Page 253 - Hello, Little Friend

2nd Mar 2013, 5:00 AM in Swarm of the Century
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Hello, Little Friend
Average Rating: 5 (6 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 2nd Mar 2013, 5:00 AM edit delete
It's a tried-and-true DMing method to use images and physical props to increase immersion (or at the very least, understanding) as much as possible. This is where investing hard cash into miniatures and tilesets commonly comes into play, but even something as simple as a print-out of an image you found on Google can help your cause, if it fits the needs of your campaign.

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



Raxon 2nd Mar 2013, 5:01 AM edit delete reply
Today's story time is about makeshift characters and monsters! Let's hear your creative creations!

...And I mean things like your makeshift monster figs, scrounged environments, and cobbled kitsch something that starts with a k sound and means models. Tell all about your homemade figures and sets!
Jannard 2nd Mar 2013, 5:22 AM edit delete reply
The Candy Worm Kraken!! It was almost as dangerous as it was delicious. And apparently its cheery colors and translucency were a terrible sign for any ship unfortunate enough to cross its way... Or, in the case of our campaign, any port city unfortunate enough to be its target.

But the head was the best part. Couldn't get it done right so I melted some more worms and gummy bears, added lots of toothpicks and created the most colorful, horrific thing ever to come out of a microwave.
Raxon 2nd Mar 2013, 5:35 AM edit delete reply
Candy monsters? Really? You really made monster figs out of candy?

I love it. candy candy candy blood fighty time!

Snikt me!
Digo 2nd Mar 2013, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
I had run an adventure in D&D that I dubbed "Night of a Million Zillion Kobolds"

Two kobold tribes were fighting over territory and there happened to be an abandoned wizard's tower in the disputed area. The PCs decided to check it out in case the tower had some dangerous magic in it.

So now the party gets involved and has to fight two opposing armies of kobolds. To represent this I had purchased two bags of pretzels, one square and cheese filled, the other round and peanut butter filled. Rules were simple:

Cheese is the sorcerer tribe, peanut butter is the barbarian tribe, and if you kill it, you eat it!

I think we all spoiled our dinners that night :D
Literally had the party ranger, archer, and cleric in a 3-way race on who could kill the most kobolds and amass pretzels like they were treasures.

The cleric won with a final flame strike, but the numbers were something like 40-35-32.
Real close.
aylatrigger 2nd Mar 2013, 7:34 PM edit delete reply
That reminds me both of my most recent ponyfinder game, where we went to a corrupted plane of Pinkie Pie, where we fought cake golems. Also reminds me of the prismatic dragon that the party killed by getting one character so drunk that jumping into it's mouth gave it alcohol poisoning and killed it, but that wasn't made up...
Froborr 4th Mar 2013, 7:13 AM edit delete reply
Candy monsters are the best!

We used M&M's and Reese's Pieces to represent Medium creatures, since they fit nicely into the square size on the maps I was using. Miniature peanut-butter cups were 4-square monsters, and once we had literal Purple (Gummi) Worms.

We quickly established the rule that the player who strikes the killing blow gets to eat the monster, that led to extra competition...
Night Writer 2nd Mar 2013, 6:50 AM edit delete reply
I don't have any such story myself, but I recall a legend that more than a few of the monsters in the original D&D bestiary came from toys that Gary Gygax and friends had lying around the house. Since minis for monsters didn't exist then, they basically grabbed whatever was handy and put it on the board and based monsters off of it.
HateFish 2nd Mar 2013, 7:03 AM edit delete reply
I quite often use skittles and smarties and similar as stand-ins for the hordes of goblins, skeletons, zombies, and other faceless mooks that my games produce. The major upside of this is that the players get to eat anyone they kill.
Raxon 2nd Mar 2013, 8:19 AM edit delete reply
Thank you, HateFish. You have inspired me to create what is perhaps my second greatest character for roleplaying purposes. After my super over-the-top bigot wizard.

