Page 252 - The Clock Starts Now

28th Feb 2013, 5:00 AM in Swarm of the Century
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The Clock Starts Now
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 28th Feb 2013, 5:00 AM edit delete
Being alone never feels like a good thing in an RPG. Even if the system isn't specifically designed for cooperation, having a few bodies between yourself and harm does wonders for one's sense of security.

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



Guest 28th Feb 2013, 5:04 AM edit delete reply
Heh. Again, we start with Fluttershy. I forgot about that.
Pseudo_Nym 28th Feb 2013, 5:04 AM edit delete reply
Meatshields are magic?
Digo 28th Feb 2013, 5:07 AM edit delete reply
Against many types of attacks, incredibly so!
Blyndir 28th Feb 2013, 9:04 AM edit delete reply
Friendship is Kevlar.
Malroth 28th Feb 2013, 1:14 PM edit delete reply
If she was a 3.5 druid she could meat shield better than the barbarian and ranger combined, blast as well as the wizard, handle traps better than the rogue and could spontaneously summon things far above her CR to help her out if things got rough.
Raxon 28th Feb 2013, 3:26 PM edit delete reply
Where I come from, that's called a dirt witch. They're an insidious, terrible foe of unspeakable power, they invade our sacred dwarven caves, and they make excellent bridges.

We destroy them as soon as we see them, but sometimes, it's too late. They already have their dirt tentacles in our homes, and they cause our stone to crumble. No cave is safe from their creeping wrath. To know them is to know death itself. To face one and emerge victorious is truly the greatest test of any dwarf's courage. They have two terrible faces. There is the face that lives with the elves, and there is the face that threatens to exterminate the dwarves for all time.

I can only pray that we are someday victorious. Thor have mercy on us all.
Jason Shadow 28th Feb 2013, 7:55 PM edit delete reply
Jason Shadow
"Th' trees be attackin'! Run fer yer lives!"
- Durkon Thundershield
Raxon 28th Feb 2013, 9:08 PM edit delete reply
I tried to make it obvious enough that nobody would would get too plothurt and start some bs drama this time.

Also, it's funny because A) Dirt witch is a derogatory term some of my characters use to describe druids, that is as offensive as any racial slur you care to use(but please don't), and
B) Fluttershy is a tree.
Akouma 28th Feb 2013, 10:50 PM edit delete reply
In my game I run on Wednesday's, Druids and Bards are in some circles (namely practitioners of the other three magical schools) are often called "dumb mages."

Little do they know that thanks to their world existing in a homebrew system and game balance being really, really hard Druids are objectively the most powerful magic-users out there. In game terms, self-augmentation and transformation are ridiculous (working on that), and a powerful enough Druid can devour the life force of other Druids to gain their power. Should they absorb a multi-discipline mage, they gain the powers from outside their school, as well, which allows them to start absorbing people that are ONLY practicing that school. (Ex: Druid A is powerful and can absorb Druid B freely. He cannot absorb Wizard, because Wizard is not a Druid. He CAN absorb WizarDruid freely, however. After absorbing WizarDruid, he can now absorb Wizard. The same applies for Clerics, Bards, and Monks.)

The session where the players discovered this they had to take out a puzzle boss who had absorbed all five disciplines and was in the middle of absorbing six people. The party Druid asked what DC the check to absorb a guy is. I merely answered "a lot."
Raxon 28th Feb 2013, 11:33 PM edit delete reply
My wizard uses the term because he's sort of a bigot towards other classess of magic. Druids are dirt witches. Sorcerers are unintelligent spell tossers, because they don't have to study or think, they can just cast their spells whenever. Warlocks are unintelligent and lazy, because they can't be assed to study, and they sell their souls for power. Necromancers. "Dime store puppeteers. Good for scaring small children." In a setting where skeletons are generally not magically reinforced, a skeleton army is generally only threatening until someone picks up a baseball bat. Priests and paladins he totally has no problem with, though. And he...really likes bards. After destiny screwed over his dreams of being one, he went back to school years later, and got his degree in bardic studies.

