Page 228 - The Bard's Reprise

3rd Jan 2013, 5:00 AM in Bridle Gossip
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The Bard's Reprise
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 3rd Jan 2013, 5:00 AM edit delete
Scrapped punchline: "See? Not evil. Just very, very, very suspicious."

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



Grollo 3rd Jan 2013, 5:16 AM edit delete reply
Alternate punchline: "Well... two out of three isn't that bad."
DracoS 4th Jan 2013, 12:29 AM edit delete reply
Don't you mean "Two out of three isn't that EVIL"?
Grollo 4th Jan 2013, 6:49 AM edit delete reply
Two out of three referring to dancing, enchanting and evil.
Digo 3rd Jan 2013, 5:19 AM edit delete reply
"Everyone has an agenda."

Sometimes my favorite villains to put into an adventure are the ones that are "Card Carrying Villains." They're evil, they know their evil, and the ENJOY being evil.
CJT 3rd Jan 2013, 8:23 AM edit delete reply
FiM in-canon has been very good about having relatively few of these. The season villains (Discord and Nightmare Moon) tended to be the only ones, and even in their cases, _they_ didn't think of themselves as villains - they just had a concept of "ideal world" that was incompatible with ponies surviving/staying sane in it ("knight templar"-ish archetype).

I'm not counting anything from the wedding onwards in this. Both Chrysalis and Sombra were cardboard cutouts without any established motivations or character, and so are difficult to analyze either way.

An even more extreme "no villains" scenario is "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality". Lucius Malfoy is doing what he steadfastly believes is right, making it extra-frustrating when it's contrary to the goals of the protagonists. The only unambiguous villain is pre-battle Voldemort, and even then, it's unclear how that over-the-top dark lord relates to the actual Voldemort. A fun read.

That said, I agree that card-carrying villains are fun. DBZ Abridged played that up for both Vegeta and Freeza, to hilarious effect.
Kuroi Tsubasa Tenshi 3rd Jan 2013, 8:33 AM edit delete reply
Chrysalis could technically fit under the definition you put Discord and NMM under. Changelings need to be fed. Changeling Queen looks for food and finds a huge, nearly limitless source. Acquire said source and be set for life.

From our PoV, she may seem like a bit of a sadist, but from hers, ponies are just food, so why bother giving them more than the minimal consideration?
DB 3rd Jan 2013, 8:41 AM edit delete reply
Actually, the motivations of Chrysalis are very clear—she’s attempting to secure a reliable and plentiful source of sustenance for her subjects. Admittedly, her methods are questionable, to say the least, but that’s another matter.

While it’s not made explicit, context and behavior do what I consider a reasonably good job of establishing Sombrero’s—er, Sombra’s goals: He wants to regain his position as absolute ruler of the crystal ponies. I grant, though, that he is the least-developed of the major villains to date.
Digo 3rd Jan 2013, 10:01 AM edit delete reply
I agree, with Chrysalis it's about feeding her people (who apparently follow a succubus/inccubus model) so she's not evil for evil's sake in a strict sense. It's just their nature to see ponies as food.
Hmm, I want to get a hold on the Pony comics that came out since it is another Chrysalis story. I'd like to see if there's any more character development on changlings.
CJT 3rd Jan 2013, 10:25 AM edit delete reply
It'll be interesting to see how well comic-canon matches or doesn't match show-canon. They're run by different parts of Hasbro, and we've already seen how well toy material matches/mismatches show-canon.

Even in-show, we're approaching "timey-wimey" levels of continuity issues. At some point I hope to draw up a proper taxonomy chart of canon-as-of-(time). Several other pony-related projects higher in the queue, though.
nekollx 4th Jan 2013, 1:36 PM edit delete reply
I always got the impression Sombro was not alive after his defeat, when he was alive he was greedy and desired power, after his defeat all that was left was a mindless Grudge, he didn't have the mind to rule he was just a force of rage, a force that wanted to rule but lacked even his old selves ability to do if he did. If he won the crystal ponies would be living in a state of ternal fear and torment and their city would crumble under it's own weight with no actual governing body
Rahal 3rd Jan 2013, 5:40 AM edit delete reply
It's a running joke in the Pathfinder Campaign I'm in that all Gnomes are evil and they get treated as such. It doesn't help that the DM Roleplays them with a terrible "Evil Cockney" Accent (that really sounds more Australian). The DM is from Boston, the Fighter and myself are from the UK so we assume that any NPC he gives a terrible "British" Accent (that really sounds Australian), and/or is a Gnome is automatically evil and the rest of the party follow suit.

