Page 826 - Party Optimally

5th Nov 2016, 6:00 AM in Pinkie Pride
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Party Optimally
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 5th Nov 2016, 6:00 AM edit delete
Every time I get close to finishing one of these dang character sheets for the Cast page, some other bug crops up and I lose a bunch of progress...

Yearly reminder: Daylight Savings Time is a thing that affects the comic's upload schedule. Starting next week and for the next few months, the comic will be updating one hour earlier.

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



ANW 5th Nov 2016, 6:27 AM edit delete reply
TV troupe time
The Big Bad Behind the Big Bad
You foiled his plot and have saved the world.
Now's the time to go back home and, wait what?
Oh dear, turns out he was just the lacky.
Someone much more dangerous was ordering him.
Well, here we go again.
Any stories?
Someone 5th Nov 2016, 8:04 AM edit delete reply
ANW, for christ sake! Learn to spell the word correctly, how much times do I have to tell you, it's spelled "trope", without an u.
Yes, I am a sort of grammar nazi.
Guest 5th Nov 2016, 10:11 AM edit delete reply
He's just talking about the company of tiny people who live inside your television and put on plays for your amusement whenever you command it.

Really, TV troupes deserve WAY more respect than they get. Have you ever tried to act inside a flatscreen TV? It's not easy, let me tell you.
Freelance 6th Nov 2016, 8:33 AM edit delete reply
I'm more annoyed at the misnaming of the trope: Bigger Bad/Greater Scope Villain. That said, yes, confusing a storytelling convention with a group of entertainers is annoying.
Jorlem 7th Nov 2016, 2:48 AM edit delete reply
You mean "The Man Behind the Man", right? That's the trope that was being referenced, not Greater Scope Villain.
Guest 5th Nov 2016, 1:36 PM edit delete reply
Party (5e game)-
A.S.H., Cleric of Hopelessness (the depressed war forged).
Lemon & Lime, Spirit-bound Barbarian Twins (two unicorns, one soul).
Nebula Wisp, Wizard of Universal Knowledge (unicorn and only clinically sane part member).
Blood Quartz, Paladin/bard of the Crystal Court (crystal earth pony fueled endlessly by her loyalty and love for her quest and princess).
Steel Resolve "Bug", VERY friendly Knight of Punching Bags (changeling exiled from the hive, me).

The party has assaulted a estate, and headquarters, of an assassin who had made attempt on Princess Celestia. After countless undead and an elite force of war forged, we finally face the would-be assassin; Ice Heart, one of the countless aids to princesses Celestia and Luna (with levels in Monk/Assassin). Aided by some truly remarkable war forged creations, the battle began, five versus five. After roughly twenty five, maybe thirty rounds, the battle was over. The last war forged was destroyed and Ice Heart brought down to only a handful of health. She willingly gave up and went with us to face her punishment. Soon after leaving her estate a hooded figure hidden in the foliage took a shot at the party with an enchanted arrow. The arrow flew harmlessly through us and struck Ice Heart. A.S.H. and Blood Quartz stayed behind to try and stabilize Ice Heart while the rest of us pursued the figure. After a quarter-mile we lost them when they teleported. Ice Heart survived the attack and told us everything she knew about what was going on.

The gist of it, she was blackmailed into attempting to kill the princess, and if she didn't or she failed then she would never see her child again (the brilliant inventor of the war forged at the estate). Publicly Princess Celestia is in 'critical condition' and survivability is iffy at best. In reality she is hidden away in a safe house, and only eight ponies in the whole world know that (five of which is the party). We came to the conclusion that whoever is behind this didn't want to give Ice Heart her kid back anyway, and that we she was now on the 'loose end' list of this mastermind.

After some intense conversation, and bargaining, I convinced the group that since Ice Heart is now on a kill list she would be best protected if she stayed with us, and to pay for her crimes she had to help us uncover whoever is behind this and help defeat them. In exchange, I was responsible for Ice Heart and her actions. No one (except I) was happy with this plan, but was willing to deal with it.

