Page 168 - True to Character

30th Aug 2012, 6:00 AM in Dragonshy
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True to Character
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 30th Aug 2012, 6:00 AM edit delete
Balancing in-character and out-of-character knowledge is one thing. Balancing your character's emotions, habits, reactions, and mannerisms against yourself is quite another.

I discovered this while I was roleplaying as Applejack at Everfree Northwest - my Applejack was NOTHING like canon Applejack, taking the lead in the party and being generally more snarky and savvy. My portrayal of her was essentially me with a southern accent.

(Although, in hindsight, I played her rather closely to Friendship is Dragons Applejack. Huh.)

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



Raxon 30th Aug 2012, 6:01 AM edit delete reply
There's an article in GITP with some advice about this exact situation. You can read about it here.

For those of you too lazy to read, it gives some ideas on how to avoid the whole "My character would never do that" problem, especially when that line of thinking is holding up the game.
MirrorImage 30th Aug 2012, 9:36 AM edit delete reply
Of course, the other option is to have a character stupid enough to do just about anything.

In a Dark Sun campaign I played in, I was a Barbarian (dump stats INT/WIS of course) with a rather pointed dislike for our local "King's Wizard" character (another PC). At some point, we encounter some Eladrin specializing in mind-control and gives my Barbarian the suggestion to "Attack the Wizard." DM asks me to make a saving throw against the effect and my response is a flat "Why? It's a great idea!"
Ponyfodder 30th Aug 2012, 9:45 AM edit delete reply
Meanwhile, our dark sun campaign started a trend of one of our players attempting to find excuses to kill off another, specific player, through no direct means of his own.

In this campaign in particular, our dm got trigger-happy with monsters that had dominate, and always made these 2 players attack each other.
Digo 30th Aug 2012, 1:33 PM edit delete reply
Sounds less "Dark Sun" and more... kill. :)
Zuche 30th Aug 2012, 1:47 PM edit delete reply
Winnie the Mul thought a moment.

"It's the same thing," he decided.
Raxon 31st Aug 2012, 5:25 AM edit delete reply
As much as I've said about, and in fact, in favor of derailing the GM, generally speaking, the gm is not the enemy.

The GM is doing you a favor by building a world for you to enjoy. So throw him a bone and help out if he's in a jam. Even killer GMs can respond well to kindness and being appreciated.

All of that being said, I recommend you help out in most amusing way possible. When your party is ambushed in the forest by drow, reveal that your ranger has severe arachnophobia. Have him can run off in a panic into the woods, and that can set the stage for character development and a rescue mission if they get captured.

You can have lots of fun with this kind of thing.
Zuche 31st Aug 2012, 10:57 AM edit delete reply
That reminds me of something a Ravenloft player once told me. She said that all of the rules for fear and madness checks and such were there to help enable people who weren't good at simulating thematic reactions to the setting. If you were playing into the setting's effects without them, they could be put aside as redundant.

It works the same for a lot of DMs. They deserve to have just as much fun as the rest of the table.
Ponyfodder 31st Aug 2012, 11:24 AM edit delete reply
I never said the dominate wasn't funny, but he DID include a lot of them. The party just used it as an excuse to throttle each other, under the condition that you can't dominate someone who is unconscious.
Digo 30th Aug 2012, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
Just like my version of Trixie versus the one from the show. Mine only speaks in 3rd person when out on the field, and has been way more patient and generous than the show's Trixie.

Maybe it's a post-show mature Trixie? :)
darkwulf23 30th Aug 2012, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
Last panel just gave us a cuteness overload. And I have the same problem, no matter how I intend to play a character my personality always bleeds through and he ends up going a different rout than intended.
Ponyfodder 30th Aug 2012, 11:26 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I find it hard to play a badass drunkard street-thug when I myself am a wuss who has never drunk or fought in his life. The problem is no matter my intelligence or wisdom modifier, I tend not to be the one to start the bar fight, because I gave up when my intimidate failed.
Zeeth 31st Aug 2012, 7:24 AM edit delete reply
*drunk tries to intimidate large man*
*large man stares at him, not intimidated*
"Aw, hell, whatever! I throw the first punch anyway!"

