Page 249 - The Last Followup

21st Feb 2013, 5:00 AM in Bridle Gossip
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The Last Followup
Average Rating: 5 (4 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 21st Feb 2013, 5:00 AM edit delete
I honestly have nothing else to add other than this.

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



Guest 21st Feb 2013, 5:01 AM edit delete reply
Brilliant! Well done.
Digo 21st Feb 2013, 5:19 AM edit delete reply
I personally think that was the single most heart-wrenching scene in all of pony- Seeing the element of laughter break.

So! Any of you out there recall a scene in an adventure where the party just took a sencere punch in the gut over and felt real sorrow for the characters?

Maybe a fav NPC died at the hands of the BBEG?
Or you had to make a tough choice between two lives?

One of the saddest moments my group experienced was on a quest to slay an evil lich. The party found his Phylactery, but I took a page from Harry Potter and built it inside an innocent commoner girl. And since the only way to destroy the lich perminantly was to destroy the Phylactery...

...oh yeah, bittersweet ending. The party saved the lives of thousands, but didn't save the one.
Boden King 21st Feb 2013, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
You didn't have a super hard to do 'third option' planned for them. They HAD to kill the little girl? You get points for doing something that dark.
Digo 21st Feb 2013, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, I didn't think up a 3rd option... the points should be awarded to the party though. Those players actually found the adventure enjoyable and didn't mind making such a hard choice. Every once in a rare while they don't mind a bittersweet victory.
It adds flavor to their character experience.
Kaleopolitus 21st Feb 2013, 6:14 AM edit delete reply
So... They didn't decide to keep the girl? Too obvious a rip-off, huh? Oh well...
Zuche 21st Feb 2013, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
The Kobeyashi Maru scenario, Digo? Ill advised. There is always a third option, if the players want it.
Digo 21st Feb 2013, 6:56 AM edit delete reply
Well, even though I didn't come up with a 3rd option, I would have entertained any ideas the players might have come up with. They didn't think about it though.

Come to think of it, maybe if they soaked the girl in some kind of Disjunction bath...?

"The One Commoner. Created in the Irish Spring bathwaters of Mount Dove by the dark lich known only as Lux. To undo the dirty magics upon his immortality, the One Commoner must be cast back into the bathwaters and washed Zestfully clean of his impurities."
Zuche 21st Feb 2013, 7:57 AM edit delete reply
Ah, okay, not really a Kobeyashi Maru then. My apologies. As you note, the players enjoyed it and that's all that mattered.

As for third options, severing the connection is a good one, whether by the means you note or by sequestering her where the lich is unable to benefit from the phylactery. Having means to seal the lich away until the girl lives out her natural life might also be worth considering. Both are pretty risky.

Kill and raise is a straightforward option, but you have to ask if a child turned into a phylactery by a lich and then murdered would really want to return to this life. Great, now you've reminded me of Roy's little brother and I'm trying not to cry. This is one where I'd prefer to ask the party what they'd prefer, whether it would succeed or fail or requires them to take a few extra steps to convince the child to return home.

I prefer to require "extra steps" as part of raising the dead. I'm not talking about additional expenses, but creating personal connections for and to the deceased. If that leads to making adjustments in the spell's material components as well, I'm good with that. I'd rather see a party spend hundreds or thousands of gold pieces on the decorations for a Happy Rebirthday Party than diamonds.
CJT 21st Feb 2013, 10:08 AM edit delete reply
My favourite take on Raise Dead was from the over-powered Realms campaign I was a part of during high school/undergrad.

One of the PCs ended up getting raised, and this involved a vision quest type of ordeal for him. The DM did a good job of spelling out that "bringing someone back" involved the direct intervention of deities for their own (strong) reasons, not just paying a cleric.

This can vary from campaign to campaign; I've just always enjoyed that take on it.

Humour campaigns, of course, benefit from the Paranoia version.
Guest 21st Feb 2013, 7:03 AM edit delete reply
Couldn't they have resurrected her afterward? By the time you're confronting liches you should have access to Raise Dead...
Digo 21st Feb 2013, 7:11 AM edit delete reply
...dang, none of us were thinking of third options that campaign. XD
Guest 21st Feb 2013, 11:32 AM edit delete reply
One time while journeying to a gnome city hidden in the mountains, my group came across a gnome father and his daughter surrounded by orcs. We saved the girl, but her father was cleaved in two from a crit. I managed to grab his helmet before a rock slide happened and gave it to the gnome girl as a memento of her father.
(This was a low-magic setting--no resurrection.)

