste a Round. :P
Digo Dragon 30th Jan 2021, 10:19 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I'm not sure what the GM expected here. You throw that many enemies at the party, they might actually try a surrender/parley tactic. Not every PC is suicidal against great odds. :p

Pinkie in the first panel is so *Me* though! I often enjoy throwing lyrics into a scene.
RuBoo 30th Jan 2021, 12:14 PM edit delete reply
That sounds a bit like myself... I'm not a big fan of music, I don't know a lot of songs, but I know of some, and... For instance, whenever I actually use the Move Hurricane in Pokémon, I (mentally) sing the titular part of the song "Rock You Like a Hurricane". Don't even know the song in full, but I know that bit, and if I'm actually using that Move, you better believe it's gonna rock 'em... If it hits.
Jennifer 31st Jan 2021, 7:54 AM edit delete reply
Problem is that surrendering might lead to the monsters killing their helpless prisoners.

Most DMs won't do that, of course, but depends on the campaign, the monsters, and how ornery the PCs have made the monsters by fighting them.

I could easily start another encounter right away by having the captors get in a fight over whether they should eat the prisoners, and allowing the PCs to escape in the confusion, like Merry and Pippin in the Mark.
Draxynnic 2nd Feb 2021, 1:18 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, that's kinda the issue. There's a fairly narrow range of situations whereby the enemy is willing to accept a surrender in the first place without simply killing those who surrender (especially in a campaign where the bad guys have been established as being on the vicious side when it comes to prisoners, which is often an easy way for module writers and DMs to quickly establish how nasty the bad guys are), while also being lax enough that you'll be able to turn the situation around afterwards. If you can't beat the enemy in a straight-up fight, is it really realistic to think you'd be able to win starting from a position where you're tied up and/or locked up, your equipment has been confiscated, and you're likely down on spell slots and hit points?

In this context, Twilight's player has the advantage of knowing that Chrysalis IS the type to want to gloat while being a bit lax with prisoners.
aerion111 30th Jan 2021, 11:55 PM edit delete reply
Writers are allowed to be surprised, amused, and all sorts of other stuff towards their own characters. Sometimes characters surprise you, or go another direction than you'd intended.
lare290 31st Jan 2021, 9:18 AM edit delete reply
I just caught up (started reading a couple of days ago) and I gotta say, I love all this. Thank you for making the comic.
A Quiet Reader 31st Jan 2021, 3:51 PM edit delete reply
Welcome to the dungeon! Enjoy the candy-colored bizarreness and the many different pizza toppings!