He's a noble warrior. Specific details to be filled in later. Other than the usual loadout of weapons and armor, he carries what is basically a tiny portable kitchen multi-tool thing, a special magical lighter that can start fires even in cold or wet conditions, and a high quality little shovel, a la Glock.

He believes that all dead should be honored, even your enemy, especially if he was a warrior. He has a sort of three pronged ritual that he is obligated to perform for any dead he comes across, or anyone he kills. By this, I mean he is obligated by the customs of his people.

First, he takes a token piece of the dead, when applicable, and when it is reasonable to do so. He ritualistically prepares the flesh and eats it. It is a small piece, and this is a sign of respect for a warrior, ensuring that some of his warrior's ability is passed on to future generations. (He's not going to eat the bones of a skeleton, or the flesh of something inherently toxic(unless it's funny).)

Second, he will burn the body on a pyre.

Third, he will collect the ashes and bury them.

To signify this, I think I'd save any candy I kill, and when the fighting's done, I carefully cut the candy in half, and eat it. Otherwise, I'd bring something with me.
Digo 2nd Mar 2013, 10:13 AM edit delete reply
Color/flavor coded undead? Brilliant!!
Dibs on the cherry zombies!!
Kiranis 2nd Mar 2013, 5:07 PM edit delete reply

seriously I am a bad player for doing this but I avoided killing Kobalds because my dm represented them with the red skittles which I hate.
Anvildude 4th Mar 2013, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
I actually have one of the toys that the Bullette was based on- cheap Chinese knockoff plastic toy thing, I got from a doctor's office when I was a kid. Pretty awesome, really.
aylatrigger 2nd Mar 2013, 7:50 PM edit delete reply
As I do art and most of my games are via skype, generally for most of my games I don't have this problem. For the game off of skype, I usually draw characters or anything that doesn't quite fit a miniature onto a small piece of paper and use that as a figure. The closest I usually come to this is either my own make-shit monsters or cats coming into our non-skype games and declaring them giant destroyers of worlds. Though generally that happens during Munchkin or Magic the Gathering...

Unfortunately, this means I haven't done much in random monsters. I have made a bunch of monsters based on the Random Adventure Table, though.

Also, Dragon Magazine did an issue (282) where it had Pizza golems, gummi bears, doritos and jolly ranchers.
Raxon 2nd Mar 2013, 9:37 PM edit delete reply

Ochre jelly bears...
Anvildude 4th Mar 2013, 9:35 AM edit delete reply
Gelatinous Cubes, made of actual Gellatin?
Walabio 2nd Mar 2013, 10:14 PM Toy prehistoric creatures. edit delete reply
We used toy prehistoric creatures. They were all dinosaurs except for a dimetrodon and a pteranodon. When ever we used 1 of those 2 as a monster, everpony would scream:

“¡That’s no dinosaur!”
JR Klein 3rd Mar 2013, 1:06 AM edit delete reply
Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!
Malik 3rd Mar 2013, 1:37 AM edit delete reply
Ha-ah-ah! Mine is an evil laugh- now DIE!
Walabio 4th Mar 2013, 1:58 AM FireFly edit delete reply
That is a quotation S01E01 “Serenity” of the television-show “FireFly”. Wash says that while playing with PlasticToyDinosaurs.
Giggle Tail 3rd Mar 2013, 10:12 AM edit delete reply
Giggle Tail
Darn, I don't have any stories on this one. Our DM did use some Google pictures as visual aids once, but we've never had any custom figures or anything.

However, if I ever get the chance to DM, I'll be sure to use some. It would be way too much fun.
Lyntermas 3rd Mar 2013, 3:39 PM edit delete reply
Our DM Zarhon used pictures to great effect in our Zilean's Revenge campaign. Primarily, they were used to showcase how "zombie powder" affects both recently-dead corpses and a catacomb full of skeletons.

