Page 275 - From the Ashes

23rd Apr 2013, 6:00 AM in Swarm of the Century
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From the Ashes
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 23rd Apr 2013, 6:00 AM edit delete
A fellow on the internet who runs an MLP episode over-analysis blog did an over-analysis of Friendship is Dragons. As you can probably tell by the comments I left on there over the weekend, I'm still not sure what to make of it.

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



Digo 23rd Apr 2013, 6:01 AM edit delete reply
Well, it is said that "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

I'm not sure how much I'd buy into it, but if it gives you exposure to the point you gain a wagon full of new readers, all the better maybe?
Guest 23rd Apr 2013, 2:46 PM edit delete reply
It's a classic example of Death of the Author.

Pick your poison:
Newbiespud 23rd Apr 2013, 3:05 PM edit delete reply
Good reading, Guest.

You know, you read about these things, you go to English class, you analyze with the best of them... but it doesn't really click until it actually happens to you. This whole FiD analysis thing has been one massive learning experience, if nothing else.
Karilyn 23rd Apr 2013, 5:55 PM edit delete reply
Oh hi Newbiespud, that was me. For some reason, ComicFury logged me out.

And I hate Death of the Author with a passion. IMO it's the single biggest "fuck you" that you can give to an author.
Raxon 23rd Apr 2013, 7:04 PM edit delete reply
I wholeheartedly agree. Telling me that even though I was the one who wrote a story, I don't know what it's about? Ray Bradbury walked out of a lecture after college students told him that he was wrong about the intended moral of Fahrenheit 451. Seriously, kind of a dick move. Now, pointing out extras morals is all well and good, but rejecting Word of God outright and telling them their own book is about something else is among the worst things you can do.

Saying my writing sucks is one thing, but saying that, for example, the main character in my current story is evil, and that the story is a warning against such political policies would be a huge slap in the face.
Zuche 23rd Apr 2013, 10:52 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, well, keep in mind that Ray Bradbury would eventually claim that Farenheit 451 was never about censorship. I might accept that if I hadn't read an earlier introduction he wrote for one copy of the novel. A writer's intent deserves attention, but if intent and results don't match anywhere else, why should that be true in writing?
Nighzmarquls 24th Apr 2013, 12:46 AM edit delete reply
This is one of the reasons why I endeavor in my current fiction work to not be trying to tell a message, but to present a situation.

Its a complex and terrifying situation that may inform the reader on many things about themselves or the world they live in.

But I don't go into it with any allegories or messages in mind.

Just a world of wonders.
Evilbob 25th Apr 2013, 7:15 AM edit delete reply
Well... there's intentional message author's trying to convey (eg Fahrenheit 451 and 1984), and then there's unspoken or unintentional messages.

The most engaging thing I found about the overanalysis is the tracing of trends and tropes that Newbiespud may not have even been aware of that he used. The cultural influences that have helped subtly guide the creation, if you will.
Super_Big_Mac 3rd Jul 2013, 2:06 AM Razzafrazz edit delete reply
I can agree with that... I'm currently taking care of the romance and editing sides of a collab between me and a friend called "Remorse: The Color of Crimson."

Basic premise is that a colt with the Taurus symbol for his cutie mark comes to Ponyville, and others start coming to ton just to try and capture or kill him. We're just about 16 chapters in, have him completely confused between Pinkie and AJ on who he loves, and he's fought quite a few fairly awesome and entertaining battles, like what you'd get if you were to watch the Frieza arc in DBZ on fast forward x475.

One of the readers decided to tell us that "Hey, this fic's basically saying suicide's fine, isn't it?" (Or something close to that; it's been a while.) Both the author and I replied to this comment with confusion and rebuttals, but the guy was adamant that he knew more than us.
Rokas 24th Apr 2013, 8:23 AM edit delete reply
After reading the TVTropes page, I agree: saying to an author "you don't know what you wrote" is a big middle finger, and anyone who does it should be forced to write a short story about their parents and immediately have someone else tell them it shows they clearly want to bang their mother, no matter what the author intended.
kriss1989 24th Apr 2013, 10:36 AM edit delete reply
In real life, one of Russia's most prominent writers got a D in college when he wrote a literary analysis of his own work. The teacher noted that he "clearly didn't understand the authors intent".That university has very low enrollment nowadays. It seems people don't want literary degrees from there.