Then there's schools of magic themselves. Conjurers. Hoo boy. The entire school of elemental themed casters are his big pet peeve. Anyone can cast cone of cold, or a fireball. Except him, because he has no capacity for elemental spells at all, so he went with a custom set of spells. Barriers, illusions, enchanting(as in crafting and enchanting items), spacial manipulation. Difficult but awesome at work. His most powerful spell is an illusion spell. To wit;

Level: Bard6+Wizard9
Components: Verbal, Somatic (both negated through feats)
Casting Time: 1 free action
Range: 100 miles per caster level (yes it is ridiculously long)
Target: Dual targets, the thing you are going to teleport, and the location it will teleport to.
Duration: Instantaneous

The target is enclosed in an illusion so impenetrable that the universe itself cannot see through it. At the same time, a hint of the existence of the target is made at the target destination. The universe, assuming this is where the target should be, automatically places the target there.

Yeah, it's a teleport spell that runs on Discworld physics. Anyone have a problem with that?
Guest 1st Mar 2013, 1:42 AM edit delete reply
give me a moment while I drool in admiration
Zuche 1st Mar 2013, 6:05 AM edit delete reply
So if Fluttershy had been the one to use the mirror pool instead of Pinkie Pie, we'd have had a forest on our hands?

What? She'd probably want company on the road to Dunsinane.
Guest 1st Mar 2013, 6:21 PM edit delete reply
Careful the trees are plotting your dwarven demise always plotting
Rokas 28th Feb 2013, 5:09 AM edit delete reply
There's just something nice about knowing that even though you're in a world of incredible danger, filled with terrible threats to life, limb, and sanity, where the forces of darkness seek to corrupt and destroy everything that's good, someone has your back.

Even more so when you're playing a tabletop RPG.
Digo 28th Feb 2013, 6:07 AM edit delete reply
When I'm DM, nothing brings a tear of joy to my eyes than witnessing players having each other's backs in a fight.
That's when the bonus Exp flows.
Rokas 1st Mar 2013, 4:53 AM edit delete reply
You have to give out bonus EXP for that? Your players don't cover each other as a matter of course? We always do in the group I play with.
aylatrigger 2nd Mar 2013, 3:59 AM edit delete reply
I leave it up to the party to want to cover each other... If you have made your character unlikeable enough for others not to want to cover him, it's your own fault. Also if you split off from the party, hug prismatic walls, drink things that I have stated are so alcoholic the mere smell makes you lose intelligence points temporally... the list goes on. You do something, it's you're fault. Though I will give bonus exp for Crowning Moments of Awesome/Heartwarming/Funny.

...Currently my Gamma World game has split off into two groups who are temporally working together until they come across another car. I think the party may fracture more, and it's hard enough DMing for 6 people in one group... But c'est la vie.
Digo 28th Feb 2013, 5:17 AM edit delete reply
In an old SuperHero campaign (I played a "Martian Manhunter" type), the team once found themselves breaking into the lair of a mad summoner BBEG.

When we reached the BBEG, she had summoned these large half ape/half bat monsters to fight us. I swear two of their stats were "Strength" because they were physically kicking our butts.
The summoner was using them as meatshields as well, which gave her an insane defense bonus so we couldn't touch her with direct fire powers.

On my turn I aimed at the batape creature in an obvious way, set my laser weapon to full power, and then slowly pulled the trigger so the creature would know that I was going to shoot it in the "Family jewels".

It jumped out of the way of the shot, to which another PC mentioned the BBEG was behind the monster and might have to dodge too. The GM rolls randomly, thinking it wouldn't matter, but the dice result showed that yes, the BBEG is getting hit. My shot went right into the stomach of the BBEG (This was aggrivated by the fact the die roll also declared it a critical hit).
The BBEG dies instantly and the summoned bat-ape creatures all dissappear back to their home dimension.