That's how you start a bar fight when nobody wants to fight.
Ponyfodder 31st Aug 2012, 11:23 AM edit delete reply
Oh yeah, I know EXACTLY what I do wrong, it's just my personaliy shines through when I don't want to destroy the party's attempts to handle things WITHOUT clubbing someone to death.

(And the character in question was a small, drunk, halfling :P)
darkwulf23 31st Aug 2012, 5:56 PM edit delete reply
Once intended to play a charismatic wizard with a flair for dramatics. Kind of a toned down Trixie given that she was my inspiration for this character. End up playing the straight man of the group and given the leadership position, all the while thinking, "Wait, when the hell did this happen?"
Cain 30th Aug 2012, 6:04 AM edit delete reply
I have a snarky know it all named Zanoth that works well with my attitudes, I'm good.
Oblivious 30th Aug 2012, 6:05 AM edit delete reply
All of my HNNNNGGGG.

*falls over*

Great comic, as per usual, Fuzzy. :)
Umiyuri Papaeyra 30th Aug 2012, 10:17 AM edit delete reply
Umiyuri Papaeyra

Hand over your blood, sir.
Lyntermas 30th Aug 2012, 10:30 AM edit delete reply
"Now children, remember. Don't refer to people by the pet names used by their stalkers, or Umiyuri will take your blood and put it in a bottle."
Oblivious 30th Aug 2012, 11:27 AM edit delete reply
Spuddy doesn't have nearly as good a ring to it, though. :(
Zuche 30th Aug 2012, 1:52 PM edit delete reply
You say potato, he'll say it's taro...
Draco 30th Aug 2012, 3:18 PM edit delete reply
How about Spudnik?
Zuche 30th Aug 2012, 1:52 PM edit delete reply
Her name's not Pinkie Pie,
But she is here to say,
She's going to take a vial,
And draw all your blood away.

It doesn't matter how,
Oblivious are you,
Cause draining you of red,
Umiyuri's here to do...

Umiyuri Papaeyra 30th Aug 2012, 3:09 PM edit delete reply
Umiyuri Papaeyra
So what?

I'm a monster parents tell their children about at night!?
kriss1989 30th Aug 2012, 5:14 PM edit delete reply
Oh no, if they did that the children would never sleep again.
Oblivious 30th Aug 2012, 10:27 PM edit delete reply
Okay, okay. I won't call him Fuzzy anymore. You probably don't want my blood, anyway; my blood is a bit caustic.

Maybe I'll follow Draco's suggestion and call him Spudnik, or maybe something weird like Tato Peel. I'm open to suggestions.
Umiyuri Papaeyra 31st Aug 2012, 1:44 AM edit delete reply
Umiyuri Papaeyra
Oh, I'll take any blood. Have to separate out the different medical conditions, though. You know how it goes.
tuxgeo 31st Aug 2012, 4:52 PM Suggestions of what to call Newbiespud edit delete reply
"Newbie?" Or is that too obvious?

How about "Newsie?" That sounds like something from The Maltese Falcon. ("A crippled newsie took his guns away, but I made him give them back.")
Zuche 31st Aug 2012, 11:08 AM edit delete reply
Would you like to be? Entirely your call, of course, especially if it's all make believe.

We all know better now, but would it appeal to you for your name to inspire Baba Yaga levels of awe/terror within another three hundred years?
Umiyuri Papaeyra 31st Aug 2012, 3:35 PM edit delete reply
Umiyuri Papaeyra
Ranubis 30th Aug 2012, 6:05 AM edit delete reply
Don't do it, Fluttershy! You can always get more friends, but we've only got one of you! Run away to be cause diabetes another day!
Digo 30th Aug 2012, 8:57 AM edit delete reply
Or, use PowerStare Diabetus on the dragon. Victory through renal failure?
Destrustor 30th Aug 2012, 6:10 AM edit delete reply
Eehh, most of my characters are just me with crazy powers, plus one or two quirks that I force into my "roleplay". I'm getting better at it though, now making characters who act in ways that I would never do myself.
Just like most things, we get better at it with time and practice.
If you're lucky enough to get a really good DM, you may even find yourself in a situation where you're almost painfully torn between what you and your character wants. Those moments are awesome.
Raxon 30th Aug 2012, 7:07 AM edit delete reply
I'm actually pretty good at roleplaying characters, because I have a simple, but effective technique.