Another running joke we have is that Goblins have the intelligence of a rock.
Digo 3rd Jan 2013, 5:48 AM edit delete reply
The running joke in my group's D&D games is that Kobolds ONLY come in multiples of six during combat. So when I tell the players that "four packs of Kobolds" are charging, they know there's 24 of those little varmits coming at them.

On the plus side Kobolds always seem to be low level so the players can slice through them pretty quickly. :)
Destrustor 3rd Jan 2013, 11:24 AM edit delete reply
The running joke in my group is that all paladins are gay, and also all elf males are gay.

So the only way to be a heterosexual male elf is to also be a paladin, since the two cancel out each other.

The guy who started this is actually pretty cool and the nonchalant way he insists about this makes it pretty clear he's not really serious.
Malroth 3rd Jan 2013, 7:25 PM edit delete reply
wow our group uses the exact same running gag
Chakat Firepaw 5th Jan 2013, 1:47 PM edit delete reply
Treating Pathfinder goblins as having the intelligence of a rock isn't a bad first approximation.

Although they are more the unfortunate combination of being clever but always going with their first idea.
Karilyn 3rd Jan 2013, 5:56 AM edit delete reply
If this ends with Zecora being actually genuinely evil, and the players befriending her anyway...

Giggle Tail 3rd Jan 2013, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
Giggle Tail
Ehhh....yeah, I got nothin'.
Logan Cunningham (not) 3rd Jan 2013, 6:58 AM edit delete reply
The kid does his best at interpretative dance. I do my best to remember his stanzas. It ain't easy, but then again nothin's easy these days.
Akouma 3rd Jan 2013, 2:44 PM edit delete reply
I actually Googled that name to see if you were referencing what I thought you were. Bastion's my favorite game!
Blyndir 3rd Jan 2013, 7:09 AM edit delete reply
"What? No evil laugh?"
Anon 3rd Jan 2013, 7:31 AM edit delete reply
But she got a lewd eye instead. Maybe it is more about fetish than being evil.
Zuche 3rd Jan 2013, 7:20 AM edit delete reply
Is it just me, or does Fluttershy find Pinkie particularly annoying? I know everyone finds her annoying at times, but it's as though she's the only pony Fluttershy ever finds intolerable.
Classic Steve 3rd Jan 2013, 7:56 AM edit delete reply
It stands to reason the biggest introvert has trouble with the biggest extrovert.
Zuche 3rd Jan 2013, 11:49 AM edit delete reply
Is Fluttershy, with her menagerie libre, really a bigger introvert than Twilight?
Siccarus 3rd Jan 2013, 7:40 AM edit delete reply
Next Comic(or so)... Rainbow Dash will do what everyone expected her to do last session.
And the comments will be full of Scootaloo.
Digo 3rd Jan 2013, 8:13 AM edit delete reply
Scootaloo? O_o?
Siccarus 3rd Jan 2013, 11:45 AM edit delete reply
At least I got chicken
Zuche 4th Jan 2013, 6:13 AM edit delete reply
It's funny how much chicken tastes like griffon.
CharginChuck 3rd Jan 2013, 8:32 AM edit delete reply
It seems like the GM is doing everything he possibly can to make the players think Zecora is evil, just so he can "reveal" that she really was good all along. I don't think the players won't be amused.
CJT 3rd Jan 2013, 10:21 AM edit delete reply
My money is still on the comment from several strips ago being accurate:

"She's not evil _or_ misunderstood: She's just a huge plot-hole!"
Raxon 3rd Jan 2013, 10:11 AM edit delete reply
Zecora has such a deep and complex personality. This is reflected by her deep and complex.... coat. Yeah, that's it. Her fur pattern is white and gray, not black and white. This makes her way more complex than the other ponies.