Death of the Author is a stupid idea spouted by very pretentious people that think a work can grow greater without its creator holding it back, ignoring the fact that the creator is responsible for the work existing to be analyzed in the first place. Unintended implications, poorly realized ideas, unintentional allegory or parallel, I agree they can all be present in a work, and sometimes change the entire reading of the book/viewing of the movie/etc.. Outright saying that you should ignore the creators interpretation and intent is retarded. The gap between intention and reception is also telling about the work, the author, and you.
Zuche 24th Apr 2013, 1:54 PM edit delete reply
So what you're saying, kriss1989, is that you find the concept threatening. Fair enough.
TheDoomBug 24th Apr 2013, 7:14 PM edit delete reply
I'm going to go against the grain and support "Death of the Author" (even though I feel the name is misleading) and I will cite an example, Feeling Pinkie Keen. The intended message was about not having to know everything and accepting that some things are beyond us. The message a lot of viewers read? Atheism is bad and religion is the way to go. Completely unintended, but too loud to ignore.

If the creators of a work have a message to deliver and that message gets scrambled, that's their fault in most situations (outsider meddling, like publishers, being an exception). A story should stand on it's own because the author isn't going to be around forever to explain things and if you have to explain after the fact what you meant when you wrote it then you've clearly failed to deliver your intended message. There's also situations where the author is blatantly contradicting information in the work, like the Bradbury citation above. The author is just as fallible as everyone else.

Of course, over-analyzing a story is just a fun exercise. You'd be amazed what subtle references and jokes people hide in their work without realizing. I encourage everyone to try it on their own work. Forget what you meant, and see what you wrote.
Guest 25th Apr 2013, 12:21 AM edit delete reply
While it is true that it is important for an author to properly portray their meanings in a work, that doesn't mean that it is still okay to not take into account the authors own intentions. Because while people are all going to interpret things in slightly different ways its still some what strange to me to not take the authors intent or opinion into consideration as well. I mean shouldn't the author have a say in his work as well? Also it seems somewhat cruel to do to an author, telling them that the whole moral and meaning they intended in their writing is wrong and that the actual meaning is something completely different. I mean even if they accidentally portray a certain idea that doesn't mean that they intended it or even meant it too mean something.

This reminds me of people interpreting writings and authors meanings just from things as trivial as a color choose, and while sometimes this may be true if the author makes it blatant enough. It doesn't mean that just because the character is wearing a blue tie the author is signifying that the character is suffering from inner depression, he may just be wearing a blue tie after all. I've also heard of people who come up with claims that a character in a book or even the author himself is secretly gay, and they only manage to find these messages by interpreting things in the wrong way or trying to find meanings that just aren't their.

But I suppose this is just my opinion as well and everyone if free to have their own as well about this.

Also on the subject of Feeling Pinkie Keen I feel like a lot of the interpreting the moral as Atheism = Bad is a lot from over analyzing things. And I think if they would have just omitted the ending part of the letter about the "friends helping you find a way", it would have been fine and would have avoided the whole thing.
Guest 24th Apr 2013, 1:14 AM edit delete reply
I'm sorry if I'm just not catching something, but how is this bad publicity exactly? He doesn't seem to say anything very negative about the comic, even though he kinda pulls the whole Death of The Author thing a maybe a little bit(because I agree that its just a weird and kinda sucky thing to do to any author/artist), but he still doesn't really say anything bad about the comic. I'm just not sure if I'm missing something or my past midnight mind can't really read this right.
Newbiespud 24th Apr 2013, 3:28 PM edit delete reply

In this instance, though, I don't being a dead author. I don't mind saying that "the comic," in itself and separate from me, is accomplishing something I never intended.

I believe one of the greatest strengths of all writing is that we are not perfect at it. We can't beam imagery, tone, and intent directly into the reader's mind. But that's okay, because if you get close enough, they'll read between the lines. They'll catch on to tiny, throwaway details and make something bigger out of them. Or, more relevantly, some piece will simply resonate. That's all in the reader's imagination, and it wouldn't happen if we were perfect at our job.

I wrote another two paragraphs before I realized I could go on and on forever about this. Suffice to say, I can still take a great deal of pride in the applicability of my work, even if I never intended for it to mean something bigger. For me, that's a success on my part.
Raxon 24th Apr 2013, 9:56 PM edit delete reply
You can say that I'm terrible at delivering the message I intended. That, I would accept.

