Page 286 - We Are the Dead

18th May 2013, 6:00 AM in Swarm of the Century
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We Are the Dead
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 18th May 2013, 6:00 AM edit delete
When an non-player character in an RPG gets kidnapped - especially one that is important to the players, either to the plot or as a significant other - it usually spells trouble. Whoever's holding that character has leverage over you at best, and at worst they can be corrupted and turned against you over time.

When a player character gets kidnapped, it's pretty much a backstage pass into the mind and machinations of the enemy.

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



Raxon 18th May 2013, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
"Tell my fanboys I love them! And to give back my hairbrush!"

Testing, testing, totally relevant link, testing.

Sweet, it works.
Evilbob 19th May 2013, 10:34 PM edit delete reply
OK. Now I'm scared.

Raxon with the power of hyperlinking is bad enough.

The power of hyperlinking with suspiciously unrelated links that actually end up going somewhere related...???

Joural 20th May 2013, 8:34 PM The Pink edit delete reply

dare I ask what exactly is working? That video is un-viewable in Canada.
Raxon 20th May 2013, 11:43 PM edit delete reply
Just a seemingly completely harmless video link.
Karilyn 18th May 2013, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
There's something to be said about how in Aspirations of Harmony, when a NPC and a PC were kidnapped at the same time, we invested all of our resources to rescue the NPC, and sorta forgot about the PC for several sessions.

Whoops. There is a special place in roleplaying hell reserved for us.
Raxon 18th May 2013, 6:17 AM edit delete reply
If the NPC was capable of baking the finest apple pies, then you totally made the right decision.
Feotakahari 18th May 2013, 10:20 PM edit delete reply
So you mention apple pies, but the URL has to do with train accidents? You really need to start using TinyUrl.
Arcel 19th May 2013, 12:29 AM edit delete reply
Actually, it goes to Youtube if you click it... he is very sneaky.
Digo 19th May 2013, 7:08 PM edit delete reply
If any on my villains dare kidnap a beloved NPC of the players, then may whatever gods there are in the campaign have mercy on my villains.

There was one time in a Shadowrun game where the favorite NPC, an alcoholic and flirtatious sniper, was taken by an ARES Firewatch team and brought to a military base.
The players broke into the base, detonated two hangers full of munitions, and drove a TANK through the BBEG's head to save their NPC.

I never kidnapped that NPC ever again.
Tatsurou 20th May 2013, 3:35 PM edit delete reply
One thing that happened once when I was DMing...

At one point in a town the group was in, they encountered a kitten. It was a perfectly ordinary kitten I'd added to the town square contents - sitting in a box that read "Frii 2 a gud hom" - as an afterthought, for a little extra flavor. One of the players dropped a bit of jerky into the box with the kitten and didn't give it a second thought.

Later on, the box was still there during a big fight. Same PC got knocked down and was about to take a lethal strike. There was a sudden hiss, distracting the enemy long enough for the PC to gut him. Turned out, it was the little kitten, who'd gotten angry at someone hurting the PC who'd been kind.

The party became obsessed with that kitten, convinced there was something supernatural about it. No matter how many times I told them she was a perfectly ordinary white kitten, they were convinced she wasn't. They carted that kitten around with them everywhere.

One time, one of the BBEG's tried to make the PCs do as he wanted by grabbing the kitten - who was investigating a glowing stone with interest - and holding a knife against her. I roleplayed the kitten giving off a pathetic "Mew."

...I still have nightmares about what the party did to that guy. Let's just say when they were finished with him, despite having used up all their dailys and most of their spells - a good half of them after the BBEG started begging them to stop and crying out "I surrender!" and "Mercy, please!" - they had a +17 to intimidate the fell hoard that was still untouched. The one who felt the kitten was his turned to the horde, raised an eyebrow, and said, "What?"

The horde ran for the hills, screaming in abject, utter terror. The kitten proceeded to bat the late villain's eyeball around, watching the trailing optic nerve in wide eyed fascination.

They still never believed that the kitten was perfectly ordinary.
DoubleCross 18th May 2013, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
...Since the DM and Rarity are away from the main table, are they at another table? Are they just standing around in the hall or something?