Later, in the gnome city taken over by the orcs enslaved by the gnomes, we found her mother being used as a hostage. The little girl ran over to her mother and into the path of the flamethrower. She was burned to death. The worst part is, I was ten feet away from her and forgot to move her out of the way.
Malroth 21st Feb 2013, 1:29 PM edit delete reply
Kill the lich temporarily then cast Trap the soul (spend the 3000 on a scroll if you have to because logicaly if liches exist in your world then 15th lv npc non lich casters also have to exist ) then it doesn't matter if his phylacerly is in an innocent commoner girl or in a puppy or in a really shiny crown that your evil necromancer wants for himself.
Hrothgar 21st Feb 2013, 6:05 PM jokes on you! edit delete reply
I usually play an alchemist, and we tend to have quite a large number of ranks in the heal/chiurgoun department. while it is true that there is a chance that the little girl wouldn't survive, there is still the possibility of her coming out of that one still breathing!
JacenCaedus 21st Feb 2013, 9:14 PM edit delete reply
Was the commoner girl a beloved NPC that had been with the party for the last few sessions (Sorry if I sounded like a complete noob here, I have never played D&D, I keep trying to find a group but just have not ha any luck)
Digo 22nd Feb 2013, 4:00 AM edit delete reply
She sure was. She didn't speak much, but could understand perfectly well and always tried to look at the optomistic side of things.
She even tried to be helpful by cooking meals for the party and cleaning their gear at the end of the day.
Vanner 22nd Feb 2013, 7:41 AM edit delete reply
Magic Jar the girl, kill the body to destroy the phylactery, simulacrum the remains, then transfer her soul back to the clone.

kriss1989 22nd Feb 2013, 8:31 AM edit delete reply
My character's dog got eaten by an alligator. Our GM felt so bad about it that he freakin' reincarnated the dog as a super dog. It's a little hard to explain, but the dog Branigan had been a vital teammate, an endearing personality, and a moral compass from the opening five minutes of our first session. He'd taken on (and out) undead abominations, enemy traps, saved us from a lava pit, fought off evil mages, aided in the defeat of an ancient demon, rescued my character from a flooding underground mine, fought enemy berserkers, saved us from super wolves, and peed on the legs of so many jerks. So randomly dieing to non-plot critical alligators was something nobody liked.
FanOfMostEverything 21st Feb 2013, 5:36 AM edit delete reply
Dear Princess Celestia,

Today I learned that telling a story where player characters aren't given any more agency than the NPCs is an insult both to my players and to my abilities as a Dungeon Master. Player independence means more than giving them just enough rope to hang themselves. I must treat my players and their characters with respect, as human (or equine) beings capable of making choices and affecting the world around them in ways I did not anticipate, expect, or plan for.
In short, I have to treat them like what they are: my friends.

Your faithful creator,
Classic Steve 21st Feb 2013, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
Malroth 21st Feb 2013, 1:37 PM edit delete reply
Dear Princess Celestia
years agotoday i learned that actually planning encounters is never appreciated by pc's and instead I'll pull random ideas from old cartoons my players are too young to have seen in order to keep them entertained untill they've done something noteworthy enough for the logical consequences of their actions to come back and write the plot for me.

Sincerely Lazy DM
LoganAura 21st Feb 2013, 5:47 AM edit delete reply
Dear Princess Celestia,

Today I learned that I am just the one who sets the stage. I really shouldn't direct the players actions directly, and instead try to ad-lib responses and such that I haven't prepared, or think on the fly about what their actions, that I haven't accounted for, would do

Your faithful Dungeon Master
(Insert name here)
Kaleopolitus 21st Feb 2013, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
There are going to be so many Princess Celestia letters here, I almost feel inclined to print them out and hang them on the fridge.
Zuche 21st Feb 2013, 6:20 AM edit delete reply
You share a fridge with Princess Celestia, Kaleopolitus?
Kaleopolitus 21st Feb 2013, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
I share more than just a fridge with her.

Like a roof, for one. And a couch.
Why are you all looking at me like that?
Zuche 21st Feb 2013, 7:59 AM edit delete reply
Princess Celestia makes you sleep on the couch? Pity.
Kaleopolitus 21st Feb 2013, 9:21 AM edit delete reply
No no no no, I SHARE the couch with her.
Raxon 21st Feb 2013, 10:24 AM edit delete reply
KALE! My favorite hell pigeon is back! Hooray!
Kaleopolitus 21st Feb 2013, 12:54 PM edit delete reply
I prefer to think of myself as an old hermit hell pigeon, showing up every now and then with wise words of advice.

Not sure if I'm here to stay. I don't mean to bitch but most of my life is having a tendency to crash and burn right now so I have noooo clue whats gonna happen next.
Digo 22nd Feb 2013, 4:01 AM edit delete reply
If you're lucky, smores.
(Hope you find stability)
Digo 21st Feb 2013, 7:04 AM edit delete reply
Dear Princess Celestia,

I, your humble Dungeon Master, hereby give you my friendship report. *ahem*

I didn't learn nothing, I was right all along! When your players are presented with the possibility of a prejudice against a specific class of NPC, they'll latch onto it like caramel on an apple to exploit whatever knowledge that may or may not be there for their own gain.
Sometimes you just gotta ride the rails and it should have been no surprise that when the party thinks they can bust in thinking it's okay to act on prejudice, you outta hit 'em there with a plot twist and about a dozen high-level traps.

