Page 660 - Lifting the Screen

15th Oct 2015, 6:00 AM in The Last Roundup
<<First Latest>>
Lifting the Screen
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
<<First Latest>>

Author Notes:

Newbiespud 15th Oct 2015, 6:00 AM edit delete
In which the DM gets an overdue heartfelt monologue that's not exposition or a rant or in a character's voice and no one reads it because it's way too long.

It's been a crappy week, not gonna lie. Want to share some of my pain? The second The Quivering livestream recording just went up. It ends... unconventionally, I'll tell you that.

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



Digo 15th Oct 2015, 6:06 AM edit delete reply
Yay, more Quivering!!

One a rare occasion I've had to come forward and ask my players what it is they're trying to do with the story rails. I think the most memorable one was that they wanted to Teleport across the continent to reach an old abandoned tower of the BBEG. It wasn't anything I planned the party to get to any time soon, but they really seemed to want to go there.

I did have to make it clear that their method of getting ported over was rather one-way, AND that there's no guarantee that what they find in there will be remotely fair (helloooo 15 round mini-boss fight against golems on uneven collapsed flooring).

They had fun though, so I can't argue against the results.
Winged Cat 15th Oct 2015, 1:23 PM edit delete reply
Not too long ago, I had to ask my players which way they wanted the campaign to go. It's a smaller example - there are two plots that need to be dealt with, but they can go in either order.

Good thing I asked, because they took what I'd incorrectly guessed would be the second plot, asked for that first, and promptly twisted it into a third sub-plot that will need resolving before either of the two main plots can be resumed.
Specter 15th Oct 2015, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
This is the kind of page that kind of makes me want to cry. It's also a great one to wake up to. Yay.

Edit: Side note, do not sleep to whatever this was.
CCC 15th Oct 2015, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
...I must admit, I didn't expect that twist. I wonder if Hurricane Fluttershy will come back again later or not?

And I think I like this DM's honesty here.
Digo 15th Oct 2015, 7:56 AM edit delete reply
Honest DMs are something that should be common.
Disloyal Subject 15th Oct 2015, 12:19 PM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Honesty is important, but a certain amount of secrecy is good too.
This GM seems to have struck a pretty good balance.
Digo 15th Oct 2015, 6:50 PM edit delete reply
Secrecy is fine! I'm good with secrecy. I mean honesty as in the GM doesn't like... "bait and switch" you with plots or take a ruling partway into the campaign and change it on you which then breaks part of your character concept. That kind of dishonesty with the rules I mean.
Guest 16th Oct 2015, 3:31 AM edit delete reply
they are for the most part now honest players :P that's a treasure

"what +5 crossbow of endless bolts I don't see no +5 crossbow of infinite bolts the one in my hand nah that's a +5 crossbow of endlessbolts totally different"
Kira 16th Oct 2015, 3:31 AM edit delete reply
they are for the most part now honest players :P that's a treasure

"what +5 crossbow of endless bolts I don't see no +5 crossbow of infinite bolts the one in my hand nah that's a +5 crossbow of endlessbolts totally different"
Mykin 15th Oct 2015, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
I've been thinking this for the last few pages and it's about time I say it: Why are they so obsessed with figuring out what is up with AJ?? They know the AJ (the player) isn't there and the DM needed a reason to not have the character around for the session. Why are they pushing so hard to figure out what happened to her and help her out when it is obvious that it should be left alone? Especially since their actions might end up with AJ having to deal with a mess she wouldn't have been in if they had just gone along with things as planned.

I don't know, I've just never had any real good experiences when a player is gone for a period of time and everyone decides to mess around with the player's character during that time. Heck, in my FOE group, one of the characters ended up in jail for a few sessions because we tried to have him do something useful while the player was away and he was still in jail by the time the player came back.

Not angry or anything like that. This just confuses me and I'm trying to understand their thinking/motivation here.
Luna 15th Oct 2015, 7:14 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, that's what annoys me with that story arc. Though I agree with part of what the GM is saying there, especially about not trying to get the players back to the rails no matter what, this is the one case, in my opinion and experience as a GM, where you actually need to get the player not so much "back on track", but rather "away from the character whose player is missing".

As a rule of thumb, when I GM, if a player is not there for a session, his or her character should not be involved in the game unless said player agreed to it beforehand, which AJ didn't do there.

