Page 427 - How You Play the Game

12th Apr 2014, 6:00 AM in Intermission 4
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How You Play the Game
Average Rating: 5 (5 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 12th Apr 2014, 6:00 AM edit delete
Author: Lyntermas

Guest Author’s Note: "At some point, you have to look past the statistics, DCs and min-maxing and try to remember that, ultimately, the point of any game is to have fun.

Whether or not that kind of fun involves shooting a fireball at that rogue who tried to sneak away with your share of the treasure is entirely up to you."

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



Specter 12th Apr 2014, 6:04 AM edit delete reply

Despite the fact that I have never really gave up (died over 100 times now total), I should really show this page to some players I know. I give this page a 11/10 for spirit and grace.
Darkside 12th Apr 2014, 8:31 AM edit delete reply
This actually got me thinking about how few of my characters actually finished the campaign they were in. One of my first got killed because I'm a terrible Sorcerer (especially if I'm a half-dragon with a spear), four or five were left behind in favour of a new character I wanted to try (one in particular because she wasn't doing damage at all), and pretty much all the rest got started and then the campaign just never went anywhere.

Oh, and the second -to-latest campaign had one die because of a lucky roll when a kraken jumped out of the water and ate him off the back of the dragon he was riding.
Sunbeam 12th Apr 2014, 9:55 AM edit delete reply
Dude, I would kill for a death as badass as being eaten off dragonback by a flying Kraken. I've been taken hostage by Vecna and I didn't get that cool of a death scene.
Guest 12th Apr 2014, 11:52 AM edit delete reply
My current record for characters generated/characters alive/campaigns finished is at a solid 12/12/0. My groups just never go past three sessions. I have almost memorized character creation for most base classes.

At this point we've all agreed they will never go anywhere so we just try to wreck them as fast as possible and see where it goes.

As of the closing of Session One, Campaign Twelve: Mysteriously Mystical Magical Mexican Meth Masters, I just woke up after recovering from ingesting half my body weight in powdered dragon egg and breaking the sound barrier with my pupil dilation, and another player is currently breaking out of jail and starting a socialist revolution to overthrow the government in his own name. The last guy is just drowning himself in the wicked plumbing maze I built around him while on that powder high. We all have our ways of coping with stress, I guess.
Jun 14th Apr 2014, 1:23 AM edit delete reply
I've honestly never finished a campaign either. Came close once, but games usually piddle off after a bit. I did once die from orbital bombardment by a group of ships, ordered by one of my team mates.
Said team mate reallllllly hated cat people.
Digo 14th Apr 2014, 7:45 AM edit delete reply
In my group I'd say about... 40% of our campaigns finish proper. Usually they are mine and I suspect that is because I write up an end goal to the campaign. Most other GMs just have the hook and early layout but keep going until it peters out and we play something else.

Two of my campaigns that didn't end had good endings in mind, but unfortunately most of the players left the group because of bad life events:

1. The Teen Titans game I ran played out like a season (13 adventures forming a story arc). It "ended" with the team's favorite Mentor getting killed by the BBEG and one NPC member of the Titans joining the evil side. There was going to be a second season of 13 episodes of the remaining titans stopping the BBEG and his formed evil legion. We only played out the first episode of season 2 before the group had to disband.

2. A D&D game where a war between two nations was ongoing and the PCs were helping the good side win. I borrowed a lot of ideas from "The Red Hand of Doom" module and it was going well. Sadly, the players had life events force a disband when the campaign was 80% the way through.
kriss1989 12th Apr 2014, 12:07 PM edit delete reply
One player in Rogue Trader dies every session just through sheer bad luck. It's gotten to the point that he has a stack of character sheets ready to go once he dies. But every death has been memorable in one way or another, and he has three times now died saving the ship/party. We joke that he hasn't made a character badass enough to survive his play style yet. Dream on my friends, dream on.
Dragonflight 13th Apr 2014, 6:31 PM edit delete reply
Heh. I didn't have any characters die by Kraken, but it just reminded me of a combat in a game I was GM'ing, where the PC's were trying to stop the ubiquitous demon invasion. The bad guys had created this really fragile crystal sphere which, when broken, acted like a teleport 20' radius which sent anything inside the zone into the campaign BBEG demon's portion of Hell for "processing."