I, as a person, have a complex and multifaceted personality. I can make a character with almost any personality, and play it true to form, because it's built on some facet of my own personality. Essentially, I'm always playing as myself, just different sides of myself.
Crimson Doom 30th Aug 2012, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
I'm gonna have to remember that. I think I could do that to some extent.

My trick to it, though, is to model my characters after someone else. For example, if you're planning on playing an arrogant barbarian, try modeling him after Thor.
Digo 30th Aug 2012, 8:58 AM edit delete reply
Well, everyone should be a complex multi-faceted person, so ergo their characters should as well be such... wouldn't it?
Zuche 30th Aug 2012, 9:17 AM edit delete reply
In time, sure. I think the goal is to start out by emhpasizing different facets of yourself and building out around those. There's a large difference between defined by a particular trait and just having the potential for it.
Raxon 30th Aug 2012, 12:34 PM edit delete reply
Absolutely. For example, I can be a grouch sometimes. Build off that, and I can make a grizzled, irritable veteran who oftentimes just wants to be left alone. While he's harsh with everyone else, he has a gentle fondness for cats, and gets up just before dawn so he can sit and listen to the calls of the morning morning birds.

See? Take a facet, base the general personality off of that, give it a few facets of its own, then add some flavor. It's not so hard.
LegendOfMoriad 30th Aug 2012, 8:49 PM Great Idea edit delete reply
I use a similar method. I built a bunch of 'stock' characters, all based on me under different circumstances. Anytime I want to roll up a new character, I choose one of them, and make minor tweaks to account for character differences. Sadly, this means that the most fun I've ever had was with the same 'stock' characters, on 3 different characters.
I loved that halfling...
Ramsus 31st Aug 2012, 12:04 AM edit delete reply
That's more or less my approach as well Raxon.

The hardest part is just those times where the extra added or exaggerated bits conflict with what you personally would actually do in that character's shoes.

For example Skitter just encountered a giant tentacle monster underwater by showing up right in front of its eye. My immediate reaction was "Ok. No problem. Stab." but, I had to go "no no, he's a friggin Kobold. His instinct is to run away from sudden overwhelming threats."
Hennith95 30th Aug 2012, 7:51 PM edit delete reply
A few years ago, my DM pointed us to this list of questions:

He asked us to type up answers to all 100 questions in-character before starting the campaign. We didn't have to share our answers, just use the questions to work out our characters' personalities.

It helped my character go from being just a grumpy version of me to someone who had her own reasons for fighting, had a real reason to want to distance herself from people, but also had the capacity to not grouch at the party all the time and even make friends with them. Heck, she even died once because she was trying to protect her friend, while still being grumpy!

I started updating my answers to the questions every few sessions, too, kind of using it as a diary of my character's development.
Raxon 31st Aug 2012, 6:28 AM edit delete reply
That's a good link. Thanks for the resource.
ThousandYearSunrise 30th Aug 2012, 7:34 AM edit delete reply
Last panel for the HHHNNNRRRGGH!
Lyntermas 30th Aug 2012, 8:15 AM edit delete reply
I'm thinking that the dragon will say something as a "free action" that will inspire Fluttershy. Most likely actively dissing her friends or claiming that "I can do what I want because I'm bigger than you."
redwings1340 30th Aug 2012, 8:22 AM edit delete reply
If Fluttershy was never going to use intimidate, I wonder why she put all the ranks in it. Even as a noob player, it isn't hard to see what intimidate is going to be used for. Oh well, I really like all of your interpretations of the characters, and I'm looking forward to how this natural 20 pans out.
AABaker 30th Aug 2012, 8:32 AM edit delete reply
I believe it was mentioned that someone "helped" her with her character sheet. They probably threw in the high intimidate as a joke as it would basically be useless to Fluttershy's type of character. Turns out it ends up saving the day instead.
Oblivious 30th Aug 2012, 8:45 AM edit delete reply
That's a good point; wonder who it was that helped Fluttershy's character with the character creation process? Might be fun to find out about that after Fluttershy's intimidation attempt.
Guest 30th Aug 2012, 9:28 AM edit delete reply
I bet it was Discord. Yup.
Digo 30th Aug 2012, 9:08 AM edit delete reply
This reminds me of a WoD game I was in. As a joke my character had a loaded water pistol painted to look realistic. For those intimidation moments where I just need to B.S. some time.
Turned out to actually be useful when were were... somewhere, and these balls of lighting attacked us. One of the party mages buffed that squirt gun and it took out half the balls. XD