Instead of telling them "you can have fun no matter what", I think the GM should have explain "I sent AJ away because the player is not there, so please let's just leave at that and do something else and unrelated, even if you don't go back to your initial plan".
Archeo Lumiere 15th Oct 2015, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
They're dedicatedly in character. The ponies would be worried for their friend, so the players are actively tugging on the story threads to see what makes it unravel.
Digo 15th Oct 2015, 8:00 AM edit delete reply
On the other hoof, certain situations could end up causing problems for the character of the absentee and thus for the absentee player when they return. Like with Mykin's example that the PC ended up in jail.

I had an instance where the party ended up getting the character of the absentee player Killed. The player had an important reason to miss the session, and it seems unfair to kill his character when he was away. So situations like this have to be carefully handled.
Evilbob 15th Oct 2015, 11:02 AM edit delete reply
I think... I think that since it was in-character as well as appropriate for the characters to be worried about their friend and pursue that course, it's perfectly okay for the players to pursue that action. As the GM noted though, it would be necessary for them to clearly let the GM know their intention so he can stop having to make unnecessary preparations. (It's okay, GM! You can save those fliers stats for another time!)

Like Digo said, messing with the absentee character is totally fine... IF the GM has alternate plans to adequately handle things. The main thing unfair to the absentee players is that once they get back, they'll have nothing to do if the GM hadn't appropriately planned to handle things.

For example, for the jailed character, that player had nothing to do because it was an inescapable jail; all the GM had to do was make it so the guards made mistakes and leave the character unshackled/unlocked. Moreover, since the jail was completely impromptu, and the Stable guards probably had less-than-ideal training for these situations, that's even more easily explained away.

And "getting killed"? Well. I think we've all witnesses of enough Marvel and other surprising plot twists to know that there are creative ways around that too:
-Did the other characters actually see the character die?
-Are the other characters in possession of enough medical/magical knowledge to know the difference between irreversible death, death-like unconsciousness, or mere unconsciousness?
-How certain are the other players that what they witnessed wasn't the death of a doppelganger, or an illusion???

The GM's done an amazing job of rolling with the punches. And honestly, there's nothing that can't be done if the GM is aware of circumstances before they happen so they can prepare for it. If the story's better told by keeping a particular character under lockdown for a couple of sessions though, it'd also be imperative for the GM to notify the player of such.
Digo 15th Oct 2015, 6:51 PM edit delete reply
The characters pushed the absentee PC into a trap in hopes that the trap was properly disarmed by the rogue.

It wasn't. :o

I had to fudge all the dice rolls.
Cliff Snowpeak 15th Oct 2015, 8:39 PM edit delete reply
I once had a player (let's call him Bill) who wanted to play an artificer and another player (let's call him Tim) who was adamant that artificers were far too broken to be allowed. I think their argument lasted three hours.

Finally, seeing that the other players were done building their characters and they were still arguing, I had to put a stop to it. I basically said that while the artificer is an incredibly powerful class, and while Bill was very good at making powerful characters, I also trusted Bill to put the team first, to share his abilities with his party members, and to not hog the spotlight. Heck, he'd once created a shape-shifting wizard that was designed as a support character. If Bill wanted to put in the time and effort required to play an artificer (which involves a *lot* of meticulous bookkeeping), then I was going to let him.

The campaign turned out great. Tim still doesn't like the artificer class, but he quickly realized his fears were misplaced, since Bill focused most of his time on making custom gear for the party.
Mijal 16th Oct 2015, 4:44 AM edit delete reply
It really depends on the atmosphere and preferred setup at the table. My players are mostly adults with complicated "real" lives, so I try to recruit a couple more players than I need knowing that someone's going to be missing almost every session.

Then we have a frank conversation during the campaign setup where I explicitly say that characters will appear and disappear when their players can/can't make it, and we're all going to just roll with that, accept it, and ignore it rather than trying to bend over backwards coming up with in-character reasons for it. Of course, I also give xp and loot to absent characters because I'm not punishing people for not being able to come, but this is just how I prefer to run my table based on the people I'm playing with.
ANW 15th Oct 2015, 6:19 AM edit delete reply
To all DMs, GMs, and all other M's out there.
Have you ever had a heartfelt talk with your fellow players?
Luna 15th Oct 2015, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
Actually, yeah. Usually when a player is not satisfied with something in the campaign or session, depending on the circumstances, I don't hesitate to put the game on hold to sort the issue out. In my opinion, proper communication between the GM and the players is key to a good game and can avoid some unecessary issues down the road. ^^;

Doesn't mean I'll comply to whatever they have complain with, sometimes I make my point and that help them realize that there is some reason why things go that way and even if they dislike it, there's still consistency out there.
Digo 15th Oct 2015, 8:05 AM edit delete reply
I've had it the other way around-- I as a player having a heartfelt talk with my GM when I felt completely unsatisfied with the adventure/campaign.

