Page 664 - Mute As a Button

24th Oct 2015, 6:00 AM in The Last Roundup
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Mute As a Button
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 24th Oct 2015, 6:00 AM edit delete
Story of my life. Eventually, you just go with your instincts and don't ask questions when it comes to NPC quirks. Of course, if your party loves quirky one-shot NPCs and wants to see more of them, it can backfire massively.

Speaking of... Huzzah! Fallout is Dragons has returned!
Session 47 - Firelight Wakes: Libsyn YouTube

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



Outhra 24th Oct 2015, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
Story time! What was the best time when the party got attached to NPCs that were never intended to be important? Bonus points if that esteem gets an incidental character promoted to a recurring one.
Newbiespud 24th Oct 2015, 6:35 AM edit delete reply
If I had a dollar for every time in Fallout is Dragons an unimportant NPC became recurring and a named NPC got sidelined...

*looks at Patreon* Oh wait, I do.
Digo 24th Oct 2015, 8:17 AM edit delete reply
Never intended to be important... hmm, has it been long enough that my memory is fading on the NPCs I've had like this?

Oh, there was the captain of a pirate ship. The pirates were just intended as a one-off to help the PCs cross a sea, but the cleric ended up dating the captain and so he and his crew became reoccurring. The other PCs got attached to the ship, helping out and earning seamanship skills.
Solitary Performance 24th Oct 2015, 8:27 AM edit delete reply
I've got something close. One of my fellow players under a rather clueless DM I was running with in Job Corps, created a wizard character who followed the god, "Dee Emm", and was known to do random stuff just because. After the short-lived campaign that character was used in, we the players and DM enjoyed the sillyness of this character enough to make him a quasi Deus ex Machina DM NPC, doing such wonderful things like helping us get away from some dudes via a door from the robes/cloak of useful things, or running a store warehouse of almost everything in the DMG for magical gear, from +1 daggers to the whole gambit of Ioun stones... and a magical belt attachment that looked tacky, but held all the money the player could ever carry (one of those coin dispencer belts, except it held copper/silver/electrum/gold/platinum peices).
Pseudonym Sam 24th Oct 2015, 8:39 AM edit delete reply
I once had a throwaway NPC mook become an actual party member this way.

This was during my Holy Hellraiders campaign ("His Holiness Pope Francis I has been abducted by demons! Can the Vatican's finest brave the perils of the Inferno itself to rescue the Pontiff?!"), and the party was still in Rome tracking down a satanic cult. The party kicked down the door of the bad guy's hideout while they were in the middle of a demonic summoning ritual.

One of the cultist mooks was a morbidly obese man I dubbed "Neckbeard," who waddled into combat waving a katana and tonfa while screaming "Banzai desu!" He couldn't land a single blow with either of his weapons (being utterly incompetent), but the party could not injure Neckbeard no matter how many times they stabbed or shot him (bad damage rolls combined with high natural "armor" from his girth). My players decided they didn't have the heart to kill him, so they just grappled him and pinned him to the floor.

The cultists managed to open a Hell portal before they were defeated. After destroying a few demons that came through, the party decided this is their best chance to get into Hell. However, they decided to test the portal first by throwing Neckbeard through it. They couldn't tell what happened to him, so they all just jumped through before the portal collapsed.

They discovered that Neckbeard had survived the journey and was stuck in Hell with them. After killing some demons and settling in for the "night," the party grilled Neckbeard for information. He tearfully explained that he never wanted to hurt anyone-he just had extremely poor judgement when making friends, and inadvertently got sucked into the cult after too much Dungeons & Dragons and Harry Potter.

The party perform confession and an exorcism on him to be on the safe side, after which Neckbeard joined the party as a player character.
Digo 24th Oct 2015, 10:34 AM edit delete reply
Hee, that's a good one.

Oh! Now I remember-- there was an adventure with a diamond dog that went from mook villain to becoming the butler to one of the PCs.
Blueblade 24th Oct 2015, 9:39 PM edit delete reply
A dead cat asks out of curiosity "How did that happen?"
Darkside 24th Oct 2015, 9:16 AM edit delete reply
Mr. Crowley, one of my brother-in-law's NPCs.