Anyway, the PC's are stuck in a flooded dungeon which is messed up because of a gate someone left open to the plane of water. A giant Kraken starts attacking them through the gate, getting part of itself across in its determination.

One of the PC's throws the hellglobe at it, and because it will teleport a minimum of 1 creature, the ENTIRE KRAKEN gets dropped into the BBEG demon's realm.

I figured the demons who usually process the random victims who get sent there would have had about five seconds of "OH SH--" before the kraken started tearing the place up. It was a beautiful sequence.
Joural 13th Apr 2014, 10:48 PM edit delete reply
Died a hundred times?

What, did your DM run you through tomb of horrors once?
Specter 14th Apr 2014, 7:34 AM edit delete reply
No, most deaths revolves between friendly-fire, bad rolls, biting off more then I can chew, and a lot of sacraficing oneself for the greater good.

Best sacrafice was I jumping infront of a demon firebomb thing to protect my party and the fallen angel we were protecting, 5 feet from the demon. Both of our souls were destroyed (can't revive/ reaccuring villian be gone). DM was angry for the loss of his main protaganist, but happy at least one hero was now gone. For now >:)
Digo 14th Apr 2014, 7:47 AM edit delete reply
Friendly Fire is the most un-friendly death-inducing issue I see whenever my group plays Shadowrun. Too many players get "Grenade happy" without thinking about just how far a grenade blast goes.
AABaker 15th Apr 2014, 2:56 AM edit delete reply
To date I've only had two characters die. The first was after I had issues with the DM, resulting in him killing my character off. The second could have been avoided, but was totally in character. Let's just say that when a succubus soul kisses over half your max HP away, it's not the ideal time for honor before reason.
DoubleCross 12th Apr 2014, 6:42 AM edit delete reply
D'aaaaaaaawwww that was cute<3
Raxon 12th Apr 2014, 10:17 AM edit delete reply
It was cute, but not Woona in socks cute. We need heartfelt scenes involving little fillies, STAT!
Lyntermas 12th Apr 2014, 12:11 PM edit delete reply
Glad you enjoyed it, DoubleCross.

Raxon, we've over this: Cuteness is a volatile mixture. It has to be carefully rationed, otherwise it spills everywhere and people start getting diabetes.
Philadelphus 12th Apr 2014, 12:38 PM edit delete reply
I'll second that, that was quite a heartwarming strip today. Well done Lynt!
Raxon 12th Apr 2014, 1:22 PM edit delete reply
But that's the whole plan, Digo! We must keep them dependant on insulin, so that if they get out of control, we can stop supplying it. I got the idea from Jurassic Park.

That worked out perfectly, after all, right? I mean, the lawyer and the traitor died, but all the good guys will be fine. And I'll be okay, too, cause it was my plan, and Hammond made it out okay. Without humans, all the dinosaurs died out!
Digo 12th Apr 2014, 2:09 PM edit delete reply
Uh... were you talking to me or Lyntermas? I know I'm a pretty good changeling, but sometimes I'm amazed at just who I'm mistaken for. :3
Raxon 12th Apr 2014, 4:03 PM edit delete reply
Driving and texting leads to mistakes. Today I learned this, and I will never do it again until I do because some things are super important.
Digo 14th Apr 2014, 7:48 AM edit delete reply
Points for honesty I guess?
Raxon 14th Apr 2014, 9:08 PM edit delete reply
Delivering subversive messages to children is a hobby of mine. Too bad you can't see some of the terrible life advice I've given.

I am a firm believer in weeding out the stupid ones early and often. Or at least marking them in a way that is readily apparent.
ANW 12th Apr 2014, 6:45 AM edit delete reply
This isn't just a page, it's a lesson worth learning.
So for today,I'll start the story.
Have you ever learn a life lesson from a d&d game?
Specter 12th Apr 2014, 7:40 AM edit delete reply
Digo 12th Apr 2014, 7:45 AM edit delete reply
Don't think I have. I certainly learned a bit more about my friends though, as part of RPing is putting a part of yourself into your character. :)
seanpony renaud 12th Apr 2014, 9:13 AM edit delete reply
Play the hand God dealt you and hope for the best. You have to understand. Dice HATE me with the fiery passion of one million suns. It's legendary. (Actually D20's and me are cool) but I had a character once where his highest stat was a 13 and he had three sevens. This was back in 2nd edition where armor went from 10 to -10, My guy had to wear armor to GET to a 10 AC.

