Page 823 - Junk Bard Wars

29th Oct 2016, 6:00 AM in Pinkie Pride
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Junk Bard Wars
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 29th Oct 2016, 6:00 AM edit delete
So you might know that my attempt to run the monthly SpudShot game two weeks ago crashed and burned. Well, it looks like our second and final attempt to run the October one-shot will be this Sunday the 30th at 2PM Pacific. We'll (hopefully) be live at

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: February 20th.



Boris Carlot 29th Oct 2016, 6:01 AM edit delete reply

Good screencaps today!
Thomas Kemp 29th Oct 2016, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
Goading the bully into showing her true colours I see...
Digo Dragon 29th Oct 2016, 8:15 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
One of the Bard's specialties. :D
Blyndpwn 29th Oct 2016, 5:21 PM edit delete reply
Aren't Bards kinda... what's the word... squishy?

Then again, bravery is more impressive when the risk is greater.
Robin Bobcat 29th Oct 2016, 9:49 PM edit delete reply
'Squishy', but also able to dodge, deflect, avoid, or just hide behind the half-orc barbarian.

A well-made Bard should be *just* difficult enough to hit that if you're focusing on them enough to hit them, then their friends (with much higher damage output) are free to smack you around.
Doc_Sparks 30th Oct 2016, 11:04 AM You need a bigger boat edit delete reply
Bards are an unpredictable x-factor if played properly. If you're using math to determine the best way to play a bard then you are doing it wrong. Your use of your spells should make everyone at the table, including the GM, rethink how they see the game on a routine basis... often for hilarious results thanks to them trying to mimic your mindset.

Example: Suggestion. This spell would normally seem to be something of limited use and only outside of combat... until the bard walks confidently up to the heavily armored enemy tank, casts suggestion, and then says, "It's hot and you've been wearing that armor all day. Aren't you itchy?"
Kaze Koichi 30th Oct 2016, 6:28 AM edit delete reply
Provoking into breaking the session. Fueling the conflict. I clearly see why Pinky is a good guy here.
Kereminde 30th Oct 2016, 8:02 AM edit delete reply

There are no "good guys", only people.
Doythaban 30th Oct 2016, 4:11 PM edit delete reply
There are no 'innocent civilians'. Every last one of them has done SOMETHING.
Kaze Koichi 31st Oct 2016, 5:36 AM edit delete reply
Like "existed." Ho ho ho.
Jannard 29th Oct 2016, 6:20 AM edit delete reply
"The roleplaying stuff sure helps", understatement of the century when talking about *roleplaying* games. Pinkie's player is dangerously manipulative when she commits to it.
Kale 29th Oct 2016, 6:29 AM edit delete reply
She made her friend cry, the oven mitts are off.
The Old One 29th Oct 2016, 10:09 AM edit delete reply
I tremble to think what she could be like if she used her powers for evil instead of good.
Waffle 29th Oct 2016, 6:22 AM edit delete reply
I kind of want to try to riff on "Anything You Can Do" here, except that it's not doing better so much as having very different priorities.

Though I gotta ask, how does Gilda's player expect to prove a subjective?
Boris Carlot 29th Oct 2016, 7:04 AM edit delete reply
Gilda's player only cares about crunch - the attributes, the dice pools, the raw "dice power". For example, If there's a spell that doubles your attack power and a spell that doubles your attack power and also gives you double defence at the same cost of the first spell then the latter is objectively better on paper. If stats and raw strength are all you care about you'd be dumb not to take it.

Pinkie's more interested in the character's fluff - she doesn't care that the first spell is weaker if it aligns more closely to the person she's picturing in her head. For her player, the best spells and abilities are the ones that are most "Pinkie"-like.