But you know what? I already knew that too.

Your faithful student,
Dungeon Master
Zuche 21st Feb 2013, 8:02 AM edit delete reply
AJ's letters to Celestia are always the best ones.

Aw, man... I just noticed that you signed this, "Dungeon Master" and then it hit me: How did the kids from the cartoon series wind up in the world of Dungeons & Dragons?

They got on a carnival ride. The whole story starts by putting them on rails. My head hurts.
Gerkuman 21st Feb 2013, 8:20 AM edit delete reply
Digo has a point, I don't think the DM's in the wrong here if we're talking classic DnD.

But this is DnD in pony world, so I guess they may not be playing very fairly.
CJT 21st Feb 2013, 10:10 AM edit delete reply
I don't think it's a question of "wrong for D&D", as much as a question of "jerk move within the group's social dynamics".
Digo 21st Feb 2013, 10:40 AM edit delete reply
I've admitted to my share of Jerk Moves with my group's dynamic. Usually stemmed from a bad case of "Paved Best Intentions". >_>
Raxon 21st Feb 2013, 10:42 AM edit delete reply
It's best to bury your best intentions and pave over them. Your players don't want your best intentions. They want a pit fiend to slaughter.
Digo 21st Feb 2013, 1:55 PM edit delete reply
This is so true ._.
Destrustor 21st Feb 2013, 3:03 PM edit delete reply
Well it depends on how much coin they'd be able to make by selling your best intentions at the local market.
What quality of "best" intentions are we talking about here?

Digo 22nd Feb 2013, 4:03 AM edit delete reply
My intentions average 20% more value than the standard blue book listing.
Raxon 22nd Feb 2013, 4:16 AM edit delete reply
Malroth 22nd Feb 2013, 2:13 PM edit delete reply
Also the RockSalt Drinking Mugs
Raxon 21st Feb 2013, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
Dear Princess Celestia,

Today I learned that you can judge a book by its cover. That's what a book cover is for. I assumed that Zecora would be bad, if not evil, because this was clearly a lesson about prejudice, and the DM would not give us such a straightforward case of racism. Sometimes, public opinion is based on fact, even when it is embellished by certain singing pink ponies. Stereotypes are based on something, after all.

Your faithful subjects,
Ponyville NPCs

(They're NPCs, and it's a crowd. Of course they're gonna learn the wrong lesson. Crowds are stupid.)
Malbutorius 21st Feb 2013, 11:13 AM edit delete reply
A Person is very smart, People? Not so much.
CharginChuck 21st Feb 2013, 11:18 AM edit delete reply
People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.
Kitchen 21st Feb 2013, 4:26 PM edit delete reply
I'm gonna have to call your MIB reference because nobody else seemed to catch it, Chargin
CharginChuck 22nd Feb 2013, 1:11 AM edit delete reply
Thank you, I was wondering how long it would take.

And I prefer Chuck, if you don't mind.
Raxon 21st Feb 2013, 11:28 AM edit delete reply
A person is generally only of moderate intelligence, and scares easily, as opposed to the fine, intelligent ladies and gentlemen who frequent these comments.

Also myself.
Kaleopolitus 21st Feb 2013, 12:55 PM edit delete reply
You're special.
Raxon 21st Feb 2013, 1:05 PM edit delete reply
Heh heh. Me, as opposed to a gentleman. Or a lady, if I so feel inclined.
NotMe 22nd Feb 2013, 12:59 PM edit delete reply
When I have a crowd, I treat them as 1 npc with an Int score of the square root of the number of members in the crowd
Andy 21st Feb 2013, 12:02 PM edit delete reply
Oh, that was absolutely brilliant.
ShadowDragon8685 22nd Feb 2013, 12:33 AM edit delete reply
Oh, this oughta be good.

Argue with Pinkie Pie... Or write the letter?

I'd write the letter. Anyone who chooses "Argue with Pinkie Pie" over anything less bad than "Jack Bauer interrogation Techniques" is a terrible, terrible person, and a worse pony.
Digo 22nd Feb 2013, 4:04 AM edit delete reply
It's easier arguinging with an oncoming freight train.
Raxon 22nd Feb 2013, 11:47 AM edit delete reply
Some freight trains can talk, if you just listen.

Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle!
Mattiator 22nd Feb 2013, 7:53 AM edit delete reply
There was one particular game I was playing of Fallout: Equestria. We'd just finished facing off against a boss monster deep within a scientific complex, and the monstrous boss fell to the ground screeching. The GM made us roll agility checks to avoid getting crushed under the creature. All of us succeed except for our Unicorn mage who critical-fails, so he gets flung back with the boss monster... towards a pit of acid at the end of the hallway. The GM's nice enough to let him roll to grab the ledge... and he critical fails again. Desperate and burning to death, he tries to teleport out. Fails that roll as well, and the rest of us are freaking out as to how we're going to save this guy. In the end, our attempts fail and our pegasi decides to shoot him to end his suffering. Most heart-wrenching moment of any game I've played so far.
Dementia_Pandora 22nd Feb 2013, 10:59 AM edit delete reply
Dear Princess of the sun,

Today I learned my friends do not enjoy being emotionally manipulated. despite the small thrill of adrenaline I get from knowing that they're acting as dictated by my invisible puppet strings, i should never cause any social harm.
Instead, I should follow your example, and only use my manipulative abilities for good- to make them happy, or believing they are happy.

your faithful, if discordant, follower,
Dementia Pandora
Tatsurou 22nd Feb 2013, 11:10 AM edit delete reply
Dear Princess Celestia,
Today I learned that I do not have enough levels in Chessmaster to properly manipulate ponies into following the paths I have prepared for them. Having seen your legendary skill at it - they still believe they have free will and their accomplishments are their own even when you tell them face-to-face that everything was your plan all along - I have decided to offer myself up as your apprentice.
Please teach me, oh Sky Lord!
Your faithful hopefully-student,
THe Dungeon Master.
Kadakism 22nd Feb 2013, 2:52 PM edit delete reply
My most recent excursion into tough decision making and subsequent heart-wrenching guilt has thrown my latest character completely off of his typical persona.

Our characters ticked off some powerful thugs, who proceeded to kidnap the party's loved ones. First and foremost, my character believes that this situation is his fault, because he was the one who first stood up to the thugs.

A few sessions later, he was following up on a rumor about a town guard who knew where these thugs could be found. it turned out that he was on their payroll. So after an amazing reflex save to dodge his bullet, I held the guard at gunpoint, asking him to forget my face. He refused, and asked me to tell his fiancée that he was sorry for not coming home.

It probably took me an hour of real time to decide whether to let the guy go or not, and I just had to stop playing that session because I was just so torn up emotionally about it. Our DM is very good at making our decisions feel like they mean something.
Arcict 22nd Feb 2013, 9:10 PM edit delete reply
My bro killed a sad moment. The party had failed to rescue the woman's husband from the evil clutches that had held him and he died. But because he was playing an evil character he (in a russian accent no less) starts off their meeting this woman after the failed mission with "your husband is dead, you might want to sit down for this". Things just sort of went from there but as they were leaving he parts with her by turning around from the door and going "so... now that you are single..."

My details are sketchy becuase I didn't attend that session but, honestly, does it really need any more details?
Malroth 22nd Feb 2013, 11:55 PM edit delete reply
Most evil bard builds could acutually pull that off sucessfully
Somber Star 13th Aug 2014, 3:04 AM edit delete reply
Recent Eberron campaign played online, maybe a year ago. My first and only time outside of Faerun. I was playing a Kalashtar Soulknife in a rather large party also including pretty much one character of every core class except, oddly, cleric. We didn't need one.

My character was, as is typical of my characters, pretty unfortunate. Turns out Soul Knife is a pretty gimped class. Atypically for my characters (and this party), however, he was actually mentally stable. Basically the pillar amid everyone's emotional hurricanes, so they came to rely on him.

A moment came up where we encountered an NPC adventuring party getting their asses kicked by Warforged Godslayers. There was a bit of a disagreement between myself and the other player with more experience than the DM about our course of action. We were both extremely Lawful Good, with his character (a paladin) prioritizing the 'greater good', and mine (basically a psychic monk) devoted to a more personal variety.

The party sided with the paladin player, resulting in my character leaving the group to help the NPCs. The battle lasted all of one round, during which my character shattered one Godslayer's armor and dealt half its HP's worth of damage to it... and my character got cut in half by an Attack of Opportunity strike. There's emotional devastation for the surviving party members, and they STILL have to complete the mission.

The bright side to that story is that the party beat the bad guys (including the ulra-colossal Warforged death machine we were running around inside), the NPCs ended up surviving the war and my character was eventually revived one or two sessions later.
LupisLight 5th Jul 2020, 5:30 PM edit delete reply
I'm not entirely sure what the DM has to apologize for here. The DM simply provided the bard with information about the plot-important NPC that was explicitly 'Common knowledge' and gossip, stuff one would have naturally heard around town.

Why is anyone involved surprised that this info turned out to be incomplete or inaccurate? Especially as this was info about a mysterious NPC that no-one in town is really that familiar with in the first place?