It was kinda hilarious to us. Not so much the GM.
Zuche 28th Feb 2013, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
I have started to make a habit of invoking the, "What's the worst that could happen?" clause. It encourages players to take heroic risks when the enemy taunts fate like that.
Digo 28th Feb 2013, 7:31 AM edit delete reply
Oh yes, that's good advice. :)
Goading the PC to be heroic is a wonderful thing.
Tats 28th Feb 2013, 6:26 AM edit delete reply
Poor Fluttershy. I'm surprised that girl hasn't had a heart attack yet.
Raxon 28th Feb 2013, 5:25 PM edit delete reply
Fluttershy doesn't have heart attacks. She causes them.
Artsy 28th Feb 2013, 8:15 PM edit delete reply
Stay smooth with words, my friend.
Lyntermas 28th Feb 2013, 6:48 AM edit delete reply
In Zilean's Revenge, the wizard Rolf (my PC) made the idiotic decision to try charging a mechanical digging machine powered by the BBEG's magical amulet in the hopes of using a neutralization spell. Currently, our system is simply the player and the DM rolling a d20 against each other.

I rolled a Nat 1. The amulet sent out a paralyzing spell at my character, freezing him in place as the machine's MANY mechanical arms started reaching toward him. And on top of that, some of my clothes had caught on fire (our ranger had thrown an Alchemist's Fire at the machine that round).
The amulet rolled a Nat 1. My spell then kicked in and the machine shut down for that round.

So, I was really glad when the ranger kicked me down and rolled me toward the entrance, putting out the flames and giving me time to shake off the paralysis.
Digo 28th Feb 2013, 7:31 AM edit delete reply
So... while two wrongs don't make a right, two 1s make a success?
MirrorImage 28th Feb 2013, 7:37 AM edit delete reply
And 3 1s make for an epic success.
MirrorImage 28th Feb 2013, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
Of course, that's not always true. I have a d20 that I have officially retired because of this.

In a 3.5 game I'm in where our characters are twinked out to the extreme (Grand Line 3.5 kind of twinked), my character is a Catperson Sidhie (in short, a winged Khajit spirit) that uses a greatbow.

My character is hovering around 100 feet off the ground taking shots at the giant heading towards the city we're in. Roll a Nat 1 on the attack roll and I fumble. Still have my move action, so I decide to dive bomb after the bow. Nat 1 on that, so I'm going to crash land now.

With a Nat 1 to the "landing," resulting in a Wily E. Coyote ostrich plant and taking me from full HP to -5 in 1 shot.
Digo 28th Feb 2013, 10:32 AM edit delete reply

Worst known incident in my group occured during a fight with an Epic-level red dragon. The ranger "Nat-1'd" and lost both his longsword on the same attack, one of the two clerics rolled a Nat-1 on a save versus the dragon's fire breath (and got cooked), and then the party Rogue/Paladin proceeded to roll a 1 EIGHT times in succession.

My players have a strict "We don't talk about that" code for that incident. :)
nemryn 28th Feb 2013, 11:02 AM edit delete reply
No no no, it works the other way around! You *keep* that d20, and bring it out for special occasions, because now it's used up all its 1s.
Bronymous 28th Feb 2013, 12:47 PM edit delete reply
Bitch, please. Any time I go off alone in that game, nothing bad ever happens.

Not a thing.
Lyntermas 28th Feb 2013, 2:54 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, Bronymous's solo ventures tend to go off pretty well. And he's always got our backs. Like that time we fought that bone horror boss that burst out from the floor of the temple, which formed when that zombie bomb exploded after a fire SOMEHOW broke out in the catacombs below.
Raxon 28th Feb 2013, 5:29 PM edit delete reply
I support the use of rangers as solo machines. At low levels they are wicked with dual wielding. At high levels, they get unlimited +5 force arrows from arcane archer, and can fire four per shot, several times per round, basically making them the equivalent of a wizard who puts all his feats into making magic missile his most powerful spell.

