Page 261 - To the Boring End

21st Mar 2013, 6:00 AM in Swarm of the Century
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To the Boring End
Average Rating: 5 (7 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 21st Mar 2013, 6:00 AM edit delete
Don't worry, this session won't be coming to an abrupt stop. It's just going to drift away from Swarm of the Century...

Actually, I did have this whole episode planned out as an arc. See, the Parasprite Swarm wouldn't do very much damage at all to the PCs, but instead they'd have an ability where they'd drain the players' healing surges - their ability TO be healed - along with interfering with their rest and gobbling up all the food. Pinkie Pie's search for the instruments would be interpreted as her character "taking 20" on her complex Streetwise task, which the other characters would consider to be too long to do and therefore too risky, instead favoring a more direct approach. Fluttershy would've kept one parasprite because she wasn't quite savvy enough to realize that they reproduced asexually.

But then I thought it'd be funnier if Twilight derailed the whole thing.

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



Dugong 21st Mar 2013, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
Interesting shot of Rainbow Dash in the last panel, you sure have a knack for this.
raicotensu 21st Mar 2013, 6:04 AM edit delete reply
Got to love how all it takes is one well placed turn from a character to throw everything for a loop.
darkwulf23 21st Mar 2013, 6:06 AM edit delete reply
Alternate ending

Celestia: "Oh Twilight, good. I was hearing reports of a rare endangered species of parasprites and I brought with me some ponies that will relocate them to a better environment where they can thrive safely. Can you show them where you can locate them."

Twilight: Beat... "Oh, o-of course. Follow me."

To self: "Oh sh%^!"
Destrustor 21st Mar 2013, 6:07 AM edit delete reply
Hey at least the DM seems to be better able to take it in stride now. 'seems to be getting used to it at least.

Or maybe he just prepared a second adventure because he knew they'd ruin the first, and the first was just a decoy.
The adventure is a lie!

Oh wow that would be awesome: one day he fakes them out with a fake adventure that he expects them to immediately derail before breaking out the real adventure once their derail-thirst has been satisfied, only for them to follow the first adventure to the letter and force him to desperately improvise a continuation of a quest he had expected to see crash and burn in the first minutes and had therefore planned very poorly with nonsensical events that he never expected to be forced to follow up on.

A wild run-on sentence appeared!
HiveLordLusa 21st Mar 2013, 6:25 AM edit delete reply
That would be interesting to see, though I wonder which episode it would happen in.
Digo 21st Mar 2013, 6:34 AM edit delete reply
Ohhh, a bait-n-switch plot?

I did that once. In a Shadowrun adventure the PCs were hired to test a company's new security system. Get paid to break in? Totally legit and easy!

Except that a lot of the building's layout seemed to repeat itself. LOTS of Dejavu moments. So the team medic doped himself on sedatives and concentrated on changing his perceptions with his mind.
He ended up crashing the Matrix simulator.

Surprise! The party turns out was captured a few days ago and were being experimented on by the police's black project science department. So the PCs had to break out and then retrace their steps on what their actual mission was that got them captured to begin with.

Great mind-screw adventure. They loved it.
Zuche 21st Mar 2013, 8:17 AM edit delete reply
Fascinating work, Digo.
Andy 21st Mar 2013, 7:20 AM edit delete reply
kriss1989 21st Mar 2013, 8:50 AM edit delete reply
...that would explain the buffalo...that and a Natural 1 on the performance check.
HiveLordLusa 21st Mar 2013, 2:10 PM edit delete reply
That would be interesting to see, though I wonder which episode it would happen in.
Malroth 21st Mar 2013, 3:30 PM edit delete reply
Thats pretty much my Modus Operandi as DM I know my players are going to ruin at least 2 plotlines per session so i just throw hooks, let them derail everything then face the logical concequences of whatever insane thing they did
Stairc 21st Mar 2013, 5:00 PM edit delete reply
I've done exactly that quite a few times Destructor. In fact, one adventure the players loved was a series of fake-outs, with the players seeming to dodge whole weeks of adventure content by cleverly bypassing dungeons, war campaigns and more by creative thinking.

In reality, we hadn't planned out any of it - we had no dungeons prepared, no war campaigns and were counting on the players to bypass them. The players did, they felt AWESOME and many still quote that adventure as the best session of the year. Whenever they ask us how much of our planning they bypassed we just say, "You don't want to know..." =)
Zarhon 21st Mar 2013, 5:08 PM edit delete reply
A funnier campaign would be one where literally nothing happens, but instead, the plot is made purely by the consequences of the PCs actions.

The point of the campaign would be to get the players so paranoid or itching for action, or grabbing onto gigantic red herrings, and causing their highly-gamer oriented, OOC actions to start off the plot - by doing stupid or silly things, they turn a normal situation into a volatile one, thinking it was planned by the DM (e.g. destroying a suspicious machine a highly-suspicious hospital leading to a fire, or a mass insanity-ward patient breakout).
celestDaer 21st Mar 2013, 5:29 PM Had one of those... edit delete reply
The GM gave everyone so many points to create a character each, whatever we felt like. So, we did, I decided to play an incarnation of Nina Windia, in exile... other party members included: a Han Solo type smuggler, an android that was haunted by a dead crewmate... and... I can't remember the other PCs... but the GM tossed us on an airship circling the continent that made up the world... we met up, I hired the smuggler as a body guard, kind of unintentionally...
Or there was the game where everyone was told to build a character, but had no points to build with. We all started as generic humans, and we would earn skills as the story progressed, any time we rolled a nat 20 in that game's system on any skill checks. There was a definite plot line in the GM's head, but he let the character building grow through random chance. It was fun, it started with everyone waking up on a desert island, where we eventually found a pirate ship, and then the first door we passed through took us into Sliders, basically... to allow us to build random skills.
Digo 22nd Mar 2013, 4:29 AM edit delete reply
I had made a dungeon that was like that in a way. The dungeon reshapes itself to fit the PCs expectations, actions, and perceptions.
If they assumed there was an evil wizard in the dungeon guarding treasure, then they found the evil wizard guarding the treasure.