We first met him in a Runepunk game, where he was a hub, someone who both handed out jobs and figured out the best places to sell loot. He was considered most awesome because when the party first met him, he was in a bar that obviously revolved around him, getting himself and the party drinks without ever saying a word, and barely a gesture.

But the attachment didn't show itself for the Runepunk Crowley.

We were doing a two-shot campaign to test the Active Exploits diceless RPG system, and our party was going to meet a client for a big job. We entered the mansion and the butler showed us to the library, where Mr. Crowley sat at the desk.


But Ryan saw the distraught and surprised faces we had, so when we told the butler, he poked his head and said "Oh, dear, someone's killed me again." and revealed himself to be the real Mr. Crowley.

On an amusing side note: Later, when we were discussing the mission, one of us asked Mr. Crowley to illuminate him, so Mr. Crowley gestured and made him glow slightly.
Winged Cat 24th Oct 2015, 10:17 PM edit delete reply
Mr. Crowley, eh? Did he speak with the dead?
Albedoequals1 24th Oct 2015, 10:04 AM edit delete reply
My first time GMing for non-family, none of my players were armor-wearers, so I added a Sheriff's deputy. She was just a heavily-armored goon with a giant sword to fill the empty role in the party, in case I had accidentally made the encounters too hard.

The players treated her just like she was another player, offering her a share of the loot and everything. She has become one of the main npc contacts in the town, and is privy to some really sensitive information.

She can't go adventuring with the party anymore, since we acquired a PC that had her exact power set, but she still functions as a source of information.
JackobolTrades 24th Oct 2015, 10:17 AM edit delete reply
I've had two instances of this, one in Pathfinder, the other in Shadowrun 3E.

In Pathfinder, the party had encountered a fortress full of kobolds, ogres and trolls. During the fight, the party ignored one kobold archer, despite the fact that he had hit every shot, even if he did minimal damage. The party became attached to the 'Value Kobold' or VK, and eventually the alchemist botched throwing a bomb, which landed right next to the VK. Distraught, the alchemist ate three attacks of opportunity to run up to the VK and feed him a healing potion. The kobold was so thankful for saving his life, that he pledged his service to the alchemist in return, becoming a DM PC. A few sessions later, in the introductory battle to the big bad, he was knocked out, and the big bad squished his head as an example of what meddling would bring. The entire party was sad and ended up getting a second wind and fought him off. Then they held a touching funeral for their fallen comrade.

In Shadowrun, one of the party members (a Dragon shaman) had gained a reputation in the Redmond Barrens as 'The Silver Goose,' like the golden goose that lays golden eggs, but with silverware. When an attempted robbery went down, she killed the robbers, gaining the reputation as a badass shaman.
Cut to five runs later, the party returns to Redmond to do another job, when they see a pair of folks cross the street to avoid them. The street samurai decided to chase them, with the shaman following after. When the pair ran into a gang hideout, the chase was called off. Two days later, they recognize one of the people they chased off at the Seattle University they were scoping out. They confronted him and intimidated him into explaining their avoidance, which he explained stemmed from the "Silver Goose" reputation. That was supposed to be the end of that character, but then the street samurai's player and the shaman's player started OOC roleplaying a scene straight out of a shoujo anime between the street samurai and the man, who's name was Timmy. Everyone at the table was paralyzed with laughter for about five minutes, and I knew that this character had to come back to make that scene a reality. It hasn't happened yet, but Timmy has been seen every so often to take the party in new and interesting directions, like drug dens, where the street samurai became addicted to Better Than Life Simchips.
That's when I decided that Timmy would be the big bad for the party's character arc. I built his character, and made him a shaman of the Seductress. His goal is to ruin the party because "The Silver Goose" killed his brother, who was one of the original robbers that gave her the reputation. I can't wait to see how that pans out, and how the party reacts.
GrayGriffin 24th Oct 2015, 10:25 AM edit delete reply
Thanks to the fact that two of the PCs in one of my live games can talk to inanimate objects, pretty much anything the DM throws at us has the potential to become a recurring NPC/pseudo-party member. We do try not to overuse it, although my character is a bit more likely to talk to random inanimate objects thanks to growing up a lonely rich kid with only those objects to talk to.
Terane 24th Oct 2015, 10:25 AM edit delete reply
Well, the D&D campaign I'm running now has an imp paladin thanks to this. The imp was supposed to be an annoying source of information that the party couldn't wait to get rid of. Instead the party druid decided he was cute, and adopted him as the party mascot. The paladin part came later.
Dusk Raven 24th Oct 2015, 11:33 AM edit delete reply
I was running a freeform zombie game, and while it didn't last long, one of the players got rather attached to an Officer Banks... which was amusing, because as I recall all he did was "greet" the group when they arrived at the police station and generally act as though he didn't think much of the PCs. I didn't even give him a name until prompted.