Unsatisfied as in, the adventure was skewed where my character could not contribute or meaningfully succeed in any way. For example, say the boss was capable of flying. Anyone with flight or ranged attacks could fight the boss, but my character was denied ranged weaponry and thus could not do anything other than watch.
terrycloth 15th Oct 2015, 12:19 PM edit delete reply
Usually it's a bad thing when I do. "Okay, I notice that none of you are participating or saying anything. Do we want to end this campaign and have someone else run a completely different system?"

We did get the 'you are going off the rails and I have no idea how to handle what you're trying to do' speech from a GM once.
Winged Cat 15th Oct 2015, 1:44 PM edit delete reply
Absolutely. It's rare, but it happens - both as GM and as player. More often, I'll notice one or two of the players are not participating much, and ask them about it.

There was this one time where my GM was running combat so horribly (3-way party split where each party was in combat at the same time, taking over an hour to look up and debate a single ruling in one of the combats, and so on), that I offered to run a 3-session combat-heavy mini-campaign just to demonstrate how combat should be run, including many tricks designed to make things run faster and smoother. (Sure, many of the tricks could be simply described - and had been, but the GM still wasn't doing them right.) My offer was taken up, and afterward most of the players said it was one of the better campaigns they'd played in recently.
Kereminde 16th Oct 2015, 10:02 PM edit delete reply

Primarily, I did it to let players sitting at my table know I was not going to tolerate two things:

- PvP for fun and profit. There is literally no reason to keep playing if the players are going to try to kill, steal, or otherwise incapacitate each others' characters over treasure. Or bragging rights. Or revenge for slights real/IC or imagined/OOC.

- Going "lone wolf" constantly. If you want a single player game, Oblivion/Skyrim is at home. Constantly ditching the party to go do your own thing, even if in character, leaves little reason for you to actually be there at the table.

I had to have this talk when I kept having parties who wanted to always be the one in the spotlight and consistently would have characters die alone. In one case, they pretty much got a rogue PC locked in jail forever, until he tried to escape and another PC shot him with arrows until he died. "He was clearly a criminal like the bandits, and thus a valid opponent, so how much XP?"
j-eagle12212012 15th Oct 2015, 7:47 AM edit delete reply
*Spoiler Free Review*

Crusaders of the lost mark

First off that pun alone made this episode worth it ^_^

Now as for the episode itself, this was an awesome episode and for a 5 year to the day (Oct,10, 2010 Friendship is magic premiered . This episode aired Oct 10, 2015) aniversery it was impressive.
Character Developement wise this was the culmination of several characters journeys

I'm gonna be honest I cried during this episode and I know several youtube reactors cried as well so expect to cry when you watch the episode.

So at this point it is probably clear that I liked everything about this episode so narrowing it down to three things I liked about it without spoiling anything will be hard but here we go

1) Daniel Ingram's music and Amy Keating Rogers writting made this episode

2) I have never felt a more emotional Heel-face turn with a character in any show

3) Words where spoken at the end of the episode that confirmed what a lot of us have known for awhile but technicly have never been said until this episode. (Also the point where I cried)

Season 5 of MLP has been amazing so far and five years of pony has been wonderful and the friends I've made are amazing

Thank you My Little Pony Friendship is Magic for bringing us together and delivering amazing stories and wonderful characters. to five more years and than some
Digo 15th Oct 2015, 8:06 AM edit delete reply
It was certainly a cornerstone episode of the series.
Borg 15th Oct 2015, 8:18 AM edit delete reply
Were they, though? Words were spoken that IMPLIED what we've been pretty sure about for a while. But there are other interpretations. I can cite [augh how do I insert a link with text, so it won't be spoilers? It's a thing that was posted on EqD on saturday, okay?], for one thing. (Spoilers)

I happen to believe that he's just trying to confuse the issue, but either way I'm not willing to claim absolute certainty on you-know-what.
Digo 15th Oct 2015, 8:58 AM edit delete reply
The line used is a common one when you want to imply a specific state. I think it was chosen because the idea is so that the grownups would pick up on the meaning, yet it's vague enough so it goes over the heads of most young children.
j-eagle12212012 15th Oct 2015, 9:01 AM edit delete reply
"Implied but open to interpritation"
I would agree if not for the expressions of the others that where there... they where happy for the ocassion but sad at the same time when the words where spoken, confirming what has been known since the writers and animators pointed out a scene in a season 3 episode was what we thought...
Albedoequals1 15th Oct 2015, 9:18 AM edit delete reply
I would agree that the episode was very good, but I don't think that particular heel-face turn quite worked in just 20 minutes. The other main characters were totally awesome though, and I've been expecting that exact final punchline since season 2.
EEK 15th Oct 2015, 11:32 AM edit delete reply
2.) Yeah, that hit me pretty hard, I do like the Freudian excuse given as well.