The most hilarious moment was when they tried finding a room full of pillows. They did, but they said nothing about the pillows being harmless!
crowMagnon 22nd Mar 2013, 10:51 AM edit delete reply
Lesson Zero!
CrowMagnon 22nd Mar 2013, 10:52 AM edit delete reply
Oops, I meant that to be in response to Zarhon's post. I forget that these don't nest responses more than one level.
Digo 21st Mar 2013, 6:15 AM Jump The Tracks! edit delete reply
Spud, that makes a great idea for a "Story Time"!
Tell a story of when the party derailed the plot, but the GM skillfully got the train on a new set of tracks because of it!

Here's mine:

d20 Modern - The PCs were a team of FBI agents assigned to an "X-Files" mission. The premise was that a mining company was having trouble with a new branch of tunnels where all their equipment mysteriously kept getting sabotaged.
The head of the mining company was a friend of the FBI department head so this was done as a favor.

Our team goes to check it out and we don't pick up on the clues about the drilling machines moving without operators. Instead we went to spying on the workers assuming it was an inside job. We started derailing the adventure so the GM came up with a new set of tracks!

We catch some of the workers on film taking off their disguises. They're undead. After getting more evidence we tell the mining company foreman about it. She knows. She's a Necromancer and was getting around labor laws by emplying the undead to dig. XD
Oh that was brilliant!

Eventually we had her disband most of the undead after citing some minor issues of breaking Union laws, but the whole deal was much more interesting than the original premise-- there was a "gremlin" in the mines sabotaging the machines.
It did come back at the end and attacked us so we did eventually un-derail ourselves to negotiate with it. Using bullets. And fire.

Oh god fire in a coal mine. THAT was a stupid idea...
Lyntermas 21st Mar 2013, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
...Well, I'm not entirely sure if our party in Zilean's Revenge has done this. Our DM tends to mesh everything together rather well. A couple possibilities:

-Ranger broke the lock on the room of a temple's pet dire lioness and her cubs. Ranger gets the lioness angry. Lioness and cubs end up helping deal with cultists infiltrating the temple and fighting the bone horror.
-Ranger starts a fire in the catacombs. We don't stop it. Zombie bomb in catacombs blows up. We got a boss battle with the bone horror that formed.
-Giant snake crawls in hole that only rogue can enter. Rogue follows, splitting the party. Rogue finds cave systems that the party gets to explore later.
-Rogue and wizard find locked and barred door. Rogue teleports into room, gets ALL the things. Wizard inspects magic orb. Magic orb activates, then disintegrates. Wizard can now see Grim Reaper from time to time.
-Ranger collects bones. Repeatedly. This proves useful: First, bones blessed by High Priest do extra damage when absorbed by bone horror. Second, bones from tunnels drag Ranger away from "boss fight", telling us that undead are forming behind us.
-Big bad holds cleric hostage. Rogue decides to throw bomb at them. Hostage dies, Big Bad is unaffected. Important: we found out why; he had a hidden cultist giving him a shield spell, helps to profile him as "big show, but always has back-up".

Zarhon doesn't railroad us, he sticks the tracks down where we were going.
Digo 21st Mar 2013, 8:45 AM edit delete reply
Nice, you have a good GM that thinks well on his feet!
Zarhon 21st Mar 2013, 4:25 PM edit delete reply
It helps that its a PbP - I'd likely be nowhere near as good at improvising on the fly, as opposed to with a few hours of thinking it over. That, and you'd be surprised at the amount of stuff that was meticulously planned, versus what wasn't.

Also, you made another lipstick error, Lynt. :)

For Pony Team Bravo, our main "derail" was during our undersea adventures, we encountered a eldritch abomination, which was supposed to be a boss fight. Our resident klepto did the puppy-dog eyes routine on it, and we all stacked bonuses on it, turning the thing friendly and avoiding the fight completely. Right after that, we were supposed to fight our new arrival to the session as a mini-boss, but that too was made defunct with a very convenient nat20.

Then, later, in our attempt to get a wagon ride for free, we accidentally summoned an eldritch abomination in the middle of Appleoosa, leaving the town in ruins, while we ran away with it (after we turned it into a foal). There were also several events that, on a bad roll, would have resulted in a "end of world as you know it" scenario.
Demonu 22nd Mar 2013, 8:23 AM edit delete reply
Derail is a bit harsh, considering you kept going on for a week before about how you were going to befriend it.

But this campaign, I worked a bit like the example above: throwing around multiple (plot) hooks and go with the ones the players take. Things could have gone a whole lot differently if you did something else on a specific moment or, like you said, rolled a crit fail instead of a (crit) succes. :)
TheStratovarian 21st Mar 2013, 10:17 AM edit delete reply
3.5 campaign. Two different characters did this.
The party was facing a rather divine magic immune mage/fighter antagonist, and had assaulted the castle he was hiding in. In the assault, the party was trying to figure where he was hiding. And in thinking about it, the odds of them searching where he was in a time frame was limited. The answer, the red half-dragon monk. Whom proceeded to break down a wall that seemed likely to be a hidden passage. The dm hadn't expected the fact, and the issue that the monk could tear the castle apart with ease. As I hadn't really used the door kicking method before. So he went with the idea of the hidden part of the castle being behind the wall the monk kicked in.