...We don't like zombie powder very much.
Raxon 3rd Mar 2013, 3:57 PM edit delete reply
Lyntermas, thank you.

I am now going to devise a necromancer/ranger who tames undead the way a normal ranger tames mundane animals. He will love zombie powder so much!
Vulpixel 3rd Mar 2013, 10:20 PM edit delete reply
Our DM made us fight a flying land shark. He is still sore that it didn't get a single attack off against us.
Zontan 5th Mar 2013, 2:39 AM edit delete reply
Not a 'custom' monster per se, but in the campaign I played in back in college, the party's second encounter was against a group of goblins looting the lair of the dragon they'd just killed in their first encounter. It was supposed to be a very simple, easy encounter. One of those goblins was the Overseer, a low-level controller with some really annoying effects. I picked a random wizardly figure from my box to represent him.

The entire party, however, rolled absolutely terribly during that encounter. The average d20 roll was a 6. For everyone. Nobody could even hit the Overseer, and he nearly killed them.

For the rest of the campaign, whenever I wanted there to be a particularly annoying baddie, I used that specific figure. All my players would immediately rage and attempt to kill 'that fucking overseer' - and they would always roll terribly in doing so. It was pretty hilarious.
Malroth 2nd Mar 2013, 5:29 AM edit delete reply
My first homebrew monster was "the Gnomish Death Machine" Basicaly a Battletech Heavy mech restatted for DnD and was pretty much immune from absolutely everything.
DoubleCross 2nd Mar 2013, 5:30 AM edit delete reply
It's only a matter of time until the GM suddenly has to make actual metal jewellery for the Elements of Harmony.
CJT 2nd Mar 2013, 9:50 AM edit delete reply
Actually, I can see plastic costume-jewellery showing up in that role.
CJT 2nd Mar 2013, 9:56 AM edit delete reply
Also, ObScootamom: It turns out in that fic that the Elements' settings are made from an alloy of mithril, adamantine, and vibranium.

Scootaloo doesn't believe that those metals can be made to play nicely with each other.
nekollx 2nd Mar 2013, 10:25 AM edit delete reply
Thats why you use the mother of all soders, Batmanium
Guest 2nd Mar 2013, 5:31 AM theguyindarkglasses edit delete reply
my brother had the blue dragon "miniature" for adult and drake
we ended up using more the drake for big monsters and the blue adult for not-blue dragons
darkwulf23 2nd Mar 2013, 5:37 AM edit delete reply
Meh, google and color coded pieces of candy are cheaper.
Raxon 2nd Mar 2013, 5:56 AM edit delete reply
As long as they're made of sugar and happiness!
exdeadman 2nd Mar 2013, 4:38 PM edit delete reply
Or cyanide and happiness
T 3rd Mar 2013, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
And chemical-X
Rugsrat 2nd Mar 2013, 5:43 AM edit delete reply
I'm part of a game on thursday nights that takes place in the Iron Kingdoms setting (anyone familiar with the table-top games Warmachine and Hordes, it's in the same world) using Pathfinder mechanics. One of the characters in that game knows the spell Enlarge Person, and frequently uses it on my Girlfriends's character or my character, since we tank damage very well and are both melee-centric. This means that we often resort to busting out light Warjack pieces to represent our enlarged selves. I very much enjoy running around as an 8-foot tall (in game) robot.
DaughterofBastet 2nd Mar 2013, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
I'm into origami, so I bought some themed animal origami booklets that told me how to make a seal, penguins, a polar bear, etc. for the frostfell, a sea turtle and stuff for the ocean, and I even got one for the wastes. So I had bitty animals set about the table to amuse us. Sometimes I've even used the baked goods I make every week (as in, "I will kill you with this banana chocolate muffin, I swear I will"). They're also great for representing Huge creatures on a map.
Kaze Koichi 2nd Mar 2013, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
The closest I ever get to this was when I was DMing girls-only crossover RPG. Every enemy and major NPC was a pretty girl and I always gave a link to their pictures while introducing them. Some of those picture took a sweet time to find.
Digo 2nd Mar 2013, 6:36 AM edit delete reply
One time we were playing a Super Heroes campaign and I had pitted the players against a new "Villain of the week" which was a size-shifting catgirl cosplayer (It... okay even with context it made no sense, but it was an amusing character).