Death of the Author would be saying that I support something entirely different because there are a few things wrong, or there are some unfortunate implications in parts of the book.

Author's intent is important for deciding if a work is good or not. A work in which there is a racist character who plays a pivotal role does not make the intended message 'racism is good'.

I have a main character who is bigoted against magic users who are not wizards, and he has strong racist leanings against Spaniards. The reason? He's from the past, when Spain was the big world superpower, and they were huge dicks about it. The message behind this part of the character, if you can call it that, isn't that racism can be justifiable. It's that blaming people for injustices their ancestors committed is wrong.

Author intent is context. Some stories do not need context outside their own setting, but some do. When you ignore canon context, you're basically doing the same thing as those guys who paused Mysterious Mare Do Well at just the right moment so it looked like RD and AJ were kissing, and then declare it proof that the two are lesbians. Context is important.
Zuche 25th Apr 2013, 6:41 AM edit delete reply
I disagree, Raxon. Death of the Author liberates the author as much as it does the work. It's just as capable of absolving the author of a story's unfortunate implications as it is of finding merit in the works of horrible beings.

It's not like this is unique to literature. Television, the internet, the workspace cubicle, and most political ideologies benefit from the same sort of detached view when we're looking at the results on a sociological level, rather than as someone's efforts to make a few dollars.
kriss1989 25th Apr 2013, 7:17 AM edit delete reply
Zuche, you implied that the only reason I don't like Death of the Author is that I'm scared of it, not because I find it pretentious and insulting like I clearly stated. You're freaking doing Death of the Author to comment posts! I honestly not think I can take you seriously anymore.
Zuche 25th Apr 2013, 8:52 AM edit delete reply
Then you understand my point exactly, kriss1989. If you want to disagree with the position that an author and a work are two separate things to be evaluated separately, fine. If you're going to dismiss it as stupid and those who subscribe to the view as pretentious, however, then a tongue-in-cheek response is the least you deserve.

Fear is one of the prime causes people have for taking offense, primarily fear of losing power. What other reason could authors have for taking offense to being told that their works can transcend their intentions?
Guest 27th May 2013, 10:45 AM edit delete reply
Correct me if I'm wrong, but your argument here is that the ONLY reason someone could be insulted by Death of the Author is fear?

I can tell you why I'd be insulted. I'd be ANGRY. I spent all this time, all this effort, creating something and writing it out. I made it for others to enjoy, and if someone takes a different sort of enjoyment and interpretation away from it, that's fine! That's entirely cool. It was something different to them.

But Death of the Author is NOT about saying "well, your interpretation as the author is valid, but I like mine more". It's "Your interpretation as the creator is entirely wrong and invalid". I agree with Kriss entirely here, it IS pretentious. To tell someone outright that their opinion is wrong, invalid, and poorly thought out isn't "evaluating an author and a work as separate things", it's being a jerk. The normal human reaction to someone being a jerk is to get angry and react in kind, hence why authors hate the Death of the Author argument.

So, maybe fear of being obsolete is indeed a big factor, but fear is in no way the only reason someone might take offense to being told their work, that the other person CLEARLY spent so much time analyzing, doesn't matter. Whether the work or the author is separate, one of those things took a lot of time and effort by the other, and anger is a perfectly natural reaction to that being dismissed. To simply assume it's only because someone finds the concept threatening is just as pretentious, whether you meant it as tongue-in-cheek or not.
Seturis 23rd Apr 2013, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
Remove Kebab and remove Philomena.
Froborr 23rd Apr 2013, 6:43 AM edit delete reply
Woo, more Bird in the Hoof!

I can't wait to see what you make of the Creepiest Shot in the History of the Show. (Hideously swollen Philomena in tub, in case you were wondering.)

Also, thanks for the plug! I'm not sure what this "over" analysis is of which you speak. Can such a thing be possible. =P

Am I allowed to suggest a story time? How about "times the DM intentionally split the party"?
Digo 23rd Apr 2013, 7:18 AM edit delete reply
Hmm... I've never had a situation where I purposely split the party. There may have been times where splitting had its advantages, but that would be a choice left to the PCs rather than a forced action.

'Sides, my players know that if they split up, then that means I can concentrate more evil upon a smaller number of soon-to-be-former warm bodies in the dungeon. ;)
aylatrigger 23rd Apr 2013, 7:25 AM edit delete reply
Reasons for my not spliting the parties intentionally:
When doing skype games, this means I have to keep multiple chats running. It just doubles my workload.
The party splits itself up enough as is.