Then there was this silly-styled game my brother ran and I played a dim-witted demon who carried around a bag of collected souls (It was a bag of marbles).
The many uses of marbles in combat...
ThousandYearSunrise 31st Aug 2012, 10:52 AM edit delete reply
Or maybe Fluttershy's player didn't quite understand how Intimidate worked.
masterofgames 30th Aug 2012, 8:47 AM edit delete reply
I'm hoping for an epic level guilt trip, followed by the following.

"But... but the flamboyant male kicked me. Twice!"

"Hey! I am NOT flamboyant! OR a guy! I'm a girl and freaking awesome! You want to get down here and say that to my face?! I'll make you eat those words, followed by your own tongue!"

"Not HELPIN' sugercube!"
Lyntermas 30th Aug 2012, 9:16 AM edit delete reply
FS: You got that?
DM: The dragon is cowed by your sudden aggression and shrinks away from you.
FS: Well?
Dragon: But that rainbow one kicked me.
RD: Making excuses? You've got him on the ropes, Fluttershy.
FS: And I'm sorry for that.
RD: Wait, what? No, don't concede! DON'T CONCEDE ANYTHING!
masterofgames 30th Aug 2012, 8:58 AM edit delete reply
In other news, who remembers the story I posted way back about my middle earth dwarf, and wants to know how that turned out?
sunbeam 30th Aug 2012, 1:04 PM edit delete reply
I don't remember it but I'd love to hear it.
masterofgames 30th Aug 2012, 4:14 PM edit delete reply
Okay, so I was leading the group through the dwarven tunnels under the mountain because we didn't want to waste the time going over or around it. I was a dwarven hallmaster and construction chief. The rest of the players were wizards. Due to a stupidly high roll, we had another FIVE wizard NPCs with us, for a grand total of seven wizards.

Remember that wizards in middle earth are rare, so rare that if you mention to someone the odds of TWO wizards ever in the same place at the same time, the most likely reaction will be either them spending several minutes trying to grasp the concept, or telling you to think about things that could actually happen.

Anyway, these tunnels went through the entire mountain range, including through my character's home.

By the third day and the fifth mountain, we still hadn't seen any dwarves. Then we get to the major crossroads, and I notice that the rock is black.

It was ALREADY black, but this was a burned, smokey black. After a sudden ambush from "rodens" (really gremlins, but my character failed that roll, so all he could recall was a drunken tale told to him by a friend of a friend in a pub of the lower tunnels being infested by vermin that matched the description.) we fight them off as best we can (some more effectively than others) and then suddenly they all retreat, dispite outnumbering us by about a thousand to one.

Then the Balrog comes in, huge flaming sword in it's hand. wizards all panic and start powering up spells. One of the NPC wizards casts a spell on the floor, making it open up right under the balrog. Balrog falls in. Balrog catches a handhold and starts climbing his way back out. Wizards all panic. Again. I just walk over, pick up a boulder just a little smaller than I was, and chuck it down the pit. It smashes into his face and he falls. Pretty sure I knocked a tooth or two out. Pit closes. I notice that the Balrog dropped his weapon.


Turns out it wasn't a flaming sword, it was a chunk of molten obsidian that he had grabbed and let it harden roughly in the shape of his hand. It was also not on fire. At all.

Much traveling and failed attempts to light it later, we finally discovered that something that was on fire had to be touching it to get it to light up. Also, it wasn't a blade, it was just a really long jet of fire.