Long story short, Gilda's gonna point out the numbers and Pinkie's gonna say "but that would make her less Pinkie, and therefore less perfect."
Robin Bobcat 29th Oct 2016, 9:52 PM edit delete reply
Not quite... I think that what is going to happen is that Pinkie is going to show that she uses her powers to raise *her friends* to their best advantage. The build she has is geared *for the party* not for the individual.
Guest 30th Oct 2016, 6:54 AM edit delete reply
This is Pinkie Pie we're discussing. Is there a difference between a build that is Pinkie and a build that is designed for the party?
Rastaba 29th Oct 2016, 8:59 PM edit delete reply
Oh sweet celestial no! I think I know how gilda is going to try and show her up! What you just said might have just spoiled this for me! be clear, not mad, just preparing to laugh myself silly if it is what I think.
Jannard 29th Oct 2016, 6:23 AM edit delete reply
While we are at it, STORY TIME! Does any of you have a story about defusing tension on the gaming table? Or about big player-to-player drama being fixed in an odd way? Was this story time already brought around? Am I Asking too many questions?
Digo Dragon 29th Oct 2016, 8:15 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
"Provably"? Oooh, new word for the day!
*checks off his list*

Okay, something interesting about Diplomancers is that their effectiveness could run the gamut of being Really OP down to they're Completely Useless. Where they fall on the chart depends a lot on how much the GM invests in making Role Playing count versus making you roll a Speech check.

When I run games, I try to go for a 50-50 approach. This is about the level the games I'm in seem to operate too, so I feel in my element.
FanOfMostEverything 29th Oct 2016, 9:37 AM edit delete reply
My usual policy there is "you get what you give." If someone wants to just roll Diplomacy, fine, up to them, but I'm still going to ask for the general gist of things. If they can formulate a marvelously reasonable argument, I'll happily waive the roll, or at least provide a generous bonus.
Talyn 30th Oct 2016, 9:00 AM edit delete reply
That's generally how I handle it. No diplomacy/bluff checks unless the player can actually come up with an actual argument, and DC is set based on how good or bad that argument is.
Specter 29th Oct 2016, 11:10 AM edit delete reply
Outright success/fail- Pushing the NPC's buttons.

Bonus/penalty- Speaking to NPC's in a certain way or with certain words/phrases.

Normal- Generally anything else that doesn't involve you whacking the NPC with a stick.
JupiterStar 29th Oct 2016, 1:47 PM edit delete reply
Also, I go by 'You don't NEED to role to roll.' I have a few players that want to have social interactions, but are rather shy. So, I tend to let them give me a gist or otherwise give me an idea, and then let them roll.

When dealing with these players, I rarely throw too many bonuses (like waiving the die roll) for the more confident actors, since that can discourage the shyer players.
Anvildude 29th Oct 2016, 1:51 PM edit delete reply
My homebrew system uses a Roll-Off. Of course, it uses a Roll Off for literally EVERYTHING, so eh.

But I figure the best of both worlds (since rolling dice is FUN!) is to use the Diplomacy Skill check, but first have the Player RP what their character does, and assign bonuses or penalties based on that.

"+/- 4 for Roleplaying" is, I think, the most powerful tool to get 'crunchy' gamers to really think about what their character is doing.
Specter 29th Oct 2016, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
Hey cool, infallible drama logic in the comic.

*Pulls out popcorn*
*Munch munch munch*
Cyborg7221 29th Oct 2016, 4:50 PM edit delete reply
Fast-talking the GM could actually get a player a long way. As a GM, I have had three different players who had not mastered the art, but rather perfected it.

Each of these stories is 95% true, and the other 5% accounts for my poor memory.

The first was a visitor from out of state who happened to be a marketing professional; I didn't know this at the time when she had me quickly roll up a Bard for her. I ended up giving her critical successes more often than I asked her to roll. She managed to get completely free services from any high-priced establishment she set her mind to.
The second is the scariest guy I've ever met; real quote (as far as I can remember): "You think I'll give you hell? Cute. When I'm through with you, you will be wishing for the luxurious pleasures and the sweetest delights of hell." While the marketer auto-makes Diplomacy, this guy is a master of Intimidate. (only when he's in character, though; he's actually a pretty nice guy) In one game, he managed to intimidate a city watchman into giving him every single one of the mystery's clues that I had prepared- with one conversation.
The last one is a crooked rules lawyer who managed to get something like 120 damage in one round out of a 1d6+mods damage Wall spell. After bloodying that dragon with nothing but another player's Light cantrip. And then managed to drop that beast something like ten miles to its death. I swear, that is the last time I'll ever put a dragon on an airship. Not even the mightiest Red would stand a chance.

Thank God I never had to run for more than one of them at a time.