The next, is a psywarrior tale. The party (ecl 14) was in part of a demon maze, time based to get out. And in each part was designed very much to be a big drain on resources for the party until the dragon of the evil villains. A greater tanar'ri, the 20hd flaming sword monsters (that will arrive in a second) to face and beat the party for the curse effect of time to work on them. The problem, was that my psywarrior, arrived to that fight, with most of the power points in her pool.. The monster was meant to be a total loss. The psywarrior alone took that thing down in eight rounds. The dm was in shock, all the big guns he tossed that were meant to stop the fighter failed spectacularly, Invert Gravity, Hold person, Fear, all the lovely mage spells. The dm took it in stride, and revealed the big bad that looked natural as heck well ahead of the major epic level adventure.
TheStratovarian 21st Mar 2013, 10:32 AM edit delete reply
Nutbunnies! Okay, type everything the first time. The reason I could face down something this nasty alone, was the fact of three very important powers. The first, minimized the die damage to its absolute minimum, so for example a 20d12 dragons breath, is only 20 damage. This utterly minimized the sword or whip damage of the balor. Sure he could hit me, but a 14th level warrior taking 10-20 damage on a bad round? Thats very common even for a priest to fix. The second was the dimension door special I could fire off quickened because of my level (Powers could be boosted for an extra power point cost, since the limit was level based, this balanced to the same kind of level as quickened would). This stopped the trips/holding spells that were physical. The final was a displacement special, which had him whiffing usually on 3 of the 4 attacks each round. I actually tried to say in pitching the psywarrior to him, (this was the character's test run) to include letting things like anti-magic and dispels work both ways. He did so after this fight.

Attack wise, the reason for such a speedy fight was a costly power, called psycokinetic weapon (think kreia of kotor in the final area) Given this power let me use two extra weapons I carried for exactly that reason. 9 attacks a round with my casting stat of wisdom to hit with (Being a natural weapon fighter) at 2d8+15 just turned him into a joke. But thats how I approached the character design, of being a literal juggernaut. Slow and weak at start, but getting rolling, in true x-men fashion "Nothing stops the Juggernaut!" But I never felt happier for spending what amounts to every 7th to 3rd level spell i had on that fight.
Ranubis 21st Mar 2013, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
Celestia: "I'm so proud of you, my faithful student!"
Celestia's thoughts: "Darn. Well, I suppose that's another item to cross off the armory inventory. So much for a test run."
CJT 21st Mar 2013, 9:03 AM edit delete reply
There was a rather disturbing fanfic that took exactly this premise and ran with it.

It was a gorefic follow-up to another well-known gorefic, so I'll refrain from naming it directly.
Nine Heavens 21st Mar 2013, 6:21 AM edit delete reply
Story Time~ Tell a story about subverting the plot either accidentally or on purpose.
Blues 21st Mar 2013, 8:53 AM edit delete reply
I have a story time from the perspective of the GM. Actually from my first time GMing.

I was running a campaign in the Hero system that was basically my love letter to Megaman. All of the characters were either robots or cyborgs, tasked with being the government's robot anti-terrorist squad. Basically the Army wasn't happy with the Dr. Light, Dr. Wily and Dr. Cossack expies running around with walking, talking weapons of mass destruction, so they wanted to get some of their own.

The major plotline that I had was that a Russian Scientist named Anatoly Molokov was teamed up with a Japanese hacking organization, both of which wanted to empower their countries while bringing ruin to the United States. Furthermore, Anatoly was being funded under the table by the Russian Government, which was how he managed to have the money and parts to build his robot masters. Meanwhile, the hackers were attempting to keep people from figuring out where things were coming from by messing with sensors, screwing with databases, and occasionally hacking into corporate Robots and using them instead of putting Anatoly's robot masters in the line of fire.

So right off the bat the party isn't being cooperative with their commanding officers. Granted, most of them were drafted due to their funding being from government grants, and the Army wanted to cash in way too early. Especially with the six year old child soldier cyborg. But at one point, the party managed to disable an enemy robot master without destroying it. So the team hacker manages to interface with it, and uses its internal GPS to locate Anatoly's workshop. They then hijack the army's teleporter and go to the work shop. While I would have been fine with this over the course of the campaign, this happened three sessions in. So before my big bad had even managed to broadcast his "I'm declaring war on the United states" video, the PCs were knocking on his door.

After ending the session early, and giving myself a week to plan, I managed to continue the campaign. But my players all cheered and laughed when they realized they managed to "beat" my campaign in three sessions. I sort of just head-desked and for a few minutes was just a strange mix of laughing and crying.
Theo 21st Mar 2013, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
I had one group that took a great deal of joy in derailing the DMs plans, to the point that by the end of the campaign we were going to Montana to deal with a problem in Seattle... so yeah. This was a Call of Cthulhu lite game, so it pretty much meant that Seattle was going to burn while we were gone... oh well.

Two of my favorite ways we derailed the campaign:

* Someone was creating a portal at the High School pool, planing to sacrifice the swimmers and audience at the swim meet to open it. This was meant to be a big fight... but instead are craziest party member had us swing by Wally World and picked up a crate of dish soap. Then when we snuck in, instead of busting past the guards to break the portal, we just filled the pool with soap and got the swim meet canceled.