And unlike the wizard, the ranger can run, teleport, hide, and fight in melee.
Bronymous 2nd Mar 2013, 11:34 AM edit delete reply
That wasn't my fault. I didn't make that guy set his buddy on fire.

And I KILLED the Bone Horror boss. You're welcome.
Hayatecooper 28th Feb 2013, 9:54 PM edit delete reply
Apart from the time you decided to burn our only way of leaving and then flying out the window.

That almost turned out badly for everyone involved.
Raxon 28th Feb 2013, 10:42 PM edit delete reply
I was hungry! That pterosaur wasn't going to roast itself!
Rokas 1st Mar 2013, 9:57 AM edit delete reply
Raxon, you are like my hero.
Raxon 1st Mar 2013, 11:21 AM edit delete reply
Lyntermas 28th Feb 2013, 10:51 PM edit delete reply
Bronymous and things catching on fire seem to have a bit of correlation, I've found.
Bronymous 2nd Mar 2013, 11:32 AM edit delete reply
Tends to happen when just about every character you make is in some way based off another character/fire demon. I'm fairly certain Alma will not be setting anything on fire though.
Bronymous 2nd Mar 2013, 11:31 AM edit delete reply
@Hayate That's a different game. And I was only doing it to force you all to think outside the box and come up with something else. Because "go fight the windmill boss battle" was not my top priority.

Not that it didn't turn out well for me anyway, but still.
Kd7sov 28th Feb 2013, 7:13 AM edit delete reply
Y'know, DM, I'm not entirely sure that was a helpful comment.

Just sayin'.
*Sigh* 28th Feb 2013, 7:39 AM edit delete reply
I just now noticed how hilarious that face is in the last panel.
Cain 28th Feb 2013, 8:02 AM edit delete reply
Ah yes, make sure you have some people between you and the monsters. If you see one charging an attack, punt the nearest meatshield at it.
Nightsky 28th Feb 2013, 8:09 AM edit delete reply
Meat shields are always nice.
Tac 28th Feb 2013, 9:39 AM Typo edit delete reply
Last Panel, first yellow box, it says "fro," instead of "from"
Gorm 28th Feb 2013, 10:07 AM edit delete reply
That's not an error.
Raxon 28th Feb 2013, 12:25 PM edit delete reply
I don't see a single 'fro in the whole page!

And I haven't since RD crashed into Twilight... The first time.
Aerion Snowpaw 28th Feb 2013, 6:14 PM edit delete reply
From wouldn't make a lot of sense, methinks.
Toiski 1st Mar 2013, 1:09 AM edit delete reply
The English language isn't about making scents. Senns? Scensce? Whatever.
Tac 2nd Mar 2013, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
Ah my bad, I actually didn't know that and I often press "," instead of "m", so I thought it was just a typo.
Spitz 28th Feb 2013, 10:57 AM edit delete reply
Poor Twi's gunna go crazy. It'll be fun!
Ambad 28th Feb 2013, 4:45 PM edit delete reply
The worst off I've ever been "alone" in a game was in a TORG campaign during a trip through the Chunnel between Aisle and Cyber-France.

We encountered a young dragon (the burrowing, ground dwelling type) who immediately decided we weren't welcome, and attacked. Luckily he was young, and didn't have a breath weapon yet, or really any improved combat abilities other than his sheer awesome stats. He was still bullet-proof, though, so we were having trouble hurting him. My character gets a great idea to take him out.

My character is an Indiana Jones/Pulp superhero hybrid from Nile, with the abilities to shrink to a very small size, and wall walk. I also took some athletics and dogde and stuff. My idea then becomes to shrink down, have him eat me, and shoot him from inside, where he is much more vulnerable.

While I embark on that task, our only spell caster at the time, an old, occult investigator from Orrorsh, is thumbing through an Aislish tome of magical stuff he'd discovered in some library we'd raided. He's looking for a spell to do something to the dragon to weaken it or defeat it outright.