3.) Yeah that's pretty much where I lost it, I always loose it around this subject since I can empathize. Hardest cry I've had in a while too

Also (Note possible spoilers Viewer digression is advised)

Have we seen Rarity/Sweetie Belle's parents since that one ep in season one, I don't think they appeared during the final number here, or did I just miss em
j-eagle12212012 16th Oct 2015, 5:23 PM edit delete reply
Rarity and Sweetie belles parents where not there this episode that I saw anyway... but my vision was a little watery at the time so I can't say for sure
EEK 16th Oct 2015, 5:37 PM edit delete reply
I can empathize with that feeling, though now that little detail is going to bug me
Disloyal Subject 15th Oct 2015, 12:24 PM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Rogers' writing will be missed.
Hariman 15th Oct 2015, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
... I read the speech.

It was nothing compared to In Wily's Defense, which is arguably Wall O Text The Comic at times.
Philadelphus 15th Oct 2015, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, don't worry Spud, it's not that long.
Winged Cat 15th Oct 2015, 2:02 PM edit delete reply
What they said. I have seen much wallier.
ksclaw 15th Oct 2015, 11:43 AM edit delete reply
I read through, and honestly? It felt good that DM got to say their peace, instead of the others just brushing over it. I hope this is something they'll keep in mind in the future.
Disloyal Subject 15th Oct 2015, 12:30 PM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Ah, that one's timeless. A pity that copy skips over the bits in between.
Specter 15th Oct 2015, 12:32 PM edit delete reply
*After no longer being tired*

I want to see that spread sheet, cause it sounds like something I would do in my spare time.
HopeFox 16th Oct 2015, 4:55 AM edit delete reply
In my groups, whether I've been a player or the GM, it's always been considered part of the unwritten contract of the game that when the GM shows you the rails, you follow them. You can walk, take a train, use one of those hand-carts, capture some wild camels and ride them, or whatever, but you follow the rails.

That is, you pursue the adventure hooks the GM presents to you. If you come up with a completely novel strategy for approaching the adventure, then it's up to the GM to roll with it, but you don't ignore adventure hooks. That's just rude.
silvadel 16th Oct 2015, 12:09 PM edit delete reply
Well, it seems that Rainbow Dash is going to ruin the weather here as well when Ponyville does NOT manage to succeed to fill Cloudsdale's water tank.
Archone 16th Oct 2015, 9:01 PM edit delete reply
I've had talks like that with players... mainly because I tell them up front, "I'm going to keep you on rails. But I'm going to build them in the direction you want to go - so YOU tell ME where you want to go, and then I can plan accordingly." Literally, I wait for them to tell me where they want to take things, and then I build enough rail for a few sessions. Less aggravation for all sides.

I had a story arc in a Shadowrun campaign end with a rather unintelligent courier getting his brains blasted by a sniper right while the team was interrogating him; the sniper was sending a message to the team about poking their nose into Tamanous' organlegging business. Then I told them OOCly, "right now you guys are not being paid to go up against Tamanous. If you do, you will face extremely tough challenges, they will do their best to turn you into spare parts to sell, and you will make your income by looting and other means. If you'd rather, you can go back to getting work from a Johnson and Tamanous will assume you took the hint. I can go either way, but you need to tell me what the next adventure will be."
Kereminde 16th Oct 2015, 10:06 PM edit delete reply
I had my most recent campaign do character creation with the addendum they had to have a long-term goal they were working towards. This meant I had an idea what rails to lay down, but instead of making them follow it . . . I had sort of a network of rails and dropped them at a station with a "infinite free rides" pass. And if they ignored a path which was time-sensitive? Well, it went on without them. You didn't want to go down and deal with those orcs? Been rampaging across the province while you were chasing a vampire out of a tomb. Felt like chasing the big plot instead of dealing with a problem closer to home? Well, wait for your homecoming, gentlemen . . .
Beard 7th Dec 2015, 4:19 PM edit delete reply
Gotta say this seems awfully unfair to Applejack's player.

In my group we have a "don't worry about it" rule; if a player can't make a session they're just not there. It seems super rude to me to make a player who can't make the game because of real life concerns suffer consequences in-game because of that.
MisterTeatime 22nd Dec 2015, 5:51 AM edit delete reply
When Applejack gets back she's going to smack you all.