* We had to rescue a biker from being enthralled at a vampire house. The Blade-expy NPC was helping the team plan this Mission Imposable plan to get in and save the guy. It was supposed to be big and complex and be a huge deal. While they were planning I asked the NPC if he had a tire iron in the trunk of his car. He did. So I took the tire iron, walked up to the guys bike and started bashed it to hell and back, screaming about how he was a cheating SOB. He came out of the house and started chasing me when I ran. Yeah, it left me out of the rest of the session, but it was totally worth it. The rest of the group got to burn down the vampire house... literately.

Oh, and the GM brought the biker back later on as a werewolf. Though sadly didn't get to do much with it as it came to an end. Which was to bad, I was hoping to get bitten...
HiveLordLusa 21st Mar 2013, 6:22 AM edit delete reply
Huh, I'm actually on time for a new page for once. Alright then.
Something I find funny about this series is how well I've managed to follow it and any RPG in-jokes in it despite never having played a single RPG in my life. Never had the time, really.
Jannard 21st Mar 2013, 9:28 AM edit delete reply
Just goes to show how trope-y and full of common grounds RPG sessions really are. But with millions of people inventing and running stories all around the world, it cannot be any other way.
Rokas 21st Mar 2013, 7:02 AM edit delete reply
Isn't there a trope about this on "Great job breaking it, hero", only it'd have to be "great job fixing it, hero". Or something.

I'm exhausted and have a sinus infection, what do you want from me, Shakespony?
Roxas 21st Mar 2013, 7:43 AM edit delete reply
I keep misreading your screenname and end up getting confused about my sense of self AGAIN. Stop iiiiiit.
Raxon 21st Mar 2013, 12:12 PM edit delete reply
You think you have it bad? I barely even have a sense of self.
Rokas 22nd Mar 2013, 5:01 AM edit delete reply
NEVER! My name is mine and also not mine, but is in a way that I am quite possessive about since I chose it! Also, you smell of sulfur, have you been hanging around volcanic vents?
frostedWarlock 21st Mar 2013, 10:07 AM edit delete reply
Neither would apply. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero is when a protagonist accidentally makes a situation worse while Nice Job Fixing It, Villain is when an antagonist accidentally makes a situation better. Twilight solved the situation early on, making it better for everyone except the DM, which is the closest the seven players have to an antagonist. A more accurate trope would be an aversion of You Can't Thwart Stage One, where a villain's plan can only be defeated in its penultimate stage or later, never at the beginning. Twilight managed to stop the plan at the earliest point she can possibly stop it.
Rokas 22nd Mar 2013, 5:03 AM edit delete reply
Except I'm talking about on the Meta level. In terms of the actual narrative, yes this is where she basically used Genre Awareness to skip to the end. However on the Meta level, her (via her character) wrecked the entire adventure that way. Thus, she "broke" it.

There is more than one way to upholster a pepsicat.
Aegis Steadfast 21st Mar 2013, 7:24 AM edit delete reply
Aegis Steadfast
She did it again, but how can you stay mad at that face?
Jannard 21st Mar 2013, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
Well said. Plus, you get a discount on train tickets if you erail enoguh times.
Guest 21st Mar 2013, 7:32 AM edit delete reply
Derailin a DM's carefully laid plans is always entertaining and is a very important lesson for said DM: never attempt to predict player actions.
LoganAura 21st Mar 2013, 7:52 AM edit delete reply
That happened last night in AoH.

There's this extremely anti-fighting character. So, I planned out that he would hide when given the choice of Fighting this big scary enemy that dropped him to one HP, or hiding.

He chose to fight.

Now, the thing is? Fight was the right choice, since if he hid, the party wouldn't continue onwards and get the little ceramics that kept them from being persuaded by the curse on the town, giving people +YES to persuasion checks even subconciously to order someone.

There was also giving one party member two choices and her saying "Buck this" and taking a third option, annoying the omnipresent voice enough to just give her the ceramic.
Kynrasian 21st Mar 2013, 8:21 AM edit delete reply
Well, I did once fight a balor who had a vorpal sword by hanging from one of his horns and hitting him in the face with my sword, which had cold-forged iron worked into the blade.

I think my co-DM expected me to sit back and blast at it with spells. Thing is, I already anticipated that its resistances would make that difficult.

Thankfully I got a nat20 on the saving throw when he exploded.
Digo 21st Mar 2013, 12:15 PM edit delete reply
That's ninteen better than what I rolled when the balor I attacked exploded. XD
Karilyn 21st Mar 2013, 10:06 AM edit delete reply
"Are you a product of your nature? Or of your mother's nurture?"

"Only I chose what path my hooves follow. I am in charge of my own destiny! This is my story!"

"Just. Chose. One."

"I chose neither."

And then Karilyn made a disembodied voice twitch.
DanielLC 21st Mar 2013, 12:18 PM edit delete reply
I am a product of both, along with some quantum randomness thrown in for good measure.
Newbiespud 21st Mar 2013, 2:09 PM edit delete reply
That still throws me for a loop, Logan.

(For everyone else, I'm the one playing the pacifist character in that campaign.)

Hide or Fight. Stay trapped in the trial room tailor-made for me and let the others go, or bring in the few party members we had left to fight a rather difficult boss monster. What's the "correct" decision in this scenario?

Well, apparently, it's the Fight option. Even though the Hide option would be more self-sacrificial. I chose Fight because I thought it was the wrong decision, and I just wanted to buck the system a little bit, having just watched three other party members face similar trials. In any other situation, my character definitely would've chosen Hide - because he's the pacifist, for Pete's sake!