Anyway, we were using cardboard cutouts for our figures that were about 1.5 inches tall. To illustrate this villain in giant form I had taken the core tube from a roll of TP and glued a front/back drawing of the villain so that it stood 6 inches high and dwarfed the players. Worked well for the combat.
Siccarus 2nd Mar 2013, 7:09 AM edit delete reply
GM forgot his Figures, So I had to Break out my Flames of War Tanks for Figures. We basically reenacted battle of the bulge unknowingly with the amount of Panzers the Kobolds had.
Paragrin 2nd Mar 2013, 8:46 AM edit delete reply
Well, we very often have to use the wrong minis. This has led to, whenever we're walking into an ambush, using all about 15 Admiral Akbar minis.
DracoS 2nd Mar 2013, 5:02 PM edit delete reply
So it really IS a trap!
Spitz 2nd Mar 2013, 9:02 AM edit delete reply
I used legos once for various things!

Well,actually, the DM used my legos...

Anyways, one of the players absentmindedly moved their figurine on top of one.... Cue:

"You take 1d10 points of damage."
Digo 2nd Mar 2013, 10:14 AM edit delete reply
I used to use Legos for building the combat scenery because it made portraying battle damage so easy!
The downside was that setup took a while to get done.
masterofgames 2nd Mar 2013, 10:42 PM edit delete reply
And if you use Minifigs as characters and monsters, whenever you kill someone, you can keep their head and put it on a pike, aka, a toothpick, to keep score for xp earned that game.
JSchunx 3rd Mar 2013, 11:10 PM edit delete reply
Yup, legos are my primary standby when miniatures fail. I've got a big bucket full of minifigs who usually end up representing the massed hordes of whatever we're fighting, color-coded by outfit for when multiple types of enemies are involved. Beyond that, when large creatures are involved, we occasionally use dice cases, and huge and upwards we scavenge for whatever's handy. I may consider the candy approach discussed above for the future, though.
McBehrer 2nd Mar 2013, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
My party uses my Heroscape figures for minis, with dice and such for enemies. The only exception is this Pink Celestia McDonald's toy I have, which conveniently takes up exactly 2 squares. We needed a horse, it was a horse, so... yeah.

Or rather, we needed a MOUNT. The mount itself was actually a giant scorpion, but whatever.
CJT 2nd Mar 2013, 9:55 AM edit delete reply
We've proxied using dice as figurines for complex battles many times, but for improvised terrain and monsters...

This was after I'd finally gotten fed up with the Poorly-Run Alien Forest adventure. I decided to put that session on hold until I could be confident I'd DM properly, and run an entirely-improv vaguely D&D-ish adventure for the players instead. They grabbed random action figures and made up special moves on the fly, and ended up exploring a dungeon heavily cribbed from one of the larger Tribes 2 floating-base structures.

They loved it.

I don't remember what most of the baddies were, but the party decided unanimously that the end-boss of the dungeon was going to be the dragon-form Megatron figurine.

My favourite part of the adventure was the party wandering out through a door marked "Staff Only" and having to re-enter the dungeon. Sadly, the game was cut short by a disturbance across the street IRL.