Pinky, Fluttershy, and Twilight are nothing compared to them.
Kaze Koichi 30th Oct 2016, 6:31 AM edit delete reply
Don't you know what to do when players one-shot you dragon? Throw a tarasque at them!
Cyborg7221 30th Oct 2016, 11:31 AM edit delete reply
In 4e? The dragon I gave them was a level 3 White to go with their low levels. The scaling on the Tarrasque wouldn't be fai- wait, that wall spell doesn't have an attack roll. Craaaaaaaaap you're right! XD

Though that player isn't even part of the group anymore, so I don't really have anything to worry about (for now, at least).
Kaze Koichi 31st Oct 2016, 5:49 AM edit delete reply
If you want my honest, no-joking opinion, you shouldn't give players an encounter with a dragon on low level. Dragons are strong and wise, they can fly and use magic, they should be a serious threat for a party to remember... a surviving member of a party to remember. Redusing a dragon from a thing to run away from very fast to a punching bag is something I cannot approve.
Zatch P 29th Oct 2016, 6:15 PM edit delete reply
"I don't get fast-talked" says the GM who's first session of this game ended with the main arc/campaign villain being defeated entirely through the power of talking. If Twilight talking her way into using the broken Elements of Harmony on Nightmare Moon doesn't count as fast talking the GM, I don't know what does.
Robin Bobcat 29th Oct 2016, 9:54 PM edit delete reply
There's a difference. Using logic and reason and a bit of rules-lawyering isn't fast talking. Fast talking is when you're throwing some chaff out that's just plasible enough for you to get what you want, but when they have a moment to think about it, they say 'wait a minute...'.
Cyborg7221 30th Oct 2016, 11:39 AM edit delete reply
I'm with Robin Bobcat on this one. I don't think it's fast-talking if the GM is completely calm during all the conversations. She gave Applejack the farm because of the additional setting info she provided, and I think Pinky's reputation and party canon are no different. It's a little like letting an Artificer build a non-magical flying apparatus, or OKing the fighter having a family. These things help make the characters more unique and it all adds to the experience at the table.

And for the record, what Twilight did was definitely NOT fast-talking. She just solved the DM's puzzle way to early in the campaign, that's all.
Amanda M 29th Oct 2016, 10:36 PM edit delete reply
Tonight's D&D game was definitely a proof of RP > Numbers.

After defeating a cubic ton of wendigos that had broken into the Väela longhouse, one of the party members was frozen from a ritual by the Sacred Fire that had kept the rest of us safe. The only way to free her was to extinguish the fire; but the fire was the only thing keeping an eternal winter at bay. We decided to chance it, crossing fingers that my Divine Intervention would work. The plan was for our Monk to take the blame, running up and inking (i.e. casting Darkness, but we get a lot of laughs at the thought of her squirting ink like a squid to do it) to hide our Barbarian actually putting the fire out, and then I would pray and make the fire go foom, etc.

Except I didn't make my roll. x_x So I tried to hide it with a Produce Flame of my own, but since it wasn't the Sacred Fire Brought About By A Great Sacrifice In Ancient Times, it doesn't work. The Sorceress is successfully unfrozen by the fire being put out, at least, but we're F*d on the fire. The Barbarian and Archer decide "welp, sorry about your winter, we're going to steal your portal keystone that we need, bye!" and run off after the Monk.

"Screw that," my cleric thinks, "I do what is Right™." Temperance, the cleric of Hestia who I've been playing every other week for 2+ years, stood on the cold embers and began to pray to her goddess. In a thunderous burst of flames, she sacrificed her life to rekindle the Sacred Fire, sending a blast of warmth and light out of the longhouse that melted all the snow in a radius of a good mile or two, setting flowers to blooming, trees to sprouting, and animals to arriving in droves.

I literally cried while deciding this. I had always told our GM that I would prefer that my characters died narratively - not because I, the player, just can't roll for crap sometimes. ;) And I realized, as everyone else was running away from the problems we caused, that this is exactly what was going to happen. I didn't -want- to stop playing Temperance, but rekindling a sacred hearth is definitively what a cleric of Hestia would give her life for, 100%, so I made that call.

Bite me, Gilda. ;) RP wins over numbers every time.