But perhaps I'm deliberately ignoring one simple fact: You freaking played me like a violin, Logan, whether you meant to or not. Well done.
Cain 21st Mar 2013, 2:26 PM edit delete reply
Don't forget the fact that the order you guys did your trials affected the latter ones, as Kari said herself, if you had chosen a different order, say her going first, she might not have done that. Also the seeming she would pull an Old Man Henderson in that fight. It was interesting to hear the bits I did.
DoubleCross 21st Mar 2013, 4:17 PM edit delete reply
He played you like a what!?

Keep yer paws off my Fuzzy, Logan.
Ranubis 21st Mar 2013, 5:04 PM edit delete reply
I still love the challenge I got. Here I am playing an aspiring Evil Good Overlord, and I get offered a bunch of minions to order around in exchange for leaving the group. All I had to do was answer this:

"Which is truest of your allies? Do you control them, or do you stand beside them?"

To which there was only one thing I could say...

"What, them? Pffft, please. When they're not ignoring my attempts to boss them around, they're doing stuff like turning me into a puppy. Whatever I've got going on with them, it's hardly control."

So yeah, the wannabe Overlord passed on minions to stand by the party. I expect gratitude for this decision. Preferably in the form of chocolate truffles.
Stairc 22nd Mar 2013, 10:42 AM edit delete reply
Interestingly, I've found that predicting player actions is very possible and it can help a lot in crafting good adventures. You can run good adventures without predicting player actions, but you either have to put in a *lot* more prep time to build high quality paths for every conceivable player action or you have to be able to improvise off the top of your head at a quality equal to the best stuff people can come up with when they do have time to prepare... Or you have to railroad incessantly, which cheapens a lot of the fun.

Predicting players gets a bad rap. If you build your adventures correctly, players can have huge freedom of action and they'll still follow your planned events 99% of the time.

From my own experience I think players have gone a way I didn't expect in my campaigns maybe... Once in the last two years. That's also across several different gaming groups I've DMed (I tend to alternate gaming groups every 2 weeks at college and run a third one when I'm home from school vacation) in addition to a dozen D&D camps for collections of 12-15 year olds.

Now, whether it's more fun for *you* to improvise entirely is another question altogether. =)
TheStratovarian 22nd Mar 2013, 3:45 PM edit delete reply
This is very true, running off what sounds interesting with knowledge of the system really works well.

The only experience with DM'ing was a Star wars:Saga campaign set with the kotor story. It ran for about 4-5 sessions, to give our normal dm a break. He favored railroading badly. And while it was not a bad thing, he did get a reputation for it, and ejecting remotely broken characters for entering in party.

But anyway, the start for each was different, the soldier started in his bunk, next to the brig, where the scoundrel was imprisoned. Both level 1, freed by the dm pc level 8 jedi/knight.

As we fought through the nature of things, after all, they thought wisely, like checking the escape pods, which were grenade trapped, and red herrings given how early they were thought in. They had a good idea something was wrong when they noted the stillness of a stealth belt attack group. They were very smart players, throwing down a table to use as hard cover when an ambush opened up with autofire, catching the dm pc unaware.

On the planet itself, I had done a like switch, having their face and source of transport being the trandoshan noble, which neither suspected was their companion thank to holotech on the armor.
Then they talked out of a gang fight, which was surprising, but the fun of being outfoxed was fun. It was a challenge to see this. A bar fight, the scout instead of deciding to stand and shoot, chooses to leap over the bar and start firing on the sith troopers. The soldier again smartly makes a break for the door, firing in. The party gets through without damage, the noble's armor shield generator working just fine for a stand up fight.

The next part occurs later, in trying to find their jedi companion. They had a trio of gang bases, the three of them each blaming the other. The party, unable to poor rolls, but able to figure that each had crud that happened, could have had a hand in it. So, rather than trying to sneak in, they up and go to the autodoc facility, the droid staff there able to find out who bought an exotic poison to take the jedi down they found earlier. They in a moment again of wisdom, persuaded the other two the value of a jedi prisoner against the third, all three sides equal in strength, whom then assaulted the place for them.

Two or three other spots occured a little later, but yeah, at the end of the little run. I said that it was all made up pretty much on the spot, and let them choose how they wanted to approach the problems, and was surprised each time they found creative answers.
Zuche 21st Mar 2013, 8:24 AM edit delete reply
The parasprite premise does sound like it would offer interesting game content, but I agree that the total derailment is more amusing for story purposes. I look forward to see how this session continues.

"I am become Twilight, destroyer of plotlines."

It's funny how much the horn reminds me of a dunce cap in those last two panels.
Some Nameless Dude 21st Mar 2013, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
I think I see Bird in the Hoof coming up...
Lyntermas 21st Mar 2013, 8:40 AM edit delete reply
Digo 21st Mar 2013, 8:49 AM edit delete reply
Fluttershy: "So what do phoenixs eat?"

GM: "Parasprites."

Fluttershy: "Hey, I know where to get those!"

Celestia: "Did I forget to tell my subjects Philomina already ate? Eh, can't be bothered. I'm sure it'll be fine."
Jannard 21st Mar 2013, 9:25 AM edit delete reply
Fluttershy, you will bring trouble to your party, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. Your DM will make sure of that.
kriss1989 21st Mar 2013, 9:28 AM edit delete reply
Twilight: "Wait, Celestia has a pet? Okay, I should know about Philomena as Celestia's personal student right?"

GM: "Of course, even though you've only seen her a few times over the years whenever you had occasion to enter Celestia's private chambers where Philomena usually stays. In fact, you still have a couple of her bright red feathers from when you were a little filly...and Philomena still had a lot of plumage."