Though I do sometimes split the party as a n explanation of why characters have not been acting when their players are out.
aylatrigger 23rd Apr 2013, 7:59 AM edit delete reply
Oh, but there was one time I had the party split up so each member could fight their stupid alternative. At kind of the request of a player, as he had realized that his experrimental class was bad and wanted to switch to another experrimental class. So everyone besides him had to fight their alternate with a worse class than themselves (or worse race). The paladin got a fighter, I believe. My NPC warforged wu jen (warforged makes most of their taboos easily avoidable) fought a berserker toaster witth GlaDOS voice and mentality.... Berserkers have that +10 movement speed, but it unplugged itself every time it moved. The bard fought an exact copy of himself, to continue our joke of bards being bad (they aren't, but we poked so much fun of our bard in this game...). The ranger/stalker NPC-played-by-a-player girl who kept poisoning her stalkee/teacher fought a ninja version of herself, and they decided to team up to the detriment of everone else. They knocked us out and we woke up married to eachother by reaccuring enemy NPC: the high priest of Bahgtru, orc god of strength, loyalty, and....stupidity. Said NPC, who had the name, race, gender, and age of 'Orc', married the bard to himself, the stalker to the stalkee, the warforged to the toaster...and the bard...
Orc, by the way, is my favorite NPC ever. He has an intelligence of 1, making him a high leveled, inneffectual villain. All his levels he got through roleplaying exp. It took our entire party to roleplay him because he was just that stupid. Of note, one time after we had refused to sell our organs to the merchant guild leader, Orc came in, sold his kidney to a pillar, got a bad deal on it, and preceded to stab it out by using his knife on his eye... stabbing with the hilt towards the eye... Basically if anything is stupid, he does it. He warps reality with his stupidity, and it is hilarious. He is CE and 20th level, so was at odds with our low leveled mostly good party, nut it didn't really matter as the worst he did was throw a tea pot at the party upon meeting them and marry them together after that incident.
Zuche 23rd Apr 2013, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
For several years, I ran a game with people online at all sorts of different hours. Splitting the party was often the most practical choice. Writing out people that dropped without notice was the difficult part.

...One of the difficult parts. Not the proudest years of my life.
Digo 23rd Apr 2013, 10:11 AM edit delete reply
Well we all do what we have to in the name of gaming. At least you can take the experience and build upon it.
Kynrasian 23rd Apr 2013, 2:06 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I know that feeling.

Apparently I'm to come up with new stuff week-for-week, but with the amount of time I get per-week to spend on writing D&D adventures, asking for a full-length session on a week's work just isn't practical. I need to construct an adventure environment, then make sure I can describe it, then fill it with stuff to fight and discover.

By the next time I start writing it, I'll have two and a half days left. I'm going to need to find some shortcuts in the design or I'm going to have to make it every two weeks.

And neither I nor they do "throw them a few combat encounters". I need notes to work from and so far I don't have much in the way of notes.

Anyone got any wise words?
Zuche 24th Apr 2013, 12:09 AM edit delete reply
Kynrasian, it sounds like your problem might best be served by delegation. For a good example of this, take Darths & Droids. The GM turned descripton over to Sally on more than one occasion and has made use of Jim's geological expertise a few times. A surprising amount of background design can be left to players. Just try to avoid giving them the room to really overdo it, establishing firm guidelines where you can. (There are days I wish I'd thought to have requested, "No more than five paragraphs," before receiving a half dozen twenty page articles.)
Kynrasian 24th Apr 2013, 5:01 PM edit delete reply
That's something I could try, but what kinds of background design tasks can I leave to them? More importantly, are there any I shouldn't hand over to the players?
Blade Tiger 23rd Apr 2013, 1:33 PM edit delete reply
Last Christmas break, I ran a Pathfinder adventure for a few friends. I ran the game from a pre-written module, and one part of the module called for deliberately trying to split the party, either by getting them to sleep in different places, or by an NPC feigning romantic interest and luring one away.

In the end, both approaches worked - the squishy sorceror had become infatuated with the NPC, and the party was split between their campsite and the manor of the totally-not-corrupt-and-hostile mayor. Tempted as I was to try to lure away the squishy mage, I ended up having the bad guys go after the druid and her boar companion, at the campsite.