Meanwhile, my pair of officers who I wanted to actually be prominent, Patterson and Morris, an idealistic cop/realistic cop duo... weren't ignored, per se, but weren't quite latched on to.
Tatsurou 24th Oct 2015, 11:23 AM edit delete reply
Well, there was this one NPC...

I played him as a complete straight man. Never made jokes, never poked fun, always managed to stay impassionate, but his emotion could be seen. I played him as normal as possible.

His name was Quirky. He introduced himself as "I'm Quirky."

The party dragged him along for the entire campaign, trying to discover his quirk.
Blueblade 24th Oct 2015, 9:48 PM edit delete reply
His Quirk is the fact that he is named "Quirky" even though he has no other quirks... Either that or is quirk is that he is a normal person in a DND campaign.
Super_Big_Mac 24th Oct 2015, 5:30 PM edit delete reply
Crystal and Chivalry, in a Ponyfinder game.

Crystal is a Witch working with the Seekers, meant at first to just be a one-off mentor for our PC Witch. Chivalry is a Paladin who was gonna get killed off at some point, partially to show that this is all Srs Bsns. Instead, he's now getting married to one of the Main Cast, and thus has an entire background and everything.

Crystal and Chiv are also connected through more than the Seekers, too. Now, we're going off to fight an Aboleth (Abeloth?) at Level 6 because it's Crystal's Patron and is magically forcing her to be sterile or else it kills Still, Chivalry's father, because Still killed the Aboleth's brethren (and Crystal is an old Party member of Still's, therefore connecting everything).

Our group loves us some NPCs, lemme tell ya.

Thought up some more, in fact!

My character, Overwatch, has a younger sister named Overlook (Our mom's name is Overture; see the theme?), who I had once joked has a crush on X, a Leatherwing Paladin of the Moon Princess. As part of a plotpoint, she comes home worried one night that I'd be angry at her, because she was Chosen by the Sun Queen to be her Oracle (thus making her an Over Seer). X (the PC) has also recently been Chosen to be the new Oracle's Champion and Personal Paladin/bodyguard.

In our last session, due to two crit-fails, she fell into a body of water with a giant sea-monster/dinosaur. The GM had come to love her character so much, he gave us every opportunity to save her (Including having her use Sanctuary twice with something like 3x its actual range, and NOT HAVING THE THING TRY AND BITE HER WHILE SHE'S HALF IN ITS MOUTH), just so he wouldn't have to kill her off.

Then there's Harvest, a mare so badass she calls the God of Death to help mop up a mess, Mirrored Image, a Sea Pony filly adopted by Harvest, and minorly plot-relevant, and pretty much every other NPC, including my character's pre-game dead marefriend (Nightlace; she started as a reason why my Rogue hates killing needlessly), and my character's current fiance (Dappled Spirit, retconned as the one who dragged Overwatch out of his suicidal depression after it became too much), as well as our favored Merchant (My character's not allowed to talk to him anymore; I rolled a Nat-1 on a Diplomacy check to get a better deal, and ended up making it seem like I was hitting on him, including my asking him if he'd "like to learn some dance moves" as payment).