Fluttershy: "What do you mean by that?"

GM: "Well, as she appears now, Philomena is nearly bald and looks listless, and even coughs loudly on occasion, causing a couple more dull feathers to fall off."
Digo 21st Mar 2013, 10:20 AM edit delete reply
Pinkie: "I'll gather a band for her funeral deurge!"

Fluttershy: "Oh no! We can't let her die on our watch! Quick, lets see if there's a way to nurse Philomina back to health!"

Twilight: "I guess I can try some research on that."

Rainbow Dash: "Eh, nothing much for the rest of us to do." *Leans back in chair*

GM: "So you're relaxing in the clouds? Make a perception check."
Guest 30th Mar 2013, 8:29 PM edit delete reply
Derailing will happen as soon as someone asks why Celestia doesn't care about a dying bird, though, no way the benevolent ruler NPC would get out of exposition then.
Gindranis 21st Mar 2013, 8:54 AM edit delete reply
Luckily, the DM has probably prepared a bird in the hoof. And with twilight selfconscious enough not to derail it by mentioning Harry Potter, this might turn out as a longer arc.
Spitz 21st Mar 2013, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
Dat Celestia faic.
SenaC 21st Mar 2013, 9:20 AM Dem silly players edit delete reply
I'd love to say I've had this problem GMing, but when one of the few games I've ran had a PC summoning Scrooge McDuck from the moon to smite his foe, then the rock star bard using the power of peace, love and heavy metal to seal the deal...

I run some weird games, we'll say that. Although I've had things pulled in freeform RP before. "Wait, you said you were straight, WHY are you suggestively sashaying for my character's benefit?" Aw, but it was cute, and explained so I'm cool. :3
Chalice 21st Mar 2013, 10:48 AM Hello edit delete reply
Hehe derailing is fun.

Since I am new here let me give a big Hi.

and share my story of complete derailing of the dm's story.

it's important to note I was playing a rather savvy mechanic to be our ships engineer this game had been going on for about 5 weeks during with our characters had met up with each other stories traded low levels grinded we were just about ready to set off into space for the real story.

during this time we had had quite a few bad sessions between me and the players the whole group did not get along and we were begining to wear on each other.

the GM blissfully ignorant continues the game keep in mind this game was during the summer and 3 times a week at least until the first arc was out of the way.

so we acquire our first ship and our designated leader takes command all 3 of them yeah no one had really chosen our commander yet things escalated quickly I was one of the three saying I should be captain (being the highest level and knowing most about the ship in character) the best thing about this argument it spilled into a in character argument at this point I was fed up with the rest of the group .

I rigged the ships engines to explode all downhill from there the DM and me are still friends though he had forbidden me from ever playing a mechanic in his Savage world games again.

Matticus 21st Mar 2013, 11:48 AM edit delete reply
I'm running a Game of Thrones game where the players' house is essentially a collection of upjumped pimps and thieves. They were in a major city attending a nobles' summit when there was a string of rape/murders of young boys. The party eventually identifies a knight from a rival house as the culprit. Instead of confronting him at the big end-of-summit feast like I intended with the evidence they had (an eyewitness, plus the wound the knight took from his last victim), they decided to gather more info from his room. While he was still in it.

The dwarf whoremonger (like I said, a house of riff-raff) sends one of his girls to distract the injured knight while he has his bouncer toss him up to the knight's second-story room. The bouncer crit the strength test to get him up there. Then the dwarf crit agility and stealth to land on the window flower box undetected. Then the dwarf avoided falling with the planter as it collapsed under his weight. Then the bouncer CAUGHT the planter as it was about to fall on his head. All while the dwarf was making heroic stealth rolls to avoid being seen by the knight who was TEN FEET AWAY.

Oh, and while the dwarf was hiding under the knight's bed, he managed to apply a touch-transmitted poison to the hilt of the knight's sword. When the players confronted the knight at the feast, he demanded a trial by combat...using that poisoned sword. The poison ended up killing him in four rounds. But because the players' champion went after the knight, he used his turn to decapitate the body, so nobody would suspect poison.
Tatsurou 21st Mar 2013, 12:45 PM edit delete reply
I think that dwarf should double class train as ninja. THat's just epic.
Matticus 21st Mar 2013, 2:52 PM edit delete reply
The best part? The dwarf in question? He's a man in his FIFTIES!
Raxon 21st Mar 2013, 12:17 PM edit delete reply
I think if I ever find a gaming group, and have time for it, I will always take a stress ball with me.
Rokas 22nd Mar 2013, 5:04 AM edit delete reply
This is sage advice. Clearly it should be entered into the Book of Raxon.
Videocrazy 21st Mar 2013, 12:39 PM edit delete reply
And the Miss Not-Appearing-In-This-Panel award goes to... Pinkie Pie, for her (lack of) work in Panel 3! :P
Akouma 21st Mar 2013, 1:50 PM edit delete reply
Hey Spud, would you mind horribly if I lifted the idea for healing-surge sucking minions? It's GEEEEEEEEENIUS! Plus, my 4e campaign will hopefully be starting back up again this summer. The PCs still have some demon ladies to kill.
Newbiespud 21st Mar 2013, 2:03 PM edit delete reply
Really? I was kind of on the fence about them myself. But, by all means, lift whatever you like.
Akouma 21st Mar 2013, 9:06 PM edit delete reply
Well, a minion that doesn't do damage nor stunlock you means you can run whole swarms of them guiltlessly. The fact that they still do something relevant besides standing there makes me as a DM WANT to run them.