This ended up being a surprisingly intense battle, thanks in no small part to the druid's boar being totally hardcore, and the druid's player being a really intelligent tactician, but the crowning gem of the encounter was that the druid noticed the ambush coming, and feigned sleep, so that she could throw a cup of steaming hot coffee in the face of the first person to get close.

The druid made an attack roll with a cup of coffee. Not because she HAD to, but because she WANTED to.

And before anyone asks, no, she did not have weapon proficiency with it.
Digo 23rd Apr 2013, 1:38 PM edit delete reply
Folgers. Good to the last sneak attack.
tengokujin 24th Apr 2013, 5:23 PM edit delete reply
When I see "sneak attack", all I can think of is this:
Sneak Attack, Mother F*****!
Nickel Storm 23rd Apr 2013, 3:00 PM Raped By A Babau(Rated M) edit delete reply
As a GM for a 3.5 game, I had a dungeon set up so the party would have to split and activate a switch in 2 different areas simultaneously to open the path forward. These areas were also a good distance apart. When said switches activated a demon was summoned to each area for the split parties to fight...Well they decided to send the parties only mage off ALONE to the other area. They made decent work of the demon on their end, it took them about 4 rounds to kill it. That was 4 rounds for the mage to face the demon on his end and 4 more rounds for the party to run to his aid. Now mind you, I don't like killing off my party members even when they make mistakes, but this was a demon(A Babau to be exact), and it had the surprise round on the mage. So for the next 8 rounds I had it grappling and then sexually assaulting him. Which for a Babau makes perfect sense. It was quite amusing for the rest of the party, but made the player wish I had simply killed his character instead. I gave him a +2 to all roles vs demons after that to make up for it.
JSchunx 24th Apr 2013, 12:16 AM edit delete reply
Oddly enough, I split the party more frequently than I think I aught to. One event in particular merits expanding upon, though.

Early on in one of my longest running campaigns (which is on an unfortunate hiatus) our party was elevated to the rank of Traveler within their group, the League of Freedom. This step up was accompanied by a visit to an important site, a cave where the spirits of past members remained to impart knowledge and gifts to those who came after. As they entered the cave, they were enveloped by a blinding light, which teleported them into separate places. Our Ranger found himself in a forest, and communed with the spirit of a Lizardfolk Ranger who discussed with him the nature of his inner Rage (a very strong aspect of his character), advising him on when to control it and when to channel it.

Our Gnomish Sorcerer found himself in a crowded manor, during a party, speaking to a long-dead sorcerer about what he truly wanted in life, and how he must get it. The gist of the conversation was that he must act, and make others see him, and not simply follow.

Our Dwarven character found himself shifting through images of his past, as his companion retold his life's story (which I made up, since he hadn't bothered), starting where he left his home to pursue an unconventional fighting style, spent years in a brawling ring, until he was offered a place in the League. The lesson he was offered was that he should step forward and carve his own path.

Each separate arc ran simultaneously, with me cutting between each of them at basically random intervals. All in all, I think I could have run them better, but that was mostly due to me forgetting parts of what I wanted to say halfway through.
Kirby 24th Apr 2013, 3:06 AM edit delete reply
Uh... let's see.

There was a puzzle in one of my games where the DM had the group of us walk through a doorway and roll a d10. Our roll determined which of 10 puzzle rooms we ended up in.

My thief ended up alone in a room with giant spikes and undead rats. After being the first to actually figure out how to solve her puzzle, she started implementing the solution, and was undead-rat impalement away from success.

She was tired, sore, covered in undead rat bites, had rope burn, and was sick of the stink in the room. With a squirming undead rat in her hand, the door opens and one of the other party members opens the door from the other side, having had an easier to finish puzzle.

Now, this would be the end of the story had the other character not said, very smugly, "Hey, there you are. Your white knight to the rescue. But, I'm sure you would've gotten it -eventually.-" and proceeded to give her a less-than-athletic butt pat.