I ended up spending an afternoon watching Xena: Warrior Princess and crafting the character after Joxer completely with theme song.
TheStratovarian 13th Apr 2014, 4:02 PM edit delete reply
A fellow in our pony rpg has this unfortunate problem. Yet, for all the bad rolls, and joshing. He's the most liked person in group, (though makes fluttershy look outgoing) landed fan art (warning, rainbows, but sfw , and even the element of loyalty despite rarely saying more than a few words in character.

Given that this game you get improvement by dice failure, he's better than us all for it, even if we offer our best to him in the rng department. But thats half the fun of it. Yes, the dice fail you now and then, but its also a fun time. I look froward to playing on fridays for all the great honest fun with people I had no idea about. It makes for a super weekend, no matter how bad my week was. And im truly grateful for that.
Disloyal Subject 12th Apr 2014, 12:14 PM Lesson Learned edit delete reply
How about, "Work with what you have?" Whether trying to keep a game going with only half the players present or trying to find out just how many ways rope can be used to solve the present predicament, figuring out what your choices are helps pick one and follow today's comic's lesson.
Pathfinder 12th Apr 2014, 12:19 PM edit delete reply
I learned tons of stuff from statistics, public speaking, English language, optimization and many others that to be honest shaped my life and carrier in positive way. However "life lesson" seems a bit vague...I think I have one to be honest, even if it is depressing: Sometimes there is no only way for a group to work it to kick someone out. Several times when I GMed for different groups there was a guy/gal who was always late and unprepared, cheated constantly or just simply annoyed other players an me. Most GMs I know just tried working with guys like that because they were friends - but I learned that after talking didn't help just say - sorry you are not working well in this group. We are still friends but you can't play here anymore. And I learned it because... I was once kicked out of the group for general lack of team spirit (which I deserved). It helped me improve this aspect of myself too and I'm thankful for it.
Curb 13th Apr 2014, 7:38 AM edit delete reply
Only lessons I learned were never let my former party's mage cast fireball, ever! She always dropped it on creatures we were in engaged in melee with. Cost her two two alignment changes and at least one character change(I somehow mananged to survive, barely). And to just have freaking fun with it...if everyone is taking it too seriously, you are gaming with the wrong group.
Blues 13th Apr 2014, 7:53 AM edit delete reply
I guess if I've learned one thing from roleplaying, it's that I'm better at being social than I thought. I was a pretty lonely kid throughout grade school, and my first couple weeks of college weren't doing much better, since I wasn't fitting in with my hall mates. By luck I stumbled upon a D&D group and they said they wouldn't mind an extra player. I built myself a dancing dervish and didn't look back. That was the first campaign I played in that managed to go beyond two sessions, and we actually finished it.

After that I started playing in other games on campus. I really hit my stride when I started playing characters with face skills. While a lot of other people in my groups weren't interested in talking to NPCs, I got to really like it. Even when I tried playing aloof characters, I still ended up doing a lot of the talking and the questioning. And then after I graduated, I started working a sales job, and I realized that all the time I was getting good at Face skills in the game, I was getting good at it in real life.

So yeah... I learned how to really talk to people from roleplaying.
Joural 13th Apr 2014, 10:59 PM edit delete reply
If I've learned one thing from TTRPGs, it's that dice HATE me. Seriously, I've landed one attack thus far. I DM'd the tomb of horrors, and the fucking gargoyle died to a spike because it rolled a one to try and throw the Paladin into a pit, and then it fumbled every fortitude save until it hit zero Con. It was the dumbest thing I ever saw, but it had my party laughing their asses off.
Euric 13th Apr 2014, 11:25 PM edit delete reply
For me, it has re-enforced the fact that you can't get anything to happen (in my family anyway) without a boatloads of work, but its worth it.