Plus, healing gets really out of control once you reach a certain point. My party doesn't even have a CLERIC (healing-spec'd Bard instead) and the heals infuriate me. Basically, unless your monsters do instakills no save, everything they do can and will be wiped away on your healer's next turn. Removing all the party's healing surges puts a stop to that rather neatly.
Azureink 23rd Mar 2013, 12:14 AM edit delete reply
They are called Wights.
Zarhon 21st Mar 2013, 4:53 PM edit delete reply
I'm starting to see "Twilight derails the entire campaign" as a galloping gag now...

Royal wedding - guesses the villain from the start and instantly exposes her. DM rages, sends entire invasion army in at once.

Feeling Pinkie Keen - Pinkie gets cursed by accident, which Twilight figures out instantly. She then suffers the curse for the rest of the session purely due to her staying near Pinkie and letting it go haywire on her, as the curse is weak normally, but gets stronger over time.

Return of Harmony - Everypony attacks Discord immediately, kills him. Whoops! Alternately, she derails the campaign by adamantly remaining un-discorded (when it was intended they all be under its effects), and solo's Discord.

Ticket Master - Twilight refuses to hand out the tickets (which would lead to the gala episode), believing them much better spent selling for huge money, or otherwise believing it to be a trap of some sort. Rest of her party is then bribed by the DM to steal them away from her. Alternately, Twilight, by pure chance, gets the tickets by doing the obvious thing and asking Celestia directly, rather than go through a loop to get them.

Winter Wrap up - Twilight Sparkle uses magic. FUUUUUUU-

At the gala - Twilight is forbidden from doing anything that could possibly lead to a derail for the entire session. Instead, she convinces others to derail it for her.

The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 - Twilight uses her diplomancy to have the twins kicked out of town, or threatened with a lawsuit. Alternately, she directs them to canterlot.

It's About Time - The DM, frustrated that Twi isn't grabbing a plot hook, uses a nat20 to have her future self say it. Twilight doesn't buy it, and focuses too much on the message, thinking it an illusion or trick, and completely ignoring the actual plot.

MMMystery on the Friendship Express - Twilight mind-wipes one of the suspects and plants evidence on them. Or she fixes the cake. Or she immediately blames it on Pinkie, who can just get away scot-free with bard magic.

Keep Calm and Flutter On - Rehab magic. Or they just kill him. Problem solved!
Tatsurou 21st Mar 2013, 9:12 PM edit delete reply
About you're derail suggestions. THey are all quite funny, but I could see some awesome DM recovery if he learns to manage it.
Return of Harmony - go with she soloes Discord, but that leads to her getting her flank kicked. Cue Discord porting the others in to gloat about how help - and hope - is so close, yet so far. Cue Twilight giving dramatic Friendship motivation speech ala breaking initial campaign. Cue excellent will save rolls on breaking the Discording. Bye Bye Discord.
Or, alternatively, the fact that Twilight restores the others so fast could be how she breaks the campaign, when Discord is supposed to be a major several session villain like Nightmare Moon was supposed to be.

The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 - THis leads to the Flim Flam Brothers blaming Twilight and friends for them being ruined, leading them to become Doofenschmirtz style recurring villains.
Flim: Curse you, Twilight Sparkle!
Flam: And your Elements, too!
Lyntermas 22nd Mar 2013, 7:41 AM edit delete reply
"Royal wedding - guesses the villain from the start and instantly exposes her. DM rages, sends entire invasion army in at once."

...Who says that's not what happened in the canon? DM doesn't expect Twilight to keep following Cadence around, and CERTAINLY doesn't expect her to just shout her accusations in front of everyone.

What was supposed to happen: The wedding goes off as planned, and Chrysalis "convinces" Shining Armor that there's no more threat, getting him to drop the shield. Then a whole bunch of strange ponies are seen around town, acting in non-pony ways. They finally catch one in the act, and they find out that the real Cadance is hidden somewhere. They know have to try and find the real Cadence, while avoiding the undercover changelings and Queen Chrysalis.
Guest 30th Mar 2013, 8:25 PM edit delete reply
Even better on Return of Harmony; someone noticing that the riddle doesn't make any sense with a maze (after all, it's mentioned the end result is to get back to where you began- you're not likely or meant to do that with a maze) and just head over to Ponyville because they're savvy rather than blind in this. Seriously Twilight was holding the idiot ball so hard in the canon episode.
Giggle Tail 21st Mar 2013, 7:12 PM edit delete reply
Giggle Tail
Hopefully this will be the last time (at least for a while) that I mention my story from the last two pages' comments.

How the DM reacted to their derailing Swarm of the Century? Yeah, that's pretty much how our DM reacted to our criticism.
Jason Shadow 21st Mar 2013, 7:44 PM edit delete reply
Jason Shadow
I couldn't help but read Celestia's lines in this page in her FiW voice.
Kaze Koichi 22nd Mar 2013, 4:16 AM edit delete reply
That is why GM should have a backup plan for EVERYTHING. Or at least for most critical part of the campaign.
Demonu 22nd Mar 2013, 8:28 AM edit delete reply
Or just be a master at improv. Or both.
Demonu 22nd Mar 2013, 10:41 AM edit delete reply
Speaking of derailing or players doing the unexpected, the (original) story of how the Five Fathers Adventuring Party came across Sarah and their subsequent actions was rather derailing (as now they were hauling a kid along) but it turned out for the better in the end and even provided some plot of its own.

