Page 1655 - Dungeons & Ponies, Part 30

22nd Feb 2022, 6:00 AM in Intermission 15
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Dungeons & Ponies, Part 30
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 22nd Feb 2022, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
Author: GreatDinn

Guest Author's Note: "
toll verb (3)
ˈtōl
variants: or tole
tolled or toled; tolling or toling
transitive verb
1 : allure, entice
2a : to entice (game) to approach
b : to attract (fish) with scattered bait
c : to lead or attract (domestic animals) to a desired point

D&D plans change all the time, thanks to the billion variables in play. But sometimes, despite everything, a DM can get lucky, and players will totally buy that it was all planned. Run with it.

(This was honestly the longest part of writing that sonnet on page 10. Since the original 'riddle' was 'You'll know Venger by his white hare.' a trick that works well when spoken aloud, but terribly when written out, I had to find something new. The problem being: it has to be both a homophone and a homonym, because we know the characters are speaking to each other here, while also being vague enough to "trick" the reader. It also had to fit the very limited images I had to work with. I settled on toll, but there might have been a better choice out there.)"
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8 Comments:

Digo 22nd Feb 2022, 6:17 AM edit delete reply
Sorry, couldn't hear you over the absolute joy that is Uni in panel 7 and I really wish they gave her a speaking voice just once to hear her thoughts out loud. :3

Generally if the players end up going off the original rails and chase someone different they think is the real villain, then I just run with that. Like, if this were my group, they'd make the leap to the conclusion that the hare is the villain disguised and I'd just write it down quietly and pretend that was the plan all along. :3
King Marth 22nd Feb 2022, 11:04 AM edit delete reply
While I don't doubt this approach is fun, I personally find it extremely unsatisfying in my games. I don't get any joy out of solving a puzzle if the puzzle reconfigures itself to accept whatever solution I came up with; it's like waiting until after the die has been rolled before deciding what the target should've been. There's no game anymore, it's just a matter of whether the DM feels like you should win or not. The same totally applies to anyone who would decide to change the real villain because the players randomly guessed correctly, in order to stop the adventure from being over "too early". Of course, I tend to prioritize "internal game logic makes sense to me" over everything else including fun, so don't just do what I say.

That said, realizing that your hints said something different than you intended is a rite of passage for anyone attempting to run a mystery. Introducing new hints specifically to disambiguate is also technically cheating as you're changing the available resources your players have to reach (or not) the solution, but I see that as a way of restoring the intended difficulty.
Digo 22nd Feb 2022, 11:59 AM edit delete reply
Reconfiguring all the puzzles is definitely not my intention, and there are most certainly pre-ordained solutions. When I say off the rails, I mean the party completely went in a different direction following the top minion of the BBEG instead of the real boss, so you just go with it and make the story about chasing this #2 villain.

It's like the situation where you have this random NPC in the background and for reasons you the GM cannot understand, the players latch on to them to where the quest-giver NPC gets ignored and you aren't sure how to pull the players back. So instead you just make this beloved NPC your new quest giver and go with that.

Wulfraed 23rd Feb 2022, 8:32 AM edit delete reply
One wonders just how shunned Uni must be at home if a (relatively) strange human inviting Uni to play some games brings out that response (though catcher for a game of stickball [his pose with the club sure seems baseball-like] seems a bit cruel <G> )
King Marth 22nd Feb 2022, 6:46 AM edit delete reply
Artificial as it might be, might've been worth repeating the line here from Part 11: "You shall find Venger where you hear the toll."

Even with the line, I don't quite get it. Part 18 points out they haven't seen tolling, and Part 19 mentions the alarm bell, and it's here on asking about the bell that they get a hint... but is the intended interpretation that "You shall find Venger where you hear Venger inviting you in"? Is this the Part 17 talking about having caught his familiar, a "toll" that happened offscreen and wasn't heard by the players?

Fridge Logic applies, this would have very different impact over the course of a session rather than over the course of a month.
GD 22nd Feb 2022, 8:56 AM edit delete reply
It's sort of a combination of factors? The invitation, the extended monologue that ends in a pretty harsh wording about bait, the deals...

But yeah, it's definitely super messy. I won't argue about that! Sometimes, the limits of the medium just leave me tied up. But I also definitely could have done better here.
King Marth 22nd Feb 2022, 10:10 AM edit delete reply
All good, it's a rough set of constraints to write under. I was mostly thrown off by how the characters were reacting to some cool revelation that I had missed out on.
Roguim 22nd Feb 2022, 2:23 PM edit delete reply
Sometimes a dictionary could be a surprise and useful ally to DM plan's a little word that is s not common to use to disguise the reality and fool the players so they can follow the DM thinking that they aren't.