I'm not very good at running improv adventures either, but some of the techniques used will come in handy when/if I decide to DM again.
Bronymous 2nd Mar 2013, 11:28 AM edit delete reply
Legos are best Character figures. If you're really dedicated, the group can start them out simple at level 1, and add different armor and weapons as the game progresses.
DragonTrainer 2nd Mar 2013, 12:13 PM edit delete reply
As a sort of mental experiment, I decided to try and recreate the Fishmen species in 3.5 format, complete with racial variants for base classes. :p
Raxon 2nd Mar 2013, 12:51 PM edit delete reply
You know, I finally got around to reading One Piece 3.5. It's really good, but I have this terrible sinking feeling. I sorta see the GM forcing DM to play a non-evil character. Tony Chopper. That would be hilarious, because he's really specced more for support roles than for fighting, and healers and be among the meanest characters, since they can just not heal you if you make them mad. Take Chopper's mentor, for example.

But making Chopper a mean, vindictive bastard would be horrible.
Lyntermas 2nd Mar 2013, 1:46 PM edit delete reply
There, there, Raxon, no need to cry. DM's going to play as Sanji, and Rika will play Vivi first, then probably switch to Chopper later on.

I mean, seriously, Ms. Fast-Talking Encyclopedia is a perfect fit for Chopper.
Raxon 2nd Mar 2013, 2:37 PM edit delete reply
But... Chopper is so minmaxed for support, and still has decent combat abilities...

Either way, my favorite character so far is either Brook or Frankie. And I will strangle DT so hard if DM ends up being either. And then I'll kill him again if DM ends up playing both.

(edit): After rewatching some episodes, I've changed my mind. My favorite is Franky, followed closely by Bon Clay.... WAAAAHAAAAA!! Why did he have to die!? He could have joined the strawhats! They were such good friends!
Cain 2nd Mar 2013, 7:58 PM edit delete reply
you and me both, I want a person very in character with Franky to play Franky
Raxon 2nd Mar 2013, 9:39 PM edit delete reply
If it's an anime obsessed jock who wears a thong, I will cry happy tears of laughter.
redwings1340 4th Mar 2013, 9:47 PM edit delete reply
huh, you finally got around to reading something, Raxon? Interesting, I sort of assumed that you had magical time powers that's allowed you to read the entirety of TVtropes, read all the comments placed on this comic, and have played 50 million D+D campaigns over a year. Is that not true? What other godly powers do you not have that I assumed you do?
sidhe3141 2nd Mar 2013, 12:40 PM edit delete reply
All I've got is that our group's "new guy" has a bunch of clay, so we end up (or I end up, anyway) making our own minis each session.
Philadelphus 2nd Mar 2013, 1:31 PM edit delete reply
I just want to say that I found that third panel absolutely hilarious. Also the dialog in the final panel, that was pretty funny as well.
DracoS 2nd Mar 2013, 5:06 PM edit delete reply
My story is not something that happened to me personally, but happened to my first group before I joined.

The game was being played entirely online over OpenRPG, I think. It's easy enough to jump onto Google to grab your miniatures too, except for whatever reason they couldn't find a picture of a scorpion to represent the two monsters they were fighting. Clue a replacement "token": a boat. So from then on, they joked about having the epic battle with a couple of scorpions that somehow shapeshifted into boats in the middle of a cave while searching for treasure.
Astartus 2nd Mar 2013, 6:09 PM edit delete reply
I really like using props for my DSA campaigns. Be it mystery potions they can drink in person (really had fun making them taste horrible!), diaries with clues that I hand out on the table to let them look through it or working with music.
My "masterpiece" so far was when one of them was getting a hidden message smuggled in their food - so I actually prepared the food and hid a small strap of leather (with the message written on it) wrapped around a pebble in the porridge. The looks on their faces when Anni fished the glob out of her bowl were worth the trouble a thousand times. :D
DMs Choice 4th Mar 2013, 2:06 AM much much bigger edit delete reply
I spontaneously had to think of the "much, much bigger"-incident.

A friend of mine lead a session of Star Wars RPG and struggled to describe the new vessel of one of us players. He spontaneously folded a candy box into a vaguely space ship-like ship and told us: "The ship looks exactly like this. Just, of course, much, much bigger."

The situation was so hilarious. We players first looked at each other, and then we dropped under the table, laughing.