Currently my gaming group is made up of me, my cousin, my sister and my brother.
LAZYNeku 12th Apr 2014, 7:04 AM edit delete reply
Finally decided to sign up and subscribe. Love the lesson.
Codeman 12th Apr 2014, 2:36 PM edit delete reply
Man this reminds me of most of my D&D career. I had a horrifyingly dreadful first few campaigns.

My first character was a cleric, that got his ass kicked by a weasel, (not dire just a weasel) and fell down a flight of stairs... multiple times, and fell down several pits.

My next character was a psion, that died three times in one campaign. Most of them were instant kills that I couldn't do much about.

Then came my Ravenloft characters, I burned through 2 characters in that one.

I felt completely useless 50% of the time as well. It was miserable sometimes.

But I'm really glad I stuck with it. Eventually things got, better and it no longer felt like the universe (and the DM) was conspiring against me. I had some great times playing and DMing (as well as some adventures that were completely and gloriously destroyed by my players).

Especially since if it wasn't for staying with D&D and every other P&P RPG, there would be a lot of friends out there that I would have never made. Which is what the games all about. God I love this game :)
NellzDaBlackKing 12th Apr 2014, 3:13 PM edit delete reply
*sniff sniff* Now that's what I call heartfelt. To me D&D is all about being with friends and being able to roleplay and use your imagination to its fullest. I'm glad I came across this game.
NeutralDemon 12th Apr 2014, 5:07 PM edit delete reply

Everyone who reads this gets a +2 morale bonus
redwings1340 12th Apr 2014, 5:43 PM edit delete reply
Lyntermas, awesome job on today's comic. I really like the lesson here. When we try to play games too seriously, we often forget to have fun in the process. Ultimate successes are incredibly sweet and amazing, but as long as you're laughing, failures can be just as amazing. Some of the best moments I've had in D+D is when I roll a nat 1, because usually the DM can make things backfire so much that it's really funny. I'm actually kind of strange in that way. Whenever I roll a nat 1 it's hilarious, but when I roll a nat 20 I feel guilty.

Still, D+D is a fun game, and playing it with friends is awesome. Regardless of whether you roll well or not, immersing yourself in a setting, getting in to the game and laughing a lot is the important part.
BrokenLogic 12th Apr 2014, 10:24 PM edit delete reply
Dang it, Lynt. I'm tearing up. This one and Digo's last one really went for the feels-organ.
Digo 14th Apr 2014, 7:50 AM edit delete reply
It does set up a nice double-whammy following my last page, doesn't it? I wonder if that was intentional by Spud?
Giggle Tail 13th Apr 2014, 6:41 AM edit delete reply
Giggle Tail
There is a great lesson in these last two pages.

I'll admit, over all the years I've played D&D, I have only had one of my characters die once, and it was a full party wipe (we all kind of screwed up on making a balanced party, and a lot of party members weren't even playing that session).

I'm REALLY terrible at D&D, mostly because my plans tend to be more designed to be fun and goofy than necessarily practical (though I do try to make them practical at the same just doesn't always work out like I was going for). But somehow, when push comes to shove, those crazy plans pay off when I have a really fun crowning moment of awesome :P
Evilbob dA 13th Apr 2014, 9:03 AM edit delete reply
REALLLYYYY??? I thought Tabletop RPGs were only an exercise in probability?? It's a game now?!?! This was NOT a mathematical experiment all along? Whhaaaaa?
Solitary Performance 14th Apr 2014, 9:02 AM edit delete reply
Am trying to figure out when Sweetie got my dice... I swear, they practically never roll about a 13, unless it is something trivial, where the low roll is plenty, then comes the 18s, 19s, and 20s.
crazyredemu aka Spiffy 14th Apr 2014, 11:40 PM edit delete reply
My current Kobold Rouge, Argent, had a game where nothing went right, he fell on his face 5 times, it was bad, but then the next game he did massive damage to an Owlbear and then survived being locked in a small room with a dragon (due to his knowledge of small near by town and having caused a time loop)