...What dpes everybody else think they're doing...?
Kendandra 18th May 2013, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
... Probably making out. Rarity would make a good DMs girlfriend. Er... Marefriend?
The Batman 18th May 2013, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
... Now that you mention it... Yep, I ship it.
RileaSW 18th May 2013, 9:19 AM edit delete reply
So wait... I had in my mind all the players and DM being female...

You know what. I remove my objections, I totally ship this as well!
sjosten 18th May 2013, 2:56 PM edit delete reply
... you didn't already ship them?
Digo 19th May 2013, 7:09 PM edit delete reply
LOL, some times the comment section is funnier than the comic.
Karilyn 18th May 2013, 6:14 AM edit delete reply

Detective Karilyn is on the case!

Judging by what has been presented in the comic thus far between arches, it's reasonable to assume that the game is held at the DM's apartment, and that the DM lives alone. So this means the game is held at a one bedroom apartment. Since the only room in a one bedroom apartment that is large enough for 7 people is the living room / dining room, that's where the main party is.

In a one bedroom apartment, the only places the DM and Rarity could go are into the kitchen, the bathroom, or the bedroom. It stands to reason that the most comfortable place to hold a micro session would be in the DM's bedroom.

Thus I can conclude that the rest of the party things Rarity and the DM are doing what anybody would assume two people who sneak off into the bedroom are doing. Bow chika wow wow.
Raxon 18th May 2013, 6:19 AM edit delete reply
I researched what the other ponies were doing. Results are inconclusive.

I got a new toy! You like it!?
Akouma 18th May 2013, 8:46 AM edit delete reply
Raxon, just looking at the URLs for your links is hilarious. Mostly because they're not actually what they say they are.
aerion111 18th May 2013, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
He is quite dedicated to his art, yes.
Not quite sure where he gets the energy, but then I rarely understand how I get out of bed some days *yawn*

Not sure why he's been so fond of links lately, though <.<
Zuche 18th May 2013, 10:20 AM edit delete reply
It's his gimmick, arguably the best approximation one can make of breaking the fourth wall of a comments section.
Norakos 19th May 2013, 1:39 AM edit delete reply
I.. damn. That actually makes a surprising amount of sense.
Zuche 18th May 2013, 10:47 AM edit delete reply
I... can't remember what two people do alone together. Oh. Dear.
Raxon 18th May 2013, 1:42 PM edit delete reply
I like to share things that I find, and it only takes a second to link them. Modifying the url takes slightly longer, however.

DARN IT! Superdickery is down! I had a pic to link!
Zuche 18th May 2013, 8:08 PM edit delete reply
You got to care,
You got to share,
It's the right thing to do...
aylatrigger 19th May 2013, 12:56 AM edit delete reply
Based off my experience, when a guy and a girl are together, alone, in one room they do one of three things: play video games, play munchkin, or talk about tabletop RPGs they have had or hope to have with a larger group.
...There is a reason my parents are perfectly fine with my spending my Fridays with my D&D group, which my mom has nicknamed my 'harem'.
Digo 19th May 2013, 7:11 PM edit delete reply
Well your mom just earned 2 'Cool' points.
aylatrigger 21st May 2013, 7:56 PM edit delete reply
Here should ern her some more cool points:
She used to play D&D in college
She is a certified crewmember of a B52
She has been accused of being an assassin trying to kill the pope
She has recieved and been awarded the nobel prize in her field (my dad says all engineers should know how to pick locks....I think they should have had a poker game over it so she could say she won it)
She is directly or indiractly for my starting my three sports: fencing, target shooting with Glock 17s, and Dagorhir. The fencing was due to wanting a legal excuse to stab her daughter.
She used to play magic the gathering but now does not. Which means I get all her cards.
Syth Thanatos 22nd May 2013, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
I'd ask you to marry me with all that nerd cred but I'm not a fan of my lady kicking my ass.
Digo 20th May 2013, 3:50 AM edit delete reply
In my group, the rest of the players discuss one of three things:

A) Combat tactics because we just know a fight is going to happen.
B) How to get the errant PC back together with the group.
C) Who's "Best Companion" in Doctor Who.
TheStratovarian 18th May 2013, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
I am rather curious, to folks that have had good npc's they would fight for, even take a respective large chunk of hp, life, or level for.