Today, we still use the phrase "just, of course, much, much bigger" when a game master ist starting to screw up a description or comes up with a silly prop.
Ariasa 4th Mar 2013, 6:47 AM At Hand edit delete reply
In the numerous number of DnD games that I am in right now the DM's use anything from the dice to scrabble to marbles. One time we even used some pizza. That was the tastiest kill I ever got.
Ariasa 4th Mar 2013, 6:55 AM Forgot edit delete reply
I forgot to say that the pizza represented a dragon. a massive dragon. I got the kill with a bit of luck. Rolling a critical my character threw their last knife and it went through the dragons mouth and shoot straight through to its heart, killing it instantly. We represented that by sticking a toothpick through one of the olives on the pizza.
StarshineDash 4th Mar 2013, 7:45 AM edit delete reply
Olives? on pizza? YOU FIEND!
Zuche 4th Mar 2013, 1:27 PM edit delete reply
That reminds me: with the number of people who've refused to entertain the idea of pineapple as a topping, I know refer to a Hawaiian special as a heresy pizza. And enjoying every pite of it.

I don't think fiendish pizza will catch on for olives, however.
Raxon 4th Mar 2013, 1:59 PM edit delete reply
A large supreme with barbecue, pineapple, and spinach.

I call it the island man pizza, because I get the pizza all to myself. Nobody else is willing to try it, even though it's much better than it sounds.
Fjorab 4th Mar 2013, 9:39 PM edit delete reply
A friend of mine in another (music-related) fandom had a little Mayan pyramid that our fan-gathering marveled at. It was actually an aquarium decoration that he used for a game campaign prop.
Flashpoint 5th Mar 2013, 1:07 PM edit delete reply
Home made figures for game eh? I remember this one time the group that plays at my house with my room mate was complaining about why the game was delayed for a few months. The DM didn't explain why until the day the game started. My friend is an excellent craftsman and he likes to make a lot of randon sculptures like fairies, dragons and sorcerers. So the day the game starts I'm sitting in the living room playing games on the TV whilst they have at the game. I notice a new peice added to my room mates collection, a 36 inch tall red dragon breathing fire. Everyone else has seen it, and thinks its a cool little center peice on the table. About an hour into the game, he starts building up for something massive to come down on the players, the intro of the main target of the campaign. He says "You hear the heavy wingbeats, and barely have enough time to glance above you when..." He then stands up, walks over to the table, grabs the dragon statue, and puts it on the game map directly in front of the players' figures "THIS lands right in front of you. This is not to scale by the way. It should be bigger, but if it was, it would probably break the table." All the players just sat there staring at it, and even the guy who usually just charges blindly into a fight said "Okay, maybe we should walk away from this one."
Toiski 6th Mar 2013, 11:57 PM edit delete reply
Dammit, I'm too late to post this. In one game I hosted, the party intercepted a message cylinder going between two bad guys. It was protected with a (moderately easily guessable) password, but if you tried to force it open, a vial of alchemist's fire inside would break and torch the message. Here's what I made for them:
Kilyle 29th Mar 2013, 8:09 AM Rumblebee edit delete reply
I don't recall the exact history of Rumblebee, but he started as our needing a large bee (or bee swarm, I forget). We have a bunch of foam cubes (often used as terrain elements, even more often thrown at people to punish bad puns), and one player carved part of one into a tiny yellow cube, then carved out the underbelly so it fit on a figure's head, and then used a pen to turn the cube into a bee.

Since then, he's actually been used as a PC at least once. Seen combat, even.

We've also put together a pretty badass worm thing from a bunch of cubes and some sticks to stick 'em together. It got to be a bit of a hassle to move that thing, but at least it was memorable.
Cyborg-Lucario 28th Jun 2015, 4:45 AM edit delete reply
Whenever I'm GMing and we're doing it at my home, so do I use Lego minifigures to represent NPC characters.