Now, the player is one of my best friends, but he's not terribly savvy with the game mechanics/lore of many games, and knows almost next to nothing involving dragons. He thusly decides an aging spell (of roughly 400 years) is the perfect thing to make the dragon wither and die.

Immediately myself and the only other person who recognized the dumbassery of this start to tell him what will happen, but the GM stops us before we can warn him and reminds us player knowledge vs. character knowledge applies here, and even if we knew, we are too far away to do anything. He then asks the spell caster if he wants to go ahead with his spell, all while me and the other guy are FREAKING OUT inside.

He casts it perfectly, aging the dragon (whose mouth I am currently in) by 400 years... greatly improving all his stats, granting him new combat abilities, and giving him, of all the worst possible things, an acidic breath weapon.

The player is shocked at what he has done, and luckily so is the dragon; our librarian norm (Core Earth) character, played by a girl who'd might as well be Fluttershy, climbs the dragon's back, and makes successive ride checks to "tame" him. And it freaking works. The dragon spits me out (albeit a bit acid-burnt), and retreats. He de-ages himself with his dragon magic, and introduces himself to her politely as "Cromwell". He then escorts us the rest of the way through the Chunnel, clearing out roadblocks for us... until we got to the Cyber France reality.

He fails his reality check, and converts to Cyber France rules, becoming a rocket-propelled, laser-equipped, wheels-on-feet, cyborg dragon. Luckily, instead of being terribly upset by all this, he adjusts rather well. He bids us farewell, eats a derelict car, and rockets off back the way we came.
Hawkflight 28th Feb 2013, 9:54 PM edit delete reply
"He fails his reality check, and converts to Cyber France rules, becoming a rocket-propelled, laser-equipped, wheels-on-feet, cyborg dragon. Luckily, instead of being terribly upset by all this, he adjusts rather well. He bids us farewell, eats a derelict car, and rockets off back the way we came."

If I was the dragon, I wouldn't be upset, I'd be freaking stoked.
Lyntermas 28th Feb 2013, 10:53 PM edit delete reply
...I had to look up what TORG was, so I had some context regarding the dragon's sudden transformation. Now I know...and knowing is half the battle. Go Joe.
Evilbob 28th Feb 2013, 7:22 PM edit delete reply
Having company boosting one's sense of security is kinda real-life too.

Unless, of course, you're one of those idiots that prefer to do wilderness trekking entirely on your lonesome and then getting in deep shit with no way to call for help.
CJT 28th Feb 2013, 9:24 PM edit delete reply
My mother and I eventually managed to convince my father to carry a PLB (survival beacon that satellites can pick up).

Next is convincing him to carry it with him at all times, rather than just leaving it at the camp site when he's half way through a month long canoe trip in the middle of the Canadian Shield.

He's not 40 any more. Or 50 any more. Falls can happen.
CJT 28th Feb 2013, 9:50 PM edit delete reply
To be fair, his "build a bonfire and wait for them to see it" plan for getting help would work too. Our issue with it is that might get him help in several days, after blood loss and gangrene set in if he broke something major.

(That's "bonfire", not "forest fire". One will get park rangers out looking for you, the other will get you in jail if you're lucky and very dead if not.)
BwaFT 1st Mar 2013, 6:20 AM edit delete reply
That's why I always carry a picure of a bear with a flamethrower on me when I go hiking. Otherwise, they might not believe my alibi.
tuxgeo 28th Feb 2013, 7:48 PM edit delete reply
Second time through this strip I misread RD as saying, "Hey, she can't have THAT many deranged relatives."
Aegis Steadfast 1st Mar 2013, 12:41 AM edit delete reply
Aegis Steadfast
Unless you're the tank, then it's your place to get ambushed, give a bored look at the arrows lodged into you and call back to your own snipers where they came from.
Zuche 1st Mar 2013, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
I have occasionally had to remind players that just because a tank can withstand a tremendous amount of damage, that's no reason to abandon the tank to absorb all of it. Defender is not a synonym for martyr.
Calypso 1st Mar 2013, 6:10 PM edit delete reply
I'm sorry for the irrelevancy, but my friend and I wanted to try some kind of D&D. We have no prior experiences so I was hoping you all could give me some advice for starting something up? Really basic stuff would be appreciated, like what equipment to get, if any, or just, ya know... How to play D&D? Should we give up and beg some experienced players to join us and show us the ropes? Thank you!
Guest 1st Mar 2013, 6:33 PM edit delete reply
You need at least ONE experienced player he helps clarify the rules which can sometimes be confusing.