So I get a new side project. Using dwarven runes, I modify one of the gauntlets of my armor. My armor that costs more than all the other posessions of the party. Combined. I barely get it working. I now have a little sliding plate on it that when slid one direction does nothing, as the half rune on it is worthless by itself, and in the other direction it lined up with the other half of the rune I had etched into it and the fist bursts into flame.

So I've got a magical flamethrower. I liked it. I named it Fah-Ren-Heit. (sound it out)

Finally we get to where we had been trying to go the whole game. Old locked wizard tower. We needed the seeing stone on the top floor. We manage to unlock it, thanks to some grave robbing, a willing volunteer, and some schenanigans involving getting an entire human army drunk enough to pass out using only a single keg of dwarven ale. (Watered down enough to last for everyone of course. Not trying to kill them...) that we had pulled earlier.

First thing we see is statues. Really REALLY lifelike statues. Of nearly every race and species known to man. We more or less ignore them as we head upstairs. We get jumped by a lesser seraph at about the halway point. The battle ends with him taken down, and the floor about to cave in on that tower level. Everyone else heads on. I stay behind a minute, tell them I'll catch up.

What? Do you have any idea how much seraph feathers SELL for?

A few minutes later, and (Unknown to the rest of the party) several thousand tons of gold richer, I catch up. Third to last floor had just one statue, a greater seraph. We ignore it. Moving on. Second to last floor had lots of statues. We ignore them. Moving on. Last floor had the stone, locked to a pedistal. We figure out the riddle and take it. The entire tower shakes. We start running. Next to last floor we notice something. The statues are gone. Instead, several assorted creatures are fighting over who gets to escape first. We all think of the floor right below us.

"Oh crap!"

So we go down a floor. I grab a turtle on the way down, because let's face it, he was never getting out in time otherwise. The greater seraph is stuck in the doorframe trying to get into the stairwell. He is slowly making it wider. His arms are long enough that he can still reach us if we try and pass him. I walk up to him.

"I don't suppose you'd be willing to let us go peacefully if we help you out of there?"

He whips around to face me and roars, the wind from it whipping my hair and beard back.

"... Is that a no?"

Turns out yes, it was a no.

So I grab his arm while the others all make a mad dash to the exit on the first floor. When they get there, they discover that all the creatures that had been statues were either A, escaped, B, EscapING, or C, fighting each other to the death because one of the other statues was their race's mortal enemy.

Meanwhile, I was eight floors up grapling with the greater seraph. I decide I want to get the first attack in. Only thing I can really reach is his head. So I ignite my gauntlet and punch him in the face, while letting out a battle cry I had been waiting four sessions to use.

"This hand of mine burns with an awesome POWER!"

After the GM stopped cracking up, he awarded me a luck point and we continued.

Turns out fire isn't that effective against him. Barely at all really. In fact, turns out greater seraphs are ment to be solo monsters for an entire party. And I was alone up here. Okay. Great.

So we fight a more traditional way. My hammer barely hurts him, and he can't do anything to me through my armor. So I do something a little crazy. I launch myself backwards out of the room, toss a small keg into the room, and fire Fah-Ren-Heit at it.

"It", I soon revealed, was a keg of dwarven ale.

The GOOD stuff.

My improvised concussive force grenade smashes the seraph downward through the floor. And the next three floors after that. I look down. He's still alive.

Before he can get up, I jump. I land feet first on his chest with a war stomp. The floor gives way. Turns out this was the room we had weakened when we fought the lesser seraph. I backflip off of him and into the stairwell as he smashes through another four floors to the ground floor. And then two more floors into the basements for good measure.

Then the tower falls on him.

Yeah, he's dead.

I have to roll to avoid being crushed by debris as well. I roll. I make it. Barely. DM tells me it was so close that my pack had been hit, and so had the turtle inside. I tell the DM hell no! I was getting that turtle out in one piece! I use my luck point. It makes enough difference to save him.

I make my way down the pile of rubble using what remains of the stairs when I could. I brush myself off and walk past the waiting wizards like nothing had happened.