I am now a sketch artist, and I have a battery.
Specter 5th Nov 2016, 1:37 PM edit delete reply
It would appear I wasn't signed in. My bad
Robin Bobcat 6th Nov 2016, 6:48 PM edit delete reply
Hmmm.. had one where it turned out that the vicious, nasty necromancer who was trying to take over the Boston Speakeasy scene was just using otherworldly powers he had no sense meddling in, and attracted the attention of the owners of said power.
No, it *wasn't* a CoC game, which really threw the players who were expecting to use OOG knowledge of the mythos to their advantage.
A particularly glee-some moment was when they got attacked by a zombie. ONE zombie. A shrieking, gurgling revenant... that got back up when they shot it in the head. They ALSO thought they knew how to deal with zombies.
Romero Rules Zombies? Pfah! Give me magically-animated necrotic flesh that will still clutch and grope after you even when dismembered...
Stranger 7th Nov 2016, 12:20 PM edit delete reply
"Bigger Bad / Greater Scope Villain" huh?

Yeah, I use that. Or at least the ongoing campaign which will resume "Soon (tm)" is using it in an odd way.

The party is intended to find seven lost cities which have become ruins over time, entirely forgotten by history. But they're sealed by powerful magic and require particular "Keystones" to even see - let alone enter - from outside their areas.

The general flow of each "chapter" of the campaign is to:

- Wrap up what happened in the last chapter and handle some small trouble cropping up.

- Start finding clues to some threat going on which needs to be solved before it gets out of hand.

- Find the threat and that they either had the Keystone for a city or knew the location of a city and the party already had the Keystone prior.

- As there are usually more than one Keystone for a city in existence, now they have to get there before someone else can make use of the lost city's magical resources.

As of now there are three villains who exist who are over-arching the plot and driving each group the players are fighting:

- There's someone manipulating paladins, clerics, and priests into questionable actions. Everything seems legitimate and even honorable, but the results of every act seems to only be making things in the world worse instead of better.

- There's a red dragon who had their soul separated from their body centuries ago, and now is free to start trying to conquer through the aid of descendants. Oh, and he has a habit of beating adventuring parties to near death and forcing them to submit to serve as his catspaws abroad.

- And there's a demon lord bound into one of the lost cities who was steadily gathering more demons to try to launch a horde on the world and turn it into just one more plane devoted to fighting eternal wars against all that demon lord's enemies across the multiverse.
Top kek 5th Nov 2016, 6:45 AM edit delete reply
The lesson here is that men are better in all things.
Pablo360 5th Nov 2016, 7:17 AM edit delete reply
Science proves that groups containing women are more successful, and in fact having women is one of the three major predictors of success in groups. My science can beat up your science.
Space Jawa 5th Nov 2016, 7:22 AM edit delete reply
My SCIENCE(!) works out in a gym and studies kung fu, meaning it can beat up both your sciences.
Someone 5th Nov 2016, 8:06 AM edit delete reply
OH YEAH? Well my SCIENCE!!! has a ginormous orbital space lazor cannon and can waste all of your science with a childlike flick!
Guest 5th Nov 2016, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
I'm just wondering where Masterweaver is in this conversation.
Digo Dragon 5th Nov 2016, 8:56 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
He's probably in his lab, making Science.
Gdesign95 5th Nov 2016, 3:10 PM edit delete reply
plebeian sciences. My Science has a collection of Nicole-Dyson Beams pointed at each of your sciences. any attempt to resist will be met with star destroying power. (try to one up this)
Masterweaver 6th Nov 2016, 6:14 PM edit delete reply
Excuse me, I am an artist.

I am also a scientist, but an artist first.
Someone 7th Nov 2016, 5:29 AM edit delete reply
Science is an art too.
Boris Carlot 5th Nov 2016, 7:32 AM edit delete reply
gr8 b8 m8 8/8
GrayGriffin 5th Nov 2016, 7:33 AM edit delete reply
...considering the fact that the player is female and gender is purely aesthetic in DnD, and also the fact that you have only one data point, your sample size is bad, your conclusions are erroneous, and you should feel bad.
Digo Dragon 5th Nov 2016, 8:54 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
It's funny that I can only read Cheese's lines in Weird Al's voice, despite it being "Gilda" just a couple pages ago. ^^;

Ah the "numbers game". Where to draw that fine line when picking abilities between being mechanically good and having a strong RP side...