Also, no hair color. I suspect that when she was young, her hair color was black and white, but she's old now, so it's all white.
Rokas 3rd Jan 2013, 10:32 AM edit delete reply
Oh shi— Raxon is alive!
Zuche 3rd Jan 2013, 11:43 AM edit delete reply
I knew you'd get that time machine sorted out eventually! Welcome back, Raxon.
Raxon 4th Jan 2013, 1:13 AM edit delete reply
Dat crazy bit- Err, unpleasant female, my arch nemesis, stole it, and I had a heck of a time tracking it down.

You know the one. She has a tail.
Zuche 4th Jan 2013, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
I confess that the only portion of the Marvel Universe is X-Factor. Peter David ranges from the cheap joke to some of the most unforgettable gut punches. Please wish him your best right now.
CJT 3rd Jan 2013, 10:27 AM edit delete reply
I'm noticing how well Zecora is/isn't rhyming. I know it's deliberate on Newbiespud's part, but I'm curious as to whether the DM is deliberately making Zecora bad at it or just bad at it him/herself.
Lyntermas 3rd Jan 2013, 10:33 AM edit delete reply
Zecora may not be "stereotypical" evil, but she's clearly not as "good" as her TV counterpart. While TV Zecora tried to warn the ponies off, this Zecora was looking forward to their plight, if for no other reason than to test her cure on ponies. Although, why would she mention traps (unless she's planning on dissecting them afterwards)?

In short, she possesses the callousness toward human life usually associated with scientific ambition. You know, something like this.
CJT 3rd Jan 2013, 1:11 PM edit delete reply
ObRLScientist: You would not believe the paperwork we have to go through to do _any_ experiments involving humans, including things like "wear these motion sensors and walk across the floor ten times".

The stereotype of scientists not caring about people is mostly just that (a stereotype), inspired by the "mad scientist" trope from the first half of the 20th century, and from some of the horrible things the nazis did.

We can certainly come across as _uncaring_, due to putting more stock in arguments based on reason than on appeals to emotion, but that's its own thing.
CJT 3rd Jan 2013, 1:15 PM edit delete reply
Err, "stereotype of scientists not caring about _human life_ (etc)".

Apparently I am less awake than I thought.
Lyntermas 3rd Jan 2013, 1:24 PM edit delete reply
My apologies if I offended you, CJT. I agree, the "callousness" I was referring to IS a stereotype of the mad scientist, nothing more. My comment was ONLY meant as a joke regarding the portrayal of "evil science" in fiction, not as a blanket condemnation of REAL people who have actually make their career learning about the world around us and how to use that knowledge to make our lives better.

I think we can all agree that Mr. Impossible is not a good role model as a scientist.

edit: Out of curiosity, CJT, what field of science are you in?
CJT 3rd Jan 2013, 2:06 PM edit delete reply
I didn't find it offensive; the stereotype is just more of a pet peeve than anything :). I also enjoy taking any excuse I get to tell people how science actually works (I'll gush about it the way I would any other hobby, be warned).

On the subject of people with the name "Impossible", there's a nifty book out called "Soon I Will Be Invincible". It's a deconstruction of the superhero/supervillain genre, with a villain named "Doctor Impossible". While there's an evil plot to be foiled, it mainly reads like a slice-of-life comic exploring what life as a superhero or -villain is like when the people involved are actual _people_. A fascinating read.

Regarding actual science, my field is "computer engineering" (CE is more building things, CS is more studying theory-of-computation, though there's overlap). My actual research involves hardware for various types of sensors, mostly. I plan to work my way up to utility-fog eventually.

Fun fact: Utility fog is the best explanation I can think of for unicorn magic. It makes teleportation a whole lot creeper if you treat the bright flash as a disassembler-swarm.

Fun-has-been-doubled: Celestia, Luna, and Nightmare Moon all seem to have utility-fog manes, though Nightmare was the only one who showed off what hers could do. Truly scary amounts of nanotech toyed with by alicorns, under that interpretation.

The real thing would cost about $1M per litre (or per quart, if you're American), made My Way. Give me time.
CJT 3rd Jan 2013, 2:08 PM edit delete reply
s/slice-of-life comic/slice-of-life story/ .