She proceeded to hit him in the face with the pommel of her sword, shove an undead rat in his pants, and remove remove some very sparkly gems from a couple of statues in different rooms and neglected to share. She didn't hide that she'd gotten them, she just didn't offer and no one really wanted to ask.
FanOfMostEverything 23rd Apr 2013, 7:17 AM edit delete reply
Well, I'm honestly envious of the overanalysis. For someone to spend that much time peeling apart your work, scrutinizing the bits and pieces, and coming out of it commending you on your brilliance. That's at least two huge compliments. One in the time investment, one in the results. Even if most of the aforementioned brilliance was largely happenstance. ;)
Personally, I'd be honored if any of my work received that level of scrutiny, even if the results were disapproving.
DoubleCross 23rd Apr 2013, 8:56 AM edit delete reply
It wouldn't be the first time he's accidentally worked something out like that. We're all pretty proud of Fuzzy, even if he's just stumbling across his answers...
Zuche 23rd Apr 2013, 7:38 AM edit delete reply
Thank you for the bonus reading, Newbiespud. Don't get too caught up in the Centipede's Dilemma as you ponder it.

As for the strip itself, nice swerve in the final panel. Here I am, following the course of events with a sense of boding, waiting for Fluttershy to be set up with some impossible task on par with clearing a field with a golden plow. Then you broadside me by throwing in a worthy introduction for Philomena only for it to be accidental. It reminds me of the origin story for Jack Benny's mugging joke, so I'm doubly happy with it.

Huh. I never realized it, but Twilight might now be able to meet the challenge of presenting herself neither walking nor riding, neither clothed nor unclothed, and neither on a noble's land nor off it. One of my favourite challenges. (Sorry. I realize this last bit must appear like it came out of nowhere. It relates to the golden plow. Meant to cut it when I editted the first paragraph, but instead forgot about it now that it was below the edge of the viewing window.)
darkwulf23 23rd Apr 2013, 7:39 AM edit delete reply
Well congratulations, with that positive review your fan base will grow and you will gain even more crazy personalities on the forums. On another note, I am now confused on where this is going.
Lyntermas 23rd Apr 2013, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
I for one enjoyed reading the review. It shows that Newbiespud is not only being creative within the ideas of "canon", but is also breaking new ground by actively subverting the viewer's preconceptions for how the episodes will turn out.

In short, he's building off of DM of the Rings rather than simply copying it, and this arc is bringing something new to the genre. Good work, Newbiespud. this time Celestia is specifically asking Fluttershy to try and cure Philomena? But doesn't Celestia know what phoenixes do? Or are there other circumstances that require Fluttershy's assistance?

...Curse you, prediction powers! You have failed me when I needed you most.
Zuche 23rd Apr 2013, 8:16 AM edit delete reply
Actually, Philomena isn't a phoenix in this story. She's a thought eater. Fluttershy's assistance is being requested because the poor creature isn't properly digesting the thoughts it takes in, and she's been leaving an awful mess behind whenever she... er, passes comments.
Digo 23rd Apr 2013, 8:17 AM edit delete reply
Celestia accidently merged the "troll" template on Philomena and needs Fluttershy to undo it XD
Anarion 23rd Apr 2013, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
I really liked the link to the review. I also think you might be selling yourself a bit short, Newbiespud. It's probably true that you didn't think to yourself "I'm going to challenge genre conventions!" when you were writing, but in your comment on the article, you admitted to a desire to surprise your readers and take actions in the service of comedy that were unexpected. That is, in essence, a desire on your part to buck genre conventions and try something new, even if those words weren't in your brain.
Guest 23rd Apr 2013, 8:26 AM edit delete reply
It’s an impressive piece of work, and deserves far more attention than it has received.[/quote]

seems positive almost throughout the entire article, though i think he's going in to it way deeper than you are yourself.
tjprower 23rd Apr 2013, 8:56 AM edit delete reply
Well, during one campaign, we initially started with 1 DM and 3 players. Halfway through the semester, we had 1 DM and 10 players. Mr. DM just couldn't get that many players through much more than a single room or two each session, so 1 of the players became a second DM, and the party was split into 3 different groups: The dead, The shade, And The light. Seriously, death in this particular campaign sent you to hell. The dead's goal was to get back to the land of the living, the shade's goal was to go after and kill the original villian of the campaign, and the light were tasked with killing the other two parties because they were both cursed to make the big bad stronger the closer they got to him. o_0
Magnaliscious 23rd Apr 2013, 11:25 AM edit delete reply
So this is based off of 4.0? Ironic. 3.5 the worst pony gen and best Dnd... and 4.0 lesser dnd gen and best pony gen
Froborr 23rd Apr 2013, 12:04 PM edit delete reply
I know I'm massively in the minority here, but after years of playing 3.5 and d20... I like 4E better. Combat is fast and fun, not the interminable slog and endless minutiae of 3.5, and everything out-of-combat is pure RP, which IMO is a big improvement on "I try to persuade the judge to let us go! *roll* I succeed!"
Digo 23rd Apr 2013, 12:45 PM edit delete reply
I've never played 4e, but I have looked over the player's book and I can see that it is pretty streamlined.
Zuche 23rd Apr 2013, 2:04 PM edit delete reply
For all of its issues, the tools it offers to DMs are incredible. I'm happy that people found solace in Pathfinder, but those that think it's a superior system are mistaken.
Magnaliscious 24th Apr 2013, 5:07 PM edit delete reply
my problem with 4.0... i can play it by playing video games. and it's easier with video games.
Aerion 23rd Apr 2013, 5:40 PM edit delete reply
Personally, after playing Pathfinder for a while, I can't play 3.5
It's not THAT different, but I keep bumping into tiny annoyances, like Int-bonuses to skills not being retroactive, or there being too many 'splat-books' with feats better than the ones I have access to.