also googling TheSpoonyExperiment Countermonkey should give you a link to TheSpoonyOne vids on his experiance playing various Roleplaying games
Metool 1st Mar 2013, 8:30 PM edit delete reply
Start with something simpler. If you want to stay close to brand-name Dungeons & Dragons for some reason, there's a game that works off the same basic framework, called Legend, from Rule of Cool Gaming (not Mongoose).
Lyntermas 1st Mar 2013, 11:25 PM edit delete reply
Well, while it won't necessarily give you ALL the different factors, one good thing to watch is the Robot Chicken D&D game on Youtube. It may not cover everything, but the DM Chris Perkins explains mechanics to the players as they become relevant, and it can be quite informative.

If you're just looking for a roleplaying game in general, though, and are willing to try the "play-by-post" format, [shilling] come on down to the Pony Tales forums and try out the Aspirations of Harmony system! It has a streamlined character creation set-up, with many aspects playtested by these very commentors. Sign-ups are currently being done for a "newbie-friendly" game called "Luna's Command: A Wibbly-Wobbly Saga". Join up today![/shilling]
Newbiespud 1st Mar 2013, 11:51 PM edit delete reply
And on the topic of Chris Perkins games, the PAX Celebrity D&D game is still one of my most favorite things ever.
aylatrigger 2nd Mar 2013, 5:12 AM edit delete reply
If you are going to play a kind of D&D:
4.0 is probably the simplest, as classes all work the same mechanics-wise.
3.5 and pathfinder are generally the ones most people like as they have more freedom

If non-D&D games are okay:
Maids RPG (character creation is just die rolls, all actions are die * attribute, generally funny enough and easy to GM)
Gamma World 4.0 (mechanic based off D&D 4.0 but simplified a bit, plus in a insane world)
Snowball or Pool (very simple, mostly freeform...Snowball has more complicated storytelling as it is going backwards-you do one scene, then do the previous scene leading up to that scene-, but mechanics wise is simple)

In either case:
Start at level 1
As GM, read through all the rules, mostly focus on mechanics
As player, read through character creation (at least the parts pertaining to your character) and mechanics
When GMing create the setting, but not the adventure. You can make something like an adventure ("goblins are attacking the village!") but be prepared for the players to do whatever they want (*starts looting stores while villagers flee*)
start simple. have basic classes and race starting out. Make a simple adventure and town, and have your players make it crazy.
Kiranis 1st Mar 2013, 6:30 PM Soloing edit delete reply
So it's my first D&D game ever I picked the cleric figuring I could play medic while the rest of the party dealt with anything larger then a cave spider. I was playing the role of a homebrewed sub type of Cleric the Phoenix Cleric that specialize in Life and Death domain's taking the role as a NPC as the DM liked to give npc's a mind of their own often passing more important roles to guest players.

Anyyywayyyy long story short rouge failed at trap checking and I alone fall down a pit (thankfully no spikes) alone against a horde of undead of course these are low levels skels and I am told by my players about Turn undead but before that I was freaking the heck out I was a newbie to the game alone against 5 skels I was panicing in and out of character the DM was grinning ear to ear.

I made it out ok if low on hp (skels got sorta lucky) I had 2 hp left but made it all the way through the undead and the trap hall (filled with more skels) by my self and even found a nice Amulet of a higher rank with in my clerical order and her last words moving the plot along.

So I felt really proud by the end of the game it was a good session everyone left happy and I later got my revenge on the Dm but that's another story.