Enough of these mistakes and I may have to register an account just to edit my own posts...
Lyntermas 3rd Jan 2013, 3:09 PM edit delete reply
I'm a CE myself (well, civil engineering anyway). Utility fog is a rather interesting concept; my main concerns for its viability would be durability of the individual nanobots and cost of replacement (new batteries, some get lost, etc). From the software side, there's the problem with hacking. The world is scary enough knowing that strangers can mess with your communications or bank accounts; having them be able to essentially alter MATTER could be even worse.
CJT 3rd Jan 2013, 4:15 PM edit delete reply
It turns out to be impractical to have them store energy within themselves (unless you don't mind running them off of strontium or tritium RTEGs). Getting energy _to_ them is a serious problem, but can be done (just don't touch the high-voltage mane).

Durability of motes is indeed something that's often overlooked. The main problem isn't that you lose network nodes (it can self-heal) - it's that broken bits are about the size of asbestos dust and about as good for you.

If they're ever useful outside of the laboratory, it'll be with a nanotech or microtech fabber brick churning out a cheap replacement supply for you (the motes that can move/assemble probably aren't the ones that can build more motes, due to space/power/specialization issues).

But I'm _inside_ a laboratory, so "useful" and "cheap" take a back seat to "this would be _really_ _cool" to build". :)
Lyntermas 3rd Jan 2013, 9:18 PM edit delete reply
I'm reading more about the different projections for utility fog, and they are rather fascinating. Still, it's probably a ways away before they reach the level of commercial product, let alone a viable laboratory tool.

As for it being magic in MLP, it would probably be that the air is actually filled with nanobots (pony's respiratory systems have developed to filter it out). Unicorns develop the ability to transmit signals through their horns to the nanobots, resulting in "magic". Pegasi actually have specialized transmitters in their hooves, designed to manipulate water vapor (moving clouds, bucking them to make lightning, etc.). Alicorns are powerful enough to maintain a concentrated amount of nanobots to be near them at all times, allow them to do great feats at short notice.
Zuche 4th Jan 2013, 6:19 AM edit delete reply
Does that make Pinkie Pie Equestria's greatest hacker?
CJT 4th Jan 2013, 11:24 AM edit delete reply
I thought about the "Equestria is suffused with nanobots" option, but at that point it's simpler just to go with "Equestria is a virtual environment".

On the other hand, "Ask the Night Guards" has strongly implied that the Smooze was Grey Goo "gone horribly right". There's a Smooze-coloured layer right where humans disappear from the fossil record. And it gets creepier when you learn where edible gemstones come from.
Crisis 3rd Jan 2013, 10:17 PM edit delete reply
There's a bit of truth in television to the uncaring scientist stereotype. Back before the current regulations on human testing were implemented, scientists in most countries, the U.S. included, could get away with all sorts of things modern society would consider abhorrent without really caring about the test subjects beyond their ability to further scientific understanding. Including experiments that left lasting psychological scars on the subjects.
Raxon 4th Jan 2013, 1:43 AM edit delete reply
Hey, due to the uncaring evil scientists, we got some awesome medical procedures.

Brain transplants are entirely possible now, and have been performed successfully. The only catch is that the subjects were paralyzed for the rest of their lives. Which was either until the funding ran out, or the power failed, and their life support machines stopped functioning.

I love science, I'm crazy, and I have little regard for safety and proper procedure. I'm like a limping, ranting bad example!