No derail can be so severe that the GM can't use it in some (roundabout) way :)
Tatsurou 22nd Mar 2013, 11:16 AM edit delete reply
I remember one campaign I was DMing where eventually the heroes won by derailing.
See, the BBEG I had for the campaign was a Lawful Evil Warlord who had conquered a good portion of the world and the heroes had banded together as the champions of their countries to inflitrate the empire and destroy him.

The thing was, this was 40 years into the empire building, and my BBEG played by the Evil Overlord List. The heroes eventually derailed the campaign thusly.

Warrior: Wait...are the people under his rule actually suffering?
Me: Technically, they are quite content with their lot. Some of the older citizens grumble about the loss of their country's independence, but in the same way any elder grumbles about the 'good old days'. No one takes it seriously.
Cleric: is he an Evil Overlord?
Me: Well, from what you've been able to determine based on your research...he doesn't actually care one way or another about his citizenry. His only goal is leaving a functional, viable global empire that WON'T backstab his daughter when she inherits. She's the only person in the world he actually cares about, and he'd gladly sacrifice the rest of it to an archfiend if it meant giving her a happy life.
Rogue/Bard: You mean the daughter who declared her undying love for me, leading to him throwing a parade in my honor?
Me: That's the one.
Wizard: And doing that means keeping the citizenry content in their lot?
Me: Yep. He does it not because he cares about them, but because it's the most effecient method.
Warrior: THen why are we fighting him?
Me as the agent of their countries: By order of your kings, you must stop the evil overlord before he conquers the entire world!
Rogue/Bard: I don't know about the rest of you, but I think we should off our agent here and see if my incipient father-in-law is interested in hiring us. We're ehre to save the world after all.
Agent: Now see here-
Rogue/Bard: All in favor?
Warrior: Aye.
Cleric: Aye.
Wizard: Aye.
Rogue/Bard: It's unanimous. I slit the agent's throat. Natural 20.
Me: Umm...the agent is dead. Now you just have to convince your father-in-law to hire you-
Warrior: You said he went for the most efficient path. He knows we're more effective a fighting force than at least half his standing army, having beaten most of it. Besides, he's got his incipient son-in-law vouching for our sincerity.

In the end, the Overlord decided that their honor and integrity - choosing the good of the world over their supposedly good mission - was a quality he could value, which was why he approoved of the match with the Bard/Rogue and his daughter. The adventuring group became his special forces unit, and the rest of the campaign became doing missions for the Evil Overlord for the good of the Empire.

I was not expecting that twist. I wanted to use the Evil Overlord List to make the adventuring party really think about how to fight the Evil Overlord, as the villain was at least as genre savvy as the players. This majorly derailed my planned campaign. However, I was quick on my feet, and I was able to throw some serious ethical conundrums at the party when some of their missions had them fighting against former comrades. All in all, it made the campaign more fun.
Azureink 23rd Mar 2013, 12:12 AM edit delete reply
I approve of joining the evil, but capable, overlord.
Stulexington 23rd Mar 2013, 2:40 PM edit delete reply
GMing 201: never let your campaign hing on the player's failing. If the GM really wanted to continue the tribble theme the group could get back to Fluttershy's basket to see half a dozen chowing down on apples. This basically lets them succeed in putting out fires while making it clear a more permanent solution is necessary.

However good job rolling with it by simply letting it happen. I would have gone with the social aspects of preparing for Celestia's arrival though: keeping Rarity's ambition at bay, convincing Pinkie she's not the official food taster (and watch her put together a one pony band instead), all the while constantly making them paranoid that there's another parasprite lurking around. Then when Twilight gets paranoid enough to consult magic, give her a vision of the princess being carried off by parasprites. After all she ends up being metaphorically carried off by having to cut her visit short to deal with infestations elsewhere (divination can be funny that way).
JKwez 29th Mar 2013, 9:11 PM Delicious Deriailing edit delete reply
As a player, I LOVE derailing sessions and even whole campaigns. Mostly because my players actively seek to do it to me. I once wrote a 30 page background story to make an entire campaign about me. Mostly.
Moonrush 30th Mar 2013, 8:19 PM edit delete reply
Getting derailed badly happened the first time I tried to get my parents into the game, they came across a puzzle (colored squares, stepping on one makes all of the same color and all those behind you rise up into the ceiling like pillars, the visual aid was very nessecary) and basically they just attacked the stupid things and got so high rolls they didn't have to think. Which is weird because, y'know, parents tend to be mad at you for not being the most obnoxious know-it-all stereotype possible. Mine, anyway.
picklejuice 30th Oct 2013, 2:52 PM beautiful edit delete reply
Hand me the stress ball

LOL! I'm right there!
gamemaster80 1st Feb 2016, 9:59 PM edit delete reply
God, I feel so connected to this DM. Whole campaigns ruined in just a couple sessions, whole plot hooks destroyed just because they were so cliched the players, using player knowledge, burned right through it, just as the ponies did here.

I have to rant a bit:

DND/Pathfinder allows us to create our own story, and it's much easier to borrow stories from our favorite source materials. In this case, Star Trek's Trouble with Tribbles. All but one player knew what was happening because their all as much fans of ST as the DM. What really, really bugs me is how they handle it, and I've had players do the same before. "Oh look! He's borrowing from the Tribbles episode. Yeah we know how this is going to go, so my character is killing them all here and now". And there is zero point in trying to persuade them with, "Your characters never encountered this before! You're just killing what appears to be an innocent animal! That's cruelty!"

But most players are so anxious to be "big-dang heroes", get their loot/xp, they go for the fastest, easiest way out, even if it involves using player knowledge.

Moments like this have made me hate GMing at times.