Ohhhh, yeah. We're all about the NPCs in our game. xD We've already started planning on foal names for two of our PCs' *KIDS.*
Anon 24th Oct 2015, 6:14 PM edit delete reply
My group -tried- to get attached to an NPC, but since it was an Adventurer's League game and they tend to stick pretty tight to the rails...

The party had intimidated a kobold into leading us to his hideout (a mage with Burning Hands and a grip big enough to wrap around your head is quite an incentive), and was willing to help us deal with the guards. Letting him scout ahead wasn't as bad an idea as it sounds; him distracting a later patrol with stories about the big, vicious adventurers they had survived gave us a surprise round when we tromped up out of the dark and started flinging fire around.

Unfortunately, given that the modules don't really allow for too much deviation, we left him behind as the new lord of the cave. Although if we get that GM again and a module that takes back into that neck of the woods, I wouldn't doubt that we'd be hearing about the powerful nest that's been making life miserable for the nearby towns.
Blueblade 24th Oct 2015, 9:33 PM edit delete reply
Okay I have a Great one for this ahem...
Fallout is Dragons
j-eagle12212012 26th Oct 2015, 5:02 AM edit delete reply

Best answer lol
Shadotterdan 25th Oct 2015, 10:12 PM edit delete reply
I'm paraphrasing, but I remember hearing a story once, probably in the comments for an earlier comic, about a group who after killing a dragon or something found a little mute girl who was supposed to just be a plot element. She also couldn't leave the room, but the group persevered until the dm relented and let them keep the little girl with them as they continued their adventure.
Someone 26th Oct 2015, 5:36 AM edit delete reply
Ah, yes. That was in the last story time vid
Blueblade 28th Oct 2015, 1:12 PM edit delete reply
RAILS? We don't need no stinkin' rails.
ANW 24th Oct 2015, 6:38 AM edit delete reply
Good news: the girls can use the Elements.
Bad news: they can't use their Elements.
They can access the Elements, just not their own.
Who should use which?
Wasen 24th Oct 2015, 7:01 AM edit delete reply
Here's what I would choose:
Fluttershy: Honesty
Rarity: Magic
Applejack: Loyalty
Rainbow Dash: Laughter
Twilight Sparkle: Generosity
Pinkie Pie: Kindness
ANW 24th Oct 2015, 7:08 AM edit delete reply
Yay, the comment went through the first time around.
My Internet conks out at weird times.
SeatieBelt 24th Oct 2015, 6:57 AM edit delete reply
No joke about those NPCs. My players latch onto weird NPCs like leeches!
Digo 24th Oct 2015, 8:15 AM edit delete reply
Like leeches? Well you could always light a match, put it out, and then stick the hot end on their head.

Or am I thinking ticks?
Zeeth 24th Oct 2015, 12:21 PM edit delete reply
I think it works with both, but ticks will vomit if you do that.
Evil Paladin 26th Oct 2015, 1:52 AM edit delete reply
Leeches also vomit into your bloodstream if you put a match/cigar/cigarette to them.
Blueblade 24th Oct 2015, 9:27 PM edit delete reply
That reminds me of another group of loveable Players who love to drive their DM insane by forcing him to come up with characters on the fly *COUGH COUGH* Dragon Mawlers *COUGH COUGH*
SeatieBelt 24th Oct 2015, 6:57 AM edit delete reply
No joke about those NPCs. My players latch onto weird NPCs like leeches!
Raxon 24th Oct 2015, 8:47 AM edit delete reply
Ah, mute characters. My favorite was a dire wolf who communicated with these statues he caved with his claws. Each one was about six to eight inches tall, and he would wordlessly mime out scenarios with them by moving them around. It was the best mute character I ever had.
Specter 24th Oct 2015, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
The image of something like that makes me want to make a character like that.

My only mute character was a half-orc brawler who just gave up on speaking (cause he couldn't actually speak), and just did spoke with whatever objects he had on him (usually a deck of cards). It made it so great that he was also four foot, and threw his healing ally as (the GM of the game quoted) a magic missle.