(Although spoiler alert: in private conference with the GM as everyone else is talking about what they're going to say at my funeral, Hestia's kicking me back to the living cuz I'm still needed for plot reasons, DOH. At least I'll get to feel like S6 Buffy for a while.)
JupiterStar 30th Oct 2016, 1:13 AM edit delete reply
I've given good player sacrifices a 'get out of death free' card a few times, usually from Divine Intervention like you have there. Sometimes it's the character's deity, sometimes it's another deity coming in and making a Pact.

Then there was the time I had to do it so that a player character could actually be played, as the rest of the party murdered them in 5m due to the player's utter stupidity.
Specter 30th Oct 2016, 2:46 PM edit delete reply
Aww, I like that story.
Aeguion 30th Oct 2016, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
Chosen one. You must link the fire, and cast away the dark.
Randonimity 30th Oct 2016, 1:30 AM edit delete reply
If this is going to play out the way I think it is, BRAVO to Newbiespud for the ingenious way of incorporating screenshots from multiple episodes! I cannot wait to see Gilda's player realize just who exactly she's up against.
Freelance 30th Oct 2016, 1:44 PM edit delete reply
Rarity: "No, just derailed."

Twilight: "Shhhh!"
SirFox 30th Oct 2016, 2:22 PM fair call edit delete reply
DM is 3 panels and an inset behind.

Got fast-talked.
Archone 31st Oct 2016, 1:52 AM edit delete reply
You know, it occurs to me... Gilda's player hasn't actually been much of a bully, not really. Granted, she has a different playing style and she's pushy about it, but she isn't being MEAN about it. She is simply making the mistake of expecting to have to deal with a lot of combat, wanting to maximize their chances of success at said combat, and trying to get the other players to do the same. Which would be a good thing if it were a game run by a GM who wants to wargame it; she's making the mistake of not realizing this is not a game or GM like that.

So... this isn't really a case of bullying like in the show. This is more of an argument of RP versus raw stats, with the newcomer not realizing she doesn't know as much as she thinks she does.

(Personally I find that starting with an awesome RP concept and then building the stats around the RP concept makes for a far more effective build than number crunching alone)
Kaze Koichi 31st Oct 2016, 6:17 AM edit delete reply
What rubs people the wrong way is that she made Flutershy cry, but checking the dialog, Flutershy is one one she was the least offensive to. "If you sure" is the good way to comment on something you are not approve, and while it's hinted that Gilda's tone shows her disapproval, IS SHE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE AN OPINION?
Honestly, I prefer players to not being pushy about such stuffs, but let's not forget, she came here expecting to meet 6 Rainbow Dashes. Giving her hard time based on that mistake seems very unfair.
CleverNamingConvention 31st Oct 2016, 6:40 AM edit delete reply
"Effective" was not the word I expected. I can understand building a character from its RP concept first and numbers second to be more interesting and enjoyable. Maybe its a differing opinion on what "effective" would mean. When I think "effective", I think "how many different situations can this character solve, or how good at they at solving their niche of situations?" That being said, if your character is both enjoyable to play as and enjoyable to play with, I suppose that would also be quite "effective".

Regarding Gilda, I agree. Her actions are going to come off bully-like because she is so certain that her group's environment is what this group's environment is or should be like. Maybe it's because Rainbow Dash's player is part of it. Gilda seems to be in a DM vs Player, or power-gaming sort of mindset. Not sure which one, but neither are what this lovely little pony group is all about. I hope Pinkie can help her understand that.
vinom_trifang 31st Oct 2016, 7:34 AM edit delete reply
I have to agree that RP concepts are a great was to build effective characters, if they're supported by the right number crunching.

My most successful and potent 3.5 melee character came after I wondered what might happen if an orc raised an elf kid. Add in a desire to fight like River Tam and some nice Exile motivated adventuring, and we had someone ready for levels in Hit-and-Run fighter, varient barbarian, monk, ranger, and bonus feat rogue.
Sliverbrony 31st Oct 2016, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
Same here most of my characters start like wouldn't it be nice7awesome/cool to play X and then checking the system I want to play them in for how to make it work
Dusk Raven 1st Nov 2016, 12:56 PM edit delete reply
There was a Spud-hosted oneshot? Drat...