[edit]: I don't actually condone what the nazis or the japanese did, or any other inhumane experiments. I'm just pissed because of all the paperwork that's required nowadays because sixty years ago, some plothole idiot in a concentration camp was pretending to be a doctor and liked playing with mercury.
Crisis 4th Jan 2013, 7:22 PM edit delete reply
I'm wondering if anyone else here has seen a show called "Dark Matters" which is a show dedicated to real science gone wrong.
Zuche 3rd Jan 2013, 11:51 AM edit delete reply
I find the combination of images and type for Fluttershy's "Mouth of Pink-One" sequence appealing. I'm currently fighting the urge to turn the images into wallpaper -- and not just because it would void my lease.
Guest 3rd Jan 2013, 12:20 PM edit delete reply
We need you.
Lyntermas 3rd Jan 2013, 1:09 PM edit delete reply
...The use of proper nouns would be helpful. Who is needed and what for?
Zuche 3rd Jan 2013, 2:01 PM edit delete reply
I think he's give alt-dialogue for the Sparkling One's concluding statement.
redwings1340 3rd Jan 2013, 3:31 PM edit delete reply
when not specified, I believe every you in this comment section means Raxon.
definitelynotRaxon 4th Jan 2013, 1:08 AM edit delete reply
I am inclined to agree, good sir.
Moonrush 3rd Jan 2013, 8:39 PM edit delete reply
I've still never seen how 'perfect temperature for X' can mean the temperature at which cooking them actually happens since pretty much everything's temperature is boiling. At least the term 'dog food' can in fact refer to ingredients, not consumer.

On an unrelated note, WOW I want to go bug some people into doing a pony campaign. If only I actually knew enough about the game to not be really suckish as a DM.
The MunchKING 3rd Jan 2013, 9:40 PM edit delete reply
The MunchKING
Check out RPOL, there's a few getting started on there.
Dragonflight 4th Jan 2013, 6:37 AM edit delete reply
The game system's out of print, but you might find PDF's of the Marvel Advanced Super Heroes online somewhere. It's the ideal system for any game involving superpowers, especially if it's not part of the genre for characters to be regularly killing other people (say, the bad guys.)

The Marvel system has Karma, which can be spent to save vs. kill checks. Plus, if the evil bad guy spends 100 Karma when they lose, some horrible event happens that "they could not *possibly* have survived," and they come back at some future date with an implausible explanation about how they survived.

Actually killing anything in Marvel is hard, and modeling Pony powers would be extremely simple in that system. It's a percentile system which uses only ONE table. Like I said, it takes no time to learn.
CJT 4th Jan 2013, 11:22 AM edit delete reply
It turns out that there's a temperature range, and for some things it can be very sensitive/narrow. It has to be hot enough to kill harmful bacteria, but different polymerization or protein-denaturing reactions or what-have-you do happen at different temperatures.

A friend keeps bringing up the study on soft-boiled eggs. To keep them runny but still kill salmonella bacteria, you have to keep it within something like a 2-degree temperature window. Too high, and it's not soft-boiled any more. Too low, and it can make you sick.

On a more realistic note, the whole principle behind "sous vide" is to carefully control cooking temperature for optimum effect (vacuum-packed food is placed in temperature-controlled water). I'm told it's widely used at restaurants.
The MunchKING 3rd Jan 2013, 9:39 PM edit delete reply
The MunchKING
How can a Cauldron and traps hunger for answers? There's the tricky bit...
Seanpony Renaud 4th Jan 2013, 12:02 PM edit delete reply
My suspicion is that she knows about the poison joke, and she's searching for a cure or a way to predict the results or something along those lines.
Kirby 5th Jan 2013, 3:29 AM edit delete reply
I used to run a Zecora blog on tumblr, and for a while I considered making an alchemist-y version of her.

I think the most fun you could have would be to concentrate the poison joke and make it do what you want it to do....

Zecora is a druid/shaman with the alchemist background... or skills. I can't remember what that is.

*pines at the character builder and very close to overloaded credit cards*
PikalaxALT 5th Jan 2013, 4:38 AM edit delete reply
Well, let's analyze Zecora's poem. In the show, the Mane 6 thought Zecora was going to bake Applebloom into a stew, but she was actually preparing a restorative brew. Here, the Mane 6 are thinking from their perch that Zecora wants to cook them, but could it just be research?

First to see what I did there gets a cookie.
Stephani-d 14th Jan 2013, 3:12 PM edit delete reply
Haha, nice rhymes. The metre is a little difficult to parse.
NightWolfMane 5th Jan 2013, 11:56 AM edit delete reply
Hold the phone she said I PRESUME! PRESUME! That means she has not done this before! That means that the ponies are probally not going to be eaten it probally means she does not know what tempature the ponies like their stew.
TechUnadept 8th Jul 2013, 11:08 PM ...And the dragon comes in the NIIIIGGGHHHt!!! edit delete reply
Anyone else think Death Metal?