... I think mute (if not silent) characters are great.
Raxon 24th Oct 2015, 10:54 AM edit delete reply
The introduction had him kidnapping the cleric. He carried her back to his little cave, and posed her. She didn't resist the posing, she was much more curious than scared. He ran off, and she got up to look around. He came back with a log, and placed it on a raised stone platform in front of the cave. He laboriously posed her again. Sitting japanese style, hands on her legs, head bowed.

When she tried to look up, he would bark at her. She heard wood splintering, and when the party found them half an hour later, he was placing a little wooden statue in her lap. Well, after that, she wouldn't let the party kill the sweetest animal she had ever met, and I became a party member!

The campaign only lasted three sessions, but by the end of it, I was invited to stay with the cleric's holy order, carving statues of the gods, finding lost things, and having a happy ending.
ADemonicPresence 26th Oct 2015, 12:36 AM edit delete reply
the last time i had a mute character, the party said 'none of that' and forced her to use a pearl of speech. bastards.
Raxon 26th Oct 2015, 10:31 PM edit delete reply
I have toyed with the idea of making Gerald McBoingboing in a game, but I would need a large folder of sound effects on my phone.
DanielLC 24th Oct 2015, 11:10 AM edit delete reply
Once I made a mime class for mute characters. I figure that if a bard can get magical powers from his music, then someone who can't talk and has to mime everything will probably get magical powers from it too. I never actually played the class though.
Zeeth 24th Oct 2015, 12:23 PM edit delete reply
I always thought of mimes as a type of bard, because the focus of a bard isn't only music but expression.
Digo 24th Oct 2015, 1:26 PM edit delete reply
Exactly how I interpreted them.
Platonix 24th Oct 2015, 2:14 PM edit delete reply
Okay, I'll pose this question to you because I'm honestly curious. It's made clear that the Perform Skill isn't always about music, or even sound, but several aspects of the Bard class are designed under the assumption that you're making sound. Like how Bard spells always have a Verbal component even if they wouldn't otherwise. How would a Mime Bard handle strictly sound-based aspects of the class?
Raxon 24th Oct 2015, 5:25 PM edit delete reply
Blueblade 24th Oct 2015, 9:24 PM edit delete reply
Maybe they're just a really clumsy mime bard? Or just don't know the actually definition behind the word mime?
Winged Cat 24th Oct 2015, 10:27 PM edit delete reply
Like Raxon said, by using something other than their voices - say, instruments - to make sounds. Mimes don't speak; that doesn't mean they are necessarily silent. Even a mime can be heard when walking on a field of dried leaves.
Raxon 25th Oct 2015, 5:16 AM edit delete reply
Amazing how little needs to be said when you say just enough.

Also, good lord, I want a cane like that.
Digo 25th Oct 2015, 10:13 AM edit delete reply
Could change all the verbal components to somatic? Or maybe it works in reverse with mimes: their abilities fail if they make noises?
Specter 24th Oct 2015, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
I love the emotional transition on the party from the third to the fifth panels. It really shows everyone's second nature (to an extent). Mostly though, I like how everyone except Rainbow is either shocked or suprised, and Rainbow just looks mad.
Digo 24th Oct 2015, 10:36 AM edit delete reply
Rainbow looks like she's gonna roll initiative. XD
Truly Mad Moves 24th Oct 2015, 3:09 PM edit delete reply
Truly Mad Moves
I love today's story time. :D Those are my absolute favorite kinds of RP stories.

Wishing I had a story like that, but I've still never had a session where things didn't go exactly the way I planned them to, because I still haven't found a player who ever has ideas. I want someone to throw me off the rails just once! So I can have a real story like a normal DM! Yeesh...
j-eagle12212012 24th Oct 2015, 3:50 PM edit delete reply
I got to finally partake in the stream last week and I had a blast and some of my jokes made it into the recording Which I enjoyed. I look forward to the next stream, maybe the group will adopt a new npc ^_^ I'm sure spud would love that. Also I hope that "gif" returns that thing was amazing
remia1 24th Oct 2015, 4:35 PM edit delete reply
ok, so, I ran a Mage the Ascension campaign that ran for 2 years real time, with there being 2-4 sessions a week, with each session being 4-8 hours. I 'inherited' the campaign from someone else who started it out with an insane mage changing reality into something out of a video game, complete with temporary power ups and one ups. (the original GM had his girlfriend break up with him, so he freaked out, and moved across the country) Before I got the GM job, the PCs had found an extra life.