What is it about the npc as to why your character did that? Or even your own reasons?
Jason Shadow 18th May 2013, 7:01 AM edit delete reply
Jason Shadow
Well, once, my party forcibly conscripted an enemy NPC simply because we liked his accent. That... didn't turn out so well.
Karilyn 18th May 2013, 7:03 AM edit delete reply
My character Inky Quills did stupid amounts of things for the NPCs Stylus and Treachery. The former is easy to explain, Inky Quills was in love with Stylus, so it made sense in-character for Inky to throw her life on the line for Stylus.

The latter one is more out-of-character personal reasons. Treachery in many ways was my pet project; she became my campaign goal. I wanted to figure out a way to make her betray Mephisto and join us. And I was determined to make sure nothing stood in my path. (Considering she wound up being my favorite pony character, even above any of the show characters, I'd say it was worth it). So throwing my character's life on the line for her to achieve my end goal was only natural.
Belze 18th May 2013, 6:30 PM edit delete reply
Well my favorite char of all time Captain Colin has gone trough great lengths protect the NPC part of his crew.
He has done things like going back to an orc village (he hates orcs) just to make sure everyone got out fine.
given up the chance to throw some fancy pants elfs with a giant battleship off his boat simply because the two NPC's wouldn't be able to survive the battle.
and he feels no remorse for having doomed the world to eternal frost because some guardians of some stone killed an fake leprechaun that had been part of the crew for 2 hours because the barbarian liked him.
Steven 18th May 2013, 7:27 PM Eainix edit delete reply
I managed to make NPCs in a coating I ran once that my PCs cared enough about to attempt to romance them. As such I had to play the part of the girl in not one but 2 separate dates with two separate PCs as 2 separate NPCs. Safe to say it was...interesting.
The Captain 18th May 2013, 7:51 PM edit delete reply
The Captain
Some of my players have formed loving relationships with some of the NPCs. Those NPCs now travel with us in the party and are controlled by the players who are in relationships with them. I've seen many a time when my players will sacrifice their own primary character for their, former NPC, secondary character.

I mean, they would have to do that in-character anyways because that's how the whole loving relationship thing works, but it gives me, the DM, a load of fun ways to mess with the players.
NotMe 18th May 2013, 8:35 PM edit delete reply
My party colets npc's like pokemon. Anyone that stands out one of us yells "I want it as a pet!" And someone swinging an axe at your head stands out, so every single boss we have fought so far in this campaign is now our pet. We now have a "good" undead army, a "good" demon army, a "good" robot army and the DM has a new drinking problem. All in one night, too.
JSchunx 19th May 2013, 2:22 AM edit delete reply
My brother made a one-off orc warrior his pet project. Said warrior was weak and had a poor grasp on common, but he groomed him for leadership and helped the orc take command of his tribe.

In return, the orc became a member of my brother's organization and proved that, while he was pathetically weak for an orc, he had an incredibly quick mind. His tribe went from raiding farms for food to protecting the same farms in exchange for food and money, and at the same time gaining fame for their heroics.
Mordenheim 18th May 2013, 6:45 AM edit delete reply
Meh, I meant to post this on the previous discussions for Raxon, but was too late...

Here ya go, guys. A little SSP for me. XD

Mane Six Armagedon Hell in a Cell!
Raxon 18th May 2013, 7:02 AM edit delete reply
Hee hee! All you need now is Spike as Masked Dog, and you're golden!
Mordenheim 18th May 2013, 7:38 AM edit delete reply
Actually, in later vids, I have Discord, King Sombra, Shining Armor, Prince Blueblood, Fancypants. I should have made a Spike.... Bluh...

But yeah, it's an ongoing show now. :)
Zuche 18th May 2013, 10:45 AM edit delete reply
Cute. A shame about AJ's haircut, but I liked how you adapted to places where you couldn't get the character names pronounced. The cartwheels were a nice touch, as was the apparent jitteriness in Fluttershy's approach. I can't comment much on the fight because I just can't track six targets simultaneously. Concentration is a
Mordenheim 18th May 2013, 2:53 PM edit delete reply
*snickers* That's too awesome! I miss that old show. :)
Mordenheim 18th May 2013, 2:52 PM edit delete reply
"Cute. A shame about AJ's haircut, but I liked how you adapted to places where you couldn't get the character names pronounced. The cartwheels were a nice touch, as was the apparent jitteriness in Fluttershy's approach. I can't comment much on the fight because I just can't track six targets simultaneously. "