I know with Doc in the Fallout Equestria campaign, the cybernetic enhancements I picked out for the character was mostly just straight bonuses to stats/skills, since there wasn't any real RP items to pick from the list. I got him BIG bonuses at least. Strength to carry more stuff, stealth to carry more stuff silently, Agility to carry more stuff silently at a faster pace...
Someone 5th Nov 2016, 10:04 AM edit delete reply
So what you're saying is that Doc Wagon is a carry?
Dragonflight 5th Nov 2016, 10:12 AM edit delete reply
Snrk. :)
Digo Dragon 5th Nov 2016, 10:40 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
With the stealth boost, he's now conceal carry. :3
Someone 5th Nov 2016, 4:48 PM edit delete reply
And since he has a medical license, this particluar one is a concealed carry's license?
Satyrwyld 5th Nov 2016, 4:53 PM edit delete reply
Re: the numbers game- I can't speak for all GMs, but when I run the game, you need to roll what I say you need to roll. If I want your target number to be a 14, all the bonuses in the world won't help. You want your character to live? Make me want to see what happens next.
Aohaku 5th Nov 2016, 6:43 PM edit delete reply
Sounds like dice based games may not be the best fit for you, Satyr. LARPs or improvised sketches might be more up your alley.
Cyborg7221 5th Nov 2016, 12:38 PM edit delete reply
Actually, those Signs of Influence that could actually come in real handy when it comes to throwing parties. Ritual Beneficiary could get an NPC to cast Pyrotechnics (or something similarly useful) for you, if you don't know it yourself. Attract Attendants can cover the help. Travel in Style means that you can easily get your hands on the fantasy equivalent of a limo for the rare occasions where your attending, but not throwing.

Also, various Rituals, like the aforementioned Pyrotechnics, are at the average Bard's disposal, as well. It would be easy to get creative with them- like laying Magic Mouths all over as riddle-clues for some kind of scavenger hunt-type game. I don't have the books in front of me, but I'm pretty sure that there are other rituals that let you draw in a crowd or hold one captivated by a performance. If you can get the DM to let you make alcohol with Brew Potion (or Alchemy), then you've got your drinks... There's all sorts of things you can try.
aerion111 6th Nov 2016, 1:21 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, pretty sure they were mentioned specifically because they were useful in party-planning.
Super Munchkin 5th Nov 2016, 1:25 PM edit delete reply
A decent Hulking Hurler can throw a party regardless of how awesome they are.
aerion111 6th Nov 2016, 1:36 AM edit delete reply
Character optimizing is, like a lot of social 'puzzles', partially a 'Mornington Crescent' problem; The best time to call 'Mornington Crescent' is right before your opponent does.
If you do it too early, the game's boring and no one wants to play with you anymore (and you can't win if no one plays), and if you do it too late then you lose.
With optimizing, if you make them too strong you're min-maxing and probably annoying the other players (there are ways around this, at least partially, though - I did say PARTIALLY), but if they're too weak you're falling behind and dragging the party down.
The ideal strength, assuming you WANT a strong character, is just above the party average; You stand out as one of the 'pillars' holding up the party's competence, but you don't come across as overshadowing the others.
It's one of many reasons why being on the same page about the game's 'atmosphere' is important.
Wyvern 6th Nov 2016, 10:32 AM edit delete reply
Well said! May I quote you elsewhere?
aerion111 6th Nov 2016, 8:25 PM edit delete reply
Quote me wherever. I'm rarely all that quotable, resorting to quoting others instead, so I'm happy to let people quote me when they want :P
Laurence 6th Nov 2016, 3:06 AM edit delete reply
Gilda/Cheese Sandwich "I see what game you're playing here..."

Pinkie "Yeah, its called Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons, silly!"
Squark 7th Nov 2016, 8:38 AM edit delete reply
Well, the beautiful part is that in order to "win," Gilda/Cheese Sandwich's player needs to roleplay- Which will prove Pinkie's point even if the ensuing party is "better," ideally ensuring a good time is had by all. Check and mate- Only this time, everyone wins- Assuming Gilda/Cheese is capable of learning the lesson Pinkie is trying to teach.
aerion111 8th Nov 2016, 12:05 AM edit delete reply
"Assuming Gilda/Cheese is capable of learning the lesson Pinkie is trying to teach."
If she is, it'd better be handled really well; Different people want different things from games, so 'reforming' Gilda in this case would mean changing their preferences.
That'd easily end up feeling forced if there isn't an explanation for why they suddenly enjoy roleplaying.