(Interesting fact. That tower was actually in the Lord of the Rings lore, and it was nothing but ruins when the books took place, so hey, I get bonus points for being historicly accurate!)
kriss1989 30th Aug 2012, 5:24 PM edit delete reply
I would have given you bonus exp for saving the turtle like that.
Cain 30th Aug 2012, 10:34 AM edit delete reply
as a joke, I did the math for the Gnome railgun a few pages back, about 561mph is the speed he would be flying at the end of the turn, the impact force, is still under calculation, might get it done with a class of scientists working on it.
Xel Unknown 30th Aug 2012, 12:13 PM edit delete reply
Now that sounds fun. Math on that level is always fun. All the more when dealing with the Gnome Death Railgun of Doom!
Anvildude 30th Aug 2012, 10:59 PM edit delete reply
Better than the Peasant Railgun (well, maybe not...) is the Flash. Some friends and I figured it was possible for a character to get upwards of 200 feet base movement speed with just a couple Prestige and Base classes (with immunity to Fatigue and Exhaustion effects), which can further be multiplied by 5 for a sprint- leading to 1000 feet in 6 seconds run speed, with instant start and stop.
Raxon 31st Aug 2012, 8:55 AM edit delete reply
There was a third party sourcebook with a feat called Supreme Cleave. This feat works like Great Cleave, but allows you to take a five foot step before your next cleave attack. As long as you don't roll a one, you could theoretically circumnavigate the globe on one foot in a single round of combat, provided you had a steady line of kobolds the whole distance.
Chakat Firepaw 31st Aug 2012, 11:49 AM edit delete reply
Not third party and not a feat: It was a class ability for the Master Samurai prestige class from Sword & Fist.
Raxon 1st Sep 2012, 5:13 AM edit delete reply
Ah, thanks. I get a little mixed up sometimes, but I remember the important part, and that's rapid transit via mass slaughter.
Raxon 30th Aug 2012, 12:38 PM edit delete reply
I recall someone figuring out how to use that system to make a ten foot pole hit mach 3 or something. Maybe with the ten foot pole, you can space the peasants out to every couple spaces.
InvisibleDale 30th Aug 2012, 2:21 PM edit delete reply
The major problem you would have is when the pole reached Mach 1. Peasants being at ground zero with a sonic boom. Ouchie!
Raxon 30th Aug 2012, 6:09 PM edit delete reply
Whine whine whine, So your ears are bleeding, and your eyes have burst, big deal! Look at this nasty splinter I got from carrying all these ten foot poles for you wimps to launch!
Xel Unknown 30th Aug 2012, 10:10 PM edit delete reply
I love your comments, they're just so fun to read! XD
Destrustor 31st Aug 2012, 2:18 AM edit delete reply
Yeah what would they even NEED their listen skill for, anyway? They should be thanking YOU for allowing them to participate in such a glorious endeavor.
Ungrateful pests, I tell ya...
The Guest 31st Aug 2012, 2:09 PM edit delete reply
How can they look at the splinter without their eyes? For that matter, how would hear you telling them to look with burst ear drums?
SamTrades 30th Aug 2012, 2:31 PM edit delete reply
Sorry if I'm offtopic but... why not try Diplomacy? It should be at least as high as her Intimidation skill and Fluttershy should be easier to convince to use that or am I missing something?

Love the comic, Spud =)
LoganAura 30th Aug 2012, 7:33 PM edit delete reply
It is as high as her diplomacy, however she tried to use it against the drakes. Failed miserably every time.
True Odds 31st Aug 2012, 8:52 AM edit delete reply
I don't know about 4E specifically, but it's assumed Twilight attempted a diplomacy check already. This means future attempts on the target by the PCs are either disallowed or take up to a -10 penalty.
terrycloth 31st Aug 2012, 11:06 AM edit delete reply
Intimidate is also usable in combat as a standard action, diplomacy takes at least a minute to have any effect. In 3.5.

In 4e all that stuff is completely ad hoc so it's up to the GM.
Stairc 31st Aug 2012, 12:18 PM edit delete reply
Actually, in 4e there is an intimidate option as a standard action. Is was one of Drevan's (my infamous character's) fallbacks. As one of his lesser abilities, he could basically intimidate even ancient elder dragons into surrendering as long as he rolled a 2 or higher.

The only downside is that the enemy has to be considered, 'bloodied' first. Drevan got around that by using a Flensing weapon.