Thank you! Sorry if so many was a little too much. I like the one-on-one matches better as well, they look better and are much easier to follow. I just wanted to showcase the mane six an this was the best way to do it. :)
Zuche 18th May 2013, 8:10 PM edit delete reply
Oh, no, don't worry about that. You made the right decision. I'm just admitting to a personal failing.
Mordenheim 19th May 2013, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
Well, there's a TON of other videos there you might enjoy. :)

The more recent ones even have the male and female characters competing as equals against one another. :)

Such as a few matches in here:
Jorlem 18th May 2013, 7:13 AM edit delete reply
I couldn't read the title of today's comic without being reminded of this:
Falchus 18th May 2013, 10:38 AM edit delete reply
I've never actually considered this before now. It really shines a light on how to progress with campaigns.

However, being captured by a cult in Dark Heresy is unlikely to go well, intentional or not...
Guest 18th May 2013, 6:05 PM edit delete reply
Mostly everything in Dark Heresy is unlikely to go well.
Raxon 19th May 2013, 11:19 AM edit delete reply
That depends on how much high grade explosives you have concealed within your body.
Jennith 18th May 2013, 10:48 AM edit delete reply
Did you seriously make a Protomen reference in a My Little Pony comics? <3!
Raxon 18th May 2013, 4:13 PM edit delete reply
Jorlem 18th May 2013, 6:31 PM edit delete reply
I know! Look at the link I posted earlier. :D
Raxon 18th May 2013, 8:02 PM edit delete reply
My favorite song is the one that plays when they show up to test you and make sure you're ready to face lord Wily.

Can you believe I used to think that was all one guy? It makes it so much cooler when there's a whole elite corps of them!
Newbiespud 18th May 2013, 9:10 PM edit delete reply
Actually... the title's a reference to something else. I hadn't even considered Protomen. Your reference is much cooler, though.

This kind of thing is happening worryingly often.
Raxon 18th May 2013, 9:57 PM edit delete reply
When you paint a picture, it is a simple thing. When one person sees your picture, it grows in complexity, because each person will find something new in your work.

Your comic starts out each morning so simple, and it grows more complex and beautiful through the input and study of many.

Here's a singing toilet.
Zuche 20th May 2013, 8:29 AM edit delete reply
I thought it was a reference to Flander's Fields. I... still don't get the connection, though. Are we going to go from one late Canadian's verses to another's, with you quoting "Underground" next time?
Bronymous 18th May 2013, 1:44 PM edit delete reply
In my game, one of the Players did manage to get herself kidnapped, and depending on how she played it it might have been really damn advantageous for her... if the player didn't disappear without a trace shortly thereafter. Really kind of pulled the plug on a lot of neat encounters and plot devices.
Moonrush 18th May 2013, 7:42 PM edit delete reply
I ended up being obsessed with an NPC because the GM had stolen her from one of my fanfics. Luckily he ignored the part where she was a giant demonic shapeshifting dragon with a glamour similar to Cthulhu's (except much more temporary and the insanity was more like catatonia) so all we had was a rude but flirty white-haired girl trying to ruin the party's lifes. And I helped.

On the kidnapping subject, one of the group took a character flaw of looking very kidnappable (it works by him being Fluttershy-brand shy and skittish), but as he used those points to be the toughest sparkle-shadow-crystal mage ever (that campaign had magic working like getting an infinite array of weapons to choose from, you pick the thing you want to abuse every time you attack and you stick with it) the kidnapping attempts rarely lasted long enough for us to need to save him.
_R_ 19th May 2013, 2:24 AM edit delete reply
Hmm...this time, it seems like Rarity is going to use trickery instead of Stealth for a change. Is that called Charisma?
The Captain 19th May 2013, 10:18 AM edit delete reply
The Captain
Yeah, that'd fall under the ability of Charisma and then since she's probably gonna lie her way through it, that'd be bluff, which is a skill under the Charisma category.
_R_ 19th May 2013, 2:52 PM edit delete reply
Oh! Thanks for informing me. Seems like they're actually gonna get good rolls for once-
Also, I just noticed. If Spike's imaginations are shown, how is it going to turn out? Plus, if Spike almost kisses AJ, wouldn't AJ's player be angry, considering she's a human being?
Mordenheim 19th May 2013, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
Actually in my old campaign, I ha more trouble with the PLAYERS kidnapping my major NPC's, usually derailing the adventure in the process...