Mage being the most philosophical of the original World of Darkness games, I decided that the insane mage was actually not REALLY insane but had discovered the mythical ability to alter his personal world view of how magic worked. His games were an attempt to teach others this ability. For the PCs it worked. Basically it gave them a bonus to using magick and not having reality say "you know you can't do that right?" and beat them over the head with a baseball bat.

This lead the PCs off on a quest to discover some of the other philosophies of the world. The goth met up with vampires, and a couple of the characters made friends with the local werewolves. One of the werewolves was the head shaman of the local group, and became a den mother to the PCs, and ended up being a body guard, and later, girlfriend to one of the PCs.

So of course she dies in one of the big battles against a powerful spirit.

the PCs freak out. they LOVE this character. they pull out the 1-up. I'd completely forgotten about it, but I needed this character to die to show the stakes in the battle were serious. They give her the 1-up.

She vanishes.

Queue freak out.

thinking quickly, I tell them that it wasn't like a phoenix down from Final Fantasy, instead it was more like her soul had been sent to a respawn point, and they had no way of knowing who or where she would return. the PCs remind me that they had 'tagged' her with spirit magic so they would be able to find her in the spirit planes, and that is attached to her soul. So they can and will find her again.

Six months later real time (a year or 2 later game time) they find themselves facing off against one of the enemy generals. I get an evil idea. I tell them the soul tracking spell pings.

they all freak out and are thrilled. they all do a search. it is the enemy general, and she has just ordered their deaths.
and then I end the session for a week.
Dusk Raven 26th Oct 2015, 4:30 PM edit delete reply
Oh jeez, that's brutal. If I were the PC who was her boyfriend in her past life, I'd never stop trying to get through to her, to somehow reconnect with her. Depending on the depths of our connection, perhaps I would even obey if she asked me to kill my comrades in exchange for me becoming her consort again...

So, how does the rest of the story go?
Blueblade 24th Oct 2015, 9:22 PM edit delete reply
I'm Imagining what the DM might say if they roll a Nat 1...
Maybe something such as...
DM:You believe she is saying that's where she buried your friends corpse
DM:You think she is saying She is right there but is both intangible and deaf
Or even...
DM:From what you can tell she is just fucking with you
Steevee 24th Oct 2015, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
party finds
"weird old guy' staggering around the woods outside of town.
"it must be a wise hermit! Let us help him"
but no, the old guy was just the town drunk.
Soletta 25th Oct 2015, 3:27 PM edit delete reply
We are so notorious for this that the GM keeps a spreadsheet open for when we inevitably name and keep the next NPC.

For example, a 4th edition game in which we are the Watch. The GM has to have other officers running around to deal with the day to day stuff while we handle the high profile cases.

There is an elf that was referred to as a nebulous background elf. Face in the background type character.

Nowadays Nebi the elf is a well known member of the watch, has caused a revenge plot on her behalf and has saved our asses mulitple times.

anacreon 26th Oct 2015, 2:43 PM edit delete reply
I have a story where we got attatched to an NPC

Vinny the Ferryman.
Who will take you across one of the rivers in the underworld in exchange for a drink that isn't chocolate flavored. He had a brooklyn accent. He was also one of the few people in the underworld that wasn't a complete dick.
Naturally we would bring several non-chocolate flavored drinks to him and visit and talk to him when we had no real need to do so. It came to the point that he would just take us across for free because we would just keep giving him drinks but not actually cross the river.
Tadaboody 26th Oct 2015, 4:31 PM edit delete reply
I just started reading and notice you write the story with 4d D&D, I myself play 5ed and understand it a bit better so I was wondering if you shifted or plan to shift sometime?