I'd play 4th Ed if I ever saw someone plan a good campaign - so far, it's been combat-heavy games, and 4th ed is combat-focused enough as it is without helping it.
Some might say that means 4th ed isn't for me... ANd yeah, they'd be right. I'm still looking for a system designed for me (Pathfinder isn't perfect either, but a campaign more focused on the Societies than most might get close)
I still essentially refuse to play 3.5, but would be willing to try 4th.
Zuche 23rd Apr 2013, 11:43 PM edit delete reply
I'll freely admit that the splat-book problem is something WotC still needs to address. Many designers still appear to share Monte Cooke's view from an article in which he claimed that game balance should be something established at the table, not within the system. It sounds great, right up until you realize you've been sold a lot of content you'll never see anyone use. Power A may be just fine... if power B or item Q didn't exist. Good luck convincing players to take A.
Digo 24th Apr 2013, 4:26 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, I've had to put together a 20 page manual for my D&D players to outline what is and is not allowed just to balance the game system-side.
Even then it still isn't quite balanced, but at least there aren't any surprises.
Jristz 23rd Apr 2013, 1:30 PM edit delete reply
Mixing 'A dog and a pony', philomena chapter and probably other more parts of others, is perfect
NeutralDemon 23rd Apr 2013, 3:49 PM edit delete reply
strategic cough
kajisora 23rd Apr 2013, 4:37 PM edit delete reply
Enter Troll, Stage right
Aerion 23rd Apr 2013, 5:55 PM edit delete reply
...I just noticed after reading a troll-related comment, but does Celestia look to have a troll-like amusement in that last panel?
I could see her going 'problem? *grin*'
Guest 23rd Apr 2013, 6:29 PM edit delete reply
in the last panel Philohmeana ( or how ever you spell her name ) isnt there
Aerion 23rd Apr 2013, 6:36 PM edit delete reply
I don't remember the original scene, but I essentially just assumed it was lying on the bottom of the cage, to drive the tension slightly longer.
PrincessCadence 23rd Apr 2013, 7:55 PM edit delete reply
I've been reading this comic for a while, but I'm only now starting to play D & D. I think this comic and the commenters have actually helped me get started. Thanks
DracoS 24th Apr 2013, 6:30 AM edit delete reply
In a twist, the cough, hacking old creature is a mule and NOT a bird!
Rokas 24th Apr 2013, 8:29 AM edit delete reply
Just remember this quote, Newbiespud:

"Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at very small expense."
-Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Not saying criticism is bad. Good, constructive criticism helps make authors and artists better. But always remember that talk is cheap, and it's far, FAR easier to criticize than it is to create.
HMorris73 24th Apr 2013, 11:45 AM edit delete reply
In this case though the critique wasn't negative. If anything Newbiespud's issue seems to be that it's *too* positive since it implies grands designs on his part that he doesn't believe he had.
Newbiespud 24th Apr 2013, 3:31 PM edit delete reply
I'm allowed to take a massive compliment with a grain of salt, aren't I? Thoughtful discussion doesn't hurt either.
Digo 25th Apr 2013, 6:06 AM edit delete reply
Yes, you certainly are allowed. :)

(Myself, I generally just nod with such grandoise compliments and pretend I was secretly going for such complexity)
HMorris73 25th Apr 2013, 10:03 AM edit delete reply
Oh yes definitely, I was just trying to clarify things a bit.