My most-used line was: "And you guys call yourselves heroes?!"
aerion111 19th May 2013, 4:03 PM edit delete reply
Wait, people still call themselves heroes in DnD?
I thought everyone just went by 'adventurer' nowadays.
I certainly wouldn't call any of the last 5 groups I've been in 'heroic' - 3 Chaotic Neutral groups made up of mostly Neutral Good members, 1 straight-out-evil pirate group, and 1 borderline-good group that still ended up more 'hard-working guard' than 'hero' - for the distinction, keep in mind that RL cops sometimes get tempted to take a few short-cuts to make sure the criminals get caught. Heroes don't really do that sort of stuff.
Mordenheim 19th May 2013, 5:20 PM edit delete reply
Sorry, an old graymane here...

The old campaign I'm referring to is from the late 80's. XD
Digo 19th May 2013, 7:15 PM edit delete reply
Well, going by the Serenity definition, a Hero is someone who gets other people killed. :3
sunbeam 19th May 2013, 9:21 PM edit delete reply
Which fits most adventurers perfectly.
The Captain 19th May 2013, 9:51 PM edit delete reply
The Captain
It's not an adventure unless someone dies!
Zuche 20th May 2013, 8:46 AM edit delete reply
Peter Pan referred to that as a grand adventure, but I'm pretty sure he'd disagree with death as a prerequisite to adventure.

Just had to note that. It seemed an appropriate response to The Captain.
aerion111 20th May 2013, 8:46 AM edit delete reply
Going by certain psychological studies, a hero is actually a psychopath who decided to help people instead of hurt them.
Zuche 20th May 2013, 8:44 AM edit delete reply
Hero is an easy label. The chaotic route lends itself to larger than life figures that leave a mark on the world in brief but glorious lives. The conservative route seeks to reverse the damage the chaotics are apt to create. The good route lends itself to unwavering ideals even in the face of hopeless odds. The pragmatic route is entirely concerned with the goal, regardless of means.

...For example.
Raxon 20th May 2013, 10:01 AM edit delete reply
I tend to use the label hero thusly; A champion is a top dog, a mighty warrior who is loyal to a patron or country. This would be your knight in shining armor.

A hero, on the other hand, is like a champion, but has not sworn to serve any particular patron or country. The peasantry likes heroes, because, in many cases, it is beneath the champion's notice to deal with a small nest of goblins causing trouble for a small farming village. The royals and patrons, in general, especially those who have champions, do not like heroes, because they cannot be reliably commanded.

This tends to manifest as "Tell you what. Work for me." "Nope." "Damn it McGuinness! You're a loose cannon! Turn in your badge!" "I don't have a badge." "What!? How dare you!? Who do you serve?" "I serve no patron or country." "Get out of my sight!!"
Zuche 20th May 2013, 11:07 AM edit delete reply
This reminds me of the difference some give between warrior and soldier.
Raxon 20th May 2013, 6:59 PM edit delete reply
I do, in fact, use such distinctions, and it was sorta based on the concept.

Captain America is a Champion. Spiderman is a hero.

Cap is a soldier. Spidey is a warrior.
Anvildude 21st May 2013, 8:13 AM edit delete reply
What's interesting, though, is that Cap is actually more of a Champion of an Ideal than of particular people- as shown by the Civil War arc. Ironman, on the other hand, is a Champion of Industry, and by extension, Order/Law, though he sees himself as a Hero.
Jorlem 21st May 2013, 10:12 PM edit delete reply
No, a hero is someone who accomplishes great things, who makes himself larger than life. No moral standard involved.

(Yay, Exalted!)
randonimity 21st May 2013, 4:42 AM edit delete reply
It's not quite D&D but in a forum-based RPG I'm in, there have been metaplots (plural and more than I can count on one hand) involving the kidnapping/pseudo-death/perma-death of either beloved or hated NPCs. It's honestly gotten quite ridiculous and predictable that if the NPC in danger is in any way loved by the majority (usually ooc-lly) it means they die. And the ones everyone hates (either ic-lly or ooc-lly) survives to torment every PC for out-of-player's-hands incompetence.
guy 8th May 2014, 6:19 AM edit delete reply
Oh, so it's being run by Joss Whedon.